Friday, December 29, 2023

Invincible - MONSTER GIRL!

Invincible Select (Animated Series) #007 - Monster Girl - Diamond Select 2023

Monster Girl is one of the more interesting characters in the Invincible Universe. At first glance, she has very typical Hulk-like powers transforming from a non-threatening human into a large monstrous brute. And the fact that she is a young girl just adds to that contrast. But as you get to know young Amanda, you quickly realize she is not all that she seems. Her abilities are the result of a curse and the tricky part of that curse is that, each time she uses her monster form, her human form gets younger and younger. She has the surly world-weary attitude of a wrongfully-cursed 24 year old trapped in the body of an adolescent, and the frustration of that reality comes out in pure ferocity when in her monster form. This Deluxe Monster Girl set was very unexpected, but makes a great addition to the Invincible lineup. I don't even mind that the human form has such limited articulation. She is still able to achieve the squat "ready for action" poses I would want her in. Let's check out Monster Girl below!

Thursday, December 28, 2023

Invincible - DUPLI-KATE!

Invincible Select (Animated Series) #005 - Dupli-Kate - Diamond Select 2023

The Invincible Select action figure line from DST is very impressive. When it started a few years ago I expected there to be a handful of core releases before quietly fading away. (I'm a little jaded and scarred by past toy lines based on indy comics). But after just a couple years there is already an impressive assortment of characters with at least two more on the way (Rex Splode and the Mauler Twin (single figure with alternate heads)). This Dupli-Kate figure gives us a similar multi-figure purchase. By giving us alternate heads and swappable chest numbers, we can army build as many Kates as we want. Dupli-Kate is a homage to Triplicate Girl of the LOSH with the ability to create (seemingly endless) copies of herself. But in an interesting secondary homage, Kate has a twin (evil) brother named Multi-Paul and together they visually remind me of the Wonder Twins. In the cartoon, Paul is incarcerated and will likely never get a toy though. But I can't wait to see who is next. Let's check out Dupli-Kate below!

Monday, December 25, 2023

Nightmare Before Christmas - MRS. CLAUS!

Nightmare Before Christmas Select Series 10 - Mrs. Claus & Choir Elf - DST 2021

The Nightmare Before Christmas toylines are always pretty amazing. All the characters have great designs and are naturally very toyetic. But what is especially great is how both the older Neca line and the current Diamond Select line don't shy away from obscure characters. This Mrs. Claus, for instance, only appears in the background of one scene for a few seconds. Most toy lines would never consider a character like this for the full action figure treatment. But here she is, in all her weird Burton-esque glory. I actually own quite a few Nightmare Before Christmas figures, but this is the first one I have opened and photographed for a review. This is mostly because I always intend to save them for Halloween each year, but then my Septembers and Octobers get insanely busy and I never have time. But hopefully this review will break the seal and I'll finally review the rest soon (their large boxes take up a lot of real estate in my closet!) Plus I'm excited to put them on display. Let's check out Mrs. Claus below!

Sunday, December 24, 2023

Sonic Holiday Series - AMY ROSE!

Sonic the Hedgehog 2.5" Series (Christmas Wave) - Amy -  Jakks Pacific 2023

Merry Christmas Eve! I'm staying at a friend's house and today I got a cold so I've been isolating and napping all day (covid negative luckily). Now everyone is in bed and I'm bored and sleepless so I'll be posting a few Christmas-themed items I prepared earlier this month. The Jakks Sonic line has been super prolific this year. Prior to 2023, I had thirteen (female) Sonic figures in my collection. But 2023 added NINE more (and I'm still hunting one additional figure). One of my favorite surprises was this series of Holiday releases I found on an endcap in the Target Seasonal section. They are all repaints of the figures released in last year's Sonic Advent Calendar. But in Amy's case, her advent figure was just the standard Classic Amy with no "holiday" alteration at all. So this simple repaint is very cute and stands as a nice apology. Plus, in researching this figure I learned that there will also be an Easter assortment including Amy. (I'll bet it's a repaint in an Easter egg motif). Let's check out Holiday Amy Rose below!

