Movie Review- Spider-Man: Homecoming

Spider-Man: Homecoming is the latest movie in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.  It is co=produced by Columbia Pictures and Marvel Studios and released by Sony Pictures.  It is the second reboot of the Spiderman franchise which started 16 years ago with Tobey McGuire.  It is a collaboration between Sony Pictures (which wns the movie rights to Spider-Man) and Marvel Studios (which is owned by Disney.)  It stars Tom Holland, Michael Keaton, Jon Favereau, Robert Downey Jr and Marissa Tomei

The movie opens up with a salvage crew, rum by Adrian Tooms (Keaton) collecting alien tech in the aftermath of the the climatic events of The Avengers.  When they are forced to halt operations  by a government organisation called Damage Control, Toombs and his crew find themselves out of work and broke.  Using some of the tech that they previously acquired, they decide to keep collecting the tech and make money developing and selling weapons.

Fast forward eight(!) years and we meet Peter Parker, fresh from events in Captain America: Civil War.  Using the new suit from Tony Stark, he patrols Queens, New York, stopping low level crime while waiting for the call to join the Avengers.  Meanwhile, he has to deal with school, friends like Ned Leeds, classmates and his over-protective (and uncharacteristically attractive) Aunt May (Marissa Tomei).

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Spider-Man (Tom Holland) pulls it together.

In the usual Spidey fashion, things start to turns south.  Tooms gang has been selling advanced weapons to street gangs and criminals.  Once Spider-Man interferes with a buy, he gets noticed by Tooms , who has got a powerful flying jetpack which makes him look like a vulture (so, lets call him Vulture).  Spidey fights the Vulture and comes up short, prompting a warning from Tony Start to let the adult heroes handle it.  But he persists and ends up failing and losing Stark’s trust and the suit.  But the Vulture is still out there and Spider-Man has to try to stop him, using only his powers, his wits and his home-made suit.

Spider-Man was a nice surprise addition to the Marvel Cinematic Universe when he appeared in the last Captain America movie.  Fans wanted to see the character in the proper movie universe, so the announcement of a partnership between Sony and Disney/Marvel Studios was met positively, though there was concerns.  People did not want another origin story and we already has a Spidey reboot in 2011.  I am sure some were surprised when it was announced that Tom Holland would take the role from Andrew Garfield.

But Holland fills the role nicely.  He is sufficiently geeky like Peter in the early comics but not as much as Tobey Maguire..  He is wiry and not too buff, but he looks the part.  His Spider-Man acts much like any 15 year-old with superpowers and an overly developed sense of responsibility would act.  He seems to have fun in the role and embodies the character nicely.

The rest of the cast is good too.  Peter’s friends at school, Ned, Liz and Michelle, act like movie school kids act and provide some lighter, down to earth scenes for Peter.  Flash Thompson is changed from a athletic sometime bully to a spoiled rich kid who looks down on Peter.  There is also the adults, with Happy Hogan acting like aa uninterested intermediary between Peter and Tony Stark, who is trying to encourage peter to be better than him.  Then, there is Marrisa Tomei’s Aunt May, which is the most attractive portrayal of Peters doting aunt EVER.  She acts as Peter’s grounding rod, reminding him to act like a normal teenager, blissfully unaware of his double life.  But the film does not hide the fact that she is attractive, with several characters, including Tony Stark, commenting on it.  But let’s be honest:  who wouldn’t stay for breakfast if she’d make you wheat cakes?

Sorry.  Old joke.

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Your Aunt’s hot, Peter. Keep her away from mad scientist with robotic tentacle arms.

But the standout character is The Vulture.  Keaton plays him as a blue collar person.  He works hard for his success and hates it when the rich and powerful steal opportunities from him.  His actions may not be relatable but his motives are:  it’s family.  That gives him a certain likability as a villain.

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Michael Keaton: From Batman to Birdman to Vulture

Overall, this was a good movie.  I am not a big fan of Spider-Man in his high-school days, but this was a good adaptation of it.  The filmmakers were smart enough to realize we did not need a origin rehash so soon after the last one.  The smaller scale of this adventure, as compared to the other MCU movies is good too.  It sets up this new version nicely and hopefully will lead to more movies in this franchise.  Just avoid anything like the dancing Peter from Spider-Man 3.

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Peter loves to eat Aunt May’s Wheat cakes

4/5

 

Subscription Box Review- DC Legion of Collectors: Batman: the Animated Series

I just got the latest DC Legion of Collectors subscription box from Funko today.  This month’s theme is Batman: the Animated Series, the modern classic that kicked off a wave of superhero cartoons that prized good storytelling over selling toys.   I have been looking forward to this box so lets takae a look.

