Quick Update on INJUSTICE 2 Set of Hot Wheels Character Cars

Alright this is a quickie but I figured worth mentioning. Remember the new INJUSTICE 2 Character Cars? (Read about it here!) You might recall that we had no idea what the fifth car in the set was. Well I tracked ’em down on Amazon where a guy actually had photos of the backs posted. And guess what!? The backs just had some combination of the 4 we already know of! Sneaky bastards! So it looks like won’t know what that fifth character is just yet.

My short list would consist of Wonder Woman and…well…she’s really the only other person story-wise who’s on the same level as the other 4 (Superman, Batman, Supergirl, the Flash). I guess maybe Cyborg but putting anyone before Wonder Woman seems strange. Also seems a bit strange for Wonder Woman to be the big secret reveal as well. Now what would be super awesome bomb as hell would be for this fifth wheel to be none other than Brainiac, the central antagonist of Injustice 2 and our resident Dr. Octopus impersonator. Brainiac would also make sense as the belated reveal…then again, they pushed back the release of Flash with the Justice League subset.

Whatcha think? Know some shiz that I don’t? As always, leave all such pertinent info and even speculation in the comments below!!

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Lots of New Stuff to Look Out For – A Recap

Ok ladies and gents, I spit out a barrage of articles pretty quickly (well, quickly for me at least) with lots of info about new stuff – Marvel, DC, Star Wars, Blaze…it’s pretty cool.

So just in case you missed something here’s a quick recap with links to the other articles.

New Blaze Vehicles Possibly on the Way…?

I find it so fucking bizarre that when I peruse shop.mattel.com or one of its sister sites a good 50% (at least) of the items listed for sale aren’t actually available and yet there’s 1 or 2 or maybe 3 pricier items on the site that you won’t be able to find elsewhere. I guess it’s just another manifestation of “exclusivity” but, well, I think exclusivity is bullshit anyway.

Regardless of my feelings, this is an inescapable fact, and as such, I try to keep a close eye on official websites that sell the stuff I collect. I keep my most watchful eye over on shop.mattel.com, particularly for searches involving “character cars.” Even then, it’s really the “star wars character cars” or “hot wheels star wars” that need to be given the most attention. Why? Because Star Wars is the most financially viable of the Character Car subsets. They disappear the quickest, they command the highest price, and they retain that value much longer than their counterparts.

Believe it or not, this phenomenon also carries over to the preschcooler realm. Mattel owns like, everything that Hasbro doesn’t, one such subsidiary being Fisher-Price. So every couple of weeks I mosey on over to shop.fisher-price.com to check out their stash of Mickey and the Roadster Racers and Blaze and the Monster Machines. And to be fair, I’ve found online exclusives in both camps.

PROTIP: When you’re looking for stuff on these sites, go ahead and search for your stuff in the search bar instead of clicking around on the categories. You may wonder what the difference is between clicking on “hot wheels” and then narrowing it down with “star wars” is versus just typing “hot wheels star wars” in the search bar, but believe me, it does make a difference and you will hit more of the stuff you’re looking for with the search function.

What I stumbled across recently isn’t an exclusive – at least I don’t think so – but rather an indication of some Blaze toys we can expect to see soon.

Mud Fest Blaze

MUD FEST BLAZE

Not to be confused with Mud Racin’ Blaze…there is a difference!

Blaze’s come in lots of different sizes, and sometimes when it’s just a pic in a void it can be hard to tell what size we’re looking at. However, combined with the price point listed on the site, I’m 99% this is your typical shape, roughly 1:43 scale or something similar. These next few though, well, they’re a little trickier.

Gabby

GABBY

Monkey Truck

MONKEY TRUCK

Lazard

LAZARD

Cowboy Truck

COWBOY TRUCK

Elephant Truck

ELEPHANT TRUCK

Frog Truck

FROG TRUCK

Yes, that does say LAZARD not LIZARD as you’d probably expect. Typo? Translation SNAFU? Dunno. Maybe someone familiar with the show can clue us in. Anyway….

