SpartanNerd Review…He-Man: The Eternity War issues 12 and 13

Way back in November, I gave you my thoughts on the He-Man: The Eternity War story in issues 10 and 11.  Today, I bring you issues 12 and 13!

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I have read so many comics that NOTHING seems to happen in.  This hasn’t been the case with He-Man!  Each issue brings barbaric fighting, sci-fi goodness, high-fantasy magic, and the struggle for good to defeat evil.  The writers are giving us a great comic, with all-stops out!

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The two manifestations of The Goddess continue to battle it out.  The Sorceress of Serpos (Teela) and the Sorceress of Horokoth (Evil-Lynn) do this because the Sorceress of Zoar (…The Sorceress) was killed off by Skeletor way back at the beginning of this comic series.

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And while this epic confrontation wages, Skeletor has the power of Grayskull, and is making his own weapon out of Hordak’s sword and the Havoc staff at the Forge of Grayskull.  As he hammers away, planets are exploding out in the universe!

(The Forge of Grayskull is a repetitively used plot device in this series.  The writers have tied the power He-Man has to the forge, because it’s fire comes from the Star Seed…us long time fans know this as “the spark of creation.”)

Planets exploding…this strikes another nerve, as I just left my second viewing of Star Wars: The Force Awakens.

It is also remarked that the souls of all of the people killed as these worlds explode are feeding Skeletor’s power.  Pretty scary.

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Remember that scene where He-Man was Naked?  Evidently, the writers were showing us He-Man stripped down in his psyche.  The next scene shows what is going on in Adam’s head.

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We saw this scene before, but in that scene Keldor encouraged Adam.  We are seeing the memory corrupted by King Hssss.  And Adam doesn’t appear consistent in his mind…notice how as he fights, he suddenly was older and had the battle axe.

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He continues to change…

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And then is a psychological He-Man.  The axe is significant.  The is the He-Man inside of Adam, and he doesn’t need the power of gray skull.

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Adam encounters someone else in his mind as he goes deeper to protect his psyche from King Hsss.  His suppressed love for Teela is just at the top level of his sub-conscience.

And now for a HOLE IN THE PLOT.  Wasn’t Teela a blonde in this comic?  They even made a big deal about her dying her hair to red!

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Adam’s memory of Teela tells him to fight with all he has to protect a deeply hidden but crucial memory.  A memory shielded from even himself…It is represented by this little rock thing.  But then under attack by Hsss, Adam drops it and it shatters.  And then we had to wait for Issue 12!

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Issue 12 starts off with She-Ra fighting to get to Grayskull, and having a hard time slaying Skeletor’s Dark Riders…basically phantom skeleton warriors.

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She figures it out by suddenly knowing “Sword to Shield!”  I didn’t think they would use She-Ra’s sword-transformations in this comic.  The sword became  basically a sharp ended force-field.  COOL!

I am missing some pictures and am too lazy to re-take (after seeing Star Wars until 12:30 last night.)  Something that happened off panel was Man-At-Arms planting a bomb in Tri-Clops visor while he was “talking too much”.  And so that explodes, killing Tri-Clops and blowing a hole in Castle Grayskull/Fright Zone’s shields.

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And now back to what is going on in Adam’s head.  Adam is running towards the crashed Wind Raider…we saw this before…

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The memory is of the event that was recorded in He-Man and the Masters of the Universe #19, which was sub-titled “Prelude to the Eternity War.”  This comic was a whole year ago!  And King Hsss is working hard to corrupt this memory…a memory so deep and yet so vital to who He-Man is.  In the memory, Adam as a child, taps into the power of gray skull in order to save Randor from death.  Apparently a hidden ability of the power of gray skull is the ability to control time.  And so, the word “eternity” makes sense.  The Sorceress and Zodac decided to allow Adam to briefly tap the power as a child to save Randor, so long as he “forgot” what he did, as well as how he did it.  That fundamental moment proves that Adam IS He-Man, with or without a power sword.

