Monday, August 29, 2011

RIP Wizard World Anaheim

I was looking forward to Wizard World Los Angeles when I discovered the date of the event had changed from September to TBD (to be determined). Now, according to the web page, not just Los Angeles has been removed but so has the Anaheim convention.

The Anaheim convention was fun while it lasted. Hopefully Wizard World will add a convention in Southern California. For now I can only wait and see.
This is a limited edition 2011 Wizard World Anaheim Exclusive Justice League of America Lithograph.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Cool find at the Comic Store this week

Today I went to Southern California Comics (my favorite comic book store). Sometimes they get a hold of older action figures that line the walls and they had an old Iceman figure from 1993 for $4. I couldn't pass him up for that price. I know he isn't the 3 3/4 scale that I collect in, but I did want the figure when it came out - I just couldn't find it. This figure came with a slide you could put his feet on and then fill with water. Then you put the figure in the freezer and when the water was frozen you could take the figure off the slide and his feet were in a block of ice you could slide around. Very cool...literally.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Goodbye DC Universe, Hello Relaunch

Next month, Justice League #1 comes out and the DC Universe is reborn. I ordered a bundle of all the new #1 and #2 issues from and can’t wait to get them.

As I watch the DC books come out this month, I’ve gotten a few to see how the titles end. Some of them have ended with retrospectives on the character’s long histories (Batman #713) while others ended as they were rushing off to save another planet (Green Lantern Corps #63) or falling in love (Supergirl #67).

It’s been bittersweet reading some of the last issues, knowing that the next time I see these characters they’ll be reinvigorated by some of the best creators in comics.

It’ll be like the new Star Trek – continuity will be reset and the future and the back stories will be new and unexpected. Things like The Killing Joke will have happened, but Crisis on Infinite Earths or The Death of Superman may not have. It’ll be a universe where Superman, Batman, Flash, Green Lantern, and hundreds of others may have never died and come back to life.

A lot of people don’t like change – I don’t either. But the thought of rediscovering some of my favorite characters like I did with Marvel’s Ultimate Universe or DC’s All Star line, is exciting. I’ve only read the first few pages of Justice League in the preview issue but I can’t wait to get my hands on the issue next month.

Young Justice figures - a rip off

As a cartoon, Young Justice is great (I’ve only seen the pilot movie) and I plan to check out the entire first season when they’re available on Netflix. Since I’ve been collecting Marvel Universe figures I’ve really been hungry for great looking 3 ¾ versions of the DC Universe. There hasn’t been any yet and I was hoping that the Young Justice figures would be those figures.

The figures being 4” wouldn’t bother me if it wasn’t for all the other things wrong with the figures. On the positive side, the figures look like their cartoon counterparts. On the negative side, these figures have almost no articulation and some of the figures have weird poses (on the Batman & Robin 2 pack, Batman has his wrists toward you and his arms are curled like he’s lifting invisible weights).

The basic figures run in the $10 range (a good $1 to $1.50 more than the superior Marvel Universe figures) and the 6 inch figures run in the $20 range. The 6 inch figures are a better deal with lots of accessories and articulation but the 4” figures are a complete waste of time and it shouldn’t be long before they’re canceled.

Quick Review: Conan the Barbarian

I wasn’t a fan of the original movie so I wasn’t really looking forward to this new one. I have a friend who was really into the original film so he wanted to see the film. The theatre we went to didn’t have it playing in anything but 3D so we forked over $15 to see the film.

I’m a fan of Jason Momoa and Rachel Nichols so I was rooting for the film to be good since I didn’t want to see it in the first place and I spent $15 on it.

