Chris Mortika's page

RPG Superstar 2010 Top 16. Goblin Squad Member. Organized Play Member. 9,829 posts (12,647 including aliases). 18 reviews. No lists. 1 wishlist. 10 Organized Play characters. 12 aliases.


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The Exchange RPG Superstar 2010 Top 16

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(I'm afraid my protests have simply made them boulder.)

The Exchange RPG Superstar 2010 Top 16

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(the new strip cannot come fast enough)

The Exchange RPG Superstar 2010 Top 16

About two years ago, I took a break from Pathfinder Society to focus on those elements of home campaigns I missed the most. My players wanted a system that was intuitive to learn and didn't have Pathfinder's opportunities for system mastery. And I wanted to build my own campaign world.

I'm just about to start the campaign, in a system about 75% Fantasy Flight's Genesys game engine and 25% Green Ronin's AGE system.

The Exchange RPG Superstar 2010 Top 16

Works on horses, wild animals, and normally uncommunicative monsters like rust monsters too.

The Exchange RPG Superstar 2010 Top 16

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How is this a PFS question, you ask?

Well, in a home campaign, if someone is using a rule, or a feat, or a spell, from the wrong edition of a game, you stop the game, back up, fix the problem, and move on. You're all friends, and everything's good to go.

In PFS, you can be halfway through the second combat before someone realizes that their whole schtick is based on a game element not appearing in this edition. (The same thing keeps happening in a Core Campaign game, right?) (And yeah, I had people accidentally playing with the Pathfinder beta rules during Season 1.) I haven't had that many players confuse Pathfinder with D&D versions of the rules, but I'm sure it happens, too. You'd think that it's only low-level characters, but I have sad news to report.

Compared to a home session, getting game systems mixed up is a much more serious problem in PFS, because (1) we're under tight time constraints and (2) there isn't the same level of trust and friendship built up at a convention game. Everybody at the table wants everybody else to have a fun experience, but we also want the games to be legal.

We don't have time to audit a character in the middle of a game. My inclination is to immediately swap in the closest tier-legal iconic I can and promise that (a) their PC will still get all the gold and experience, and (b) we'll check things over carefully after the game.

The Exchange RPG Superstar 2010 Top 16

Which scenarios are currently restricted to 4- and 5-star GMs?

The Exchange RPG Superstar 2010 Top 16

For the record, I hate Kang. As a villain, as a motivator of characters, as .. just about anything.

He's a megalo-maniac who *could* if he were willing to invest some consideration and effort, win any battle he chooses. So he has to bounce the Idiot Ball into his face over and over, and if even that's not enough, the nature of space-and-time have to bow outwards so that he can be defeated again.

We just had a massive storyline with time travel that didn't follow its own internal logic. And if we have Kang in the batting box, I'll guarantee there'll be another.

Right now, there's no canonical team. It would probably be led by the Black Panther, but maybe not. Spider-man would probably be a member, but who knows? I'd like to see Morgaine Le Fay as the villain, with ancient magic, intrigue, and an end-of-the-day save by the Scarlet Witch.

The Exchange RPG Superstar 2010 Top 16

Thomas Seitz wrote:
What does sound fun? Stretchy powers.

And that's one of the reasons that Mr. Fantastic endears himself to me. Even back in 1962, the heroes with stretchy powers were all pretty goofy: Elongated Man was Flash's sidekick and Plastic Man was, well, Plas.

So, Stan Lee creates his first super team, and he gives the dopiest power to the least dopey guy on the team. And everybody plays it straight. Yep. Mr. Fantastic. Stretches. Sure.

The Exchange RPG Superstar 2010 Top 16

Well, we finally find out what's supposed to be going on in Doomsday Clock. In an issue-long exposition, we find out that Doctor Manhattan has been pulling Superman's strings to see how that alters the DC universe. (Answer: hyper-time is back.)

The Exchange RPG Superstar 2010 Top 16

Throughout the last two movies, I was wondering, what happened to Adam Warlock?

The Exchange RPG Superstar 2010 Top 16

There's no reason they couldn't bring vision back.

Thanos did so, with the Time Stone. After the dust settles, the good guys have the Time Stone, the Sorcerer Supreme, and, if he needed help, the Scarlet Witch.

