Friday, February 28, 2014

DC Collectibles New 52 Flash & Green Lantern

I knew I'd probably get some more of last years DC Collectibles New 52 Justice League figures, confident I'd pick up a Flash & Green Lantern below retail if I held out long enough. We often think of Green Lantern associated with Green Arrow because of Neal Adams & Denny O'Neil's  legendary pairing of the '70's, but Flash was a fellow Justice Leaguer and best pal first, from Golden Age to Modern comics. Polar opposites in personality, Hal & Barry bring out the best in one another, the latter's humble compassion tempering the former's reactive nature. One of my favorite moments between the two heroes since getting back into comics was from Geoff Johns'  Blackest Night, Barry & Hal discussing all those heroes fallen in Final Crisis in contrast to their mutual resurrection. Barry foreshadows his forthcoming Blue Lantern deputation and starts the adventure off:  "They were my friends too Hal. And I won't stop hoping that they'll find their way back like you & I did." 

I picked up this Flash loose on eBay, the metallic paint redeco included in the Superheroes Vs. Super-Villains 7-pack, opposite Captain Cold. DC Collectibles released a flat red version both single packed and packed with Vibe prior to this far more dynamic Flash. The character just works well with this treatment.

As articulation is limited with DC Collectibles, the line's focus is on sculpt and paint, and articulation is secondary. Flash has pretty much one pose he can stand in, but does have bicep swivels and a very expressive ball-jointed neck. I love the etched lines in his sculpt, and carved insignia on his chest.

Green Lantern was going for nineteen bucks, but I had seven bucks credit, so I got him for twelve and free shipping with something else I got on sale at Amazon. The boxes seem excessive, but do display well- I've kept my Green Arrow packaged like this. It seems like a lantern should be included with a deluxe figure like this, but he couldn't hold it due to his two-fisted sculpt.

Green Lantern's articulation is the same as Flash's, and his sculpt is styled much the same as well, his chest insignia raised on the chest. The metallic green isn't as glossy as Flash's, but he makes a great partner visually just the same. The buck on these two have a lot of similarities, though differ in girth, Green lantern beefier than Flash.

There is some rough area on the buttocks where the seam at his hip swivel meets and a little bit of paint scuffing from the package, but nothing terrible. DC Collectibles still won't sculpt the ring insignia on it's Lanterns it seems, though admittedly it's pretty small, and a base would have been nice.  I have a Blackest Night Green Lantern still in package that may rival this New 52, but he really does look great.

DC Direct New Frontier, Mattel DCUC, and DC Collectibles Flash with DC Collectibles, Mattel DCUC, and DC Direct New Frontier Green Lantern...

DC Collectibles New 52 Flash & Green Lantern with 5" Justice League Flash & Green Lantern...

DC Collectibles New 52 Superman, Flash, Green Lantern, Wonder Woman, and Martian Manhunter...

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Tuesday, February 25, 2014

DCUC Aquaman & Hawkman

I picked up this Aquaman & Hawkman loose in a DCUC haul back in Sept. 2011, late into collecting the celebrated 6" line from Mattel, and only a year into blogging here at the Super-DuperToyBox. I recently uncovered them while digging through the collection, and realized I never gave you a a really good look at them. Sure, they are old news, but with the line coming to an end I felt it appropriate to show how really great this action figure line this was, these two released within the first year of release, 2008.

What I can say about these action figures that hasn't been said likely amounts to nothing, but I'd mention the standardization of the parts within the line brought not only a large number of characters to the line, but unity to it as well that was rock solid. Sure, ToyBiz gave us super-articulated 6" action figures several years before, but Mattel streamlined the look with their own unique design.

Though seemingly vanilla in his buck, Aquaman's finned calves and scaled torso set him apart from a lot of the other DCUCs, and his is a huge, bejeweled trident fitting of the King of the Seven Seas. While the paint scheme is simple, the subtle highlights throughout the figure are something that's been missing in the last many waves of this line. His thin, golden collar piping and slightly metallic scales are nice up close. His perfect proportions and faithful rendering make him the archetypal Aquaman we've all come to know and love. 

The bicep/thigh swivels, combination waist swivel and abdominal hinge, and Mattel's unique swivel/hinge hips made these DCUCs very poseable. And while some later DCUCs received a double-jointed limbs and additional hinged wrists, it's easy to take for granted how great these were right from the beginning. I'm uncertain of how many of these I own really, but the number is well over fifty- once I had a few, I couldn't stop.

