Monday, February 6, 2023

Action Figure Review: Nightwing from Super Powers by McFarlane Toys

 


   The Series 2 Super Powers figures from McFarlane (Green Lantern John Stewart, the Batman Who Laughs, and the Flash) were a big improvement over the series one releases (Batman, Superman, and Darkseid) and, so far, Series 3 looks to have improved even more. I reviewed Deathstroke last month and now I'm checking out Nightwing. While Dick Grayson did appear in the vintage Super Powers line as Robin, in the comics at the time Jason Todd was Robin and Dick was Nightwing. This isn't the Nightwing costume of that era, however, but the Nightwing of the late 90s to early 2000s. It's definitely my favorite look for the character and it's exactly what I think of when I think of  Nightwing. It doesn't seem that there was ever any intention to release a Nightwing in the vintage Super Powers line but maybe this guy will find a home in your collection and rectify that. Let's leap into a new Nightwing review after the break...




Thursday, February 2, 2023

Action Figure Review: John Constantine from DC Page Punchers by McFarlane Toys/ DC Direct

 


   McFarlane Toys' DC Multiverseline made my Top Ten Toylines of 2022 list that I published yesterday, so I wanted to show off another figure from the line since I didn't review many of them last year. Well, a figure from a companion line, I guess. This figure of John Constantine is from DC Page Punchers and it's released by McFarlane Toys and DC Direct. McFarlane has been releasing and managing DC Direct product over the past year or two and while these 7 inch Page Punchers are built and feel just like DC Multiverse figures, they have different branding. It's been a long time since we heard the DC Direct name, hasn't it? For years they were using DC Collectibles. Just a note: There is also a Page Punchers line of 3 inch figures with comic book reprints. These 7 inch figures come in sets of four with a new comic for the full series. I certainly haven't read everything ever released with Constantine or under the Hellblazer title, but I do really like the character and love the Justice League Dark concept. Let's take a look at this new figure of street mage John Constantine after the break...




Wednesday, February 1, 2023

My Top 10 Toylines of 2022

 



   It's February and that means it's time for my annual awards lists here at Action Figure Barbecue! 

   I feel like I say that every year is an interesting one for action figures, but it kind of feels like the truth. There's always some fascinating, unusual stuff that happens. So, what happened in 2022? As the Covid-19 pandemic and restrictions largely waned, at least here in the United States, product releases seem to have returned more to normal. The toy product on shelves largely matched up with media releases, many conventions were back to being in-person, and retail shelves went back to their regular ebb and flow of feast or famine when it comes to finding new stuff on shelves. Inflation was a big factor last year with most companies raising prices, some more than others. While I know many smaller companies had to raise prices, Hasbro seemed to draw the most attention for some truly bizarre price increases, many of which seemed to be largely arbitrary. Their switch to plastic free packaging on most releases was also a point of contention with many collectors. 

   While toys are still available at retail (this year 8 of my top 10 lines had a retail presence), we're seeing more companies, even the larger ones, having a dedicated online presence. Previously it seemed like some of the larger companies didn't want to upset their retail partners, so online offerings directly from the company were more limited but now you can find most everything direct from the manufacturer. Preorders are also becoming more and more prominent with many scattered releases being favored over traditional "series" or "waves" of figures. While we still toys based on current media, we're seeing lots of 1990s nostalgia lines now. TMNT and Power Rangers are always huge, but even smaller 1990s properties like Gargoyles and Barnyard Commandos are getting a shake.

   While Hasbro still seems to be the 800 pound gorilla in the retail toy aisle, Mattel still had a significant presence at retail in 2022 as did McFarlane Toys, Jakks, Spin Masters, Jada Toys, Funko, and Jazwares. NECA and the Loyal Subjects also had a nice amount of product at mainstream retail, typically in designated collector focused sections, and Target is even carrying product from Super7 and other smaller companies. Playmates is still being Playmates, selling decades old TMNT figures and returning to Star Trek. While the fourth quarter is always a big deal, Hasbro, Mattel, and I'm sure a few others really shipped out a lot of product, much of which caught collectors (and their wallets) by surprise. It was crazy to see product expected for this coming Spring show up in October, November, and December. Of course, delays are still a thing, especially with companies like Super7 and Mezco who are notoriously slow at getting product to market. 

