Sunday, January 29, 2012

Marvel Universe: Gambit (Marvel Greatest Battles Comic Packs)

Presenting the Marvel Universe Gambit from the Marvel Greatest Battles Comic Pack. The Ragin-Cajun  is accompanied by... well I don't believe we can actually call him his arch-nemesis and none of their battles honestly are epic... so we'll just say he's accompanied by Mr. Sinister.

I won't bother reviewing Mr. Sinister because he's just a repainted version of the Marvel Universe Colossus. In fact if you wanted to you could probably repaint Mr. Sinister back into Colossus.

I have to admit that I'm not quite a fan of Gambit because all he's ever been to the X-Men - particularly to Rogue - is trouble. So you can imagine how elated I was when Rogue chose the man old enough to be her grandfather over the the guy who can't keep it in his pants. And what's up with his uniform! I remember asking myself that the first time I ever saw it: purple leather armor, leggings and knee-high boots with a weird looking wire collar. Honestly that red-scarf - that he started sporting I believe in X-treme X-Men - is the best thing Marvel ever did for him. That one simple touch, in my opinion, transformed him from weirdly dressed to 'roguish" - no pun intended.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Transformers Prime First Edition: Optimus Prime (Voyager Class)

Presenting Optimus Prime (Voyager Class) from the Transformers Prime Animated  First Edition Series.This is the big brother of the SDCC 2011 Exclusive "Matrix Prime" that we reviewed back in October. Only this time this one doesn't come with kick-ass packaging (A Matrix of Leadership that can be hung around your neck and a nice magnetic case) that we have here on the right.

Transformers Prime Voyager Class Optimus Prime debuted on the retail store shelves around December and I got him for Christmas along with Transformers Prime Bulkead. But since Transformers Prime: Optimus Prime is quite common and Bulkhead was rarer - and has those lovely baby-blue eyes -  I came out with him just now.

Transformers Prime Voyager Class Optimus Prime was purchased at the retail price of PhP 1,499.75 (Roughly US$ 34). Strangely he's available on Amazon for a whopping US$ 49.95 (Roughly PhP 2,200 plus shipping), which makes me wonder if he's rare in the U.S. If he is, give a shout out because it might be cheaper for you to get it all the way here from the Philippines where they fill toy-shelves throughout the Metro.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Arkham City Catwoman

Presenting Catwoman from the Batman: Arkham City video game. I came across the figure, loose while trawling through the "independent" toy sellers in St. Francis Square behind Megamall in Ortigas Complex, Philippines.

I have to admit that I was really confused when I saw this figure because a) The only Arkham City Catwoman Action Figure that I was aware of was not yet released and was scheduled for release only in April of this year courtesy of DC Direct, and; b) This figure - while it bore a semblance to it - did not look like it as can be seen here on the right.

So what was this? It wasn't a knock-off nor a custom build and it wasn't the DC New 52 Catwoman - though that was what I initially thought it was till I noticed the belt buckles and shoulder diamond chevrons which said that this was an Arkham City Catwoman - I was too distracted by the more than ample bosom to make that connection instantly.

I almost gave up, then I found her. This is the Catwoman from the Batman Legacy Action Figure series of Mattel that was first seen in the 2011 New York Comic Con that's rumored to be released as part of a two pack along with the Arkham City Batman. Thank God for 

Here's the thing though, this particular box-set is just entering the market and here I had her loose. You just gotta love that black-market sometimes.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Marvel Universe: Thor (Wave 7 Lightning Variant)

Presenting the Lightning Variant of Marvel Universe's Thor, Odinson, God of Thunder, Founding Member of the Avengers, Goldilocks.

Thor is the 12th figure of Wave 7 of the Marvel Universe 3.75" line released in 2010. This particular variant is not well known and it's not even available on Amazon. So I was surprised when I ran into it in, of all places, the Budget Terminal of Changi Airport (Singapore).

At first I just thought it was just a regular Marvel Universe Thor and ignored it, but something bothered me about him and I kept coming back to him - thankfully the flight was delayed (Cebu Pacific - as usual). I'd seen the Marvel Universe Thor before and there was something different with this Thor in front of me. While sitting down it dawned upon me - he was brighter! I went back and was 100% sure that he was brighter. Further, I was also completely sure that the Marvel Universe Thor did not have a lightning-blue Mjolnir.

He was a variant. Into the bag he went.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Cobra HISS Attack Scout versus the Howe & Howe Tech Ripsaw

I wasn't really planning on reviewing the Cobra HISS Attack Scout because it's a fairly common toy and I didn't get it up on for review fast enough, but - being a fan of the Discovery Channel, I really felt that I had to point out a real life version of the Cobra Hiss Attack Scout.

