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Dungeons & Dragons Cartoon Classics
by yo go re

Is it possible to be the Team Dad when you haven't even seen a boob yet?

Serving as the leader and eldest of the group is Hank. The Ranger uses a bow and arrow as his weapon, defeating dragons and enemies on the group's quests.

Wow, he serves as eldest of the group, does he? How'd he get elected to that position? Was there a referendum? Did they hold debates? Who was he running against in the "eldest of the group" campaign? If you want to get all that info in there in a non-confusing way, you'd just change it to "eldest of the group, and serving as leader," et cetera et cetera. As always, copyediting services are available, companies, and we're not hard to get in touch with. So when you fumble your text, it's your own fault. (And also? Tiny black text on a red background is just bad graphic design. The legibility's for crap.) (Still better than not including it at all, Marvel team.) Hank became leader just based on his natural personality, being quick to reconignize problems and come up with solutions, and because he has good judgment. In episode nine, "Quest of the Skeleton Warrior," we learn his greatest fear is letting his friends down. Then Venger melts the skin off his head, so maybe he's got a new fear after.

The likeness feels off somehow, but I can't cite specifics. Comparing the sculpt to the model sheets, everything seems to line up just fine, but they just don't come together the way they should. Maybe it's the way his hair hangs, or the particular curve of his cheek or even the angle he holds his neck, but it manages to be technically correct while still not nailing the vibes.

The Dungeons & Dragons cartoon came out in 1983, so technically all these characters would have been 1st Edition archetypes (AD&D 2.0 didn't come out until 1989). The original game only had three classes: Cleric, Fighter, and Magic-User; others were introduced in supplements, so when Advanced Dungeons & Dragons was published, there were now six. "Ranger" was just a subtype of Fighter, not its own distinct thing, but it did exist. Hank's wearing studded leather armor over green tights, which is suitable since (in addition to Aragorn) one of the major influences on D&D's Ranger class was Robin Hood. His tunic has a hood, but it's just part of the sculpt - since he never wore it up on the cartoon, that's fine.

Articulation here is stunningly mediocre. These are Hasbro toys, right? The company that that does Marvel Legends and Star Wars Black Series and GI Joe Classified and Fortnite and Power Rangers and everything else? So why does Hank only have single elbows? Why are there no thigh swivels? Why is every hinge so stiff that it seems like it's fused solid? This feels like something that was made by a smaller, newer company, not the kings of the industry. Like, if someone told you this was an above-average Jazwares toy from a few years ago, you'd believe it. The only real clue that Hank is from now is that they used the pinless joints for his knees and elbows. Big whoop.

Hank's weapon is an energy bow. Or at least, a bow that fires energy arrows - the body of it is still solid. It's supposed to be solid anyway: we get a simple brown version of the body, then another version in translucent yellow with the "string" pulled back and a big arrow ready to shoot. The arrows he fired were capable of doing pretty much anything he wanted: create light/fireworks, explode stuff, be solid climbable sticks, turn around like a boomerang, anything. His bow was basically a "interact with thing far away" device. But what it didn't do was turn into energy itself, so even on the second accessory the bow should be painted brown.

Rather than a Build-A-Figure, the Dungeons & Dragons Cartoon Classics have a "Build-A-Dice-Set" - get them all and you'll be able to play a game of D&D. Hank has the fabled D8.

While the Venger/Dungeon Master set was a Target exclusive, the rest of the figures are available everywhere, which may be good news: with competition, there's an increased chance there will be a sale that brings the price down to the level of quality the toys deliver.

-- 02/15/23

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