Wednesday, December 29, 2021

The Mandalorian - KOSKA REEVES!

Star Wars Black Series - The Mandalorian #12: Koska Reeves - Hasbro 2021

As an adult toy collector, the thing that always drew me into the Star Wars market was the rare instances (historically only in the Expanded Universe) of female characters in the different established (mostly male) factions of the Star Wars mythos: Female Storm Troopers, female Imperial Commanders, female X-Wing Pilots, female Ewoks, female Twi'leks, etc. My goal was to have a recognizable Star Wars collection with all female characters. My favorite of these factions was always the Mandalorians. Years ago they released two 3.75 female Mandalorians (and of course Sabine Wren) and I assumed that would be all we would see. But then The Mandalorian came into my life and everything changed. Suddenly there were multiple Black Series toys in the pipeline of amazing female bounty hunters. I'll confess I haven't have my Star Wars ladies on display in years, but these new additions now qualify them for a prominent spot. The latest figure is Koska Reeves and she is amazing. Let's check her out below!

Tuesday, December 28, 2021

Star Wars - AURRA SING!

Star Wars Black Series - The Clone Wars #08: Aurra Sing - Hasbro 2021

Action figures give you a chance to really take in the physical details of a character. In movies and cartoons, characters are always in motion so it's nearly impossible to take in all the details. But toy makers get detailed specs, sometimes even the actual costumes and bodyscans for reference. In the case of Aurra Sing, she had such a brief cameo on The Phantom Menace, that I only had a vague idea what she looked like: orange uniform, stark white skin, and a big ponytail on an otherwise bald head. (I never watched any animated Star Wars shows so I missed out on her character development there). So when I got this toy I was taken by two cool details that I had never noticed. First, the antenna-like protrusion coming out of her head. And secondly, she has really creepy long fingers. My first reaction upon opening her was "ohhh man. The factory melted her hands." But now I think they are such a cool detail that I never would have noticed if not for this figure. Let's check out Aurra Sing below!

Sunday, December 26, 2021

Power Rangers - YELLOW RANGER (AISHA)!

Power Rangers Lightning Collection - MMPR Yellow Ranger - Hasbro 2021

Aisha Campbell was the second Yellow Ranger in the American Mighty Morphin Power Rangers series. She replaced the character Trini Kwan when actress Thuy Trang left the show partway through Season 2 over contract disputes (along with Austin St. John and Walter Emanuel Jones) back in 1994. Actress Karan Ashley who portrays Aisha seems to continually reprise the role (According to IMDb as recently as 2018 in Power Rangers Hyperforce). I personally wasn't watching Power Rangers when she was a character, but I think this is a great re-use of a mold and a smart pairing for Scorpina. As collectors, we know that companies often have to re-use toy molds to get their money's worth. And it's how they budget for characters with intense tooling like Scorpina. But instead of a random sparkly repaint of Trini, they included a simple alternate Aisha head and successfully gave us a great two-pack without feeling like we were forced to buy a duplicate character. Kudos to Hasbro. Let's check out Aisha below!

Friday, December 24, 2021

MOTU Minis - SORCERESS & MERCENARY TEELA!

Masters of the Universe Revelation (Netflix) - Eternia Minis - Mattel 2021

I love the surge of Masters of the Universe products hitting the shelves in recent years. I never thought I would see a dedicated MOTU space in the toy aisles of the big box stores, and suddenly there are five unique toy lines (Origins, MasterVerse, Eternia Minis, He-Man Animated, and Mega Construx). Plus a new Imaginext XL line coming soon. So far the only line that blends all the different iterations of He-Man has been the Eternia Minis. It started out as a continuation of the Mattycollector MOTU Minis line, but has quickly shown potential to be so much more. There has been figures from the Vintage line, Revelation, and the new Netflix CGI show, along with vehicles and playsets. I hope this line continues because I want to see so many more characters included, and I would especially love to see that old Mattycollector Snake Mountain playset finally released. These two figures mark the 5th and 6th ladies in the line, and there's at least one more on the way. Fingers crossed the momentum keeps going!

Wednesday, December 22, 2021

Marvel Legends Vintage - INVISIBLE WOMAN!

Fantastic Four: Vintage (Toy Biz Homage) - Invisible Woman - Hasbro 2021

Poor Susan Storm. For some reason she can never get a toy that looks quite right. She is a rare example of a maternal super hero, and although a mother can embody an demeanor she wants, when toys look too sexy or too angry it doesn't seem to suit the character. I expect an aura of strong, protective, kind, beautiful, and confident to be exuding from Sue. And believe it or not, that's a real tricky combination. This most recent Invisible Woman toy has been getting a lot of bad critiques for her perplexing face sculpt. I think it looks better in person than in photos, but she has a certain expression that mixes concern, confusion, and exasperation. Perhaps like she is panting in exhaustion after a battle. The overall design seems to be based off the Adam Hughes art from her solo comic title, but the glaring difference is in that art she has wide eyes with heavy lashes. This interpretation has her eyes looking a little on the beady side. But despite me dissecting the public criticism, I genuinely appreciate this figure (as-is).

Tuesday, December 21, 2021

Age of Apocalypse - ROGUE!

Marvel Legends - Colossus BaF - Rogue (Age of Apocalypse) - Hasbro 2021

One thing I love about Rogue is that she's almost always recognizable across all her incarnations. Her signature white streak of hair and her penchant for green is a consistent aesthetic and it always looks great. I'm completely unfamiliar with the Age of Apocalypse storyline. It came at a time when I had dropped most superhero comics in favor of manga and indy books. And while I don't necessarily love the details of this specific costume: the chunky boots, billowy sleeves, poofy bangs, and loose bondage-esque collar - the overall look presents like a fun variation of one of the most popular X-Men members. Images of Age of Apocalypse Rogue often show her in a big green cape. It would have been fun to see that added to this figure. I'm still excitedly waiting for a couple other classic Rogue looks (first appearance and that early-90s green and black headbanded outfit), but I think I'll be happy with all iterations in between. And this is by no means the last Rogue we will see in the Legends series.

Monday, December 20, 2021

Marvel Legends - SYLVIE!

