Injustice 2: Initial thoughts

Can you believe the first Injustice game came out over four years ago?! The wait for its sequel has certainly been a long one. I haven’t had a huge amount of time to play it yet but wanted to share some initial thoughts I have from the bits I have played (on Xbox One).

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Campaign

Much like its predecessor, Injustice 2 has a surprisingly compelling campaign. This time around the graphics are absolutely gorgeous. They did a much better job with the facial expressions so it feels more like being part of a movie. At the time of this writing I’ve only completed up through the Green Arrow and Black Canary level. Thus far I am eager to keep going (but my jerk kids insist I wait for them).

My only real complaint is how they handled the flashback fight at Arkham. It blended so well with the rest of the style that it became confusing. I don’t think there’s any need to have flashbacks since that time frame was covered so thoroughly in the original game and comics (comics that you should check out because they are really, really good).

Multiplayer

In the spirit of honesty, I must admit that I’ve spent the least amount of time with online multiplayer. However, the time I have spent has been a mixed bag. This new upgrade feature is not very intuitive from what I’ve seen. Hopefully my opinion of it will change once I rank up a bit and have more to play with.

One factor I was very pleased with is the lack of downtime between matches. The game is engineered to put you into a fights in fairly quick succession. My biggest complaint with games like Battlefield 1 or Star Wars Battlefront (the other games I’ve played a lot of in the last year) is that the wait between matches can seem painfully long. In the multiplayer matches I’ve played I only had one instance where I experienced connection-related lag – something I don’t usually get so I suspect it was on the Injustice servers.

The local multiplayer is just as flawless as the original. It’s nice to have a game I can play with the kids that offers equal fun for all without the fear of being a terrible parent for allowing them to see a rated M game.

Character Roster

Not too shabby of a line up right out of the gates!

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Every character definitely has a different feel to them. In addition of characters like Swamp Thing, Atrocitus, and Dr. Fate show that the studio won’t be afraid to tap into DC’s wealth of characters to make this game kick all sorts of ass.

Surprising favorites so far:

  • Black Canary – she’s hot, moves incredibly fast, and throws the trademark Canary Cry in at all the right times. I love how the sound gets muffled immediately after her scream to drive home the sonic impact.
  • Blue Beetle – never been a fan of this character so I was pleasantly surprised to see how much ass he kicks in the game. When his bladed hands are in play they extend his reach allowing quick damage to be dealt.
  • Scarecrow – I absolutely love the visual style they chose for Scarecrow! They perfectly demonstrate Dr. Crane’s true look and how he changes when the fear gas hits. The look combined with his fierce fighting style make him a lot of fun to use.

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Surprising disappointments so far:

  • Darkseid – maybe I haven’t gotten the knack of using him yet, but, he’s pretty pointless. Slow movement and crappy dialogue make the demi god a disappointing dud to fight with.
  • Cheetah – Catwoman with a different skin. She adds little from what I’ve seen.
  • Bane – I hoped he’d offer a lot more with the second game but there’s nothing special. Up the venom, Bane.

 

So what do you think? Is Injustice 2 worth the wait? What characters do you hope to see from the DLC? Let us know in the comments of directly via email at madnerddads@gmail.com. Also be sure follow our Instagram and subscribe for a coming giveaway!

jolly nathan – The Belligerent Barnes

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Will the Doomsday Clock Strike Midnight?

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DC comics revealed today that we will get a new stand alone miniseries called “Doomsday Clock”. Geoff Johns is teaming up with Gary Frank and Brad Anderson to continue the story arc of Rebirth and the current story-line, The Button, that is crossing over between Batman and the Flash. The one off Rebirth #1 brought to us the announcement that The Watchmen will be part of the DC universe with the Flash and Batman finding The Comedians “Button” embedded in the Bat-cave wall. “The Button” story-line is bringing us how The Watchmen will be integrated into the DC comic universe.

Johns has stated that the “Doomsday Clock” will focus on Superman and Dr. Manhattan. We have been given teasers with the merger of Superman from the pre and post New 52 with us seeing a blue “godlike” entity. This same blue light and godlike entity has been hinted in “The Button” story arc. Johns stated the following:

“It is something else. It is Watchmen colliding with the DC Universe. It is the most personal and most epic, utterly mind-bending project I have ever worked on in my career. With Rebirth, I opened the door to Manhattan. Part of that was I loved the real-world influence Watchmen has. I put Manhattan out there, and always thought there was a Manhattan/Superman story to be told, but then… it grew. And grew. It took my heart and soul over. Still, at the core of it, there’s a being who has lost his humanity, and distanced himself from it, and an alien who embodies humanity more than most humans. I love the idea that Watchmen influenced DC, but what would that look like in reverse? And it goes well beyond that.”

