Original thoughtsMike Norton has been kind enough to drop a dime (or is that fitty cents, these days?) on the next HeroClix expansion, Origins, due out in March.
As Mike himself notes, it's pretty much unheard of that we're deep into the preceding set (Supernova)'s release and still, we've had no official word on this next one from WK. For whatever reason, they seem content at this point to backdoor things through leaks to unofficial Internet outlets. It's impossible to be sure what this means, but it wouldn't surprise me at all to discover that one, or maybe a few, entries on this unofficial list are in fact deliberate misinformation... or tentative plants, to see if they generate buzz, and susceptible to being replaced with other options during a later, more official announcement, if said buzz doesn't seem to be there.
Whatever the case, here's what we think we know right now:
#01-03 Blackhawks (Stanislaus/Hendrickson/Blackhawk)
Part of me wants to doubt this, as what the hell good is a Blackhawk without his plane? And it strikes me that it wouldn't be wildly unlikely for WK to want to keep the first three slots in the upcoming set to themselves for a while. Beyond that, Blackhawks aren't exactly overwhelmingly popular; if WK were to announce later on that it wasn't actually Blackhawks that were coming out, but was, instead, a new set of Parademons, or Hunger Dogs, or Checkmate agents, I doubt too many customers would mind much.
If the first three slots actually are Blackhawks, well, I'm torn several different ways. First, where the hell is Chop Chop? Second, as already noted, what good are Blackhawks without their planes? Third, well, actually, it's kinda charming to have actual figs of three of the Blackhawks, but given how resolutely WK has been issuing similar characters as pogs recently, again, I just don't believe it. If they really do give us Blackhawks figs, well, I'm going to start severely agitating for an actual Rick Jones fig.
#04-06 Phantom Lady
Oh, goodie. Now people can start beating the drum for more Freedom Fighters, so they can complete their squads. Yaaaaaaay.
This may end up being one of the more fun to look at sculpts, though.
#07-09 Robotman (Cliff Steele)
I'm happy to see Doom Patrol figures come out, finally. Will they continue what they started, with Rita Farr, and give DP figs the Outsiders TA? And will there eventually be an alternate DP TA for them? And will the rookie Robotman be the Golden Age version and have a JSA TA? And will WK eventually give us an alternate All Star Squadron TA? Knowing WK, the answers to all of these questions are no, because that would all make too much sense and fans would like those things, and we'll most likely get some crappy looking modern age version of Robotman anyway, which will ruin everything. But at least having no official information right now allows me to continue to live in hope that WK won't dash my hopes utterly... although they often do, in the end.
The Golden Age Ray is a character I'm very slightly fond of, as he was featured in several reprints in various 100 Page Super Spectaculars I read when I was a kid back in the 1970s. I always liked the idea of a guy who could turn into a sunbeam and shine into the bad guy's house through his window. And he's one of those Golden Age characters who has a fin on his head, and I always liked that look, and, to date, I don't think there any HeroClix who have it.
If it's the Modern Age version of the character, well, no fin on his head, but he has a cool looking helmet and a nifty looking jacket. On balance I'd rather see the Golden Ager, but I can deal with either.
What would be optimal would be a Golden Age Ray with a JSA TA on the rookie version, and a Modern Age Ray on the Vet Version, and... I dunno who on the Experienced.
Maybe Beppo the Supermonkey.
Yeah, that would be cool.
Anyway, the Ray should pretty much have Phasing, a very good range, some Ranged Combat Expert, and some Pulse Wave. If WK was smart they wouldn't put him on a flight stand, since he has to turn into energy to 'fly' and can't carry anyone else (which is basically all flight is good for within the context of the HeroClix game itself; Phasing would cover every other contingency one might use Flight for). But WK has to date demonstrated no intelligence whatsoever in this regard; neither the Vision (who alters his density in order to fly) or Captain Marvel/Photon/Pulsar (who, like the Ray, also turns into energy to fly) should be able to carry anyone else, either. But they are drawn flying in the comics, and WK's game designers simply don't seem to be very bright when it comes to applying their own rules to the figures they build. So I'm sure whichever Ray we get will be on a flight stand, although he really shouldn't be.
