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Recap – Agents of HYDRA S04E17 – Slippery Soapy SHIELD Edition

So a bit of positive news, it seems Agents of SHIELD is looking more likely to be renewed.  Or at least one USA Today Article suggests it should be.  There is less to the article than I’d hoped but hey, that’s kind of a plus.  I really feel like there is room for Agents AND the new Inhumans show.  Frankly, I’m way less interested in The Inhumans show.  I’ll still watch but it just interests me less.

Anyway, I kind of wonder how long this Framework plot line is going to last.  I feel like the What If Scenario we have going on is going to drag a bit if the plan is to run for the remaining 8 episodes.  Not to mention it means no Yo-yo at all except maybe in the end when they get free and it kind of abandons the plot line with The Superior being turned into a pseudo LMD and wanting to kill Coulson.  Also it leaves the plot with Nadir cocooning up in the ocean going nowhere.

Basically, there’s too many loose ends for 8 episodes of “How do we escape The Matrix?”

On a side note before getting into spoilers, there has been a lot of pretty heavy underlying commentary these last few episodes on the state of the world.  Effectively using Hydra as a metaphor for the whole Alt-right mess.  Like how Simmons comments that “They are all Nazis” last episode and Fitz this episode uses the phrase “Make Society Great Again.”

Anyway, onto the Spoiler Section…

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Recap – Agents of HYDRA S04E16 – Agents of SHIELD Edition

At long last, the wait is over, Agents of Hydra has returned from it’s break.  There seems to be some speculation that this may be the final season and the final story arc, I hope it’s a good one.

We pick right up in the world of The Frame Work, with Daisy, well, Skye in this world, at least for a while, spending most of the episode wandering around trying to make sense of this Hydra infested world.

Also Zombie Simmons.  Ok, maybe she’s not a Zombie, but… she could be.  She was shown during the teaser to be dead, and she woke up and had to dig herself out of a shallow grave.  She also looks extremely rough throughout this episode, so maybe she is a Zombie.

There’s a bit of an important distinction to add as well, Daisy and Simmons came in through a backdoor, thus keep their normal knowledge of the real world, everyone else, has effectively been brainwashed, or at least suppressed by Aida into accepting the world at large.

Anyway, on to the spoiler section…

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Marvel Legends – Dormammu Wave – Doctor Strange (Movie)

The Doctor Strange wave of Marvel Legends, the one with the Dormammu Build a Figure, is the perfect example of how awful and mismanaged Marvel Legends waves can get.    For starters, there was recently a boxed set for SDCC centered around Doctor Strange that included a Brother Voodoo, Astral Doctor Strange (Comic not movie, granted), and a Dormammu, non Build a Figure version.  So, ok, the SDCC sets are not the easiest to get, but there also aren’t a ton of Strange fans I imagine clamoring for these characters, so doubling up like this instead of making less overlap seems like it would have been a better route.  To add some additional insult, this wave also included a comic Doctor Strange that is essentially identical to the one included in the very recent Hulkbuster wave.  Then there’s the extremely mediocre Astral Movie Strange, which is a clear version of the normal version reviewed here, minus the accessories.  The Astral form strange, honestly, would probably have been better done with clear colored plastic matching his normal form, though I imagine the cost there would have been too much vs the basic transparent that we got.  More annoying is that we don’t get figure of Wong or The Ancient One, both characters who could have really used figures, based on how cool they were in the movie.

I’m not here to rant about this poorly done wave of figures though.  I have not, nor do I plan to pick up any more figures from it than I already have (3 total, one because it was on clearance).  Instead, I want to talk a bit about the Movie Doctor Strange figure.  This figure kind of feels like the end result of the price paid for that pretty lame Astral Doctor Strange.  Where Astral strange has no accessories and is all translucent plastic (and, incidentally, the same mold as this one), this figure has many accessories and a pretty well done paint job and sculpt.

The core figure is effectively Cumberbatch’s Dcotor Strange as he appears in his “final form”.  He’s in his complete robes, he’s wearing his cape, he’s got the Eye of Agamotto.  He comes with an extra set of hands for some more varied looks as well as a shield like magic effect.  The cape is removable, and even stands up on it’s own (if you’ve seen the movie you will know the cape kind of has a mind of it’s own.  The Eye of Agamotto is also removable.  Removing the came and Eye, give you kind of an early learner Doctor Strange.  The removable Eye of Agamotto is also useful given the nature of what the Eye is for, possible future options of posing and interaction with other toys.  Without going into too much detail.

