Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Action Figure Review: Harley Quinn from S.H. Figuarts Suicide Squad by Bandai

 I've been a fan of the Academy Award winning film Suicide Squad ever since it's release. While you film snobs are just now recognizing the brilliance of this movie about a bunch of prisoners heading into a city to stop an archaeologist possessed by an ancient witch and her brother (that also features appearances by Batman and the Joker), true fans have known what's up for at least the past 6 months. OK, I kid, I kid. Yes, Suicide Squad did win an Academy Award (for best make-up and hairstlying), but I know that's not causing anyone to re-evaluate the film. Still, I loved it and I don't think anyone will dispute the fact that Margot Robbie as Harley Quinn is the best part of the film. Toymakers certainly believe that as we're seeing Harley Quinn stuff left and right. Today I'm looking at the S.H. Figuarts Harley Quinn from Bandai. Yes, the same people that make the horrible Power Rangers stuff sitting on shelves right now. Bandai's S.H. Figuarts range of product puts out some incredible product for collectors, though, so you can't paint all of their stuff with the same brush. Harley came out over the last month or so and I've had mine sitting around just waiting for her big Academy Awards win. Let's take a closer look after the break!

Sunday, February 26, 2017

Minifigure Review: Crayboth Flesh from Glyos by Onell Design

 Last month I went to the Charlotte Minicon and while I had fun, I was a bit disappointed with the toy vendors at the show. It seemed like there were far fewer vendors than they normally have (some of the side rooms at the convention center which are usually open remained closed this year). Usually I come home with a decent pile of loot but this year I only came home with a pocket full of minifigures. Three of the five minis were Crayboths from Onell Design's Glyos line. I've reviewed a couple of Glyos compatible items before but this is the first true product from Onell that I've purchased. The first minifigure I grabbed is, I believe, Flesh Crayboth from Wave 50: Union of Exiles. I always prefer to grab the classic "flesh" colored minifigures first since I've been conditioned to their coolness thanks to M.U.S.C.L.E. Let's take a closer look at Crayboth after the break...

Saturday, February 25, 2017

My Top 10 Star Wars: The Black Series Figures of 2016

    For the past 3 years I've created a list of my top 10 (and bottom 5) Masters of the Universe Classics figures of the previous year. This year, though, MOTUC didn't make the list of my top ten lines, nor did I buy much of what was released. Still, I've decided to continue this tradition of picking my 10 favorite releases (and sometimes my bottom 5) from other lines on my Top 10 Toylines of 2016 list. Here's the criteria for a line to warrant a list of it's own: It had to make my Top 10 Toylines list, there had to be at least 10 releases, and I had to purchase at least 75% of the releases from that year). Last week I looked at my favorite (and least favorite) releases from Mattel's DC Comics Multiverse. Today I'm looking at Hasbro's Star Wars: The Black Series! Join me for my ten favorite figures after the break...

Friday, February 24, 2017

Action Figure Review: Daredevil from One:12 Collective Marvel Universe by Mezco

   Dang! Mezco hit us pretty hard this February, didn't they? Shortly after Green Arrow's late January release we received the Punisher and Daredevil, and now the Joker is on the way! Today I'm going to check out Daredevil, another superhero who has had a very good past few years thanks to an excellent television show. While I haven't watched much of DC's television universe, thanks to Marvel going with Netflix to distribute their series I've had the chance to watch both seasons of Daredevil and Jessica Jones (I need to get around to watching Luke Cage; I'm a slow TV watcher). While Mezco is planning on releasing a Charlie Cox styled Daredevil sometime later this year or early next year, this version of the Devil of Hell's Kitchen is based on Mezco's own unique blend of various looks. Like with Green Arrow, you could probably look at this figure and see elements of multiple different costumes throughout the years from both comics and live-action sources. Mezco also has released one variant (an exclusive Shadowland Daredevil) with a Previews exclusive First Appearance Daredevil on the way, but I opted for the classic red costume. Let's check out Mezco's One:12 Collective version of the Man Without Fear after the break...

