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Nobody noticed these huge characters were missing from Marvel Ultimate Alliance 3

After a decade-long break, the Marvel: Ultimate Alliance series has returned with Marvel: Ultimate Alliance 3 — The Black Order. This game tells a story that should be pretty familiar to fans of the massive Marvel Cinematic Universe, with scores of heroes teaming up in the battle against Thanos and his minions, hoping to stop the Mad Titan from assembling the Infinity Gauntlet and altering the universe forever.

Unlike Avengers: Infinity War or Avengers: Endgame, however, there are quite a few more characters along for this new ride who haven't appeared alongside Captain America and Iron Man on the big screen. Heavy hitters like the X-Men are accounted for, as well as somewhat more obscure choices like monster hunter Elsa Bloodstone and Crystal of the Inhumans. 

However, even with this diverse cast of characters, there were some omissions that we couldn't help but notice. Some of them come down to having an attachment to certain teams or storylines, but others feel like a real missed opportunity. Here are some of the benched characters that you may not have realized you were missing in Ultimate Alliance 3.

Silver Surfer

Norrin Radd made an impossible bargain with Galactus: if the world-eater would spare Radd's planet and the woman he loved, he would become Galactus' Herald, leading the hungering deity to other worlds upon which he could feast. Galactus imbued Norrin Radd with the Power Cosmic, transforming him into the immortal Silver Surfer. With an origin story like that, the Silver Surfer has been ripe for storytelling right out of a Shakespearean tragedy, something that writers have taken advantage of over the decades. 

That's why, in such a cosmic storyline as Ultimate Alliance 3, it feel like a missed opportunity to not include the Silver Surfer in this adventure. It's even more noticeable when you realize that some of his former Defenders teammates, like Doctor Strange and the Incredible Hulk, are accounted for. Silver Surfer would have been a great asset in the game's climactic space battles, and could have lent a more philosophical point of view to some of the more action-oriented story elements of the game.

She-Hulk

Jennifer Walters is the brainy cousin of Bruce Banner, himself better known to audiences (and the Marvel Universe's United States military) as the Incredible Hulk. A blood transfusion from Bruce changed Jennifer into the "Jade Giantess" known as She-Hulk. As She-Hulk, Jenn has a rich history within the Marvel Universe, with stories that have ranged from dark revenge tales to fourth-wall-breaking comedy. In fact, well before Deadpool ever graced us with his particular brand of humor, She-Hulk was letting the audience know that she was in on the joke, occasionally complaining directly to the writers shaping her life's adventures and telling readers that they'd better buy her books, or else.

Beyond her superhero antics, Jennifer Walters is also a lawyer, occasionally representing high profile clients like Steve Rogers and going up against fellow super-lawyer Matt Murdock, a.k.a. Daredevil. She-Hulk could have been a very fun addition to the story in Ultimate Alliance 3, due to her knack for being able to balance her super strength and endurance with logical and clear-headed thinking — something her cousin isn't always able to do.

Ghost Rider (Robbie Reyes)

While Ghost Rider definitely makes an appearance in Ultimate Alliance 3, the one in the game appears to be the Johnny Blaze version of the character. Blaze is possibly most familiar to mainstream audiences as the Ghost Rider portrayed in two live action films by Nicolas Cage, complete with motorcycle. While Johnny Blaze is no slouch, it may have been interesting for the game to include one of the more recent hosts for the Spirit of Vengeance, Robbie Reyes.

Robbie Reyes was first introduced in the comics in 2014 and immediately set himself apart from his predecessors by preferring to use his haunted muscle car as his mode of transport, rather than the motorcycles (and occasional horses) of other Ghost Riders. Reyes made the jump to live action in the Marvel Cinematic Universe television series Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., where he was portrayed by actor Gabriel Luna. With this version of the character proving to be popular with television audiences and Luna set to star in his own spin-off as Robbie Reyes, it's kind of a shame that Ultimate Alliance 3 didn't capitalize on this newer version of the classic anti-hero. 

Jean Grey/Phoenix

Jean Grey has had a few different superhero aliases over the years, having begun her career with the X-Men under the codename Marvel Girl. However, she's probably best known to mainstream audiences as the host for the extra dimensional entity known as the Phoenix. When Jean sacrificed her life to save her teammates during a deep space mission, she was brought back to life by the Phoenix and granted nearly unlimited cosmic power. Though she initially used it for good, the power has overwhelmed her on occasion, corrupting her and turning her into the villain called Dark Phoenix. The resulting "Phoenix Saga" has been a touchstone for X-Men fans for decades, with the storyline being adapted into various animated series and two feature films, 2006's X-Men: The Last Stand and 2019's Dark Phoenix

Phoenix was an unlockable character in Marvel Ultimate Alliance 2 and she was a beast to play as. Her continuous flying and ranged attacks cut through wide swaths of enemies, making her the ideal team member for some of the later missions that featured wave after wave of baddies. Her presence was definitely missed here, especially with several of her teammates making an appearance.

