Saturday, April 30, 2016

Minecraft - ARMOR UP ALEX!

Minecraft - 5" Figures - Armor Up Alex - Mojang/Mattel 2016

I'm at my parents' house this weekend and I'm surrounded by all seven of my rambunctious nieces and nephews. One trend alert that's been impossible to ignore has been Minecraft. From ages 3 to 13 they are all obsessed with it. Whether playing the game on their tablets, warring with action figure armies, or building the Lego sets, it's been the theme of the day. It reminded be that I had randomly picked up this figure months ago and photographed it. I've never played Minecraft and don't know anything about it, but I recognize its popularity and I love action figures with removable armor or translucent details. This figure combines those two with a full set of translucent purple armor - so I couldn't resist. Plus it represents two different companies takes on the same figure.  I don't know if Jazwares lost their license or not, but these larger scale figures are made by Mattel (the small ones still lining the toy aisles are all Jazwares). Let's check out Armor Up Alex in detail below!

Monday, April 25, 2016

Female Character ACTION FIGURE COMICS COVERS!

The Coolest Variant Cover Trend of Recent Years - Fantasy Action Figures

This is the first post I've made on this bog that doesn't have to do with real action figures or statues. Comic Book cover variants are a major trend in the hardcopy comic world. Back in the day, variants would be rare incentives for some super-special issue. But now it's actually rare when and issue doesn't have at least one variant. Different companies will have themes, like Lego covers or Women of Power. But my favorite by far has been the Action Figure covers. There are a few early examples of this kind of cover, but I believe the current trend was kicked off by the various Marvel Star Wars comics from Spring of 2015. There were tons of action figure variants across all the Star Wars titles at the time. Then later that Summer, Marvel's Secret Wars event used the same tactic and its momentum has only grown since then. There are usually a few Marvel Action Figure Variants each week now. And other publishers are picking up on the trend as well.  Let's check out a slew of these covers below!

Friday, April 22, 2016

Marvel Dorbz - SCARLET WITCH!

Marvel Dorbz: Series 01 #012 - Scarlet Witch - Vinyl Sugar / Funko 2015

Scarlet Witch is one of those characters that I always overlooked in my youth, but that I really love as an adult. I was never a reader of Avengers in the 80s and 90s, but X-men (and Batman) were my jam. I was peripherally aware of Wanda and Pietro as the mutant kids of Magneto in those other books. But I just didn't have the energy to investigate them. I also couldn't stand her outfit. Pink and Red just did not work well together in my young fashion-confused mind. But then sometime in my 20s I realized that I loved monochromatic color schemes and I read House of M and Children's Crusade and realized that Scarlet Witch was an all-around kick-ass character. I think the rest of the world has taken notice, too, because she's received a decent amount of merchandising in the past 10 years. And her role in the Avengers movie franchise has only increased her plastic presence. These Dorbz have really won me over.  I only have seven so far, but I see a lot more in my future. Let's check out Wanda below!

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Marvel's M2 1st Appearances WILD THING!

Wild Thing: The Daughter of Wolverine  - M2 1st Appearances - ToyBiz 1999

Marvel's MC2 Universe is one of those odd blips in the comic world where the stars seemed perfectly aligned for my tastes, but I was somehow utterly uninterested. An entire female-centric Marvel spin-off universe? It seems tailor made for me. But the art and stories just were not my cup of tea. I even waited 17 years to complete the action figure line! Toy Biz created a 4-figure Previews-exclusive line of the most popular characters from the MC2 universe. I've reviewed the 3 others over the years, but only picked up Wild Thing a couple weeks ago. Wild Thing is Rina Logan, the daughter of Wolverine and Elektra in this alternate future storyline. She appeared in J2, Last Hero Standing, Spider-Girl, and her own shirt-lived solo series (not to mention the 2007 Avengers Next reboot). My real inspiration is my recent adoration of Laura Kinney as the All New Wolverine. I'm guessing we'll probably see her in Marvel Legends form soon and knew I couldn't not have Wild Thing by her side. Let's check her out below!

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

The Walking Dead's BETH GREENE!

