Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Masters of the Universe Classics - MERMISTA!

MOTUC Club Eternia - Mermista - Mattycollector Exclusive - Mattel 2014

Mermista has been my most wanted Princess of Power figure ever since Adora first arrived 5 years ago and showed us that the POP ladies would definitely be included in this line.  I am glad we had to wait so long though because I think the stars had to be aligned to provide us such a perfect figure.  Any of the minor flaws we've seen from MOTUC figures in the past would have been a major disappointment on a long-awaited character like Mermista.  But luckily all that stuff has been ironed out.  Some surprises for me included (1) her mermaid tail is glittery, (2) her main tail fin is blue instead of green, (3) her human legs are bare instead of blue, and (4) her hair is made out of a new lightweight flexible rubber.  All of these changes and surprises are perfectly acceptable to me though.  I probably wouldn't have even noticed if not for me actively seeking something about this figure to critique. I'll let all the pictures speak for themselves.  Let's check out Mermista below!

Monday, December 29, 2014

Kickstarter - I AM ELEMENTAL (In hand!)

I Am Elemental - Series 01: Elements of Courage - Rebel Elements 2014

What a great way to bring 2014 to a close! I was really anxious to get my hands on this  I Am Elemental series since it was my first foray into the world of Kickstarter and I couldn't shake the feeling that I was taking a gamble. I have friends who have backed Kickstarter campaigns in the past and have been disappointed by the final product (or lack thereof). My paranoia was assuaged though by the professional and thorough framework presented by creators Julie Kerwin and Dawn Nadeau. The concept, design, funding, and delivery of these figures was fully fleshed out before the Kickstarter even went live. It's amazing to think that a mere seven months after I first heard of the concept of these toys, I am holding a fully realized, beautifully made set of action figures. I know there is a future series in the works (Series 02: Wisdom), and I know without a doubt I'll be adding it to my collection. I'd also like to add that I had zero QC problems with this set;  no sloppy paint lines; no stuck joints; no casting seams. I don't have this much confidence in any of the top toy companies. Let's check out the Elements of Courage!

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Justice League Unlimited - AQUAGIRL!

DC Universe - Justice League Unlimited: Final Figures - Aquagirl - Mattel 2012

There have been many different characters with the name of "Aquagirl" over the years. None of them have stood the test of time however.  My personal theory is that this is due to their costume design.  Rarely have they looked Atlantean or even aquatic in nature. Some are even wearing street clothes under water. The one design that I feel really worked though was this Aquagirl from Batman Beyond, also known as Mareena (the daughter of Aquaman).  She was originally created to be a part of a future Justice League in a 2-part BB story arc, but she has since made appearances in Justice League Unlimited and many comics.  Her costume, hair color, and pointed features give her that otherworldly feel that her previously incarnations lacked.  Aquagirl can breathe underwater, telepathically communicate with sea life, and can control water itself.  In her backstory, we learn that she was kidnapped by Darkseid and trained as one of Granny Goodness' Female Furies.  Cool stuff.  Let's check her out below!

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Masters of the Universe Classics - SPINNERELLA!

MOTUC Club Etheria Exclusive - Spinnerella - Mattel 2014

The Great Rebellion is really filling out the ranks as Club Etheria draws to a sad close. Spinnerella was one of the many Princess of Power characters to appear in only a single episode of the cartoon, yet warrant the full vintage and modern action figure treatment. To be honest, Spinnerella is my second least-desired POP character (after Perfuma). Her look, her name, and her power just scream "doll gimmick" to me, however I have to concede and admit I like this MOTUC figure a lot.  While she is definitely the girliest and least formidable-looking POP girl so far, she has a unique regal presence among my collection.  I just re-watched her episode and she is toted as a very powerful character who can spin and create a magical destructive cyclone.  Her rumored/implied connection to Netossa just makes her all the more interesting.  Here's the rundown:  They come to this part of Etheria while on a vacation together.  They share a room and decide to go out dancing.  They're fiercely protective of each other.  And they hug a lot.  I'm not sold, but I'm intrigued.  Draw your own conclusions.  Let's check out Spinnerella below!

Monday, December 22, 2014

Playmobil SEA WITCH!

