Saturday, June 25, 2016

Marvel Collector Corps June Women of Power Unboxing.

As you can probably guess from the slowed rate of updates, I'm still working my morning job at the Alzheimer home. It's only fitting that the place is driving me crazy but I soon plan to have my time there wrapped up. Yes indeed, depending on how a couple events play out I should be back to just having the shelter job somewhere between next week and the end of July. In the meantime nothing is quite as important as maintaining some image of mental health. And what better way to keep ones mood high than a big crate of mystery goodies?

As a big fan of Marvel's various super ladies I was pumped for this month's theme. With so many options for characters to use like X-23 (currently Wolverine), Silk, Spider-Woman, Captain Marvel, etc how could this be anything other than a slam dunk? Turns out avoiding spoilers this time around would be quite the ordeal as the box took longer than ever to arrive. DHL was the original carrier who sent the package all the way past Michigan to Chicago area where they handed it off to USPS who required four days to get it back here and another to get it to my porch. To put this in perspective, folks in my area use Chicago for a day trip, so what's the deal post office? Finally I got to dig into this newest offering of Funko/Marvel goodness and for the first time since subscribing, it didn't fully live up to my expectations. Don't get me wrong, it's still a damn fine box, it just missed the mark a little for my personal tastes.

First up is the small stuff. This month's patch is current Ms. Marvel Kamala Khan and it does a fine job of capturing her likeness. I've yet to read the girl's main book though word is it's really something special. I plan on checking out the omnibus coming this fall to catch up on her adventures. Maybe then this patch will be a little more special. Pin duty goes to Spider-Woman Jessica Drew, oddly in her old outfit. I'm a big fan of Jessica and wish she'd gotten a little more attention than just the pin. Still happy to place her on the ever expanding lamp shade pin collection.
It's a little surprising to see Civil War II as our comic as I figured we'd either get a stand-alone super-heroine title or the all female A-Force. This still works for the theme given Captain Marvel's large role with support from She-Hulk and others. Does anybody else find it strange that Carol Danvers is on the exclusive Funko cover twice? Last I check girl doesn't have a clone. The book's pretty decent overall. The beginning is a little off when the writing is trying to be funny but it comes across as sort of awkward and stilted. The art's top notch and there's enough here to keep me interested in checking out the full story once it gets collected.

Next up is clothing. Gotta say these Funko shirts hold up surprisingly well. They've all been comfortable enough that I wear em pretty frequently and so far there's been no major damage of any sort. This month's shirt is a bit underwhelming when compared to the Civil War and Deadpool entries. Nothing terrible mind you just a little bland. Weirder still is that the info card shows three other concepts for the shirt that probably would've turned out better. Why they switched to such a basic design in the end is anyone's guess.

Now for the main feature of every box, toys. The side toys this month are a two piece set of mystery minis featuring Captain Marvel and She-Hulk. These are a nice improvement over the Ant-Man minis from last year which forced coalitionists to trade or shop eBay to complete the set of four. For me however, mystery minis are one of my least liked Funko product lines. They just plan lack the appeal of Pops or quality of Dorbz and Hikari. Not to mention they have a greater tendency to tip over. She-Hulk has tipped nearly once an hour since I got her. These two do have nice sculpts so at least there's that. From the looks of it, I'm guessing Funko still hasn't cleared the Marvel license for use with Rock Candy or Vinyl Vixen lines since this would have been the ideal place to premiere an item like that.

Last up is our newest exclusive Pop, Squirrel Girl. Right up front, I haven't read anything with this character other than her brief stint as Nanny for the New Avengers. As you might assume I've got almost zero connection with her. Even so, I can still admit to a top quality pop when I see one and this is really nice. The detail is already great (just look at that tail!) but when combined with her tiny squirrel friend, it makes for a pretty awesome pop.

