Another year another Marvel Unlimited Plus membership kit and this year the theme is House of X. As an X-Men fan I was pleasantly surprised with the them as I actually really wanted to read the new House of X event but hadn’t gotten any issues yet.
Here is everything that is included in this years box:
House of X Issue 1: Shalvey Connecting Variant
House of X Issue 2: Shalvey Connecting Variant
Marvel Legends Exclusive Purple Deadpool Figure
X-Men Cyclopes Enamel Pin
The box is X-men themed and looked really good. The bright yellow and red colors really popped and it had a wrap around picture across the front. (added a bonus cat in the pictures.
First up is the yearly letter which is in the X-men theme. I don’t know why but I do like these letters and they are printed on very nice paper stock.
The comics are the first two issues of House of X. The variants look great and I really like that they are connecting variants.
I’m not going to sugarcoat it, I’m disappointed in the Marvel Legends figure. This is clearly a just a old figure they already had with a new paint job and being called an “exclusive”. Marvel Unlimited Plus is a 30 dollar premium over the normal Marvel Unlimited subscription and while that isn’t a huge amount its enough that I expect better than this. Right now the Deadpool figure goes for 19 to 60 on ebay (which my figure will be joining them for sale soon…).
Last is the patch and pin. The enamel pin is similar quality to years past and while it’s not terrible it’s also only ok. I like the Scottie Young design on it but still feel mostly meh on it. I like the patch a lot, this is the new X-Men logo for House of X so there isn’t a lot of mech for it. It’s a cool design and fits in to the theme well.
What else do you get in a Marvel Unlimited Plus subscription? There are invites to members only events at SDCC, NYCC, and C2E2. They actually seem like cool events that if you go to them you get additional free variant covers of comics and some insider information at the panel. However, I don’t live anywhere near these events and will likely never go to them so it’s not much a benefit. You also get 15% off digital comics from comixology / Marvel Comics Digital store. However, Marvel has just recently announced the Marvel Comics shop is closing so this benefit is ending. Lastly you can get 10% off all things from marvelshop.com. I’ve never used this benefit before and forget that it is a benefit entirely, but hey, 10% isn’t much but it’s something.
Overall outside of the disappointment in the Marvel Legends figure it’s a really great box and I’m pleased with what I got in it.
Does it make a lot of sense to do an unboxing for something that came out a year and a half ago? Not really. But here we are.
This is my fifth year being a Marvel Unlimited Plus member and the theme for 2018 was Venom, based on the fact that the movie was coming out a few months after the release of the new Unlimited Plus kit. I’ll be honest I’m not a huge Vemon fan. When a villian becomes popular enough to become the “star” or the “anti-hero” it has rarely worked out. They wind up just being the hero “but edgy” while not actually being edgy at all. But that isn’t why we are here.
First off here is a run down of everything included in the kit:
Venom Vol. 4 Issue 1: Marvel Unlimited Subscription Variant by Paul Renaud
Fantastic 4 Patch
The Thing Enamel Pin
Marvel Legends Venomized Punisher Action Figure
The box was venom themed and looked pretty good. It had a cool venom logo in the inside and on the flap. I added a bonus picture of Celine helping me take pictures.
First up is the yearly letter. It’s very much the least important item in the box but I actually do appreciate it. Its on nice paper stock and has a vemon theme. I hope they continue to include this in the future boxes.
The comics are look great, the art is fantastic and event though its two different artists they have a similar theme. I like that the art also takes up the whole front cover and has the Marvel Unlimited logo at the bottom as well. In my case I enjoy the comics and have kept all of the ones I’ve received in these Unlimited Plus packages. However if you are looking at upgrading to the Plus subscription to make money off the comics sadly they don’t go for much at all. It’s been a year and a half since this box was released at the resell price for these comics is still at $5 which is the cover price for the comics. 10 dollars for the two is still something but for a variant that I’d imagine is actually kind of rare i’d have thought it would go for more
Next is the Venomized Punisher Marvel Legends figure. Overall it’s a nice looking figure. It doesn’t look like they just put spare parts together like they did last year for the Tony Stark figure and used a new mold. Like I said before, I’m not a huge Venom fan so I actually winded up selling mine on ebay. Unlike the variant comics the Marvel Legends figures still catch a decent price and this figure is still going for 60 to 100 dollars on ebay.
