SC ComicCon…SpartanNerd Thoughts

I had never heard of the SC Comic Con.  But when I learned about it, I knew my weekend destination!

The SC Comic Convention took place at the TD Convention Center on the weekend of March 25 and 26.  I arrived at about 2:00, and was greeted with a LOOOOONNNNGGGG line for admission.  Luckily, the line moved quickly, and by 2:30 we were in.  People were dressed to the max…I was wearing my humble Ace the Bathound shirt from the Legion of Collectors Box.  But there were cosplayers everywhere.

I do have a frame of reference for comparison.  The SpartanCon  is little more than an event at the public library, where they have some authors and creators show up.  It packs the library.  Which isn’t small, but isn’t humongous either.  I used to attend the MonsterCon.  That was sizable, taking up floorspace at Furman University.  And then HicloryCon was even bigger than that.  But this event DWARFED those.  Never have I seen so many vendors, artists, photo opportunities, and shop representatives in one place.

Me and the SpartanChildren walked around the place first, to take it all in.  Then we started getting specific.  SpartanTeen didn’t want to be there…he wanted to stay home and play Battlefield 4 all day.  But the SpartanKid wanted some MegaMan stuff, and I was looking for sealed MTG product, as well as Masters of the Universe related items.

The quest for MegaMan was dismal.  Right now, he just isn’t that hot of property, apparently.  We found a place that had five different stuffed MM toys.  But the SpartanKid passed on those.  He has one anyways…stuffed things really aren’t his thing anymore.   Eventually we found a metal bookmark.  Shiny!

The quest for MOTU was hardly better.  I eventually DID find some vindage items, but they were asking WAY TOO MUCH.  Basically, polybagged figures for $20.  I did see some other cool toys.  One standout was G1 MEGATRON in package.  Yes.  The PISTOL version!  $300!  IN BOX.  G1 MetroPlex was there as well, with a $600 price tag.  It didn’t appear to be complete either.  There were a few GI Joes of note…Cobra Commander, Zartan, and others.

It came down to sort of impulse buys.  I ran across the ATRAXA, PRAETOR’S VOICE deck, but in JAPANESE!  The vendor said $59.  I said I might return, and I did.  Homeboy tried to bump the price up to $79.99.  But nope.  I got it for $59.  This is a deck I have been waiting to land at a big box store, knowing the uninformed workers at Wal-Mart and Target either don’t know or don’t care about the asking value.  But I keep checking.  And no luck.  But to find this at the con, and in a foreign language, to me that is AWESOME.  I have a review coming soon!

Finally, just before we left, some impulse purchases.  The SpartanKid saw the Ocarina vendor…Now we haven’t played “Ocarina of Time.”  But it is soon to be on our WII…(or maybe I’ll wait and download it on the Nintendo Switch? I think that might be my next big purchase.)

But the SpartanKid had never realized it was a real instrument.  He was enamored with it.  So we got it.  And now he can play a few tunes.  My final right-before-I left purchase was some armor pieces for MOTUC figures.  It was the barbarian armor for VYKRON.  It was a special find…I never wanted that stupid figure, but thought the barbarian look was a real compliment to Vikor.  To find that Barbarian Armor polybagged for $10 was really nice.  And the armor compliments the normally shirtless Vikor very nicely.  I haven’t even put it on He-Man, like I thought I would!  The helmet fits on Battlefield Teela…Longtime readers might remember that I modded my Teela, removing her hair so that she could wear the snake armor.  That helmet fits pretty nicely on her head, making her a proper wife or sister for Vikor!  (That same vendor had MOTUC Talon Fighter Teela polybagged for $75.  No sale.)

I will definitely be going back to SC ComicCon.  It was fun for me and the SpartanKid.  And something cool to do!

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Man-At-Arms (Battle Ram Version)…SpartanNerd Unboxing and Review

Mattel has given us several versions of Man-At-Arms over the eight years of the line.  The Battle Ram came with one more different version.  How does this version stand up?  Keep reading!

You can see how I unboxed Man-At-Arms if you follow this link.    You can also see the review of the Battle Ram vehicle, and follow the links on that page to all sorts of cool NerdTainment.  To me, this Man-At-Arms is essentially a freeby!

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So here is Man-At-Arms, right out of the package.  Notice that this version has a silver mace, prominently featured.  He has Filmation-inspired shin guards.  He is the same green color, and has practically the same armor as the original Man-At-Arms release.  This time he has double arm-guards, and a helmetless head that features a prominent ponytail.

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The backside features an incredibly well sculpted backpack, which has storage clips for weapons.  In the previous version, Man-At-Arms could have He-Man’s techno-sword attached here.  This time we get to install a gun and the classic mace.From this rear-facing angle, we can see how well sculpted the armor pieces are.

