Saturday, April 4, 2020

Mythic Legions - ARTEMYSS SILVERCHORD!

Mythic Legions: Advent of Decay - Artemyss Silverchord - Four Horsemen 2018

I struggle with a lot of fantasy properties because the aspects I especially like (unicorns, mermaids, fairies, etc) are so often spun off into a separate genre - a genre of sparkles and pastels and rainbows and hearts. Not that I dislike any of that stuff, but it effectively segregates these "softer" elements from the warriors and swords and dragons. And I hate that. (For the Schleich nerds out there, I just want my Bayala and Eldrador in one world with a unified aesthetic). That desire is one of the reasons I fell in love with the Mythic Legions: Advent of Decay line. There were no females in previous Mythic Legions lines, but this wave gave us eighteen glorious ladies! And while most of the characters so far don't fall into the unicorns and mermaids category yet, this Artemyss Silverchord figure reads as a powerful fairy warrior Queen and is easily one of the most dynamic figures in the series. It gives me hope for some kickass unicorns and mermaids down the line. Let's check out Artemyss below!

Thursday, April 2, 2020

Dark Knight Rises Mini-Busts - CATWOMAN!

DC Comics Batman Universe Bust Collection #32 Catwoman - Eaglemoss 2019

I figure with The Batman movie currently filming and ZoĆ« Kravitz soon to take on the role of Selina Kyle in 2021, the Anne Hathaway Catwoman from Dark Knight Rises will soon be a thing of the past (at least as far as merchandising goes). I still fondly remember my surprise at seeing Hathaway's amazing performance. I'll be the first to admit that my expectations weren't very high. At the time, I had only really been exposed to her acting in more lighthearted fare (despite her having several super impressive roles under her belt already that I just hadn't seen yet). But her interpretation was fun, entertaining, and sexy. I only wish we could have seen more of her. These Batman Universe Busts from Eaglemoss have been pretty amazing. While they haven't all been winners (ahem.. Ivy), the majority have been awesome (Batwoman, Batgirl, Bluebird, and Catwoman especially). I have a feeling the line ended with Issue #35 which is a shame because I was really enjoying them. Let's check out DKR Catwoman below!

Tuesday, March 31, 2020

Halo 12 Inch SPARTAN VALE!

Halo 12" Action Figures - Series 02 - Spartan Vale - Mattel 2017

I've wanted to finish this post forever, but it's difficult because I know next to nothing about Halo. That said, this figure was my most sought-after modern 12" figure in recent memory. She was shown off at Toy Fair NY in 2017. And honestly "shown off" is a strong word. She popped up in the background of a tiny Halo display. Mattel never seemed to promote this line at all. It's very odd to rely on the K-Mart website for product information, but by the end, that was literally the best source for reveals. This 12" Spartan Vale was released sometime in late 2017, but not anywhere in the US that I ever heard of. I eventually caved after two years and begged Instagram to help me get her. And a huge thank you to Levi @toyfriendsofficial for grabbing her for me while travelling in Mexico. She really is a beautiful figure and would have continued to be a grail of mine for many years without Levi's help. It's a shame that Mattel only released two 12" females. I'll be curious to see how the upcoming Wicked Cool Toys 12" Tanaka compares.

Monday, March 30, 2020

Mythic Legions - SKELETON SOLDIER!

Mythic Legions: Advent of Decay - Skeleton Soldier Builder - Four Horsemen 2018

It's taken me seventeen months to open my Mythic Legions: Advent of Decay figures from Four Horsemen. I backed the original Kickstarter and got every female figure. But the problem with bulk toy purchases, is that I get absolutely overwhelmed at the prospect of opening and displaying them (let alone photographing/posting about them). That's why I currently have three large cardboard boxes in my basement: one full of dozens of unopened Boss Fight Studios figures, one with I Am Elemental, and one with Mythic Legions. The one good thing about Shelter in Place orders is that I'm forced to spend my excessive toy hunting time appreciating what I already own. This Skeleton Soldier Builder was one of my most anticipated figures from the entire lineup. As a kid I was kind of obsessed with skeletons: The skeleton girls on flying horses from the 1980 Return of the King cartoon gave me some of my first nightmares; I loved the Glo-Bones Pocket Power; and Jason & the Argonauts was always a favorite movie.

Saturday, March 28, 2020

Dreamworks Dragons - ASTRID & RUFFNUT!

How to Train Your Dragon: Hidden World - Astrid & Ruffnut - Spin Master 2019-20

I've been wanting to post these two figures for a while, but I was making myself wait until I actually saw the movie (How to Train Your Dragon 3: The Hidden World). Well I just finished it (thanks Hulu!) and I loved it. There's something about these movies that is a perfect blend of fun, adventure, and fantasy. There were a few particular scenes tonight that would have been amazing to see in 3D on the big screen, but I snoozed and lost. In this movie, all the main characters don armor made from the shed scales and spikes of their dragon companions. These give the wearer some of the qualities of the dragon (like Hiccup's armor making him fireproof), but the best thing is that they just look damn cool. In the movie the colors are really muted, but the toys are bright and vivid. When I first saw them in the store I had to have them. And now after the movie I wish we could also get a Valka and Griselda the Grievous. But the movie came out over a year ago and Spin Master is in love with Batman now. Shame.

Thursday, March 26, 2020

MOTU ReAction - TEELA(S)!

Masters of the Universe ReAction Figures - A Multitude of Teela - Super7 2017-19

I'm pretty sad that the Masters of the Universe ReAction line from Super7 has come to an end. But at the same time, I'm kind of glad that I'm not on the hook for an endless barrage of color variants now. Over the course of 5 years, they have released a lot of repaints. I mean, I count ten different He-Man variations, nine Mer-Man, and 8 Beast Man. Luckily Teela only has five variants and Sorceress has three - all the other ladies only have single releases. That said, it was really fun collecting all these and I do truly hope that Mattel releases portions of the licence back to Super7 eventually. For some reason I really want a Queen Marlena in this scale - not to mention a million more Princess of Power characters (Glimmer, Catra, Scorpia, Angella, and on and on...) But in the meantime I can look forward to the Cheetara and Jem figures coming out soon. Plus Super7 is always good for surprise properties. I'm sure they have something new and interesting brewing already. Let's check out the Teela variants below!