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Action Figure Review: The Punisher from One:12 Collective Marvel Universe by Mezco

   I'm always a sucker for action figures of the Punisher. What can I say? The just makes for a really cool toy. I'm pretty sure that the Toy Biz series 4 Punisher was the first Marvel Legends figure I ever bought and the Punisher was the first Marvel Select Punisher I ever bought. I've also grabbed plenty of other figures of Frank Castle over the years since I can't turn a toy of a mean guy dressed in black and sporting a whole mess of guns. When I saw that Mezco would be releasing a One:12 Collective Punisher, I knew I'd have to buy this guy. I originally planned on just picking up the Previews Exclusive version of the Punisher but after seeing a few reviews of this guy from other sources I knew I had to have him, too. He's the standard version and he just started shipping in early February. Let's check out this really cool figure after the break...

Monday, February 20, 2017

Action Figure Review: Green Arrow from One:12 Collective: DC Universe by Mezco

 Today I'm reviewing the first non-Batman related DC Universe figure from Mezco's One:12 Collective line: Green Arrow! The Green Arrow has had a tremendous surge in popularity over the past few years thanks to the TV series Arrow so it's possible that Mezco wanted to benefit from some of that momentum. Of course, this version of Oliver Queen isn't based on any particular iteration of the character's appearance; instead, it's a melange of elements from various looks over the years. Look closely and you'll see elements from classic, modern, and the Stephen Amell version of the character. This medley of various seems to be the driving aesthetic in both Mezco's Marvel and DC Comics designs and I'm really liking it. It's kind of refreshing and actually feels new and exciting. Let's check out this high-end toy of the Emerald Archer, shall we?

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Action Figure Review: Mario (2-4) from World of Nintendo by Jakks Pacific

 I've recently acquired a number of figures from series 2-3 and series 2-4 of Jakks Pacific's World of Nintendo. These all came out near the end of 2016 but they're just starting to hit the saturation point where they can be more easily found. Between the 10 figures from 2-3 and 2-4 there have only been three all new sculpts (Inkling Boy, Villager, and Peppy) compared to 6 repaints. And then, there's Mario here. Mario was originally released back in late 2014 and while variations of the main man of gaming have been prevalent in the line, if you wanted a straight up Mario you might have to look around a bit. It seems that Jakks definitely wanted to get Mario back on shelves and they took an interesting route: This Mario not only features a new accessory but also a new headsculpt and new hands. He's more of a retool or a true "version 2" than a repaint. I considered skipping him, but the newly sculpted parts, the cool new accessory, finding him for retail price won me over. What can I say? I'm a sucker for this line! Let's check out the series 2-4 version of Mario after the break...

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Top 10 (And Bottom 5) DC Comics Multiverse Figures of 2016


   For the past 3 years I've created a list of my top 10 (and bottom 5) Masters of the Universe Classics figures of the previous year. This year, though, MOTUC didn't make my top ten lines, nor did I buy much of what was released. I've decided to continue this tradition with other lines on my Top 10 Toylines of 2016 list, though. Here's the criteria for a line to warrant a list: It had to make my Top 10 Toylines list, there had to be at least 10 releases, and I had to purchase at least 75% of the releases from that year). First up is DC Comics Multiverse by Mattel.

   As a collector of pretty much anything Batman related in the 6-7 inch scale, I was really happy to see Mattel return to toy aisles with the DC Comics Multiverse line. I enjoy picking these up although, I must admit, the line was a real mixed bag this year. There really was a mix of very good figures and some extremely weak ones with a lot of average ones in between. I know these are a mass market line, so I'm not expecting DC Collectibles or One:12 Collective quality, but I did hope for a little more. Oddly, the line features dozens of original sculpts, but the sculpts were often underwhelming with some useless articulation. Still, there were some gems. Here's my list of the top 10 DC Comics Multiverse figures from 2016 along with some commentary from my original review, after the break...

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Action Figure Review: Captain America from One:12 Collective Marvel Universe by Mezco

 I am absolutely impressed by Mezco's One:12 Collective line and I'm getting ready to begin a string of reviews for some of the most recent figures, but first I want to look back at one of last year's releases that I just picked up: Captain America. Mezco has released three versions of Cap (this one, a deluxe Classic con exclusive version, and a Previews exclusive Commander Rogers) but this modern version was the one that jumped out at me due to the more subdued, yet classic, color scheme. He was a 2016 release and is my first One:12 Collective figure in the Marvel Universe series. Had I picked him up last year there is no doubt he would have made my Best of the Rest list. Let's jump in and take a look at what was one of the coolest release of last year! Join me after the break...

