Saturday, April 21, 2018

Pacific Rim Uprising - SABER ATHENA!

Pacific Rim Uprising Select - Saber Athena - Diamond Select Toys 2018

This review is an interesting one. The Jaeger mechs in Pacific Rim are really non-sentient vehicles for the soldiers fighting the Kaiju. By definition, these Jaegers are genderless machines, but between the feminine sleek form and the name of "Sabre Athena", it's pretty much assumed that this is a female mech. I haven't seen the film yet so I don't know anything beyond what I've seen in the previews and what I've read on this packaging, but I'm excited to see this second film to see what she can do. Another thing I really like about this figure is the color. It seems silly but having a giant robot be an orangey-red color is a very weird and appealing to me. Considering the designs of the Pacific Rim Kaijus so far, I highly doubt we'll ever see humanoid female monster, but if there ever was I would buy that in a heartbeat. But until then, I'm glad to have some representation of this franchise in my collection with this Jaeger. Let's check out Saber Athena below!

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Marvel Legends - X-23 (X-Force)!

Marvel Legends - Deadpool Wave (Sasquatch BaF) - X-23 - Hasbro 2018

I'll admit I've never been a big fan of the Uncanny X-Force comic. I always thought of X-Force as a colorful and fun team of second-string mutants. The roster changed a lot throughout the years and for the most part I enjoyed all the iterations. But when Uncanny X-Force rolled out with gritty plotlines, dark costumes, and major characters like Wolverine, Angel, Deadpool, and Psylocke, it just seemed off. I'm obviously a minority in this opinion because everyone I know loves it and it's been around for 10 years now. But one thing I definitely loved was that it propelled X-23 into the mainstream. Laura Kinney was a young runaway in the pages of NYX who turned out to be a clone of Logan. I thought she was cool, but I never expected her to become as popular as she has. I especially loved her run as the All-New Wolverine (and I really hope we get a Legends figure of her!) But in the meantime we get this awesome X-Force version which looks great (whether I liked the comics or not). Let's check her out below!

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Early 2018 Collection of MARVEL MINI-MATES!

Marvel Mini-Mates Series 74, Walgreens Wave 8, and Movie Exclusives - DST 2018

I could rant on forever about my love of Mini-Mates. If you can embrace the Lego-like blocky style, you will find this line to be the most collector-focused and thorough series out there. The obscure character selection and team-building rosters are like nothing I have ever dared wish for. I look forward to every interesting release and I can't wait to see what else the future brings. I have waxed poetic about Minimates over and over again, so I am just going to put my wishlist in writing. As far as spider-ladies, I would love Mania, Lady Spider, Scream, Madame Web, Madam Web (Hostess), Animated Anya Corazon, and Agony. Outside of the Spider-Verse, I would love Namora, Namorita, Jocasta, Skids (and Rusty), Hellcat, Sharon Rogers, Red She-Hulk, America, American Dream, modern comic Sif, Binary, Hebzibah, and a new Firestar. Whew. Now let's see how many of these come to fruition in the next few years. Most are a longshot, but so was Madame Masque, so there's hope. Let's check out the newest batch below!

Saturday, April 14, 2018

Loyal Subjects - CHEETARA!

Thundercats Series 01 - Blind Box Action Vinyls - Cheetara - Loyal Subjects 2017

I'm always a sucker for anything Cheetara. There's something about cat-themed characters that has always appealed to me. Catwoman was the first one that caught my attention. But Cheetara was the first felinoid with actual cat characteristics. The theme is huge in comics and cartoons. Something about felines and females complement each other and make for intriguing other-worldly characters, and I think the sheer amount of female felinoids in the toy world proves that is a recipe that works. But with all the popularity of this character type, I think Cheetara will be always be my OG Cat-Girl. I can't see a piece of Cheetara merchandise without purchasing it. Luckily all the items I've picked up looked really good. Most of these Loyal Subjects females have questionable aesthetics to me. It's mostly the eyes that look more like Bratz dolls than their intended characters, but this Cheetara has an updated look that I think is terrific. Now my fingers are crossed for a Pumyra in the future. Let's check out Cheetara below!

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Bucky O-Hare - JENNY!

Bucky O-Hare - Series 01 - (First Mate) Jenny - Boss Fight Studios 2017

In the late 1980s I fell victim to a typo in one of my comic book price guides. I was an avid fan of Arthur Adams and used to hunt down all his work. One of the more obscure publications I tracked down (I was in elementary school mind you) was Echo of Futurepast #1. I was excited to get this issue, but was ultimately disappointed to find Art Adams had nothing at all to do with the comic (The names Arthur Suydam and Neal Adams had been combined in my price guide). But it wasn't all a loss, because the first story in this anthology was Bucky O'Hare by Larry Hama and Michael Golden. I quickly grew to love this green rabbit and his anthropomorphic crew. The art reminded me of Mike Mignola's Rocket Raccoon (which was my favorite comic) blended with Commander Toad (which was my favorite series of kids books I had outgrown years earlier). And I must not have been the only one, because 7 years after that premiere short story, there were solo comics, two video games, an animated series, and a toy line.

Monday, April 9, 2018

Kotobukiya ArtFx Plus - POISON IVY!

ArtFx Plus 1:10 Pre-Painted Statue - DC Comics Poison Ivy - Kotobukiya 2018

I'm really loving the new line of ArtFx+ statues from Kotobukiya. The face sculpts are beautiful and classic (sculpted by Keita Misonou). The older ArtFx+ statues from back in 2013-14 had great sculpts all around (sculpted by Atelier Bamboo/Goutaro Takeuchi) but the faces were much more stylized. I was a little bothered when the Harley Quinn statue was shown a few years ago with the new face style, thinking that it wouldn't look right with my existing Catwoman and Batgirl. But before I knew it they announced a new Catwoman as well as this spectacular Poison Ivy. I must say that this statue is one of my favorite pieces of Ivy merchandise I own. It has a real classic look. She looks seductive and wicked without resorting to skimpy clothing and ridiculous cleavage. To me, Ivy has always been one of those characters who oozes sex appeal, but doesn't need to beat you over the head with it. I think she's best when her personality tells the story, so I love this slightly modern take on her original costume. Let's check her out!

