Super Hero Squad Rumorbuster

Friday, May 30, 2008

Super Hero Squad Character Checklist

A new checklist, this one for individual characters, has been posted here. Right now it includes all 96 characters that have a Super Hero Squad figure. It does differentiate between Ultimate, Movie and 616/Classic/Comic versions of characters, but does not differentiate between variants, costume changes and "civilian look" or "powering up/powered down" characters. Perfect for people who are only collecting the line for certain characters and don't care about 23 Spider-Men in different poses or a complete armory of Iron Man.

There's one hopefully-not-too-controversial decision I made though, and that was listing the Iron Spider-Man armor as Scarlet Spider. I know it's not the Ben Reilly Scarlet Spider, but the armor is currently being used by the Scarlet Spiders over in Avengers: The Initiative, with no distinction that I can see. It looks like the Scarlet Spiders are going to remain as distinct characters, in much the same way Spider-Man's Slingers costumes remain in use years after the few months Spider-Man stayed in them.

So go, download, enjoy.

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Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Super Hero Squad Puzzles

Confirming that Super Hero Squad is spreading out far and wide as a brand, enjoy these puzzles shown here. This follows the release of similar Iron Man puzzles shown here

The official product description is:

"The ultimate puzzles for young super hero fans! The colorful scenes feature Spider-Man, Hulk, Wolverine, and other heroes in action. Who will win the battle? Add and change the stickers so that no two scenes ever look the same!"

Approximate Retail: 7.99 (but since two puzzles are shown, is that price for both?

Ages: 5 and up (while the toys themselves are 3 and up)

Pieces: 70

One puzzle is a Spider-Man-heavy scene featuring Spider-Man, Hulk, Iron Man and Hawkeye going against Venom, classic Green Goblin and Doctor Octopus. As stated above, included is a set of stickers, this time featuring Wasp, a pumpkin bomb, and a few power signatures (looks like webs, flames, an arrow, some rocks.)

The other is an interesting ditty with Wolverine, Cyclops and partially iced up Bobby Drake/Iceman going against Sabretooth and Magneto. This puzzle, interestingly enough, is shown coming with an Ant-Man sticker and Thor's hammer Mjolnir.

Both feature mostly the same stock art we've seen from the boxes of the figures themselves. I can't recall seeing the Venom art on any figure's before, but Hawkeye, Bobby Drake, Sabretooth et al look like simple flips of the art from their packs, which just further rubs in our faces how the mid-90's sleek Sabretooth costume most remember from X-Men The Animated Series or the early Jim Lee issues of adjectiveless X-Men was not the costume we received.

Hopefully future puzzles, if there are any, feature more original art, but in the meantime these could be worse right?

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Tuesday, May 27, 2008

A Super Hero Squad Checklist

I had no idea the site would turn out so ugly, but I put up a page with a clickable, printable, collectible, Super Hero Squad checklist. Like I said, I had no idea the page would be so ugly, but since it basically exists as a supplement to this site and as a place to hold the checklist, I think we can all settle with it until I get around to making something prettier.

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Monday, May 26, 2008

Hulk: "The Brawl That Shook the World"

We apparently have a name for the Hulk Super Hero Squad movie set... "The Brawl That Shook the World."

First seen at Marvelous News there's been all kinds of discussion... who's in it, is it a replacement for the Hulk/Abomination 2-pack (that briefly disappeared from pre-order sites and was not seen carded in pictures until it was basically released), should you call it a 4-pack when it's 4 figures and a vehicle, are they all repaints or repacks?

Anyway, it's started showing up in Toys R Us's, with a sticker saying "Only at Toys R Us", and can be purchased at an insane premium on eBay ($25.00 in the stores, $45-$60 on eBay?) As I've already said, I'm trying not to link to scalpers on Ebay, but go and search if you're interested. Keep in mind that the first Toys R Us exclusives, the X-Men and Avengers re-paint sets, ended up on clearance for $3 if that seems too much for you. It will hopefully make you think twice before plunking down $60 for it.

Once I've run to town for mine I'll be able to answer my burning question: Are the Hulkbuster Soldiers different in any way than the one we already have?

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Saturday, May 24, 2008

The Case For... Nova

In the second "The Case For..." segment, we're talking Nova.

His cred: He's a bona fide 70's star for Marvel, and as Secret Invasion (and Brian Michael Bendis) have shown old is the new new. Just like "is the new ____" is the new over-used cliche.

He's had the dubious honor of having 4 absolutely distinct series, starting in the 70's as a Peter Parker-esque loser-type do-gooder and later Skrull bashing space crusader, then his 90's New Warriors spin-off where he juggled cross-overs power loss and replacements, then the baseball slinging series of the late 90's where for some reason almost everyone learned of his secret ID and without any good reason, to his most recent Annihilation-inspired series.

For anyone looking for suspected Skrulls, might I add that Richard Rider spent undocumented years in outer space fighting them, only to one day mysterious be sent back to Earth powerless until Night Thrasher "jump-started"
his powers? I'm not saying he's a Skrull (because then the Xandarian Worldmind would be ridiculously stupid) but he had a better chance of Skrullhood than others.

Anyway, he's the seminal New Warrior, appearing in every incarnation but the current X-Warriors line-up, and if Loners and the Initiative
have shown anything it's that there's a soft-spot for 90's teen heroes in the hearts of many (but in Loners' case, the wallets of few.)

We've seen him in action figure form back when Toybiz did the Silver Surfer line, and in the upcoming Marvel Legends wave, and in Minimate form with the upcoming Gamora 2-pack.

The design is a recognizable classic, albeit one that has been modified over the years, from the original, to the Annihilation style, to Kid Nova's browns, to full face-mask/shape-capable, to the vaguely Peter Quill style v-shaped star formation of New Warriors Volume 2.

And as for storylines, he'll play equally well busting heads with Spidey or battling Galactus out in an asteroid belt. He's gone toe-to-toe with Iron Man and decimated the Thunderbolts. The only thing he doesn't have? He's never been an Avenger.

Affiliations? He's a former Fantastic Four ally, at home with Super-Skrull and Silver Surfer, classic New Warrior (probably the most likely to get a figure), was a
Defender for a day back in 1978

Plus if all that's not enough, he does currently star in his own series which has benefited from tie-ins to Civil War, Annihilation and soon, Secret Invasion.

The downside: Well, he's never been A-list, and if you need proof of that, look to his appearance in wave 23 of Minimates and wave 19 (or however you want to calculate it) of Marvel Legends. Yeah, he's been in his own title on and off for years, but all 4 volumes don't even bring you to 80 issues.

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Thursday, May 22, 2008

Spider-Man Wave 1 on sale at Toys R Us, Hasbro Coupons, Collector Pack 1's price

TRU Sale

Toys "R" Us (aka TRU) is also having a sale on Wave 1 of Spider-Man Super Hero Squad shown here.

Iron Man Wave 2 Up for Order

And for those that prefer Hasbro Toy Shop The Genius of Tony Stark and Crimson Dynamo Attacks are up for sale. Unfortunately, they don't start shipping until August 28, 2008.

Hasbro Coupon Code

And after trying the SPRREQ8 coupon code, I can verify that it worked (at least for me) so happy shopping (for those that live where Hasbro Toy Shop ships... sorry friends in other countries.)

Collector's Pack Price Rumor, Finally Busted.

Rumor: The Collector's Pack was originally intended for sale at less than $30.00
Status: Soon to be busted.