Playmobil: Waterworld - Magical Ocean Queen 4816 - Playmobil 2009

There was a brief period about twenty years ago when I became obsessed with Playmobil.  There was a little boutique kids store in my hometown that had a whole wall of them and I found them adorable and cheap (they cost about $2.50 at the time).  It was a quickly passing fad for me though and I soon passed on my small collection to my young relatives.  Then a few years ago Playmobil started releasing their blind bag Fi?ures series and my interest was renewed.  I've collected a few random figures here and there, but my favorite overall theme is to collect witches and evil queens.  My inability to find the Series 6 Maleficent figure was the only reason I didn't do a big group review this past Halloween.  This Sea Witch figure (also known as Magical Ocean Queen) is one of my favorites.  There's nothing like a good evil mermaid.  She was a part of a fantastic series called Waterworld which consisted of Mermaids, Mer-men, Underwater Ghouls, Sea-Beasts, etc.  Let's check out the Sea Witch below!

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Transformers: Generations - CHROMIA!

Transformers - 30th Anniversary Generations Deluxe - Chromia - Hasbro 2014

I never thought I would ever be holding a G1-styled Chromia in my hands.  I know this figure seems to be more based off the modern comics than the vintage cartoon, but the overall look of Chromia is consistent.  The Search for Alpha Trion is by far my favorite episode of Transformers.  The episode takes place on Cybertron and introduces us to a renegade team of female Autobots living in secret on the planet.  We meet Elita-One, Firestar, Moonracer, Greenlight, Lancer, and of course Chromia (who appears to be second in command under Elita-One).  Not only was this the introduction to female Transformers as an overall concept, but it was also the first deep-dive into Cybertronian history and design.  I ate it up.  Ever since then there have been a loyal band of female Transformers fanatics whose unshakable devotion have made this figure possible.  Over the years there has been a lot of anti-fembot vitriol flying around.  I never understood it, but plenty of fans want Transformers to be a boys only club.  Thank God they lost the battle.  Let's check out Chromia below!

Saturday, December 20, 2014

McDonald's Hook - MERMAID!

McDonald's Happy Meal presents Hook - Mermaid - McDonald's Corp 1991

Every time I watch some incarnation of Peter Pan I spend the whole time wishing and hoping that the mermaids will be represented properly.  It's kind of a silly part to view as the highlight of the story, but it's totally my favorite part.  I was in Middle School when Hook came out in 1991.  This Steven Spielberg film starred Robin Williams as the titular boy -- who did grow up.  Peter was reluctantly dragged back to Neverland to fight Dustin Hoffman as Captain Hook.  I haven't seen this movie in twenty years, but I think I would still like it today.  I specifically remember being thrilled with the Mermaid scene.  If my memory serves me correctly, when Peter plunges off the gangplank, there are several colorful mermaids who greet him under the water.  Of course I told all my friends my favorite part was the swordfight or something, but we all know the lure of mermaids.  The merchandise for the movie was pretty scant, limited to a small action figure line from Mattel and a 4-piece Happy Meal set from McDonalds.  None of the toys are great, but hey, Mermaids will always have a home in my collection.  Let's check her out below!

Friday, December 19, 2014

Transformers: Generations - ARCEE!

Transformers - 30th Anniversary Generations Deluxe - Arcee - Hasbro 2014

Wow this figure has been a long time coming.  As the most high-profile female in the Transformers Universe, it's so surprising that it's taken 28 years to get a proper G1 figure.  Hasbro's neglect to make this figure has made Arcee quite the darling of the 3rd Party market.  There are quite a few very well made non-Hasbro "non"-Arcees out there.  But in all honestly, I think the Hasbro version was well worth the wait.  She looks great in both Robot and Vehicle forms, she transforms easily, and it seems no shortcuts were taken in her production (I don't think she shares any parts with previous figures).  I'm totally smitten over her.  When I found her in Walmart earlier this week I had a profound reaction - almost like vindication.  Like the toy companies have been telling us for years that she wouldn't sell, but the demand kept growing until I'm standing there under the fluorescent lighting looking at an aisle full of Arcees, Chromias, and Windblades.  I almost got a little teary.  Not really, but I was definitely feeling something.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Hanna-Barbera's Fish Police - ANGEL JONES!

