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Unexpected TMNT

Over the weekend, I’d stopped in at a Books A Million with a  friend. While there, I spotted a TMNT Mini Mates pack that I’ve somewhat had an eye on for probably a year or so (quite awhile, anyway). This time, though, it had a 50%-off sticker on it!

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While the full price was way more than I wanted to spend–even on something supposedly Comic Con exclusive–at half price, it’s FAR more reasonable.

Add to that the fact that I had a $10 card on me, and a BAM membership, and I walked out for 56 cents out of pocket!

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Of course, my OCD has kicked in a bit, and any savings is going to be offset by the fact that I now want to match this set with the Toys R Us exclusive TMNT Mega Bloks black-and-white figures.

I did stop in at a Toys R Us looking for those, and while I didn’t find what I was looking for, I was quite surprised to discover that there were a LOT more TMNT stuff from Mega Bloks than I’d been aware of, primarily gauging stuff by Walmart and Target (both of whom seem to be clearancing out the entire line, what little they’d actually carried!).

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While I’ve typically NOT been a huge fan of the classic cartoon version of Baxter Stockman–for a number of reasons–something to the mini figure grabbed my attention, and hit the right bit of nostalgia for me; so I went ahead and bought this; not so much for any accessories but just for the character itself.

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Apparently Mega Bloks also did the van (the "Party Wagon") as well as a $250 Technodrome; I never even realized these were out there!

Sadly, it seems like perhaps the line is dying, with "everyone" clearancing out the earlier sets from the beginning of 2016 and some of the summer Movie stuff. I don’t know if it’s to make room for more new stuff, or if Mega Bloks has "lost" the license already, or what.

My hope is that they’re just clearing way for some new, awesome stuff for 2017, though!

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Chloe the cat was not impressed with Baxter-Fly. However, when I tried to remove him from her presence, she tried to bite me. Lil’ Miss Attitude… (but I adore this kitty!)

Many More Mighty Minis!

Hokay, cheesy post titles aside…

I have yet to see any episodes of Justice League Action…heck, I have yet to even attempt to set a DVR to even attempt to catch any attempt at an episode…but that’s a story for some other post.

I was pleasantly amused recently to see something about a new line of Mighty Minis showing up in stores, and feeling like they were colorful again (after the somber, dark, muted colors I picture with Batman v Superman).

So when I came across ’em myself…I gave in and bought a couple. And then a couple more.

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My first purchase yielded me a Robin, which I was very pleased has the "classic" stylized "R" I associate with the Tim Drake Robin (rather than the Damian Wayne version or the generic one with Dick Grayson). Said purchase also yielded a generic Lex Luthor that I’m very annoyed about…the mini I least wanted out of the ENTIRE WAVE of these.

The second purchase yielded the Batman, Flash, and one of the two remaining that I most wanted: Blue Beetle! That leaves Firestorm, and (yes, I know my math…) then Superman, cuz hey…Superman.

These join some from last year:

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…Though I mostly like the newer ones better. The main reason is probably that they’re less bulky. It was last year’s Robin that caught my attention and led to me buying any at all.

Perhaps duplicates, but I’d’ve sworn I had more than these, but after moving last summer and clearing out a desk of 9 years’ stuff when I was laid off..who knows? I also had several of the BvS ones, but none turned up in time to have their photo taken for this post.


These Mighty Minis (whatever the assortment/wave) are "blind pack" things–you buy a sealed packet (reminds me of some sorta fruit gummies) with no idea which of the eight to twelve minis it contains until you open it.

They come unassembled, further confounding the "cherry picker" unless there’s one particular character that’s especially bulky…or you at least narrow it down to "has a cape" or "doesn’t have a cape." The packets also come with a folded paper insert providing a checklist of what possibilities there are.

In this case, it shows this first wave as well as "spoiling" the upcoming second wave.

With Robin and Flash new versions, I’d be interested in the Green Arrow in the next wave, as well as The Atom and Wonder Woman (to hopefully go with Batman and Superman from this one).

While a bit pricy for their size, that’s kinda relative considering the price of figures only about twice the size. While two or three of these could almost buy one non-blind-pack figure…unless one is buying multiple packs at a time, these are relatively inexpensive and easy enough to "toss on the pile" when buying a load of groceries and other actual essentials.

