Category: Contributors

Val’s Toy Chest- POPs Everywhere…

As I was working in the Forbidden Planet Forbidden Zone(aka the basement) today, I realized we have a TON of POP vinyls down here. They are still extremely popular and Funko certainly has one of the widest array of licenses out there. Since Friday, we’ve received about ten-to-twelve new POP figures and there’s definitely a whole bunch more coming. One of the hottest series thus far is the Golden Girls-so much so, that we’re currently sold out of the quartet. We should be getting more of those however, so I’ll save my Saint Olaf/Sicily stories for another time. For what we do have in stock- Labyrinth POPs just arrived. We have all four of the figures in now and I know that the Jareth POP will go fast- he is David Bowie after all. Sarah (Jennifer Connelly!) with Worm, Hoggle and the 6″ Ludo round out the series. A new series of Doctor Who POPs are in featuring variants on Doctors 10, 11, and 12. The 12th Doctor with guitar is pretty awesome. A 6″ Davros has also arrived. Though I’m not the biggest Whovian, an Amy Pond and an Astrid Peth need to happen. (Astrid was portrayed by Australian Pop star/ex-Cammy Kylie Minogue and I’d LOVE a POP figure of her.)  Something new that Funko is trying this year is the new collection of POP Pets. Several different kinds of dogs and cats are in this first wave and they are pretty darn cute. I’m a cat person myself and I think the Siamese is precious. Batman fans that prefer a little camp with their Dark Knight have the Joker from the 1967-1968 season’s “Surf’s Up! The Joker’s Under” dressed in his baggies and complete with surfboard to add to their collection.  No sign of Batman yet, though he’s probably out repelling a shark somewhere. Racing back onto our shelves is the Zoom POP from the most recent season of The Flash. I wouldn’t wait on that one FYI. Finally for you 80’s enthusiasts out there, Funko has introduced a line of scented POPs featuring everyone’s favorite fragrant female- Strawberry Shortcake. We have her and Lemon Meringue currently. Strawberry Shortcake smells like bubble bath in my opinion.

Other toys and toy-related items this week:

DC Collectibles has five brand new statues out this week from the recent Suicide Squad film. I haven’t seen it yet, but all my friends are currently split on it. We’ll see.  Characters that we have statues of include Deadshot, The Joker, Katana, Croc and Harley Quinn.

The Captain Phasma Hot Toys from Star Wars: The Force Awakens has arrived and she is beautiful. The chrome armor looks really striking and I hope she plays more of a role in the next films. Speaking of that film and Hot Toys, I just got notice that a certain someone will be scavenging her way into our store within the next couple of weeks. If you were a fan of Rey, she’ll be making her way in as a single figure soon. No word on the Rey/BB-8 two pack yet.

NECA has been crafting figures in 8-bit style for several years now and this time around we get a cool two-pack featuring one of the iconic games of the 80’s, Contra. The two pack features two fully articulated action figures painted to resemble the 8-bit style as well as a ton of accessories to recreate the video-game experience on your own shelves.

Lastly, my very first column featured a write-up on the Dark Horse Art of He-Man book which I can’t recommend enough. Continuing this tradition, I thought I’d mention the release of the complete guide to He-Man and She-Ra which will be on shelves this week.  The new book sounds like a blast as it details the Filmation adventures including trivia, synopses and more, I am definitely going to grab one ASAP!

 

Post to Twitter

Chris’ Comics: Batgirl & The Birds of Prey #1

Nightwing #3 also shipped this week, and it’s a pretty good comic that features Barbara Gordon. However, so did B&BOP #1, which offers me MUCH more to talk about.

B013-Batgirl-and-the-Birds-of-Prey-1-Cover-214dcBatgirl & the Birds of Prey #1

Julie and Shawna Benson, Claire Row, Allen Passalaqua, Steven Wands

DC $2.99

It’s rare that I get to say that I have a guilty pleasure comic. Most of the comics I pull are critical darlings, or massive fan favorites. Then we have Batgirl and the Birds of Prey, which not only has a trio of character I like, but also a trio of female creators attached to the book. Should be a slam dunk for me right? No, the art is often ugly, and the dialogue is still WAY too over dramatic. Yet I can’t stop reading this book.

Birds of Prey #1 is the every cliche first meeting turn fight turn team up we’ve all come to expect from super hero books (Nightwing even chimes in on in, turning it into a running gag). Batgirl and Black Canary don’t trust Huntress, who Babs finally pieces together is Dick Grayson’s old spy partner/boss, but they come to terms with her so they can figure out who this new Oracle is. Unfortunately for our heroes, this new Oracle has a Batgirl-and-the-Birds-of-Prey-1-3plan, and this plan is SNAKE THEMED VILLAINS. Between this and the aforementioned Nightwing, it seems DC Rebirth is actually editorial ways of forcing BIG SNAKE onto the populace, and  I am okay with this.

I don’t want to crap on Claire Row‘s art, but there are some really questionable panels in this book. Barbara Gordon looks fine without her cowl on, but once it’s on, the shape of her head can only be described as “potato-esque”. Also there’s several instances where it looks like character’s teeth are trying to escape their mouths. With Roe as the inker and the pencilier, it leaves very little room for colorists Allen Passalaqua to make any improvements in this book. Their contributions are excellent, and its a shame that the line art he’s coloring isn’t better.

