Friday, December 2, 2022

Marvel Toybox - BLACK PANTHER!

Toybox - Marvel #34 - Black Panther (Shuri) & Namor 2-Pack - Disney 2022

Okay, now that Black Panther: Wakanda Forever has been out for a few weeks I'm ready for all the surprise Shuri as Black Panther merchandise to start hitting. If they weren't trying to keep her adoption of the Black Panther mantle a secret, we would have certainly seen a Basic Series figure and Titan Hero Series already. The fact that we saw three versions of Shuri in that purple tracksuit from their brief Boston excursion is odd.  For a character that has two unique "hero" outfits, why produce her in civilian duds? This Marvel Toybox showed up on the ShopDisney site a short three days after the movie premiered and I hope is the start of a flood of new Shuri products. The Toybox line has been very impressive. This Black Panther is the ninth female Marvel figure in four short years. And for an infrequent line like this, that is an impressive number. Lately, they seem to only make MCU figures, so the the next candidate is likely She-Hulk, Ms. Marvel, or Kate Bishop. Only time will tell. Let's check out Shuri below!

Wednesday, November 30, 2022

Marvel Legends - AGONY!

Marvel Legends Venom Multipack: Venom, Agony, and Riot -  Hasbro 2022

Yet again (and in a very short timeframe) Hasbro has given me another of my most-wanted Marvel Legends figures. There has always been something special about Marvel's symbiote mythos. The dialogue between alien and host is a dynamic and original storytelling technique that only works in comic form. In 1993, in the pages of Venom: Lethal Protector, there were five new symbiotes introduced as experimental super-soldiers from the dubious Life Foundation - they were all spawns of Venom and in an unexpected twist for the time, two of the five were female: Scream and Agony. But for some reason all the merchandising ignored Agony. Scream got a ToyBiz figure in 1996, a Mini-Mate, a Heroclix, a Funko Pop, a Nano Metal, and even a Legends figure in 2018. I truly never thought there would be an Agony action figure in my collection, but I couldn't be happier with the results. I'm also happy that this Amazon exclusive three-pack came with Riot and a great new Venom. Let's check out Agony below!

Saturday, November 26, 2022

Spin Master - HARLEY QUINN!

DC Comics - Batman Heroes 3.75" Series - Harley Quinn - SpinMaster 2021

The Spin Master 4" DC Comics line seems like it has hit a lull. It's been a long time since there was a new character released. A line like this could have limitless potential, but they almost always fall into a rut of releasing random repaints instead of the new characters that everyone wants. This Harley Quinn was released roughly a year ago around November 2021 (and already has one redeco on the shelves). It seem like Harley would be an easy candidate for the first wave but instead they held on to her for the close of the second year of production. Her style is based on the Rebirth comic design, a look that is surprisingly popular in the toy aisles (this is the 4th wide-release figure in this costume since her 2018 debut). But despite the lull in new character releases, I am always excited about what Spin Master might give us next. I predict Poison Ivy, Bluebird, Huntress, or Cassandra Cain Batgirl. I actually want all four of those desperately, but I'll settle for any. Let's check out Harley Quinn below.

Friday, November 25, 2022

Marvel Legends - BLACK PANTHER!

Marvel Legends - Black Panther: Wakanda Forever - Black Panther - Hasbro 2022

It's been a few weeks so I feel like I can finally rant about Black Panther: Wakanda Forever. In short, I loved it. I have actually found myself voicing the opinion that it is my favorite MCU movie so far. Unlike a lot of superhero movies, I felt that the major conflict was believable and has a natural escalation. I was so relived that there wasn't a giant spinning vortex of undefined chaos or a monster roaring at the camera Jurassic-Park-style. It's amazing how repetitive the conflict of these movies has become. But Wakanda Forever had nuance and history. They spent a respectable amount of time on Talokan and Wakandan backstory, introducing new unique characters, and building up to a believable climax. It was my perfect blend of mushy, nerdy, and awesome. Comic readers are aware that Shuri has become the Black Panther in the past, but for the MCU retelling, they tried to keep Shuri's transformation under wraps. This toy was a late reveal to protect that secret, but she's finally here and she's terrific. 

Thursday, November 24, 2022

Spin Master - BATGIRL!

DC Comics - Batman Heroes 3.75" Series - Batgirl (Black Suit) - SpinMaster 2022

One of the the biggest toy bummers for me in the past few years was the trend of the Spin Master DC line to adopt ridiculous paint decos. The line started out great with comic-accurate characters in their classic colors. I think we all expected to see the molds used again with a variety of color variants, many of which I would probably embrace. However, by year two, the figures all started to have this bizarre deco of circuitry painting on their torsos and limbs. It looked like a techno-organic infection from the Marvel Comics storylines. If it were just re-releases that got this treatment, I wouldn't have given it a second thought. But Batgirl was first released in this time period and he first two Barbara figures both had this silly design. I really just wanted a classic version and I was afraid I would never get one. Well it took a few years, but the newest Batgirl has a simple, comic-accurate deco (specifically her 2012-2014 costume) and I couldn't be happier. Now I just want a classic gray and yellow! Let's check out Batgirl below.

Wednesday, November 23, 2022

Super7 ReAction - YELLOW RANGER!

ReAction Action Figures - Power Rangers Wave 3 - Yellow Ranger - Super7 2022

I'm really curious to see what characters future waves of Super7's Mighty Morphin Power Rangers ReAction figures will include. Because I only ever saw four core female characters (Kimberly, Trina, Rita, and Scorpina) in the show, and this Yellow Ranger marks the fourth and final one to get a figure. Unless they expand to other seasons or give us unhelmeted variations, this might be the end of my MMPR ReAction collection. Trini Kwan as the Yellow Ranger was always my favorite because her Sabretooth helmet design is so recognizable. (Prehistoric mammals have always been way more appealing to be than dinosaurs). Plus her duals-sais weapons made me realize the that Ranger weapons were representative of their Zords (Trini's Sais looking like smilodon fangs, Kimberly's bow looking like pterosaur wings, Billy's 3-pronged lance looking like triceratops horns, etc). I love a multi-level design theme and Power Rangers always give you that in spades. Let's check out the long-awaited Trini ReAction below!

Monday, November 21, 2022

Flash Gordon - PRINCESS AURA!

