The Ghost of Clix-Mas Present Presents: Missing in Action!! (Or, The Ninth Night of Clix-Mas!!)

[EDITOR’S NOTEWelcome to Night Five of the 12 Nights of Clix-Mas 2019!! First, we reviewed the ground rules; for Night 2, we hit the ground running with an in-depth review of Call-In Cards from friend of the blog, Roberto Ty! Night Three brought us HypeFox’s look at the 10 best Chases of the year. And then we had a rare holiday appearance from writer/co-founder of the blog Ninwashui. It’s a Clix-Mas Miracle!! Then, we talked about the Five Things Wizkids Did Right This Year! Next, The Ghost of Clix-Mas Future took us through a preview of just about every Heroclix release that’s been announced for 2020 so far! We revisited our Simply The Best series for Night 7! And yesterday we listed three licensed properties we’d love to see Clix’d!]

Thanos MCU

This wouldn’t be a bad sculpt…

Welcome to Night Nine of the Twelve Nights of Clix-Mas 2019!!

Well, amid all the hoopla surrounding the announcement of the return of the Fantastic Four to Heroclix with the Cosmic Clash Starter coming out next year, there’s still been no movement on the gaping hole that still exists within the Marvel Heroclix lineup…

Where are our MCU Infinity Clix?

Chase Loki.jpg

Things started off wonderfully in 2012 with an Avengers Movie Set that not only gave us some great exclusive Target Clix (who remembers that Chase MCU Loki?) from the film but also a Hobby exclusive side with Red Skull and Odin Chases and other figures that represented the breadth of the MCU up to that point.

[EDITOR’S NOTE: In 2012 I bought a few of these on a whim from a Target in my area after not having played Heroclix in 5 or 6 years. I was just looking for some cool movie sculpts to put on my desk. Instead I pulled a Cap and a Loki Chase, and that re-hooked me back into the game!]

Then we got Iron Man 3 Clix, and Thor: The Dark World Clix, Captain America: The Winter Soldier Clix and even Guardians of the Galaxy and Avengers: Age of Ultron Clix!!

Avengers Age of Ultron

This remains one of the greatest Starters ever produced!!

That’s six MCU movies in a row that all received the Clix treatment, including the first Guardians movie which was hardly a sure thing from a licensed tie-in perspective.

A lot of us were looking forward to seeing what the Ant-Man set would bring, only to discover that Wizkids skipped that movie altogether. For the first time in several years, an MCU movie came and went with no Clix adaptation.

MCU Clix came back strong with Captain America: Civil War in early 2016, although Wizkids neglected to include Chases for the first time ever in a MCU set for some reason.

Then Doctor Strange came and went with no Clix set (how sweet would that have been? Chase Dormammu? An MCU Night Nurse? MCU Karl Mordo? Ancient One? Sigh… ), and MCU Clix fans started to worry.

Hela Chase.jpg

But 2017 brought us GotG 2 Clix (which included a now-legendary Yondu Chase) AND Thor: Ragnarok Clix, and all seemed right with the world again.

When 2018 came around, however, Wizkids sat out both Black Panther AND Infinity War, and we were denied the one piece we so richly deserved: MCU Chase Thanos!!

I mean, c’mon! From the moment Wizkids blew that first Avengers set out of the park, we have been patiently waiting for that piece! And we have be denied for 7 years now!

Outside of a Con LE, the only way we’ll ever get an MCU Thanos is if Wizkids decides to give us a full MCU 5-figure booster set which, despite the pitiful state of comic book sales today, still seems extremely unlikely.

The one bright note in all this is that Wizkids has announced an MCU Black Widow set that’ll drop in about 4 months from now. Will this usher in a new age of great movie sets?

Only time will tell.

What version of your favorite character are you still waiting for? Sound off in the Comments below!

And we’ll see you back here tomorrow night for the Tenth Night of Clix-Mas!

 

Call It A Gift Then!! (Or, Y’know… Let’s Talk BRIEFLY About Avengers: Infinity War!!)

Avengers Infinity War masthead

Wow!!

I mean… we knew it was going to be good.

But WOW!!

So, I have some thoughts. I might ramble a bit, but I want to get this column out so we’re free and clear for some Clix coverage in the immediate future!

[SPOILERS WILL FOLLOW!! BUT IF YOU READ THIS BLOG AND HAVEN’T SEEN THIS MOVIE YET, YOU MUST BE A UNICORN… ]

I wrote before about what the trailer for this movie meant to me (check that piece out here), and now that I’ve seen the whole film, I can say it did not disappoint in any way.

Did it have elements of Thanos Quest? Yep. Did it have characters from Hickman’s Infinity event from a few years ago? Sure.

But make no mistake: This was an adaptation of Infinity Gauntlet (or the first part of Infinity Gauntlet, at least), one of the crown jewels from Marvel’s brilliant history. And it’s something that would have been ABSOLUTELY INCONCEIVABLE just ten years ago.