Tuesday, March 24, 2020

Disney Sleeping Beauty - MALEFICENT!

Kingdom Hearts Select - Series 01 - Maleficent & Sora - Diamond Select 2019

For some reason when I first saw this Maleficent figure in GameStop last Spring, I was very unimpressed. I thought she looked too stiff and stylized. There are a handful of classic cinematic characters that have always been high on my wishlist for the action figure treatment, and Maleficent was very near the top.  So I'm very aware that my covetousness made me a very picky customer. But recently I realized that all the modern interpretations of the character made me forget how the classic 1959 version actually looked. I saw a clip from the movie and I flashed back to this figure and instantly regretted my snobbery. Luckily I found her in a store pretty quickly. And although she isn't perfect, she is really pretty terrific in-hand. My only problem with her is her limited articulation. But I can honestly say I wouldn't have bought this if she had an amorphous soft goods cloak. That's the big trade-off for preferring completely sculpted figures, you sacrifice a lot of poseability. Let's check out Maleficent below!

Sunday, March 22, 2020

Titan Hero Series - GWENOM!

Titan Hero Series: Maximum Venom - Ghost-Spider (Venomized) - Hasbro 2020

I don't know anything about Gwenom, or Venomized Ghost-Spider/Spider-Gwen, but I've definitely been drawn into her design when I see her on a random comic cover. I've even picked up couple pieces of her merchandise in the past year. As a tie-in to the Venom movie sequel (due in theatres in October 2020), Hasbro seems to be ramping up their Venom-themed products in the toy aisles. There is a Marvel Legends wave due later this year (coincidentally with a Gwenom figure), many weird gimmicky slime/gummy toys, and the first to start hitting the market, these Marvel Titan Hero Series figures branded with the Spider-Man: Maximum Venom logo. There is also a Venom and a venomized Mile Morales will new tooling. Although I wish her hood has been resculpted at the edge to capture that jagged look from the comics, I still think this is a great representation of this design. Plus I'm hoping the Spider-man push this year might finally get us a Titan-scale Spider-Woman. Let's check out Gwenom below!

Friday, March 20, 2020

Centauria - GO NAGAI ROBOT COLLECTION!

Go Nagai Robot Collection - Centauria 2017-2018

Go Nagai is a provocative and prolific creator. He is most known in the US for Mazinger Z, Devilman, and Cutie Honey. All of which were groundbreaking in many ways, but they also all have oddly objectifying themes for the female characters. On one hand, Cutie Honey (1973) has the first female protagonist in a shonen manga series. But every time the character transforms into the heroine, she is nude for a second. Devilman (1972) is full of female characters, but a large number of them are humanoid demons who wear no clothes. And of course, Mazinger Z (1972) introduced female mecha to manga and anime, but that innovative inclusion is tempered by the fact that almost all these robots have breasts that are weaponized and can be launched as warheads. All that said, I don't find any of these traits actually offensive. Sometimes they are worthy of an eye-roll, but nothing is overtly sexual and there is a consistent playfulness that let's you just enjoy the simple retro designs and historical context.

Thursday, March 19, 2020

Centauria Figurines - MAZINGER ANGELS!

Go Nagai Robot Collection - Venus Diana Minerva Aphrodite - Centauria 2017-18

Calling this group the "Mazinger Angels" is a bit of a misnomer. All four of these characters were introduced individually throughout different iterations of the Mazinger series throughout the early 1970s. Then in 2004, they were brought together in a new manga series called Mazinger Angels (a spoof on Charlie's Angels), but with very different color schemes, while these figures here show their original colors. I became obsessed with Go Nagai's female mecha about 15 years now when a friend was reminiscing about his favorite childhood cartoon in the Philippines and how these big female robots would launch their breasts like missiles. I had to Google it out of morbid curiosity and quickly got swept into the world of Mazinger.  The series is notable for introducing female mecha to the world of anime and manga. But it's also notorious for the Oppai Missile System, where these characters literally have weaponized breasts. It's ridiculous and weird, but I overlook it for the historical context of these awesome bots.

Wednesday, March 18, 2020

Fortnite - SKULLY!

Fortnite 7" Premium Action Figures - Skully - Epic Games / McFarlane Toys 2020

Just when I think I might give up on one of the various Fortnite lines, a new product comes out that sucks me right back in. So far, I think that McFarlane Toys Fortnite figures have been the least inspiring. This is mostly due to the high cost and slow release schedule. Plus comparatively, the Cuddle Team Leader seemed awkwardly proportioned and too tall and Dark Bomber's face, although technically not bad at all, looked like it was stamped on cheaply. So, yeah, I was ready to give the whole line the axe. But then this character named Skully was revealed who I had never heard of before. At first glance I was unimpressed. She looked like another forgettable militant character that I've seen a thousand times before. But upon further inspection I really dig her design. The maroon and teal colors really pop with the rainbow details and her bright blonde hair. Plus the candy-skull details on her hip, backpack, and axe combine to create that quirky vs deadly that I love about Fortnite. She's amazing. Let's check out Skully below!

Saturday, March 14, 2020

Perfect Effect - MOTOBOT RC!

3rd Party Transformers -  MotoBot PE-DX01 RC (Arcee) - PerfectEffect 2012

This MotoBot RC figure is the first 3rd Party Transformer that really caught my attention. Prior to this mold in 2012, all the fembots looked like simple model kits. A lot of their features looked soft (and improperly molded), there were plastic flashes, odd proportions, and exposed screws. But these figures from PerfectEffect really stood out from the pack. They looked amazing: well-proportioned, excellent details, lots of accessories, and bright, molded colors. I even liked that fact that the design seemed to be based off her current IDW comic appearances rather than her classic G1 look. Although a classic look was still my main desire at the time (Generations Arcee wouldn't be released for another two years), I really appreciated this unique modern interpretation and was excited to get the figure. Of course, I didn't pick her up until I found her at a toy show last year, but better late than never. She still holds up great against the other more recent 3rd Party figures. Let's check out the Perfect Effect MotoBot RC below!

