Tuesday, January 31, 2012

DC New 52: Green Lantern #2 & #3

Man, has the New 52 Green Lantern book turned out exciting! Like I said last week in my post on issue #1, Doug Mahnke's pencilling is super-tight, and starting off with Sinestro as a Green Lantern was unexpectedly cool. Part of you almost wants Sinestro to see the errors of his past and join the good fight, but what's his motivation?

In issue #1, Sinestro appeared before Hal outside his evicted apartment after a disastrous date with Carol Ferris, "If you want your ring back, you'll do everything I say."  "How many times have you thrown this oppurtunity away", Sinestro adds before Hal gets ahold of the ring...

But the ring Hal is given may not be used against it's creator, Sinestro. It's clear that our grounded Lantern will need to learn some humility & submission if he's going to get what he wants, and Sinestro is once again the teacher! When Hal hears sirens he runs off to be the hero, rescuing a damsel in distress from a collapsing bridge right before Sinestro cuts his ring's power off in midair. Begging Sinestro to return his power before the innocents die, Sinestro refuses, pulling Jordan in a headlock so he can watch how the former "Greatest of All Lanterns" ... rescues everyone in one blast?? As a reader, I was surprised and delighted by this! Sinestro brushes off the grateful citizens on the bridge while Hal looks on, speechless "Just... get back to your little lives." So great!

But Sinestro knows it was Gorgor bubbling in the water below who was responsible, coming for him for abandoning his own corps, the killer of Sinestro also the heir to Korugar. Disgusted by the sadism among his yellow lanterns who have enslaved his homeworld, Sinestro dispatches the monster, telling Hal if he wants to keep the ring, he'll be helping destroy the rest. 

Issue #3 starts with Hal wanting to say goodbye to Carol, who has by now witnessed this strange reunion with Sinestro on the evening news. Sinestro insists saving Korugar is more important than his lost relationship, sending Hal into a rage, "I'm coming with you , I'm going to help you clean up your mess. But don't think you're better than me." At which Sinestro erupts into laughter, smugly offering "Jordan. I am better than you. And you already know that."  :D

Meanwhile, the Guardians have gathered in contemplation of the error of their reliance on the volatile Green Lantern Corps. Agreement is reached that like the Manhunters before, it is time to replace the Corps...!

On Korugar, Hal is instructed to stick to the plan Sinestro has given, but his discipline gives way to uncharacteristic emotion upon seeing his former deputy Arsona in danger on the street below. Sinestro charges to the rescue, causing a panic among the citizens and their tormentors, the same reckless emotion Hal displayed for Carol manifested in his own actions... this is good stuff, People  :D

Hal flies into the central yellow battery to shut it down while the Sinestro Corps keeps busy with their former leader as instructed,  but something has gone terribly wrong it seems...!

More Later- Make It FUN!

Sunday, January 29, 2012

DC New 52: More Justice League...

While on the subject of DC's New 52 here at the Super-DuperToyBox, I've continued picking up Justice League since the 1st issue, recently picking up #5 at The Fantasy Shop. I've heard a fair share of disdain for this particular title, but I seem to keep coming back for more- the combination of Green Lantern, Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman, Aquaman, and Cyborg is just to good for a 70's kid like myself to pass up. I love a supergroup, what can I say? Personally, I continue to be thrilled by Jim Lee's incredible pencilling- just... wow! Some fans have expressed a distaste for Mr. Lee's redesigns of these iconic characters, but I attribute at least half of this to nostalgia, and people's resistance to change. I've grown to like the new renderings of my old favorites, and eagerly await DC Direct's 2012 release of the New 52 Justice League action figures  :)

Issue #2 shows the misunderstanding between these metahumans, Superman mistakenly associating Green Lantern & Batman for the aliens who've been showing up with the pinging "little boxes", leaving awesome destruction in their wake. Young Victor Stone's fate as Cyborg is sealed during a visit to his father's laboratory where the superhumans are being researched, one of the boxes erupting & violently releasing more aliens.

Issue # 3 introduces the royalty, the Amazon Princess Diana on the cover, and Atlantean King Arthur on the last page. The members f this fledgling supergroup start acting like a team now, fighting what we now start to realize are Darkseid's parademon armies...

Aquaman comes on strong & confident when Hal questions his ability to contribute to, much less lead the fledgling group on champions in Justice League issue #4...

