When it comes to HeroClix, perhaps the biggest challenge the designers face is who to include in each set. It seems as though no matter who makes the cut, fans are never happy and quick to point out who's missing.
The simple truth is that there's just a limited number of seats to fill on every expansion "bus." The problem is compounded by the fact that comic creators keep thinking up the "new hotness" which creates more of an "in the now" demand from fans following those current titles.
For example - Orphan, the only X-Statix member in HeroClix debuted in Fantastic Forces when he was still fairly relevant to a 2005 reading audience.
Ditto the Ultimate X-men who were immensely popular at the time of their inclusion into HeroClix, but have all but dropped into obscurity in the reading world.
It's a surprise then, that WizKids has focused on making figures like the New Mutants and Hellions who were popular in the 80's, rather than focus on the 90's teams Generation X, or the 2000's Young X-men.
The other problem with Clixing all the X-men/mutant related figures is the sheer number of heroes and villains that inhabit that universe.
Giant Sized X-men does a good job chiseling down the number of never been mades and much needed remakes. Take a look a the basic set list for GSX which has a good portion of both remakes and unmades:
Omega Prime Sentinel
Hellfire Club Guard
Hulk (Horseman of Apocalypse)
It contains a huge heaping helping of mutants, a very tightly wound theme in the key of X.
In addition to the X-men proper, we've got Hellions & Hellfire Club members (White Queen & Harry Leland),
Members of the X-Factor detective agency, members of the Brotherhood of evil, the Reavers, the Horsemen of Apocalpse,
a few Morlocks, and plenty of other time traveling/killer robot/evil mutant haters. Plus - the entire Nextwave team (arguably the least mutant connected figures in the set).
Still, many fans aren't satisfied. They lament that their favorites haven't been made, and it's apparent that WizKids could easily put out another all X-themed set. Other 'Clix fans are disappointed in GSX saying the set list has too many mutants.
It's true that we've never seen another Clix set with such a tight theme, but it has to be tight. Otherwise it would take at least 6 or 7 expansions with Mutant sub themes to round out everyone's wants.
As evidence, let's assume the next marvel set is also an X-man themed. What would it look like?
For starters, we need marquee heroes, so we'll fill in the SRs and much of the set with an Age of Apocalypse (alternate universe) theme (which should also help boost sales) featuring alternate versions of popular characters.
We'd also want to touch on some not so mainstream figures so we'll drop the Nextwave members and swap in five members of an equally niche-popular team: the X-statix (Go doop!). Then, we could trade out the Hellions & White Queen for another "school" team - Generation X members (lead by Banshee).
There's also some X-Force remakes (Domino & Archangel) that could be exchanged for other X-Force members (Vanisher, Fantomex) Let's bump the Hellfire Club theme, for the more updated Hellfire Cult, and edge out most of the Brotherhood of Evil spots for the much sexier Sisterhood of Evil.
We'll lose the "army building" purifiers in favor of updated Brood figures and some Limbo Demons from the Inferno crossover with S'ym as their leader.
Instead of the 10th version of Professor X bound in a wheelchair, we'll make the old dude with a walking sculpt.
Likewise, we need a modern version of Dazzler, so we'll flip her for Psylocke.
Because we can't expect to have this set also be "Giant Sized" we'll expand this set to the normal 60 figures by adding in Count Nefaria and his Ani-Men.
Scatter in a few other "Classic" X-men villains like the Fenris Twins, Moses Magnum and some obscure menaces (the Ogre, Lorelei), a couple more prominent Morlocks and you've pretty much got a complete set.
Let's take a look:
1. Hellfire cultist
2. Limbo Demon
3. Wild Sentinel
4. Layla Miller
8. Moses Magnum
9. Havok (AoA)
10. Moira McTaggert
11. Gambit (AoA)
17. Wolverine AoA
22. Lila Cheney
27. Dead Girl
30. Lady Deathstrike
38. Fenris (Duo)
40. Thunderbird (Exiles)
43. Lady Mastermind
45. Sunfire (AoA)
46. Angel (AoA)
47. Storm AoA
48. Count Nefaria
50. Sugarman AoA
51. Sabretooth & Wild Child (Duo) AoA
52. Blink AoA
53. Colossus & Shadowcat (Duo) AoA
54. Nightcrawler AoA
55. Mikhail Rasputin
56. Bishop AoA
57. Magneto & Rogue (Duo) AoA
59. Red Queen
61. Professor X (Walking) BiBtB
What's that? I forgot Cable? Mr. Sinister? The Marauders? The Young X-men? Okay then. Let's just play the really long odds and guess that instead of an Avengers theme or a Captain America based expansion, WizKids puts out a third X-men set. What would it look like, based on the GSX and AoA fantasy set lists?
