Friday, June 30, 2023

Marvel Legends - PSYLOCKE!

Uncanny X-Men #275 3-Pack (Banshee, Gambit, Psylocke) - Hasbro 2023

With all the amazing classic Marvel Legends coming out in 2023 (Outback Rogue, Mojoverse Dazzler, Mockingbird, Monica Rambeau Captain Marvel, updated Tigra, Moonstone, Vertigo, etc), I have been reassessing my wish list. And one character I keep coming back to is Psylocke, specifically in her various 1980's costumes. She was a blur of multi-tonal purples and pinks and I loved it. I would love to see both the lavender-haired, puffy-sleeved outfit, as well as the hooded and masked version. But when all these variations were released in Mini-Mates form over the years, it made me desire a complete representation of Psylocke's many looks. And to me, a key example is those few months around 1991's Uncanny X-Men #275 when she donned this modern homage to the original X-Men uniform. The X-Men characters seem to thrive on individuality, both in personality and appearance, but it was cool for a brief moment to see them unified in matching costumes. Let's check out X-Men #275 Psylocke below!

Wednesday, June 28, 2023

Marvel Legends - STORM!

Uncanny X-Men #275 3-Pack (Storm, Forge, and Jubilee) - Hasbro 2023

When I first started reading superhero comics in the 80s, I was always consistently and predictably drawn to team books with matching costumes. The New Mutants were the most accessible example and grabbed the majority of my attention, but I also loved Sun Devils, Atari Force, and Challengers of the Unknown. And honestly I'm still a sucker for that aesthetic. I always equate the X-Men with this matching uniform design, but in actuality, they almost never sport a unified look. They wore their original matching costumes for four years from 1963-1967, and then they wore unique individualized costumes for 24 years until Uncanny X-Men #275 in 1991. In this issue, the X-Men were in a transition period. The X-Tinction Agenda storyline had just ended and the launching of X-Force #1, the new X-Factor roster (Polaris!), and the splitting of the X-Men into blue and gold teams in two different titles was just a few months away. All the memorable iconic 90's mutant moments all happened within a few short months in 1991.

Monday, June 26, 2023


Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles - Chakahachi & Lotus Blossom - NECA 2023

In Season 3, Episode 28 of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles in 1989, Krang once again prompts some villainous in-fighting by introducing the kunoichi Lotus Blossom to challenge and overthrow Shredder for leadership of the Foot Clan. She is successful, but in a very typical plot point for female characters in this show, her romantic interest in one of the turtles prompts her conversion to the good side. In this case, Leonardo is the lucky ninja who shows her the light. Lotus appeared in only two episodes of the original series roughly a year apart, but in both episodes she was a focal character and even had her name featured in the episodes titles (Beware the Lotus and Farewell, Lotus Blossom). Despite being a repeat character, I think this action figure caught everyone by surprise. NECA has been showing no restraint with the deep-dive characters in their cartoon TMNT line, and I am here for it. I can't even imagine who the next female figure will be, but I'm excited for the reveal. Let's check out Lotus below!

Saturday, June 24, 2023

Infinite Crisis - DONNA TROY!

DC Comics Infinite Crisis - Series 2: (Return of) Donna Troy - DC Direct 2007

I don't think there is a single DC character with an origin story more convoluted and confusing than Donna Troy. Originally, Wonder Girl was simply a younger version of Wonder Woman in flashback tales. But then she began appearing alongside Diana like a sidekick. And eventually in Teen Titans she was first given the name Donna Troy and given her own unique identity... which would be continually revamped and rewritten (I believe she is currently a golem made my the Amazons as a failsafe in case Wonder Woman goes rogue). Along her eventful comics journey, she has also worn a variety of costumes. My personal favorite is her red jumpsuit with yellow stars. But another look that I've found myself increasingly drawn to is this 2005 redesign which seems to incorporate the style of her classic red look with the black starfield design that became a feature of her costumes in the late 80s when she went by the name Troia. When this figure originally came out, I wasn't fond of the "new" look, but I've since become a fan.

Friday, June 23, 2023

SilverHawks Ultimates - STEELHEART!

SilverHawks Ultimates - Wave 1 -  Steelheart & Rayzor - Super7 2023

A little over ten years ago I made a post about the 1986 Steelheart figure from Kenner. I was just revisiting that page and reminiscing about how badly I wanted SilverHawks figures in MOTUC style back then. I would explicitly pine for them in the comments section regularly. I always imagined a shelf of perfectly-represented 80's Ladies: She-Ra, Cheetara, Jem, Steelheart, Octavia, Baroness, etc... all in a similar scale and animated design. And for the first time I think this is not a ridiculous concept. The SilverHawks Ultimates line is the first of these resurrected properties that hasn't had any form of reboot or modern renaissance. Yet they seem to be selling well. This gives me hope for TigerSharks and other dead (but nostalgic) properties. At the same time, this line makes be nervous because there hasn't been any news of new figures in 14 months. And at the very least we need Copper Kidd to complete the main team. Plus Flashback, Melodia, and Moon Stryker would be awesome. Here's hoping for SDCC reveals!

