Category: DC Comics

Late to the Party: Chris reads “The Wake: Volume 1″

WKE_Cv1_SOLICIT_DThe Wake Volume 1

Scott Snyder/Sean Murphy/Matt Hollingsworth

Vertigo/DC, Collects issue 1-5

Hey look, I’m starting the year off looking at a DC book not called Sandman, this really is a brave new world!

In my defense, look at this creative team, for it is shiny and very talented!  Back when I was buying New 52 DC, Scott Snyder’s Batman was the only DC  book I bought for over a year on a monthly basis. He’s an insanely talented writer, and seems like a good dude judging by the quality of his tweets (obviously a very important tool in measuring one’s worth). On the art side of things, Sean Murphy is another creator I really dig, being a fan of his since his Hellblazer fill-in days, and following him onto Joe the Barbarian and Punk Rock Jesus. And with Hawkeye’s Matt Hollingsworth coloring the book, even I had to cave in, despite my heavy Marvel/Image bias.

The Wake is arguably one of the best sci-fi-horror comic I’ve read in quite some time. The creators really did their research when it came to this building this world, because a lot of the science involved seems plausible, or at least to my undereducated ass. The plot, which I’ll do my best to avoid spoilers, us marine biologist Lee Archer is offered a once in a lifetime job to go out to the Arctic to do some research on some odd noises the government has stumbled upon….or so she thinks! ( Gasp here please)  Then the HORRIBLE AND SPOOKY truth is revealed, and the more stuff happen and ultimately it leads to into some world altering stuff. Actual world altering, not the for 6 months then everything is back to normal world altering you seen in Marvel event. Also there may be some wackiness that goes down in mankind’s earliest days, and the far future. No more details, but yeah, this books is nuts in the best kind of ways.

The-Wake-001-Interior-Art-01-600x344Snyder and Murphy have a working relationship going back to Snyder’s American Vampire series, and The Wake is a testament of how in-sync these 2 are. There’s some REALLY brutal stuff that goes down in this first volume, and some real nightmare inducing imagery as well. And like I said earlier it’s also incredibly smart, and you can tell Snyder did his research, who I believe does some teaching in addition to comics. The best type of horror is the believeable type, and Snyder does a nice job of tying marine biology and various culture’s folklores together in this story.

Sean Murphy remains one of the best artists out there. His style is rough, sketchy, and heavy on the dark inks, and that’s fine with me. I’m not sure if The Wake would have worked as well with photo realistic art, but it definitely does with Snyder’s rough, jagged art. It’s always super detailed, and characters all look great without looking like super heroes or super models. And again, with Snyder’s help, they’re all very believable, fleshed out, and rarely, if ever a cliche.  And with Hollingsworth’s colors, Snyder scenes look amazing. I prefer black and white Murphy art most of the time, but Hollingsworth’s one of the best colorists in the biz, so his stuff only makes Murphy’s art better in the end.

The first act of this series ends on great cliffhanger, and I’m eager to see what volume 2 brings. The lead for the next volume and their world look super interesting, and I like what I’m reading and hearing from Snyder and Murphy. With Image currently owning the creator owned crowd, it’s nice to see a Vertigo book bring it, especially with the future of the imprint in question these days.

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New Comic Book Day Ain’t Wednesday for the Next Two Weeks

Heads up- this week New Comic Book Day will be Christmas Eve (we’ll be open from 9am-8pm). It’ll also be Tuesday next week (New Year’s Eve, when we’ll be open 9am-8pm as well).

Wolverine Origin II

Here’s this week’s new comics. The two biggies are Forever Evil #4 and Origin 2 #1. Hope to see you around the shop!

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Holy Holiday! It’s a Batman Gift Idea List!

If I had to make a list of the most recognizable figures in the entire world I think that Batman would be in the top 10. Maybe even the top 5. That brooding big eared bad boy probably lies somewhere on the list below Jesus Christ, but above Norman Reedus. So… chances are, someone on your Christmas shopping list is a Bat-Fan! Now I know I just said Batman is one of the most well known figures, yes… but… that doesn’t mean I expect you to know what to get the Boy Wonder of your Dynamic Duo for this holiday season. Those are references to Batman, stick with me kid and you’ll be dancing with the devil by the pale moonlight in no time!

Batman The Killing Joke – The super duper deluxe re-colored hardcover edition of the definitive Joker story written by that Watchmen guy. Quote me on that when handing this bad boy over to your gift recipient and they will be wowed by your knowledge!

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Batman is Brave! – It’s never too early to get the tykes into vigilante crime fighting. This is one of those old school kids books with the thick cardboard pages, the kind that sops up baby drool real good!

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Batman and Joker Salt and Pepper Shakers – Just a dash of the right spices from out of one of these magnetic shakers will add a little BIFF BANG and POW to your super supper. Just don’t ask me how the magnets work.

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Batman 1966 1/4 scale Figure – Fans of the classic Batman television series will just love to get their grip on all 18 inches of Adam West in those iconic grey tights!

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Batman The Court of Owls TPB – The first collection of the newest ongoing Batman run now available in a sleek affordable softcover edition. Issues one through seven of Scott Snyder’s take on the cape for only 16.99. Now that’s a lot of Bats on the cheap!