These are a bit bigger than Heroclix minis…and there are farrrrr fewer per wave, which makes them much more accessible, rather than something people are gonna ascribe $70+ value to in the secondary market. These are what they are, and outside of perhaps paying a bit more to know I’m not "just" getting a duplicate (at present, I now have a 63% chance of getting a duplicate rather than not!) I can’t see these seriously going for much money; I still have seen some of the first wave of last year’s minis in stores like Five Below as well as Walmart and Target; and wouldn’t be surprised if Toys R Us still had them.

Final thought: where the heck are the Pokemon blind-pack toys?!? If ever a property was worthy of blind-pack miniatures and such, it’s that…

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The Weekly Haul – Week of January 11th, 2017

This week–for the "main haul"–certainly proved to be extremely small in its way.

At the first shop, I snagged…Action Comics. The 50%-off TPB bargain bins–from which I’d anticipated getting a couple more volumes if they were still there–were completely gone. Period. So I wound up sticking with just the single issue…

…such that this week, I paid with cash out of pocket, because it didn’t seem worth using the debit card for a single DC issue.

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Given how much I’d mentally budgeted, and how little that one issue was, I had no problem going to the second shop.

Which had two issues I wanted that the first did not: God Country and the Vixen issue. And since even those added together were still rather low…

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I snagged 3 more of the figurines I was interested in, rather than "risk" their being gone by the weekend.

Bizarro actually has the "Bizarro #1" placard but that had come off in the bag, and I neglected to realize until after I was done with blog-photos.

I’d forgotten about this old Batgirl costume…it SORTA justifies the current Bat-emblem that I don’t like on Batman’s costume at present.

Unfortunately…in looking for a couple things online, I discovered there’s a Tim Drake Robin figurine from this line that I’m very interested in now…sadly, it costs more than these three were combined!

And a $40 statue I’d been interested in is apparently going for over $200 at the moment.

Such is life.

Such is stuff.

And hey…these figurines will be seen a lot more than any Marvel single-issue #1s, proving to be the far superior value there!

TMNT Revisited: Mighty Mutanimals (mini-series) #3

tmnt_adventures_revisited

mightymutanimalsmini003Ride of the Ruthless!

Script: Dean Clarrain
Pencils: Ken Mitchroney
Inks: Mike Kazaleh, Brian Thomas
Letters: Gary Fields
Colors: Barry Grossman
Cover: Steve Lavigne, Ken Michroney
Edits: Scott Fulop, Victor Gorelick
Published by: Archie Comics
Cover Date: July 1991
Cover Price: $1.25

In classic comics style, we open on a full page split by the issue’s title–Ride of the Ruthless–that starts us where we left off, recapping the end of the previous issue AS we move into this one. On Earth, the Mutanimals fight the malignoids…Cudley carries them to Dimension X as they’re knocked out. On Maligna’s ship, Raph and Mondo Gecko are being drenched in honey to be eaten alive. The ship arrives in the Amazon where the Mutanimals have just defeated the batch of malignoid warriors. Scul and Bean jump into things, while a horde of malignoid ships spew forth from the mothership to terrorize the entire planet. Kid Terra rescues Raph and Mondo, while the Mutanimals defeat Scul and Bean…though they can’t do anything about the army of ships that flew right past them.

Maligna finds the escaping trio, and Kid shoots one of her antennae off, bringing her up short. Should she lose the other, the Hive-Mind will be no more, and that’s far more important to her than the Earth, so she surrenders and recalls her army and leaves Earth. While the Mutanimals, Raph, and Kid take some downtime after their ordeal, we see that Null has escaped as well and thus is still out there. And finally, everything has been broadcast by Stump, likely boosting the ratings quite a bit for this “event.”

Though this is another Mitchroney-penciled issue, we have yet another inking team, giving this issue another varied look from the previous two. It’s not horrible or anything, and Grossman‘s colors provide a bit of consistency within the framework, but it’s noticeable and I’m not entirely thrilled by it. I suspect a large part of the reason for this was to get the job done and the issues out in a timely fashion, as this was running concurrently with the ongoing TMNT Adventures title (specifically issues 20-22, I believe).