Tuesday, June 20, 2023

ThunderCats Ultimates - MANDORA!

ThunderCats Ultimates Series 5.5 -  Mandora the Evil Chaser - Super7 2023

If you would have asked me last year if I had seen every episode of ThunderCats in the 80s (and remembered them) I would have agreed without a doubt. My memory of the show is pretty vivid and I can reference lots of very obscure characters. But surprisingly when this Mandora figure was unveiled last year, I was at a complete loss. I have zero recollection of this character whatsoever. And she's not even obscure. She appeared in eight episodes in the eighties and was even included in ThunderCats Roar. I ordered this figure out of support for Super7, but there was zero nostalgic pull for me. Then today I watched four of her episodes and feel like I now have a pretty good grasp of who she is. Mandora is essentially a bounty hunter/space cop. When she first encounters Lion-O, he had accidentally released her prisoners. She was no-nonsense and militaristic as they teamed up to re-capture the fugitives. But in later episodes she began to show compassion and friendship. I understand the appeal.

Sunday, June 18, 2023

The Flash - SUPERGIRL!

DC Multiverse: The Flash Movie - Supergirl (Kara Zor-El) - McFarlane Toys 2023

I saw The Flash tonight and was really impressed. I had pretty low expectations going in but was pleasantly surprised. (I won't give any spoilers that weren't in the trailers). It's pretty apparent from even the first trailer that Barry uses the Speed Force to travel faster than the speed of light and enter a sort-of Multi-verse scenario. In one alternate reality (original to the film), there is a reimagined version of Kara Zor-El Supergirl played by Sasha Calle. Her short dark hair is reminiscent of Cir-El from the comics, but her costume is a fairly traditional Superman design that I really like. She played a pretty significant role in the movie and had a lot of great screen time (and thankfully she got the action figure treatment right away). This figure is amazing. The face sculpt is great, the costume looks awesome, and I love the dynamic curve of the cape that looks cool whether in an action pose or standing stoic. And I like the figure even more after seeing the movie. Let's check out Supergirl below!

Friday, June 16, 2023

Marvel Superhero Squad - HEPZIBAH!

Marvel Superhero Squad - X-Force 4-Pack (Unreleased) - Hepzibah - Hasbro 2009

The recent releases of Corsair, Ch'od, and Ch'reee in the Marvel Legends line have me very excited for future Starjammers figures. There is something about late 70's and early 80's creations of Dave Cockrum that thrill me. He is most well known for his work on the X-Men, having created Storm, Nightcrawler, and Colossus. (I'm personally also a big fan of his creator-owned property, The Futurians). But one of his big creations that doesn't often get a chance to shine is The Starjammers, a colorful group of space pirates introduced in X-Men #104 in 1977. And although I love this whole team, the character Hepzibah was always my favorite. Her abilities were a little generic: Superhuman strength, agility, blah blah blah. But her skunk appearance was so unique and cool to me that I was an instant fan. She is from the Mephitisoid race (skunks are from the family Mephitidae). Unfortunately in more modern comics, she has lost the skunk-stripes and instead looks like a white cat, but either way she is awesome.

Thursday, June 15, 2023

Marvel Legends - JESSICA DREW!

Spider-Man Legends: Across the Spider-Verse - Jessica Drew - Hasbro 2023

I saw a Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse on its final day of IMAX last Wednesday. This movie season has been tight with a new blockbuster every week keeping the IMAX schedule short. Anyway, a friend offered me a last minute ticket and I jumped at the chance. I liked everything about it, but one of my favorite things was the reimagining of Jessica Drew. I'm a bit of a purist when it comes to my female super-heroes, so I'm surprised I liked her so much. Not much is different from the 2015-2016 comic Jessica Drew aside from her race and personality. That version of Jessica was pregnant, wore a utilitarian suit with yellow googles, and rode a motorcycle. So the distinguishing characteristic in the movie version was mainly her race. I may be the only person with this idea, but my first thought was that she was a subtle nod to Valerie from the Electric Company Super Spidey Stories. Of course my second thought was that I would never think that if there was more diversity in the Spider world.

Monday, June 12, 2023

Batman '66 Comics - BATGIRL!

DC Comics Batman '66 (Comic Series) - Batgirl - McFarlane Toys 2023

This figure is giving me all the feels. When I was a kid in the 80s watching non-stop syndicated episodes of Batman on the Family Channel, there was nothing quite as exciting as seeing that 3rd Season re-edited opening sequence with Batgirl inserted into the animation. That was the indicator that she would appear in that episode and it was a highlight of my TV watching in those days. I love almost all iterations of Barbara Gordon, but there's something special about those bright complimentary colors and campy episodes that always makes this version stand out from the rest. As toy collectors, we've all heard the stories about Yvonne Craig's estate being very strict with the use of her likeness, so merchandise of Batgirl '66 is pretty scarce. But thankfully there was a Batman '66 comic in 2013 that technically used generic likenesses and therefore provides a licensing loophole. (You'll note that packaging has the comic logo in place of the TV logo that the other characters have). Let's check out Batgirl below!

