Comic Con 2013 - a more wretched hive of toys and collectibles you'd be hard pressed to find. I did my best to "spend wisely" as money is an ever-decreasing excess of mine, but despite that intent I still loaded up on hefty haul which will likely span several Spoils'. Bear with me as I tear into this massive explosion of possessions - such sweet, sweet possessions!!!
Bif Bang Pow - The Venture Bros: Dean Venture
I'm halfway through the third season of Venture Bros and loving every moment of it so these 3¾" figures are a particularly well timed release for me! Dean is a very good sculpt, that matches the animation model remarkably well. That actually may be one of the main faults of this line - it's too accurate, which leads to thin, spindly limbs and a difficulty to stand. Dean, however, is one of the more robust figures and remains standing reasonably well. He comes with a giant gun, which throws off his balance in most poses, but odds are it won't end up on display as it's nothing too iconic (or daresay even familiar to me). He's also one of the more elaborate (or at least varied) figures paint-wise, and it's painted pretty well, all things considered.
Bif Bang Pow - The Venture Bros: Hank Venture
Dean's twin here comes to us much the same - nice, art-accurate sculpt, line-standard ten points of articulation and an accessory, in this case a machete. The figure is pretty good, but Hank is certainly a less visually-interesting design than Dean so he's a less elaborate figure too. He stands fairly well of his accord too. Bif Bang Pow is going pretty spartan on this line, limiting things to, at most one, accessory, which is a bummer. It would have been awesome if the boys had come with interchangeable right hands that made their signature "Go Team Venture" V fingers. It's not something that had really occurred to me until opening these guys, but it does seem an oversight that these guys can't do their signature move. Perhaps we'll get some variants down the road.
Bif Bang Pow - The Venture Bros: Rusty Venture
Woof... every line has got to have one stinker and sadly it's ol' Rusty for this one. This first thing you notice is how tiny he is, both in height and especially width. He's not a big character by any stretch of the imagination, but this would have been a good instance to take a like creative liberty in the translation from animation to action figure. Then there's the head... it's just off. Equally tiny and with an odd expression, it's not wrong or inaccurate for the good Doctor but not really what I'd describe as his "go to" look. I do appreciate that they sculpted his (non-removable) glasses as a separate piece, but they don't do the head or likeness any favors at this scale. What's more, his feet are sculpturally uneven and as a result it is damn near impossible to keep him standing. Thank goodness I have some of those Entertainment Earth generic stands, which work perfectly for these guys, but it's another reminder of how sparse the figures are. It would be stellar if they came with a simple, generic base - perhaps of the Venture Industries logo, or something. Rusty also gets his Shrink Ray gun, which he can't hold.
Bif Bang Pow - The Venture Bros: Dr. Mrs. The Monarch
D.M.T.M. is definitely one of the better figures in the line. As with all the figures she's remarkably on-model, though she does feel a tad too short. While she does have all of the standard articulation (though she features V-crotch rather than T-crotch) she gets no accessories. Likely this is because the "extra tooling" money was spent on her wings, done in a nice translucent orange-yellow rubber. They're a great touch and, best of all, provide a tripod-like support making her the only figure that stands on her own without issue! It is peculiar they got her out before the Monarch, but he is next on deck. I do have to admit, though, I would have preferred her in her original "Jackie Kennedy" outfit but this is definitely second on my list for her.
Bif Bang Pow - The Venture Bros: Phantom Limb
This should well be the best of the line as he has the most action-figure-y body and costume but ultimately he's sort of a bizarrity. I understand the clear limbs but it is a bit of a bummer and a cop-out for a line otherwise so thoroughly dedicated to being on model. It would have been cool if the clear arms and legs had pegs which could be removed from the "stumps" and a "hover base" which would allow for the disembodied torso appearance from the show. At any rate, it's fine enough as is, and the transparent plastic is delightfully clear. Still though, there is something "off" about him (beyond not having an accessory) and yo's review pointed it out - not only is this not his "normal" costume, it's an amalgamation of two different ones. Whaaaaaat!? It's weird and frankly disappointing. I'd say I hope they do another to rectify this but really, if they did, this one would just feel like $10 down the drain...
DST - Mad Monster Party: The Baron
Mad Monster Party was a real treat for me as a kid. I can't remember how or when it entered my life, but it was certainly after seeing Rudolph but early enough that it was a very rare commodity which could only be viewed on a VHS taped off of TV. It has a very soft spot in my heart so I was very excited when DST announced these figures. The Baron here was voiced by and based on Boris Karloff and this figure is a near-identical duplicate of the puppet. I love the look of the character and Tony Cipriano did a real bang up job sculpting it here. Articulation, though, is limited - swivel neck, waist and wrists with balljointed shoulders. Because the head is huge and injection molded, and the general posture is leaning forward, the Baron has trouble standing in some poses. He comes with a spider, tongs, and a vile of the potion so central to the film. It's a very cool touch BUT the hands have a very loose "grip" so it's nearly impossible to have him hold the tongs or vile. He also gets the cool base shared among all figures in the line. If you get one, this should be it - it's Claymation Boris Karloff and pretty iconic!
DST - Mad Monster Party: Dracula
This figure... man... so, I like it simply because it's from Mad Monster Party and the sculpt is so darn accurate BUT he can NOT stand! Again, the head is huge (and heavy, solid plastic) and the posture has a forward lean to it - both are accurate to the puppets/film - but something went horribly wrong in production and the ankles got warped and are now at about 50° angle to the legs. Plus, he's the least articulated figure in the line, with only "the Springfield Four." I tried every conceivable variation of pose and base-balances all to no avail, hence the old nickel trick in the photo. I love the sculpts on these figures, but that forward lean in the pose was a real gamble which did not pay off. I love that these are so spot-on, but this problem is exactly what hip articulation is meant for! Plus, the feet have pegholes, but there's no pegs on the bases! Despite having a thick rubbery cape for some back-weight the guy still face-plants at every opportunity. He comes with his bat form, also sculpted in such a way that he can only lay on his back (he gets no pegholes or stand), and a remarkably cool skull. Despite having a terrific sculpt, great paint and my favorite accessory in the line (skull!) this is one of my least favorite figures in my collection since it is essentially impossible to keep him upright.
