Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Marvel Super Hero Adventures BLACK WIDOW!

Marvel Super Hero Adventures - Black Widow - Hasbro / Playskool 2014

I've been patiently waiting for a female in the Marvel Super Hero Adventures line for years. The previous incarnation of Marvel preschool toys, Superhero Squad, had an amazingly complex number of female heroes and villain in the line. I literally have dozens of females on my SHS shelf. The Marvel Super Hero Adventures figures are slightly larger and more durable.  I was initially hesitant to jump on board another preschool line after my beloved SHS dwindled to a halt, but then Fisher-Price / Mattel ramped up their DC Superfriends Imaginext line and my hiatus was over. There have been an underwhelming number of females in the DC lines (Catwoman, Wonder Woman, Harley Quinn, and Poison Ivy), but they were still leaps and bounds ahead of the Marvel toys. This Black Widow figure was bought from an eBay seller in China and represents the very first female in the line. Who know how she will be released.  Maybe singularly, maybe in a 2-Pack, maybe a big multipack. Only time will tell.  Let's check her out!

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Funko POP! - Arkham Asylum HARLEY QUINN!

Funko POP! Heroes #54 - Batman: Arkham Asylum - Harley Quinn - Funko 2014
Harley Quinn is a doctor. Dr. Harleen Frances Quinzel, M.D. was a psychiatrist at Arkham Asylum where she counseled, and was seduced by, the Joker. This story is amazing. This origin is brilliant. It was this solid foundation that launched her into the powerhouse character she is today (Hello.. there's a HQ fashion line starting this fall at Hot Topic). Anyway, because of all these factors, I am fundamentally opposed to seeing her dressed up in a sexy nurse outfit.  Not that nurses aren't fantastic. (My mother had an amazing career as an RN).  But this portrayal is just inaccurate, insulting to her origin, and awkward. That said, this particular Funko POP representation of the Arkham Asylum video game design of Harley is actually pretty cute.  Perhaps because the cuteness of the POPs naturally obscure the "sexy" tackiness. That's my two cents at least. This figure is a Hot Topic Exclusive Pre-release. I'm assuming the whole wave will be available everywhere at a later date (I can't wait to get that Poison Ivy!).

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Marvel Universe RED SHE-HULK!

Marvel Universe Infinite Series: Wave 2 - Red She-Hulk - Hasbro 2014
It's a pretty common theme in comics for a civilian love-interest character to be granted powers similar to her namesake hero.  The most notable examples that come to mind are Lois Lane's multiple transformations into Superwoman and Carol Ferris's becoming a Violet Lantern (Star Sapphire).  I always enjoy this type of plot.  Mostly because I love seeing how the same powers and abilities would be expressed differently from a female perspective.  While I've always paid keen attention when these stories would appear, I've never before become quite as obsessed as I was when Betty (Ross) Banner became the Red She-Hulk.  She had a brief 10-issue self-titled run from 2012-2013 which I thought was amazing.  The art was beautiful, her characterization was well fleshed out.  She was righteous, vengeful, compassionate, and of course angry.  I loved every page of it.  Unfortunately we haven't heard from her in the past six months.  I would love a continuation of the unlikely Red She-Hulk / Machine Man team-up.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Justice League: War WONDER WOMAN!

Justice League: War - Wonder Woman - DC Collectibles 2014
DC Collectibles is proving itself to be an absolutely amazing company.  Sure, there have been terrific toys lines in the past that have spanned years and produced hundreds of figures, but something that DC Collectibles has really impressed me with is the variety of styles and genres they are willing to produce.  The comic style figures are arguably some of the best collectors toys on the market.  Their video game figures are insanely popular.  The live action figures from Arrow and Flash look amazingly well made.  And now they're dipping into the "animated style" market with these Justice League: War figures (as well as upcoming figures for Batman: The Animated Series and Son of Batman).  What's impressive about these figures is that they are in a 6-7" scale that is pretty much unheard of for animated figures.  99% of of these toys are usually in a 4" scale all their own.  This Wonder Woman stands out with her unique costume and exaggerated proportions.  Truly Amazonian!  Let's check her out below!

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Sealab 2021's DEBBIE DUPREE!

