2019 Critical Review: Colossal Retaliators!! (Or, The Tenth 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! Two nights ago we listed three licensed properties we’d love to see Clix’d! And yesterday we tracked the history of MCU movie setsand the one piece from Marvel’s movies that hasn’t been made yet… ]

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

Once again… it’s Roberto Ty!

Having 2020 Vision

Time for another year end critical review. Like the previous article on call-in figures, we’re looking at retaliators that survives rotation. Previously, I suggested that the time to sell your was now and while that still holds true, the retaliators have fewer options going forward. You may have to keep them until just before Nationals.

The Colossal Retaliator Sequence

For newer players, a typical sequence for colossal retaliation looks like this:

  1. Colossal Retaliators are played on their final retaliation click (the last click before KO). They are low-cost figures that add utility to teams.
  2. An opponent damages a teammate or attacks a retaliator (assuming he doesn’t kill the retaliator) and this triggers a Colossal Retaliation.
  3. On your turn, you can retaliate against the attacker through the Colossal Retaliation ability, provided that character is still on the map. The retaliation ability varies from figure to figure and may have additional benefits and conditions.

It’s Hard to Say Goodbye…Like Really, Really, Really Hard

The list of retiring retaliators are:

  1. 10-point AIG001-10 Giant-Girl
  2. 25-point AIG009P Jakar
  3. 15-point AIG017P Giganto & Namor
  4. 20-point AIG025P Groot
  5. 10-point FFAIG001P Giant-Girl
  6. 25-point TMTG001P Surtur
  7. 20-point TMTG003P Groot
  8. 10-point TMTG004P Carnage
  9. 15-point TMTG005P Ms. Marvel
  10. 30-point TMTG006P Mangog
  11. 20-point TMTG007P Frost Giant
  12. 10-point TMTG008P Flora Colossus
  13. 35-point WKM17-G001P Dormammu
  14. 15-point WKMP17-001P Giant-Man
  15. 30-point WKD17-G001P Titano
  16. 25-point WKDP17-001P Sinestro
  17. 20-point WKDP18-001P Starro
  18. 15-point EWG001P The Skyscraper Wonder Woman

We go from 26 colossal retaliators to 8. While it’s better to sell before rotation, can you make a deep run at Nationals without these retaliators?

The OG

With limited options going forward, we need to evaluate which retaliators to keep. 

Value Factors

 

  • Keywords. Due to their low cost, multiple retaliators are used to increase the roll for map initiative on theme teams.

 

  • Bystanders. Retaliators that generate bystanders are valuable. Bystanders can be used to tie up an opponent or as fodder to trigger a retaliation.

 

  • Abilities. Beyond retaliation, does the character bring additional qualities like Leadership, Outwit, Perplex, Poison, Probability Control, or Telekinesis to a team?
  • Defense. Can the retaliator survive? Most retaliators have hittable defenses. The better retaliators have ways to evade or reduce damage.

 

 

 

Tier I (MVP)

 

Groot Colossal.jpg

20-POINT AIG025P GROOT

Hands down, Groot is the MVP of retaliators. His value isn’t solely from his retaliation, but from his other abilities. He has a 3 movement, COLOSSAL RETALIATION special power with 10 attack, COLOSSAL INDIFFERENCE with 17 defense, and Leadership with 3 damage. On paper, his combat values seem average. So let’s look at his abilities:

(☆ TRAIT) ORIGIN: BEFORE THE GUARDIANS: If Groot is part of a Guardians of the Galaxy themed team, he has PROTECTED: Outwit this game. Otherwise, he modifies his attack and defense +1 this game.

(☆ TRAIT) PUNY MORTALS, WE WILL CRUSH YOU LIKE AN INSECT: At the beginning of the game, you may generate a Dr. Leslie Evans bystander in an opponent’s starting area that’s friendly to their force. If you do, generate two Walking Wood bystanders. // Whenever Groot hits one or more characters with an attack, after resolutions generate a Walking Wood bystander (maximum 5 on the map).

(SPECIAL ATTACK) COLOSSAL RETALIATION: FREE: If no other Colossal Retaliation power has been activated this turn, choose an opposing character that attacked Groot or damaged a friendly character since your last turn. Place Groot such that he can make a close attack targeting the chosen character, then do so.

(SPECIAL DEFENSE) COLOSSAL INDIFFERENCE: STOP. Toughness. If Groot began the game on the 20-point starting line, he can’t attack smaller characters except via Colossal Retaliation.

His value can be summed up as follows:

  1. 11 attack (10 printed +1 from his trait) and 18 defense (17 printed +1 from his trait).
  2. Leadership.
  3. Generates a Dr. Leslie Evans bystander for the opponent’s team and you get two Walking Woods.

When we survey the Cosmic-keyword characters that have Leadership, there are very few. It makes Groot that much more valuable to Cosmic theme teams. While giving your opponent a Dr. Leslie Evans can work against you, the trade off to get two Walking Woods is worth the exchange. Let’s look at these bystanders.

AIG025BTA Dr. Leslie Evans. The good doctor has Stealth with 5 movement, 8 attack, I’M NOT AFRAID OF YOU, GROOT! special power with 15 defense, and Outwit with 1 damage. His special reads:

I’M NOT AFRAID OF YOU, GROOT!: When attacked by a Groot or Walking Wood, Dr. Leslie Evans modifies his defense +3.

AIG025BTB Walking Wood. The Walking Wood has ALL TIMBER IS UNDER MY CONTROL special power with 4 movement, 10 attack, Toughness with 16 defense, and Shape Change with 3 damage. Its special reads:

ALL TIMBER IS UNDER MY CONTROL: Flurry, Plasticity, Sidestep.

You can see why the trade off is worth it. Walking Woods are formidable attackers and can tie up your opponents. If your opponent attacks and kills them, it would trigger a retaliation.

