Thursday, March 28, 2019

Top 5 Post-Endgame Storyline Predictions

It's official: Disney now owns 21st Century Fox, meaning that the live-action rights to the X-Men and Fantastic Four are now under Marvel Studios! What does that mean for us geeks? It means that it's now inevitable that the X-Men and the Fantastic Four will rub elbows with the rest of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Welcome home, indeed!

With Avengers: Endgame less than a month away, the future of the MCU as we know it post-Endgame is now anything-goes. Thankfully, the comic books that inspired the movies are still ripe with exciting stories Marvel Studios can use to tell the further adventures of our cinematic heroes! Here are five Marvel Comics storylines that Marvel Studios can use post-Endgame. What are the odds these stories will happen? Which are the best stories to adapt to the big screen? I rate them now so you won't have to!

5. Operation: Galactic Storm

What is it: A giant crossover storyline that saw the Avengers caught in the war between the Kree and Shi'Ar race.

Will it happen?: Well, with the Kree-Skrull War still fresh in the people's minds because of the Captain Marvel movie, making another movie about another intergalactic war feels passé and rehashed. Galactic Storm also featured a schism between Captain America and Iron Man over a decision they didn't mutually agree with. Where have I heard that before?

Odds: 10,000 to 1

4. Avengers vs. X-Men

What is it: The Avengers and the X-Men punch each other instead of talking it out in the biggest case of "Not talking it out fucks everything up" ever seen in comics. Oh, and the Phoenix Force gets broken into pieces for some reason.

Will it happen?: I mean, Captain America: Civil War has shown that Marvel Studios is capable of crafting something interesting out of bad stories (full disclosure: the Civil War storyline was what brought me back to comics after a long hiatus), especially involving two superteams punching each other out. But as events go, I'd rather have the Avengers and the X-Men team up instead of tear each other apart.

Odds: 1,000 to 1

3. House of M

What is it: An 8-issue event that saw the Avengers and the X-Men thrown into an alternate reality created by Scarlet Witch where mutantkind reigns supreme. Famous for Scarlet Witch's wish for "No more mutants.", which resulted in the decimation of the mutant gene.

Will it happen?: Depends. With the X-Men now in Disney's hands, will they find a way for Wanda and Pietro Maximoff to be related to movie Magneto, especially that it's been established that Wanda and Pietro's powers came from an Infinity Stone? Are alternate realities a fit for the MCU's grounded aesthetics? As much as I didn't like the storyline, porting it into Marvel's cinematic universe sounds like a fun time at the movies regardless.

Odds: 500 to 1

2. Secret Wars

What is it: No, not that weird Jonathan Hickman one. The 1984 crossover comic book event slash toyline tie-in one. Marvel Super Heroes Secret Wars featured a who's who of Marvel characters, who were kidnapped by a cosmic being called the Beyonder to fight each other in a "Battleworld" for the Beyonder's own amusement!

Will it happen?: If you're going to feature guys like the Fantastic Four, the X-Men, and the Avengers together in one screen, this is a painlessly fun way to do it. The storyline was popular and was even the first appearance of the symbiote, so there's even an in for Eddie Brock/Venom if Marvel wished. Win/win!

Odds: 100 to 1

1. The Coming of Galactus

What is it: A three-part storyarc that introduced Galactus to the Marvel Universe. The Devourer of Worlds has set his sights on Earth, and its last line of defense is the Fantastic Four!

Will it happen?: GOD I HOPE SO. Galactus is one of my favorite characters, so to see him on the big screen in all his glory will probably melt my brain. With how much flack Fox got with showing Galactus as a lame dust cloud in that funny movie, this is the perfect chance for Marvel Studios to do Galactus right. Besides, if you're gonna bring the Fantastic Four to the MCU, Galactus better not be that far behind!

Odds: 4 to 1

Which Marvel Comics storylines would you like to see in the big screen? Let's talk about it in the comment box below. Thanks for reading!

Monday, March 25, 2019

Transformers Studio Series 38 Optimus Prime Review

The one thing I hate about Transformers Studio Series-38 Optimus Prime is that we had to wait this long to have a G1-inspired movie Prime. I mean, you mean tell me we could have gotten G1-inspired designs from the get-go and you just didn't wanna? For shame! Still, I'm glad the powers-that-be saw the error of their ways and gave us the movie Optimus Prime toy we deserved...the very toy I will be reviewing today!

Standing at 7 inches tall, Studio Series 38 Optimus Prime is typical of the Voyager size class. I would wish him to be bigger, but here we are. As with every fig in the Studio Series line, Optimus Prime was designed to be as movie-accurate as possible, and so Hasbro packed a lot of detail in this figure that you would probably see on-screen. I especially liked the torso sculpting, with all the silver mechanisms and detailing, giving this Optimus Prime toy that realistic feel.

Studio Series 38 Optimus Prime is packed with articulation you don't usually see in Transformers toys. The hips have incredible range and motion, giving Optimus the ability to pull off a convincing kneeling pose. There's also a welcome waist swivel and ankle rokers for even more posing options! This is an Optimus who wouldn't be caught dead standing like a brick in the heat of battle.

