Monday, March 27, 2017

Imaginext DC Super Friends - CHEETAH!

DC Imaginext - Cheetah & Sinestro Target Exc - Mattel/Fisher-Price 2015

Imaginext has been pretty cruel to us collectors over the past few years by teasing this extremely elusive 2-pack. It was announced two years ago as a Target Exclusive, which a lot of the DC Super Friends were at the time, so I assumed that it would be relatively easy to find (especially considering I have a whopping 18 Targets within my monthly stomping grounds). But despite a few eBay appearances from the Oregon/Washington area (which sold for hundreds of dollars), these characters were a no-show.  Then miraculously a few months ago, a shipment seems to have been nabbed by a few re-sellers and they were posted in large quantities on eBay and Amazon for very reasonable prices (ten to twenty dollars - which is double the shelf price, but worth it for the rarity). Anyway, I finally got my hands on this precious little feline and I love her. There are a lot of new female Imaginext due this year, so hopefully the same distribution problems don't happen again. Let's check out the long-awaited Cheetah below!

Saturday, March 25, 2017

Transformers: Titans Return - NAUTICA!

Transformers Titans Return: Chaos on Velocitron Box Set - Nautica - Hasbro 2017

One of the things that has always bothered me about female Transformers is that, historically, a lot of the toys have only been slightly retooled male figures with a stereotypical feminine paintjob. Recently we've been really spoiled with the newer Arcee, Chromia, and Windblade figures, but I haven't forgotten the blocky history. This Nautica is the first figure I've bought that has followed the old "recycled-male pattern." She is essentially a purple Blurr, but I was so excited to get a Nautica figure that I overlooked my previous resistance. I always kind of thought Blurr had a feminine build anyway. I don't know much about Nautica's backstory, but when Windblade was introduced and I started reading Transformers comics again, she was a regular character. She is super intelligent and is a quantum mechanic from Caminus. This figure doesn't really look like the comic character, so I'm hoping for a re-do now that she's on Hasbro's radar (maybe with her friend Firestar!) Let's check out Nautica below!

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Superman: The Animated Series - LIVEWIRE!

The New Batman Adventures: Girls Night Out - Livewire - DC Collectibles 2017

I've really been paying attention to the rise of Livewire over the years. Similar to Harley Quinn, Livewire was introduced in a 1997 episode of Superman: The Animated Series. Within a year she was guest starring in the comics associated with the show, and about eight years later she finally crossed over to mainstream comics in Action Comics #835. She's appeared in several animated series (The New Batman Adventures, JLU, and JLU: Unlimited), one movie (Justice League: Gods and Monsters), and two live-action shows (Smallville and Supergirl). So her popularity is consistent, yet somehow understated. She's also appeared in four video games, so she's literally hit every facet of superhero media. I'm glad in a way that she hasn't had the same crazy popularity as Harley Quinn, because her character has stayed pretty true to form over the years, which is pretty rare these days. Although I must say I would love a good solo mini-series or special eventually. Let's check out Livewire below!

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Marvel POP! Vinyl - GWENPOOL (AND VARIANT)!

Marvel POP! #197 Gwenpool & #213 Unmasked Walgreens Exc - Funko 2017

One of my favorite things about being a comic reader is when a character evolves organically due to pure fan excitement. One of the most notable examples off the top of my head is Spider-Girl, who was originally introduced in a random episode of What If? and was such a hit that she had two subsequent solo series with over 130 issues. Anole is another case. He was originally an unnamed background character in the 2003 New Mutants series. He never got his own series, but he has been developed into a fan-favorite X-Man. Gwenpool was first introduced as a Spider-Gwen themed variant cover. So essentially she was just a concept design. But then the fans got ahold of her and the internet was suddenly festooned with cosplay and fanart. Soon she was starring in Howard the Duck backup stories and her solo series was inevitable. The first time I paid any attention to her was in her Holiday Special, and I was instantly smitten. She's terribly violent, but she's so quirky and nerdy that it's almost cute.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

The Ladies of SMURFS: THE LOST VILLAGE!

