Thursday, February 29, 2024

Action Figure Review: Beast Man from Turtles of Grayskull by Mattel


   Just this week I got my hands on all four of the series 2 basic Turtles of Grayskull action figures from Mattel, so get ready for some reviews of these meldings of Mutants and Masters! I'm starting things off with Beast Man as he's kind of just a Beast Man variant.  While Mouse-Jaw is a blend of Trap-Jaw with M.O.U.S.E.R. technology, Beast Man is actually just Beast Man wearing some armor given to him by Donatello. I haven't acquired any of the series 1 figures yet, so I haven't read the minicomic, but in the minicomic included with the series 2 figures Beast Man is sent to the TMNT, Man-At-Arms, and Teela to tell them that he has defected from Skeletor (who is now working with Shredder and Krang) and that he knows where He-Man is (who has apparently gone missing). Everyone is suspicious of ol' fur face, but they do give him some armor (with a tracker in it) and he leads them to He-Man. And Skeletor. And Shredder. And the now mutated Evil Warriors. So, yeah, it's a trap. If you're in the market for a samurai Beast Man (you could put him with your 200x samurai variants of He-Man, Man-At-Arms, and Skeletor) then you're in luck. Let's check him out after the break...

Wednesday, February 28, 2024

Action Figure Review: Parth "Wolf Spider" Varma (Night Force) from G.I. Joe: Classified Series by Hasbro

   Today I'm looking at the second G.I. Joe: Classified Series figure from the newest Night Force themed series of figures and this time it's a member of the Joe team: Parth "Wolf Spider" Varma. Parth "Wolf Spider" Varma is a brand new character and adds another Coast Guard member to the crew. He's a pararescue trooper, so he has EMT training for when your Joes get hurt. I believe it was mentioned somewhere that Wolf Spider is the first Joe team member of Indian heritage, so that's kind of cool. His first name, Parth, means "the person who never misses his target" and his last name, Varma, means armor and protection in Sanskrit. That's pretty cool. I wonder if that was intentionally chosen by Hasbro? Wolf Spider has an interesting story in that he began showing up in pictures and for international fans early last fall, at least a month or so before he was even announced by Hasbro. That doesn't happen often these days. Wolf Spider does reuse parts from a number of other figures, so he's a bit of a Frankenjoe, but he has his own unique vibe. Ready to take a look at Wolf Spider? Then join me after the break...

Monday, February 26, 2024

Minifigure Review: Deathstroke from DC Comics- Batman Tiny Mights by CultureFly


   Today I've got another minifigure review from CultureFly's DC Comics- Batman series: Deathstroke!  Deathstroke is an interesting character choice for this set as while he definitely is a foe of Batman, when I think of Deathstroke my first thought isn't Batman villain. Still, he fits in well here and has ended up being one of my favorite figures in the set. These guys really remind me of M.U.S.C.L.E. and Monster in My Pocket minifigures and Slade feels like he could seamlessly mix in with your vintage M.U.S.C.L.E. collection. For the full story and all the details on CultureFly's Tiny Mights check out my review of Catwoman. Today I'm just looking at Deathstroke and the four different colorways of him that I had in the shipment of twelve 3-packs I ordered from CultureFly. Let's check out Deathstroke after the break...

Saturday, February 24, 2024

Missing in Action: Toylines That Didn't Make the Cut in 2023


   Since 2015 I've supplemented my Top 10 Toylines of the Year awards with a list called Missing in Action (no relation to the Chuck Norris film). This is a reflective list where I look back at the Top 10 Toylines list from the year before and determine why some of the lines from that year failed to return for the current year's list.  2023's top 10 list only had five lines returning from 2022's list (2022's top 10 list  had seven returning toylines while 2021 only had four returning toylines from the 2020 list). I find it interesting to look at the lines that failed to show up again in order to diagnose why they went missing. It's also fun to whine and complain a bit, which might be part of the reason I enjoy this list so much. There are a few reasons why a toyline might make this list:

Missing in Action: This is a toyline that gets cancelled, ends, or just didn't have any releases during the year. It happens a lot, unfortunately, and often to some of my favorites it seems, though not as much as in the past.