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Big Batman Logo Button – Lets take a ride down memory lane… It’s the summer of 89 and the Tim Burton Batman movie is the biggest thing to happen to pop culture since the Moonwalk. No not that fake moon landing stuff, I mean Jack-o dancing back-o… wards? Anyway… what I’m trying to say is, Batman was huge and you know what else was huge in the 80′s – buttons. I blame it on Bobby McFerrin’s Be Happy BS and those smiley faces, but I digress. So we see the flick and as my family exits the theater I remember people selling all types of bootleg bat-stuff including these gigantic Batman logo buttons! I’m talking real big, like hubcap big, but maybe my memory has been fogged by years of fogging my brain, maybe they were just kinda big like this one and they just seemed big cause I was small… needless to say my parents didn’t buy me one of those buttons and I now have to write x-mas shopping list guides as a way to work out my mommy issues.

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Heroclix Batman Booster Pack – In a world where underground crime rings and table top gaming collide! Heroclix is one of the most accessible and down right fun collectible games on the market, so grab up some of these booster packs and get a game going! Don’t worry, house rules are acceptable.

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Batman Animated Series Logo Shirt – Batman the Animated series was another huge factor in securing Batman’s image firmly in the consciousness of the modern world. If you know someone who was coming to age in the mid 90′s chances are this “cartoon” was their daily dose of the Dark Knight. This grey shirt with that iconic angular logo will be a fitting gift for that special Bat-Maniac in your life.

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Well there you have it Bat Boys and Bat Girls, just a few of the many Bat related goodies we have in stock and ready to be gifted by you! I’m pretty proud of myself, a full holiday shopping guide and only one Insane Clown Posse reference. Bloop!

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I have bought some comics, also eaten wayyy too much candy.

Halloween is a hell of a thing y’all, and this year’s beer and candy diet was not the best plan. Probably should have thought that one out a bit. :: snorts a crushed-up Kit-Kat bar , because YOLO ::: Woo, comics talk time.

Saga #15, Saga Bryan K. Vaughan, Fiona StaplesSaga #15

Brian K Vaughan. Fiona Staples

Image Comics, $2.99, 20 pages

Remember last week when I was complaining about how it’s hard to critique flawless comics. Here were are again, this time with the newest issue of Saga, which I’m sure surprises no one.  Also damn, that cover is hot, despite also being sort of ridiculous if you’re at all familiar with the book’s leads.

Without diving into spoilers, in this issue Staples and BKV introduce a new character, catch us up with several other characters, answer some questions about an alien planet, and end it all with a killer cliffhanger. The later comes as no surprise, because the book ends on a cliffhanger 90% of the time, which results in me cursing 100% of the time. Other norms for this title seen in this issue include Staples’ fantastic art and colors, and BKV’s hilarious and heartful dialogue. Also vulgar at times, which we all know I’m okay with because I love Sex Criminals. Also damn, that ending, really makes one long for the next issue (less than 30 days away, ha ha crap). So yeah, Saga‘s still perfect in case you were wondering.

SANDMAN-OVERTURE-MCKEAN-600x924Sandman Overture #1

Neil Gaiman/ JH Williams III

DC Comics, $4.99, 20 pages

Speaking of incredibly difficult comics to review…..

Let me say something. If you think Overture is going to be your introduction to the Sandman universe, you’re wrong. So wrong even. This book is fan-service in a way, and if you’ve yet to read arguably one of the BEST comics series of all time, this is not for you. You will be lost, even if you wiki it like a sucker-punk.

But let’s say you’re like me and LOVED the original series. Is this book worth $5? I’ll say YES, it most certainly is, but don’t expect a game changer. This is an incredibly DENSE read, because that’s how Neil Gaiman rolls, and it’s kind of slow paced, because again, Neil Gaiman. WHICH IS FINE, BECAUSE HOLY HELL, J.H. WILLIAMS IS REALLY GOOD AT THIS ART THING EVERYONE. It’s been a while since I’ve read a book William’s drawn (yeah I dropped Batwoman 8 issues in, sorry not sorry), and his skill meets Gaiman’s wonderfully trippy script makes for an fantastical end result.

Now is this book worth buying now, or worth holding out for the eventual deluxe hardcover may be a question you have if you’re a hardcore Sandman fan. That’s entirely up to you. Chances are I’ll double dip on this, assuming it’s a good read. Again I REALLY liked issue #1, BUT your mileage may vary. And again, it’s kinda fan service-y, not in a pandering way, but more of a you need to be up on your Sandman lore to get this book way like I said earlier. And who knows,  it may end up not be completely necessary at all by this all said and done, not unlike Before Watchmen (only you know, not scummy). But it’s hard to imagine that will be the case, especially with the quality of the debut issue.

 

X-Men_Battle_of_the_Atom_Vol_1_2_TextlessX-Men Battle of the Atom #2

Jason Aaron, Esad Ribic, Giuseppe Camuncoli, Andrew Currie and like 6 or 7 other dudes.

Marvel, $3.99, 30 pages

You had one job X-team. One job.

Looks like I’m repeating myself again when it comes to reviewing an X-book. Jason Aaron, as well as Brian Wood and Brian Michael Bendis for the epilogues, wrap up a fairly fun X-event. But once again, the art on this event falls apart.

I don’t mind Kris Anka, Chris Bachalo and Stuart Immonen swinging by to draw some of the epilogues, because they all are great artists who make the ending of this book look really good. But the main story by Esad Ribic, and 2 or 3 others dudes? Not so great. It’s sloppy, looks rushed, the characters are extremely off model-looking at times and you couldn’t have chosen artists whose styles clash any more it seems. It once again ruins Aaron’s solid script, which to be honest, could have toned down the snark in some parts.

But yeah, this event is kind of a mixed bag now that it’s all is said and done. Some really cool stuff happens,  including some fun fan servicey stuff for X-readers, and some new plots to work with going into the 2nd year of the Aaron/Bendis/Wood era of X-books. I just wish some of the questions raised were answered now opposed to down the line (if at all!), and that the art delivered in the last 2 chapters.

