“Ultron! We Would Have Words With Thee!” (Or, a Figure by Figure Preview of the Age of Ultron SLOP 1st Wave!!)

Ultron We Would Have Words With Thee

Alrighty! Welcome back!

Today we’re gonna take a look at the figure rundown for the first Wave of Age of Ultron, which will be coming to a venue near you in the next few weeks!! We’ll be looking at them mostly in the context of Sealed play, since that’s how most of you will be introduced to them, but we will offer our take on how we think a few key pieces will impact Modern Age as well.

Now that we’re this close to the event, folks have already started opening booster Bricks prematurely (and probably in violation of their vendor agreement) to sell singles on eBay and on other platforms.

Nope. Not these guys. They had permission to open their Brick, and produced a mighty fine Preview.

Nope. Not these guys. They had permission to open their Brick, and produced a mighty fine Preview for us all. 

[EDITOR’S NOTE: We at Critical Missives have never opened Bricks early, and we do NOT encourage, support or condone other entities breaking vendor agreements to do so. But, since the information is now out there, we have made the editorial decision to report on it.]

Additionally, WizKids themselves have released some previews, so we now know most of the figures in Wave 1.

If you want to go into Month 1 blind and unspoiled, turn away now! Otherwise, sail on!!

[EDITOR’S NOTE: All of the Wave 1 figures are odd-numbered.]

AGE OF ULTRON: WAVE 1 FIGURE LIST:

Hank Pym AOU

AAOU001 Hank Pym100/50 PointsCommon: Not a lot needs to be said. He was already spoiled by WizKids, and you can see his whole dial and power set in the Units tab of HCRealms.com. Or, y’know, in the tiny picture above. There will be Morphing in this set. Oh yes. [Best Yoda Voice] There… will… be…

Ant-Man AOU

AAOU003 Ant-Man100/50 PointsCommon: Once again, a dial that’s already been spoiled. There will be more Hank Pym’s to come, by the way, for anyone who is, y’know, completely obsessed with Hank Pym. And whose Hank Pym love was not satiated by the Hank Pym Boxed set, which featured, like, six more Hank Pyms.

Wasp AOU

AAOU005 Wasp70 PointsCommon: So this is actually Janet, not Hank Pym. She does sport the ever popular Lady Liberators keyword to go with her expected Avengers and Celebrity keywords. No Traits, she obviously is a Flyer, and she of course has the “Tiny” Symbol. She starts with (not pictured) an 8 Movement (with Running Shot), 10 Attack Value (with Incapoopitate), 17 native Defense (with Super Senses) and 2 Damage with a Special Power (Founding Member: Wasp can use Shape Change. When she does, she may increase the result by 1 for each adjacent friendly character with a shared keyword (a roll of 1 still fails).).

Like her, don’t love her. Super Senses and Improved Shape Change are normally a great combo, but with so much Precision Strike running around in this Wave, often times it’ll just be the Shape Change. She’s probably most useful as a tie-up piece with Incapacitate, but if you send her away from her teammates to tie-up other pieces, she’ll basically just have regular Shape Change and a very hittable 17 Defense.

In Constructed, I can see some uses for her, but I’d stay away in AOU Sealed unless she was the only fig that fit the point structure of my Build.

Yellowjacket AOU

AAOU007 Yellowjacket85 PointsCommon: This looks like the Rita DeMara version. She comes with two really good Traits. The first (Criminal Past, Reluctant Avenger, and Future Guardian: Yellowjacket can use Shape Change and is a Wild Card.) gives her some defensive options; the second (Stolen Pym Particle Technology: At the beginning of your turn, you may choose “Normal Size” or “Tiny Size.” Yellowjacket possesses the chosen combat symbol until you choose again.) lets her float between two different sizes, so she can be Carried out initially (if she’s Tiny Sized) and then spring back to Normal Size if you need to, say, block line of fire or something.

Her top dial features an 11 Movement (with Sidestep), 10 Attack (with Precision Strike), 17 Defense (with Super Senses) and 2 Damage (with Perplex!). She has a 6 Range. Plus, she’s got a truckload of great keywords, including Avengers, Masters of Evil, Guardians of the Galaxy and Scientist, one of the best generic keywords right now.

I expect to see her played a lot in AOU Sealed, especially since she’s a Common that features top dial Perplex (Perp and Outwit are gold in Sealed). She may also see a lot of house play at your local venue, too, since she fits on so many different teams.

So far, Yellowjacket is the early contender for this year’s  “White Ranger Iron Fist Memorial Commendation” award, which is given annually to the best Storyline Organized Play Common Figure.

"Memorial? Uhhh, guys? I'm not dead yet. In fact, I haven't even retired! I'm still Modern Age!"