Wednesday, December 20, 2023

ThunderCats Ultimates - CHEETARA!

ThunderCats Ultimates - Cheetara (Super Speed Glow) Exclusive - Super7 2023

I have a feeling that 2024 will be an exciting year for ThunderCats fans. In February, there will be a new comic from Dynamite released (it has been six years since these characters have been in print). And if Dynamite gives this license the same treatment as they gave Gargoyles in 2023, we are in for a treat. But I also have a completely unsubstantiated hunch that we will hear more ThunderCats news. Like a new show or movie. Again, just a premonition. But in the meantime I am pleasantly surprised by this Super7 Ultimates Super Speed Glow Cheetara (a Super7 store exclusive). When she was first shown back in May, I was intrigued, but not obsessed. I generally love GITD toys, but a multi-hued yellow redeco of Cheetara got a lukewarm initial reaction from me. But all the other ThunderCats always seem to get cool variants, so it's nice to see her getting her turn. In-hand I think she's really fun. The copper-colored details and cheetah spots look especially great. Let's check out Cheetara below!

Tuesday, December 19, 2023


DC Comics 9.5" Basic Series Heroes - Wonder Woman - Spin Master 2023

I find there to be something really thrilling about basic non-articulated figures in the last ten years. I theorize that the big companies with the prime character licenses realized there was an untapped market in the low-budget, low-articulation toys. In my youth, these would have been knockoffs and bootlegs. But what we end up getting today is quality sculpts and production (no sloppy paint or excessive plastic flashing), and the toy companies get to squeeze a few more bucks out of their digital sculpts. Oftentimes these basic figures have identical sculpts to their deluxe products, but they are re-scaled and simplified to give us a sort of "officially licensed bootleg." I've bought these figures from most of the big companies, but this Wonder Woman is my first basic figure from Spin Master. I found her at Kohl's last month and she was a complete surprize. I'm still not 100% sold on this 8.5"-9.5" scale. It's an in-between size that only matches other basic lines (mainly Hasbro). Let's check out Wonder Woman below!

Saturday, December 16, 2023


The Coolest Variant Cover Trend of Recent Years - Fantasy Action Figures

This is the first post I've made on this blog that doesn't have to do with real action figures or statues. Comic Book cover variants are a major trend in the hardcopy comic world. Back in the day, variants would be rare incentives for some super-special issue. But now it's actually rare when and issue doesn't have at least one variant. Different companies will have themes, like Lego covers or Women of Power. But my favorite by far has been the Action Figure covers. There are a few early examples of this kind of cover, but I believe the current trend was kicked off by the various Marvel Star Wars comics from Spring of 2015. There were tons of action figure variants across all the Star Wars titles at the time. Then later that Summer, Marvel's Secret Wars event used the same tactic and its momentum has only grown since then. There are usually a few Marvel Action Figure Variants each week now. And other publishers are picking up on the trend as well.  Let's check out a slew of these covers below!

Wednesday, December 13, 2023

Planet of the Apes - ARI!

Planet of the Apes (Tim Burton Film) - Ari w/ Battle Flag - Hasbro 2001

I love the Planet of the Apes franchise. I love all five of the classic movies (yes, ALL of them). I love both the animated and live action television series. I love all the modern reinterpreted movies. The only thing I don't love is the 2001 Tim Burton remake. This is ironic because I was a huge fan of Burton and was obsessed with each of his movies up until this point. I expected a quirky imaginative experience with that unique Burton-esque atmosphere. Planet of the Apes and Tim Burton seemed like a match made in heaven. I can still remember the amazing movie I imagined. But the actual movie lacked all charm for me. Sure, some of the apes had much more personality, and the masks were improved. But the humans were distracting. They were awkwardly attractive... and they could speak. Language is such an important part of both the original and modern movies, but's not even mentioned here. Ari is an open-minded chimpanzee played by Helena Bonham Carter and to me is the highlight of the film.

Tuesday, December 12, 2023

Youngblood Bendems - VOGUE & RIPTIDE!

