Monday, February 28, 2022

The Land Before Time - RUBY!

The Land Before Time - Earthshakin' Mountain Playset - Playmates 2007

I have very fond memories of The Land Before Time. I was a little old for it when it came out in 1988, but even then I could appreciate a good juvenile adventure story like An American Tail or the Rescuers Down Under. And I thought The Land Before Time was the best of them. It's no surprise to look back and see that Don Bluth, George Lucas, and Stephen Spielberg were all involved. I knew that there had been a lot of sequels and spin-off projects. I worked in a video store all through the late 90s and there was literally a new direct-to-video movie every year. The fourteenth (yes, fourteenth) movie came out in 2016 - which must have set some sort of sequel record, but I can't prove it. Typical of most kid-focused properties, there were just two token females for the majority of the series, Cera and Ducky. Although both iconic and memorable characters, I never felt the need to get toys of them. But recently I discovered this new character, Ruby. I'm always a sucker for pink dinosaurs and dragons.

Sunday, February 27, 2022

MOTU Minis - SORCERESS!

He-Man and the Masters of the Universe (Netflix) - Eternia Minis - Mattel 2022

The Eternia Minis line thrills me. Something about collecting them reminds me of those miniature ThunderCats PVC figures with removable weapons that I loved as a kid. They are so tiny and fun. And I love that they are now branching out into new iterations of the MOTU franchise. The original Mattycollector line had Vintage He-man, She-Ra and 200x designs. The modern store versions also incorporate both vintage and 200x, as well as Masters of the Universe: Revelation and Netflix's He-Man and the Masters of the Universe (hopefully She-Ra gets included soon!) They keep adding random additional characters with no preamble. I just ordered the CGI Evil-Lyn on BBTS yesterday. According to the cardback, Evil-Lyn is a single 4th addition to the CGI lineup. Which to me seems odd - having 3 additional characters then two months later adding a 4th. But it keeps me on my toes and I'm always googling to see what's next. (C'mon Princess of Power!) Let's check out Sorceress below!

Friday, February 25, 2022

Marvel Titan Hero Series - SCARLET WITCH!

Marvel Titan Hero Series - Doctor Strange & Scarlet Witch - Hasbro 2021

This Titan Hero Series figure was the first toy I bought from the Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness product line. I'm excited about all the various rumors connected to this movie. I imagine that exposing a variety of alternate universes is the perfect way to bring together the best characters and stories for future MCU films. My imagination is running wild, but I'll save speculation until May when it hits theatres. The Titan Hero Series is often the first movie product to hit the shelves, but usually only a couple characters from each movie are included, so I get pretty excited when a female character gets one of the slots. I'm thankful that Wanda's Multiverse look appears so similar to her WandaVision costume so we don't have to buy two. This is also the first time I noticed that Hasbro now uses the Photo Real face printing process on 12" figures. You can tell because all of Elizabeth Olsen's beauty marks are represented on this toy *a level of detail not usually seen in this line). Let's check her out below!

Thursday, February 24, 2022

Marvel Select - SCARLET WITCH!

Marvel Select - WandaVision's The Scarlet Witch - Diamond Select Toys 2021

Marvel Select makes me really happy. In my collecting, I love focusing on a specific character in a specific costume and then collecting every piece of merchandise I can find. Everything from mini-busts to Heroclix (I'm selective with statues due to space reasons). In these mini-collections, Marvel Select fills an interesting role by providing a unique scale. Most DST figures are noticeably larger than Marvel Legends at around 7" tall and give me the height variety I want in my collection. The production level is much slower than other companies - There were only 8 females in the Select line in the past five years. Meanwhile Hasbro has had more than that since November. But every DST character released is definitely one I need for my collection (so far at least). I also love that I get to run to my comic shops on release dates to pick these up. I miss the days of DC Direct and Collectibles releasing to specialty shops. This Wanda is the first Select lady in more than two years, but she's a good one. Let's check her out below!

Wednesday, February 23, 2022

Marvel Legends - CALLISTO!

Marvel Legends - Wolverine 5-Pack (Amazon Exc) - Callisto - Hasbro 2021

I'll be the first to admit that Callisto was easily my least favorite character from the X-books in my youth. My favorite characters always had bright outlandish costumes, powers that fueled my imagination, and quirky banter that made me want to befriend them. Callisto was the polar opposite of all this. As leader of the sewer-dwelling Morlock community, she was pretty grim and serious. Her clothes consisted mostly of black leather punk duds, but boring. And her powers still confuse me. As far as I can tell she's just good at knife fights, stamina, seeing in the dark, things like that... not things that are easy to visually represent in comic panels or stand out among the ridiculously cool mutant powers held by other characters. Her dynamic enemy/frenemy relationship with Storm is the only thing that kept me interested. I recently re-read the original New Mutants series and her appearances didn't have the same negative reaction for me as they did in my youth. I guess I'm maturing or something.

Tuesday, February 22, 2022

DC Multiverse - BATGIRL!