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Action Figure Review: Blue Yoshi from World of Nintendo by Jakks Pacific

 Today I'm looking at Blue Yoshi, one of the repaints in series 2-4 of Jakks Pacific's World of Nintendo line. Series 2-4 features quite a few redone characters including another Samus repaint (Phazon Suit) and redone versions of the basic Mario and Wind Waker Link (the only "new" figure is the Inkling Boy from Splatoon). I'm hoping that we see some more interesting releases at Toy Fair 2017 this coming weekend but, for now, I'll talk about the most interesting figure in this series for me: Blue Yoshi. The Mario figures are definitely my favorites and now I'm finally reaching a point where I want to own every different color of Yoshi. Considering the seemingly limited distribution of this line, I know Jakks has gotta make some money back and I'd much rather have an army of colorful Yoshi's than other repaints. Jakks is calling this guy Blue Yoshi, but, to be honest, he's actually not. He's Light Blue Yoshi. They are two separate characters and, considering Jakks made a legit Blue Yoshi in the 2.5 inch line, this was an odd mistake to make. Still, this guy's a good figure and clearly Light Blue Yoshi (he has the purple shoes), so let's take a closer look at him after the break...

Monday, February 13, 2017

Action Figure Review: Finn Balor from WWE Mutants by Mattel

 Today I'm looking at the second figure from the WWE Mutants series that I picked up: Finn Balor. Unlike the other characters in the WWE Mutants series, Finn Balor actually does dress up in an elaborate costume, thus giving Mattel something to shoot for when designing a mutant version of the character. Finn Balor takes on the persona of the Demon King, coming to the ring in a slow, walking crawl with some incredible music setting the proper mood. What Mattel has done here has taken Finn's bodypaint and style and imagined them as an actual creature. It's actually a really cool concept; this is probably how Finn is "supposed to appear" to his opponents. Let's take a look at this very unique wrestling figure after the break...

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Action Figure Review: John Cena from WWE Mutants by Mattel

 Tonight is Elimination Chamber, only on the WWE Network, and we're going to see if John Cena can defend his WWE Championship against AJ Styles, Dean Ambrose, The Miz, Baron Corbin, and (my favorite) Bray Wyatt. While I'm hoping Bray takes it, setting him up to face off against current Royal Rumble winner and his current family member Randy Orton, there are quite a few big draws in this match. That's neither here nor there right now, though: What you're really here to see is a metallic mutant John Cena. Like last year's WWE Zombies, Mattel's WWE Mutants does something different with the WWE Superstars by forgoing their usual athletic appearances and turning them into something extreme. Mutant Brock Lesnar has fours arms (a Brocktopus?), Sting is a literal scorpion, Finn Balor is a literal demon king, and John Cena here is made of metal. A robotic mutant John Cena. There is no way I could pass this toy by as it is so ridiculous I just had to own it. Just look at that card art above: That card art sold me on this guy. It's just so...crazy. If Saban were making a WWE show, that's what Cena would look like. Let's take a look at the interFace that runs the place after the break...

Saturday, February 11, 2017

Missing in Action! Toylines that Didn't Make the Cut in 2016.

   Last year I started a new "end of the year list" called Missing in Action. While my other lists recognize my favorite toys and toylines from the previous year, Missing in Action does something a little different: It looks at the toylines that made my top 10 list the previous year that failed to show up again for the current year. There are toylines that make my top 10 list one year that fail to show up again the next year for various reasons. Sometimes a line has a sudden decrease in quality. Other times a line ends or has a significant drop in releases. Of course, there are also always lines I lose interest in and lines that just got beat out by something better. So, why do this? For me it's simply interesting to look back and figure out how my collecting habits change from year to year. Let's check out 7 toylines that went Missing in Action this past year!

Friday, February 10, 2017

POP! Review: Greedo/ Hammerhead/ Walrus Man 3 Pack from POP! Star Wars by Funko

  A week or two ago I was walking through my Wal-Mart and was absolutely amazed to stumble upon the very cool Greedo, Hammerhead, and Walrus Man 3 pack from Funko. Sometimes the Funko POP! exclusive sets are a real pain to find and I didn't have high hopes of ever seeing one. I'm a fairly casual POP! collector with the only series I've ever made a real effort to track down being the recent Resident Evil POP! vinyls, so I kind of anticipated I may never see this set. I'm glad I was wrong! For the uninformed, what's really neat about this set is that these POPs are actually based on action figures from the vintage Kenner Star Wars toyline rather than on the film characters themselves. Rather than use the now canonical names for Mamow Nadon and Ponda Baba, Funko also went with the Kenner designations of Hammerhead (a name that is in fact very offensive to Ithorians) and Walrus Man. I'm sure that most Star Wars collectors own these vintage figures (they were part of the 1979 series, although mine came from an antique shop many years later as I wasn't born until '83) and will probably get a real kick out of this set. Let's take a look at three of Kenner's Cantina Four after the break...

