REVIEW: WizKids Games 2013 Convention Exclusive HeroClix
Marvel’s Shuma-Gorath And DC’s Trinity Of Sin...
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WizKids Games and HeroClix are no strangers to convention exclusives, with a history of impressive figures over the years ranging from the Sinestro Corps Anti-Monitor to Thor’s Mighty Chariot and Giant-Man sold at major events. Some have been show exclusives, while most are either that year’s convention exclusives (available at multiple events) or figures that become available later on through other means. Last year the colossal Giant-Man HeroClix figure, with his diminutive pack-in Ant-Man, was sold at summer shows starting with Comic-Con, and the demand was tremendous leading to a nearly immediate sold out status. This year, WizKids brought not one but two convention exclusives to SDCC, the Marvel colossal Shuma-Gorath and the DC Trinity of Sin team base! Ultra popular and highly coveted, both products sold out quickly, but will be available again at this month’s Gen Con in Indianapolis.
While right off the bat the exclusives represent two different comic book universes, they are also opposites in a lot of ways. Shuma-Gorath is a classic character from Marvel comics based on the writings of Robert E. Howard in the ‘60s. A mere reference in Howard’s short story, Shuma-Gorath became a full-fledged Cthulhu-like creature in Marvel Premiere. An immortal Lord of Chaos, Shuma has plagued Earth and humanity for thousands of years, most often coming into conflict with Doctor Strange and other mystical characters. The entity also features prominently in the popular Marvel vs. Capcom games. On the other hand is the Trinity of Sin, three characters ripped right from the current pages of DC Comics and the New 52. Three former humans judged guilty of heinous crimes by the world’s foremost practitioners of magic, they are Pandora (guilty of releasing the Seven Sins), the Phantom Stranger (believed to be Judas Escariot), and the Question (whose crimes were so terrible that his memories and identity were stricken from the world). Sentenced to immortality and various punishments, the three have appeared in various New 52 stories and feature prominently in the current “Trinity War” event.
Interestingly, the two items represented very different packaging philosophies. Shuma comes in the standard tall super booster small colossal/vehicle/team base box, the same size we’ve seen with Batman, Teen Titans, Giant-Man, upcoming Wolverine and the X-Men, etc. The front and back panels feature gruesome artwork of the malevolent creature focusing on its giant eye, while the sides provide a photo of the actual figure. Meanwhile, big, bold lettering lets you know what you’re getting in the “Exclusive... Shuma-Gorath Super Booster... [that] Features Articulated Eye!” Overall it’s a nice looking package, and traditional with respect to large game pieces. On the other hand, the Trinity of Sin comes packaged in a neat little window box that shows off the team base like an action figure. Around the front window is comic artwork of the characters, while the side panels feature digital renderings of the figures and the team base. The back panel has bios of the three, again highly reminiscent of something you’d see on an action figure package.
Throughout the history of HeroClix there have been quite a few colossal figures, and not all of them have been really visually impressive. Shuma-Gorath, however, is pretty cool. Essentially a giant mass of tentacles erupting from a central body with a huge eyeball, the creature feels right at home with Lovecraftian gods or their descendants and spiritual successors like Mignola’s Ogdru Jahad or Marvel’s Cancerverse. The Shuma HeroClix figure is 7 ¼ inches to the top of its highest-reaching tentacle, one of six radiating from its core. Like a starfish or other sea creature it has different textures on its dorsal and ventral sides; the top/front is leathery and spiderwebbed with veins while the under/backside is segmented and ridged for motion. The tentacles even twist realistically with creased flesh. Of course, you can’t even glance at Shuma-Gorath without meeting its eye, a one inch wide opening at the center of its core body. With yellow sclera and orange solar eclipse-like iris, the eye features red veins and even a painted light reflection. Best of all, WizKids included articulation via a control ball at the back (similar to what NECA pioneered with their Gremlins Gizmo). It’s amazing what a little bit of articulation/customization can do for a figure like this and Shuma-Gorath, already full of character with its unique look and colors, really comes alive with the inclusion of the eye!
In game terms, Shuma-Gorath is a 2x2 colossal figure with three starting point values so you can play it at 1000, 600, or 200 points. Each one comes with both Power Cosmic AND Mystics team abilities, a huge 10 range, and two Traits; “Emerge Through Your Greatest Champion” lets you choose an opposing figure and heal Shuma 1 click every turn it’s still on the board and “Dark God of the Cancerverse” gives it Flurry, Plasticity, and a reach of 5 squares for close combat attacks! The entity’s dial is every bit as scary as you’d expect with gigantic numbers and crazy powers. Movement starts at 16 and never dips below 9 while featuring Phasing/Teleport, Mind Control, or Hypersonic Speed on every click but two near the end.
Shuma makes devastating attacks with three front-loaded “13”s. Powers there alternate between Pulse Wave, Penetrating/Psychic Blast, and a special Incapacitate that can hit up to five characters. Defense sees the traditional damage reducers (Impervious, Invulnerability, Toughness) along with Regeneration, while the creature is made even more deadly with a smattering of Perplex and Probability Control throughout its dial. At any of its starting lines Shuma is a tough nut to crack and a colossal that’s fun to play.
