Friday, April 29, 2022

Marvel Basic Series - THOR!

Thor: Love and Thunder - Basic Series 1 - Jane Foster Thor - Hasbro 2022

It's crazy how two figures in the same assortment can have such wildly different production aesthetic. I reviewed the Basic Series King Valkyrie earlier this week and she was a cool, no-nonsense figure with a good sculpt, and simple, but workable articulation. Yes, she had weapons molded in her hands, and yes the action feature was gimmicky, but she displayed nicely and was a great basic figure overall. Then I opened this Thor figure and was surprised at how different it was. The standard pose is awkward with jutting elbows. The overall sculpt seems bulky. The sculpted hammer dominates the figure and becomes an awkward focal point. And the action feature is chaotic - by squeezing her legs together, her hammer-wielding arm rotates fast at the elbow. It looks painful and doesn't make anatomical sense. With the new plastic-free packaging, I didn't know exactly what I would be getting, and honestly I probably would have skipped this one if I had better insight to the actual product. Let's check out Thor below!

Tuesday, April 26, 2022

Marvel Legends - KING VALKYRIE!

Marvel Legends - Thor: Love and Thunder - King Valkyrie - Hasbro 2022

Since the last time we saw Tessa Thompson on screen as Valkyrie, an interesting thing has happened. She became one of those rare cinematic characters who inspired a new comic character. Sure, there have been other "Valkyrie" characters in the history of Marvel Comics, but the MCU version had zero connection to them (other than name). But in 2021, a new Valkyrie character was introduced in the pages of Mighty Valkyries #1 who was a direct interpretation of Tessa's character. Of all the MCU heroes and villains seen so far, the one character always leaving me wanting more was Valkyrie, and I thought this comic would be the only chance for detailed storylines. But then the toys for Thor: Love and Thunder were revealed and suddenly we learn that she has become King Valkyrie and is the ruler of New Asgard on Earth. I can speculate a lot from two toys and a 26-word blurb on the cardbacks, but I think it's fair to assume we are going ot see a lot of Tessa in this movie. Let's check out King Valkyrie below!

Monday, April 25, 2022

Marvel Legends - THOR!

Marvel Legends - Thor: Love and Thunder (Korg Wave) – Thor - Hasbro 2022

When I first heard that the successor to the wildly popular Thor: Ragnarok was titled Thor: Love and Thunder, I knew it meant Natalie Portman as Jane Foster would be wielding Mjolnir as the new Thor. I was super excited and immediately started explaining how great this storyline could be to all my MCU fanatic friends. When Jane took over the mantle of Thor in the comics I was thrilled. Not only does the costume look great on her, but the fact that Jane is proven worthy says a lot about a character who typically doesn't get a lot of story outside her role as a love interest. Without spoiling too much, I loved how the hammer had additional importance to Jane beyond a simple symbol of power. And Jane as a hero opened up a whole new world of possibilities for a character who had relegated to civilian life for 52 years of comics... and I've loved her journey ever since. I can't wait to see the story played out on the big screen. I hope it stays true to the comics, but only time will tell. Let's check out Thor below!

Saturday, April 23, 2022

Marvel Basic Series - KING VALKYRIE!

Thor: Love and Thunder - Basic Series 1 - King Valkyrie - Hasbro 2022

Basic figures are improving with every movie cycle. Years ago they looked like glorified dollar store toys, but lately they're just slightly simplified versions of Marvel Legends. The big advancement this time is the addition of an action feature. Of course the prices are also increasing. These ten dollar toys are suddenly fifteen (but Legends are now $25, so it's still significantly cheaper). But the sculpting is great, and they fill an interesting role of typically being the first movie product on the shelves. In Thor: Love and Thunder, Tessa Thompson's character is now apparently called King Valkyrie. I guess we won't know the context until July, but her costume is not too drastically different from her two previous looks. I was hoping for something more distinctive, maybe with some head ornamentation. But who knows, maybe we'll get a mid-movie costume upgrade like she had in Ragnarok (and then we won't get another figure of her for two years). Let's check out the basic series King Valkyrie figure below!

Thursday, April 21, 2022

Super Pets - WONDER WOMAN (and PB)!

DC League of Super-Pets - Wonder Woman and PB - Fisher-Price 2022

Fisher-Price 6" action figures have been largely absent since the 1999-2009 era, when this was a standard format in the preschool aisle. My favorites back then were the Planet Heroes and the DC Super Friends Hero World. The Hero World line (a larger pre-Imaginext line) never included any females so this new Wonder Woman feels like a long lost apology figure. The DC League of Super Pets movie will be released at the end of July. According to the trailer, it features Superman's dog Krypto encountering a group of rescue animals who get exposed to a crystal that gives them powers and abilities reminiscent of the Justice League (except for PB who changes size). The pets mostly seem to pay homage to the comic pets (Ace, Ch'p, Merton, etc) albeit with new origins and no initial connection to the heroes.  I noticed that Jessica Cruz Green Lantern is also in the movie. Hopefully gets a figure! Superman and Batman are the only other humans so far. Let's check out Wonder Woman and PB below!