The story itself seems to come to a bit to convenient an end and I don’t recall there being any real repercussions explored in terms of this invasion having happened (or at least begun). There’s hardly any mention of being sure that Maligna’s gone for good or even any reason for her to not blast our heroes the moment she’s away from Kid’s guns…and her vow to return when least expected flies in the face of any honor-system for leaving. But that’s certainly the adult me analyzing this where stuff worked just fine as a kid reading the story. Things were epic and huge and important because the characters talk of them being so, and I wasn’t thinking about external factors or ways to apply the story to worldwide real-world sensibilities.

I certainly enjoyed this more as a kid, but appreciate it quite a bit now as an adult. I do look forward to getting back to the main TMNT Adventures issues, but also the return of the Mutanimals in their own book. Raphael guest-starred in this moreso than anything else, I think, to have ‘a Ninja Turtle’ involved to “tie” this to the TMNT for anyone who “had to” have and read anything TMNT-related but who otherwise wouldn’t care about the Mutanimals themselves.

While expanding on and then tying up the “loose end” of Maligna, this series also allowed a great reason for so many strange characters that were previously in drastically different places to be brought together in one place and giving them a “home” outside of individual random guest-appearances. This also allowed for more story in a short span of time, with double the number of TMNTA-continuity issues to be out without double-shipping the main title itself (twenty-some years before “double-shipping” was a “thing” and it was simply standard for a single series to have one issue per month).

All in all, the Mighty Mutanimals mini makes for a good read and I certainly have enjoyed re-visiting this story and period in TMNT history.

New Year, New Toys…ish.

Facebook marketing works, when done correctly. Like, say, having a Page, that I’ve Liked, and putting content out (particularly of stuff I might be interested in buying), and mentioning prices that aren’t otherwise visible.

Plus, I’m a sucker for photos that essentially allow me to browse a store’s stock at my leisure without being there.

So when I saw a post in my newsfeed from a local shop on Saturday, since I saw it via the app on my phone, I was able to view the photo, and ZOOM IN to look at stuff!

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While none of the slightly larger statues/busts really appealed to me (especially for the prices, even being on sale!) the DC figurines caught my attention, and I saw several that appealed to me. So I figured ok, I had to dig my car out from under two days of snow anyway, might as well reward myself for the effort with a brief trip to the shop (plus parking at a couple of Pokestops to restart streaks in Pokemon Go).

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While they’d not grabbed my attention in the photo, on looking at them in person, the JLA pewter figures looked pretty cool…particularly the Kyle Rayner Green Lantern. Though it’s cool as-is…the thought’s dawned on me that it could be primed and painted…which could be an interesting project sometime!

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The figurine that most grabbed my attention from the initial Facebook photo, though, was Booster Gold! And since he was still there, I got him! I was pleasantly surprised at the weight of these…being so used to action figures and such, pewter/lead/metal figurines are a relatively new thing for me, in terms of DC/comic/super-hero figurines like this!

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I saw/recognized Supergirl in the photo, and seeing that that figurine was still there, I decided to get it as well…though I neglected to pay it much attention (said attention had been grabbed by Booster Gold!).

And getting it home, I realize I’m not very happy with it…the character is not really a version I like, and projecting the weirdness (to me) of a young/mid-teen girl being made to look "sexy" and I’m an adult male more than twice the character’s supposed age!

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I realized that what really got me was the cape–I love the gold trim, as well as the yellow S on the back! So this is the view that I like for the character, and I think it was reflected enough in the display case that it’s what had most grabbed my attention.

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So I start out the new year with metal figurines…a bit more "upscale" than 3.75" action figures or "adult collector" figures, basically miniature statues. They are static–no re-posing them to interact with other figures or such. But for the price, at least, quite appealing, and I could easily see getting several more…assuming they’re still there after a new paycheck!

