Matt, originally from California, but now living in Brooklyn as a jobbing photographer, led the way. Next thing we were racing out of the lift through the dark lobby of the Hudson Hotel. Even in such a rush it was impossible not to pause for a second to admire the 40ft high ceiling, enormous chandelier and crawling ivy – all magic touches of renowned interior designer Philippe Starck. Even the outside of the building looked mysterious with a futuristic stone front and sign-less entrance. “Hurry up, Judy!” I heard, as I dashed down the single escalator – a tube of neon green panelling to street level.
Before I’d even seen the stonyfaced American soldier dressed in army greens (he’s our guy in green!) and obediently clambered into a waiting minibus I felt like a big kid. A buzz of excitement surged through the group as we waited for instructions with no idea of what might happen next.
The soldier got into the vehicle and introduced himself as Sergeant Robert King. “I assure you that your presence here is not only necessary, but vital to the peaceful existence of our world,” he said. But now what?
Sgt King switched into an opening monologue. He told us he had come straight from Cairo, Egypt, where after “rampant blizzards” the city had frozen solid, all thanks to evil villain Loki Laufeyson, the scorned brother of Thor (of course!). King’s friend Disney and Marvel’s brand new first-of-its-kind video game Disney Infinity: Marvel Super Heroes 2.0 is out now. Original storylines have been penned by award-winning Marvel comic writer Brian Michael Bendis, a top Marvel writer for 20 years who scribed The Avengers, Ultimate Spider-Man and Guardians of the Galaxy. Players will take on the roles of 20 Marvel characters carefully selected from a catalogue of 8,000. The game features an enhanced version of the Toy Box mode from the first game Disney Infinity with new adventures players can customise using hundreds of Disney- and Marvel-themed props, locations and characters to create their own stories or even re-create their favourite movie and comic book moments. Fun! And it can be played on Playstation 4 and 3, XboxOne, Xbox 360, Wii U, PC, iOS. Prices Starter Pack Dh275 with extras starting from Dh18. Available to buy throughout the UAE. Tony Stark (AKA Iron Man) was stuck in Egypt and told us via a live link (obscured face, sunglasses, a fur-lined hood) that Loki was threatening to freeze New York next among other world cities and needed our help to stop this happening.
“What do we have to do?” asked a member of the group, his furrowed brow revealing the fact he was taking this rather seriously.
Five shards of the ‘Gem of Infinite Suns’ were scattered across New York City within a 20-mile radius. We had to find all five pieces, reform the gem and only then would the world be saved from frostbite.
“But if the gem lands in the wrong hands, even one shard of it, our fate is sealed,” King warned. He then gave us a mobile phone, which Matt looked after, and left the bus, before leaning his head back in the door to say: “Good luck, guys.”
If you’re lost, don’t worry. I was too at this point. At least until we arrived atThe Superhero Supply Store in Brooklyn, where I got carried away with it all. It stocks everything any self-respecting superhero needs or wants. Capes of all colours and lengths, tins of invisibility paint, shrinking gas and jars of super stretch gel – not to mention stacks of teeth-whitening products.
Inside the tightly packed store you can take a ‘How Evil Are You?’ test, sit under a mind reader (that looks suspiciously like a retro hairdryer) and test your cape in a powerful wind tunnel. But what’s interesting is the shop has a second, secret identity – like any good superhero does.
It is the brainchild of Boston-born writer, editor, and publisher Dave Eggers who had fitted a fake book shelf on the back wall. It’s a vaultlike door, behind which is a room dedicated to a non-profit writing programme with workshops focusing on improving the reading and writing skills of local children aged six up to 18. Whether it’s by writing comics, poetry, essays, songs, short stories or novels, kids are encouraged to be creative and confident with words. Who said superheroes don’t make the world a better place?
Today we were there to meet a wacky guy called The Scientist, who explained further the science