Memorial? Uhhh, guys? I’m not dead yet. In fact, I haven’t even been retired! I’m still Modern Age!

Suuuuure you are, Danny. Sure you are.

Alexis AOU

AAOU009 Alexis65 PointsCommon: Another character I wasn’t too familiar with, Alexis is actually a newer creation that came out of the pages of AvengersAI. If ol’ Rita doesn’t win this year’s White Ranger, then Alexis almost surely will.

For 65 Points, you get an Avenger (and Robot-) keyworded figure who is a Flyer (read: Taxi), starts with 9 Movement (with Phasing), 10 Attack (and she’s another piece with Precision Strike–Heaven help you if you just have Super Senses, like most of the other Commons in this set), 17 Defense with Energy Shield/Deflection and a native 3 Damage with Probability Control (uh, what I just said about Perp and Outwit in Sealed? That goes double for Prob Control)!!

Now, she has no Traits, no Improved Targeting of any kind, no Willpower/Indomitable and only a 4 Range. But securing a Taxi that also offers Prob and is a more-than-capable Tertiary Attacker for only 65 Points? You are going to be seeing a lot of her in AOU Sealed.

Monica Chang AOU

AAOU011 Monica Chang65 PointsCommon: Another AvengersA.I. character. I actually think she debuted in the Ultimate universe first, but I could be wrong. Regardless, she was an important UnClix’d S.H.I.E.L.D. character that WizKids has finally made for us.

No Traits, No Improved Targeting. Her Range is 6 with 1 Bolt. She does have the S.H.I.E.L.D. and Scientist keywords, along with the S.H.I.E.L.D. TA, and she starts with Stealth and the odd combination of Penetrating/Psychic Blast and Combat Reflexes. I like the Stealth/Combat Reflexes combo, but Pen/Psy won’t help her when she’s based.

Where she really earns her keep is with her Damage Special Power (SHIELD Division Chief: Counter Cyber-Terrorism: Monica Chang can use Enhancement and Perplex. When she uses Perplex, she may modify a combat value by -2 instead if the target has the Armor or Robot keyword.).

In Constructed, there are better options. In Sealed, wow!! She can shut down a LOT of pieces in this set. I personally like Alexis a little bit better for the points, but Monica will be EXTREMELY useful in AOU Sealed.

Victor Mancha AOU

AAOU013 Victor Mancha100 PointsCommon: A somewhat odd piece in the context of the whole set. Victor has Avengers, Robot and Runaways keywords, and he’s a Flyer with top dial Sidestep. He also has Indomitable and an 11 Attack with TK, which are all things that the other Commons in this set mostly lack. He can also do 3 Damage, which is never a bad thing.

But at 100 Points, there are better attackers and cheaper Taxi’s in this Wave. Down dial, he becomes both a better supporting piece with a Special Defense Power (Magnetic Bubble: Victor Mancha can use Barrier, ESD, and Toughness. Friendly characters adjacent to Victor Mancha when he uses Barrier can use Sidestep this turn.) and a better attacker, since he picks up a Running Shot/Pulse Wave combination.

He’s solid for his points, but I think there are better options in this set.

Ultron Drone AOU

AAOU015 Ultron Drone50 PointsCommon: Not much to say here. He’s your basic Swarm-bot that gets (slightly) better the closer it is to other characters with “Ultron” in their name.

Iron Man AOU

AAOU017 Iron Man90 PointsUncommon: This Iron Man comes with a lightning rod Trait (The Original Invincible Iron Man!: If the first ranged combat attack made during an opponent’s turn doesn’t target Iron Man, modify the attacker’s attack and damage values by -1.) that makes him somewhat compelling. Just keeping him in the back while you press the rest of your forces forward almost makes him worth his points for that alone.

He does also offer Charge, Super Strength and Outwit, so he’s an average secondary attacker as well.

Hulk AOU

AAOU019 Hulk 80 PointsUncommon: Basically the close combat version of the Iron Man above, Hulk even comes with a very similar Trait (The Original Incredible Hulk: If the first close combat attack made during an opponent’s turn doesn’t target Hulk, modify the attacker’s attack and damage values by -1.).

His combat values are outstanding for his cost (he even does 4 Damage top dial), but he’s extremely schizophrenic, due to his other Trait (With Each New Dawn, the Weakling Banner Comes Back: At the beginning of your turn, roll a d6 that can’t be rerolled. On a result of 1-2, until your next turn modify Hulk’s combat values by -2 can he can use Outwit, Perplex, and Shape Change and can’t use any other power he possesses. This ability can’t be ignored.).

So basically, you have either a phenomenally good Secondary Attacker (relative to what it costs to field him) or a PRETTY good supporting piece. The problem is, you may not know which figure you have until it’s too late.

