Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Hey, Mr. Postman!/November Shopping

It's been awhile since I got toys online since I've been having such good luck locally, but found some I'd been searching for at a reasonable price in the far outer reaches of the interwebs recently.

*Marvel Universe Archangel & Stealth Ops Iron Man
That damned Archangel can go for a fortune online- one of the most sought after in the line after the Vision. Having no luck on the usual online places, I found him & Stealth Ops Iron Man on someone's E-Crater store at a much better price.

*Marvel Universe Doc Sampson
 Doc Sampson- never found him in the wild & got him at a decent price- plus, he pushed an Amazon order over $25.00 for free shipping. Ironically, I've seen him out all the sudden! Sadly, while there's stock in back or at a warehouse, no one is walking around TRU or Target checking how many there are of each character, hence we see these occasional flushes of older figures.

And... along with the Doc Sampson above, I found some Brave & the Bold characters on Amazon for less than what they went for originally in retail & free shipping:

* Batman: the Brave & the Bold Rocket Blast Firestorm
Sellers have been trying to unload these since spring, and while I'd seen him out on clearance a little lower than this, seven bucks w/free shipping was pretty good. Since the new Stealth Attack figures came out, my enthusiam for these has been rejuvenated.

* Batman: the Brave & the Bold Super Saber & Medieval Batman
I missed these coming out awhile ago- so cool! Batman with a sword & armor? Hell yeah...

*Batman: the Brave & the Bold Ninja Batman & Gold w/Starro
I hope Ninja Batman doesn't need an explanation- that just rocks! Like the two Batman variants above, I'd never seen him out on the pegs.  I have the other Metal Man from this series, Iron with the crescent wrench arm- they'll make a nice pair  :)

I've found some cool stuff around town this month as well:

*Marvel Universe Cable
I thought I'd never see this guy out again! Like I said, every once in awhile there is an unexpected flush of figures we've missed as stores restock- I've seen a lot of this around town recently. Cable is a new discovery for me, having recently picked a lot of the 90's Rob Liefeld X-Force issues in the dollar comic bins at BAM!

* DCUC All-Star Flash & Young Justice Aqualad
Target was having a 1/2 off sale on Mattel DC Universe stuff, and I miraculously found a DCUC Flash, long missing from my collection. At $7.99 each, it was hard not to pick up some of the others I saw- a RARE deal, for sure! Speaking of rare deals, I also found this new Young Justice Aqualad box set w/diorama for 1/2 off. Ten bucks! Greatness! I love that show and I love this character!

*DC Action League Martian Manhunter/Deadman & Arkillo/Sinestro 2 Packs
I nearly forgot these were on the way, stumbling across them at Wal-Mart today. I have a ton of these fun little figures- the characters they are putting out are just great!

*The Dollar Comic Bin at BAM!
Ahhh, my curse & gift  :)  I love going through all the bins of old comics at BAM!- so much I haven't read, so many new adventures to experience! Found more issues of the early 90's X-Force recently, along with some Defenders, Dr. Strange, and other assorted oddities of my personal interests. I swear, never will I be done reading these old comics. I love it!

More Later- Keep It Fun!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Marvel Masterworks: The X-Men, Vol.1

As I said about the Marvel Masterworks: Avengers Vol.1 , it's nice to read the first several consecutive issues of these Silver Age titles in one collection, most of which I can buy used for much less than collecting the original issues. Jack Kirby and Stan Lee were on a roll in 1963, and while these first stories, this first team of X-Men looks very different from the X-Men we know today, it all began here. The five special teenagers brought together by telepath Charles Xavier in these early adventures were learning to channel their unique mutant powers as individuals and as a team, facing powerful foes,  uncertain odds, and a public's increasing hatred of their kind . There's adventure, comedy, tragedy, and unrequited love in these pages, just as there is in those years coming of age. And while I wouldn't want to be a teenager again, I felt some of those old feelings again reading this fun book.

While it's not for everyone, I think there's a lot to be said for the Silver & Bronze Age Marvel material. The dialogue may seem stilted to those unfamiliar with the parlance common to comics of yesteryear, but I find these first stories refreshing- they are free of the exhausting continuity issues to come later, and the artwork is fun and splashy. I won't talk about every detail of all the ten stories here, but here are some moments throughout to give you a sense of what a great book this is:

*X-Men Vs. Magneto, Issue #1
Right out of the gate our young heroes are up against the Master of Magnetism, legendary arch enemy Magneto- what a way to start!

