Category: Contributors

Val’s Toy Chest- A Bat, Knights and Deadshot

Back in the Summer of 1992, I remember reading an article in Wizard Magazine about the forthcoming Batman: The Animated Series.  I remember being really ecstatic that Barbara Gordon as Batgirl was going to be used in the series since she had been forced to retire as Batgirl in the comics after the Killing Joke. Then I waited forever to see her don the costume on the show. I still remember how there were three episodes featuring Barbara before she became Batgirl and how much I was like- c’mon already. The Animated Series Batgirl was featured in the spin-off comic, random merchandise like McDonald’s Happy Meal Toys, playing cards and Valentine’s cards before she ever appeared in the Batgirl outfit on the actual TV show. And don’t get me started on how it took five years and an appearance in Batman and Robin before we even got a Batgirl in the animated toyline- and she was completely inaccurate design-wise. Kenner nor Mattel ever released a show-accurate Batman: The Animated Series Batgirl when they were doing figures and she’s always been a major want for me. Diamond Select released both a bust and a Gallery PVC figure utilizing this design, but for the first time ever, we have a Batgirl action figure as she appeared during the Fox era of Batman: The Animated Series. Clad in her grey and blue outfit, Batgirl features several points of articulation, interchangeable hands and a figure base. My one minor quibble with the figure is her slightly inaccurate hairsculpt, but when I saw it at Toy Fair, it didn’t seem as noticeable. So look for her on our shelves starting Wednesday.

The Marvel Legends wave of the Netflix TV characters have arrived. Daredevil, Elektra, The Punisher, Jessica Jones, Blade and Bullseye are in this latest assortment which features a build-a-figure of Man-Thing. With the popularity of the Netflix shows as well as Hasbro’s beautiful sculpts, this wave should be a hit. Keeping in line with Marvel Legends, the Star-Lord and Ego 2-pack from Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2 should also be here soon.

Deadshot is joining the Joker as part of Hot Toys’ Suicide Squad collection. Featuring the character as he appeared in last year’s film, Deadshot is sculpted in the likeness of Will Smith and features several interchangeable parts including both a masked and unmasked head, a display stand as well as an impressive arsenal of accessories. I think this’ll be a fun figure to play around with.

In closing- I wanted to mention the loss of two legends over the weekend- first was director George A. Romero who managed to frighten young me back in the day with his collaboration with Stephen King on the original Creepshow.  I remember passing by a video store during the mid-80s which had no qualms about showing movies right on their TV in the window, so I remember watching Creepshow in that very window and freaking out over the scary parts. Romero was the father of the modern zombie genre including the brilliant Night of the Living Dead as well as the original Dawn of the Dead. Thanks for the scares, George.

We also lost the legendary Martin Landau this week, known for his roles on Space 1999, the classic Mission Impossible, as well as appearances on The Twilight Zone, The Outer Limits and an Oscar winning role as Bela Lugosi in Ed Wood. He was also the father of Buffy the Vampire Slayer actress, Juliet Landau. Rest in peace and thanks for everything, Mr. Landau.

 

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Batman #27: When A Batman Goes To War

Part three of Tom King’s operatic, “The War of Jokes and Riddles” arrives! Last issue had all of Gotham City’s rogues choosing sides. Joker and Riddler proved their alliance to break the Bat was doomed to start. The generals recruited their commanders. Lines were crossed and many died. Batman was reduced to a keeper of the dead’s names. Now, in Batman #27, Batman must fight back against the forces of two men who think themselves demi-Gods. Will the Dark Knight gain ground on the battlefield? Who’s the new player promised by DC’s solicits to become “the pivotal key to [this war’s] potential resolution”?

You have to hand it to the King and Janin, they aren’t going for a quiet little side story. The word operatic seems fitting for the size and tone of this lost tale. From Bruce Wayne’s narration back in the twenty-fifth issue, we know there won’t be a happy ending. The test of a good story is to know exactly what will happen and still be riveted. In great storytelling, the march towards the climax and resolution is arguably more important. Execution is everything and execution has been on point in ever sense of the word.

Challenging readers by taking on two of the most iconic villains in all of comics is a dangerous task for any creator. King and Janin are willing to rise and meet the challenge(s). Will it satisfy every Batman, Joker, and Riddler fan? No. Comic readers have a sense of ownership of the characters they lose themselves in. Especially after coming off such winning depictions by Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo, the newest creative’s teams willingness to play with these toys seems downright deranged. And yet…?