Smurfs: The Lost Village - Assorted Action Figures - Jakks Pacific 2017

The Smurfs are an extremely nostalgic property for me. When I was a toddler, I had big dark eyes and a mysterious blue hue to my skin. The Smurfs were a new trend at the time and the comparisons were inevitable. One of my first playthings was a stuffed Papa Smurf and I still have him to this day. Also, I've been an avid Pezhead for 26 years and my first dispenser was a blue-stemmed Smurf Boy I bought for 75 cents at a drug store. So, yeah, I've always loved my little blue buddies. But that fondness has always been at odds with the blatant lack of female smurfs. Hell, there's even a media trope, the Smurfette Principle, highlighting the inequalities. Sure there were a few late additions to the roster: Sassette, Granny, some random Smurflings. But the imbalance could never really be remedied. But now in 2017, we finally have a real significant effort to set things right. The upcoming Smurfs: The Lost Village is not a sequel to the Smurfs (2011) and Smurfs 2 (2013), but a true reboot and it looks fantastic.

Monday, March 20, 2017

DC Bombshells - BATWOMAN!

DC Designer Series: Ant Lucia #4 - Bombshells Batwoman - DC Collectibles 2017

When the DC Bombshells designs first started showing up four years ago, I thought they were really fun, but I honestly wasn't head-over-heels for them. Then a year into the comic variants, I saw the Batwoman #32 cover and kind of fell in love. I didn't necesarily love the art itself or the layout of the cover, but the concept of Batwoman as a baseball-playing bat-woman was pretty genius. Then for a second I got offended about a sapphic softball stereotype, but then I thought about how much I love A League of Their Own and my two Starting Lineup Cooperstown Collection female figures, and I gave her a pass. She is easily my second favorite of this figure series so far (Poison Ivy being by surprise top choice). The sculpts by Paul Harding in this series are fantastic. He has come a long way since those 3.75" Injustice figures. I can't wait to see what figures he does next. I have a hunch he did the upcoming Icons Balent Catwoman which looks stunning. We'll see I guess. Let's check out Batwoman!

Saturday, March 18, 2017

The New Batman Adventures - HARLEY QUINN!

The New Batman Adventures: Girls Night Out - Harley Quinn - DC Collectibles 2017

When I first started buying the DC Collectibles Animated Universe action figures I was immediately excited about the prospect of getting two versions of all of my favorite Bat characters. But then I started wondering how they would differentiate between the Harley Quinn in Batman: The Animated Series and The New Batman Adventures. Catwoman, Batgirl, and Poison Ivy all have very distinctive looks between the two series. But Harley's differences were extremely subtle and I didn't know if the changes would warrant the purchase of a second figure. But then this Girls' Night Out set was announced with two exclusive figures (Supergirl and Livewire) so I knew I'd be adding a TNBA Harley to my collection no matter what. I'm glad I did too because this Harley is surprisingly different from the BTAS Harley in both scale and sculpt. This now reinvigorates my excitement about completing my collection. We should have Ivy and Batgirl by the end of August! Let's check out The New Batman Adventures Harley below!

Friday, March 17, 2017

DC Bombshells - POISON IVY!

DC Designer Series: Ant Lucia #3 - Bombshells Poison Ivy - DC Collectibles 2017

Pin-Up girls have always been a struggle for me. I love the hair, I love the fashion, and I love the overall aesthetic. But I can't escape the reality that this style was born in an era of subservience and exploitation for women. Luckily the modern trend of pinup fashion has reclaimed the look in the name of feminism. What was once idealized imagery for male titillation is now embraced as a symbol of strong, assertive, and creative women. I think one of the coolest pop-culture ripple effects of this trend has been the DC Bombshells series designed by Ant Lucia. In 2013, DC Collectibles released the first retro pinup-styled Bombshells statues. So far there have been 19 original statues (excluding the various repaints), plus at least 4 more on the horizon. Then in Summer of 2014, DC Comics held their first Bombshells variant cover theme, which they repeated the following Summer before creating an entire Bombshells comic series. I count roughly 65 Bombshells issues between the variant covers and the series.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Superman: The Animated Series - SUPERGIRL!