The final part of “The Button” will conclude with Flash #22, scheduled to release this Wednesday. DC has stated that the Watchmen being integrated into the DC universe will be “a slow burn” and the Doomsday Clock will not tick or begin till this November.

The Dull Knight

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Are we in favor of the big Hellboy news?

Yesterday the news broke that big Red would be kicking ass once again on the big screen – Hellboy is coming back!! The catch? These guys will have nothing to do with it…

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Ah yes, the soul-crushing Perlman & del Toro “NOPE” faces…

This was very unexpected news considering that just a couple months ago, Guillermo Del Toro curb stomped our remaining hopes and dreams with a single tweet:

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Both Hellboy movies are real treasures. Not long ago I introduced my kids to them with great success. Now my daughter has a plush “Itty Bitty Hellboy” among the army of stuffed cats in her bed. A couple years ago my wife and I also got to meet Doug Jones (Abe Sapien) at a convention. He hugged us, petted my beard, and called my wife precious. Anyone who can do those things without risking assault is goddamned magical. Needless to say, I was as bummed as everyone else when Guillermo del Toro’s news hit in February, yet, I also wasn’t the least bit surprised.

GDT is a remarkable talent. His movies transcend in ways that films (horror or comic based) seem to rarely do…. Go watch Pan’s Labyrinth and tell me I’m wrong. However huggable and great Mr. del Toro is, he’s also developed a nasty habit of getting us all excited about his project involvement then eventually breaking our geeky hearts.

Pacific Rim 2, At The Mountains of Madness, Justice League Dark, Hellboy 3….. His list of involved-then-uninvolved projects has become painfully long. I say painful because we’d all love to see him bring his vision to these very GDT-suited properties. Alas, that list will come to fruition via different sources; which could be a good thing or a bad thing – we don’t know since none of them have seen the light of day yet. This leads me to the topic we opened with……………..

Are we in favor of the big Hellboy news?

YES! This is such a welcomed surprise! I never thought we’d see Hellboy on the screen again so the chance to open up a new age of films for the Dark Horse Comics standout is one that needs to be taken. Here are a few thoughts on why in no particular order:

  • Must we reboot? Yes. This is the only way it’s going to happen because the figurative and literal stars couldn’t align to make Hellboy 3 happen. As previously stated, I love the team behind the original two films. The double-edged sword behind how good they all are is that they are also now rather busy. Without Marvel Cinematic Universe-level forethought to buy an actor’s soul prior to the first go around, getting such popular talent together is near impossible.
  • But not without Ron Perlman! There’s no way around it. Ron Perlman is a busy man who went through claustrophobic hell (no pun intended) to get into character. His heart was in the idea of bringing Big Red back but that was about it. I can’t blame the guy for being satisfied with it to the point to leave it be. Plus, he’s passing the stone hand onto David Harbour from Stranger Things. Harbour is a great actor who got a very deserving level of attention for playing Coop in Netflix’s critical darling. Plus, the dude looks the part!

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  • How can Hellboy be made WITHOUT Del Toro?! How can’t it? He’s not going to do it, plain and simple. We’re incredibly fortunate they’ve signed Neil Marshall on to direct. If that name doesn’t sound familiar then go watch The Descent – one of the best horror movies of the last 15 years that succeeded in making me feel very anxious (something that is not easy to do with my level of desensitivity). More recently he directed two of the absolute best episodes of Game Of Thrones: “Blackwater” and “The Watchers on the Wall”. So here’s a guy who has successfully brought us a nightmarish thriller/horror and TWO epic fantasy battles with giants and green fire…. combine the best qualities of those examples and you have a prime candidate for Hellboy! Also, the mastermind of it all, Mike Mignola, is still very much involved. I don’t think he’d allow them to disgrace his creation.
  • Ugh…. does it have to be Rated R? Pretty much. If Deadpool and Logan had slapped those prudish movie executives around back when Del Toro was trying to make Hellboy 3 originally then it probably would have been greenlit. Studios know that now movies like that are a safe investment whereas before they wouldn’t touch them. Hellboy deserves to be Rated R. The fact that the first two were made to be as good as they were without crossing into the darker areas of the source material is amazing. HELL is right in his name! My kids still hesitate saying it outloud for fear of getting in trouble.

So I’m stoked. This is flippin’ great news for comic fans. At this point in it’s development, Hellboy: Rise of the Blood Queen, has all the right things going for it. I’m about as happy about it as Hellboy with an armload of kittens.