Demoted: Sometimes a toyline just gets outdone by others. This isn't specifically related to the quality of the demoted line and more reflective of the quality of the lines that supplanted it or of my interest shifting to other things.

Sunk: This is when a toyline has a severe drop in quality or perhaps an exorbitant price hike that causes it to fall from grace. While most toylines get better as they go, some do indeed get worse and worse due to cost cutting, mismanagement, and quality control issues. Sometimes the price just outpaces the value, making a once impressive toyline now seem like a shell of its former self.

Let's jump in and check out who went missing in action in 2023 after the break...

Friday, February 23, 2024

Action Figure Review: Shadow Tracker from G.I. Joe: Classified Series by Hasbro


   In January the newest series of Walmart exclusive G.I. Joe: Classified Series figures shipped out and, once again, they features the Night Force theme for the Joe team members. Tunnel Rat and Wolf Spider were the Joe team members in Night Force gear (Tunnel Rat's a repaint while Wolf Spider is a completely new character that reuses some parts from other figures) but Shadow Tracker, a member of Cobra, might be the star of the show. Shadow Tracker was created during the Pursuit of Cobra era, an era which was perhaps the best post-vintage era ever for 1/18th scale G.I. Joe figures. The Pursuit of Cobra figures seemed to draw from a variety of pop culture sources and featured "Jungle Assault" versions of Duke, Spirit, and Recondo that felt suspiciously like tributes to Dutch, Billy, and Blain from the 1987 film Predator, one of the few truly perfect motion pictures to ever exist. And who did those guys square off against? Shadow Tracker, a mask wearing, blade wielding jungle hunter who sported dreadlocks and various trophies made from bone. This guy absolutely rocked the Joe fandom back in 2011 and he's still a pretty unique villain in the Classified Series today. Ready for an incredible new menace for your Joes to face off against? Then join me after the break...

Wednesday, February 21, 2024

Action Figure Review: Peter Venkman & Gruesome Twosome Ghost from Ghostbusters Kenner Classics by Hasbro


   I was surprised in early January when I walked into Target and stumbled upon the retro styled Fright Features versions of The Real Ghostbusters figures from Hasbro. These were right on the shelf alongside the Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire toys and they're currently exclusive to Target until later this spring. I've now found all four of the Ghostbusters from this series (Hasbro hasn't announced a release of Janine Melnitz yet, but she's one of the few original vintage figures I still own) but Peter and Ray were the first two I found from the set. These are pretty much straight up remakes of the vintage figures released in very late 1987/ early 1988, which I definitely had and remember fondly. They would have came out when I was four and when I was really into Ghostbusters. The Fright Features series isn't my favorite variant set of the Ghostbusters (that would be either the Super Fright Features or the Backpack Heroes) but these are definitely one of the most recognizable sets of vintage Ghostbusters toys. Apparently they had the widest distribution of any of the sets, which explains why you'll find these in nearly any loose toy bin at comic and collectible shops. Ready to start off checking these remakes out with a look at Peter Venkman & Gruesome Twosome Ghost? Then join me after the break...

Tuesday, February 20, 2024

Action Figure Review: Mutt & Junkyard from G.I. Joe: Classified Series by Hasbro


  Mutt and Junkyard are my first G.I. Joe: Classified Series reviews for 2024 figures! I do believe that some of the deluxe set of Mutt, the dog handler, and Junkyard, the dog, made it out at the end of 2023, but this guy didn't release from Hasbro Pulse or most other online stores until the first week of January, so I'm counting the set as a 2024 release. While there are still plenty to be made, Hasbro has been offering a nice assortment of figures with animal companions in the Classified Series. I loved the figures that came with animals as a kid and I'm always looking forward to any sets that come with a dog. We've had Snake Eyes and Timber and now we have Mutt and Junkyard. Oddly enough, Junkyard is the friendlier of the pair, as Mutt is known for being prone to snapping and having a pretty bad attitude. He's the one wearing the muzzle, after all. Mutt and Junkyard were first released as part of the 1984 G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero series, and it's that vintage figure that these two are largely based on. Ready to check out this two-pack? Then join me after the break...