And like I said above, a lot of the dialogue from is bad, Julie and Shawna Benson as there’s a few instances where the characters argue with each other via screaming their motivations. Black Canary is often the voice of reasons and the only character who sounds remotely human. They do a fine job of showing that this new Oracle has gotten under Bab’s skin, so her acting slightly out of character at times is fine. But their Huntress spits Batgirl-and-the-Birds-of-Prey-1-7out cliche tough guy line after line to the point where it’s hilarious more than anything.

But that being said, I can’t stop buying and reading this book. It’s heavily flawed, but also crazy fun. While the art isn’t so hot in some areas, it’s more than serviceable in others, especially when it comes to the Babs and Canary versus Helena fight. And while the dialogue is so bad it’s good, the script itself and plot are pretty solid. So while there’s arguable better cape books on the stands, this is THE MOST CW DC book on the market, which means I MUST READ IT, despite my constant avoidance of Arrow.

 

Post to Twitter

Chris’ Comics: Supergirl Rebirth

supergirlrebirthSupergirl Rebirth

Steve Orlando, Emanuela Lupaccino, Ray Mccarthy, Michael Atiyeh

DC $2.99

Supergirl is one of those DC characters I’m a fan of in theory, but rarely actually read any of the comics she appears in. While I’m a fan of how she’s been handled when it comes to animation and live action incarnations (the current CBS/CW Supergirl series, not the movie mind you), the comics Supergirl starred a character that was either too angry or sexed up, or in the case of the Peter David penned series, too weird. As fate would have it, DC editorial got their stuff together for Rebirth/the CW re-airing of the first season of Supergirl to make a comic that’s the perfect gateway book.

Supergirl Rebirth sees Kara Zor-El get shot into the sun, fight a Kryptonian werewolf,  and start high school. On paper that may sound weird (and also awesome), but keep in mind this book is written by Steve Orlando, who’s run on Midnighter was anything but conventional. Much like Supergirl, Orlando is a someone I wish I was more familiar with, as a PDF of his acclaimed graphic novel Virgil remains unread on my iPad. Orlando is great on his Supergirl debut, making his Supergirl a powerful and skilled fighter, but also Supergirl-Rebirth-Preview-Page-2-1-420x300someone who’s very compassionate. Marvel has done a excellent job of producing comics where the heroes want to see their villains rehabilitated, rather than just punched and punished, and it’s nice to see Orlando bring that sort of thing to DC, and make it feel natural. Speaking of feeling natural, I’m unsure how much of the elements popularized by the live action show were influenced by the comics and vice versa, but Orlando manages to make a book that incorporates elements like the Danvers and the D.E.O. work without ignoring work done by previous creators.

On the art side of things, we get the team of Emanuela Lupaccino, Ray McCarthy, & Michael Atiyeh, fresh from their run on the recently concluded Starfire series. I can’t think of a better trio of artists for a Supergirl book, as Lupancchino’s pencils inject the type of life and energy you’d expect when you think of a Superman comic. There’s a double 5384914-sgreb_1_5spread of Kara flying out of the sun that just screams iconic, and it’s nice to see a  Supergirl comic where she’s smiling again. McCarthy’s inks are clean, ensuring everything that Lupacciono puts down on paper ends up in the final art, and Atiyeh’s colors are gorgeous.

Supergirl Rebirth is probably not a book I’ll be reviewing every month, but it’s definitely good enough for me to catch up via trade. That being said, if you have more of an investment in the title character or any element of the creative team, it’s an extremely fun book with a ton of promise. It’s the type of start you want from a new creative team, and something DC needed to do with the IP. If Orlando, Lupacchino and co can continue the moment they established here, we should be in store for a pretty good run for a character who needs more of them.

 

Post to Twitter

Chris’ Comics: The Wicked & The Divine #22

 

TheWickedAndTheDivine_22-1The Wicked & The Divine #22

Kieron Gillen, Jamie McKelive, Matt Wilson, Clayton Cowles

Image $3.99

The timing of this issue of The Wicked + The Divine couldn’t be better, given the current drama surrounding the Steve Universe fandom.  Toxic Fandoms are something that affect comics on the regular, i.e. anytime a creator gets death threats for taking a book in an unpopular direction, and it’s cool to see WicDiv attempting to have another discussion about that while pushing it’s narrative forward.

The Wicked & The Divine #22 wraps up the current arc, with an ending that can be best described as “THIS IS FINE!” While I won’t be spoiling the ending here, I’m glad to say the finale of this arc isn’t as much as of endgame for the series as I previously imagined. Yes it definitely wraps up this action heavy arc, but how this book ends sets up a few more arcs nicely. The downside is that the potential for disaster for these gods remains YoUChildrenat an all-time high, as someone may have bitten off a little more then they can chew.

Matt Wilson and Jamie McKelvie’s art for this arc has been nothing short of career defining, and this issue is no different. We get the artistic duo’s most graphically violent scene to date, and I say that well aware that this is a book where heads and people explode on a semi-regular basis. There’s also an amazing double spread (accompanied by some choice Kieron Gillen dialogue) and a nice visual callback to another character at the end that will have long time readers worried about the remaining cast members. McKelvie’s lay out and facial expression are top notch as always, but Wilson really takes things to the next level. “Neon ultra violence” is the best way to describe the colorist’s contributions to this book, with blood reds playing off of bright greens, blues, pinks and whites.  Issue 22 is another gorgeous issue, and it’s hard to imagine a better artist/colorist duo working in comics than McKelvie and Wilson.