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Action Figure Review: Chirrut Imwe from Star Wars: The Black Series Phase III by Hasbro

   I received the Funko POP! Chirrut Imwe for Christmas but I absolutely still needed this Black Series version of the Guardian of the Whills, too! Chirrut comes packed in the newest series of figures along with Baze Malbus and four repacks. Four! Hasbro, what in the world are you doing? Fortunately, Chirrut and Baze are shipping in solid cases (meaning 8 Chirruts or Bazes) in one case, so hopefully e-tailers won't get hit up with lots of unsold product and can offer these guys at reasonable prices. Chirrut is the first Black Series figure I've picked up in 2017, a year that I'm hoping is very good for this line; not only should we get a 40th anniversary series but we will also get figures from Episode VIII: The Last Jedi! Let's not get ahead of ourselves, though, as it's time to check out Chirrut Imwe. More details after the break...

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

POP! Review: Tyrant #159 from POP! Games by Funko

 While it's only February, I can absolutely say that Funko's Resident Evil POP! vinyls are already one of my favorite things about 2017. Being a huge Resident Evil fan I've been a bit dismayed over the past few years that no company has released a Resident Evil toyline that got anywhere beyond just a  few characters. While POP! vinyls aren't your typical action figures, I'm really hoping that they manage to go deep and wide with this line. So far we've received characters from four different games, which is a nice start. We've also received some oversized 6 inch POP! figures with the GameStop exclusive Hunter and now the Hot Topic exclusive Tyrant. The Tyrant was the final B.O.W. faces in the original Resident Evil and he's a pretty intimidating guy, perfect for a 6 inch POP!. He's also available as a Target exclusive that glows in the dark. The Tyrant never glowed in the dark, though, did he? That's why I opted for the Hot Topic version. Let's take a look at this big, mean monster after the break...

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

POP! Review: Hoth Han Solo with Tauntaun #125 from POP! Star Wars by Hasbro

  January's Smuggler's Bounty box arrived from Funko a week or two ago and, as always, it was really fun to open it with my little one. Between her and I (and sometimes my wife), every Star Wars item in the set always finds a home. This month's theme is The Empire Strikes Back and features a variety of items from Episode V including some Darth Vader and Stormtrooper adorned socks, a Lando Calrissian pin, a Yoda patch, a stuffed Wampa (which my daughter claimed, meaning she now has 4 differently sized stuffed Wampas sitting on a chair in her room next to a very nervous stuffed Tauntaun), and this very cool deluxe POP! vinyl featuring Han Solo riding a Tauntaun. This is an incredible item and well worth checking out. Let's take a closer look after the break...

Monday, February 6, 2017

Minifigure Review: Pack D from M.U.S.C.L.E. Street Fighter II by Super7

 Today it's time for the fourth and final look at the newest series of M.U.S.C.L.E. figures from Super7: Street Fighter II Pack D! This set includes the final group of the original world warriors from the original game, Zangief, Chun-Li, and E. Honda, and it's as good as the previous three sets. I liked the Masters of the Universe sets and the Alien sets, but with this series it feels like Super7 has truly managed to nail the M.U.S.C.L.E. aesthetic. These little guys are just stylized enough to pair well with the vintage line while having their own, distinctive appearance that makes these absolutely recognizable as the Street Fighter II characters they are. Let's check out this last pack after the break...

Sunday, February 5, 2017

Minifigure Review: Pack C from M.U.S.C.L.E. Street Fighter II by Super7

 Today I'm looking at Pack C, the third pack of Street Fighter II minifigures from Super7's M.U.S.C.L.E. revival. Dang, these guys are really cool, aren't they? Just look at them makes me really want to turn on my SNES and dig out Street Fighter II. These little guys are totally hitting all the right spots for me so far as minifigures go. Let's take a closer look at these ones after the break, shall we?

