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Wednesday, 27 February 2013

A Look Back: Club Infinite Earths: Part 4 - Starman

     Our look back at Mattel's 2012 Club Infinite Earths mail away program continues today with a look at the fourth figure in the series - Starman...

     No, not Ted Knight. No, not Jack Knight. No, not even Mikaal Tomas. The Starman included in the 2012 Club Infinite Earths program was Thom Kallor, the Legionnaire turned Justice Society member. He was the final figure revealed early on during Mattel's sign-up campaign, and is a rather interesting and unique piece to say the least. Let's take a look...



     Thom Kallor has always been a personal favorite when it comes to heroes who have worn the Starman guise, thanks, once again, to Mr. Geoff Johns and his run on Justice Society of America. He was a rather unique and funny character in the pages of those books, and I must say, I rather enjoyed what Mr. Johns did with him during the run.

     Figure-wise, Starman is built on the medium sized body and sports one of the coolest paint jobs we have seen to date on a DC Universe Classics figure. The star field pattern on the body, broken up only by white gloves and boots, really makes him pop in any display. It is crisp and clean, with no paint issues to speak of. Thom also comes with an extra head, at the request of the fans, that sports one of the coolest beards we have ever seen in the DC universe. A beard that in fact is so cool, it would surely make Mr. Chuck Norris green with envy.

     Starman comes cast in a translucent black plastic, while his masked head, torso, arms, thighs, and knees are semi-transparent. You can see the effect with your naked eye. As for the figure's glittery star pattern, it is superficial, and not actually mixed in throughout the plastic. Yet, this really doesn't make much of a difference considering the figure does have a hollow torso.



     Starman is a very strong representation of his comic counterpart. The unmasked head sculpt has some very nicely painted eyes, a hair style that is spot on from his comic appearance, and, again, one of the manliest beards we have ever seen throughout the history of the DC Universe. Some fans may be a little disappointed that the figure doesn't sport his Legion Flight Ring, however, keep in mind that this figure was meant to be based off his run with the Justice Society of America, a point clearly supported by the bio on the back of the packaging.Yet, I will admit, it would have been nice to see Starman also include an alternate fist with the Legion Flight Ring sculpted on, but what can you do?

     All in all, Starman is another really strong addition to Mattel's 2012 subscription service. The translucent body and star field pattern really make him pop in any display and give him a really unique feel amongst the other DCUC figures we've gotten from Mattel over the years. Another solid addition to Club Infinite Earths!



     Next up, we'll be taking a look at the second oversized figure from the 2012 subscription service - Rocket Red. Wait, what? Star tuned, DC fans!

     For all the latest collectibles news from across the multiverse, and a chance at winning some awesome prizes, be sure to join the Infinite Earths official Facebook page...

     Or, follow us on Twitter: @InfinteEarths... 

    

Nintendo and Jakks Pacific Sign Licensing Deal

     This past Monday, Infinite Earths reported, via our Facebook page, that Nintendo and Jakks Pacific had signed a worldwide licensing agreement which would allow Jakks Pacific to produce a new series of action figured based off the sizable library of iconic Nintendo characters.

     Now, a press release has been issued by the new partners that further explores what the future holds for a new generation of Nintendo based toys, as well as plush dolls, Halloween costumes and more...



Game On: JAKKS Pacific to Bring Iconic Nintendo® Characters to Life with Toy and Costume Line

MALIBU, Calif., Feb 25, 2013 (BUSINESS WIRE) -- Leading U.S. toymaker JAKKS Pacific, Inc. announced today that it has been granted rights in major toy categories by Nintendo of America Inc. to manufacture, market and distribute a line of toys and related consumer products based on a robust library of iconic Nintendo characters that generations have come to love. In addition, JAKKS' Halloween costume division, Disguise Inc., has been given rights to offer Halloween costumes and accessories based on these Nintendo properties. With this licensing agreement, fans of all ages will be able to engage with their favorite Nintendo video game characters, from Mario and Luigi(R), to Donkey Kong(R) and Princess Peach(TM), to Game Link(R) and Zelda(R).

"Nintendo is a classic brand rich in content that appeals to today's kids, parents and collectors alike and we are excited to partner together to bring their video game heritage to life in the toy aisle," said Jack McGrath, COO, JAKKS Pacific, Inc. "We are looking forward to expanding our top-tier roster of properties through this comprehensive licensing deal, which covers a wide array of category rights for almost all Nintendo properties, and for nearly all worldwide territories."

"We are eager to offer, a robust and comprehensive line up of products to satisfy our fan base and generations of Nintendo enthusiasts," said Steve Singer, Nintendo of America's Vice President, Licensing. "This partnership with JAKKS Pacific affords us tremendous opportunity to grow the presence of our iconic brands at retail."