Black Knight AOU

AAOU021 Black Knight115 PointsUncommon: Charge and Exploit Weakness are always good, and he starts with an 11 Attack Value. The problem is that he immediately loses that 11 Attack by click 2, he has no Willpower unless he’s already KO’d a character, and one of his Traits (By Sersi’s Side, From One Universe to the Next: If Black Knight is adjacent to a friendly character named Sersi, both characters modify their defense values by +1 unless already modified by this effect.) is completely useless in this set (since the only Modern Sersi we have is in Avengers Assemble. Theoretically, it is possible that your venue might give you one AOU Wave 1 Booster and one AA booster, and that you MIGHT pull both of those characters, but even then they may not be worth playing together).

He has Traited B/C/F and Steal Energy, which will help offset the fact that he doesn’t have Willpower, but it just seems like there are much better ways to spend 115 Points in this set.

She-Hulk AOU

AAOU023 She-Hulk130/75 PointsUncommon: Another figure that’s already been previewed on Heroclix.com. I love her Trait (File for Change of Venue: If She-Hulk isn’t part of a themed team, the first time this game you wouldn’t win the roll for first player, you may roll again and add +1 to the result.), especially when used on an Arcade team. It’s not clear if you would get the +1 modifier on the second roll for Map Choice, but just the ability to try for Arcade’s map a second time if you lose the first roll is huge.

Machine Man AOU

AAOU025 Machine Man120 PointsUncommon: More of a novelty attacker than anything else, Machine Man is a close combatant without Charge or a very high Damage Value. His Trait (Extendable Body Parts: When Machine Man makes a close combat attack, squares within a range of 3 and line of fire are considered adjacent.) somewhat mitigates the first problem, and Super Strength will help with the second.

120 Points seems about right for what he does, and he has some versatility to him, but if he’s your Secondary Attacker, you Damage Output Potential is probably low.

TESS-One

AAOU027 TESS-One150 PointsUncommon: Once again, we have a close combat figure with a significant cost that doesn’t have Charge. Sidestep is better than nothing, but it ain’t Charge.

The ability to move through (and destroy) Blocking Terrain is a big plus, but again we have another figure that’s saddled with yet another narrowly useful Trait (Total Elimination of Super-Soldiers: As long as an opposing character on the map is 100 or more points and named Captain America, TESS-One can use Willpower. When attacking such a character, TESS-One’s damage value is modified by +1.) that will NEVER help you in AOU Sealed. Why? Because, SPOILER ALERT: There is no Captain America in Wave 1.

Frankly, you’re paying for a lot of powers abilities in this dial that you’ll probably never get a chance to effectively use. RCE? Great! Only a 5 Range? Less great (although Sidestep actually will help here…).

The one real positive with TESS-One is that it is really hard to kill. It’s Defense actually gets better (a LOT better) down dial, and it picks up a Movement Special (Rebuilding From The Rubble: At the beginning of your turn, if TESS-One occupies a square containing a debris marker, heal TESS-One of 1 damage.) that gives it a way to (somewhat) reliably heal a click every turn.

Ultron-8 AOU

AAOU029 Ultron-8120/30 PointsUncommon: And now we have our first real Ultron. Get used to seeing his Trait (Autonomous or Drone Mode: Ultron-8 costs 120 points, or costs 30 points and begins on the click #1 after the orange KO. Until KO’d, Ultron-8 is considered 120 points.), cuz most of the Ultrons have some form of it. The idea is to play multiple versions of a single Ultron, and your opponent will really have no way of knowing which one is which, because their dials will be exact replicas of each other… except that the Drones only have 2 clicks of life.

As for the dial itself, it’s pretty solid. I’d rather play this Ultron at 120 Points than Machine Man, that’s for sure.

Vision AOU

AAOU031 Vision100 PointsRare: This is the semi-evil, fresh on the scene, son-of-Ultron version of Vision, and he’s exactly as he should be! If you pull him in Sealed, just pray that you also pull an Ultron–ANY Ultron!

His Trait (Secret Programming: When a friendly character whose name includes Ultron is given a move action and actions resolve, Vision may be given a move action as a free action.) pretty much completely makes up for the fact that he only starts with Sidestep, and his Movement Special Power (He’s Coming… Through the Wall!: Vision can use Sidestep. When Vision uses Sidestep or is given a move action, he can use Improved Movement:Ignores Blocking Terrain.) works quite gracefully with his Trait.

He also adds Indomitable, Super Senses and Shape Change to go with his Penetrating/Psychic Blast. His 10 Attack is pretty pedestrian, but in this set that’s really par for the course.

This is a much better Vision than his Age of Ultron Movie cousin, even though they cost the same amount of points.

Hercules AOU

AAOU033 Hercules220/130 PointsRare: The first real solid close combat brick of the set, with improved Charge, Traited Super Strength, Impervious or Invincible for much of his dial and a lot of CCE and Battle Fury (which will help with the surprising amount of Shape Change in this set). If you pull him, you’re probably playing him.

