Sunday, August 31, 2014

Snoopy's Sister BELLE!
Peanuts Collectible Miniature Figurines - Series 01 - Schleich 2014

Peanuts is one of the longest running comic strips of all time.  The characters are recognized worldwide and are virtually unchanged from their original designs.  That's why I was surprised to see a "girl Snoopy" show up in a random ebay search of mine a few months ago.  I had never heard of such a character - despite some heavy exposure to the property throughout my life.  I called my brother who is a bona fide Peanuts fanatic (and the reason behind the "heavy exposure" mentioned above) and he informed me that this was Belle, Snoopy's sister (i was half hoping it was Snoopy in drag a'la Bugs Bunny).  Then last week I was in TRU and saw a new Peanuts display from Schleich. While some characters were glaringly absent (Peppermint Patty), there was indeed a Belle.  It was kismet and she left the store with me without a second thought.  Belle was introduced in 1976 among a litter a long-lost siblings of Snoopy.  She was raised a block away from Charlie Brown's house but they never knew. 

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Sonic the Hedgehog's ROUGE THE BAT!
Sonic the Hedgehog: SonicX - Rouge the Bat - Toy Island 2005

Sonic the Hedgehog was a major obsession for me as a teenager.  I only had the game on a Sega Game Gear but it still made a lasting impression.  When Jazwares got the toy licence several years ago, my interest was renewed and I started buying all the highly-articulated tiny figures without hesitation.  In the process of collecting these new figures, I discovered a previous line produced by Toy Island.  This earlier line is especially notable to me because they produced two females which Jazwares never got around to: Cream the Rabbit and Rouge the Bat.  These figures are super hard to come by so hopefully Tomy (who now has the license) will get to them eventually.  Their rarity on the secondary market makes direct comparison with the more modern versions hard to come by.  I was personally shocked at the large size of Rouge when I finally got her.  She towers over the Jakks figures, but she's still an awesome addition to my tiny Sonic collection.  Let's check out Rouge below!

Friday, August 29, 2014

The Great Rebellion's FLUTTERINA!
Masters of the Universe Classics - Club Eternia Mattycollector Exc - Mattel 2014

It's surreal to think how many very unlikely characters have been produced in the MOTUC line so far. And as of Monday's announcement that the 2015 line got the green light (barely), we know we'll be getting the final three POP ladies next year. When the first Princess of Power figure, Adora, was released in 2010, I don't think anyone would have expected the entire vintage POP roster to follow suit. I'm ecstatic. Flutterina was always a very notable character for me - even though she only appeared in 5 episodes. I guess I noticed her because her butterfly wings were such a dominant feature. Despite having a fondness for the character, I honestly wasn't expecting her to make such a formidable-looking action figure. She stays extremely true to her classic look, but somehow I now view her as a tough fairy warrior as opposed to a "flying lookout." This makes me really excited to see how the Four Horsemen work their magic on the remaining characters. Let's check out this unexpected beauty in detail below!

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Angry Birds Stella - GALE!
Angry Birds Stella - Telepods - Gale - Hasbro Gaming 2014

I'm not a big player of video games. In high school, I was a total addict though. I was only allowed to play on weekends and on more than one occasion I would plug in on Friday and in a blur of stars and explosions it would be Monday again. I gave up games cold turkey my freshman year of college and haven't looked back. Then along came the smartphone (and my need to take long unwarranted bathroom breaks to clear my head at work). Angry Birds quickly became an addiction for me. I am super OCD so I had to get full stars on every level and all bonuses. I felt like a high school kid again. I beat the first game, then Seasons, but then I gave up halfway through Space and skipped Star Wars altogether. I've since dabbled in Candy Crush and Farm Heroes, but nothing has matched that initial thrill of Angry Birds. Then a month or so ago I saw news of a new game: Angry Birds Stella - starring the fan favorite pink female bird (the only girl) that first appeared in Birdday Party pack of the classic Angry Birds in 2011.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Princess of Power's MADAME RAZZ (and BROOM)!
Masters of the Universe Classics - Club Etheria Mattycollector Exc - Mattel 2014

Madame Razz was never a high point of the She-Ra cartoon for me. I've never been a fan of comedic slapstick characters (or overbearingly cute characters either). Orko, Snarf, Imp, Slimer, even Cringer.. they are all characters that annoyed the crap out of me.  Madame Razz was no exception. But something interesting is happening in my adult life where I no longer take the cartoons so seriously (I realize I probably shouldn't have ever been taking them seriously), but now I view them as camp-fests; I try to do impressions of all the crazy voices; I laugh at the extreme cheesiness (especially the "dramatic" parts that I used to watch so solemnly). So, lately I've taken an amused liking to Madame Razz. But the arrival of this figure in my mailbox this week has made me love her. Holding this amazing figure in my hands, seeing her in comparison to the other Great Rebellion ladies, and especially reading her great bio made me elevate her to the next level in my mind. Let's check out "The Magical Witch of the Whispering Woods"!

