Category: Video Games

REVIEW: The Last of Us: American Dreams

22396The Last of Us: American Dreams

Faith Erin Hicks/Neil Druckman/Rachel Rosenberg

Dark Horse #16.99

Instead of eating up the words count here, I tossed a wall of text up on my tumblr regarding PAX East 2014. So follow the link , read the article, and see how many corgi gif sets I reblogged on the regular.  (http://anarchris.tumblr.com/post/82736375965/of-pax-east-and-chris-here-comes-the-walls-of-text . One of the things I did pick up there was the show exclusive The Last of Us: American Dream hardcover, but the soft cover is available everywhere for about 10 bucks less. So I thought I’d shared my thought on it with the lot of you.

So yeah, The Last of Us, a game I’m fairly certain most of you heard of. It’s one of the best selling, heavily advertised and critically acclaimed games of 2013! Personally, even after waiting for a $20 off retail sale price, I found it a tad overrated, but you guys don’t want to hear about that (unless you do!). You’re here for comics and/or toys talk (one of these days. Maybe) . So let’s take a look at the Last of Us’ comic book tie-in/prequel story, American Dreams.

((NOTE: While I still have to PLAY the “new” single player DLC, I’m like 90% certain that this book take places before that.))

Last-of-Us-Comic-2I usually tend to avoid video game comic tie ins, mostly because they tend to be awful. However, the Internet has informed me that Dark Horse has been doing some good stuff with their’s, and TLOU: The American Dream is co-written and drawn by Faith Erin Hicks( Demonology 101, The War at Ellsmere , The Adventures of Superhero Girl, Friends With Boys), Naughty Dog’s  (The game developers) own Neil Druckman, and colorist Rachel Rosenberg. 

So is the book worth your time? Well yes and no. If you’re going into this comic with little to no idea what the game is about, you might fight yourself a tad disappointed. Aside from a note saying this takes places before the game, there’s nothing that explains why the world our lead Ellie inhabits is the way it is. You’re supposed to know that it’s a post-apocalyptic world devastated by the worst type of fungal/pollen outbreak ever. That’s something kind of crucial to the story.

And again, there really isn’t much of a story to be told. Since it’s a video game tie-in prequel, you’re introduced to a few characters, some who show up in the game, some who are mentioned in it, and that’s it. It sets up the downloadable content which bridges the gap between this comic and the actual game, but again, without any knowledge of the game, you’re going to be disappointed in the narrative.

last-of-us-2But what if you’re a fan of the game and want more from that world. Well then, you’re in luck. Faith Erin Hicks is an EXCELLENT artists, and why her art style is VASTLY different from the game’s, it doesn’t take away from anything. I hate to call it manga-esque, but it kind of it, as in the sense that’s very animated and detailed.  Also hella speedlines, and Ellie is kinda of big-eyed, but it also show you how good Faith Erin Hicks is when it comes to making her characters show any emotions. Hicks does excellent jobs of showing how run down the world (In think thinks takes place in Boston) is, and doesn’t pull any punches when it comes to showing violence.

lou3p5Dark Horse was wise to pair Hicks’ which Rachel Rosenberg, who I found out colored several X-men books over at Marvel that I really liked. Her colors do an excellent job setting the mood, using light colors for heavily dialogue scenes, bright colors for action sequences,  and darker ones for dramatic ones. It helps set the mood incredibly well.

What this book kind of lacks in narrative certainly makes up for in visuals. The Last of Us: American Dreams, isn’t for anyone, but if you’re a fan of the game and/or of Faith Erin Hicks, it’s definitely worth a read. It definitely reads better as a collection than in single issues, and it does help set the stage for one of the better characters to debut in video game in 2013.

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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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What I bought at Heroescon, and what you should buy too.

::: Vacuums after a lengthy absence :::

Yo apparently this blog begins and end with me if the lack of updates indicate anything.

So Heroescon obviously has passed once again, and according to this article’s title, I was there. Yes that’s me dressed as Clint Barton with Hawkeye writer Matt Fraction. (No, you cannot touch me now.) My first Heroescon was dope, and SURPRISE, so was this year’s. I got to meet a ton of awesome creators, who’s stuff I’ll be highlighting in this article. Again see the title of this article, this is not a concept that is hard to understand people.

First off is Fraction’s first Fantastic Four collection, which collects the first 3 issues of both the NOW relaunched Fantastic Four and Future Foundation titles, with great art from Mark Bagley and Mike Allred. It’s worth noting that the books are reprinted in the order the series is meant to be read, which makes the narrative flow better in my opinion. ALSO ART BY MARK BAGLEY AND MIKE ALLRED, I CANNOT STRESS HOW AWESOME THIS IS! The 1st trade costs $17 and is well worth it. Yes this is my extremely bias opinion, given how much I love Fraction’s work, but yo, have I’ve ever steered you the reader wrong before?

What, no, you shut you, you are clearly wrong here.

Awesome artist Becky Cloonan was also in attendance an-ah screw it, LOOK ALIVE SUNSHINE! THE TRUE LIVES OF THE FABULOUS KILLJOYS HAS ARRIVED!