A poseable cloth goods cape could would have been cool but that’s not really Marvel Legends’ way of doing things so it’s pretty forgivable.  At least the cape is designed to stand on it’s own well.  Where he could really use a bit of cloth goods is in his lower tunic bits, since the plastic limits the articulation he has in his legs,  Doctor Strange isn’t really a martial artist but he is pretty dynamic, and he does come from a monastery of martial artist monks.

The extra hands are nice, and while he doesn’t have a sling ring accessory, they work for making the sort of gesture shown to operate the sling ring.  Having one with the slink ring molded on would have been nice but that’s ML for you.  There are some problems, at least on mine with mold flashing.  I’m actually kind of ok with this problem, in this case, because it makes his hands look a bit dodgy and well, part of Doctor Strange’s origin was having his hands crushed in a car accident.  Spoilers I suppose but it’s a very early and moderately trivial event in the whole scheme of things.

The movie version of Doctor Strange is one of the better Marvel Legends we’ve gotten recently, and definitely is the winner of the wave as far as quality and parts.

Review – Marvel Legends – Juggernaut Wave – Wolverine

Wolverine is arguably the most popular Marvel comics character.  Spider-man is pretty up there and Deadpool seems to be doing pretty well, but Wolverine is, or at least was at one point, pretty up there.  It’s a shame he doesn’t’ get more Marvel Legends figures really.  I mean I know I complain about all of the dozens of Captain Americas, but Wolverine is way more popular then Cap.  Maybe we just already hit Wolverine Saturation years ago and don’t need more Wolverines?  Who knows.

While wolverine has had a few looks over the years, and some slight redesigns, mostly in how big his head fins are or how large his shoulder pauldrons get, he has had two basic looks, there is the classic Blue and Yellow design, which appeared in the previous X-men themed wave of Marvel Legends, and there is this Brown and Dirty Yellow design.

I’m kind of mixed on this figure.  It’s a good figure.  It’s got a good sculpt and paint.  He is appropriately short as Wolverine should be.  He even has swappable hands for claws in and claws out.  I really wish Marvel Legends would do swappable hands more often.  I’ve been spoiled lately by import figures.

What he really needs though is a swappable head.  Wolverine can make some nice poses, but his head is just so….  Boring.  A raging grimacing or open mouthed head would be a welcome addition to make him seem more dynamic.  I like having the neutral head, I just wish eh also had an angry head.  Wolverine is pretty known for being a raging animal after all.

The claws are also interesting.  They aren’t the often used rubbery plastic that deforms and looks ugly.  They are nice and crisp and solid.  They tend to wobble a bit in their pegs though, making them hard to keep in alignment.  I also worry about breaking them off a bit, since this sort of hard plastic tends to snap more than give under pressure.

Aside from the bland facial expression, this is a really nice Wolverine figure.  Here’s hoping that the new Logan film will give us some slightly more action oriented Wolverine designs but given the track record of the X-men films getting ignored for toys, I doubt it will happen.

Review – Marvel Legends – Wal-Mart Falcon (6″)

Poor Falcon, Major player in 2 Captain America Movies with a guest bit in Ant-Man.  He’s even probably getting groomed  up to be the replacement Captain America, if Bucky doesn’t get there first.  Like Scarlet Witch, he’s gone for too long without getting a 6″ figure.  I imagine a lot of this reason is his huge wings.  This sort of accessory really doesn’t work too well with the current model of figure + BAF part.  That’s probably part of why his release was a Wal-Mart exclusive along with a better repaint of The Winter Solider, in their own little wave.

The core piece here is of course, the wings.  The wings are certainly very huge and very nice looking, however there’s no articulation in them.  This is probably both good and bad.  It of course sucks for pose variety.  On the other hand, articulated wings on figures this size tend to amount to a hinge in one point that results in some funky gaps when extended too far in one direction or another.  At the very least, some sort of hinge at the backpack would have been nice so the entire wing could swing up, down or straight out, but alas, it’s not there.

You can sort of fake a forward and backward sweep to the wings.  The way the pegs work, they can peg on the front side or backside of the backpack, which will make them swing forward or backwards, depending on how they are pegged on.  If the top and bottom holes were the same size you could fake an up and down sweep as well, though the coloring would be upside down with them turned upside down.  Alas, you can’t actually do this since the pegs are different, probably done because of the coloration issue.

The base figure is decent, it looks like Falcon, he’s nicely poseable for flying and standing poses.  He doesn’t come with any weapons though I imagine the budget mostly went into the Wings.  He does include his little remote drone which showed up several times in Civil War.

This is the first and only 6″ MCU Falcon figure we’ve gotten so far.  It’s a decent depiction, though the backpack could be better.  I doubt we get a better version in the future though, any future Falcon figures will probably just use a repaint of this same wing pack now that they have the mold.