The licensing agreement allows JAKKS Pacific to manufacture, distribute and market toys, games, playthings, novelties, plush, key chains, and costumes worldwide (excluding Japan and Korea). JAKKS Pacific is expected to launch this new product line at retailers nationwide in Spring 2014. Disguise plans to launch Halloween costumes and accessories for the 2013 Halloween season.
 

     Sounds like exciting times are ahead for fans of Nintendo and their iconic gaming characters! Keep it tuned to Infinite Earths for the latest updates to this newly developing story...

     For all the latest collectible news from across the multiverse, and a chance at winning some awesome prizes, be sure to join the Infinite Earths official Facebook page...

     Or, follow us on Twitter: @InfinteEarths... 

Tuesday, 26 February 2013

Diamond Select Toys Star Trek Klingon Disruptor Info

     Art Asylum has posted new images and info regarding their upcoming Star Trek Klingon Disruptor, and a new video.

     From Art Asylum: Is Diamond Select Toys defecting to the Klingon Empire? First they gave Star Trek fans two insanely detailed Klingon Bird of Prey electronic ships, now it’s two electronic replicas of the Klingon disruptor!

With three different settings, the thumb trigger can activate single shot, rapid-fire and “disintegrate” sound effects, with a flickering red LED at the muzzle. The standard model is based on the weapon’s appearance in Star Trek: The Next Generation, but Action Figure Xpress will have an exclusive Star Trek III version of Commander Kruge’s weapon of choice! Check out the packaging and the demonstration video below! 


     Both versions of the Klingon Disruptor will be available soon! Be sure to pre-order yours now from our friends at Big Bad Toy Store...

     Until then, enjoy the images and video posted below of this hotly anticipated Star Trek collectible...


      And, for all the latest collectibles news from across the multiverse, and a chance at winning some great prizes, be sure to join the Infinite Earths official Facebook page...

     Or, follow us on Twitter: @InfinteEarths...


For all our Action Figure Needs, the team at Infinite Earths shops at:
 



Review: Aliens: Colonial Marines (PS3)

     In all honestly, I am not a huge fan of the Aliens film series (Predator is a different story entirely), but, if I had to pick the one I liked the best, it would be the 1986 sequel Aliens, directed by James Cameron. I found that classic sequel to easily be leaps and bounds better then the original film, or any of its solo Alien sequels. Cameron delivered a great film, that was engaging, action-packed, and down right terrifying in spots, that has become one of my all-time favorite science fiction films.



     Thus, when the announcement was made that a video game sequel was being developed by Gearbox Software and 20th Century Fox, I couldn't help but get a little excited. After all, we are talking about an official sequel to one of the greatest science fiction films in all of modern cinema. It couldn't be anything but good, right?

     Wrong!

     There have been numerous Aliens video games over the years, for a number of different gaming platforms. Some, like Alien vs. Predator for the 64-bit Atari Jaguar, were downright awesome. Others, however, like Alien 3 for the Nintendo Entertainment System, were nothing but a mixed mash-up of poor graphics, sound and game play that just left you red-faced and frustrated at the world. And, we are sorry to say, Aliens: Colonial Marines falls into the second category.



     Now, don't get us wrong, Aliens: Colonial Marines does have some good things going for it, but unless you're a diehard fan of the film franchise, we honestly feel these little things will be lost on you as a whole. And even for fans, this game is seriously a rude awakening. Gearbox has attempted to answer the question of what happened on Hadley’s Hope following the events of the film, but with extreme lack of disinterest as there is no story resolution to speak of whatsoever.

     Story-wise, the game picks up about 17-weeks after the disastrous events that occurred at LV-426. This time around, a new squad of marines is sent in to explore the abandoned Sulaco and what remains of Hadley's Hope. The iconic environments recreated for the game by Gearbox are commendable, and again, hold a few neat Easter Eggs fans of the film series are sure to love.

     Now, keep in mind that this is a first-person shooter, but a dull, below average one we are sad to say. Anyone remember playing those classic Alien vs. Predator games? The ones where you would play as a marine, Xenomorph and Predator? Remember how terrifying it was to play as the marine, having Xeno's drop from the ceiling unexpectedly while room lights flickered and sparks shot out from every direction? It was a great gaming experience for both gamers and fans, right?



     Well, Aliens: Colonial Marines has none of that!  

     Unlike its predecessors, this new game features some of the dumbest creature AI we have ever seen! The aliens are downright stupid, never smart enough to take you down in a pack or by surprise. No, these mindless inconveniences would rather charge at you headlong, right into your bursts of weapon fire. There is never any feeling of being outsmarted by some of the most iconic creatures in all of science fiction. If anything, you seriously feel as though you are playing some coin-operated arcade shooter at your local Cineplex. And, since the game allows the player to carry all his weapons with him, it's not all that challenging of a gaming experience either.