Man-At-Arms is apparently not dead after all, but seriously wounded in the chest.  As he comes around, he sees Adam having inner conflict, saying things that don’t make sense, etc.  And then he sees Adam grab the remnants of the power sword and cut himself open!

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I always thought King Hsss devoured his victims like he did in the 200x cartoon.  Now we see how he does it for real…and it is SOOO much creepier.  Instead of swallowing them whole, (which kind of doesn’t make sense…) he goes into the body and consumes it from the inside.  All the while also consuming their psyche and becoming that person for real.  He is the Master of Dissssguisssse.

And before he took control of Adam he was Mendor…(I thought their must be something suspicious about Mendor…his name ends with an “-OR.”  Clearly he was a bad guy!) As Mendor, he treated all of the snake men, and caused them to be “seeded with his venom.”  Which apparently meant they would self destruct when he died.

So King Hsss dies, as does the Eternian army.(Because they are the same thing.)

In a matter of issues we have seen two entire armies wiped out…the Horde Troopers and the Snake Men.  Never say “nothing happened” in a Masters of the Universe comic!

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The memory of Randor gives Adam some clarity.  But let’s remember, Adam is dying…he just cut himself open…

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We interrupt that very important drama with even more important drama.  Skeletor outlines his evil plan to the world.  He has tapped the Star Seed.  She-Ra is down.  Hordak is conquered.  As the chosen one of Horokoth, Skeletor aims to destroy ALL life.  And then rule the chaos that comes after.

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Finally we see the image of Skeletor transformed with the power of Grayskull.  It appears that as before, he is combined with the Havoc staff.  Or maybe I’m wrong about that.

There are definite movie overtones here.  Remember Skeletor becoming “god.”  (Also the actors changed from Frank Langella to Anthony DeLongis.)

And as he appears, in Adam’s final moments…

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He taps into the power of Grayskull as the chosen one of both Serpos and Zoar!  It appears now that Adam is either re-born, or maybe healed.  And now he is a supercharged version of He-Man!  (We also saw some of this pre-viewed in the art book.

The art book seems to give us a few more hints of what’s to come.  But for now, I am perfectly happy with how things have gone!  This is the greatest Masters of the Universe story ever told!

Do I even need to bother giving them a 5/5?  I think my readers already know that!

SpartanNerd Unboxing and Review…Battle for Zendikar Holiday Box

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Once again, it’s time to get a new box for all of my MTG goodies.  I purchased the Battle For Zendikar Holiday Gift Box from the Tangled Web with some Web Bucks that my mom gave me for Christmas.  Thanks Mom!  (Web Bucks are basically a gift certificate.)

So is this a great gift for a MTG player?  How did it go for me?  Keep reading!

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Flipping the box over, you get to see the contents.  (So why am I doing this?)

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You remove the cellophane, and then this cardboard sleeve.  I am throwing this sleeve away.  It is just something obstructing me from getting to my cards.  Some people might not want to.  But I have no attachment.

 

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So this is the image I will see every time I use the box!  Ulamog, the Ceaseless Hunger squaring off with Gideon, Avenger of Zendikar.  Ugly…

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Opening the box, I saw…this…(It is an extra piece of cardboard meant to shield the contents from getting bumped around.)

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Here’s what was really there.

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This is a nice box.  I considered buying the box alone, which would have been about $8.  But I wanted to write on my blog and talk about the cards some.  So it was worth getting the sealed product.  I have the Kahns of Tarkir Holiday box from last year, and there are two Theros Holiday boxes floating around my house somewhere.  They are terrific boxes.  Good and sturdy, with two dividers to help in organizing the cards.  I’m not sure the exact number of cards a box like this can hold.  But each row can hold more than a “fat pack” box.  So a good many.  A great place to put “bulk cards,” pieces of decks, organizing lands, or whatever.  I hear that some people use these boxes to hold their “cube.”  Since I don’t have a large enough pool of playing friends to care about making a cube…

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Here are the other contents.  I like how this year we get the stickers on card sized paper!  The big thing from years past is just in the way.  In fact, I don’t use these stickers because that thing is just annoying.  But already, I have used some of these, (I am writing two days after my unboxing.)