I like his 220 Dial in a 400 Point event, but I LOVE his 130 Point dial in just about any format. Yes, he’s a little top heavy at 130, but man, he is going to be scary to face.

He also gives us a Modern Age Herc to bring in with his Avengers ID card, which is great as well. Definitely a needed figure.

Protector AOU

AAOU035 Protector100 PointsRare: There are two big things to remember about Protector. The first is that he’s one of the few (gosh, there’s like, I dunno, 3 or 4) characters to appear in the same Set/Wave as his Avengers ID Card. So, theoretically, you COULD pull both Protector AND his ID card.

Secondly, when it comes to calling for his help via an ID card… that’s probably the best way to play him! On his own, there’s nothing very special about him. He has Sidestep, he flies, he has a 10 Attack with NO Attack powers and he does a ho-hum 3 Damage. He does offer Probability Control and an 18 Defense Value (with Defend), which is nice, but hardly game breaking.

If you could get all that for just one important turn, however, and you only had to spend 5 Points to do it… well, Protector just became very exciting, didn’t he? All of a sudden, you’re opponent has to hit an 18 Defense to hit anybody, and he probably has to do it at least twice, since Protector has that Prob at his disposal.

In Constructed, he offers another alternative for Avengers and Kree teams, but honestly, he’s one of the best ID Card Call-Ins, so that’s how I’d expect to see him used most often.

Grim Reaper AOU

AAOU037 Grim Reaper119 PointsRare: Wow. Another Trait (Deadly Sibling Rivalry: Give Grim Reaper a free action when he is within 4 squares of a character named Wonder Man and modify all of Grim Reaper’s combat values except damage by +1 until your next turn. When you do, deal Grim Reaper 1 unavoidable damage at the end of this turn.) that gives its owner NOTHING in Sealed. I’m betting we’ll probably see a Wonder Man in Wave 2, which will mean nothing to you if you happen to pull Grim Reaper here in one of your packs.

He’s basically a 119 Point gamble. While he has a tiny amount of Range (4 squares), if you play him, you’re planning on Charging folks and hitting them with his special Energy Stealing B/C/F, since his native Damage never climbs above 2. If he were, say, 79 Points, he might at least be interesting. At 119 Points, he just doesn’t do enough to effect the game (even the Prob Control they gave him doesn’t show up until his last two clicks).

We needed a new Grim Reaper, but this is the one Rare/Super Rare/Chase that I’m hoping I never see in a box that I’m opening for Sealed.

Jocasta AOU

AAOU039 Jocasta130/25 PointsRare: Jocasta was already previewed by WizKids, so there isn’t a lot more to say. Since she can work like an Entity, she’s definitely one of the “buzziest” pieces in the set, but her real talents will shine through more in Constructed that they will in Sealed.

Very solid piece, and a nice tweak of the Entity Possession Trait. This is one of my personal “big wants” from the set.

Ultron-5 AOU

AAOU041 A & B Ultron-5120/60/30 PointsRare: AAOU41A is basically a (slightly overcosted) Leadership engine for Masters of Evil teams, while the B-side is very much a swarm dial that operates as a Switch Clix with the same Autonomous or Drone Mode Trait that all the Ultrons have in this set.

Goliath AOU

AAOU043 Goliath140/100/50 PointsSuper Rare: A SR Hank Pym. Yay?

Well, you might be cheering after you see his dial. For 140 Points, he actually has one of the the best Close Combat dials in the set. The Morph power is nice, but in most cases, your better off just sticking with Goliath. His top dial Movement Special is amazing (Trample: Goliath can use Charge. When he does and moves in a direct line, after actions resolve, he may make an additional close combat attack targeting all opposing characters whose square he moved through but didn’t already target with an attack this turn. For this attack, each hit character is dealt 3 damage.), but he only keeps it for one click. He does pick it back up on clicks 3 and 4, though, and with top dial Invincible, it’ll be tough for someone to knock him all the way past those “money” clicks (God, especially in this set).

Goliath brings a lot to the table AND leaves you a bunch of room for supporting figs. If your lucky enough to pull him in Sealed, he’s a definite play.

Black Panther AOU

AAOU045 Black Panther140 PointsSuper Rare: Wow. The hits keep coming with the Super Rares! This is pretty much the quintessential version of Black Panther. He was Previewed by WizKids already, but I’m going to go through his dial anyway because I really love this T’Challa.

First of all, his keyword line is jammed pack with everything from great names like Avengers and Illuminati to the best generics like Mystical and Scientist.

