Sunday, July 30, 2023

Marvel Legends - MONICA RAMBEAU!

Marvel Legends - Totally Awesome Hulk - Photon (The Marvels) - Hasbro 2023

The thing about The Marvels that excites me most is the further development of Monica Rambeau in the MCU. Ever since we met her mother Maria (and a young Monica) in Captain Marvel (2019), I was hoping for her full inclusion into the MCU. And by 2021, I got my wish as she appeared in WandaVision on Disney+. Initially she was unpowered and I thought she might remain a military character through S.H.I.E.L.D., but by the end of the series she had gained powers and I knew she was on her way. The upcoming film The Marvels stars Carol Danvers as Captain Marvel, Kamala Khan as Ms. Marvel, and Monica Rambeau... apparently as Photon. When Monica was introduced in 1982, she was Captain Marvel. The first female Captain Marvel actually, as Carol had only gone by Ms. Marvel and Binary by that point and Mar-vell had only died 6 months earlier, who was the only Captain Marvel before Monica. Since then, Monica has used several code names including Puslar, Spectrum, and Photon. 

Saturday, July 29, 2023

Marvel Legends - CAPTAIN MARVEL!

Marvel Legends - Secret Wars 2-Pack - Capt Marvel vs Dr Doom - Hasbro 2023

When Marvel Legends released their Firestar figure back in 2021, I had to reassess my top most wanted figure. Angelica had been my top choice for so long that I was truly lost. But I soon settled on a classic Monica Rambeau as Captain Marvel. I've always loved this costume. Even though the disco era in popular culture was past its prime by the early 80s, a lot of comic characters introduced around this time still had a certain disco vibe. And Monica's billowing sleeves, swashbuckler boots, and perfect afro hairstyle definitely fit the bill. As a young comic reader I never read a single issue with her in it. However, she was on a ton of covers and promotional material related to the Marvel 25th Anniversary and Secret Wars, so her image is infused in my youth. I didn't get to know the character until much later in NextWave and Marvel Divas. But the 2019 Captain Marvel: Monica Rambeau TPB that reprinted her early appearances reinvigorated my love of her original suit. This figure is perfect. Let's check her out below!

Friday, July 28, 2023

Gargoyles - ANGELA!

Disney's Gargoyles - Ultimate Action Figures - Angela - NECA Toys 2023

When the Demona figure was released last year in Neca's Gargoyles line, I honestly expected her to be the only female character. I know there are lot of females in the show, but Demona is the token female for the first half of the series alongside a lot of prominent males. So I expected a second female figure to be a distant dream. Angela is easily the second most popular female Gargoyle. She was introduced halfway through Season Two as the daughter of Goliath and Demona, having been raised by humans from stolen eggs in the magical realm of Avalon (where time runs differently, hence her appearing almost the same age as her mother). She's a great character that provides an interesting "outsider" perspective when she joins the Manhattan Clan. The new comics from Dynamite feature Angela on the covers a lot - enough for me to comfortably say that she is the new token female of the series. That said, there are a lot of cool characters who could also use this buck. I'm optimistic! Let's check out Angela below!

Wednesday, July 26, 2023

Dungeons & Dragons - SHEILA!

Dungeons & Dragons Cartoon Classics - Sheila the Thief - Hasbro 2023

Sometimes I just have to marvel about how satisfying it is to be a toy collector right now. Especially if, like me, you are a child of the 80s with an addiction for nostalgia. Beyond the typical He-Man, She-Ra, and ThunderCats that we've been seeing for years, we currently are getting new product from Sectaurs, Silverhawks, Strawberry Shortcake, Bravestarr, M.A.S.K., and Crystar. Plus announcements for upcoming TigerSharks and Rainbow Brite product. Almost every nostalgic property seems to be getting merchandized, and I couldn't be happier. My current obsession is the Dungeons & Dragons Cartoon Classics line. These toys are a bit different because they've never been made before. And the animated source material is overshadowed by the actual D&D game. The cartoon is often scoffed at by hardcore D&D fans as a silly kiddy version of their the real D&D. A lame PR stunt to counter a growing hysteria about the game. But this was my first exposure to the word of D&D, and I adored it.

