Monday, September 30, 2013

Classic Batman 1966 CATWOMAN Wacky Wobbler!

Batman 1966 Julie Newmar as Catwoman Bobble-Head - Funko 2013
 
Wacky Wobblers have been around for 15 years, but for some reason I was never tempted to get one until now. This is most likely due to character selection, but also a bit to do with the silly nature of bobbleheads in general. I've definitely been breaking all my collecting rules in the past few years though so it's not surprising to me that I caved and picked up this figure. I was excited to pick up my first in a series of 1966 Catwoman collectibles (I passed on the Barbie), bit what really drove me to get here was a listing on BigBadToyStore of 1966 Batgirl Wacky Wobbler. This was listed on their website about 3 weeks before Yvonne Craig announced that she signed a licensing deal to use her likeness. So, at the time I thought the Wobbler would be the only TV Batgirl we would get (Assuming the photoless BBTS listing is legit). So now I'm kind of in love with this Julie Newmar bobble and I'm considering adding more. I'll have to check out how many Marvel ladies are out there. Let's check out Catwoman below!

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Hercules: The Legendary Journeys - ATALANTA!

Hercules: The Legendary Journeys - Mt. Olympus Games - Atalanta - ToyBiz 1997

Hercules: The Legendary Journeys showcased many very cool female characters in its six years on the air.  Xena the Warrior Princess may be the most popular, but there were plenty of other formidable women that served as foes, allies, and flames for Hercules.  Atalanta was a recurring character and love interest for Hercules played by champion bodybuilder Cory Everson.  Atalanta was a Greek athlete and warrior based loosely of the Greek mythological character of the same name.  She was also a metalsmith which tied heavily into her role in the show (when Hercules met her while having nails made and later when she was possessed by Ares to forge swords).  In one of her appearances, the first Olympic Games are held and she wins the Javelin competition.  This figure is a little odd, but pretty nice overall.  It doesn't really capture the beauty or physique of Cory Everson, but the costume and weaponry fit in well with the rest of the series and make for a great addition.  Let's check her out below!

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Hercules: The Legendary Journeys - XENA!

Hercules: The Legendary Journeys - Xena II (Warrior Disguise) - ToyBiz 1996
 
In 1995, the creators of the popular series Hercules: The Legendary Journeys set out to to create a secondary character to interact with the title lead.  Their creation was Xena: The Warrior Princess.  Xena was originally presented as an outlaw who teamed up with Hercules.  Her character was intended to die early on, but she tested really well with the viewing audiences and they decided to give the character her own series.  Xena: Warrior Princess lasted six seasons and eventually surpassed its predecessor with 23 more episodes than Hercules by the 2001 series finale.  The show was a cult phenomenon and had a huge fan following.  The title character was played by Lucy Lawless who portrayed Xena as a stubborn, strong, honorable, and fearless warrior.  She was amazing and totally unique, which is made even more amazing since she was a second choice casting.  Xena got plenty of love in the toy world.  She received two figures in the Hercules line and a separate line dedicated to her own show.

Friday, September 27, 2013

AMC's The Walking Dead ANDREA!

The Walking Dead (Television Line) Series 4 - Andrea - McFarlane Toys 2013

McFarlane Toys just keeps on impressing me.  Back in the day, I avoided this company like the plague.  I thought the figures were oversculpted, oversexed, and way too gory.  But lately I've changed my tune completely.  It's not just these modern figures like Walking Dead and Halo either, I've backtracked and now own plenty of vintage 90's figures that I love.  The Walking Dead season 4 is about to premiere in a few weeks and I am very excited, but not as excited as I was to find this second female at Walgreens this week.  Andrea was one of my favorite characters in previous seasons.  A lot of people really didn't care for her.  She made very odd decisions and it was always hard to tell where her loyalties were.  But overall I viewed her as tough, competent, and a very interesting character to be roaming around with the gang.  In the first few episodes she could barely hold a gun, but by the end of season three she was one of the most formidable people on the show.  Let's check out this great figure of Andrea below!

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Walgreens Exclusive CATWOMAN Figurine!

