Flash Fact #2: SPOILERS (Or, A Brief Intermission About the Flash Season 2 Finale!!)

Flash Zoom Race

So, I swear, I’m hard at work on the Uncanny X-Men Top Ten Set Review (hopefully by the end of next week, but I can’t promise anything… yet!), but today we’re gonna take a break from our regularly scheduled programming and talk about some good ol’ fashioned superhero TV.

Why?

Well, the 2015-2016 TV Season just ended, and there’s a few things that need discussin’!

A year ago, I thought Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. was pretty consistently solid while The Flash (in its first season after spinning off from Arrow) was kind of cheesy, at least initially. I thought the show really found itself during the back half of that debut season and (like A0S) had a dynamite finale.

Fast forward a year, and both shows have just finished firing off their best seasons. When considering all the great comic-based TV we have these days, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. had probably the best episode of the season (that would be its fifth episode, 4,722 Hours), but The Flash turned in an extremely solid run of 23 episodes that didn’t really have any turkeys in the bunch. The finale, in particular, is what I want to write about today.

ELIZABETH HENSTRIDGE

You were great, Agent Simmons, but we’ll talk about your show in a different post. (ABC/Tyler Golden)

At this point, like all other bloggers, I am contractually obligated to note that the rest of this post will SPOIL much of the Second Season finale of The Flash. If you wish to proceed from here and have not seen this episode yet, you have been warned. We’re jumping in:

5…

4…

3…

2…

1…

 

Okay!! Still with me? Good. So, if you made it to the end of the finale, you know that after defeating Zoom, Barry went back in time (again) to the scene of his mother’s death (again) and finally decided to do something about it.

Flash Reverse Flash

In the process of beating up the Reverse Flash, Barry SEEMS to have done some possibly irreparable damage to the Timeline and changed both the past and the future in ways we’ve yet to see. What does it all mean?

Essentially, it seems like we’re headed for “Flashpoint” in Season Three, or at least the Berlanti-verse version of it. The Flash has become the most interesting DC show on television, and the ramifications of this finale are potentially mind-boggling.

WHAT WE KNOW:

-There are four shows in the Berlanti-verse: Arrow, The Flash, Legends of Tomorrow and Supergirl. Of those four, the first two are closely connected and part of the same extended universe; Legends of Tomorrow is primarily populated with DC characters who were previously introduced as supporting characters on either Arrow or The Flash. It is seemingly connected to Arrow and The Flash, although it’s unclear even–or perhaps ESPECIALLY–if time travel on Legends of Tomorrow works the same way that time travel on The Flash works. For this discussion, it’s not really important though.

Supergirl is set on a completely different Earth where there is no Flash and no Arrow; this may be important later. Flash did randomly journey to Supergirl’s Earth during Supergirl’s first season, so the two characters have met at least once.

-All four shows were renewed for the 2016-2017 season.

DC Shows

All four shows will crossover with each other at least once during the season; currently, the big crossover event doesn’t have an exact date (it’s still at least 5-6 months away), but sometime in mid-November would be a good bet.

-The presumed source material for The Flash‘s third season, Flashpoint was a major DC Comics crossover event from 2011 that completely changed the status quo and introduced the “New 52” universe (I’m not a huge fan of the New 52–I liked DC fine enough the way it was, but there are those who really dig it). One of the benefits for DC of remaking their universe was the opportunity to fold in Jim Lee’s recently acquired Wildstorm characters (WildC.A.T.’s, The Authority, etc.). Basically, DC used Flashpoint to incorporate an entire, newly acquired universe in the main DC hierarchy.

This may be important later…

WHY FLASHPOINT CAN’T JUST BE A STRAIGHT ADAPTION:

-So if you’ve made it this far, then you’ve probably either read “Flashpoint” at some point or else you just read the Wikipedia (read: Cliff Notes) version of it.

And you know that there’s an awful lot of folks who play major roles in that story who haven’t been introduced yet… and–(NOT REALLY A) SPOILER ALERT–are not getting introduced into the Berlanti-verse anytime soon.

For Example:

-Batman ain’t coming (he’s being portrayed as a petulant little twerp over on FOX in a show called Gotham). Moreover, there seems to be an edict from DC that Berlanti can’t introduce any of the Trinity characters on his collection of shows. Or at least that’s the rumor.

Its worse than you know

It’s worse than you know.

It usually is

It usually is.

I actually think it’s even worse than that.

I think Berlanti is forbidden from using any of the seven main Justice League folks except the Flash, since he’s already established, and I think if Warner Brothers could find a way to take back Barry Allen, they would, despite the show’s success. Why? Because unlike Marvel, DC wants their TV universe separated from their (theoretically) burgeoning film universe. There’s a few reasons why they prefer things this way, and a host of reasons why this is dumb. But that hasn’t stopped DC and Warner Brothers before, so why should it now?

Even though Batman V Superman was greeted with a critical thumping, it still performed juuuust well enough at the box office to keep DC from completely pulling the plug on this iteration of their movie-verse (we’ll take a page from the internet here and just call it Zach Snyder’s “Murder-verse” for short). And as long as they’re going to continue with that continuity, most of the big-name DC heroes (and even C-list characters like Booster Gold, who now has a Zach Stentz-penned movie in development) will remain completely out of reach for the Berlanti-verse.

-Thomas Wayne (Batman in the Flashpoint universe) ain’t coming (for the very same reasons Batman isn’t);

-Martha Wayne (and her Joker turn) ain’t coming;

-Wonder Woman and all the Amazons? Ain’t coming;

-Aquaman and his Atlantean army? Nope. His profile has gone way up since Smallville. I’m betting he’s off-limits too.

-Booster Gold was mentioned above; he had a big role on the periphery of Flashpoint… and I’m pretty sure he ain’t coming (it would make no sense to cast an actor to play Booster for TV when you’re dead-set on recasting the role for the movie version in a couple years anyway–if everything pans out, that is).

-Cyborg has a movie on the docket. He’s not gonna show up;

-Pick a version of Green Lantern. Who’s your favorite? Hal Jordan? John Stewart? Guy Gardner? Kyle Rayner? Guess what: none of them are coming, despite the fact that any of them would kill on the CW (“Blackest Night” done over the course of a 4-show crossover on the CW? Yes, please! Too bad it will never happen).

-You get the point. Despite all of the those characters making very specific and important appearances throughout “Flashpoint,” I’d bet dollars to donuts that not a single one will show up in the Berlanti-verse next year.

But here’s the surprise twist: you don’t need ANY of them to faithfully adapt “Flashpoint” on The Flash. Not a single one.

WHAT WE THINK WILL HAPPEN:

-When you think about it, Arrow on the CW is really just the story of how Bruce Wayne became Batman–it just doesn’t have Bruce Wayne or Batman in it. But Oliver Queen in Arrow is a rich playboy who suffers the trauma of losing his parents and decides to dedicate his life to stopping crime and saving his city. Oliver Queen would be a perfect stand-in for Bruce Wayne in the Berlanti-verse.

“But won’t Stephen Amell be hella-busy shooting his own show?” you might ask. Yes. Yes he will be. But remember, Bruce Wayne pretty much just showed up at the end of the story, so Amell really only needs to show up for the end of the “Flashpoint” storyline (which may or may not happen during that already-planned November crossover that Amell will be doing anyway).

Besides, the producers may already have a different actor in mind to play Green Arrow on The Flash:

Robert Queen

Me?”

Yes you, Jamey Sheridan. Thomas Wayne was the man in the Batman costume during “Flashpoint,” and similarly, Robert Queen could be the man under the cowl in the new, altered timeline. In fact, I think the producers hinted at this possibility during one of the Earth 2 excursions we witnessed during Season Two, where Robert Queen was unmasked as Green Arrow during a news report.