Having Professor X make a three-peat is probably a bad idea, yet we need someone who can lead the mutants into battle... how about Cable? We'll also include some of his students from his New mutants/X-Force days, much to the chagrin of Liefeld haterz. Instead of Magneto, let's use his protege Exodus and include some of his disciples - Rusty and Skids from the X-Terminators.
Speaking of which, let's include most of the original X-factor team from their mutant hunting days, and put them in their mutant huntning uniforms, with an AE mechanic to swap to their counterparts. Every hero needs a villain, so we'll add Cameron Hodge and the Right as well.
Using some of the cosmic X-men themes (Shi'ar, Starjammers) will give us a chance to fill slots with figures like Gladiator, with a few royal guard members in rare spots. Instead of a tighter themed X-men set, we'll have lots of smaller sub-themes and generics - the alien Brood, and the Dire Wraiths.
The Reavers and Brotherhood slots will get taken up by Marauders and Mister Sinister.
Where we used alternate universe figures in the AoA set, we'll add a few from the Mutant X cast.
Remember when Colossus was the Proletarian?
Yeah, I went there. With one Ruskie on board we could make the rest of the Soviet Super Soldiers as well (in our "Nextwave slot). The Hellions (Gen-X) get bumped for more teens - Young X-men.
Here's the list:
1. The Right soldier
2. Dire Wraith
3. Shi'ar soldier
5. Scott Summers (Mutant hunting X-factor Outfit) AE
6. Hank McCoy (X-Factor Outfit) AE
7. Jean Grey (X-Factor Outfit) AE
8. Bobby Drake (X-Factor Outfit) AE
14. Ursa Major
17. Cameron Hodge
19. Cecilia Reyes
29. Rachel Summers
34. Orphan Maker
39. Rusty Collins
42. Brood Queen
50. Erik the Red
51. Mister Sinister
59. Wolverine, Lord of Vampires
Phew. And after all that there's still plenty of material to revisit or look at anew. Another X-men set could contain Savage Land sub theme, an Alpha Flight sub theme (as Wolverine's original hero team) along with the Weapon X and Weapon Plus members.
Let's put some generic SWORD agents in for agent Brand to play with. Let's include the New mutants that need updating as well as their Headmaster Magneto, and the Freedom Force/Brotherhood members that could use a fresh coat of paint as well.
Finally we'll include some of Grant Morrison's contributions, and bring Excalibur up to date for the new SP era.
1. Savage Land Warrior
3. SWORD Agent
4. 'Crawlers (Nightcrawler/Cyclops hybrid from "Here comes tomorrow")
10. Angel Salvadore
11. Glob Herman
14. Wolverine (Alpha Flight)
15. Box (original)
18. Magneto (Headmaster of Xavier's)
22. Valerie Cooper
23. Super Sabre
24. Crimson Commando
32. John Wraith
36. Joseph (Magneto clone)
41. Phoenix II
42. Negasonic Teenage Warhead
44. Leper Queen
49. Kidpool & Dogpool (Duo)
50. Shanna the She-Devil
52. Captain Britain
53. Kitty Pryde
56. Kid Omega
58. Shadow King
It becomes apparent when designing fantasy lists around X-men that there's almost no end to the mutant love parade. With one or two expansions every year, it's going to take a long time for these figures to get made, especially if the Marvel sets dip into other areas - and they will.
An Avengers set is almost a given with an upcoming movie, as is a Captain America themed set, and we're due for a Blade/Ghost Rider/Monster themed set exploring the darker side of Marvel.
One thing that GSX has proven - if you wait long enough, and the game goes on - even oddball choices like Gatecrasher will eventually get made.