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Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Going Supernova, again

ADDENDUM: Scans of the Inquest spoiler are up here. Mike Norton must not hit that link! NOOOOOOO!

This write up was written before I saw those scans. It contains NO spoilers! It is thoroughly Mike Norton safe! But I could totally go back and write a whole buncha spoilers NOW if I wanted to.

Okay. Mike Norton did his reaction to the recently spoiled SUPERNOVA list. I may as well do mine, since I'm trapped at work and bored between calls (calls today have been pretty uniformly hellish, so I’m not bored DURING them, I’m generally just wishing whoever is on the other end of the phone in hell pretty vehemently, if silently… but between calls, the minutes drag):


Aleta/Starhawk (Defender) (One-Who-Knows LE)

It’s an element of long standing annoyance with me that WizKids seems to have made a decision some time in the last few years – “This many Team Abilities, and no more”. So every couple of sets, they tell us “Oh, yeah, and we’re going to come out with some new Team Abilities!” and then we get crap like this – yeah, they’re introducing characters who are members of previously unrepresented TEAMS, but they’re giving those characters one of the previously established Team Ability emblems on their bases.

It’s aggravating as crap to me for several reasons. First, the Guardians of the Galaxy, or the Shi’Ar, or the Doom Patrol, or the Exiles, or whoever the hell it is that WK has decided to include in their latest expansion that don’t have their own TA yet, certainly deserve one. If they’re a distinct team, they deserve their own logo and their own specific group ability. It can be a little bit hard to come up with new, interesting, and effective TAs, I grant you, but I’ve done it several times and nobody is even paying me for it. If they’re going to give me Starjammers characters, then they can put a Starjammers logo on the base.

The second reason it annoys me is that, if they’re going to declare they can only have a certain number of Team Abilities in the game, for whatever asinine reason, it just galls me to have some of those finite slots wasted on garbage like Kingdom Come, or the Ultimates. These aren’t even teams; they’re groupings of characters that live in a particular (and particularly bad) alternate universe or near future. Instead of wasting space on crap like that, I’d be much happier if WK had just given us a Doom Patrol and a Guardians of the Galaxy, or even New Warriors, if it must be, TA from the very start of the game.

Now, WK does effectively provide new Team Abilities by issuing feat cards allowing, for example, the Avengers TA to have an alternate Team Ability for a few extra points. The problem with this is that it allows, in my mind, too much flexibility – for example, the Alpha Flight alternate TA is not restricted simply to actual members of Alpha Flight, but can, in fact, be used by anyone with an Avengers TA – a Team Ability which now encompasses not only the Avengers (a large line up in and of itself) but also Alpha Flight and the Thunderbolts.

Assuming that the Defenders get a Feat Card creating an alternate Guardians of the Galaxy TA, and assuming further it’s any good, then from this point on, for a few points extra, people will be able to have Valkyrie and Nighthawk go into battle with a Guardians of the Galaxy TA rather than a Defenders TA. Which may be a good idea, since the Defenders TA pretty much sucks… but it offends the purist in me.

#48-50 Ant-Man (Avenger) (Hank Pym LE)

Unlike Mike Norton, I’ve seen the sculpt and I’ve seen the dials, and while it annoys me that the dial on the Atom hockey puck is still significantly superior to any version of Ant-Man we’ve seen, still, this will be a welcome addition to the Avengers roster. And the sculpt looks gorgeous.

Badoon Commander/Warrior/ Guard (Skrull)

Badoons shouldn’t be Skrulls; it’s one of the most useless TAs the game has. However, on the other hand, if there is an alternate TA for Badoon, and it’s useful, then maybe we can use it for our Skrull teams as well…

Binary (X-Man) (unique)

Another version of Carol Danvers, who has one of the most tortured personal histories in all of comics. It will be interesting to see what kind of dial they give her. She should be mad powerful, but I’m going to guess she ends up as a flying blaster, pretty much exactly the same as her Warbird figure, with maybe slightly higher Speed and Damage, and a lot of Energy Explosion or Pulse Wave instead of Super Strength.