Fun looking little group, eh? The problem is I can’t really figure out how big they are! See, the “normal” sized ones are typically priced at $5 on-site (and more like $3.xx retail) yet these are only $3 (not like they’re actually available…). They’re also noticeably smaller than the “regulars” but of course this could be a discrepancy with the photo resolution. But then again, if you compare it to the actual minis (like Ant Blaze, Grasshopper Zeg, etc.) you can easily tell it’s not one of them just by looking at the details. So I don’t know. An in between size? Minis with different structural details? Regular sized trucks with a different resolution…?

Hopefully these will be out soon because the little “change tires / tune-up” playsets are popping up and they specifically advertise Gabby on the box.

Now we have one more curiosity that I just now noticed today…

ZEG

WTF ZEG

What is this thing!? I know that the Blaze toys have assumed all manner of weird shapes and adopted all sorts of gimmicks, but I’ve never seen something humanoid like this. The funny thing is that the site doesn’t offer any insight either – it’s just erroneously labeled as “Monkey Truck.” I know I know, it’s probably just a third-rate Transformer, but the picture does manage to make him look really cool.

And that will do it – I expect we’ll be seeing these before too long. It seems like almost everyone is eager to get rid of basically everything that existed prior to Christmas 2017 and bring in new shit to alleviate these winter doldrums. If you haven’t seen them already, I’ve put out several other news pieces over the past day or so. Check ’em out and don’t get left behind!

New DC INJUSTICE 2 Character Cars Available!

Right on the heels of finding out about the new Black Panther stuff, I was treated to something quite surprising: a small series of DCU Character Cars based off of the Injustice 2 video game!

I’ll venture that most of you have probably at least heard of Injustice 2 (or its predecessor, Injustice: Gods Among Us) but just in case you haven’t, it’s a video game…a fighting video game. You know, a couple of guys square off against each other and punch and kick each other for a couple of rounds. It’s made by the same guys who’ve been responsible for Mortal Kombat the last few years, so the quality is indisputable. Yet it shouldn’t be thought of as just replacing Scorpion with Batman or Kitana with Wonder Woman – no, the creators were eager to develop a system different than that of the MK franchise. Of course they didn’t want to experiment within the MK series and risk alienating fans (I personally think the overall “system” of fighting in MK is the best in the genre) so they used their new-found connections with Warner Bros. to bring you a DC-based game of cosmological proportions.

With the depth and flashiness of games nowadays, hitting each other for a few seconds can seem kind of…weak. For that reason, a strong story needs to be at the crux of any worthwhile fighting game. And instead of having good vs. bad making a fight between, say, Batman and Superman a totally moot point, Injustice (the series as a whole) gets around this by digging right into the DC Multiverse from the outset. Basically there is “our world” as we know it in the main DC continuity. However, there’s an alternate universe whereby Joker blows up Metropolis, kills Lois Lane in the process, thereby eliciting the wrath of Superman, who summarily executes the clown, and consequently develops this sort of “New World Order” where the superheroes essentially “rule” the “dumb humans who don’t know any better.” Some heroes defect and join Superman’s ultimately oppressive regime while others stay hidden for fear of punishment and death. And by this token, some villains flip as well, finding Superman’s brand of terrorism too much for them.

I hate to be so long winded, I just wanted to paint a picture of Injustice 2 as you enter into it. To summarize, “regular” Earth’s Batman with the help of both heroes and villains from both universes imprison “other” Earth’s Superman and his cohorts, though they are soon left with the difficult decision of whether or not to free Superman in order to assist them with an impossibly powerful antagonist. The layering of the universes can get a little confusing, but the second game in particular takes a lot of this pressure off the player by staying with one version of the character most if not all of the game.

What I really like is that the good guy/bad guy line has been completely redrawn. There is some definite gray area, but for the sake of simplicity, they can easily be sorted into good and bad factions. Guys (and gals) like Superman, Wonder Woman, and a Damian Wayne Robin are thuggish villains, while Batman and his group of rag-tags fight from the shadows, including Harley and Catwoman. Hal Jordan also exists in both universes – one as a Green Lantern and the other as a Yellow Lantern.