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So what do you think? Is this good news for Hellboy? Let us know in the comments of directly via email at madnerddads@gmail.com. Also go to our Instagram to take part in the live poll!

jolly nathan – The Belligerent Barnes

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Predator: Hunters #1- by Chris Warner

SPOILER FREE!!!

This past Wednesday we received a lot of great reads and great story lines. From Marvel’s Secret Empire to DC’s Batman #22 and “The Button” story line, we had a ton to keep us engaged till this Wednesday’s New Comic Book Day. As I typically do, I picked up one random read to see if I will add a new comic to my pull list. This week I bring to you:

Predator: Hunters #1- by Chris Warner

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This is the 1st part of a 5 part installment of the Hunters story line. The opening panels begin with high paced, tension and action chase between the Predator and it prey. This is beautifully illustrated by artist Francisco Ruiz Velasco; great shading, design, and coloring. You definitely recognize the Predator, but there are subtle changes and add-on that give an “evolved” feel to the character.

After the conclusion of the opening panels, the scene then shift to our main players. Chris Warner did a wonderful job giving each charterer their own personality which was on display during the conversational exchanges between the individuals. The conversation did not feel forced or dry. Each individual recounts their own experience and interaction with the Predator alien in solid detail. Doing a bit of research, I found out that Chris Warner gave this background on each charterer because they have been in previous Predator comics. The background information was wonderfully done and very much appreciated for a newcomer like myself. The title pretty much gives away the “theme” for this series… The Hunted will now be the Hunters.

My final rating of Predator: Hunters- by Chris Warner is 8.1 out of 10.

Dark Horse Comics did a very good job with the opening comic of this 5 comic series. Issue #1 was a very good casual read that allows the reader to get up to speed with past events of the Predator comic’s. I am definitely going to add this to my pull list so that I can see the upcoming developments. So being that tomorrow is New Comic Book Day, give some of the other comic companies some love.

The Dull Knight

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Batman #22 “The Button”- by Tom King

SPOILER ALERT! SPOILER ALERT! SPOILER ALERT! READ ON AT YOUR OWN CAUTION!

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Batman #22 “The Button”- by Tom King

This past Wednesday we received the 3rd part of the 4 part cross over that is “The Button” story line. To get up to speed, the Reverse Flash thrashed Batman all over the Batcave. Reverse Flash then touches the “Watchmen” button (found in the Batcave at the end of Rebirth #1) disappears than reappears, but in flames and saying, “I saw God”, he then dies. The aftermath forces the Flash and Batman to go back in time, using the Cosmic Treadmill. Flash notices that there is something very wrong with the timeline. Batman and the Flash then tumble through time and multiverse to land in the Batcave and come face to face with Thomas Wayne as the Flashpoint Batman.

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In Batman #22 we get Thomas Wayne in the Batcave giving a prologue of the events that occurred after the The Flashpoint. Thomas explains that the timeline did not end after the Flashpoint; more misery and death followed while he lived in a personal hell knowing he was basically powerless and still feeling alone without his murdered wife and son. Thomas Wayne explains, that after the Flashpoint, Aquaman and Wonder Women put their disdain for each other aside and combined their efforts to try to kill him once and for all. We then get a panel showing Atlantis soldiers and Themyscira Amazons rushing Wayne Manor.

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All caught up to the events at the end of Flash #21, we get Bruce face to face with his father. Thomas Wayne, clearly upset, lashes out on the Flash telling him that he was supposed to put an end to his alternate reality… he was to make everything right. Flash tells Thomas that something or someone is holding the Flashpoint reality in place. The Flash says that he can fix the Cosmic Treadmill; Thomas tells him to make it quick because they have company. After a quick battle with the Atlantic and Themyscira soldiers, Flash finishes the repairs on the Cosmic Treadmill.

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To almost prove to Thomas Wayne that he, Bruce, really is his son, Bruce begins to recount the events of when he fell into the cave as a child and what Thomas told him on the way up from the cave. At this point the Flash gets an overwhelming feeling that whatever was holding on to the Flashpoint reality “just let go”. Ultimately feeling that time with his father is now fleeting, Bruce tells him that he has a son (Damien) and Thomas is now a grandfather. The Flash tells him that the Treadmill is fully charged and ready to go with or without them. Bruce asks his dad to go back with them…back to Bruce’s reality. With the reality around them is crumbling, Thomas turns to Bruce and says this:

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Thomas then shoves Bruce onto the treadmill and Flash and Bruce disappear; Thomas Wayne stays behind. In true warrior fashion, that is Batman, Thomas Wayne dons his mask and rushes into the destructive blue light, embracing the hopeful end to his world and finally being with his wife and son. The panel then changes to the Flash and Batman speeding through time. At this moment, the Flash and Batman catch up to the point in time the Reverse Flash is rushing back to the Batcave with the button in hand. The Flash screams to Eobard to stop for his safety, but says that he has seen too much to stop and knows who the button belongs to.

