Thursday, August 29, 2013

Masters of the Universe Classics SHOKOTI!

Eternia's Ancient Witch, Shokoti - MattyCollector Club Filmation - Mattel 2013

When Club Filmation was first announced earlier this year, I was instantly smitten over this character Shokoti.  She looked familiar, but I couldn't place her.  I didn't even know if she was good or evil, but I know she looked fantastic and she inspired me to purchase the subscription right away.  I've since watched her episode a few times (I know she's officially in two episodes, but the first of the two-episode story only shows her in a brief cameo).  What I especially love about Mattel's choice to include her is that, although her role is brief, she comes with a huge sense of Eternian history.  The legend is that she was a powerful evil sorceress that ruled over the dark half of Eternia thousands of years ago.  She was imprisoned in an ancient pyramid in the desert until she was unleashed in these episodes (the episodes are called The House of Shokoti - Part 1 & 2 - Season One).  The toy is amazing.  She just looks so Eternian.  Let's check her out in detail below.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

DC Comics Signature Series FIRE!

Your Favorite Brazilian Beauty Queen, Fire - MattyCollector Exc - Mattel 2013

Fire is such a great character.  Beatriz Da Costa was a swimsuit model in Brazil who was caught in a pyroplasmic explosion which granted her the ability to emit and control green fire.  She was a member of many teams throughout her comic career including the Super Friends, the Global Guardians, and Checkmate, but the most stand-out and long-running role was in Justice League International (where she joined her longtime friend and companion, Ice).  Fire and Ice are probably the most fan-demanded DC ladies from toy collectors.  But, considering their longevity and mass appeal, they've been merchandized very little.  I'm not a big fan of this latest addition to the toy roster unfortunately.  For such a long-awaited character, it really seems like Mattel missed the boat on this one.  The sculpting and articulation is just awkward.  It's such a shame, too because with a little bit of effort this could have been a great figure.  Let's check out Fire in detail below.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Masters of the Universe Classics CASTASPELLA!

Mystacor's Beautiful Enchantress, Castaspella - Mattycollector Exc - Mattel 2013

The Great Rebellion is really filling out nicely.  Thank God the 2014 Club Eternia subscription went through, because this beautiful figure has revved up my anticipation of getting even more Princess of Power characters in MOTUC.  Castaspella was a consistent friend and partner to She-Ra throughout the series.  My favorite piece of her backstory is her troubled history with Shadow Weaver.  They were once good friends while studying as apprentices under the same sorcerer.  However, when Hordak arrived and tempted Shadow Weaver to the dark side with promises of great power, they became lifelong rivals.  This figure is quite possibly the nicest POP sculpt to date (although I know I said the same thing when I reviewed Netossa).  This will be a boring review because I have zero complaints or criticisms about her.  Her colors are vibrant, her paint aps are spot-on, the sculpt is stunning, and the overall design is a perfect representation of her Filmation look.  Let's check her out below!

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Dark Knight Rises Exclusive Blu-Ray CATWOMAN!

Dark Knight Rises Limited Edition Blu-Ray Figurine - 2012
This exclusive figurine took me by surprise when I discovered it in April of 2013.  It was released 5 months prior and had since sold out on (apparently it was a limited edition of 1000) and it took me a while to acquire one on eBay that wasn't overpriced.  This 4" figurine also came with Bane and Batman figures in the same exclusive combo.  Unlike other DVD/Blu-Ray figurines, these guys were polybagged in little plastic trays and included separately from a regular edition Blu-Ray (is.. no special window packaging and definitely no display potential.. especially since the polybags have black printing on them).  There were other Blu-Ray and DVD exclusive releases that featured either Bane or Batman (or both) in nice display boxes, but as far as I can tell, WBShop offered the only Catwoman.  Surprisingly, this Selina is actually articulated at the shoulders.. I'm pretty sure that's a rarity for newer (ie - post Infinite Heroes) DVD figures.  She's a great little addition to my DKR Catwoman shelf - and possibly the last since I got the Play Arts Kai figure a few weeks ago.  Let's check her out below!

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Play Arts Kai - Arkham City POISON IVY!

Play Arts Kai - Arkham City Figure No. 6 - Poison Ivy - Square Enix 2013

As much as I tend to gripe about modern character redesigns, I'm not a complete purist because love this Arkham City version of Poison Ivy.  A lot of that may have to do with the fact that the previous (bewilderingly popular) green-skinned "Hush" version always felt like a lazy design in my eyes.  To me, this updated version has equal parts elemental goddess, sinister villainess, and alluring seductress - a formula that other versions of Ivy failed to perfect.  I think if I had to analyze my own contradictions when it comes to character modesty, I think it oddly enough boils down to skin color.  Meaning that a green or blue skinned woman being scantily clad doesn't have the same lurid quality as a normal-hued woman would have.  I know it doesn't make sense, but I'm always overanalyzing myself and that was my latest self-revelation.  This 2011 Arkham City design seems unchanged from 2009's Arkham Asylum design.  If there are differences, I certainly can't spot them.  Anyway, it's 2am and I'm rambling.  Let's check out this green goddess below!