Sunday, July 23, 2023

World of Nintendo - SAMUS!

Metroid Prime 2: Echoes - Samus w/ Morph Ball - Jakks Pacific Toys 2023

Samus Aran is a very interesting character. She was introduced in 1986's Metroid on the Nintendo Entertainment System as the sole playable character, a kickass bounty hunter defeating Space Pirates, Mother Brain, X Parasites, and (duh) Metroids throughout the course of the game. Her gender is deliberately concealed until the end of the game when she loses the Power Suit and is shown in a skimpy bikini. I understand this was a different time and they were trying to make it undeniably clear that character previously presented as a man was without a doubt female, but the message of a powerful courageous woman is somewhat undermined by the pin-up style presentation presented at the end of each game. In what other game is the closing "congratulations" screen an image of the hero in their underwear? But with the exception of those brief cheesecake shots, she is indeed presented well, and a decade before other female protagonists would be leading the main gameplay. 

Saturday, July 22, 2023

Sonic - AMY ROSE!

Sonic the Hedgehog - 2.5" Series Wave 12 -  Amy Rose - Jakks Pacific 2023

It's amazing how my previously tiny Sonic the Hedgehog collection has blown up in recent years. And while we keep getting great new characters like Rouge the Bat, Cream the Rabbit, and the upcoming Blaze the Cat, the brands always seem to circle back to the pinnacle female character, Amy Rose. For the first time though, this particular 2.5" modern Amy Rose was notoriously difficult to find. She was released back in January or February but she was basically non-existent in stores near me for six months. And when I found her in Target a couple weeks ago it was a fluke and I haven't seen her since. I really appreciate the dual 4" and 2.5" Sonic scales in the Jakks line (which has been a major factor in my burgeoning Sonic shelf). It seems like there is always a new Sonic figure to be hunting down these days where previously we would have to wait years between any female releases. The 4" Blaze should supposedly be showing up soon (likely followed by a 2.5" version). Can't wait! Let's check out Amy Rose below!

Friday, July 21, 2023

Movie Maniacs - WICKED WITCH of the WEST!

Movie Maniacs - Wizard of Oz -  Wicked Witch of the West - McFarlane 2023

I really thought I was going to save this post for Halloween but I'm feeling antsy. The first time McFarlane Toys really captured my attention was with their Movie Maniacs line in the 90s. The company went from an overabundance of Spawn to a line of detailed cinematic figures (almost always with a gritty aesthetic). And these toys also expanded the prescience of toys at retail. Suddenly stores like Sam Goody, Tower Records, Suncoast Video, and FYE had significant toy sections. They had been carrying good-girl figures for a few years, but McFarlane seemed to prompt a significant expansion. I always lean toward the more playful properties in pop culture so my favorite figure was easily Edward Scissorhands. When McFarlane recently announced they were re-launching the Movie Maniacs I didn't know what to expect. But in their first batch of releases was this amazing Wicked Witch of the West from The Wonderful Wizard of Oz.. This is an unarticulated PVC statue, but she is visually stunning and long overdue.

Tuesday, July 18, 2023

Spidey and His Amazing Friends - ELECTRO!

Disney Jr - Spidey and His Amazing Friends - Electro - Hasbro 2022

With SDCC 2023 starting to roll out toy news in just a few hours, I thought I would do a quick review of a fun little figure I learned about at last year's show, the Spidey and His Amazing Friends Electro from Disney Jr and Hasbro. I still haven't really watched this show, but they toys seem really fun and they've had a pretty prominent place in the toy aisles of Target and Wal-Mart for nearly two years now. This is the type of toy line that I expect to last for a while and continually release slightly tweaked versions of the main characters. But whenever there is a recipe like that, there is usually the occasional new villain or supporting character added to the mix. In last year's case, that was Francine Frye as Electro. I always thought the female versions of the Sinister Six characters were very cool, but never got their chance to shine, so I'm glad Francine is being introduced to the younger generations early. I hope we get a peek at some new characters soon (Black Cat and Wasp please!). Let's check out Electro below!