Writer Kieron Gillen is also doing some amazing stuff with this book’s dialogue. The humor in this book is great, being perfectly self-aware when it needs to be and completely devastating for maximum effect. There’s a bit where a character does something absolutely savage, but the reasoning behind it is all too sound. It’s shades of gray characterization like that make Gillen such a fantastic writer, and makes the book all the more compelling. There’s also a bit of running gag between Amaterasu and the Norns this issue that’s simultaneously funny, but also manages to show wickedandivine26 (1)how immature and naive Ammy is. Again, I adore how complex and layered this cast is, and am fully expecting to feel all sorts of awful once the creative team starts killing them off.

The Wicked + The Divine is a rare book that somehow gets better with every arc. While this issue ends one threat, it unintentionally sets up so many other potential problems, which is both exciting and terrifying to me as a reader. It’s a book that continues to be a fantastic read every issue as well as incredibly topical in an era where some fans have problems accepting actors/actresses based solely on their skin color or sex.

Christopher Troy is a freelance writer/editor/snarky jerk on the internet. He can be found here weekly, on Twitter@TheAnarCHris, and is the co-creator/writer the webcomic “In The Name of Thy Mother”. Please don’t @ him with your scorching hot film TAKES.

Post to Twitter

Val’s Toy Chest- Elm Street Denizens

I couldn’t make it out to Monster Mania in New Jersey this past weekend, so I ended up missing the mini- A Nightmare on Elm Street 4: The Dream Master Reunion. The fourth Elm Street is widely considered to be the film that firmly placed Freddy Krueger in the cultural zeitgeist, particularly since it was the highest grossing of the Elm Street films until the release of Freddy Vs Jason. I chose ANOES 4 as my top Elm Street film during my Halloween countdown last year, so this time out I thought I’d delve into my 10 favorite non-Freddy characters from across the franchise.008215714354

10. Kristen Parker-(A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors and A Nightmare on Elm Street 4: The Dream Master) Kristen had her moments of strength but in the long run was no match for Freddy as he incinerated her in 4, though not before she passed her abilities to Alice. Played by Oscar winner Patricia Arquette in 3 and singer/actress Tuesday Knight in 4.

9. Dan Jordan– (ANOES 4 and A Nightmare on Elm Street 5: The Dream Child) Heroine Alice’s love interest, Dan was one of the few to believe and try to help her during the events of 4. Dan was dispatched in 5 when Freddy merged his body to a motorcycle with bloody and painful results, especially in the uncut version as seen on VHS and laserdisc. Dan’s appeal is mostly due to his chemistry with Alice and he broke the mold of the stereotypical jock you’d see in an 80s film. Played by Danny Hassel.

8.  Lt. Donald Thompson– (A Nightmare on Elm Street, ANOES 3 and briefly in Wes Craven’s New Nightmare) Nancy’s father was one of the original mob to take vigilante justice out on Fred Krueger, creating a monster in the process. He refused to believe his daughter when she started seeing Freddy in her dreams due to his own guilt and endangered her in the process. After being forced to reveal Freddy’s resting place, Thompson had a fatal encounter with Freddy’s skeleton a la Ray Harryhausen and was impaled on the back of a Cadillac in part 3. Played by legendary actor John Saxon.

7. Roland Kincaid– (ANOES3 and ANOES 4)  A no nonsense character, Kincaid had a heart of gold and wasn’t afraid to speak his mind- Kincaid survived part 3 with Kristen and Joey but was stabbed in the gut by Freddy in part 4. Played by Ken Sagoes.

6. Lisa Webber– (A Nightmare on Elm Street 2: Freddy’s Revenge) Lisa makes it on the list as she faced her fears and confronted Freddy at a power plant in an effort to free Jesse Walsh’s body from Krueger’s possession. It is unknown what happened to Lisa as she is never mentioned again in the series. Played by Kim Myers.

5. Tina Grey/Kris Fowles– (ANOES 1984/ANOES 2010)  The two characters are essentially the same, Tina was Nancy’s best friend and had some great scenes with her during the first film. Kris was an acquaintance of her Nancy and when she started having bad dreams, she tried to get to the bottom of the Fred Krueger mystery, to no avail. Tina and Kris were killed in the same manner with Freddy dragging her across the ceiling and slashing her to death. Tina also gets bonus points for her bloody body bag scene in the original. Tina was played by Amanda Wyss and Kris by Katie Cassidy.

4. Taryn White– (ANOES 3) Fighting her drug-addicted past, this teenager envisioned herself as a punk goddess in her dreams. Being beautiful and bad couldn’t save her as Freddy injected her with a lethal dose of drugs thru his syringed hands. Portrayed by Jennifer Rubin.

3. Debbie Stevens– (ANOES 4) The rare female jock, Debbie was all about improving her body. She also didn’t believe in Freddy but he went all Kafka on her and crushed her like a bug. One of only two characters on this list to have an action figure, the Debbie Stevens figure wasn’t a good seller, but it remains one of my favorite Elm St collectibles. Played by Brooke Theiss.

696198250442

2. Alice Johnson-(ANOES 4 and ANOES 5) Alice started off as a shy introvert but once her friends started dying off, she used their strength, as well as her own confidence to help defeat Freddy twice- surviving both encounters. Alice was played by genre actress Lisa Wilcox.

1. Nancy Thompson-(ANOES, ANOES 3 and WCNN) Nancy is the original Elm Street heroine and nothing compares to her pluck and courage taking on Freddy in the first film particularly. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, Nancy running into Freddy’s arms in an attempt to pull him out of her dreams solidifies her place as most badass horror heroine ever. Nancy is killed off in 3 after Freddy tricks her with a vision of her father then stabs her to death. Nancy is the only other character on this list to have a figurine (though she deserves a better one, NECA). Nancy was portrayed by Heather Langenkamp, who now does special effects for plenty of genre shows and movies.

