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Bloody 3 Pack Michonne with Zombie Pets

The Walking Dead
by yo go re

The term "dark horse" comes from racing: while bettors could make informed wagers on the horses they were familiar with, one they were "in the dark" about could still come out of nowhere to win. So these days, it's used to decribe an unexpected candidate who manages to pull of a big win - or, in the case of an Ensemble Darkhorse, a minor part of a large cast becomes one of the major stars.

Michonne is the mysterious stranger who saves Andrea from walkers with her katana blade and two pet walkers in tow. She is a quiet, but fierce warrior.

It took a while for Michonne to be introduced to the comics - it wasn't until the fourth trade paperback, when they'd already been at the prison for a while. By way of an example: first tpb, Atlanta; first season of the show, Atlanta. Second tpb, the farm; second season of the show, the farm. Third tpb, the prison; third season of the show, the prison. If they were sticking with a vague 1:1 correlation between the book and the show, then Michonne shouldn't have showed up until the start of season four, rather than at the end of season two. Of course, the prison storyline lasted through Vol. 8, and the Governor didn't show up until Vol. 6, so you can tell things are kind of on an accelerated schedule. Still, Michonne's a badass and a fan-favorite, so the show wasted no time in getting her involved as soon as they could.

This set is based on the tv series, rather than the comics, so Michonne looks like actress Danai Gurira. She's got a hard, take-no-crap look on her face, and her dreadlocks are pushed back behind her headband. For some reason, four of her dreads get a lighter paint app than the rest of them. It's not something from the normal release, and it doesn't make sense.

Michonne is wearing combat boots, jeans, a tanktop and a vest. The normal "color" version has a necklace painted on the figure's chest, but it's not present here. She is wearing her fingerless gloves, though - so basically, this looks exactly like the Michonne you know and love, just done in black and white. The figure has no action features (like the zombies [and even some of the humans] have), and obviously no rotting wounds, so this is just a nice, normal 5"-scale woman. Which would probably be more impressive if there were any other 5"-scale toylines of note.

Your brain may possibly refuse to believe that McFarlane Toys made this figure, because it has articulation both plentiful and useful. She has swivel/hinge joints at the ankles, knees, hips, wrists, elbows and shoulders, plus balljoints for the torso and head. Granted, the joints are fairly blatant, but back in the mid-2000s while every other toy company on Earth was learning how to disguise joints like this, Todd was falling deeper and deeper into the statuary rabbit hole that would have driven McFarlane Toys out of business if he didn't have the SportsPicks to lean on. The important thing is that she can move, and be posed, and played with just like a real toy! Seeing this from McToys is like seeing an old friend when they get back from rehab: you're glad they're showing improvement, and you hope they've really turned their life around this time.

Michonne has a few accessories, and they're quite nice. There's her trademark katana of course, and a sheath to sheathe it in. She's also wearing her hooded poncho, but since it just slips over her shoulders, it's easily removed. The sword has red paint apps to make it look bloody, but it's missing the triquetra on the crossguard. Oh well, minor issue. Is anyone really going to notice? More importantly, she comes with her two pet zombies.

Connected directly to Michonne's past, she has rendered both these walkers harmless by removing their bottom jaw and arms. Now that both Pets are somewhat subdued, she puts them to good use as pack mules and zombie repellant.

It's only in this box set that she comes with the pets, incidentally: in the normal line, they're all sold separately. Because what you want to do is buy two armless, mouthless black zombie men with chains around their necks. That won't make make the cashier think you're a weird racist or anything.

Not even McFarlane Toys can keep straight which zombie is Pet 1 and which is Pet 2: the website lists them one way, while the packaging lists them the other. We'll stick with the packaging version, where Pet 1 is the one that's more hunched over, and Pet 2 is more upright and leaning back slightly. They're both wearing combat boots like Michonne, and slightly baggy jeans that have fallen down far enough to show off their boxers. They have different specific wound patterns, so this isn't just a case of taking the same sculpt and bending it forward slightly.

Both zombies are wearing backpacks, as the bio hints at: why cart your own supplies around when you have mindless minions to do it for you? Hunchy has a big duffel bag with a smaller, scholastic-style backpack hanging on the side; Stretchy has a slightly smaller duffel bag and a camping backpack that have been bungie-corded together. He also hs a removable shotgun tucked in there - it's a full, complete accessory, and a nice, unexpected bonus. And of course, they both have metal chains around their necks.

Although Michonne's pet walkers are known for not having arms or jaws, these both do: as separate accessories included in the packaging. It makes sense that they wouldn't be sold with the pieces on, because then who would recognize them? Like the rest of the figures, the arms and jaws have unique sculpts. Adding them to the figures creates an entirely different look, and thus more value for your money. It's hard to get the jaws in place (especially on Hunchy, where it's not exactly clear how it's supposed to fit in - or even which way is "up" [hint: look for his tongue]), but once you do figure it out, the jaws stay on fine.

The zombies' articulation is more for fine-​tuning than for posing. They have V-crotches and balljointed heads, and that's it. Well, when you add the arms, it adds wrists, elbows and biceps, but it's still not much. They really are both glorified accessories with a little bit of play value, not figures in their own right.

I spent the Fourth of July weekend playing Left 4 Dead 2, which turns out to be an excellent game. Consequently, I've had zombies on the brain all week, which is why you're reading this review now. Like I said last time, once you get enough of these little wrong-sized zombies together in a group, they start to look okay. And as always, zombies just look better in black and white. It's tradition.

-- 07/11/13

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