Bringing back Robert Queen for a few episodes to actually be the Green Arrow would be pretty slick for two reasons: firstly, it would bring back a somewhat under-utilized Berlanti-verse supporting character for an awesome final run. Secondly, it would still maintain the original spirit of Thomas Wayne’s “Flashpoint” storyline.

And best of all, it would allow them to do that final envelope scene from “Flashpoint” where Barry puts the universe back together again (more or less) and then hands an emotional, handwritten letter to Bruce Wayne from his dead father, Thomas. That scene was a beautiful coda to the whole saga and is, frankly, one of the best reasons to try and adapt this particular storyline. Probably THE best reason, actually (“Heart, Humor and Spectacle,” indeed!).

But the only way that final scene lands is if the producers can get Mr. Sheridan to come back and suit up for a few guest-starring roles as Green Arrow on The Flash.

-In “Flashpoint,” Martha Wayne’s grief over losing her son Bruce eventually twists her mind until she becomes a psycho-Joker. Once that’s revealed, she pretty much just falls in a pit of bats and then dies.

If Berlanti’s team wants to bring back Moira Queen and have her do a similar heel turn, that would be fine. Could actually make for a cool sort of one-off “Villain of the Week.”

-No Aquaman and no Wonder Woman is trickier, since their respective nation’s escalating war threatens the whole world and without them, a major source of environmental tension would be gone. But once again, you really don’t need those specific characters–indeed, having them show up out of nowhere at this point would probably be kinda jarring.

What you really need is two large organizations fighting with each other on a scale that could threaten the whole world with how out-of-control their conflict becomes. What about the assassins of Nanda Parbat versus the shadowy intrigue of The Hive? Could one not argue that, if left unchecked by Oliver and his team, both of these organizations would have been on a super-powered collision course by Season Four of Arrow?

-And since we brought it up before, wouldn’t this all have to have a big effect on Arrow, Legends and Supergirl?

Yeah, to really hit home, it probably would. But Arrow could actually pull a fast one and basically start telling their Season 5 story without really acknowledging The Flash but showing subtle differences between the Season 4 status quo and the Season 5 status quo. Then, after the crossover, we find out the differences are because on Arrow, we’ve been watching the post-Flashpoint continuity all along!

Legends is already a time-traveling show and its central characters could show up at some point in November to help Flash put right those things that once went wrong, but they exist outside the normal flow of time to begin with, so, in theory,  they don’t really need to worry so much about the repercussions of “Flashpoint.”

And Supergirl? Well, Supergirl’s universe would suddenly and inexplicably–or perhaps even splicably–find itself on Earth 1 or Earth 2, ready to adventure with our

Flashpoint

CONCLUSION: This is all wild speculation, of course, but isn’t that what makes the internet so damn much fun at the end of the day? Anyway, whether Season Three of the Flash goes even something like what I’ve predicted here, or if it turns out to be completely different, I will be watching the CW this Fall with great interest.

 

And don’t forget to join us next time as we get back into Heroclix with our Uncanny X-Men Top Ten Set Review!

Until Then, Stay Safe, and Watch Where You Draw Your Lines of Fire!

 

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Upcoming Games: The Doctor Is Out!

Another quick local game announcement for SE Michigan Clix’ers!!

SHIELD Number One

This week at Comics & More in Madison Heights, we will be playing Week 3 of our custom “Dark Dimensions” series!

In Week 1, we played “A Guy With a Plan.” For week 2 of our Dark Dimensions Series, we ran a new, completely original scenario called “Omega Level Override,” based on Mark Waid’s continuing S.H.I.E.L.D. run.

The Scenario:

Week 3: “Home Invasion”

Coulson’s ongoing investigation into the activities of Mys-Tech and the identity of their mysterious benefactor leads him to consult the world’s foremost expert on the arcane–Doctor Strange!

Unfortunately, the doctor is not at home–and Mys-Tech seems all too aware, as they’ve taken this opportunity to break-in to Strange’s Sanctum Sanctorum in order to steal the ancient and powerful Book of Morphesti!

If Coulson wants any answers, he’s going to have to stop Mys-Tech’s agents and recover The Book before someone accidentally unleashes an apocalypse! But just getting to the ancient tome is going to be a challenge. Coulson knows as much as anybody that traversing the Sanctum Sanctorum without a mystically-inclined guide is dangerous business.

Because this house has secrets that pre-date Doctor Strange, and it’s never been kind to unwanted guests…

The Build Rules: You must choose to play as one of two factions: S.H.I.E.L.D. or Mys-Tech. Each faction has their own benefits and restrictions, as outlined below. Regardless of which faction you choose, your team must be a 400 Point Themed Team, and all the figures must be both Marvel and Modern Age.

The Mystical Guide: Traversing the Sanctum Sanctorum without a mystic is hazardous to your health… and your Clix! Therefore, when you build your force, you must include a Modern Age Marvel character with the Mystical keyword. That character has your faction’s keyword (either S.H.I.E.L.D. or Mys-Tech) this game.

Special “Home Invasion” Scenario Rules:

–This scenario will be played on the “Doctor Strange Mansion” Indoor Map from Amazing Spider-Man. The winner of the Map Roll may choose to either go first OR choose which side of the Map they’d like to start on.

–Protect your Mystical Guide! If your Mystical Guide is KO’d, the rest of your team gains the following Trait for the rest of the game:

Morphesti Has Been Opened!: This character can use Shape Change and Battle Fury. At the beginning of your turn, roll a d6 for all characters on your team with this Trait. On a result of 1 or 2, deal those characters 1 unavoidable damage.”

–If your Mystical Guide has been KO’d, any time a friendly character enters Hindering Terrain for any reason (Movement, Knockback, etc.), roll a d6. On a result of 1-3, deal that character 1 unavoidable damage and then place that character in an adjacent square of clear terrain.

-Relics, ATA’s, Team Bases, Avengers ID Cards, Resources and Bystander/Horde Tokens are NOT allowed as part of your Build UNLESS they are specifically allowed by your faction or brought into play via a Trait or ability possessed by a member of your team.

Special Faction Rules:

Shield Agents of

-If you choose to play as S.H.I.E.L.D.: You must play a S.H.I.E.L.D. Themed Team. You may include the S.H.I.E.L.D. ATA and/or up to 3 Avengers ID Cards in your Build by paying their normal costs.

Mys-Tech

If you choose to play as Mys-Tech: You must play a Themed Team, but you may NOT include any character with the S.H.I.E.L.D. or Avengers keyword. (You are encouraged to choose a team of “villainous” characters, but it is not a requirement). If one or more characters on your team has an available ATA for one of their keywords, you may include that ATA in your Build by paying all applicable costs. During Force Construction, all characters on your team gain the Mys-Tech keyword.

The Cost: To enter this week’s game, the cost is $5.

The Prize: Winner and Fellowship will both receive wkM15-011 Doctor Strange!!

Okay! That about covers it! Feel free to post any scenario questions in the Comments, and I’ll answer them as soon as I can.

Until then, Stay Safe, and Watch Where You Draw Your Lines of Fire!

 

Upcoming Games: Dark Dimensions!

SHIELD Number One

Another quick local game announcement for SE Michigan Clix’ers!!

Comics & More in Madison Heights is back in action in three days on Wednesday, September 30th at 6:15pm! We’re running a new Scenario Series called “Dark Dimensions,” and it’s based on the first 6 issues of Mark Waid’s continuing S.H.I.E.L.D. run.

The Scenario:

Week 1: “A Guy With a Plan

Bifrost has been partially shattered by the impact of a mysterious Dark Prism. The rainbow bridge’s sentry, Heimdall, is missing in action and now creatures from all over the nine realms–Fire Demons, Frost Giants, Dark Elves and more!!–are pouring into Midgard!

