Sunday, April 29, 2007

Right Sculpts, Wrong Toys pt. 2

Finally picked up my case of First Appearance Series 4 this week after last week's delivery fiasco. All I can say is that these are the best toys that have every been made about characters that people care very little about.
These figures deserve to be celebrated in their own right. There's very little to complain about here. Blue Beetle and Martian Manhunter are the stars of the wave for me. I haven't really gotten into the new BB (altho his appearance in BRAVE & BOLD #3 piqued my interest a bit and I'm now giving him a try) but this is an amazing figure. This is one of those rare toys that really looks like the character has jumped straight off the page onto your shelf. The bug thing on his back (I don't know the character well enough to know what it is) clicks on easily and looks groovy but the wings (I guess they're wings) make no sense to me and since DCD is allergic to providing any assembly instructions they're in the extraneous accessories box. He looks great as he is.
Martian Manhunter is a very fine sculpt as well. I seem to be a lone voice in quite liking his new look so as a fan of the character I'm very happy to have a figure of it. Aquaman is a fave character of mine and this version will make a nice addition to the Aquaman shelf, but I'd like it better if the orange and green bits weren't so sparkly. Not sure why they do that. Atom is a fine sculpt but the headsculpt lets it down a bit, he's a little bug-eyed. Kudos to DCD for maintaining the First Appearance Series packaging and bases, but these are missing the mini-comics previous waves came out with.
The way my LCS prices its DCD stuff it's better economy to buy the whole wave when I want 4 out of 6 so I have the Warlord and Blue Beetle variants but they're MIB as they'll be going straight to eBay. I have a buddy on a message board who says that DCD has a way of giving you what you wanted in a way that makes you wish you'd never asked for it. That's got to be the case with this Warlord figure. Fans have been clamouring for a Travis Morgan figure for years and we get a rebooted version of the character whose series lasted a whole 10 issues. Argh. The Blue Beetle "Stealth Variant" has to get the prize for the most meaningless variant ever. We don't know this character well enough to want two of him for pete's sake!
Okay, now to the bitching. DCD has to be given it's due for producing an excellent wave of figures, but as I said in the last post, PLEASE can we have this quality for characters that really matter?? Imagine where DCD's credibility would be right now if JSA Wave 1 was done at this standard? (I know I hark on about JSA Wave One but it bloody well deserves to be harked on about. Three words: Golden. Age. Atoms.)
What ires me most is that we get nothing from Brewer to acknowledge any of this. Recently Art Asylum had a very rare scale issue with it's excellent Star Trek range and they acknowledged it. Some fans were pretty upset about the issue but being given an explanation of why it happened and what steps were being taken to prevent it happening again helps to restore confidence. If anything ever deserved a public acknowledgement it's the Atoms debacle, and what do we get? Oxygen.
So thanks for this great wave DCD. It puts a little in the bank, but nothing near as much as trying to show that you're listening would.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Right Sculpts, Wrong Toys, but what about that Bust??

Ok, back to my recent DCD acquisitions. First a definite travail..... while the other two comic shops in the area received their shipments of First Appearance Series 4, my LCS (who are fantastic) didn't and thus I'm waiting a week for mine - that's what I get for preordering! I'll let you know how I go with them.

I had preordered the Bizarro from the Superman / Batman Series 4 because I needed another Biz for my display. I have to say I am a sucker for those McG figures. I ended up getting Batzarro as well as he just looked so groovy. I can't imagine ever wanting Kryptonite Batman (altho I did hear he glows in the dark....), but the others may sucker me in yet. I know these aren't everyone's cup of tea but they are fun.

Something else that suckered me in were the Supergirl and Batgirl from the latest Elseworlds Series. I had preordered the Aquaman and Nightstar figures and left the rest on principle of character selection, but....... they are actually great figures! Thus the title for this post - why the $#!@#! can't DC Direct pull out decent sculpts for the characters that matter?? Here are a couple of figures using a standard body sculpt (mirror image) that work (altho Supergirl can't stand on her own which always shits me - I hate having to use bases). In the light of these what possible excuse can there be for the Total Justice-style JSA and micro-Atoms we were insulted with earlier this year? It's galling, absolutely galling.

I picked up Mini-Mates Series 3 - at least I got one Aquaman last week! I still am trying to work out how to display these little, but all their teeny-tiny little accessories frighten me. How to keep track of them all?? This was a pretty good assortment, altho we did get a Battled-Damaged Batman. Who actually likes battle damaged figures? It escapes me.

Finally, I have entered the world of statues by picking up the Zatanna mini-bust. This is a fine piece. Emphasis on mini - she really is quite small, but she's beautiful. As much as I have liked some of the other Women of the DC Universe busts, they've been to bust-y for what I would be allowed to display, so I haven;t bitten as these come in around the $90 mark here in Oz. Zee doesn't have that issue. There's a little bit of paint bleed from one side of her face to her hair, but otherwise she's great.

That's the lowdown on the last few purchases. I'll finally get my FA Series 4 this week and with 52 coming up as well there will be more to share soon. Until then, travel well!

A Very Happy Find!

