Thursday, September 17, 2020

Power Rangers - RITA REPULSA!

Power Ranger Lightning Collection - Lord Zedd & Rita Repulsa - Hasbro 2020

I always love a ridiculous over-the-top villain. I love crazy schemes, maniacal laughter, and a healthy dose of buffoonery. Rita Repulsa is a quintessential example of this type of character. I only peripherally watched Mighty Morphin Power Rangers when it originally aired, but her image still made a major impression on me. As an adult collector who decided to re-visit the Power Rangers franchise 10 or 15 years ago, I was truly surprised that she had never been merchandised. But with a few years Bandai gave us a 4" figure that would tide me over until now. This Lightning Collection wedding 2-pack is a GameStop exclusive and finally gives us the Rita we've always wanted. Of course, my personal preference would be to replace the bulky shapeless soft-goods gown with a sculpted rubber number, but beggars can't be choosers. The headsculpt, shoulderpiece, and hands are sculpted with fantastic detail. It makes me very excited for a potential Scorpina down the line! Let's check out Rita Repulsa below!

Tuesday, September 15, 2020

Tron 2.0 - MERCURY!

Reel Toys: Tron 2.0  Action Figures Series 01 - Mercury - NECA 2003

Tron 2.0 is a first-person shooter game from 2003 originally released for Mac/PC. It is not official Canon to the Tron film franchise and features new characters and unique designs. As a video game rube, I had never heard about Tron 2.0 until I game across these action figures clearanced at FiveBelow a decade ago. I was immediately drawn in by the Mercury character and her sculpt which I could tell right away was by Sam Greenwell. He was my favorite DC Direct sculptor at the time so this discovery was exciting. In reading about the game, it's my understanding that Mercury is a non-playable character (voiced by Rebecca Romijn) who is the primary source of game objectives and information but who ultimately gets fridged. Still, it's great to have another female in the Tron franchise. They are pretty scarce indeed and this is by far the best action figure representation so far. One of my biggest wishes right now is for a Diamond Select Yori. Fingers crossed! Let's check out Tron 2.0 Mercury below!

Sunday, September 13, 2020

TMNT Cartoon - APRIL O'NEIL!

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles - April O'neil & Foot Soldier (Bashed) - NECA 2020

Unpopular opinion: I'm not the biggest fan of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. I was just never into characters that were supposed to be "cool" - the more hip slangy language a character used, the more bored I got. There were a handful of annoying G.I.Joes (hence my preference for Cobra), Bart Simpson was intolerable (but I grew into him eventually), and of course the Turtles. I'm that one odd kid who wished they were more melodramatic and reminiscent of their artist namesakes. But no, it was all surfer/mallrat lingo and pizza and I wasn't having any of it. But visually I was intrigued and I appreciate their place in pop culture. April O'Neil, as the token female of the show, never really intrigued me because (despite her yellow jumpsuit) I still considered her a boring plainclothes character. However, I recently had a big change of heart and I suddenly own a handful of Aprils. This NECA Animated figure was a actually the big incentive for me to finally start my collection too. Let's check out April below!

Friday, September 11, 2020

War for Cybertron - NIGHTBIRD!

Transformers Generations: War For Cybertron - Nightbird - TakaraTomy 2019

My excitement over the upcoming Earthrise Arcee, War For Cybertron Elita-1, and Kingdom Blackarachnia made me almost forget this Nightbird figure that came out last Fall. Surprisingly this has been the only reuse of the Siege Chromia mold. Considering the Moonracer mold gave us four unique characters, I really thought they'd stretch this one out a little more. But when I see how good the Arcee mold and Elita redeco seem to be, I think this one is likely retired. Nightbird is a very nostalgic for me. In the original G1 show, she was a military robot stolen by the Decepticons and brainwashed/reprogrammed to be evil. I was obsessed with her episode, Enter the Nightbird, and would eagerly watch the repeating shows on syndication hoping to see it again. Something about her just struck a chord with me. She was cool, powerful, and mysterious. (And I used to fill notebooks with my drawings of her). So needles to say I get really excited whenever she gets merchandised. Let's check out Nightbird below!

Wednesday, September 9, 2020

MOTU Origins - TEELA!

Masters of the Universe Origins - Teela (Heroic Warrior Goddess) - Mattel 2020

It's pretty bizarre how blatantly cyclical the action figure market is. It seems like we are getting rehashed versions of all our childhood favorites every time we turn around. Of course, it's also just as likely that the companies simply know most of the action figure collecting demographic is in prime earning years, raising kids, and addicted to nostalgia. We basically are a huge cash cow. So as predicable as the new Masters of the Universe Origins line is, it's still a shocking sight to see them hanging on the pegs in the stores aisles. At first glance, these look almost identical to the original 1982 products. But the sculpts and articulation are greatly improved, with slight tweaks toward an animated look. When these were first announced, I was admittedly on the fence, but now that they are hitting the stores I am full-on obsessed. I really hope we see a variety of additional characters, including some new characters never in the vintage line like Queen Marlena. I will be buying them all. Let's check out Teela below!

Monday, September 7, 2020

Power Rangers - PSYCHO RANGERS!

Power Rangers Lightning Collection - Psycho Rangers 5-Pack - Hasbro 2020

I first discovered the Psycho Rangers many years ago when researching Super Sentai characters. I got obsessive in my collecting of Japanese vinyl figures and literally went through the cast of every Super Sentai, Kamen Rider, Ultraman, and Metal Heroes series and took note of all the female characters. A large portion of these characters were very forgettable, but I remember absolutely flipping out over these evil Nezirangers from 1997's Denji Sentai Megaranger. I thought their design looked amazing and I was very upset they had never been merchandised. I had never seen Power Rangers in Space so I didn't realize their English name was the Psycho Rangers until Bandai started to include them in the Legacy Collection a few years ago. Of course it took several more years and a company change to finally get Psycho Pink and Psycho Yellow in this Amazon-exclusive set. I was afraid they would have male bucks, but thankfully they are subtly feminized. Let's check them out below!

Saturday, September 5, 2020

Even More Ladies of FORTNITE!

