Work - am I right guys? Thanks for you everlovin' blue-eyed patience with the variable time constraints on getting this column up! Here's kind of a fun one as I continue to get caught up on my deep backlog. Today we take a look at stuff I got at the (woefully mediocre) Long Beach Comic Con and stuff I snagged while in Texas on business.
Character Options - Doctor Who: River Song, Series 5
2014 was my year of Doctor Who. I got caught up in the fun surrounding the theatrical screening of the 50th anniversary and used that as my jumping off point into Who, which meant marathon-ing the modern series in a few short months. And thanks to Stephen Moffat I am totally off the show and completely uninterested in the series as long as he remains in charge. Conversely, though, one of my very favorite things about the show is River Song, whom he created, so when I saw this figure for $15 I knew I had to add her to the collection. This is her from the Series 5 "Pandorica" arc, which was conceptually interesting but logically laughable. Her outfit is nice, but not as cool as the spacesuit from her first appearance. He comes with a neat gun, which fits in its holster, and a poorly fitting flesh mask (Moffat's run is so great I have no recollection of this thing's relevance). She also comes with a weird bag of white goop meant to be a roleplay flesh mask, but... 1) that just seems gross and, 2) there's no way I'm opening/handling that several years after its manufacture. The sculpt and paint are quite good, though the likeness isn't that great. Articulation is pretty nice too, with about 16 points,
with the only real issue being that she has swivel shoulders rather than balljointed. I really, really, really love the aesthetic of this 5" line and I wish more companies/licenses would have adopted it.
DST - The Walking Dead Minimates: Ezekiel and Mauled Zombie
We've crossed into territory of characters I have zero knowledge of, and though I said I was done with the line, that damn "Toys R Us Exclusive" sticker got the better of me. It turns out this is a pretty good set too, since both figures come with interchangeable arms for some fun alternate looks. Ezekiel comes with a machine gun, a cane and a cane-sword. It's kind of weird/annoying that his alternate arms don't have hands, but that's not the biggest problem in the world. Also annoying is that his hair isn't sculpted to accommodate the jacket so it has to ride a bit high and angled. The mauled zombie is one of the best in the series, and with the alt. arms I'm tempted to get a second set just to mix things up a bit more!
Hasbro - Marvel Legends Infinite Series: Anti-Venom
Man, I love this figure. I pretty much hate the spin-off symbiotes, but though this design does nothing for me, it translated very well in the figure form. The giant Carnage-y hands are cool and I appreciate the spiky forearms, though the removable spiky back piece is weird. It's really the head that's done it for me. It's a really nice sculpt and the paint is perfection! The eyes and mouth have a two-tone yellow-on-orange effect that is utterly glorious. Proof positive of how good and important paint can be to a figure. Likewise, I am hugely appreciative that they didn't do any dumb frosting effect on the figure as on symbiotes past. I definitely have to track down Toxin now, and I can't wait for them to do a proper Venom with this big body and pure black-and-white paint. It really is an oddly exciting time to be into Marvel figures!
Hasbro - Marvel Legends Infinite Series: Daredevil
Everyone seems to love the crap out of this figure but I just don't get it. Sure the pose-ability is relatively good but there are a lot of problems. The hip joints are very loose and wobbly; the batons are a weirdly soft rubber; the baton-holster is a free-floating piece on his thigh and it's really tough to keep it in place; and, of course, the painted logo is conspicuously cheap. Really, this guy just feels like total filler, much like Batroc, and though I can understand that need... the figure just seems so terribly half-assed. It's really tough for me to believe they couldn't have tooled up a new thigh for him, or at least one with a peg hole in it (certainly that could have some reuse). But... at least there's always the much better looking Walmart version to keep me happy while everyone else joinks it over this guy. On a side note, he comes with Hobgoblin's left arm but the pumpkin bomb which can only be held by the right hand.
