ORIGIN STORIES: Marvel Evolution – Not Exactly The ‘Weapon X’ You Know And Love… But Close!

November 7, 2008

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Don’t ‘Game’ With TBS, OR You’ll End Up Paying For Lots Of Dinners!

Billy: “Hey. Sorry we couldn’t make it.”
TBS: “What?”
Billy: “Happy Birthday.”
TBS: “Oh. Thanks. I figured you guys were ‘busy’. Scumbags.”
Billy: “31? 35? Older?”
TBS: “…”
Billy: “So, question, at what exact age does one stop throwing birthday parties?”

captain-america01

More Random Thoughts You Could Care Less About

• Deadpool, Party Pooper – “I’m the party pooper!” Ha-ha. Yeah. Wait ‘til ya’ see the alt art on this card. Too awesome.
• Merc With A Mouth – The flavor text on this one was locked in the moment I found the art. Thankfully, TBS came through like a champ.
• Wolverine, Unleashed – More Wolverine close-ups!
• Sabretooth, Earth-295, Team Leader – Confession? I hate the art on this card.
• Extended Monologue – Not much more to say about this one, I should think…
• Hyperion, Earth-4023 – Does anyone else still visit ytmnd.com?
• Iron Man, Earth-2020 – The art on this card does not depict the actual Iron Man from the Exiles comic. Sorry, the actual art was either Unusable or too ugly. This piece was pulled from an old Iron Man comic from right before the Heroes Reborn relaunch.
• Trouble With Clones – Trouble With Dinosaurs? It’s intentional. I only wish I’d thought of it sooner. It would have been nice to put one of these “Trouble With X” cards in every set.
• Sublime, The Beast Almighty – Who cares about what the card actually does… the concept, the mythology behind it, the art? It’s just so damn pretty.
• The World – Very, very happy this one made it into Marvel Evolution.
• Weapon Plus Satellite – But not as happy as I am with this card! Super-Sentinels! Someone on the Realms mentioned that maybe all the Super-Sentinels in MEV were dual-affiliated with the old Sentinels team. I thought about it, but in the end it just didn’t feel right.
• Captain America, Weapon 1 – I mean, obviously I’m going to get a Captain America into every set I work on. Good always triumphs over evil, dudes. Oh, and hey! More Invaders!
• Deadpool, Earth-5021 – Remember what I said about the Iron Man art? Same holds true here, I’m afraid.
• Spider-Man, The Spider, Earth 15 – Okay, this guy is awesome for one reason and one reason only: Spidey Clone decks finally get their 1-drop Spider-Man!

ultimaton_mev-201

(…what the heck is that!?! Keep reading!!!)

Weapon X/Ten/Plus… and The Exiles?!? What IS the deal?

So far, you’ve seen a bunch of Deadpool cards and some Exiles Weapon X dudes. Cool, those we can handle. But then you’re asking yourself, what’s the story on The World, Weapon Plus Satellite, Sublime and Captain America?

“Billy, will this be the traditional iteration of Weapon X (with Exiles splash) or some garbage version of Grant Morrison’s abysmal New X-Men run?”

Well, obviously the guy asking that question has horrible taste in comics, since the Grant Morrison era has yet to be surpassed in terms of quality and innovation. Yeah. I just said that.

wolverine02

Okay, obviously, I’m a lot biased, so biased that I felt it necessary for players to be able to construct Weapon Plus curve decks. How exciting!

• Weapon 1: 2-drop Captain America from MEV
• Weapon 7: 3-drop XXX from MEV
• Weapon 10: 4-drop Wolverine from MUN
• Weapon 14: 5-drop XXX from MEV
• Weapon 13: 6-drop XXX from MEV
• Weapon 15: 7-drop Ultimaton from MEV*

QUESTION #2: Will we still see the other, older members of the team?

Yes. Expect a healthy dose of Maverick, Mesmero, Sauron, Garrison Kane and much more, including a sweet location titled “Department K”. See, there’s something for everyone… even those Alpha Flight “weirdos”.

Alpha Flight Deck-Builders Rejoice!

aurora_mev-174

TBS: “So good.”
Billy: “Rama-Tut redesign?”
TBS: “Oh… yeah, I guess. Man, why do you always have to rain on my parade, Billy Zonos?”
Billy: “Keeps you honest.”

