Sunday, August 16, 2009

Comic News: Boom Studios for August 19th

Here's what's coming out from Boom Studios on August 19th.

FARSCAPE: GONE AND BACK #2 - John Crichton is used to being far from home. But now he’s trapped in a new timeline, where his wife Aeryn is still a Peacekeeper! He sets Moya out on a mission to find her in hopes that the reunion of sorts will set things right. But what does Crichton’s wife in this timeline think of this? More FARSCAPE goodness from the show’s creator Rockne S. O’Bannon.

MONSTER'S INC. #1 - Sulley, Mike and Boo are back, and they are sure to generate plenty of chuckles for the Monsters, Inc. laugh factory! When acts of sabotage begin to damage Monsters, Inc equipment, all the evidence points to...Mike?! Can Mike convince Sulley to help him find the true culprit?

POE #2 - He created Horror. Find out how horror created him… as our intrepid author Edgar Allen Poe delves into the dark side of man. Golem Hell Hounds guard the secret of the Red Death! Will Poe live to tell the tale? Supernatural adventure for fans of books like HELLBOY!

SWORDSMITH ASSASSIN #1 - Toshiro Ono has spent his life making the best swords that have ever been forged and selling them to the highest bidder. But when his family is killed by a blade of his own making… Toshiro will do whatever it takes to make sure none of his swords ever kill again. Andrew Cosby, creator of EUREKA, and Michael Alan Nelson, creator of HEXED, brings feudal Samurai Japan to life like no other comic has done before.

UNTHINKABLE #4 - Nobody believed novelist Alan Ripley when he revealed he created UNTHINKABLE terror scenarios for the government. Now the CIA doesn’t just believe him – they blame him. Can he survive interrogation in time to stop his next nightmare from coming true? Only writer Mark (TWO-FACE YEAR ONE, CYBORG) Sable and artist Julian Tedesco know for sure.

HEXED HC - Blood. Theft. Sex. Magic. The critically acclaimed fan-favorite is finally collected in one horrifying volume! It's said there's no honor amongst thieves. Add to that a thief operating in the occult underground, and it's a whole different kind of nasty! Luci Jennifer Inagcio Das Neves, Lucifer for short, takes a new job that will expose her to the macabre underbelly of the city, and a secret that she'd rather nobody know. By Michael Alan Nelson, the critically acclaimed author of FALL OF CTHULHU, and hot new art talent Emma Rios and colorist Cris Peters. Special cover by Paul Pope!


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Toy Review: Masters of the Universe Classics He-Man Review

The Masters of the Universe Classics line kicked off in earnest back in December, 2008 with the release of the new He-Man action figure. Many new collectors came on board in the subsequent months after He-Man had sold out and missed their chance to pick up this character. Mattel has recently announced the long awaited reissue of He-Man for November 16th 2009. If you missed out on him the first time, this will be your chance to pick up the action figure of the most powerful man in the universe.

As Mattel begins reissuing its hit 2008 and 2009 figures, this is as good an opportunity as any to look back on the first batch of figures in this line. Unlike the subsequent figures in the MOTUC series, He-Man (along with the new Beastman) went on sale on December 1st and stayed available for a what seems like an unimaginable three weeks. Many of the later figures were produced at greater numbers and did not last three hours. This is a testament to how popular the line has become in a relatively short amount of time. MOTUC is now notorious for fans having to be online at the right time to get these figures. Mattel has remedied this with a subscription plan but the figures are still somewhat difficult to get do to their limited online distribution. This has created a hot secondary market on places like eBay.

He-Man features a bio that nimbly includes material from the various Masters of the Universe continuities. There are references to the mini-comics, with the quest for the two halves of the power sword. Prince Adam is clearly referenced in a nod to the Filmation series (so we will be getting a Prince Adam figure at some point). Since he was the introductory figure, King Grayskull is also referenced as Adam’s ancestor, as he was in the 2002 series. Although some have been controversial, I am a big fan of the MOTUC bios and I like the way that they draw from the many incarnations of Masters of the Universe. It helps make the line feel deeper and richer than if they were to just base it on, say, the 1980’s cartoon series.

This figure answered a lot of questions about what MOTUC was going to be. He has some of the nice chunky look of the old figures but with modern detailing and articulation. While the line as a whole includes visual references to the popular 2002 series (Grayskull, Zodak), the core aesthetic is rooted in classic Masters of the Universe. Appropriately, He-Man is the best example of this. He is highly poseable, with tons of articulation but still retains the look of the 1980’s figure, with coloration, deco and accessories that nearly match his predecessor. This works for me up until you get to the head, which is sculpted to look too much like the original figure, with squinty eyes, an aggravated expression and a bowl haircut. Some of the later figures in the line like Mer-Man and Man-At-Arms included alternate heads and I feel He-Man could have benefited from having an extra head inspired by his 2002 incarnation. The included head gives the figure a very dated look (it reminds me of kid’s haircuts from the 1970’s and early 1980’s).

