Monday, December 31, 2012

Recent Finds In the Dollar Bins and Beyond!

Had a nice comics hunt on Sunday, finding some fun stuff in the dollar bins, and a couple other things that piqued my interest...

*Marvel Super Action #16, 19, 31
These are reprints of earlier Avengers stories, released in 1979, 1980, & 1981 respectively- see the series origin at this link. They looked splashy and fun, and only a buck- impulse buy...

*The Avengers #211 & Avengers West Coast Annual #4
The Avengers issue I picked up only because it looked like a pivotal moment in the title, and it had a lot of cool characters on the cover, including Dr. Henry Pym as Yellowjacket! The Avengers West Coast Annual I picked up because of all the great female characters on the cover, including X-Factor era Jean Grey/Marvel Girl and She-Hulk, and I already have the X-Factor "Atlantis Attacks" annual. 64 pages for a buck- half the the 1989 price, kids!

*Amalgam Comics Iron Lantern #1  & Super Soldier #1
From Wikipedia:
"Amalgam Comics was a publishing imprint shared by DC Comics and Marvel Comics, in which the two comic book publishers merged their characters into new ones. On two separate occasions, Marvel and DC co-published titles from Amalgam Comics. During the publication of Amalgam Comics, the companies treated it as if it had existed for decades, giving it a fictional history stretching back to the Golden Age of Comics, as well as retcons and reboots, such as the Secret Crisis of the Infinity Hour (an amalgam of Secret Wars, Crisis on Infinite Earths, Infinity Gauntlet and Zero Hour). The books even went so far as to have letter pages with readers talking about stories they had read for years from the company line. In the 24 Amalgam Comics printed, one-third of those printed included letter-columns by fictitious fans to give a larger background to the stories and to help give hints of what might happen in the next issue. The "fans'" hometowns were usually fusions of existing American cities."
This looked far-out, and the idea of  a Green Lantern Iron Man is just great! This is new to me and looks interesting and fun...

*Giant-Size X-Statix #1
I can't say enough good things about Milligan & Allred's 2001-2002 run on X-Force. The team turned into "X-Statix" afterward, none of which I've read. At only 30 pages thick, I'm unsure if the "Giant-Size" is supposed to be as sarcastic as the characters within, but for a dollar I could not say no. And for myself, 30 pages of Mike Allred's art is as good as 60 pages of a lot of other artist's work out there... I love it that much.

*Marvel-Super-Heroes 1990 Summer Special #2 &  Marvel Comics Annual #1 Spider-Man 2099
According to Wikipedia, Marvel Super-Heroes vol. 2 (May 1990 - Oct. 1993) published quarterly for 15 issues, and generally printed "inventory stories", those assigned to serve as emergency filler. I know the purpose of these, but I love a big 80 page blockbuster for a buck don't you? I love Spider-Man 2099, too, and for that matter, any thick annual I can grab for a dollar. I thoroughly enjoyed the Spider-Man 2099 Vol. 1 trade paperback I read last year, so this is a treat!

 *The Mighty Thor Vol.2 TPB & Capt. America # Namor #635.1
I love John Romita Jr.'s style, and according to what I've read, he and writer Dan Jurgens reinvigorated the needy title during the 90's. I grabbed this used for $9.99, less than half the price- I also found Vol. 1 & 4 for a steal on Amazon recently. Really excited! Also excited about finding the final issue I'd been looking for in writer Cullen Bunn's Capt. America team-ups with Hawkeye, Black Widow, Iron Man, and this #365.1 with Namor. Fun!

Happy New Year -Make It FUN!

Saturday, December 29, 2012

DC Collectibles New 52 Darkseid!

Well, I knew it would likely come to pass, and while stopping by Comic Headquarters on Friday afternoon to rap with Steve and his friendly staff, I saw the new DC Collectibles Darkseid on sale for $64.99! At the regular retail price of eighty to ninety bucks, I wasn't going to pass on a deal like that and bought him on the spot...

