Tuesday, September 29, 2015

WWE 2K16: The New Day

Last year's WWE 2K15 left a lot of long time fans pretty unhappy with the game.  It seems any time a yearly series makes the jump to a new platform they seem to leave out half of the regular features.  In WWE 2K15 you couldn't even make female wrestlers.  We are about a month away from the new WWE 2K16 and it looks like most of the things that were cut are coming back.  Created female wrestlers are back, there are 100 save slots for created wrestlers, and their My Career mode looks drastically improved.  You might even say this a New Day.

Xavier Woods even manages to mention his wonderful Up, Up, Down, Down youtube channel.  I skipped last year's game but I think I'm back aboard the hype train.  WWE 2K16 will release on October 27th.  Pre-ordering will net you a Arnold Schwarzenegger as the Terminator character.  No other DLC has been announced at this time, but there will most likely be a Season Pass.

Friday, September 11, 2015

Castle Crashers Remastered

A remastered version of Castle Crashers just came out on the Xbox One yesterday.  This was one of my favorite side scrolling beat-em ups on the 360 so I'm really happy to see that it is making the jump to the new console.  The even better news is that for a limited time the Remastered version is free to those who bought the original version on the 360.  There were some slight hiccups with the process early yesterday morning, but I was able to download it last night with no issues at all.

You won't have to lose your progress either!  Behemoth,, the creators of Castle Crashers, posted the image posted above.  The entire process was extremely fast and would have gone even quicker if I didn't have to track down where I had stored my 360 controllers.  The DLC carries over too, so if you added the extra characters like the King they will be available to play.

If you didn't pick up this wonderfully cartoony hack and slasher when it was first released it is still worth the full asking price.  It's a fun game solo but really shines in couch co-op.

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Jessica Jones Trailer

November 20th can not come quick enough.  We finally have a release date for the second Marvel Netflix show, Jessica Jones.  Daredevil set a very high bar but everything released about Jessica Jones looks promising.  For those unfamiliar with the Alias comic series the show is set to go to some pretty dark places.  We know Luke Cage is going to be in about half the episodes, so it will be interesting to see how they handle him since I would have guessed his own show would focus on his origin.

Not only do we have a Jessica Jones release date but there has been a lot of casting information for Luke Cage released lately.  The two announcements that excite me the most are for long time Iron Fist supporting characters Misty Knight and Rafael Scarfe.

Friday, September 4, 2015

Flash Friday: Justice League: Attack of the Legion of Doom!

Happy Flash Friday everyone!  It’s been awhile since I’ve done one of these.  I was in the store this week for something completely different when I ran across the newest Lego movie.  I knew a Lego Justice League movie was coming out, but I wasn’t paying attention to what was coming in the packaging.  Right now you can get either a DVD or Blu-Ray version of the movie and a Trickster mini-figure.  I honestly would have passed on this but getting a movie I can probably enjoy with my son and another member of Flash’s Rogues was too good to pass up.

I just picked the movie up last night, so I haven’t had a chance to watch it.  I’m going to make a guess that it follows their other direct to video offerings.  It’ll be somewhat goofy and will have a handful of lines that make the adults smile.  There will be a couple good Easter Eggs for DC comic fans but nothing to amazing.  That’s my guess, because that’s what has come before it.  It I’m completely wrong I’ll post another article about it. 

Obviously Trickster was my main reason for picking this up and I think he looks great.  As far as Flash villains go he joins Captain Cold and Gorilla Grodd.  Hopefully the success of the TV show will increase the visibility of the Rogues.  I’d really like to see Captain Boomerang, Weather Wizard, and Heatwave show up in Lego form.

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Disney Infinity 3.0

Last Christmas my son and I were gifted Disney Infinity 2.0 and it hit us as gently as a heroin addiction.  My house has an army of wonderfully sculpted plastic statues of Marvel, Pixar, and Disney characters.  I was able to make my own fun out of the game, but the 3 core play sets were very combat oriented and the game’s combat really wasn’t that fun.  Last Sunday Disney Infinity 3.0 launched with its new Star Wars theme.  The weeks before the launch were full of preview video and interviews talking about how much had changed.  The new information looked promising but how different would it really be?

I don’t believe 2.0 is a game I could recommend to someone.  3.0 looked like it would change that but I wasn’t sure.  The starter set is going to give you Anakin Skywalker, Ahsoka Tano, and the Twilight of the Republic play set.  Playstation users were able to order a special edition which comes with the Rise of the Empire set, Luke, Leia, and Boba Fett.  All of that content will be available later to all other versions.  I enjoyed the Clone Wars series so I was okay with waiting for the Classic stuff.  I ran through the tutorials and started the playset.  I’ve played enough to confidently form an opinion but I haven’t come close to doing everything that you can do.

First things first, the new combat is fantastic.  The Jedi pull or push enemies, send them flying into the air, and then slice them to ribbons with their lightsabers.  Thankfully the other new characters are just as impressive.  Sabine from Rebels has become one of my favorites as she leaps over enemies and sprays them down with her dual blasters.  On top of that there is also starship combat.  It’s a simple shooter but a lot of fun.  I’m looking forward to jumping into the X-Wings when I pick up the Classic stuff.

It isn’t just the combat that has improved though.  The driving also got overhauled.  In the previous versions jumping into a car felt floaty and handled odd. The new mechanics feel very familiar.  Even the little I’ve seen from the new playsets seem to do a good job mixing up the action with doses of platforming, exploring, and space combat.  There is a lot more coming out for the game too.  A speedway racing disc, a Force Awakens set, and new Marvel set have all been announced.  While I couldn’t recommend 2.0 I can recommend 3.0; just don’t buy it at full price.  Figures, playsets, and core boxes go on sale for this franchise all the time.  The figures can be a huge money sink and paying full price for them just doesn’t make sense.  During the launch week Target is running a 2 for 20 sale and Best Buy has buy 3 items get 1 free.