I’ll play this straight. Dark Horse has assembled a team that I love. I really dig writer’s Gerard Way’s “Umbrella Academy” stuffs, and yeah, I won’t front, I like My Chemical Romance. As for Becky, she drew the very awesome Demo with Brian Wood, another favorite of mine, so these 2 on a book that ties into my favorite MCR album is a must buy. The book’s debut issue is firing on all cylinders, and you definitely get your $4 worth it. Pick it up on sight.

Chris Sims,  of ComicsAlliance.com fame, was a guest in the massive Indie creator section of the con, and I’m a fan of his work I’m also a fan of Street Fighter, and the publisher Udon, which is a really roundabout way of saying that I bought Super Street Fighter Volume 1: The New Generation. This dropped last October apparently, and while I liked it, I’m a little hesitant to recommend it to everyone. As enjoyable as the side stories by Sims and friends are (I don’t want to know you if you can’t get down with a Balrog Vs. Dudley fight), the main story is strictly for fans only. Also the page count is a little weird due to the fact that there’s a lot of sketches/promo art packaged in. It retails for $35, which is kinda steep, but it’s also a over-sized hardcover, so the price is kinda justified if you’re into Street Fighter.

Kelly Sue Deconnick’s Captain Marvel is a book that I’ve been on board with since she wrote 2 issues of Avenging Spider-Man with Carol Danvers in them last year. So while I didn’t actually buy anything from her at Heroescon ( I did do a nice little write up of her Carol Corps panel over at Bleeding Cool http://www.bleedingcool.com/2013/06/12/kelly-sue/), that will not stop me from pushing the 2 Captain Marvel trades currently available. Kelly Sue’s joined by relatively new artists like Dexter Soy and Filipe Andrade, both excellent story tellers in their own rights, as well as the great Emma Rios, who is currently working with KSD on Image’s upcoming “Pretty Deadly”. It’s good super hero stuffs with an easy jumping on point, and for $15 bucks a volume, you really can’t go wrong with this series.

That concludes my brief con report/creators I like plugathon. Next time I’ll be back plugging a dozen or so Play Arts.

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Injustice for most

Happy Cinco De Mayo FPNYC Faithful! I’m am currently sitting inside typing this up on a gorgeous day, so do me a solid and swing by the shop and by something during your tequila-fueled rampages! Let my guilt decided how your dollars are spent dammit!

So obviously I am back from c2e2, which was a fun convention, but as I said in the past offered very little in the toy news front.  (You can see my cosplay round-up here:http://www.bleedingcool.com/2013/04/30/cosplay-all-over-the-world-more-c2e2-from-christopher-troy/) However Kotobukiya did have a booth there, with some awesome stuff on display. There were Star Wars-themed Ice Cube trays, more Bishoujo statues ( Kitty Pryde drops this September, and looks incredible!) and a butt-ton of New 52 Justice League Art F/X statues. I’ve mentioned the Superman and Green Lantern ones in the past, and Wonder Woman and Flash ones are out/coming out soon. Again these are cheap, but well made statues and well worth the money if you’re into DC collectibles.

And while I’m not exactly the biggest fan of their comics, or policies, or several other things I won’t get into here, I have to respect DC for getting so many things out on the shelves now, especially  in comparison to the Plastic Empire Marvel has built for itself! “Injustice” is getting a huge push by both Mattel & DC Collectibles, as there’s now 2 separate toylines based on the game.


There’s a bunch of new 6″ figures out featuring Superman (decent design,great sculpt) the Joker ( terrible design, decent sculpt, especially given the material they had to work with) and Aquaman, the best of the bunch despite being Aquaman ( Always be hating on Aquman folks). And Injustice Batman is still on our shelves because of course he is. Each one of these figures will set you back about $20 a pop.

The DC collectible side of things offers 3.75″ figures in 2-pack for $30 a pop, which honestly isn’t that bad. There’s the terrible designed Green Arrow ( complete with man-boobs to attract that “Arrow” demograph!) and Deathstroke figure bundle, as well as the Solomon Grundy and a badass armored Wonder Woman figure. These figures are about as articulate as your average Marvel Universe figure, and all of them sans Grundy have some sort of accessory. I’m actually a bigger fan of these than I am of the bigger figures for the record, even at that price point, and you should expect a ton more Injustice figures on this scale to drop within the year.

Ending this thing on a non-Super Hero note, NECA has dropped some interesting releases as of late. Gears of Wars, one of their key franchises, has received the 3.75″ figure treatment, which makes a ton of sense as the games have a fairly large cast of characters. On the bigger side of things (that’s what she said? ), there’s an Assassin Creed’s 2-pack that dropped featuring middle-aged Ezio and old man Ezio from the 3rd and 4th games. These 2 figures feature insane levels of detailing and no less than 38 points of articulation with variant hands and accessories. A must for Ass Creed fans.

That’s all for this week. Next time, a review on a trade on some book I’ve never talked about before featuring a man, his ward, and his pizza dog.

