Tag Archives: cyclops

Super-Articulate: Marvel Legends Retro X-Men

Greetings and welcome back! Today we’re looking at the Marvel Legends Retro X-Men assortment, which is in-stores now. I’ve also seen this referred to as the Vintage X-Men wave, but HasbroPulse lists the figures as Retro, so we’re going with that. We’d like to thank Hasbro for providing these figures free for the purposes of review. Let’s get started.

Dazzler: When the announcements came down, this was the figure in the group that made me the most excited. You’ve probably seen people refer to this one as “Outback Dazzler.” If you didn’t know, that’s in reference to the ‘80s storyline just after “Fall of the Mutants.” The world believes that the X-Men died fighting the Adversary, but they’re really operating out of the former Reaver base in the Australian Outback. This ran from Uncanny X-Men #229 to, more or less, issue #253 (most of the X-Men finish going through the Siege Perilous in #251, the same issue where Wolverine is crucified by the Reavers; Jubilee rescues him, and we start seeing where the X-Men are popping up around the world in #253. Got that? It’s good stuff, and it also includes costumes for Rogue (black and green) and Psylocke (the armor) that would made cool figures, too). Dazzler also sported this costume in the X-Men: Pryde of the X-Men animated pilot and the awesome stand-up arcade game by Konami.

AND . . . I am NOT disappointed. This is a great figure. It’s one of those cases where it feels like the character was peeled right off the page. Marc Silvestri drew the bulk of that run, and they did him proud here. The only possible improvement, in my opinion, would have been the inclusion of an extra “finger-gun” hand. But man, did they get the little details right. The red band on the leg, the star on the other leg, the separate belt, the jacket, the headband, the fit of the gloves . . . those bits are all outstanding. I’ve also been increasingly happy with the hair work that the ML team is doing; their rendition of Dazzler’s do is no exception. This is superior work, and I can’t believe that we’ve gotten both classic renditions of Dazzler in such a short time.

Storm: Honesty time. I was bummed that this wasn’t First Appearance/Dave Cockrum-costume Storm. The line needs that figure. However, I understand this iteration of Storm was in big demand, and they did a bang-up job on her. The hair and face sculpts are the stand-outs, here. The cape is good; it can be a little difficult to pose the figure with the cape, considering the shoulder pieces, but those pieces are a necessary (and nice-looking) inclusion. The lightning effects are an obvious, but welcome, inclusion. This figure is a fine piece of work, but I was not its target audience.

Wolverine: Marvel Legends: Keeping Wolverine short! Yes! I love the continued emphasis on Wolverine’s diminutive stature. This is also a figure that’s been long-awaited by big portions of the fandom. It reflects that costume that Wolverine wore in his first ongoing solo series, right from the cover of the first issue. The angry/berserker face is inspired by that cover as well. It’s a nice-sculpt and definitely poseable, and it comes with extra non-clawed fists and a samurai sword. It’s also appropriate that we get this version in an assortment with . . .

Silver Samurai: I honestly can’t believe it’s taken this long to get to Silver Samurai in the Legends vertical, but I’ll take it. This guy’s got insanely detailed armor, a perfect in-character expression, and solid work on all the details from the helmet on down. I like that he’s big, but not excessive; he’s not Cull Obsidian-sized, after all. Silver Samurai first appeared in 1974, and for a few years he battled the likes of Spider-Man, Daredevil, Black Widow, and Shang-Chi. He and Viper ran up against the New Mutants in issue #5 and 6 or their original series before heading into the classic battle with Wolverine and Rogue in Uncanny X-Men #172-174. For that reason, I took some extra pics with Viper (Madame Hydra) and the appropriately-costumed Wolverine. This one looks good, kids. He’s a great addition to your gallery of X-villains.

Iceman: I think this Iceman is (don’t say it, don’t say it) pretty cool. I like the crystallization effects in the paint op, and the separation on the belt is nice. The ice-sled stand is a good piece. I’m not sure how much demand there was for Iceman after the recent previous version, but I suspect that there were a fair number of people that missed that one that now get a chance to own this one, and increased availability or repeat offerings are never a bad thing. I’m marking this one for display with my X-Factor subsection, which is also going to include . . .

Cyclops: In the land of awesome head sculpts, the new Cyke is royalty. Let’s roll back to the history a minute: this costume debuted on the cover of the original X-Factor #1, and it was also the costume used for the very first Cyclops figure from the original Toy Biz line of X-Men figures in the ‘90s. There was a previous ML variant of this outfit, but this new figure is The Stuff. Aside from just generally great sculpting and the classic “two-finger trigger gesture” on the left hand, it’s a strong representation. The best part, for me, would have to be the two heads and the optic blast accessory. The first head has a terrific “energy leak” feature, demonstrating the smolder that artists frequently depict as emanating from Cyke’s visor, post-blast. The second head is made to accommodate the insertion of the optic blast accessory into the visor, and it’s just great. Hasbro has really upped the game on power accessories in the past couple of years (Psylocke’s butterfly, the frequent magic/light/energy attachments, the lightning, etc.), but this is a champ. It literally looks like a Walt Simonson-drawn optic blast. As a big fan of Scott Summers, this figure is DEFINITELY made for me, and it is most welcome.

