Sunday, December 30, 2012

DC Direct Watchmen SILK SPECTRE!

Silk Spectre Classic Movie Figure - DC Direct 2009
 
I felt like a lot of the action figures that were released from the 2009 Watchmen movie left a lot to be desired.  I personally felt that it was a fantastic movie and a great adaptation of the classic comics.  Of all the toys, I felt that the DC Direct Classic Silk Spectre and Classic Nite Owl were the standout stars.  They have fantastic sculpts, great character representations, and display some of the best film-based interpretations of comic heroes I've ever seen.  In the film, Carla Gugino plays Sally Jupiter (Juspeczyk), one of the original members of the Minutemen.  For most of the movie, she is shown in modern times as the overbearing "stage mom" to her daughter Laurie, whom she convinced to take up her retired mantle and become Silk Spectre (II).  The sculpt by Karen Palinko is predictably gorgeous.  I especially love how her suggestive costume contradicts her angelic face.  And also how the ball-jointed head lets you pose her with subtle variations that completely change the demeanor of the character.  Check out the full review below.

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Customized MADAME HYDRA!

Arnim Zola Series Madame Hydra - Hasbro's Marvel Legends 2012

Madame Masque was one of my biggest disappointments of the year.  Finding out that we were getting such a cool second-tier character as a variant was amazing news.  The prototypes looked wonderful.  Then, the actual production samples started showing up.  Suddenly her face looked pinched and pulled into a very mannish exaggeration of what we were shown before.  I almost didn't buy the figure, but then I thought how it would be a fun chance to experiment with customization.  I rarely do customizations unless it's a subtle altering of the same character.  I may break from that pattern some day, but it keeps my goals in check for now.  I reviewed both Madame Masque and Madame Hydra earlier this month and within the review, I challenged myself to fix her as best as I could by the end of January.  The fact that Hasbro casts their figures in flesh-colored plastic is actually a blessing in this case.  You can sand down and buff that plastic easily and really alter a figure with minimal effort and damage.  Check out the step-by-step photos below.

Friday, December 28, 2012

DC Universe Signature Series PLATINUM!

The Leading Lady of the Metal Men is a Mattycollector Exclusive from Mattel 2012

Team completion is one of the greatest feelings for an action figure collector.  It amkes you feel as if you've acheived a goal of sorts, and it makes you feel like the toy companies really care about us weirdos.  I was a regular on the DC Message Boards before they were axed last year with with New52 reboot, and team completion for the Metal Men was one of the most constant topics.  I honestly never thought it would actually happen, but these past few years have surprized me over and over.  Platinum is the third female figure in the first year of Mattycollector's Club Infinite Earths DC subscription program and they've really proved that they're going to squeeze in those desperately needed final figures for us.  The Metal Men have been fan-favorites since their debut in 1962.  They're quirky, fun, and adventurous, which is always a winning combination in comics.  All the members are a living metal, proudly displaying their elemental symbol (or at least a symbolic representation), and they all exhibit Plastic Man / Mister Fantastic body distortion talents.  Platinum has a Pinocchio complex and thinks she's a real girl.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Xyber 9: New Dawn - ANAKONDA!

Xyber 9: New Dawn's Forest Warrior, Anakonda - Bandai 1999

Xyber 9: New Dawn was an animated series from Saban in 1999.  It was cancelled after only 10 episodes, but an additional 12 episodes were eventually aired in syndication (in 2007).  I've never seen the series, but from what I gather, it's a post-apocalyptic tale with multiple kingdoms fighting for power over the realm.  The main character, Jack, finds a staff called the Xyber 9 which houses an advanced form of computer intelligence (from the technologically-advanced past we can presume).  This staff provides Jack and his allies with the power and strategy to prevent the kingdoms from falling under evil rule.  This character, Anakonda, is an ally to Jack and a fierce fighter.  She was raised by snakes in the Dark Lands and was given her reptilian nickname by Jack.  She has heightened senses, camouflaging talents, fierce fighting skills, and a quippy mouth.  She also has a serious crush on Jack and gets a little possessive when other girls come around.  On to the review!

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Flash Gordon's PRINCESS THUNDAR!

The Rebellious Royal Lionid from Playmates 1996

I love love love cat-people.  While I wasn't the biggest fan the 1996 animated Flash Gordon series, I did love the fact that it introduced Princess Thundarr (I spell it with two R's here because all references to the show spell it Thundarr, while all references to the toy spell it Thundar.  Maybe it's mistake or a legal issue, but either way it's worth mentioning.)  This series of Flash Gordon revamped him as a daring teenage skateboarder.  I don't know who ever thought that kind of restructuring would be a good idea.  Anyway, back to the Lionid Thundarr, from her wiki bio she comes from a species of felinoids. She is an impetuous and excellent fighter, and an expert at hand-to-hand combat.  The bio card on the cardback (from Ming the Merciless' point-of-view) is pretty amusing.  I didn't realize the comical angle at first and thought it was a very unflattering depiction.  Princess Thundarr easily joins the ranks of Thundercats, Realm of the Claw, Seventh Kingdom, and all the other properties that have brought us fantastic Cat-Ladies.  On to the review!

Monday, December 24, 2012

Cadillacs & Dinosaurs HANNAH DUNDEE!

Scientist and Diplomat Hannah Dundee from TYCO 1993

Cadillacs and Dinosaurs was a Television Series and Video Game franchise based on the 1987 comic series Xenozoic Tales.  This series quickly made a name for itself, but unfortunately didn't have a lot of staying power, the cartoon only lasting 13 episodes (but retaining popular cult status to this day).  The plot is very interesting;  The earth has been ravaged by pollution and the human race heads underground for 600 years.  When they emerge, they find the earth has been reclaimed by prehistoric species of all sorts.  There are a lot of obvious ecological and political themes.. plus dinosaurs.. you really couldn't go wrong with dinosaurs in the 90's.  Hannah Dundee is a Scientist and Diplomat who is the love interest of the main character, Jack Tenrec.  She acts as a liaison between Jack and the rest of the world and generally keeps him out of trouble.  Tyco had previously made a major name for themselves with their 1987 Dino-Riders series, so their choice for this property was a given.  On to the review!

Sunday, December 23, 2012

The Girls of WINX CLUB!