The Fall and Rise of Captain Atom #1 [Review]

fall_and_rise_of_captain_atom_0001Blowback

Writer: Cary Bates
Co-Plotter: Greg Weisman
Artist: Will Conrad
Colorist: Ivan Nunes
Letterer: Saida Temofonte
Cover: Jason Badower
Editor: Kristy Quinn
Group Editor: Jim Chadwick
Published by: DC Comics
Cover Date: March 2017
Cover Price: $2.99

Several months ago, I read a random Captain Atom Annual from the late 1980s. It was the first Captain Atom comic I remembered reading in years (though I believe I forgot entirely about the character’s appearances midway into the New 52, as well as the character even having a series in the early New 52 days!) It was shortly after reviewing that Annual that I learned there would be a new mini-series by the writers of that time–Bates and Weisman. Of course, I assumed it would be yet another $3.99-an-issue mini, given a number of DC‘s other recent ones.

Color me surprised when I realized firstly the issue was coming out already (somehow I’d thought it was to come in February), realized I forgot to include it for DCBS as it’s not part of the bundles I’ve been getting, and all the more that it’s ONLY $2.99 an issue! This does NOT carry the Rebirth branding…but I take it from its content–and particularly its PRICE–that it is indeed squarely within current Rebirth stuff.

This issue is relatively simple: we start out with the good Captain in a containment facility, in a chair much like the one I recall him being in back in the 1980s’ #1 issue I read whenever it was that I read that (perhaps as far back as 2002 or 2003!), talking with his handlers about stuff that’d recently happened…which left me a bit lost for a moment. Did something happen with the character in a major way that I didn’t know about in the New 52 stuff? Did I miss something recently amidst all the stuff I’m behind on actually reading?

But then the story flashes back to some hours earlier, placing this into that old clichéd format…though ultimately I appreciate what it was going for, while I disliked it as I was reading.

Captain Atom’s sick, and it’s causing issues with his very energy matrix, expelling energy randomly–"venting"–and endangering those around him…perhaps the entire planet, just by his existing in this condition. While making his way back to base, he happens across a cruise ship in trouble, and refuses to turn his back on it…but the energy-expenditure of helping leaves him in far worse condition. His energy output brings members of the Justice League to investigate, though ultimately they’re not quite able to do as hoped, and there’s much destruction that they have to play damage-control with, while Captain Atom blames himself for what happened. Ultimately, we see that the issue’s perhaps the start of a new status quo, and I’m put a bit in mind of Savage Dragon, and quite curious where things go from here.

I don’t care much for the clichéd story format of starting on the climax, then flashing back X amount of time and "building" back to and then surpassing the climax. But I cannot deny its effectiveness–it elicited reaction from me as I read, and as I’ve thought about it since, I realize that it accentuates the fact that this is a SINGLE ISSUE. It made this single issue function as one, as an opening episode, rather than our perhaps getting this ENTIRE ISSUE as the height of the story, to pick up in #s 2-4 as flashback, #5 to get back to this, and then a final issue denouement.

Though this is a mini-series, this issue behaves as if it is an ongoing series, and behaves very well as a single issue and not JUST some first chapter of a single whole that must be read in one go to fully "get."

Even having forgotten recent years’ stuff with the character, I followed this issue just fine. My familiarity (such as it is) with the character allowed me to appreciate names mentioned as well as the visuals (such as the cover being fairly reminiscent of 1987’s first issue!) This character has about 30 years of history in the "modern" DC universe, and however many years prior to Crisis on Infinite Earths…but I think someone not all that familiar could certainly enjoy this in and of itself. Much as with a new movie, the lack of intricate continuity knowledge might even be better for enjoying this simply as a story in itself, without piecing it within long-form continuity.

I love the fact that Bates and Weisman are back on this; having them steering this story, re-establishing the character presumably for going forward after they set the standard with the character in the late 1980s seems quite fitting, to me. As such, I definitely look forward to reading this as single issues…getting the story AS it unfolds.

However…unless DC pulls something rather shocking–say, of extending this to an "ongoing" status–it is a 6-issue mini-series and I’d be even more surprised if it does NOT get a collected edition (or "graphic novel") that could be read all at once as a single, complete(-ish, as comics go) story.

If you’re a fan of the character from years back, and not a fan of the character, say, from Countdown on through to the present, this would be the point to jump back in, and ignore the last decade or so of Captain Atom stuff. And if you’re new to the character, this is a solid starting point, or re-directing (a la all of the Rebirth one-shots) the character from whatever’s been known of him during the New 52.

