The Ghost of Christmas Future Presents: Breaking News! Avengers: Black Panther and the Illuminati!! (Or, The Sixth Night of Clix-Mas 2018!!)

Black Panther Infinity Gauntlet.jpg

[EDITOR’S NOTEWelcome to Clix-Mas 2018, wherein we here at Critical Missives rather foolishly try to provide you with twelve different articles in twelve days, all brought to you by either the Ghost of Christmas Past, the Ghost of Christmas Present, or the Ghost of Christmas Future! If you need to catch up with our intro to all of this, the first Night of Clix-Mas 2018 can be found in our first post of the season, and Night 2 speculated on the next Star Trek set. And Night 3 looked at some of HypeFox’s favorite Golden Age pieces! Night 4 dropped yesterday and examined the lack of Fantastic Four in Clix for the last 6 years! Finally, Night 5 brought us a look at HypeFox’s favorite Sealed sets!]

Ho ho ho!!

Welcome to Night Six of the Twelve Nights of Clix-Mas!! Sorry we’re a little late tonight, but we got some hot off the presses news!

About a year after I called for Infinity Gem Equipment in my Irresponsible Speculation!! Preview of the Avengers: Infinity expansion… we’ll actually be getting just that!

That’s right–Wizkids announced another Avengers set for next year, and it’s gonna have some big hitters in it, with sub-themes including Wakanda itself, the Illuminati, The Cabal, The Elders of the Universe and possibly even the first Malibu character in Clix, Rune (who himself once went after the gems, which would make him a perfect inclusion here).

There will be 78 total figures in the set broken down thusly:

17 Commons (plus 1 Prime)
17 Uncommons (plus 1 Prime)
17 Rares (plus 1 Prime)
16 Super Rares (plus 1 Prime)
6 Chases
1 Ultra Chase
11 Equipment Objects (included with select figures in 5-Figure Boosters)

Never before Clix’d pieces include Astronomer, Challenger, Eitri, Enigma, Everett K. Ross, Kobik, Okoye, and as mentioned before, Rune.

Some of the equipment we’ll be getting includes the Cosmic Cube, The Infinity Gems and The Infinity Gauntlet.

Obviously we don’t know much more than that, but we can make some educated guesses based upon what we know from the comics! So let’s indulge in some quick…

IRRESPONSIBLE SPECULATION!!

New_Avengers_Vol_3_2

One of the best Marvel covers of the last 10 years…

Speculation #1: The name of the set will be Avengers: Black Panther and the Illuminati.

Why is this important? Well, first of all, “Avengers Black Panther and the Illuminati” just sounds and looks like a weird run-on sentence. It’s kind of terrible, like someone just reciting stream-of-consciousness-style everything that they remembered from the set as a title. As a title, it means nothing because it COULD mean anything.

Now, Avengers: Black Panther and the Illuminati is a different story! That could have several distinct meanings!

Firstly, during Hickman’s run on New Avengers, the Illuminati took center stage. It basically could have been called Avengers: Illuminati. Currently, Black Panther is also maybe/kinda/sort of trying to reform the Illuminati as a more inclusive organization in his capacity as Avengers chairperson. This storyline may keep developing and even reach a crescendo just before or even during this set’s release in June.

[EDITOR’S NOTE: Or by then Marvel may reboot everything for a tenth time in 5 years as no one is buying their books right now. Or any books really.]

Nice. Way to bring the mood down.

Annnnnnyhow… that colon may seem small, but it’s presence makes a huge difference in my opinion. Or maybe I’m just being anal about it.

[EDITOR’S NOTE: Can’t both be true?]

Ahem.

Cosmic Cube

Speculation #2: There’s 11 Equipment, and we may already know what 8 of them are…

Why is this important? They’ve already told us that the Cosmic Cube is being remade. That’s 1. The Infinity Gems are in this set (see next entry for what else this may tell us). That’s six more pieces right there, folks! They’re not going to make all the gems one collective piece of equipment, right? Especially since the other piece of equipment in the set they told us about is The Infinity Gauntlet!

So that means there’s just 3 unknown pieces of equipment out there! And we have six months to guess what they are!

Illuminati Gems.jpg

Speculation #3: The Illuminati members from Hickman’s New Avengers run will be the Gem-bearers in this set (ie they will be the figures that the gems come with).

