Friday, December 30, 2022

Transformers Timelines - FLAMEWAR!

Transformers Timelines - BotCon 2005 Attendee Bonus - Flamewar - Hasbro 2005

This figure was my Transformers holy grail for over 15 years. As far as I know, she was a surprise figure that attendees only learned about while at BotCon 2005. She is always listed as an "Attendee Freebie." I don't know if this means that she was actually free, or just a bonus figure attendees were allowed to purchase. This figure and the materials released with her are the first appearance of Flamewar. She is a Decepticon version of Arcee and she is both the only bad guy and the only original character made from the Energon Arcee mold. She has also made the surprising jump from a collector's-realm original character to getting major attention in wider games, comics, and toys. Because of that low-key popularity and the perceived scarceness of the toy, this figure commands the highest price among the eight mold variations. She typically hits around $400 while the next highest (Flareup) goes for around $200. Luckily I am a very patient collector and I always get a good deal eventually, even if it takes 17 years.

Thursday, December 29, 2022

Transformers Timelines - FLAREUP (FIRESTAR)!

Transformers Timelines - BotCon 2005 Souvenir 2-Pack - Flareup - Hasbro 2005

Once again, the BotCon 2005 offerings blew my mind. In addition to the large 7-figure Decent Into Evil boxset, there was a two-figure Souvenir set with Ratchet and Flareup. They came in simple unadorned polybags with separate trading cards and instantly cost bank on eBay. Flareup is a rebranding of the G1 character Firestar, one of the original members of Elita's Army introduced in The Search for Alpha Trion (1985). No toys of Firestar ever have her original name. There is, of course, the Marvel mutant Firestar (similarly merchandised by Hasbro) and also the orange cat from the popular Warriors book series, so her aliases are understandable (Flareup and Novastar so far). Firestar was always a standout for me because she embodies several characteristics that are so rarely applied to female characters. Firstly, her orange color palette is almost non-existent in my toy room, and similarly firefighter characters are so rarely female. For both those reasons and more, she is iconic. Let's check out Flareup below!

Wednesday, December 28, 2022

Transformers - CHROMIA (MOONRACER)!

Transformers Timelines - BotCon Descent Into Evil Set - Chromia - Hasbro 2005

Botcon 2005 seems like one of those Epic conventions that will go down in infamy for collectors like me. I was out of the Transformers loop at the time so it was months later when I learned that this convention had three exclusive female figures released, all three of which had never been made in plastic: Flare-up (Firestar), Chromia (Moonracer), and Flamewar. This figure is clearly Moonracer from the classic episode The Search for Alpha Trion, but for some reason she is labeled as Chromia (who is typically a light blue color with a differently-shaped head). The only "Moonracer" copyright I can think of is the winged lion from Rankin and Bass. But this light seafoam green fembot with a newly-sculpted head is clearly not Chromia. This figure was included in huge Descent Into Evil 7-pack exclusive to Botcon 2005. The other female figures released at the convention were more sneakily revealed, but Chromia/Moonstar was prominently announced. Let's check out Chromia/Moonracer below!

Tuesday, December 27, 2022

Transformers Movie - ARCEE!

Transformers Movie - Scout Class Arcee - Target Exclusive - Hasbro 2007

Similar to yesterday's Elita-One post, this Arcee Movie figure was a big tease when she was released. There were no fembots in the Transformers (2007) movie at all, despite these two toys leading the world to think otherwise. The interesting thing is that this Arcee was blue. Nowadays we're used to seeing the occasional oddly-colored Arcee. But back in 2007, the character was only associated with pink. (This was four years before Transformers: Prime introduced us to the most predominantly-featured Arcee to date, who was of course blue). But this figure presented a mystery color variation without context and intrigued me like crazy. Because there was no cinematic character inspiring the seemingly random design, I've always just assumed she was intended to be (a slightly darker-hued) Chromia. All the other original G1 fembots had been represented (visually at least) with this mold, except for Chromia, so this theory made the most sense to me (and still does). Let's check out the "movie" Arcee below!

Monday, December 26, 2022

Transformers Movie - ELITA-ONE!

