Thursday, November 29, 2018

New Comic Wednesday - 11/28/18

I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving last week. Because of the holiday I was able to post that week's new books, so this post will be a catch up of sorts. Before we get to last week's books, I wanted to share my haul from DCBS. As I've mentioned before, the majority of my monthly books are ordered through Discount Comic Book Service as the discounts they offer are very generous and much better than any local comic shop offers. I elect to have my books for each month shipped in one large shipment once a month to save money, that and I'm still getting caught up reading my current books. Below are the books I received in my latest DCBS order.

I've opted to buy all of the Ron Lim variant covers to Infinity Wars. I particularly love this cover w/ Thanos and Gamora.

I'm absolutely thrilled to see Humberto Ramos back on Amazing Spider-Man. He's one of my favorite artists period, but I particularly love his take on Spider-Man.

I've got to get caught up because I loved Spider-Verse and I can't wait to see how Spider-Geddon shakes out. I've been trying to stay away from any spoiler type material because I want to go into these stores "blind" as much as possible.

The Iceman issue was purchased not because of the Spidey appearance, but because of Firestar! I don't know what really became of her after Secret Empire so I'm anxious to read this issue.

I grabbed a few of the Battle Lines variants, including this issue of Weapon H featuring the Red Hulk.

New books for last Wednesday, 11/21/18:

Gobots? Yes please! I flipped through the book in the store and I love the vintage look the pages/art have. This one will be read this weekend.

I wasn't sure if I would bother with Web of Venom: Carnage Born, however I'm told that it ties in w/ Venom's title since Donny Cates is writing both. Never cared for the Carnage character...maybe Cates will change that?

Lately I've been trying to branch out from the larger publishers and check out some smaller indie titles. I started off w/ Rags from Antarctic Press (thanks to the awesome Key Collector app) and I loved it. I made sense to try another title of theirs so I grabbed Punchline #1. This one is more in the traditional superhero vein from what I know of the book. I plan to sit down this weekend and give it a read.

New comics for Wednesday, 11/28/18:

Jenny Frison is killing it with these Wonder Woman covers. They are simply gorgeous and worth the price of admission alone!

Two more installments in the Infinity Warps stories of Weapon Hex and Arach-Knight. I didn't think I'd care for the merger of these characters, but they are much cooler than I thought they'd be.

I'm still trying to play catch up w/ Daredevil so I have a few issues to find before I can sit down and find out how this title is "ending". I really enjoyed Uncanny X-Men #1 two weeks ago and I'm eagerly looking forward to reading last week and this week's new issues. As you can see, I have a lot that will be added to the backlog stack of books. Hopefully I can have a productive weekend and put a dent in the books that need to be read. Later!

Tuesday, November 20, 2018

NECA Masters of the Universe: SSSqueeze

Back when I had a robust Masters of the Universe 200X toy collection, I had branched out to include the NECA "staction" figures into my collection. Even though these were essentially little statues, I loved the fact that the Four Horsemen continued to sculpt these.

I wasn't the biggest MOTU fan growing up as it was just a tad before my time, however I always loved the concept of the Snake Men. I was really sold on how the Snake Men looked in the Mike Young Productions cartoon and in the 200X toy series. These NECA figures continue the same look and are packed with detail. 

The original toy for this character was too goofy for me to take serious, but this guy, I wouldn't want to bump into him in a dark alley or on the battle field!

There are times I really wish I hadn't sold my 200X collection, however like many toy collectors there is only so much space to display things and eventually they because causalities in the great toy purge. Outside of certain NECA staction figures having fragile parts, these were great additions that helped fill out any MOTU 200X collection. Did you ever own any? What was your impression of the character selection, sculpts and overall durability?