Marvel Legends What If...? (The Watcher Series) - Sylvie (Loki) - Hasbro 2021

When I started watching Loki on Disney+ earlier this year, I had pretty low expectations. I wasn't the biggest fan of Falcon and Winter Soldier (never finished it in fact). And after the creative wonder of WandaVision, I didn't expect a show focused on a duplicitous trickster (who I was never a big admirer of even in comics) to capture my attention. I only started watching because my friends in a nerdy group chat I'm in  insisted I start and I had hopes that Lady Loki would make an appearance. Long story short, I ended up really enjoying the show. Despite themes of time travel and alternate realities (which I find exhausting and tedious after 30+ years reading comics and sci-fi), I was intrigued and really enjoyed it. An unexpected joy was the introduction of Sylvie Laufeydottir, an alternate timeline Loki and the MCU's version of Sylvie Lushton (the Young Enchantress character from the Young Avengers comics). One more step towards the Young Avengers movie I predict is coming. Let's check out Sylvie below!

Sunday, December 19, 2021

Roblox - NAILAH THE FORTUNE TELLER!

Roblox Imagination Collection - 4" Figure Wave 04 - Nailah - Jazwares 2021

Yet another thrilling figure from the Roblox Imagination Collection. I love how diverse and fun this line is. In less that two years we've seen female figures representing a wide variety of genres like fantasy, anime, sci-fi, mythology, steampunk, and even modern street clothes. This Nailah figure is like a fantasy or fairytale representation of Middle-Eastern or Indian aesthetics. She's a bit Arabian Nights, and a bit fantasy mysticism. I think she's fantastic and she reminds me of the main character from Night's Dominion, a Ted Naifeh comic from the past five years that I loved (the similarity in their names and character design makes me think it might actually be a nod to the comic). Naileh also marks the first woman of color in the line, but not the last (Stellar the Solar Scientist is noted as 'coming soon'). Every figure in the Roblox Imagination Collection so far thrills me. The designs look great and the production schedule is aggressive. I can't wait to see what's next. Let's check out Naileh below!

Saturday, December 18, 2021

Roblox - SEA SERPENT!

Roblox Imagination Collection - 4" Figure Wave 04 - Sea Serpent - Jazwares 2021

Nothing sparks my collecting curiosity more than a character with unworldly-colored skin. Red or Green or (especially) Blue complexions just thrill me. Although I mostly collect toys related to comics and animation, my personal aesthetic lean toward fantasy. Specifically creature fantasy with humanoid characters exhibiting animalistic traits. And for some reason blue skin has always been associated with aquatic people. When I first saw images of this Sea Serpent figure from the Roblox Imagination Collection line a few months ago I was ecstatic. This line has been the source of a lot of unexpected joy for me. Even though I'm mostly unfamiliar with Roblox in general, Jazwares has produced a ton of quirky and fun female figures. It has already surpassed the Fortnite line as far as diversity and imagination in my opinion. And every time I buy a new figure, I unfold the paper insert to see news of even more figures on the horizon. It's a never-ending cycle and I'm here for it. Let's check out Sea Serpent below!

Friday, December 17, 2021

Space Jam - LOLA as WONDER WOMAN!

Space Jam: A New Legacy - On Screen Team-Up - Lola Bunny - Moose Toys 2021

I recently watched Space Jam: A New Legacy just to see a scene where Lola Bunny became Wonder Woman. I've been seeing images of a lot of Looney Tunes Characters in DC Hero costumes: Daffy Duck as Superman, Bugs Bunny as Batman, etc. And as I watched the movie, I predictably saw these mashups happen on screen. But as far as I can tell, Lola was never dressed as Wonder Woman in the entire movie. Sure, there was a scene where she was on Themyscira alongside Diana taking part in an Amazon training challenge. But Lola was in gray and brown armor. Even throughout the little credits vignettes I expected to see her in costume, but alas, I never did. But I still really enjoy this action figure. And it coincidentally reminds me of a Looney Tunes variant cover for Justice League #46 back in 2015 that showed Lola in the Wonder Woman costume. This toy looks a lot better than her first release in a basketball jersey and will definitely get a more prominent display in my collection. Let's check out Lola below!

Thursday, December 16, 2021

Titan Hero Series - SERSI!

Marvel Titan Hero Series - MCU The Eternals - Marvel's Sersi - Hasbro 2021

I recently moved houses and I'm in the exciting stage of setting up a new collection room. One portion of my action figure collection that I've never given fair treatment was my modern 12" ladies. When I set up my last room seven years ago, there were no females in the Titan Hero Series (Black Widow came out in 2016), but flash forward to present and suddenly I have over 45 figures in a scale I was unprepared for. In my last room they were crammed unceremoniously onto two deep windowsills. But this time I will show them some respect with a proper shelf. The most recent addition to my collection is this amazing Sersi from The Eternals movie. I'm impressed with how the actor likenesses for the MCU figures keep getting better and better. It makes the older ones looks pretty primitive in comparison. I really enjoy this scale and always look forward to buying more. Fingers crossed for an America Chavez from the Dr. Strange movie or some WandaVision figures in 2022. Let's check out Sersi below!

Saturday, December 11, 2021

Miraculous Ladybug - MULTIMOUSE!

Miraculous Ladybug Action Figures: Wave 05 - Multimouse - Bandai 2019

Considering how many cool forms the main character in Miraculous, Marinette, has assumed, it's surprising there haven't been more interesting toys of her. We've seen rehashed Ladybug costumes, and a very cool Lady Noire, but there could have easily been a few fun Marinettes in each wave. It's amusing then that the very last figure produced in the Bandai line would be Multimouse, one of her more unique transformations. I'll be honest, I was never planning on getting this figure. I knew the line was ending and she would be hard to get. Plus I wasn't a huge fan of the gray and pink color scheme, especially when compared to the bright bold colors of the other figures. But, typical of most collectors, over time I began to covet this figure. Her "exclusivity" (meaning: final-wave poor distribution) only ramped up her appeal to me. I finally got her at a decent price right as the new Playmates line started seeing wide circulation. She's a great final addition to the old line. Let's check out Multimouse below!

Friday, December 10, 2021

Miraculous Ladybug - AQUABUG!

