Wednesday, September 18, 2019

Marvel Legends - EMMA FROST!

X-Men Legends - Emma Frost (Marvel NOW!) - Walgreens Exclusive - Hasbro 2019

Until this Summer's X-Men reboot it had been years since I picked up a mutant comic. So when I see this Marvel NOW black-suited Emma Frost I really don't get the reference. With a name like Emma Frost (aka the White Queen), anything but her signature white garb seems odd. However, I actually really dig this figure (even though I eventually want a more classic version). The black look is very striking, and when paired with the classic bob-haircut alternate head, she's unmistakably Emma.. yet somehow even more wicked. Recently I've been obsessed with re-reading collected volumes of my favorite old comics and coincidentally Emma Frost is a major player in a ton of them: New Mutants, Generation X, and the titular Emma Frost series from 2003. I'm literally reading all of these titles in rotation right now, so this figure came at the perfect time. She's a little scarce in Walgreens right now, but if Sue Storm, Medusa, and Magik are any indication, she will be flooding the market before long. Let's check out Emma below!

Monday, September 16, 2019

Transformers - LANCER!

Transformers - Generations Select - Deluxe Autobot Lancer - Takara Tomy 2019

You know that feeling when you wait for a Netflix show all year only to binge it in a single weekend and then feel absolutely empty? This Lancer figure is triggering those feelings in me right now. When I realized my unfathomable dream of assembling Elita One's army was going to become a reality I was overcome with excitement and anticipation. The iconic Transformers G1 episode The Search for Alpha Trion was one of the highlights of my childhood. The fact the Hasbro and TakaraTomy have given us every female Autobot in that episode, even unnamed background characters like this one, still boggles my mind. I'm re-doing my transformers display and I've been inspired to backtrack and collect a bunch of old Transformers. But what's next to hunt? I can't help but think we're about to have a major fembot drought. The Nightbird due out next month is the only thing on the horizon and I'm a little bummed (but only because I've been so delightfully spoiled the past few years). Let's check out Lancer below!

Friday, September 13, 2019

Star Wars - PRINCESS LEIA ORGANA (HOTH)!

Star Wars 6 " Black Series #75 - Princess Leia Organa (Hoth) - Hasbro 2018

I've had this figure open and photographed since I bought her way back in early December of last year. I've always found it extremely tricky to photograph characters with a lot of white on their costumes. So this Leia (and Storm from the last post) spurred me to dive deep and figure out the intricacies of my damn camera (as well as adjusting color balance in post-editing) to properly review these characters. I re-shot her and I'm much happier with the washed-out photo set I created last year. This Leia is actually one of my favorites from my 6" Star Wars Black Series collection. I always thought this was a great functional look that still stayed true to that classic Leia color palette and her hairdo is second only to the side-buns. We've received six different Leias in this line so far and I can only think of three more offhand (Cloud City Rust Gown, Endor Speeder Bike, and Endor long hair celebration look). And I hope we eventually get them all because it would make for a pretty awesome collection. Let's check out Hot Leia below!

Wednesday, September 11, 2019

Marvel Legends Vintage - STORM!

Marvel Legends: Vintage (Toy Biz) Series 03 - 1990's Storm - Hasbro 2019

It's really refreshing to have a female Marvel Legends figure that is definitely not going to be a shelf-warmer. As much as I beg for more diverse character selections and equal distribution. I can't deny that the mommy-shoppers never buy the female action figures for their kids - and as a result, my favorite heroines almost always end up clogging up the pegs. But this Storm has been out for months and she's always the first one snatched from the case. And she's worth it, too. Storm is easily one of the most iconic Marvel women and her role in the 1990's X-Men the Animated Series exposed her to a whole new generation of adoring fans. Although this white outfit is usually attributed to the cartoon, she was essentially wearing it in the comics for a year prior. Although in true comic fashion, the color of her costume could be interpreted as white, silver, gray, or black depending on how she was shaded and colored. And I'm not taking a side because I want one of each! Let's check out this long overdue Storm below!

Monday, September 9, 2019

Marvel Legends - CAPTAIN MARVEL (BINARY)!

Marvel Legends - Captain Marvel (Binary Form) - Walmart Exc - Hasbro 2019

It's been a really long time since I've been completely underwhelmed by a Marvel Legends release. I wasn't a huge fan of the unmasked Carol head from the the standard Captain Marvel from earlier this year. (For some reason it missed the mark and looked almost nothing like Brie Larson). Then this Walmart exclusive Binary version comes along and really features that unmasked head sculpt. Plus I normally love translucent effects (especially fiery orange ones), but I honestly feel the final result of this figure is just weak. The translucent effects don't read as that dynamic (and are just re-purposed effects from other figures) and her exposed neck is completely distracting to me. It doesn't help that the comic version of Binary is insanely awesome. This figure would be amazing if she were entirely translucent, or at least had some crazy (original) power effects.. trailing from her eyes.. a figure stand of energy flowing from her hands and feet (to be re-used on FireStar of course).. I have so many ideas. Let's check her out!

Monday, September 2, 2019

Marvel Legends - Boom Boom!

Marvel Legends - X-Force (Wendigo Build-a-Figure) - Boom Boom - Hasbro 2019

I have always had a fond place in my heart for Tabitha Smith. As a young comic reader, I was obsessed with The New Mutants. I loved the youthful, rebellious energy and smaller-scale storylines. Two great spin-offs of that comic were Fallen Angels in 1987 and X-Terminators in 1988. I adored both these mini-series and they both starred a young Boom Boom as a major character. In X-Terminators especially, we were introduced to a group of outsiders that I related to even more than the young Xavier students. Boom Boom's teammates were Rictor, Artie, Leech, Rusty, Skids, and Wiz Kid - all of whom went on to become semi-regular recurring characters in a handful of different books. But Boom Boom is the one that really took off. When Liefeld took over The New Mutants in 1990, most of the X-Terminators were present and I thought they would all become part of the team, but a year later when X-Force rolled out, only Tabitha remained. Her outfit and name have changed a lot over time, but the attitude is consistent.

Saturday, August 31, 2019

Miraculous Ladybug - PUPPETEER!

