Tag Archives: hellboy

Joe Quesada Wants Squirrel Girl To End Dark Reign.

DarkReign   squirrelgirl

Comic-Con 2009 has just gone transcendent. It happened during the Marvel Comics panel discussing their massive ongoing inter-title event known as Dark Reign.

Dark Reign is one of those messy affairs that threatens to destroy the very fabric of the Marvel Universe. Norman Osborn, that guy who throws little pumpkin bombs, is the main mastermind threatening world destruction. No one knows who, when, or how he will be stopped.

If Joe Quesada has his way, Dark Reign will end with a bushy red tail.

During the panel discussion, the conversation turned to Squirrel Girl:

Fan in the audience: “Does she kick Norman’s ass?

Joe Quesada: “You read my mind, I want her to be the end of this!”

Dear Joe, we want that too. We realize that you were probably joking, and that you don’t have the power to make it happen on your own. Please consider it anyway.

Thank you.

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Save-It Saturday: X-Babies Attack!

xbabiesattack

That is the card that I never imagined would be printed. The final card in the final official expansion set. Here follows the article that inspired its appearance in reality.

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Risk Vs. Reward: X-Babies Attack!
By Rian Fike
9/3/2007

Marvel Legends fulfills quite a few fanboy desires, not the least of which is a major upgrade in the power level of the X-Men. The new mutants are mighty good, especially the little ones.

Forty long months I have been patiently waiting for Domino in our game. When it comes to the mythological ladies, she is just my type: high contrast, luck based, and nearly impossible to kill. Now we get to turn her sideways Vs. System style, thanks to a 1-drop with a freaky little ability. Big fun comes in small cardboard packages.

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Our tiny new Domino packs a large punch with her recovery ability, but you need to be rather odd to use it. Before we talk about where she will take us in the game, let’s see where she came from in the myths.

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Neena Thurman plays well with others, but most of the time, she is a freelance mercenary. Domino is an independent artist, and her medium is murder. She was born as a custom-engineered biological killing machine. Project Armageddon created her as a deadly human hybrid. The hideous experiment was an attempt to manufacture the perfect weapon. X genes were exploited with disastrous results.

Neena was one of only two surviving test organisms. Chalk-white skin, awesome black eye-patch, and the uncanny ability to be in exactly the right place at the right time. She was rescued from the nefarious laboratory and placed safely in a nurturing monastery to grow up. Domino eventually emerged into adult life and became a dynamite addition to the X-Force.

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As a member of Cable’s Six-Pack, the black-and-white hottie could really save the bacon when necessary. Her mutant abilities kick in subconsciously when she is in a dangerous situation. Domino cannot specifically control her luck powers the same way Longshot can, but when she is around, things always fall into place.

In Vs. System, that means she can keep herself and Cable flipped face-up at the beginning of the recovery phase every turn. There is only one catch. Your deck must have a built-in oddness about it. Check out Domino’s text:

Domino, Neena Thurman

Cost: 1

Team Affiliation: X-Men

Whenever a Cable or Domino you control becomes stunned, reveal the top card of your deck. If its cost is odd, recover that character at the start of the recovery phase this turn.

2 ATK / 1DEF
Ranged

My personal oddness often revolves around 1-cost Vs. System characters, and now they fulfill Domino’s board-maintaining probability powers. Before we jump into the construction of a deck to showcase this former test-tube baby, let’s look back at a list that caused some serious wailing at Pro Circuit Indianapolis 2007. We can use it as a basic template.

