Tuesday, September 21, 2010

With Great Power...

Spider-fans are familiar with saying:

With Great Power comes great responsibility.

It's too bad that so many HeroClix players don't understand this type of responsibility, and have been thinking up nasty tactics and ways to exploit Cosmic Spider-Man that make SIF complaints look petty in comparison.

Don't get me wrong, I love the character and the concept. The sculpt is amazing. It's also based on one of my favorite story arcs from before the Spider-Clone madness that nearly killed the title in the 90's. In fact, it's my love of the character that's driven me to disdain the HeroClix point bloat.

See, I'm familiar with the storyline that spawned Cosmic Spidey. It all started during the Acts of Vengeance, when Loki came up with the concept of having the villains trade foes. For example, instead of having Magneto fight the X-Men, and lose like usual, he suggests pitting the master of magnetism against Spider-Man.

The tale starts out with Spidey fighting minor league villain Trapster, but quickly escalates as Dr. Doom notices Peter's increasing power levels (which are due to a research laboratory accident - what else?). Doom sends all sorts of high-powered players against Spider-Man, including Titania, Goliath, Magneto, to test the Wall-crawler's strength levels.

It all culminates when Sebastian Shaw (X-Men villain, Black King of Hellfire Club fame, and manufacturer of mutant hunting Sentinels) pits the gray skinned Hulk against Pete. As Pete is giving the Hulk a solid pounding Loki magically activates and merges Shaw's Sentinels (into the Tri-Sentinel) to attack a nuclear power plant.

One of the best parts of the story arc happens when the uber powerful Graviton ambushes Spider-Man as he's heading to intercept the Tri-Sentinel. Graviton, a being of immense power had tangled with Spidey weeks earlier, ripping the entire Daily Bugle building up from its Manhattan foundation and sending it into the sky. Parker overcame the foe, and returned everything to status quo, except of course Graviton now held a grudge.

So, it's with some satisfaction when without breaking a sweat Peter one-shot KO's Graviton (who's faced the combined might of the Avengers in the past) and continues on his way, leaving the powerful master of gravity reeling.

Is the HeroClix Cosmic Spider-Man too powerful?

Maybe. I can't really judge it on those merits. I could easily argue it's not powerful enough. No, my rejection of the figure is it's overall lack of comic accuracy.

See, when Spider-Man gained his powers it wasn't just extra strength, durability and heightened senses. Suddenly he could transmute matter at will (a'la Firestorm), and his webs took on the shapes of constructs. Like a Green Lantern with light, Spidey could make fists, pillows, and other objects out of webs.

No where on the current HeroClix dial is this facet of his power even remotely explored. Rather, the game designer opted to stick the figure with an ability to see and shoot through walls. While it's true Spider-Man could tune his senses to an extreme degree at the height of his cosmic-ness, he never really made a point of shooting through walls and around corners to get the bad guys.

I like the figure, I want to play the character, but feel dirty given the power set. I was hoping for something along the lines of free Barrier, Probability Control, and Super Strength... something like this:

Because while Spider-Man had cosmic power, he still fought most of his battles like Spider-Man would. He was uncomfortable with flight, and had some very big fears about hitting people too hard and applying too much force. He never would have blown a hole in the middle of a tank and then hid inside sniping at enemies while they tried to figure out ways to get at him. It's just not the Parker way.

I'm saddened that game design couldn't see the abuse built into this character. As far as HeroClix are concerned game design is kingmaker - the creator. The ability to build dials from the bottom up is the closest thing to having Cosmic Power in real life. And, as any Spider-fan knows

with Cosmic Power comes Cosmic Responsibility,

Unfortunately game design failed to see that many players who use Cosmic Spider-Man don't even have the "great responsibility" tenet covered, making this figure a Spider-Fail.


Mark W said...

I think that most people will just ban this figure or only use certain maps with him. Yeah, the power of shooting anywhere he wants without a LOF is ridiculous. The sculpt is just absolutely great though.

Anonym0use said...

I agree! Top notch sculpt! I wouldn't be too surprised to see a Silver Bullet in the next set for this guy.