SpartanNerd Scoop!…Batman and Robin #33

Being a cheapskate, I get a subscription in the mail to most of the Bat-titles, including Batman and Robin.  So generally I don’t get to read the stories until as many as two weeks after they come out.

But once in awhile, the moons and planets align, and I get a comic on the day it comes out…even more rarely even a day early…

This is why I have a SCOOP today.  Batman and Robin #33 came right on time!  (I would point out that Batman #33 hasn’t arrived yet. I don’t fully understand how the comics come so irregularly to my mailbox!)

Here are the details, and my review…

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The cover shows exactly what this book is all about.  Tension between Batman and the Justice League.  I don’t like that Lex Luthor is a part of the Justice League, and am getting used to seeing him with all of the good guys.  And is Captain Cold a League member too, or is he just hanging out with Luthor?

The story left off after “Robin Rises:Omega #1”, where Shazaam just “saved Batman” from flying through that portal to Apokalips hanging onto that flying Paradaemon.  Batman then proceeds to beat him.  I detailed my delight in all of this here!

So the league is having a meeting.  Batman is trying to justify going to Darkseid’s dimension/planet, reminding the league that Darkseid had already tried to invade once before.  Luthor sums it up.  “It is all about Robin.”  SO Batman does this…

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I thought…”Oh man.  He just hacked Cyborg to force him to Boom tube.”  Not exactly.  Batman was thinking very clearly.  He went up to the Watchtower Satellite, where he has some gear stashed.  Not just any gear…

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“The Hellbat.”  Is this the same suit depicted in the pages of Batman and Robin before?  If so, I didn’t know its title, and I think this is the first time the origin of the suit is explored.  The Justice League forged it to help Batman with his weaknesses.  (He is the only Justice Leaguer with NO POWERS!)

I like how we get this old school style page, summarizing the creation of “The Hellbat.”

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This is old school…I mean, we could have had a mini-series about the creation of this suit!

Apparently, Batman plans on taking this suit to Apokalips.  I would like to point out that Batman has already been to Apokalips once before, when Darkseid invaded Earth….And then he didn’t have this suit, and was successful!

So the rest of the league catch up with Batman, and Captain Cold puts his Cold Gun to Batman’s head…Poor Cyborg gets one pulled on him AGAIN!

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Batman goes home.  He says he’s “tired.”  Yeah right.  He goes home and smashes Damien’s tombstone.

Superman shows up…Where has he been?  Why did we have Shazaam before when Glorious Godfrey showed up?  Batman and Superman have one of the warmest conversations we have seen in the New 52.  (And they even have their own joint title, where they mostly put each other down.)

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Batman asked Superman to come down…His neck hurts.  I don’t know if he was telling the truth or not.  I kind of thought he might be up to something else.  But we don’t see anything happen…

Batman and Superman apparently part ways.  Batman shows up in the Batcave, greeting the entire Bat-family, (sans Dick Grayson.)!!!

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They are all going to tackle this.

 

I like how this is an issue about issues…The Justice League values vs. their personal values.  Batman directly asks Aquaman if he would feel the same as him if it were about Mera.  I like that.  Arthur has no reply, except “That isn’t fair.”  But it was fair.

I don’t like how Cyborg got hated on so much.  And really, he was just kind of a bystander…(Same as almost always.)  The hacking of the teleport system as well as becoming the target of redirection for the cold gun were just wrong.  I guess I wish it were Shazaam that was the target, or Lex Luthor.

So the next issue of Batman and Robin will be about Batman relating to Red Robin, Red Hood, and Batgirl.  This title should be about the Bat-family.  I hope this brings them closer together…The Joker has fragmented them so, and then with the loss of Damien and the seeming loss of Dick they have been at odds with one another.

I rate Batman and Robin #33 at 5/5.  This read kept me on the edge of my chair.  The whole “Hellbat” thing was a great bonus.  Batman bested the Justice League, another great thing.  We saw a warm conversation between Clark and Bruce, something we almost never see anymore, and finally we saw the Bat-family assembled, ready to work together on something!  The art is great as well, showing a tortured Bruce Wayne as the story progresses.  Really, this book deserves every bit of the 5 points.  What would you give it, oh Hub City Geeks?  Comment and let me know what you think!

 

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SpartanNerd thoughts on MOTUC and COMIC CON reveals.

Ok.!

SQUEEEEEEE!

 

Seriously.  I must have this.!!!.

When will they make an Attack Track?