Miraculous Ladybug Action Figures: Wave 03 - Puppeteer - Bandai 2018

I think it's super great when an obscure character is given the full action figure treatment. The Miraculous toy line from Bandai is full of fun, colorful, female-centric characters and is really unlike anything else on the market right now (it was similar to DC Superhero Girls, Mysticons, and WWE Superstars, but it appears all those other lines have failed). Miraculous has all but disappeared from US toy shelves, but there has been a steady flow of new releases in Europe (it's a French cartoon). I believe the Puppeteer only appeared in a single episode of the show as a child that Marinette was babysitting who gained powers and became the tantrum-driven villain for an episode. The fact that this character warranted an action figure speaks highly to the potential of this line. It's a pet peeve of mine when we just get endless redecos of the same main characters over and over. And while we still see some variation of Ladybug in each wave, the B and C-list characters are endlessly present. Let's check out Puppeteer below!

Thursday, August 29, 2019

Marvel Select - PSYLOCKE!

Marvel Select - X-Men: Psylocke (90s Jim Lee Version) - Diamond Select Toys 2019

I've always loved Betsy Braddock. There was something about her early appearances that really appealed to me. The lavender-haired, pink-garbed psychic never really got her proper dues. However, the Jim Lee / Chris Claremont run on X-Men in the early nineties changed her look (race), attitude, and costume and suddenly she became one of the most popular mutants out there. I was happy to see her finally get that well-deserved recognition, but it was a bit of a bummer that she had to transform so much to get there. But in the past few years her character has been reverting to her pre-ninja past in the comics. And in October I believe she is reclaiming the mantle of Captain Britain in the new Excalibur title. I do really love the 90's ninja look and all the toys we get of her, but for a character that has had many different looks over the years, I want some of that variety reflected in plastic. My fingers are crossed for a good retro figure. In the meantime, I think this Marvel Select Psylocke is the best so far. Let's check her out!

Tuesday, August 27, 2019

Miraculous Ladybug - QUEEN BEE!

Miraculous Ladybug Action Figures: Wave 04 - Queen Bee - Bandai 2018

I love Bumblebee-themed characters. I even did a week-long series of bee-lady reviews back in 2014 leading up to the release of Sweet Bee. There's something about the yellow and black color palette that I find very appealing (with the inexplicable exception of team colors in sports... on a jersey I hate this color combo). The occasional wings and stinger added to the look is just an added bonus. Something I find enjoyable about Miraculous is how the same human characters assume different costumed identities throughout the series. Chloe is Marinette's nemesis and has appeared in Ladybug's outfit, a color-swapped version named Anti-bug, then this Queen Bee costume (which I think is her most iconic look), followed by a color-swapped version Queen Wasp. Marinette's best friend, Alya, has been Lady Wi-Fi, Rena Rouge, and Rena Rage. And Marinette herself has been a number of characters, most notably Ladybug, Lady Noire, and Multimouse. I love this system. Let's check out Queen Bee below!

Sunday, August 25, 2019

DC Multiverse - STARFIRE!

DC Comics Multiverse: Batman Ninja Collect-n-Connect - Starfire - Mattel 2019

I've really been liking all the modern redesigns of Starfire. I know her New52 look got a lot of flak for being too provocative (and her having a sexually disassociative personality), but I liked it. I thought it was an appropriate adaption of the character, considering she was historically always making awkward sexual advances and basically wearing suspenders as an outfit. She's had two noticeable design changes since then. One was her solo series redesign by Amanda Conner, and the Rebirth design seen with this new DC Multiverse figure. I like that she always has the same consistent color palette with orange skin, reddish hair, and a purple and silver outfit. Starfire is one of those characters that will always be provocative, no matter how much flesh is being bared. So taking that into consideration, I actually much prefer the more covered version that we see here over her signature strappy getups. I'm glad we got a figure of her in this version since I'm sure it was change again soon. Let's check her out below!

Friday, August 23, 2019

Transformers - TRICKDIAMOND & FLOWSPADE

Transformers: Unite Warriors - Megatronia Gift Set - TakaraTomy Mall Exc 2017

Assigning gender to robots is always a tricky business. I personally find myself drawn to characters with a typically feminine (aka hourglass) silhouette and a face with some feminine characteristics. However I cringe when those same features are exaggerated and we see gigantic metal breasts and pouty lips. On the opposite end of the spectrum are the stocky (and dare I say, masculine) characters like Strika, Manta Ray, and Override. I always have a lot of issues with these characters too. But it's not because I think femininity has to be confined to a certain aesthetic, but rather that my pessimistic side assumes the toy-makers were lazy and just wanted to re-use male parts. This brings us to the legs of the Megatronia combiner: Trickdiamond and Flowspade. I love one, and I hate one.  They both have short stocky bodies (that are indeed re-used male bucks), but Trickdiamond also has a great face and cool color scheme. Flowspade has an unexpressive ninja head and a stereotypically pink color scheme.

Wednesday, August 21, 2019

Transformers - MOONHEART & LUNACLUB!

Transformers: Unite Warriors - Megatronia Gift Set - TakaraTomy Mall Exc 2017

Every good military unit needs great soldiers. And with Megaempress' army, her Copter Twins (Moonheart and Lunaclub) are her first line of defense. Megaempress actually created the pair herself, so they are her most trusted protectors and always loyal to their creator. Moonheart has power over water and uses Blizzard Blade sword to freeze her enemies, while her sister Lunaclub has similar powers over fire and uses her Flame Sword to wreak destruction. The twins are repaints of Skyburst and Stormclash from the Victorion gift set a year earlier (who are both just a slight retool of Alpha Bravo). But again, there's something about these Megatronia re-decos that just really pops. It also doesn't hurt that this gift set gave us five female Decepticons and none of them are purple (let that sink in for a moment). An amusing thing I've noticed is that the Victorion (Autobot) figures have angrier looking faces that the Megatronia (Decepticon) ones. It's the paint around the eyes. Let's check out the Copter Twins below!

Monday, August 19, 2019

Transformers - MEGAEMPRESS!

Transformers: Unite Warriors - Megatronia Gift Set - TakaraTomy Mall Exc 2017

I just learned about this character so bear with me while I excitedly rant. Megaempress was made from Megatron's spare parts and became his love interest (think of a dysfunctional Optimus and Elita). She has the ability to manipulate and control male Transformers and is viewed as dangerous and untrustworthy by her fellow Decepticons. They even overtook her and put her in stasis for many years. When she was revived, Megatron had been reincarnated as Galvatron and she immediately began plotting her way into his regime. Also, she once had her sights set on Optimus Prime, but he was able to resist her powers by focusing on his connection to Elita One (awww). This toy is fantastic and makes the high purchase price of the Megatronia set worth it. She is a straight-up repaint of Pyra Magna from the Victorion set, which in turn is a retool of Hot Spot. But her coloring and backstory make her infinitely more interesting than Pyra Magna (imho). Plus, female Decepticons are severely lacking.

