Val’s Toy Chest- POP Goes the Alien!

It’s been a fairly decent week as far as new toys go- lots of stuff has come in and there’s a couple of cool items making their way into the store on Wednesday. Let’s start with the biggest thing in designer vinyl right now with the latest in the POP collection.

Fall TV Season is nearly upon us and we have POPs based on TV shows both old and new. Fans of the CW’s DC TV Universe will be pleased to collect the first four POPs from Legends of Tomorrow. We have the Atom, Firestorm, Hawkman and the White Canary all in stock right now. There’s also a Hawkgirl listed on the back of the box but no one knows where she’ll be coming out- yet. Fans of AMC’s newest series based on the classic Vertigo comic can also find figures of Preacher on our store shelves. Thus far we have Jesse, Cassidy and Arseface. There will be a Tulip as well, but she will come thru Diamond distribution.  Older shows that we have POPs from ihclude a restock on the Green Ranger from Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers and all four of Miami’s best, Dorothy, Sophia, Rose, and Blanchethe Golden Girls!

Moving right along, some other POPs new to the store include: late singer, Amy Winehouse; the modern version of Batgirl;  the Funko Specialty Series Golden Age Batman and Twilight POPs including Bella and Edward.  New Blind Boxes from Funko include the 3rd series of the best selling Horror Mystery Minis as well as series 2 of the WWE set. 

Moving on from Funko, the latest wave of Aliens figures have arrived from NECA. Included in this brand new set are the extremely popular Vasquez figure(who inspired the creation of Star Trek: The Next Generation‘s original security officer, Natasha Yar), a concept Albino Alien and Private Frost (whose actor, Ricco Ross can be seen in Whitney Houston’s “Saving All My Love For You” music video- Fun Fact!) . These figures have been some of the most anticipated from NECA and Vasquez was too good to pass up- haven’t opened her yet, but she looks amazing! Still in stock from series 8 is the Ripley from Alien 3 and the Weyland-Yutani Commando.

Speaking of Sigourney Weaver films, the next wave of Ghostbusters figures will be out from Diamond Select this week. Figures in this set include the first ever Janine based on Annie Potts’ likeness, a new Ray and Slimer.

Briefly:

Square Enix continues their Play Arts Kai line with the release of the brand new Wonder Woman figure based on her appearance in Batman V Superman.

Cryptozoic Entertainment, mainly known for trading cards and games are releasing new vinyl figures based on Ant Lucia’s Bombshells desgins. These are cute and figures include Wonder Woman, Catwoman, and Harley Quinn.

Speaking of DC Bombshells, the long unavailable Black Canary Bombshell is due back this week. I don’t think this one will last long, so if you want her, get her.

That’s it for me this week- catch you next time!

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Val’s Toy Chest- A Voyage to the Star Trek Convention…

If you’ve been reading my column since its inception, you’ve probably guessed that I am a fan of a LOT of different properties. One of those is Star Trek. I don’t generally mention Star Trek too much in this column since there has been a dearth of product from the license in recent years. Plus- my favorite Trek is Star Trek: The Next Generation, followed closely by Star Trek: Deep Space Nine and there’s not a lot of product going on for either lately, save the occasional trading card set and high-end figures for TNG. That being said there is at least one cool TNG product coming within the next year, which I will mention at the end of this article. All that being said, I attended my very first Star Trek Convention this past weekend and it was a lot of fun, though different than what my usual con experience is.

I went to the Star Trek Mission New York 50th Anniversary Con on Friday with the intent on meeting some of my favorite women of Star Trek. I checked my Facebook feed before I left for the show and found out that another of my faves was going to be there. Denise Crosby wasn’t listed on the website as an attending guest but was there anyway to promote Star Trek Online, where she voices one of her TNG characters, Sela. Denise was signing complimentary 8×10 photos promoting the game and was also posing for candid photos with her fans. Crosby has long been on my bucket list of TNG actresses to meet, so naturally I jumped at the chance to see Lt. Tasha Yar in person. Denise was an absolute pleasure to meet and she was accommodating, making sure to make time for everyone who had come to see her.