Why is this important? Because if my guess is correct, it tells us a lot about the roster for this set. That would mean new versions of Iron Man (w/ the Reality Gem), either Professor X or Beast (w/ the Mind Gem–in between the distribution of the gems and the start of the incursions, Professor X was murdered by Cyclops or something in AvX–I honestly could be conflating stories, here, but it’s not really that important), Namor (w/ the Time Gem), Black Bolt (w/ the Space Gem), Doctor Strange (w/ the Soul Gem) and… someone(?) with the Power Gem?

[AUTHOR’S NOTE: Honestly, the color assignment for the gems has been all screwed up ever since the MCU started, so I don’t always remember which was which when I’m reading the comics now. I’m pretty sure about the Soul, Reality and Mind; after that, I can never remember.]

See, that’s where the theory falls apart. Because in the comics, Reed Richards has the Power Gem at that point. And even though Disney’s acquisition of Fox should be finished by that point, it’s unclear (at best) whether Marvel will let Wizkids make any FF pieces by then (my best guess is no). Sooooo…

The-Elders-Of-The-Universe

Okay, the Stranger is not an Elder of the Universe, but I don’t have time to look up other art for them.

Speculation #4: Speculation #3 is pure fanboy wish fulfillment horse dookie!

Why is this important? It’s really not. But in this Scenario, Wizkids will just make new versions of the Elders of the Universe (from whom Thanos stole the gems in the first place) and have THEM come with their respective gems. Plus we’re also getting… uh… Astromancer? No, Astronomer! That’s it!

[EDITOR’S NOTE: Yeah, we’re HUGE Marvel Cosmic fans, and even we forgot this guy existed. But hey, in this Scenario, we’d get a new… Runner. Guy. Dude. Yaaay! Oh, $#!t, we might even get another Gardener! Actually… I’d potentially be excited for another Champion!]

Infinity Gems

Coloring. Fail.

Speculation #5: Wizkids wants this set to sell. Also, they’re not stupid.

Why is this important? Look, I’m not trying to worry anyone here who is huge fan of the Infinity Gems (like myself) and wants Wizkids to make them accessible, but whether it’s the Illuminati that comes with the Gems or the Elders of the Universe, I mean… there’s six Gems… and six Chase slots…

You do the math.

Rune Infinity gauntlet

Speculation #6: Who is the Ultra-Chase?

Why is this important? History says it probably isn’t, as the previous two Ultra-Chases–while very powerful for their points–didn’t make a huge Meta impact. But with Black Panther wielding the Gauntlet during Secret Wars having already been Clix’d, I can think of a few possibilities:

–Captain America wielding the Infinity Gauntlet given to him by the Illuminati in New Avengers #’s 2-3 (or thereabouts).

–God Emperor Doom (also from Secret Wars–but this would be contingent on FF characters being available, which again seems unlikely)

–The aforementioned Rune, who, even as a Malibu character (Malibu comics was the independent publisher behind the Ultraverse, a pretty cool superhero universe that eventually ran out of money and was bought by Marvel in or about the late 90’s/early 2000’s) once held the Gauntlet for a brief moment before the Silver Surfer used the Power Cosmic to literally dismember Rune’s hand (as I recall–I could be misremembering something).

Rune was basically an evil space vampire who already had cosmically powered gems around his neck (the Star Stones–hey, maybe those are another piece of equipment in the set!), so of course he had to try and get a whole new set.

Look, it makes sense (kind of). He’s probably going to be the only Ultraverse character in the set, since the Ultraverse isn’t a listed sub-theme. I know Rune isn’t a popular or well-known character, but neither was the White Rabbit.

Now Wizkids could either make Rune (as he is or with the Star Stones equipment) the Ultra-Chase, or they could be reeeeeeeeeal evil and make Rune the Ultra-Chase… and have him come with the Infinity Gauntlet!

$500 Ultra-Chases anyone?

Yikes.

 

Okay, that’s it for tonight! Sorry we were a little late, but we’ll see you again tomorrow for more 12 Nights of Clix-Mas!!

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To Infinity… And Beyond!! (Or, A List of the Top Ten Pieces in Avengers Infinity!!!)

Were waiting

So we’ve been waiting for an Avengers Infinity Top Ten Set Review…

So have I guys!