Flash Gordon (Movie) -  Princess Aura - Entertainment Earth/BifBangPow 2015

The 1980 Flash Gordon movie is one of those super classic movies that I've been hearing about all my life, but somehow I have never seen it. I knew the character well though. I would watch the animated New Adventures of Flash Gordon and Defenders of the Earth in my youth, plus he was a prominent feature in the Sunday comics for years (with impressive full color!) And based on how many different versions of the character I've recently bought from Neca and Boss Fight Studios so far, it's safe to say those early cartoons and comics made a lifelong impression. I was always really drawn to the animated design of Princess Aura from the Filmation cartoon and recently searched to see if she ever had a toy or PVC. I was surprised to see this movie version from Big Bang Pow in 2015. I was surprised on two fronts: One, I didn't know this toy existed. And, Two, I had seen images of this character but never realized it was Princess Aura. I learn something new every day. Let's check her out below!

Sunday, November 20, 2022

Transformers - FLAMEWAR!

Marvel Vinylmation Series 1 & Junior Series 15 - Disney 2013-2016

Flamewar was originally created for the 2005 Botcon-exclusive collector set as a Decepticon recolor of Cybertron Arcee. The included comic introduced her as a headstrong Decepticon fiercely loyal to Megatron. Since those early beginnings, she has made the surprising leap into the main Transformers (in-store) toylines and comics. I was always drawn to her great color scheme. Her red and orange flames against black and silver really pops, and her purple/blue translucent accessories just add to the look. Plus I always love a villain and she was the second female Deception I knew of after Blackarachnia. This newest Pulse-exclusive figure follows the trend of using a recent Arcee mold. But curiously she is now included in the Shattered Glass Universe, which is like the Star Trek Mirror Mirror Universe. So I half expected her to have an Autobot faction symbol. But now that I have her in hand, I think she's intended to be an evil alternate-reality Arcee. Either way she looks great.  Let's check out Flamewar below!

Saturday, November 19, 2022

Marvel Legends - SHE-HULK!

Marvel Legends Disney+ - Infinity Ultron BaF Wave - She-Hulk - Hasbro 2022

The new She-Hulk show on Disney+ was unexpectedly delightful. I had very low expectations from the few weird trailers and the comedy tropes from the comics that I didn't expect would translate well to the big screen. But I was wrong. It was funny, face-paced, irreverent, and the nine episodes ended way too quickly. If it doesn't get picked dup for another season I'll be very disappointed. One of the main surprises for me was how much I loved Tatiana Maslany. She embodied the quirky, down-to-Earth hero perfectly and added a level of personality I wasn't expecting. I personally have never seen any of her projects before, but I have heard great things about most of them (Orphan Black especially). I will likely start populating my watch list with her older projects. I know there was a lot of moaning about the quality of the CGI on the show, and I agree that some of the action scenes were goofy, and the early trailers were clearly a work-in-progress, but I didn't mind it. I love the show. Let's check out Jen below!

Wednesday, November 16, 2022

Marvel Legends - FRANKIE RAYE NOVA!

Marvel Legends Haslab Galactus - Frankie Raye Nova - Hasbro Pulse 2022

Frankie Raye as Nova has been one of my most-wanted Marvel Legends figures for years. I first discovered her when reading the Infinity Gauntlet/War/Crusade series in the 90s (along with the 93 tie-in comics that I obsessively read). Very early on in that story (in Silver Surfer #51 specifically) Nova was featured as a central character and I was very intrigued. I admit that I initially latched on to her as a stand-in for one of my favorite all-time characters, Firestar. I had viewed Frankie as "Firestar in space" before eventually loving her on her own merits. Her origin story is fascinating and I hope we actually get a repaint in her original yellow and red Fantastic Four design. (Perfect for the Vintage Series). But first, of course, we needed her iconic gold deco. I know articulated toys can rarely achieve a true metallic finish, but this pearlized gold is a great compromise.  I wish I didn't have to shell out $400 bucks to get her, but nothing could have stopped me once she was announced. She's perfect. Let's check out Nova below!

Sunday, November 13, 2022

Nintendo - TOADETTE!

World of Nintendo 2.5" Figures Wave 37 - Toadette - Jakks Pacific 2022

Toadette is one of those characters that I am obsessed with for no reason other than her cute design. She first appeared in 2003's Mario Kart: Double Dash as Toad's sister, or friend, or sweetheart (it's been unclear) and went on to appear in at least nine other games since (mostly in the Mario Party and Mario Kart series) as both playable and non-playable characters. Unfortunately I am horrendously unskilled at those games and hate playing them. Give me a traditional side-scroller any day. But Toadette was created and thrives in those genres. Toad was the token cute character from the Mario Bros franchise, so it makes sense that his design would be co-opted for other characters - most predictably a female version. And I appreciate that the "female" design elements aren't big eyelashes or an hourglass silhouette, but rather these wonderfully nonsensical orb-pigtails. She's grown to become quite a visually iconic member of the Mario franchise and it's exciting that she finally got a toy in the Jakks line.

Friday, November 11, 2022

Marvel Basic Series - SHURI!

Black Panther: Wakanda Forever - Shuri & Vibranium Blast Sunbird - Hasbro 2022

Don't worry, no real spoilers. I just saw Black Panther: Wakanda Forever earlier tonight and I loved it. The legacy characters that I felt didn't get a chance to shine in the first movie all got their moments, and the new characters introduced were all perfection. Best of all, I felt that the 161-minute runtime allowed for more of Wakanda to be featured as well as the Dora Milaje (both things I felt didn't get enough lingering focus in the first movie). An amusing takeaway was that I think Hasbro could easily fill another whole Marvel Legends wave with great looking characters. At there very least there could be a few more 2-packs. This Basic Series Shuri figure was one of the first pieces of merchandise released for the movie. There is a second "Battle Action" basic series figure of her in stores as well, but her arms are awkwardly re-posed. But this one with the Sunbird vehicle is a classically-posed, simply-posed figure like we used to see with every MCU film. Let's check out Shuri below!

Wednesday, November 9, 2022

Titan Hero Series - SHURI!