Anyway, it’s a fun game, and if you like fighting games, you should definitely give it a shot. There are constant costume upgrades to unlock and while the bright, flashy colors of the DCU still exist in Injustice 2, there’s an over-the-top brilliance to them that make our characters feel larger than life. I still think matchups like this are kinda silly because really, who could best Superman in hand-to-hand combat without specialized biology or technology? He could just grab you and fly your ass up into orbit until you suffocated. Wrangle yourself free? Congratulations, you’ve still got about 1,000 miles between you and the ground. What about the Flash? He could just dodge your blows and smack you back before you even blinked. You get the idea…

As for the Character Cars, Hot Wheels has released a small set for the occasion. The corner has them labeled “1 of 5,” “2 of 5,” etc. except at the moment we do not know who 5 of 5 is! And wouldn’t you know, I still can’t find a picture of the back of the card to possibly gather more info.

The others are:

  • 1 of 5 – Batman
  • 2 of 5 – Superman
  • 3 of 5 – The Flash
  • 4 of 5 – Supergirl

If we’re going based on importance in the storyline, I guess I feel like Wonder Woman should take the next spot, but then again we’re running mighty close to the Justice League line of recent. What do you think?

Injustice 2 Character Cars

When looking at these 4, I have to wonder if Hot Wheels is running dry on ideas. Each of these is a recycled shape: Batman from Armored Batman, Superman from the old-school Superman, The Flash from the most recent Justice League Flash, and then Supergirl straight from the DC Super Hero Girls version of Supergirl (and itself highly derivative of the original Superman). Don’t get me wrong, the paint jobs really bring these things to life, giving them a very tech-y, futuristic look with some great juxtaposition between light and dark. But…but…couldn’t they just implement these new color schemes on brand new body designs? Makes me even more curious about that 5th car though…makes me also wonder if there’s a secret “chase car” (a sort of “secret 6th”) vehicle too…

I haven’t found any of these in stores yet and there aren’t a whole lot on eBay, but a set like this should become relatively common before too long. But damn, of all the characters available to play as in Injustice 2, I wish they’d pepper in some of the lesser known characters (and of course villains!) – I’m always lobbying for Scarecrow and Poison Ivy – but also guys (and gals) like Black Manta, Enchantresss, Atrocitus, or Gorilla Grodd. And hey, Hot Wheels, quit snoozin’ – make Luthor, Brainiac, and Nightwing. Yes.

And that, they say, is that! Holla back if you get a scan of the back or find out what numero 5 is, or whatever! Just be sure to keep me in the loop!

And don’t forget to take a look at some recent news that’s dropped:

New Marvel BLACK PANTHER Character Cars Available!

Marvel is keeping their well-oiled machine going, and just as Ragnarok begins fading from consciousness, we’re suddenly inundated with all things Black Panther, due February 16th. I know next to nothing about Black Panther, so I can’t do much commenting on what cars shouldn’t and shouldn’t be made, but I’m glad to see these things start making their mark so early. So far it looks like 2 Character Cars will be released in conjunction with the film; take a look:

Black Panther (New)

Erik Killmonger

And there we go, special Black Panther packaging and everything! Black Panther is a new design. In fact, it looks pretty much like the new design given to the Black Panther Flip Fighter. (Click here, scroll down a bit, and you’ll see.)

Now here’s a fun fact: I can’t be 100% positive until I have a chance to get up close and personal with it, but Erik Killmonger appears to use the shape of the original Black Panther Character Car, coupled with gold accents in lieu of gray/silver. Yeah, it’s pretty weird, but if you start looking at all the Black Panther merchandise on shelves, you’ll at first think, “damn, that’s a lot of Black Panther,” and then realize that, “wow, only half of it is Black Panther…the rest is this ‘Killmonger’ dude.” It’s like imagine an Iron Man movie where the main villain wears an identical suit to Iron Man’s….only the red is a shade darker.

I dunno, I just think it’s weird that they’ll redesign an already great car like Spider-Man or release 2 body types and multiple color schemes for Iron Man yet here with Black Panther we’re already re-using a design from 2016.

I hunted down pics of both card backs and they only feature each other plus good ol’ Spidey and Tony, so no new info there. However, in the shots above we can plainly see a little pamphlet resting at the bottom so I’m excited to see what’s in store. What other MCU stuff is slated for 2018? Oh that’s right, friggin’ Infinity War! (And then Antman & Wasp is due out a couple months later.)

I lifted the above screenshots for eBay – Black Panther & Erik Killmonger are all over the place, which is probably a good thing, as we’re probably right on the cusp of seeing those prices drop from the $15ish mark to the $6 – $10. It also means they’re probably popping up everywhere in retail, so I’ma keep my eye on the shelves for a couple of weeks before venturing online.