IMG_0733I will say this much about the show floor itself- it was tiny. I can understand this since it was the first official Star Trek convention in NYC in quite some time, but if you were looking for a wide selection of older/vintage items, this sadly was not the convention for it. The exhibitors were mostly involved in either gaming, currency, starship models, magazines and even postage stamps that debuted at this convention. That being said, it was still a fairly cool experience. As I had a few hours to kill, I decided to attend the Star Trek: Deep Space Nine panel that took place on the main stage.  Castmembers in attendance were Rene Auberjonois (Odo), Michael Dorn(Worf), Terry Farrell(Jadzia Dax), Cirroc Lofton (Jake Sisko), Armin Shimerman (Quark) and Nana Visitor(Kira). The six castmates had an hour long discussion about the show, acting as a profession and other interesting topics. As I was only going the one day, I decided to meet Terry Farrell and get an autograph from her as opposed to a professional photo with her, since you don’t get to interact much with the latter and almost none of the actors offered table photos.  Terry was as pretty as she was back during the heyday of DS9 and I briefly mentioned to her how Dax was my favorite DS9 character. Interestingly enough, though I forgot to mention my enjoyment of it to her, Terry played the role of the mannequin on a brief vacation in the remake of my all-time favorite Twilight Zone episode, “The After Hours.”

I did some more walking around after that and finally got what I most wanted to get out of this convention- a picture with Gates McFadden, a.k.a Dr. Beverly Crusher, my favorite Trek character of all time. The Gates interaction was brief, but she made it a point to greet the fan coming in for the photo op before we smiled for the camera. I did get to meet McFadden back in 2014, but that was a similar situation where I chose one option over the other. Being amongst all the Star Trek actors, made me want to start meeting more of them, particularly the TNG ones. Patrick Stewart is at the top of my list, and I should meet Armin Shimerman one of these days since he is also a Buffy the Vampire Slayer alum.  All-in-all I had a great time at Mission 50 and would do it all over again.

IMG_0742

The cool TNG item coming out next year is a blind bag series by Titan, featuring the entirety of Picard’s original crew as well as some notable aliens. These are similar to the Dr. Who ones we currently carry.

Briefly: DC Collectibles has three new figures out this week from the Greg Capullo designer series including Wonder Woman, The Flash, and a new Batman. We will also be getting a restock on the Flash and Captain Cold TV figures, which join our still in stock Arrow, Black Canary, Heat Wave, Malcolm Merlyn, and Reverse Flash figures. Reenact your own adventures with these detailed figures from the different CW series…AND if you can’t wait til she crosses over with the Flash, Legends of Tomorrow and that other show, the Mattel DC Multiverse figure of Melissa Benoist’s Supergirl will also be arriving on our shelves this week.

Ripley, Alien Queen and the first of the Preacher TV POPs have arrived in stock and Legends of Tomorrow should be real soon…

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

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Val’s Toy Chest- Clowns To The Left of Me..

It’s a new week at the Planet and soon to be a new month and there are some neat new items in stock/back in stock this week. We received our second batch of X-Men figures this past Friday and though we are sold out of Deadpool and Wolverine, we still have Cable, Iceman, Rogue, Phoenix, Havok, and Kitty Pryde in stock as of this writing. This has been an excellent Marvel Legends wave IMHO and one of the few that I’ve been a completist on. I do love my DC characters more but have always had a soft spot in my heart for Marvel’s Merry Mutants, plus the Juggernaut Build-A-Figure is a beast(not Hank McCoy though).