As I said earlier, this is still a pretty good box but coming after the excellent Deadpool and Civil War editions makes this one feel a little small and lifeless in comparison. To a certain extent I blame the theme for being too big. If they had narrowed it down to just women from the spider books or members of A-Force or something along those lines it would have been easier to keep expectations in check. Instead I'm left wondering why characters who already have pops and merchandise on the way are included while one like X-23 and Silk can't even get the shirt or Dorbz treatment. The Squirrel Girl pop is absolutely the best part of this box for that very reason. She's a character that doesn't get much in the way of collectibles and they gave her the royal treatment. That's the sort of thing I want to see more from this service.

The theme for August is Spider-Man. Looking forward to it as always. With the pop they've got options such as his new glowy costume or maybe give us the Superior Spider suit from doc ock's days. If we're lucky, maybe one of our web ladies or Black Cat can sneak in on that one.

I might try out another box in July if I can afford it. Depends on when I leave this job, ya know? As I transition outta there you'll definitely see an uptake in my online activities. Got plenty of stuff to post about on here along with articles to edit and finish for Dread Central and a whole article series I want to purpose to another site. Wish me luck on that. With any luck I'll be back to living the broke, one job life soon.

Thursday, June 9, 2016

Doubutsu Sentai Zyuohger Episodes 12-17

As is customary these days, I must start this post by apologizing for my extended absence between posts. Work continues to suck up far more time than what I sighed up for. These site posts are great therapy however as it's like settling into a comfy womb. Alright, that's probably because I write in bed. Forgive me these little luxuries. At work though, I just tryto go though the motions and survive each day without too much trouble. Zyuohger found itself doing much the same for the past month with a stack of standard episodes that failed to move the plot forward by much. It wasn't so bad though, let's get caught up.

So let's talk about characters first. Both Yamato and Amu got moderate development over the past few weeks with more details about his bond with his uncle, and some depth to her sense of duty and justice. Poor Sela on the other hand sort of floundered during this stretch which is all the more unfortunate when you consider she's a shark. Sorry. I couldn't resist.
Leo and Tusk were the targets of considerably more growth. Tusk has revealed his love of the written word and a penchant for strategy though he's easily frazzled under pressure. Even so, he still comes across as a little flat so it helps that his actor has improved a great deal on comedic timing.
The writer's had already established a bit of misogyny on Leo's part which they've added onto with a bit of good old fashioned skirt chasing. Guy loves his ladies. In addition they've established his respect for the abilities of his teamates along with the ability to keep rushing through the bullshit. Guy's still my favorite team member so far this year largely thanks to the actor who adds in all sorts of extra tidbits to his performance.

The villains haven't developed much though Naria was finally given the chance to do something more than make monsters grow. She's also shown a bit of a cruel streak that rivals her cohorts. Wouldn't be surprised to see her get a nice two or three part tale revolving around some scheme of her own later on.

As for the episodes, Let's give em a quick rundown.

Twelve was possibly the weakest installment of the series thus far. It revolved around Tusk getting duped into working at an old cranks' bookstore. There was some decent humor and the monsters plan of removing language was pretty neat. Problem was Tusk's efforts to get kids interested in books and the manor in which his friends helped out was far too childish and pandering for my tastes.

