Friday, February 24, 2017

The Comic Book Shop has come through for me a couple times lately, with the Scarlet Witch and the Destroyer; but whenever I get a figure from them, I worry that I'm cherry-picking the case and they'll be left with pegwarmers. (Although I did drop the ball when I picked up Stryfe: I should've got Storm first and had a shot at finishing Jubilee!) Still, that didn't stop me from grabbing the latest DC Multiverse figure, Batgirl!

You can see a bit in the pictures here; she came with a yellow batarang that looks like a chewable vitamin, and a phone. But like a lot of the Mattel DC figures I've purchased over the last year, the articulation is both plentiful yet just short of useful: Batgirl can't hold her phone anywhere near her ear, for instance.

The paint seems pretty good: the belt and her hair could maybe use a little something, but the laces on her boots are nice. Hmm, just now I notice, while I haven't been playing with her long, her hips seem a bit loose? Batgirl isn't bad, but I haven't had a DC figure in recent memory that was as nice as a Marvel Legend figure. Not even close. But they're the same price as Legends, and I find myself wondering if I'll get the rest of this series. I swear they had two Legends of Tomorrow Hawkmen on the rack, and he seemed bland. The Earth-2 Flash (John Wesley Shipp!) and Zoom are probably comparable to the earlier Flash and Reverse Flash: not terrible, but not $40+ worth? And that Dark Knight Returns Joker doesn't do anything for me.

Still, I do kinda want the Jim Gordon Batman. So I can give him a mustache.

And although we've recently completed Sandman, Killer Croc, Abomination, and Space Venom; we're back to a pile of parts in the Build-a-Figure, Collect-and-Connect drawer. I fully intend to put the Warlock pieces I get on eBay, since I only want Dazzler and Polaris, and can live without Colossus, Shatterstar, and Cyclops. It is entirely possible I'll hold out on the off chance of finding the rest cheap. Really cheap. I'm four Guardians (and Star-Lord, who doesn't get a piece!) down from completing Titus, and while another Drax is a hard sell, it could still happen. And building King Shark?...I have to admit, he might carry the lot. I just had a glance at the back of the package, since for some reason I was picturing him as a hammerhead, which strikes me as terrible; glad they didn't go that route.
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Thursday, February 23, 2017

Another unlucky break for Sunfire...

After I picked up the new Sunfire Marvel Legend, I did a bit of checking: first, Sunfire had not come up on the blog very often, although we did see his Age of Apocalypse figure at least once. Also, conveniently, the other day OAFE featured a review of the old, pre-Legends, Toy Biz Sunfire that came with the Giant-Sized X-Men box set. I have it, if not handy, but I noticed something from the Sunfire pictures: the old figures arms and legs were textured, indicating chainmail. Which the new figure maybe could've used; since Hasbro has those parts: Green Goblin and Hobgoblin just used them! Although, a quick image search popped up some pictures from Sunfire's recent stint with the Unity Squad in Uncanny Avengers, where he didn't seem to have the chainmail texturing sometimes seen before, possibly because he would be standing next to Captain America's chainmail shirt.

I noticed that while I was checking the old figure's left hand, which is open-palmed like a slap or a karate chop. Or a wave, as Sunfire left the X-Men immediately after the new team's first mission; which was like leaving a team on the verge of winning championships for several years. In 1998, Sunfire would appear with the new super-team Big Hero Six--but wouldn't go on to appear in their 2014 Disney movie! Man, the guy doesn't seem to catch a break, which might explain why he's such a jerk.

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Wednesday, February 22, 2017


The Jackal figure wasn't even a blip on the radar when I started this plotline, so I can't pretend I had that all planned. Also unplanned: I still haven't found Misty Knight's gun! I would actually have to consider, if I saw another one on the cheap, since the right knee on my figure is wobbly.
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Tuesday, February 21, 2017

A lot of episodic TV action or drama shows do this at least as much as comics: if the story features a previously unseen and unmentioned childhood friend/mentor/acquaintance, they are either going to turn out to be the villain, or get killed. Today the latter, but that's better than becoming Hush, right? From 2007, Detective Comics #828, "Sharkbite" Written by Paul Dini, pencils by Don Kramer, inks by Wayne Faucher.

This issue opens with the Riddler unmasking Bruce Wayne...dressed as Zorro at a costume party on a yacht. (The opening is a little lacking, actually; either like it was continued from the previous issue--and I don't think it was--or needed a bit more space.) Although I think he figured out Batman's secret identity in the aforementioned Hush storyline, by this point Riddler had (probably?) forgotten it, and was ostensibly reformed and working as a private investigator. While not a fan, Bruce doesn't mind having the chance to keep an eye on him; as well as watching over a childhood friend, Matthew Atkins. He might've dropped the ball on that one, though, since Matthew went over the side of the yacht, was mauled by sharks before Batman could save him, and dies. While the Riddler proclaims on TV "no signs of foul play," Batman continues investigating, since the bite patterns from the sharks seem off, and Matthew's hand had a incongruous spine from a porcupine fish in it. Looking into Matthew's job as a museum consultant, some troubling red flags arise, including that the Riddler may not have been finished with his investigation, either...

I almost thought I had read this before, in another Paul Dini trade: this story would be reprinted in Death and the City, I was thinking of Private Casebook. Still--and this isn't the only comic guilty of this--it's weird when partygoers come dressed as characters that in-universe would be considered villains, if not murderers. I could maybe see Catwoman being considered a Robin Hood-type hero, but dressing up like Harley or Ivy seems like it would be considered poor taste.
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Monday, February 20, 2017

I can't help but notice Pietro isn't racing to help Dane.