Next is The Thing Enamel Pin and Fantastic Four Patch. There isn’t a whole lot to say about these. The quality of the patch is fairly good but the quality of the pin is only ok. I do like that they have been including the patches in with the kits but wish the pins were better quality. It is a little odd that they went with Fantastic Four for these since the box, Marvel Legends figure, and comics were all venom themed.
What else do you get in a Marvel Unlimited Plus subscription? There are invites to members only events at SDCC, NYCC, and C2E2. They actually seem like cool events that if you go to them you get additional free variant covers of comics and some insider information at the panel. However, I don’t live anywhere near these events and will likely never go to them so it’s not much a benefit. You also get 15% off digital comics from comixology / Marvel Comics Digital store. This isn’t a terrible benefit but I generally forget about it and don’t use it. In order to get it you have to buy your comics through Marvels separate digital store so it’s unlikely you’ll get to stack your 15% off with other comixology deals. If you are buying full price comics from marvel digitally this could be a good deal though. Lastly you can get 10% off all things from marvelshop.com. I’ve never used this benefit before and forget that it is a benefit entirely, but hey, 10% isn’t much but it’s something.
Overall I’m pretty pleased with the package. Basically it’s a 30 dollar premium to get Marvel Unlimited Plus over a yearly Marvel Unlimited subscription and I’ve still found it worth it to pay for it. Selling the Marvel Legends figure actually brought the price of the entire subscription down quite a bit but it’s not something I factored in to my decision to continue to get a plus subscription
It’s been a while. It’s funny, in my mind I hadn’t posted in a few months and then I actually look and whoops it’s been 3 years. A lot has changed and some hasn’t changed. I’ll get into it more in a future post but basically I got really burned out on comics after the Secrete Wars / Convergence event back in 2015 and never really recovered from it. I went from a weekly reader of new comics to going well past a year of reading any new comics. I’ve tried to read some here and there but mostly have struggled to get back into comics. I hope to still blog about comics here and pick up some series but honestly I’m not going to force it. So there may be a slew of non comic related posts on here instead.
Outside of comics there is news I have to post and it is entirely cat related. Our clan of two has become and clan of 3 and we added a new cat to the family last summer. We were not planning on having more cats than people in the house but fate had different plans. We found Celine at my wife’s work and decided to give her a home. I wouldn’t say she’s “getting along” with the other cats but they have decided on a understanding of each other and mostly continue to keep to themselves.
It’s the most wonderful time of the year! That’s right it’s Marvel Unlimited Plus time! I started subscribing to Marvel Unlimited as a birthday gift and it just so happens that the new Unlimited Plus box comes out within days of my birthday so when I do get a the new box it really is brand spanking new. For this unboxing I want to do two things, first I want to have a classic unboxing of this years box but afterwards I want to reflect on the last two years boxes and discuss what their value is today. But first comes first, lets get to the unboxing!
Here is a closer look on the outside of the box art which has a gold theme this year.
So let’s open it up! Inside there is a little space for the comics and letter and underneath the flap is where the Marvel Legends figure, pins and patch are
First up is the boring part, the letter! It describes whats in the box and has a little state of the union address about the past year and how things are going.
Next up is the comics! As with the last two years we get three exclusive variant cover issues. Last year the comics were by the same artist but they did not interconnect which was kind of disappointing since they did in the 2015 box. This year the cover to interconnect once again and they create an epic fight scene against Thanos. Looks like Marvel is once again following tradition of ignoring the characters they don’t have the movie rights to as there are no X-Men or Fantastic Four on any of these covers.