 

Tier II (The Real Retaliators)

 

Mangog.jpg

1. 30-point TMTG006P Mangog

Surtur.jpg

2. 30-POINT TMTG006P MANGOG

I rank Mangog slightly higher than Surtur because of his damage potential, higher defense, and the Cosmic keyword. He has the Power Cosmic team ability, Sidestep with 5 movement, Super Strength with 10 attack, IMPERVIOUS COLOSSAL INDIFFERENCE special power with 19 defense, COLOSSAL RETALIATION: MULTI-POWERED TAIL special power with 4 damage. His trait and special powers read:

(☆ TRAIT) PULL THE ODINSWORD: POWER: Once per game, if Mangog completely occupies an opponent’s starting area and hasn’t been moved or placed by another friendly character this game, turn his dial to the next starting line higher than his current starting line, and that becomes his new starting line and point value.

(SPECIAL DEFENSE) IMPERVIOUS COLOSSAL INDIFFERENCE: STOP. Impervious. If Mangog began the game on the 30-point starting line, he can’t attack smaller characters except via Colossal Retaliation.

(SPECIAL DAMAGE) COLOSSAL RETALIATION: MULTI-POWERED TAIL: FREE: If no other Colossal Retaliation power has been activated this turn, choose an opposing character that attacked Mangog or damaged a friendly character since your last turn. Place Mangog such that he can make a close attack targeting the chosen character and all other opposing characters within 3 squares and line of fire, then do so. Hit characters are each dealt 4 damage instead of normal damage. After resolutions, make a close attack targeting each opposing character within 2 squares and line of fire. Hit characters are each dealt 3 damage instead of normal damage.

Mangog’s playability is really high. I considered placing him in Tier I, but ultimately decided to keep the attackers together in Tier II. To breakdown his value:

  1. With only a 10 printed attack, you’ll want to have Perplex handy before retaliating. Perplex his attack to an 11. Twelve would be better. You don’t want to miss so make sure you have Probability Control too.
  2. When he hits, he deals 4 damage to the attacker and all other opposing characters within 3 squares and line of fire. After resolutions, he can make a close attack targeting each opposing character within 2 squares and line of fire. When he hits, he deals another 3 damage. 
    1. Be careful positioning Mangog for his retaliation. While he can use colossal reach 3 squares, you may want to actually be in closer because the second attack targets characters within 2 squares. Position him strategically for maximum carnage!
  3. Power Cosmic team ability gives him Willpower and PROTECTED: Outwit.
  4. A 19 defense with Impervious! Most retaliators don’t have values so good. This gives him survivability to pull off his trait.
  5. Finally, don’t sleep on his trait. If he hasn’t been moved or placed by another friendly character this game, he can take a POWER action to PULL THE ODINSWORD when he fully occupies an opponent’s starting area. When he pulls the sword, he can be healed to his next starting line at 150 points. That’s value!

25-POINT TMTG001P SURTUR

Surtur has the following keywords: Asgardian, Deity, Monster, and Ruler. Because the monster keyword is strong right now, Surtur makes the list of retaliators to keep until rotation. He has the Power Cosmic team ability and has 8 range with a single target, COLOSSAL RETALIATION: WATCH THE WORLD BURN special power with 6 movement, 12 attack, COLOSSAL INDIFFERENCE special power with 18 defense, and TWILIGHT, SWORD OF DOOM special power with 3 damage. His trait and special powers read:

(☆ TRAIT) VULNERABLE TO COLD: Characters that can use Incapacitate modify their damage by +1 when attacking Surtur.

(SPECIAL MOVEMENT) COLOSSAL RETALIATION: WATCH THE WORLD BURN: FREE: If no other Colossal Retaliation power has been activated this turn, choose an opposing character that attacked Surtur or damaged a friendly character since your last turn. Place Surtur such that he can make a close combat attack targeting the chosen character, then do so. After resolutions, deal 1 penetrating damage to each opposing character within 2 squares.

(SPECIAL DEFENSE) COLOSSAL INDIFFERENCE: STOP. Toughness. If Surtur began the game on the 25-point starting line, he can’t attack smaller characters except via Colossal Retaliation.

(SPECIAL DAMAGE) TWILIGHT, SWORD OF DOOM: Opposing characters can’t use defense powers if they are the only target of Surtur’s attack.

Most likely, you’ll find Surtur on Monster teams. If you provide him some protection, he’s a fierce retaliator:

  1. He has the Power Cosmic team ability, which will give him PROTECTED: Outwit and Willpower.
  2. He has a 12 attack.
  3. Before retaliating, I would Perplex up damage. His first attack against the attacker deals his normal damage. His TWILIGHT, SWORD OF DOOM power will get around pesky defense powers.
  4. After hitting, he deals 1 penetrating damage to each opposing character within 2 squares. 
  5. Like Mangog, you’ll want to pay attention to placement. Always retaliate from 2 squares away. 

 

Tier III (Honorable Mentions)

The last tier, I won’t spend too review in-depth because I feel these are judgement calls and will depend more on your play preference. Notice that they all have the same point value.

Carnage.jpg

1. 10-point TMTG004P Carnage

Flora Colossus 2.jpg

2. 10-point TMTG008P Flora Colossus

GG1.jpg GG

3. 10-point AIG001-10 Giant-Girl and 10-point FFAIG001P Giant-Girl

 

10-POINT TMTG004P CARNAGE

With the Monster-keyword, Carnage will see play. When he retaliates, after attacking he can generate a Symbiote bystander adjacent to the target. He doesn’t need to hit to produce the Symbiote.

TMTG004BT Symbiote. Plasticity with 6 movement. Blades/Claws/Fangs with an 11 attack, Super Senses with 16 defense, and Shape Change with 2 damage.

 

10-POINT TMTG008P FLORA COLOSSUS

Flora is a low-cost addition to cosmic theme teams and is used to increase your map roll. She can heal past her starting line. At the end of your turn, roll a d6. On a result of 5–6: Heal 1 click. If she occupyies water terrain, Heal 2 clicks.