Monday, August 31, 2015

Dragon Age: Inquisition - Tresspasser

The newest and possibly last DLC trailer for Dragon Age: Inquisition dropped this weekend.  Tresspasser is DLC set two years after the final events of the game and will hopefully answer a lot of the questions players were left with.  In addition to finding out the fate of the Inquisition you get to fight Qunari again.

In addition to the DLC BioWare also announced some more quality of life patches are on the way.  Tresspasser will launch September 8th.  I know I'll be getting it, the last few seconds of the trailer all but demand that I do.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Amell Vs. Stardust

In one of the more strange/wonderful things I can think of Steven Amell is going to be wrestling at Summer Slam this Sunday.  Amell is a long time wrestling fan that had been tweeting out how much he wanted to be involved with WWE.  When his dream finally came true he began a feud with Stardust.  Stardust is the character played by Cody Rhodes.  Rhodes is known for being a fan video games and comic books.  He has come to the ring dressed as Mr. Sinister from the X-Men and even before he became Stardust he would wear a Tri-Force symbol on his boots.

The impressive thing about this is Amell’s passion and the fact that he’s been training to get into the ring.  Usually when a celebrity gets in the ring with a wrestler you can expect some badly thrown punches and maybe a slam of some sort.  Considering how active Amell is doing stunt work on his own show it looks like this is going to be an incredibly entertaining match.

To celebrate his match Amell is selling a limited time shirt.  Featuring Stardust and the Arrow the shirt is pretty cool looking.  Even cooler is that a portion of proceeds benefit Emily’s House, a hospice for children.  You can order the shirt by clicking HERE.  

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Star Wars Hype

Star Wars is a huge topic of discussion lately.  Disney’s D23 convention has really sparked conversation with the news of a Star Wars Land in their parks and an army of new Star Wars products.  The Force Awakens is showing up everywhere.  We’ll be talking about what this means for Fantasy Flight’s X-Wing game tomorrow, but that isn’t the only place that is getting a big shakeup.  This week end also showed the first two Disney Infinity Figures for the Force Awakens playset. 

The thing I find the most interesting is how quickly people have come to re-embrace Star Wars.  There will always be and have always been that people that love the franchise, but the prequels did a lot of damage.  The hype around these new trailers matches the buzz that was going around during the Phantom Menace.  People are excited about Star Wars again and that’s a pretty wonderful thing.  I can still remember taking the day off to see Phantom Menace.  I was stationed in a small enough city that I didn’t have to camp out or anything, but I did arrive to the theater like two hours early.  Everyone was so excited in the theater when that opening crawl came up. 

I suppose time heals all wounds.  I like to think that the Clone Wars and Rebel cartoons helped.  Including the original cast makes it feel like the new films will be good.  I mean it’s not like Harrison Ford would sign up for a bad movie in a beloved franchise….  In addition to that, there is a generation who grew up with the prequels as their first Star Wars movies.  I’ve met people who count those as their favorites.  That seems crazy to me but I suppose like with James Bond, the first one you see is probably going to make the biggest impact on you.  And to be honest, while there is a lot I don't like; there is something about each of the prequels that I enjoy.  

I won’t lie, I’m hyped about Star Wars.  The first time I saw the X-Wings skimming over the ground in the trailer I knew they had my ticket money.  When I saw that the droid BB was an actual physical creation and not just some cgi thrown into a scene I fell in love.  Then I saw a spoiler picture of an X-Wing that wasn’t in the trailer.  That picture cemented it for me; I need to see that thing in action.  I don’t want to post spoilers here, but damn that thing is so pretty.  I want to lick it and claim it as my own.  Anyway, there will be a lot of Star Wars talk coming up in the upcoming months and I’m really looking forward to it.

Today’s images were provided by Carlos Cabaleiro and are all currently available up on the ebay’s.  Check them all out by clicking HERE.

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Dragon Age: The Descent

Dragon Age Inquisition's newest DLC was released yesterday.  The Descent sends the Inquisitor and crew into the Deep Roads and has them facing off with Darkspawn.  The expansion is very combat heavy but starts dropping some pretty big lore changes/hints when it comes to Dwarven history.  If you're heavily into Dragon Age's Lore you already know Inquisition threw some pretty big bombs at the player, this continues that trend.

I'm happy to see that the Dwarves are getting more time to shine this time around.  Inquisition didn't really spend much time with what is happening with Orzammar.  I realize their information shows that Dwarves are one of the least played races but I still really dig them.  Harding and Dagna were two of my favorite people to talk to in Inquisition.

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Glove and Boots: Ten Alternate Ghostbusters

Glove and Boots is one of my favorite YouTube channels.  That says a lot considering I'm usually happier watching YouTube than I am watching actual television.  I could seriously update the blog here every time they upload a new video.  The most recent video is really in our wheelhouse though, because it is talking Ghostbusters.  Really it's talking about the fact that there are two new Ghostbuster movies being made; one with an all male cast and one with an all female cast.

Personally I think they should just re-release the original in theaters and call it a day.  I might own it on BluRay but I'd happily go see it in a theater again.  I'd also accept a passing of the torch movie with a mixed cast.  Why do they have to be all men or all women?  That part seems really strange to me.  Anyway check out Glove and Boots' ideas for alternate Ghostbuster movies.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Lego Mystery Machine

The August Lego sets have started to sneak onto the store shelves.  That might not mean a lot to some people but I’ve been anxiously awaiting their release.  The reason I’m so excited is that this year Lego has created a line of Scooby Doo toys.  I’ve always liked Scooby Doo but that love has been rekindled lately.  A while back I realized even though I had all these streaming services I couldn’t show my son the original Scooby Doo Where are You? cartoons.  Just showing him the show opening had him excited so at that point I pretty much had to order the DVD set.  We’ve watched all four discs, two full seasons of Scooby Doo and we both loved every second of it.  Charlie the Robot is easily my son’s favorite.