Saturday, April 7, 2018

DC Multiverse - BATWOMAN!

DC Multiverse - Clayface Collect & Connect: Batwoman - Mattel 2018

Batwoman is one my favorite Bat-Family characters out there. As fond as I am of Batgirl, Catwoman, Harley Quinn, Poison Ivy, Huntress, etc, I have to admit that I haven't truly enjoyed reading any of their comics in a long time. I always give it a shot, but the storylines and character development just never grab me anymore. The two semi-recent exceptions are Stephanie Brown as Batgirl, and Batwoman. Batwoman's backstory is brilliant, her motivations are relevant, her personal life is actually interesting, her look is bold, and her fighting skills are amazing. I was so excited to see this figure revealed last year. It's been way too long since there has been some comic-styled Batwoman merchandise. But then the floodgates opened and suddenly we have an Imaginext, Vinimate, and Jada Nano figure coming this year as well. (And that not even mentioning the awesome Spoiler and Catwoman Multiverse figures down the road). I want a Bat-Lady in every wave! Let's check out Batwoman below!

Tuesday, April 3, 2018

Pin-Mates SPIDER-LADIES and BAT-LADIES!

Pinmates - An Assortment of Marvel and DC Characters - Bif Bang Pow! 2017

I'm kind of obsessed with these Pin-Mate figures from Bif Bang Pow! Throughout my childhood my home was littered with Fisher-Price Little People. My siblings and I had a ton. We had really old wooden ones and more modern plastic ones. But they were all in the simple peg-style of the time (not like the chubby vinyl things the line has morphed into now). And when we wanted to add more characters to our playsets, we would decorate one-piece wooden clothespins with markers and crayons to add to our ranks. When I first saw these PinMates, I half loved them and half hated them. But after I picked up a few and they continued to roll out cool characters, I'm definitely a fan. I have a handful of Bat-Ladies and Spider-Ladies, and now I want more. I've skipped a few cool movie-based characters (like Gamora, Nebula, Mantis, Hela, and Suicide Squad Harley Quinn) because I dig the retro and comic styles a lot more. But now I want Silk, Anya Corazon, Huntress, Poison Ivy, and a ton of others. Let's check them out below!

Sunday, April 1, 2018

Arkham Asylum ViniMates - HARLEY QUINN!

Batman Arkham Asylum ViniMates - Harley Quinn - Diamond Select Toys 2018

I'm still kind of on the fence about ViniMates from Diamond Select Toys. I'm a longtime fan of MiniMates. They have earned a unique place in the collectible market by offering a consistent product for sixteen wonderful years. As far as team completion and obscure characters, their track record is unparalleled. So when DST unveiled this new, pre-posed vinyl line in a slightly larger scale, I was intrigued. Of course, as an action figure enthusiast, I will always prefer articulation, but with the promise of getting DC characters in MiniMate style I knew I was definitely going to pick up a few. The first comic style Harley was great, but I'll admit I am not the biggest fan of this second one. A big part of it is because it's my least favorite Harley Quinn design ever, but another reason is that for a line that touts dynamics poses, she is locked in a pretty boring position. SO why did I buy her? Because there are some awesome new characters on the horizon and I'm excited to be a completist for a while. Let's check her out below!

Thursday, March 29, 2018

WWE Superstars - NATALYA and ALEXA BLISS!

WWE Superstars (Girls' Line) - Wave 2 - Natalya & Alexa Bliss - Mattel 2018

I love that the WWE Superstars line is moving along. The first batch showed up in November and already the the second series has hit the shelves. At this pace we should see the next batch (Becky Lynch, Naomi, and Asuka) by Summer. One of the biggest things that makes me nervous about the closing of Toys R Us is the fate of experimental toys like this girl-centric wrestling line. They showed up in TRU months before any other stores had them and they definitely dedicated the most space to them - usually space with the main WWE toys as well as an entire endcap. As far as I know, the only other retail store to carry the line has been Target, and they only have three pegs for them. I don't think sales will be enough from that limited retail exposure to continue the series for long. (And that fear extends to all the smaller companies like Neca, DST, and Mezco). I guess time will tell. Above all else, I think every company needs to step it up with direct sales websites. But I digress. Let's check out Alexa and Natalya below!

Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Assassin's Creed - EVIE FRYE!

Assassin's Creed - Evie Frye (Assassin's Creed Syndicate) - Jazwares 2018

I don't know much about Assassin's Creed but I really admire the aesthetic. There's something about the historical 19th century London garb mixed with an adventure plot that I find really appealing.  Evie Frye is a character from the ninth game in the series, Assassin's Creed Syndicate. She and her twin brother Jacob Frye are the main characters of the game who you help to navigate Victorian London and defeat the Templar (which historically hadn't been around for 500 years or so, but I digress). My main reason for buying this figure was that I hadn't seen a new female figure from Jazwares for a long time. Five or six years ago one of my favorite lines was the Sonic the Hedgehog line from Jazwares. I was always really excited to see what the company would be showing every year at Toy Fair, but there really hasn't been much since then (if you overlook all the Minecraft Toys). But I miss the old days when Jazwares was still on my radar, so I was very excited to pick up Evie. Let's check her out below!

Sunday, March 25, 2018

Marvel Amazing Yamaguchi - SPIDER-GWEN!

Revoltech: Marvel Amazing Yamaguchi #4 - Spider-Gwen - Kaiyodo 2017

I'm always very tempted by super-articulated import action figures. The potential for posing and play often seems so limitless, but there is always a risk involved. The price point ranges anywhere from $50-90 and sometimes the hyper-articulation makes the figures feel fragile and floppy. My first high-end figure purchase was the four Knight Sabers from Bubblegum Crisis many years ago. I paid a ton for them but was ultimately very disappointed in their quality. Luckily I was able to sell them and profit, but that experience made me very wary about future purchases. This Revoltech Spider-Gwen is only the fifth such figure in my collection that I've actually opened, although I have at least five more still sealed that I'm nervous about unboxing. Spider-Gwen indeed has an intense amount of articulation. It's so much that it's difficult to display her in a static standing pose without her slumping or cocking her hips. But she's a character that is meant to be dynamic, so it's acceptable to me. Let's check her out below!