Cloak

Cloak is a character who could have made for some interesting visuals and would have fit right into Ultimate Alliance 3, considering some of the darker and more supernatural aspects of the game's plot. Tyrone Johnson was a runaway kid on the streets of New York City who got mixed up with the wrong crowd. He had no sense of direction, resorting to petty theft in order to make his way in the world. All of that changed when he met a young woman named Tandy Bowen, saving her from a would-be mugger. Unfortunately, the two of them were then kidnapped and experimented on by a rogue scientist, who was using runaway teens as lab rats. There are a lot of mad scientists in the Marvel Universe, you guys.

The resulting experiments turned Tyrone into a conduit for the Darkforce Dimension, another realm made of cold, eternal darkness. Now calling himself Cloak, Tyrone became a violent anti-hero, occasionally absorbing enemies into his cloak and allowing the shadows of the Darkforce Dimension to consume them. The only thing that occasionally calms Cloak's hunger is Tandy's newfound light powers.

Dagger

The same experiment that transformed Tyrone into Cloak turned runaway rich girl Tandy Bowen into his polar opposite. Calling herself Dagger, she can generate light-based projectiles thanks to a "Lightforce" that flows through her, which could have made her a fun ranged character in Ultimate Alliance 3. It also wouldn't have been her first appearance in a Marvel video game. Along with Cloak, Dagger made her first game appearance in 1994's Maximum Carnage. The pair also appeared in Ultimate Alliance 2 as non-playable characters. However, they've always been somewhat smaller elements when compared to the heavy-hitters that usually make up the rosters of games like the Ultimate Alliance series.

Considering the popularity of Freeform's television adaptation of Cloak & Dagger, it's kind of a surprise that neither Tandy or Tyrone have made it past support character status in the realm of video games. Putting the two on a team together could have made for some interesting Synergy Attacks in Ultimate Alliance 3, which tends to reward specific match-ups by granting the player new special moves to employ, which can remove obstacles or simply give the baddies a hard time.

Monica Rambeau

Monica Rambeau is no stranger to team missions. Not only was she was a member of Nextwave (alongside Ultimate Alliance 3 character Elsa Bloodstone, in fact), but she briefly led the Avengers when she held the title of Captain Marvel. Over the years, Monica has changed her codename quite a few times, with other titles including Photon, Pulsar, and Spectrum. No matter what she called herself, though, Monica always meant business and got the job done.

Monica made her cinematic debut in 2019's Captain Marvel, where she's portrayed as a young girl in the 1990s. The character is set to appear as an adult in Marvel's upcoming Hulu series WandaVision, where she will be portrayed by actress Teyonah Parris. Not only could this game have been a good opportunity to introduce Monica's heroic side to a more mainstream audience, but her ability to transform her body into pure energy could have led to some visually interesting defensive moves in the game.

Killmonger

The mercenary-turned-supervillain known as Killmonger rose to prominence in mainstream popular culture through Michael B. Jordan's brilliant portrayal of the character in 2018's Black Panther. Jordan's performance was praised by critics, with Cinema Blend saying that Killmonger may have been Marvel's best big screen villain to date.

With the Black Panther having a prominent role in the game, helping his fellow heroes to repel an attack on his home country of Wakanda, it's odd that Killmonger doesn't put in an appearance as well. One of the villains in the Wakanda portions of the game is Klaw, memorably portrayed in the Marvel Cinematic Universe by Andy Serkis (where he was renamed to Klaue). While it's cool to see Klaw included here, the dream team of him and Killmonger was one of the aspects of Black Panther that made the film's villains so much fun to watch. It also could have given T'Challa more of a personal connection to the battle at hand, beyond simply fighting one of his more persistent rogues. 

Phil Coulson

Though Nick Fury has a decent presence within the story of Ultimate Alliance 3, it's kind of a shame that his right hand man didn't come along for the fun. Portrayed by Clark Gregg within the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Agent Phil Coulson of S.H.I.E.L.D. proved to be so popular with movie audiences that he eventually made the transition to the comics page. Not only that, but the character received his own television spin-off.

He may not have made the best playable character, seeing as he doesn't have any special abilities of his own (unless the game included a version of his cybernetic hand from the TV series). However, it would have been fun to see him as a supporting character in the game, rolling up with Nick Fury when the situation gets hairy. Clark Gregg has previously reprised his role as Coulson in animated series like Ultimate Spider-Man, so he likely would have been game to voice him here. If nothing else, this would have been another solid opportunity for him to get his trading cards signed by Captain America.

Adam Warlock

In the comics, when the Infinity Stones are involved, the cosmic being known as Adam Warlock is usually not far behind. As one of the founding members of the Infinity Watch, Warlock made it his mission to protect the Infinity Stones (then referred to in the comics as the Infinity Gems) from any who would hope to assemble them. Naturally, this has brought Warlock into conflict with Thanos on multiple occasions, as finding all of the Stones is kind of the Mad Titan's thing. 

