Aaaaaaaaand we're back. Note to self: don't leave the photos for Spoils on your home computer before uploading them when you leave town for a week... What happens when you take three weeks off from Spoils-ing about weekly purchases? You get a whole mess of Spoils! Some expected, several wholly not - it was certainly a great couple of weeks for both my collection, and now, your eyes!
DST - Marvel Minimates: Nimrod & Age of Apocalypse Mr. Sinister
Sweet! AOA Sinister, pretty much the last big hole in the AoA collection I believe, though by no means does that mean they should stop making AoA characters! I swear I've seen this hairpiece before but can not track it down, so it must be new. Being a simpler cape this Sinister stands better than the regular one. Nimrod's head/torso piece is removable to reveal some mech on the chest - very cool, but without some face paint it seems a little wasted as one is unlikely to display in this look, but maybe I just don't understand the Nimrod mythos. This is the first series to feature the new packaging, and I don't like it. The previous iteration, with the face windows, was great. It showed you the cool control art, enough of the figure so that you knew what you were getting, but kept the rest hidden so that accessories and pack-ins were always a cool surprise.
DST - Marvel Minimates: Nimrod & Mr. Sinister
I have no real idea who Nimrod is beyond his silly name, a vague notion that there was a ToyBiz figure back in the day, and the text on the package. It's a neat figure, but is it worth having two of? Not really. Mr. Sinister is just a mess. At first he looks great, with new feet featuring big shin guards and a fancy new trademark cape. However, the latter is so incredibly back-heavy it's near impossible to get him to stand. It's possible with some pronounced hunching, which is thusly not too sinister at all. Hey DST - make/release generic stands for the Minimates already!!!
Hasbro - Captain America: Hydra Soldier
Wow, I'm surprised I even found this. It's a good figure ruined in production. Soft plastic led to a fair share of warping that makes him unreasonably hard to stand. There's also very little-to-no motion to the head, beyond swiveling. The energy belt from backpack to wrist on the right arm is neat, but falls prey to the realities of physics in terms of staying in place or looking good at all poses/in this scale. Included is an energy/plasma rifle (also warped) and the same design but as an over-sized missile launcher. A decent figure and would be nice to armybuild but the $10 price tag (thanks Target) and weak production make that unlikely.
Hasbro - Captain America: Hydra Soldier (Repaint)
What's better than a movie version of something repainted into comic colors? Lots of things. I only got this because I found it, basically, and was planning to trade or return it until I just said "eff it" and opened him up. The production issues of the regular Hydra Soldier are nothing compared to this barely-stand-up-able waste. The paint is surprisingly clean for how bad the legs are. He also lacks the energy-belt on the right arm, so thankfully he's more comic accurate... right.
Hasbro - Captain America: Ultimate Captain America
Got this because "I'm a slut" and it was marked down at Toys R Us. Not as bad a figure as it looks initially but not too terribly exciting. The sculpt is pretty solid, but the face is too... I don't know, rough. Not in sculpt but in attitude. It looks more like the Punisher than Cap; it's square-ish, "feels" older in age, and has a "I'm going to punch you in the face because I can" grimace. Because designers think kids are idiots, instead of his trademark shield he comes with two pseudo-half shields which have stick-out blades and wrist clips for double-fisted cutting. they're both the same tool, which means, incredibly, the star does not line up when the halves are connected. This is basically like Wolverine coming with two swords instead of claws - it just highlights that you're missing the signature trait of the character.
Hasbro - Captain America: U.S. Agent
Much like Ultimate Cap, U.S. Agent had been on my list and was only, finally purchased because of a "two for $10" deal at TRU. More than any other figure this character seemed to fall out of the Bad Paint Apps tree, hitting every branch along the way before climbing up to do the same fall a second time for good measure. This was the best of some 30 USAgents I've looked over the last three months and it's still bad. This guy is worth having because he fits in the Cap mythos and I don't think there's been a figure of him since the mid-90s. The shield is neat, and the metallic red wings are actually hinged. There's not much of a point to it, but its kinda neat. He also comes with an Uzi. Bad ass?
Hasbro - Iron Man: Titanium Man
$14.99, thank you Target - that is more like it! Still too high, but I'm a sucker and it's more reasonable that the $18 TRU wanted. It's a good figure, but a little wobbly in its articulation. I'm sure several of you out there know, but my guess is this is an old ToyBiz sculpt based on the over-articulation. He has a missile launcher too, but who gives a damn about that. It's always nice to get villains and this dude is a decent addition but a not terribly exciting one.