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Stand tall for the Beast of America. Or Againist. Your choice.

Welcome back to FPNYC’s offical Bioshock blog (Blogshock? Bioblog?)!! “REAL” Bioshock fans will get the reference in the title, which only make sense if you own a TV. And continue to not comment on the blog. Good times.

I mentioned the existence of a “Bioshock Infinite” art book last week, and now that I’ve beaten the damn game (REALLY good doesn’t even begin to cover the quality of the game, or it’s ending, play it for yourself and I’m fairly confident you’ll agree), I picked a copy of it for myself because I may have an addiction problem of sorts.

So what did I think of it? I’ll get to that in a minute, because I just want to point out that I am  loving the fact that we’re getting quality artbooks based on western video game over here. Bradygames have released some okayish ones, but the books released by Udon (where the crap is the Bayonetta on Udon??)  and more recently Dark Horse are really well packaged, and make for really good reads/collectibles. MORE OF THIS PEOPLE, CHRIS APPROVES!

“The Art of Bioshock Infinite” is a 184 page hardcover released by Dark Horse Comics that clocks in at 9 x 0.9 x 12 inches and retails for $40. While some chapters are light on text, it’s a relatively spoiler-free read, and chock-full of gorgeous art. There’s a lot of cool concept art for things that never made it into the game, or went through a ton of changes. At $40 it’s hard to recommend this book for any non-fans, but if you sunk 12+ hours into the game like I did within a week of it’s release and need a new fix, this is a good way to get it until the board game and/or the Heroclixs drop.

::: Swears this is the last time he’ll mention the game until said ‘Clixs or more toys are released. You are powerless to stop him :::

::: Makes another smarmy remark about reviewing yet another wave of Batman Play Arts figures:::

The newest, and possibly final wave of Arkham City Batman toys via Square-Enix have hit our shelves and man, they are beefy. This time around we’re graced by an extremely jacked version of Tim Drake as Robin (new 52 continuity joke goes here) and the AC take on the classic Dark Knight Returns version of Batman (Frank Miller joke goes here). As you can tell, there’s A LOT  of plastic involved with this figures, which means you’re definitely getting your $60-worth with these figures.

While I’m not crazy about cage-fighter Robin (AC’s continuity is a tad silly in some areas) look, I have to admit that the figure captures the design well. Both he and Batman sport 26 points of articulation, and come with variant hands, heads, and some accessories; a bo staff for Robin, and a grappling hook for Batman. I would have gone with a mud-covered mutant gang member corpse myself, but that’s just me. And yes, Robin IS in scale with the standard AC Batman & Catwoman figures, and I guess the DKR Batman too, even though blah blah canon, blah blah nerd, blah blah prostitute joke.

I am such a good blogger you guys.

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Live from New York, a chance to give us your money!

S’up FPNYC Faithful? This week I though I try something different and take some pictures of  stuff I thought was neat IN-STORE, capturing our merchandise LIVE in it’s natural environment! And that doesn’t excite you, don’t worry, there’s some comic book toy talk a-coming as well!

Did you know for a mere $60 you too can own a talking 24″ Ted plush? Do you know that it exists in both PG and R rated language versions? IF YOU DO NOT DON’T WORRY, I JUST FOUND THAT OUT MYSELF! Truth be told, I enjoyed the movie, so it is tempting to drop the $60 on a stuff bear for the chance to drink Sam Adams & watch “Flash Gordon” with him while TAWKAN LIKE MARK WAWHBURG, WHO IS FROM BAWSTON, THE GREATEST CITY IN THE WARLD, NO ONE DENIES THIS! And yes, I’ve obviously put too much thought into this.

Or for a mere…..$300 or so dollars you can buy a “Ugly Monster” doll and a replica of the Game of Thrones’ Iron Throne. Note if you have that sort of money, please give me some so I can also buy that plush doggie in the 3rd picture I included above. It is very cute, and I would like to own it.

Continuing the trend of trying something new, I’m now going to discuss a video game action figure not made by Square Enix (that will be continued next time, because there are new Mass Effect 3 figures out!). This is NECA’s Elizabeth figure, from the upcoming 2K Games joint “Bioshock Infinite”. That’s right, this figure actually dropped before the game did, something that needs to happen more often in my opinion. She retails for $17, and in actually incredibly well sculpted. You can tell from the photo, but the detailing on her corset is crazy good, as is the face sculpt and hey, her skirt is made of a fabric-like material. It’s a nice touch. The downside is that she’s kind of lacking in the articulation department (very basic if anything), and she has balances issues. Also no accessories. Miss Elizabeth (possibly wrestling reference? Not sure!) needs a stand ASAP. For $17 you can do much worst, just don’t expect much from her.

SEE I TOLD YOU THERE WOULD BE SOME SORT OF COMICS-BASED TOY DISCUSSION! The 4th wave of Arkham City figures has dropped from DC Collectibles, and hey, check it out, some of them are actually well sculpted AND articulate. The Batman figure from this series is a prime example of this, and is 100% new for a change. Not bad DC Collectibles. I wonder how the rest of the line fairs?….