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My final rating of Batman #22 “The Button”- by Tom King is 7.9 out of 10.

Once again the art work is masterfully done. I felt that Batman #22 was a bit of a “filler” issue, but it was done very nicely. I enjoyed the information of the Flashpoint reality after the Flash first left. I am also intrigued to find out if Thomas Wayne’s final words to Bruce will have lasting effects on the cape crusader. Though there was not much context in relation to “The Button”, I enjoyed Batman #22. Who knows, with next week being the final issue of “The Button” story-line, we may see a lot of relevance of Batman #22 to Flash #22.

Have you read this issue yet? Are you enjoying The Button story line?Let us know in the comments or email us directly at madnerddads@gmail.com. Don’t forget to follow the blog and on Instagram to stay up to date!

The Dull Knight

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Judge Dredd #1: The Blessed Earth by Ulises Farinas & Erick Preitas

Tomorrow marks one of the best days of the week (next to Friday); New Comic Book Day!!! You will have your pick from your standard titles like Batman, Iron-Man, Captain America, etc; these are usually pretty safe picks for your reading enjoyment. I’m sure we have always walked by a title that the cover art catches our eye, but ultimately we just keep walking because the title is unknown to us or we are not to familiar with that “outside” comic companies. There are a lot of gems out there waiting to be found and read. I have told myself that each week I will get 1 comic that is unfamiliar to me. So for review I bring to you the review of:

Judge Dredd #1: The Blessed Earth by Ulises Farinas & Erick Preitas

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I have not read one issue of the Judge Dredd story-line, but I thoroughly enjoyed how Farinas and Preitas made the story very easy to understand for an outsider. Judge Dredd is a continuation from the Mega-City Zero story-line. You immediately get a quick update on the events of Mega-City Zero that bring us to our present iteration. We get an older Judge Dredd in an almost “Mad Max” world where Judge’s are more out numbered then they have ever been. The official Judge’s have help from cadets in training, but these cadets can not be trusted. The cadets eventually lead Judge Dredd into a trap. The dialogue of Judge Dredd was very nicely written. We get the no-nonsense, no negotiating, tough as nails, always has a plan Judge Dredd, that we remember from the movies and comics. The pace of the comic stays at a very steady beat that kept me engaged to what was happening from panel to panel. The cover work is beautifully done and the panels of the comics had a “Walking Dead” art feel to it.

My final rating of Judge Dredd #1: The Blessed Earth – by Farinas & Erick is 7.4 out of 10.

Tomorrow, go to your local comic book store and pickup last weeks Judge Dredd. This IDW comic is released on a monthly basis. Also, go off the beaten path and explore other titles… I think you will be pleasantly surprised.

What new comics have you added to your reading? Tell us what you thought! Sound off in the comments or send us an email at madnerddads@gmail.com. Don’t forget to follow the blog and on Instagram to stay up to date!

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Top 5 LEGO Star Wars Values (Spring 2017)

It’s almost my favorite pseudo-holiday… This great day celebrates my lifelong obsession while recognizing potential speech impediments: May The Fourth (aka Star Wars Day)! Thank the Maker!

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May 4th is a fantastic time to pick up some Star Wars swag while enjoying deals or promotions. LEGO has a solid history with Star Wars and usually does it justice every year in May with some great exclusives. This year, they are breaking their streak of minifigure exclusives by offering a highly coveted polybag of R2D2.

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This promotion is for any LEGO Star Wars purchase over $50. You can get it in store or online during the specified timeframe. I’ll be in a LEGO Store in person on May 4th because I’m too impatient to wait for shipping. So if you are looking to take advantage of this awesome promotion while celebrating our holy religion of Star Wars…. what do you buy? It can be a tad overwhelming standing before the glory of the LEGO aisle gazing upon a slew of options. Fret not, young padawans, because the Mad Nerd Dads are here to help with a new Mad Top 5 List comprised of selections for the best ‘bang for your buck’ LEGO Star Wars options available as of Spring 2017.

Factors considered here are: minifigure count/variety, brick count, price tag (under $40.00 is my criteria), minifigure exclusivity, playability, and eventual display potential. Keep in mind that this is for the current selection! Summer has some very cool sets coming out too but, to my knowledge, these are next to impossible to get currently without obscene markups.