Hasbro - Iron Man 2: Air Assault Drone
Oh my god! I can't believe I found these! I found an Air and a Weapons Assault Drone, and then two weeks later found a second of each - sweet, voluptuous luck! I hope this means we may actually be getting the Modern Whiplash, Modern War Machine, Mandarin and especially the Ultimate Iron Man figures soon! This is a really cool figure! A great design and plenty of solid articulation for a decent amount of fun. The knee joints are a little too loose and the elbow joints are a little odd making is a bit difficult to get both points of articulation on them to work, but overall I really like this figure and am right pleased to have two! Now, the $9.19 I had to pay for each... not so crazy about that part.
Hasbro - Iron Man 2: Weapon Assault Drone
Oh my gosh... now this is an action figure! A great sculpt, 18 points of articulation, two sets of interchangeable weapons and two heads! Now, I do think a lot of this cost was absorbed by it being repainted into the Tan Drone from the 4-pack and the Hammer Drone (which I'm not sure ever got released), but who cares - this one is stellar. I don't really get the two heads or the flip-out wrist shields but again, who cares - they're cool and I'd rather have them than not. It's really a shame Hasbro has no idea of how to do reasonable case packs and thus always kills its lines with crazy loads of pegwarmers. Just like with Indiana Jones each series just gets better and better and we always lose out on these awesome figures scheduled for later down the line.
Hasbro - Marvel Universe: Cyclops
Finally. Not only is this my very, very favorite Cyclops costume, it is the best execution of it yet, and he can actually almost touch his visor with his firing hand! Yes, I'm not being sarcastic, that's a good thing - being able to almost do it is much better than most Cyclops figures. The straps on the wrists, calves and thighs are separate pieces as is the pseudo-bandolier and belt. The latter is really my only problem with the figure, because the belt rides about a sixteenth of an inch too high, so some blue can be seen. He also has a really nice head joint that allows him to look much higher up than we typically get on figures of any scale, so that's awesome. Even cooler yet are his new (at least new to me) ankle joints, which add a rocker-feature to the feet! Now if only he had the current style of hips he'd be perfect!
Hasbro - Marvel Universe: Dr. Doom
A simple repaint of the figure from the Secret Wars two-pack, unfortunately, but still a good sculpt and nice new colors. It's frustrating they didn't spend a dime on tooling - a new head, or divet-less new shoulders, or anything new would have been cool. He's got the rocket boosters on his back probably for the sheer sake that ever since the Marvel Legends one, every Doctor Doom does - but who the heck cares? I'd rather they spend that (minor) paint app money somewhere else. They went with really nice shades of green, with a slight variance between the tunic and cloak to help add depth. It is the rare occurrence of being a marginal repaint but still worth getting.
Hasbro - Marvel Universe: Scarlet Spider
Finally a Scarlet Spider with a sculpted sweatshirt! I don't know what the whole fascination with this costume is. To me it's one of the very worst of all time. But heck, I'm a sucker for "collections" so I'll be pleased to put him next Ben Reilly and the rest of the Spider variants. This is basically (sadly) and unsurprisingly just a repaint of the Black Spider-man from way back in series 1 or 2, which means the articulation is good but not great. Spider-Man is one of those few characters that legitimately lend themselves to super-articulation so, especially after Cyclops, stuff like a swivel head joint and simple balljoints at the ankles just don't cut it. Also, very surprising is that neither hand is in "web slinging" pose, which seems like a pretty big oversight for a Spider-Man.
Hasbro - Star Wars: Rebel Trooper
Now this is what I'm talking about! For some reason I've always really liked the Rebel Blockade Troopers and at long last we have, I'd say 80-90% perfect figure. The only two things holding him back are a lack of lateral joints for the hips (it's T-crotch only) and that the likeness is fairly specific to that one guy who gets a close up. It is pretty cool to have a figure of the one identifiable Trooper, but by the same token that lessens his army-buildability. I also would prefer a larger sized blaster as the current mold seems too small, but I'll go with it. Everything other than the hips and waist are balljoints, for loads of poseability and he comes with a lot of accessories - removable "bandolier" for the left boot top, blaster, scanner (I think it's the thing the guy in the turret on Yavin watches the departing X-Wings with), helmet and ball cap. That's right - a Star Wars scale baseball cap! Not only is that conceptually cool, it's stellar in that it allows for a third look to the figure and, far more importantly, finally allows us to start building an accurate Yavin Ceremony!!! I even picked up a couple extra Rebel Guards from '08 for the spare hats I'll be accruing. Basically, from a company standpoint and a collector standpoint this is the best accessory yet. It is guaranteed to help move more figure because nerds like me see value in the hat as an armybuilder in addition to the figure itself being one! Such a stellar figure, and he even looks cool on the dumb retro card! He's the only one I've found from the new series, which is fine because he's the one I want the most. Now, if only these weren't $10 a piece...
