Friday, April 29, 2016

Ultimate Alliance: Civil War - Part II

Did the second Little Wars play test last night at club. The table is looking good, I may actually have to get rid of even more scatter terrain, which (after years of playing Necromunda) just feels weird. The game played well, but there are a few tweaks to be done yet. 

Pro-Registration: Iron Man, She-Hulk, Atomic Robo, Leonardo, Nightwing and Blue Beetle 

Anti-Registration: Captain America, Luke Cage, The Question, Green Arrow, Invincible, Rafael 

Cap and his team had to rescue and escape from team Tony. Apologies for the quality of the pictures, my camera doesn't handle low-light too well.

The game seemed reasonably balanced. I'll be swapping out Invincible for someone else, so that the Anti-Reg heroes are a bit more at a power disadvantage, as their objective is far easier. Two more assignments and then I can jump back onto the project.

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Superhero Media: Cyclops Odyssey

Get it, because he's called Cyclops? And there's a monster in The Odessey called the cyclops? It's clever, because it refrences something you don't expect! At least, I guess that's what's going on in the author's mind. Brian K. Vaughn is actually a pretty solid comic writer, so I'm not sure what was going on here, though "editorial mandates" does spring to mind. Our story is set during the "New X-Men" era of X-Men (the era when the team was attacked by Charles Xavier's evil twin sister - no, really) and focuses on Cyclops (the X-Man everyone loves to be bored by) taking a trip to "clear his head" because of events in another comic. Cyclops leaves the mansion on his motorcycle and drives to... Canada? It's not clear, and the art and storytelling does not help. When he arrives, Cyclops is attacked by Black Tom Cassidy and The Juggernaut

Somehow, Cyclops survives the encounter and follows a couple of the world's most fearsome mutants back to their spacecraft (because they have one) and learns that they are working for someone even more powerful than they. Think on that for a minute, more powerful than the fucking Juggernaut. Spoilers; it's just some cyborg guy who is (temporarily) defeated by falling rocks. The villain's name is Ulysses, to keep on with the whole Odyssey theme, he's a former solider whose men were killed in the crossfire of some X-Men/Evil Mutants fight and he became a cyborg to seek nonspecific revenge. There's something about some mutant-hate organisation and then Cyclops uses his excellent people-skills (no joke) to defeat Ulysses and goes back home without saying much about his adventure to anyone. 
Maybe I'm being unfair, because I'm not fond of X-Men or Cyclops to begin with, but I found this comic to be dull and silly. The story echos The Odyssey in only the broadest terms and the enemy is about as deep as a puddle. Why the hell are Black Tom and the freaking Juggernaut afraid of the guy? Juggernaut has fought gods and a crippled soldier with robot parts scares him? Possibly worth the time of a die hard Scott Summers fan, but I was glad to put it down and be done with it.

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Alternate Supers: Monsters Vs Aliens

So I re-watched Monsters Versus Aliens recently, the "Superhero Media" will turn up at some point, but going through it a second time, with a gut full of bourbon, made me think a bit more about it. As well as being a fun family film with some kind of message about "being yourself", the references to classic Universal monster movies was pretty cool. I've always liked the idea of the American Government using the worst creatures and villains that they can find to defend their country when needed; like the Thunderbolts or Suicide Squad, but with monsters. So, taking that concept and playing with it a little, let's just see what we can come up with. 

Battalion 51 
Irradiated giant monsters have been a mainstay of American disasters since the 1950s. As far as the public is concerned, these creatures are quickly killed and life returns to normal. The truth, as is typical, is far stranger than fiction. In secret, the American Military has been capturing monsters for decades, keeping them "in-storage" for a more dire emergency. When threatened with a martian invasion, there was no choice but to release... Battalion 51! 
  If we're going to have Martian Invaders attacking '50s America, we're going to do it right! 