 

Up next, an advance look at Vaillant’s Comics Unity #1, the end of Captain Marvel volume 1 and LONGSHOT, SAVING THE UNIVERSE!

 

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Troy’s Toys: The one where I realise it’s been awhile

FACT: I HAVE NOT BEEN DOING A GREAT JOB OF KEEPING UP ON THIS PART OF THE BLOG, A DOZEN APOLOGIES! NYCC prep has been crazier than usual.

MTY9633BlgMTY9633AAlgIT HAS BEGUN! Revealed back at San Diego Comic Con this past summer, the first 2 waves of Batman ’66 figures have finally hit our shelves. FINALLY MORE BATMAN FIGURES JOKE GOES HERE! I imagine there’s actually some hype around these toys, as the long beloved TV show still has a huge fanbase, despite the fact that you can’t watch the show in any format due to legal problems. At least in a manner that Fox or Warner profits from. You can however give us cash money for action figures though. Series 1 has Batman, the Riddler and Penguin, and series 2 adds the Jokers and Surf’s Up Batman, complete with Bat-trunks and Bat-surf board. Which is pretty great, at least in my opinion you guys. Mattel, forced to not being able to recycle parts, has done a great job with these sculpts, going as far as to sculpt on a tiny mustache on the Joker’s upper lip and putting slippers over the Riddler’s leotard, both nice nods to the show. And the paint jobs are super sharp, only matching the figures up to their on-screen counterparts even more. At $24 a pop, this probably only appeals to older collectors/ fans of the show, but at least you’re getting your money’s worth. And it’s only beginning, as we’ll be getting a button more Batman ’66 related products in.

STK616768 Play-Arts-Kai-DC-Comics-Variant-Green-Lantern-1 Play-Arts-Kai-DC-Comics-Variant-Batman-1

Maybe you’re saying to yourself “Chris, maybe I want some DC toys, but I want them with some questionable designs!” ARE YOU EVER IN LUCK MYSTERIOUS INTERNET PERSON. The first line of the DC Variant Play Art Kai figures are out and man. Just..man.

LOOK AT HOW FRIKKIN HUGE THEIR LEGS ARE!

As someone who’s played his fair share of Japanese video game and  watched a decent amount of the animes, I really don’t get what’s going on here. These are like Amei-Con statues gone rogue, only articulate and packing variant pieces and weapons. LIKE A KATANA, WHY WOULD BATMAN BE PACKING A KATANA, THAT IS A FINE WAY TO KILL PEOPLE, SOMETHING BATS DOES NOT DO. And don’t be fooled by these preview shots, the shoulders on these things are actually awful and bulky on both Wonder Woman and Green Lantern. I’m not sure who’d want to spend $80+ on these, but we have them in stock if you’re someone who is.

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Going to stop talking DC for the day to point out that we also have some new Minimates in stock. There’s a Tomb Raider series, which is pretty great and diverse as hell IMO, a The Wolverine set which is kinda bland, and a new Marvel set featuring Marvel NOW character like Superior Spider-Man and the new Nova. It’s hard to judge these things, as they’re pretty much perfect. Standard figures with fun accessories, some cool, minimal sculpts and a good price point. I’m a big fan of the Tomb Raider game, and these minimates are a nice alternative to the solo Tomb Raider Play Arts we got earlier this year, although the Wolverine set remains a cruel tease to that Legends set we’ve yet to get. BOO URNS!

That’s all for this week! I’ll probably get another bunch of new toy preview/reviews up after NYCC, where I’ll be drunk on news/booze.

 

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UNKIEDEV PRESENTS THE STUPID

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Dan Didio, the co-publisher of DC Comics, has done “The Stupid.” The Stupid is when you make a bad situation worse by opening your friggin’ pie hole and saying something inflammatory and brain dead. think we have all, once or another, done “The Stupid.”

This week saw the announcement of the ENTIRE creative team of Batwoman walking off the title afterfinally realizing that DC Editorial will not let them tell the stories they want. To Whit: Katy Perry is gay. She loves women and wants to marry them. DC comics says she can’t.

Wait, modern New 52 Batwoman is named Katy Perry, isn’t she? That’s a weird coincidence, seeing as how there’s that singer lady who- OH. Batwoman’s name is Kate Kane? That explains a lot! I was wondering how that got past DC legal.

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NOW, DC doesn’t want you to think that they are in any way homophobic and that their decision to disallow gay marriage in their comics has anything to do with discrimination. To prove that DC isn’t an institution of meanies, Dan DiDio made sure to state for the record, this past weekend at the Baltimore Comic Con, that NO Superhero in the DC Universe, post New 52, is allowed to get married.

That’s right. “The Stupid.”

He justifies that superheroes, apparently much like Catholic priests, are too invested in the salvation of other people to have the time for happiness for themselves. Furthermore, Superheroes, again like priests, need to be constantly miserable in order to do their jobs.

Let’s ignore how well that worked out for the Catholics, shall we? Let’s also, for one second, sidestep the complete history of comic book narrative which proves this to be untrue, not to mention the questionable timing which does taint this as a homophobic, knee jerk reaction. Further, let’s disregard the irony that the original Batwoman was introduced into comics through homophobia in the first place, so that Bruce Wayne and Dick Grayson had women to pal around with so people viewing the comic through a gay lens could stop doing that, please. Are all the gender and LBGT issues out of the argument now?

GOOD, says DC Editorial. Finally, let’s toss out all marketing data to suggest that potential comic book readers and creators know what we want to read better than marketing lawyers and editors.

Once the piranhas are done with the meat, the bare bones of the issue is thus: DC’s current editorial opinion is that YOU, the comic book reading public, only want to read about depressed, moping jerks who can’t get dates.

