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Friday, July 06, 2007

Avengers -- run away! run away!

Having seen, at least, pictures of every sculpt and graphs of every dial for the AVENGERS set, at this point, I'm willing to say -- it's a huge disappointment to me.

Here, once again, is the list, annotated to indicate some of my major areas of disappointment:

001 Captain America Ultimates, WWII
002 Iron Man Ultimates
003 Captain Britain Ultimates
004 Gargoyle - JACC
005 Guardsman*
006 Moon Knight - retread
007 Crossbones - JACC
008 Wonder Man*
009 Hulkling YAHS
010 Patriot YAHS
011 Stature YAHS
012 Shang-Chi***
013 Piledriver**
014 Stingray**
015 U.S. Agent*
016 Luke Cage BB
017 Living Laser**
018 Blazing Skull - Invaders**
019 Darkhawk - JACC
020 Dragon Man***
021 Toro - Invaders***
022 Iron Widow Ultimates
023 Lionheart - JACC
024 Black Panther - retread***
025 Quicksilver Ultimates
026 Scarlet Witch Ultimates
027 Vision Ultimates
028 Wasp Ultimates
029 Taskmaster - retread
030 Iron Lad YAHS
031 Ronin BB
032 Red Skull - retread*
033 Abomination Ultimates
034 Baron Zemo - retread
035 Bucky - Invaders***
036 Falcon Ultimates
037 Thin Man - Invaders**
038 Giant Man***
039 Spitfire - Invaders**
040 Namor Ultimates
041 Union Jack - Invaders**
042 Starfox - IDC
043 Molecule Man***
044 Grim Reaper***
045 Thunderstrike**
046 Namorita*
047 Wiccan YASH
048 Yondu***
049 Two-Gun Kid**
050 Winter Soldier - JACC
051 Spider-Man BB
052 Citizen V - IDC
053 The Colonel Ultimates
054 Ares BB
055 Hulk Ultimates
056 Hawkeye***
057 Scarlet Witch*
058 Quicksilver*
059 Wasp**
060 Cap and Bucky***


* A fig I want. The more *'s there are, the better I like it and the more I want it. This doesn't mean these figures are perfect -- Giant Man, for example, badly needs a higher Attack Value and some Outwit on his dial -- but still, these are figures I'm pleased to find in this set, and if every figure in the set was at least this good, I'd be very pleased with the expansion.

BB - Bendis Bullshit. A waste of plastic. The day Marvel lets me write AVENGERS is the day every single dumbass thing Brian Bendis has ever inflicted on the Marvel Universe gets undone. In the meantime, I'd be way happier if WizKids would pretend I've already gotten to do that, and completely ignore all Bendis Bullshit when they plan out expansion sets.

YAHS - Young Avengers Horse Shit. Not quite as severe a waste of plastic as Bendis Bullshit, but nearly so. Don't need them, don't want them, where the hell is my Beast with an Avengers TA?

Ultimates - the Ultimate waste of plastic in a HeroClix expansion, egregiously so in a set named AVENGERS. Can you count, suckers? 13 out of 60 slots in this expansion have been shamefully squandered on these toxic conceptual abortions, and I think someone should pay for it. I want indictments, I want trials, I want convictions, I want mandatory minimum sentences and no goddam Scooter Libby commutations. Somebody somewhere said "Say, we're doing a 60 figure set called AVENGERS, let's use 13 of those slots for fucking Ultimates!" I want that person doing hard time.

Retreads - slots wasted (for the most part, with a few exceptions) on retreads of characters that we didn't need another version of and that generally did not improve on the original. Exception to this: the new Black Panther is a definite upgrade over the IC version. He disappoints in that the new Special Power feature should have been employed to give him some kind of built in Stealth, and it wasn't. But otherwise, he's a solid piece. Also, while I don't think we needed a new Moon Knight, this new dial is easily as good, and in some ways better, than the previous version. The new Red Skull is also an improvement, but badly misdesigned given that it's supposed to be a version of the character who is, essentially, omnipotent.

Beyond that, all the other retreads are pointless, stupid, poorly designed, and aggravating.

It's worth noting that several of the Ultimates characters in this set are also retreads, which is especially, and sickeningly, obnoxious. Bad enough WK wasted plastic on the fucking dumbass characters once, they had to go and do it all over again in a set called AVENGERS? I swear, I want somebody to go to prison for this.

