Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Power Rangers Samurai - RED RANGER LAUREN!
Power Rangers Samurai - Mystery Ranger (New Red Ranger) - BanDai 2012
I honestly never ever expected there to be a female Red Ranger.  I have an ocean of Pink and Yellow Rangers, with a smattering of Blues and Whites, but I always expected the head Red spot to remain a boys club.  Power Rangers Samurai was the 18th season of the show that aired in the US in 2012.  The Red Ranger for the majority of the season was Jayden Shiba, but by the end of the season, it was revealed that the true Red Ranger was his sister Lauren.  From what I gather it was a situation very similar to Queen Amidala.. they knew she was the real Red Ranger the whole time but felt the need to hide her in plain sight.  This toy was a very late addition to the Samurai line.  In fact, I'm 90% sure she wasn't released in North America at all.  I spent an unproductive year waiting for her to show up at Ross or Big Lots before finally caving and ordering her from Europe.  I'm really glad I did too because she's becoming very scarce and now that I have her I can't imagine not having her with the rest of my Ranger ladies!

Monday, January 27, 2014

Marvel Universe AURORA!
Alpha Flight's Aurora - Marvel Universe Series 05: No. 27 - Hasbro 2013

Alpha Flight is one of my favorite superhero team books of all time.  It's definitely the oldest of the list.  Sure, old X-Men and Avengers books were great, but I personally feel that they didn't age well.  When I read them now, I get bored.  The first few years of Alpha Flight, however, are timeless.  Aurora is Jeanne-Marie Beaubier, the twin sister of Northstar.  The twins are mutants that have superhuman speed and flight powers.  When together, they can also join hands and release a powerful energy burst.  Aurora was notable for having multiple personalities as a result of a traumatic childhood.  One personality was painfully shy and reserved, while the second was provocative and outgoing.  This made for some interesting storylines.  Hasbro's Marvel Universe line seems to be making a serious effort toward team-building.  Aurora shared a slot with her brother, making them the third and fourth Alpha Flight members in the line.  There are a lot more to go, but I think this is a great start.  Let's check out Aurora below!

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Kotobukiya ArtFx+ CATWOMAN Statue!
DC Comics New 52 ArtFx+ Catwoman Fully-Painted 1:10 Statue - Kotobukiya 2013

I'm loving the massive selection of statues being released in recent years.  It seems that just 10 short years ago you would be lucky to see a single heroine statue in a year.  But now you have to pick and choose because no collector is going to have the budget needed to be a completist.  Between Cover Girls, Bombshells, Bishoujo, Arkham City, Batman Black & White, Ame-Comi, Art of War, Mini-Busts, and many more, we are just inundated with fantastic high-end collectibles.  This Catwoman is my first piece from Kotobukiya's ArtFx line.   She is 7.5" tall, beautifully sculpted, composed of a dense PVC, and very reasonably priced.  The entire line has a slight "anime" design to the faces, but overall they have a very classic comic-styled look.  To be honest, I wasn't really planning on getting this figure until I saw the solicitation for this Summer's Batgirl figure.  Now I'm just banking on a future Harley Quinn and Poison Ivy release to round out this new collection of mine.  Let's check Catwoman out below!

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Monsters University SORORITY PACK Imaginext!
Disney Pixar's Monsters University Sorority Girls - Imaginext - Fisher-Price 2013

Imaginext girls are pretty rare.  I can only think of six off the top of my head (plus the upcoming Poison Ivy).  That's why I was surprised I allowed myself to overlook this 3-Pack of ladies released for the 2013 Disney/Pixar movie Monsters University.  The pack is essentially comprised of extras from the movie.  I don't think any of the characters have speaking lines (at least notable ones), but they are very recognizable monsters from the film.  It took a bit of research to uncover their names, but luckily the internet is full of Disney wikis so all it took was a bit of patience to find them.  While they don't exactly fit in with my superhero Imaginexts, they are still colorful quirky additions to my collection.  Hopefully they will throw some interesting females into future blindbag waves that can serve as a link between these super-cartoony designs and the less-comical looking DC figures.  I found this MU pack on clearance at my local grocery store and I'm ecstatic about the purchase.  Let's check them out!

