SpartanNerd’s MOTUC He-Man Review

My first ever TOY REVIEW!!!!

Masters of the Universe Classics He-Man!

I really hoped my boys would dig into this.  I bought them a few, but they simply don’t have that much interest.  They like the way they look.  But the magic isn’t there that existed when I was a kid.  Every once in a while if I put on a MOTU cartoon, their interest will spark up.  But that is it.  They are just not as into the property as I am.

I mention being into the property….I have followed since I got onto the internet!  (It was Adam Tyner’s page then!  )  I was thrilled to find others that longed for the days of MOTU.  And I was so happy when they put out the 200x cartoon, and I got a few of the toys then.  (I was REALLY BROKE then.)

I don’t own many of these new figures….I mean, they cost nearly $40 a pop from Mattel!  But I fell in love with the idea as soon as it was announced, and it wasn’t long before I had a tiny collection of basic figures.  I am going to start with He-Man!  (Where else would I start?)

I don’t care much about the packaging….I usually look at it for a second, and then throw it away.  The MOTUC bios are OK with me, but I can read those anytime on the internet.  AND, I can also look at the packaging if I want to look at it for some reason.  So I normally feed the packaging to Oscar the Grouch!

My He-Man figure is the first “re-issue” of He-Man.  Apparently the “first edition” had backwards shoulders, and too much red around the eyes.  (He has been given the loving nickname of “Pepper Spray He-Man!)  Mine has none of these problems…Mattel saw to go ahead and fix their flagship character.

I have been playing with this guy for about….10 months?   He is properly broken in!  I can still hear a tight little click sometimes when I move his joints after he has sat for awhile.  His ankles are getting a little loose, though.  (He has “pin” style ankles.  You can see the pin in his shoes at the joint.

But WOW.  What an update!  You only had five articulation points on the vintage He-Man figure.  Basically on all of them.  But the MOTUC design has an articulation point on every major human joint!  There is also an ab crunch, and boot cuts so that you can point He-Man’s shins.  So a MOTUC figure is more like a vintage Gi-Joe figure, only exploded to a 6 inch (7 inch) scale.  This is the greatest He-Man we’ve ever seen,…..Heck, it is just about the greatest action figure we’ve ever seen!

Ab Crunch!

He came with the same accessories that the vintage one came with, with an updated “full” power-sword, so that you can properly display him when he is alone.  He also came with a half power sword, a throwback to the vintage figure who had a sword that could combine with Skeletor’s to open Castle Grayskull’s door.  This idea remains….but the swords do not fit together so well  😦

He also comes with his iconic battle axe, shield, and power harness.  (armor)  I think I prefer seeing He-Man hold the Battle Axe nowadays in my old age.

So what don’t I like about it?  Well, I feel guilty about owning such a luxury item….I mean, I paid nearly $50 for my He-Man in the after-market.  I have bills to pay, family to feed, and I’m a grown up.  I don’t really “play” with toys.  I think they are cool.  I like to display them.  He-Man makes a good Magic the Gathering table piece.  I even like to poke around with them, which I guess IS playing with it.  But I don’t play with it like I did as a kid.  SpartanNerd though I am, to have a full on Eternian War is sort of beneath me, I suppose I am sad to say.  To display such a war would be cool, if I was rich.  I could display him at work, but I found out quickly that he is a bit to naked for my clientele.  (Elementary School)   Maybe during a movie year!

So how will I rate my He-Man figure…..He gets a 4/5.  The point was lost because the ankle joints have become weak.  This won’t do on THE MOST POWERFUL MAN IN THE UNIVERSE!

I will bring more of these figure reviews in the future!

“With great power there must also come — great responsibility.”  – Amazing Fantasy #15 (August 1962)

My promise to Pixel Dan….My Top Ten MOTU characters!

I grew up with He-Man.  I saw every aspect of He-Man until “The New Adventures.”  Even then I had a few of those figures.

So who were my favorite characters?  I promised Pixel Dan in my comment for his contest that I would list my top ten.  So here we go!  I love these guys probably more than the others.  But it is so hard to choose.  I did not even consider Battle Cat or Panthor.  But I love them too!

10.  Hordak.  In my mind Hordak is the goofy villain from She-Ra.  But I also love the MYP interpretation where he is a powerful threatening wizard.  I don’t love the Hindu-ish looking Hordak from the current comics, however.