DC Collectibles has a couple of Jokers releasing this week, for those who love the Clown Prince of Crime. The first is the DC Icons Joker based on his appearance in the classic Batman: A Death in the Family arc which found Jason Todd brutally murdered by the Harlequin of Hate. This figure will feature multiple points of articulation and several accessories including the infamous crowbar from the story. On the other end of the spectrum, the modern version of the Joker as drawn by Greg Capullo is the latest entry in DC’s Designer Series based on the artwork of various artists. This Joker is dressed in a black suit and comes with interchangeable heads as well as an axe and a gun. Not to be abandoned by her puddin’ this week, a new Harley Quinn figure based on the Arkham Knight videogame is also out on Wednesday and finds Harley dressed in her classic red and black jester’s outfit. As you and I are aware, both of these characters also featured in this summer’s Suicide Squad film. Mattel product has finally started coming in for this line and thus far we have the Deadshot 6″ figure based on Will Smith’s portrayal of the expert marksman, each figure in the set features parts to build a Killer Croc as seen in the film. Hopefully we’ll get Katana, Harley Quinn and the others before too long.

I mentioned last week how our basement is POPped out, well we have some more that came in today including a couple of restocked wrestlers and some new pieces. First we have Lemmy from Motorhead as a new POP Rocks piece, then we have Seth Rollins from the WWE.  WWE POPS that are back in stock include Bret Hart and Kevin Owens. There’s various other Funko product in stock right now including a Jason Voorhees Fabrikations, and new Bobbleheads of Star Wars mainstays Boba Fett and Leia Organa.

Back in stock this week from Diamond Select Toys will be the eternally popular and extremely best-selling Deadpool figure. If you’ve missed out on the X-Men Legends figure, this might be a good alternative. We should also be getting a small restock on DC Collectibles’ Batman: The Animated Series figures in the near future, including a couple we haven’t had in a while.

I got word that we should be getting our shipment of Hot Toys Star Wars: The Force Awakens Rey and BB-8 two pack sometime around late September. This means we will likely get the single packed Rey first. I anticipate that she will do very well as she has become something of an icon in the past year.  Characters from TFA still in stock include Finn and Captain Phasma along with several different versions of Stormtroopers.

That’s it for me this week, I will be attending the inaugural Star Trek NY con this weekend, so expect at least a partial report of what I’ve experienced there. I guarantee one thing though, I will get a picture with my fave Star Trek actress, Gates McFadden(a.k.a. Dr. Beverly Crusher)  this weekend.  Catch you next time!

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Chris’ Comics: The Top 4 (and a Hawkguy) Finale

At last, it’s time for my final article for the Daily Planet. Instead of reviews, I’m going to recommend 4 series to you (plus Hawkeye, because we all know that’s coming) that are some of my favorite comics. There’s a few “well duh” choices on the list, but hopefully someone will find a new favorite on this list, or at least think I have excellent tastes in comics.

DCD5297571) Batgirl: Year One (Chuck Dixon, Scott Beatty, Marcos Martin) The only way you can buy Batgirl: Year One these days is in a trade packaged with the also great Robin: Year One. But Batgirl: Year One is arguably my favorite story featuring my favorite DC character. It’s a nice re-imagining of her origin from pre New 52 times, from a writer who wrote a good portion of the best Babs Gordon stories in the 90s. Marcos Martin later blew up on books like Spider-Man and Dr. Strange: The Oath, but this is where the Martin hype train officially began. A gorgeous story that does wonders for one of the most iconic superheroes out there, Batgirl: Year One is the one DC story I can’t recommend enough.

DCD4061942) Phonogram: The Singles Club  (Kieron Gillen, Jamie McKelvie, Matthew Wilson). While I absolutely adore this team’s work on The Wicked + The Divine and Young Avengers, P:TSC is my next pick, which was the first time Wilson joined Gillen and McKelvie on a creator owned joint. Set over the course of a single night, each issue in this trade tells a different story, focusing on a different character, and occasionally crossing over. My personal favorite of the various stories is the finale, a relatively silent story that focuses on Kid-With-a-Knife, one of the more simplistic but exciting characters in the series. While it’s technically the second part of the Phonogram trilogy, it’s by far the most accessible, and an excellent entry point for Gillen/McKelvie/Wilson’s indie work.