DST - Mad Monster Party: Fang
I gotta say, I LOVE this Frankenstein! It takes the familiar Universal elements but spins them in fun ways. The figure captures the look of the puppet perfectly and best of all, he stands with ease! He's a huge honkin' figure, about 10" tall, and gets the most articulation in the line with eight points! Balljointed shoulders with swivel wrists, calves, waist and neck. Fang gets a torch he can't hold, which has a beautifully sculpted translucent flame and the standard base for the line. I really dig the base, it feels very "right" for the film and I love that the sculpted title's text has the same fade-from-white-to-green paint scheme as it does on the poster - a very cool touch. As a figure, this guy is the best in the line (I still recommend the Baron more though). In case you were wondering his name comes from the fictitious husband character regularly the base of comedian Phyllis Dyller's stand-up. Mad Monster Party is oddly a sort of vehicle for her and she rehashes many of her jokes as the Monster's wife, and they work surprisingly well when you think of Frankenstein's Monster as her oafish, dimwitted husband.
DST - Star Trek: Klingon Bird of Prey
I've been debating on whether or not I'd pick this up (I have a complicated relationship with the Bird of Prey [it's a Romulan ship, dammit!]) but when I pressed the "try me" button at DST's booth and heard Christopher Plummer exclaim "Cry havoc! And let slip the dogs of war!" (my favorite line/reading from my favorite Trek film) I was putty in its hands. This a darn good ship replica though I'd be lying if I said it was perfect. There's a bunch of yellow LED's in the hull for various "window" lights, the torpedo tube has a red LED and the phasers both have (very bright) green ones. Pushing the button on the head cycles through five or so great Christopher Plummer quotes as a couple of ship sounds. Best of all, hold down the button for a couple seconds and all the lights turn on and stay on until you press the button again - I LOVE that feature! It gets a nice base featuring the Klingon insignia and a ball-in-socket head to pose the ship on. The wings are even posable, too. The paint is good but not great and the green plastic used is a little dull (though I suppose it at least "feels right" for the Star Trek VI one). The phasers at the end of the wings are over sized. They're about double size, I think, and cause a weird sense of incorrect scaling. I'm sure the it's a result of having to fit in the electronics, so what are you going to do? This a darn good replica of one of the most iconic ships, and it has some great lights and sounds, but at $70 I can't help but feel it's lacking somewhat. Regardless, I'm still eagerly anticipating a Star Trek IV variation in darker green, "H.M.S. Bounty" written on the hull and most importantly the landing gear extended - that would be darn cool!
DST - Universal Movie Monsters: Creature From the Black Lagoon Bust Bank
I love, love, love the titular Creature From the Black Lagoon so I've been very much looking forward to this Bust Bank - which might actually be the first "mini bust" ever released of the greatest sea creature in film history. The sculpt is fantastic (the claws make a good back-scratcher, by the way) and I think the water splash base is absolutely brilliant. The water is cast in translucent blue plastic and has some light white and metallic blue sprays to give it some texture. The creature is likewise quite well painted in a host of muted greens. This is actually one of my favorite things DST has ever released and I would certainly be into some cool variants - particularly a glow-in-the-dark one with GitD Green for the Creature and GitD Blue for the water!
Funko - Pop! Disney: Rocketeer
Funko's whole Pop! range is a very slippery slope and I can't help but feel like I'm playing with fire every time I get one - it's such a fun, cohesive line I'm at constant risk to go all-in. Fortunately I've abstained so far, only cherry picking a very few that fit with an existing collections - for instance, this Rocketeer. The costume works surprisingly well in this format and the classic "gun at the ready" pose combined with the swivel neck allow for some varied pose options to boot. Most impressively here is the Q.C. This line is notorious for its haphazard paint apps but fortunately everything came out pretty even with the only complaint possibly being that the eyes don't fill the entire cut-out on the helmet. Regardless this is a super fun little guy and I highly recommend it for your Rocketeer collection/fix.
GBJR Toys - Comic Book Heroes: Dick Tracy Variant
There is something about that yellow hat and trenchcoat that hits me right where it counts and I have been waiting 23 YEARS for this figure! Everyone's favorite punching bag GBJR Toys (née Shocker) has managed to drum up enough support on fake-kickstarter to get these figures into production and they had a small presence at the Heroes In Action booth. The figures sadly did very little business and by Sunday they were all marked down by 25% so for $15 I simply could not pass this guy up. He has the honestly great super-articulation that has made the few figures released from the line really stand out. Dick comes with a removable hat, machine gun, alternate left hand (for loose grip or machine gun grip) and an odd disk thing I don't recognize - surprisingly he even comes with the bonus tie accessory for the Tick! It's sculpturally a darn good figure, but sadly falls short due to production. The main issue for me is the big difference between the yellow of the arms (paint) and the yellow of the coat (rubber) - it's just too stark a contrast. Likewise, the plastic skin tone is oddly dull and semi-translucent. Finally, inexplicably, the suit jacket under the coat is gray - not only does it not make since with the classic look or the black pants, it's light color blends with the translucent-y yellow of the coat causing little contrast and creating a weird look. All in all, this is a neat figure, but sadly it's production issues hold it back from being as strong as the Tick or as great as the Maxx.