Marvel HeroClix NICK FURY, AGENT OF S.H.I.E.L.D. ramblings (v1.7)

Picked all my Marvel HeroClix NICK FURY, AGENT OF S.H.I.E.L.D. pre-orders from a local comic and games shop last Thursday. Finally had continuous block of time on Sunday to open it all up.

POSITIVES: Character selection was broad and varied, and the dial designs look like a lot of fun. The “alternate ‘a’ & ‘b’ dials and sculpts” seems like a kind of smoke cloud obsuring the size of the set.

Great to finally see Blackwing, Blackout, Man-Killer, Miss America, The Whizzer, and many more characters make it into the game.

Floored by all the HYDRA “heads”. Since I don’t keep up with modern comics anymore, it was fun to read up of the latest version of Viper, refresh my memory on Commander Kraken, and find out about this new “Hive” character. More “Bad Guys” is Good Stuff in HeroClix, so bring them on!

Great to get an updated version of U.S.Agent, as well. Still have his first appearances in my dwindling comics collection. He’s a jerk, but you have to respect the skills.

Really glad I pulled a Steve Rogers. Loving the new Bucky and Winter Soldier interpretations, too.

And, I love “generics” — effective lower-point team-filler clix. Marvel set’s’re always a pleasure. I like the inclusion of these “Identification Cards” as “freebies”.

Was skeptical about this whole “build-a-clix” thing. Still am. Not generally for it. Still, I got lucky and pulled all the pieces for it, as well as the version of Iron Man that the Hulk-Buster Mk II works with. I do like the fact that they made the individual “armor modules” double as Heavy objects.

“Mr. Negative sez”: The “booster lottery” rears its ugly head. Didn’t pull Captain America (Sam “The Falcon” Wilson). Or Golden Claw. Or either the Avengers Skycycle or Cap’s Motorcycle vehicles.

Will post more comments as they come to mind.

EDIT (2015-08-18): To be clear, I love this set. I’m picking nits.

I did want provide a link to a thread on the HCREALMS.COM forums concerning this new set and “value”: http://www.hcrealms.com/forum/showthread.php?t=547507

Interesting points-of-view. Only one I agree with whole-heartedly is a comment about how all “generics” should be “two starting lines/same point-cost” style designs similar to the 2011 CAPTAIN AMERICA single-figure “countertop display” boosters’ “generics”. I’ve mentioned that over and over again on this blog.

I do agree somewhat that the “build-a-clix” taking up a slot that would otherwise have gone to a single character is a bit of a letdown, and probably wouldn’t be enticing to a new player that had just plunked down the coin for two boosters.

BUT! But, I think it would have been cool if all pieces had been in one booster, with the Iron Man it plays with. That would also have been a cool pull for a sealed game. Could have done one booster like that per case. (Aside: I wonder if the build-a-clix was originally designed to be an “action pack”? Like the XMDOFP SENTINEL? Dunno.)

Sidenote: Getting a new Jimmy Woo and hunting down Golden Claw, I really hope WizKids does another Captain America themed set, with Serpent Society/Serpent Squad and Agents of Atlas sub-themes. Yeah. *Plethora* of characters there to plumb, both new and “a remake would be welcome” ones.

VEHICLES: Want include link to HCR SaturnFlight’s article: http://www.hcrealms.com/forum/showthread.php?&p=8435331#post8435331

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Marvel HeroClix NICK FURY, AGENT OF S.H.I.E.L.D. Preview: Plan Chu, a.k.a “The Golden Claw”! (v1.2)

YES! Big want over the years, a “Fu Manchu”-style badass is finally coming to clix, as previewed today over on heroclix.com: The Golden Claw!

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I hope that this won’t be the only time we get him, but, man, finally, he’s in The Game!

EDIT: Although I like the depiction here — one popular late 1960’s through the mid 1980’s — I do wish they could have done a “robe and hat” version. It was a style from the 1950’s, and seen again in Jeff Parker/Leonard Kirk’s “Agents of Atlas” 2006 mini-series.

Then again, they could always do a version in the future with a sculpt like that, and make him more of a “behind the scenes” character-as-Resource-dial kinda thing.

EDIT II: You know, as far as the “Marvel Cinematic Universe” goes…. Marvel Studios is doing a “Dr. Strange” movie. Presumably it mixes Ditko/1960’s psychedlia, 1970’s “The Exorcist”/”The Omen” occult/horror, and more modern sensibilities.