   When it comes to specialty stuff, many of the smaller, collector focused companies are really rivaling the mainstream companies in terms of output and quality, especially as prices are becoming more comparable. Valaverse, Fresh Monkey Fiction, Lone Coconut, Boss Fight Studios, Four Horsemen Studios, Diamond, Super7, Premium DNA and others, continue to release collector focused product directly to buyers and to smaller retailers. Hasbro, Mattel, and Jada are clearly trying to cash in on these trends with things like Haslab, Hasbro's $50 starting line-up figures (that just went "on sale" for $30) and Mattel offering up a remake of Eternia. Some of have been wildly successful while others haven't. 
   
   Creating my "Top 10" lists is always one of my favorite things to do at Action Figure Barbecue and I always spend plenty of time pouring over my notes from the previous year to determine which toylines I thought were the coolest and most fun to collect. This is the eleventh year I've created a list (the earliest ones were posted at The Epic Review) and it's always interesting too see how my lists change from year to year, often reflecting my changing interests and collecting trends. 2022's list wasn't as difficult as years past for some reason; I feel like I bought more things, but from fewer lines. I also made fewer "one off" purchases unless it was stuff that really fit in with one of my other collections.  While Masters of the Universe is still my number one collecting focus as a whole, there seemed to be a bit less of it this year. Funko seemed to largely ignore the property in 2022, which was quite odd.  There were definitely a good number of returning lines on this year's list, most of which are 6inch or 7inch scaled, well articulated and durable lines. I've realized that while I love displaying stuff, I still want action figures to feel like toys. You know, something I can pick up and mess around with without any fear of breakage. 

    A number of years back I divided my Top 10 list into two separate categories: My Top 10 Toylines and My Top 10 Individual Releases. I always start with My Top 10 Toylines as it's my standard best of list. These are the 10 toylines (action figures, statues, minifigures, etc.) of the past year that I had the most fun collecting and enjoyed the most. They may not always be the best or the most expansive lines, but they're my favorites for one reason or another. As I reiterate every year, the two key word for this list are "my" and "favorite." My list isn't necessarily based on a toyline's true merits and I really don't go outside of what interests me. Take this as a snapshot of the ten toylines I had the most fun collecting last year. As always, these are listed alphabetically rather than by any order of merit. And now, for My Top 10 Toylines of 2022...




   

Tuesday, January 31, 2023

Wrapping Up 2022: Stratos from Masterverse/ Masters of the Universe: New Eternia by Mattel

 

   The New Eternia releases in the 2022 Masterverse line seem to have been very well received. While I love the character selection and variety of the Masters of the Universe: Revelation and Princess of Power subsets, the New Eternia designs made for some of the coolest figures of last year. I mean, they've even made Stratos really interesting. I've talked before about how I've never been a big Stratos fan; I didn't have him as a kid, he doesn't usually have any weaponry, and he's usually a bit dull to me. This one's a real winner, though. Ready for a look at a Stratos figure who really soars? Then join me after the break...



Sunday, January 29, 2023

Wrapping Up 2022: Mace Windu (Clone Wars) from Star Wars: The Black Series Phase IV by Hasbro

 

   Once February hits I'll definitely be reviewing far fewer figures from 2022 unless things get slow, but I've still got a few I want to show off before I get around to doing my best of the year lists and today I'm checking out the Clone Wars version of Mace Windu from Star Wars: The Black Series. Mace Windu, along with a few other figures, are part of a special subset exclusive to Walmart based on the 2003 Clone Wars animated series that aired between the releases of Attack of the Clones and Revenge of the Sith. While they supposedly were released earlier in 2022, I didn't see them until the last two months or so. I found a pretty good deal on Mace Windu and decided to pick him up since he just looks so cool with his Clone Trooper armor on. Ready to get this party started? Then let's check out Mace Windu from Clone Wars after the break...


Saturday, January 28, 2023

Wrapping Up 2022: She-Ra from Masters of the Universe by Mondo

 
   
   There aren't many collectibles of She-Ra herself that I don't have in my Masters of the Universe Museum and if you had asked my prior to December which one was my favorite piece, I would have quickly responded the Sideshow 1/5th scale She-Ra statue. Mondo's 1/6th scale She-Ra shipped in December of 2022, however, and I have to say that it's probably my new favorite She-Ra collectible. She might not be as dramatic as the 1/5th scale maquette, but this is without a doubt the coolest She-Ra collectible ever made. She-Ra was a Mondo timed exclusive who went on sale for 48 hours beginning on July 12th, and she comes packaged with her buddy Kowl, so she's not having to handle the Horde all on her own. It's taken me some time to get around to this review because 1. There's been so much stuff coming out and 2: My She-Ra shipped with a flattened nose and a duplicate hair piece so I had to wait for Mondo to ship me replacement parts, which they absolutely did. The customer service was really fantastic. I don't dabble in the 1/6th scale much but I definitely make an exception for Maters of the Universe and I absolutely love She-Ra, Princess of Power. Ready for a look at She-Ra? Then join me after the break...