Nightwing is also fairly articulate, but the face is a little too effeminate for my liking. I know Dick Grayson is a pretty-boy/tumblr favorite, but it definitely takes away from the figure. Still it’s not that bad, and it’s a nice alternative to the Mattel made one from last year that you probably not found anywhere. Deadshot and Taila round out the line, and they’re very much in the same vein of the older figures. Decent sculpts, limited articulation. But lords know when we’ll be getting a Deadshot OR Taila figure again in the near future, so you may want to pick them up now. They’re $20 a pop and in-stock, but I imagine most of them will be sold out soon. So like, make with the buying people!

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Toy Fair 2013: SHUT UP AND TAKE MY MONEY!

Toy Fair has happen and  me start this article by thanking whatever Hasbro employee is reading this site on the regular, or stalking me elsewhere, internet or in real life. The fruits of your research are something I’m willing to throw some serious cash at this year, and since my wife is out of town for the next few days, you can be my Valentine this year

The company has done me a solid by releasing not one, but 2 modern Cyclops figures this year, both in a box set in the Universe line (Marvel’s Greatest Teams, packaged with Emma Frost and the Juggernaut possessed Colossus) and a 6″ figure apart of the Wolverine Legends line (which also has a Emma Frost figure!), as well as a modern HAWKGUY (or Hawkeye as he’s more commonly known as). You’ll also see at least another 2-3 waves in the main Marvel Legends line, 2 in the Universe line (until SDCC reveals more), and both 6″ and 3.75″ figures based on upcoming movies like “Iron Man 3” and “Thor 2”, and animated stuff like “Ultimate Spider-Man” and the new “Avengers Assemble” show. Good showing all around from Hasbro/Marvel.

So my Marvel boner aside, what else did Toy Fair 2013 have to offer you ask? Shut up and I’ll tell you stupid! There was Batman merchandise everywhere (no one is surprised by this), but Mattel got a ton of hype thanks to securing the rights to make figures based on the classic live action Batman series from the 1960s. Expect to see both 6″ and Barbie-sized releases this year, amongst others. Square Enix is also going DC Comics crazy as well, with figures based on the Nolan Bat-films, the upcoming Man of Steel film, and giving their own spin to the DCU with the DC Universe Square Enix Variant line. Heroes announced so far were obviously the Bat, Green Lanetern, Batgirl, Flash and Wonder Woman. And not to be out done, DC Collectible showed off a ton of figures based on the Injustice game, The Flash, the Death of Family arc, and the upcoming Justice League of America series.

Mezco, as I reported last time, scored 2 unique licenses, with the hit drama Breaking Bad, and the hit insane webcomic- turn actual comics-turn upcoming animated Fox TV series Axe Cop. They’re going all out with these properties, putting out a variety of different sized figurs/figurines, dolls and plushies. Also joining the 6″ figure arms race is Kenner, with The Star Wars Black series! These 6″ figures will focus on the classic trilogy, so expect the likes or R2-D2, Luke Skywalker, a Sand Trooper and….Darth Maul. Um, I guess they’re focusing MOSTLY on the classic trilogy, not entirely!

There are several other announcements of note too, like McFarlane making toys based on Assassin’s Creed 3 in the same vein of their Halo line, Square Enix branching out and making figures based on Namco, EA and Capcom games, of ton of new and old G.I. Joe stuff, but I’m going to end this focusing on the MASSIVE  2 foot tall Transformers Generation Titan Metroplex. He’s based on his aaperance in last year’s Transformers: Fall of Cyberton game, and yeah, it’s kind of friggin awesome. Aside from the 2 foot robot, he can also transform into a city, and mobile battle station. Not sure  when it will drop, but it will this year and not be cheap.

Gonna end the look at Toy Fair here. I can only tease so much, but fear not, everything big and cool announced at the show will eventually be for sale at Forbidden Planet this coming year, and we’ll be getting better looks at them as they’re released.

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Square Vs Chris round 3, also a Young Avengers review

Trolls trolling trolls, I swear.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Chris’ list o’ things to throw money at in 2013

I suppose a 2013 preview list should not be written 14 days into year, but I did a lot of traveling over the holidays, and acquired several video games of worth. If anything, SEGA should be held responsible for pushing “Anarchy Reigns” back to this week.

Anywho, 2012 was a shockingly awesome year for collectibles, so hopefully 2013 will continue the trend. We’re a month away from Toy Fair, and 2 months away from c2e2, so some comics and toys new is light. “Some” being the key world here. There’s some things announced in 2012 that still haven’t seen the light yet, so I’ll talk about those!


COMICS:

I’ve poked a ton of fun at DC this past year (for good reasons), but there is some hope for them to acquire some of my cash-money in 2013. First off, Jeff Lemire (Animal Man, Justice League Dark) is taking over “Green Arrow”, which may have cool results. Given the success of “Arrow” on the CW, DC should have a book that’s readable for potential new readers. That and Lemire has put out some great stuff for DC. Lemire’s Rotworld-buddy Scott Snyder has 2 new books coming out from DC as well: a Vertigo maxi-series called “The Wake” with my boy Sean Murphy (Punk Rock Jesus) and a new Superman title with Jim Lee, which I’m fairly certain will be called “Man of Steel” (SYNERGY). Nice to see DC trying to step up as Marvel NOW is in full effect.