Friday, March 23, 2018

MOTU Mega Construx - TEELA!

Mega Construx Heroes - Series 02 - Masters of the Universe Teela - Mattel 2017

Ever since Mega Brands was acquired by Mattel back in 2014 there has been speculation and fan demand for Masters of the Universe in the Mega Blox line. Although the Barbie and Hot Wheels brands are the superstars of the Mattel portfolio, MOTU easily has the most fervent fans. A few years before, Hasbro unveiled their own brick-figure line, Kre-O, and had success introducing their most famous brands into the style (like Transformers, G.I.Joe, and Trolls). So when Mattel joined the brick-party, fans wanted the same treatment. Surprisingly, Barbie and Hot Wheels Mega-Blox came out pretty much right away, but it took a few years for this new Mega Contrux Heroes assortment to be unveiled which contains random characters from properties like Star Trek, Aliens, Futurama, and of course MOTU. It was actually originally reported at SDCC 2017 that only He-Man and Skeletor would be made, but a few months later at NYCC, they thankfully showed off a new Beast-Man and Teela. Let's check her out below!

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Transformers - MOONRACER!

Transformers: Power of the Primes - Deluxe Wave 2 - Moonracer - Hasbro 2018

Nostalgia is a strange and wonderful thing. Why should a random episode of a cartoon that I watched after school one fateful day in 2nd grade still resonate so strongly with me as an adult? I honestly wasn't even that into Transformers, but I grew up with three TV channels so my options were limited. When The Search for Alpha Trion episode premiered, I was completely transfixed. In a male-dominated robotic universe, we suddenly met six glorious fembots that are still burned into my psyche today. When I started seriously collecting toys in my mid twenties, it was extremely nostalgia-based, and it wasn't long before I was Googling away to find if these pastel Cybertronian ladies had ever had toys made. Of course they hadn't, but within a few years those Botcon Energon repaints were released. But I was never super thrilled about them (or their prices). So I waited. And I always included them whenever there was a forum "wishlist" thread. And eventually, a mere 33 years layer, we get perfection.

Monday, March 19, 2018

Invincible's ATOM EVE!

Invincible - Atom Eve - Skybound Shop Exclusive - McFarlane Toys 2018

In 2002 I moved to a new city, started my professional career, and finally became an "adult." Of course my natural reaction to that growth was to regress to all my childhood loves. I had given up on American comics in the mid-nineties (when everything got extreme and unreadable) and I was hesitant about diving back in. But I slowly developed an aggressively flirty relationship with the clerk at the comic shop and I discovered comics had gotten really good again. My new favorites were Darwyn Cooke's Catwoman, Olivier Coipel's Legion, Y: The Last Man, and Batman: Hush. And last but not least, Invincible by Robert Kirkman and Cory Walker. This comic was a fresh and fun superhero comic. The art was great, the stories were engaging, and the characters were all fantastic. Atom Eve is Invincible's classmate, teammate, and love interest. She has the ability to manipulate all matter, which is an insanely limitless power (typical of female superheroes). I'm so glad she finally got a toy. Let's check out Atom Eve below!

Friday, March 16, 2018

MOTUC Filmation Style - TEELA!

MOTUC - Club Grayskull (S7 Series 1) - Teela - Super7Store Exc - Super7 2018

Thank goodness for Super7. When Scott left Mattel and MOTUC screeched to a halt I was really sad about the future of my hobby. For eight glorious years Matty was a consistent source of pure joy for me. It was easy to get caught up in collector drama with QC complaints, website malfunctions, and unobtainable exclusives, but in the end I have never been more thrilled with the consistency and breadth of any single toy line. So when Super7 grabbed the baton and announced they would continue the line, I was extremely happy. Plus the first two females announced were some of the most requested figures: a classic animated-style Teela and Hawke with an alternate Delora head. I expected there to be hiccups in the first batch of figures since new factories and new production processes would be introduced (and there are indeed some issues to be found), but overall I am really happy with this Filmation-style Teela figure. Let's check her out in detail below!

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Infinity War Basic - BLACK WIDOW!

Avengers: Infinity War - Basic Series 01 - Black Widow - Hasbro 2018

I love that Hasbro has been getting into the Basic figure game. When the first Gamora figure came out in 2016 and surprised us all, I kind of thought it would be a one-off. But then about a year later we got a follow-up Nebula and a slightly larger scale Black Widow. Then 2018 quickly rolled out a Shuri from Black Panther and this Avengers: Infinity War version of Black Widow. Plus this same movie series has another Gamora and Scarlet Witch on the way. I wouldn't be surprised is we saw a Wasp squeezed in there as well. I love Marvel Legends figures. They have been blowing my mind for years. But there is something great about these smaller, less expensive toys filling the shelves. The collecting community usually has very short advanced notice of their release, and the quick hunt is always thrilling and reminds me of my early collecting days. Plus the quality of these figures is pretty spectacular if I must say so myself. Let's check out the Avengers Infinity War Black Widow below!

Monday, March 12, 2018

Marvel Toybox - BLACK WIDOW!

Toybox - Marvel Action Figures #6 Black Widow - Disney Store Exclusive - 2018

I really love the design of this Black Widow ToyBox figure. The Disney ToyBox series is exclusive to Disney Store and features highly-articulated action figures based on the designs of the defunct Disney Infinity game. Character assortments currently pull from Star Wars, Marvel, and Pixar. The problem is, the majority of the Disney Infinity designs look very stylized and very odd (in my humble opinion). The Rey figure from last year had a pretty severe facial expression which is something a lot of characters in the game had. But this Black Widow design is great. It's unique, cartoony, and fun - and I totally dig it. Now I'm excited to see future Marvel ladies. It's a safe bet that we'll see Gamora and Captain Marvel, but I'm also hoping for She-Hulk and the Wasp and any other surprises they'll throw at us. But the actual next lady in the lineup is Princess Leia which should be out shortly. It's hard to uncover the exact release dates, but when it hits, they are usually very well stocked. Let's check out Black Widow below!

Friday, March 9, 2018

Marvel Legends - DOMINO!