Review – Marvel Legends – Juggernaut Wave – Deadpool

I’m a little torn on Deadpool here.  He’s a pretty great figure.  Not the perfect Deadpool necessarily due to a few minor design issue but he’s solid.  He also comes with a ton of accessories and no Build-a-Figure piece for Juggernaut.  Which is why I’m torn.  What Deadpool represents is essentially what I wish we got from Marvel Legends as a line.  Dump the dumb BAF aspects, load up more accessories, alternate heads, weapons, effect parts, alternate hands.

Yeah, it’s a dumb reason to dislike a figure, it’s more that I dislike the concept he is presenting, because it’s what I want from every figure.  How much cooler would Havok be with a screaming head and an energy blast that strapped to his chest somehow.  How much better would that boring Phoenix be with a flaming base and fire ball parts to strap on to for dynamic attack poses?  How about a nice Ice base for Iceman to thrown down on?  Is Deadpool representative of what we could have without BAF bits?

Enough talk about non Deadpool things though, that’s sort of tangential to the main topic here, and not totally some weirdly meta thing for a Deadpool related review.  Also, referencing that it’s a review within a review isn’t meta and 4th-wall-ish either.

Deadpool has one really great thing going for him, his accessories.  He has so many accessories that a few of them seem really pointless and dumb and out of place next to the others.  The swords, the pistols, the knife, all have nice built in storage on Deadpool, which is great.  The rocket Launcher could even peg onto his back.  The alternative head makes sense, Deadpool with and without mask.  The Taco’s fun.  Then there are the two screw silver guns, they look ugly, they don’t really fit too well with the theme of everything else, personally, and they just don’t even need to be there.

Which just exacerbates my previous frustration, not only does he get a mess of accessories, he has extra mostly useless crappy accessories!

Honestly Deadpool only really has two real flaws.  One, he has this goofy pinky finger sticking out hand.  This problem could have easily have been fixed with a spare, normal hand, maybe in place of one of his useless extra guns.  But it didn’t happen, it’s kind of really weird.

Then there is the part where he’s crazy hard to find, because, well, Deadpool.  He had a super popular movie, he doesn’t have the saddle of a BAF piece and he’s a really good figure all around.

Legion – Chapter 2 – Finding Yourself Inside Your Lost Head

Just a side note, these episodes don’t have subtitles or names beyond “Chapter X”, I just add that for fun.  Sort of how I add little descriptor bits instead of episode names to my Agents of SHIELD recaps.

This second Episode of Legion was certainly less trippy than the first, though there was, ironically, some actual tripping at one point, briefly.  Things pick up essentially right after David was rescued at the end of the last episode, most of the episode involves David going on a mind trip through the powers of a Mutant, Ptonomy, who can work on people’s Memories to try to find the source of his Schizophrenia.  Melanie, the leader of whatever this group is called, is working to convince David that he isn’t crazy, the crazy is just a side effect of his Psychic powers.

Most of the episode is a trip down memory lane, there’s a bit involving him and his friend Lenny selling a stove for drugs, and some brief bits where David is talking to his shrink about why his girlfriend left him and some scenes involving a very young David being read a story called “The World’s Angriest Boy in the World” which seems to be about a father killing some kid’s mother.  We don’t actually get to see the father however, he is shrouded in shadow.  There is a spoiler here from the comics, but I’ll skip it for now, and it may not be in the show anyway.

The underlying plot though is that David has memories he is keeping hidden from the others, and unlocking them may be the key to figuring out his problems.  I’m also not convinced of who is real and who is not either.  Lenny shows up in a memory and “died” in the first episode, but she may still just be part of his Schizophrenia.  Syd Barret, David’s girlfriend may or may not be real either.  She is hanging around in this episode a lot, but always int he background or off to the side, it’s very… Fight Club… in it’s presentation.

There is also a bit at the end where David’s sister comes to the Asylum looking for him, but they claim he has never been there, and then Division 3 show up and take her into custody, which sets up David wanting to rescue her after seeing a vision of her in danger.

It’ll be interesting to see where things go next to be sure.

Recap – Agents of SHIELD S04E14 – Six Degrees of Agent Coulson

The Superior made a promise, Coulson… Must.. Die…

Such an ominous threat to make in the middle of a season against the lead character from an almost nobody villain.  Which is my biggest complaint with The Superior, he kind of feels like a nobody, and not particularly amazing in any regards.   I suppose that might be the point, the whole sub plot here felt very… “Civil War Lite”.  At least as far as the motivations of the villain.  Basically his only power is Vodka and “Being Russian”.

Kind of some mystery sub plots going on here but mostly this was a good episode.  Daisy was really great in this one, though she didn’t do much aside from kick ass a few times.

Onward with the spoilers…

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