SOAK IN IT

The profound wrongness of this is obvious to anyone who isn’t Dan DiDio or the DC Editors. Old timers like myself will tell you about the ancient times for comic books, when titles were aimed at kids, and you could buy different varieties of titles. DC has decided that, not only will kids be shunned from the table, and that you will ONLY be able to buy superhero titles, but that EVERY SINGLE one of them has to be tragic and sad. Shelf after shelf of Batman.

I don’t believe it. I can’t believe it. If Alan Moore finally laid down the hatchet and told DC he wants to write a new Watchmen sequel book where Night Owl and Silk Specter are married, they would let him. If Neil Gaiman, after his much anticipated Sandman Origin run decides to do a new Sandman project featuring the wedding of Dream, they would let him.

This is simply editorial stupidity, compounded by some pretty piss poor PR damage control on the part of Mr. DiDio. Comics is a business, and the current revenue generators are the movies and the merch. I’m not saying that Dan is lying, I’m sure there is a secret edict within DC to keep marriage out of the pages. With DC relaunching their crumbled film empire in a fast paced game of catch-up with Marvel, the most likely suggestion is that this editorial decision is based more on money than narrative.

One never knows which character could be licensed for TV, Films or even animated flicks next. Until there’s plans to marry characters on screen, I’m sure there’s a moratorium on weddings in the comics.

Still, someone needs to tell Dan DiDio that comics are still bought by fans, and fans want their heroes to be happy. Maybe not all the time… but we sure don’t want every title to be a mope fest. That’s what we buy comics to escape from.

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BIGGEST NEWS EVER!

YES, Ben Affleck is now Batman, but somehow the media is missing the bigger story. We know the former Daredevil star has been signed to play Mr. Wayne in multiple cross-company movies, so as to give Warner some Tent-Pole clout to combat the face stomping Marvel/Disney is dishing out with THIER superhero movies, right? Well, think. What is the other big film franchise that Warner owns which is going begging for some new screen time? THAT’S RIGH! As revealed by me, exclusively for the Forbidden Planet blogs and Daily Planet, this brand new, probably untrue rumor-train is about to leave Platform 9 3/4 towards destiny. You heard it here first, folks:
Ben Affleck BATMAN IS GOING TO FIGHT HARRY POTTER!
HOLY PLOT HOLES, BATMAN

What is going to happen in the planned Superman/Batman movie is a supposed showdown between The Big Blue Mass Murderer and BatBen. Batman will need to find an edge in the fight, and we know that Superman is only really weak against three things: Kryptonite, Movie Reboots and MAGIC!
I’m sure they’ll patch things up by the end so they can march merrily on to the planned Justice League film, but let’s wait just one Damon minute. Batman, being the greatest detective in the world, will realize that the biggest threat to Earth’s safety is a rogue magician trying to stop Superman the next time ZOD and the Funky Bunch wants to punch Earth’s clock. Batman will then declare war on the biggest magical threat in cinematic history, the Hogwart’s School of Witchcraft and Wizardry!
Batman vs Potter! Two battle scarred orphans duke it out over (I presume) a trilogy of Summer blockbusters! Watch the Caped Crusader solve the greatest mystery of his career, namely “You wouldn’t hit a kid with glasses, would you?!”
BACK TO REALITY

I’m looking at the DC comics solicitations for this week’s comics, and I’m not seeing any tie in books for this new film project. Or am I?
Scholastic is rereleasing the Potter books this week with brand new covers by illustrator Kazu Kibuishi. They’re saying this is in honor of the series 15th anniversary, but eagle eyed fans will notice how closely in style with the films these new book covers are. Marketing is all about brand recognition, and neither Scholastic nor Warner can take any chances you will want to miss their new Potter/Batman mash-up masterpiece.
DC is publishing some pretty swell titles, including Aquaman #23Justice League #23, Batman Superman #3 and the Batman Incorporated Special #1. This latter features a solo Batcow support story! Justice League #23 is one of the final chapters in the big DC event, Trinity.
Wait a minute…
Marvel has New Avengers #9 on the stands this week as a tie-in with their big event called Infinity. Are both companies doing cross-over events named after numbered groupings?! Please TRY and convince me you two companies aren’t constantly ripping off each other’s ideas.
Image has some sexy, secret books out this week..sort of. They do have a certain book outthis Wednesday called Sex #6, and a book called Secrets #3.
And now, if you’ll excuse me, I think I need to wrap this column up. A movie crossover event as big as “Harry Potter and the Dark Knight Showdown” is going to sell out as soon as the news breaks! I need to go to my local cineplex RIGHT NOW to ensure that I’m first in line! Hopefully the theater owner won’t call the cops on me and have me ejected from the premises after I explain I’m waiting in line for a film that doesn’t exist yet that I just made up. He’s got a bad track record with that. They called the cops when I told them I was waiting in line for X-Men meets Star Wars movie I predicted, as well as when I was pitching a tent out front for Aliens Vs Predator Vs Twilight. I can’t help that I pitched a tent. I just love Jacob!

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The week in Troy’s Toys.

Swear to Glob that’s probably the unintentional dirtiest title attached to an article of mine to date.

In case you somehow missed the news yesterday, New York Comic Con 2013 tickets go on sale tomorrow at FPNYC. More info can be found here: http://www.fpusadailyplanet.com/2013/08/09/new-york-comic-con-2013-tickets-on-sale-at-forbidden-planet-nyc-monday-august-12th-at-7pm/

If you’re interested in going, I urge you to get there early, as these things have been selling out everywhere real fast. Also prepare to deal with some sort of line, which is pretty much unavoidable at this point, and is good training for the show itself. NYCC be crowded man.