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Blackest Night's Star Sapphire WONDER WOMAN!
Blackest Night: Series 06 - Star Sapphire Wonder Woman - DC Direct 2010

Character variations are a lot of fun.  I'm willing to bet that toy designers are so frustrated with the high quotas of top-tier characters required to anchor waves, that when one of those characters makes an appearance in an outlandish but cool costume, they just jump at the chance to spice things up in the sculpting studio.  DC Comics' Blackest Night storyline from 2009-2010 provided tons of variations like this.  The story was centered on Green Lantern and unveiled the entire spectrum of other Lanterns in the universe (each conforming to an emotion or theme).  At one point or another in the storyline, most of the DC heroes we know and love became a lantern (of some color).  After Wonder Woman's spooky tryst with the Black Lanterns, she donned a Violet power ring and became the hero we see here.  Although "Star Sapphire" historically seemed to be tied to the Green Lantern villain, I suppose it's more of a fluid title or rank to be applied to anyone with a Violet power ring.  Let's check out this pink-hued Diana below!

Monday, January 20, 2014

Tinkerbell, Silvermist, Rosetta, and Periwinkle - Jakks Pacific 2013

About a year ago I found myself lamenting that there wasn't a good Tinkerbell figure out there.  It seems like a no-brainer for a company like Figma to produce a collector figure of one of the most iconic Disney characters of all time.  Of course, this made me start researching all existing Tinks.  It was overwhelming how many modern dolls have been released in the in the past few years due to the popular Disney Fairies movie franchise.  Unfortunately for me, 99% of these toys have rooted hair and/or cloth outfits (which regular readers will know I avoid like the plague).   Luckily, however, there is that small 1% out there that has sculpted hair and clothing.   They aren't the super-articulated figures that I hope for someday, but Jakks Pacific does a great job with these little action figure/doll hybrids.  In the meantime, they're a fun addition to my small girly collection (which I keep hidden in a large wooden box with a fancy lock so no one will judge me).  Let's check out these sculpted-hair ladies below!

Friday, January 17, 2014

Star Wars: The Black Series - PRINCESS LEIA!
Star Wars: The Black Series #05 - Princess Leia (Slave Outfit) - Hasbro 2013

Princess Leia is the Queen of Geekdom.  I personally was a fan from the moment she first she mocked Luke on screen, but for the moviegoers who might have been withholding their adoration, the moment she emerged in her infamous Frazetta-styled metal bikini as a slave in Jabba's lair hooked the rest of the world.  The bikini even has its own wikipedia page.  Despite her high status in geek culture and my own love of her, it's pretty surprising that this is my first Leia action figure ever (not counting a few Galactic Heroes I found in a dollar bin).  I guess I was holding out for the best... and honestly I think that was a great decision.  This figure is beautiful.  I'm not a fan of the sloppy cloth skirt or the too-stiff chain and ponytail, but overall those really aren't big detractors.  I'm excited for the future of this line.  Hopefully we see many more figures in this scale and level of detail, but knowing this franchise, any more females will be far far away....  Let's check out Leia below!

Thursday, January 16, 2014

DC Collectibles New 52 HARLEY QUINN!
DC Comics: The New 52 - Suicide Squad - DC Collectibles 2014
I'm pining for the classic Harley Costume so much lately.  All the videogame and comic redesigns are leaving me dizzy.  Hopefully the new comic wins me over because I'm finding myself more and more distanced from one of my favorite characters.  In spite of my disenchantment with the "new Harley", I was greatly anticipating this action figure.  Where in the various video game incarnations of Harley had blonde ponytails that were tipped in her signature red and black (a style I always disliked), I actually find myself liking the solid color dye of this version.  The clown collar is an interesting addition, as is the substitution of blue for black.  The thigh-high schoolgirl socks are kind of silly and the lace-up top lined with little daggers just seems awkward.  But silly and awkward?  I must confess that kind of suits Harley.  Overall I think this is a very fine action figure.  She's colorful, beautifully sculpted (by the talented Jack Matthews), and well articulated.  She's a fantastic addition for any Harley Quinn collection.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Lego Flashlight CATWOMAN Keychain!
DC Super Heroes LEGO Keychain LED Lite - Santoki LLC 2013
There's nothing I love more than stumbling across a surprise product in an unexpected place.  A few weeks ago I went to my local science museum to see the Pompeii exhibit and was wasting time in the gift shop before my IMAX show (playing with the Kinetic Sand on display) when I saw this little beauty hanging on a peg.  I've seen these oversized LEGO keychains in the checkout line of Toys R Us for years (among other places), but they were always just generic LEGO guys or Chima.. with the occasional SuperBats in the mix.  This 3" tall LEGO Catwoman is an exact replica of the regular 1.5" version down to every little detail.  The only difference is that she does not have the alternate pair of eyes on the back of her head.  (She also has no whip or diamond accessories if you were wondering).  The helmet is a separate piece of plastic, but is hindered from being removed by the keychain mechanism.  The LED light shines from her feet and is activated by pressing the square plate on her torso.  Here's hoping for more superheroines in this line!  Harley!  Ivy!  Batgirl!  (My backpack is gonna be sooooo cool!)

