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McFarlane's Monsters
by yo go re

I love werewolves.

No idea why, I just do. There's something cool about a guy who turns into a big feral beast every month.

Sure, other monsters are more popular, but it's like baseball: while the tourists gawk at the Yankees, the real fans are down cheering for the Mets. Vampires are the Yankees of the supernatural world; hyped by the media, but still second-class players.

When McFarlane Toys announced that they would be doing a Monsters series of figures, I was hopeful - they'd done two excellent werewolves before, so maybe we'd get a third. Alas, it was not to be.

When the figures were unveiled at Toy Fair, fans were fairly upset - while most of the figures looked decent, a couple looked like nothing more than Tortured Souls rejects. Unfortunately for me, the werewolf fell into this latter category.

The Werewolf is captured here in mid-transformation, which is an admirable effort; it's just the execution that's a bit confusing. There's a lycanthropic head erupting from the man's throat, with the skin of his head wrinkled down around the wolf's neck and a stream of entrails in tow. The skin on the right arm has been shredded, revealing the furry grey limb beneath, and his right leg ends in a two-toed foot. His spine is twisted painfully, protruding from the body, and his bowels are contracted.

The transformation on the left side of his body does not match that on the right - rather than bursting through the skin, the entire arm is distorting into a beastly claw, and the left leg looks much more like a canine's than the right. There's even a second wolf head bursting out of the man's shoulder, and a clearly-sculpted paw pressing out from the inside. There are any number of hooks, wires, chains and straps binding the beast (or perhaps previously binding the man).

There is a bit of stupidity associated with this figure: most glaringly, a giant "backpack" that consists of a leather shoulder pad and four metal blades; so perhaps we are to assume that the werewolf's human form is a gardener - why else would he have a weed whacker strapped to his shoulder? Or is that a cuisinart? Who can tell? It shouldn't have been there.

A wire runs from the backpack to a plug inserted in the wolf's head. Since the head is bursting out of the human's mouth, that implies that this guy was walking around for some time with a wire hanging down his throat. Is the wolf just really tiny for 28 days out of the month? Does he have a condo in the man's lower intestines? Poor design, guys.

The plug in the wolf's head does serve a bit of a purpose: it holds in place the flexible plastic piece that covers the wolf's face. Arguably that's his scalp, since the face beneath looks as if it has been skinned. However, there's only one eyehole in the skin. Was the werewolf molting? Was he born with a caul? Stupid.

There are also two variant wolf heads out there, though I've never seen either. Maybe the skin was designed to conceal which wolf you were getting. If that's the case, it's doubly stupid, because you can tell which head is which by looking at the (exposed) mouth. This little flap serves no purpose, and it should have been struck from the design very early on in the process.

Don't worry that the variant heads might be better than the standard - each has a less-transformed look to it, and both are fairly retarded. Plus, if the wolf head is still transforming, WHY IS IT COMING OUT OF ANOTHER HEAD'S MOUTH?!

Perhaps this man was a prisoner, the subject of twisted experiments designed to turn him into a monster. That could explain the bindings, as well as the incoherent transformation into more than one wolf. We'll never know, however; despite the fact that the Monsters Feature at spawn.com is supposed to be set up like a paranormal investigator's casebook, there is little-to-no info about the creatures contained within. There are plenty of pictures of all stages of the toy's creation, but nothing about its story. Plus, there's still no rational explanation for that ugly backpack.

A lot of bad decisions were made with this figure, not the least of which was my decision to buy it. True, I waited for the werewolf to hit clearance, but I still paid too much. The sculpting is up to Mcfarlane's usual standards, but the design is incredibly sub-par. I may be a die-hard lycanthrophile, but I can't recommend this figure to anyone else. If you really want a good werewolf toy, save your pennies and wait a few months for Stan Winston's Blood Wolves to hit shelves. Now someone hand me my silver bullets, and let's put this abomination out of its misery.

-- 10/02/02

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