Saturday, August 17, 2019

Legendary Comic Book Heroes - ANN O'BRIEN!

LCBH - Series 02 (Monkeyman Build-a-Figure) - Ann O'Brien - Marvel Toys 2007

There's a lot of 90's nostalgia happening right now in the toy world. Every time I tune in to Marvel Legends news there is some excited announcement about some 90s-specific costume making everyone giddy. But the funny thing is that this was the era when my escalating distaste for Marvel and DC comics was reaching its peak. For most of the 90s I was obsessed with Manga and Indy comics. And my absolute favorite thing coming from the US market was the Legend imprint from Dark Horse Comics. This imprint was following the footsteps of Image Comics with creator-owned properties, but the difference is that the caliber of creators. John Byrne, Mike Mignola, Frank Miller, Paul Chadwick, Mike Allred, Walt Simonson, and Arthur Adams all had seriously established reputations and all launched projects under the aptly named Legend banner. Where Image was all flash and entertainment, Legend was classic and artistic (and a breath of fresh air amidst the "extreme" style ruining mainstream American comics).

Thursday, August 15, 2019

Miraculous Ladybug - VOLPINA!

Miraculous Ladybug Action Figures: Wave 03 - Volpina - Bandai 2018

Foxes are really intriguing animals to me. As a kid I was always excited to see them mysteriously slinking around our land, but there always seemed to be a certain mystery and intelligence surrounding them that I couldn't pinpoint. As a teenager I learned about how Japanese culture holds them in a similar regard and my overzealous childhood imagination suddenly seemed justified. The movie Pom Poko, the anime series Inu-Yasha, Sonic the Hedgehog, and the comic Skeleton Key were all a big part of my teenage years and they all featured foxes as shapeshifting or generally magical beings. (Plus an recent episode in the first season of Love, Death, and Robots featured a Huli Jung, which is an almost identical Chinese version of the Japanese Kitsume mythology). Long story short, I now had backup for my fox obsession. When I saw this character Volpina in images for Miraculous, I knew she had to have an eventual action figure. And luckily my premonition was correct, this Volpina is gorgeous. Let's check her out below!

Tuesday, August 13, 2019

DC Multiverse - KATANA!

DC Comics Multiverse: Killer Croc Collect-n-Connect Wave -Katana - Mattel 2019

I never thought I would have a Katana figure that really excited me. I always thought she was an interesting and notable character, but assassin types who fight with swords just always seemed a little unimaginative to me (as least in the over-the-top world of superhero comics). Her recent roles in Suicide Squad, Beware the Batman, and DC Superhero Girls made me realize that her popularity was quickly picking up steam, but I still thought her design was a tad boring. However, this Rebirth redeco changes her just enough to really intrigue me. It's barely any different - all the classic elements are present - but suddenly she reminds me of the designs from David Mack's Kabuki and a little of the Robin quasi-villain, Lynx (who I always wished had more staying power). I didn't realize how much I liked this design until I found this figure at Walmart last week. She's really stunning and it's a shame the Mattel is losing the licence after recently upping their game so impressively. Let's check out Katana below!

Sunday, August 11, 2019

Miraculous Ladybug - LADY NOIRE & MISTER BUG!

Miraculous Ladybug Action Figures: Wave 05 - Lady Noire & Mr. Bug - Bandai 2019

I love a good gender-swap, and I like it even better when it's true swap and two characters reverse their gender polarities. I don't know the exact storyline behind these costumes, but seeing Marinette in a cat outfit and Adrien in a ladybug getup makes me really happy.  Miraculous products have all but disappeared from the shelves in the US. The first two waves were available everywhere: Target, Walmart, Kmart, TRU, etc. But waves three, four, and now five seem to only be released in Europe (France, Germany, UK) and Russia. The crazy thing is that the show's popularity seems to be picking up lately. I've had multiple friends ask me where to get Miraculous toys, specifically because their kids have (recently) become huge fans. I hope the US toy industry takes note and they bring them back. I'll be spending the next few posts catching up on the backlog of figures I've acquired. It was really fun to finally open them all. Let's check out Lady Noir and Mister Bug below!

Friday, August 9, 2019

Transformers Warrior Class - SLIPSTREAM!

Transformers: Cyberverse - Warrior Class Target Exc - Slipstream - Hasbro 2019

I think I could go out on a limb and say that Slipstream is my favorite female Decepticon. Blackarachnia and Airachnid are cool and all, but I'm a bit of a Transformers purist and I like my alternate modes to be vehicles and not oversized robotic animals. The organic nature of the animal modes also makes their robot forms look very aesthetically different that other characters. All the other robots have hard edges and a mechanical functionality that I find very appealing. But the beast-based characters, although cool, look more like alien androids than robots. I only discovered Slipstream when I picked up her Kre-O figure about 5 years ago. Slipstream is a female clone of Starscream introduced during Transformers: Animated. Because she is a clone, her merchandise is often just a repainted Starscream (despite her looking distinctly feminine in the cartoons). But luckily this Warrior Class Starscream buck is very gender-neutral so I don't mind the laziness. Let's check out Slipstream below!

Wednesday, August 7, 2019

DC Direct - TERRA!

New Teen Titans - Series 02 (The Judas Contract) - Terra - DC Direct 2008

I always thought there were two true tests of a comic artist's skills: how well they draw animals and how well they draw kids. Both can be extremely difficult and I usually find most efforts cringe-worthy. I was a pretty decent fan of the Teen Titans when I was a kid, and the art by the legendary George PĂ©rez for the most part was fantastic, but one thing I always had issues with was the depiction of the young teenage character, Terra. She is the focal point of one of the most famous Titan stories ever (The Judas Contract), which I was unfortunately never able to finish do to my overly-judgemental artistic scruples. However, I always liked nature-based powers and when this action figure was released way back in 2008 I was impressed how well sculptor James Shoop was able to capture the artistic style that I found so off-putting in my youth. Looking back at that comic art now, I don't know what my problem was. But I also didn't like brussels sprout or the color pink, so what the hell did I know. Let's check out Terra below!

