Thursday, 9 April 2015

DC Collectables Arkham Knight Batman

Just a quick review cos I haven't done one in a while.

These figures were a surprise to find here in Australia. Batman shot to the top of my list of ones to get, and i waited until the store replenished their stocks because the one Batman they had there had a bend ear on his bat-cowl. So i found the best looking one and here we are.

Not much to say about the new bat suit (because I haven't played the game yet) but from what we've seen in the cinematics thus far this suit is the most iron-manish yet. It's pretty much straight up armor, even more armoured than the armoured version that was released with Arkham Asylum, in that this one looks like its made from polished steel. In the cinematics the suit looks like its made up of several plated parts that move independently. It cuts an impressive silhouette.

The sculpt is fantastic. He looks exactly like he does no the poster. Some of the details are very fine and get bogged down in the thickish paint. things like the hexagonal pattern armour on the legs and arms. The problem with the grey areas of the paint is that they painted it dark grey and put a brush of lighter grey on top, and the effect looks thick and sloppy. on closer inspection its not that bad but its still sloppy looking. The gold and silver get mixed on the belt buckle though. The details are there but I just wish they were a little crisper. On the plus side there's a terrific carbon fibre pattern on the shoulder pads which turned out great. there's a lot of paint aps on him, of varying colours and textures.

The articulation is great. Double jointed elbows are welcome as are the shoulder pads which are attached to the bicep to allow for greater movement. There's more joints than you expect and he's quite impressive that way. The shoulder pads and the belt pouches are made of a softer plastic to allow for greater movement.

He comes with a line launcher, a new hand to hold that launcher, and a batarang, a nice little set for an introductory batman. The hands swap nice enough but the fingers wont go that far into the launcher and it looks like he's lightly holding it.

So, overall i'm impressed with this figure. He's burly and heavy, solid, full of detail with a nice little accessory selection. He's worth picking up, but be mindful of the bat-ears as they look to be woefully bent in some cases.

Monday, 9 February 2015

Spider-Girl: Marvel Legends Spider-Man Infinite Hobgoblin Wave

Spider-Verse is a genius idea for a crossover, having all of the alternate Spider-men and women team up to face a common foe. Alternate versions of Spider-man tend to be the most popular of alternate universe interpretations Marvel makes. Just look at Spider-Man 2099. He’s the only 2099 character to have any kind of consistent fan base since his creation in the 90s and is the only one they make comics of today. Same thing here with Mayday Parker.

After her popular debut in a one shot May ‘Mayday’ Parker was given her own comic and a cult following to boot. Of the other two titles released in her own future universe of MC2 (A-Next, about new Avengers, and J2, about Juggernaut’s son) May’s was one that lasted. No one asks about J2 anymore. No one.

So May is the daughter of Peter and Mary Jane, and has a host of powers similar to his, including the all-important spider-sense. She also has some control over the magnetism of objects on surfaces; an extension of Peter’s wall crawling ability, it seems May can trap people to a surface by touching the surface they’re standing on, interestingly enough. She’s adopted the costume of Ben Reilly, the spider-clone, and even has his web-shooters as well. Like Miguel, she’s had her share of adventures with 616 Spider-Man, and he knows them on a first name basis and they are trusted members of his Spider-verse team, which is cool.

The figure borrows the Jubilee/Anya Corazon Spider-girl mould, which is appropriate as most would remember Mayday as a teenage girl and not a fully-grown woman. That being said she’s meant to be fully grown in Spider-Verse but she looks small next to the others so I can assume she’s a petite girl anyway.

 I like what they’re doing with the plastic, as the quality of plastic is much higher with Mayday than it
is with Anya. She’s 90% the same, only with a new head (with sculpted eyes) and Ben Reilly’s web-shooters, which are independent pieces that are like bracelets on her wrist and not part of the forearm. Her hands are in web firing mode.

Her articulation is the same as Anya’s, ball-jointed/swivel hinge wrists, shoulders, hips and ankles, single hinge swivel elbows, a torso ball-joint with limited range, thigh and shin swivels, double-jointed knees and a ankle pivot. Her neck swivel hinge has great range but the legs can’t go up that far in front so her more acrobatic poses are out of the question.

The paint is great for the most part. The dark blue is a nice shade, and the red is appropriately vibrant. The webs are mostly painted on well but there’s some red-into-blue slop on the foot, but the mask is painted on fantastically, with crisp lines around the eyes. She doesn't come with accessories, but her build a figure piece is Hobgoblin's head and wings. Seeing as i got this figure loose from the mystic shores of the orient I didn't get that stuff.

 So, if you’re one of those Spider-Girl fans that rallied against her multiple cancellations and have been craving a good figure of her look no further. I’m glad spider-verse has awoken interest in alternate versions of Spider-man like Mayday and we can get our hands on a quality representation of her.