Top 5 LEGO Star Wars Values (Spring 2017)

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Runner Up – Microfighters

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Microfighters are the lowest cost Star Wars set currently available. They’ll always include a minifigure and a small build between 75 and 110 pieces. I’m not a huge fan of them because I’d rather have a decent looking build with a minifigure separate like they used to do for the Planet series. However, they still offer a lot for a $9.99 price tag and are geared more towards to playability goal than realism. Microfighters are a solid choice if you’re looking for something to throw in to put you over the $50 minimum to qualify for the R2D2 promo.

#5 – Battle Packs #75164 and #75165

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At $14.99 a pop, Battle Packs are an easy way to bolster your minifigure numbers! Each comes with four minifigures and enough accessories to add a lot of play value. The newer packs also have stud shooters rather than basic blaster molds. I was super excited that the Imperial version has the new Death Troopers included in them. Normally a new Stormtrooper would only be included with a much larger set so it is definitely a must own!

#4 – Carbon-Freezing Chamber #75137

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There is a whole lot to love about this little set! It faithfully recreates one of the most iconic scenes from the entire saga for only $24.99 (and is old enough now that you can probably find it on sale). The set has some fun mechanics involved that allow for the pedestal with Han Solo to lower, rotate, then return in carbonite. The only other way to obtain the Han Solo in carbonite ‘minifigure’ piece is through the UCS Slave I, the older Slave I set, or the Jabba’s Palace set. Needless to say, these other options don’t exactly carry a $24.99 price tag. I only had two complaints about this wonderful set: there is a level mechanic that doesn’t seem to do anything or serve any purpose, and they cut down the piece count by including a stair piece. These things will probably only bother me because I’m an obsessive collector so feel free to ignore me.

#3 (TIED) – Luke’s Landspeeder #75137

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I was very happy to see this among the Spring releases! It is a relatively to-scale replica of a very iconic vehicle from A New Hope. At only $19.99 it has four very different minifigures of Luke, “Ben” Kenobi, C-3PO, and a Tusken Raider. Playability is very high here as are potential display options. Disclaimer: this is one selection I actually don’t own yet because I’m saving it for my May 4th purchase.

#3 (TIED) – The Phantom #75170

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This selection may not be as appealing unless you’re a fan of Star Wars Rebels (WHICH YOU SHOULD BE), but it was the first set from the Spring 2017 releases that I jumped on. Technically the Phantom “II”, this is a neat build with some fantastic minifigures. My only real complaints are that the $29.99 price tag would have been a bit better at $24.99 and there are too many decals (I f*ing hate decals). Otherwise, it’s a fun set that could easily be displayed or played with. The minifigures were the true draw here because it is the only set to include Grand Admiral Thrawn. Thrawn, for the uninitiated, is one of the best characters that fans thought was lost in the Disney takeover. The third season of Star Wars Rebels found a way to pull him out of the Legends catalogue and bring him where he belongs in canon. It’s great that this set also includes the blinded version of Kanan and good ol’ Chopper.

#2 – Desert Skiff Escape #75174

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In the spirit of honesty, I must admit that I won’t be purchasing this one. The only reason for that though is because it’s an updated version of set #9496 which I already own. If you didn’t get lucky enough to snag that one prior to its retirement, definitely get your nerdy ass to the store and grab this! For only $29.99 you get four awesome minifigures, a sarlacc, and an accurate reproduction of the Desert Skiff from Return of the Jedi. A modest 277 piece count is put to good use in a faithful imagining of this famous scene.

#1 – AT-ST Walker #75153

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I firmly believe that not only is this one of the best LEGO Star Wars values currently available, but it is only of the best sets in the current catalogue. When they released this for Rogue One last year I found it the first day it his a shelf in Richmond, VA. The AT-ST is my personal favorite vehicle from the Star Wars Universe and this set does it total justice. It employs some fun building techniques while allowing for poseability and playability. The set is wonderfully scaled to minifigures and can stand safely without support. Minifigures included are the AT-ST pilot, a rebel soldier, and Baze Malbus. Baze has his heavy blaster which really sets him apart on the collector’s shelf. Priced at $39.99 (but frequently on sale since it was part of the winter releases), this is a tremendous value that will delight any age of Star Wars nut.

So what are your favorites currently on the market? Would you have added/ omitted anything? Will you be breaking the bank on LEGO for May the 4th? Let us know in the comments of directly via email at madnerddads@gmail.com.

jolly nathan – The Belligerent Barnes

 

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