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feihong

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Posts posted by feihong


  1. I think that was a great time to get into X-men. The team was dangerous and strange. And the buildup of anti–mutant sentiment was playing out in the most interesting ways. Reading before then, X-men had always been more of a superhero comic. They went into space a lot, they fought villains, they smashed jets all the time. Then came God Loves, Man Kills, and Dazzler: The Movie, and they just took off with this idea that the public was very divided on mutants, and that people were starting to retaliate against their public presence.

     

    It made the whole world a dangerous place for the X-men. And the team was very malleable in that era, with members joining and leaving, getting hospitalized and proving their mettle (that iconic issue where Psylocke fights Sabretooth, for instance). And the development of Rogue as a character during that time was pretty amazing. That issue where Storm loses her powers is literally the very next issue:

     

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    It's the issue where Claremont first delves into Rogue's backstory, where she recounts the discovery of her powers. The issue is one of Claremont's shrewdest in terms of structure, because the whole thrust of the issue suggests that Rogue would be extremely happy to be free of her powers, and that had that been the outcome of Gyrich's attack, things would have been just fine. But because it's Storm who takes the blast from Forge's ROM gun, the outcome is thrown entirely out of whack. Storm, who loves and relies upon her powers to define who she is, loses them, and Rogue remains trapped in her own uncomfortable skin. I'm not sure if it was Claremont's intent, but when Storm returns to lead the X-men, she and Rogue seem to be much closer, perhaps as a result of the events of this issue. There is also one of Claremont's veiled lesbian romantic suggestions, when Storm offers to touch Rogue and have Rogue experience her powers. It's one of the best of those moments to me, because the vulnerability of the two women is shared on a deep level. Perhaps that's another reason Rogue and Storm are closer when Storm returns.

     

    I like JR Jr's later, blocky style just fine, but this era on the X-men is his best work for my money. Not perhaps his best draftsmanship, but his talents were aligned to...it seems to me the most important superhero writing going on in that era? I realize that's debatable, but surely Claremont's X-men have a claim on importance in the 80s that few straight-up superhero comics can match. Romita Jr's art seemed to have this new wave edge that other books didn't. His figures wore popular fashions, for instance––most pencillers were still giving their characters sedate clothing choices from the 60s. And the action in X-men in this era was very well served by Romita Jr's taste for big mayhem. The X-men had great fights in that era––their clashes with Freedom Force and the Marauders, with Juggernaut and especially with Nimrod, who always holds a place in my heart. This is the main era in which the X-men seem prepared to beat the threatening future they face––they jack up Nimrod pretty severely, and Magus as well, now that I think of it. And I like the years of experimentation with radical change after this––the Outback era, Inferno, the fracturing of the team and the non–team era. All in all, a great time to be into X-men.

     

    I just thought of something. You know how Claremont did those X-men Forever and New Mutants Forever books years later, continuing the stories as if he had never left the titles? Those books were a little underwhelming. I wish instead that they'd given Claremont free reign to do a What If? style maxi series of his Mutant Wars storyline. The idea in this era was that all of the dormant plot threads in X-men, New Mutants and X-factor were to come together in this big "Mutant Wars" crossover. Anti-mutant fervor was supposed to reach a fever pitch, and all these floating villains, from the Hellfire Club to Nimrod to Freedom Force to Mr. Sinister and the Marauders, to the Shadow King, would collide with the X-teams in this giant public conflict. Things like Magneto's flashback of fighting the Shadow King would get explained, and presumably the Hellfire Club's tacky superhero outfits from that last fight when they were a threat to the X-men would be given some sort of justification. I wish I could have seen that story play out, from that point where the Outback team gets broken up, just before Jim Lee and Rob Liefield and Whilce Portacio hijack the books, and see what Claremont had in mind. I think it would have been very interesting, at the least.


