Saturday, November 30, 2019

Justice League International - ICE!

Justice League International - Action Figures Series 01 - Ice - DC Direct 2009

Fire and Ice are two characters I know next to nothing about. I never read any Justice League books when I was young, let alone Justice League International. But when I got into toy collecting in my twenties, the official DC Direct message boards were overflowing with fans begging for action figures of the pair. There was also a fair amount of shipping going on, but as far as I can tell that was all just fanboy fantasy. Once I started reading about the characters, though, I became kind of obsessed. I love the theme of elemental opposites with coinciding temperaments. Ice is Tora Olafsdotter, a naive girl from a magic wielding tribe of Norsemen. There is some confusion with the character Icemaiden who debuted a decade prior. Apparently the JLI writers thought Icemaiden never had a fleshed-out history when they introduced Ice (who they intended to be the same character). But Icemaiden had a very detailed origin previously published which led to Ice being an (unintentionally) original character.

Thursday, November 28, 2019

Marvel Toybox - CAPTAIN MARVEL!

Toybox - Marvel Action Figures #18 Captain Marvel - Disney Store Exclusive - 2019

The Disney Store exclusive Toybox line is really on a roll these day. When the line launched just a little under two years ago, I had high hopes, but low expectations. The first female offering was Rey from Star Wars and I had mixed feelings. The scale, articulation, and overall quality was great, but the face looked creepy.  Thankfully two years later all the faces now look great, and the character selection has been exciting. This Captain Marvel is my 5th figure so far, and I hope there will be many more. (I skipped all the Disney ladies: Jessie, Minnie, Bo Peep, and Incredibles). I like how this Carol Danvers figure is a blend of her comic, MCU, and Disney Infinity designs. Hopefully future figures will be the same (Gamora? Valkyrie? Scarlet Witch? Pepper Potts as Rescue?) I kind of like how the new figures are kept a secret until pictures are leaked just a few weeks before they hit the stores. Really keeps us collectors on our toes and reminds me of the old toy hunting days. Let's check out Captain Marvel below!

Tuesday, November 26, 2019

Alpha Flight - SNOWBIRD!

Marvel Legends - Alpha Flight Boxset (Amazon Exc) - Snowbird - Hasbro 2019

I think Snowbird just may be the most memorable member of Alpha Flight for me. Similar to characters like Thor and Valkyrie, Snowbird is actually a deity (the demi-goddess Narya specifically) that is living on Earth under the guise of a mortal. Her presence in the comics was mysterious and creepy. Her black eyes and her cold countenance is a recipe for intrigue. and the fact that she can transform into any animal of the north just adds to her allure. As a kid, animals were my obsession, so any character with animal-based powers was a natural draw - let alone the ability to become almost any animal. Her appeal must have been universal among fans, because she actually has a decent amount of merchandise. But this is the first Legends-scale figure released (and she had been of my wishlist for a long time). I actually just read that John Byrne created her years before he even entered the comic industry, making her technically the original member of the group! Let's check out the long-awaited Snowbird below!

Monday, November 25, 2019

Alpha Flight - AURORA!

Marvel Legends - Alpha Flight Boxset (Amazon Exc) - Aurora - Hasbro 2019

One thing I always loved about Alpha Flight was the great gender diversity within the team. Right off the bat the team had three interesting and diverse females, and within the first couple years they added two more. The original three ladies were so mysterious and intriguing. Snowbird was a cold and distant goddess, Marrina was a scaly aquatic creature with no memories of her origin, and of course Aurora, the powerful mutant with two distinct (and contradicting) personalities. Aurora and her twin Northstar have almost identical powers of super speed, strength, endurance, and flight (one twin may be more skilled at one power than the other, but it balances out), but Jeanne-Marie Beaubier really stands out from her brother by having disassociative personality disorder. When she is Aurora, she is bold and provocative, but when living as Jeanne-Marie she was timid and devoutly religious. Although her brother has garnered more headlines over the years, Aurora was always the more interesting sibling to me.

Sunday, November 24, 2019

Alpha Flight - VINDICATOR!

Marvel Legends - Alpha Flight Boxset (Amazon Exc) - Vindicator - Hasbro 2019

This new Amazon-exclusive Marvel Legends Alpha Flight 6-Pack is a dream come true for me. I have wanted a full inclusion of this team into the Legends line for a long long time. There have been a handful of false starts in both the Marvel Legends and Marvel Universe lines with an occasional Guardian, Sasquatch, Puck or Northstar released, but the entire team seemed like a pipe dream. The 90's ToyBiz lineup was surprisingly good (and thorough), but the scale and sculpt could never hold up to modern scrutiny. In the past two years we have seen an updated Sasquatch and Guardian which gave me hopes that we would see some more members. But I never would have predicted this. I was especially scared that we wouldn't see a Heather Hudson as Vindicator since she wasn't an original hero on the team (she took over the role later on after her husband died). She ended up leading the team and is honestly the most iconic character on the whole roster for me. Let's check out Heather McNeil Hudson as Vindicator below!