Believix and Concert Collections from Jakks Pacific 2012

This one is likely to spark up some "action figure vs doll" debate.  Winx Club is an Italian Magical Girl series (a'la Sailor Moon) featuring a group of girls who attend a special school for fairies.  There are neighboring witch and hero schools that create a very Harry Potter-like environment.  The main characters are six girls, each with a different "theme"  (i.e. Plants, Water, Music, etc).  The girls mostly appear as normal humans (albeit from a variety of different worlds), and only turn into fairies when called upon.  The change sequence is a staple in the Magical Girl genre, and here I thought He-Man and She-Ra were being original.  In 2012, the Winx Club were the 3rd most popular dolls in the world.  These dolls are usually large barbie-sized things with rooted hair and cloth.  The toys in this review however, are small, super-articulated, 3.75" scale, completely-sculpted little beauties.  There's something really fun about these toys.  I feel like I'm getting in on the ground floor with a new She-Ra-ish property.  You may love them or hate them, just check out the review and decide for yourself.

Friday, December 21, 2012

Marvel Universe SCARLET WITCH!

Marvel Universe Wave 19 #016 - Scarlet Witch - From Hasbro 2012

I never would have guessed that that little Wanda Maximoff would become the major player in modern comics that she has become.  In my comic book history, she has always been a B-List, or even C-List, mutant.. relegated to West Coast Avengers storylines and pretty much off my radar.  It wasn't until Oliver Coipel's work on Avengers began that I noticed her potential as the powerhouse she has become.  Within a few years, the House of M storyline unfolded and she truly cemented herself in Marvel history.  I must say that I absolutley love how she is a major catalyst behind one of my favorite superhero team books of all time, the Young Avengers.  Another fantastic thing about her is that her original costume is still so relevant and appealing.  Wanda Maximoff is the mutant daughter of Magneto and twin sister of the speedster Quicksilver.  While she hasn't always been A-list, she has definitely always been present.  Her representation in plastic has beena little sluggish over the years but is definitely picking up steam.  This newest figure is arguably the best so far.  On to the review!

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

DC Universe FIGHTING FIGURES!

Unreleased Prototypes of DCU Fighting figures Series 2 from Mattel 2008

When Mattel worked us into a frenzy back in 2007 with the beginning of their DC Universe toylines, there were several major series' in the works.  The first was the amazing DC Universe Classics, the second was the promising DCU Infinite Heroes, the third was the impressive DCU Giants of Justice, and the red-headed stepchild of the group was DCU Battleague, later renamed DCU Fighting Figures.  The Fighting Figures were 3" tall miniatures with some sort of action feature involved.  The best ones just involved a spring-loaded "pouncing" action unobtrusively worked into their base.  The lamer ones carried gigantic projectile-launchers that were larger than the figures themselves.  It wasn't the best series.  But I do love the 5 figures I have in my collection.  Series 1 gave us a gray-suited Batgirl and a "divebomb" Catwoman.  The second series was cancelled, but contained a Harley Quinn, a black-suited Batgirl, and a whip-wielding Catwoman.  Their cancellation was unfortunate, but probably opened the doors for the other DCU Small Scale figures, Battle League, to emerge in their place.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Two Third-Party Transformers NIGHTBIRD Figures!

Nightbird and TRNS-EX1 TFCon Exclusive Night-Bird from ImpossibleToys

It's no secret that the driving force behind most toy enthusiasts is nostalgia.  I'm definitely no exception.  When I get my hands on a toy that hits that nostalgic nerve, I am instantly transported back to my childhood, feeling all the wonder and awe of my youth - it's fantastic.  The character of Nightbird sparks those feelings for me in spades.  She appeared in a single episode of Transformers in 1985 as a giant female ninja robot created by a human scientist.  The Transformers are charged with protecting her, but the Decepticons kidnap her and reprogram her to be their spy and saboteur.  She doesn't talk in the episode, she just sneaks around, escapes a lot, and does a ton of cool ninja stuff.  She was dark, mysterious, gadget-laden, and acrobatic, so obviously I was smitten.  Even as a kid I never expected to have a toy of her.  That's the beauty of Third Party toy manufacturers.  We all know the Hasbro has no intention of ever making this figure, but lucky for us, someone took it in the heir hands to make it happen - and voilĂ !  TWO Nightbirds.  This hobby amazes me sometimes.

Vintage Goodness: Eagle Force's GOLDIE HAWK!

The Blonde Bombadier of this 1981 1/24th Scale Die-Cast Series from Mego

I have a great love for the 1/24 scale toys of the 80's.  M.A.S.K. and Dino-Riders always led the pack with the most prolific series' and by far the most females (see my previous posts on the Women of M.A.S.K. and the Women of Dino-Riders), but every once in a while I will stumble across a long forgotten (to me at least) figure series and discover a gem. Mego's Eagle Force consisted of 18 figures standing about 2.25" tall.  They are all military themed and feature metallic gold uniforms.  Goldie Hawk is the only female of the group and she's actually pretty easy to get your hands on.  The Eagle Force toys were some of the very last figures produced by the trailblazing company, Mego, before they shut their doors in 1982.  The toy line was extremely popular and was reproduced by Ideal in the early 80's under the name "Strike Force."  I would wager that the success of these small-scale specialized military figures helped inspire the scaled-down 3&3/4" GI Joe series a few years later.  Let's check out this gilded beauty!

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Marvel Legends MADAME MASQUE & HYDRA!

Marvel's Madames -  Marvel Legends: Arnim Zola Series - Hasbro 2012

Hasbro's relaunched Marvel Legends line has been pretty great so far.  We've seen some unique characters that I'm shocked to have made in plastic.  There has also been a fantastic use of variant slots in each wave.  A great example of this is the Marvel's Madames figure(s) in this wave.  With just a different paintjob and a retooled head, Hasbro managed to provide collector's with two wonderfully B-List characters: Madame Masque and Madame Hydra.  I feel like Mattel would have milked that retooled head for all it was worth and would make us wait years for it, but Hasbro just throws them both out there like it's no big whoop.  The current wave on the shelves has an "X-Mutants" slot with both Mystique and Moonstar.  And the first wave in 2013 has a slot with Red She-Hulk and Savage She-Hulk (Lyra):  I am overjoyed!  Marvel's Madames are a bit hot-and-cold for me.  Madame Masque is amazing.  She looks great all-around.  Madame Hydra, however, might just be the homeliest villianess I've ever seen.. and she's not supposed to be.  On the the review!