So let’s take a look at some new toys, yes? If you’ve been keeping up to date on these reviews, you should be aware that I’ve not been particularly kind to the DC Collectibles Injustice 2-packs. There’s a new set available, and man, I’m glad the company’s step up their game, as the new figures are actually quite excellent. There’s 2 sets available,  Superman/Nightwing  & Black Adam/Aquaman and as you can tell by the image attached, the sculpts are really solid. While I know the redesigns are not everyone’s thing, you have to admit the detailing on this figure’s sculpts are nuts, even if the faces are still kind of off. That’s the trade off with dealing with 3.75″ figures. Also worth noting that at least one figure per set comes with accessories, as Nightwing comes back with his fighting sticks and Aquaman comes with a trident. They’re fairly priced at $30 a pop, and I imagine these won’t be around as long, given how popular these character are…despite Aquaman’s presence. (And the traditional Aquman joke has been made, hurray!).

Mattel has also put out some new DC toys, all of various degrees of quality. There’s one of the final Justice League Unlimited 3-packs in stock, featuring Dr. Destiny, Toyman and Firfly, the later 2 available for the first time ever. Stylized and limited in articulation, this a definitely a collector’s only set. Then there’s the newest wave of Batman Unlimited figures. Aside from a New 52 Batman figure that’s been released at least 4 times, there’s a creepy as hell Vampire Batman based on the classic Elseworld stories, as well as the first “Beware the Batman” style figure. Truth be told I’m not that crazy about that Beware figure in a 6″ scale, but that’s a matter of taste, not quality. The Vampire Batman is  horrifying, and I mean that in the best way. It’s nice to see some new sculpts come out of Mattel, even if both of them are Batman-related.

It’s been awhile since I’ve taken a look at anything Marvel related, mostly because it’s been awhile since we’ve gotten anything from Hasbro Marvel-related. Thor 2 doesn’t open until November, Iron Man 3 stuff has been out for, I’ve yet to see Wolverine stuff anywhere, and there’s been nothing from the Universe/Legends lines in months. However there is the Ultimate Spider-Man toy line, which is 100% for kids, and currently in stock. Based on the hit Disney XD cartoon, there’s both 3.75″ and 6″ inch figures, usually packaged with some sort of action accessory. It’s cool to see something aimed at kids, considering most Marvel stuff is aimed at collectors, but it makes them difficult to review from an adult perspective. I’m mean they’re great for kids, and man, we now live in a world where Nova and Iron Fist are now household names. Good on Disney-Marvel right? If you’re interested, we got ‘em in stock, although the pricing is all over the place, because there’s a ton of different types of toys available. Hasbro is definetly looking to get money= get paid with these toys.

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This week in toys: BAT SHOCK

It’s been hella fortnight since we’ve last taken a look at Heroclix-stuff, mostly because Square Enix drops enough product on a weekly basis to that point where I can ignore the tabletop gaming section. However, NECA has released a line based on Bioshock Infinite, one of my favorite video games from the past few months, so now I’m contractually obligated to care. Currently available are single blind-box Clixs, as well as a six Clix starter set with Booker Dewitt, Elizabeth, Daisy Fitzoy, an Automated Stallion, and both a Handyman and a Flakman (ALL OF THE MANS!). The starter set, which retails for about $25, comes with the respected Clix’s character cards, 5 Object token, 1 powers and abilities card, 1 rule book, 2 dice and 2 maps. A solid starter set, at least in my opinion, but I’m not exactly the biggest Heroclixs guy, you YMMV. And if Bioshock Infinite isn’t your thing for some reason, we all have tons of Marvel and DC-based sets and expansions, Gears of Wars Clix, and as mentioned in the past Pacific Rim. NECA is gunning hard for my wallet, and I applaud them for their efforts.

I made that Square Enix joke above for a reason by the way. Once again the company is flooding our shelves with Play Art Kai figures, which I’m sure has nothing to do with all the negative press the new Final Fantasy game has been getting (No it doesn’t but the timing IS funny to me). The Arkham line gets 2 new additions in the form of Poison Ivy and Harley Quinn, and we get our first Dead Space Play Arts figures with DS3 Issac Clarke. As you see from the photo attached, Ivy is SUPER GREEN and SUPER PANTLESS, and I think I have a bigger problem with her given paint color more than I do with her design. The New 52 Harley has soften my stance on her Arkham City counterpart, so I kind of dig it now. Issac….Issac is a busy figure, and I’m still not sure how I feel about the fur collar with armor thing he’s got going on there. My issues aside, the figures are extremely well put together, fairly articulated, and well-stocked in the accessories department: They all come with alternate hands, and Ivy comes with some plant life, Harley with some guns and a baseball bat, and Isaac comes with a Plasma Cutter and a rifle. They run the usual $60-$70 price point, and given the fact that Harley and Ivy are fan favorites, I imagine keeping them on our shelves is a little more difficult than usual.

And big ups to Squenix for releasing 2 different Batman-related lines without actually releasing a Batman figure in either of them (not a dig by the way, I’m being as sincere as I can be when talking about Bat-Merch here). The Dark Knight Joker and Dark Knight Rises Catwoman figures are also in stock, and are probably the best plastic versions of these characters that aren’t Hot Toys releases. Square Enix did a fantastic job of capturing the actor’s likenesses with these collectibles, to the point that it’s almost creepy. Catwoman comes with a variant head, 3 alternate hands and a gun, and the Joker comes packaged with 2 variant heads, a pair of hands, playing cards and a knife.  These are a huge step-up from the previous movie-verse Play Arts, and are a good sign for the upcoming Man of Steel figures dropping later this year.

