Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Toy Review: Masters of the Universe Classics Moss Man (unflocked ears) by Mattel


I never intended to get so caught up in Mattel’s Masters of the Universe Classics line. I had some He-Man toys as a kid, but it was never one of my big obsessions. When Mattel put out the Four Horsemen sculpted updates in 2002 I bought a good number of those because they looked so awesome but, like everybody else, was frustrated by the availability of the line.

When Mattel started offering these latest updates through MattyCollector.com I really wasn’t that interested. I knew I’d get Trap-Jaw (my longtime favorite MOTU character) whenever they got around to him, but had no plans to collect more. The high price of the figures contributed a lot to that decision. Twenty bucks a piece plus around nine bucks shipping is a little (a lot) steep for one seven-inch action figure.

And then came Scareglow. As soon as I saw the pre-production photos last year, I was in love. This guy was almost like a figure custom-made for me. A glow-in-the-dark skeleton with a purple cape. What could be better? I wasn’t even familiar with the character, I just knew that when MattyCollector offered him in November I’d be ordering.

Having been a Sideshow customer for years, I knew all about being online and ready to order when a new product is offered. I was sitting in front of the PC with my finger on the “Buy” button right at noon when Scareglow became available. I’m not going to go into the pros and cons of Matty’s process here since I’ve already gotten four paragraphs into my Moss Man review without mentioning Moss Man (until now), but suffice it to say if you don’t do what I just described you aren’t getting your MOTU figure. Which I found out when I was forty minutes late getting online for Trap-Jaw day (It’s okay, though. Matty has already said they’ll be offering him again later this year and believe me when I say I’m going to be up for that one).

So anyway, between the awesomeness of Scareglow (whose review is here) and the excitement of the process involved in getting these guys, I’ve kind of been sucked into the new MOTU stuff. I’m certainly not buying everything, but I did pick up Skeletor (whose review is here) when they offered him and I just couldn’t say no to The Pine Scent of Justice. I’m eyeing several future offerings as well, such as Optikk and Evil-Lyn. Hell, I might even have to pick up Mer-Man when they re-issue him in May. And there's Hordak in April... DAMMIT MATTEL!

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Two Big Nights of Wrestling: WrestleMania and RAW

WrestleMania Wrap-up

Well, WrestleMania was about as exciting as we all thought it would be. It just wasn’t nearly as satisfying.

WWE finished several matches with some real head-scratchers and blew one match entirely. Another match was extremely entertaining for all the wrong reasons. We all had a blast watching the show, it just didn’t seem to hit all the right notes, so to speak.

Did we get our money’s worth, though? Read on and find out. I’ve reworked my prediction format to produce a WrestleMania results piece and I’ll be doing a stream-of-consciousness report on the post-WrestleMania RAW as I watch it in the morning. I’ll be interested to see if that turns out to be worth a shit. This is a long one, so hang in there.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Toy Review: Masters of the Universe Classics - Skeletor - by Mattel



After the first Masters of the Universe Classics figure I ordered – Scareglow – turned out to be so awesome I decided I’d like to have a Skeletor, too. I already knew I’d be ordering Trap-Jaw whenever Mattel offered him, so I kind of had a breakdown of willpower regarding this line that I had not previously planned on collecting.

Friday, March 26, 2010

WrestleMania Week: Phantom’s Predictions


I hope I can make this more exciting than I think it’s going to be. If not, I apologize in advance. You can get a better version over at Dork Droppings, where Gnoll and I did a podcast about the event. Extra-special guest the Midnight Rider showed up to provide some unique insight, as well.

I honestly don’t pay attention to wrestling like I used to. I know what’s going on for the most part, but I tend to watch the shows while I’m doing something else. Like posting things on the internet. NXT is pretty much the only one that I will actually sit down and devote my full attention to. We’ll see how long that lasts.

Anyway, having said all of that, I do believe I am more excited for this year’s WrestleMania than I have been in a while. Possible since XVII. WWE, while not necessarily doing a great job at storytelling, has managed to create some intriguing matchups that have a whole lot more interesting buildup than any ‘Mania in recent memory. With nine can’t-miss matches announced so far, this is the most packed one, as well. Let’s take a look after the jump.


Thursday, March 25, 2010

WrestleMania Week - Comic Book Review: WWE Heroes #1 By Titan Publishing


No sane person who saw the listing for WWE Heroes in Previews a few months back thought it was going to be anything other than a shabbily produced tie-in designed to milk a few extra bucks out of the lowest common denominator.