The New Batman Adventures: Girls Night Out - Supergirl - DC Collectibles 2017

I was never much a fan of all the Timm-verse shows when they first aired. I was going through a weird too-cool-for-school phase where I would only read manga and watch vintage cartoons. It wasn't until I was much older that I really appreciated the cultural impact and Timm's unique character design. It also doesn't hurt that my better half happens to be a big childhood fan of BTAS & TNBA so the shows became a natural connection to all my adult hobbies. It's hard to be with someone who is totally detached from your obsessions, so I eagerly dove into all these cartoons as a saving grace. Of all the shows, I'm least familiar with Superman: The Animated Series, but I love how it recharged interest in Supergirl and Lois Lane (and not to mention introducing Livewire). It's nice how they are committing to the Superman Universe now. We already know that Superman and Lois Lane are coming this Summer, so this set adds an additional two characters to the lineup. Let's check out Supergirl below!

Monday, March 13, 2017

Marvel Legends - ANGELA!

Marvel Legends - Guardians of the Galaxy: Titus Series - Angela - Hasbro 2017

I would have never guessed I would be so excited about an Angela action figure in 2017. Way back in 1993 I was up to my neck in all the new Image Comics titles. I loved them all, but I'll admit my least favorite was Spawn. I was very artist-focused and although McFarlane beat them all in terms of excessive details, flowing capes and flying chains, I really didn't like the way he drew faces. I still read Spawn for the first few years though and was eagerly awaiting the first appearance of Angela (who I think I saw teased in Wizard). She was created by McFarlane and Neil Gaiman. I was pretty young for Gaiman at the time and I was convinced reading Sandman would make me turn evil. But the issue finally came along and I was really disappointed. I loved the concept of her character, but her design was the epitome of everything I disliked about 90's heroines: domino mask eyepaint, "armor" with all the soft bits exposed, oversized weapons, and gravity-defying hair. I would have written her off as another tragic blip

Sunday, March 12, 2017

3.75" Marvel Legends - ALL-NEW WOLVERINE!

Marvel Legends 3.75" Series - Wave 4 - X-23 Wolverine - Hasbro 2017

Back in 2004 I was a big fan of the comic series NYX. I had been fascinated by Joshua Middleton's art since I picked up Sky Between Branches and was readily buying any title he lent his talents to. The book was a weird and fresh take on the X-universe and I was very surprised that the breakout star was X-23, the mute disturbed and murderous young prostitute. It took me a long time to warm up to her character. In fact, it wasn't until the recent All-Star Wolverine series that I truly embraced her. It took a while, but when I fall, I fall hard. She is in my top five Marvel heroes right now. Plus I just came back from seeing Logan tonight and she positively owned that movie. Hopefully she keeps the mantle of Wolverine for a long time. The classic costume looks great on her. I know Logan will come back and resume his role eventually, but my fingers are crossed for a 6" Legends figure of Laura before he does. In the meantime, we got this pretty great 3.75" figure to tide us over. Let's check her out below!

Friday, March 10, 2017

POP DC Super Heroes - NEW 52 POISON IVY!

POP! Heroes #171 - DC New 52 Poison Ivy - Hot Topic Exc - Funko 2017

Of all the main Batman-family women, Poison Ivy is the one that most often gets forgotten in the merchandising department. Until the recent DC Superhero Girls figure, it had been almost ten years since the last action figure of her was in the mainstream stores (from The Batman), which in turn was the first in almost ten years (since the Batman & Robin movie).  Of course comic shops got a decent amount of specialty figures in those years, but poor Pamela just didn't get the same exposure as the rest. Funko has definitely been doing their part to right that wrong though. In the past three years they've released nine Poison Ivy collectibles in almost every product line from their portfolio. The newest is this surprise New 52 Poison Ivy Pop exclusive to Hot Topic. Much like the New 52 Harley last year, word about this Pop hit at the same time she showed up in stores. I love that kind of instant gratification. I saw a post on Facebook and I had her in my greedy hands 30 minutes later. Let's check her out below!

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Power Rangers - 12" PINK & YELLOW RANGERS!

