Posts Tagged ‘Infinite Heroes


Evertime Realms: Beginning Year Three

Hey, everyone. It’s that time again, it’s the two-year anniversary of the launch of the modern incarnation of Evertime Realms, and again, the website has continued to evolve over the past year. The introduction of Time Travel Tuesdays has been fun, and the launch of my (second) podcast, the Evercast, has given me plenty of work but has me very excited for a project I hope to kick off in just a few weeks.

But today, I thought it would be fun to go back and do what I did last year, and give you a list of the top ten articles from Evertime Realms over the past two years. Although there are holdovers, list has changed up quite a bit, which is probably a good thing. In descending order…

10. Halloween Party: Mickey’s House of Villains — In the first Halloween Party after I moved shop here to the ‘Realms, I reviewed this direct-to-DVD Disney film based on the old House of Mouse TV show. Over the past year, people have continued to visit this old review, and it’s moved into the #10 spot on my list.

9. Toy Stories: Haven’t I Seen You Somewhere Before? — This photoblog from April of 2009 has climbed into the #9 spot. In this feature, one of my “Toy Stories” series, I looked at different versions of the same character, and compared different paints and different sculpts side-by-side.

8. Toy Stories: DC Universe Infinite Heroes-Lotsa Toys — Another “Toy Stories” feature from December 2008. This was kind of a catch-all feature for me. I’d gotten a lot of figures in the time between Halloween and Christmas, but hadn’t gotten around to doing a photo feature on them. On Dec. 30, I covered them all at once.

7. DC Universe Infinite Heroes — The prototype of the “Toy Stories” features was this post I made just after I discovered the existence of the toy line. It shows the first three Infinite Heroes figures I got, and I think it shows that although I’m not a great photographer, I’ve at least improved.

6. LEGO Batman and Mini-Nightwing — This post from September 2008 showcased some of the McDonald’s Happy Meal Toys that were released to accompany the premiere of the LEGO Batman video game, as well as a Mini-Mate set featuring Nightwing and Starfire.

5. Kanye West Hates Reading — This post, which I made just days before last year’s list but had already secured a spot in the top 10, followed a few days after the noted scholar Kanye West made some comments about how worthless and useless books are… comments made as he was preparing to release his own “book.” My thoughts on worthlessness are similiar, when you apply them to Kanye.

4. What Your Teacher is Really Thinking — The most recent post on the list clocks in at number four. Just under a month ago, in a moment of exhaustion, I put together this feature telling you the truth about what we teachers really think while the students are hard at work.

3. Halloween Party: Who You Gonna Call? — The last “Toy Stories” feature in this list, I promise. During the 2009 Halloween party, I did this feature about a set of Ghostbusters Mini-Mates. The continued popularity of this feature proves something of great importance: people still realize that the Ghostbusters kick ass.

2. What I’m Reading: Sheldon — This post from my first week online is still holding onto the #2 spot two years later, and all the credit belongs to Dave Kellett. I used the post to talk about how much I love Kellett’s webcomic, Sheldon. Less than an hour later, Kellett had posted a link to my blog post from his own website, and his legion of fans checked it out. It was my first exposure to a shocking increase in my views for the day.

1. Where I Find Free eBooks — Going back to February of this year we find the post that has overshadowed all others on this site, garnering some 10,000 more views than the #2 post on this list. (Not a typo — TEN THOUSAND.) As a Kindle owner, I’ve made it a mission to hunt down different websites where I can find free (legal) eBook content. In February I listed some of those sites, and that blog post caught on like wildfire.

Come back next summer, gang, and I’ll give you the top ten list Mark III.


Toy Stories: Infinite Calamity

I have had terrible luck trying to find the new DC Comics 75th Anniversary Infinite Heroes figures in stores near me. I’ve been looking just about everywhere (I say just about because there is, in fact, one place I haven’t had an opportunity to look yet), but no luck. I have, however, had a modicum of luck snagging a few of the leftovers of the previous lines that are still available, including these two six-packs I got my hands on not long ago.

"Get 'em, Clark! GET 'EM!"

"Get 'em, Clark! GET 'EM!"

This first pack, OMAC Attack, is based on the OMAC Project storyline that DC ran a few years ago in the run-up to Infinite Crisis. In that story it was revealed that Maxwell Lord, one time benefactor of the Justice League, had gone bad and was running the anti-metahuman police force called Checkmate, and that he had created an army of OMAC cyborgs to do his bidding. If that wasn’t bad enough, he used his mind-control powers to use Superman as a weapon, an attack that was stopped only when Wonder Woman snapped Lord’s neck like dry spaghetti. It was awesome.

