Monday, April 24, 2017

Women of the COOPERSTOWN COLLECTION!

Starting Lineup - Dottie Kamenshek (Kenner 1996) & Pepper Davis (Hasbro 1998)

I've been meaning to review these two figures forever. Then recently I saw a post from the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media Facebook page (I suggest following it!) about 2017 being the 25th Anniversary of A League of Their Own. I love that movie and it exposed me to the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League when I was a young lad of 13. At the time, Startling Lineup figures were the bane of my existence. Scarce toy aisle space was being taken over by sports junk, and along with it came jock collectors, which was an awkward hybrid kind of peer I had trouble relating to. It wasn't until about six years ago that I discovered the inclusion of eight female athletes in the line. My favorites of the group were easily the two baseball players from the AAGPBL. I only wish they had made more. It's notable that these two figures also mark the transition between the Kenner and Hasbro brands (All the Kenner lines were absorbed into Hasbro between 1991 and 2000). Let's check out Pepper and Dottie below!

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Star Wars 6" Black Series - SABINE WREN!

Star Wars: The Black Series #33 (Rebels) - Sabine Wren - Hasbro 2017

When the Star Wars Black Series was just announced I wasn't sure how robust the line would be with female characters. I wasn't too excited about getting a dozen different Leias (This was before we knew any details of The Force Awakens or Rogue One after all). And sure, I have three Black Series Leias already and they are all great figures in their own ways, but what I was really waiting for were characters from the Star Wars animated universe in this scale. Last year we saw Ahsoka Tano and now we get the infamous Mandalorian graffiti artist (and bounty hunter dropout), Sabine Wren. Hasbro alters these characters a little bit to fit in with their live-action Black Series counterparts. I really appreciate the stylistic changes because Star Wars will always be one unified universe in my head, but the animated designs really don't blend in well on my toy shelves. Rest assured this Sabine fits in perfectly. Now I'm super excited about the Hera Syndulla figure. I love this line. Let's check out Sabine below!

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Funko Guardians of the Galaxy MANTIS Collection!

GOTG Vol. 2 - Rock Candy, POP, Dorbz, & Pint Size Heroes - Funko 2017

One of the things I'm most excited about with the upcoming Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 movie is to get to know the character Mantis better. I've always noticed her in the comics, but her character's origins and powers always confused me. Although her look has changed pretty drastically over the years, her signature antennae and Asian features have remained constant. But as far as her powers and origins go, I've always been kind of lost.  She can communicate with plants and certain alien races, she is empathic, she's a martial arts master, and she has bizarre control over her body (like heartbeat and bleeding). And now in her most recent incarnations she's also a telepathic precog. Her background is equally muddy. With depowerings, mindwipes, time travel, and celestial prophecies, it's kind of hard to keep straight. That's why I'm looking forward to the movie version. I'm assuming they'll take the best parts of the character and make it as cohesive as possible. Plus her look is very cool update of the comic design.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Miraculous Ladybug - LADY WIFI!

Miraculous Ladybug Action Figures: Wave 02 - Lady Wi-Fi - Bandai 2017

I'm very excited about what the future holds for all the various Zag Heroez/Zagtoons properties and all the potential action figures that could come from them. If this Miraculous line from Bandai is any indication of the production quality and character assortment coming down the line, we are going to have a great few years. Check out Superstar, Pixie Girl, Zak Storm, Ghostforce, etc to see just a small selection of the new cartoons on the horizon. This Lady Wi-Fi figure is pretty elusive. I believe she is supposed to be included in the second wave of Miraculous figures, but she is not in the assortments that are showing up in stores, and she's not ever shown on the character lineup on the cardbacks (but the rest of wave two is). There is a third wave in the works including Volpina, Puppeteer, Bumblebee, and a new Ladybug, so I have feeling this little lady is going to get lost in the mix. I caved and ordered mine off Amazon to avoid missing out. Let's check out Lady Wi-Fi below!

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Wonder Woman - DIANA OF THEMYSCIRA!