Sunday, 1 February 2015

Spider-Man 2099: Marvel Legends Spider-Man Infinite Hobgoblin Wave

Spider-man 2099 was one of the earliest comics I remember reading as a kid and its always left an impression on me. Initially it was the art by Rick Leonardi, who also designed the iconic outfit, but much later in life I’ve found that I love the stories by Peter David also. While the dialogue at times can be a little dated, Peter David’s stories and characters hold up and remain surprisingly compelling considering some of the crap mainstream 90s comics were spewing out. Two of my big favourites as a kid were Spidey 2099 and hook handed Aquaman and David was responsible for both. 

Miguel O’hara remains one of his better, and I imagine, one of his favourite comic creations, seeing as David brought him back with his Captain Marvel run and has taken the reigns with the current series. With an abusive Irish father, his headstrong Mexican mother, and the artistic brother Gabriel that his mother always favoured over him, Miguel didn’t have much to cling too growing up, his intelligence thrusting him into Alchemax Academy. This led to his successful career as a leading biologist for the mega corporation, and it was there that, due to the machinations of the CEO Tyler Stone and the sabotage of a jilted colleague Miguel’s DNA blended 50% with that of a spider.

Miguel now had red eyes, natural web that fired from his wrists and retractable razor sharp talons that
extend from his fingers and toes. An unwilling hero and symbol to the oppressed, Miguel then accepted role of the Spider-Man of 2099 and became the hero we know today.

The iconic Leonardi-designed costume is one of my favourites, and it’s represented well here. It’s no wonder this costume makes it into every Spider-man game they’ve made. The red is crisp, and they’ve even added painted elements to the chest/shoulder hinge to complete the look. The figure is cast in a metallic blue plastic swirl, to give it a smidge of a futuristic edge. It gives the figure a nice visual flair, instead of a flat blue (the costume is actually described as ‘black’ in the comics but never, ever shown that way funnily enough). My only problem is that the red on the mask doesn’t hit the raised elements as perfectly as it should.

The sculpt has a lot of new elements. I thought he’d be exactly the same as Superior Spider-man, but he doesn’t surprisingly. His torso is new (as far as I can tell) and is leaner that Superior, the crotch is new as well. The forearms are sculpted with those spikes and his hands are new. His head features the raised elements of his awesome mask design, and while I like that its there it makes me want all the design elements to be raised to fit it, but I like what I got. The legs, by the way, are 100% Superior’s.

The only other accessory he comes with is his cape. In the comics when he first got his powers Miguel fell onto a glider containing a Thorite (a 2099 citizen which worshipped Thor from the comics). He accidentally tore some of the space age fabric off with his talons, and later added them to the costume as it allowed him to glide. My problem with the cape here is that its meant to extend and bit for gliding and its sculpted like it sits in a big clump draped down his back. It pegs in the back but it can fall out easily.

As I got this figure from the mystical far east, he was loose and out of the package. But normally he’d come with Hobgoblin’s right arm and flaming sword.

His articulation is as good as Superior’s and I think he’ll be something of a sleeper hit in this wave (though that Pizza eating spider-man will probably be the most popular. It looks amazing). He has a ball jointed neck, double jointed elbows and knees, he has a swivel chest joints and ball jointed shoulders. His wrists are swivel hinge as are his hip. He has a waist swivel, a great ab crunch (coupled with a great neck range that will allow for great poses) and ball jointed ankles with ankle pivot. All and all he’s fantastic.

So I guess this is something of a milestone for me: this is the best Spidey 2099 figure. I’ve waited for a really good one, that Spider-Man classics one was a bust. But his articulation is great, his paint is cool and the sculpt it great too. I’d love a Shattered Dimensions version, what with all that sculpted fabric and raised elements, but this one will do perfect for now.

                                                                       Damn Spider-man classics!!!

Tuesday, 8 July 2014

Marvel Legends X-Men Infinite Jubilee Wave Storm

After the Phoenix Force took him over Namor laid waste to Wakanda, a disaster which the isolated African nation had never seen the likes of before. Because Namor was an X-man when it happened, the leader of Wakanda, T’Challa annulled his marriage to Ororo Munro, despite their feelings for each other, because his people couldn’t see him canoodling with someone who’s so publicly an X-man herself.

Out of anguish and rejection Storm had Wolverine cut her hair in the Mohawk she had in the 80s, and also pursued a casual rebound relationship with him. She also formed a new X-force alongside Puck, Psylocke and Spiral, and this is the outfit she currently wears.

The paint makes the outfit. The paint white is pearlescent white/metallic mix. It’s mostly cast in black, except for the hands and hair (white) and the chest and head (brown). The added paint makes up the lines of the outfit where there should be details.