The two OMAC figures included in this set are identical to the single-packed figure I got some time ago. But as they’re “minions,” I’m okay with this. This figure marks the umpteenth Superman in my collection, but again, Mattel managed to get at least a little diversity. If you look close, you can see that his eyes are red, apparently signifying Lord’s mind-control. Either that or he popped over to the Batcave for dinner on the night Alfred made his Spicy Chili Surprise. Wonder Woman is a slightly different paint job than the single packed figure as well.

The two main reasons I wanted this set, though, were Max and Booster Gold. The Max figure is a good representation of the character from that storyline, and Booster is a character I’ve been dying to get in an Infinite Heroes form. Although why they couldn’t have included Booster’s best bud, the Blue Beetle, instead of one of the OMACs, is beyond me.

"Just don't look at them, guys. Just... just don't look."

Next up is the “Mallah’s Revenge” six-pack, featuring six Teen Titans and two of their more bizarre foes. Let’s get the bad guys out of the way first. Monsieur Mallah and the Brain (I’m sure you can figure which is which) are two old enemies of the Doom Patrol who found love with one another during Grant Morrison‘s truly freakadelic run on that title. On the other side, we have Cyborg, Robin, Raven, and Arsenal. One thing I like about this pack is that there are virtually no “stock” bodies. The Brain and Mallah obvious required totally original sculpts, and the Robin figure is a bit smaller than the usual males. It’s about time we had one to go with the 37 different Batman figures, even if Tim Drake is no longer Robin and the current Robin has a different costume.

Cyborg and Arsenal (also in a different costume these days) both look pretty good, with enough bits and pieces to make them stand out among the army of 3.75-inchers. The only disappointment in this set is Raven, an identical figure to the one that came with Starfire and Captain Boomerang in an earlier 3-pack.


Toy Stories: Ring-slingers, Kryptonians, and Public Enemies

Next week, Erin and I will be winging our way to Las Vegas to spend Mardi Gras week away from the lunacy of New Orleans. (She likes it more than I do.) So I thought maybe I should get around to showing you guys the Infinite Heroes action figures she got me at Christmas before we went. I think that’s fair…

"Fear me!" "Love me!" "Fear me!" "Love me!"

It seemed natural to pair up Sinestro and Star Sapphire. With all the different colored Lanterns running around in Blackest Night, these were the two preexisting “other Lanterns” that Geoff Johns included in the mix. I’m a little disappointed that Mattel didn’t put Sinestro in his current, far superior costume, but the classic costume is okay. Both of these are fairly standard figures for the now-finished Crisis wave of Infinite Heroes. Neither is sporting the new body sculpt that the 70th Anniversary figures that we’re getting this year have. But they’re decent enough figures, and I’m always impressed when they can paint a tiny little ring on someone’s finger.

"Wait, how does THIS schmuck get to wear the 'S' while I still have a hole in my costume?"

Power Girl and Superboy-Prime (I know he was calling himself Superman-Prime when he wore this costume, but he’ll never earn that name) are paired off since they’re both Kryptonians, of a sort, from alternate universes. PG is one of my favorite DC characters, and star of one of their best comics right now. The figure does her justice, even if she does need the stand to stay on her feet like every other Infinite Heroes female. Prime is just a repainted Superman figure. Nothing to say about the sculpt, but the paint job looks good, and I’m glad they didn’t subject us to the mullet.

Animated Coolness

These two three-packs actually didn’t come from Erin, but from her mother. Thanks! I looked all over southern Louisiana, but came up short looking for the action figures that accompanied last fall’s Superman/Batman: Public Enemies direct-to-DVD movie. There’s another six-pack out there, which I would like to get as it includes such characters as Major Force and Gorilla Grodd, but the pack also includes duplicates of Superman and Batman. If you’re going to duplicate a character in the same line, is it too much to ask that you at least do a variant? After all, this is the movie in which those two disguised themselves as Captain Marvel and Hawkman. Those would have been great figures. But I digress.

These six figures are all movie versions of characters I already have in the standard DCU edition, so I thought it would be interesting to compare.

"Okay, so I'll stop that metor from hitting Africa and you put on the suit and glasses and show up at the Daily Planet this week..."

Let’s compare the Supermen first. The original Superman figure is on the left, the animated figure (as it will be in all these pictures) is on the right. At first, I didn’t really see much difference, then I realized the Public Enemies figures are sporting the new body types. In the male figures, the big differences are at the hip and shoulders, both of which are now ball joints which allow for greater posabilty. This I like. What I’m not as happy about is that the torso is a bit skinnier now. If you look at the two, you’ll see that the first Superman has more of the classic barrel chest. This goes for all the male figures in this line, except (for obvious reasons) Lex Luthor.

"What's that, Lex? Didn't hear you. Suffering from a little rocket envy there? Heh. That's okay, you can say it..."