While the Avengers try to contain the situation, newly installed S.H.I.E.L.D. Special Ops Supreme Commander Phil Coulson–on his first day in his new position–knows that containment is a losing battle. He has to stop this invasion at the source, which he can only do by finding Heimdall, the one person who can end the dimensional breach. But all Coulson has at his disposal is his handpicked S.H.I.E.L.D. team and a talent for calling in the right hero for the right job…

Meanwhile, occult R&D firm Mys-Tech has been funding a group of mercenaries and assassins to plunder mystical artifacts from around the world and severely injure any magic-based entities who could possibly pose a threat to their agenda. Armed with mystic firearms that shoot spells and magic bullets, these mercenaries are extremely well-financed and well-coordinated. But just what is Mys-Tech, and who do their agents really work for?

The Rules: You must choose to play as one of two factions: S.H.I.E.L.D. or Mys-Tech. Each faction has their own benefits and restrictions, as outlined below. Regardless of which faction you choose, your team must be 300-points, and all the figures must be both Marvel and Modern Age.

-Relics, ATA’s, Team Bases, Avengers ID Cards, Resources and Bystander/Horde Tokens are NOT allowed as part of your Build UNLESS they are specifically allowed by your faction or brought into play via a Trait or ability possessed by a member of your team.

Special Faction Rules:

Shield Agents of

-If you choose to play as S.H.I.E.L.D.: You must play a S.H.I.E.L.D. Themed Team. You may NOT include any character with the Mystical keyword on your force. You may include the S.H.I.E.L.D. ATA and/or up to 3 Avengers ID Cards in your Build by paying their normal costs.

Mys-Tech

If you choose to play as Mys-Tech: You must play a Themed Team, but you may NOT include any character with the S.H.I.E.L.D. or Avengers keyword. (You are encouraged to choose a team of “villainous” characters, but it is not a requirement). If you play a Named Themed Team that has an available ATA, you may include that ATA in your Build by paying its cost.

Additionally, all of your characters gain the following Traits:

Trait: Agent of Mys-TechAt the beginning of your turn, roll a D6 for all friendly characters with this Trait. On a result of:

1-2: (The Book of Morphesti): Characters you control can use Shape Change until the beginning of your next turn. 

3-4: (Sapphire Bands of Storaan): Characters you control can use Energy Shield/Deflection until the beginning of your next turn.

5-6: (Magic BulletsCharacters you control can use Penetrating/Psychic Blast until the beginning of your next turn. 

Trait: Mys-Tech R&D: You may give a friendly character a double power action at the beginning of your turn. If you do, instead of rolling a D6, you may choose one of the three powers instead.

The Entry Fee:

The entry fee is $5.00.

The Prizes:

We will be playing for the Agent Venom LE from the Monthly LE kit!

Points will be tracked from week to week, and the scenarios may change slightly, but our overall winner after 4 weeks will get a brand new Dormammu from the Monthly LE kit!!

So come on out for a fun night of Clix, and continue to check this site for future Comics & More game announcements!

Also, look for a new article on building armies around each of the new Avengers Assemble Chases coming very soon to the front page!

Until then, Stay Safe, and Watch Where You Draw Your Lines of Fire!

Mr. Furious Gets Angry!! (Or, A Top Ten Set Review for Nick Fury, Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D.!!)

mr furious

Don’t mess with the volcano my man, ’cause I will go Pompeii on your… butt.

[WRITER’S NOTE: So the set is about Nick Fury and not Mr. Furious, but a guy can dream.]

[EDITOR’S NOTE: You have strange dreams.]

Some General Notes About the Set:

  • There are a lot of good figures in this set. I know it sounds like I say that every time, but seriously, there just aren’t many losers when you factor in their point value.  I listened to the Dial H for HeroClix Podcast today and one of the hosts joked that there are so many good figures in this set that when you do Sealed you don’t really need to think too hard. Just make sure the total point value is near 300 and the actual characters you select don’t matter that much. It will be a good team.
  • The Dial H guys also warned that this set is awful for Battle Royales. I would definitely agree with that. Your whole 5 member team might not add up to 300 points and someone else might start off by pulling the 300 point SR NFAOS006A Hulk. Or you might get a Hulkbuster torso in the rare slot of the pack you just opened.

Secret Warriors

  • I would have liked to have seen more Secret Warriors then just Quake and Druid. Most of this set seems to come from the pages of their series and all of the rest of Team White has rotated out of Modern.
  • [EDITOR’S NOTE: Last I checked, Eden Fesi, aka Manifold, was a very important character in that run and arguably–at least before Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. blew up Daisy Johnson’s profile–the most recognizable member of Nick’s Caterpillar team, since he graduated to the Avengers when Hickman took that book over. And he was just Clix’d in Avengers Assemble!!]
  • Okay, yeah, I meant besides him.
  • [EDITOR’S NOTE: Sure you did.]
  • Anyway… some of the Invaders are individually powerful, but I don’t see myself ever playing that team. Maybe because they were before my time? It would have been cool to give Spitfire a Trait that shows she is now Blade’s girlfriend. Like +1 to defense when adjacent or something. Missed opportunity.
  • How can Wizkids not have made a “Watcher Eyeball” Special Object for the OP kit? Why would they include a Winter Soldier in that prize kit and not have him be the new “Man on the Wall” version of that character from the final panels of Original Sin? Where are all the villians from the Original Sin series? I want an intelligent “Mindless One” figure! More missed thematic opportunities–and this is coming from someone who really digs this set!
Uhhh... maybe not.

Uhhh… on second thought, maybe not.

  • Continuing that line of thought, everyone knows about the Fantastic Four/X-Men pseudo-ban that Marvel has imposed, so it would have been nice to see Wizkids really properly exploit some of the best Nick Fury stories of the last 6 years. Nick Fury “The Unseen” needs a whole dial–not just a final click. While the Invaders–old and new–are all fine and dandy, this set needed to pull more pieces from “Secret Warriors” and “Original Sin.” I realize we were probably never going to see a new Gorgon (part of his convoluted history involves him being a mutant), but instead of all those Invaders, I would have rather seen: JT James, Alexander, Ares (at this point, he almost HAS to be a Con Exclusive next year, right?), Norman Osborn, Jerry Sledge and, hmmm… oh yeah: Leviathan!! Two or three figures plus some Generics. And I haven’t even gotten to the members of The Great Wheel!! MISSED. OPPORTUNITY!

Alright. Enough moping. Time to get into some…

Top Five HONORABLE MENTIONS:

"Just because we all look the same in these uniforms doesn't mean you can refer to us as 'Generics.'"

Just because we all look the same in these uniforms doesn’t mean you can refer to us as ‘Generics.’

5. NFAOS006A S.H.I.E.L.D. Bodyguard – Here’s a quote from my appraisal of Iron Man’s blue-dial from my Avengers Assemble Top Ten article: “18 Defense with Defend is nothing to sneeze at. It was awesome when they released CT043 Invisible Girl and it’s almost as good now.” That applies double to S.H.I.E.L.D. Bodyguard who, instead of costing 125 points like Iron Man, costs 35 points. That happens to also be two points less than CT043 Invisible Girl and with a much better dial. You’re going to want to push the S.H.I.E.L.D. Bodyguard to Click 2 where he sports his 18 Defend along with Sidestep and Close Combat Expert (a skill he undoubtedly likes to keep handy for close encounters). If you then push him again onto Clicks 3 and 4 he becomes your team’s medic. So he’s at first protecting your team from damage and then he switches gears to heal your team if they get damaged. That’s a lot of usefulness for just 35 points.

Will the real Nick Fury please stand up?

Will the real Nick Fury please stand up?

