Author Archives: Brett

Entertainment Earth Spotlight: Transformers Generations Titans Return Fortress Maximus

The undisputed King of the Autobot Headmasters has returned! Hasbro’s Transformers Generations Titans Return Fortress Maximus is the biggest Transformers hero of the year! As a kid this was the one Transformer I always wanted, but never got, but now I can get the new and improved 2016 version! Armed with loads of guns, the best Autobot stronghold since Metroplex can change from a city to a space ship to a giant robot. The giant robot’s head hides even more secrets – electronics play the classic “Transformation” sound when connected, and the head itself can become a robot, Cerebros. Even more amazing, Cerebros’ head comes off and forms the smaller robot Emissary!

The figure is awesome and I show off the various modes and all of the cool things the figure hides.

You can get yours from Entertainment Earth now for $130 with free shipping, $29.99 off retail!

 

 

 

 

Entertainment Earth provided Graphic Policy with a FREE figure for review

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Review: Nova #11

nova-11-coverSam Alexander has led a busy life as Nova, but after all of his intergalactic gallivanting, is it time to hang up the helmet?

I’ll confess I haven’t read the new Nova series and barely know Sam Alexander as a character. What little I’ve read I’ve enjoyed, but it’s never been a series that has really been one thats stood out in the avalanche of weekly releases. From what I’ve read, it’s completely enjoyable and there’s a niche it absolutely fills.

So, with that being said, I dove in to Nova #11 with a pretty clean state not going what was going on. There’s a lot in there that new readers will like and there’s a lot there for long time fans of the Nova character, especially with a twist and reveal at the end. I’m not going to reveal what that twist is, but it’s one aimed at fans of classic Nova… read between the lines with that.

Writer Sean Ryan has done a good job giving us a character who feels like he’s really struggling with his role. Sam is wondering can he balance being a hero, not having his mother worrying about him, and also having friends. It’s a twist on the same sort of angst that we’ve seen in classic Spider-Man stories. And that’s what this issue felt like, Spidey sitting down and talking things through with the ghost of Uncle Ben. In this case Sam is talking to the computer that houses all of the knowledge of the past Nova Corps. It’s a cute story, but nothing that feels really new, it’s just a semi-new thing for this character. And with how it’s presented it feels like it might be a good entry point for new readers.

The art by Cory Smith is solid. This really stood out to me. The art jumps and really takes on the youthful feel of the main character. There’s a certain energy about it that flies off of the page.

This one is definitely one for Nova fans, especially classic Nova…

Story: Sean Ryan Art: Cory Smith
Story: 7.15 Art: 8.05 Overall: 7.35 Recommendation: Read

Marvel provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Cinelicious Pics Acquires Dark Night

Cinelicious Pics has acquired all North American rights to Tim Sutton‘s critically acclaimed Dark Night for an early 2017 theatrical and VOD release. An artfully understated critique of American gun culture, as the title suggests, Sutton’s third feature is loosely based around the 2012 massacre in Aurora, Colorado that took place during a multiplex screening of “The Dark Knight.”

Sutton’s film premiered to strong notices at the 2016 Sundance Film Festival and was later selected as Closing Night Film at this past BAM CinemaFest. Most recently, the film played out of competition at the Venice Film Festival where it took home the Lanterna Magica Award.

The film employs a pseudo-documentary technique and a cast of non-professional actors, Dark Night follows the activities of six strangers over the course of one day, from sunrise to midnight, the shooter among them.

dark-night

Review: Wonder Woman: The True Amazon

wonder-woman-the-true-amazon-coverWonder Woman: The True Amazon is Jill Thompson‘s original graphic novel reimagining of the early years of the Amazon Princess Diana, who would grow up to become Wonder Woman. This fully painted graphic novel is unlike any Wonder Woman tale you have ever read, told as only Eisner Award- winning writer/artist Thompson could. When young Diana has the fawning attention of a nation, she grows spoiled. But a series of tragic events take their toll, and Diana must learn to grow up, take responsibility, and seize her destiny.

This original graphic novel Thompson dives into the the history of Wonder Woman with this original stand-alone take on the character that follows the history of the Amazons to Wonder Woman’s taking the mantle as champion.