Recommended Reading:
• Exiles Vol. 2: A World Apart
• Exiles Vol. 3: Out of Time
• Exiles Vol. 4: Legacy
• Exiles Vol. 5: Unnatural Instinct
• Exiles Vol. 6: Fantastic Voyage
• Exiles Vol. 7: A Blink in Time
• New X-Men by Grant Morrison: Ultimate Collection, Vol. 1
• New X-Men by Grant Morrison: Ultimate Collection, Vol. 2
• New X-Men by Grant Morrison: Ultimate Collection, Vol. 3
• Weapon X, Vol. 1, #1-28
• Wolverine: Weapon X HC
• X-23: Target X, #1-6

…and of course, there’s always Wikipedia for the epically lazy.

Next Week: …the end?

*No, his text box isn’t blank. Patience, my minions.


ORIGIN STORIES: Marvel Evolution – Mr. Sinister and His Marauding Marauders! Special Guest Stars, The X-Force!

October 31, 2008

*****START GENERIC, YET HEARTFELT APOLOGY*****

Well, so, um, uh… I was moving last week! Does that excuse me? Probably not, but I’m hoping the content of this article will make up for any sad bear feelings I may have unintentionally caused last week. DI apologies!

*****END GENERIC, YET HEARTFELT APOLOGY *****

TBS Wants To Date Me!

TBS: “Nice job with last week’s article, bra’.”
Billy: “I didn’t do one—oh, I see what you did there.”
TBS: “BWAHAHA! I am king!”
Billy: “Yeah? Nice Facebook, Douchey Mcdoucherson.”
TBS: “I do what I can.”
Billy: “Dude, I never see you anymore. Very sad.”
TBS: “Let’s have a date! I’ll drive up and you can make me dinner, and then we can see a movie at the local cinema, and then maybe, if you’re lucky, we can retire to the boudoir for a nightcap?”
Andrew: “Ah my gawd, SHUT UP!”

More Than You Ever Needed To Know About The Way I Think!

Let’s talk about the Marauders AND X-Force, shall we?

• Cable, Temporal Traveler – Yes, he’s got flight and range because he’s from some future alternate dimension, so no, he’s not the “616” Cable. Also, we loves the Highfather style beard.
• Domino, Probability Manipulator – Finding art for this card was super-duper hard, hence the Deadpool fist in the lower left corner of the frame. Ugly!
• Born To Run – I have a whole spiel about those stupid “Baby on Board” signs people put on their car windows, but I won’t bore you with it here.
• Techno-Organic Virus – Thank God for Patrick Zircher. What a master.
• X-23, Genetic Miracle – She’s slicing bullets—in half!
• In The Crossfire – This is a cover from like 15 years ago that I picked up in a dollar bin earlier this year. No-Prize to the first person to properly identify it.
• Rapid Strike – The art for this card changed a bunch, not because the previous art was bad, we just had too many good pieces to choose from.
• Endangered Species – Despite its back-up story nature, I rather liked this story.
• Psimitar – Rob Liefeld art for those Rob Liefeld lovers. Don’t be ashamed, you know who you are.
• Providence – Very happy with every aspect of this card. Good show.
• RL-9000 – Not sure if anyone got this, but the “RL” stands for Rob Liefeld and the “9000” is an allusion to the BFG-9000 from the Doom series. Also, if you don’t know what “defenestrate” means, for the love of God, look it up!
• Moonstar, Danielle Moonstar – Squeezing in that S.H.I.E.L.D. legacy, baby.
• Doop, Extra-Dimensional Void – I love me some Doop. Does this mean you’ll see more X-Statix characters in MEV?
• Cable, Mutant Messiah – Yeah, hindsight correctly perceives the art on this card as rather lame. Sorry.
• Bosom Buddies – Not much to say here, this card’s awesomeness is readily apparent.