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We get these beautiful dividers.  I really like the art from Zendikar.  That one on the very bottom right is “blighted” something.  It is really pretty.  Zendikar has floating islands, towering mountains with waterfalls, and of course corrupted areas of “dust” produced by Ulamog and the other Eldrazi.  These dividers are handy in almost any deck box.  I tend to use them exclusively with the Holiday boxes to create a concrete reference for how I organized my cards.  For instance, I had a bunch of special lands in a spot, and then put down a divider, and had my pieces of “tiny leaders” decks next.

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This box came with this exclusive printing of Scythe Leopard.  This card is equivalent to “Steppe Lynx” from the older Zendikar set.  He’s not quite as good, but he sees some play in constructed.  Standard nowadays has five fetch lands from Kahns of Tarkir block, as well as Evolving Wilds, which can really pull a lot of value out of a 1/1 kitty cat for only a forest.

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This box came with these also…

Normally this wouldn’t be all that significant.  But it is this time because every other product released for Battle for Zendikar has featured “full art” lands.  This is the only time I have seen regular basic lands for this set.  I was aware of them because they were in the card image gallery, and wondered why I had never opened one.  Now I know.  And I wonder if the intro packs also have these lands.  (confirmed)

Basically, full art basic lands sell for $1.00 apiece, helping make each and every booster pack of BFZ all that much more valuable than boosters from other sets.  I suppose the Wizards thought it might be a bad idea to print one of each full art land and put them in the holiday box.  (The sealed product would gain a ton of value on the third party market.)

So what was in my five booster packs?  I will show you a photo of each pack fully opened, and then make some commentary.  (Spoiler:  No Zendikar Expedition this time 😦  )

PACK 1

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I am really partial to the full art island.  The token is for Kiora.  Retreat to Coralheim is notable…a great way to get reliable card draw.  And the rare…

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Fathom Feeder has seen some play in Blue-Black Aristocrats.  I am glad to add another to my collection.

PACK 2

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This pack has a great gold ally, Resolute Blademaster.  Dispel is a great card for Modern…(last time I played against a Splinter Twin player, he sided in Dispel, and it gave him an edge.)  Also notable is Angelic Gift, to those casual angel players.  This can make an Icarian Priest fly, and net you a card!  The token is an Eldrazi Scion.  It can be an attacker, OR be sacced for a colorless mana.)  The full art land here is a swamp.  My readers know that my color is black.  But the Swamps are the least exciting and interesting of the BFZ full art lands.  Orion Rief Hydra…I could take him or leave him.

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PACK 3

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Notable in this pack is Brilliant Spectrum…a card that I believe will become more commonly used when the next set comes out.  Its “confluence” effect counts how many colors were spent to cast it, and then you get to draw that many cards.  It is a sorcery, so it isn’t great.  But in a five-color deck, it can net you some good advantage.  We get a Kor Ally for Gideon, a good full-art island featuring an EPIC waterfall, and…

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Major score.  Prairie Stream!  This is about a $3.00 to $4.00 card.  And as a Plains Island, can be fetched with either Windswept Heath, Flooded Strand, Marsh Flats, and on and on the list goes.  No…it isn’t a “shock land,” but it is what the Wizards have given us for Standard.  I think of these as “budget” lands for Modern.  (It is the fetches that are valuable.)

PACK 4

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This pack contains Hedron Archive, one of the cards that gets featured in propaganda art for this set.  This card sees some play in mid-range or control decks.  Vestige of Emrakul gives us some things to speculate about…Emrakul is not on Zendikar…and the next big set is called “Shadows over Innistraad…”

No token this time…a tip card instead.  BOO.  The full-art Plains reminds me of a shot from the new Star Wars movie, (the one where Rey is on a vehicle flying in front of a downed Star Destroyer.)