The story is an examination of Wonder Woman herself and what it’d be like to be an island’s only Princess. This isn’t the normal Diana you’re used to. In fact the vast majority of the graphic novel this Diana is pretty unlikeable and a spoiled brat. And that’s a reason I really enjoyed it. Thompson has given us a flawed person who rises to be a hero. She’s a princess and treated as such in the worst way turning into a brat.

Thompson gives us a warts and all take on Wonder Woman and by doing so gives us a real hero that feels realistic in many ways. This isn’t someone who’s been a hero from the beginning, she stumbles and stumbles a lot here. And due to that we see some growth along the way. This feels like a unique take to me, and one I really enjoy because it’s not so much about how Diana becomes Wonder Woman as it’s about Diana becoming a decent person. She’s really unlikeable, and that’s a pretty gutsy thing to put out there.

To me, this feels like a graphic novel to read to teach a child a lesson, an entertaining parable. And it is entertaining. Thompson’s art is beautiful to look at with some fantastic detail.

I wasn’t sure what to expect going into this graphic novel, but this is a wonderful take on a classic character in a new way that feels fresh and also like something you want to share with others.

Story: Jill Thompson Art: Jill Thompson
Story: 8.5 Art: 8.5 Overall: 8.5 Recommendation: Buy

DC Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Valiant Reveals a First Look at Michael Rowe as Ninjak

We reported on Monday some of the details of the upcoming live action Ninjak series coming from Valiant and Bat in the Sun. We now have our first official look at Michael Rowe as Colin King aka Ninjak.

The live action series will be feature length and digital directed by Bat in the Sun’s Aaron and Sean Schoenke featuring Rowe in the lead, Jason David Frank, John Morrison, Derek Theler, and Chantelle Barry. Valiant has also announced the addition of Kevin Porter and Ciera Foster.

The series has been worked on since 2015, and at next week’s New York Comic Con more will be revealed including first look footage. For those who won’t be able to make the panel, it’ll be streamed October 8th at 2:45pm.

michael-rowe-ninjak

California Has Made Getting and Selling Autographs and Limited Edition Items More Confusing and Labor Intensive

2000px-flag_of_california-svgIn early September Governor Jerry Brown signed into law AB 1570, a consumer protection law aimed at fake signatures on sports memorabilia. The legislation has been the subject of a lot of chatter lately sparked by an impassioned blog post by Eureka Book Sellers. As usual, the discussion is full of hyperbole as to what the law does and does not do, and let me begin by flat-out saying it’s bad legislation that accomplishes little to solve the issue of fraud autographs.

Championed by celebrities like Mark Hamill (who we’ll point out make a decent chunk of change by selling autographs) the law does the following:

  • Expands the definition of “collectible” to mean an autographed item for sale in or from California by a “dealer” to a consumer for five dollars or more
  • “Dealer” is defined as a person who is mainly in the business of “selling or offering for sale collectibles in or from this state, exclusively or nonexclusively, or a person who by his or her occupation holds himself or herself out as having knowledge or skill peculiar to collectibles, or to whom that knowledge or skill may be attributed by his or her employment of an agent or other intermediary that by his or her occupation holds himself or herself out as having that knowledge or skill. “Dealer” includes an auctioneer who sells collectibles at a public auction, and also includes persons who are consignors or representatives or agents of auctioneers. “Dealer” includes a person engaged in a mail order, telephone order, online, or cable television business for the sale of collectibles.”
  • Whenever a dealer sells, or offers to sell, an autographed collectible in or from California, the dealer has to provide a certificate of authenticity at the time of sale. That certificate has some specifics that need to be met:
    • Shall be in writing (does a computer print out count?)
    • Signed by the dealer or authorized agent
    • Feature the date of sale
    • Must be in at least 10-point boldface type
    • Contain the dealer’s legal name and street address
    • The dealer must retain on file a copy of the certificate for no less than seven years
    • It shall describe the collectible and specify the name of the personality who autographed it
    • Specify the date of sale or be accompanied by a separate invoice with that information
    • Contain a warranty
    • Specify if the collectible is offered as a part of a limited edition and if so it has to say how it’s numbered and the size of any prior or anticipated edition. And if that’s not known, it should state that it’s unknown.
    • Indicate if the dealer is bonded or otherwise insured to protect consumers against errors and omissions and if so, provide proof
    • Indicate the last four digits of the dealer’s resale certificate number from the State Board of Equalization
    • Indicate if the item was autographed in the presence of the dealer and if so the specific date, location, and name of the witness
    • Indicate if the item was obtained or purchased from a third-party and if it was the name and address of the third-party
    • Include a serial number that corresponds any identifying number printed on the collectible item, if any. That should also be on the sales receipt and if that receipt is printed then write the number on the receipt
    • A dealer shall not present an item as a collectible if it was not autographed by the personality in his or her own hand
    • You need to post a sign close to where your collectibles are that let consumers know you need to provide them with a certificate of authenticity
    • Mail order dealers have some other things they need to do, especially if they advertise
    • If you plan on selling autographs at conventions you need to displace a “specimen example of a certificate of authenticity”
    • Consumers who don’t receive a certificate of authenticity with the above, or if it’s got false information, shall be able to receive damages equal to 10 times actual damages, plus court costs, reasonable attorney’s fees, interest, and expert witness fees. Plus the court can award additional damages
    • Dealers in the state must have a valid resale certificate number from the State Board of Equalization
    • A dealer may be surety bonded or otherwise insured for purposes of indemnification against errors and omissions

