Archive for March, 2008

Gotham Girls

March 31, 2008

I grew up on Batman: The Animated Series, and as a result I’ve always had a fondness for Harley Quinn. Harley, just like Renee Montoya, was created specifically for the cartoon, but quickly found herself thrust into the mainstream DC Universe.

In fact, she even headlined her own comic series for 38 issues earlier from 2001-2003: that’s 13 issues more than the latest Aquaman and Doom Patrol had before they were cancelled. In her time she’s faced Batman, Amazons, the Justice League — even the New Gods, and came out on top.

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My original plan was to build a Harley & Ivy deck, but there are few cards to support this pairing in VS. (and even fewer in Silver or Modern Age!) So although the two of them might not be enough to flesh out an entire deck, let’s try opening things up to some of their friends.

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Artists I Love: Kumahachi

March 31, 2008

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Kumahachi!

I found him one afternoon while searching for pictures of the JSA, and was immediately blown away by the energy of his pieces. You haven’t lived until you’ve seen Mr. Terrific and Alan Scott draw like they were manga!

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I found my candidate!

March 29, 2008

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How did I miss this the first time around?

Web of Spider-Man was on the right track…

March 28, 2008

My local Hobby League has been inspired by our friends at Lost Hemisphere, and decided to do battle with our own mini BYOS decks next week. The catch is that we have to build these decks around what we feel are some of the most “unplayable” teams in VS: Crime Lords, New Gods, and the original Spider-Friends. Boo.

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A lot of people hate the Web of Spider-Man (MSM) set, and probably rightly so. After the power and success of Marvel Origins people had high expectations from a set featuring Spidey; and unfortunately for whatever reason the final product was a little underwhelming. The cards are too simple, the set contained less cards, and almost none of those cards had any meaningful impact on the tournament scene.

But I kind of like MSM. Let me explain…

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Hobby League: Secret Silver Revenge!

March 27, 2008

My favorite deck ever is my Golden Age Revenge Squad/Secret Six. They have the right amount of firepower, tech, and annoyance to give just about any opponent a run for their money. However, since my new mission is to create more competitive Silver and Modern decks, it was time I give the Squad a major update and overhaul.

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Hello Metallo, I love you. Burning your opponent for 4, 5 and 6 is simply too good to be true, and buries your opponent in an endurance hole so quickly they don’t have time to react. But this deck isn’t really a one-trick pony, let’s look at the rundown.

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Spoiling Myself

March 27, 2008

I’m a huge fan of Rafael Albuquerque, who is the regular series artist on Blue Beetle. At first I admit that I found his linework too gritty, but over time it (and Jaime Reyes as Blue Beetle) grew on me. This week marked the release of the milestone 25th issue of the comic book, and to celebrate the occasion I’m buying myself a present!

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I just purchased this piece, which is an unfinished cover for Blue Beetle #12. I love the ominous feel he gives to it, as well as the lighting. It definitely emphasizes the alien appearance of the new Blue Beetle more than we’re used to seeing.

Great stuff! No doubt you’ll be hearing a lot about Albuquerque in the future, and on this blog!

Choices, Choices!

March 26, 2008

So it would seem that the VS. Gods are smiling upon thee. After nearly a year of holding onto my Upper Deck Points, UDE has decided to release their first point store-exclusive DC cards!

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Well, they aren’t really “exclusive,” but since our Hobby League wasn’t up and running at that point I missed out on these goodies the first time around. I’m thrilled to have a chance to receive my own, since they will undoubtedly become anchors in my future Team Superman and Gotham Knights builds.

But the question becomes: Do I burn through my points now, or save them for what’s coming up next?

The Case for Thugs

March 24, 2008

When are henchmen gonna get their due?

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I admit that my understanding of Heroclix is fairly limited, but I’m told this generic henchmen token can be used with any team affiliation, at any time, to represent the “real” henchmen that super-villains use! What an awesome idea!

You see, villains rarely team-up. More often than not they try to take care of things by themselves, making use of hired muscle to do so.  When I imagine The Joker and Batman fighting I don’t expect to see a lot of C and D-list Arkham Inmates present, rather an army of eccentric thugs. Has UDE ever seen the 60′s Batman series before? All they ever did on that show was fight henchmen!

Let’s get some ultra-generic Thugs who can become part of any team affiliation, without a team-up. Say they have the team affiliation of each other character you control, or something. We could even come up with a keyword for cards of that type. Their effects don’t have to be devastating, just something simple that can be bolstered with a proper plot twist of character effect. Just imagine how playable certain team affiliations could become with the help of Random Punks-esque burn effect, or an extra card draw, or whatever.

UDE has done some amazing things with Army before, and with Leader making a trimuphant return in Marvel Universe now would be a perfect time to fully exploit the possibilities here. Best of all it would only take two or three cards to make henchmen a major force in any given set. What do you think?