Thirteen fared a little better as it continued the groups search for the bird man. The team is visited by a girl who claims to have seen birdy and offers to guide them up a mountain to where she spotted him. All of this is quickly complicated both by a monster and Leo's overbearing crush on this new acquaintance. This one was notable for the guest spot by Sayuri Inoue; a Japanese idol with a big love for Super Sentai. Supposedly the girl dreams of being an extra hero one day. While her character may have been a little flat she's definitely got potential, and is super cute to boot. I say give the girl some animal print spandex and let her join the show.
Somebody turn on Dreamweaver.
Fourteen is in direct competition with twelve for bottom of the barrel. The main thrust involved Amu bonding with a guy and his sickly sister. He works like a dog in hopes of earning the cash to afford the treatment she needs. The monster of the week uses this to manipulate the poor fool into helping him steal some rare jewels and tie up the team.
Most of the tale was well done but the ending was a real clusterfuck. After deciding to help our heroes who then defeat the monster, the guy finds the suitcase of money he'd been tempted with. In the last scene he informs Amu that he'll return the case to the police and continue working his ass off to afford his sisters treatments. Amu merely offers her belief in his abilities. I understand that this is a kids show which makes for a tough time dealing with moral gray areas but what the fuck? We get no indication that this dude receives any reward or boost for returning the money so all we can imagine is that he continues to throw his life away in the constant pursuit of cash to save his sibling. All the more insulting is that this money was stolen from a bank, which means it's insured, so why can't he take it and use it for such a good cause? The team doesn't even chip in a few dollars to help the guy out. Woulda made a nice tip after he freed them form yet another case of bondage. It made our heroes kinda look like dicks which isn't cool. I like Amu but I certainly hope her character focused episodes improve before she becomes Yakumo of this series.

Fifteen paired Leo and tusk up to stop an evil sniper who turned people into dolls. Very basic and straight-forward tale but nothing to complain about. Continued the trend of good humor when Uncle Mario thought of altering the Yamato doll. Something of note here is that both the sniper and the previous episodes thief were trying to become new team leaders in the evil aliens blood game. Naturally both fail but this does lead to a new development in the next episode.

Sixteen shifted focus back to Yamato. The baddie this week in league with Naria are kidnapping everyone who looks like an animal in search of Zyuman. Uncle Mario is one of the victims since he's wondering about dressed as a cow. We get some back story on their family dynamic. Yamato didn't seem to get along very well with his father, sharing Mario's same love for animals instead. As we get to see, that bond also extends to a certain heroism and respect for all life. Good stuff but the real kicker comes at the end when we learn the reason for all these abductions. The big boss has decided to make a zyuranger of his own by taking capturing zyuman and infusing their power into some poor bastard he's been torturing for god knows how long.

Seventeen finally gives us the turning point we've been waiting for with the arrival of evil ranger, Zyuoh The World. No, really, that's his title. We still don't know his civilian identity though I'm sure that will be revealed quickly enough.

Only one third or so of this episode is actually about this newest villain. The rest is a Sela focused tale where she showcases her care giving sensibilities when a monster sticks playing cards to peoples head that provide massive electrical shocks when near others with the same suite.
Not much of importance occurred during that main chunk of story. So Sela's good at taking care of people, that's not something that requires fifteen minutes of screen time for the audience to understand. On the upside, this continues the provide the balance a character like her needs. As the resident tough girl of the group there's a value to having something to soften her up and keep her likable for the audience and that's still in full effect as she makes for a good role model with a properly developed personality.
The real reason you're reading about this installment though is Zyuoh The World. Obviously I can't say much about his personality or even the quality of the acting. What we can discuss is that he's not the bird man as I had suspected. Lord knows what exactly the plan is there. Maybe birdy will end up becoming some kind of back-up hero or recurring baddie down the line? Anyway, this new dude has been infused with the powers of a wolf, rhino, and crocodile which he can mix together at once. Also he fights with a fishing rod that doubles as a gun. Alright it sounds absolutely ridiculous because, frankly it is. To a certain extent, that's why it actually works. Last year when Starninger showed up on Ninninger, the series actively pointed out how over the top he was. That's not the case here at all. Is it silly for some overpowered bad guy to fight with a fishing pole? Absolutely. Did anyone on the show point this out? Not at all. It's just there currently as window dressing. Perhaps later there will prove to be a reason for it. Right now, it's just fun.

And with that we're all caught up on Zyuohger for the time being. Much as most of these episodes came up short when compared to the first ten, this series is still far improved over the past few years. That alone will keep it at the forefront of my Summer viewing. I hate to leave you all on such a sudden note but I've got to edit all the massive spelling errors on this thing (probably shouldn't write during cocktail hour), read some Star Wars, and hit the hay. See you soon.