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Funko Vinyl³ Magnetic Figures HARLEY QUINN!
Vinyl³ Interchangeable Magnetic Vinyl Figures - Harley Quinn - Funko 2014

This quirky little figure was one of my favorite reveals from NY Toy Fair 2014.  Cute little super-deformed vinyl figures are majorly appealing to me... as long as they're inexpensive.  These retail for about eight bucks so she was definitely on my hit list.  I love how Harley Quinn has become a go-to character for DC Comics novelty products.  The fact that we often see Harley represented before Wonder Woman is pretty major.  It's also great that 90% of the time, she'll be represented in her classic duds... which I am willing to bet are sorely missed by everyone but gamers and cosplayers.  These figures are cute and fun, but I seriously doubt anyone will really want to interchange body parts.  Harley's head on Joker's body?  eh.  On its own though, the figure has a lot of personality and playability.  She'll look great on my shelf with all my non-action-figure Gotham ladies.  Plus she's super tiny at only 2" tall.  I love tiny, cool toys.  Let's check her out in detail below!

Friday, August 22, 2014

The Walking Dead's ANDREA (Comic Style)!
The Walking Dead - Comic Book Series 3 - Andrea - McFarlane Toys 2014

I still haven't read any of the Walking Dead comic books (despite owning them all).  I love the show though and that's enough inspiration for me to buy these toys.  I half-thought that the Comic series might be over because of their slow release dates.  The Television Series toyline is already at series 6 despite debuting several months after the first comic wave.  Andrea is one of my favorites from the show.  Most of the survivors eventually evolve into tough characters, but in my mind she was more dynamic; transforming from a simple passive nobody into one of the most formidable members of the group.  She was also flawed, making decisions that weren't popular with the other characters nor the viewing audience.  But that's what made me like her so much.  Predictability in a zombie show is just boring.  While I really like this figure, I feel like it is a departure from the other comic figures (I only one Michonne).  She's a little bit larger and a lot more grim and realistic than I expected.  Let's check her out below!

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Imaginext Rescue Heroes WENDY WATERS!
Imaginext Rescue Heroes Firehouse - Mattel/Fisher-Price 2014
This little beauty is a very exciting figure for me. She marks the beginning of females in the main Imaginext line. Years ago we received two medieval characters - and more recently we've received a small collection of female superheroes. But the hugely popular Imaginext line was still glaringly devoid of the ladies  Even though she comes packed in a huge playset, it's still a great step forward for the line. Everytime I head into Toys R Us or Target I check out that bright yellow section of the toy aisles to see if any new ladies have slipped in. When I found this set yesterday I actually tried to find evidence that it existed online with no luck. Sneaky sneaky. Now I can't wait to see if we get any females in future blindbag series. I foresee a witch and a Cleopatra-type in the next wave. Another cool thing about this figure is the fact that she is actually an established character with a ton of larger-scale 5" action figures produced already. In my mind, that means we can expect the rest of the Rescue Heroes girls (Ariel Flyer and Maureen Biologist) in Imaginext form eventually. I can't wait. In the meantime, lets check out Wendy Waters below!

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Batman '66 Bendable CATWOMAN!
Batman: Classic TV Series - Bendable Figures - NJCroce 2014
Woohoo!  I now own my second bendable figure.  I never thought I would see the day.  I think the toy gods knew it would take a Julie Newmar Catwoman to get me to cave again.  Bendable toys are an interesting conundrum for action figure collectors.  The character selection can sometimes be awesome, but they just don't have the same display potential and longevity of a true action figure.  But being the big Julie Newmar fan that I am, I knew this beauty would find it's way onto my shelves.  I first discovered this figure at Toy Fair earlier this year when I went out of my way to hunt down the NJCroce booth to see their new products.  Their booth is kind of buried in the novelty section (i.e. far from the action figure area that I gravitate toward).  Last year I stumbled across their New Frontier style bendies and was impressed with the quality (and distribution - these suckers are everywhere).  So anyway, I made the trek down the aisles where all the vendors were throwing balls at me or startling me with noisemakers and was very happy to see Catwoman on a peg.  Let's check her out below!