Customized BATGIRL Statue!

DC Direct's Cover Girls of the DCU Batgirl, Uncutesyfied

This was only the second time I had ever attempted a custom job but I'm very happy with the results. I'm a huge fan of Jack Matthews and Adam Hughes and I loved this line of statues, but I desperately wanted a more serious look for Batgirl. I didn't hate the original. but it stood out like a sore thumb when displayed with the rest of the Cover Girls.. who have been for the most part sexy, statuesque, intimidating, and confident. Batgirl looked bubbly and cute with a good-girl pinup quality... like you could say "boo" and scare her away. I think a separate line of campy statues like this would be successful, but i was really upset when I saw the original design because I thought Babs would be more fierce.  I was pretty limited with how much I could alter her, and I would have preferred a more dynamic pose, but the "bring it on" posture works and it looks good with the rest of my Cover Girls. I did this custom a little over a year ago in fall of 2011 but am just getting around to posting it now.  Enjoy!

Thursday, December 13, 2012

WWE Superstar ALICIA FOX!

WWE Basic Series 23 - Alicia Fox - from Mattel 2012
 
I love this figure!  I first caught a glimpse of her at NY ComicCon a few months ago.  I'm at an awkward disadvantage because I don't know the first thing about wrestling (or any sport for that matter), but I have a major crush on Mattel's WWE line.  I was drawn to this figure for many reasons.  The major reasons were (1) Her amazing fox ears and hood, (2) her funky red hair, and (3) she's the first African American woman in this line.  Am I wrong for wanting my action figure shelves to be as diverse as possible?  Lord knows I have a million green-skinned girls.  Alicia Fox has been in the WWE since 2006, and in my newbie eyes, she seems to be the most fun diva in the bunch by a landslide.  Maybe it's that she looks like a cosplayer, or maybe it's the chains, or maybe it's that surreal hair color.  Who knows.  All I know is that she's become the instant standout of my collection.  I love her (and she looks better in person!) On to the review!

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

The Ladies of POWER RANGERS MEGAFORCE!

Yellow & Pink Rangers from 2013's Power Rangers Megaforce - Bandai 2012

Power Rangers Megaforce is the upcoming American re-edit of Tensou Sentai Goseiger, the 34th incarnation of the amazing Super Sentai series by Toei Company.  The original series aired in Japan in 2010 and featured an Angel motif (known in the 2011 South Korean edit as Power Rangers Miracle Force).  The females in this series are the typical yellow and pink characters.  I would LOVE for some variety.  We've seen a few female blues, a couple whites, and a recent red secondary character, but above and beyond, there always seems to be a yellow and pink.  Bandai has been doing wonders with these figures since the Mighty Morphin Powers Rangers reboot figures from a few years ago.  The smaller size, lower price point, great articulation, and heavy store circulation make these some of the greatest new figures of the past few years.  It also doesn't hurt that I've never seen a single production error or paint flaw.  Reliability is an amazing thing.

Sonic the Hedgehog's BLAZE THE CAT!

The Pyrotechnic Feline Princess in a New Sonic Comic 2-Pack from Jazwares 2012

I love a quick turnaround time.  This beautiful little figure was just solicited a couple weeks ago and I already have her in my hands.  I picked up the new Blaze & Sonic comic 2-Pack at a Toys 'R Us last night.  I don't know what it is about these characters that I find so appealing.  I haven't played a Sonic game in more than 20 years and I never read any of the comics.  But something about the anthropomorphic anime-type character designs always draw me in.   Plus the comic in this pack just exposed me to a new character that I am now obsessed with - Marina the Raccoon!  She's adorable but I won't be holding my breath for a figure.  Blaze debuted in the 2005 game Sonic Rush and became a pretty popular new character, continuing on to appear in a total of 8 games so far. The next female Sonic character we've been teased with is Rouge the Bat. Hopefully we'll see a Cream the Rabbit in this style as well. Check out my previous review of Wave the Swallow. On to the review!

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Gold Digger's CHEETAH (STEALTH VARIANT)!

Your Favorite Treasure-Hunting Were-Cheetah from Antarctic Press Toys 1998

Fred Perry's Gold Digger has the distinction of being the second longest-running, creator-controlled American comic of all time (second to Cerebus).  I fell in love with the characters, fast-paced plot, and quirky antics with the first published issue of Gold Digger #1 back in 1992.  The American manga scene was a fledgling genre at the time, with only a few standout stars in the game (Ben Dunn and Adam Warren).  Then along came Fred Perry with his sexy, funny sci-fi treasure-hunters.  I was hooked.  I lost track of the story over the years, but every now and then I'll still pick up a standalone issue just for the fond memories.  The publisher of Gold Digger, Antarctic Press, produced a small series of action figures in the late 90's based on some of their most popular titles.  I'm a big fan of this toy line and will be reviewing more in the future.  I love when a comic-based figure can really capture the look and feel of the comic, and these toys hit the mark every time.  On to the review!

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Marvel Select's Classic STORM!

The Original Weather Goddess Makes her 7" Debut from Diamond Select 2012

I think everyone loves Ororo Munroe.  Even if Halle Berry gets on your nerves, she's still pretty kick-ass.  My first two memories of her are from guest appearances on Spider-Man & His Amazing Friends in the early 80's and from my older brother's copies of Classic X-Men that we always strewn about our shared bedroom.  It was her overwhelming power to control the weather that made me realize early on that women have disproportionately greater powers, yet overall less influence in the comics genre - so I credit a lot of my current obsessions to her.  There have been a lot of Storm action figures over the years.  I'd argue that she is the third most merchandised female comic character behind Wonder Woman and Catwoman.  Perhaps she's tied with Invisible Woman, but it would be close.  Yet surprisingly, this classic costume of her's gets very little love from the toy industry.  To me this is quintessential Storm and I am very excited to finally have a great figure of her.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Halo Reach Series 6 - KAT (UNHELMETED)!

