Man-Thing! Insert innuendo here! “Yadda, yadda, yadda, ‘Giant-Size Man-Thing’, ha-ha-ha.” Marvel character, a “swamp monster” type, a semi-sentient shambling humanoid conglomeration of plant-life, mud, water, and the corporeal remains of scientist Ted Sallis. Possibly containing his soul, or a portion thereof. Poor Ted was toiling away in his home/lab in the middle of a swamp down Florida way, one of may Marvel Universe scientists trying to recreate the “Super Soldier Serum” that gave the world Captain America.
[Dr. Theodore “Ted” Sallis]: “When I first came here, this was all swamp. Everyone said I was daft to build a [combination home and advanced scientific research shanty] on a swamp, but I built in all the same, just to show them. It sank into the swamp. So I built a second one. And that one sank into the swamp. So I built a third. That burned down, fell over, and then sank into the swamp. But the fourth one stayed up. And that’s what you’re going to get, [Agent Gyrich], the [most remote, insect infested, precariously placed, yet surprisingly affordable research facility] in all of [Citrusville].”
Well, wasn’t remote or secret enough, as Teddy was accosted by spies after his research, and during the kerfuffle he was apparently doused with his version of the “Super Soldier Serum,” caught on fire, fell over a railing, and then sank into the swamp. Died. Well, “mostly dead”. As the pseudo-science of a superhero comic book universe would have it, all manner of bacterial, fungal, and plant-life consumed Ted and his “Super Soldier Serum”, and he eventually arose from the swamp as a monstrous, throbbing Man-Thing. Even the Watcher was impressed (and feeling a little inadequate). That was 1971.
Rolling around to 2004, we get an underwhelming Rookie/Experienced/Veteran interpretation in Marvel HeroClix MUTANT MAYHEM, along with the interesting-yet-meh Limited Edition “Ted Sallis”. Wasn’t so much a lot of “rejoicing” as there was “make him again, and you better damn well do it right” kinda response. (Well, more like “redial him”, as the MM one still has one of the coolest sculpts, like, ever.) To most, Man-Thing simply didn’t measure up to expectations. An altogether flaccid debut. (But, the powers do fit the character.)
You could go back and forth about this one all day: Great tie-up, but costs too many points for what he does. Long-ish dials with plenty of damage reducers, but way too easy to hit. Plasticity (REV) paired with Poison is great, but he can’t hardly land a hit on his own, much less make it stick. …. Okay, maybe you can’t go *all* day, but still, not a good representation of a kind of monster that could give brutes like The Thing and The Glob a hard time.
The arrival of 2013’s AMAZING SPIDER-MAN set brought us much more impressive Man-Things —
Impressive. Feels more like Man-Thing to me. (Not that I’m an expert.)
But, it just means the old one needs a bit of “natural enhancement” to keep up with the times.
Wow, so, was tha attempt at humor [above] as uncomfortable for everyone else as it was for me? Not sure of the results. Will probably be very embarrassed by it later. Will likely erase it later. Letting it stand for now.
“Ret-Con Trait for the MUTANT MAYHEM version”:
I think some “bullet points” are in order for ye olde REV/LE —
- None of them are getting anywhere very fast under their own power.
- Defense numbers are way too low.
- Damage reducers are still okay.
- I wouldn’t mind so much the low damage values if he could either (a) have a better chance of hitting his target, or (b) had outrageous defense values, so that combined with his number of clicks and the damage reducers he’d annoy the crap out of your opponent(s) by sticking around way too long.
So, what’s the Man-Thing’s role on a team? “Damage Sponge”? “Action Waster”? (For your opponent.)
Homemade Ret-Con Trait: “Relentless Swamp-Creature” This character possesses Shape Change. Damage dealt by this character when using poison is penetrating damage. This character may use the Masters of Evil team ability and does not take unavoidable or pushing damage from move actions. Characters with the Mystical keyword may ignore this character’s Battle Fury when targeting it with Mind Control.
There. It’ll do. I hope I got the language right.
INTENT: He can act a *little* more independently. You can let him mosey, shamble, and lurch his way all over the board on his own, drawing attention. Especially when you have a spare action. Thought about giving him some sort of “free move” ability similar to the Avengers team ability, or just access to Sidestep. This seemed like a “thematic” way to go, though. And I was worried enough that I was “overdoing it” that I added the “limitation/vulnerability” thing about Mind Control by “Mystical” characters.