Fortnite - A Collection of 5 Recent 4" Female Figures - Jazwares 2019-20

A few years ago I was pretty uncertain about the future momentum of Fortnite toys. As someone who doesn't play video games, I don't have much insight into popularity or longevity of certain games. I just see toys I like and get excited. But all too often these lines get canceled after one promising wave. This has happened so many times in recent years: Overwatch, Evolve, Assassin's Creed (Jazwares), League of Legends, etc. So when Fortnite product launched back in 2018, I had the same trepidation, but the presence in the toy aisles has been consistent and impressive, and constantly improving. Especially in this 4" scale. The eye paint alone is leaps and bounds above their first wave. And the character selection seems to be getting more playful as well. My favorite thing about Fortnite is the innate silliness of the property, like a big morbid pajama party, and some of the recent additions certainly fit the bill. Let's check out Spooky Team Leader, Prickly Patroller, Ravage, Elite Agent, and Fable!

Thursday, September 3, 2020

Super7 ReAction - CHEETARA!

ReAction Action Figures - ThunderCats Wave 01 - Cheetara - Super7 2020

Arcee from the Transformers franchise seems to be getting a lot of attention in 2020 for getting an unprecedented wave of action figures. But a surprise runner-up is Cheetara. First she got a Savage World figure from Funko, then this Super7 ReAction figure, and soon we will see her ThunderCats Ultimates figure from Super7 as well. Granted, the Savage World figure came out in late 2019, and the Ultimates likely won't arrive until 2021, it's still three great Cheetara figures in a relatively short amount of time. What excites me most about the ReAction line lately is the teased Jem figures shown at Toy Fair. I always wanted a great "Ladies of the 80s" lineup, but Jem always seems to be the odd girl out. So far we have the MOTU and POP figures, April from TMNT, Cheetara, and now Jem. This could be the line that finally gives me my all-star lineup. My only problem is that the figures keep improving, so by the time we get them all the early releases like She-Ra pale in comparison. Let's check out Cheetara below!

Wednesday, September 2, 2020

Justice League Animated WONDER WOMAN!

Justice League Animated Series #4 - Wonder Woman - DC Collectibles 2020

Bruce Timm's Wonder Woman design from the DC Animated Universe has become one of her most iconic looks. When the first episode of Justice League premiered in 2001, she hadn't made an appearance in television or film in over 15 years (except for a guest appearance in a single episode of the animated Superman series from 1988). Apparently her rights had been tied up in multiple (unproduced) development projects for all those years. But ever since her re-introduction in the Justice League cartoon, she has been a constant presence in television and film with no gaps lasting long than 24 months. And a lot of those animated representations seem heavily (if not directly) inspired by this Bruce Timm design. It truly is classic and iconic. So getting a highly-articulated action figure of her as one of the final releases of DC Collectibles is really a great way to go out with a bang. She is practically perfect. And I only say "practically" because she inexplicably has no lasso. Let's check out Wonder Woman below!

Monday, August 31, 2020

Spin Master - CATWOMAN!

DC Comics: The Caped Crusader - Catwoman - Spin Master Toys 2020

One of my first reactions when I heard news about the demise of DC Collectibles/DC Direct, was an irrational fear that I would never get another Catwoman action figure. As arguably the second most recognizable female in the comics world (after Wonder Woman... and only until the older generations learn about Harley Quinn), it's shocking how few action figures of her hit standard retail. By my count, there hasn't been one in three years, and only a few more in the last decade. But DC Collectibles gave us a steady flow averaging two a year (until the recent slowdown). So this Spin Master 4" Catwoman came at the perfect time. She is this simple but perfect representation of the Selina I love from modern comics. And now I have hopes that she won't be overlooked in the merchandising game. Plus she arrived the same week we got our first glance of ZoĆ« Kravitz as Catwoman in The Batman trailer. I'm certain this role will trigger some toys as well. Let's check out Catwoman below!

Friday, August 28, 2020

Deadpool 2 - DOMINO!

Marvel Legends - Deadpool 2 - Domino (Beatrice Thurman) - Hasbro 2020

The New Mutants and X-Force were the only Marvel books I really liked as a kid so I'm always very obsessive and protective of all these characters. When it was announced that Domino was going to be a character in Deadpool 2, I was giddy. This pairing was perfect to me considering that Domino and Deadpool were first introduced in the same issue of New Mutants #98. But when the trailer came out I legit didn't even recognize her (I thought she was Callisto). In my narrow mind, one of Domino's key traits was unearthly white skin, black hair, black eyepaint (you know, like a domino), and crazy gymnastic skills. But this MCU Domino was all earthtones and uzis. It wasn't the worst cinematic interpretation ever, but I definitely walked into the theatre with low expectations. But all it took was two short hours to win me over. Zazie Beetz's portrayal was great. It was fun, snarky, and cool. Plus it finally explained her powers in an understandable way. And now years later she gets a perfect action figure!

Wednesday, August 26, 2020

Marvel Legends - GWEN STACY!

Marvel Legends - Spider-Man Vintage Wave - Gwen Stacy - Hasbro 2020

Gwen Stacy has had the best resurrection in the last few years. Literally. As one of original characters to get fridged (look up Women in Refrigerators if you're unaware), Gwen had to be brought back from literary death to appear in modern comics. And this time she wasn't being wasted. Granted, she was brought back in an alternate reality where she was the one bitten by the radioactive spider to become the fan favorite Spider-Gwen. Then she inspired a month of Gwen-Stacy-themed variant covers in the Summer of 2015 which spawned another fan-favorite-alternate-reality character, Gwenpool. I love both of these character, so by default, I now love the classic 1960-70's Gwen. This figure was a long time coming and she is practically perfect. The added bonus of a classic Mary Jane head is just icing on the cake. The Marvel Legends Vintage series is one of my favorite sub-lines. I really dig a good retro vibe with my toys so these are a natural draw for me. Let's check out Gwen Stacy (and Mary Jane!) below!

Tuesday, August 25, 2020

Fans Hobby - ATHENA!

3rd Party Transformers - MasterBuilder MB-12 Athena - Fans Hobby 2020

Third Party figures are one of my greatest collecting thrills. While the official Hasbro and Takara fembots have had impressive advancements in the last few years (both in design and sheer output numbers), for a long time the only female Transformers available were produced by 3rd Party manufacturers. I only personally only started collecting them a few years ago when my finances finally allowed for it, but I really regret not focusing my hobby cash earlier because I missed out on some great early figures. This Athena is my newest acquisition. She is an homage to the Transformers Masterforce Minerva character and is beautifully made. Although I've never seen the Masterforce or Headmasters cartoons, I'm vaguely aware of the characters and concepts. I've been obsessed with her since I bought a small PVC of her almost 20 years in an import manga shop. I love her color scheme and her medic motif (most female Transformers lack the service motifs that the males have). Let's check out Athena below!

