Sunday, 31 July 2016

Nerdversity Reviews: Thundercats Classics 8 Inch Lion-O (SDCC)

The Thundercats Classics line was released by Bandai to go alongside the rebooted Thundercats toys. The line, even though it was 4 figures and 2 exclusives, was designed to bring back the classic characters in an upgraded form.

SDCC Lion-O comes in a very plain cardboard box. The outer sleeve comes with the Classics logo and the classic insignia on the front. The bottom of the box, is Lion-O's name. Inside the box, we have the figure itself, with the accessories on place. Mold wise, this is exactly the same as the standard release figure, however the differences here are that his leotard is painted in a metallic blue, his skin has a dark wash on it to bring out his muscles and other details. His Sword of Omens in both forms are now in a vac metal or chrome plastic.

His accessories are: 2 swords, claw shield, connector piece, alternative hands and stand for the sword. You can place the dagger form in the stand and place the Claw Shield on the base. His articulation is in the neck, shoulders, biceps, wrists, abs, waist, hips, knees and ankles. As this is an SDCC exclusive, it's very hard to come by and commands around $150 on the secondary market, especially for a boxed version. 

Nerdversity Reviews: Star Wars - 1000 Collectibles From A Galaxy Far, Far Away

Steve Sansweet is perhaps the biggest name in the Star Wars fandom. After getting a job in 1996 with Lucasfilm, as Director of Specialty Marketing, Steve became the liaison between Lucasfilm and the fans. He is also well known for having Rancho Obi-Wan, a specialist museum that houses the world's largest collection of Star Wars memorabilia. The property is an old chicken farm with converted barns. The public can book a tour with Steve and go round his collection. In his time, he has written 18 books about collecting Star Wars.

This book, 1000 Collectibles is a very interesting and unique entry. This book is more a look into the overall realm of Star Wars collectibles, from the well known like the action figures, trading cards and t-shirts, to the more wacky and wonderful, like bowling balls, silk dressing robes and more besides. This book was published in 2009 by Abrams.

One of the more interesting things in Sansweet's collection is an original Rocket Firing Boba Fett, with the apology note explaining that it would be changed later on.

Some of the more unique items in his collection are Robot Chicken props and even a guitar. 

There's even a collection of Episode 1 cereal premiums. Now, this book only really scratches the surface in terms of collectibles in the Star Wars universe, as well as Sansweet's personal museum. It is however, a really fascinating and unique insight into what is out there, from the common, to the weird and the wonderful. The book is out of print now, but can be found on the secondary market and is well worth the purchase. 

Nerdversity Reviews: Transformers Armada Vol 4

Transformers Armada was the project Hasbro started in 2002. Instead of making an all new series from the ground up like they had done with G1 and Beast Era, Habsro had followed on from Robots in Disguise and simply dubbed over a Japanese cartoon called Micron Legend. It used the voice cast from the Beast Era. It was divisive between older and newer fans, with children being enthralled by it and it's cast of colourful characters. The show was still popular, despite the animation errors. The toy line helped with it's popularity.

The final volume in the UK series of DVDs was published by Right Entertainment, licensed by Universal in 2005. It marked the fact that both vols 3 and 4 were published 2 years after Vol 2 in 2003. The cover is Orange and Blue, with Dreamwave artwork of Megatron on the cover. It has episodes 11-13 on it.

There are no inserts inside the case. The disc itself is the same orange as the front. Same artwork of Megatron as well.

Ruin is the 11th episode in the series. In this one, the Transformers locate a mysterious city underwater, the fabled Atlantis. In the city, they find the secrets of the Minicons. Will they be used for evil or good? I noticed no major issues with transfer or aspect ratio,

Prehistory is the 12th episode. In this episode, we get a flashback to the origin of the Transformers, the battle for Cybertron and them leaving Cybertron for Earth. No real issues here either.

Swoop is the 13th and final episode on this disc. Megatron gets his hands on the Star Saber, an ultimate weapon. Will this mean the end of the Autobots? No major issues here either.

I paid 50p for this disc from a second hand store. I found no issues with it. However, it is a real shame that the series wasn't continued in full. I would have liked to have seen a complete release in the UK, instead, we had to import.

