Thursday, September 25, 2014

DC Collectibles New 52 - BATGIRL!
DC Comics: The New 52 - Batgirl (Barbara Gordon) - DC Collectibles 2014

Batgirl is the first Superhero I ever became obsessed with as a young comic reader.  I used to scavenge for old issues of Batman Family in dollar bins.  She didn't have many modern comic appearances in those days so I was revelling in classic reprints.  But then suddenly there was a Batgirl Special #1 on the stands in 1988 and I was such an ecstatic little kid about it.  Until, of course, I realised that issue was just a preamble to the horrible events in Batman: The Killing Joke which left my Barbara wheelchair bound and out of the bat-suit for 23 years. (Not to diminish her significance in the DCU as Oracle, but I just love a good Bat-Lady).  The infamous 2011 DCU New 52 reboot put Barbara Gordon back under the cowl.  I had major mixed emotions about this.  I liked Oracle, I loved Steph Brown as Batgirl, and I did not like her little girly bat-clasp in the new design.  But having Babs back in her original role could be really cool.  The underlying excitement for me was honestly the potential for new toys though.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Magic the Gathering - CHANDRA NALAAR!
Magic The Gathering: Legacy Collection 6 - Chandra Nalaar - Funko 2014

I love saving the best for last.  I think Chandra Nalaar is the standout figure from the first wave of Funko's Magic the Gathering Legacy Collection.  Chandra is a red-mana-wielding planeswalker with a specialty in pyromancy.  I think you really can't go wrong with flame-hair on a steampunky figure.  She reminds me a little bit of Nikki from the 1990 Guardians of the Galaxy series and a little of Doctor Phosphorus' daughter Tinderbox from the pages of Catwoman.  Even though she's the least fantastical/mystical-looking of all the figures in this wave, she definitely has the most dynamic and interesting look.  She also has no QC problems at all as far as I can tell.  She's posed in a weird warped-leg stance in the packaging, but she can easily stand straight with some fancy articulation manipulation.  With the undoubted success of this line, I'm hoping we see a series two with character like Serra Angel or maybe a Bitterblossom Fairy.. I just want wings, dammit!  Let's check out Chandra Nalaar in detail below!

Monday, September 22, 2014

Magic the Gathering - NISSA REVANE!
Magic The Gathering: Legacy Collection 4 - Nissa Revane - Funko 2014

Hot on the heels of yesterday's Liliana Vess review comes the elven planeswalker Nissa Revane.  Nissa has been featured on four Magic the Gathering cards over the years and referenced in an additional six.  As I mentioned yesterday, this trend of character development in MtG is totally new to me, but I'm impressed.  My favorite thing about this character (aside from her penchant for green magic.. and green clothes.. and green eyes) is the fact that she reminds me a lot of my favorite Magic card from my youth; Earthbind.  If Nissa had fairy wings, she'd be a doppelganger for the lovely creature on the Earthbind card.  Funko's Legacy Collections are showing the potential to be a major powerhouse in the action figure world.  With the amazing number of cool licenses in their POP line, I can't wait to see if the same variety surfaces in the Legacy Collection.  I have dreams of Dark Crystal and Labyrinth figures!  Someday.. someday.  Let's check out Nissa in detail below!

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Magic the Gathering - LILIANA VESS!
Magic The Gathering: Legacy Collection 5 - Liliana Vess - Funko 2014
The Magic the Gathering Legacy Collection was by far the most exciting thing I saw at Toy Fair 2014.  There was an announcement several weeks before the Fair about the Game of Thrones Legacy Collection from Funko and I think most collectors were ecstatic to have a new player in the 6-7" action figure market.  I certainly was.  But that excitement was taken to a new level when I walked into the Funko booth and saw these Magic the Gathering figures.  They looked like they had very similar bucks to the wildly popular MOTUC figures and the character designs were fantastical.  I used to play Magic in the mid-90s but never stuck with it.  Over the years, I was aware of various comics and "expanded universes", but I had no idea there were actual developed characters now.  Liliana Vess is a Planeswalker Necromancer with a very detailed backstory.  She has been featured on twelve MTG cards and referenced on another seventeen.  I learn new things every day.  Let's check out Liliana in detail below!

