Rogue One: A Star Wars Story- SpartanNerd Review

I am writing about this movie almost two weeks after its release.  I saw it first at a special “pre-showing” put on by the Tangled Web…and as is my custom I waited until watching it a second time to write a review.  It’s a good thing, too.  I saw the movie in a whole different light this second time.  SPOILERS AHEAD!

The first time through, I left with a sense of “this is really a war movie.”  I even said to some people, “Rogue One is a lot less driven by the drama of the characters…it is more of a war movie.”  We DO get some more “war movie” like camera shots, battle scenes, etc.  But this movie IS character driven too.  Masterfully, this is a concise story that explains how the rebels knew how to blow up the Death Star…it accomplishes that goal, AND makes you care about the characters.

The movie begins with a flashback scene…Jyn Erso as a child, escapes from the Empire after seeing her mother gunned down and her father forced to work for them.  She takes up with a terrorist named Saw Gerrera, who raises her.  This guy is very much a cyborg in the same way as Darth Vader.  His body is half mechanized, and he has to breathe with a special device.  (I wonder, though if there is more than oxygen in that tank, the way he looks after he takes a hit with it!)

After this scene, we get…NO SCRAWL.  NO FANFARE.  This is the first continuity movie that breaks from that tradition.  And it was a little jarring to be honest.  I suppose I am being a traditionalist, however.

Basically, we follow adult Jyn as she is a prisoner, being taken to a labor camp.  She gets rescued by the rebels, and we learn why…an Imperial Pilot defected to Saw Gerrera, claiming that her father Galen Erso sent him.  She gets paired with said pilot, another pilot named Cassian, and a droid named K-2SO.  (K-2 was great!)  Basically, they wind up at Jedha, the holy city of the Jedi, where they meet up with some protectors of the temple…Chirrut Imwe and Baze Malbus.  With half-buried monuments of saber wielding Jedi, and a conspicuous “church” style building in the middle, this is a new establishment in the Star Wars movie-verse.  The only temple we have seen so far is the temple on Coruscant from the prequel films.  It is revealed that this temple is a place where Jedi used Kyber Crystals.  As far as I know this is the first mention of the Kyber Crystal in a mainline Star Wars film…the first hint that this is an EU driven story…a plan by Disney to add more official lore to the Star Wars property.

Essentially, Jyn gets to see what the pilot brought…a hologram of Galen Erso expressing love for his daughter and detailing how he worked to build a magnificent Death Star, but purposely designed it with a flaw that the rebels could exploit to destroy it.

Grand Moff Tarkin has caught wind of the defected pilot, and orders a test of the Death Star against the wishes of Director Krennic, the person in charge of building the Death Star.  They decide to blow up the city of Jedha, which is very symbolic.

The footage of the super laser being powered up always does it for me in the theater!  We get another scene of what it looks like when you are on a planet being hit by it…(we saw something like it in Episode VII: The Force Awakens when the Starkiller Base attacked that planet.)  Basically, it is like an earthquake and a volcano all at the same time…slowly unfolding.  (It seems that in “A New Hope” the explosion of Alderaan was instantaneous from the Death Star.)

Our Rogue One rebels escape, and immediately go to a contrasting place, Eadoo.  A place where Kyber Crystals are refined.  Here is more EU nerd stuff!  The Jedi found their crystals in nature to make lightsabers.  The Sith manufacture their crystals.  Just some more nerdy stuff!

Cassian has orders to kill Galen Erso.  And this is the part of the movie that doesn’t make sense.  Why do the rebels want Galen Erso dead?  The Death Star has already been built…He would be more helpful alive.  We saw that officially he was supposed to bring him back, but the more militant faction in the rebellion told him to assassinate him.  While Cassian lines up Galen Erso in his sight…Director Krennic is right there.  Who would be the more fruitful target?  It doesn’t matter.  The Rebel Alliance attacks before he can pull the trigger.  And Jyn has snuck on the platform to talk to her father.  Of course, he dies a classic Star Wars death in her arms…

Director Krennic goes to see Darth Vader, apparently at Mustufar.  This is one of the most striking scenes in the film.  Vader lives in a gigantic black castle, with lava pouring down the side.  AWESOME!  We also see him in a Bacta Tank.  I can’t remember which book it was, but I remember reading one of the EU novels, and it talked about how Vader would get in the Bacta Chamber and attempt to heal himself with the force.  Sometimes he would also feel the pull to the light side…But he always kept that to himself as a secret plan to kill the Emperor.  Vader goes off on Krennic, delivering my favorite line of the film, “Be careful not to choke on your aspirations, Director!”  (I think if I get an action figure from this movie, it will be of Director Krennic.  I AM THE DIRECTOR!)