Miraculous Ladybug Action Figures: Wave 04 - AquaBug - Bandai 2018

With the first assortment of Miraculous figures from Playmates Toys finally hitting the shelves, I scrambled to get the last couple Bandai figures I never picked up (before they became impossible to get). Similar to any Batman or Spider-Man themed property, there is some version of Ladybug in every wave of Miraculous toys. She's the focal character so I totally get it, but I usually skip slight variations of a character I already have. When I first saw pics of this AquaBug figure, I wrote it off as just "Ladybug with blue hair" and didn't pay any attention. But a few years later I saw a pic of her and realized she had some interesting details. The most impressive part is that her costume is completely covered in a fishscale texture. It's only noticeable up close and Bandai could have been cheap and just re-used the smooth mold. Her hair gradient from light blue to pink also really stands out. In the packaging, the pink blends in with the background graphics, so seeing it in person was a nice surprise. Let's check out AquaBug below!

Thursday, December 9, 2021

Marvel Legends 3.75" Retro - STORM!

Marvel Legends 3.75" Retro Series 04 - Storm - Hasbro 2021

Storm is easily one of the most iconic Marvel heroines ever. Her regal demeanor, her stark white hair, her amazing elemental powers, and her simple descriptive name that ties it all together make her the perfect character. Elemental powers are an easy concept to grasp (and fantasize about) and I'm always drawn to them. Plus Storm is one of the earliest black female comic characters out there. Nubia pre-dated her by a couple years, but Storm is infinitely more popular. Ororo has gone through a lot of transformations, but this classic first appearance look will always be my favorite. When the 3.75" Marvel Legends Retro line debuted last year, I instantly created a wishlist of my favorite characters to be included, and Storm was very very high on that list. I'm not surprised that we got her so soon though. Here's hoping that Firestar, Spider-Woman, and Dazzler come soon! This line has a ton of potential and I adore the early-80s aesthetic.  Let's check out the Marvel Legends Retro Storm below!

Wednesday, December 8, 2021

MOTU Revelation - TEELA!

Masterverse Series 2 - Masters of the Universe Revelation - Teela - Mattel 2021

I'm partway through the second half of Masters of the Universe: Revelation on Netflix and I'm loving it. Teela has always been the most interesting character in the He-Man universe IMO (with Marlena being a close second). The original Masters of the Universe series was fantastic and iconic, but the stories just didn't have a lot of depth. Most characters were a name and a toy gimmick, and not much else (besides awesome). But the writers seemed to put extra effort into the characters that didn't have a punny name or action gimmick. And Teela (and Marlena) were the big recipients of that attention and got complex intriguing backstories. The fact that Revelation seems to focus on Teela is no surprise at all. She is essentially the only MOTU character with any kind of fated prophecy driving a story. Her transformation to a mercenary warrior is interesting and believable. And, honestly, the initial hate from the fanbase just makes me like this look even more.  Let's check out warrior Teela below!

Saturday, December 4, 2021

Sonic the Hedgehog - AMY ROSE!

Sonic the Hedgehog 4" Series -  Amy Rose w/ Hammer - Jakks Pacific 2021

Although I don't play any video games now as an adult, I spent a huge portion of my youth glued to my game consoles. The majority of this was Nintendo and the only Sega exposure I had was my handheld Game Gear, to which I owned three games: Lemmings, Ecco the Dolphin, and Sonic the Hedgehog (in retrospect, despite years of karate training and sibling roughhousing, I realize I was an adolescent pacifist and eschewed any violent games). Sonic was so fun and fast, even on a tiny screen it was mesmerizing. I'm pretty sure Sonic himself was the only playable character in my version, but Tails was already on my radar and Knuckles arrived shortly after. However, it wasn't until I was an adult collector getting into the Jazwares Sonic toys that I discovered Amy Rose, the primary female character in the franchise. She embodies all the cute stylized designs I love about the Sonic Universe and fits seamlessly into my female-focused collection. Let's check out this newest Amy Rose below!

Friday, December 3, 2021

Nintendo - WENDY O KOOPA!

World of Nintendo - 2.5" Series Wave 32 - Wendy O Koopa - Jakks Pacific 2021

Ever since Jakks Pacific started releasing Nintendo figures I have been hoping for a Wendo O Koopa in the line. When we first met the Koopa Kids in Super Mario Bros 3, I actually kind of hated Wendy. Something about her giant bow and rings just didn't align with my adolescent aesthetics. But over the years I really grew to appreciate her as one of the very few female characters in the Mario Universe. And as far as villains go, I'm pretty sure she and Birdo are the only ladies. The 2.5" Nintendo line has been a staple of checkout lines and Target aisles for years, but surprisingly the last female (Samus from Metroid) was released over five years ago. I had pretty much stopped paying attention to the line when I saw a pic of this figure show up in Instagram. I was beyond excited to be on the hunt and found her pretty quickly (and also learned a Daisy is coming soon!) As far as I know this is the first toy of her ever. I couldn't even find a gashapon or PVC. Let's check out the long-awaited Wendy O Koopa below!

Tuesday, November 30, 2021

Funko Pop - JUN THE SWAN!

POP! Animation #1032 - Gatchaman - Jun the Swan (Princess) - Funko 2021

Gatchaman is one of those properties that I wish I was aware of when I was a kid. It was first marketed to English speaking audiences in 1978 as Battle of the Planets, and again in 1986 as G-Force: Guardians of Space. Of course, I somehow had zero exposure and first glimpsed these characters in 2002 when there was a sudden barrage of comic and toy product. Science Ninja Team Gatchman, features five young fighters (and pilots) who wear bird-themed costumes and pilot bird-themed vehicles. The plots revolve around ecological attacks and disasters and their main villain is the wonderfully androgynous Zoltar. It reminds me of Voltron meets Captain Planet with lots of bird motifs (something I'm always drawn to). Jun the Swan is the token female of the group. (named "Princess" in the US versions). One of the major themes I will always collect with Funko Pops is 80's Cartoon Ladies, and Jun makes and wonderful and unexpected addition to that group. Let's check her out below!

Monday, November 29, 2021

MOTU Origins - ETERNIAN GODDESS!

Masters of the Universe Origins - Green Goddess Teela - Mattel 2021

Masters of the Universe Origins has really been an exciting line for me. All my favorite vintage figures have already been released in this updated retro style and I am anxiously awaiting news of unexpected figures (perhaps Marlena or Catra!) But in the meantime, the variants of the first four ladies have been very fun. We have seen 200x Evil-Lyn, Temple of Darkness Sorceress, rooted-hair She-Ra, and now Green Goddess Teela. For those unaware, in the original minicomics that came with the vintage toys (before the cartoon aired), the Sorceress character was filled by a green-skinned snake Goddess. When the Teela toy was made, Mattel gave her the snake armor to pull double-duty as two separate characters (albeit with no green skin). Over time, kids just kind of assumed Teela had a snake motif and the Goddess lore faded away. But the MOTUC Goddess figure in 2009 brought those early stories back to the forefront (for me at least). I'm excited to see this variant in Origins. Let's check of Goddess below!