Friday, January 27, 2023

Wrapping Up 2022: Man-Bat (DC Rebirth) from DC Multiverse by McFarlane Toys

 

   Last year I started getting into McFarlane's DC Multiverse line a bit more, particularly because of the release of more characters who look like standard comic depictions of the characters rather than really story specific variants (think Metal, Last Night on Earth, Dark Knight Returns). It looks like we're in for more great releases in the months to come and I've went back and picked up some of the figures I want, mostly Batman centric heroes and villains and characters associated with Justice League Dark. Hey, Man-Bat fills both of those criteria! This version of Man-Bat is a Megafig (oversized deluxe release) and is based on his Rebirth look, so pretty much his mainstream look in the current era of DC Comics. He's a hefty figure and McFarlane's first take on Dr. Robert Kirk Langstrom, so he's particularly monstrous. Ready for a bat man who's more bat than man? Then look no further than Man-Bat! Let's check him out after the break...

Thursday, January 26, 2023

Wrapping Up 2022: King Hiss from Masters of the Universe Origins by Mattel

 


   Masters of the Universe Origins was on a roll in 2022 and today I'm checking out the last release from last year that I'm looking at for the moment: The deluxe King Hiss. I love King Hiss and the Snake Men and I'm thrilled that we're finally getting them in Origins. I was curious as to how Mattel was going to handle King Hiss in Origins; I assumed he would be handled like the Masters of the Universe Classics figure with a separate upper torso you could swap out. Instead, Mattel went with kind of a blend of the vintage toy and Classics as he does wear armor covering his torso, but his arms and head are separate pieces that you swap out. It's pretty cool and makes for a fun use of the modular Origins body. Ready for a look at King Hiss? Then let's check out this cold blooded creature after the break...



Wednesday, January 25, 2023

Action Figure Review: David L. "Bazooka" Katzenbogen (Tiger Force) from G.I. Joe Classified Series by Hasbro

 


   I've only got a few 2022 reviews left to finish up before the end of January but I'm anxious to jump into the 2023 G.I. Joe: Classified Series figures since it's pretty much my favorite line currently on the market. Target's current theme for their exclusives is Tiger Force versus Python Patrol and I've got a load of new troops from both subsets to check out. Let's start by taking a look at Bazooka, or David L. "Bazooka" Katzenbogen, as the packaging calls him. That is his file name, after all, so it's not something Hasbro just went and made up new. They've clearly lost the trademark or whatever for just Bazooka as they started calling him Sgt. Bazooka in 2004 (even though that figure always looked more like Zap to me). Thinking back to my childhood Joes, there were quite a few major characters that I only was able to own because of the Tiger Force subset. Flint, Duke, Bazooka, Dusty, Frostbite, and Tripwire were all earlier releases that I only had a chance at because they were rereleased. I've always had a fondness for the subset and I'm quite glad that Hasbro's utilizing it (I'm not usually all about repaints but I'm hoping for Night Force, too). While he wasn't released until the 1985 lineup, Bazooka was a recognizable character who had a lot of presence in the line and various marketing and licensed materials. I mean, a big guy in a jersey with a missile launcher stands out. I was curious to see how the current Hasbro Classified Series team updated Bazooka, and the answer is "Not much." He's definitely a figure who is overwhelmingly just a bigger, better version of the vintage toy (or the 25th Anniversary figure; take your pick). Is he worth adding to your Classified Series lineup? Let's check him out after the break and find out...

Tuesday, January 24, 2023

Wrapping Up 2022: Hordak from He-Man and the Masters of the Universe by Mattel


   Near the end of last year I received the newest series of He-Man and the Masters of the Universe figures from Mattel's toyline based on the CG animated Netflix cartoon. While the toyline has been hit or miss, the show itself has been quite fun if you're up for a very different take on the Masters of the Universe mythos. The newest series of figures are labeled as "Savage Eternia" and, rather than the Power Attack feature that the earlier figures had, these figures now have slightly better articulation, most notably balljointed shoulders. Since I'm trying to wrap up my reviews of 2022 stuff, I opted to only check out Hordak from this newest series since he's a pretty unique depiction of the leader of the Evil Horde. Let's check him out after the break...


