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Randy

Uncanny X-Men Art Gallery: Part 2

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Here's Part 1if you missed it. This article is bordering on being way too long. But I wanted to get this out there before UXM's official release this Wednesday. Next time I will be sure to give myself more than two weeks to review all of the upcoming character art. Lesson learned. On to the art gallery!
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<b style="mso-bidi-font-weight: normal;">Better Than The Average Cards:[/b]
Ant-Man: The original Ant-Man is Hank Pym. His successor was Scott Lang. The third Ant-Man was Eric O’Grady. This is clearly not Eric O’Grady as his costume was way different. But it’s hard to tell if the Ant-Man in this image is Pym or Lang. The costume is more in line with what Pym wore, but the helmet more closely resembles Lang’s. If I had to pick, I’d say this is Hank Pym. Which is my least favorite of the Ant-Men. I prefer Lang and O’Grady as characters, but they are not full-time Avengers, like every version of this card is. But, you could throw all of that out the window, because Venom from the AvX set uses an image based on Eddie Brock hosting the alien symbiote, but they obviously gave his three different versions the names of three different hosts (Eddie Brock, Mac Gargan, and Angelo Fortunato), despite that Venom looked differently with all three hosts. So Wizkids could say all three versions of Ant-Man are the three different alter egos. In short, I THINK this Ant-Man is Hank Pym, but there’s no clear sign, and even if there was, it wouldn’t mean anything. The art is good. I do like the look of this card, how the red costume and silver helmet stand out against the background. I’d rather see something in the background showing his size-changing capabilities, and I’d like to see something that signifies who is under the mask. (One of our Month 3 contest winners wrote about wanting the FF lineup for the Fantastic Four, Scott Lang's Ant-Man being one of them. I could not agree more.)


Bishop: For this card we get the classic 90s era Bishop that we all know from the animated series. I think that’s a good choice. Despite his other looks and styles over the years, this is easily the most recognizable. I really like the glowing energy in his fists, showing how he can absorb energy (bolts) and channel it back out through his hands (fists). This image is very thematic with the card’s abilities. My only complaint is the lack of background. Seriously, no background. The card looks good, but a simple background with machinery or buildings would make it more complete.


Cable: One of my favorite characters. This card looks good. I especially love the addition of his adopted daughter Hope on the card with him. For a few years (real time, not comic book time) Cable’s self-titled comic chronicled his adventures through time while protecting this orphaned girl. She was nameless for a while, but he eventually named her Hope. He raised her, on his own for the most part, to her late teens. She eventually became, arguably, THE central character of the Avengers vs X-Men event that the first set of Dice Masters is based off of. (I was surprised there was no Hope Summers character in the first set, given how important she was to that story.) You might be asking, “But if this set is coming after AvX, and Hope was in her late teens in that series, then how is she a little girl on Cable’s card in this series?” My answer: Time travel. It’s what Cable does. …Back to the art. I honestly don’t know what keeps this card from being great. I think it’s that everything has a “washed-out” look to it. It doesn’t seem to “pop” off the card like the others I have listed in the next group.


Iceman: Nice two-toned contrast. Nice use of his ice bridge weaving around trees in the background. This is a pretty classic look for Iceman, all “iced up”. I think there are better pictures of Iceman out there, but this one is aesthetically pleasing, and displays his powers nicely. Only reason it isn’t ranked higher, is because it doesn’t have to “wow” factor. It’s just a really nice looking card.


Iron Man: I don’t like Iron Man. I really don’t have time to explain everything here, but if you know anything about Marvel’s Civil War, that’s why. This card DID feature Iron Man’s most recent suit of armor… but by the time UXM is actually released, he will be wearing a new armor. I normally don’t like the close up on the face, but in this instance it’s ok. Everyone knows what Iron Man already looks like. This armor has a new color scheme, and that color scheme is clearly depicted on this card and his die. Iron Man has had so many different specialized armors, it’s a shame that we simply get a new color scheme this time around, instead of his outer space armor he wore with the Guardians of the Galaxy or even his Hulkbuster armor that is set to appear in the upcoming Avengers movie. My personal favorite is his Samurai Armor, that I’m pretty sure never appeared in the comic or cartoon or anything, but they made a SWEET action figure of it back in the day. I even gave my Iron Man Heroclix a custom Samurai Armor paint job. …I digress. This card looks good, but maybe I should have knocked it down a group.


Marvel Girl: A while back, the original five X-Men (Cyclops, Angel, Beast, Iceman, and Marvel Girl) were transported through time, and brought to present day. I know, I know… this just wreaks havoc with the time stream as shown in the X-Men event titled Battle for the Atom. This is obviously the original X-Men’s Marvel Girl. The costume, card abilities, and even stats on the die are much more in tune with a young Jean Grey before she is introduced to the Phoenix Force. My only complaint, like with most of the cards, is that I would like to see a full body image. Other than that, I like how this card looks.