Thursday, March 12, 2020

Iron Factory - PINK ASSASSIN!

3rd Party Transformers - IF EX-16 Pink Assassin - Iron Factory 2016

Iron Factory was really on to something special when they started this 3-inch line of fembots. Between 2015 and 2018 they released seven amazing figures. Granted, there are several repaints and several simple retools, but the overall effect is a nice little troop of pocket-sized female Transformers. I only wish they would release more. Chromia, FireStar, and Moonracer would make a perfect three-pack. The tricky thing is that two previous releases (the Elita-1 and Dark Arcee homages) were surprise pack-ins with larger figures. So this makes me jump with excitement for every single Iron Factory solicitation. But with no new fembots in the last two years, I fear the line may be done. I've owned several of these ladies for years, but I only started opening them recently. I'm excited to review them one-by-one. The scale, articulation, sculpt, and paint apps are top notch. And the anime-inspired faces might seem cheesy on a larger figure, but with these it's downright adorable.  Let's check out Pink Assassin below!

Tuesday, March 10, 2020

Titans Return - ARCEE!

Transformers: Titans Return - Hascon Exc Arcee w/ Ultra Magnus - Hasbro 2017

This Arcee figure has a very frustrating history for me. At first, I didn't want her at all. As pink redeco of the Titans Return Blurr, this was precisely the kind of Transformer I tried to avoid. She was a convention exclusive, and she was using a male body.. a recipe for meh. But then I picked up the Nautica figure and suddenly I had a change of heart. This body appeared way more androgynous than I expected and I regretted not trying to get Arcee. Then, in true flip-flopping fashion, I again decided not to get her when she was $24.99 on the hasbrotoyshop and toysrus websites for months. Then she sold out, and I suddenly had to have her. I'm not sure how much I ended up paying, but I eventually snagged her on eBay. I have a hunch that this Arcee is the last of her kind. In recent years, there has been a major push for female-specific body molds. Sometimes a repurposed male buck yielded decent results, but the gender-consistent options now available probably make that a thing of the past. Let's check out Arcee below!

Sunday, March 8, 2020

Ocular Max - AZALEA!

Ocular Max (Perfection Series) PS-04 Azalea  - Mastermind Creations 2018

Of all the 3rd Party Arcee figures out there, this Ocular Max Azalea from Mastermind Creations seems to be the most popular. There are already five variations of her announced (three released so far), and I have a gut feeling there will be more. Mastermind Creations first fell into my radar back in 2015 when they released their Reformatted line of fembots (Eupatorium (Elita One), Salvia Prominon (Solus Prime) and Azalea (IDW Arcee)). They were all fantastic and they marked the first time I ever spent real money on 3rd Party figures. But they were pretty stylized figures that didn't really fit in with official Hasbro or Takara products. Then three years later they shocked me by unveiling one of the most perfect looking G1 Arcee figures to date. It's not a perfect designs by any means, but it sure looks it. I hope they make more fembots, the really did a deep dive with characters back in 2015, so I hope this engineering gets the same longevity (beyond the repaints). Elita 1 would be amazing. Let's check out Ocular Max Azalea below!

Friday, March 6, 2020

Fans Toys - ROUGE!

3rd Party Masterpiece-Scale Transformers FT-24 Rouge - Fans Toys 2018

This Masterpiece-Scale Rouge figure from Arcee marked a huge turning point for me in collecting Transformers. I was always patiently waiting for official TakaraTomy or Hasbro products to come out, but upon seeing this figure, I realized the 3rd Party market was always going to pay more attention to the female Transformers than the main companies ever would (of course this was before Power of the Primes hit the shelves). This Rouge figure also confused me because it make me realize I hadn't been paying attention to the market and I had completely lost track of all the fembots already released. I vowed to backtrack and become a completist. I won't go crazy getting repaints. Arcee alone gets tons of re-releases in Stealth Mode and as the Paradron Medic, I would go broke trying to keep up. But trying to get each mold and seeing what these different 3rd Party companies can do has been a really fun side hobby (and I credit these companies with lighting a fire under Hasbro's butt).  Let's check out Rouge!

Wednesday, March 4, 2020

War in Pocket - LEAH!

Third Party Transformers - War in Pocket 14: Warrior Leah - Dx9 Toys 2016

I'm truly surprised how much I love this figure. In general, she is significantly cheaper that the average 3rd Party figure. Plus she's a smaller scale and she comes in a 2-Pack with Toufold (Kup). I ordered her years ago on a whim and never had very high expectations. But when I finally opened her last week, I was instantly enamored. She measures about 3.75" tall so I had instant flashbacks of playing with my G.I.Joes. If Takara has been making toys like this in the 80s I would have been all over them and the crossover play potential would have been insane. Leah is also very easy to transform. That's one thing smaller-scale figures like this will always naturally have over the bigger ladies, much simpler engineering. I think Dx9 could had had a lot of fun with this scale and made a ton more characters. Elita's Army would have blown my mind. But I'll take single female Leah is that's all that's meant to be. It will be fun to compare her to the future BFS Robot wave. Let's check out the Dx9 Leah below!

Monday, March 2, 2020

Toy World - TW-M06 LEIA!

Third Party Masterpiece-Scale Transformers TW-M06 Leia - Toy World 2017

2020 is going to be the year of Arcee. The Movie Series figure just came out, and there are three more on the horizon: Cyberverse, Earthrise Deluxe, and Masterpiece. I'm very excited. I'm so excited, in fact, that I finally opened all of my 3rd Party figures that I've been stockpiling for years. For a long time there weren't any official G1 Arcee figures out there, so the 3rd Party market eagerly filled the void. I have quite a collection to review, so prep yourself for a parade of pink robots. This Leia figure from Toy World is currently the largest one in my collection towering at 8" tall. I think she looks great, and she feels really solid (and heavy!) Although one thing I've found that 3rd Party figures have in common is extremely complicated engineering. When I opened Leia last week I found myself literally awake until 7am trying to transform her torso back to bot form. I resorted to YouTube videos (Xakimus Prime, you are a life-saver! That move at 6:05 mark killed me) and I will likely never attempt that again. Let's check out Leia below!