     Aside from Xenomorphs, you'll also encounter several Weyland-Yutani soldiers throughout the course of the game's campaign mode. What is sad is that these guys seem to be smarter AI-wise then the protagonists in the games title. At least they tend to try and stay out of harms way by taking cover. Perhaps the game should be renamed to Weyland-Yutani: Colonial Marines Training Ground, or something along those lines, because seriously, these guys are smarter then the swarms of Xenomorphs you'll be taking on. Wrap it all up with a very anti-climactic boss fight and a rather ambiguous cute-scene and, you basically have the games campaign mode in a nutshell.



     In all honesty, this latest entry into the Aliens cannon doesn't even really feel like an Aliens game. Everything within has been done to death since 1986 and as such, this game feels more like Duke Nukem Forever, just a rushed pile of trash that will no doubt be seen in the $10 bin at your local Wal-Mart before too long. Gearbox certainly didn't put the same amount of love and attention into Aliens: Colonial Marines as they did with its lucrative Boderlands franchise. There just aren't any new ideas within this game whatsoever.

     Then comes multiplayer, which is equally clunky and uninspiring. Yes, there is four-player co-op, and four different online modes to pick from, but again, it just falls short of what you'd expect from a current generation game with the name Aliens in the title. Multiplayer does offer the closest thing to an actual feeling of panic you're going to get throughout the course of the game, but map choices are limited to two, thus it gets really old really fast. Hopefully some future DLC will fix this problem.



     Lastly, there are some technical issues that seem to plague the PS3 version. For one thing, the graphics look horribly outdated. There are noticeably lower res textures, bad lighting, objects that pop in and out of nowhere and then vanish and a few other noticeable issues that cause this game to fall short of expectations, especially in this day and age. These problems also plague the 360 version as well, according to some reviewers.

     All in all, this game is exhausting. No effort was put into it whatsoever, so what we got was just one big, boring, frustrating mess that is not worthy of the title Aliens. There is a collector's edition of the game that comes with some neat stuff, like a statue, patches, blueprints, maps DLC, but all in all, this just seems like a shoddy attempt to hide the game within.



     In the end, this game fails big time. Diehard fans may appreciate a few things, but, as a whole, this poor bug needed some more spit and polish before it was released. Not worthy of the name Aliens...

Final Verdict - 3/10

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Saturday, 23 February 2013

D-Arts Blastoise Revealed

     First came Mewtwo. Then Charizard followed shortly after. Now, the third, and latest, addition to the D-Arts Pokemon line has been revealed - Blastoise.

     Okay, perhaps revealed is not the proper term since we've seen shots of him as far back as October of last year, but never to this extent.

     Thanks to Tamashii Nations' June product preview page, the new D-Arts Blastoise figure has been revealed in full. Pokemon fans will not doubt instantly recoginze Blastoise as the final evolution of Squirtle, one of the original, and best, Pokemon games beginner Pokemon.

     The figure will sport multiple points of articulation and come complete with alternate heads and effects parts for his attacks. Blastoise will run you about $40. Pre-orders for the figure should be up before too long...

     And, for all the latest collectibles news from across the multiverse, and a chance at winning some awesome prizes, be sure to join the Infinite Earths official Facebook page...

     Or, follow us on Twitter: @InfinteEarths...



Friday, 22 February 2013

Portal 2 Chell - A Quick Look

     First seen in all her glory at Toy Fair 2013, Portal 2 fans are sure to want to get their hands on the awesome Portal 2 Chell figure from NECA, which starts shipping to specialty retailers next week, and toy stores some time shortly after that.

     The Portal 2 Chell figure is limited to 15,000 pieces worldwide, stands 7" tall and sports over 20-points of articulation. The figure comes dressed in her trademark Aperture Laboratories  jumpsuit from the game, and comes equipped with a game accurate ASHPD accessory that actually glows blue like in the game!

     To ensure you are one of the few to get your hands on this awesome, limited edition piece of video game memorabilia, you can pre-order yours now from our friends at:


     Until the figures release, enjoy the awesome images posted below from NECA...
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Thursday, 21 February 2013

Predators Series 9 - A Quick Look

     Coming in June 2013 will be the 9th wave of NECA's immensely popular Predators line of action figures. As with previous series, the latest will consist of 3 new figures and, like the 8th Predators line hitting retail now, Predators Series 9 will focus on the first film from 1987.

     Jungle Encounter Dutch - This figure is based off Dutch Schaefer's appearance in the first Predator film, when he first encounters the alien Predator in the jungle. He sports an all-new shirtless torso and military vest and features over 20-points of articulation. Accessory-wise, Jungle Encounter Dutch includes an M-16, Pistol, and Knife accessories...

     Jungle Disguise Dutch - Based off the character's look near the end of the first Predator film, this version of Dutch sports a very detailed, mud-covered look and features over 20-points of articulation. Again, staying true to the scene in the film, accessory-wise, Jungle Disguise Dutch comes complete with film accurate Spears, Bow & Arrow accessories...