Bulldozer (Masters of Evil) (Joe Camp LE)

Should have Charge, Impervious, maybe some Close Combat Expert, and Super Strength. I’d imagine the Vet will have a 10 Attack Value, and maybe one click of a 4 Damage augmented by the previously mentioned CCE. All we need is Piledriver now for a complete Wrecking Crew, although who beyond a real glutton for punishment would ever field the team is beyond me. The lack of range and any non-physical powers would doom them in pretty much any competitive environment.

Captain Mar-Vell (unique)

Happy to see the real CM back for another go round. Hard to imagine how they’ll improve on the previous version, though. Maybe some Probability Control to simulate the Cosmic Awareness.

#79-81 Captain Marvel/Photon/Legacy (Genis-Vell LE)

I’ve seen the sculpts, they all look good, with a nice level of variation from one version to another. The dial on the Experienced version (without going into details that will cause Mike Norton, my only reader for these entries, to run screaming for the hinterlands) is varied and interesting enough that it may well become the most popular version of the character.

Doctor Spectrum (Joe Ledger LE)

I’ll be much happier if this is the classic costume, but have little hope it’s anything but the guy from the new Ultimates-esque SUPREME series.

Drax (Arthur Douglas LE)

My comments on Drax were in a previous post. Mainly, the sculpt looks good, still haven’t seen a dial, and I hope, as he’s a REV, that at least one version of him flies.

Graviton (unique) Mike Norton says “Could easily be a disappointing dial, as localized control over gravity is a vague and slippery power to define in clix.” My guess? He’ll have a lot of WK’s catch all object manipulation power, Telekinesis. He’ll probably fly, and may have some Energy Shield/Deflection. I’m going to guess he’ll have an Attack Value of 10 as a max, and probably a Defense Value of around 15 or 16, which, with the ES/D, will make him hard to hit at range, but not all that hard. Probably a 7 or 8 click dial.

Hyperion (King Hyperion LE)

I don’t know who ‘King Hyperion’ is. However, I’ve seen Hyperion’s sculpt and dial (his REV was the extremely niggardly and frustrating ‘sneak peek’ from last week, which was goddam late being posted and then, well, ONE FIGURE???? Fuck you, WizKids) and all I can say is, I hope he isn’t wearing those frickin’ goofy… um… never mind, no details for Mike… anyway, I hope only one of his sculpts has a certain wardrobe malfunction. Other than that, his dial is pretty much straight up flying brick – he hits hard, he’s tough to hurt, yaddity yaddity.

Jack of Hearts (Avenger) (unique)

I like the Jack of Hearts, although I didn’t appreciate Johns blowing him up, or Bendis doing it again. I could nearly forgive Bendis a great many sins for blowing up the Scott Lang Ant-Man, though. In terms of the plastic version of the character, well, if WK gets the costume right, and does the sculpt with the level of competence we’ve grown used to over the past few sets, this should be a striking figure. As to powers, I assume he’ll fly and blow shit up at range – some Pulse Wave, some Energy Explosion, a decent range, Running Shot, probably some Ranged Combat Expert.

Jubilee (X-Men)

Well, she don’t bother me; the X-Men TV cartoon is among the few versions of the non Silver Age X-Men I actually enjoyed. I don’t understand what she’s doing in a cosmic themed set, but I know from the boards that a vocal minority has been screaming for her for years, so, whatever. Hopefully she’ll be a more effective piece than Boom Boom.

Justice/Marvel Boy (Avenger)

I’m going to be interested to see how they do this REV along with the adult version of the figure, Vance Astro/Major Victory. Beyond that, I’ve wanted a Justice to put alongside my Firestar in the Avengers line up for quite awhile, so this works for me.