Monday, August 5, 2019

12" Fortnite - CUDDLE TEAM LEADER!

Fortnite - Victory Series (12" Figures) - Cuddle Team Leader - Jazwares 2019

I get ridiculously excited when I see new 12" action figures in the stores. Seriously, I make a fool out of myself. There are two factors that I attribute to this. Firstly, they are almost always unannounced. I usually find out about them on Instagram from someone discovering them in a store, and there is no wait time to start my hunt. Instant gratification. And secondly, I think the 12" figures give you the same scale perspective as you might have felt holding a 6-8" action figure in your tiny hands when you were a kid. There a kind of tactical nostalgia that's palpable. (If you haven't experienced this you need to go to five Below and pick up a random figure and try it). All my modern 12" figures are from Hasbro, Mattel, and Bandai, so when I stumbled across this new Fortnite line from Jazwares I was totally stoked that another player has entered the game. Even if the next few female offerings are just repaints of this Cuddle Team Leader figure (Panda Team and Spooky Team Leaders for example) I would be happy. It's a very quirky design and I gladly embrace any variants (within reason). Let's check out this 12"pink beauty below!

Sunday, August 4, 2019

Marvel Legends Vintage - DAZZLER!

Marvel Legends: Vintage (Toy Biz) Series 03 - Dazzler - Hasbro 2019

While watching the latest season of Stranger Things, I keep reminiscing on my own childhood mall memories of the 80's and 90's. One of the highlights for me and my siblings (aside from Kay-Bee Toys of course) was the arcade. I spent countless hours there as a child running frantic loops on the day-glo patterned carpets trailing a string of tickets a mile long. Only a few actual video games made a lasting impression on me though. Namely Golden Axe, Simpsons, and Konami's classic X-Men game. True to my nature, I only ever played the female characters, Storm and Dazzler. I didn't actually know Dazzler from the comics too well, but her inclusion in the 1985 Pryde of the X-Men cartoon must have made an impression because I knew exactly who the the character was. I didn't notice her again until her appearances early on in Jim Lee's X-Men series in the 90s. Her costume has changed a lot over the years, but because of those early introductions, I will always prefer this blue starburst look. Let's check her out!

Wednesday, July 24, 2019

Halo - SPARTAN TANAKA!

Halo Universe Series: Wave 2 - Spartan Tanaka (Grunt Ultra BaF) - Mattel 2018

I have always found the Mattel handling of the Halo property to be very confusing. However, I just finally wrapped my head around how different waves and character assortments work. So far, each Wave of figures has had two assortments. I have dubbed Wave One the "Crawler Wave." The first six figures allowed you to build the "Alpha Crawler". Then the second assortment for Wave One had two characters swapped out. These new characters had different Build-a-Figure pieces (Head & Shoulders/Back) which allowed you to build a slight variation, the "Crawler Snipe." Wave Two I call the "Grunt Wave." The first assortment allowed you to build the "Imperial Grunt." Then the second assortment swapped out a whopping four characters and allowed you to build "Grunt Ultra." If this roadmap was laid out for collectors, I never saw it. I would just see new figures in stores and get really confused. But I admit it was also exciting to stumble across unexpected characters like Holly Tanaka. Let's check her out below!

Monday, July 22, 2019

Halo - KELLY-087!

Halo Universe Series: Wave 1 - Kelly-087 (Crawler Snipe BaF) - Mattel 2017

I find it kind of amusing that McFarlane Toys stole Mattel's long-standing and lucrative DC Comics license this year when just a few years ago the reverse situation happened when Mattel nabbed the (rather iconic) Halo license from McFarlane. The Mattel Halo line started out with a lot of promise, but the momentum was squandered by poor distribution, and almost a complete lack of publicity. I'm pretty sure I've only seen these for sale at Toys R Us, K-Mart, Walgreens, and discount stores like Ross and Marshalls. Even the character lineups for different waves is really confusing to sort out (although I made a recent discovery that makes it all a lot more logical - I'll detail that in my next post (for Holly Tanaka)). I'm also having trouble finding out if Mattel even still has the Halo license. There hasn't been news of new product in a long time. And some of the announced figures appear to never have had a wide release (the Skeletor homage and several of the 12" figures in particular). Let's check out Kelly-087 below!

Saturday, July 20, 2019

The Ladies of TOP WING!

Nick Jr's Top Wing - Penny, Betty, and Shirley Squirrely - Hasbro/Playskool 2019

I have a real fondness for modern preschool toys. I don't normally get over-sentimental about these cute blobs of plastic, but when I walk down those toy aisles, I can't help but imagine my younger self seeing these selections and going wild. I may be exaggerating, but I feel like kid toys in the 80s were inundated by trucks, farm animals, and plushies. So seeing adorable articulated anthropomorphic action figures hanging on the pegs stirs up all kinds of (hypothetical) nostalgia. My current obsession is the Nick Jr property, Top Wing, which features a paradoxical group of bird pilots. I first noticed the puffin and penguin characters and I excitedly thought they would all be flightless birds ironically flying planes, but the Blue Jay throws that fun theme askew unfortunately. The character designs remind me of a throwback to 80's staples like Shirt-tales and the Getalong Gang, too. I especially got hooked when I started seeing non-bird characters like Betty Bat and Shirley Squirrely. Love some animal diversity! Let's check them out.

Thursday, July 18, 2019

Character Spotlight on BIG BARDA!

A Small Collection of the Grand Dame of the Female Furies: Big Barda 2007-19

I wasn't always a fan of Big Barda. In my less-enlightened youth I thought all superheroines had to fit a cookie-cutter body type and wear a nondescript spandex costumes to be worthy of my attention. But as an adult I realize that this large woman in a glaringly bold costume is all-around awesome (and a terrific example of non-conformity). And to add to my infatuation, I just learned Big Barda's look was inspired by Lainie Kazan (who I will always adore as the mom from My Big Fat Greek Wedding). I also appreciate her classic Jack Kirby geometric designs and her bold primary colors (all the primary colors to be exact.. I love it!) She is also currently starring in the comic Female Furies, which is her first (sort of) lead role in her 48 years, so the timing of this Character Spotlight seems pretty appropriate. Her merchandise makes for a fun-looking collection, like an exploded box of crayons. It's been a few years since I've done one of these posts, but it's really fun and I'm already brainstorming my next one. Let's check out the Bardas!