UNSC Spartan KAT-B320 from McFarlane Toys 2012

I picked up this little gem last winter at a clsoing TRU but am just getting around to reviewing her now.  I've mentioned more than a few times that I don't play video games anymore, but that doesn't mean I don't find the characters exciting.  Halo is one of those properties that will be around for a long long time.  I feel like their percentage of shelfspace in the toy aisles is growing every year and the game franchise is pretty much a household name.  This character, Kat, is the second-in-command of Noble Team, a group of elite Spartan soldiers in the Halo: Reach game (you, as a player, would be Noble Six, fighting alongside her).  She is notable for being the one of the only female Spartans with a name and for having a cybernetic arm.  A version of this toy was previously released with a helmeted head, but I chose to wait for this version since she would have been so similar to the female Spartan Air Assault figure.  On to the review.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Imaginext HARLEY QUINN!

DC Super Friends Imaginext Joker & Harley Quinn from Fisher-Price 2012

Who would have guessed I could get so excited over a children's toy?  Fisher-Price and Mattel have given us good reason to start scoping out the preschool aisles lately.  The DC Super Friends brand has made its way into such products as Little People, Hero World, TRIO, GeoTrax, and last but not least, Imaginext.  I think the Imaginext line appeals the most to adult collectors because the sculpts aren't overly-childish and the costumes tend to stay true to the classic look of the characters.  The other toy lines are usually too cutesy or overly accessorized, but Imaginext has that indescribable quality that I've come to recognize in Superhero Squad and Mini-Mates as "conscientiously stylized."  I only wish some of the overly-merchandized acton figures (like most movie lines) that clutter up the aisles took the time to blend the needs of collectors and Moms like Fisher-Price does. They would sell so much more product that way.   Ack - enough intellectualizing.. on to the cuteness!

Imaginext WONDER WOMAN!

DC Super Friends Imaginext Superman & Wonder Woman from Fisher-Price 2012

Egads these figures are adorable!  Fisher-Price is pretty sneaky with it's product information.  I feel like I've read multiple customer inquiries over the past year (to both Fisher-Price and parent company Mattel) asking about any additional females in the Superfriends line.  The answer has always been a gentle no:  "Nothing in the works at this time" etc etc.   Needless to say this Wonder Woman figure (and the Harley Quinn I will be reviewing tomorrow) have definitely been in development for some time.  They are amazing and I am overjoyed.  This reveal came out of the blue when I read last week's Harley Qwednesday post on Toyriffic.  Now 6 days later I have them in my greedy little hands.  The only female in the line up to this point was the Catwoman figure from early 2012.  I can't wait to see what else sneaks up on us.  I'm thinking a Hawkgirl and Batgirl are definite possibilities.  Poison Ivy would make my head explode but I somehow doubt we'll see her in a kid's line.  On to the review!

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Sonic the Hedgehog's BLAZE THE CAT Revealed!

Your Favorite Other-Dimensional Pyrotechnic Feline Princess from Jazwares 2012

Jazwares surprised us with a long awaited reveal on Thanksgiving day as they finally posted a completed image of their 3" Blaze the Cat figure (which was announced eons ago.. correct me if I'm wrong, but I think she was first mentioned as an 'upcoming' figure back in 2010).  This past summer they posted an unpainted prototype that let us know she was finally in the pipeline, and now, just a few weeks before she will supposedly hit the shelves, we see a true confirmation.  I think she looks great.  I love these Sonic figures.  They have great character design, great articulation, and all-around great execution as a toy.  Blaze debuted in the 2005 game Sonic Rush and became a pretty popular new character, continuing on to appear in a total of 8 games so far.  The next female Sonic character we've been teased with is Rouge the Bat.  Hopefully we'll see a Cream the Rabbit in this style as well.  Check out my previous review of Wave the Swallow.  On to the pics!

Sunday, November 25, 2012

DC Comics New 52 BATGIRL Bust!

The Newly Returned Barbara Gordon Makes Her DC Collectibles Mini-Bust Debut

While I may be a little upset that the new incarnation of DC Direct, DC Collectibles, offers so few action figures, this new bust definitely reaffirms my faith in the company.  The initial unpainted prototype had me very excited.  I'm a major sucker for the mini-bust format, but I'm picky with characters.  So another variation on Batgirl is right up my alley.  But then at NY Toy Fair 2012, the first fully painted versions were displayed and I honestly thought she was a little lackluster.  But the final product really delivers.  The face paint is much more detailed and expressive than the NYTF version.  The sculpt is dynamic and beautiful.  The paint is well-applied with only a few minor issues (her hand grabbing the batarang is sloppy and the dark yellow wash on her forearms is uneven on mine... both easily remedied).  My only wish is that she fit in scale-wise with the Women of the DCU busts, but I actually wouldn't want to sacrifice the awesome Jim Maddox sculpt to make her conform.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Marvel Universe JUBILEE!

Marvel Universe Series 4 Jubilee from Hasbro 2012

Quite possibly the quintessential 1990's X-man, Jubilee literally burst onto the scene in Uncanny X-Men #244 as a spunky mutant mallrat that shot fireworks out of her hands.  Her popularity exploded (i won't stop!) when she became a lead character in the 90's X-Men the Animated Series and later the Marvel vs Capcom Arcade game.  Jubilation Lee may also have the distinction of being one of the first X-Men of Chinese descent - please correct me if I'm wrong.  I kind of love this action figure.  Maybe it's been awhile since I've paid attention to the the MU line, but this figure is incredibly well articulated with double-jointed knees, rocker/swivel/pivot ankles, ball-jointed neck, etc etc.  She's kind of perfectly articulated, beautifully sculpted, and well-detailed.  She honestly has never been my favorite character (Boom-Boom always had my vote), but she has become hugely nostalgic for me as a staple in the X-Universe throughout my teens.  On to the figure review!

Friday, November 23, 2012

WWE Diva Duo THE BELLA TWINS!

