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TMNT2 (2016) Toys – Kraang

Of all the “new” TMNT toys for the new 2016 sequel, the only one I really had any interest in was Kraang.

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Finding the figure recently, tossed it in my cart, and let it spike my groceries cost up a bit. Can’t say I’m all that thrilled with the figure in and of itself…but I like that it has a sort of updated look/feel to the ’80s cartoon version for the body, while the “brain” looks more current cartoony. I haven’t any idea if the film character is a singular entity or if this represents simply one of a bunch of generic entities…but with the inclusion of Bebop and Rocksteady I’m “assuming” singular.

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The back of the card shows other figures to look for. I’m really not interested in any of them offhand, except perhaps Casey Jones (I have the ’80s, 2003, and 2012 cartoon versions…add a 4th incarnation?) and maybe Bebop and Rocksteady…that might wait til the film’s actually out.

Five villains to six unique heroes…that 5:6 is not a bad ratio to have for a line of figures for a movie! Though I might be slightly more interested in trying to track down a set if three of the four turtles didn’t right here on this layout have variants (1. Where’s Donatello’s? 2. I like it better when there’s simply a different “version” of the four turtles in a given wave uniquely displayed on the card-backs).

It also helped a great deal that Target seemed to realize that jacking their prices up to basically $10 to Walmart and Toys R Us‘ $9 wasn’t doing so well, and so the price is back “down” (at least where I’ve seen lately).

As variants go on the TMNT toys…I’d really dig a line of these “standard” figures based on the IDW comics, in the Mateus Santolouco style!

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Deviations [Review]

teenagemutantninjaturtles_deviations0001Deviations

Story: Kevin Eastman, Bobby Curnow, Tom Waltz
Script: Tom Waltz
Art: Zach Howard
Additional Art: Cory Smith
Ink Assist: Joylon Yates
Colors: Ronda Pattison
Letters: Shawn Lee
Editor: Bobby Curnow
Publisher: Ted Adams
Cover: Zach Howard
Published by: IDW
Cover Date: March 2016
Cover Price: $4.99

Aside from the price, I’ve enjoyed these Deviations issues (having read the Ghostbusters and the GI Joe issues prior to this one). My most obvious comparison to describe the Deviations designation is that these are IDW‘s version of the classic Marvel series What If..? That is, a key story point is chosen, an an alternative outcome is explored. For obvious reasons, IDW phrases it In a World… Where _______ happened! instead of What If… _______ happened?, but the result is functionally the same. This issue (as with the other four one-shots) carry a hefty $4.99 cover price…hefty in general, though admittedly not drastically beyond the standard $3.99 price point of regular-sized issues.

In a world where the turtles join Shredder, we find a hunted Splinter struggling to survive against his sons, who have been fully brainwashed into Shredder’s control and the world of the Foot. Old Hob is brought into things–the turtles getting Splinter’s location from him–and then the confrontation. The turtles capture Splinter, and present him to Shredder. Total victory nears for Shredder–the turtles have defeated rival gangs, brought Splinter (Hamato Yoshi) to him, and he is at the height of his modern power…and then things crumble. Splinter is not unprepared and–along with Hob and (separately) a revenge-bent Hun (father of Casey Jones, who in this continuity was KILLED by Shredder)–battle is joined, with results rather different from “actual continuity,” establishing a new status quo for this world while leaving us as readers to wonder where things might go from here.

While the Ghostbusters issue I read pivots on the original film’s story, and the GI Joe one is more of a generalized thing…this TMNT issue pivots on a specific event within current IDW Comics continuity, specifically the inciting bit of the City Fall arc…where Casey Jones was stabbed (but survived) in this issue, he died; and where Shredder gained control of only Leonardo, here he got all four of the turtles. As with the rest of the TMNT issues, this one involves multiple folks for the story, Waltz for the actual script, and mostly familiar art credits. Howard‘s art fits my memory of City Fall in that while this has its own style visually, it’s not any sort of jarring contrast to Santolouco‘s art. As such, and having followed the IDW series from its start through present I feel more “aware” of stuff with this story and like this is a perfect fit for my expectation of the Deviations books.

