In less than three months Marvel Studios will unveil The Avengers to the world when it kicks off the summer movie season in May. Traditionally, when such a large comic book film from Marvel hits theaters, there’s a video game to go along with it. The Amazing Spider-Man has a game on the way to tie-in with the film and previous Marvel Studios films (Iron Man 1 & 2, The Incredible Hulk, Thor, Captain America) all had games as well.

What all of these games had in common, outside of their comic book origins, is the fact that they all sucked. It is because of that sad reality that The Avengers doesn’t have a major console video game on the way. THQ canned the Avengers game and instead, we have a pair of free-to-play games in development, one in the form of the mysterious Marvel Heroes MMO, and the other, Avengers Alliance, coming to Facebook.

Marvel’s Avengers Alliance was announced last month as a Facebook app in development at Disney Interactive Media Group’s Playdom Studios. It’s a classic-style, turned-base combat RPG that includes a S.H.I.E.L.D. Helicarrier load of heroes and villains from the comics.

Players take on the role of a S.H.I.E.L.D. Agent who must assemble their team of heroes and fight off the worst of the worst Marvel villains in order to protect Manhattan. Characters announced so far include many of Marvel’s “poster boy” characters who currently have films in development or releasing soon: Black Widow, Captain America, Hawkeye, Hulk, Iron Man, Ms. Marvel, Spider-Man, Thor and Wolverine. Today, Playdom has announced a pile of additional playable characters from the Fantastic Four and X-Men:

  • Human Torch
  • The Invisible Woman
  • Mr. Fantastic
  • The Thing
  • Colossus
  • Cyclops
  • Kitty Pryde
  • Nightcrawler
  • Phoenix
  • Storm

The above screenshots also reveal that the agent the player creates (female or male) can participate in the combat scenarios as well. It’s already looking better than Thor: God of Thunder.

Marvel’s Avengers Alliance will allow players to train heroes and customize their stats, but will feature gameplay catered to including and involving your Facebook friends, including PvP play.

Marvel: Avengers Alliance is currently in private beta and will launch sometime in Q1 2012 on Facebook.

Follow me on Twitter @rob_keyes.

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