Could Marvel do a movie or TV “MAOS” episodes with the “Agents of Atlas”? Maybe make AoA sort of its analog of “Hellboy & the B.P.R.D. [Bureau of Paranormal Research & Defense]”? Mike Mignola/Dark Horse Comics/Guillermo del Toro had a cool way of mixing European folklore, Victorian Era occultism, WWII-era grit and grime. AOAtlas could be very cool. [Heh, the “Hellboy” movie theme music is running through my Mind’s Ear right now.]

“H.A.M.M.E.R.?” (v1.2)

H.A.M.M.E.R.? What does it stand for? Absolutely nothing. According to Wikipedia, anyway. The Marvel comics writers that cooked up that little organization never got around to fleshing out the acronym.

It was more of an inside joke among the writers, I guess, as well as being a “clue” (speaking “in universe”) put out there by H.A.M.M.E.R.[HAMMER]’s director, Norman Osborn (who at this time, the public thinks was on the up-and-up, having successfully convinced everyone that he was never the Green Goblin, and had been framed). HAMMER was to replace S.H.I.E.L.D.[SHIELD] after the organization was dissolved in the aftermath of the “Secret Invasion” by the extraterrestrial Skrulls.

Personally, I think these brainiac writers weren’t trying hard enough, as if the task of acronyms was beneath them some how. I, lowly peon that I am over here in my little “shack” of a blog nestled out in the boonies of the interwebz, am willing to take a swing at the HAMMER acronym.

How about: “Hostile Alien [&] Metahuman Militarized Exigent Response”?

Tangent: I only bring this up because I’ve been working my way through the “Dark Reign” storyline missions of the Marvel Puzzle Quest game.

Tangent: Hope the organization gets worked into Marvel’s TV/Cinematic Universe.

I get that trying to reflect any of the “real world” evil and natural disasters going on — ISIS, Ebola, massive changes in weather patterns — is hard to do in a sci-fi/fantasy/superhero/spy/action/dramedy show like “Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD, but that’s kinda the thing with Marvel Comics through the decades: They might not address the Real World’s problems directly, but they do slip them in by “proxy” into their narrative universe.

HYDRA was first introduced into comics in the 1960’s, and was an amalgamation of fears of Nazism, Fascism, and Communism. A.I.M. was an offshoot of HYDRA; they split to focus on even more extreme and dangerous, science experimentation and exploitation, using terrorism and other activities for funding.

I think Disney/Marvel and thier creative teams may be leaving certain opportunities untapped. The movie-created “Ten Rings” as a more pseudo-religiously zealous group (an ISIS-like organization, if you will; I am in no way trying to downplay the real world evil ISIS is causing), with their own militancy and hardline view of how the world should work, and how they should be in charge.

There’s also the Golden Claw’s “Atlas” network.

The “Zodiac Cartel” from the comics, as an international organized crime syndicate, more interested in money and “guaranteed revenue streams” than “ruling the world”. Twist for TV: Strange “Raiders of the Lost Ark” kind of obsession with also procuring “relics of power”. (“Underground/black market” for Asgardian items, and more? Stuff like this was hinted at in season one as well, even if it all has been “tidied up” as “blame it all on HYDRA”. Which I think is the wrong way to go. Gotta portray HYDRA as pervasive, shadowy, but not monolithic. In competition with other organizations, as well as opposed by SHIELD and similar organizations.

HAMMER: Meant by the U.S. Government to replace SHIELD as the “first line of defense against the super-weird” that is the Marvel Universe. But, what happens [speaking more in the Marvel TV/Cinematic universe now], when the “super-science/espionage/defense” role is taken over by those who are more interested in being in bed with the military/industrial complex, for personal gain? This kinda stuff was hinted at in Season One of MAOS, with CyberTek.

The TV-MCU already has its “Rising Tide” ‘pro-superhuman proliferation’ organization. What kind of xenophobic homegrown counter-groups are there to that? From the comics, organizations like the Friends of Humanity, the Watchdogs, the “Scourge of the Underworld” could all serve competing roles for this if “ported” into the TV-MCU.

“Hail Hydra! Immortal Hydra! Cut off one [head], two more shall take its place!!” So,…. what happens when the heads start arguing with each other? SHIELD may have been dissolved as political retribution for failing to stop Hydra infiltrating it in time, but Hydra did the “splinter cell” thing as well.

