Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Michelle Pfeiffer CATWOMAN!
DC Multiverse: Batman Returns (1992) - Catwoman - Mattel 2014

I feel like I've been waiting for a good Michelle Pfeiffer Catwoman figure my whole life.  For such a major character in such a hit movie, she's received very little merchandise over the years.  That's why this figure was such a surprise to everyone visiting the Mattel booth at last year's NYCC.  Sure, the Batman '66 resurgence had proven that there's a market for this kind of stuff, but I don't anyone could have predicted this line.  The only gripe I heard about the figures was the scale.  And it's not even that 3.75" figures are a bad thing.  It's just that the majority of DC figures have been produced in the 6-7" scale so it was a shame she wouldn't fit in with all the other Catwomen in our collections.  I have been searching for this figure for about a month now and I finally found her this evening at Toys R Us.  They had several of her - all with pretty extreme paint defects.  This was just another disappointment after such a long wait for this figure.  Luckily I'm good with a paintbrush so I was able to clean her up nicely (before and after pics below).  Without further ado, let's check out Catwoman below!

Friday, July 25, 2014

Scan2Go - Fiona Ryder and Leopatra - New Boy / D-Rights / Giochi Preziosi 2012
I'm not a big collector of anime-styled action figures.  Mostly this is because of the overwhelming abundance of them, but a large part is due to the fact that they so often fail to deliver on the "action" part of action figures.  Ususally they just have some cat ears and a miniskirt and that's the extent of the character development.  But Scan2Go struck me as a little different.  Scan2Go is a Korean/Japanese cartoon dealing with an interplanetary racing game where players have miniature remote controlled cars that race for them.  The main team is composed of five Earthlings on Team Jet.  Each of their cars have names and an animal spirit.  Fiona Ryder's car is Leopatra whose animal spirit is an awesome looking pink leopard.  I'm a sucker animal companions.  Especially when they're paired with a female character.  She-Ra would be nothing to me without Swiftwind.  The two main figures from this toy line (Myron and Kaz) seemed to have had heavy circulation in the US at stores like TRU, but the other three characters seem to have only been released in Europe (at least as far as I can tell).  Let's check out Fiona below!

Thursday, July 24, 2014

DC Comics Duplo: Batcave Adventure 10545 - Catwoman - LEGO/Duplo 2014

I've been hunting down this little lady since she was first shown at Toy Fair earlier this year.  I've never owned anything Duplo or ever really paid attention to the brand before this.  I'm pleasantly surprised at the size of the figures.  They are roughly 3" tall - which really makes her stand out among my other mini Catwoman figures.  They are very solidly constructed and the paint application is flawless (which I was nervous about since she comes in a windowless box).  The DC Comics Duplo brand suddenly showed up at my local Toys R' Us last week.  Of course Catwoman has to come in the most expensive set, but there are plenty of smaller and cheaper sets (like the Superman one) available.  Hopefully this line does well because I'd love to see more heroes in this format.  I'm sure Wonder Woman is a shoe-in eventually, but I personally think Batgirl would look really cute in Duplo form.  Let's check out this adorable little Catwoman below!

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Marvel Universe VALKYRIE!
Marvel Universe Infinite Series: Wave 3 - Valkrie - Hasbro 2014

Valkyrie first appeared in 1970 in the pages of the Avengers and has been a regular character in the Marvel Universe ever since.  She is true Norse Valkyrie who has taken possession of various mortal women over the years.  Her first possession was of Samantha Pennington and this iteration served as an adversary of the Hulk.  Her second incarnation had her in the body of Barbara Norriss.  This version joined the superhero team The Defenders (alongside Namor, Dr. Strange, and the Hulk).  This team affiliation lasted for the remaining 13 years of the series run and really cemented her role in the Marvel Universe.  She's still a major character and regularly appears in the current Defenders series as well as any and all major crossover events (Fear Itself, Original Sin, etc).  I personally love mythological characters so I'm a little biased with my love for this figure.  Now I'd love to see a 3.75 comic-style Sif in this line to add to my little Norse mini-collection (with Enchantress from the Secret Wars 2-Packs).

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Marvel Super Hero Adventures BLACK WIDOW!
Marvel Super Hero Adventures - Black Widow - Hasbro / Playskool 2014

I've been patiently waiting for a female in the Marvel Super Hero Adventures line for years. The previous incarnation of Marvel preschool toys, Superhero Squad, had an amazingly complex number of female heroes and villain in the line. I literally have dozens of females on my SHS shelf. The Marvel Super Hero Adventures figures are slightly larger and more durable.  I was initially hesitant to jump on board another preschool line after my beloved SHS dwindled to a halt, but then Fisher-Price / Mattel ramped up their DC Superfriends Imaginext line and my hiatus was over. There have been an underwhelming number of females in the DC lines (Catwoman, Wonder Woman, Harley Quinn, and Poison Ivy), but they were still leaps and bounds ahead of the Marvel toys. This Black Widow figure was bought from an eBay seller in China and represents the very first female in the line. Who know how she will be released.  Maybe singularly, maybe in a 2-Pack, maybe a big multipack. Only time will tell.  Let's check her out!

