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While not as radical of a departure as the recently revealed Batman and Catwoman action figures, this Variant Play Arts Kai Venom from Square Enix is sure to have its fans. Maybe even because, like the other Marvel releases, it’s not all that different from the character we know — just different enough.
The fourth figure in the Marvel Variant line, following Iron Man, Spider-Man and Thor, Venom features his signature t00-long tongue and unnerving grin — courtesy of interchangeable heads — but his traditionally black-and-white body here is armored and highlighted by purple. However, neither of those changes appears to affect his shapeshifting abilities, as the figure also comes with interchangeable hands, two of which possess oozing tendrils.
This morning at E3, Square Enix unveiled a new gameplay trailer for the long-anticipated Kingdom Hearts III, which the company confirmed will include elements from Disney’s Tangled.
The footage is sure to please franchise fans, who will be frustrated to learn there’s still no release date. That game was officially announced at E3 2013 following years of rumors and speculation, but there’s been little news about its development since then.
Eighteen years after the release of the original, Square Enix and Sony announced last night at E3 that they’re remaking Final Fantasy VII for PlayStation 4. Presumably other consoles will follow.
Development of the aptly titled Final Fantasy VII Remake will be led by key members of the original game team, including producer Yoshinori Kitase, director Tetsuya Nomura and scenario writer Kazushige Nojima.
We’ve written previously about Square Enix’s Variant Play Arts Kai line, which offers occasionally radical reinterpretations of characters ranging from Thor to Boba Fett to Wild West Batman, but for sheer weirdness, none of those even comes close to this Dark Knight action figure, hilariously described as “unique and stylized.”
Teased last year at Comic-Con International, it’s the work of Final Fantasy designer and Kingdom Hearts creator Tetsuya Nomura. It’s as if someone mashed together Zoltar from Gatchaman, Venger from the Dungeon & Dragons cartoon and Sauron from The Lord of the Rings into a horrible, glorious nightmare. A crime-fighting nightmare.
For fans who still have room on their shelves — and many in their wallets — after ordering the Darth Vader, Boba Fett and Stormtrooper figures, Square Enix has revealed the next release in its Star Wars Variant Play Arts Kai line: the 10-inch Darth Maul.
Although the design isn’t quite the radical departure we saw with the earlier reimaginings, it’s a pretty striking figure — one that comes complete with three pairs of interchangeable hands, dual lightsaber, split lightsaber, blade attachments and display stand.
With its Variant Play Arts Kai line, Square Enix reimagines familiar characters, ranging from Darth Vader to the Dark Knight. After teasing the prototype in February at Toy Fair, the company today officially unveiled its new take on Thor, and seldom has Marvel’s god of thunder looked so pumped, so angry and so metal.
This action figure isn’t a radical departure for the character (a Dark Ages-inspired makeover might’ve been fun), but it’s definitely interesting, with bulging veins, armor for days, and a hammer that’s half Thor’s height. The swinging Mjolnir attachment and lightning effect are nice touches.
Based on the new villain from the upcoming Batman: Arkham Knight video game from Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment and Rocksteady Studios, the 11-inch figure is highly detailed, from the “A” chest emblem to the military fatigues to the translucent visor.
On the heels of Harley Quinn, the first images have surfaced of Square Enix’s Batman: Arkham Knight Robin Play Arts Kai action figure.
Based on the upcoming video game from Rocksteady Studios and Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment, the figure comes with removable hood, two pairs of interchangeable hands, bo staffs, bo staff shields and display stand.
Teased in February at Toy Fair 2015, Square Enix’s Batman: Arkham Knight Harley Quinn Play Arts Kai action figure is at last officially unveiled in a series of new photos.
Based of course on the upcoming video game from Rocksteady Studios and Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment, the highly detailed 6-inch figure boasts three pairs of interchangeable hands, two head sculpts, interchangeable ponytails, a police hat, a pistol, a candy-striped baseball bat and a display stand.
Square Enix’s Variant Play Arts Kai line has produced some terrific-looking action figures — we only recently spotlighted Darth Vader, Boba Fett and Stormtrooper releases – but this Wild West Batman may be my favorite to date.