Marvel Legends - Deadpool Wave (Sasquatch BaF) - Domino - Hasbro 2018

Domino is my absolute favorite thing to come out of X-Books in the 90s. I know there's a lot of love for Jim Lee era X-Men and whatnot, and I definitely appreciated all that, but I was firmly rooted in the New Mutants and X-Force camps. The mysterious Domino intrigued me so much as a kid. She seemed to be the only first link to Cable's past, her powers were ambiguous, but most of all she looked awesome. Then to top it all off, a little more that a year after her introduction, we learned that the "Domino" we knew and loved was actually the impostor, Copycat. My 13 year old mind was blown. I didn't really keep up with her stories since the mid-90s, but I'm looking forward to her new solo series that starts next month. There has been a small selection of Domino merchandise over the years, but I honestly haven't loved any of it. And if I was being perfectly honest, I'm not over-the-moon with this figure either. It's decent, but for some reason it seems like another character just painted to resemble Domino. Let's check her out!

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Marvel Legends - PROXIMA MIDNIGHT!

Marvel Legends - Avengers: Infinity War - Wave 1 - Proxima Midnight - Hasbro 2018

As much as I love Marvel Legends, one fear has been creeping into my head lately. That is that this line could go the way of Mattel's WWE figures and just keep recycling the same three bucks over and over again. Sure, the Hasbro Legends bucks are amazing and work so well together, but sometimes you need someone big. The recent A-Force She-Hulk was okay, but I honestly wished she looked bigger and stronger. But then this Proxima Midnight figure came out and assuaged all my fears. When a character requires a unique body type, Hasbro clearly isn't afraid to flex their muscles and give us something new. Proxima Midnight is a member of the Black Order (named the Children of Thanos in the movie), a group of ruthless aliens who follow Thanos like a cult. I predict an epic Mrs. Weasley/Bellatrix level confrontation between Gamora, Nebula, and Proxima. That father/daughter dynamic is toxic in different ways for each of them. Can't wait until the Infinity War. Let's check out Proxima Midnight below!

Monday, March 5, 2018

Marvel Legends - SONGBIRD!

Marvel Legends - Avengers: Infinity War - Wave 1 - Songbird - Hasbro 2018

There is a niche kind of character that I am almost always obsessed with. This is when a female character is introduced as a villain, but eventually reforms and becomes a hero (albeit with an edgy personality). I think the most notable is Rogue, but there is also Firestar, Polaris, Scarlet Witch, Spider-Woman, Emma Frost, Black Widow, etc, etc. Seriously most (Marvel) female heroes started this way, and they are all among my favorites. I don't really know too much about Songbird, mostly because I've never read the Thunderbolts or New Avengers where her modern popularity was established. But I know that for her first 18 years in the comics, she was the sonic-powered villain Screaming Mimi who antagonized The Thing, Dazzler, and various Avengers. I love her modern costume. I always thought it had a lot of nods to Phoenix, and the pink "sound wings" just added to that homage when they were added to the design. It all makes for a really dynamic and colorful action figure. Let's check out Songbird below!

Saturday, March 3, 2018

Infinity War Titan Hero Series - SCARLET WITCH!

Marvel Titan Hero Series 12" - Infinity War Scarlet Witch - Hasbro 2018

Scarlet Witch is finally being given her due as a full-fledged Avenger. When the first Avengers movie came out back in 2012, I'll admit I was baffled by the fact that the token female hero was Black Widow instead of the Wasp or Scarlet Witch. Actually, her role did belong to the Wasp in early scripts... before Scarlett Johansson brought more name recognition to the Black Widow role in 2010's Iron Man II (fun fact: the Black Widow role was originally intended to be filled by Emily Blunt, who at the time wasn't quite a household name in the US yet). But once I saw Scarlett's performance in that first movie, I embraced the changed (although I still wanted Wanda). Four years later Elizabeth Olsen first showed up on screen as Scarlet Witch. In my opinion, her character's role back then was pretty insignificant, but it's been steadily increasing ever since. I'm assuming her role in Avengers: Infinity War is bigger than ever considering she's getting a Legends redeco, a Basic Series figure, and of course this Titan figure.

Friday, March 2, 2018

Infinity War Titan Hero Series - BLACK WIDOW!

Marvel Titan Hero Series 12" - Infinity War Black Widow - Hasbro 2018

The Avengers: Infinity War movie features a pretty drastic costume change for Black Widow. Instead of the typical red hair and solid black outfit, Natasha now sports a shorter blonde hairstyle and what looks like a green flak jacket. The hair seems like a nod to to the Yelena Belona incarnation of the character, but is likely a result of having too many redheads in one movie. The green vest seems like an original addition (and slightly atypical for her), but I kind of like it. These new 12" Marvel Titan Hero Series figures were a total surprise to me when I saw them on Instagram Monday, and luckily I found them at Walmart two days later. As much as I love these 12" figures and Natasha's new look, this is the first Titan figure I've been let down by. This is due to the fact that her head is scaled for the the newer (larger) bodies, but she has the same smaller body as the comic-style Black Widow from 2016. There is a similar figure with an action feature coming out which will hopefully be better. Let's check her out!

Thursday, March 1, 2018

Marvel Legends - BLACK WIDOW & MOTORCYCLE!

Marvel Legends - Black Widow with Motorcycle Deluxe Set - Hasbro 2018

I have a preference for my comic characters to have bright costumes and super powers. But despite this it's kind of hard to ignore Black Widow when in a few short years she has become the most merchandised Marvel lady out there. Her constant exposure has made me want a really good comic-style figure of Natasha in Legends scale. This deluxe motorcycle set is probably the best we've seen so far, but I must admit I am not thrilled with the production quality of this figure. Considering that all the Marvel Legends females released in the past few years have been pretty much perfect, it's a surprise that this one somehow has completely dull facial expression(s) and hair that seems well sculpted, but poorly manufactured. The funny thing it that the solicits for this figure looked great, but in person she looks like a rush job. Granted, if this exact figure came out 5 years ago I would be over the moon, but Hasbro has raised their own bar pretty high, and this one unfortunately falls short. Let's check her out below!

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

DC Direct Green Lantern ARISIA!

