Subscription Box Review- DC Legion of Collectors: DC’s Most Wanted

Funko has shipped out the latest DC Legion of Collectors subscription box.  This time the theme is DC’s Most Wanted, again focusing on the villains.  Will it be any good?  How many Batman villains take up spots in the box?  Let us see!

The box has the Scarecrow on it.  That’s one.  Nothing out of the ordinary here.

The inside liner features an assortment of villains (8 in total).  Half of them are (surprise) Batman villains. though I think Catwoman should be considered an anti-hero at this point.  The other half are from the rest of the universe, with two Superman villains (Luthor and Bizzaro), Black Manta and Deadshot, who, wait –  started off as a Batman villain!  I’ll count that as two.

There is not flap for the patch and pin this time.  In fact, there is no pin!  The patch does feature Black Manta, an Aquaman villain that deserves some recognition.

Next in the box is a Funko Pop luggage tag… of the Joker.  That’s three!  I know that the Batman Villain box was ten months ago, but there was a Batman themed box last time.  Could you please spread the love, Funko?  A Captain Cold or Kalibak luggage tag would be nice.

Here’s something new!  We get this set of almost chibi versions of DC baddies.  We get  (clockwise from the top left) Harley Quinn, Black Manta, Deathstroke and Sinestro.  I won’t even ding the Batman count because three out of the four didn’t originate in the Batman comics.  Besides, this year is Harley’s 25th birthday so she gets a pass.

Next, we get the t-shirt.  The design shows off six of DC’s major villains each who oppose a major hero.  We got Luthor (Superman), Ares (Wonder Woman), Sinestro (Green Lantern), Black Manta (Aquaman), Joker (Batman) and Captain Cold (the Flash).  All six sure live up to the Most Wanted tagline so I like it.  I won’t ding the count, though I think Circe or Cheetah would be better for a Wonder Woman villain.  Ares was in the recent WW movie though. so I see why he is there.

Finally we get to the Pops.  We get two awesome-looking Pops;  Lex Luthor in his Battle Suit and the man who broke the Bat (that’s 4!), Bane.  Both look great, with Luthor’s battle suit nicely detailed and Bane having his Venom tubes running to the back of his head.  I love the more dynamic poses the Pops have been in recently.

Overall, I liked this box.  The stickers were nice in lieu of the pins, because I really have no use for them (or the patches, for that matter) but the stickers I could put on my laptop.  My one gripe is the abundance of Batman villains so soon after a Batman box.  Batman is popular.  I am sure Batman-related Pops would do well at retail.  This box should have the lesser-known villains: Mirror Master, Fatality, Doctor Psycho, Lord Manga Kahn… okay, maybe not the last one.  This box does have a pretty awesome shirt and some great Pops, though.

The next DC Legion of Collectors box ships November and will be based on the upcoming Justice League movie.  Will it feature something Batman related?  Probably.  I am hoping for a movie Parademon Pop.  Make it happen, Funko!  If you wish to get the next box, you can subscribe at https://legionofcollectors.com/ .  The deadline is 1 November 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, 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- Women of DC box (Sep 2016)

Legion of Collectors, Funko’s DC comics-themed collector’s box has released another installment.  This month’s theme is “Women of DC,” celebrating the sensational heroines and perilous villainesses of the DC Universe.  Funko did a similar theme with their Marvel box a few months back and delayed this one for a bit.  Let’s see if it was worth the wait.

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As expected, the box features art that reflects this month’s theme.  As it is Women of DC, what better character to feature than DC most iconic and longest running female superhero?  Wonder Woman is celebrating her 75th anniversary so it is fitting she is on the box.

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Inside we get the standard pin and patch.  The patch features Batgirl, depicting her cowl and her bright blue yes.  The pin is of Harley Quinn, in her classic costume.  Fans of Harley Quinn will appreciate that, as there has been much division over her current comic getup and her movie outfit (featured in the previous collector box).  Both look great and, with Wondy on the box, all three DC women from the preview have been featured.

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Moving under the flap, we get this month’s t-shirt.  There are two versions:  one featuring Supergirl, Batgirl and Wonder Woman and one featuring Harley Quinn, Poison Ivy, and Catwoman.  All the shirts come in a dark grey colour.  The art has a classic 80’s art look (I can’t place the artist.  George Perez, maybe?)  and almost looks like a stamp.  I got the Heroes shirt, but I think the villains one could use less Bat-Villains.  Really, no Cheetah?

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Next is the comic.  We get a copy of Batgirl #35, the first part of the Batgirl of Burnside story arc.  The cover features Pop version of several DC heroines, including Batgirl, Katana and Wonder Woman.  The comic itself is pretty great, too, as Batgirl has been one of the better parts of DC’s Nu-52 reboot.  You can find it collected in Batgirl Vol 1: Batgirl of Burnside.

