#1375: Ahab

AHAB

X-MEN (TOY BIZ)

“A houndmaster from a future timeline in which mutants are hunted down and destroyed, Ahab has time-traveled to the present to continue his mission of eliminating dangerous mutants. Employing advanced Sentinel technology in his powerful cyborg body, Ahab ruthlessly enslaves those mutants he does not kill, transforming them into telepathic hounds which he uses to track down others of their kind. Only the combined powers of the X-Men, X-Factor, the New Mutants and the Fantastic Four were able to put a stop to Ahab’s murderous rampage through our time in the past. Should he reappear, who knows what havoc he might wreak!”

You know how sometimes there’s bad figures of good characters?  Or, on the flip side, good figures of bad characters?  Today represents neither of those things.  Today, I look at what might be one of the very worst figures ever released in Toy Biz’s 5-inch X-Men line.  He’s a little figure by the name of Ahab.  Let’s just get straight to it, shall we?

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Ahab was released in Series 5 of X-Men.  In a series populated by fan-favorites, he’s…well, he’s not.  He’s an odd choice for the set, and the line in general really.  I mean, I guess he was involved in some semi-important stories in the comics.  But, given that one of the characters completely absent from Toy Biz’s entire run was Rachel Summers, who’s sort of the only reason Ahab matters at all, he feels out of place.  Maybe there’s a big Ahab fanbase out there or something.  I don’t know.  Anyway, the figure stands a little over 5 inches tall and he has 6 points of articulation.  For reasons I’m not entirely sure of, he lacks neck and elbow movement, which makes for a very stiff figure.  Already not the greatest start.  Ahab has what has to be one of the clunkiest sculpts of any figure in this line.  I genuinely don’t know how they managed to mess him up this bad.  I mean, he’s hardly got the greatest design in the comics, but it’s better than this, to be sure.  Everything about this figure is blocky, stiff, and inorganic.  That’s fine for the blocky, stiff, and inorganic parts, but not so much for the parts that aren’t those things. His head is particularly bad, given it’s incredibly thin, tall look, and complete lack of neck.  He’s got this sort of cyborg-zombie-Abraham-Lincoln thing going on, and the sculpt doesn’t seem to be able to decide what’s his hair and what’s his headgear.  They just sort of meld together. He’s also got this look on his face like he just crapped his pants.  Which, in a gross way, leads me to my next complaint: his legs.  Or, more specifically, his hips, which are oddly shaped, not particularly accurate to his comics design, and start a considerable distance after his torso ends.  Ahab’s paintwork is decent enough for what it is. It’s pretty basic, and far from the most appealing color scheme.  Burnt sienna and lavender isn’t exactly an imposing combo.  Also, we get the same issues the sculpt had with the hair/headgear changeover, which just sort of…happens.  The figure was originally packed with a missile launcher and three “harpoons,” which I don’t have.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

So, if I hate this guy so much, why do I own him?  Is he another gift from a confused family member?  Nope, he’s actually a pretty recent acquisition.  In the last few months, I’ve decided to try and complete my ‘90s X-Men collection.  That meant I was gonna have to get this guy eventually.  I found this one at Yesterday’s Fun for $1, which is really about the cap of how much I’m willing to pay for him.  He’s an awful figure.  Just awful.  But, I like to look at the positives: the collection only improves from here!

#1374: Roboto

ROBOTO

MASTERS OF THE UNIVERSE (2002)