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If you read my review of Rio Blast, then you heard my story of who I always thought he was Man-at-Arms in disguise.  See the resemblance?  Now for a head-swap.

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I knew I was onto something!

Man-At_arms comes with the aforementioned silver mace, the classic mace, and this silver pistol.  Note that the silver mace will not fit on the the clips of Man-At-Arms back.

Why was that even included?  It seems we’ve seen that mace several times in different colors.  So it gets the silver treatment.  Big WHOOP.

It would have been nice to have more paint hits on the classic mace.  Or maybe including that 200x gun in a different color.  (How about silver.  That would have been cool!)

But oh-well.  I don’t dislike the silver mace.  I just think its weird considering the main vintage weapon associated with Duncan is the orange mace.  And so that means he came with two maces.

He looks cool with two guns…not two maces.

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The point of this Man-At-Arms is that now you get maximum options for displaying the figure.  You can take this head and the 200x gun and armor and make the ultimate 200x Man-At-Arms.  (I don’t own the Snake Man At Arms…I don’t own the 200x the gun.  OK.  I actually don’t own either…the SpartanTeen owns the gun and the original Man-At-Arms release!)

You can take the Mustached head and put on the Battle Ram version and make a filmation Duncan.  (Sorry.  I can’t find the mustached head.  The SpartanTeen lost it!)

Here is a crack at the 200x version, using the Battle Ram body.

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Man-At-Arms inclusion with the Battle Ram was a great choice.  I personally needed my own Man-Arms to help me complete the classic team of He-Man, Teela, Man-At-Arms, Orko, and Ram Man (coming from Super7 eventually!)

The only thing stupid about this figure is the silver mace.  It adds something to the figure.  It just isn’t that significant.  But I can’t take any points off for that.  MOC collectors might be annoyed that he is displayed holding that in the box, though.

So I rate the Battle Ram Man-At-Arms 5/5.  This is Mattel’s final Man-At-Arms for the Masters of the Universe Classics line.  They used this opportunity to reward long-time collectors, and help appease those annoyed by Snake Man-At-Arms.  This version allows the widest range of display options, and pulls it together nicely.

For me, it gives me my own personal Man-At-Arms to help me complete my collection of essential good guys.

Do you agree with the SpartanNerd’s rating of 5/5?  Let me know in the comments!

 

Battle Ram…SpartanNerd Unboxing and Review

Snow in the south.  What does that mean to the SpartanNerd?  While others slide their way to work…skid their way to the factory…get stuck in piled up traffic on their way to punch the clock at the warehouse, or to worry sick about the progress at the house building site, the SpartanNerd stays home.  Teaching has its perks!  And while even other teachers might get bored, sitting in their wool socks binge-watching the Netflix, the SpartanNerd stays busy…bringing nerdtainment reviews to the masses.  (Whoever you are, beloved readers, thank you!)  Someone out there reads what I publish, and this run of reviews is just for you!

I ordered the Battle Ram right before the year ended.  This is something I haven’t ordered before simply because of price.  I was seriously psyched when they first announced this item a couple of years ago.  $110 was just too much.  Then they were going to stick ridiculous shipping costs.  But not during the MattyCollector closeout event!  The Battle Ram was HALF OFF.  And I got free shipping too.  (I only paid $55 for the Battle Ram, which also comes with a new Man-At-Arms.  That’s incredible, people!)

I have been excited about this for quite some time.  Ever since The Four Horsemen revealed their original sculpt at the San Diego Comic Con…(I only saw pictures, like most of you readers.  I have never been to San Diego.)  I mentioned as well that the Wind Raider never has been my favorite vehicle.  To me, it always seems kind of generic for some reason.  And as a kid, the wings broke off and it was forever funkified by bathtub water.  (Because you see, we naturally made it into a boat as it didn’t have wings anymore.)

But on to the Battle Ram.  My original Battle Ram is still with me!  Keep reading for a comparison time!  (Shout out to Pixel Dan.  Who unquestionably probably doesn’t read this blog.)

The Masters of the Universe Classics Battle Ram came in this shipper box.

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This box is huge.  And when I see this giant mailer, I realize how big a MOTUC vehicle has to be to accommodate that nearly seven inch scale.  I have some other large MOTUC items.  But this is set to be the largest yet!

I am re-using this box this time, to cart my vintage figures back over to the school to put on display for the rest of the school year. (Now I have to make room in the Nerd Closet for this beast of a vehicle!)   It is nice and sturdy, and suits all kinds of re-use purposes.  I know, there are some collectors out there who have each of these in storage.  Come on guys.  Really?  Just.  Why?

(I am known to throw the packaging away, usually.  It’s just cardboard!  The item inside is what’s important to me.  And like Rob Base says.  “Their your toys.  Play with them!”

