Thursday, April 29, 2021

Mythic Legions - MALYNNA!

Mythic Legions - Malynna (Evil Lyn) - Power-Con Exc - Four Horsemen 2019

One of my favorite annual traditions is waiting to see which two Masters of the Universe characters will be represented as homage figures in the Four Horsemen Mythic Legions line. For the past several years these have been presented as Power-Con exclusives and they are a brilliant merging of two aesthetics.  While MOTU has always been a swords-and-sorcery property, it was largely colorful and cartoony. Meanwhile the Mythic Legions has been gritty and dark. With Four Horsemen Studios' obvious love for MOTU well established, this homage line is a well-thought-out and perfectly executed treat to collectors. Malynna is the first female in the sub-line representing the dark sorceress Evil-Lyn. She is made using pieces of the Advent of Decay female figures, notable the Vampire army builder, but repainted in her signature bright yellow and blue colors. I've owned her since the day she was released, but just opened her this week and I'm really impressed. Let's check out Malynna below!

Tuesday, April 27, 2021

DC Direct - ZATANNA!

DC Comics - Mystics, Mages, and Magicians - Zatanna - DC Direct 2000

It took me a long long time to get on board with Zatanna. When I look at powerful DC women like Wonder Woman, Batgirl, Harley, and Catwoman, a lady in a stage magician costume and top hat just held very little appeal. It wasn't until I read the Everyday Magic comic in 2003 that I fell in love. I learned she actually WAS a stage magician who was disguising her legit magical powers. A troe hiding in plain sight situation. Zatanna is the daughter of famed JSA member Zatara, whose popularity she has far surpassed. Her role in Justice League Dark further cemented my obsession with her, but ironically I've learned to prefer the original costume that I always wrote off as so cheesy. This early DC Direct figure is my favorite representation of that look. Taken directly from her introductory panel in Hawkman, this figure Silver Age perfection. DC Direct had a knack for creating truly classic-looking figures, and it's a shame no other companies seem willing to fill the void. Let's check out Zatanna Zatara below!

Sunday, April 25, 2021

Power Rangers - DINO FURY PINK!

Power Rangers Dino Fury - Basic Series 01 - Pink Ranger - Hasbro 2021

There's something about a dinosaur-themed Power Rangers series that just feels like coming home. Most Americans had their first Ranger exposure with Mighty Morphin Power Rangers in 1993. In fact, when the first non-Dino theme was introduced (with Alien Rangers in 1996) I legit thought the franchise was doomed. Clearly I was wrong, but at the same time, the future dino-themed iterations (Dino Thunder 2004, Dino Charge 2015, and now Dino Fury 2021) always seems to have a little more gravitas. Every year I say I'm going to quit buying the basic series Ranger toys, but every year there is something that sucks me back in. This year it was the fact that the second female Green Ranger (a Sabretooth Tiger) is a supporting character that I hope will also get a toy. Dino Fury Pink has an Ankylosaurus theme, which is the same theme as the female Teal Ranger from Dino Charge that we never got a toy of. (So this one oddly makes up for that missing figure). Let's check out Dino Fury Pink below!

Saturday, April 24, 2021

Marvel Toybox - SCARLET WITCH!

Toybox - Marvel Series #29 Scarlet Witch & Vision - Disney Store Exc - 2021

Of course the first WandaVision products on the shelves would be a Disney Store exclusive. This time last year I never would have predicted Wanda's popularity. As a comic reader, I've always knew she was an incredibly interesting and powerful character, but I also knew her MCU representation was just.. meek. Luckily WandaVision came out of nowhere and raised her profile in the biggest way. Now we can begin seeing a new female character integrated into all the random MCU merchandise. Up till now Black Widow and Captain Marvel have carried the weight of female representation, and I'm excited to get someone new in the mix. Especially with a character that's so costumed and toyetic. I was so relieved in the final episode when she finally donned a costume that was a creative mix of comic and MCU style. And predictably within a few days there was a slew of product reveals featuring the new design. Of course Disney had to have the first on the shelves. Let's check out Wanda below!