Marvel Titan Hero Series - Black Panther: Wakanda Forever - Shuri - Hasbro 2022

I have my tickets to see Black Panther Friday afternoon and I'm very excited. The sheer number of significant female characters featured in this film is unparalleled in the MCU: Okoye, Aneka, Ramonda, Nakia, Ironheart, Namora, and Shuri all seem like they will have significant screentime. In all honesty, I think that Shuri in this purple tracksuit is probably the least interesting costume I've seen in the previews so far.  In plastic it looks slightly costume-like, but in footage and set photos it appears to just be street wear. Regardless, I'm glad they started off the movie tie-ins with a female Titan Hero Series figure. I only hope that we see a Titan Series figure of her in her final costume from the movie. I can't imagine that we won't. But considering the delayed unveiling of the Funko Pop and Marvel Legends figures, it will probably be a late reveal (and I promise I'll act surprised). I predict we'll see her before end of year. Let's check out the Titan Hero Series Shuri below!

Sunday, November 6, 2022

Marvel Basic Series - IRONHEART!

Black Panther: Wakanda Forever - Basic Series 1 - Ironheart - Hasbro 2022

The new trend for the Hasbro basic series MCU figures to have elaborate action features is admittedly not my favorite thing. The figures from Thor: Love and Thunder (Mighty Thor at least) were awkwardly engineered with the action features having too much influence over the sculpt. But last week I walked into Target and saw this unexpected Ironheart Battle Action figure (only Namor, Shuri, and Attuma were in the advertisements), and I was pleasantly surprised at the overall design. Her action feature does not effect her overall appearance, which is a great start. When you squeeze Ironheart's left leg inward, her two cannons move from a back-mounted downward-pointing position, to a shoulder-mounted forward-facing position. It makes a lot of sense and is a fun feature that I fully support. The Shuri from the same wave has awkwardly positioned arms and seems wholly unappealing, but Ironheart is fun, simple, and displays well. Let's check out the Wakanda Forever Battle Action Ironheart below!

Thursday, November 3, 2022

Wakanda Forever - OKOYE!

Marvel Legends - Wakanda Forever (Attuma Series) - Okoye - Hasbro 2022

I struggled a lot with buying this Okoye figure because she is so similar to her 2018 version. Yes, she has a completely unique sculpt, but the uniform and overall presentation are the same. And while this figure is technically an improvement, the old figure is still gorgeous and was in no way in need of an update. Don't get me wrong, the character of Okoye is awesome, and this figure is flawless, but if a new character like Aneka or Namora got bumped from Legends consideration for this I would be pretty bummed. I'm assuming this figure mostly exists because her build-a-figure version back in 2018 wasn't as readily available to the masses (plus her role in Wakanda Forever seems to be expanded so she is a marketable face on the toy shelves). I'm excited to see this movie next week and dive deep into the world of Wakanda (and Talokan). From the trailers and merchandise, it also seems to be a heavily female-centric movie - so naturally I'm stoked. Let's check out Okoye below!

Wednesday, November 2, 2022

Wakanda Forever - NAKIA!

Marvel Legends - Wakanda Forever (Attuma Series) -  Nakia - Hasbro 2022

Black Panther: Wakanda Forever has me more excited than any MCU movie has in a long time. I think I might have been the only person on the planet that was disappointed by the first Black Panther movie. My gripe was that two things were introduced that were fascinating: The Dora Milaje (an elite army of female warriors) and Wakanda itself (the most technologically advanced nation on Earth). Both were intriguing unique concepts for the audience, but the writers chose to almost skip over them and focus the storyline on other things.. and I was left wanting. I've seen stories of power struggles more times than I can count (I find them boring, especially when you know the hero comes out on top), rather I wanted to learn details about Wakandan history, science, and infrastructure. All the new concepts made crave a documentary, but I got the expected action movie. However, Wakanda Forever looks like it will appease me and focus on a lot of new concepts and characters (including at least 6 "costumed" females). 

Monday, October 31, 2022

Neca Ultimates - ELVIRA!

NECA Ultimates - Elvira Mistress of the Dark 40th Ann - NECA Toys 2022

I need a neverending supply of Elvira merchandise in my life. I grew up after the time of Vampira, the Munsters, and even the Addams Family (before they all came back in my teens) so my first exposure to a vampy female character was the Mistress of the Dark herself, Elvira. The interesting thing is, I can't even remember how I first saw her. I grew up with four staticky television channels, and I can't imagine any of them playing horror shows or her movie. Yet somehow I was very aware of her. I credit her with getting me over my squeamishness of all this dark and creepy. She was bubbly, and funny, and was a great gateway into a genre that I likely would have avoided otherwise. Until a few years ago, I only had a single Elvira figure in my collection, but Funko and NECA have really stepped up and suddenly I have seven. Now she has proper representation in my collection alongside Bride of Frankenstein and Lily Munster. This Ultimates Elvira is pretty great, but I still want more. (I looking at you, Super7).

Saturday, October 29, 2022

Arthur Adams Busts - VAMPIRELLA!

Women of Dynamite - Vampirella Resin Bust - Dynamite/Brewing Factory 2017

Vampirella is truly an iconic character.  Her design is simple, yet unique (and overwhelming provocative). As a child I always felt I shouldn't be looking at her, or at least that I must hide her image from my parents. But as an adult, I find comfort that her costume was designed by comic artist Trina Robbins, who among other accolades was the first female artist to illustrate Wonder Woman comics. Knowing that her barely-there costume was designed by a woman somehow allows me to more easily admit that I really like it. My first in-depth exposure to the character was through my obsession with the art of Arthur Adams. I picked up his Creepy Fearbook #1 and Vampirella Summer Nights and I was mesmerized. I was over the moon when Dynamite Comics announced their series of Arthur Adams'-designed busts (featuring Vampirella and Red Sonja). But that kicked off years of frustration with sold out products, variants being more prevalent than standard versions, and secondary market inflation. 

Friday, October 28, 2022

April O'neil as BRIDE OF FRANKENSTEIN!

TMNT vs Universal Monsters - April O'neil as Bride of Frankenstein - NECA 2022

I get really overwhelmed with the amount of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles products coming out these days. Between NECA, Super7, and Loyal Subjects, I am constantly seeing new figures and it's hard to keep track of them all. Thankfully (for me) there are very few females in the mix so I'm not nearly as tempted as the average collector. In the 90s, Playmates Toys created countless thematic variations of the TMNT gang: Samurais, Cavemen, Farmers, Surfers, Troll Dolls, and even Star Trek. I would be willing to bet, however, that the most popular was the Universal Monsters line. Even as a non-collector, I was very aware of these toys. That's why when NECA announced it was producing the same mashup, I knew it would be a hit. And their decision to base the aesthetic off the movie sculpts was very smart. I have no recollection of the TMNT movies personally, but the realism of these sculpts works very well with a Universal Monsters mash-up. Let's check out April below!