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You can see all of this goodness is really crammed into the box.  Man-At_arms is prominently  in front of the vehicle.  Maybe an odd choice?  They could have seated him on it and maybe saved some space?  But I suppose having the figure displayed in the window box is more important to MOC collectors.

The back of the box shows a diagram of the Battle Ram with some details.  It even goes as far as to point out that the Griffin Head is the custom piece done by Duncan.  This diagram is going through a little bit of pain to point out that the Jet Sled in front isn’t the same as what’s in the package, I think.  The other details are cool.  Isn’t Gwildor of the Tadorian race?  Or is that what creature’s head is depicted on the missile?

This is a nifty box.  I will have to check the He-Man and the Masters of the Universe Art Book and look at the other schematic drawings of vehicles preserved there.  This drawing might be in there also…

Time to knife open the package!  There are lots of rubber bands tying the Man-At-Arms in.  And worry-ingly, check out this problem.  On the Roast Gooble Dinner podcast, I heard lots of people talking about Jitsu’s ponytail getting broken off in the package.  Looks like potential for something like that happening here…

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Thankfully, I managed to free the scary piece of hair without damaging it.

And here is the product, as vanilla as I can show you, right out of the package.

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Now readers…I am going to post the review of Man-At-Arms in a different post.  This figure deserves a fair review like all of the others, but I am afraid the Battle Ram is so awesome it overpowers old Duncan!

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So how big is it?

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Here are some other large MOTUC items I have just for reference.  (I hate this picture).

The Griffin’s impressive wingspan is a little bit longer than the Battle Ram.  Megator seems just the right height to get splattered in the face by the missile!  (That is a real working action feature!  The missile is a bit rubbery, but not too much!)

The point is, this is one hulk of plastic.  I can’t imagine owning Castle Grayskull.  That thing makes this vehicle look small…

As in the vintage model, the Jet Sled detaches from the Battle Ram portion.  The MOTUC version doesn’t do so as easily, however.  You have to wiggle it with a little bit of force, and there is a definite “SNAP” sound that happens, as the tabs that lock it into place seem to be stressing a little bit.  And that is my only complaint about the entire vehicle!

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You can see that this time we have the snake head version of the Sky Sled. (War Sled, props to James Eatock).  I won’t be displaying the Battle Ram with the snake head.  I’m not sure if the snake head version is ever depicted in media attached to the Battle Ram?  I will always have the Griffin head version on the front.

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Teela makes everything look better!  Sky High villainously belongs on the snake version.

The new Jet Sled War Sled is exactly like the other.  You should go and read that review right now if you haven’t.  Because they are the same item.  Just one has a griffin head, and one has a snake head.  (Really, it is a fantastic vehicle, that I rated 5/5.  I have had tons of fun flying it around and scaring my cats.  Sorry that some of the pics of Sky High are inexplicably missing, but the Jet Sled pics are all there.)

The Battle Ram is a display piece…as such, you can do the traditional thing…

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Or you can go 1980’s playtime, full on!

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Check out the backside of the Battle Ram.

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I don’t remember this detail.  This large mask thing…was it ever a sticker on the vintage Battler Ram?  This detail is sculpted on, like every other detail of the Battle Ram.  But this mask thing is very conspicuous.  The bright colors don’t really match the rest of the tank.  It doesn’t take away from it, I just found it kind of shocking because I didn’t remember it, and this isn’t on my vintage Battle Ram.  Maybe my parents didn’t apply it when they assembled it?  Or maybe I peeled it off?  There doesn’t seem to be any residue, however…

Every single knob, control panel, exhaust pipe, vent, indicator light, engine piece, all of it.  Fantastic sculpting.  I can’t gloat about that enough.  It is incredible!  It is this work that makes Masters of the Universe Classics the ultimate toyline.  Not only just for adult collectors, but this item in the hands of a kid…wow, it can capture their imagination.

Now for that “Comparison Time” I hooked you with earlier.

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My childhood Battle Ram is dwarfed by the MOTUC version.  The plastic is just about split in seam right up the middle of both the Sky Sled and the engine piece.

One thing about them both, and maybe only I notice this because I am the only music teacher interested in MOTUC in the whole entire world I am certain…both Battle Rams make the same sound when they roll!  This was the very first thing I noticed.  As soon as I freed it from the box, I set it on the floor and gave it a good push.  There is a certain “hollow” sound to the thing as it rolls.  I’m not sure what makes it so.  But it is.  It is the exact same experience.  When I rolled the new vehicle across the floor, a ton of memories flooded back into my head.  I mention how this is the ultimate action figure line…how kids can totally have their imagination captured.  Us adults can re-live it because of the incredible detail put into something as awesome as this.