But since HypeFox is still working on his, I thought I’d drop mine… hmmm… how about right now!!

But first…

Some Notes About the Set:

  • The packs were more expensive, but worth it. Each one had seemingly two chances to pull something cool. In my Dune Buggy pack I pulled a chase and in a pack with 4 regular sized uncommon and common figures you’re going to get a Colossal rare or Super Rare.
  • The abstract entities are godlike in the comics, but none are very good for their cost in HeroClix. AIG023R Eternity may be the lone exception. Thankfully they are good for display purposes and people will likely seek them out for that reason.
  • Although there were only two really bad characters in this set (AI003 Black Widow, AI027 Starfox), I wasn’t real impressed by the Space Knights. They were ok, but not interesting and likely wouldn’t do well as a team. Unfortunately they were literally every Prime in the set. Which means this was another set with lackluster Prime figures. Which is a real bummer when you buy a brick and get a Prime instead of a Chase.
  • Early on I was worried that every colossal in this set would be a Colossal Retaliator. I was glad to see that wasn’t the case.
  • I love that the Infinity Watch got such nice remakes. Maxam was a great new figure. Now we just need a modern Mole Man. [EDITOR’S NOTE: Do we though? I mean, he was in like one issue of Infinity Watch! Maxam was in a ton! It was great that the GG version of him had the IW Keyword, but really, he was basically just their landlord. This is the Infinity Watch roster we really wanted!]
  • Why did we not get a Thanos with the Reality Stone? All the other Infinity Watch members made the set with their respective stone Traits. Missed opportunity. [EDITOR’S NOTE: It seems like a huge oversight. The only thing I can think of is that we might get him as a Con Exclusive next year. It’s possible that this was their intention all along, but that they were already too far down the road with the Thanos-Copter as a ConEx this year. Alternatively, Reality Gem Thanos could show up randomly in another cosmic set or cosmic-adjacent set (the only thing on the schedule that’s even remotely fits this description is Battleworld in October). Remember, Thanos is coming back in Avengers 4, so there will still be a bunch of Thanos tie-in products from Marvel licensees arriving next year.]

Okay! Now on to some…

HONORABLE MENTIONS:

Adam-Warlock

5) AI038 Adam Warlock (125 points) – With most of his stats and powers he appears to be just an average attacker. However push him to click 2 and he gains a special power that allows him to do what no one else in modern Clix can: “OUTSIDE OF ETERNITY, CHAOS AND ORDER: Outwit. FREE: Choose a target opposing character within range and line of fire. Until your next turn, that character can’t use PROTECTED: Outwit and its powers lose Protected: Outwit.

Throw in a trait that grants steal energy for ALL attacks and then passes regular Steal Energy to another piece when KOed and I can see him being quite successful with the right support around him. If he had his special power on his first click he would be on the cusp of being Meta.

He’s also one of HypeFox’s favorite Marvel heroes, so listing him as a mere Honorable Mention will annoy him to no end.

[EDITOR’S NOTE: ]

Spider Mobile.jpg

4) AIG015 Spider-Mobile (50 points) – Don’t think of it as a vehicle, think of it as armor. It’s armor that grants another piece with (hopefully) great stats 7 extra clicks of health for just 50 points. For Example, if you use Chase Thor from this set as a pilot then all 7 clicks will have a constant 12 attack and 4 damage the whole dial. And once you get through those clicks your opponent still faces an angry Thor on click 2 or 3.  However the real reason to play this piece is the Trait: SPIDER SPOTLIGHT LOCKED ON: FREE: Improved Targeting: Hindering. Choose a character within range and line of fire. That character can’t use Shape Change or Stealth this turn.” We’ve seen characters before that allow your team to ignore stealth (JW052 Green Lantern, ADW038 Jessica Jones, WKM17-013 Dazzler, etc…), but I’ve never seen a character that will also allow others to ignore Shape Change.

Photon.jpg

3) AI049 Photon (90 Points) – The best thing she brings to the table is a Special Power that hurts opposing bystanders the likes of which the game has never seen before. Additionally she has a Trait that would be good to build a team around. “THE 5TH VIRTUE OF LIFE: DIVERSITY: Flurry. Once per turn, when Photon’s attack roll has a 5, friendly characters modify their defense +1 for every two printed keywords they have until your next turn.”

