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 - SKYE & OLLIE!

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!