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As a kid, my favorite vehicle was the Attak Trak.  But as a battery powered vehicle, it had limitations.  (dead batteries.)  What would I play with instead…the Battle Ram was my go-to guy.  And now that there isn’t even an Attak Trak for MOTUC, and there may never be, the Battle Ram takes over by force of destiny!  (That sounded cool.)

The SpartanNerd rates the Battle Ram at 5/5.  It is perfect!  The only thing close to a complaint that I can make is that it is slightly hard to separate the Jet Sled from the Battle Ram.  I believe that over time that may work itself out.  So no big deal.

The SpartanNerd rates the Battle Ram 5/5.  Do you agree or disagree?  Let me know in the comments!

SpartanNerd thoughts…He-Man and the Eternity War Issues #10 and #11

I said way back in my 250th blog post that I would be posting a review of Issue #10.  My apologies, readers…life has kept me away from the blog.  And that is going to continue, it seems.  I find blogging to be a relaxing thing, so, I will do it when I can relax.

I think I’ll start with this photo…

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What….These two comics inspired me to produce and take this photo.  (Never realized how hard it is to put an alternate head on King Hsss….)

The events leading up to issue #10 and #11…

Basically, the Horde conquered Eternia.  Hordak had the Fright Zone infect the land, as he acquired the power of Grayskull and seemed to be bringing about the “Age of Horokoth”.  (He used the blood of Grayskull to resurrect his body…previously his spirit was trapped inside a robot life-support casket.)  He forged his own sword of power, etc.

The masters made allies with the Snake Men, who worship the Green Goddess (Teela) as the Sorceress of Serpos.  He-Man decided to eschew the power of Grayskull and only use the power of Adam…bad move, because apparently King Hsss…devoured him off-panel.  (So the main character of He-Man and the Eternity War has been killed….????)

Basically, Skeletor double crosses She-Ra into healing him from his missing jaw, and then uses the power of the Havoc Staff and the Well of Darkness to break into Hordak’s chamber of souls on Despondos.  He steals the souls and leaves She-Ra there stranded with the souls of those she executed as Despara.  Skeletor then teleports back to Eternia, unleashes those souls, which happen to re-possess their physical bodies (which are Horde Troopers,) and they mutiny.  He uses this moment of distraction to kill Hordak with his Horokoth Sword of Power.  (The moment I shouted for joy!  I’ve never been a big fan of the Horde.)  Also along the way, Evil-Lynn became the Sorceress of Horokoth.  Meaning now there are two sorceresses.

Which brings us to Issue 10.

The front cover…

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It has been hinted for quite some time that Skeletor was going to acquire the power of Grayskull.  This is why it seemed so odd that Hordak acquired it first.  And he acquired it in a very backhanded way…

I have this theory…I believe the writers are playing with the toys.  In fact, I think they might be basing their stories on their old childhood versions of the stories, or similar.

Skeletor holding a power sword wearing He-Man’s armor.  This is a strong hint.  I went and tried to duplicate this photo.  But I didn’t get a picture.  It totally works, especially if you give him the pink Prince Adam sword. (However, I don’t have a blue body with gold bracers and a gold belt.)

It was hinted back in the art book…some of the images they released showed Skeletor transformed, and also had his transformation words, “Cry Havoc!  I am Skeletor!”

We are seeing how that story unfolds.

Onto the plot.

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Basically, Prince Adam (actually King Hssss) is inspiring the masters and the Snake Men to attack the Horde.

King Hsss/Adam is wearing the traditional battle armor of the Snake Men, a supposed way to inspire them.  But we, as readers see King Hsss really flaunting who he secretly is.

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Next we see an exchange between Skeletor and Evil-Lynn.  Doesn’t she look cool!

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And now for something random.  Who is this mysterious soldier?  “War Wraith.”  And from my picture earlier, you see why I was inspired to do what I did!  The War Wraith looks incredibly like Evil-Seed.  And I thought he was until Skeletor used his name.

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And then something else we’ve never seen.  Evil-Lynn weeping.  A very spiritual thing this time.  Evidently as a manifestation of the Goddess, she reacts to things happening in the universe.  I’m reading a parallel here to what the Green Goddess (Teela) did when guiding Despara to the point of drawing He-Man’s blood, an act that would ultimately result in the resurrection of Hordak.  This seems out of character.  But it is the way her newfound power is effecting her.  Skeletor isn’t moved, of course.  Except for in the same way the SpartanNerd is moved when the females are crying.  Angry.  I know it isn’t normal, but its true.

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Next, the action cuts to the Masters using the Dragon Walkers to attack Grayskull.  A ridiculous idea.  If Dragon Walkers were real, they would be the clumsiest, stupidest kind of tank ever invented.  They were fun toys, though!  It is interesting that the details of the story mention the gear that makes them work.  More evidence that the writers have been playing with the toys…that gear was a highly noticeable part of the toy.