Wrapping Up 2022: Crimson Guard from G.I. Joe: Classified Series by Hasbro

 


   So far as I'm concerned, the Crimson Guard is the last of 2022 G.I. Joe: Classified Series releases that I'm checking out as the remaining Python Patrol and Tiger Force Target exclusives really seem like 2023 releases that leaked out a bit early. The Crimson Guard is the third figure in the series that also includes Dusty and Zarana, and while some people found the Siegies in late summer/ early fall, mine was the last figure from the most recent series I got my hands on. The Crimson Guard are supposed to be the most elite Cobra operatives out there and in the comics they functioned like sleeper cells, embedded as regular citizens in regular towns across the country. Their uniform is very dressy but this figure is also loaded with functional combat gear, so it's clear he's ready for anything. Let's take a look at the Crimson Guard after the break and see if he's up to snuff for the Classified Series....



Sunday, January 22, 2023

Wrapping Up 2022: Ben Kenobi #572 from POP! Star Wars by Funko

 

   I'm close to wrapping up my 2022 reviews and while I don't review a lot of non Masters of the Universe Funko POP! vinyls (which were pretty scarce last year, actually), I did want to show off this very cool Ben Kenobi POP! based on the original Marvel comic series from 1977. The art, especially the covers, was fantastic and very colorful in that series and these POP! vinyls are very eye-catching. I actually found Ben Kenobi #572 at the bin store I frequent for $4 bucks, though I'd seen these before at Target and really liked them. This one is based on the cover of issue #24 (by Carmine Infantino and Bob Wiacek), "Silent Drifting," which tells a flashback story set in the days of the Galactic Republic. It's actually the first Star Wars story to be set in the Galactic Republic era when the Jedi were high flying and not being hunted down. Let's take a look at Ben Kenobi #572 after the break...



Saturday, January 21, 2023

Accessory Review: Accessory Pack #2 by McFarlane Toys

 

   Last year McFarlane Toys released a very cool accessory pack, the Munitions Pack, that was filled with 17 different firearms for your 1/10th scale McFarlane action figures. It was a nice assortment of figures that nicely complemented the Spawn line as well as added some needed firearms to McFarlane's DC Multiverse line. Since Warner Bros. has a ban on their products coming with guns (even though they can use them in movies, television, and in comics), this is a great way to supplement figures who need these weapons to feel complete. That set sold out quickly, so I guess collectors were eager for these weapons. A second set just shipped out this month and it's loaded with 17 more weapons to equip your figures with. This one's called the Accessory Pack #2 and has a mixture of more realistic firearms and some futuristic firearms. It's a fun collection that ships directly from the McFarlane Toys Store. It's a new year and this release ought to keep your collection fresh and armed for 2023, so let's take a look at this instant armory after the break...




Friday, January 20, 2023

Wrapping Up 2022: Zombie Santa from The Naughty or Nice Collection by Fresh Monkey Fiction

 


   I only picked up three figures from The Naughty or Nice Collection last year and today I'm checking out the weirdest and creepiest of them: Zombie Santa. Listen, Zombie Santa is pretty cool. He's a green, zombified Santa. I have at least a shelf of zombie action figures and he'd look just fine up there, maybe as some random guy dressed like Santa Claus who has been turned into one of the living dead. It wasn't the zombie Santa that sold me, however; it was the alternate Evil Santa portrait that comes with this figure. That's the guy you see in the picture above and it's a design that makes this perhaps the creepiest action figure of 2022. Whether you want a Zombie Santa or an Evil Santa, Fresh Monkey Fiction has you covered. Let's check this guy out after the break...




Thursday, January 19, 2023

Action Figure Review: Deathstroke from Super Powers by McFarlane Toys

 

   This isn't a "Wrapping Up 2022" review at all: It's a brand new for 2023 review! Just a week or so ago I saw that folks were finding the newest series of McFarlane Toys' Super Powers line, a tribute to the 1984 Kenner classic toyline, and I made a trip to Walmart. I was amazed to find full cases of the three series 3 figures (Deathstroke, Wonder Woman, and Nightwing) and snatched them all up. I didn't review any of the Super Powers figures last year as I wasn't sure how long the line would last but now it seems to be doing a lot better and the figures of both series 2 and series 3 are more impressive than series 1. Deathstroke was originally planned for future inclusion in the vintage Super Powers line but he never made it; the line was cancelled in 1986 and only the third series was produced. The McFarlane Super Powers version of Slade looks quite a bit like the proposed Kenner version, though McFarlane's figures don't have any action features. This is a great looking figure of Deathstroke, a character who almost always looks fantastic no matter what he's wearing. The dude just has incredible costumes, doesn't he? Let's take a look at Deathstroke after the break...