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I have bought some comics, and most of them are written by Matt Fraction.

Before I get into “This Week in Matt Fraction Comics” (stalkingmattfraction.tumblr.com), let’s take a quick look into two of DC’s digital-first offerings – Batman ’66 and Injustice: God Amongst Us. Both these books are INSANE, and I mean that in 2 completely different ways. The former, written by Jeff Parker and drawn by  Jonathan Case, is an all new on-going series that takes place in the Mayor Adam West/ Burt Ward 60s Batman series, and is fantastic. Assuming you like your Batman campy, because if you don’t then this book is definitely not for you. I certainly don’t mind, and this book takes advantage of not being restricted to a TV budget, and the results are superb. Well worth the cover price IMO. Injustice:GAU has about a dozen creators attached to it, and is insane because of what goes down in this SUPER GRIMMDARK DCU. The book, a prequel/side story to the hit fighting game, starts off with Superman murdering his wife and unborn child under the influence of Kypronite-infused Scarecrow gas, and contains such moments as Superman, now Emperor of the World, outing Batman’s secret identity via Twitter. It is a GLORIOUS train wreck, one I cannot help but laugh at. Each of these books are $4 a pop and you enjoyment may vary.

Let’s move to the part of the article where I gush about Matt Fraction comics yes? Hawkeye Annual #1 dropped this past week, starring Kate Bishop Hawkeye, not the Hawkguy, continuing to sett up the new status quo on this book. Fraction’s on words, and Javier Pulido, last seen drawing issues 4 & 5 of the main series returns, bringing amazing visuals. Javier drawing kick-ass females come as no suprise to anyone who remembers his time on Ed Brubaker’s Catwoman run. Something I really dug about this issue was how Pulido & Fraction handled Katie-Kate’s internal monologue. Instead of using thought balloons, the creators opted for little panels with a Peanuts-esque Hawkeye waxing poetically, leading to often hilarious results, and was a neat alternative to having thought balloon clog up the page. Having Pulido draw this issue is also very fitting because the issue’s villain , Madam Masque’s, presence in the book is due to events that happens in the 2 issues he drew. For $5, you definitely get your money’s worth with this book, as it’s a fantastic done-in-one that helps build the overall narrative of Fraction’s HAWKGUY series. I’m sure no one is surprised when I say that I loved it.

Another Fraction-penned book with amazing art was collected in FF Volume 1: Fantastic Faux. The first volume of this NOW!-rebooted series does not however, collect the first bunch of issues, rather collects issues 4-8 of the series. The book is being collected in chronological order, meaning you’ll need to buy the first volume of Fantastic Four to get issues #1-3. MARVEL COMICS EVERYONE!

Back to the book itself, these 4 issues are drawn by legendary artist Mike Allred, which is as good as having Jack Kirby back at Marvel, with Joe Quinones swinging by to do a guest issue. Note, Joe is definitely more than ideal to draw this book with Allred is playing catch up, so no complaints on that front. The book is definitely a lot bigger in scope and more dramatic than Hawkguy in terms of tone, but still has some off-beat humor as seen in Fraction’s more personal work. Much like F4, it theme of Family is still a big one, only with a more non-traditional cast. Also Allred was born to drawn the Fantastic Four, so seeing him in action this book is a treat, especially with his wife Laura’s colors bringing Mike’s pencils to life.

In terms of content, the new FF continue to struggle with the slew of problems left as a result of a world without an F4. There also is a ton of stuff done with the Inhumans, which is probably setting the stage for the new Inhuman series Fraction is doing post Infinity, the big Marvel event starting in office. While it doesn’t connect with me on a personal level like Hawkeye does, FF is definitely a great book, and one worthy of your time!

That’s all I was allowed to spend on comics this week. Next time, The Enemy Within concludes, Dazzler: Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D. hunts the Uncanny X-Men and I take a look at the 3rd volume of Fatale.

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Troy’s Toys 4/27- Oh look, imports!

What is the haps Forbidden Planet Faithful? No time for crappy intro jokes, we got a ton of new stuff to look at, so let’s get to it!

If you’re an avid gamer like me, you probably own a 3DS by now (And if you bought a Vita instead, my condolences). You may also may be a strategy RPG fan, which means you’re probably playing Project X Zone (or SMT IV. Or Fire Emblem Awakening still. I may have not though this through.) For all of you not in the know, PXZ is a cool crossover RPG featuring characters from Capcom, SEGA and Bandai-Namco franchises. Not exactly the deepest SPRG, but fun regardless, at least in my opinion. I mention this because I was looking through our import toys section recently and spotted 2 females from the game in VERY cool action figure form (NOTE: If you’re looking for something a little more Street Fighter, Devil May Cry or Tekken-ish, obviously Square Enix has you covered). From Bandai’s D-Art line is ::: Takes a breathe ::: Alisa Illnichina Amiella from God Eater Burst (Avail on PSN for your PSP/PS Vita), and from Max Factory, Figma T-Elos of Xenosaga fame (Playstation 2. It….took awhile Xenosaga to get quality figures apparently)!

It’s been some time since I’ve last taken a look at any high-end import figures, but not much has changed since. The Figmas are still a little on the fragile side, but T-Elos does comes with the usual insane amount of accessories you’d expect from the line, and still maintains a ridiculous amount of articulation. Plus I’m a big fan of how T-Elos armor came out in the final product, despite there not being much of it. And no complaints in the sculpt or paint department, despite the fan-servicey design. A slight downside is that she’s not strapped like the KOS-MOS Figma, which came with a bad-ass Gattling Gun.  Instead you get a pistol, variant parts and a stand.