4. NFAOS001 Nick Fury – Nick Fury for 65 points is just average. 10 Attack, 3 Damage, Stealth, Precision Strike, Toughness and Shape Change, and Indomitable. There are lots of guys like him in this set. However, his 65 point dial is hiding the best S.H.I.E.L.D generic in the set. The 25 point generic dial starts with the same exact first two clicks as the 65 point version, but for 40 points less! Once you pay for the 65 point leader, you can add as many of the 25 point version as you want. With all of those little guys you’ve added it’s a good thing they all have the rally trait which states, “Rally: Whenever Nick Fury hits one or more opposing characters, add one action to your action total this turn.” That means that even if you have ten of this guy on your team you won’t run out of actions as long as your attacks keep hitting. If you decide that you want to be “that guy” for one event and just run a metric poop-ton of generics, you could do worse than fielding one Fury and a bunch of his L.M.D.’s…

Imperial Hydra

3. NFAOS046 Imperial Hydra – I like him because he enhances a lot of other pieces rather than just being a powerful piece himself. The main reason to play this guy is his Trait that states, “TWO HEADS SHALL TAKE THEIR PLACE!: When another friendly character with the Hydra keyword is KO’d and actions resolve, you may give Imperial Hydra an action token. If you do, roll a d6 that can’t be rerolled. 4 – 5: Place a character from outside the game with the Hydra keyword of 40 points or less adjacent to Imperial Hydra. 6: Place up to two characters from outside the game with the Hydra keyword of 40 points or less adjacent to Imperial Hydra.

So keep him in your Starting Area and let him constantly re-spawn  more Hydra units for you all game. If you get even one 40 point Hydra unit out of him then you’ve broken even. He works way better on teams with a lot of Hydra units rather than teams with just a few figures.

"No I will NOT look behind me! You fools think you can outwit Demonicus with the oldest trick in the book?!"

No I will NOT look behind me! You fools think you can outwit Demonicus with the oldest trick in the book?!

2. NFAOS047 Dr. Demonicus – What a cool idea for a figure. He’s a Kaiju summoning mad scientist. “GIANT MONSTER SUMMON!: Give Dr. Demonicus a power action if no friendly bystander token named on this card is on the map. You may choose one you haven’t chosen this game and place it on the map adjacent to him.”

While each of his Bystander Tokens probably isn’t worth 80 points by itself, if you get most of them out over the course of a game then I’d say you definitely got value for his 80 points. Remember to keep the good doctor close to his creations. He has Perplex and the Special Power  “LIFESTONE DEFENSE: Adjacent friendly characters with “colossal damage symbol” modify their defense values by +1.” Those two powers together can raise any of his monster token’s Defense Value to 20 or more!

Shine bright like a diamond.

Shine bright like a diamond.

1. NFAOS041 Radiance – For 65 points you get a character with the S.H.I.E.L.D. keyword that has the Wing Symbol and gives all adjacent S.H.I.E.L.D. pieces Shape Change. There are a lot of good S.H.I.E.L.D. pieces in this set and many that I would argue were great who came out even before this set. Radiance is the best low point Taxi for S.H.I.E.L.D. keyword that is not named AVAS037 Manifold. But, unlike Manifold, her duel target Incapacitate lets her also assist her teammates in battle. She reminds me a lot of one of Hypefox’s favorite pieces, IIM002 Rescue.

[EDITOR’S NOTE: Probably one of my most-played Common pieces.]

Top Ten Figures of the Set:

"Need... more... arms... with guns!!"

Need… more… arms… with guns!!”

10. NFAOS022 Winter Soldier – This Winter Soldier shares a keyword with Steve Rogers and actually lets them make a Themed Team again. That warms my heart. On the other hand, seeing this guy across the table should chill your opponent’s heart.

Now, he doesn’t have opening Running Shot or any sort of native move and attack. Instead, he just sits in Stealth and bides his time. He sports Improved Targeting: Ignores Hindering AND Improved Targeting: Ignores Characters AND he’s rocking a crazy-good Special Damage Power that reads like this: “Deadly Sniper: Winter Soldier can use Outwit and Ranged Combat Expert, both with a locked range value of 10. If he uses both in a turn, he must target the same character.

When you put it all together, he can Outwit right through Stealth from 10 squares away and then attack that same character for up to five damage. To paraphrase my earlier thoughts on the S.H.I.E.L.D. Bodyguard, having Steath and Outwit together on one dial was good all the way back in Infinity Challenge (Why, it’s Infinity Challenge Experienced Black Panther! Hello again, old friend!), and it’s still good now. And when you add Winter Soldier’s Improved Targeting twist, it gets even better.

Ooooookay, that does not look safe...

Ooooookay, this does not look safe…

9. NFAOS061 Avengers Sky-Cycle – Hawkeye has been getting a lot of love lately in HeroClix. He’s got three good-to-great options in Modern (AAOU009 Hawkeye, AVAS002 Hawkeye, and AAOU106 Hawkeye.). He’s got two specialized Revert figures (AVAS066 Goliath, and AVAS052 Ronin). And now he has the best vehicle in this set printed for him.

Of all of the Chases in this set, this is the only vehicle that can actually carry more than just the pilot.  That’s a big thing. It will also let Hawkeye take a huge hit that might otherwise have KO’d him (seriously, this thing has six Clicks of life–with Toughness on the first three!).

But the best part about this vehicle is it’s printed power, “Unbelievable Upside-Down Shot: When Avengers Sky-Cycle makes an attack, you may modify its attack value by +2. If you do and actions resolve, roll a d6 that can’t be rerolled and on a result of 1, place the pilot in an adjacent square, dealing it and all passengers 2 unavoidable damage.” Keep in mind that with the new vehicle rules, the Sky-Cycle will be making attacks with its Pilot’s printed stats. So this power allows almost any Pilot to raise the Sky-Cycle’s Attack Value to a very “Hawkeye-like” 12 or 13 with only a very small chance of catastrophe.

Note to other comic artists: this is how you design and introduce a new look for an established character.

This piece is called “Killing It” by Stuart Immonen. And if it’s not, it should be. 

8NFAOS049 Captain America – The new Falcon as Captain America has a better then expected range of 7 along with Precision Strike, 11 Attack, and 3 Damage. But his defense is where he really shines. He has a Defense Special Power that contain the most standard powers I’ve ever seen combined into one white box. It reads, “How Did I Ever Survive Without a Shield?: Captain America can use Energy Shield/Deflection, Invulnerability, Super Senses, and Willpower.” That’s four standard powers in one! Apparently, Sam is able to use that shield better than Cap ever did (at least in HeroClix).

Being that he’s the artist formerly known as Falcon, this Captain America also gets help from his birds via 3 pigeon tokens and a Redwing token. Redwing’s use is obvious, but the pigeons will need a bit more strategic planning to get the most out of them. Being that they are tiny size I believe that their best use is to be Carried and then dropped into adjacency with opposing figures while your figures stay at least one square back. You opponent will hopefully have to waste an attack on each pigeon token.

I’m just picturing it in my head now:

"Hulk hate puny pigeons!"

Hulk hate puny pigeons!”

[EDITOR’S NOTE: By the way, has there been a better “new look” for an established character in the last ten years than Falcon’s Captain America costume? It’s like they took the best bits of Falcon’s original costume, Cap’s normal suit, and Cap’s “Winter Soldier” movie costume, blended it all together, and somehow the result is even greater than the sum of its substantial parts.