(Hint: CWSOP002 Iron Man has 6 keywords!)

She’s good up close with Traited Flurry and Pulse Wave that starts showing up on click 2. If you are planning to use her at range then you should probably bring another character with Enhancement. She also has the best Stop Clicks of any of the Chases with your choice of using Flurry or RCE to go along with her Precision Strike.

Vision.jpg

2) AI005 Vision (100 points) – Vision’s Special move power is what puts him on this list. “WHERE YOU LEAST EXPECT ME: Phasing/Teleport. When Vision is given a MOVE action, after resolutions he may make an attack (close or range).”

Unfortunately, his 10 attack and three damage aren’t going to scare many people. So make sure to bring some other characters along that can help those values.

The Unseen.jpg

1) AI043 Unseen (65 points) – On the eve of NFAOS056 Nick Fury retiring from Modern they decided to include another version of him from that same “Original Sin” storyline in this set… albeit with some major focus/role changes. This new piece is similar in that they both have Probability Control, almost every form of Improved Targeting known to man and a way to turn off powers. Where the new version is better is that it’s almost exactly half the point cost of the original and can free action smoke cloud after moving. All it’s missing is offense. Like any form of offense at all. Time will tell if a 65 point support character is Meta, but I am just hesitant enough about it that it didn’t quite make the top 10.

Speaking of which… here is my…

TOP TEN PIECES IN AVENGERS INFINITY!!:

Gamora.jpg

10) AI020 Gamora (65 points) – For 65 points you get a very efficient close combat piece who is dangerous on every click. What sets her apart from other similar characters are her 12 starting attack, relatively low cost, and Traited Probability control that passes to another friendly character when she is KOed: TIME GEM CHOOSES ITS BEARER: Probability Control with minimum range value 8 // When Gamora is KO’d by an opponent’s attack, choose a friendly character. For the rest of the game, that character can use Probability Control.”

The only things keeping her from being higher on this list are a weak defense and the existence of AI030 Mantis who fills a similar roll and costs less.

Sentry 459

9) AIG013R Sentry #459 (150 points) – There is a new Trait introduced on this set that was seen on quite a few Colossal figures that shows some promise thanks to the new rules for Quake called Mass Destruction. It reads, MASS DESTRUCTION: Super Strength. When Sentry #459 is given a MOVE action, after resolutions destroy all adjacent pieces of blocking terrain, then he can use Quake at no cost.” In my opinion this 150 dial is the most efficient character to feature that Trait.

It has better combat values then all of the other similarly costed characters with “Mass Destruction” and the Green Hulk is the only other “Mass Destruction” piece that comes close to being as useful in combat.

Giant Girl.jpg

8) AIG001 Giant-Girl (70 points) – Giant Girl has roughly 250 thousand different starting lines. I feel like the 70 point line isn’t too expensive and doesn’t make it very easy for the opponent to KO her before she gets an attack off.

To be honest I’d probably vary her point value according the team I was playing with her. The best parts about her is that she can Colossal Retaliate on any click, gets bigger when she KOs someone, and she makes a great Taxi for as low as 10 points. I didn’t include her Fast Forces or title character version on this list because I felt their combat values were just not up to snuff.

Iron Man 1.jpg

7) FFAI001E Iron Man (50 points) – Nothing particularly groundbreaking here, just a really efficient piece for the points. His great movement values make him a very good Taxi. His 4 clicks of Invulnerability make him tougher than just about every other 50 point piece. And his ability to see through Stealth is just the cherry on top.

Cosmo

6) AI039 Cosmo (70 points) – This is one of the Guardians pieces in the new set with a Trait that grants Protected: Outwit or +1 to Attack and Defense. There are very few situations where I’d chose Protected: Outwit with this or any of the Guardians pieces. +1 to Attack and Defense is just too good.

Now let me tell you what’s special about Cosmo. He has Outwit and Ignores Hindering for Targeting which a great combo. He also TK and Willpower on his first click. So on turn one move everyone up and on turn 2 use TK without taking push damage. Because of his Trait he has 19 starting defense and can get up to 12 Attack with his multi-target Mind Control. But the real kicker is his unique special power starting on click two that reads “YOU HAVE LOUD BRAIN: Free: Choose an opposing character within range. Until your next turn, that character can’t be given POWER actions.” That’s a free action and doesn’t require line of fire. There are lots of Power actions in the game, but the first ones I will be looking to use this on are Charge, Running Shot, and Hypersonic Speed.

