Thursday, April 30, 2015

Action Figure Review: Spider-Girl (Warriors of the Web) from Marvel Legends Infinite Series: Spider-Man by Hasbro

     The cast of the Confirmed Epic Podcast often chastised me due to the fact that Spider-Man is not in my top 10 favorite superheroes. In all honesty, he's probably not even in my top 25. I don't feel like I dislike Spider-Man or anything; I just never really gravitate towards him. I enjoyed the Sam Raimi films (yes, even part of Spider-Man 3), the older animated series, and some of the video games, but I've just never really had a crazy connection to the character. I'm really curious to see what Marvel Studios and Sony do with the new Marvel cinematic universe Spider-Man but that's neither here nor there. Today I'm looking at May "Mayday" Parker, AKA Spider-Girl! She the daughter of Peter Parker and Mary Jane in some kind of alternate universe or something. Clones, Mephisto, MC2, blah blah blah: To me, someone who doesn't follow Spider-Man stuff, this is simply a really cool figure of a butt-kicking female in Ben Reilly's Spider-Man suit who is ready to clean up the streets. Ready for a closer look? Then join me after the break...

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Action Figure Review: Captain Marvel (Maidens of Might) from Marvel Legends: Infinite Series by Hasbro

     Captain Marvel is going to get her own movie from Marvel Studios. It's scheduled for November 2018.  Who wants to bet that she appears on the silver screen before DC's Wonder Woman film comes out in 2017? Yup, while Carol Danvers has existed in the Marvel universe since the 1960s and became Ms. Marvel in 1977, she really seems to be breaking through into popular culture. Good for her! Carol's an awesome character and she deserves to stand alongside all of the other superheroes. That's why I'm a bit aggravated that, once again, Hasbro decided to lump her together with Scarlet Witch under the label "Maidens of Might." Yup, Hasbro couldn't even give the awesome Ms. Danvers her own name on the package. That's just lame in my book. Carol was originally supposed to make an appearance in Avengers: Age of Ultron but it was decided to hold her back. As much as I look forward to seeing her on the silver screen, it's probably for the best. AOU not only has to introduce us to Ultron but also is going to have to work in Vision, Scarlet Witch, Quicksilver, and anyone else they're going to sneak into the movie. While you might have to wait a few years to see Captain Marvel at your local theater, you can purchase her action figure right now as part of the Marvel Legends: Infinite Series Allfather wave. Ready for a closer look at Captain Marvel? Then join me after the break...

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Masters of the Universe Day 2015: Masters of the Universe Memories

Happy Masters of the Universe Day 2015!

     Some people have memories that are triggered by smells. A certain smell can bring to mind thoughts of people, places, and events from their past. For others it's music, as a certain song can carry them back.  For me, action figures always conjure up memories. Whether they're memories of loved ones, friends, special events, or certain places, when thinking about the toys from my childhood (and even now) the memories just keep flowing.  To celebrate Masters of the Universe Day 2015, I'm sharing a few of my most vivid MOTU influenced memories. Some I've shared in years past while others are quite new. They're all special, though, and I'm sharing them after the break...

Action Figure Review: Scarlet Witch (Maidens of Might) from Marvel Legends: Infinite Series by Hasbro

