Transformers: War for Cybertron “Chapter 1: Siege, Ep. 5”

Welcome back to another cartoon episode recap where we’ll be looking at the penultimate episode of Chapter 1 of Netflix’s Transformers: War for Cybertron series! If you’ve been following along each day with these blogs, you know I’ve been high on this series, but really want to know how you’re feeling about it so get into the comments or hit me up on Twitter to let me know your thoughts on this series.

When we left off, the Autobots received a surprise visitor at the Ark: Jetfire, the now exiled Deception general who found himself questioning Megatron’s advanced plans to commit a full genocide against the Autobots and even killed fellow Seeker, Skywarp, to temporarily keep the location of the Autobots’ base a secret. He’s now shown up on the Autobots’ doorstep, badly injured, but wanting to join their cause.

Something big is brewing as Bumblebee – now equipped with the Alpha Trion Protocols – thinks he knows the location of the All Spark which is being sought after by both sides and could be a game-changer for the squad getting to it first.

No sense in waiting longer, let’s transform and roll out. Continue reading

Transformers: War for Cybertron “Chapter 1: Siege, Ep. 4”

Welcome to part four of the Transformers: War for Cybertron saga! It’s good to be back and checking out another episode of something I’m really into so let’s not waste a lot of time messing around.

Yesterday’s episode was…a lot. A lot of a lot of things. Grit, hope, despair, darkness, action. It’s actually amazing that they were able to fit so much into a singular episode and still make it digestible, but somehow they did it and I applaud the writing staff for that.

When we left off, Jetfire – a Decepticon and leader of the Seekers as well as Megatron’s right hand – had turned on Skywarp, another of the Seekers, for wanting to start an Autobot genocide that Jetfire simply was not about. He’s questioning his motivations as this war continues and while Megatron has thrown honor and the code of war to wayside for any chance to finally defeat Optimus Prime, Jetfire still refuses to break from his beliefs. Skywarp did survive long enough to fly back to Decepticon base, but his spark ran out shortly after ratting out Jetfire to Starscream who you can only imagine is too happy to hear of Jetfire’s treasonous ways.

And that is how we’ll start today. Another exciting look into the war for Cybertron. Transform and roll out. Continue reading

Transformers: War for Cybertron, “Chapter 1: Siege, Ep. 3”

Welcome to another recap of Netflix’s Transformers: War for Cybertron series! I’ve been digging the previous two episodes big time and, if you’re here for the ride on episode 3, I assume you are as well.

With only six episodes in Chapter 1 of this show, today represents the halfway point and I’m sure a lot of you have already skipped ahead and completed your binge viewing. I get it, trust me, as I’ve been hyped to get to the next episode as soon as I finished each of these, but I enjoy letting it settle a bit and being able to focus and remember what has already happened before jumping into the next one. Different strokes for different folks, as they say on the streets.

In yesterday’s episode the Autobots were led into a trap after Soundwave detected Ultra Magnus sending communications to Optimus Prime while in a Decepticon holding cell, but – most pertinent to Megatron – Prime still lives which has altered his internal code about honor in warfare leading him to want a full annihilation of the Autobots.

The search for the All Spark continues by both factions which is looked as a game-changer and could swing the war to the side which gets it in their possession. The Autobots, historically the underdogs in all iterations, now seem to be in more dire straits than ever with limited resources and an ever-shrinking roster of manpower from suffering casualties in all battles. There’s even a shot of a medic bay with dead and destroyed Autobots lining the room from past battles giving a glimpse into the severity of war and also causing some within the ranks, most notably Elita One, to question Optimus Prime’s decision-making which has never been a storypoint in any telling of Transformers that I can remember.

All of which sets us up for another interesting day on Cybertron as the next battle awaits. Transform and roll out. Continue reading

Transformers: War for Cybertron, Chapter 1: Siege, Episode 2

Welcome to another cartoon episode recap! Following up on yesterday’s premiere for Netflix’s new Transformers: War for Cybertron we’ll be humming right along into the second episode today. With this series being available for nearly a week already, there’s plenty of full recaps and spoiler-based reviews out there and I’m pretty surprised with the mixed feedback. I’m already all-in on this show after one episode and yet, I’m seeing plenty of people say that the series is “too dark” which really doesn’t make sense to me. Yeah, it’s not exactly the goofy, kid-friendly fare you’d normally expect, but the battle of Autobots versus Decepticons has always revolved around one thing: war. It’s a war for survival of their race and yeah, that can get pretty dark.