Briefly: Play Arts Kai is releasing an Armored Batman for their Batman V Superman line this week and we should be getting a shipment of Hot Toys The Force Awakens Captain Phasma soon. Just in are two new POP vinyls of Alex from A Clockwork Orange and Willa Holland’s Speedy(now with sword!) from Arrow. 889698100847

Post to Twitter

Chris’ Comics: Spider-Man/Deadpool #8

Spider-Man_Deadpool_Vol_1_8_TextlessSpider-Man/Deadpool #8

Joe Kelly, Ed McGuinness, Mark Morales, Livesay, Jason Keith

Marvel $3.99

After a 2 month break, the team of Joe Kelly and Ed McGuinness return to Spider-Man/Deadpool to wrap up their first arc. Truth be told I had no idea that the “Bromance” arc had another chapter left in it, but I’m not complaining. This issue sees our dynamic duo going after the person who put a hit on Peter Parker, something Spidey hasn’t gotten over yet. To be fair, Deadpool did kill him twice.

10000 years ago when Joe Kelly was writing Deadpool, the usually comedic book had the tendency to dip into some dark territory, which made sense given the fact that Wade Wilson killed people for money. This issue of Spidey/Deadpool is very much like those comics, only with a darker, angrier Spider-Man playing the role of the brooding lead. At first glance that MAY sound terrible, but Kelly does enough to with the concept to make it work, via suggesting that a high-end villian may be messing with our boys. Also angry-pants Spidey makes the usually sassy spideydp-8-3-193708and violent Deadpool the straight man in this pairing (well as straight as a pansexual character can get), which is humorous for it’s own set of reasons. Joe Kelly makes sure that Spider-Man’s morals are never compromised, so he doesn’t stray too far from the character’s M.O..  So while it’s a darker issue than what we’ve been use to, but not to the point where it’s ever too overbearing.

Ed McGuiness is once again incredible on this book. Not only does he design a slick new suit for Spider-Man, but he does some fantastic work designing a trio of grotesque monsters for the issues. There’s also a bitty Wolverine, which is somehow cuter than it sounds. I love what the new suit does for McGuiness’ Spidey, who looks more menacing and sleeker during the book extended fight scene. A lot of it is done via his body language, and which paired with the more sinister colors by Jason Keith help make Spidey look more aggressive and blood thirsty. Those are words usually not associated with the web-help, but it works because it’s so off model, not to mention just looks cool. I also dig that the monsters McGuinness cooks up definitely pay homage to video games and horror manga, but still end up looking unique that you can’t quite place where you’ve seen these beasts before. spideydp-8-5-193710Inking Mcguinness this month are Mark Morales and Livesay, who do a bang up job of keeping this book clean looking.

Spider-Man/Deadpool remains a title that reads as great as it looks. Allowing the creative team to take a break between arcs was a good call, and I’m glad they’re rested and back producing a great looking book. Issue #8 is comic that will definitely surprise readers, possibly shock them, but not in a way that will alienate them. I’m really curious as to what the next arc will bring, and what the relationship our heroes have with the mysterious Patient Zero. Super Hero Team up books are RARELY this good, so I cannot recommend this title enough.

 

Post to Twitter

Chris’ Comics: All-Star Batman #1

asbatman1cvrAll-Star Batman #1

Scott Snyder, John Romita Jr, Danny Miki, Dean White, Declan Shalvey, Jordie Bellaire

DC, $4.99

Bruce Wayne is having one of those days. You know the ones, where everything is #$%ed and everybody sucks. The type of days that have you packing a chainsaw, to skin some dudes raw. And if Bruce’s day keeps going this wa- okay I’ll stop.

All-Star Batman #1 is the double sized return of Scott Snyder to Batman, paring one of the most acclaimed Batman writers of our time with modern legend John Romita Jr, and current artistic tour-de-force Declan Shalvey. While I’ve stated that I REALLY REALLY REALLY don’t like paying $5 for single issues, it’s hard to say no to a creative team like this, also my ability to not spend money is questionable at best.

The debut of this new, villain focused All-Star Batman sees Batman and ol Harvey Dent taking a little road trip to try solve Harvey’s Two-Face problem. Two-Face, reimagined as All-Star-Batman-1-pagesome sort of crime boss Snowden, has put quite the bounty on the Bat which means everyone from Firefly to common folk are gunning for Batman. The Shalvey and Jordie Bellaire colored back up has Batman working with former We Are Robin lead/Snyder created character Duke Thomas to investigate a murder that appear to be unrelated to the Two-Face arc. Both tales have some incredible twists to them, ensuring that readers/suckers like me come back to spend $5 again next month.

John Romita Jr is an artist whose work I’ve been exposed to a lot, as I grew up reading hella Spider-Man comics. It does feel odd to see him draw Batman, but that does not at all mean his work on this book is bad, far from it. He’s an excellent fit for the title and this universe, bringing the right amount of bombastic action to a story that’s heavy on fight scenes. His take on Two-Face is terrific, and the last page of his story is possibly the greatest collection of panels assembled in 2016. Inking JRJR is Danny Miki, who is superb, with Dean White providing the book with some gorgeous colors. The Declan All-Star-Batman-1-DC-Comics-Rebirth-Spoilers-1Shalvey & Jordi Bellaire story is a little more contained, slower paced and something you’d expect from a Scott Snyder Batman comic. It’s gorgeous in its own right, offering sleek visuals to a more psycho-analytical story.

