Monday, February 15, 2010

Cool Toy Alert!

While I know this post won't appeal to everyone, I had to make mention of this awesome pre-sale going on right now at Entertainment Earth for the DC Mego-style figures coming out next month. I grew up with a collection of these figures and have watched them become gold on Ebay over the years (which kept me from filling in any holes in the collection).

I purchased the Green Arrow figure from the day it went on sale, so I can tell you if the others are based off of this (which they are) then these are close to the original feel, though not just like it. The figure feels a lot more fragile out of the box than the original Green Arrow from Mego. Still, it's a cool concept and I'm glad I grabbed one while it was available. He even came with a bow and arrow this time instead of just the quiver and hat. Unfortunately you can't shoot the boxing glove arrow, but whatever.

These figures will probably sell out quickly, even though they are pretty pricey. They run about $22 a piece, which makes them something more for collectors than casual toy buyers. They're definitely a lot more expensive than the original ones years ago!

The thing I really like is how they've kept the retro feel of them by keeping Lex Luthor and Sinestro in their 70's appearance rather than bringing them into the modern look. As far as I know, this is the first time Green Lantern has been offered in this style. I don't know why Mego gave Green Arrow a figure and not his partner, but who am I to question?

I'm really psyched to get Superman back. It's not because I'm a huge fan, but I still remember playing with him when I was a kid. I vividly remember that day in the back yard when I was throwing him into the air and pretending he could fly. One time I threw him into the air and he didn't come back down again because I had misjudged my throw and he ended up on the roof (where he might still be to this day). It was a sad day in my childhood and I'm looking forward to adding this new version to my collection to take the place of his predecessor.

If you're a toy collector, this is something you've waited for since they announced it last year. Grab one on pre-order because it's doubtful they'll last and I don't think they'll make it to any retail stores.

Here's where you can order them:


Green Lantern

Lex Luthor


And he's not available right now, but keep your eye out for Green Arrow again in the future.

Monday, February 8, 2010

No Powers? NoProblems (part 2)

We looked at some of these a while back, but here are a few more. These are the heroes who don't have anything more going for them than spandex and cool moves, yet we still see them go toe-to-toe with heroes like Superman and the Hulk. The funny thing is that you probably never notice they don't have any powers because they're in the fight just as much as the big guys.

Union Jack

Now here's a guy who's gone up against vampires, terrorists, and other super-baddies, but has never backed down. Armed only with a silver-bladed knife and a revolver, Union Jack's latest incarnation (Joey Chapman) carries on the tradition started in World War 1 by Lord Falsworth.

Another cool thing about the character is the fact that he's one of the few that hasn't changed costumes that much over the years. Considered the UK's version of Captain America (even though Captain Britain would make a better choice to me), this hero proves you don't have to be super-powered to fight evil. It was even brought to the forefront in his "London Falling" miniseries as he was teamed with powerful heroes and actually made leader of the team.


While this guy might not be classified as a hero per se, he's done enough in "Secret Six" to show he has the potential to be quite the hero. He has superior tracking skills, incredible fighting abilities, and a really nasty looking blade. The thing that makes him different is his leadership style.

This is one guy who actually leads his team. He doesn't always make the right decisions necessarily, but at least he sticks to his decisions and runs with them. Unfortunately, when you're leading a group of psychopaths, it doesn't always go smoothly. Still, you've got to give him credit for keeping most of them alive this long.

Moon Knight

The Fist of Khonshu makes the list with the most gadgets, vehicles, and other toys of all of them. He even has more secret identities than anyone else!

For a while, Marvel took him down this incredibly dark road where he killed everyone he fought in an attempt to make him some super-dark version of Batman, but now it appears Marvel has changed their mind and doesn't mind having a hero who doesn't kill.

Even though he doesn't kill, he's probably the most brutal hero on this list. The criminals definitely know not to mess with him again.

Adam Strange

This was a suggestion by a reader from our last list.

I've never really understood the value of this character, but there's no denying he's just a normal guy doing a bang-up job in the hero world. He teleports to Rann on the Zeta Beam and has managed to keep a fairly normal life for himself there with a wife and child.

The recent Rann-Thanagar War was a pretty cool storyline that saw him leading the fight against Hawkman's home world. He also had a pretty big role in "52" with Animal Man and Starfire as they tried to get back to Earth. And keep in mind these are just recent adventures...he's been around for over 40 years!

Green Arrow

Yet another example of a "normal" guy keeping up with the super-powered titans around him, Green Arrow has been a member of the JLA off and on for years. He's faced off galactic threats and even those closer to home. And let us never forget that he's the man who shot Deathstroke in the eye during their fight in Identity Crisis.

He's an incredible archer with a hot temper who never seems to back down from any fight. He's been the yang to Hal Jordan's yin for years. He's one of those heroes that you just take for granted has some super power because he always holds his own in every fight. And yet, through it all, he's just a normal guy with some mad archery skills.

Blue Beetle (Ted Kord)

I know it's weird to finish out this list with a dead hero (especially since his lack of superpowers didn't help his death by gunshot), but you have to give credit where it's due. While Green Arrow held his own around other heroes in the JLA, Blue Beetle held his own in the JLI around guys like Guy Gardner, Booster Gold, and Martian Manhunter.