I was excited, though. I thought there was a good possibility the comic would be bad enough to be worth reviewing, giving me a day’s worth of content in the near future. I am happy to say that WWE Heroes is so fucking bad – one of the most inept and ludicrous comics I have ever read – that it may well warrant a monthly column.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

WrestleMania Week: WWE Elite Edge & CM Punk by Mattel

I stopped collecting WWE toys a couple of years ago when a combination of wrestling burnout, rising prices and just being sick of JAKKS farmed parts got to me. I didn’t want to be excited when it was announced Mattel got the WWE license. I was done with wrestling toys and it was saving me a lot of money. Besides, wrestling just wasn’t all that good lately in TV or video game form. The whole sport was losing its luster a bit.

But then the Mattel product hit stores on January 1st, and it all looked really good. I was sorely tempted to buy the CM Punk Elite figure. I resisted. One day I saw a Kofi Kingston with the Limited Edition “First 1000” title belt (Mattel is packing in a special die-cast title belt with the first 1000 standard figures of each new Superstar they release) and was tempted. Again, I resisted. But then they got me. Every once in a while, in a price-reducing frenzy, Walmart will mistakenly mark down something they shouldn’t. I got an entire series of just-released Star Wars figures for $1.79 apiece a few years ago this way. So when I saw Edge and Punk for seven bucks each I just couldn’t help myself. I knew there was a good chance they would end up being gateway toys, causing me to buy future releases at full price. Oh, well. Let’s see if they’re any good.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

WrestleMania Week: WWE's Current Top Ten

I know yesterday I said this post would be about bootleg wrestling toys, but I ended up doing a podcast with Gnoll for Dork Droppings last night. Or actually, this morning. So here's a little something else I had ready to go. Enjoy!

I would love to make this a monthly list, but at this rate it looks like yearly is the best I can do. I’m putting last year’s list at the bottom so you can compare. I am reusing last year’s introduction because it still serves its purpose. Anything new in the intro will be in red.

Monday, March 22, 2010

WrestleMania Week: A Brief History of Wrestling Toys



I’m going to start this history lesson with a trivia question: Who is the only wrestler to have had figures released from every major promotion (WWF, ECW, TNA, WCW)? The answer will follow my lengthy essay!

I’ve been collecting toys pretty much since I was a kid. It all started with Star Wars, then a bit of He-Man. GI Joe will always be the big toy love of my life. When Joe waned in the 90’s, I got into Ninja Turtles and then the Batman: The Animated Series stuff. Things have just sort of snowballed since then, what with the collector boom in the mid-90’s (thanks to Todd McFarlane and the Star Wars relaunch) that never really fell off. A lot of people out there still think they’re going to put their kids through college with that mint-in-package Deep Sea Sonar Laser Vision Extreme Karate Spider-Man variant that is upside-down on the card. (Incidentally, I would absolutely buy that figure if I hadn’t just made it up.)

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Movie Review: Thirst

Originally posted on DorkDroppings.com
Dear foreign people,
Stop making boring fucking movies.
Sincerely,
Phantom Troublemaker
Well I can’t just let it go at that, can I?

Comic Books - A Public Service Announcement

I have a sneaking suspicion that I am buying too many comics every month. I doubt this is an uncommon circumstance; as a matter of fact, I think the opposite. Anybody who has a pull service set up at a shop probably buys a lot of stuff out of habit as opposed to interest. Also, I think we tend to operate under the belief that things could get better any day now and we don’t want to miss it if (no, WHEN, dammit!) they do. As a wrestling fan I have been utilizing this system for almost ten years now, so believe me; I know what I’m talking about.
Therefore, as a public service I am going to lay bare my monthly pull list and cull the chaff. Or something. Hopefully, this will inspire some of you that share my hobby to take a look at your own lists and drop sub-par habit titles, try new stuff or maybe just save a few bucks every week. Lord knows with books coming in at three to four bucks a pop these days we could all stand to trim a little fat.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Vintage Troublemaker - A Funny Thing Happened At The Club

This is another old post recounting my adventures while working at the Masquerade in Atlanta. I probably need to do some more. This one is brief, but fun.

I used to work security at a night club downtown called the Masquerade. A lot of things happened in the two years or so that I worked there. Some of them were funny, some were not. I remember some more clearly than I remember others, for various reasons, most of which involve alcohol or another, less liquid substance that makes you hungry. Hopefully committing these memories to print will stimulate the 'ol hat rack enough to recall more.