Tuesday, July 16, 2019

Marvel Gallery - SQUIRREL GIRL!

Marvel Gallery PVC Diorama - Squirrel Girl - Diamond Select Toys 2019

I love it when a wacky character becomes legitimately popular. A character whose name, power, and team affiliation (The Great Lakes Avengers) are all clearly intended to be tongue-in-cheek typically wouldn't have much staying power, but when they do, they tend to be pretty great all-around. Harley Quinn and Gwenpool were both similarly meant to be one-and-done pun-based characters who have persevered and established themselves and standalone characters. And now the quirky Doreen Green is joining those ranks. Squirrel Girl may have been introduced more than 28 years ago, but only in the last 10 has her popularity skyrocketed. She has had two solo comic series (the current one is up to issue #46), appearances in numerous animated shows (and a movie), many videogames, and her merchandise is starting to trickle out. We have yet to see a true action figure, but stuff like this gorgeous Marvel Gallery PVC Statue is more than enough to tide me over while I wait for the inevitable Legends figure.

Sunday, July 14, 2019

Kotobukiya ArtFx Plus - CATWOMAN!

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

If I ever upped my game and seriously started collecting much beyond action figures, I can guarantee I would become obsessed with the ArtFx+ line from Kotobukiya. They have a level of quality and a not-too-unreasonable price points that really captures my fancy. Plus the 1:10 scale can really blend well with most action figure collections. I haven't taken the plunge with the X-Men Animated statues yet, but every time I see them in a store I am super tempted. When I bought the first Catwoman ArtFx+ back in 2013, I immediately began wishing to complete the Gotham City Sirens. The villainous trio of Catwoman, Poison ivy, and Harley Quinn always captured my imagination like few other team-ups could. But the only other interesting figure in that first wave was Batgirl. Eventually there was a gorgeous Harley Quinn followed by Ivy, but they were in a different (better) style and I was upset my long-awaited trio wouldn't match. But alas, there was a new version on the horizon. Let's check out Catwoman v2 below!


Friday, July 12, 2019

Marvel Legends - SCARLET WITCH!

X-Men Legends - Family Matters 3-Pack - Amazon Exclusive - Hasbro 2019

I wasn't sure that I was going to like this updated Scarlet Witch figure. In the solicit images, it looked like her headsculpt was very different from existing Marvel Legends. It looks good, but almost as if they have a new sculpting team or maybe they're doing face scans of live (non-celebrity) models. If you compare her other comic-based Legends in the past five years, she just looks different. Also, her outfit looked metallic - which is a toy trend I really don't care for. But in actuality her outfit is a pearlescent plastic (like Moonstone) and her head looks so good that I don't care if she doesn't blend in. In fact, this figure reminds me so much of my favorite Wanda storylines from Young Avengers that it's reinvigorating my desire for updated figures from that team. Also, the fact that we got an updated figure within 4 years gives me hope that we might also get a redo of her sister Polaris (which I never thought was quite right). I'm not holding my breath, but I have a glimmer of hope now. Let's check out the new Wanda below!

Wednesday, July 10, 2019

Star Wars Black Series - DOCTOR APHRA!

Star Wars 6 " Black Series #87 (Comic Universe) - Doctor Aphra - Hasbro 2019

Before I bought this figure and researched her, I knew next to nothing about the character Doctor Aphra. A few years ago I noticed her featured on one of those "action figure variant covers" that Marvel loves to publish and I thought she looked like an interesting character. But upon reading her backstory tonight, I'm now super intrigued. Doctor Aphra was first introduced in the pages of Star Wars: Darth Vader from Marvel Comics in 2015. She was an archaelogist who originally worked for Vader, but eventually ended up running from him. She is an expert in droid and weapons technology and is notable for having the first solo spinoff title featuring a character original to the comics. She has swagger like Han Solo, charisma like Lando Calrissian, she makes a lot of poor decisions, she's essentially a villain (although not as bad as others), and she is the first gay character I can think of in the Star Wars universe. I'm now super excited to read her solo series. Let's check out Doctor Aphra below!

Monday, July 8, 2019

Marvel Legends - SHURI!

Marvel Legends - Black Panther (Hulk Build-a-Figure) - Shuri - Hasbro 2019

We know there is definitely going to be a second Black Panther movie and I'm really anticipating good things from it. The first movie wasn't my favorite. I wanted to see more of Wakanda, I wanted more Dora Milaje, and I wanted a whole lot less Erik Killmonger (Something about that character annoyed me *almost* as much as Lex Luthor in BvS). I think the second movie will embrace and expand upon my favorite elements and make for a better movie (IMHO). I'm also hoping we'll see an MCU Storm introduced. But one element I know we will see more of is Shuri. I never knew much about her other than her brief comic stint in the Black Panther mantle. But the recent movies have made me appreciate her on a whole new level. I personally work in the technology industry and the lack of females in STEM fields is a big problem. Role models like Shuri do a lot to encourage young girls to enter STEM careers. And aside from that, she is cool, competent, and confident - everything you want in a hero. Let's check her out below!

Saturday, July 6, 2019

Transformers Siege - GREENLIGHT!

Transformers - War for Cybertron: Siege - Greenlight & Dazzlestrike - Hasbro 2019

For those not in the know, there was an iconic episode from the 2nd season of Transformers in 1985 called The Search for Alpha Trion that introduced female Autobots. As a young kid (in 2nd grade!), I was obsessed with this episode. And even the instant mythology of these characters thrilled me (apparently female autobots were thought to be extinct). We were introduced to Elita One, Moonracer, Chromia, Firestar, and two unnamed silent characters who we now know as Lancer and Greenlight. These ladies pre-date Arcee by almost a year. I have trouble putting into words how excited I am that we are getting toys of these obscure characters (that are inexplicably branded into my psyche). Seriously though, they appeared in a single 23-minute episode 34 years ago and only had a few seconds of screentime each. I never ever ever expected to add these to my collection. Someone at TakaraTomy is looking out for me. I can't wait for the inevitable Lancer to fill out the ranks! Let's check out Greenlight below!

Thursday, July 4, 2019

Stranger Things - ELEVEN (MALL VERSION)!