     Since she's appearing in Avengers: Age of Ultron (which opens Friday here in the States) it seems like as good of a time as any to review one of the newest Marvel Legends Infinite Series figures: The Scarlet Witch! Hasbro opted to make this newer version of Scarlet Witch an amalgam of her various comic book appearances rather than base her on Elizabeth Olsen's appearance in the new film, but it seems like that was a good choice. Scarlet Witch hasn't had a Marvel Legends figure since Toy Biz released one in 2004 that...wasn't very well received. This version of Wanda Maximoff is definitely an improvement over that now 11 year old relic. She's also one of Hasbro's weird "not-variants" and is released under the label "Maidens of Might" along with Captain Marvel. Seriously, can Hasbro not just release the female characters with their legit names on the package? I know they do this for a few male figures as well but it seems like the females end up far more often getting the generic "two-for-one" name. In Hasbro's defense I will say that I have seen every figure from all three current Marvel Legends Infinite Series figures at retail within the past two-three weeks. That's hopefully a good sign that Hasbro has worked out some of the distribution issues that have plagued many of their lines over the past couple of years. While we saw a brief cameo of Scarlet Witch and her brother Quicksilver during the credits of Captain America: The Winter Soldier, I'm really curious to see how these two new characters (and the Vision) interact with the rest of the established Avengers crew. Of course, at the moment I'm more interested to see how this Scarlet Witch figure functions as a toy. Ready for a closer look at this mutant...uh, I mean "miracle?" Then join me after the break...

Monday, April 27, 2015

Action Figure Review: Han Solo (Stormtrooper Disguise) from Star Wars: The Black Series Phase II by Hasbro

     I've written before about having Star Wars figures sitting around my house as a kid and not knowing what they were, but the first Star Wars figure I ever "purchased" was the Power of the Force II mail-away figure of Han Solo in Stromtrooper Disguise from Kellogg's. In all honesty it was my first real exposure to Star Wars. I was in 6th grade and we had some sort of school project where we had to bring cereal boxes to class. At some point I looked at a classmate's cereal box and saw the order form for Han Solo. Without even knowing who the character was I was impressed by the toy. I really, really wanted that figure! After our project the classmate gave me his cereal box and I proceeded to order Han Solo that day without even knowing anything about Star Wars. The next day I went to my 6th grade teachers book shelf that was stocked with sci-fi and fantasy books and noticed a copy of the Star Wars novelization (ghostwritten by Alan Dean Foster) and borrowed it. From there, my friends, it was a one way trip for me to a galaxy far, far away. I've been trying to limit my The Black Series collecting to troopers, bounty hunters, characters from the first year of The Power of the Force II, and the odd character I have special affection for (i.e. Admiral Ackbar), so not only did this Han Solo in Stormtrooper Disguise qualify as both a trooper and a character released in the first year of Kenner's The Power of the Force II line but he's also a character I have special affection for due to my memories of ordering him from a cereal box. Ready for a look at the newest version of everyone's favorite smuggler? Then join me after the break...

Friday, April 24, 2015

Action Figure Review: Evil Robot from Imaginext Collectible Figures Series 4 by Fisher-Price

     Well, here's the last figure from the fourth series of Imaginext Collectible Figures: The Evil Robot? What makes this robot evil? My guess is his programming and a black and purple color scheme. Imaginext has had a space theme going for for a couple of years so the Evil Robot makes a nice addition for fans of that sub-set. Otherwise, this is just a cool Evil Robot on a space surfboard that some folks see as bearing a resemblance to Galactus (I'm not). Ready for a look at the Evil Robot? Then join me after the break...

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Action Figure Review: Mad Scientist from Imaginext Collectible Figures Series 4 by Fisher-Price

     I'm on figure #7 of the new Imaginext Collectible Figures Series! While I haven't been as impressed by as many figures in this series as I have been by the past three sets, the Witch and the Space Gorilla have stood out to me as two of the best Imaginext figures overall. Today I'm looking at another really good figure from this series: The Mad Scientist! The Mad Scientist isn't your standard, typical Mad Scientist, though. He looks more like a villains from an early 90's cartoon or toyline. You know the type: G.I. Joe Eco-Force, the Toxic Crusaders, and Captain Planet. He's an interesting addition to the line and a fun figure all on his own. ready for a closer look at this guy? Then join me after the break...