Storm has a great, solid sculpt, and the joints are tight. I don’t recognise the body though, she could be the Songbird buck from the Thunderbolts SDCC special, though the torso looks different. She certainly shares the conjuring hands of Satana, though. She’s got a swivel balljoint head, ball-jointed shoulders, elbows and wrists, ball-jointed torso, swivel hinge hips, double jointed knees and ball-jointed ankles with a bit of an ankle pivot. Her feet are tiny in high heels so she’s real hard to stand without a base.

The cape is cool but makes things feel a bit delicate though. It’s made of a fabric that’s crunchy, a little paper-like, kind of like a bigger, softer, flatter Lego cape. It’s fastened on with rubbery plastic rings and I fear I may snap them or tear the cape in a way I can’t fix. The cape has a painted gold edge and also attaches in the peg that joins the chest to the belly.

The head sculpt is the important bit, seeing as you have to get that face right as everything else is sculpted. Her face is beautiful, is painted crisply and her hair makes her super tall. The hair looks great. It restricts movement upwards, so flight positions are a bit limited. The hair and the head are in two parts, maybe for re-use purposes? Her 90s look of long flowing hair sometimes looked as if she had shaved sides, so who knows. Someone might even be able to make a Nebula custom out of it, maybe. I could see someone making an easy, great looking Shard, Bishop’s sister.

Its great that it’s the most recent costume, its what we want and its cool. Having proper sculpted elements on both her and Cyclops would have been fun but this will do in a pinch.

Sunday, 22 June 2014

Marvel Legends X-Men Infinite Jubilee Wave Cyclops

I’ve always liked Scott. I mean my favourite these days is Hank, but I’ve always had a soft spot for Scott. He grew into a more interesting character, for me, with Morrison and Whedon’s version of the X-men, as they were two writers who understood how interesting such a plain, straight up hero can be, and what lies under that strength. They revealed him to be flawed and frail, with more depth than simply being the fearless leader. And nowadays he’s even more interesting.

When the Phoenix Force, a cosmic force of unimaginable power, came to Earth to take over Hope Summers, Tony Stark, brains trust that he is, attacked it, and it divided into 5 parts. The Phoenix force inhabited five X-men: Cyclops, Emma Frost, Magick, Colossus and Namor. During their rampage Scott killed Professor Xavier, an act which broke his heart, turned half the X-men against him and made him a villain in many peoples eyes.

As a result of his hosting of the Phoenix Force Scott’s powers are now busted. Where before his beams were focused weapons of precision, now they’re basically a sawn-off shotgun blast of uncontrollable power, which needs time to recharge.

Now as his role as a mutant revolutionary, Scott needed a spiffy new suit to hit social media with. His
new movement drums up support from humans and mutants alike as he searches out new mutants popping up globally and protects them from a world that would see harm come to them.
And here it is in action figure form. My new favourite costume of his (and my favourite new design of any costume) blows the Astonishing era, John Cassiday designed suit, and its boring redesign out of the water.  The black and red design, by Chris Bachalo, is eye-catching, unique, dynamic and iconic, fitting for his role in this new world. Its also very villainous looking, which suits his standing with his former friends, and that circular collar design is very Magneto-esque, who’s now his second in command. That mask is so strange, you should check out the cosplay to see how poorly it translates to real life, which I love. The blasts are channelled through the center of the X, if you’re wondering.

The figure is very basic in its design, so its inclusion in this line is a great up-to-date decision and a no-brainer. There are very few new parts (just the belt and the head) and the paint is the important part. He’s cast in black and painted with a shade red that looks like his eye-blast colour. The belt is dark brown, and there’s two types of orange on the mask to suggest he’s powering up to fire. The red elements have some wear and tear, at least on my second-hand Hong Kong version, so look out for that on the official release. I’ve also seen some wear on the red lines by the ab crunch so be careful with that too.

A note about the head sculpt: the mask I think should extend down his cheeks and take up most of the face. The orange elements of the X-visor look like they should extend down his face, or at least the black should be underneath though no drawing of the costume suggests this. He looks cool but it feels like someone, in sculpt or paint, got something wrong, though the final result is actually comic accurate. Also he's a completely smooth sculpt, and the costume has ribbing and piping thats missing from this piece. It would be amazing to get an 100% new sculpt, but to me he's good enough. 

Articulation-wise he’s basically what you get from the old Cyclops and with a lot of Marvel Legends since Bucky-Cap. Swivel-ball head and neck, ball jointed shoulders, bicep swivel, double jointed elbows, swivel hinge wrists, ab crunch, swivel waist, ball jointed hips, swivel thighs, double jointed knees, swivel calves and ball jointed ankles with ankle pivot. It’s a sculpt that works well so that’s why it’s been re-used so often.
I got this bad boy early from those distant shores of old Hong Kong so I didn’t get any accessories, as the only thing he comes with is Jubilee’s arm.

