What's In The Box? episode 4: Marvel Collector Corps' 'Women of Power'

Wow, I can't believe I have another "What's In The Box?" ready to go. The fourth one in a month. Man, I'm really glad that my bills are getting paid.

Anyway, this latest box comes from Funko, the guys that take a good chunk of my paycheck every two weeks. It's the Marvel Collector Corps (despite the fact that I keep calling it "Collector's Corps" in the video, probably because I'm an idiot like that). The theme of this box is "Women of Power" which basically covers a good chunk of the Marvel Universe.

Curious to see what's in the box? Well, anticipate no longer!

Oh, you're here just to see the items up close? No worries. I gotchu covered...

I need a sash like the Girl Scouts have for all of these patches.
Gonna wear the hell out of this shirt.
Is Civil War II worth the time? I'm thinking no. Cool cover, though.
A good sculpt on She Hulk, but just a very plain pose.
Carol Danvers Captain Marvel is always welcome...
...as is Squirrel Girl. Fucking Squirrel Girl, yo!
And there you go! "Women of Power" turned out to be a pretty decent box. Not my favorite of the bunch; that honor goes to the Guardians of the Galaxy box from December) but probably a close second.

Want the Marvel Collector Corps for yourself? Head over to their site and sign up! Tell 'em Idiot At Play sent ya! You...you won't get anything special for saying that but don't let that stop you. The next box is Spider-Man so if you're a fan of the wall-crawler, you probably don't want to miss that.

Thanks again for checking out "What's In The Box?" and I'll be back sooner with yet another video I'm not even kidding. I already have two other boxes I need to record. Sweet Christ, I'm so glad I have a roof over my head.)


What's In The Box? episode 3: Owlcrate's "Royalty" Box

Well, last week was a good week for subscription boxes. Not only did I get my June Funpack on Saturday but I came home to TWO other boxes on my front stoop on Wednesday. This edition of "What's In The Box?" digs through the OwlCrate, which we get because, though I consider myself a book lover, The Nerdy Pumpkin is big into YA literature, which OwlCrate specializes in.

The theme of the box is "Royalty" and OwlCrate delivered on that big time. Check out the full unboxing.

Looking back on the video I realize I said "box" a shitload of times. Oh, well. That's what happens when you get a stack of bo...packages to rifle through.

If you ain't got time for no video and just want to see what we got, here ya go!

Cleverly illustrates the box's theme.
I believe this is the 4th Ariel in our collection.
Magnetic bookmarks, how do they work?! (Check out Crafted Van for more!)
Rich Love Shoppe has a TON of cool stuff on their Etsy store.

If you want to check out "My Lady Jane", you can get it from Amazon.
If you take a selfie with the crown, you may win a free box. I'm considering it.
This is the note. You can't really read it.
Heard good things about "The Red Queen". I may need to check it out.
And that is it! I have to say, I'm really excited for next month's box. Having a dual theme like "Good vs. Evil" is an interesting concept and I can't wait to see which one we get. (I'm hoping for "Evil" which just guarantees that we'll get "Good".) If you want in on the action, head over to OwlCrate and sign up. It's only $35 shipped, which isn't bad considering what you get. You can even purchase past boxes if you want this one for yourself.

Thanks for watching! Come back soon for another "What's In The Box?"!


What's In The Box? episode 2: June Dino Drac Funpack

Hey, y'all! Welcome to another installment of What's In The Box? Today we're taking a look at the Dinosaur Dracula Funpack for the month of June. I've been getting the Funpack for a little over a year now and this one is the most..."obscure" is maybe the right word? Matt at Dino Drac described the box as Eclectic and after looking through it, I have to say that's the best way to put it.

Check out the full unboxing here:

Dig that box? Head over to Dinosaur Dracula to sign up for yourself. It's only $25 a month, which includes shipping. Early in the month, Matt compiles a post of all the items in the upcoming box so you can use that to make your purchasing decision.(He managed to rope me in with a Mac Tonight figure and I have zero regrets.)

For your convenience, here are pics of what the June box contained.