This is just as something that's been on my chest for a while... the Collector's Pack's $30 initial price tag isn't a price goof-up, a mistake, an error, whatever. Toys R Us, in the stores at least, still have the set marked at $30 USD. Walmart, when they had them, priced themat $23 before their last mark-down, Marvelous News concurs with the $30.00 MSRP.

Yes, now Hasbro has marked regularly at $20, and currently on sale, but that does not mean that stores charging $30 were "mistaken". Sorry, that's just one of those persistent rumors that hasn't really bothered me enough to get a post, but one person keeps repeating it and it grates a little.

Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price isn't stone though, it's "suggested", and it's why you see Amazon listing movies at $30, "marked down to $20!" for a 30% discount. But, the fact remains, stores were told the MSRP was $30, and some stores still try to sell it at that much.

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Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Better pictures of the new Iron Man packs

Over at Marvelous News they're showing some promo pictures of the new figures included in the upcoming Iron Man Super Hero Squad 4-packs. It looks like Crimson Dynamo is getting repainted into a purple-ish/maroonish color, and Desert Armor Tony Stark is now more gold than brown.

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Wave 1, Wave 2, Mega Packs Wave 1 on sale at Hasbro

At Hasbro Toy Shop a Memorial Day Sale is resulting in Hulk/Wasp, Captain America/Hawkeye, Angel/Colossus, Iron Man/Thor, Galactus/Human Torch, and Sentinel/Wolverine all being marked down to $3.99. The Collector's Pack is marked down to $15.99 as well.

And finally, although I haven't had a chance to test it yet, the coupon code SPRREQ8 is supposed to get you 10% off.

Also on sale: An assortment of figures from various lines including Attacktix, Marvel Legends Icons, Marvel Legends, Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer, the Ronan Build a Figure Fantastic Four wave, and Spider-Man 3.

This could be a great chance to pick up the Collector's Pack you've been waiting on, or finally assemble that Sentinel army you've been wanting, so happy hunting.

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(Not the) End of Marvel Minimates

I've never really been a big fan of Minimates, the blocky look, the lack of early character selection, the fact that Ultimate X-Men were represented before regular X-Men, the fact that I just wasn't collecting collectibles when they started... a whole lot of reasons. But they've grown on me, and every so often a set comes out that I can't pass up.

Since Super Hero Squad came around, the whole SHS vs. Minimates argument has gone round in circles with no real winner. Articulation! Style! Characters! But recently I read this post at Minimate Headquarters which details some of the rumors regarding the death of the Marvel Minimates. These rumors of toy lines ending aren't anything new, as the talk surrounding Marvel Legends demonstrates.

The post went on about competition, licensing issues, lack of news and of course, the rumors.

Apparently, the sense of dread was unfounded as new lines of Minimates don't seem to be slowing down. Notice the Invaders set, a San Diego Comic Con exclusive, the Hulk Movie wave mentioned here, Iron Man Through the Ages, which is another SDCC exclusive, and the Avengers Assemble set seen here

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Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Will the Super Hero Squad begin in London?

Toytalk has this article about the Brand Licensing Europe exhibition and lists "Ice Age 3, Avatar, Fantastic Mr. Fox, Iron Man 2, Wolverine, Spectacular Spider-Man, Super Hero Squad, Thor, Captain America, New Avengers, Scooby-Doo, Batman, Harry Potter and Tom and Jerry" as some of the properties being shown in the October show. If the animated Super Hero Squad is really being pumped for a Spring 2009 start, then October would be a great time to break out a trailer of the cartoon. At this point, it's not a guarantee, just a hope, so we'll keep our fingers crossed.

The Brand Licensing Europe site itself has Marvel Entertainment International Ltd. at booth 455. Companies like Lego, Cartoon Network and TV-Loonland will also be there. TV-Loonland may not sound familiar, but as you can read here they were the fine folks onto numerous Hasbro properties like Transformers, thus making DVDs that much more problematic. TV-Loonland's website is here.

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Monday, May 19, 2008

Wave 8, promotional text problems, and paint applications

I happened to see 3/4ths of Super Hero Squad Wave 8 at Target today and noticed a few things:

First: the Psylocke packs had the worst paint jobs I have seen in a long time. One had what looked like a chunk taken out of her cheek (similar to the nick I found on my Fin Fang Foom, a nick straight to the semi-translucentish plastic underneath the outer surface), and the “good one” has purple blemishes all over her arms and legs, while the “good” Wolverine looks dirty. It’s ok… I’ll consider it “battle damage.”

Second: This is apparently the last time we’ll see Wolverine in his classic blue and yellow garb. Up next is Samurai Wolverine, followed by a potential Weapon X Wolverine, and the Wolverine shown here is back to his Astonishing X-Men-esque look (no blue briefs, but blue running down the legs) although why Hasbro is digging to make a repaint of the version 1 Wolvie from the Wolverine/Sabretooth pack shown here rather than a paint of one of the newer sculpts is beyond me.

Third: I tend to enjoy the little descriptions they put on the various characters, and looking at the new packs reminded me of the text Hasbro has up for the Cable and Captain America 2-packs on their website:

“This chunky duo includes the evil-expressioned Cable figure and criminal-capturing Captain America figure both ready for a rumble!”

Apparently the copywriters haven’t read too many Cable books. On the other hand, he can be a little evil.

Fourth, and finally, the Flame Cycle has a kickstand! There was lots of complaining about Wolverine and his bike, but Ghost Rider is now able to sit comfortably on his bike without tipping over.

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Hulk Wave 2 Delayed

This isn't new news (to those of us that ordered the packs when we saw them) but I keep forgetting to put it up here.

When Hulk Wave 2 Super Hero Squad figures were put up for order on Hasbro's website, as mentioned a while back I was surprised at how quickly the ability to order came, noting how there was no pre-order/coming soon period.

Well, not too long afterwards, the fine folks at Hasbro Toy Shop sent an e-mail explaining that the product was now back-ordered. The current ship-time for Hulk Wave 2 (the She-Hulk, Wolverine, Thing, Black Bolt and Absorbing Man wave) is June 12, 2008, which is conveniently enough the same ship-date as Wave 8 (with Psylocke.) Unless one of these dates gets pushed back, it looks like many of us will have lots of boxes waiting in the mail box mid-June.

Meanwhile, Hulk Wave 2 is still available for purchase on Hasbro Toy Shop, and the somewhat elusive Cable and Deadpool packs are also back in stock.

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The Champions rumor

And for the other part of my latest rumor-busting romp, a dissection of the Champions rumor.

Basically, the crux of the rumor is that the Champions and X-Men 2 4-packs have been confirmed by Walmart SKUs.

I already discussed the Second X-Men Super Hero Squad theme pack at length in the City in Crisis post which, to summarize: the second X-Men 4-pack already came out, but because early posts with the SKUs called “City in Crisis” “the one with Emma Frost”, when the official name came out everyone assumed City in Crisis had been named changed to reflect Magneto, and then added City in Crisis back into contention when it was revealed that a 4-pack with that name came out. We got both X-Men packs, we know what “Urban Heroes”, “Winter Soldier Sa”, “Avengers”, and “City in Crisis” are now, and eventually when another X-Men pack comes out, everyone is going to assume it was the X-Men pack that we had the SKU for last year. Long story short: it has been confirmed, but it already came and went and we all have bamfing Nightcrawlers on our shelves.

As for Champions, it is not confirmed by Walmart SKUs.

