Johnny Alpha (JA) is a great piece. Coming from a set so retired as to almost be forgotten, it is a marvel that he has stood the test of time as he has. As a piece from the Indy expansion he suffers from a lot of bad press from the get go. Not personally per se but due to his fraternization with the other figures from that set - most which do deserve their skunky reputation. JA however tends to shine apart from the other Indy filler. Not really having any true clue as to his actual comic origins - other then knowing he is somehow related to Judge Dredd and the rest of the 2000 AD squad - I can only view him as the clix he is presented as. Having also fielded him on several teams I can attest to his worth on a force, see below. Till recently I had tried to actually incorporate him into most teams I put together, always having a few of him in my traveling tournament box. Now that the 'new age' of clix has begun, and the era of keywords is so prevalent, I have used him a little less frequently but not for lack of trying. He is just one of the best overall figures in the game, and for his cost to value ratio he is phenomenal.
JA is a tool, in the purest sense of the term in the game of Heroclix. He has many uses on a force that all boil down to his role as a secondary attacker and transport for the 'big guns'. He can hide, he can move other figures, he can defend himself - quite well, and he has the means to provide a little added 'umph' to the Squad by giving some assistance with his team ability. His numbers, though only average in todays measure of clix, still have viable staying power and even sort of jump out at you in some cases, as with his attack numbers. I have always tried to get my monies worth out of JA when I field him to make sure he gets all my people where they need to be. His ability to do so while remaining unseen or targetable makes him versatile beyond words. I have seen other people run him similarly and would expect most folks to run him in these ways as well.
Strategies and game play:
With Telekinesis for over half his dial, and Stealth front loaded, it is quite blunt as to his primary strategy: Hide and drop the bomb on the enemy. (The bomb being the tentpole / brick / etc.) While he is relegated to the background by his design he is by no means limited to that position. He is quite capable of making his way to the forefront of the action and diving in. One of my favorite strategies is to carry him in with a Wing brick and make mayhem with the brick and then have JA TK him/her out of harms way. JA's near full dial of Super Senses usually keeps him out of harms way - as long as you make the roll!
Combos with other miniatures:
Obviously JA works best in a group of 2000 AD figures, his fellow Judges of course, and with a good grouping of these guys you can take on some of the best figures out there in modern age and expect to give a fair showing. I have run him on theme, and also just for the pure fun of it, and he seems to enhance most teams he is on regardless. His benefits are pretty much self explanatory.
Ways to counteract it:
The easiest way to hamstring Mr Alpha is to use something like Energy Explosion or someone who can break Stealth. Once this is done all it takes is a little Outwit to completely ruin this guys day. Like I mentioned previously he is not designed for the front line per se but can hold his own provided he does not get the ole' Outwit one-two.
Telekinesis for over half the dial, Super Senses near full dial, Stealth and Phasing/Teleport, natural ability to break Invulnerability / Impervious, decent range, excellent team ability, and insanely effective cost for the benefits. (What's not to love?)
Only '1' click of Stealth, the grounded TK'er curse of being left behind when he/she TK's their buddies up or back. Mediocre defense values and the original Clix bane of the super drop in numbers. Additionally I have to say that while I like the figures pose and premise, I have real issues with the details of the sculpt - his face looks like he got hit before he got to the party (at least on the ones I have that is).
Artwork and aesthetics:
As I said above, I have no real reference to the comic origins of the figure to know if he is completely accurate. I do know the 2000 AD Judges' outfits and he seems to have the correct dress in that regard. I do not feel that his sculpt really gives any added boon to his playability, other then that he is easier to hold when turning his dial and he is less likely to break as a lot of the older clix were want to do. I find the pose to be rather cool to look at and I have acquired several copies of JA in the hopes of eventually modding some of them to a better paint scheme. They are fine as they are but I just want to make some 'masterpiece' type adjustments to one or two in the near future.
Hands down this guy gets a '6' rating from me. It would be even higher, were I to be writing this review say 4 years ago (for which I would have given him an '8'). As it stands though, he is good but is definitely showing his set type in the light of the newer format of figures. I do not think his day is totally done but it is most assuredly on the decline. He is one very useful piece but he must be used with much greater caution in the new era of clix.