One of the things San Diego Comic Con has become famous for its giveaways. What's become most popular are the posters and shirts for movies, but occasionally we'll see a few toy giveaways and 2012 offered more than usual (or at least so it seemed). Freebies are usually a mixed bag and I tend to feel a little guilty reporting on them, but they are a popular part of the Con experience and I certainly have some thoughts to share regarding them, so, if you would be so kind - read on!
DST - Battle Beasts: Translucent Blue Vorin
I wrote a bit more voluminously about the new Battle Beasts line and of Vorin so I'll try my best to not retread too heavily. In short - I like this figure much more than I expected I would. Everything "works" better than I anticipated but I do wish they'd just gone the extra mile and used Minimate scale and articulation but not the base bodies, which hinder the overall aesthetic of the new line (in essence doing something similar to the "universal" nature of Glyos joints). I've had this figure on my desk for a week or so now and find myself constantly playing with it. My only complaint with the him as-is is that the sculpted shoulder pads severely limit the poseability - I'd desperately love to pose Vlorin swinging his sword over head (which would especially kickass when he's paired with the "running dust cloud" from the Marvel vs Capcom figures) but sadly there is no chance of that. Translucent blue is one of my favorite things in life so obviously this figure is beloved for that alone, too!
Jakks Pacific - Monsuno: Lock
I have no idea what this is or how I ended up with it. My presumption is that it was "free with purchase" from Entertainment Earth or someone, as I certainly didn't see it until I was unpacking back at home. Apparently this is some new Pokemon cards-meets-spinning tops-meets-toys game as each character gets a card and is designed to fold and collapse (via springs, hinges and articulation) into little tubes. You then spin the tubes at each other and when they collide the forces shoots out the animal figure. Yep... sounds like the very height of entertainment. From the folks who brought you those incredibly fun Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides and Men in Black 3 toys! I was able to intuit how to fit the figure into the tube but it took considerably longer, including several readings of both instruction sheets (yes, there's two different instructions sheets, further proof this will be hella fun and popular with kids) before figuring out I had to hit the tube on something to trigger it. Clearly I'm not the audience for this and I certainly can't see what the value of it is simply beyond "hey, we can make this," so... best of luck, guys.
Lego - Superheroes: Bizarro Superman
Lego. LEGO! What the eff is your problem!? As if the impossible-to-get movie costume mini-figures weren't bad enough last year, this time they pulled major characters and limited to as few a 3-4,000 each... at Comic-Con! Which draws about 150,000 attendees. It was mayhem. As I understand it they were giving these away sporadically at the WB booth through the show but the main way to get them was on Friday when you had to win a raffle to be assigned one of four characters. Thank the Maker I won and was assigned Bizarro - one of my most very favorite characters and the one figure I most desperately wanted. Each figure came pre-assembled attached to a flat 2x2 brick on a card. Bizarro is a great Mini-fig complete with cape and "Bizarro #1" plaque painted on his chest. His face looks very similar to Voldemort's but now with gray wrinkles. And, to add insult to injury, he comes with an alternate face on the backside of his head! WTF, Lego!? I can only pray that they'll release this figure in a future set either as is or simply without the "Bizarro #1" plaque because it is flat-out offensively cruel to make something so cool and critical so limited - textbook Exclusive FAIL.
Lego - Superheroes: Venom
This figure I randomly, and incredibly luckily, was given by Jesse Falcon at the end of the Behind the Plastic panel and god bless him for it! This is just a super odd figure. The torso is very muscular which clearly says this is Venom, but the head is very definitively Spider-Man... so... what are we looking at here? Everyone seem to be reporting him as Venom so I'll go with that, but they've already shown a figure with this torso and a proper Venom head for a future release (which supports my theory with Bizarro that these are un-announced "pre-paints"). Again, this is a pretty major character and a great mini-figure and it's just inexplicably effed up that I have one and you don't. Lego really, REALLY, REALLY needs to get their head out of their ass and either not do exclusives or make them in the tens of thousands.
Mattel - Batman: Blizzard Buster Batman
Mattel shocked the world by giving away Batman figures and shirts at their panel and I really appreciate that they did. I think it was a smart move to try and build press and appreciation for the line. Sadly, though, it's just not that strong of a line, and in fact had the opposite effect for me. Built around total part re-use with minimal articulation and stylized sculpts at a $10 price point it's just not something easy to support. I wanted this figure anyway as it's a fun reference to Mattel's "cold weather gear" Batman from their original Batman line, but unfortunately everything about this figure underwhelms upon opening it. We get seven points of articulation (T-crotch, swivel shoulders, hinged elbows and swivel neck) and very limited paint. He gets a big grapple gun which annoyingly only fits 3 of his 4 fingers and conspicuously has a missile-launcher tail, though no launcher is included nor even advertised as being available elsewhere. I do appreciate that he has a cloth cape though. Sadly I just don't have many kind things to say about this figure.
Mattel - WWE Rumblers: SDCC The Rock
This is the second year Mattel has given away one of their Rumblers figures with the SDCC logo printed on the front of the chest and I really hope this is a trend that continues. I have zero interest in wrestling but this is a fantastic memento of the con, very much an "I was there" thing especially prized because it's a figure. I'd love to see DST do a black Minimate with the SDCC logo on it, and Hasbro the same with a Mini Mugg, Mezco with a Mini Mez-It, and so on. This figure has swivels at the waist, shoulders and head. The likeness is surprisingly good but the overall proportions make him look like a dwarf. Also surprisingly the microphone is a separate and removable piece - cool! Again, we get the SDCC logo on the front and "SDCC 2012" written in gold on the back, as well as fantastically detailed and clear tampo prints of Dwayne's tattoos. A very, very nice piece and most welcome addition to the collection.
Mezco - Various: Keychains
Much like the Monsuno, I had no idea about these until unpacking the bags and boxes of purchases back at home. Free with purchase, I presume, I got these Domo, Frankenstein and Mez-It TDKR Batman keychains from Mezco. Each came in a little, sealed plastic bag and has legal text as well as the logos on the back. I quite like that they have the hinged clasps rather than the traditional rings, too. I have no idea what this process is called or how they do it - this multiple colors of rubber on a black rubber base - but I LOVE it so very, incredibly much! The Batman came out great but I my favorite is Frankenstein. I love the 3D/2D nature of it and the colors are just great. I can't wait to see what else they put out - I'm guaranteed to buy anything for Creature of the Black Lagoon and will probably get everything from the UMM range!