Kang the Conquerer (Nathaniel Richards LE)

Happy to see another version, although I should note that the much maligned Infinity Challenge version is nowhere near as unwieldy under my House Rules as he is under normal WK parameters. I’m hoping the new sculpt won’t have a gigantic blaster cannon over one shoulder, as Kang should have all the weaponry he needs built into his armor… but I realize fully that’s most likely a forlorn hope, as this Kang will almost certainly be drawn from more recent visualizations. And when was it established that he’s really someone named Nathaniel Richards? I am so far behind on Modern Age Marvel continuity…

Karnak (unique)

Always good to see another Inhuman. Karnak is one of the most specialized characters in the world; as with his teammate Gorgon, WizKids has one particular power that will entirely sum up his abilities. In his case, it’s Exploit Weakness, while when they give us a Gorgon finally, he’ll be nothing but Quake Quake Quake. I’m actually more anxious to see a Triton figure; he could be interesting.

Korvac (Power Cosmic) (unique)

Interesting choice. As Korvac was defined as being able to do pretty much ANYthing, and in fact, he killed the entire Avengers line up and was only brought down because his equally powerful girlfriend doubted him for a crucial instant, breaking his heart (it was a particularly dumb ass moment in Jim Shooter scripting, what do you want from me), it’s hard for me to see how they can put him in fig form. My guess is that he’ll be a long range, Impervious blaster without flying with a high attack and a shitload of damage.

Kree Warrior/Captain/Colonel (Shield)

I have to hope these Kree are more useful than the last batch o’ Kree hosers, whose only purpose in appearing on any team was to use their TA to amp up Ronan the Accuser’s Energy Explosion.

Machine Man (Avenger) (unique)

Happy to see him. Baffled as to how they’ll do his dial, though. Incapacitate, Perplex, and Plasticity are my guesses at the moment, with maybe some TK and some Toughness. Perhaps some Regenerate; he was always being smashed to pieces and then putting himself back together.

Majestrix Lilandra (Avenger) (unique)

If she’s getting an Avengers TA, it seems safe to assume that the Shi’Ar will get the Avengers TA, too. Meaning Shi’Ar will be able to be Thunderbolted to any TA in the game. I guess that’s okay; as they’re supposed to be a star spanning, high tech, galactic empire ruling race, which you’d think would indicate they’re pretty versatile.

Overall, I’d rather see plastic wasted on nearly anything besides some crappy Claremont bird alien figs, but, well, we already got a Deathbird, so I guess Lilandra is okay. Those inclined to do so can either team them up with, or field them against, a Starfire/Blackfire team, I guess.

Major Victory/Vance Astro (Defender) (Vance Astronovik LE)

Hmmm. Looks like Vance gets two separate REVs, one for his modern day teenage version, and one for the adult in the far flung future. Interesting.

Mantis (Avenger) (Celestial Madonna LE)

A character I honestly never expected to see in plastic form. I don’t know why; she just seems to be so much a Steve Englehart proprietary fig that I guess I just never figured anyone at WK would even know who she is. If I were designing the character, I’d give her some Exploit Weakness, some Charge, some Super Senses, a high Attack Value, Combat Reflexes, maybe some Close Combat Expert and some Incapacitate. Seth, on the other hand, will no doubt give her an Attack Value of 9, Psychic Blast, and Blades/Claws/Fangs. Well, at least I’ll have the sculpt…

Night Thrasher (Dumbass Dipshit)

One of the few character choices in this set that I really dislike. But who knows, if he’s cheap enough, he might see some play. God knows I never would have expected Mockingbird to be as popular with the tournament weenies as she’s turned out to be. Or the rookie Green Fire, for that matter.

Nocturne (X-Men)

All I know about this character is what I’ve read on the boards. Apparently she is some otherdimensional daughter of Nightcrawler from a parallel timeline who is now in Marvel’s mainstream continuity. I honestly don’t much care.

