31 March 2010

New arrivals - featuring Wheeljack MIB

Got this in the post yesterday. Lots of new stuff from OZ Former and buddy jgon.

Significantly, I got my final G1 Autobot car box - Wheeljack. The Wheeljack box completes my 1984 MIB/MOC collection and also means that all of my 1984 and 1985 Autobot cars are now MIB and complete. Quite a milestone for me.

The second significant acquisition is Hook's cardback. In a way, it completes my Constructicon cardbacks and fills the gaps in for these guys, temporarily. I have an MOC C9 Hook on its way from Portugal (shhh...).

Here they are, the new arrivals!

27 March 2010

Todd McFarlane's Haunt

I was a McFarlane fan since his Amazing Spider-Man days.

Back in the day, I hunted down all the individual issues of his Amazing Spider-Man run, including the then hard to find Amazing Spider-Man #298, #299 and #300.

I was more than elated to discover that he did Incredible Hulk before Amazing Spider-Man and hunted down a number of his Incredible Hulk issues, key among them Incredible Hulk #340.

Left: Amazing Spider-Man #298
Right: Incredible Hulk #340

When he co-founded Image Comics and launched Spawn, I was there in line and grabbed 6 copies of Spawn #1, helping it in a 6/1,000,000 kind of way propel Spawn #1 sales to in excess of 1 million copies.

I have since the mid 90s, departed from the world of comics. I returned to it, with some force around 2008. From 2008 to the present, I found that:

  • Marvel titles have become cliché and mediocre, all flash and no bang (except for brief moments when Neil Gaiman graced Marvel with his magic pen);
  • DC titles were increasingly captivating; for me this began with Superman/Batman: Supergirl and just continued expanding from there (Identity Crisis, Green Lantern saga: Rebirth, Secret Origin, etc, Batman: Hush, Superman: For Tomorrow, the entire Jeph Loeb Superman/Batman run, Justice League of America, All-Star Superman, All-Star Batman, Blackest Night and more...);
  • Vertigo continued to deliver, as they did with Sandman in the 90s; and
  • I've been reading far too little Image Comics since I returned to comics.
Keen on fixing the final point up there, I purchased a large number of Witchblade TPBs and also the Darkness Origins TPB. I'm up to Witchblade Origins volume 3 and am still waiting to see what the fuss is all about. Much as I adore his later year cover art for DC and his art for Superman/Batman: Supergirl, Michael Turner's early art in Witchblade just does not seem to have the same x factor.

The Darkness Origins volume 1 was a good read (and in that I mean that I couldn't put it down until I finished it). That was good.

Today, I saw the Haunt TPB (containing issues #1 to #5) and thought, "gosh, this is (only) McFarlane's second comic book title since he co-founded Image Comics and since Spawn #1 in the early '90s!". Purely on the strength of that and nothing else, I have to pick this up and give it a go.

Started reading it. Could not put it down. Read it from start to finish in one go.

Left: Spawn #1
Right: Haunt #4

Haunt was a good read. It is great stuff. I think there is potential. 

For me, it was a little troubling to see and feel how similar the character design is with McFarlane's Spider-Man. It was unsettling (and also because Spider-Man, like many Marvel characters today, is way over-used and over-exposed and has very little depth), but I'm confident that given time, Kirkman and McFarlane will sufficiently differential Haunt from Spider-Man.

Now, I'm going to read the Haunt TPB again.

24 March 2010

Transformers Classics Ultra Magnus and WST Dinobots

Love the WST Dinobots. Even better that they can somehow fit into the TF-Parallax ugrade trailer for Classics Ultra Magnus.

23 March 2010

Pick of the Day - Autobot Defence Base

The combined form of Omega Supreme and Masterforce Ginraii and Godbomber is... the new Autobot Defence Base...

22 March 2010

Today was a hard day

Today was a hard day.

Can't say why it was a hard day.

But today was a hard day.

21 March 2010

The Return of Bruce Wayne

I might be a little behind, I admit. I just saw from Comic Shop News issue 1185 that Grant Morrison is going to pen 'his most ambitious project to date': The Return of Bruce Wayne.

Sadly, this is not unexpected following the disappointment that was Batman: RIP and the unresolved conclusion to Final Crisis. It doesn't take Einstein to figure that DC was never going to 'kill' Bruce Wayne although the way his 'death' and resurrection was capitalised on in Blackest Night #5 almost made me fall off the chair. I went "Sh*t! If he's resurrected as a Black Lantern that that must mean he really dead" (as much as that would mean in comic book terms anyway).

So now, Bruce is coming back (as he surely must, after all, nobody can fill his shoes and convincingly be Batman). 

To be sure, I'm glad; but to be certain, I'm less than impressed but such a plot stunt. Really, it stinks of "Death of Superman" and will effectively invalidate what has gone on during Bruce's absence, except this time, we'll get better art and colouring.

I wait with baited breath. 

18 March 2010

1988 Decepticon Naval Assault Warrior - Pretender Finback

Function: Naval Assault

"Ashes to ashes, rust to rust."