When they leave, Jyn reveals that she saw how to destroy the Death Star…this information gets taken to the council, who decides not to move.  But that more militant faction decides to go and get the plans anyway, sparking the big war at the end.

There is a lot to say about that big war.  One of the things is the Shield Generator…it is of a prequel trilogy design…the ringed ship serves as a gate into the planet.  It is a technological way for the Empire to lay siege to a whole planet.  Which is pretty cool.  This becomes one of the problems for the rebels to defeat…and defeat it they do in a “Star Wars X-Wing Miniatures” type of mission.  Just for us fans!  The Hammerhead Corvette.  Enough said!

The rebels below on the surface each meet their end during the diversionary battle…a plot device Star Wars uses over and over.  Create a diversion, send the smaller force to do the more important job.  In this case, that job is beaming the plans out of the Data Vault, which can be done electronically by remote, but of course all of those convenient features get shut down during battle.  The Data Vault is one of my favorite designs in all of Star Wars.  It is basically a library system of tapes.  It actually looks like an 8-track when we first see it!  Add the gigantic satellite dish on top of the tower, and we have a really retro thing that screams 1977.

I don’t want to write any more on this New Years Eve…(BURN FOREVER, 2016.)  But basically I would like to say something substantive about Carrie Fisher.

When I first saw this movie, I thought it was really cool that they were able to splice the old footage and new footage together, as the rebels delivered the disk with the plans to Princess Leia.  But the second time, with the death of Carrie Fisher fresh in my mind, it was SPOOKY.  Like watching a ghost.  And I’m not sure it is really that respectful either…I mean nothing can be done.  You never know when it is your time.  And evidently she has already been heavily filmed for Star Wars Episode VIII.  It just really hit me as sad this second time watching the movie on this scenes.  Grand Moff Tarkin’s actor died years ago.  They made a CGI likeness of him in the movie…I really thought they just had an actor with an uncanny similarity.  I guess I have less emotional attachment to that guy (which is totally wrong in esscence.).  But I don’t think they should do that with Princess Leia.

Anyways, I can’t give this film any less than a 5/5 after my second viewing.  It is almost the perfect Star Wars movie, and there are NO JEDI.  (Darth Vader….IS AWESOME.)

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

 

 

 

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SpartanNerd Unboxing and Review…Star Wars Black Series Darth Maul (Chinese Version)

Once again, a blog entry about an item from the Hickory-Con!

I have been looking for Star Wars Black Darth Maul for some time.  And while I was at the Con, I was looking for figures and noticed almost NO Masters of the Universe Classics figures.  However, Star Wars Black Series was everywhere.  And I asked around until I found him.

Darth Maul is my favorite Sith Lord besides Anakin/Vader.  I have mentioned before, I am PARTIAL TO the prequel trilogy.  And Darth Maul was good enough to make all of Jar Jar Binks’ problems in The Phantom Menace into small details.

This figure was on the top shelf…right beside another.  This one was marked $30 and had “Chinese Version” labeled on it.  The other was marked $95.  They were virtually identical.  So which one did I get?

 

Notice..There is no way on Earth to tell this might not be the genuine article.  (The general consensus on the internet is that this is a near perfect bootleg copy.)  There is no chinese writing…the figure looks exactly like “the original” “American (not really)” version.

I am the guy who throws away the boxes.  Do I care?  I am a cheapskate.  Paying $30 for a perfect copy of Star Wars Black Darth Maul doesn’t bother me one bit.  That was an extra $60 I had left to spend on other stuff!