Good: All of the first part of the movie with Conan as a kid is fantastic. The 3D action could be a little distracting at times so I’d lose track of who was doing what to who in action scenes. It’s awesome to see Jason Momoa on the big screen. When Conan throws down with the main villain the first time, the fight is interesting and intense.
Bad: The story centers around a villain trying to reassemble and activate a mask that will give him the ability to rule the world but when he gets it working it doesn’t seem to do anything to give the villain even the slightest advantage in his fight against Conan.
Own It/See It/Pass: If you’re a Conan fan, you should pass – my friend loved the original and hated this film. For me it was worth seeing but not owning. Seeing it in 3D wasn’t worth the price so see it without.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Quick Reviews: Captain America, Cowboys & Aliens, Harry Potter 7 part 2, Transformers 3, 30 Seconds or Less

Captain America: The First Avenger
There’s one thing that Marvel films does better than anyone else: tell a great origin story. Marvel has always been about digging into who the character is as a person before giving them their powers and then exploring what those powers mean to the character wielding them. I roughly know Cap’s origin story (he got injected with Super Soldier Serum, fought Nazis, the Red Skull, and got frozen until the Avengers found him years later) but there is a lot of story in-between that the film deftly covered.

Good: Great origin story – well fleshed-out. Chris Evans does a great job being the hero that other heroes look up to (I can’t wait for Avengers). The part after the credits is fantastic and I can’t wait for Avengers (did I already say that?).
Bad: Very little shield throwing. But to be fair, I wanted him to throw it every 3 seconds in a fight scene.
Own It/See It/Pass: I’ve seen it twice and intend to add it to my blu ray shelf next to the other movies leading up to Avengers.

Cowboys & Aliens
There have been a lot of bad reviews. A lot of people hated this movie. I like it. A lot.

Good: The story was good and there were a lot of great scenes with Harrison Ford. The battle between the Cowboys, Indians vs the Aliens was fantastic.
Bad: The device around Daniel Craig’s wrist did most of the fighting for him through most of the film.
Own It/See It/Pass: I liked this movie a lot. Definite add.

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - Part 2
I watched Harry Potter and The Sorcerer’s Stone the day before the movie and two things struck me, 1) How young the cast was and 2) how great their acting has become.

Good: Fantastic story even if it didn’t conform to the book. I know how it ends (I read the spoilers (i.e. the book)) but was still tense. The action and the acting and the loving way these characters are portrayed really brought these characters to life.
Bad: Not enough Neville in the previous films. In the book, he has a tragic backstory but he’s growing to be more and more of a badass every book. The film did a great job of showing you the result of all of his growth but to people who have only seen the films, it might seem sudden. Also, I loved the books and the films and I’m not happy that it’s come to an end.
Own It/See It/Pass: See it 20 times and buy it 30 times. If it’s not on your blu ray shelf, your shelf will hate you for it.

Transformers: Dark of the Moon
Here is another film critics hated (as did most fans). This is another film I liked a lot. I know Sam was really whiny (which seems to be drawing the bulk of the venom toward the movie) but I saw it as a parallel between being a child star or an ex-millionaire. When a child star is popular and everyone is kissing up and they’re getting all the fan mail, money, and attention – they expect that. When their show is canceled, they have to adjust to not having any of that stuff (or at least not as much). Sam is a kid who helped save the world so he knows what being a hero is like and wants to do something important. When a Decepticon comes after him at work, he goes to the Autobots for help and is refused by the guards protecting their secret base. Of course Sam flips out – he’s saved the world, is friends with the Autobots, and he needs their help.

Good: Another great action sequence like in the first movie. The final action sequence is a non-stop fight for about 20 minutes and it is high octane, exciting, and everything we love about Michael Bay films.
Bad: As much as people love/hate Megan Fox, I don’t like the new girl and I didn’t like Megan Fox. I don’t like the female love interest because she hasn’t added much to any of the 3 films. Even the scene with her and Megatron at the end seems wedged in there to make her useful.
Own It/See It/Pass: I’ve also seen this movie twice in the theatre and considering all of the detail in the special effects (specifically the transformations) you should see this on the big screen. A friend of mine gave me the first two films for Christmas and I liked this film, so yeah – I’m going to add this one to the blu ray collection.