Nerdversity Reviews: Transformers Armada Vol 3

When Transformers Armada aired in 2002 and 2003, it was one of the more popular shows in the Transformers mythos and is considered to be the show that bought many a younger fan into the realm of Transformers.

Vol 3's theme is blue and contains artwork of Cyclonus on the disc. This volume only has 3 episodes on it. The artwork of Cyclonus artwork appears to be based on his Dreamwave art.

The disc features the same artwork of Cyclonus with the blue background. It also features the same copyrights, trademarks and licensing agreements on the disc as the other ones.

Palace is the 8th episode in the series and features Rad, Carlos and Alexis exploring an ancient Mayan palace after Minicons. Also in the Palace is Demolishor. The episode is the same as the TV version with no real transfer issues.

Confrontation is the 9th episode. In this one, Megatron kidnaps the humans and uses them as bargaining chips to get the Autobot's Minicons. I've found no issues here.

Underground is the 10th episode in the series. In this one, Megatron blasts holes in the New York subway system hunting for Minicons. Who is the mysterious new Transformer in Smokescreen? Once again, there are no real issues here and I've noticed no difference in the transfer.

I was able to get this volume for 50p from a second hand store. No extras on the disc, just 3 episodes. No real issues with the aspect ratio or transfer. Well worth the money I paid.

Thursday, 28 July 2016

Nerdversity Reviews: Transformers Armada Vol 2

Armada was an interesting vehicle for Hasbro. Yes, the Cartoon was hit and miss, but the toys proved to be a massive selling point and proved popular. Armada is considered to be THE show that got many younger generation of fans into Transformers in the first place.

The DVD case for Vol 2 comes in a yellow and purple design, featuring Hot Shot on the cover. Taken from toy art and appears to be drawn by Dreamwave, or at least in the Dreamwave style. This disc has 4 episodes on it, covering 4-8. 

No booklet or insert, but the disc comes in the same yellow and purple design, with the same Hot Shot on it. Also on the disc is all the copyright, licensing and other information.

Comrade is an episode where the Autobots go after a new Minicon, It sees the introduction of Perceptor and Sparkplug. The episode is identical to it's TV release and I noticed no discernible difference in the DVD transfer or audio

Soldier sees the Transformers on the hunt for Minicons in the South Pole, while also telling the origin story of Red Alert. The transfer is spot on.

Jungle sees the Transformers battle over minicons in a forest, which almost destroys it. Starscream gets his own Minicon. The transfer is spot on, noticed no real difference in quality or sound.

The Autobots end up going to a nearby Carnival, a case of mistaken identity gets the Autobots into trouble. Again, no real issue here with anything,

The disc comes with 2 special features. The first of which is called Minicon Tag, where players must use their remote or mouse, if on a PC, to click on minicons to capture them. It progressively gets harder and faster. The second is a small fact file section, which lists all the Autobots, Decepticons and Minicons seen up to this point. Each fact file runs down their bio, as well as a short clip of the character in action and transforming.

I was able to pick up this DVD for 50p from a second hand store and I was impressed by it. Sure, it only has 4 eps and a small DVD game. However, given the fact that this is all us UK Transfans got, then it really is better than not having one. Unless that is, if you import the US set. 

Nerdversity Reviews: Transformers Armada Vol 1

Transformers Armada debuted on US TV series in 2003. Rather than being an all new project that was completely original from the ground up like G1 and the Beast Era, Hasbro had simply dubbed over a Transformers cartoon from Japan, called Micron Legend, repackaged it as Armada and released in in the West.

Released in the UK via Universal, who held the rights to Transformers at the time, the DVDs came in these individual volumes which contained about 3-4 episodes each. The first volume comes in this red sleeve with Dreamwave artwork of Optimus Prime and Red Alert on the cover. In some releases, it came with a free minicon toy.

The disc itself is red and comes with the same Dreamwave artwork of Prime and Red Alert. Not much else to say,

Encounter is the pilot episode and shows the Transformers coming to Earth. The aspect ratio is 4:2 and is pretty much exactly the same as the US TV versions, no edits that I can see. Sound and video are fine too.