Let's take a look at the video  :D
There are big fun action figures, and there are others that fall into the fine art category- Darkseid here files under the latter. DC Collectibles, formerly known as DC Direct, are known for their excellent sculpt and paint, and this mammoth 13" Darkseid is the pinnacle of their artistry. Sculptor Phil Ramirez pulled out all the stops on this bad boy, creating a piece that rivals any of the fine art statuary DC or Marvel has released to date. The texture and cracking throughout this piece is spectacular, and the paint apps are subtle and expertly applied- it's as though he is standing right there in front of you. Absolutely amazing... !

Such as the case with DC Direct in the past, Darkseid's articulation is very simple: hinge-swivel shoulders, swivels in the biceps, forearms, wrists, and boot tops, single-jointed elbows and knees. His ball-jointed head is relatively expressive, but lacks any upward range- this isn't too disappointing as he looks down on most every action figure in my collection. Darkseid's shoulder pads are on a ball joint, one of which popped off while messing with him- it was most difficult getting it back on, and I feared the tiny, clear peg would break off during the entire ten minutes it took me to get it back on. I'm not crazy about this design feature, and would recommend doing everything you can not to unseat the shoulder pads from their pegs.
 This DC Collectibles Darkseid dwarfs all previous version of the Dark Lord of the Apokolips- here he is pictured below with my DC Direct New Gods Darkseid, inspired by the late, great artist Jack Kirby. I love the angular styling of these New Gods figures, and I think King Kirby would have been impressed by this DC Collectibles version of Darkseid...

Pictured below are a couple other size comparisons with larger action figures in my collection, DC Direct 13" Deluxe Superman, and Hasbro 16" Marvel Universe Sentinel. It should be noted that the Marvel Universe Sentinel retailed at only fifty bucks, and while his sculpt and paint aren't nearly as artful as Darkseid's, his articulation is superior, and he features lights and sound...

Darkseid with my DC Collectibles New 52 Superman and Wonder Woman...
This action figure is a work of art! In spite of the trouble with the shoulder pad, I'd certainly recommend him to any DC Comics fan. To that I'd add, get him on sale- while he's a great figure, he's way overpriced at the suggested retail of ninety dollars. That said, DC Collectibles raised the bar on sculpt and deco on this amazing action figure- Bravo!
More Later- Make It FUN!

Thursday, December 27, 2012

MARVEL NOW! Iron Man #1

 Back to comics, another new Marvel Now! title I've enjoyed is Iron Man. With no explanation necessary, the cover of issue #1 drew me in despite the ridiculous cover price of $3.99. Greg Land's pencilling and Jay Leistens's inkwork come alive under the coloring of Guru eFX- amazing! Marvel NOW! is a 2012 relaunch of several ongoing comic books published by Marvel Comics following the conclusion of the Avengers vs. X-Men storyline. To attract new readers, publishing changes include new creative teams for each of the titles, new character designs and new storylines.

 Tony Stark recieves a message from ex-girlfriend and genetic programmer, Maya Hansen, the reciept of which could mean only one thing: her creation, Extremis, had fallen into the wrong hands, and she is likely dead. Introduced in 2006, Extremis was created in attempt to recreate the Super-Soldier serum gone wrong. Hacking the body's repair center, it reprograms the individual, making him/her more aggressive, with options ranging from enhanced strength and superhuman speed, to advanced invulnerability. The ability to breathe fire and project arcs of electricity from the hands also make for a dangerous individual when Extremis is put into the wrong hands.

 Under the guise of an interested buyer, Stark shows up with his smart-metal armor in a briefcase, determined to stop the spread of what Maya described as more of a virus than a serum-based enhancement. Tony is written well, simultaneously self-depreciating and cocky, and a high-risk player for keeps.

 Discovering how many Extremis kits had been sold before his intervention, Tony vows to avenge Maya, and clamp down on the technology's spread. "We've all got our demons, Maya... and I promise you... yours go back in the bottle", says Tony on the last page, a reference to her escaped "Genie", and Tony's own past as a recovering alcoholic.