 

10-POINT AIG001-10 GIANT-GIRL AND 10-POINT FFAIG001P GIANT-GIRL

Giant-Girl is low-cost retaliator that helps Avengers theme teams win map roll. She’ll be relevant in 2020 when we get more Avengers. The AIG001-10 Giant-Girl does not have Colossal Indifference and can attack smaller characters. When she KO’s an opposing character, roll a d6 and heal half the result. She can heal past her starting line. The FFAIG001P Giant-Girl has Colossal Indifference. Her value comes from her ability to use Colossal Retaliation even if another character used retaliated that turn. You’ll want to use her retaliation last.

 

New Year, New Wave

Heading into the new year, here’s the new wave of retaliators, post-rotation:

  1. 30-point WKMP18-G001P Tri-Sentinel
  2. 20-point XDPSG004P Proteus
  3. 25-point XDPSG010P Phoenix
  4. 25-point XDPSG015P Magneto
  5. 25-point XDPSG017BP Colossus
  6. 30-point XDPSG020P Dark Phoenix
  7. 25-point XDPSG023BP Storm
  8. 15-point XDPSG025P Iceman

It’s a short list. Let’s take a look at these eight.

 

Tier I

  1. 30-point XDPSG020P Dark Phoenix
  2. 30-point WKMP18-G001P Tri-Sentinel
  3. 25-point XDPSG017BP Colossus
  4. 25-point XDPSG023BP Storm

 

DP

30-point XDPSG020P Dark Phoenix

I debated on who should be crowned number one in Tier I. Ultimately I gave the crown to the Hellfire Queen who later was infected by the Phoenix Force and became Dark Phoenix. Does she deserve top bill? Let’s find out.

Dark Phoenix has the Cosmic, Hellfire Club, Phoenix Force, and X-Men keywords. She has the Power Cosmic team ability and has 10 range with 3 targets, flight, Sidestep with 9 movement, COLOSSAL RETALIATION: CHILD OF LIGHT AND DARKNESS special power with 11 attack, SPECKS OF DUST TO ME special power with 17 defense, and 3 damage. Her abilities are:

(☆ TRAIT) FEEDING ON LIFE FORCES: When Dark Phoenix KO’s an opposing character, or an opposing character takes 4 or more damage from her attack, after resolutions heal her 1 click. She may heal past her starting lines this way but can’t be healed in any other way.

(SPECIAL ATTACK) COLOSSAL RETALIATION: CHILD OF LIGHT AND DARKNESS: FREE: If no friendly character has been placed this turn, choose an opposing character that attacked Dark Phoenix or damaged a friendly character since your last turn. Place Dark Phoenix such that she can make a close attack targeting the chosen character then do so also targeting all other characters (friendly or opposing) within 3 squares. Hit characters are given an action token and each dealt 2 penetrating damage instead of normal damage.

(SPECIAL DEFENSE) SPECKS OF DUST TO ME: STOP. Impervious.

Why she’ll see play:

  1. All her keywords are great to build around, specifically Cosmic and X-Men.
  2. Power Cosmic team ability provides her Willpower and PROTECTED: Outwit.
  3. Incredible 10 range with 3 targets.
  4. 11 attack value.
  5. While her defense value is only 17, she has Impervious to help reduce damage to 0.
  6. Her retaliation will target the attacker and all other characters (friendly or opposing) within 3 squares. So be careful placing her for retaliation! When she hits, she deals 2 penetrating damage instead of her normal damage.
  7. She doesn’t have Colossal Indifference and can attack smaller characters.
  8. Now for why she’s number one. When she KO’s an opposing character or when an opposing character takes 4 or more damage from her attack, she can heal 1 click and can heal past her starting line. Let me break this down:
    1. Perplex her damage to 4 (she has 3 printed) before she retaliates. In many games, I also Perplex her defense.
    2. Early in a match, the penetrating damage from her retaliation isn’t enough to heal unless you are targeting bystanders or other low-cost figures.
    3. Finally it’s been ruled that Dark Phoenix heals 1 click when she deals 4 damage and another click for a KO’d character. So by Perplexing her damage to 4 before the retaliation, you can place her, attack, and deal penetrating damage. Then hit with a normal attack for 4 damage to heal 1 click. If you manage to KO a character then you can heal her 1 more click.
    4. One other thing to consider is if you heal her 1 click, she loses her Colossal Retaliation power and Impervious (she gains Invulnerability). Her defense does go up to an 18, but if you paid attention to my advice, she’ll actually be a 19 defense if you Perplexed her up beforehand.

 

Tri.jpg

30-POINT WKMP18-G001P TRI-SENTINEL

As a 30-point investment, Tri-Sentinel brings a lot to a team. He has 9 range with 3 targets, flight, THE PRIME DIRECTIVE special power with 8 movement, COLOSSAL RETALIATION: WHEN NOTHING LESS THAN GENOCIDE WILL DO special power with a 10 attack, and COLOSSAL INDIFFERENCE special power with 18 defense, and 3 damage. His abilities are:

(+) IMPROVED MOVEMENT: This character can move through Blocking terrain. Immediately after movement resolves, destroy all Blocking terrain moved through.

(☆ TRAIT) MYSTICAL WARDINGS: Energy Shield/Deflection. Tri-Sentinel has PROTECTED: Mind Control. When Tri-Sentinel is dealt penetrating damage by an opposing character, after resolutions heal it 1 click.

(SPECIAL MOVEMENT) THE PRIME DIRECTIVE: Plasticity, Sidestep. When Tri-Sentinel destroys one or more pieces of blocking terrain, after resolutions deal 1 penetrating damage to each opposing character that was adjacent to one or more destroyed pieces.

(SPECIAL ATTACK) COLOSSAL RETALIATION: WHEN NOTHING LESS THAN GENOCIDE WILL DO: FREE: If no other Colossal Retaliation power has been activated this turn, choose an opposing character that attacked Tri-Sentinel or damaged a friendly character since your last turn. Place Tri-Sentinel such that it can target the chosen character using Pulse Wave at no cost, then do so. After resolutions, destroy all blocking terrain within 3 squares.