When Darkseid appears at the end of issue #4, we see the Master of Apokolips is no less powerful in the New 52 reimagining of Jack Kirby's Silver-Age creation. He instantly dispatches the group effortlessly...!

Justice League #5 opens, Flash trying to rouse the flattened Justice League, but one of Darkseid's Omega beams hits Superman, and he's carried off by a Parademon...

...then Hal Jordan gets his...!

For whatever reason, perhaps an act of trust, Batman exposes his identity to Hal before leaving his to rally the troops while he hitches a ride with a parademon to find Superman... on Apokolips??

Pretty exciting stuff! A retread of old material? Sure, but fun... fellow Erin likened it to Marvel's Ultimates series delivered in a "summer movie" vibe, which rang true to me. There are a lot of extras filling the last pages of these issue, including concept sketches of the characters, like Batman & Superman above, as well as mock dossiers from the files on these strange, new superhumans. Lots of advertisements for the other New 52 books fill these issues as well, some of which I'm tempted to pick up.

More Later- Make It FUN!

Friday, January 27, 2012

The New 52: Green Lantern

I was determined to stick to only the Justice League title from DC's New 52, the price of comics being outrageous these days, but when presented with the opportunity to pick up the first five issues of Green Lantern at the Fantasy Shop, I caved like a spelunker  :D

I was intrigued most by the cover of the 1st issue featuring Sinestro as a Green Lantern! And let me stop here before we go any further to say I love Doug Mahnke's pencilling work, my initial experience with this talented artist in reading Final Crisis just last year. His exacting, super-tight style looks so great applied to Sinestro's GL outfit! While many fanboy bemoaned Geoff Johns writing yet another book for DC, I loved Blackest Night, and the way the reboot of this title starts off caught my attention immediately- this doesn't start off with an origin story, but quite some time after Sinestro had started his own Yellow Lantern Corps. The Guardians have restored Sinestro's Green Lantern power ring, forcing him to take the oath before... setting him free?

Meanwhile, Hal is getting bailed out of jail by Carol Ferris, who graciously offers our grounded pilot a job sweeping floors, having also been recently stripped by the Guardians of his Green Lantern status for his characteristic reckless behavior. Sinestro sets his sights on home planet of Korugar, having erupted in chaos since his incarceration by the Guardians. The "Greatest of all Lanterns" is portrayed perfectly in this new book: fearless, scheming, and unstoppable. All the things I love about Sinestro! I was enthralled! After Hal ruins dinner with Carol, and probably his last chance to get back in good with Ferris Air, the grounded hero returns to find an eviction notice on his apartment door, and a surprise visitor bearing an unexpected proposition...!

More Later! Make It FUN!

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Hey, Mr. Postman!

A pal from my old hometown mailed some comics to me this week! These aren't necessarily what I would pick up, which makes the package even more interesting  :) 

*Unexpected, Ghosts, & Witching Hour issues from the late 70's. These horror/mystery comics should be a lot of fun! As a child I'd read a handful of old horror comics a family friend had that fascinated & frightened me a little  :D  Maybe some of you older kids remember these...

*The cover on this House of Mystery is great- it instantly caught my attention! Mysterious Island is an adaptation of the Jules Verne novel, both a type of comic and classic adventure literature I'm unfamiliar with.

*A couple Jonah Hex issues from the late '70's, an issue of G.I. Joe from '86, and three McDonald's Golden Adventures of Brett Hull  -if you lived anywhere within a 200 mile radius of St. Louis in the early 90's, you remember Brett Hull was worshipped by the Blues fans. I wasn't even into sports and I watched the Blues. 

*The Brave & the Bold, 1977- Batman & Green Arrow team up with the Metal Men! Now this is cool 'cause I'd seen this in the dollar comics bin recently, but decided to pass on it in order to stay within the budget I'd set for the day. And Man-Thing vs. Dr. Strange... wow! I'm really curious about this!

Well, if I didn't have enough to read before (laughs), I certainly do now thanks to Lara- Thanks girl  :)
More Later- Make It FUN!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

ToyBiz Marvel Universe Dr. Doom & Mysterio

My collection of 90's ToyBiz 10" figures is quickly amassing, joining the ranks most recently "Spider Wars" Mysterio & "Metal Warriors" Ultra Doom! Two mean, green villains! Some of these Marvel Universe figures were given these sub-categorical titles, like my "Heroes Unmasked" Spider-Man/Peter Parker. I love the carton backers on these two packages from '98, detailed in Silver-Age Marvel graphics- it's hard to see head on, but when the package is handled the illustrated lining is a nice touch.