In this years box we get the following comics:
Edge of the Venomverse Issue 1
Spider-Men II Issue 1
Guardians of the Galaxy The Telltale Series Issue 1
Next up we have the pins and patches. The patch is pretty cool, it is a Skottie Young version of Thanos. The pins are a little disappointing, they are the heads of Captain America and Spider-man. They are decent quality enamel pins but feel a little lazy and not near as cool as the Eye of Agamotto pin from last year.
Lastly we have the Exclusive Marvel Legends Tony Stark figure. It looks fantastic. The tie is actually separate piece of plastic from the suit and overall its a very well made figure. It’s hard to believe they haven’t made a just Tony Stark figure before this so it is cool that this is really an exclusive and not just a different paint job of a figure that was already out like last year’s Captain Marvel figure.
A slight note on the Tony Stark figure. While this is a new figure, it is clearly made from parts of figures they have previously release. The body is from the Marvel Legends Chameleon Figure with the head from the Marvel Legends Civil War 3 Pack. It’s not a huge deal but is a little disappointing that is isn’t a truly original figure. The 2015 R.E.S.C.U.E. figure was 100% original and a completely new mold and character that had never been released. It would be nice to get something on that level in these boxes.
Overall I liked this box a lot. Between the three years I’ve been a Marvel Unlimited Plus member I would rank this box second, better than 2016 but not as good as 2015.
Marvel Unlimited / Marvel Unlimited Plus, is it Worth it?
How many comics do I have to read before I start saving money by using Marvel Unlimited? Pretty simple, if you are just getting the Marvel Unlimited Subscription ($60 per year) you have to read at least 15 new release comics to get your money’s worth out of it. If you are getting Marvel Unlimited Plus you have to read 25 new release comics to get your money’s worth out of it. There are approximately 20 new release comics added to the Marvel Unlimited app every week, which is 1,040 new comics per year. If you read just 2.5% of the new released comics within a year you will have paid for your Unlimited Plus (1.4% for just Marvel Unlimited) subscription for the year. That is just new release comics. Marvel also adds back issues to the app weekly as well. In general the total number of comics added per week is generally 50, which is 2,600 new comics a year. If you don’t want to commit to a full year you can try it on a monthly basis for $10 dollars a month and see if you like it before you buy a whole year of service. Generally around San Diego and New York Comic Con you can get a month of service for pennies or free.
What are the Differences Between Subscriptions
The chart below will show you the differences between the Marvel Unlimited and Marvel Unlimited Plus subsciption
Basically Marvel Unlimited Plus gets you the yearly box along with 15% off digital comics, 10% off merchandise from marvel.com and access to events. The events are members only panels at San Diego, Chicago, and New York Comic-Con. If you are lucky enough to go to these Comic-Cons the events are suppose to be really cool. They show you some art and talk about upcoming comics and will generally give out exclusive variant comics to every one who attends. If you don’t live in New York, Chicago, or New York you are kind of out of luck. I was able to go to a free screening of Dr. Strange for myself and a friend in the city I live in last year courtesy of Marvel Unlimited. I’ve only received one of these invitations but it was really cool and an extra bonus from my subscription.
Face it tiger you just hit the jackpot. We’ve had Gwen Stacy Variant Covers but now Spider-man’s lady in red is getting her own set of variant covers. This June (2017) Marvel is releasing 22 variant covers featuring Mary Jane Watson. See the complete list and images below.