Hanna Barbera's Fish Police Bend-ems - Angel - JusToys/Just Toys 1992

I only recently discovered that there was a short-lived Fish Police cartoon in the early 90s. By "short-lived" I mean really short. It lasted only three episodes and it's easy to see why. I personally think the animation looks really good, but the pacing is slow, the voices are ill-cast, and the humor goes from childish fish jokes to some pretty serious sexual innuendo. I can't imagine who the intended audience was. I originally stumbled across the Fish Police comics accidentally in the late 80s as I was obsessively tracking down every comic that my favorite artist (Arthur Adams) had ever contributed to. These were the days prior to the internet so finding back issues of indy comics was no easy feat... especially if you were in elementary school. I managed to get my issues for the random Arthur Adams pinups and short stories, but I quickly became a fan of the book as a whole. Steve Moncuse's Fish Police was a weird film noir/gumshoe book set in the undersea Fish City that mixed gritty crime with offbeat humor.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Transformers: Robots in Disguise - STRONGARM!

Transformers: Robots in Disguise - Deluxe Class - Strongarm - Hasbro 2014

This character is a bit of mystery to me right now since the new cartoon Transformers: Robots in Disguise doesn't premiere until early 2015.  All we know about Strongarm is that she is an "Elite Guard Cadet" and a member of Bumblebee's young Autobot team when he returns to Earth following the Predacons Rising movie.  Aside from that, all we have are some graphics, some teaser video clips, and three (count'em, three!) action figures.  The action figures make her out to be a lot bulkier than she appears in the animation, but even so, she is definitely packing a lot more muscle than previous Transformer girls (if you don't count Strika).  I'm hoping we get another version of her someday with a more cartoon-accurate body, but if not, I'm still very happy with this Deluxe Class figure.  There are also mini Cyberverse-style figures and blocky One-Step-Changer figures on the toy shelves right now.  I love it how I have to pick and choose because I'm running out of room on my fembot shelf (!).  I never thought I'd see the day.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Wild Republic's SISTERS OF THE SEA!

Sisters of the Sea: Mermaids - 6" Action Playsets - Wild Republic 2014

I found this little gem in a random beach shop on the Jersey shore while on vacation this summer.  My family vacations are usually bizarrely toy-focused because they tend to coincide with SDCC.  I spend my evenings frantically trying to get an internet signal to see all the exciting reveals.  With all my focus on the digital world, I never expect to find interesting toys in the surf shops.  Well these figures certainly burst that bubble.  Sure, they're cheaply made with sloppy paint, but at the same time I know that fully sculpted and articulated mermaid action figures are exceedingly rare.  The first Sisters of the Sea figure I spotted was blonde with an orange tail.  I'm still kicking myself for not grabbing her right away because she was gone in a few hours and all that was left was the requisite Ariel wannabes.  Wild Republic is a company I'm well aware of from their animal replicas (one of my many other hobbies).  You can easily find Wild Republic toys in museum gift shops and tourist areas.  I know it's just a matter of time until I get all the color variations.  Let's check out this cool mermaid figure below!

Monday, December 15, 2014

The Walking Dead's CAROL PELETIER!

AMC's The Walking Dead: Series 06 - Carol Peletier - McFarlane Toys 2014

I love Carol.  Of all the characters in AMC's The Walking Dead, she is by far my favorite.  When we first meet Carol, she seems nothing more than a meek victim of her husband's abusive nature.  But over the course of five seasons, we've seen her grow into one of the most complex characters in the series.  She is fiercely maternal, shockingly pragmatic, and a surprisingly competent survivor. Her comic book counterpart died off ages ago, but the TV character is so much more dynamic and interesting that she'll probably stay alive forever. The sad part for me is that I'm not sure what other ladies are on the horizon for this line.  Sasha, Beth, and Rosita are likely candidates, but at this point all the heavy hitters are done.  The sculpting on this Carol figure is great.  However, every version I saw in stores had pretty awful facial paint.  I looked at the paint master photos on spawn.com as a guide for a quick touch-up and I'm pretty happy with the results. Let's check out Carol (and my customization) below!

Saturday, December 13, 2014

LEGO Pirates of the Caribbean EVIL MERMAIDS!

Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides - 4194 Whitecap Bay - LEGO 2011

I love mermaids.  Ever since I was a kid they were my favorite of the mythological beasts.  Sure, I had strong obsessions with Centaurs, Griffins, Unicorns, and the whole fantastical menagerie of legend.  But mermaids were special to me.  Unfortunately my love of them also made me pretty particular about what kind of mermaid I like.  In short, I don't go for cute, pretty mermaids.  Ariel is pretty boring in my book.  I like my mermaids to either be fierce warriors, or (ideally) vicious predators.  Finding evil mermaid figures is pretty challenging.  Especially ones without rooted hair.  These Lego figures fit the bill though.  I think they're amazing.  This review is technically the start of my Mermaid week reviews leading up to the release of Mermista.  But my attempts to hoard a bunch of interesting mer-figures fell woefully short.  There will still be some great reviews, but not to the degree of previous themed weeks like Bee Week.  Let's check out the awesome Lego mermaids below!

