Monday, May 29, 2023

Generation X - MONET ST CROIX!

Marvel Legends - X-Men Ch'od BaF Wave - Monet St. Croix - Hasbro 2023

In 2002 I moved to a city with comic book stores. All three shops in my hometown had closed in the late 90s bubble. But even before they shut their doors, I had become disenchanted with American comics. The "extreme" trends, the pricey cover gimmicks, and the endless story tie-ins just burned me out. But by 2002 I was feeling nostalgic and was curious about what I had missed out on. I dabbled with a bunch of titles, but the only true gem was Generation X. I viewed it as a 90's take on The New Mutants with fresh new characters and uniquely classic matching uniforms. These characters have been on my Marvel Legends wishlist for years, and it's amazing that the first few releases come in a wave with the first Starjammers figures, too (another longstanding team on my wishlist). Monet St. Croix is arguably the most interesting character in the series. She was shrouded in secrecy with a mysterious past and identity. Plus she's a gorgeous invulnerable powerhouse. This figure is perfect. Let's check out Monet below!

Saturday, May 27, 2023

X-Men: The Animated Series - JEAN GREY!

Marvel Legends - X-Men the Animated Series (VHS) - Jean Grey - Hasbro 2022

Of all the female characters released in the X-Men: The Animated Series Marvel Legends VHS line, I think Jean Grey benefits the most from the brighter colors and cel-shaded redeco. In my humble opinion, despite the nostalgic appeal, this costume has always been very odd; orange tights that morph into boots, a purely decorative thong, bulky shoulderpads and gauntlets, and headgear that seems neither protective, functional, nor fashionable. But somehow with the added multi-tone blue and orange details in the animated design, it looks less strange. In comics and animation, it's easy to buy in to the fantasy and suspend all disbelief with physics-defying costumes that seem impossible to remove. But when you see that same design in 3-D like this, it's harder to ignore the impracticality. Luckily the modern toy trend of re-releasing figures in cel-shaded or pixelated decos works to merge the 3-D sculpt with the 2-D source material, and sometimes the results are great. Let's check out Jean Grey below!

Friday, May 26, 2023

X-Men: The Animated Series - STORM!

Marvel Legends - X-Men the Animated Series (VHS) - Storm - Hasbro 2022

I think one of the best things about X-Men: The Animated Series is that it finally exposed Storm to the world. Sure, Ororo Munroe has been a major player in the X-Men comics for 17 years already and had several high-profile (to me at least) animation appearances in Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends and Pryde of the X-Men. But it wasn't until her 1992 television debut that kids were running around the playground impersonating her. She's a great character for emulation with her commanding voice and elemental power, and add her calm demeanor and maternal vibes and you have an all-around icon. There have been a few great attempts at creating a toy representation of 90's animated Storm, but this one is easily my favorite so far. The cel-shading and voluminous hair is a relatively simply change from that last attempt in 2019, but it makes a huge difference. The X-Men VHS line is likely over, but hopefully some Spider-ladies get this treatment, too. Let's check out animated Storm below!

Thursday, May 25, 2023

X-Men: The Animated Series - MYSTIQUE!

Marvel Legends - X-Men the Animated Series (VHS) - Mystique - Hasbro 2022

My favorite figure in the recent Marvel Legends X-Men the Animated Series VHS line is easily this Mystique release. Raven Darkholme is a amazing character in almost every iteration, but my favorite has always been the classic white sleeveless gown with the skull motif. Considering that we got a fantastic Walgreens-exclusive figure in this outfit just a few year ago, I never expected another one. And frankly, I'm surprised at how a simple repaint and a new hairpiece made such a unique variation that gives such a different vibe than the first version. Most of the Marvel Legends VHS figures I've seen so far seem to focus on the cel-shading as their primary distinction from their original releases, but Mystique got a major makeover, and I couldn't be happier. I know the line appears to be over (with focus shifted to Spider-Man), but I would be shocked if they didn't find a way to release Rogue. And hopefully she'll have the same makeover that her Mom got. Fingers crossed. Let's check out Mystique below!