Thursday, October 27, 2022

Jada Toys - BRIDE OF FRANKENSTEIN!

Universal Monsters 6" Series - The Bride of Frankenstein - Jada Toys 2021

I never would have predicted that Jada Toys would enter the action figure market - and so strongly at that. After five years cornering the diecast market with their stylized Metals figurines, detailed vehicles, and (my favorite) Nano Metalfigs, they surprisingly branched out into articulated plastic. In Fall of 2021 they released their Universal Monsters and General Mills Monsters figures and I was immediately impressed by the quality. Of course, I got my first four figures in the midst of a house move and they promptly got buried in a closet. But I finally unboxed them last week and my original (boxed) assessment still holds true. They're really well made and it's exciting to have another company with product on the shelves (Street Fighter is next!). It's been a while since I've picked up a new Bride of Frankenstein figure so this was especially fun. I know there's a NECA one coming eventually that will probably overshadow the competition, but in the meantime this one is perfect. Let's check her out below!

Wednesday, October 26, 2022

Fortnite - SKULL SQUAD!

Fortnite - Skull Squad - Skull Squad Leader and Bone Ravage - Jazwares 2022

As long as I can remember I've had an obsession with skeletons. My favorite special effects movie growing up was Jason and the Argonauts. My favorite arcade game was Golden Axe. My favorite toy was the Pocket Power Glow Bones. I loved the skeleton costumes in Karate Kid. And in high school my big comic obsession was Andi Watson's Skeleton Key. All feature skeletons heavily. And on an amusing note, I never recognized this pattern until a few years ago when someone pointed out how many skeletons I have in my house (year round). Fortnite has always had a good track record with skeleton-themed characters. From the very beginning, Skull Ranger was a major player. And thankfully all the other characters and slowly getting skeleton repaints. This Skull Squad 4-Pack is my favorite multipack so far. The uniform deco is super appealing to me and make another great addition to my Halloween series. Let's check out Skull Squad Leader and Bone Ravage below!

Tuesday, October 25, 2022

Mythic Legions - ILLYTHIA!

Mythic Legions - Illythia's Brood - Illythia (Deluxe) - Four Horsemen 2022

When I think of great toys to post reviews for leading up to Halloween, my mind instantly goes to the Mythic Legions line by Four Horsemen Studios. Sure, there are a lot of knights and vikings in the mix. But the standout figures for me are the creepy characters: mainly the vampires, demons, orcs, and skeletons. It's so rare to get a female figure like this that's not a bikini'd swimsuit model with fangs. And, yes, I'm aware that some of the Mythic Legions ladies have been exactly that. But most of them are well thought-out, strong-looking characters with amazing detail. And Illythia is a prime example. I don't pay attention to the overall mythos of Mythic Legions, but considering this Illythia character has a whole faction named after her (Illythia's Brood), I assume she's a pretty big deal. When I ordered her, I assumed the extra arms implied some spider-like qualities, but in person, it seems more of a demonic aesthetic. Either way, it's great for Halloween week. Let's check out the deluxe Illythia below!

Monday, October 24, 2022

Percy Jackson - MEDUSA!

Percy Jackson and the Olympians: The Lightning Thief - Medusa - Jazwares 2010

The Percy Jackson films were a hard pill to swallow. My coworker was a big fan of the books and insisted I give them a shot. I listened to the first 3 or 4 on audiobook before I heard the news that it would be hitting the big screen. I was genuinely excited for what I assumed would be the next Harry Potter. I was even already a fan of Logan Lerman from his role in Jack and Bobby (a highly underrated show IMO). But I sat there in the theatre baffled by the interpretation I was seeing. Everything was just off. And cheesy. I can't pinpoint any one thing that was wrong, but my disappointment was palpable. I disconnected from the franchise and never even acknowledged the toys until I stumbled across Medusa this Summer. I was impressed at the quality of her sculpt and I always love a gorgon. She doesn't look much like Uma Thurman, but I always have low likeness expectations at this scale. Looking forward to the new show in 2023 and hopefully some new toys. Let's check out Medusa below!

Sunday, October 23, 2022

LooseCollector - LADY DEATH!

Legacy Series Lady Death (Coffin Comics) - Exec Replicas  LooseCollector 2020

The 1990's was an interesting decade in comics. The popularity of Indie comics skyrocketed, everything got an extreme makeover, and overpriced cover gimmicks drained our wallets. An interesting subgenre of the creator-owned comic movement also emerged: Bad Girl Comics. Sure, there had been examples of Bad Girl Comics for decades (Vampirella is a prime example), but in the 90's it exploded and was given a name. The formula was pretty simple: minimal clothing, dark powers or large weapons (or both!), and dubious morals. There were hundreds of these characters in a blur of big hair and thongs. I wasn't a huge fan I must admit. But I have found it interesting to see which select few have stood the test of time. And I think that Lady Death wins that category hands-down. Most action figures of Bad Girl characters were pretty horrendous with awkward proportions and often frightening paint, but Lady Death always stood out for having terrific toys. First from Moore Collectibles and later from Art Asylum. 

Friday, October 21, 2022

Gargoyles - DEMONA!

Disney's Gargoyles - Ultimate Action Figures - Demona - NECA 2022

NECA has a knack for taking properties that I always peripherally liked and appreciated and making me absolutely obsessed with them.  Did I ever expect that the adult me would be clamoring for Defenders of the Earth or Gremlins 2: The New Batch toys? Absolutely not. But here I am shelling out extra money to get the figures a week sooner than my preorders would get them to me. I'm similarly surprised by my reaction to their Gargoyles Ultimates line. Thematically Gargoyles seems like a show I would love. It's dark, mythological, and has great character design. But it came out when I was in the throes of high school and it was simply off my radar. When the figures were first announced, however, I started watching the show on Disney+ and I feel like I'm finally having the full experience I should have had back in the 90s; great cartoons and toys on the shelves. Demona is the primary female character in the show and I'm glad she was released so early. She's a magnificent figure. Let's check her out below!