So the Scooby Doo line consists of sets across all sorts of different price ranges.  The smallest is a Mummy set, then Headless Horseman/biplane, then the Mystery Machine, a haunted lighthouse, and finally a huge haunted house.  I showed incredible restraint and only picked up the Mystery Machine.  That night I started up a mini-marathon of Mystery Incorporated and started putting the set together.  The Mystery Machine comes with Fred, Shaggy, Scooby, a Zombie, and a tree monster.  Notice it doesn’t include the girls.  Sadly to get everyone you’d have to pick up the big haunted house as well.  I get separating the figures but having to pick up the big set to round out the gang sucks.

What also sucks about the wonderful Mystery Machine model is the number of stickers.  It makes sense, the less printed pieces Lego makes the cheaper it is for them but the Mystery Machine comes with 23 stickers.  If you don’t have a steady hand you’ll probably want someone’s help when putting this one together.  The other thing I didn’t love is it is going to be a tight, tight fit to get everyone in the van.  Lego is a strange size.  Make a vehicle fit the right amount of people and it looks out of scale.  I think they could have gotten away making the van a little larger than it is. 

All that said, it is a fantastic toy.  Looking at it just makes me happy.  The sides fold out so you can see in the back easily and the roof lifts off for the same ease of access.  The mini-figures are great.  In the other sets all the villains can be unmasked to show that they’re really people.  It’s that level of detail that makes these sets so much fun.  I had so much fun I couldn’t resist throwing together my version of the Wacky Races.  I had so much fun with the Scooby Doo sets I’ve already got some customer Lego ideas in the planning stages.  I won’t spoil it now but I’ll give some hints.  The first and easier is putting together a few of my favorite supporting cast members.  The second would be more involved and would be building another Hanna-Barbera character that would be right at home in that race picture…

Monday, July 27, 2015

WWE 2K16 -Terminator Pre-Order Reward

WWE 2K16 just announced a new pre-order reward today and the commercial for it is amazing.  I can't remember the last time a non-wrestler was included in a WWE video game.  With the create a wrestler feature the game's servers are full of unofficial characters based on comic books, television shows, and movies.  Adding the Terminator is pretty cool.  Arnold is a part of the WWE Hall of Fame and the last Terminator was featured pretty prominently at the last Wrestlemania.  It looked absolutely ridiculous, but it was featured.

That video isn't enough to make me pre-order though.  WWE 2K15 cut a lot of create a wrestler features and there hasn't been any indication that those cut items are returning this year.  I have to wait and see before they get any of my money again which is disappointing because I'd really like to have a good wrestling game on my X-Box One.

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Deathwatch Tyranid Invasion

While I haven't put an army on a table in a long time, I am still a huge fan of Warhammer 40,000's lore.  I want to pretend I'm crushing my enemies with a Thunder Hammer I just don't have the time or space to do it lately.  So I'm really happy to see Rodeo's new mobile game Deathwatch - Tyranid Invasion is out on mobile devices.  This is the same team that put together Warhammer Quest.  I put a ton of time into Warhammer Quest.  So I'm very excited for Deathwatch since it takes the same type of turn based gameplay and moves it into the 40K universe.

In Warhammer 40K the Deathwatch is a group made up of all the other Space Marine chapters. When a marine joins they paint their armor black to match their new brothers.  This is a great group to use for games because it lets people pick characters from their favorite Space Marine Chapters and doesn't just focus on one like the underrated Ultramarine game did

The game will contain 38 different Space Marines with over 150 different weapons and wargear. Once you put your team together you'll take them through 40 different missions.  Of course the game will support in app purchases.  The ones in Warhammer Quest were for things like new areas, new enemy types, new heroes, and new weapons.  I'd expect Deathwatch to have a very similar setup.

Thursday, July 9, 2015


So at this point most people have heard of Babymetal, the Japanese pop singers backed by a heavy metal band.  Something made me think of them yesterday and I played one of their videos for my son.  He was really into it and we ended up watching a handful of their videos back to back.  A little later we discovered Ladybaby.

Two teen girls and a crossdressing Australian named Ladybeard.  I can describe it all I want, but it really is something you have to see for yourself.  LED!

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Daredevil gets Elektra

It has been announced that Elodie Yung has been cast as Elektra in Netflix's Daredevil.  Between Punisher and Elektra it looks like Hell's Kitchen is going to be pretty busy.  It's pretty big news since it's hard to have a conversation about Daredevil without someone bringing up Elektra.  Hopefully that means there will be lots of Hand ninjas this time around.

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

SDCC Thomas the Tank

I was going to write something about my anger at comic convention exclusives when I saw one that I had to talk about individually.  Mattel and DC comics have decided to cross DC’s superheroes with Thomas the Tank Engine.  Once you see the pictures you’ll wonder why they decided to do this because the results are terrifying.  The five piece set includes Superman, Batman, Joker, Harley Quinn, and Cyborg. 

As the father of a 3 year old there are a lot of trains on my television.  Dinosaur Train and Chugginton are the ones we usually watch.  My son has seen Thomas, but thankfully he’s bored by it.  I say thankfully because the show is like watching paint dry and those trains are creepy looking.  The DC mash up somehow makes them look even scarier.  I thought Joker was the scariest looking until I really focused on Batman.  It looks like someone put a bloated Michael Keaton into a trash compactor and then glued him to the front of a train.  If you’re interested in these nightmares on wheels you can check out mattycollector.com for details.