The known SKUs for 4 packs are:
MVL CITY IN CRISIS 65356933020
MVL THEME PK X-MEN 1 65356930256
MVL THEME PK X-MEN 2 65356931769
MVL 4PK THE NEW F4 65356935071
4 PACK SECRET WARS 65356937551

No Champions listed there. There is mention of Champions coming out of coverage of Toyfair 2008 from Marvelousnews but no SKU, and no other information.

If anything, the fact that “The Champions” are a bit of a name-problem for Marvel, as they discovered during the World War Hulk when they originally pitched “The Order” as the Champions as seen here on Newsarama and then had to change plans as seen elsewhere on Newsarama, means it's probable that if and when we do see a Champions set, it may not even be called Champions, at least not officially. It's unlikely that it would be called New F4 or Defenders though.

So yeah, X-Men 2 was a confirmed Walmart SKU, but it's already been released, and Champions was mentioned at Toyfair, and reported on Marvelousnews, BUT it's not a confirmed Walmart SKU.

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More Spider-Man/Kraven/Vulture/Venom rumors

A couple of recent rumors have started, all apparently by one source who doesn’t like to be corrected by yours truly, so while I intended to do a quick run-down, it looks like there’s going to be a couple posts here:


The rumor: Poor Sales killed Kraven

Truth: Nobody knows why he was pulled. This rumor is essentially a portmanteau of existing rumors and unrelated theories. In early January, 2008, a user on a SHS forum reported that he heard it was pulled for a design issue. Also in early January, other users on the same forum reported that their Walmarts were restructuring the toy departments to take out Spider-Man SHS, leaving only Robot Heroes, Super Hero Squad, and Galactic Heroes.

(insert message board posts from people claiming they’ve seen Kraven, they’ve seen others who have purchased Kraven, etc.)

In late January 2008, the same user said his source from Hasbro said that Spider-Man/Kraven would be officially released May 8th.

(insert message board posts from people complaining that Kraven is going to be “movie” version, whatever that means.)

(insert message board posts from people insisting they heard that February was the release date, that March was the release date, that they see it for pre-order here, or there.)

In February, the user with the source said Big Bad Toy Store sent him notice that Hasbro was not able to fill the order for a case with Kraven, and that Hasbro “have just informed me that they do not have any new assortments that include this item scheduled for 2008.” He then says his source still says May.

In March, the user with the source said his source now says that the Spider-Man line didn’t “do well enough at stores to release any further product.”

Note, this is not “Kraven was cancelled because of low sales”, but that Kraven was never released and a guy knows someone that said Kraven would come out months after the Spider-Man line was phased out of stores and stopped having new waves announced, and that someone later changed their mind.

Now, there’s a Vulture rumor from the same source that says Vulture and the Venom/Sandman packs are rare because poor sales resulted in limited quantities. Again, totally unfounded. While Marvel did say that Spider-Man sales were disappointing in an earnings call documented here on Seeking Alpha that was in August 2007. So they knew the sales were disappointing line wide on Spider-Man toys in August, continued to announce upcoming waves including the Kraven wave, released 2/3rds of the wave, and finally 5 months later major retailers take the line off the shelves (months after the wave had hit shelves, sold out and was not refreshed.)

In fact, Marvel does not even discuss the possibility of toy product scale down in the earnings call mentioned earlier. They do say “While Hasbro has not been disappointed with licensed Marvel toy sales to date, we have reduced our forecast for the second half of the 2007 to the lower end of their forecast to reflect a possibility of lower reorders, though we are hopeful that the planned DVD releases in Q4 will further stimulate sales.”

Which, in English, means Hasbro is ok with toy sales (if Hasbro was disappointed in toy sales, Marvel wouldn’t come out and say it, they’d just avoid mentioning Hasbro altogether rather than misrepresenting facts to their shareholders and then publishing those mis-representations) but Marvel doesn’t think they’ll get as much money from the toy line as they once thought they would.

No consideration of distribution problems whatsoever though, or the fact that every message board post I’ve ever found of someone finding the figures was at a Walmart, or how the toys were never even included on Hasbro’s site. Of course, for the distribution angle, the closest we have to an “official” (and I use the term loosely) word is discussed in this post where we nitpick how a guy named ransomz on Marvelousnews says that when he talked to a guy named Scott, from marketing, that the third wave of Spider-Man had crap for distribution and "Some of the figures, like Kraven, may be worked back into future waves of the main line” (keeping in mind that the third wave was the Green Goblin/New Goblin 2 pack wave, and not the Vulture Wave)

Grains of salt people.

And while I’m talking about the dearly departed Spider-Man line, there’s a really, really silly rumor regarding the switch from prototype Venom in the Venom/Puma pack, discussed in an earlier post. Basically, the new rumor is: “the Venom on the back of the package was the Venom that was originally supposed to be released in this 2-Pack, because it was too small to fit in with the line it was removed and replaced with this Venom.”
Of course no source whatsoever would be foolish enough to put a name to this.

The Venoms were switched, but there was never a reason given, either officially or unofficially, on the record or off. The Venom depicted was less hulking than the sculpt that had already been released, and the later re-sculpt, but this is a great example of a misapplied deduction.

There’s a pattern of circumstances made obvious after an event, so thus the event must have been triggered by non-conformity with the pattern. Unfortunately with this line of deduction while the guess may be logical, or “truthy” in a Colbert sense, it’s not actually supported by anything, and can easily be mis-applied. For instance, one could also argue that because the new Venom wasn’t the same as the Venom that had been released, he was replaced. It uses the same facts to arrive at the same truth, but it is not supported.

So while there may be some truth to the rumor, it’s pure guesswork based on faulty deduction.

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Sunday, May 18, 2008

Secret Wars, Alien Invasion, and more speculation

I'm going to do a mini-rumor run-down of the new 4-pack SKUs that were released:

4 PACK SECRET WARS 65356937551
4 PK ALIEN INVASION 65356937552

Now, I've already heard theories about both, but for the most part, everyone has acknowledged that they're just theories. I did hear one guy posit that Beyonder was in the Secret Wars pack (thus making it a 1980's Secret Wars pack by default), but I want to caution everyone, as I always do, that there's nothing official. Absolutely nothing. Not even the SKUs (although they've proven rather reliable).

So while Secret Wars could be a 1980's Secret Wars and Secret Wars II flashback, with Beyonders, Julia Carpenter version Spider-Woman/Arachne, Molecule Man, Symbiote Spider-Man, Volcana, or repaints of various Marvel Heroes (since many Super Hero Squad figures were involved in those two retro-runs there's lots to choose from.)

However, they could also be referring to the recent Secret Wars series that directly leads to Secret Invasion. Repaints of Spider-Man, Captain America and Wolverine? Luke Cage and 616 Nick Fury getting figures? Daisy Johnson, lady Octopus, Generic S.H.I.E.L.D. Agent... who knows. The one thing we do know is that we don't know.

Alien Invasion is just as nebulous right now. Is it Skrull army builder set tying in to Secret Invasion? Skrull-Elektra/Skrullektra? Nick Fury? Iron Man? Ms. Marvel? Wonder Man? Yellowjacket? Captain Marvel? Maybe it's just run-down of various aliens, like Kree Soldiers, the Hulk's Warbound or the Brood? Nobody knows!

So all these ideas are possible, some are more likely than others, all are likely to excite someone, even if not everyone, but remember to take speculation with a grain of salt until something official comes along.

