SpartanNerd Scoop…Marvel’s Star Wars Darth Vader #1

Out sick on a Wednesday…giving me a chance to pick up a release day comic or two. I picked up Darth Vader #1 instead of that Harley Quinn kissing Batman thing…

I skipped on Star Wars issue #1. Don’t get me wrong, I have never been a fan of Star Wars comics. A huge movie fan. I read some EU novels, usually really enjoying them.  But all the comics I have read have been lacking. Of course, the news about Disney owning Lucasfilm and rebooting the EU interested me, but didn’t disgust me as it did many other fans because I haven’t been that involved. But I can say that I have been turned off by some of the product offerings so far… Especially the new toys. (The new toys are reminiscent of “green army men”, but cost a ton.)  And I haven’t been immersed in the clone wars cartoon, nor the new cartoon, but many of the represented characters haven’t appealed to me much. Probably Anakin’s apprentice most of all being what turned me off of that. (Ashoka Tano was far too “pre-teen brat” in the Clone Wars movie that kicked the whole thing off.)

But the cover of Darth Vader #1 looked cool, and the alternate cover looked cool as well, but not so much cooler that I bought it instead.

This story takes place right after the Death Star was destroyed at the end of “A New Hope.”  It is about Darth Vader’s penance to the Emperor.  Because it IS a new story today, I don’t know how much I should spoil.  But it isn’t a resolved plot or anything.

The first thing I took away was Jabba the Hutt apparently considers himself EQUAL to Vader.  I am saying “Vader just got downgraded.”  I don’t like it.  He is supposed to be THE VILLAIN.  There is an opening scrawl on the back of the front cover, and it is interesting because it takes the Sith’s viewpoint in explaining things.  I should think this would give us a Vader that is at least as strong as we saw him in the movies.  But Jabba regards Vader as his chump.  As does the Emperor.  And he just took a defeat at the hand of Luke Skywalker.

This issue dwells on the situation.

But what annoyed me the most was that the story is told OUT OF ORDER.  Apparently for no reason at all.

Out of order storytelling is becoming so CLICHE in comics.  I’m about sick of it, to be honest with everyone out there in Hub City Geek land.  Batman Eternal has been the CHIEF OFFENDER.  But all of those titles are doing it more and more.  And here Marvel’s first issue of Darth Vader tells us the present story, then two days ago, and then one day ago, and then NOW AGAIN.  Why not just start the story at two days ago?

The art in this book was really good.  The characters looked like their movie counterparts.  Vader’s mask had the old school, more asymmetrical look to it.  Jabba was a fat slob, the brief picture of the rebels looked good.  There was an annoying scene where we saw ALL of Jabba’s entourage, as we see them in “Return of the Jedi.”  And Bobba Fett was there.  I always had the impression that Bobba Fett was a well traveled man.  That he didn’t spend all of his time hanging out on Tattoine with the low-lifes.

So apparently Vader is on assignment from the Emperor, as a punishment.  And there is a new agent who we have no details about.  Everyone knows that there is jealousy from Vader.  He suspects, of course, that there is another apprentice being brought up to replace him.  And the gears for future story are set.

I am highly skeptical.  Did reading Darth Vader #1 catch my interest enough to want to purchase more books in the series?  I’m not sure.  I told the sales-lady at the Tangled Web not to hold these books for me monthly, that I would try it out first.  Maybe I will get to the end of this story arc.  But if issue #2 doesn’t wow me, it will be another Star Wars title that I ignore.

The art gets a 5.  The book gets a 2.  My average rating must be 3/5.

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The Value of Nerd Stuff…Specifically "Why Do Lego MiniFigures Cost So Much?"

Today I am going to rant about something.  Everyone who reads this blog knows that I am a cheapskate.  This post might sound like “get off my lawn.”  But I feel strongly about this, and have put alot of thought into it.  I have to teach my children about the value of money, and so when they read this, maybe they’ll get it too.

I am specifically ranting about the amount of money that Lego MiniFigs are going for nowadays.  My question is, Why?

(I should say that these pictures come from places that I will not disclose, on the web and in person)

Here is a MODEST example.

