Friday, February 03, 2017

DC Icons Batgirl Toy Review

The DC Icons line of collectible action figures has a new addition to their ranks, quite possibly one of the best figures we've seen this year! I'm talking about DC Icons Batgirl, which I'll be reviewing today!

The moment I laid eyes on her was the moment I knew I had to have her. Fast forward to an excruciating amount of months later, and I now have in my hands one of my most wanted figures in the DC Icons line!

The box is nice and huge, giving you a good view of the toy and her accessories within. They had to go big, if they wanted space for that big-ass motorcycle she comes with! It's a great display piece, that's for sure

But a figure this nice should not be contained in that box for long!

DC Icons Batgirl packs a lot of detail for something so small. From the zippers in her costume to the creases in the leather to the laces on her swaggy boots, this figure totally feels like a premium collectible.

The paint work on the figure is excellent, with no errors aside from some sort of misapplied brown paint on the face of the extra headsculpt included. Since it's not that noticeable I don't consider it a big deal, but really that's the worst I could say about this figure, and it's something you could look out for in the future.

Standing at a few hairs under 6 inches, DC Icons Batgirl will look good among your DC Universe Classics figures, if you're planning to mix and match. Most of the figures in the DC Icons line is out of scale with everything else, though. Thankfully, this version of Batgirl is younger, so her smaller proportions fit her character.

Batgirl uses the same plentiful articulation system as previous DC Icons releases, meaning you can put her in a lot of heroic poses with ease. The weakness I saw in my DC Icons Flash is still here though, notably her inability to look up to save her life. Really, a neck hinge is all that's standing in the way of DC Icons from becoming one of the classics.

DC Icons Batgirl comes with one of the biggest "accessories" around: her own Batcycle, a nicely detailed piece that's bigger than the figure it comes with! It looks stylish and futuristic, with painted details and free-spinning wheels that make it more than just a solid piece of plastic. I don't know if you can turn the front wheel left and right, but I don't want to risk breaking such a beautiful thing.

The bike can attach to a base with "screeching tires" effects to simulate motion and so it can stand on its own for display. Attach the extra "gripping" hands on Batgirl and she can "ride" the bike with relative ease and minimal fiddling. She also comes with an extra "whipping hair" headsculpt and "flying" cape to give the illusion of movement, which are very nice and thoughtful inclusions. The only missed opportunity is again her limited neck articulation, meaning Batgirl'll be staring at her front bumper forever.

And just when you thought that's all of it, DC Icons Batgirl has more accessories! She has a little grappling hook gun and an extra hand to hold it with...

...and a little smartphone for all her selfie needs! It's positively microscopic, so be careful not to lose it!

Batgirl has seen a renewed popularity with this Batgirl of Burnside incarnation, so it's a treat that we got an awesome collectible figure out of it. With a great sculpt and a ton of cool accessories, DC Icons Batgirl is the total package and a great addition to the DC Icons line. A must-have if you're a Batgirl fan!

It's out in your local comic book shop and specialty stores, so you better snap this up on sight!

What's your favorite DC Icons figure? Leave a message in the comments and let's talk about it. Thanks for reading!

Thursday, February 02, 2017

MAFEX Spider-Man Homecoming Ver. Images

It's happening: MEDICOM's MAFEX line just released mind-blowing images of Spider-Man from Sony's Spider-Man: Homecoming!

Even for preview images, it looks awesome, and their likeness of Tom Holland looks spot on. It's even got the 'poseable' eyes that made this Spider-Man version so amazing! I'm shaking in my seat, wondering when I'll get my hands on it to complete my Infinity War set up!

Haven't had experience with MAFEX yet (my Iron Man Mk. 46 from Avengers: Age of Ultron has yet to arrive), but I don't care. I need this thing so bad.

MAFEX Spider-Man (Homecoming Ver.) will cost you 6,800Yen and will be released on October 2017. For more images, check out the official MAFEX site.

Thursday, January 26, 2017

SH FIGUARTS WWE Stone Cold Steve Austin Toy Review

How lucky we are to be alive right now, to live in a time when we have the near-perfect toy of a certain mudhole-stomping, beer-swilling, tough-talking sumbitch!