So we gather today for the next installment of this war. When we left off, Megatron was getting a surprise guest who was cloaked to keep their identity secret, but even then, it was pretty obvious who it was. The episode cut off before the reveal so I’m sure we’ll be picking right back up with that today. Time to transform and roll out. Continue reading

Daily Cartoon: Transformers: War For Cybertron, Chapter 1: Siege, Episode 1

We’re starting the week with a brand new iteration of a long-beloved 80s staple: the Transformers are back, baby! A brand new telling of the Cybertronian warriors’ story has just released on Netflix and after seeing some of the promo shots around the internet in recent weeks, I’ve been all hopped up for this like I’ve been guzzling Mountain Dew!

I’ve been a Transformers fan for as long as I can remember and, with how Netflix has delivered in huge ways with Voltron and She-Ra in recent years, I’m fully expecting this series to be another home run. Those Netflix people are taking very good care of the things I grew up loving so I will support until they give me reason not to.

Interesting concept with this series as this is being promoted as a “trilogy”. What is now available is filed under “Chapter 1: Siege” with two more chapters to come at a later date. There are only six episodes currently available so this has the feeling of something we’ll speed through and be begging for more with the quickness.

It’s the nostalgia that bit with this, obviously. All the promo stuff I had seen depicted all the Autobots and Decepticons in a fashion true to their classic 80s selves and – real talk – that grabbed me and I’m prepared to love this show even if it’s terrible.

But that decision can’t be made for another 22 minutes so fire up your Netflix-enabled device, transform and roll out! Continue reading

Daily Cartoon: GI Joe Ep. 5 “The M.A.S.S. Device, Part 5: A Stake in the Serpent’s Heart”

Welcome to the thrilling conclusion of our dive into the original mini-series that ended up being the springboard for GI Joe becoming a full-on phenomenon in the mid-80s! It’s been a very fun to look back and watch these episodes for the first time in decades and I’m sure the closer will deliver today.

I’m not even just saying this stuff to kiss the people at Hasbro’s ass either. I mean, if they want to send me some of those new Classified Series figures to review on my YouTube channel that would be great, but I’ve already been opening my wallet a bit for those anyway. (You should too. They are really spectacular.)

Back to today: we’re in the final chapter of this intro and the Joes, despite Scarlett being kidnapped by Destro, feel like they finally have a shot of being able to defeat Cobra by having collecting all three of the necessary catalytic elements needed by Dr. Vandermeer to power his own M.A.S.S. Device.

It’s high stakes! High octane! High energy! And it starts now! Continue reading

Mr. Burns’ Starting Lineup

I love baseball. I love cartoons. I love collecting. If you share any combination of those, it’s more than likely that you love “Homer At The Bat” from Season 3 of The Simpsons.

It’s great. As a baseball-obsessed 10 year-old during the height of Simpsons-mania, it felt as if this episode was written directly to appeal to me. To this day, it is one of my all-time favorite things in pop culture.

About a year ago, I decided I was going to put together a collection of the professional players that Mr. Burns brought in as ringers so he could manage the company softball team to a win over the team from Shelbyville.

Roger Clemens, Mike Scioscia, Don Mattingly, Steve Sax, Wade Boggs, Ozzie Smith, Jose Canseco, Ken Griffey Jr. and Darryl Strawberry all took bags of money to take fake jobs at the power plant so they could qualify to play for the company team.

Of course, tragedy struck all but Darryl Strawberry who did hit 9 home runs in the championship game, but when it came to collecting them in Starting Lineup form, the tragedy was solely stuck on me. I had assumed this would be a cheap and easy collection to amass and, for all intents and purposes it was, but there was just one figure that had a level of rarity and expensiveness: Mike Scioscia.