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Play Arts Kai - Arkham City HARLEY QUINN!

Play Arts Kai - Arkham City Figure No. 5 - Harley Quinn - Square Enix 2013

Of all the Batman characters to suffer in the hands of constant redesigns in recent years, the award for the most drastic changes would have to go to our dear old Harley Quinn.  It wouldn't even garner much attention if her original costume wasn't so cool to begin with.  But I digress.  The first change was atrocious.  The 2009 video game, Arkham Asylum, dressed her up as a sexy nurse.  It was embarrassing.  If it made sense to dress a psychiatrist as a sexy nurse, they should have dressed Commissioner Gordon in a fireman's outfit while they were at it.  Next up was the 2011 Arkham City redesign we see here.  Following this design she was revamped for the DC Comics New52 reboot as well as for the game Injustice: Gods Among Us.  This Arkham City design is my favorite all all the non-original looks.  Yeah, she's overly-sexualized, but at least she looks tough and her outfit seems functional.  Plus the candy-striped baseball bat is a fun new accessory that I can totally get on board with (I was starting to amass as many oversized Harley sledgehammers as Catwoman whips).  Let's check her out below!

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Play Arts Kai - Dark Knight Rises CATWOMAN!

Play Arts Kai - Dark Knight Rises Figure No. 3 - Catwoman - Square Enix 2013

My second Play Arts Kai figure is a hit!  My first figure was the Arkham City Catwoman that I reviewed back in January.  I didn't know what to expect when I got her soon after Christmas, but I was smitten with the brand as soon as I took her out of the packaging.  This follow-up Catwoman does not disappoint either.  I think I might go as far as to say this is the ultimate Dark Knight Rises Catwoman collectible.  Sure, the Hot Toys figure looks pretty much perfect, but the rooted hair and soft materials turn off a lot of collectors (me included) - not to mention the price is about triple what this Square Enix figure will cost you.  This Catwoman though, she's detailed, extremely poseable, lots of swappable body parts, moderately priced (for a higher-end collectable) and she just looks great.  I've been extremely happy with all my Play Arts Kai purchases so far (perhaps I'm foreshadowing my next two reviews...).  My only issue with this figure is that she's annoyingly difficult to photograph.  Something about the semi-translucency of her skin (which is fantastic in person) washes out under photo lights.  Let's check her out below!

Friday, August 16, 2013

Character Spotlight on LADY SIF!

The Plastic History of Thor's Main Squeeze - Hasbro, DST, Eaglemoss, NECA

Lady Sif was first introduced in a 1964 issue of Journey Into Mystery as a love interest of Thor.  To my eyes, she never quite fit the image of the golden-haired Norse Goddess she is named after, but I actually just learned that early on, Loki had cut off her blonde hair and replaced it with black enchanted hair made by the dwarves.  I'm glad for this because a third blonde Asgardian (Valkyrie & Enchantress being the first two) would be a tad too much.  The 2011 Marvel film, Thor, featured Jaimie Alexander as Sif and really gave her a huge popularity boost.  Although the role in the film failed to highlight her feisty personality, she still came across as tough and formidable.  Since that movie, there's been an explosion of merchandise dedicated to this character. Before the first movie figure in 2010, there was nothing.  But now I have a small collection of Sif toys, with many in her classic look (which I love).   Hopefully we'll see more Sif love when Thor: The Dark World comes out.  I have hope.  Let's check out her figures so far!

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Panther Prowl CATWOMAN!

Batman : Legends of the Dark Knight - Series 2 -Catwoman - Kenner 1997
Of all the 1990's Batman lines to come out of Mattel, Hasbro, and Kenner, I think Legends of the Dark Knight is most definitely my least favorite.  I can only assume that Kenner was trying to bank off the successful styles of McFarlane Toys and Moore Action Collectibles.  However, the lanky bodies, sinewy muscles, Liefeld-esque poses and overall elseworldiness of these figures did not go over well with fans.  Luckily the next few attempts were good ones (Including Total Justice and JLA).  There were two women released in the LOTDK lines:  Batgirl and Panther Prowl Catwoman.  The Batgirl is horrendous in my opinion.  She looks like something out of Devilman (not that I have anything against Mr. Nagai, but it doesn't didn't work with Babs).  Catwoman is much better, but still pretty iffy.  I put this figure in the same category as the Halle Berry version.  I don't totally reject her, but she gets a spot in the back row.  Let's check her out below!