The box is slightly different than a genuine Star Wars Black box.  The Star Wars logo is a little off in color.  But the back showcases Darth Maul’s only line in “The Phantom Menace”

 

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So I ripped open the box.  Everything was in this blister.  I could tell that lightsaber was bent already…

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Here is Darth Maul standing for the first time with his accessories.  He has two lightsabers, Star Wars classic binocular system, and an alternate head.  Notice how incredibly bent the lightsaber is.

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Darth Maul can hold the binocular thing in one hand.  He cannot use both hands to hold it to his eyes, as he is too bulky.  The sculpt is amazing.  This plastic robe drapes over the figure perfectly, and he forever has a wind blown look.

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It is really hard to make Darth Maul hold the saber wth two hands in “I’m about to off Anakin Skywalker” mode.  The lightsaber doesn’t want to stay together, and his bulkiness keeps his arms from gripping it properly.

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Now you CAN remove the robe, supposedly by removing the head from the ball joint…it turns out though, that the bootleg version (if that is what this is) doesn’t have the head glued to the cape.  So Darth Maul has a second, bald head.  I must say, the Spikor effect happens when you try putting the head on the ball joint.  (The spikes hurt your hands.)  The other thing…Darth Maul’s neck seems to be a little awkward.  Just a little.

So enough playing dress up.  Let’s get down to business.

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Darth Maul continues to impress as far as his sculpt is concerned.  Some soft goods are visible as a part of his skirt.  This really adds to the figure, as it allows him to move his legs better.  The lightsaber…you see what’s going on.  The hilts connect together, but the only way to get them to do so stiffly is to make the buttons face in opposite directions…which seems it shouldn’t be.  The red blades suffer from being bent.  I might have to get the hair dryer after them…

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I tried putting the cloak on some other figures…Skeletor seemed to be a natural, but I thought it likely to fit Teela.  It actually doesn’t fit either.  Skeletor is too big.  Teela…it doesn’t fit right even with the hair chopped off the way I customized her.

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I found YouTube videos of people pointing out the differences between the genuine and the knock-off version of Darth Maul.  They all said the same thing.  This must be made from a batch of declined figures because of QC, or using tools that were discarded, or something.  The sculpt is perfect.  The paint here is right on the money, except for maybe the horns.  Reportedly, there is a different neck joint and different hip joints.  The neck joint seems a little obvious, but since we are not looking up his skirt…

I am going to rate this based on what it is as a figure.  An excellent Darth Maul figure.  The best I’ve ever owned.  It does have problems with the Lightsabers.  So I have to take off for that.  Darth Maul is articulated very well.  Sculpted and painted near perfectly.  Stands on his own.  Looks good on the shelf.  I have to award him a 4/5!

And as bootlegs go, there couldn’t be a more perfect item to purchase as the not-so genuine product.

So the SpartanNerd rates Star Wars Black Series Darth Maul (Chinese Version) 4/5.  Do you agree or disagree?  Let me know in the comments!

 

SpartanNerd Unboxing and Review…Star Wars Black Series Rey (Jakku) & BB-8

The SpartanNerd is back!  I have decided to archive some of my older posts…some of those that never get hits, and this will solve my memory problem until I can pony up the 70-ish dollars to graduate to a higher tier on WordPress.

So with my newfound space, I will review a new product for me.  My first ever Star Wars Black Series figure(s).  Rey and BB-8!

I have long wanted to get Star Wars Black Series Darth Maul, but he is scarce and expensive when available.  Have I been justified in my interest in this series?

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Rey and BB-8 came in this box.  Why this specific figure, and not, say, Kylo Ren?  Well, I feel some connection with this character.  She is enough child and enough adult…lots of mystery about her.  But the other thing, we also get BB-8.  And if I’m not mistaken, R2-D2 was a Black Series figure all on his own.  So I kind of felt I got a two-for one.  I got this at GameStop on the east side of SpartanBurg yesterday.  Today I visited the Wal-Mart and noticed they had a ton of the other figures in stock, including Kylo Ren.  But not Rey…in fact, many people have noted that Rey has few toys floating around out there depicting her, maybe because they are trying to dodge details about her full name and story, or otherwise.

The box is a nice blister where you can see what you get.  And literally, thats it.  It is very basic.  The side is plastered with a “02” number indicator, and if you were a MIB collector, that is a nice touch, helping you feel you have the complete series.