The Exchange RPG Superstar 2010 Top 16

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Marik Whiterose wrote:
Observation: It's been five years since the Snap, what is Ned still doing in high school?

Presumably, he got snapped, too.

Pity the passengers of the plane that crashed, having lost their pilots. Pity, too, those lost souls brought back, both pilots and passengers, five years after their plane left that airspace.


Upon reflection, Bruce used the gauntlet to bring people back, to save lives. Tony used the gauntlet unnecessarily. He could have flown off with it, turned Thanos into a big pile of cubes, and sent the entire army into a decaying orbit 25,000 miles from the sun.

He died because he was expeditious, rather than cautious.

The Exchange RPG Superstar 2010 Top 16

All of which is to say that, in the universe that began the movie, with cranky Tony and head-lopping Thor, everybody stays dead. Natasha dies so that an alternate universe can branch out. Moreover, *every* Avenger who went into the Quantum Realm just vanished from the original trunk-line and never returned. (They came back to a different branch.)


Well, that's almost the most depressing thing I've heard today.

The most depressing thing is that, if the Ancient One is correct, then both the original time-line (in which Thanos destroyed the Infinity Stones) and the "time heist" timeline (in which the Avengers took the Infinity Stones) no longer have the stones' guidance corrections, and will both spiral out into chaos and woe.

The Exchange RPG Superstar 2010 Top 16

Not that I want to persuade anyone, but I don't think Steve landed back in time just for Peggy.

I think he went back for his world. Yes, he's been in the 21st Century for ten years or so. But he's been a man-out-of-his-element for the entire time. Sometimes he asserts himself in the world, and sometimes he just watches the wonder of it, but he's rarely comfortable in it.

He outlines this in one of his last conversations with Natasha. He's not the kind of person to just move on. Not with Thanos' mass murder, and not with his original skip into Times Square.

The Exchange RPG Superstar 2010 Top 16

Hama wrote:

They explained that in the movie, ** spoiler omitted **

So they said, Hama, but that simply can't be true.


in the new reality, Thanos senses a disturbance with Nebula and goes to investigate. He finds an older Nebula, sends his daughter to the future, and then follows behind with all his forces.

They are never heard from again.

Can someone walk me through

why Stark had to die at the end.

Once he uses the gaultlet, he's dying but conscious. Bad news for anyone not bearing the Reality stone. But he is. It can turn Drax into a bunch of boxes; it can heal his wounds.

Or the Mind stone could have created a duplicate of his memory and personality to share space in Pepper's head.

Or the Soul Stone could have ... Or the Time Stone ... Or Mantis or Scarlet Witch ...

(If you say he was too weak to affect such things, there's a whole host of people standing around him, who could have taken one of the stones and done the same thing.

The Exchange RPG Superstar 2010 Top 16

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I blame it all on the Year of the Shadow Lodge interactive adventure.

In that adventure, the villain uses the Cage of Soul-echoes, stored on the grounds of the Society headquarters, to duplicate himself a hundred-fold, with some duplicates more powerful than others. (This way, each table of characters gets to fight him.)

The machine doesn't last out the adventure, but who's to say that it hasn't had permanent repercussions?

This is my explanation when someone is playing an iconic. Seoni was one of the Pathfinder agents too close to the machine, and she's been duplicated hundreds of times, at 1st, 4th, and 7th level.

And it's been my explanation for the gamist elements of item purchase. "Remember the Cage of Soul-echoes? That explosion was right below the commissary."

The Exchange RPG Superstar 2010 Top 16

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Phillip Gastone wrote:
There is also he MAD magazine parody SHAZOOM! (Dollar sign on chest)


Ox, strength of!
Ox, strength of another!

The Exchange RPG Superstar 2010 Top 16

What's your opinion of the work in Detective #1000? Like Action #1000, it was a lot of, well, filler. For folks who haven't read a Batman story in a while.

I thought the "old Penguin" story was my favorite.

The Exchange RPG Superstar 2010 Top 16

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Am I alone in suspecting that Goose is influencing Fury's attitudes towards it?

It seems grossly out-of-character from a dyed-in-the-wool SHIELD professional to get all caught up with a cuddly cat during a life-or-death mission in enemy territory, or to keep the flerken in his office, uncaged, after he knows how dangerous it is and how it contains the glowing cube thing.