Some of the Highlights:

Josh Brolin as Thanos: Absolutely delivered one of the best performances of his career. A lot of folks have been talking about Thanos as perhaps the best mo-cap movie character ever created, as if he’s only the result of technological breakthroughs. That’s certainly true, but Brolin truly became this character even though we never seen him physically onscreen.

The creators (specifically the writers and directors) said this would be Thanos’s story, and they were not lying. And a lot of that hangs on Josh Brolin’s shoulders;

Chris Hemsworth as Thor: This character has gone from the forgotten MCU Avenger to everyone’s favorite overnight. No one really missed him in Civil War; Ragnarok seemed like just an obligatory, almost contractual entry on Marvel’s calendar. Then we actually saw the damn thing, and it was terrific.

In some ways, about a third of Infinity War is basically a sequel to Ragnarok. And it was one of the best parts of the movie. Hemsworth has finally found a groove with Thor; on one hand, I’d understand if he decides he’s done with the grind of portraying a superhero; on the other hand… he’s doing his best work right now! Drama! Comedy! Action! Adventure! Thor has become an amazing character, and I really hope he sticks around.

Benedict Cumberbatch as Doctor Strange: Wow! Doctor Strange has come a long way. More than even in his own movie, this is the Doctor Strange that I remember from the comics!

Some of the Lowlights: 

–Really, not much. Some folks have brought up some minor pacing issues; others didn’t like Star-Lord screwing up the plan. But I didn’t notice anything that took me out of the movie.

No, the only thing I would’ve hoped for was actually some more screen time for Proxima Midnight and Corvus Glaive. The weapons are cool; their backstory is even cooler. In the comics, Corvus Glaive is actually more of an orator about Thanos than Ebony Maw ever was.

It’s a minor quibble, but not having more of Proxima or Corvus robbed us of two things:

First, if we’d spent a little more time with them, they wouldn’t have felt just like cannon fodder during that final battle in Wakanda.

Secondly, Corvus Glaive has one of the best death scenes in comics when he takes on Hyperion in Infinity.

Corvus Death 1

Corvus Glaive Part 2

Even if they had given this sequence to, say, Iron Man dispatching Ebony Maw, this was one great exchange from the comics that I missed in the film.

How Did They Even Make This Movie Without the Silver Surfer Or, Y’know, Adam Warlock… WHO WAS THE MAIN CHARACTER IN THE ORIGINAL COMIC?

–By dividing up their parts among some of the other characters.

Let’s start with the Surfer. His main purpose in Infinity Gauntlet was three-fold.

First, Surfer is extremely powerful, so when Thanos quite easily dispatches him, that tells the audience that Thanos is a badass who is going to be hell to deal with. Then, Surfer is hurtled towards Earth from space to warn the rest of the Marvel heroes that Thanos. Is. Coming! Finally, Surfer was one of the key heavy-hitting combatants that confronts Thanos at the very end of the story.

Hmmm… pretty much every one of those plot points was given to the Hulk in Infinity War. I was actually surprised at how easily the writers were able to slide Hulk into that role.

Adam Warlock’s part was more complicated. I think they actually split his role and gave it to two different characters.

First… I think it’s pretty clear that most of the Soul Stone shenanigans that Warlock gets into in Infinity Gauntlet were given to Gamora (this actually isn’t too far from the comic–Gamora was with Warlock when he emerged from the Soul Stone in the beginning of the story).

I really think Gamora will find her way out of the Soul Stone eventually. She might be the only non-“snap” death that eventually gets reversed. Remember that orange-tinged scene with young Gamora and Thanos at the end of the film, when it seemed like Thanos was having some sort of vision? Yeah, I’m pretty sure that took place in the Soul Stone where Gamora–at least some part of her–still resides.

But there was one other character who got some of Warlock’s lines, I think. As it happens, he also wielded a green Infinity Gem…

Doctor Strange.

In Infinity Gauntlet, Adam Warlock devises what is essentially a long con to wrest control of the Gauntlet from Thanos (who is impossible to defeat in any sort of battle while possessing the gems). At one point, he explains part of his plan to the Silver Surfer, who is horrified to find out that Warlock is interacting with the crisis as if it is some sort of game.

A Game.png

Indeed, gathering Earth’s Mightiest Heroes to face off against Thanos was nothing more than a ploy to distract the Mad Titan, and their subsequent horrific deaths could in fact be attributed to Warlock’s seeming indifference (we find out later that Warlock had no intention of letting their deaths be permanent, but still… ).

Well, I think there’s a lot more going on in the scene between Tony Stark and Doctor Strange on Titan where Strange tells Stark that giving Thanos the Time Gem was “the only way.”

Strange knows something in that scene that we do not. I’m convinced of it! And even if it meant sacrificing half of the galaxy (albeit perhaps temporarily), Strange was willing to do that if it meant ultimate victory in the end.

 

Whew. Alright, that was a little scattered, but I just wanted to get some thoughts down on paper. I loved, loved LOVED this movie, and I hope you all did too!

Back in a few days with some more Clix coverage!

 

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.