A Little Bit Of Everything

This week I couldn’t think of one thing to write about, but I could think about a whole bunch of little things.

Arkham City

Like most of you (hopefully) I picked up my copy of Batman Arkham City last week.  I was going to wait until it was available for a better price (I hate shelling out $60 for a video game if I don’t have to), but I broke down and picked up my copy (which came with a free Batman action figure).  I am glad I did.  Arkham Asylum was an amazing Batman game.  The best ever.  But Arkham City… well… it makes AA look like Dig Dug.

First off the game is beautiful (in a dark, gritty, goth way).  I couldn’t believe the detail in the landscapes.  Gotham City looks old and dangerous.  Exactly how it should be.

The voice acting is perfect in the game as well.  Kevin Conroy has returned as Batman, and Mark Hamill makes his last appearance as our beloved Joker.  But to my enjoyment, two of my favourite new characters are Penguin (voiced by Nolan North who also voices Drake in Uncharted, and Deadpool in Hulk Vs.) and Catwoman (voiced by Grey DeLisle who was Scarlett and Baroness in G.I. Joe Resolute, and the new voice of Daphne Blake of Scooby Doo).  I would have to agree with Laura that the AC version of Catwoman may be one of the best (see a previous Thinking… article for details) ever to show up on a viewing screen.

Arkham City shows our favourite Bat-Villains in a new light.  I really like how Penguin is shown in the game.  He’s ruthless and violent.  I still think Penguin should’ve been the villain in Dark Knight Returns.  The AC version of Penguin is exactly how I would like to see him on the big screen (maybe someday).  Other villains include Two-Face, Poison Ivy, Killer Croc, Harley Quinn, Riddler, Mr. Freeze and many, many more.

Arkham City shows us exactly what a Super Hero video game should be.  The dark and gritty environment doesn’t work for every comic property but it succeeds with Batman.  I have always felt that we wouldn’t have Batman Arkham City or Arkham Asylum without the Batman Begins movie adaptation.  This was the first Batman game to show Batman in a third person stealth action game.  Batman Begins captialized on fear being a tool for Batman.  You could use the environment to increase the fear of your opponents.  This helped Batman in the game.  Many elements from Batman Begins have been used in Arkham City and Arkham Asylum.

Right now I’ve been playing AC as much as I can.  It is awesome.  The only bad thing I can find about the game is… for every great Batman videogame, there is a crappy Superman game waiting to be released.

Green Lantern (Special Features)

I picked up a copy of Green Lantern on Blu-Ray.  I won’t get into another review of the movie.  I’ve done that already.  What I would like to talk about is the special features.   I am impressed with the amount of special features on the Blu-Ray.  I haven’t watched them all yet.

The special feature that is my favourite is The Universe According to Green Lantern.  This features DC creators talking about the history of Green Lantern.  It showcases some of the monumental times in the life of Hal Jordan, including his team up with Green Arrow, Emerald Twilight and Rebirth.  I enjoy watching comic creators talk about how they come up with concepts and ideas.  Geoff Johns really stood out on this feature.  On a recent 52Q, Geoff Johns was mentioned as an over-hyped creator.  After watching special features I disagree with this statement.

Geoff Johns has taken the Green Lantern character, studied it and disected it, and introduced new ideas to the character that are logical.  One examples is the other-colour Lanterns.  The idea of the other Corps makes sense.  That is why it works.  He did the same with Flash Rebirth and the speed force, and he will do the same with Aquaman.  Sure not every comic he writes is amazing, but either are Grant Morrison’s.

The movie production special features are interesting too.  There are several that show Ryan Reynolds in the actual costume he wore (pre cgi) with the reference marks all over it.  I don’t know how the other actors could interact with him with a straight face; I would find it distracting.  I was surprised to see Mark Strong (Sinestro) was wearing make-up to look like Sinestro.  I guess we are so used to CGI effects in movies it is tough to tell what is real and what is fake these days.

You Dirty Rotten …..

This one has been stuck in my craw for several months now, and I have to get this off my chest.

As you know I collect toys.  There is something happening in the toy aisles for the last couple years that I find disgusting.  Toy swapping.

Toy swapping is when someone buys a toy, takes it home, removes the original from the packaging then replaces it with an inferior toy, then returns it to the store for credit.

Essentially it is fraud.

Over the last couple months I’ve seen a Captain America figure with a Spider-Man head (the heads are easy to swap on Hasbro figures) and a WWE Rick Rude package with a John Cena figure inside (the tape was sloppily applied to the back of the package).  It is sickening.

Are people stealing these toys because they are degenerates?  Are they stealing them because they are cheap?  Maybe on both accounts.

They may feel because they are replacing the product, with something else, it’s Ok.  They aren’t stealing but they are.