He ignores Elevated and Hindering Terrain on movement, so his mobility is awesome, and he’s also going to be extremely difficult to find at range due to his fantastic Trait (Cloaking Tech: Black Panther can use Stealth and Toughness. When it isn’t your turn, lines of fire to him are blocked if he is adjacent to Blocking Terrain.). Pay very close attention to that wording–it’s very similar to the wording on IIM038 Iron Man‘s Personal Cloaking Device Trait. WizKids already ruled that Iron Man’s Trait gets around Pulse Wave, and I’d imagine they’ll rule that T’Challa’s works the same way.

[EDITOR’S NOTE: On second look, Black Panther’s Trait says Lines of Fire are “BLOCKED,” while Iron Man’s says they “CAN’T BE DRAWN.” It’s a slight difference; we’ll have to wait and see what comes up in the Event System Rules Forum to know for sure.]

All of which means that if you can keep T’Challa adjacent to Blocking Terrain (maybe with a supporting character who sports Barrier?), he’s pretty much invulnerable to any sort of ranged attack.

His Movement Special Power (Spring from the Shadows: Black Panther can use Charge. When Black Panther occupies Hindering Terrain or is adjacent to Blocking Terrain, he can use Sidestep.) goes hand in hand with his Trait, and his Damage Special adds Leadership and Outwit.

On top of all that… he probably has the best sculpt in the set. Another of my biggest wants from the set.

He’s an absolute monster in Sealed, especially with the right supporting pieces behind him (or, really, the right map), and I think he even has potential in the Meta (maybe not a lot, but still) simply based on that ridiculously good Trait. You can’t KO what you can’t see.

Quasar AOU

AAOU047 Quasar225/125 PointsSuper Rare: Wow! Now this is a ranged Primary Attacker! His dial almost feels like something out of Justice League: Trinity War or Guardians of the Galaxy rather than this current cycle of Avengers Assemble and Age of Ultron.

He has two dial options, and they’re both terrific. At 225 Points, he is going to be a heavy hitter that can fling 5 natural, penetrating damage up to 9 squares away. In this set, that might as well be 100 damage. He’s going to one-shot some opposing support characters, and it’s going to be tough to retaliate effectively over that distance.

Plus, his first three (of NINE!!) clicks feature Invincible, so even if your opponent retaliates heavy, it’s going to be tough to make any headway. Especially since Quasar has the Power Cosmic TA, so you can’t counter his defenses.

His 125 Point dial is great as well, but for different reasons. His Defense actually gets BETTER against ranged attacks, and he picks up a Damage Special that partially imprisons anyone he hits (Contain Standard Operating Procedure: When Quasar targets and damages a single opposing character, after action resolve, he can use Barrier as a free action, but may only place blocking terrain markers adjacent to the hit character.).

On top of all that, if your opponent does hit him, Quasar goes right into an Attack Special Power that allows him to Steal Energy even with ranged attacks!

Basically, the only piece Quasar really needs to fear in this Wave is probably Black Panther, only because T’Challa is impossible to hit from range.

If you pull Quasar and don’t play him, you’re either an idiot or you’re trying to impress someone for some reason, even though you’ll really just come off as an annoying D-bag. Don’t be either of those guys. They’re A-holes. Play Quasar if you get him.

This is what you look like if you pull Quasar and don't play him.

This is what you look like if you pull Quasar and don’t play him.

MODAM AOU

AAOU049 M.O.D.A.M. — 131 PointsSuper Rare: The latest Preview from WizKids. She’s a fun character, but she’s also limited in what she wants to do by her 5 Range.

Ultron-1 AOU

AAOU051 A & B Ultron-1120/60/30 PointsSuper Rare: Okay, so if Black Panther has the best sculpt, this is probably a close second.

The A-dial is a nifty little trickster who comes packing a couple of cool Traits, including one that really narrows your opponent’s options if you hit (Total Mind Wipe: Once per game, when Ultron-1 hits an opposing character, you may give that character a Mind-Wipe token. A character with a Mind-Wipe token can’t attack Ultron-1 unless that character and Ultron-1 are the only characters on the map.). 

His down dial Defense Special (Self-Upgrade: Ultron-1 can use Impervious and Regeneration. When he uses Regeneration and the result is 5 or 6, place an Upgrade token on this card.) offers the chance to gain Upgrade tokens, each of which gives him +1 to all combat values.

He’s not the bruiser that some of the other pieces in this set are, but the longer he’s left alone, the deadlier he gets.

The B-Dial offers the normal Autonomous or Drone options and adds a fantastic Defense Special (The True Creator of Me is… Myself: When a friendly character with the Autonomous or Drone Mode trait is KO’d, you may roll a d6 that can’t be rerolled. On a result of 4-6, place that character in your starting zone on its click #1 after the orange KO.) that can keep the Ultron assembly line going.