I know I had this issue when it came out, but I can't remember if either I didn't read the conclusion, or if it wasn't very satisfying. Still, today we've got 1992's Avengers #350, "Repercussions" Written by Bob Harras, pencils by Steve Epting, inks by Tom Palmer.

After the Operation: Galactic Storm crossover--OK, I have to take a second here: so that crossover took its name from 1991's Operation Desert Storm, and I'm hoping Marvel doesn't go back to current events for their crossover titles, since I really don't want to see one about fake news or Benghazi or something. Anyway, at the conclusion of that crossover, a splinter group of Avengers killed the Kree's Supreme Intelligence, for its role in the war that cost billions of lives. Some of the Kree were still steamed about that, even if they were in no position to seek revenge. So a former Kree general sees about hiring out the Starjammers! Or at least half of them, Raza and Hepzibah. Hepzibah is more than willing to take two million credits for the death of the Black Knight; but Raza takes a bit more persuading: the Kree offer the whereabouts of his missing son.

Meanwhile, on earth, Professor X and Cyclops were having a conference with the Avengers, regarding the Acolytes: with Magneto believed dead at the time, it was feared they may see his grandaughter Luna an embarrassment, since she was human. Though their relationship had been through ups and downs, her parents Crystal and Quicksilver were united in doing whatever was necessary to protect her. Also at this meeting: former Avenger and former Starjammer (and future Captain Marvel) Carol Danvers, then going by the name Binary. They find the Starjammers' surprise visit a pleasant surprise, although Cyclops has to take his dad Corsair aside to talk "about Maddie and Nathan," which should take them out of the story for about three days.

For his part, Black Knight Dane Whitman was being a broody grump; since he had feelings for Crystal and would've been just fine if her marriage fell apart. He also was having a lot of guilt over the Supreme Intelligence's death, but none of that stops Sersi from making a pass at him. A rather serious pass: she was usually flirty and flighty, but this would start a triangle that would go on for years. Oops, that's a spoiler, especially since Raza seems to have murdered Dane here, and now Hercules was going to avenge his teammate!

Also this issue: a forgettable short with Luna's Inhuman nanny, Marilla (who would be straight-up murdered by Iron Man in the Crossing) and a reprint of Avengers #53, "In Battle Joined" Written by Roy Thomas, pencils by John Buscema, inks by George Tuska. I'm having trouble picturing a time when Strawberry Alarm Clock was a timely cultural reference.
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Friday, February 17, 2017

It felt like a couple weeks since any big purchases, and like it was going to be a long dry spell before Toy Fair 2017. So of course a pile shows up this week! First, the complete Sandman wave from Wal-Mart. I suspected I was going to like it, but I love the Spidey 2099! And the Marvel Legends seem to have bumped up their shoulder articulation a notch--it was on the three-pack movie Spider-Man as well, and great range there.

Next, we got the Marvel Select Destroyer from the Comic Book Shop! Whoa, doggie, he's a right hefty piece of plastic! I wasn't going to display it with the included Odin head, but even it has a satisfying weight to it. Then, from Hasbro Toy Shop, the Star Wars Black Princess Leia! Which is apparently sold out there now, maybe; but they had a sale going last I checked.

Then, the price on the DC Multiverse Suicide Squad Katana and Joker dropped on Amazon--crap, they may even be cheaper now! And that got me the final pieces for Killer Croc! Let's see...Katana and Joker were $24, $8 for Captain Boomerang, $5 each for Batman, Harley Quinn, and Deadshot; so a total of $47 for Croc. That's down from the $120 retail it was supposed to be (at $20 a pop) but he feels tiny compared to the Build-a-Figure Sandman!

Granted, Sandman was a closer to full price $133--seven figures! I do rather wish Star Wars Black would consider a Build-a-Figure, Collect-and-Connect. Meanwhile, I did see a couple of the new Guardians of the Galaxy figures the other day: Angela and Yondu. They were full price, but still very tempting; yet I held out since I really wanted the new Star-Lord and Darkhawk. We'll see what we see over the weekend, good luck to those of you looking as well! (Unless you're in my neighborhood, I guess!)

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Thursday, February 16, 2017

Even the villains hate them some Nazis.

Another random issue of Thunderbolts? Don't mind if I do! From 2011, Thunderbolts #163, "The Great Escape" Written by Jeff Parker, art by Kev Walker.

During the Fear Itself crossover, while they were supposed to be defending Chicago against the forces of the Red Skull's daughter; several members of the Thunderbolts instead have bailed out, teleporting themselves and their tower away! Luke Cage is left pissed, both at them and himself; for some choices he made that may not have helped the team. Longtime members M.A.C.H. 5 and Songbird agree, but there was plenty of blame to go around: they think if they'd be more encouraging, Fixer might not have turned on them...

Meanwhile, the escapees--Fixer, Moonstone, Mr. Hyde, Boomerang, Centurius, and Satana with a Man-Thing in tow--realize they didn't teleport to New Zealand, but to Austria. Oh, and back in time for good measure, to World War II! The Nazis are fighting mad about the sudden appearance of a "pillbox" in their turf, but the Thunderbolts are more than game for fighting them. Centurius (whom I don't know much about...) points out the dangers of changing history, but the others seem to figure it'll be fine. Until the Invaders Captain America and Namor show up to help! Thinking fast, Moonstone changes her costume to a more 40's style, and introduces herself to Cap as part of "America's newest power squadron," the American Thunderbolts!

Quick thinking on Moonstone's part, but now I wonder how long she'd be able to play goodie-two-shoes with Cap: she was usually too clever for her own good. Also, several of the team, particularly Mr. Hyde, had fought Cap before, and it's tough to picture them keeping it together. There were a few more chapters to this storyline with the Invaders, but these T-Bolts weren't done time-travelling yet...
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