Alrighty then – that’s another piece of news knocked out! So keep your dials locked and summon some patience – I got even more cool stuff coming up!

Here’s some more news in case you missed it!

New (or Upcoming) 1:24 Scale BATMOBILES from JADA

Quite a while ago I started spotting these rather large Batmobiles on shelves. They were big, highly detailed, true to their source material, and nice and sturdy. The best part is that what I expected to be a $40 to $50 price tag was only $19.99! Jada – a company similar to Hot Wheels that specializes in producing scale, diecast models of “existing” cars, came out with 4 of these Batmobiles: the “1989 Batmobile” from the films Batman (1989) and Batman Returns (1992), the “Tumbler” from the Nolan Trilogy (2005 – 2012), the newest iteration of the Batmobile introduced in Batman v Superman, and finally the Lincoln Futura-based Batmobile seen through out the 1966 – 1969 TV series. Each also comes with an appropriate dressed Batman figurine (or statue is more like it!) and some of the Batmobiles have some minor feature or two. (You can find my original articles here and here.)

I gathered all 4 relatively quickly and after a while they disappeared from shelves. When the “new” “Justice League Batmobile” was introduced (I put “new” in quotes because it really isn’t a different Batmobile than the one in BvS, it just has some added cannons) I did take about half a second to wonder if Jada would put out their own version of it. A few days ago I happened to spot the ol’ ’66 Batmobile on a shelf (which I hadn’t seen in a while) so I picked it up and scanned the back. It was here that I learned that Jada is introducing (or has introduced) at least 3 more Batmobiles:

  • Batman Forever Batmobile
  • Batman: Arkham Knight Batmobile
  • Justice League Batmobile

I dug around a little and actually found the Arkham Knight Batmobile! Have you played Arkham Knight? Consensus tends to lean towards Arkham City as the masterpiece of the group but I very much prefer Arkham Knight. In fact, I think it’s probably one of the greatest video games ever made. Yeah that’s right. No hyperbole, no exaggeration, no bullshit. Batman: Arkham Knight is one of the finest video games ever made. If you’ve played it, you know how amazing the Batmobile is. If you haven’t, well, it’d be a lot to explain, but basically it has a “Pursuit Mode” which is where it acts like a “normal” car, and then there’s the “Battle Mode” where it sorta transforms into a highly maneuverable tank. Unfortunately, the Jada model doesn’t transform into Battle Mode, but hey, I’m still pretty damn stoked to have a 1:24 version of the thing.

Batman: Arkham Knight Batmobile (Jada)

The details are almost impeccable – each and every little angle and corner of this ultra-armored machine is accounted for. You can even see the tip of the power winch at the front, the doubled up tires (they even turn independently!), and the folded up/concealed weapons area. I do wish they’d put in just a little extra effort though – I mean a full transformation would be nice but I can see where it’d be difficult – what they could do is release a separate Battle Mode model – I’d go for that. But I do wish that the passenger area in the back opened up a bit. I also wish the cockpit opened correctly…this is probably my biggest pet peeve with the model. On the toy, the cockpit simply opens via a hinge at the top – just like you’d think of a typical jet or the hood of a car. Those familiar with the game will note that the cockpit slides forward, like the ’89 Batmobile. I know it’s small, but I reeeeally wish Jada had gotten this one right!

Arkham Knight Batmobile

The accompanying Batman figure looks great…in no small part because this is probably because this is one of the coolest Batsuits we’ve seen. Unrealistic…? Probably. But it strikes a nice balance between skin-tight spandex and bulky, immovable gear that’d seem more at home on a hockey rink.

As for the remaining 2, well, I’ve been busting my ass looking for them but to no avail. I guess I hadn’t realized how thoroughly these had disappeared; most places don’t have the 1:24 Jada’s at all. However, there was a Toys R Us and a Target that carried a few, and despite not having any of the new ones, the packaging did have the new ones listed/shown which is definitely a good sign. I do remember it taking me a while to spot the Batman v Superman iteration, though once I did see it, it was virtually everywhere by the following weekend. So it’s quite possible that the Batman Forever and Justice League Batmobile are on the way!