There you go, mutant-lovers. How do you feel about this wave? What’s your favorite? Tune in next week when we take a look at the X-Force wave that features the Wendigo Build-A-Figure. Thanks for reading!

Diamond Select Toys In Stores This Week: Batman, Dazzler, Godzilla and More!

This week, take a trip to your local comic shop to check out the new releases from Diamond Select Toys! Two new Gallery Dioramas, a Select action figure, a Vinimate vinyl figure, and two Gentle Giant Ltd. statues are now available, including characters from DC Comics, Marvel Comics and Godzilla himself!

DC Comic Gallery Deluxe Dark Knight Returns Batman & Robin PVC Diorama

A Diamond Select Toys release! The Dark Knight returns! As seen in the classic Frank Miller mini-series, an older Batman teaches the finer arts of slingshot usage to his newest Robin, Carrie Kelly. This 9-inch-scale Deluxe PVC Diorama measures approximately 8 inches tall, is made of high-grade plastic, and features detailed sculpting and paint details. It comes packaged in a full-color window box. Designed by Shawn Knapp, sculpted by Alterton! (Item #MAR192441, SRP: $69.99)

Godzilla Vinimates Vinyl Figures Series 1 – Godzilla 1954

A Diamond Select Toys release! The King of All Monsters is now the King of All Vinimates! Godzilla and Mechagodzilla headline the first series of 4” vinyl figures based on the classic Godzilla films! The black-and-white Godzilla of 1954 is the first to arrive, and it has an articulated neck and tail to customize its pose. It comes packaged in a full-color window box. Designed by Barry Bradfield! (Item #MAR192451, SRP: $9.99) COMING SOON: Godzilla 1999 (Item #MAR192452, SRP: $9.99), Mechagodzilla (Item #MAR192453, SRP: $9.99)

Marvel Comic Gallery Dazzler PVC Diorama

A Diamond Select Toys release! Disco never dies! The mutant Dazzler has had a number of looks over the years, but her most famous look is still her disco outfit from 1980. In her silver jumpsuit, the pop starlet has a microphone in one hand and her trademark light effect emanating from the other. And who can forget her roller skates and disco ball necklace? Measuring approximately 9 inches tall, this PVC diorama was sculpted by Alejandro Pereira based on a design by Uriel Caton. Packaged in a full-color window box. (Item #FEB192445, SRP: $49.99)

Marvel Select Psylocke Action Figure

A Diamond Select Toys release! You don’t have to be psychic to know that Marvel Select have been requesting a Psylocke action figure for a long time, and now DST has delivered! Joining the legion of X-Men Select figures, Psylocke measures approximately 7 inches tall and comes packaged in the display-ready Select packaging, with side-panel artwork for shelf reference. Sculpted by Gentle Giant Studios! (Item #FEB192448, SRP: $29.99)

FROM GENTLE GIANT LTD.

Marvel Wolverine ’74 Collector’s Gallery Statue

Gentle Giant Ltd. celebrates almost 45 years of Wolverine with the fourth statue in our popular Wolverine Collector’s Gallery series. The 1:8 scale Wolverine ‘74 Collector’s Gallery statue comes with real metal claws, an attitude of “being the best at what he does” and is inspired by the cover art for Old Man Logan Vol. 2 #21. This Collector’s Gallery statue comes on a black, hexagon base with the Wolverine logo, and can fit together alongside the other releases in the Wolverine statue line. The Wolverine ‘74 Collector’s Gallery Statue has been digitally sculpted and hand-painted by the amazing artisans of Gentle Giant Studios and each one comes hand-numbered with a certificate of authenticity. (Item #AUG182642, SRP: $159.99)

Marvel Cyclops Animated Statue

Cyclops is the 19th release in our popular Marvel animated statues and is based on the art from the variant comic book cover of Giant Size Little Marvel AvX issue #1. Cyclops is decked out in his blue and gold X-Men uniform with a cool reflective visor.  This adorable X-man is ready to take on your Magneto Marvel Animated Statue (sold separately) in a battle of cuteness! Each animated statue is hand-cast, hand-painted, and hand-numbered with a limited-edition Certificate of Authenticity. (Item #NOV182385, SRP: $64.99)

SDCC 2019: Diamond Select, Rocketeer, Endgame, DC and IT!