Speaking of the House of Ideas, A NEW UNCANNY X-MEN  STARTS IN 2013! YES I KNOW THIS IS THE SECOND TIME WE’VE GOTTEN A NEW UNCANNY X-MEN #1 IN 2 YEARS. BUT CHRIS BACHALO IS DRAWING IT! AND FRAZER IRVING TOO! HOPEFULLY CAPSLOCK AND CONVEY HOW EXCITED I AM! (Bendis is on writing duties, which hey cool, but man, those artists). Marvel actually has like hojillion new books announced so far: a new Uncanny X-force, Young Avengers, Nova, Guardians of the Galaxy, and like 3 other books there’s teasing at. And “Age of Ultron” starting this March. And Superior Spider-Man started this past week, so there’s that too.

2013 looks great for the non Big 2 companies too! Dark Horse has Hellboy in Hell rolling on, a Brian Woods’ penned “Star Wars” series, and something I stupid excited for- Gerald Way (My Chemical Romance) and Becky Cloonan’s long awaited “Fabulous Livse of the Killjoys”, launching this Free Comic Day. Image has new series/mini-series being launched like Matt Fraction, Kelly Sue Deconnick, Kieron Giellen, and Paul Pope. I’m fairly certain that’s only the tip of the iceberg though. Not to mention Robert Kirkman’s “Invincible” hits #100 this month.

And not to leave it off the list KaBOOM’s “Adventure Time: Fionna & Cake” mini-series has started this month and it is pretty damn great. You go buy now.

TOYS:

Like I said earlier, details for 2013 toys are still kind of scarce, and we’ll have more info next month. HOWEVER, we should have another wave of both Marvel Universe and Legends dropping this month, featuring the likes of Nova, Hercules, Red She-Hulk, Iron Fist and several more characters more familiar to the public at large. We’ll also see the return of the Marvel Universe 3-packs, consisting of the likes of the West Coast Avengers, the Inhumans, 80s era Uncanny X-men, and the now disbanded Uncanny X-Men Extinction team. Also I imagine we’ll see some toylines based on Iron Man 3 and Thor: The Dark World.

Non-Marvel toys of interest coming out in 2013 consist of a whole slew of Superman (and probably Batman) toys from Mattel and DC, a Kid Icarus figma from Max Factory (I AM EXCITE), a butt-ton of various -Arts figures from Bandai (Gundam, Dragon Ball, Pokemon,) and like seven trillion new Square Enix Playarts Kai figures from the millions of licenses they have. I’m not kidding, Square dropped like 2 new PA Kai figures this past month alone. More on those next week.

2013 is shaping up to be a pretty dope year for collectibles and comics. As for me, I got some cool stuff lined up that I can’t talk about, but will shamelessly plug when I can. Convention-wise, you can stalk me at PAX East, c2e2, Heroescon and New York Comic Con this year, and on twitter @theanarCHris if you want to troll me and disagree with me over everything. FUN FOR ALL!

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Because I’m always right- Best of 2012, toys edition

Not to be outdone by fellow FPNYC blogger Unkie Dev, my wife and I also got an addition to our family this week. Only ours has come in the form of a cat. “Pixel” is currently hiding under a bookshelf after a an hour long train ride from Manhattan to Brooklyn, because that kind of thing is apparently traumatizing to cats. Anywho, belated congrads to Unkie Dev, his wife and their child, I wish them nothing but the best, even though this congrads comes a month late.

Meanwhile this cat ( and several video games), demand my full attention, which means it’s time for the annual best of lists. Obviously this is a 2 parter, with the 2nd part dedicated to comics. I’m starting off with toys in the event that the Mayan Apocalypse is a legit thing and I need something to ensure my sad, so very,very sad, legacy.

While it’s been forever, since I’ve picked up any sort of Gunpla, Bandai has continuously impressed me with the majority of the releases from the -Arts line over this past year. The former king Revoltech, IMO, has gotten a tad lazy with some of their stuff as of late, focusing on Western properties with various degrees of quality as the results. Bandai, on the other hand, stuck with the properties they’re known for (Gundam, Godzilla, Dragon Ball Z), added some new ones (Tiger and Bunny), and embraced some popular fan-favorite video game series (Persona 4, Megaman). It’s also worth nothing Figma had the blessing of the Nintendo license, and while the Samus Aran and Link Figmas are AMAZING, it’s not enough to carry the line when the rest of their non-Beserk offerings are so focused on barely legal school girls (Although I am a fan of their Fate/Zero stuff too). But the -Arts is definitely my import line of the year, as they’veall  had fantastic sculpts, unparalleled paints jobs, fantastic articulation, and feel a lot more sturdier than their peers. Also thanks to the distribution deal with Bluefinn, cheaper. In a year where both Revoltech and Figma kind of dropped the ball, Bandai’s Arts stepped up big.

