Monday, September 30, 2013

Invincible Iron Man #152, 1981

I found the issue that inspired all those blue Iron Man action figures I'm obsessed with, Invincible Iron Man #152, from November of 1981. Among my action figure collection are many subsets of varying style, size & manufacture of particular characters, and within a few of those are a few which share particular decoration. There are examples that are mere army building, such as Sinestro Corps members, and some just multiples of an outfit styling or color, New 52 Supermen or black or Silver Age Batmen for example. My fascination with blue Iron Men falls in the latter category, but is made more special by his less frequent appearance on the pegs. They aren't rare by any means, just not as available as the millions of red & gold Iron Men shipped to the U.S. when Robert Downey Jr. starred in the hugely successful movie franchise. Marvel announced Tony's new armor in '81 with a stamp on the cover by artists Eliot Brown & Bob Layton, which is kinda neat- a comic rendering of the Armored Avenger in his new stealth armor over a colored photograph of a city.

This is a Cold War comic, so the KGB is involved, nestled in scenic East Germany, where Tony Stark takes his new armor for a test reconnaissance run at the Heaven's Hand compound. Not as heavily outfitted for an offensive as in his Mark V, Tony is forced to retreat, returning later under the cover of Rhodey's radar-bending stealth craft, the VTOL. After penetrating the stronghold from the mountain's underwater nuclear base, our hero disguises himself as a KGB agent, and he finds his kidnapped lover, Bethany Cabe. Discovering her "late" husband's death was merely a ruse the KGB planted to draw Bethany out, she could not longer be with Tony. The KGB had intended to gain psychological leverage on the once West German Ambassador, who had info on N.A.T.O. sleeper agents, but the Missus was wise and planned an escape beforehand! Tony was shocked that she had not anticipated him in the mix, but still need him to rise above his feelings and save the day as Iron Man! Tony really bares it all when Bethany confides her knowledge of his alter ego, and plays dress-up under her watchful eye. Hilarious!

Anyway, Tony succeeds in seeing everyone off in the VTOL with Rhodey, but gets zapped by the Living Laser at the end like the fool in love he is! I lucked out finding issue #153 at the same time, so I could see the continuing drama unfold. I had a great time reading this issue, and enjoyed a glimpse at John Romita Jr.'s earlier drawing, for more conventional in it's Marvel "house style" aesthetic than his later work on Amazing Spider-Man in the 2000s, Thor Vol.2 , Heroic Age: Avengers, and the recent Marvel NOW! Capt. America title, all of which I thoroughly enjoyed reading this year. Finding this issue was of personal interest for me regarding the art, the character's tie to my action figure interests, and fond memories of  reading comics in the 70s & 80's. Read more about this issue at MarvelWikia.Com!

Some of my blue Iron Men: 7 5/8" Iron Man 3 Iron Monger BAF, 4" Stealth Operations Iron Man, 6" Stealth Strike Iron Man, 4" Fusion Armor Iron Man, and 7" Marvel Select Stealth Iron Man...

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Sunday, September 29, 2013

Aug-Sept.Figure Acquisitions!

What can I say? I love toys! LOL! A few things I found at retail this past couple months...

*Marvel Universe 3 3/4" Iron Fist, Elektra, Mysterio, Nova, & Iron Man
Any new Hasbro Marvel Universe figures have come far & few between in local retail locations I was finding them a couple years ago- some waves we just never saw here on the street. Needless to say, I was really enthusiastic about finding some of these spread throughout the county in the past month. I'd probably save time & gas money just ordering online, but it's nice to get out & about, and the thrill of the hunt in undeniable.