DC Comics - Collectible Figurines Box Sets - East West Distributing 2013
 
Walgreens is no stranger to exclusive products.  I have many many hobbies occupying my limited free time,  And over the years I have often been on the hunt for Walgreens-Exclusive products.  Everything from Christmas Ornaments, to PEZ Dispensers, to electronics.  Lately though they've really been getting into the toy market.  Their toy aisle still looks the same as any other drug store (i.e. 5-10 ft of haphazard novelty products at the end of some random aisle).  But lately in the past few years they've had some gems.  I'm thinking specifically of the Justice League and Batman Squinkies,  The Super Hero Doll Collection, and the current Walking Dead figures to name a few.  This set of small plastic figures was an unexpected find for me a few weeks ago.  They are cheap, 2" tall PVC plastic figurines in display boxes for $6.99 a set (there are two sets).  The figures are all really well sculpted, but it might take you while to find one with a decent paint job.  I love my growing collection of little Catwoman figurines so buying this set was a no-brainer.  Let's check her out below!

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

DC Universe Signature Series HUNTRESS!

Helena Bertinelli/Wayne - Mattycollector Exc - Mattel 2013
 
I had a lot of trepidations leading up to the release of this Huntress figure.  The last few DC Signature Series female characters have been a disappointment to me.  Between the sculpts, paint apps, and overall aesthetics, I had been left wanting.  Huntress is one of my favorite DC heroines and I hated the thought of her long-awaited DCUC-style figure suffering the same sub-par treatment.  All my worries were for nothing however because this figure is pretty great if I must say so myself.  My only criticism is a slight lack of paint apps on her eyes compared to previous Mattel figures.  Compared to the DCSH Batgirl, Helena's eyes look vacant and without detail.  That's a small complaint however, because the high level of paint masks required for this figure were carried off successfully and that was not something I expected to see at all.  Kudos to Mattel for ending their DC Infinite Earths run on a high note.  Let's check her out below!

Monday, September 23, 2013

Walgreens DC Comics SUPER HERO DOLLS!

DC Comics Super Hero Dolls Collection - Series 01 - The Marketing Store 2013
 
I'm really not a fan of dolls, but I really am a huge fan of DC heroines.  So obviously this set was torture for me.  The factors that led me to cave in and purchase the set were (1) the cheap price of $4.99 each and (2) The fact that I'm surrounded by a million tempting Walgreens stores.  But as it turns out, regardless of how many stores I may have near me, this set was extremely hard to complete  (I had been trying since early June).  It seems that only a few select stores even carry these dolls, and those that do usually only get two dolls in.  Just two.  Not a bunch of Batgirls and a bunch of Catwomen, no, just two lonely random dolls on the shelf.  On top of that, my region is swamped with Wonder Woman and Supergirls, but scarce on the Bat-ladies.   After my long Summer of hunting, I can begrudgingly admit that these dolls are actually pretty cool.  At the very least, they can keep my SDCC DC Polly Pockets company. Let's check out this frilly foursome below!

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Marvel Universe ELEKTRA!

Marvel Universe: Wave 22 - Elektra - Hasbro 2013

Comic books need more ruthless female assassins.  Elektra Natchios first appeared as a Daredevil villain in 1981 and was originally intended to be a one-hit wonder character that would never appear again.  Fate intervened luckily and Elektra went on to became one of Marvel's most popular females (certainly one of the most merchandised).  she has been a villain, a love interest, an anti-hero, and of course, an assassin.  My favorite role for Elektra is that of the anti-hero - i.e. stalking and killing despicable people.  This was the general tone of the 2001 solo Elektra series, which I only caught the tail end of (when Robert Rodi started writing it) and loved every issue I picked up.  Maybe she had always been this type of character, but it seemed fresh and new to me at the time and I was instantly a fan of this character I so often overlooked.  It even seemed like the 2005 Elektra movie was based off the very issues I read (at least the first 15 minutes of the movie).  Anyway, back to this great little toy.. let's check her out!

Friday, September 20, 2013

Green Lantern's SORANIK NATU!

Green Lantern: Series 5 - Soranik Natu - DC Direct 2011

One sure-fire way to experiment with a female version of an existing character is to introduce a long-lost daughter.  We've seen X-23's popularity take off, May Parker was a surprisingly successful Spider-Girl for over a decade, and we're about to be fully introduced to the mysterious Joker's Daughter this month.  In 2005 this formula was used to introduce us to Soranik Natu, the daughter of Sinestro.  Natu was a very reluctant Lantern.  She and her entire race judge the Green Lantern Corps (understandably) by the loathsome actions of their own sector's Green Lantern, Sinestro.  Natu was a neurosurgeon who only accepted the power ring in order to save a patient's life.  It took time and convincing (plus a convenient flash forward in the "One Year Later" storyline) in order for Saranik Natu to evolve into the upstanding Corps member we all know and love.  This figure is beautiful - as were all the final DC Direct figures. Sam Greenwell's sculpt is very different from his typical style, but it still looks fantastic.  Let's check her out!