Green Lantern: Blackest Night Series 03 - Green Lantern Arisia - DC Direct 2010

With the new DC Multiverse Jessica Cruz figure in my sights, I really wanted to finally review this older Green Lantern Corps member that I've had in storage forever. The Blackest Night and Green Lantern waves from DC Direct released dozens of Lantern characters in only a few short years (The Blackest Night line alone had eight waves and over 37 figures!) I wish there was a bat-family line with that kind of dedication (Hush was the biggest with 16). Over the course of of the Green Lantern boom we got a lot of classic characters in plastic for the first time. Arisia was a Corps member first introduced in 1981. She is from Graxos IV where the inhabitants have golden-orange skin and elf-like ears. She's run the gamut of predictable storylines for a supporting female characters: death, resurrection, love interest for the title character, etc. I avoided this figure for a long time because I thought she looked like a scantily clad blonde meant for more titillation than substance, but she's grown on me. Let's check her out below!

Sunday, February 25, 2018

Marvel Legends - GWENPOOL!

Marvel Legends - Spider-Man (Lizard BAF Wave) - Gwenpool - Hasbro 2018

Comedic characters are always a tough translation into plastic. Most companies excel at making stoic or angry faces for their figures. But the minute you try to add some whimsy or a sardonic grin, things start to get pretty wonky. Even the smirk on the recent Enchantress figures looked more creepy than mischievous. But this Marvel Legends Gwenpool figure nails it. The standard head with the big smile is great, but the alternate tongue-sticking-out head is simply fantastic. If you're unfamiliar with Gwenpool, she was originally conceived in a series of Gwen Stacy-themed variant covers as a mashup between Gwen and Deadpool. She became very popular with fanart and cosplayer communities and soon began starring in backup stories and special issues before getting her own title in 2016. She is unique because her character knows she's in a comic book.. which leads to her constantly breaking the fourth wall, cracking all kinds of comic in-jokes, and killing with gleeful abandon. It's pretty great. Let's check her out below!

Friday, February 23, 2018

Marvel Legends - SPIDER-WOMAN (Modern)!

Marvel Legends - Spider-Man (Lizard BAF Wave) - Spider-Woman - Hasbro 2018

Action figures have this funny way of making me appreciate character designs that I really don't care for on the comic page. My reaction to this costume was very interesting. Batgirl's popular Burnside costume was unveiled in December '14 and I loved the fun utilitarian look. It made sense with the non-powered Gotham characters and their gritty environment. But then five months later in April '15, Spider-Woman got a similar redeco and I was not so happy. I just don't expect characters with legit powers to don stylized street clothes over spandex. Jessica Drew's new costume also marked a big shift in the artistic style for the series. Similar to a lot of titles at the time (coincidentally like Batgirl), the new art direction was much more Indy, which is a style I love in Indy comics, but I always prefer a more traditional style with my superhero books. So overall I haven't really been impressed with this makeover, but then this Legends figure comes out and I suddenly love it. Go figure. Let's check her out below!

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Funko Pop 8-Bit - BATGIRLS!

POP! 8-Bit: #02 Batgirl (Comic) & #21 Batgirl (Classic TV) B&N Exc - Funko 2018

I told myself I wasn't going to post a lot of full photo reviews for Funko Pops anymore. I find that they only get a small fraction of the page views that my other posts get and it's just easier to post a few simple pics on Instagram when I pick up the occasional Pop. However, these 8-Bit Pops are such an interesting shift in style that I felt a full series of turnaround photos would be appreciated. I've been buying the Jakks Pacific 8-Bit World of Nintendo figures for a few years so I'm already hooked on that style (FYI, Jakks showed off an 8-Bit Goomba and Bowser at Toy Fair). I think these Batgirl figures are especially cool because they look just like the original Pop Batgirls, just pixelated. It's also interesting that they are composed of solid plastic which makes them insanely heavy compared to the typical hollow vinyl figure. I'm curious to see what future characters they make in 8-Bit, but I wouldn't be surprised if these were the only two that make it into my collection. Let's check them out below!

Monday, February 19, 2018

Star Wars 6" Last Jedi - REY (ISLAND JOURNEY)!

Star Wars: The Black Series #58 - Rey (Island Journey) - Hasbro 2017

Sorry for the lack of posts lately. During NY Toy Fair week it seems that every time I sit down at my computer I end up Googling for new reveals or unauthorized photos for hours and before I know it I'm struggling to keep my eyes open. It's a frantic and obsessive few days for me and it's honestly getting worse every year. But alas, I'm back to normal now (until SDCC of course) and really itching to get back into regular posting. I picked up this new Rey figure in Target a couple weekends ago and I'm really impressed with the new face sculpt. I thought the Jedi Training Rey was really great, but in comparison it's honestly pretty weak. It should be really interesting to see if things improve even more when Episode Nine comes out. I wonder if we'll see Rey in a sleek all-black outfit like Luke wore in Return of the Jedi. I feel like her costumes have really paralleled Luke's in the original trilogy so far so it's not a crazy thought. This is the fifth 6" Black Series Rey so far, and it's definitely my favorite. Let's check her out below!

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Mortal Kombat X - KITANA!

Savage World (Retro 5.5" Series): Mortal Kombat X - Kitana - Funko 2018

I'm not a Mortal Kombat fan. I played it maybe three times in high school and it just wasn't my thing. That said, I've been looking forward to this figure and I am really excited by the possibilities presented by Funko's new Savage World line. The inaugural license under this brand is Mortal Kombat (and I suppose retroactively the Zorn figures were in this line as well) and they are all done in vintage 5.5" He-man style. I really just wanted to see the quality of Kitana in person and start daydreaming about future figures. My wishlist includes a lot of impossible properties like Crystar, Golden Girl, and Sectaurs. The Savage World line is one of the things I'm looking forward to most in all the Toy Fair reveals later this week. This Kitana figure is actually really nice. I only wish their first female figure was a character with an exposed face. Funko really nailed the proportions and articulation of vintage "warrior" action figures. I hope they prove popular so we can see more of what they can do. Let's check out Kitana below!

Monday, February 12, 2018

Transformers Power of the Primes - ELITA ONE!