Random, Alex – The flavor explains everything you need to know about this guy. He’s so ridiculous! This is definitely one of those cards that I feel was an epic design FAIL. I mean, is that ability random in any sense of the word?
• Gambit, Le Diable Blanc – Hey! It’s another alternate art card!
• Identity Theft – A late addition, suggested by the great Dave Humpherys, and we couldn’t be happier. That’s why Da’ Hump gets paid the big bucks. DING.
• Mr. Sinister, Robert Windsor – That flavor is pretty ribald, but I guess the editors thought it was cool, so…
• Gambit, Traitor – For the record, I hate Gambit, but I love you guys… dilemma!
Sabretooth, Wounded Animal – An X-Men affiliated Sabretooth… finally.
• Mr. Sinister, Molecular Manipulator – I love the look on his face, he’s like, “Huh? Yeah? I’m awesome, right?”
• Cajun Charm – Again, HATE Gambit, but man he’s got some good looking cards.
• Mystique, Raven – Now, Mystique? Love ‘er!
• Master Thief – Another great Gambit card. You’re welcome.
• X-Gene Decoded – Seriously, the art on this card is disturbing. Out of context, anyway. But still. What’s he been doing to baby Cable?
• Sinister Disciples – “Look at all our faces… we are so evil.”
• Mystique, Foxx – The Captain into Mystique? Janky-janks.
Three-Card Monte – Is this card any good? I don’t know, you decide… but either way, it looks damn cool. DAMN YOU, GAMBIT! Damn you for looking so good!

Who The Heck Are The Marauders?

If you’re clever and found the “hidden” spoiler, you know all about what’s going on with X-Force, so let’s not dwell on that. Let’s move straight to the Marauders.

So who are they? The Marauders are a team of mutant mercenaries hired by Mr. Sinister to do his dirty work when he’s just too busy torturing babies, like Cable. They can also be described as a bunch of clones of aforementioned mutant mercenaries… and also clones of those clones… and so on, and on… OH! And recently, during the Messiah Complex event, the Marauders teamed up with the Acolytes (you know, those dudes that used to follow Magneto, but now follow Exodus? SEE: Brotherhood from the Marvel X-Men set), so you can surely expect to see both teams appear in Marvel Evolution. Together. On the same team. Expect to see the following characters and non-character cards:

• Acolyte Protection!
• Malleable DNA!
• Neverland!
• 4xMystique!
• 4xMr. Sinister!
• All the Marauders!
• All the Acolytes!

Heh, it kind of just designs itself at some point, don’t it?

All Killer, No Filler

You want another actual spoiler? Check out this baby:

…so, wait, this affects ALL of your attackers? For real? Hey, TBS…

TBS: “Sup, dawg?”
Billy: “Dude, didn’t that card used to say something like ‘target attacker’, as in it only worked on one guy at a time?”
TBS: “Oh, I went in and changed a bunch of cards after Hump soft-locked. Beefed ‘em up. You like?”
Billy: “And no one notioced?”
TBS: “I’m a computer whiz, dude, of course they didn’t notice!”*

Recommended Reading:
• Cable Volume 1: Messiah War
• X-Force Volume 1: Angels and Demons
• X-Force Volume 1: New Beginning
• X-Force Volume 2: Final Chapter
• X-Men: Blinded by the Light
• X-Men: Endangered Species
• X-Men: Messiah Complex
• X-Men: Supernovas
• X-Statix, Vol. 1: Good Omens

Again, Wiki, Wiki, Wiki!

Whew, we got there. Happy? Did I make up for missing last week? Are we friends again? If yes, tune in next week for more random happenings as I take a hard look at Weapon X, or as I like to think of them, my favorite team.

Call your mom!

*This is a lie. TBS gets derf’d on a weekly basis. For the definition of “derf’d”, please direct your e-mails to TBS. Thanks.


Marvel Evolution Preview: X-23, Genetic Miracle and In the Crossfire

October 21, 2008

Do you like to play plot twists?  I mean, do you really like to play plot twists?  If so, have I got a team for you!  From what we have seen so far, X-Force is a team that will reward you just for playing plot twists – something you were going to do anyway!

Yesterday’s preview of Domino, Probability Manipulator, set the tone.  For the simple act of playing a plot twist during combat, Domino will negate an effect from a non-ongoing plot twist!  Negation is one of the most powerful effects in the game and X-Force can do it practically for free.

Today’s first preview card is similar in that it offers you a powerful effect at a neglibile cost.  Check out X-23, Genetic Miracle:

Genetic Miracle indeed!  If I had to make a list of my favorite things in Vs, free KO’s would rank right up near the top.

We’ve seen characters in Vs. who KO the characters they stun before.  But there’s usually some kind of restriction.  Darkseid, Destroyer of Life, for example, can be negated by paying endurance equal to the stunned character’s cost.  Rogue, Powerhouse will only KO defenders.  And Elektra, Pawn of the Gorgon will only KO characters with a cost less than or equal to the number of team affiliations she has.