Opening boxes is hungry work. (That's what she said [???])
Slightly blurry. Still ugly.
Let's hope these little bastards bring me some good luck.
Dino Drac has single-handedly dragged me back into the Pog fandom.
Can't go wrong with ET in drag

I also now see that I cannot read. "Where Are They?" Not "where are they now".

Orko, Alf and Stripe. This is the 80s in one picture.
What other subscription box will send you cereal? Besides "Loot Cereal" I mean.
I can't tell you how much I look forward to the poster and sticker in each box.
Thanks for watching! Be sure to subscribe to the YouTube channel for more What's In The Box? videos!


The Clifton Comic Book Expo

Comic cons are fun. Well, except for the really big comic cons where there are so many people that it causes pinch points at every intersecting aisle and you're walking through chicken-tender-and-Mountain-Dew fueled fart clouds hourly. In cases like that, comic cons are less fun.

But what is fun are the small comic book shows, held in some unassuming hotel lobby or Elks lodge. And that's kind of what I'm getting at with the Clifton Comic Book Expo.

Held in the Clifton Community Recreation Center in Clifton, NJ (man, I typed "Clifton" a whole lot in these three paragraphs, didn't I?), the CCBE (managed to avoid it that time) allowed a small array of comic vendors to peddle their wares on a sunny, windy Sunday afternoon.

After an early show of TMNT 2, The Nerdy Pumpkin, Jonathan Nightmare and I headed north to check it out. The show had free admission, which was perfect because we got there two hours before it was scheduled to end, and even then people were already packing up and calling it a day. I rummaged through a few boxes, considered briefly a couple action figure and Funko Pop purchases, dropped $30 bucks between the three of us and we were on our way. Like I said: fun.

Anyway, here's a short video showing off some of the con.

Pug Productions puts on a number of small cons like these across the Northern Jersey area so if you're interested in checking out the next one, check out there site to stay abreast of their updates.

Wondering what I picked up? Well, check out this stack...

That's the result of browsing nearly every 50 cent bin in the joint. Taking a deeper look...

Three random issues of Dazzler to go with the #1 that I've had for years. Will I ever finish the run? Probably not, but this brings me a smidgen closer to that senseless goal.

A few issues of Sleepwalker. I have an affinity for obscure 90s super heroes so completing this run is more of a priority. I may already have that first issue in my collection but at 50 cents, I don't really care.

Now I know I have that first issue of Cloak and Dagger and yes, I bought a second one intentionally. But whatevs. Also, the issue Moon Knight joins the West Coast Avengers and a chromium cover issue of Silver Surfer, a comic that defines the 1990s.

Hey, remember what I said about 90s super heroes? I present Speedball #1 and #2 as proof.

What If is one of my favorite Marvel series. I have nothing to add to that statement. 

How about some popular 80s cartoons turned into comic books? One cannot go wrong with Thundercats, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and Roger Rabbit. And for a total of a buck fifty?

 And finally, a shitload of Supergirl comics spanning the 80s through the early 2000s. Supergirl is one of my favorite super heroines so this just felt natural. It was like a given when I saw all of them in the back of that box that I needed to just take them home with me. My only regret is that I didn't get so many more that the guy had.

Hopefully the dude will be at the next Pug Productions show and I can load up on a few more.


Movie Review: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows

Back in 2014, I walked out of the theater after watching Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles disappointed and disgusted. After that abomination of a film, I swore off future installments of the series, refusing to give them any more of my money.

Fast forward a year and the announcement that Stephen Amell had been cast as Casey Jones, I decided to lift that self-imposed ban. I would be willing to sit through a movie just to see how Amell would handle the role. But that's not to say I had any expectations of the movie as a whole.

The Nerdy Pumpkin and I finally got around to seeing Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows and I really must say, it was a ridiculously fun movie.

Like, "buy a bunch of action figures", fun.
As I stated earlier, I didn't have much hope for TMNT 2, what with the shoddy track record they placed early on in the series. However, it seems like, from the beginning, the filmmakers worked hard to appeal to fans. From the aforementioned Casey Jones to the inclusion of Bebop and Rocksteady, and even going so far as to work Krang and his giant, robotic body into the mix, they pulled out all of the stops to try and bring people back into the seats. And shockingly, it works.