Nadia Van Wasp.jpg 5) AI044 Wasp (70 points) – While she isn’t great on offense without some help, her defenses are excellent. She has a special Traited Shape Change that reads PYM PARTICLES IN MY BLOOD, RED ROOM TRAINING IN MY MIND: Shape Change. When Wasp uses it and succeeds, after resolutions the attacker is dealt 1 penetrating damage.” It reminds me of TMT002 Loki and WF030 The Wizard. If I was facing her I would attack her last. She also gives you the option of Outwit on click 1 or a Special Perplex when you push to click 2.

Mantis

4) AI030 Mantis (50 points) – Like AI020 Gamora she is an efficient close combat piece that features a 12 starting Attack Value. The advantages that Mantis has over Gamora are a better Defense, an extra click of life, a lower point cost, and IM:Hindering. While Gamora has a better Trait, Mantis’s trait is no slouch either. It reads: I WILL HELP YOU CONTROL YOUR EMOTIONS: Friendly characters within 4 squares have “FREE: This character can’t use Battle Fury or Earthbound/Neutralized this turn.” At very least that can help you carry Battle Fury characters and you could potentially build a team around it.

Quasar

3) AI037 Quasar (125 points) – Whenever Quasar hits with a ranged attack he gets to use Barrier as a few action. That can be crippling to the opposing team. If he does that more than a couple of times in a game, you’re likely going to win. So it’s up to you to do everything you can to make that happen. Run him with someone like ADW038 Jessica Jones to counter Stealth. You should also include some good close combat pieces to discourage your opponent from basing him.

Tonys car

2) AIG012 Tony Stark’s Car (10 Points) – As a 100 point vehicle this piece is Ok, but as Special Terrain it’s Meta.

Everyone knows special terrain can be useful because of the WKDP17-008 Boxing Ring. Unfortunately every Special Terrain created since then has been less powerful.

Until now.

This car has a power that reads, It’s still rolling. Use as cover:” Adjacent friendly characters can use Energy Shield/Deflection.” It also has an option to move it one square at the risk of KOing it. I would never do that. As long as your opponent can’t shoot you across the car, then they won’t be able to KO it. I would place the car within firing range of the opposing starting zone and then stand in front of the car for the whole game. You still get ESD and the opponent won’t be able to KO the car. 10 points to give your whole team ESD for the whole game is a steal. Buy this now while it’s still cheap.

Starfox.jpg

1) AI048 Starfox (80 points) – Hmm. This character has a double Perplex and the Eternal keyword. Where have I seen that before? I wonder if there is some top meta piece out there that he would work well with?

Chase Starfox is still a great piece in it’s own right. We all know that a double Perplex can be deadly, but Starfox also sports the best of the Chase Traits. it reads, THE 4TH VIRTUE OF LIFE: PASSION: Flurry. Once per turn, when Starfox’s attack roll has a 4, after resolutions heal each friendly character 1 click if they are adjacent to another friendly character.” So whenever you roll any 4 while attacking with this guy he will heal your entire team for 1 click of damage regardless of where they are on the board (as long they have a friendly piece next them.) That’s huge. I don’t ever remember seeing any other figure capable of a full team heal. And this isn’t even it’s own action, it’s just part of him attacking.

His whole dial also features Steal Energy so when he gets damaged he has an additional option to heal up. He’s not an offensive powerhouse, but with his Trait, Stop Click, Power Cosmic TA, and 12 starting attack — he’s the best character in this set.

 

Eight Things I Want From Avengers: Infinity!! (Or, More Irresponsible Speculation!!)

Hi There! It’s been awhile (well, we’ve been tweeting up a storm the last few months, but still!).

Fresh off getting my butt kicked at the Spring WKO (look, I’d write about Call-Ins ruining the game, but it’s been discussed to death and Wizkids apparently has market research to show that people like extra value inserted into packs via things like Equipment or ID Cards, so, they’re not going away anytime soon… ), today we’re starting to get ready for one of the biggest sets of the year.

Yup! We’re talkin’ Avengers: Infinity!

Spoilers won’t start for a little while yet, so now is the perfect time for some of our patented Irresponsible Speculation!!

