Monday, January 21, 2019

Marvel Super Hero Mashers Micro: Spider-Man 2099 vs. Venom

Today we take a look at another double pack of Hasbro's short lived Super Hero Mashers Micro series. I chose Venom and Spider-Man 2099 because, well they are Spider-Man related and awesome characters in their own right.

The packaging for the dual packs is the same across the line, with both figures being prominently displayed with their interchangeable accessory on a blister card. The back of the packaging features additional characters available (at the time) and how the pieces can be interchanged, even with the larger Super Hero Masher figures.

Venom has his trademark tongue hanging out of his mouth, sharp teeth exposed. Spider-Man 2099 is a simple redeco of the Spider-Man figure, but with a new head. Both figures fists and head are interchangeable.

Venom comes with an over sized hand that appears to be forming some sort of sharp weapon? It is a symbiote after all so Venom can do whatever he wants. Spider-Man 2099 on the other hand also comes with a hand, but this one has a blue spike (?) on it. I don't recall anything like that from the comics, but whatever, it's a new part to use w/ other figures.

Speaking of other figures, I had Rocket Raccoon and Groot nearby, along with a few other parts so I mashed them all together to form these guys. 

These little stylized figures on their own are pretty cool, but the fun factor really kicks in when you start mix-matching the various body parts. This means that once you buy a set you'll want others and I'm sure Hasbro was banking on that. Too bad these didn't catch on more than they did when they were on store shelves because they are a lot of fun. They can still be found online (eBay) fairly easy if you'd like to try them out, but don't blame me if you find yourself trying to track down multiples.

Saturday, January 12, 2019

First Comic Haul of 2019 c/o McKay's Knoxville, TN

My wife and I spent our New Year's visiting family stationed at Fort Knox in Kentucky. It was about an 8 hour trip for us so we decided to break up our trip to and from with overnight stops in Knoxville, TN. 

On the way up my wife told me there was a McKay's in Knoxville, something I had forgotten. My wife's first exposure to the massive used book/movie/music/video game chain was last summer when my family went w/ me to Greensboro, NC on a work trip. My wife was floored by the sheer volume of books and how cheap they were. She's a school teacher so she was in paradise. Both my young daughters also love to read so they too had a blast.

When we pulled up to the McKay's in Knoxville all of us were floored by the size of the place. I didn't take pictures of the store as I was to eager to "dive in" to see what I could find. A fellow blogger friend of mine, A Penny Sleeve for your Thoughts has visited this same location in the past and blogged about his trip and findings.

On my initial trip, the first thing I looked at were the video games, but it was so crowded on the Sunday before New Year's that I didn't get a good look at everything. I then decided to go straight to the comics located on the second floor. I initially looked through the cheap books, then made my way down to the more organized boxes. Here is a quick recap of my purchases on this first trip through. 

Since I had my daughters with me I flipped through the kids books and we found the first two issues of Marvel Comics' Barbie. Funny to see Romita's name on a cover of a Barbie comic book! She really wanted these two issues and since we were on vacation I caved and bought them for her. I do love how she keeps them in the bag and board after reading them.

I'll admit this issue of Amazing Fantasy puzzled me as to what it exactly was as I couldn't find it in my CLZ Comics app. The X-Men: Kingbreaker issue was part of the awesome Realm of Kings cosmic story Marvel did a few years back after Annihilation breathed some life in their cosmic stories. Kingbreaker was a 4 part mini-series revolving around Cyclops and Havok's brother, Vulcan. I somehow missed one of the issues so this filled a gaping hole in the collection.

The Fantastic Four were never high on my list of favorite Marvel characters, but as I've gotten older I've come to appreciate the first family of Marvel and their history. Finding bronze age books for a buck? Yes please! Plus John Byrne wrote and drew these two issues so that was another win in my book.

I started my 2099 collection w/ X-Men, then branched out to Spider-Man. Now I've decided to go full on board with buying the 2099 books before sitting down and reading the whole epic story. Doom's title ran close to 50 issues and some of them are getting hard to find. Glad to knock off two more from the want list.

The Captain America book on the left is from volume 3 and was the only issue I needed to complete that run. The book on the right is from the series where Bucky Barnes ultimately took the Captain America mantle after Steve's (botched) assassination.

Both this Defenders and Amazing X-Men books filled small holes in their respective titles collection.

Any day I can find issues of Amazing Spider-Man that I don't have is a good day in my book. I had both of these issues at one time, but sold them in a downsizing move. Good to have them again.

There was a time I would find issues of John Byrne's Sensation She-Hulk in the dollar bins (or less), but now they don't seem to be showing up all that often. Still have a long way to go on this run.