Monday, April 18, 2022

McFarlane Toys - SHE-SPAWN!

Spawn Universe - She-Spawn Deluxe Box Set - McFarlane Toys 2021

I've always strongly resisted buying Spawn toys. I'm naturally drawn to the bright, uncomplicated costumes of my childhood heroes. So spikes, guns, and grimaces were far from appealing to me. But when female characters started to be introduced, they were still tempting because they almost always had a strong Norse vibe that I generally obsessed with (Angela, Tiffany, Domina, Valkerie, etc). The only early character I was definitely not drawn to was She-Spawn. I remember thinking her demon-skull bra was the most ridiculous thing I had ever seen. Over time, her design changed (and became a lot less 90s). In fact, this new figure is actually her sixth release. She still has leather, spikes, absurd guns, and bandoliers of bullets, but suddenly she seems like a blend of the spandexed superhero I wanted and demonic biker chick she always was. Really curious to see if other Spawn females get a similar redesign. (We know Angela is off the table, but there are others). Let's check out She-Spawn below!

Saturday, April 16, 2022

Camp Cretaceous - BROOKLYNN!

Jurassic World Camp Cretaceous - Brooklynn & Monolophosaurus - Mattel 2021

When I first started seeing graphics for Netflix's CGI animated series Jurassic World Camp Cretaceous, my eye was always drawn to the pink-haired girl in the background. It's interesting that among all the various human characters introduced in the Jurassic franchise, no one has ever sported an alternative look. I guess they don't want the pesky humans stealing attention from the dinos. Not that Brooklyn is even alternative, she just has unnatural hair, but I'm here for it. Brooklynn is a peppy, social-media-savvy travel vlogger. Animated characters that fill those modern 'celebrity' roles are often my least favorite. I don't personally relate to a relentless quest for fame so I find most of the antics and self-absorption annoying. But Brooklyn isn't too bad. Plus I know the intended audience of this show is obsessed with YouTuber (now Tiktok) culture and she's very popular. This figure marks the 8th female from the modern JW line.. and there are 5 more on the horizon! I can't wait. Let's check out Brooklynn below.

Thursday, April 14, 2022

Camp Cretaceous - SAMMY!

Jurassic World Camp Cretaceous - Sammy & Velociraptor - Mattel 2021

Who would have thought the Jurassic Park franchise would translate well into a kid's cartoon? I was certainly caught off guard. But when you consider the endless appeal of dinosaurs to young audiences, it doesn't surprise me that the JP/JW license would take the reigns. Plus the dinosaur market for the gap age range between preschool and teenager has been inexplicably underrepresented. Jurassic World Camp Cretaceous features a group of kids on special VIP visit (think Willy Wonka's golden ticket) to Isla Nublar, when the events of the movie take place and chaos ensues. It's a great adventure series with diverse characters and a lot of science. On the surface, Sammy is a camper who is super enthusiastic to be on this adventure. But you'll have to watch to see where her story arc goes. She's one of the most interesting campers. I'm excited that Mattel is making all the main characters in their 1:18 line. It's an unexpected but welcome surprise. Let's check out Sammy below!

Tuesday, April 12, 2022


Halo: 12" Figures Wave 3 - Spartan Palmer (Dual Magnums) - Jazwares 2021

A couple weeks after I made the surprise discovery of Wave 02 of Jazwares 12" Halo line, I was in a Ross store (seeing if I could spot those Marvel Legends vintage figures everyone seemed to be finding) when I stumbled across Wave 03 featuring Commander Sarah Palmer. Again, this assortment was completely unknown to me. It's great timing too because I just started watching the Halo series on Paramount and I'm obsessed. They took what I thought was a confusing overly-militaristic action genre and made it mysterious, insightful, and intriguing. The gender dynamic is amazing, too. I don't know the actors names, but there are at least five female characters I am in love with. And that's not even including the two female Spartans I've noticed so far. I'm excited to follow this season each week, and it's renewed my interest in the toys I already own. My Halo purchases have always been based solely on aesthetics, but now I have an awesome narrative to back it up. Let's check out Spartan Palmer below!

Monday, April 11, 2022

Halo 12" - SPARTAN VALE!

Halo: 12" Action Figures Wave 2 - Spartan Vale with SMG - Jazwares 2020

I randomly walked into a FiveBelow on a snowy day last month and was elated to discover this 12" Spartan Vale figure. My first thought was that this was my long sought-after 2017 Mattel Vale that took me three years to track down (and begging some favors from international friends). But, no, this was a brand new Jazwares version that had gone completely under my radar. In my local Walmarts and Targets, Series 01 was still warming the shelves and despite my obsessive perusal of toy news sites, I had no idea there would be a Series 02. The interesting thing is that about four weeks after my discovery, this wave started hitting Walmarts full force in my area. But nothing beats walking into an unassuming store and finding a toy you love, but didn't know existed. That is a rare gift in this hobby. These 12" toys are a ton of fun. And surprisingly the smaller companies like Spin Master and Jazwares produce much better ones than the big guys like Hasbro. Let's check out Spartan Vale below!

