At the end of 2007, there was a little thing called New York Comic Con. Mattel thought it would be cool to make a couple of the harder to find figures from the ending DCSH line available as exclusives at that con - Specifically, Black and Silver Superman (wave 5), and Knight Shadow Batman (wave 8), along with a new Mr Freeze (repaint of wave 3 figure). I had just started collecting the line, and had been lucky to get Knight Shadow Bats and BS Superman pretty easily, and for some stupid reason, that I do not recall, and absolutely cannot fathom, I didn't think I needed a Mr Freeze figure. Now, Batman and Robin was a HORRIBLE film, a travesty like no other in the Super Hero genre, but Mr Freeze is one of Batman's most interesting villains. He's had several great episodes in Batman: The Animated Series (I'm still trying to get a new review up, I swear), and the first full length film from BTAS featured Mr Freeze. My point is, I love the character, but I didn't take advantage of the opportunity I had to get a new figure of him when it came out (through other collectors I know on SWAN, who lived in the area and were going to the con).
I have regretted it for two years now, as the price for the figure on eBay went up to 3 times retail. Sure, I could have gotten the DCSH Wave 3 version for roughly retail, but the NYCC version is FAR superior. Dubbed Tech Suit Mr Freeze, the NYCC Freeze has a much better paint deco. Predominantly black, with electric blue detailing and red accents, this suit looks much more technological, and like the modern comic book styles that I prefer. The wave 3 version had odd coloring on the lower torso of the figure and the forarms, that was nearly the same color as Freeze's skin, so it looks like he's wearing a high-cut shirt, exposing his midriff (rather like Supergirl). Understandably, it looks odd to me, and I wasn't keen on getting it. I set my sights on Tech Suit Freeze, and wondered how I would justify paying over $30 for a single figure.
Things started looking up, when Fwoosher Poe Ghostal made me an awesome trade and I was able to acquire the 2007 SDCC Exclusive Man-Bat figure, it gave me hope that someday I would get Tech Suit Freeze for less than $30. And last week, it happened. In what seems to me to have been a fluke bit of bidding, I won Tech Suit Freeze in an auction for the piddly amount of $18. Another auction ended less than 24 hours later went for $32. I Win.
My cousin is a big fan of Marvel Comics, so we've discussed them at length. He has recommended that I read the Joss Whedon run on Astonishing X-Men, and hey, I'm a Joss Whedon fanboy, so I was interested. It was also recommended to me to read Grant Morrison's New X-Men, if I liked Grant Morrison. I do, I have his run on JLA, and have read half of his Batman stuff, leading up to Final Crisis, So, I picked up the 3 of the 4 Astonishing X-Men trades, New X-Men Vol 1, and since I'm always looking to finish my JLA and Justice League of America collection, I got JLA vol 9 and JLoA Vol 3. I believe I got the following 6 books for about $25 on eBay from various sellers.
Since I've had these for a couple of weeks now, I've read all the X-Men books and one of the DC books. I enjoyed the first of the New X-Men books (E is for Extinction, story by Grant Morrison, art by Frank Quitely). I think Grant Morrison writes good stories, certainly they're often confusing as hell, and this one also featured a bunch of characters that I'm only marginally familiar with, if that. But even his confusing stories have really cool elements to them (remind me to talk about JLA Vol 3: Rock of Ages sometime), so I can still enjoy them, and I did this one.
However, the art is crap. Quitely's art sucks, and I hate it. Everybody is ugly. Cyclops is ugly, Xavier is ugly (okay, he's also an old man, but he looks really old and ugly), Wolverine is REALLY ugly. Emma Frost is freaking supposed to be hot, not look like a fat, ugly 10 year old dressed up like a skank. She should have things like cheekbones instead of baby fat cheeks. I read comics firstly for the story, then I'll reread them later to notice the art more. I usually don't form opinions about the art in the first read through, because I get caugth up in the story too much to notice it enough. Except when it's really awesome (such as Jim Lee in Superman: For Tomorrow or Tim Sale in Batman: The Long Halloween), or when it's really horrible, such as Frank Quitely's art in this book. And unfortunately, he does the art for the first 4 or 5 books. Ugh. When I expressed this opinion on The Fwoosh, there were a few people who said they liked his art, and I think they were referring, at least in part, to stuff rather than the people, but they're SO UGLY that it was really distracting in a lot of places. Jean Gray is by far the most attractive person in the book, but she was still fat of face, and she had no bloody expression on her face. There was one page where she was talking to Scott (her husband) about the way she felt their relationship had been deteriorating, and in three panels where she talked about the different ways she felt (excited to be alive and with him, and then upset at the distance she felt from him). She didn't look like she was concentrating on the 8 things she was levitating, nor did she look happy, nor sad. She looked absolutely bored. But at least she wasn't ugly.
John Cassady's art in Astonishing X-Men, on the other, is awesome, and I should talk about that more at length, but I'll do so in another post (someday). Also, Joe Benitez's art in the second chapter of The Injustice League is also kinda crappy, excessively stretched and exaggerated. It's strange looking.
And finally, after three or more weeks of looking, including a huge 7 or 8 hour trip hitting around 10 Walmarts, I have at last found the Walmart DCUC 5 pack. Huzzah! Praise be to Darkseid!