Have you guys heard about the Stars Wars? Have you also heard about Funko Pops? These are two things that seemingly came out of nowhere to dominate store shelves, social media, and websites over the past few days, and quite frankly we're alarmed. But because we don't want to look like we're behind the times, we've snapped up a bunch of these Star Wars: The Force Awakens Funko Pop figures to giveaway to the loyal readers of ComicsAlliance and ScreenCrush.
The whole first wave of figures has been rather hard to find all in one place, but through the grace of the internet god's favor, we managed to procure all your favorite heroes and villains from the upcoming movie nobody has seen, such as Kylo Ren, Captain Phasma and Rey. We've even got some of the classic heroes who actually have proven their worth already in Chewbacca and C-3PO, but we know everyone is really after that cute little BB-8. For all we know, that guy is just a mini-Death Star, and the real villain. You can't prove us wrong. Deal with it.
One of the key sequences of Marvel's blockbuster Avengers: Age of Ultron was the knock-down, drag-em-out fight between the Hulk and Iron Man. For months, Marvel had teased the big throwdown in commercials and trailers, and the final fight in the film definitely delivered on the carnage and chaos one would expect of such a massive slugfest. While the version we got to see in theaters featured a slightly hazy-eyed, green Hulk doing all that damage, that wasn't always the plan. In fact, Hulk was supposed to turn a bit grayer when under the influence of Scarlet Witch.
Though that version never made it into the film due to the creative team finding it too jarring for audiences to see the Hulk drastically change color like that, the spirit of that change lives on through Kotobukiya's Avengers: Age of Ultron statue set. Already, Koto has released the normal versions of the Hulkbuster and Hulk set it produced, but a variant version of the Hulk is being offered as an exclusive through Entertainment Earth. Courtesy of the online retailer, we have an exclusive version of the Kotobukiya Avengers: Age of Ultron Rampaging Hulk ArtFX statue to give away.
Oh the next year in Hot Toys is going to be so expensive, you guys. We've already got the rest of the Avengers: Age of Ultron roster to get through, but we'll also have the first Civil War figures, Batman V Superman figures, and of course, Star Wars: The Force Awakens to somehow find a way to finance. I'd take out a new mortgage on my home, but I'm a renter. Besides, we all know home ownership is merely an illusion for a geek culture writer on the internet. That doesn't stop the production train at Hot Toys from running though, and there's going to be a lot of new Force Awakens characters vying for your dollar in the coming year. Especially if you're an army builder.
Hot Toys has already shown off its standard First Order Stormtroopers, but now the company is turning its attention to the cold climate specialists, the Snowtroopers. We haven't seen them in any of the footage released so far, but they did make an appearance in that Vanity Fair photoshoot, and we do know that there will be some snowy climates dealt with in the film. Like the Stormtroopers, there will be two different Snowtroopers offered, with one being basic, and the other being a boss.
Artist Stjepan Sejic is a busy man. From working on the likes of Sunstone, Death Vigil, IXth Generation, Rat Queens, Ravine, and covers for seemingly dozens of different books, he somehow also found time to design a new series of statues for Sideshow Collectibles. I can barely tie my own shoes every morning, but this dude found way to digitally draw and paint a half-dozen books a month, and had some spare time to guide the look and feel of a line of Masters of the Universe premium format figures. Wherever this dude is eating, I would like to go to there.
We first got our look at the Sejic-designed pieces at San Diego Comic-Con, but now it appears Sideshow is ready to formally reveal the Masters of the Universe line with it's first piece, He-Man. This statue is just the first of two (the other being Skeletor) that were shown off at SDCC, but Sideshow intimates this could just be the beginning for the MotU series. If this He-Man is any indication, that's going to be a set of statues that even the most lapsed of fans can fawn over.
One of the greatest things about being into comics right now is that we're getting closer and closer to a time when there's nothing that isn't reprinted. I mean, really, as much as I love digging through back issue bins --- and as much as I doubt that particular pastime is going anywhere --- being able to snag a comic that might have otherwise been forgotten in a high-quality prestige format is pretty cool.
That's why I'm so excited about Dark Horse's upcoming He-Man and the Masters of the Universe Mini-Comic Collection. Set for release next week in comic book stores, the 1200-page hardcover collects the original mini-comic stories that were packed in with the MOTU action figures --- comics that featured creators like Mark Texiera and Bruce Timm --- in a brand-new complete package.
While at first Lego Dimensions appeared to be yet another NFC figure game built to cash in on the success of Activision's Skylanders series, but in the months since it's been revealed to be a game built to cash in on Skylanders' success with some interesting improvements to the formula. With the concept of having to actually build all the figures and vehicles, Lego Dimensions offers enough difference from its competitors at the onset to make it appealing.