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Action Figure Review: Witch from Imaginext Collectible Figures Series 4 by Fisher-Price

     Over the past few sets of blind-bagged Imaginext figures Fisher-Price has given us some great horror themed figures. We've gotten a Mummy, Dracula, the Gillman, Frankenstein's Monster, and a Zombie. While many of us were expecting a Werewolf in series 4, the inclusion of the Witch was a nice surprise. One of the coolest things about this witch is that she fits both of the witch archetypes due to the removable costume. With it on she's your typical scary old hag.Take it off, however, and you've got the classic sexy witch. One thing that Imaginext has done throughout the line is create some cool homage figures. Whether it's series 1's "Not-James Bond," series 2's "Not-Crocodile Dundee," series 3's "Not- Walter White," or even this series' "Not-Julius Erving," there's always a figure or two that makes you look twice. The Witch is one of those. While a green witch is pretty much a public domain character, I have to wonder if she's intended to be based on Elphaba from Wicked or on Gruntilda from the Banjo-Kazooie video games. In Banjo- Kazooie, Gruntila could go from looking like this to looking like this, kind of like this figure. Ready for a closer look at this classic Witch? Then join me after the break...

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Action Figure Review: Clown from Imaginext Collectible Figures Series 4 by Fisher-Price

 I'm not really a fan of clowns. I'm not coulrophobic; I just don't really like clowns in general. I'm fine with a creepy clown appearing in a movie (i.e. Pennywise) or with villainous clowns like the Joker. And Harley Quinn? I am 100% A-OK with her. But in general, I just find clowns.....odd. I don't know what it is. Anyways, what is one to do with a Clown in the Imaginext toy line? Here's the simple answer: Pretend that he's a Joker goon! That automatically makes this figure better, don't you think? Anyways, let's take a closer look at this Clown after the break...

Monday, April 20, 2015

Action Figure Review: Space Gorilla from Imaginext Collectible Series 4 by Fisher-Price

     I'm not saying that the Space Gorilla is a reference to Captain Simian & the Space Monkeys; I'm just saying that Captain Simian & the Space Monkeys had a toyline made by Mattel in 1996. Of course there are plenty of other space monkeys out there so maybe Mattel/ Fisher-Price were just channeling all of them. Anyways, Space Gorilla is another figure from the fourth series of the Imaginext Collectible Figures and he might just be the coolest figure in this series. Ready for a look at the high flying daring Space Gorilla? Then join me after the break...

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Action Figure Review: Basketball Player from Imaginext Collectible Figures Series 4 from Fisher-Price

      I guess I'm getting all of the sports figures from Imaginext Collectible Figures Series 4 out of the way because I've reviewed the Boxer, the Snowboarder, and now the Basketball Player. I have to say that this guy is definitely the least exciting figure to me in the entire set simply because I'm not into sports at all. Honestly, the only Imaginext figure I can think of that's more boring than this guy is the Soccer Player from series 1. This is a nice looking figure, no doubt, but basketball just isn't my cup of tea. Anyways, this will be a short one today, so read on and enjoy.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Action Figure Review: Snowboarder from Imaginext Collectible Figures Series 4 by Fisher-Price

     As I mentioned in my review of the Imaginext Boxer, sports themed figures really aren't my thing. Today I'm looking at the Snowboarder from the Imaginext Collectible Figures series 4 but I don't have too much familiarity with the sport: The only two things snowboarding related that I've ever been into were 1080 Snowboarding on the Nintendo 64 and the second version of the Snow Serpent from G.I. Joe that came with a purple snowboard. That's it. Still, this is an interesting figure in that I'm a big fan of toys clothed in cold weather gear and this is one of the first two female Imaginext figures to appear in the blind bagged series. The DC Superfriends series has had figures of characters like Wonder Woman, Harley Quinn, Poison Ivy, and Catwoman, but the main line hasn't seen many (or any) females yet as far as I know. Let's check out the Snowboarder today, shall we?