Wednesday, October 19, 2022

Legend of Vox Machina - KEYLETH!

Critical Role: The Legend of Vox Machina - Keyleth - McFarlane Toys 2022

I love a good fantasy figure. I've never been into playing Dungeons & Dragons or reading Dragonlance books like all my gradeschool friends, but the fantasy genre still grabs my attention like few others can. This is especially true where there is a heavy nature-inspired aesthetic. I first became of The Legend of Vox Machina via the animated series on Amazon. I can admit it took me a while to get used to the crude R-rated dialogue (not because I was being a prude necessarily, but rather because it seemed too modern for the fantasy setting). But while I was acclimating myself to all the lockerroom talk, the one thing that kept me binging was the character design... and Keyleth was my favorite of them all. Keyleth is a half-elven druid (played by Marisha Rey in both Critical Role as well as The Legend of Vox Machina). She is decked out in green woodland warrior garb with antlers and a magical staff. She is pretty much the epitome of everything I love about fantasy. Let's check out Keyleth below!

Monday, October 17, 2022

Black Adam 12" - CYCLONE!

Black Adam (Movie) - 12" Action Figure Series - Cyclone - Spin Master 2022

I've said this a thousand times on this blog, but I think modern 12" action figures are amazing. When I hold them in my hand it gives me this childlike sense of wonder that's oddly more palpable than other toys (even figures from arguably more nostalgic properties). A friend once theorized that it's because these are scaled in a way that replicate our once tiny hands playing with our seemingly oversized ThunderCats and He-Man figures at the time. That tactile sense of holding on to a larger figure makes a ton of sense. Lately I've been overwhelmed with new 12" figures: Wakanda Forever, Halo, Power Rangers, and Black Adam all have new figures hitting the shelves right now giving me seven new female figures. Plus my fingers are crossed for sneaky late releases of another Shuri and Isis after the movies are released. Of the Cyclones I've bought to far, this is my favorite.  The colors are bright, the articulation is decent, and the overall playability is just all-around better. Let's check out Cyclone below!

Sunday, October 16, 2022

Black Adam - CYCLONE!

DC Multiverse - Black Adam (Movie) - Cyclone - McFarlane Toys 2022

The majority of female DC characters released by McFarlane Toys are truly great and I have no complaints. However, I honestly can't say the same for their movie-based releases. So far there have been several cinematic figures for Wonder Woman, Harley Quinn, and Catwoman, and unfortunately none of them are especially good likenesses. This Cyclone is played by an actor who is largely unfamiliar to me (Quintessa Swindell), but even from the brief glimpses I've seen, this figure does not do them justice. The facial expression is very glum and appears significantly older than the youthful 25 they are. Additionally, the other toys and images I've seen incorporate a ton of bright purple in the costume design. In this figure most of those bright colors have been swapped out for black. I'm leaning heavily towards the likelihood that this figure was created from earlier concepts. It's not a bad figure overall, but it just pales in comparison to the quality of recent comic releases. Let's check out Cyclone below!

Saturday, October 15, 2022

Black Adam 3.75" - CYCLONE!

Black Adam (Movie) - 3.75" Action Figure Series - Cyclone - Spin Master 2022

I'm pretty excited to see Black Adam in theatres next week. I don't know much about the title character at all, but seeing Hawkman, Doctor Fate, and Atom Smasher on the big screen will be amazing. The big mystery character for me, however, is Cyclone. I honestly only knew this character from her Kingdom Come DC Direct action figure and her self-explanatory powerset, but until a few weeks ago I had never read a story with her. That first comic I picked up was a movie tie-in titled Black Adam: Justice Society Files - Cyclone #1 and featured an introduction to the DCEU version of the character, which from everything I've read is pretty different from her comic version. For starters, the DCEU version seems to have nanobot-driven powers as a result of a lab accident, whereas the comic version seemingly inherited genetic powers from her grandmother, Ma Hunkle. Who knows how this new character will be portrayed. By next week we should have a lot of answers. Let's check out Cyclone below!

Thursday, October 13, 2022

Batman Family Multipack - BATGIRL!

DC Multiverse Multipack - Bat Family 5-Pack (Amazon Exc) - McFarlane 2022

Batgirl is my favorite comic character to see in action figure form. She has a few classic trademarks: red hair, a big bat emblem, and the ears and cape of her namesake. (She also tends to incorporate yellow into every design). Yet with this formulaic set of design traits, the toys still manage to look surprisingly distinct from each other. McFarlane Toys has produced three Batgirl figures so far, and my favorite by far has been the Three Jokers version from 2021. Surprisingly this repaint of that figure (in her classic Bronze Age color palette) is the first of the three molds to see a re-release (aside from those unpainted gray figures they make). Other figures have been released many times with paint variations or a retooled head, but the one character I would be actually excited about has managed to escape this treatment before now. But this one was worth the wait. I know McFarlane will always lean towards modern gritty storylines, but I will always find classic looks more appealing. Let's check out Batgirl below!

Tuesday, October 11, 2022

Marvel Legends - IRONHEART!

Marvel Legends - Black Panther: Wakanda Forever - Ironheart - Hasbro 2022

Riri Williams has had a lot of interesting armor configurations since her debut in 2016. Her first was a bulky suit made from pieces of Iron Man's armor that she scavenged and reverse engineered. When Pepper Potts insisted that her genius (and heroics) be acknowledged, she quickly acquired the resources to upgrade to a sleek classic-looking "Iron Man" suit (this was my favorite iteration so far). After a few years she got a redesign into a pink/magenta suit with a subtle heart motif and a clear visor. This wasn't my favorite look, but it was very original (not derivative of Tony's look) and the stories were still great. When her solo series ended, I lost track of her development. But now her upcoming appearance in Wakanda Forever has me energized to fill in the gaps. This cinematic design looks like a great blend of the two main comic looks. I love that she's starting off with a unique design, easily distinguishable from Tony and Pepper. Let's check out Ironheart below!

Monday, October 10, 2022

Titan Hero Series - IRONHEART (BOTH VERSIONS)!