You need him for a complete JSA, so, certainly I'll want one. But unless he has a truly godlike attack, or a ridiculously low cost, there's seems little point in ever putting him on an actual team you want to play an actual game with. I mean, he's a boxer in a cat-suit. An OLD boxer, nowadays. For all that they try to give him airs as the guy who has trained nearly every contemporary DC superhero in hand to hand combat, honestly, they simply can't make me be impressed by this guy. In the Marvel Universe, Captain America is the character who trains all the rookie superheroes in hand to hand, and when someone says "I was trained by Captain America", well, that means something. "I was trained by Wildcat"? Not so much. At least, not to me.
I'd expect him to have some Leap/Climb, some Toughness, and some Close Combat Expert. His Vet might get a click of Charge. If his Veteran version gets as high as a 10 Attack on even one slot, I'll be very pleasantly surprised, but if he does, I imagine it will be offset by a 15 Defense, maybe brought up somewhat by Combat Reflexes. I can't imagine him having a higher Damage Value than 2, although CCE will bring that up to a 4 when he belts someone, meaning that, under WK's normal rules, he could quite feasibly hit Superman for two clicks of damage... an absolutely ridiculous situation made impossible by my House Rules, where Impervious reduces damage dealt by 4 clicks, instead of merely 2.
One of the few characters included in this set I honestly don't give a shit about. Well, no... actually, his inclusion in the latest version of the JSA, in a spot I expected to be filled by Atom Smasher, makes me actively dislike him. Given that, I imagine he'll have a fantastic dial and be a figure I'll really want to use. That's generally how it works with me and WK.
I could not possibly care less about the character, but the completist in me -- not a quiet voice by any means -- wants her to complete my original OUTSIDERS roster. I'd like to see a Looker fig for much the same reason, although Looker wasn't a charter member of the team, and, well, I pretty much hated the team when it first appeared, anyway. I'd expect her to be fairly useful with a rainbow dial -- something particularly appropriate for this character. As with nearly every Seth dial design, though, I'll expect her utility to be limited, if not crippled, by a truly crappy attack value. Which will make her fit right in with her fellow Outsiders; as rendered in plastic by WizKids, there's no one on the team who could hit the wall of a barn unless they were standing inside it.
He'll most likely be an impressive looking figure, and I'm happy to have another member of the Fatal Five. Having said that, though, I have great difficulty imagining what kind of dial Seth is going to create to represent a character who basically has a hand that can disintegrate anything. Exploit Weakness combined with Close Combat Expert could come close, but WK won't use split powers on their HeroClix dials, so that's out. Most likely, he'll have Exploit Weakness, a 3 or 4 Damage Value (to start with), no range, and a decent Attack Value. Mid-range Defense (maybe a 16) should get a boost from Energy Shield/Deflection (Mano has demonstrated a capacity to use his hand to disintegrate incoming missile weapons).
Once WK completes the Fatal Five by giving us a Tharok fig, I'll have to come up with a Fatal Five Team Ability. And I should probably create an alternate Legion of Superheroes team ability, too, come to think of it.
#25-27 Shadow Thief
Mike Norton has commented a few times that he's always more excited about seeing some third string Marvel villain get a figure in a clix set than he is about anything that comes out in a DC expansion. I tend to agree with him, but, well, on the other hand, I'm very pleased to see a Shadow Thief figure coming out, too, and he pretty well exactly fits that description in the DC Universe. (Of course, it's hard to be anything but a third string villain when your primary heroic nemesis is Hawkman. I am a big Hawkman fan, but let's face it -- as Hawkeye the Archer once said about some entirely different, but similar, character "That bozo's only powers are flying and rapping with birds!")
Shadow Thief is a goofy character, but he's figured in some of my most fondly remembered Silver Age JLA stories (he was a perpetual member of the Injustice League, and occasionally even went up against the League on his own). I imagine his dial will be much like what we've already seen with The Ghost, from ARMOR WARS. And like the Ghost, he'll be an almost entirely unplayed figure, unless Seth loses him mind entirely and puts something like Probability Control on Shadow Thief's dial.
Yet another renegade from Apokolips that Jack Kirby never heard of; this one a superstrong omnisexual ultraviolent chickiepoo who is currently a member of the contemporary Secret Six. I don't mind her much, but I also don't see much chance we're going to fill out that team's roster any time soon... or if we did, that anyone would ever play them together. Again, given what Seth has shown us in the past about his design philosophies, she will most likely be rather limited in her applications, mostly by a mediocre at best Attack Value. Since I don't care much about the character herself, this isn't a figure I'm looking forward to all that much.