In terms of video game figures though, NECA certainly put some cool stuff out this year, but Square Enix definitely showed up to play. With only 1 “new” Final Fantasy game to tie-into, Square did it damnedest to secure a lot of huge  3-party licenses, ones that had fans dying for toys for years. Both their Halo, Street Fighter and Metal Gear lines saw figures released on popular characters never done the justice they deserved, and Squenix branched out to handle huge western properties like the Batman: Arkham Asylum/City titles and Mass Effect. Not to mention cult title Vanquish finally getting the plastic treatment we were promised! And like I mentioned in the past, COWBOY BEBOP PLAY ARTS FIGURES, HOW COOL IS THAT?! 2013 also looks like another promising year for the company, but more on that in a few weeks. They’re another best for being the best buy at their scale/price, and delivering usually solid products that represent both Easter and Western Video Game properties.

I tend to talk about super hero toys a lot here (UNDERSTATEMENT, yes I am aware of this), but I got to say, I’m a little underwhelmed by what were offered this year overall. DC Collectibles is working on putting out more articulate toys, but we won’t see the fruits of their labor until 2012 most likely. Mattel’s DC All Stars line felt like a no-show this year, with the exception of some of the Bat-toys that made it on the shelf this year. Hasbro’s Marvel Universe line is getting better, but I think I’m going to give the nod to the return of the Legends line, which was slightly more diverse, although repaint heavy. 2013 will be interesting for both line for certain, given we’re now in the Marvel NOW era of comics, meaning everyone’s getting a redesign. Also props to the Hot Toys Avengers line, which has been nothing short of amazing.

Overall, if I were to choose a single figure to be my toy of the year, it would be the  Figma Samus Aran figure. It’s perfect in every way and it’s a great reward for all of us who waited so long for a quality figure based on the legendary Nintendo franchise. That’s all for this week, next time, I talk about comics!

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Hey look, more Play Arts!

Holy crap it is really December?! Ugh, this means I need to buy multiple gifts for people. And by gifts I mean video games and gift cards. My friends are actually kind of easy to shop for truth be told, but that’s money I could be spending on myself, especially if we’re going to end up going  gift card for gift card. Seems kind of redundant if you ask me. Like these intro posts. Assuming “redundant” means “takes up space”, which according to Dictionary.com, it does not. Killjoy.

If you’re thinking Square Enix has gone a little release crazy as of late, you’re correct. They’ve been releasing a bunch of figures over the last few weeks, possibly because they’ve dropped all of 1 game this quarter, and they got to make some money. I’m okay with this, because for the most part, they’ve been pretty “solid” releases. I SAID SOLID BECAUSE HEY LOOK, A METAL GEAR SOLID FIGURE, THAT’S JOKES KIDS! Rounding out the 2012 MGS releases, is Meryl Silverburgh who joins the previously released Solid Snake and Ninja. I’ve had been of plenty of love for the former 2 figures, and Meryl’s just as good as them. Look at that lil’ smirk on her face, it’s adorable!  But seriously, it’s a dope sculpt and the paint job is pretty fantastic as well. Meryl had a great design and the figure totally does it justice, despite not being as complex as Snake or Ninja’s design. A must for the Metal Gear crowd, Meryl comes backed with variant hands & weapons, and will probably not last too long on our shelves, if the other MGS releases were any indication.

Continuing the trend of Squenix releasing figures based on games they have no hand in actually developing or releasing are the brothers of destruction from Devil May Cry 3, Dante and Vergil. And yes, I just made a dated pro-wrestling reference. Devil May Cry 4 was one of the first non-Square game-based figures the company released, and apparently the company felt they needed to jump back in the game’s history. UNPOPULAR OPINION TIME: I was never a fan of either character’s design for DMC3, and would have preferred to see something from DMC1, but Square Enix did the original designs justice. That being said, the knee and should joints for both these figures are odd, something that’s plagued Squenix figures throughout the years. That’s the only major flaw though, although it may be a deal breaker for some. Otherwise they’re both well-sculpted, articulated, well painted and come with a decent amount of accessories. Hey even the packaging for both figures is fairly impressive. DMC3 Dante never got a good figure outside of a Minimate, so hey, a victory for most!

Outside of “Bleach” and “Fullmetal Alchemist”, Square Enix really hasn’t released much in terms of anime figures. That changes now, as the classic “Cowboy Bebop” joins the Play Art Kai ranks with 2 amazing figures. The iconic Spike Spegial is offered up to the masses with his friend-turn-rival Vicious, and they’re both pretty fantastic. I’m not crazy about their wrist joints, but that’s some nit-picking on my end. They’re a little more simplistic in design when compared to some of the video game stuff, but that’s alright, as it’s 100% show accurate. If you’re a Bebop fan, there’s no excuse, it’s not going to be get any better than these 2 anytime soon. ALL of these Play-Arts are available now by the way, so you know the drill. GIVE US YOUR MONEY! (please)

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(Belated) N7 Day figure spectacular!