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Iron Man Battle Packs Wave 2 correction?

Entertainment Earth and Cmdstore are both listing the next wave of Iron Man packs as including the Genius of Tony Stark 4-pack and something called "Desert Face Off" while Hasbro is calling it "Crimson Dynamo Attacks" so that may be a new pack, but, let's remember the solicitation text still available on

"The nuclear-powered Super Villain known as the CRIMSON DYNAMO attacks one of Stark International's secluded desert storage facilities, intent on stealing what technology he can sell, and destroying the rest. Luckily, IRON MAN is there, testing his new desert combat armor. Using his remote systems, he takes control of two other powerful armor systems and turns the tables on his attacker!"

I've added bolding and italics to the references to the desert. No official word yet, but Desert Face Off could very well just be a renamed version of Crimson Dynamo Attacks, so hopefully we can hold off on telling the world that there's been a new 4-pack announced.

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Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Comic-Style Abomination, A First Look at Mystique, and the Gamma Lab Up Close!

First, as a follow-up to an earlier post, I checked out Animation Magazine again to see if I could find any information on a bigger shot of that promotional art they featured. As you'll remember from my post here we saw Ultimate Nick Fury and others, but some of the figures were crossed off.

Sometime after I posted the link (or else it was there and I totally missed it) they posted the full shot. So what do we see? Abomination is NOT the movie Abomination I thought he was! Great news for fans of the comic style figures. The white hand with the gun was Mystique (in what is our first artwork featuring her I might add) and Super-Skrull is also there. The white hand over Cyclops's shoulder was Iceman, and Hulk and Captain America also make full appearances.

But no Spider-Man.

Secondly, Cool Toy Review has this preview of the Gamma Lab Adventure, which is just a repaint of the Bank playset from the Spider-Man line. The paintjob for the apartment/garage section is a bit more Spider-like than the previous red, yellow, grey and white colors, but the maroon and orange Gamma Lab is… daring.

One fun game is to look at the box art for possible upcoming characters. When the Gamma Lab first appeared, the appearance of a comic Green Goblin took some people by surprise, but now that we’ve seen a larger shot, you’ll see comic book 616 Abomination (taking place before his battle with Red Hulk in Hulk 1 for obvious reasons), flying Iron Man, comic Green Goblin, comic Hobgoblin hiding behind Spidey’s apartment window, comic Venom, comic Doctor Octopus (sitting on his arms just like his recent release), fist-punching Thing from the upcoming Hulk wave 2 (where he accompanies She-Hulk), and of course Spider-Man and Hulk.

For those keeping track at home, if you purchased the original Bank Heist set, the later version of the Bank Heist set with the re-cast Spider-Car, the new Gamma Lab, and the Spider-Vehicles, you’ll have a whopping total of 5 vehicles, 4 of which use almost entirely the same mold (the Spider-Vehicle has a spring-loaded action feature, but otherwise the bodies for all 4 are the same) to drive your 20+ Spider-Men into battle on.

I think this is the first post where I talk about both about how many Spider-Men we have, and how conspicuously absent he is from other aspects of the line, so yeah, it gets a "too many Spider-Men" AND A "where's Spider-Man" tag.

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Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Super Hero Squad Wave 13 Speculation

I told you I'd be back to discuss the recent SKU releases.

As a warning, any guesses as to who is who is pure speculation. I'll discuss reasoning, possibilities, and I'm always open to more insight, but it's guesswork. A lot of people seem to exist on the "it's true until proven otherwise" theory when unfortunately things don't work like that.

On with the show...

First off we've already discussed initial impressions. If Spdr-Armor and Sprd-Man are Spider-Man figures, then the trend of 2 Spider-Men per wave continues and could be the 6th wave in a row to feature 2 Spider-Men.

For those keeping tabs, Psylocke wave (in stores now) has two Spider-Men, the Carnage/Ares wave has two Spider-Men, the Electro/Sentry wave has two Spider-Men.

And we have rumored waves (also pre-released SKUs) with the Ultron/Kang wave featuring "SPD" and "S-M", the Kang wave with "SMan" and "Insulated S-M", and this wave. Spider-Man retains his 25% placement rating. There was some talk early in the year (and for the life of me, I can't find the original interviews anywhere, but they dated around Toyfair 2008 so maybe I'll look for those later) about having 6 waves this year not counting Hulk and Iron Man. For those counting, we've got the Spider-Woman wave and the Psylocke wave currently out, Ares and Electro waves already shown on Hasbro's site, the Ultron and Kang waves shown in previously released SKUs. And Avalanche wave makes 7. So was the early news of only 6 waves bunk? Was it accurate, but Hasbro under-estimated the line and move up figures? Is the Avalanche wave coming next year? All I know for sure is it's a far cry from months ago on the Marvelousnews message boards where one gentleman announced news from source, a dealer who heard from a Hasbro insider, that Super Hero Squad was canceled.

I've already heard the "why Character X, and not Y?" start already. Nobody seems shocked to see Tombst (which likely means Tombstone as I don't think many other Marvel characters have the letters Tombst in their names) but I've heard a few complaints against Avalanche (why Avalanche and not Blob? Why not Toad?) Other people are happy to see another member of the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants.

Spider-Man villains haven't seen some great releases, but the early movie/Ultimate versions of characters, including Ultimate Rhino, mean some fans are just dying for the 616 version. See our announcement about 616 classic comic Green Goblin here. If this is Rhino, and like we said earlier, not a lot of characters have Rhin in their names.

Beast is a mystery, with some speculation from left field saying it may be the Dark Beast. Villains have been somewhat rare, and a two-pack of villains has been unheard of outside of the Spider-Man line, so the Dark Beast seems like a longshot to me. A sculpt of Astonishing Beast seems more likely, especially if we ever see Shadowcat and the second Collector's Pack. All things are possible though.

The main mystery is BLK. BLK by itself means absolutely nothing, but we've got some possibilities:

Black Widow - Avengers are a mainstay of the line and we have started a pattern of one Avenger (not counting the obvious Spider-Man, Captain America, Iron Man and Wolverine choices) per wave, for instance, the upcoming Ares, Sentry, and Ronin, so she's got one plus in her column. She has a history with Captain America, both as teammate of the original and ex-lover of the current, so the pairing wouldn't be totally unusual.

Black Knight - While I think Black Widow might be more likely, just for her Avengers connection, Black Knight would be a great choice. He has always had a great design, one that gets minor tweaks every few years. He's been an Avenger, Hero for Hire, a part of Captain Britain's short-lived Excalibur mini-series team, and even the Ultraverse team Exiles. He will also feature in the upcoming Captain Britain and MI-13 series tying into Secret Invasion. If memory serves, he was a stone statute in Doctor Strange's house during the Defenders era and was even had a mini-series featuring Valkyrie. Little known fact, Exodus, who is currently a major player in X-Men Legacy and the recently completed Messiah Complex, shares a tragic one-shot with Black Knight and Sersi wherein we learn Apocalypse's role in his creation. Black Knight's recent Marvel Legends action figure is a sign that he's not completely forgotten. Still doesn't mean he's a lock for the position though.

Blackheart - He's got some publicity, mainly from videogame appearances going all the way back to Marvel's Capcom era. There's also his Ghost Rider movie appearance, and a history with Marvel characters Punisher, Daredevil, Spider-Man and the Inhumans, and his position as member of the Hellfire Club.

Black Bolt - A possibility, but given his upcoming Hulk figure it seems unlikely for Hasbro to put another one so soon.

