Sunday, December 29, 2013

Marvel MiniMates Hulk & Iron Man 2-Packs

I'm still collecting Marvel MiniMates, and though not all the waves are consistently stocked in the area TRUs, I was thrilled to find these Hulk & Iron Man 2-packs. The Robot Hulk/Rescue Armor Iron Man came out of nowhere recently, as did the Marvel NOW Hulk/Iron Man set just a couple months ago.  One of my collecting habits is amassing several versions of a favored character both in and across different action figure lines, Iron Man and Hulk being two who dominate a considerable chunk of plastic within my collection.

I had no former knowledge of Robot Hulk, though we have seen some toys with the same theme over the years- Hulk's massive size and strength seem to lend him to the mecha treatment. He's a super-chunky MiniMate with one of the biggest torso overlays I've ever seen, severely limiting his articulation, particularly in the neck, which seems immovable with it on. Still, I love a chunky action figure, and he looks great with the silver mechanical parts visible between the seams, and squared off armor paneling. A must-get!

Upon removal of his torso overlay, the image of a mad scientist operating the robotic Hulk is revealed- wonderful!  The back of the packaging says a Soviet scientist called the Gremlin who clashed with Iron Man & the Hulk built the Robot Hulk to defeat them. Kodrati Topolov, enemy of the Hulk and creator of the Titanium Man armor went by the Gremlin moniker, but I knew nothing of his Robot Hulk. The 2-pack came with a lot of extra parts, for whom they were intended not entirely clear to me. The Hulk fists seem permanently affixed, so the silver hands must belong to Rescue Armor Iron Man, but the extra "Terminator" head seems obviously intended for Robot Hulk. Fun! This figure has so much great detail in the deco that I don't mind the lack of range in his articulation. 

Robot Hulk with my Marvel Vs. Capcom 3 Hulk...

There have been some MiniMates 2-packs that include a character I was only marginally interested in, this set not being one of those- I was really happy to see this Rescue Armor Iron Man with the Robot Hulk. I recently picked up a bunch of Iron Man 3 MiniMates, but another version of the Armored Avenger is always welcome in my collection...

Beneath the great looking silver & red armor is the ponytailed head of Pepper Potts. So cute! I may love this even more then her mechanical green partner- absolutely darling. And I love everything about the armor deco on this figure, from the extra arc lights highlighted in yellow throughout, to the armored kneecaps. Diamond Select nailed it!

I read about Pepper in the rescue armor a couple years ago in The Invinsible Iron Man: World's Most Wanted, and finally picked up the second & third volume in this story to see how Tony's secretary comes through. Diamond Select took artistic license with the outfit, but she is a great action figure. I've seen some preview images of a forthcoming armored Pepper in the 6" Legends line by Hasbro, which I'd enjoy as well.

We all saw Gweneth Paltrow suit up in Iron Man 3 to save Robert Downey Jr., so this is also a movie tie-in of sorts. I feel it also takes cues from the Silver Centurion armor, and provides an emotional tether for the comics fans with its red/silver color scheme.

Unlike the Silver Centurion MiniMate, Pepper came with a flight stand made of translucent yellow plastic... 

Unable to see his silver pants in the packaging, I didn't expect this to be the Marvel NOW Hulk.  While the interchangeable helmet/head looks slightly different in the comic, this is a reference to issue 11 of Indestructible Hulk (Agent of T.I.M.E.), where he must assist Zarrko the Tomorrow Man in fixing the time stream, damaged by the Chronarchist.

I would have liked the full armor we've been seeing in Indestructible Hulk, with the Tony Stark/Iron Man arc discs throughout, but there is some nice detail on the figure, and the mecha helmet is cool.

More thrilling in the Marvel NOW 2-pack was the new Iron Man armor in black and gold w/red arc highlights! I loved this new armor in the Marvel NOW relaunching of the Iron Man title last year, and was hoping for some action figures with this deco.

This figure has a lot of nice details, and plenty of red arc lights throughout the armor, which is a striking metallic gold on glass black. Very snappy! The bulk of the chest armor overlay restricts the movement of the head a great deal, Tony's grim face neatly painted beneath the helmet. Another great Iron Man MiniMate! The character's mechanical traits lend themselves well to the squared off format of these mini figures.

Like Pepper, Marvel NOW Iron Man comes with a launch/flight base, appropriately molded in translucent red plastic. I could not be happier with the Iron Man figures in these 2-packs- their details are wonderful, and they contrast nicely together.

More Later- Make It Fun!

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Beware The Batman Fast Food Premiums

You may remember my post on the Mattel Beware The Batman figure back in October- while there have been a lot of complaints about the show, I've actually enjoyed what I've seen. I've even gone so fr as to by a couple of the new comics title inspired by the show. My mother has a connection at the local McDonald's restaurant, and scored some of the Happy Meal toys as stocking stuffers for me- check out the video!
More Later- Make It FUN!