30 Minutes or Less
Description from In the action-comedy "30 Minutes or Less", Nick is a small town pizza delivery guy whose mundane life collides with the big plans of two wanna-be criminal masterminds. The volatile duo kidnaps Nick and forces him to rob a bank. With mere hours to pull off the impossible task, Nick enlists the help of his ex-best friend, Chet. As the clock ticks, the two must deal with the police, hired assassins, flamethrowers, and their own tumultuous relationship.

Good: There are a lot of great comedic actors here and Dilshad Vadsaria is super-hot.
Bad: The tagline for this movie should be “30 Minutes or Less: The Amount of Time You’ll Spend Enjoying This Film.”
Own It/See It/Pass: PASS.

Dr Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog Live Review

I went to see the stage adaptation of Joss Whedon’s, “Dr Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog” at the 10th Ave Theatre on July 29, 2011. I’m a big fan and really enjoyed this fan-based production.

It had been a while since I watched my copy so I think they might have added a scene or two so that the actor’s could change or get into position. The play was just as funny and entertaining as the original.

Good: Great acting, fun singing, and the way they used shadows and set pieces to replicate the special effects was great.
Bad: The gun exploding at the end and Penny getting hit was hard to see because I was in the back and it happened upstage.
See It/Pass: If you enjoyed it on the internet or on blu ray, you’ll like it just as much in person. I saw it with a group. Three of us had seen it while one of us hadn’t. The one who hadn’t already seen it was a little lost but enjoyed it. If you’re lucky enough to have this live show land anywhere near you, go and see it.

It's playing August 26-28 at Elmwood Park High School Auditorium in Illinois
Follow them on Twitter (@MindsEyePlayers) and on Facebook

 Dr Horrible: Nathan Turner, Penny: Jane Lui, Captain Hammer: Michael Minto

A half-black, half-Hispanic, possibly gay Spider-Man?

Ultimate Spider-Man has been my favorite title for the 10+ years it’s been going. So when I heard on the news that the new Spider-Man was going to be half black and Hispanic and saw all of the reactions on the internet, I had to chime in.

First, I’m going to remind everyone that the Ultimate Universe isn’t the Marvel Universe. The Spider-Man you’ve known and loved since the 60’s is still alive and well. The Ultimate Universe is a unique universe where the characters and situations are familiar but there are a lot of twists and turns. It’s a universe where Reed Richards can turn out to be a villain, Colossus can be gay, Wasp can be eaten by Blob, and Hank Pym can avenge her by (literally) biting Blob’s head off.

The Ultimate Universe has been the place where creators can make bold, shocking choices. It’s a universe where I’ve gotten to see Kitty Pryde date Peter Parker and Wolverine drop Cyclops into a deep hole in the Savage Land so he can have Jean Grey all to himself. And how great is the relationship between Peter, Johnny, and Bobby?

Marvel let a bunch of creators use their characters to create a different universe and allowed Brian Michael Bendis to write Ultimate Spider-Man for the entire run. And we almost got Mark Bagley to draw the entire run.

Killing off Peter Parker is a subject that I’m split on. On one hand, I was nowhere near done spending time with him. On the other hand, the guy who created the series and gave me such a consistently great read month after month has decided to end it. There is something amazing about the guy who created Ultimate Peter Parker being the guy who writes his death. I read the death and the fallout issues and they were amazing.

So what do I think a half-black, half-Hispanic teen (who may or may not be gay) named Miles Morales being the title character in the new Ultimate Spider-Man series? I’M IN.

Brian Michael Bendis has written a ton of things I’ve liked and there’s no reason to believe that this won’t be one of them. I liked his debut in Ultimate Fallout #4 and look forward to seeing him interact with Peter’s supporting cast while running into other heroes who will compare him to the original.

I’m looking forward to watching Miles Morales try to do the right thing while trying to get out from under Peter Parker’s shadow. And I’m sure Nick Fury will be right there to remind the kid how big a shadow that is.