OutSoldiers

Phou Phommavong

5th place on Day 1, 21st overall

Pro Circuit Indianapolis 2007

Characters

14 Kree Soldiers

3 Owen Mercer ◊ Captain Boomerang Jr., Prodigal Son

2 Faust

3 Technocrat

1 Thunder, Anissa Pierce

1 Halo

1 Wylde

4 Kimiyo Hoshi ◊ Dr. Light, Sunburst

Plot Twists

4 Booze Elementals

4 Forged in Crisis

4 Batman and the Outsiders

4 Truth and Justice

4 Recruiting Drive

3 Poker Night

Locations

3 Hala

1 New Baxter Building

Equipment

3 Ego Gem

1 Reality Gem

Phou’s metagame masterpiece took our beloved Kim Hoshi to a place that I was not sure she could go, and it will remain forever as an inspiration to weenie lovers worldwide. It serves up a swarm of 1-cost characters to fuel the blinding glory of the female Dr. Light and her Outsiders tricks. Let’s translate it into baby talk using only Marvel Legends cards.

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X-Babies Attack!

Characters

12 Multiple Man, Army ◊ Madrox

4 Domino

4 Cable, Nathan Summers

4 Wolverine, Logan

1 Jubilee, Mallrat

1 Shadowcat, Phase Shifter

1 Blink

1 Nightcrawler, Man of the Cloth

1 Bishop, Time Cop

Plot Twists

4 Bodyslide

4 Mobilize

4 Fastball Special

3 Battle Tactics

3 Healing Factor

3 Berserker Rage

3 Sneak Attack

3 Adamantium Claws

2 Overwhelming Force

Locations

2 Xavier’s Institute of Higher Learning

Phou’s OutSoldiers deck uses Kree Soldiers as fodder for a team-attacking character advantage. X-Babies are going Madrox. Multiple Man is back with a printed X-Men affiliation, and he loves him some Fastball Special. The OutSoldiers bounce guys back to hand to fill the red card requirements of the focus on swarming. X-Babies will rely on recovery to keep the characters on the table each turn. Phou’s win condition was total board control with Kim Hoshi. Domino is aiming for beatdown and burn with Bodyslide.

Cable is a perfect fit for the X-Babies deck. He appeared as an infant in Cable and Deadpool #7, and he has a sweet little 3-drop that rocks. Here is his heated text:

Cable, Nathan Summers

Cost: 3

Team Affiliation: X-Men

When Cable enters play, target opponent loses 1 endurance for each X-Men character you control.

5ATK / 4 DEF

Ranged

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With a mom like Madelyne Pryor, it was inevitable that Nathan Summers would come out looking good. Cyclops is his father, so you know he is a gifted child. Marvel Legends gives Cable his eagerly anticipated Vs. System debut. Bodyslide makes him an intriguing addition to any deckbuilder’s repertoire.

Bodyslide

Plot Twist

Cost: 3

Play only if you control Cable.

Remove target non-stunned character you control from the game. Its owner puts it into play at the start of your next attack step.

That means that Cable, Nathan Summers could swerve out of the game during the draw phase and allow another copy to be recruited. If his playmates have formed a kiddie six-pack to greet him, he will burn for 7. Then the fresh copy can Bodyslide out and return at the beginning of your attack step with its temporal twin. The first copy grabs another 7 opposing endurance, followed by 8 more from its parallel partner. That’s hot stuff.

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In the myths, Cable can slip in and out of time. He spends his days trying to save the world by altering history. That is a sticky business, but it allows more costume changes than any comic book character I can think of. Whenever and wherever Cable shows up, he is always sporting a sharp new outfit.

There are only six cards in the X-Babies deck that have an even cost, so Domino will be a near lock to get lucky. The new Battle Tactics that the X-men have been given are like a turbo-charged Combat Protocols, and they cost 2. Overwhelming Force allows the team-attacking toddlers to remain unstunned, also at a cost of 2. The single copy of Bishop, Time Cop is the 4-drop babysitter. If you let Bishop try the Bodyslide, the kids will laugh their way around the table screaming “+4 ATK!” for the whole turn.