Monday, December 16, 2013

ToyBiz Famous Covers Nightcrawler

The ToyBiz Famous Covers series were some of the first action figures I collected when starting the Super-DuperToyBox. Like Mattel's 8" Retro-Action figures, these reminded me of my Mego World's Greatest Heroes dolls from childhood- large action figures with real fabric costumes. I scored this guy three years ago, and have even had him on display in my home, but haven't properly documented him until now. These toys had great packaging that the figure could easily be put back into for display or storage- I have fourteen of these, and they are still among some of my favorite action figures. 

Nightcrawler here is from 1999, and is in tip-top shape, all his joints tight, and costume in mint condition. These toys had pretty good articulation, including hinge-swivel shoulders, hips wrists, and ankles, all of which work well on a character like Nightcrawler.  Since he doesn't wear oversized rubber gloves or boots some of these toys have, his ankles and wrists are more useful.

The feature of this toy that really makes it is Nightcrawler's bendable tail that can be posed in any position! Really fun! his costume looks good, thought the overlay is a little bulky, the back a little diaper-like at the velcro adjustable seam above the tail.The overall impression is really good however, and he's great fun to play with!

I thought of this toy recently when in discussion with Miss M on which X-Men character we'd be, quickly deciding she would be Kitty Pryde for her child-like enthusiasm and good natured demeanor. She asked who I'd be, and I said Nightcrawler just as assuredly. I'd loved to have said Wolverine, Colossus, but I'm not ruthless, powerful, nor genius. No, I'm more plucky and playful, like the swashbuckling blue elf, and perhaps more sensitive/spiritual like Kurt Wagner as well.

 I was also reminded of Nightcrawler recently when picking up Amazing X-Men #1, the first five issues featuring the character's return from the afterlife in "The Quest For Nightcrawler". I guess I hadn't really kept up on him, because I hadn't realized he was killed off in 2010. While it's true the character that artist Dave Cockrum introduced in Giant-Size X-Men #1 back in 1975 doesn't get the same marquee status that Wolverine enjoys, he's classic X-Men to me, and Ed McGuiness' great illustration of Nightcrawler on the cover of Amazing X-Men sold me instantly. I'm two issues into this new title and really enjoying it!  

Some collectors weren't crazy about the open mouths on some of the Famous Covers toys, but they did do a great job on the teeth here. I'm not crazy about the 90's haircut they sculpted on Kurt, but he looks good and is an outstanding figure in many ways, both among this line and on his own merit.

Pictured below is my Famous Covers Nightcrawler with Magneto and Wolverine. ToyBiz released some X-Men movie figures later on around 2000, before Hasbro got the Marvel licence and produced their own short-lived line of 9" dolls.

-Read Thomas Wheeler’s Flashback Review of the Marvel Famous Covers line, and be sure to check out my other Famous Covers posts on these interesting toys.

More Later- Make It FUN!

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Doom 2099

I've been a fan of Spider-Man 2099 since reading the first volume TPB, and have picked up a few spare issues since, but until now had neglected the first four issues of Doom 2099 I scored around the same time. Marvel Comics' Marvel 2099 imprint that began in 1992, which explores a possible future of the fictional Marvel comic book universe where several characters a re-imagined therein. In Doom 2099, a man claiming to be Victor von Doom appears among the ruins of Dr. Doom's castle in the distant future, incredulous of what has become of his country of Latveria, now under corporate rule that has exhausted it's resources and driven it's people into a state of distopia. 

Latveria is ruled by future Latverian robber-baron Tyger Wylde, who battles against other mega-corporations like Alchemex and Pixel for domination. Upon Doom's discovery of the grave state his beloved kingdom's fate, he confronts the warrior mogul, eventually succumbing to Wylde's superior tech. Before frying his face, Wylde berates the impostor for overlooking the fallen dictator's scarred mug in his masquerade. Doom is rescued by Fortune and her band of gypsies, who share his Zefiro clan lineage. The group rallies behind this unlikely freedom fighter, restoring his health and building him new armor for another confrontation with Wylde, who Doom eventually defeats in issue #4.  Reclaiming Latveria, Doom decides the world is corrupt, and must be taken over to be restored- sounds like Doom to me! This title ran for 44 issues, the character appearing in several other 2099 titles, and receiving  his  own one-shot after conquering the United States. I'd not before noticed the name of author John Francis Moore who also wrote some X-Force and X-Factor stuff I liked from the '90s, or artist Pat Broderick, whose first run with Marvel soured due to editor Jim Shooter's scathing criticism of his art. After departing for a decade long tenure at DC, Broderick returned victorious to draw Doom 2099. 

Known Doom enthusiast Canadian Kal  pointed out that without that DAMN RICHARDS around to stop him, Doom could be the champion of Latveria and hero- a second chance of sorts. And like I also noticed, Doom 2099 needs other people, no longer the despotic ruler we'd grown to love. In order to topple Tyger Wylde, the gypsies who rescued him must be trusted and tolerated. Without Fortune risking her life to double-cross Wylde, or Wire to crack his tech, Doom couldn't shut him down. While on the subject of tech, it wasn't lost on me that even though the internet wasn't a new thing, it would not be open to public use for another two years at the time of this magazine's publication in 1993. References to cyberspace, including one panel of cyber-savant Wire physically "surfing the network" on a board, seemed a little ahead of their time. 