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Action Figure Review: Boxer from Imaginext Collectible Figures Series 4 by Fisher-Price

  I hope you like Imaginext because I just got the entire fourth series of collectible blind-bagged figures in and I'm ready to go! While I haven't been reviewed much from the previous three sets of figures, I'm hoping to have series four reviewed in its entirety. Remember that these are sold in blind bags but the bags have a serial number on them that, at the least, makes it easy to know you are not getting duplicates and can help you identify the figures if you actually have the codes. These blindbagged Imaginext minifigures have been pretty diverse as to what they've offered including monsters, warriors, military guys, chemists, and sports figures. I'll be honest: Sports guys (and sports in general) usually bore me. I like boxing. Well, I've never seen a real boxing match, but I love the Rocky films, Raging Bull, the G.I. Joe figure Big Boa, and the Simon and Garfunkel song, so I'm giving this guy a shot. Ready for a look at the Imaginext boxer? Then join me after the break...

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Geocaching Review: Micro Ammo Can Geocache Container by Groundspeak, Inc.

Geo what?

Geocaching. Collecting action figures is my number one favorite hobby but geocaching might just be my second. It's a game that's played by hiding containers outside and using a handheld GPS receiver (or a smart phone these days, but that's just not my style) to find them. Caches can be found almost anywhere (parks, parking lots, remote and wild areas of nature) and can come in a variety of sizes. While the most common caches these days seem to be smaller repurposed containers like film canisters or old pill bottles covered in duct tape, the most iconic type of cache is the good old fashioned metal ammo box. They're rugged, durable, and waterproof. Heck, I found one last August that had endured a wildfire: You could see that the contents had melted inside but the ammo box itself was still in fine shape. Anyways, a few months ago while out geocaching with my family we found a cache that was hidden in the container just like the one pictured here. I thought it was pretty nifty and was quite glad to find one just like it in my Easter basket this year! Ready for a look at this Micro Ammo Can Geocache Container by Groundspeak, Inc? Then join me after the break...

Monday, April 13, 2015

Action Figure Review: Bray Wyatt from WWE Elite: WrestleMania XXX by Mattel

     Last year Andrew, one of my fellow podcasters on the Confirmed Epic Podcast, invited me over to his house to watch WrestleMania XXX. I can't say that I've ever been into wrestling before, despite trying to get into it back in 9th grade (1998-1999) when everyone else was, but the allure of hanging out with friends and eating chicken wings was too much. I ended up...captivated. I really enjoyed it and since have become a casual fan watching a few of the Pay Per Views over the past year along with WrestleMania XXXI. Of course, the most interesting part of WWE to me thus far has been Bray Wyatt and the Wyatt Family. I'm all about the horror themed stuff and their entrance at WrestleMania XXX last year just sold me on their whole gimmick. So far the only WWE Elite figures I've purchased have been the (now disbanded) Wyatt Family: Bray Wyatt, Luke Harper, and Erick Rowan. I've been amazed by how great these figures are and have been anxiously looking forward to other characters that I like to be released in the WWE Elite line. While I'm still waiting to get Rusev (that guy cracks me up), Goldust and Stardust (they're so bizarre!) and Paige (cause, y'know-it's Paige), I managed to find this Bray Wyatt figure from his appearance at Wrestlemania XXX which is part of a Toys 'R Us exclusive wave that features a build-a-figure Corporate Kane. I actually bought mine loose without his build-a-figure piece, so i don't have that (but I wasn't going to use it anyways). Ready for a look at The New Face of Fear? Then join me after the break...

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Action Figure Review: Bossk from Star Wars: The Black Series (Phase II) by Hasbro

One of the best things about Star Wars is that even the most minor characters can evolve into fan favorites and take on an important role in the universe. Take Bossk: The guys appears for just a few seconds in The Empire Strikes Back and for even less time in Return of the Jedi and yet everyone knows who he is (of course now he has also had a fairly lengthy appearance in The Clone Wars to help continue the Bossk love). Bossk has had multiple action figures and statues based on his likeness which have often been some of the best action figures released in their respective lines. I still remember how impressed I was by the Power of the Force 2 Bossk from 1997 as he turned out to be one of the best Star Wars figures released in that line. Today, however, I'm looking at the newest version of Bossk from the 6 inch scaled The Black Series line. Bossk ships in a case along with Han Solo (Stormtrooper Disguise) and repacks of Chewbacca and the TIE Pilot and seems to be hitting store shelves in fairly decent numbers right now. Ready for a look at everyone's favorite Trandoshan bounty hunter? Then join me after the break...