 

About Tongue Lasher, he is my favorite Snake Man.  But the tongue here just looks wrong.  I prefer the paper-ish tongue on the vintage figure.

The new She-Ra looks cool…

 

Eldor always has looked cool.  Way better than He-Ro.

I won’t bother posting a pic of Sweet Bee.  Not interested.

SpartanNerd Comic Review…Robin Rises: Omega

 

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This is definitely one of my favorite recent books!  Last month in “Batman and Robin Ras Al Ghul” #32, Batman beat the tar out of Ras…We see Batman beat a lot of people up.  But this time was…special!  He literally lost his temper and was just about to kill him for attempting to resurrect Damien in a Lazarus Pit.  The book came to a sudden and unexpected halt when Glorious Godfrey arrived, from Apokalips!  This is where “Robin Rises: Omega” would have begun…

Luckily, I guess for people who haven’t been consistent readers, the special “Omega” issue starts off with a series of flashbacks to bring you up to speed.  The flashbacks are a wonderful summary of the saga of Damien’s life and death, and how Batman grieved, avenged, and eventually came to terms with the loss of his son.  I would point out that the art here is in some cases FAR SUPERIOR to the original art that appeared in the mainstream comics!  Here are some examples below…

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Damien was killed by this big guy, “The Heretic.”  My grainy photo here is way better than the original art of Damien’s final moment in “Batman Incorporated. #8”

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Here is an example of a different kind of improvement.  The original art that appeared in “Batman and Robin Red Robin #19″  was cool, showing Batman dissecting Frankenstein quite gruesomely.  Here we get to see an even gorier picture of that same scene.

 

After the flashbacks, we get back into the main story with the battle between Batman and Glorious Godfrey.  It seems Glorious Godfrey thinks Batman has a crystal that belongs to him…(Actually Ras used it to activate the Lazarus Pit and it is in the coffin with Damien’s body.  Batman doesn’t know…)

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This is where it pays off to read EVERYTHING THAT CONNCECTS TO THE STORY.  If you read Batman and Superman, (I have read every issue…) then you saw this chaos crystal.  “Robin Rises: Omega” gives us this momentary flashback.  It seems that in the displacing of time and space that happened in the issues with Kaiyo, the Chaos Crystal was a player, and Batman’s memory was scrambled a little bit to where he knows something happened but doesn’t seem to know.    It is in his subconscious.  Somehow Ras has taken this piece of the crystal, and Batman hasn’t a clue because of this mind scrambling effect.  But it rushes back to him in his anger!

 

Most of this issue is a welcome battle royale.  Basically you have Batman, Titus (Damien’s great dane), Frankenstein, and Ras Al’ghul and his army verses Glorious Godfrey and his parademon goons from Apokalips.  There is some humorous dialogue just before the battle, where Batman indicates to Frankenstein that right now, the real enemy is Apokalips, considering the circumstances.  Batman knows Darkseid is far more of a threat that Ras.

It turns out that we get to see how much of a ninja all of these characters are.  Even Titus draws some blood!  This huge battle comes to “Duex Ex Machina” when the Justice League busts in.

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No Superman this time (he has some sickness, “Superman Doomed,”  I’ve only lightly read this.)  Instead we get Cheeseball.  Yep.  Shazam.  Shazam just does what he does.  Flys off the handle making rash decisions.  We see Aquaman call Orcas at just the right moment.  We see Wonder Woman do her awesome thing.  Cyborg calculatedly using his weapons.  But Shazam just messes things up.  Then, when Batman tries to go through the Boom Tube to Apokalips as Glorious Godfrey makes his hasty escape, Shazam thinks he’s saving Batman by knocking him off of the flying parademon.  Then we get these beautiful scenes.  (Sorry.  I am leaving the profanity here.)

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Everyone who reads my blog knows I don’t like Shazam.  So these pictures are priceless.  GO BATMAN!

The issue ends with a seething Batman declaring that he is going to bring Damien back alive!

I can’t wait for “Batman and Robin” #33!  (This time no strikethrough.  The title is officially supposed to be called Batman and Robin again…We’ll see what that means!)

I give Robin Rises: Omega a 5/5!  The art is an improvement over what was already established in some cases.  There is a tide of emotions that go with this book, mostly anticipation and excitement, then amazement, humor, and finally you are feeling like Batman at the end of the book.  This is what comics should do every week!  This is probably my favorite piece of this story since issue 19.  (Well, #32 was really good.)