Saturday, February 29, 2020

Spotlight on SUPERHERO COLLECTED EDITONS!

Your Favorite Female Super Heroes and Villains in Graphic Novel Form

I thought I would take advantage of Leap Day 2020 to post something different I have been working on for quite some time. I love female comic characters, especially C-listers who have surprisingly stood the test of time. Many of these have been relegated to random guest appearances and the occasional backup solo story but rarely get a moment to shine, despite a lot of love from fans. That's where collected editions come into play. Unlike a graphic novel that tells a cohesive narrative, collected editions (when done right) gather all those random key appearances of a scattered character and bring them all together to paint a portrait and hopefully show a fun evolution of costume and personality in the process. Similar to my post on Action Figure Variant Covers, this is a feature I plan to update every year or so with more entries. Some will be new, some will be old issues I've discovered. It's currently my second favorite hobby after action figures, so I have a lot of personal momentum. Let's check them out below!

Friday, February 28, 2020

Transformers - CHROMIA, ARCEE, & ELITA-1!

Transformers Studio Series #52 - ROTF Chromia, Arcee, and Elita-1 - Hasbro 2020

These figures are a bittersweet thing for me. I think they are a great representation of these specific cinematic versions of the characters. But the versions themselves are what I have issues with. Back in 2009 I was so excited for Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen. The first rumors were that Arcee would be a character. Then there was an image leaked of three motorcycles and Chromia and Elita-1 were confirmed. I was beyond thrilled. But the eventual robot forms were such a major disappointment to me. They were barely humanoid. A blur of bouncy unicycles and a major missed opportunity to introduce some great characters. I tried to be positive and I bought all the toys. But after some lackluster display time on my shelf, I sold them all. I never regretted it, but when these new Studio Series figures were announced, I was happy to reintroduced them (in a much smaller scale). These versions only stand 3" tall and are a perfect unobtrusive addition to my Transformers shelf.  Let's check out the Arcee Gang below!

Wednesday, February 26, 2020

Marvel Legends - STEPFORD CUCKOOS!

Marvel Legends - X-Men: Stepford Cuckoos - Walgreens Exc - Hasbro 2020

The Stepford Cuckoos debuted at a time when I wasn't really into any mutant books. I re-entered the genre with Phoenix: Endsong in 2005 and I was both intrigued and confused by these creepy newcomers. Their origins are sci-fi gold. While Emma Frost was lying in a coma after the Sentinel battle that killed all of her Hellions, over a thousand eggs were collected from her body and used to clone the original 5 Stepford Cuckoos: Esme, Irma (Mindee), Phoebe, Celeste, and Sophie. They are identical, they have powerful psychic powers, and they can operate with a hive mind. Esme and Sophie had been killed earlier on, leaving the three we commonly see in comics today (plus a potential thousand more living in psychically-blocked anonymity). They all have natural blonde hair like their genetic mother, but at one point Phoebe dyed her hair red and Irma dyed her hair black/brown. They all eventually reverted to their blonde roots, but it makes sense for this figure to give us the different hair options.

Monday, February 24, 2020

DC Mini-Busts - VIXEN!

Women of the DC Universe - Series 2 (Mini-Busts) - Vixen - DC Direct 2009

Eight years ago I wasn't really a fan of Vixen. I appreciated her as a character, but her actual comics and merchandise didn't thrill me. I'm not making this up, and it's perfectly unplanned, but 8 years ago today (Feb 24th, 2012), my blog was only a month old and I posted a Character Spotlight on Vixen without actually owning any of the pieces. Fast forward to 2020 and I love my little Vixen collection. Learning about her publishing origins and her cancelled solo title from the 70s suddenly gave her a lot of street cred in my book. Then I read her Return of the Lion miniseries and picked up her animated movie and now I consider myself a genuine fan. I think Vixen is a perfect character for a collected edition graphic novel. She has an interesting origin and a lot of varied costumes over the years. Plus they could publish that unseen cancelled solo comic for the first time! I'm going to publish a post on the most needed character-based graphic novels - I have many opinions. Let's check out the Vixen Mini-bust below!

Wednesday, February 19, 2020

Mini Power Rangers - RITA REPULSA!

Power Rangers Blind Bag Series 01 - Rita Repulsa - Hasbro/Playskool 2019

With the recent announcement of the Gamestop-exclusive Lightning Collection Rita Repulsa, I realized I never posted anything on this adorable little Rita. I was pretty sad when Bandai lost the Power Rangers license to Hasbro, but it wasn't necessarily because of the collector-level 6" Legacy figures that I had been buying. Rather, I was most upset because the Power Rangers Imaginext line would also be coming to a close. Over the course of a few years, Fisher-Price had released a really fun collection of figures (including the first ever Scorpina action figure). For those collectors who dive into the preschool market, it is well known that Fisher-Price (Mattel) is much better organized and productive than Playskool (Hasbro). The Playskool Marvel line has almost no character diversity, just the same 5 guys over and over again for years. The occasionaly solicit a new character, but they are almost always cancelled.So I feared the same neglect for the Playskool Rangers (and it seems my fears are well founded).

Monday, February 17, 2020

Fortnite - FIREWORKS TEAM LEADER(S)!

Fortnite - Fireworks Team Leader - 3.75" Jazwares 2020 & 7" McFarlane Toys 2019

Life, Liberty, and the Bear Suit of Happiness. I've wanted to post the McFarlane Toys Fireworks Team Leader figure for months, but I didn't get around to it until the 3.75" Jazwares version came out and Presidents' Day rolled around. I don't even know if stars and stripes are typical for this holiday, but it's as good an excuse as any to get my butt in gear.  Fireworks Team Leader is yet another variation of the pink Cuddle Team Leader. I know of at least six version of this design. We have already seen toys of Cuddle, Fireworks, Panda, and Spooky Teams Leaders. But there are also versions named Bundles and Ragsy that I'm sure we'll see in some form eventually as well. As much as I get bored with re-use of a mold, there's something so zany about these bears that I'm eager to get them all. It should be interesting to see what McFarlane and Jazwares unveil at Toy Fair next week. It's really fun to have a whole new property to look forward to. Especially one with such limitless potential. Let's check out Fireworks below!