All-New Guardians of the Galaxy #3 by Kris Anka
All-New Wolverine #21 by David Lopez
Avengers #8 by Mike Allred
Black Bolt #2 by Ryan Stegman
Captain America: Steve Rogers #18 by Paolo Rivera
Champions #9 by Helen Chen
Daredevil #21 by Humberto Ramos
Deadpool #32 by Elizabeth Torque
Doctor Strange #22 by Francisco Herrera
Gwenpool, The Unbelievable #17 by David Nakayama
Hulk #7 by Rahzzah
I Am Groot #2 by Julian Totino Tedesco
Invincible Iron Man #8 by Marco Checchetto
Iron Fist #4 by Stephanie Hans
Mighty Thor #20 by Patrick Brown
Secret Warriors #3 by Javier Rodriguez
Spider-Gwen #21 by Kevin Wada
The Mighty Captain Marvel #6 by Chris Samnee
The Punisher #13 by Dave Williams
Venom #151 by Francesco Mattina
X-Men Blue #5 by Emanuela Lupacchino
X-Men Gold #5 by Anthony Piper
As an extra bonus here are four more variant covers with Mary Jane as member of the Avengers drawn by J. Scott Campbell
As if my weekly television didn’t consist of enough comic book properties on February 8th FX is premiering a new show called Legion which centers around David Haller, aka Legion, aka Professor Xavier’s son. I am pretty excited, the previews so far have been pretty awesome (check out the trailer here) and I’ve always been a big fan of the X-Men. Which brings us to the matter at hand! Legion is considered the first live action adaptation of X-Men to come to television but that is wrong. Back in the dark times before the internet (1996) the X-Men appeared on TV in one of the most epic trainwrecks of all time, Generation X.
Generation X the movie is based on Generation X the comic which was first published in 1994. Generation X (Comic) was a spin off of the main X-Men series created by writer Scott Lobdell and artist Chris Bachalo. It centers around the teenage students of the Xavier School, Chamber (Jonothon “Jono” Starsmore), Husk (Paige Guthrie), Jubilee (Jubilation Lee), M (Monet St. Croix), Mondo, Gaia, Penance, Skin (Angelo Espinosa), and Synch (Everett Thomas). Some of which were mutants from other series and a handful of new mutants created for the series. They are mentored by teachers at the Xavier School Banshee (Sean Cassidy) and Emma Frost (The White Queen).
In casting aspect Generation X (movie) was actually kind of faithful to the comics. Banshee and Emma Frost are the teachers at the school in the comics as they were in the movie. Jubilee, M, Skin, and Mondo are also in both the movie and comics, while they added two new mutants Kurt Pastorius and Arlee Hicks. Kurt doesn’t appear in any comics, he seems to have powers simlar to cyclops but it is fairly unclear what they really are. Alree has super strength powers which cause her to be really buff.
The movie starts off with our villain Russel Tresh moments away from cutting the brain out of an unsuspecting mutant. At the last minute steps in Emma Frost with some cops to shut him down. However, after saving the mutant, he is immediately apprehended by the cops for being unregistered and Tresh goes away free. Smash cut to an arcade. A young Jubilee is playing Virtual Fighter which is also laced with subliminal messaging to keep the teenages playing. In a trance Jubliee accidentally uses her powers which destroy the machine and cause her to be arrested. Cut to Emma Stone waking up in a four post bed being all super sexy. She Banshee go to pick up another mutant (Skin) and stop off to get Jubilee on the way. They convince Jubliee’s parents to let her go to the Xavier school where she will learn to control her powers. They then get Skin who we learn has stretchy limbs powers similar to Mr. Fantastic (except they seem to hurt him).
Jubilee and Skin are brought to the Xavier school where they are processed and meet the other students. They join in a pick up game of football where they are hazed a little but seem to fall in with the rest of the kids. There is a montage of the kids living together and all of them standing in line for the one bathroom in the school (seriously? just one?) where we learn that there is something weird with Arlee’s body and she wears baggy clothes to hide it. We then see the kids at class where they learn to hone their telepathic powers which apparently all mutants have in this world. Skin finds out that there is a machine locked away that lets you enter people’s dreams and shows Jubilee (this will come in to play later). The kids then convince Banshee to let them take the car and go to town where Skin meets a pretty blonde but her jock friends pour food on him.
While all this is happening our villain is creating the same dream machine that Emma has for a super shady corporation. He tells them it will be to sell products to kids while they sleep subliminally but he is really just wants revenge on Emma Frost. After a disastrous presentation to the companies board of directors he is fired. Tresh however is plugged in to the dream machine when they come to get him, pulling the plug and locking him in the dreamworld. Tresh gets revenge killing his boss by making him jump out of a building while he is asleep.