Each figure in the Trinity of Sin looks great on its own, and then elevates to something awesome when put together. Pandora, the “woman in red” with a very unique look who’s been in the background of the New 52 since the beginning, has the most action-oriented pose of the three as she leans backward clutching at the golden skull and blasting away with one of her enchanted pistols. She wears her voluminous red cloak and long outfit that’s sculpted in motion around her and detailed with gray accents for buttons and laces. Pandora’s creepy skull artifact stares out from her clutch, a bright gold that stands out from a mostly dark paint job while the pistol ends in a cool translucent muzzle flash effect. The figure’s face has is very detailed with big eyes, a bit of hair hanging down over her forehead, and her signature red markings.
The Question is a fantastic figure, a traditional trenchcloaked detective striding through steam billowing up through a street vent (and not coincidentally forming a question mark in the air behind him). The figure has a ton of sculpted detail including the intricacies of his outfit: fluttering necktie, vest, buttons, cuffs, hems, creases, and more. The pose tells a story too and you can practically see the gusting wind that buffets the Question and causes him to tuck his face into his collar and pull down his hat. The snappily dressed mystery man is decked out in his traditional color scheme with dark pants, tie, and gloves and of course the blue trenchcoat and hat! Finally there’s the Phantom Stranger, another very cool and striking figure. This one is captured as he issues a cryptic warning to humanity, fading away in a cloud of smoke. The Stranger wears a tidy suit, gloves, and hat with his heavy cloak anchored over his shoulders; on his chest you can see his “thirty pieces of silver” necklace. There’s great alternation in the colors here. While the Phantom Stranger’s clothing is the darkest blue it literally fades to transparency at his feet and into the smoke, while his light skin tone face and pure white hair and eyes glimmer out from between his hat and cloak.
Team Bases are hot, hot, hot in HeroClix right now, from the epic Justice League team expected to see play in the world championship tournament to the upcoming Wolverine and the X-Men teams coming out later this month. The recently introduced mechanic allows you to play thematic groups together as one unit while also offering the flexibility to play the characters individually or even detached from the base during play. The Trinity of Sin team base for me evokes a nighttime clandestine meeting in a darkened warehouse. An oval setting mounted on a 2x2 HeroClix base, the scene is set on a flat, gray surface and ringed by a studded metallic frame. The three figures are mounted on SwitchClix bases, meaning they can be unplugged from their individual dials and attached to the team base, the two men on the outside and Pandora in the middle. The Question stands in an empty space, bringing his flowing steam with him, while on the other side Phantom Stranger plugs into a thicker smoke base to beef up his setting. Pandora, meanwhile, is mounted at the top of an uneven stack of wooden crates and packing materials that feature really well done and detailed sculpts. All together the trio looks fantastic, and is an excellent theatre in the round that offers elements to enjoy from any angle.
Played individually, the members of the Trinity of Sin are each a force to be reckoned with. Pandora and Question are both 100 points with the Mystics team ability. She comes packed with a lot of movement via Running Shot and Phasing/Teleport, and a special power gives her Stealth and the ability to be placed in any square with an opposing figure in line of fire! Meanwhile, Pandora’s alternating Penetrating/Psychic Blast and Energy Explosion are made even more deadly with the Sharpshooter ability. Question has no range but greater mobility with Improved Movement and the Indomitable symbol as well. He also has a dial packed with no fewer than 12 standard powers which feed into his trait; “Past Lives” lets you swap out the use of a currently showing power for any one that’s not showing each turn! Phantom Stranger is the veteran of the group at 200 points, adding the Quintessence team ability to Mystics and a long 8 range. Traited Phasing/Teleport and Shape Change keep him moving and hard to hit, while “Thirty Pieces of Silver” lets him increase one of his combat abilities at the expense of a friendly character! The true power of the Trinity is expressed through their special powers; each one can use one of the key support powers (Perplex for Pandora, Probability Control for Question, and Outwit for Phantom Stranger) not once but twice per turn and it costs their enemies to use the same power!
As deadly as they are apart, together as the Trinity of Sin these guys are nearly unstoppable. The team base can be played at 200, 300, or 400 points with all members attached, though like other smaller bases the Trinity can actually be fielded with only two members. The Trinity has Stranger’s Quintessence and Mystics team abilities (the latter doing two penetrating damage thanks to a trait), Pandora’s Sharpshooter ability, and Question’s Improved Movement: Ignores Hindering Terrain, plus an 8 range with three targets! Stats and powers are all top notch, and via the team base Asset Dial they gain access to Phasing/Teleport and Probability Control through Pandora, Outwit and Poison through Phantom Stranger, Combat Reflexes and Perplex through Question, and a special ability that lets you pick a standard power and punish opponents with unavoidable damage for using it. You can get the full scoop on the Trinity of Sin team base and each of its members on HeroClix.com.
If you weren’t able to get your hands on Shuma-Gorath ($50) or the Trinity of Sin ($25) at Comic-Con don’t despair! WizKids will be bringing both 2013 convention exclusives to Gen Con in a couple weeks, so make sure you’ll be there or have a friend in attendance. Both exclusives are amazing in their own ways, and offer two very different play experiences (not to mention comic book universes).
Review and Photos by Scott Rubin
Review Samples Courtesy of WizKids Games