Wrapping Up 2022: No Limits Trashin' Pumpkin from Madballs by Premium DNA

 

   Preface: Some collectors may be very aware that Premium DNA Toys has/ had had affiliations with Toy Overlord, Inc. and Megalopolis: City of Collectibles, a collectible. This is a great write up about the history of the companies with information about how many customers lost money on items they preordered but never received. The past couple of years have seen a few smaller companies fold, leaving customers out of money (i.e. Dorkside Collectibles). After this brief preface, this review will strictly be focusing on the merits of the toy that was purchased. Fee free to discuss this in the comments if you'd like, though. For full disclosure, I obtained my figure through Big Bad Toy Store on my own dime. 


   I love action figures with jack o'lantern heads. That's kind of my thing. I mean, look at the background image to your left or right. Anyways, while I did have a few Madballs as a very young child, I don't really have a ton of nostalgia for them. They're cool and all, but I don't have a lot of memories of playing with them. When I saw No Limits Trashin' Pumpkin, however, I was immediately in love. This is a new character created by Premium DNA toys for this action figure revival of Madballs and he has ties with the videogame Need For Speed: No Limits. I'm not really much into racing games, so I was completely clueless about this particular installment in the Need For Speed series or how a giant pumpkin man could tie in with a sports car racing game. I guess he was released as a decoration to appear on cars or something for a Madballs promotional. Who cares, though, right? I picked this toy up because he's a jack o'lantern guy who looks like he has a bad attitude. This is what I look like when I'm out and about on a toy hunt and come across people swapping parts in packaged figures (aka Toy Aisle Trolls) and selves of the same old stuff. The pumpkin is my spirit gourd and No Limits' Trashin Pumpkin is me when I get nasty and have to pull out a tire iron from my trunk to dispense some street justice on those stockboys hoarding all the good stuff. 😠💥💀

Whew. I think all of those years of reading ToyFare magazine just hit me. I need to sit down! Anyways, I was originally hoping that No Limits Trashin' Pumpkin would close out 31 Days of Toy Terror for 2022, but I didn't get mine until December. He's here now, though, and he's a stellar toy. Let's check out No Limits Trashin' Pumpkin after the break...


Wednesday, January 18, 2023

Wrapping Up 2022: Frosta from Masterverse/ Princess of Power by Mattel




   Another Princess of Power Masterverse review? You better believe it! Mattel is offering up an excellent character selection in this line and I'm chilled... er, I mean thrilled, to be checking out Frosta, the Ice Empress of Etheria. The last time we got a full action figure of Frosta was in Masters of the Universe Classics back in 2012 so it's very exciting to see her here again. MOTUC kind of felt like a line that was delivering characters in action figure form who we had never seen before and would likely never see again, but Frosta definitely seems to be a fairly popular character and one worthy of getting an action figure more than once per decade (I really want her in MOTU Origins as well). When I review toys at the end of the year it's often kind of difficult to decide whether they're technically end of the year releases or beginning of the year releases. I'm counting Frosta and this final series of 2022 Masterverse figures as 2022 releases, so let's take a look at another figure from Masterverse that shows why it was such a fun MOTU toyline last year....

Tuesday, January 17, 2023

Wrapping Up 2022: Sgt. Santa from The Naughty or Nice Collection by Fresh Monkey Fiction

 
   Get ready for joy old Saint Nicholas to deck the halls and jingle the bells of any enemies of the good ol' US of A. Whether they be threats foreign or domestic, Sgt. Santa is ready to light them up like the Fourth of July! There's something inherently funny about the concept of Santa Claus as a warrior, and popular culture has touched on that for years. In The Santa Clause, Tim Allen makes fun of a proposed toy commercial where Santa Claus is driving a tank. The Bill Murray Christmas classic Scrooged starts off with a trailer for a film The Night the Reindeer Died where Lee Majors joins forces with a rifle toting Santa Claus from terrorists. The John Boy & Billy Big Show had a radio skit in the early 2000s ago where Sean Connery payed Private Claus, a military operative who wanted some milk and cookies in his C Rations. This past Christmas season even had the film Violent Night, a fantastic film with David Harbour as a tough Santa Claus forced into a Die Hard-esque scenario. Now, Fresh Monkey Fiction delivers us the perfect figure to go toe-to-toe with Krampus: Sgt. Santa. He might not be lean, but he's mean enough to stuff your stocking with plenty of lead. Let's check out the Big Bad Toy Store exclusive Sgt. Santa after the break...