Monday, January 13, 2014

The Girls of Power Rangers SUPER MEGAFORCE!
Pink and Yellow Rangers - Power Rangers Super Megaforce - BanDai 2014

I love the Power Rangers.  I'm not sure why.  I rarely, if ever, watch the show.  I don't know half the themes or plotlines.  What I do love is the stylized thematic costumes, the color patterns, and the cool action figures.  The most recent series of Super Mega Force toys hit the shelves in the past couple weeks.  Aside from the general fact that I was unaware these figures were coming out, I was more taken aback by the new 5" scale.  Since the MMPR rebooted toyline in 2010, the toy aisles have seen the constant presence of a (seemingly successful) 4" action figure line.  I have most of the figures from MMPR, Samurai, Super Samurai, and Megaforce, so I am mildly disappointed in the style change with Super Megaforce (just for the sake of collecting continuity).  But the figures themselves are very high quality as I've come to expect with Bandai.  Fun note:  the gimmick of the Super Megaforce show is that the characters can become any past ranger of their color.  Maybe that will be a gateway to a plethora of retro rangers??  We'll have to wait and see...

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Marvel Legends BLACK CAT!
Marvel Legends Spider-Man Infinite Series - Skyline Sirens - Hasbro 2014

I'm officially declaring 2014 the comeback year for Hasbro.  The production quality and sculpts of all their upcoming figures blow their past efforts out of the water.  Of course my attention is focused on the female characters.  2013's Emma Frost and Jean Grey were definitely decent figures, but so far Black Cat and the upcoming Black Widow and Spider-Girl are phenomenal.  Black Cat was originally created in the late 1970s as an enemy for Spider-Woman in her solo series.  That plan never panned out, but the character was luckily recycled into the pages of Amazing Spider-Man a year later.  That was a fateful move which has proven very successful.  Black Cat has been a staple in the Marvel Universe ever since;  acting as a villain, a love interest, and an anti-hero in a rotating succession.  One thing I'm always impressed by is how she has basically kept the same costume the whole time (if you ignore her brief foray into horrible fashion in the late eighties.)  Let's check out this long-awaiting and amazing figure below!

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Funko POP ThunderCats CHEETARA!
POP! Television #103 - ThunderCats Classic Cheetara - Funko 2013

Funko POPs are probably the most popular collectible I can think of right now.  I have friends who would never think of buying an action figure suddenly shelling out crazy dough for POPs of Walking Dead, Game of Thrones, The Beatles, Disney, Rankin & Bass Christmas, etc etc.  I personally couldn't be happier, especially when it means that I keep getting awesome ladies like Cheetara to add to my collection.  I was just debating whether or not I would try to go to ToyFair this year and was actually leaning toward "No" (it was more awkward and frustrating than exciting last year if I want to be truly honest), but then I remembered the Funko booth and how fun and exciting that part of the event was.  Now I totally plan on applying for a press pass in the next couple days.  I was looking at the ThunderCats lineup so far and I realize we're definitely due for more figures since the core team isn't even made yet.  Here's hoping for a Pumyra!  But for now let's check out Cheetara below!

Friday, January 10, 2014

DC Direct's Brightest Day JADE!
Brightest Day: Series 3 - Jade - DC Direct 2011

Jade always seemed to be a highly requested character from DC Direct.  She and Mera were on almost everyone's top 10 lists back in the day.  Luckily for us, the 2011 Brightest Day storyline (an aftermath to the big Blackest Night Green Lantern event) proved to be a great vehicle for getting some long-awaited characters in plastic.  Jade is a very interesting character.  For starters, she is the daughter of Alan Scott (the Golden Age Green Lantern) and Rose (aka Thorn: the Jekyl & Hyde-type villain).  She has very Green Lantern-like metahuman abilities due to exposure to her father's magical powers.  Coincidentally, her skin is green because of her mother's plant-based powers.  At some point, Jade lost her natural powers and was given a Power Ring by Kyle Raynor (with whom she had a long on-again-off-again relationship with).  She was killed while fighting Alexander Luthor Jr (son of Earth 3's Lex Luthor) in 2005's Rann-Thanagar War storyline.  Years later, during Blackest Night, she was resurrected as an evil Black Lantern, which luckily led to her being reinstated to her true form- and finally an action figure!