Mike Scioscia is probably best known nowadays as the longtime manager of the Anaheim Angels who he led to a World Series title in 2002, but back in 1992, when this episode aired and back in 1989, when his sole Starting Lineup figure was released, he was known as the longtime catcher for the Los Angeles Dodgers who backstopped a World Series champion team in 1988 and absolutely crushed 7 year-old me’s heart by hitting a backbreaking home run off Dwight Gooden in Game 4 of the NLCS that year that didn’t end the series, but effectively broke the spirit of my beloved Mets who severely underestimated the Dodgers after having had rolled over them during the regular season.

So when it came to collecting these figures: of course, it was Mike Scioscia.

It’s not that Mike Scioscia was impossible to find – he wasn’t incredibly abundant, but there’s figures out there – it’s the fact that Mike Scioscia was once again hitting me where it hurt most, which at 38 years old now, meant the wallet.

When Starting Lineup figures were first released by Kenner Toys in 1988, they were done so regionally. In your local market, the overwhelming majority of the Starting Lineup figures you would find would be of players on your local teams simply because there wasn’t thought to be much interest by people in players not on their team.

You would find other players – I clearly remember my mom finding me Mark McGwire, Kirk Gibson and Andre Dawson, for example – but those guys were stars. You weren’t finding Dick Schofield, Alan Ashby and Gary Redus at the Kay-Bee Toys in Green Acres Mall in NY.

This simple sales ploy (I don’t mean that in a negative way and the logic behind the marketing and stocking makes plenty of sense, especially when you remember this was a world before the MLB package so you only ever saw your local team outside of a random game of the week and postseason) has led to the value of certain figures being significantly higher than the notable “stars”. Certain figures like Mike Scioscia.

The other eight figures came quickly and inexpensively. I don’t even think I paid more than $10 for a single one of them. But every time a 1989 Mike Scioscia Starting Lineup would pop up on eBay, the prices were far beyond anything I would have ever imagined paying.

Ninety dollars.

A hundred dollars.

A hundred and twenty dollars.

Why is this happening?!

I just wanted to buy some cheap toys and do a really fun unboxing video on my YouTube channel, but as a MOC (mint on card) collector in my heart of hearts, I can in no way now justify tearing open a Mike Scioscia figure when I’m going to pay this much for it.

But I had a plan. How many people out there could actually want this Mike Scioscia? How many hardest of hardcore Dodger fans or completist SLU collectors were out there rubbing their greedy, little hands together, dying to get their mitts on the former All Star catcher? So I waited. Certainly the price would drop at some point. It had to. And in the collecting game, patience is a virtue. The deals are out there, you just have to be willing to wait for them. I knew this would come to me.

So I waited. I tracked the listings on eBay. I did google searches from time to time. I checked Mercari and Facebook marketplace and LetGo. I put in the work because I knew that one day I would taste that sweet, sweet victory over the collecting hobby and have my prize trophy for the price I wanted to pay.

Except that never happened.

Time after time, listing after listing. Mike Scioscia never showed up for any less than $90 and, under no circumstance, could I possibly justify that. I’ve made bigger purchases, sure. I’ve spent more money on toys, absolutely. And it’s made me incredibly happy to do so…but Mike Scioscia? Man, I hate Mike Scioscia.

I tried to forget about it and just put finishing this collection to the side, one piece short of completion while focusing on other things, but it was in my saved listings always looking, watching, judging. It knew. Damn Mike Scioscia knew I was out there, lurking, peeking, never really giving up with the itch just growing stronger. This itch needed to be scratched so I could finally move on with my life.

It was too much to carry on my shoulders any longer. I finally admitted to myself that I had to have it, wallet be damned. Was $100 really going to break me? No, but that’s not the point. It’s the principle that I was positive this would be a ten, mayyyyyybe fifteen dollar figure when I decided to put this team together and the fact that I was now stuck paying a multiple of that just absolutely burned me. You got me, Mike Scioscia. You win. I tap.