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No X-Babies deck would be complete without a little Wolverine. The Logan version is back in Marvel Legends, and for a 3-drop, he is a really big boy. Scruffy may actually become the favorite win condition of the deck. He has some major ATK pumps that last an entire turn. The nursery includes toys that keep him from being stunned, recover him when he is, and ready him for a fur-flying finish. A small set of adamantium fingernails are poised to rip big holes in opposing characters and endurance totals. Wolverine’s Berserker Rage is about to arrive as a viable Vs. System strategy, and the X-Babies deck is only the beginning.

I have no idea how well the tiny tikes will hold up against proven classic decks. I can’t tell if there will be equally massive forces to oppose as the other new Marvel Legends creations crawl from the incubator. The only way to find out will be to build the deck and give it a go. I leave the little mutant rug rats with you now so that you can help me test them. We will say goodbye with a quote from Cable himself. When Nathan Summers revived Apocalypse in order to unite the X-Men against a common enemy, everyone called him crazy. His response?

“The risks are worth the rewards.”

Rian Fike is also known as stubarnes and he has a kitchen table in his crib. If you do some testing with the X-Babies in your playpen, send the results to fullbodytransplant@dadeschools.net

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Vs. System Original Art: Liz Sherman.

lizsherman

If I have said it once, I have said it a thousand times. One of my most cherished memories in all of Vs. System history is the unveiling of Liz Sherman’s Uncontrolled Power.

We learned recently that Mike Mignola and his wife personally gave the green light to the artwork on this myth-busting cardboard masterpiece, although the original Dave Johnson painting was a bit too blue.  Here’s the before and after.  I still can’t believe I was a part of it. Liz never, ever, ever looked like this in the comics or the movies.  Only in our beloved trading card game. Forever.

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Blurring the Distinction: From Art to Reality.

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The art on that card has always made me scratch my head and wonder how I got so lucky. As an integral part of Vs. System’s history, that little proud zinco product not only brought one of Mike Mignola’s most magnificent paintings to real life on the Pro Circuit, it cemented something special inside of me.

See, here’s how it goes. One person crystallizes a myth in words and imagery. Then a whole bunch of others celebrate it and expand its existence in the collective psi-bank. Finally, the commercial conglomerate sanctions it with official releases. Continuity and canon arise from imagination, and we all live happily ever after.

What am I babbling about on this glorious Sunday morning? The myth of Hellboy, of course. Specifically the link between a fan-created Playmobil set that was eventually purchased by Mike Mignola himself, and our beloved Vs. System cardboard incarnations.  Feast your eyes.

anugunrama1

anugunramacard

roger

rogercard

johannkrauss

johannkrausscard

liz1

lizcard

abe

abecard

kroenen

kroenencard

rasputin1

rasputincard

box

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Hellboy + Liz Sherman = Bliss.

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hellboylizsherman

(The best Liz Sherman I have seen, by Roc Upchurch.)

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Flipping cards has never been finer. For the second weekend in a row, Nina and I have been turning Hellboy and Liz sideways on the kitchen table until the tentacles explode the moon and rain down from the heavens. Last night our seven-game series came down to the final swing, and I had the firestarter’s Uncontrollable Power ready to burn for the win.

Hottest. Cardboard. Ever.
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Heavenly Hellboy.

somethingiscoming

The Hellboy Essential Collection contains the only 60-card constructed Vs. System decks ever produced for public consumption. It remains the pinnacle of mythological madness and trading card game bliss. Mike Mignola personally painted a large portion of the exquisite artwork, while Matt Hyra made sure the mechanics were magnificent tightness. It worked perfectly, in ways that still blow me away.

Nina and I have played two seven-game series so far this weekend. We switched teams for each house championship, with Thule Society claiming both rings. The first was 4-2, the second 4-3. The decks are wonderfully balanced. Each team has two different themes. It is the most fun we have had playing Vs. System, maybe ever.

Before we start the next series, I want to share some of the intense mythological eye candy that we have been wallowing in all weekend. Rub your eyes and blink, this stuff is for real.