DC Multiverse - Wonder Woman Ares Series - Diana of Themyscira - Mattel 2017

I'm loving the look of this Diana of Themyscira costume. Usually the island apparel for Wonder Woman is nothing more than a toga -- which isn't a bad thing. I actually like the nod to ancient Greece with the gladiator sandals and olive leaves in her hair, but I feel like I have a few action figures like that already and them seem so nondescript. This movie version of that look pays homage to the classic design but tweaks the color palette toward earthtones and adds some details that make it more formidable and battle-ready. I love it. And once again Mattel knocked it out of the park. I had really low expectations but now I have a renewed sense of excitement for all the upcoming Multiverse ladies: Batwoman, Jessica Cruz Green Lantern, DKIII Wonder Woman, Wonder Girl, and New52 Wonder Woman. They're going to be so great (if they actually all get released - there was a disheartening lack of these figures shown at Toy Fair). Time will tell. Let's check out Diana of Themyscira below!

Friday, April 14, 2017

Justice League Action Mini HARLEY QUINN!

Justice League Action - Mighty Minis 3-Pack #4 - Harley Quinn - Mattel 2017

For some reason this 4th set of Justice League Action Mighty Minis is extremely difficult to find. I feel really bad for the folks trying to assemble the Collect-n-Connect Darkseid figure (because the legs included in the set are rather integral to his imposing stature). This Harley Quinn figure was a surprise for most toy hobbyists and I actually think she was unknown until people saw the cardback in the stores. In the cartoon she looks very different; with red eyes and spiky costume details; but I think that funky design in this scale would look like a mistake so I'm glad they chose the classic look. She seems to be popular in the cartoon so hopefully she gets a figure in the upcoming 4-5" line. I always love a unique Harley toy. And who knows, there are lots more interesting heroines in the series that are well-deserving of toys: Poison Ivy, Star Sapphire, Faora, Killer Frost, Cheetah, etc. I hope the series and toy lines are a success because the designs are pretty cool. Let's check out the Mighty Mini Harley Quinn below!

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

DC Multiverse - BATGIRL OF BURNSIDE!

DC Multiverse - King Shark C-n-C #4 - The Batgirl of Burnside - Mattel 2017

Mattel is just slaying it this year. Between the Wonder Woman movie wave and this Batgirl of Burnside figure, we've gotten some of the nicest DC Mattel figures I've ever seen. While I don't think Batgirl necessarily needed a costume re-design (I had no problems at all with her New52 look), the character herself was suffering from some dreary storylines and was a prime candidate for some serious changes. The 2014 revamp seemingly made Babs younger, hipper, more fashion-forward, more twitter-addicted, and hauled her out to a new stomping ground: Burnside. Overall I liked the changes. Unfortunately her new storylines and art never really gripped me. (I'm still waiting for it to equal the 2009 Steph Brown series). But one thing I loved was the new costume. It's the perfect blend of costumey-superhero and utilitarian. It's really on par with the Darwyn Cooke Catwoman redesign. I'm just really glad we've seen two great action figures in this outfit already (and a slew of other product). Let's check out Batgirl below!

Monday, April 10, 2017

Wonder Woman - HIPPOLYTA!

DC Multiverse - Wonder Woman Ares Series - Queen Hippolyta - Mattel 2017

I'm really impressed with this DC Multiverse Wonder Woman wave. The sculpts just may be the best Mattel DC figures I've ever seen. After the (lackluster) Batman vs Superman and Suicide Squad waves, these figures completely restore my faith in brand. This Queen Hippolyta is my favorite of the bunch. For such an important character in the mythos of Wonder Woman (the most merchandised female in all of comicdom), it's surprising that this is the first Hippolyta action figure ever. In fact, before this movie we only had a single mini-bust (lamely and confusingly dressed as Wonder Woman) and a couple Heroclix. But now she's finally getting her due in the form of Funko Pop, Barbie, Imaginext, Itty Bittys, an NJ Croce Bendy, and of course this amazing Multiverse figure. And that is just what is announced so far. I really really hope the movie is good and the line is a success because I want the same treatment for the Gotham City Sirens and Batgirl movies. Let's check out Queen Hippolyta below!

