It's been very Marvel-centric in the world of Heroclix lately, with three sets in a row focusing on supporting the big Infinity Gauntlet tournament structure in your local game shop. We had Hulk in December, we're on the verge of Galactic Guardians, and after that will be Chaos War. DC hasn't had a set since last fall's Superman. That's all going to change in June with the release of DC Heroclix: The Dark Knight Rises, a 30+ figure set focusing on the entire Christopher Nolan movie trilogy.
That means we'll be getting the Heath Ledger Joker, the Aaron Eckhart Two-Face, the Cillian Murphy Scarecrow and, as we see here in this first full preview for the set, the Christian Bale Batman. Even the Christian Bale Bruce Wayne.
In most cases, the Alter Ego mechanic is a little underwhelming. Yeah, it's a neat way to introduce civilian identities like Peter Parker and Clark Kent, but more often than not, you want to come to a Clix throwdown with your force already suited up for action. In this case, however, you might actually want to keep Bruce Wayne on the battlefield the whole time. Not only can he use Defend to give anyone he's hanging out with an 18 Defense value, but if anybody tries to use Outwit on Bruce or any adjacent buddies, you're likely gonna get a secret batarang to the face in retaliation – or, judging by the wording of the trait that grants him the power, a Lucius Fox to the face. That's in addition to having the Batman Team Ability (nicely re-logoed to look like the movie-verse Bat-insignia) to give him Stealth all the time. This is one of the best Alter Ego characters we've ever seen.
Then, if your opponent does commit to trying to smack down the billionaire playboy, once he gets down to the end of his dial, he can put on his growl voice and shift out of the game, swapping in one of two possible variations of the Caped Crusader. Let's take a look at those.
If you Alter Ego into The Dark Knight, you only get to use his last two clicks, which isn't really exciting, but those are two pretty solid clicks, featuring Indomitable, Blades/Claws/Fangs, Super Senses, Toughness and Outwit, and chances are you've already got enough use out of Bruce Wayne to justify the 60 points you've spent to put them on your team. However, if you drop this badass down on the map cape-first at 129 points, you've got one of the beefiest Batmen ever to come down the pike. Charge, Perplex and Invulnerability make him a close combat force to be reckoned with, but check out the Sonar Surveillance. Outwit that doesn't require line of fire. Being able to cancel an opponent's power without even looking at him is amazing. Then there's the Sharpshooter ability that allows him to make ranged attacks even when in base-to-base contact – meaning that if he goes head to head with a Martial Arts type sporting some Combat Reflexes, The Dark Knight can just ignore that and smack him around anyway. Because you're not going to out-fight The Dark Knight.
However, if you're mobility is what you're looking for, you might want to swap out for this guy with the wings.
Something that Nolan's Batman does that we don't see all that often in the comics is a lot of flying around Gotham City with his cape-glider action, and that's the kinda Bat we see reflected here, with a full dial of Flight and Charge, both un-Outwittable thanks to being a trait. Full dial Charge is extremely rare and makes The Batman worth his 140 point price tag. It also doesn't hurt that he's sporting Outwit, Indomitable, permanent Stealth and dual-target Incapacitate. While you can't use Charge with Leap/Climb, the latter certainly comes in handy if you charge in on a guy who's double-tokened and you want to get out of dodge before he has the chance to retaliate. Of course, you don't necessarily have to, because if he hits you, he could drop you onto your mid-dial Invulnerability, and he'll have to face your Close Combat Expert allowing you to dish out 4 damage on your next turn.
If you Alter Ego into The Batman at 60 points, you only get his last three clicks, and he'll definitely need to stick and move, as his 16 Defense with Toughness isn't going to hold up to much. With luck, you'll be able to dish out CCE damage, and then scramble away the next turn – and, if you so choose, you can take a click of pushing damage in spite of Indomitable and get to that Outwit, and let your broskis dish out the damage while you cancel Defense powers from a safe distance.
All in all, this looks pretty impressive, and should make DC fans salivate, and hopefully bring some movie fans into the game. This isn't all that DC has on the way, though. There's a Justice League set bringing us the first Heroclix figures based on the New 52 versions of their heroes – including the Justice League Dark, which will bring John Constantine to Clix for the fist time. There's also a DC Heroclix 10th Anniversary set in August that will give us classic and modern versions of iconic characters like Superman and Catwoman (and there's one of those coming for Marvel, too, which will finally give us the Worldbreaker version of the Hulk – and for as amazing as Heroclix has been lately, they really need to deliver for Hulk fans who have yet to get a Green Goliath that is really representative of his power level).
Then, there's yet another 50+ figure Batman set that will dominate the end of the year with a massive six-month tournament event based on No Man's Land, which will rival Marvel's current Infinity Gauntlet action – except the artifacts people will be scrambling to collect are the ingredients which make up Batman's utility belt. At first, you think 'what? Batman's belt vs. The Infinity Gauntlet? That doesn't seem comparable.' but then you realize that this is Batman. Given enough time to prepare, and enough stuff to stock his utility belt with, he can beat anybody. So it works – and that set will also mark the debut of the Batmobile and vehicle mechanics, too – not to mention the Stephanie Brown Batgirl, proving DC hasn't entirely forgotten about her. And then the Batman: Streets of Gotham companion set, available in countertop-display single-fig booster packs or three-figure team packs, will have over 40 figures and will bring us new Outsiders, Birds of Prey, and will mark the debut of WildC.A.T.S. figures into the game.
This is a great time to be a Heroclix player. There's more product than you could possibly shake any amount of sticks at, and we're only weeks away from finally getting our hands on a new Galactus, an honest-to-goodness Celestial, and even Mistress Death herself with the impending release of Galactic Guardians. Time to join the fun!