Monday, August 24, 2020

DC Direct - STAR SAPPHIRE FATALITY!

Blackest Night Action Figure Box Set– Star Sapphire Fatality – DC Direct 2011

This is a figure that I have coveted for a long time. When this box set was originally released I was very squeamish about about scantily clad superheros. I still have guilty pangs like I'm supporting some toxic objectification of women by purchasing things like this. But I've grown since then and embraced a more fluid perception of body positivity (although I still think these outfits were likely designed my men with dubious intentions). A few years after the Blackest Night storyline, I picked up the Carol Ferris Star Sapphire and really fell in love with its sculpt and overall presence. Knowing that this Fatality figure shared the same body made me want her even more. But I was faced with the age old problem of high eBay prices and really sloppy paintjobs. It took many years, but I finally found it in a store last week. Getting her inspired me to gather all my Star Sapphire collectibles together for the first time. (They look great and I'm going to display them as a group now!) Let's check out Fatality below!

Friday, August 21, 2020

POP! Masters of the Universe - SORCERESS!

POP! Television #993 - Masters of the Universe - Sorceress - Funko 2020

I've been super selective with my Funko Pop purchases in recent years. My collection room was getting overwhelmed with them and I knew I needed to slow down. I even sold off a bunch of my older Pops that I felt were repetitive (like metallic variants, etc) and made a decent chunk of change in the process. But I will always be a sucker for a few genres: Jim Henson, Retro Super Heroes, and 1980's Cartoons. The Sorceress of Castle Grayskull was my absolute favorite part of He-Man and the Masters of the Universe. She was maternal, mysterious, all-knowing, and she transformed into a falcon. Little cartoon-obsessed me couldn't get enough of her. Whenever see a product of her in a store I get the greatest wave of nostalgia. And in the past few years there have actually been a decent amount: Loyal Subjects, Vynl, ReAction, and Pint-Size Heroes (Not to mention the collector's versions from Mattel and Super7). Fingers crossed for an Origins soon! Let's check out the Sorceress Pop below!

Thursday, August 20, 2020

HeroWorld - BATGIRL & JESSICA CRUZ!

HeroWorld - Series 08 -  DC Batgirl & Jessica Cruz Green Lantern – Funko 2018

Funko has had a lot of experimental toy lines come and go over the years. While the fate of certain lines (like Dorbz and Vynl), isn't exactly clear, there are tons of other the we can assume are dead in the water now: Vinyl Sugar, Vinyl Vixens, Vinyl Idols, Rock Candy, Legacy Collection, Vinyl³, and last but not least, the short-lived HeroWorld. Of all the weird Funko blips, I really felt that HeroWorld showed the greatest potential. They were little inexpensive vinyl figurines with a random assortment of licenses Like DC Comics, Harry Potter, FNAF, Scooby-Doo, and Power Rangers. I was iffy about them at first, but as soon as I saw the Batman Villains pack in person I was hooked. Not only because of the great Catwoman in the set, but because of the crosssell image on the back showing a Batgirl and Jessica Cruz set. Unfortunately, the whole line hit a major slowdown and I wasn't able to get the set until thankfully an Australian eBay seller listed a few sets years later. Let's check out Babs and Jessica below!

Tuesday, August 18, 2020

The Imaginext Ladies of TEEN TITANS GO!

Teen Titans Go! – Starfire, Raven, Terra, Jinx, and Ravager – Fisher-Price 2015-18

The Teen Titans have become such an unexpected presence in pop culture. I remember trying to explain the team to my friends way back in gradeschool only to have my excitement fall on deaf ears. But then flash-forward many years later sitting in a hotel room with my siblings on a rainy vacation day when the Teen Titans cartoon premiered on the Cartoon Network. It was a very weird re-imagining, and it honestly was not to my liking, but I felt a sort of vindication that this cast of characters I loved would be exposed to the masses. That original series from 2003 lasted five seasons and was rebooted with a more super-deformed redesign as Teen Titan Go! in 2013 (which is still ongoing). While all these shows are a bit too wacky and nonsensical for me personally, I keep getting drawn in to the merchandising. The character designs are fun and colorful. And when Fisher-Price started to release a Teen Titans Go sub-line under their amazing Imaginext brand, I was hooked. Let's check out the lady Titans below!

Monday, August 17, 2020

Funko POP Uma Thurman POISON IVY!

POP! Heroes #343 – Batman & Robin: Poison Ivy (Uma Thurman) – Funko 2020

I've always thought it was such a crime that the 1990s Batman movies were so under-merchandised. Sure, there was a handful of action figures back then, but the effort was weak (and almost unrecognizable in the case of Poison Ivy). With all the revisited properties filling the shelves in the last decade, It's hard to believe we haven't seen a movie Poison Ivy since 1997. So I was extremely excited to see her merchandised after over twenty years. This Funko Pop is part of the Funko Specialty Series exclusive to small vendors like comic and toy shops. Maybe now that the licensing ball is rolling we might finally get a proper action figure of her. (But my hopes aren't too high for McFarlane to pull through). I think the most exciting next step will be an Alicia Silverstone Batgirl Pop, which I predict will be revealed in the next year (fingers crossed!). Uma Thurman rocked quite a few memorable looks in Batman & Robin, but I think this cone-haired one is the most iconic. Let's check out Poison Ivy below!

Wednesday, August 12, 2020

Mission Fleet - AHSOKA TANO!

Star Wars Mission Fleet: Disney Basic Series 01 - Ahsoka Tano - Hasbro 2020

I feel like Star Wars has had a lot of stalled-out action figure lines lately. Black Series and Vintage are pretty consistent, but every other product line seems to spark interest then promptly die out. Galactic Heroes, Mega Mighties, Galaxy of Adventures, Resistance, and Toy Box... they all showed a lot of potential and gave us some cool figures, only to release little to no future product in the line. That's why I'm a little hesitant to get excited about this new Star Wars Mission Fleet series from Hasbro (I'm a little surprised it's not under the Playskool brand). The figures are nicely made, very toyetic, and really really small. This Ahsoka Tano, the first female in the line, measures just under 2.5 inches tall. That puts her at the same height as a Mini-Mate, but distinctly smaller than other "small" lines like M.A.S.K., Dino-Riders, and Imaginext. They have a definite preschool vibe with their enlarged heads, hands and feet, but at this tiny scale it doesn't look too disproportionate. Let's check out Ahsoka Tano below!