Another $1 bronze book and the first issue of Punisher 2099.

The last book from my first trip through was the lone DC Comics book, issue #17 of He-Man and the Masters of the Universe. This series looks so good and I can't wait to finish the run so I can read it from beginning to end.

As I mentioned at the beginning of the post, we broke up the return trip home and again stayed in Knoxville. Even though I wanted to go back a second time, I wasn't sure if I'd make it as we were all tired and ready to get home. We did however squeeze in another visit Friday morning on the way home. This time the store wasn't nearly as packed so I had more time to go through just about everything in the store.

I don't know how I missed the comic related magazine boxes before, but they were full of great stuff. I grabbed these two issues of Wizard as both had stories/interviews inside that looked interesting. I believe the issue w/ Deadpool & Sabretooth on the cover had a well written issue on Religion in Comics. Both issues will probably be passed on to my older brother once I'm done reading them.

Another Amazing Spider-Man. This one I almost purchased on my first visit so this time I decided to toss it in my basket.

Thor has been one of those characters that I've only passively read in the past. I knew they had changed up Thor and given the mantle of the character to Jane Foster, but I've never read her title. Back during Halloween some young girls were going around my neighborhood and giving out comics and I got the 2nd issue of Mighty Thor. It took awhile before I read the book, but I was intrigued enough to see where they were going with the book, especially after I heard Jane was fighting cancer. When I found a few books of her title on this 2nd trip I decided to grab them. May have to keep my eyes open for more of this title this winter at the local Heroes' Mini-Con.

Walmart stores have been selling 3 packs of DC comics for awhile now, but recently they've started carrying Marvel titles...and the issues aren't that old. I grabbed a 3 pack on a side trip to Walmart while we were gone, mainly for the Spider-Man: Enter the Spider-Verse issue. The 2nd book in the bundle was Mighty Thor appropriate! The last book was an issue of Ben Reilly: Scarlet Spider. I gifted the issue to my nephew we were visiting as I already owned it.

McKay's wasn't as busy on this visit so I was better able to look through the video games and accessories. I saw some pretty cool things in the glass cases, but didn't make my way back before getting into the checkout line. I did however find a $.95 PS3 camera. I've had an itch to play some light gun games (Time Crisis 3) so I've toyed w/ the idea of buying Sony's Move accessories. At least I'm off to a great (cheap) start. The MIB Alien Crisis game obviously goes hand in hand w/ buying the camera.

The last section I browsed was their music section. Here the prices seemed to be all over the place, much more so than w/ their books, movies and games. I was able to find a few CDs that appealed to me, but I won't be surprised if no one else reading this has ever even heard of these artists/bands!

The Bride CD was still new, shrink wrapped and only priced at $3. I loved their music when I was in high school, but never listen to any of their stuff after Nirvana effectively killed off metal. Precious Death was another band I listened to a bit in HS, but never owned an album of theirs. I believe If You Must is their sophomore release.

I grabbed the Ashley Cleveland CD for just $.59 and it's terrific. Bluesy, soulful voice. She has a pretty cool cover of Stevie Wonder's "Higher Ground". Superchick was really purchased for my wife and she likes them, but I do as well. Regeneration is full of new remixes of older songs. One of these albums may eventually show up on my music blog.

If you've never visited a McKay's store you're really missing out. I swear it's like a big indoor garage sale of media. This Knoxville store was easily double the size of the Greensboro, NC store...which still amazes me. I hate to say it, but this was probably the highlight of my whole vacation. Seeing family was cool and all, but if you've never stayed on a military base's creepy. At least it was to me.

Thanks for stopping by. Until next time...

Monday, January 7, 2019

Christmas 2018 Recap

Christmas has come and went, but between my wife and I's wedding anniversary, vacation and New Years, I've barely been home. However I know people love to see what others got this time of year so I've finally set aside a little time to share what Santa brought me.

My wife and daughters surprised me with this large painted canvas of Captain America fighting off the Inhuman, Black Bolt. This thing is massive and I wasn't sure where I was going to put it, but thankfully my wife had some ideas. Still need to get this up on the wall where it belongs.

Now I hinted a little to my daughters about this figure, especially after finding the Marvel Legends figure the Thing just before Thanksgiving. We rarely go in drug stores so my family had to hit a few Walgreens to before finding other members of the FF. Since, I've bought Mr. Fantastic so now all I need to find is the Human Torch to finish the family off.

My older brother gave me a bottle of Spider-Man cologne...and surprising it smells pretty good. I'm not really a cologne kind of guy, but this one may get some sporadic use.

Before leaving my mom's house on Christmas morning, my brother gave me this Transformers Metroplex starter deck. I've been picking up booster packs as I find them as I tend to scan the cards for the TF Bio Card Database at some point.