The sculpts of the two Lexington Q. Luthor figures is almost identical, except for the center chest-emblem. Oh, and the big honkin’ rockets on the shoulder of the Lex on the left. Other than that, the onyl difference is in the paint job. Visually, I much prefer the Public Enemies figure — much more colorful, vibrant paint job. But I wouldn’t say that in front of the guy on the left.

"Wasn't I already in this article once?"

Fortunately, Erin gave me the “classic” Power Girl just in time to compare her to her Public Enemies counterpart. Unlike the male figures, it doesn’t seem the females got any change in sculpt for the new series. But they’d already made a small change a while back, making the legs thicker and sturdier. Still not enough to stand up without a base, though. Again, just in terms of the vibrancy of the colors, I think I prefer the animated figure. Probably has something to do with trying to imitate the animation.

"Oh, so you were still on Earth at the end of the movie, huh? Well lemme tell you what happened in the COMICS..."

The new Captain Atom really shows how the change to the leg sculpt will help pose these figures. You can spread the legs wider and make them a bit more stable with this sculpt. In terms of color, it’s hard to pick a favorite. The DCU Cap has more of a silver color, but PE Cap has kind of this blue steel thing going on that also looks really good.

"So neither of us is Dick Grayson? Man, this is awkward..."

Batman is the only hero to come out of Public Enemies with a darker figure than his DCU look. Again, he’s sporting the new sculp, and if you look closely, you see that the shape of the utility belt and the bat-symbol on his chest are a little different. The cape sculpt, I believe, is identical between the two figures.

"So do you think we have any 'electricity'? Huh? Heh? Do ya? Heh, heh..."

"So do you think we have any 'electricity' together? Huh? Heh? Do ya?"

Last but certainly not least, we end up with Black Lightning, the role for which Levar Burton must have cashed the smallest paycheck of his career. Seriously, why would you cast such a great actor and only give him one line in the movie? Sheesh. Anyway, PE Lightning has the new sculpt, and a very different costume from his comic book counterpart. And again, I prefer the Public Enemies look. I just think it’s a better costume, and I think Black Lightning looks better with hair. Just sayin’.


Toy Stories: Crisis in Toyland

Depressingly, local stores haven’t been keeping the DC Universe Infinite Heroes figures in stock lately. And frankly, it’s been pissing me off. But fortunately, is giving us a few exclusive figures to help me get through the drought.

Crisis on Infinite Earths Figures

Crisis on Infinite Earths Infinite Heroes

This set includes four figures, each packaged individually but only sold together… so, whatever… Each is a character that figured prominently in the classic 80s crossover Crisis on Infinite Earths. Let’s go through them, shall we?

The Psycho-Pirate Reigns!

First up, here’s the Psycho-Pirate, a rather obscure Justice Society villain who rose to prominence during the Crisis. He drew power from his “Medusa Mask,” a golden mask that gave him the ability to generate any emotion he so chose. He was notable after the first Crisis as being the only character to remember the DC Multiverse after the worlds were merged. He died a few years back in Infinite Crisis, and it wasn’t much of a loss. He wasn’t used much in the intervening 20 years, and with the return of the Multiverse the thing that made him special wasn’t special anymore. He’s back now, as a Black Lantern, where his power is causing some serious damage.

Who Monitors the Monitors?

Who monitors the Monitors?

The Monitor was introduced in the Crisis for the first time, where we was revealed to be the being who watched over (in other words “Monitored”) the Multiverse. He died in that story as well, but when the Multiverse was reborn, it was revealed that there was now one Monitor in each of the 52 universes. This is a cool-looking figure, but has very limited playability, with the stiff plastic skirt, shoulder pads, and cape keeping him from moving very freely.

"I'm tellin' ya, Wally, the fish was thiiiiiiiiiiiis big!"

Barry Allen, the Silver Age Flash, is one of many heroes who met his demise in this storyline (although like many of them, he’s come back to the DC Universe, and he’s currently one of the stars of Blackest Night as well). It’s hard to tell from the photo, but the expression on Barry’s face tells us this figure is intended to represent him at the very moment of his death. Cheerful, huh?

"You should see the OTHER guy..."

"Seriously, you should have seen the OTHER guy."

The last figure in this set was the original Supergirl, Kara Zor-El. She’s come back too, but not in exactly the same form. It’s more like she started from scratch. And speaking of scratch, she too bears the scars of her final battle in this figure. To be honest, this is my least favorite Supergirl costume ever. I think it’s the headband. But the figure needed to be had, if for no other reason, than because of the packaging…

"Well... this is awkward..."

"Well... This is... awkward..."