Transformers: Power of the Primes - Voyager Class Wave 2 - Elita 1 - Hasbro 2018

I will never forget watching cartoons as an unsuspecting little kid when the Transformers episode The Search for Alpha Trion aired. I was blown away by the existence of female Autobots. I never questioned it before and just through my viewing experience I had assumed all Transformers were male. Suddenly there is a troupe of pastel robots who transform into sleek alien vehicles. I was smitten. The leader of these female Cybertronian renegades was Elita One. She was revealed to be Optimus Prime's long-lost partner and was the main character of the six new females introduced in the episode. I'm really surprised there hasn't been a real figure of her before this. I can think of two releases that shared her name, but were essentially just pink or salmon-colored redecos of existing characters. This figure actually seems to be a heavily retooled Starscream, but there are enough changes that I have no complaints. Now I'm excited to see Novastar at Toy Fair in a few days! Let's check out Elita 1 below!

Friday, February 9, 2018

Playmobil Ghostbusters - DANA BARRETT!

Ghostbusters Playmobil - Peter Venkman & Dana Barrett (9223) - Playmobil 2017

Playmobil is very nostalgic for me. But the funny thing is that I sometimes forget that I used to be so obsessed with them. At some point in my high school years a discovered a small Mom and Pop boutique in my hometown that had a small Playmobil display in the back. I remember my initial purchase of a glow-in-the-dark ghost, quickly followed by a mer-man, then a multi-kid, then a set with a unicorn. It was a slippery slope and for a few years it was my secret obsession. I gave my collection away to nieces and nephews and honestly forgot all about it. But every few years I pick up a new figure and it all comes racing back. When I saw this Ghostbusters set in Toys R Us back in December I knew without a doubt I had to buy it. I didn't even realize that Playmobil made licensed characters - only to find a retro halloweeny lady in the form of Sigourney Weaver's Dana Barrett. Plus she comes in a set with the two terror dogs (which I love) and Peter Venkman. It's a great set. Let's check her out below!

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Marvel Limited Articulation BLACK WIDOW!

Marvel (Avengers) - Black Widow (Limited Articulation Figure) - Hasbro 2018

Hasbro has really been impressing me with their non-collector lines. The Titans Series and the animated-style basic figures have been great. I've been waiting forever for them to include a female figure in their limited-articulation Marvel line, and it finally happened. I figured the inaugural heroine would be either Gamora or Black Widow, and I was right, Black Widow started popping up on eBay and Instagram in January. These limited articulation figures are found at places like Dollar General, Family Dollar, Walgreens, Big Lots, and the checkout lines at Wal-Mart. They look similar to the main collector lines, but they are slightly smaller and they only have three points of articulation (Neck and Shoulders). Black Widow has been elusive. She is shown on the packaging in the Wal-Mart assortments, but she doesn't actually appear to be included. I drove myself nuts hunting for a week, before resorting to eBay. Black Widow looks amazing. The sculpt is really terrific and she will make a great addition to any collection.

Monday, February 5, 2018

MiniForce Rangers - LUCY THE FOX!

MiniForce - Miniforce Rangers - Mystical Magic Lucy - Sonokong Toys 2015

MiniForce is a Korean animated show starring four cute chibi-type animal heroes - Volt the Squirrel (Blue), Max the Beaver (Yellow), Lucy the Fox (Pink), and Sammy the Owl (Red). When they jump into action, there is a transformation sequence when they become human-like Rangers. When their Ranger skills aren't enough, their weapons can transform into Force Weapons. When that's not enough, they dispatch their Force Cars which race to the rescue. When the cars aren't enough, each car transforms into a Force Bot (in whose heads the Rangers are tiny pilots). When the robot fighting skills aren't enough, they can unleash these unique powered up weapons - Force Flash, Force Jet, Force Ring, etc - often requiring a combination of effort. Speaking of combinations, the Force Bots pair off to combine into Sammy-Lucy-Tron and Volt-Max-Tron. And predictably, these two can combine into the ultimate Force Giantron. It's a nesting doll of Eastern genres in an 11-minute preschool show and it's amazing.

Saturday, February 3, 2018

WWE Superstars - BAYLEY!

WWE Superstars Ultimate Fan Pack (Series 01) - Bayley - Mattel 2017

I really like these WWE Superstars action figures from Mattel. I was getting worn out on the standard series figures and their constantly re-releasing of characters and molds. In all honesty, I'll probably feel the same way about this girl-centric Superstars line eventually, but for now it's new and fun. I bought all the basic series figures as soon as they came out in August. But the Ultimate Fan Pack figures were twice the price and essentially contained plastic jewelry for the extra money. That's why I refrained on picking up this Bayley until recently when she was repackaged in a cheaper $15 offering. I'm glad I finally got her because she definitely has the most personality of the Series 01 figures. Having just opened her, I am suddenly very excited for Series 02 - which some websites are claiming will be available mid-February! I have included solicit pics of all the upcoming figures below. I love all the girl action figure lines filling the toy aisles lately, so hopefully this WWE contribution stays strong. Let's check out Bayley below!

Wednesday, January 31, 2018

GG Bond (Pig Hero) - PHOEBE!

GG Bond (Pig Hero) - Super Cute Pets: Phoebe/Flamingo - JinJiang Toys 2017

GG Bond is a very popular animation franchise in China. It stars a young pig with superpowers named GG Bond (aka Pig Hero) and his pig friends. It's clearly aimed at children - complete with squeaky voices and morality lessons. The franchise currently has eight television seasons and four movies. I'm really not sure what season or film these particular toys are from, but it seems the characters all pilot robots that transform into "Super Cute Pets." The token female pig hero, Phoebe, pilots a bird - translated as Flamingo (but I think it's really a mis-translated "pink bird" because it looks nothing like a flamingo). The robot theme seems like a break from the typical look of the show, but I'm just learning about this now so who knows. I really dig the look of Phoebe's robot mode and I was so excited to get her. It seems like this same design may have been produced in varying levels of quality. I've seen pictures that look slightly better, and some that look slightly worse, but I'm happy with the one I got. Let's check her out!

Monday, January 29, 2018

Eaglemoss Special - JANE FOSTER THOR!

