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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Whoa, completely missed this yesterday over on heroclix.com:

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Excellent! The “NFAOS” set is looking good (what little we’ve seen of it).

Makes me want to see that “Nick Fury: Rogue Nation” movie that’s coming out soon. Oh, wait, sorry, I’m thinking of the latest “MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE” movie that — like the previous two in the series — just *seems* like it could’ve been some sort of “S.H.I.E.L.D.” movie….

“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?

 

“Hydra versus Starro” (v1.9)

This post is not about HeroClix. Not exactly.

DC Comics has this gigantic, mind – controlling alien that looks like a starfish, named Starro. Actually made it into the game of HeroClix, a very cool Colossal piece.

Popped into my head the other day that Marvel Comics may have an “analog” character that has never seen use in its “mainstream” narrative universe: the “alien Hydra” of the 1999 “Earth X” miniseries.

Like Starro, the creature apparently spawned miniature version of itself that would attach to victims in order to mind – control them. Unlike Starro, the alien Hydra also needed a symbiotic attachment with a “host”. In “Earth X”, it ended up being Jennifer “She-Hulk” Walters.

Yeah, it was merely a panel-gag, a way to help show the differences of the “X” universe from the “real” Marvel universe.  Would like to see it in HeroClix, though.

But, that’s not the point of this post.

The point: Could be a neat on – going character concept, a new perennial super villain for the “real” Marvel U.

Doesn’t necessarily have to be an alien. Could be one of either A.I.M. or HYDRA ‘ creation, possibly derived from alien DNA. Maybe the spin could be that it was another attempt at an “organic computer”, like M.O.D.O.K. was originally intended to be, or an attempt at some sort of organic computer/telepathic communication network, that either terrorist organization was developing in an attempt at out – maneuvering S.H.I.E.L.D.? As with M.O.D.O.K., things kinda went sideways once it got its own ideas about how things should be done within its “parent” organization. Another splintering of the organization happens.

Maybe a faction could escape to outer space?  Become part of Marvels “Cosmic” setting and stable of characters?  Eventually?

I dunno. Could be fun. But, I’ve been out of comics for a while,  only picking up Captain America trade collections (and I’m way, way behind on those), so this idea may already be in use.

Pictures of the “Earth X” version are hard to find, though…..
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EDIT: Random comments —
M.O.D.O.K. debuted in 1967, as leader of Advanced Idea Mechanics, and a foe of Captain America. To me, he seems like a human version of what passed as the “super – computers” of the time. A central, mainframe kinda thing.

The spin I’ve put here on the “Hydra organic network” also dovetails with both advances in networking, it also taps the idea of the “hivemind”.1210988-madame_hydra

EDIT (2015-06-10): Okay, so I was trying to find out where it was on the net I scooped up that last picture. Turns out, in more recent storylines, Marvel has indeed ported the “Hydra octopus thingy” into mainstream Marvel Universe, albeit in a slightly different form. The above non-She-Hulk host of this hydra-hivemind is apparently the former SHIELD agent Contessa Valentina Allegra de la Fontaine. And, apparently, she’s due to turn up as is in 2015’s Marvel HeroClix NICK FURY, AGENT OF SHIELD release. (Darn, I thought I’d had an original idea; looks like it was already in use…)

EDIT (2015-12-05): Well, the figure from NICK FURY, AGENT OF S.H.I.E.L.D. was Viper.

 

Wish-List: Bravo (v1.1)

Codename: Bravo! This guy is in one of the few trade paperback collections I managed to pick up in the past two years. (WizKids’ release schedule has hurt the ole pocket book. *sadness*) A newer addition to Cap’s “rogues gallery’, one of Ed Brubaker’s creations. He’s a veteran of both WWI and WWII, the subject of some physical enhancements (apparently in an attempt to re-create the Super-Soldier Serum). So, another spin on the “Super-Soldier” archetype.