15958246263) The True Lives of the Fabulous Killjoys (Gerard Way, Shaun Simon, Becky Cloonan). I really wanted to throw a Grant Morrison penned story on this list, but honestly, there’s enough best of/recommendation lists out there featuring his work on All Star Superman, JLA, Doom Patrol, etc. Instead I’ve opted for a comic featuring a character played by Morrison in the My Chemical Romance music videos this comic series is based on/a sequel to. While being familiar with said music videos/album helps. Killjoys is good enough to enjoy on it’s own, thanks to Cloonan’s gorgeous art, and Way’s sensational and kinda out there scripts. While you can make an argument that both creators have stronger work on the market, this is a favorite of mine, and it’s definitely worth your time if you’re a fan of either creators.

07851983934) NEXTWAVE: Agents of H.A.T.E. (Warren Ellis, Stuart Immonen) Also known as my favorite comic series before Hawkguy was a thing. Warren Ellis’ funniest book to date, in which his team of super hero pirates fight an evil corporation profiting from a war they’ve created. A cult favorite that’s influenced so many books, NEXTWAVE was at one point the weirdest but also one of the best looking books Marvel had ever published thanks to Stuart Immonen’s art. Assuming you haven’t read it, you should, unless you hate nuclear puppies, flesh eating koalas and dragons that wear shorts.

 

 

0785192190Hawkguy) Hawkeye (Matt Fraction, David Aja, Annie Wu, Matt Hollingsworth, and various) And here it is, my obvious favorite that I’ve never shut up while writing for Forbidden Planet NYC. Hawkeye was a game changer for Marvel, and is easily the best for-hire work Fraction and Aja have done, possibly ever. The creative team makes walking dumpster fire Clint Barton one of the most relatable characters in comics, while making Hawkeye Kate Bishop a break out star. From the Pizza Dog issue to the Sandy relief issue, there’s some many amazing, genre defining comics that show that you can do big 2 comics with an indie comics sensibility. No comic series has affected as much as this book has, and there’s never going to be a time where I won’t recommend it.

And with that, I take my leave. I’d like to thank everyone who’s read my work, my fellow contributors, and the fine folk at Forbidden Planet for giving me a stage over these last years to talk about comics, and toys. I’ve had a blast, and if you care to see what I’m doing post Forbidden Planet, give me a follow on twitter (@theanarchris). Thanks for the memories FPNYC faithful!

 

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Chris’ Comics: Batgirl #2 & Snotgirl #2

Batgirl_002_2016_2_covers_Digital_Zone_EmBatgirl #2

Hope Larson, Rafael Albuquerque, Dave McCraig

DC, $2.99 

Batgirl #2 takes Babs to Singapore this month, where she attempts to up her hero game by learning mixed martial arts, while also trying to discover what kind of secrets her friend Kai is keeping, plus a dabbing of some romance. It’s a dense, but fun issue that offers very little time for Batgirl in costume, but a ton of focus on Barbara Gordon.

Hope Larson and Rafael Albuquerque‘s 2nd issue is a delight, as their take on Batgirl is a lot of fun. Larson’s voice for Barbara reads like someone in their early 20s, and captures the intelligence and spunk you’d expect from the character. She’s also genuinely funny in a way that she hasn’t before, almost in a classic Peter Parker way. And I like how the plot manages to weaves between multiples threads, without ever getting too overwhelming.  It’s a nice blend of romance, mystery and action that should appeal to old and new fans of the character.

While Rafael Albuquerque doesn’t have a breakout scene this month, is art is gorgeous none the less. I love, LOVE his facial expressions, and how he draws Babs’ MMA sequences. She looks like a legit brawler, never too sexy or frail, and the composition of the pages with the fight scenes are insanely good. Dave McCaig‘s colors are stunning as well, as he plays some bright colors off of white space.

Batgirl #2 is a another good comic from a team who’s doing some great work. It’s been awhile since I’m seen new creators excel so much after following a fan favorite run, and I’m glad to see Larson, Albuquerque and company hit the floor running.