We’ve also seen characters that can KO any character they stun.  But I don’t think we’ve seen one with such an easily met cost.  Charaxes, Killer Moth required you to put three character cards who share an affiliation with Charaxes from your KO’d pile on the bottom of your deck.  That’s all well and good until your KO’d pile starts running low on character cards.

Executioner, Sourge of Jotunheim required a discard of a Masters of Evil character card.  Plus, his stats were garbage.  Heck, Executioner was garbage.  Forget I brought him up, okay?

Divinity, Vampire General required you to KO a resource or a Doom character at the start of every build phase.  Playing a plot twist during combat is starting to look like a real bargain, isn’t it?

The character X-23 most reminds me of is Punisher, Guns Blazing.  Both cards are 4-drops.  Both will KO anyone they stun on attack or defense as long as you can meet their cost.  Both are really good cards.  But in a vacuum, I’ll take X-23 over Punisher.

For one, X-23 is concealed.  Off initiative, it was all too easy to monkey pile Punisher out there in the visible area.  If your opponent wants to keep X-23 from attacking, they are going to have to work for it.  Next, X-23 has a higher attack.  She’ll attack up curve more easily than Punisher.  Sure, she has a lower defense to offset her stats, but that’s a trade-off I’m willing to make on a concealed character.

The big difference between the two characters is the cost to trigger their effect.  The Punisher needs to be equipped with more than one equipment.  In the right build, that’s easily done.  But you have to build for it.  And your opponent will know whether or not you can meet the requirement before combat even begins (unless you’re playing tricks to equip Punisher during the combat phase).

With X-23, your opponent won’t see the KO coming.  Unless your hand is empty and your resource row is face up, there’s always the possibility you’ll play a plot twist in the middle of an attack.  Psychological advantage goes to X-23.

Also, there are ways to unequip Punisher and transform him from a crazed killing machine into a vanilla 4-drop.  X-23 doesn’t care if you negate her plot twist.  She still played it, so she still KOs your character.  Sure, there are ways to restrict which plot twists you play.  But it’s hard to stop you from playing them at all.

Well, I’ve spent way too much time trying to convince you that free KOs are good.  Come back tomorrow when I write a doctorate on the benefits of a free lunch.  Let’s move on to our second preview of the day, shall we?

In the Crossfire ain’t exactly a free lunch.  In fact, it’s kind of costly.  This card definitely won’t be an auto-include in any X-Force curve decks.

But if you were to build an off-curve X-Force deck, that cost seems a lot more reasonable.  I don’t know what kind of off-curve game X-Force is going to have at this point.  But that’s what team-ups are for.  I know I can’t be the only one who saw this card and thought about running it in a Secret War deck with lots of S.H.I.E.L.D Agents who would burn for two and then exhaust to In the Crossfire.

The card has one other subtle cost.  You’ve got to have plot twists in your KO’d pile that you want to play again.  If you think that will be a problem, check out today’s other preview here: http://thederangedbear.wordpress.com/2008/10/21/techno-organic-virus/.

So, now that you’ve found a way to pay the cost, let’s talk about the rewards you will reap.  At the start of each combat phase, you get a plot twist back from your KO’d pile.  That’s a free card.  Not just a card, but the card of your choice.  On-going plot twist recursion, kids.  It’s crazy good.

This is one of those cards you’re going to have to build your deck around.  It reminds me of another card that had a heavy cost for a heavy reward.  That card would be Lust for Power.  If Doom brings all his little minions, there could be some big advantages to a Doom/X-Force team-up!

That’s it for me, gang!  Thanks to Billy for letting me write my first official preview article!  I hope you enjoyed it.  And I hope you enjoy the rest of the MEV preview season.  I know I will!


ORIGIN STORIES: Marvel Evolution – Exiles and Shift’ing Yo’ Pants!

October 17, 2008

What the heck is “Shift”? Go HERE for an explanation.

Andrew & Billy Talk About The Many Virtues Of TBS:

Billy: “He keeps his car really clean.”
Andrew: “He likes good Chinese.”
Billy: “He’s nice to the Vs. peoples…”
Andrew: “Um, he has nice hair?”
Billy: “No. He’s a good rock climber?”
Andrew: “Pfft!”
Billy: “This is really hard.”
Andrew: “Tell me about it.”