Saturday, June 10, 2023

Star Wars: Andor - MON MOTHMA!

Star Wars Black Series: Star Wars Andor - Senator Mon Mothma - Hasbro 2023

If you would have told a young nerdy me that someday I would be overwhelmed with new Star Wars content, I never would have believed you. But ever since The Mandalorian debuted in 2019, it's been a whole new world. Sure, we saw five films in the five years leading up to The Mandalorian, but the sheer hours of screentime and depth of character development on Disney+ was a new ballgame. I was onboard for the majority of these shows, but after a few years of seemingly constant releases, I can admit I was fatigued with interest waning. Then in late 2022 an old friend was visiting me and in every spare moment he would be obsessively watching Andor on his tablet. He sang its praises to such a degree that I had to watch. And I completely agree that it is an amazing show. There are several storylines threaded throughout the show, but the most intriguing to me is the backstory of Senator Mon Mothma, who has personally fascinated me since her first appearance in Return of the Jedi back in 1983.

Friday, June 9, 2023

Thunderbirds - KAYO KYRANO!

Thunderbirds Are Go - 3.75" Series 01 - Kayo Kyrano - Vivid Toy Group 2016

After the success of the rebooted Captain Scarlet franchise, 2006's The New Captain Scarlet, work began on a reimagining of another great Gerry Anderson property, Thunderbirds. And nine years later, the CGI-animated series Thunderbirds Are Go premiered and ran for three seasons. The original Thunderbirds series debuted in 1965 and was very popular. It inspired films, an anime series, comics, and radio. The 2015 reboot, Thunderbirds Are Go, continued the unfortunate trend of swapping the puppets for CGI models, but at least this series retained a very puppet-like quality to the character design. Kyro Kyrano is a reimagining of Tintin Kyrano, a character from the 1965 series (played by Vanessa Hudgens in the 2004 live-action film). The new version plays a much more prominent role as a co-pilot and head of security - as opposed to a simple love interest character. I bought this toy in Toys R Us sever years ago but never got around to reviewing her until now. Let's check out Kayo below!

Tuesday, June 6, 2023

New Captain Scarlet - DESTINY ANGEL!

Gerry Anderson's New Captain Scarlet - Destiny Angel - Bandai 2006

Captain Scarlet and the Mysterons was a 1960's science fiction television show by Gerry and Sylvia Anderson. The show featured their signature electronic marionette puppets and scale vehicle models. It was actually their 8th show in this "Supermarionation" style, but it stands out as one of fan favorites (along with Terrahawks, Thunderbirds, and Stingray). And like any successful product of yesteryear, Captain Scarlet got the reboot treatment in the early oughts. In 2005, New Captain Scarlet premiered on ITV in the UK and lasted for two seasons and 26 episodes. The big departure from the Gerry Anderson universe is that this series ditched the puppets for CGI animation. It wasn't a bad show, but a huge part of the property's appeal (for me at least) was those unique puppets. There's a new Destiny Angel figure coming from Big Chief Studios later this year and it inspired me to finally review this older toy. She's very well made and very playable. I only wish she was 1:18 scale like all the other Anderson figures.

Sunday, June 4, 2023

Marvel Legends - ROGUE!

Marvel Legends - Uncanny X-Men - Australian Outback Rogue - Hasbro 2023

I first took notice of Rogue in the pages of Uncanny X-men in the late 1980s. She was a really great character with an impressive power. But it wasn't until I read Uncanny X-Men #269 (which featured Rogue battling an "echo" of Carol Danvers) that I realized how nuanced of a character she actually was.. a former villain with a stolen power set and a secondary consciousness haunting her brain. I quickly picked up Rogue's first few appearances in the pages of Avengers and Rom and I was super appreciative that her current costume (the costume this Marvel Legends figure is wearing that was popular circa 1988-1991) was so reminiscent of her original villainous look. Characters seemed to be changing costumes drastically every couple years in those days, and Rogue was no exception. But to me this design will always be her true classic look. Ever since we got the first modern Rogue figure in the Marvel Legends line (back in 2016), I have been wishing for this version. She's amazing. Let's check out Rogue below!

Saturday, June 3, 2023

Marvel Legends - DAZZLER!

Marvel Legends - Mojo World Deluxe Box Set -  Dazzler - Hasbro 2022

I don't think I ever realized how many distinct looks that Alison Blair aka Dazzler has had. But surprisingly this newest Marvel Legends figure of her provides a third version that I just had to have. I love Dazzler for two main reasons. Firstly, she is one of the first Marvel Heroines to star in a self-titled comic. It may seem commonplace in modern times, but Dazzler #1, 1981, was only the (I believe) 5th female led Marvel comic. Secondly, she played a big role in the Mojoverse and Mojo Mayhem storyline featuring a wacky media-obsessed world partly created by my OG favorite artist, Arthur Adams. For those reasons, she will always have superstar status in my mind. It was quite a surprise to get a third version of this character so soon, but I am so glad someone had the idea because she looks great (if you can get over the sticker shock of the set. I got mine on sale). The photography process for me proved very frustrating however, for some reason my camera represents her with a gray-green outfit and pinkish skin.