Here are eight things I hope we’ll get in this set!

FF

8. Fantastic Four Characters!!

Okay, I like the FF as much as anyone, but the two characters I’m really talking about here are Silver Surfer and Doctor Doom.

Unfortunately, both of these characters are probably still on the ban list until the Disney/Fox merger is complete (probably 16-24 months from now).

Still, Surfer (and, to a lesser extent, Doom) were big characters in the original Infinity Gauntlet (from which many of the characters in this set come), so their absence would definitely be missed.

 

Helicarrier

7. Helicarrier!!

C’mon, Wizkids! We want a Helicarrier already!

We know we’re getting vehicles in this set (Spider-Mobile!!); we know that at least one of those vehicles will be S.H.I.E.L.D.-related (Nick Fury’s flying car!); and you’ve even given us special Helicarrier maps in the past, so we know you guys are familiar with them!

Brainiac’s Skull Ship proves that you don’t mind making big ships, either! So the time has come for everyone’s favorite flying gunships to enter Heroclix!

 

Thanos Come and Get Me.jpg

6. Title Character Thanos!!

Of all the things on this list, this one might be the most likely.

The Title Character mechanic has been a lot of fun (and so far, not nearly as overpowered at it first might have seen, although Ninwashui and I still think Title Character Thor has a lot of untapped Meta possibilities), and Title Character Thanos would have the potential to be the coolest one yet (and this wouldn’t be a bad pose for his scuplt, either).

They wouldn’t necessarily have to give him the Infinity Gauntlet on this piece (although a Chase series of characters who have all wielded it at some point would be cool–hmmm, maybe there were really 9 Things I should have written about for this article), but Thanos is certainly deserving of the Title Character treatment considering he’s long been one of Marvel’s greatest villains.

 

Adam Warlock.jpg

5. Title Character Adam Warlock!!

And, in keeping with the recent trend of two Title Characters per set, who better for the second slot than Thanos’s greatest foil, Adam Warlock?

In addition to being one of my favorite characters, Adam Warlock was pretty much THE MAIN PROTAGONIST of Infinity Gauntlet (you can argue that Thanos was still the main character of the story; you can also argue that, from a certain point of view, Thanos was actually the protagonist in a weird way and Adam Warlock was the antagonist of the story, keeping Thanos from what he most desired–is it clear that I loved this story and have read and thought about it WAAAAY too much over the last 25 years?).

A Title Character Adam Warlock with the Infinity Watch keyword and some sort of Soul Stone Title Character ability would absolutely make my day!

 

Uatu

4. Updated Colossal Watcher!!

We haven’t gotten a Watcher since Galactic Guardians and this is the perfect time for an update!

I really liked the way the GG version played, which could fill different roles on your team for different point costs. Really, if they just updated the sculpt and Uatu’s stats, they could pretty much just release the last dial they made for him!

 

Infinity Gems.jpg

3. Infinity Gems!!

Look, we just got Equipment in Thor, and since then, virtually nothing. Give us some Infinity Gem Equipment inserts!!

This is almost too obvious of an idea for Wizkids to actually execute, but I would love to see it.

Who wouldn’t want to outfit their team of choice with the six Infinity Gems?

Oh, speaking of that…

 

Infinity Watch.jpg

2. Full Roster of the Infinity Watch!!

See that guy in the lower right corner? 12-year-old me remembers his name–Maxam! And for a time, he was an official member of the Infinity Watch–and he remains un-Clixed!

We know we’ll be getting some Infinity Watch pieces in this set, so it’s time for Wizkids to give us the WHOLE team! So yeah, we want Maxam, for sure, but the Galactic Guardians pieces haven’t aged well at all, so go ahead and give us updated versions of the entire team!

(For the record, that’d be Adam Warlock, Thanos, Drax, Maxam, Pip the Troll, Gamora and Moondragon.)

 

Galactus

1. Some form of Galactus!!

Yeah, he’s also tied up with the FF license Disney is trying to get back, but we’ve gotten a Zombie Galactus in the last few years, so he’s always a possiblity. But the unique nature of this set would allow them to give us a Modern Galactus that could be pulled right from a normal booster, something that’s never happened with a Galactus piece!

 

Okay, that’s my list! What’s on yours? Let me know in the Comments below!