Square Vs Chris round 3, also a Young Avengers review

Trolls trolling trolls, I swear.

Apparently it’s been a whopping whole 1 week since the release of the last set of figures from Square Enix, so the company decided to release another 2 to make up that “massive” gap in time (Not unlike Marvel’s wacky double shipping schedules). This time around it’s Batman, a figure we’ve NEVER seen here on the blog, specifically from the Arkham City game, a game we’ve never seen toys based on. For the record that was sarcasm, Square Enix is the 3rd company to release figures based on the game, and honestly, I have no idea how many Batman figures I’ve looked at over the last few years.

In Square’s defense, these are arguably the best versions of the AC cast to date. The Batman from AC is better than his Arkham Asylum counterpart by being a little less stockier, which is nice, especially when you consider they could have easily just released another repainted version….again. In addition to better sculpt, Bats comes with and interchangeable head, alternate hands, and  both Batarangs and grappling hook accessories. The Catwoman Play Arts is something I’m actually legit impressed with. The sculpt/detailing on the catsuit is great, and I REALLY like the variant head with the goggles down. The 26 points of articulation also helps. She also comes with variants head/hands and a whip. A solid figure for $60 IMO. Keep in mind this not the last time we’ll be seeing the Bat from Squenix. There’s already at least 3 more Arkham City figures on the way, plus a whole bunch of figures based on the Nolan films. Expect a lot of Bat-snark from me through out 2013.

Let’s move into comics since it was kind of a light week for toys. We already told you to buy Young Avengers #1. And you should listen to us, we’ve know winner when we see them. It’s THE best #1 to debut from Marvel since….well okay, Hawkeye, wasn’t that long ago. And to be honest, most of the NOW! stuff has been good. But this is something a little different, but still great.

The Kieron Gillen and Jamie McKelvie/Mike Norton creative team are no strangers to the Marvel Universe- Kieron’s penned the criminally underrated and short-lived  S.W.O.R.D. series, handled Marvel’s mighty mutants in both Uncanny X-Men and Generation Hope, wrote the wonderful Journey Into Mystery, and most recently, is handling writing chores on Iron Man. McKelvie and Norton have been all over the place, working on such books like Secret Avengers, X-Men: Season 1, and The Defenders and a whole variety of covers, and one-shots. Jamie is also responsible for redesigning Carol Danvers last year, giving her that awesome Captain Marvel costume.

And despite spending all that time together at Marvel (let alone releasing 2 volumes of Phonograms through Image), Young Avengers is the first time we’ve seen the British duo release a #1 through the House of M. And both creators and their support artists came out guns a-blazing. The concept is simple enough. The Avengers greatest hits set at age  18, remixed for 2013. The classic arch types are all present. Noh-Varr, created a decade ago  by Grant Morrison and J.G. Jones, is Captain America 2013, instead a man out of time, he’s a alien without a home. Lovers Billy and Teddy are the Wasp and Antman, where good intentions are already paving the road to hell.  Miss America Chavez is the Hulk, angry, and down to smash. HAWKGUY (that’s intentional) Kate Bishop is Iron Man- rich, beautiful and brash. And Loki is….Loki. Somethings never change. Especially if you’ve kept up on Journey Into Mystery.

Of course the big question is if the book is any good. It is, and it’s extremely reader friendly, which is important, seeing how all these characters are coming from  other titles. No previous YA-related reading is needed to enjoy this book, and if you’re the type who’s read the 2 previous volumes of Young Avengers, Joe Casey’s Vengenance mini-series,  Journey into Mystery, Hawkeye and Avengers, then you’ll be pleased to see Gillen nail all the characters “voices”, combining a nice blend of action, teen drama and comedy within 20 pages. Visually, this book is just as fantastic. McKelive and Norton’s layouts kill, showing off their range of talent with that 22-panel splash page I posted above, to the book’s final, extremely disturbing  pin-up page. McKelvie/Norton’s art is colored by long-time collaborator Matthew Wilson, making the final product look gorgeous and  Gillen made sure to bring in his JiM letter VC/s Clayton Cowles to maintain how unique it with Loki’s speak/casts magic.

Ironically, in book titled “Style > Substance”, it’s anything but. The team puts as much care into Young Avengers as they did into any of their creator owned books, and it shows in any interview the pair took part in. And at $2.99, you can’t afford not to buy this book. While Young Avengers may not be the first #1 to come out in #2013, it’s definitely the first book that feels like 2013. Buy it upon sight. You’ll thank me later.

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