Sunday, January 15, 2023

Wrapping Up 2022: Evil-Lyn from Masterverse: Masters of the Universe Revelation by Mattel

 
   I really liked Masters of the Universe: Revelation and one of the best characters in the show was clearly Evil-Lyn. Man, Evil-Lyn was amazing in the show. Lena Headey was excellent as Evil-Lyn and the show gave her a fantastic character arc and some really amazing costumes. We received the traveling Evil-Lyn from the "modern" part of the show and now we've gotten Evil-Lyn as the Sorceress of Grayskull. The art for the show call this the SkeleSorceress look, so I'll go with that. I think it's definitely the most desired look at this point, though I have hopes that we'll eventually get Classic Evil-Lyn, GodLyn, and Liberated Lyn. Will Mattel deliver? I'm hoping so. For now, though let's check out this cool new SkeleSorceress version of Evil-Lyn after the break...





Saturday, January 14, 2023

Wrapping Up 2022: He-Ro from Masterverse: Masters of the Universe: Revelation by Mattel

 



   While we haven't gotten an official date for Masters of the Universe: Revolution yet, we do know it's coming. We're also seeing Mattel continuing to support MOTU: Revelation, which is pretty cool. Masterverse is really becoming a nicely expansive line and quite a few cool figures leaked out at the end of 2022. Today I'm going to start making my way through them and we'll kick things off with He-Ro. He-Ro seems to be a shared exclusive with Big Bad Toy Store and Entertainment Earth, so that's where to find him. He-Ro wasn't a main character in Revelation but he did play a pretty important role. Heck, just the fact that we're getting a new action figure of He-Ro and new media with He-Ro in it is pretty wild. Who would have ever thought that He-Ro, a character who never made it into the vintage line, would go on to have success in the future? I do find it interesting that he's King Grayskull's son in this version of MOTU, which is an element borrowed from the 2013 DC Comics series. MOTU Classics had He-Ro and King Grayskull as two unrelated warriors who fought together, and I kind of like that take a little better. Still, both He-Ro and King Grayskull were well done in Revelation. I still want to see some of the other legends dwelling in Preternia, though. C'mon Mattel! Let's enjoy what we have now, however, and take a look at He-Ro after the break...


Friday, January 13, 2023

Wrapping Up 2022: Lexa (Mechafusion) from Fortnite: Victory Royale Series by Hasbro

 


   Ready for another bargain find I picked up last year at a bin store near me? How about we return to Hasbro's Fortnite: Victory Royale Series with a look at Lexa (Mechafusion), a very cool and fairly new release in Hasbro's 1/12th scale action figure series based on the popular video game. I didn't set out to purchase any of these but finding this figure for $4 bucks was worth it just for the cool sniper rifle alone. It turns out that Lexa is a really well made action figure as well, with some excellent articulation. She just has a fantastic, smooth feel to her movement even though she looks heavily armored, which makes her really fun to mess around with. I don't know much about Lexa but, from what I was able to find in my research, she's actually an anime styled character living in an anime or manga styled world in the larger Fortnite universe. She looks different from most other characters, but that's part of her actual, in-game aesthetic. This Mechafusion version of Lexa is based on her armored form where she looks like a robotic samurai of some sort. She kind of makes me think of one the Guardians from Halo 5, too. Anyways, let's take a look at Lexa (Mechafusion) after the break...


Wrapping Up 2022: Batwoman Unmasked from DC Multiverse by McFarlane Toys

 

   Near the end of last year I picked up Batwoman Unmasked, only the second figure I've picked up from McFarlane Toys' DC Multiverse line. I found her on sale for a really good price at GameStop and snagged her just because I liked the look of her. That black and red is sharp! She's an unmasked variant of the Batwoman Beyond figure from 2021, but I don't remember that one coming out. This is Elainna Grayson, the daughter of Dick Grayson, in the batsuit this time. She takes over for Terry McGinnis in the Futures End setting of Batman Beyond but soon establishes her own identity. I've been taking more notice of McFarlane's DC Multiverse line lately as the character selection and quality of the figures released just keeps getting better and better. The upcoming Batman from Hush and 1990s Catwoman really have captured my attention, so maybe I need to keep a closer on this line, huh? Let's take a look at Batwoman Unmasked after the break...