Black Cat - Highly unusual pairing, but that's not determinative. There's no reason it ISN'T her, just no strong argument for her.

Black Crow - A relative rarity, he first appeared in a Captain America comic, but has later encountered Daredevil, Doctor Strange, and Red Wolf. His most recent appearance, that I know of, was as one of the many background filler characters in Civil War. Still, at least he's got connections to Captain America.

Black Box - the man formerly known as Comcast is a mostly obscure character, languishing in x-purgatory between his introduction in the early Deadpool limited series and his return in Cable & Deadpool. Now he's just another apparently dead x-character. On the plus side, he was once in a Cable & Deadpool story feature Captain America's girlfriend (and sometime foe) Diamondback and her BAD Girls.

Black Archer - from the Squadron Supreme, this would be the first Supreme figure for the line, but Supreme figures are a rare feat in Marvel's toys. In fact, I don't think I've ever seen a figure based on a Squadron Supreme character.

BlackLash - An old Iron Man foe, but one with a distinctive look and the possibility of a great sculpt. The original Blacklash is dead, but I think a new Blacklash was introduced in the pre-Ellis Civil War era Thunderbolts.

Black Brother - from Savage Tales 1, back in 1971? You mean you haven't had him on your wishlist since the line came out?

Black Fox - Either the hero from Front Line or the cat burlar... both seem highly unlikely.

Black Lama - Not likely.

And that's my run-down of the contenders, both likely and unlikely. Just remember, this is speculation. And also note, Black Mamba (Captain America's ally and enemy, in turns), the two Blackouts, Black Talon and Black Panther are also options but geez, you've had to read enough haven't you?

Analysis of the 4-packs later. Maybe I can put a poll up on who we think the BLK is.

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Sunday, May 11, 2008

Upcoming Rumored Releases/More Walmart SKUs

Boywithgun has released some more Walmart SKUs

2 packs:



4 PACK SECRET WARS 65356937551
4 PK ALIEN INVASION 65356937552

Unfortunately, I'll have to come back later for analysis and discussion, but in the meantime, this keeps up with the 2 Spider-Man 2-packs per wave trend (assuming Spider-Armor and Spider-Man are both Spider-Men), and the minimum one-resculpt/re-release per 2-pack trend.

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The Case For... Luke Cage

To begin, this is an idea I've tinkered with for a while. I didn't want to simply spout off wish-lists of characters, no matter how obscure or unlikely just because there's plenty of space. If you want a run of the mill Super Hero Squad want-list, you can visit any message board to see threads that are nothing but laundry lists of "needed" characters. Here, in each edition of "The Case For..." we're going to make the argument for a particular character. The main criteria is that there needs to be actual reasons why the character should be made. Of course, as the line goes on and the number of characters that have been released increases, we may have to stretch for some of the choices. On with the show...

Luke Cage has been a mainstay of the Marvel Universe for the better part of 36 years. Not always in the spotlight (for instance, after Power Man and Iron Fist ended and before his 90's revival in Cage he was largely missing. After the short-lived Cage and before minor revivals in Heroes For Hire and in the pages of Alias he was also mostly absent), he remains a recognizable icon.

His ties to many super teams make him a great roster-filler. Heroes for Hire, the Fantastic Four (albeit, only briefly), the Defenders (mostly in a consultant capacity during the Valkyrie/Nighthawk/Hellcat incarnation) and most importantly the Avengers would all find a place for the bullet-proof tiara wearing hero.

As a member of the New Avengers, Cage is one of the few remaining characters in need of a Super Hero Squad now that Ronin (as either Echo or Hawkeye depending on your preference) is amongst the released rumored Walmart SKUs and we've already seen Sentry's sculpt. Of the post-Civil War New Avengers, only Echo, Iron Fist and Cage remain un-sculpted.

He also remains a key-player in the Bendisverse, the corner of Marvel's universe controlled by Bendis. From his role in the Max series Alias, Secret War, House of M, New Avengers and Secret Invasion, Cage is a prominent star of the modern Marvel Universe. Outside of the Bendisverse, Cage is also going to be amongst the featured Avengers in the Avengers/Invaders mini-series, and of course we're also anticipating a Gendy Tartakovsky Cage out of continuity mini-series some day.

The downside: outside of his 70's era costume, he's never had a distinctive and consistent design. Preparing cage in a retro-70's costume is going to be too retro, too throwback for some, while his current non-costume is about as distinctive as "Ms. Marvel in jeans and a hoodie" or "Tony Stark in a suit that looks nice. Not too nice, because he's not a snob, but it's still sharp. Expensive sharp, not necessarily design sharp" would be. Distinctive until Cage changes his shirt.

Also, no fan could rest until an Iron Fist is released to team up with. Although Hasbro has shied away from "dream packs" where both characters in the two-pack are related in such a way that the pack feels complete, satisfying, Luke Cage and Iron Fist would be a dream-pack for many fans. It would also make up for the number of Cable/Deadpool fans who shook their fists at the heavens upon learned they needed to purchase separate two-packs to get the pair.

In short: Cage may not be A-List, but he always ends up in the high profile projects and would help round-out any Squad fan's New Avengers roster.

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Saturday, May 10, 2008

Psylocke Wave is on the streets...

A user on the Super Hero Squad Forums reported finding the Psylocke wave (Wave 8 according to Wikipedia, 7 to collectors who counted the double-ship of waves in November as one wave) in Target, Foster City, CA (CA seems to be where new waves hit first, note to people looking to move to buy toys), and some eBay auctions are showing Psylocke auctions from San Jose and Redondo Beach.

I've decided not to link to eBay auctions because I really don't agree with scalpers, and while it's possible that one particular eBay seller happened to accidentally buy 3 extra copies of the soon-to-be-short-packed (if Entertainment Earth's case revisions are accurate) Wolverine/Psylocke the week she's released and decided to put some on eBay, I just don't want to drive prices up for individual scalpers up.

Meanwhile, Hasbro's official store is reporting that those of us able to pre-order Psylocke have an expected ship date of May 26, 2008 (which is about right since Hasbro's ship date tends to be a few weeks after the street date) and Hulk Wave 2 is supposed to start shipping May 12.

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Friday, May 9, 2008

More New Super Hero Squad Artwork

I wonder where these cool pieces of promo art keep coming from. It seems like most people continue to use the same stock art, but a couple sites just happen to luck into some interesting pieces. Like VGBlogger for instance, with it's interesting picture of Human Torch, Silver Surfer, Hulk, Iron Man, Captain America (I knew they'd make up after the Super Hero Squad Civil War!) Falcon and Wolverine. It's going to be interesting to see characters like Falcon, Ultimate Nick Fury (as seen in the last post about promo artwork here) and others sharing the spot-light in the upcoming installments of the franchise.

Once again, note the lack of Spider-Man. Some sites are reporting that Spider-Man is in the cartoon and the action figure lines, but mention of Spidey has been suspiciously scrubbed from much of the promotional artwork and the official press releases.

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Thursday, May 8, 2008

MSN reports on the Super Hero Squad video game

MSN has an article about the recent THQ video game news, but accuracy-wise... well, it has it's points. Here's a rundown, both high and low:

"Simon Phillips, President, Marvel International and Head of Worldwide Animation and Video Games, added, 'Licensing of the Marvel Super Hero Squad brand is a priority for Marvel, as we see it as a great entry point for kids to experience our renowned characters...'"