Finally, in my hands is a dream toy of mine. I'm talking about the newly-released S.H. Figuarts "Stone Cold" Steve Austin figure from Bandai, which I'll be reviewing today!

First off, I love the box the new Figuarts toys come in. More compact than previous releases, it makes for easy storage. And if you're a collector, Stone Cold Steve Austin's glaring mug is right at the plastic window for you to peruse at your leisure.

But a fig like this doesn't like being boxed in. Let's take a look at the figure itself!

Standing at 6 inches tall, S.H. Figuarts Stone Cold Steve Austin might be a smidge out of place amidst your Mattel WWE figures, but it more than makes up for it in aesthetics. The detail on this figure is amazing. The sculpt looks a bit soft, but there's no denying that this is the Texas Rattlesnake in toy form. It even has his patented knee braces! Even better, they're also functional, meaning you can adjust the braces for your posing needs. What?!

Stone Cold uses the standard S.H. Figuarts articulation to good effect, so he gets to do a lot of the moves your favorite wrestler is known for. Finally, you have a Stone Cold toy that can do a proper Stone Cold Stunner and look good doing it!

The joints are smooth and tight and holds poses well, though mine has a hip joint that's tight as all hell. It's not exactly something you can look out for, but I guess I just have to be careful; many a tight joint has snapped in my careless hands.

S.H. Figuarts Stone Cold comes with a lot of cool accessories, aside from his entrance vest thingy, including not one, not two, but three extra heads, portraying an emotion the Texas Rattlesnake is known to do! From the screaming face to a sideways glancing face that says "You are this close to gettin' your ass whupped", there is an emotive Stone Cold face that fits your every need.

Of course, Stone Cold ain't Stone Cold without brewskies, and I'm glad Bandai graciously supplied his S.H. Figuarts toy with two cans of beer for him to swig. The pouring beer effect is a tad cartoonish for my taste, though. Wouldn't a translucent pour be better?

As a huge Steve Austin fan growing up, I'm glad I live in a time when we're capable of creating a toy that gives justice to the person it represents. S.H. Figuarts Stone Cold Steve Austin is the type of figure that will see a lot of play and may just be the crowning jewel of any 6" Stone Cold toy collection.

So get this toy while you can, coz Behold the Geek says so. *glass shatters*

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Doctor Strange Movie Review (Spoiler-Free)

Doctor Strange is my most-anticipated Marvel movie, bar none. The very look and feel of it tickles me to no end. This isn't a dude with a shield or missiles or who shrinks. This is a character who traverses possibilities and bends reality itself. I'm a sucker for characters like that, so I went in trying my best not to expect so much...but it's hard to do when you've got Benedict Cumberbatch front and center.

In what may be the most spot-on Marvel casting since RDJ as Tony Stark, Benedict shines as Dr. Stephen Strange, a brilliant but arrogant neurosurgeon who suffers a tragic accident and loses the use of his hands, his most precious tools of the job. Desperate for a cure, Strange stumbles upon Kamar-taj, where a mysterious group of mystics led by The Ancient One (Tilda Swinton) "opens his mind" to reality's unlimited possibilities, turning him into a powerful magic-wielding sorcerer. But when a mysterious enemy threatens to destroy the world and let darkness swallow it whole, it's up to Doctor Strange to stop this threat no matter the cost!

It sounds like Marvel's usual movie formula because it is. To director Scott Derrickson's credit, the movie makes up for it by marrying eye-popping visuals with interesting characters. It's no secret the entire thing would not have worked if Benedict Cumberbatch wasn't cast in the role. Benedict is damn charismatic, wonderfully portraying both Stephen Strange's arrogance and vulnerability, making Strange his own rather than doing Tony Stark 2.0. The rest of the cast is made up of highs and lows. Tilda Swinton is stunningly surreal as The Ancient One, but Mads Mikkelsen's Kaecillius is too much of a walking nihilist rhetoric to be compelling. Chiwetel Ejiofor is fine as Mordo, but I wanted more out of this future Strange archenemy.

Of course, we can't talk about Doctor Strange without talking about the visuals. Inception has nothing on this thing. Doctor Strange really takes its visuals to the limit as sorcerers summon crackling mandalas in the air to shift and tilt their environment like Play-Doh in their hands. At one point, the film goes full M.C. Escher in an exciting action sequence (as was seen in the trailers) where Strange and Kaicellius give chase to each other, with their magics turning roads into ceilings and ceilings into walls. It's disorientating as all hell, but director Scott Derrickson tries his best to keep the important beats of the action front and center, so you yourself don't get lost in the movie's visual maze.