Another "gadget guy", it was Blue Beetle's last adventure that took the time to turn him from a comic relief character into one bad dude. He single-handedly snuck into Maxwell Lord's fortress and found out the truth of what he was doing. Forget Batman's stealth, Beetle had potential too from what we saw there! Unfortunately, they finished him off rather permanently and the Black Lantern version we're seeing is a pale imitation of the real thing. Of course, with so many heroes dying in "Blackest Night", you know DC will have to bring many of them back in the end. Here's hoping Ted Kord is one of the lucky ones.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Looking Back at the "0*"s - The Busiest Hero of the Decade

So in closing out our look at the past decade, who would be considered the busiest hero of all? Well, Hal Jordan came back from the dead, and so did Barry Allen. Superman got kicked out of Metropolis, and Aquaman died and came back again. Martian Manhunter bit the dust as well, and Dick Grayson moved into the cowl and cape of the Dark Knight.

But of all these heroes, the busiest 10 years had to belong to one man: The Batman.

Let's see why... 

His sidekick came back from the dead

After Jason Todd was killed by popular vote in the 90's, the possibility of him ever becoming cool again would have been blasphemy. He remained this ominous failure in Batman's life that always reminded him he was human and could fail from time to time. Like Bucky to Captain America, Batman had the shadow of Jason over him at all times.

Then one day he came back. During the "Hush" storyline, Jason Todd was briefly thought to actually be Hush himself (a really cool plot twist). Later we found that he wasn't but had been working with him to throw Batman off. Now, the weird thing was how he died a teenager but came back as an adult...but whatever.

Eventually Jason came on strong as Red Hood and then Red Robin, then even trying to become Batman before disappearing in the final battle with Dick Grayson. He'll be back, there's no doubt, but it was his return that really started the Caped Crusader reeling. 

He became a baby-daddy

Oh, we know he had those urges, but to think that Batman had actually done the nasty with Talia A Ghul was a little beyond him. Then we find not only did he make it happen in the desert, but that he was unsafe at the time! Years later, we find a young dude named Damien when Talia shows up on Bruce's door with a little surprise. Like my grandpa always told me: "You play, you pay."

Taught by ninjas in wonderful methods of fighting and killing, Damien wasn't your average kid. Batman had his hands full early on with this one.

The kid is currently Robin to Dick Grayson's Batman, but before he calmed down he was one mean little dude. He even tried to kill Tim Drake for the title of Robin! 

He's had two hit movies and a video game that finally didn't suck!

Not being mean here, but the steam had run out of hearing "We're going to make a Batman movie." After "Batman and Robin", we were pretty much through with that franchise...or so we thought.

Jonathan Nolan wrote a killer screenplay and Christopher Nolan directed the fire out of it. We ended up with the retelling of Batman's origin that made sense and was very true-to-life. With "Batman Begins", we saw light on the horizon. With "The Dark Knight", it was a nuclear blast.

The Joker wasn't just a funny bad clown, he was a serious psycho! For once we could understand why they had such hatred for each other, and if Heath Ledger had lived there's no doubt we'd have seen him return to the role that he'll always be remembered for. Will there be a third Batman film? Only time will tell, but I hope so. It's safe to say that Superman won't be "returning" anytime soon though.

On top of all that, we had the announcement of a new Batman video game. Again, there had been enough failures in this arena to keep most fans leery, and again we were slapped silly by the finished product. "Arkham Asylum" gave us the Batman game we'd always known was possible but had never seen. You actually got to try and scare the bad guys before dropping down on them and beating them up! How much fun was that! The icing on the cake was Kevin Conroy stepping in to voice the character. To me, he'll always be the voice of Batman I hear when I read the comic books. All in all, fans of interactive media had a lot to cheer for this decade!

Batman Becomes a Lantern...Three Times

You want tough? Batman fits the bill. And of course the question became why wasn't he ever chosen as a Green Lantern for Earth? After all, he's about as "without fear" as they come. Well, this was the decade we saw for just a fleeting moment what it would be like if he had a green power ring. Batarangs made of willpower...that would have been epic.

Now flash forward a little further and we see another aspect of Batman we hadn't paid attention to. He strikes fear into the hearts of criminals everywhere. He's been doing that for years! Who would have thought that was all it took to be a Yellow Lantern as well? And again, for just a brief moment, we are treated to the prospect of what he might be like if he could use that fear as a real physical weapon. Batarangs made of fear? Yes please!

But it doesn't stop there. Dead and gone, he's still a prospect for a ring. This time, however, he becomes a Black Lantern! As before, it's only for the briefest of moments (though this time he makes it three whole pages before it's gone), but we see just how tough this dude really could be. And this time it's Batarangs made of black lantern rings. The fun never stops!

While Hal Jordan may have been more Lanterns than Bruce, it's safe to say this guy is a close contender for the "most coveted Lantern" title by the guys handing out the colored rings.

He's Died...Twice!

This poor hero was so tough he had to be killed twice, baby! Once in Final Crisis, and once in Batman R.I.P., both by Grant Morrison.

Bruce was soon replaced by Hush, who has given the world a Bruce Wayne to see running around while Batman is supposedly dead. No doubt the confrontation when Bruce comes back will be awesome. 

And then we find out he's not dead, but is in a cave in the past (a fact that Red Robin recently found out in his own series). So he dies twice but doesn't really.

Of course, the recent announcement of "The Return of Bruce Wayne" miniseries sets us up pretty easily to know he's on his way back. Will he take the cowl from Dick, or will he pull a "Captain America" and let the sidekick have it? Time will tell.

And as for the future...well, my son came up with what he believes will be the next logical step:


And with that, we close out our look at the "oughts". Thanks for joining me through it all! Back to business as usual next week.
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