Thursday, April 30, 2009

Pic of the Day 59

Storm Shadow, Sigma 6 wave 1 by Hasbro

Remember Kids: Sometimes you drink the milk, sometimes the milk drinks you.

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Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Pic of the Day 58

Medieval Spawn III, Spawn Series 20 by McFarlane Toys

Remember Kids: Pain and suffering in various tempos.

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Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Pic of the Day 57

The Flash (Barry Allen), DCUC wave 7, by Mattel.

Remember Kids: If you're gonna get shot, get shot outside a doctor's office. - Dr McNinja

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Monday, April 27, 2009

Pic of the Day 56

USS Enterprise, with lights and sound, by Hallmark.

I see no reason to stand here and be insulted. - Spock

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Sunday, April 26, 2009

Pic of the Day 55

Supergirl, by DC Direct, from Elseworld's Finest Batgirl and Supergirl, which I haven't read.

Remember Kids: You've gotta break some lions to make an omlete. - Marten

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Saturday, April 25, 2009

Pic of the Day 54 - Superheroes Week 2

Blue Beetle & Booster Gold, DCUC Wave 7 by Mattel, sculpted by The Four Horsemen

Remember Kids: Were he being attacked by a tiger he'd be in prime condition to leap, kick, throw a spear, climb a tree, and then die screaming. - Schlock Mercenary

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Friday, April 24, 2009

Pic of the Day 53 - Superheroes Week 2

Mister Miracle, DCUC Wave 6 by Mattel, sculpted by The Four Horsemen

Remember Kids: Dogs are what puppies turn into if you don't eat them before they go all stringy. - Schlock Mercenary

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Thursday, April 23, 2009

Pic of the Day 52 - Superheroes Week 2

Black Lightning, DCUC Wave 5 by Mattel, sculpted by The Four Horsemen

Remember Kids: Also: I own a unicorn. - Shamus Young

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Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Pic of the Day 51 - Superheroes Week 2

Captain Atom, DCUC Wave 4 by Mattel, sculpted by The Four Horsemen

Remember Kids: I'm sending you back where you came from! - Hoss Delgado

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Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Pic of the Day 50 - Superheroes Week 2

Nightwing, DCUC Wave 3 by Mattel, sculpted by The Four Horsemen

Remember Kids: The ukulele on the wall is missing! - The Spoony Experiment

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Monday, April 20, 2009

Pic of the Day 49 - Superheroes Week 2

Firestorm - Jason Rusch, DCUC Wave 2 by Mattel, sculpted by The Four Horsemen

Remember Kids: I wear the cheese, the cheese does not wear me. - Cheese guy, BTVS

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Sunday, April 19, 2009

Pic of the Day 48 - Superheroes Week 2

Red Tornado, DCUC Wave 1 by Mattel, sculpted by The Four Horsemen.

There was supposed to me a modern variant of this figure (mainly he would have had different boots and gloves), but so far it has not been released. Mattel has indicated they'll try to release it in the future, and I really hope they do. After discovering that The Tornado's Path is about Red Tornado, and that there are lots and lots of color variations of him I'd like to custom up a blue one, a green one, and yellow, and a black one.

Remember Kids:

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Highlander - Episode Listing

Index of all my posts on Highlander, the Television Series.

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Saturday, April 18, 2009

Atom Smasher Arrives pt 2

My wife pointed out I didn't post a picture of Atom Smasher, so how cool could he be?

Pretty cool actually.

Remember Kids: There is no overkill, there is only reload and open fire.

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Pic of the Day 47 - Super Heroes Week 1 - Superman

Cyborg Superman, DCSH by Mattel

Cyborg Superman is also from the Reign of the Supermen/Return of Superman story, and he is one of the three Supermen who claimed to be the original Superman, saying he was injured so badly that he had to be joined with Kryptonian technology and become a cyborg to keep alive. In fact, Cyborg Superman is the villain of the story, and engineer of the cataclysmic event that cause Hal Jordan to become Parallax. Cyborg Supes has great power over mechanical equipment, and can transfer his consciousness to any machine, which he has to do to escape the returned Superman and his allies (including the aforementioned Hal Jordan).