Alisa is also guilty of not being the most modest dresser, but she’s a cool figure. Her joints are well hidden, which for a super-poseable figure, is nice. Her design translates well into the 3rd dimension, and I really like how the plaid paint job came out. Also, her hat is removable, which amuses greatly for some reason. She also comes with a HUGE sword, which I’m a fan of. Oh and variant faces, hands, blah blah blah, you know the drill by now. Both these figures go for about $70, which isn’t too bad considering their imports, but they may not your thing. If they are, then I suggest you get here soon, because supplies are limited.

Making a surprise appearance on our shelves is the Chris Nolan take on the Batmobile, the Tumbler  (WAY different from the Batmobile Tumblr btw) from the Revoltech line. You’d think there wouldn’t be much to offer from a vehicle-based Revoltech, but no, it’s actually pretty sweet. This spring loaded badass can transform between modes, open up it’s cockpit so you can place a tiny Batman figure in there and…has a blue flame speed effect. Alright so that last one isn’t that cool, but again, I’m easily amused. There’s also a surprisingly sturdy clear stand packaged with it, so you can make the Batmobile look airborne (with help from the blue flame. Go Flame!). This 5 1/2 long vehicle retails for about $45 which is GREAT for a Revoltech, especially one that probably won’t be in stock for too long.

That’s is for toys this week! Next time we got some new Heroclixs to look out, some classic Sci-Fi figures getting new awesome figures and…..more Batman figures from Square Enix ::: insert multiple profanities here :::

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New Toys: Beaten to the Robo-punch

Whelp! I was going to talk about all the new “Pacific Rim” swag we currently have in at FPNYC, but it seems that Jeff beat me to the punch. In his defense, I probably shouldn’t been focused on the current Steam sale as hard as I’ve been. In my defense, Steam sale. Regardless, go see Pacific Rim, it’s awesome, and worth the 3-D IMAX prices, and then come by the shop and pick up some goodies. Unless you don’t like giant robots, then I don’t want to know you. You should still buy stuff from us though.

But by bringing up NECA and Steam, I CAN discuss some other stuff related to those topics. Since the initial releases sold so well,  both the Team Fortress 2 and Claptrap (Borderlands) figures have been re-released, with a nice new blue paint jobs. How do they stack up you ask? Well they all look great, no doubt about that, posing both great sculpts and great paint jobs. And the TF 2 figures (Demoman and Pyro) are loaded with accessories (Claptrap not so much :/ ), and codes for in-game content for said free-to-pay shooter (again the TF 2 figures only). But articulation for all 3 is limited, a little weird depending on the figure, with locked joints (a NECA staple), and there will be some SERIOUS paint wear if you switch up the poses at lot, at least with the TF2 guys. Still, it’s unlikely Square-Enix  will be making figures based on these guys anytime soon, and they sold well enough to warrant repaints, so you probably want to grab them sooner than later, especially how hard it is to find the Portal 2 and Half-Life figures. They retail for a little over $20 each.

Keeping the unofficial video game theme alive, the 2nd wave of Injustice 2-packs is out from DC Comics. The terribly redesigned Juggaglo Harley Quinn joins the probably slimiest version of Cyborg to date, and a rather well redesign Raven joins the Flash.  Each of these lil buggers clock in at 20 points of articulation, but their quality in terms of sculpt and paint vary, so you may want to compare sets. Something that irks me is that NONE of these 4 come with any accessories, which is kind of beat as series 1 did. They retail for about $30 bucks a pop, about the same price point as 2 Marvel Universe figures. Again, I dig the Flash/Raven set, but you can avoid the other 2 unless you’re a big fan of the characters or a completionist.

But for $10 more, you can pick up a Flash/Vibe 2 pace from the New 52 Justice League line. A smart move, because I can’t see too many people wanting to pick up Vibe by themselves, and it gives any late comers a 2nd chance to pick up the Flash figure. And these suckers go for about $25 single card, so you’re definitely saving some cash. They look MUCH better than their Injustice counterparts, but they’re also not as articulate. It’s kind of an even trade given the fact that you’re getting more for your money in terms of scale….I guess? Martian Manhunter also makes his new 52 figure debut, with a solid sculpt, good paint and mediocre articulation. Again great for fans/completitionists, hard to recommend for anyone else.

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Review: Man of Steel

Before I get into what I thought about said movie, let me just point out that  Forbidden Planet NYC currently has a ton of great Superman books currently in-stock. Superman Unchained launched this week (SYNERGY!) under Scott Snyder (Batman) and Jim Lee (Justice League) and came out swinging. Grant Morrison has penned a ton of character-defining Superman books including All-Star Superman, Action Comics (2011) volumes 1 and 2 and a terrific run on JLA. There’s also Mark Waid’s fantastic
Superman: Birthright” story, which the movie lifted directly from at times, a stretch of great Action Comics stories written by both Geoff Johns and Paul Cornell, and DC Universe: The Stories of Alan Moore, which has a bunch of solid Superman and non-Superman stories from the 80s.

So “Man of Steel“. Where do we begin? If you wanted a ultimately meaningless number score to save some time, I would give it a 7 out of 10. If you want to know why I scored it as such, allow me to explain.

There’s a lot to like about this movie. First off, props to whoever the casting director was (2 Lazy 2 Google/IMDB). Henry Cavill, Amy Adams, Michael Shannon, Diane Lane, Russell Crowe, Kevin Costner, and Lawrence Fisbourne (who could have had more screen time in my opinion) were all great. Nothing Oscar-calibur, but I wasn’t expecting that sort of thing. I was expecting Superman. and I got it. Kinda. More on that later.