*Iron Man 3 2-packs, Strange Tales box set, & Hulk/Iron Man 2-pack MiniMates.
My God- I'll never be done with the MiniMates! I've building up my  6" & 3 3/4" Iron Man Armory this year, and more recently within my MiniMates collection. I've finally gathered all the Iron Man 3 wave, as well as the recent Hulk/Iron Man 2-pack featuring ol' Shellhead in his Marvel NOW! black & gold. Sweet. And I could not pass on that Strange Tales 4-pack with Morbius the Vampire, Blade, Werewolf  By Night, and Dr. Strange himself, the latter two I'm currently reading Marvel Essential volumes of... too much fun, Kids...    :D

*Funko POP! Heroes Batman Beyond Vinyl Figure
I guess this is like my fifth one of these little vinyl Funkos, two of which are bobbleheads. I am still a big fan of Batman Beyond, both in concept & character, so I went crazy when I saw this! I also spotted a Nightwing, Harley-Quinn, and Darkseid, but I got bills to pay. I am mad for these!  

*Batman Unlimited 6" Beware the Batman & Vampire Batman
I have mad love for Mattel's variety of 6" Batman figures, of which they've delivered several the last few years. I've waited anxiously to see these in person, the only two I've found yet went straight into the basket. I knew I'd take the Beware the Batman home when I found him, but seeing the Vampire Batman in person convinced me instantly to buy him as well. Just in time for Halloween! I've passed over the Mattel '66 Batman figures several times because I was really waiting to see these...

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Friday, September 27, 2013

TPB Haul & More Comics!

Packed my bag at Project Comic Con last weekend: Marvel Masterworks: Tales To Astonish Vol.1, Captain America: Bicentennial Battles, Superman: Kryptonite, The Avengers-Kang: Time & Time Again, The Avengers: The Serpent Crown, two Crisis On Multiple Earths volumes, and perhaps my favorite- Marvel Essential: Werewolf By Night Vol.2...

Later that Saturday night (under a full moon, no less) found me picking up a five dollar copy of Marvel Essential: Dr. Strange Vol.1 and Daredevil: Yellow, also marked for clearance at eight bucks at V-Stock. I'm thoroughly enjoying those first, crude drawings of the good Doctor by artist Steve Ditko, his first adventures and origins told by Stan Lee within the '63- '68 issues of Strange Tales. I've heard good things about Yellow, and the art looked appealing to me- nice cover...

 I've been slightly less faithful to DC, but still pick up some of the Superman Unchained and Batman & Robin titles, including catching up with all the end of that Batman Inc. stuff around when Damien/Robin is killed, and the more recent Zero Year issues, Batman: Black & White, Batman '66, and Batman Beyond Universe. Even picked up a couple of those holographic cover issues from DC Villain month, Darkseid #1 and Man-Bat #1...

I also recently read the Cable/Hope books- all five, including the Cable/X-Force volume that runs through the middle of the story arc. I picked up most all these 1/2 price + BOGO several months ago, so I didn't have to invest a lot. Watching Bishop hunt down Cable & Hope through a postapocalyptic future to the end of time and back was really interesting, and I blew right through the series with great enthusiasm!

My reading doesn't stop there however, as I've still been following  the monthly Marvel NOW!  titles Captain AmericaGuardians of the GalaxySuperior Spider-ManIron Man, and FF. though  thoroughly enjoyable, I dropped Thor: God of Thunder, Indestructible Hulk, A+X, & Nova recently, in an attempt to cut back on some titles and devote time to the Cable/Hope books, other TPBs, and collected editions I want to read.  I'd read it all if I had the time and money, but this has kept me busy at night    :D

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Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Spider-Man 2099 Art Print by J.Alonzo Clark...

Met a great artist at Project Comic Con this past weekend, J. Alonzo Clark, and picked up a print of his- Spider-Man 2099! I'm a big fan of the character since I read Vol.1 of the Spider-Man 2099 TPB, and seeing his recent appearance in the Marvel NOW! Superior Spider-Man title had me excited all over again! Mr. Clark also makes custom helmets & shields, and is a cosplayer/actor and stuntman as well. His booth was impressive, and service done with a smile.  Check out his Facebook page for more images of this talented man's work and extraordinary costumes!

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Monday, September 23, 2013

More From the Super-DuperToyBox Iron Man Armory...