San Diego Comic-Con 2019 is upon us, and Diamond Select Toys has lots of new items out for display. Check out some of what has been revealed at this year’s show below.

Bruce Lee Gallery Smoke PVC Diorama

A Diamond Select Toys release! Bruce Lee is the man who has practiced one kick 10,000 times in this new gallery PVC Diorama from DST! Wearing his famous yellow tracksuit, launching a blistering kick with its very own smoke trail, this approximately 10-inch diorama is made of high-quality PVC and features detailed sculpting and paint applications. Packaged in a full-color window box. Designed by Nelson X. Asencio, sculpted by Rocco Tartamella. (Item #JUL192658, SRP: $49.99)

DC Comic Gallery Wonder Woman PVC Diorama

A Diamond Select Toys release! This Wonder Woman has us tongue-tied! The Amazonian warrior breaks out her golden lasso and a sword in this all-new PVC diorama from the DC Gallery line. Based on her comic-book appearance, this approximately 9-inch diorama is made of high-quality PVC and features detailed sculpting and paint applications. Packaged in a full-color window box Designed by Caesar, sculpted by Rocco Tartamella. (Item #JUL192663, SRP: $49.99)

DC TV Gallery Teen Titans Go Beast Boy PVC Diorama

A Diamond Select Toys release! The wise guy of the Teen Titans team is the newest PVC diorama in the DC Gallery line! Based on his appearance in Teen Titans Go!, this approximately 9-inch diorama is made of high-quality PVC and features detailed sculpting and paint applications. Packaged in a full-color window box Designed by Barry Bradfield, sculpted by Varner Studios. (Item #JUL192662, SRP: $49.99)

Godzilla Gallery King Ghidorah 1991 PVC Diorama

A Diamond Select Toys release! From the distant future, a new line of Gallery PVC Dioramas rises! Starring Godzilla, his allies and his enemies, each diorama features exacting sculptural and paint detail. The second offering features King Ghidorah in his 1991 appearance, from Godzilla vs. King Ghidorah, and measures approximately 10 inches tall. Connect it with Godzilla to form a larger diorama! Designed by Joe Allard, sculpted by Jorge Santos Souza. (Item JUL192661, SRP: $69.99)

Marvel Animated X-Men Cyclops Resin Mini-Bust

A Diamond Select Toys release! Scott Summers kicks of a new line of busts based on the classic X-Men animated series! Depicting Cyclops with a gleam in his visor and his fists at the ready, this approximately 6-inch resin bust is limited to only 3,000 pieces and comes packaged with a certificate of authenticity in a full-color box. Designed by Barry Bradfield, sculpted by Joe Menna. (Item # JUL192665, SRP: $59.99)

Marvel Comic Gallery Beast PVC Diorama

A Diamond Select Toys release! Welcome to the Danger Room! The bouncing blue Beast artfully dodges projectiles launched by the X-Men’s training facility in this dynamic new diorama in the Marvel Gallery line! This 10-inch diorama is made of high-quality PVC with detailed sculpting and paint applications, and comes packaged in a full-color window box. Designed by Caesar, sculpted by Sam Greenwell. (Item #JUL192666, SRP: $49.99

Marvel Comic Milestones Ghost Rider Resin Statue

A Diamond Select Toys release! Gaze into his penance stare! The original Spirit of Vengeance pulls off stunt worthy of the daredevil he is in this dynamic new statue from the Marvel Milestones collection! Seen as he swings a chain from the handlebars of his motorcycle, this approximately 15-inch resin statue is limited to only 1,000 numbered pieces and comes packaged with a certificate of authenticity in a full-color box. Designed by Nelson X. Asencio, sculpted by Mat Brouillard. (Item #JUL192672, SRP: $299.99)

Marvel Movie Gallery Avengers: Endgame War Machine PVC Diorama

A Diamond Select Toys release! From the ashes of Endgame, rises an all-new PVC Diorama for the Marvel Gallery line! James Rhodes in his War Machine armor levels an arm cannon at the forces of Thanos in this sculpture crafted in high-quality PVC, with detailed sculpting and paint applications. Packaged in a full-color window box. Sculpted by Gentle Giant Studios. (Item #JUL192668, SRP: $49.99)

Marvel Movie Gallery Avengers: Endgame Rescue PVC Diorama

A Diamond Select Toys release! With the Endgame behind us, here comes an all-new PVC Diorama for the Marvel Gallery line! Pepper Potts in her Rescue armor soars into action against the armies of Thanos in this sculpture crafted in high-quality PVC, with detailed sculpting and paint applications. Packaged in a full-color window box. Sculpted by Gentle Giant Studios. (Item # JUL192667, SRP: $49.99)