Saturday, September 20, 2014

The Evil Horde's ENTRAPTA!
Masters of the Universe Classics - Club Etheria Mattycollector Exc - Mattel 2014

Entrapta was always one of my least favorite characters from She-Ra.  I didn't like her design, I didn't like her powers, she inexplicably had Catra's voice, and most of all, I just hated her color palette.  She stood out from the rest of the red, black, and blue Horde with her bright colors.  In the cartoon she wore purple, blue, and gold with orange hair.  The toy was even less "evil" looking with bright pink and shiny metallic gold.  If the toy line was to end early before completing the vintage roster, I would have gladly sacrificed Entrapta.  All this former disdain is why I'm so bowled over at my infatuation over this toy.  The Four Horsemen didn't even drastically change her design, but somehow they made this "dud" (IMO!) of a character amazing.  Sure, her colors still look much more Rebellion than Horde, but something about the look on her face and the menacing look of her hair thrills me.  The hair is amazingly well done.  Who needs a crossbow when you have those locks?  No one!  Let's check out Entrapta below!

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Big Hero 6 - HONEY LEMON!
Marvel Entertainment & Disney:  Big Hero 6 - Honey Lemon - Bandai 2014

Following hot on the heels of yesterday's Go Go Tomago review comes the other lovely lady from the Big Hero 6 team.  Honey Lemon seems like the polar opposite of Go Go.  Where Go Go is fierce, skilled, and super-serious, Honey Lemon is more like a timid brainy magician-type.  She seems shy and cute and her super-skills are based around  her (self built) Nano-Purse.  Her purse actually houses micro-wormholes which let her store gigantic objects within it.  I picture it as an accessory version of Cloak's power from Cloak & Dagger.  Honey Lemon was introduced in 1998's Sunfire & Big Hero 6.  I haven't read those early books, and the Disney-fied movie doesn't come out for another two months, but I can pretty much guarantee the two versions of the character will be vastly different.  The comic version is a super-sexy genius secret agent.  I get a feeling that the animated Honey will be more of a lovable nerd.  Either way, I'm excited to see the movie after playing with these toys.  Let's check Honey out below!

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Big Hero 6 - GO GO TOMAGO!
Marvel Entertainment & Disney:  Big Hero 6 - Go Go Tomago - Bandai 2014

Big Hero Six is a relatively unknown Marvel Comics superhero team that first debuted fourteen years ago in their own mini-series as well as in the pages of Alpha Flight.  Following the acquisition of Marvel by Disney in 2009, Big Hero 6 will be the first true collaboration of the two entertainment giants.  The movie doesn't come out for another two months so a lot of the plot and characteristics of these heroes are pure conjecture.  It's pretty safe to assume the kid-friendly Disney version will differ greatly from the comic though.  In the comic, Go Go Tomago is a badass ex-motorcycle gang convict who is made a test subject for a power suit that lets her speed up and burst into energy (at least that's what I gather from what I've read).  It's kind of like a hybrid of Speedball and Captain America in the pages of the Suicide Squad.  In the Disney version I doubt she'll be a convict on "hero release."  It appears her Mag-Lev disks are the basis of her powers.  She uses them as wheels on her hands and feet, flying devices, and projectiles.  Go Go is also touted as the sole hero with experience in a group of amateurs.  Let's check her out!

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Planet Heroes VENUS DAZZLE!
Planet Heroes - Basic & Metallic Squad - Venus Dazzle - Fisher-Price/Mattel 2006

This isn't your Daddy's Fisher-Price. When I was a kid, all I had was the old peg-style Little People and the "everyday hero" Adventure People. They were fun and all, but they certainly didn't spark the wild imagination that the "big kid" action figures of the time had. Somewhere along the line though, Fisher-Price has really made a huge leap forward in the "cool" department. These Planet Heroes figures from 2006 are a prime example of that. The heroes of the team each represented a planet (or heavenly body: ie, sun, moon, stars). Simple, Educational and Entertaining. The planetary figures all had a design motif with colors, powers, and even physical size to correspond to their namesake planet. Venus Dazzle is the only female in the toyline. Her design and weaponry is lava and fire themed which gives her one of the coolest looks in my opinion.  She was released in both a regular version as well as a Metallic Squad version wherein her red parts are painted in metallic red.  Let's check out Venus in detail below!

Thursday, September 11, 2014

DC Collectibles SUPERGIRL (and Customization)!
DC Comics: The New 52 - Supergirl - DC Collectibles 2014
Supergirl is one of my favorite characters since the DC Comics New 52 reboot in 2011.  Some of my tried and true favorites (like Batgirl) have been a little "meh" since the switchover.  But for me, the surprise standout has been Supergirl.  Her book has had great artists and writers and the new costume design is my favorite of any of her numerous looks.  DC Collectibles has really been doing an amazing job in the last few years.  This Supergirl figure was revealed right before Toy Fair this year and she looked like perfection.  She was one of my most anticipated figures of the year to be honest.  But when I ran to the comic shop today to pick her up, I can't deny that I was extremely let down by yet another weird set of facial paint apps.  Her eyes just looked wrong.  Earth 2 Wonder Woman and Huntress had similar problems.  Luckily I knew I would be able to touch her up just enough to quell my concerns.  My customization shots will be at the bottom of this review.  Let's check Supergirl out below!