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Funko POP! - Arkham Asylum HARLEY QUINN!
Funko POP! Heroes #54 - Batman: Arkham Asylum - Harley Quinn - Funko 2014

Harley Quinn is a doctor. Dr. Harleen Frances Quinzel, M.D. was a psychiatrist at Arkham Asylum where she counseled, and was seduced by, the Joker. This story is amazing. This origin is brilliant. It was this solid foundation that launched her into the powerhouse character she is today (Hello.. there's a HQ fashion line starting this fall at Hot Topic). Anyway, because of all these factors, I am fundamentally opposed to seeing her dressed up in a sexy nurse outfit.  Not that nurses aren't fantastic. (My mother had an amazing career as an RN).  But this portrayal is just inaccurate, insulting to her origin, and awkward. That said, this particular Funko POP representation of the Arkham Asylum video game design of Harley is actually pretty cute.  Perhaps because the cuteness of the POPs naturally obscure the "sexy" tackiness. That's my two cents at least. This figure is a Hot Topic Exclusive Pre-release. I'm assuming the whole wave will be available everywhere at a later date (I can't wait to get that Poison Ivy!).

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Marvel Universe RED SHE-HULK!
Marvel Universe Infinite Series: Wave 2 - Red She-Hulk - Hasbro 2014

It's a pretty common theme in comics for a civilian love-interest character to be granted powers similar to her namesake hero.  The most notable examples that come to mind are Lois Lane's multiple transformations into Superwoman and Carol Ferris's becoming a Violet Lantern (Star Sapphire).  I always enjoy this type of plot.  Mostly because I love seeing how the same powers and abilities would be expressed differently from a female perspective.  While I've always paid keen attention when these stories would appear, I've never before become quite as obsessed as I was when Betty (Ross) Banner became the Red She-Hulk.  She had a brief 10-issue self-titled run from 2012-2013 which I thought was amazing.  The art was beautiful, her characterization was well fleshed out.  She was righteous, vengeful, compassionate, and of course angry.  I loved every page of it.  Unfortunately we haven't heard from her in the past six months.  I would love a continuation of the unlikely Red She-Hulk / Machine Man team-up.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Justice League: War WONDER WOMAN!
Justice League: War - Wonder Woman - DC Collectibles 2014
DC Collectibles is proving itself to be an absolutely amazing company.  Sure, there have been terrific toys lines in the past that have spanned years and produced hundreds of figures, but something that DC Collectibles has really impressed me with is the variety of styles and genres they are willing to produce.  The comic style figures are arguably some of the best collectors toys on the market.  Their video game figures are insanely popular.  The live action figures from Arrow and Flash look amazingly well made.  And now they're dipping into the "animated style" market with these Justice League: War figures (as well as upcoming figures for Batman: The Animated Series and Son of Batman).  What's impressive about these figures is that they are in a 6-7" scale that is pretty much unheard of for animated figures.  99% of of these toys are usually in a 4" scale all their own.  This Wonder Woman stands out with her unique costume and exaggerated proportions.  Truly Amazonian!  Let's check her out below!

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Sealab 2021's DEBBIE DUPREE!
Cartoon Network: Adult Swim Series 01 - Sealab 2021 - Palisades 2005
I have never been a big fan of Cartoon Network's Adult Swim programming.  Irreverent humor just isn't my thing.  That said, I love the fact that shows like Harvey Birdman, Space Ghost Coast to Coast, and Sealab 2021 exist because they breathe new life into the kind of classic cartoons that I love.  Without the goofy antics of this late-night programming, we would never ever ever be getting toys of these classic Hanna-Barbera characters.  For those uninitiated, shows like Sealab 2021 take original animation (in this case, from Hanna-Barbera's 1972 sleeper hit, Sealab 2020) and repurpose it into comical nonsense by means of splicing, dubbing, and adding new animation.  My brothers love this stuff, but it just isn't my cup of tea.  Sealab 2020 was an underwater adventure series reminiscent of Star Trek.  Sealab 2021 was a parody of that same setup, but set 1 year later when all the characters were getting lax with their underwater responsibilities.  Debbie Dupree is actually the character Gail from the original show.

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Kre-O Transformers Machine Wars STRIKA!
Transformers Kre-O Botcon Exclusive Machine Wars Set - Hasbro 2013
Characters like Strika are a struggle for me.  She is pretty much the antithesis of every physical trait that I would consider "feminine."  On one side, I think this is great.  Who says being female demands an hourglass figure?  Who says a strong powerhouse character needs to be male?  Who says the typical masculine traits can't belong to a female?  Then on the flipside I'm thinking "Why does she need to be so 'unfeminine' to be taken seriously?", etc etc.  Then add that crazy debate to the fact that I am highly oversensitive to male action figures being reappropiated as females with no consideration to realistic body portrayals.  Robot characters in particular always seem to struggle with gender display.  From her very first incarnation, Strika was a large, stocky, powerful character.  She is also a former Autobot who now sides with the bad guys (always a cool dynamic).  She has had a handful of toys over the years (some of which are indeed repainted male figures), but this is the first one in line that that is so gender-neutral by default (i.e. this is the one figure of Strika that puts all my overthinking at ease).  Let's check her out!