Transformers Movie - Scout Class Elita-One - Target Exclusive - Hasbro 2007

I'm hard-pressed to think of a bigger tease than two female Transformers toys released with a huge merchandising wave preceding a movie release, only to have those characters be non-existent in the film. In 2007, there were Arcee and Elita-One figures released (both exclusive to Target) in the official movie line for the first Transformers (2007) live-action film. I was well aware ahead of time that these characters had no presence on IMDb and they weren't teased in any trailers or promotional photos, but my fingers were still crossed for a surprise cameo or post-credits scene. But alas, these figures were wholly unrelated to the movie (they wouldn't appear until the third movie in 2011 - with an entirely different design). I was bummed, but I still loved that we saw the Energon Arcee mold used one last time (the 7th and 8th redecos respectively). Plus this was the first Elita-One toy ever released. Despite being a simple repaint of Energon Arcee, the color palette is very recognizable as Elita. Let's check her out below!

Sunday, December 25, 2022

Transformers Cybertron - PARADRON MEDIC!

Transformers: Cybertron - Super Link EX-02 - Ariel Paradron Type - Takara 2004

In the October 1986 Transformers episode titled Fight or Flee, the Decepticons landed on the peaceful planet of Paradron in order to plunder the planet for its Energon resources. The planet was populated by simple male and female robots that were essentially background characters. But it was obvious to anyone viewing that the female population of Paradron were identical to Arcee, but green. Flash forward to the early 2000s when there was a green variant of the Heroes of Cybertron Arcee PVC figurine named Paradron Medic. Since then almost every mold of Arcee has been eventually re-released in a green redeco in homage to this classic episode. This Ariel Paradron Type repaint is one of the first and was released as an exclusive in Japan as part of the Toy's Dream Project which orchestrated exclusive gift cards and action figures for various companies and retailers. I honestly think this is my favorite of all the Energon Arcee releases. The two-tone cool colors really pop and stand out from the pack. 

Saturday, December 24, 2022

Transformers Cybertron - ARIEL!

Transformers: Cybertron - Super Link SC-16 - Ariel - Takara 2004

2004's CGI-animated Transformers: Energon series was known as Transformers: Super Link in Japan and had its own release of toys made by Takara. The dual-release of figures in Japan by Takara and the USA by Hasbro continues to this day, often with slight paint or name variations, and this figure is a prime example. In the both the Japanese cartoon and toyline, this Arcee is named Ariel. I believe these toys are intended to look the same, but the Takara version has a brighter pink head and paint details (as opposed to the darker coral-pink of the Hasbro release) plus a matte gray face, as opposed to the metallic silver face on Arcee. It's a relatively minor difference, yet somehow distinct enough to be a notable variation for my Energon Arcee collection. The name Ariel has history in the Transformers universe as well. The 1985 episode, War Dawn, featured a flashback introducing the young Orion Pax and Ariel (who we know as Optimus Prime and Elita-One). This was a full year before we ever met Arcee.

Friday, December 23, 2022

Transformers Energon - ARCEE!

Transformers: Energon - Energon Class Wave 3 - Arcee - Hasbro 2004

In 2004 there was a CGI cartoon named Transformers: Energon (Transformers: Superlink in Japan). It was the second chapter in the Unicron Trilogy (between Transformers: Armada and Transformers: Cybertron).  I personally never watched any of these series, but I became very aware of the toyline for this specific figure. For the first time ever, we saw a transforming Arcee that was not just a repaint of another character. It also marked the start of me paying attention to the Transformers section of the action figure aisles, and eventually developed into the full-fledged obsession I have now. Luckily the world took notice and this figure got the attention it deserved. She spawned a slew of re-releases over the next three years. I recently added the final piece to my collection. So between now and New Years, I will be posting a review of each of the eight gorgeous redecos of this iconic mold. Sorry if it gets boring, but I'm ecstatic to finally be doing this after 18 years. Let's check out Arcee below!

Tuesday, December 20, 2022

Mirrorverse - MALEFICENT!

Disney Mirrorverse - Series 3 - Sleeping Beauty's Maleficent - McFarlane 2022

I thought I would always be purist when it came to the design of Maleficent. I don't think I'm alone when I say that, of all the vampy sorceress-type characters, she is the most visually iconic. Just a few years ago I was ecstatic to finally get a great representation of her in my collection with the Kingdom Hearts line from DST. It was my first Maleficent figure and I was so happy with her that I assumed it would be my last. But then McFarlane Toys announced this stylized version from the Disney Mirrorverse mobile game. She has all the classic design elements you would expect, but with added gothy details that somehow enhance her overall appeal. I love this figure. From the elaborate armor to the bat-ribbed cape, I think she's terrific. All the Mirrorverse designs I've seen have had a similar merging of cartoon simplicity and video game realism. I certainly hope they include more ladies in the future. Belle and Maleficent are fantastic and desperately need friends. Let's check out Maleficent below!

