Sunday, November 30, 2014

Batman: The Animated Series CATWOMAN!

Batman: The Animated Series -  4: Catwoman - DC Collectibles 2014

Batman: The Animated Series was one of those cartoons that revolutionized superhero culture in the mainstream media. It combined Tim Burton's gritty Gotham with the film noir style of the classic Superman cartoons from Fleischer to create a fresh new Bat-Universe. Sure Batman and Batman Returns were huge hits, but this cartoon series provided an everyday all-ages exposure for years. Most mildly-nerdy adults I meet nowadays had their perceptions of Batman formed from this very series. To be perfectly honest, I was never a huge fan of the series. Although I was young, I already had a definitive Batman in my head and this Timm-verse Batman was not it. It grew on me over the years of course. And one of the highlights of the series was the deeper development of great female characters like Catwoman, Poison Ivy, and Harley Quinn. This BTAS action figure series from DCC is one of the most unexpected yet amazing toy lines I can think of. This Catwoman is perfect. Let's check her out below!

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Mini Mez-Itz Batman '66 CATWOMAN!

Mini Mez-Itz - Batman Classic TV Series 5-Pack - Mezco 2014

I've fallen in love with Mezco's adorably weird Mini Mez-Itz toys.  I now own five and I'm looking forward to getting many more (Girls of Gotham set, I'm talking about you).  I'm especially excited about this particular figure because she marks the third Catwoman in the series (and as I'm always fond of saying, "it takes three to make a collection").  I first saw these figures several years ago at Toy Fair and I've been nervous about getting them ever since.  I've never known Mezco to show a product and not release it, but for some reason the Mini Mez-Itz can have some crazy delays.  I'm constantly getting press release information about their Living Dead Dolls and Breaking Bad toys, but the Mez-Itz kind of fly under the radar until they surprise you in the toy aisles.  Also, the supply of Julie Newmar Catwoman products seems to be dwindling down lately, so any new representation of this look are much appreciated.  Let's check out this Mini Mez-Itz Classic TV Catwoman below!

Friday, November 28, 2014

Masters of the Universe - Galactic Protector SHE-RA!

MOTUC Club Etheria Exclusive - Galactic Protector She-Ra - Mattel 2014

She-Ra has had a lot of interesting variants throughout her career.  This is mostly due to the fact that her vintage toys were in doll form (as opposed to the action figures in the He-Man line).  The cloth outfits and rooted hair of her toys led to the inevitable "fashion packs" which created a whopping 16 additional costume variations (in addition to the three main She-Ra releases).  In MOTUC, we already have a regular She-Ra and a Bubble Power She-Ra, so with an additional 17 official vintage variants to choose from, Mattel instead chose to come up with an original design to fit in with the New Adventures of He-Man.  I couldn't be happier.  While the remaining vintage designs have merit, they aren't nearly as cool or canonical as this Galactic Protector She-Ra.  Her costume design reflects her vintage toy details combined with the futuristic "space adventure" theme on the New Adventures cartoon.  I think the design and execution are fantastic.  Let's check out Galactic Protector She-Ra below!

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Planet of the Apes - ZIRA!

Planet of the Apes (Classics): Series 2 - Zira - NECA 2014

My obsession with NECA keeps growing and growing in recent years.  Most of their current toy lines seem to be based around video games and adventure movies (which are way off my radar honestly).  But at the same time they have a great aesthetic for nostalgic properties.  The toy aisles are loaded with amazing figures of Rocky, Aliens, and Predator thanks to NECA.  My personal current obsessions are their Gremlins and Planet of the Apes lines.  It comes down to my love of puppeteering and fantasy.  I buy them all, but unfortunately for this blog, there are very few females in these properties.  The ones they do make, however, are undeniably amazing.  Zira is the calm voice of reason in the Planet of the Apes series.  She's a psychologist and veterinarian who specializes in the study of humans.  When she realizes that astronaut George Taylor isn't a "native" human (mute, tribal hominids) and can actually write, she becomes his greatest ally.  Let's check out the amazing Zira below!

