Tag Archives: comic books

The 10 Worst X-Men Action Figures That Time Can’t Forget

Trevor Fitzroy

Young Trevor Fitzroy was a time-castaway FROM THE FUTURE and a member of the Hellfire Club, the elitist, S&M mutant nemeses to the Uncanny X-Men. (Note: I am obligated to type “FROM THE FUTURE” in all caps any time it appears in an article. My editor beats me otherwise.) Bishop, Jheri curl enthusiast and law enforcement officer from that future’s version of the X-Men, pursued Trevor to the present to bring him to justice. I really don’t have to explain why ToyBiz produced this wonder of a character, do I? Check out that foppish mop of green hair and matching goatee and, as advertised on the package, “futuristic crystal battle armor”. The dude just screams “tough mother” (or Flock of Seagulls groupie). I’m sure that all the little X-fans were clamoring for Fitzroy figures and were pissin’ their Pampers when they found out that their Walmart was a Trevor ghost town. Also, let’s just all pause and remember that Bishop, a character FROM THE FUTURE, was sporting a Jheri curl in a comic book in 1991. The 1990s were cray-cray.
Trevor Fitzroy

Random

I imagine a pitch at ToyBiz for an action figure for the character Random went something similar to this: “You know how the kids like badasses with guns? I mean, that Cable fella really POPS! Well, what about an action figure of a guy who has a gun already built-in to his body? His body is the weapon! I mean, can you imagine? Oh, what’s that? Who is he? Oh, I think he appeared in an issue of one of the comics? Was he in the cartoon? For like 10 seconds, maybe? Oh, Hell, it doesn’t matter. The kids will eat it up! Look at that snazzy vest and bandana! Collectible value, Gene! (Note: The executive who is being pitched to is Gene. He has marriage counseling after this meeting and has no time for this bullshit.) I’m telling ya, gold! Thanks for the signature. I’ll get the boys downstairs to work on this.” Also: His name is Random. Kids from the 2000s would not have put up with that.
Random

Marrow

Pink hair? Check. Bone spikes as weapons? Check. Able to be taken out by depriving her of Vitamin D? Check. Playability? *crickets* Moving on.
Marrow

Ch’od

To be fair, visually, Ch’od is pretty striking. The alien has a vaguely reptilian/oceanic face with a green, imposing body reminiscent of the Hulk. And he’s a member of the Starjammers. Who are the Starjammers? They’re a band of space pirates led by Cyclops’ dad who protects the Shi’ar Empire. The Shi’ar? The Shi’ar are a humanoid race with feathers instead of hair. …I lost you at space pirates, didn’t I? (Also: Ch’od is one letter away from chode. Coincidence?)
Chod

Ahab

What if we created a character based on a Herman Melville icon and gave him a harpoon and a peg leg, and crafted a backstory in which he hunted mutants in the future? What, too on the nose? Ahab’s greatest notoriety comes from his role in the comic book storyline X-Men: Days of Future Past, but I highly doubt he’ll appear in the film adaptation of that story. And if he does, I will watch the entire run of Sex and the City for my shortsightedness. As far as the action figure is concerned, Ahab comes with a harpoon. For harpooning mutants, I guess? Sure, let’s say that.
Ahab

Wolverine (5th edition)

We can hardly talk about X-Men action figures without giving a shout-out to the world’s favorite Canadian killing machine– next to Bryan Adams. I think it’s a law or some such. Wolverine is the Barbie of the X-Men action figure set. Any version of Wolverine you can think of has most likely been made into an action figure? Wolverine in his yellow costume? Done. Wolverine as Patch? Boom. Wolverine as Tybalt in a stage production of Romeo and Juliet? Check. As such, it’s little wonder that ToyBiz produced a version of Wolverine from his government ops days. Quick questions, though. One, how is gold armor stealthy? Also, why does Logan have a knife? He has adamantium claws. Wolverine, thy name is redundancy.
Stealth Wolvie

Sauron

You’ve just watched The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring. Your mom tells you she’s found an action figure of Sauron at a thrift store. Kick ass! Sauron owns or pwns or whatever it is that the kids say. Mom walks into the room with an action figure of a green, anthropomorphic pterodactyl that blink-and-you-missed-it appeared on an episode of the X-Men cartoon. Life has no meaning.
Sauron

Kylun

What if a writer combined the beauty of Paul Mitchell hair, the countenance of Victor from the Beauty and the Beast television series, and the novelty of swords? What you get is Kylun, who apparently was meant to capitalize on the badassery of Wolverine and the furry subculture. But, as the action figure packaging states, Kylun has twin striking swords, so there’s that.
Kylun

G.W. Bridge

Some action figures are meant for greatness. Some action figures have greatness thrust upon them. And then yet others have “rapid fire guns” and a name that would make characters from the New Gods cringe. But hey, G. W. Bridge used to battle Cable. And everyone loves Cable, right?
GW Bridge

Quark

Wanna know how to tell that ToyBiz was reaching for characters to fill a toyline quota? Quark doesn’t even his own Wikipedia entry. There’s just a note that he’s associated with the X-Man Longshot. If my claim to fame is that I had a tacit connection to Longshot, I’d choke myself with my own underwear.
Quark
Jed W. Harris-Keith
Jed Harris Keith is a pop culture junkie, but insists he can stop whenever he wants. His spirit animals are Jim Halpert from “The Office” and Jeff Winger from “Community”. (Nobody has the heart to tell him those are characters from a TV show.) He currently resides in Camarillo, California, with his wife Colleen and their two bassets, Otto and Igor.
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First Two Days at Amazing Arizona Comic Con

I am already tired.  Cons are a sensory overload as you are surrounded by fund people, awesome costumes, products, guests, etc. all while walking on concrete floors for 16 hours.  It starts like an awesome stroll and turns into the Bataan Death March.  In any case, my wife and I are at booth 319 and we are selling well and having fun.  Here are some pictures of folks, mostly from my phone camera.  Enjoy!