And there’s some things promoters need to do as well, such as warning any dealer about the above with specific language provided:

As a vendor at this collectibles trade show, you are a professional representative of this hobby. As a result, you will be required to follow the laws of this state, including laws regarding the sale and display of collectibles, as defined in Section 1739.7 of the Civil Code, forged and counterfeit collectibles and autographs, and mint and limited edition collectibles. If you do not obey the laws, you may be evicted from this trade show, be reported to law enforcement, and be held liable for a civil penalty of 10 times the amount of damages.

There are exemptions to the law as far as what a “dealer” is….

  • “Dealers” don’t include licensed pawnbrokers
  • An online marketplace that is not primarily in the business of selling, or offering for sale, collectibles, in or from California
  • The personality who signs the memorabilia

Get all of that?

Lets begin with the failure of the law…

johnhancockThe exemptions are the first problem with the legislation. The fraud that exists with online sellers through eBay is rampant and though there’s no numbers as to how bad it is, the legislation begs individuals to move their business online solving nothing at all in reality. But, eBay’s lobbyists are strong and their money flows regularly to California politicians. Check out 2015 through 2016’s donations and I’m sure the company’s donation of $15,000 to Jerry Brown’s run for Governor had no impact at all (and $5,000 to his Attorney General race). In general, the company’s donations to California’s politicians has greatly increased in recent cycles. When it comes to rampant forgery online, California elected officials apparently don’t care.

The exemption of the personality who signs the memorabilia is also hypocritical. I’m not sure if I’d really call this a failure, but there’s irony in the fact the celebrities who have demanded certifications themselves don’t have to provide one. What’s good for the rest isn’t good for them. And, I guess they don’t stand by their autograph, and as a consumer I wouldn’t trust any I didn’t see them sign in person. Autopens do wonders.

Finally, there’s already protections for consumers about fake autographs, this legislation really creates a consumer right to a certificate of authenticity. There’s already laws to protect against forged signatures. In other words, it’s not needed. Those who break the law by selling fake autographs will now likely continue, just with a piece of paper. There’s no difference in practicality of what was and what is when it comes to fighting this issue. Consumers had a right to sue then. Consumers can now sue now for the same thing. What is needed is for celebrities to file lawsuits, not consumers, put the onus on them, but then again, they can’t be bothered by providing a piece of paper themselves for authenticity.

There’s also the weird…

The legislation goes into defining “limited edition.” A consumer can request proof that the films, electronic coding, molds, or plates used to create the collectible was destroyed after the edition is up. It also decides to delve into the debate on “mint condition” to mean an item that must never have been circulated, used, or worn, with no signs of aging, and otherwise free of creases, blemishes, or marks. There’s no use of “mint condition” in the legislation other than to define what it is.

What’s the actual impact to comic dealers and comic creators?

For creators, there’s little impact by the legislation. They fall under that personality exemption so they can continue to go about selling autographs directly.