If people are doing this because they can’t afford the collecting hobby… well guess what?  Pick a different hobby.  Sometimes you need to make a decision.  If you are passionate about toys or comics, and can’t afford them, instead of stealing them, give up your hobby.  I know times are tough, but is it worth stealing?

Action Figure Expo

This Sunday (Oct 30th) is Action Figure Expo in Toronto.  I plan on attending the Expo (it’ll be a long day, I’m going to a Halloween party the night before.  I’m going as Captain America).  Stay tuned next week for a quick report on this years Expo.

Ed Campbell
Ed Campbell

Ed Campbell is a collector of comics and action figures, primarily G.I. Joe. He is also a Cosplayer with Thor and Captain America as just a few of the characters in his arsenal. When not fulfilling his Comic Book Daily duties, he's "working for a living", volunteering his time for his local Fall Fair, and spending as much time with his family as possible. Use the links below to get in contact with him.

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  1. Hey Ed, speaking of rotten… your observation is interesting.

    Chapters on Richmond was close to my previous work so I used to pop in there during lunch and browse the graphic novels. Then one day, the whole section was moved to the lower level with the music CDs which I found odd. I inquired about this and the staff said that 10% to 20% more graphic novels get stolen then any other type of book so the section was moved so it could be closely monitored.

    I found this interesting so I started casually talking to comic shop owners about theft. They all had their stories and agreed it was a problem… more for the downtown stores. Also, guys like Wes who have one of the biggest set ups at cons also claim that he loses several long boxes of comics at each show.

    I can also add that from personal experience that I’ve been burned on eBay as well and I’m just an occasional seller. Many American sellers refuse to ship to Canada because some people have figured out how to work the system and not pay for their purchase.

    So, I’m not sure if the high price of comics have just become too expensive for your typical comic junkie or it’s just the mindset of the community but from my observation as well, theft and fraud seem to be quite prevalent in the market.

    “Something is rotten in the state of Denmark.”

  2. The toy swapping/theft topic is a personal issue for me because it gives all collector’s a bad name. If stores keep getting burned because of merchandise being stolen, or action figures are swapped in packages they will blame us “collectors” as a whole and we’ll all suffer. Eventually that retailler may not even carry that toy/comic/”Item X” any more.

    I know of many more examples of this type of fraud, and they all turn your stomach that someone would actually go to these lengths to get something for nothing.

    One instance from my own experience was on Christmas morning. I bought my son a G.I. Joe vehicle. The never inspected the package when I bought it. When he opened it on Christmas morning the figure had been removed from the box. That is kind of crushing to a kid when you get something for Christmas and it’s just not right. And what am I supposed to do? I can’t return it to the store and say “The figure was missing from the package.” Who’s going to believe that? So I ended up buying him another present for Christmas to make up for the one that I just bought.

    As consumers we shouldn’t have to inspect the packaging of everything we buy just to make sure we get the product we want.

    Retailers should be able to put their goods out for sale without fear of some “DIRT BAG” ripping them off.

    I guess this will always be a problem but I hoped as comic/toy collector’s we were a different class of people and could be trusted. But it just shows you there are bad apples in every bunch.

  3. I agree Ed. In general, theft and fraud is bigger societal issue. But the part that I find interesting is, according to Chapters, there are 10% to 20% more theft by comic fans than any other interest group. Does this mean that we, as a collective, are 10% to 20% more evil?

  4. Also, while Arkham City is a great game, I feel that they have missed out on making the story mode with an online co-op option. How sweet would it be to have Batman, Robin, or Nightwing all at once?

  5. I haven’t got that deep into it yet (I think I am at 7% right now).

    Even in story mode it would be sweet if you could team up with Catwoman or Robin. Other games do it really well (Uncharted for example). But there is not much I would change with AC.

  6. I’ve put nearly 20 hours into Arkham City and so far my ONLY complaint is how often you over hear the bad guys calling the female characters bitches. I get that they’re asshole criminals, but you can only hear the word ‘bitch’ used like that so many times before it grates your nerves.

  7. As for the toys, I’ve worked retail a long time and it’s usually policy at all stores to examine returned merchandise, especially if it looks opened. Stores need to keep a better eye on that, and be sure not to put those items back on the shelves.

    Obviously the assholes who returned in the first place are the big bads in this, but stores can combat it.

  8. The main challenge (especially for a big box store) is to know the product that’s coming back. Someone working at Walmart won’t know that a $3 G.I. Joe figure stuffed in a Marvel Universe box isn’t the right toy being returned, and that’s the kind of stuff I’ve seen.

    If stores took a stonger stand on returns, and a stronger inspection process on those returns, it should combat disappointment on the toy shelves.

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