There was so much photography from my recent sessions with the Marvel Legends Iron Man 3, that I had to share some of it in this addendum post. Not only did I unexpectedly round up all the Iron Men  in this line to assemble my first BAF ever, the Iron Monger, but have picked up other 6" Iron Man & Iron Man 2 figures along the way.

I've said before that I have a fascination with variant decos on figures and reimaginings of popular characters, such as in the case with blue Iron Men. First introduced as Tony Stark's Model X, Mark I "stealth armor", the black armor was heavily highlighted in blue to accommodate comic book styling, influencing the several blue Iron Man figures we've seen over the years. While red and yellow/gold are a recipe for success in hero costuming, I find the dark blue with red highlights contrasty and attractive. My new Iron Monger with Marvel Select Fusion Armor Iron Man and Legends Series Strike Stealth IV....

I also have the Marvel Legends Series Terrax Series Stealth variant I picked up well over a year ago, and more recently found a 6" Torpedo Armor Iron Man Series figure, as well as a 4" Iron Man Series Sonic Storm Iron Man. The latter is really purple and black, but he still fits in with my blue armory. Some day, I'll get them all together for a photo shoot...

Picking up the classic Iron Man with interchangeable head was, of course, an excellent chance to play BIG TOY/little toy with my 4" Iron Man 2 classic Proto Armor Iron Man and Model III, Mark I Iron Man...

Iron Man has seen many reincarnations in his popular red & gold colors, including his Heroes Reborn armor, and Heroic Age "Bleeding Edge" armor...

While collecting the Legends Iron Man 3 series, I also picked up a 6" Iron Man Series Hulkbuster, 4" Inferno Armor, and 6" Concept Series Inferno Armor Iron Men...

Similar to my obsession with blue Iron Men, any Iron Patriot inspired armor decos I find pleasing to the eye, so It's fun to have Lt. Colonel James Rhodes (movie Iron Patriot), and the Marvel comics Norman Osborn Iron Patriot on hand for comparison...

Before picking up the Iron Man 3 Series Iron Patriots, I first found the Iron Man Concept Series Captain America Armor Iron Man on eBay. I love this one- he came with a wrist mounted missile launcher and Captain America shield! 

6" Marvel Legends Iron Man 3 Series Iron Patriot with 4" Marvel Universe Iron Patriot...

11 1/2" Titan Hero Series Iron Patriot with 6" Marvel Legends Lt. Colonel James Rhodes... I love those Titan Hero Series figures- yes they are big, dumb toys, but that's what I like about them...

Pictured below is the Wal-Mart exclusive 6" Avengers Series Mark VI  with my Iron Man 3 Mark 42 Iron Man. The popular motion picture franchise starring Robert Downey Jr. as Tony Stark gave the character a renaissance, and updated his armor styling. The Mark 42 Iron Man has updated Hasbro articulation, but there's no denying what great action figures came out of those Iron Man 2 molds...  

While I don't own one of the 6" Titanium Man figures from which Ultron's body was based, I do have the 4" version with similar styling, notably in his waffle-stomper feet. I picked up several of these 4" Iron Man 2 figures a couple years ago, and they were really nice sculpts with great articulation, unlike some of the recent Hasbro offerings.

6" Marvel Legends Iron Man 3 Series Ultron with 4" Marvel Universe Ultron...

How many Iron Man figures could one man possibly want to collect, you may ask? Well, that's hard to determine- I found a new MiniMates Iron Man just last week, and if they released a 6" version of the black & gold armor seen in the recent Marvel NOW! Iron Man title, or the space armor from the new Guardians of the Galaxy title, I'd buy them for sure! Iron Man just lends himself well to an assortment of variants, based on a character possessing a wealth of specialized armor. The possibilities are endless! Visit the Iron Man Armory online!

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Thursday, September 19, 2013

Marvel Legends Iron Man 3, Wave 2

Continuing from my last post on the initial wave of  Marvel Legends Iron Man 3 figures, I present the second: Iron Man Mark 42, Lieutenant Colonel James Rhodes (movie "Iron Patriot", and Ultron... who wasn't in the movie, but comes with the head of the Iron Monger BAF. 