I’ve dug a number of past Scott Snyder-penned Batman stories, and All-Star Batman is no different. But this larger page count and multiple artist project allows Snyder to flex his creative muscles and tell the type of cerebral detective story we’re use to with the back-up, with the main story being an over the top action story.  Year Zero certainly hinted at that sort of thing with crossbow wielding dirt bike Batman, but here we get the next level of that with CHAINSAW TRUCKER Batman. It’s a nice counter offer to the more traditional super heroics seen in the Tom King Batman series, as well the more X-Men influenced Detective Comics.

All Star Batman is my favorite thing to come out of Rebirth so far. Given a murder’s row of artists and his own little corner of the Bat universe to play in, Snyder is now allowed to tell his own stories, free of worry of the current status quo, and with some of the most iconic villains in the industry. As much as I’m against five dollars comics, this is definitely the rare exception that is worth every penny.

 

 

Post to Twitter

Val’s Toy Chest Extra- Who’s Who in the DC Universe- Black Canary

Just a fun spread found in this week’s print issue of the Weekly Planet to commemorate the release of DC Collectibles’ Black Canary/Laurel Lance action figure. I wanted to share it here as well.

Template based on the 1985 DC Comics series: Who’s Who: The Definitive Directory of the DC Universe.

Layout: Justin Bacolo

Text: Valentine Chhann

BC (1)

 

Post to Twitter

Val’s Toy Chest- Laurel Lance Leaves Her Mark

She’s finally here! After months of delays, the brand new DC Collectibles Laurel Lance/Black Canary action figure from Arrow will be arriving in store. Regular readers of this column know how long I’ve been waiting for this one to drop and I am thrilled to say she is now available to purchase! Clad in her black outfit, the Laurel Lance action figure comes with interchangeable hands and Laurel’s tonfa as well as multiple points of articulation and is based on Katie Cassidy’s portrayal of the sonic siren during season 3 of Arrow. Currently available product from Arrow include: Malcolm Merlyn, John Diggle and the evil one, er..Felicity Smoakas well as the Funko POP of Speedy. Also out this week is the season 3 version of Arrow. If the Flash characters are more to your liking, we still have Heat Wave and Reverse Flash in stock as well.

Non CW-based DC Collectible products arriving this week include the Darwyn Cooke Harley Quinn figure joining the previously released Supergirl and Batman figures, a DC Cover Girls Raven statue and plush dolls of Super-Pets Ace and Jumpa.

POP vinyls have proven to be extremely popular over the past few years and we’ve gotten in a bunch of new ones over the past few weeks as well as restocks on a few others. The Agent formerly known as Skye has shaken up our POP shelves with the arrival of the Quake/Agent Daisy Johnson POP from Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD. We have also received the first of the new Impopster line of DC POPs including the Riddler and Poison Ivy as Batman and Batgirl, respectively. The remainder of Mega Man POP characters, A-Team POPs and a restock on the massive POP Rides Wonder Woman and her Invisible Jet round out our POP vinyl arrivals for the week.

Last but not least, the latest Marvel Select figures are dropping this week as well. This release features Captain America and The Winter Soldier as both appeared in this summer’s amazing Captain America: Civil War. Each figure features the usual standard of articulation that Marvel Select is known for as well as character specific accessories.

Briefly:

New Muppets select figures are scheduled to drop including Bunsen and Beaker, Statler and Waldorf and everyone’s favorite Electric Mayhem drummer: Animal!

The next wave of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Minimates are coming in featuring Space versions of several fan favorite characters including Casey Jones and April O’Neil as well as a Kraang, a Salamandrian and more. These are based on the currently airing Nickelodeon Animated Series. April is going to be hard to find and as I am April O’Neil collector, I am going to need one.

That’s all for me this week! Catch you next time!

 

Post to Twitter

Chris’ Comics: Nightwing #2

NTW_Cv2_57326865387b69.18795802Nightwing #2

Tim Seeley, Javier Fernandez, Chris Sotomayor, Carlos M. Mangual

DC $2.99

 

When we last left that Dick Grayson (all of a week ago, double shipping!), he was currently getting his well chiseled butt handed to him by his new Court of Owls appointed chum Raptor. Nightwing #2 deals with the fallout of that issue, as the duo go on their first mission together, and is a pretty solid improvement over last week’s (in my opinion) slightly disappointing installment.

Writer Tim Seeley doesn’t mess around this issue, which drops the flashbacks and focuses solely on Dick and Raptor’s new relationship. This issue does wonders for the new character, who’s very much being developed as a broken mirror image of Dick. Considering Grayson is in desperate need of a rogue gallery of his own, he’s a welcomed addition, and I like how the character manages to be fun, but also a violent murder-man NTW-2-2-b05d0with some bad intentions. Raptor’s interactions with Dick are not unlike the Wally West  and Grayson friendship, with Dick in the straight man role, something we rarely see him in.  In addition to fun times with Raptor and his bird bros, we get more Dick and Barbara interactions, and any appearance of Kobra. I’m a full believer that any comic can be improved with the appearance of Batgirl and or Death Cults that dress as giant snakes.