AMC's The Walking Dead: Series 09 - Beth Greene - McFarlane Toys 2016

In my first few months doing this blog, I randomly picked up a comic-style Walking Dead Michonne from a Toys R Us that was clearancing all its inventory. At that point I had never read a single Walking Dead comic nor seen a single episode. But since that fateful review I fell hard for the property (at least the TV side of it). This crew of amazing characters trekking their way up the east coast while avoiding zombie pitfalls has been one of my favorite stories for years. One of my favorite aspects of the show is how so many characters start out afraid and helpless, but grow into strong formidable members of the group. Beth never becomes a total kickass character like so many of the others, but she definitely became one of the most likable. I'm not sure what the future holds for this line. I have a feeling this wave may be the last of the AMC line. There is at least one more comic wave, and a new Fear the Walking Dead spin-off line. But I'm still holding out hopes for Sasha and Rosita figures. Let's check out Beth!

Sunday, April 17, 2016

3.75" Marvel Legends - CAPTAIN MARVEL!

Marvel Legends 3.75" Series - Wave 1 - Captain Marvel - Hasbro 2016

Marvel is in the middle of a major female-superhero boom. Currently there are solo titles for Spider-Gwen, Spider-Woman, Silk, Wolverine, Thor, Hellcat, Gwenpool, Squirrel Girl, Ms. Marvel, Mockingbird, Black Widow, Scarlet Witch, Moon Girl, Angela, and of course Captain Marvel (not to mention the team books A-Force and Spider-Women). One of my absolute favorites is Captain Marvel. Carol Danvers first donned the Ms. Marvel costume in 1977 as a female version of the male Captain Marvel. She changed names and costumes several times over the years: Binary, Warbird, etc. But most recently she went back to her roots and became the New Captain Marvel. I love everything about this new design. It is basically Mar-vell's old costume with the colors inverted and Carol's signature sash around her waist. The new 3.75" Marvel Legends line is off to a good start. Thor and Carol are amazing choices for the first two ladies. Let's check out Captain Marvel below!

Friday, April 15, 2016

WWE Superstar - RENEE YOUNG!

WWE Series 60 - WWE Divas Superstar - Renee Young - Mattel 2016

With all the variety of characters presented in Mattel's' WWE line, I never expected to see a female sportscaster hanging in the toy aisles. Renee Young is a Canadian sports broadcaster and actress who has been with WWE since 2012. She performs commentary and interviews and won a Slammy Award in 2013 for Favorite Web Show of the Year. A just read a cool tidbit that as a young girl, Renee's father was a concert promoter and got her backstage access to a WWE event where she was instantly starstruck by the likes of Triple H, Chyna, and Stone cold Steve Austin. I'm a comic geek so I love a good origin story like that. I'm a big fan of the plain-clothed characters in the WWE line. This figure is especially notable for the cool boots and nice texture detail on her top. Hopefully characters like this prove popular with the fans, because I'd love to see more offbeat choices like this across all of Mattel's various lines. Think Lois Lane and Vickie Vale!  Let's check out out Renee young below!

Thursday, April 14, 2016

NXT Wrestling - SASHA BANKS!

WWE Series 59 - NXT First Time in the Line - Sasha Banks - Mattel 2016

Sasha Banks is a professional wrestler currently in the main roster of WWE. From 2011 through 2015 she was with WWE's NXT program (think of it like the WWE minor league). Before that she was well known in Chaotic Wrestling under the name Mercedes KV where she was the longest-reigning Chaotic Wrestling Women's Champion. Her title reign officially ended after 260 days when she left to join NXT in 2012. During her time with NXT, she won the NXT Women's Championship and numerous accolades from various 3rd parties - like Rolling Stone's Future Diva of the Year (2015) and Pro Wrestling Illustrated's Woman of the Year (2015). I was excited to see this figure in the Mattel WWE lineup. I didn't know anything about her, but I liked her look a lot. Plus it's refreshing to see some of AJ Lee's buck details used on another character (90% of WWE ladies have the same arms, which make for very homogeneous displays). Let's check out this magenta-haired beauty below!