     Water Emergence Predator- The final character in the 9th wave of Predators figures from NECA is the Water Emergence Predator figure. Based on the scene in the classic 1987 film, when the Predator de-cloaks while in the water.The figure is cast in partially translucent plastic and has incredible lightning effect details over his body. Like the Series 8 Predator figure, this one sports over 25-points of articulation, including the additional ball-jointed hip and double knee articulation. He also sports extendable wrist blades, and a removable backpack...

Predators Series 9 - Coming June 2013


     Well, there you have it, Infinite Earths fans, a quick look at the upcoming Predators Series 9. Look for this line to be hitting retailers in June 2013! If you're looking to add some more Predator figures to your collection before these ones become available, be sure to check out our friends at:

     For all the latest collectibles news from across the multiverse, and a chance to win some awesome prizes, be sure to join the Infinite Earths official Facebook page... 

     Or, follow us on Twitter: @InfinteEarths...

Sony Reveals Playstation 4 Details

     Last night, Sony Computer Entertainment Inc. finally introduced the Playstation 4,its next generation gaming console, at PlayStation Meeting 2013. Sporting unprecedented power, deep social capabilities, and instant accessibility, PS4 will allow game creators o unleash their imaginations and deliver new play experiences to gamers that have never before possible. Those attending the event, as well as the countless fans streaming the event online throughout the world were treated to a sneak peek of some of the games that will ultimately define the PS4 experience.



     Andrew House, the president and CEO of SCE, officially announced the PS4 last night, presenting the newest Sony gaming console as the best place to play wherever gamers are.  "Our vision for the future is consumer-centric, developer-inspired, and characterized by an unwavering commitment to phenomenal play experiences," House remarked. "Today we are revealing the genesis of an expanding 'idea' about the future of play – an idea with enough potential to satisfy the insatiable appetites of our creative community of developers and gamers." 

     Following this, game designer , and lead system architect for PS4, Mark Cerny then took the stage to discuss PS4 in more detail, including the powerful system components that will give developers the canvas to fully express their creative ideas and deliver more immersive gaming that transcends all of today's gaming expectations. 

     "We wanted to ensure that nothing would come between the platform and the joy of play," Cerny said. "We also wanted to be sure that the system architecture could fluidly connect the player to a larger world of experiences, and provide easy access to everything PlayStation has to offer – across the console and mobile spaces, and PlayStation Network. And we were able to create, in PS4, a platform by game creators for game creators."

     David Perry, CEO of Gaikai Inc., which joined the SCE group last year, announced the ambitions for PlayStation Network and how PS4 will leverage Gaikai's Cloud technology to deliver a new and total change in how consumers discover, access, share and enjoy their games. Whether that comes from connecting to the Playstation Network, more deeply into social networks or broadcasting the game a user is playing in real time or getting help from friends in new ways, the gaming experience on PS4 is now rooted in social interaction. Perry also discussed the company's goal to make free exploration possible for various games, a concept he described as, "Try it for free, share it if you like it, only pay for games you fall in love with." 

Andrew House addresses the fans at PlayStation Meeting 2013


     PS4 will be able to integrate second screens, including the PS Vita, smartphones and tablets, to wrap gamers in their favorite content wherever they are. Sony Computer Entertainment's long-term goal is to make almost every PS4 title playable on the PS Vita by using Remote Play over Wi-Fi networks. "PS Vita is the ultimate companion device for PS4, enabling gamers to pull their games from their beautiful HDTVs to PS Vita's beautiful 5-inch screen," Perry noted.

     "The future of PlayStation is about great games – inspiring, new experiences from the imaginations of the world's best creators," said Michael Denny, SVP, Sony Computer Entertainment Worldwide Studios

     Denny then went on to introduce the developers behind some of the first-party titles being created exclusively for the new platform, including Guerrilla Games' Hermen Hulst, Sucker Punch Productions' Nate Fox, and Evolution Studios' Matt Southern.

     'Next Generation' no longer just means 'more powerful hardware,'" Southern said. "We're a next generation of gamer, we want to play great looking games but in new ways that fit our permanently-connected lives. To us, that means driving in a team. It's such a thrill for a studio to be asked to help define new PlayStation technology, so that we can bring our vision for team based racing to life."

     Jonathan Blow then unveiled the first official trailer for The Witness, which will be exclusive to PS4 for console and underscores PlayStation's support of developers interested in pushing the boundaries of play...


    
      David Cage from Quantic Dream explored narrative-driven gaming and how PS4's powerful hardware lets developers forget about technology and focus on creating experiences that trigger emotions. "We can concentrate on what amazing stories we want to tell and what incredible worlds we want to create," Cage said. "We can take you to places you have never seen before and make you feel emotions that you have never felt in real life, without having to wonder if we will have the horsepower to do so. We are now only limited by our imagination."

