Posts Tagged ‘Beast


Classic EBI #101: Costume Party

To my surprise, part of our Maine trip last weekend included a quick trip to a small-town comic shop, prompting me to write today’s EBI about one of the greatest things in the world of a geek: the comic book Bargain Bin.

Everything But Imaginary #408: The Beauty of a Bargain Bin

Heading back to 2005, though, in the days after New Orleans’ annual Bacchanalia known as Mardi Gras, I wrote about something that I liked about Mardi Gras as a child — costumes… and about what makes a great superhero costume.

Everything But Imaginary #101: Costume Party

Yesterday, friends, was Mardi Gras, Fat Tuesday, in the city of New Orleans, a day made up of revelry, frivolity, debauchery and lots and lots of alcohol. Not really my kind of day to be honest. Any interest I ever had in Mardi Gras died off when I was in my high school marching band, playing the trombone in parades, listening to people on the parade route shout outrageously clever things like “Only 50 more miles!”

I hated those people.

One thing I did like about Mardi Gras, once upon a time, were the costumes. People don’t dress up as much as they used to, but when I was a kid Mardi Gras was a mini-Halloween, an excuse to put on masks, wigs, capes or makeup. The best costume I ever had, in fact, was a Captain America costume my mother made, complete with a cardboard shield that I painted myself.

Thinking about this made me realize that Captain America really does, in fact, have one of the most effective superhero costumes there is. A superhero costume shouldn’t be about giant shoulder pads, whips, chains or trenchcoats. It should, instead, convey who the character is and what he does. The test of a superhero costume would be taking someone who has never seen him before and asking them to pick him out of a lineup based just on the name.

This is what makes Cap’s costume so great – it’s simple. It’s red, white and blue. It’s got your stars and your stripes, eagle’s wings, a distinct soldierly look to the design and, just in case you still haven’t picked up on it, a great big letter “A.” Anyone could be given a pin-up of the Avengers and a list of their names and immediately be able to match which one is Captain America.

Let’s compare this to one of my favorite whipping boys, Gambit. What does he wear? A purple and blue jumpsuit under a trenchcoat. It says nothing about his name, which in turn, says nothing about his powers (the ability to make stuff blow up, in case you forgot). Nobody looking at the X-Men could figure out which one was Gambit without a nametag.

Not many of the X-Men have very distinctive costumes, by that account. Iceman is covered in ice, so that’s a plus, and Archangel’s wings are a giveaway. Cyclops’ visor gives him that one-eye look. Hank McCoy definitely looks like the Beast he is, but then again, that name could also be suggested for Nightcrawler or even the Juggernaut. And what about Storm, Shadowcat, Marvel Girl, Havok or Rogue?

Wolverine does have something of a feral, animalistic look to him. His best costume ever, by this definition, was probably the brown-and-orange he wore for some time in the 80s and 90s. The other uniforms, although similar in cut, are blue and yellow, which only suggests a wolverine to a Michigan State fan.

You have these problems whenever your character has names and powers that don’t quite mesh. What does Justice do? He’s a telekinetic. Which has nothing to do with justice. So he wears a fairly generic blue and white outfit. Spawn? He has some sort of ill-defined magical powers, and a look that has absolutely nothing to do with his name. He’s a poster child for a character with a costume that the creator would just think looked cool, without any thought to functionality, practicality or recognizability.

Some characters are halfway there. The Atom has a tiny little atom symbol on his forehead, but you can’t see that from a distance, and his costume is a standard red and blue. Unless the picture of him has him standing next to something else gigantic by contrast, letting you know he’s someone who can shrink to a tiny size, you may not be able to pick it out. The Punisher wears black with a big white skull on his chest. Yeah, that could potentially signify punishment. Or it would make someone think of Deathstroke, Deathlok or Deadman. Cyborg is covered with cybernetic parts – half-man, half machine. A cyborg. Or maybe Machine Man. Or Robotman.

You see the problem here?

Most of the really iconic superheroes have really iconic costume designs. Look at the Flash – although several characters have used that name, they’ve all worn red and sported a good old-fashioned lightning bolt motif. Lightning, of course, denotes speed, and red is a very fast color. Green Lantern works too – any Green Lantern costume. They all feature the only two things you need for that costume design to work: green is a main color and there’s an image of a lantern. Bam. That simple. Even the golden age Green Lantern, whose costume has a lot of red and purple in it, has a drawing of a green lantern on his chest – a much more lifelife drawing, by the way, than the later GLs had.

