Usually when the monthly MattyCollector box arrives I just add the figures to the ever-growing line-specific stacks, but I've made a bit of a... "Old Year's Resolution" this month to open those figures which normally I'd just ignore. Thus, I invite you to enjoy my recent purchases from the Big Ole Red Asterisk (including the "Black Friday/Cyber Monday" sale)!
Mattel - Ghostbusters: Slime Blower Ray
So from the neck down this is exactly the same as Slime Blower Winston, which is to say it's exactly to the say it's a kitbash of the "regular" Ray and "regular" Ghostbuster bodies with the torso wearing the Slime Blower. So... it's good. Not great, but good considering shortcomings of the line. 12" Ghostbusters 2 Ray got a new head, as did Slime Blower Winston so it's really a bummer that Ray didn't, because his tiny little noggin is the least impressive of all the likenesses and certainly the most disproportionate. In lieu of a "slime stream" (which they'll probably never make) Ray gets a... a ghost!? Oh cool, a return to worthwhile pack-ins! This is the "Cinema Ghost" or "Theater Ghost" and is a pretty cool sculpt. It's a neat monster-y design from the second film and has two forearms on each arm. Sadly only the topmost is articulated, and even then with but a hinge joint. The ghost otherwise gets a swivel neck, balljointed shoulders and a swivel tail. The wings are conspicuously absent, but they are barely visible in the film) and due to pink plastic with pink airbrushing mixed with the "I'm a'gunna git ya" pose this one is pretty reminiscent of the Library Ghost and as such is none too exciting. I'm a big GB fan and really want the line to succeed so we can keep getting some more cool stuff but with less-than-thrilling entries like this it's hard to stay excited.
Mattel - JLU: Adam Strange, Animal Man, Starman
This single set encapsulates the best and worst of the JLU line. Adam Strange is the rare and excellent new/unique-sculpt figure, Animal Man is the cool repaint with a new head and Starman is the ridiculous and unnecessary repaint. I've only ever seen this version of Starman's costume on the show so I have no idea if there is any comic book basis for this blue repaint (he's always red) but as far as my interests go this is unwanted and a waste of a figure. However, this may be the only JLU three pack to include an accessory, or at the least one of the very few - the Star Rod... er, staff. Neat and important to the character, but a less-than-desirable design. Animal Man is much like his DCUC figure, just a repaint of Mr. Terrific but with a new head. It's a good figure and is essentially just what we've come to expect from the line. Adam Strange is a guy I've become a big fan of, though far more for his costumes than his character or stories. He's a great riff of the "Flash Gordon" type and this figure is a perfect bridge between the costume and the JLU style. The torso has the straps sculpted on in fine line work with the double-barrel jet pack glued on in place. The latter is a near perfect double for The Rocketeer and were this set more readily available I would expect to see endless customs. Ultimately Adam's new-ness tips this in favor of the "To Buy" end of the spectrum, but Starman is so pointless I waited until a sale to pick the set up.
Mattel - JLU: Gypsy, The Creeper, Thunderbolt, Dr. Mid-Nite, Speedy, Crimson Avenger, Johnny Thunder
Okay... so... JLU is line I'm a big fan of and I've done my best to support it through the tenuous death throes of 2011, but this is a good example of the difficulty of professing the quality of the line. Whats the theme of this 7-Pack? It's half classic J.S.A. and half random figure I barely recognize from the big battle scenes. It's cool to have figures of all these characters but it's just so darn hard to get excited about the pack. I think they should have just made this a full-fledged JSA set and swapped Gypsy, Creeper and Speedy with the three-pack of Alan Scott, Jay Garrick and Golden Age Hawkman. But what are you going to do? Okay, here we go - deep breath...
Gypsy - Could have lived my life with this figure of what I can only assume is Esmerelda from Disney's Hunchback
Crimson Avenger - A fake The Shadow, I don't know him but I dig the figure
Speedy - As boring a figure as you could fret for.
The Creeper - A surprisingly good figure of a character I don't care for. He'll need a base, to be sure
Johnny Thunder - The first ever figure of this guy who can use his electro-genie to fight crime
Thunderbolt - Johnny's electro-genie and likewise the first ever figure of this character (new head, torso and tail, re-uses the slender-body arms)
Dr. Mid-Nite - A great figure and a desperately needed heavy-hitter to complete the classic JSA line-up
Mattel - Masters of the Universe Classic: Bubble Power She-Ra
Back before I was into MotUC I pitied the fools what had bought into a line featuring She-Ra figures. Now, a couple years later here I am buying a second She-Ra. Like many of the "alternate armor" figures before her she's a fun variation on the character and different enough to warrant owning. The fact that she "solves" a lot of the problems people had with the first figure is a nice plus but I'm not sure how many people were or are pleased with that reasoning. I haven't opened my v1 She-Ra so I can't comment on the improvements save but to say this figure does just what I would expect a MotUC figure to do. The Bubble Gun is a neat idea but is ultimately too bulky to really be of use. I dig the comb-axe, and the ubiquitous sword and shield are nice. It took me longer than I care to admit to figure out how to get the mask/tiara on (hint: it can't fit on as a mask over her eyes). I debated about getting her but ultimately did as she's "different enough" plus can join my theme of "Battle Armor figures on Beasts;" I'm quite happy I did!