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The back has that “02” and a little bit of her story.  Then warnings, and legal mumbo jumbo, including Disney and Hasbro.  It is still hard for me to associate Star Wars with Disney.

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Remember when I said the box was basic.  I weren’t kidding.  No instructions.  Promotional materials.  Bonus weapons.  Nothing.  Just the products.  The red back drop is OK, but I just want to throw the box and blister bubble away.

Time to play!

So, Rey is one of the few female figures I have.  I feel that her hands are a tad too soft.  Her joints are OK, I expected her to be somewhat like the Liliana Vess figure I have.  But Rey is more rubbery.  Her elbows need to be moved just right, and they feel like they might break off if played with too rough.  She has head swivel, shoulder and elbow articulation, and wrist swivel and rocker.  No waist swivel.  Her hips rock but are on a ball joint, as well as her knees and ankles.  So it is her arms and head that you are going to get the most out of. Star Wars figures have a history of falling apart when you open them up, and not being durable for extended play…the verdict is still out on Rey here.

My biggest problem with this figure is none of that…it is the weapon.  The weapon is supposed to be able to hang on Rey’s shoulder, and she grasps it with her right hand in an overhand grip.  This can’t happen with this figure.  See how the strap is too stiff, and unnaturally juts up over her soldier.  And those hands really are rubbery…I fear that the thumb is going to break right off if I’m not careful.

BB-8 is just a ball, a peg, and a ball jointed head.  Nothing fancy here.  He can’t roll like he can in the movie…Not sure how they would accomplish that though.  He does look exactly like he does in the movie.  I wish he came with some kind of stand, because it is really hard to display him in a stable manner.  Below I have him in “straight up” pose.  It doesn’t want to flop over with the center of gravity focused like that.

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But he usually just wants to flop over, like in the picture below.

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So here is Rey with some other female characters I have.  She really seem like a child standing next to Lilliana (from Magic the Gathering).

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Liliana is of a “heftier” build than Rey, though she has articulation difficulties.  I find that I am not afraid of breaking Liliana the way I am of Rey.  Yes, I know Liliana is in a larger scale, slightly, before anyone says anything.  But isn’t Star Wars Black Series supposed to represent a 6-inch Star Wars line of figures especially for adults?

Humor me, Rey is laughable next to Masters of the Universe Classics Balltleground Teela.

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Scroll slowly for a funny picture!

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OK, so how do I rate these two figures?

I have to mark off for three things. (I only use a five point scale!)

First of all, the whole weapon thing is bothersome.  If Hasbro made this figure to compete with Marvel Select, MOTUC, and all of the other “adult collector” lines, they missed the mark on something crucial…adults don’t play so much as they display.  Rey doesn’t look proper with that strap sticking up over her shoulder.  And add in that BB-8 doesn’t have a display stand of some sort, and displaying Rey isn’t as pleasant as displaying almost any other figure meant for adult collectors.  Dang.  I mean, I gave Marvel Select Thor a 2/5, but his merits are in that he looks cool on display.  Rey is pretty.  But she doesn’t display properly.

The second thing is the durability problem.  I haven’t broken ANY of the things that I have unboxed and reviewed.  But if I do break something, I’d wager it’d be Rey’s thumbs and fingers/hands.  Add in the way the elbows feel like they could break, and it just isn’t acceptable.  I’ve heard arguments that they make, especially female, hands a little softer because they can be sharp and be a danger.  I get that.  But isn’t it a choking hazard if the hand breaks off?  Think about THAT Hasbro.

Finally, something I haven’t mentioned.  The paint is sloppy.  Her hair seems like it is globbed on.  Her eyes are always gazing upwards, which I’ll admit adds to the humility of the character, who subjects herself as a child.  But it is better for the eyes to be neutral.  The brown belt around her waist and wrist wrap on her left arm also feel quite globby.  and finally, where her shins meet her boots, the caucasian color is painted around the high-top…or is it the boots were painted over a caucasian colored buck?

