Saturday, July 31, 2021

The Batman - CATWOMAN!

The Batman - EXP & Shadow-Tek - Catwoman - SDCC Exc - Mattel 2005

Catwoman has had a lot of costume designs over the years, and luckily almost all of them have been really good. Her animated looks especially have been solid and thought-out. My favorite of them all, however, is also one of her lesser known. This costume from 2004's The Batman animated series is great because it's the most cat-like look she's ever sported. The giant ears and colorful clawed gloves seem like such simple enhancements to her classic catsuits that I'm surprised we haven't seen them elsewhere. Her goggles and wide collar add a certain utilitarian feel that completes the look. Her action figure was released as a 2005 exclusive at both SDCC and Wizard World Chicago (a major gimmick being that there were nine different cat idol accessories to collect). There were redecos released later, but her classic black suit stayed exclusive to these conventions. The design of the series was also continued into a 50 issue comic series, The Batman Strikes! after show ended. Let's check out Catwoman below!

Friday, July 30, 2021

The Batman - BATGIRL!

The Batman - EXP & Shadow-Tek - Batgirl & Barbara Gordon - Mattel 2006

Before The Batman live-action feature film comes out next year, I wanted to go back in time and review the female figures from the 2004 animated series of the same name. This series has very unique character designs that stand out from the other iterations of the Batman animated universe. This version of Batgirl is probably the youngest ever represented outside of comic books. She is a teenager (other versions are implied to be college-age or mid-20s) and in this continuity she was Batman's sidekick before Robin. The toy line pumped out two versions of the character. One is a standard release in her purple costume that was re-released in several multi-packs. The second is amazing because it features a removeable costume to create civilian Barbara Gordon. This is a toy gimmick normally only seen with the title characters, and is quite rare for a female. Of course, this gimmick almost never looks very good, and Batgirl is no exception, but it's still a very fun figure. Let's check out the Batgirls below!

Tuesday, July 27, 2021

The Batman - POISON IVY!

The Batman - EXP (Extreme Power) - Arkham Asylum Multi-Pack - Mattel 2006

Of all the various Batman animated shows and movies, I think my favorite character designs are from 2004's The Batman. For the first time, the characters seemed to have individualized designs as opposed to a formulaic look. Don't get me wrong, BTAS and TNBA were groundbreaking and looked great. But the female characters all essentially shared the same body and facial characteristics. In The Batman, Jeff Matsuda's character designs were really diverse. They were all different shapes and sizes, and even looked like they incorporated different illustration styles altogether. Poison Ivy is my favorite of the bunch. She looks heavily inspired by Ted Naifeh's early Gloomcookie art, and it really suits her. Her action figure is one of the more exclusive ones released. She was readily available and I would see her in stores often, but she only came in two multipacks and never saw single release like most characters. But she's totally worth the bulk purchase. Let's check out Poison Ivy below!

Saturday, July 24, 2021

Marvel Mini-Mates - SPIDER-WOMAN!

Marvel Mini-Mates -  Wave 80 - Spider-Woman - Diamond Select Toys 2021

I generally like the trend of superheroes donning utilitarian versions of their costumes. Burnside Batgirl, Darwyn Cooke Catwoman, and most of the Marvel Ultimate Universe are all amazing. But the pendulum almost always swings back and the bright spandex makes a glorious return. Jessica Drew's Spider-Woman had a remarkably unchanged costume from her debut in 1978 all the way until 2015 when she donned this modern utilitarian getup consisting of a form-fitting (leather?) jacket and yellow glasses. She wore it for roughly two years in her solo titles, then was out of the limelight until her new 2020 title featuring a black variation of her classic costume. I was hesitant about this jacketed version at first, but it grew on me and I'm glad we got some merchandise to commemorate this phase in her evolution. And of course Marvel Mini-Mates would have to include her. No other toy line has shown more dedication to the pantheon of Spider-Ladies than them. Let's check her out below!

Thursday, July 22, 2021

Minecraft Dungeons - GRETA!

Minecraft: Dungeons - 3.25" Figures Series 02 - Greta - Mojang/Mattel 2021

About six years ago I was in a toy buying drought and on my millionth fruitless toy hunting trip I randomly ended up buying a small Minecraft figure from Jazwares. I was aware of the Minecraft game buzz among all my young relatives, but truly knew nothing about the property aside from the exaggerated pixel designs. When I got the figure in hand I found the simplicity to be quite charming and fun. It reminded me of wooden block toys I had as a child mixed with the 8-bit game graphics of my adolescence. Plus the sole female toy shared my name. All-in-all I was really pleased with my random toy purchase, but always assumed it would be my last. But then a year and a half later I saw that same character, but now with snap-on armor. I knew I would be hooked after that second purchase. However, the toy lines dried up until the recent Minecraft: Dungeons game was released - and subsequently introduced a ton of new characters. Greta is the newest lady on the shelves - let's check her out below!

Tuesday, July 20, 2021

Mastermind Creations - ERIS: KULTUR!