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And then we see the War Wraith flying on a Roton sniping snake men.  Very cool.  Who was this guy, I asked myself while reading.  He never appeared in any lore previous to now?

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A couple of pages over, and we see the Green Goddess Teela rescue She-Ra.  Divine intervention was basically the only way that could happen.  Deus Ex Machina, right?

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The Dragon Walkers (predictable) couldn’t do the job on the Fright Zone, so Moss Man does it.  He jumps out of the Wind Raider, and face-plants in a “Wrath of God” moment, sacrificing himself.  More Divine Intervention!

(At this point, the comic has a steep death toll.  I think I’ll do a death count on main characters the writers have killed off so far.  We can add Moss Man, again.)

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In the moments after while everyone is celebrating their victory, King Hss/Adam is experiencing pain.  Lots of pain, so he sneaks off for a moment of privacy.  But Rattlor follows him and lets on that he knows the secret, so King Hsss. blasts him with energy, killing him.  (Another main character killed off.)

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After this moment of pain and killing Rattlor, King Hiss/Adam is kicked in the head from behind by the War Wraith, who arrived just barely too late to discover the truth evidently.  He then takes off his mask to reveal his identity as …. Duncan!  (Man-At-Arms)!

Before moving on to Issue 11, which just came out this week, and I just read, let me tell you Hub City Geeks.  I read this book OVER AND OVER.  You might recall that I thought Issue 8 was terrible.  That was a low point.  This issue is a high point however, and Issue 11 is even greater!  (Issue 9 had the Skeletor killing Hordak moment.)

Man-At-Arms has often been made into a bad guy.  But not for Skeletor.  Usually it is a Snake Man.  The only thing that I don’t get is why did they make him look so much like Evil Seed?  This is where I think they were playing around with the toys and maybe head swapping or something, and decided Evil Seed’s armor was pretty cool for Duncan.  In my picture at the beginning, you see I only have the classic Man-At-Arms with a mustache.  (Yes, I have the non mustache head.)  But I don’t have the 200x head without the helmet, so that is as close as I could get.

Onto Issue 11.  The best one yet!  And I can tell I will likely read this one over and over as well.

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The cover shows Man-At-Arms coming out of the shell that was Roboto.  He is holding a blaster as well as his classic mace.

The colors evoke the split personality of Man-At-Arms.  And he is in a target.  Well, that is the First Person Shooter mode of Tri-Clops!

What you need to know is that previously, like, several issues ago, Man-At-Arms was the first Eternian is space.  He retrofitted Roboto into a space suit with life-support, and went into space to destroy Horak’s version of Supreme Verdict, the “Orbital Disrupter.”  however, by the end of the issue, Man-At-Arms and Roboto were plummeting to the surface in a ball of fire.  And until Issue 10, we hadn’t heard from either of them.  Issue 11 tells us the story.

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Robots used all of his energy to protect Man-At-Arms with a type of force field.  He said he had to sacrifice himself because his persona had the personality traits given to him by Duncan.

So basically, Roboto is another character killed off.

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And here comes Tri-Clops.  We’ve seen Tri-Clops working with Hordak recently.  He takes advantage of his new opportunity.

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So Man-At-Arms just destroyed the Orbital Disrupter, fought off an army of Horde satellite drones, re-entered the atmosphere, suffered an emotional loss of Roboto, and STILL can kick the crap out of Tri-Clops.  That’s awesome!

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Here is a total toy moment.  Every kid knows that Tri-Clop’s sword was WAY COOLER than anyone else’s.  Even He-Man’s.  Now the writers have been giving Man-At-Arms Tri-Clops’ sword.!

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And here is a big “duh” moment for Duncan.  Of COURSE Tri-Clops was blind under that visor…

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And Tri-Clops “duh” moment.  Duncan talks too much.  (He always did.)

And I get another shout for joy moment!  SLIME PIT TIME!

Skeletor says “Spare me the lecture.  I know how it works.  I helped design it!”  Duncan is getting slimed .  OH YEAH.  Into a ZOMBIE for SKELETOR.  KA BAAAMMMM!!!!

The Slime Pit was always a toy that I loved to play with.  But my mom wouldn’t let us play with the slime.

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And then we see how Skeletor is going to get the blood of Grayskull.  He is going to literally drain Hordak’s blood!  The cool thing they’ve done with Hordak is make him into a celestial vampire.  He was empowered by the souls of those he slew or led to their death for him.  Now Skeletor is becoming more of a literal vampire.  AND we get to see him without his hood.

And then back to the War Wraith.  “Skeletor sends his regards.”