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Mega-Scale ThunderCats CHEETARA!

ThunderCats Classic - Mega-Scale Cheetara - Mezco 2013

This giant lady pushed my little photo tent to its limits this week.  I also have no idea where to display her in my collection.  She measures in at 14" tall and all my Ikea shelves fall woefully short of that stature.  Regardless of my shock over her height, this figure is stunning.  The original design for Cheetara has never had a new figure until this release.  Yes, the new ThunderCats figures were great and the new designs were cool, but nothing can ever top a classic 80's look.  I've been tempted by the Mega-scale figures since they first started appearing in TRU a few years ago.  But the only thing holding me back was the uncertainty of a Cheetara release.  Of course, now the old ones are too pricey.  Sigh.  Maybe now they'll make a Pumyra so she's not the only tall girl at the party.  These figures are nicely made.  She seems to be rotocast in a sturdy hollow vinyl and features ten points of articulation.  Her leg articulation doesn't offer much variation if you want her to keep standing, but the arms and head can actually work together to give you a lot of different looks.  Let's check her out below!

Monday, August 12, 2013

Marvel Legends SATANA!

SDCC Thunderbolts Boxset - Marvel Legends - Satana - Hasbro 2013

Hot on the heels of yesterday's Moonstone review comes the Satana Hellstrom, aka Judith Camber, aka daughter of Satan and sister of Daimon Hellstrom.  As I mentioned in yesterday's Moonstone review, I hardly know anything about the Thunderbolts beyond their similarities to the Suicide Squad.  What I really like about this character however is her resemblance to another character of whom I am very fond:  Lilith the Daughter of Dracula.  Lilith was a staple of 1970's pulp horror comics like Tomb of Dracula, Vampire Tales, and Legion of Night.  I don't know when Satana started looking like Lilith, but it's kind of uncanny.  Last time I took note of Ms. Hellstrom, she had reddish hair that was formed into a devil horns and she kind of dressed like a red leather satanic biker chick.  I'll post an image of Lilith below so you don't think I'm crazy.  This figure also uses the new Moonstone buck which I am in love with.  Satana isn't as flawless as Moonstone though because unfortunately her signature cape gets in the way of her hair.  That's a small gripe though for such a gorgeous toy.  Let's check her out below!

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Marvel Legends MOONSTONE!

SDCC Thunderbolts Boxset - Marvel Legends - Moonstone - Hasbro 2013

I admit I've never read a single story with Moonstone in it.   The first time I was made aware of the character was when I saw her Minimate in Toys R Us and I thought she must be Marvel's take on Power Girl but with very discolored cleavage.  Since then, I've read a lot about her and I've come to really appreciate her design.  The Thunderbolts are basically Marvel's version of the Suicide Squad:  ie villains playing superhero instead of doing time.  And despite her angelic looking costume, Moonstone has quite the villainous past.  The true reason why I got this figure though is because she sports the new female buck for the Marvel Legends line, and I must say I am very impressed.  In my opinion this new body is right up there with MOTUC and WWE ladies.  Marvel Legends has a history of producing awful female bodies; too skinny, awkward breasts, gangly-looking joints, but this lovely lady is close to perfect.  I'm really excited for future Hasbro figures now.  Unfortunately I know that most of the upcoming females are still using the old body (a mystery to me).  Alas, let's check her out in detail below!

Friday, August 9, 2013

Imaginext New52 WONDER WOMAN!

Justice League Imaginext - Wonder Woman & Her Invisible Jet - Fisher-Price 2013
It's amazing that the only two larger-scale Invisible Jets that have been put on the market have been made by Fisher-Price.  This Target exclusive set is part of a fantastic new wave of DC Imaginext figures.  Without much advanced warning, we suddenly have a Red Tornado, Green Arrow, Darkseid, and Gorilla Grodd to add to our DC rosters.  I can't wait for more females.  And the best part is that I have no doubt we will see more.  I'm guessing Hawkgirl, Batgirl, and Supergirl are on the horizon.  And hopefully Poison Ivy, Huntress, Cheetah, and others will follow.  This repaint of Wonder Woman in her New52 colors is not really a surprise figure to me.  As soon as we got the classic colors this past winter, I just knew this variant had to be in the pipeline.  But the jet is a very unexpected addition.  I'm honestly shocked that they just didn't re-use one of the many existing vehicle molds.  A simple redeco of Mr. Freeze's jet would not have garnered many complaints I don't think.  But I digress.  Let's check her out below!