Nikki and Brie Bella WWE Battle Pack from Mattel 2012

These beautiful Mexican-American Sisters have been major players in the WWE circuit since their 2007 debut.  But in truth, they only really "made it" then they were awarded the action figure treatment this year.  I can only assume that this honor is more humbling than a simple championship belt.  While I would kill to be immortalized in plastic, I feel kind of bad for the Bella Twins - because although these figures do capture a certain appeal, I don't think they really resemble the girls themselves.  They look more like a Jersey Shore castmembers than the gorgeous women they are meant to portray.  Also, these are the first WWE figures I've purchased that suffer from thick rubber clothing.  I see this a lot in this line, and I usually avoid figures for just that reason, but something about their being twins yet having unique headsculpts really appealed to me.  These are the first Mattel WWE ladies I've had any real criticism for (See this & this review) - but there has to be a balance somewhere, no line is perfect.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

The Women of BATMAN MICRO-MACHINES!

The Tiniest Bat-Ladies Ever from Kenner's Micro-Machines MicroVerse Line 1997

These little gems were under my radar until a few years ago, and it's taken me quite a while to get them all at a decent price.  This is the kind of crossover collectible that creates a lot of secondary market inflation.  Micro-Machines collectors are a force to be reckoned with, and we all know how crazy we superhero fanatics can be.  So if you're hunting for these figures, just be patient, you'll find them cheap eventually.  These figures came spread out across three sets.  The Batman & Robin Heroes and Villians Collection (from the movie) came out in 1997 and gave us Poison Ivy and Batgirl.  The Batman & Robin Rogues Gallery (from the Adventures of Batman & Robin cartoon) gave us Catwoman and "arm up" Harley Quinn.  The final set was The Joker's Battle Headquarters (from the New Batman Adventures cartoon) and comes with "arms down" Harley.  I'm not sure exactly when these last two sets came out, but the Joker sets seems to be exceedingly rare.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Eaglemoss Chess BLACK BAT Revealed!

DC Chess Collection #28 White Pawn - From Eaglemoss Publications

Geez I take my eyes off the internet for one split second and I miss the reveal I've been waiting almost a year for.  Thankfully a thoughtful fan (Thanks Tommy D!) clued me in, because I would have surely been unaware until after my forthcoming turkey haze lifted.  Cassandra Cain has been such a great addition to the Batman family.  I reviewed all her various toys in a Character Spotlight from this past July where you can read a few quick tidbits about her history.  This incarnation of Cassandra, as Black Bat, is relatively new and definitely has some awesome potential.  It's such a coincidence that I first saw this solicit image today, because just a few hours ago I happened to order the Black Bat Heroclix piece - which will be the first version of this character in plastic released.  Heroclix fogires leave a lto to be desired however, so I'm deifnitely looking forward to picking up this gem.  On to the full-sized images!!

Monday, November 19, 2012

Graphitti Design's CHRISTINE SPAR as GRENDEL!

Matt Wagner's Metaphor for Aggression - Graphitti Designs - Big Blast Series 2000

Christine Spar is actually the second incarnation of Matt Wagner's seminal Assassin turned Mob Boss turned Vigilante (after Hunter Rose).  Christine took up the mantle of Grendel in the first twelve issues of Comico's 1986 Ongoing Grendel series.  There have been numerous people under the mask over the years, but I think Christine Spar had a certain flair which set her apart from the rest.  Her original 12-issue run in the 80's was reprinted several times; First as collected edition in 1989, then as a newly-recolored miniseries (from Dark Horse) in 2001, then as a second Collected edition of the updated work.  I tried my hardest to find the release date of this action figure.  The closest I could find was an article announcing its future release dated December 1999.  The Big Blast action figures were a great line of 8" collector toys featuring such indie great as Madman, Mage, Hellboy, The Spirit, and Grendel (both Hunter Rose and Christine Spar).

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Egyptian Star of TV and Comics, ISIS!

The 70's TV Star Makes Her Long Awaited Plastic Debut from DC Direct 2007

Isis has the notoriety of being the first female action heroes to star in her own live action TV series in the US.  She pre-dated Wonder Woman and Bionic Woman with her 1975 live-action television debut.  Isis was the creation of Filmation, the same company behind some of the greatest fantasy properties of the 80's; He-Man & She-Ra.  Her live-action origins in 1975 quickly evolved into comic book and cartoon appearances which carry on today.  Her origin is the typical superhero story; Andrea Thomas was a science teacher who found an ancient Egyptian amulet during an archealogical dig that imbued her with the power of the Egyptian Goddess Isis (basically a female Shazam).  After the show, she made a few appearances in the Shazam comics and soon had a solo title by 1976.  In 1978, she made her animated debut in Filmation's, The Freedom Force.  This action figure is based on one of her most recent incarnations in DC's 2006 series "52" and was released in DC Direct's 2007 series "52 - Wave 1."

Friday, November 16, 2012

New 52 Justice League WONDER WOMAN!

The Revamped Amazon Princess from DC Collectibles 2012

I think there should have been a true vote on the pants issue.  I wanted pants!  I thought she looked so sexy and tough in all the solicit images.  But I guess some fanboys just need their bare thighs.  But I digress.  The new look is pretty cool.  It's not a major departure from her classic duds (All my non-comic book friends still know who it is after all), but it's a pretty cool variation.  I wasn't sure if I would be picking this up or not but when I saw it in the store I was hooked.  The sculpt, paint, and skintone are all great.  Mine has a slight paint rub on her hip, but that's pretty much the only production flaw.  My only disappointment in the design is the lack of articulation that we've come to expect in the past 5 years or so.   This figure would seriously benefit from (1) wrist swivels, (2) a leg swivel hidden at the boot cut, and (3) some kind of torso rotation.  She seriously has the articulation of DC Direct 10 years ago, which wouldn't bother me if she didn't cost 22 bucks.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Your Favorite Space Age Maid, ROSIE!

The Jetson's Maternal Robot Housekeeper from Jazwares Hanna-Barbera Series 1

Who doesn't have a softspot for Rosie?  The loveable outdated housekeeper for the Jetson family was a constant prescence in my childhood. (Interesting fact: She was only in 2 episodes of the original 1960's series, but was a regular in the 1980's series).  I never ever thought I would be buying an action figure of this character.  She's one of those background characters that you don't realize you adore until you really think about it.  Kudos to Jazwares for including her in their first lineup.  With all the uber-popular Hanna-Barbera characters out there, it pretty surprising to see her so soon.  I can't see what the future holds for this line, I predict great, great things.  The articulation on this figure is so much better than you might assume.  She can hold just about any pose you can imagine her cartoon counterpart doing.  The only downfall with the figure is that she absolutely cannot stand up on her own.  I made a little ring out of a packaging tie to balance her for this photo shoot, but that's a temporary solution at best.  I'm not usually a fan of using poster putty to anchor figures, but I may resort to that if I can't find a better method.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

WWE Canadian Superstar NATALYA!