Marvel Movie Gallery Avengers: Endgame Captain America PVC Diorama

A Diamond Select Toys release! From the Ashes of Endgame, rises an all-new PVC Diorama for the Marvel Gallery line! A very worthy Captain America holds aloft Mjolnir in this sculpture crafted in high-quality PVC, with detailed sculpting and paint applications. Packaged in a full-color window box. Sculpted by Rocco Tartamella. (Item #JUL192669, SRP: $49.99)

Marvel Movie Collector Black Panther Resin Statue

A Diamond Select Toys release! The Black Panther strikes! Perched on a tree branch and prepared to pounce, this resin statue of the King of Wakanda is based on his film appearance. Packaged with a certificate of authenticity in a full-color box. Designed and sculpted by Gentle Giant Studios. (Item #JUL192671, SRP: $124.99)

Marvel Select Avengers Endgame Hulk Action Figure

A Diamond Select Toys release! Because you demanded it! The first Marvel Select action figure based on Avengers Endgame is none other than the heroic Hulk! Wearing his new outfit from the blockbuster film, this approximately 9-inch action figure features 16 points of articulation and interchangeable hands and fists. Packaged in display-ready Select action figure packaging with side-panel artwork for shelf reference. Sculpted by Gentle Giant Studios. (Item # JUL192664, SRP: $29.99)

Legends in 3D Marvel Movie Thor Ragnarok Hulk 1/2 Scale Bust

A Diamond Select Toys release! This bust burns like raging fire! Based on his appearance in Thor: Ragnarok, this resin bust of the Hulk is in 1/2 scale, and measures approximately 10 inches tall atop a movie-inspired base. Limited to only 1,000 pieces, it comes packaged with a numbered certificate of authenticity in a full-color box. Designed by Joe Allard, sculpted by Rocco Tartamella. (Item #JUL192670, SRP: $174.99)

Rocketeer Premier Collection Resin Statue

A Diamond Select Toys release! The Rocketeer returns! The retro, rocket-fueled superhero strikes a pose atop a building in this new Premier Collection resin statue! Based on his appearance in the classic Disney film, this approximately 11-inch statue is limited to only 3,000 numbered pieces and comes packaged with a certificate of authenticity in a full-color box. Designed by Joe Allard, sculpted by Rocco Tartamella. (Item # JUL192660, SRP: $150.00)

IT Chapter 2 D-Formz Pennywise Mini-Figures 2-Pack

A Diamond Select Toys release! Because two clowns are better than one! This two-pack of D-Formz mini-figures based on the new IT movie shows Pennywise the clown in his muddy human form as well as his monstrous demon form. The pair of mini-figures comes packaged in a full-color window box. Designed by Barry Bradfield, sculpted by Rocco Tartamella. (Item #JUL192659, SRP: $15.99)

Review: X-Men: Grand Design – X-Tinction #1

X-Men: Grand Design - X-Tinction #1

Cartoonist Ed Piskor wraps up the 1980s era of X-Men comics in the first chapter in the final installment of mutant magnum opus, X-Men: Grand Design – X-Tinction #1. On the first page, he picks a narrative through-line (The fate of baby Cable and his parent Scott Summers and Madelyne Pryor) and a Big Bad (Mr. Sinister) and then runs with it to an optic blasting, dimension hopping, ginger psychic battle finale. Along the way, he writes one badass Storm and synthesizes complicated X-Men concepts like the Siege Perilous, Roma, the Outback years, and the deal with Forge and the Goblin Queen into one action-packed, entertaining narrative.

X-Men Grand Design: X-Tinction #1 has all kinds of interdimensional and psychic events in it, and this gives Piskor an opportunity to diverge from his underground comics meets Paul Smith, early John Romita Jr, and Marc Silvestri (Any time the Reavers appear.) style and use cool techniques like “ghosting” his figures against a black ground. He first uses this when Kitty Pryde is stuck in her phase state, or when Storm is on a physical journey with Forge’s ally Naze to get her abilities back. It transports the reader to a world beyond the melodrama of superhero comics and uses the mutant powers to further the story or tell something about Storm, Cyclops, and Madelyne Pryor instead of just making the punching look cooler.

Speaking of punching, Ed Piskor does not neglect one of X-Men comics’ usual strengths: well-choreographed team fight sequences. And he uses those fights in an economical way pulling off a three panel sequence that some writers and artists would pad for half an issue. Other than his retelling of the classic hand to hand fight between Storm and Cyclops for the X-Men leadership, my favorite fight in X-Tinction is a three panel old school/new school fight when Archangel flies Iceman up to freeze some of the Goblin Queen’s goons and Colossus and Rogue punch them out. In a single panel and thanks to some big Jack Kirby poses, you know that Colossus and Rogue are the team powerhouses while Archangel and Iceman rely more on strategy and subterfuge in a callback to the fights in the first volume of Grand Design.