Color is a bonus for a lot of characters. Green Arrow? Well, if the Robin Hood motif wasn’t enough to tip you off, the color green would do it. Blue Beetle wears a blue costume with patterns and big golden eyes that suggest an insect. Simple. Red Tornado wears all red, plus he’s got a great big “T” on his chest.

Initials, of course, are another time-honored method of identification, particularly for characters with less distinctive powers. Superman and Wonder Woman are two of the most recognized comic book characters in the world, but their powers don’t really have anything to do with their names – strength, speed, flight, durability, etc. Basically, they can both do it all, which is what makes them super and wonderful, respectively. But since it’s hard to design a costume that says “this dude can do anything,” they wear costumes that look bold, proud and majestic. Bright colors, inspiring, classic designs… and on their chests, an “S” and a “W.” So if you’re looking at the lineup of the Justice League, you’ll guess Superman is the guy wearing the “S” and Wonder Woman is the one with the “W” – although she should be easier to pick out since she’s frequently the only active female member of the team.

The initials also help out Daredevil, but he doesn’t need them as badly as Clark and Diana. Aside from the “DD” symbol, he wears all red, just like a devil, and even has two little horns. He’s had other costumes – a yellow one and one that was mostly black – but neither of them worked nearly as well as the classic red.

Then of course, you’ve got the best costumes of all, the ones for heroes with a definite gimmick and a definite look to go along with it. Batman, for instance. He doesn’t have any powers, but he dresses up like a giant bat to scare crooks. So he has a dark costume with pointed ears and a giant, sweeping cape that comes to points like the wings of a bat – plus a picture of a bat on his chest. He looks like a bat-man. It’s an incredibly simple design, and it works perfectly.

And this finally brings us to what many people say is the best costume in comics, and I wouldn’t be inclined to argue – Spider-Man. How did he get his powers? Bitten by a radioactive spider. What does he do? Well, according to the song, “whatever a spider can.” So he wears a big spider on his chest, a bigger one on his back and covers the rest of the ensemble in spiderwebs. Magnifico.

All of the major characters – at least the ones known to the general public – have those kinds of simple designs, the ones that grab you, the ones that let you know at a glance what the character does. So comic creators and fans take note – if you want your superheroes to hit the big time some day, keep these rules in mind. Play it smart.

Leave the chains at home.

FAVORITE OF THE WEEK: February 2, 2005

This isn’t the first time I’ve given a “Favorite of the Week” nod to DC Comics’ The Monolith, but I’m sad to say it looks like it’ll be the last. Issue #12, which came out last week, was the final issue of this fantastic comic book about a young girl who inherits a house with a secret in the basement – a giant stone golem. This last issue doesn’t end the story of Alice, her best friend Tilt and the mystical protector they found, but it does bring it to a great resting point. The last line of the issue is one of the most profoundly heartfelt of the series. If you never read this title, go out and find the back issues, then write to DC and make your voice heard. Runaways got a new lease on life due to fan response – there’s no reason it couldn’t happen for this incredibly worthy series as well.

Blake M. Petit is the author of the superhero comedy novel, Other People’s Heroes, the suspense novel The Beginner and the Christmas-themed eBook A Long November. He’s also the co-host, with whoever the hell is available that week, of the 2 in 1 Showcase Podcast. E-mail him at and visit him on the web at Evertime Realms. Read past columns at the Everything But Imaginary Archive Page.


Classic EBI #89: Sigils at the House of Mouse

And once again, friends, it’s Wednesday. Time for an all-new Everything But Imaginary column! This week, I look at the impact of long-term storytelling, how it can work well, and what sins a writer may commit that loses his audience prematurely.

Everything But Imaginary #396: Gratification in an Instant

But getting into the Wayback machine, we’re looking at my column from November 17, 2004, a column about a topic that’s only really become significant in the last month or so… the story of how the Walt Disney company bought the defunct CrossGen Comics. It didn’t have much of an impact then, but now that Disney also owns Marvel, we’re finally seeing motion on the old CrossGen properties. Let’s see what I said about this way back then, shall we?