Saturday, November 27, 2021

Fortnite Victory Royale Series - Skye and Ollie Deluxe Pack - Hasbro 2021

Hasbro's new Fortnite: Victory Royale Series seems to be starting off with a bang. With only a handful of figures on the shelves, there are already three female figures out there (Skye and Lynx in stores, and Jules on Amazon). I tend to groan a bit when a relatively new license changes hands too often. In a few short years we've seen similarly-scaled Fortnite figures from McFarlane Toys, Jazwares, and now Hasbro. But the figures themselves have been so interesting and unique that I don't mind the shifting production. Especially when it means more figures and more gender diversity. In three years, McFarlane only had three unique female sculpts and Jazwares only had two (in the Legendary series). So Hasbro already seems ready to blow those companies out of the water. Without personally knowing much about Fortnite, I judge these figures purely on aesthetics. Skye is colorful, quirky, very well sculpted and articulated, and a lot of fun. I can't wait see what's next. Let's check out Skye and Ollie below!

Friday, November 26, 2021

Power Rangers - SCORPINA!

Power Rangers Lightning Collection - Mighty Morphin Scorpina - Hasbro 2021

Scorpina has always been my favorite Mighty Morphin Power Rangers villain. There is a big trend among Super Sentai villains to have insectile-themed characters, and Scorpina was my first exposure to that aesthetic. Sure, Rita Repulsa got the lion's share of screen time, but her big gown-like robes limited her action appeal and made her less interesting in my eyes. Scorpina, however, was always suited up for battle with an interesting asymmetrical armor and legs freed for battle. When I started collecting Super Sentai figures about 15 years ago, I was surprised Scorpina and Rita didn't have action figures. Even the Japanese lines were void of villainesses. But slowly around 2010 there started to be a MMPR Renaissance and I knew we'd see these ladies in action figure form eventually. But aside from a 2017 Imaginext figure, this Lightning Collection Scorpina is the first true action figure of the character. She is a long time coming and spectacular. Let's check her out below!

Wednesday, November 24, 2021

He-Man Animated Series - EVIL-LYN!

He-Man and the Masters of the Universe -  Evil-Lyn (Power Attack) - Mattel 2021

If you haven't watched the new He-Man and the Masters of the Universe show on Netflix, I highly suggest it. Despite being aimed at a much younger demographic than the average toy collector, it's a really fun show and an interesting re-interpretation of the He-Man lore. It reminds me of 2011's Voltron Force in the way they took major liberties with the source material, but it was done with a level of geeky respect that it's somehow not offensive to the loyalists. I get that there will always be new shows with a primary objective of attracting younger modern audiences, and balancing that with a rabid fanbase can be an impossible task. But I really enjoy this cartoon and I'm excited that Mattel is pumping out toys to promote it. Sure, the articulation is limited, and sure, it takes a while to make a visual connection between these characters and the originals, but this Evil-Lyn is very fun and very playable. I can't wait to get my hands on Sorceress and Ram-Ma'am. Let's check out the Netflix animated Evil-Lyn below!

Monday, November 22, 2021

Avatar - KATARA!

Avatar: The Last Airbender - Series 1 - Katara - McFarlane Toys 2021

Avatar is one of those properties I always intended to pay more attention to, but just haven't. Elemental-themed powers in a unique fantasy world is something I would definitely be drawn to, but it rose to popularity at a time when I was a young professional pinching my pennies and focusing on my career. I was just starting to dabble in comics and toys again, but I honestly didn't even own a TV. My first exposure to the property was actually the live action film in 2010 (which didn't thrill me), and recently I watched and highly enjoyed spinoff series The Legend of Korra. Yet I still haven't actually watched the original Avatar. The action figures never really appealed to me until this new Katara figure from McFarlane toys. Previous toylines had either zero female characters, or had figures that seemed overpriced for their quality. But this new McFarlane line is a great introduction. The figures are fun, well-sculpted, and inexpensive. The show is on my watch list of this Winter now. Let's check out Katara below!

Saturday, November 20, 2021

Star Wars Toy Box - AHSOKA TANO!

Disney Toybox Star Wars #22 Ahsoka Tano & Captain Rex - Disney Store - 2021

A sad thing has happened in my little corner of the world since this Summer: all my local Disney Stores have closed. I was lucky enough to have four in a relatively small area, but one-by-one they shuttered their doors since July. I travel semi-regularly to two additional nearby stores (including the Times Square location), but they oddly never carry any action figures besides some perennial Marvel Select figures. Over the past few years I've grown to really love the unpredictable releases of the Disney ToyBox figures. Sure, they are their own unique scale and have stylized sculpts that don't blend with other toy lines, but there have been enough figures that they have established their own specific category. This Ahsoka Tano figure figure is exciting to me because I consider it a positive benchmark of a Star Wars toy line when they make a non-human female character. Most usually make Leia or Rey then quit. But I love the colorful aliens so I'm always wishing for more. Let's check out Ahsoka Tano below!

Thursday, November 18, 2021

Jurassic Park - DR. ELLIE SATTLER!

Jurassic Park - Amber Collection 6" Series - Dr. Ellie Sattler - Hasbro 2021

I'm probably alone in this, but my favorite scene from Jurassic Park is when Doctor Ellie Sattler (played by the amazing Laura Dern) is driving into the park for the first time and is distracted by the prehistoric foliage.  The way she reaches out of the moving jeep and grabs a low hanging leaf just reminds me of something I would have done in that scenario. She gets sucked into something that interests her and shuts out the world. It's also one of those classic moments where the female character is discovering something very important and no one is listening. Oh Hollywood. When Hasbro announced the 6" Amber Collection, I immediately started getting excited for Dr. Sattler. I knew she was a shoe-in for inclusion in the line and it was just a matter of time. While none of the actor licenses in this line are particularly great, I still think this is a very fun toy of a very iconic character. I wonder how her Holdo figure scales with this for a potential face-swap. Let's check out Dr. Ellie Sattler below!

Tuesday, November 16, 2021

Marvel Legends - NEBULA (HEIST)!