Thursday, July 2, 2015

2015 All Hockey Hair Team

I guess I wasn’t ready to let Hockey go this year because I’ve been thinking about it a lot.  I’m sure it was stirred by the draft and all of the big trades that are going on right now, but I just need some more hockey.  As I was thinking about my favorite sport I remembered I didn’t share this year’s 2015 Minnesota State High School All Hockey Hair Team. 

I know I posted last year’s video to That F’ing Monkey but I promise as long as Pulltab Productions keeps making these videos I’ll keep spreading the word about them.  

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Sharing Ted

It’s story time again here at That F’ing Monkey and today I’m talking about Ted.  Not the movie about the bear, but a children’s book from Tony DiTerlizzi.  Tony’s name is associated a lot with the Spiderwick Chronicles now, but when I first discovered his work it was back in the Dungeons and Dragons Monstrous Manual.  His art had this ethereal feel that I was fascinated with.  It wasn’t until White Wolf produced Changeling: The Dreaming that I began really following his work.

When White Wolf first started publishing the Vampire: the Masquerade roleplaying game they stated that they were going to create five systems; Vampire, Werewolf, Wizards, Ghosts, and Fairies.  I remember laughing how silly a fairy book was going to be; when Changeling finally came out (1995) I was blown away.  It was a difficult game to run correctly but it remains my favorite White Wolf game ever created.  Tony’s art stood out in those Changeling books.  His illustrations had an otherworldly grace that helped cement all of the far out concepts the game was throwing at the reader. 

In 2001 I had finished my time in the Air Force and moved back to Florida.  I’m pretty sure I was just checking out a local Barnes and Nobles when I saw that Tony DiTerlizzi was going to be doing a signing at the store.   Excited I returned during the signing to see that it was for a children’s story book.  I don’t think I had noticed what the signing was for when I first saw the notice, I just knew an artist I greatly admired was there and I wanted to meet him.  The signing was for Ted, a book about a child and his imaginary friend.   I grabbed one of the books to get signed, because that’s what you do at book signings. 

There weren’t a lot of people there, I’m sure signings now are a much bigger event for him.  To stay in theme with Ted I remember the people that were with Tony were all wearing birthday hats.  The signing was a party with laughing and just being too loud for a bookstore.  I got my book signed and I gushed to Tony about his Changeling work.  He was incredibly nice to the full grown man without a child, standing in the kid’s section, and getting a child’s books signed for himself.  I was made to feel totally welcome and after a little while I took my new book home.  I was thrilled that he had done a tiny sketch for me and the book was proudly put up on my bookshelf.

Over the years I hadn’t thought much about Ted.  Something this past weekend brought it to mind though.  I think I had a daydream about an old Sidhe character that I missed terribly.  Because in my mind Changeling is forever linked with Tony's images.  I looked at my three year old son and asked him, “How about we read a special book tonight before bed?”  He was excited, he didn’t know what the book was only that it was special.  So that night we read Ted.  I'm happy to say he sat captivated by every page.  So today I just wanted to thank Tony DiTerlizzi.  For all of the years I was able to enjoy his art and now for all the years to come where I can share his art with my son.

Monday, June 15, 2015

Sea of Thieves

E3 starts this week so expect lots of great video game announcements.  This one is for the Xbox exclusive Sea of Thieves from Rare.  The trailer starts off a little slow, but give it some time.

I'm a little disappointed it looks like a MMORPG since I prefer to stick with small groups of people I know in games.  I'm pretty anti-social to be honest.  Part of it is my own paranoia that people will think I'm a bad player and part of it is there are some strange people out there.  I'm still burned by that City of Heroes Guild I was in that imploded.  That's a story for another day, but I assure you it was strange and uncomfortable.

Friday, June 12, 2015

Mariachi El Bronx Wildfires

One of my favorite bands just released a new video.  The new album came out a while ago, but I urge you to give it a listen.  All three of the albums have been stellar and I'm upset that I haven't seen them play live yet.

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Iron Fist 101: Part 4

Marvel Premiere 19, 20, 21, and 22 (1974-1975)
Welcome back to Iron Fist 101, when we concluded Part 3 Iron Fist had refused to kill Harold Meachum only to have him killed by a mysterious ninja.  Issue 19 picks up with Danny leaving the Meachum building and reflecting on how he feels bad for Joy Meachum since he knows what it is like to have your father murdered.  As he leaves the building he finds a woman waiting for him.  She quickly gives him hat and coat to throw on over his costume and they jump into a taxi.

That woman is Colleen Wing and this is her Marvel Comic Debut.  Colleen will be very, very important to the Iron Fist series.  She’ll later appear with Misty Knight in other books as the Knightwing Restorations Detective agency or their better known name, the Daughters of the Dragon.   While Iron Fist and Colleen are in the taxi Joy Meachum calls her uncle.  Ward Meachum seems unsurprised that his brother is dead and tells Joy that her father had left instructions on what to do if he was killed.

Colleen explains to Danny that her father, Lee Wing, is a Professor of Oriental studies at Columbia University.  She says he knew Iron Fist would be leaving the Meachum building and that he is in need of help.  As they exit the taxi Iron Fist knock out two assailants that were watching the apartment.  Inside Professor Wing explains those men were assassins from the Cult of Kara-Kai.  The cult has been trying to kill him since on an expedition he found an ancient book that was supposed to have a secret that would destroy the land of K’un-Lin.  He goes on to tell Danny that he heard about him from a dying traveling monk.