War is here. Battle lines are drawn. The battlefield is all of Gotham City. No loved ones are safe. The protector of the common good is no longer the true enemy. He has become a side note. Is this truly a Batman story? Who cares when it’s this good? Bring on the next helping of bloody jokes and broken riddles.

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Only Astonishing X-Men Can Save Us!

It’s July and there’s still one more new X-Men title to go. This one promises to be astonishing. Charles Soule is bringing us Astonishing X-Men #1 to our shelves this week. While there have been several other team books featuring Marvel’s Merry Mutants, this is the grand finale. Resurrxion began in the spring and the movement to rebuild the mutant corner of the Marvel Universe reaches its peak temperature in the middle of summer. Minds will be blown, cities threatened, old enemies return, and the cast is epic.

Charles Soule is a prolific comics creator. The writer’s no stranger to the X-Men or to major X-Men events. Architecting Death of X that showcased the fall of one of the original of Xavier’s team (RIP Cyclops) he then intensified his scope. Inhumans Vs. X-Men set the new status quo. With this event, Charles Soule made the space for the Resurrxion initiative. Almost ten titles later, the landscape for the X-Men is drastically changing. Mr. Soule is launching the final X-title and here’s hoping the best has been saved for last.

Psylocke, Old Man Logan, Bishop, Archangel, Fantomex, Rogue, and Gambit will attempt to save a world that fears mutants. How many comics is Old Man Logan in now anyway? Sidebar, sorry. Teamwork is not really on the menu. Rather, this is grouping of characters is going to be a “cast” according to the scribe. They battle an ancient evil targeting the world’s most powerful minds. Where’s Professor X when you need him? If only Emma Frost hadn’t gone cray-cray. Betsy Brandt feels like the natural focal point to kick things off. Expect a lot of epic and blockbuster action from Jim Cheung.

Will the final place of the X-Men in the Marvel Universe be solidified? Are there more X books coming? Can we finally stop having to get another number one issue with Old Man Logan in it? The House of Ideas has teed them up, now can the Astonishing X-Men deliver?

 

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Val’s Toy Chest- A Super Week!

DC Collectibles is back with another animated style offering. This time around DC is releasing a couple of characters from the classic 90s cartoon: Superman: The Animated Series. Late last year we got the “Girls’ Night Out” 5 pack which featured new figures of Supergirl and Live Wire- adding to that pair is a brand new two pack which includes Superman and Lois Lane.  Featuring both characters as designed by Bruce Timm, each figure follows the previous Batman: The Animated Series model which includes multiple interchangeable hands as well as figure stands that showcase the turnarounds of each character featured in the pack. Each figure will also feature multiple points of articulation and should make any fan of the Bruce Timm era cartoons happy. From what I understand, the Batgirl figure from Batman: The Animated Series is imminent and should be here within the next few weeks.

NECA has been busy the past few weeks, figures currently on our shelves from the company include the lost wave of Prometheus figures, Alien: Covenant figures as well as a 1/4 scale Freddy Krueger action figure from A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors. We also got a limited restock on Alien Queen figures and ED-209s from Robocop.  Coming soon will be the Predator 30th Anniversary line as well as Aliens Series 11, which includes the first ever Lambert figure with actor-approved likeness from the original Alien.  NECA has recently announced a few new products including figures from the upcoming Blade Runner film, including a killer Harrison Ford likeness, a new Aliens 2 pack featuring the first ever Burke figure and an Alien Xenomorph as well as acquiring the rights to make products from 80s horror classic Re-Animator.

Supergirl’s early 80’s adventures will finally be collected in full with the release of the Daring Adventures of Supergirl Volume 2. Featuring the final 11 issues of the Paul Kupperberg penned title, these stories came out around the time of the Supergirl film and would be Kara Zor-El’s last solo title before her character is killed off in the 1985-1986 Crisis on Infinite Earths crossover.  I haven’t read most of these stories, so I am looking forward to completing this run of Supergirl tales.

Briefly- Disney and POP fans, particularly fans of the Disney Afternoon have another figure to add to their collections with the release of the Negaduck Previews Exclusive POP vinyl from the classic Darkwing Duck TV series.  Negaduck is clad in his yellow, black and red outfit and has a red hat to complete his look. Fans of Darkwing Duck will definitely want to bring this piece home with them.