Ultron-7 AOU Chase

AAOU053 A & B Ultron-7150/125/30 PointsChase: Ultron-7 A is a close combat bruiser who turns into a ranged attacker with a Running Shot/Special Pulse Wave power in the middle of his dial. He has a top dial Damage Special that helps teammates (Hatred of the Horde: Ultron-7 can use Battle Fury and Leadership. Opposing characters that are adjacent to a character friendly to your force can’t use Outwit, Perplex, or Probability Control.), but otherwise his dial is surprisingly straightforward for a Chase.

The B-dial is a surprisingly sturdy (for its points) ranged attacker, but nothing to write home about. Someone is going to find a way to break all these Drones into a great army, but it’s not going to be me.

Ultron AOU

AAOU55 A & B Ultron300/120/30 PointsChase: Here he is–Ultron himself. At 300 Points, you’d expect a lot from his A-dial, and you might end up a bit disappointed. He doesn’t even have a move-and-attack power top dial–just Phasing/Teleport. And his Attack Value never goes above an 11–until you get to his two Stop Clicks (they appear on consecutive clicks).

Once you get to his Stop Clicks, Ultron will wreck house–provided there is an opposing character within 5 squares that he can Charge (or 8 Squares if you’d rather Quake fools).

In Sealed, you can probably get away with this–especially in a 400 Point game. In Constructed, he’s so easily outmaneuvered that it’s almost comical.

The B-Dial is a glorified Robot Taxi that can moonlight as a Secondary Attacker.

So there you have it! Last year’s Storyline OP featured Chases that were so good they were broken and had to be (mildly) nerfed by a Watch List fix. This year, the Chases are confusing and almost a waste of time, in my opinion. The Super Rare slot is definitely where it’s at. Outside of, say, M.O.D.A.M., there’s not a loser in the bunch (even the Ultron was pretty unique and original).

Good luck with your Month One pulls, and we’ll see you back here soon for our traditional dueling Top Ten Set Reviews for Avengers Assemble! Those should start dropping next week!

War Is Coming… I Can See It!! (Or, a Brief Look at What We Know About Justice League: Trinity War!!)

The picked-up flag from the Dallas-Detroit playoff game  continues to wreak havoc throughout the DCU...

The picked-up flag from the Dallas-Detroit playoff game continues to wreak havoc throughout the DCU…

Hello Again!!

Today we’re filing a brief post to make sure you folks are all aware of the breaking Justice League: Trinity War news! DC All Access has just released the first Trinity War Unboxing video and spoiled a whole bunch of figures from the set!

Characters revealed from the single Brick (i.e. 10 Packs) Unboxing (among others):

Ultraman

Atomica (cool lil’ tiny sculpt)

Sinestro (Rare–Gold cape sculpt)

Black Orchid

Deadman (Rare)

The Outsider (Appeared to be the Uncommon Prime, but this was not discussed in detail. The sculpt seemed to be of the Pre-Crisis pasty-white skin version, which might lead one to suspect that the normal Uncommon slot is the New 52-era Outsider who aided the Crime Syndicate. Which would make a ton of sense given what else we know about the set.)

DEO Agent

Blackgate Inmate

Bizarro (rarity unknown, but probably Common or Uncommon)

Blight (Super Rare)

Shaggy Man (Rare)

Wonder Woman (Super Rare)

FullSizeRender

Pride (CHASE!! This would seem to confirm the rumor that the Seven Deadly Sins are in fact the Chases for this set, and why the Trinity of Sin were actually pushed up into The Flash set. Now to get all Zapruder-filmy on you. If you stop the video at approximately 2:40, you get a glimpse of Pride’s Point Value–and there appears to just be one number. If that is true, then that would mean that they won’t have a Possession Mechanic similar to the War of Light Entities, or at the very least that the mechanic would function quite differently. Again, this is SUPPOSITION from a somewhat blurry screenshot (although it appears clearer when you watch it in real time.). Now having said that, the figure base does appear to be a slightly different shade of tan/gold than the actual dial; does this mean it’s a SwitchClix of some sort that will interact with either of the new Resources we’re getting or a separate Team Base (ala the Zombies)? Almost certainly not, but I’m going to start that rumor right now!!

Vibe

Batman (Super Rare)

The Grid (Rare)

Sea King (Common)

The Trench (Rare?)

PLUS

3 3D Special Objects:

Pride

Lust

Envy

 

IMPLICATIONS:

Whew!! Okay, so it looks like the DC Trinity (as it were) of Superman (already Previewed), Batman and Wonder Woman are all Super Rares in this set. The Chases still hold a lot of intrigue, especially since it seems that they’ll mirror the 3D Special Objects.

Speaking of the Chases–or more specifically, the distribution of the Chases–the brick opened by the host featured a Chase AND a Prime. Will this be typical of the rest of the Bricks? I suspect not, but if it is, that would be a welcome change!