The story itself works and feels very much like any given issue of the ongoing series, and the art–as mentioned above–fit very well, making for an all around attractive package and enjoyable read. My chief nitpick with this issue is that it is too short and I’m not a fan of paying more for the sort of backmatter included in this issue, artificially inflating the feel of its size.  We have 24 story pages, and then 6 pages of The Anatomy of a Page where we see plot, script, layout/pencils, inks, colors, and lettering in progression.

I would very much enjoy seeing more exploration of this alternate timeline or even exploration of other alternative outcomes. A world where Raphael never reunited with his brothers. A world where the turtles failed to stop General Krang. A world where the turtles were too late to save Donatello. Etc. To me, this sort of thing would be great for some mini-series…four issues would allow more room than one and would provide for companion volumes to existing TMNT collected volumes. And if a creative team really got involved or an alternate take really hit with fans, it could be revisited multiple times and expand the alternate world.

I’d love to say I recommend this to “anyone,” as it IS a one-shot and thus not like one has to invest in multiple issues…but this really seems more like a treat for the longer-time fans. To really appreciate the story, one would have to have read City Fall…otherwise this is just some generic issue with bad turtles working for Shredder. That this hinges on City Fall inherently allows for a lot more context (the first 20-some issues of the series). Certainly recommended for anyone who has followed IDW‘s ongoing TMNT series at any length or at least enjoyed the first few volumes and City Fall. The $4.99 is steep even for the “extra” pages…but it IS a one-shot, cheaper than the 2012 and 2014 Annuals, and the paper stock is sturdy so it at least feels like a much better quality (physically) than many $3.99 books.

The Weekly Haul – Week of March 30, 2016

This week is both small and yet still managed to be a huge week for new comics stuff for me.

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The only actual new new comic this week is the Deviations one-shot from IDW–this week the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles one, wrapping up their 5-week series (the other Deviations books were Ghostbusters, X-Files, Transformers, and GI Joe. I’ve been picking up the Walking Dead paperbacks soon after release for the last several volumes…I could get ’em cheaper on Amazon or other online retailers, but in a week like this, I don’t mind paying full price for the volume (still cheaper than even a $2.99 cover price for the contents). The Oni Press Starter Pack volume contains several first issues, it’s a sampler-pack of #1s. For $6 I’m absolutely game for checking it out; worst-case, I read the contents of some #1 issues I don’t have #2s or TPBs for and want to track something down.

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The Walking Dead vol. 25 comes shrink-wrapped with a reprint of Kirkman‘s Outcast #1… I hadn’t realized until I ripped the shrink-wrap off that it’s gonna be a TV series. I already have the first TPB as well as one of the Image Firsts reprint editions; but hey, no increase in price, and they included a one-sheet print of the cover over top, so that alone’s a nice bonus. Knowing/being reminded/learning of the new tv series and having this issue put right in front of me certainly goes a long way to getting me to finally sit down and actually read the thing, finally!

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An order I’d placed with InStockTrades.com arrived today as well. With special pricing, I got these for basically 50% off, which made them very much a worthwhile pricing for quick purchase. I’ve had my eye on the New Frontier for awhile; and the Infinity Watch and Superman and Justice League America (no of in that last one) volumes just hit last week, I think.

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All three volumes are a good size, especially for their price; I only paid a little more for the three than cover price for the New Frontier volume, and then shipping was less than the price of a single Marvel comic.

weekly_haul_week_of_20160330e

Got the Superman & Batman Magazine issues for 25 cents each…they’re in crummy, battered, very much used condition…but hey, they’ll be interesting to page through! And while I vaguely recall the thing existing, I didn’t rememberuntil seeing these, so they are a neat random-find!

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Also snagged a few issues from an unsorted longbox bound for the quarter-bins.

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These Super books are a neat catch, I think…it’s easy for me to “forget” that there were whole “families” of Batman-related and Superman-related books even before the 1990s.

And the more I shift toward the notion of back-issues over new, I’m more and more interested in working backwards on the Super books of the early to mid 1980s, if not a bit earlier…and stuff like The New Adventures of Superboy and DC Comics Presents are very much on the likely list of stuff I’ll be actively pursuing.