Sunday, February 16, 2020

Masters of the Universe - SHADOW WEAVER!

Masters of the Universe Classics: Club Grayskull - Shadow Weaver - Super7 2020

Re-do figures are very surprising sometimes. I have been living the last eight years in blissful confidence that I owned a perfect Shadow Weaver figure. The 2012 MOTUC subscription-exclusive Weaver figure is amazing. I literally had no complaints about her. But her exclusive status caused her to remain a figure in high demand for most collectors. So a new figure was a welcome announcement for the final wave of MOTUC. The interesting thing is that the nature of her simple design leads to no real distinction between a Classics and Club Grayskull look, so I wasn't expecting much from this second figure. But in actuality, this new figure is vastly improved from the original: Her articulation is now mostly hidden; Her colors are brighter and more cartoon accurate; And her overall sculpt is improved with better cloth folds, a more dynamic pose, and more detailed hands. It's truly the greatest figure that I didn't know I needed. It's such a shame there won't be more. Let's check out Shadow Weaver below!

Friday, February 14, 2020

POP Funko - BATWOMAN!

POP! - DC Super Heroes: Batwoman - Previews Exclusive - Funko 2019

No matter how weird her show may be, and no matter how oddly mystical her comics may get, I will always love Batwoman. For those unaware, the original character of Batwoman was created in 1956 in direct reaction to the fear-mongering book Seduction of the Innocent (1954) - which first questioned the relationship between Batman & Robin. So DC had the brilliant idea to give them girlfriends. Enter Kathy Kane (Batwoman) and her niece Betty (Bat-Girl), the first beards of the comic book world. They were iconic, but cheesy, characters and were phased out after only 8 years. In 2006, she was reintroduced in an Alex Ross-designed costume (originally intended for Barbara Gordon) as a Lesbian. She was formidable and awesome, a far cry from the accessory character she was in her first incarnation. She evolved from being a plot device meant to eliminate hints of homosexuality to being one of the most high-profile gay characters in comics. I love a good redemption story. Let's check out this long-awaited Batwoman Pop below!

Wednesday, February 12, 2020

Marvel Legends - INVISIBLE WOMAN!

Fantastic Four Legends - (Super Skrull BaF) - Invisible Woman - Hasbro 2020

I'm always surprised when modern toylines give us character re-dos in quick succession. We just got an excellent Sue Storm Invisible Woman Marvel Legends figure two years ago as part of the Walgreens-exclusive Fantastic Four line. It was a great figure, although I personally didn't love her shorter hairstyle and the odd greenish-blue hue of her costume. But in spite of all that, I was completely satisfied with her. Then we were surprised with a full Fantastic Four wave for early 2020. I liked her new headsculpt a lot more, but the whole team was donning odd black costumes that I had never seen before. But after a quick search, it appears that the team has been wearing these suits for several years across multiple titles, so I was just behind the times. And after a little mild resistance on my part, I genuinely dig this look and am glad for the drastic variation. But if you prefer one hairstyle or costume combination over another, the heads are easily swappable. Let's check out Sue Storm the Invisible Woman below!

Monday, February 10, 2020

POP Funko - HUNTRESS!

POP! - DC Super Heroes: Huntress - NYCC/Hot Topic Exclusive - Funko 2019

I saw Birds of Prey on Saturday night and I loved it. It seemed to take inspiration from some of my favorite movies: Scott Pilgrim, Kill Bill, Zombieland, and any other fast-paced wacky adventure you can think of.    It was fun and entertaining (and I even appreciated the gore). Two of my very favorite comic characters (Cassandra Cain and Huntress) made their silver screen debut and (potentially) became known to the masses. If I was to cater Huntress' movie debut to my personal preferences, it would have been very very different. But that's not saying I didn't enjoy her quirky irrational violence and Drax-like social cues, I just love the cheesy comic version more. I have been waiting for a Huntress Funko Pop forever. Once we got the main Bat-Ladies like Batgirl, Harley, Catwoman, and Ivy, Huntress was the very next character on my list. It was a long wait, but this figure is perfect. The colors are bright, she's in her iconic Batman: Hush design. Now I want Bluebird and Black Bat! Let's Check out Helena below!

Saturday, February 8, 2020

Marvel Legends - SQUIRREL GIRL!

Marvel Legends: Legendary Riders - The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl - Hasbro 2020

My growing excitement leading up to NYTF led me to look back at my biggest Marvel Legends predictions from 2019. And I realized I had a very impressive year for wish fulfillment. My list included such broad suggestions as Alpha Flight and New Mutants. Preposterous, right? While the completist in me isn't 100% satisfied until we get a couple more characters, I don't think I could have ever predicted that kind of turnout from Hasbro. But an even less-likely hope was for a Squirrel Girl figure. Although there was a weird slip/false reveal several years ago when some guys at Hasbro said she was going to be in the A-Force box set, it was still surprising to see this odd little character in all her quirky glory as a deluxe "Ultimate" release. The reality of this figure is hard to grasp. Now we desperately need Chipmunk Hunk and Koi Boi...as soon as they get cooler costumes (like Luciano Vecchio's amazing Koi Boi redesign on his instagram). I want the whole Squirrel Girl crew on my shelves. Let's check out Doreen below!

Thursday, February 6, 2020

Masters of the Universe - KITTRINA!