Mattel - Batman Brave & The Bold: Deluxe Firestorm
I finally picked up the big "hole" in my Brave & the Bold collection thanks to a remarkable markdown at Target. He comes with a big gold jet/rocket thing. It's better than it should be, but ultimately just as useless as the rest of the accessories. It has Metal Man Gold's face, which I will admit is fairly cool and the missile is a four-pronged, translucent deal that acts as fire coming from the rocket so I must say for once the designer of this piece made something that works fine on its own as well as plug in armor. But ultimately who cares, it's just fodder for the Spare Parts Box, the reason we're here is Firestorm, and he's one of the better B&B figures. He has the standard five points of articulation and multiple plugs for the add-on armor, though fewer than normal, which is nice. What sets him apart though is the torso and head, the former being a really solid, stylized take on the more recent version of the outfit. The head is the real star with its translucent fire and great sculpt. I've never seen a single episode of Brave & the Bold so I can neither confirm nor deny this figure's on-model-ness, but he's cool enough looking that I'm pleased to add him to my collection.
Mattel - DCUC 17: Blue Lantern Flash
What can one say about this series that hasn't already been said? This a straight repaint of the Flash figure, understandably so, but with a new en-ring-ed right fist and a Blue Lantern. After the metallic colors of the DC Direct version this one is just pointless. Especially with no other DCUC Blue Lanterns now or probably ever. If I weren't a compulsive completist I would have steered clear of this line. But I'm a sucker for Lantern mythos crap and a build-a-figure of a character I don't have, even if it is in his least memorable outfit.
Mattel - DCUC 17: Black Lantern Hal Jordan
Series 17 is fairly pointless and shows a kind of ignorance to the market seeing as it tried to put the DCUC line in direct, head-to-head competition with DC Direct, which Mattel will never win. Hal came in this series in both White and Black Lantern costumes and neither look very good. Black Lantern is particularly bad since his skin is normal fleshtone, rather than the comic-accurate gray. When doing a themed series like this the overall look of the series is more important than the characters within it. The White and Black costumes just looks ugly here and his spot would have much better suited any Green Lantern. And of course the fact that a Green Lantern themed series comes hot on the tail of the Green Lantern Classics line is pretty conspicuous and kind of offensive.
Mattel - DCUC 17: Orange Lantern Lex Luthor
I was pretty worried about them using the DCSH Lex since it is so bulky, but ultimately the figure works out fine The new skirt and upper torso are pretty solid - the latter even allows for the most head motion of any DCUC figure in a long, long time! Oh how I miss the double-barbell neck joints... There is one very significant problem with this figure and that is a lack of wrist articulation, which means there is no way he can hold his lantern naturally. This best encapsulates this series of figures and why, despite being cool variations of popular characters, no one is happy with it. These figures are, on the one hand, only 50% as good as the DC Direct versions, which were displayed and well into production by the time these were even announced, and on the other, half-assed interpretations spending only the barest minimum of money on them.
Mattel - DCUC 17: Sinestro Corps Scarecrow
The only worthwhile figure from the entire series is this guy. Finally double-jointed elbows and knees return, but for the latter, to what end? The coat is heavy and awkward enough to make standing in dynamic poses quite an ordeal. The head is, clearly, a fantastic sculpt and demands reuse for a proper Scarecrow figure. Though what does it say about a figure, or a series, that the biggest compliment is that we want one piece to be reused on a different figure? What more can I say but that this is the one worth getting. Fun to play with, a cool character and the best Lantern Corps of the lot. I still would have preferred just about anything to this series, but Scarecrow is the exception to its rule.
McFarlane - Halo Reach: Elite General
I like the big guys, and the more armor the better. I think this dude is one per case or something, because he appears to be impossible to find. It is another fine sculpt from the broken house of McFarlane, with the Rhino-esque helmet being the real star. He comes with a small purple grenade that won't stay on any peg and a cool new gun that there is no way he can hold. I mean, seriously. So worthless. If anyone can explain to me how to get the gun into his hand without having to cut off the thumbs and fingers please let me know. Oh, and forget about standing - this is by far the most difficult Halo figure to get to stand that I've dealt with yet. Another great example of why articulation for articulation's sake is terrible. Ultimately its okay that he can't be found at retail - bad execution makes him nothing but a huge pain in the ass.