IMG_1746The box features the silhouette of the Penguin (from his 1997 redesign when the series was revived on the WB) done in blue.  The box is rather large this month.  Other than that, it is just a box.

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Opening the lid, you can see the box’s interior is decorated with art done in the DC Animated Universe style, which Batman: The Animated Series started.

On the top flap are the pin and patch, as always.  The patch features the Joker (in his original design for the series).  As you can see, it is a nice looking patch.  The pin features Catwoman (again in her original design) on top of a diamond-shaped background.

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Under the flap we have the comic book.  It is a reprint of The Batman Adventures #1, which tells stories in the style and set in the BTAS universe.  This was originally published in 1992 and I remember actually having this issue.  It is a self contained story written by Kelley Puckett with art by Ty Templeton and Rick Burchett.

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The T-Shirt this time features a Pop version of the Batman the Animated Series logo.  Done in black, white and red, it looks awesome on the black t-shirt.  I think I have a new favourite shirt.

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Next is the Pop!  We get a Mr Freeze pop vinyl, which was the most requested pop for the BTAS pop line.  Mr Freeze’s colours are cartoon accurate and even has a dome over his head.  The body is well done, if in the standard pop stance, but there is some nice detail with his gun, and the tank on his back.  This definitely the Pop to have for any Batman fan.

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Finally, we get to… the Dorbz Ridez?.  We get a Dorbz Batman along with a little Batmobile for him to ride in.  The Batman can be taken out of the Batmobile easily enough, but the tires to not roll.   I think it is great.  I like Dorbz well enough, it is just I am running out of room with my Pops and this…this isn’t helping.  Oh, the trial of being a collector…

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He looks too happy. Alfred must’ve made cookies.

That is all for this box.  There was a lot of awesome stuff this month.  My favourite has to be the T-shirt, though.  The next DC Legion of Collectors box ships late August and will feature DC’s Most Wanted, centering on the villains.  If you wish to get the next box, you can subscribe at https://legionofcollectors.com/ .  The deadline is 1 August 2017.  By subscribing, you can order boxes from previous months like this one. (supplies are limited.)

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This Review is for entertainment purposes only.  I have not received anything from Funko, DC, or Warner Bros for doing this review.  The item was purchased with my own funds.  All opinions are mine and any pictures taken are for review purposes only.

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Subscription Box Review- DC Legion of Collectors: Wonder Woman (Movie)- May 2017

Funko’s DC Legion of Collectors have returned once again with a new box in its subscription.  This time, to probably no one’s surprise, the theme is the upcoming Wonder Woman movie.  Will this box be worthy of the Amazon warrior princess?  Read this review and wonder no more…

First we start with the box.  The overall design of the Legion of Collectors’ boxes is still intact, with the featured character’s silhouette on the top, this time being WW.  It is a different outline of Wonder Woman than the Women of DC Box from September of last year, with the tiara looking like the DC Cinematic Universe version.  The inside of the box features pictures of Wonder Woman in various action poses.  They seem to be original drawings (or from design art from the film) and I don’t recognized the art style.

Next, we get to the standard patch and pin.  Of course, both are centered on Wonder Woman this month.  The patch centers around the tiara and eyes of Wondy.  It looks nice and you can tell it’s the movie WW because in the comics, her eyes are blue.  The pin is of the movie logo, with “Legion of Collectors” on the bottom.

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Next we get…socks?  Yes, forgoing a T-shirt or hat, we get these Funko Wonder Woman socks.  They are dark blue with red heels and a picture of a POP Wonder Woman on each sock.  There are WW logos and stars done in a lighter blue.  They are a bit tight on me (I am size 10.5 US in shoes).  I don’t know why they didn’t go with a shirt (I’d unironically rock a cool POP WW shirt.)  Just socks seems like a let down.

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Next we get another Funko product, a Pint-Sized Heroes figure.  These look like tiny versions of their Dorbz figures.  This one comes in a blind bag, but there is only one of Wonder Woman.  It’s cute, but could be a choking hazard to young kids or dogs.

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Finally, we get to the Pops!  We get two this time:  A new Wonder Woman Pop and one of Doctor Poison.  The Wondy one is new, with a more dynamic pose than the one in the Batman V Superman line.  She is getting ready to use her magic lasso with a determined (for a Pop!) look on her face.  Doctor Poison, a character that can be traced to the early stories in the 1940’s, is in a stand-at-ease type pose, similar to the Grand Moff Tarkin Pop for the Smuggler’s Bounty Death Star box, but with her hands in front.  Her outfit looks like the one from the movie and they even gave her the half-face mask she’s been rocking in the trailers.