Factor in the inclusion of just about every license under Lego's belt, and you've got a game that lets you team Scooby-Doo and Batman with Doctor Who, while they try to stop an invasion into Springfield. After months of lead-up, the arrival of the ultimate fan fiction mash-up game is almost here.
Just because there's not a new movie on the slate for a few years doesn't mean you've seen the last of the Marvel Cinematic Universe's Avengers, my friends. Aside from guest-starring in each others movies at an increasingly exponential rate, there's still an endless array of collectibles based on these silver screen heroes coming, too. Kotobukiya's been steadily putting out Avengers: Age of Ultron collectibles to bolster its already impressive Marvel line-up, and next up the company will be bringing Iron Man's latest armor to life in 1/6 scale.
While there have been a multitude of Iron Man pieces over the past seven years, the collectible market is always just a tiny bit behind when it comes to the most recent incarnation of Tony Stark's armor. Very rarely are the most current suits available when they first appear on film. However, just as the Age of Ultron is about to hit home video, Koto has announced pre-orders for its Iron Man MK XLV ArtFX statue. Even though it won't be actually available until January 2016, this first look at the piece does show plenty of promise in Iron Man's new duds... which will be outdated just a few months later in Captain America: Civil War.
In the days leading up to Force Friday, all eyes were on the standard flag bearers of Star Wars collectibles like Hasbro and Lego. The anticipation for new figures and block-building sets was all anyone on collector channels could seemingly talk about. Then the timed-release of several advanced looks at Sphero's remote controlled BB-8 changed the conversation completely. Suddenly, all anyone could talk about for the next few days was the little rotating droid. Even I wasn't planning on getting one of the little buggers right off the bat, but after seeing those first few videos of BB-8 in action, I changed my tune. BB-8 had become the "must have" Star Wars toy of the season.
Of course, with all that immediate hype comes the potential for extreme letdown. It's rare when a single toy met with such fervor in such a short time can be capable of shouldering the expectations of the purchasing public. Just because something is hot and new doesn't mean it's worth the investment, either from a money standpoint or from the time it takes to track one down. Fortunately, Sphero's BB-8 is one of the few ballyhooed collectibles of the past few years that measures up. That is, as long as your expectations can be tempered back to rational levels after the hype subsides.
Right now, Star Wars: The Force Awakens is a little bit like Shrodinger's Star Wars. Longtime fans of the franchise have been burned by incredible trailers and hype before, and aren't so eager to let their guard down just in case Episode VII disappoints them yet again. But there's also reason to believe that the new trilogy (and the numerous other films in development) won't fall prey to the same pitfalls that ended up being the prequel trilogy's downfall. As such, The Force Awakens exists as both an incredible triumph and a spectacular failure all at once. It's interesting then that Tamashii Nations next three figures happen to tie the prequels and the new sequels together.
The next wave of SH Figuarts Star Wars figures will hit this winter, and includes Obi-Wan "The Only Good Part of the Prequels" Kenobi, Kylo Ren and the First Order Stormtrooper. Tamashii's gone with the padowan incarnation of Obi-Wan, which is an interesting choice given that rat tails never took off as a viable haircut, but it does allow pit the soon-to-be Jedi Master against the previously released Figuarts Darth Maul. The figure looks sharp, even in the sculpted and articulated robes, and includes two different facial expressions. Kenobi's bemused confusion was certainly an expression used often in the early film, but I'm a little surprised Tamashii didn't go with something a bit more aggressive to match up with Maul.
I'm a big fan of Mezco's One:12 Collective. It all started when I first got my hands on the prototype Dark Knight Returns Batman that kicked the line off. I wasn't quite sure what to expect from the detailed, mixed-media figures, but once I held the aged Bruce, I knew this collection had incredible potential. The second release, Judge Dredd, was equally as impressive, but wasn't a must own for me. I loved the design, but felt I could forego this piece in lieu of upcoming pieces like the Flash or Superman. Then I saw the Black and White variant prototype of Judge Dredd at SDCC.
I'll put it plainly; I'm a sucker for black and white variants. It all started with NECA's Mirage-inspired Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles box set, and has continued through the years. There's just something more intriguing about a figure whose design has been whittled down to its most basic essence. Of course, where 2D linework can easily express a full figure, there's a true talent in being able to translate the simplified aesthetic into an appealing action figure. Even though the Judge Dredd Black and White NYCC variant doesn't quite have the same attention to line details as something like DC Collectibles' Blue Line Batman, its monochromatic scheme still catches my eye in a way the standard version doesn't.
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