Also, I don’t want to get off on a rant here, but of all the diversity initiatives Marvel has undertaken with their topline, A-list  characters lately (Thor is a woman! Spider-Man is black! Ms. Marvel is a Muslim!), Sam Wilson becoming Cap has always made the most sense to me, story-wise. If anything, Falcon should have been promoted to replace Steve a few years ago when the Winter Soldier ended up taking over as Captain America. Cap and Falcon had been friends and fellow Avengers for years; at the time, Bucky Barnes had only recently gotten his mind right after being brainwashed into becoming a Communist killing machine for decades! Which of those two would YOU choose to inspire millions of Americans and carry on your legacy if you were Cap?

Now don’t get me wrong; while I thought most of these storylines were bad ideas at the time (mostly because they seemed forced and contrived, as if they existed solely to round out some sort of character diversity quota instead of coming about naturally as each character’s story progressed), Marvel’s implementation of these stories has been nearly flawless, especially when you consider how easy it would be to screw these twists up and alienate your core readers.

Jane Foster Thor 1

As much as I didn’t understand replacing Thor with a woman called “Thor” (isn’t Thor Odinson Thor’s actual name, and not a title like “Captain America?” That’s like if everyone started calling the Falcon “Steve” after he took over the mantle of Captain America, which wouldn’t make any sense at all, right? Or am I just completely overthinking this?), the way that story has evolved (especially with the reveal of who this new Thor actually is) has kind of grown on me.

Miles Morales

And while I’m not a huge Ultimate Spider-Man fan, Miles Morales actually seems to work better when he exists in stories WITH Peter Parker interacting with/sort of guiding him. Peter’s traditionally portrayed as just barely having his own life together, so the idea of someone like that mentoring a kid with similar powers like Miles is actually pretty interesting to me, and I look forward to the upcoming post-Secret Wars merging where they will both exist in the same universe.

Kamala Khan

Finally, Ms. Marvel has become a wonderful book about a young girl trying to balance the power and responsibility of being a latent Inhuman with her Muslim faith while still trying to survive life as a normal American high-schooler (and not just in her own book–check out her delightful guest appearance in the second issue of Mark Waid’s wonderful new “S.H.I.E.L.D.” series from a few months ago). Also, her hero worship of Carol Danvers offers a unique window into what Kamala Khan values and plants a very compelling reason as to why she would consciously choose to fight for justice under the name “Ms. Marvel.” In other words, Ms. Marvel might be the most Spider-Man-like character Marvel’s published in a decade.

This is why I always loved that Marvel as a whole is called “The House of Ideas.” I love plenty of DC characters, and there are many wonderful stories in that universe. But I just can’t see DC pulling off something this crazy on paper and actually having it all work.

Alright, with all that said, let’s get back to Ninwashui’s Top Ten already!!]

Peggy Carter

7. NFAOS007B Peggy Carter – Ho-hum. Another set, another VERY good Common Prime. For 60 points, this bargain Batman piece Peggy Carter figure brings a lot to the table. First, her Improved Movement: Ignores Hindering Terrain helps her get to enemy territory and her Trait protects her when she gets there: “Behind Enemy Lines If Peggy Carter is closer to an opponent’s starting area than she is to her own, she can use Stealth and Shape Change.

If your opponent can’t see through Stealth, then she can keeping running between Hindering Terrain patches while she puts her Energy Explosion to work. If the opponent tries to engage her in close combat he faces the wrath of her exceptionally good Damage Special, “Saboteur At the beginning of your turn, choose a standard power or team ability. Opposing characters within 3 squares of Peggy Carter can’t use it until your next turn. ” If your opponent brings his whole team after her… well, she is only 60 points. Your other 240 points of team should be able to flank your opponent and easily take advantage of that.

Fitz and Henry

6. FFNFAOS004 Fitz (and FFNFAOS099 H.E.N.R.Y.)  If you’ve read any of our Top Tens before, you know that whenever I see a character cost exactly 50 points in a Fast Forces set, I tend to pay attention. 50 points is the magical point value for good support characters in HeroClix Fast Forces releases. It’s a trend that started way back with FFCW006R Scarlet Witch and continued on with pieces like FFDP006R Mercy and most recently FFOA006R Captain America. In the long tradition of 50 Point Fast Forces support pieces, Fitz does not disappoint.

Starting on click two, Fitz has Perplex, the Shield TA, Field Team Backup Trait and an extremely mobile Empower/Enhancement effect via Henry. Then he also has the choice to use a power action for Telekenisis or to grant another character an additional Perplex. That’s a ton of support for just 50 points, and that’s why he’s on this list at #6!

So... I'm thinking this is the image they referenced for her sculpt.

So… I’m thinking this is the image they referenced for her sculpt.

5NFAOS050 Thor – For 145 points this may be the best version of Thor ever printed. She has the damage reducers normally associated with Thor, but she also has the Improved Targeting: Ignores Characters, Elevation, and Hindering that seems more like it would be at home on DP036 Bullseye. She starts defensively with Impervious and Shape Change. Offensively, she has Running Shot and Energy Explosion. Once she takes some damage she switches to Super Strength and full move Charge! He dial finishes strong with Pulse Wave and then finally regeneration. She doesn’t have a bad click amongst her eight clicks of life and she gets a bonus against resource users: “If She Be Worthy: Modify Thor’s attack and damage values by +1 when targeting a single character that is assigned a relic or resource with an attack.”  A real steal for the points. 

This is a Primary Attacker that we’ll be seeing in ROC’s and other tournies for the next two years!

"Of course I use a gun! Who am I, Batman?"

Of course I use a gun! Who am I, Batman?

4NFAOS051 Steve Rogers – In HeroClix this is the best director that S.H.I.E.L.D. has ever had. You’ll notice the high Attack Values right away with the opening 12, but the surprising part is how consistent those values are. Only on his final Click does he get as low as a 10 Attack. While his Running Shot, Improved Targeting and dual target Energy Explosion make him look like a solo Primary Attacker, he is just as good at supporting his team. He has Leadership, Enhancement, the ability to grant other pieces Energy Shield/Deflection, and every time he hits with an attack anyone with the S.H.I.E.L.D. keyword can use Probability Control while attacking that turn. 

So you may not have a ton of room left after fielding Steve for 150 Points, but you won’t need it, since he gets the most out of his 40-60 Point S.H.I.E.L.D. running buddies!

"No, I'm not a vampire. I know, I get that a lot. I think it's the cape. And the constant brooding."

I am called Nighthawk. Mostly because it is scarier than ‘Kyle.”

3NFAOS059b Nighthawk (Prime) – Think of how much you enjoy powers like Ranged Combat Expert, Traits that grant stat bonuses, or Resources that give +1 to all stats. For 65 points this guy shuts all of that down and much, much more. His Trait reads, “The People Must Think For Themselves: Friendly characters can’t be targeted by Mind Control. Opposing characters’ combat values can’t be increased unless they are adjacent to Nighthawk.” Offensively this guy is nothing too special, but he shines defensively. He defensive power reads, “President of the United States (of Earth-712): Nighthawk can use Energy Shield/Deflection and Shape Change. When he uses Shape Change, increase the result by +1 for each adjacent friendly character.” It’s kind funny that he gets energy Shield/Deflection himself  because that power is useless on opposing characters. But hey, what good is an unfair advantage if you can’t take advantage of it?

"What do you mean you think I look like a rejected monster from Resident Evil 4?!"

What do you mean you think I look like a rejected monster from Resident Evil 4?!

2NFAOS048 Iron Nail – Hypefox and I played a Sealed game with 2 packs each of this set. He pulled Iron Nail and SR Nighthawk. The truth is that he could have beaten my whole team with just this guy. His powers and stats are about average for a character of his point cost, but his Trait is borderline broken. It reads “Rapid Power Drain At the end of your turn, place a Drain token on the cards of all adjacent opposing characters. Opposing characters modify their combat values by -1 for each Drain token placed by him. An opposing character may be given a power action to remove all Drain tokens from that character’s card.