The art has been outstanding in this book so far, and the first story, "Believe", has me hooked! I picked up #1-4, and eagerly await the conclusion in issue #5. I love Iron Man's new armor, in black and gold now with red repulsor lights- very cool! While I've always thought Iron Man was a great character, my fascination doubling after seeing the Robert Downey Jr. movies, I just hit a new height of appreciation after reading this new title. I heartily recommend it to even the casual Iron Man fan.

Iron Man #2, 3, and 4.

*See my post on the new Marvel Now! Indestructible Hulk!
More Later- Make It FUN!

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Holiday Haul!

I was a very good boy this year, and along with several other wonderful gifts from my nice family I got some FUN toys for Christmas  :D

I casually mentioned to my mother at Thanksgiving my admiration for this Funko Vinyl Invaders Batman Robot, and she hunted one down for me! It's one of the best mash-ups I've seen, combining Sho-Gun Warriors with Batman- killer! I absolutely love everything about this...

My buddy James got me some Marvel Heroes drink coasters- perfect for setting my icy Diet Coke on while working hard on the Super-DuperToyBox!

My sister got me what may be the tiniest Superman action figure ever- a Heroics mini figure of the Man of Steel that's not much taller than an inch or so... fascinating!

And last, but not least, my Mom's gag gift to all us kids big & small were these Superfly Sock Monkeys, which make a slightly disturbing scream upon impact. Unreserved mirth was the obvious result  :D

Blessed peace to you and yours from myself and mine
More Later- Make It FUN!

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Happy Holidays!

Above: DC Collectibles Justice League Superman.

Happy Holidays from the Super-DuperToyBox! I hope your year went well, and if not I hope things will turn around for you soon. I've been really busy at work the last couple months, and regret missing the Dork Horde Action Figure Nativity contest I participated in last year- my new job requires a lot more of my time, and it's a struggle to get a post up here between that and my other numerous activities and obligations. I love escaping to share my love of comics and action figures with all who come to this happy place- thanks for reading   :)
More Later- Make It FUN!

Monday, December 24, 2012

Marvel Now! Indestructible Hulk #1 & #2

I'm delving into several of the new Marvel Now! titles currently, notably Indestructible Hulk, which has not disappointed. With S.H.I.E.L.D. unable to pin the Hulk down, it's obsessed Director Maria Hill is surprised to see Dr. Banner show up in an Alabama diner, offering a bargain out of their stalemate. Banner has come to realize that the Hulk is virtually indestructible, and there is no cure for his transformation into the gamma-driven beast. But if that rage could be harnessed in service of  S.H.I.E.L.D., they might provide Banner with the necessary environment to work on the things that can be fixed, solving scientific problems for the betterment of mankind and perhaps making up for all the damage he's done. 

The dialogue is great between Banner & Director Hill, Banner's frustration with his situation, and jealousy of Tony Stark being thought of as a hero, while he is labeled as a monster. There's an ego at play here, with a complicated psyche and a short fuse. He reveals to Hill his knowledge of  S.H.I.E.L.D.'s plan to raid the Mad Thinker's nearby bunker, offering the Hulk's services in place of what he knows to be a trap set up by the mastermind villain.

Director Hill accepts Banner's last minute offer for an "audition", and the indestructible Hulk surprised the unsuspecting villain, who launches a counter attack with his enormously powerful tech.

The Mad Thinker had mistakenly underestimated the exponentially unlimited power of the Green Goliath, who withstood beams that melted adamantium, tearing the armored battle armor apart. Director Hill pulled the defeated Mad Thinker and Banner from the rubble after the roof fell in, hiring the scientist on the spot. "I've decided I'd rather you for S.H.I.E.L.D. than against us. Come with me and let's get the paperwork started." "Thanks", coughs Banner, "You won't regret it."

Indestructible Hulk #2 finds Tony Stark paying S.H.I.E.L.D. a visit, surprised by a notably different Dr. Banner working away on various miracle projects. Sent into the field for test run on one of Banner's projects, a condescending Stark sets the frustrated scientist's transformation off while tinkering with his equipment.

A spectacular battle in the snowy Himalayas ensues, but the Hulk unexpectedly saves Iron Man at the last minute, pushing the hero away from the overloading gamma-fracking instrument right before it explodes...