The redeeming qualities of the figure are…well we got two for one.  And BB-8 is exactly like he appears in the movie, even if he has stunted displayablity.  For all my complaining about the paint, Rey has an excellent sculpt…the clothes she is wearing are sculpted perfectly.  If only they didn’t whiff the paint job.

The other thing, It is fun to have Rey as a figure.  I haven’t bought a lot of merchandise associated with The Force Awakens.  I have held out for “the perfect things.”  And I haven’t seen Rey depicted until now.  (I noticed on my trip to Wal-Mart she finally IS making it into toy form in other ways.)  Why didn’t I pick up Kylo Ren for the same price?  His lightsaber doesn’t look right.  Why didn’t I pick up any of the others, or even some of the Hot-Wheels/Micro Machines?  None of them have been good enough looking…I always talk myself out of it.  But with Rey, we also got BB-8.  And I can play with them and display them together.

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So a good sculpt and finally-I-can-play with Rey and BB-8 are the merits whereby the SpartanNerd rates Star Wars Black Series Rey (Jakku) & BB-8 a 2/5.

Do you agree or disagree, oh hub city geeks?  Let me know in the comments!

 

 

SpartanNerd-Thoughts on “Star Wars Episode VII The Force Awakens”

I have seen the movie three times now, and as it is a month since it was released, I am going to write as if spoiling it doesn’t matter….  (A fourth viewing might be imminent.)

so….SPOILERS AHEAD……

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WHO IS REY?

I think Rey must be Leigha’s daughter, but not Han Solo’s.  Making her Kylo Ren’s half-sister.  Either this, or she is Han’s daughter without him being aware.  (also possible and precedented.)

I draw this conclusion like this…

Han Solo doesn’t treat her like a daughter.  He waves off her capture when Finn tells him.

And I don’t think he would be too keen on Finn showing interest in his daughter either, because he saw right away that he was lying about being a resistance fighter.

Kylo Ren gives us the most clues, however.  First when it is mentioned to him that the droid escaped with FN-2187, and had help from a girl, Kylo Ren force pulls that soldier close to him and says, “What girl?”  It’s almost like he already knew the answer.  And as nervous as that soldier was in reporting, I have to wonder if he also knew it.

Kylo Ren begins to insist that they NOT destroy BB-8 in their search, but that it be brought to him.  Does he know that Rey has it?  General Hux even says something about him having “personal issues” getting in the way of the desires of the Supreme Leader (Snoke.)

Why is there this “call to the light?”  He sits in his “mediation chamber” basically praying to Vader’s helmet that he resists the call to the light.  I believe the call to the light is there because he is pursuing business on the planet Jakku where he knows his sister is.  (He feels a need to protect her.)

When Kylo Ren is interrogating Po Dameron, Po refers to his mask.  But he is unaffected.  When he interrogates Rey, however, she says something like “You are a creature in a mask.”  Then he removes his mask.  For her.  His main enemy.  Because she is his sister.

He says he “can take what he wants.”  And begins to Thoughtseize her.  But then, she reverses it on him.  And SHE says he is afraid he will “never be as powerful as Darth Vader!”

Later, while they are fighting each other on Starkiller Base, the fight is fiercely the fight of two siblings.  Maybe not in her mind, but I think so in his.  And he offers to “train her.”  Yet another step towards this conclusion.

Princess/ General Leigha Organa must have thought it best to keep her hidden.  I think there is some Sorceress/Teela action here.  She has too many greater calling responsibilities to be caring for a child.  I’m not sure about how she wound up on Jakku as a junker, though.  But I can’t help but think Kylo Ren had something to do with that.

Making Rey out to be Luke’s daughter would be too cliche.

WHO ARE THE KNIGHTS OF REN

So Rey is at Maz Tanabata’s castle, and she hears a little girl crying.  It was her own voice calling from the past through the force.  She follows the voice to a box, which she opens and finds has Anakin’s lightsaber.  (This is the same weapon that Anakin fought against Obi Wan with, and Obi Wan lifted from him after he became severely burned.  The one given to Luke, and lost when Vader chopped off his hand.)

When she touches the saber, she has a vision…it begins with a mechanical hand touching R2-D2, with Kylo Ren and who can only be the Knights of Ren in the background.

Han Solo’s story was that Luke disappeared after an apprentice turned against him and messed things up while he was training new Jedi.