  2. rogue-bigcostume4.jpg

     

    Initially I thought the hair was wrong, too. But it's a lot closer than you might think to the image here––the image that is their obvious basis for the design of the figure. Rogue doesn't wear this costume in exactly this way in the Uncanny X-men at any point. She gets the outfit from the costume maker that gave Spider-man his alien costume (at the end of Secret Wars I the X-men play around with the costume maker briefly), but when the X-men arrive back from Secret Wars she already has a different look, with the orange tunic. Later, she'll have a green pantsuit, and then she experiments for a while with looks similar to this one. When Warpath tries to kill Professor X Rogue is wearing a big green sweater, off the shoulder, which goes to mid–thigh. At that time, she starts sporting 80s big–hair. Later, she wears the off the shoulder green tunic with black underneath, but with green bikini bottoms and green leg–warmers. Rogue constantly complains through this part of Uncanny X-men that her costumes get ruined in the X-mens fights.

     

    This drawing appeared in the Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe, which is why the costume is well–known––in spite of it never appearing in the pages of Uncanny X-men. To me the main thing they got wrong is that the hair on the sides should be a little bigger––the brown hair isn't plastered to her head, like on the figure, but combed like the earlier pompadour–style hairdo she wore when she joined the team.

     

    For a lot more of this era Rogue was wearing a bright orange tunic and green boots and gloves, with a longer, more flowing hairdo. It wasn't a good look for Rogue, but I have a special fondness for it, because it was the outfit she wore in the first X-men issue I ever read, issue 184.

     

    22068-3092-24620-1-uncanny-x-men-the.jpgrogue2.jpg

     

    They won't keep releasing Rogue in different costumes, of course, but I'd really like a figure in this one, for pure, burning nostalgia value. This was a great issue of X-men, which hooked me pretty much immediately (though it was years before I was able to get another issue of the book). Rachel Grey arrives in the past in the prior issue, and in this one she stumbles around through New York discotheques, hunted by Selene. It was one of the scariest things I had encountered in my early life––Selene makes a handsome 80s dude who takes Rachel home into a crumbling skeleton, and later on she animates the rug of an apartment into big hands that circle around Rachel's feet. It was the stuff of nightmares. The X-men appear on maybe only the last 3 or 4 pages, and Rachel is so shocked by how different they look than she has ever seen them (she doesn't recognize Storm in her punk outfit, or Professor X walking) that she faints. Reading it as my first X-men experience had me thinking that psychic vampires prowling New York city were a thing the X-men had been fighting to stave off, whereas readers who didn't read New Mutants were being introduced to Selene for the first time. How does she know Professor X when he is kicking her ass on the psychic plane? It's not explained. The X-men have never met her before. The art in the issue is very creepy, some of John Romita Jr.'s best art ever. He takes the supernatural elements of this story and evokes them all in ways which are pretty horrifying.

     

    But the issue begins with the introduction of Forge, for the first time (and Val Cooper and Naze, I think, as well). Val Cooper and Mystique in disguise meet Forge at his Dallas compound, so they can get him to show them the mutant–de-powering gun he has made, based on ROM's blaster. Cooper and Mystique walk into a crazy hologram room, which just rocked my whole world when I first saw the double–page spread––a scene from an Arizona prairie, or something, but with unsupported–seeming stairs floating down to little ledges where there are couches and stuff. Ah, 80s X–men was something else again. Such good times. Following this was the issue where Storm lost her powers. The awesome cover was advertised on the pages of this issue, and I spent years and years looking for that issue without success. Now I have like 3 copies, but it took forever to find.


  3. I have the Gamora figure in hand, and I like it pretty well. Though it does have tiny feet. Really undersized. Like the other new ones, it doesn't stand up on its own very well. It is, though, one of the figures that really benefits from the emphasis on unique sculpts. Her armor is very detailed, and she has a great face and hair.

     

    This version of Gamora has not had a chance to shine in the comics––I think in part because the Guardians are hot enough property now that they have to be kept in this IP–driven narrative stasis. Gamora when she wore the Guardians uniform was a much more dynamic character, with a real arc and development and everything. I think that's a big part of why most of us would have preferred that look for her. That, and the idea that the new armor is very derivative of sci fi video games. But in the collection of figures the colors on the new armor really make her stand out. Personally, I don't mind the new look––I just wish they'd do something with the character at this point, and keep her interesting.


  4.  

     

     

    They didn't reduce the articulation on her at all. She has the torso, arms and legs of the X-23 figure (and X-23's belt), and aScarlet Witch's hands and feet. The headsculpt is unique and the hair is a softer rubber.