Everything But Imaginary #89: Sigils at the House of Mouse

Well gang, as you all know unless you have been living under a rock, in a cave, or simply don’t pay attention to such things, the news that the Walt Disney Corporation and Shadow Government has acquired the properties of the former CrossGen Comics has finally caught a little fire. More so than that, Disney’s DPW productions, the arm of the company that is apparently in charge of such things, has announced that the first project under this banner will be the resurrection of CrossGen’s brilliant fantasy comic Abadazad. [2011 note: This resurrection was, sadly, short-lived.]

Now this is both good news and bad news. I’ll do the good first. Disney is one of the largest media and entertainment companies in the world. Their characters are internationally famous. Even when one of their movies flops, just about everyone hears about it. (C’mon, you know you all saw the ads for Home on the Range, even though only about three of you saw it.)

Having that kind of backing behind a comic book company could be a great thing if it was utilized properly. I’d love to see the long-promised Meridian movie or see The Crossovers as a weekly TV show. Could you imagine Sojourn put on the big screen with the same production values as The Lord of the Rings or Route 666 given the same respect as The Sixth Sense? Heck, I’d even dig going to the theme park to take a plunge on “Po Po the Monkey’s Wild Ride.”

Unfortunately, just because a major media company owns a comic book company doesn’t mean it’ll get that kind of push. You know who owns DC Comics, right? Time/Warner. Now this has resulted in a few good projects — Batman: The Animated Series and Justice League Unlimited, and even cool stuff like Batman: The Escape and other Six Flags attractions (Six Flags being the theme park chain Time/Warner owns).

Heck, do you think if it weren’t for this sort of corporate synergy we ever would have gotten the decades-in-coming Superman/Bugs Bunny crossover?

But these things, unfortunately, are the exceptions that prove the rule.

Time/Warner as a whole treats DC Comics like a redheaded stepchild. Despite having the most recognizable comic book characters on the planet, they shunt the company aside and try to milk the characters for all they’re worth instead of treating them with respect. As a result we get crappy movies like Catwoman, Steel and certain bat-films so atrocious I dare not even speak their names. (And I can’t speak for any other park, but the Batman stunt show at Six Flags New Orleans is flat-out terrible.)

That’s the whole problem with DC movies over the past decade and a half — there’s no competition with any other studio, so there’s no incentive to make a fantastic movie or lose the license. If Spider-Man had tanked, Marvel Comics could have blamed Columbia Pictures, not renewed the license and taken it to another studio to try again. But Catwoman stays at Warner Brothers no matter how bad the movie is. The closest thing we’ve got to an escape on the horizon is the news that a potential Shazam! movie may be made by New Line Cinema instead of Warner Brothers… but New Line is still a subsidiary of — anyone wanna guess? You in the back wearing the Def Leppard t-shirt and the polka-dotted bow-tie? Thaaaaat’s right. Time/Warner.

Folks at DC have often admitted, candidly, that if Warner Brothers could trash the entire comic book operation but still keep the characters viable, they would.

Now one has to assume that Disney wouldn’t do such a thing to CrossGen, at least not any time soon, or they wouldn’t have bought the assets in the first place, but the fact is, we’ve still got to keep a clear head about this. It’s possible.

Then there’s the other question. Disney has its hands in almost every form of entertainment — movies, TV, theme parks, book, music… but can they run a comic book company? Well, the answer last time… is no.

I hear you folks yelling now. “But Blake! I see Disney comics all the time! You yourself talk about Carl Barks and Uncle Scrooge more often than normal guys talk about bikini models and football! How can you say Disney can’t run a comic book company?”

Well, because Disney doesn’t publish any of those comics.

Back in the 40s and 50s, there was a little comic book company called Dell. You may have heard of it. Dell published an awful lot of comics, and a vast number of them were licensed comics. Back then, nearly every TV show, movie and newspaper strip had a comic to go with it. Dell published Looney Tunes, Peanuts, Lassie, The Lone Ranger, Tarzan, Leave it to Beaver, I Love Lucy and — oh yeah — Disney Comics. But Dell eventually faded away and the Disney license, along with many others, wound up at Western Publishing, which produced the comics first under the Gold Key imprint and later under the Whitman imprint. Then Gold Key went away as well and the Disney license was lost for a while until Gladstone Comics was formed in the 80s. (Gladstone was even named after Donald Duck’s lucky cousin.) Gladstone was immensely successful with rejuvenating the Disney line. So successful, in fact, that in the early 90s, Disney decided to take a crack at doing the comics themselves.

