Friday, February 4, 2011

Where's My Favorite Character?

[SPOILER WARNING!] This article gives away the GSX common booster set list

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
Mindless One
Pretty Boy
Emma Frost
Tabitha Smith
Aaron Stack
William Stryker
Harry leland
Elsa bloodstone
Monica rambeau
Professor X
Predator x
Trevor fitzroy
Hulk (Horseman of Apocalypse)
The Captain

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.

Taking "All new, all different" to a new level.

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
5. Sunder
6. Marrow
7. Cat-Man
8. Moses Magnum
9. Havok (AoA)
10. Moira McTaggert
11. Gambit (AoA)
12. Jubilee
13. Skin
14. Penance
15. Ape-Man
16. Frog-Man

17. Wolverine AoA
18. Nocturne
19. Vanisher
20. Ogre
21. Lorelei
22. Lila Cheney
23. Banshee
24. Husk
25. M
26. Artie
27. Dead Girl
28. U-Go-Girl
29. Spiral
30. Lady Deathstrike
31. Dazzler
32. Bird-Man

33. Sy'm
34. Darkchylde
35. X-man
36. Masque
37. Callisto
38. Fenris (Duo)
39. Apocalypse
40. Thunderbird (Exiles)
41. Orphan
42. Anarchist
43. Lady Mastermind
44. Chimera
45. Sunfire (AoA)
46. Angel (AoA)
47. Storm AoA
48. Count Nefaria

49. Legion
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
58. Dragonfly
59. Red Queen
60. Doop

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.

I guess nothing will.

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
4. Brood
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
9. Cyclops
10. Beast
11. Phoenix
12. Iceman
13. Feral
14. Ursa Major
15. Surge
16. Hellion

17. Cameron Hodge
18. Vanguard
19. Cecilia Reyes
20. Maggot
21. Rictor
22. Mercury
23. Rockslide
24. Pixie
25. Dust
26. Scrambler
27. Blockbuster
28. Riptide
29. Rachel Summers
30. Havok
31. Polaris
32. Lilandra

33. Nanny
34. Orphan Maker
35. Scalphunter
36. Prism
37. Wither
38. Darkstar
39. Rusty Collins
40. Skids
41. Brute
42. Brood Queen
43. Darwin
44. Deathbird
45. Neutron
46. Manta
47. Warstar
48. Gladiator

49. Bastion
50. Erik the Red
51. Mister Sinister
52. Exodus
53. Cable
54. Selene
55. Proletarian
56. Mojo
57. Longshot
58. Bloodstorm
59. Wolverine, Lord of Vampires
60. Dracula

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
2. U-Men
3. SWORD Agent
4. 'Crawlers (Nightcrawler/Cyclops hybrid from "Here comes tomorrow")
5. Zabu
6. Deadpool
7. Toad
8. Ka-Zar
9. Mystique
10. Angel Salvadore
11. Glob Herman
12. Magma
13. Karma
14. Wolverine (Alpha Flight)
15. Box (original)
16. Sauron

17. Mesmero
18. Magneto (Headmaster of Xavier's)
19. Sunspot
29. Mirage
21. Avalanche
22. Valerie Cooper
23. Super Sabre
24. Crimson Commando
25. Stonewall
26. Guardian
27. Aurora
28. Northstar
29. Amphibius
30. Garokk
32. John Wraith

33. Meggan
34. Puck
35. Sublime
36. Joseph (Magneto clone)
37. Astra
38. Beak
39. Warlock
40. Radian
41. Phoenix II
42. Negasonic Teenage Warhead
43. Fantomex
44. Leper Queen
45. Brainchild
46. Worm
47. Zaladane
48.Lady Deadpool

49. Kidpool & Dogpool (Duo)
50. Shanna the She-Devil
51. Sasquatch
52. Captain Britain
53. Kitty Pryde
54. Destiny
55. E.V.A.
56. Kid Omega
57. Nightcrawler
58. Shadow King
59. Sydren
60. Gateway

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.

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