The only real weakness I could find in X-Men: Grand Design – X-Tinction #1 is toward the end of the issue. Up to this point, Piskor is easily juggling the Storm and Madelyne Pryor/baby Cable subplots and crafting a downward spiral for the X-Men as their team’s strength is diminished by the Marauders and the Mutant Massacre. This leads into the Outback years, the big Madelyne Pryor reveal, and after some psychic foreshadowing: the return of Jean Grey. However, Piskor immediately throws the original five X-Men into the narrative without mentioning X-Factor or establishing their return. It makes for a cool team-up sequence, but muddies the narrative a little bit.

However, Piskor does redeem himself with a funny final couple pages where the different X-Men basically ask each other, “What the hell is going on?” Like Arcade, Ed Piskor has set up a death trap of continuity mimicking the increasing density of the X-Books with multiple titles and crossovers in the late 1980s, and it looks like he will use X-Tinction #2 to get our heroes, er, readers out of it. Even if the different characters’ backstories are a little opaque and it’s hard to keep track of a growing cast of characters, Piskor’s storytelling is always smooth with clear narration and bright eyed artwork.

Ed Piskor’s X-Men: Grand Design – X-Tinction #1 is an achievement in focus as he chooses not one, but two characters with convoluted backstories (Cable, Madelyne Pryor) to be the anchor point of his exploration into late 1980s X-Men comics. For all the cool digressions and sizzling subplots, Piskor rides the momentum of this mother/father/child/ex-girlfriend/creepy scientist guy melodrama from page 1 to page 40 and even plays telekinetic baby keep away along the way. Like Renaissance painters who would find their own story out of a complex tapestry of Biblical stories and classical mythology, Ed Piskor turns the “X-Overs” of the late 80s into a powerful family drama that happens to involve eye beams and psychic powers.

Story/Art/Letters: Ed Piskor
Story: 8.0 Art: 9.2 Overall: 8.6 Recommendation: Read

Marvel Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Messages from Midgard #5: Cyclops Was Right

Halfway through the “War of the Realms“, and it looks like this is gonna be an event where the tie-ins were more memorable than the core story. War of the Realms #3 dropped this week, and it’s a treat to see Russell Dauterman draw, basically, the entire Marvel Universe including the Fantastic Four and Captain America’s cute little snow jacket for adventuring in Jotunheim. But, it’s just trailers for better, more interesting comics like Bryan Hill and Leinil Yu’s very longwindedly named War of the Realms Strikeforce: Dark Elf Realm #1 and Champions #5 where Jim Zub and Juanan Ramirez once and for all prove that, indeed, Cyclops was right. (But Ramirez’s trolls look like Skrulls, oops.)

War of the Realms #3

After two straight issues of various Marvel superheroes fighting various fantasy creatures, we get yet another issue of Marvel superheroes fighting various fantasy creatures. Sights that Jason Aaron, Russell Dauterman, and Matthew Wilson subject us to include Daredevil tripping balls and flirting with being an agnostic while having the power of the god of fear, Luke Cage riding a flying horse, Punisher wanting to blow up Ghost Rider’s car, and of course, Thor covered in blue Frost Giant blood. And there are jokes; so many jokes. However, with the exception of the Thor becoming a berserker part and a Venom plot point, the comic feels like a trailer for other comics, namely, the Strikeforce series of one-shots.

Jason Aaron did a fantastic job writing Daredevil in War Scrolls #1, and I was excited to see how he set up the Man without Fear’s transformation. Boy, was I disappointed. Heimdall makes a quip about about creeping on Daredevil while he was on Earth, there’s another joke about Catholicism, and then Daredevil is the God of Fear and defender of the BiFrost. The page where he gains godhood is very trippy with a Dippin’ Dots color palette from Wilson though even if his role is basically Asgardian Scotty from Star Trek until the BiFrost has to be destroyed for plot reasons.

This past weekend, Avengers Endgame showed that spectacular action could be combined with both continuity fun and character arcs. However, War of the Realms #3 is mostly just the spectacular action part with Aaron and Dauterman just moving pieces on the board. Sure, the comic looks cool, and there are some actually funny jokes (Spider-Man’s line about fighting with a shield). But it’s all fights and no substance or emotional tether even with Freya, who is written much better in the Dark Elf Realm one-shot. I also have some little quibbles with it like Captain America and Spider-Man being cool with animal cruelty, and Aaron’s portrayal of Venom not fitting in with Cullen Bunn and Iban Coello’s story for him. War of the Realms #3 is just a skeleton to be filled in with “meat” from its tie-ins so it gets the Overall Verdict of Pass.