Last review I voiced my concerns about Nightwing re-trending ground already covered by Seeley in Grayson. Issue 2 does away with that, but ramping things up to 11, and raising the question of who’s playing who. Unlike Spyral, Seeley lets us know that Dick’s in over his head in no time, constantly keeping him off of his game and having both the character and the reader questioning his methods and motives. So yes there’s definitely some familiarity if you’ve read Grayson, but there’s also a lot of new elements to ensure that the comic feels fresh. Also Seeley manages to end this book on several gut punches that hurt, but that are also very very good.

Javier’s Fernandez’s art is much tights this much. Granted he’s still struggling with mask/emblem thickness, he gets to channel Sean Murphy and get some action-horror stuff this issue, and it looks great. His art really shines when it comes to scenery chewing action scenes, as well as the spooky snake-monsters he creates, and I’m glad to see the book’s 15visuals improved this dramatically. I do wish Fernandez did has someone else inking him though, because there’s a panel or two that feel a bit rushed. Chris Sotomayor’s colors are still superb, and I really like how his choice in blue and orange ensure that our eyes are drawn to Raptor and Nightwing immediately. It’s proof that a good colorist is extremely important to the creative process.

The Second Chapter of Better than Batman is a step in the right direction. I have a few qualms with the art, but the coloring and the writing do an excellent job of making this book a compelling read. It’s a fun and weird blend of genres, despite it’s initial super hero appearance. But most importantly it makes Dick Grayson feel like a unique character, not just an interchangeable member of the Bat-Family. We’re just a slight art improvement away from this book being a great title, not just a good one.

Christopher Troy is a freelance writer/editor/snarky jerk on the internet. He can be found here weekly, on Twitter@TheAnarCHris, and is the co-creator/writer the webcomic “In The Name of Thy Mother”. He’s also not really a fan of Death Cults, aside from the several he leads.

Post to Twitter

CHris’ Cinema: Suicide Squad

Suicide_Squad_(film)_PosterSuicide Squad (2016)

Will Smith, Viola Davis, Margot Robbie, Joel Kinnaman, Jared Leto

Warner Bros, PG-13

Hey there FPNYC Faithful! I’m going to switch things up this week and review an actual movie you can go out and see in theaters RIGHT NOW, instead of some comics. If you don’t care for that, don’t worry, I have a pair of reviews dropping in a few days as well (Nightwing and Paper Girls), so you can look forward to that. Additionally, if your jonesing for some fresh new Suicide Squad comics, both Suicide Squad Rebirth and Harley Quinn #1 dropped this past week. SS Rebirth is very much a Rebirth comic made for people who just saw the new movie, and Harley Quinn is a nice jumping on point for the bestselling run commandeered by Amanda Conner and Jimmy Palmiotti. And with that, here comes some #SQUADTAKES.

I had a chance to see Suicide Squad last week at press screening in Manhattan. As nice as it was to see a comic book movie before the internet ruined it for me with spoilers and takes, and I wish the product I watched was better. I went into the film excited to see David Ayer’s spin on one of my favorite, lesser known DC properties, but walked away a little disappointed. That’s not to say there’s not some fun to be had with Suicide Squad, but the film is not a proper response to Marvel Comics-based offerings like Civil War or Deadpool.

First and foremost, much like the rest of the critics/internet at large, I was not impressed by Jared Leto’s Joker. I’m not a fan of the character in general, but Leto fails to do the ceba46ed7c7cd79ac9d8670ea86cb41b6644604b95aac7927cde7e2655f97c19clown any justice, especially when compared to other live action Joker performance. While the Joker/Harley relationship in this movie isn’t the problematic mess it has been in animation and comics, Leto’s Joker is so underwhelming it lessens Robbie Margot’s performance like some sort of talent black hole. Also the plot is a bit of a mess, which can be blamed on the alleged claims of reshoots and alternate cuts. And while I see what they were trying for with the soundtrack of this film, it was more of a deterrent than helpful. Filmdrunk Editor in Chief Vince Mancini made several comparisons of the movie to early 2000s rap-metal, which is a fairly accurate claims, for better or worse.  Said claims is ironic, because the actors tried so hard and got so far with the material they were given, but in the end, it doesn’t even matter looking at the numbers on Rotten Tomatoes. Also please give me a fake internet award for that last sentence.

That being said, there is some fun to be had with Suicide Squad. Viola Davis as Amanda Waller is a sight to see, as she’s most spot on live action incarnation of the Wall to date. Will Smith’s Deadshot is fun in his own way, but it was a little off putting for me to hear Big Willie Style drop profanity throughout the film. Despite Killer Croc and El Diabo maxresdefault (1)falling victim to some slightly racist clichés, both Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje and Jay Hernandez have some great characters moments. Jai Courtney’s Captain Boomerang steals every scene he’s in, Joel Kinnaman‘s Rick Flagg is fine enough, and the Justice Leaguers that show up are pretty neat as well. Sadly not every character is given a chance to shine, and honestly the less said about their various portrayals, the better.

Suicide Squad is a mediocre film that at the very least takes a step in the right direction for the DC Cinematic Universe. With any luck, Wonder Woman will be the first GOOD DC movie in some time come 2017, and this movie will do well enough that it’s cast can be redeemed in a sequel or the heavily rumored Harley Quinn spin-off film.

Christopher Troy is a freelance writer/editor/snarky jerk on the internet. He can be found here weekly, on Twitter @TheAnarCHris, and is the co-creator/writer the webcomic “In The Name of Thy Mother”. His favorite Linkin Park song is none of your business.