9.  Tongue Lasher.  Cool name.  Cool action feature in his toy.  Loved his color scheme.  I prefer this guy to any of the other snake men.

8.  Scare Glow.  Old Scare Glow is especially bad in the dark!

7.  Mosquitor.  This guy is just awesome!  I loved the blood sucking feature.  Ironically, as a kid, I got Mosquitor in my Easter basket……

6.  Man-At-Arms.  Ever loyal to He-Man and Eternia.  I am not fond of the idea of Duncan dying a snake man.  To me, Duncan is the mastermind behind all of the vehicles and such.  He also appeals to me as the sort of priest for the good guys.  That might strike some readers as weird, but here’s why.  If you study anthropological formation of religion, you find that the first religious figures were the ones who could predict nature, build fire, and heal people.  Man-At-Arms has the secret of the lost technology from Eternia’s ancient past.  And he communes with the Sorceress, who is also a religious figure.  So there you have it!

5.  Rio Blast.  The guy has more guns than Swartzeneger.  What’s not to like?

4.  Evil Lynn.  She has such depth of character.  More than many other villains in this universe.  Everything from the white hair under the helmet, to the contrast with Teela, to the classic yellow skin, faceless dad, and even the seductive story in the digital comics.  Evil Lynn is an agent that generates story.  I also used to love to put the figure on Tyrantisaurus.

3.  Roboto.  The gears in the chest get me every time.  AND you can swap his weapon hands.  How cool is that?

2.  Skeletor.  Not for the same reason as He-Man.  I just think he is AWESOME.  A barbarian wizard dude with a skull face, goat staff, and lives in a mountain shaped like a snake.  Skeletor is THE DEFINITIVE bad guy,

1. He-Man  (Does this need explanation?)  He-Man caught my imagination.  He helped solidify my view of “good guy.”

So what is yours, Hub City Geeks?  Do you agree with me or disagree?  Comment!

Buy a Mac….Don’t be a CheapSkate

As mentioned numerous times, the SpartanNerd is a Cheapskate.  How cheap?  Well my nerdly pursuits are anything but cheap.  But I try to cut corners where I can, by subscribing to comics, buying booster packs of MTG cards instead of the cards I want, going with Netflix instead of cable\satellite, etc.

But where am I not a Cheapskate?
Well I figure there are three areas where being a cheapskate just won’t cut it….
Go ahead and get the expensive trash bags!
Buy the Scott-Tissue.
Get a Mac, instead of a PC.
The first two probably have obvious answers…..You want to avoid a mess.  Get the Hefty bags.  Want to avoid plumbing blockages, get the Scott-Tissue.
But what about the computer?  Well, when you buy a computer, you should be thinking….”Hmmm….I’m buying a friend and a working partner.  I’m buying a pet.  I’m buying an item that I am going to be seen with.  I’m buying an item that is dependable.”  SO YOU SHOULD GO AHEAD AND GET A MAC!
Yes it is more expensive at first, but hear me out Hub City Geeks!  I remember the days of DOS.  (Yes.  I am a true SpartanNerd!)  In those days, you had to know the commands to type at the prompt in order to accomplish anything.  Want to delete that cute kitten picture?  You had to type at the C:\> prompt, “del cutekitten.gif”   This command would only work in the root C: directory.  If it was in a different directory, (nowadays directories are called “folders.”) you would type something like 
“C:\kittypictures>del cutekitten.gif    .   Got me?  Of course not.  Most of you folks have only lived in the age of the mouse and the touchscreen.  This kind of code has been lost to the world of the casual nerd.
So after the golden age of DOS commands and codes, Microsoft Windows came along.  Keep in mind, this is how I saw it.  Windows was a HUGE ADVANCE.  You could see that folder on the screen, and open it, and delete the kitty by dragging it to the trashcan.  WOW.
Now I had a relationship with Windows.  You see, I could sense the DOS codes going on behind the scenes.  I had a leg up on everyone in this area, it seemed.  But Windows became WACK over time, and I didn’t realize it.  I was like that frog in the water that slowly came to a boil. And then a breakthrough.  A revelation.  A breath of fresh air.  and I didn’t see it coming.
I was invited by my employers to attend a Podcasting workshop.  (This was in 2005.)  At this event, people from Apple computers came and dug in their heels and taught us how to do podcasts.  Now I’ve done a few podcasts since, but what was transformative for me was that they gave me an eMac and an iPod.  The eMac ran OSX “Tiger,” and was really alien to me.  But after a day of using it and getting lost in the machine, and actually creating a product with basically no trouble, I realized that my friends the Window PCs had had their day in the sun.  Now the Mac was Back in Town!
Now I did have a little relationship with Apple machines before this workshop.  In elementary school we had Apple IIe computers that ran floppy disks.  In college we had a mac computer lab that would eat my disks.
But this was nearly ten years after all of that.  OSX is a dream compared to Windows, in every form.  My computers have crashed about 10 times in the last EIGHT YEARS.  I was handed a Windows 8 machine today for work, a Dell XPS, brand new out of the box, THAT THING HAS ALREADY CRASHED.
Go with the Mac.  You won’t regret it.