War of the Realms Strikeforce: Dark Elf Realm #1

I thought this was going to be yet another Punisher fights Elves shoot ’em up fest. I was happy to be proven wrong as Bryan Hill proves the old Brian Bendis saying that conversations can be fight scenes, and Leinil Yu, Gerry Alanguilan, and Matt Hollingsworth bring grit and shadow to the art of War of the Realms Strikeforce: Dark Elf Realm #1. Basically, this shows how Freyja recruited Punisher, Hulk, Ghost Rider, and Blade to destroy and then defend the Black Bifrost adding context, depth, and resolution to the fight in War of the Realms #3. Along the way, Hill and Yu create some parallels between these heroes (and one not quite hero) and the Black Bifrost itself as they and Freyja embrace their shadow selves to get the job done.

In the space of a single one-shot, Bryan Hill, Leinil Yu, Gerry Alanguilan, and Matt Hollingsworth create some fantastic chemistry between the Punisher and Freyja. Freyja is afraid that she has to dip into the dark, sorcerous side of herself to defeat Malekith so she enlists a man who has been consumed by darkness and revenge to help her. Yu goes very stylized with Frank’s first appearance and in other scenes shrouding him in shadow as he has come to terms that he’s a monster fighting monsters.

This insight extends to the characterization of Jennifer Walters, Ghost Rider, and Blade as they fight their worst fears in powerful one page sequences that involves Jen punching Bruce’s Hulk in the heart, Ghost Rider headbutting Johnny Blaze while he tries to do a Penance Stare, and Blade fighting his older self, a vampire king. Yu uses close ups to give each final blow maximum effect and establishes that even though three of these characters are Avengers, they’re not afraid to act like a black ops team on this mission. But maybe Freyja isn’t ready, which is Frank comes in and talks about how they’re at war and must do everything to get victory.

Bryan Hill makes multiple cases for why he should take over a Punisher or Blade ongoing comic, or even a dark series set in Asgard as that realm (As shown in Aaron and Fraction’s Thor work and the Thor Ragnarok film.) was built on violence and war. He, Yu, Alanguilan, and Hollingsworth serve up dark, fascinating visions of characters (Except for Freyja.)who have been treated like jokes or action figures in the core War of the Realms series so Dark Elf Realm #1 earns an overall verdict of Buy.

Champions #5

Jim Zub and Juanan Ramirez finally give Cyclops the respect he deserves in Champions #5 where he takes a break from the X-Men to defend New York with his younger self’s old superhero team, the Champions. Along the way, Miles Morales and Kamala Khan deal with the guilt of letting someone die on his watch and seeing friends and teammates drift away respectively. It’s an issue that is part introspective and part cartoon-y art from Ramirez as Cyclops and Kamala showcase their tactical skills and fight trolls of the non-Internet variety.

Through Kamala’s narration and with the help of Ramirez’s kinetic fight choreography and confident poses, Jim Zub shows that Cyclops isn’t just a stoic stiff or mutant terrorist, but a great leader, who is cool under pressure. Also, with the tension of the Champions and their shifting and expanding lineup, Kamala needed a hug and a reassurance from an old friend. Zub and Ramirez also use the return of Cyclops to have him interact with Dust, who decided to not rejoin the X-Men because their predilection for violence wasn’t in line with her Islamic beliefs. For example, after a badass sequence where she uses her sand manipulation powers to choke out some trolls, Dust prays and tries to come to grips if her violent actions were necessary for the situation. Also, correct me if I’m wrong, but I think that this lineup of the Champions is the first time that two Muslim women have been on a superhero team.

Under Jim Zub’s shepherding, the Champions series has been a template for a modern team of young superheroes with its diverse lineup of characters, social conscience, fun team-up action, and plots that come out of the team’s interpersonal relationships. Yeah, the series is a bit soapy at times, but Champions #5 ably juggles a big lineup of characters while getting in the action beats and doing some soul searching with Miles and Kamala. On top of that, Zub’s work on Avengers No Surrender and No Road Home has served him well in using big events and continuity to tell compelling stories like understanding that the X-Men are in New York at the same time as the Champions and using it to put a little respect on Cyclops’ name. For that, Champions #5 easily gets an Overall Verdict of Buy.


Unless Jason Aaron and Russell Dauterman make some second half adjustments, War of the Realms might go down as that event where different Marvel superheroes had cool fantasy inflected designed and had some big battles, but it was mostly empty calories of story. Aaron does hit on some small beats like Jane Foster growing into her role of All-Mother and leading the Asgardians into battle despite having no powers and Thor’s violence addiction. The event has also been an okay frame for more perceptive intriguing stories featuring characters Freyja, Frank Castle, Kamala Khan, Blade, Dust, and surprise surprise, Cyclops!