Metamorphosis deals with the escalating battle of the Autobots vs. Decepticons, as well as Prime's eventual transformation into his super mode. Again, matches the TV version with no noticeable differences or edits.

The final episode on the disc, Base, deals with the Transformers setting up their respective bases on Earth and beginning their hunt for other minicons. Again, nothing different or noticable here. 

The disc does have a small amount of special features. The first is a quiz, where if you get all 20 questions correct, you can win some wallpapers for your computer. Interesting to note, this appears to be either based on the Japanese scripts or pre-production material, as Hot Shot is referred to as Hot Rod throughout the quiz.

Also on the disc, are 2 features called Total Transforms and Battle Mania, which are essentially compilation clips from the above episodes of all the transformation sequences and battle sequences, without any of the story elements. 

Not a bad starter into the world of Armada, especially for the UK. But this is all we got, without having to import from the US. The features on the disc are reasonable, the transfer and sound are great. The set itself is cheap these days, as I paid 50p for it from a second hand store.

Wednesday, 27 July 2016

Nerdversity Reviews: The Killing Joke

The Killing Joke was was released in 1988, written by Alan Moore and art by Brian Bolland. It tells the origin story of the Joker, as seen through his eyes and deals with the controversial themes of the Joker shooting and stripping Barbara Gordon, while trying to make James Gordon go insane.The ending left ambiguous.

On Monday 25th, at select cinemas across the world, The Killing Joke movie was shown for one night only. In the UK, it was shown at Vue cinemas. The movie runs for just over an hour. The art matches Bolland's artwork and it was fantastic hearing Hamill and Conroy saying lines from comic book on the big screen. It was directed by Sam Liu, who had previously worked on such movies as Public Enemies, Hulk vs. Planet Hulk, Thor: Son of Asgard, Beware the Batman and even Green Lantern, the Animated Series. 

This is a movie that like the graphic novel was there to cause controversy, especially with the sex scene in the early scenes in the movie and a scene implying Joker raped Batgirl. These are what Alan Moore wanted and the fact they were there proves the kind of man the Joker is. It really adds to the notion that even with the relationship and what Joker did, he has even more reason to cross the line and go for the kill. The movie is more or less a shot for shot remake of the comic.

The movie wasn't complete without it's exclusives. The first 5000 tickets purchased online would receive this small plastic statue of The Joker. Upon closer inspection, it's a repaint of the Schleich Joker, released in a single pack or in a twin pack with Batman. The only difference here, is the necktie is painted off white, instead of lime green. 

In all honesty, I really enjoyed this movie. It was great to see a controversial and yet, popular Batman story released as movie by DC. It opens the door for other kinds of movies and who knows what we'll see next, 

Nerdversity Reviews: Meerkat Movies A Heroes Journey Comic

Compare The Market is an insurance provider here in the UK. Earlier this year, they started a promotion alongside the release of Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, where people who have an account with them could get Sergei and Aleksandr toys as Superman and Batman respectively, as well as that, they released a special edition comic book through DC, which was only available to 100 people in a prize draw.

The comic was written  by Tony Bedard and art was done by veteran artist Neal Adams, colours were done by Hi-Fi design.The comic cover features artwork of Aleksasndr and Sergei in their superhero guises. Rather plain, but fits the theme.

Our story is a loose adaptation of the commercial, which features Aleksandr and Sergei fooling around as Batman and Superman before the movie showing starts. They realise that they'll be late for the movie, so they jump in Aleksandr's limo and find out that the battery is dead, so they have no choice but to run through the mean streets of LA.

Dodging street gangs, dogs and even the police, our heroes finally make it to their movie showing. They leave and prevent each other from giving spoilers, stating "friends don;t let friends ruin movies". As they walk away, they see a police car driving past. They stated that it's not only the police that stop the bad guys, it's also down to superheroes as well.

This short comic is only 16 pages long and is limited edition. It's great to see Neal Adams back again doing this comic. It's short and fun, nice adaptation of a commercial. You can read it for free on the meerkat movies website, the print version is only available as a 100 print run and sells for around £20-30 on the secondary market.