So I turned the lights off in my apartment because I didn’t want to be seen doing what I was about to do. This wasn’t necessary since I live alone, but I was ashamed. I folded. Thirty-two years after the fact and I had become my biggest regret: I had folded like the 1988 Mets at the hands of Mike Scioscia. I did. I went on eBay and I found a listing for it. It was right there: Mike Scioscia, 1989 Starting Lineup. Mint on card. Just $90.

But I couldn’t do it. I just couldn’t allow myself to do this. So I did the next best thing: made a best offer of $75. It was still 7.5x more than I actually wanted to pay, but I told myself that $75 is way better than $90 and that I wouldn’t be losing here. I wouldn’t be winning either, but if I could just get the price down that little bit, I’d look at this standoff with Mike Scioscia as a draw and not the lopsided victory he would have had again over me.

It worked. The buyer accepted my $75 offer and I wrestled Mike Scioscia to a hard-fought draw. My collection of 1992’s City Champion Springfield Nuclear Power Plant team of ringers was now complete.

You almost got me again, Mike Scioscia. But you didn’t break my heart again, oh no, this time you merely just slightly bruised my ego and that’s OK. Because I only slightly gave in to my principles and we’re all forced to compromise our beliefs at some point to get what we want.

Is it over? Hardly. There will be another. Another collection to complete. Another figure to buy. Mike Scioscias under different names. But for today, for this battle, I didn’t completely lose. And sometimes, just “not losing” is true victory.

The complete lineup, one through nine

Email: ShoesOnSports@gmail.com

Twitter: @MaxSexPow

Daily Cartoon: GI Joe Ep. 4 “The M.A.S.S. Device, Part 4: Duel in the Devil’s Cauldron”

Welcome to the fourth installment of the GI Joe mini-series. Everything has been going swimmingly thus far for us as viewers, but it’s been very different for the Joes as they continue to fight from behind to collect the catalytic elements that will power their own M.A.S.S. device that could be the turning point in this battle with Cobra, a ruthless, terrorist organization determined to rule the world.

The Joes caught a break in the last episode when Snake Eyes, by some act of god, didn’t die of radiation poisoning and was able to bring back a supply of the Arctic crystals that Dr. Vandermeer was insistent on needing. However, the canister that contained those crystals starting emitting a poisonous gas into the air in the command center rendering everyone there unconscious which is where we’ll pick up today.

Damn, I love these multi-parters. Ready? Let’s do it. Continue reading

Daily Cartoon: GI Joe Ep.3 “The M.A.S.S. Device, Part 3: The Worms of Death”

Welcome to part three of our into to GI Joe through the original mini-series! I have to admit that I was stepping into this with some trepidation, but – so far – this re-watch has gone splendidly.

When we left off yesterday, Cobra had kidnapped all the world leaders by using the M.A.S.S. Device and brought them all to the mysterious Cobra Temple. Duke, who was being held captive there, escaped and made it back to GI Joe, but is still too out of it to remember anything that could help the Joes find Cobra’s secret base.

Also, GI Joe continues to attempt to build their own M.A.S.S. Device with the help of Dr. Vandermeer, but to do so, they’ll need three catalytic elements and they’ve already failed in being able to acquire the first one: a radioactive crystal in the arctic where they’ve also appeared to leave Snake Eyes for dead.

It’s high-octane excitement from start to finish! You may have an entire seat to sit and watch this today, but you’ll only be needing the edge of it! Let’s go! Continue reading

Daily Cartoon: G.I. Joe Ep. 2 “The M.A.S.S. Device, Part 2: Slave of the Cobra Master”

Welcome to part two of our introduction to G.I. Joe! I’m really excited about this since I enjoyed yesterday’s debut so much so let’s not waste too much time and get right into this.

When we left off, Cobra had seized control of a secret government satellite allowing them to transport physical matter wherever they want after triangulating the signal with Destro’s M.A.S.S. Device. Whether it’s people and troopers, riches or landmarks, if Cobra wants to send or receive, they’re now able to. Duke, who was transported to Cobra Temple by mistake while trying to capture the Baroness is now a slave in Cobra Commander’s Arena of Sport where he’s in the fight of his life against Cobra’s champion who has no name, but has the appearance of a giant barbarian warrior.

And, with that said, we begin Part 2! Continue reading