Contrasting what is going on here compared to the two weekly titles, “Batman Eternal” and “Future’s End,” where the characters and story seems to be floundering, and you get snips and pieces that don’t really move you, “Robin Rises: Omega” is a great read!

What do you think, oh Hub City Geeks?  Do you agree with my rating of 5/5?  Send a comment and let me know!

 

SpartanNerd Unboxing and Review…Marvel Select Thanos

About three months ago, Thanos came to my attention at The Tangled Web.  I was unable to purchase him at the time, and hadn’t seen him since he was evidently snatched up on that fateful day.

I saw him a few more times in other stores.  But usually the price was jacked up.  He was at one store for $40.  This was wrong to me because I knew I could order him off of the internet for cheaper…

But no need.  He returned to the Tangled Web back in Spartanburg!  And at the correct price, $24.99.

1 box

In my mind Thanos is one of the Big Bads.  He’s up there with Darth Vader and Skeletor and Darkseid.  I have limited experience with Thanos in comics, but what I have made a deep impression on me.  He appeared in a Spider-Man comic that I had in the 1990’s where Spidey had a near death experience and got to see Thanos in his death.  Not God.  Or Satan.  Thanos.  The outcome was always confusing to me…Lady Death was there.  Thanos was in love with her.  She said let Peter Parker go.  And basically Spider-Man woke up shaken, but not dead.  I hope to find that comic one day to do a vintage review.

Oh yeah.  This is a toy review.  Sorry!  See my pics and captions.

 

2 box back

 

The back of the box is nice.  It gives you lots of information.

3 bio

 

You get this summary of Thanos’ fictitious life.

4 comic

 

Thanos is most famous for having the Infinity Gauntlet.  I know mostly of this from a Video Game for the PS1, way back in the day.  You had to tray and capture the Infinty Gems before Thanos.  In the end, he usually got them, and then beat the snot out of you.  A quick search on Wikipedia gave much more information.  Apparently he used the gauntlet to wipe out most all life.

5 side face

As in the Marvel Select Deadpool and Thor, you get an awesome grimace on the side of the box.

6 what you see when you open

When you open the box you see this.  The little booklet is propaganda.  Not instructions.

7 accessories

Here are the contents freed from the packaging.

8 standing 9 biceps 10 wearing gauntlet

Thanos is easily the most muscular figure I own!  Look at those biceps!  The pic on the right has Thanos wearing the Infinity Gauntlet.  This accessory is actually an alternate hand.  I was afraid to remove the closed fist hand.  It didn’t come off easily, and there were no instructions.  I just braved it, and popped the hand off.  It is held on by a substantial peg and plug.

11 hand raised

The gauntlet has the gems embedded in it!

12 death 13 death with normal face 14 normal profileIMG_0265 15 IMG_0266

Now for Lady Death.  In the comic I had, she was there with Thanos.  And he expressed his love for her a few times.  She was usually the human woman, but sometimes appeared as a skeleton.  (Kind of the Grim Reaper.)  Lady Death was included as an accessory with Thanos.  And she has a removable face, so you can get both looks from the character.  Notice the silhouette shots I included here.  This is kind of how I remember her being depicted.  Sometimes an attractive profile, and sometimes the skeleton.

 

16 thanos and death

 

 

17 thanos and thor 18 the lady is with me!

For risk of sounding like Pixel Dan, I’m going to say it anyway.  Its comparison time!  There really is no competition from Thor.  Thor is easily one of the worst action figures I have.  He has articulation joints, but he is very rigid in the ways that you can pose him.  But Thanos is free!  The only thing missing from Thanos is the ability to hold a weapon.  His fists are closed, and the infinity gauntlet hand is open.  Which is how it should be.  This is the only area articulation wise that Thanos is inferior to Deadpool.  Deadpool is just about the gold standard of all action figures.  (Another gold standard would be Vikor from MOTUC.)  Thanos isn’t quite gold standard.  There is a little bit of paint slop on his foot joint.   And he comes with no accessories, I mean like weapons.  Death and the Gauntlet are nice.  But why not give him something to hold?  (or the power to hold something, for that matter.)

I give Thanos a 5/5.  Maybe not gold standard, but too awesome to deduct any points.  What do you think, oh Hub City Geeks? Leave a comment!  I’ll leave you with some humorous pics!