I think Cyborg Superman is the coolest looking of the Supermen from this story, and I'm glad he wasn't totally destroyed in this story. Later, Parallax catches up with him and destroys him with constructs of all the people that died in Coast City when it was completely and utterly destroyed. Apparently that didn't do the trick either, as he later joins the Sinestro Corps in the Sinestro Corps War. I don't know what happens to him after that, as I haven't yet read SCW.

I'm telling you we're dealing with a Kryptonian Cyborg. Our Superman reconstructed.

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Friday, April 17, 2009

Pic of the Day 46 - Super Heroes Week 1 - Superman

Superman, from Superman/Batman: Public Enemies wave 1 by DC Direct.

I've really enjoyed the Superman/Batman series, and Public Enemies was the first that got me hooked on the idea. The art, by Ed McGuinness, was odd to my eyes at first, exaggerated proportions, especially the thighs (you should see the thighs on the girls, they're massive!), and the males' chests. But I liked the story, and the art really grew on me, and I was glad to see it again in S/B: Vengeance.

This figure is actually the first repaint of the original Superman, from wave 1, which had a deeper, metallic blue. I had it, but decided to keep this one (from a 2 pack with Batman and a copy of the story) because it better matched Superwoman from wave 4 and Supergirl from wave 5. It's actually being repainted again soon, being rereleased with Batman (yet again), Flash and Wonderwoman (the last two formerly of the JLA Classified line.

Remember Kids: All those things I can do. All those powers. And I couldn't even save him. - Superman

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Thursday, April 16, 2009

Pic of the Day 45 - Super Heroes Week 1 - Superman

Supeman Red and Superman Blue, DCUC wave 2 by Mattel.

These are from some story that almost nobody liked, or so I'm told. As is a common theme with these figures, I haven't read the story they're from. I have read stories with Superman Blue, but not how he became such. I do know that it has something to do with the story Final Night in which the Sun Eater ate the sun, and Superman was depowered for a long time. After Parallax sacrificed himself to reignite the sun, Supes's powers didn't come back. Somehow or other, he became a being of energy, and required a containment suit to keep his form. He was Energy Supes for quite a while I think, and I have several JLA trades with him in that form. At some point he had a split personality disorder, or maybe there was a transporter accident or something, but he became two people, Superman Red and Superman Blue, where Red was much more aggressive and emotional than Blue. It didn't last very long before they were rejoined. Eventually, his original powers and physical form were restored.

As I said, I've never read the story, so I have no bias against them, and I didn't mind the stories with Energy Supes. I acutally really like the designs, the angular look of the S shield, and the lines on the rest of the costume. Despite my great love for Harley Quinn, and the nostalgia associated with the Aquaman and Firestorm figures, these are the figures that had me most excited for DCUC wave 2. They were the first set of DCUC variants I wsa able to get, and I was really excited to get them, although Aquaman was so well executed that he's by far my favorite figure from that wave.

It's kryptonite, Superman. Little souvenir from the old home town. I spared no expense to make you feel right at home. - Lex Luthor

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Atom Smasher Arrives

It's been a while since I posted pictures of new toys. These are getting to be quite old now, but better late than never.

Pirate Spawn from the most recent, and final Spawn series.

McFarlane Halo 3 figures - Wave 4 Red EOD and Wave 3 Red/Silver Elite, along with POTC Elizabeth Swann's Necklace and Jack Sparrow's Dragon Ring, which I got for the great price of $5 each.

And the ones I was looking forward to the most, and have had for about three weeks now, DCUC wave 7 - Atom Smasher wave

At the time of the above picture I had only opened the two figures shown, but I have since opened the rest and assembled Atom Smasher, and the figures are every bit as cool as I expected. Except for Flash, who I didn't expect to be that exciting, despite being a key character of the JLA, he's very much neater than I expected.

Atom Smasher is also pretty cool, for what I expected to be a boring figure, cause he's just some tall guy, rather than a giant zombie, or killer robot, or the Son of Darkseid. I'm glad they made him, and it makes me look forward to Giganta more.

Remember Kids: From Hell's heart, I stab at thee... For hate's sake, I spit my last breath at thee... - Khan Noonien Singh

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Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Pic of the Day 44 - Super Heroes Week 1 - Superman

Superman Dark, from one of the Elseworlds series', by DC Direct.

