Sunday, January 28, 2018

My Top 10 Toylines of 2017

   Getting to do these "Top 10" lists is one of my favorite things to do on this site. This is the sixth year I've created a list (the earlier ones were originally at The Epic Review) and the effort I put into it seems to increase a little bit each year. It's always fun (and sometimes mildly alarming) to look back at all of the cool stuff I've picked up over the past year and decide what are my favorites. That's a key word here, by the way: "Favorite." I will readily admit that my list is not a best of list but a list of my favorites. One of my favorite end of the year awards events has been Michael Crawford's Poppies over at as it's more of an Academy Award styled event with multiple judges from different areas voting on the best. Last year I was finally able to serve as a judge for the first time and it has absolutely been a dream come true. When I help nominate and vote in those awards, I try to be as objective as I possibly can. Over here, though, well these are my picks and they're based on criteria that I alone set. Let's get this show rolling after the break....

   Over the past couple of years I've divided my Top 10 into two separate categories: My Top 10 Toylines and My Top 10 Individual Releases. Today I'm starting with my top 10 Toylines as it's kind of my standard best of list. These are the 10 toylines (action figures, statues, minifigures, etc.) of the past year that I most enjoyed collecting. They may not always be the best, or the most expansive lines, but they're my favorites for one reason or another. 
  In the past my list has been fairly eclectic, spanning a number of properties.  Things have changed a bit this year, though, as I've really been much more intentional in what new toy releases I buy. Yes, I still buy loads of stuff but unless it's something that really and truly impressed me, in 2017 I really tended to stick to lines I enjoyed collecting overall or lines based on my favorite properties like Star Wars and DC Comics. I sort of made a decision that in 2017 I would narrow things down a bit. That means that there were some great toylines that I passed up in order to focus on the lines and properties I tend to collect. If you're a reader of this site, you can probably guess what this means: Lots of DC Comics and lots of Star Wars. In years past I definitely had a bit more variety here but as my focus has narrowed a bit, so has the range of stuff I've purchased. So be it. 

   As always, I try to be as fair as possible when dividing up product lines. Also, I arrange these alphabetically. Just because. Now, let's get into the actual list starting with my number one pick:

1. DC Comics Designer Series by DC Collectibles

DCDS also made the list in 2014 and 2016
      This is the third time that the DC Comics Designer Series has made this list over the past few years. Delivering artist specific depictions of characters, the DC Comics Designer Series this year focused only on two specific artists: Amanda Conner and Ant Lucia. While the Amanda Conner series (consisting of four Harley Quinn variants) was a bit disappointing, the Ant Lucia themed Bombshells series delivered some of my favorite action figures of the year. Even the second series of Bombshells which featured fewer accessories and diminished articulation still managed to impress me. Since DC Collectibles has pretty much cancelled all future action figure releases (including the third series of Bombshells that were scheduled for this line), it's highly possible that this is the last year this line will make the list unless DC Collectibles surprises us in 2018. Still, the eight Bombshells figures we got are incredible and earned the Designer Series this spot on the list. 

2. DC Comics Multiverse by Mattel

DCCM also made the list in 2016
   This is the second year that Mattel's DC Comics Multiverse line has made the list and, while it may not always look like it, I feel that things are improving for this line. As I was looking through the list, I realized that there were very few figures in this line that received above a Good and a 1/2 rating from me. I'm not sure there was a single Epic, either. To be honest, this line is one of those that perfectly symbolizes my disclaimer that this is a list of my favorites lines and not necessarily the best lines. Of course, there are definitely some things I really like about this line: The character selection is pretty good with a mixture of classic and modern characters as well as plenty of DCEU themed releases. While there are some terrible figures in this line, there are also plenty of solid figures that allow you to add to the ever growing collection of Mattel DC figures encompassing DC Universe Classics, DC Superheroes, DC Signature Series, and more. I enjoy collecting and critiquing these and 2018 looks to be a better year based on recent pictures of the currently shipping Clayface series. 

3. DC Nano Metalfigs by Jada Toys

   Yes, this list going to be heavily DC themed. It's honestly just where the bulk of my collecting interest lies these days. While the majority of my DC purchases are action figures in the 6-7 inch scales and Batgirl stuff, I was intrigued this year by the DC Nano Figures from Jada Toys. Combining my love of the DC Universe and minifigures, Jada Toys has offered some excellent die-cast metal minifigures that retail for around a dollar along with a killer Batcave to display them in. Besides just the standard crew like Batman, Superman, and Wonder Woman, Jada Toys has also offered up secondary characters like Martian Manhunter, Rex Mason, and Katana. The DC Nano Metalfigs have been one of my favorites surprises of 2017 and a line I'm very anxious to here more about them at Toy Fair 2018.  