DC Multiverse - Batman: Three Jokers - Batgirl - McFarlane Toys 2021

It's been a long time since I've read a new Batman story. Soon after the New52 shift back in 2011, I lost lost my desire to keep current. But an interesting thing that has happened since McFarlane Toys got the DC license, is that new figures of characters inspire me to research and read synopses - and want to dive back in to the books. This recent Batgirl figure is from a 2020 3-part prestige format story called Batman: Three Jokers in which Batman discovers that the Joker may have been three separate people all along (known as the Criminal, the Clown, and the Comedian). Red Hood and Batgirl play major supporting characters and the whole group got action figures. Despite me never heaving read the stories (yet), this version of Barbara is in a very classic-looking costume similar to her Justice look from the 90s that I love. I'm really excited that McFarlane is giving a character aside from Wonder Woman the multiple figure treatment. I already have the next Barbara in hand! Let's check out Batgirl below!

Monday, February 21, 2022

Power Rangers - DINO FURY GREEN!

Power Rangers Dino Fury - Rip 'n Go Sabertooth Battle Rider - Hasbro 2021

It seems that lately the inclusion of female characters in the Power Rangers toy lines has greatly improved. The Lightning Collection in particular doesn't shy away from producing lots of female figures, often with a few variations included. But one area that is always lacking is the non-collector figures and vehicle packs. These assortments almost always exclude any female rangers. How many times have we seen zords, motorcycles, armor packs, and role playing items made only for Red, Blue, and Black Rangers? I can't even count. This small Dino Fury Green Ranger figure is the first female ranger toy outside of the main figure assortments in recent memory I can think of. It's especially nice because she's unique in the fact that she's a Green Ranger (a role usually filled by a male character), and she's also one of the few LGBTQ+ characters in the whole Power Rangers franchise. I also just read that she's getting a 12" figure later this year. Times are a' changin!  Let's check out Dino Fury Green below!

Sunday, February 20, 2022

Marvel Legends - AMERICA CHAVEZ!

Marvel Legends - Doctor Strange (Rintrah BaF) - America Chavez - Hasbro 2022

Marvel has a great trend in recent years of reinventing old underused Golden Age characters for a young modern audience. I first took notice when a new Sun Girl was introduced in the 2014 New Warriors comic. It was a fun fresh take on a nearly forgotten character. But a few years earlier a new Miss America got the same treatment with the introduction of America Chavez as a young Miss America. I'll admit I don't know too much about this character. I read a bit of the 2013 Young Avengers book when she joined the team, and I picked up a couple of her first solo issues, but I'm currently catching up before the Multiverse of Madness movie. From what I gather, America Chavez has a very Superman-esque origin story. She's from another world (dimension?) and is sent to Earth as a child where she is discovered by a young Brooklyn family who raise her as their own. She has super strength, speed, and durability, and also can generate these glowing star-shaped portals which allow her to travel between realities.

Saturday, February 19, 2022

Masters of the Universe Origins - SORCERESS!

Masters of the Universe: Origins - Wave 7 - Sorceress - Mattel 2021

Very few toys have such a visceral nostalgic quality for me as the vintage Sorceress figure. I remember a single shelfwarmer Sorceress hanging on a peg in the paltry toy section of a feed store my family frequented in the 80s. The smell of that place was palpable; manure, dog food, hay, aquariums with not-so-fresh water. My siblings would often opt to sit in the hot car. But I would go in every time to stare at this Sorceress figure hanging there amongst random yo-yos and Rubix cubes. My parents were so frugal I don't think I ever even asked to get it, I was content to stare. The Sorceress was my favorite character from Masters of the Universe. Her gentle maternal nature, her mysterious powers, her creepy castle home, and her ability to transform into the falcon Zoar combined to form the most perfect character for my young imagination. I finally purchased her in the late 90s from eBay - being very picky to get one with the torso feather paint. And ever since, she has been a very important part of my collection.

Friday, February 18, 2022

The Batman - CATWOMAN!

DC Multiverse - The Batman - Catwoman (Selina Kyle) - McFarlane Toys 2021

My favorite Batman stories always feature Catwoman. The added attraction between Bruce and Selina just adds an extra level of conflict that seems missing with other villains. Back in 2012, I was initially very reluctant to get behind Anne Hathaway as Catwoman in Dark Knight Rises. I had only seen her in simplistic acting roles and I thought the costume looked too utilitarian. But when I finally saw her portrayal I changed my tune completely. Likewise, when I first heard that ZoĆ« Kravitz has been cast as Selina in The Batman, I was skeptical. Her previous roles in X-Men, Divergent, and Fantastic Beasts were great, but I didn't see the certain spark I expect for Selina. Then recently I watched Big little Lies and realized she can definitely handle being the next Catwoman. I don't know exactly what to expect from this movie, but I'm excited nonetheless. And I've lightened my judgement on utilitarian costumes. As long as there is a semblance of cat ears, I am happy. Let's check out Catwoman below!

Thursday, February 17, 2022

Power Rangers - ZEO PINK!