The Exchange RPG Superstar 2010 Top 16

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Albatoonoe wrote:
Besides the iconography of the Pathfinder goblin, it also firmly sets in people minds that "Evil races aren't always evil" which is a convention that Paizo has been trying to get away from the whole time.

With respect, Albatoone, which "whole time"?

The idea of "evil races aren't always evil" filled D&D 3rd Edition, from Eberron, where evil gods weren't always evil, and alignment was kept in the background, to products like "Ghostwalk" and "Savage Species" that allowed players to run all sorts of wicked monsters as party members.

Paizo reset the bar on evil races. Undead in Golarion were always evil. Drow were always evil. Chromatic dragons, hill giants, and, yes, goblins. Evil. Perverse. Nasty. "We be goblins; you be dead."

There are plenty of campaign worlds out there with shades of moral gray, where paladins can get away with breaking their vows and vampires are sometimes good guys. Where morally pure characters have to think twice when ogres and a manticore raid their supply train -- maybe the monsters are just defending their own territory, and isn't the term "monster" a little prejudicial, to be honest?

I appreciated that Golarion was a little simpler.

The Exchange RPG Superstar 2010 Top 16

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I've run the first level of Thornkeep over a dozen times, and I think it's a blast. I've also watched it run in Pathfinder Society by other GMs, and their decisions can make or break the adventure.

My suggestions:

(1) Use the town. It has resources in it that the party can use, and hints about the puzzles, and back-story that helps the players put the dungeon in context. I understand that PFS GMs can't use the encounters in the town, but a lot of GMs start their players at the mouth of Level 1, Room 1, with maybe a sentence about the town on the surface.

Thornkeep is in many ways Paizo's contribution to the tradition begun with the village of Hommlet and Shadowdale.

(2) Take your time. I've seen people power-run the dungeon - because if you can get five levels done in one day, your 2nd-level PC levels all the way up to 7th! I've seen people try to get through Level 1 in 3 -4 hours. That's doable, I guess, like power-walking through a museum, but I think it deprives the dungeon of its power, its mystery, and much of its enjoyment. There's a door. It's a mystery and a puzzle. Relative to, say, the World of Greyhawk, Golarion doesn't have many of those. Relish it.

(3) Yep, there's a couple of very powerful encounters there. For the wight, remember that it starts the encounter lying down, and needs to take an action to stand up before it advances. The party should always have an opportunity to act. But the PCs have also just encountered some skeletons and met some big-ol' warnings about undead, so they should be prepared.

The shadow is another really tough fight, particularly if the party encounters it in flight from the wight.

The bugs are a strong fight, but a party that meets them fresh and has good tactics should be okay; I'm pretty generous here about the things being territorial and not pursuing if the party retreats.

The Exchange RPG Superstar 2010 Top 16

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Maybe I've told you how I started collecting Marvel comics.

In 1974, I was 12, and I'd been reading Harvey comics (Caspar, Richie Rich, etc.) and then Archie comics for years, but I'd considered superhero comics to be a bit too adult for my tastes.

That Halowe'en, my brother and sister and I were trick-or-treating through our subdivision, and I found out that the man who lived two streets down from us, in the house on the corner with the big driveway, had the job of filling the comic book vending machines at the supermarkets. And so, that year, I got Sr. Strange #6 (Englehart and Colon, the beginning of a four-part story about Dormammu and Umar) and my brother John got Master of Kung-fu #25 (Moench and Gulacy). And John was not all that interested, so I stole it from him in due course.

Last year, I saw the Marvel "Epic Collection" reprint telephone book of Master of Kung-fu, and picked up the copy. It included all the stories that featured that character, Shang Chi, son of the "devil-doctor" Fu Manchu, that Marvel published between late 1972 and 1975.

Well, let's just say that, in hind-sight, John was very lucky.