4. MAFEX DC Comics by Medicom

    Many previous figures from MAFEX have been met with mixed reviews and quality control issues but sometime last year Medicom really started cranking out some impressive stuff. In 2017 MAFEX delivered some very solid releases under the DC license including an incredible Knightmare Batman from Batman V. Superman: Dawn of Justice and some great Suicide Squad releases. The MAFEX Harley Quinn and Deadshot are definitely way more interesting figures than the S.H. Figuarts versions for sure. 2018 looks to be like a pivotal year for MAFEX's work with the DC license as they've got some awesome stuff lined up from the Dark Knight Trilogy and Justice League. Of course, their prices seem to be increasing as well. Do collectors have enough confidence in MAFEX to support them as their figures edge closer and closer to the $100 mark? Only time will tell. 

5. Marvel Legends Series by Hasbro

MLS also made the list in 2014 and 2016
   Oh my gosh! It's not a DC Comics based toyline. It's a Marvel Comics based toyline! I think everyone is saying it so I'm really just parroting here but it's pretty clear that Hasbro is absolutely killing it with the Marvel license. They are putting our series after series of quality product and are absolutely running circles around pretty much everything else anyone is doing at retail. I'm not much of a Marvel collector so I probably purchased fewer than ten Marvel Legends figures this year (and all from Guardians of the Galaxy) but even just that small sampling was incredible. The likenesses on figures like Gamora, Star-Lord, and Nebula were amazing. If I were a Marvel collector I could go on and on as I would have been buying stuff all of the time. For now, though, I'm really curious to see how Hasbro tops 2017 in 2018. 

6. M.U.S.C.L.E. by Super7

MUSCLE also made the list in 2016
   The return of M.U.S.C.L.E. has been one of my favorite events to occur in toydom over the past few years. I'm a M.U.S.C.L.E. nut and the chance to get some cool licensed minifigures in the classic M.U.S.C.L.E. style is a real treat. Super7's work on M.U.S.C.L.E. has been a bit scattered, though with The Worst and Street Fighter II delivering some of the greatest minifigures ever, Masters of the Universe and Aliens offering some solid and fun minifigures with some slightly waxy looking molds, and the Mega Man figures being absolutely, hands down, the most disappointing things I purchased this year. Despite the utterly flawed Mega Man line, Super7's great work on the other lines helped M.U.S.C.L.E. to flex its muscle and retain a place on the 2017 Top 10 list. 

7. One:12 Collective DC Universe by Mezco

    Hey! Here we go! Another DC Comics based line. I believe it is accurate to say that no toyline in 2017 generated more buzz and excitement than Mezco's One:12 Collective line. While the line has been around since summer of 2015 it really didn't feel like it exploded with widespread recognition until around February or March of 2017. If I were ranking this list rather than simply keeping it alphabetized, the One:12 Collective DC Universe line would definitely be close to the top, if not there. While Mezco definitely has lots of issues to get under control in regards to scheduling, managing preorders, and handling delays, you can't say that their product is anything less than fantastic. Holy smoke has Mezco put out some amazing figures this year. I've picked most all of their DC releases except for the BvS Superman (I'm avoiding most non-Batman related movie figures) and Black Adam (who I'll probably pick up within a month or two as One:12 releases slow down a bit) and I've been pleased with every one of them. 2018 looks to be another full steam ahead year for the line and I'm excited to see what's in store. 

8. One:12 Collective Marvel by Mezco

 Wow! A Marvel line made it onto this list twice this year. That's pretty unusual, isn't it? Just like with the One:12 Collective DC Universe line Mezco's work on the Marvel line was equally impressive. While I only purchased a few figures from this line, the figures I did pickup (The Punisher and his Fully Loaded variant, Daredevil, and Deadpool) are amazing. The Marvel line seems to have more hard to come by variants and frustrating limited editions in it, though, making collecting this line a bit less fun than collecting the DC line. Still, Mezco has done some great work here and has probably released the "best ever" versions of many of the characters they've put out this year. I really debated whether One:12 Collective should be considered it's own line but I decided against it: With five distinct properties (and more to come), I'm considering One:12 Collective to be more of a product range similar to Diamond's Select lines or Bandai's S.H. Figuarts branding rather than a hodgepodge brand like Movie Maniacs. 