Marvel Fact Files Special #26 - The Mighty Thor (Jane Foster) - Eaglemoss 2017

I have a real soft spot for Eaglemoss figurines. They were the first non-action-figure collectibles I bought when I started to branch out in my adult hobbies. But lately a lot of their flagship lines (the DC and Marvel Classic Figurine Collections) have come to an end. Then the various chess sets ran their course as well. Now the third wave is upon us and we have DC All-Stars, BTAS, Batman Busts, and Marvel Fact Files. This Thor figure is the first purchase I've made from any of these new lines. This particular sculpt is not the most dynamic or fun design. The pose seems stiff and the face seems expressionless. Previous Eaglemoss releases have never been known for expressive faces, but that was because the scale was small so it was also about colorful costumes and dramatic poses. But this Thor figure is huge. From base to hammer she is 7" tall and the figure herself is a hair over 5" - I think at this new scale they need to up their game. I'm excited for their new Wasp and Captain Marvel figures so my fingers are crossed.

Saturday, January 27, 2018

Stretch Armstrong - QUICK CHARGE!

Stretch Armstrong and the Flex Fighters - Series 01 - Quick Charge - Hasbro 2018

I just binged watched the first 8 episodes of Netflix's Stretch Armstrong and the Flex Fighters to see all these cool looking characters in action. I just admit that I had assumed Quick Charge was a member of the titular "Flex Fighters," so I was surprised to discover that she is a villain that only appears in a single episode. The cartoon is pretty fun, and although it is focused around three male friends, their male mentor, and their fathers, there is still a pretty unique female presence. I don't know if I've ever seen random female bankrobbers before. Also, the villain Madame Tousant has a gang of silver-haired women in burgundy evening wear engaging in turf wars. There are the crazy Freak Sisters (who remind me a lot of Harley's twin daughters Dee Dee in Batman Beyond). Then there is the amazing Quick Charge - a disgruntled scientist who skates around on lightning. She is voiced by Yvette Nicole Brown (From Community and also the voice of Amanda Waller in DC Superhero Girls). Let's check her out below!

Thursday, January 25, 2018

Machine Change British Union - LING YAO!

Machine Change Union - Deformation Series - Lingyao (JQ6103) -  Jia Qi 2017

I'm so in love with the internet sometimes. In the pre-internet days, collecting was an often difficult, frustrating, and restrictive hobby. I didn't collect toys back then, but my Pez and Comic addictions were equally confined to a small bubble of local shops, regional trade shows, and the occasional reference book. I remember the day I decided to search for my favorite old toys on the internet and realized I was wading into a deep pool. That fateful first step was about 13 years ago, and honestly, since then I've often thought I had explored every inch of the toy internet. But every once in a while I stumble across a whole new unexplored facet and that old feeling rushes back. Over the Christmas holidays this year I discovered Chinese action figures. Not the type that show up on eBay, but weird quirky toys made in China for the Chinese market. I spent hours and hours discovering dozens of figures that I'm excited to review. The first figure will be this awesome pink and Purple fembot, Lingyao. Let's check her out below!

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Marvel Titan Hero Series - SPIDER-GIRL!

Marvel Titan Hero Series 12" - Spider-Girl (Anya Corazon) - Hasbro 2018

As much as I am smitten with the trademark collector lines that fill the toy aisles, brands like Marvel Legends and DC Multiverse are so heavily researched by toy blogs that we know exactly what is coming out months (sometimes years) in advance. One of my favorite things about toy collecting is being surprised by something unexpected. I have known in my gut that there would eventually be a Spider-Lady of some sort represented in the Marvel Titan Hero series, but I assumed it would be Spider-Woman or Spider-Gwen. Then to my surprise I woke up a couple weeks ago to a DM on Instagram alerting me to this beautiful Anya Corazon Spider-Girl figure. I immediately ordered one on Amazon then on m lunch break I found one at Toys R Us (I'm very impatient!). This is the time of year when new kid-oriented product pops up without notice, so I had literally been googling a week before with no success. This Anya is based off her appearance in the new Disney XD Spider-Man cartoon. Let's check Spider-Girl out below!


Sunday, January 21, 2018

Marvel Legends - SHURI as BLACK PANTHER!

Marvel Legends - Black Panther: Shuri & Klaw - Toys R US Exc - Hasbro 2018

I'm very single-minded with my toy obsessions. Whenever there is a movie announced, I instantly think of the most far fetched comic-based character that might be squeezed into the movie merchandise. (My Captain Marvel wish is for a Ms. Marvel vs Rogue 2-Pack). When Black Panther was announced, I immediately thought how much I would love a Shuri in the Black Panther costume. I think she only wore the costume for 12 issues, but I loved it. I thought for sure this was an unobtainable longshot, but then a year later I'm actually holding her in my hands. Now, let's be real about this figure: It's basically a very successful kitbash with a new head. The body is identical to Hellcat, the Cape is from Lady Loki/Sif, the staff is from T'Challa, and the belt is from Rogue (it's spun around so the "x" is on the back). The only new sculpts appear to be the head and necklace. But don't get me wrong, this figure is terrific. I applaud Hasbro for getting us an obscure character in the most efficient way possible. Let's check her out below!

Saturday, January 20, 2018

Justice League Mighty Minis - WONDER WOMAN!

DC Mighty Minis: Justice League Series 01 - Wonder Woman - Mattel 2017

One of the most impressive things about about the toy world is that, generally speaking, the products keep improving. When I think of what Marvel Legends and DC Multiverse figures looked like just a few years ago versus today, it's pretty amazing to see how much the quality has progressed. And it's not just those prominent action figure lines. The oversized 12" figures get better and better. And the little 2" Mighty Minis haven't been slacking off either. This Justice League Wonder Woman figure is leaps and bounds better than its Batman v Superman predecessor (similar to the improvements in the Multiverse and basic figures between the two films). I was so underwhelmed with the BvS Mighty Minis that I didn't even have new releases on my radar until I saw a pic of this one on Instagram and knew I had to have it. Surprisingly I followed a tip and found them right away at Best Buy. I'm a huge fan of tiny action figures so adding her to my collection was a no-brainer. Let's check out Wonder Woman below!