Kal also proposed this person may have been Doom plucked from an earlier time, which got me to wondering then if the memory flashbacks Victor experienced were just some sort of cosmic osmosis by which he recalled the older Doom's memories, as a younger Doom shouldn't have. Who is this man and from where did he come?  Only four issues in  I'm not an expert, and Doom 2099's true identity is unknown to me. I enjoy the possibility of this remaining an unresolved mystery, and Wikipedia claims the definitive truth is never revealed. I'll consider picking up the TPB collection, but these first four had a satisfying arc alone. When Doom steals Wylde's valuable, energy-rich tritonium and lures him near to detonate the volatile mineral, I thrilled to his calculated ruthlessness! Rising from the flames, Doom is revealed to have used the phasing technology of his futuristic neuro-armor to let the explosion pass through him like a breeze. Perfect! Though we are left with more questions than answers about the origins of this Doom, it's a good story with hyper-detailed art typical of this vintage. Fun stuff I'd think would thrill any fan of Doom!

More Later- Keep Reading Comics!

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Batman Adventures Holiday Special #1

Jumo on over to Batman The Animated Toys Blog, and read my post on the  Batman Adventures Holiday Special #1 (Jan. 1995). Found in the dollar comics bin, the cover alone was worth the price of admission! This was an outstanding holiday special I'd recommend to any Batman: The Animated fan!

Happy Holidays- Keep Reading Comics!

Monday, December 2, 2013

DC Action Figures of Interest in 2014

 I need another action figure like I need another hole in my head, but it looks like 2014 will not be the year I stop buying them, due in large part to some of the new stuff coming out in 2014...

6.75" Earth 2 by DC Collectibles
DC Direct/DC Collectibles are among some of my favorite action figures. What they lack in articulation is most often made up for in sculpt and paint, and whereas Mattel action figures often suffer from sameness, DC Collectible figures offer more unique styling from character to character. I've been reading the New 52 Earth 2 title since the first issue and will likely buy all of these, but would love to see a Hawkgirl, Dr Fate, and Atom- or for that matter, Mr. Terrific, Power Girl, Huntress, Earth 2 Superman, Steppenwolf, Wotan, Red Tornado... there's a lot of possibilities for a second and third wave. We haven't historically received expanded waves from DC Direct, but we did see a ton of Justice League figures from DC Collectibles recently, so one can hope.

6.75" Greg Capullo Batman by DC Collectibles
I'm interested in a lot of the new DC Direct figures, and while I won't be able to buy them all, I would like to have these Batman figures inspired by Batman artist Greg Capullo. I didn't start reading any of the Snyder/Capullo Batman stuff until the recent Zero Year story, but these look killer! I'm getting them all...

6.75" Arrow by DC Collectibles
I've not seen the new WB  Arrow show, but I like the character a lot and these look nicely rendered. Though I have at least 4 or five unopened Green Arrow action figures, there's most always room for another, especially one this unique.

6.75 Arkham Origins, Crime Syndicate, and Swamp Thing by DC Collectibles
Is there no end to the forthcoming DC Collectibles goodness? It would seem not: this month the deluxe Swamp Thing ships out, we will continue to see Batman Arkham Origins figures, and a Crime Syndicate wave is on the way as well. I also found some images of a New 52 Teen Titans trio in the works. I'm not sure if I'll buy these, but they do look outstanding. The Deluxe Swamp Thing is a real conversation piece...

Clockwise from top right: DC Collectibles Arkham Origins Anarky, Crime Syndicate Johnny Quick w/Atomica, & New 52 Deluxe Swamp Thing.

9.75" Sofubi Vinyl Batman & Joker by Medicom
I have a budding collection of vinyl Batman figures, to which these would make an excellent addition. While these come at the hefty price of $79.95, they sure have the kind of retro vibe I dig on. Wonderful!

6.75" Justice League War Figures by DC Collectibles
Based on the forthcoming animated feature, I'm most interested in the Wonder Woman for her unique costume, but curious to see how the rest turn out. It's not like DC Direct/DC Collectibles never released any cartoony-looking action figures, but dare I say these vaguely remind me of... Mattel action figures?

6" DC Total Heroes by Mattel
These look a lot like the Batman Power Attack line, but with some added articulation. I've seen some images of an Aquaman, Flash, Bizarro, Mr. Freeze, a couple Batman, and a Batman Beyond in the works. Like DC Collectibles JL War figures above, I'm unsure how many of these I'm interested in picking up, but they're neat to see.

4" DC Multiverse by Mattel
A lot of the first wave of these appear to be Arkham City characters, but more interesting are the Chris Reeve Superman characters and Michael Keaton Batman with the unmasked variant! These will be comparable in size to the DC Collectible Injustice figures, but appear to have simpler articulation. 

More Later- Make It FUN!