In my final flashback of my recent visit to Marvel Super Hero Island at Universal Orlando, I'll be taking a look at the attractions everyone hopes to catch a glimpse of: the superheroes themselves!
Huge images of Marvel's most popular heroes grace the buildings of Super Hero Island, such as Captain America, dramatically marking the entrance to The Captain America Diner (left). Who'd have thought a busy crimefighter had the time to operate a burger joint? We chose Cap's place for lunch one day, and I was amused by the design of the interior...but not so amused by the prices (Cap's a little greedy). Still...it's hard to get too bent out of shape over the prices when you're dining next to a cool floor mosiac of Cap's shield (click image for a larger view).
Cap apparently loves to crank the hero-themed music, which included David Bowie's "Heroes" (though inexplicably the German version) and Bonnie Tyler's "Holding Out For a Hero" (from the 1980's Footloose soundtrack). Many of Cap's fellow Avengers also adorn the walls and ceilings, such as the Scarlet Witch near our table, and Cap himself standing vigil over our dining experience.
After lunch, I spent some time wandering the streets of the Marvel universe while my wife and kids hit the Spider-Man ride one more time. I came across this Storm-adorned comic shop, which had a pretty nice selection of Marvel swag designed to appeal to both clueless "civilians" and hopeless geeks like myself. In addition to the usual shirts, toys and assorted chachkis, the store also a rack of Marvel's full line of current comics, a good representation of their Marvel Masterworks hardcovers and an impressive assortment of drool-inducing character statues. Of course, the prices were predictably ridiculous (I could get anything in the store for half the price on either eBay or Amazon.com), but nonetheless, it was still fun to see comics getting such high-profile exposure to (and genuine interest from) the tourist crowd.
While Storm's fellow mutant Iceman sells frozen treats down the street, Wolverine stands guard over (yet another) souvenier shop....though unfortunately spearing a tourist or two in the process:
Giant adamantium claws skewering the head and chest = OUCH!
As cool as the superhero signage was, I was starting to wonder where the costumed superheroes I'd heard to much about might be. Suddenly, what sounded like the wail of a police siren starting blaring up and down the street, with the voice of a dispatcher dramatically summoning the superheroes. Before long, a commotion starts to stir down the street, as tourists are moved aside to make way for the triumphant sight of....
Superheroes on four-wheelers?
Sure enough, a pack of Marvel superheroes rode in on four-wheelers, each one customized for the rider's unique look. After driving down the street a ways, the assembled heroes parked their four-wheelers in formation and took to the streets to do their thing. "To fight crime?" you say? "To battle supervillains?" perhaps? No, in this case, the heroes have been summoned for the noble purpose of posing for pictures and signing autographs!
I managed to get photos of most of the pack, with the exception of Spider-Man (who charges big bucks for customized photos with the kiddies). On the other hand, Captain America was a true Man of the People and didn't charge a thing for his photos. Cap strikes a dashing figure (despite the actor being somewhat "chin-challenged"):
Less impressive was Wolverine, who's nosepiece was creeping down below his lip line, virtually obscuring his in-character scowl. This is when I can understand why the X-Men movies avoided using the comic book versions of the costumes, since yellow spandex on an otherwise tough-guy character doesn't translate especially well to reality. Still, all the little kiddies loved him, so what do I know?
Storm and Rogue were looking much better than their X-Men teammate. All the camcording daddies really seemed to enjoy them.
Apparently, there's a rotating cast of actors who play the characters on any given day, since the woman playing Rogue the next day looked to be easily twenty years older than the one pictured above, while the one playing Storm was much crabbier-looking (though one could hardly blame her in the 93º heat).
Well, there you go. I hope you enjoyed my little "slideshow" of Marvel Super Hero Island, and if you ever get a chance to go to Universal Orlando, be sure to swing by and check it out for yourself.....despite J. Jonah Jameson's protestations.