Monday, August 10, 2020

Justice League International - BLACK CANARY!

Justice League International -  Series 01 - Black Canary - DC Direct 2009

A few hours ago I heard the news that Warner Bros has fully shut down DC Collectibles/DC Direct after 22 long years. To me, this is truly one of the saddest things to have happened to the toy industry in all my years of collecting. It's sadder than Mattycollector ending, sadder than all the unfinished ThunderCats lines, and sadder than all the various licenses being revoked before my favorite characters could be made. To me, DC Direct has always seemed like the company with the most love for the genre (of both comics and toys) and the company who had the most fun actually making the figures. And, as an artist myself, I will always have respect for the fact that they gave the individual sculptors and designers credit on the packaging. It's amazing how many companies don't/won't do that. Imagine if every novel you read was authorless. Imagine if every comic was penciled anonymously. Imagine if you never knew the names of actors or athletes. Those pasttimes would be a lot less enjoyable. 

Saturday, August 8, 2020

Ed McGuinness POWER GIRL!

Superman/Batman Series 5: With a Vengeance Pt 2- Power Girl - DC Direct 2008

Power Girl is one of those characters I've always struggled with. Purely based on her anatomical endowments and her creative teams so often being comprised entirely of men. Objectification just skeeves me out on so many levels, even when I'm just generally perceiving it without solid examples. But then in 2009 one of my favorite artists at the time, Amanda Conner, took the reigns with her future husband Jimmy Palmiotti writing the scripts. Having a female on the creative team allowed me to finally read this character without being so defensive. And I quickly grew to love the character. I'm also glad that the acknowledgment of her chest was such an upfront topic. This figure of Power Girl from the Ed McGuiness-styled Superman/Batman line is the only female from that line I didn't pick up (because it came out a year before I liked the character). But I finally found her a few weeks ago in a discount bin (note the tattered card) and I'm happy to finally have her in my collection. Let's check out Power Girl below!

Thursday, August 6, 2020

Justice League Animated HAWKGIRL!

Justice League Animated Series #4 - Hawkgirl - DC Collectibles 2020

I was a huge fan of Batman comics in elementary and middle school, and I must admit I was a bit possessive and snobby about these characters. Okay, a lot snobby. Even the Tim Burton films got high scrutiny from little source-material-purist know-it-all me (despite loving them now). So when Batman the Animated Series premiered a few years later I was not having any of it. I thought it was mocking my favorite anti-hero. I honestly didn't revisit the properties and begin to appreciate them until the early 2000s (basically when Harley became mainstream and I was diving deep). I suddenly saw what everyone else did all along. When the DC Collectibles Timm-verse line began I immediately on board, and they remain one of my favorite collections. I'm much less familiar with the Justice League cartoon, but I always appreciated Hawkgirl's prominence and strikingly simple design. When I saw this figure in my comic shop last month I knew I had to have her. Let's check out Hawkgirl below!

Wednesday, August 5, 2020

GamerVerse Basic Series - MS. MARVEL!

Marvel Avengers GamerVerse: Basic Series 01 - Ms. Marvel - Hasbro 2020

Basic figures have come a long, long way in the last few years. The character selection used to be dismal.. thirty different color Tony Starks clogging the aisles for years still leaves a bad taste in my mouth. But along with the constantly raising bar in super hero films, the basic series action figures riding those box office coattails have also experienced massive improvements. These days, they have decent articulation, sculpt, and actually included female characters. I believe this new Avengers GamerVerse line is the first time Marvel has had basic figures not based on a theatrical film. From what I understand, "GamerVerse" is the fictional universe in which all modern Marvel video games take place. The Ms. Marvel design is specifically from the upcoming Marvel's Avengers game due out this Fall, but the GamerVerse umbrella could include characters from any game. And based on the high quality of this figure, I hope there are many more coming. Let's check out Kamala Khan below!

Sunday, August 2, 2020

Marvel Legends - SHIKLAH!

Marvel Legends: Deadpool (Strong Guy BaF Series) - Shiklah - Hasbro 2020

One of the greatest things about the longevity and success of Marvel Legends is the endless pool of obscure characters they can now dive into. The downside is there are going to be plenty of characters who are a complete mystery to me. Case in point is this most recent acquisition of mine, Shiklah. I've never heard of her (and I consider myself a pretty voracious comics reader). I felt a little better when I learned her first appearance was just in 2014. In a nutshell, Shiklah is an undead/demon queen. Her true form is a purple dragon and she has all sorts of witchy powers. She was once married to Deadpool but is currently married to Dracula. She seems pretty cool and I really dig all the comic illustrations of her, but my hobbies are so focused on nostalgia that this relatively new character won't be getting a prime display spot. And despite her being an interesting figure, I suppose I'm a little resentful that Siryn, Feral, or a new Domino weren't given this slot. Let's check out Shiklah below!

Friday, July 31, 2020

Transformers Cyberverse - ARCEE!

Transformers
 Cyberverse Adventures (Macadam Series) - Arcee - Hasbro 2020

The year of Arcee continues! It's been such a joy seeing so many female Transformers on the shelves these last few years. And it's especially nice to be getting so many different representations of Arcee. As the prime representative of the fembots, I always assume her presence is a reliable indicator of figures yet to come. For instance, this Cyberverse Adventures Arcee will almost certainly be retooled into a Chromia or a new Windblade. The tooling that went into the body is too good not to be re-used. While this figure is generally in the same scale as the Warrior Class Slipstream and Windblade, it is a big step forward in quality. The sculpt, paint, transformation, and poseability are impressive and more at the collector-level than the previous figures which definitely seemed geared towards kids. There are two more Arcees due out this year (Earthrise Deluxe and Masterpiece) plus the Tiny Turbo Changer and any other surprised we might see (Funko?). It's an exciting time. Let's check out Arcee below!