Howe & Howe Tech is a U.S. based military contractor that makes vehicles for the U.S. Army - and as an incidental client, Hollywood. And one of their vehicles they developed, the Ripsaw, bears more than a striking resemblance to the HISS Attack Scout.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

DOTM Laserbeak combined with Optimus Prime and Shockwave.

Presenting what happens when you combine the Transformers Dark of the Moon (DOTM) Laserbeak with Optimus Prime and  Shockwave - yes apparently you can combine DOTM  Laserbeak  with some of the major DOTM Transformers - who knew? These are definitely not official link-ups though.

The idea first came to me after a series of great photo posted by Jon Jansen Campos over Facebook. Jon did the links then created some wonderful photos which he posted on his photo-blog jokerjester-campos on Deviant-Art. I was so inspired by the photographs that I decided I had to find out how the link-ups happened.

Wikipedia is Down

This is not a joke, not a hack, not a prank. Protesting the pending U.S. Law that could potentially - and I agree - destroy the Cyberspace we all live in, Wikipedia has shut down for the day (Unless you want to used a non-English version of Wikipedia). Visit their English home page and you'll get this shadowy image along with the statement:
"Imagine a World Without Free Knowledge

For over a decade, we have spent millions of hours building the largest encyclopedia in human history. Right now, the U.S. Congress is considering legislation that could fatally damage the free and open internet. For 24 hours, to raise awareness, we are blacking out Wikipedia."

They are protesting SOPA  the Sop Online Piracy Act and the Protect IP Act (PIPA) in the US. Congress and Senate. According to the SOPA Wiki page (The only English page left standing) "This legislation, if passed, will harm the free and open Internet. If you are in the United States, let your congressional representative know what you think of the proposed legislation by clicking here."

Details on the page state:

  • The blackout will last 24 hours -- from midnight to midnight EST (05:00 UTC Wed to 05:00 UTC Thu).
  • This decision was made by Wikipedia’s global community of editors -- the people who built Wikipedia. The Wikimedia Foundation, the non-profit organization that operates Wikipedia, also opposes SOPA and PIPA, and supports the editors' blackout.
  • SOPA and PIPA are real threats to the free and open Internet. Although recent media reports have suggested that the bills are losing support, they are not dead. On January 17th, SOPA's sponsor said the bill will be discussed and pushed forward in early February. PIPA could be debated in the U.S. Senate as soon as next week. There is a need to send a strong message that bills like SOPA and PIPA must not move forward: they will cause too much damage.
  • Although the bills have been amended since their introduction, they are still deeply problematic. Among other serious problems in the current draft of the bills, the requirement exists for US-based sites to actively police links to purported infringing sites. These kinds of self-policing activities are non-sustainable for large, global sites - including ones like Wikipedia. The legislative language is ambiguous and overly broad, even though it touches on protected speech. Congress says it's trying to protect the rights of copyright owners, but the "cure" that SOPA and PIPA represent is worse than the disease.

The Dark Lord Dungeon officially voices it's protest against SOPA and PIPA.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Avengers versus The X-Men (A vs X)

Marvel in April is launching the end of an era of peaceful relationships between the Marvel Universe's two premiere super-teams and is giving the world a smackdown that the world has been waiting for since the trial of Magneto in the late 80s.

As Cyclops becomes more and more isolationist the conflict between the two is inevitable and hopefully someone will kick his almighty ass.

At first I thought that this would end up being just Cyclops' X-Men versus the Avengers, but it's starting to look like Wolverine's teams are also going to be involved in the fight as well- which would mark the first reunion between the two X-Men groups since the schism so the interaction should be interesting.

The teaser ads are raising a lot of questions in the Marvel Community not just because of the potential one-on-ones brewing, but because some of these battling heroes are members of both teams - particularly Wolverine, Namor, the Beast and Storm - who just joined the Avengers.

But I am aiming to see these smack-downs. While Storm may be not as powerful as the Thunder God who's back from the dead - again - it's been a while since the two have fought and Storm is stronger than the first time they fought (And hell knows no fury like a woman scorned).

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Noble Team (Complete)

Presenting the complete original Noble Team from the UNSC Special Warefare Command Group Three.

From left to right: Chief Warrant Officer Jorge-052 (Noble 5); Lieutenant Commander Catherine "Kat" B320 (Noble 2); Commander Carter-A259 (Noble 1); Warrant Officer Emile-A239 (Noble 4); and replacing Lieutenant SPARTAN-B312 (Noble 6), Warrant Officer Jun-A266 (Noble 3).