There will be a small restock on Star Wars Black Series 9 and 11 figures which feature characters such as Obi-Wan, Darth Revan, Leia, Sabine, Lando Calrissian, The Imperial Guard and Qui-Gon arriving sometime this week or early next. No word on Star Wars 40th series 2 yet however. Hopefully soon.

Sideshow has pushed the Batman v Superman Wonder Woman Hot Toys figure back again- this time with an expected release date of August-September. The final production piece has started showing up overseas, so that at least is a good sign. With the success of her solo movie, I expect this figure will fly off our shelves fast. Once I get final confirmation of her ship date, you’ll be the first to know.

As always- thanks for reading! Catch you soon!

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Dark Days: The Casting Gets Jokerized!

For all you Joker fans out there, congratulations. With “The War of Jokes and Riddles” going on over in the primary Batman series scripted by Tom King, the Clown Prince of crime is getting a bigger spotlight. This time he’s not just playing with old Batsy. No, now the Joker is playing a part in a mystery of the entire DC Multiverse in Dark Days: The Casting #1.

Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo brought the Joker to new heights with stories including “Death of the Family” and “Endgame.” Snyder and his protege, James Tynion IV made a major reveal of the Joker being (SPOILERS!) deep in the bowels of the batcave at the end of Dark Days: The Forge #1. Now, getting to play with one of his favorite toys, what carnage will Snyder wreak on the wider DC landscape. There’s nothing the Man Who Laughs like to do more than destroy the Dark Knight. All of the teasers are promising Batman’s carefully laid plans that we got hints of last month will be burned to dust by the next surprise attack of the Joker.

DC’s self-proclaimed “master class” of artists, Jim Lee, Andy Kubert, and John Romita Jr. return for this next installment leading up to Dark Knights: Metal. By the by, not knocking these three men as masters but they aren’t students or old timers past their prime (feel free to argue in the comments section). Major revelations are coming and Batman’s allies are low on trust for him. With three of the most acclaimed and beloved artists teaming with two of the best writers at DC, the mysteries will only deepen.

How will Hawkman’s warning have consequences for the heroes today? Will Duke and Green Lantern be able to look past Batman’s betrayal and guard the newest threat to the entire multiverse? And, man, this we still have the main even to come! Summer’s heating up with a smile.

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Spider-Men II Brings Answers To Miles Morales Mystery!

Marvel is finally making good on its tease from five years ago. Five years, in comic book terms that’s not the craziest amount of time to wait for a payoff. Spider-Men II #1 is fixing to answer the question from its previous series: Who is the Miles Morales of the Marvel Universe? Brian Michael Bendis is back helming this sequel bringing together the Spider-Men you know and love.

In 2012, Marvel did what they’d sworn to never do: crafted a crossover featuring characters from the Ultimate and 616 worlds. The Peter Parker, Amazing Spider-Man merry Marvelers have been reading since the swinging sixties journeyed to a world where he’d been killed. His replacement in the Ultimate Universe? Miles Morales. A kid with powers and the Spider-Man mantle who was in need of some guidance from Peter. They had a heck of a time. Fans and critics raved over the event. At the end of Spider-Men, Peter came home and looked up Miles in his world. The reaction on his face has taunted Spidey fans for five years. Now, with Miles Morales of the Ultimate Universe permanently calling the post-Secret Wars Marvel Universe home, we will learn what shocked Peter Parker. And, according to solicits, “…that’s just the tip of the iceberg.”

Bendis will be joined again by Sara Pichelli. This team has helmed some of Miles’ greatest adventures to date. The fan-favorite neighborhood Spider-Man is going to team up with Peter once again for what should be a gorgeous looking journey.

This sequel was a certainty. Hence, Spider-Men II. With the first storied team-up taking place in the Ultimate Universe it only made sense this follow up would take place in Peter’s homeworld. The question we’re going to have to weigh is, “Has it been worth the wait?” The Marvel Universe is a very different place. Miles and Peter’s relationship has been completely overhauled. Will Spider-Men II be able to do what Marvel has struggled with its events of recent years: Deliver!