Game Review! Injustice: Gods Among Us (IOS version)

What do you get when you cross Mortal Kombat, Shadow Era, and Infinity Blade?

Injustice: Gods Among Us.      This is DC Comics newest video game release.  Since I don’t have a PS#, Xbox 360, or Nintendo Wii U, I’ll just give you my IOS assessment.

So I bought this game last night….and it took so long to download to my iPad Mini I waited to play it until in the morning!  However, the game was free……(We all know the catch here!  In App Purchases)

I just ignored the chance to purchase stuff at first, which is my general practice anyways, and dug into the game.  The game started me with three complimentary characters, Nightwing, The Flash, and Green Lantern (Hal Jordan).  After I won a few battles, I unlocked Catwoman.

It’s been awhile since a game got me.  “It got me!” (said in Sweet Brown’s voice.)

I played this game for well over an hour.  It is pretty simple.  You just tap and swipe on the screen, in a fighting style similar to Infinity Blade, but not nearly as in depth.

When you unlock characters and things, they go into your collection as “cards.”  Like Shadow Era or Magic The Gathering trading cards.  Really.  And they get exhausted over time…  This keeps you recharging them with energy cards, or swapping them out with new cards that are not exhausted.  I have not run out of these energy cards yet, but I think I know where that’s going.  They will eventually, and if I want to play, I will have to fork over the dough.  I have had a lot of fun for free, so far, but I liked the game enough to go ahead and buy their $4.99 special booster pack.  This got me Harley Quinn’s card, Green Arrow’s card, and another Flash card, this time the “regime” version.  This was the first time I noticed that there are different versions of each character.  This is a cool touch!  Regime Flash is much bigger and has a fancier costume.

I have nearly leveled my Catwoman all the way up.  I also had a tough time with the first boss, which was Hal Jordan.  But after I beat him, my characters each got a big boost in levels.

All of this is cool, except that some of the in-app purchases are very expensive.  You can unlock 1,900,000 game currency for a whopping $99.  You see, I hate this.  It makes me think I will never be able to achieve the perfect game without paying WAY TOO MUCH.  I vow not to spend any more money on this game.  I will grind my way to the top if I ever get there.  $5.00 is one thing, but $99 is just about enough to go and buy a newer console system.  I could buy the whole “Dragon Maze” Magic The Gathering set for around that price, and probably have a wealth of cards I could trade in at the comics store.  And I would have REAL CARDS.  Not digital goods only.

The best thing about this game has got to be the BEAUTIFUL GRAPHICS.  Never have the DC heroes and villains looked so realistic.  Never have they had such high resolution.  Never have they been so awesome.  This is why it is a good thing the Mortal Kombat people are on it.  They did it right!
You can see strands of hair, scales of chain mail, screws and nuts and bolts and wires.  Feathers on arrows.  This game is made by the graphics.  In fact, it makes up for a weak fighter with all of the awesome images and the cool stuff.  Isn’t this kind of what makes Mortal Kombat successful?  Compared to other fighting games, MK is weak on the mechanics, etc.  But makes up for it with its coolness.  Ed Boon is bringing that same magic to this game.

Incidentally, the oldest SpartanSmurf in this house thinks this game is AWESOME!

So I am going to grade this game 8\10.  It looses a mark for being expensive.  (But paying out IS optional, it will just slow you down big time if you don’t.)  And it loses a point for lack of depth as a fighting game.  Everything else is solid.  Especially the graphics.

