First let me preface this by saying I am a longtime TNA fan. Unlike most of the people who criticize the product, I’ve follwed TNA since day one. I ordered almost all of the early weekly pay-per-views and followed them from Fox Sports to Spike to Destination America to Pop. I’ve seen the highest of highs and the lowest of lows. I actually believed for a time that Hulk Hogan was a good signing for the company (to be fair I lobbied for that about 5 years before it actually happened) and I’ve been in favor of some regime change.
Secondly, I’d like to say that TNA never gets a break. When Samoa Joe, AJ Styles and Christopher Daniels were putting on 5 star matches in TNA, the mainstream wrestling audience still crapped on everything. People will tell you now that they liked TNA back when it was “good” but the truth is even when TNA was consistently putting out the best wrestling product on television, they were disliked by whole groups of people. Wrestling needs a punching bag company and no matter how many times WWE puts Roman Reigns in the main event of Wrestlemania, has Randy Orton win the Royal Rumble or does an angle like Katie Vick, they will always get a pass. TNA became the new WCW from day one (insert your own joke there) because no matter what TNA did they became the punching bag of the wrestling community. TNA could literally put on the best match EVER in pro-wrestling and they’d still get slagged off for it.
That said, there has been some optimism and speculation how the new “reboot” would work. Dixie Carter has had a hand in TNA for the past decade and a half. In the beginning that wasn’t a bad thing, but eventually Carter did become a detriment to the company. Anthem bought her out and brought in a team on paper, that’s relatively good. Jeff Jarrett not only founded TNA, but has been exposed to more wrestling knowledge than few people on the planet. Dutch Mantell and Bruce Prichard have been around the block many times and in the case of Mantell, is one of the best minds in the business.
Along with them came some familiar faces in the production end and for the most part, I have to applaud Kevin Sullivan for his mostly excellent work on this reboot of Impact. The show looked new, sleek and clean, while still retaining a familiar feel. It was nice overall, though I thought some of the lower thirds weren’t as nice as they could have been.
Unfortunately, that was probably the highlight of the show. They did a nice video package talking up the history of the company and going on about how they “used” to be the place to be. The theme is to “Make Impact Wrestling Great (Again)” which is immediately a turn off. First, it’s an ignorant slogan even when Trump used it as it doesn’t really make sense but even if TNA was hoping to use the “trendy” factor, it sort of defeated the purpose when it’s connected to the world’s most unpopular politician. More than half the country absolutely LOATHE that saying, so it’s probably not a good idea to throw that albatross around your neck. The fact that they changed it to just “Make Impact Wrestling Great” is a nice attempt to distance yourself from Trump, but it’s sort of like putting a bandaid on a gunshot. They should have rebranded with an entirely new slogan. Continue reading
Sam Johnson’s Geek Girl continues to be one of the more unique independent comics out there, with a focus on action, exciting cheesecake pin-up artworks and wild storytelling that will grasp even the most common reader. Issue #4 of this exciting new miniseries deals with super-villain Lightning Storm and her total domination of our titular hero.
We learn a bit more about why Lightning Storm has come to town and how Maine’s long-term resident super-heroes, Neon Girl and Pit Bull learn to deal with their defeat. And of course, they team up with newcomer Geek Girl for an all out war to settle the score. This is definitely an entertaining comic with just enough fun to keep you turning the pages but with the right amount of social discourse to keep things interesting for the readers.
This is a comic that is a feast for the senses and will keep you coming back for more with it’s sharp wit, unique writing style and snappy dialogue.
Geek-Girl #4 is Out Now and available in Regular, Digital and Variant editions at www.geekgirlcomics.com and www.comixology.com – along with new Variants of Geek-Girl#1-#3 for newcomers to her mini-series.
Robot 13 #1
Written by Thomas Hall; Illustrated by Daniel Bradford
Sometimes a fun comic goes under the radar. Take Robot 13 as an example. This comic came out in 2010ish and had a TPB published back in 2013. I likely would have never discovered this comic without my iPhone. Before I get to the comic itself, I have to give kudos to whomever designed the interface for Robot 13 on the iPhone. It’s a rich reading experience that makes each page feel like a story teller is unfolding it for you. I’ve read a lot of comics on my iPhone but this interface was one of the best. Surprisingly better than many of the efforts by the major publishers.
As for the comic itself, it’s hard not to notice the obvious Mike Mignola homage. Daniel Bradford’s art is very much influenced by Mignola and maybe even a touch of Jack Kirby in there as well. That’s one of the nice parts about the art is that there is a bit of a reminder that this is a new world and a fun one, if not also a dark grim one. Comparisons could be made to Eastman and Laird’s early work on the TMNT comics. All things that draw me in immediately.
There’s obviously not a ton to go off of in the first issue but the genesis seems to be there for something very entertaining. Robot 13 is a robot plucked from the ocean floor. He doesn’t know his past, nor does the crew that find him. He looks like a classic old school robot or a spaceman that died in his suit. Perhaps he’s a bit of both? There doesn’t appear to be a lot of information on just where the title robot gets his power but the skeleton head inside seems to indicate he’s a haunting of some sort.