Wednesday, July 29, 2020

First Appearance - WONDER WOMAN!

DC Comics - First Appearance: Wave 01 - Wonder Woman - DC Direct 2004

First Appearance figures are my favorite theme of superhero toys. For a long time I had a display with a first appearance figure next to my favorite modern interpretation of that character. Both Marvel and DC figures were intermixed and it was a great collection. This Wonder Woman would have been the only female on that shelf, but I sneered at making the purchase back then because of her soft good culottes. A few years ago one of my very favorite relatives surprised me with a giant bag full of her Wonder Woman collection. I somehow never realized that she was a fan, and likewise she had only recently discovered my hobbies. She was gifting me her collection and sadly she passed away shortly after in 2019. I only recently started going through that bag and incorporating the contents into my collection. I was very happy (and sad) to find this First Appearance Wonder Woman. And like a true Gift of the Magi, I had just sold all my (male) First Appearance figure earlier this year to fund some new purchases.

Monday, July 27, 2020

Infinite Crisis - WONDER GIRL!

DC Comics Infinite Crisis - Series 2: Donna Troy Wonder Girl - DC Direct 2007

This figure and I have a past. Way back in 2007, I ran to my comic shop the day of her release and picked up both her and the Donna Troy (black starfield costume). I had been waiting excitedly since their solicitation months prior. But in person, I didn't love them. I took them home, opened them up, posed, re-posed, re-re-posed... I just couldn't make them look good. They both had cocked-hip contrapposto sculpts, which isn't my favorite thing in the world, but sculptor Sam Greenwell is a pro at making it look great. The problem was the arms. They stick out at an unnatural angle and are way too long. Even the fingers are significantly longer than they should be. I blame almost all of this on the engineering and not necessarily the sculpt. I eventually sold both of them because I didn't like seeing them on my shelf. But we all know how this story goes.. ten years later I regretted the sale and began hunting her again. I'm much more accepting these days (although she still stays in the back row). Let's check her out below!

Saturday, July 25, 2020

DC Universe Classics - DONNA TROY!

DC Universe Classics - Trigun C-n-C Wave 13, Fig 7 - Donna Troy - Mattel 2010

DC Universe Classics was a very impactful toy line. When the line began in 2008, Marvel Legends was irritating. Most notably, their female bucks were horribly gangly and odd. However DCUC was a bright light that boasted consistent body designs with great articulation and a standardized scale. This would set it apart from both DC Direct and Marvel Legends. The DCUC line was not without its faults. The female characters in particular suffered from spindly short arms and often were sculpted with flat faces. But the overall impact and success of the line was amazing. My absolute favorite among all 30-some female DCUC figures is this Donna Troy as Wonder Girl. Her costume is simple and well-executed, her headsculpt is... intriguing (like she's actually conveying some emotion unlike the typical blank stares), and her arms strangely don't seem too short or too skinny. She is a great looking toy. (Although some runners-up are Big BardaDove, and Platinum). Let's check out Donna Troy below!

Thursday, July 23, 2020

Silver Age - WONDER GIRL!

Silver Age Wonder Woman & Wonder Girl Deluxe 2-Pack - DC Direct 2001

One of the things I miss most about the heyday of DC Direct (circa 2000-2010) is the constant mix of genres and eras in their action figure lines. For any given A-list character, you could see a variety of representations from Golden Age to Modern (and with a healthy dose of Elseworlds re-imaginings thrown in). That kind of attention just wouldn't happen today. Of course less common characters also saw inclusion, and I think those are the real gems of the line. The Silver Age line of 2-Packs from 2001-2004 was a great way to get collectors classic designs of the Teen Titans as secondary pack-in characters. The costumes were not consistent to a specific roster, but the figures are still great in their own right. I especially love the wide-eyed good girl art style in the face sculpts. It's cheesy. But spot-on. This Wonder Girl figure is a favorite of mine. It features her second costume (her original was styled after Wonder Woman) back when she was Diana's younger sister, Donna. Let's check out Wonder Girl below!

Tuesday, July 21, 2020

Transformers THUNDERBLAST (and REDECOS)!

Transformers Thunderblast, Elita-1, and Chromia - Hasbro 2005/TakaraTomy 2009

As I get more and more involved in collecting female Transformers, I find myself going back and coveting figures I had turned my nose up at in the past. When I first saw the Thunderblast toy 15 years ago, I thought she looked bulky and silly. And the whole "shellformer" criticism it was receiving stuck with me and it quickly fell off my radar. But recently I realized that this is actually a really terrific example of an early fembot toy. The robot form has a really good design with a feminine silhouette and great articulation. I also love the head design with its subtle nod to the earliest G1 fembot, Elita-1. And what really sealed the deal was when I saw the three very different color variations of this mold that had been released. I normally avoid repaints, but with Transformers I am inexplicably drawn to them. And them kismet happened when I found the Japanese Chromia version (easily the rarest of the three) for $30 at a local toy show. I'm excited to finally have them in my collection. Let's check them out below!

Sunday, July 19, 2020

12" Power Rangers - PINK RANGER!

Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers - 12" Series - Pink Ranger - Hasbro 2020

One of my favorite reveals at New York Toy Fair this past February was the new classic Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers products from Hasbro. We already knew the core team would be completed in their flagship Lightning Collection series, but it was such a welcome and unexpected surprise to see multiple larger-scale MMPR products aimed at younger audiences. I fully expected any products like this to be limited to the current iteration of the franchise being promoted on TV (ie Beast Morphers), but instead we saw this amazing 12" basic line featuring MMPR Red, Blue, Black, and Pink (I can only assume Yellow, Green, and White will be released in the future). Plus we saw a line of 12" Morphin' Hero figures that feature an updated version of the classic head-flipping feature. Only Pink, Blue and Red for shown for that line so far and should hit shelves in the Fall. But who knows what other product we might see. The sky is the limit as far as I'm concerned. Let's check out Pink Ranger below!

Friday, July 17, 2020

Spin Master - WONDER WOMAN!

