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).