Out of the Shadows takes place one year after the events of the first movie. The turtles continue to live in hiding, afraid of what would happen if people discovered their existence. That kind of life takes a toll on them, and Michelangelo most especially, who longs for a life outside of the sewers.

The movie spent the first twenty minutes (or so it felt) checking in with the cast, reacquainting us with everyone. We see the turtles right out of the gate. Vernon Fenwick is the hero of New York after taking the credit for bringing the Shredder to justice. April O'Neil is doing deep-cover reporting, following Baxter Stockman, a scientist she believes works for the Shredder.

It's not until we meet Casey Jones does the movie really kick in as the Foot Clan moves to bust Shredder out of jail.

Oh, be wary, there are SPOILERS ahead so consider yourself warned.

Without exaggeration, the movie is 100% fan service. Is that a drawback? Maybe, because the fans they are catering to are fans of the early-90s animated series. Sure, they manage to sprinkle a few references to other media in there, like a Stan Lee-style cameo by TMNT co-creator Kevin Eastman and a jukebox playing a Vanilla Ice song, but really they're just capitalizing on the nostalgia of the original cartoon. Having Shredder, Krang, Bebop, and Rocksteady all provide the antagonism for the turtles is classic, and luckily for everyone director Dave Green made it work.

Unfortunately, much of the characterization is over-the-top, especially in the case of Bebop and Rocksteady. These two are played as complete nitwits, the kind of criminals that would get themselves killed in the first heist they ever took part in because they don't know their right from left. In a cartoon, it makes sense. Here, it often became just barely tolerable to borderline annoying. Did it fit with the characters, though? Yeah, pretty much.

Unlike the first movie, April O'Neil plays a much smaller part, being relegated to true supporting star, but she at least still has a role to play. Almost every scene Megan Fox is in is a scene in which April becomes necessary, and what I liked most about her was that she never played the damsel. She wasn't just some chick who got herself into trouble and needed the turtles to bail her out. If there's one positive thing the new movies do it's show April in a strong role, able to take care of herself.

Like this, but with more slapping Karai in the face with a laptop.
So what about the new characters? Stephen Amell was perfect as Casey Jones. Having the experience of playing a vigilante on Arrow, Amell has perfected the broody-yet-charismatic hero archetype. I also loved how they worked Casey into the story, giving him an updated origin. Instead of the face-less nighttime vigilante he played in the cartoon, Casey was a wannabe cop in charge of the Shredder's prison transport who gets disgraced after his breakout. His desire to clear his name sets him on the path to find a pre-rhino and -warthog Bebop and Rocksteady, and his turn as a hero is really just a moment of necessity. And again, it works out well.

Also, they gave a nice nod to the original film (the 1990 one, the one we all give a shit about) by keeping the animosity between Casey and Raphael when the pair first meet.

Unfortunately the cricket joke doesn't return.
The biggest surprise, however, was Tyler Perry as Baxter Stockman. Fans of the cartoon know Stockman as the Fly but here he plays a brilliant scientist who wants to make a name for himself in the annals of history. Perry portrays Stockman as a quiet, power hungry nerd and the quiet social awkwardness and self esteem issues Perry imbues Stockman with really drive the character's motivations so that it's not untoward that this genius of a man would align himself with a wicked cult leader like the Shredder. I'm not too much of a fan of Tyler Perry's movies but as an actor he really knows what the hell he's doing.

And looking very much like Neil Degrasse Tyson while he does it.
Rounding out the main supporting cast is Laura Linney, who plays a police chief who's name I wouldn't know if not for the help of IMDB (it's Vincent, which I assume is her last name). As a talented actress, Linney brings the necessary authority to the role. She carries herself well on screen, most notably in the interrogation room scene. Though the character doesn't really add much to the movie itself, at least Linney was able to garner more screen time that Whoopi Goldberg did in the first film (what a waste of money that casting choice was, huh) and it's really a joy to see her play off Stephen Amell the way she does (I'm a big fan of Stephen Amell, in case you couldn't tell).