This Iron Man Mark 42 was the one I was waiting for! He's an exceedingly handsome action figure. I love this armor! The satin, metallic gold over metallic red  plastic is pretty clean for such a mass produced figure, and Hasbro even put some subtle blue in the chest reactor. Nice.

Iron Man Mark 42 has no waist joint as not to break up that beautiful sculpt, has an hinge-swivel torso joint that works effectively, especially leaning back. The shoulders and thighs have great hinge-swivels, and his shoulder pads and wrist gauntlets are made of a softer plastic that bend with positioning, no hinge to come undone like on some of those Iron Man 2 figures. We get that wonderful ball-hinged neck with great range, and of course the highly coveted ankle pivots. He's a well executed action figure- Bravo!


Lieutenant Colonel James Rhodes gets the Iron Patriot deco in the Iron Man 3 movie, as opposed to Norman Osborn's character in the comics. I was trying to decide what parts he borrowed, but a lot of this looks new to me. And aside from a couple small spots, his metallic deco is even more stunning than the Mark 42.

Iron Patriot's articulation is the same as Mark 42 Iron Man, except the ankles, due to the sculpt, and the upward range of motion in his wrists, hindered by his gauntlets. The shoulder mounted gun has both a hinge and swivel joint that's quite helpful for aim, and can be mounted on either side. Like the Mark 42, I was looking forward to photographing this hunk of fantastic plastic more than some of the others, and he does not disappoint!


As I said, Ultron comes with the head of the BAF, so I had to get him to complete Iron Monger. He's not in the film, but the dread Marvel cyborg recently starred in the Marvel NOW! Age of Ultron series, and has been a big part of the Marvel Universe the last several years in general. I'm mildly disappointed the body is a reissue of the Titanium Man mold, but it's not all bad- the subtle blue shading over the silver metallic plastic is nice, Hasbro gave him new shoulder pads, and the head sculpt is satisfactory.

Ultron's shoulder pads are hinged, allowing decent range above the head, which enjoys a very expressive ball-hinged neck. His double hinged knees are hindered slightly by the boot tops and thigh bands, but his articulation is great otherwise. The hinged abdomen and swivel waist are perfectly disguised on that Iron Man 2 Titanium Man buck, and while we don't get an ankle pivot, the waffle stomper boots are kinda fun.  I still have eyes for that sweet Ultron Marvel Select dropped awhile back, but Hasbro Ultron wasn't as much of a let down as I'd feared, and he loves the camera. 

The arms and head of Iron Monger were included in this second wave of the Marvel Legends Iron Man 3 line of 6" figures... my Iron Monger is now complete! Hooray!

Iron Monger is beautiful in his metallic blue deco! He's 7 5/8" tall and twice the girth of the other figures, who look small next to him. I love a big, chunky action figure, especially a robot, and Iron Monger scratches that itch. The figure's girth limits his range of articulation, but the hinge-swivel hips have enough room to work with the swivels at the tops of his thighs, and he actually has double-hinged knees and ankle pivots. Additionally, the forward range in motion on his neck is decent so the tall figure can look down. He looks like he has a bicep swivel but he doesn't and that's fine since we get a hinge swivel at the elbow, The pivotal range in his ball-hinged torso doesn't seem extraordinary, but is highly effective in positioning due to the exaggerated proportions of the figure. Iron Monger is wonderfully fun to play with, and the first BAF I've ever completed!

I'm giving this line two thumbs up! Ultron and the comic Iron Patriot were of less interest to me personally, and classic Iron Man has really limited vertical articulation in the neck, but they are not without merit. Yes we get three re-purposed molds, but an attractive assortment of armor and color, and well articulated figures I would have loved as a kid. I had not originally intended to pick up more than two or three of these, but finding a couple on sale and the lure of the Iron Monger BAF finally sealed the deal.

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