Wednesday, January 11, 2023

Wrapping Up 2022: Dusty from G.I. Joe: Classified Series by Hasbro

 

  
  I've still got a few more G.I. Joe: Classified Series figures to finish reviews of from last year and today I'm checking out a member of the G.I. Joe team: Dusty. I was really excited for Dusty to make it into the Classified Series as not only do I like the character but the 2010 Pursuit of Cobra redesign of the character is one of my favorite 1/18th scaled G.I. Joe figures ever. I was really hoping that Hasbro would take some inspiration from that excellent version but, alas, Hasbro pretty much phoned in an updated version of the vintage toy. Dusty's not bad, and Hasbro did nicely update the accessories, but he's just not as thrilling as some of the other figures released to date. Let's take a look at Dusty and see how he turned out after the break...





Wrapping Up 2022: Zarana from G.I. Joe: Classified Series by Hasbro

 

   1986 was the year I started receiving G.I. Joe figures. Either 1986 or very early 1987, because the 1986 figures were definitely the first ones I had (and I still have most of them, too). I was probably around 3 at the time, but I guess I was more responsible and didn't stick parts in my mouth or anything. I had Zarana and Zandar but I never had Zartan. I guess he wasn't readily available anymore when I started getting into G.I. Joe. As a kid I will have to say that neither Zandar nor Zarana really impressed me;they were colorful and stood out, sure, but they seemed kind of odd to me compared to the other Cobra figures I had. As I've gotten older I appreciate the Dreadnoks more, especially when I went back and reread the original Marvel series in the early-mid 2000s, and I'm quite excited for the Dreadnok ranks to fill out in the Classified Series. Zarana is only the second Dreadnok to be released (after Zartan) and, wow, is she impressive. Honestly, she was a figure that just floored me once I got her in hand because she's just much better than I expected. She's easily a top five Joe figure of the year, and maybe even a top three. She's an assassin, a biker, a method actor, and one heck of an action figure. Let's check out Zarana after the break...





Tuesday, January 10, 2023

Wrapping Up 2022: Princess Leia Organa from Star Wars: The Black Series Phase IV by Hasbro

 
   
   Today I'm checking out the last Star Wars: The Black Series figure I picked up in 2022 and it's actually one I received for Christmas: Princess Leia Organa from the 2015 Star Wars: Princess Leia Marvel series by Mark Waid and Terry Dodson. I've been loving Marvel's Star Wars output, particularly anything involving the Original Trilogy era and characters, and the Princess Leia series was quite good. Beyond the story, though, Terry Dodson draws the most beautiful depictions of Princess Leia we've ever seen outside of Carrie Fisher's portrayal of the character, and I've long wanted an action figure based on Leia's look in the comic. This is a fantastic version of Princess Leia in her adventuring and combat gear and she comes in one of the 5-panel boxes depicting the art from the cover of issue #5. She's part of the series that features comic depictions of characters, both from the New Canon and the Expanded Universe, but which are a few bucks more than your standard figure for some reason. Let's take a look at one of the best Princess Leia Organa figures ever made, after the break...




Monday, January 9, 2023

Wrapping Up 2023: Migs Mayfeld (Morak) from Star Wars: The Black Series Phase IV by Hasbro

 

     I've got another Star Wars: The Black Series review lined up for today as part of my wrap up of my figures from 2022 and this time it's Migs Mayfeld in the Juggernaut Pilot disguise he wears on Morak during season 2 of The Mandalorian. There's also a more unique version of Migs Mayfeld from season 1 that's starting to show up but I haven't found him or picked him up yet. This one was on clearance at a GameStop I was at last month and, with the clearance price and my monthly $5 credit, I paid around $5 bucks for him. I like disguised figures, especially in Star Wars, and it's kind of funny to have a little Bill Burr hanging around. Now that Hasbro has a massive library of parts for this line we're seeing more and more figures made from the parts of others. At a glance Migs Mayfeld is a good example of this down right, but there are some weird issues on the figure that definitely detract from an otherwise solid figure. Let's take a look at Migs Mayfeld (Morak) after the break...




Sunday, January 8, 2023

Wrapping Up 2022: Galen Erso from Star Wars: The Black Series Phase IV by Hasbro

 


   I'm here again with another bargain bin goodie! Yes, the bin store I've been shopping at a lot lately (and some of y'all are all jelly) has had a shelf full of the Target exclusive Galen Erso figure for a couple months for $10 each, but when I found one in the bargain bin (three for $14 dollars) I finally snagged him. I love Rogue One. It's not just the best of the Disney era Star Wars movies but it's even one of the best when looking at all of the films as a whole. When I made my list of the top 10 figures we still needed from the Sequel Trilogy era of films (2015-2019), a few Rogue One characters did make my list, but not Galen Erso. He's a significant character in the overall story, even though he doesn't have a lot of screen time, and since Hasbro went back last year and this year and really filled out the Rogue One cast he was a good choice. He's not a very exciting figure, though. He's kind of the equivalent of some of the Episode 1 figures like Chancellor Valorum, or the vintage Imperial Dignitary, in terms of excitement factor. Let's take a look at the Black Series Galen Erso and see how he fares after the break...