Saturday, December 17, 2022


Avatar: The Way of Water - Neytiri (Metkayina Reef) - McFarlane Toys 2022

Avatar: The Water of Water is in theatres right now but I waited too long to order tickets and everything is sold out until next Wednesday night. So in the meantime I get to live vicariously though the toys. The general gist I get from the trailers is that we get to meet another community of Na'Vi who live either in (or surrounded by) the sea. When the second wave of Avatar figures was announced, I'll admit I was a little bummed to learn we would be getting a second Neytiri instead of a new character, like Kate Winslet's Ronal for example. But the figure looks different enough in person that I appreciate her anyway. I assume this version of Neytiri represents her look when either visiting or battling the sea-Na'Vi. She's wearing a completely different outfit, her bow is new, and she has a headsculpt that is entirely different (new facial expression and hair). If I didn't know better, I could be convinced it was a new character. Still, I really hope we see future waves. Let's check out Neytiri (Metkayina Reef) below!

Friday, December 16, 2022

Avatar: The Way of Water - NEYTIRI!

Avatar: The Way of Water - Neytiri (Standard Version) - McFarlane Toys 2022

It's been thirteen long years since the first Avatar movie hit theatres and I am very excited to see the long-awaited sequel. When it comes to movies, I love being fully emersed in a new setting, where the place is almost a character in itself. Avatar gave me that in spades. The world of Pandora, the Na'Vi people, and all the flora and fauna create a magical moviegoing experience and I can't wait to experience it again. Back in 2009 I went all-in on the toylines from Mattel. I bought every character and every giant creature. At one point my dining room table was completely covered in banshees. But I admit I always thought the quality of those toys was lacking. They had announced the sequels right away so I was already fantasizing about which company would get the license and give us the improved toys I desired (my money was on NECA). But who would have guessed McFarlane would come to the rescue and give me the Neytiri I always wanted. She is wonderful. Let's check out Neytiri below!

Thursday, December 15, 2022

Marvel Legends - KATE BISHOP!

Marvel Legends - Disney+ Infinity Ultron Wave - Kate Bishop - Hasbro 2022

I can't tell you how excited I am about the Young Avengers direction that the MCU most definitely seems to be heading. With the original Avengers actors slowly aging out of the franchise (their words, not mine), the Young Avengers will make a fantastic next phase. I think anyone who has read the Original Young Avengers series, and followed it with the Children's Crusade, would be as excited as I am. So far we've met Tommy and Billy in Wandavision, America Chavez in Multiverse of Madness, Kid Loki and Sylvie in Loki, Cassie in Ant-Man, Eli in Falcon and Winter Soldier, and now Kate in Hawkeye. (Plus I'm willing to bet Yelena, Ms. Marvel and Ironheart will break canon and somehow be included). I really enjoyed Hailee Steinfeld in the role of Kate Bishop in Hawkeye. I never read the various early 2010's Hawkeye series when she was either the star or supporting character, so the show was brand new material for me and I loved it. Let's check out Kate Bishop Hawkeye below!

Tuesday, December 13, 2022

Arkham City - CATWOMAN!

DC Multiverse - Arkham City (Solomon Grundy) - Catwoman - McFarlane 2022

The Arkham Series of video games injected a new life to the Batman franchise.  The Dark Knight was released in theatres in 2008 with great success and paved the way for Batman: Arkham Asylum in 2009, the first game in the Batman: Arkham series. While movies are extremely popular and arguably the best way to expose a character family to a wider audience, when it comes to merchandise, video games have much more staying power. Movie toys get a mere six months on the shelves, and maybe a nostalgic resurgence in the future, but video games (especially a successful series of games) can give us years of product and are constantly finding new audiences. I have a love/hate relationship with the Arkham City Catwoman design. I love it because it has given us so many great toys and exposed a lot of kids to a great character. This was at a time when there was a bit of a Catwoman drought as well. Plus my most-viewed post on this blog is her 2012 DC Direct figure with over 39K hits.

Monday, December 12, 2022

Sonic the Hedgehog - AMY ROSE!

Sonic the Hedgehog - Buildable Figure Figurines - Amy Rose - Just Toys 2022

Considering we just got a 4" modern Amy Rose and a 2.5" classic Amy Rose in the last year, I honestly didn't expect to see any interesting product until she eventually makes her big screen debut. But then this surprise buildable figurine series showed up at Target and I was super excited. The company is Just Toys (who previously had a logo that read as "JusToys" - I did some thorough research and determined they were the same company) and they can be found in video game toys section of Target - not the Neca/Funko wall, or even the CCG section, but rather the small area within the video games that has plush Nintendo products and odd video-game-themed homewares. Yet another area of that store to keep on my radar. The first wave of this series has five characters with interchangeable parts (I assume parts can be swapped between characters, but I only purchases Amy so I'm unsure). They are unarticulated but well made a great addition to my Sonic shelf. Let's check out Amy below!