They revoked the license from Gladstone and started publishing their own comics, continuing classics like Mickey Mouse, Uncle Scrooge and Walt Disney’s Comics and Stories, and adding in titles for the hot properties of the time like Roger Rabbit, Darkwing Duck and Tailspin.

But Disney, which was so successful at everything else, didn’t seem to have the passion for comics to keep the company going. Disney’s first issue of Uncle Scrooge was #243. Their last was #280, then they gave up the ship and Gladstone took over the license again. Gladstone had a good run of a few more years, but then they closed up shop too in 1999. Then, horror of horrors, there were no Disney comics available in the U.S. until just last year, when Gemstone Comics took up the license and brought them back.

So what will be different about Disney trying to publish comics this time?

Well, for starters, the press release said the new Abadazad comics will be under their Hyperion imprint, which typically publishes prose books (including children’s fantasy like Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson’s recent book Peter and the Starcatchers, an excellent prequel to J.M. Barrie’s Peter Pan). They also said that four Abadazad books are initially planned. This would seem to indicate that they aren’t going to get into the business of trying to publish monthly comics again, but instead will most likely print books. Whether they’ll be hardcover or paperback, standard size or digest, I don’t know, but printing and marketing books is what Hyperion is good at, so that means there’s a fighting chance. The most important thing, I think, is to make sure they keep writer J.M. DeMatteis and artist Mike Ploog, who created the title and own a portion of the copyright. This book is their baby, and they did a marvelous job on the three issues that actually saw print before CrossGen closed up shop.

And the rest of the CrossGen properties?

Well… time will tell. But when Abadazad comes out, give it a read, okay? Especially if you’ve got kids. It’s the best fantasy comic you could ever give to them.

And if anyone at Disney is reading this… please… could you maybe publish the end of Negation War?

FAVORITE OF THE WEEK: November 10, 2004

This week’s favorite was actually a tighter race than you might think, folks. Ultimately, Identity Crisis #6 did win out, because the conclusion of that book still has me reeling, and any comic that still so occupies my thoughts a week later is deserving of special recognition.

But since IC gets the glory all the time anyway, I’m also going to give a shout out to Avengers Finale. While I thought the conclusion of the Avengers Disassembled storyline kind of petered out and disappointed with the revelation of the big villain of the piece, this finale was spot-on perfect. It was an excellent examination of the team, the characters, the history and the legacy of Marvel’s major supergroup. Plus it had the Beast in it a lot, and I always liked him as an Avenger. Hey, Bendis, any chance we could maybe sneak him into New Avengers instead of Wolverine?

Blake M. Petit is the author of the superhero comedy novel, Other People’s Heroes, the suspense novel The Beginner and the Christmas-themed eBook A Long November. He’s also the co-host, with whoever the hell is available that week, of the 2 in 1 Showcase Podcast and the weekly audio fiction podcast Blake M. Petit’s Evercast. E-mail him at and visit him on the web at Evertime Realms. Read past columns at the Everything But Imaginary Archive Page, and check out his new experiment in serial fiction at Tales of the Curtain.


Classic EBI #70: Where Credit is Due

It’s the end of the year, friends, and in this week’s new Everything But Imaginary, I’m casting my eyes back to the best of 2010. The best comic books, movies, TV shows, and prose novels of the year are all in my head, and I’m giving you my picks!

Everything But Imaginary #380: The Best of 2010

But let’s travel back in time now, friends, to July 7, 2004, a couple of weeks after I ticked everybody off by talking about characters that I thought were overrated. To balance the scales, this week I discussed characters that don’t get the respect they deserve…

Everything But Imaginary #70: Where Credit is Due

Where credit is due

Blake’s Universal Rules of the Universe #42: If you want to get people screaming at each other on a comic book site, say something bad about Magneto.

For those of you who came in late, a couple of weeks ago I did a column about comic book characters that, in my own humble opinion, which of course is right, get way more credit than they deserve. The hackneyed, the overused, the unjustly worshiped. I expected people to get fired up about this. I did not expect a 19-page diatribe on morality spurred by a few people trying to justify genocide by saying a killer is really a sweet, cuddly teddy bear.