Friday, November 22, 2019

Miraculous Ladybug - RENA ROUGE!

Miraculous Ladybug Action Figures: Wave 04 - Rena Rouge - Bandai 2018

I just made a new friend who works for Nickelodeon and it made me realize I never reviewed this amazing Rena Rouge figure. I know that Miraculous: Tales of Ladybug and Cat Noir is on Disney now. But I will always think of it as a Nickelodeon show. Rena Rouge is another akumatized version of Marinette's best friend, Alya. Earlier in the series, she had been tricked into becoming the villain, Lady Wi-Fi, but this time around she joins with the Kwami Trixx to become the fox-themed hero, Rena Rouge. In this identity, she assists her friends Ladybug and Cat Noir with her powers of illusion and trickery. I always love the eastern-inspired folklore of foxes as supernatural tricksters, and I'm super glad that the Miraculous toyline has given us two fox-themed ladies so far. I just love these bright, colorful action figures and I hope Bandai continues to produce more (even if they are impossible to get in the US). I'm only missing one character now (Multimouse) and I don't want the hunt to end! Let's check out Rena Rouge below!

Wednesday, November 20, 2019

Star Wars 12" Last Jedi - CAPTAIN PHASMA!

Star Wars: The Last Jedi - 12" Action Figures - Captain Phasma - Hasbro 2017

I had a lot of high hopes for Captain Phasma. A female storm trooper captain in silver armor with an intimidating stature and a cape is a recipe for awesome. But in actuality, I felt that she was very underused. I don't know exactly what I expected from her, but a glorified drill sergeant that plummets down an abyss of a crumbling Starkilller base seems very lacklustre. I thought I had picked up all the Phasma action figures until I saw this 12" figure at FiveBelow and realized I had skipped it. I vaguely remember seeing a 12" Phasma for Force Awakens at TRU and thinking it looked like a generic silver Stormtrooper. I passed on it at the time. The funny thing is, I believe this Last Jedi version is a straight-up re-release, but for some reason it is now infinitely more appealing (especially for five bucks!) Spoiler: In fact-checking this post, I learned that there are deleted scenes on the Last Jedi DVD that imply Phasma is not as dead as we might think (although I highly doubt she will have a role in Skywalker). Let's check her out below!

Monday, November 18, 2019

Terminator Salvation - BLAIR WILLIAMS!

Terminator: Salvation - Blair Williams w/ Resistance A-10 Warthog - Playmates 2009

This action figure was a major mystery to me for a long time. I saw her once for sale on eBay in a loose lot and was instantly intrigued. With the absence of G.I.Joe in the toy aisles, I was kind of starved for new 3.75" ladies. The movie Terminator: Salvation was really under my radar. I never saw it, and I'm not sure I ever realized it had a toy line. But in true 3.75" fashion, there was a single female character made and she was rare and came exclusively packaged with a large vehicle (reminds me of Cover Girl and her Wolverine, Maria Hill with the S.H.I.E.L.D. Helicarrier,  or Uhura with the USS Enterprise bridge). In Salvation, Blair Williams is a pilot with the Resistance under John Connor who suffers from survivor's guilt and serves as a romantic interest for Marcus Wright. Her action figure comes packaged in a large deluxe vehicle set with her A-10 Warthog and seems to have been largely released in Europe with minimal (if any) release in the US.  Let's check out Blair Williams in detail below!

Saturday, November 16, 2019


Star Wars 6" Black Series #95 - Second Sister Inquisitor (& Variant) - Hasbro 2019 

When I first saw images of this Black Series Second Sister Inquisitor, I got really excited. Of course, that excitement was based on two big misconceptions and a subsequent errant theory. I assumed that this wave was all characters from Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker. And I thought that her red lightsaber was the same one shown wielded by Rey in the teaser trailer for the film. This made me wrongfully theorize that this movie would show Rey fully turn to the dark side and don a costume similar to Kylo Ren's. This thrilled me. I love the idea of a character switching allegiances in a grand way. But of course I was mistaken on every front. This character is an antagonist from the new game Star Wars Jedi Fallen Order. The Inquisitorius are an elite group of force-sensitive agents working for the empire. I forgot about the Seventh Sister Inquisitor which had a figure in the animated Rebels line. Maybe eventually we'll meet all the sisters? The game just released yesterday so I guess we'll see. Let's check her out below!