Ocular Max Infinite Finity - IF-01 Eris: Kultur - Mastermind Creations 2021

This Eris: Kultur figure from Mastermind Creations is a pretty unique purchase for me because it marks the first time I have bought a 3rd Party fembot that was a unique creation and not an homage to a classic Transformers or Go-Bots character. I splurged on her purely out of an aesthetic appreciation for the design. And that says a lot when you consider her high price point, her scarcity, and the abundance of collectibles on my want list right now that have a powerful nostalgia element giving them an unfair advantage. Eris: Kultur was a Planet Steel Express exclusive back in May that sold out almost instantly. I'm assuming this success means we will be seeing similar products in the future. Hopefully continuing their Reformatted trend from 2014 and focusing on female characters. I'm super curious to see what other designs the MMC team might come up with (and I better start budgeting for them now while I'm at it). Let's check out the 3rd Party Mastermind Creations Ocular Max Eris: Kultur figure below!

Monday, July 19, 2021

Marvel Legends 3.75" Retro - INVISIBLE WOMAN!

Marvel Legends 3.75" Retro Series 03 - Invisible Woman - Hasbro 2021

Susan Storm has an iconic role in the Marvel Universe. She was the very first Marvel Heroine introduced by Marvel Comics. Back in 1961, Marvel Comics (as we know it today) was brand new. Previous incarnations of the company, Timely and Atlas Comics, had their fair share of heroines, but most are now relics of the Golden Age. Susan Storm first appeared on the pages of Fantastic Four #1 in November of 1961 and was a unique character right from the start. Even today she is one of the few characters who ooze maternal instinct, a trait that is universal and widely relatable, but somehow rarely portrayed in superhero comics. It's also notable that she and her team have always had simple recognizable costumes. Sure, there have been variations, but they always stay close to the classic look. In 2019, Sue broke new ground by finally getting a solo comic of her own. Her inclusion in the Marvel Universe Retro line was a given from the start. And the figure is perfect in its simplicity. Let's check her out below!

Friday, July 16, 2021

Sonic Adventure - AMY ROSE!

Sonic Adventure - Action Figures Series 02 - Amy Rose - ReSaurus Toys 2000

I feel like we got spoiled with awesome Sonic the Hedgehog products almost a decade ago. I was never a diehard Sonic fan, but I found myself eagerly buying all the Jazwares toys on the shelves. They were fun and colorful characters that I found irresistible. Then in 2014, Tomy got the license and started out with a great assortment for Sonic Boom, but since then it's been crickets. The current license holder, Jakks Pacific only seems interested in merchandising a small handful of (male) characters. The days of fun anthropomorphic Sonic ladies seem to be over. (Update: Jakks Amy coming in 2021!) But this prompted me to look backwards toward the older products from Toy Island and ReSaurus. I believe this Amy Rose from ReSaurus is her first action figure. I picked mine up on eBay with no accessories, and I realize now it is likely a factory second which apparently flooded the internet in recent years. But the quality is great and it didn't break the bank, so I'm not complaining. Let's check out Amy Rose below!

Wednesday, July 14, 2021

Justice Society - THE HUNTRESS!

The Justice Society of America - PVC Set 3 - The Huntress - DC Direct 2001

I'm a sucker for characters with complicated origins rooted in Golden and Silver Age comic lore. And if that character also happens to be cat-themed, it's all the better. Paula Brooks as the Huntress first appeared in the 1947 issue of Sensation Comics #68 as a villain of Wildcat. She was his most significant foe, but still only had a handful of appearances before fading away for nearly 20 years. By 1980, she had a meager 15 appearances over 33 years. I first discovered her in an early issue of Batman Family #7 (1976) fighting Batgirl and Robin, which was dated about a year before Helena Wayne was introduced as an all-new batman-universe character using her name. I was intrigued by Paula's Catwoman-esque vibe but didn't become fully obsessed until I found All-Star Comics #73 (1978) which featured a Huntress vs Huntress battle. Years later in 1987 she was finally given a backstory. She was now revealed to be the daughter of Tigress, a Zatara villain (who first appeared in Action Comics #1, 1938). 

Monday, July 12, 2021

Snake Eyes Basic Series - BARONESS!

Snake Eyes: G.I.Joe Origins - Basic Series 01 - Baroness - Hasbro 2021

I rarely enjoy any live-action movies that are inspired from classic cartoons. Masters of the Universe (1987), Transformers (2007), and G.I.Joe (2009) all fell flat for me (although oddly, the biggest perceived bomb of them all, Jem (2015) is a personal favorite that I've seen nearly a dozen times). But one thing I love about these movies is the corresponding resurgence in the toylines. Especially when the designs harken back to the original animated designs. The upcoming Snake-Eyes movie surprisingly stars two of my favorite characters, Scarlett and Baroness. While the Baroness design for the movie doesn't thrill me, I really dig this generic "basic series" figure. This was likely sculpted and when the film costumes were still in concept phase, and what we get is a blend of various Baroness designs that I really like. It incorporates the blue of her first appearance with her standard black bodysuit and modern utilitarian details that gives a nice cinematic feel. I think it's terrific. Let's check out Baroness below!