Profile: A wheezing, wretched, wreck-in-the-making. Outer shell serves as container for his loose components. Enjoys making his enemies feel worse than he does. External, pressure-sensitive shell enables him to dive to a depth of 30,000 feet. Specially-reinforced scale armor is composed of "living" mecha-organisms that regenerate spontaneously to protect inner circuitry. Equipped with metal-corroding stun rifle that ensnares the enemy in a layer of thick, vicious underwater slime. Transforms to high-speed hovercraft equipped with long range sonar and scanners. Also armed with jet-propelled, armor-piercing harpoon gun.

Decepticon Strategist - Pretender Bugly

Function: Strategist

"The greatest power is the power to control."

Profile: A deadly warrior with pinpoint maneuverability in the air. Intense, mystical, and very cruel. Practices the deadly martial art of Circuit-Su, which channels energy into one powerful electric blast. Electro-stingers in helmet deliver 3,000 volt charges that paralyze on contact. Also armed with 2 photon rifles. Transforms to lasered, hover jet with built-in, forward-thrust turbo boosters. Also able to pilot outer shell by remote control.

1988 Decepticon Terror Trooper - Pretender Iguanus

Function: Terror Trooper

"Sow the seeds of fear and victory is yours."

Profile: A hideous, slithering monster. So in love with his loathsome, lizard-like outer shell that he rarely removes it. Shares misguided camaraderie with all reptiles. Equipped with super robotic strength. Able to crush cars with his reptilian claws. Hypnobeam in eyes penetrate enemy cerebro-circuits and override primary programming directives. Armed with hurricane air blaster that shoots concussive blasts of pressurized air. Wheels in cycle Mode equipped with spinning blades that tear through enemy armor. Built-in anti-gyrostators able to disrupt equilibrium of enemy robots.

1988 Decepticon Undersea Warfare Warrior - Pretender Submarauder

Function: Undersea Warefare

"Conquer the seas and the rest will fall!"

Profile: As silent and mysterious as the ocean depths. Sly and sinister. Roams the sea in solitary contentment. Angers easily, exploding into a furious frenzy. Serrated claws can shred a battleship like paper. Transforms into deep sea attack submarine, armed with proton cannon. Inside shell, weilds torpedo rifle and unbreakable, organic-steel sword that eats metal on contact.

1988 Decepticon Predator - Pretender Bomb-Burst

Function: Predator

"The greater the foe, the sweeter his fuel!"

Profile: A vicious, vile automated vampire! Enjoys swooping down on unsuspecting Autobots and using his serrated metallic fangs to drain the fuel from his victims. Specially-textured outer shell causes rust rash on contact. Blinded by bright sunlight. The ultimate terror in darkness. Without shell, transforms into a vertical take-off and landing hover jet with dual lasers. Within shell, armed with corrosive slime shooter and armor-piercing battle axe!

1988 Decepticon Seige Warrior - Pretender Skullgrin

Function: Decepticon Seige Warrior

"Those who stand against me shall soon fall before me!"

Profile: When Skullgrin dons his synthoplasmic outer shell, he becomes a monster in more than just appearance alone! Where the robot Skullgrin is cold and logical in his approach to warfare, the Pretender Skullgrin is a brutal, uncontrollable engine of destruction who won't stop attacking until everything is destroyed (or someone manages to stop him). How and why is still a mystery, but the theory is that his outer shell has a personality of its own, and when Skullgrin is inside, he loses himself in it. The other Decepticons aren't complaining, though. It's well known that Skullgrin tends to get somewhat distracted when he's on a mission or even in the middle of a pitched battle. Earth fascinates him and he's eager to sample the planet's delights, even if it means neglecting his duty. He's also quite vain, liking attention. The Pretender Skullgrin is usually quite the opposite. He won't be stopped, won't be frightened off, and can't be bargained with. When the job's done, when all that remains of his foe is a few metal scraps, that's when he will stop. Because his intelligence is somewhat limited in Pretender mode, Skullgrin is always eager to lead the charge into battle--and he never, ever retreats. Needless to say, none of his fellow Decepticons ever try to dissuade him from this course of action. After all, as they say, there's gotta be someone dumb enough to do it! At times, the Pretender Skullgrin's behavior becomes quite erratic, even for him, possibly as a result of the two disparate personalities trying to interface on the same level. This could account for the uncharacteristic lack of hostility and extreme vanity he displayed when he briefly became a movie star. At times, there can be something of a communication problem. When he's in Pretender mode, Skullgrin often tends to communicate in a series of snorts and snarls.

Abilities: In Pretender mode, Skullgrin wields a terrorizing Slagmaker carbine --its heat beam capable of melting metal up to four inches thick-- and a metal-rending Vibro Sword. The constantly changing energy field around the sword means it can both cut and scramble circuits at the same time. His outer shell is very strong, able to resist artillery hits, and it enhances his strength tenfold. Out of his shell, Skuligrin transforms into a shrapnel-blasting assault tank. He can fire energy beams or shells that explode in midair, firing deadly shrapnel in all directions. As with all Pretenders, Skullgrin is able to mentally control his outer shell when he is not in it, literally splitting himself into two warriors.

Weaknesses: Skullgrin has hardly any weak points when he's in his outer shell. His only real weaknesses stem from his lack of intelligence. Not only is it sometimes hard for him to make himself understood, but he sometimes gets so carried away in the heat of the battle that he's as much a danger to his fellow Decepticons as he is to his enemies.

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