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Action Figure Review: Sulu from Star Trek ReAction by Funko

     When it comes to Star Trek, I'm an original series fan. If it doesn't have Kirk, Spock, McCoy, Uhura, Chekov, Scotty, and Sulu, I really just don't care that much about it. I've seen (and enjoyed) some Next Gen and such but really, if it isn't the original series, the movies with those characters, or the new Trek films, I just don't care that much. That being said, I'm not quite a Trekkie.  I mean, I own the complete original series and most of the movies, but I'm not as into Trek as I am into many other things. Honestly, I'm probably a bigger fan of the actors themselves than I am of the show. Still, when I saw that Funko was releasing ReAction Star Trek figures, I knew I'd end up with a few of them. While the first series of figures consists of Spock, Uhura, McCoy, and Sulu (a strong group), I went with Lt. Hikaru Sulu. First, because Sulu is awesome and the figure comes with a phaser but secondly because George Takei is also awesome and quite hilarious. Oh my, indeed. Ready for a look at Lt. Sulu? Well, say hellooo and join me after the break...

Friday, April 10, 2015

Action Figure Review: Ezra Bridger from Star Wars: Rebels by Hasbro

I'm still trying to assemble the crew of the Ghost from Star Wars: Rebels and, after much searching, I'm up to two crew members: Zeb and Ezra. It's Ezra that I'm reviewing today after having just found him in a Target. I'm not sure why (there are dozens of theories) but Hasbro cannot seem to get these figures out to stores. Here we are, six months after the premiere of the series and in a movie year, and Hasbro still cannot manage to get over the distribution problems that have plagued them since at least 2012. Anyways, I've managed to get this toy in hand so let's jump on to looking at Ezra after the break...

Thursday, April 9, 2015

A New Batgirl Review: Batgirl from DC Superheroes Collection by Warner Brothers

     Today I'm looking at a new addition to my Batgirl collection: Batgirl from the Warner Brothers' Store DC Superheroes Collection. Released in 2000 and sold exclusively at the now defunct Warner Brothers store, this is an 11 inch tall articulated Batgirl vinyl figure. I've been aware of this figure for a year or two but I've found it a bit difficult to find one in great shape at a price I wanted to pay. These can be somewhat difficult to find in good shape because they were sold loose with just a cardboard tag, kind of like the vinyl Star Wars figures released by Applause in the mid to late 1990s. In fact, I'm actually curious as to whether or not this was manufactured by the also now defunct Applause, Inc. I know they manufactured toys such as this for many companies, including Warner Brothers. Could this be their work as well? I'll keep looking into this but for now I take solace in the fact that this is a very lovely Batgirl figure that I'm thrilled to have finally added to my collection. Let's take a closer look at the favorite superhero of every sane, intelligent, and rational person out there, shall we?

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Action Figure Review : Oo-Lar from Masters of the Universe Classics by Mattel