For dealers, the impact is much greater. There’s the signage that will now had to be had if they’re selling autographed materials in their store or their booth at conventions. In reality, the legislation is worded so poorly it indicates everyone that sells collectibles needs the sign, but I don’t think that’s the actual intent or how it’ll be enforced. If you’re selling autographed items for $5 or more you’ll need to provide a certificate and keep it on file for seven years. Yay more paperwork! I’d also expect more lawsuits by individuals looking to make a good buck. The fact is anyone can sue anyone and there’ll be a nice business coming out of this legislation potentially. Dealers should also be aware of any autographed items they’re purchasing, such as from Diamond, in that they’ll now need to provide a proper certificate of authenticity. I know autographed items I’ve purchased through Diamond in the past have had one, but they didn’t comply with the above.

For consumers, this is a good thing in that, in theory, it should scare off some sellers of forged autographs. It also means you get to keep a certificate of authenticity somewhere, so more items for you too.

The up in the air…

Since this includes all autographed items this now includes greeting cards as mentioned in Eureka Book’s post, something that wasn’t intended, unless that item is less than $5. Then “agent or intermediary” that is defined under dealer isn’t defined as well.

The bigger impact is signings in stores. If a comic creator comes to a comic shop and then signs items before leaving, that may fall under the celebrity exception, but maybe not? If the shop is selling the item at a celebrity signing, like what happens in shops, is one needed?

In reality…

The legislation is a failure of those who drafted and lobbied for it, but also a failure of those in the memorabilia industry for letting it get passed. This has been something that’s been lobbied for quite some time and went through the legislation process. Where was the comic industry speaking up about this when it was going through that? Where was our lobbying effort? We have a CBLDF, is it time for someone to look out for creators, stores, and consumers when it comes to matters beyond free speech?

The biggest reality is the legislation is passed and signed by the Governor.

What can you do?

You can still make your voice heard. Contact Governor Jerry Brown or contact elected officials in the State Senate and the State Assembly. Most importantly, pay attention at your state level to make sure you speak up before legislation like this is even passed.

The law takes effect in January.

Review: Frostbite #1

frost_cv1Long after Earth has entered its second ice age, humanity has learned to cope with the frozen elements. In this cold and bleak future, heat is power, and brutal gangs roam the icy wasteland looking for it. If that wasn’t enough, a terrible disease nicknamed “frostbite” is literally freezing people from the inside out. Once you catch it, the effect is instantaneous. There is no immunity, there is no cure.

Until now. Doctor Henry Bonham and his daughter Victoria have found the key to ending frostbite. If they can get from Mexico City to a secret government outpost in Alcatraz, they could stabilize life across the globe. But to do that they’ll need to stay alive. That’s where Keaton comes in. She and her crew have faced worse journeys before, but never with the potential consequences this one poses if they fail.

Frostbite #1 is a fantastic start to this new series that feels familiar but is presented in such a way I want to really find out what comes next (and also can imagine this on the big screen). Writer Joshua Williamson really sets the tone and the world in this issue. He does it so well I felt myself getting cold at times as we look at the world to come. What’s also interesting is the introduction of a disease which drives the narrative, but will be really interesting to see how it’s used as it’s an element that sets itself apart from a story such as Winterworld or Snowpiercer.frost_1_4

The characters are interesting. We get enough about each to figure out their personality type and what we might expect. Each has their “thing,” but what’s clear is everyone is a survivor and has been impacted by this new world and the disease. That’s something that’s really interesting, especially considering the actions towards the end of the comic. What happens, I’m not going to ruin it, will clearly be something that will have a major impact to come, but it also sets a certain tone.

The art by Jason Shawn Alexander is fantastic. The world feels very lived in and real. It’s not just some white washed out thing, it’s a worn city that’s been plunged into coldness and winter. There’s some amazing detail here like the clothes people are wearing or the technology that’s used. Every small detail feels like it’s been thought out and debated on.

Williamson and Alexander have presented us with a world I want to learn more about. The characters have personalities and based on their actions, they’re willing to take action that feels natural and justified. There’s real emotion here which is something I’d expect in a world worn down. Frostbite feels like a series I want to spend the upcoming winter months (and beyond) with.

Story: Joshua Williamson Art: Jason Shawn Alexander
Story: 9 Art: 9 Overall: 9 Recommendation: Buy

DC Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Review: Batman Beyond: Rebirth #1

bmbreb_cv1_dsSix months have passed since the events of Batman Beyond #16. While areas of destruction remain in the outside world, Gotham City has made great strides toward reclaiming its bright future. But new threats arise and old adversaries may be coming back. And the question still remains: whatever happened to Bruce Wayne?