     Alex Evans from Media Molecule then re-imagined the concept of user-generated content and creativity. Armed with a PlayStation Move motion controller, he demonstrated the freedom of expression that PS4 offers to creators, whether they're professional developers or gamers of all levels. Said Evans: "PS4, in our eyes, should be 'the creative console'. It's the place you go to be inspired; It's the place to experience other's dreams, or make your own: it's the place you go, to make. With PS4, with the creative console, we want to change making in every way: from music to gaming to story-telling."

     PS4 will have software support from virtually every major developer and publisher across North America, Europe and Japan. At PlayStation Meeting 2013, titles in development and technology demos were presented by partners including Activision Publishing, Inc., Blizzard Entertainment, Inc., Bungie, Inc., CAPCOM, Epic Games, Inc., Havok, SQUARE ENIX Co., Ltd., Ubisoft Entertainment, showcasing how the development community has already embraced PS3's ability to make their imaginations become reality.

     Ubisoft Entertainment Co-Founder and CEO Yves Guillemot announced that Watch_Dogs, introduced at E3 2012 to critical acclaim, will launch with PS4. "Today, with PS4, Sony Computer Entertainment is introducing an amazing new platform," Guillemot said. "It will let developers like ours deliver games that surpass anything previously possible on a home console. PS4 will also help us deliver on what we believe to be the future of gaming." 

The PS4 DualShock 4 controller


Chris Metzen, Senior Vice President of Story and Franchise Development of Blizzard Entertainment, Inc., unveiled that the award-winning Diablo franchise would make its console debut with PlayStation. Diablo III will be adapted for PS4 with an interface custom-designed to work naturally on controllers.

Eric Hirshberg, CEO of Activision Publishing, Inc., announced full support from its developers for PS4. Hirshberg then introduced Bungie, Inc., which is working on "the next great video game franchise – Destiny."

Harold Ryan, President of Bungie, Inc., announced that Destiny will have exclusive content for PlayStation gamers. Ryan said: "Like PS4, Destiny is an online, connected experience. Like PS4, Destiny lets you access the content you love from multiple devices. And like PS4, Destiny is designed to entertain you for years to come."

     Games that were announced during PlayStation Meeting 2013 included such titles as:

- Driveclub (WWS Evolution Studios)
- inFAMOUS Second Son (WWS Sucker Punch Productions)
- Killzone: Shadow Fall (WWS Guerrilla Games)
- Knack (WWS Japan Studio)
- Deep Down (working title) (CAPCOM)
- Destiny (Activision Publishing, Inc./ Bungie, Inc.)
- Diablo III (Blizzard Entertainment, Inc.)
- The Witness (Jonathan Blow)
- Watch_Dogs (Ubisoft Entertainment)


     Additional titles that will be available for PS4 will continue to be announced, demonstrating the full support of SCE Worldwide Studios, third-party developers and publishers, and the independent development community. 

Mark Cerny with the DualShock 4 controller


     "The arrival of PS4 is a critical initiative that presents an enormous opportunity to dramatically evolve the game play experience into something far grander than ever imagined," Andrew House said, as he concluded the event. "From enhanced social capabilities to intensified power to realizing bigger, better, and more immersive game play, to the evolution of our ecosystem to meet the requirements for a simpler, more adaptive interface, we believe PS4 proves we have more to offer than ever before."

     Although it wasn't officially shown off at the event, Sony assured fans that the system would be available for purchase around the Holiday season for 2013...

     More on this exciting story as it develops...

     For all the latest news from across the multiverse, and a chance at winning some awesome prizes, be sure to join the Infinite Earths official Facebook page...

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Sideshow Collectibles Reveals Darth Vader Mythos Statue

     Sideshow Collectibles has revealed the next addition to their popular line of Star Wars Mythos statues - Darth Vader.

     Depicted at the birthplace in which he gave himself fully over to the darkside, this amazing statue will include:
  
• Sebastian Shaw and Hayden Christensen interchangeable portraits.
• Helmeted Head
• Right hand holding a lightsaber
• Right hand clenched Fist
• Right hand holding a Helmet


     The Darth Vader Mythos statue will be priced at $349.99 and will be available for pre-order late this afternoon through the Sideshow Collectibles newsletter.

     For all the latest collectibles news from across the multiverse, and a chance at winning some awesome prizes, be sure to join the official Infinite Earths Facebook page...

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Wednesday, 20 February 2013

Kotobukiya Reveals Shiranui Storm & Strike Vanguard Version

     The next iconic robot to join the D-Style lineup of micro-sized model kits comes from the ultra-popular Muv-Luv Alternative, the Shiranui Storm & Strike Vanguard Version.

     Previously released as a Fine Scale Model Kit, the incredible Shiranui variant with its improved design, color palette, and arsenal of weapons is now shrunk down to a cute miniature version that can be displayed anywhere. The super-deformed style model kit is made up of 100 pre-colored parts (in its distinctive blue and gray color scheme) with easy snap-fit assembly so you don’t need glue or paint!