(SPECIAL DEFENSE) COLOSSAL INDIFFERENCE: STOP. Toughness. If Tri-Sentinel began the game on the 30-point starting line, it can’t attack smaller characters except via Colossal Retaliation.

Why he’ll see play:

  1. Excellent keywords: Hellfire Club, Mystical, Robot, and Sentinel. We initially saw him on Mystical teams (alongside Sheriff Strange, Earth X Daredevil, Alex Wilder, and Black Adam), but thanks to the X-Men Animated Series set, we’ll see him on Robot or Sentinel teams.
  2. Used strategically on a map with blocking terrain, he has IMPROVED MOVEMENT: This character can move through Blocking terrain. Immediately after movement resolves, destroy all Blocking terrain moved through.
  3. Incredible reach. He can Sidestep and make a ranged attack of 9 squares—an 11-square reach.
  4. MYSTICAL WARDINGS trait makes him worth his 30-points. Its benefits are:
    1. Energy Shield/Deflection. He goes from an 18 defense to a 20 against ranged attacks.
    2. PROTECTED: Mind Control.
    3. But the most important part of this trait is that when he destroys one or more pieces of blocking terrain, after resolutions he deals 1 penetrating damage to each opposing character that is adjacent to one or more pieces he destroyed.

Let’s break down the final part of MYSTICAL WARDINGS. He deals 1 penetrating damage to opposing characters adjacent to one or more pieces of blocking terrain that he destroyed. He’s essentially doing damage to opposing characters by destroying blocking terrain through:

  1. His Improved Movement.
  2. A Range Destroy action.
  3. His Colossal Retaliation special. The important thing to note is that he retaliates with a Pulse Wave that destroys all blocking squares within 3 squares. So first he deals his damage from Pulse Wave then after resolutions he’s dealing 1 penetrating to each opposing character that is adjacent to one of more of the destroyed pieces. Incredible!

You can see why he’ll be a major retaliator going forward, especially on a map with lots of blocking terrain. Commonly used maps with him are Star Trek’s Underground Map (though this will rotate out next year) and ROC Hedge Maze. The Underground map is indoors and provides him protection because of limited sight lines. The outdoor Hedge Maze map has lots of blocking terrain and is difficult to maneuver for non-flyers while he can target them with his great size.

 

Colossus Prime.jpg

25-POINT XDPSG017BP COLOSSUS

Juggernaut Colossus is a Giant with the X-Men team ability. He has Charge with 7 movement, Quake with 11 attack, Impervious with 18 defense, and COLOSSAL RETALIATION: NOW, YOU FACE WRATH special power with 3 damage. His abilities are:

(+) MOVEMENT: This character can move through Blocking terrain. Immediately after movement resolves, destroy all Blocking terrain moved through. This character can move through squares adjacent to or occupied by opposing characters without stopping, and automatically breaks away, even if adjacent to a character than can use Plasticity.

(☆ TRAIT) FLYING DEBRIS: When Colossus uses Charge, after resolutions deal 1 penetrating damage to each opposing character that’s adjacent to one or more debris markers he created this turn.

COLOSSAL RETALIATION: NOW, YOU FACE WRATH: FREE: If no friendly character has been placed this turn, choose an opposing character that attacked Colossus or damaged a friendly character since your last turn. If that character is within the same row or column as Colossus, place Colossus adjacent to that character and make a close combat attack targeting all characters in the rows or columns between where Colossus began this action and his current square, regardless of adjacency. Hit characters are each dealt 2 penetrating damage instead of normal damage.

Why he’ll see play:

  1. As a call-in retaliator with either the 5-point WKMDOFP-003 Colossus Wanted Poster or 5-point WKMVID-011 Colossus headmaster ID card.
  2. Colossus is a Giant, but can attack smaller characters because he doesn’t have Colossal Indifference.
  3. He can use Charge, destroying blocking along the way, and for every character that is adjacent to a piece of terrain he destroyed, he deals them 1 penetrating damage.
  4. He can Charge (moving 4 squares) and use Giant Reach to target characters within 2 squares, and then Quake on an 11 attack.
  5. His retaliation can target several characters. When he hits, he deals 2 penetrating damage for each character.

 

Storm colossal.jpg

25-POINT XDPSG023BP STORM

Ororo has been possessed by Shadow King and has the Deity, Monster, Ruler, and X-Men keywords. Since she is being controlled by Amahl Farouk, she doesn’t have the X-Men team ability. She has 8 range with two targets, Sidestep with 7 movement, Precision Strike with 11 attack, THIS NEW HOST PLEASE ME, I WOULDN’T WANT TO LOSE IT special power with an 18 defense, and 2 damage. Her abilities are:

(+) TARGETING: Lines of fire drawn by this character are not blocked by characters. This character can make ranged attacks while adjacent to opposing characters. (May target adjacent or nonadjacent opposing characters.)

(☆ TRAIT) SUMMON A VORTEX OF WIND: Energy Shield/Deflection. // FREE: Choose up to 3 opposing characters within 6 squares and line of fire, then roll a d6. Knock back each of the chosen characters a number of squares equal to the result.

(☆ TRAIT) COLOSSAL RETALIATION: MIND WARP: FREE: If no friendly character has been placed this turn, choose an opposing character that attacked Storm or damaged a friendly character since your last turn. Place Storm such that she can make a close attack targeting the chosen character then do so. If she hit, after resolutions she can use Mind Control at no cost as RANGE, modifying attack +3, to target the hit character and up to two others (within range and line of fire).

(SPECIAL DEFENSE) THIS NEW HOST PLEASES ME, I WOULDN’T WANT TO LOSE IT: STOP.

Why she’ll see play:

  1. As a standard-size character with the Colossal Retaliation power, she can attack characters of any size since she doesn’t have Colossal Indifference.
  2. Her attack value is 11 while her damage is only 2. The second part of her retaliation allows her to use Mind Control at no cost. When she does, her attack is modified by +3 and she can target the hit character along with two others that are within her range and line of fire.