I honestly don't know who this is. Marvel has had a character named Copperhead, too, although I think he only showed up once, long ago, in an old LUKE CAGE comic, where he got stomped so bad he's never showed up again. Speaking of Luke Cage villains who showed up once and got stomped so bad they never showed up again, I would really love to see WK do a figure of the Steeplejack. But I genuinely doubt they ever will.
While it seems obvious that Rene' Montoya is being groomed to take Vic Sage's place when he finally succumbs to his recently revealed terminal cancer, I haven't seen that confirmed yet, and Sage himself is pictured (in his original Silver Age Steve Ditko hero outfit, at that) on the box designs we've seen. So I expect this to be Vic Sage. Maybe the Vet will be the Modern Age, O'Neill/Cowan version who eschewed his business suit and fedora and went into action essentially wearing whatever he had on when he ran into some sort of trouble.
As to the dial, well, I'd imagine his and Wildcat's will be basically interchangeable... Close Combat Expert, Exploit Weakness, Combat Reflexes, Leap-Climb, maybe a little Charge to make his Vet useful to the tournament nuts. Probably some Smoke Cloud, too.
#37-39 Animal Man
Most likely he'll have a dial very much like we've already seen with Vixen -- one version of his REV will be on a Flight stand, another will have the Dolphin movement symbol; his dials will vary widely but include stuff like Blades/Claws/Fangs, Super Senses, Super Strength, Leap-Climb, Charge, Toughness, Stealth... like that. Yet another character I honestly don't much care about, but his Experienced version will fit into my Goober Justice League roster nicely.
The Rookie and Experienced versions should be dumb asses; the Veteran will probably have a decent Attack Value, some Blade/Claws/Fangs, some Charge and Leap/Climb, a lot of Willpower, and maybe some Leadership alternating with Outwit. Could be a Ka-Zar for the DC-only players.
#43-35 Booster Gold
I'd really like it if this were the Ray Palmer version, rather than the more recent Asian incarnation. Ray's history is nearly tailor made for a REV -- the rookie would have his Silver Age costume and essentially have the same dial as the hockey puck WK has already given us, the Experienced could from be the SWORD OF THE ATOM period and have some B/C/F, the Veteran could be the Modern Age version with the mask that cuts away to show his hair, and some levels of Super Strength and Invulnerability.
If it's Ryan Choi, on the other hand, well, I won't much care.
#49-51 Mirror Master
As Orto has already noted, "A classic Flash villain is always welcome". I expect a dial design that goes heavy on ranged attacks, including Ranged Combat Expert and Incapacitate, along with some Phasing and maybe a little Running Shot.
#52-54 Triplicate Girl
Always nice to see another Legionnaire. Orto speculates that she'll end up similar to the recent Madrox REV, but I don't know... the thing about Luornu is, all three of her different bodies are supposed to be identical, so it really wouldn't make sense to create a REV of her in which each separate dial had different abilities. Essentially, her rookie, experienced and veteran versions should all have exactly the same dial. And, other than a flight stand (all Legionnaires have flight rings), I can't really see where she should have any powers, either, besides being able to have all her REVs on the same team at the same time without anyone screaming 'cheese' about it.
Yet another version of Supergirl. The picture on the box shows the current costume, with the midriff baring halter top. How powerful is that version? I honestly have no idea. Will this version have some HyperSonic Speed, as I'm sure all the cheese geeks out there are hoping? I think it's likely. Depending on her point cost, some version of her could see some play.
I'd like to see a version of Hawkman who could actually hit something. Maybe the Vet will have a double digit Attack Value. Hopefully, nobody at WK likes Roy Thomas; otherwise, this one may have that horrible tongue sticking out of the beak on his mask.
#61-63 Wonder Girl (Cassie Sandmark)
Again -- whatever.
#64-66 Cyborg Superman
I have no idea who this is.
I imagine it's the Gerry Conway/Don Heck character, originally of World War II vintage, versions of which have since shown up as part of the Detroit JLA, and apparently as a member of the newest JSA roster, too, when Johns gets around to introducing him. The newest JSA version most likely isn't the teenage Detroit JLA guy, as we've recently been told he died, although in superhero comic books that's not necessarily a safe conclusion to leap to.