Image Comics Youngblood Bend-ems - Vogue & Riptide - JustToys 1995

The news this week that LooseCollector will be producing action figures from Rob Liefeld's Extreme Universe has me very excited. In the late 80s and early 90s I was a huge fan of Rob Liefeld. His work on Hawk & Dove, X-Factor, New Mutants, and X-Force is some of the most nostalgic comic art of my adolescence. (I still read both his Hawk & Dove runs every few years). When the Image exodus happened in 1992, I was immediately obsessed with Youngblood. The characters were colorful and seemingly pulled inspiration from every trendy comic trope at the time, but with that signature Liefeld flare that embodied the era. The issues were beautiful, but sparse. The release schedule was very slow and the story was forgettable, but the character design and lore of this world still has my attention 30 years later. I have always wanted true action figures. Previous attempts have been almost entirely male-centric. Hopefully the Extreme Universe includes Youngblood or some other costumed heroines.

Monday, December 11, 2023

Sonic Prime - RUSTY ROSE!

Sonic Prime - New Yoke City (2.5" 3-Pack) - Rusty Rose - Jakks Pacific 2023

I've always avoided technology-based characters in my collecting. I just naturally lean towards superhero, fantasy, and natural characters as opposed to military and cyborg designs. This Rusty Rose figure presents a conundrum though because she is a variation of a character I already love in a new aesthetic that I typically avoid. Overall I think she's very fun though. The new Sonic: Prime show on Netflix features a fractured series of multiverses with various themes (pirate, feral, and robotics seem to be the main three universes). New Yoke City is one of these Shatterverses that features futuristic post-apocalyptic cyborg versions of all the main Sonic characters. (Although Rebel Rouge in this universe is mysteriously dressed like a guerilla freedom fighter). But Rusty Rose is decked out with an intimidating robotic eye and rusty hinged limbs. I especially like this design because it reminds me of a female counterpart to Metal Sonic. I like equal opportunity variants. Let's check out the 2.5" Rusty Rose below!

Friday, December 8, 2023

Sonic Prime - BATTEN ROUGE!

Sonic Prime - No Place (2.5" 3-Pack) - Batten Rouge - Jakks Pacific 2023

It's funny to think that a few short years ago, Rouge that Bat seemed to be one of the most fan-demanded Sonic characters for inclusion in a toy line. The Jazwares line from 10 years ago often had rumors of a Rouge, but nothing ever materialized. So instead it was the elusive 2005 Toy Island figure that became a grail for collectors and fueled the demand for an updated version. But since last year, Jakks Pacific has been answering our prayers and has given us two classic Rouge figures (in both 4" and 2.5" scale) as well as this 2.5" pirate-themed Batten Rouge from Sonic: Prime. Plus there is at least one more coming soon (a 5" version of this design). I'm personally hoping for a Prim Rouge figure with her cool leafy design from the Boscage Maze portion of the Shatterverse. But I'm thrilled with anything. It's a shame that these 2.5" figures from Sonic: Prime only seem to be coming in multipacks. But so far my excitement over the characters has overtaken my frugal nature. Let's check out Batten Rouge below!

Wednesday, December 6, 2023

Sonic Prime - RUSTY ROSE!

Sonic Prime – 5” Action Figures Wave 2 - Rusty Rose - Jakks Pacific 2023

I still haven't watched Sonic: Prime yet, but over Thanksgiving my young nephew talked my ear off about it. (FYI he gives it rave reviews).  I am personally a fan just for the sheer amount of cool toys we're getting from it. With both Rouge the Bat and Amy Rose as main characters, and the thematic multiverse-type premise of the show, we are getting a ton of variations. I already reviewed Thorn Rose, the feral version of Amy from the Boscage Maze (the jungle-themed branch of the Shatterverse). And here we have Rusty Rose, the cyborg Amy from New Yoke City. The third version is Black Rose the pirate Amy who will be in Wave three next year (follow by the pirate Batten Rouge in Wave four). I'm assuming all the versions will eventually be released in the 2.5" line as well (I have two so far). I will always be a purist for these characters' original video game designs, but I can't deny how fun these variations are. Very excited ot add them all to my Sonic collection. Let's check out Rusty Rose below!