This quote reminds me of something I read on a forum once when the initial news of a cartoon came out. Someone said that their reasoning for not liking the show (based entirely on the fact that it uses Super Hero Squad as a name, complete with all the prejudices that come with it) was that as children's first experience to these characters, they're going to feel that other versions of the character (ie, comic book versions) are "wrong."

We've all met the type of fan who calls Morph his favorite X-Man, or who loves Spider-Man, but has only watched the movies. It happens, but does that mean Marvel shouldn't put out movies, cartoons, alternate universe like the Ultimates and Marvel Adventures, all because they don't want kids to see the "wrong" characters? What if Marvel believes the versions we love, complete with 40 years of baggage, Gwen Stacy's death, Karen Page's addictions, alien costumes from secret wars, mutant power enhancing drugs, a married Spider-Man, what if all that is considered "wrong" by Marvel.

Back to the article though: "An all-new Marvel brand, Marvel Super Hero Squad features an exciting, super-stylized look of the greatest Marvel Super Heroes, serving to expand the traditional Marvel audience to a core 4-10 year-old audience. Fun and humor are waiting around every corner in Marvel Super Hero Squad where popular characters including Iron-Man, Hulk, Spider-Man, Captain America, Wolverine, Thor, The Fantastic Four, and many more are thrust into adventures in a single caricatured Super Hero City. Along the way, they will have to thwart the plans of popular Marvel villains Doctor Doom, Magneto, Iron Monger, Loki, the Abomination and countless other infamous baddies."

For the FIRST mention of Spider-Man in relation to one of the SHS spin-off, and for mention of Iron Monger, this gets a heads up. One would assume, but should not take for granted, that if Iron Monger is involved in the video game or cartoon, a figure won't be too far behind, and Iron Monger may be the mysterious huge bad guy hand from last night's posted artwork. It would also make sense in giving Iron Man a bad guy to go against.

"Additionally, Marvel Comics is now featuring Marvel Super Hero Squad comic strips within several of its all ages books and will be introducing a dedicated Marvel Super Hero Squad comic book series in fall 2008. Marvel has already secured deals with Hasbro as master toy partner, Disguise/Cesar for dress-up and Mega Bloks for construction toys and continues to seek deals with industry leading partners to develop merchandise based on the unique look of the Marvel Super Hero Squad property."

Now, Mega Bloks has held the Marvel construction toy license for a while, which is one reason why Lego Spider-Man ceased to exist, and why we have those Spider-Man and Friends Duplo-sized playsets consisting of chunky mini-figs and tree-houses of 10 bricks, but it'll be interesting to see what, if any, Super Hero Squad construction toys are made, and whether they'll be "compatible" (whatever that means) with the current line.

The dress up information is just... well... interesting.

And finally, Marvel currently includes classic editions of its Mini-Marvels strip in it's younger Marvel Adventure books, so is MSN getting the Mini-Marvels and Super Hero Squad confused, or are they privy to upcoming information? After all, "The statements contained in this press release that are not historical facts may be 'forward-looking statements' within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995" according to their disclaimer. Still, Fall 2008 is the first we've heard of a date for the comic, so we may start seeing previews for it any time now.

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First look at the Squad Cartoon?

I'm hesitant to post a link to an article that basically says everything the other articles are already saying, but Animation Magazine gets a pass for having what may be an early look into the cartoon's world. The art is small, but mostly recognizable. I see Captain America's shield, Ultimate Nick Fury, Wolverine, Cyclops (Jim Lee version), Iron Man, Hulk, and a white arm that could be anyone from Iceman to a member of the Fantastic Four.

On the bad guy side, Loki, Magneto, Doctor Doom, Abomination (the movie style, of course), and a white hand holding a gun. Mystique? Punisher? Hopefully someone will point to a larger version of this animated artwork soon.

And still no Spider-Man.

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Super Hero Squad: The Video Game

First news of the cartoon, now the potential for video games. Apparently THQ has locked up the rights to Super Hero Squad, the video game. Read Variety's take on it.

The article discusses many things, including Marvel's Super Hero Squad in relation to the Nickelodeon, Pixar and Dreamworks licenses THQ has worked on, will work on, and may potentially lose.

From the article:
"Multiyear deal gives the publisher rights to make numerous 'Super Hero Squad' games either independently or tied to the property's incarnations in other media. First game is targeted for fall 2009.

'We're all about building big entertainment brands in the videogame space, and we think this Marvel deal is more of what we have done very well,' THQ CEO Brian Farrell said."

Since the message board posts I've read for Super Hero Squad, the Animated Series have been mostly negative, I wonder if internet fans will at least wait till we have more than a general pitch for the video games before damning SHS: The Video Game.

Of note: Once again, this article talks of Captain America, Wolverine and Iron Man as stars of the line. No mention of Spider-Man, who represents 25% of the toy line.

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Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Hollywood Reporter on Super Hero Squad, the Cartoon

Hollywood Reporter is the first to bring us actual news about the Super Hero Squad cartoon. (Go on, you can read the link... it's quick.)

Highlights? 26 episodes. No network yet. Film Roman (known for the Simpsons) handling the project.

"It will feature such well-known heroes as Iron Man, Hulk, Wolverine, Thor, Fantastic Four and Captain America; all occupy a caricatured Super Hero City and are thrust into humorous adventures as they thwart the villainous plans of Doctor Doom, Magneto, Loki, the Abomination and others."

And also of note:

"Marvel also is developing a multimedia and merchandising campaign for the show, with Hasbro handling the toy line. Marvel Comics is introducing a "Squad" book series in the fall, and a direct-to-video animated feature is in development for 2010."

What kind of book? A direct to video feature coming one year after the TV series? Gah! So many questions, so little information. It's interesting to me at least that the rights to animated Iron Man, Hulk, and Wolverine aren't locked up by the producers of their individual cartoons. It's also interesting that Spider-Man wasn't mentioned despite being the star of the toy line.

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Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Iron Man Toys vs. Hulk Toys

I know I've talked about the disparity between Hulk toys and Iron Man toys before, specifically here but so far it's been a feeling. And then I read this on Seeking Alpha

"F. Peter Cuneo

With regard to the size of the Hasbro line, it’s a modest line. I think that though from Marvel's standpoint and from retailers’ standpoint, there is always a bit of conservatism when it comes to a first film in a franchise. So retailers were conservative in their ordering patterns, which makes sense, and Hasbro and Marvel also were conservative in the size of the line that we produced.

We certainly think that with the sequel, that that line would be substantially larger."

That was in response to a representative from RBC Capital Markets asking "can you clarify how many Hasbro related SKUs you have coming from Iron Man?"

So there you go. "Conservatism."

With luck, the next Iron Man movie will have a better merchandising presence, and hopefully some Super Hero Squad toys that aren't waves of repaints.

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Corrections, both internal and external

In yesterday's post about Marvel's upcoming movies, I goofed in my way too quick translation of Comicbox's article and as they pointed out to me, their article does NOT say a third Hulk is coming. They are pointing out that a third Hulk is absent from Marvel's plans. So I added the correction to the page so future readers will be corrected.

It also gives me a chance to point out that Idle in Transaction is DEFINITELY saying that Super Hero Squad cartoon is coming to Nicktoons along with Marvel's other properties, and that definitely has not been verified by any report I've heard (and from the looks of things, Marvel's press release is certainly making the rounds online.) They also suggest that Hulk Gamma Corps is going the Nicktoons way as well, but once again, they're the only people to be suggesting that. Would it make sense for Marvel to have 4 of its 5 animated properties on one network? I suppose so, but lets wait till we have some more official information.

