Tuesday, March 30, 2021

Marvel Legends - OMEGA SENTINEL!

Marvel Legends - X-Men Tri-Sentinel BaF - Omega Sentinel - Hasbro 2021

Outside of robot-centric properties like Transformers and Go-Bots, robotic traits in comic characters bore me. It's my personal preference, but I want mutants and magic, not cyborgs and mecha. And oversize villains always seem like a lazy set-up. I'd much rather see the X-Men vs the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants than a giant Sentinel. So, despite years of unavoidable exposure to them, I always just kind of breezed over Sentinel stories. Then I found myself reading the Powers of X storyline in 2019 and I was suddenly exposed to new evolutions of human-sized Sentinels with unique names and personalities. I am still very naïve about their histories, but I've learned that Omega Sentinels are humans that were transmuted into Sentinels via nanotechnology. All I know is that they are visually stunning and make for great action figures. The idea to include alternate parts to make her an army builder of sorts is genius. One of the many reasons Marvel Legends sets the bar high. Let's check out Omega Sentinel below!

Sunday, March 28, 2021

Marvel Legends 3.75" Retro - ELEKTRA!

Marvel Legends 3.75" Retro Series 02 - Elektra Natchios - Hasbro 2021

Elektra has never been one of my favorite characters. For the majority of my youth I was forced to participate in martial arts. I say forced because my older brother was both passionate about it, yet afraid to do it alone. And as a middle child I had no say, so they just signed me up for six years of sparring and kata. No boy scouts or wrestling for this guy. And predictably so, martial arts in comic characters isn't a skillset that particularly thrills me. But flash forward to 2003 when I read my first Elektra comic (Elektra #23) and I was really intrigued. The story was from the eyes of a man who knew Elektra was coming to assassinate this. She was viewed as a myth, but as his lines of defense failed one by one in a flash of red ribbon, his fear and resignation grew.  I believe that story was used for the intro scene for the 2005 Elektra movie (although the comic writer is not given credit). Ever since that comic, and against all odds, I can say I finally genuinely like a martial arts character. Let's check out Elektra below!

Saturday, March 27, 2021

Marvel Legends 3.75" Retro - CAROL DANVERS!

Marvel Legends 3.75" Retro Series 01 - Carol Danver (as Warbird) - Hasbro 2021

I never would have guessed that a 3.75" retro Marvel line would thrill me so much in the year 2021. I bought every single female figure in the Marvel Universe line from 2009-17, which ended up being well over 30 figures, but I was always a little unimpressed with the basic proportions and body structure. Then in 2014 Super7 kicked the retro toy trend into high gear with the first ReAction offering (Aliens) in classic Kenner style. I swear almost every property in the world has been given this treatment since, but a glaring absence was Marvel Superheroes. The union of these two action figure genres finally came into existence with this new Marvel Legends Retro series. The style is a bit like vintage Kenner (the logo is on the cardback) and a bit like Mattel Secret Wars. But the solid body construction, colorful illustrative packaging, and classic character selection combine to make a truly spectacular toyline. Carol Danvers in her 1978 "Warbird" costume is the perfect choice for the first female in the line. Let's check her out!

Wednesday, March 24, 2021

Marvel Legends - MOIRA MACTAGGERT!

Marvel Legends - X-Men Tri-Sentinel BaF - Moira MacTaggert - Hasbro 2021

2019's House of X #2 is the singlemost comic in recent history to truly surprise and excite me. I will try my best not to make any spoilers because I highly suggest reading the House of X mini-series. This issue took some well-established characters, relationships, and history, and told the story from a completely different perspective. And the result (for me at least) was mind-blowing. I walked away being absolutely obsessed with Dr. Moira MacTaggert. When I was a young comic reader obsessed with The New Mutants, Moira was a maternal fixture to the team early on (and adoptive mother to Wolfsbane). I had always been aware of her, and liked her character. But I can admit I found her a little boring and inconsequential. And I certainly was never clamoring for a Moira action figure. But House of X #2 changed all that. How could I have overlooked her all these years? And why isn't she represented in my collection?! Luckily Hasbro read my mind and we rather quickly got a terrific Marvel Legends figure of her.