#70-72 Mr. Miracle
Hopefully, his sculpt will show him on those cool looking aero-discs of his, justifying a flight stand, which will allow his dial to have Phasing rather than Leap-Climb. Beyond that, well, I'd give him a high Defense and a decent Attack, some Toughness, some Energy Explosion, and some Probability Control. Maybe a little Incapacitate, too.
Another nice add for my Legion squad. Definitely need to come up with an alternate LSH team ability.
#77 Green Lantern/Sentinel (Alan Scott LE)
Probably the most anticipated figure in this set, and not just by me. I'm going to predict an LE with the Green Lantern TA, since Alan Scott is an honorary member of the Corps, and his powers would certainly allow him to have that particular ability (taxiing up to eight friendly characters at once). His REV will all be JSA.
I'd much rather see a Captain Marvel, Jr. than another Captain Marvel. But who knows? DC can't use the Captain Marvel name, so maybe this Shazam REV will be Junior... or at least include him.
#82-84 Martian Manhunter/J'onn J'onzz
Well, everyone wants a knew, more powerful Martian Manhunter. I imagine the Vet version will be nearly as hard to get as the Vet Thor from Supernova. I'd also imagine he'll have at least one click with a 5 damage value.
#85 Starman (Ted Knight)
Another character with a fin on his head, which makes me happy. Now, if he just has a decently varied dial and effective stats, I'll be ecstatic.
#86 Sandman (Wesley Dodds)
I'm not sure whether I'm hoping for the gas mask/business suit appearance, or the purple and gold Kirby costume with the wirepoon gun. If it's the latter, a great many people will be disappointed, but I'd bet money we'll see a Sandy pog.
#87 Blue Beetle III
A Blue Beetle I (Golden Age) figure would have been much cooler. Oh, well.
#88 Mr. Mind
Welllllll... yeah, okay, but I'd rather see a Sivana...
#89 Jakeem Thunder (and T-Bolt)
I really don't care much about this character combo, but... okay, maybe he'll have a cool dial.
#90 Gentleman Ghost
Another Hawkman villain. Another pretty much untouchable Hawkman villain, at that. His sculpt could be very cool. His dial... I'm thinking he should have a great deal of Perplex.
#91 Vandal Savage
Could easily be a 300 point character, but almost certainly won't be. Vandal is an immortal who was born in prehistory and who has been demonstrated to be pretty much a master of every human field of endeavor, including magic -- but I'd expect his dial will go heavy on his physical capacities, like Super Strength and Regeneration, and leave his other abilities to be mostly represented by Outwit and Perplex and maybe some Probability Control. I'd give him some Super Senses, too.
#92 Johnny Quick (Crime Syndicate)
Now all we need is Power Ring.
#93 Negative Woman (Doom Patrol)
Oh, yuck. Paul Kupperberg Doom Patrol members? No doubt when WK finally gives us a Chief, he'll be a pog.
Something to slap a Sidekick feat on when playing a JSA squad.
#95 Batman (Golden Age)
Unless they give him a JSA team ability (and an 18 Defense Value) I can't see much point to the figure. On the other hand, if they did give him a JSA TA, they'd have to give him at least one opening click of Stealth, which would make Swingline a necessity for him... which would be appropriate.
#96 Superman (Golden Age)
An 80 to 90 point pocket Superman could be interesting. Greying temples; no flight stand; a dial full of Super Strength; Toughness or Invulnerability but no Impervious... maybe no range strike, since Superman didn't have heat vision until a writer for his radio show gave it to him in the early 50s. Give him the Superman TA and he won't really need Leap-Climb, since hindering terrain effectively won't exist for him. This would make sense, as the Golden Age Superman did have X-ray vision and super hearing. This would allow him to have a dial full of Charge, which would nicely simulate him being both 'faster than a speeding bullet' and 'more powerful than a locomotive'.
Still, I'd love to see both the Golden Age Batman and the Golden Age Superman given JSA TAs. If Batman had a high defense (I'd give him at least an 18), he and Superman could go into combat side by side, so Supes could be a little harder to hit, too. In that case, you might want to just give him the flight stand and be done with it.
And that's what I think, as of this moment. When we know more, I'll probably think different things. And write another incredibly tedious post about it, too. Until then, you may want to seriously consider sending me a great deal of money, so I'll be too busy buying things for SuperFiancee and the SuperKids to torment you like this again.