This week, friends, we’re going to take the opposite approach. I’m going to talk about characters who have been around for a long time, but who aren’t as respected or looked up to as they deserve to be. Now before anyone starts talking about who can beat these guys in a fight, my argument has nothing to do with that. Power levels are irrelevant. I’m talking about good, enjoyable characters that can be milked for great stories, but just aren’t held in the same regard as some of their lesser peers. I’m talking about giving some credit where credit is due.

And we’re starting with one of my personal favorites that everyone else turns up their noses at — Captain Marvel. And no, I don’t mean Genis — frankly, I found that Captain Marvel to be a fairly bland character, raised up only by some clever writing by Peter David. I’m talking about the real Cap, the big red cheese, wielder of the power of Shazam. Created in 1940 and defined by the likes of C.C. Beck and Otto Binder, this character was a young orphaned boy who was led down an abandoned subway tunnel to meet an ancient, dying wizard. The wizard gave the boy six gifts — Solomon’s wisdom, Hercules’ strength, Atlas’ stamina, Zeus’ power, Achilles’ courage and Mercury’s speed, and told him he could call upon these powers by saying the wizard’s name… Shazam! Doing so transformed young Billy Batson into the world’s Mightiest Mortal and, for a time, the world’s most popular comic book character, even outselling Superman.

In this day and age — yeah, it’s a goofy concept. It’s almost silly. But there’s something beautifully pure and innocent about the character. Even during the Underworld Unleashed miniseries, when the demon Neron wanted to possess the purest soul in existence, most heroes assumed he meant Superman, but in the end, it was Captain Marvel all along.

Besides just the purity of the character, the dichotomy of a child posing as an adult superhero is a fertile ground for great storytelling, and I love the fact that Geoff Johns is finally doing something with it in JSA, putting Billy in a teenage romance with Stargirl. It’s perfectly innocent, but it raises eyebrows among those who don’t know he’s really a teenager himself.

He’s just a great character, but a lot of readers seem to feel the need to down everyone created before 1962, and that’s just not right. Hopefully Jeff Smith’s upcoming miniseries will finally put him in the spotlight he deserves.

Since there was a member of the X-Men on the “overrated” list, it’s only fair that one makes the “underrated” list as well… I’ve always loved The Beast. Basically what you have in this character is a brilliant biologist with big ol’ arms and legs and incredible agility who accidentally turned himself blue and furry. Unlike some characters, though, he’s usually shown as being quite comfortable with his change, remaining just as smart and witty as ever.

In New X-Men (or was it X-Treme where it started? Oh, it doesn’t matter) he underwent an even further mutation, becoming more catlike, and in the current Astonishing X-Men storyline it’s starting to look like he’s not as comfortable with that change. Personally, I like it, I think it makes him more unique.

What made the Beast fun for for me is that he didn’t sulk and mope about his transformation, he enjoyed it. So he’s blue and furry, so what? You know there are women out there who like that sort of thing. Just have fun with it!

Just on sheer enjoyment, Beast is my favorite X-character, but he’s often overshadowed by the likes of Wolverine or Rogue or (ugh) Gambit. I say put him on the new Avengers team again and let him get done up right.

My next pick isn’t a single character at all, but rather an entire team that doesn’t get the notice from fandom it deserves. No… not a team, a Legion. the Legion of Super-Heroes, to be precise. In the 31st century, a band of superpowered teenagers from across the galaxy have been brought together to serve as protectors of the universe. It’s such a simple concept, but such a great one. The Legion has a vast array of characters with different powers, homeworlds, cultures and belief systems. With so many different factors to play with, the storytelling potential is virtually unlimited.

Plus, it was a groundbreaking concept when it was created in the 50s. Characters died, characters quit, emotions ran high and feelings conflicted. The Legion was doing the teen angst thing before the first X-Men got their yellow spandex back from the tailor. With so many different characters, in history, personality and power types, no matter how good a writing team is, there is always more room to mine for great stories.

Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning just wrapped up a fantastic five-year run with these characters, but unfortunately, they didn’t set fire to the sales charts. Fortunately, though, there’s still plenty of excitement to go around. Gail Simone is taking her crack next, followed by a crossover with the Teen Titans before the title is handed off to the highly capable hands of Mark Waid and Barry Kitson. The future looks bright for the Legion, but there are so many things I’d like to see done with them… people often ask me what comic book I’d most like to write if given the chance. It’s not Superman or Batman or even Fantastic Four. This is it, baby, right here.