Masters of the Universe Classics: Club Grayskull - Kittrina - Super7 2020

As soon as the Masters of the Universe Classics line started showing signs of releasing really obscure characters (back in the early Mattel days), there has been a clamoring for the mysterious feline warrior and spy, Kittrina, to be included. Kittrina appeared in a single Season 2 episode named The Cat and the Spider from 1984 (so named because the episode introduced both Kittrina and Webstor). The episode begins with Prince Adam and Melaktha (the Royal Archaelogist) discovering a legendary Temple of the Cat deep within the Vine Jungle. They wrongfully assume the temple was abandoned and removed a sacred cat statue. The mysterious Cat People are alarmed and send Kittrina to follow the intruders back to the Royal Palace to retrieve the dangerous artifact. After a series of mishaps, the monstrous Grimalkin is freed from the statue and they all join sides to contain him once again. Kittrina was a one-off character who made a lasting impression and was immortalized in plastic 36 years later. I love this line.

Tuesday, February 4, 2020

DC Essentials - CATWOMAN!

DC Essentials #22 - Knightfall Catwoman (Jim Balent) - DC Collectibles 2020

I'm really getting pumped for an exciting NY Toy Fair later this month. With McFarlane Toys and SpinMaster running full speed with the DC licenses, Hasbro Teasing G.I.Joe 6", and (historically) smaller companies like PhatMojo and Jazwares hitting their stride, it's likely going to be an eventful show. But my secret wish is for DC Collectibles to reveal more Essentials figures. There was a wave announced this past Summer (right before SDCC) that included Poison Ivy. I was bummed when an actual figure was never shown. And at NYCC they only showed a variant wave and some zombified figures. DC Collectibles and the former DC Direct has a history of ending lines too soon and I really hope we aren't seeing the signs of this happening again. The DC Essentials line has been amazing and honestly shows more potential that any other DC line I can think of. But if this Knightfall Catwoman happens to be the last original female character in the line, at least it's ending on a high note. Let's check out Selina below!

Monday, February 3, 2020

McFarlane Toys - BATGIRL REBIRTH!

DC Multiverse - Batgirl: Art of the Crime (Batmobile Wave) - McFarlane Toys 2020

Barbara Gordon has had a lot of different incarnations as Batgirl over the years, but thankfully all the costumes have had certain consistent design elements. She almost always has a yellow bat emblem, belt, and sometimes boots. Her outfit is usually purple or blue and gray. The consistency is reassuring. But this new Rebirth design breaks new ground by being the first (in canon) version of Batgirl to swap out her traditional cowl with an Alicia-Silverstone-esque domino mask. I was really resistant to this change when it first appeared (in Batgirl #27 in November 2018), but I must admit the recent comics and this figure have really convinced me of its merits. This figure is a really strong first comic-style figure for McFarlane Toys. The sculpt, articulation, and proportions are near perfection. The only issue is that she has a unique scale at 7" tall. But honestly that just makes me excited to get more figures in this line. Pretty soon we'll be complaining that other companies aren't matching this scale! Let's check out Batgirl below!

Friday, January 31, 2020

ReAction Figures - SHE-RA WAVE!

ReAction - Masters of the Universe Wave 5 (She-Ra Wave) - Super7 2019

I've actually been really hesitant with buying ReAction figures. This was entirely by design because I knew I could get very obsessed with the line very fast. When they first came out, I quickly assembled a wishlist of figures totaling hundreds of dollars. It was a little overwhelming (so I ended up getting none). But then I got suckered into one of those GameStop Black Friday mystery box crazes and I was suddenly the proud owner of tons of ReActions. I really dig the nostalgic retro design and I've loved cherrypicking random characters over the years. But the first wave I was truly obsessed with finding was this She-Ra themed MOTU wave. I only wish there would be plans for a second wave. It's my understanding that the line is over after the recent release of Panthor and Battle Cat, but it's such a pity there wasn't a follow-up She-Ra wave with Glimmer, Catra, Bow, Adora, Mermista... literally I would love any POP character. Maybe even a Swiftwind! Oh well, at least we got this great wave. Let's check them out below!

Wednesday, January 29, 2020

Marvel Legends - CLAIRE TEMPLE!

Marvel Legends - Luke Cage & Claire Temple (Netflix) 2-Pack - Hasbro 2019

The 1970s were a fascinating time for Marvel Comics. Among many other evolutions, there was a surge of female characters in their own titles. At the end of the decade we got all the gender-swapped heroines like She-Hulk, Spider-Woman, and Ms. Marvel. But in the early 70s, the characters were a lot more original: Shanna the She-Devil, The Cat, and Night Nurse were pioneering efforts to bring a female audience to superhero comics. Shanna and the Cat were pretty straight-forward comic formulas, but Night Nurse was unique. While there wasn't a specific character with that name in the beginning, the story focused on three roommates who worked as night-shift nurses in a busy NYC hospital (and ended up patching up more super-heroes than civilians). This peripheral look into the hero world was genius and seems to have inspired future characters like Jessica Jones and Cameron Chase. Rosario Dawson plays Claire Temple, a modern interpretation of Night Nurse appearing in all the Marvel Netflix shows.

Monday, January 27, 2020

Heavy Metal - TAARNA!

Figbiz 5" Action Figures - Heavy Metal: Taarna the Taarakian - Incendium 2019

This figure brought back a flood of nostalgia for me. I was too young to watch the Heavy Metal animated film when it came out in 1981, but a decade later when I was a full-fledged junkie of the Sci-Fi Channel, this movie was often playing and I was mesmerized by animation that was clearly not meant for kids. The concept was foreign to me. Even the scarier animation of my youth like Return of the King and the Last Unicorn were still aimed toward young audiences. But Heavy Metal only played late at night and featured a lot of nudity, sexuality, and graphic violence... if my parents only knew what I was watching. And in reading the movie synopsis now, I'm pretty sure I was seeing a really watered down version of the film - heavily edited for cable TV. The most iconic story in the movie was the white-haired mute warrior Taarna. Clad in a ridiculous thong (but with sensible armor on her legs and arms), she flew around a post-apocalyptic world on a mutated pterosaur and got into swordfights. It was classic fantasy gold.

Friday, January 24, 2020

Urusei Yatsura - LUM!