9. POP!: Star Wars by Funko

POP!: Star Wars also made the list in 2016
 I try to be as fair as possible when I determine what constitutes a toyline because some are really expansive and constitute multiple properties. If I was just going with Funko POP as a whole it would be a juggernaut with hundreds of licenses and thousands of releases a year. That seems a bit unfair so I typically break Funko down by their categories: POP! Movies, POP! Games, etc. Star Wars gets it's own POP! category and it also gets a spot on my list. While I'm not sure I went out and purchased any regular Star Wars: POPs this year (I did receive one as a gift) I do receive the Smuggler's Bounty crate subscription every other month and I love the design and quality of the figures. While I dislike how many exclusives and chase variants Funko releases, I do appreciate their character selection and the creativity of their choices. I wish Hasbro's character selection looked a bit more like Funko's. 


10. Star Wars: The Black Series 

SWB has made the list in 2013, 2014, 2015, and 2016
    Again, if this list were done in order of my favorites rather than alphabetically, Star Wars: The Black Series would be duking it out with the DC side of One:12 Collective for dominance. While there are always things Hasbro could be doing better I am absolutely loving this 6 inch Star Wars line. The sculpts have improved greatly over the past year and it feels like we're seeing more and more figures released with shorter lulls. The 40th Anniversary may have been a bit less exciting than it should have been but when I looked at the number of figures released this year and how incredible a good many of them are, I was quite impressed. This is a very fun line to collect and speculate about and I hope it keeps coming for long into the future. Of course 2018 will see the return of The Vintage Collection, so we'll see how collectors and the market respond to its reentry into toy aisles.

So, what do you think? What were your favorite toylines of 2017? Leave a comment and let me know. Now, here are some facts and figures I like to track every year, just for fun:

# of lines that have appeared on this list multiple years: 6

# of lines from NECA: 0

# of lines from Mattel: 1

# of lines from Hasbro: 2

# of lines from Funko: 2

# of lines from Mezco: 2

# of lines in which Batman appeared: 3 (There were no Batman figures released in One:12 Collective or the DC Designer Series this year, oddly enough)

# of lines in which Harley Quinn appeared: 4 (Harley didn't appear in DC Multiverse this year)

# of lines with Batgirl: 1

# of lines based on films from 2017: 5 (Both Star Wars lines had characters from The Last Jedi, DC Multiverse had figures from Wonder Woman and Justice League, Marvel Legends had figures from Guardians of the Galaxy Volume 2 and Thor Ragnarok, and DC Nano Metalfigs had figures from Justice League).

# of toylines that I never saw hide nor hair of at Wal-Mart: 5. This is up a bit from last year but now shows off a pretty even split.

# of toylines based on R- rated films/M-Rated games, etc.: 2 M.U.S.C.L.E. has the Aliens subset while Marvel Legends has figures from the TV MA rated Netflix shows like Jessica Jones. 

# of toylines that I was a completest on and bought everything offered: 2- For Star Wars the Black Series I picked up every unique figure and I bought all of the DC Comics Designer Series figures from 2017.

# of toylines that were available through Kickstarter or an online subscription method: 1- This one plummeted last year but I'm raising it up to 1 this year considering that a number of POP! Star Wars figures are only available through the Smuggler's bounty box. The subscription method seems to have largely fallen otherwise out of favor (although Super7 is attempting to do preorders for 4-8 MOTUC figures at a time) while the Kickstarter lines have just become too massive for me to keep up with! I've wanted to support some of them but the buy ins are just way too high.

# of toylines in a 1/18th scale or smaller: 3 (M.U.S.C.L.E.,  POP! Star Wars, and DC nano Metalfigs)

# of toylines with no articulation: 2 (DC nano Metalfigs and M.U.S.C.L.E.


  1. I picked up more Marvel Legends in the last six months than in the entire 1/2 years I've been collecting- they've been amazing!

    1. They really have been. I took advantage of the Walgreens sale last night and picked up a few figures I had skipped last year. I now also have Elektra, Jessica Jones, and Hela.

  2. Replies
    1. I have Katana on my best of the rest list that published today. The only two I bought this year were Wonder Girl and Katana. Wonder Girl was good but Katana really stood out to me. I'm hoping that we see a few more releases next year. We really need an updated Batgirl and Catwoman along with Mera, Cheetah, Killer Frost, Bumblebee, Hawkgirl, Vixen, and maybe even Spoiler.

  3. But you are right about Marvel Legends. I am jonesing for anything Black Panther related.

    1. Walgreens in the states is having a sale on all Marvel Legends figures for 12.99. Just picked up the new film version of Black Panther last night.


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