Stranger Things Wave 4 - Eleven (Season Three) - McFarlane Toys 2019

I'm excited to dive into the 3rd season of Stranger Things today. I love that mix of Stephen King and Steven Spielberg aesthetics steeped in nostalgic 80's culture. I'm already anticipating the chills I get when the title screen fills up my TV (PS as a kid, I was obsessed with a book of my Dad's called Stranger Than Science by Frank Edwards. I swear the Duffer Bros must've had this book and been inspired by the logo). I've bought all the Eleven figures in the McFarlane Toys line so far, and I'll probably continue to do so, but this Season 3 version suffers from some pretty underwhelming paint applications. This happens occasionally (The Walking Dead Carol comes to mind), but it's still disappointing. The biggest issue is her eyes. They don't appear to have any lashes and the irises seem small and light (a big contrast to Millie's dark expressive eyes). I tried to darken her features a little and it helped, but I'm sure I'll try to touch her up even more once I start watching and get inspired. Let's check out Eleven below!

Tuesday, July 2, 2019

Marvel Legends - SPIDER-WOMAN (JULIA!)

Spider-Man Legends - Molten Man BaF Wave - Spider-Woman - Hasbro 2019

This Julia Carpenter Spider-Woman figure is one of my most-wished-for Marvel Legends. I've honestly never even read a Julia story that I enjoyed. Her real prominence was in the 1990s, and I always find that decade to be defined by dubious storytelling and art (at least where superheroes were concerned). But to me she will always be a super iconic Marvel heroine. Her costume is so cool that it even inspired Spider-Man's black suit. Marvel Legends has given us an insane amount of Spiders in the last five years, and Julia was glaringly absent (especially considering she's the second most noteworthy Spider-Lady). But the wait was worth it because this figure is perfection. She's a perfect blend of classic and modern (well, her hair is modern... thankfully). Now I need to re-assess my Spider-Man Legends wishlist... Mania, Agony, Lady Spider, Mattie Franklin, etc. I would love them all. But all the super important ones are now in my collection and i'm extremely happy about that. Let's check out Julia Carpenter below!

Monday, July 1, 2019

Marvel Legends - RESCUE!

Marvel Legends - Avengers Endgame (Hulk Build-a-Figure) - Rescue - Hasbro 2019

This Rescue Marvel Legends figure is a long time coming. Back in 2013, there was a third wave of Legends figures tied to the film Iron Man 3. It's pretty rare for a third wave of movie figures, so I wasn't totally surprised when the wave never hit the shelves. But the Pepper Potts Rescue figure that was supposed to be included was a major loss. But in 2016 we were given a fun bonus in a limited release of the figure as a Marvel Unlimited subscription exclusive. Unfortunately she didn't come with her alternate unmasked head (from the 2013 solicit), and the subscription to get her cost $100. So actually purchasing her proved difficult for the majority of collectors. But then earlier this year, Rescue finally made her MCU debut and I knew we'd be getting some awesome merchandise. It's also pretty impressive to get a Marvel Legends figure that has 100% new tooling. I've become so accustomed to seeing the same bucks over and over again that this was a welcome surprise. Let's check out Rescue below!

Friday, June 28, 2019

Beast Morphers - 12" YELLOW RANGER!

Power Rangers Beast Morphers - 12" Action Figure - Yellow Ranger - Hasbro 2019

I was nervous when word hit that Hasbro had usurped the Power Rangers license from Bandai. I don't doubt Hasbro's ability to create quality product, but I had become accustomed to the various figure lines Bandai would roll out with each new Power Rangers team. And we had only just started getting 12" figures with Dino Charge so I was afraid the torch wouldn't be carried. But sure enough, Hasbro knows the marketability of this scale with the success of their Marvel Titan Hero Series and we saw 12" Ranger and villain figures right away. My big hope now is that they show a little more commitment to the female characters than Bandai did. There aren't many marketable characters in Beast Morphers, so it will be an interesting test to see if they produce the second female, Cybervillain Roxy. So far she seems like the only one missing. Despite my feelings about the designs of the Beast Morphers Rangers (I think they look boring), I am really happy to have this 12" Yellow Ranger. I think it's a good sign of things to come.

Wednesday, June 26, 2019

Savage World - CHUN-LI (and VARIANT)!

Savage World - Street Fighter - Chun-Li (and Chase Variant) - Funko 2019

I'm on board for any Savage World figure Funko is willing to create. This surprises me because the "He-Man" style action figures aren't even that nostalgic for me. I never had any of the three vintage females originally produced in this barbarian style. In fact, I didn't even realized the Teela and Evil-Lyn figures existed until I was an adult. They were scarce in stores and none of my friends had them. (Sorceress, however, was actually a shelfwarmer in this random feed store my family frequented). But something about this line still has me really excited.  I think Savage World is a natural pairing with Super7's MOTU Vintage line and those figures (specifically She-Ra) won me over big time. Now I'm thrilled to see various other iconic properties get the vintage treatment. I have a wishlist a mile long, but I'm waiting for Funko to solve their QC issues and release their backlog (Cheetara!). But these Street Fighter figures don't seem to have any breakage issues, so we might be luck. Let's check out Chun-Li below!

Monday, June 24, 2019

DC Essentials - SUPERGIRL!

DC Essentials - Action Figure #16 - Supergirl - DC Collectibles 2019

I'm a relative newcomer to Supergirl fandom. When I really started diving deep into my superheroine idolatry, Supergirl was Linda Danvers. She wore a bare-midriff tshirt, white gloves, combat boots, a hairband, and an amost nonexistant skirt that looked like a glorifed belt. I wasn't a fan of the look, it was a weird blend of utilitarian and tarty. But I also felt that her personality was inconsistent. I made several honest attempts, but the character never stuck. The reboot of Supergirl in the New52 was the first time I fell in love with the Maid of Might. Then the TV show version captured me too and I realized I was likely a fan for life. When I first saw this DC Essentials figure is person I thought she looked odd. I thought her head was too narrow and her face looked too stern. But once I took her out of the package and started posing her all my hesitations went out the window. She's truly terrific. This whole line is filling me with joy. DC characters have been in desperate need of this. Let's check out Supergirl below!

Saturday, June 22, 2019

DC Essentials - CHEETAH!