Don’t get it? Maybe this will help:

The act of imitating a classic comic book cover has become commonplace. These “swipe” covers (or, if you prefer a more dignified term, “homage” covers) are considered by many fans, myself included, to be a lot of fun. But this is the first time I’ve ever seen a swipe action figure package.


Toy Stories goes from Gotham to the Multiverse

It’s that time again — although the DC Infinite Heroes pickings have been slim lately, I’ve gotten my hands on a couple of special items, one of which I’ve been seeking for a long time.

Gotham Knights: Deadshot, Batman, and the Scarecrow

Gotham Knights: Deadshot, Batman, and the Scarecrow

Some time ago, there was an Infinite Heroes three-pack released based on last year’s animated feature film Batman: Gotham Knights. I looked for this pack seemingly forever, and had pretty much given up hope until my recent ordeal with the DMV. After one of my fruitless drives out to Houma to try to get my driver’s license renewed (which I finally accomplished, by the way), I had a little time to kill before I drove to Thibodaux for my night class, so I stopped in to the Houma Wal-Mart. Even though I didn’t expect to find anything, I checked the toy aisle… and there it was. A wonder to behold. The last Gotham Knights three-pack, possibly in existence.

As you can see, the Batman figure isn’t that wild. The paint job is a little darker than the regular Infinite Heroes figure, the body a different sculpt to reflect the Anime-inspired style of the movie. But it’s a decent figure. The other two are much cooler, though. Deadshot was utterly redesigned for the movie, looking nothing like the current incarnation of the character and only a little like his original version. The Scarecrow keeps his scarecrow attributes, but is much creepier looking with his extra pair of arms. I’m really happy I found these.

The second figure is an online exclusive, only available at

The Anti-Monitor

The Anti-Monitor

The Anti-Monitor here was the Big Bad of the original Crisis on Infinite Earths series back in the 80s. He returned during the Sinestro Corps War storyline, and is currently being held in the core of the Black Lantern in Blackest Night. The figure is cool — not as much articulation as the regular figures, but that’s kind of a necessity of the sculpt. He’s a little taller than the usual 3.75 inches as well. It’s definitely a cool addition to the collection.


Toy Stories/What I’m Watching: Green Lantern-First Flight

Like they did a few months ago with the Wonder Woman movie, the new animated Green Lantern: First Flight movie is available at Best Buy with an exclusive action figure based on the movie design. Since I was going to get the movie anyway, there was no reason not to get the one with the Infinite Heroes toy and give you guys a review.

I’m not going to talk too much about the movie itself. I did a review over at, and you can read it there for my in-depth thoughts. I do have a couple of comments about the DVD set I wanted to share. First, the good — Warner Premiere is raising the bar on bonus goodies for these DVDs. In addition to two GL-focused episodes of the old Justice League cartoon, this set also has the “Green Loontern” episode of the unfairly-forgotten Duck Dodgers in the 24th and 1/2 Century cartoon, in which Daffy Duck accidentally gets Hal Jordan’s dry cleaning and becomes a Green Lantern. Plus, the DVD has a bonus feature about the current Blackest Night storyline, which may be the first time a DVD has promoted a comic book, and a very nice preview of the next movie in this series, Superman/Batman: Public Enemies.

Now the bad: like the Wonder Woman DVD, this DVD includes a digital download of the film to be used on laptops and personal devices such as an iPod. Although my iPod doesn’t have video capabilities, I assume that I’ll eventually upgrade to a newer one that can play videos, and when that happens, I want to have this content available, so I’ve been saving the digital version of any DVD that happens to include one. I was startled, then, to realize the Green Lantern digital copy is in the Windows Media format, which is utterly incompatible with the iPod, the Zune, or the PSP. So I have to say, “Hey, Warner Brothers! What the hell? Why even bother giving us a digital copy if we can’t use it on our devices? The whole reason DVDs started to include digital versions in the first place is to try to cut down on piracy, but if people can’t use the digital versions, they’re just gonna go right back to pirating. This is really stupid, and I can only hope that the next DVD is something I can actually watch on other devices.

Anyway, on to the action figure. As you may recall, I already have two Infinite Heroes Hal Jordan figures — the basic version and a clear green variant. I expected this figure to be a simple repaint of that body, but I was pleasantly surprised. The head is a slightly different sculpt, but the rest of the body is almost totally different. The changes are subtle, and I didn’t even realize them at first. If you look at the hands, though, they’re different than the other two — the left hand is in a fist, and the right, while still open, isn’t as wide open as the other. The real great thing, however, is the legs. The knee is no longer the simple hinge joint like the other figures, but instead a hinged ball. That, along with articulated ankles, gives the figure a much greater degree of poseability than any of the other Infinite Heroes action figures in my collection. The previous Hal Jordan figure was just a masked head on the basic body. Since Green Lantern doesn’t have a cape, spikes, poofy boots or gloves or anything else that needs to be added to the costume, it didn’t require special sculpts for any part. That gives me great hope that this is the new male body type, just as the Wonder Woman figure was better than the basic female body type. Let’s see more figures like this one, Mattel.