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The next item is what they delayed the box for.  It is a Wonder Woman Invisible Jet.  Inspired by the classic 1970’s TV show and the 75th anniversary of the character, this set invokes the classic 70’s and early 80’s era of Wonder Woman (before they decided Amazons having invisible jet technology was too ridiculous)  The jet is made of clear, durable plastic .The figure is tiny, with only four points of articulation and, although Funko says she was inspires she from the TV show, she features the later double “W” symbol, not the eagle on her bustier.  Minor nitpick.  Though I wish she was the size of the Suicide Squad figures from the last box.

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Finally we come to the Pop vinyl. Funko did not have to loo far for a female character that they did not do a Pop of and they chose Hawkgirl.  Based on her classic comic book look, not the TV version, Hawkgirl has the wider stance of the male figures and is pretty easy to get standing.  Collectors of comic accurate pops will appreciate her look and she will fit in their collections.  I think Hawkgirl was a good choice, as she is getting some exposure, both on Legends of Tomorrow and in DC Super Hero Girls.

So this was a solid box for me.  The shirt is good, the pop is good and the extras held the them together.  I’m a bit disappointed in the size of the Wonder Woman figure, after last box debut of their new action figures, but then the jet would have been too expensive to make.  Still, as it is, you can’t deny the value you get in the box.

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The next Legion of Collectors box will be shipping in early November.  The next box’s theme is Batman villains.  You can subscribe at https://legionofcollectors.com/ in order to get your box.  The deadline is 1 Nov 16.  Subscribers can order any of the previous boxes, but supplies are limited.  I hope you enjoyed this review.

Graphic Novel Review: He-Man and the Masters of the Universe Mini-Comic Collection

He-Man mini-comics
iHe-Man mini-comics

As a child in the early 1980’s I remember when the He-Man toys first came out,  They were different from anything else on the shelves at that time, a strange combination of Conan and Star Wars.  At first, though, there wasn’t any cartoon to introduce us to those characters.  To do that, each Masters of the Universe toy came with a mini-comic.  Those first books introduced us to He-man, Teela, Man-At-Arms and others as they fought Skeletor and his minions over the power within the mysterious Castle Grayskull.  These pack-in mini-conics lasts the entire line, even in its sister , Princess of Power and reappears in some form in the later lines.  Now all those classic stories are collected into one book.

This one.
This one.

He-Man and the Masters of the Universe Mini-Comic Collection is a hardcover graphic novel published by Dark Horse Books, in association with Mattel and DreamWorks Animation.  The book reprints all 51 of the original mini-comics from the original Master of the Universe toy line, plus all the Princess of Power mini-comic and books from subsequent lines.  There are also interviews with various writers and artists that worked on the line.

First of all the reprinted books look amazing.  The original mini-comics were not that big but to see the art in a bigger, almost regular-sized comic format is great.  The art, for the most part, looks good in a bigger size and you can really see the details.  The colours are good too, albeit not a vibrant as comics today with the advent of computer colouring.  As mentioned before, the book is a hardcover and is fairly hefty, due to containing so much material.

The stories hold up well, despite being written for a boy’s toy line 30 years ago.  The earlier stories are an especially interesting read, as it is very different from what be got with the cartoons series.  He-Man was not Prince Adam, but a warrior from a jungle tribe.  There was no Sorceress, but a Goddess, a green skinned (as first) woman that gave He-Man his “techo-vest” with gave him his super strength and invulnerability.  Man-At-Arms was not the King’s armourer, but the caretaker of lost technologies after  a cataclysm wiped out civilization, and Skeletor was a demon from another dimension, seeking the power sword to conquer Castel Grayskill and unleash his kind on the world. The comics slowly build up the mythos of Masters of the Universe, adding details to certain character’s back stories (Teela is the clone/daughter of the Goddess/Sorceress) and introduced elements from other sources like Prince Adam (originally appeared in the DC Comics mini-series) and Oroko (from the FIlmation cartoon.)  Even though some elements were dropped as the series went on to be similar to the cartoon, the mini-comics were its own entity.

The original mini-comics were more like a story book, with different takes on He-Man and the Sorceress
The original mini-comics were more like a story book, with different takes on He-Man and the Sorceress

There are interviews with some of the creative talent involved with the mini-comic, with names that would be recognizable by fans of comics and pop culture.  The first few mini-comics (which were more like mini-story books) had art from Alfredo Alcala, who worked on various DC and Marvel properties, including Conan the Barbarian.  Other names that some might recognize are writers Gary Cohn (various DC Comic books in the 80’s), Christy Marx (Jem), artists Mark Texeira (Wolverine, Punisher) and Bruce Timm (Batman: The Animated Series and the DC Animated Universe) and even lettered Stan Sakai (creator of Usagi Yojimbo.)  The interviews go into their involvement in the MOTU series and their memories of working on the project.

