Sunday, March 29, 2015


S.H.Figuarts: Mighty Morphin Power Rangers - Yellow Ranger - Bandai 2013

Bandai's S.H.Figuarts line is arguably the best high-end collector action figure on the market today.  The most direct competitor is the Figma series from Max Factory, but their character selection rarely expands into Western pop culture.  Hot Toys and Play Arts Kai are amazing, but their scale and price exclude them from a lot of collections.  S.H.Figuarts, however, wins on almost all levels.  They are affordable at anywhere in the $30-60 range. Their 5-6" scale fits in nicely with most modern action figures.  And their licences are fantastic:  Sailor Moon, Super Mario Bros, Megaman, DC Injustice, and of course the Power Rangers (among others).  This Mighty Morphin Power Rangers line may be the first widely-distributed figures seen in US stores, but I've been drooling over all the different Ranger iterations for years.  Just go to eBay and search for "SHFiguarts Pink" and you'll be tempted by the variations too. But before you head down that eBay spiral, let's check out this ultra-articulated Trini below!

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Marvel Universe - BLACK CAT!

Marvel Universe Infinite Series - Wave 5 - Black Cat - Hasbro 2015

With all the Spider-Ladies getting so much attention in the comic and toy worlds lately, I was afraid our little Felicia would be feeling left out.  Black Cat is one of the longest-lasting of Spider-Man's costumed lady-friends.  I like her because she offers that Catwoman-like ambiguity of being an lover, adversary, or ally to Peter Parker on any given encounter.  My usual gut reaction is to rebel against female characters who seem wholly defined by their interactions with the title male, but given that her roots are in the Bronze Age, I'll give her a pass.  This Marvel Universe figure had me a little confused because I swore there already was a Black Cat in this scale.  I was wrong though, so I'm glad she's finally here to fill out the ranks. Surprisingly she's the first Marvel Universe lady since last July (if you don't count the SDCC exclusives).  The was the longest gap between ladies in years.  The upcoming Shanna and Emma Frost should make up for that a bit though.  Let's check out Black Cat below!

Friday, March 20, 2015

Marvel Legends - MARIA HILL!

Marvel Legends: S.H.I.E.L.D. 3-Pack - Toys R Us Exclusive - Hasbro 2015

I have never been a fan of Nick Fury. In the mid-80s when my brothers and I would get our comics from the spinning rack at Woolworth's, his books were a constant (and unwelcome) presence.  The militant nature of Nick Fury: Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D. was exactly what I was trying to escape from when reading comics.  I wanted capes and tights, not guns and cigars.  His widespread infiltration into Marvel Comics kept me mired in only X-books for years.  Then in 2005, Maria Hill was introduced as a standout S.H.I.E.L.D. Agent and soon filled in as Executive Director when Fury went missing.  Not-so-coincidentally, this was around the time I started liking the Avengers for the first time.  I know it's quite a double-standard for me to have such distaste for a militant man, and such admiration for a militant woman, but that's a discussion for me and my therapist. Maria has crossed over into animation, television and film, which really cements her place in the Marvel Universe. Let's check her out below!

Thursday, March 19, 2015


Mighty Morphin Power Rangers The Movie - TRU Exclusive - Bandai 2015

The Power Rangers were the most popular thing on TV in my high school years.  Of course, that timing meant I thought I was too cool for that kiddie stuff.  I didn't begin to appreciate MMPR (and Sentai in general) until ten years later when I began collecting Japanese vinyl action figures.  Even then, the actual MMPR faction of Power Rangers didn't appeal to me because the vintage toys were pretty hideous.  Luckily it was only a few years before Bandai rebooted the brand in 2010 and the succession of  Power Rangers toys have been wonderful ever since.  Plus Kimberly actually looks like a girl now!  Suddenly I'm happy to embrace the cheesy plotlines and spectrum-themed teenage heroes because there are finally proper toys through which I can enjoy it all.  It's funny how many properties I will completely overlook until there are interesting action figures produced to celebrate them.  Kudos to Bandai for keeping it fresh.  Let's check out Pink Ranger below!

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Star Wars Rebels SABINE WREN!

Star Wars Rebels - Mission Series 08 - 2-Pack w/ Stormtrooper - Hasbro 2015

Star Wars is on the cusp of a major renaissance.  The long-rumored, long-denied sequel trilogy is finally hitting the theatres later this year, the new Star Wars Rebels cartoon is a success, and the long awaited return of Star Wars comics from Marvel are hitting the shelves.  All of this means that the expanded universe is rapidly growing, and my fingers are crossed for some great new female characters.  Sabine Wren is the token female in the first season of Star Wars Rebels.  The series takes place five years before A New Hope and follows the adventures of a group a young rebels in an unassuming freighter ship. Sabine is the weapons experts of the group.  She is a Mandalorian who previously served under Emperor Palpatine but now uses her skills for good (along with her artistic graffiti skills).  These animated style Star Wars figures never appealed to me before this purchase.  The Clone Wars toys had a heavy presence on the toy stores for years, but it look this purple Boba Fett to get me hooked.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Super Friends WONDER WOMAN!

Re-Activated Series 03 - Super Friends Wonder Woman - DC Direct 2007

Wonder Woman has had a ton of animated designs throughout her career.  She is the most cartoon-ized female superhero by far.  The groundbreaking Super Friends series contained 7 iterations spread over 13 years and Wonder Woman was featured as a main cast member throughout.  Her look changed a lot of the course of the series as would be expected, so it's important to note that this action figure is based on the earlier versions from the 1970s. The later animated versions had much longer and more dynamic/modern hair. These Super Friends action figures are some of the most perfectly executed animated-style action figures I've ever seen. They capture the simple colorful joy of the cartoons while maintaining enough artistic interpretation to easily fit in with any comic-based collection. I'm a huge fan (and you should be too!).  The James Shoop sculpts are fantastic.  And the series was popular enough to warrant a selective re-release (of certain characters) in the third Re-Activated series from DCD.

Monday, March 2, 2015

Super Friends CHEETAH!

Super Friends Deluxe Set - Wonder Woman & Cheetah - DC Direct 2003

Cheetah is a character who has gone through many transformations since her introduction in 1943.  Numerous people, both men and women, have adopted the title over the years- but this earliest incarnation of Priscilla Rich is my favorite.  I'm a sucker for retro costumes and she totally fits the bill.  Priscilla's version of Cheetah has fallen out of favor to newer more mystically-feline versions in modern comics, but this classic look still makes appearances in shows like Batman: The Brave and the Bold and videogames like Scribblenauts Unmasked.  Her most notable representation, though, was in the Challenge of the Super Friends animated series from 1978 wherein her role in the Legion of Doom was cemented.  These early Super Friends figures by DC Direct mark the first time I realized DC Direct was going to be a powerhouse toy company.  Back then, you didn't ever see "throwback" toys. They seem to be all the rage now, but 12 years ago this was uncharted territory.  Let's check out Cheetah below!