This is from an Elseworlds story, which used to be "What If?" stories, but I believe now most of them are all in continuity, each now occuring on one of the 52 universes. I could be wrong though, I haven't actually read Infinite Crisis yet. Anyway, several of the Elseworlds stories explore alternate beginnings for Superman, What if he landed 12 hours ealier? What if he landing near Gotham City instead of in Kansas? Or, in this case, what if he landed on Apocalypse and was raised by Darkseid? Well, I guess the answer is he becomes a super-powered conquering prince/son of Darkseid. There's also a Good Superman from this story, so I guess his innate goodness comes out at some point, I don't know, I haven't read the story, called The Dark Side, yet.

Remember Kids: You will kneel before me Jor-El! You, and then one day, your heirs! - General Zod

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Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Pic of the Day 43 - Super Heroes Week 1 - Superman

Eradicator, DCUC wave 5, Walmart Exclusive, by Mattel.

This guy is from the Reign of the Superman/Return of Superman storyarc. I rather enjoyed this story. It introduced a few characters who took on them the emblem of House El to either replace or honor Superman, who had fallen in combat with Doomsday.

Eradicator though he was Superman, but had a sensitivity to light (hence the goggles) and was a bit more extreme than Superman in punishing criminals (he burned them to death with energy rays projected from his hands. He was quit disappointed to learn he wasn't really Superman, but sacrificed his life to save Superman from Kryptonite gas shot at him. I really like Eradicator's design.

The first picture from this Super Heroes Week is the actual Superman, after he regained conciousness and wore a Kryptonian Regeneration suit to speed of the return of his powers.

Face it, Clark. The last time you inspired anybody, you were dead. - Batman

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I am Duncan MacLeod of the Clan MacLeod

Since I'm months behind in reviewing Batman: the Animated Series, I thought I'd go ahead and start a new series of articles on Highlander. Hopefully this will somehow help me get back into Batman, and also let me explore another series I enjoy quite a lot.

Connor and Duncan MacLeod

Highlander began for me, as so many things did, while I was working at BYU while getting my Computer Engineering degree. For most of my time there I had an excellent job that afforded me the opportunity to get lots of studying and homework done, which I instead spent playing video games and watching TV. One of the many tv series introduced to me at that time was Highlander (other shows I became quite interested in or got to see a lot of include Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Star Trek: The Next Generation, Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, M.A.S.H., The Practice, Alley McBeal, and probably a few others I'm not remembering at the moment.

I was first introduced to the Series, featuring Duncan MacLeod, but was eventually able to see the original Highlander film (1986), featuring Christopher Lambert as Connor MacLeod, Sean Connery as Juan Sanchez Villa-Lobos Ramirez (a Scotsman pretending to be an Egyptian pretending to be a Spaniard), and Clancy Brown as The Kurgan.

As I remember it, I was rather disappointed with the film, finding it didn't really have the feel of the series with which I was so familiar. It was slow placed, and very moody, and just such a departure from the Series (which came many years later.

Also, the ending was not great, in my opinion, and through the lack of foresight by the writers, neatly and completely tied off every loose end, by having Connor be the final Immortal (after all, In the End, there can be only One), and win The Prize, which was lame: mortality, the ability to sire children (not so lame, as many immortals wished for such a gift), and a telepathic/empathic link with all living things. Also, it was poorly portrayed.

Apparently, the film did well enough, or was interesting enough to spawn a sequel, Highlander II: the Quickening wherein the series went to hell. The Immortals are aliens from a planet called Zeist, having been banished to Earth. Sean Connery's character Ramirez is somehow brought back to life, Connor is somehow a mortal again, some strange cyberpunk doom and gloom of the future (the far future, 1999, being only 8 years after the film was released). Something about an evil Immortal still on Zeist played by Michael Ironside (which could be cool, since he's the voice of Darkseid in Superman: The Animated Series.

Anyway, the film is universally hated, some go so far as to say it is the worst sequel ever, and can never be supplanted, and I think by the time it was released on video there was already an alternate version (or more) that tried to make the thing more palatable to fans of the first film. There was a third film which I won't bother going into.