I kind of like the fact that Peter Parker’s story is a finite series. If it had gone on longer than Bendis would have liked or turned it over to someone else, the title might suck and we might not care about Peter’s death. Having Miles Morales doesn’t take away from how much I enjoyed Peter Parker. If I want to visit Peter, I can check the regular Marvel Universe or read back issues of Ultimate Spider-Man.

 Welcome to the Ultimate Universe Miles Morales, hope you survive the experience!

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Marvel Universe action figure wish lists

I’ve mentioned that I’m a huge 3 ¾  action figure fan. Specifically I’m a big Marvel Universe fan. A friend and I were debating which figures should come out. Some were practical (the standard and John Byrne version of Susan Storm and the John Byrne version of Reed Richards) and some are never ever going to see the light of day (the western version of Ghost Rider complete with horse).

I sat down and wrote down a lot of my favorite characters and figures I’d like to add to my collection. Recently, (WEBSITE LINK) added wave 15 & 16 (no pictures but I can’t wait to see what they look like). Wave 15 has Darkhawk – a character I who I thought would never get a figure.


Of the figures that have already been released, here are 10 alternate versions of figures I’d like to see in no particular order.

Angel (with wings, from early X-Factor) – Angel’s worn various costumes with the real wings so I suggest the red and white costume from X-Factor #15, his last appearance before becoming Archangel.

Kitty Pryde (as Shadowcat) – The blue outfit was Kitty’s main costume in the 80s and some of the 90s.

Cosmic Spider-Man – From Amazing Spider-Man #326-329, Spectacular Spider-Man #158-159, and Web of Spider-Man #59 (1989): Acts of Vengeance was an event in many Marvel titles where villains trade heroes and try to take them out. Spidey found himself imbued with Captain Universe’s powers in time to take on Gravitron, The Hulk, Magneto, and a Tri-Sentinel. Although he didn’t wear the Captain Universe costume much, Spidey in full cosmic garb is a playable character in “Spider-Man: Shattered Dimensions.”

Ghost Rider (Danny Ketch) – In 1990, Marvel introduced Danny Ketch, a new Ghost Rider who wore a leather jacket, spiked gloves and gauntlets.

Ultimate X-Men – There has already been a lot of X-Men characters released but none have been given the “Ultimate” treatment yet.

Joe Fixit (Grey Hulk in a suit) – In the 90’s, Peter David gave the Hulk a few different personalities but, as Joe Fixit, Hulk wore a nice suit and worked as a casino enforcer.
 Joe Fixit and the Danny Ketch Ghost Rider would make my New Fantastic Four collection complete

Punisher (in Captain America costume) – From Punisher: War Journal #6-11 (2007): When someone is disgracing the memory of the recently killed Captain America, Frank dons a version of Cap’s costume and goes after them. 

Storm & Black Panther as Queen and King of Wakanda – They married in 2006, Black Panther #18 and while I don’t have a specific costume in mind, they have both made appearances in more ceremonial type outfits. This would make a great comic pack.

Nightcrawler (in Pirate outfit) – From Nightcrawler #1 (1985): While the costume is in the Nightcrawler mini-series, it isn’t the first time he appears in a pirate outfit. Plus, Kurt Wagner is a HUGE fan of Errol Flynn and dreams of being a swashbuckling hero.

Daredevil (in armor) – From Daredevil starting in 1993: Scott McDaniel was a hot artist who drew a lot of people to Daredevil with his stunning artwork and Daredevil’s new armored look.


Here is a list of 10 heroes I want them to come out with in no particular order.

Scorpion (Carmilla Black): This ex-SHEILD agent isn’t just a cool character but may also be the biological daughter of Bruce Banner. And she has a cool costume.

Scarlet Witch: C’mon…there’s already a Vision figure and she was responsible for several major events in the Marvel Universe.