And while we’re talking Green Lantern toys, I’ve got one other figure I want to introduce you guys to. As big a fan as I am of the Justice League Unlimited cartoon, I haven’t been collecting the action figures, mostly because I’ve been into the Infinite Heroes and I didn’t want to get sucked into two separate lines. But when I saw this guy — one of my favorite characters — on clearance at Target, I needed to rescue him from the dustbin of the toy aisle.

Kilowog is not only one of Hal’s comrades in the Green Lantern Corps, he’s the main trainer for the entire Corps. If you want to be a Green Lantern, you’ve got to go through Kilowog first. The K-man here appears in First Flight, showed up in the Justice League cartoon, is playing a big role in the Green Lantern Corps comic book, and even co-starred with Daffy Duck in the aforementioned Duck Dodgers cartoon. He’s the same size as the other JLU toys, but as that line is slightly bigger than the Infinite Heroes, he’s almost in-scale with Hal here. I don’t like this line as much as the Infinite Heroes — there’s very little articulation (just the hips, shoulders, and neck), and with a character as topheavy as Kilowog, it makes it very difficult to stand him up. I’ve got my fingers crossed that the Infinite Heroes will expand to slightly larger figures the way Marvel Universe did for the Hulk and the Thing, because this is a great character who deserves a great action figure.


Evertime Realms: One Year Later

It’s a double aniversary for me today. First of all, it’s four years to the day that I first met my girlfriend, Erin, in person. And for all the crap that has happened since then, the time with her has made it the best four years ever.

In news that will be of more interest to those of you who don’t want to get cavities, today is also the one-year anniversary of the relaunch of my Evertime Realms site. I did a “soft launch” of sorts on June 2, 2008, putting the site online and e-mailing friends and family asking them to check it out before I started posting links, setting it as my site on profiles like Facebook, and generally trying to promote it. It wasn’t long, though, before I started turning out the content that I was hoping to do. Later that same day, I posted my first book review, of Kevin Brockmeier‘s novel The Brief History of the Dead. My first movie review came on June 12, with the documentary The King of Kong. I started doing basic blog posts, columns, rants, ponderings of all kinds. On June 9 I posted the prologue to my novel-in-progress, Summer Love, which I swear to you guys is still in-progress.

Then things started to happen that I didn’t intend when I launched the site. On July 24 I posted a bit about the new DC Universe Infinite Heroes action figures I found. The response surprised me, so I did it again. And again. Now the feature I call Toy Stories has become a staple of Evertime Realms.

Earlier this year, I realized that I needed time to work on Summer Love, really work it to completion. So rather than leaving no new fiction here at all, I started serializing an older work of which I am still extremely proud, Lost in Silver. I’ve wound up posting a lot of fiction here on the site, and it’s gotten a lot of reads. But not enough comments, hint hint.

I moved my annual Halloween Party and Christmas Party series here from my old LiveJournal account. I’ve provided incessant links to my columns and podcasts, and an enormous, still-incomplete archive of my comic book reviews. I’ve done bits on teaching and writing. About plays I’ve been involved with and about just goofing off with Erin and my friends. I even survived a hurricane.

So it’s been a pretty good year here at the Realms. Thanks for everyone who has stopped here over the last 12 months. I hope you keep coming back, and I hope you keep enjoying it — and I hope you comment more. If there’s one thing I’d like more of, it’s feedback! I’m shameless about this, friends, I want to know what you’re thinking. Every post has a comment button. C’mon. Use it!

To wrap up this little retrospective, I thought I would let you know something I already know — which posts have been the most popular. Here, in descending “Countdown” order, are the top ten most-viewed posts at Evertime Realms to date:

10. How to Have a Crawfish Boil — Every Lenten season, my cousins Carl and Tammy host seafood feasts on Fridays. One week, Erin inspired me to take pictures of a crawfish boil in-progress. Since then, this post gets hits all the time from people searching for crawfish recipes. I hope it helps.

9. Blake’s Universal Rules of the Universe is a feature I brought back from my old site, one that people actually asked me to bring back. It’s just a list of goofy thoughts and sayings that I think have some… well… universality to them.

8. NOLA Comic-Con 2009 was a quick post I made once I knew that there were plans to bring a con to New Orleans. Amazingly, this became the top Google search hit for people looking for “New Orleans Comic Convention” and other variations on that. Several people approached the 2 in 1 Showcase table at the con and told me they found out about it because of my post. That was awesome.