What if the Knights of Ren are the other Jedi trainees?

Doesn’t it seem odd that Luke would disappear rather than fight and defeat them?

Instead, he pulls a Yoda, and finds a spiritual quest.  He searches for the first Jedi temple.  (Yoda studied the force on Dagobah after Order 66 and his failed fight against Darth Sidious.)

In star wars terms, Kylo Ren would have “killed” his fellow Jedi students when he showed them the path to the power of the dark side….

Hmmmmm…….

And the Knights of Ren must have been important.  This word is thrown around as a legacy of respect towards Kylo Ren.

MAZ TANABATA and SNOKE

We know nothing about either of these characters, really.  Maz says “you can tell a lot about people from their eyes” and goes on to tell Finn that his are the eyes of someone who wants to run.

Snoke and Maz have the same eye structure.  Are they the same species?

I don’t even think Maz is anywhere close to Yoda in being strong with the force, or we would have heard about her already, her being 1000 years old and all.  But she must have been around.

Which intensifies the mystery around Snoke.  If there were more Dark Side types around, wouldn’t Darth Sidious have had something to say about that?  At least in the old canon, Sidious was possibly around 200 years old.  They made such a big deal about their only being two Sith?  This prevented the Dark Side from being spread thin.  (Or something like that)

Snoke is definitely a mystery.  I believe Maz fills that need for there to be a little person who is strong in the force.  Luke will be the point man in the next film, and will take on Yoda’s role in training Rey.

THE NEW REPUBLIC

The first time I watched this, I thought they must have blown up Coruscant.  But I was wrong.  The Hasnian System was destroyed.  Some reading around on the internet revealed that the New Republic had a moving capital.  So, quite possibly the New Republic still stands.  But when I saw this first, I really thought, “they are declaring the old stuff dead, for real!”  Star destroyers sunk in the sand.  AT-AT walkers half-buried.  And blowing up Coruscant.  But they didn’t.  It just seemed like they did.

This part of the story is cool.  But doesn’t make much sense.  Wouldn’t the resistance have destroyed such a weapon. knowing what was up?  How old is “The First Order” anyways?  It seemed to take years and years to make a Death Star.  But here is an entire planet changed into a weapon.  True, a Death Star is a completely mechanical space station, while Starkiller Base is a hollowed out planet.  But still, wouldn’t knowledge of an entire planet being taken over by the First Order and converted into a weapon be known to the Resistance?

And what does the weapon do the first time it is fired?  It does what it is supposed to do.  (I suppose this was true of the Death Star as well.)

THEORIES ABOUT WHAT’S AHEAD

Rey and Chewbacca step into the smuggler role.  Rey becomes the next Jedi, but not without personal tragedy.  Either Luke or Leigha get killed off as a part of this.

Kylo Ren put his helmet down before killing Han Solo.  He doesn’t need it anymore.  He doesn’t need to fear not being as powerful as Darth Vader.  He is now his own Sith.  Killing Han was the sacrifice required.  Snoke tells the soldier to bring Kylo Ren to him so that he can complete his training.

I believe Kylo Ren will kill Snoke.  This is the ultimate conclusion.  We see someone who is a wannabe Vader actually become just as powerful.

 

THESE ARE MY REAL THOUGHTS ABOUT STAR WARS: THE FORCE AWAKENS.  Do you agree or disagree?  Let me know in the comments!

 

 

 

 

 

SpartanNerd…250 Blog Posts!

Yep.  The SpartanNerd is getting on up there in age!  250 posts.  There have been ups and downs.  I have covered “all things nerdtainment” that I could afford.  I have made mistakes, as well as hit home-runs.  I’ve had times of not being inspired or having energy or time, as well as times where I felt a real need to blog.

I thought I would celebrate this milestone with a little pastiche of different stories of interest!

My first ever customized MOTUC figure.

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My own Teela, of course!

It has bothered me for some time that I didn’t have a female figure worthy of wearing the extra bit of snake armor that came with one of the weapons packs.  I always felt that it could fit Battleground Teela;  I was reluctant to remove her hair.

