The Toy Fair’s Not Back In Town

Action figures are good, but they can be better! All you have to do is become a customizer! Toys are like drugs except you need to find a place to keep them after the high wears off.

NY Toy Fair has been cancelled for 2021. In lieu of the big press show, many companies are doing smaller virtual conventions through the year. The most hyped was last week’s Hasbro Pulse Fest Fan Fest. Rather than spacing things out, Mattel, Diamond Select, & NECA decided to post similar events around the same time with less fanfare. They were all underwhelming to various degrees. I would’ve made more impulse pre-orders had Hasbro not suddenly jacked up the price of all their 6″ lines by $3. It doesn’t sound that steep on an individual basis, but it adds up when they encourage you to buy entire series of Marvel Legends to complete BAFs. With customers’ budgets already stretched thin by the terrible 2020, this feels like a precarious time to raise prices on non-essentials.

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“Ach, I’m not some nouveau riche piker! I employ people to burn my money for me!”

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Amazon’s The Boys Wanna Fight…

Marvel finally confirmed Tatiana Maslany really is playing She-Hulk after two months of confusion, so I got this blog out in the nick of time! Maybe they’ll redesign Abomination to not look like Doomsday? I want less Zombie-Hulk, more Silurian-Hulk! I was expecting a confirmation that we’d finally get Tim Blake Nelson as The Leader instead. Now that this Disney Investor Day (the most banal marketing event name possible) tidbit is out of the way, we can move on to another cold take review.

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This review of The Boys comes to you courtesy of my new patron, Korey Hughes. Out of the blue, she informed me she was gifting me DVDs of the first two seasons because I don’t have Amazon Prime & she wanted to read my review of it. (I would’ve also accepted the latest seasons of The Expanse.) So this review was written for one person only. All other visitors can move along. Let this be a lesson to the rest of you: If you mail me free stuff, I will review it! This even applies to stuff you didn’t make!

Not only is this a big SPOILER alert for the first two seasons, I’ll also throw in a Content Warning! After three paragraphs of me making value judgements of source material I didn’t read, I finally start talking about the TV adaptation. There’s lots to ruminate upon in these sixteen episodes so it’s practically Love Sausage-sized! (Welcome Home, Brother Charles, exactly the wrong title for my brain to remember, beat it to the penile strangulation.) This time there won’t be any metallic lycanthropes to go with the gratuitous genitalia. Supe porn seems pretty tame compared to death by Popclaw’s snu-snu.

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Exhibit A-Train in inciting incidents.

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The Sensational 300th Blog Of She-Hulk!

This headline is sort of misleading. I have not written three-hundred blogs about Jennifer Walters the sensational She-Hulk. This is merely my three-hundredth blog on Matt The Catania, whose topic happens to be She-Hulk. I figured I should try a different topic than the best cat in the world for once. It was not my intention to draw attention away from other blogs that have legitimutantly written 300 entries on Shulkie. I apologize for the confusion. This is also an anniversary number (We survived #299!) which doesn’t coincide with an anniversary for the blog.

Hunker down for some wild thoughts on Disney+’s She-Hulk TV series. It’s still kind of timely. Can you believe Marvel & DC almost swapped She-Hulk & Martian Manhunter? Now they’ll both be live action television stars in defiance of David Goyer! All the anxiety I once had over whether Wonder Woman would suck has since been transferred to She-Hulk!

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Dispatches From Lodge 49’s Elsewhere

As of now, my prior article on Lodge 49 is the most read of 2020. (It has a leg up by being the year’s first blog.) So that’s a sign that the public demands I write more about it! What if all the TV series halting production before completing their seasons is cosmic punishment for nobody stepping up to bring back Lodge 49 after AMC’s president, Sarah Barnett, slew it despite claiming to champion art? Skedaddle past my SPOILERY Dispatches From Elsewhere critique so you can read me rant about Lynxes some more! Just kidding! I reference it a bunch in the review too.

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Spider-Rant, Spider-Rant, Does Whatever A Spider-Man Can’t

The big news is Sony revoked Spider-Man’s hyphen! Now we have to call him Spiderman as if it’s his surname! He’s not going to be in the MCU anymore either. When you’re done freaking out about that, please take a moment to also freak out about the Amazon rain forest being on fire for weeks.

I was working on a Spidey-rant too, but nobody warned me I had to have it edited so fast for it to be topical. This installment was supposed to be cat anecdotes! I blame my custom Scarlet Witch’s hex bolts! Of course the same week I mentioned Moon Knight, we got a Moon Knight TV show announcement at D23. So you can thank me for that at least. (Ms. Marvel & She-Hulk are also getting Disney+ series! So is Kamala Khan still going to be Inhuman or will she be the MCU’s first mutant? I’m both excited for a She-Hulk TV series & terrified of how easy it’d be to screw it up.)

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“I do not wear the fishbowl. The fishbowl wears me!”

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SDCC Turned Fifty?

HUZAH! It’s the fiftieth anniversary of San Diego Comic Convention! I didn’t attend, thanks for asking. (I took last week off anyway after reviewing Stranger Things 3.) Did you? Here is my armchair event coverage (loosely arranged by DC, Marvel, & miscellaneous mess) that’s rapidly losing topicality! Wait, shouldn’t it be celebrating it golden anniversary next year?

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No News November!

At this point, my core purpose for blogging is so I have ready typed anecdotes on nerdy esoterica prepped to go in the off chance they’re tangentially relevant to online discourse. (Apparently I’ve done over 200 of these, & I still don’t know what I’m doing?) Nothing exciting happens in November, so I guess this entry will be filled up with long delayed ramblings. (Scheduling Giving Tuesday after Cyberman Monday, the international holiday of Mondas, was a bad idea.) Some of them are Marvelous. And I thought no installment this month would be less appealing than a repainted Ronan! Continue reading

How Wondrous Was Wonder Woman?