So, that is all that is in the LoC box for May 2017.  I must admit, I an a little disappointed with the lack of a t-shirt  The socks aren’t really my thing, but they even got a hashtag for wearing them to see the WW movie (#SockItToEmWW).  The two Pops helps to make up for the shirt, and the Pint-Sized Hero WW gives you another Funko item to try.  Still, and I will keep repeating myself, I wish they’d include more of those 3 3/4 inch Funko action figures, like the Suicide Squad ones or the first appearance Superman from March.  A movie WW in that size would have rocked, Funko.  Well, with this subscription, sometimes you get more, sometimes you get less.

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That is all for this time.  The theme for the next DC Legion of Collectors box is Batman: the Animated Series, the classic cartoon from the 1990’s that spawned the DC Animated Universe (Superman: TAS, Justice League, Batman Beyond.)  You can subscribe at https://legionofcollectors.com/ in order to get your box.  The deadline is 1 July 2017.  By subscribing, you can order boxes from previous months like this one. (supplies are limited.)

This Review is for entertainment purposes only.  I have not received anything from Funko, DC, Warner Bros or the Kingdom of Themyscira for doing this review.  The item was purchased with my own funds.  All opinions are mine and any picture staken are for review purposes only.

Movie Review: Ghost in the Shell (2017)

gits_trailerThere has been quite a few good science fiction animes to come out from Japan.  Ghost in the Shell was one of them.  Starting out as a manga, the anime adapted the source material and went in its own direction.  Using elements from cyber punk like cyborgs and brain hacking, it  became a instant classic around the world.  It is not surprise that someone would want to do a live action adaptation.  It is also not surprising that, even though it is an international collaboration, a Hollywood actress was chosen to star in it.

Ghost in the Shell is an 2017 science fiction movie starring Scarlett Johanssen,  Takeshi Kitano, Michel Pitt, Pilou Asbaek, Chin Han and Juliette Binoche.  It is directed by Rupert Sanders.  It is based on the Ghost in the Shell multimedia franchise, pulling it’s inspiration from the various version, but with an original story.  It is released by Paramount Pictures.

Set in the not so distant future in a culturally diverse city that could be future Tokyo (on not;  they do not specify), it focuses on a woman given the name Mira Killian (Johannsen).  Involved in a terrorist attack which killed her parents and severely maimed her body, she is saved by a company called Hanka Robotics.  She becomes the first fully augmented human, with a robotic body and a human brain.   Employed by a government agency called Section 9, she obtains the Rank of MAjor and leads a squad of mostly cybernectically enhanced personnel.  When a mysterious hacker called Kuze, starts to target and kill employees of Hanka, the Major and her team-mate, Batou, try to track him down.  But, the Major discovered that she as a connection to Kuze, somewhere in the past that she barely remembers.  As she goes deeper into this mystery, she starts to question her memories, even her own name as she discovers a secret at Hanka that they will to anything to keep hidden.

Ghost in the Shell is a fast paced movie that does not forget it’s anime roots.  In fact, there are several shots and action secrets that were based on scenes from the 1995 movie, from the building of the Major’s body to the fight sequence in the water..  The visual are very futuristic, with the city skyline dominated by holographic signs and billboards.   It looks very futuristic but still very much in the realm of probability.

The storyline is good.  There is nothing too out of the ordinary, given the source material.  There are a lot of movies with heroes with a mysterious past with benefactors that are hiding secrets.  The Major is pretty somber but as she questions her past, more of her emotions show.  The rest of Section 9 is used sparingly, save for Batou who acts like he did in the original anime.  They even show how he got his cybernetic eyes.

Now, the major complaint about the movie is the “white washing” of the Major.  They could have easily cast an Japanese woman I the role, but with Hollywood, they would like a marque actress to star in such a project.  ScarJo is pretty popular right now and has international recognition.  The creator of the manga even says he didn’t mind th casting (but that could be the money talking.).  The movie does explain her name change and it will be up to each viewer to decide if they accept it.  But, there is no reason to thing that a future Japan could be more heterogeneous place.  Western films like Blade Runner had a future America where Japanese was spoken widely.  Putting aside the guilt of past colonial aspirations, what is the difference from that setting to the one here, if it is set in future Japan?  Anyone familiar with Ghost in the Shell knows that each iteration is different for each other.  The manga is different from the film.  The film is different from the T.V series.  Even Arise differed from Stand Alone Complex.  This is just a different version of the Ghost in the Shell story.