JACC - Just A Crappy Character. Not an Ultimate, not Bendis Bullshit, not associated with the Young Avengers, and not a retread, but, in my opinion, a waste of space and material anyway. Easily the most subjective of categories; I hate all these characters and would never award them their own HeroClix figure if I were in charge of such things, but other people love these characters and have been clamoring for them to get figs, sometimes since the very first HeroClix set ever.

IDC - I Don't Care. If the rest of the set were cool, I'd let these slide. As the rest of the set mostly blows gigantic toads, however, I'm not wild about these, either. There are only a few of these IDC characters in this set, but I'd love to be able to take those slots and repurpose them to figures of much more deserving characters.

Counting it up, there are 28 figures I'd like to have out of a 60 figure set. A little less than half. I guess that wouldn't necessarily be bad, but, you know, as an AVENGERS fan since the early 70s, it deeply, deeply pisses me off that there are 32 fricking figures in a set named AVENGERS that I have no goddam use for whatsoever.

In addition to hating most of the set, I hate even more the things that should be in the set, and aren't. Leading that pack? Say, WizKids, where the fuck is my Golden Age Human Torch?

I mean, honestly, I simply cannot understand what they're thinking here. They fill out the rest of the Invaders squad, both sidekicks, a Duo Character sculpt of Cap AND Bucky, and they throw in Union Jack, Spitfire, and several Golden Age Marvel characters that weren't even original members of the team -- and we get no Golden Age Human Torch? I mean, seriously, WTF, WK?

Yeah, yeah, we can USE any of several Johnny Storm Human Torches, and certainly, we WILL, but honestly, you're going to give us the WWII version of the Ultimates Captain America and we can't have a Golden Age Human Torch? Is someone drunk?

Major disappointment #2 - No alternate TA for the Invaders. MotherFUCKers. We get, what, six more Invaders in this set, all with the Defenders Team Ability, and we get no alternate Invaders Team Ability? This shall not stand.

Major disappointment #3 - All this CRAP, 32 figures worth of CRAP, and we get one lousy Guardian of the Galaxy? We couldn't get a Charlie 27 and a Martinex instead of a frickin' retread of Taskmaster and a retread of Baron Zemo nobody needs or wants? This is lame. This is totally lame.

Major disappointment #4 - Knock knock. Who's there? No Beast. No Beast who? No goddam Beast with a goddam Avengers TA, that's who, and I say again, WTF, WK? We get a retread Wonder Man whose dial is only exceeded in crappiness by his sculpt, and two more Quicksilvers and Scarlet Witches (characters that are retreads of frickin' retreads, for the love of jebus) and we can't get a Beast with an Avengers TA? We have a Beast with a DEFENDERS Team Ability, but not one with an Avengers Team Ability? This is ridiculous and retarded. The Beast is essential to any Silver Age Englehart Avengers line up, and I goddamned well want a Beast with an Avengers Team Ability, RIGHT NOW.

Major disappointment #5, and this one really baffles me - every Invader in this set gets a Defenders Team Ability, except the Cap & Bucky Duo Character figure, which gets an Avengers TA. Why? Are we supposed to occasionally use this figure as Cap & Rick Jones? Also, if you're going to give this/these figure(s) a chance to dodge an incoming hit on a d6 roll and call it "Look Out, Cap!" on the character card, it would make more sense for that power to be Super Senses instead of Shape Change. The powers work out nearly identically now that WK has modified Shape Change to activating on a 5-6, but I just think the one makes more sense than the other in application. A figure with two sets of eyes and ears is going to, effectively, have Super Senses, but while Cap and Bucky can do many, many things, Shape Change isn't one of them.

Major disappointment #6 -- did all the double digit attack values fall off the back of the truck on the way to the set design studio? I feel like I'm flashbacking to SINISTER, but with much, much worse character choice.

Having said all this, let me close with the AVENGERS set I'd have done, were I WK's HeroClix set designer:

001 Captain America (WWII), Defenders/Invaders TA
002 Lava Man (generic)
003 Moondragon, Avengers TA, or maybe Defenders
004 Doc Samson, SHIELD TA
005 Guardsman
006 The Thing, Avengers TA
007 Man-Ape
008 Wonder Man (I'd have given him a better dial and sculpt)
009 Beast, Avengers TA
010 Hulk, Avengers TA
011 Attuma
012 Shang-Chi
013 Piledriver
014 Stingray (needs a WAY better dial)
015 U.S. Agent
016 Hercules, Avengers TA
017 Living Laser
018 Blazing Skull - Invaders
019 Gray Gargoyle
020 Dragon Man
021 Toro - Invaders
022 Human Torch, (WWII) Defenders/Invaders TA
023 Whizzer (WWII) Defenders/Invaders TA
024 Black Panther (Special power: Autostealth)
025 Miss America (WWII) Defenders/Invaders TA
026 Power Man (Masters of Evil)
027 Enchantress
028 Wasp, Ultimates -- I'll throw one to the Ultimates nutjobs, just not a retread, and not more than one, you bastards
029 Living Lightning
030 Black Knight (Masters of Evil)
031 Melter (Masters of Evil)
032 Red Skull - not the one with the Cosmic Cube, but we need a better Red Skull, yes
033 Batroc ze Leaper (spelled that way on the dial, dammit)
034 The Cobra (Serpent Society TA)
035 Bucky
036 The Eel (Serpent Society TA)
037 Thin Man
038 Giant Man
039 Spitfire
040 Super-Adaptoid
041 Union Jack
042 Starfox
043 Molecule Man
044 Grim Reaper
045 Thunderstrike
046 Namorita
047 Charlie 27
048 Yondu
049 Two-Gun Kid
050 Martinex
051 Spider-Woman (blue costume)
052 Sandman (Avengers TA)
053 Rage (Spider-Man TA)
054 Spider-Man (Power Cosmic TA)
055 Wolverine (Spider-Man TA, sorry, it's the closest I can bring myself to giving him an Avengers TA)
056 Hawkeye
057 Black Widow (original costume)
058 The Collector, Power Cosmic TA
059 Wasp
060 Cap and Bucky (but with Defenders/Invaders TA)

As to cards, I'd have re-released Thunderbolts (the Avengers TA is much too weak without it) and definitely would have come up with some kind of Invaders TA.

Value added, obscenity laden ADDENDUM!

So, I took the entry, above, and posted it over on HCRealms, after spending nearly half an hour going through and taking out all the swear words, substituting other words, and typographical symbols (#@$%!!!) to preserve the general tone.

As a reward for my diligence, I got the following private message from Some Dick:


Since you didn't get the message last time. Stop trying and bypassing the swear filters. They are there for a reason, and if you don't like them, you don't have to be a member of this site. We have them for a reason. You might not like the reason, but nonetheless, those are the site's rules.

To which I responded:

Last time? I can't remember ever getting a message from you prior to this.

As to the remainder of your message... while I can more or less understand, if not respect, suppressing people's free speech as regards actual profanity, this site's filters will not even allow people to use words like 'crap' and, as I've recently discovered, 'retarded'.

I realize that there can be little meeting of minds between those who adore censoring the speech of others and those who, well, don't, but even you must see how absolutely idiotic expanding your definition of 'obscenity' (or, as you so cogently put it, 'swears') to include words that aren't actually obscene, is.

Here's the thing -- keeping people from launching 'flames', i.e., personal attacks against each other, is fine. I believe in a civil discussion, too. But telling people "say, there's a list of words we will not allow you to publish on our site, and it's an entirely subjective list based on our own tiny minded little prejudices, and it doesn't matter what context you use these words in, we're still not going to let you use them, and we're not going to let you substitute other, similar words, or typographical symbols that represent the emotional feeling of swear words, and to top it all off, we're not even going to publish the list of forbidden words anywhere, either, we're just going to program it into our filters and when you stumble across one by accident THEN we'll send you snarky little notes telling you that if you won't censor yourself then you can't hang out with us cool kids"... well, at that point, you have lost your #@$$%!!! mind. And you can kiss my #@$$%!!!!. And if you want to toss me off the site, that's fine; if I feel like coming back to this lame @$$ place, I'll just do what everybody else does and create another account name.

Thank you for your time and attention. Now, go read a book.

And now, I get the following message when I try to access the site:

You have been banned for the following reason:

Date the ban will be lifted: 07/09/2007, 16:05

Isn't that sweet? You can be banned from HCRealms for no reason at all.

Bitchez rule!


Second addendum:

And the entry I put up at HCRealms is gone, too, replaced with Idiot Boy's message to me. So now, all the replies regarding the entry seem pretty non-sequiteresque. But censors rarely worry about things making sense, as long as nobody is saying a bad word where their delicate ears could get singed by it, or something.


At 11:46 AM , Blogger MJ Norton said...

While I'm not anywhere near as down on the current set as you are (I've been enjoying it) your own set list towers above what we received as a virtual Mt. Olympus.


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