Wednesday, April 21, 2021

Masters of the WWE - STEPH as EVIL-LYN!

Masters of the WWE - Wave 05 - Stephanie McMahon as Evil-Lyn - Mattel 2021

I'll be honest, I wasn't over the moon about these Masters of the WWE Universe figures until I saw this Steph McMahon figure. The Becky Lynch figure is great and I really enjoy it, but out of the package she doesn't immediately read "MOTU" to me. I think this is because the head had no special adornments. But on the flipside, this Steph figure is almost too reminiscent of MOTU with Evil-Lyn's headdress being such a prominent feature. Luckily she has long flowing hair coming out the back and a great skull mask accessory to distinguish her. The mask is a signature look from Steph's Skull Queen entrance outfit. I think it's genius how reminiscent it looks like Castle Grayskull and adds an extra level of MOTU homage to the figure. I can't see what mashups Mattel will come up with next. I already predict a peacock-themed Charlotte Flair as Sorceress. But maybe we'll see an Alicia Fox as Panthor or Sasha Banks as She-Ra. There is endless potential. Let's check out Steph as Evil-Lyn below!

Tuesday, April 20, 2021

Masters of the WWE - BECKY LYNCH as TEELA!

Masters of the WWE Universe - Wave 05 - Becky Lynch as Teela - Mattel 2020

After four waves of all-male figures, I had pretty much given up hope for any female inclusion in the Masters of the WWE line. This line was actually on the shelves over a year before the first MOTU Origins wave hit, so our first look at the articulation and sculpt (and for quite a long time after) was these wrestler mashups. And of course if was almost a full year until we saw Teela and Evil-Lyn revealed and even knew female figures were an option. The best part is that I predicted a Becky Lynch Teela a long time ago. Becky seems to be one of the most merchandised female wresters and her red hair made her a nice match with Teela. I only wish her headsculpt had some kind of MOTU-themed adornment. But otherwise I think she's great. And to get my next prediction down on paper, I fully expect a Charlotte Flair as the Sorceress (specifically in her peacock-themed feather entrance outfit). As soon as I saw the Sorceress figure that comes with Grayskull I wished it to happen. Let's check out Becky Lynch below!

Monday, April 19, 2021

Spin Master - BATGIRL!

DC Comics: The Caped Crusader - Batgirl - Spin Master Toys 2021

Correct me if I'm wrong, but I think this Spin Master Batgirl is the first real 3.75" comic version Barbara Gordon in the US. When I get a new toy, I like to compare it to similar figures. But in this case there just aren't any. Sure, there were a ton of Timm-Verse Batgirls, and that Microman Batgirl import from 2004. But a simple comic version on the toy shelves just somehow never happened. And that is shocking considering she's easily in the top four most iconic DC heroines (Wonder Woman, Catwoman, Harley Quinn, and Batgirl). Of course, this first 3.75" figure just had to have the awkward Bat-tech circuitry deco that recent Spin Master waves have been sporting. Nothing let's a collector know that they are not the target audience for a product more than silly paint decos. But I have high hopes for a standard version eventually. And I couldn't resist attempting to remove the circuitry in the meantime (pic way down near the bottom). Here's hoping for a standard deco and a 12" version soon. Let's check out Batgirl below!

Thursday, April 15, 2021

The Mandalorian - BO-KATAN KRYZE!