I was happy to receive several new PS4 games. Detroit: Become Human originally wasn't on my radar, but after seeing the game get a massive price cut during Black Friday I looked into the game a bit more and was impressed and intrigued. I rented God of War from Red Box shortly after it was released and instantly fell in love. I've never really played many of the previous games and with this one being a reboot of sorts it was the perfect jumping on point for me.

I love old games with new challenges so the Sega Genesis Classics collection was a great way to scratch that itch. So far I've only played through a few games, but the emulation seems spot on. Shining Resonance Refrain was a game that originally caught my eye at GameStop, thanks in part to it's metal case. Everyone so often an action RPG will grab me and this year this seems to be the game. As soon as I wrap up Fire Emblem Warriors on the Switch I'll fire this one up.

Speaking of the Switch and retro game collections, this Namco Museum Arcade Pac looked interesting so I tossed it on my list. Came in handy as I got a chance to play it in hand held mode while traveling to KY over New Years.

This last item wasn't received on Christmas, but purchased with Christmas cash afterwards. I found almost the entire Captain Marvel wave of Marvel Legends figures in Fort Knox, KY while visiting family in the area. I really could care less for the other figures, but knew I wanted this figure of Grey Gargoyle for my Avengers/Spider-Man Rogue's gallery.

These last few weeks seem like a blur as there was so much going on. Most of my Christmas stuff is still sitting on my couch in my game room because I've been so busy. Now work is firing up w/ a new month, new quarter and new year. I'm just hoping I can carve out a little time to enjoy all these fun things. Like always, another great Christmas and one for the books.

Wednesday, January 2, 2019

Web Diver: Pegasion W-11

In 2001 Takara released a new transforming toy line in Japan to accompany a new animated television series of the same name, Web Diver. Embedded in the larger "leader class" figures was essentially a video game. A lot of the designs incorporated animal designs and as such only seemed to appeal to certain transforming robot fans. While I didn't care for all of the designs and thus the their subsequent toys, there were several toys that I really liked enough to track down and import. As the toy line progressed the toy designs seemed to get more and more "sophisticated". One of these was the psuedo-Headmaster, Pegasion.

The packaging for a majority of the Web Diver figures shared the same yellow box with a hanger flap. The boxes featured the line's logo, along with pictures of the toy, their various modes and action features. Remember, the smaller toys were made to interact with a larger figure in the series and with the Web Diver video game. You can see on the sides of the box that Pegasion has multiple modes: moon buggy, head mode (Headmaster?) and a weapon mode (Targetmaster?). Can you see now why I was intrigued with this toy back in the day?

Pegasion is a Pegasus/Centaur hybrid of sorts. I really did the overall look, especially with the metallic blue armor. The moon buggy wheels are kind of ugly in this mode as they just are there, but if you can look past those you can see the beauty in this sculpt. The legs are well articulated and allow you to pull off some good action poses. Arms are on ball joints that also allow for a good range of motion. He come with two maroon swords that can be holstered of sorts to his sides.

Pegasion as a very knightly vibe going on. Lots of detail can be found in this mode, especially on the head. The metallic blue, maroon and white all blend together wonderfully to give him a very cool appearance.

Pegasion's moon buggy mode is rather cool in my own opinion. This is one of those vehicle modes however where it looks best head on or at an angle. I saw that because you can see the horse head and forearms at the back of the vehicle. The rear of the vehicle is also a little light or hollow which is odd. Despite these short comings, I love the overall look of the vehicle.

As the side of the box showed us, Pegasion features multiple modes other than his moon buggy mode. One of which is this head made. When the figure is put into this mode as seen it looks really odd, but when plugged into Daitalion is when things got pretty sweet.

Now all the sudden this goofy looking head mode doesn't look so bad, does it? There is a red LED light behind the black face visor that would interact w/ the video game or with Gradion. Pegasion also formed a claw type weapon that Daitalion could wield, but I never cared for how the weapon looked as-is or wielded by Daitalion so I didn't bother to photograph that mode. 

Overall Pegasion is a great figure. It's not without it's faults, but it's still a pretty good figure on it's own even though it's obviously meant to accompany Daitalion. I will mention there is another dual "headmaster/targetmaster" figure that interacts with Daitalion, but he was always second fiddle to Pegasion in my book.

Today most of the later released Web Diver figures are hard to come across on the secondary market and if you do happen to find them be prepared because they won't be cheap! If you're a fan of Transformers or some of Takara's other transforming toy lines (ex. Brave) then perhaps you would enjoy these. I only have a few Web Diver toys left in my collection these days, however it has more to do w/ a lack of space than anything else.