Ended up getting trapped in a twisted pocket dimension, with friends and foes. It was a good story. A lot of characters for another Captain America set appeared in it as well. (Hint, hint, WizKids.)

This one “tripped a circuit”, the whole “WWI vet joins the WWII battle”. I have a hunch Brubaker has done a “re-imagining” of another “Patriotic Mystery Man” type of character that debuted in another comic a few months after Cap’s first appearance (Cap was on the newstands in March of 1941): CAPTAIN BATTLE!! It’s kinda funny. Captain Battle there kinda looks like how Nick Fury ended up.

Anyway, Codename: Bravo is a chance for Hydra to have a Cap-level operative. Hope Bravo can make it into Marvel HeroClix in the next two years, along with some new Hydra generics and the Queen Hydra.

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Wish-List: Hydra “Power Vest” Soldier (v1.2)

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So, Captain America, volume one, issue #110, under Jim Steranko: introduction of the Hydra “Power Vest”. Which apparently writers have only used once since then, as part of a single-panel gag.

Hydra, as portrayed through the decades, seems to have an S.O.P. of using masses of barely trained troops, most using some mix of conventional weaponry, with one or two out of every 100 using an advanced weapon of some sort (and often not well). [Edit: The loss of their research branch, A.I.M., was a huge blow, obviously.]

My primary “want” in this: just a quirky design. Stick with me on a little “walk-through”, please, for a bit of a spin on the HeroClix “generic” piece.

Hydra soldier, wearing the power vest. Rarity level: Rare, rather than Common or Uncommon. Still with me? Good.

Life: 5 to 7 clicks. Thanks to the vest, a little tougher to put down, compared to “standard” Hydra troops. Points: Hoping for 50 or below.

Powers: All standard powers, trying to represent a character whose “strength” has been enhanced with out going the predictable route with Super Strength. Maybe represent the assumed “melee enhancement” with Plasticity? Plus Close Combat Expert and Toughness?

Visually, the thing only covered the upper torso and the arms. Doubtful that it was intended to offer “mobility” enhancement in any way. So, no Charge? Or, allow charge, just make sure the character’s speed stats reflect a “normal/trained human” being “encumbered”? (Maybe the vest was originally intended to be part of a full suit, eventually? That darn, meddling do-gooder Captain America, just messing up everything! 😉 )

Special Powers: Since we never actually saw it in extended action, we can only infer. Maybe some form of Flurry, which might allow a bonus to attack and damage, but deal a click of unavoidable damage? Trying to assume “punching-speed” enhancement while acknowledging possibly unrefined tech injuring an overzealous user.

Trait ability: Here we go! When GE gets K.O.’d, he leaves the power vest behind as a 3D special object. 🙂 May need to place restriction on what other characters can pick it up, and I don’t just mean the “die-rolling” uses for “Relics” and such; need to restrict it to characters of  “normal” size. Power granted: Well, Plasticity, CCE, and Toughness.

I imagine the 3D object would have to be “bundled” with this figure. Or, maybe the figure itself could be put on a K.O. click, set on its side on the map; when another character then successfully picks up the vest, this figure could then be put on its character card.

If the power vest character had more than the power I mentioned above, maybe the powers the new user could access could be selected, similar to the way the old “In Contact With Oracle” Feat card and Oracle figure from DC LEGACY?

Added twist: That characters named Captain America or Steve Rogers, or with the spy or soldier keywords, when targeted by opposing characters with the Hydra team ability or keyword, may use Shape Change. Situational? Sure, but faithful to the original story, I think.

Other possibilities: A new Common or Uncommon generic Hydra soldier that can be Battlefield Promoted to this Power Vest-wearing Rare. And/or, “Alter Ego” for this one; he could AE into a Captain America! (That your opponent gains control over! Ha! You’d have to make it automatic somehow, like “if this click is revealed due to damage taken, stop turning the dial and replace this character blah, blah, blah” and so on. (Idea inspired by the Victoria Hand piece from CW, 2012.)

Requires more rumination. Maybe more later…..