It’s been a busy old time in the Gdaycave, what with work and life and other such stuff, and the painting table’s been busy with a number of commissions and review models, but I’ve been able to enjoy slowly putting paint on various personal projects in between other models, not the least of which has been working through the remainder of the Marvel: Crisis Protocol starter box. Today we get a double whammy, with Captain America and Iron Man both being finished.
Captain America and Iron Man are both pivotal characters in the Marvel Universe, and both have played critical roles in storyline after storyline, crossover after crossover. Both have led the Avengers for significant stretches, and both have led their own teams over the decades, but perhaps never with the impact on the Marvel Universe as they did during the Civil War storyline.
The comic Civil War was a little different than what we saw in the movies. After an elementary school is blown up by the villain Nuke during a botched attempt to capture him by the New Warriors, more interested in getting ratings for their reality TV show than in safe apprehension of a bad guy who can literally detonate himself in a localized nuclear explosion (and reform himself later), public outcry demands that the New Warriors – and all superheroes – be held responsible for collateral damage caused by their conflicts. They demand all superheroes be registered and licensed, young superheroes be trained before being allowed to go save the day, and more.
Tony is the figurehead for the Superhero Registration Act, which he sees as trying to safeguard not only the public, but also future generations of superheroes. Steve sees the whole thing as an infringement of their rights, and believes heroes should be free to act without government oversight. This in large part mirrors the ideologies we see in the movies. Iron Man and the pro-SHRA side are in the limelight, and Captain America and his allies are driven underground. The whole thing ends when an sleeper assassin kills Steve Rogers, leading to the chain of events that results in Sam Wilson – The Falcon – taking up the shield as the new Captain America. Until Steve Rogers returns, of course, because it’s a bloody miracle when anyone actually stays dead in the comics.
Iron Man being one of my favorite comic characters, with a history of depth in his story that we didn’t see from many other headliners (check out the Demon In A Bottle storyline and try to find other titles dealing with issues like that in the late 70’s), so it’s a given that I’m very interested in his tabletop performance, but he doesn’t get a lot of love from the online community. Part of me wonders if it’s because he’s only geared at Threat 3. Personally I’d have set him at 4 or 5, but that’s just me.
Setting him at Threat 3 puts him on par for the likes of Crossbones, Groot, Shuri and Winter Soldier (along with a few other notables). He’s on the lower end health-wise when lined up with our four otgher examples, but he has the highest armor values of the lot. His Repulsor Blast best lines up against Shuri’s Panther Gauntlets as a basic attack, both attacks adding some board control with Push effects. She has longer range and rolls more dice, but the Panther Gauntlets also only do a max of 1 damage and yield 1 power, while the Repulsors yield full dice. bear in mind also that the Repulsor Blast is an energy attack, commonly a weaker defensive stat in many models. Homing Rockets are -cheap- at only 2 power, have a health range, don’t require LOS, and potentially damage multiple targets. What’s not to love?
In terms of special rules, Tony may seem a tad vanilla compared to other options, but Flight is handy, Invincible Iron Man makes him even more annoying to remove by acting as damage reduction – thus yielding less power to opponents as well – and Friday AIcan ramp up the output from either of his base attacks.
Even ignoring the UniBeam attack that powers up when you flip his card over – Beam 5 is a thing – Iron Man may seem a but unexciting, but his card just reads as reliable to me. His survivability for his Threat cost is very solid, and while he may not have an abundance of bells and whistles, he’s a source of more consistent damage than many other Threat 3 models.
I have something of a love/hate affair with Captain America in his comic history. His time as Nomad was weaker than his time as CapWolf. Still, the Star-Spangled Man-With-a-Plan has a lot going for him, including some of the best movies in the MCU. At Threat 4 he’s one of the heavier hitters in the starter box, and justifiably so. He can take a heck of a punch with solid Health and Defense stats, and having three basic attacks – two of them 0 cost – gives you some good options to play with.
Strike gives you a basic melee push effect, and Shield Throw lets you sling his mighty discus around corners and into multiple targets. Shield Slam adds a throw effect against smaller targets, but it’s tough to ignore A Day Like Any Other as the best reason bring Cap to the table. With the Avengers having a very healthy stable of great characters, reducing the cost on superpowers can help you truly dominate the field with the rest of Avengers roster.
Bodyguard lets you cash in on those good defensive stats by drawing fire away from squishier (or strategically positioned) models, and if you have the power to fire Vibranium Shield you can ramp up those defensive stated even further. Once Cap gets his second wind you can add I Can Do This All Day to the list of reasons your opponents will become annoyed with him, turning all blanks on defense rolls into successful blocks.
Captain America’s biggest weakness in Marvel Crisis Protocol is that he’s not a member of the Guardians of the Galaxy. Okay, granted, that’s not much of a weakness, but I love me some Guardians, so being able to field Cap with them would have been awesome. He won’t be on the Defenders roster either, another blow, but he’s an auto-include for Avengers lists with bloody good reason.
The last of the models from the starter box awaiting paint is good old Peter Parker, the Amazing Spider-Man. He’s now sitting patiently at the side of the painting desk, waiting for there to be moments where washes are drying and whatnot so that he can receive some painting love himself. I don’t know when we’ll be able to play Crisis Protocol again, but I’m damn certain I’m going to be able to play fully painted…
… and wash your hands. Wear your mask too – Spidey does!