Cartoon Network: Adult Swim Series 01 - Sealab 2021 - Palisades 2005
I have never been a big fan of Cartoon Network's Adult Swim programming.  Irreverent humor just isn't my thing.  That said, I love the fact that shows like Harvey Birdman, Space Ghost Coast to Coast, and Sealab 2021 exist because they breathe new life into the kind of classic cartoons that I love.  Without the goofy antics of this late-night programming, we would never ever ever be getting toys of these classic Hanna-Barbera characters.  For those uninitiated, shows like Sealab 2021 take original animation (in this case, from Hanna-Barbera's 1972 sleeper hit, Sealab 2020) and repurpose it into comical nonsense by means of splicing, dubbing, and adding new animation.  My brothers love this stuff, but it just isn't my cup of tea.  Sealab 2020 was an underwater adventure series reminiscent of Star Trek.  Sealab 2021 was a parody of that same setup, but set 1 year later when all the characters were getting lax with their underwater responsibilities.  Debbie Dupree is actually the character Gail from the original show.

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Kre-O Transformers Machine Wars STRIKA!

Transformers Kre-O Botcon Exclusive Machine Wars Set - Hasbro 2013
Characters like Strika are a struggle for me.  She is pretty much the antithesis of every physical trait that I would consider "feminine."  On one side, I think this is great.  Who says being female demands an hourglass figure?  Who says a strong powerhouse character needs to be male?  Who says the typical masculine traits can't belong to a female?  Then on the flipside I'm thinking "Why does she need to be so 'unfeminine' to be taken seriously?", etc etc.  Then add that crazy debate to the fact that I am highly oversensitive to male action figures being reappropiated as females with no consideration to realistic body portrayals.  Robot characters in particular always seem to struggle with gender display.  From her very first incarnation, Strika was a large, stocky, powerful character.  She is also a former Autobot who now sides with the bad guys (always a cool dynamic).  She has had a handful of toys over the years (some of which are indeed repainted male figures), but this is the first one in line that that is so gender-neutral by default (i.e. this is the one figure of Strika that puts all my overthinking at ease).  Let's check her out!

Monday, June 30, 2014

Skelanimals HARLEY QUINN!

DC Skelanimals 3" Vinyl Figures - Series 01 - Marcy/ /Harley Quinn - Toynami 2014
I've been impressed with Toynami's Skelanimals line since I first discovered them many years ago at a Hot Topic.  This was before skulls became a popular mainstream design motif on kids' clothing so it was something of a shock to see a plush cat skeleton.. especially a cute one.  I intended to buy them for all my friends' little babies, but every time I either couldn't find them or had second thoughts about their appropriateness for a 2 year old.  I actually just wanted one for myself, but couldn't justify having a stuffed animal amongst all my "super mature" collectibles.  Then at Toy Fair last year I finally saw a perfect Skelanimal for my picky sensibilities:  The Harley Quinn 3" Vinyl figure.  It took forever for her to be released and ever longer for me to find her in store, but she was worth the wait.  Now I can't wait to get all those upcoming DC Hello Kitty products so she's not so lonely in her adorableness.  I didn't realize till I had her in my hands that the 5 figures in Series 1 are all existing Skelanimal characters dressed up as DC Heroes.  In this case Marcy the Monkey is dressed as Harley (the curly tail tipped me off).  Let's check her out!

Friday, June 27, 2014

Ninja Turtles Movie Figures - APRIL O'NEIL!

(Teenage Mutant) Ninja Turtles - Basic Series 1 - April O'Neil - Playmates 2014
I have a feeling that Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles is a property that will continually reinvent itself.  I'm not a diehard fan by any means, but I'm still excited for the new movie.  I love all the classic cartoon toys coming out.  And I definitely love the original comic figures.  Not to mention all the weird animated and live action versions in between.  Seriously, I can't imagine what a TMNT superfan's collection might look like.  I'll bet it's pretty awesome though (my favorite color is green!).  April O'Neil has become such a classic pop culture lady.  A modern Lois Lane in a yellow coat.  I sometimes imagine myself amassing a whole shelf of canary-hued journalists, but alas, I only have three.  This newest toy depicts Megan Fox as April in the upcoming live action film.  When I found her in the stores this week, it was the first good look I had of this figure.  The blurry pictures on the internet up till now made me think she was going to be a larger deluxe figure, but in actuality, she's a 5" basic figure with limited (but good) articulation.