Released in the sixth wave of DC Universe Classics, Hawkman  included an exceptional number of accessories. I appreciate the simplicity of his belt loop, which can also hold his mace when armed with the sword. His shield clips onto his arm, nicely painted in dark silver like his other weapons, his symbol sculpted into the surface and painted in dark red. He's perfect!

The triumph of this figure is of course those awesome, fully articulated wings! They expand laterally, crafted in two sections joined by a ratchet-peg, but also swing back and forth, hinged separately onto his back. This wing mold was reused later in the New 52 and Golden-Age Hawkmen, a design also used on the DCUC Hawkgirl, which I have still boxed with Gentleman Ghost.

Among the DC Universe Classics line, and in my humble opinion, these are somewhat outstanding for their great color, unique sculpts, and faithful rendition of two classic characters. The Four Horsemen nailed it! 

DCUC Aquaman & Hawkman with Green Lantern, Flash, and Martian Manhunter!

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Saturday, February 22, 2014

Recent Comics Pick-ups: New 52 World's Finest/Earth 2

World's Finest: Huntress/Power Girl Annual #1
I quit on this title some time ago to make room in the budget for some newer titles, but have kept up on Earth 2 so far. Still, I had to pick up this annual, a tie in to Earth 2 with a great cover featuring Wonder Woman, and a surprise ending involving... her child?? The forthcoming "First Contact" arc will feature the Earth Prime and Earth 2 characters meeting in the DC New 52 continuity. The artwork in this issue is fantastic!

Earth 2 #17, Earth 2 Annual #1 & 2
And While on the subject of Earth 2 and World's Finest, I should mention that while there is so much fun stuff going on in the Batman titles in the last year or more, the Caped Crusader has recently taken on a surreal role in this exciting new title. Helena/Huntress' Dark Knight father was destroyed in the first issue of Earth 2, saving the world from Darkseid's army of Apokolips, so the appearance of this mysterious, cowled character was thrilling! While his identity revealed in the second annual wasn't a complete surprise, considering the events of Flashpoint, it was fun to have Batman back, battling a possessed Superman with the Earth 2 heroes! The twisted tale of this other Batman's origin was far out, to say the least...

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Sunday, February 16, 2014

Wooden Blocks?

I've been on the lookout for low cost, new prop options for photographing my action figures after picking up a few flight stands recently, and happened upon a five dollar box of colored wooden blocks at Big Lots last weekend. As children, this is the most basic, introductory toy we are exposed to, teaching matching & building skills, and eye/hand coordination. The precursor to Legos, wooden blocks add the further challenges of balance, as they don't interlock, and arguably require a little more imagination. The best thing about this simple toy however, is that it can be used easily with other toys, such as cars and action figures. 

As I said, my interest in these were to add some more color and dimension to future action figure posts here on the Super-DuperToyBox, but I did enjoy building with them! I also saw some off-brand "Lego" sets at Big Lots at a much better price point that I may pick up for my MiniMates photography, but I first want to see how much I really utilize the wooden blocks. As one would imagine, at the $5.00 price point, these blocks are pretty small compared to other brands I've seen in the past, and will likely work better with figures 4" and below.

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Thursday, February 13, 2014

My Fan Art: '90s Wolverine

'90s Wolverine, 2014
14 x 20", acrylic on paper

My nostalgia for '90s comics is pretty well documented here, though I read far more from this era here in my adulthood than I did in those late-teen years. There was a lot to be critical about with the garish costumes, strange characters, and overcooked dialogue, but I've found some favorites like Spider-Man 2099, Cable, and X-Force therein. At the start of that decade, the X-Men were getting bigger than ever, with several titles on the stands at once. Wolverine was a favored character of mine then,as he is still now, to myself and a million other Marvel fans around the world.