Figma Action Figure Series #063 - Urusei Yatsura (Lum) - Max Factory 2010

Urusei Yatsura is an iconic manga series which was published from 1978-1987 (plus an anime series from 1981-1987). I was often exposed to images of Lum, the bikini-clad flying girl with little horns, when I was young (her popularity in Japan somehow traveled across the ocean, albeit without much context), but my first real exposure came when the comics began to be reprinted in the US in the early 90s. I was instantly hooked. Lum's author and artist, Rumiko Takahashi, is one of my top five favorite creators of all time. She's most commonly known for Inu-Yasha or Ranma 1/2, but I've literally loved every series she's created. Urusei Yatsura roughly translates into "Those Obnoxious Aliens" and deals with a threatened alien invasion that can only be thwarted if a randomly chosen young man, the lecherous and comically unlucky Ataru, can win a game of tag against the young alien princess, Lum. Wacky hijinks, zany characters, and ridiculous scenarios ensue - for nine years and 374 stories!

Wednesday, January 22, 2020

Funko Pop - BLACK WIDOW (1st Appearance)!

POP! Marvel #551 - 80 Years - Black Widow (First Appearance) - Funko 2019

It's become a standard routine for Marvel Legends and DC Multiverse to announce a few store exclusive figures in the months before theatrical release. Last year the Captain Marvel movie gave us the Walmart Binary and Target Starforce versions of the character. Then in 2017 the Wonder Woman movie gave us TRU exclusive Menalippe and Diana. (Not to mention all the Spider-Man and Captain America figures). So I knew there would be some exclusives for Black Widow announced soon. And today was the lucky day. Unfortunately I was really really hoping for this "first appearance" costume. I put quotes around that because this is really her second look. When Natasha first appeared in 1964 she just looked like a grieving widow at a funeral, complete with a black veil. A year later she started wearing this gem of a costume. She still has that matronly hair and those pearl earrings, but her veil has been transferred to a fishnet bodysuit to compliment her new mask and cape. It's so bad it's good. At least we got a POP of her!

Monday, January 20, 2020

12" Spin Master - HARLEY QUINN!

DC Universe - 12" Creature Chaos -  Harley Quinn - Spin Master Toys 2020

When the news of Mattel losing the DC Comics license to McFarlane Toys and Spin Master hit the collecting community last year, one of my biggest fears was that the 12" True Moves line from Mattel would not continue.  The line showed so much potential but only technically had three female figures released (Batgirl, Mera, and Wonder Woman - which were all gorgeous). I had high hopes for many years of figures suddenly dashed. But I had no reason to fear because Spin Master almost immediately revealed a pretty robust wave of 12" in the exact same style as Mattel. Harley Quinn is the first female offering and her scale and articulation is identical to the Mattel Batgirl. There is a comic-based Wonder Woman is apparently being released in March and I hope Toy Fair shows us some more fun characters. I have a wishlist a mile long, but I only wish I could conjure up some supersized display space to accommodate them (I still keep them mostly on windowsills). Le'ts check out Harley Quinn below!

Saturday, January 18, 2020

DC Gallery - BATWOMAN!

Batman DC Gallery PVC Diorama - Batwoman - Diamond Select Toys 2019

The modern trend of relatively-inexpensive PVC statues is making me break all of my collecting rules. I still only buy larger-scale collectibles of characters I really really like, but I used to refrain buying anything with an overly-decorative base or any that weren't perfectly sculpted. But these PVC statues can be so inexpensive.. often retailing for $30-50 bucks (and they seem to get clearanced pretty fast, I've picked up a few at GameStop for $10). This Batwoman is a prime example of a collectible I would have never bought a few years ago. The sculpt takes up a lot of shelf space, and if she were cold-case porcelain, she'd easily be priced at $150. But the price was right and she looked phenomenal so I caved. Plus I saw her at a local comic shop that I like to support, so I had added incentive to make a purchase. This is easily one of the best representations of Batwoman in my collection. And I think if her skin were more ghostly white she'd be perfect. Let's check out the DC Gallery Batwoman below!

Thursday, January 16, 2020

Funko Savage World - CHEETARA!

Savage World Action Figures: ThunderCats - Wave 2  - Cheetara - Funko 2019

One of my very favorite toy collecting trends in the last decade has been the re-introduction of "vintage style" action figures. The first to come along was Gentle Giant Jumbo figures in 2011 featuring 12" upscaled vintage Star Wars figures, then the ReAction figures from Super7 back in 2014 which re-imagines modern properties in a classic Kenner 3.75" style. The 2015 Micro G.I.Joes offered a brief tease. And most recently Funko and Super7 have established their Vintage and Savage World lines which give new life to the vintage He-Man aesthetic. My most wanted Savage World figure from the beginning was Cheetara. As one of the major icons from 80s cartoons, she doesn't get nearly enough merchandise. While this figure has some problems, she still brings me an intense amount of joy. I don't even know if any more of these figures are on the horizon. The Bride of Frankenstein and mystery woman in the Conan line haven't been mentioned in years, but I have hopes! Let's check out Cheetara.

Tuesday, January 14, 2020

Marvel Legends - WHITE RABBIT!

Spider-Man Legends - (Demogoblin BaF Wave) - White Rabbit - Hasbro 2019

There's something about Alice in Wonderland that has inspired a ton of comic book villains. The interesting thing is that ones from DC tend to be more threatening like Alice from Batwoman, Cheshire from Teen Titans, and Mad Hatter and Tweedledee & Tweedledum from Batman. On the flipside, Marvel likes to steer their Alice-themed characters toward the absurd. The Crazy Gang, Walrus, and White Rabbit are all silly. They are inept at their schemes and usually seem nothing more than comic relief distractions wedged in between more serious adventures. But that doesn't stop me from loving them. White Rabbit is especially nostalgic for me. One early morning when I was young I was delivering newspapers on my paper route and one of my houses was setting up a yard sale. They had a stack of comics on their porch and they gave me Marvel Team-Up #131 which was the first appearance of the White Rabbit. It was actually my first superhero comic (G.I.Joe comics were my jam) and I treasured it for years.

Monday, January 13, 2020

Marvel Legends - HULK!