But while I loved the visuals and the acting, there's a rushed, incomplete feeling to Doctor Strange, like the movie is in a hurry to go through Strange learning of the mystic arts and facing off against the Big Bad at the end, glossing over a lot of things that make the character and his world so interesting, and ultimately leaving you wondering why the movie is over so quickly. But to its credit, I left feeling I wanted more, way more of this mystical goodness.

Despite all that, Doctor Strange didn't fail to keep me spellbound all the way to the end. Truly unlike any Marvel movie you've seen, it's safe to say that Doctor Strange is quite the fun ride, provided that you open your mind to do so.

Thursday, August 04, 2016

Suicide Squad Movie Review

I don't usually call movies convoluted messes. I'm too nice for that.

But Suicide Squad is a convoluted mess.

Suicide Squad felt like fragments of scenes and plot strung together to resemble a movie. The story sluggishly stumbles from point to point, stopping only for the odd quip, sloppy action scene, or flashback (and there are LOTS of those here). At one point, the Skwad's heli got shot down with gunfire for no reason other than to make them go on foot, with no explanation as to who shot them down or why. An hour or so in, as the Skwad trudges along towards a still-unknown objective, the guy beside me in the theater whispered "Hindi ko na magets kung anong ginagawa nila (I don't get what they're doing anymore)". And I begrudgingly agreed. 

And it's tragic, because the cast obviously did their best with what they were given. Will Smith was great as Deadshot, the assassin with the heart of gold. He got most of the good lines and was front and center of some of the major action set pieces (as is tradition, since this is Will Smith, people.). Margot Robbie's Harley Quinn was cool and was a more violent and insane version of her Batman: The Animated Series character, and I admit I laughed along with the rest of the cinema with her ditzy lines. The rest? They may as well be generic mooks for what good they were for. Adam Beach literally got two lines of dialogue as Slipknot, Jai Courtney's Captain Boomerang was horribly underused, and Karen Fukuhara's Katana basically walked in at the last minute, and we're supposed to care that she's crying for her dead husband?

And don't get me started on The Joker. Jared Leto's performance was unsettling at parts, downright corny in others, but he has absolutely no business in this movie other than to provide backstory for Harley Quinn in what little screen time he's given. If you're watching this for the Joker, take your expectations down a couple of notches. You'll thank me later, but then the movie devolves into a messy final fight against a Big Bad that neither puts the Squad in a good light nor makes a lick of sense, and you will totally forget about him anyway.

I really, really wanted to like this, I really did. The trailers made it look oh so awesome, but what we got was oh so not. Suicide Squad goes down as one of the many disappointing misses of the DC's burgeoning cinematic universe, and does not give me much confidence for the rest. Watch for the pew pew and Harley Quinn in booty shorts, if nothing else.

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Ghostbusters 2016 Movie Review

Oh, I ain't afraid of the latest Ghostbusters movie.

All that vitriol over the new, female-led Ghostbusters movie has done nothing but made me even more curious, more wanting to watch it. Having seen it first-hand in all its glory, did the movie deserve all that hate?

Surprise, surprise. Absolutely not.

Know that I'm a Ghostbusters fan from waaayyy back. Love the original movies, wanted to be like Egon from the cartoons, and felt so boss as a kid with my own Proton Pack and everything. So of course I paid a ticket to see the new Ghostbusters movie. If anything, I am at least guaranteed of a few laughs with the likes of Kristen Wiig, Melissa McCarthy, Kate McKinnon, and Leslie Jones sharing the screen. And you know what? I had a lot of fun!

Let none say this movie ain't funny. I had laughs a-plenty throughout the movie, though I do admit some felt flat or went on too long. Kristen Wiig and Melissa McCarthy may be the comedy veterans and played the straight women well, but they just couldn't hold a candle to the comedic timing of Leslie Jones and Kate McKinnon, who pretty much outshone them all. 