DC Comics: Heroes Unite 4" Series 2 - Wonder Woman - Spin Master 2020

There's something really special about this new Spin Master 4" Wonder Woman from the second wave of their new Heroes Unite series. Without any real connection to it, this reminds me so much of the 1980's Super Powers Wonder Woman (which was the first true female action figure I ever saw in person). The bright simple coloring and the smaller scale have a powerful retro vibe, but in actuality the sculpt is definitely inspired from the modern cinematic costume and there have been a million 3-4" scale Wonder Women between then and now. It's such a shame I was unable to find my Super Powers Diana, or even my 1990 Toy Biz one, in time for this review. I have no clue where they might have escaped to. I hope this line continues for a long time and other figures give a classic vibe too. I think Catwoman is the next female coming (who looks decidedly modern), but hopefully the next one will carry the retro torch. Let's check out the 4" Spin Master Wonder Woman below!

Wednesday, July 15, 2020

Classic Marvel Character Series - MARVEL GIRL!

Dark Horse Deluxe Presents - The X-Men #3 - Marvel Girl - Dark Horse 2013

There's nothing I love more than a good retro collectible. No matter what the era, I love classic character designs. These are often simplistic in nature, but hearken back to a time when comics were drawn quickly and more attention was paid to character development than to realistic costume details. On the flipside, I often correlate more detailed (modern) design to weaker storytelling. So, year, that explains my retro obsessions in a nutshell. What makes retro toys even better is when the product itself is also a retro throwback. In the case of these Dark Horse Statues, they are in the style of old Syroco figurines from the 30s and 40s. Marvel Girl is one of the earliest (and longest-lasting) female characters in the Marvel Universe. This classic costume only lasted for about 4 years before she donned her yellow miniskirt look (which is a look I also love), but this original will always be iconic to me. I only wish there was more merchandise featuring it. Let's check out Marvel Girl below!

Monday, July 13, 2020

Funko POP Batman Returns CATWOMAN!

POP! Heroes #338 - Batman Returns: Michelle Pfeiffer Catwoman - Funko 2020

I can't believe it's taken so long for Funko to finally make a Michelle Pfeiffer Batman Returns Catwoman Pop. It was just about this time four years ago when I was obsessively trying to buy the SDCC Dorbz set (if I remember correctly, GameStop posted them online at 2 in the morning - and I was still at a phase in life when I had patience for such things). But seeing that Catwoman finally appear under the Funko Brand was exciting, because Funko is nothing if not prolific. And I thought for sure we'd be seeing a Rock Candy, Mystery Mini, Plushes, Vynl, and most certainly a Pop of her within a few months. But no. We didn't see anything until this figure four long years later. But I guess I'm glad for the wait, because back then Funko was still giving a lot of the DC ladies that squat Batgirl #03 body. (Classic Catwoman and Batgirl '66 are two examples of figures that had old-style bodies well after the modern style was in use). This figure just wouldn't be the same without a feline pose. Let's check out this long-awaited Pop below!

Saturday, July 11, 2020

Jurassic World - ZIA & MAISIE!

Jurassic World Fallen Kingdom - Maisie & T-Rex, Zia & Triceratops - Mattel 2018

This quarantine is a affording me a lot of time to go through my basement of unopened toys and finally review a bunch of figures I had skipped over recently. Mattel's Jurassic World and Jurassic Park lines were such a fun and unexpected addition to the toy aisles. It seems that as the years go on, less and less movies have associated toy lines. Back in the day every random movie had toys (Think back to Congo, Virus, Lost in Space, Battlefield Earth, etc. Movies that that would never get merchandise today.) But the new Jurassic properties brought it all back. Not only did they release a wide range of product for the modern movies, but they did a classic line as well with all the characters from the 90's franchise. These two figures, Zia Rodriguez and Maisie Lockwood were late to the line and didn't show up in most stores until well after the movie craze had dwindled. Maisie stayed scarce, but Zia almost became a shelfwarmer (but she still was gone after a couple months). Go figure. Let's check them out below!

Thursday, July 9, 2020

Ready Player One - ART3MIS!

Ready Player One - 4-Pack - Parzival, Art3mis, Aech, and I-Rok - Funko 2018

I swore I was going to read Ready Player One this Summer but I already have a huge lineup of books on my nightstand. I've heard great things from both grownups and kids (and those cross-generational genres are typically my favorite). I finally saw the movie this past Winter and genuinely enjoyed it. It was fast-paced, fun, and absolutely overflowing with pop culture easter eggs. This action figure 4-Pack from Funko was released back in 2018 back when I had never heard of Ready Player One. They are kind of unofficially aligned with the ReAction line, so this set was always on my radar, but I didn't consider actually buying them until a year later when Walmart had them on clearance for three bucks. And once I finally saw the movie I was so glad I didn't let them slip by. Art3mis is the OASIS avatar of the token female character, Samantha Cook, who is one of the Top Five players (I'll admit I snicker every time I read that the players are called "gunters"). She's a cool character. Let's check out Art3mis below!

Tuesday, July 7, 2020

VR Troopers - KAITLIN STAR!

Saban's VR Troopers - Deluxe Figures - Battle Grid Kaitlin Star - Kenner 1996

VR Troopers was the first "spin-off" of the Power Rangers franchise which ran on US Television from 1994 to 1996. It has no connection to Power Rangers, but it followed a similar formula of taking existing action sequences from a Japanese property and re-splicing it with new American footage. Where Power Rangers was created from the Super Sentai Series, VR Troopers came from the Metal Hero Series (Big Bad Beetleborgs was the only other property adapted from this series in the US). VR Troopers is unique because it creatively mashes together three different shows, and it uses the oldest footage (1984) of all the 90's Saban properties. VR Troopers was focused on the popular 90's theme of virtual reality and features three teens who meet a hologram who exposes them to the the VR dimension and makes them heroes. Kaitlin is the token female and a budding photographer and journalist. She had three action figures produced, but this particular one stands out. Let's check her out below!

Sunday, July 5, 2020

Muppet Babies - PIGGY & SUMMER!

Disney Junior Muppet Babies - Piggy & Summer - Target Exc - Just Play 2018

The original Muppet Babies cartoon was a constant presence in my childhood. In fact, it was one of those shows that I watched well into young adulthood purely out of habit. It was this random show that my siblings and I all found non-offensive and silly. I just learned that it ran from 1984 through 1991 with eight seasons and 107 episodes. The original Muppet Show only had 120 episodes, and Muppet Babies surprisingly almost matched that run. Who would have guessed that the mature sardonic humor of the primetime Muppets would translate so well into an imaginative children's cartoon. I was really excited when the property was being rebooted back in 2018. I knew I would likely never watch this show, but I love that a new generation of kids (and, hey, teenagers too) might be exposed to the same joys I was able to experience. In true Disney Junior fashion, a line of action figures hit the stores. I was intrigued to see the new character, Summer Penguin, along with Piggy. Let's check them out below!