     The Storm & Strike Vanguard Shiranui comes equipped with a variety of close and long-ranged weapons as well as shields, and interchangeable hands let the little robot carry them into battle in the configuration you choose. Standing 3 ½ inches tall, the Shiranui is highly poseable with multiple points of articulation. Display the Storm & Strike Vanguard version on its own or alongside other Muv-Luv D-Style model kits!


     Look for this great Kotobukiya Japanese import to be available in April 2013...

     Until then, enjoy the images posted below...


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Review: Batman Earth One

     When I was a kid, Frank Miller's Batman: Year One was considered to be the definitive origin story for the Caped Crusader. The story was penned back in 1987 and, even after more then 25 years, Batman: Year One, which was turned into an animated film back in 2011, is still considered one of the best Batman stories ever written. The combination of Miller's amazing story with David Mazzucchelli's dark, gritty art make the story an absolutely perfect blend. It is still widely recommended as a must-read for those looking to break into the Batman mythos and a clear inspiration for Christopher Nolan's Dark Knight trilogy - again, after more then 25 years...

     It seems as though nothing will ever come close to Miller's tale of a vengeful. tormented Bruce Wayne looking to avenge the death of his murdered parents as the Batman.

     Until now...



     Batman Earth One was released July 4th 2012. It is part of the widely popular Earth One series of graphic novels, features art by Gary Frank and is penned by the masterful Geoff Johns. Johns, you may recall, put new and amazing spins on such DC characters as Green Lantern, Superman and The Flash. So, it seemed only natural that the man would take a crack at the Dark Knight sooner or later. And he does this in a big way...



     The story seems to start out the same way countless Batman stories have over the years, with Batman attempting to take down a fleeing individual. Now, anyone who's ever read anything with Batman in the title can pretty much guess what will happen next. And you'd be wrong. One of the great things about Johns' story is that you just never really seem to know what is going to happen next. Batman makes mistakes and gets hurt. He doesn't react the way you'd expect in certain situations, recalling to mind the tortured Bruce Wayne from Frank Miller's Batman: Year One. James Gordon is corrupt, and it takes a new partner in the form of a re-imagined Harvey Bullock to smarten him up.  These factors keeps the reader guessing and makes the story that much more engaging and enjoyable.

     Art-wise, Gary Frank has given us a very dreary, grey Gotham City that seems to have a very Tim Burton-esque spin to it. From the hall of armor at Wayne Manor, to the lifeless shell of the Arkham family home, the atmosphere seems to have been conjured up, and heavily influenced by Burton's classic Batman films.



     Character-wise, Gary Frank has given fans a pallet of very interesting, intriguing, yet still familiar faces to inhabit the Gotham City of Earth One. Further proof of the Tim Burton feel in this book come from the grotesque appearance of the Penguin, who is currently the mayor of Gotham City in this story. It doesn't take long, thanks to Frank's art and Johns' story, for fans to start picturing the Danny DeVito character from 1992's Batman Returns. Other characters who make up the story include Bruce Wayne, who feels like he could once again be voiced by Ben McKenzie in an animated adaption, Alfred Pennyworth, who has a strong Stephen Lang feel to him in his appearance, speech and actions, James Gordon, a tortured man who just wants to keep his family safe, Harvey Bullock, a sleazeball detective who really reminds me of Troy McClure from The Simpsons, Barbara Gordon, who will no doubt have a larger role to play in the second Earth One novel and the Birthday Boy.

     The story flashes back between the past and present, giving reader's a nice look at the relationships that existed prior to, and following the murder of Thomas and Martha Wayne. This time, Thomas is running for mayor of Gotham City. He ends up hiring Alfred, an ex-Royal Marine, as head of his security force to keep his family safe following a series of threats, who ends up becoming Bruce's butler following his parents murder.

     As the story progresses, we meet the other main characters in the story and see that the main driving force behind Bruce Wayne remains the same - the determination to stop at nothing to ensure his parent's murder is brought to justice. This allows for some further familiar territory for Batman fans, despite the fact that most everything else has a very new and different spin on it.



     Without giving too much away, something happens that forces Bruce, under the guise of the Batman, James Gordon and Harvey Bullock to join forces. In the process, Bruce is able to determine who is responsible for the murder of his parents, yet the final confrontation, like the rest of this story, is not what you'd expect, and is sure to leave your jaw hitting the floor.

     What I can say about Batman Earth One is that, while it may not be better then Frank Miller's 1987 classic story, it sure is on par. It's action packed and has an amazing, character driven story that easily make this another definitive origin story for the Dark Knight - of Earth One.