Thankfully, He-Man comes with lots cool accessories. To me, accessories were always part of the appeal of MOTU. The swords and weapons were big and fun to play with and it was always fun to swap out armor and weapons. MOTU was one of the few lines where an accessory kit actually added to the play experience, and the accessories didn't seem like afterthoughts. He-Man comes with his trademark harness, removable via a pair of tabs in the back as well as a power sword, half-power-sword, a shield , and his battle axe. The harness has a slot to hold a sword or the axe. You can even clip the shield on there as well. The swords and the axe are painted with a two-tone gray, the edges painted with a nice metallic finish. His accessories all greatly resemble those of the original figure but, again, updated to today’s standards. Therefore, no crazy techno-sword or oversize shield (although you can get the 2002 sword with Man-At-Arms as it is cleverly worked into his bio). The half-sword has tabs to combine with Skeletor’s half sword, which is neat in theory but doesn’t really work that well.

The paint on the first issue of this figure is fairly glossy overall but I understand Mattel is fixing this for the November reissue. I guess the 2008 version can be Hot Oil He-Man. Another odd feature of the paint is a weird red area around the eyes, as though He-Man had been out in the sun all day, or perhaps sprayed in the face by Kobra Khan. This is another area Mattel will be correcting for the reissue.

Overall, I like the Masters of the Universe Classics He-Man, but am not crazy about him.
The figure looses points for the too-faithful-to-the-original head sculpt. Also, for me, He-Man was never the most interesting character what with so many cool designs and concepts in the line but it’s MOTU, so you have to have He-Man. Besides, you have to have something to put on your Battlecat when it comes out in February. So, make sure you pick up the new and improved He-Man figure on November 16th at because after November, we may not see him back for a while.

Patrick Garone
Staff Reviewer

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Toy Review: DCUC Wave 8 Hawkgirl Review by Dean René

DC Universe Classics wave 8 Hawkgirl

Review and Photographs by Dean René Middleton

I must confess that I am not the most “hardcore” DC fan, and some of the character choices for the past few DCUC line ups have been very obscure to me. However, I was able to pick up a character that I have been eagerly anticipating for some time, the wave 8 Hawkgirl.

As I took the figure from the packaging it was clear that it had eclipsed all of my expectations. Straight out of the box she comes fully armed and ready for combat, brandishing her mace, an intricately detailed spear and a short sword. I was hoping to find her contribution to the collect and connect Giganta figure included in the package but unfortunately Hawkgirl does not have one, she just has a display stand.

At first glance, the most interesting aspect of the Hawkgirl figure is her wings. They are very feminine looking and extremely detailed. Really, the sheer level of textual detail them is nothing short of excellent.

Furthermore, they are also articulated at 3 points. Anyone who is familiar with the Toy Biz Marvel Legends wave 10 Angel figure will see that she shares a similar type of joint design where the wings meet her body. However Hawkgirl's wing joints are more streamlined, making them far less intrusive and much more a natural part of the figure than the aforementioned example.

When unfolded, Hawkgirl manages an impressive wingspan of 1 FT. This is great and it looks stunning when you consider that it’s just a 6” action figure.

In terms of paint quality, Hawkgirl is easily one of the most impressive paint jobs of any DC universe classics figure I have purchased so far. The crest of her helmet has subtle gradations of a golden yellow which transitions into orange. The effect is really nice, and really helps the figure to stand out much more than if perhaps a solid orange colour alone had been used.

There was some slight white paint slop around her left earring, but it was very minor and not something that would draw attention unless it was held under extreme scrutiny.

Hawkgirl shares the same articulations as standard DC Universe classics female body sculpts. She has approximately 21 points of articulation [25 if you include the wings], and the joints themselves feel very solid and allow for a great range of movement. The wing joints are also impressive because it presents an array of options for choosing wing positions

However, there are a few minor issues that I discovered with the figure.

First of all, she has the standard female ball neck joint, but due to her long hair it limits her potential range of neck motion. This means that Hawkgirl is not capable of dynamic flying poses since you cannot angle her head up or down. I must confess this did come as quite a disappointment since it was the first thing I wanted to do after taking her out of the packaging.

Another thing that I was sadly missing from this figure was an alternate unmasked head. That really would have been a very welcome addition.

And while the hands were elegant and beautifully sculpted, the grip was not tight enough to hold the weapons securely, and as a result, her sword and spear would often fall out with relative ease. It’s also a disappointment that she did not include a Giganta piece instead of a stand.

I imagine that a lot of people would want to buy the Hawkgirl figure, and it would have been a nice way to encourage people who were perhaps not so familiar with some of the more obscure characters to invest in them. Furthermore the included stand is not very well made since it only has one peg and it cannot fully support the weight of the figure, if her wings are extended to certain positions.

But even so, with all things considered those minor issues that ultimately do very little to detract from the fact that this is an excellent figure. And this figure has gone a considerable way towards restoring my faith and interest in this line.

I would very much recommend this Hawkgirl figure to any DC Universe collector.

Dean René Middleton
Staff Reviewer

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