Marvel Crisis Protocol is a little over a month away, and we residents of the Lost Hemisphere are keen to start shoving models around the tabletop, yelling “Thwip!” and “Bam!” and “Zzzat!” and other such things. We had a lot of fun at GenCon ogling the models from the first waves, and getting a demo. Yes, I played Red Skull. No, I have no regrets about dabbling in the dark side. Hail Hydra. Now, there’s a whole bunch of models being released, but as a comic dork since the 80’s (yes, I’m way old) I have favorites that I’d love to see make it into Crisis Protocol.
First up, a quick review of what’s already en route:
- Captain America
- Captain Marvel
- Spider-Man (Peter Parker)
- Black Widow
- Iron Man
- Red Skull
- Doctor Octopus
- Baron Zemo
Two character packs:
- Thor and Valkyrie
- Spider-Man (Miles Morales) and Ghost-Spider
- Black Panther and Kill-Monger
- Winter Soldier and Vision
- Hela and Loki
- Proxima Midnight and Corvus Glaive
- Okoye and Shuri
- Gamora and Nebula
- Rocket and Groot
Single character packs:
Of course, the existence of a pack with two members of the Black Order (Proxima Midnight and Corvus Glaive) implies a future set with Ebony Maw and Cull Obsidian, and from there Thanos himself. The Guardians of the Galaxy are missing Drax and Mantis, and since Crisis Protocol is sourced from the comics rather than the MCU movies, there’s also the chance of Agent Venom and other spacefaring Guardians. More of the Avengers rosters are a no-brainer for future releases, and it’s a fair bet we’ll get models like the Sinister Six, though whether we’ll see the Fantastic Four, X-Men, and the like remains to be seen.
None of this addresses the wishlist though. With a character stable as diverse and varied as Marvel’s, the options range far and wide, but let’s take a quick look at five characters I’d love to see make their way into miniatures form.
5. Super Skrull
The Super Skrull is a Fantastic Four villain with a long history in Marvel comics, predating the whole Secret Invasion thing (when there were a whole bunch of “Super Skrulls” and the original, Kl’rt, was seen as a disgrace to the Skrull Empire). The Skrulls are shapeshifters, as shown in the excellent Captain Marvel movie, and Kl’rt was – until Secret Invasion – the only Skrull known to have duplicated super powers. Given the abilities of all four members of the Fantastic Four, Kl’rt could stretch all over the place, turn invisible, had super-strength and could manifest rock-hard armor, and could set his entire body ablaze without harm, tacking on the Human Torch’s flight as well.
A character with an incredibly versatile range of abilities, the challenge would be how to properly represent his offensive and defensive capabilities without his needing an oversized character card, or having him simply be overpowered for the scope of the game. Then again, the game already has versatile powerhouses like Captain Marvel and Ultron, so perhaps power level isn’t as much of a concern.
4. Ghost Rider
Being the incredibly square dork that I am, being a fan of the bad-assness of the Spirit of Vengeance is as close as I ever got to being dark and moody. With several incarnations of the Ghost Rider in comics, from Johnny Blaze to Danny Ketch to Robbie Reyes, as well as a handful of other hosts for Zarathos, the options are varied, but putting Johnny Blaze on the table would be so damn cool.
He’d be a highly mobile character if he was given his bike, but even on foot his hellfire attacks would be amazing, be he packing the hellfire shotgun from the 90’s or just his trusty chain. Given that the game is already built around a mechanic that helps characters gain Power as they take damage, the Penance Stare could ramp it up to the next level.
If you haven’t read the Garth Ennis written “Trail of Tears”, I highly recommend it.
3. Dr Strange
The Master of the Mystic Arts is pretty much a given to turn up at some point. Aside from his long and storied history in the Marvel universe, his popularity in the MCU has his popularity at an all-time high in recent years, and we’ve already got magic in Crisis Protocol through Hela and Loki. Do I really need to expand on this one?
Okay, do you have any idea how hard it is to find Stilt-Man art? I may well be the only fan of the dear, departed Wilbur Day, a man born with an unfortunate name who got his hands on a suit of powered armor that gave him the ability to rise several stories through, yup, powered stilts. Sure, there’s been some others to adopt the name (even a Lady Stilt-Man) but Wilbur was a member of Daredevil’s rogues gallery since 1965 and, in the end, was killed after being shot in the crotch by LAW rocket by the Punisher at the opening stages of the Civil War comic event.
