What in the heck is the “AR” in Avengers vs. X-Men?

For those not in the know, Marvel Comics just released their newest comic book crossover event: Avengers vs. X-Men.  In this limited series, Earths Mightest Heroes will do battle against the Children of the Atom.   Tonight I attended an Avengers vs. X-Men launch party at Comics FTW in Santa Rosa.  It was a great gathering of fanboys and fangirls showing their support for their favorite team, either The Avengers or X-Men. And I wore my Captain America mask….but that is a different story.

I raced home to crack open the pages of this blockbuster event.  Excited by the mega-huge writing staff and the art by the classic John Romita Jr., AvX (as those who are hip to the lingo) did not disappoint.  But, there was something strange on a few of the pages.  There was a strange box in the corner of some panels with the letters “AR.”

At first I thought it was some kind of misprint, that somehow, Marvel messed up royally and there were these phantom AR symbols on millions of copies of AvX and that someones head was gonna roll.  When I reached the last page, I found out I was wrong.  This symbol is for the new Marvel Augmented Reality App.  What this app does, when downloaded onto your Apple or Android device, is “enhances and changes the way you experience comics!”     What is actually does is take you beyond the comic panel.  When you hold your smart phone camera up to any panel with the symbol on it, it gives you a behind the scenes look at the making of the book.  And it’s different for each panel.  Most of them show you the rough sketches for that panel/page.  But there was one where it also had audio commentary by writer Brian Michael Bendis explaining the importance of that page to the story.  There was even a greeting from editor in chief Axel Alonso welcoming you to the AR experience.  I have to say, I found this pretty cool.  As a fan of commentary tracks on dvd’s, I found this experience very similar.  Now this isn’t something I want to see in every comic book, but I think it is something special for a big event such as this.

Makes me look forward to issue #2 in two weeks!

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