Overall, the writing for the series was painful to read, clunky even by the standards of the time. As might go without saying, by 21st-Century standards, every issue was impossibly racist. The arrangement Marvel had with the Sax Rohmer estate let them publish books featuring Fu Manchu, but not actually impact the character, so the plots were all: Shang Chi or his father attack each other, and both of them survive the encounter. Rinse, repeat. The comic used the conceit that all the narration was Shang Chi's thoughts, but they were pedestrian rather than philosophical. "The shaft curves below me, becoming a chute. Light intrudes upon the shadows and I burst out thru another grating, rolling as I have learned to absorb the impact of my fall."

The art was blocky. Most of the artists working on the series -- Gil Kane, Al Milgrom, John Buscema -- didn't have any feel for what kung-fu was supposed to look like, and the page layouts were graceless and busy. The ink work was slipshod. Nobody knew how to draw Asian feautures. This was definitely a B-side book and was getting B-side talent.

But Issue #25 stands out. The story is a stand-alone one-shot: the insidious Fu Manchu doesn't appear at all; the villain has used his helicopter to escape the jungles of South America, leaving Shang Chi and his allies to wait for their own transportation. While they do so, Shang Chi hears the cry of a human child in the jungle, and slips away to rescue it from a jaguar and then from a tribe of superstitious Jivaro natives. The narrative voice is suddenly somber and contemplative, appropriate the the character and the story. The choices of what to show us, and what not to show us, are artistic and confident. (For example, one of Shang Chi's father's assassins has a role to play. They fight near the end of the story, and Moench just zooms out from the assassin drawing a blade to the precipice where the fight takes place, with the assassin falling to his death a panel later.)

And the art is amazing. Paul Gulacy had been on a few other issues, but the artists putting the finishing touches over his work had been ham-fisted and blocky. Here, in the jungle, the art opens up. There are a couple of fight scenes: martial arts against claws and fangs, or against waves of hunters and warriors, that are just amazing. The panel lay-outs, the positions of bodies filling space: they give us the impression of Shang Chi always being a man at peace within himself, exerting his will, his spirit, on those around him.

And that's the second Marvel comic I read.

The Exchange RPG Superstar 2010 Top 16

I think it would be reasonable to allow a character to shift his Renown during don time to the city in which the mission briefing takes place.

If you meet in Absalom and get whisked off to Kaer Maga, no. But if the mission briefing begins with you assembling in the apartments of a Riddleport agent, why not?

The Exchange RPG Superstar 2010 Top 16

<quote>Fantastic Four is uneven if only because it seems like Doom didn't EXACTLY plan for everything...but some how lucked his way into it.</quote>

That seems consistent with most iterations of the good doctor: happy to take credit for good luck, while promising great things when bad luck hits. I am growing more interested in his brain-washed minion, and I'm interested to see how this storyline meshes with "Doctor Strange, newest Herald of Galactus."

The Exchange RPG Superstar 2010 Top 16

I don't believe there's a one-day minimum. I've used this boon to swap out elements of a character during an adventure. (But not, like, during combat.)

The Exchange RPG Superstar 2010 Top 16

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An easy-to-remember pass phrase, to be sure.

The Exchange RPG Superstar 2010 Top 16

I just finished the first issue of Naomi. This looks to be an amazing story.

The Exchange RPG Superstar 2010 Top 16

Since 1987, if we want to be honest. Since her origin was wiped out in the original Crisis on Infinite Earths.

The Exchange RPG Superstar 2010 Top 16

Who is her mother, then, if not Hippolyta?

If she's still Hippolyta's daughter, then is Wonder Woman the result of rape on Paradise Island?

I guess that ret-cons come and get replaced like waves on a beach, but I really liked George Perez's idea of PAradise Island being a place where women were safe.

The Exchange RPG Superstar 2010 Top 16

Wonder Woman is now Zeus' daughter

Blink, blink.

What? I stopped reading WW a year and some ago, but, what?

I liked the "made of clay, infused with life by the gods" narrative.

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Am I the only person surprised that Alicia Masters

has a magic-clay puppet of her father, or that she was both able and willing to manipulate him in his hermetically-sealed cell?

(Incidentally: "pulverizer"? We haven't yet met that character.)

The Exchange RPG Superstar 2010 Top 16

(nods) Tonight's episode was like something we haven't seen in a very long time, a mostly historical adventure, akin to Marco Polo.

I like the way this series is shaping up.

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I admit, I check Chronicle sheets when I GM at conventions. You don't have your character up to date? There's the pre-gens on that table by the door. Grab one and come on back.