Fantastic Four Legends - (Super Skrull BaF) - Jennifer Walters Hulk - Hasbro 2020

I love She-Hulk. There's something special about the quick burst of female Marvel characters in the late 70s. Ms. Marvel, Spider-Woman, and She-Hulk were simple female rebrandings of established male characters created in a desperate attempt to secure copyrights (After Filmation's Web Woman fiasco). But the characters quickly became something very special. Having the same power sets, with similar origins, and similar environments created an unintentional social experiment on gender. It was like a long-format What If story, and it became the basis for a lot of my aesthetic and collecting obsessions. She-Hulk has gone through a ton of transformations over the years. Not all of them were to my liking, but others were amazing. For some reason I never questioned why she never had a "gray" transformation before, but I'm glad it finally happened (in 2017) because I think she looks amazing. Plus this buck will also be perfect for a new classic green She-Hulk (which has to be coming). Let's check out Hulk below!

Saturday, January 11, 2020

McFarlane Toys - HARLEY QUINN!

DC Multiverse - Series 01 - Classic Harley Quinn - McFarlane Toys 2020

I was really upset and nervous last year when the news came out that Mattel had lost the DC Comics license. In the past few years especially, Mattel had produced some of my very favorite DC Figures (Batwoman, Spoiler, and Burnside Batgirl to name a few). Meanwhile McFarlane Toys, the new licensee of the DC collectible lines, was hit-or-miss for years. I've collected McFarlane lines that abruptly ended, that fizzled out too fast, that had odd character selection, and some that had very inconsistent paint apps. But when the first waves of figures were revealed right after the new year, I suddenly had faith that the DC license will be handled well. The first female released is this "Harley Quinn Classic" which is a great figure seemingly inspired by BTAS, TNBA, and early comics. I didn't love her face design before I owned her, but in person her expressiveness shines through. Her articulation and scale is unlike anything else in my collection and I'm excited to see what's next. Let's check out Harley below!

Thursday, January 9, 2020

Marvel Select - CAPTAIN MARVEL!

Marvel Select - Captain Marvel (MCU Red Version) - Diamond Select Toys 2019

I think the Carol Danvers Captain Marvel suit is one of the coolest modern costume upgrades in a long time. I love how it has all the features of the original Mar-Vell's design, blends it with the classic Ms. Marvel look, then gives it modern edge with a more techy helmet and mohawk. And I also think it's one of the most successful looks to be translated into the live-action universe. It's often hard to tell if a product is representing the comic or MCU style. when we received the Marvel Select Starforce Captain Marvel in her green suit last year, I think we all knew this classic-colored re-issue was inevitable. I was considering skipping this purchase due to sheer repetition in my collection, but when I saw her in person (in the Disney Store) I found her hard to resist. I figure it won't be long until we get a slew of products featuring her Avengers Endgame design (which I think it the same costume sculpt, just different coloring and a bad haircut). I already predict I will cave and buy more. Let's check out Carol below!

Sunday, January 5, 2020

Marvel Titan Hero Series - CAPTAIN MARVEL!

Marvel's Avengers - Titan Hero Series: Blast Gear - Captain Marvel - Hasbro 2019

I predict this is going to be a fun year for 12" action figures. With new lines like Jazwares' Fortnite and Spinmaster's DC Universe, we know there will be a handful of new ladies popping up (Hopefully a few from Wonder Woman 1984 as well). Then the Marvel Titan Hero Series will likely continue with MCU figures for Black Widow, The Eternals, and maybe even Doctor Strange and Thor. But I'd be lying if I said my favorite figures weren't the comic-based ones. And those are the figures that tend to really sneak up on you without much advance warning. This comic-style Captain Marvel has been a long time coming. While it is actually a weird blend of comic and movie styles, the coloring and headsculpt definitely put her in the comic category in my opinion (the head is a pantographed comic-style Marvel Legends head after all). Pictures of this figure popped up on Instagram and I found her in a store the following week. Hopefully Hasbro has more sneaky releases like this coming! Let's check out captain Marvel below!

Friday, January 3, 2020

Disney's Atlantis - PRINCESS KIDA!

Atlantis The Lost Empire - 4" and 6" Action Figures - Princess Kida - Mattel 2000

I've wanted to review these figures for years but my inspiration finally struck when I noticed Atlantis: The Lost Empire on Disney+ last week and watched it again (for the first time since it came out). It's an interesting movie. It reminds me more of the animated adventure movies being produced by Fox and DreamWorks like Titan A.E. or Road to El Dorado. (Funny thing: Disney quickly followed this up with another adventure movie, Treasure Planet, in 2002, then none since). Atlantis was a fun movie, but if I had my way I would have changed a million little things - the CGI would toned down and the Atlanteans would look more alien-like (or at least aquatic in some way) for starters. All that aside though, Princess Kida remains one of the most unique Disney Princesses. Her white hair, face paint/tattoos, and blue warrior garb looks so interesting. It's a far cry from the tiara and gown trope, but unfortunately she never gained much traction and is relegated to the ranks of forgotten princesses. Let's check out Kida below!

Wednesday, January 1, 2020

Avengers Endgame - VALKYRIE!

Marvel Legends - Avengers Endgame (Thor BaF Wave) - Valkyrie - Hasbro 2019

I'm first and foremost a comic nerd, and I have a special penchant for cheesy Bronze Age characters. While this era may not be a total cheesefest, my favorite characters are the awkward ones where I imagine the writers would come up with a name, then slap together a (super stereotypical) look based on that. Valkyrie is a prime example. She's a tall busty blonde with thick braids, metal cone bra, and spear... right out of a Looney Tunes opera (and I love everything about her). So when Tessa Thompson was revealed as a leather-clad warrior-type with bare arms and face tattoos, I had extreme reservations. However, watching Thor: Ragnarok, it quickly became clear that although this was an entirely new concept for the character, it was solid, funny, believable, and Tessa had a great screen presence. And all doubt was eliminated when she donned an amazing white outfit with gold and blue details by the end of the movie. Two years later we get a figure of this look and it was worth the wait! let's check out Valkyrie!