I enjoyed this issue personally, but see that it should be a solid singular story that as a full story I’ll very likely strongly recommend…but despite my praise, it’s not something so singularly fantastic in this single issue as to compel any/all potential readers to rush for this single issue.

I look forward to #2!

TMNT Revisited: Mighty Mutanimals (mini-series) #2

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mightymutanimalsmini002Under a Big Black Sun

Script: Dean Clarrain
Pencils: Ken Mitchroney
Clean-Ups: Marlene Becker
Inks: Art Leonardi
Letters: Mary Kelleher
Colors: Barry Grossman
Cover: Ken Mitchroney, Steve Lavigne
Edits: Scott Fulop, Victor Gorelick
Published by: Archie Comics
Cover Date: June 1991
Cover Price: $1.25

The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles had hardly been around in publishing existence for seven years when this was published. Looking back, it’s been TWENTY-FIVE years since this story was published. Time certainly flies.

We open with an establishing shot of Maligna’s insectoid-head-looking ship, then cut to the interior where the malignoid that shot Cudley down returns and “briefs” Maligna herself…and she promptly rewards it with a “kiss”–killing it/eating it. On Earth while Man Ray, Jagwar, and Dreadmon contemplate the fallen Cudley, they’re attacked by Leatherhead, Wingnut, and Screwloose who believe they’re threatening the downed cowlick. While they fight, the alien caterpillars have moved to a cocoon state, leaving the group to ponder what’s next. On Maligna’s ship, Null gloats, and unbeknownst to him (and Scul and Bean) Kid Terra notices Mondo’s skateboard, and sneaks off to return it, allowing Mondo and Raph to remain undetected.

After Null & Co. leave to await an audience with Maligna, Raph and Mondo explore and find a chamber of empty exoskeletons of malignoids, and realize they can use them as a disguise. Back on Earth, deciding not to burn the cocoons, the group awaits whatever emerges. Jagwar details his origin around their campfire, followed by Dreadmon detailing his own. Wingnut and Screwloose return, pointing out the now-hatched malignoid warriors. On Maligna’s ship, Mondo and Raph have unknowingly backed into the queen herself, who quickly defeats the two, ordering their removal before re-setting her sights on the Earth that she believes is nearly hers.

This is an interesting middle chapter of this 3-issue mini. Unlike the original TMNT mini that crammed 5 episodes’ story into 3 issues with weird break-points, this actually IS a true 3-part story with appropriate breaks. We learn more about Maligna and her culture–through her getting info from her malignoid warrior and then killing it, as well as how the warriors come to be. We have the first meeting between some of our star characters…and the obligatory fight sequence (the ridiculousness noted by Cudley and seeming some clear commentary from Clarrain on typical superhero stuff of the time). And of course further development of Kid Terra in that we see he’s really not on-board with his employer, having come to see what Null is actually up to. And in the midst of all that, though we’d had some background info on Jagwar and Dreadmon before, we get a fuller origin treatment here. Though the title Mighty Mutanimals refers to mutant animals (and I’ve referred frequently to the “mutant of the month” of the characters’ introductions) many are not mutants in the sense that the turtles are; they were transformed by other means, and I’m not sure that “mutated” is quite the proper verb for ’em.

On the whole, the art struck me as a little odd in this issue, and I was actually surprised to see that this IS another Mitchroney issue. I suppose I should be safe to attribute that to Becker and Leonardi on clean-ups and inks…while the underlying pencils are familiar designs, having others (whose work I’m not used to) working over them, it makes sense there’d be a different finished look. Despite it being noticeable, it’s not too bad. That I notice the difference makes me realize I definitely prefer Berger’s inking to this. Despite not being entirely to my taste…this issue’s look brings back memories, of my original readings of the story, and that’s a definite positive, overriding any negative I notice now as an adult with more than a decade between present and the last time I read this.

As a single chapter, this works well for me, bridging the introductory stuff of the first issue and the story’s end next issue; as well as filling out the origin for the characters who had not yet had that treatment. I have fond memories of this incarnation of the Mutanimals, and beginning with this story and its close tie to the main TMNT Adventures title as well as the characters all having been introduced in that title, I find this story and the characters themselves an integral part of TMNT history, as they through this are an integral part of my own memories and understanding of the TMNT mythology.

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