Back to the original film, I do like Christopher Lambert as Connor, though he seemed to be such a depressed person (which feeling was only reinforced by his appearance in Highlander: Endgame, the fourth of the film series). Of course, he does have a few reasons to be sad with his lot in life, as he lives forever, and everyone else he knows almost invariably dies. Connery was awesome (of course) as Ramirez, and he was a more fun character than Connor for sure, and being close to 2000 years older than Connor he had lots more stories and was more interesting in general. Clancy Brown is scary as hell as The Kurgan, who is so obviously evil and just an all around bad dude, that he's pretty fun to watch. Also, he voiced Lex Luthor in Superman: The Animated Series and Justice League, so that automatically makes him cool. Lambert has been in a bunch of stuff, but I've not seen any of it except the first and fourth Highlander films, and Mortal Kombat, where he's fairly amusing as Lord Rayden.

Somehow or other, a television series came into being. It stars Adrian Paul as Duncan MacLeod, a clansman of Connor MacLeod, from a hundred years or so later. It stars with him having distanced himself from The Game to pursue a normal life, living with a normal woman, wanting to grow old with her. However, The Game intrudes upon his chosen life, and he must take up his sword again, helping to weed out the evil Immortals who would use the power of The Gift to dominate and subjugate humanity.

Each episode crosses Duncan with another Immortal (awfully numerous they are, compared to the original film) who for one reason or another, Duncan must kill. Most often they are evil in some way, but there was quite a few variations on the theme, and the occasional non-Immortal episode at all. Towards the end Duncan even got to face off with something that can only be described as The First (Evil) from Buffy the Vampire Slayer who can take on the form of those that are dead, and is trying to convince Duncan to join its side. Throughout the course of the episode we saw flashbacks to earlier parts of Duncan's life (or the other Immortals occasionally) which have bearing on the current predicament, be it previous encounters with the Immortal of the week, or some experience that taught Duncan a lesson of some kind.

There are several recurring characters, both Immortal and not, some of note are Joe Dawson, Duncan's Watcher (Watcher? Maybe we ARE watching Buffy.), and Methos, one of the oldest Immortals (so old, he's not even sure how old he is, he says around 5000 years, as that's about as far back as he remembers, and of course, Richie.

The series spawned two movie sequels, Highlander: Endgame which brought back Christopher Lambert as Connor MacLeod, who eventually gave his head to Duncan, a move which sorta made sense in the movie, but still kinda galls me, and Highlander: The Source in which they were going to find the Source of the Immortals, but which advance reviews of were so terrible that I haven't bothered seeing it.

It also spun off a television series, Highlander: The Raven, starring Elizabeth Gracen as Amanda (a friend/lover/associate of Duncan). I really enjoyed The Raven, and was disappointed to learn it only made it one season.

There was an animated Internet series based on Methos that ran eight episodes, which I should see someday, and there was talk of a live action series, but nothing ever came of it.

Back to Highlander, the series ran for six seasons, Oct 3, 1992 to May 16, 1998, for 119 episodes. According to Wikipedia it starred Adrian Paul (Duncan), Alexandra Vandernoot (Tessa Noël), Stan Kirsch (Richie Ryan), Amanda Wyss (Randi McFarlane), Jim Byrnes (Joe Dawson), Philip Akin (Charlie DeSalvo), Michel Modo (Maurice), Lisa Howard (Anne Lindsey), Elizabeth Gracen (Amanda), Peter Wingfield (Methos). It takes place primarily in Seattle, Washington, Vancouver, British Colombia and Paris, France. The first half of each season generally occurred in Seacouver (so called because it was filmed in both Seattle and Vancouver), then switched to Paris for the remainder, with flashbacks taking place all over the world.

The theme song is Princes of the Universe by Queen, and several other Queen songs appear throughout the show. Now, in general, I dislike Queen, but I really love the theme song, as well as Who Wants to Live Forever? and the mood they convey about the life of an Immortal. Princes is an upbeat anthem, and really fits the fight scenes it's paired with in the opening sequence, while Who Wants to Live Forever? really emphasizes the loneliness of someone who lives to see all their loved ones age and die, over and over again.