7. DC Infinite Heroes: The Gotham Group is a post that showcases the Infinite Heroes Commissioner Gordon figure, as well as a couple of toys from the Dark Knight line.

6. DC Infinite Heroes: Lotsa Toys was a post-Christmas photoblog that ran down a dozen figures I’d gotten since my last post at the time. More Dark Knight, some Green Lantern, Superman, and lots of assorted characters.

5. DC Infinite Heroes II-And Blake’s Classroom was just the second-ever post I made about toys here. It ran down a few new figures, included lots of goofy Mini-Mates pictures, and also showed off how I had arranged my classroom for the then-upcoming school year… the same year that just ended.

4. Lego Batman and Mini-Nightwing looks at, of all things, the McDonald’s Lego Batman Happy Meal toys, as well as the Mini-Mate two-pack of Nightwing and Starfire.

3. Kanye West Hates Reading is a post that’s less than a week old, but it’s already become the third most-read post on my site. When Kanye proved, once again, his utter ignorance by decrying books and asking people to buy his 52-page “book” at the same time, I unloaded. And I’ve gotten some attention for it. This one post probably has more replies than any other on the site.

2. DC Infinite Heroes was my very first toy feature on the site. For those of you who wonder why I talk about toys so much here, this is your answer. Five of my top ten posts have been toy-related posts, including the post that would have been my most-viewed if not for one really cool thing.

1. What I’m Reading: Sheldon. On June 10, 2008, just over a week after I launched the site, I decided to write about my favorite webcomic, Dave Kellett’s Sheldon. The exceedingly generous Mr. Kellett somehow came across this post and linked to it on his own site, which you may notice is far more popular than mine. The incoming traffic was enormous, and this post still gets several hits a week from people going through the archives of Kellett’s blog. This post has almost three times the hits of post #2 on the list. It’s not getting unseated anytime soon, unless Oprah winds up Twittering about me or something. I’d rather have Dave Kellett.

So there you have it, folks. A year’s worth of blogging, and this is what I’ve got to show for it. And y’know? It was totally worth it. I’ll see you later for the beginning of year number two!


Toy Stories: Haven’t I Seen You Somewhere Before?

As I’ve mentioned in assorted Toy Stories features, I do like variant figures. What do I mean, though, by a “variant”? Well, it could mean a lot of things — different, related characters with similar designs, redesigns of an existing figure to match a different uniform or look, an “energized” version of a character with such powers… pretty much anything that’s a “real” version of the character as has appeared in the comic books or TV show. And since the last few figures I have that I haven’t shared with you guys yet all fall into this category, I thought I’d give you guys the side-by-sides of several variants in my possession.

Monorail Mickey and Vinylmation Fireworks

Monorail Mickey and Vinylmation Fireworks

The entire point of Urban Vinyl figures is to use different designs on the same body mold, so I guess technically any of these fits the criteria. Here we see the Vinylmation “Monorail Mickey” next to the “Fireworks” mouse I showed you guys a couple of weeks ago. Side-by-site, you can really tell that the figures themselves are identical, and it’s just the paint job that’s different.

Let’s go to a far more extreme example, shall we?

Alex Luthor and Lex Luthor: Together Again

Alex Luthor and Lex Luthor: Together Again

If you recognize either of this pair, it’s probably the bald guy in the green armor with major overcompensation issues going on with his shoulder pads. This is Lex Luthor, arch-enemy of Superman, and (in the DC Universe, at least) former President of the United States. To his left, in the gold with the red hair, is Alex Luthor, sole survivor of the alternate universe called Earth-3. On Alex’s world, the heroes were villains, and the only superhero left was his father, Lex Luthor. So Alex is kinda Lex’s son from another dimension. If you’re a comic book geek like me, you have no problem understanding that.

Animated Wonder Woman vs. Comic Book Wonder Woman

Animated Wonder Woman vs. Comic Book Wonder Woman

On the left here is the Wonder Woman figure that came with the recent direct-to-DVD movie in which she starred, and designed to look like that version. On the right is the basic Infinite Heroes Wonder Woman figure, based on a more iconic comic book version. The body molds of these two figures is exactly the same, but the faces and hair are drastically different. Personally, I prefer the animated version. The lines on the comic version’s W-symbol are too heavy, and actually look more like a “cartoon” than the one that’s actually based on a cartoon. Plus, for some reason she has an expression that makes her look like she’s sniffing something vaguely unpleasant.