Tier II (Call-In Help)

These Tier II retaliators may be included on the main force, but also as call-in figures. For more on call-in figures, read my earlier article 2019 Critical Review: Call-In Figures.

  1. 25-point XDPSG017BP Colossus
  2. 25-point XDPSG010P Phoenix
  3. 25-point XDPSG015P Magneto
  4. 15-point XDPSG025P Iceman

As we look at the Tier II list, I will only review the retaliators that have not been covered previously.

 

25-POINT XDPSG017BP COLOSSUS

See the Tier I Colossus review above.

 

Phoenix Rachel.jpg

25-POINT XDPSG010P PHOENIX

Phoenix’s keywords are Cosmic, Excalibur, Phoenix Force, Starjammers, and X-Men. Easy to include on Cosmic and X-Men teams, she has the Power Cosmic and X-Men team abilities. Her range is an incredible 10 with 3 targets and she has Phasing/Teleport with 10 movement, Telekinesis with 11 attack, COLOSSAL INDIFFERENCE with 16 defense, and COLOSSAL RETALIATION: PSIONIC MAELSTROM with 3 damage. Her abilities are:

(☆ TRAIT) COSMIC ENTITY: Phoenix can’t be the target of an attack with more than one target.

(☆ TRAIT) ETERNAL FLAME OF DESTRUCTION AND REBIRTH: Energy Shield/Deflection, Poison. When Phoenix uses Poison and an opposing character took damage from it, after resolutions choose one: heal 1 click for each opposing character damaged this way -or- heal each adjacent friendly character 1 click.

(SPECIAL DEFENSE) COLOSSAL INDIFFERENCE: STOP. If Phoenix starts on the 25-point line, she can’t attack smaller characters except via Colossal Retaliation.

(SPECIAL DAMAGE) COLOSSAL RETALIATION: PSIONIC MAELSTROM: FREE: If no friendly character has been placed this turn, choose an opposing character that attacked Phoenix or damaged a friendly character since your last turn. Place Phoenix within 3 squares of the chosen character then make a ranged attack targeting that character and all other opposing characters within 3 squares, regardless of line of fire. Instead of normal damage, deal each hit character 1 penetrating damage for each action token they have. Hit targets that can use Incapacitate, Mind Control, Outwit, or Penetrating/Psychic Blast modify their combat values -1 until your next turn.

Why she’ll see play:

  1. As a call-in retaliator. At 25-points she can be called in with either the 3-point WKMVID-020 Jean Grey student ID or the 5-point WKMDOFP-004 Rachel Summers Wanted Poster.
  2. She has Cosmic and X-Men keywords, two of the most common keywords in modern.
  3. Telekinesis. She can use Telekinesis to place a special object on another figure so that they can equip it on the first turn. Or she can use it to position another teammate.
  4. Poison. As a call-in, she can be placed adjacent to an opponent and use her Poison before retaliating.
  5. Her retaliation targets the attacker and all other opposing characters within 3 squares. When she hits, she does 1 penetrating damage for each action token on the hit target.

For an 8-point investment in two ID cards, I just might have two of her on the sideline.

 

Mags Colossal

25-POINT XDPSG015P MAGNETO

The leader of the mutant resistance will retaliate against his oppressors! While he’s a 2×2 base, Magneto is a standard-size character. He has the Brotherhood of Mutants team ability, an 8 range with a single target, Sidestep with 7 movement, Telekinesis with 10 attack, Toughness with an 18 defense, and COLOSSAL RETALIATION: MASTER OF MAGNETISM special power with 3 damage. His abilities are:

(☆ TRAIT) THE FORCE OF MAGNETISM IS AT MY COMMAND: Leadership. FREE: Choose a character within range and line of fire. Place that character in a square adjacent to its current square.

(SPECIAL DAMAGE) COLOSSAL RETALIATION: MASTER OF MAGNETISM: FREE: If no other friendly character has been placed this turn, choose an opposing character that attacked Magneto or damaged a friendly character since your last turn. Place Magneto such that he can make a ranged attack targeting the chosen character then do so.

Why he’ll see play:

  1. As a call-in retaliator with the 5-point WKMDOFP-006 Magneto Wanted Poster.
  2. Magneto can attack characters of any size. He doesn’t have Colossal Indifference.
  3. Telekinesis. Like Phoenix, he will be used to TK equipment objects to teammates or place friendly characters.
  4. Leadership.
  5. The other significant part of his trait is that he can choose a character within his range and line of fire to move them into an adjacent square from its current square. Note that this works for friendly or opposing characters. You could use TK to place your teammate and then move them an additional square.
  6. His keywords: Acolytes, Brotherhood of Mutants, Hellfire Club, and Ruler. Of these he’ll likely be included Brotherhood or Ruler theme teams.

 

Iceman.jpg

15-POINT XDPSG025P ICEMAN

One of my favorite sculpts in Heroclix, Iceman has taken the ice form of Voltron! He is Colossal size and has 0 range, Charge with 5 movement, 11 attack, COLOSSAL INDIFFERENCE: ICE ROBOT! special power with 17 defense, and COLOSSAL RETALIATION: GLACIER FISTS special power with 3 damage. He has Armor, Champions, Defenders, X-Factor, and X-Men keywords along with the X-Men team ability. His abilities are:

(☆ TRAIT) CHILL, IT’S JUST A GIANT ICE SWORD: Blades/Claws/Fangs. When Iceman KO’s a [Giant symbol] or [Colossal symbol] character, after resolutions he can use Charge at no cost, but may only attack a character with [Giant symbol] or [Colossal symbol]. (He may repeat this.)

(SPECIAL DEFENSE) COLOSSAL INDIFFERENCE: ICE ROBOT!: STOP. If Iceman started the game on the 15-point starting line, he can’t attack smaller characters except via Colossal Retaliation.