Post to Twitter

Val’s Toy Chest- SDCC Marvel Announcements/Batman Animated and More

Hasbro had a decent showing of new Marvel action figures at San Diego Comic Con this year with new X-Men, Dr. Strange, Spider-Man and Guardians of the Galaxy 6″ Figures making their debuts. The next X-Men line includes an updated Jim Lee style Cyclops, 70’s era Dazzler, Sunfire, Colossus, Polaris and a New Mutants Warlock Build-A-Figure, The Guardians will include Vance Astro, Darkhawk, and Angela, while the Spider-Man wave features popular Ms. Marvel Kamala Khan, The Green Goblin, Spider-Man UK, Black Costume Spider-Man and Spider-Man 2099. Finally, the Dr. Strange wave features movie versions of the titular Doctor and Baron Mordo, Iron Fist, Brother Voodoo, Nico and a comic version of the Doctor with a build-a-figure of Dormammu. In addition to these Legends, Hasbro has a series of Netflix based figures scheduled which will feature the Punisher and Jessica Jones.If the 3 and 3/4″ figures are more your speed, Hasbro has another assortment in the works which includes the X-23 version of Wolverine, Iron Man from the current Civil War II miniseries, Lady Deadpool, Maestro, Jewel, Shocker, Tombstone and Moon Knight.

Hot Toys fans were treated to the prototypes of several figures from this summer’s Captain America: Civil War including Crossbones, Scarlet Witch and several of the other key players. Netflix’s Daredevil series will also see a Hot Toy or two coming out in the near future.

Recently released and on our store shelves now are the following awesome items:

Finn from the Star Wars: The Force Awakens film is now a highly collectible 1/6 scale action figure, equipped with the usual Hot Toys detail and accessories. He is available on his own or packed with the Riot Control Stormtrooper.

New Funko POP arrivals include video game mainstays, Mega Man and his archenemy, Dr. Wily, Scott Pilgrim, Ramona and Knives from the Scott Pilgrim feature film as well as POPs from the old Jim Henson film, The Dark Crystal. Funko also has new ReAction figures available to commemorate the 30th Anniversary of James Cameron’s Aliens. The three-pack features Ripley, a Power Loader, and the Alien Queen.

849803096465

Finally we will be seeing some new DC Collectibles this week. We should be getting stock on Commissioner Gordon, Ra’s Al Ghul and Zatanna from Batman: The Animated Series as well as the Reverse Flash from the Flash TV show. I personally cannot wait to add Zatanna to my collection of all this week’s new figures.

761941335872

Next week- could it be- could the Laurel Lance Black Canary figure from Arrow finally be shipping to stores? My sources say yes. Let’s hope they’re right! Catch you all next time!

Post to Twitter

Chris’ Comics: Batgirl #1

BG_Cv1_57082d25dc1793.92171144Batgirl #1

Hope Larson, Rafeal Albuquerque, Dave McCaig

DC $2.99

I’ll be honest; going into Batgirl #1, I was worried about the character and the direction they were taking her post Cameron Stewart, Brenden Fletcher, & Babs Tarr. There were multiple quotes from writer Hope Larson saying how this run was going to be darker, and while I like Rafeal Albuquerque‘s art, the last time he drew this incarnation of Batgirl there was bit of a thing. Also the white person walking around Asia to learn kung-fu is a trope that at best is cliche, and at worst a bit racist. That being said, reading this first issue has vanquished my fear and we instead get a pretty solid comic that’s mindful of my concerns.

The new Rebirth debut issue sees Babs Gordon in Japan, in search of an old-timey Japanese super hero named Fruit Bat, in order to up her own heroic game. While doing so, batgirl-1-preview-675x1024she runs across her never previously mentioned but apparently old friend Kai, as well as a Fuku-wearing assassin. While long-lost friends and school girl looking assassins were something covered extensively in the previous run, Hope Larson and Rafeal Albuquerque are talented enough creators to make this whole thing seem fresh.

Larson’s voice for Barbara Gordon is sharp enough to keep left over readers from the previous run pleased, but also comforting for lapsed reader who are coming back. Her Batgirl reads a little more focused and mature, but also fun and playful. It’s the best sort of compromise. While not all of the jokes in this issue land, Larson does a great job of building a new setting and status quo for Barbara, setting up the future of this title quite nicely. And granted Kai nor the nameless assassin we get in this issue do very little for me, the introduction of the Fruit Bat definitely makes for fun stuff.

Artist Rafael Albuquerque is definitely a more traditional super hero comics artist than Babs Tarr is, but with that being said, the book still maintains a youthful and fun visual tone. He does some excellent work with the body language and facial expressions in this book, and I love the energy he puts into his fight scenes. I also love the way Albuquerque portrays motion in a medium full of static imagery, as he’s  not afraid to experiment with BG01_03panel layouts and it leads to some great results. Dave McCaig’s colors are also a great fit for this book, as he sticks with bright colors that play off of Barbara’s costume and hair quite well.

Batgirl #1 is a fun first issue that doesn’t change the title character too much, and does a find job to appealing to several different types of audiences. It does an excellent job of showing the fun side of super heroics, with some dialogue that a little more polish and way less dramatic than the Babs we saw in Batgirl and the Birds of Prey. Old and new readers have plenty to like with this new creative team, making it arguably one of the more accessibly DC super hero comics to come out of Rebirth so far.

 

 

Post to Twitter

Chris’ Comics: Nightwing #1

Nightwing-1Nightwing #1

Tim Seeley, Javier Fernandez, Chris Sotomayor, Carlos M. Mangual

DC $2.99

Nightwing is back this week, as we see writer Tim Seeley and artists Javier Fernandez and Chris Sotomayor start the “Better than Batman” arc. This arc appears to be a nice blend of the espionage elements introduced by Seeley in Grayson, mixed with some super heroics. It’s not as strong as the Rebirth one-shot, but there’s some enjoyable stuff in this issue.