Iron Fist still trying to prove his innocence uses Wing’s phone to call Joy Meachum.  She tells him to meet her at an arcade.  After  that she quickly calls her uncle who dispatches a group of assassins who jump Iron Fist.  The ninja shows up in the middle of the fight to help Iron Fist again.  In the end he leaves Danny a newspaper that shows the headline, “Iron Fist sought in Meachum murder.”

Issue 20 opens with Iron Fist fighting more Kara-Kai cultists.  He urges the Professor to go into hiding and then reveals he has to leave so he can prove his innocence to Joy Meachum.  Colleen is very upset to have Danny leaving them already.  Iron Fist sneaks into the Meachum building and into Joy’s office.  She flies into a rage when she sees him but quickly switches to keep him in her office until help arrive.  Uncle Ward has hired more help to take out Iron Fist.  In fact this time he hired Batroc the Leaper!

They have an amazing fight before Danny uses the power of the Iron Fist and sends him flying.  Batroc isn’t alone though and an army of mercenaries appears to take down Iron Fist.  I mean an army too, this isn't a handful of people.  Again the ninja shows up and helps fight off the horde.  They make sure to point out that the ninja is straight up killing people here.  Once they are victorious Danny tries to question the Ninja but he disappears in a puff of smoke, because you know, ninja.  The issue ends with the ninja holding a book and slowly he turns into Professor Wing!

Issue 21 starts with Ward Meachum stiffing Batroc and his men for not killing Iron Fist.  Even back then Batroc got no respect.  Iron Fist returns to Professor Wing’s home to find it completely trashed.  As he looking for Colleen and the Professor he’s stopped by Misty Knight.  Because this is a comic book Misty immediately thinks Iron Fist is the cause of her missing friend and attacks him.  They fight briefly before Iron Fist uses a neck pinch to knock her unconscious.  Suddenly an astral version of the ninja appears and begins leading Danny down a hidden area of the subway that houses the Temple of Kali.

Colleen and the Professor are chained to a giant statue of Kali.  We are introduced to the “Living Goddess” Ushas the Shade and Shaya favored of the Sun.  We find out the book the cult is trying to get is called the Sacred Volume of Kali.  Of course a fight breaks out where we learn that Ushas has a cloak that creates darkness and Shaya has nunchaku that glow like the sun.  The Professor and Colleen are freed during the fight and the ninja appears to help Iron Fist.  One of the cultists is running away with the book when he is hit with a ninja star.  The book falls into a fire pit and is destroyed.  Suddenly the ninja and Professor Wing split.  The ninja reveals that the Dragon Kings imprisoned him in the book.  Now that he was free he could have his revenge on the city of K’un-Lun and he was going to start by killing Iron Fist. 

Issue 22 opens in a giant free for all.  Iron Fist and the ninja are still fighting each other and the Cult of Kara-Kai.  It becomes even crazier when the police appear.  The ninja confesses to the murder of Meachum, saying he revels in murder.  He then uses his ninja powers to teleport him and Iron Fist into another dimension.  The two begin to fight and the ninja drops his back story. 

Ninja was a master samurai who was cast out because of his cruelty.  He trained to become a ninja under Master Khan.  Ninja was introduced to the Book of Many Things, now known as the Sacred Volume of Kali.  It talked about the warriors or K’un-Lun, brave warriors who would pose a threat to Master Khan’s plans.  Ninja used the book to travel to K’un-Lun and attack.  Ninja cut through the surprised people of K’un-Lun until he was defeated by Lei-Kung the Thunderer.  Ninja’s soul was ripped from his body and imprisoned in the Book of Many Things.  The book passed many hands through the ages until Professor Wing found it.  Ninja possessed the Professor and kept Iron Fist alive because he believed Iron Fist would somehow free him of his prison. 

Danny uses the power of the Iron Fist to hit Ninja’s glowing sword and the explosion knocks him back into the Temple.  The Professor tells Danny the police handled the rest of the cultist and that Iron Fist is being cleared of Meachum’s murder.  Iron Fist laments that so much of his life has been focused on revenge and now he doesn’t know what to do.  The Wings advise him to stop worrying about Iron Fist and learn who Danny Rand is. 

A lot happens in those four issues, but I felt they were all part of the same story.  Issue 22 really wraps up that arc.  What I find interesting is that it seemed like the writers were moving towards a Danny and Colleen relationship.  Not only will that not happen, their friendship will be taking some pretty strange twists and turns.  Speaking of Colleen, it should be noted that she is of Japanese descent.  A lot of current artists seem to forget that and she ends up looking Caucasian.  There is lots more Iron Fist 101 to come, we haven’t even gotten to his first solo series yet!

19: Writer Doug Moench, Penciler Larry Hama, Inker Dick Giordano, Colorist Jan Brunner, Letterer Ray Holloway.
20: Writer Tony Isabella, Penciler Arvell Jones, Inker Dan Green, Colorist John Drake, Letterer Ray Holloway.
21: Writer Tony Isabella, Penciler Arvell Jones, Inker Vince Colletta, Colorist Stan Goldberg, Letterer Joe Rosen
22: Writer Tony Isabella, Penciler Arvell Jones, Inker Aubrey Bradford, Colorist George Roussos, Letterer Karen Mantlo.

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Lego Marvel Avengers

I've played a lot of the Lego video games.  While I'd say that all of them were enjoyable, there were some that were better than others.  I think Marvel's Lego game was the best one.  It had a great open world and an original story that involved a huge cast of characters.  Today we have the trailer for Lego Marvel Avengers which looks to be a way to play through the Avengers movies.

It's still really early, but I can't help but feel let down.  As I stated before, the first Marvel Lego game was like a love letter to the Marvel Universe.  There were characters all across the Marvel Licensed properties.  The X-Men were in it.  Spiderman was in it.  The Fantastic Four was in it.  Ghost Rider, Blade, and Daredevil were all in it.  This announcement just looks a retread of the Cinematic Marvel Universe, which is much less appealing.  I hope I'm proven wrong when more details come out.