It took me a while to realize just how "Bio-Man" this image is: You have a leader, a cocky shorter female, a heavy guy that carries a big gun and a silent but deadly guy.

The above arrangement is based upon a very popular promotional art released for the video game Halo Reach as seen here.

What's so iconic about this image is that it also portrays Noble Team in the order of their deaths. 

Halo Reach: Jun-A266 Noble 3

Presenting from McFarlane Toys: Warrant Officer Jun: Spartan-A266, call sign Noble 3 from the video-game Halo Reach.

If you've played the game, then you know that Noble 3 Jun was the recon specialist and sniper (Really? Is that what that big gun is for?) of UNSC Special Warfare Command Group Three AKA Noble Team, an elite-Spartan-Commando team that wa a critical fighting force during the Fall of Reach.

The entirety of  Noble Team  - including Noble 6, the guy you play in the game, is wiped out in the Fall of Reach, EXCEPT! (Supposedly ) this guy, Noble 3 Jun.

Under the orders of Commander Carter-A259 Noble 1, Noble 3 Jun is last seen escorting Dr. Catherine Elizabeth Halsey, the creator of the Mjolnir Powered Assault Armor  away from Sword Base to Castle Base.  That's the last time that Noble 3 Jun was seen as Carter-A259, Emile-A239 and Noble 6 Spartan-B312 ran off to deliver the A.I. Cortana to the Pillar of Autumn - which would kick off the 1st Halo game featuring the Master Chief.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Transformers Dark of the Moon: Sandstorm

Presenting the Autobot Sandstorm and Private Dedcliff from the Transformers Dark of the Moon toyline. At first glance, DOTM Sandstorm doesn't appear to be much - a potboiler figure meant to drain your pockets and a lot of people probably ignored him.

Personally I was also leaning towards ignoring this Scout Class DOTM figure had I not known the history behind the name "Sandstorm." In Transformers lore, Sandstorm (in the Marvel Comics continuity of the Transformers) is a Wrecker - one particularly nasty Wrecker who actually beat the crap out of Optimus Prime himself. He was again listed as a Wrecker in the Dreamwave and IDW comic continuities so I had to get him to help boost my fledgling Wreckers collection alongside other Scout class Wreckers like the Autobot Whirl.

As with his cartoon/comic versions, DOTM Sandstorm is a triple-changer - in the cartoons and the comic books he could transform into a dune-buggy, robot and helicopter - something which makes him akin to the Autobot Springer I suppose. More or less he maintained this... "trademark" through the years, though in 2010, the Autobot Beachcomer - who could transform into a sand buggy was released and a re-painted version was released named Sandstorm which did not have a third form - The helicopter mode was gone. Unfortunately, DOTM Sandstorm does not transform into a helicopter either. Instead he transforms into a mobile weapons chair - yes I said chair.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Marvel Universe: X-23

Presenting X-23 from Series 4 of the Marvel Universe 3.75" series. You'd think that Marvel would bother to match her stand number with her name but no. X-23's stand marks her as the 20th figure of the 15th Marvel Universe 3.75" action figure series - not that it matters and it doesn't really affect the figure, but... Hey! She has a number in her name so why not go ahead and match the base!!!??

To the uninitiated, X-23 or Laura Kinney is a clone of the Canadian Berserker Wolverine (James "Logan" Howlett). Despite the fact that Wolverine is practically bleeding like a sieve in almost every comic book he appears in, the Weapon X program (The Super Soldier program that created Wolverine), only had a copy of Wolverine's Y chromosome. Dr. Sarah Kinney joins the program and suggests creating a female clone of Wolverine since they did not have a complete DNA sample. 22 attempts were made to substitute a male chromosome to create a new Wolverine. 22 failures later, Dr. Kinney decides to ignore her orders and proceed with discarding the donor X chromosome.

For disregarding her orders, Dr. Kinney is made X-23's surrogate mother and names her Laura. At the age of seven X-23 is experimented on further and she extrudes bone claws identical to those of her donor father - except she extrudes two from each hand and one from each foot. These claws are removed, coated with adamantium and reinserted. She is then trained to be an assassin, and given a trigger scent for her berserker rage, and rented out as a killer for hire.

Years later thanks to her donor father and the X-Men, X-23 ended up as a member of the New X-Men and later a member of the covert X-Force hit-squad. Today X-23 is a member of Avengers Academy.

