REVIEW: WizKids Games DC HeroClix MAN OF STEEL
Relive The Big Action Scenes From Epic Superman Film...
To insure your action figure collection, get in touch with Collectibles Insurance, the official insurance company of the Figures.com network. Say "Figures.com" to get 5% off your first term premiums.
To buy action figures, take a look at BigBadToyStore.com, AlterEgoComics.com, PlasmaInfusion.com, Toynk.com, BriansToys.com, ToyWiz.com, and MonkeyDepot.com.
Chances are if you’re a reader of this site then you saw Man of Steel a couple weeks ago (and maybe even more than once). The blockbuster epic returned Clark Kent to the big screen in a huge way, making most forget about 2006’s Superman Returns. One of the biggest films of the year, Man of Steel featured big, bold characters and incredibly massive battle and destruction scenes that have stuck with viewers long after they’ve left the theater. Partners like Mattel, DC Collectibles, Kotobukiya, and others are providing fans with all sorts of action figures and statues from the film, but that’s not all. Thanks to WizKids Games and their Man of Steel HeroClix lineup, you can relive those famous scenes and play the movie’s unique characters alongside all of the other superheroes and villains in the massively popular collectible miniature game!
New to HeroClix? In a nutshell it’s a fast-paced miniature game featuring combat between characters from DC and Marvel comics and movies in addition to Lord of the Rings and Hobbit films, video games like Bioshock Infinite and Street Fighter, Star Trek ships, Iron Maiden “Eddie” album cover characters, and many more. Characters, ships, and vehicles from all of those varied licenses are shrunk down into figures about two inches tall that are mounted on “Clix” bases with a rotating dial of numbers for movement, attack, defense, and damage. Each figure has a point value that you use to build your team, so in a standard 300 point game you could play Superman by himself against a big swarm of Soldiers or Kryptonian Rebels. Powers and abilities add more dimensions to the game, letting your characters do all sorts of cool, thematic things.
Man of Steel HeroClix are available in an assortment of products. The standard release, and the most ubiquitous, is the Countertop Display (CTD), a gravity feed box of single-figure foil wrapped boosters. Available at both “hobby” stores (comic book, game stores, etc.) and Target with certain figures exclusive to each one. Perfect for new players and veterans alike is the Man of Steel Starter Set, a pack that includes six figures with new dials, rules, objects, and maps. The Mini-Game boxes two of the Starter’s figures with a heavy cardstock map and additional tokens. Finally, available only at participating hobby stores is a special “Marquee” figure of Superman with a totally different sculpt and dial!
The Countertop Set consists of a total of sixteen unique figures with varied rarities just like full booster sets. In each foil pack you have a chance of finding Superman, Kryptonian Scientist, General Zod (armored), Kryptonian Rebel, Jor-El, Kryptonian Warrior, Lois Lane, Soldier, Clark Kent, Nam-Ek, Jax-Ur, Lara Lor-Van, Colonel Hardy, Faora, Kelex, or another General Zod (fully powered) - those last four being exclusive to the Mass Market release. Each figure is representative of his or her movie appearance, even those characters who were in the background or unnamed during the action.
The figures’ poses are similarly inspired by their characters, with a bold Superman looking up toward the sun, the modern Jor-El fighting back for Krypton with his assault rifle, feisty Lois Lane crossing her arms, or the empowered General Zod flying through the air, exulting in his newfound abilities. Sculpting work is top notch, especially with the surprisingly good actor likenesses in such miniature and the detailed textures of the film’s costumes. Likewise the set features very good paint applications and appropriate details like the intricate Kryptonian Warrior’s uniform, the Soldier’s complex gear, Lara’s ornate dress, and the metallic accents on Nam-Ek, Jor-El, and others.
The sixteen figures in this set represent a pretty wide range of gameplay and point values, from the 31 point support figure Lara Lor-Van to the imposing 250 point General Zod! If you’ve seen the movie, you probably have a good idea how most of the figures play, and in general they’re pretty accurate to their depiction there. There are several fun generics for army building, mostly Kryptonians (Scientist, Rebel, Warrior) as well as the human Soldier. Jor-El is a stealthy, “cunning scientist” who can shut off opponents’ team abilities, Lara can be sacrificed to save a Superman figure from KO, and the Christopher Meloni-turned-Colonel Hardy is a key commander doling out Willpower to soldiers and even Superman!
On the front lines you’ll find figures like Faora (who blends both Superman Ally and Enemy team abilities with the latter printed on her dial and the former partly achieved through a trait letting her ignore Stealth), Nam-Ek the giant with his ability to bring in objects from outside the game, and even the robot Kelex with plenty of Super Strength and Blades/Claws/Fangs. The premiere figures are of course General Zod who comes in both finesse battlefield commander version and straight up beat stick version, and then there’s the subtle Clark Kent with situational Stealth and the ultimate ranged attacker version of Superman.
The Starter Set includes six figures sharing sculpts with the CTD in the form of Superman, Jor-El, Kryptonian Warrior, Nam-Ek, Faora, and General Zod. However, each of these has a totally new dial with different point totals and powers. Starter Superman is a more traditional Super Strength Kryptonian at the same 200 points, Jor-El beefs up to 100 points with a wide array of powers and a self-sacrificing Pulse Wave, Faora and Nam-Ek offer alternative lower costed dials, General Zod offers a nice mix of ranged and close combat prowess with strong leadership capabilities, etc.
The Starter pack also includes a new double-sided map: outdoor locales in both Smallville and Metropolis. Both are scenes of destruction on a scale right out of the movie with a smashed up street on the former and half of a massive crater (that can be joined with a second map to create a full one) on the latter. Notably, the Man of Steel Starter is also the first (and currently only) place to get WizKids-printed versions of the new 2013 Rulebook and Powers and Abilities Card.
If you’re looking for something a bit different, there’s also the Mini-Game, a relatively new type of product that includes two figures and a bunch of extra components. Here you’ll find the Superman and Zod from the Starter, along with a 16x6 “Main Street” map and bystander tokens of Kryptonian Rebels and human Soldiers! This set is perfect for opening up and jumping right into a one-on-one game. Finally, I have to talk about one more thing. The Man of Steel Marquee Figure (a boxed figure that only comic book and game stores can order, and then distribute as they please) is a pretty epic Superman, both in appearance and in the game. Capturing the hero as he floats down from the heavens, the Kryptonian hovers on a clear flight effect as he reaches out with both arms and his cape flutters behind him. The overall look imparts a lot of movement and grace, and he’s definitely a stand out in this set. He’s also a terror on the battlefield, clocking in at 350 points (and a secondary 200 point starting line) with great stats, killer powers, and an incredible trait granting him permanent Invulnerability!
If you liked Man of Steel or are a fan of DC HeroClix or Superman, you should definitely check out this HeroClix set. The figures are a lot of fun, and for the price you get high quality miniatures from the movie rather than disappointing action figures or expensive statues to commemorate your favorite characters. The figures are also very playable, and guys like Superman, Nam-Ek, Faora, and Zod are a lot of fun to wield in battle. You can still find Man of Steel single-figure packs in a lot of stores and Target (at least around me), though the Starter Sets may be a bit harder to come by since the figures and maps are solid and they’re the easiest way of getting the new rules. Meanwhile, the best part of HeroClix is playing at a friendly venue, and that’s probably the best way of getting your hands on the Superman Marquee Figure. Check your local stores and see if they have them as prizes or available for purchase.
Thanks for reading, and make sure to check back as we’ll be looking at more HeroClix very soon!
Review Samples Courtesy of WizKids Games
Review and Photos by Scott Rubin