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Funko Pop! - LADY SIF!

Pop! Marvel #56 Lady Sif - Thor: The Dark World - Funko 2014

Asgard is quickly filling up with powerful females.  Between the new female Thor and his long lost sister Angela getting their own solo titles in the last month, I was afraid that Sif would get lost in the shuffle.  Luckily her roles in both Thor films as well as numerous animated endeavours has cemented her role in the Marvel Universe.  Her own solo series in 2013 (under the Journey Into Mystery banner) was fantastic and I thought it was a shame it ended so abruptly.  Despite her mainstream fame, I didn't expect any more merchandising for the character after her 2010-2012 surge of popularity.  I even created a Character Spotlight post for her when I assumed my Sif collection was complete.  This Funko Pop figure was a welcome surprise though.  It's interesting also because this is my first bobblehead Pop.  I've noticed that some Pops have stationary heads and some bobble, but this was my first time seeing one in person.  Let's check out Lady Sif in detail below!

Thursday, December 4, 2014

DC Collectibles Greg Capullo CATWOMAN!

DC Comics Designer Series: Greg Capullo - #6 Catwoman - DC Collectibles 2014

We all know DC Collectibles has been hitting it out of the park recently with all their amazing and innovative new action figures.  What I'm especially excited about though is the sheer number of wonderful additions to my Catwoman collection thanks to DCC!  Seriously, my three favorite Catwomen in my collection are the last three put out by DCC.  And that Jae Lee Catwoman coming out this Summer looks like it might be my favorite yet.  I have no connection to Greg Capullo.  I remember him being the backup Spawn artist way back in the early nineties (when Todd couldn't hit his deadlines).  But beyond that, I'm only peripherally aware of his career.  Clearly he has become a Batman artist of prominence.  When this figure was first announced right before Toy Fair last year, I was excited for another Selina but not thoroughly impressed with the execution of the figure.  In person though, I think she's gorgeous.  And her body style hearkens back to the nostalgic DC Direct days.  Let's check out Catwoman below!

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

DC Collectibles STARGIRL!

DC Comics: The New 52 - Stargirl - DC Collectibles 2014

Stargirl is one of those rare DC characters who I know next to nothing about.  In fact, with all my obsessive reading of DC Comics, I don't think I've read a single issue that she's appeared in.  That said, I've been curious enough about her various toys and comic covers over the years that I've googled her plenty to find out more.  Courtney Whitmore first appeared in 1999 as a new version of the Star-Spangled Kid (with a costume modeled after the Zoo Crew's Yankee Poodle.)  Soon she was given the Cosmic Staff and became Stargirl (the new Starman).  The character was created by Geoff Johns in honor of his younger sister, Courtney, who was a victim of the TWA Flight 800 crash.  That tragedy struck a major chord with me.  I grew up roughly 30 minutes away from the high school that lost 16 students on that flight.  Although I didn't know any of them, we were the same age and from the same rural area.  Knowing that Stargirl is a tribute to a victim of that tragedy makes me like her even more.

Monday, December 1, 2014

Korejanai Robo CATWOMAN!

Justice League X Korejanai Robo - McDonald's China Exc - Zarigani Works 2014

I've always wanted robot versions of all my favorite bat-ladies but I never thought I'd actually get one.  Granted, this isn't the cool sleek version I expected either.  Korejanai Robo is a line of "intentionally lame" toys meant to conjure the nostalgic feelings of disappointment from getting a bootleg toy on Christmas morning instead of the real deal.  Korejani Robo roughly translates into "Not this robot!"  I believe the original robots are made of wood and imported as designer toys by companies like Kotobukiya.  The DC Comics versions were released this year in both blind box format as well as McDonald's Toys in Hong Kong.  This Catwoman figure is the super exclusive figure of the bunch because she was only released as a McDonald's Online exclusive when you placed an internet order for delivery.  Also, I beleive the Joker figure is only available in the McDonald's HK locations (as opposed to the rest of the figures who you can find elsewhere in the blind box assortments).  Let's check out Robo Catwoman below!