The sheer absurdity of Stilt-Man’s concept has always appealed to me, but the issue of Punisher War Journal that followed with his funeral and eulogy (and the revelation that he’d married the Circus of Crime’s Princess Python) sealed the deal as one of my favorite comics ever. To see his telescoping leg’d self in miniature form would be amazing, especially since you could essentially just drybrush the entire model silver. And if that pic is anything to go by, the man had buns of steel.
1. Beta Ray Bill
Anyone who knows me, knew this was coming. Beta Ray Bill is hands down my favorite comic character ever. I have a selection of sketches from artists at comic conventions. I have a number of action figures. I have each of the heroclix. I squee’d when I saw the Easter egg in Thor: Ragnarok. Granted, power set wise he’s basically replica of Thor (and in fact, in some video games has just been an alternate skin for the God of Thunder) , but the horse-faced Bill is more to me.
Walt Simonson looked at the characters Marvel was putting in their comics and was tired of square-jawed blondes and opted to introduce a character that was just as noble and heroic, but was an orange-hued alien with a face reminiscent of a horse skull. As much as I love Stilt-Man for his absurdity, I love Beta Ray Bill for the incongruity that is his very existence. I don’t know that I’ve ever read a Beta Ray Bill story arc I didn’t enjoy, right down to the limited series where he set out – all by himself – to free the universe from Galactus, devourer of worlds. Bill’s tales have always been a lesson in strength tempered by humility, even if it took our hero a few issues to learn that lesson.
In terms of translating him to Crisis Protocol, given that he’s largely Space Thor, Bill would give the designers an avenue to explore other aspects of the hammer-wielding-Asgardian concept that may have been stripped back from the Thor model for the sake of keeping the rules tight.
And strictly speaking, Bill was a member of Alpha Flight for one arc, so there’s potential for a team build there 😉
- The entire damn NEXTWAVE squad.
Monica Rambeau/Photon. Aaron Stack/Machine Man. Elsa Bloodstone. Tabitha Smith/Boom-Boom. The Captain (who can’t remember his real name). NEXTWAVE was an astounding series that was just plain -fun- as our erstwhile heroes took on the BEYOND corporation and their plans to unleash weapons of mass destruction on the populace, including Fin Fan Foom (FIN FANG FOOM!!!), all while being pursued by Dirk Anger and the agents of H.A.T.E. (the Highest Anti Terrorism Effort). I know the characters are largely D-list, but by now you should have figured out how much that appeals to me. The chance to field the squad would be freaking amazing.
- Ronan the Accuser
Ronan the Accuser is a much more complex character that most people realize. For the longest time he was depicted as nothing more than a bad guy, as were most of the Kree. With the power of judge, jury and executioner over the Kree empire, he came into conflict with Earth’s heroes time after time. Roll forward to the Annihilation series and Marvel’s writers started peeling back the layers as corrupt authorities in the Kree empire saw Ronan exiled as the Annihilation Wave destroyed planet after planet, and Ronan became one of the few fighting to defend the Kree as a people rather than their political or economic interests. Roll forward further as the Inhumans and the Kree are forced into an uneasy alliance, and Ronan is pressured into a political marriage to Crystal, sister to Queen Medusa, to seal the pact. Ronan had long been a close-minded, somewhat two-dimensional character, but once he was given a chance in the spotlight to be more than just an antagonist, the character blossomed.
And then the Guardians of the Galaxy movie painted him as a xenophobic religious fanatic. Don’t get me wrong, I love that movie, and I love Lee Pace’s portrayal of MCU Ronan, I just note that it’s a very different version from the comic incarnation. For a start, he wears a lot more green 😉
Marvel Crisis Protocol is set to hit the streets on November 15th, and there’s a whole swath of models on the way. The team from Atomic Mass are all set to unleash the nifty and to welcome us into a new tabletop gaming experience. While their release list is already impressive, they’re working on more shinies. Will I get my Bill? I honestly doubt it, but I can dream…