Sunday, April 10, 2016

Spider-Man Sneak Attack - MADAME WEB!

Spider-Man: Sneak Attack - Flip 'n Trap Madame Web - Toy Biz 1998

It's funny how long I avoided this figure only to spend the last year trying to hunt her down at a decent price. In all honestly, this figure isn't the greatest, but the fact that they made an action figure of an elderly woman blows my mind. Not to mention the fact that she is blind and paralyzed. Toy Biz gets a zillion diversity points for this one. Cassandra Webb was a clairvoyant and precognitive mutant who aided Spider-Man on occasional missions (I say was because she is deceased). She was an ally for sure, but she always seems creepy and dubious to me. This line is from the 1994 Spider-Man animated series and was released just as the show was coming to a close. Considering this is likely the only Madame Web figure we'll ever see, it's a shame she's wearing the goggles from the animated series. Her blindfold look is much more iconic. I just learned a fun fact that Stan Lee's wife Joan provided Madame Web's voice for the cartoon. I'll bet that played a role in the green-lighting of this unlikely figure.


Friday, April 8, 2016

Halo 5: Guardians - SPARTAN HERMES!

Halo 5: Guardians - Series 02 - Spartan Hermes - McFarlane Toys 2016

I keep swearing that every Halo figure I buy is going to be my last, but I think this one might actually be the one. Earlier this year it was announced that McFarlane Toys lost the Halo license to Mattel.  I think the change will be the perfect time for me to bow out. But true to form, the line went out on a high note (in my humble opinion) with this great repaint of Spartan Kelly in bold green and yellow. I normally skip repaints, but this one was different enough that I couldn't resist. Plus a goal of mine was always to assemble a rainbow squad of female Halo soldiers, and I had skipped the only other green girl (Alice) many years ago because she looked like she had a male buck. Green also happens to be my favorite color, so of course she's now my favorite. This review will be pretty easy since she's identical to the figure I reviewed several months ago. So just sit back and enjoy a slew of pretty pictures. Let's check out Spartan Hermes below!

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

The Lion Guard - FULI!

Disney Junior's The Lion Guard - Fuli's Canyon Chase Playset - Just Play 2016

Disney Junior's The Lion Guard is the newest incarnation of the Lion King franchise. The story follows Kion, the young son of Simba and Nala, who is by birthright the leader of the Lion Guard.  It is their duty to patrol and protect the Pride Lands. Kion is expected to select a roster of impressive lions for the Guard, but in true Disney fashion, he collects an eclectic group of talented non-lion friends who prove themselves worthy time and time again. It's a good premise for a television series. I don't normally collect or review animal action figures, but I made an exception for Fuli since she's a cheetah and I have an inexplicable collection of cheetah-girls in my collection (Cheetara, DC's Cheetah, Fred Perry's Cheetah, and Stan Winston's Kaela to name a few). Just Play is most known for their Disney Junior licences like Doc McStuffins, Sofia the First, and Jake and the Neverland Pirates. They make quality toys, albeit targeted at a much younger demographic than my typical readers. Let's check out Fuli below!

Monday, April 4, 2016

Equestria Girls Minis - RAINBOW DASH!

My Little Pony: Equestria Girls Minis - Rainbow Dash - Hasbro 2016

When I first heard that the My Little Pony brand was morphing into human girls (called the Equestria Girls) I thought it was a joke. The whole gimmick of MLP was that they were anthropomorphic ponies who acted just like their young female audience. To actually give them human bodies just seemed to defeat the whole purpose. I still think that's the case, however, when I see the dolls and toys in the stores I'll admit they stand out from the pack. The colorful designs that we kind of became accustomed to in pony form suddenly looked really funky on human bodies.. in a good way. Up until now all the Equestria products have been strictly in the "doll" world, but with the recent introduction of the Minis line, there are suddenly a bunch of action figures and variants on the shelves. I'm not planning on collecting these toys, but I was interested enough to buy one and check it out first hand. Rainbow Dash was the one I selected (mostly because her hair is the coolest). Let's check her out below!