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I love this card!  With X in the mana cost, you get exactly what you pay for!

PACK 5

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Maybe the best pack for the SpartanNerd….Zulaport Cutthroat is the main reason.  This card goes great in Blue Black Aristocrats…It is in fact the enabler of that deck.  Brilliant Spectrum, explained in an earlier pack.  Smite the Monstrous has been called the most underrated card in the BFZ Standard environment.  So many targets!  Altar’s Reap is one of my favorite cards.  Imagine chump blocking some giant thing with a 2/2 zombie token, then before combat damage resolves, casting altars reap, sacrificing the zombie, and drawing two cards.  SCORE!  I have had new players accuse me of cheating with that one.  But it is totally legal, however wrong it might seem.

So what was the rare?

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I have heard people say that this guy is the spokesman for slowing the format down.  We did have Elvish Mystic, and Sylvan Carytid.  And this is who stands in their place.  Sure, he can swing or be tapped on the turn you play him, but he is a TWO DROP, and his mana can ONLY be used for creatures, most of which don’t have haste.

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Here are the cards plus some other cards so you can see how well the box works!

What’s soon to come for the SpartanNerd and MTG reviews?  I have all five new Commander decks coming my way!  And I think I will approach reviewing them differently…Keep reading!

SpartanNerd Review…TruForce Collectibles Designer Series Megaman X

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My review of the TruForce Collectibles Designer Series Megaman X can’t be a true unboxing.  This item was on display at the Tangled Web Comics and Games store in Spartanburg SC.  But I have the packaging, and here it is…very brilliant!  We picked it up for the price of $79.

Neither I nor the SpartanKid had ever heard of this brand name.  When we saw it, I of course thought it was a new line of D-Arts figure.  But this figure is superior to the D-Arts figures in several ways.  Keep on reading for more details!

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You can see why we thought it was D-Arts when you see the figure.  Here is a front and back view…the size and scale is very similar, and there is a similar design to the figure.  The D-Arts set a very high bar…those figures look exactly like their media counterparts.  AND those toys came with lots of accessories. AND they were generally durable.  (Generally.  Sometimes parts come off, but they snap back on with a little work.  We only have one figure that is broken, and that was after over a year of really rough play.)

A big difference is the way the figure highlights the “panel lines.”  They are bold black or in some other way pronounced.

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Notice the words…”Beware of blast.”  The SpartanKid LOVES this detail.  It’s not for me, but it does the trick for him.  Megaman X has these words tattooed all over his body in places.  I think they are trying to make a “living diagram” or something.

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Megaman X came with two different blast effects.  One regular, and one charged.  In the picture below, you can see where we changed his face.  The figure came with two faces, one regular and one yelling.

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Megaman X doesn’t have to have his blaster out all the time…he came with alternate fist hands as well.

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Here is TruForce Megaman X facing a potential blast from D-Arts Zero Type 2.  You can see a little comparison here…The SpartanKid tells me that in the fiction and video games that Zero actually should be taller than X.  (I reviewed the Black Zero version of this figure here.  They are the same except for the color scheme.)

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Designer Series X came with something else…something very welcome!  An articulated flight stand!  I haven’t mentioned it yet, but this figure is fairly substantial.  It really feels like you are holding something weighty.  This is because there are lots of DIE CAST parts.  Not just regular plastic.  Which is why this flight stand is all the more useful.

That it has TWO arms, it can hold him up.  But also….

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You can pose two figures in battle.

All of this is great, and already I believe this figure to be a 5/5.  But for $79, we have EVEN MORE cool value.  Check it out!

When you bend Megaman’s knees, you get this awesome detail.  You can see the machine parts inside.  And this requires nothing more than bending the knee.

D-arts Vile Type 2 had an issue where he had a “knee blast” that required disassembling the leg.  Thankfully, this figure forgoes any of that nonsense.

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Remember “Beware of Blast” tattooed on the back of his calves?  Those are actually panel doors that open to reveal rocket boosters!