Monday, March 22, 2021

Disney Heroes - MALEFICENT DRAGON!

Disney Heroes - 9" Maleficent Dragon (w/ Sound) - Disney Store Exclusive 2005

Back in 2005, I was very excited about this new Disney Heroes line of highly-articulated action figures. Previous the Disney Heroes brand had been small Kenner-esque figures featuring the casts of Peter Pan, Robin Hood, and Sword in the Stone (possible Euro-only releases). Then I saw the announcement for a wave of these large, stylized, highly-articulated figures of Peter Pan and Prince Phillip (with a note saying Captain Hook, Hercules, and Maleficent were also coming - to US Disney Stores). I was very excited. I had always wanted a Maleficent action figure. As one of the most visually striking Disney characters, I was surprised we only had PVC figurines and dolls. But when I finally saw an image of the toy I was crestfallen to see it was her dragon form. While it looked great, I was hoping for the mistress herself. But then years later I got the DST figure and immediately wanted to pair her with this dragon. It took a few years to finally hunt her down and display them together. Let's check out Maleficent below!

Saturday, March 20, 2021

G.I.Joe Classified - SCARLETT (v2)!

G.I.Joe Classified #05 - Shana "Scarlett" O'Hara (Version 2.0) - Hasbro 2021

This new wave of repainted G.I.Joe Classified figures was going to be an easy pass for me. I'm not a big fan of redecos in general, especially when it's such a minimal change. But then I randomly stopped in Walgreens for a drink when I saw this Scarlett and couldn't resist. There's something subtle about the paint apps that looks good. Her hair and skin are a touch darker, her gray parts are now black, and copper parts are brown. While not a particularly exciting change, it's noticeable. Plus I eventually want super cartoon versions, so I can rationalize that supporting these repaints will get me closer to that reality. Scarlett is pretty special to me because she was one of the first female military characters I was ever exposed to (after Hot Lips Houlihan). My father was in the military and I spent many Summers on Army bases. And from my perspective the military was a total boy's club. Seeing Scarlett kick Cobra's butt and challenge her teammates was powerful. Let's check out Scarlett v2 below!

Thursday, March 18, 2021

Transformer R.E.D. - PRIME ARCEE!

Transformers R.E.D. - Series 02 - Transformer Prime Arcee - Hasbro 2021

I am abysmally bad at transforming my robots. I am a pro at assembling Ikea furniture. I've been doing origami since I was eight. And I even proved this weekend that I can fix my own plumbing issues. But something about Transformers challenges all of my mechanical skills. I'm always nervous about breakages. And, honestly, I don't love vehicles. I just don't find them interesting or aesthetically pleasing. So I find myself nervously fiddling with a toy with an end goal that I'm not even excited about. That said, robots are a major obsession of mine, so I will always be drawn to Transformers. When the Transformers R.E.D. (Robot Enhanced Design) line was announced - a non-transforming, highly articulated line of the characters stuck in their robot forms - the general response from fandom was incredulity. Transforming is literally in the name. But I was thrilled. No more anxiety! No more weird kibble! Just a well-formed robot mode. The first female in the line is the Transformers: Prime Arcee. Let's check her out below!

Wednesday, March 17, 2021

Gremlins - GRETA!