Friday, July 3, 2020

An Assortment of Non-DC Comics IMAGINEXT!

Imaginext - Toy Story, Minions, Power Rangers - Fisher-Price/Mattel 2019-2020

While the DC Super Friends Imaginext gets the lion's share of attention in the preschool aisles and toy forums, the figures from the other lines are nothing to turn your nose up at. I tend to let a bunch of Imaginext figures build up and photograph them in a group. In this post I have a few characters from Disney's Toy Story 4, Illumination's Minions: The Rise of Gru, Mighty Morphin Power Rangers, and two unbranded Fisher-Price lines... all released over the past few years. I'm always excited to see what surprises will come down the line. There are always new themes and blind bag series in the works and I think there's a very good chance of Masters of the Universe line in the near future (It's been hinted at by Mattel and they recently announced an MOTU Little People set). Plus I would love another Adventure People homage in the form of the X-Ray Woman. The X-Ray Man from a few years ago is lonely! Let's check out this recent collection of Imaginext ladies below!

Wednesday, July 1, 2020

Marvel Legends - SPIRAL!

Marvel Legends - Red Hulk Series (Target Exclusive)  - Spiral - Hasbro 2008

One of my first exposures to X-Men/mutant comics was reading my older brother's copy of Excalibur: Mojo Mayhem in the late 80s. I had been obsessed with Arthur Adams' comic art from the covers of Classic X-Men (again, belonging to my brother). So when I got my hands on my first full-length example of his interior art, I was fixated on every single panel. I distinctly remember being very intrigued by the character of Rita/Spiral. In fact, she inspired me to hunt down the backissues of the 1985 Longshot miniseries. But honestly that story confused the hell out of me because the dual nature of the two characters (Spiral and Ricochet Rita) wasn't fully fleshed out yet. For the unaware, Ricochet Rita was scorned by Longshot in the future and her hatred for him caused her to align with Mojo, who in turn altered her into the multi-armed teleporter Spiral. She traveled back in time to join the current stories. This Marvel Legends figure is twelve years old but really stands the test of time. Let's check her out below!

Monday, June 29, 2020

Power Rangers - RANGER SLAYER!

Power Rangers Lightning Collection - MMPR Ranger Slayer - Hasbro 2020

This may be an unpopular opinion, but I think one of the modern appeals of the Power Rangers franchise is the inherent cheesiness of it. The color-coded heroes with matching design themes and transformations sequences are cool. But I think we all have to admit that it's in an nostalgic/ironic way. That's why I have always found the Ranger Slayer so fascinating. She looks legitimately cool, yet instantly recognizable as part of the (cheesy) MMPR world. I first noticed her at my local comic shop on the cover of Go Go Power Rangers #8, a little two years ago. She was standing there with her tattered cape on a stark white background, looking imposing and intriguing. I never actually picked up any of the comics, but I suddenly found myself flipping through issues in the years since looking for her. I learned that she was Kimberly, who was brainwashed by Lord Drakkon (aka evil Tommy) to become the evil Ranger Slayer. She eventually broke the spell but thankfully kept the costume. Let's check out Ranger slayer below!

Saturday, June 27, 2020

MOTU ReAction - EVIL-LYN & SORCERESS(ES)!

Masters of the Universe - ReAction Figures - Evil-Lyn &  Sorceress - Super7 2018

I feel like I might say this about a lot of 80s ladies, but I honestly think the Sorceress is one of the most iconic characters from my childhood. Whenever there is a wise, all-knowing, mystical character I am intrigued. But add the fact that she is female with with a mysterious past and a bird motif that lives alone in a scary castle and I dive straight into full-blown obsession territory. The Sorceress was the first female introduced in Super7's Masters of the Universe line, and in many ways she's the most disappointing. In her original release, the face seemed constantly misprinted giving her a cross-eyed and unbalanced face. Her cloak is also made from a very awkward material. It's seems both stiff and fragile, so the way it looks in the package is pretty much what it will look like on your shelf. The later versions had much better faces, but the cape remained ungainly. Evil-Lyn on the other hand is a perfect retro interpretation, which makes it shocking that there was no variations released. Let's check them out below!

Thursday, June 25, 2020

Spin Master - BATWOMAN!

DC Comics: The Caped Crusader (Creature Chaos) - Batwoman - Spin Master 2020

It's been weird not having a smaller-scale DC line in the stores for so long. My first exposure to super hero action figures was the Super Powers line in the 80s. Which then morphed into the DC Comics Superheroes line, quickly to be followed by Batman Movie figures. Then before long, the BTAS and Timm-verse lines settled in for a good two decades dominating the toy aisles. Before this recent 4" Spin Master line, the most similar line was the DC Infinite Heroes which ended in 2010. That line was short-lived but managed to put out some great characters (including Batwoman who was a relatively new hero at the time) but the proportions were always a little funny and the poses were stiff. This the the first 4" Spin Master figure I've picked up and I really like her. For a toy aimed at kids, she has a lot of detail and a terrific comic-accurate design. Her proportions and articulation are also greatly improved over previous DC 4" figures. I'm very excited to Wonder Woman and the upcoming Catwoman.

Tuesday, June 23, 2020

G.I.Joe Classified - SCARLETT!

G.I.Joe Classified Series (6" Line) #05 - Shana "Scarlett" O'Hara - Hasbro 2020

G.I.Joe plays a very integral role in my collecting hobby. A few years post-college I was overdosing on nostalgia big-time. DVDs were a relatively new advancement back then and I blew one of my first adult paychecks on a $250 Aiwa and immediately started buying old cartoons. My love of G.I. Joe was rekindled like we had never been apart. And it wasn't long until I was inspired to eBay some revenge on my gradeschool bully, Jeff. Well, I guess he wasn't so much a bully as he was a spoiled rich kid who had the Wolverine and Cover Girl and made me jealous. So, yeah, almost 20 years later I finally got myself a Cover Girl (suck on that, Jeff) and I was off to the races. Years later I have thousands of action figures and some serious compulsion problems. Yet somehow over time I had grown completely disenchanted with the G.I. Joe property and all their exclusive products. So this rebooted 6" series is is very exciting for me. Like starting fresh after a long breakup.. and my excitement is palpable. Let's check out Scarlett below!