(SPECIAL DAMAGE) COLOSSAL RETALIATION: GLACIER FISTS: FREE: If no friendly character has been placed this turn, choose an opposing character that attacked Iceman or damaged a friendly character since your last turn. Place Iceman such that he can make a close attack targeting the chosen character then do so. After resolutions, he can immediately use Incapacitate at no cost, but may target smaller characters.

Why he’ll see play:

  1. As a call-in retaliator with the 3-point WKMVID-019 Iceman student ID.
  2. The first part of his trait gives him Blades/Claws/Fangs.
  3. The second part of his trait is interesting, but will be difficult to pull off. When he KO’s a Giant or Colossal, after resolutions, he can use Charge at no cost but only to attack another Giant or Colossal. He only Charges 3 squares (half his 5 movement rounded up) and can attack using a Colossal reach of 3 squares. Effectively it’s only a 6-square reach (3 from Charging and 3 from Colossal reach).
  4. His retaliation allows him to attack a target (don’t forget the Blades/Claws/Fangs) then after resolutions, he can use Incapacitate at no cost and can target smaller characters. What’s important to note is that he has 0 range. So the use of Incapacitate will be from a close attack.

 

Tier III

 

Proteus.jpg

1. 20-point XDPSG004P Proteus

 

20-point XDPSG004P Proteus

Proteus is a straight-forward retaliator that will find his way onto a Monster theme team. He has the Brute keyword and the Power Cosmic team ability. He starts with Improved Movement: Blocking and a 4 movement value, COLOSSAL RETALIATION: A PARALYZING FEAR special power with a 10 attack, COLOSSAL INDIFFERENCE: I DON’T KNOW BETTER special power with an 18 defense, and Battle Fury with 3 damage. His abilities are:

(☆ TRAIT) WARPING REALITY: Barrier, Shape Change, Smoke Cloud. Once per turn, Proteus can use Barrier as FREE or Smoke Cloud as FREE, but only to generate 2 markers. // Other characters within 3 squares can’t use Improved abilities.

(SPECIAL ATTACK) COLOSSAL RETALIATION: A PARALYZING FEAR: FREE: If no friendly character has been placed this turn, choose an opposing character that attacked Proteus or damaged a friendly character since your last turn. Place Proteus such that he can make a close attack targeting the chosen character then do so. A hit character gets 2 Fear tokens. Even if this power is lost, characters with Fear tokens must roll a d6 when making an attack, and negatively modify their attack value by half the result, then remove one Fear token.

(SPECIAL DEFENSE) COLOSSAL INDIFFERENCE: I DON’T KNOW BETTER: STOP. If Proteus starts on the 20-point starting line, he can’t attack smaller characters except via Colossal Retaliation.

Proteus has average values, but his Battle Fury will help with pesky Shape Change figures. He becomes above average when you factor in his ability to use Barrier or Smoke Cloud as FREE to generate 2 markers. A fun pairing is to use two Proteus with XDPSG007E Juggernaut (who also has the Brute keyword). Juggernaut has Improved Movement: Blocking. After moving, Juggernaut can use Quake at no cost and destroys all adjacent squares of blocking. When Juggernaut destroys 3 or more squares of blocking terrain he gets to remove an action token. When he removes an action token from an effect other than clearing, he gets to heal 1 click. With two Proteus retaliators providing him barrier, Juggernaut is less dependent on a map with lots of blocking terrain and is a more effective tentpole.

 

Colossal Thoughts

A lot of teams employ an alpha strike strategy. If you plan on including retaliators on your main force, you’ll need to protect them from that first strike. That’s why I like the idea of using call-in retaliators. It’s better to concede points from the ID or Wanted Poster than the points of a retaliator. 

Retaliators aren’t just used to attack, many are used for the initiative bonus (map roll) on theme teams. Typically these are low cost figures like the 10-point Flora or Giant-Girl. Post rotation, most of the retaliators will be around 20 points. Iceman is the lowest at 15 points. But at these point levels, it makes it difficult to include these on the main force just to win the map.

Keeping these thoughts in mind, I personally lean toward building teams without main force retaliators and plan on using call-in retaliators instead in 2020.

 

The Ghost of Clix-Mas Future Presents: A Look At Some Upcoming OP Kits!! (Or, The Tenth Night of Clix-Mas 2018!!)

[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! Then Night 5 brought us a look at HypeFox’s favorite Sealed sets, and Night 6 saw the release of a brand new set announcement! Night 7 was a brief celebration of our 5th Anniversary! Night 8 was a celebration of the X-Men 2099, and finally, Night 9 was a guide to a house game Ninwashui and I enjoyed playing called “Raid Night!”]

Welcome to Night 10 of the 12 Nights of Clix-Mas!!

Today we’re going to take a look at what Wizkids has planned on the OP kit front… especially because “Best There Is Games” on YouTube has just gotten their hands on some Deadpool OP kit images!

This kit is coming to Local Game Stores in January, and it will feature Deadpool (natch), Wolverine and Negasonic Teenage Warhead!

Click the link above if you want to see the cards and dials for Deadpool and Wolverine. But suffice it to say that Negasonic Teenage Warhead is the winner of the bunch.

She’s 40 points and comes with 4 Clicks. She has 4 Range and top dial Sidestep, ES/D with a 17 Defense and a Special Attack Power ( Watch This!: Pulse Wave, Telekinesis. POWER: If Negasonic Teenage Warhead has no action tokens, she can use Pulse Wave and Telekinesis at no cost in either order.) on her first two Clicks (along with a 10 Attack).

With the Heroes for Hire keyword and the Mercs For Money Trait (Mercs For Money: When another friendly character with the Heroes For Hire keyword KO’s and opposing character, after resolutions heal Negasonic Teenage Warhead 1 click.), she will slide right in with your favorite characters from 2017’s Deadpool and X-Force!

If you place in a local event and get a chance at one of these pieces, Negasonic is probably your best choice!

