The latest Marvel’s Avengers look features a cameo from Philip Sheldon.
This week, Square Enix had an “Avengers War Table” where, for an hour, they showcased gameplay, store elements and game mechanics in the upcoming Crystal Dynamics action-adventure game Marvel’s Avengers. It filled me with a lot of excitement but one thing I noticed few people were talking about was a cameo from a very obscure character. A cameo that, if it’s who I think it is (and it absolutely is), it sets the tone for how we’re going to be seeing heroes displayed. That cameo was from a man named Philip Sheldon.
Back in 1994, acclaimed comic artist, Alex Ross, made a four-issue mini-series that had a profound effect on young me. It was called Marvels.
The book focuses on the era in which superheroes first started showing themselves. People like the original android Human Torch, Submariner, the X-Men. But it told it heavily from the standpoint of a reporter named Philip Sheldon. Through his eyes (and later, eye) we see what it’s like for an average person to deal with the sudden occurrence of these godlike beings controlling tidal waves and throwing flames everywhere. We see the human cost of a stray blast or a wildly deflected piece of masonry.
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Over the course of the series, Philip fears the beings he dubs “Marvels.” He goes so far as the leave the woman he’s engaged too because she wanted children and he feels it to be irresponsible to raise children in a world where entire cities can be devastated in the wave of an arm.
But over time, after witnessing the determination and humanity the Marvels display, he changes his views. Even after losing an eye capturing a fight between two heroes, he stays on their side and becomes a voice for them, going against the type who writes negative stories on the heroes and helping to save their public image.
Considering the story of the upcoming Marvel’s Avengers games seems to focus heavily on heroes falling out of public favor due to AIM’s antics, having Philip Sheldon reporting the news only to be suddenly saved by Thor had a huge emotional effect on me. I felt like the story was unfolding once more for a new audience.
While the War Table showcased a lot of cool features and elements, this little piece of detail — this is what sold me and helped me decide I want this game. Philip Sheldon seems to be a nod from some of the people working on Marvel’s Avengers that they actually know the source material and I love that.