Snotgirl_02-1Snotgirl #2

Bryan Lee O’Malley, Leslie Hung

Image Comics, $2.99

The cool thing about Snotgirl so far is that it’s the type of book that will keep you guessing. From the solicits and early previews, it was safe to assume Snotgirl was a comic about a fashion blogger with a nasty allergy, while also being a discussion about identity on the internet. Then the ending hit, and well, the only thing that was safe to say there’s more going on then I had initially imagined.

Issue two deals with the fall out of the previous issue’s ending, while raising a few more questions. We’re also introduced to a pair of intriguing new characters, and reminded that our lead and her friends are still some of the most shallow characters in comics.

Despite some more intentional confusion and leads that are hard to rally behind, Snotgirl remains one of the best new books on the stands. Bryan O’ Malley‘s script and dialogue ooze of the type of creativity that he can only bring to a comic. Oh sure you may not like Lottie, but you’ll be drawn into her world all too easily. As for the art by Leslie Hung, the best way to describe it is like a Korean drama with L.A. sensibilities. It’s bright, gorgeous, loose and expressive, perfect for a book that in some ways is about fashion and a vapid existence.

Snotgirl #2 is a treat for anyone who enjoys the comic medium and isn’t afraid of trying new things. Buy on sight.

 

 

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Chris’ Comics: The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl #11

Got some bad news for you, the Forbidden Planet Faithful (or good if you’re a jerk!). This article is the one of the last three I’ll be writing for the ol Daily Planet, as the day job has The-Unbeatable-Squirrel-Girl-11-2016offered me a ton of a money for a new gig that’s going to eat up a lot of my time. I’d like to thank everyone who’s been reading my cra  content over the years, and I hope whoever replaces me is a bias towards Matt Fraction comics as I am.

The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl #11

Ryan North, Jacob Chabot, Erica Henderson, Rico Renzi

Marvel $3.99

This month, regular series artist Erica Henderson is off due to working on the upcoming graphic novel “Squirrel Girl Vs. The Marvel Universe”.  Artist Jacob Chabot joins Ryan North and Rico Renzi for an issue is about Doreen Green facing off against Nightmare. Oh and a TON of computer science, which is par for the course for a book written by Ryan North. But hey, how many other 1pdopysuper hero book can actually claim they’ll teach you something educational?

Squirrel Girl fighting a bad guy in her sleep while using computer sciences facts is a weird premise, but Squirrel Girl is a book that’s always played by it own rules. Seeing SQ teach Count Nefari, (“Who?” in her own words) how to 31 on one hand is arguably one of the funniest moments in comics this year, thanks to North’s comedic timing and Chabot excellence body language. Having to fill in for Erica Henderson can’t be an easy job, but Chabot is absolutely wonderful on this issue. His style is as expressive as Henderson’s but with tighter pencils, and a better handling of more traditional looking super heroes. His art is also detailed back, putting some great visuals gags in panels that are already pretty humorous on their own ( see the page with KRAVEN THE COLLEGE ADMINISTRATOR for example). He also draws the most metal looking comics page featuring Venom and squirrels to date, so if that’s a selling point for you, be excited.

Even without his usual partner in crime, Ryan North is fantastic on this book. Hell I might go ahead and say this is his best single issue to date, excluding the wonderful choose your 182867_1000013_8own adventure issues. Not too many creators can balance humor, action and still make a comic educational, but North manages to do so with little effort. It’s a comic that’s very smart, but never in a way that’s overwhelming. And his dialogue is always hilarious, be it Squirrel Girl wishing she was throwing down with Puppy Man, or peppering up the bottom of his pages with great alt text.

The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl #11 is another fantastic done in one that will delight and educate you.  As someone who finds himself pulling less and less Marvel book each much due to a variety of reasons (mostly due to Civil War 2 though), this title remains a must read due to it being such a quality comic. Easily one of the smartest comics I’ve read in my life, this issue of Squirrel Girl should be taught in classrooms, let alone belong in your pullbox.

 

 

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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!

 

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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.

 

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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.

 

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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.

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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.

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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

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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.

 

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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.

 

 

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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)

 

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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!

 

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