Panel of the Week

Nothing more refreshing than Cyclops leading a team of superheroes into battle. Plus I love how Juanan Ramirez draws his classic costume. From Champions #5, Art by Ramirez and Marco Menyz.

The One:12 Collective Cyclops is Available for Pre-Order

The One:12 Collective Cyclops features a light-up optic power function that illuminates his signature ruby-quartz visor, containing the uncontrollable energy blasts from his eyes. The born leader and gifted hero is outfitted in an aramid fiber x-suit with a utility belt and harness, and a removable leather-like jacket. Cyclops comes complete with a range of visor effects that light up when affixed to either head portrait, reflecting his devastating mutant abilities.

Scott Summer’s mutant power first erupted from his eyes as an uncontrollable blast of optic force. Rescued by Professor Xavier, he was recruited as the first member of the X-Men – a team of young mutants who trained to use their powers for the good of mutants, humans, and equality.

THE ONE:12 COLLECTIVE CYCLOPS FIGURE FEATURES:

  • One:12 Collective body with over 28 points of articulation
  • Two (2) head portraits
  • Hand painted authentic detailing
  • Approximately 17cm tall
  • Six (6) interchangeable hands
    • One (1) pair of fists (L&R)
    • One (1) pair of posing hands (L&R)
    • One (1) combat hand (R)
    • One (1) visor activation hand (L)

COSTUME:

  • X-Men issued mission suit
  • Utility belt with harness
  • Combat gloves
  • Leather-like biker jacket with functional zipper
  • Tactical boots

ACCESSORIES:

  • Four (4) visors
    • Standard visor
    • Smoking SFX visor
    • Optic blast SFX visor
    • Mega optic blast SFX visor
  • One (1) One:12 Collective display base with logo
  • One (1) One:12 Collective adjustable display post

Each One:12 Collective Cyclops figure is packaged in a collector friendly box, designed with collectors in mind. You can pre-order the figure now from Mezco Toyz, Entertainment Earth, and more.

Review: X-Men Grand Design- Second Genesis #1

X-MEN GRAND DESIGN SECOND GENESIS #1 (OF 2)Cartoonist Ed Piskor leaves the Silver Age and enters the Chris Claremont, Dave Cockrum, and John Byrne era in X-Men Grand Design: Second Genesis #1 retelling the story of the X-Men from Cyclops and Professor X’s assembly of the “All-New, All-Different” team of Storm, Wolverine, Colossus, Nightcrawler, Thunderbird, and Sunfire to rescue the original X-Men from the mutant island Krakoa to the conclusion of the classic “Dark Phoenix Saga”. The comic’s biggest strength is Piskor’s meticulous attention to craft including panel layouts and lengths, color choices, and lettering. With so much material to cover, there are no wasted beats in his storytelling, no filler. This does harm its emotional resonance which pales in comparison to Claremont’s original saga that partially worked because the longform storytelling created a connection between readers and characters and developed various relationships in more depth, like Wolverine and Nightcrawler, Jean Grey and Cyclops, and Professor X and Lilandra to name a few in this time period.

However, for the most part, Second Genesis #1 is beautiful, yet streamlined take on one of the most important pop culture icons from a talented writer/artist. Even though there are appearance from various secondary foes and antagonists and even mentions of and cameos from heavy hitters like Magneto and Galactus, Piskor establishes from page one that the Hellfire Club will be the chief opponent of the X-Men in Second Genesis while continuing the larger Ur-narrative of the Phoenix that he hinted at in the first volume of X-Men Grand Design. And the force or character that these two powers rotate around is Jean Grey and later the Phoenix force taking on the appearance of Jean Grey as Piskor agilely summarizes the retcon that allowed for Jean Grey’s “ressurection” and absolving of a murder of planets in a sequence of dark panels that show her go from a powerful mutant to almost a fetus. He even shows his horror chops in his recreation of the famous scene in the “Phoenix Saga” where Jean absorbs radiation and crash lands the X-Men team after they rescue Professor X from mutant hater and experimenter Stephen Lang. A classic countdown sequence combined with some shocked facial expressions builds the suspense that culminates in a firebird rising from Jamaica Bay.

Although Second Genesis #1 is much more plot-driven, and the best X-Men stories I would argue are more character driven (And Claremont managed to cram a lot of plots in too.), Ed Piskor still takes care to flesh out the individual X-Men’s flaws, personality traits, and memorable moments. There’s a baseball game with Nightcrawler playing catcher, early in the book, Colossus and Wolverine link up in a trademark fastball special, and there’s even a panel with Storm’s claustrophobia. Piskor writes and draws Kitty Pryde as plucky and ingenious without being annoying and accidentally saving the X-Men with her phasing ability as Claremont and Byrne were trying to finish off their great epic while also introducing an actual student for the Xavier institute per editorial mandate. She adds bursts of joy and energy between the shadow and flame of Dark Phoenix and whited out psychic duels between Mastermind and Cyclops. The Phoenix and Hellfire Club predominantly take center stage while Professor X’s deal with Lilandra and Shi’ar runs off to the side, and even though some of my favorite X-Men were on this incarnation of the team, they lack a strong identity unlike the original five plus Havok and Polaris in X-Men Grand Design.