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

WWE Superstar - EVA MARIE!

WWE Basic Series 43 - Superstar #50 - Eva Marie - Mattel 2014

Woo-hoo finally a WWE figure who I knew about before I bought her!  I first became aware of Eva Marie through my casual watching of the reality show Total Divas on E!. Between her unnaturally flaming (yet gorgeous) red hair and her dynamic personality, she was the standout for me on the show.  Most of the time she seems to be portrayed as an antagonist, but I've also seen her as the good guy more than once.  I'm sure that flexibilty just makes her all the more popular for WWE fans.  Since my first impressions of Eva, I've noticed her images here and there in stores and on TV.  She seems to be the girl of the moment for WWE (full disclosure: I'm a WWE novice so this is all conjecture).  This figure from Mattel is an okay rendition of her.  It's hard not to identify her as Eva Marie with her trademark hair combined with her Mexican/Italian complexion.  But the face is not nearly as attractive as the real life Eva.  After I photographed this review I found a second Eva in Target which had thicker eyelashes and looked a lot better than this version.  So keep your eyes peeled for subtle variations!  Let's check out Eva Marie below!

Monday, November 24, 2014

Batman: Li'l Gotham HARLEY QUINN!

Batman: Li'l Gotham #4 - Harley Quinn - DC Collectibles 2014

I love when I see a figure in person and my perception of it completely changes.  When I first saw solicitation images of this figure around Toy Fair earlier this year I wasn't really impressed.  Sure, she was cute, and sure, it's a good representation of Dustin Nguyen's art, but I just knew she was going to be a "pass" for me.  Especially considering the insane amount of awesome DCC products solicited at the same time.  I kind of forgot about her until I saw her in person at my local comic shop last week and was totally won over.  There's something incredibly charming about this figure that doesn't come across well in 2-D photos.  Plus I didn't realize that she would be half the price of a typical DCC figure.  Now I have my typical wishes for a Catwoman and Poison Ivy figure keep her company.  Not to mention Huntress, Batgirl and Batwoman who get a lot of play in Dustin's Li'L Gotham comic.  I can imagine my entire Bat-shelf getting an adorable makeover.  Let's check out Harley below!

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Funko POP! - Arkham Asylum POISON IVY!

Funko POP! Heroes #55 - Batman: Arkham Asylum - Poison Ivy - Funko 2014

As much as I dislike most video game redesigns of comic book heroes, I absolutely love Poison Ivy in the Arkham Series. Previous comic designs always seemed cheesy to me. Jim Lee's version unveiled in Hush was extremely popular, but I was never a fan.  A big part of that was a disconnect between her green-skinned inhuman elemental side combined with weird 1990's hair and a swimsuit-cut outfit of leaves (which seemed way too 'specific' of a design for a woman detached from human concerns).  On the flipside, the Justice Poison Ivy was just nude with strategically placed vines, which was just uninteresting.  This Arkham version seems to get it right.  The human elements are unquestionably human (i.e. her shirt).  But her slicked-back hair, haunting eyes, green skin tone, and symbiotic vines make for a very creepy contrast to that shirt.  I love it.  That said, this is only the second toy version I have of her in this look (after the Play Arts Kai version).  Let's check out this amazing Poison Ivy Pop!

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Arkham Knight - HARLEY QUINN!