Seriously, my girlfriend and I were both crushing on McKinnon's character Jillian Holtzmann, whose equal parts genius and crazy stole the show for us and was the source of many of the film's best moments. She was confident in her weirdness and in  her ability to make stuff that busts ghosts, and it rubbed me the right way. I would pay to watch Holtzmann dispatch ghosts in slo-mo Zack Snyder style, with smirk and aplomb, over and over again.

And really, it's the new dynamic of a femGhostbusters team that made this movie for me. They're smart. They're different. They're women. And in a world that doesn't give all of that much weight, Erin Gilbert and co. owned it. I didn't even mind that there wasn't much ghostbusting going on in this movie (if that's what you're in for, I hope the climax of the film at least sates your thirst). Their glee after barely escaping with their lives capturing their first ghost is quite infectious, and I can't help but root for them when it was time to face the Big Bad in the end.

Don't worry, Ghostbusters fans. We still have the original films and the cartoons, and nothing can take those away from us. It's not perfect, but the ladies-led version is peppered with enough funny and awesome to become a fine and welcome addition to a 30-year-old franchise. If fun is all you need for the next two hours, Ghostbusters is worth the price of a ticket.

Friday, July 22, 2016

My Week in Comics: July 22, 2016

It took a while, but I'm back in the comics-reading fold again with a mix of great and not-so-great comic books this week! What did I think about this week's releases? Read on to find out!

Justice League #1 opens up with a global catastrophic event...just like it did during their recent Rebirth one-shot. DC's big seven are reduced to boring one liners while they save people and posture menacingly at an unseen and mysterious menace, a mystery they're not giving me enough reason to care about. I've never read Bryan Hitch's writing before, but I admit it's a passable adventure, if not downright cliché. Even Tony Daniel's art, while gorgeous and wonderfully rendered, cannot save a story we've heard as recently as a couple of weeks ago. A shame, as I had high hopes for a book about DC's flagship superteam. This gets a 2 out of 5.

Oh my, Black Hammer #1 is downright atmospheric. Forced to live mundane lives after a mysterious event forced them out of their home city seemingly for good, Jeff Lemire's stranded pulp heroes (with names like Abraham Slam and Col. Weird) are anything but heroic. It makes for good drama, and Lemire knows how to write characters with huge chips on their shoulders and deeper motivations than they're letting on. Who wouldn't be pissed if you had to live like a normal person after a lifetime of superheroics? There's an unsettling undercurrent throughout the issue, which is making me itch for them to stop being mundane so that I can know what happens next, and in that aspect Black Hammer #1 worked. This gets a 4 out of 5.

I find that the beauty of Betty and Veronica #1 is in the way it's written like an actual old-school Archie comic, complete with zingy one-liners and slapstick humor. But instead of talking like the archaic stereotype of old Archie strips, writer and artist Adam Hughes writes Betty, Veronica, and the gang like the teens of today, a bit more world-weary and hip. Relateable and all that.

I admit, my main draw here is Adam Hughes' art, and I'm glad to say it blows my mind how gorgeous this book (and the ladies drawn therein) is. Care to see what Betty Cooper looks like if she was a 40's pinup? Hughes and Archie is a match made in soda pop heaven. His writing though is something to get used to, as you have to go through literally pages of banter, segues, and non sequiturs before reaching anything resembling a plot. Stay for the art, if nothing else. This gets a 4 out of 5.

Finally, Jim Zub serves up some more Street Fighter goodness in Street Fighter Legends: Cammy #1. Having had the pleasure of reading his previous work, I got a copy reserved preview unseen, and I was not disappointed! In this issue, we find Cammy leading a British special ops group called Delta Blue, consisting of former Shadaloo soldiers  (Cammy included) turned good guys. But M. Bison's evil isn't easily scrubbed clean, and Cammy finds herself coming face-to-face with the demons of her past!

Jim Zub writes a kick-ass book, with equal doses of high-octane action and cute moments (Cammy in a cute dress? I'll take 20!). It helps that Omar Dogan's manga-style art is my cup of tea, making for one of the best-looking books on the stands this week. Bottom line, Legends: Cammy #1 is simply no-frills, action-packed fun straight out of the arcade screen. I give this a 5 out of 5.

Great new comics this week! What did you get? And do you agree that Adam Hughes should just draw Archie Comics forever? Let me know in the comments section below! Thanks for reading!
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