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

DC Collectibles STARFIRE!
DC Comics - The New 52: Red Hood and the Outlaws - DC Collectibles 2014
Starfire is one of the few characters in the New 52 that I actually prefer over the original.  For some reason her New Teen Titans look and persona always annoyed me a little.  I viewed her as clingy and bubbly with an awful hairdo.  I was just a kid then, but those early impressions stuck with me.  I didn't pay much attention to her until Red Hood and the Outlaws #1 and I suddenly thought she was awesome.  This new version was a cold, detached alien who was aggressively sexual and powerfully seductive.. not to mention actually powerful.  I heard a lot of gripes about her being nothing more than a vehicle for fanboy titillation and setting the plight of female superhero respectability back more than a few notches, but I liked her.  Sure, every criticism rang true, but on the flipside she also embodied a dominant empowered woman in every sense of the word.  Not to mention that her hair suddenly looked awesome.  The original solicitation of this figure was the moment that truly felt that DC Collectibles (née DC Direct) was finally back in full swing.  She was beautiful, unexpected, and not Wonder Woman.  Let's check out Starfire below!

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Assault on Arkham HARLEY QUINN!
Batman: Assault on Arkham - Best Buy Exclusive Figurine - Warner Bros 2014

First off, I apologize for the inactivity on this website lately.  I've had two wonderfully relaxing week-long vacations in the last month and I was totally disconnected from technology both times.  Luckily I didn't stop amassing ideas and toys for future reviews during my hiatus so now I'm back with plenty of ammunition.  Last Tuesday I went on a hunt for the newly released Batman: Assault on Arkham original movie from Warner Bros Animation.  I had a hunch a few weeks before and googled to see if there might be an exclusive figurine.  My hunch was correct and I found a blurry solicit image of a Harley figurine sporting this very cool new look.  This costume is my favorite redesign - after the original, of course.  I would love to see this in a large scale from DC Collectibles like the Justice League: War and Throne of Atlantis figures.  The movie is a story set in the world of the Arkham videogame franchise, but incorporating many elements of the New52 Suicide Squad - and I think the costume is a great blend of the two.

Saturday, August 9, 2014

DC Comics World's Finest POWER GIRL!
DC Comics: The New 52 - World's Finest 2-Pack - DC Collectibles 2014
Power Girl is a great character. I used to write her off as another generic cleavage machine. The truth is though, I had never read a single story of hers. My only frames of reference were skeezy fanboy comments on nerdy message boards.  My first true introduction wasn't until the pages of 2009's Terra miniseries drawn by Amanda Conner. This portrayal of Kara eventually segued into a solo Power Girl series that was amazing (but unfortunately fell victim to the New 52 reboot). These stories made me love the character.  She was suddenly tough, funny, quirky, down to earth, and ready to kick anyone's ass who stared at her chest too long. I was very very sad when her series got the axe.  It wasn't too long, however, until she was reintroduced to the New 52 world in the pages of World's Finest alongside her longtime friend Huntress. The only problem with this new version was her awful costume redesign. Luckily she was back to her signature duds by issue 12, as celebrated by this amazing action figure.

Sunday, August 3, 2014

DC Comics World's Finest HUNTRESS!
DC Comics: The New 52 - World's Finest Two-Pack - DC Collectibles 2014

Huntress is one of the most underrated heroines in the Bat-universe.  She's been a constant presence since her introduction in the late 1970s, but she always seems to be on the back burners in comparison to the other ladies.  I was really excited when this two pack was announced.  Not only was it great to get a new Huntress figure, but having her packaged with her longtime friend Power Girl was a total bonus.  Upon getting her, however, I was struck by the differences between the solicit images and the final product I was holding in my hands.  In my mind, there are some major production issues with this figure.  You can tell the engineers who prepped her for mass production made a few errors and, in my opinion, greatly changed the look of the figure.  I never let my disappointments get me down though,  and I quickly put her under the knife and tried my best to restore her to her paint-master glory.  I have lots of before-and-after shots below.  But for now, let's check out the lovely Helena in her original form!