One year ago exactly, I wrapped up a two-week stretch of Masters of the Universe reviews with a review of the Castle Grayskull playset from the 2002 line.  In what I guess is going to become a birthday tradition on the site, I’m looking at yet another MotU figure today.  It’s one of my favorite characters from the franchise, Roboto, Heroic Mechanical Warrior!  I’ve actually looked at Roboto once before, having looked at his vintage counterpart, but today I look at his super awesome 2002 version!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Roboto was added to the re-launched Masters of the Universe series in 2003, as part of the fifth assortment of Heroic Warriors.  The figure stands about 6 1/2 inches tall and he has 12 points of articulation (13 if you count the very slight mobility of his jaw).  Where the vintage Roboto made use of a couple of pieces from Trap-Jaw, this Roboto was a totally unique sculpt.  This figure takes Roboto’s admittedly rather goofy vintage design, and does its very best to make him look, you know, actually pretty cool.  Unlike a lot of things that Mattel tries at, this figure succeeds.  In fact, this is easily one of my favorite designs from the 2002 line, and really Masters of the Universe in general.  He keeps all of the important details from the original Roboto, so you can clearly tell it’s the same character, but all of these details have been made much sharper, more robotic, and more in line with other cool robots of the last few decades.  The head in particular ditches the duck-billed knight looking design of the vintage figure in favor of a more futuristic warrior look, which made more sense in the setting of the updated cartoon.  Like his vintage counterpart, this guy takes advantage of the usual hollow torso of these figures, and has molded it in clear plastic and placed an assortment of gears inside, representing his inner workings.  In terms of paintwork, this guy is pretty great; the application is all very clean, and I really like the metallic re-working of his classic color scheme.  It really pops.  The figure is packed with two arm attachments for his right arm: a claw and a blaster.  Both are updates of the same pieces included with the vintage figures, updated to match the new figure’s style.  He loses the third attachment (the axe) but gains an extra armored piece for his torso, as well as a missile for his blaster arm.  Not a bad assortment of extras at all!

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Roboto’s debut episode was one of my favorites of the 2002 show, so I always wanted this figure.  Remember how I mentioned that his re-design was one of my favorites?  Well, I wasn’t alone in this thought.  That, coupled with Mattel’s incredibly stupid methods of packing cases and distribution, meant that I never once saw this figure at retail.  It also meant he was one of the figures to hold onto his aftermarket value, even well after most of the line had fallen way down in price.  Honestly, I’d never even seen this guy in person.  So, when I found him at Lost In Time Toys a few weeks ago, I was pretty excited.  I was even more excited when I found out that he was half-off his given price, allowing me to get him for a more than reasonable price.  I’m thrilled to finally have this guy, and for all the ragging I do on Mattel, there’s no denying that this is a cool toy.

*As an added bonus, Roboto was also the 4000th unique figure to be added to my collection!  Wow, that’s a lot of figures!

#1373: War Machine

WAR MACHINE

IRON MAN (TOY BIZ)

“A long-time friend and confidant of Tony Stark, chopper pilot Jim Rhodes was rewarded for his loyalty with his own suit of technological combat armor, turning him into a one man War Machine!  Now armed with an impressive array of cutting-edge weaponry almost the equal of Iron Man’s, War Machine battles shoulder-to-shoulder with the armored avenger in his secret war against the forces of the Mandarin!”

And, just like that, we’re back to Marvel.  That’s gonna be happening a lot.  So, today, I’ll be going back to a ‘90s Marvel line that I feel I haven’t looked at enough: Iron Man!  With just four series (plus a fifth one that was cancelled), it’s hardly one of Toy Biz’s longer-running entries, but four series of an Iron Man line more than a decade before the general public cared about Iron Man is far from the worst thing.  Attempting to capitalize on the success of the then-current cartoon, the line provided us with most of ol’ Shellhead’s supporting players from the show, including Tony’s wingman, Jim “Rhodey” Rhodes, aka War Machine!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

War Machine was released in Series 1 of Toy Biz’s Iron Man line.  This was the very first War Machine figure ever produced (though not the first James Rhodes; Rhodey was still Iron Man at the time of Secret Wars, meaning that figure is technically him).  The figure stands a little over 5 inches tall and has 9 points of articulation.  War Machine is based on the second version of the armor, which was the first one worn by Rhodey.  It’s the version seen in the cartoon, and is one of the best known versions of the character.  As I noted in my review of Space Armor Iron Man, the Iron Man line’s armored figures were handled in a slightly unique way; each of them was a basic figure, with extra clip-on armor parts to really complete their look.  War Machine was actually one of the more faithful basic figures, and can essentially function without the extra pieces if need be, which is a definite plus in his favor.  The sculpt is generally pretty sharp, and the details of the armor match up pretty well with both the show and the comics, though some parts are more condensed and streamlined.  There are the armor ports, of course, which still look a little goofy, but they’re far from the worst thing.  There were 10 clip-on armor pieces included with War Machine: Chest plate, back plate, belt (front and back), shoulder pads, gauntlets, and shin covers.  These pieces serve to enhance the look of the figure, and really make for quite a faithful War Machine figure.  War Machine had one of the better paint schemes of the armored figures; all of the basic paint is nice and clean, and the armor, by virtue of it’s silver coloring, is less prone to issues with chipping and such, which plagued the more colorful Iron Men.  In addition to the clip-on armor, War Machine also included two cannons to be mounted on his shoulders, one of which has missile launching feature.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