Don’t get me wrong. For all its flaws in the characterization department (For example, Piskor puts Professor X and Cyclops at a graveyard at the top of the page, and Thunderbird’s death at the bottom and barely hints at his headstrong nature.) and lack of focus on the Jean/Scott dynamic when Jean is at the center of the story, Second Genesis #1 is the rare mainstream comic created auteur style by a single creator. Ed Piskor gives the subplot heavy, soap operatic narrative of the X-Men a strong thread to follow and lets his nostalgia and love for the source material shine on every page. His art style is retro without being simplistic, and there is a kind of minimalism to his use of captions and dialogue, especially compared to the overwrought style of Claremont. In fact, his strongest emotional beats involve few words at all like Jean and Scott spending one last night in bed before the X-Men’s honor duel against the Shi’ar, and he punctuates these emotional crescendos with the use of black and white instead of the colorful costumes, spaceships, and energy bursts that permeate this book and the X-Men canon as a whole.

Even if it focuses more on singular narrative building than the growth of one of superhero comics’ greatest ensemble casts, X-Men Grand Design: Second Genesis #1 is a wonderful example of the cyclical nature of myth as Ed Piskor filters the beginning of Chris Claremont’s run on X-Men through a lean, visually striking storyteller’s lens or his childhood fantasies through a steadier, yet no less energetic hand. I’d probably rather reread the “Dark Phoenix Saga” though.

Story/Art/Letters: Ed Piskor
Story: 7.2 Art: 9.0 Overall: 7.6 Recommendation: Read

Marvel Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

The X-Men Join Marvel Future Fight

Netmarble Games Corp. has released a new update for its hit action role-playing game Marvel Future Fight welcoming six of the most popular mutant heroes known as The X-MenCyclops, Jean Grey, Rogue, Storm, Beast, and Wolverine – and also their infamous enemy Magneto, the Master of Magnetism. Taking on the role of Wolverine, players will fight their way through a new Epic Quest, becoming increasingly powerful until the last quest is completed, at which point they unlock Cyclops, Storm, Beast, and Rogue. This update also introduces new growth materials, such as X-genes, M’kraan Shards, M’kraan Crystals, and Phoenix Feathers that will help these mutant characters grow stronger.

In addition to the X-Men, two new uniforms are also being added for other characters in Marvel Future Fight: A royal suit uniform for the Inhuman known as Crystal and a special unmasked uniform for the fan-favorite Gwenpool.

This update also brings improvements to the Daily Missions format to include chapters instead of stages, allowing players to select from the various chapters to play for certain rewards in order to obtain materials needed. There is also a new system in place called the Contents Status Board that will allow players to check on the status at the main lobby for all the contents that have daily limits at once.

The full list of characters joining Marvel Future Fight today includes:

  • Cyclops – The leader of the X-Men, who can shoot powerful energy from his eyes.
  • Jean Grey – A founding member of the X-Men with great telepathic powers who can also transform into the cosmic being known as the Phoenix.
  • Wolverine – One of the most famous X-Men, who has an advanced healing factor, adamantium-laced skeleton and retractable claws.
  • Storm – One of the most powerful, noble and respected members of the X-Men, who can control nature itself.
  • Beast –While he may look like a bouncing blue monster, Hank McCoy possesses a brilliant mind and a love of science.
  • Rogue – Evolving from an enemy of the X-Men to one of their most valued members, Rogue can fly, is super strong, and can absorb the powers of anyone she touches.
  • Magneto – While Magneto – who has the ability to control magnetic fields — fights for the survival of all mutants, his misguided actions have made him the most feared foe and #1 archenemy of the X-Men.

Marvel Future Fight is available worldwide in the App Store and Google Play.

Order X-Men Marvel Legends 6-Inch Action Figures Wave 2 Now

The X-Men Marvel Legends 6-Inch Action Figures Wave 2 brings your mutant favorites to life in a stunning 6-inch scale action figure form. Each figure includes awesome accessories and amazing detail, plus a build-a-figure piece of Warlock. Ages 4 and up.

Case features 8 individually packaged action figures, including:

2x Wolverine
1x Marvel’s Cyclops
1x Dazzler
1x Marvel’s Sunfire
1x Marvel’s Polaris
1x Marvel’s Colossus
1x Shatterstar

Order your case now to get every figure!

 

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