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Graphic Spotlight- Planetary: Book One

There’s a tier of comic book writers who nearly transcend the art form. They push boundaries and break new ground. These writers have names like Alan Moore, Garth Ennis, Frank Miller, and Warren Ellis. Warren Ellis has several momentous series. Transmetropolitan is a fiery near sci-fi war cry. With a blunt edge that series is torturously and tumultuously cuts you with its biting satire and unforgettable lead character. Without a doubt, Transmetropolitan is a book that continues to stand the test of time and will most likely pass it forever. However, while one masterpiece is enough to put his thumbprint in the annals of comics, arguably Warren Ellis’ best written series is Planetary. And now you can pick up an ultimate sized collection of his more recent magnum opus.

Hence this new packaging of the classic sci-fi stories featuring a team of mystery archaeologists. A love letter from Edward Rice Burroughs to Isaac Asimov and all points in between, Planetary is a must read. Follow the team lead by Elijah Snow, a hundred year-old man with secrets beyond his memory. Then there’s Jakita Wagner, an extremely powerful but painfully bored woman. And their bond becomes a web you won’t want to escape from. To fill out their trinity is the drummer, a man who can communicate with machines.

Driven to tracking down evidence of superhuman activity, mind-bending adventures await you. Uncover a World War 2 supercomputer that can access alternate universe. Be sent to a lost island of monsters. Outrun a ghostly spirit of vengeance. And that’s just the appetizer to a feast for science fiction die-hards. Piece by piece the larger puzzle becomes clearer with each episodic installment of Warren Ellis’ mystery. Just when you think you’ve got the answers, he changes the questions. 

John Cassady puts forth the crowning work of his career (apologies to all you Joss Whedon Astonishin X-Men fans…NOT!). Multiple worlds and alternate histories come to life as three extraordinary people battle literal and figurative demons. And with this gut punch combo of art and character, this is storytelling at its finest. Pick it up. And if you haven’t read it in a while, PICK IT UP AGAIN!

Collects Planetary #1-14, the Planetary Sneak Peek and Planetary/The Authority: RULING THE WORLD #1.

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Graphic Spotlight – Monstress Vol. 2

After a monstrously long hiatus (see what I did there?), the next exciting act of MONSTRESS is here! This beautiful and bewitching series returns with the stakes ever higher and harder choices for the flawed and beloved characters. MONSTRESS is a feast for our eyes and quenches our brain’s thirst for personally epic storytelling. Maika is possessed by the God Monstrum, y’all! Things are not okay and now we can see if they ever will be.

MONSTRESS is a breakout hit for Image Comics. Tackling themes including racism, sexism, weakness, and classism, the series is powerful. I mean that in every sense of the word. Sana Takeda’s art is addictive. The series has walked an incredibly fine line between western comics and manga. Takeda pulls off the brilliant balancing act with engrossing images and heartrending visual storytelling. Thus, a series that is mesmerizing enough to stare at let alone read more than once. You want to look at it all the time. Takeda and writer Marjorie Liu take us back into the crisis of Maika and expands the world with her supporting cast, Kippa and Ren.

While Maika is being a…monster (I can’t help myself), Ren and Kippa journey to Thyria in search of answers to her past. But what they find will be dangers to her future. Welcome back to this alternate world where the subtext is explicit and delicious. Maika’s quest to revenge her mother’s murder will take new twists and turns. This world where the lower class is food and fuel for the upper crust will have new secrets to uncover. Where will this hero’s journey take us next? Most likely someplace pretty freakin’ dark. Without a doubt, it will be somewhere we’ll be hooked to look at. The conclusion is that Maika’s story will probably not end quite how we think it will. And whatever end we find at the end of this trade is going to be too captivating to unsee.

Collects Monstress #7-12

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Val’s Toy Chest- Another Eternal Con/New DC Multiverse

Over the weekend, I went out to Nassau Coliseum in Long Island to attend my second Eternal Con.At last year’s con, I had the opportunity to meet Brent Spiner and Elizabeth Henstridge so Eternal Con has been on my list of conventions to check out in case some actor or actress I like ended up appearing. One of the first guests announced for this year’s Eternal Con was actress Helen Slater whom some of you may recall was the first live-action Supergirl. Helen has continued to appear in DC’s live-action adaptations, first as Kal-El’s mother Lara on Smallville and in recent years as Eliza Danvers, Kara Zor-El’s adoptive mother on the CW’s Supergirl TV show. Regular readers of this column know how much I love my DC heroines, so I was determined to meet the original feature film Supergirl. Helen was a complete sweetheart and we briefly chatted about the original Supergirl film. I took my customary celebrity picture and also got an autographed 8×10 of Helen in her Supergirl outfit.