As with a number of the ‘90s Marvel lines, I had to play a little bit of catch-up on the first series of Iron Man figures.  By the time I was really collecting the line for myself, they were onto Series 2.  While I was able to track down a few of the Series 1 figures, I had to settle for Series 4’s War Machine II as my main version of the character.  I’ve been looking for this guy for a little while, but the armored figures from this line aren’t always the easiest to find, especially when you primarily go for loose offerings, like I do.  I was pleasantly surprised to find a loose but complete War Machine at Pop Culture Exchange, for under $5, no less.  He’s definitely a strong offering for the line, and I’m very happy to have finally tracked him down!

#1372: Martian Manhunter

MARTIAN MANHUNTER (aka “Martin Spartan”)

RETRO ACTION DC SUPER HEROES (MATTEL)

It’s been the better part of a month since I’ve looked at a DC Comics-based item, so I guess I should go ahead and give them some coverage too!  So, hey, that Justice League trailer just hit and it looks…about the same as everything other DC movie that’s been released in the last 4 years.  Oh goody.  I must admit, I’m not a huge fan of the line-up they’ve chosen for the team’s first live-action outing.  Obviously, I’m lamenting the lack of my personal favorite heavy hitter, Green Lantern, but I’m also really not digging the lack of J’onn J’onzz, aka the Martian Manhunter.  Sure, he’s not the team’s most prominent member, but it’s a bit like if they’d left Hawkeye out of the first Avengers movie.  Alas, there’s no going back now.  Anyway, I’m gonna make myself feel better by reviewing this here Martian Manhunter in all of his retro-inspired goodness.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Martian Manhunter (or “Martin Spartan,” as Super Awesome Girlfriend accidentally named him) was released in the fourth, and final, series of Mattel’s Mego-inspired Retro Action DC Super Heroes line of figures.  Like a large number of figures in the line, he has no original Mego counterpart.  The figure stands roughly 8 inches tall and he has 18 points of articulation.  J’onn was built on Mattel’s Mego-equivalent body, which is different from the standard body in ways that make it…different.  That’s it.  They’re changes for the sake of change, with no actual improvements to the basic body.  It’s just Mattel being weird, really, but hey, what else is new, right?  It’s certainly workable, and at a glance really isn’t much different, so that’s good.  Manhunter has a unique head-sculpt, which depicts an earlier, more human-like version of the character, which is certainly befitting of a Mego-styled figure.  Apart from a slight molding error on my figure, it’s a pretty great sculpt.  Manhunter has an outfit made up of a cloth jumpsuit, a cape, and a pair of rubber buccaneer boots.  The jumpsuit makes up his exposed skin, which is true to the old Mego style, and it has some nice extra bits attached to it make up his actual costume.  I particularly like the use of pleather for the straps and belt, though I do wish there were an actual buckle.  The cape is a little thin for my taste, but overall a nice addition.  The boots are nicer than a lot of the Retro Action figures, and look a good deal less bulky.  Manhunter is largely without paint; the only actual paint is on his eyes, and it’s probably my one real point of contention with this figure.  The sculpt is clearly a classic Manhunter, so his eyes should be white, and possibly even have pupils, but they are instead red, as they would be on a modern Martian Manhunter design.  It’s a small nit, but it sort of throws the whole retro thing off for me.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

My dad and I collected this whole line of figures together when it was first released, so I remember when this guy first hit.  The ones we collected are more part of my dad’s collection than mine, since he was the one with the vintage Mego collection, so I only have the few spares I picked up along the way.  This guy came into my collection when Super Awesome Girlfriend and I found him at a 2nd Avenue for $2.  Super Awesome Girlfriend felt sorry for him, and insisted that I add him to my collection.  He’s a pretty fun figure.  Definitely for a specific demographic, but fun nonetheless.

#1371: Maverick

MAVERICK

X-MEN (TOY BIZ)

“A secret agent formerly allied with both Wolverine and Sabretooth, Maverick is as tough a customer as they come! A master strategist and martial artist, Maverick is one of the foremost mercenaries in the world, accepting any assignment… as long as the price is right! With both espionage skills and the mutant ability to absorb kinetic impact, Maverick is a hard man to keep down indeed!”