The Weekly Haul: Week of March 09, 2016

This has been a HUGE week for me with money spent, well beyond any usual “preference,” purchasing the DC: The New 52 Zero Omnibus for over $100 cheaper than cover price, as well as the hardcover Graphic Novel + BluRay + Digital editions of The Death of Superman and Batman: The Dark Knight Returns.

And of course, some “regular” stuff in the mix.

weekly_haul_week_of_20160309

After last week’s huge bargain-bin haul of Green Lantern stuff, I also tracked down a newsstand edition copy of GL #81–the “funeral” issue for Hal Jordan, that had (at least via quarter bins and price I was willing to pay) eluded me since its release some 19ish years ago.

This week, curious if the usual LCS had a non-barcoded newsstand edition or better condition copy, I found that they did not…however, they had the “Collector’s Edition” for “only” $6. For only $2 more than a contemporary comic, coming with the bag and board, cardstock cover with enhancement and being a nearly two-decade-old comic that I have NOT seen all over the place…I barely hesitated.

My actual pull-list books for the week consisted of the three TMNT books here–the series based on the animated cartoon series; the final issue of City at War done in color, and the latest issue of the Batman/TMNT 6-issue mini (clearly a DC-driven product, as IDW doesn’t seem capable or willing to do anything longer than 4 issues at a time for anything “current”/”new”).

And seeing my obvious interest in the ashcan, I was given the Aliens: Defiance ashcan, previewing the upcoming Aliens series with art by Tristan Jones (whose work I’ve enjoyed on a number of other projects, chiefly Mirage TMNT stuff before the sale to Viacom).

If you’ve read many of my reviews, you know I’ve groused in the past about multi-page “previews” of upcoming books “padding” whatever the current issue is that I’m reading. I’ve also suggested I’d rather companies do some separate “preview issue” each week or month rather than stuff a quarter of an issue into other books so that if I buy a new book it feels extra thick and is disappointingly short, and when I buy something that was previewed, I’m only getting 3/4 the value sine 1/4 was already given away.

Ashcans are a great way to get around that, and I’d fairly willingly pay for some, if only for the novelty. If they can be just given away, all the better! This one I actually read cover to cover, and enjoyed the art–one of very few times the art is more of a draw for me than the story. (Though being an Aliens project, I’d’ve already been interested; Jones‘ art ensures my monthly purchase of the thing).

We’ll see what next week holds, I guess…though hopefully it’ll be a far cheaper week…

Mega Bloks Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

I went into Toys R Us looking for one thing only: an Extreme Heroclix Superman figure I’ve seen several times and had finally decided to purchase (particularly given its price in the store compared to prices I was seeing the exact same thing listed for  online–via Amazon and eBay and such!)

I happened across a display of TMNT stuff I hadn’t known existed. I didn’t quite recognize stuff, but quickly realized they were Mega Bloks TMNT toys. That alone had my attention, then–so much for the TMNT Lego stuff.

krangs_rampage_unopened_front

Along with the Krang’s Rampage, there were also mini-sets for the four individual turtles, some sort of Turtle-Van set with Shredder and Raph, as well as "trooper" packs with Bebop and several Foot ‘bots or Rocksteady and several Foot ‘bots.

There were also several sets for the "current" TMNT that didn’t really have my interest…except for "blind pack" minis. What the heck? For $2.99 (compared to Lego‘s $3.99 minifig blind packs) I grabbed a couple, figuring they felt like different shapes–so not duplicates–and since I didn’t have any, they’d be "new" to me.

Ultimately I decided I did not have nearly as much interest in those as I did the "classic" TMNT stuff…and though it was certainly more than I’d intended to spend for the evening, I bought Krang’s Rampage.

krangs_rampage_back

I cared nothing for the pizza cart or News 6 billboard "accessories." I simply wanted the turtles, and Krang with android body.

cat_on_the_table_1

I had a visitor while I was first examining the contents of the box. Once Ziggy determined the rustling bags were not treats, he ignored me…but didn’t feel like leaving "his" space.