Wednesday, May 24, 2023

X-Men: The Animated Series - JUBILEE!

Marvel Legends - X-Men the Animated Series (VHS) - Jubilee - Hasbro 2022

When Jubilee was first introduced in the pages of Uncanny X-Men #244 (May 1989) I wasn't too impressed. One of the first comic tropes I acknowledged as a young reader was that of a young quirky female character who always seemed shoehorned-in to embody some lacking social or fashion trends. Just four years prior we met Boom Boom in Secret Wars, and it wasn't long before when Kitty Pride was up to her hijinks as Sprite. So Jubilee just seemed like just another reimagining of the same gimmick. It wasn't until X-Men The Animated Series premiered a few years later that I actually began to view Jubilee as a unique character. She was the focal point of the first storyline. Following her being chased through the mall by Sentinels was quite an introduction for the Television audiences. Since then she's been a fan favorite and highly-demanded in the Marvel Legends line. When the Animated Series cel-shaded sub-line was unveiled, she was an obvious choice for inclusion. Let's check out Jubilee below!

Sunday, May 21, 2023

World of Nintendo - ZELDA!

Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild - Zelda w/ Sheikah Slate - Jakks Pacific 2023

I haven't played a video game on a console in more than 20 years at this point. But seeing my friends play The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild almost tempted me to fall off the wagon and start playing again. The game looked beautiful and really seemed to transport you into a different world. That is the major appeal of (certain) comics and movies for me; the ability to submerge me in a complex, well-thought-out world. Almost as if the environment of the story is its own character. And Breath of the wild really seemed to fit the bill. With the release last week of Tears of the Kingdom and all my friends and coworkers abuzz talking about it, I thought it was a good time to post on this recent Zelda figure from Jakks. While there is no "World of Nintendo" branding on the packaging, this Walmart wave seems to be a relaunch of the concept with Zelda and Metroid characters offered in the first assortment. Super curious to see which games and characters will be next. Let's check out Zelda below!

Thursday, May 18, 2023

MOTU Revelation - DARK-LYN!

Masterverse - Mattelcreations Exc - MOTU Revelation - Dark-Lyn - Mattel 2023

Masters of the Universe: Revelation seemed to focus a lot on character growth and transformation. Because of the time-jump in the storyline and the un-doing of Eternian power balance as we have always known it, almost every character had multiple distinct looks. This was especially true of the two token females: Teela and Evil-Lyn. When all is said and done, each of these ladies will have had three very distinct Masterverse figures (even more if you count the alternate heads), and this was only from a single season. [Spoilers for the next few sentences] Dark-Lyn is the final form of Evil-Lyn when she steals the Power of Grayskull from Skeletor (then Skelegod). I will admit this is my least favorite design of all the female characters in Revelation. I don't hate it, but it pales in comparison to the Sorceress Evil-Lyn design and the final version of Teela. Where the Skelegod upgrade was cool and colorful with big horns and green power effects, the only visual upgrade here seems to be her height and musculature.

Tuesday, May 16, 2023

G.I.Joe Classified - BLUE NINJA!

G.I.Joe Classified Series (6" Line) #51 - Blue Ninjas 2-Pack - Hasbro 2023

The G.I.Joe Classified line has taken an interesting turn recently by offering original characters (or at least original versions of characters). With a seemingly endless supply of fodder from the original cartoon and toyline, I'm surprised Hasbro is already going off-script. The first inkling of this new direction was when the female H.I.S.S. Gunner was announced as a stretch goal in the 2022 G.I.Joe Haslab campaign. (Female infantry were historically rare). I was ecstatic but assumed it would be a one-time thing. But since then we've seen a 2-Pack of female Cobra Troopers and this Cobra Blue Ninjas set. What I especially love about this Ninja set is the subtle homage to Vypra, the Jinx repaint that had several releases between 1998 and 2015. This Blue Ninja seems to specifically reference the 2015 Collector's Club figure (that's sadly absent from my collection).  She's the first female Classified figure that isn't an A-Lister, but now I'm excited for the potential of other obscure additions. Let's check her out below!