Saturday, January 23, 2016

Barbecue's Bonfire: 1/23/16

   How's everyone enjoying this snow? Yesterday was a snow day for me but today I have to head in and do some emergency coverage for the agency I work for (To quote Pee-wee: I can't talk about it. James Bond kind of stuff.) so I'll keep this kind of brief today as I discuss my new top 10 list, reading a bunch of Star Wars books, The Revenant, starting Rise of the Tomb Raider, the 2016 Royal Rumble, and more!

* My latest top ten list is My Top 10 Favorite Individual Action Figures of 2015. This is a list of figures I really liked in 2015 that stood out on their own. My first top 10 list is always my favorite lines, so this gives other lines a chance to shine. What do you think about my picks? What figures did you really enjoy in 2015? Let me know! I know that as I read over other people's lists I always find myself wanting to go back and pick up more stuff that I missed out on!

* I received Rise of the Tomb Raider as a Christmas gift from my in-laws but I was finally able to start it yesterday. It's absolutely a fitting game for the cold weather and snow we're experiencing in the Eastern/ South Eastern U.S. right now. I loved the Tomb Raider reboot (the deluxe edition was one of the first things I reviewed back during my Epic Review days) and this one is pretty good so far, too. I'm about 15% of the way through and there seems like there's quite a bit to do. Sometimes scavenging everything is a bit tedious but the gameplay is really fun. Lara Croft was a superstar back in my middle and early high school days and I loved her dearly, but I was never completely satisfied by the games. I'm loving this series though. And this Lara? She's amazing. I wish more companies were making action figures based on her as she's so freaking cool.

* There have been a number of movies I've wanted to see over the past couple of months but the only ones I've gotten out to see were The Force Awakens, Krampus, and Spectre. I had a day off that coincided with a friend's this past week and so we went to a noon showing of The Revenant, Alejandro G. Inarritu's latest film that has been nominated for 12 Academy Awards. It's a frontier survival/ revenge film that is absolutely the definition of a burly movie: Bear attacks, guys with beards fighting each other with knives and hatchets, trudging through the snow, eating raw meat, using gunpowder to stop the bleeding, and sleeping inside of a dead horse. The pace slows down a bit around the middle but overall it's a pretty exciting and beautifully bleak film with some great performances.

I still want to try and see Creed, The Hateful Eight, and The Forest, but I'm afraid I'll have to catch a few of those on Blu-Ray or Netflix.

* Tomorrow is the Royal Rumble and I'm really pumped. I'm definitely intrigued by the idea of turning it into a contest for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship (although I'm actually more excited for the Becky Lynch versus Charlotte match. Becky Lynch is an awesome wrestler and she truly deserves to be the Divas champion). Considering that Roman Reigns is starting at #1, I'm really not sure that he has a chance at winning this, especially considering the competition who will be gunning for him. Personally, I think either Bray Wyatt, Brock Lesnar, or a surprise entrant (maybe someone coming back from medical leave?) is going to take it and Roman will fight to win it back at Wrestlemania. Here's who I'll be pulling for tomorrow:

Fatal Four Way Tag-Team: The Dudley Boyz
Royal Rumble: Bray Wyatt
Last Man Standing for the Intercontinental: Dean Ambrose
WWE United States Championship: Kalisto
WWE Divas Championship: Becky Lynch
Team Championship: The New Day

* I've been on a reading frenzy with Star Wars books. This past week I finished the novelization of The Force Awakens by Alan Dean Foster. My first introduction to Star Wars was reading a copy of the movie novelization (ghostwritten by Foster) when I was in 6th grade, so it was pretty meaningful to me that Foster wrote this latest adaptation. If you haven't read it, give it a read. There are a number of extra scenes present that were surely edited out of the film for time and pacing, but I think they help connect the narrative. There's a lot more depictions of how Leia is serving as General for the Resistance, more insight into Snoke and Kylo Ren's relationship, a snowspeeder chase on Starkiller Base, some details on how Poe escaped from Jakku, and Chewbacca pulling someone's arms off. All good things. No mention of Constable Zuvio, however, who is still the most mysterious character in The Force Awakens. While he's all over the merchandising, he doesn't even appear to be in the film.

*Second, I read Ezra's Gamble, a short, fast based junior novel by Ryder Windham that deals with Ezra teaming up with Bossk on a bounty hunting mission. It sounds silly but it's actually really fun. It takes place before the first episode of Rebels season 1 and is a nice introduction to Ezra's character. Me and the little one absolutely love Rebels and, since she's a huge fan of Bossk, this one was a real hit with me. I enjoyed the story and she liked the fact that Bossk was on the cover. I read some of it to her but without pictures she gets kind of impatient. This is a small book you can probably knock out in a few hours.

* Another Rebels tie-in well worth reading is Jason Fry's Servants of the Empire series. I talked about the first two books in the past two installments of Barbecue's Bonfire but this week I blew through the final two books in the four book series: Imperial Justice and The Secret Academy. These last two books are incredible. I mean, I think this series, when taken as a whole, is up there with books like Lost Stars and Dark Disciple. There are some excellent new characters, some nice appearances by the Ghost crew (although they never dominate the books), and even some connections to The Force Awaken in the form of General Hux's father playing a part in the final book. I loved this series and now I'm really eager for Hasbro to release figures of Zare Leonis and Merei Spanjaf.  If you're planning on reading these, I'd say do so after watching the first season of Rebels.

* Last, but not least, I just sat down and read Charles Soule and Alex Maleev's Lando comic last night. The trade paperback collects all five issues of the limited series and tells the story of Lando and Lobot (yup, he's here too!) running around the galaxy and trying to pay off folks they owe money to. Lando is an intergalactic heist story and Soule not only has the chance to expand Lando's character but he writes dialogue that you can just hear Billy Dee Williams saying in your head. This is a fun story with a few cool new characters introduced, including Chanath Cha, a bounty hunter whom even Palpatine trusts, and Korin Pers, an Ugnaught who was once a professor of Jedi and Sith studies before she lost her position after the Empire took over. This is a fun, brisk read with good artwork. Check it out! You know you need more scoundrels in your life!

Well, that's what's up this week. See you back here next Saturday. Also, keep checking the site this week as I'll be checking out the rest of World of Nintendo series 1-5, Imaginext: Collectible Figures series 6, and looking at one of Batman's allies from series 2 of DC Collectibles' Arkham Knight line.


  1. I like this feature. Cool things and quick reviews.

    1. Thanks. That's the idea although tomorrow's will probably be delayed because I'm heading to a comic book convention in the morning.


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