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Those are the original unpublished designs for the insert sleeves in the UDeck boxes. The final illustrations for the outer box holds just the arcane antiquity, without the illustrations.

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The rulebook included in this set is, perhaps, the best single item that Upper Deck Entertainment has ever produced. Comprehensive, creative, colorful, and cool as anything else in the world.

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As I mentioned earlier, Mike Mignola himself did most of the paintings for the cards. Kroenen drips in eternal cardboard glory because of it.

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That is Ryan Sook’s hot take on Liz Sherman. If I have said it once, I have said it a thousand times. Our game took her places she never would have gone in the comics.

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Alex Garner broke off the horns…

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Tim Townsend accepted the destiny…

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… and Jason Pearson hilariously illustrated the biggest little beats we have ever seen.

That’s all the time I have to share the beauty of the Hellboy Essential Collection, I need to shuffle up and flip some cards. If you need more words, you can check out the Little Red Men deck that we built as a community.

I will see you back here soon, on the other side of Hellboy Heaven.

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Save-It Saturday: Sadu-Hem.

tentacles1 sadu-hem

This Weekend In Heaven will be spent with the Thule Society and its creepy cardboard characters, playing the Hellboy Essential Collection until our eyeballs  fall out and sprout Ancient Godlings. While we turn Mike Mignola’s terrific translations of the Old Ones sideways on our kitchen table, you can wallow in an article almost exactly two years old today. How big can it be?

Risk Vs. Reward: Major Mythological Figures

Rian Fike
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Truth may be stranger than fiction, but that doesn’t stop the artist from trying. With modern creative technology blurring the distinction so drastically, who’s counting anyway? Hellboy, that’s who.

The Hellboy Essential Collection has brought an entirely new level of realistic interaction to a fictional mythos that was already a huge part of many people’s lives. This comic book character has a rabid following. His dedicated devotees constantly strive to make him as tangible as they possibly can. They create authentic B.P.R.D. identification badges and hand out Lobster Johnson calling cards that simply say “Fiction?” These people are real freaks, and I like it.

Hellboy has also been captured on powerful cardboard and is now ready to turn sideways on the kitchen table. As I wax poetic about the powers and interactions of our newest Vs. System playing pieces, we will also be treated to a symphony of sculpture from the community of die-hard Hellboy fans around the globe. There are some very serious artists who have a very serious crush on Mike Mignola’s baby. Their skills with clay take the myth and stretch it into taffy. Get ready for a visual treat. Your eyes will be exhausted when we are done.

I got the call from the local gaming store and tried to keep my heart from beating out of my chest. It was here. The first set of full-sized, pre-fabricated Vs. System Constructed decks had arrived in Miami. Gravity slowed me down a bit, but within a few blinks, my Mini Cooper was sitting in front of the shop and the treasure was gripped firmly in my hands.

I drove straight home to my wife. We ripped off the outer covering and shuffled up. As soon as Liz Sherman’s uncontrollable power hit the board, I knew the match was destined to become a classic. Nina’s Baba Yaga welcomed the squirming mass of Sadu-Hem to her side of the board, and we settled in for a turn 8 of epic proportions. It was a beautiful thing.

The 7-drop Liz isn’t the only thing that stokes the home fires to new temperature thresholds in our house. Each sixty-card deck contains two different, satisfying strategies. The characters, equipment, plot twists, and locations are fascinating in both theme and function. The Pancakes are especially delicious.

Constantly vigilant against the forces of metaphysical evil, the Bureau of Paranormal Research and Defense has all kinds of tricks up their collective sleeves. They can cover the ground with support troops in the form of U.S. Army Rangers. They have been blessed with some of the best equipment tricks in the game, starting with Sidney Leach’s human metal-detecting abilities. Thomas Manning makes sure all his boys get a big bonus when they are packing toys. Both Ben Daimio and Lobster Johnson get gigantic grins when they have a gray card attached. The Weapons Lab allows them double the pleasure and double the fun.