There is a another version of this Dr. Doom that has a brighter green cape & tunic packaged in a Fantastic Four box, but I found this "Metal Warriors" Ultra Doom more to my liking. While the paint apps are simple, the drybrushing on his arms & legs are really great, making Doom's armor look like distressed metal! His gold belt buckle & eyes were painted very carefully as well, and his tunic has a dull green wash filling the cuts in the sculpt. Whereas some of these ToyBiz figures were somewhat flat in their appearance, Doom has some depth.

Doom's comically oversized gun fits in his left hand snugly, his right arm featuring a swivel joint at the gauntlet as opposed to elbow articulation. The gun has the same silver paint has Doom's limbs, but is peppered with a black fly-speck paint application- cheap, but effective.

While slightly more poseable without it, Doom's cape looks pretty cool, and is a great flowing sculpt, attached only by wedging the collar around his neck. It's weight also limits his already narrow poise, but he stands pretty well with it on. A child would instantly discard the bulky accessory, but it does look great!

The skirt on Doom's tunic is split at the crotch like some of those old Star Wars figures, but hollow inside near the thigh- I prefer this to the legs being immovable, and it works okay visually. Truth be told, getting him in these poses took some patience anyway, and he'll be standing up straight in my display, so the split tunic will be no more visible than the seams in his leg molds.

I have to say you'd be hard pressed to find a better representation of the Latverian dictator in plastic form- this action figure totally rocks!  Yes, these cheap, goofy ToyBiz deluxe figures have limited articulation, but their simplicity appeals to me greatly. And Doom here is just a wonderfully fun toy  :D

Here's Ultra Doom with 3 3/4" Hasbro Marvel Universe Doom, Mattel Secret Wars Doom, and ToyBiz Famous Covers Doom. Consider yourself DOOMED  :D

Equally great is the enigmatic Mysterio, a clear dome in place of his head! Creepy! To the best of my knowledge, the "Spider Wars" reference on Mysterio's packaging is a reference to the finale of Spider-Man animated T.V. show in 1998, the year this particular toy was packaged. In my research, I found no ties between the villain and the two final episodes where Spider-Man meets his interdimensional counterparts, perhaps the association with the popular television show meant only to help sell the unusual figure. If he was hard to sell at KayBee Toys in '98, that's certainly not the case now, Mysterio being one of the more sought after of this line of 90's toys. I won him in an eBay auction for about eight bucks, but shrugged him off many times before due to the price being too high for the limit I'll spend- I'll pay twenty bucks for one of these (if that price includes shipping), but not much more.

Mysterio is a stand-out in this line! ToyBiz did a great job at capturing this villain, a former stuntman & illusionist who took the unintended advice that "toppling a superhero" would bring him the movie industry fame he desired, Spider-Man mistakenly chosen as an "easy target". There was another version boxed in the 10" Deluxe Spider-Man Animated Series packaging that has a white-to-green fade color scheme on his dome, but it just doesn't look as cool as the clear dome with no head. Again, creepy
You can't see much down inside Mysterio's domed head, which made it all the better. Dur to age, the plastic was mildly discolored, but not badly considering his age. While I was all "grown up" and past my childhood fascination with toys (Boy, did that come back with a vengeance!),  it's weird to think that these are nearly 15 years old. Boy does time fly! The figure's cape attaches to his collar via a slot behind the dome, and stays in place.

The Spider-Man Animated Series release of this figure has a lighter color scheme, and does not have the tampographed grid pattern on the body that make this such an interesting figure. Additionally, the "eyes" on this Mysterio's pectorals are only yellow dots on the Spider-Man version, cleanly tamped in black atop the red badges. Small details like this & the clear dome make the Marvel Universe version so much better looking in my opinion.

Boy, were these great to find and a lot of fun to photograph! Again, feel free to share any experiences good or bad you may remember about this line of toys. I was past collecting toys in these years while attending college, and some of you may remember them when they were new. BigDaddyDarth said he has a pile, and just posted 'em on Plastic Mayhem  :D   Thanks Pal! In spite of and because of their dodgy quality, and somewhat unspectacular construction, I'm somewhat fascinated by these  :D

More Later- Make It FUN!