Catching You Up!

Exiles cards previewed so far:

Blink, Earth-295, Clarice Ferguson – That’s a cover we swiped. She’s standing in front of a downed Sentinel. Wait, did somebody say “Sentinels”?
Illyana Rasputin, Magik, Earth 4210 – I love how much this feels like an Underworld card.
Five In One – I like Mimic, I do, but as far as power limitations go, this has got to be one of the lamer ones. “You can only copy five at a time… why?”
Miguel O’Hara, Spider-Man, Earth-6375 – because you can never have too many Spider-Mans in Modern Age.
• Mimic, Earth-12, Infected – Ew, take care of that acne, dude.
• Panoptichron – Nice card, yes, but too bad about it depicting a crappy part of the run. What’s that? Claremont is still writing it? Nevermind.
• Blink, Earth-295, Dimension Jumper – This card has alternate art. OH, exciting!
• Mimic, Earth-12, Team Leader – Yes, this guy really is THAT bad-ass.
• Proteus, Earth-58163 – Ah, Proteus. I’m glad nobody cares that I couldn’t find a picture of the “actual” Proteus. Then again, Proteus doesn’t actually have a body of his own anyway.
• Shadowcat, Cat, Earth-Unknown – …pervs.
• Warp Shards – Artist correction! This is actually James Calafiore. Oops. .

It’s A Super-Dimensional Romp For The Entire Family!

Okay, I’m going to have to cheat you guys and only give you a short article this week. Sorry. Can’t be helped!*

Interested in spoilers? Try these:

• There are THREE Mimic character cards in the set.
• There are FOUR Blinks.
• Wolverine gets a couple of legacy cards in the Exiles section…
• …one of those cards is a character!
• 100% of the roster if filled with 98% of the Exiles from the comic.
• Weapon X characters from the Exiles comic do not appear in the Exiles section.
• Then what about Sabretooth, you ask?

What Will It Be This Time?

Because pretty much EVERYONE demanded it:

“Earth-Mojoverse”

“Third time’s the charm!”

TBS: “Seriously, guys? Why is it always like this?”
Billy: “Oh! He makes really good Vs. sets!”
Andrew: “Dude, he’s standing right there.”
TBS: “No, that’s fair… Legion was pretty stains.”

Recommended Reading:
1. Exiles Vol. 1: Down the Rabbit Hole
2. Exiles Vol. 2: A World Apart
3. Exiles Vol. 3: Out of Time
4. Exiles Vol. 4: Legacy
5. Exiles Vol. 5: Unnatural Instinct
6. Exiles Vol. 6: Fantastic Voyage
7. Exiles Vol. 7: A Blink in Time
8. Exiles Vol. 8: Earn Your Wings
9. Exiles Vol. 9: Bump in the Night
10. Exiles Vol. 10: Age of Apocalypse
11. Exiles Vol. 11: Timebreakers
12. Exiles Vol. 12: World Tour, Book 1
13. Exiles Vol. 13: World Tour, Book 2
14. Exiles Vol. 14: The New Exiles
15. Exiles Vol. 15: Enemy of the Stars
16. Exiles Volume 16: Starting Over
17. New Exiles Volume 1: New Life, New Gambit
18. New Exiles Volume 2: Soul Awakening

Again, a Wiki page exists! Go read it, if you haven’t already. Or like, I don’t know, read some comics?

Go away now! But stop by next week for a pair of previews (90’s style!) here on read/RANT! And then, of course, come back on Friday for another edition of Origin Stories to cap off the week. Later, dooders!

*I mean, who doesn’t know about patch 3.0.2?


ORIGIN STORIES: Marvel Evolution – X-Factor to the Power of Awesome!

October 10, 2008

…oh, hey. I didn’t see you there. How’s it going? Enjoying your Marvel Evolution previews?

In a little over a month the latest Vs. System expansion, Marvel Evolution, will be hitting stores. YAY! It’s been kind of a long wait, hasn’t it? Sorry about that. But! The unbearable wait is over, and like last time (and the time before that, and that, and…) a new set brings new preview articles. This time, almost all exclusively written by you, the fans!

TBS Is The Master Of Good Ideas!