Monday, January 9, 2012

The Walking Dead: It's More fun in the Philippines

The Walking Dead: More Fun in the Philippines - Original Photo of Joey Pepe Smith by PXL Photography. Couldn't help it. Just one more contribution to the Philippine Department of Tourism as to why people should visit the Philippines :D

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Toy on a Budget: Ninja Hero of the Dark Fighter Play Set

Presenting a toy on a Budget - the Ninja Hero of the Dark Fighter Play Set. While it may be one of the gaudiest toys to ever come out of the People's Republic of China, with a little work, it should make a fine addition to anyone's G.I. Joe collection.

What is this infernal machine you may ask? Well in essence I do believe it's an attempt at a military-grade, heavily armed personal flying vehicle - except that, as the Chinese envisioned it, this devious device has fallen into the hands of an evil-demonic Samurai clan that can only be stopped by the Ninja Hero(s) of the Dark Team - who come with their own overly armed and just as gaudy vehicles.

Friday, January 6, 2012

G.I. Joe Renegades: Scarlett

Presenting Scarlett from the new G.I. Joe Renegades Animated Series. In the new cartoon, Scarlett is actually 2nd Lieutenant Shana M. O'Hara - finally no longer a Sergeant, but still not too high on the totem pole (Makes me wonder what G.I. Joe may have about women being in charge), and still works in Army Intelligence.

But I suppose that this is in keeping with the character that they were building for her. "Red" (To those who are in a hurry) was a desk-bound intelligence analyst. In fact to qualify for field duty she gets ninjitsu training from her "boyfriend" Snake-Eyes in a hope to prove herself to her superiors.

Renegades Scarlett is actually the principal character that starts off the entire animated series. Because of her firm belief that Cobra Industries killed her father - who worked for them - and because she wanted to prove herself as more than a desk-jockey, Scarlett gathers Duke, Snake-Eyes, Tunnel-Rat, Roadblock, Ripcord and Breaker to a spy mission on Cobra Industries where they discover Cobra's Bio-Vipers that they are forced to destroy. Unfortunately, Cobra Industries paints them as criminals which kicks off the entire "G.I. Joe Renegades" Storyline.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Transformers Prime: Bulkhead

Presenting Bulkhead from the Transformers Prime Animated Series. Think of the Transformers Prime Bulkhead as the smaller version of his Transformers Animated Series Legends class cousin - down to the wrecking ball.

Transformers Prime Bulkhead is the sterotypical gentle giant - down to the big-blue eyes (Hats off to Hasbro, something that small is actually pretty good detailing).  While he  seriously looks like a green gorilla on steroids, he also delivers on being the green gorilla that can drive you into the ground and both dish and take on a lot of punishment.

Bulkhead never saw himself as a genius and started out as a Wrecker but eventually followed Prime and was one of the last ones on the Earth-bound Ark - ironically the Wreckers, led by Ultra Magnus held off Trypticon long enough for the Ark to escape. The Wreckers stayed vowing to take apart Shockwave's new empire.

On Earth, Bulkhead befriends, and is most protective of, 15 year old Miko Nakadai who accepts his clumsy but well meaning ways.

It is this friendship that brings Bulkhead back from a coma after he accidentally gets into a situation akin to what happened to Spike Witwicky in the Transformers Revenge of the Fallen movie - except that because Bulkhead is... intellectually challenged... it overloads him, literally.

Monday, January 2, 2012

DC Direct Brightest Day: Jade

Presenting Jade from DC Direct's Brightest Day series 3 AKA Jennifer-Lynn "Jennie" Hayden. To the uninitiated, Jade is the daughter of Allan Scott AKA the Golden Age Green Lantern and  Rose Canton - a woman whose split persona is the villain named Thorn - ex-Golden Age Flash villain (Yeah he likes bad girls). Jade's twin is the slightly insane Todd Rice, also known as Obsidian whose Shadow based powers are in contrast to Jade's light-based powers.

Ironically, both Jade and Obsidian gained awareness of their power while escaping from molestation while they were in their foster homes - their mom's Thorn persona had resurfaced and she stole them away from home but fearing that she could end up harming them, surrendered them to foster care.

Jade manifested the ability to create green light constructs akin to the power of her father and the members of the Green Lantern Corp - but not requiring her a ring to focus the energy or the need to recharge. We should note that the source of her power - as with that of her father's - is the Starheart (Which is magic based versus the Green Lantern Corp's science based rings).

Jade would go on to become the Earth's first female member of the Green Lantern Corp and was eventually killed in space during the events of DC's Infinite Crisis.

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