Dear Mother Nature,

YO, QUIT IT, SHIT’S PLAYED OUT!

No love,

Chris Troy

Greeting FPNYC Faithful! If you’re anything like me (first off, let me say that I’m sorry to hear that), you’re quite tired of crappy weather. And perhaps politics. Bigs up to anyone who made a informed vote, because being politically responsible is cool. -10 to anyone who voted and then posted like several hundred voting fraud conspiracies on their Facebook.

Instead of weather and politics, let us focus on a holiday I give many a toss about-N7 day. For you nerds not in the know, it’s the official Mass Effect (a video game for you super-not in the know) fan appreciation day, where Bioware shows love for their fans with cool art, contest, free downloads and sales. All very dope, and real talk, it’s nice to see a company take care of it’s fanbase like that. Especially when they originally dropped the ball a bit with the original ending.

Oh, hey look, Mass Effect 3 figures! See I was going somewhere with this! And totally not buying time until I hit 500 words! After some less-than-spectacular figures from ME2, Bioware hooked up with Square Enix to make some awesome Mass Effect 3 Play Art Kai figures, pleasing me quite a bunch! This is a win-win scenario for both companies and their fans, as we’ve gotten some pretty great figures as a result. Square Enix has confirmed there’s two waves coming out, and today, we’ll be looking at the first wave, consisting of Commander Shepard, Ashley Williams and Garrus Vakarian. Solid line-up in my option, as coming out with Garrus from the get-go will please a good majority of the fans. And most importantly, me!

I know a lot of you may be upset over the fact that the Shepard figure released in wave 1 is male. I know those feel Mass Effect Bros, but don’t worry, the female version (Fem-Shep for those in the know) will be in wave 2, so Squenix has you covered, y’all just gotta wait a bit longer. That being said, I’m of 2 minds with this figures. I never liked the default male-Shepard’s look, and the lack of helmet is kind of beat. At least given me to option to cover up his face so that I can pretend it’s “my” Shepard from my run-through of the game. My 2nd less nit-picky problem is his shoulders. They’re kind of pointy out of package, and it’s noticeable. THAT BEING SAID HOWEVER, this is a pretty great figure, and obviously a step up for the previous non-Square Enix offering, in terms of pretty much everything. You’re gonna get your $60 worth this with figure, which comes packed with alternative hands, an omni-blade, rifle and pistol.

Ashley Williams is the sole female figure in the wave, and while it’s not a bad figure by any means, it’s not exactly terrible exciting. Mostly because she’s not an alien, or Miranda, and kind of a Space-Racist in the game. But in terms of sculpt, articulation and accessories, it’s all gravy. GARRUS, AKA SPACE-BATMAN, IS THE BEST! I’m may be considered bias with that statement, but it’s true. Given the character’s unique design, Squenix NAILED this figure in terms in visuals, without any of the articulation suffering. Also check out that sniper rifle, it is both sweet and also tight. Both crew members set you back about $60 as well, and come with variant hands and about 2 weapons each. It is worth the money, especially if you’re a big ME fan.

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Review: Final Fantasy Trading Arts Kai wave 1

OH LOOK IT’S OCTOBER! THIS MEANS NEW YORK COMIC CON IS IN LESS THAN 2 WEEKS, AND WE ARE SOLD OUT OF TICKETS. ALL OF THEM. THEY ARE NO MORE! Don’t fret though if you didn’t but them, I won’t be shutting up about what I did at this year’s con until November, so you’ll have that to look forward to (please be gentle with the eventual jealously punches). In addition to the biggest (and in my opinion, one of the best shows on the East Coast) conventions, we also have a plethora of new collectible hitting the shelves every week, as the holidays are approaching and there’s money to be made. Expect a lot of new Marvel toys to be looked at during the next couple of weeks (which okay, nothing new in term of my toy reviews, amirite?).

We’ll start off by taking a look at Yuna, the sole female figurine in this wave (although that will change in the future based on preview images, with Lighting Tifa and depending on your stance on the character, Tidus, all on the way). She’s the best example on how detailed this line can get, as the paintjob on her kimono from Final Fantasy X is pretty detailed/great, given her scale. Her variant body/face is the her FFX-2 Gunner outfit, which is the only figure that requires a seperate hairstyle. So technically, you’re getting 2 figures for the price of one with Yuna, without a price increase! The 3rd face in the set is the blank variant, and she comes with variant hands, her summoning staff, and like all the other figures, a based/stand combo and a bunch of word ballons with what I imagine is actual dialogue from the games. I dunno, I don’t speak Japanese, and I’m fairly certain Google will help you translate them  more than I will.

Next up is arguable the face of the Final Fantasy franchise if you under 30, Cloud Strife, rocking the design he had in the Advent Children movie. Personally, I would had preferred if  at least one of his bodies had the original FFVII design, but hey, I’m sure Square will do so later down the line (Clever!). Cloud’s kind of limited in terms of accessories when compared to the other figures in the lines, but hey, he does come with a sign that’s completely in English. That’s got to count for something right? Aside with a variant hand that comes with his massive Swiss Army knife of a sword, Cloud comes with a 2nd bottle missing his giantnormus sleeve riding his bike (I think it was called Fenrir.). It’s a cute spin on the character, and I’m sure it will sell well for Squenix.

