The extras are bountiful and include filmmaker commentary tracks, a picture-in-picture look at the movies with the production staff, Shrek’s Interactive Journey (a map revealing the artwork origins of some of the film’s locations), and more holiday fun with a Yule Log (to burn away on television screens) and a “12 Days of Christmas” virtual pop-up book.
*Batman Beyond: The Complete Series (Warner Home Video, $99.98) - Fans of Gotham City’s futuristic Dark Knight can relive the entire 52-episode run of the Emmy-Award-winning television series with this nine-disc DVD set. A mythology taking place in 2039 finds an elderly Bruce Wayne hanging up his high-tech cape and teenager Terry McGinnis stealing it to challenge the Jokerz gang as the new Batman.
Packaged with a 24-page, 8-by-12-inch color art book in a Bat-fanatic-friendly box, extras to the set also include a trio of behind-the-scenes featurettes, a smattering of optional commentary tracks and the 90-minute documentary “Secret Origin: The Story of DC Comics.”
*Wolverine and the X-Men: The Complete Series (Lionsgate Home Entertainment, $44.99) The latest animated series starring Marvel Comics‘ Homo Superior species ended last year after only one season, but it arrives in a three-disc Blu-ray set ready to dazzle in the high-definition format. Through 26 episodes, viewers learn the plight of an X-Men team devoid of Professor X and Jean Grey but still ready to fight the U.S.-government-sponsored Mutant Response Division and attempt to stop a tragic future.
Characters such as Wendigo, the Stepford Cuckoos, Silver Samurai and Squidboy will appeal to the hard-core comic-book fan while the action is perfect for the tween cartoon lover. Extras include optional commentary tracks for all of the episodes.
Scarlet Witch Comiquette (Sideshow Collectibles, $204.99) - One of Marvel Comics‘ most gorgeous and dangerous mutants comes to life in this 18-inch-tall hand-painted polystone statue. Artist Mark Brooks captures the cheesecake beauty of Wanda Maximoff and adds a bit of humor as she holds a controller to manipulate a pint-sized toy version of her husband, the Vision. The piece uses a bit of magnetism (Magneto not involved) to complete the assembly process (arms and head pop right on) and I’m betting it helps if someone accidentally knocks into it. However, only a buffoon would not get this pop-art masterpiece in a case for all to admire.
*Michael Jackson’s Thriller (Hot Toys, $189.99) - The memory of the “King of Pop” lives on in this 12-inch-tall detailed doll capturing his look in the legendary 1983 long-form horror music video “Thriller.” The set includes a perfect face sculpt of the star, cloth costuming with signature shiny red pleather jacket, red pants, white socks and black shoes. Hot Toys tosses in nine additional hands to interchange, 32 points of articulation of the doll’s body and a display stand to craft the perfect pose of the dancer in action. The best part of the set, however, is the ability to create the zombie version of Michael, complete with tattered jacket and replaceable, ghoulish head.
*Aurra Sing (Sideshow Collectibles, $289.99) - For only the most devoted “Star Wars” fans, this 22-inch-tall hand-painted premium-format figure brings to life one of most obscure bounty hunters in the Skywalker saga. A museum-quality piece limited to 750 figures, it features the female’s stunning, chalk-white curvy polystone body in an orangish, form-fitting spandex-style suit with dual holsters and a brown vest packing ammunition.
No detail is spared down to the complex mixed-media ponytail and fine-metal antenna that stick out of her head. She stands posed with one hand resting on her blaster pistol and other holding on to her long projectile rifle set against a railed rock formation pulled from her Pod Race mission at Tatooine.
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A graduate of Northwestern University with a degree in communications, Joseph Szadkowski has written about popular culture for The Washington Times for the past 17 years. He covers video games, comic books, new media and technology.
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