Marvel Legends What If...? (The Watcher Series) - Heist Nebula - Hasbro 2021

If you haven't watched What If...? on Disney+ yet, I highly suggest you do. I was a fan of the comics when I was a kid, both the first run from 1977-84 and series two from 1988-98. I always thought it was amazing how many of the "preposterous" storylines were eventually became canon years later. (My favorite being "What if Jane Foster had found the Hammer of Thor?" from issue #10 (1978).. which we saw come to fruition in a spectacular way 34 years later). Like the comics, each episode of What If...? features a standalone story focusing on how events would unfold if a key event would have happened differently. This Nebula figure is from the second episode "What if... T'Challa became a Starlord?" I'll be honest, after seeing the episode, I'm surprised she warranted an action figure. She wasn't a focal character, and T'Challa got a figure.. so two figures from a single 30 minute episode seems odd, but I'm not complaining, because I love Nebula and this is a fun interpretation of her look. Let's check her out below!

Tuesday, November 9, 2021

The Eternals - SPRITE!

Marvel Legends - The Eternals (Gilgamesh Wave) - Sprite  - Hasbro 2021

I honestly expected to hate this figure. The first promotional photos for the Eternals movie made Sprite look like a CGI disaster. The face looked distractingly odd. I assumed they were trying to make the actor look a little more elfin and otherworldly, or maybe just setting the CGI expectations for an eternally 11-year-old character (whose actor would unfortunately age significantly between films and require digital editing in the future). But my fears were lifted when I got this great figure and then seeing the film and realizing that she looks completely normal. The film version of Sprite wasn't nearly as mischievous and troublemaking as I was led to believe she would be. But she was still a very interesting character with a lot of nuance and frustration. This Marvel Legends figure is interesting because I think she is the youngest character ever depicted in the line. I would love to compare her to other young-ish characters like Jubilee, but all my toys are currently packed away for a move. Let's check out Sprite below!

Monday, November 8, 2021

The Eternals - THENA!

Marvel Legends - The Eternals - Thena (Target Exclusive) - Hasbro 2021

I was always wondering when Angelina Jolie would make an appearance in the MCU. I always pay attention when certain actors take on toyetic movie and TV roles. No actress beats Helena Bonham Carter for the most character toys produced, but I always pay attention to those on the cusp of being heavy hitters. With Tomb Raider and Maleficent toys in abundance, plus animated figures from Kung-Fu Panda and Shark Tale, Angelina has some decent momentum. I think her acting style lends nicely to the regal nature of The Eternals and I was happy to learn when she was cast. What surprised me was how active her role was. As a sort-of embodiment of the mythological Athena, she had the most choreographed, weapon-heavy battle sequences. When I saw this toy with her royal appearance and seemingly ceremonial-looking staff, I wrongly assumed she would be a political character, giving directives or prophecies from afar. Seeing her as one of the strongest and most violent Eternal was a shock.

Sunday, November 7, 2021

The Eternals - SERSI!

Marvel Legends - The Eternals (Gilgamesh Wave) - Sersi  - Hasbro 2021

With her role as Sersi in Eternals, Gemma Chan joins the the exclusive list of actors who have played multiple roles in the MCU. Gemma played Minn-Erva in 2019's Captain Marvel which is unique because most of the dual-role actors were not playing two costumed characters. One of my guilty pleasure movies is Crazy Rich Asians and her role as Astrid made me a fan right away, so I'm excited to see her in anything. Sersi is also a unique character because she is one of the few modern female Eternals who has always been female. Makkari, Sprite, and Ajak were all introduced as male in the comics. But Sersi has always been a green-clad female with jet-black hair from the beginning. I think it's fair to say that she is the most interesting Eternal in the movie. She has the most backstory, the most character development, and the best overall story arc. I don't know what the future holds for her in the MCU, or any of the Eternals for that matter, but I'm eagerly awaiting more Sersi. Let's check her out below!

Saturday, November 6, 2021

The Eternals - MAKKARI!

Marvel Legends - The Eternals (Gilgamesh Wave) - Makkari  - Hasbro 2021

I'm learning so much about the Eternals this week. As a property that I've always been aware of, but never paid much attention to, I suddenly find myself full of regret for overlooking these characters. When looking over the Marvel Legends figures released for the movie, Makkari pops out as an instant favorite of mine. Her face sculpt is partly adorable and partly mischievous. And her red color palette really striking when lined up with the others. In reading about the character, I gather that she has only very recently been portrayed as female in the comics (mainly laying the groundwork for the movie I presume). Ajak, Sprite, and Makkari were all had gender swaps. Most of the Eternals seem to have names that are slight variations of well known gods. Makkari is a speedster, and eludes phonetically to Mercury. I love this nuance, as if the ancient Romans were just pronouncing her name wrong. After seeing the movie, I still maintain that she is one of my favorites. Let's check out Makkari below!

Friday, November 5, 2021

The Eternals - AJAK!

Marvel Legends - The Eternals -  Ajak (Walmart Exclusive) - Hasbro 2021

I'm seeing the Eternals movie in about 16 hours and I'm very excited. Of all MCU movies, or any comic-related movies in general for that matter, this is the one I've known the least about ahead of time. I've always been aware of The Eternals in comics, and I've always been a fan of Jack Kirby, but I've just never read any of the comics. But I find the trailers and toys very intriguing. Plus the gender, race, and age diversity among the main cast is very impressive. In researching the toys, I've learned that several characters, including Ajak, are being portrayed as female for the first time. In fact, it seems a lot of liberties have been taken with this movie, so in that case I'm grateful that it's all new material to me. Despite the various groanings from the fandom, I think this figure is gorgeous. The likeness to Salma Hayek is great and her costume looks like a fantastic combination of stately, maternal, and otherworldly. I can't wait to see how she is portrayed on screen. Let's check out Ajak below!

Tuesday, November 2, 2021

Age of Apocalypse - SHADOWCAT!

Marvel Legends - Colossus BaF - Kitty Pryde (Age of Apocalypse) - Hasbro 2021

Kitty Pryde is one of those characters who has had a million different looks over the years. She is also one of those characters who plays crucial roles in many of the most iconic X-Men storylines. That means there a ton of different versions of Kitty and not one single iconic look to expect in toy form. I think the most iconic would probably be her Excalibur look (which we should all have in Legends form soon!), but for the most part, every Kitty figure we get will probably just be representing one of her many flash-in-the-pan iterations. I had never seen this Age of Apocalypse Shadowcat design before this figure. I was on an extended hiatus from superhero comics during most of the 90's and never backtracked. This version is very different from other versions we've seen. She appears significantly older, has short light-colored hair, and she has a ferocity that is a stark contrast from her typically gentle nature. Her claws and gritted teeth only add to the distinction and I think she looks great. Let's her out below!