The new Jubliee wave is promising, with brand-new up to date versions of characters people like (and new stuff like Stryfe). There are a few duds, with a Wolverine re-issue no one wanted and a Magneto which should have been a brand-new black and white version (or just better looking than what we got), but even then I’m very happy with getting my favourite new costume so they should keep this kind of thing going. Now we just need new Magick and Emma Frost figures in the Marvel Now style, that'd be amazing. NEXT: Marvel Now Storm is on the way, keep an eye out


Tuesday, 27 May 2014

Marvel Legends Guardians of the Galaxy Infinite Star-Lord


The problem with someone like Star-Lord is that he’s not, in terms of popularity, a Batman-level character, who has a vocal fanbase that would object strongly to any major changes to the character. So what we end up with is a character that’s constantly changing to fit whoever is writing them at any given moment.

We start in 1976, where Steve Engleheart created Star-Lord. As told by Matthew Peterson at (Read the more in-depth story here) Engleheart’s intention was to turn a brash, awful and unlikeable man into a genuine force of good in the universe. But he only got to the a-hole bit before leaving, so our impressions of early Quill are shaped as such.

Born to Meredith Quill, Meredith’s husband saw no resemblance to himself in young Peters face, and tried to murder the infant. A timely heart attack saved Peter, who later learned that his real father was an alien prince called Jason (later ret-conned to J-son). After his mother was murdered by lizard aliens, Peter joined NASA, and was visited by a being called the Master of the Sun who wanted someone to take up the mantle of Star-Lord. Peter beat a hated rival to gain admittance and was given a talking star ship called Ship and his Element Gun, which could harness the earth’s elements (earth, wind, fire, water).

I came across Star-Lord later in his life, during the Annihilation saga. At this point he’d lost everything; he’d faced a rogue herald of Galactus, and sacrificed thousands in order to save billions. He’s lost his gear, his ship and his desire to remain human, covering himself in cybernetic implants. During this time
he was the trusted advisor to Nova as he fought Annihilus, and would often annoy Nova by calling him ‘Richie’. Afterwards he was accidentally responsible for the invasion of the Kree Empire by the Phallanx, and as punishment had his implants removed and placed in charge of a rag-tag espionage team. It was in this team he met Groot, Rocket Racoon and Mantis, with whom he created the Guardians of The Galaxy with. That was the coolest run (written by Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning) which lead to the movie being made.

My favourite period of Star-Lord ended with he and Nova fighting to keep Thanos from re-entering our universe by staying behind and distracting him as a dying universe collapsed around them; Star-Lord mysteriously returned blond and with his old element gun back, without Nova. He now looks like he does in the movie, so that makes this figure basically a comic figure as well.

From what we’ve been told of the new version from the movie, Peter Quill was kidnapped from earth as a child. So he’s an overgrown child who never grew up and who only knows 80s popular culture? He’s pretty much every nerd out there. However, the second trailer also shows him rousing the Guardians in a way that reminded me of my favourite version of Quill, so that’s something.

I remember thinking when seeing the first pictures that they were going to just reuse that old Punisher mold. I’m very happy to report that he’s a 100% new sculpt, and from what I can tell from the rest of the line he’s got the lion’s share of accessories too.

What impressed me about the Marvel Select Wolverine from last year was that they followed the Japanese collector action figure ethos of ‘everything that you want out of the character is in this one box’. He comes with the alternate head, removable satchel, his twin pistols, and that strange orb he was stealing at the beginning of the first trailer (not the orb he shakes up and lets free for light). He also has his headphones for listening to his classical music. He can’t hold the orb all that well and the guns don’t stay in as strong as I’d like them, as the fingers are soft.

The sculpt is great, and like I said all brand new. He even has the rocket boosters we’ve seen in the trailers and TV spots; they even went so far as to sculpt the buttons to fire them. The paint is strong. He has silver highlights on the rocket boosters, some square elements on his coat and his belt buckle. He’s wearing a bluish grey t-shirt, and his coat, covered in a wash to make it seem more dirty and leathery, has brown leather parts on his shoulders and a brace on his left arm. The paint on the unmasked head is ok; I think it’s the paint on the eyes that make him look less like Chris Pratt. The mask head is better, the mask looks great but there’s a bit of slop with the red eyes.

He has ball hinged feet with ankle pivot, double-jointed knees (with cool kneepads) swivel cut thighs, ball hinge hips, swivel waist, ab crunch (with limited range) ball swivel neck/head, cut swivel biceps, ball jointed shoulders and wrists and double jointed elbows. So he’s pretty stocked in the articulation department.

This might well reflect the first costume he wears in the movie, that opening sequence and the ‘Nova Corps police booking’ sequence seem to be the only times he wears this outfit, but he’s represented
well here. This is a fine figure with very satisfying accessories and will no doubt please a lot of people once the movie comes out.