Skin and Jubilee use Emma’s dream machine which Tresh is able to find them and freak them out. Tresh then blackmails Skin in to helping him by threatening to harm his little sister. Once Tresh is saved from the dream world by Skin, he turns on Skin and wants to cut out his brain so he can have mutant powers as well. Jubliee discovers Skin is missing and alerts Emma. The school goes to Tresh’s lab and defeat him. The movie ends with the students getting suits.
While this movie actually films at the same mansion that is used in the 2000’s X-Men movie there are literally no other mutants in the mansion. Besides the 6 students and 2 teachers the school is empty.
Even though there are X’s everywhere and the school is the Xaiver school there is no mention of the X-Men or Charles Xavier outside the name of the school.
I’m still uncertain what was wrong with Arlee’s body. There is a scene where Jubilee accidentally walks in on her in a dressing room and you see a sort of buff back for a half a second but it is still unclear.
Tresh is super annoying. He has a Jim Carey Riddler vibe going on and his motivations are super unclear. He focuses most of the movie around getting this technology built to go into the dreamworld but really seems to want to cut open a mutants brain to get telepathic powers.
If you thought you’d see a badass fight with mutants using their powers, too bad! Almost all the action takes place in the dream world which is super murky and unclear what it is. For a movie about mutants they spend a ton of time dealing with this weird dream world.
The version of the movie I watched happened to be the UK version which has a few differences.
Jubilee has to talk her clothes off when she gets to the mansion for a full body scan. There isn’t actual nudity but it was weird and doesn’t play out to anything (see the 18:45 mark).
Jubliee goes on a weird F-bomb run after they first go into the dream world. This is when I realized this version was different. It’s only at this part of the movie that there is any swearing and its really weird (see the 52:13 mark).
When Tresh threatens Skin he says he will rape Skin’s sister. It’s really creepy and dark (see the 1:11:12 mark).
Generation X was better than I thought while still being weird and a disaster. I was surprised they actually had a decent amount of big name mutants from the Generation X comics. However they managed to barely have them use their mutant powers at all. I get it. The technology wasn’t there and on a TV budget they just couldn’t afford to have them use their powers and make it look good. But still they had to no it was an issue going in to it and using this weird dream world was a huge mistake. Anyways you don’t have to take my word for it, the entire movie is posted on YouTube for free! God bless you internets.
This weekend the two greatest superheros of all time are going to face off for the first time in theaters everywhere. This of course begs the question, what am I going to jam out to while the two juggernauts duke it out? Well no fears, Comic Books and Cats has got you covered with fresh new playlist to hype you up for the movie (if you haven’t seen if yet) or to nurse that sweet post movie hangover. You can listen to the directly through the app below or here is a direct link to the playlist on Spotify.
For the month of February there are some inception levels of Neal Adams in the variant covers from DC Comics. We have Neal Adams, playing homage to himself through 25 different covers. As an added bonus I not only was able get the color covers but Neal Adams released the pencils for each cover as well!
Before we get in to the movie we have to address the elephant in the room. There is no way to talk about this movie without first thinking about the Taylor Swift song. I’m sure that DC Animation Studios picked the name for this movie way before Taylor Swift released 1989 but it doesn’t really matter at this point. The name Bad Blood will forever be associated with Taylor Swift and we just have to deal with it. It’s Taylor’s World, we are just visiting. So that being said here is the music video for Bad Blood so you can just have it playing in the background while you read the rest of this post.
While this is a stand alone film it lives in the same world and continuity of the Son of Batman films. The first film of this series is Son of Batman, followed by Batman vs. Robin, bringing us to the third entry Batman: Bad Blood. While all these movies live in the same continuity you definitely don’t need to see the first two films to understand what is going on in Batman: Bad Blood. There are a couple of little nods to the first two films but it is mostly original material.