WWE Wave 20 - Global Superstars - From Mattel 2012

Mattel's WWE lines never cease to amaze me. I did I review back in March highlighting a few of the figures I've picked up over the years. The quality and pricepoint of these figures surpasses all the other Mattel brands out there (in my humble opinion). The plastic, paint, and articulation is always consistently top-notch and the sculpts always look really great. I only wish I cared about wrestling one iota. If the ladies produced in the DC Universe line used these bucks instead of the waifish toothpick-armed heroines we are bombarded with, I would be ecstatic.  I'm sure I mentioned this in my previous review as well, but this line is literally the only series that can successfully pull off expressive faces on its figures.  The stoic-faced standard can fit just about any character out there - and the thought of a smiling or winking sculpt usually makes be cringe in aprehension - But all of these figures are infused with a personality and quirkiness that is unparalleled in the action figure world.  That is why I am glad to buy these scarce ladies whenever I see them.  The fact that they still retail for 10 or 11 bucks is just an added bonus.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Eaglemoss Chess BATWOMAN Revealed!


DC Chess Collection #27 White Rook - from Eaglemoss Publications

With the Harley Quinn Chess piece being released today, I thought I would google around to see if either of the two remaining ladies had been unveiled.  Sure enough, I hit jackpot with the solicit pics of the upcoming Kate Kane Batwoman rook piece!  She looks great, much more like the JH Williams III style than the previous DC Superhero Collection Batwoman.  I can't wait to complete this chess set and do a thorough comparison review with all the bat-ladies together.  Batwoman is due out in January 2012.  Also just revealed was Alfred Pennyworth as a White Pawn.  The only female yet to be revealed in this series is the Black Bat pawn.  I'm assuming we'll see her before too long.  Click through to see the ful solicit images and a new photoshop assemblage showing the lineup so far.


Women of Halloween - BRIDE of FRANKENSTEIN!

The Long-Reining Queen of Halloween from DST and Sideshow

Elsa Lanchester as the Bride of Frankenstein has to be the most celebrated Halloween sirens of all time.  She could technically be considered second next to the generic halloween witch characters you see everywhere, but the Bride of Frankenstein is the earliest female monster with any distinguishable (and consistent) personality and visage.  We've seen her emulated by everyone from Marge Simpson to Miss Piggy.  Even if you never saw the movie, you will find the image of a big black bouffant with shocks of lightning-bolt-white hair up the sides an  image that is impossible to avoid in popular culture.  She was the first female Universal Monster and she is definitely the most enduring.  Soon after the film's release in 1935, Universal Studios created Dracula's Daughter (1936) using a similar formula, but with much less acclaim.  There have been many Bride of Frankenstein action figures made over the years, but in this review, I will be reviewing the three most recent (and coincidentally my most favorite).

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Women of Halloween Part 16 - EVIL LYN!

A Long Overdue Character Spotlight on Eternia's Evil Sorceress

Villianesses from 1980's cartoon culture are just about my favorite thing ever.  They were wicked, over-the-top, larger-than-life characters that both frightened and thrilled me as a child.  I think the male villians were required to have a softer (aka "bumbling idiot") side so they wouldn't completely terrify the kiddies.  But the women, perhaps simply because they are stereotyped as the gentler, fairest sex, were often portrayed as ruthless and cunning with no kid gloves whatsoever.  They were fantastic.  Evil Lyn is a prime example of that new wave of bad girls.  She never completely sided with Skeletor and often masterminded her own plots to overthrow him and rule Snake Mountain on her own.  From the very first episode of He-Man, she stood out as a force to be reckoned with, and in every incarnation since, she has been an A-list baddie that fans can't get enough of.  Surprizingly, there have been very few action figures of her produced.  If you compare her to the Baroness from GI Joe, who has had roughly 16 different figures produced, Evil Lyn has been extremely shortchanged.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Women of Halloween Part 15 - MARILYN MUNSTER!

The Grotesque Black Sheep of the Munster Family by Diamond Select Toys 2012

Marilyn is such a classic comic element of The Munsters.  For those who haven't seen the show, Marilyn is the adopted niece of Lily Munster who comes to live with her monsterous family.  She is, in fact, beautiful and charming, but her suitors always run away, leading her to believe she is abnormal and ugly.  The constant gag being that her quirkily eerie family are always the culprits in chasing the young men away.  I wouldn't be suprized if this plot element was inspired by the classic Twilight Zone Eye of the Beholder episode from 1960.  Marilyn is the least vampy lady in my Halloween lineup, but she's new (just released last week!) and The Munsters are undeniably halloweenie.  I'm very impressed with this figure.  I felt that the prototypes made her look so much older than she is meant to be (I thought she actually looked like the lovely Cheryl Hines to be honest).  But in person she has that bubbly 20-something look I was hoping for.

Women of Halloween Part 14 - LILY MUNSTER!


The Matriarch of the Munster Clan from Diamond Select Toys 2011

Diamond Select gets the coolest licenses out there.  Who would have thought that they could procure the rights to a campy 1960's sitcom and produce such popular modern toys.  I'm crossing my fingers that they someday nab the rights to the Addams Family as well.. it seems right up their alley so I'm sure someone on their creative team is pushing for it, too.  Lily Munster was part of the first wave of Munsters action figures released around Halloween last year.  The second wave just hit last week (and I'll be reviewing Marilyn next).  Also in series 1 was Grandpa and Herman.  They came in regular releases (like this figure reviewed here) and also "deluxe" which included pieces to assemble Herman's electric chair.  There was a version of this figure shown at a convention with some slight tweaking to her design, no word on if/when this variant will be released (or if it was just a prototype).

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Doom Patrol's ELASTI-GIRL!