Billy: “Hey, great idea extending the blog preview action from MUN.”
TBS: “I mean, evil genius?”
Billy: “If you say so.”
Andrew: “Why are you talking to TBS and not logged into the World?”
Billy: “Crap, let’s go pwn some noobs!”
TBS: “WoW has stolen your soul, Billy Zonos.”*

As If I Needed To Tell You!**

Here’s a quick list of the X-Factor cards previewed so far:

Cyclops, Mutant Messiah – Look for this version name to repeat four more times throughout Marvel Evolution. It was kind of a theme.
Concussive Force – The image for this card changed more than four times. Also, it’s a very powerful card… as many of you have pointed out.
Jamie Madrox, Multiple Man, Jamie Prime – This image, to me, cuts down to the core of Jamie Madrox’s personality. Love it. Also, TBS did a fine job figuring out all that messy identity crap. Kudos.
Re-Absorption – UGH, we hated the art for this for the longest time and always meant to find something better, but then I never did and at the time of the deadline we’d kind of gotten used to it.
• Cyclops, Man of Action – I wrote that version months before Fraction and Brubaker started referring to Cyclops as a “Man of Action” in their X-Men interviews. I mean, great minds think alike. :)
• Polaris, Back in the Fold – This card makes me so happy… for obvious reasons.
Multiple Man, Hydra, Army – Admittedly, his connection to Hydra is pretty suspect, but hey, it was an opportunity for subtle Crime Lords legacy and TBS loved it.
• Multiplicity – That movie was so lame. Sorry for referencing it.
• Strong Guy, Guido Carosella – I misspelled this guy’s name the most. I always wrote “Casserole” first.
• Iceman, Jack Frost – “Catch a cold.” Get it! Wait ‘til you see his other flavor text.
• First Class – the art for this became “available” at the last minute, and by that I mean, the latest Marvel Previews supplement came out days before the art deadline.
• Fearless Leader – the flavor here is extra cheese, but he actually says stuff like this!
• One Man Army – I regret not naming this card “One Man Gang” or “O.M.G.”
• Jean Grey, Jean Grey-Summers – You know, I KNOW this is Ethan and not Phil and yet somehow that fact slipped by me.
Cyclops, Astonishing X-Man – for the longest time, this was not the art for this card. Thankfully, I pulled my head out of my butt and fixed it. One of my favorite cards.

What To Expect From The “X”

In my mind, there are three unique versions of the X-Factor team, and as I was the one in charge of sorting out the team lists, you can expect to see all three versions of X-Factor represented in Marvel Evolutions. Do you require more detail? Sure.

You’ll see at least two of each of the members of the original group: Cyclops, Jean Grey, Iceman, Beast and Angel. However, the character art on the cards may not match exactly the look and feel of this incarnation.

Unfortunately, that is just one of the many harsh realities of using recycled art. Marvel allows us access to thousands of high quality images in their online database, but since said database is relatively new most of these images were uploaded from recently published comics. I mean, X-Factor was first published in the 80’s, folks, and the archivers just haven’t gotten around to scanning them in yet. Of course, we also have access to my rather large collection to pull images from, and we surely did, but scanning these comics myself came with its own set of unique problems. For one, no matter how killer my scanner is, using printed comic pages from the 80’s (or older) as source material is rough. Basically, when scanned, the pages look like crap… and retouching images is NOT my forte. But enough already, I’m sure I’ll find time to speak on this more at a later date when I get all my excuses in order.

The second incarnation, the government sponsored team, will also be present: Valerie Cooper, Forge, Multiple Man, Havok, Polaris, Quicksilver, Strong Guy, Mystique, Sabretooth, etc… this is probably the least represented version of the team since finding art for them proved the most difficult. Believe me when I say I tried really, really hard. Obsessively hard.

The third, and most current incarnation, that being “X-Factor Investigations”, will OF COURSE be featured prominently. I mean, we know who butters out bread, if you know what I mean: Multiple Man, Strong Guy, Siryn, Wolfsbane, Rictor, Layla Miller, and M.

…and then a couple of odds and ends characters to satisfy those continuity minded fanatics.

As far as the X-Men dual affiliation goes, we used it pretty liberally, but only because most of the above character were in fact, at one time or another, card carrying members of the X-Men. But, that doesn’t mean we gave it to every single member of X-Factor. That would be lame. So, all the original members of X-Factor are dual-affiliated with the X-Men, but characters like Layla Miller and Valerie Cooper are not. And then there are some characters (Polaris, Caliban) who some of you will undoubtedly point out did not receive said most deserved dual-affiliating (that was an attempt to confuse with odd sentence structure). Well, that’s because for variety’s sake we decided to dual them with another team, and Hump was adamant about not breaking the “only two printed affiliations per character” rule. Sorry!