Thursday, November 14, 2019

Star Wars 12" Solo - ENFYS NEST!

Solo: A Star Wars Story - 12" Action Figures - Enfys Nest - Hasbro 2018

I thought Solo: A Star Wars Story was an unexpectedly entertaining film. Before I actually saw it, I felt the previews looked uninspired, the casting seemed off, and many of the costumes seemed too modern to fit into the Star Wars Universe... especially for a story that pre-dates A New Hope. But once I actually saw it, all my hesitations went out the window. The story was fun. The casting was great. And the easter eggs were a'plenty. One of my favorite parts of the movie was the antagonist, Enfys Nest. This character was mysterious, dangerous, and just looked really cool. It's been several years so forgive the spoiler, but the surprise gender reveal at the end really shocked me and made me like the character even more. This is the first Enfys action figure I own. The Black Series and Galactic Heroes figures were both included with big sets so I held out for clearance. This 12" figure never really hit stores, perhaps because she's in a wider box and required a separate peg. But she's available on Hasbro Pulse or the Walmart website.

Tuesday, November 12, 2019

Marvel Legends - JEAN GREY (90'S JIM LEE)!

Marvel Legends - X-Men 3-Pack: Wolverine, Jean Grey, and Cyclops - Hasbro 2019

The 1990's Jean Grey design always seems a little problematic in toy form. On the page, it looks great and iconic. But giant hair, shoulderpads, and a thong-over-bodysuit design  often looks awkward in plastic. This new Marvel Legends figure is easily the best interpretation so far, but even still, from some angles she looks extremely awkward (in my humble opinion). I imagine a Marvel Select version will arrive at some point at the future to go with Rogue and Psylocke and hopefully she'll come with excessive power accessories. The 1990's nostalgia boom in the Legends line is pretty amazing right now. It honestly wasn't my comic favorite era as far as storyline and costume designs go, but back then I was as excited as anyone by the thrill of a fresh take on these characters. I bought every issue with gusto for a little over a year until the thrill wore off. Jean comes in a set unofficially called the "Love Triangle 3-Pack" with Wolverine and Cyclops (scandalous). Let's check out this long-awaited Jean Grey figure below!

Sunday, November 10, 2019

Marvel Legends - POLARIS (X-FACTOR)!

Marvel Legends - X-Men 2-Pack: X-Factor Havok and Polaris - Hasbro 2019

This may be a very unpopular opinion these days, but I was never a huge fan of the 1991 X-Factor relaunch. Most of this had to do with my love for two of the main characters, Polaris and Wolfsbane, and my extreme dislike of their costumes and personality changes in this run. However, seeing these characters showing up on the shelves in toy form still hits me with a powerful wave of nostalgia. I remember buying and reading those issues like it was yesterday. I may even have to did out the old comics and give them another chance. At this point I'm probably going to have to hunt down a couple Madrox the Multiple Man figures then budget to build the Strong Guy build-a-figure next year. And of course I think we all expect to see a proper X-Factor Wolfsbane now. Plus the new furry arms and legs can be re-purposed for Feral, Tigra, and Hepzibah (And Squirrel Girl's tail for Hepzibah!). I'm imagining a fun few years for the Legends line. Let's check out the emerald-haired beauty in detail below!

Saturday, November 9, 2019

The Women of ROBOCOP!

Robocop - Nancy Miner, Anne Lewis, Lisa Madigan - Toy Island & Kenner 1988-98

I've been wanting to do this review forever. I literally took some of these photo 6 years ago, but am only now getting around to posting them. I was listening to a conversation lately about how many R-rated properties in the 1990s were turned into kid-friendly cartoons and TV shows with the express interest in selling toys to a younger demographic. It seems like a crazy notion, but it happened all the time. Robocop had three R-rated movies produced between 1987-1993, but spawned four different television series (2 live-action, 2 animated) between 1994-1998. Almost every version had a toy line geared towards kids. I find this amusing because my primary memory of the entire franchise is in the beginning of the first film when the ED-209 prototype malfunctions and obliterates the businessman in the most gorey fashion possibly. My brothers and I must have played that scene in slow motion a thousand times. Hardly a property I would expose kids to. Let's check out the ladies of the franchise below!

Wednesday, November 6, 2019

MOTU Minis - SHE-RA!

