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!