The story unfolds with great precise panel narrative and again, this really pops on the iPhone. The story gives us just a hint of mystery but doesn’t hit us over the head with it to hammer home the point that this is mysterious. I was reminded a bit of Savage Dragon in that sense. We also get a fight with a giant creature that would make Ray Harryhausen happy. It’s a fun romp and this is exactly the kind of small comic you should be seeking out to read.
I’m very interested in reading more and if you’re into robots, Hellboy or comics that are a little off the beaten path, this is one worth checking out. The actual comics are just $3.99 and the digital copies are a super value at $0.99! Blacklist Studios is currently working on issue #3 with the first two issues still available. Check out Blacklist Studios for more on Robot 13.
I’ve been really into Minimates and rekindling my love for Full Moon’s old Trancers movies. So a few customs later and I’ve started making Trancers Minimate comics. Let me know if you like, there could be more “down the line”.
Read the full comic Continue reading
5 Inch Scale
As we continue on with March of the Robots, it’s time to look at the Lex Luthor to Tetsujin’s Superman, the nefarious Black Ox. In every incarnation of Tetsujin, from the original anime to the live action film and beyond, Black Ox has been one of his chief rivals.
Created by reclusive mad scientist, Dr. Shutain Franken, Black Ox is the evil robot counterpart to Tetsujin. While Tetsujin is used for the purposes of good, Franken implores Black Ox to do his evil bidding. Black Ox is the ultimate robot terrorist.
Black Ox is one of the less popular Revoltechs, despite the fact that he appeared in a very popular YouTube stop motion skateboard video. Black Ox is one the neatest looking figures in my view, because of his sleek, shiny robot design. Without Black Ox to cause trouble, there really wouldn’t be much of a reason to call Tetsujin 28 heroic.
Revoltechs all come in small window boxes.
Black Ox’s box matches Tetsujin’s nicely. Tetsujin is #43 and Black Ox is #44.
Interestingly, Tetsujin actually appears on the back of Black Ox’s box. As you can see in the side to side comparisons, these two figures go well together, as do their boxes. Black Ox is press slamming Tetsujin on the back of his box.
Generally speaking, Black Ox has a nice sculpt. The actual Black Ox is usually depicted with a little more of a hunch than this figure has, but you can more or less replicate it with the neck. The entire figure is really glossy and shiny. If anything the figure could be described as minimalist black.
The Revoltech joints completely disappear into this body sculpt. While Tetsujin had a couple of spots where they sort of changed his design, they don’t have that same effect on Black Ox. The body looks almost exact as it’s supposed to. From the bat-like head shape to his forearm claws, it’s all there.
The only real area of weakness I see is that the fingers aren’t claws. Sometimes Black Ox is depicted as having pointy figures. That’s such a minor thing though and it really falls more under the preference category than anything else. The shiny finish can attract fingerprints though.
Black Ox was made to fight Tetsujin, so it’s a good thing that his articulation is up to par with his metal foe. Black Ox in a lot of ways is more poseable than Tetsujin because of his design. While Tetsujin was a bit top heavy, you can pose Black Ox more freely.
In nearly every encounter between Black Ox and Tetsujin, they did a battle that seemed more like Pro Wrestling that two giant robots battling. Thankfully the revolver joints allow you to replicate those old school brawls in frighteningly detailed fashion.
Black Ox also includes a set of hinged hands, just like Tetsujin. Black Ox’s hinged hands do seem a little big when fully opened though. The nice part about the hand hinges and design is that they allow him to hold weapons more easily than his counterpart.
As I mentioned in my Tetsujin 28 review, Black Ox comes with the third head of Tetsujin. This is a deactivated or “dead” head. That’s a cool bonus and chances are if you’re buying Black Ox, you already have a Tetsujin. It’s definitely a cool compatibility thing.
Other than that, Black Ox doesn’t have as much. He includes a couple pair of extra hands, which thankfully aren’t on a revolver joint and swap pretty easily. His coolest accessory feature is a bonus arm and leg piece.
Each of these pieces can be used to replicate the inner workings of Black Ox, or battle damage if you prefer. It would have been cool to get some more extra parts though, or missile fingers. Black Ox doesn’t include an extra head of his own, but he does have the standard Revoltech stand.
Accessory wise, Black Ox can feel a little under whelming if you’re used to some of the more diverse Revoltechs. Still, the extra hands and the Tetsujin head are nothing to necessarily scoff at.
Again, $20 is pretty expensive. Getting both Tetsujin and Black Ox for $40 might make the pain feel a little less, but if you’re mostly a collector of American toys this may seem like too much money. The good news is that Black Ox is probably the cheapest of all Revoltechs on the secondary market and you can usually find this guy for $5-$10!
Packaging – 9
Sculpting – 7
Articulation – 8
Accessories – Bonus Hands X2, Tetsujin Head, Stand, Arm Piece, Leg Piece
Value – 7
Overall – 7.5 out of 10
There’s nothing really wrong with Black Ox and he makes for a pretty sleek robot design. However, his lack of accessories and the bland design just don’t make him as much fun by himself. Obviously he’s fairly accurate to the source material so Kaiyodo should be applauded for that, but it’s hard to make him too interesting as a result. I definitely recommend him if you have Tetsujin though, as they make for fun battles together. You could also probably work this guy in pretty much any sci-fi or Star Wars collection.