Why is it that the good shows are pulled from the air while crap continues to run? Farscape got canned, but Enterprise just keeps going. Seinfeld got nine seasons. SpongeBob SquarePants has a movie, fer cryin' out loud, but Invader Zim was pulled after just two seasons? Injustice, I tells ya!
Zim is a short little Irken with a big attitude. In fact, he's so full of himself that he doesn't notice that the rest of his society hates him. After foiling the Almighty Tallest's planned attempt at galactic conquest, Zim was banished to the planet FoodCourtia; however, he "quits" when he learns that the Tallest are launching operation Impending Doom II. To be rid of Zim, the Tallest send him on a "secret mission"... to take over a little planet known as Earth...
Created by Jhonen Vasquez, Invader Zim is the story of a diminutive alien who thinks he's on a mission to dominate Earth. Though Zim and the rest of the Irken race are technologically advanced, they're also a little on the dumb side. Or maybe they just lack focus - in "MegaDoomer," Zim receives a gigantic battle mech that he could have easily used to overthrow the planet. Instead, his only idea was to go kill Dib, his human nemesis. Hail the conquering hero!
Jhonen's artwork has to be difficult to convert to three dimensions - it's all spindly little legs and impossible angles, like M.C. Escher in a funhouse mirror - but Palisades managed to make it work.
Though he's older than any living human, Zim is no taller than an average elementary school student - a bad thing in a society that determines rank by height. His body can be seen as a series of overlapping triangles, which have been turned into flattened cones for this figure.
Zim's eyes are made from translucent red plastic, which really makes them look great on the figure. They catch the light as you move him, and give a nice sense of depth to his head. There are a few pink highlights painted on the surface, just as there were on the show.
Zim has a squat little stance designed to give him some stability. He moves at the waist, shoulders, neck and gloves, which is enough for his small size. Forget what I said about Ren having the smallest balljoints I'd ever seen - now Zim gets that honor for his tiny, tiny shoulders.
Zim's wearing his Irken uniform, complete with sculpted-in segment lines. The two pinks used for the body and sleeves look correct, and he has little triangles on his shoulders. Best of all, they even got his Irken survival pack, the greyish-purple unit plugged into each Invader's back.
In a very cool move, the survival pack can be removed, and replaced with a version that has the spider legs bursting forth to lift Zim above his enemies. About 6" long, each of the legs comprises four balljointed segments, to allow lots of posing possibilities. These are a play feature, not a display option: to keep the legs from being prone to breakage, Palisades made them from a softer plastic. They'll hold Zim aloft for a few minutes, but not forever. Good thing they included a base, eh?
Palisades has taken their love of detailed accessories to a new extreme, including a large display base with each figure: it's like getting an entire line of Simpsons playsets, but better. Zim gets components to build his hidden subterranean labratory display base of DOOM!
There's a big main console, which measures 3 1/2" tall and 2 1/2" wide, and includes a circular section of floor. The whole thing is detailed well, particularly the little keyboard. The set also includes four extra monitors and enough connector pins and tentacles to hook them up to the main piece. There's no "right" way to build the base: all the pieces are modular, so you can connect and build it however you want. The picture here is just what we came up with, so if you don't like it, no worries!
There are also several stickers included in the set, and they're shaped to fit on the monitors perfectly. You get things like:
- Germ display
- Gir schematic
- Angry monkey (that HORRIBLE monkey)
- Vortian Prisoner #777
- The Massive
...plus many more! NOW how much would you pay?
Now, be aware: these are stickers and they're not removable, so choose wisely before you put them in place. Or just put some poster tac on the back and make them removable yourself. Heck, some of them will even stay in place on their own.
Then, beyond the base, Zim comes with three more accessories:
an Irken sandwich, perfect for distracting the Digestor; the robot bee that Tak, the Hideous New Girl, may have been trying to acquire; and Minimoose, the ultimate in sidekick technology, who smiles sweetly and hides a Vortian doomsday device in his nubs of doom. Squeak!
Before the line's official debut, Palisades offered a set of five variant figures available exclusively at pseudo goth/punk shop Hot Topic. Exclusive Zim sees our little alien in a moment of triumph, laughing maniacally as he traps Dib in what he's sure is an inescapable trap of doom! Mwa-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha! Hmm, or maybe he's screaming in abject terror as his plan backfires. Two ways to play! In any case, Zim has his mouth open wide, exposing his teeth and his bent, worm-like tongue. His right eye is all squinty, while his left is about to bug out of its socket.
The Hot Topic figures also have unique accessories designed to complement those included with the regular figures. Exclusive Zim has an Irken monitor, two connector tentacles and one connector pin, a "bestest friendz" card made for him by Keef and an Irken artificial intelligence brain. The monitor and connectors can all be used to add on to the hidden subterranean labratory display base of DOOM! The card can rest on the desktop and slowly eat away at his soul.
Palisades' major hurdle is always price, and the Zim figures are no different. They make up for it in their usual way, by offering lots of accessories. However, the Hot Topic series come with fewer accessories than their regular counterparts, but cost more - when it comes to price gouging, Hot Topic is just as bad as Spencer Gifts. That isn't something that Palisades can control, though: Hot Topic is free to set its own prices, and with no competition from other stores, we have no choice but to pay it. The Hot Topic figures are being sold for $16, retail, while the normal figures cost a dollar or two less.
It seems like Palisades could make a living on toys of really good shows that Nickelodeon cancelled prematurely or just generally dicked around. First was their Ren & Stimpy line, and now Invader Zim. What's next, The Angry Beavers? Actually, that'd be pretty cool.
What's your favorite cancelled Nick show? Tell us on our message board, The Loafing Lounge.