Now the fact that hard news about these pieces is already filtering through definitely inspires confidence that we’ll see the other already announced kits actually drop when they’re scheduled for release.

For the record, that means we’ll be getting:

–Heroes For Hire Monthly OP kit (February)

–Too Many Spider-Man OP kit (March)

–Public Enemy: Bullseye OP kit (April)

–X-Men: Empowered OP kit (May)

Well, that’s all the news that’s fit to print for the moment

Good luck with your January events, and we’ll see you here tomorrow night for some more Clix-Mas!!

[EDITOR’S NOTE: Once again, we are sourcing this information from a video posted by “BEST THERE IS GAMES” on YouTube! We highly recommend clicking the link and checking out there content for pictures of the actual cards for these figures (and hints on what the sculpts will look like!).]

 

 

The Ghost of Christmas Past Wants to Talk About the Five Figures He Hated the Most This Year!! (Or, The Tenth Night of Clix-Mas!!)

[EDITOR’S NOTEWelcome to Clix-Mas 2017, 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 2017 can be found right here! And we announced a new Holiday Scenario for our local venue on Night Two! Then the Ghost of Christmas Past named a few of his favorite things from the past Clix year right here! On Night Four, the Ghost of Christmas Present left us his Top Ten Figures from Star Trek: Away Team!! And the Ghost of Christmas Future gifted us some Irresponsible Speculation about IndyClix!! Later, the Ghost of Christmas Future came back and talked about licensed properties that would make great Clix sets! Then the Ghost of Christmas Present gave us a presentation of the Top Eleven most valuable Heroclix released this year! A couple days ago the Ghost of Christmas Future published an editorial on the putrid state of Marvel’s publishing division and why that makes IndyClix sets even more important to Wizkids! Then he came back yesterday under the guise of The Ghost of Irresponsible Speculation to talk about Marvel & DC stories that would make great Heroclix sets!]

I hate YOu.jpg

Okay! We’re back for Night Ten of The Twelve Nights of Clix-Mas 2017!!

So far this Clix-Mas, we’ve talked about underrated sets, valuable pieces and lots of things I loved about Heroclix this year.

This is not one of those columns.

Today we’re going to talk about the five pieces I hated the most this year! This list is personal to me (although I will offer some justification with each choice), and, as such, I make no apologies.

In reverse order…

Donna Troy

5. WW015 Donna Troy — 45 Points — Chase: 

The main reason she’s on this list is because she’s a worthless Chase from a (mostly) worthless expansion who has an essentially worthless power set.

But maybe that’s too harsh. I mean, remember when the Wonder Woman set came out this summer and everyone got really excited about building up those super useful Amazon tokens?

Yeah, me neither.

 

Daredevil TV

4. WI034 TV’s Daredevil — 30 Points — Rare: 

What if you pulled a 30 Point Rare who was only useful for keeping opposing characters in place via Plasticity?

I mean, seriously, what is the point of this piece? And how was it designed on the same scale as “Ha-Ha Joker” who, for the same point cost, is INFINITELY better at pretty much every aspect of the game?

Flora Colossus.jpg

3. TMTG008P Flora Colossus — 10 Points — Colossal: 

The whole point of Flora’s Colossal Retaliation is that its Trait (DRINK DEEP, SAPLING: Flora Colossus may heal past its starting lines but can’t heal except by this trait. At the end of your turn, you may roll a d6. 5-6: Heal 1 click. If it occupies water terrain, heal 2 clicks instead.) allows it to heal past its Starting Line.

So, you have a 16%-ish chance each turn to gain 1-2 clicks on Flora’s REALLY overcosted dial (even its 400 point dial is pretty crappy).

In the meantime, you have a chance to use Flora’s Colossal Retaliation, which could do up to ONE WHOLE DAMAGE to several opposing characters! Wow! All you have to do is hit with your 8 Attack Value!!

That makes Flora Colossus a piece that’s almost scientifically impossible to ever live up to its own point cost.

 

Foggy Nelson

This dramatizes how much effort you’ll need to make Foggy’s power useful…

2. ADW041 Foggy Nelson — 15 Points — Rare:

Sometimes, when I’m feeling really ambitious, I think I can neckbeard at my local venue and figure out which packs have Chases. When ADW came out, I was judging the Release Event and I remember tracking the packs that guys were opening from this one particular Brick. I was sure I had counted 3 SR’s and 6 Rares pulled.

Hmmm…

I cautiously approached the shelf. One pack left.

I brought it up to the counter, paid for it and then took it over to the play area while everyone else was making their Sealed teams. Nervously, I slowly opened the top. Just as I was about to pull out the contents, I heard one of the guys building his team excitedly call out.

Apparently, he hadn’t looked at his pulls very closely initially. That Common Cap he thought he pulled? Nope. It was Secret Empire Chase Cap.

Uh-oh. I immediately pulled out the contents of my pack.

Rare $#%@ing Foggy Nelson.

Pretty much what I deserved for trying to neckbeard. But my God is he terrible. As a Common, I’d be like, “Eh, I guess it’s kinda fun that he got Clix’d.”

But as a Rare?!?

#$%@ me.

The lone Trait on his two-click dial (TRUST ME… I’M A LAWYER: At the beginning of your turn, choose a friendly character of 150 points or less. Until your next turn as long as the chosen character is adjacent to Foggy Nelson, they cannot have their powers countered or their combat values decreased by opposing game effects.) is so cumbersome to effectively activate that it really seems like Foggy has no practical use in the game of Heroclix.

At all.

I don't Feel

This phrase is both the title of a Netflix movie with Elijah Wood and the entire contents of the last note left by the person who designed ADW041 Foggy Nelson before they disappeared…

 

Big Barda

Only six of them? Great! You’re probably only gonna get like 3 attacks off before you’re KO’d though, so…

1. HQ023B Big Barda — 100 Points — Uncommon Prime:

I was so happy when I pulled the Barda Prime during my local venue’s Harley Quinn Release Event. Then I used her. Holy God.