With simple transformations being in vogue recently, It feels damn good to know that Studio Series 38 Optimus Prime requires a whopping 35 steps to transform convert! I love puzzles myself, and I have to say converting this figure into either mode is a welcome challenge. It's just a shame that some parts (especially in the legs, which is apparently a common issue) don't peg into each other right or pop apart way too easily. There are a LOT of fiddly, come-apart-y things with this fig, and I won't blame you if you get frustrated transforming him the first few times.

Studio Series 38 Optimus Prime converts into a nondescript flatnose truck just as God intended. The detail is great, and the silver paint mimicking the familiar G1 livery brings it all together. The truck mode is a tad small for a voyager-class figure, unfortunately. Rising cost of plastics, everyone!

Accessory wise, Studio Series 38 Optimus Prime comes with the only accessory that matters: his iconic Ion Blaster. Only this time, it's updated for modern sensibilities. The familiar rear end design of the gun is still there, but now the entire gun is longer and definitely meaner looking. It's even got a magazine that's begging to be emptied into stinkin' Decepticons. This is the gun of a soldier who ain't looking to forgive.

And as with all Studio Series toys, Optimus Prime here comes with a cardboard stage and backdrop, in this case a shot of the San Francisco Bridge. Very nice! 

The moment Optimus Prime made his explosive appearance during the first five minutes of the Bumblebee movieI knew we had something special in our hands, and it was only a matter of time before Hasbro saw his money-printing potential. Transformers Studio Series 38 Optimus Prime is an amazing toy of a character in much need of updating, and I'm sure he'll find himself leading may different Transformers displays before long!

He's been out in stores for the past few months but it's only come out of Philippine toy store shelves a few weeks ago. If you can find a way to get him for retail, do so and fast.

Monday, March 18, 2019

Mezco Thor Ragnarok Hulk Figure Review

How long will you wait for a toy you like? Months? Years? Did you know I pre-ordered Mezco ToysOne:12 Collective Thor Ragnarok Hulk figure last 2017? I almost forgot I ordered the damn thing. That's a long-ass wait for an action figure. But now it's in my hands and I gotta tell's worth the wait.

One word escaped my mouth when I took him out of the box: "Wow." The Mezco Ragnarok Hulk is a piece of action figure art. The body itself is well-proportioned unlike some of the other figures of the One:12 Collective line, and the attention to detail on a figure this size is absurd. From the pitted and well-worn texture of the "metal" parts, the textured "skin" with realistic veins, the crisp and well-applied paint, to the intricate designs of his leather armor, Hulk here is a sight to behold.

Hasbro, Bandai, and Diamond Select have all taken a shot at this version of Hulk from Thor: Ragnarok, giving us well-articulated action figures that are fun to pose and play with. However, Mezco Thor Ragnarok Hulk is leaning more into "collectible figure" than toy. With only ball-jointed shoulders and hips, hinged swivel knees and elbows, as well as ball-jointed neck, ankles. and waist, Mezco Hulk won't be high-kicking or showing off his flexibility anytime soon.

The joints have good range though, and you can get some pretty good "museum" poses out of him, again emphasizing the focus on making a good-looking display figure than a toy you give your kids to battle their Marvel Legends toys. The box and instructions even emphasize and reiterate at every opportunity that this isn't a children's toy but rather an adult collectible, and should be judged (and handled) as such.

I've always been iffy about Mezco and their ability to make soft goods like costumes and armor look good at the 1:12 scale. Judging from what I've seen, I'm not really a fan of their 6-inch figures looking like dolls with their costumes with hilariously large stitching. But Mezco Ragnarok Hulk is a perfect example of how to do soft goods right. The intricate detailing on the leather parts of Hulk's armor has to be seen to be believed. Every time I turn this toy over I see another detail that blows me away.

Mezco Ragnarok Hulk comes with cool accessories that just bring this fig over the top. He's got open-palmed grasping hands, gripping hands that let him hold his signature hammer and axe (both included), and an alternate helmet-free head that's simmering with pent-up rage over being sent to an alien planet via the Devil's Anus. I quite like the alternate head, but I wish the helmet was a separate accessory so I could display Hulk with the faces of my choice.

Don't be afraid to mix Mezco Ragnarok Hulk with your Marvel Legends MCU display. As part of Mezco's One:12 Collective line, the figure is scaled just right. This big burly boy is an awesome sight as he towers over other 6-inch figures, just as Hulk is meant to do!

I'm sure you're asking: is Mezco Hulk worth it at over 100USD? Knee-jerk reaction would say "Hell no." The Marvel Legends Build-a-Figure version is perfectly fine and at a third of the price. But I guess the better question would be: how much are you willing to pay for a good Gladiator Hulk figure? With the S.H.Figuarts version of Gladiator Hulk already at 150USD (holy shit), and the Hot Toys version prohibitively more expensive than that, I feel that Mezco's is a nice middle ground for a richly-detailed display piece. To me, One:12 Collective Thor Ragnarok Hulk is an incredibly-detailed and and well-made collectible figure that would be a great display piece for any Hulk collector.

Here's hoping this will be the last time I wait for a toy for this long! I hope this review helped sway you towards the awesomeness of Mezco Hulk. Thanks for reading!

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