Hasbro - Marvel Legends Infinite Series: Spider-Girl
Longtime readers know that the only Spider-Man costume I like is Ben Reilly's, so of course I'm partial to this broad. She's a simple figure but a good execution of repainting a base body. All the paint is clean and his wrist gauntlets stay nicely in place. The only real bummer about the figure is how restricted the hips are in terms of poseability. She comes with Hobgoblin's head and wingpack, the latter has a nice surprise in that there is a removable version of his sword's hilt that plugs into the top of the backpack, though it is about half the size of the flaming version's.
Hasbro - Marvel Legends Infinite Series: Spider-Man
I hate Spider-Man's classic costume. So, obviously I was very disappointed by this figure inclusion, but the partially unmasked head is fun and the slice of pizza is awesome! Plus he comes with
six three pairs of hands and a regular head for ultimate pose options! As much as I dislike Spidey and this costume I will definitely be getting a second one to maximize posing fun! I may not be as enamored of this figure as others are (I struggle to achieve many of the killer poses I've seen photos of) but he sure is the most definitively fun Spider-Man figure ever released. The only drawback is that I really do prefer my Spider-Men with sculpted webbing, but at least this costume does make a lot of sense as a simple paint job.
Hasbro - Marvel Legends Infinite Series: Spider-Man 2099
Yeesh, are we really this desperate for Spider-Man figures? Well, actually, there hasn't been a 6" figure of 2099 since the Spider-Man Origins one, so I suppose I'm just being a jerk. I never liked nor understood this costume. Why a skull? The figure did turn out pretty darn well though, thanks mainly to the dark metallic blue plastic for which I am such a big sucker. He comes with a removable web cape thingy and Hobgoblin's right arm and sword (though the sword can only be held with the left hand). When the hell are we going to get a Doom 2099 figure!?
Hasbro - Marvel Legends Infinite Series: Ultimate Spider-Woman
I stopped picking up Ultimate Spider-Man before this chick showed up but despite being a simple design I really have to admit I love this figure. It's just unplaceably perfect. Her amazing hair sculpt helps a whole lot - it just has so much realism and character to it! It's awesome! The simplicity of the costume but diversity of the maroon is nice too. Sadly, though, I had my first ever ML breakage with this figure as her left foot snapped right off out the package - bummer! I really hope I can track down a replacement since I dig her so much.
Hasbro - Marvel Legends Infinite Series: B.A.F. Hobgoblin
I know zilch about this incarnation of the Hobgoblin but he looks so damn cool I was pretty much sold on this series just to get him (so it was a killer bonus that most every figure was better than expected). His parts fit together nicely and he wields his sword pretty well though the pumpkin bomb (which feels like it could use some paint) is a bit of a loose fit in his right hand, alas. The wings plug in to his back pretty well but his pouches do restrict his hip pose-ability. Weirdly, his head is a separate piece from his cowl, but it's not removable. While aesthetically that's pretty neat, it's frustrating as heck since I can't get his head to pop on to the ball joint very well. Still though, a pretty unique and cool looking figure!
Lego - Creator: Cat Polybag
Here's another cute polybag that Toys R Us carried for a bit. Kitty has a swivel neck and legs and a double hinged tail. It's cute and simple, but not as colorful or fun as the Tiger. Still though, it's nice to see some polybags that are a bit different than the norm. It'd be fun to see them do some reptiles or dragons or dinosaurs in this kind of format - stuff that could be more fun and dynamic than just cute cats.
Mattel - Toy Story That Time Forgot: Battleopolis 3-Pack
I found all of the Toy Story That Time Forgot toys at a Walmart, to which this three pack (and its Cleric) is exclusive, so I watched the show at the hotel to confirm/deny if it was worth picking up the toys. The short is okay but just a painful reminder than nobody who works on the Toy Story projects actually knows or understands the current action figure industry. Likewise, these are very Mattel-ish figures, with all of the model/designs' articulation sculpted on but generally useable - they all pretty much just move at the Big 5. Reptillus Maximus is pretty neat and has a removable tail and giant mace weapon (with a big fist on the opposite end). The Cleric is the only reason to get this set since the other two figures are available carded. He has swivel cuts at the neck and shoulders plus four tiny wheels under the skirt for rolling action. I like his Skesis-y design but, of course, the figure doesn't capture it too well. Battle Armor Buzz Lightyear does not appear in the show like this at all, so... pass.