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Eventually I had to set the box between my "work area" and the kitty…he was quite curious, and after he tried to eat a minifig the night before, I wasn’t going to let him walk through the brickspace. He left and returned several times while I assembled.

fully_assembled

A couple hours after I started, the project was complete, and I had two of the four turtles facing off with Krang in his enlarged android body…and I’m quite happy with the result overall.

I did notice as I worked that these bricks feel like a lighter (cheaper) version of Lego, but I expected that–this set WAS cheaper in purchase-price than a Lego equivalent. A lot of pieces seemed pretty custom to this set (as opposed to repurposed pieces creatively integrated for a Lego set.

The mini figures–the two turltes–feel a lot more flimsy than Lego minifigs…but are far more poseable! The detail and articulation make them truly seem like miniature action figures rather than turtle-themed accessories on a standard blocky minifig structure. The weapons also seem much more "in scale" to the figures than the Lego counterparts had.

But all in all, I’m quite happy with the set, and glad for my purchase.

The miniature action figures leave me very interested in acquiring others–especially the Bebop and Rocksteady packs, and make me think it would be simply amazing if they would do a simple trooper pack with a dozen or so Foot ‘bots…making it far more possible in this scale to have the turtles face a small army of the robots than in any scale prior.

And surprisingly enough to me–in searching online for more details of these sets and what might be expected beyond what I saw, in the near future–I learned that "street date" on these was 1/1/2016.

I was in the store seeing these and buying the set I did…1/1/2016.

Though "purist" Lego enthusiasts will almost certainly find these to by physically inferior, on the "fun factor" and "enjoyment," as well as variety (the Lego sets were expensive and only focused on the "current" TMNT and then the 2014 film…Mega Bloks has sets for both the ’80s TMNT as well as the "current" series.

Mega Bloks also has the individual turtle packs–I believe they were $7.99 or so–which make it quite feasible for one to obtain all four of the turtles without having to invest in a $12.99 set and two or more $25-$60+ sets just to get the turtles.

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Above: a closer view of the image from the box showing Bebop, ROcksteady, Foot, and the individual turtle mini-sets.

Below: a differently-lighted photo of the box for Krang’s Rampage after the contents were removed.

krangs_rampage_opened_front

TMNT Toy Acquisitions (Early December 2015)

While I’ve little interest in “variants” of the turtles themselves, and over the past year haven’t cared for any of the new characters I’ve come across…the more recent Dimension X figures based on the most recent season grabbed my attention.

I’d determined that I was definitely interested in the new Triceraton warrior Mozar, and the latest version of the Fugitoid, which I’ve had from the previous two major TMNT lines.

Last week, I came across Mozar and grudgingly purchased the figure…several days later I came across the Fugitoid, and did so with that as well.

Knowing I was already interested in these, and fast-approaching Christmas (where the last several years Christmas-time and a number of weeks after have left a gap in toy sections for the basic TMNT figures), I didn’t want to open myself to having seen these and then spending ages hunting them down, where I’d come across other toy-purchase-temptations I shouldn’t be spending money on.

So, unlike the TMNT Toys in the Wild…these two TMNT toys were recent purchases, added to my collection.

tmnt_toys_mozar_front

tmnt_toys_mozar_back

tmnt_toys_fugitoid_front

tmnt_toys_fugitoid_back

TMNT Toys in the Wild: Dimension X, Mutant Shredders, and Karai Serpent

With another new season just started for the Nickelodeon TMNT series, it’s not surprising to find a new wave of the toys hitting at Target and Walmart (presumably elsewhere as well, but I have only been to and seen them at Walmart and Target lately).

Continuing with a “theme” like previous turtles variants, we have the Space-suit turtles for their apparent adventure in/from Dimension X, as well as villain Lord Dregg. I also happened across the Mutant Shredders pack.

A couple weeks earlier, I’d finally come across the Karai Serpent at a Family Dollar store, but where $8 is pushing it, $9 really pushing it…$10 is way too much for me for a basic TMNT figure like this.

As with my various other posts of this nature…photos of the figures on the card with their “profile” from the back are below.

leonardo_dimensionx_front

leonardo_dimensionx_profile

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