Sunday, June 21, 2020

The Authority - THE ENGINEER!

WildStorm's The Authority - Series 01 - The Engineer - DC Direct 2002

In my young adult years I only had one friend who was into comics. It was fun to geek out with him, but it was also difficult because we had completely different tastes with our reading habits. He was mostly into shock value and extreme scenarios, while I'm always more into the relatable heroes and sympathetic villains. The Authority is one of the many books he tried to get me to read, but it was just not my thing. There were even a few issues drawn by my favorite artist, Arthur Adams, but nothing could convince me to enjoy this series. But then years later I came across this Engineer figure clearanced at Five Below and I found myself really drawn to her. She has an unexpected retro vibe and James Shoop's sculpting always reminds me of his Legion of Super-Heroes line (which are some of my favorite figures of all time). So despite my aversion to the comics, this gorgeous figure is a welcome addition to my collection (even if I pretend she's one of the many unnamed LOSH members). Let's check out Engineer below!

Friday, June 19, 2020

Ghostbusters - GOZER!

Ghostbusters: Plasma Series Wave 1 - Gozer the Gozerian - Hasbro 2020

Ghostbusters is the third movie I ever saw in the movie theater way back in 1984 (after E.T. and Return of the Jedi). The nearest theater was in a mall an hour away so we went very infrequently... but the rarity of the occasion made the event memorable every time. By the time I saw Ghostbusters, I was already a big fan of villainous women. Baroness from G.I.Joe. Evil-Lyn from Masters of the Universe, and Catwoman from the Batman '66 show in syndication were all idols to me. But Gozer was the first villainess I ever saw that was actually scary (without any buffoonery to temper the evil). I still get chills when I see her on screen. This Plasma Series Gozer is the third true action figure (from different companies) in the past 16 years and it's probably the best of the lot. She has fantastic articulation and a great sculpt overall. I'm not super thrilled with her face paint, but that might just be my copy. Overall she's a great figure. Let's check out Gozer the Gozerian below!

Wednesday, June 17, 2020

Ghostbusters - DANA!

Ghostbusters: Plasma Series Wave 1 - Dana Barrett - Hasbro 2020

Poor Sigourney Weaver. She's a beautiful woman with striking features. But all the advanced toy technology in the world can't seem to get her likeness right. The various Ripley figures from NECA come pretty close, but it's nowhere near the realistic quality that they seem to achieve with other actors. It's such a shame too, because Sigourney has one of the most toy-worthy filmographies out there (Aliens, Avatar, Galaxy Quest, and of course Ghostbusters). In the past eight years we've seen the first three Dana Barrett action figures from three different companies. And while this newest Plasma Series figure from Hasbro is arguably the best, it still isn't quite right.  I'm half tempted to see if it's just a matter of touching up the face paint, because the actual sculpt seems pretty accurate. (Although sculpting wild hair like hers often results in a poodle effect). I don't mean to be a total naysayer, because this figure is a great improvement over previous attempts and I love having her in my collection. Let's check out Dana below!

Monday, June 15, 2020

X-Men Ninja Force - PSYLOCKE!

Marvel Comics Uncanny X-Men: Ninja Force - Ninja Psylocke - ToyBiz 1996

I've always had a fascination with Betsy Braddock. I was a huge New Mutants fan as a kid and when she made her debut as Psylocke in Annual #2, her purple hair and superhero lineage had me hooked. However, by the time I actually read this issue she was already sporting several new costumes in the pages of X-Men, so I had multiple versions of Betsy to fall in love with. Her monochromatic purple outfits and her butterfly-pattern telekinetic powers were everything to me. So I was the one nerd on the planet who hated her sexy ninja transformation. I just thought it was a cliche makeover of a previously weird and cool character. The one brief phase where I really started to dig this sleek look, though, was during the Crimson Dawn storyline when she was brought back from near death after an insane battle with Sabretooth with new teleportation powers, a cold demeanor, and a crimson dagger tattoo on her face. I think it adds the smallest detail that somehow makes the overall costume more interesting.

Saturday, June 13, 2020

Beast Morphers - YELLOW RANGER!

Power Rangers Beast Morphers 9.5" Basic Series - Yellow Ranger - Hasbro 2019

As much as I love Limited Articulation Figures, I must admit I had almost zero interest in this Beast Morpher Yellow figure.  But then I got the Captain Marvel figure and had a ridiculous panic that I didn't have any other 9.5" figures to display her with. I swear the only aspect of life where I have a Fear-of-Missing-Out complex is with toy collecting. Because I've found that once you miss one of these bargain-line figures and they disappear from the shelves, they can be some of the hardest collectibles to find in the secondary market. The reason I didn't originally like her is purely because of the unnatural pose. Her semi-squat leg stance and her awkward cocked-arm pose were just off-putting. I'm also not the hugest fan of the Power Rangers Beast Morphers theme, but the fact that her helmet has a bunny face on it with slicked back ears just gets me every time. I just hope future figures like this have a more standard pose like the Marvel ones or all the various 6" bargain lines. Let's check her out below!

Thursday, June 11, 2020

MOTU Action Vinyls - SORCERESS!

Masters of the Universe - Blind Box Vinyls - Sorceress - Loyal Subjects 2019

The Loyal Subjects made a really smart move by making their figures only semi-blindboxed. At an average MSRP over ten dollars, having a true blind assortment was problematic. I had personally decided to stop buying these figures altogether before they changed their marketing. Now only a select few (rare) characters are in blind boxes, while most of the characters (with common ratios) have revealed window boxes.  Despite how much I would have wanted Sorceress to complete my MOTU ladies trifecta, the idea of dropping $10-12 bucks for each attempt at a 1:24 character just pissed me off. I wasted a lot of money trying to get Cheetara a couple years ago and I was just done. But then I walked into Target and saw Sorceress just sitting there in a non-blind box. I'm not one for grudges so I didn't even hesitate before getting back on board. Now they just need to make their chases a little less rare. And of course give us more retro characters. Jem and Silverhawks would be awesome. Let's check out Sorceress!