Pictured: Pointless. (Also, not in this movie)
I know, I know. You're wondering about Krang. Well, he was mostly ridiculous. His first appearance on-screen did little more than set the events into motion but it felt more like an NPC in a video game giving a player their quest than it did the motivations for a major motion picture. We don't really see him again until the final scene when he faces off against the turtles for the first time but by then we really understand he's the big bad guy that everyone in Dimension X (never named in the film so don't get your hopes up) lives in fear of. Also, he's voiced by Brad Garrett of "Everybody Loves Raymond" fame and admittedly I wasn't sure if it would work out for me but in the end, Garrett did a pretty good job with it.

All in all, the strength of the movie lay on the cast. The cinematography, on the other hand, was shaky at best. Though there are a few truly outrageous shots, most of the movie is comprised of quick cuts, especially during the many action sequences, and gets dizzying to no end. With most of these big action movies, I go to a 3D or IMAX showing but opted instead to see TMNT 2 in 2D. I'm glad I did because if I had to deal with this frenetic mess in 3D I probably would have thrown up in my popcorn bucket.

But the real saving grace is the humor. You probably think I'm insane but hear me out. Whereas the first movie was filled with juvenile, puerile humor, the jokes in Out of the Shadows land almost every time. Maybe it's nostalgia-glasses making me more susceptible to the comedy, but I can't even remember when I laughed more often in a movie theater. So I'm definitely grateful for that.

Granted, Out of the Shadows is not a perfect film. In most people's eyes, it's not even a good film, and I won't fault them for thinking that. It is a loud, bright, obnoxious action flick that is aimed toward children and man-children alike. Much of the plot is moved forward by characters making inferred guesses at what needs to happen, not to mention how quickly they're able to fly to the Amazon rain forest and back (according to Google, a flight to Brazil from NYC is between 9 and 11 hours, yet they get there and back what seems like an afternoon). I could, of course, nitpick very many things in the movie but considering they at least tried to appeal to fans like me instead of blazing their own trail and ignore what made TMNT fun, I'd rather just sit back and enjoy the movie.

Oh, and did I mention the Technodrome? Because they put the fucking Technodrome into this thing. If that's not fan service, I don't know what is.


What's In The Box? episode 1: Let's Be Bad Guys

Welcome to the first of a new series I'm calling What's In The Box? As you may have already ascertained, What's In The Box is where I will be unboxing the subscription boxes that I receive, which include Loot Crate, Marvel's Collector's Corps and a few other random ones that I get here and there.

For the inaugural episode, I'm taking a look at the latest Cargo Crate, a collection of goodies focused on the show Firefly, from Loot Crate and Quantum Mechanix. The second box, called "Let's Be Bad Guns", centered around tough guy Jayne Cobb. Since I cover everything in the video, why don't I quit babbling and let's see...What's In The Box! (Yes, I'm going to do that every opportunity I get.)

If you dig the Cargo Crate and want to start getting it yourself, head over to Loot Crate and sign up. It's only $40 shipped every 2 months, which isn't that bad for all this stuff. You may also get $5 off your first crate with that link; to be fair, I don't know if it applies to the Cargo Crate or not but hey, worth a shot, right? The next box is all about Zoe, in case that sways you at all.

Oh, and here are some pics of the items in case you wanted a closer look.

How creepy is it to have Adam Baldwin staring at you from inside a box?
Can't wait to complete the collection of these Mini Master statuettes.
A flask. They gave us a flask, guys. How cool is that?
The coin, a sticker and the pin, which I stupidly covered with the watermark.
I can't explain why I like these so much, but I am shameless in doing so.
The shirt. I dig the design and color. Just a shame it's another shirt.
The wanted poster. It's...whatever.
Worthwhile because of the Mudder's Milk recipe.
Thanks for watching and be on the lookout for more What's In The Box!

(Also, have you ever undertaken a project that turned into an ordeal so momentous that completing it became your white whale? That's what this unboxing video was to me. What I figured would take an afternoon or two turned into a week-long thing to finish. So if you watched the video in its entirety, know that I truly appreciate your time.)
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