“ReClix Wish-List”: Years ago, bumming around on the old WizKids’ forums (this was “pre-crisis”, so to speak, before the “implosion” or “hiatus” or whatever you want to call it) someone brought up a neat design that had appeared in older WK MageKnight game on a holiday-themed “joke piece” promo: “The Endless Dial”. I think the piece was “The Abominable Snowman” or some such. My memory on it is a bit sketchy, so probably inaccurate.
What stuck with me is the concept that the dial for the character has no “K.O.” slots. So, for my “dream version” of Man-Thing, he would have an “endless” dial. No KO slots, no red KO line. You would never be able to click past the green start line, only heal up to it (through normal game effects).
“How would you assign ‘victory points’ for a character that never KO’s?” you ask? Not sure, other than to specifically state how such points might be awarded right on the Man-Thing’s character card. Again, see the the recent Mr. Immortal HeroClix piece, released in the CAPTAIN AMERICA SET. I simply want to find a way to make the “endless dial” represent a comic book imagined “composite entity” like Man-Thing a reality in clix. So, for now, I won’t address the victory conditions aspect.
So, I’d like to see a Man-Thing with:
- 12 clicks of life. As indicated above, in taking damage, MT can never click past the starting line (in other words, take so much damage that he ends up back on his starting click).
- Mid-dial, 2 clicks with odd stats–0 Movement with Earthbound, 0 Damage, 0 Attack value, 16 Defense with Regeneration.
- End of dial, same as above.
- For all other clicks of life, I don’t care about the configuration of stats and powers. Well, I do, but I can be flexible from there. MT is a “horror comics monster” in a “superhero-infested” fictional world.
- Pointer: When you get down to it, he’s unkillable. He only stays down for so long. He’s functionally immortal, but not really sentient.
- Monster keyword, obviously.
- Aquatic symbol, obviously.
- Giant symbol? Not sure. In comics, he’s consistently portrayed as massive, huge. But, not necessarily “gigantic”. Still, the Giant symbol grants a lot of abilities that mesh well with the character. He’s a huge target, but seems to move effortlessly (if slowly) around his environment, has carried people before, and the advantage of being that big is the reach.
- Battle Fury? Not sure, as if memory serves he has been “controlled” before, just not for long.
- Super Strength? Not sure. Appropriate at its most basic application, but as I recall it MT doesn’t/didn’t do a lot of bludgeoning of opponents with objects. He’d punch and wrestle mostly, which says Plasticity to me (which appeared on the first Man-Thing we got way back in MUTANT MAYHEM)
- Poison? Definitely.
- Exploit Weakness? In the past versions, it was used to represent his “burning touch of fear” thingy, same as poison. Maybe no? Maybe a Poison-based SP?
- Charge? Hmmm. He kinda doesn’t seem to charge, exactly. But he does seem to gravitate toward (1) standard characters he senses the fear of (hence the burning touch) and (2) always tussling with the biggest opponent. The “attracted to fear” thing I don’t think needs to be worked in, that’s more “player decided to send Man-Thing after his opponent’s back-row support characters” kinda thing. But, maybe allow him to “Charge” any Giant or Colossal, full move? That could be interesting.
- Damage reducers? Meh. Want to use the “endless dial” rather than Impervious or Invulnerability. Toughness and high-ish Defense plus the Regen clicks will be enough, IMO.
- Another thing to consider: A few Special Powers out there (like on Absorbing Man or Box) grant some effect/benefit to the character by being adjacent to or occupying certain types of terrain. Worth thinking about.
Anyway, that’s all for now. I’ll edit in any additional “wants”. I need to get back to posting these “Ret-Cons”. I’m so easily distracted.
EDIT (2014-09-25): Originally posted on 2011-01-05. I originally posted the Ret-Con some time before, and this post was a “Character-Wish” (“ReClix Wish-List”) post. The older Ret-Con entry was deleted some time ago, and since this “Wish-List” entry is well out-of-date (we essentially received two versions of the character in 2013’s AMAZING SPIDER-MAN set), it’ll get retasked as a “hybrid” Ret-Con/ReClix Wish-List” post. Got all that? Great.