Reel Toys: Gremlins 2 The New Batch - Ultimate Greta - NECA Toys 2021

I just watched Gremlins 2: The New Batch for the second time ever (it's streaming on HBO). I saw it originally in the early 90s but I remember not liking it as much as the first one. But watching it now I can see it's a wholly different concept. Where the first movie was mysterious and a bit scary, the sequel was pure camp. I was just a little too young to pick up on the cues that it was one long running gag... like Christopher Lee as Dr. Catheter? Completely over my head. One thing that really stuck in my memory though was the green-haired female Gremlin, now known as Greta... no real details about her other than the visual though. When I watched the movie again this weekend I was excited to see which Mogwai she evolved from. But alas, the mythology was changed so that Gremlins could be spawned from wet Gremlins, skipping the Mogwai step altogether. Also, Greta is a male/genderless Gremlin who drinks a gender hormone and essentially becomes a sexual predator. Oh 1990s you are endlessly problematic.

Sunday, March 14, 2021

Miraculous - RENA ROUGE!

ZAG Heroz - Miraculous - Series 01 - Rena Rouge - PlayMates Toys 2020

I think I could go out on a limb and say that Rena Rouge is my favorite Miraculous character. I don't really watch the cartoons, but I find her design immensely appealing. Her bright colors and fox-like hair is so fun. Plus, orange-clad female action figures are oddly rare, so she really stands out in my collection.  I also like how the civilian characters in Miraculous often evolve into different costumed characters. Marinette becomes Ladybug, Aquabug, Multi-Mouse, and Lady Noire. Chloe becomes Antibug, Queen Bee, and Queen Wasp. And Alya becomes Lady Wi-Fi and Rena Rouge. So they always give that "powered up" excitement that you would get from classic video games or Power Rangers. Even though Rena Rouge is the second fox character after the villain Volpina, Rena just seems special. I'm really glad she was included in the first wave of this new PlayMates line. She's honestly the main reason I decided to jump on board with this new scale after the Bandai line ended. Let's check out Rena Rouge below!

Saturday, March 13, 2021

PlayMates Toys - MIRACULOUS!

ZAG Heroz - Miraculous - Ladybug, Marinette, Cat Noir - PlayMates Toys 2020

Sometimes I find myself totally obsessed with a line of action figures, but be completely indifferent to the source material. This happens all the time with video game properties (since I am not a gamer at all), but it's pretty rare with comics and cartoons (since I am fully immersed in both genres). But Miraculous is a big exception. I adore these character designs. Most of the figures have simple animal-themed and brightly colored costumes. And the base body type is definitely an animated style with spindly limbs and big heads, but they are actually more naturally proportioned than a lot of animation figures on the shelves. I was very excited to watch the cartoon when I first got the Bandai toys back in 2016, but I quickly realized I am very far from the target demographic of that show. I couldn't relate and I just didn't enjoy it. But my appreciation for the toys has been growing ever since. Last year at Toy Fair they announced that the Bandai figure line was ending and a new one from Playmates was launching. 

Wednesday, March 10, 2021

Marvel Legends - FIRESTAR!

Marvel Legends - Fan Channel Exclusive - Firestar & Ms. Lion - Hasbro 2021

Every so often I get an action figure that I have been dreaming of for decades... and it actually meets the extremely high expectations that have built up over those years. As a kid watching Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends, I was instantly enamored with Firestar. I even naively expected there to be a Secret Wars figure of her. But alas, forty years later she finally gets the quality figure she deserves. When Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends was being developed, the creators liked the idea of a Fire-and-Ice dichotomy. The classic Marvel elementals, Iceman and Human Torch, were the obvious choice. However, the rights to the Human Torch were tied-up in a never-produced television pilot and he was unavailable. (This is the same legal red tape that led to the creation of H.E.R.B.I.E. in lieu of Johnny Storm in the 1978 Fantastic Four show). So the creators took the general design of Mary Jane and paired them with Human Torch's powers to create Firestar. And little nerdy me thanks his lucky stars for that.

Monday, March 8, 2021

Stretch Armstrong - BLINDSTRIKE!