With Adam Warlock's cinematic existence teased during the end credits of Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 2, the timing might have been just right to bring the character into Ultimate Alliance 3, especially considering how heavily the story leans on Thanos and his quest for the Infinity Stones. Super strong and effectively immortal, Adam Warlock's powers also include a type of "quantum manipulation," which allows him to teleport, create force fields, and move at an incredible speed. Basically, Adam's entire move-set would have been a visual treat to play with.

Emma Frost

"The White Queen welcomes you to die!"

Even putting aside her poorly translated appearances in arcade games, Emma Frost has had quite a history of appearances in video games. And she should, considering she's become one of the most popular characters in the X-Men franchise. This powerful mutant was originally conceived as a villainous member of the Hellfire Club, where she used her telepathic and telekinetic abilities in several conflicts with the X-Men, even taking it upon herself to mold young mutants into the Club's own team called the Hellions. 

After several years, she came to believe in Charles Xavier's mission to protect young mutants from those who would harm them. She eventually joined the Xavier Institute as a member of its teaching faculty and became the lover of Scott Summers, a.k.a Cyclops. It was around this time that she developed the ability to transform her entire body into a diamond-like substance, making her a lot harder to put down. Bringing Emma into Ultimate Alliance 3 could have opened the game up for a lot of interesting playing styles, whether she's in her diamond form and using melee attacks or wielding her psionic abilities to heal or destroy in equal measure. 

Doctor Doom

As the leader of his own country and a master of science as well as black magic, it's no surprise that Vulture once referred to Doctor Doom as "the best supervillain of all time." Though Doom is the chief nemesis of the Fantastic Four (who are due to join Ultimate Alliance 3 in a DLC of their own), he has been known to grapple with just about anyone in the Marvel Universe unlucky enough to cross his path.

Not only is he an equal opportunity supervillain, but he has been known to go after the Infinity Stones from time to time, at one point even using their power to create his own universe. Doom was also the main antagonist of the first Ultimate Alliance. Though he was defeated and imprisoned by Odin on Asgard, the story of this new game essentially ignores the continuity of the other games, meaning it still would have made perfect sense for Doom to rear his chrome-plated head into this cosmic adventure.

Negasonic Teenage Warhead

Okay, so maybe Negasonic Teenage Warhead isn't the biggest character in Marvel Comics history. In fact, she died in her very first comic book appearance in New X-Men #115. However, the character made an impression with movie audiences as a member of the X-Men in the Deadpool movie series. Following her newfound popularity as a film character, Negasonic Teenage Warhead was revived in the comics with a look and set of powers more in line with her cinematic counterpart.

The reason that her absence feels especially noticeable in Ultimate Alliance 3 is that her two regular cohorts from the Deadpool films, Colossus and the Merc with a Mouth himself, are present and accounted for within the events of the game, with Deadpool having settled into the X-Mansion (or at least its kitchen).  It certainly could have been a lot of fun to wreck the forces of evil in the game by turning this young mutant into a fiery human cannonball and ramming through the seemingly endless drones of A.I.M. and Hydra.

X-23

Originally appearing as a character in the animated series X-Men: Evolution before making her way into the mainstream Marvel Comics universe, Laura Kinney, a.k.a. X-23, is the cloned daughter of James "Logan" Howlett, better known as Wolverine. Sporting two claws on each hand (rather than her father's three), Laura still has no problems with carving up the bad guys and striking a blow for mutant rights. She also has healing abilities and heightened senses, just like the elder Wolverine. A version of the character even starred in the 2017 film Logan, where she was portrayed by actress Dafne Keen. 

In other words, she's well-known enough by this point for her presence to feel missed during the events of Ultimate Alliance 3. This feels like another missed opportunity for some cool Synergy moves, perhaps accomplished by pairing Laura up with her mean ol' dad. Imagine being able to play as Logan and Laura, slicing and dicing their way through Magneto's Brotherhood of Mutants. Now that would be some quality bonding.

Death

Despite the fact that the Marvel Cinematic Universe left Death out of the Infinity Gauntlet storyline as well, this is kind of a big exclusion for the more comics-accurate storyline of Ultimate Alliance 3. In the comics, Thanos' desire to gather all of the Infinity Stones wasn't born out of a desire to bring balance to the universe, but rather from a much more selfish purpose. After she appeared to Thanos at a young age, the Mad Titan came to fall in love with Death, eventually killing more and more people in an attempt to impress her and win her affections. 

He eventually came to believe that the only way he could win over Death would be to assemble the Infinity Gauntlet and use the power of the Stones to kill half of all life in the universe, sending an unprecedented number of souls to her embrace at once. Though he has been thwarted time and time again, Thanos' obsession with Death has remained. This obsession was referenced in Marvel vs. Capcom: Infinite, where she manipulated Thanos during the events of that game. It would have been interesting to see this connection in the Ultimate Alliance universe, as well.