The Creature (The Missing Link) 
Captured near the Black Lagoon in the 1950s, The Creature is a strange hybrid between man and fish that has never been explained by modern science. It is stronger, faster and tougher than any human being and can swim quickly in salt or fresh water. The Creature possesses a reasonable level of intelligence and has been trained to attach mines to Communist Submersibles and chase down and devour beatniks. 
The 50 Foot Woman (Susan) 
When Nancy Archer was irradiated by unknown, alien, energies, she grew to a height of fifty feet and went on a rampage of revenge against her former lover. After a disturbing rampage, Nancy was captured and taken to Area 51 for study. Possessing incredible strength and an unbridled rage, "The 50 Foot Woman" is a dangerous foe for any enemy. 
The Blob (B.O.B.) 
An alien creature so fearsome that it cannot be stopped by conventional means, what madman would use such a thing as a weapon? Well, the military has experimented with with freezing the Blob, shattering "chunks" off and loading them into munitions. The deaths from these experiments are mounting, but some success has been gained. In the face of total alien invasion, the Blob may be the only hope for the human race. 
The Fly (Dr Cockroach) 
Professor Brundle's experiments ended in tragedy, but his work lived on. The brightest minds "rescued" from Nazi Germany quickly perfected the "Brundlefly" process, combining superhuman agility and senses with the most supreme intellects that could be found. At least, that was the plan. Unfortunately the Brundlefly process is degenerative and the volunteers only survive a few weeks, and the cost is so prohibitive that only one can be created at any time. Still, with an agile super-genius leading them, Battalion 51 are even more fearsome. 
Tarantula (Insectorsaurous) 
Created by ill-advised and unsupervised experiments in "gigantism", this 100-foot-tall arachnid is the ultimate weapon in the Battalion 51 arsenal. It is, frankly, surprising how few problems cannot be solved by sending a giant spider to attack something. Alien invasion? Giant Tarantula. Cuban Missile Crisis? Get a giant Tarantula to eat Castro. Debt crisis because some idiot though trickle-down economics was a real thing and deregulated the banks? Feed the Republican party to a giant Tarantula. 
Were I to undertake this team as a project (and I am tempted), I'd probably look at 15mm for my scale. All Quiet On the Martian Front miniatures and a couple of fantasy and horror monster minis for the "heroes". It would make one hell of a fun con-game and could easily be done with some clever tweaks of SS4. Oh well, off to the internet to browse minis again...

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Superhero Media: Dragonball Z Resurrection 'F'

I really enjoyed this film at the cinema, I enjoyed it less the second time around, but I still feel that Resurrection 'F' is one of the best Dragonball Z films in the, very bloated, catalogue. The set up is pretty nifty, with their empire collapsing, the remains of the Frieza Force decide to risk a trip to Earth in order to use the Dragonballs to revive their fallen leader. The now child-aged Emperor Pilaf, Mai and Shou are bullied into helping Sorbet and a handful of Frieza soldiers collect the balls and bring the chunks of Cyborg Frieza (that Future Trunks left) back to life. Seeking revenge, Frieza trains himself to a level beyond anything the Z Warriors have seen before. Bringing his soldiers to Earth, Frieza keeps the Z Warriors (Gohan, Piccolo, Tien, Roshi and Krillin) battling his soldiers until Goku and Vegeta come back from training with Whis and beat the dictator down. Also there's some time travel and a space cop. 

Many of the elements that can be found in Resurrection 'F' are ones I like to see and, frankly, don't see enough in Dragonball; recurring villains, team fights and the action not being focused on how powerful Goku is are all good elements. Freiza has always been one of the best DB villains, he's no King Piccolo or Doctor Wheelo, but he's way better than any version of Buu and seeing him grandstand, plot and boast really makes him feel like a threat once again. Seeing the team of Z Warriors battle the soldiers is amazing, the fights move fluidly and each character gets to do their own thing. There are some fun pop culture references, like a Maximum the Hormone song and a cameo by one of Team Four Star (I forget which one). Once Goku goes "Super Saiyan God Super Saiyan" and "Golden Frieza" is revealed, the film goes downhill and I lose interest quickly.

There are problems with Resurrection 'F', the usual DBZ misogyny with Android 18 not getting to go to the fight, despite being stronger than Krillin, because she needs to stay at home and look after the kid. Gohan can longer go Ascended Super Saiyan and seems to have lost his Ultimate/Mystic power-up. Rebirth of Fusion, another good DBZ film, is clearly rendered non-canon, twice and Gotenks is not mentioned. There's a plot thread about Frieza looking for Future Trunks that goes nowhere and no one seems to remember that pretty much every member of the team is stronger than when they last fought Frieza. Maybe Krillin has some major PTSD, but it feels like a gap in the writing. Problems aside, Resurrection 'F' is a good take on DBZ and well worth a watch for the first half, improved animation and better voice work than most of the series got.

Monday, April 4, 2016

Miniatures Finished: Gothamites, Robot and U-Foe

Wow, actually have everything painted for Little Wars already, just a few terrain pieces and stat cards to do. I'm glad I put all that work in last year before I started studying, now I can get a game up and running pretty quick. 

 GI Robot, The Question II, Nightwing and Ironclad 

 GI Robot (scratch build) I touched it up a little because I was never happy with it, Ironclad of the U-Foes (Clix), just Vapor to paint now.

 New Nightwing (didn't like my old one) and Renee Montoya as The Question, both Clix.