Moving on… Superman is definitely my all-time favorite comic book character. There’s no question about that. Does anyone want to guess who number two is? Anyone? No, not Spider-Man… not Captain America… who was that who just said NFL Superpro? Somebody hit him for me, please.

No, my second-favorite comic book character, a character who never seems to make the greatest lists, the powerhouse lists, who actually had to die last year before people started to appreciate him, is Benjamin J. Grimm, the ever-lovin’, blue-eyed Thing. If ever a character drew the short straw in the superpower lottery, it was Ben Grimm. His best buddy convinces him to steal a rocket and what happens? They get doused with cosmic rays. One can burst into flame, one can turn invisible, one can stretch… but Ben? He gets turned into a monster made out of orange rock. Unable to feel a warm touch, unable to hold the woman he loves for fear of crushing her, trapped in this monstrous state that even his best friend, the smartest man in the world, cannot cure him of.

This is the sort of thing that turns some people into villains.

Not Ben Grimm.

Oh, he blamed Reed Richards for a long time. Even hated him sometimes, for turning him into a freak. But through it all, he stayed on the side of the angels. He fought the good fight. He eventually learned to forgive and to become part of a family, and in doing so, became one of the greatest comic book characters there ever was. In the Fantastic Four Versus the X-Men miniseries, there was a scene where Rogue swiped Ben’s power and memory to take him out of the fight. The effect stunned her. According to Chris Claremont’s captions, she had expected to find herself kissing a toad, but instead touched the soul of a prince.

Ben keeps kicking. Keeps fighting. He’s the bravest character in comics.

But Wolverine gets the dozen spin-offs and the Punisher gets the miniseries and action figures. And neither one of them are fit to rub turtle wax on his big, orange hide.

Yeah, Ben anchored the old Marvel Two-in-One series for a long time, and even had his own series for a while, but these days it seems like people don’t get what makes him so great. He may be made of stone, but he is the truest diamond in the rough.

Anyway, those are the folks I think don’t get the credit they deserve. What about you guys? Who do you think gets unjustly ignored? Who should be getting more exposure? Who do you think should get the spotlight once in a while?

First person to say Magneto gets hit with a tube sock full of quarters.

FAVORITE OF THE WEEK: June 30-July 3, 2004

Good luck finding this week’s favorite, since it was one of the Free Comic Book Day selections and one in much shorter supply than most of the others I saw, but nothing I read last week made me smile more than Astonish Comics #1. I got the book because of the Herobear and the Kid story by Mike Kunkel. As it turned out, it was an excerpt from the comic that I’d already read, but it was still pleasant. I kept reading, though, and to my amazement, I loved everything in this issue. The Lab was wonderfully silly, Awesome Man seemed to be the sort of thing that taps into the imagination, Spooners was another hysterical strip comic transferred to comic book format, and The Dreamland Chronicles looks like the sort of thing that will appeal to the Shreck demographic. All of them were clever and the artwork was great. Astonish Comics charges each of us to “Remember your childhood… and pass it on.” It is clear that the people who made this comic book believe in that with all their hearts.

Blake M. Petit is the author of the superhero comedy novel, Other People’s Heroes, the suspense novel The Beginner and the Christmas-themed eBook A Long November. He’s also the co-host, with whoever the hell is available that week, of the 2 in 1 Showcase Podcast and the weekly audio fiction podcast Blake M. Petit’s Evercast. E-mail him at and visit him on the web at Evertime Realms. Read past columns at the Everything But Imaginary Archive Page, and check out his new experiment in serial fiction at Tales of the Curtain.



2 in 1 Showcase Episode 113: Wonder Man and the Beast

They’re Marvel‘s classic odd couple — this week the guys talk about the unlikely friendship between Wonder Man and the Beast! The boys discuss the characters individually, their favorite stories, why they seem to work so well as a pair, and why Marvel desperately needs to put them in a comic together ASAP. In the picks, Chase loved G.I. Joe: Cobra #1, Blake says good-bye to Amazing Spider-Girl #30, and Mike is all about Supergirl #39. Graphic Novel Pick this week: Mike presents Captain America: Operation Rebirth! Write us with comments, suggestions, picks of the week, “Ask Chase Anything” questions, or anything else at!