American Dream: A female Captain America in the M2 universe. Would be cool to see the Spider-Girl from that universe too.

Rachel Grey: She’s descended from two of the most experienced and battle-hardened X-Men and possesses the Phoenix Force? Only thing better might be a Hope figure since it looks like she’s carrying it now.

Black Cat: What started out as a Spidey villain and supporting character has become a Marvel Universe staple and has appeared in many other titles.

Dazzler: I’ve always liked the character and her blue costume and New Excalibur costume are both cool.

Longshot: His mini-series was drawn by my favorite artist, Art Adams and he’s always been one of my favorites.

Cloak and Dagger: They are popular Marvel staples that found a way to make a big contribution during Civil War. This would be great as a two pack.

Ares: I know he’s dead but he was a serious bad-ass and he’d make a really cool looking figure.

Deathlok: He’s never been popular enough for a regular series but if I know he’s in an issue, I usually pick it up. Deathlok is one of the most interesting looking characters in the Marvel Universe.


Here is a list of 10 villains I want them to come out with in no particular order.

Mysterio: Visually there is no cooler looking character on the list and I don’t think this character has even gotten a decent action figure.

Lady Bullseye: Kingpin’s main assassin these days.

Kingpin: He’s the reason Daredevil has a mental breakdown every few years.

Flag-Smasher: This Captain America villain once used his organization, ULTIMATUM, to take a group of Americans hostage. In order to save them, Cap has to do the unthinkable. Wondering what the ‘unthinkable’ is - check out the cover of Captain America #321. If you have no idea who Flag-Smasher is, check out Captain America #348.

The Hood: The Hood has a kick-ass origin story and has been a huge villain lately, especially during the Dark Reign.

Dr. Octopus: There is a 3 ¾ figure in the Spider-Man series but I want Doc Ock to look like the comic book version.

The Marauders: These villains kicked off the Mutant Massacre and Arclight, Blockbuster, Harpoon, Riptide, Scalphunter, and Vertigo would make a great six pack (like the Giant-Sized X-Men set).

Omega Red: Another great X-villain.

Jack O’Lantern: While there’s been a few to wear the pumpkin, the one in the new Venom mini-series isn’t just cool looking but deadly too.

Ghost: Before he was a Thunderbolt, Ghost was an Iron Man villain in the 80’s. I want the version in the white armor (not the weird Thunderbolts version).


While I was making this list, there were a lot of characters that appeared that are considered groups. So here are the top five teams that I hope will get the Marvel Universe treatment.

The New Mutants (original and modern): Cannonball, Mirage, Karma, Wolfsbane, Sunspot, Magma, Cypher, and Warlock
One of my all-time favorites and not one character has been given a figure. Kitty Pryde did get a figure but she’s not a founding member or a long-standing member. I don’t know how you would pull of a Sunspot (maybe a variant where he’s all black?) or a Wolfsbane (would it be human and wolf in the package or the werewolf state she sometimes takes on).

Lady Liberators: She-Hulk, Valkyrie, Thundra, Hellcat, and Tigra
The Lady Liberators were a concept that isn’t new to the Marvel Universe, they first appeared in Avengers #83 in 1970. A few years ago, She-Hulk brought together her own team to fight the Red Hulk. I left characters off the roster above that have already gotten figures (Spider-Woman, Invisible Woman, Black Widow, and Storm). Plus, Hulk #9 had a great cover shot of them courtesy of the always amazing Arthur Adams.

I should mention that Mirage has a Pegasus named Brightwind and Valkyrie has a Pegasus named Aragorn. It would be awesome for Hasbro to release ‘Mirage with Brightwind’ and ‘Valkyrie with Aragorn’ packs – they could use the same mold for both mounts. They would even make great convention exclusives.