In our sealed game he just walked Iron Nail next to my Baron Blood prime and that was pretty much all he needed to do to win that match. Baron Blood had a 10 attack that became a 9 and of course he missed that attack roll the following turn. Even if he hit, he would have needed a good Blades/Claws/Fangs roll to even do damage. Iron Nail’s dial is 8 clicks long with damage reducers all the way and it has this Trait the whole dial, obviously. He could easily KO any of the 14 figures I have named so far. Even 300 point SR Hulk in this set would have a good chance of losing to this guy in a 1 on 1 fight. In Sealed he’s an auto play and I bet he’ll see a lot of constructed play as well. Especially when you consider he has the S.H.I.E.L.D. keyword. Which leads me to my next thought: He has the freaking S.H.I.E.L.D. keyword! So you’re not even that limited in what teams you can build around him! Sheeesh.

Nick Fury Original Sin

1NFAOS056 Nick Fury – In the Original Sin storyline it was revealed that Nick Fury was secretly a cosmic assassin (called “The Man on the Wall”) that spent all his free time killing entities that were going to threaten the earth before anyone else even knew about it. If you were a mystical demon overlord, cosmic alien warlord, or a monster from the center of the earth, chances are that Nick and his frankly awesome-beyond-words-Gamma- bullet- sniper- rifle had you in his crosshairs.

They’ve translated this character into HeroClix extremely well. He doesn’t have Running Shot; like the Winter Soldier, Nick will just sit and wait for you to come into his (extremely long) range. When you do, you’re toast He accomplishes this with a Trait and Special Power. His Trait reads “Cosmic Assassin, Guardian of Earth: Nick Fury can use Shape Change. When Nick Fury targets only the highest point opposing character with an attack, modify his attack and damage values by +1 and he deals penetrating damage.

His special power reads, “Watcher’s Eyes to See Secrets: Nick Fury can use Probability Control. Give Nick Fury a free action and choose a power that an opposing character within range and line of fire can use. That character can’t use that power until your next turn.

Because of his Trait, the highest point opposing character is always dealt Penetrating damage on any attack (even close combat). If you are someone like IIM103 Absorbing Man who doesn’t fear Penetrating damage, then Nick Fury will just use his Special Power on you and take away your defense anyway. Think about that for a moment. He would deal Penetrating damage to 1000 point Shuma-Gorath and if Invincible showed up, Nick would just take that power away too. With an 11 Attack likely changing to 12 and Probability Control built in, he is not missing often and with his various Improved Targeting Traits, literally only Blocking Terrain is safe to hide behind. Defensively he has Stealth, Toughness, 18 Defense, Probability Control, and Shape Change! If an opponent wants to try and take Nick out, that’s far from a sure thing.

He reminds me a lot of DP036 Bullseye back when Bullseye and DP102 Bill, Agent of A.I.M. were the Meta team to beat. Nick is far superior to Bullseye for just 10 more points and he should see a bunch of Constructed play. Heck, the Meta might soon be  playing either him or playing a team designed to beat him (whatever that might be). That’s why he’s the best figure in this set.

[EDITOR’S NOTE: We also have a special announcement!! We’re teaming with Heroclix Underground to help provide content for their new venture! Look for versions of this article, a Top Ten Second Opinion and more to show up soon on their site. As for Critical Missives, we’re not going anywhere, and we’ll soon return with “Straight, With CHASEr 4” (where we take a special look at the new vehicles) and the aforementioned Second Opinion on Nick Fury!!]

A Really Long Reply: Skye’s Father and Other Random Thoughts…

This started off as a really long comment/reply to Hypefox’s last Mid-Weekly Roundup. With everything he brought up, my reply ended up being long enough to be it’s own article.

What follows is in no particular order…

Agents of Shield Title

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D:

–I read an article today theorizing that the Inhumans are coming to Agents of S.H.I. E.L.D. . The author theorized that the blue alien that healed Coulson was a Kree and that Skye was an Inhuman. That’s why Skye shared some DNA with the blue alien (being that the Inhumans were the result of Kree genetic experiments on humans). They also theorized that the obelisk is actually a Terrigan Crystal. Various characters in the series have also mentioned several times that Skye and her father were from the Himalayas. That was the original location of the home of the Inhumans (before it moved to the moon and before it blew up). Now, the author of the article thought Skye’s father would either be Mr. Hyde (retconned to now be an Inhuman), Maximus, or the Unspoken! The first one would make Skye into “Daisy” from Marvel’s Secret Warriors and the last two would actually make Skye part of the Inhuman royal family!

My guess?

I think it will turn out that Mr. Hyde will be Skye’s father. There is talk of an Inhumans movie and if that’s true then Mr. Hyde would be the least likely character that would be needed for such an endeavor, which in turn would mean that the showrunners would have free rein to do whatever they wanted to with the character. That’s why I think Season 1 of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. didn’t feature more recognizable super people–they didn’t know which characters would and would not be needed for MCU films in the near future. Having a major villain debut on Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. pretty much ensures that character won’t make it into the movies (at least not in any meaningful way, i.e. the primary antagonist).

Can you imagine if, say, a Hawkeye movie featured as the main villain someone that Phil Coulson’s team fought (and ostensibly beat) during an episode of MAoS? There could definitely be a feeling of ‘been there, done that’ to the proceedings, which could cause ticket sales to suffer, which is just about the last thing you would want for a tentpole flick that would cost a minimum of $150 million to produce.

However, if the MCU movies used some of the characters who were first established on TV (or, say, one of the upcoming Netflix series) to fill in the edges of some of their stories, well, that could be really cool. For example, if, say, Absorbing Man showed up as bit player in the next Avengers movie then I think that would drive the up popularity of both media, and would make the TV series “matter” in the movie universe. Can you imagine Avengers 2 opening with the already-established-on-Agents-of-S.H.I.E.L.D.-Absorbing Man fighting the Hulk in Times Square before the opening credits? Then Ultron reveals him himself after the Avengers assemble post-fight back at the tower. I don’t think they’ll do it, but it’s awesome to think about. Really, the possibilities for this sort of thing are endless…

 

"Oh, Stephen, noooo!"

Celebrate-Gate…

 The Detroit Lions – These guys have been known in years past (really every other year previous to now) to lead fans on and make them start to believe only to yank the football away at the last second like Lucy does with Charlie Brown. Their defense this year will be remembered as one of the best the team has ever had. The offense will likely not be remembered at all. They won their latest game in incredible fashion, or more accurately the Falcons lost their latest game in incredible fashion. On the plus side this week no major player injured themselves celebrating, and our field goal kicker proved he can actually make a field goal if you give him a free do-over. Seriously I would love it if Jason Hanson came back. I think the Lions are getting kickers from the same place that the Tigers get closers.

 

Avengers_Assemble_TV_series

Marvel Cartoon Series – I don’t have any new news here. I just wanted to bring these to your attention in case you haven’t been checking them out. When Marvel connected everything in their movie universe by releasing the Avengers, the cartoon universe made that same move. In 2013, the current (at that time) Avengers cartoon was based off of the comics. It was replaced by Avengers Assemble, which started in episode one with the events of the Avengers movie. From there it diverges wildly (like adding falcon to the team in episode 1), but it’s nice for new viewers to have the movie starting point. Being in cartoon form also allows them to do things that wouldn’t fly in the movies – like having Dracula (yes that Dracula) be a reoccurring villain.  Avengers Assemble also connects with Ultimate Spider-man and Hulk and the Agents of S.M.A.S.H. in the same cartoon Universe. This allows them to guest star characters frequently between series and keep the same voice actors for characters regardless of show. For example, Iron Man is always voiced by Adrian Pasdar (who is also Glen Talbot on Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D) regardless of which of the shows he’s appearing on at the time. That inter-connectedness makes it cool.

