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Moon Stalker vs. Hemo Goblin

by yo go re

As we near the end of Horror Month, what better way to go out than with a werewolf fighting a vampire?

Elite sentinels and trackers who ensure that all who enter the forests under their control abide by the rules of the Meta-Beast Code. Will travel thousands of miles to hunt down lawbreakers and bring them back before the shaman for judgement.

You read that right: this isn't just a werewolf, it's a werewolf with a day job! Or perhaps it would be better to call him a "wolfman," since he's not a human who transforms into a wolf, but rather is a lupine member of the Meta-Beasts, the genetically engineered beast men from the Madragar Waste. Which explains how he can have a day job and not just a night-when-the-moon-is-full job.

Unlike Razorclaw, Moon Stalker cannot be stripped down to a "plain" animal - some of his clothes have been molded on. He will, at all times, be wearing brown pants and gloves, wraps around his forearms and ankles, a blue neckerchief, and (depending on which head you give him) a pair of goggles with yellow lenses pushed up onto his forehead. He's sculpted with tufts of fur on his shoulders, elbows, chest and heels, and has squared off claws on his fingers and toes. His fur ranges from grey to light gray, so taken altogether he's got a very cool colorscheme.

The idea behind Xevoz is that each toy represents a type of character, not a specific one. So there could be an entire army pack of Moon Stalkers out there, which is why the toy includes different heads. The "normal" one, with the goggles, is nice, but the alternate head has an articulated jaw and feels like an older wolf.

For times when just being a shirtless wolf-man isn't enough, Moon Stalker comes with a fine selection of weapons and armor. The armor is white and silver, with crescent moon emblems all over it. There's a belt piece (Lunar Strength) with two utility pouches on each side, a breastplate that has a light blue cape (Courage Cloak) clasped to one shoulder, small white shoulder pads, and large white bracers (Fang Guard) with silver blades poking off them. And as usual, you can customize it with the included sticker sheet. He's got a tail, as you'd expect, but also raised hackles that can plug into his shoulders! Neat! The weapons include a scimitar and a crossbow called the "Moonbow," but also something really neat and thematically appropriate: a steel trap! It's exactly the kind of thing a hunter would use to trap wolves, and it's attached via a chain to a large wooden stake. Normally that would just be to hold the wolf in place until the trapper came back for it, but it makes even more sense here since he's facing off against a vampire. Oh, and the pièce de résistance? The trap has a socket that allows it to be used as another jokey head!

Blood-thirsty warlords credited with leading hordes of half-crazed monstrosities across the blasted plains of Myr in ancient times. Fearing only death, this ruthless clan forfeited its humanity long ago to adopt vampiric practices that allow them to live for centuries on end.

We have no idea where "the plains of Myr" are, because the information we have about the world of Xevoz is very limited. While the name Hemo Goblin is clever, it's not exactly original: DC Comics introduced a villain with that name in New Guardians #1 (okay, it was hyphenated, but that's a minor change). DC's Hemo-Goblin was an outstandingly terrible character in a book filled with them. He was genetically engineered by white supremecists to give minorities AIDS, and we did not make up a single word of that sentence. He was genetically engineered. By white supremecists. To give minorities AIDS. Which, given the state of the 2016 elections, may be only the second-stupidest plan the alt-right ever had.

But that was DC's Hemo-Goblin, not the Xevoz version. The Xevoz Hemo Goblin is a member of the Unnaturals, the race of monsters who live on the cheerfully named Tombstone Island. He's super tall and super skinny, with pale gray skin and dark inidgo armor. The armor has black and red accents, making it look even darker. The body looks slightly skeletal, especially in the lower body - they may not look human, but his feet and shins definitely look like bones. There are angled ridges on his wrists, and his neck is taller than his head. The solid black hair, pulled back into a long ponytail, kind of makes him feel like a Chinese jiangshi (hopping vampire).

Beyond the basic figure, Hemo Goblin comes with lots of extras. For instance, a pair of hands with big sharp fingers (Rage Claw) or an alternate purple head with a movable jaw (Blood Fang). You can give him an angular red chestplate (Dark Shroud) or red bracers with hooked weapons strapped to them (Coffin Raker). His weapon of choice is the Crimson Reaver spear, which has a barbed end and is even taller than he is! You can even customize him with two different sets of wings: a small cute pair, or the giant Wind Vein set, which attach to a separate backpack piece and have two balljoints apiece. His sticker sheet also provides the opportunity to make your toy your own - three different faces, a couple different patterns for the armor, everything you need to keep your Hemo Goblin from being entirely plain.

My Hemo Goblin does have a problem none of my other Xevoz toys have ever displayed: balljoints that don't fit. For some reason, the regular hands are completely loose - as in, they won't even stay in place in the arms. The big hands fit fine, but those are incapable of holding his accessory. I don't know if this is a problem with the hand or the arm, but this is a rare disappointment from an amazing line!

Like the other two-packs, the Moon Stalker vs. Hemo Goblin set comes with a Battle Terrain mat for the game. One side shows a dark and creepy castle on Tombstone Island, while the other is a sunny spot in the middle of the jungle (though probably not the Hidden City, because that's hidden). There are spots conferring warps or bonuses to all eight races on each side: when you flip the board over, the values are reversed.

Pairing a ninja and a grasshopper might not have made a ton of sense, but a dragon and a magician was slightly more logical, and a wolfman and a vampire are the best combo yet!

-- 10/29/16

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