Sunday, October 31, 2021

Toony Terrors - ELVIRA!

Toony Terrors Series 6 - Elvira: Mistress of the Dark - Neca Toys 2021

I made a disturbing discovery lately. None of the younger generation of my family know who Elvira is. Nine Nieces and Nephews ranging from 5 to 19 have had no exposure. After appropriately shaming my siblings for this educational neglect, I immediately set to correcting the problem. And I think I successfully created a small legion of fans. Elvira was an absolute staple of my childhood. She made me realize the campy nature of spooky movies at an age when I would have run away in fear. As I became an adult toy collector, I have always had a portion of my collection dedicated to vampy women. This can span from Disney witches to Vampirella and everyone in-between. Needless to say, Elvira has always has a place of prominence among the group, and I'm always super excited to add a new representation of her. This Toony Terrors figure is amazing. I think she will quickly be overshadowed by the upcoming Neca figure, but she really looks great and deserves a purchase. Let's check out Elvira below!

Saturday, October 30, 2021

Toony Terrors - THE GRADY TWINS!

Toony Terrors 2-Packs - The Shining: The Grady Twins - Neca Toys 2021

I love Stephen King. I've read over 60 of his books and there has only been a couple I didn't like. The Shining is a classic. The funny thing is that I didn't read the book for a long time because I wasn't a fan of the 1980 Kubrick movie. His writing has a sort of creepy nuance that I didn't get from the movie at all. It seemed like a series punctuated shock scenes connected by the barest thread of a story. When I eventually read the book I was amazed at how good the movie could have been with minimal changes. Even still, I watch the movie every few years since I get more open-minded as I get older. It's still a pale comparison to the book, but I can say that about most adaptations. In the book, the Grady girls (not twins) are only briefly mentioned as victims of their father's murderous rage (a previous caretaker of the Overlook Hotel ten years prior). But in the movie, they have an iconic presence that still resonates today. They are by far my favorite part of the film. Let's check out the Grady twins below!

Thursday, October 28, 2021

Mythic Legions - XARRIA!

Mythic Legions: Advent of Decay - Lesser Demon Xarria - Four Horsemen 2018

I still have an insane number of unopened Mythic Legions figures from the 2018 Advent of Decay Kickstarter. I realize now that when I buy a ton of figures all at once, I quickly get overwhelmed and end up putting them all in storage. But in the case of these Mythic Legions ladies, I now think it's kind of nice that I review a new one every few months and really give each figure its proper focus. Right from the very beginning this Xarria figure was one of my most anticipated characters from the line. She looks like the Lord of Darkness from Legend and she also reminds me of the cancelled red devil lady from Gothitropolis line (that I'm still pretty sore about). Considering how often we see devil lady imagery on mudflaps, air fresheners, and tattoos, there is a surprising lack of toys with this design. Beyond a handful Purgatoris, I can't think of any. But that doesn't really matter because this Xarria figure is devil-lady perfection. She has the perfect combination of strong, sexy, and sinister. Let's check her out below!

Wednesday, October 27, 2021

Marvel Legends - SHRIEK!

Spider-Man Legends - Armadillo BaF Series - Shriek - Hasbro 2021

My fascination with Spider-Verse characters is relatively recent. In 2006 I started to get intrigued with Jessica Drew in The New Avengers, then by 2010 I was obsessed with Anya Corazon in Spider-Girl...and before I knew it, I was a fan of the whole spider-genre. Considering I had been an avid comics reader since the 1980s, I consider 2010 recent. And this new intrigue required a lot of catching up on old issues. But one character I still missed out on was Shriek. In fact, the first time I ever heard of her was from DST's Minimate in 2018. Shriek debuted in 1993 as a love interest to Carnage. She had been trapped in Cloak's Darkforce Dimension which triggered her latent mutant powers. Very similar to Black Canary, Shriek has the ability to manipulate sound. It can be used as a concussive force, sounds waves for flight, or subsonic frequencies to manipulate emotions. She appears to be quite a fan favorite, and I'm excited to see she makes such a striking Legends figure. Let's check out Shriek below.

Tuesday, October 26, 2021

Battle Beyond the Stars - VALKYRIE SAINT-EXMIN!

Battle Beyond the Stars - Valkyrie Saint-Exmin - Shout! Exc - NECA 2021

Yet another thing I love about toy collecting are those rare occasions where a new action figure exposes you to a piece of pop culture history that you knew nothing about. When I first saw this Neca Valkyrie Saint-Exmin figure making rounds on social media this past Spring, I loved her look. She was a perfect pulpy, retro character that I just had to learn more about (plus my single favorite comic issue of my childhood saw New Mutants Special Edition #1 which sparked a lifelong obsession with feathered Valkyrie headdresses). Battle Beyond the Stars was an epic sci-fi adventure movie from 1980 that had somehow flown completely under my radar. Luckily it's streaming on Amazon Prime so I wasted no time experiencing the wonder of this film. In nutshell, it deals with a pacifist planet under attack and a scramble to assemble a ragtag group of warriors to defend them. It's quirky, colorful, and entertaining.  And I'm so glad I picked up this figure. The "Mego" styled retro figures typically aren't my thing, but I love her.

Monday, October 25, 2021

Marvel Legends - CAPTAIN CARTER!

Marvel Legends What If...? (The Watcher Series) - Captain Carter - Hasbro 2021

A staple trope of superhero comics from the very beginning has been Patriotic characters. We all know Captain America and Wonder Woman. But there have been tons: Miss America, Patriot Pat, Miss Victory, Yankee Girl, etc, etc. But despite the prevalence through comics' history, there have been very few toys. For the record, I consider any character emblazoned with a flag motif, regardless of country, as patriotic. I have long wanted a female Marvel Legends figure that could be a stand-in for Captain America. And despite her British allegiances, this Captain Carter fits the bill perfectly. She's an established non-costumed character suddenly in a heroic role. The figure's buck is tall and strong, her hairstyle is delightfully retro, and her costume is instantly iconic. As far as I know she has only appeared on the single debut episode of What If...? on Disney+, but she already has at least five toys that I know of. I think that momentum must mean we haven't seen the last of her. Let's check out Captain Carter below!