     With its combination of beautiful art, colorful characters and masterful story-telling, there is no doubt in my mind that, even after 25 years, come what may, Batman Earth One is sure to be considered one of the greatest stories in the Batman mythos and is sure to be one fans recommend for years to come. Again, we here at Infinite Earths don't want to give too much away in regards to the novel's story, all we can say is pick it up and read it.

     It really proves how timeless a character like the Batman really is...

     For all the latest reviews and comic news from across the multiverse, and a chance at winning some awesome prizes, be sure to join the Infinite Earths official Facebook page...

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Friday, 15 February 2013

Nintendo Calls 2013 The Year of Luigi

     Anyone who's familiar with the Super Mario video game franchise, be they newbies enjoying the latest Wii U title, or old school gamers who have fond memories of the classic 2D side-scrollers on the NES & SNES gaming consoles, knows all about little brother Luigi.

It's been a long time coming, but 2013 appears to finally be The Year of Luigi


     For years, the tall, green-clad plumber from Brooklyn has tagged along on his brother Mario's countless adventures. For the most part, Luigi has always been in the background, simply a second playable character that always seems to take second place to his more popular brother.

     For the most part, poor Luigi has never really been given much exposure.

     Yet, Nintendo says that is all about to change in 2013.

     During their latest Nintendo Direct video press conference, Nintendo detailed their 2013 plans for Mario’s often-forgotten brother.

     “Luigi is just the green tip of the iceberg of all the great news we have to share with Nintendo fans this year and beyond,” said Reggie Fils-Aime, Nintendo of America’s president and COO.

     And they weren't joking. This year, Luigi is set to be featured in more titles than ever before. First off, he'll star in Luigi's Mansion: Dark Moon for the 3DS, a sequel to the cult classic Game Cube title Luigi's Mansion. 

     He's also set to co-star alongside Mario in Mario & Luigi: Dream Team, the next installment of the Mario & Luigi role-playing game series first released on the Game Boy Advance. 

     Luigi will even get his own special downloadable content called New Super Luigi U  for New Super Mario Bros. U on the Wii U. This DLC will consist of newly revamped versions of the original game’s 80 stages. These new Luigi-focused stages  are supposed to “provide a whole new level of game-play challenges.” 

     Luigi is also set to make an appearance in Mario Golf: World Tour, another title slated for release later in the year.

     Needless to say, Nintendo hit the nail right on the head when they declared 2013 The Year of Luigi...



     For all the latest pop culture news from across the multiverse, and a chance at winning some awesome prizes, be sure to join the Infinite Earths official Facebook page... 

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Tuesday, 12 February 2013

Top 10 Honorable Mention Toy Fair Reveals - 2013

     Yesterday, we completed the impossible task of compiling a list of Infinite Earths Top 10 Toy Fair 2013 reveals. This was, as previously mentioned, far from an easy task. There are still a few of us who don't 100% agree with ever entry that made it to the list.

     However, for the most part, we're all satisfied, and so, we're moving on...

     As mentioned yesterday, Toy Fair 2013 was amazing! So much so that we thought it would only be fair to compile a second list from the event. This one contains our Top 10 Honorable Mention Toy Fair reveals for 2013. What follows is a list of equally awesome toys that were so close, but just missed out on hitting the Top 10 list for us here at Infinite Earths.

     Again, you may not necessarily agree with every entry that makes up the list, but we hope we came close and that those favorites of yours that didn't make the first list will end up here...

     Here. We. Go...

     #10 - ED-209 (NECA) - This is one really cool and highly detailed piece! A very nice addition to NECA's Robocop line, the ED-209 is sure to look great in any display. The first piece at the NECA display that really caught my eye, this figure, as with the Iron Man figure that made our Top 10 list, looks to be leaps and bounds ahead of what Hot Toys will be offering. Especially in price. This figure narrowly missed out on making the Top 10 simply because we have some diehard Marvel fans on staff...

"Second Request, Present Hall Pass!"
      #9 - Marvel Legends Rocket Raccoon (Hasbro) - Again, we have some diehard Marvel fans here at Infinite Earths, so it is no surprise that a character like Rocket Raccoon would make one of our list. He's a BAF figure for Marvel Legends Wave 2 and comes with a rocket launcher and articulated jaw. This guy didn't make the list due to the fact that it appears he doesn't have much else in the way of articulation. Still, pretty cool looking, for Marvel fans...