The Exchange RPG Superstar 2010 Top 16

There is at least one unused Goblin boon available at Skal Con this year. Perhaps two.

The Exchange RPG Superstar 2010 Top 16

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(raises hand) It is an amazingly bad idea, that the GM signing a Chronicle Sheet would not be the GM who ran the adventure (and filled out the tracking information on

Simple, hypothetical:

On March 31st, Player Paul plays an adventure and his Character Charlene the Cavalier earns her 5th Chronicle Sheet. Let's say that Paul leaves without completing the sheet, and without a GM signature.

Let's say that GM forgets to record the information about that session in a timely manner. Paul has no record of that GM's number or name.

On April 2nd, Paul GMs scenario 10-20 and earns a Chronicle Sheet. If he assigns the sheet to Charlene, does he need to complete the inter-game purchases, finish the 5th Chronicle Sheet and fill it out before he adds the 6th Chronicle Sheet? Or can he have several incomplete sheets, that the next GM would complete and sign?

When Victor the Venture Officer audits Charlene's sheet, is there going to be any way to tell that Paul can still play 10-20 for credit?

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Wait ... what?

So, I've been following Marvel Two-in-One regularly. I haven't been the world's biggest fan of the "Ben and Johnny losing their powers" bit, but the "Ben and Johnny and Victor go dimension-hopping" has been interesting. And, when we left our intrepid adventurers, they were on a backwater dimension, virtually powerless, with their dimension-hopper and Doom both gone missing. And they had assumed new identities, hiding from the fascist Spider-man running the world.

Well-written characterization. Definitely a cliff-hanger. How are they gonna get out of this?


They aren't. This week's Fantastic Four #1 pulls up, and Ben and Johnny are back home, in full command of their powers. Reed and Sue are still missing, for the time being, which is sad, but things are much less dire. Doom's back, too, with a freshly-destroyed face and innate powers.

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When the decision was made to require a player's actual character to foot some of the cost of raising a pre-gen, I had a set of questions, and I could never find the answer. Now that the dust has settled:

1) Can the actual character also use its resources to pay for body recovery, or to have other conditions (like blindness or disease) resolved? Can the character pay for these during the adventure, or only afterwards? (It seems weird that I can't pay to have the pre-gen healed, but I have to pay to have the character Raised after he's been killed.)

2) Do other conditions even need to be cured / resolved? Does the pre-gen's body need to be recovered?

3) How is this handled on Chronicle sheets if the player's character isn't at the table? For example, at the end of Chronicle Sheet 5, my 2nd-level character has 700 gp and a point of prestige. The amounts have been totaled and signed by the GM.

Presumably, this expense is paid for before my character gets her next Chronicle sheet. If she was playing a 4th-level pre-gen, she'll lose most of her money and her prestige. Where is this recorded? On the Chronicle that comes with the pre-gen?

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How do you play a blind character, who doesn't have to have that condition removed at the end of a scenario?

The Exchange RPG Superstar 2010 Top 16

Thomas Seitz wrote:

It's not clear to me why Strange can't cast spells on Earth, but is okay doing so in space...but at least now he's got an Infinity Gem!

The last page of issue #2 suggested that there is a cabal on Earth working against Strange, with the wherewithal to see his adventures in space and consider them a problem.

So, I suspect that his failures on Earth are the result of an attack. His work in Marvelspace is either (a) giving his abilities an opportunity to heal, or (b) teaching him new techniques that aren't foiled.

The Exchange RPG Superstar 2010 Top 16

All the editions had a Fafhred & Grey Mouser section. The first two editions had the Lovecraft Mythos and Melnebonean Mythos chapters.

Some details here.

The Exchange RPG Superstar 2010 Top 16

Which edition?

The Exchange RPG Superstar 2010 Top 16

I apologize if this is a rude question, but what are the current rules about needing additional materials to play?

1) If a new player picks up Lini-4 or Lini-7, are they allowed to Wild Shape without access to any other material? Are they allowed to spontaneously convert prepared spells to summon nature's ally spells without the stat blocks for the summoned critters?

If not, then I wouldn't recommend bringing Lini.