Okay, beside roster infos, what else can I spoil? Card names (and one piece of flavor) that I love and hope you love too!

• Fall’s Edge
• Cracking The Case
• Optic Blast
• The “X” Factor
• Vocal Minority
• “Please. This demeans us both.”***

Speculate away!

Spoiling Art, It’s What I Do!

And now, I give you the art for one of the cards that will undoubtedly become very annoying in drafts (if you can get him):

“Devolving Brute”

“He lost a finger on each hand. I’m sure that’d make anyone crazy.”

TBS: “I liked these better when they were on the main site.”
Billy: “Why? I’m my own editor here!”
TBS: “Exactly.”
Yip: “ARENA!!!”

Recommended Reading:
1. Astonishing X-Men Vol. 1: Gifted
2. Astonishing X-Men Vol. 2: Dangerous
3. Astonishing X-Men Vol. 3: Torn
4. Astonishing X-Men Vol. 4: Unstoppable
5. X-Factor Vol. 1: The Longest Night
6. X-Factor Vol. 2: Life and Death Matters
7. X-Factor Vol. 3: Many Lives of Madrox
8. X-Factor Vol. 4: Heart of Ice
9. X-Factor: Madrox – Multiple Choice
10. X-Men: Endangered Species
11. X-Men: Messiah Complex

Also, feel free to hit up the Wiki page, a great place to start.

That’s it for this week’s installment. If you have anyone questions, feel free to post them here in the comments section. The way my e-mail is setup nowadays it’s much easier for me to find (and reply to) your questions and comments about Vs. here. So yes, Ken Williams, if you wish to bitch at me, you’re gonna have to read and (OMG!) comment on a (THE HUMANITY!!!) blog.

*Yes, TBS often refers to me as “Billy Zonos”. Weirdo.

**I guess it’s tradition at this point to use these articles to redirect to previews, so why stop now? Also, special thanks to Captain Spud for maintaining this thread. It makes writing these up much easier.

***A phrase that has, after writing it, entered my everyday bag of tricks. Heh. It’s perfect for any occasion!


COMIC-CON ’08: Vs. R&D and Other Crazies!

July 31, 2008

Enough time has passed that I think I’ve finally recovered from the experience that was Comic-Con. I’m going to keep this post light. This means, I’m only going to show you the “good times” and speak not of the “bad times”. And yeah, there were tons of “bad times”.

First, Pictures With Vs. R&D New And Old:

Patrick Sullivan stares deer-eyed into the camera.
The Hump is soooo bored with life.
• Rules Guru, Paul Ross demo’ing some WOW.
Me and Cate Gary, editor supreme.
• Former VS. Designer, Matt Hyra can not be bothered to smile.
• “No one wants to demo MUB, Billy. Does that make you sad?” –Ben Seck
John Fiorillo and Billy Zonos… man crush!

…And Now For Something Completely Different, Ballsy Fans In Costumes!

Ms. Marvel wants me bad.
• OMG! I met Isaiah Bradley!!
• Marvel’s Spider-Man and Black Cat.
• A couple of Teen Titans… is that a sock in his pants? I hope so.
COBRAAAAA!!!
Han Solo never looked better.
The American Dream and Me.

That guy, right there: Costume of the Year! Notice me trying hard as hell not to laugh?

For a complete picture account from Comic-Con, follow this link to my Flickr page.

p.s. my birthday is in five months, someone buy me this.


ORIGIN STORIES: The Origin of Barnacle, Chair Decks and Other Tales of Silly, Part 2 – I Got Another Confession To Make!

July 18, 2008

In Part 1, I talked about the “Chair Deck” conspiracy and gave a confession of sorts. Well, I’m not done clearing my conscience since this week I’ll be setting the record straight once again. What did I do this time? It’s more like what didn’t I do.