Game 1: First, I moved her 3 squares into the fray where she could reach out and attack almost anyone on my opponent’s team. Rolled a 2. Grrrrr. So, essentially she did nothing and picked up an action token for her trouble. She basically self-Incapacitated.

Next turn, I chose not to make another move-and-attack action SINCE SHE DOESN’T HAVE ACCESS TO WILLPOWER. Oh look, her non-Prime does…

Next turn. Even with her measly 4 range, I only had to move her 2 squares to take a potshot at my opponent’s most vulnerable supporting character and wipe the piece completely off the Map.

I rolled a 1.

Nicholson Meme

Her “great” Movement Special (PERSONAL BOOM TUBE: Phasing/Teleport. When Big Barda uses it, after resolutions you may roll a d6. If the result is greater than the squares moved, make an attack.) seems like it gives you the best of both Running Shot and Charge.

It doesn’t. It gives you the worst part of neither, which is a statement that makes absolutely no sense unless you’re unlucky enough to have played this Barda. This power is literally a crap shoot. The problem is that you have to make your move BEFORE you know whether or not you’re even going to be able to make an attack.

Let’s compare “Personal Boom Tube” to DXF016 Dark Deadpool’s Movement Special (SURPRISE! YOU’RE DEAD!: Dark Deadpool can use Stealth. Give Dark Deadpool a free action to roll a d6, then place him in any square within half the result.). Oh look, he has Stealth AND GETS TO MOVE FIRST before you decide if attacking is the right move! And that’s with Dark Deadpool costing 15 LESS points and NOT taking up your sole Prime slot.

Yes, I know that Wizkids recently (and randomly) ruled that her own Special Empower somehow affects her as well. Great. So now that’s 5 Damage that I won’t be doing to my opponent’s pieces instead of 4. Fantastic.

By the way, I ended up going 2-1 that event. I won the rest of my games because I used Barda as a Taxi first, then as bait. While my opponent was busy attacking her and her useless dial, I cleaned up everything else (including a Chase Shazam) with Prometheus.

Who is awesome.

#$%@ you, Barda. #$%@ you.

Okay, that’s it for Night Ten of The Twelve Nights of Clix-Mas! Come back tomorrow to see what we’ve cooked up for Night Eleven!!

Simply THE REST, Part 2!! (Or, With Apologies to Tina Turner Once More!!)(Or OR The Tenth Night of Clix-Mas!!)

[EDITOR’S NOTE: Okay, lemme see if I can remember all this: Ahem! Once again (and this time, with feeling!), we are shamelessly unleashing the 12 Nights of Clix-Mas! Tonight is Night 5! If you missed The First Night of Clix-Mas, you can read what it’s all about right here! Night 2 was the nascent edition of a new holiday scenario we’ve been cooking up and can be found… here-ish! Night 3 took a brief look back at Horrorclix. Night 4 was the debut of a new feature called “Overlooked” which examined some pieces from World’s Finest that don’t see quite as much play as they seemingly should… . And Night 5 was Part 1 of a brief 3-part series that examines how Heroclix would look if there were a Core Set released every year or two… And Night 6 saw HypeFox Theory-craft his own Marvel Heroclix Core Set! Night 7 saw Ninwashui calling an audible and promising to throw his hat in the ring and finally write an article! Night 8 featured Ninwashui ACTUALLY writing an article, although, strangely, not the one he promised… Night 9 subverted our old “Simply the Best” gimmick!]

Why wait ’til sometime after Clix-Mas to finish this article when we can do it right now?!

Without further ado…

 

sub-theme

WORST SUB-THEME

The Nominees:

Court of Owls (Joker’s Wild)

“A Cadre of Characters of a Mystical Origin” (World’s Finest)

Morlocks (Uncanny X-Men)

AND THE CRIT MISS GOES TO…

court-of-owls

The Court of Owls saga in the Batman books has drummed up a lot of interest in the Batman books since its inception a few years ago. Considering this, the Court gets surprisingly short shrift in Joker’s Wild.

For their first appearance in Heroclix, the Court gets… four figures (and only 3 different dials). To put that in perspective, Marvel’s jokey “Secret Empire” faction from Deadpool HAD THE SAME NUMBER OF DIALS!!

This seems like a wasted opportunity.

 

ari-figure

WORST FIGURE TO PULL IN SEALED (Rare, Super Rare, or Chase)

The Nominees:

WF043 MercuryRare25 Points

JW065 Bizarro AquamanChase50 Points

UXM061 ColossusChase120 Points

AND THE CRIT MISS GOES TO…

colossusaoa

At the end of the day, pulling a middling (for the points) close combat attacker WHO NEEDS ANOTHER CHASE TO USE HIS BEST ABILITY seems like it would be a tad bit disappointing, no?

Mercury is actually a solid piece for 25 Points, but he’s in a set where someone could potentially pull a World’s Finest Duo piece and play it at 300, if you pulled Mercury in your pack, good luck to you!

And we’ve already touched on why Bizarro Aquaman sucks so much.

 

WOrst Set.jpg

WORST SET OF THE YEAR

The Nominees:

Joker’s Wild

Batman v Superman

Uncanny X-Men

AND THE CRIT MISS GOES TO…

bvs

Outside of the Target Exclusive Supes, which has recently seen Meta play with the Brainiac ship (altough that has come to an end via a recent Wizkids ruling that’s too odd to go into here), there was really nothing in the “must-have” department for this set. Which is unusual for a movie tie-in set.

Part of the problem is that it was designed with no original Chases, even though every Marvel Movie Set has had one. Big missed opportunity there.

Joker’s Wild is really top-heavy, but overall it’s a better set than BvS. Same thing with Uncanny X-Men.

 

Okay!! There you have it. Those were the initial Crit Misses for 2016! I look forward to putting this list together next year! Until then, Stay Safe, Watch Where You Draw Your Lines of Fire and meet me right here tomorrow night for more Clix-Mas goodness!

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…