2) If a new player picks up the first-level version of an iconic, what are the rules about continuing to play the character after the first session? If Ruby the Newbie liked playing Quinn, can she take the gold reward from the first game, pay for Quinn's equipment, and continue to play him as her -01 PC character with 1 XP?

If so, does she need to own a copy of the Advanced Class Guide?

[Aside: Or can Ruby play the character again, resetting all his equipment, as an iconic, and assign both sessions to the same character? (And if Ruby is worried about losing the accumulated XP, does she need to assign the second session to her -02 character?)]

If a new player *does* need to own copies of all the non-Core material, then it would be better to have as many of your 16 iconics be Core classes as possible.

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WormysQueue wrote:

Ok so let‘s see:

...Dr. Strange #1 – Last time I saw Stephen Strange in his own series he had just been put through the wringer by the Empirikul. No idea what happened afterwards, but I was still thinking „Again?“ when the new series starts with the doctor losing his magical abilities. the dynamic between Jan and Scott was interesting and keeps me...

In between he lost his magic powers again (that time, to Loki). He regained some of them in the previous few issues: he got a ghost dog companion, a staff made from the World Tree, and regained the mantle of Sorcerer Supreme. So, yes, it's time to kill off magic again.

It's interesting that he considered asking to see if other magickal characters had lost their powers as well, and decided against it because he might be a vector of an anti-magic disease. (1) You could check in with Victor Von Doom, Stephen. You'd get an answer, and if Victor caught the disease, that'd be okay. (2) Phone call. Or email.

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I am surprised by the number of titles in the past couple of weeks that have wrapped up storylines, or creative teams. Thor, Dr. Strange, Ms. Marvel, Cho Hulk, Marvel Two-in-One, X-Men Blue, X-Men Red.

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Maybe I'm just dumb, but

(a) what exactly changed this time through the loop? In previous continuities, did Coulson just inject himself with the rejuvenating serum? That seems uncharacteristic.

(a-i) How did whatever breaking the time loop kill Fitz?

(b) How did Daisy survive being rammed into the ground from a half-mile up, without access to her power?

(c) What was Quake thinking when she injected herself with the serum? What did she think it was going to do? Keep her organs from failing? Pumping Centipede Serum into you just acts like Dimethyl Sulfate, allowing other drugs to affect you. Gravotron was absorbing her. Did she think it was the poison?

(d) What *did* it do to her? Give her a power boost to send Talbot high enough to pass out, before he could bring his own powrs to bear? Because I gotta say, if he has any singular power, it's resisting being pushed up.

(e) Isn't Chicago built on top of a swamp?

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At this point, I have five thoughts:

1) I was surprised we *didn't* see Adam Warlock in this movie, perhaps as a mid-credits scene.

2) I prefer the comics' motivation for Thanos -- killing half the galaxy as a tribute to appease the personification of death. This "overpopulation of every planet" motivation is weaker. Ra's al ghul has done that schtick.

3) The Red Skull is my new go-to example of gratuitous cameos. And his transformation into the Soul Gem's guardian raises more questions, which will never be answered.

4) I agree with most posters here, vaping characters like Spider-man and the Black Panther was a mistake. Up until that point, I was ready to accept the deaths of characters as permanent.

5) The after-credits scene is weird. In a movie where there are 20 major good guys, do we need to see Nick Fury calling in a brand new one? (And tails, she's dead anyway.)

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MannyGoblin wrote:

DC is putting out new crossovers

Black Lightning/Hong Kong Phooy

I'm speechless.

HKP, in 2018.

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This was a really strange episode.

No one seemed to be in character. And we lost the one character I had my eye on, the natural next leader of Hydra, with a great super-villain power.

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I understand the manifestations of fear. I understand Mike-the-surgical-tech is a fear of Coulson's.

But once the jig is up, why does Mike the surgical-tech attack?

Who are the guys on the Quinjet with Deathlok? Why isn't the army chasing them?

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thejeff wrote:

If you ignore all the other times they've been broken up or separated or in different universes or some have been depowered over the years.

Exactly. Ben didn't seem to be any less powerful when he spent something like a year on the odd jigsaw planet. They weren't weaker when Johnny was "dead" in the Negative Zone, or when Ben was dead.

And are Reed and Sue likewise losing their powers?

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