Sunday, October 24, 2021

Miraculous - QUEEN BEE!

ZAG Heroez - Miraculous - Series 01 - Queen Bee - PlayMates Toys 2021

I love Miraculous Ladybug and Cat Noir toys so much. I've tried to watch the cartoon but I'm too far removed from the target demographic to fully embrace it. But these action figures just thrill me. Colorful female characters with animal themed costumes makes for a toyline seemingly custom-made for me. Plus, I always take notice when an action figure line is catered to a young female audience. It's surprisingly rare for there to be product beyond dolls. But Miraculous has never shied away from true articulated plastic action figures, and I adore them for that. Recently the toy license has shifted from Bandai to Playmates and the core characters are slowly being re-released in a slightly smaller scale and greatly improved accessories. It's a very well-made line, but the distribution is extremely spotty and only the five original figures shown have been released. I certainly hope there will be more, but only time will tell. There are tons of characters deserving of figures. Let's check out Queen Bee below!

Saturday, October 23, 2021

Power Rangers - DINO FURY GREEN!

Power Rangers Dino Fury - Ranger Team 5-Pack - Green Ranger - Hasbro 2021

I love when there is a big fancy product that is essentially selling one or two new figures. In the case of this Amazon-Exclusive Multipack, the purchase incentive is two new characters: Dino Fury Black and Dino Fury Green. When I first reviewed Dino Fury Pink last Spring, I wished for this Green Ranger. There have been so few Green females in the Super Sentai universe. But at the time, I had only seen her in photos and didn't know anything about the character. Since then I've become a little obsessed with Izzy Garcia. First there was the iconic battle scene where she tore off the restrictive skirt on her costume and stormed into the fray. And then there was a recent episode where she she grabbed Fearne's hand and finally established herself as one of the few Rangers in the LGBTQ+ community. It stinks that you have to re-buy Dino Fury Red, Blue, and Pink to get this figure, but Izzy is worth it (plus they all come with new Chromafury Saber accessories). Let's check out Green Ranger below!

Thursday, October 21, 2021

DC Multiverse - BATWOMAN BEYOND!

DC Multiverse - Batwoman Beyond - Target Exc - McFarlane Toys 2021

One of the greatest DC Comics thrills for me recently has been the introduction of Elainna Grayson as Batwoman in the pages of Batman Beyond. Elainna is the daughter of Mayor Richard Grayson (Robin) who stole Terry's bat-suit when he went missing (and had amnesia). I don't think it ever addressed in the comics who her mother is, but I assume it's not Barbara since she is a major character (the new Commissioner Gordon) and her history is pretty well documented. When Elainna wore the suit (first worn in Batman Beyond #37, Dec 2019), I was thrilled. The suit looks great on a female body. In fact, I always thought the Kate Kane Batwoman (which was inspired by an unused Alex Ross Batgirl design) was so great because it reminded me of Batman Beyond with the stark red on black. So this character was guaranteed to be a hit for me. It also provided a fresh starting point for me reading the Beyond universe. I never expected an action figure of her and I'm ecstatic. Let's check out Batwoman Beyond below!

Monday, October 18, 2021

Halo - SPARTAN PALMER!

Halo Infinite: The Spartan Collection Series 3 - Spartan Palmer - Jazwares 2021

When the Jazwares Toys Halo KAT-B320 came out this time last year, I only bought her out of boredom and one too many fruitless toy hunts. Despite never having played a Halo game in my life, nor even watched someone else at the controls, I had somehow managed to a collect a decent amount of Halo toys across numerous companies and scales. And there was just something about that Kat figure that seemed the least impressive of them all. But I still got her. Partially to compare the scales and quality and partially to support smaller companies like Jazwares who often get overshadowed. But then a few weeks ago I was at Target and spotted this Spartan Sarah Palmer (which I didn't even know was in the pipeline). Right away I felt this figure was a major improvement over Kat. The face detailing alone was a thousand times better that the near featureless first attempts. I have high hopes now for who else we will see in the line. Let's check out Spartan Sarah Palmer in detail below!

Monday, October 11, 2021

Snake-Eyes Movie - SCARLETT!

G.I.Joe Origins: Snake-Eyes - G.I.Joe Classified Series - Scarlett - Hasbro 2021

I haven't watched Snake-Eyes: G.I.Joe Origins yet, but my biggest incentive to do so is to see Scarlett on screen again. It's hard to believe it's been twelve years since 2009's G.I.Joe: The Rise of Cobra was released starring Rachel Nichols as Scarlett. I like Rachel, and it was fun to get an actress so familiar to the geek genre (Alias, Star Trek, Conan, Titans, etc) in the role. But that movie was forgettable and the characters were written oddly. This time Scarlett is played by Samara Weaving (The Babysitter movies), and I'm excited to see her portrayal. But in the meantime, we can enjoy this great action figure. Hasbro's face scanning and sculpting technology gets better and better every year. While this face doesn't perfectly capture Samara's unique features, it still looks like a great real-life version of Scarlett. I was very happy to stumble across this figure in Target well in advance of her original release date. I think she's stunning. Let's check out Snake-Eyes Scarlett below!

Saturday, October 9, 2021

Marvel Legends - PEPPER POTTS RESCUE!

Marvel The Infinity Saga - Avengers: Endgame – Rescue Armor - Hasbro 2021

Back in 2013 the collector world was teased with images of a Pepper Potts Rescue figure (with an unmasked head) as part of the third wave of Marvel Legends figures for Iron Man 3. This wave was cancelled and I was very upset about it. I had goals at the time of assembling an all-female Avengers lineup. And I honestly thought Rescue and American Dream were extremely unlikely to ever be made. But then three years later in 2016, the cancelled Rescue figure was made available as a Marvel Unlimited subscription exclusive. I was thrilled. But many collectors were not since this new version did not include the alternate unmasked head. When the Gweneth head was released with the odd shoeless sports bra figure, I saw a lot of kitbashes trying to fit it on the original Endgame figure (they never looked right). But finally this new Infinity Saga 2-pack gave us multiple Pepper heads. Unfortunately the head I was looking forward to most (the raised visor) is plagued with a horrible paint job. You can't win them all.