Wrapping up the wave is my personal favorite figure and is the one I mentioned last week- Final Fantasy 8’s Squall Leonhart. Squall only has 1 set of hair, and the same face/stands/base combo the others have, but is packing a ton of accessories! He has a varaint set of hands, a varaint Gunblade, his formal SeeD uniform (Swanky) body and 2 well-known creature mascots from the game in the form of PuPu (hehehehe) and Cactuar (not as silly of a name, but still cute as a button!).  They even have their own stands, so they can hang out on Squall’s base as well. My only beef with this figure is that the fur on Squall’s leather jacket kind of blocks off the hole in his back, making it hard to slide his peg into him.

At $20 a pop, it’s hard not to like these figurines if you’re a Final Fantasy fan. They’re a 1/3 of the price for the standard Play Arts Kai, and a huge step up from the previous Trading Arts figures. We have all 3 figures in stock now, so come by the store of the website if you want them for your collection!

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Shadow of the Summer Box Office

I’d make a clever pun regarding the heat but my brain is currently a pile of mush thanks to a combination of binge drinking over the weekend and said heat. That and I’m never clever, hung over or not. Let’s make with the toy news instead, yes?

For those of you not the know, this summer’s G.I. Joe Retaliation has been pushed back to next March, because of “The desire to be converted into 3-D to please the international market” which is really code for “YO THE AVENGERS KILLED BATTLESHIP IN THE BOX OFFICE, MAYBE WE DON’T RELEASE THIS THING RIGHT BEFORE A NEW SPIDER-MAN/BATMAN DROPS!” Yeah I don’t get it either, but if you were looking to pick up some of the new Retaliation figures (which Loran has looked at in the past), now’s the time to do so, as Hasbro’s been trying to get retailers to send them back and wait for 2012 to bring them back. We have a limited supply of some figures still in stock, so if you want them now, come get ’em, or wait until 2013.

Speaking of Bat, the 2nd wave of Arkham City figures have been released by DC Direct, just in time for the Game of the Year Edition to be released this week (also the new “Harley Quinn’s Revenge” DLC for those who already bought the game but feel like giving WB games more cash). This set includes the like of Hush, the Riddler, Catwoman, The Mad Hatter, and Smurf Batman, or as it’s actually called “Detective Mode Batman”, which makes sense if you played the game. Sort of. I dunno, I’m fairly certain this is just repainted Arkham Asylum Batman made to meet the 1 Bat per wave quota. Either way, the quality of these figures vary, as again, you have Blueberry Batman, and a tiny Mad Hatter, which is definitely not worth the $20 they retail for. The Riddler and Hush are both solid figures though, but I’m not exactly crazy about their sculpt’s poses. However it’s probably the only chance you’ll be able to get these figures in these versions, so you may want to pick them up if you’re a fan. The Catwoman figure is easily the best of this wave, and I easily recommend her over the rest. In addition to these figures, expect the first set of deluxe figures (Killer Croc and Mister Freeze) to drop in either June or July, and the 3rd wave/final deluxe figure to drop in the fall. Also expect a ton of “Dark Knight Rises” tie-in action figures to drop any week now. Continue reading

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Back by “Popular” Demand!

by Chris Troy

It’s been awhile hasn’t it FPNYC faithful! I would have written sooner, but I had a trinity of things keeping me away from blogging as of late, as my ass was in Boston earlier for PAX East, Chicago over a week ago for C2E2 and then celebrated my 3rd year of marriage this past weekend with the Mrs. But I’m back for the foreseeable future, here to pimp out the newest toys and collectibles FPNYC has to offer. We’ve got a ton of stuff to cover, and not all of it’s Marvel related! Just of lot of it, because man, they have the Avengers’ license and that will be printing a lot of people some serious green.

After releasing some awesome Batman, Final Fantasy XIII-2 & Street Fighter IV figures earlier this year, Square Enix has decided to take a trip back to 1998 for their latest figure: Cyborg Ninja (formerly Gray Fox) from the legendary Playstation One classic “Metal Gear Solid.” It’s been a while since Ninja has gotten the plastic treatment (I think McFarlane toys was the first and only company to release a poseable/non-gasaphon Ninja) and man, Square went to town on this figure in terms of detailing and sculpt. Square definitely captures the robotic feel of Ninja, and the paint job for the figure is insane. As far as accessories go, Ninja is limited to only a katana and a railgun, which is kinda of lacking compared to other Play Arts Kai releases, especially since it also lacks variant hands. However, it’s still and amazing figure in its own right. Ninja isn’t the only MGS1 figure getting the Play Arts Kai treatment, as Solid Snake is due out any week, and Meryl should be out within a few weeks/month (Square really needs to clarify this). Ninja retails for about $60, which is the average price for the Kai figure, and is available now. Continue reading

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