Marvel Casino: Stories Behind the Games
Now that Deadpool has smashed the box office, we're waiting with bated breath for the new slew of Marvel movies to hit the silver screen, from Captain America: Civil War this spring to the Cumberbatch-fronted Doctor Strange at the end of the year. At Ladbrokes our various Marvel games like Marvel Roulette and Iron Man 3 have never been more popular, so we wanted to explore the stories behind these fantastic games – the character origins and best stories to pick up and read.
Game: Captain America: The First Avenger
Character: Captain America
First Comic Appearance: Captain America Comics #1 (March, 1941)
Captain America has been a mainstay in comics since the beginning of the Second World War where super soldier Steve Rogers was used as propaganda for the war effort. Born a sickly, but patriotic, boy in New York, Rogers was injected with the Super Soldier Serum which turned him into the peak of human physical perfection. Fast, strong and tactically-minded, Captain America uses his iconic shield to take out enemies. Cap is arguably the most well-respected and authoritative character in the Marvel Universe, acting as a role-model for all who follow him. Right now there are two Captain Americas – the other being Rogers' long-term friend Sam Wilson, who took up the mantle in 2015.
Notable Story: Civil War (2006-7)
Civil War saw the Marvel heroes divided when the ‘superhero registration act' became law, forcing all heroes to give up their secret identities in exchange for a government wage. Tony Stark (Iron Man) backed the authoritarian law while Cap opposed it, leading a rebellion against the government in a long and explosive series.
First Comic Appearance: Incredible Hulk #180
The most popular member of the X-Men, Wolverine – otherwise known as Logan (or James Howlett) is best known for his retractable claws, superior senses and healing powers. Wolverine was part of Weapon X, a secret government project that laced his skeleton with adamantium, one of the toughest metals known to man. Since joining the X-Men, Wolvie has been through a lot, including going to hell and recently being killed off. You read that right, but to confuse things even more there are two other Wolverines – a woman formerly known as X-23 and a version from a post-apocalyptic future known as Old Man Logan. Get your head around that.
Notable Story: Wolverine (1982)
One of the finest Wolverine stories ever by all-star creative team Frank Miller and Chris Claremont, Wolverine tells the story of the titular hero following the path of the Samurai in Japan. There's romance, ninjas and sadistic villains - something for everyone.
Character: Iron Man
First Comic Appearance: Tales of Suspense #39 (March 1963)
Tony Stark was a billionaire weapons dealer before he was kidnapped and left on the verge of death by a terrorist organisation. After managing to save his heart from being shredded by shrapnel by creating a pacemaker-like magnet that fit to his chest, he assembled a metal suit to escape his captors. Since then Iron Man has used his wealth for human progress instead of destruction. Since then Stark has created numerous versions of the Iron Man suit and has led the Avengers, invoked a civil war and even created a $99.99 app that drove people to crime. He's a complicated character.
Notable Story: Extremis (2005-6)
Writer Matt Fraction created the story that became the foundation for Iron Man 3. A terrorist organisation creates a virus called ‘Extremis' that turns ordinary people into raging mutants, and Stark must get to the bottom of this new technology and who's behind it.
First Comic Appearance: Amazing Fantasy #15 (August 1962)
"With great power comes great responsibility." It's a line that we all know, spoken by Peter Parker's Uncle Ben before his untimely passing. Mild-mannered uber geek Parker was just your run-of-the-mill science nerd until he was bitten by a radioactive spider, giving him super strength, a spider-sense and the power to climb walls. After his uncle was taken from him, he vowed that he would stop crime as Spider-Man, New York's most enigmatic resident. Since 1962 Spidey has become Marvel's most popular character and has five blockbuster movies under his belt.
Notable Story: The Night Gwen Stacy Died (1973)
One of the most tragic moments in comic book history happened when Spider-Man's nemesis, the Green Goblin, dropped the love of his life Gwen Stacy from Brooklyn Bridge. It was a milestone in Spider-Man's story and helped form his character for the rest of his life.