Hope I never see Him going through the trash...
     #8 - New 52 Black Manta (DC Collectibles) - DC Collectibles had some awesome goodies on display at Toy Fair this year, including a nice slew of New 52 Rogues. One that really captured my attention was the New 52 Black Manta, who'll be available in a special Heroes & Villains set coming out later this year. Manta sports a nice, updated look that holds true to his comic counterpart, has some great paint work and superb attention to detail - all things DC Collectibles is known for. Manta missed the Top 10 list however, thanks to a lack of articulation - something else DC Collectibles is known for. A nice looking figure in every way, but they need to get the figure articulation up to where Mattel's is.
A new Manta for a new age.
     #7 - Marvel Legends Black Panther (Hasbro) - This was, by far, the coolest figure shown in Hasbro's Marvel Legends line at the show. Sculpt, articulation and paint are all top notch! Plus, fans have been demanding a new Black Panther figure from the popular line for as long as I can remember. Hasbro answered a lot of fans' prayers this year, and this awesome Black Panther figure is further proof of that. He's part of the Rocket Raccoon wave. Panther missed out on the Top 10 list because everyone, even our Marvel fans, kept recalling to mind that awful animated series that aired on BET...

Marvel Legends Wave 2 Black Panther
     #6 - Predator Series 9 Water Emergence Predator (NECA) - Again, NECA pretty much blew the roof off Toy Fair 2013. Everything from their Robocop E|D-209 to awesome Pacific Rim Jaegers were present, and wowed fans big time! The Water Emergence Predator was also present, and will be part of Series 9 in the popular line, which celebrates the 25th anniversary of the original 1987 film. An  improved version of the Jungle Hunter Predator from when he de-cloaks while in the water, he is cast in partially translucent plastic and has a neat lighting effect on his body as well. This Predator missed the mark only because the tenth wave of Predator figures was present, and because we've seen this particular Predator a few times already.

NECA's Water Emergence Predator (Series 9)
     #5 -Star Wars Saga Legends (Hasbro) - As a kid who grew up during the 1990's, the new Saga Legends figures slated for release this year really took me back to my childhood. Now aimed more for younger fans, the Saga Legends line of figures will only sport 5-points of basic articulation and drop in price to about $6. These figures would've easily made the Top 10 list here at Infinite Earths on nostalgia alone, but they really paled in comparison to the 6" & 3.75" Black Series offerings coming out this year...

Hasbro Takes us back to 1995 with the new Saga Legends
     #4 - Generations Trailcutter (Hasbro) - This year will mark the 30th anniversary of the popular Transformers line of figures! And it seems as though Hasbro will be pulling out all the stops during the year, with fan request figures of all shapes and sizes! Trailcutter here will be part of the Generations line in 2013, in Deluxe scale. A fan demand figure for quite some time, fans will finally have the chance to add this fan favorite Autobot (known as Trailbreaker to us G1-ers) to their collections in the coming year! Had it not been for Voyager Class Triple Changers Springer and Blitzwing, Trailcutter would've made our Top 10 list for sure!

Generations Trailcutter

       #3 - Batman Unlimited Robin (Mattel) - Mattel had some nice pieces on hand to entice fans of their popular DC Universe line of figures. One of the pieces that really stood out during the panel on Sunday afternoon was a superb Damian Wayne Robin figure that looked like something straight out of the work of Grant Morrison. The sculpting work was superb and the facial expression reminds us all of the smug little brat we've all come to know and love! Whether or not he'll include any accessories remains to be seen and, although this figure looked top-notch, he just couldn't beat out the new Batman Beyond figure with the removable wingpack!

DC Collectibles could learn something from Mattel...
      #2 - Pacific Rim Jaegers (NECA) - Pacific Rim is one of the most anticipated films of the 2013 summer season! All the more so now, thanks to the amazing Jaeger figures unveiled at Toy Fair by NECA. Only the first three Jaegers were shown, and while NECA says there will also be Kaiju figures in the line, none were shown at the show. Giant, monster fighting robots should have made our Top 10 list with ease - had it not been for NECA's amazingly retro tenth wave of Predator figures!

Kaiju battling Bots? Yes please!
      #1 - Castle Greyskull (Mattel) - As was mentioned yesterday, Mattel seemed to be focusing more on their MOTUC line of figures at Toy Fair then any of the other lines they produce. They had pieces to show their DC Universe fans, but the real showstopper was the awesome Castle Greyskull playset! This thing was massive, highly detailed and full of fun levels to add to the sets play factor. Sure, the door seemed slightly smaller then it should have been, but I have to admit I am jealous that MOTUC fans have something like this to add to their collections. Castle Greyskull was beyond cool, something straight out of my childhood, but it just couldn't hole up to the mighty Titan Class Metroplex figure that hit the #1 spot on our Top 10 list...

By the Power of Greyskull!
     Yet, as with Metroplex, pictures don't do this awesome playset total justice. So...check out this great walkthrough video by our friend, and MOTUC fan - Pixel Dan...

   
     So, there you have it, Infinite Earths fans! Our Top 10 Honorable Mention list for Toy Fair 2013! As can be seen, even those figures that made this list are beyond awesome and are sure to look great in any figure display over the coming months!

     Only 11 months and 3 weeks more until Toy Fair 2014! We'll see you there...

     And, for all the latest collectibles news from across the multiverse, and a chance at winning some awesome prizes, be sure to join the official Infinite Earths Facebook page...