W.E.S.P.E.? Maybe?

And what about The Hand?

 

“ReClix” Wish-List: 1950’s “Yellow Claw”, modern “Golden Claw” (v2.1)

EDIT (2015-07-31): With the recent “reveal” that a version of “Yellow Claw” will be in the Marvel HeroClix NICK FURY, AGENT OF S.H.I.E.L.D. set, I’m hereby changing the name of this thread, adding a picture at the bottom, as well as some additional comments defending the inclusion of Golden Claw in the game, as relates to the genre.

Master_Plan_Yellow_Claw_Golden_Claw_Plan_Chu

Ah, the “Yellow Claw”. I recommend you read the Wikipedia entry on this Marvel Comics character. Based on what I think of as the “Fu Manchu Archetype”: Organizational genius, behind-the-scenes head of an international criminal empire; scientist, alchemist, and mystic, incredible martial artist with an extended lifespan. Everything he is and has is bent to the purpose of “Conquering the World”(TM). Sax Rohmer’s character of Fu Manchu has inspired a lot of “world-conquering characters”, methinks, especially the ones that mix science and magic. Marvel’s Doctor Doom and The Mandarin, and DC Comics’ Ra’s al Ghul are just a few, probably the most prominent.

“Yellow Claw” gets derided and dismissed as ‘Fu Manchu knock-off”. Sure, I guess so. But I like him. Especially after Marvel’s Jeff Parker and Leonard Kirk did such a great job with him in the “Agents of Atlas” mini-series. Yes, the “permanently killed him off” in that series, but they also made quite a few “retroactive continuity tweaks” to the character, that he “fits” better into the Marvel narrative universe now. A small example is when he scoffs at being called “Yellow Claw”: “Do not engage in the slurs of The West.” He is (was) Plan Chu, the “Golden Claw”.

Anyway. Yes he’s *just* another world-conquering criminal genius. But, he built up quite the “secret empire” of legal and illegal businesses to provide the cash to fund all those secret lairs and labs, all those submachine gun and death ray toting troops, all those robots and giant spiders. (Personally, I think Fu Manchu and the Yellow Claw here inspired the way writer Mark Gruenwald wrote the Red Skull in Captain America back in the 1980’s/early 1990’s (Red Skull’s front operations with a lobbying firm in Washington, D.C., his secret funding of various groups that had conflicting goals, pitting them at odds, causing conflict), but I digress.)

And WizKids Game Design has gotten better and better at designing his type of character.

Hope to see him. Marvel: Let WizKids do this. Sometimes it seems like you hamstring your own licensing deals, dulling us to your products through repeated releases of the same characters, the most popular attention-getters. Failure to allow WizKids Game Design to really plumb the depths of the comics’ history and character selection will kill HeroClix. (IMHO.)

EDIT (2015-07-31):

Agents-of-Atlas00305 Golden Claw
Some comments I made about the 2015 Golden Claw over on HCRealms.Com, copied here —

I like that look. [edit: the “rob and cap” look.]
Would like to keep in mind that that pic actually shows one of his “robot duplicates”, too. Golden Claw of the global “Atlas Foundation” had it all — robots, giant spiders and other mutated monstrosities, ninjas, minions, minions, and more minions.
Plus: He mentored Deadly nightshade at one point.

So, this “inagural” version of Golden Claw is good, showcases many of his personal powers.

Doesn’t show his “leadership” skills. The “Atlas Foundation” had many criminal and legal fronts, spanning the globe.

I know people want to pan the “Fu Manchu” supervillain archetype due to its “origins” in “Yellow Peril/Oriental” xenophobia, but several non-Asian “supervillain” character traits served as templates for many supervillains.
Chief among those traits are (1) genius-level intellect, particularly organizational skills, which results in (2) a global network of criminal assets/resources.
And superpowers, mystical abilities, technology, of “culture” are just “layers” for forming some sort of individual identity for the character.

Modern interpretations of Lex Luthor, Ra’s al Ghul, Red Skull, Arnim Zola, Kingpin, even Doctor Octopus or the Leader or the “Mad” thinker — to me — all have the “Fu Manchu archetype” at their core. Huge part of teir “power” is the resources they control/have access to, how they can rebound after a defeat, while other supervillains either get caught and rot in jail, or killed.

(Annihilus and Ultron are different. They are more like “Conquerors”.)

You know what I mean?

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