Mister Sinister: Did I say I hate mugshots? I do… most of the time. Sinister is one character that can pull it off. I just wish they would have done one of two things here.
A.) Give him a bigger, more ‘sinister’ smile so we know he is hatching some truly evil scheme in his mind.
B.) Give us a full torso shot so we can see that absolutely sick cape he has. Seriously, the greatest cape in comics. D.C. characters Hawk and Azreal have similar capes, but Sinister’s will always be the golden standard.
The card looks good, but I think they could have made it great with either of my suggestions.


Mystique: Much better than her AvX card. I think having Sabertooth looking over her shoulder helps show how dangerous she can be. I think it really says something about Mystique when you have these big, tough, mean brutes who respect the heck out of her and willingly align themselves with her. My only suggestion is having MORE members of the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants surround her. Sabertooth, Blob, Avalanche, and Juggernaut all standing shoulder to should behind Mystique. These cards are tough, because they aren’t the best… but there’s not anything glaringly wrong with them. So I can make suggestions of how I would improve them, but they look darn good as they are.


Storm: Hey, Storm’s rocking the mohawk. Is that from her early days as a member of the X-Men? Nope, that’s her current look. She is sporting the mohawk once again. The only thing I dislike about her costume is that I think Storm needs a cape of some sort, or at least a long flowy jacket. That has nothing to do with this card though. I like this card. I only wish, since this is a new costume that some fans might not be familiar with, we had a more full view. But knowing that she is in the middle of some sort of confrontation makes the limited view we have good enough. Storm is my daughter’s favorite member of the X-Men, and she always points out in her AvX version that “Storm isn’t wearing her white costume” from the 90’s animated series. So, for my daughter’s sake, I hope they come out with another Storm eventually that has the classic 90’s white outfit.


Kitty Pride: This is a very cool looking card that both displays her costume and powers very clearly. Much Like Iceman and Cable, I really can’t find a single negative thing to say about this card, but it just doesn’t “wow” me. I know Kitty has a very devout fan following, but I’ve always been just “meh” towards her.


Magneto: This looks great. This card is probably the first card I cut from the next group up. There are two things I love about this one. The first is his face. My two favorite renditions of Magneto are either him without his helmet, or him with his helmet shrouding his face in shadows. (It’s very Boba Fett or Vile looking.) This one has his face hidden by shadows. The second thing I love about this card is the color scheme with his dice. His costume is faded in this image, and not as bright red and purple as what we traditionally have seen from Magneto. The colors on his die match the colors used in this image perfectly. It’s as if they found this image and said “Use THESE colors for the dice.” Instead of just going with a standard Magneto color scheme. This is another card I’m really looking forward to based alone on his ability where he goes to the prep area whenever he leaves play. You know what…. This card is getting moved up to the next level. That’s right, a promotion on the fly.


Scarlet Witch: Another solid card with an empty background. I really like the standard “Scarlet Witch energy” (her hand enclosed in a circle) charging in both of her hands. I like Scarlet Witch as a crazed villain (see Avengers: Disassembled) more than a hero. Her powers are really interesting though. She controls probability. I remember in the X-Men Legends II video game, Scarlet Witch had a power that if she hit an enemy she could randomly turn that enemy in to money or energy capsules or something. So there’s a chance that the enemy could spontaneously turn in to money or energy, but her powers just greatly increases that probability, to 100% or so. I find that funny.


Pyro: This image holds a very special place in my heart. It is from the cover of X-Force #21, drawn by Clayton Crain. Crain’s artwork, specifically Venom and Carnage #1, is what got me in to buying monthly comics on a regular basis as an adult. I even met Crain at a comic convention and commissioned him to do a sketch for me that is currently hanging in my living room for all to see. He’s a really nice guy, and his art is like nothing I’ve ever seen in comics. This image of Pyro is not his best work, but it still looks really good. I don’t like the random black streak (which is Archangel's wing)coming in from the left side of the card. Maybe it’s just that I see this card as “Clayton Crain’s artwork” and not as “a picture of Pyro” that has this ranked so high.


<b style="mso-bidi-font-weight: normal;">The Crème De La Cards:[/b]
Magneto: You already read why I love his card so much, but I felt I needed to officially move him down to this group. So now he’s officially in the top level.