DC Comics Multiverse - Batman: Arkham Knight - Harley Quinn - Mattel 2014

Oh Harley. Some designers just don't understand you the way I do. I know you don't want to be dressed like a Victorian dominatrix. I know you don't want softly dyed pigtails. I know you just want an outfit you can easily do cartwheels in. Unfortunately most game designers don't understand this. This newest incarnation of Harley Quinn seems like an awkward kitbash of her Arkham Asylum sexy nurse getup and her (much more acceptable) Arkham City leather duds - with a little "sexy French maid" thrown in for kicks. I'm not a fan. But I'm pretty dedicated to Miss Quinzel so this wasn't a toy I could pass up when I found her in Walmart yesterday. The figure itself isn't horrible. And I actually like having a variety of Harley figures in all her crazy transformations. But it really makes me think of the costume that Margot Robbie will get for the Suicide Squad movie. I'm guessing that look will be very influential for the future of the character. I hope it looks like Assault on Arkham.  Let's check out Harley below!

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Game of Thrones - DAENERYS TARGARYEN (2.0)!

Game of Thrones: Legacy Collection #12 - Daenerys Targaryen - Funko 2014

I have a feeling that the Game of Thrones Legacy Collection is going to be chock full of Daenerys figures by the time the line ends.  This character goes through such a transformation over the course of the books and TV episodes and each iteration is worthy of immortilazation in plastic.  I'm especially hoping they'll be some deluxe version with her three dragons (ideally in a threatening, but economically feasible size).  This second version of Daenerys is in her blue dress and cape from her time in Slaver's Bay.  This is one of my favorite looks because it's practical yet regal, like Daenerys herself.  My first version of Daenerys was plagued with QC problems - enough so that there was even a replacement program set up for all the defective stock.  But I'm happy to report that I've had no issues whatsoever with this second wave of figures.  So now I'm really looking forward for future figures.  Cersei is a shoe-in, but there's such a huge cast of awesome characters that the rest of the slots are anybody's game.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Game of Thrones - BRIENNE OF TARTH!

Game of Thrones: Legacy Collection #8 - Brienne of Tarth - Funko 2014

Brienne is one of my favorite characters in Game of Thrones.  I credit a lot of that to Gwendoline Christie's portrayal in the HBO show.  The character in the books is great, but Gwedoline brings an interesting personality to the character that I just adore.  I was a little apprehensive about this figure because she has a very subtle look that balances between feminine and masculine.  Historically the execution of characters like this (in toy form) is a disaster.  I totally passed on Arya from this wave for that very reason.  But this Brienne figure is actually pretty good.  Funko is impressing me more and more every month.  They have so many successful lines already; Pop, ReAction, Legacy.. not to mention the Vinyl Vixens line I'm dying to hear more about.  They even have a dedicated endcap at Target now.  I have 5 more Funko posts lined up for the next few weeks. They're everywhere!  I can't wait to see future waves of Game of Thrones (and Magic the Gathering while we're at it).  Brienne awaits below!

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Scribblenauts: Unmasked - CATWOMAN!

Scribblenauts: Unmasked - A DC Comics Adv - Series 04 - DC Collectibles 2014

Scribblenauts seem to be everywhere these days.  The successful puzzle adventure game had its start back in 2009 and has only gained in popularity since.  I don't even play videogames, but I am still inundated with print ads, digital ads, and merchandise from this property all the time.  A big part of that is probably due to the fact that the franchise is published by Warner Bros and I am a DC Comics loyalist (i.e.  The websites I frequent and comics I read are obvious hotspots for Scribblenauts ads).  The fifth game in the series is 2013's Scribblenauts: Unmasked, A DC Comics Adventure.  This game features tons of DC characters drawn in Scribblenauts style (a design developed by 5th Cell's Edison Yan).  It wasn't long until the merchandising began.  The main toy output from this game are these mini 2.5" tall blind box figures from DC Collectibles.  I was honestly indifferent about getting this Catwoman figure at first.  But then the future waves were revealed with a Harley and Ivy - and having that feisty trio represented in this quirky style was too tempting to pass up.  Let's check out the first of the sirens below!

Friday, November 14, 2014

LEGO Legends of Chima - LI'ELLA!