Friday, October 8, 2021

Mirrorverse - BELLE!

Disney Mirrorverse - Series 01 - Beauty & the Beast Belle – McFarlane Toys 2021

Disney Mirrorverse is an upcoming game that puts a wide variety of characters from under Disney's wide umbrella. On the surface it reminds me a bit of Kingdom Hearts. I don't know much about the game itself. Even the platforms it will be released on is confusing. But there are gameplay trailers and it seems like a cool battle game between stylized Disney characters. Most of the details I'm aware of come from this amazing new toy line from McFarlane Toys. When looking at the lineup of Disney Princesses in the game, Belle stood out as the coolest design. With her heavy winter cloak and staff with the enchanted rose, they found a great way to take a non-combative character and make her look like a formidable Mirrorverse Guardian. The other Princesses look cool, but not necessarily battle-ready. The Belle figure has a lot of articulation restrictions, and her scale is smaller than I expected at around 5", but the sculpt is so great that it's easy to forgive. Plus she's relatively inexpensive. Let's check out Belle below!

Monday, October 4, 2021

Marvel Legends Vintage - TIGRA!

Marvel Legends Vintage (Toy Biz) - Tigra (Greer Grant Nelson) - Hasbro 2021

This is proving to be an insane year for classic Marvel Legends figures. Several of my most-wanted figures have already been produced. Firestar, updated White Queen and She-Hulk, Silver-Age Jean Grey in her green costume (short legs and all), and of course Tigra have all entered my collection (as well as amazing modern characters like Ironheart and Captain Carter). This Tigra is surprisingly stunning. Her face sculpt and all the fur details on her body are terrific. The potential for the fur-textured limbs alone make me giddy with anticipation of who we will see next (Wolfsbane, Feral, and Hepzibah in 2022, please!) The only potential issue with this Tigra figure is that her coloring is super-saturated and bright. I wouldn't mind a redeco someday with lighter yellowy skin, dark orange stripes, and the classic voluminous black hairdo with pointy bangs. FYI There was a highly enjoyable Tigra: The Complete Collection TPB (2019) that collected 424 pages of her classic stories. Go read that then buy this toy!

Saturday, October 2, 2021

Todd McFarlane - WONDER WOMAN!

DC Multiverse - Wonder Woman: Designed by Todd McFarlane - McFarlane 2021

I knew it wouldn't take long for Todd McFarlane to start applying his personal aesthetic to the DC Universe after McFarlane Toys got the DC Multiverse license. After decades of his own creations being made in plastic, we all have a general feel for his designs. His female characters especially seem to all share a few key elements: winged, valkyrie-like headdresses; very detailed armor (especially around the breast, shoulders, forearms, and shins); and oversized unwieldy weapons. This Todd McFarlane-designed Wonder Woman captures those elements in every sense. The only McFarlane trope missed is facepaint. However, I must admit this figure doesn't immediately read as Wonder Woman. I think the culprit is the paintjob. The even mix of gold and silver metallic armor and the predominantly blue torso are distracting. It comes down to color blocking. When you have an iconic character like Diana, you should be able to squint or see a blurry image and immediately know it's her. I predict a repaint.

Thursday, September 30, 2021

Marvel Legends - CAPTAIN MARVEL!

Marvel The Infinity Saga - Avengers: Endgame - Captain Marvel - Hasbro 2021

I really disliked Captain Marvel's appearance in Avengers: Endgame. The color blocking of her outfit had the red and blue swapped, much like the Mar-Vell wore in the comics. While I always liked this coloring on the male costume, I didn't look right on Carol. Then the hair. I really really dislike this haircut. It looks like they intended to create her cool shaved-side fauxhawk look, but wussed out and gave her a mom 'do. It also stayed way too styled and coifed during the battle (no helmet-hair at all). It actually made me laugh in the middle of that awesome battle scene, which was a shame. But then this toy was announced and I decided, what the hell? The face sculpt is significantly improved over the Captain Marvel Movie wave. And the hair looks way more natural in plastic than it did on screen (that's a first!). Plus the maskless look makes me appreciate the color-blocking of the suit more than I expected. Overall it's a surprisingly great addition to my MCU collection. Let's check out Carol below!

Tuesday, September 28, 2021

Super7 ReAction - CHEETARA!

ReAction Action Figures - ThunderCats Toy Variant Exc - Cheetara - Super7 2021

Super7 gave us a real gift a few weeks ago when they released this "Toy Color" variant of their Cheetara ReAction figure. What I especially love about it is that I honestly never noticed the animated Cheetara color palette varied so much from the vintage LJN toy. I saw the previous ReAction Toy Color releases of Lion-O and Panthro, and I just didn't see the change as drastic enough to warrant an additional purchase, but when I got the email from Super7 announcing this Cheetara variant, I had the sudden donning realization that she has two distinct colorings. Where the animated version can be interpreted as varying shades of muted browns and oranges with a pale skin tone, the vintage LJN toy had a bright red and orange outfit with a distinct yellow-ish skintone (a true Autumn vs Summer palette). The variation excited me to the point where I bought the (seemingly) lackluster Lion-O and Panthro, and suddenly I'm eagerly anticipating a Tygra variant - and the missing 'cats of course. Let's check out Cheetara below!

Friday, September 24, 2021

Funko Pop - SCARLETT!

POP! Retro Toys #74 - G.I.Joe - Shana Scarlett O'Hara Vinyl Figure - Funko 2021

The Funko Pop Retro Toys theme is just awesome. This G.I.Joe Scarlett figure is my fourth purchase from the line (after She-Ra, Evil-Lyn, and Baroness) and I'm beyond thrilled with all of them. I was very close to ceasing my Funko collecting for various reasons, but this theme with all its perfect nostalgia has rejuvenated me. While my ideal version of every 80's character would be their animated designs, the vintage toy stylings represented here offer a different angle of childhood lore. Not bad, just different. Sure, She-Ra has a weird golden sword, Evil-Lyn is capeless and jaundiced, and this Scarlett is missing her signature ponytail. But these designs have just as much of a place in retro 80's mythos as anything else. In fact, I personally know a ton of collectors who much prefer toy designs to animation, so I'm glad Funko is catering to both audiences because I am on board for both. Fingers crossed for SilverHawks, TigerSharks, and ThunderCats! Let's check out the retro Scarlett Funko Pop below!