Marvel Titan Hero Series - Wakanda Forever - Ironheart (x2) - Hasbro 2022

I have known that there was an Ironheart television series coming out on Disney+ for a couple years now. This character is one of my favorite things to come out of modern Marvel comics so I was pretty excited for this show. But I was completely unaware that she was making her live-action debut in Black Panther: Wakanda Forever until I saw a blurry leaked photo of this Marvel Titan Heroes Series figure in Wakanda packaging. But this actually makes sense since Shuri was a major character in the second story arc of the Ironheart comic (fingers crossed Silhouette makes a cameo!) But another surprise came when two versions of this figure were released simultaneously. There are some significant differences, but my favorite version is actually a combination of the two so I thought it best to post a joint review to explain my reasonings. I also understand that Riri has at least two additional costumes in this movie so I have a feeling we haven't seen the last of her in the toy aisles. Let's check out Ironheart below!

Sunday, October 9, 2022

G.I.Joe Basic Series - BARONESS!

G.I.Joe Limited Articulation Basic Series - Baroness - Hasbro 2022

To me G.I.Joe product has always been firmly anchored in Hasbro's 3.75" action figure line that began in the early eighties and continues to this day (with just a few gaps along the way). But in the past few years there have been a handful of new product lines that can not be overlooked: The 6" Classified line is one of the most popular collector lines out there; the Super7 Ultimates look amazing and I can't wait to get the first wave in hand; the ReAction figures are giving us great animation-accurate sculpts in a retro toy style; and finally this Limited Articulation line (at stores like CVS and FiveBelow) is giving us the discount evergreen solution that all the other big licenses seem to get, but G.I.Joe has always missed out on. These figures aren't for everyone. They only have three points of articulation: shoulders and neck. And they have weapons permanently sculpted into their hands. But the designs are fun, they are very inexpensive, and they display well. I can't wait to get more. Let's check out Baroness below!

Monday, October 3, 2022

Marvel Legends - QUAKE!

Marvel Legends - Controller Build-a-Figure Wave - Quake - Mattel 2022

A few years ago I started watching Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and became obsessed right away. I was behind the times and had many seasons to catch up one. I ranted recently about how I typically find military organizations in superhero books to be boring (I much prefer individual superpowered villains). But this show exposed me to the storytelling potential of these groups. Of course, I still managed to find the most superhero-like member and focus all my adoration on her. Daisy Johnson aka Quake was the standout character. She has the power to control vibrations and has to wear special gauntlets to avoid damaging the bones and capillaries her arms. I wrongly thought she was a new character for the show, but she had been appearing in comics for nine years when Chloe Bennet took on the role and launched her into A list (maybe B list) territory. A great thing about this figure is generic body which can become almost any female S.H.I.E.L.D. agent with a simple head swap. Let's check her out below!

Sunday, October 2, 2022

Marvel Legends - MS. MARVEL!

Marvel Legends Disney+ Series 2 (Infinity Ultron) - Ms. Marvel - Hasbro 2022

I just finished watching the Ms. Marvel series a couple weeks ago. It was a lot of a fun and a really unique take on the character. I didn't read all of the Kamala Khan Ms. Marvel comics (although I feel I read around 30% of them), and to me the fangirl angle in the show seemed like a new twist, but a fun way to introduce a new character figuring out her fledgling powers - especially since her fandom is steeped in the MCU world (which I can only assume most of the viewing audience is a fan of as well). This figure looks pretty great. And although the face bears a great resemblance to actor Iman Vellani, the body proportions conform to a more generic Hasbro buck. In the show, Kamala is a short young woman with realistic curves. This figure looks noticeably elongated in comparison. But most MCU figures seem to have a similar generic body representation, it just happens to be more noticeable with this one. Overall it's a great figure and a great addition to my MCU shelf. Let's check out Ms. Marvel below!

Wednesday, September 28, 2022

Playmates Toys - CHUN-LI!

TMNT vs Street Fighter - Michelangelo & Chun-Li 2-Pack - Playmates Toys 2022

Playmates Toys has really been upping their game in the the last five years. Shortly before then, the Star Trek and TMNT movie toys left a lot to be desired. The likenesses were off, the articulation was stiff, and the overall appeal was a bit lackluster. But since then there have been several really great toy lines with impressive articulation and design. The Mysticons and Miraculous Playmates lines in particular have brought me much joy. But now they've improved even further with their recent two-pack assortments. I'm especially impressed with this Chun-Li figure from the TMNT vs Street Fighter series. Firstly, I feel like it's been a while since I've seen a Chun-Li figure at retail, and secondly, her sculpt and articulation are perfect. (And the new Star Trek figures are impressive as well so I know it's not a fluke). The only improvements I can suggest for this figure would be a ribcage cut and alternate hands. I'm excited to see what surprise properties they'll unveil next.  Let's check out Chun-Li below!

Tuesday, September 27, 2022

He-Man Animated Series - SORCERESS!

He-Man & the Masters of the Universe - Sorceress & Cosmic Falcon - Mattel 2022

As much as I enjoy Netflix's He-Man and the Masters of the Universe CGI Animated Series, I often find myself wishing that the character designs weren't quite as removed from the source material. For those who haven't seen the show, the concept is very reimagined. The core idea that instead of just Prince Adam having a transformation sequence to become He-Man, all his friends do as well. Teela transforms into Sorceress, but it's a very different Sorceress than we're used to (the traditional wise sorceress role is instead held by the spectral character Eldress). I was happy with the new concepts and storylines, but I missed a more recognizable Filmation-type Sorceress. But then this great repaint was announced and it was exactly what I wanted. And not only is the the new Teela/Sorceress character decked out in classic colors, but she also comes with the very Zoar-like Cosmic Falcon. I don't think these have a direct connection to the Netflix show, but I'm here for it either way. Let's check her out!

Sunday, September 25, 2022

Marvel Legends - MADAME HYDRA!

Marvel Legends - Controller Build-a-Figure Wave - Madame Hydra - Mattel 2022

I won't lie and pretend that the character of Madame Hydra hasn't always been confusing to me. Her alternating aliases of Madame Hydra and Viper made me think she was two separate characters for a long time. And then I assumed she was a member of the Serpent Society, which I eventually discovered she was, but her lack of powers and any reptilian traits (aside from the color green) made her inclusion odd to me. Her main claim to fame is as the leader of Hydra. But I have to admit, I always found Hydra and A.I.M. storylines boring. I want my comic enemies to be individuals with unique powers and backstories, not largely anonymous paramilitary groups. Yet somehow this character always managed to still capture my attention. It's the combination of her commanding presence, monochromatic costumes, and menacing codenames that I find so intriguing. Surprisingly this is her second Legends figure, although 10 years apart, so it is a definite improvement. Let's check out Madame Hydra below!