Mattel - Toy Story That Time Forgot: Raptorian Guard
These guys turned out really cooling looking, and since they're battle-builders I couldn't help but grab two. Much like the other figures they are sculpted to look articulated and like their armor is removable but that's all pretty much a lie. Articulation is only at the Big 5 and their balance is WAY off so it is surprisingly hard to find a good standing position for them. Aaaaah, the sweet mediocre-ness of Mattel.
NECA - Aliens: Queen Alien
I was finally able to snag this bitch at the LBCC (along with River and the Spidey Legends) which was great, but a little annoying since I've subsequently seen her at two TRUs. The figure is pretty much everything you'd expect from NECA. Great sculpt and plentiful articulation, but a bit of an effort to work with. I quite dig the sliding "crown" for head reveal, though it does slide easily enough that it complicates posing. I appreciate, too, that there are interchangeable inner jaws, but my god they could not have seated the peghole in a tougher place to get these things plugged in. I got the retracted jaw in and am leaving it, it's just not worth it to try and struggle with that whole nonsense again. I was also kind of annoyed that there was no assembly instructions since all the back spines are packed separately and I have no way to know if i got them in correctly.
Playmates - Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Bebop
Well, I'm just happy Bebop & Rocksteady are back. I haven't seen any of the show other than maybe the first episode or two so I have no idea how the characters fare on it but this redesign is okay. Well, in a vacuum it's good, but in context of the other characters/figures/redesigns his electro-TRON get-up makes no sense. Considering all things Playmates the figure is good - decent sculpt, paint and articulation. There are little wheels on his heels and back to... street-luge? just like Bebop should... He also comes with two incomprehensible accessories that are ridiculously tiny; he can't hold them and I'd be surprised if I haven't already lost them. This is the "light skin" version, which I'm guessing was a running change since the "dark skin" was only around in the earlier shipments.
Playmates - Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Rocksteady
I actually quite dig this redesign. It has much the same feel of the classic character with a bit more modern sensibility. Presumably he's a Russian stereotype, but the hammer and sickle do make nice accessories. The sculpt, particularly the head, is remarkably detailed for this line, it's just a shame he's so under-articulated. Just swivels at the Big 5 and wrists. It's also kind of surprising there aren't clips on his back for the weapons. But despite the Playmates-ery this is a solid figure.
Playmates - Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Stockman-Fly
This was a really pleasant surprise - the return of Baxter Stockman as a fly! Long live the '80s/nostalgia! This is infinitely more interesting/cool than the robot/cyborg version, but man... did Giger design this? The vag-mouth is very conspicuous but even more toned down here than on the show, based on the card art. His paint is, as always, painfully minimal but the bright colors actually help distract from all the unpainted bits. His eyes turned out shockingly cool. They're cast in translucent green plastic and get a shiny green-gold spray it's very unique and effective, especially coming from such a bare-bones company! My biggest problem with the figure is that the hinges in his wings are set vertically rather than horizontally so it's impossible to see them as anything but thin strips unless viewed in profile. Classic Playmates... such wanton carelessness...
Sideshow Collectibles - Universal Monster Little Big Heads: Creature Walks Among Us
I snagged this little dude at Monsterpalooza and was quite happy of it! I was never that much into this tiny, pseudo bobble-head line back in the day, but other than the expensive Sideshow 12" figures this is the only way to get a collectible of this iteration of the Creature (and Ardeth Bey)! Come on DST - at least give us some minimates of these classic characters/variants! This guy is only about 3.5 inches tall and has no articulation. The sculpt and paint are pretty solid, though, so that's good. I'm just happy to have this character in the collection at last!