DC's Largest Leading Lady from Mattel's DCU Signature Collection 2012

I have never read much Doom Patrol, but I was always really drawn to the look of the characters and the feel of the stories.  Doom Patrol and the Metal Men are arguably the most fan-demanded teams to get the action figure treatment.  It has taken a while, but Mattel will finally deliver on both teams this yea (and I will always be loyal to a company that can provide that level of nerdy satisfaction).  Rita Farr was a celebrity actress who was exposed to some mysterious gases that gave her the ability to change drastically in size; from a towering behemoth, to a microscopic ant.   She hid from the world for a while until joining the Doom Patrol where she could put her newfound skills to good use.  Size-Changing characters are always an interesting action figure dilemma.   The sheer size of them usually means they can't be budgeted into a character slot for any given series.  That's why collector's lines like DCUC or Marvel Legends get so much pressure to follow through with the big guys.  Luckily for us, they usually do.

Friday, October 26, 2012

The Ice Empress of Etheria, FROSTA!

She-Ra's Beautiful and Exotic Friend Makes Her MOTUC Debut from Mattel 2012

Masters of the Universe Classics is just about my favorite toy line of all time.  The figures are consistently great, The bucks are well proportions and articulated, the detail and execution of the figures are loyal to all manner of fans, and the character selection just makes me giddy.  I've mentioned many time before that I don't collect toys with rooted hair or fabric clothing.  I stand by my convictions in this regard, but there are many unfortunate casualties for my stodginess.  The most glaring example of this is the entire vintage POP line.  I never thought I would have a Frosta in my collection.  I've seriously considered taking vintage figure and sculpting my own hair and clothes (but then I discovered ToyBoys Inc and decided they do it better than I ever could).  So far I am thrilled will MOTUC and I can't wait to see what the next few years will bring.  Glimmer is someone I'm especially looking forward to seeing.  But for now I will anxiously await Netossa and Octavia in 2013.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Marvel Legends MYSTIQUE!

Your Favorite Shapeshifter Debuts in Her Modern Look from Hasbro 2012

This action figure makes me want to go re-read that amazing but short-lived Mystique comic series from the early 2000's.  That series was the first time I remember Ms Darkholme donning the modern, dark leather clothes.  You can't even really call it a costume anymore, and I kind of like that.  Mystique comes in the third 2012 Wave from the new Marvel Legends series.  Her character slot is technically titled "X-Mutants" and contains either Moonstar or Mystique.  There was a similar slot in Wave two called "Marvel's Madames" which contained either Madame Masque or Madame Hydra.  It's really odd that Hasbro considers these character pairs to be variants of each other, but I won't complain as long as it means we're getting some long-overdue Marvel ladies.  I realize in typing this that I never posted my Marvel Madames review.  I'll try to squeeze it in this weekend, especially since I make mention of the re-use of Madame Hydra's awful awful head with shockingly positive results.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

DC Universe Signature Series POISON IVY!

Pamela Isley Makes Her Long-Awaited DCUC Debut from Mattel 2012

Ughhh.  I had major issues with this figure.  The image you're looking at in the thumbnail to the left is my final product after I repainted her face.  I normally wait a long time before customizing a figure (I try to "live with it" a while first), but I needed to do something to make amends for my initial deflated reaction when I pulled her out of the box.  I love Poison Ivy.  She was the reason I subscribed to Club Infinite Earths.  The prototypes shown at conventions were beautiful.  I was really excited to get her.  Then yesterday I got the final product in my greedy little hands.  My first and most major problem was her skin tone.  The odd color and translucent quality of the plastic makes her look glow-in-the-dark.  The second gripe I had was the awful oversimplified and sloppy facepaint.  It was ridiculous how low-quality it was.  The third problem is her incredibly loose leg joints.  She can barely stand up without flopping over at the waist.  I was also surprised to see that the ivy snaking up her leg and arms were separate pieces of plastic that look a bit sloppy in person.

Minimate Women of The NEW MUTANTS!


Xavier's Most Gifted Youngsters from Diamond Select / Art Asylum 2011 & 2012

I never thought I would see this set assembled.  In my comics-reading history, the New Mutants has been a shining example of excellent character development, solid stories, and relatability in a team book.  The characters are so worthy of representation in plastic, but they have been consistently shortchanged over the years.  There were three great toys by Toy Biz in the late nineties that showed potential, but never continued.  Then Heroclix started giving us a few great characters, but never a complete team.  Finally, Minimates to the rescue!  I am thoroughly impressed by this company and their dedication to team completion.  No other company EVER has completed these teams.  My hopes are high for other wonderful teams, too (New Warriors, Guardians of the Galaxy, Young Avengers, etc).  The best part is, I think there's a good chance we'll see all of them :)  .. see that?  I used an emoticon.  Damn you DST.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Temple of Darkness SORCERESS!

2012 Convention Exclusive All-White ReDeco of Teela'Na by Mattel

I have a love/hate relationship with repaints.  I'm a sucker for variations, but I often feel taken advantage of as a collector.  I've had depressing shelves full of multicolored Batmen and have vowed to seriously question such future ventures.  This beautiful lady, however, is welcomed with open arms.  I think there are three good reasons for this; 1) She looks great, 2.) She looks very different from the existing MOTUC Sorceress, and 3.) The variation makes sense.  The Temple of Darkness was a mini-comic packaged with Tri-Clops and Webstor in 1984 in which the Sorceress appeared in all-white.  And it's just an added bonus that she kind of resembles the Sorceress from the Masters of the Universe live-action film now.  Mattel did a great job adding little details to avoid a boring monochromatic figure.  There are subtle gray variations between her cowl, sleeves, and bodice; a nice wash on the textured parts of her outfit (feathers and fur).  The clear wings and pearlized staff just top it all off.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Women of Halloween Part 13 - EXPLODING FAIRY ISZ!

Those Insanely Odd Isz's from Sam Kieth's The Maxx by Shocker Toys

Everything about The Maxx was odd.  That's what was so wonderful about it.  There were crazy spirit animals, lots of homeless people (some of whom were actually said spirit animals), alternating timelines and settings (with trippy parallels connecting them all), and general creepy nonsense around every corner.  Were the characters insane?  Was the entire story a hallucination?  Who knows.  I actually need to read those issues again.  They are the only Image titles from the nineties that I still have.  The Maxx's biggest pest in the series were the Isz (Isz's?).  They were angry black or white (depending if they were in New York or the Australian Outback) little critters that would swarm Maxx and chomp at him.  However, for the storyline that was ten years in the future, the Isz were fluttering pink fairies with no eyes that would explode if they weren't kept in water (like the opposite of the Mogwai/Gremlin rule).  Creepy and cute is a fantastic mix.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

POP Funko SHE-RA Revealed!