     The best decision ever made in the Masters of the Universe Classics line was the idea to unite every element of Masters of the Universe under one canon. The original toyline, Filmation cartoons, New Adventures of He-Man, 200x/ MYP productions, and even concept art and ideas are all joined together under one banner. While it definitely makes for a convoluted and messy story line told through the brief bios on the rear of the backer cards and in a few minicomics, it does interestingly justify the greatest amount of characters in a single toyline, such as Oo-lar, the Jungle He-Man. Oo-Lar is a new name and identity applied to the He-Man's appearance in the original minicomic "He-Man and the Power Sword" that was packed in with the original He-Man action figure in 1982. In that story, there is no Prince Adam; Instead, He-Man is the greatest warrior of an Eternian jungle tribe who leaves his village to go and defend the mysterious Castle Grayskull. It's an incredibly different origin for He-Man, thus Mattel chose to now dub that incarnation of the character with a new name and a new identity. Giving various concept images of He-Man new identities has been par for the course in MOTUC as we've seen Vikor, Vykron, and Wun-dar created as precursors to He-Man for the MOTUC canon. While many fans love the dual identity of He-Man as Prince Adam, others whose introduction to the mythos was through the original minicomics have come to cherish the jungle barbarian version of He-Man. No matter what you like or what you call him, subscribers to the 2015 Club Eternia subscription now have a jungle He-Man of their own! Ready for the review? Then join me after the break...

Monday, April 6, 2015

Action Figure Review: Huntara from Masters of the Universe Classics by Mattel

     So....I'm a really proud parent these days! My 19 month old, when passing through the living room and seeing our TV, will get excited and yell "She! She! She!"

     That means she wants to watch She-Ra. While there are so many toylines, comics, cartoons, and movies that I love, I'm really glad that Masters of the Universe has the Filmation animated series. It's just so kid friendly and it's something great that her and I (and my wife, somewhat reluctantly) can share together. She gets really excited whenever She-Ra transforms, she loves Skeletor's voice (she laughs whenever he talks), and she also thinks that Loo-Kee showing up at the end is the greatest thing ever. Anyways, it's giving me fresh eyes on the property and I was really excited that just the other night the episode "Huntara" came on. Today's figure, Huntara, is the guest star of that episode. She's a Silaxian bounty hunter whom Hordak hires to bring down She-Ra. Of course, Hordak has to convince Huntara that She-Ra is evil since Huntara is apparently an ethical bounty hunter. Anyways, she's a pretty cool one-off character, the winner of a fan's choice poll (I think she beat out Lord Masque), and a figure that wasn't listed for sale in Mattel's March sale, effectively making her another sub-exclusive (at least for now). Ready for Huntara? Then join me after the break...

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Action Figure Review: Star-Lord and Gamora from Guardians of the Galaxy by Hasbro

Before I get into the review, I want to think Action Figure Man over at Action Figure Imagery for sending me these figures. I won their February 2015 contest and received this set and Split Cycle Superman from Man of Steel. I appreciate Action Figure Man's generosity in running these contests pretty frequently and giving out prizes! Thank you so much!

     Guardians of the Galaxy was without a doubt my favorite movie released last year. It's also my favorite Marvel film overall. Since I bought the Awesome Mix soundtrack last August I'm not sure it's left my car. I've cosplayed as Star-Lord as the 2014 Charlotte Heroes Convention and as part of a group Halloween costume. I'm a fan. That being said, I found Hasbro Guardians of the Galaxy action figure offerings to be...disappointing. Guardians simply lacked many of the problems that so many other superhero movie based toylines face: It had a full cast of heroes (versus one hero like Man of Steel or any of the Spiderman films), it had multiple non-human villains, vehicles were an integral part of the plot (no need to make up an ATV for the Hulk to ride), and kids didn't already have these characters in action figure form. This should have been a line that perfectly married a superhero line with the collectability and depth of  something like Star Wars. So what happened? Hasbro, that's what. Let's be honest: Hasbro has pretty much killed G.I. Joe, 1/18th scale Star Wars figures, and the only decent Marvel stuff they put out are Marvel Legends and the Marvel Super Hero mashers. For Guardians of the Galaxy Hasbro tried something different by offering packs of 2.5 inch tall articulated figures. That's not a problem, necessarily, as I have fond memories of smaller lines like Eagle Force, M.A.S.K., and Air Raiders. Unfortunately, these won't blend into any established Marvel collection. Ready for a closer look at these? Then join me after the break...