Thursday, February 11, 2021

Missing in Action: Toylines That Didn't Make the Cut in 2020



 Since 2015 I've supplemented the lists of My 10 Favorite Toylines and 10 Favorite Individual Toys with a list called Missing in Action, a list where I look back at the previous year's Top 10 Toylines list and determine why some of the lines from that year failed to return for the current year's list.  2020's top 10 list only had four toylines returning from the 2019 list, which means quite a few lines went missing in action!  I find it interesting to look at the lines that failed to show up again, attempting to diagnose why they went missing. There are a few reasons why a toyline makes 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.

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 in other things.

Drop in Quality: This is when a toyline has a severe drop in quality 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.

Let's jump in and check out who went missing in action in 2020 after the break...


DC Primal Age by Funko- Missing in Action!

   While Funko's POP! series has been going for nearly a decade now they can't keep an action figure line running for more than a series or two to save their lives and DC Primal Age was another victim of Funko's ineptness in this area. DC Primal Age had a disastrous launch as an Amazon exclusive QC control disaster in late 2018 but early 2019 saw an improved run of the first series and an excellent second series. This line should have had some serious legs but it disappeared. Were folks turned off by the early problems, was there really no interest in these MOTU inspired DC figures, or were many of the rumors involving licensing issues to blame? Who knows but the line is a gem that sadly feels like it never reached its full potential. 

Guillermo del Toro Signature Collection by NECA- Missing in Action/ Demoted!

   This was never going to be an expansive line unless they brought in Hellboy, Blade, or Pacific Rim (which was doubtful), so it wasn't much of a surprise that NECA's only release for this line in 2020 was an Old Faun retool of the Faun figure released in 2019. I really was hoping they'd pull out a few more cool character designs like the Toad from Pan's Labyrinth, a Crimson Peak ghost or two, and maybe something from Cronos or Mimic. I didn't have much interest in the subtle retool of the Faun so this one was mostly just flat out Missing in Action.

Halloween by NECA- Demoted!

   In 2019 NECA released some killer Halloween figures but they kind of slowed things down in 2020. With Halloween Kills delayed until this year it's likely that NECA held off on some releases for 2020. The Silver Shamrock Trick-or-Treaters were great, though, and did make my Best of the Rest list but nothing else really stood out to me as I don't really care for the Mego styled figures. Halloween is going to be a tricky license due to the weird rights issues with different films and the fact that Michael Myers just doesn't vary in appearance much like Freddy and Jason but I'm really hoping for a few solid releases each year.

Masters of the Universe by Super7- Missing in Action!

Having lost the MOTU license at the end of 2019 (the only things released last year were stuff they had done preorders for previously) Super7's Filmation inspired neo-vintage Masters of the Universe line is over, replaced by Mattel's own Masters of the Universe Origins. I'm enjoying Origins but I don't find them as exciting yet as I found Super7's releases that almost seamlessly fit into the vintage MOTU line.

Masters of the Universe by Mega Construx- Demoted!

   It feels kind of weird to say this line was demoted in 2020 but there were just too many other lines I liked more. Plus, there weren't as many exciting releases as in 2019. Almost everything released in the Mega Construx line was really good, though they do tend to release the same characters a bit too often. They're off to a strong start for 2021 and I really expect them to make my Top 10 Toylines of 2021 list if they continue at the pace they're going this year. They had a really impressive showing at the virtual panel for PowerCon 2020 and it seems like the line is in the hands of a great team who loves MOTU. The Panthor at Point Dread set did make my Best of the Rest list for 2020 if it's any consolation.  

Overwatch Ultimates by Hasbro- Missing in Action!

   This one hurts as Hasbro's Overwatch Ultimates was one of my favorite lines of 2019. It was probably in my top 3. The line was excellent and did a great job of translating Blizzard's wonderful character designs into amazing action figures. What the heck happened, though? The line just kind of disappeared, listings for future releases were quietly cancelled, and Hasbro ceased to acknowledge it. What was to blame? Possibly culprits are the the slightly smaller scale, too many paint variants, Hasbro holding back on popular characters to try to stretch out the line, troubles with Blizzard's PR in 2019, Blizzard being difficult to work, or just a general lack of interest in the brand by most consumers. It's a shame as this was shaping up to be an amazing toyline. The figures are still fantastic but having so many missing well known characters from the line up just makes you dwell on what might have been. 

There were quite a few lines Missing in Action this year, 3 or 4 of which are probably completely done with no hope of returning. What toylines went Missing in Action for you this year? What toylines that you once loved lost your attention? Any new interests that excited you this year? Let me know in the comments below!


  1. I always liked the look of the "Primal Age" figures. I just never pulled the trigger on picking any up!

    1. I thought most of them were pretty nice but, again, Funko had some QC issues on the earliest releases in multiple lines, so I can't blame folks for being apprehensive. They also rarely stick with anything except POP! vinyls, so most folks probably didn't want to start collecting a line that would never be completed.

  2. Same here - liked the DC Primal Age design even though I rarely buy DC heroes. I was also sad that there was almost nothing for Rise of Skywalker. Granted the sequel trilogy figures were horrible and the movies outraged fans, but you might as well finish the last movie with 12-20 figures and let us fanboys whine anyway. Oh well.

    1. Yeah, Rise of Skywalker definitely needs more figures as it had the most toyetic designs in the Sequel Trilogy. I'm curious when Hasbro will revisit it? Surely at some point, right?


What'chu talkin' 'bout?