Monday, June 8, 2015

Marvel Toddler Shirt

I've been reading about how Marvel has been doing everything they can to keep from advertising the characters that they don't have the movie rights to.  It seems like a ridiculous theory, but when you see merchandise where X-Men and Fantastic Four characters have been removed and replaced with more obscure ones that is pretty telling.  There was once a period of time where every piece of Marvel merchandise had Wolverine on it.

Even know that I was surprised when I found this shirt while shopping for my son.  Sure it has Captain America, Iron Man, Spiderman, Thor, and the Hulk on it.  But check out Nova, Iron Fist, and Luke Cage.  To be fair those characters were in the Ultimate Spiderman Cartoon, but that show wasn't using that look for Cage.  Another fun fact about the shirt is the color black is a fuzzy felt material, so Luke Cage's hair is glorious!

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Misty Knight Action Figure

In the coming weeks of Iron Fist 101 we’re going to talk about Misty Knight.  The character is very important to Iron Fist stories so she’s always been a favorite of mine.  I never expected to see her in action figure form.  I’m beyond happy that she is going to be in the newest Spider-Man Infinite Legends Series.  She certainly deserves a figure; she’s been in Iron Fist, Daughters of the Dragon, and Heroes for Hire.  The character has been around for years. 

Misty comes with a pistol, her glorious hair, and a torso for the Rhino build a figure.  I’m surprised they used a design that covers up her bionic arm but at least the right hand gives it away.  The rest of this wave is pretty amazing too.  White Tiger gets her first figure.  There is a great Johnny Blaze Ghost Rider and a really mean looking Kraven figure.  On top of that it also contains the Scarlett Spider.  I’d add something snarky about Spiderman in a hoodie but for some reason I can’t explain I’m really fond of that costume.

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Iron Fist 101: Part 3

Marvel Premiere 17 and 18 (1974)
As of the second issue we know that Danny Rand has just left K’un-Lun, a mystical city that only appears on Earth every 10 years.  He spent the last 10 years training in various martial arts forms and fought a dragon to gain the power of the Iron Fist.  He left behind immortality and a life in K’un-Lun so he could seek vengeance on Harold Meachum; the man who killed his father and left him and his mother to die.  Issues 17 and 18 will follow Danny on his path to vengeance. 

It’s also important to point out that the creative team has changed again in these issues.  We started with Roy Thomas and Gil Kane, then went to Len Wein and Larry Hama, and now we are at Doug Moench and Larry Hama.  This team only lasts three issues before we get another change.  It’ll change another time before we finally get to Iron Fist’s self titled book.  I’ve done a poor job listing all the credits so far, so I will include them at the bottom of this installment and edit them into the first two.

Issue 17 begins with Iron Fist, in full costume, walking into the Meachum Industries building.  He gets a lot of stares as he goes through the lobby.  He quickly finds an elevator and goes to the top floor.  As he enters the lobby spikes pop out from the walls and come rushing for him.  He smashes the spikes away and leaps to safety, except pylon mounted machine guns emerge from the floor.  He quickly takes care of the guns and heads for Harold Meachum’s office.  When he opens the door all he finds are stairs leading up.  That door is trapped with “recessed nozzles” that “spurt coruscating ribbons of destructive energy”.  Iron Fist smashes through the controls on the side of the door and heads up the stairs.  Halfway up the stairs they explode, because of course they do. 

The stairs lead to another hallway.  At the end of this hall Iron Fist sees three guys in suits just hanging out.  Iron Fist tries to play cool and is going to walk past them when they pull revolvers and start shooting.  Iron Fist makes quick work of them and continues on only to find himself locked in a room that starts spraying acid on him.  He goes to the far door expecting a trap and isn’t disappointed when he finds that it opens to open air, if he had run through the door we would have plummeted to his death on the streets below.  He climbs up the building and smashes a window on the next level.  Here he climbs into what appears to be a living room.  At this point there is a ninja hiding behind the table.  This is super important for next issue.

Anyway the living room floor tries to dump him into a pit.  Iron Fist manages to catch the edge and pull himself up when a door opens and a starving wolf attacks him.  He beats the wolf and heads into the elevator.  The elevator tries to gas him, but he punches through the top of it.  He climbs the elevator in time to see another elevator rapidly descending and threatening to crush him.  He jumps from that into a hallway where the janitor ends up being a katana wielding warrior.  Now he’s at a door with Meachum’s name on it and a large camera above it.  The camera turns out to be a laser and is about to hit Iron Fist when the ninja from before hits it with a throwing star.  The ninja disappears before Iron Fist can say anything because that’s what ninjas do.  Iron Fist goes into the next room where Triple –Iron is waiting for him.

Issue 18 gives us a better look at Triple-Iron.  He’s a giant of a man wearing a mechanical suit, standing in a mechanical room, and uses a three sectional staff.  The room powers Triple-Iron’s suit but also traps him there, he explains his only way to escape is kill Iron Fist.  As they fight the ninja shows up again and this time uses a throwing star to point out a hidden door.  Iron Fist uses the door and moves into the room that powers the mechanical one.  Using some severed power cables Iron Fist short circuit’s Triple-Iron and leaves him unconscious. 

