Wednesday, 8 November 2017

Minifigures: G.I.Joe - Kopf KF-348 to 355

As some of you may know I used to collect G.I.Joe figures, especially the 25th/30th Anniversary ones. However, a mixture of a lack of space to set them up in, the impending arrival of my daughter and the spike in prices on eBay meant I cleared them all out. These days counterfeit Minifigures are my main source of plastic crack - cheap, small and child-friendly. Most of the ones I collect are of superheroes - after several format attempts here I eventually set up a satellite blog for these called Minifixation - but there are some others out there, including a nascent range of G.I.Joe-themed figures.

Monday, 6 November 2017

Film Review: Transformers - The Last Knight

I held off reviewing the fifth Transformers film when it was on release over the summer; I had other projects on the go, I was a little tired when I went to see it, spending as much time looking at my watch, and there were a couple of queries about it that I wasn't entirely convinced weren't down to me missing something massive. I wasn't keen but I wasn't prepared to slaughter a film on one compromised viewing but the release of the DVD gave me a chance to re-evaluate it. Results were mixed; with better preparation for a letdown (anyone who reads mainstream reviews of the films, which have quickly become a Nickelback-esque punching bag for critics who make their mind up before the film even starts) it was less of a letdown but basically none of the film's problems were solved.


Tuesday, 11 July 2017

Toy Review: EM Gokin EM-03 Blue Jet

A couple of months ago, bereft and emotional at the seeming cancellation of Action Toys' Machine Robo line (since announced to be resuming after an eight month hiatus, with two new figures and a series of retro-tinged recolours and retools - nice!) I gave in and bought this thing, which came out about two years ago as part of the Fewture Gokin line, covering licenced characters from a handful of semi-forgotten animes. And there is not a day since it arrived that I have looked at it and hated it. It's not a problem with the stylisation; it's Blue Jet from Revenge of Cronos, not Fitor from Gobots

Tuesday, 27 June 2017

Six Reasons You Will Never Get The Transformers Film You Want

Initial box office figures for the fifth Transformers film, The Last Knight, have been underwhelming while the reviews have been the usual lazy hackwork, though this time it seems that even fans of Michael Bay's envisioning have been left unimpressed. I've yet to see it so I'm reserving personal judgement but as usual it's taken fandom little time to crack out the knives, further fuelled by the apparent exit of Bay from the franchise. Putting aside that it seems to be a familiar pattern slash negotiating tactic from Bay (who only took the assignment on Age of Extinction as leverage to raise money for Pain & Gain) many seem to be heralding this as an end to his style of Transformers films and the chance for something more cerebral. It won't be, and here's why.

Wednesday, 7 June 2017

Digital Archive: Robo Machine featuring the Challenge of the Gobots Mini World series

Past posts have touched upon the unsatisfying history of Gobots in print even at the height of their commercial success - rather than a licence with Marvel or even someone terrible like Malibu there was a token mail order magazine from Telepictures while in the UK a run in IPC Fleetway's Eagle was superb but soon followed by a switch to the infamous World International Publishing, most often known as World Distributors. They didn't actually publish comics but instead licenced annuals (two Gobots examples were issued in 1986 and 1987; both were terrible, the first being a possible nadir for Western creative writing) and storybooks based on extant properties with some appeal to kids - most notably their savaging of the likes of Doctor Who and Blake's 7 under approval of the BBC.

Tuesday, 6 June 2017

Film Review: Transformers - Age of Extinction

I've been an avid fan of Michael Bay's take on Transformers since 2007. As a grown adult I can appreciate a different take on Transformers, realising that me liking it isn't compulsory; in an era of IDW's turgid, soul-destroying comics and some largely poor, unimaginative cartoons the films don't stand out as a particularly poor area. The first in 2007 did a fine job of relaunching the line into genuine popularity with a confident swagger; 2009's Revenge of the Fallen sandwiched a poor middle section between a superb opening and a decent conclusion but at least showed that errors from the franchise's past wouldn't be repeated. 2011's Dark of the Moon delivered solid big-screen action after a slow and overcomplicated start. 2014's Age of Extinction meanwhile greatly disappointed me; while the revamp of the universe showed considerable promise the actual execution was arguably spottier than any of the previous three instalments.

[Contains minor trailer spoilers for The Last Knight]

Saturday, 3 June 2017

Comic Review: Transformers - Punishment


Note: this will probably be the last of the IDW reviews for the blog. I can't go on reading this shit, it is killing me.

Originally released as some sort of interactive Internet thing for young people in the mistaken belief fandom wasn't generally the wrong side of thirty and the younger ones were actually interested in IDW's output, Punishment was - like the Spotlight: Shit Overpriced Toy strand - written out of sequence for logistical reasons, like being able to give motion to characters' head exploding.

Monday, 22 May 2017

Comic Review: Transformers - Dark Prelude

PUBLISHER: IDW (2012-2013)

Almost forgot this one. After 2009 the Spotlight series all but ceased apart from the release of Spotlight Prowl, issued entirely to placate the title's educationally subnormal fanbase, a group largely of adult age who will actually pay triple rates to get a toy a short while ahead of other people. Then in 2012 Hasbro decided actually they'd wade full-on into the comics (later collected as a prelude to the prelude to "Dark Cybertron") and reactivating the series for pack-in titles would avoid any weirdness like Crosscut popping up and talking about himself for three pages before fucking off into the crowd. Six new issues were slung out and with careful care wouldn't involve explaining largely obvious past events to thick shitheads or forgettable peripheral cast getting shunted off in Red Dwarf rip-offs. At all.

[Spoilers Follow]
[or would if anything unpredictable was involved]

Saturday, 20 May 2017

Comic Review: Transformers - Dark Cybertron

PUBLISHER: IDW (2013-2014)

It's that time again! The big IDW big plot big clusterfuck in which the poor hapless writers again try to live up to the hype generated by the company's psychotic PR as once again the lives of the Transformers and/or Cybertron will be CHANGED FOREVER or at least for another 12 months or so. While the storyline ran through both Robots in Disguise and More Than Meets the Eye (not to mention bracketed by a pair of one-shots, like a proper comic event) with both the usual writers handling whatever they usually did "Dark Cybertron" feels much like "Chaos" did - the story of one writer (in this case John Barber) with script input from another (James Roberts). In theory this set-up should work - Barber can plot almost as well as a proper comics writer while Roberts is more suited to a smaller soap style.

[Spoilers Follow]

Friday, 19 May 2017

Comic Review: Hitman - A Rage in Arkham

PUBLISHER: DC (1995-1996)

By the mid-1990s Garth Ennis was well-in at DC and made his push for immortality by beginning Preacher for the company's Vertigo label. Preacher is fabulous of course, but as if it wasn't enough Ennis was also writing another book virtually alongside it - the tale of superpowered hitman Tommy Monaghan, a heady mix of action, comedy, friendship and commentary. Somehow a brilliant madman at editorial decided Hitman should be part of the mainstream DC universe rather than shuffled off into its' own little continuity because they could totally trust Ennis to not just take the piss and thus it became even better. The result lasted for sixty issues and a few assorted specials before the inevitable end, coincidentally (or not, I have no actual idea) around the same time Preacher finished, at which point DC decided that if the series wasn't running there was no actual need to finish of the series of TPBs. Thankfully it only took them the best part of a decade to realise how stupid this idea was and since 2009 the whole brilliant thing has been put back in print. However, it took some time for the series to really settle down and the opening trade is perhaps not the best ambassador.