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And if all of this wasn’t enough, the true icing on the cake is the working LED light in the blaster!

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I had to finagle around with the mechanism to make it work correctly…but after I got it going, it worked like a charm!

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Tell me this isn’t a 5/5!

SO the SpartanNerd rates the TruForce Collectibles Designer Series MegaMan X a solid 5/5.  What an incredible figure.  And true to the spirit of the character.  There are also lots of features to keep an adult or a kid busy.  This figure would look great in an office or a man-cave.  I couldn’t recommend it more!

 

Do you agree or disagree?  Let me know in the comments!

SpartanNerd…I’m Back!

It has been awhile.  I have been too busy to blog.  And had no energy or will.  But now I do.  Tomorrow is my birthday, and we are going to see Star Wars: The Force Awakens.  I will be sure to have some things to say about that!  No one has given me any spoilers, and I am quite glad.  It will be all surprise!

So what has the SpartanNerd been up to? Besides directing like, five children music events, and falling asleep without realizing it before 9:00 each night, not really much else.  I have played some Magic cards here and there.  A few drafts, a few modern tournaments, and a few standard tournaments, with a sprinkle of commander.  Here is some summarizing…

  • Standard.  Boring.  I want “converge” to work, with Bring to Light.  I’d like to play re-animator.  But it is currently just too slow.  Maybe it will be more possible when the next set comes out, with the promise of the enemy colored tangle lands.
  • Modern.  I have been playing five-color gifts re-animator, to some success.  It is on the slow side.  But I am working to speed it up.  I recently acquired Liliana of the Veil and a Snapcaster Mage.  I think I’ll add another Snap and then the deck will be all I need it to be!  Play the funnest cards (Life from the Loam) and bring out the fatties.  BAM.
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    All six printings of Liliana that I own.  She looks best with purple sleeves….

     

  • Speaking of funnest cards, I think I have found what I don’t believe to be fun at all in MTG this year.  Infect.  Blood Moon. and Iona, Shield of Emeria.  I do play Iona, but only if I know I am up against a formidable opponent.  Who wants to be told they can’t play their color in a mono-colored deck?  Not fun.  I generally re-animate something different with those opponents.  As for Blood Moon, I was recently looking at building Elf Belcher.  Blood Moon is $30.  This is recommended for the sideboard.  As I played Amulet Bloom, I learned to detest this card.  And I hate to think I would play it against  someone.  I decided to build Borderpost/Restore Balance instead.
  • So this brings me to something else!  I have encountered lots of different modern decks recently.  Decks I have never seen.  Borderpost and Elf Belcher are two of those.  Another is Storm.  So many good players and great fun decks to face.
  • Sadly, Stormcrow’s Clubhouse has closed.  This was a place where I played a ton of Modern.  Now I don’t see any Modern events in the Wizards Event Locator anywhere any time soon.  Major sadness.
  • I have built a “Crosis the Purger” commander deck, and gone toe to toe with several of the new commander decks.  I intend to be reviewing all five of the new decks right here on SpartanNerd.com!

So that was a lot to say!

I didn’t order anything on Cyber Monday or Black Friday.  I’m sure Masters of the Universe Classics had some good buys.  I noticed that Castle Grayskull sold out finally.  I think the Snake Mountain design is terrific.  But it has the same problem as Grayskull.  Where would I keep it?

There are some new Masters figures coming out with greater detail and lower runs by independent companies.  I might just have to get some of those.

I was really tempted to order some of the Four Horsemen’s ravens.  And maybe I still will.  Or maybe not.  Maybe I’ll get some Star Wars stuff instead.  I have noticed quite a few new Micro Machines of Star Wars lately.  And that makes me want Micro machines again in general…

OK…One more big thing.  I am SOOO impressed with the GI Joe 50th anniversary toys.  I saw them at Toys R Us, and almost walked out with them then and there!

 

Ramble ramble.  I’m back!