Finally Danny enters the office of Harold Meachum and finds a man in a wheel chair with no legs.  Meachum goes on to explain that he loved Danny’s mother.  But when she rejected him he began his trek home.  He was caught in an avalanche and rescued by some local villagers, but he lost both of his legs to exposure.  While recovering a wandering monk told the story of how he visited K’un-Lun.  The monk told the story of the young boy who seemed driven in his training, who the others thought would one day become Iron Fist.  Meachum knew Danny was doing this so he could exact revenge.  Over the next 10 years he went crazy preparing for the day that Iron Fist would come for him.  He asks Iron Fist to kill him.  Instead Danny sees how crazy Meachum has become begins to leave.  Meachum gets a revolver from his desk.  That’s when the ninja appears again.  He hits Meachum with a throwing star, throwing off his aim off which causes the bullet to graze Danny and knock him out.   The ninja then stabs Meachum through the heart.

Danny wakes up and finds Meachum’s body just as his daughter runs in.  She knew her father had become increasingly afraid someone was going to kill him and blames Iron Fist for his death.  He of course claims his innocence but the ninja is nowhere to be found.  As the issue wraps up Iron Fist walks out of the office with Joy Meachum screaming that she will have her vengeance on him. 

Credits: Writer Doug Moench, Penciler Larry Hama, Inker Dick Giordano, Colorist Petra Goldberg, Letterers Artie Simek.

Friday, May 29, 2015

Flash Friday: Mopeez

It’s Flash Friday!  I know it’s been forever since we’ve had a Flash Friday.  There will be more of these coming.  I think things are going to become very interesting for Flash collectors pretty soon.  The success of the TV show hasn’t gone unnoticed and I have a feeling the merchandise machines are spinning.  We’ve already seen solicits for replica rings, replica badges, Funko Pop, and Funko Reaction figures based just on the TV show.  Today’s Flash Friday is about a Funko product, but not the ones I just mentioned.  Instead we’re looking at the Mopeez.

Ridiculous spelling aside, the Mopeez is a new plush line from Funko.  Retailing for around nine dollars the Mopeez sit at four and a half inches tall and are weighted on the bottom so that they retain their sitting position.  The slouched posture and frown are the calling cards of the line, hence the Mopeez name.  I like the little guy a lot though.  They design pushes all the right “cute” buttons and the small size keeps the price point down.  They are currently estimated to show up around August.

Flash isn’t the only Mopeez in the line.  You also get Superman and a host of Bat-Family characters.  There is Batman, Robin, Batgirl, Joker, and Harley Quinn.  The Batman is a standout because he doesn’t look any different than he normally does.  Moping is kind of his thing.  I’m sorry I meant brooding.  Darkness.  No Parents. 

It is interesting that Flash and Superman are the only non Bat characters in the lineup.  Superman is a given, every DC branded line has a Superman in it.  The Flash only gets invited to play sometimes, which in the past has made collecting easy.  I really feel that we’re on the brink of Flash being included in every big product which means that Flash fans will have to start getting more selective in their collecting or take out a second mortgage.  

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Iron Fist 101: Part 2

Marvel Premiere 16, (1974)
In the first installment we looked at the first appearance of Iron Fist.  Today we take a look at the next part of his story.  When the first issue left off Iron Fist was still in K’un-Lun.  He had passed all his challenges and would either become immortal or choose death.  So considering where the first left off, it’s odd to see the next issue opening with Iron Fist walking down the street in New York.  We learn that he is in New York to kill someone, but before the story goes any further Iron Fist is lured into an alley where he is attacked by four thugs.  Before the fight they reveal there is a 10,000 dollar bounty on Iron Fist.

During the fight Iron Fist flashes back to his time in K’un-Lun.  He remembers being taken into the city where he is introduced to Yu-Ti.  The so called August Personage of Jade tells the young Rand he is welcome in the city and asks him what he desires.  Danny tells him he wants revenge.  Yu-Ti advises that revenge cuts both ways and instead introduces Danny to Lei Kung the Thunderer.  Lei Kung becomes Danny’s trainer in the martial arts.  Years pass as Danny trains.  To prove his training is complete Danny must grab the crown off this rattlesnake that apparently lives on a pole.  No one seems to think it’s odd that a snake is just hanging out and wearing a crown.  Finally Danny is able to grab the crown, but his achievement feels empty.  As he beats the gang in the alley he remembers how Yu-Ti tells him that he with his skills he may be able to claim the power of the Iron Fist.

Danny goes to a temple in K’un-Lun and shouts out a challenge to the dragon, Shou-Lau the Undying.  Shou-Lau’s molten heart has been torn out; only a scar remains where its heart was.  A scar that looks just like a winged dragon, even though Shou-Lau doesn’t have wings; he’s more of a serpent dragon.  Anyway to beat Shou-Lau Danny squeezes the dragon; breaking the mystic link from the creature to its heart, in the process it burns the scar shape into his chest.  That’s right; the Iron Fist symbol is more a branding than a tattoo.  With the dragon defeated he finds the molten heart and plunges his hands into it until they began to glow.  He has become Iron Fist.

Back in the present Iron Fist is attacked again, this time by a lone assailant named Scythe.  Scythe is armed with a sickle that has a ball and chain on the other end.  During this fight Iron Fist flashes back to the cliff hanger from the last issue.  Yu-Ti takes him to the Tree of Immortality.  There he tells him that the portal to Earth will be open tomorrow.  It opens every 10 years.  Iron Fist has to choose between returning to Earth or staying in K’un-Lun.  Iron Fist states that he still wants vengeance on the man that killed his father.  Yu-Ti tries to talk him out of it and reveals that Yu-Ti is Iron Fist’s uncle.  Seriously it’s been 10 years and he never mentioned it to the kid?   You would think that would have come up sooner. So Iron Fist leaves K’un-Lun on a mission to kill Harold Meachum.

With the majority of his backstory finally told, we go back to the fight with Scythe.  This fight follows what will become a common format; in fact we saw it already in the first issue.  Iron Fist is already tired from his first fight.  He was taken unaware in the second and is having a hard time against Scythe.  Finally he concentrates on his Chi, hits the bad guy with his Iron Fist, and wins.  The issue ends with Iron Fist walking off to find the Rand-Meachum building.