The two exhausted men retire to a warm mountain resort to argue their ideologies concerning applied science over dinner, but Tony excuses himself to take a call from Director Hill, requesting he transport Banner to Montana where a situation is underway... to be continued in issue #2 of Indestructible Hulk! The artwork and dialogue are superb on this new book- if you aren't reading it, I'd recommend you start. Read Colin Smith's exhaustive summation of this new series on Too Busy Thinking About My Comics- he was less enthusiastic about the art than myself, complaining of restricted range of emotion moving the character's through the story. I understand his critique of artist Leinil Yu's sometimes unreadable body language and facial expression, but it's beautiful to look at. I will continue following this...
More Later- Make It FUN!

Monday, December 17, 2012

New 52 Justice League Wonder Woman

 Just a couple days after finding the DC Collectibles New 52 Superman, I landed Wonder Woman at the same store- this is good in that V-Stock seems to be selling these for about five bucks less than everyone else. I hesitated a couple times at twenty-five bucks, but took her home for twenty. Wonder Woman's New 52 title looks interesting, and I liked Jim Lee's new suit design in Justice League. I love a strong female hero, and Wonder Woman is the archetype by which all others are measured.

I didn't say much about the packaging of these in my last post because it's kinda plain- not terrible, just plain. It looks nice enough, and shows the other figures released with the packaged figure, as well as the whole line of Justice League members in a row. Along the glossy white inner tray, the heroes are cast in light gray silhouette, which comes off a little weak and is easy to miss. The "unfurling" display window is nice however, and showcases the figure well. While it may be a waste of materials, a box makes it seem more deluxe. Though I'm medium on the design, I see what they were going for, and it does it's thing well enough. Sculptor Jack Mathews is credited on the right panel. 
Inside the box is a very pretty figure. She resembles the Justice League Wonder Woman by artist Jim Lee well enough, and is a killer figure anyway if not. Diana has a lot going for her here... I'm not sure if it's just the childhood crush I still harbor, but does she not mildly resemble Lynda Carter in some of these shots? I swear!  :D
The sculpt and deco on this Amazon is pretty great- I love the new metallic blue & white boot treatment, and the silver eagle trim outlining her bustier, which has incised lines running vertically throughout and behind two stars etched at the ribcage and hips. The paint on mine has a little overpainting on the back of her shorts to the left, but the rest is pretty clean. She's a beauty!

 I love the darker tones of red & blue used here. It's not the first time Diana has undergone a wardrobe change, this one paying homage to the classic, Bronze Age Wonder Woman we loved in the Super Friends show on television, only toning down the primary color scheme. Gone are the yellow accents, save the golden lasso of truth, molded in a rubbery plastic looped permanently at her waist. Diana's flowing raven mane is still present, highlighted in blue just as in the comics.
Wonder Woman came with a simple-looking sword that fits snugly in a hole running through her left fist. You won't need to worry about her dropping it while posing, speaking of which, DC Collectibles seems to have stopped giving us a base. Diana has a hole for a peg under her right bootheel, bust we aren't given a base, which would have come in handy- she stands alone somewhat tentatively.
Diana has the same articulation as New 52 Superman: really limited. She has standard T-hips, single-hinged elbows & knees, but no thigh, shin, or wrist swivel. We also get no waist articulation, and though it would be helpful in posing, I can respect their decision not to disturb the sculpt on uniform. We do get some side-to-side tilt and forward motion on the head, but she can't look up. Even by previous standards, these New 52 Justice League figures are really limited in their articulation, but they really do look great. And while there were a lot of complaints about the new outfits, the members of the Justice League really haven't changed that much at all. These two make a great pair...

New 52 Wonder Woman with  New Frontier Wonder Woman- a very different design, but every bit as impressive an action figure... 

While on the subject of Wonder Woman figures by DC Direct, I also have the All Star Comics Super Squad and Trinity versions from 2008, pictured below, the latter of which has similar packaging to the new 52 Wonder Woman, but also includes a shield and base!  Visit the DC Direct Action Figure Archive!

More Later- Make It FUN!