Legends of Chima - 70146 Flying Phoenix Fire Temple - LEGO 2014

LEGO's newest theme-of-the moment thrills me.  I love nature, I love animals, and I love fantastical adventure with warring tribes.  Basically this type of property is perfect for me.  My formative years in the 1980s were full of this: ThunderCats, Silverhawks, TigerSharks, even G.I.Joe got reptilian when Cobra-La was introduced.  But in modern times, this formula has definitely lost it's mojo.  With the exception of the more silly variety (TMNT, Biker Mice From Mars, etc) anthropomorphic characters have really been on the back-burner.  Then Chima came along and made up for decades of neglect.  There are tons of different animal species represented in the different tribes and female characters get decent recognition.  This mini-figure of Li'Ella is notable because she's the first female in the Lion tribe.  The main character of the Chima cartoon is a young male lion (basically Lion-O), so it was important to get some female representation in this "main" tribe.  Let's check her out in detail below!

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Turok: Dinosaur Hunter - ADON!

Turok: Dinosaur Hunter - Adon: Keeper of the Forever Light - Playmates 1998

My first exposure to Turok was in the 1980s when my Dad would buy me and my brothers stacks of vintage comics from flea markets. My older brother would grab all the war and combat-themed issues, my younger brother would get the Sad Sack-type "funny" books, and that left the horror and Turok: Son of Stone issues for me. I still have a ton of them and I love them all. I loved feeling like an expert among all the kids at the comic shop when Turok made a comeback in 1993 from Valiant comics and everyone thought he was new. Ever since then he's had a constant, but low-key presence in pop-culture (including a current comic series by Dynamite and a series of well-received games). This action figure series is based on the second game (of six) called Turok 2: Seed of Evil. In these games (and most of the more modern comics) the simple concept of a pre-Colombian Native American man being trapped in a dinosaur valley was drastically changed. Now Turok is a modern man. There are guns, aliens, and vehicles. The best thing to come out of all the changes, however, was this blue-skinned alien named Adon.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Monogram International FIGURAL ERASERS!

Marvel & DC Comics Collectible Erasers - Monogram International 2013-14

Novelty items are a constant thorn in the sides of collectors.  Sometimes they are just so gimmicky and unattractive that you in no way are tempted to buy them.  But then the collecting bug rears its ugly head and you think "but I already got the Squinkies and Nog'nz.. so don't I need to get these?"  Plus they are almost always super cheap.  It's a slippery slope indeed.  These Monogram Erasers didn't appeal to me at all when I first saw pictures of them a year or two ago.  They had all the trappings of a sloppy final product (paint masking issues, deformed molds, etc) and they just somehow lack the "cute" factor that Grab Zags, Chibis and Squinkies have. But I realize now that I was being a bit too judgmental.  When I was buying the exclusive keychain set at this year's Monogram NYCC booth, I took the time to sort through the bins of these erasers to find the best looking ones, and in the process I began to appreciate these weird little guys.  Let's check them all out in detail below!

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Marvel Universe - NEBULA!

Marvel Universe SDCC '14 Exclusive - Infinity Gauntlet Boxset - Hasbro 2014

Sorry for the lack of posts lately.  I just returned from a week in Mexico where I spent my days laying on perfect beaches and my warm nights zipping down narrow streets on scooters.  It was wonderfully detached from my day-to-day reality.  I even managed to go on a little toy hunt.  They have these Wal-Mart-type stores called Chedraui, but unfortunately their toy section was practically identical to anything I see here in the states.  At least I didn't have any awkward customs inquisitions like the time I flew with a Catwoman statue in my carry-on, haha.  Anyway, back to the grind.  This comic version of Nebula owes everything to her key role in the Guardians of the Galaxy film.  If I listed all the Marvel heroines who were deserving of action figures, Nebula would be way way down on that list.  That said, I love obscurity and she certainly does make an interesting little figure.  And the film version of Nebula opened my eyes to the coolness of the character.  Let's check her out in detail below!