Sunday, July 11, 2021

Transformers - SKYWARP!

Transformers Cyberverse Adventures - Seekers 4 Pack - Target Exc Hasbro 2020

Female Decepticons are severely lacking in my toy collection. So when Hasbro decides to do a gender swap and a generic redeco of a male toy to create another character, I disregard my scruples and jump on board. Skywarp is one of the classic Seekers from the original G1 cartoon. The character has always been represented as male until a recent Transformers: Bumblebee Cyberverse Adventures episode. Although Skywarp now has a distinctive female appearance in the cartoon, she suffered the same fate as Slipstream and got a toy that is a simple repaint of Starscream. Unfortunately, this specific Starscream mold doesn't have a particularly gender-neutral face like Slipstream was blessed with. But I still put an eBay alert out for her, because as I said above, any female Decepticon gets a pass. She came in a colorful Target-exclusive Seekers: Sinister Strikeforce four-pack with Thundercracker, Starscream, and Thrust (all identical molds). Let's check out Cyberverse Skywarp below!

Saturday, July 10, 2021

MOTU Revelation - EVIL-LYN!

Masterverse Series 1 - Masters of the Universe Revelation - Evil-Lyn - Mattel 2021

In the past couple days my anticipation for the Masters of the Universe: Revelation has skyrocketed. Trailers never do much for me. I generally find them very misleading so I don't pay them much mind. But on Wednesday I bought the first issue of the Revelation comic which serves as a prequel to the cartoon. The issue was so chock full of MOTU Easter eggs that it made me giddy. It touched on the origins of Castle Grayskull, the origins of the Power Sword, and the origins of the transformative properties of the sword among other nerdy tidbits. Plus it incorporated 200x characters and teased backstory on vintage characters that I previously knew nothing about. Then out of the blue that night I learned that my local Walmart had the figures in stock. I was there as the doors opened at 7am and was ecstatic to get my hands on Evil-Lyn. She looks amazing. From looking at the trailer, I'm guessing she is actually a good guy in this series - I imagine she'll be like Emma Frost in the X-Men. Either way I'm excited.

Tuesday, July 6, 2021

Robotech - LYNN MINMEI!

Robotech: The Macross Saga - Lynn Minmei in Cheongsam - KitzConcept Ltd 2021

I have a love/hate relationship with Lynn Minmei. On one hand, she's a major character in the first season of Robotech, she brings a much needed pop culture element to an otherwise military-focused story, and she is the initial love interest for the main character, Rick Hunter. But on the other hand, I just find her totally annoying. She's a bubbly popstar and beauty pageant contestant with a rather grating presence (in my humble opinion). Her songs are... unique. And they become the soundtrack for so many episodes. Her fashion choices are also very specific. Her vintage toy in a yellow and teal polka-dot outfit was the only figure from the line I never tried to get. But before her character wins Miss Macross and becomes famous, she worked at a Chinese restaurant called Nyan-Nyan and wore this traditional cheongsam. I love this outfit because it lets me include Lynn Minmei in my collection without hurting my eyes. Plus it compliments the streamlined uniforms of the other characters. Let's check her out below!

Sunday, July 4, 2021

Robotech - LISA HAYES!

Robotech: The Macross Saga - 1:12 Series - Lisa Hayes - KitzConcept Ltd 2020

When people think about that iconic first season of Robotech, a lot of characters probably come to mind. Of the many females in the huge cast, Linn Minmei and Miriya get the bulk of screen time and character development. But I was always most impressed by Lisa Hayes. Lisa is the First Officer aboard the SDF-1. She comes from a military family (her father is Admiral Donald Hayes) and shows competency and leadership from the minute she steps on screen. She is skilled at directing the Veritech fighters and even created some maneuvers that became standard practice. I also like that she lead an almost entirely female bridge crew. Lisa's presence added brains and strategy to the boys' club of pilots and officers. And to top it all off, she eventually ended up marrying the main character, Rick Hunter (but I must stress, unlike others in the cast, she was not a boy-crazy one-note character at all). This line of 6" scale action figures is kind of a dream come true. The price point is a little steep, but so far they're worth it.

Friday, July 2, 2021

Super7 ReAction - LILY MUNSTER!

ReAction Action Figures - The Munsters - Lily Munster - Super7 2021

The early 60s were an interesting time for American television. In a few short years, the well-established format of the wholesome sitcom was turned on its head with the introduction of farcical shows that mimicked the innocence of tv staples like Donna Reed and Leave It to Beaver. These new shows had a successful gimmick of dipping into the popular pulp and sci-fi genres of the time. Shows like I Dream of Jeannie, My Favorite Martian, Betwitched, and Addams Family all premiered between 1963 and 1965. And right in the middle of that batch was my personal favorite, The Munsters, in September of 1964. The Munsters was a Universal Studios production with direct ties to the Universal Monsters they were paying homage to. It perfectly captured the cheesy sitcom family vibe mixed with the fantastic visuals of all the great monsters movies. Lily Munster was the heart of the family with a wonderfully vampy appearance. This ReAction figure of her has been on my wishlist for years. Let's check her out below!