Saturday, April 9, 2022

Fortnite - TNTINA!

Fortnite Victory Royale Series - 6" Series Deluxe - TNTina & Glider - Hasbro 2022

Okay. As much as I've been really enjoying the various Fortnite toys coming out over the past few years, there seems to be a trend that might turn me off the property. Moreso than any other property I can think of, the Fortnite females seem to consistently come in large, expensive deluxe sets. It's not that these sets are a ripoff or that you aren't getting your money's worth, but currently it will set you back roughly 40 bucks to get a 6" female figure from Fortnite. It adds up real fast. In the recent case of Siona and Deo, I didn't mind at all since you were getting two connected characters that look cool together. But to get this TNTina figure, you are essentially forced to buy a $20 glider (that doesn't even fit on any of my shelves). The occasional deluxe figure is great, but lately it's been every one. And as someone who isn't really into vehicles or industrial-looking accessories, I find this trend to be rather off-putting. That said TNTina looks awesome and has a hilariously awesome name. Let's check her out below!

Friday, April 8, 2022

Fortnite - SIONA!

Fortnite Victory Royale Series - 6" Series Deluxe - Dio & Siona - Hasbro 2022

There's something special about astronaut action figures. When I was a kid, there were certain toy archetypes that were always present: The soldier, the farmer, the fireman, the policeman, the ninja, and of course, the astronaut. And of all these, the astronaut is the only one that doesn't imply labor or violence. As a nerdy curious kid who eschewed chores and fighting, there was only one choice for me. Unfortunately there have been very few female astronaut toys over the years. That's why when I saw this Fortnite Deo and Siona 2-pack I just had to have it. These figures combine a lot of the traditional astronaut visual cues: domed helmet, white bulky body suit, and a series of tubes or harnesses wrapping around them. But then they have the Fortnite twist with bright green hair and orange costumes details. The fact that they are both Indian in origin only adds to the appeal. As infrequent as female astronauts are, women of color as astronauts are exponentially more rare. Let's check out Siona below!

Tuesday, April 5, 2022

Fortnite - JULES!

Fortnite Victory Royale Series - 6" Series Deluxe - Jules & Ohm - Hasbro 2021

Fortnite toys continue to impress me. Despite having no connection to the actual games (or concepts even), the pure fun aesthetic of the character design has pulled me in and made me a fan for life. I enjoy thinking about the younger generations today and the toys that will fuel their adult nostalgia someday. Do I think it will be all the modern He-Man, Power Rangers, DC, and Marvel toys piggybacking off the parents' fond memories? No, I can admit that those brands likely won't be as potent as we wish they would be. But then I see the Fortnite section in the toy aisle and it falls into place. Where we had cartoons and comics to further our action figure narrative, today's kids have video games. (And the Fortnite brand seems far more toyetic than Minecraft or Roblox). The characters are fun, diverse, well made, and plentiful. I really enjoyed the 3.75" version of Jules from last year, but this 6" Amazon exclusive figure is even better. She looks tough, beautiful, and intriguing. Let's check out Jules below!

Sunday, April 3, 2022

Endless Winter - WONDER WOMAN!

DC Multiverse - JL Endless Winter - Wonder Woman - McFarlane Toys 2022

It seems like the barrage of Wonder Woman variations from McFarlane Toys won't be slowing down anytime soon. Despite Todd's apparent aversion to female action figures, he sure does seem to pump out a lot of Dianas. So far there have been six unique Wonder Woman figures plus at least three variants in just two years. This most recent figure is from the 2020 crossover storyline Justice League: Endless Winter wherein the Frost King attempts to throw Earth into a.. well.. endless winter. Of all thematic storylines I come across in comics or TV, I'm always especially drawn to the wintry ones. I think whites and blues are visually dynamic and I love bulky clothing and furs. It makes everyone look a little more viking-like and more interesting. I'm glad she has her traditional color scheme in muted tones and a fur cloak. It is quite possibly my favorite non-traditional Wonder Woman outfit so far. Maybe they'll make a mermaid one next! Let's check out Endless Winter Wonder Woman below!

Friday, April 1, 2022


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

I normally get very angry when us toy collectors are forced to re-buy figures in multipacks in order to be completists. But in this case, I was happy to get a second Mighty Morphin Power Rangers Pink Ranger. I know this is technically Kat, the second MMPR Pink after Kimberly, but I don't display unmasked heads, so in essence this is a duplicate figure. But the Kimberly figure was the first Lightning Collection female and I always felt she needed some tweaks. My Kimberly had oddly misshapen upper arms and multiple tones of pink plastic that looked distracting. At some point, these issues were fixed and this Kat version of MMPR Pink looks great. It was a smart idea to include her in a 2-pack with Zeo Pink. Having both versions of Kat together gave collectors a fun opportunity to swap unmasked Kat heads back and forth, giving us a reissued MMPR Pink, and including a Zeo Pink when there are several other single-packed Pink Rangers (Dino Charge, and In Space) currently on the shelves. Let's check out Kat below!