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Duncan seems to be a total convert to Skeletor’s ways.  He has no mercy on who he thinks is Prince Adam.

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And he’s just about to slay him, when….

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We interrupt this murder with a message from the Goddess and She-Ra, who both are flying on Swift Wind and talking.

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So Evil-Lynn can’t have all this happiness.  She busts up in front of Swifty.

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And then transforms into a bat, the symbol of Horokoth.  It appears, however that Teela the Green Goddess can transform into Serpos, the Snake God from 200x.

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An intense elemental battle between forces of the universe.  Now if only Zoar were to appear…

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Nope.  Back to the other battle.  Of Course, King Hsss. wasn’t going to be bested by a zombified Man-At-Arms.  He transforms and then kills Duncan.  And then more of that pain happens.

And another strong hint that the writers are playing with the toys and getting inspired to write the characters after them.

As King Hsss fights to suppress Prince Adam’s essence, which is fighting inside of him, he explodes in a burst of energy and becomes…

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NAKED!

(Recently there was a figure of Oo-Lar, the Jungle He-Man, who is all nude except for his furry shorts.  He’s even barefooted.)

I can’t wait to see what happens next!

You see, it has been raining like crazy.  I don’t really have anything to do except work and read comics when I get the chance, or maybe mess around with Magic cards.

I give both of these comics a 5/5.  I believe the writers are MOTU fans.  And I believe they are trying hard to give us an adult comic.  They have tastefully set aside some of the things about MOTU that people call “silly”, and created a darker, edgier, more modern story and are doing things with the characters that haven’t been done before.  Sometimes even taking inspiration from things seldom used before.  (Like the Slime Pit.)

Hope to be back soon with a review of the new Masters of the Universe Mini Comics Collection!

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.

Teela

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!

Death of Hordak

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 Vintage Comic Review…He-Man and the Masters of the Universe #1 (DC 1982)

I picked up this book last summer for $10 at a comics store at Myrtle Beach…It has remained sealed since I purchased it on vacation at Myrtle Beach last summer of 2014.  Here is a pic of the cover, in its sleeve, with the price tag attached.  As far as I know, outside of mini-comics, this is the first ever strait-up He-Man and the Masters of the Universe comic book!  It was printed by DC in 1982.  I’ve never read this book before…I’m going to break the seal and replace the bag and board.  Might as well read it!

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I must say, this book has some physical signs of oldness.  There is some discoloration on the pages, and maybe some mold or mildew.  As I read through, My eyes felt itchy.  Who knows…maybe its been in that sleeve since 1982?  I didn’t cause any of the damage…this book has been sitting in my nerd closet in a display thing.  I moved the whole thing to my office at work last week.