I’ve never been a big fan of Batman Beyond. I’ve only seen a couple of episodes of the animated show, and the comics I’ve read sparingly. So, I was intrigued to see where writer Dan Jurgens would take things in Batman Beyond: Rebirth #1. The issue is a back to basics issue catching folks up with the character and the Gotham of the future.

It’s a good, but not great issue. There’s a good reveal in at the end of it that has me wanting to return for the next, but the story itself is pretty basic with the future Batman fighting a gang. It does have the feel of the bit of the cartoon that I’ve seen, in other words, this issue feels like something you could give to younger kids, though it’s definitely not an all-ages comic.

There’s a lot that’s left out there for new readers that just isn’t explained. None of it is vital information, but you definitely will walk away wondering what you missed.

The art by Ryan Sook is solid. I really dig that aspect. It’s slightly different than the animated series but it still feels like it’s the same world. Sook presents a Gotham of the future in both the city itself and the characters that inhabit it. But, what I think is really impressive is this isn’t some over the top future. It’s muted in many ways and feels like a natural growth from what exists now, not some massive leap.

The issue is good, though not great. As I said, it’s got a reveal at the end that has me wanting to see what comes next, and hopefully, things pick up a bit more in the overall comic, but as far as getting people excited, the end results is a bit bland.

Story: Dan Jurgens Art: Ryan Sook
Story: 6.75 Art: 7.5 Overall: 6.75 Recommendation: Read

DC Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Review: Teen Titans: Rebirth #1

ttreb_cv1_dsThe Teen Titans are farther apart than ever before…until Damian Wayne recruits Starfire, Raven, Beast Boy and the new Kid Flash to join him in a fight against his own grandfather, Ra’s al Ghul! But true leadership is more than just calling the shots—is Robin really up to the task? Or will the Teen Titans dismiss this diminutive dictator?

The concept of Damian Wayne leading the Teen Titans is something that gives me all sorts of giggles inside. The concept has played out already really well in a DC Universe animated film Justice League vs Teen Titans so it works, and can work really well.

Like most of the “Rebirth” issues bridging the gap between the last volume and the next one, Teen Titans: Rebirth is an explanation of where these characters are and how they get to where they’re going in the upcoming series.

Writer Benjamin Percy and artist Jonboy Meyers nail the series with some fantastic art and humor as we’re reintroduced to the characters and they’re gathered by a mysterious figure… who is revealed at the end.

The characters though are the draw. Percy and Meyers not only give us some great visuals and situations but they also reintroduce these characters for new and old readers alike really diving down into who they are when it comes to their personalities and some of what makes each unique. They also reflect on their fallen team members and what’s going through their heads as they take time apart.

Out of all of the “Rebirth” issues so far, this one has me the most excited for the series the follow. There’s something about the tone, the art, the package that has me smiling and wanting more. I’ve never cared for the Teen Titans, but now I can’t wait to read more.

Story: Benjamin Percy Art: Jonboy Meyers
Story: 9 Art: 9 Overall: 9 Recommendation: Buy

DC Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

TV Review: Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. S4E2 Meet the New Boss

agents of shield season 4Daisy goes to battle Ghost Rider at a terrible cost, and Coulson faces the new Director, and his bold agenda surprises them all.

Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. keeps up the momentum with the second episode of the fourth season with a whole lot going on to move the various plot points along.

Daisy talks to Robbie and gets to know him a bit. Sadly this is both good and a low point in some ways in that it follows the rather stereotypical path of fighting and then teaming up eventually. I wish things went a bit differently, but it is what it is.

Most of the episode though is to introduce the new S.H.I.E.L.D. Director Jeffrey Mace played by Jason O’Mara. That’s a character that comic fans will know, but this one is a bit different and how much the television version is similar to the comic version remains to be seen. But, there’s a reveal here that’s pretty cool.

The episode also moves along the whole “ghost” story and it’s interesting. It’s clear from the make-up that this part ties into Doctor Strange which is out this November, but what’s going on and how Ghost Rider fits in is actually a solid mystery.

This second episode was really solid with great action, a great build to whatever is happening, and a slow reveal. I have no idea what happened over the summer but the show really feels like a solid reboot in many ways and I have to say, the show is finally working.

For once… I’m actually looking forward to seeing what happens next.

Overall Score: 8.15

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