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Batman Beyond's INQUE!

Batman Beyond - Inque Bendable Color-Changing Figure - Burger King Toys 2000

Batman Beyond was very cool series.  It had a fun premise, fantastic character design, and an overall tone that was a nice change from its animated predecessors.  My only issue with it was a lack of strong female characters.  Inque was hands down the greatest part of the show for me.  She was a shapeshifting, relentless femme fatale who proved to be more of a threat than most of Terry's other rogues.  It's a true shame that we didn't see more toys of these characters back in the day.  This Burger King Kids Meal toy is pretty cool.  I normally despise bendies, but with Inque's powers, it totally makes sense.  She's a good size to blend in with other figures and her sculpt is surprisingly great.  This figure also has an awesome, but very annoying, feature of color-changing skin.  It's supposed to turn really dark, but it kind of just gets a dark tint.  Plus, to expose her normal skintone for this review I had to keep submerging her in ice.  This figure is also a keychain and subsequently has a plastic gadget coming off her head.  I'll be sure to Xacto that off soon.  Let's check out Inque below!

Monday, August 5, 2013

Thundarr the Barbarian's ARIEL!

Princess Ariel - Hanna-Barbera's Thundarr the Barbarian - Toynami 2003
Thundarr the Barbarian is easily one of the coolest cartoons I've ever seen.  The setting is a post-apocalyptic Earth in the year 3994 AD where a runaway comet nearly collided with the planet but instead broke the moon in half and drastically altered the climate and geography of Earth.  The civilization that emerged in later millenia was steeped in sorcery, hyperscience, mutations, and barbarism.  The show began in 1980 and ran two seasons with 21 total episodes.  A standard episode consists of Thundarr, Ariel, and Ookla the Mok arriving on horseback to a recognizable human landmark (NYC, Mt. Rushmore, Seattle, etc) where they help resolve some form of injustice (a'la the A-Team).  It combined so many different facets from so many different properties that it was hard not to enjoy it.  Princess Ariel is a Sorceress with a mysterious past (mostly just because it was never explained).  She talks a lot of her stepfather's library where she learned about magic and the history of Earth.  Because of this, she leads the educational tone of the show (in historical geography at least).  Let's check out this gorgeous figure below.

Saturday, August 3, 2013

DC Direct's Silver Age BATWOMAN (Kathy Kane)!

Silver Age Bat-Girl & Batwoman Deluxe Action Figure Set - DC Direct 2004

Predictably following yesterday's review of her niece, Betty, comes Aunt Kathy as Batwoman!  I love this character.  But that's probably because she's so ridiculous.  I mean, she wears the brightest costume I've ever seen on a Bat-Family member, her arsenal consists of weaponized hairnets and lipsticks (in her Utility Purse), her motivation to don the costume was that she was wealthy and bored, and her overall presence was pretty clearly just so Batman could have a love interest (and dispel all the Batman+Robin gay rumors scaring parents in the 1950s).  Yet I still think she's amazing.  She was the first female hero in the Bat Universe (a genre which just happens to be an obsession of mine).  My first exposure to Batwoman was in back issues of Batman Family and Brave and the Bold.  In those issues, she was much more serious than her earlier appearances, but the more I backtracked, the campier things got and I was hooked.  So glad to have her in plastic.  Let's check out this amazing figure below!

Friday, August 2, 2013

DC Direct's Silver Age BAT-GIRL (Betty Kane)!

Silver Age Bat-Girl & Batwoman Deluxe Action Figure Set - DC Direct 2004
I love the original Bat-Girl.  I first discovered her on a cover of Teen Titans #51 in a back issue bin sometime in the late eighties.  One of my favorite comics to read through back issues at the time was Batman Family, which was in the habit of reprinting old stories and bringing back classic characters (like the 1950's Batwoman).  Yet somehow the Betty Kane Bat-Girl had eluded me.  The origins of Bat-Girl and Batwoman are amazing.  In an all-too-brief summary, in the height of 1950's McCarthyism, a scare book called Seduction of the Innocent was published which claimed, among many other things, that Batman and Robin's relationship was turning American children gay.  DC's remedy?  Girlfriends!  Along came Kathy Kane and her niece Betty to don colorful costumes and camp-up Batman comics for a good decade.  They were silly, but they paved the way for some of my favorite heroines down the line.  Betty Kane eventually morphed into a different character, Bette Kane (aka Flamebird, aka Hawkfire), who happens to be the cousin of Kate Kane the modern Batwoman.  Gotta love revamps.  Let's check out Bat-Girl below!