The subtitle across the top, “To Tempt the Gods” is what really caught my eye and inspired me to read this one.  As I started reading, I realized how I was thoroughly enjoying it, and decided I would begin this feature on SpartanNerd.com   And I have lots of vintage comics, so….
The cover art leaves a little to be desired as MOTU art goes.  This isn’t Earl Norem, sadly.  But it is a #1, and if I’m not mistaken, the first newsstand title for MOTU ever.  (Besides the elusive Justice League etc backup stories that featured MOTU a few months prior…a warmup for what DC was going to be doing!)  (And are still doing…if they only knew!)
I’m going to discuss the ads here as well.  They are almost as enjoyable as the comic!
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This LEGO ad seems so different from what LEGO does today.  (No minifigs, no special branding, a kid prominently featured, having built something.  This was from the Expert Builders series.  Seems serious!
The introductory page features…wait for it…Teela with blonde hair!  (Battleground Teela…I suppose!)  If you look past the colorful figures of Teela, He-Man, Battlecat, the Wind Raider, and Stratos, you can see the outline of Skeletor.
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More skin on the next page…the middle of the page shows a scantily clad royal lady partying down.  It is interesting how midieval Eternia is portrayed.  Randor has gray hair, and is sitting at a table while watching the party.  Man-at-arms is beardless, just like his action figure.
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We get our first appearance of Prince Adam on page 3.  He’s wearing blue!  Randor and Man-at-Arms have been bashing his lazy character, and we see that he has been with a lady friend!
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Page four we get some reminiscing…in this story apparently Marlena did crash on Eternia when on a space mission from Earth.
There is a Bubble Yum ad.  “It’s longer lasting!!!”  “It’s smoother and blows great bubbles!!!”  I promise after I read this ad, I felt like hopping to the gas station to try and find some Bubble Yum!
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Behind that ad is another interesting ad.  “Saturday Sept 25th is PAC-MAN day on ABC-TV!”  We get multiple spots…all of these were cartoons evidently…actually I’m not sure.  I remember Pac-Man and Richy Rich.  But didn’t know about the Little Rascals cartoon, or Mork and Mindy with the Fonz, or The Puppy’s New Adventures.  (I do remember Scooby and scrappy). I remember watching Mork and Mindy and Laverne and Shirly.  But not as cartoons.  I think it might have been too difficult or strange for them to put a screenshot in the ad, so they instead drew the characters.
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The next page features some edgy script.  “GODDESS!  Demons and monstrosities from hell…attacking me!”  I like how Adam says he has been keeping up his teenage rebellion facade to hide his identity.  It reminds me of the 200x series.(Filmation eluded to this too, but not as heavily).  Speaking of Filmation, this Cringer can talk!
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Turning the page presents us with a never-before seen transformation.  Adam and Cringer run into the Cavern of Power, and this triggers their transformation into He-Man and Battlecat!  (How come I never heard of this before?)  I would like to point out a tremendous hole in the plot.  What happened to the demons?  How were Adam and Cringer able to escape to the Cavern of Power.  On the page earlier they were talking to each other under the bed?  Weird!  Anyways, this is our first real glimpse of Skeletor.  And the MOTUC folks of today absolutely nailed the Alcala head.  It looks exactly like it jumped off the page of this comic book.  (I don’t have the head, so I can’t include a personal photo.  Sorry!  I do have the most recent Masters of the Universe comic alternate cover that has Skeletor sporting this head.)
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I love the way He-Man talks!  “Speak to me the TRUTH ‘ere my Battle Axe finds a place to rest ‘twixt your foul eyes!”  On this page He-Man refers to Skeletor as being from Hell again.  There is also some more banter about the Goddess.  Skeletor has her captured, and intends to get the two pieces of the power sword to open Castle Greyskull (this is how the comic spells it!).  He can then be king of Eternia.  Notice that the Goddess appears to be Teela with a snake mask on.  Anyways, I have always heard about people protesting Masters of the Universe in the early days, but never witnessed that or anything.  Reading what was printed here in this comic in 1982, I can see why!  Conservative Christians would have had a big problem with the fantasy side of He-Man as presented here.  And they would have said it was a way to target and corrupt the young children.  As an adult reading this, I am feeling highly entertained.  I don’t know if it is only the “He-Man-ness” of it all.  Or if I find it entertaining the same way as if I was reading Thor or Conan.  If my parents bought me this book as a four year old SpartanNerd, I wouldn’t have been allowed to read it.  I believe as a comic book, it was being aimed at the Dungeons and Dragons/Iron Maiden crowd.  But another part of me thinks it was written for children.  The toyline, the ads in this book.  Would I have let my four year old read it?  No.  I believe the nine-year-old Magic the Gathering/Final Fantasy loving SpartanKid could handle it.  (But wouldn’t be interested.  He reads Mega-Man and Sonic the Hedgehog comics…both of which are clean as a whistle.)  The Thirty-Six year old, liscenced minister SpartanNerd isn’t offended at this work as it stands today in 2015.  That’s what I have to say about it, if anyone cares!
Anyways, enough of that!
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The next page details some of the fight between Skeletor and the Goddess.  And we are interrupted by another ad.  This time for Lifesavers.  It is an ad with a maze to work.  Reading that ad makes me remember Christmas.  He-Man and Lifesavers.  Two things I seemed to always have at Christmas!
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The page after the ad shows how the fight ended.  The Goddess banished the sword to some dimension.  Skeletor was really mad.  So he PUNCHED HER IN THE FACE!  Then captured her.  The following page has He-Man charged by Skeletor to find three talismans.  One of the Sea, another of the sky, and another of the cosmos.  These three things supposedly will lead He-Man to the power sword.  Skeletor also can keep his eye on He-Man mystically…his floating head talking in the air reminds me of the 1987 movie, where Skeletor did the same thing.  And I can’t help but think the writers of that film were inspired by this scene.