The con itself was a pretty decent one, lots of old comics as well as both newer and vintage toys and collectibles. I didn’t go too crazy with purchases this time around but there was definitely some temptation at the show. If they can get more awesome names next year, I will be back for a third Eternal Con.

This week at the store- our first shipment of the newest wave of DC Multiverse has arrived. The Atom! Batman! Batwing! Robin Duke Thomas! The Reaper! These are the characters in the current series with a build-a-figure of the Bat-Bot(listed as The Rookie on the figures’ packaging) as seen in the Jim Gordon Batman run from a year or so ago. The Atom is based on Brandon Routh’s portrayal of the character on DC’s Legends of Tomorrow TV series and includes a masked and unmasked head to portray Ray whichever way you want him. He also comes with a smaller version of himself to simulate his shrinking action.  Batman and Batwing are based on the current Rebirth versions of the characters while Duke Thomas hails from the “We Are Robin” storyline. Duke also comes with an alternate head. The most out of left field choice however is the Reaper figure from Batman: Year Two which is one I never thought I’d ever see. The Reaper comes decked out in full red armor, shiny skull mask and includes a couple of scythes. I haven’t gotten around to opening him up yet but I think I can safely say that he will most likely end up on my top 10 figures list this year.

Briefly:

New Game of Thrones POPs including a bearded Tyrion, Bran Stark and a Battle of the Bastards 2 pack featuring Jon Snow and Ramsay Bolton.

WWE POPs of Sasha Banks and Chris Jericho, as well as Pint-Sized Heroes Blind Bags of the WWE wrestlers.

Iron Man Mark 46 has arrived to add to your collection of Captain America: Civil War Hot Toys. Die-cast and featuring loads of interchangeable parts and a character base- Tony probably won’t last too long.

Anyway that’s it for me this week- see you next time!

 

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Deadpool Kills Every Marvel Hero Again!

Deadpool is going to kill every Marvel character EVER! Wait, didn’t we already read that story? Yeah, we did. It was called DEADPOOL KILLS THE MARVEL UNIVERSE. And it was awesome and epic and, um, other words that equate to awesome and epic. Well, it looks like the ol’ Merc With The Mouth is going to kill everyone and everything all over again. Encore, baby! Hence the explicit “Again” in the title of DEADPOOL KILLS THE MARVEL UNIVERSE AGAIN #1.

There are no do-overs in life. And yet in comics? Oh, hell yeah. Because who doesn’t like a reboot, retcon, or retelling? Therefore we always love the elseworld and “what if” stories. Doing it all over again, with some fun new wrinkles thrown into the story you think you know, can be fun! Since there are only seven basic plots then Deadpool killing all your faves was bound to get a redux treatment. At least it’s with the same creators that brought you the original.

Yup, this new shiny polished reimagining of the “classic” is brought to by the same trigger-happy writer and artist. Cullen Bunn, who’s writing of the fourth-wall breaking mutant has been some of the most fan-favorite of the last decade is going to rewrite Deadpool’s violent outbreak. Dalibor Talajic is also back to put on a display of all the gory details. Thus, we’re all in good hands! How is this all different from the last time that the chimichanga lovin’ assassin killed the Marvel Universe?

The creators have stated that this is a “different time.” Are we in a parallel world? Maybe we’re not even part of the Marvel multiverse. We’ll certainly get to find out starting this Wednesday. Any bets on which Marvel heavy gets taken out first? Spider-Man? Wolverine? Cable? And what’s the spread on how Deadpool wastes folks? I dare say, let the dead pool begin…again!

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Batman #26 Escalates Into War

Batman’s greatest defeat is beginning to take shape. Last issue we saw the beginning of Bruce Wayne’s confession. Now, the terrible war he could not stop is about to escalate. After the shocking alliance in part one, just what will two of the Dark Knight’s greatest foes do next? And how many lives will be in the balance?

The War of Jokes and Riddles” had a heck of a kickoff. The Riddler and The Joker are united. They have one goal: End the pointy-eared vigilante’s existence. It’s the only way they’ll laugh and riddle again. To do so, they’re about to take their feud to the next level. When the other villains in Gotham City are forced to choose sides no one will get out unscathed. Whose side will you be on? And will their be unexpected casualties in the crossfire? Bats is going to have to push himself beyond limits to keep civilians out of harm’s way.