Mattel - Masters of the Universe Classic: Goddess
Once I jumped fully on board with the line I had to figure out what previously released figures I needed, as foolishly I thought I could avoid my natural completism. Goddess wasn't too high on my list based on my unfamiliarity with the mini-comics, her odd appearance and relative scarcity. However, when I realized she was a perfect opportunity to display Teela's alternate head she became a definite shoo-in, and thanks to the "Black Friday Sale" she is mine! I like the translucent green body as it really sets her apart and while I get that the extra He-Man accessories are a reference to the comic, I have no need for them. She's a very good, simple repaint of an existing figure and will look just fine, and colorfully fun, on the shelf. (Now all I need is Teela...)
Mattel - Masters of the Universe Classic: Icarius
Yeah, this is a cool figure. Not having a lot of open MotUC, etc., I can't say I was as thrilled with him as most other people. He certainly does include a lot of bulk, which is cool. I'm none too crazy about the giant missile thing for the right arm (it only can clip on over the elbow joint?) but I'd always rather have more than less I suppose. The alternate head is neat but unnecessary, though I'm pretty bugged by how hard it is to keep the visor on the helmet/other head. Overall though it's much like everyone else says - far better a figure than the character deserves and a fun addition to the "future Masters" display.
Mattel - Masters of the Universe Classic: Snout Spout
This is one of the few figures I remember seeing in childhood, and he is certainly a memorable one at that, so he's one I've been waiting for. The gloves and boots are deceptively new so the prevalence of the generic orange body makes the figure seem "cheaper" than it actually is. The backpack and harness are nice, and do a good job of capturing the look and feel of the original figure. In fact, that's much the problem with the head - it looks too much like the original. This is definitely a character that desperately need some updates and re-interpretation. Basically he's the opposite of Icarius, and the lack re-design here is conspicuous and uninviting. I'm also not too crazy about the bendy-foam trunk. The "skin" wrinkles when bent, ruining the metal conceit. I dig the axe he comes with (with oddly off-center fork) and the "jaws of life" accessory helps complete the implicit fireman homage of the figure. However, the latter has an awkward bulk that leaves me wishing they'd gone a different route. This is a fine and welcome addition to the menagerie, but not a terribly exciting one.
Mattel - Masters of the Universe Classic: Swift Wind
When this guy was announced at SDCC '10 I was squarely in the "ugh" camp - who cares about She-Ra's Pegasus? I lackadaisically cast my vote for "Pink Skin" rather than "white" thinking that volume of color would help save this worthless figure. Boy, how wrong was I. My opinion started to shift at this summer's SDCC when I saw it person but now that I have it in my hands this is shockingly one of my very favorite MotUC items yet! How!? Why!? Well, I'll tell you - the vibrant colors! It turns out that the white "skin" is a perfect backdrop for the vivid blues, pink and yellows of the wings and "armor!" I really can't get over just how cool this thing looks - it's one of the very few examples of production units matched the color palette of the prototype and it's all the stronger for it. Now, there are some downsides, of course. None of the articulation has much of a range so the number of poses are fairly limited. The wings have a tendency to easily pop out of their sockets, and they'd really be stronger with some "folding" articulation in them for better posing. Bubble Power She-Ra does in fact sit atop the saddle, though getting her to balance up there is none too easy. So ultimately as a toy it's only okay but as a display piece I just love the heck out of it. So much so I'm now worried I'll end up liking the Star Sisters once they arrive...
Mattel - Masters of the Universe Classic: Webstor
At last I have the Eternian Spider-Man! He's just as cool as he looks and is a very welcome addition to the Horde display. For some reason he comes packaged with the "backpack" off and it took a little effort to get it attached. I'd be tempted to let him go pack-less but the four arachnid arms are attached to it and go a long way to creating the spider-y look of the figure. The backpack also has a grappling hook that can plug into a small holder. Sadly though it is attached to a string permanently stuck running through the backpack so there is no hook/string-less option here, and the figure is poorer for it. It'd be acceptable in a mass-market line but is a very odd choice for a collector-specific/exclusive figure. Overall he's another fun addition to the world of MotUC villainry!