But wait! That’s not the only way that the B.P.R.D. can mash the monsters on the other side of the Vs. System equation. When the big red dude enters the picture, things change. Hellboy works best by himself and he doesn’t mind telling his friends to get lost. This team affiliation follows his lead for their second theme, giving major advantage to any character willing to fight alone. Sometimes they like to have a hidden force, as well. As long as you only show the face of one visible character, the B.P.R.D. becomes as formidable as any group the game has ever seen.

I have spoken of this before, and it is my favorite part of the Hellboy Essential Collection. Three of Mike Mignola’s myths are being developed more fully than ever before thanks to our beloved game. Karl Ruprecht Kroenen, Abe Sapien, and Liz Sherman are swelling with expanded power in their Vs. System incarnations. It fills my heart with joy and covers my kitchen table with some really hot fish.

I have a confession to make. Mulletman is not going to like it. The Thule Society has introduced a truly classic version name that now tops my list of all Vs. System cards ever printed. Hecate has been dubbed a “Major Mythological Figure.” That is even cooler than being a “Rebel Freedom Fighter” in my book. She is also even hotter than Abe Sapien (for a fish), and she was specifically designed to destroy his plans. Hecate has been around for nearly 3,000 years in the human imagination, and now she is pulling characters out of the hidden area left and right. Her power is not limited to opposing threats, either. She is strong stuff for an environment dependant on concealment. Getting the black-bordered cards into the visible area where you can gain advantage with them can often set the stage for some late-game Cthulhu-style madness, with the Sadu-Hem sucking the life right out of your horrified opponent and transmuting it into a boost of endurance for the win.

Grigori Rasputin and the gang have been given an alternate win condition in the form of Project Ragna Rok, but that party doesn’t float my boat. I am drawn to the Damn Nazis and their squirrel-like nature. Especially since the 1-cost Army lovers of the world can now unleash a Plague of Frogs for some massive weenie beats.

“Thoolish Mortals”

Characters

12 Damn Nazis

4 Hellboy, Little Boy

6 Huge, Annoying Tentacles

4 Karl Ruprecht Kroenen

4 Klaus Werner von Krupt

1 Hecate

1 Black Flame

Plot Twists

4 Plague of Frogs

4 Nasty Surprise

4 Flying Kick

4 Wake the Devil

4 Accept Your Destiny

4 Something is Coming

Locations

4 Cavendish Hall

That is my deck of choice for any tournaments or kitchen tables that will be using only the cards from the Hellboy Essential Collection. It is fairly simple in operation, underdropping a swarm of occult minions that receive major mythological pumps from a trio of plot twists and an evil project leader. Klaus Werner von Krupt often hands out +3 ATK to three different attackers in order to stun the opposing board and wipe it clean with Accept Your Destiny. Karl Ruprecht Kroenen has eighteen possible lucky revelations for topdecking, and they are cheap enough to recruit a few per turn. Hecate whips hidden threats out into the open with her tail so that Black Flame can start boosting like Bastion—if the match goes that far and demands a more curvy combination.

The tastiest trick that Thoolish Mortals can create begins when you realize that Something Is Coming immediately after you recruit Hellboy, Little Boy. When you flip Cavendish Hall, that baby gets really big. On turn 5 (with a Plague of Frogs or two), he can easily reach +20 ATK if all goes well. Sounds like my kind of fun.

Whether the Thoolish Mortals are good enough to win the upcoming City Championships remains to be seen. They will need to duke it out with Olympic Weenie Glory and get covered in War Paint first. Whichever one of my pet decks barks loudest during testing will be let off the chain to sink its teeth into the Miami metagame. Skating major mythological figure eights on the Vs. System battleground has never been sweeter, thanks to Hellboy and the Thule Society that he opposes.

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Filed under Comic Books, Save It Saturday, Vs. System, Weekend in Heaven