Friday, November 16, 2018

Hot Wheels: '15 Dodge Challenger SRT (Muscle Mania 4/10)

From time to time when I'm rummaging the toy department at my local Target or Walmart I'll find myself on the die-cast vehicle aisle looking at Hot Wheels. While I've longed given up on "collecting" Hot Wheels and other die-cast vehicles, I can still find a few that catch my eye. This 2015 Dodge Challenger SRT is part of Hot Wheels' 50th Anniversary, part of the Muscle Mania subset.

I'm not a "gear head", bur I can recognize the beauty of this muscle car. I love the shiny black paint with the subtle touch of blue used on the nose and on the sides.

Sometimes less is more and I feel like that is what Mattel gave us with this version of this mold. The wild and tacky deco that is used at times on these cars may attract kids and other people, but I like the toned down more "serious" look and this deco fits that bill.

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

New Comic Wednesday - 11/14/18

The last few weeks at the local comic shop have been rather light for me (i.e. non-existent) since the bulk of my books are coming from Discount Comic Book Service in a monthly shipment. However this week a few books that weren't originally on my radar were released.

I understand that some may not understand how a book like Uncanny X-Men #1 wasn't on my radar. I haven't really picked up a mutant book (minus Domino) in quite sometime, but I've been reading up on the story in this issue and I decided to go ahead and grab the first issue. My LCS, Nikelspot Comics doesn't usually mark up variants and they had a good many of the non J. Scott Campbell covers to choose from so I went w/ this Skottie Young variant. 

Buying a title from a series that I don't normally read does have it's advantages as I was able to sit down this afternoon and read the book...even though I'm still woefully behind with most of my current books. While I may not understand all of the back stories going on, I really enjoyed the stories despite some of the negative reviews I've already read online. It's going to be a weekly title for the first 10 issues, similar to the Avengers No Surrender story...but that just means I at least have one new reason to look forward to Wednesdays for the next 9 weeks!

Speaking of J. Scott Campbell and variants, there was one left of Venom #8. I don't normally pick up variants to issues I've already bought, but I caved with this 90's esque throwback cover.

Originally I didn't buy any of the Infinity Warp issues so it made sense to add this one to the stack. Mister Invisible and Hot Rocks? Green Widow? Moon Squirrel and Tippysaur? Marvel already warped other Marvel heroes so why not a few more?

I picked up several issues of Daredevil back during Marvel's Legacy period and while I missed a few new issues here and there, this one came up on the Key Comics app as the first appearance of a new villain. Plus I absolutely love Phil Noto's art so this was an easy pick up on a relatively light week.

I'm still in the midst of reading the Witching Hour story that ran through Wonder Woman's book so I may be taking a gamble continuing to pick up her book. I really wanted the Jenny Frison variant, but the regular Terry Dodson cover was all that was left to choose from.

Now that things seem to be slowing down a little both at work and around the house, I'm going to try to dig into my backlog of new books and see if I can't make a dent between now and the end of the year. Lots of great books that I've been waiting to get to...wish me luck!

Monday, November 5, 2018

Transformers 3rd Party: X-Transbots - Crackup

I've made it pretty clear here on this blog that I don't buy many 3rd party Transformer toys, however I do make a few exceptions from time to time. X-Transbots is a 3rd party company that I haven't had any previous experience with and a lot of what I've heard about their products and the overall quality wasn't all that great. However when they decided to dip their toe in the Stunticon pool and offered their first release, Crackup (aka Breakdown) so cheap and the early reviews were good...why not give them a try? I placed my order w/ Captured Prey and patiently waited for it to arrive.

Right off the bat I was impressed with packaging. The box featured a matte black look that was very similar to official Masterpiece Transformers. The artwork on the front and back of the box was a nice touch. One end of the box features a layout that is very similar to Takara Tomy's official MP product, while on the other end has a product shot of Crackup. One side of the box features Crackup's motto done in silver foil in a very ornate script...which is a little over the top for me. The other side of the box features a nice tech spec that is based on the original Generation 1 toy packaging. I found this to be a very nice touch in my opinion.