Monday, July 17, 2023


Imaginext - DC Super Friends - Batman & Supergirl (Flash) - Fisher-Price 2023

Imaginext never fails to surprise me with the fun character selection under their DC Super Friends banner. This toy line actually inspired me to create this whole website when I learned about the Catwoman Imaginext via a similar blog (Toyriffic) back in 2012 and I realized none of the "big" websites had mentioned her. I was able to run out and buy her the same day I learned she existed yet she was somehow off the radar of all my many toy news feeds. Since then I've become a member of several Imaginext communities and I never miss a release, but somehow this brand still surprises me eleven years after their first DC female. A couple weeks ago I posted about the new Stephanie Brown Batgirl and soon after I learned that the Sasha Calle DCU Supergirl from The Flash movie was in a new 2-pack easily found at Kohl's. I thought this movie and this reimagined Supergirl were both great. But I'm still surprised Fisher-Price green-lit her for a figure, especially with such a new sculpt. Let's check her out below!

Saturday, July 15, 2023

ThunderCats Ultimates - CHEETARA!

ThunderCats Ultimates - Series 6 - Cheetara (Toy Colors) - Super7 2023

Super7 is quickly becoming my favorite toy company. While no figure from any company is ever 100% perfect, the character selection and commitment to vintage aesthetic by Super7 thrills me more than anything else on the market today. The recent arrival of the first few Silverhawks figures followed by the announcement of TigerSharks in the future just makes me giddy. Then the surprise release of a vintage toy color variant line for their amazing ThunderCats Ultimates figures simply makes my head explode. The first Cheetara released in the Ultimates line from 2022 featured her cartoon design. I thought this figure was near perfection and it didn't even cross my mind to desire a toy design variant. (Interestingly, I never even noticed how stark the deisgn contrast was until Super7 released their ReAction variants were released in 2021). But when I saw the Ultimates variant solicited, complete with newly sculpted heads based on the 1986 LJN figure, I was instantly in love. Let's check out Cheetara below!

Friday, July 14, 2023

POP Funko - ARCEE!

POP! Movies #1374 -  Transformers: Rise of the Beasts - Arcee -  Funko 2023

I've been wishing for a Funko Pop of Arcee for a while now. A simple goal I have for a lot of my collections is to assemble a complete "Ladies of the 80s" lineup. It's fun to see which collectible line will give me that roster the fastest. Mini-Mates, Super7 ReAction, and Super7 Ultimates are all top contenders. But I think that Funko may have them all beat. So far we have She-Ra, Cheetara, Jem, Pizzazz, Scarlett, Baroness, Jun the Swan, Sorceress, Evil-Lyn, and even Thundarr's Ariel. (I don't have Rainbow Brite or Strawberry Shortcake, but they should be included). I still hope for a traditional animated pink Arcee Pop but this Transformers: The Rise of the Beasts cinematic version is a great stand-in. It's was exciting to see her on the big screen and I love how much merchandizing momentum she is getting (hopefully with a renewed focus on the classic design as well). There have been more and more G1 Transformers characters getting the Funko treatment so my fingers are crossed that second Arcee isn't far behind. 

Tuesday, July 11, 2023

Dungeons & Dragons - SORCERESS!

Dungeons & Dragons - ReAction Figures Series 1 - Sorceress - Super7 2023

When I bought this figure last week, I has no idea who she was or what her relevancy was. I just thought she looked very cool and classic with her pink gown and two-tone cape. But later that night I took some clues from some Instagram comments and a D&D-fanatic coworker and started researching. Back in 1981 there was a painting used on several Dungeons & Dragons products (a rulebook and a basic box) featuring an unnamed sorceress woman protecting a treasure chest from a large dragon. I was never bit by the D&D bug in my youth (despite several valiant attempts), so this character is unfamiliar to me, but apparently her image is quite iconic for the longtime fans. I love that this seemingly simple figure I picked up on a whim has such a historic place in D&D lore. I love that modern toys give life to such obscure characters: Shield Maiden Sherrilyn, Lancer, and Greenlight come to mind and I adore them all the more for their unlikely existence. Let's check out the original D&D covergirl below!