Masters of the Universe Minis - Series 02 - She-Ra & Horde Trooper - Mattel 2014

Back in 2014 Mattel released a terrific series of Masters of the Universe Minis. There were 12 figures in the first wave, and if you purchased them all you could construct a mini Castle Grayskull diorama. At the time, a lot of fans viewed these figures as overpriced ($20 per 2-pack + Shipping), but I personally thought they were pretty great and would have jumped right on board... if they had included some females. The second wave showed a lot of potential and momentum for the line. It featured a Snake Mountain diorama and included the first female: She-Ra. Unfortunately the subscription numbers didn't support production so there was never an official release. But years later the 2-Pack of She-Ra and Horde Trooper started hitting Chinese sites like Aliexpress. I managed to snag a set and I adore it. It makes me want to pick up all the figures I've missed (you can often find them at GameStop). Or I can wait to see how many molds get re-released in the new 2020 blind box line. Time will tell!

Monday, November 4, 2019

Bendy and the Ink Machine - ALLISON ANGEL!

Bendy and the Ink Machine - Series 02 - Allison Angel - PhatMojo 2018

Bendy and the Ink Machine is part of a great new evolution of video games featuring realistic textural worlds come to life. In Five Nights at Freddy's a haunted pizza joint where the animatronic mascots come to life. In Unravel, the hero Yarny is a sentient string man exploring his world. In Cuphead you're immersed in the world of classic rubber hose animation. In Showdown Bandit, and classic marionette shows has come to life. And in Bendy, an animation studio is somehow giving life to all its insane characters. I love this trend. I feel that creativity was missing from the genre for years and suddenly it's on overdrive. I don't actually know who this Allison Angel character is. I made the mistake of Googling her name at work trying to learn more, and I'm expecting the call from HR any minute. Her namesake seems to be quite popular if you're into the blonde busty type. This figure is pretty awesome looking though. She's creepy without being overtly "horror." I try to avoid gore in my hobbies. Let's check her out in detail below!

Sunday, November 3, 2019

The Shape of Water - AMPHIBIAN MAN!

Guillermo del Toro Collection - The Shape of Water - Amphibian Man - NECA 2019

Your eyes aren't deceiving you. I'm breaking a big rule by posting a review of an ostensibly male character here on this blog. But to my credit, amphibians can have very ambiguous genders, and I honestly don't have any other outlet to post these pictures (I've pretty much withdrawn from the forum and message board scene). The Shape of Water was easily my favorite film of 2017. It combined all my favorite genres: forbidden romance, historical noir, science fiction, cryptozoology, archaeology, and of course a gill-monster. Apparently Guillermo del Toro watched Creature From the Black Lagoon as a child and had the same reaction I did: why doesn't the monster ever get the girl? I saw the Creature as a misunderstood romantic, and this new film tells the story I always wanted. The Guillermo del Toro collection from NECA is a line with a lot of potential. As far as I'm aware, there aren't any more figures on the horizon, but my fingers are crossed for Mimic and Crimson Peak. Let's check out the Amphibian Man below!

Saturday, November 2, 2019

Universal Monsters - THE DAMSELS!

Universal Monsters Mini-Mates - The Damsels - Diamond Select Toys 2010-11

I'm pretty classically-minded. So whenever Halloween rolls around my fascination with the Universal Monster movies kicks into high gear. It wasn't long ago that I learned the beautiful Julia Adams had passed away back in February. The Creature From the Black Lagoon is easily my favorite monster movie and she was perfect in the role of Kay Lawrence. But this got me thinking about all the "damsels" of the Universal Monsters library, and then I had the realization that I already owned a bunch of them in Mini-mate form. Back in 2010 and 2011, Diamond Select Toys released a fantastic collection of Mini-mates based on these classic films, and in the process they included the oft-forgotten (at least in the merchandising department) ladies of Universal Monsters. All of these movies fail the Bechdel test miserably (a lot has changed in the past 60 years luckily), but these characters are still memorable in their own way and make really fascinating little collectibles. Let's check them out below!

Friday, November 1, 2019

Showdown Bandit - MISS UNDERTAKER!

Showdown Bandit - Action Figures Series 01 - Miss Undertaker - Phat Mojo 2019

Autumn is my favorite season and Halloween is one of my favorite holidays, but October is also a month that has become extremely busy for me professionally the past few years. I tried to get a series of Halloween-themed posts ready before the end of the month, but alas, it is now November. So bear with me as I extend my holiday celebrations a bit.  Phat Mojo is a really fascinating toy company. Something about their products reminds me of the toy industry when I was a kid. I keep finding colorful, simply-articulated action figures on the shelves that I was in no way expecting. Showdown Bandit is a horror videogame from the makers of Bendy and the Ink Machine. It's features a defunct television studio where a Howdy Doody-type show was once filmed. The puppets are all now sentient in true Bendy/Five Nights at Freddy's fashion. This action figure line was a perfect surprise find in the lead-up to Halloween. Lorelei Undertaker looks like a weird witchy saloon girl, and I'm kind of obsessed. Let's check her out!