Saturday, September 24, 2022

Transfomers - ELITA-1!

Transformers Legacy - Deluxe Class - Elita-1 - TakaraTomy/Hasbro 2022

Female Transformers are going through a bit of a second renaissance right now from 2015-2021 there were a ton of well-made female Transformers toys for the first time ever (I personally purchased over 60 new Transformers in this time span, not including the novelty toys and 3rd Party figures). But with the release of the Legacy Arcee this last Spring, there seems to be a shift in design aesthetic and construction. The new figures are more blocky and robotic than the organic feminine figures we had been seeing. The plastic also seems to be of a different material - thinner and more shiny. At first I was hesitant of the changes, but I'm quickly warming up. So far I have four figures: Arcee, Road Rocket, Override, and Elita One. And there are a lot more coming: Crasher, Nightbird, Shadow Striker, plus Twitch and Elita-1 (Earthspark). The only aspect of these new figures that I still struggle with is the mass of their lower legs because my brain associates the silhouette with bellbottoms or boot-cut jeans. But it's a small gripe.

Wednesday, September 21, 2022

Transformers - OVERRIDE!

Velocitron Speedia 500 Collection (Walmart) - Deluxe Override - Hasbro 2022

I've been waiting a long time for this figure. The character Override first appeared to US audiences in 2005's Transformers: Cybertron. She was the leader of Velocitron, the Speed Planet, a world singularly focuses on racing (fyi this collection, Speedia 500, is named after a big annual race on Velocitron). Of course, like a lot of female Transformers, she has some dissappointing development origins. Mainly that in Japan she was first introduced as the male character, Nitro, both in the cartoon and in the toyline. The US production wanted some diversity, so they made her female. And honestly, I always thought her animated design looked very feminine, so I was surprised that she was the result of a gender swap. However this also explains why I never liked the original 2005 toy, which was designed as male. Override is unavoidably a big blocky character, but that original sculpt seemed exaggerated in all the wrong ways for me. Finally this new Walmart figure nails it and I'm stoked. Let's check her out below!

Monday, September 19, 2022

League of Legends - ASHE!

League of Legends - Champion Collection - Ashe - SpinMaster Toys 2022

I love a good surprise figure. I hadn't seen any information on new League of Legends products in almost a year. In fact, I believe I've only ever seen three figures in this 6" Champion Collection so far (and they have been busy shelfwarming all the Targets in my area since last Fall). The figures looked cool, but without momentum and character variety, a line won't last long in the competitive action figure market, and I assumed the line was done. But Spin Master toys is notorious for releasing toys with no advanced warning. So a couple weeks ago a connection on Instagram casually mentioned this Ashe the Frost Archer figure. She was hidden in a multi-product Amazon listing with those first three figures from last year. An old listing, but now with a new fourth product offering. I had her in hand a few days later and I'm kind of obsessed. I don't know anything about League of Legends or Ashe herself, but I love a well-designed fantasy figure, and Ashe definitely fits the bill. Let's check her out below!

Saturday, September 17, 2022

Princess of Power Masterverse - CATRA!

MOTU Princess of Power - Masterverse Wave 5 - Catra - Mattel 2022

Who would have imagined that 37 years after their television debut, the characters introduced in She-Ra: the Princess of Power would see a retail release of toys in their animated Filmation designs. Sure, collectors are very aware of the subscription-based Masters of the Universe Classics line (which released just about every She-Ra character during it's 6 year run). But for the more casual toy collector, or even a random shopper with a nostalgic heart, seeing these characters in the toy aisles is an amazing thing. They teased a She-Ra figure when the Masterverse line was first announced back in 2021 (by showing packaging designs in a presentation that included the Princess of Power logo). And I would always expect the character She-Ra to make an appearance in a MOTU toyline. But what I didn't expect was supporting POP figures of Catra, Frosta, and Shadow Weaver to be included in such short succession. This Catra is the second release and she's gorgeous. Let's check her out below!

Thursday, September 15, 2022

DC Gallery - POISON IVY!

DC Gallery - PVC Statue Series - Poison Ivy - Diamond Select Toys 2020

Poison Ivy is one of those characters that is very hit-or-miss with merchandise. I personally feel that most of her products are a miss. The interesting thing about the personality of Pamela Isley is that she exudes a sense of cold sensuality and seductiveness, but without the obvious tropes of gravity-defying cleavage or tarty makeup. Not that those things are bad, but they just seem out of character for Poison Ivy. When I first saw this DC Gallery PVC statue from Diamond Select back in 2020, I remember not giving it much thought. I (wrongly) thought her legs looked stubby and I thought the base was too large for my personal aesthetics. But then a month ago I saw her in a display case in a comic shop and was suddenly mesmerized by how good the sculpt was. She seems lost in some deep Botticelli-esque botanical ecstasy, and I can't take my eyes off her. The flower base and flowing hair create a sense of movement that makes for dynamic views from any angle. She is amazing. Let's check out Poison Ivy below!

Tuesday, September 13, 2022

Fury Force - THE ROSE!

Pop Prolific: Fury Force - The Rose - HOTG/Hammer of the Gods Toys 2020

I don't usually dabble in 3rd Party art figures. But sometimes they are so well-made and fun that they are impossible to resist. And recently I tempted fate by going to a toy show that specialized in the genre of toy artistry. My favorite item of the show was this homage to G.I.Joe's Scarlett (aka The Rose) from the Fury Force line by Pop Prolific and Hammer of the Gods Toys. In my opinion, there has never been a really great licensed Scarlett figure until the very recent Super7 ReAction figure. But this Rose figure filled a void I didn't know existed: a classic looking Scarlett in the aesthetic of a vintage Masters of the Universe sculpt. I somehow never even considered these characters in a 5" scale. For so long, G.I.Joes were so locked in the 3.75" world that my brain still has trouble accepting the 6-7" Classified and Ultimates lines. But when I saw this figure, something clicked I just had to have her. And now I can't wait to see what future art toys I find. Jem would be insanely cool. Let's check out this beauty below!