Most definitely the core Batman title has been on an upswing. Each new story arc seems to be raising the bar for Tom King and his cadre of artists. Due to that, what began with a solid start has grown into a must-read saga.When a new creative team takes over on a title, there are questions. “Will this be the same character as I think of him?” “Is the next adventure be as good as the last?” “Can the book look the same or cooler?” Needless to say, following Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo, Tom King and David Finch needed to have good answers.

King’s Batman is arguably more human. Therefore, he doesn’t deny that he has emotions. He isn’t insensitive to others’. Hence there’s almost something romantic in this exploration of the seventy-eight year-old character. That’s far from a bad thing. To see a new side of an older character is often rewarding. How the change effects him for the long-term when King and crew move on will be the real barometer of success.

One thing’s for certain, the creator’s Riddler and Joker have been exciting. This next chapter is chocked full of devastating potential.

 

 

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Val’s Toy Chest- High-End Items

Hey guys- not a lot of new stuff this week at the moment. There are, however some high-ticket items coming in this week and beyond courtesy of the folks from Sideshow.

Scheduled to arrive this week from Sideshow is my personal favorite- the Black Canary. Part of Sideshow’s Premium Format figure line, Dinah Laurel Lance’s statue features her standing atop a base designed to look like a section of a brick wall. Designed by Stanley Artgerm Lau, Dinah looks ready to throw down as she is shushing someone, possibly in preparation to release her earth-shattering Canary Cry. Black Canary is a mixed media statue featuring resin as well as fabric and would make any fan of the character happy. Standing about 21″ high, this piece would make an impressive centerpiece in any DC collection.

Coming relatively soon will be the next piece in Hot Toys’ Captain America: Civil War line- Iron Man! I’d say the figure based on the most recent cinematic armor in Tony Stark’s arsenal should be here sometime within the next week and a half. Based on its appearance in the aforementioned movie, the Iron Man Mark XLVI will be die-cast and have the usual Hot Toys articulation as well as interchangeable parts including a Tony Stark head to swap onto the Iron Man armor. Iron Man Hot Toys always seem to do well, so if you want one of these act as soon as possible. That being said, Iron Man will also feature in Spider-Man: Homecoming and the inevitable Hot Toys figure has already been announced and looks just as awesome as past figures have been.

Fans of old school suspense and horror movies will get a kick out of this next item. Mondo has crafted a 1/6 figure of one of the most renowned film directors ever- Alfred Hitchcock! Dressed in a suit and featuring a director’s chair as well as other accessories, Alfred Hitchcock would be a welcome addition to any film buff’s collection. He should probably arrive around the same time as the above-mentioned Iron Man figure.

NECA surprised me last week with the release of their 1/4 scale Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Movie Leonardo figure. The third in the series, Leo should be a popular item as he joins his brothers on your toy shelf. Leonardo features several points of articulation as well as his trademark katana. We also received the “lost” wave of Prometheus action figures at the tail end of last week which features figures of Shaw, Fifield and Vickers.  Each figure in this set is sculpted to resemble their respective actors and are in scale with past Prometheus/Aliens/Predator figures. Moreover, NECA recently announced series 12 of their Aliens line and it will feature two battle-damaged Xenomorphs, a new Ripley figure and a new Vasquez figure. I think my NECA Aliens figure collection is going to become a Vasquez/Ripley collection at this point as these new figures completely hit it out of the park.

That’s all for me this week- I should be at a convention this weekend and I will try and have a report here next week! See you then!

 

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Wonder Woman’s Odyssey Reaches It’s Apex!

Wonder Woman is currently destroying the standards for a female led superhero at the box office. The momentum behind the Amazonian princess is at a peak. This week, Greg Rucka and Bilquis Evely, look to have a major tentpole moment of their own in Wonder Woman #25. Everything Rucka has crafted with his top tier artists, Liam Sharp, Nicola Scott, and Evely, is coming to a head. Everything that began in “The Lies,” “Year One”, and that has continued with “The Truth” and “Godwatch” is going to be tied up in this extra-sized anniversary issue.

