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!