Saturday, April 8, 2017

The New Batman Adventures - CATWOMAN!

The New Batman Adventures #39 - Catwoman - DC Collectibles 2017

The redesign of Catwoman between Batman: The Animated Series in 1992 and The New Batman Adventures in 1997 was the most drastic physical change of all the bat-ladies. The slinky black outfit and creepy blue-hued skin was a far cry from the original gray catsuit. I really appreciate both designs, but I must concede that this look is cooler and more catlike. I have always said that Catwoman has had an unprecedented array of costumes over her 77 year comic history. Her career in animation started in 1968 and has been been equally diverse (with several unique designs that have never appeared in the comics). I obsessively made a timeline graphic of her animated evolution later in this review. Of all her varied costumes though, this New Batman Adventures look is one of my overall favorites. I've been waiting for this action figure since this line was first announced, and she does not disappoint. Irene Matar has once again perfectly translated a 2-D style into 3-D. Let's check out Catwoman below!

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Amanda Conner - HARLEY QUINN!

DC Designer Series: Amanda Conner #1 - Harley Quinn (Traditional) - DCC 2017

Amanda Conner is the first female comic artist I ever became a big fan of. Her work on Terra and Power Girl back in 2009 was fresh, quirky and fun and I was obsessed over it. She seems to mostly do covers now (which are amazing) but I really miss her sequential art. Since then I've become a fan of many other female artists like Chynna Clugston, Beck Cloonan, Sara Pichelli, and Fiona Staples. Unlike female characters, I'm not drawn to these artists *because* they are female, but once I am aware of their gender, a certain sensibility (especially when it comes to realistic body representation) becomes apparent. This Amanda Conner designed classic Harley Quinn is very interesting. As far as I know, she only drew classic Harley a couple times (The Our Worlds At War special (2001) and a DC Direct mini-bust design (2011)). Then she launched the character in her new Roller Girl direction by 2014. It all makes me wish Harley would adopt her classic look again for a storyline. Drawn by Amanda of course.

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Justice League Action Mini WONDER WOMAN!

Justice League Action - Mighty Minis 3-Pack #3 - Wonder Woman - Mattel 2017

DC Mystery Minis have a lot of potential. They're inexpensive, the character selection is great, and they have great playability (with all the mix-and-match body parts and all). My only problems are that the female figures could really use some semblance of a neck in their design, and more importantly, there should be more females in general. Between the BvS, Batman Unlimited, and these Justice League Action lines there have been around 45 unique character variations so far (including 12 Batmen), but only 4 of those have been women (and three of those have been Wonder Woman). There should really be a Batgirl, Supergirl, and Catwoman at the very least. Any who knows, maybe the Wonder Woman movie merchandising will have some surprises and we'll see a set dedicated to all the Themyscrian ladies, and I won't even begin to speculate on all the goodness the Gotham City Sirens movie might bring us. I'm relentlessly hopefully about this stuff. Let's check out this new Wonder Woman Mighty Mini below!

Sunday, April 2, 2017

DC Bombshells - HARLEY QUINN!

DC Designer Series: Ant Lucia #2 - Bombshells Harley Quinn - DCC 2017

I'm really surprised at how much I like this DC Bombshells Harley Quinn figure. For some reason the statues and comic covers didn't appeal to me at all and I honestly thought I would be begrudgingly buying this figure out of a need for bat-family completion.  But in actuality I think she's fantastic. There are often aeronautical themes in pin-up girl design, but I suddenly find it interesting that it kind of crosses lines now with the more modern trends of steampunk. The Bombshells brand has also included Harley in a retro nurse outfit, so I will be curious to see if there will be a second Harley figure down the line. There have been six upcoming figures announced so far (Mera, Hawkgirl, Supergirl, Katana, Batgirl, and Bumblebee) and since they seem to come out in batches of four, it's a fair assumption that there are at least two more on the horizon. I'm guessing it will be Black Canary and Zatanna, but you never know. Let's check out the DC Bombshells Harley Quinn action figure below!