Exiles: Blink, Mimic, Morph, Nocturne, Sunfire, Sasquatch, and Magik
Exiles was one of the best books on the stands and introduced us to a lot of alternate worlds and versions of the characters we know and love. Other members of the team included Magnus, Thunderbird, Namora, Sabertooth, Longshot, Spider-Man 2099, Shadowcat, and more. There are a lot of possible characters from this series that can be created.

New Warriors: Night Thrasher, Nova (not Kid Nova), Justice (not Marvel Boy), and Namorita
Firestar has already been released as a Toys ‘R Us exclusive figure (the Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends three pack) and there’s an upcoming two-pack with Speedball in it. I can’t believe Nova isn’t already a figure in the Marvel Universe line but the rest of the characters are obscure. Justice and Firestar dated for a long time and did a brief stint on The Avengers together. Namorita is the Sub-Mariner’s cousin.

Young Allies: Nomad, Gravity, Spider-Girl, and Toro
Again, Firestar has already been released. The Spider-Girl on this team is the former Arana and has a costume that hasn’t been released. Nomad is from the Heroes Reborn universe. Gravity is a newer character who has already helped the Fantastic Four save the universe and come back from the grave.


Since Hasbro makes such kick ass figures, here is my list of other lines that should get the Marvel Universe/GI Joe treatment.

DC Universe:  How great would it be to have the Avengers and Justice League stand in a display side by side? Think of all the great characters you wish would have adventures in the comics together can stage your own crossovers. You can own the Justice League, Teen Titan, or even The Wildcats. It would be great to also have Smallville versions of Clark, Superman, Black Canary, Impulse, Green Arrow, etc.
Wouldn't it be great to make this crossover?

Every Joss Whedon show: Okay, technically we’re getting an Avengers action figure line next year but how great would it be to have the Scooby Gang mixing with the crew of Serenity? You could have a Faith figure standing next to your Echo figure or a Wash figure standing next to an Alpha figure (I can go on and on with that kind of example). Imagine a 9 pack of Firefly figures with a variant edition of them in Serenity uniforms. There would certainly be a Buffy the Vampire Slayer “Amends” 2 pack with Buffy and Angel in packaging that makes it look like it’s snowing. How about a Dollhouse action play-set with the imprinting chair and Topher? Buffy the Vampire Slayer is my all-time favorite show and I have the MAC figures but I would have a hard time not spending every last dime on quality 3 ¾ figures.

Image Comics: Think of all the great properties that Image has or has had. It’s where Invincible and Cassie Hack live. It’s where Savage Dragon, Spawn, and Witchblade have enjoyed 10+ years of success. And don’t forget The Walking Dead and all of the success it’s enjoying on TV right now. Image is also home to J. Scott Campbell’s Danger Girl which have already gotten the McFarlane toys treatment but would be a great addition to any 3 ¾ GI Joe mission.

M.A.S.K. (Mobile Armored Strike Kommand): When Matt Tracker, the leader of MASK was released as a figure in the GI Joe 25th Anniversary line – I was excited. Three years later he’s the only figure that’s been released and there’s no sign of any other characters. Of course the original figures each came with vehicles which would be great. This would be a fantastic addition to the GI Joe line but it’s strong enough to stand on its own. And at the 3 ¾ scale, the GI Joe’s can also use the vehicles – hell, even Marvel Universe figures can too. Now that the Shout Factory is releasing the original animated series, maybe a new generation of fans will find this forgotten gem.

The A-Team: I know that no one but me is aching for these figures, but it’s one of my favorite shows and my list…so there. The movie had 3 ¾ figures but there was only one wave (No Jessica Biel figure? Are you nuts?). I would like multiple versions of Hannibal, BA, Face, and Murdock from the movie and TV show. I would also like the television versions of Frankie Santana, Amy Allen, Tawnia Baker, Colonel Lynch, Colonel Decker, General Fullbright, General Stockwell and Hulk Hogan (he guest starred in one episode but how cool would a 3 ¾ Hulkster be?).

Those are my lists, I’d love to hear from you guys what figures you’d like to see in the Marvel Universe line.