So what is your rating?

Back to my fully restored NES!

Death of the Family review

DC Comics did it right when they began the New 52 with the Joker having his face cut off……and then keeping us in suspense for a year!

Along the way, Gotham policemen pranked each other with it, Harley Quinn tried to steal the face, and had a twisted moment with it and her new boyfriend, Deadshot.

And then the Joker returned, and he didn’t disappoint!  Right away he kills an entire station of Gotham policemen.  When we see him, he has his face horrifically strapped to his head, and stretched into a gruesome smile.  He spends no time catching up with Batman, and having some famous dialogue about how his “bat-family” makes him weaker.

This was also a cool trip through the New 52 origin of the Joker, (and Harley Quinn, too.)  DC portrayed the Joker as remixing his original crimes.  All of this echoed stuff from the old DC universes. Now it seems there is a solid origin story.  Batman knocked The Red Hood into a vat of chemicals, and it made him into the Joker.  That whole bit about him being a chemist also still seems to be true.

The Joker slowly picks off each Bat-Family member.  He does the biggest number on Batgirl, capturing her mom, removing her finger, and using it to propose to BatGirl.  Of course, she has to play along, or her mom will get blown up!  NightWing has his circus scared away because one of the clowns was killed for resembling the Joker.  Red Hood, Red Robin, and Robin (Damian) all get captured and thrown together in a cell.  (Damian’s book was really gruesome.)  Also, Alfred was attacked and Joker Gassed.  Every Bat Family member’s story ends with a suspenseful panel of the Joker holding a giant dinner platter about to open the lid….

The Bat Family is disenfranchised because apparently Bruce knew that the Joker might have figured out his identity, and thus was able to figure out everyone else’s.  It is never clear exactly how he figured out all of the personal details of how to get at the family members.  But Bruce seems to think that the Joker doesn’t want to know, and also blinds himself to what must be obvious to someone as brilliant as him with his insanity.   This detail is reinforced a couple of times if you think back.  In “Red Hood and the Outlaws #0” the Joker quickly cuts off someone who is trying to point out Batman’s identity, etc.

I suppose that the Joker really does need Batman and Family to keep him busy.  Otherwise he could have easily killed them all off in the end.  Instead he “plays a joke” on Batman by presenting their severed faces on a platter.  (not their real faces)

How is he defeated?  Of course Batman had no trouble saving the family members.  Then when he chases down the Joker and threatens him that he has figured out his identity, Joker won’t hear of it and throws himself down into the sewer, dropping his face in the process.

So far, the Bat Family members are rather irked at Bruce.  It is a wonder they won’t answer his calls and stuff….Damian was just killed.  They are not helping their mentor mourn.  They are THAT MAD.

Where will this go?  I wonder about the Joker’s face.  Is he going to appear as someone else, with a healthy face next?  The future is wide open on the part of the Joker.  He kind of always comes and goes, and now this won’t be much different.  I wonder if a whole “Joker in disguise” storyline might be coming up.  Or maybe he will grow his face back?  Or something else?  Anyone else out there have any theories?

I think maybe DC was trying to create some space around Batman.  Give him more room.  Isn’t this kind of process always going on?  Now he doesn’t even have an official Robin.  Batman is working alone for the most part.  It won’t be long though before the family is close again, so…..

So what do you think, Hub City Geeks?  Comment!  Join the show!  Make my little blog grow!  Increase the traffic flow!  Come on nerds Disco! (DISCO, DISCO DUCK!)

Robin Laid an Egg follow-up…….

A friend recklessly spoiled who the new Robin is to me….before I got my book in the mail.  And my guesses were entirely wrong.

I should have seen this coming, though.  Didn’t they recently release “The Dark Knight Returns” on video?  I haven’t seen it.

So welcome to the New 52, Carrie Kelly.  I suppose that wasn’t too much of a spoiler for anyone.  It is Thursday, after-all.  Maybe if ANYONE OUT THERE EVER READS THIS, I might receive a comment, even a complaint!

 Follow up to the follow up, I read some more news…..It seems that Carrie actually MIGHT NOT be Robin after all.    I guess we gotta keep reading.  I can’t wait until my issue comes in the mail!