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Marvel Select SPIDER-WOMEN!
Jessica Drew & Julia Carpenter as Spider-Woman & Arachne - DST 2006-2009

In honor of my giddy excitement for the Marvel Legends Spider-Girl reveal earlier this week, I decided to review three variations of my favorite Spider-Lady sculpt to date.  Jessica Drew was a hasty creation by Marvel Comics in the late 1970s in order to secure the copyrights for a female spider-powered superhero.  (I read once that word of Filmation's Web Woman cartoon reached the Marvel camp and they quickly created and published the first Jessica Drew story before her first episode aired).   I was never a huge fan of Spider-Woman as a kid.  I saw the cartoon a few times, but preferred Firestar from the Spider-Man & His Amazing Friends series.  It wasn't until 2006 in the pages of New Avengers where Frank Cho drew two amazing Jessica Drew-centric issues (#14 and #15).  Coincidentally, Diamond Select Toys released their fantastic Spider-Woman action figure that same year in their Marvel Select line.  There have been multiple variations released since, and I've purchased almost all of them.  Let's check them out below!

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Hex, Chill, Stealth Elf, & Sprocket - Various Skylanders Sets - Mega Bloks 2013

Skylanders is a property that is hard to ignore in the toy world.  All my local Toys R Us stores have had their showcase area dedicated to the collectible video game figurines.  I have always been attracted to the designs of these characters.  They're colorful, fun, and very diverse.. for lack of a better word.  What I am not a fan of is the stationary PVC-on-a-base format of the figures.  Basically I think they're cool character but boring toys.  Luckily Mega Bloks has the license to produce their Lego-like building sets in Skylanders themes.  Amazingly, there have been four female characters released already (excluding the multiple variations of the dragon Cynder).  And I'm hoping there will be many more because I really dig these toys and there are many more amazing characters ready for the Mega Bloks treatment.  I'll be keeping my eyes out for future releases.  Let's check out the current four below!

Friday, January 3, 2014

Marvel Legends SPIDER-GIRL Revealed!
Marvel Legends Spider-Man Infinite Series - Skyline Sirens - Hasbro 2014

This reveal is my most anticipated retail figure of 2014 so far!  Anya Corazon is the current Spider-Girl in the Marvel Universe (she's the former AraƱa from Amazing Fantasy).  I love this character.  Her solo title from 2010 only lasted 8 short issues but I loved it.  The art was fantastic, the character development was interesting, and the overall feel was fun.  I considered it to be Marvel's version of the Stephanie Brown Batgirl series.  I was very excited recently when Spider-Girl reappeared in the pages of Avengers Assemble (alongside Spider-Woman and Black Widow.. a Spider-Lady trio!), and now I'm even more stoked that she's getting an action figure - and an amazing-looking one at that.  Marvel Legends seems to have rebranded all their lines "Infinite Series" this year (with a focus on Movie themes), and Anya is a variant in the Skyline Sirens slot (partnered with Black Cat) in the Spider-Man themed Green Goblin Build-a-Figure series.  These variant slots are notorious for never appearing (Moonstar and Lyra anyone?), but these in-package shots are giving me a lot of confidence.  I can't wait to get my hands on her!

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Classic Comic Character - DRAGON LADY Statue!
Classic Comic Character #16 - Dragon Lady - Dark Horse Comics 2000

Terry and the Pirates was an extremely popular newspaper comic strip that was created in 1934 by Milton Caniff.  The strip featured two young adventuring boys, Terry Lee and Pat Ryan, who lived in China and hunted treasure.  Kind of like Hardy Boys meets Jonny Quest meets Indiana Jones.  The comic strip lasted until 1973 and kept growing in popularity - spawning a radio serial, a film serial, a television series, and numerous comic books in the process.  Aside from the main two protagonists, the widely-accepted star of the comic was the femme fatale Dragon Lady.  She was introduced in the very first Sunday strip storyline in 1934 as a beautiful and seductive pirate queen.  However, over the years her character grew more complex and even ended up being an ally to Terry and Pat.  Dragon Lady maybe be one of the first villainesses in comics.  I can't prove it exactly, but she pre-dates every other vixen I can think of by at least six years.  Fun fact: the "dragon lady" stereotype is derived from this very character.. vampy, evil seductress (often of Asian descent).  Let's check out this mini-statue below!