Ghost in the Shell is not perfect, but it is a decent science fiction movie.  If one can get past comparing it to the anime, it is an entertaining movie.  Scarlett Johannsem is a decent actress, but one cannot argue that she looks good in tight outfits, which she wears plenty in this film.  The call out to the original are well done and Aramaki is pretty badass for an old guy.

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Ghost in the Shell opened 31 March 2017.  It is rated 14-A in Ontario.

Subscription Box Review: Star Wars Smuggler’s Bounty- March 2017 – Star Wars Rebels

Just when I think I am out, they pull me back in.  Funko got around to doing a box based around the popular Star Wars: Rebels cartoon.  I could not pull out of the sub if there was a chance to get some cool merch with my second favorite Mandalorian on it (Sabine Wren), so I let it go for another round.  Will it be worth it?  Let’s see.

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The box has the Star Wars Rebels logo and a pop style Ezra on it.  Other than that, the box is the same one we’ve come to know and love.  Next!

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Under the lid we see this month’s pin and patch.  The patch is of Zeb Orrelios, the Lasat honour guard who is the team’s muscle.  His look was based on the Ralph McQuarrie sketches for Chewbacca.  The pin is of Sabine Wren (yes!), or, at least, her helmet.  Both are pretty decent.

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Next is the shirt, featuring the main Rebels cast in Pop form.  The blue and orange in the picture looks good on the black shirt.  There are no variants for this month’s shirt.

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Next is a Hikari of the Ghost’s resident droid, Chopper.  This is supposed to be a Hiraki Mini, but it is larger than my Darth Vader one from months back.  It stinks as well.  I mean there is a strong plastic smell.  There are five colours variations that you can get (red, orange, silver, black or white.)  I am still not a big fan of these figures.

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Finally we get to the Pops.  We get two.  One is Darth Maul, who has recently been featured on the show.  He was reveled to be alive on the Star Wars: Clone Wars cartoon. with a robotic lower half.  The other is another holdout form The Clone Wars:  Captain Rex, one of Kenobi’s and Anakin’s trusted clone troopers.  Now aged and grizzled and on the run from the Empire, he also helps the Rebels.  Though both are on the series, I am disappointed we did not get one of the main characters, they are still cool looking Pops.

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So that was the Rebels box.  I am kind of disappointed by it, as there is no Sabine pop and I don’t like the Hikari Minis.  Still what we got was good so, it just the was it goes.  Maybe a future Mandalorian Box will get me the unique Sabine Pop I want to pair with my Boba Fett.

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The next Smuggler’s Bounty box will ship in May 2017.  May’s theme is Star Wars 4o0 anniversary. You can subscribe to Smuggler’s Bounty at https://www.smugglersbounty.com/  You can also purchase the previous boxes like the one just reviewed, but supplies are limited.  The deadline to subscribe for the Empire Strikes Back box is 15 May 2017.

 

 

Subscription Box Review- DC Legion of Collectors- Superman- Mar 2017

Once again, Funko has shipped out the next box in its DC Legion of Collectors line.  After January’s DC Legacy, Funko has narrowed the scope down to one superhero; in fact arguably the first “superhero.”  This month’s box presents the Man of Steel, Superman.  Let’s get into it.

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We see the standard box here, with a silhouette of Superman featured prominently on the box, with his S-Shield visible.  Not much to see here.

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Inside the box, the inside has comic panels featuring Superman in various action poses.  I can’t really tell whose art this is.  I want to go with John Byrne for some of them, maybe Dan Jurgens as well.  The art gives me a post 1986 vibe to it, with the size of the S-shield.  I could be wrong, though.

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Now to the actual content.  Here we see the standard pin and patch.  The patch has the classic “It’s a bird!  It’s a Plane!” line from the comics (can’t they tell?). and the pin has Superman and the Legion of Collectors logo.

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Under the flap we have a comic.  It is a reprint of Superman issue 1 from 1939 (not to be confused with issue 1 from 1986, 2001, or 2016).  This issue itself was a reprint when it first came out, reprinting the first Superman story from Action Comics #1.  So it is a reprint of a reprinted story.  No other story from that issue was included, but you do get the Pop! cover, which is nice, I guess.

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The shirt is next.  We get a light blue shirt featuring a Pop! Superman flying from the Daily Planet.  As always the shirts are super soft and is done well.  There is no variant with this month’s shirt.