19 what if? 20 flexing

 

 

SpartanNerd Review…M15 Pre-release sealed deck experience

For the first time ever, this weekend I made it to the top 4 of a magic tournament.  But this time was even more extra special…It was a sealed deck pre-release!

In case the reader is unfamiliar, Sealed Deck is a limited form of MTG that requires you only play with cards you open.  Generally, you get five booster packs, open them, and build your deck from those cards and those cards only.  The Pre-Release is just a little different, because you get to play with a promo card and an extra “seeded” pack, which is meant to support your strategy.  You choose a color when you sign up, and your seeded pack will contain cards of that color and with synergy with your strategy.  (was that redundant?)

This time was different, I believe, because I studied for the event well ahead of time.  And I went into the event with a plan in mind.

But it didn’t hurt that my cards worked really well together!

Here are pics and commentary!

0 whole deck

I crafted this deck from my card pool.  Green and Black were my star colors.  I felt very comfortable playing these two colors together.  I splashed a little red and white for added removal.

 

1 drops

These one drops really didn’t do that much.  They became targets for Yisan, who I will be discussing shortly.

2 drops

Satyr Wayfinder and Black Cat are old friends of mine.  They accomplished their jobs well.  The Satyr Wayfinder made sure there were things in my graveyard to use as resources.  This was one of my goals.

3 drops

Now for the good stuff.  Netcaster Spider was a star at blocking flyers.  In limited formats, such as sealed deck, people choose flyers when they can.  The Necrogen Scudder is an old friend.  He hurts you when he enters the battlefield, though.  And then there is Yisan.

Yisan deserves his own paragraph.  Yisan the Wanderer Bard is a music card.  Right up my alley!  Never once was he removed. I guess my opponents didn’t think him that big a threat.  But guess what?  Oh yes.  He was the secret to winning most of my games.  You pay his ability cost, onc green and two others, and then tap him.  You get a “verse counter.”  Then you get to find a creature from your deck with the Convereted Mana Cost of the number of verse counters he has on him.  SICK!  As mentioned already, the one drops were usually elvish mystics.  The two drops, well they were the Satyr Wayfinders usually.  The three drops were the only two possibilities.  And the four drops were the next card I want to discuss.

 

4 drops

Undergrowth Scavenger.  His power and toughness are equal to the number of creature cards in the graveyard.  And I scored two of these guys in my sealed deck!  He was almost always a 6 or 7 power and toughness and demanded an answer from my opponent, that they usually wouldn’t have.

5 drops 6 lilliana

Other cards that took advantage of the graveyard were Rotfeaster Maggot, and Lilliana Vess.  Have I ever Mentioned that Lilliana is my favorite Magic card ever?  (I actually have a top three.  All black.  Lilliana Vess, Grave Titan, and Elbrus the Binding Blade/Withengar Unbound.)

Once during the evening I got to ultimate Lilliana.  My opponent just scooped right away!

The Rotfeaster Maggot was included to help me recoup life loss from Necrogen Scudder and from a few other cards that had me paying life.

 

7 promo

Ah, the promo of the evening.  If he wasn’t answered, GG.  Usually my opponents wouldn’t sac someone or pay three life right away.  But card advantage is one secret to winning in Magic.  It didn’t usually take but two card draws and them being hammered a couple of times with him for them to pay the life.

10 soul of inistrad

One more worthy mention.  I actually got Soul of Innistrad.  One of the cards I had my eye on since it was previewed.  The Soul was a star if I ever got him out.  at 6/6, he’s hard to kill.  In the graveyard, he can get creatures into your hand from your graveyard.  On the battlefield he can too.  Only once was he removed.  (Pillar of Light.  A white exile spell with the condition that the toughness of the creature must be 4 or greater.)  Exiling him is just about the only way to deal with him.

 

Onto my removal.  I passed up a few cards in my card pool.  Festergloom and Crippling Blight, as well as Covenant of Blood.  All black spells that should have worked.  But I opted for the better options in other colors instead.  This was a critical choice, especially with the splash of red.  Heat Ray and Lightning Strike were just too good to pass up.  Oppressive Rays is a star in sealed deck limited.  It rarely got used during this event, however. Ulcerate was one of those cards that penalized my life total.  But it is so powerful at one drop.

8 removal and splash 9 removal

 

11 other spells

There were three other spells.  I thoroughly enjoyed playing Necrobite.  I would surprise my opponent…he would think he was trading creatures with me, then, BAM.  I got one over on him.  Stab Wound was cited as putting pressure on one opponent.  And I was able to finish off two opponents with Sign In Blood.  This card was also useful in getting me cards a couple of times.