It used to be a recurring joke that any comic book character would get a movie before Wonder Woman. At a 2013 NYCC afterparty hosted by The Mary Sue, one of the cocktail specials was called Wonder Woman Movie so guests could demand “Give me a Wonder Woman Movie!” This would’ve been effective more promptly if the bartenders were WB executives. (I slightly preferred the Strong Female Protagonist cocktail because it was green like She-Hulk.) A Wonder Woman movie has even been a recurring part of her comics mythos since the 1940’s, so it’s about time Hollywood caught up. Now it’s finally her turn!  I was concerned by all the positive press the movie was receiving because I feared I’d be the lone weirdo that didn’t love it. Fortunately it lived up to the hype, even incorporating some of my ranty demands!  That’ll teach Marvel Studios to cheap out on bribing me! I’m collaboreviewing Wonder Woman with The Wages of Cinema! (They’ve just done a podcast where they responded to my comments!) It’s a wonderful film!

Although she was still as wooden as the surrounding film, Gal Gadot was the best part of Batman v. Superman: Yawn Dawn of Justice because she was a cedar in a forest of larches. Here Ms. Gadot shows she can actually act! Her expressive face conveys childlike wonder at the world outside of Themyscira. She’s a DC protagonist allowed to smile without being a baddie! She’s violent without being dour! They convey her strength through compassion perfectly!

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Americans offended by the lack of white stars on her skirt should take solace in WB nixing the red star on her tiara to alienate her Communist fans too.

Hereafter come the SPOILERS. If you’ve yet to purchase a ticket to see this film, please stop reading here & watch this Nerdist medley featuring Ciara “Hawkgirl” Renee!

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Resident Evil Has Finally Left The Building

Fifteen years later, the Resident Evil film series is finally ending with Resident Evil: The Final Chapter! I’m unduly excited by this momentous event! If you’d prefer to experience it completely unspoiled, scroll past to get to my third in a series of pre-Toy Fair wish lists. Yep, two things that nobody else has been eager for in one big package!

I unilaterally admitted the first Resident Evil to the ranks of the Good Video Game Films along with the original Mortal Kombat & Silent Hill. Rather than attempting a direct adaptation of Capcom’s BioHazard games, it was intended to be a side story running parallel with a unique protagonist, Alice. As sequels progressed, however, more key characters from the game franchise were imported over even though she was an amalgam of their traits. Smushed between Alice & several less memorable new redshirts, the canon ones didn’t have much room to develop. (Claire Redfield & Albert Wesker are the only canon characters in this as Wesker conveniently killed the rest off-screen in ravaged Washington, D.C.) For hardcore fans of the games, watching these movies must be like watching X-Men films are for me.

A key reason why Milla Jovovich’s career revolves around her playing an action heroine is that she’s damn good at it! (I still think she would be more credible as Black Widow than ScarJo.) Unlike Underworld’s stoic Selene, her Alice is allowed a broader range of emotions & vulnerabilities. Her former superpowers have been diminished to standard action movie protagonist levels, but it’s still utterly believable she can wreck anyone. In the the annoying instances when she does have trouble in a fight, I wasn’t sure if the movie didn’t make her foes seem formidable or whether she was just fatigued by all the previous ass-kickings she (& her stunt doubles) handed out. My favorite scene is when Alice (bearing a striking resemblance to Metal Gear Solid’s Meryl Silverberg) gets strung upside-down & still defeats a squad of Umbrella Corp goons.

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Originally slated for 2016, Sony delayed its release until after Inauguration Day.

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Ghost Rider & Gotham Get TV Revved Up

As threatened last installment, let’s kick off the 2016 Fall TV season with spoilery reviews of Agents of SHIELD & Gotham nobody demanded!

Agents of SHIELD’s fourth season opened much stronger than the last, in no small part due to the absence of Ward & Lincoln. Nothing in its content so far indicates that it was necessary to move an hour later, as parts of last season were grislier & more risque. Not that it needs to be edgier, so long as it doesn’t backslide into season one’s syndicated 90’s vibe.

As it turns out, ABC was right that Ghost Rider was the only selling point this season needed. The Ghost Rider transformation effect was amazing! Where have they been hiding this CGI? It was The F-Lash worthy! SHIELD’s effects generally look embarrassing in comparison to its cinematic siblings’, so this was a very welcome surprise. Featuring Marvel characters that don’t have movies lined up is exactly what this show needs to do more often! He’s already a better vigilante than the Punisher as he has a nifty jacket & his menacing key-spinning is on point. He doesn’t preclude Danny “best Ghost Rider” Ketch from being in the MCU either!

Will Ghost Driver Rider drag race Lola? I’m guessing not, as flying cars have been seriously underused in the MCU despite being a prominent part of SHIELD lore. They only gave us  three very brief & cheesey scenes of Lola being flown in season one. I’m still mad that Nick Fury didn’t get to fly his unchic SUV in The Winter Soldier. If you won’t do anything cool with flying cars, maybe you shouldn’t have entrenched them in movie canon, Marvel?

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I’m overdue on saying Chloe Bennet as Quake is the most improved cast member. She’s come a long way from being the insufferably perfect hacker snowflake a whole spy squad instantly accepted back in season one. She & the writers make it seem like her going rogue is genuine character development instead of an obvious delaying tactic for getting the band back together. I dig Quake’s raccoon eyes, but her hair is still too long.

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