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Super Hero Squad Wave 7 and 8 case revisions

Case revisions, where the number of one figure or another is changed from earlier cases, can sometimes help ease a drought of one particular figure and give collectors relief from eBay prices. And sometimes, they can short-pack particular figures making a particular figure rarer as the line goes on. Entertainment Earth (who sell figures both in sets and in cases) has the following case revision information:

Wave 6/7 (they're using th 6 designation, but it's the wave with Spider-Woman and Deadpool)(out now):
3x Hulk and Spider-Woman
3x Punisher and Deadpool
3x Captain America and Cable
3x Black Spider-Man and Doc Ock

Wave 6/7 Revision 1(June):
4x Hulk & Spider-Woman
2x Punisher & Deadpool
2x Captain America & Cable
4x Black Spider-Man & Doc Ock

Wave 8 (Psylocke, Comic Venom, Ghost Rider and Cycle)(May):
3x Daredevil and Spider-Man
3x Wolverine and Psylocke
3x Spider-Man and Venom
3x Ghost Rider and Motorcycle

Wave 8 Revision 1 (June):
4x Daredevil and Spider-Man
2x Wolverine and Psylocke
4x Spider-Man and Venom
2x Ghost Rider and Motorcycle

So characters like Cable, Deadpool and Psylocke are going to be a little bit harder to find once the revisions start shipping. Those dates, by the way, are from Entertainment Earth. Since Spider-Man/Daredevil and Spider-Man/Venom are going to be shipped with twice as many units as Wolverine/Psylocke and Ghost Rider/Hellcycle, apparently Hasbro is really banking on resculpts of pre-released characters being twice as sellable as the brand new Psylocke and the oft-demanded Ghost Rider on Bike.

Will their theory play out? Are Spideys really that much more popular than characters like Wolverine? We'll soon see.

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Monday, May 5, 2008

Marvel Movies: Future Squads?

As we all know, Marvel's last three movies have been met with a great Super Hero Squad presence... Spider-Man eeked out many waves, Hulk is already shipping Wave 2, with Wave 3 highly anticipated, and Iron Man has already shipped 2 4-packs with another 2 listed as coming soon on Hasbro's site.

It's with that preface that I present to you the following links: is presenting a rundown of Marvel's movie projects.


Iron Man 2 - Marvel - Scheduled for April 30, 2010 release
Thor - Marvel - Scheduled for June 4, 2010 release
The First Avenger: Captain America (working title) - Marvel - Scheduled for May 6, 2011 release
The Avengers - Marvel - Scheduled for July 2011 release
Ant-Man - Marvel - Writer/director engaged

So while Thor and Captain America could produce some great Squad assortments, let's hope Iron Man 2 gets a better assortment.

Also of note from that report: "In keeping with the Company’s increasing focus on entertainment and licensing opportunities, Marvel also announced it has substantially completed its exit from direct toy operations..." (which isn't news, as the transition to Hasbro is hotly debated by fans, particularly of the Marvel Legends figures. But it's still a little sad to hear they're done. Done done.)

And from (warning, link is in French), we have the same news from above, but with mention of an anticipated "Hulk III" which is news to everyone, especially the naming since Marvel's early press on The Incredible Hulk has been relatively sparse on references to the past. It's not a sequel per se, in the same way Punisher: War Zone isn't a sequel to The Punisher (either the 80's or 2000's versions.) Long story short, only Comicbox is talking about Hulk 3, or calling it Hulk 3, so don't get too excited until we see how it performs. Not every Marvel film is entitled to sequels. If it was in Marvel's pipeline, you'd probably see it in one of Marvel's press releases.

Of note from Comicbox is their reference to the enigmatic Super Hero Squad cartoon. Of course, they just say they don't know anything about what may be an animated appearance by our favorite toy line, which isn't particularly helpful. While we know "Planet Hulk" and "Hulk Vs" are direct to DVD, that "Iron Man" and "Wolverine and The X-Men" are coming to TV (joining "the Spectacular Spider-Man", who's already here) it's amazing that we still haven't heard anything at all about the animated Squad.

Edit: My mistake, and thanks to Comicbox for pointing it out, is that their article does NOT say a third Hulk is coming. They are pointing out that a third Hulk is absent from Marvel's plans. It's my fault for the entirely half-cocked translation, I should have read their article closer. The way I read it, and apparently my translation was incorrect, was that Hulk 3 was anticipated. I have just done a quick Google translation of the paragraph, which probably misses the subtleties, and came up with "We note in passing that if Marvel outset given the green light for a sequel Iron Man, a "Hulk III" is expected in the next three years…", and the other online translators gave it an equally kitbashed result. It looks like the best result was Reverso's "We note in the passage that if Marvel gave the green light at once for an aftereffect of Iron Man, no "Hulk III" is foreseen(planned) in coming three years"

However, Idle in Transaction is DEFINITELY saying that Super Hero Squad is coming to Nicktoons along with Marvel's other properties, and that definitely has not been verified by any report I've heard (and from the looks of things, Marvel's press release is certainly making the rounds online.)

Once again, sorry Comicbox!

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Sunday, May 4, 2008

Hulk Wave 2

Usually these things have a bit of notice, a coming soon or a pre-order or something, but Hasbro Toy Shop put out Hulk Wave 2 for order sometime over the weekend. With express shipping, you can have these gentlemen, and one fine jade lady, in your house by May 13.

In this wave, we have:

Wolverine/Grey Hulk
Hulk/Absorbing Man
Hulk/Black Bolt

The Hulks are re-paints (although, since the Gamma Lab playset isn't out yet, I suppose it's a toss-up for which of that Hulk sculpt is the re-paint), as is Wolverine, but Black Bolt and She-Hulk are oft requested, and Absorbing Man is an always welcome villain.

The downside: I can't find any coupon codes to share with everyone.

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Friday, May 2, 2008

Agent/Soldier. Tinker/Tailor.

I came across a Super Hero Squad checklist the other day and… I can’t even link to it in good conscience. I’m going to give it some leeway, since it looks like a start up… a few pages, just pure rundowns of Adventure Heroes, Super Hero Squad and the like. Nothing fancy (and I should know nothing fancy... the only reason this blog has a color scheme is because it was point and click.) Once the owner has had a chance to work on it a bit and correct some of the mistakes, I'll happily give it a link.

But it’s guilty of one of my pet peeves: illogical speculation.

Now, there’s levels of speculation… there’s theories, an informed hypothesis, educated guesses, assumptions (incorrect or otherwise), and my least favorite... absolute guesses without any foundation whatsoever.

Most websites and rumor lists have a reasonable basis for their guesses… if they know one character in a two-pack, they’ll guess what the second one is based on appearances and connections. But this one “checklist” decided to go ahead and guess at both parts of a two-pack.

Now just to provide history, a while back Boywithgun announced, amongst some other 2-pack SKUs, one for Soldier/Agent.

This particular checklist arbitrarily decided that it was Hydra Soldier and USAgent. In their defense, like I said, it’s a start-up and it’s as good a guess as any, and they do include question marks for these and many other entries. It reminded me of a run-down of the most logical choices I wrote when the controversy first started.