Tuesday, December 5, 2023

A Long Overdue 2020 YEAR-END REVIEW!

A Collection of 2020's Most Amazing Female Action Figures All In One Post

I think 2020 was an interesting year for everyone on the planet. Purely from a collecting perspective, everything was different from the previous year. People were stuck at home, stores were closed, factory production was halted, shipment routes were congested, and mail order became commonplace. Before this, I almost never ordered new toys online if it could be avoided. I much preferred to find things in store and select the best paint jobs. But suddenly the shelves were sparse and production quotas were determined by preorders. That didn't mean it wasn't a landmark year for action figure collectors though. Three of the most popular toylines in the stores today were launched in 2020 (DC Multivese by McFarlane, Masters of the Universe Origins by Mattel, and G.I.Joe Classified by Hasbro). I really like posting these summaries of all the figures I reviewed from a certain production year. And I like the fact that I'm way behind because it provides a great look back. Let's look back to the amazing ladies of 2020!

Monday, December 4, 2023

Marvel Legends Vintage - SPIRAL!

Marvel Legends: Vintage (X-Men Toy Biz) Series - Spiral - Hasbro 2023

While the majority of the releases in the Marvel Legends Vintage carded line seem to be simple redecos or even straight-up re-releases, every once in a while they knock it out of the park with a wholly original character. I realize there was already a Marvel Legends Spiral made back in the Red Hulk wave, but that was already fifteen years ago (but light year's away in terms of sculpt and production quality). Spiral was introduced in the 1985 issue of Longshot #1 created by Arthur Adams and Ann Nocenti (two of my very favorite 80's talents). She soon left the Mojoverse and entered the main X-Men universe as a member of Mystique's Freedom Force. Given her extra arms and arsenal of blades, she is often downplayed as a simple swordwielder. But what always intrigued me about Spiral was her mystical spellcasting abilities, usually accompanied by a dance and a blur of elaborate hand gestures. She is a fascinating character with a sympathetic backstory. This figure is an unexpected but fantastic representation of her.

Saturday, December 2, 2023


Secret Files Series 3: Batman Rogues Gallery 2 - Poison Ivy - DC Direct 2008

When I was reviewing the recent Uma Thurman Poison Ivy earlier this week, I was surprised to realize that I had never made a post on my all-time favorite Poison Ivy figure. It's possible that the new McFarlane figure might take that title, but I'll have to reassess when the newness wears off. But without a doubt my favorite Poison Ivy figure for the past 15 years has been this 2008 DC Direct figure based on her iconic Brian Bolland cover. I often feel that toys of Poison Ivy fail to capture her essence. Usually they look either too sexy or too bland. I think the perfect recipe is to have her looking stern and statuesque... with a touch of indifference and vindictiveness on her face. The overall result is indeed sexy, but not because of exposed skin or pouty lips. Ivy's seductive appeal was always in her voice, body language, and coldness. Brian Bolland captured this well on the cover of Gotham Knights #15 (2001) and the brilliant Jack Matthews translated that image into plastic. She's gorgeous. Let's check out Poison Ivy below!

Friday, December 1, 2023

Legends of Dragonore - YONDARA!

Legends of Dragonore - Series 1 - Yondara (Heroic Chieftan) - Formo Toys 2023

The Legends of Dragonore is the inaugural line of action figures from newcomer, Formo Toys. Modern action figures constructed in a vintage Masters of the Universe aesthetic is nothing new. Funko had a barrage of Savage World products five years ago, Super7 had a terrific MOTU Vintage line, and of course Mattel has been running with the concept for several years with MOTU, WWE, and now TMNT licenses.  But this Legends of Dragonore line seems different. You can tell they spawn from the art toy world and are passionate about the design aesthetic and production quality. Plus when you have a named talent like Emiliano Santalucia working Creative Design, you know the toys will be great. His passion for MOTU helped launch the modern revitalization of the brand. These figures are really fun and colorful and gave us a wholly original set of characters for our vintage collections. Formo has already showed off Wave 1.5 and  2 and I have a feeling we'll see a lot more in the future. Let's check out Yondara below!