Maverick is about as ‘90s X-Men as a ‘90s X-Men character can get.  Shoulder pads? Check.  Former ally of Wolverine?  Check.  Sketchy past?  Check.  Single word name picked purely because it sounded cool?  Check.  Vague power set that ultimately translates to “has a big gun”?  That’s a bingo.  Of course, like a lot of uber ‘90s X-Men characters, I have something of a soft-spot for the guy, given his presence in both X-Men: The Animated Series and the corresponding X-Men toyline from Toy Biz.

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

As you’ve probably pieced together from the intro, Maverick was released as part of Toy Biz’s ‘90s X-Men line.  There are two versions of Maverick available, and there’s a bit of a saga behind those two figures being released.  The gold and silver Maverick was originally slated for release in Series 5 of the main line, as a replacement for the cancelled Gauntlet/Barrage figure.  However, Maverick himself was cut from the line up rather early on in the process, and bumped to the next series, whose line-up he remained a part of long enough for his prototype to be in the line-up shot that was meant to go on the figure cardbacks.  He was dropped from this assortment as well, and his prototype was hastily cut out of the Series 6 photos (you can actually still see his gun overlapping Morph’s hand on the card backs).  This version would eventually see release alongside Series 6’s Trevor Fitzroy in a KB Toys-exclusive two-pack, but did not see a single-carded release.  The single-carded Maverick is the  blue version seen above, and he was released as part of the “Mutant Genesis” series, two years after he was originally supposed to hit retail.  That seems like a whole lot of trouble to go through for Maverick, but I guess it’s nice he finally made it out.  Both figures share the same mold, and thus both figures stand about 5 1/4 inches tall and have 8 points of articulation.  The sculpt is a pretty decent one, overall.  It’s very similar to the other ’93-’94 X-Men figures stylistically, meaning he’s not quite as large and exaggerated as some of the later figures would become.  He’s a little on the stiff side (which was common to a lot of the figures from this point), which isn’t really helped by his lack of neck articulation.  However, for a character like Maverick, who was usual fairly rigid in his movement, it’s not terrible. The sculpt captures Maverick’s (admittedly rater unattractive) design rather nicely, and offers some rather intricate work on the various small details of the armor.  The cables are a softer material, which I suppose would be cool if he had neck articulation, but since he doesn’t, it’s a nice thought that doesn’t amount to much of anything.  At least they tried?  The rest of the figure is done in a much stiffer plastic, which means that his shoulder pads can break if you’re not careful (you can see this breakage on gold/silver Maverick’s left shoulder).  Paint is, of course, the divergent bit of these two.  The original one was gold and silver, and more or less follows Maverick’s design from the comics.  There are a few spots where paint is obviously missing, but he’s generally a good match for his 2-D counterpart.  The second figure opted to replace the silver parts with blue, for…reasons?  I don’t believe this follows any established look for the character, and it looks a bit off.  It wouldn’t be so bad if the blue were a more subdued shade.  Some of the missing paint from the first figure is corrected here, but a few other bits are lost, making for a pretty equivalent trade.  While the blue color scheme is generally fine as its own thing, the one part I’m not much of a fan of is the hair, which goes from a rather believable dirty blond to some sort of off green/grey sort of thing.  Yuck.  Both figures originally included a gun; silver for the gold/silver figure, and black for the blue figure.  It fits in his right hand, and is worked into his “quick-draw” feature, which swings his arm downward when you press the lever on his back.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Maverick is another more recent purchase.  I always wanted one of these two, but I just never found one in-person.  I ended up finding the blue version at Bobakhan Toys on my way out of Seattle this summer.  At the time, I lamented that they didn’t have the silver one, and then two days later I ended up fishing him out of a $1 bin at Pop Culture Exchange, which was pretty cool.  Even without owning him as a kid, I’ve always had a bit of sentimental attachment to the character, due to his inclusion in the board game X-Men Alert, where he was very frequently on my team.  Neither Maverick figure is perfect, but they’re both still pretty fun, and I’m happy to have been able to add them both to my collection.