Flash Legacy: Wally West, Jay Garrick, and Zoom

Flash Legacy: Wally West, Jay Garrick, and Zoom

Next up we’ve got three different, related characters. In the center is Jay Garrick, the Golden Age Flash who’s been kicking butt and taking names since World War II. I was particularly happy to find this guy in a single pack, because for a while there the only place I saw him was as a variant figure in the Flash three-pack I’d already got, and I really don’t need extras of Mirror Master or Weather Wizard. Plus he’s just a great character. To the left, the gentleman in red is Wally West, Flash III and the guy many of us reading comics today grew up with as THE Flash. On the left is his former friend Hunter Zolomon, alias Zoom, now a particularly interesting madman who believes that the way to make the Flash a better superhero is by causing great tragedies in his life to overcome. Now that the second Flash, Barry Allen, has returned from the dead, I rather hope that means we’ll have two new figures coming soon — one of Barry, and one of Wally in the new costume that’s supposedly being designed by artist Ethan Van Sciver.

Now for a few figures that didn’t require much modification at all…

Pardon me, Im here to drop my brothers off for repairs.

"Pardon me, I'm here to drop my brothers off for repairs."

Billions of years ago, the Guardians of the Universe created a legion of robotic agents to protect innocent sentients from the evil one of their number unleashed. The Manhunters turned out to be psycho, though, so they canned them and got some living agents, the Green Lantern Corps. The Manhunters have never been really happy about this arrangement, though, and lately have been known to hang around with members of the Sinestro Corps. The guy in the middle came in a single pack, but the two fellas flanking him were a third of a Green Lantern Corps six-pack. They’re in serious need of some Turtle Wax.

Speaking of Green Lantern…

Green Lantern 2814.1 reporting for duty! Twice!

"Green Lantern 2814.1 reporting for duty! Twice!"

Hal Jordan is one of two Green Lanterns of Space Sector 2814. The second figure in this picture isn’t his partner, John Stewart, it’s an “energized” version of Hal. While the basic Hal figure came in a three-pack with his pals Green Arrow and Black Canary, the energy version was part of the same six-pack that included the two Manhunters, plus John Stewart, Guy Gardner, and a Qwardian Weaponer. Very few of the Infinite Heroes toys have come with accessories, and Hal is one that really should have one. Why have none of the various Green Lanterns who’ve got figures in this line come with a Power Battery?



Last, but not least, we’ve got the two renditions of Johnny Storm, alias the Human Torch, courtesy of the Marvel Universe line. One is Johnny with a little bit a fire atop his noggin. The other is Johnny in full “Flame on!” mode. Can you guess which is which?

I’ve showed you guys a couple of other side-by-sides before, so just for the sake of completeness, I’m going to show those pictures to you here too. Click on each picture to go to the corresponding article:

Stealth Iron Man and Daywear Iron Man. This is what the inside of Tony Starks closet looks like.

Stealth Iron Man and Daywear Iron Man. This is what the inside of Tony Stark's closet looks like.

Kingdom Come Superman and Classic Superman

Kingdom Come Superman and Classic Superman

And that’s all the toys I’ve got, folks. So this may be the last Toy Stories for a while, unless this weekend’s Nola Comic-Con brings me across some swag I’ve been looking for. Don’t worry, it’ll be back, I just don’t know when. In the meantime, in-between time, how about reading and commenting on Lost in Silver? Or the various reviews and other blogs I post here almost daily? I thrive on feedback, folks, so let’s hear some! Take it easy.


Toy Stories: Batman and Friends

It’s that time again! I’ve managed to scrounge up a few more DC Universe Infinite Heroes action figures, and I wanted to share them with you guys. I’m getting a bit frustrated in looking for more, though. I know they’re out there, I follow the action figure sites frequently, but they don’t appear to be getting to the stores in the New Orleans area. I’ve got to find more somehow. Anyway, first up are a few I picked up with Erin during her visit last month:

Black Lightning and Batman

Black Lightning and Batman

Erin got this dynamic duo for me herself. For those of you who don’t follow comics, Black Lightning here is Batman‘s sometimes-teammate, both in the Outsiders and in the more prominent Justice League of America. Jefferson Pierce is a cool character, and a particular idol of mine because he’s a teacher. If I could tell you the number of times I’ve wished I could sent electric shocks through some of the — ahem. But I digress. These two figures use the basic IH body, with the addition of a cape, belt, ears, and pointy glove-thingies to Batman. It looks like Black Lightning’s head sculpt is slightly different as well, which is a nice touch, as it looks much more like he would in the comics than he would with a basic head sculpt. This figure is cool, and it really makes me hope they find a way to do the Milestone heroes in this scale, if for no other reason than so I can reenact the scene where Jeff wants to know why everyone keeps asking if he’s related to Static.