Sunday, December 11, 2022

Power Rangers - NINJA PINK RANGER!

Power Rangers Lightning Collection - Mighty Morphin Ninja Pink - Hasbro 2022

The Ninja Rangers are an iteration of the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers that I was honestly unaware of until these Lightning Collection figures were announced. I only peripherally watched the original MMPR (my friend's little brother would always be watching it when we were waiting to play Super Nintendo.. which accumulated in a surprising amount of MMPR imagery in my brain). The Ninja Rangers were a power-up in Season 3 that was technically less-powerful than their standard forms, but useful in hand-to-hand combat. I think it's pretty cool that this iteration finally visually embraced the martial arts that were a focal point of whole franchise. In 1995 there was a 5.5" action figure series as well as a 3" PVC line featuring these costumes. The modern Lightning Collection figures are exclusive to Target and include both a Kimberly and Katharine version of Ninja Pink. I only picked up Kimberly since she was released first and I don't typically display unmasked heads. Let's check out Ninja Pink below!

Saturday, December 10, 2022

Power Rangers in Space - PINK RANGER!

Power Rangers Lightning Collection - In Space Pink Ranger - Hasbro 2021 

Power Rangers: In Space was the sixth season of the American Power Rangers franchise from 1998 based on the 21st Super Sentai series, Denji Sentai Megaranger, from 1997. The series was notable to me for two things. Firstly, having a bizarre TMNT crossover episode (featuring the fifth turtle Venus de Milo!), and secondly, having a lot of very interesting female characters. The traditional Pink and Yellow Rangers were of course present, but more fascinating were the evil antics of Divatox, Rita Repulsa, and Queen Machina, the mysterious brainwashed Astronema and her constantly-changing hair, and of course her Psycho Rangers which have some of my favorite costumes in all of Super Sentai. As far as female action figure go, Power Rangers: In space has the most representation of any season. In fact, this Pink Ranger Cassie Chan marks the sixth In Space lady in my collection (seventh if you include Rita, which I do not). Now we just need Divatox. Let's check out In Space Pink below!

Friday, December 9, 2022

Power Ranger - S.P.D. A-SQUAD PINK & RED!

Power Rangers Lightning Collection - S.P.D. A-Squad Red & Pink - Hasbro 2021

Power Rangers S.P.D. is probably my least favorite of the Power Rangers franchises. It stands for Space Police Delta and is probably the most militant of all the Super Sentai iterations and seems more like a Sci-Fi series than Sentai. But the real reason I didn't like it was because it was missing the interesting design theme like dinosaurs, wild animals, mythological creatures, etc. Instead the S.P.D. Rangers were differentiated simply by color and a number on their torso. However, the toys of these characters always appeal to me. They have a certain tactical detail that stands out among my other Ranger toys. The two figures in this post area identical sculpts with different paint jobs. The A-Squad was a team of Rangers that vanished without a trace and paved the way for the B-Squad to be promoted to active duty and be the focus of the series. But I always like the darker palette's of the A-Squad costumes. The Red figure was a Fan-Channel exclusive and the Pink figure was exclusive to Gamestop.

Thursday, December 8, 2022

Power Rangers - DINO CHARGE PINK!

Power Rangers Lightning Collection - Dino Charge Pink Ranger - Hasbro 2022

Power Rangers Dino Charge (and it's sequel Dino Super Charge) both hold a very special place in my heart. I have always loved dinosaurs, I love Super Sentai, and a I love female characters. The original Mighty Morphin Power Rangers series is obviously the most popular dinosaur-themed iteration of the franchise, but I was at an odd age when it first aired and the lore just wasn't strong enough to get me over the choppy effects and cheesy dialogue. When Dino Thunder came out in 2004, I was much more receptive to the genre, but there was only one female Ranger and I didn't have cable to watch it. Flash forward to 2015 and the premiere of Dino Charge: Streaming made it accessible, the special effects had 25 years of improvement over MMPR, and there were three female Rangers (including the first time Purple and Cyan Rangers (both female)). Shelby Watkins is the Triceratops-themed Pink Ranger and is a wonderful addition to the Lighting Collection. Let's check her out below!

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!

Transformers: Shattered Glass - Flamewar & Fireglide - Hasbro (Pulse) 2022

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 overwhelmingly 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


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


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 are 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!