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Funko POP! DC Heroes HARLEY QUINN!

Funko POP! Heroes - DC Comics #34 (and Variants) - Funko 2013

I love that Harley Quinn has become so popular.  Batman has quite possibly the best rogues gallery of any superhero out there, so cracking the top of that roster can be a challenge.  But in 21 short years, Harley has now without a doubt earned her place in the top 10.  Yet she is more than 40 years younger than most of her peers, (with the majority of Bat-villains being created in the 1940s and all).  So now it's a given that we see a ton of Harley Quinn merchandise.  And I love that.  I think it's funny how initially hesitant I was to start collecting these Funko POP! vinyl figures.  I guess I took my hobby too seriously and thought I was above "cute" toys.  Of course, I eventually succumbed to their little cherub faces and now I have a shelf full.  Now I just need Batwoman, Poison Ivy, and Huntress to round out my Bat-Family.  I'm sure we'll see them eventually though because this line is extremely strong.  I picked up my Harley a few weeks ago in New York but she'll be released everywhere today through Diamond.   Let's check her out!

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

A Handful of Miniature SUPER MARIO PRINCESSES!

Princess Peach & Princess Daisy - K'NEX & Popco Entertainment 2013 & 2009
 
I can't help but think that every geek out there has a soft spot for Super Mario Bros.  For me, this game was my first exposure to home video games (aside from Pong and early TI computer games like Parsec, Alpiner, and Munch Man).  Super Mario Bros was different though.  It was in-depth, it was challenging, it was full of wacky scenarios, and it had a musical score that really got your heart racing in those underground levels.  The goal was, predictably, to rescue the princess from the evil Bowser.  Princess Toadstool, as she was known back then, was an early version of the Blonde-haired, pink-dressed damsel that became an awesome playable character in Super Mario Bros 2 and has since starred in tons of games (including her own).  Princess Peach (The brunette, Yellow-dressed princess) has had an equally prominant role in the Mario mythos since her debut in Game Boy's Super Mario Land in 1989.  Their characters have each had a ton of merchandising over the years, but I am only highlighting two of the more recent (and more accessible) products to have surfaced in recent years.  Let's check them out below!

Sunday, September 15, 2013

DC Direct's PROMETHEA (with SOPHIE)!

Alan Moore's Promethea & Sophie Bangs - DC Direct & ABC Comics 2002
 
Promethea is one of my favorite creations of Alan Moore, the profound writer behind such modern classics as Watchmen, League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, V for Vendetta, and others.  (Plus very notable work with such established characters as Batman, Swamp Thing, and of course Marvelman).  Promethea was also my first exposure to the brilliantly experimental comic art of J.H.Williams III who is currently thrilling the readers of Batwoman with his innovative manipulations of sequential art (Just pick up a Batwoman graphic novel and check out what genius things that man can do with a page of comic panels).  With both the art and storylines of Promethea being so extremely solid, it was no surprise that these characters were given the action figure treatment relatively early (3 years after their debut).  These figures are great.  Yes, they are a little pre-posed, but the beautiful Tim Bruckner sculpts and high quality production from DC Direct make them must-haves for any collector of indie characters.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

WWE Superstar ROSA MENDES!

WWE Superstar #46 Rosa Mendes - Mattel 2013

Wrestling figures have come a long way over the years.  I've praised Mattel's amazing work with their WWE line many times in previous reviews and this figure gets all the same accolades.  The only frustrating thing about this figure is that (as beautiful as she is) I just don't care about wrestling.  Meanwhile I have a great love for DC Comics characters, but I feel that Mattel has let that line deteriorate into a mere shadow of what it could be.  That said, I love good female figures regardless of the property, so keep these wrestling ladies coming Mattel!  Rosa Mendes is a Canadian wrestler and former model who first started working with WWE in 2006.  Early on, they played her up as a fan of Beth Phoenix who would often be seen in the audience holding signs and cheering Beth on.  Eventually they had her jump the guardrail and join in the fight to defend Beth against Melina.  I thought that was a pretty cool and creative way to introduce a new wrestler.  Let's check out this figure in detail below!

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

The Women of TERRAHAWKS!