The Princess of Power Makes Her Long-Awaited Vinyl Debut

This one caught be by surprise when I first saw a blurry catalog pic of her a few weeks ago.  It was well-known that Funko had a Masters of the Universe license for a while now.  I think all of us POP fanatics had our hopes up.  But then we saw solicit images of the Masters of the Unverse Wacky Wobblers, and I think our expectations were dimmed.  Wacky Wobbler Bobbleheads are great, but they don't have the stylistic cuteness I love in my POP figures.   So this reveal is a really exciting surprise.  One really intriging thing about this series is the numbering of the figures.  The five figures revealed so far (He-Man, She-Ra, Skeletor, Hordak, and Spikor) are numbered #17-21.  I can only assume this means that #1-16 are in our future.. if not those numbers are just a sick tease.  I'm predicting by this time next year I will own a Teela, Evil-Lyn, and a Sorceress.  Some POP POP ladies would be awesome, too. (POP POP, how cool would that be??).. plus they already have an Ariel body that would make for an easy Mermista!  Okay I'm just going to post this pic before I get started...

Women of Halloween Part 12 - DEMONA!

The Leading Villainess from Disney's Gargoyles from Kenner 1995

Gargoyles was a surprisingly dark property for Disney in the 1990's.  The "princess" films were beginning their second renaissance (Little Mermaid, Beauty & the Beast, Aladdin, etc), afterschool cartoons were dominated by DuckTales, Talespin, Gummi Bears, Rescue Rangers, Marsupilami.. it was all great toonage, but all very lighthearted and childlike.  I was gearing up to leave Disney in the dust as I matured out of the genre.  Then along comes Gargoyles.  It was dark, complex, and dramatic.  The character development, far-reaching story arcs, and overall mature themes were a perfect segue for the aging Disney demographic.  Demona was a complex character a'la Mystique from X-Men.  She was the main character, Goliath's, former mate and mother to the character Angela.  The main tribe of Gargoyles featured in the cartoon were peaceful and wanted to coexist and protect the humans.  Demona from the Wyvern tribe, however, felt victimized and held a deep hatred for humans.  I think the "I'm the victim" motivation always makes for the best antagonists.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Minimate Women of ALPHA FLIGHT!

Canada's Most Powerful Ladies from Diamond Select / Art Asylum 2012

If you have never read the first few story arcs of Alpha Flight from the 80's, you seriously must put it on your bucket list.  Originally created as a team of government-funded Canadian super-heroes for Wolverine's backstories in Uncanny X-men (circa 1979), four years later they launched a solo title which lasted 11 glorious years.  The first thirty-or-so issues of that title are some of my favorite superhero comics of all time.  As an adult, one of my favorite things about it is how they didn't skimp on the powerful female characters.  In almost every incarnation of the team roster, you can find a 50/50 ratio between the sexes.. and that is exceedingly rare for superhero team books.  The title was also groundbreaking for featuring one of the first (maybe the first) gay superhero, Northstar.  I remember a huge deal being made about him coming out in the early nineties, but it was not a shock to anyone who had been reading the book awhile.  Diamond Select Toys has become a leading force in team completion in recent years.  If only Hasbro and Mattel could have their conviction, there would be a lot of happy nerds out there.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Women of Halloween Part 11 - Nightsister!


A Sinister-Looking Sith Witch from Hasbro's Star Wars line 2012

I don't know much about this character except that she looks frightening as hell and she has been tempting me ever since she first started showing upon the shelves at Target a few weeks ago.  She comes in the Target exclusive Darth Maul Returns Battle-Pack and is still in stock at all my local stores.  I thought originally that she was Darth Maul's sister (she certainly looks the part), but in googling her, I discovered a whole mythology about the Nightsisters, including tidbits about several characters I am already familiar with (Asajj Ventress!)  It's actually pretty interesting and someday I'm sure I will dive more deeply into all the expanded universe characters.  This specific Nightsister appears to be the Nightsister Sith Witch who rebelled, escaped her prison, and continually sought out more knowledge about the Dark Side of the Force.  i.e. she's a galactic evil badass.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Women of Halloween Part 10 - MARTIAN SPY GIRL!

Everyone's Favorite Undercover Extra-Terrestrial from Trendmasters 1996

I loved Tim Burton's "Mars Attacks!"  I haven't watched the movie in at least 15 years so my memory may be a little fuzzy, but I remember having a blast with my friends in the theatre. I remember shockingly violent quacking martians running around with ray guns and buggy eyeballs.  The celebrities cameos were plentiful and absurd (do I remember Sarah Jessica Parker's head on a chihuahua?).  But mostly I remember Martin Short being smitten over the giant, wobbly bombshell with a raygun in her purse.  She was hilarious and mesmerizing.  Whoever orchestrated her walking technique should have won an Oscar.  I didn't learn the history behind Mars Attacks until much later.  They were wonderfully subversive pulp trading cards in the early sixties that caused quite a commotion in their heyday.  For children of the eighties like myself, this film would be the equivalent of a Garbage Pail Kids movie. (Sounds amazing actually)

Friday, October 12, 2012

Photos From NYCC 2012!


My First Trip to the New York ComicCon Documented for Your Viewing Pleasure

This will be a big experiment in my smartphone fluency, nerdy aggressiveness, crowd navigation skills, and sheer speed.  I'm typing this introduction a week ahead of time in hopes that I can easily upload photos onto this post as I take them.  I will only be at the ComicCon for four measely hours on opening day before I unfortunatley must head out of the city.  But, rest assured, I'm mapping out my plan of attack well ahead of time and I will post any interesting (lady) reveals here - all before 3pm friday.  Hopefully I will work out all technical kinks in the next few days to ensure this plan flows as smoothly as possible.  Then again, if I end up waiting in line for 4 hours to nab my Temple of Darkness Sorceress, it may be all be nothing.