Zack Snyder is one of those directors who I feel is always style over substance, but thanks to David S. Goyer and Christopher Nolan, there’s actually some weight to the story. It’s VERY sci-fi at times, but given how Superman hasn’t had a quality movie in nearly 4 decades, I can understand why they took a new approach to the character. And again, most of it works. Snyder is very much in his element when it comes to the fight scenes, and I’m okay with the results. His style works (for the most part) when Superman throw downs with Zod and his allies, to the point where you can almost FEEL the punches when they land. Great fights scenes in comic book movies are kinda rare, which is why I like Man of Steel at overall. That and any scene with Superman and Ma Kent interacting is FANTASTIC.

Now for the bad. First off the pacing is off. The first 2/3rds of the movie zips by. Which isn’t too bad actually, because we’re all feeling a little fatigued when it comes to super hero origin dragging on in the beginning by now. But the last 2/3rd of the movie suffers for it, as the film pulls a 180 and drags for the last 40 minutes of 20. And given that this movie runs for about 2.5 hours, some stuff could have been cut out.

This is where things get spoilerish. So if you want to skip to the last paragraph, go ahead. There’s a lot of Christ comparisons in this flick, and that is a comparison I am not cool with, especially how much it’s beaten into the viewer’s head. Hans Zimmer, who’s stuff is great, really needs to turn it down a notch. His scores tends to overshadow the film to the point of distraction several times in the movie. It’s mad annoying.

Going back to the final 40 minutes of the film, expect some excessive violence, which to be honest, is very disturbing. A lot of the  Superman mythos are altered throughout the film, which I understand you have to do to sell this movie to non-comics reader, but some stuff should be considered sacred, at least in my opinion. Superman often comes off cold and smarmy at times, which is pretty much the opposite of Superman. Especially when it comes to dealing with Zodd in the end.

Overall, Man of Steel is a good movie, but the missteps keep it from being a GREAT movie. However, it’s made a TON of money so far, so my opinion is ultimately useless. Hopefully Snyder and Co. and fix things up a little for the eventual sequel, and set things up for a proper DC Film Universe.

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BROCK OF AGES

GO TEAM VENTURE! The Venture Brothers is back on the air after 3 long years! Austensibly a parody of Johnny Quest, the Venture Brothers has grown into a touching story about people with extraordinary abilities failing in ordinary ways. Packed with nerds, super-hero wannabies and other marginal social pariahs, the Venture Brothers is about US, viewed through the mirror of the pop culture we love.

There is LOTS to celebrate with the Ventures back on! Forbidden Planet has a decent amount of Venture Brothers action figures, shirts, bobbleheads and other assorted merch. Don’t see what your looking for? Have any of our talented staff help you find it…or draw it for you! SURE! Wanna’ see Brock Sampson fight Empowered in the new (amazing) Empowered Special #4 out from Dark Horse this week? Just bring up your copy, add on a few extra bucks and DEMAND a Forbidden Planeteer draw Brock Sampson into the action with a sharpy.
THAT’S the kind of extra mile I’ve just committed our unwitting staff too. WARNING: Artistic abilities may vary
SIMILAR BUT DIFFERENT

While we reel with the memories of last Sunday’s season premier and patiently await this Sunday’s new episode, let’s check out the following comics, available now, which are either great substitutes or inspiring source materials.
You should own The Complete Tick for many reasons, not the least of which is that it is written and mostly drawn by Ben Edlund. Ben is the current writer for Supernatural, but was an Angel writer and Joss Wheedon collaborator. Did you know that Edlund is also the only other human being to get a writing credit on The Venture Brothers besides Jackson Publick and Doc Hammer?
TRUE! Edlund wrote “Viva De Los Muertos,” as well as having story credits on “Careers in Science” and “Guess Who’s Coming to States Dinner?” This is because A) he’s great, but also B) Jackson Publick, a.k.a. Chris Mccullogh took over writing duties on the Tick comic once Ben left to work on the first Tick TV show. Chris wrote The Tick Karma Tornado (It’s…ok.) as well as wrote some GREAT episodes of both the Tick cartoon and live action shows.
Venture fans who DO NOT know the Tick origins of Jackson Publick’s career owe it to themselves to check it out! Also, I think Doc was Edlund’s roommate at College. It gets incestuous, I know.
For a bright, happy version of what the Venture Universe could look like, one should check out Tom Strong from Alan Moore and artist Chris Sprouse. Tom Strong is a semi-forgotten title, having been overshadowed both by Moore’s previous work and subsequent. As part of the ABC line of comics, Tom was the centerpiece, yet couldn’t compete with Top 10 and Promethia, the more interesting titles it shared a spotlight with.
Tom Strong is, like Rusty Venture, a super-scientist, born of scientific parents…only Tom is amazing at it. Where Rusty “Doc” Venture has a spindly robot handed down from his father which never seems to work right, Tom has a cool Victorian robot butler that half runs on steam. Where Doc has two sons who resent him and his life choices, Tom has a beautiful daughter, excited to follow in his footsteps.
Tom Strong is everything Rusty will never be, a beloved science hero with great hair and a working jetpack. Tom’s adventures are thrilling, new and exciting, and will remind you of the Venture Brothers for how DISsimilar they really are.
And do read Top 10 and Promethia. They are required.
WHEN THAT HAPPENS

Maybe you have a favorite show that’s NOT the Venture Brothers. Silly. Maybe they do make a comic out of it, or maybe they don’t. Next time you write a comics column, you should recommend it, and swell books like it…till then you should watch the Venture Brothers. Not just because I told you too…but because I told you too and I have a taser.

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