Saturday, January 7, 2023

Wrapping Up 2022: Krampus from The Naughty or Nice Collection by Fresh Monkey Fiction



   Today I'm really excited to check out the first of three of the figures I received from The Naughty or Nice Collection by Fresh Monkey Fiction. Yes, this is a toyline based on Christmas characters from the Santa Claus stories. You've got different versions of jolly old Saint Nicholas himself, Krampus, a zombie Santa, a robot Santa, and even an army of elves and nutcrackers, both good and evil. Or naughty and nice. Aha! Yes, this series features both heroic and evil Christmas characters and so far seems to be a hit with collectors. The first figure I'm checking out is Krampus, a deluxe Big Bad Toy Store exclusive. These are from Fresh Monkey Fiction, a company whose work I've been intrigued, but whose releases have been in the smaller 4 to 4 1/2 inch size. Since these figures scale well with most everything else I collect (Krampus is 1/12th), I jumped in and picked up a few. My figures arrived shortly before Christmas, but after Krampusnacht, or Krampus Night, the evening of December 5th. This line is a lot of fun and I'm excited to check out the first release in the series. Come join me (and I hope you've been well behaved this year!) after the break...


Friday, January 6, 2023

Wrapping Up 2022: Cobra Viper (Python Patrol) from G.I. Joe: Classified Series by Hasbro

 


  The Target exclusive figures for the Tiger Force and Python Patrol subsets were much easier to find than the previous Target exclusives, so if you wanted to pick up a whole squad of these guys you probably could have. I still have my original Python Patrol Viper from the vintage A Real American Hero line and, like that figure from 1989, this modern version is largely just a repaint of the previously available Viper figures. The 2021 Cobra Viper was also a Target exclusive. I wonder why he's been selected as a Target exclusive twice now? Let's take a look at this elite Cobra Trooper after the break...




Thursday, January 5, 2023

Wrapping Up 2022: Mekaneck and Ground Ripper from Masters of the Universe Origins by Mattel

 

   We're into the new year and I've still got three or four Masters of the Universe Origins figures to review. Today I'm checking out a special two-pack of Mekaneck and the Ground Ripper. I'm honestly surprised that Mekaneck didn't come out earlier since he's such a memorable figure with a very basic design, especially in MOTU Origins where he doesn't retain his vintage action feature. Like the Masters of the Universe Classics version of Mekaneck, this one has a removable head and a neck extension piece that pops on. The Ground Ripper (which is the name Mattel now uses for the vintage Road Ripper) also doesn't have it's vintage ripcord action feature; it just rolls around. Why did Mattel pair these two together. I'm not aware of a vintage two pack or gift set with these two (there was a set with the Road Ripper and Battle Armor He-Man) but there was some cross-sell art with Mekaneck on the Road Ripper. Maybe that's the inspiration? They're also both 1984 releases for the Heroic Warriors. They're finally in MOTU Origins, so let's check out this set after the break...


Sunday, January 1, 2023

Wrapping Up 2022: Dr. Mindbender from G.I. Joe: Classified Series by Hasbro



    Happy New Year! It might be 2023 but there are plenty of cool toys from 2022 that I just received over the last month which I still need to review. I've still got about five G.I. Joe: Classified Series figures left to review and today I'm looking at Dr. Mindbender. Originally released as part of the 1986 assortment of A Real American Hero figures, Dr. Mindbender became a successor to Dr. Venom, a prominent character in the early comics who never had a vintage action figure. While Dr. Venom was just a guy in a lab coat, Dr. Mindbender is... well, something else. Black leather boots. Purple pants. A silver harness. A metal codpiece. A cape. A mustache. A monocle. All of that and no shirt! He's out there and while Hasbro has updated his appearance in the traditional 1/18th scaled line over the years, for the Classified Series they went with his vintage outfit. He's a deluxe boxed figure who was available as an SDCC exclusive while also being pre-sold through Hasbro Pulse. Mine showed up at the end of November but there's been so much cool stuff around that I'm just now getting to him. Let's take a look
at Dr. Mindbender after the break...