Justice League Batmobile
Batman Forever Batmobile

Lemme know if you spot ’em – Target, Walmart, and TRU all seem to be fair game. Oh and here’s an interesting tidbit: no idea if this is the case throughout the country, but around here, Target no longer keeps those big Batmobiles over with the Hot Wheels. Now they’re over with the pseudo-collectibles in the book/DVD area. You’ll see stuff like glassware, Pop Vinyl shiz (arggghh), keychains, Pop Funko Vinyl shit (bleccrrerrh), MetalFigs, collectible Transformer vehicles (pretty similar to the Batmobiles), and those fucking Funko Pop (brrrrt) things along with similar material. These sections used to be pretty small with maybe a couple of graphic novels or kitschy stuff you’d find at the mall (magnets, patches, bottle openers, keychains, you know, ostensibly practical shit only now it’s in the shape of Cap’s shield or features Boba’s head) but in recent months Target has been really beefing up this area.

Anyways, I gots more news that I’m tryin’ reeeeal hard to post so don’t go far!

Here are some links to find out what else is going on at the moment!

Hot Wheels Holiday Hot Rods 2017

Hot Wheels Holiday Hot Rods 2017

As I sat here scanning the long list of topics I wanted to get to, I realized that I better go ahead and address these Holiday Hot Rods before it’s a little too late! I got last year’s set too, but apparently didn’t ever write about it. Oh well. Never too late to start. And I do have the others stowed away…somewhere.

These small series’ are a nice way to commemorate Christmas and the New Year, typically Hot Wheels Originals with unique paint jobs. The 2017 lineup includes:

  • 1 / 6 – Scoopa di Fuego
  • 2 / 6 – Super Blitzen
  • 3 / 6 – Fandango
  • 4 / 6 – Diesel Duty
  • 5 / 6 – Rennen Rig
  • 6 / 6 – Carbonator

The lustrous paint jobs are the real gem here. I love the shape of Scoopa di Fuego and the blue and gold makes for an ethereal Christmas-like combination, one you don’t see too often but one that turns up the classiness a touch. I guess it’s something about the gold representing the splendor and warmth and awe of Christmas while the blue speaks to the cold and quiet weather, a sort of peaceful calm that most people don’t typically associate with the holiday season. And hey, it could be a nod towards Hanukkah as well, who’s official colors are blue and white, with silver in lieu of white at times.

Scoopa di Fuego

Didn’t they do a Super Blitzen last year…? No matter. The red, green, and white screams “Christmas Time” with the vehicle’s sleek shape embodying the Christmas rush, or flying reindeer, or anything else on the frantic side leaning towards excitement.

Super Blitzen

And a big gray Fandango…Holidays where? (I just ain’t feelin’ this one…gimme some Christmas lights or something….)

Fandango

Diesel Duty looks a lot like either an ornament or the Christmas tree itself. I love the deep, unadulterated green with the red and gold accents. It’s a weird shape to be sure, but I think it kinda adds to its perception as an object rather than a vehicle.

Diesel Duty

I don’t know what to think of Rennen Rig, or more correctly I don’t know what to think of such a bold and dark color scheme for the holidays. It’s black – damn black – but I wouldn’t call it sinister or malevolent. Maybe we’re leaning more towards the New Year’s side of the spectrum, like a black-tie event (black) with champagne (gold) flowing like water.

Rennen Rig

And finally we have yet another incarnation of the Carbonator, Hot Wheels’ very own, fully-functional bottle opener-vehicle hybrid. Although visually more representative of a bottle of soda, obviously we’re supposed to envision a glass of bubbly to bring in 2018.

Carbonator

Bonus Car

Ok, this isn’t an official 2017 Holiday Hot Rod but it was released around the same time and it feels appropriate to lump it in the former group. Yep, it is indeed another Carbonator!! Yep, it’s a real can opener too! It’s also from the 2018 Mainline, numer 23 of 365.

Carbonator (2018)

Well that is all for now! Which is your favorite Holiday Hot Rod from 2017? Personally I’m going with Scoopa di Fuego or Super Blitzen, though I am growing fond of that black/gold combo….

Stay tuned folks because I gots some really cool news comin’ yo’ way jus’ as quickly as I can type it up!