Sunday, July 9, 2023

League of Legends - AKALI!

League of Legends - Champion Collection - Akali - SpinMaster Toys 2023

Yet another surprise figure from Spin Master's League of Legends Champion Collection line. Last September, a reader clued me in to the first female figure in the League of Legends 6" line, Ashe. She had shown up in a multi-figure Amazon listing at full price with three discounted shelfwarmers that we had been seeing at Target for years. And she was the hidden fourth figure that you couldn't see unless you opened the listing and selected the fourth "style option." The figure was impressive and I hoped for even more product. Then a few months ago in May I discovered the awesome Senna figure and was thrilled that this line wasn't dead as I had feared. Then to my utter surprise less than two months later a listing for this Akali figure popped up. Akali is a rogue assassin who had left the Kinkou Order and her title of Fist of the Shadow to protect her people on her own terms. I like that her design is very reminiscent of the early fighting games like Mortal Kombat and Killer Instinct. Let's check out Akali below!

Friday, July 7, 2023


Imaginext - DC Super Friends - Batman Family Multipack - Fisher-Price 2023

I think my absolute favorite DC character is Stephanie Brown - specifically her brief stint as Batgirl from 2009-2012. She is primarily known as Spoiler, a teen vigilante introduced in 1992 hellbent on thwarting (spoiling) her father's crime - Arthur Brown, the Cluemaster. She was a regular feature (and eventual love interest) in the pages of Robin. Then after twelve years she had the notoriety of becoming the first in-canon female Robin, and promptly being killed. Luckily she didn't stay dead for long. And by 2009 she was back and took on the mantle of Batgirl when Cassandra Cain stepped down. This was when I fell in love with Steph. The comic was funny and fresh with great art and relatable stories. It had a Spider-Man sense of playfulness with the grittiness of Gotham and all the tropes of a Coming of Age storyline. It was just great. Unfortunately it was a victim of the infamous New52 reboot of all DC titles. Steph is still around as Spoiler thankfully, but her brief time in the cowl will always be special.

Tuesday, July 4, 2023


Sonic the Hedgehog - 4" Series Wave 13 - Cream the Rabbit - Jakks Pacific 2023

There's something really special about the Sonic Universe. It's hard to pinpoint what makes them standout form other anthropomorphic properties, but I think it's the blend of a consistent style guide and the fact that the characters all have unique abilities (usually tied to their animal characteristics). In the case of Cream the Rabbit, she can flap her ears and fly. The character design is what really draws me in though, you can see any Sonic character and know the franchise it belongs to. Other big video game properties like Mario Bros and Pokemon started out like this, but over time they've morphed and evolved. That's not saying Sonic is stale, rather consistent and classic. The recent run of offerings from Jakks Pacific has been amazing. They have yet to give us any never-before-in-plastic ladies, but I think that will be remedied sooner than we think. This Cream figure is amazing and Blaze was recently announced for the next wave. Can't wait to see what is next! Let's check out Cream below!

Sunday, July 2, 2023

Marvel Legends - JUBILEE!

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

Somehow is seems wrong to put Jubilee in a uniform. As the token spunky young upstart of the 1990's X-Men, she always marched to the beat of her own drum. She got into trouble, was the catalyst for many team adventures, and always wore her own unique outfits. Usually colorful, haphazard, and fun. We've seen her in a few official uniforms in the years since, but in 1991's Uncanny X-Men #275 we first saw her conform to a group aesthetic in this modern take of the classic X-Men uniform. But surprisingly Jubilee seemed to love this phase and almost accepted it as a badge of honor, like she was suddenly a full-fledged member of the team instead of a nuisance tag-along. Of course, she pretty much immediately went back to her signature yellow raincoat, but this uniform was still a cool blip that still resonates enough to inspire action figures 32 years later. I'm assuming the red-jumpsuit Generation X version is next (her only other iconic uniform). Perhaps an SDCC reveal? Let's check out Jubilee below!