Sunday, September 11, 2022

Marvel Legends - SILK!

Marvel Legends - Silk and Doctor Octopus 2-Pack - Disney Hasbro 2022

When I think about all the characters that haven't been included in the Marvel Legends line yet, I get baffled over a relatively new character getting a third figure in six short years. I love Cindy Moon. She is a great addition to the Spider-Verse that I wholeheartedly support. But when I saw this two-pack shown in a Hasbro livestream earlier this year, I quickly judged her inclusion as a waste of a slot. I have a wishlist of spider-ladies a mile long, and I already have two perfect Silk figures. Of course I pre-ordered her anyway. And in the time since, I've really come to enjoy the modern Silk comic series and also appreciate her new haircut. So I slowly came around to the idea getting a third figure representing her (slightly) updated appearance. What I wasn't expecting was the most gorgeous headsculpt I have ever seen. And that's saying a lot. She has an amazing smirk, a subtly dynamic hairsculpt, and captivating eyes. I would really be kicking myself if I hadn't purchased this one. Let's check out Silk below!

Friday, September 9, 2022

Golden Axe - TYRIS FLARE!

Golden Axe -  Tyris Flare and Blue Dragon - Storm Collectibles 2022

Very few properties have the ability to completely transport me back in time on a full wave of nostalgia. A lot of properties might remind me of a specific TV show or comic I once loved. But Golden Axe tackles all my senses. As my absolute favorite arcade game of my youth, it takes me right back to that place in time. I can hear the noises.. both from the game itself and the cacophony of arcade dings, chimes, tokens, and wild kids, I can smell the popcorn, I can feel the freezing air conditioning, and I can see those amazing characters swinging swords and mounting dragons while fighting skeletons and kicking little gnomes. I was obsessed with this game and I always played the sole female character, Tyris Flare. The funny thing was that I was also extraordinarily bad at this game. I never made it too far. So luckily I don't feel the need to buy toys of the big boss characters (because I honestly never saw them!) This Tyris Flare is my first purchase from the high-end Storm Collectibles and I love it.

Wednesday, September 7, 2022

The Book of Boba Fett - FENNEC SHAND!

Star Wars: The Black Series - Fennec Shand (Book of Boba Fett) - Hasbro 2022

The Book of Boba Fett wasn't my favorite show, but a couple things kept me tuning in. The Jaba twins and Jennifer Beals as a Twi'lek were amazing, but they all had limited screen time. Fennec Shand on the other hand was featured on every episode as Boba Fett's major domo. Her appearances in The Mandalorian intrigued me, but her presence in Boba is what made me a superfan. I already was pretty obsessed with Ming-Na Wen. She was the best part of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. as Melinda May, she was the voice of Mulan (my favorite Disney movie), and she played Chun-Li is those 1990's live-action Street Fighter movies. Plus she had major roles in geeky shows like Stargate and Eureka and countless voices in animation properties ranging from Batman to Gremlins. Almost all of the iMDb credits are for the kind of shows that get a panel at SDCC. Her role as Fennec Shand is her latest contribution and it's the first time we've seen her likeness in plastic (the 1993 Chun-Li figure doesn't count).

Monday, September 5, 2022

Princess of Power Masterverse - SHE-RA!

MOTU Princess of Power - Masterverse (Deluxe) - She-Ra - Mattel 2022

Sometime around late-Spring/early-Summer 2021 Mattel announced the Masterverse line. Most of the initial product was focused on the Revelation cartoon, but when showing packaging concepts, they showed and empty She-Ra box with the Princess of Power logo. I was stoked that the Etheria characters would be seeing a retail release. And honestly, the fact that we were shown Catra and Frosta before She-Ra only fueled my excitement. But I'm glad that She-Ra was the first one to be officially released. In many ways, she is the best She-Ra figure in my collection. But in other ways, the articulation and proportions seem rushed. The joints aren't disguised at all. And the elbows, knees, and shoulders remind me of old-school Marvel Legends (i.e. they offer the expected articulation, but have a gangly feel and are very difficult to pose in a natural look. But don't get me wrong, I'm still obsessed with this figure. In fact, I can't wait to get a second one so I can display all the alternate accessories. Let's check her out!

Saturday, September 3, 2022

Transformers - ROAD ROCKET!

Velocitron Speedia 500 Collection (Walmart) - Road Rocket - Hasbro 2022

Velocitron is a planet in the Transformers Universe that is completely focused on racing. It has been featured in comics, cartoons, and toys for years. I always appreciated the Velocitron stories because they coincided with a time when female transformers were finally becoming a consistent part of the storyline... not just a token pink character here and there. My mind associates Velocitron with Nautica, Chromia, Windblade, Override, and others - and I ate those stories up. Speedia 500 is a big ceremonial race that takes place on the planet and is the focus of this Walmart-exclusive sub-line. Road Rocket was introduced in 1995 and was traditionally a male character. I tried to figure out when the gender-swap took place and I honestly can't figure it out. At some point near the end of the Road Rocket wiki page, the pronouns change to "she" without explanation. This figure uses the Legacy Arcee mold with a new head. I read a blurb that the Takara designers wanted a "female ninja" and Road Rocket fit the bill.

Thursday, September 1, 2022

Marvel Legends - SPINNERET!

Marvel Legends - Spider-Man: Renew Your Vows - Spinneret - Hasbro 2022

I love that in modern comics, the love interest (civilian) characters often get powers and become superheroes. The trope is extremely common: Lois Lane, Betty Ross, Carol Ferris, Peggy Carter, Jane Foster, Gwen Stacy, etc have all been granted powers (and often solo books and toys). Mary Jane has had her fair representation in costume. She has appeared as some version of Spider-Man many times (usually in alternate timelines). But her role as Spinneret in 2016's Spider-Man: Renew Your Vows, Vol 2 was special. She suddenly had a unique costume and name, and she was a regular hero character in that ongoing series (albeit in an alternate universe). The series is centered around Spider-Man, Mary Jane, and their daughter, Anna-May (Annie) Parker. Annie has powers (she is presumably an alternate version of Mayday Parker aka MC2 Universe's Spider-Girl) and in volume two of the comic, MJ wants in on the action and gets a tech suit that grants her powers as well... as Spinneret.