This one isn't nearly as long as the first one. I promise.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Movie Reviews: Extract & It's Alive (Remake)

I've been suffering from bronchitis for the past week, so I have been a bad blog host. You'd think being sick was a poor excuse for not sitting in front of the computer and writing, but remember: I do most of my writing at work. I was definitely too ill to be there. So here is a pair of reviews I wrote a couple of weeks ago. I'll have more good stuff this week and a whole lot of really good stuff after the weekend.

I can make no real connection between these two movies other than we watched both of them in the past week. One was fucking awesome and the other was so bland it’s actually going to be a challenge to write about it.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Toy Review - Blackest Night Aquaman

I like to make fun of Aquaman just as much as the next guy. One of my favorite comedy sketches ever is the one from The State that has each Justice League member going off to fight some major disaster and ends with, “Aquaman! Go… talk to some fish! Bwahahahahaha!”
I don’t hate Aquaman, though; especially given the fact that he is almost as awesome as Batman in The Brave and the Bold. It’s kind of like how in The Adventures of Briscoe County, Jr. you had Julius Carrey (God rest his soul) as the absolutely kickass Lord Bowler. If he had been paired up with anybody other than Bruce Campbell, he would have easily been the most awesome thing on an awesome show. Unfortunately for Mr. Carrey, nobody out-awesomes The Chin. Just so with Aquaman and Batman.
So anyway, while I derive no specific gratification from the fact that there is an action figure of dead Arthur Curry; it’s a Black Lantern and I had to have it.
This brings me to a point I’d like to make about the genius of the marketing potential behind Blackest Night. DC has set the stage to make ass-tons of money with this thing. This one saga has almost instantaneously generated literally hundreds of new character concepts that can be adapted into action figure form, many of which even casual fans will want to have. First you have the Black Lanterns themselves, which can supply new toys for years to come. Next you have six – count ‘em, six! – new Corps full of varying Lanterns to produce to accompany the coming years of dead guys. Lastly you’ve got the [SPOILER ALERT!] Lantern versions of Lex Luthor, Mera, Scarecrow, Atom, Flash and Wonder Woman; not to mention the Blackest Night-style regular versions of those characters, two of which would be simple repaints with some minor retooling for rings(Luthor and Flash). They could even do some mid-transformation variants on the cheap. And don’t overlook the fact that while DC Direct will certainly produce a ton of these things, Mattel is sure to dip into that honeypot at some point as well for their DC Universe Classics line. Well played, Distinguished Competition.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Blu-Ray Review - Justice League: Crisis On Two Earths

DC has been straight up kicking ass with their direct-to-home-format animated releases. Granted, I absolutely hated Gotham Knights; but everything else has been a minimum of pretty great.

Crisis On Two Earths is the best so far, but there are still a few things I don’t like about it. I’m going to go ahead and get those out of the way so we can get on with the good stuff.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

My Oscar Picks


Oscar Picks

Well, it’s Academy Awards time again and, as always, I couldn’t care less. Yeah, this year boasts more nominations of non-gay movies than any year I can remember, but it is still pretty much a list of movies I don’t care about. I can’t go into all the detail that Gnoll did and I definitely haven’t seen all of the movies nominated, but here are my Oscar picks, with no regard whatsoever for what those ball-sucking Hollywood she-males nominated:

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Vintage Troublemaker - I Feel Like You're Talking To My Dick...

Today's classic entry is one I feel very strongly about. This is something that I have to deal with all too frequently, and causes normal-thinking males all over the world needless trauma on a daily - nay, hourly - basis. I am, of course, talking about:

Men's Room Etiquette

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Toy Review - Star Wars: The Clone Wars – TX-20 By Hasbro


This model of droid has appeared in more than a few episodes of The Clone Wars now, so it isn’t surprising that he got a figure. I can’t tell you off the top of my head which episode this deco is from, but you can bet we’ll see several different paint jobs on this sculpt in the future.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Toy Review - Star Wars: The Clone Wars – Thi-Sen By Hasbro

I’ve been hoping to see this guy ever since the Clone Wars first season episode he appeared in, Trespass. Sure, we’ve already got two other Talz in the form of Chalmun’s Cantina denizen Muftak and Jedi Master Foul Moudama; but they were made using the same mold and are a bit… fatter than your average Talz. At least, judging from what we see in "Trespass".