This film is loosely based on the 2009 Comic Book event Batman: Battle of the Cowl. The key word here is loose. Battle of the Cowl takes place following Batman R.I.P. where Batman was killed (kinda) and was lost in the time stream to become Batman during various ages in time. Bat-mite is involved, its written by Grant Morrison and barely comprehensible (comics be crazy yall). So Batman: Bad Blood is like that, in that Batman is out of commission and Nightwing (Dick Grayson) takes over the mantle of Batman, just for a lot shorter duration.
During the year or so that Batman was out of commission during Batman R.I.P. we were also reintroduce to Batwoman as she took over Detective Comics for issues 854-863. So it’s fitting that we also see the modern Batwoman (Kate Kane) introduced in this film. There was a DC Animated film, Batman: The Mystery of the Batwoman in 2003 but this Batwoman isn’t anything like the modern new 52 Batwoman. If you want a kickstart into the character of Batwoman, Batman: Bad Blood is your best bet.
The movie starts with typical bust up job where we think we see Batman taking care of business, but surprise, its Batwoman. Batman does wind up joining her and the two take care of the lower level baddies and confront a new villain “The Heretic”. The fight moves over a giant catwalk, because of course they do, and Batwoman winds up falling off. Batman saves her but in doing so is stuck in the building as the Heretic blows it up and is persumed dead. Cut to two weeks later and Batman has not been seen since the accident. Nightwing (Dick Grayson) and Robin (Damian Wayne) come back to Gotham to help figure out what happened. I don’t want to just spoil the whole thing so I’ll just leave it (more or less) at that. Batwing gets involved and the four of them (Nightwing, Robin, Batwoman, and Batwing) have to work together in order to figure out what happened.
The movie is great. It fits in the same tone and world as Son of Batman and Batman vs. Robin so if you enjoyed those movies you’ll likely enjoy this one. Because these Batman movies have started to tie together it gives a lot more weight to the events in them and gives you a feeling of actual stakes to these films. There are a couple of deaths in this movie and they have a real impact to them. They definitely aren’t just trying to keep the status quo in these films and are taking the story where ever it needs to go.
The introduction of Batwing and Batwoman are done well. We get a lot of backstory on Kate Kane, who she is, why she’s doing what she’s doing. We don’t quite get as much for Batwing. We see his origin on screen but other than a line or two about him being in the military we don’t really get a lot of information about him. There is only so much time in these films so I don’t fault the film makers that much for it. If you had to choose between spending more time on Kate or Luke, I’d rather it have been Kate.
If you don’t already know Kate Kane is a lesbian and this part of her life is in the film. We see her go on an awkward first date with Renee Montoya and her father keeps trying to get her to go out and find a nice girl. This was all handled matter of factly and as a part of who she is instead of her defining characteristic.
We also see Damian has grown a lot as a character since his introduction in Son of Batman. He’s no longer blood thirsty and genuinely living by the code of justice, not vengeance. He’s no longer just doing this to please Batman but it really seems to be a part of who he is now.
We get a closer look at the relationship between Nightwing and Batman and a explanation of why Dick felt he needed to take up the mantle of Nightwing and leave Gotham. Grayson takes up the mantle of Batman in his absence for the sake of Gotham but only reluctantly. Grayson has been trying to get out of Batman’s shadow his entire life and the movie does a good job of inner conflict within him.
We’ve never gotten a “Marvel Style” teaser at the end of any of these DC Animated films but Batman: Bad Blood may have given us just that. At the very end of the film we see the Bat Signal turn on and Batman, Batwing, Nightwing, and Batwoman all suit up and respond. And then, right before the credits roll, BOOM! Batgirl! We’ve never seen Batgirl in any of these DC Animated films and not only is this Batgirl but it’s the Babs Tarr New 52 Batgirl as well! We haven’t heard any announcement of what the next Batman Animated film will be but I would bet money we are finally going to see a Batgirl solo movie.