Nova (Super Nova LE)

An old favorite character, although I must admit, he's NEVER been written well. Should be a simple, straightforward dial – Charge, Invulnerability, Super Strength. I will bet good money Seth ends up doing something completely inexplicable with it, like giving the character Steal Energy and a Range Strike, or some goddam thing.

Power Princess (unique)

Yeah, whatever.


I’m actually fond of the Starjammers. I shouldn’t be; they’re Claremont characters and they pretty much suck. But it’s a vestige of my childhood that I haven’t seen bludgeoned into the ground since, I guess. Anyway, happy to see another Starjammer. Still waiting for Ch’od.

Red Ghost (Doom) (unique)

Red Ghost and his Super Apes are a big reason I’m loving this set, although, I have to admit, I’m baffled as to what they’re doing in a cosmic themed expansion. And I have to admit, if the dials are accurate, they won’t be all that useful. I mean, the Red Ghost has, you know, Phasing/Teleport and that’s pretty much IT. Still, with a new Vision in this set, I’m hoping for a Feat Card that will finally make Intangible characters at least a little more difficult to damage, as that’s really the Red Ghost’s main schtick… although I recall he had some spiffy Mind Control powers for a while, too, now that I think of it. Anyway, regardless of the dial, it will be fab to have him and his monkeys in my FF villains group.

Sage (X-Men) (Tessa LE)

I… don’t know who this is.

She-Hulk (Avenger) (Jennifer Walters Esq. LE)

Excuse me while I vomit.

Shi'ar Borderer/Admiral/Warrior (Shield)

It’s weird that they’re giving the Shi’ar generics a SHIELD TA, while giving their Empress an Avengers TA. I’m wondering if that’s not a mistake.

#76-78 Silver Surfer (Norrin Radd LE)

I’ve seen the dials. WK’s Silver Surfer isn’t as cool as MY Silver Surfer, but he’s a lot closer to what he should be than his previous (very expensive) clix versions.

Skrull Infiltrator/Warrior/General (Skrull)

Could be cool. Probably won’t be, though. If they end up giving the Skrull Infiltrator Shape Change on top of the Skrull TA, it’s pretty much an admission of how horribly badly the Skrull TA sucks.

Sunspot (Brotherhood/X-Men)

Another X-Baby. I never cared about this particular offshoot. I feel much the same way about this fig as I will when they start bringing out Young Avengers. Which they will. Unless I stop them. I need more power, Scottie.

Super Ape Igor/Mikhlo/Pedtor (Doom)

Yay! Super Apes! Seth will screw up their dials, though. I’m thinking he’ll give them all Psionic Blast.

Super Skrull (Skrull) (unique)

The original version really only lacked any powers that reflected Sue Storm’s abilities (Stealth, Barrier) and I’d like to see him pick up some of those in this retread. But, again, I’m figuring he gets Psychic Blast and, I don’t know, Probability Control, or something.

Thanos (Power Cosmic) (unique)

The apparent big gun of the set. I’ve never been wild about this blatant Darkseid rip off, but I know a great huge slavering fan base is avidly awaiting this version. And certainly, he can’t help but be improved over his Infinity Challenge incarnation… although I suspect his fans are going to miss the stats on that earlier dial badly.

Thor (Avenger) (Dr. Donald Blake LE)

Hopefully he’s a true beast, someone comparable to Icons Superman. I’m looking for a 12 Attack Value (he’s an ancient warrior deity, c’mon, now), a 5 Damage with Ranged Combat Expert, Running Shot, Super Strength, and Invulnerability on at least a 17 Defense. Seth is awfully stingy with 11 slot dials, but if Thor gets anything less, he’d better be nearly solid all the way down with high defense values and/or damage abatement. This is a character who should not be easy to knock out of the game.

Weapon Alpha/Vindicator/Guardian (Avenger) (James MacDonald Hudson LE)

Yeah, okay. I hope he’s not as big a gumby in clix form as his wife is.