One last thing to mention. Bob Anderson. The man behind countless sword fights throughout movie history. Among the many influential movies he's been involved in are: Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back as an Imperial Officer and Vader's Stunt Double, Star Wars (A New Hope), Star Wars: Return of the Jedi, The Guns of Navarone, From Russia With Love, Casino Royal (1967), Superman II, Highlander (1986), The Princess Bride, The Three Musketeers (1993), The Phantom, The Mask of Zorro, The Lord of the Rings Trilogy, Pirates of the Caribbean: Curse of the Black Pearl, and more, in the capacity of Stunts, Stunt Double, Fight Arranger and Sword Master. The guy is awesome, and the fact that he was turned 80 while working on The Lord of the Rings Trilogy while training a main cast of 9 actors, plus hundreds of stunt fighters is amazing.

One more last thing. Pictured above are the three Official Highlander Katana Replicas. The sword are made by Marto of Spain, and used a previously existing design. The one in the middle is Connor MacLeod's katana, the one he inherited from Ramirez. If I recall correctly (and come on, you know I'm a big enough nerd to remember reading this a couple of years ago), the TV series was originally going to be about Connor, but for whatever reason it was changed to be a clansman of his (so he could still be a Highlander from the Highlands of Scotland).

Anyway, they contrived some reason that Duncan should have a katana of similar make to Connor's, and even based it on the same sword. Both swords have the same hilt (arranged so the when the dragon heads are oriented the same (as in my pictures) they are showing opposite sides of the hilt, with a dragon head attached to the end, with Connor's also getting a serpentine body wrapping around part of the hilt. The tsuba (handguard) of Duncan's sword has two roosters encircling it, and is bronze, while Connor's is gold and just has a nifty design.

As you may notice, there are actually three swords in the above picture, with the two outside swords "belonging" to Duncan. I don't remember if it was right from the outset, or if sometime during the life of the show someone designed the nifty dragon hilt of the top sword, to be Duncan's Official Sword (I believe the replica is marketed as the Official Dragon Sword), but he didn't like the feel of the hilt, the unevenness of it compared to the hilt used on Connor's sword, for swordplay, and so elected to use (or keep using, whatever) the sword based on Connor's. But since it was already designed, somebody decided a replica should be released and see how many suckers would pay the retail of $330-ish for it. Not me, I got a good deal on it on eBay and paid around $100. I quite like the design, and the feel of it in my hands, but I'm no swordsman, so I don't know which I would prefer to use if I were.

I love all three swords, and while I much prefer the shiny gold and neat design of Connor's sword's tsuba, I prefer the dragon head on Duncan's katana, and the heavier (darker) emphasis on the detailing of the hilt, and it's the one he actually used in the series, but the Official Dragon Sword is my favorite of the hilt designs, and if for some horrible reason I was constrained to get rid of two of them, I'd probably still keep the one Duncan used in the show.

Duncan's Katana on the left, Connor's on the right.

Remember Kids: There can be only One! Unless you want to have sequels and maybe a TV series or two.

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Monday, April 13, 2009

Pic of the Day 42 - Super Heroes Week 1 - Superman

Superwoman, from Superman/Batman: Vengeance, by DC Direct.

I thought Superman/Batman: Vengeance was a very fun story, and part of that was the alternate dimensions and universes we saw. Among those alternate realities was a gender reversed universe. Batman was a woman, I don't know if she was Helena Wayne, as though Dr and Mrs Wayne had a daughter instead of a son, or if Helena Bertinelli became Batwoman instead of Huntress, but I think it was the former. And without checking I don't remember if they ever said Superwoman's name, but she was the female equivalent of Superman. I would really like to read more of this universe, it just seems so interesting to me to have characters like Miss Miracle and her husband Big Bard, and Darkseid is the Queen of Apocalypse, which I guess extrapolates to Gramps Goodness?

Remember Kids: I think he's coming, Mr Luthor! - Otis

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Monday, April 06, 2009

Pic of the Day 41 - Super Heroes Week 1 - Superman

Regeneration Suit Superman, DCUC wave 6 by Mattel

Remember Kids: Deep down, Clark is essentially a good person. And deep down, I'm not. - Batman

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