Part of the Batman Timeless series teased at New York Comic Con that will include Spartan Batman, Medieval Batman and Steampunk Batman, it’s like a glorious return to DC Comics’ Elseworlds titles. Standing more than 10 inches tall, Wild West Batman is ridiculously detailed — ornate, even — with a tattered cape, chaps, boots, a grapnel gun (with holster), tomahawk and, best of all, a cowboy hat with its own little Bat-ears.
Looking at Darth Vader, Boba Fett and the Stormtrooper from Square Enix’s Variant line of Play Arts Kai figures, I’m reminded of Marvel’s 1977 adaptation of Star Wars, with its frequently wildly off-model characters. Here, of course, the deviation is purposeful — the Variant collectibles are all reimagined — and it works pretty well.
Sure, all three original designs are classic, but it’s kind of fun to see each of these armored warriors souped up, their looks taken more in a mech-infused direction (although as Star Wars reimaginings go, it’s tough to top Bandai’s samurai-styled Darth Vader and Stormtrooper).
Legal | The saga of Hi Score Girl continues this week, with the Osaka Prefectural Police charging creator Rensuke Oshihiri and 15 employees of publisher Square Enix with copyright infringement. Game publisher SNK Playmore originally filed criminal charges against Square Enix over the summer, claiming that Hi Score Girl, a comedy about gamers, used its characters without permission. Square Enix has recalled the published volumes of the series and halted serialization in its Monthly Big Gangan magazine. [Anime News Network]
Passings | Political cartoonist and collector Art Wood, a founding member of the Association of American Editorial Cartoonists, died Nov. 4 at age 87. He donated more than 40,000 pieces of original cartoon art to the Library of Congress for its bicentennial, and the library published a book, Cartoon America, based on the collection. [The Daily Cartoonist]
Legal | The Japanese publisher Square Enix has filed a counterclaim against SNK Playmore, asking Osaka District Court to rule that its manga Hi Score Girl doesn’t infringe on copyrights held by the video game company. Earlier this year, SNK brought criminal copyright violation charges against Square Enix after learning Hi Score Girl contains more than 100 unauthorized images of characters from SNK Playmore games. The manga has been put on hold because of the dispute. [Anime News Network]
Conventions | Who’s buying, and how much are they spending, at conventions? Rob Salkowitz mines the numbers from a recent Eventbrite poll of convention-goers to get some answers: Most people spend between $100 and $500 per person; cosplayers actually spend a bit more than average; and women shell out more money at conventions, while men spend more online. [ICv2]
Comics | Vincent Zurzolo of Metropolis Collectibles explains why he and his partner Stephen Fishler were willing to pay a record $3.2 million last month for a pristine copy of Action Comics #1: “We feel very confidently this was a good price and that we will be able to sell this for a profit. We really believe in the strength of the comic book market and that it has a long way to go.” Zurzolo also talks about how he built up his business, starting out selling comics at conventions at the age of 15. [The Hollywood Reporter]
Legal | More trouble for Square Enix over the gamer manga Hi Score Girl: Publication was suspended last month following allegations the series, which runs in the Japanese magazine Monthly Big Gangan, had used characters owned by the game company SNK Playmore without permission. Now it turns out Square Enix asked permission from Sega to use characters from its Virtua Fighter game, but then went ahead and published the story before permission was granted. Sega executives “strongly objected” but took no further action and did grant the permission, reasoning it would be good publicity for the game. [Anime News Network]
Legal | The Japanese magazine Monthly Big Gangan has put the series Hi Score Girl on hold following allegations by the game company SNK Playmore that the manga is using its characters without authorization. The publisher, Square Enix, already recalled the five volumes of the series published so far and stopped releasing the manga digitally. [Anime News Network]
Creators | Gail Simone and Ethan Van Sciver talk about bringing Wonder Woman to Gotham City in their two-part story for DC Comics’ new digital first anthology Sensation Comics Featuring Wonder Woman. [Hero Complex]
Creators | Sonny Liew, creator of Malinky Robot and the artist of The Shadow Hero (written by Gene Luen Yang) was born in Malaysia, went to school in Singapore, then went to college in the United Kingdom and art school in the United States on his way to becoming a comics creator. There wasn’t much of a homegrown comics scene when Liew was growing up, so he read mostly imports, but that’s changing, and his newest project is an anthology featuring creators from the region. [The Malay Mail]