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Next is a Funko Pop! key chain.  This little Superman is in a flying pose.  I have seem the Pop! key chains around but I have never gotten one before.  It is now my default key chain for my car keys.

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The next item is my favourite item in the box.  We get another 3 3/4 Funko DC action figure.  This one is of Superman as he first appeared in Action Comics #1.  The front of the card features the iconic art from that issue with Superman smashing a gangster’s car.  The back also features art, but not from this issue, but from one from the silver age that I assume would be featured on the Superdickery.com website (seriously, he can be a dick sometimes!).  I like these figures, having two Suicide Squad figures from a box last year and two more from retail.  Funko, I want more.

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Superman being a dick to Lois to “teach her a lesson.”

 

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Finally we get to the Pop!  To no one’s surprise, the pos is of Superman in is classic outfit.  The body sculpt is all new, with a more dynamic pose than previous Superman Pop Vinyls.  He stands really well and looks awesome.  The way the cape is hanging off to the side is a nice touch.

So, considering the theme, there was no real surprise that everything in here was Superman.  Some have suggested it would be nice to get a Lois or a Jimmy Olson (Turtle Boy version!)  But maybe in a future Friends of Superman box?.  I love the action figures and having figure of Superman as he first appeared is awesome.  I am not disappointed in this box.  It promised Superman and it delivered.

That’s it for this time.  The next Legion of Collectors box will be shipping in early May 2017.  The next theme is Wonder Woman, based on her upcoming movie.  You can subscribe at https://legionofcollectors.com/ in order to get your box.  The deadline is 1 May 17.  Subscribers can order any of the previous boxes, but supplies are limited.

Subscription Box Review: Star Wars Smuggler’s Bounty- Jan 2017- The Empire Strikes Back

Finally, the next Smuggler’s Bounty box has arrived.  Funko decided to base this month’s theme on one of the better, if not best of the Star Wars movies, Empire Strikes Back.  Lets see how they decided to celebrate one of the most exciting chapters in the Star Wars saga..

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First off, this box is huge.  It is definitely the largest of the boxes so far.  Besides the size, the only noticeable difference is the image of Luke in his Dagobah fatigues.  Other than that, it is the standard box.

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Opening it up you see the standard patch and pin.  The patch is of Yoda with Empire Strikes Back written on the side.   The pin features Lando Calrissian, though, if you look at it at a certain angle, you would swear it’s a pin of Lionel Ritche.  I can’t be the only one, right?

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Beneath the flap, we find another little Star Wars plushie.  This time, we get a Wampa, the creature thar captured Luke on Hoth.  It is very cute and has nice soft fake fur.  Including the Boba Fett one from a half a year back, I now have two from this line.

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Funko has given us hats and shirts so what other clothing items will they branch into?  How about socks?  Yes, we get a pair of Pop! Socks, with a Star Wars theme, featuring Pop heads of Darth Vader and Storm Troopers..  They fit me fine (size 10 1/2 feet) and are mostly polyester.

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Last is the much hyped Han on a TaunTaun.  This was revealed at least a far back as November and it looks fantastic.  Han is wearing a brown coat (which I thought was blue; even my action figure of him had a blue coat) but obviously, Funko falls into the brown camp.  It doesn’t bother me but I’d hate to start a debate like the blue and gold/white and gold dress from the internet last year.  Anyways, the Han Soo Pop is not removable from the TaunTaun, but it comes with a large base with pegs to plug into the Tauntaun’s feet.  Finally, the Han figure is a bobble head, but the Tauntaun isn’t.

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It’s brown! It’s blue!  WHO CARES!

This newest box may seem a bit light, but it is still a good value.  The deluxe Pop definitely is of the most value and is the best part of the box.  The socks are nice and I could always use more (they get lost so easily.)  The plushie is nice.  I’d give it to my dog, but he’d destroy it in seconds.

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The next Smuggler’s Bounty box will ship in March 2017.  January’s theme is Star Wars Rebels, the current animated show on Disney XD.  The Smuggler’s Bounty page promises an exclusive Darth Maul Pop! bobble head in that box..  You can subscribe to Smuggler’s Bounty at https://www.smugglersbounty.com/  You can also purchase the previous boxes like the one just reviewed, but supplies are limited.  The deadline to subscribe for the Empire Strikes Back box is 15 March, 2016.

I hope you enjoyed this review.  Excuse me as I look for my Lando pin.  I seem to have misplaced it.

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Hello?. Is it me you’re looking for?