WHY PEOPLE?  THIS IS INSANITY!  These guys are zany and off the wall.  Who is the scientist?  Why would you pay $29.99 for a generic scientist?  Why would you buy any of these guys.  These are the kind you should get in a starter kit and give to an 8 year old.  The kit should cost about $10, and contain about 100 primary colored bricks of assorted sizes and shapes.
Here’s another, more specific and crazy one.

OF COURSE I am a Star Wars fan.  I unashamedly identify with Anakin/ Vader.  I also think the LEGO Star Wars video games are fun, and enjoy the cuteness of them as well.  But I think this much money for a mini-fig is ridiculous.

Remember, we are talking about something about the size of a quarter, made out of plastic.

The Mystery Pack here seems reasonable enough.  This kind of thing is popular nowadays.  But you don’t know what you are getting…And I happen to know, that these guys tend to be rather generic.  (I know this is a pic of the HALO MEGA BLOCKS mystery pack price..But both are the same price, I checked.  At least with Halo, you know you are getting something Halo.)  $2.97…You can get a happy meal for this price, and get food AND a better toy.

Now, I don’t think the Mystery Pack is entirely overpriced…It’s just not my kind of thing.  Magic The Gathering Booster Packs operate the same way…More about them later in the post.

Am I alone in this?

Here are some things to compare for discussion of value.

You get a decent set, and three well known characters.  Good deal!  Maybe a good birthday present.
You get a pretty big set…and four mini-figs.  This is OK. IMHO.  Maybe a good Christmas present.
This one is labeled FINAL BATTLE.  Looks like Ninjago is coming to an end.  You get a 100+ piece set, with two mini-figures.  This seems like the best value on this page, as far as Lego is concerned.  Furthermore, the boys can build this set themselves without being overwhelmed.

The SpartanSmurfs own a comparable set. Of course I had to build it for them. After that dragon bit the dust, it never has been together again.  I should have seen it coming.  It has been done before, after all!  (power rangers!)  Eventually…a Gold Ninja.  Is this good value?  Looks like you get three minifigs and the dragon…a pretty big set.  I guess its OK.  If you are a fan of Ninjago. But not the Gold Ninja alone.  Sorry.

Here you see everything you get in the Halo Pack.  $6.  Considering the price of the mystery pack, this seems fair. Plus I happen to know that there is more stuff here than you would get in the Mystery Pack.

I guess I just don’t value Lego MiniFigs.  They are the kind of thing that just gets played with for awhile, then taken apart, and then the hands get lost, or the weapons, or they get mixed up.  And the kids could have just as much fun with the generic type you get in the Mystery Pack.  Or the ones you find at a yard sale….

I mean, for as much money as the Darth Vader up there, you could have THREE Ninja Turtles.  And you wouldn’t have to order them on the internet…You can walk out the store with them!

Metalhead is one of my favorites!
I have spoke a few times about this movie.  It is an older movie now.  But look at the size of this guy!  For $19!  Great articulation!  1000% larger than the Vader Minifig, and STILL CHEAPER.

Here’s a “girly” example.  For $19.97, you can own a doll, with tons of accessories…A popular toy at that!  You still aren’t paying as much as you are for Vader!

The Great SpartanAunt is guilty.  You see, she got the SpartanSmurfs some extravagantly priced Storm Troopers and Clone Mini-Figs.  And spoiled them!  I try and tell them…Look, you could get THIS item, or four of THESE items for that price…Nope.

There is nothing there but INSANITY!  Am I being a jerk?

I exercise caution when I am buying Magic Cards with the boys.  I don’t feel a piece of cardboard is worth the price of a meal for a whole family at a decent restaurant.  I personally own a Voice of Reason…This card would cost $35-$50…But I got it in a booster pack….That’s How I roll, see.  And all of the Shocklands that I own, I got the same way, or traded.  I boosted my collection, and I keep it organized alphabetically by set.  I am getting the bang for my buck, see.  And I play everyday.

The SpartanSmurfs are going on and on about Mr. Gold.  He’ll cost his weight in real gold.  Mr. Gold is apparently the rarest MiniFig or something like that.  Here’s what I see happening.  They’ll get a Mr. Gold.  Then he’ll be in 10 golden pieces, mixed into Storm Trooper and Ninjago parts.

And I just don’t see the value here.

And that is my two-cents cheapskate opinion!  Are you mad now?…Comment!