     

    I believe Emma has shown up packaged at toys shows at least once. I think Toyfair 2 years ago? or last 2013 SDCC? We've had several hints in the past indicating that Emma Frost was manufactured a long time ago, back in the MU days, and she has just been waiting on a release, like the other figures in her original 3-pack. I didn't ever feel that there was a risk she would end up shortchanged on articulation. It is a huge relief that they ended up putting her and Northstar in a wave, though. I guess it doesn't make much sense that they wouldn't release those figures, but I believe that is something Hasbro has done in the past with the previous incarnation of Legends? So maybe there was something to that worry. Anyways, If the Taobao figures are castoffs, then the quality of the Emma Frost figures will be excellent, because there's nothing wrong with these figures at all. They're sans capes, but the painting is top-notch.

     

     

    I certainly didn't mean to insult gypsies in the previous post. This johnnyshowcase character has had some kind of bone to pick with me since SDCC, for some reason. But to correct that previous error, I'll say that I don't think the Chameleon figure is worth the money he costs, and that I'm sorry to have cast aspersions on gypsies; it was an unintended consequence of my reliance on unreconstructed language I'd heard many times in the past and not really analyzed.


  5. I thought the Chameleon figure looked pretty decent in the displays at Toy Fair, but having the figure in hand it makes almost no impression at all. And with the diminished posability, due to the new torso, it's a total gyp. Emma Frost, though the Taobao figures I got of her come without the cape (generally these castoffs are sans accessories), stands out very well on the shelf with the MU figures. They really painted her well. Her costume is pearlescent and the face is exceptionally well-done.

     

    I'll probably continue collecting particular figures I like, and ones that I think I can salvage with a quick customization or two. The Jane Foster Thor looks pretty good to me. Definitely, though, the quality has taken a dive and only a few figures aren't suffering from the diminishment.

     

    Very clearly you can't trust a thing the Hasbro guys say about putting articulation back in the line. Every time they're asked about the articulation they have a different reason for removing it and the suggestion that they add it back in was not followed up upon during SDCC. Hasbro's handling of this line has become very schizophrenic––on the one hand, the character selection seems to indicate they're catering towards collectors. On the other hand, reducing the quality of the figures suggests they're aiming at younger kids who have less experience judging good figures from bad, and who won't necessarily be bothered by a figure being delivered way out of scale from others in the line.

     

    The change in scale of the female figures is the worst new development for me. Black Cat is just tiny compared to any of the figures. She truly looks like she comes from another line, in a different scale. It looks as if Gamora and Carol Danvers are going to end up the same size, which is ridiculous. None of these 3 characters should be shorter than X-23, or Dagger. But the diminished articulation and general cheapness of manufacture is really making itself known at this point, and it's very disappointing. So I don't feel like this is anything but a low point for the line.


  6. I went and got some of the figures from Taobao. All the new ones besides Korg, who really didn't interest me.

     

    Northstar and Colossonaut are fine. Emma Frost looks great. Fantastic painting, a very gravure, glamorous face, well-done hair...different tones of blue for the eyeliner and the lipstick. It looks far less awkward than a lot of the white lipstick variants people have tried on Emma Frost toys and statues in the past.

     

    X-men Deadpool is pretty fun. It's the Deadpool figure we know from XMO:Wolverine.

     

    The disappointing one is Chameleon, I'm afraid. The arms and legs are the ones from the SDCC Destro figure and Professor X, but the new torso is completely terrible. His posture is weird––his chest is puffed forward and he seems to be suffering from scoliosis. The puffed-out chest reaches nearly Liefieldian proportions, and Chameleon's chin comes close to touching the chest.

     

    But the basic problem is the range of flex for posing––the new torso has limited motion of all limbs connected to it. The head cannot tilt up and it can barely tilt down. The arm sockets are blocked on the left and right by the chestpiece, and as a result, Chameleon is not able to move his arms in the same radius as the SDCC Destro figure. What's more, the suit coattails wrap around the hip of the figure, stopping Chameleon from moving his legs forward or backward, or to the left or right at the hips. He can widen his stance a little bit, but you can't pose his legs forward or back at all. There's no neck on the figure, and the figure somehow comes out shorter than the SDCC Destro figure it was based on.