Star Wars Black Series - The Mandalorian #10: Bo-Katan Kryze - Hasbro 2021

My favorite thing about The Mandalorian on Disney+ is that we finally get to see female Mandalorians in live action. Way back in 2007 I saw advertisements for exclusive Isabet Reau and Rav Bralor action figures and was instantly obsessed with the idea of female Boba Fetts. But with the exception of some Sabine Wren animated figures in the years since, there was a drought on these bounty hunter toys until 2020. I was hoping The Mandalorian would give us lots of fun characters, and I was thankfully right. Bo-Katan was probably my favorite part of Season 2. I love her costume, her skills, and her flawed power-hungry motivations. I never watched any of the Star Wars animated series, but I'm aware she was a very popular character on both Rebels and The Clone Wars - voiced by Katee Sackhoff (Starbuck) who was also cast to play her the The Mandalorian. Bo-Katan was a leading a small group of Mandalorians who rescued Din Djarin and quickly made an impression on me. Let's check her out below!

Tuesday, April 13, 2021

G.I.Joe Classified - LADY JAYE!

G.I.Joe Classified Series (6" Line) #25 - Lady Jaye - Hasbro 2021

Lady Jaye was the first real tough girl I admired as a kid. Other characters had their moments of fierceness, but they always reverted to damsel mode far too often. But Lady Jaye seemed tough to the core. She's even tough in that weird episode where she finds out she's related to Destro and spends most of the episode running around his haunted castle in a pink nightgown. I also really enjoyed her relationship with Flint. It was taunting and playful and very unlike the other relationships in the show. When I think about G.I.Joe, one of the most iconic images in my head is of Lady Jaye in battle and how she would attach a weaponized head to her javelin and toss it. I was never very impressed with guns. I'm more a lightsaber and crossbow kinda guy. And this javelin thing was a whole new type of weaponry to obsess over. I also remember her filecard saying she went to Bryn Mawr College, which I lived just a few hours from. Just one more reason I always felt a connection to her. Let's check out Lady Jaye below!

Sunday, April 11, 2021

Funko Pop - PRINCESS ARIEL!

POP! Animation #831 - Thundarr the Barbarian's Ariel - ECCC Exc - Funko 2021

I find few genres as aesthetically pleasing as adventure cartoons from the late '60s thru early '80s. Filmation and Hanna-Barbera dominated this market at the time, but the newly-formed Ruby-Spears Productions ('77) had a few great contributions as well, my favorite being Thundarr the Barbarian ('80-81). Thundarr follows three nomadic heroes on a future Earth where the moon has been split in two causing massive climate change and the fall of civilization. Old magicks have replaced technology and the remnants of modern cities lie in ruin along the heroes' path as they help the civilians with evil wizards, werewolves, or monsters. It's like Conan meets A-Team meet Planet of the Apes. Also, it's hard not to see the influence to He-Man. The sandy page-boy haircut, furry clothes, and a power sword is all very familiar. And remember, this show pre-dated He-Man, Blackstar, and the Conan movies. Ariel is a young sorceress hero and has one of my favorite animation designs ever. Let's check her out!

Friday, April 9, 2021

Wei Jiang - ARCEE!

3rd Party Transformers - Robot Force Deformation Era - Alcee - Wei Jiang 2014

I remember that not long after the 2014 Generations Arcee figure came out, there started to be 3rd party knockoffs of the mold popping up everywhere. A lot of these were resized to be "Masterpiece Scale." As someone who only collected female Transformers (of which the 2014 Arcee was one of the first great ones), I had no clue what this scale meant. Nowadays, of course, there have been three Masterpiece females (Road Rage, Blackarachnia, and Arcee), but the appeal of an upscaled Generations Arcee still didn't appeal to me until very recently. I realized that the Wei Jiang Alcee featured more classic colors than the main Hasbro release. It actually matches the color scheme of the scarce Target-exclusive Platinum Arcee repaint (but without the shiny paint). And I also realized I want as many Arcee representations as possible in my collection. There are a lot of disreputable eBay sellers offering Alcee. I have had several failed transactions but I finally got one. Let's check her out below!

Wednesday, April 7, 2021

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles - APRIL O'NEIL!