Where this book really shines is in the writing. After barely allowing Dick to interact with the Bat-family for 2 years in Grayson, Seeley fully embraces it here, using characters like Damian and Batgirl for Dick to bounce off of. As someone who loves both those relationships, and is a known Dick X Barbara shipper, I dig it, as Seeley does a great job writing these characters talking to each other. And I really like Dick’s open defiance while working with the Court of Owls, keeping him a heroic character while working with/for the NTW_1_1enemy. As for Raptor, Dick’s new partner/ “mentor”, the potential for some cool stuff to be done with the character is there. But the writing is not without its share of flaws. The pacing feels off with this issue, as Seeley trips up a bit during the constant switching scenes between Gotham and Europe/Russia. And while Seeley uses Batgirl to voice that there are some weird similarities between Spyral and the Court of Owls, I hope he can steer clear of re-trending the same ground with the whole double agent thing as the book progresses.

With the twice shipping schedule Javier Fernandez, who isn’t bad, but isn’t as strong of an illustrator as Yanick Paquette was in the previous one-shot. While there’s nothing wrong with the bulk of his work (especially when it comes to drawing establishing shots and backgrounds), he seems to struggle with the title character. There were too many instances where Dick’s mask or Nightwing emblem on the costume is drawn too thin or small. It’s an odd complaint sure, but seeing it vary in size and thickness from page to page really took  me out of the story. Also Dick ends up with a Peyton Manning forehead way too many times in this issue. A shame, because Chris Sotomayor’s color are great in image-82this issue, and I love the design that letterer  Carlos M. Mangual has come up with for the Nightwing narration box.

Nightwing #1 isn’t a bad comic, but it’s disappointing, especially when compared to the Rebirth one shot that leads into it. That being said, there’s plenty of potential and time for the team to step up their game and tell a solid story. Seeley already has worked on a dozen or so GREAT Dick Grayson stories, and now that we’ve been introduced to the main players, he can go forth and tell a good story. And all Fernandez has to do is tweak his Nightwing and we’re good on the art. Again it’s a bit of a bummer that this comic isn’t the best, but it does enough things to be a interesting read and give readers hope for the future.

 

 

Post to Twitter

Chris’ Comics: The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl #10 & X-Men ’92 #5

RCO001_1469630922The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl #10

Ryan North, Erica Henderson, Tom Fowler, Rico Renzi, Kyle Starks

Marvel $3.99

Readers, please take note of the wonderful cover that graces this month’s issue of Squirrel Girl, as I’m sure it will be winning whatever fake internet award I’ll be handing out come December.

The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl is a book that has never fails to impress me in some manner, and this issue continues that streak. Our lead has to deal with a love-stricken Mole Man, who’s abducted key landmarks around the world in order to get Doreen to go on a date with him. Squirrel Girl dealing with toxic masculinity may not some like a good premise for a comic, haha that is a joke, it totally is, and the execution is nothing short of genius. I saw this as the ending for this issues sees our hero do the unthinkable, yet manages to not undo all the effort done by this team to make her an unstoppable and incredibly well rounded force for good. Also there’s another scene involving squirrels in Iron Man armor, which is something I’ll never grow tire of.

SQGIRL2015B010_int2_2-932x1414Ryan North. Erica Henderson, & Rico Renzi are a creative team I adore & adding Tow Fowler as an inker was fantastic move. This month we see Kyle Starks of Sexcastle (aka the greatest comic) swing by for a 3/4th page cameo, continuing the trend of a guest contributor knocking it out of the park. As per usual, the writing and art are impeccable, as North and Henderson continue to offer dialogue and art that are beyond unique.

The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl #10 is another fabulous issue that once again says something important while being an incredibly fun read. This may very well be my favorite arc to date, and even as a dude in my early 30s, I’m glad this book exist for the lessons it attempts to teach it’s young audience.

 

 

 

portrait_incredibleX-Men ’92 #5

Chad Bowers, Chris Sims, Cory Hamscher, Matt Milla

Marvel $3.99

Speaking of surprises, this issue of X-Men ’92 ends by bring back some characters who haven’t been seen since the 90s. Chris Sims and Chad Bowers continue to do a bang-up job of making references to some of the most obscure corners of the 1990s X-universe, including a X-men board game I remember begin advertised like crazy in the back of Marvel comics when I was a wee millennial.

Issue 5 checks in with Cyclops and Jean Grey, whom haven’t been seen in the title since the Secret Wars mini-series. The couple are quasi-retired, but that makes for a boring super hero comic, so they find themselves dragged to the future by Rachel Grey. For long time X-fans, Scott + Jean + Future usually means one or two other character showing up, and they do. But Sims and Bower embrace the hell out of it, making for a strange but be873c68c1f206db75af43465f803c1b._SX640_QL80_TTD_wonderful read that riffs on a few different 90s X-stories.

Cory Hamscher is on art duties this month, and his style is a great fit for this tyle. He riffs on the Kuberts/Whilce Portacio look that was so famous in the 90s, while being a competen story teller in his own right. It’s good stuff.

X-men ’92 is another fun installment a series that’s been a constant delight. It’s the type of book that both satisfies readers looking for a less complicate super hero book, while giving long time X-fans plenty to enjoy.

Post to Twitter