Reading these mini comics gain is definitely a nostalgia trip for me.  I remember some of the stories, especially the early ones but there were some that I did not remember until I read them again.  Most of them I did not read before, as I lost interest in the toys due to the silly Filmation cartoon, but it is clear from this collection the mini-comic followed its own path.  Sure, some stories were blatant 12-panel adds for the new wave of figures or vehicles (Battle Bones really did not need an origin story!) but there are some hidden gems.  Original stories like Slave City and The Secret of the Elixir of Life introduced original characters that were not toys or on the cartoon.  Some were pretty violent, but not gory, with He-Man punching his foes or shooting them with a laser gun.  Nothing over the top, but it raised eyebrows them and would do the same (at least) today.

The book also reprints the Princess of power mini-comic which, like the He-Man ones, don’t follow the cartoon series.  the stories feature She-ra as she and here friends foil the schemes of Catra, Entrapta and others.  Only one story has the Horde in it and then, it is only Horde Troopers. There is also the mini-comics from The New Adventures or He-man (1989-1990) which has He-Man and Skeletor continue their battle in space in the far future and two retailer exclusive comics from the 2002 Master of the Universe reboot.  Finally, the book reprints three mini-comics released in the subscription-exclusive Master of the Universe Classics toy line.

Alongside The Art of He-Man book or by itself, this is a great book for fans of the various incarnations of He-Man.  As a trip down memory lane or as a way of learning more about the series, this is a great book to add to your collection.

He-Man and the Masters of the Universe Mini-Comic Collection is available online, in comic book stores and book outlets everywhere.  Check the web or your local stores for price and availability.  It is also available as a 2 volume digital edition on Amazon.

PS4 Review- LEGO Dimensions

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LEGO Dimensions is a LEGO-themed action adventure game developed by Traveller’s Tales and published by Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment.  The game comes with three LEGO figures, a vehicle mini kit and a portal to bring them into the game.  It is available for the Wii U, PS3. PS4, Xbox 360 Xbox One.  This review is for the PS4 version.

The Vorton Portal, which make Dimension jumping possible
The Vorton Portal, which make Dimension jumping possible

The game follows three characters, Batman, Gandalf and Wyldstyle (from LEGO: The Movie) as they travel through different dimensions to stop the evil Lord Vortech.  Vortech is tearing through different LEGO world searching for the Foundation Elements. With these items, Lord Vortech can unlock the Foundation of the Universe recreate all of reality.

The game takes you to many worlds, such as Oz.
The game takes you to many worlds, such as Oz.

The different levels consists of worlds based on different LEGO properties.  Some worlds are from LEGO’s properties, such as Ninjago, Chima or The LEGO Movie.  Others are from licensed properties that LEGO has been making sets of for years (DC Heroes and Lord of the Rings) or more recent licences like Scooby Doo and The Simpsons.  The even got properties that haven’t got the LEGO treatment before.  Some are pretty out there (Midway arcade covers a slew or old Arcade, like Spy Hunter) and some are properties that should have gotten the LEGO treatment before, like Ghostbusters and Doctor Who.  Then there’s Portal 2, a computer game that you wouldn’t expect to get a LEGO treatment but works very well.

Chell interacts with Wheatley in the Portal 2 level.
Chell interacts with Wheatley in the Portal 2 level.

There are open world levels for each of the different LEGO worlds.  Each world has different objectives like escorting Scooby Doo’s parents in the Scooby Doo world, or fighting crime with the Flash in the DC Comics world.  Each world has tasks or actions that can only be completed by certain characters not necessarily from that particular property.  To enter these worlds, you must have a mini-figure that goes with that world.

You can explore the fields of the Shire in Middle Earth
You can explore the fields of the Shire in Middle Earth
...Or attend a rave at Wayne Manor in Gotham City.
…Or attend a rave at Wayne Manor in Gotham City.

Like Disney Infinity, to add characters, you have to buy additional packs.  There are three types of packs: Fun packs, with includes a character and a vehicle/item mini kit; Team packs, which have two characters and mini kits; and. Level Packs,which have a character, two mini kits and level based on that property.  So far, they include Back to the Future, The Simpsons and Portal 2.  The Doctor Who level pack is coming this November and two more packs, Ghostbusters and Midway Arcade, are scheduled for next year.