 

redbox

On Blu-Ray this month – I’ve got kids so I miss a ton of movies in theatres. I took a chance and rented Godzilla this week. I loved Pacific Rim and I was hoping this would be similarly fun. That ended up not being the case. The director made the incomprehensible decision to shoot the movie with realistic lighting conditions. Like maybe the monsters would be a lot scarier if you couldn’t really see them. Except in other movies that do that there is something else for the viewers to watch. This was just dark and hard to see. Can you imagine if the original Star Wars used realistic lighting conditions and you could barely see the Death Star the whole movie? Ridiculous. The plot also was absurd and that’s coming from someone who thought the Mathew Brodrick version was decent. HISHE has a wonderful spoof on this movie. The part with the “let them fight” line was dead on.

I’m hoping to rent The Edge of Tomorrow and 1000 Ways to Die in the West soon. I have higher hopes for those movies.

 

The_Flash_(2014_TV_series)_logo

The Entire Flash set Versus Speed Demon – They’ve revealed five Hypersonic Speed-based character dials for The Flash set so far. While they each have some interesting powers, they all require you to hit an opponent before you can really do anything special. There are faster pieces in this set, but so far it looks like Speed Demon will remain the best Hypersonic HeroClix character [EDITOR’S NOTE: All characters get better with Entities, obviously, but he is damn near broken! Ion is great with him; Ophidian might be just as good, if not better (keep in mind, if you can find a way to give Speed Demon Sidestep, his Trait still activates! So in addition to your normal attack and first Speed Cyclone Uplift victim, if you’re careful enough with your positioning, you would have a 1 in 6 chance to do another 1 damage to an opposing figure. That’s three freaking chances to deal damage to opposing figures, and two of them don’t even need attack rolls. Sick, sick SICK!!]

On an unrelated note, FL204 Central City Police Captain has a power that reads “LAW ENFORCEMENT CONSULTANT: When building your force, all characters with the Police keyword have the Central City keyword.” With the Batman and Streets of Gotham sets still being legal, Police teams might be a thing again. As always, stay tuned…

 

Krampus

Team of the week – I’ve had reason to study the Krampus/Helspont combo recently and I’m finding the only teams truly resistant are teams that feature a tent pole that costs over 199 points (because Helspont can’t switch with them). To that end I put together this quick team.

“Deadpool is Just the Man to Teachethetheth Thee.”

  • DP055 Deadpool (w/DPW003 “4th Wall? What 4th Wall?”)
  • TDW011 Fandral
  • FIR100 The Book of the Skull
  • FIR107 Angrir’s Hammer
  • Total = 299 points

If someone tries to “Krampus” this team they won’t be able to touch Deadpool due to his point cost.  That leaves Fandral. Fandral can use his perplex to raise his defense by one and then Krampus would need hit a 20 defense to get his Capture. It’s still very possible Krampus makes that roll, but it’s a certainly not a “lock”. That’s not really even the worst part for the Krampus player. If Helspont switches with Fandral, he’ll end up double tokened next to Deadpool. Deadpool has outwit, pulse wave, and an attack of 14. He’s not going to miss except on snake eyes. Helspont will be near the end of his dial very quickly.

Against non-Krampus teams, Deadpool is still a killer and Fandral is still a very competent backup attacker. If Fandral rolls low on Blades then Deadpool gets a free close combat attack via Fandrals’s Feint special power . If Fandral rolls high on Blades, then he rolls high on Blades. Isn’t that enough?

The approach on the battlefield against other teams might hurt because Deadpool only has a six range, but once you close with another team you will be incredibly deadly.

[EDITOR’S NOTE: Any team using the Yellow Power Battery has the possibility to give Krampus fits as well, provided your figures are over 79 Points. The Hal Jordan Parallax team from the first “Let’s Be Lanterns” should be able to mop the floor with a Krampus/Helspont team. Having said that, yeah, there’s not a lot that effectively counters Krampus/Helspont. Props to you again, Andrew!]

Well, that’s it for now. Man, that was a lot of randomness that I just scribbled down. I feel like Larry King! Now if only I got paid like him…

[EDITOR’S NOTE: Sorry. Not gonna happen.]

Damn.

 

 

 

How To Clinch The Central!! (Or, The Mid-Weekly Roundup for 09/28/2014!!)

Roundup

Howdy! It’s time for another edition of our patented Roundups! Why publish an update now, in the middle of the week? Well, a lot has happened in the last two weeks!

In the world of Michigan sports alone:

–Baseball’s regular season has finally ended, and the Tigers finished in first place in the AL Central. Finally! Here’s what the scene looked like in and around Comerica Park:

Noted baseball fans Barry Allen and Wally West run by the stadium wearing Tigers colors! (Not gonna lie, they were hard to capture on film!)

Noted baseball fans Barry Allen and Wally West run by the stadium wearing Tigers colors! (Barry was in the home whites; Wally was wearing the navy gear. And yes, that’s Ford Field–where the Lions play–right behind them. For any non-southeastern Michigan readers, the Lions and Tigers play right next to each other!)

 

Fans exiting the stadium. That's the Ren Cen in the skyline there.

Fans exiting the stadium. That’s the Ren Cen in the skyline there.

 

Folks ready to celebrate in downtown Detroit.

Folks ready to celebrate in downtown Detroit.

Now, here’s where it gets weird. After the Tigers beat Minnesota to clinch the division, two cops on horseback came out onto the grass near the fence in left-center field (by the bullpens.) There, they milled about for just two minutes or so, and then left. And that’s when I noticed something strange on the warning track:

photo (19)

Hmmm…” I thought, “That’s strange. Lemme see if I can zoom in a bit. That can’t be what I think it is... ”

"Oh yeah. That's what I thought it was."

Oh yeah. That’s what I thought it was.

Yep. An explosion of horsecrap right on the outfield dirt. Now our Warning Track needs a Warning Track.

–I bet the Twins felt crappy about losing.

–That horse was a real party pooper. (Okay, I’m done with the dookie puns now. Well… probably.)

–The Tigers will start their playoff run today in Baltimore at 5:37!

–Meanwhile, across the street, the Lions played Green Bay a couple weeks ago. They won the game, in large part because of their stellar defense. Lions middle linebacker Stephen Tulloch was so excited to get a sack in the first half that he just had to express himself:

"Somehow, this is still more manly than the Martin Grammatica celebratory knee explosion. At least Tulloch actually did something worth celebrating...

Yup! These are my Lions!

–Still, after a 3-1 start, I have to be optimistic, right? I mean, it’s not like this team has a long, tortured and RECENT history of collapsing during the latter half of the season, right?

Bah. Best not to think of such things. In fact, I think it’s high time we turned our attention to:

 

THE MID-WEEKLY UPDATE!!

 

Microphone

PODCASTS:

Dial H

Dial H for Heroclix is always new every week! Their latest episode included some spoilers for upcoming OP kits as well as a discussion of the second series of Yu-Gi-Oh! figures!

This is Ultimate Play, b!tches!

–The Quarry has released Episode 27, which covers the end of the ROC’s first season!!

Push to Regen

–In somewhat sad news, Push to Regen has announced on Reddit that they have released their final episode. Their Facebook page is still up, and still posting the occasional news item, but the show has reached its final destination.

"We're a Thing again!"

We’re a Thing again!”

–And, in tribute to Elton John and the Circle of Life (never thought I’d make an Elton John reference on this blog; I was, apparently, wrong), just as Push to Regen goes quietly into that dark night, ClixCast rises from the ashes after six months and publishes two new episodes! Welcome back, gentlemen.

 

Welcome... to the ROC!

–You can find the latest ROC tourney announcements right here!