DC Essentials - Action Figure #15 - The Cheetah - DC Collectibles 2019

Cheetah is a character that has always intrigued me. I loved the classic Priscilla Rich version, but I'm most fascinated by the felinoid Barbara Ann Minerva version. There are a lot of similar characters in pop culture (like Marvel's Tigra and ThunderCats' Cheetara), but Cheetah just seems more dangerous and feral than the others. The unfortunate thing is that there really hasn't been a great action figure of her before now. And boy did this figure make up for her lackluster merchandising history. I can't get over how gorgeous this figure is. Everything from the subtle color gradients, to the great spot details, to the overall sculpt and articulation is perfection. I wasn't surprised to see Sam Greenwell's name on the sculpting credit, he has a knack for creating stunning female figures. I have a feeling this figure will be the beginning of an avalanche of Cheetah product in advance of the Wonder Woman '84 movie. But honestly this one will be extremely hard to beat. Let's check out the DC Essentials Cheetah below!

Thursday, June 20, 2019

DC Universe Classics - MARY MARVEL!

DC Universe Classics - Wave 12 - Mary Marvel (Red Costume) - Mattel 2010

Mattel's DC Universe Classics (and its immediate predecessor DC Super-Heroes) was a game-changing line for DC fans. We finally had a product with the same far-reaching potential as Marvel Legends. And over its four-year run we saw dedication to obscure factions like the Metal Men, Doom Patrol, and New Gods. Not to mention an amazing homage to the vintage Super Powers toyline. The series brought me so much joy. However, it was not without its flaws. Specifically, the female buck was very oddly proportioned. The arms were always awkwardly short and thin. The faces always seemed to get flattened in the production process. The feet often seemed over-sized. And the shoulder, hip, and abdominal joints always looked too exposed. Despite having every single female DCUC figure in my collection, I have keep few on display. I count 37 female figures, but I only keep 8 of them out. But looking at them now with fresh eyes I definitely think several more will be gracing my shelves.. including this Mary Marvel.

Tuesday, June 18, 2019

Power Rangers - DINO THUNDER YELLOW RANGER!

Power Rangers Legacy Collection S5 - Dino Thunder Yellow Ranger- Bandai 2019

I'm really rather sad that the Power Rangers Legacy collection from Bandai has come to a close so quickly. In three short years, we got 10 pretty awesome female rangers in this 6" scale. It's a shame because I was really looking forward to getting some of the villains as well (which were hinted at during convention presentations). But instead I'm left wondering if the new Lightning Collection from Hasbro will ever contain any female characters and how they might look. I'm sure we will likely see one at SDCC next month, but I don't consider it a good sign that everything shown so far has been a total boys club. Dino Thunder aired in the US in 2004, which was right around the time I started seriously collecting toys as an adult. I remember being a bit disappointed because there was only one female ranger in this iteration, but I did think it was kind of cool that she represented another pterosaur like MMPR Pink (although I remember buying a toy of her back then that came with a yellow raptor.. hmm). Let's check her out below!

Sunday, June 16, 2019

Pan's Labyrinth - OFELIA!

Guillermo del Toro Signature Collection - Pan's Labyrinth Ofelia - NECA 2019

I love the fact the NECA toys is making a line of action figures based on the films of Guillermo del Toro. I'm a big fan of his movies. Similar to Harryhausen and (early) Tim Burton movies, there is a wonderful sense of imagination and creativity in all his work... with an overarching aesthetic of creepiness. The only unfortunate thing for this blog is that there are very few female characters to expect. All of the super iconic characters, like Pan, Pale Man, and Amphibian Man (from Shape of Water) are decidedly male. So I was was surprised to see this figure of Ofelia as one of the first characters released. It's been more than 10 years since I've watched Pan's Labyrinth so the details of the movie are a bit fuzzy to me, but once I saw all the cool pack-in accessories in this set it all came flooding back. I had seen both this movie and Devil's Backbone within a few months of each other so my memories are a bit blended, but this toy is definitely making me excited to watch them both again. Let's check out Ofelia below!

Friday, June 14, 2019

Fortnite - DARK BOMBER!

Fortnite Action Figures (Series 02) - Dark Bomber - McFarlane Toys 2019

McFarlane Toys has really been surprising me lately. For many years I didn't much like the aesthetic of their product. Hyper-detail and gore does not appeal to me. So it just wasn't a natural fit. But at the same time, I can't deny that I was super impressed by a few offerings in those early years (Danger Girl and Wetworks in particular). However, in the 2010s they really upped their game with very amazing figures for Halo, Assassin's Creed, and The Walking Dead. The articulation and character selection was better than most of their competitors and I found myself buying figures that I had no connection to just because they looked so good. That trend has continued, and the variety in figure types has expanded impressively. This dynamic Fortnite line makes me really excited to see what develops with the DC Comics license (and the upcoming Dark Crystal figures of course). This Dark Bomber figure is pretty stunning. The monochromatic tones and mix of metallic and flat paints looks great. Let's check her out!

Wednesday, June 12, 2019

3.75" Fortnite - CALAMITY & DARK BOMBER!

Fortnite: 3.75" Figures Wave 2 - Calamity & Dark Bomber - Jazwares 2019

I must admit I was a little worried about the 3.75" Fartnite (I'm leaving that typo - you're welcome) figures from Jazwares. The first wave didn't move nearly as well as I had expected. I actually don't know any sales numbers, but the figures have been warming the shelves since before the holidays. Jazwares has a history of ending toylines too soon. Their Hanna-Barbera and Assassin's Creed lines showed so much promise, but only ever saw a single wave. And their Sonic line lasted years, but still ended abruptly. So I was expecting a similar pattern with Fortnite, but it turns out they definitely had a second wave in the works, as well as a surprise 6" line that just recently hit the stores (I can't wait to see if they include any female characters in the future). I don't totally love the execution of these two 3.75" females in this newest offering. Dark Bomber is a simple repaint of Brite Bomber and Calamity has a costume that creates a lot of bulk and immobility. But these issues seem kind of universal in this scale. Let's check them out below!

Monday, June 10, 2019

Masters of the Universe Vintage - TEELA!

Masters of the Universe Vintage Wave 2 - Teela - Super7 2019

When Super7 announced their Masters of the Universe Vintage line, I was wholly uninterested.  I'm all about nostalgia, but I'm realistic (ie spoiled) enough to want to modern advances in sculpting and production. (I actually cringe a little when I see things like those boxy Transformers re-releases at Walmart). In my mind the Club Grayskull MOTUC figures are a perfect blend of vintage aesthetics with modern production, and these vintage rehashes are just... unimaginative. But then the first female offering in the Super7 Vintage line was a She-Ra that filled a huge void in my collection and suddenly I was on-board for anything they had to offer. This Teela figure from wave two surprises me by making me realize how inaccurate the original one was. The new sculpt captures all the Filmation details perfectly. I'm thrilled with how good she looks. Now i'm really excited to get the upcoming Evil-Lyn and Shadow Weaver (and even that weird ice blue Teela). Let's check out the Vintage Series Teela below!