The Spectre and Doctor Fate

Here we have the recent incarnations of two of DC’s Golden Age heroes, the Spectre and Dr. Fate. The Spectre is the Spirit of God’s Wrath on Earth, but needs a human soul to bond with to keep from getting too out of control. The ghostly Van Dyck on the Spectre’s face tells me that this is former Gotham City Police Department Detective Crispus Allen, the Spectre’s current host, who was bonded with the spirit following his murder by a crooked cop. The rather ornate collar on Dr. Fate, whose helmet channels the power of Nabu, one of the gods of Order, tells me that this is actually the good Doctor’s second-most-recent mantle-bearer, Hector Hall. The current Dr. Fate, Kent Nelson (nephew of the original Dr. Fate) has a more streamlined look.

The Joker: Clown Prince of Crime

Finally, there’s the Clown Prince of Crime, the Joker. This is one of the few figures that uses virtually nothing from the “basic” body, but it looks pretty good. The vest/coat/flower combination is sculpted well, and the pants look good. I like the rather pointy chin the sculptor whipped up for him too. He’s also one of the few figures in this line to come with an accessory, his cane. The only thing I don’t really care for are the little “devil points” his hair curl up into. A little too on-the-nose, if you ask me. 

All five of these characters have had different looks over the years, either with someone else wearing the costume or with the same person just changing clothes. This brings me to an interesting point: I rather like variant action figures, provided the variants make sense. I’d gleefully get the original Black Lightning costume, the Hal Jordan version of the Spectre, or any of the half-dozen costumes Batman has worn over the years — or even (perhaps especially) any of the dozens that have shown up in various alternate reality stories. But I want these figures authentic to the comic, or TV show, or movie. Back during the Batman: The Animated Series years, they released about a quatrillion Batman figures wearing the stupidest costumes — white, camo, neon orange, etc. I want something, for lack of a better term, that’s “real.”

Of course, when you’ve got several versions of the same character in the same case, chances are good that they’ll run into each other at some point, and when that happens… well…


Toy Stories/What I’m Watching: Wonder Woman

I’ve been a big fan of the direct-to-DVD animated films Warner Premiere has been producing based on the DC Universe over the past couple of years. The first film, Superman/Doomsday, had rough patches in terms of casting and character design, but otherwise was an entertaining take on the storyline. Justice League: A New Frontier was a flat-out wonderful adaptation of Darwyn Cooke‘s graphic novel, and Batman: Gotham Knights was a decent (if not really necessary) middle installment between the two Christian Bale Batman movies. The newest entry into the series, an animated origin story for Wonder Woman, was produced by legendary animator Bruce Timm, with a story co-written by Gail Simone, who is one of the best writers the character has ever had in the comic books. I’ve written a full review of the movie over at, which I invite you to check out.

Wonder Woman DVD

Here, I’d like to talk a little about the specific version of the DVD I got. It’s become fashionable in the last few years to offer different extras with DVDs based on where you buy it, so if you’re a geek like me it’s no longer enough to look at how much a DVD costs. You need to look at what bonus goodies you get with it as well. Being a fan of the DC Universe Infinite Heroes action figure line, there was no way I could skip the Best Buy-exclusive pack that included a new Wonder Woman figure. Now keep in mind, there is a “regular” Wonder Woman toy in the main Infinite Heroes line as well. This figure is slightly different, painted to match the design of the the character from the movie. I am fine with this. There’s also a three-pack based on the Gotham Knights designs that I’m itching to get my hands on, and I hope to see more figures based on the various DC media properties in the future.

The paint job is okay, considering that the goal here is to imitate the design of the animated character, but it isn’t quite as detailed as the rest of the toy line. The design does a good job of mimicking the animated style, but the body is only painted, not molded like most of the other figures. This is, in essence, a blank female body with a Wonder Woman paint job. I’m not complaining, mind you. For a freebie based on a cartoon, it’s just fine. It’s just not as good as the regular toys.

I am, however, impressed that she has a different lower torso than most of the female figures I’ve gotten thus far. As I’m mentioned in some of my previous Toy Story pieces, most of the female Infinite Heroesare totally unable to stand on their own, equipped with skinny little plastic toothpicks that are supposed to be legs. Diana’s legs are perfectly shapely, but actually have a little mass to them. Standing her up is no problem at all. I really hope this far superior design is applied to all of the female figures in the line released from now on.

The movie is more than worth getting, and if you’re a major fan of Wonder Woman, get the Blu-Ray or two-disc DVD version for a nice selection of extras. As for the toy — if you’re collecting the Infinite Heroes, there’s no reason to get this DVD anywhere but Best Buy. If you’re not getting the toys, then you can pick it up anywhere and have plenty of goodies just from that.

And now, since I have all three of the characters, I couldn’t resist putting together a quick group shot of the DC Universe Trinity:

I don’t know about you, but I wouldn’t mess with this team.


May 2023

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