#1370: Diamondhead

DIAMONDHEAD

BEN 10 (BANDAI)

Much as I tried, Ben 10 was one of those shows I just could never really keep up with.  I don’t really know why.  I liked the concept and I loved the character designs.  Heck, I even had a handful of the toys, despite the fact that they were made by Bandai America.  But I just never really got into the show.  Well, at least I still have the toys, right?  That’s always the most important thing.  Today, I’m gonna look at one of those toys!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Diamondhead was released in the basic figure series of Bandai’s main Ben 10 line.  He was in the second wave of figures, hitting a few months after the initial assortment.  He represents Ben’s initial Diamondhead look.  The figure stands about 4 inches tall and he has 7 points of articulation.  As with a lot of Bandai America figures, he’s rather under-scaled in comparison to the rest of the line, but he looks halfway decent when placed with other aliens that are meant to be of similar stature.  His articulation is a bit lower than the usual Bandai fare, to the point of not being useful for a whole lot other than standing.  I mean, it’s certainly better than nothing, but it’s still rather on the lacking side.  The sculpt was unique to this guy, and, on the plus side, it was actually a pretty solid piece of work.  He manages to be a mostly spot-on recreation of Diamondhead as seen in the show, and is generally just really sharp looking.  This is one of the better sculpts that this line produced to be sure.  The paint work on this figure is perfectly acceptable, but ultimately rather uninspired.  The colors are all chosen well enough, and the application’s pretty clean for the most part.  Heck, there aren’t even any missing paint apps, a rarity when it comes to Bandai America products.  The issue?  The diamond parts.  In the show, it’s clear that he’s not just one single shade of opaque blue-green, but that’s exactly what he is here.  This figure really would have benefited from some sort of slightly translucent or even pearlescent plastic for his exposed diamond skin.  As it is?  He feels a little drab and lackluster.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Here’s something I don’t say much on this site: I don’t know where I got this figure.  That generally doesn’t bode well, since if I don’t remember getting it, it means I’m not very attached to it.  This is perhaps the one Ben 10 figure I own whose origins I can’t relay.  Going back and reviewing the figure, I can’t say that’s a surprise.  He’s not anything special, and he’s not particularly fun.  Sure, the sculpt’s decent, but that’s really it.  Nothing about this figure goes beyond so-so, and without any sentimental value, I can’t say he does a whole lot for me.

#1369: Spider-Woman

SPIDER-WOMAN

SPIDER-MAN: THE ANIMATED SERIES (TOY BIZ)

“Once an illegal operative, Jessica Drew left the group called Hydra to fight crime as the original Spider-Woman! With the ability to climb walls and emit bio-electric spider-blasts, Spider-Woman put many super-villains behind bars. Eventually giving up her identity as Spider-Woman, Jessica Drew now fights crime as a private investigator!”

When does a spin-off character have nothing to do with the original?  When they’re Spider-Woman, of course.  The first Spider-Woman, Jessica Drew, was introduced in 1977 as little more than a way of preventing Filmation from putting out a cartoon with their own Spider-Woman.  She had a similar power set to everyone’s favorite wall-crawler, but there the similarities ended.  The two characters wouldn’t even meet for quite a long time after her creation.  Which makes the fact that her very first figure came from a Spider-Man toyline all the more amusing.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Spider-Woman was released in Series 7 of Toy Biz’s Spider-Man: The Animated Series tie-in toyline.  She wasn’t based on a cartoon appearance (likely to avoid viewer confusion; her successor, Julia Carpenter, was a regular on the Iron Man cartoon at the same time).  In fact, Series 7 was right about the time that the series stopped focussing on following the cartoon, so Spider-Woman was not the only non-show figure in the series.  The figure stands about 5 inches tall and she has 8 points of articulation.  Jessica’s sculpt is a reworking of the Julia Carpenter Spider-Woman from Series 1 of the Iron Man line.  This would be the first time they’d share a sculpt, but far from the last.  Given the similarities in design, it’s a rather practical way of getting an extra use out of the molds, I suppose.  She’s been tweaked to add in elbow joints and also to remove Spider-Woman II’s action feature.  Sadly, they didn’t go as far as to add back in the neck movement lost due to the action feature, but that would have been a more hefty re-working, I suppose.  The sculpt is a pretty decent one overall.  The proportions are fairly balanced, and pretty decent for the time.  The hair has a pretty nice sculpt, and sits nicely, and the face isn’t too terrible.  The one main drag with this sculpt is just how stiff it is.  She doesn’t really look natural in any pose.  It’s largely to do with the arms, or more specifically, the hands.  She’s got this karate chop thing going on, and it just looks rather out of place.  The paint is really the key part of this figure, and it’s pretty decent.  The colors match well with her comics counterpart, and the work is generally on the clean side.  Some of the black lines are a little fuzzy, but it’s not terrible.  In terms of accessories, Jessica was about on par with most of the other figures of this time, which means she has a bunch of random stuff that doesn’t amount to much of anything.  There was like a shield and a weird gun-thing I think?  Mine has neither piece, and that’s just fine.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Spider-Woman wasn’t one of my childhood figures.  My dad had one, but I didn’t, largely due to not being overly familiar with Jessica Drew.  I’ve since picked up some knowledge and appreciation for the character, so I’ve been on the look out for this figure.  I found her at Yesterday’s Fun last week, but ultimately put her (and a few others) back in favor a few other things.  My Dad apparently took note of this, and presented me with the whole lot the next day.  He’s nice like that.  She’s a decent enough figure, I suppose.  Nothing amazing, but certainly entertaining.