Her Rebirth has been something pretty extraordinary to behold. In the waning moths of the New 52 era, Themyscira’s greatest living import had been on rough times both critically and commercially in comic shops. After a resurgence for the first couple of years under the creative guide of Brian Azzarello and Cliff Chiang, fans had been leaving her on the shelf. Like so many titles though, the new initiative from DC ended up being a benefit to the characters, comic shops, and comic book readers. Except Wonder Woman has been unique even in the way she came charging back to the forefront of DC.

With a twice-monthly publishing schedule now, Mr. Rucka devised a way to keep his superstar artists fresh by having two stories in alternating issues. “The Lies” and “The Truth” have rolled out in the even numbered installments while the odds belonged to “Year One” and “Godwatch.” It was ambitious, to say the least. It did pose a challenge though: Would readers be able to keep up with both stories? Would it confuse consumers? How would they relate to one another. At long last, even though it’s not quite as long since, again, the book comes out twice a month, we’re going to see how everything comes to a close with what has been promised as an incredible finale. One of Wonder Woman’s most beloved creators is saying, “Goodbye”, and this issue will be the defining moment in his celebrated return to her adventures.

Will this final issue be the payoff we WW fans have been waiting for? Find out tomorrow!

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Venom-Verse Ramps Up This Week!

EDGE of VENOM-VERSE starts here!

It began as a series of variant covers and grew from there. Marvel released twenty-six Venom inspired variant covers in March of this year. Maybe the success of the initiative surprised them. Somebody over in the offices there thought, “Hey, fans really like these covers, is there a world with all of these Venomized characters we can play with?” Or maybe they had this idea in their head all along and were waiting for the fans response. Either way, Marvel has another event coming to us this summer and Edge of Venom-Verse #1 from Matthew Rosenberg and Roland Boschi is the beginning of the runway.

The Edge of Venom-Verse will be similar to the Edge of Spider-Verse series a couple years back (because anything Spidey can do, Venom can do better!). Each one-shot will showcase another character in a slightly altered reality that is attached to everyone’s favorite alien symbiote. For the House of Ideas’ first trick, X-23!

The story begins familiar enough. A young female clone of Wolverine is being cryogenically cooked up and is designated X-23. However, when she ends up crossing paths with a strange alien symbiote during her escape from The Facility, she makes a bond of a kind she didn’t bargain for. Now, with the symbiote influencing her every thought and driving her to madness will she be able to fight it or will they become Venom? It might be a dull story if she doesn’t but you never know. There might be a curveball thrown in.

Let’s all be honest, we really just want to see X-23 pop some claws looking like she’s going to bite some crook in half. Part of the appeal of Venom is, besides looking super cool, it unleashes your inner rage. No filters pop up anywhere. An X-23 with a symbiote assisted berserker rage? Yes, please.

 

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Crosswind #1 Takes Deadly Twists And Turns

Crosswind #1 is the Freaky Friday from Hell.

Fan-favorite creators Gail Simone and Cat Staggs are bringing you a new creator-owned series from Image Comics. It’s a deadly body swapping story involving a Chicago hitman and a Seatlle housewife. It sounds like an eighties sitcom put through the Cinemax lens (you never watched Banshee or Strike Back? Get to it!). There’re some high hopes that this will be a mind-bending hit from the home of the most critically acclaimed creators looking for some more editorial control over their content. For fans of sci-fi crime and mistaken identity stories that Hitchcock would have salivated over, this might be the new read you didn’t know you were missing.

The kind of story Crosswind is offering hinges on execution. In general, the best chance we have of figuring out if the execution will be excellent are the preview pages and the creators. It’s no secret that there are about five hundred comics that come out every month. That’s a lot of paper competing for the credits in your wallet. There has to be something to entice you that this series above a lot of others is going to be worth what you’ve worked hard for and will be a treat for that effort.

Gail Simone last hit us with Clean Room. It was a rather dark turn from a writer known for giving levity in even the most dire circumstances her characters go through. It was a critical home run for Vertigo, a publisher that was in need of a few of those at the time. Cat Staggs has been a cover hitmaker for a few years and has been growing more confident in her interior work. Her covers for the Wonder Woman ’77 story made Lynda Carter fans squeal and her Orphan Black work was the best part of the series. She’s been a highlight for every project she’s touched thus far. There’s a real chance of a new dynamic duo on the creator-owned scene.

Crosswind has a familiar hook, two intriguing respected creators, and the fact that they’re about to unleash their vision as they see fit on our shelves. Could be a fun ride filled with a lot of barrel rolls.

 

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