While these X-Men may be up against the likes of Magneto in their first issue, we are still given both comic relief and a sense of their naivety, the teenager's rambunctious energy disrupting a training session with Professor X:

*X-Men Vs. Blob
Guided by Professor X, the young team seeks out another mutant their leader senses, in hopes of reaching him before the malign influence of Magneto leads him astray. Finding the Blob working as a circus sideshow act, the teenagers are put off by Fred Dukes obnoxious nature instantly. When Professor X asks him to join the X-Men, Blob refuses, claiming superiority over the team, their tests of power ineffective against the behemoth, immovable mutant. After inviting the circus to attack our young heroes in issue #3, the Blob returns in issue #7 to join the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants against the X-Men!

*Brotherhood of Evil Mutants, Issues #4 & 5
As if their first encounter with Magneto wasn't challenging enough, the gifted youngsters must face his Brotherhood of Evil Mutants as well! Mastermind and Toad make their first appearance in issue #4, as do the Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver- the siblings who we later learn are actually Magneto's children, and soon move on to join the Avengers after their debt to Magneto is repaid.

*Sub-Mariner joins the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants
The powerful Prince of Atlantis further complicates things, confounding the X-Men by joining Magneto & Co. Namor, Quicksilver, & Scarlet Witch are made to realize by Professor X that all have been made pawns to Magneto's malevolent intentions, turning Namor against him!

*X-Men Vs. the Avengers, Issue #9
Unbeknownst to the Avengers, Professor X has also been seeking the menacing & mysterious Lucifer who's built a thermonuclear bomb that's circuits are attuned to his heartbeat. If harmed by the Avengers the bomb could go off, so the Professor commands his X-Men to distract the heroes while he works on a plan!

*X-Men Meet Ka-Zar, Issue #10
Drawn by the appearance of the savage & his saber-tooth tiger Zabu, the teen heroes get in hot water with the subterranean Savage Land natives, and Ka-Zar has to come to their rescue among the prehistoric wildlife that inhabit the land time forgot! Riveting!

I also like the splashy pinup pages in these books, giving you a detailed, close look at the characters- these two of Beast & Marvel Girl take the cake!

I read the Marvel Masterworks: Avengers Vol.2  last month, and am currently reading Vol.2 of X-Men. Getting into these has made rediscovering comics all the more enjoyable for me! I enjoy all the decades of comics, but I feel this time period was a renaissance for comics, an incredible cast of characters & modern comic mythos developed within it. Don't be afraid to peek  :D
More Later- Make It FUN!
*Check out the Marvel Masterworks Resource Page!

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Iron Man 2 Comic Series Ultimate Iron Man

I haven't read any Ultimate Iron Man, but I've admired this action figure for some time. The Marvel Utimate imprint of comics began publication in 2000, the characters given new origins, freeing them from the sometimes convoluted back-histories of the original versions. In Ultimate Iron Man, Antonio Stark's genetic structure was changed due to a laboratory accident his mother suffered while he was still in the womb. Neural tissue normally found in the brain covered his entire body, causing Antonio extreme dermal sensitivity, motivating his inventor father to develop a biological armor to ease the child's suffering, and allowing him to interact with the world normally.

Like the other Iron Man 2 3 3/4" Hasbro figures, Ultimate Iron Man came with the 3-part armor specs card. Instead of a translucent repulsor blast accessory, he came with an interchangeable head- I'm assuming this is two looks he had in the series. His ball jointed head is pretty expressive, and was surprised to see he has swivel-hinged wrists- very unique to such a diminutive scale!  And I'm thankful these figures feature the hinge-swivel hips, never outfitted with the dreaded ball & socket hip like some of the Marvel Universe figures.

While he's not part of the mainstream Iron Man continuity, I love a variation on a theme, and I thought this guy's armor looked tough! His chunky build restrict his movement somewhat, but not too badly- he's still fun to pose! His articulation is considerably better than my Air Assault Drone:



I'm not sure how many of these 3 3/4" Iron Man 2 figures I have, but Hasbro did a pretty good job on them. While it may be due to all the different armor variations and the result of Iron Man's technological aspects/nature, some of them have much more complex sculpts that a lot of the 3 3/4" Marvel Universe figures. I'm especially a fan of the Concept & Comic Book series from this line. As Ewan said over at Chase Variant, Ultimate Iron Man takes the character closer to robot territory visually- he really looks like a machine, and reminds me of an Italian sports car, the smooth rounded helmet and chest piece painted red & yellow. Mine has a small mark between the eyes, but the paint is good otherwise. 

*Philip's review of this figure at Battle Grip
*Ewan's review of this figure at Chase Variant
*See The Iron Man Armory for all the other Iron Man armors through the years!

 More Later- Make It FUN!