2 in 1 Showcase Episode 113: Wonder Man and the Beast
Inside This Episode:

PLUS: It’s Week in Geek time again! After a correction from last week’s Kurt Busiek episode, the guys delve into another episode of Lost. Chase wants to debate Blake’s recent review of Wanted, and the guys jump around through several TV shows, including Dollhouse, Smallville, Heroes, Kings, ER, and Cupid!

Week in Geek #15: Wanted, Dollhouse, Smallville, and a Little Thing Called Lost


Toy Stories: You Are Now Leaving the 616 Universe…

 Once again, friends, I’m here to take a look at a few of the toys I’ve picked up recently. Although I’ve talked quite a bit about the new 3.75-inch Marvel Universe action figure line, it’s worth noting that Marvel has also launched two additional 3.75-inch lines based on its other media projects, the upcoming movie X-Men Origins: Wolverine and the current cartoon show Wolverine and the X-Men. How this obscure, little known character from a nearly unheard of comic book has garnered both a TV show and a feature film this year is utterly beyond me.

Let’s start with X-Men Origins: Wolverine. Not having seen the movie yet, I really have no particular urge to get the movie figures, but Marvel and Hasbro have done something undeniably cool here. They’ve actually launched two subsets of this line — one series of figure based on the characters as they appear in the movies, and a second series based on the characters’ comic book appearance. I won’t get all of the figures in either line, but the fact that the comic versions are available makes it far more likely that I’ll pick up any. For example, check out this guy here:

Deadpool and his lil friens!

Deadpool and his lil' friens!

Honestly, I never much cared for Deadpool until about a year and a half ago, when I started getting issues of Cable and Deadpool to review for Comixtreme. The character turned out to be really, really funny. The action figure? Not bad. He came with about a thousand accessories — a machine gun, a pistol, a sai that (proportionately) could be used to skewer a couple of pigs, and two swords for the sheathes on his back. The figure looks good, but there are two major problems with it. First: the legs. As you can see in the picture, their poseability is extremely limited. They don’t close very far, and this was honestly the only posture I could get for him. Second: the swords. One of them fits into its scabbard very nicely. The other… don’t. This may be a problem specific to my figure, I admit, but I tried both swords on both sides, and the same one kept giving me trouble, despite being visually indistinguishable from its brother. Grr.

I’ve passed on the movie version of this character. Maybe after I actually seen the movie I’ll decide to get it. I do think Ryan Reynolds was a good choice for the character, for what it’s worth.

As for the other line, Wolverine and the X-Men is based on the new animated series I haven’t seen yet because I don’t get the Nicktoons network. If anyone knows a (legal) place to watch this show online, please let me know in the comments. In the meantime, I’m going to look at the figures and pick up the ones I like. This guy, for instance:

The Bouncing Beast!

Dr. Hank McCoy is my favorite character in the X-Men universe (as you’ll all hear in this coming weekend’s edition of the 2 in 1 Showcase podcast), and I’ll pick up almost any figure based on him. This animated-style figure is pretty good. I like the style, and his arms are massive. The articulation is pretty good as well. Hank also comes with three widget-type doohickeys that he can hold in either his hands or his feet, which is a nice touch.

Cyclops!... wearin a trenchcoat for no apparent reason!

Cyclops!... wearin' a trenchcoat for no apparent reason!

Finally, there’s this guy here. Scott Aloysius Summers, a.k.a. Cyclops, longtime leader of the X-Men, who for some reason wears a trenchcoat in the cartoon. This is a nice looking figure, although like Deadpool his hip articulation is really poor. He does have one cool accessory, though: a removable optic blast.

This is pretty neat. I’ve never seen a Cyclops figure with a blast before. On the other hand, it’s a pretty short-range blast. This could be quite a liability in some battle situations. Allow me to demonstrate, with the help of my lovely assistant, the Joker.

Clearly, you see how this version of Cyclops may have trouble thwarting evildoers.

Don’t forget, friends, you can scroll back through previous toy blogs at the Toy Stories category of Evertime Realms! More next week!

(Title note for people who are less of a geek than I am, which is just about everyone: “616” refers to the “core” Marvel Universe. In a comic book world with multiple alternate dimensions, Marvel chose to designate their main world as #616.)

Blake’s Twitter Feed

May 2020

Blog Stats

  • 312,248 hits

Blake's Flickr Photos

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.