Saturday, February 4, 2017

The Best of the Rest: My 10 Favorite Individual Action Figures of 2016

   When it comes to creating my top 10 lists for the year I always do one featuring my 10 favorite lines as a whole and one that features individual figures. Sometimes a toyline is so small, possibly consisting of only a single release, and it just doesn't make sense to place it in the list of my 10 favorite toylines. Other times there's a figure which ends up being a real gem in an otherwise ho-hum line. Of course, there are also times when I only wanted one figure from a larger line and I was impressed by what I picked up. That's where this list comes in.
     Like in my previous top 10 individual figures lists, remember that individual taste really determines what ends up winning in my awards. While I do try to include figures that are objectively really well done (detailed sculpted, neat paintwork, functional articulation, no issues with breakage), character selection and style play a huge part, too. To put it simply, I like what I like. One thing I do really make an effort to do is to look at a wide range of product. On this list you'll figures from low-end lines and high-end lines. You'll see standard mass market lines and lines you might have never heard of before. For this list, these winners are simply in alphabetical order.

   Second, action figures from lines in my Top 10 Favorite Toylines of 2016 list are ineligible. There are some lines that could just come in and dominate half the slots on this list. That wouldn't be any fun, would it?

Ready for the fun to start? Then let's get going after the break:

Friday, February 3, 2017

Minifigure Review: Pack B from M.U.S.C.L.E.: Street Fighter II by Super7

 Today I'm looking at the second pack from Super7's Street Fighter II subset of their M.U.S.C.L.E. revival, which contains Balrog, Dhalsim, and Ken. I reviewed the first set yesterday and gave some general thoughts on the popularity of Street Fighter II, so today let me begin by saying how much I really appreciate how Super7 is handling the products they're releasing. I can't think of any company producing product who makes things easier to buy than Super7. They sell their product directly, have pretty decent prices for being a fairly small operation, and they always seem to have enough to go around. They're doing great things and I'm excited to see how their work on Masters of the Universe classics turns out. For the meantime, though, I'm enjoying their work on M.U.S.C.L.E. Let's take a closer look at Pack B after the break...

Thursday, February 2, 2017

Minifigure Review: Pack A from M.U.S.C.L.E.: Street Fighter II by Super7

 M.U.S.C.L.E. and Street Fighter II are two great tastes that absolutely taste great together. I'm a huge fan of Super7's M.U.S.C.L.E. revival (it made the Top 10 list of my favorite toylines of 2016) and while I love me some Alien and Masters of the Universe, I think Street Fighter II is the best fit for the M.U.S.C.L.E. aesthetic yet. It's just perfect, really. While I've never been a huge fan of fighting games, Street Fighter II totally won me over years ago on the Super Nintendo. I have fond memories of not just the game but also of the Street Fighter subset of G.I. Joe figures and of the 1994 masterpiece starring Jean-Claude Van Damme and Raul Julia. You heard me right; that film is a flippin' treasure. I still watch it pretty regularly. Street Fighter II really felt like one of the first games that transcended it's origins and expanded itself beyond just what was on the screen. Comics, toys, an anime, and even Spin Fighters tops helped fans to immerse themselves in the world of the World Warrior. Now, years later, we have Street Fighter II M.U.S.C.L.E. figures! Let's check the first set out after the break...

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Action Figure Review: Elsa from Figma: Frozen by Good Smile Company

 One of the many cool things about having a child is that you get to share things that you love with them and they get to share things they love with you. While my daughter has become absolutely obsessed with Star Wars, superheroes, werewolves, the Super Mario Bros., trolls, yetis, and the like, I'm now a pretty big fan of Frozen. It's certainly not my favorite movie of all time, but I'd definitely say it's my favorite non-Pixar Disney film (though, full disclosure, I've never been a huge Disney fan). Heck, it very well could make a list of my top 50 movies. It's a darn good story with some excellent characters, great music, solid action, and humor that I really enjoy. It also has Queen Elsa, who has one of the best character designs I can think of. I love her story arc in this film and the "Let it Go" sequence is absolutely fantastic. I know it's been around for awhile, and lots of folks are probably tired of hearing people belt it out, but my gosh does it work in that film. When I found out that Good Smile Company was putting out an Elsa in their Figma range of figures, I was actually pretty excited. I've never owned a Figma product before, so this was a chance to try one out. Mine arrived a week or so ago (unfortunately after a pretty substantial snow storm) and I've been enjoying it for a few days before sitting down to right a review of it. Not only does the set include Elsa, but you get Olaf, too! Pretty cool, right? Let's open up the gates and check this one out!