Captain Mary Falconer, Captain Kate Kestrel, and Zelda - BanDai 1983
 
Gerry Anderson had made quite a name for himself in the science fiction arena with his early hits including Thunderbirds (1965), Stingray (1964), and Captain Scarlet (1967).  When Terrahawks debuted in 1983, it had been 10 years since he had produced a 100% puppetry show.  His previous specialty of Supermarionation was out of budget for this new production and so he dubbed his new process of using latex puppets instead of marionettes, Supermacromation.  While originally thought of as a step backward in the Anderson technique, the latex puppets with no strings allowed for much smoother motions.  The storyline of Terrahawks is a typical adventure of a specialized Earth force fighting an encroaching menace.  In this case it is the alien android Zelda and her hoards of invaders from the planet Guk.  The Terrahawks are a team of five Earth pilots (and an array of R2D2-type robots) that pilot various bird-themed ships.  This series was also known for including a lot more humor than previous Anderson properties.  Let's check out these figures below!

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Avengers Assemble BLACK WIDOW!

Avengers Assemble - Inferno Cannon Black Widow - Hasbro 2013
 
Finally a 3.75" Black Widow figure that I can be proud of!  Avengers Assemble is a new animated series that began airing on Disney XD in May of 2013.  I personally have not watched any of these episodes, but I've seen lots of print advertisements in the comics and I think the character design is really well done; simplified enough to give it that "animated" feel, but realistic enough to make it appeal to the comic and movie fans.  This figure used the same body as the Avengers Movie Black Widow, but with a newly sculpted head and accessories.  The accessories aren't nearly as cool (or appropriate for this character) as previous versions, but that's par for the course when it comes to a line targeted at kids.  Black Widow is still a surprising choice to me as the sole female member of the modern Avengers.  I would think Captain Marvel or Spider-Woman would have more mass appeal (and pack more of a punch), but she's really growing on me.  The espionage angle is a skill none of the other members come close to mastering, so she's actually a very worthy addition to the roster.  Let's check out this figure below!

Friday, September 6, 2013

Transformers: Prime - Beast Hunters ARCEE!

Transformers: Prime - Beast Hunters  - Deluxe Class Series 2:12 - Hasbro 2013
 
Now this is the kind of retooling I can really get down with.  In March of 2012, Hasbro released their third Transformers: Prime Arcee figure in just a few months.  At the time, I thought it was crazy that a single character should get so much attention (and so quickly).  Plus all three toys were completely unique sculpts.  Flash forward a year and half and we now have a fourth Arcee figure.  This figure, however, is a retooling of the Transformers: Prime - Robots in Disguise Deluxe Arcee - but it is a fantastic retooling that is sure to please fans and collectors alike.   The base body is identical, but there is a total repaint and tons of added sculptural details (including a new head) that really give her a Beast Hunters feel.  When you stand them next to each other, they are different enough that their distinctions outweigh their similarities, and that is a fantastic thing.  I tend to feel a little taken advantage of when a character is re-released with only minor tweaks or repaints.  This job gets an A+ though.  Let's check her out below!

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

The Women of WILDCATS!

Jim Lee's Classic Covert Action Team, WildC.A.T.s - PlayMates 1994-1995

The early 1990s were an interesting few years for comics fans.   There was essentially a creator's rights movement happening right under our noses.   All the major artists and writers from DC and Marvel left their mainstream projects in favor of the Image Comics mantra of creator ownership and control.  It wasn't until a decade later when I started hearing the term "intellectual property" in everyday lingo.   But by that point, I felt like I was an SME after witnessing the great comic creator exodus of 1992.   The first wave of titles included Spawn, Savage Dragon, Youngblood, and of course, WildC.A.T.s, the superhuman team title by (now former) X-Men superstar, Jim Lee.   WildC.A.T.s had a trio of stand out women who luckily got the action figure treatment early on.   Playmates always does a decent job with the ladies.   Some of these figures are nicer than the others, but for the most part they are all great representations (especially for the time period) of some classic characters.  Let's check them all out below!

Monday, September 2, 2013

Man of Steel - Movie Masters FAORA!

Man of Steel - Movie Masters: Series 2 - Faora - Mattel 2013
 
As much as I enjoyed the the performances of the entire cast of Man of Steel, the standout for me was Antje Traue as Faora.  Female villians in the Superman franchise are few and far between, but when they're good, they're REALLY good.   Faora came across as the most ruthless and vengeful of all the Kryptonian criminals.  I knew of course that she was a character from all the promotional materials, but I was shocked when I finally saw how much screen time she received.  I've only seen the film once, but I feel like the had the most screen time of any of the three villains.  Plus her prescence was perfectly menacing.  The toy doesn't exactly capture the character unfortunately.  She has a bit of blank look and a masculine prescence (which totally inspired me to customize her a bit - as shown below).  Finding this action figure in a store proved to be a daunting task.   I found mine in a Target about a month ago and haven't seen one since. Let's check her out in detail below!