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Saturday Cosplay Pictures

Your Saturday cosplay pictures for your enjoyment!  Thanks to all my fellow cosplayers who come up with so many cool outfits and make this so much fun.

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Iron Man 3 – Movie Review

Iron Man 3

Movie Review

by Michael Bradley

 Iron-Man-33

As a huge comic book fan and reader of the original Iron Man comics, I would probably go see any movie made about Marvel or DC Comics heroes.  Unfortunately, that is what Hollywood banks on too often.  Film producers do not understand the fascination with comics and rely on the old tried and true formula of big stars, big trailers and lots of computer generated special effects.  It is what makes Iron Man 3 interesting, but also what makes it fall short of the mark.

I try to avoid spoilers in movie reviews, but in this case, I have to discuss the scenes themselves.  If you have not seen it before, I give it high marks for eye candy and low marks for plot and acting.  You should stop here if you want no spoilers. 

Iron Man 3 starts off with The Mandarin, the mystical head of the Ten Rings shadowy organization.  The Mandarin played horribly by Ben Kingsley, a man who other than Gandhi has played every stupid role in a film.  The Mandarin turns out to be an idiot actor with no villain qualities at all.  It is a real insult to the comic fans.  Robert Downey as the title character seems to call it in on this movie, having already announced he might not do future ones.  His acting is wooden.

You start off with Tony Stark narrating how he made innocent people into demons.  This narrative is heavy handed throughout the film, including The Mandarin being a fake terrorist to prop up military industrial spending.  They come out and tell you over and over, that we make our own demons.  The point of the movie is clear, that all terrorists are created by our military to sell weapon systems.  It is just as crassly portrayed in the movie, a political charge that is without any depth.

At the beginning, we find Tony Stark beset with anxiety attacks, worried about Pepper Pots, but never spending any time with the person who is indispensable to him.  Then he makes a stupid taunt in the press and nearly gets both killed.  He spends most of the film trying to get one partially functional suit to work, only to have forty fully functional suits magically appear at the end of the film for the finale.

An army of Iron Men suits appear for the finale.

An army of Iron Men suits appear for the finale.

The best part of the movie, and there are not a lot other than the computer action scenes, come when Tony Stark is relating to a young boy named Harley Keener, played by Ty Simkins.  Ty steals the scenes and you wish the movie dwelt more on real characters like that than on the incessant assault on the senses of loud destruction scenes.  The other good part of the movie is the humor inserted.  A henchman actually leaves a scene, putting down his weapon and saying, “I hate this job, the people are weird here, I’m just going to leave if that is ok.”

The end has the Vice President being part of the conspiracy of course, so he can take over and you guessed it – get in more wars to sell more weapons for the defense industry.   When Stan Lee created his characters they were about social commentary.  The X-Men represented the viewpoints during the Civil Rights movement.  Spiderman was the boy coming of age and learning how to be a man.  Iron Man was created during the Vietnam War as a challenge to make a warmongering weapons manufacturer popular at the height of protests and hostilities.  Stan Lee always played against type.  That is one reason turning Iron Man into a pacifist who still builds violent personal robot exoskeletons by the score attacks the very foundation of the canon.

The worst attack on the canon of Iron Man is at the end.  Tony Stark decides to get his heart “fixed” by removing the metal shards in it.  What?  The one thing that made Iron Man was that his heart was inoperable, that he had to create the power device that made him part human, part machine.  The scene lasts less than a minute, and then he is all healed and throws his chest power plant into the ocean.

They even made over Pepper Potts from the spunky, smart, moralist to a superhero with compromised moral viewpoints at the end.  Last, after waiting through the longest credits in history, was the let down of the end clip.  In previous films in the Avenger line, the end clip reveals some cool clue about an upcoming movie.  In Iron Man 3, the end clip is just Tony Stark finishing his narrative to a sleeping Incredible Hulk in human form, who tells him he is not a psychologist.  Of course Tony Stark in the comics would never open up about anxiety disorders, his love of Pepper Potts, or giving up his powers to a fellow Avenger, but hey, every other thing about Iron Man seems to be lost in this movie as well.

If you are an Iron Man fan, you will see this movie no matter what I say, and probably already have.  Once your adrenaline settles back down from the cgi and sound track, see if you don’t agree with these comments.  Movie producers, please pay attention to character development and not just special effects.

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Support Your Local Comic Book Artists!

Comic book artists, like we authors, are a starving lot with lots of talent yearning to run free.  So are the models, photographers and store owners all trying to make a go in this industry.  This is an upcoming event featuring Mary DeBalfo, a great cosplayer, model, wife of Mike DeBalfo, and with a slight baby bump as her next child is on the way.  Come by and show your support if you can.

free comics

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Project: Shadows

My good friends, and recently married couple, Alfred “T-Virus” Trujillo and Cara Nicole (AZ Powergirl and cover model for Twisted History and the upcoming Blood Bank novel by yours truly) are producing a new comic book series called Project: Shadows.  Alfred is already a famous comic producer and artist, invited to many conventions and a featured guest at the Phoenix ComicCon as well as many others.  Cara Nicole is well known as AZ Powergirl.  Please help support this dynamic duo and the rest of their team.

Here is the kickstarter link:

http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1264805463/project-shadows

Project shadows

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More Crossovers

A regular feature on my blog are crossovers, also called mashups, where you mix two or more things together.  You can search for “crossovers” on the search block on the Home page if you wish to find other similar posts.  Enjoy!

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