     

    The torso also has a radically different, far glossier texture than the arms and legs. I'm not sure if that's final for how the figure is going to be painted, but if so, that would be another mistake. Still, the limits of the maneuverability are really remarkable, and they didn't need to happen if they just kept to the original buck. Super-lame.


  7. Not figures, but Marvel related. The new Blu-Rays for Agents of SHIELD and Agent Carter are listed now on Amazon, but they are Amazon exclusives. That's a pretty ominous sign. I know everyone does streaming video or downloads, but I still buy seasons and movies on Blu-Ray. The writing's been on the wall for a while now regarding physical home video's demise, but I refuse to go all digital.

     

     

    Blu rays are still popular. But TV shows are a harder sell on Blu-ray, I think, because of the high price. You can see that in anime. Fewer anime series are making it onto blu-ray. But I believe film is still doing well there.

     

    And I know what you mean! I like holding the box for the movie in my hand. I don't like just having it all on a computer hard drive somewhere, or out in the cloud.

     

     

     

    My local Target has some JL/Perez Beast figures on the pegs. No Shanna or Vulture or Armored Daredevil yet. I figure them appearing on the pegs is the only way I'll end up buying the latest wave.


  8. I got some of the new figures from China. Bishop, both Sandmen, and both Beasts.

     

    Sandman is very fine. No complaints.

     

    The new figures are very lightweight. The sculpts do look really good. The painting is not terrible, but it's all flat colors, with no shading or definition. Doesn't look quite like Marvel Universe figures in that respect.

     

    Otherwise, all the things we've been grumbling about are true. I admit the sculpts are better, and more detailed than I'd given them credit for. But the articulation is taken waaaaaay down on these figures. No torso, no waist, very limited neck (these guys can only look side-to-side. There's less neck articulation than in Marvel Universe wave 1), no wrist. The bicep swivel is gone, replaced with the elbow swivel. For Beast especially, all this sucks. Bishop has his dinky arms that look really out of place, but Beast is the real mess; stiff, inarticulate.

     

    The blue Beast is meant to look like the Jim Lee Beast from X-men #1, I believe. That open-mouthed expression comes from the page in that issue where he's throwing Wolverine--their version of the fastball special. I tried to articulate Beast to be able to do that. Suffice to say, it didn't work at all. Beast can't twist even slightly. without the bicep swivel or the neck articulation, he can't look like he's throwing anything.

     

    To me, that's pretty disappointing. My Showdown Beast can certainly be posed for a fastball special. Also for a lot of other things.

     

    Bishop also has very stiff, limited hip articulation. He can rotate a little bit, but he can't get out of that splayed-leg position, at all. The hip doesn't allow for that movement.


  9. So small I don't understand why they didn't just make them MU scale.

     

    Good question. Who is it that 2-inch figures are really meant to please? I can't see kids loving these things just because they're super-small. At that size, Legos are probably a much bigger draw for kids, and having the Guardians out of scale with everything else they've done so far won't probably work for collectors.


  10. I'm kind of thrilled we're getting a modern Cyclops. I mean, he's not up-to-date, but that costume they've got him in lasted for years and for many great stories. I'll place him up there in my completely outdated "AvX faceoff" display, staring down Iron Man and Captain America, with Beast in between, trying to stop them fighting. Right now I have the Jim Lee Cyke standing there, and it just looks silly.

     

    Actually, this whole wave is mostly just win. How come nobody at Habsro seems to get that this is the way the waves ought to be?


  11. i can't say I share your analysis. Hyperion, for example, has a nice metallic finish on his chest symbol and his metal diaper. The fact that he has a satin or semi-gloss look on the rest of him is intentional, to my eyes. Both figures have a mix of textures I would describe as appropriate to their specific characters.

     

    Maybe you got a pair that have poorly done paint jobs? Mine look pretty awesome--and of a quality comparable to the later MU figures.


  12. Buy Image. Their trades run about 10 bucks. Nowhere Men is that, and it's the best comic on the market right now.

     

    Recently, though, Marvel put out a $89 or $100 collection of Uncanny X-men, starting from Giant-size X-men #1 and going all the way through the 1st Hellfire Club storyline. That thing is a great deal. Lots of money, but tons of content, to boot. And those older comics had a lot more narrative in them, so it's like they're worth more. More character development, too. And more action! Hey, what gives!

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