In Which I Solve Secret Invasion Using Math

March 19, 2008

If you weren’t already aware, Marvel Comics is gearing up for Secret Invasion, a crossover mini-series that will most likely interrupt your favorite stories for the summer. Whereas last year readers were challenged to choose sides in a superhero civil war, this year Secret Invasion wants us to think about which characters we do and do not trust in the wake of an alien invasion… ugh.

Pull out your magnifying glasses, because this will take some detective work!

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In a perfect world this would be an opportunity to look at recent out-of-character actions as clues, but it reality it’s impossible to distinguish those things from bad writing: Did a Skrully She-Hulk become a bounty hunter to keep away from the superhero community’s watchful eyes, or did she simply think it would be a cool career choice? Were Spider-Woman and Luke Cage always this interesting, or are the Skrulls working their way into the Avengers using poorly defined C and D-List characters?

These questions could literally go on for hours, but the truth is that this crossover will not be nearly as Earth-shattering as it thinks it is. In the end Secret Invasion will follow the same rules that apply to every crossover of its’ kind: you can shake the package, but can’t break the box.

Here is a simple equation we can follow to determine the identity of probably every Skrull: Add a point for every category a character fills in Column A, and then subtract a point for every category the characters fills in Column B. If a character fits a single category for multiple reasons, count it twice. Pencils ready. Let’s begin!

Column A: Who is NOT likely to be revealed as a Skrull (or die, for that matter:)

  • Characters who headline their own series (Iron Man, Wolverine, etc.)
  • Long-standing characters who have only taken center stage in recent years (Iron Fist, Hercules, Emma Frost, etc.)
  • Long-standing characters who have been resurrected in or played major roles in recent crossovers (Thor, Storm, Captain Marvel, etc.)
  • Anyone your Mom has heard of.

Column B: Who IS likely to be revealed as a Skrull (or die, for that matter:)

  • Characters the mini-series’ writer has an established history with, or created (Maria Hill, Jessica Jones, Elektra, etc.)
  • Long-standing members (not leaders) of superhero teams who contribute little dramatic tension or interest (Wonder Man, The Invisible Woman, The Wasp, etc.)
  • Characters where death is irrelevant, because they’ll be back in a week anyway (Dr. Doom, The Vision, etc.)
  • B and C-list superheroes whose popularity cannot support a monthly series (The Inhumans, Blade, Namor, etc.)
  • Characters who have undergone recent, unpopular changes to their personality, appearance, and/or superpowers (Beast, Speedball, etc.)

Pencils down! Now add up your scores. If your character has a positive score they are NOT a Skrull. If they have a negative score, they ARE. If your score is zero, they are probably safe as well. Let’s do a couple to practice:

Iron Man:

Column A) Not only does Iron Man headline several series (two points,) but he has only recently taken center stage (two points) as a result of the recent Civil War crossover (three points.) Plus, he has a movie coming out that your Mom might have heard of (four points.)

Column B) As a member of The New and Mighty Avengers Iron Man character has a long-standing history with Secret Invasion’s writer, Brian Michael Bendis (one point.)

Final Score: Three points. NOT A SKRULL

Beast:

Column A) Your Mom might know who Beast is (one point.)

Column B) Not only is he a long-standing member of several superhero teams (Avengers and X-Men, two points) but he his transformation into a more cat-like creature has received mixed reactions (three points.)

Final Score: Negative two points. TOTALLY A SKRULL!

Mr. Fantastic:

Column A) Not only did Mr. Fantastic play a large role in Civil War (one point,) but your Mom probably knows him (she probably knows him as ‘stretchy guy,’ but that counts! Two points!)

Column B) Everyone thinks Reed Richards is a jerk now as a result of Civil War (one point) and he has an established history with the writer via The Illuminati mini-series (two points.)

Final Score: Zero. Probably not a Skrull.

There will obviously be some exceptions to the rule (mostly in the “I forgot that character even existed!” sort of way) but I imagine that this formula will work on just about every crossover ever. 

Try some examples of your own before it’s too late!

Outsiders Lose Fest Week 2

March 17, 2008

Are the Outsiders simply a bad team? Or am I simply a bad deck builder?

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Limiting myself with the BYOS and Random Punks formats certainly hurt the build, but I don’t think it’s ultimately what killed the deck. World’s Finest was an incredible set, so I’d like to try and get the most from it by creating playable builds with all of the teams. Hm! I know there is some power to the Outsiders, but what is it, and why is it not working for me?

Grace did not have the star showing I would have liked her to, making this the second tragic week in ‘Outsiders Lose Fest.’ I’m toying around with a jank-tacular build using Dazzler and Hawkgirl for Wednesday’s Hobby League, but we’ll have to wait and see how it turns out.

The search continues!

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