The “New” Defenders Can Kiss My Ass

About a million years ago, I wrote a section of a design article about Marvel Team-Up titled “Marvel Team-Up Design: Defending the Defenseless – An Underdog Story” on the old Metagame.com. Within said article, I relayed the following:

We decided very early on to use the art to reflect and drive home the disparity between the A and B teams. Of course, silliness ensued. If you take a close look at the B team character art and compare it to the A team art, you will notice that in almost every single B piece, the character depicted is either:

Surrounded by enemies . . .

 

Running away from battle . . .

Or getting humorously overpowered by monsters or demons . . .

(That last one is my favorite.)

Now look at the big four. What do you see? No embarrassing fruit cellar shenanigans, let me tell you (except for 4-drop Surfer; we just couldn’t help ourselves). I know what you’re thinking: “These guys totally hate my favorite characters!” That couldn’t be further from the truth. Everything we attempted here was done with extra love and infinite respect for the fans of the comics and the game. We would never purposely defame any character (Clumsy Foulup) or any team (The Skrulls).

What utter and total bullshit! Excuse me a second, I need to take this call…

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA
HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA
HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA
HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA
HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

…sorry. Mom says, “Hello.”

Yeah, you get the picture, right? Do I need to draw you a diagram? IT WAS ALL ON PURPOSE!!! THE NEW DEFENDERS SUCK!!! I did my best to make them look as silly as possible in the art and mock them in the flavor.

Alas, I failed. The artists we hired were too good and barely anyone notices. Sure, a couple of you complained about them, but the general consensus was that we did them all justice. BAH! Anyway, here’s the proof, some art descriptions from 2006.

Gargoyle.

Setting: A random fruit cellar

Action: Gargoyle is surrounded by giant demonic tendrils that have erupted out of the ground. They’ve wrapped around the Gargoyle and are pulling him down into the depths of Hell. More tendrils whip around the cellar, knocking jars from the shelves. Gargoyle resists valiantly, but he is definitely screwed.

Keywords: Surprise, Desperation, Embarrassing Death

 

Angel

Setting: Tar Pits

Action: Angel is trapped in the tar pits. His wings are covered in the black goo, which keeps him from escaping. Tar Monsters are closing in fast. Angel is going to die. For sure.

Keywords: Nightmare, Worst Case Scenario, OMG Why Do You Suck So Hard?

 

Iceman

Setting: Hell

Action: Iceman surfs on his ice slide right toward the viewer. Hot on his heels, fiery hell beasts claw along the melting ice slide. His body is dripping gallons amounts of water and the beasties are closing fast. He’s got no chance in hell! (HAH)

Focus: Iceman

Keywords: Melting Snowman, Snowball’s Chance

Oh, here’s something else you didn’t know: at one point, we even considered cutting them all completely from the set since the “ass-factor” was so high. A Defenders team featuring just Namor, Hulk, Dr. Strange and Silver Surfer would have been just as great, if not infinitely more awesome. Consider this, my stunned friends: What if The Big Four had received “Legend” treatment way back in Marvel Team-Up, similar to the Fantastic Four in Marvel Legends? WOW, I can feel the blown minds through the interwebs. So, if you’re a New Defenders fan, thank the gods… or Andrew Yip, but not me. I hate you and your irrational love for: Angel, Iceman, Brunnhilde, Devil Slayer, Gargoyle, Hellcat, Sam Parrington, Nighthawk, Beast, and Iceman.

So, in conclusion: I am a lying liar. Nothing I say or write is ever true. Fair warning.

I feel so MUCH better now. Short and sweet, baby! I’m off to see The Dark Knight, so if you have any questions or constructive comments leave those below and I’ll answer every single one personally. If you want to bitch about your love for the New Defenders, you can shoot me an e-mail at: idontgiveashit@HAHAHAHA.net.

DEFENDERS DEFEND!!!

    

Oh, and that stupid Howard the Duck art? That was me. HAH.

Howard the Duck

Setting: Sidewalk, New York – Day

Action: Howard the Duck in the center of the image, facing the viewer. He’s found himself lost in a sea of New Yorkers. All these tall, funny looking humans: pushing him, smacking him, crushing him. He’s crushing his hat over his head.  His trademark cigar springs from his mouth as he gives out a frustrated cry, “WAAAAUGH!”

Keywords: Lost in the Crowd, Dark Comedy, Howard the Duck Sucks

 

(EDITOR’S NOTE: The treatment of the Defenders in Marvel Team-Up is in no way related to treatment that Alpha Flight received in Marvel Universe. I swear.)


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