Those first two appearances are just dense with information.  The next installments of Iron Fist 101 will finally be able to cover multiple issues.  Yu-Ti and Lei Kung the Thunderer are pretty important characters in Iron Fist.  Lei Kung will be an ally for years to come.  Yu-Ti’s story is going to take a lot more twists and turns as we go but he is always an interesting character.

Credits: Writer Len Wein, Co-Plotter Roy Thomas, Penciler Larry Hama, Inker Dick Giordano, Colorist Glynis Wein, Letterers L.P. Gregory

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Grand Theft Ambrose

Youtube user Raven Cyarm mixed a little Grand Theft Auto V with last night's episode of WWE Monday Night Raw to come up with this fantastic video.  It is seriously well done and was put together pretty quickly.  Even if you aren't a wrestling fan, I think it is still worth a watch.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Iron Fist 101: Part 1

Marvel Premiere 15 (1974)
For the first installment of Iron Fist 101 I wanted to cover a few things.  Those early issues, the ones we’re starting with, will have a lot of black and white pictures.  I don’t own the originals; I own the phonebook sized Essential Iron Fist.  When I can find a colored version of the page or panel I want to show off I’ll use it, but there will times I’ll have to use the black and white issues.  These Essential black and white pages also lead into the early Power Man and Iron Fist book which we will be covering.  The last thing I wanted to mention about this before we get started is this project is going to take a long time.  Some times (like today) I’ll talk about a single important issue, other times I’ll cover a few issues.  My Iron Fist library is pretty large and I honestly expect to still be doing Iron Fist 101 this time next year.  With all that said, let me get started at the beginning.

Marvel Premiere was an anthology book that ran for 61 issues.  It introduced new characters or showcased characters that no longer had their own series.  Iron Fist ran in Marvel Premiere from issue 15 until issue 25 when he received his own book.  That first issue is written by Roy Thomas and illustrated by Gil Kane.  It also starts very different, in that the captions read as if you were Iron Fist.  After years and years of reading comics, it was a very jarring change.  That first captions read:

You are Iron Fist.  You stand tensely – too tensely – aware of their eyes on you: Yu-Ti, the Hooded One, and his four Dragon-Kings…
And Facing you, four others edge closer, searching for an opening – a moment of weakness – the careless flickering of an eyelid.
For, this is your Day of Destiny, Iron Fist.  You will eat of the fruit of the Tree of Immortality – or else drink deep of the Elixir of Death--!

That’s a lot to take in.  We have Iron Fist fighting four other people while the hooded Yu-Ti watches on with the Dragon-Kings who wear masks that look to be scaled like a dragon’s skin.  Yu-Ti seriously looks like the hooded Cobra Commander.  Starting in Marvel Premiere 16 Larry Hama will actually take over art duties, so I would think it’s pretty safe to say the origin of Cobra Commander’s hooded design start with Yu-Ti.  Iron Fist defeats the four men easily and at which point Yu-Ti tells him to think about himself before facing the next challenge.  And here is where the flashbacks start.
We learn that ten years ago a nine year old Danny Rand was tracking across the “snow-crusted Asian wastes” with his parents (Wendell and Heather Rand) and his father’s business partner Harold Meachum.  Wendell wants to take them to the city of K’un-Lun.  As they are crossing a ice bridge Danny and Heather fall down to a lower ledge.  Wendell begins rescue his family when Harold betrays him.  Literally digging his boots into Wendell’s hand until the older Rand has to let go and fall to his death.  The book makes sure we see that he bounces off his head in a bloody mess on his way down too. 

Harold wants to save Heather and Danny; in essence he wants to steal Wendell’s family and his half of the company.  Heather is willing to die instead of joining the man who just killed her husband, so the first part of the flashback ends with Meachum leaving them on the ledge.  Iron Fist snaps back to the present to face a giant masked fighter Shu-Hu.  We are told Shu-Hu is “He whose lips are pledged to silence and whose name means lightning…and whose fists are like twin thunder bolts!”  Iron Fist hits on the giant seem to have no effect and Shu-Hu is as fast as he is strong.  As the hero of the book struggles to fight his opponent he returns to his flashback.

Danny and his mother make the climb to safety and then start through the snow.  They don’t know where they are going and find themselves being tracked by a large pack of wolves.  They finally find a rope bridge and head for it.  Halfway across Heather realizes that the wolves will overtake them soon.  She sends Danny further across while she charges the wolves.  Moments later a mysterious group of archers show up and shoot the wolves, it is too late for his mother.  At the age of nine Danny has seen his father’s head cracked open on an icy mountain and his mother eaten by wolves.  Take that Batman.

Back to his challenge, Shu-Hu shoots a dagger out of his palm and hits Iron Fist in the shoulder.  The thought of his parents drives Danny into a rage and he begins kicking and punching Shu-Hu.  Finally he focuses his chi into his hand until it becomes “like unto a thing of iron.”  This punch takes off Shu-Hu’s head and reveals that his opponent was actually a robot.  Iron Fist stands triumphant and we are told that he will now have to choose between immortality and death.  We have to wait until the next issue for that though because that announcement is where Iron Fist’s first issue wraps up.

A lot happens in the first issue.  There are crazy names, crazy masks, a super dark origin story, and a robot.  One of the other interesting things in his issue is that in about half of the panels you can see Iron Fist’s eyes when he is wearing his mask.  Check back next week for part two of Iron Fist 101.

Credits: Writer Roy Thomas, Penciler Gil Kane, Inker Dick Giordano, Colorist Glynis Wein, Letterers L.P. Gregory


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