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Series - April O-Neil (Reissue) -  PlayMates 1991

I am well aware of April O'Neil's iconic status among action figure collectors. When I hear like-minded hobbyists rattle off their favorite vintage female characters, she's always right up there with Teela and Scarlett. But until very recently I never saw the appeal. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles wasn't my favorite property. I had a personal aversion to martial arts, I liked more serious cartoons, and I never saw the appeal of surfer dude culture. So in the midst of this immensely popular cartoon, that I had very unpopular opinions of, was a sole female reporter who inexplicably wore a bright yellow jumpsuit all the time. She just failed to capture my imagination. It honestly wasn't until Super7 unveiled their TMNT Ultimates figure that I looked back and really began to see the appeal. I received this figure MOC in a random eBay lot many years ago but only recently opened her. While this orange-pocketed reissue isn't an ideal vintage representation in my opinion, she's a perfectly suitable stand-in for the yellow one.

Monday, April 5, 2021

Transformers - AIRAZOR!

Transformers: War For Cybertron - Kingdom Deluxe - Airazor - Hasbro 2021

I still have yet to watch any of the Beast Wars cartoons, but after reading about Airazor for this review, I'm legitimately excited to start. For those unaware, Beast Wars takes place in the future when the Maximals (Autobots) and Predacons (Decepticons) crash on Earth in the midst of their ongoing war. As they entered the atmosphere, the Maximals has to jettison many stasis pods (essentially embryonic Transformers) into the upper atmosphere for their protection. Over the course of the series, these orbiting stasis pods would fall out of orbit and both sides would race to retrieve them and imprint a new soldier for their side. Airazor was in once such pod and fell to Earth deep in Predacon territory. But luckily the Maximals found her first and she imprinted on a nearby Peregrine Falcon for her beast form. She became one of the only flying good guys. I've always been aware of this characters, but her design never read as "female" to me so I never hunted down any toys. But this new Kingdom figure proved hard to resist.

Saturday, April 3, 2021

Metropolis ReAction - MARIA (NEW VARIANTS)!

ReAction Figures - Metropolis' Maria (Vac Metal Silver & GITD) - Super7 2021

A colorway is any of a range of combinations of colors in which a style or design is available. You hear this term used a lot in the collectible toy world but I only recently looked up the definition. In general, I'm never too obsessed with collecting color variations of a single mold. My first hobby was PEZ dispensers, and many collectors go crazy trying to get every variant stem color. I just never thought it was a worthwhile endeavor. But at the same time, the idea of a spectrum of identical figures has a certain aesthetic appeal. I have definitely fallen into this trap with certain Transformers and G.I.Joes in the past, but my most recently obsession has been this Super7 ReAction Maria figure. Maria is from the 1929 silent film, Metropolis, which is regarded as the original Sci-Fi film. As such an iconic design, she's very under- merchandised. So when Super7 started releasing different colorways, I just couldn't resist. This post highlights the 4th and 5th releases of Maria in Silver and GITD. Let's check them out below!

Thursday, April 1, 2021

Power Rangers S.P.D. - PINK RANGER!

Power Rangers Lightning Collection - S.P.D. Pink Ranger - Hasbro 2021

I first started paying attention to Power Rangers as an adult in 2006 when Mystic Force came out. That series sparked an interest in all things Rangers and I dove deep into all the iterations I had missed. At the time, I could easily say that S.P.D. was my least favorite. When there are amazing themes like dinosaurs, jungle beasts, and mythical creatures, the thought of space police just seems lackluster. But now that I have this Pink SPD Ranger in hand, I really appreciate the design. The profile of the helmet is great and the asymmetrical color blocking on the torso is really unique among Ranger designs. SPD is the 13th season of Power Rangers and stands for Space Patrol Delta and the are essentially space cops. Still not my favorite, but I love having this Pink SPD Ranger as part of my collection. And this season has quite a few additional Rangers like Nova (silver, blue, and gold) and Kat (silver and orange) that would make for awesome toys. Let's check out S.P.D. Pink Ranger below!