In addition to DCD I collect JLU figures, Art Asylum Star Trek stuff and the occasional Marvel Legend. My LCS orders in DCD and Art Asylum but I'm on my own with the retailers for the rest - I'm in Australia and Diamond doesn't ship Marvel Legends here. Once upon a time I could count on Meyer or Kmart to regularly get in each line of JLU or ML, but the glut of movie toys (especially all that Superman Returns dreck) brought alot of that to a halt. Since then it's been a real hunt.

I had to eBay for the last set of JLU 3-packs on the orange card - they never saw the light of day here. That's always a slippery slope as the shipping here to Oz can be pretty treacherous. Same for the last couple of series of ToyBiz Marvel Legends. Finally, however the first series of Hasbro ML and the purple carded JLU stuff have shown up here. A few weeks ago I got the two Marvel Legends I wanted (Banshee and Hercules - I had wanted Emma Frost too, but then I saw her....) and then today, jackpot. I was with my kids in David Jones (one of our major department stores) and checked out the action figure section. I've found a few sets of the purple carded JLU but the elusive Nemesis/Lightray/Amazo and Stargirl/Parasite/Aquaman sets have been picked off by collectors already. The same seemed the case here, nothing of interest. I moved over to where my girls were and as I was calling them away, bingo - secreted away amongst the Bratz I spotted those two elusive sets. I probably spoiled someone else's day, but I cared not!

Anyway, I just had to share my joy.................

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Latest acquisitions - DCD scores, bores and deserves to be abhored

Dreadful I know but that's the best rhyming I can do at the moment. The dreaded work monster has inserted too much "real" into my life of late so there's lots to report on in terms of recent DCD releases. Too hard to be sequential in terms of release dates so we'll go with the ever-reliable stream of consciousness instead. Hang on....

First up is my latest purchase, the Batman through the Ages Boxed Set. Having heard QC grumbles on the net I approached these with caution. The decision to buy was based on the FA Bats with plastic cape (since they don't make rooted capes, plastic is my preference ;0) ) and the nothing short of amazing GA Bats, who looks pretty awesme amongst the JSA. Despite some disappointments in other sections of the box, I decided these two were worth the money.

In all the sets I looked at the left "bat ear" (bat antennae? bat prong? bat sticky-uppy-thing?) of Superfriends Batman looked like it had been damaged in production, shortened and bent - you can see it clearly in this picture. I've just been to Perth (the other side of the country) for work and saw a set in a shop there with the same flaw. Has that been the case with them everywhere? Let me know. My other gripe with Superfriends Bats is that his blue is too dark compared to how he appeared in the show. And I know because I watched every bloody episode of that show and blame it for the twisted individual I've become today.

Interesting that the Bats from Justice was included as "Modern Batman" - (the DCU really is being remade in the image of Alex Ross, isn't it?) DCD could have shown a tad more originality in choices for this set, especially considering that both the Superfriends and Justice Bats are both being issued again in other sets later in the year. Not exactly sure how DCD is justifying that one. Wait, I forgot, DCD is too lazy and overconfident to even bother jutsifying. Silly me. Wonder if the flaw on SuperfriendsBats bent bat sticky-uppy-thing will be fixed for the Superfriends assortment?

Before that I picked up the Elseworlds Kingdom Come Aquaman and Nightstar figures. While many complain about the lack of articulation in the KC figures I enjoy most of the sculpts and Aquaman has to be close to the top of the class in this series. Great detail, love the robes and trident. As many have lamented it would be great to see this quality of sculpting for the in-continuity figures. ...

Also new on my shelves is the 13" Superman Deluxe Collectors Figures. I didn't pick up the first version. This is a pretty good addition to the line, however on every one I saw the "S' was slightly crooked and his jaws were very square, almost flaring out. Supes get jaw implants! I managed to find one with the least crooked "S" and the least flaring jaws and I am enjoying him on the shelf. There may now be a dry spell for me for this line as I'm passing on Nightwing and Catwoman and waiting to see how they pull off Martian Manhunter (all that bare green skin!) before I commit to buy. I am looking forward to Batgirl in November though!

I picked up some of the second set of DC Minimates - no pic sorry. I'm refusing to buy the zillion SuperBat variations that are sure to be regurgiated through this line and only by characters I want, even though at my LCS that means paying alot more per item. This time around I chose Dr Fate and Power Girl and Blue Beetle and Booster Gold. Like 'em, but I did think that some of the little details like Fate's helmet and the goggles on BB and BG looked a little shaky.

By the way, if anyone out there who loves Minimates (in ways that it is legal to love Minimates) has pics of how you display your little friends I'd love to see them - my creativity has come up with nada on this.

Last but certainly not least I bought Hawkman and Natasha Irons from Superman / Batman Wave 3. All I can say is that the International Superhero Anti-Doping Agency is asleep at the wheel if they haven't asked 'ol Hawky for a cup 'o Thanagarian wee. As much as I wanted to take a principled scale stand I really love the sculpt of this figure, but he does look pretty silly towering over his colleagues at the back of the display...

Well, that's my trials and travails for March and early April. I also ordered but haven't received yet the Zatanna Women of the DC Universe Mini-Bust. I've liked quite of few of the sculpts in that wave but Zatanna is the first one that doesn't scream "boobies", and as I do have to pass all my acquisitions through the interior design coordinator (read = wife) I've left the others on the shelf out of respect to her. Looking forward to reviewing Zee when she arrives.

Until next time!
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