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This book keeps surprising us!  The next page we see Zodac having some internal struggle.  he decides to wait and see what he is supposed to do.  Even here we see the dual nature of Zodac and his modus operandus.  I like the way he muses about Skeletor and He-Man, and he says that they are polar opposites.
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As the story continues, it is interesting to see that the guards do not recognize He-Man!  Teela has to intervene!  And He-Man says to himself, “Never before have I been in their presence as any other than their carousing son, Adam!”  So this was the first meeting of Randor, Marlena, and He-Man.
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Then we get a DOUBLE PAGE AD!  “STARCADE  Saturday Morning Megafun on CBS.”  Besides the loony toons characters, I don’t remember these cartoons.  It is interesting that Gilligan’s Island had an associated cartoon.  At the bottom, you get the schedule.  Notable is Backstar at 1:00, another Filmation show associated closely with He-Man!
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After the megafun mega-ad, He-Man says something startling about the situation of meeting his parents.  He says the same thing we’ve all been wondering all these years…”Save for my garb, what is there to prevent their recognizing me as the heir to the throne?”  Wow.  He-Man bro the fourth wall sort of!  The battle on the facing page in defense of the wizard Tarrak contrasts the fighting styles of He-Man, Battle Cat, and Teela quite nicely, Teela using a gun, He-Man his axe, and Battlecat pouncing and using his claws.  Since they are fighting “demons from hell” no big deal in killing them right?
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On the next page we have the famous image of Battleground Teela.  I believe this was used on her bio on the packaging.  When Man-At-Arms joins in on the next page, notable is the word “THOK.”  He-Man is messing up a demon!  And the battle ends with smiles and happiness!
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Another ad!  New from Remco toys.  “SGT. ROCK playsets”  The the way this toy looks in the artwork reminds me of The CORPS.  You know, the generic version of GI JOE.
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He-Man gets mad and hits the table.  Out of character for his later stories.  And this makes me wonder who else might be after the constellation talisman?  Not Hordak, this early in the career….probably Zodac.
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Tele says something especially original on the next page.  “Deeds’ Chain!”  Another thought.  I don’t believe I’ve ever heard of Tarrak before?  On the next page, we see Avion.  So it looks like Stratos’ story was developed this early.  However it appears that everyone here isn’t of the same species as Stratos.  That’s a different touch.  Several things that look like Beastman’s now attack!  The book explains on the next page that these are Beastmen.  This is a similar concept to what we saw in the Sir Lazer-Lot One Shot.  And I can’t help but think Geoff Johns was inspired by this page.
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Another ad follows…Star Frontiers.  Reading this, I gather it is a D&D knock off, with a science fiction twist.  I don’t recognize TSR The Game Wizards brand.  That bears researching, I suppose.
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The Beastmen follow Stratos into the air on the backs of dragons on the next page.  Tarok makes Stratos invisivble on the next page.  I think it odd that Stratos was able to fly to Eternia so quickly…I’ve heard arguments that Eternia must be a small planet.  This book seems to think so, or Avion is really close to the Palace.
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On the final page of this action packed story, Stratos finds safety with He-Man, Teela, and Tarrak, and He-Man seems to rip that amulet from Stratos neck and shout, “This is one of the Talismans!”  (in my translation.)
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Four ads follow this page.
An ad for a comic called “Camelot 3000”  There is a hand holding up a sword gleaming with energy. reaching out of a pool…I gather the Lady of the Lake holding Excalibur.  But it is interesting that this image appears in a He-Man comic book.
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A toy offer for “Tough Wheels.”  and “Burnin’ Key Cars.”  This toy was manufactuerd by KidCo.  Something else I don’t recognize.  One of the few ads to have photographs in it.
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An ad for Milk Duds, Clark, and Zagnut.  Interesting that Zagnut is mentioned here…this is the candy bar that was recently shoplifted by Plastique in DC’s weekly (and wrapping up) Futures End.  You could mail in some wrappers and get a headset radio.
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Finally, WOW!  They’re Out of this World Super Heroes Character Time Sticks, Time Capsules, and Watches.  I don’t know what Time Sticks and Time Capsules are….Oh yeah…a description.  Time sticks are ink-pens with a watch build in.  Time Capsules are some kind of sticky watch face that you can put anywhere.  The Wonder-Woman watch here does look nostalgic to me.  And these are digital items.  So 1980’s!  These seem to cost a lot of money for 1982…the pens were $8.00.  That’s like $20 in today’s money!
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Hopefully, oh Hub City Geeks, you have enjoyed reading my summary and commentary of this classic book.  Here’s what I like and what I don’t like about it….
The art is OK.  It’s not McFarlane, but it is good for its time.  Teela can be seen in the same pose a few different times, which is odd to me, considering this was art done the old school way without computers.
It is refreshing to see Blonde Bombshell Teela.  I am convinced that the Skeletor and He-Man presented in this book are actually different characters than what most people, including me, know and love.  They just aren’t the same as the Filmation version.
I don’t like the “small Eternia.”  I don’t like that in any media.
I do think this book pushed the edges a little bit for young children.  Aside from the demons, the word “Damnation” also was uttered.  A little too edgy for the four and five years olds.  Maybe not the ten year olds of today, but of 1982, probably so.
I like how this book has echoes in other media.  The reference in the live action movie to Skeletor communicating as a head in the sky.  The Beastmen.  Avon became a regular stop in the Mike Young cartoon.  Yes…this was an influential comic.  Why the Cave of Power?  I don’t know.
I’m glad to own a copy of this piece of history.  I won’t bother giving it a rating.  If you want to know my rating, you should read this entry on what I consider the “Gold Standard” of comics.
Good Journey, and keep reading!