Monday, September 8, 2014

The Women of WETWORKS!
Wetworks: Series 1 & 2 - Pilgrim, Mother-One & Blood Queen - McFarlane 1995-96

Whilce Portacio's Wetworks was originally intended to be one of the core titles of Image Comics' initial barrage of titles in 1992.  It was delayed for 2 years which, for me, made it become the "breath of fresh air" for Image after my interest in the erratically released Spawn, Wildcats, and Youngblood had begun to wane.  Whilce Portacio gained much fame for his pencils in X-Factor and Uncanny X-Men, but it took Wetworks to make me view him as the 90's powerhouse artist he was.  I think the metallic design of the characters really showed off his talents.  Wetworks is about a Black Ops team who utilize golden metallic symbiotes as full-body protection when warring against supernatural foes (lots of vampires and werewolves).  A great storytelling twist is that they were doublecrossed by their parent organization and are now rogue - it's like A-Team meets Underworld meet Silverhawks. There were several great female characters in the comics and luckily three were made into toys.  Let's check them out below!

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Assassin's Creed: Series 02 - Aveline de Grandpré - McFarlane Toys 2014

McFarlane Toys never ceases to amaze me recently.  Between Walking Dead, Halo, and now Assassin's Creed, they have produced some of the best female action figures of the past few years.  I know nothing about Assassin's Creed aside from what I read about in preparation for this review, but I know this is a beautiful toy.  Aveline de Grandpré was an assassin of French and African heritage who lived in New Orleans during the mid-18th century.  She first appeared in Assassin's Creed III: Liberation from 2012 and has appeared in subsequent games as well.  I first became aware of this figure when a drawing of the figure was shown in the McFarlane booth at Toy Fair two years ago.  (I enter that booth every year in hopes that a new line of Saga toys will be unveiled.  I think McFarlane is the only modern toy company that could do that property justice.)  But alas, no Saga, but I was very intrigued with this female assassin and two years later I decree she was well worth the wait.  Let's check her out in detail below!

Friday, September 5, 2014

Transformers Rescue Bots - DANI BURNS!
Transformers Rescue Bots - Blades & Dani Burns - Playskool/Hasbro 2014

Something is going on this Summer with all the popular preschool toy lines.  For years we've seen more and more toy aisle real estate being taken over by Preschool-age action figures.  Imaginext, Marvel Super Hero Adventures, Star Wars Jedi Force, and of course Transformers Rescue Bots, are all the rage, but the lines have been notoriously void of female characters since their inception.  Yet this Summer we suddenly have Black Widow as the first Marvel lady, Wendy Waters as the first non-DCU female Imaginext, and now suddenly we get Dani Burns as the first Rescue Bots figure.  I don't know what is prompting this long-overdue diversity, but I welcome it with open arms.  Rescue Bots is a cartoon and toy line about a group of four (non-canon) Transformers (Chase the Police Car, Blade the Helicopter, Heatwave the Firetruck, and Boulder the Bulldozer) and the Burns family who team up/pilot the Bots for various rescue missions.  Considering the small cast, it's surprising we haven't seen Dani until now.

Monday, September 1, 2014

Skysurfer Strike Force SLICED ICE!
Skysurfer Strike Force - Fully Poseable Action Figures - Sliced Ice -  Bandai 1995

Skysurfer Strike Force was an animated series from 1995 that never got its proper time in the sun. It lasted two seasons and was fairly popular.  But for some reason it was lost to time and you almost never hear mention of the cartoon or the toylines. The story in a nutshell is that there are five protagonists with powerful watches that transform them into the Skysurfers - and also turn their vehicles into giant hovercraft/surfboard things.  The bad guys are a group of "bio-borgs" led by the evil Cybron, who stole a technologically-developed brain from Skysurfer-One's Dad and connected it to his own brain to make himself an evil genius. Yeah, the plot is weak, and so are the surfboard gimmicks to be honest. But what is great about this series is the throwback to 80's cartoon culture by means of outlandish character design and wonderfully repetitive transformation sequences. When watching this show, I see correlations to Bravestarr, Silverhawks, C.O.P.S., and so many more, despite airing at a time when most cartoons were in the choppy early stages of CGI. This show just had a classic quality about it that I really appreciate.