#61-63 Vision (Avenger) (Victor Shade LE)

Early rumors had it that the LE of this REV was going to be Iron Lad, a particularly noxious member of that particularly noxious creative abortion of a teenage superteam, the Young Avengers. It’s nice to see that THAT didn’t happen. Having seen the sculpts and dials for the REVs, I can say that this is a very good version of the Vision, and will be more useful than the previous Unique. Nicer looking, too.

Overall, this is a set I’m looking forward to, and, yeah, from the dials I’ve seen, Seth seems to be getting better at the design. It only took him, what, four expansions, to figure out the difference between his ass and a hole in the ground. Still, there are a lot of dials I haven’t seen yet; Seth has plenty of room to continue justifying my enormous and well deserved distrust of him. Time will tell.


At 8:30 PM , Blogger MJ Norton said...

The effort's appreciated.

Knowing there's so much more info out there, along with scans, it's tough to keep from looking. So far, though, so good.

Someone did send me a single image, so I've seen what the Red Ghost looks like... and I must say I was disappointed. I'd really expected him hunched slightly over, aiming some blaster he'd found in the Blue Area of the Moon, mouth open in a laugh and rendered in translucent red.

While it's not causing me to rush to see everything, but I am detecting a possible new down side inasmuch that I'm likely to build up some of the more favored characters into sculpt expectations only to be disappointed.

The new Team Ability symbols doesn't bother me so much, as the alternate TA cards potentially give us fresh options for old characters. The decision seems mostly based on how much space they've allocated on the Powers card.

The only one I've heard strongly rumored in this set is a Squadron Supreme one, but that's still just a rumor. I have a vague recollection of it being mentioned that we were getting two ATAs in this set, but I have nothing to point to.

The Skrull TA is somewhat weak, but I've met a few people who've gotten some mileage out of it. They should have something more evasive, I agree, but it's costed for what they have -- a 16.66% chance of not only evading attack but getting the intended attacker to do something else instead. It's not something I can blame Seth for -- it was one of the many curious calculations that launched the game.

I suspect you're right about some Shape Change being rolled in with the Skrulls. An alt TA (almost certainly with a cost) to something much better - perma-Stealth or a built-in Shape Change - would be nice, but I'm not counting on it in this set... and if it's not in the set that reintroduces the Skrulls it's not likely to be coming. Hopefully they'll remain inexpensive enough to work well.

I had heard (and updated it on my entry earlier today) that Lilandra has the X-Men TA, which at least makes sense, while her underlings still have the martially-minded SHIELD TA, as do the Kree.

An alt TA for the Badoon seems less likely by far. I don't remember them casting illusions, but I know they were very much into stealth tech to make them and their ships invisible, at least early on.

Post-reveal (the Inquest info, which handed out opening dial slots and lists of powers) has found some crowing about some high attack values, but there are also still many moans about 9 AVs and 16 DVs.

The Vision/Iron Lad angle confuses me, since Iron Lad was supposed to be, essentially, teen Kang from some timeline, who escaped to the past in an attempt to rally some heroes and prevent Kang's plans for him to grow up, well, Kang.

Awful story, I know, but that's what happens when someone's cred as writer for THE OC lands them a job writing comics.

Aside from reactivating the Vision I.L. didn't have any other connection to him, though that I'm aware of.

Well... 6 weeks from today the set will be in full release, and within two or three days it'll still be a little fresh but will be rapidly on its way to being Another Set.

So... I'm going to try to enjoy the anticipation.

At 8:34 PM , Blogger MJ Norton said...

Oh! I see that Boneyard's made this his final Marvel set for running a rumored/confirmed list. He's going to finish it for Origins, but that's all.

I know one or more others will at least try to step up, but unless it's a board moderator it'll get as messy as Boneyard's early lists did, when he wasn't able to modify the first post and list updates were tacked onto the end.


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