Travel between worlds
Travel between worlds

Much like Disney Infinity and Skylanders, you need certain figures to get to certain areas.  While having only the Starter set will allow you to beat the game, you won’t be able to get 100%/  You have to get certain characters to access some areas and open worlds and some, like Peter Venkmen from Ghostbusters, are not out until next year.

Scooby Doo World
Scooby Doo World

Unlike Skylanders or Infinity, the toys are actual toys.  They are normal LEGO figures and bricks, with the base being what loads the characters into the game.  But the bricks are a functional part of the game.  You even build the Dimension portal as you play the game.   You even follow on screen instructions to build the mini kits and there is no physical instructions with them. This is optional (the portal set comes with an instruction manual) as the LEGO pieces are just set dressing, but it adds to the fun.  You can upgrade your vehicles, too, unlocking two other configurations with unique abilities.  If you don’t want to build the LEGO. you just need the base.

In the Portal 2 world, there is cake!
In the Portal 2 world, there is cake!

But here is the best part of LEGO Dimensions:  The different characters interact with each other.  While Disney Infinity has each world separate (except in the Toy Box, which is great), the story in this game has Joker invading Springfield, GLaDOS sending Orcs after you, amongst other things.  The characters you have sometimes interact depending who else you have on the portal.  Wyldstyle gets chatty with Wonder Woman, Scooby Doo sings the Batman theme and Homer can’t believe a dog can talk.  They all have a few phrases when they enter or exit the game.

There is a lot of hidden details referencing the source material.
There is a lot of hidden details referencing the source material.

LEGO Dimension is a fun game with an interesting hook.  Traveller’s Tales have been doing LEGO games for years and it shows in this one.  Of course, there is one obvious omission (LEGO Star Wars), but there is enough different properties to make up for it.  I mean, Doctor Who!  In LEGO form!  With packs scheduled to come out until next year,  the game is posed to stay fresh and relevant.

4.5/5

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Review- Before Watchmen: Ozymandias/ Crimson Corsair

Before Watchmen: Ozymandias/Crimson Corsair collects six issues of the Before Watchmen: Ozymandias mini-series and the Crimson Corsair backup feature stripped throughout the Before Watchmen line.  Both are written by Len Wein (co-creator of Marvel’s Wolverine) with art on Ozymandius by Jae Lee (Fantastic Four: 1234) and John Higgins (2000 AD, colourist on Watchmen) on Crimson Corsair.

Ozymandias is written as an autobiography of Adrian Veidt, the man known as Ozymandias.  It follows him from his childhood as the son of immigrants to his travels in Alexander the Great’s footsteps to his making his fortune as an adult and to his superhero career.  He interacts with historical characters from the 1960’s and to the other heroes from the Watchmen books.  The books goes into his thoughts on how the world will react to a superhuman like Doctor Manhattan and shows the path that led him to his role in the original Watchmen series.

The Curse of the Crimson Corsair, originally stripped into two page installments amongst the books in the Before Watchmen line, is a supernatural pirate story, much like the comics that were popular in the Watchmen universe.  The story follows a young Scotsman named Gordan McClachlan, thrown overboard for mutiny.  He is “rescued’ by the Crimson Corsair, a cursed pirate sailing a ship of the damned.  In order to save his soul and escape the Corsair’s fate, McClachlan must gather three impossible tributes.  But will the quest damn his soul anyways?

Ozymandias is s slow read.  Adrian’s journey is mostly him reacting to the world around him and planning to save it.  The main action sequence happens in issue #3, where the Comedian fights Ozymandias to a drawn, foreshadowing events within the pages of Watchmen.  Like all the writers in this series, Wein is beholden to what was set up in the original book.  Jae Lee’s art is great for this book, giving the characters a realistic yet classic look.

The Curse of the Crimson Corsair is only loosely connected with the Watchmen mythos, and only in the fact that, in the story’s narrative, superhero comics died out and were replaced by pirate  and horror comics.  The story is dark tale that reads like something out of the old horror comics.  John Higgins’ art is very moody and sets this story out from the rest.  It is definitely a strange story to have in  the Before Watchmen series, but those familiar with the original comics will understand it’s inclusion.

Also included in this collection is a one-shot featuring the origin of Minutemen member Dollar Bill.  With art by Steve Rude, the story follows how an out of work actor became a superhero mascot of a New York bank and proved himself to be a true hero to the rest of his team.

For fans of  Watchmen, whether or not you’d like the book depends on how you feel about DC revisiting these heroes.  The particular book is fine, but the real draw is the Curse of the Corsair story, so it really depends on how much you like violent pirate curse stories.

Before Watchmen: Ozymadias/Crimson Corsair is out now for $29.99USD ($34.99CDN) .  IT IS SUGGESTED FOR MATURE READERS.