So what do you guys think? Does this make you more excited for this set, or less? Even as a Marvel guy, I have to say this Unboxing definitely made me more excited. Feel free to post your immediate reactions in the Comment section below.

Well that’s all for today. We will be back soon with our annual “You’re Simply The Best” Year-End wrap-up. Until then…

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

The Ghost of Critical Missives’ Future!! (Or, Critical Missives Presents: A Viewer’s Guide to Gotham: Season 1!!) (Or, The Tenth Night of Clix-Mas!!)

[EDITOR’S NOTE: This article is part of the 12 Nights of Clix-Mas, an ongoing Critical Missives Clix celebration wherein we’re trying to publish new content for 12 straight days. If you’ve missed anything, you can check out Night 1, Night 2, Night 3, Night 4Night 5Night 6Night 7Night 8 or Night 9 just by clicking the preceding links!]

Hello! Welcome to Night 10 of The 12 Nights of Clix-Mas!!

Television

Today we’re going to preview what I hope will become a semi-regular feature here on Critical Missives:  Episode Guides for comic-book TV shows! We’ve been teasing these for awhile now, but the 12 Nights of Clix-mas has finally given us the chance we needed to make it a reality! First up will be a FOX Freshman series about a cop. Who lives in a very dangerous city. Today, we’re just publishing a recap of the Pilot, but the full article (which should come in early January, smack dab in the middle of the Heroclix Dead Zone) will have every episode that has run to that point! We’ll also make that page stick so that we can keep adding to it as the season continues.

After the Gotham project’s done, Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. will be next, followed by Flash!

Having said all that, enjoy the preview!

 

"The name's Gordon!"

The name’s Gordon!”

We’ve seen the first half of the first season of GOTHAM, so buckle in–it’s going to be a bumpy ride!

 

Gotham Title

 

Series Overview:

Gotham tells the story of Commissioner James Gordon’s rise to prominence in Gotham City in the years before Batman’s arrival.

Season Overview:

The first season of Gotham is the story of the distinguished war veteran and perpetually serious-faced James Gordon, who comes back to his hometown of Gotham to take a job as a detective with the GPD. His private agenda is to fight the corruption eating at the city’s core by helping to solve as many crimes as he can while also exposing the misdeeds of those in power, but he is alternately impeded and aided by his partner, Harvey Bullock. He also quickly finds out very quickly that his new job has put his girlfriend, Barbara, in harm’s way.

Detective Gordon introduces himself.

Detective Gordon introduces himself.

Meanwhile, gangster Fish Mooney bides her time as a lieutenant in the Falcone crime empire as she waits for the perfect time to dispatch her boss, Carmine Falcone, and take over, but her plans take a detour when her confidence is betrayed by one of her own employees, a violent, passive-aggressive young man named Oswald Cobblepot…

Showrunner: Bruno Heller (Rome, The Mentalist)

Main Cast:

Ben McKenzie…………………………………………..(James Gordon)

Donal Logue……………………………………………..(Harvey Bullock)

Jada Pinkett Smith…………………………………..(Fish Mooney)

Robin Lord Taylor……………………………………(Oswald Cobblepot)

John Doman……………………………………………..(Carmine Falcone)

Erin Richards……………………………………………(Barbara Kean)

Zabryna Guevara……………………………………..(Sarah Essen)

Camren Bicondova……………………………………(Selina Kyle)

Cory Michael Smith………………………………….(Edward Nygma)

Sean Pertwee……………………………………………(Alfred Pennyworth)

David Mazouz…………………………………………..(Bruce Wayne)

 

Recurring Cast:

Victoria Cartagena……………………………………(Renee Montoya)

Andrew Stewar-Jones………………………………(Crispus Allen)

Drew Powell……………………………………………..(Butch Gilzean)

J.W. Cortes……………………………………………….(Detective Alvarez)

Richard Kind…………………………………………….(Mayor Aubrey James)

Makenzie Leigh………………………………………..(Lisa)

Claire Foley………………………………………………(Ivy Pepper)

David Zayas……………………………………………..(Sal Maroni)

Carol Kane……………………………………………….(Gertrude Kapelput)

Nicholas D’Agosto…………………………………….(Harvey Dent)

 

Episode 1.01: “Pilot

Gordon Wayne Pilot

Written By: Bruno Heller

Directed By: Danny Cannon

Tonight, on Gotham… : James Gordon, Gotham PD’s newest detective, is partnered with grizzled veteran cop Harvey Bullock by their Captain, Sarah Essen. The city is rife with violence and corruption, which sickens Gordon, who has come back to his hometown to do his best to clean it up. Bullock, for his part, seems to be every bit the sort of “dirty” cop that Gordon is crusading against. Before either can object to their pairing, however, they’re assigned to the investigation of the murders of Thomas and Martha Wayne, two titans of the Gotham business, political and social landscapes.

