iPhone App Review: Stan Lee’s Time Jumper

Note: For information on Stan Lee’s Time Jumper, please read our introduction article here.

Stan Lee's Time JumperTitle: Stan Lee’s Time Jumper (link)
Publisher: Walt Disney
Released: August 10, 2009
Cost: Free
iTouch?: Yes
Pros: Free!, it’s Stan Lee!, extras add to fun
Cons: Future editions aren’t free
Review: How does one animate a comic book while not turning it into a cartoon? Comics legend Stan Lee introduces us to his joint project with Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment, Time Jumper, the story of a reluctant hero who must travel through time on a quest to save his brother while fighting the time threating enemies and problems of his own.

Time Jumper's interactive intro screen adds to the themingTo enter, you must first give it your name (one time only, it can be changed later) – and I’m still not positive why. Because the device in the story is DNA-locked to its user, you must supply a ‘thumbprint’ to gain access to the features of the app. Paranoids be not aware, it really can’t take your fingerprint and you can really tap anything against the area to get through. Not so secure after all.

Once you’re through, you’re treated to a rather interesting ambient noise coming from your device (I almost consider my iPhone to be purring, if that makes any sense) and the main menu. Mission Briefing is a brief text introduction to the series, also narrated by Stan Lee. It gives you what the whole premise of the series is.

Traditional comics elements meet animation in Stan Lee's Time JumperMission 1 is your first episode of the short-form series. It’s basically a movie, with a running time just short of six minutes. The animation style is pretty neat and fairly unique, combining traditional elements of comic books with basic animation — mouths don’t move, captions do, but so do the characters and background elements. It’s worth taking a look at even if the story doesn’t grab your attention. The first episode of the ten part series is free while additional episodes are expected to cost $.99. And for those that don’t have an iPhone, not to worry, you can actually watch the first episode online at the series’ official website.

The Image Converter lets you comic book-ize your favorite photosThe first extra in Time Jumper is the Image Converter. Using either the built-in camera (Target Image) or selecting an already existing photo from your photos (Image Bank), the app takes a photo of someone (or something) and comic book-izes it, reducing the number of colors and adding a dot pattern. The Image Converter also includes a thought bubble that you can edit the text of by double-clicking on the bubble and drag to your desired location. Once you’re happy with your new work of art, you can save it back into the photos, email it and even post it to your Facebook account via Facebook Connect. The only negative aspect is that it seems there’s no way to work with a photo in landscape mode, only portrait mode.

There are two more options on the menu: Surveillance which shows you some of the concept art/pencil sketches from the series  and Hunt Headquarters which links you to an iPhone-friendly version of the website of the fictitious organization which you can also visit here.

So should you get it? If the extras interest you, yes. Otherwise it’s not entirely necessary since you can watch the episode online as noted above. But I highly recommend you do check out the episode either way. Time travel is always an interesting concept with the inherent anomolies and paradoxes it introduces and it has to be that more intriguing with Stan Lee at the wheel.

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