Power Rangers 12" Movie Figures - Pink & Yellow Rangers - Bandai 2017

This is the first time I've been able to get two 12" female Rangers from the same line. The Pink Dino Charge figure was always elusive to me, so I only ever got the Purple. Now the Ninja Steel 12" figures seem to be devoid of females (at least of the four characters shown so far). So despite my hesitations to tumble down the rabbit hole with all the Power Rangers movie merchandise, I just couldn't resist these two figures when they were released right off the bat.  If you're into this scale, they're pretty great. They have only seven points of articulation: swivel hips, shoulders, and wrists, and ball-jointed heads. The hips looks like they might have a ball joints, but they do not. Also, my pictures don't show them off too well, but they have metallic "starry" stickers on their chests. The effect is cool, but the execution looks a little cheap (as stickers often do). But overall I love having them in my collection. Let's check out the 12" Pink and Yellow Rangers movie figures below!

Sunday, March 5, 2017

Power Rangers - PINK & YELLOW LEGACY FIGURES!

Power Rangers 6" Legacy Movie Figures - Pink & Yellow Ranger - Bandai 2017

It's great how the Power Rangers are back in such a big way this year. I can't think of a time when they didn't have a presence in the toy aisles, but right now it's kind of insane. This of course is due to all the movie merchandise. The Power Rangers film hits theatres here in the US in three short weeks and it looks to be a pretty fun interpretation of the classic MMPR. I don't know if I'll get a chance to see it before home release, but I'm going to try. I expected these 6" Legacy figures to see a wide release, so I was really surprised to see them at TRU with an "Only at Toys R Us" sticker on them. Honestly though, that exclusivity is what made me pick them up. I had made up my mind to not be a completist with the movie lines, but apparently a little sticker and a pretty figure is enough to weaken my resolve. (I've been doing this on a weekly basis lately). But I must admit I love having these figures lined up in all their available scales (still need the 2" ones though!) Let's check out the Legacy figure below!

Friday, March 3, 2017

Guardians of the Galaxy Animated NEBULA!

Guardians of the Galaxy (Animated TV Series) - Wave 02 - Nebula - Hasbro 2017

The flood of Guardians of the Galaxy merchandise has officially arrived. Walgreens has been stocking the Marvel Legends figures for weeks, Target has an entire endcap dedicated to the team, comic shops have the Mini-Mates, and Hot Topic has a bunch of Pops and Pint Size Heroes. One of the things I was most excited about (aside from the second wave of Marvel legends with the Build-a-Figure Mantis) was this animated style 5" Nebula figure. Her absence from the action figure lines three years ago was very conspicuous. Sure we got some Nebula Funko items and a mini-mate, but there were no true movie-themed action figures. But now we have this cool 5" animated-style figure and an upcoming Marvel Legends (and perhaps they'll sneak in a MiniVerse figure while they're at it). In fact, I'm hoping the movie popularity will create ripples and give us exclusive comic versions of Nebula and Mantis like we got with Gamora. I can dream. Let's check out the animated-style Guardian of the Galaxy Nebula below!

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

True Heroes: Sentinel 1 - BLINDSIDE!

True Heroes: Sentinel 1 - Smash & Blindside 2-Pack - TRU/Geoffrey LLC 2017

I have a lot of obsessive compulsive qualities. For your sanity, I'll only mention the toy-related ones here. Many years ago I got the idea in my head that the "True Heroes" TRU G.I-Joe knock-off brand would eventually have to introduce a female character. In my mind, this was a certainty. Since then I have checked the military aisle every single time I've gone into the store (which is at least twice a week). FYI I also have made the same search for a random toy on Yahoo Auction Japan every day for about 10 years (I have serious issues). These obsessions almost never pay off, but last week I found this little two-pack with what I believe is the first ever female Sentinel 1 character, Blindside. These figures are cheap with minimal articulation (like the Chap Mei Discovery Channel figures), but I still think she's really cool. Years ago the True Legends line had a Medusa figure that was pretty cool too. Of course now, my obsession is not itched, but rather teased. I'll be eagerly hunting the next one now.