Thursday, January 18, 2018

Speed Racer the Movie - TRIXIE!

Speed Racer - Sky Shooter w/ Trixie & Snake Oiler - Mattel (Hot Wheels) 2008

I actually enjoyed the live action 2008 Speed Racer movie. It generally got bad reviews and didn't make a lot of money at the box office, but I thought it was a fun trippy nostalgic spectacle. The cast was full of my favorites too. I always love Emile Hirsch. Matthew Fox was in the middle of his Lost fame (I was so addicted to that show). And John Goodman, Susan Sarandon, and Christina Ricci are always good for a supporting role (plus it was directed by the fan-favorite Wachowskis). Ricci played Speed's eye-in-the-sky girlfriend, Trixie. (Fun fact, a young Ariel Winter played Trixie in the flashback scenes). I discovered this toy line relatively recently - years after they disappeared from clearance bins - and it took forever to hunt her down at a decent price. I thought she would be a 2.5" figure, but in reality she is a pretty unique scale of 3" high. While not a terrific movie line by any means, these toys seem like a throwback to the kind of  movie product on the toy shelves in the early 90s. I like it.  Let's check her out below!

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Rock Candy - JESSICA RABBIT!

Rock Candy Vinyl Collectible - Disney's Jessica Rabbit - Funko 2017

Jessica Rabbit is one of the most iconic women from 1980's pop culture. When she first stepped on screen in Who Framed Roger Rabbit? I think the whole world took notice. Her look was created to epitomize the ultimate screen siren: Veronica Lake's hair, Lauren Bacall's gaze, Rita Hayworth's face, and Red Hot Riding Hood's general presence. Despite this calculated formula, she's had very little merchandise produced in the 30 years since her introduction. This is kind of understandable since her animated body is so exaggerated and seems to morph with every step, so pinning down a single iconic look for representation in 3-D would be a difficult task. I've only seen two really well-done sculpts: one is an expensive PVC statue from Medicom, and the other is a simple Hallmark ornament from a few year ago. This Rock Candy is the only Jessica Rabbit figure I own but I'm very pleased with it. They really captured her essence while staying within the Rock Candy style. Let's check her out below!

Saturday, January 13, 2018

Stranger Things - ELEVEN!

Stranger Things - Action Figures Series 01 - Eleven - McFarlane Toys 2017

I love Stranger Things. When the first season was teased a few years ago, I for some reason got the impression that it was written by Stephen King. I'm a huge King fan so I was really excited for it. I was a few episodes in when I realized that it didn't seem like something he would write, but by then I was hooked anyway. (It turns out the series was just inspired by King.. and Spielberg, Shyamalan, Carpenter, Del Toro, etc etc). The story takes place in the the fictional small town of Hawkins, Indiana during the early 1980s. Here, four young outcast characters meet a mysterious girl named Eleven with telekinetic powers. Eleven is the central character of the show, but it mainly works because it's an ensemble cast of fantastic actors that make a really fun show. Plus the small sleepy town in the early 1980s is a great setting that is both nostalgic and creepy (and they replicated that era perfectly). There is a lot of merchandise for the show already, but these McFarlane figures take the cake. Let's check out Eleven below!

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Marvel Gallery - IRONHEART!

Marvel Gallery PVC Statues - Ironheart (Riri Williams) - Diamond Select Toys 2017

One of the greatest joys of collecting is when you've been eyeing a product for months, with no intent on actually buying it, but then the stars align and it finds its way into your hands anyway. I always have lots of reasons to refrain from a collectible purchase, but mostly it comes down to space/scale, not wanting to "start a whole new collection," and the trusty standby: price. But then there are these rare occasions when you stumble across a a deal you can't pass up and you cave. I recently picked up this Ironheart 11.5" PVC statue at GameStop for $11 and I'm thrilled with the purchase. I've eyeballed a lot of the Marvel Gallery statues in the past (Lady Deadpool in particular), but all it took was a crazy sale to get me to break my resolve. It doesn't hurt that this is the first piece of merchandise of Riri Williams as Ironheart either. I read the first bunch of Invincible Ironman issues and loved her. Hopefully this is just the start of many Ironheart products (I just bought her Minimate today!). Let's check her out below!

Sunday, January 7, 2018

Kabuki Agents - SCARAB & AKEMI!

David Mack's Kabuki Agents: Scarab - Scarab & Akemi - Diamond Select 2004

I often gripe about comic life in the nineties. The big companies were just so gimmicky that I viewed 90% of comics in that decade unreadable. But one really positive thing was all the weird esoteric independent and foreign comics that suddenly had room to flourish. I fell headfirst into all the interesting manga titles that were now being translated, but another genre that really caught my eye was the artfully painted indy comics like Joseph Lisner's Cry for Dawn, Dan Brereton's Nocturnals, and of course David Mack's Kabuki. Kabuki followed the story of an assassin struggling with her identity in an alternate-future Japan. Honestly, I was in high school at the time and the stories were too intense for me. (I needed upbeat stuff to offset my moody teenage years). But years later I got really into several spin-off series like Kabuki Agents: Scarab. Unfortunately, David Mack wasn't providing much more than an occasional cover for these stories, but they did expose me to the pencils of Rick Mays (who I still follow to this day).

Friday, January 5, 2018

A Long Overdue 2016 YEAR-END REVIEW!

A Collection of 2016's Most Amazing Female Action Figures All In One Post

You read that right: 2016. I've reached a new level of procrastination and am posting this Year-End review approximated 365 days behind schedule. I intended to do this so many times in the past twelve months, but unlike most of my posts, these actually require some forethought and planning. And although exhausting and incredibly time-consuming, these posts are still my second favorite kind to do (right after Character Spotlights). It's easy to focus on the next shiny new toy on the horizon, complaining about details that weren't perfect or an important character who was skipped. But when you take a step back and look at all the wonderful items we get in a single year it's pretty humbling. Every year this hobby gets more complex and interesting. The sculpts, articulation, and character selection are constantly improving, and it's really easy to overlook that. And that is just talking about the year-to-year changes. If you skip 5 or ten years and see the industry changes it's simply mind-blowing.