Power Rangers Lightning Collection - Pink Ranger 2-Pack - Hasbro 2021

I never really watched much Power Rangers. When Mighty Morphin Power Rangers debuted in the US, I was in high school and my only real exposure was my best friend's little brother who was obsessed (and was also insistent I looked just like Tommy the Green Ranger - I did not). But I was aware of the property and I loved seeing the flip-action morphin' toys at Walmart (a gimmick I hadn't seen since TigerSharks). Then about five years ago I started watching Dino Charge and really enjoyed it. But everything in between is a blur of pink and yellow that I have trouble keeping straight. My only exposure to all these chapters of Power Rangers is the toys. The Zeo toys always stood out to me because of their intricate gold adornments. There is something ancient and historic about the design that you don't see in other Ranger lineups. Plus the masks with their bold visor shapes and non-silver lip sculpt remind me of the first Sentai series Himitsu Sentai Gorenger from 1975. Let's check out Zeo Pink below!

Wednesday, February 16, 2022

Power Rangers - ZEO YELLOW!

Power Rangers Lightning Collection - Zeo Yellow Ranger - Hasbro 2021

I'm always trying to decipher the themes of the different Power Rangers iterations. This can prove to be a challenging task since there are often subjects that are culturally specific to Japan and sometimes there are even multiple interwoven themes. When I researched the Zeo Rangers for the Bandai figures back in 2018, I learned that each Ranger has a number, and the helmet symbols represent that number (based on an ancient Pangaean culture and symbology). Tanya is Ranger 2, so her visor symbol is two horizontal lines. But now four years later I discovered a secondary theme. Each visor shape also represents the Ranger's secret weapon. In this case, Zeo Yellow has a pair on "power clubs" or nunchucks, and sure enough she has an abstract picture of them on her face. Zeo Pink has a big circle on her visor and her weapon is a shield. Zeo Blue has triangle blades. Zeo Red has a star-shaped sword. And Zeo Green has square guns. I feel so smart for figuring it out. Let's check out Tanya bleow!

Tuesday, February 15, 2022

MOTU Revelation - ANDRA!

Masterverse Series 3 - Masters of the Universe Revelation - Andra - Mattel 2021

Masters of the Universe Revelation was a fantastic shot of energy into the MOTU franchise. I wasn't the biggest fan of the 200x cartoon or Jetlag, so outside of comics (which have been really good since 2002), I was relying on the vintage animation for my He-Man lore. But Revelation provided long-awaited character development that I wasn't expecting (but really happy about). One of my favorite "new" characters, is Andra. In the 1986 MOTU series from Marvel's Star Comics imprint, Andra was a blonde caucasian lieutenant and friend of Teela. She appears in one main story, and had two small cameos after. I just read the issues and she maybe appears in a dozen panels and mostly acts as a well-meaning impediment to the heroes. In short, she was a prime candidate for a modern makeover. She was a pretty major character in the show, although not to the level that the rumormill predicted. (And the early announcement of this toy only fueled speculation). Let's check out this wonderful toy below!

Monday, February 14, 2022

He-Man Animated Series - SORCERESS!

He-Man and the Masters of the Universe -  Sorceress (Power Attack) - Mattel 2022

The Season 2 trailer for Netflix's He-Man and the Masters of the Universe CGI show was just released so the timing is perfect to finally review this Sorceress figure from Season one. I'm going to give a few spoilers here, so if you haven't finished the season from last Summer, then skip ahead to the pics and don't read anything. This He-Man show is unique because all the characters get powered up from the power of Grayskull. The battlecry is even "We have the power!" I love this adaptation. Every character gets a chance to shine. One of my favorite characters is Adam's friend Teela, who when powered up becomes Sorceress. This toy is aimed at kids and has limited articulation, but I'm obsessed with her. The only way I would like her more is if there was a small hairpiece that could be popped on to better represent her Teela form. It would be like a little topknot that looks like a palm tree. This line is a lot of fun. I can't wait to get Ram-Ma'am and Mosquitara. Let's check out Sorceress below!

Tuesday, February 1, 2022

Transformers - ROAD RAGE!

Transformers: Kingdom - Road Rage (Target Red Card Exc) - Hasbro 2021

Road Rage is a character with a pretty fantastic backstory. The male Transformer Tracks was introduced in 1985 as a blue redeco of a red Chevrolet Stingray Diaclone toy from Japan. The art on the Transformers packaging in 1985 was made using early Diaclone models, so a mysterious illustration of a red Tracks was a point of curiosity for early collectors. Also, a European release of Tracks was simply a repackaged Diaclone toy, so a red Tracks figure in Transformers packaging exists as a foreign color swap oddity (Like Glenda or Canary Ann in G.I.Joe). But then in 2002, eHobby released an exclusive redeco of Tracks in the original Diaclone colors as a new female character, Road Rage. This makes her one of the rare G1 characters that was created in "modern" times and retroactively made part of the G1 universe.  It reminds me of random background characters from MOTU artwork that have been given life and backstory in the Classics line (Like Sherrilyn, Battleground Teela, and hopefully Sultra in Origins).