Bruce-Wayne-in-the-Gotham-TV-show

The case soon takes them through the Gotham City underworld where they encounter Fish Mooney, a ruthless lieutenant in the Falcone crime family. Eventually Mooney’s information leads Gordon and Bullock to corner their lead suspect, Mario Pepper, but Bullock is forced to kill him before Pepper can assault Gordon.

Back at the station, Gordon and Bullock are applauded as the heroes who solved the Wayne murders, although something isn’t sitting right with Gordon. Against Harvey’s objection, Gordon journeys to Wayne Manor to speak with Bruce Wayne–Thomas and Martha’s young son who is now in the care of the family butler, Alfred–so that he can tell Bruce that he screwed up; Mario Pepper wasn’t the guy who killed their parents.

Eventually, a witness to the killings comes forward. Street urchin Selina Kyle was there when the Waynes were murdered, and she may know who did it.

Meanwhile, Fish Mooney finds out that Gordon is still investigating what should be a closed case, and she dispatches a team to kill Gordon and Bullock. Before the hit goes down, however, Carmine Falcone finally makes an appearance and gives Gordon and Bullock a reprieve–provided that Gordon “plays ball.”

Previously, Fish had determined that none other than her little errand boy, Oswald Cobblepot, was the one who tipped Gordon off in the first place about Pepper not being the real killer, so Carmine orders Bullock to have Gordon execute Cobblepot. Gordon, realizing he has no choice, walks Cobblepot down to the edge of a pier with a gun to Cobblepot’s head. Cobblepot begs for his life and says that there’s a war coming to Gotham. He’s seen it coming for awhile now, and he can help avert it.

Gordon Cobblepot

When they arrive at the end of the pier, Gordon can only whisper one sentence to Cobblepot before he aims his gun: “Don’t come back to Gotham.”

Gordon pulls the trigger and fires–right NEXT to Cobblepot’s head. Cobblepot falls into the water and Bullock is now satisfied that Gordon’s “gotten his hands dirty” by murdering Cobblepot. Gordon can keep his life–and his job–for now.

In the very last scene, a startled fisherman could have sworn he just saw something move in the water. He looks to investigate, but finds nothing. Then he turns around and finds Cobblepot standing there with the fisherman’s own fillet knife. Before the fisherman can run, Cobblepot brutally slices his neck open.

Oswald

Reaction: There was a lot going on in the Pilot–arguably too much. Gordon is really kind of one-note so far, and Bullock is painfully over the top, to the point that Logue really looks uneasy in the role. That will change (mostly because Logue gets more comfortable as the writing gets better), but Bullock is tough to take seriously in these first few episodes.

Fish Mooney is the one major character (so far) that the writers have cooked up exclusively for the show (meaning she isn’t based on a comics counterpart), and the verdict is still out. I like the concept of her (although the name is awful–it would be more at home in a Dick Tracy comic than a Batman story); the fact that Jada Pinkett Smith (who I normally love) seems to be trying to channel Eartha Kitt with each of her line readings is really distracting. The writers clearly love her, because they put her in almost every scene. Still, the whole momentum of the show seems to grind to a halt.

The actors playing Alfred and Bruce are good, but it already seems like it’s going to be tough to shoehorn them into the story every week. Leaving the Waynes’ murder unsolved will give Gordon a reason to check in with them every now and then, but so far Pertwee seems almost wasted as Alfred. An episode or two detailing his backstory (which is quite adventurous, at least in the comics) and why he’s so devoted to the Wayne family would go a long way.

These sorts of problems are actually common for a pilot, as everyone–including the writers–is still sort of feeling their way around. But the biggest find in terms of the cast is Robin Lord Taylor. He’s the one actor on this show who had a clear idea of what he wanted to do with his character from the get go, and he really pops in every scene he’s in, whether it’s well written or not. The writers will grow to lean heavily on Cobblepot as the series goes on, and this is in no small part due to Taylor’s performance.

The one thing the show really has going for it is the cinematography. This show looks gorgeous. They got the feel and atmosphere just about dead on. If I lived in Gotham, this is what I’d expect to see when I looked around. I know some folks aren’t sold–they still have the hyper-realized production design from the Tim Burton movies fresh in their mind. But for my money, this aspect of the production was a home run.

Overall, Gotham’s first episode has a shaky foundation, but there are definitely some intriguing elements to build on.

Verdict: C-

 

And there ya go! Look for the full Episode Guide in January!

And now that you’ve seen the Ghost of Critical Missives’ Future, come back Christmas Eve night for a special Ninwashui-penned “Christmas Carol”-style look at Heroclix…