12 swamps 13 forests 14 other lands and radiant fountain

 

Now for the boring part.  LANDS.  I didn’t get any pain lands.  I did get two Radiant Fountain.  But in the end I thought it better to just run one copy.

So my deck did several  things well!

Flyers.  Check!

Graveyard Digging.  Check!

Life Gain.  Check!

Card Advantage.  Check!

I may never be so lucky with a set of cards again!

I went 3 and 1.  The only loss for the night was against a mirror.  The guy had more Sign in Blood than I had.  He told me I dumped the game against him by playing cautious near the end and not swinging all out.

Other people I played didn’t hardly stand a chance.  I played one White Weenie guy.  The flyers took him out.  I played a guy who played control.  But he couldn’t respond to the graveyard strategy or to Yisan the Wanderer Bard’s ability.  One guy was trying to take advantage of Convoke.  (Bad idea.)

I saw almost no one else play a planes walker, or a Soul.  Wonder why I was so lucky?

In the end, I won TEN PACKS OF M15 cards!  (The top four were tied at 3-1.  We all voted to split the box.)  My winnings netted me an Avacyn, Guardian Angel, and a Chord of Calling, as well as a black-green pain land and a red-blue pain land.  I also traded for Ob Nixilis, Unshackled, and Scuttling Doom Engine.  Not bad!  I even traded for a Jace, the Living Guildpact!

Compared to M14, M15 is THE BOMB.  The power level here is similar to what was in M13, with all those legendary creatures.  The Soul cards also sort of remind you of the Titans.  (M14 was a dud.  It just couldn’t cut it.  The slivers were lame.  Red was good.  Mutavault and Doom Blade were good.  But other things really weren’t so good in the end.

I rate M15 based on my Sealed Deck experience at 5/5.  How did your experience go?  Do you feel the same as me?  Let me know in the comments!

SpartanNerd Vacation….A World of Nerdery

What did the SpartanNerd do on his vacation to North Myrtle Beach???  Here is a list, with notes…

1.  Swimming…Everyday.  I got the SpartanSmurfs input on a name change for them for this blog.  SpartanSmurf #1 will now be called SpartanTeen.  And SpartanSmurf #2 will now be called SpartanKid.

See.  That swimming time was a great time to discuss the important things in life.  I also spent the time to discuss Nature vs. Nurture with them, as well as the idea of Predestination vs. Free Will…and Plato’s Cave!

 

2.  Fishing…I have had a good run of fishing lately.  Mostly with rubber worms.  But they didn’t work in the marsh at the RV Resort where we were staying.  But the frozen shrimp did!

 

3.  Nerd Stuff Hunting….I was looking for a few specific things…6-Inch Darth Maul Star Wars Black Figure…Marvel Select Thanos…DC Comics from November 1982…and Spawn #10.

of these, I found two.  Thanos wasn’t costed cheapskate enough for me at $30.  But I found Spawn #10!  For $4.25!

 

 

4.  Magic The Gathering Core 2015 (M15) Set Pre-Release…This was a seeded sealed deck tournament.  Normally I don’t do well with sealed deck.  But this time I crafted the greatest deck!  I will get to the specifics in my next blog entry, but I made it to the top 4 and we split the winnings!

 

5.  Masters of the Universe Comics Marathon Reading…25 comics in 6 days.  Ka-Bamm!  (Except issues 7 and 8.  the art is really bad in those two.)

 

6.  Cable TV Watching.  There really isn’t anything on, is there?  Good thing I just have NetFlix at home!

 

7.  Aquarium…We visited the NC State Aquarium at Fort Fisher.  It was…OK.  Really the best part was the Butterfly Bungalow.  Fort Fisher was a complete DUD, however.  The best part was riding on the ferry from Southport to Fort Fisher and back.

 

8.  Eating at restaurants…The Biscuit Shack…ahem, The Shack is great food.  We also ate at…Becks Calabash, K&W Cafeteria, Big Daddy’s (In Fort Fisher…Ewww), and IHOP.

 

9.  Eating at Home…We shopped at the Wal-Mart so fiscally responsible that we had exactly enough food to eat seven breakfasts and lunches/dinners.

 

10.  Not playing guitar, recording music, singing, leading worship, blogging, or teaching…  It is good to take a break for awhile.  It helps you get refreshed.  Now I will try and finish my album before school starts back!