The candidates: Winter Soldier, USAgent, Agent 13, Shield Agent, AIM Soldier, Hydra Soldier:

Winter Soldier, Pros:
- Winter Soldier has been the focus of the current Captain America title since the first arc, and the book has been a top-10 seller for a while, he's been the star of the recent Death of Captain America arc which has been boosted by mainstream attention.
- Since there’s already a Winter Soldier figure, they could just re-use the sculpt and save some cash, which is always a selling point.

- There’s already a Winter Soldier figure in the Winter Soldier Saga box set (which doesn’t stop Marvel from releasing Captain America, Spider-Man, Wolverine or others)

USAgent , Pros:
- US Agent got some play last year in Omega Flight and has been a member of the Avengers West Coast, Force Works, Invaders, had some major play in the Maximum Security crossover (which doesn't say much since it's like 7 years old and nobody remembers it)

- US Agent has a figure, even if it's just a re-paint of Captain America. If the 5 issue mini-series Omega Flight had the pull necessary to get new figures made, there’s a chance we’d see a Sasquatch first, or maybe a Beta Ray Bill befor getting a new USAgent

SHIELD Agent, Pros:
- SHS has started a trend of one popular/demanded character and one "generic" (with it's Wolvie/Hand and Hulk/Hulkbuster packs) so they might continue with that theme.
- fans have said SHIELD agents would be a great army builder.
- SHIELD agents have been major players in all of Marvels big sellers and little sellers too, from New Avengers, Mighty Avengers, Hulk, Iron Man, Captain America, Ms. Marvel, right on down to the World War Hulk wrap-ups and even low-selling books like the recently canceled Ant-Man so they get around.

- SHIELD Agents without 616 Nick Fury are blasphemous.

Hydra Soldier/AIM Soldier , Pros:
- I’ve combined these two because the arguments for them are about the same. They’d be good army builders to satisfy the fans, neither has much mainstream exposure but Hydra’s involvement in Wolverine: Enemy of the State and AIM’s involvement in Captain America have given them recent comic buzz. Ok, Enemy of the State was a while ago.

- they’re just army builders. Absent some proof one way or the other, either Hydra or AIM is just as likely as the other, so picking one or the other is just a coin flip.

Agent 13, Pros:
- Sharon Carter, recent star player of Captain America had a bit of mainstream play as Captain America’s lover and killer.
- There’s definitely a fanbase, possibly larger than we’d expect.

- Despite recent publicity, is she really famous enough for what is still a relatively new toy line that still has a fair number of other famous characters it could put out?

And the absolute, one billion, trillion to one longshot: Super-Soldier, star of the late DC/Marvel cross-over event "Amalgam Comics" line. He'd be a beloved addition, but lets be honest... there's almost no way this character is going to get an official figure.

In short, it’s still anybody’s game. Winter Soldier, Agent 13, USAgent, AIM/Hydra/SHIELD Soldiers.
One caveat though: Super Hero Squad hasn’t released a two-pack of two original characters since the Rogue/Gambit, Black Panther/Storm, Antman/Doctor Strange waves. Every pack in the Spider-Woman wave, Psylocke Wave, Carnage Wave, and the Hulk waves (both released and announced) has included at least one character that had previously been released. Past performance is NOT proof of future results, but it’s something to think about.

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Thursday, May 1, 2008

A Summary of the Squad's Rumors

This first complete month was quick and even though I didn't have nearly as much time as I would have liked to devote to this page, I think we went over a lot of topics. Hopefully, this over-view of the posts will evolve in format, and maybe eventually we'll move to a real website, but for now, here's what we discussed so far. Tags are great, wave of the future and everything, but they depend on you understanding the context of the tag, and finding another post with that tag. Since some of these posts deal with multiple topics, they might be linked a couple of times. And finally, because some topics come up in multiple posts, I'm going to explain the topic,and just number the links after it. It's a design in progress.

City in Crisis
What is City in Crisis, and who is in it? Is that Green Goblin? Someone told me Kraven was in it, and someone else said Vulture?1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8

Collector's Pack 2
Is it coming out? I heard that it was pulled because Hasbro thought characters in wheelchairs don't sell, and, well, this is the set with Professor X after all. Who else was in it, and isn’t this the Collector’s Pack that was announced like, Summer 2007?1, 2, 3, 4

How Comic Accurate is Sabretooth's costume1
Are Version 1 Mr. Fantastic and Invisible Woman 616 designs or are they Ultimate? 1
Is Ultimate Hulk really mega-pack worthy? 1, 2
Why do Customizers make Stealth Iron Man blue? 1

Hulk Wave 1
Where can I find it? Who’s in it? Was Abomination included or was he pulled? 1, 2, 3

Hulk Wave 3
Who’s in it? Is it official? Can it really include Zzzax, Leader and Doc Samson? 1

Iron Man
Is there an Iron Man 5-pack? 1
Who did the design work? 1

Iron Man Wave 2
What figures? Are they just repaints? 1, 2

Kids Play
Aren't Super Hero Squad toys for kids? Ages 3 and up, man... why don't you go with the uber-mature Marvel Legends?

Is Kraven coming out? Maybe in the Collector's Pack? I heard he was in a Four Pack?1, 2

Marvel Legends
Isn't that line dead? Aren't internet rumors always true? 1

Do you know of a totally subjective, absolutely authoritative way to know which is better: Mini-Mates or Super Hero Squad? 1

New York City Comic Con 2008 (AKA NYCC 2008)
Who’s got pictures? Who went, and what was shown? 1, 2, 3

Prototypes/Unreleased Figures
I thought I saw a different Venom sculpt? Isn't Storm's cape upside-down from the picture? 1

I tried to buy some Hulk figures early, but I was told there’s a recall. Where can I get solid info on a potential recall, find out if a toy is recalled, and why did my attempted early purchase of Hulk figures trigger that message? 1

Size Changes:
Are Super Hero Squad figures going to be 3-inch from now on? 1

Maybe I’m crazy, but there seems to be a lot of Spider-Man figures out there. What’s the deal? 1

Super Hero Squad
Where can I see what figures have been released so far, or at least a good chunk of them?1
Who does design work on the line? 1

Super Hero Squad Wave 7 (note: I'm using the "4 packs to a wave" numbering, just for simplicity's sake)
Spider-Woman, Cable, Deadpool oh my! Where can I find this wave? Is it out yet? 1,

Super Hero Squad Wave 10
Blade, Red Skull, Electro and Sentry? Awesome. Where, when and what do they look like? 1, 2, 3

Winter Soldier Saga
Who’s in it, and where are the pictures? 1, 2

How many X-Men 4-packs have been made/are known to be in the pipeline? 1

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Ultimate Hulk's Size, Part 2

As a follow-up to an earlier post about Ultimate Hulk's size I thought I'd mention the just released last issue of Ultimate Human.

Although in my earlier post I mentioned how other than covers, the Hulk itself (like a good movie monster) rarely appears in the mini-series, in issue 4 we see the Hulk in his full glory. He's definitely represented in a larger size than in Ultimate Power, fists still large enough to hold a human head in them, but in various scenes, you can see the venerable Mr. Banner to be twice the size of a seated Pete Wisdom/The Leader, or about 12 feet high in another (a standing soldier holds a gun at arms length underneath the Hulk's chin).

So in this book he's shown to be almost as large as he was Ultimate Hulk vs. Wolverine, larger than in Ultimate Power and no more consistent than ever. Also of note: he's still ultimate gray and not Hulk Green.

So the updated answer to "Is the Ultimate Hulk really mega size?": Still no, except maybe sometimes, but not really.

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