Saturday, June 8, 2019

My Little Pony - CAPTAIN CELAENO!

My Little Pony the Movie - Captain Celaeno - Walmart Exclusive - Hasbro 2017

I've made several serious attempts in my life to become a Bronie. It's a life I can totally see myself diving into. And all my friends (at least the ones who know about my toy obsessions) assume I already am one. But I just couldn't ever get into the show and the toys just haven't drawn me in the way I would expect. But every now and then I see an MLP toy that excites me and I'll hunt it down. This figure of Captain Celaeno from My Little Pony the Movie was definitely one of those. The unfortunate thing is that this Walmart-exclusive figure never really hit the stores. As far as I can tell she was only released in Canada... until a few weeks ago when I found her FiveBelow!  I mean, if you have to wait two years to find a sought-after toy at retail, that's definitely a satisfying conclusion to the hunt. Captain Celaeno is an anthropomorphic parrot pirate voiced by Zoe Saldana. I'm kind of obsessed with her design. The green plumage and crystal peg leg are so cool to me. Plus the overall sculpt is great. Let's check her out below!

Thursday, June 6, 2019

Avengers Basic Series RESCUE!

Avengers Endgame - Basic S02 Iron Man and Rescue 2-Pack - Hasbro 2019

I really thought Avengers: Endgame was a terrific movie. Despite my love for comics and superheros, I often shy away from film versions of the genre. Especially when something is pitched as a huge blockbuster with an expansive cast.  I still always see these movies of course, but my hopes are never very high. I much prefer smaller-scale films with detailed character development. But Avengers Endgame surprised me. It really look advantage of the groundwork laid by the 21 (!) previous MCU movies and told a compelling, cohesive, and exciting story. And it may seem silly, but one of my favorite take-aways was the long-awaited cinematic debut of Pepper Potts in her Rescue armor. She only had seconds of screentime, but it really made an impression on me. And it appears the merchandising community too notice too because there is a flood of Rescue product coming. My first purchase was a Funko Pop, but this basic figure it the one I was really looking forward to. Let's check her out below!

Tuesday, June 4, 2019

X Faction - IRON LADY!

Iron Lady (Unlicensed Pepper Potts Rescue) PVC Statue - X Faction Studio 2017

This was a figure I really struggled with. I've seen it popping up on eBay for a few years and I always been really intrigued. I love Rescue as a character. There have been so few female Iron "Men"  in the comics (Rhodey Stark and Antoinette Stark come to mind - but they are both one-and-done type characters). So when Pepper Potts donned the armor I finally thought we had one with staying power. And I have been proven right. The new movie has really solidified her in the public eye. And I really like the blue armor in the MCU. But it made me quickly nostalgic for the classic red armor (which I felt would be completely phased out in the blink of an eye). So I caved and bought this Iron Lady. There are two big moral problems with this figure. Firstly, she's unlicensed. I'm known to pick up the occasional bootlego, but in general I like to respect intellectual property. Secondly, there is some major dubious intent here. Be forewarned, this is an adults-only collectible. Let's check out Iron Lady below!

Saturday, June 1, 2019

Transformers Titan Changers - SHATTER!

Transformers Bumblebee Movie - Titan Changers 12" - Shatter - Hasbro 2018

I never would have a expected to have a Titan-scale 12" Transformer that actually transforms. I thought the Quickshadow figure from a couple years ago was the best we would ever get. But then the Bumblebee movie products rolled out and they included this 12" Titan Changers Shatter. I pretty much only pay attention to female Transformers characters, so I realize transforming Titans may have been around for a while, but this is all new to me. So when all the Bumblebee movie product starting appearing on the shelves, I was eagerly hunting this figure. Unfortunately it never appeared anywhere that I could find. I ended up ordering her from the Walmart website last week before she disappeared forever. I'm glad I finally bit the bullet, too, because she's a pretty cool action figure. Her construction appears a little cheap upon inspection (most of her body is hollow from the back, like a jello mold). But the overall look, transformation feature, and low price point make up for it. Let's check out Shatter below!

Thursday, May 30, 2019

Rescue Heroes - SANDY O'SHIN!

Rescue Heroes - Series 01 - Sandy O'Shin (Water Rescue) - Fisher-Price 2019

Preschool toys have come leaps and bounds since my childhood. For some reason action figures were always reserved for older children, and the only ones we actually did get were blocky and rather boring. But kids these days have a ton of really fun options. They have aisles full of cutesy articulated animal characters, super heroes, and the most recent additions: the new Rescue Heroes from Fisher-Price. This line is a reboot of a pretty successful run with the same name from 1998-2004. However, these new figures incorporate the design aesthetics of the wildly popular Imaginext line with the larger and more durable construction of the original Rescue Heroes. The initial lineup of characters has been available on the Walmart website for a few weeks. There are seven different figures so far - all featured on a series of animated shorts on YouTube Kids. I'm eagerly awaiting more brightly-colored, punny-named heroes. Let's check out Sandy O'Shin (oh brother, that name) below!

Wednesday, May 29, 2019

Rescue Heroes - SKY JUSTICE!

Rescue Heroes - Series 01 - Sky Justice & Hover Pack - Mattel/Fisher-Price 2019

When I started really getting into collecting Imaginext figures back in 2012, I was mostly excited about their DC Super Friends characters. But after a while I started diving deep into the history of Fisher-Price "adventure" toys and I discovered Rescue Heroes. These were larger scale figures (roughly 5-6" tall) featuring characters from various heroic professions: Fire fighters, police officers, lifeguards, etc. The line ran from 1998-2004 and had a ton of figures - including at least 19 females! But before you get excited, there were only three unique female characters, just with a zillion redecos. These figures themselves didn't really appeal to me, but I instantly had dreams of them being included in the smaller Imaginext line. Then in 2014, my dreams came true and handful of Imaginext Rescue Heroes were released (but it didn't last). Then there was nothing until this year's Toy Fair when Fisher-Price unveiled a whole new Rescue Heroes line in the original scale but with the Imaginext Aesthetic. Let's check out Sky Justice!