I did the initial drawing of this pretty quickly, and my gestural sketch ended up with Maurice Sendak feet that I ended up leaving in my painting on paper- Wolverine has boots of course, but I liked the talon feet! It's not my best drawing, and possesses an amateurish quality I could not seem to mask, but I had fun with it. For whatever reason, I liked seeing the X-Men in Jim Lee's '90s blue and yellow, Logan unmasked with his wild hair, and a big red belt around his waist. I wanted him to look crazy, and unintentionally or not, I did succeed there   :D   Check out the Spider-Man I painted last winter!
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Sunday, February 9, 2014

Iron Man 3 MiniMates

I got these Iron Man 3 Minimates months ago, and while currently on a MiniMate kick here at the Super-DuperToyBox, I decided to go ahead and photograph them. I've said before that Iron Man is a character that lends himself well to action figure variants, of many in four and six inch scale I've already amassed- these two packs significantly filled out my Iron Man armory in MiniMate scale! Four MiniMate 2-packs is a lot for one post, so I'll try to keep the verbiage brief and let my pictures do the talking   :)

It seems appropriate to start off with the Mark 42 armor,  Tony Stark's new tech in Iron Man 3, the look of which I liked a lot. This is the TRU version in yellow, the regular release metallic gold, which I actually prefer. He looks good however, and comes with an extra helmet with removable face plate- it's a bit tight, so I'll keep the regular one on. The combination of extra arm and torso slip-overs restrict this figure's range of motion unfortunately, but he remains one of the most elaborately sculpted/painted MiniMates I've ever seen.

Mark 42 Iron Man with Marvel NOW! Iron Man...

Enter the Mandarin... !

Mark 42 Iron Man was packed with the Mandarin, a character whose comics continuity was radically altered in the film. With no real emotional attachment to the villain, I found the treatment a surprise, but cleverly done. Diamond does a great job with a lot of their facial caricatures, and this rendering of actor Ben Kingsley, who did a great job with his part. That said, if you want to read a great graphic novel, check out Enter the Mandarin (Marvel, 2007). Joe Casey and Eric Canete's treatment of the character evoked a certain mid-century/atomic age feel that fit well onto their reimagining of Tony Stark's first tangle with the villain.

I think this is a cool MiniMate! His rings are sculpted onto the hands, as are the cuff and lapel detailing on the coat. I wish the coat overlay was shorter as it restricts his leg positioning, but it looks great. The gun and extra bearded hair piece really top it off- he's rad!

Iron Patriot was another armor I was keen to adding to my MiniMates collection- a really decked out Iron Man like the Mark 42, but with the addition of shoulder mounted artillery. The gun doesn't pivot horizontally, but can be "disengaged" to the side with a twist. I'm pretty sure I prefer this figure, due in part to his slightly better range of motion in the shoulders.

I liked the patriotic treatment of Iron Man armor before I knew the origins of the character.Lt. Col. James Rhodes wears the armor in Iron Man 3, but we are given what I assume is an extra Norman Osborn head. There's some great detail on the body if you want to strip the overlay off it or the Mark 42.

Iron Patriot with Fighting Chance Capt. America...

Mark 42 Iron Man and Iron Patriot take off...!

Iron Patriot was packed with an Extremis Soldier, which I had little interest in, although the flak jacket and blonde hair piece included did make him a little more interesting. He also came with a pistol that can be holstered, if with some difficulty, at the thigh.

The Silver Centurion and Skeleton Armor share the third Iron Man 3 MiniMates 2-pack we'll look at in this post. I understand there are some reuse of parts here, but these are unique among my armory. They could have been made better with a different/more paint treatment on the plain white chest repulsors, but are otherwise nicely detailed sculpts.

Unlike the Iron Patriot and Mark 42, the Silver Centurion and "Bones" have no painted detail under their shoulder overlay. They look better with the armor on however, which is less restrictive than the Mark 42. One fun aspect of collecting all these Iron Man MiniMates is the array of Tony Stark expressions Diamond put under the helmets...

'85 Silver Centurion with Iron Man 3 Silver Centurion and Rescue Armor Pepper Potts...

I was glad to get extra civilian hands and feet with this Iron Man 3 Tony Stark- the armored gauntlets and boots were a movie accurate touch, but it's nice to have him without as well. I'm sure I could assemble a civilian Pepper from my other female MiniMates if I wanted them to go on a picnic or something   :)

Tony Stark was packed with the Heartbreaker armor, created for the film as an artillery-level suit with an oversized chest repulsor for heavier firepower. Though his color scheme is conventional red and gold, he's unique to my MiniMate armory. 

The last MiniMate to star in this post, the Heartbreaker is certainly not the least interesting. This figure has a ton of great detailing in the sculpt and paint, and a great scowling Tony Stark face under the helmet. There's no detailing under the torso armor, but no reason to display this figure without- it looks killer, and not nearly as restrictive as the Mark 42.

My entire Iron Man MiniMate Armory...

See all the cinematic Iron Man armors at IronMan.Wikia!
Visit the MiniMates Database

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