Crackup came nestled tightly in a block of foam inside the box. The foam has a removable lid and is hollowed out perfectly to fit Crackup in his alt mode. I appreciate the level of protection that 3rd party companies continue to use in their packaging. It's refreshing not having to cut plastic straps and twisty ties when opening a new toy.

Also included in the box is a small plastic bag that is packed full of items. The instruction book is so much thicker than I would have imagined (and very detailed), along with a thick plastic character card, his weapon along with a screwdriver and an different face plate. Since I don't buy a lot of 3rd party stuff, maybe the inclusion of a screwdriver is the norm, but to me I found this to be a nice touch as the screw you have to remove to change the face plate is very small and unless you wear eyeglasses you may not have that small of a screwdriver lying around.

Going in I knew that X-Transbots went with a creme colored plastic and I love this decision as it matches the original G1 toy perfectly. Some of the other companies that are doing their own version of the Stunticons went with white over cream and while it comes down to a personal preference, I like the homage to G1. The Lamborghini mode is beautiful and has a good bit of heft to it. All the panels lined up and the figure felt as if it was made with good materials. Where is the trash that others said X-Transbots was famous for? Granted I hadn't begun to transform the figure yet, I remained impressed with the product.

I noticed how well the car rolled on a smooth, hard surface so I had to take a look at the undercarriage of the car. There are a few parts that don't leave a lot of clearance, but that seems to be on par when compared to the car it's modeled after. I also love that you really can't see any of the robot bits beneath the car. If a random person were to pick this up I'm not convinced that they would even know the car transforms.

The original G1 Stunticons had weapons that attached to the rear of their vehicle modes. While X-Transbots didn't go this route, they did add a 5 mm peg hole towards the back of the vehicle where the hand gun could be plugged in. I particularly don't care for this look, but it's there if you want it.

I found that the included instruction booklet was very helpful with the transformation process. I'm not a fan of overly difficult transformation sequences and I'm happy to report that I thought Crackup was fairly easy to convert from his vehicle mode to this robot mode. I will mention that I forgot to slide is feet over to the center before I took these pictures...oops! With the exception of the small backpack, the figure folds up pretty tightly. Thankfully they added some log heel spurs to the feet so the backpack kibble doesn't pull the figure over backwards.

I love the look of the figure, especially the chest and the head/face as it looks a lot like the Sunbow animation model of the Breakdown character. I haven't tried to swap out the face plate as I'm OK with the straight face look he comes packaged with.

Another thing I'm not the greatest at is striking dynamic poses with my toys, whether it's Transformers or Marvel Legends. Crackup however does feature enough points of articulation that if you are good at posing your figures, you'll have fun with this figure. Crackup has all the modern articulation points that you would come to expect from a 3rd party transforming figure.

A lot of the comparison pictures I saw early one used Masterpiece Lambor (Sideswipe) as they share the same Lamborghini model, however I'm lazy and didn't want to transformer him back so I just used MP Sunstreaker instead. While their are some differences between the style of the two cars, I think you can get a good idea of how well be scales with other official Masterpiece Transformers. Unlike the G1 toyline where nothing seemed to scale well, Crackup meshes well with the size of the Autobot cars.

Crackup scales just as good in robot mode as he does in vehicle mode, just coming in just a hair taller than Lambor. I'm very impressed with this figure. Of course getting him for like $45 helped, but it also gives me more confidence about buying the next figure, Flip Out (aka Dead End) once he becomes available. I think the MSRP price going forward for the other "Stunticon" cars will be $59.99 and I'd be OK paying that price based on Crackup. Now I've heard that this design was stolen and that's why Crackup was being sold so cheaply, but don't think that just because the price tag was low or that it's from X-Transbots that it's crap because it's not. This is coming by the way from someone that isn't biased towards one or two particular companies either. Going in this was more of a experimental purchase and I wasn't sure if I'd be on board for picking up the rest, but I'm now sold on what X-Transbots is doing here.