 

Preview

–Keep your GotG Nebula, Rocket Raccoon Movie Chase, Star-Lord Movie Starter piece, Movie Rare Groot, Movie Rare Yondu and Batroc handy–we have another Pirate to add to your force! It’s Pirate Deathstroke, and he’s… weird. But in a good way. His mid-dial “Take Their Vessel” Special Movement power has to be the weirdest justification EVER for granting the use of Mind Control, but he also has a great top dial Damage Special called “Steal More Than Your Gold” that allows him to basically steal a standard power from an opposing figure within 6 squares. The best part is, you’re preventing that character from “using” that power, not countering that power, so it gets around Power Cosmic or Quintessence or any powers that “can’t be countered.” I’d like a little more Range than 6, but for 112 Points, he’s certainly unique.

–Want to know what to expect when OP Rogue is up for grabs at your local venue? Click here to find out!

 

Wizkids

–In case you missed it last time, we got some announcements about some upcoming sets!! We are getting an Avengers Assemble set with 25 never-before-Clix’d characters along with next year’s OP set: Age of Ultron!! Oh, and we’re getting an Age of Ultron Movie Set as well. In addition, it appears that BOTH sets will use Avengers ID cards (randomly inserted in boosters?) that will work with the Avengers Roundtable Resource. How this will all play out, I don’t know. But what I do know is that somewhere along the way (probably but not definitely as the main prize from Age of Ultron) we will finally get… a Quinjet! Yep, Marvel’s finally getting a vehicle (at least one that didn’t start as a figure like Warlock)!

Avengers Assemble should hit around May, and will be a normal 5-figure Booster set. Age of Ultron will come in two different waves of 5-Figure boosters. Wheeee!

You can find a link to the Alliance pictures HERE!!

 

Army of the Week

Army of the Week:

No Army of the Week this week, as we’re devoting a little extra time to debuting another new feature–Upcoming Local Games–at the bottom of this very article. Army of the Week will return next time, though!

 

Hooray for Hollllllywooood!!

Hooray for Hollllllywooood!!

–Gotham and Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. have premiered! After two episodes apiece, they appear to be  heading in opposite directions. This week, I’ll talk about Gotham. Next week, we’ll take a look at Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.!

Gotham Title

–Okay, I know this is a comic-book-based show, but the premiere and ESPECIALLY the second episode were really over the top. Not a great start. Ben McKenzie is fine as Jim Gordon, and I like his military backstory. But Donal Logue seems uncomfortable so far as Harvey Bullock (color me surprised–I would’ve thought he’d be brilliant), partially because every other scene has him spouting cartoonish exposition about how corrupt Gotham is and how Jim needs to get with the program. I think that’s what I dislike the most–Jim Gordon and Harvey Bullock seem like characters from two different shows. And the abysmally named Fish Mooney (Jada Pinkett Smith). the other character with the most screen time through episode 2, seems bizarrely misconceived.

Why does Fish Mooney  have a character banner like audience's already know who she is? Whaaa... ?! And really, a tough as nails female gangster has no problem with folks calling her Fish? Really?!

Why does Fish Mooney have a character banner like audiences already know who she is? And really, a tough as nails female gangster has no problem with folks calling her Fish?!

The only other standout so far is the guy playing the Penguin as a young thug. He’s good, but since he’s rail-thin and dressed to the nines all the time, every time someone talks about how much he looks or walks like a penguin (which supposedly sets him off on a violent rage every time he hears it), you just wonder what the hell they’re talking about.

The acting was really bad in episode 2, which featured indie movie vets Lili Taylor and Frank Whaley as a couple of creepy kidnappers. The roles were so poorly executed that neither actor ever seemed comfortable, and the whole thing devolved into a giant mess by the end. The show is also already having trouble connecting Bruce Wayne and Alfred Pennyworth to the weekly stories. This episode, Alfred caught Bruce burning his own hand with a candle flame, so of course he did the natural thing and went to see Jim Gordon, that detective Alfred has only met twice and who admittedly botched up the Wayne’s murder investigation. Well, of course that’s the guy he would turn to for parenting help.

This is only Episode 2, so the fact that the creative team is already having these sorts of structural problems with the premise of the show doesn’t bode well for the future. Look, I love Batman and Catwoman, but it seems like things would go a lot smoother if Bruce, Alfred, Selina Kyle and the young girl from the pilot who may or may not turn into Poison Ivy were recurring characters who only showed up a few times a season, at most. Because, despite what the marketing campaign would have you believe, the show’s not actually about them!

Based on what we saw in the pilot, Gotham is about a young detective named Jim Gordon, who happens to be the one honest cop in the city of Gotham, and his rise to prominence in the world’s most corrupt city. That’s it–that’s the logline of the show. Paring down the main cast to Jim Gordon, Harvey Bullock, their boss (I’m sorry, I can’t even remember her name), Jim’s fiance Barbara and whatever mobsters/villains you want them going after during the arc of the first season would free up a lot of constraints that are currently weighing down the show.

"I take it back--the marketing clearly showed the four completely different stories that the show would be telling this season."

“I take it back–the marketing clearly showed the five completely different stories that the show would be telling this season.”

Now, on the bright side, they did find a way to include Selina Kyle a little more directly (although, God help me, if she tells one more adult to call her “Cat,” I might throw something at my TV. She’s gonna be Catwoman in another decadeWE F–KING GET IT!!), not just for this episode but for at least the next few.

I haven’t watched much of Arrow, but from what I understand that enterprise started a little shaky too; now it’s become CAN’T-MISS TV!! for a lot of folks. Perhaps Gotham will get there; for now, it remains a flawed undertaking.

 

Local Tournament Report

Upcoming Local Events:

Hello! Welcome to the latest feature for the Weekly Update–Upcoming Local Events!

This is the spot where we’ll post a few notices about upcoming games at venues in and around Southeastern Michigan, where Critical Missives is based. If any venue would like us to announce an upcoming event anywhere in the country, you can hit us up on Twitter or let us know via feedback to this very post!

–Today @ 6pm, Big Ben’s Comix Oasis in Allen Park, MI will host some Free-For-All battles, 400 Points Modern Age–only single-based figures will be allowed. “Shock the Turtle” Battlefield conditions will be in effect.

–Comic City in Pontiac, MI also has a Zombie Team Base going to the winner of tonight’s game! Looks like the Build is a massive 1550?! Wow–gonna be some carnage tonight!

–Thursday night Clix is also happening at Comic City’s Canton location tonight! 300 Points, Modern Age.

–Fun 4 All Comics & Games in Ypsilanti (tonight!), The Amazing Book Store in Flint (Saturday the 4th), Warriors 3 Comics & Games in Wayne (Saturday the 4th), Comic Relief in Flint (Saturday the 4th) and Eternal Games in Warren (Sunday the 5th) are ALL running WoL Month 5 Events this week!

More updates to come next week!

And don’t forget that my local venue also has something cooking in a couple weeks:

–On Wednesday, October 15th @6:15pm, Comics & More in Madison Heights, MI will have some Zombie Team Bases from the GOTG OP kit up for grabs! The Build is 300 Points, and Colossals, Team Bases, Entities, Relics & Resources will ALL be allowed!

 

Wait--it's already listing this post!! Huh?! Whaa?! Must be magic!!

Critical Missives:

–Our Top Ten Set Reviews for Guardians of the Galaxy have dropped! To read HypeFox’s take, click here! To check out Ninwashui’s rebuttal, go here!

And that’s all for now! Whew! Long one this week. Keep an eye out for us this week! We’ll have a Local Tourney Report for WOL Month 4 coming soon, as well as an article devoted to Copycat and some of the issues she’s created!

Until then, stay safe, and watch where you draw those lines of fire!