Cyclops: Heck. Yes. I love the current characterization of Cyclops in the Uncanny X-Men comic series. So getting his modern costume in this game is great. Cyclops has always been a more serious character, but you can tell by the look on his face that he is not playing around. And for all the people who are not familiar with this new costume, I think there is enough detail for you to really understand that this isn’t just a new costume. This is a new attitude for Cyclops. This image is from the cover of Cable and X-Force #7, where Cable and Cyclops come face-to-face for the first time after events that have labeled both of them terrorists by the Avengers. For those who don’t know, Cyclops is Cable’s father. When Cable was a baby, he was infected with a virus that there was no cure for. So he was whisked away to the future where the disease could be treated. I love the amount of respect they have for each other, as father and son… as men, despite never actively going through the trials and tribulations of a father/son relationship. …anyways, this is a focused, determined, more militant Cyclops, and I think the art on this card conveys that change in the character.


Professor X: The card looks good. It’s easy to recognize Charles Xavier. But what really seals the deal here, is how great it matches up with the global ability found on his common and rare versions. In the image we see Xavier either searching for or trying to communicate with his young X-Men. The ability on the versions I mentioned bring sidekick characters to the prep area for next turn, as if he is telepathically sending instructions to his X-Men. The image and ability just go hand-in-hand perfectly. This close up is perfect, because it’s not that his face is the central point of interest, it’s his mind.


Sentinel: Emotionless killing machines. They strike fear in the hearts of mutants everywhere. So, the idea of them hunting at nighttime is even more terrifying. Also, the view being angled slightly upward is great, to give the impression of the viewer looking up at them from the ground. Normally I would criticize the card being too dark, but it works in this case.


She-Hulk: This is a very simple pose, with just enough detail. She-Hulk is one of those characters that doesn’t really have a classic costume. She’s had a couple different costumes while filling in as a substitute member of the Fantastic Four, but while on her own or with the Avengers, usually she wears some kind of purple sleeveless, leotard. You might not be familiar with that exact outfit, but there’s no denying who that is. And I like that the image shows her delivering a strong, impactful, slam to the ground. Also, the light background contrasts well with her, and really makes her stand out.


Spider-Man: I know this one seems like nothing special, but that’s what’s so great about it. It’s a classic Spidey pose, wearing the classic Spidey costume, with the bright New York sky behind him. I think this is much improved from the image we got in AvX.


Wolverine: The best Wolverine card to date. I love the detail on the rubble he is breaking through. You can see his signature three claw swipes on the broken pieces as he crashes through. I have always preferred the brown and orange Wolverine costume over the traditional blue and yellow. Probably because I had a Wolverine poster when I was younger of him in the brown and orange costume. Also, the art on the damn box shows him in his brown and orange. I know it was brought up in a comment in Part 1 of this article, but why on earth would they use promo art that is so different than the actual art that is used in the game? Mind boggling. Hopefully this is the last blue and yellow Wolverine we get for a while. I’d rather have brown and orange, black and gray, or even just a civilian outfit wearing jeans and a tank top.


And saving the best for last…


Angel: Here it is… my personal “Best in Show”. I’ve always liked the character of Angel. Especially after he became Apocalypse’s horseman of Death, known as Archangel. The idea of a hero living with this corruption inside of him, still trying to be a hero… cool stuff. But this image is from a 5-part miniseries released back in 2008 that explored Angel’s early life as he discovered his mutant abilities. The art, as you can see, is not traditional. It has a fluidity to it that is rare in comics. I think the artist’s style was selected to match Angel’s grace and agility while flying. The miniseries, titled Angel: Revelations, is phenomenal. A really good read as young Warren Worthington III struggled with the idea of being a cursed being people were calling “mutants” while trying to find answers to why God would do this to him through his Catholic faith. I commend Wizkids on this card, because it isn’t traditional comic book art. It would be much easier to choose an image of Angel that is just like every other card. But this one stands out, in the best way. The artistic style matches the character, with a great story behind it. This is the card I will measure all cards against going forward.


So, there you have it. We’ve looked over every character card for the upcoming Uncanny X-Men set to be released later this week. What did you think of the Art Gallery? Is this a concept we should keep going forward with future sets? Did you disagree with my thoughts on your favorite cards? Do you think the Angel card is just plain ugly? These are questions I cannot answer. So, sound off in the comments below. As always,roll on.

(Special thanks toDice Anonfor some of the images used in this series.)
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  1. Mathew Tucker imported's Avatar
    Randy,
    Gosh man, reading this post just makes me want to rip open my boxes of comics and find all these. I think I'll start with Battle for the Atom! Don't want to read Civil War again because it pissed me off then, and will do the same now, I'm certain. Never read Angel:Revelations, that's going on the list now. Sadly, I haven't read Venom and Carnage either. But i own the whole series. Lol. Oh the joys of being a comic parent. Buy, buy, buy, but no time to read without watching a child rip the page in half &quot;accidentally.&quot;
    Thanks for the entertainment, and the shout-out!