Well I’m glad I did.  You can see from the picture that it worked out pretty nice.  It took me over an hour of using a hair dryer and other tools to remove the hairpiece, which is really a hard piece of plastic glued on with some incredible adhesive.  Unfortunately, it left a hole in her head all across the back.  You can’t see it from the front, which is what is important to me.  I might try and customize a backside to the hood sometime to completely cover the ugly.

Yes, I can put the hairpiece back on!  So its like I have two Teela figures now!  pfffttt to all you people who own one figure that cost over $100!

I know what else you’re thinking, and yes I DID remove the bra-armor piece to see if I could make her appear more comic accurate.  The problem is…it just doesn’t look right on this figure.  She seems too…Well, your eyes go right to her bust.  And then it doesn’t look right.  She isn’t “that accurate,” ahem.  She looks better with her stock armor underneath the hood piece.  And no, I’m not interested in doing ANY painting on this figure!

Moving on, moving on.

Unicorn vs. Sinanju

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The SpartanTeen hasn’t played Magic the Gathering in quite a while.  This is fine.  I have had to find other ways to bond with him.  One of those ways is the appreciation for Gundam models.  Here is a pic of his best two.

He got the flight stands in the mail, and put them in this pose.  We kept them this way on the kitchen table for several days!  I love the action that you can sense between the two characters, Gundam Unicorn and Sinanju.

Speaking of MTG,

I bought a box of Battle for Zendikar.  And I have been incredibly pleased with my investment.  I don’t generally buy cards for their monetary value, but you just can’t overlook it when each pack gives you a full-art land, (in time will be worth $1.00-$2.00.)  But aside from that, you also get a rare as in every Magic booster.

But I have been blessed.

I’ve opened TWO Gideon, Ally for Zendikar, and one of those was a “bounty” at The Tangled Web!  (They give you a second copy if you open one.)  I traded both in for a Snapcaster Mage, which I really NEEDED.  (I figure Gideon will come and go.  Snap is forever!)

Then I traded the other for an Ugin today, to build this deck for Standard….A Re-Animator deck.  It needs some work.  Suggestions are welcome!  (I modeled it after the four-color reanimator I have been playing in Modern…where the snap caster went!)

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The SpartanKid also built a Standard deck (with my help)….He is quite pleased with it.  The only thing we tried to do really was use the colors of Omnath, Locus of Rage.  We put a lot of landfall in there.  And Scythe Leopard and Sliderunner have done all of the work pretty much!

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While on the subject of MTG cards and customizing stuff, check out what I did with my Father’s Day present…I made a Commander deck, and used the inadequate deck box that “Graveborn” came with to pretty up a Commander box!

New stuff….

I bought a Battle Droid figure at Mighty Dollar for $1.00.  The full real thing!

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I purchased and intended to review the Deckbuilders Toolkit for Magic Origins.  Maybe I still will.  But I’m not feeling it.  Here is a pic of the janky deck I put together with it though!

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I made a chessboard for MOTUC and similar figures!  Don’t steal my idea!

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The SpartanKid purchased this incredible item at Toys-R-Us…

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You get all of this variety of Halo mini-figures.  And a ton of weapons.  It comes with a display stand to boot!

Some parting thoughts….

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Remember the unfortunate situation with this very expensive figure….  He is still holding up after all this time!  His wrist hasn’t let go even once!

The SpartanKid wanted me to mention his Mega-Man Art Book.  I have never reviewed this item.  So here are two pieces of art…

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I about shouted for joy when I saw this page of a recent He-Man and the Eternia War comic!  That comic keeps surprising me with its twists and turns!  A review of issue #10 is coming soon!

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Vikor remains my favorite MOTUC figure.  Maybe my favorite action figure of all time.  While I give serious props to Marvel Select Deadpool, Vikor is continually all that an action figure should be.  Incredibly detailed and articulated.  Fits any fantasy.  Is a MOTUC design.  Armed to the teeth.  I love to photograph him!

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So will the SpartanNerd make it to 500 blog posts?  Time will tell!  Hopefully the upcoming Star Wars season doesn’t make me go broke!  I keep getting tempted to purchase new things.  But I have decided that I will only purchase the best things.

So keep reading, Hub City Geeks!

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.