Stretch Armstrong and the Flex Fighters - Series 01 - Blindstrike - Hasbro 2018

Spoiler Alert. I waited several years to post this. And actually the entire basis of this post is one giant spoiler. In fact, once you read the title in the context of a female-centric blog, the spoil has been made. Blindstrike is one of those surprise gender-reveal characters. Like Phantasm from Batman or Lancer from Robotech, Blindstrike was a mysterious figure that presented as a deceptively male character until the surprise reveal that she was Ravi, a classmate of the Flex Fighters. Stretch Armstrong and the Flex Fighters was a Netflix animated series that ran for two seasons in 2017-2018. I watched the first season back when the toys first came out and I really enjoyed it. It was fun, colorful, and had a lot of really unique female characters (mostly villains!) The toys feature traditional action figures, like Blindstrike and Quick Charge, as well as rubbery figures similar to the vintage Stretch Armstrong toys. They were Walmart exclusives but I recently saw them at Five Below. Let's check out Blindstrike below!

Saturday, March 6, 2021

Batman Earth 11 - THE DROWNED!

DC Multiverse - Dark Nights: Metal - Batman Earth 11 - McFarlane Toys 2021

Bryce Wayne is the "Batman" of the gender-flipped Earth 11. Her lover, Sylvester Kyle, was killed by rogue metahumans and she went on a violent revenge spree to kill every metahuman. She was blinded by vengeance and achieved her goal in 18 months. But then the Atlanteans returned from exile to propose a treaty with Batwoman. Bryce saw them as another metahuman menace and murdered Aquawoman (with her own trident). The Atlanteans retaliated by flooding Gotham. Bryce was unhindered and began manipulating/enhancing her own DNA with Atlantean - becoming The Drowned. In this form, she could breathe underwater, and also gained a type of hydrokinesis which allowed her to turn her enemies into ravenous beasts under her command. The whole Dark Nights: Metal storyline is filled with dark, twisted versions of DC characters - which is the natural aesthetic for McFarlane Toys. I knew from that first comic that we would get this toy. Let's check out The Drowned below!

Thursday, March 4, 2021

WWE Beast Mode - BECKY LYNCH!

WWE Beast Mode Blind Box Series 1 - Becky Lynch as Phoenix - Mattel 2020

I'm such a sucker for 2.5" action figures. They remind me of all the classic tiny action figures of my youth: M.A.S.K., Dino-Riders, Sky Commanders, Legions of Power, etc. But if you think female characters in traditional-scale lines are rare, these 1:28 scale figures are a verified sausage fest. If it weren't for the recent Star Wars Mission Fleet figures, this Becky Lynch would have been the first female in this scale since the Power Rangers movie three years ago. This new WWE Beast Mode blind box line was a total surprise to me when I found them in Walmart last week. I saw the image of Becky on the box and immediately started googling for cheat codes. Luckily they were easy to find and I came home with a couple. The feature of transforming into Beast Modes is really fun. I don't know enough about wrestling to know if there is some connection between wrestlers and a mythical beast theme, but it sure makes for an inspired toy line. And I'm especially glad Becky's beast is a Phoenix. Let's check her out below!

Tuesday, March 2, 2021

Last Knight on Earth - WONDER WOMAN!

DC Multiverse - Bane BaF Wave - Wonder Woman - McFarlane Toys 2021

When the McFarlane DC Multiverse line started, I predicted that the figure decos would focus on modern gritty interpretations of the characters. Aka the most McFarlane-esque versions of classic legacy characters. I'm a sucker for retro styles and simple costumes so I figured I would be skipping most offerings. My assumptions were for the most part correct, but my willpower didn't hold up like I expected. This Wonder Woman figure is really stunning. She has my favorite headsculpt of any DC McFarlane figure so far. She is from the Batman: Last Knight on Earth storyline (2019-2020) where young Bruce Wayne was convicted of murdering his parents in crime alley and all subsequent events in the DC Universe are altered. In the resulting post-apocalyptic Earth, all the Amazons had been slaughtered and Diana is leading the New Amazons, a group of survivors including Poison Ivy, Wonder Girl, Vixen, and Supergirl. Wonder Woman's look is very Mad Max and I love it. Let's check her out below!