#1368: Ms. Marvel & Kang

MS. MARVEL & KANG

MARVEL MINIMATES

Hey-ho there readers!  So, today’s gonna be another Marvel review, because, like 95% of what I’ve bought recently is Marvel.  On the plus side, I’m actually looking at a relatively new item for a change.  That’s cool, right?  I’ll be heading back over to the Minimates corner of my collection, and taking a look at one of my favorite new additions to the Marvel Universe, Kamala Khan, alongside long-time Avengers for Kang the Conqueror!

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

Ms. Marvel and Kang were released in the fifth Walgreens-exclusive series of Marvel Minimates.  Both are based on their appearances in the Avengers Assemble cartoon, but in both cases, this translates to a look that’s essentially identical to their comics counterparts.

MS. MARVEL

“Exposed to the Terrigin Mists, Inhuman high-schooler Kamala Khan gains the ability to shape-shift, and decides to become one of the super-heroes she idolizes.”

It’s been a good year for Kamala!  First she got a Marvel Legend, and now she’s got a Minimate too!  Not too shabby for a character that’s only been around since 2014.  Ms. Marvel makes her Minimate debut here, and is based upon her appearance in the episode “The Inhuman Condition.”  The figure stands about 2 1/4 inches tall and she has 14 points of articulation.  She’s built on the standard ‘mate body, with add-ons for her hair, scarf, and skirt.  The skirt appears to be a fairly standard piece, but the scarf and hair are both new.  They’re decent enough pieces, I suppose.  Obviously, they’re a bit more on the simplistic side, as is the case with most of the animation-based mates.  It’s really only noticeable on the hair, which you can easily replace if you really want a more realistic look.  That being said, the pieces mimic her design from the show pretty well, and fit the character nicely.  The paint work on her is generally pretty solid; the colors are still a little more washed out than I’d like, but she generally looks like she does in the comics, and the colors have more “pop” than some of the others.  I’m not the biggest fan of the rather bland expression on the face, though; Kamala’s usually depicted as rather jovial, so a smile or grin would have been more true to the character in my opinion.  Ms. Marvel is packed with a spare right hand and left arm (borrowed from Mr. Fantastic), simulating her stretchy powers, as well as the usual clear display stand.

KANG

“Kang is a time-traveling warlord from the 30th century who finds himself repeatedly embroiled in conflict with the 21st century Avengers.”

Wow, another Kang?  Man, it was such a big deal to get him the first time, but I think I might have burned out all of the excitement.  Of course, that ‘mate was only in an exclusive 4-pack, which not everyone got, so I suppose a new one makes sense.  Like Ms. Marvel, he’s built on the standard body, and has the usual articulation.  He has add-ons for his head-piece, shoulder bit, and skirt.  The shoulder thing is re-used from the last Kang ‘mate (rather sensible), and the other two parts appear to be new.  They’re decently sculpted, though I’m not 100% sold on the head piece.  It’s an odd looking thing in the comics, and neither attempt at translating it into ‘mate form is particularly right.  This one’s not terrible.  This figure uses the standard upper-arms, which is one change I’m in favor of, since I was never much of a fan of the puffy sleeves from the last one.  As far as paint goes, I can’t say I’m a huge fan of the paint on this guy; the colors just aren’t vibrant enough for my taste.  The green in particular just feels really dull and boring.  I’m also not a big fan of the reduced detail work, since the things like the wrinkles of the shirt and the lines on his mask were some of my favorite parts of the last Kang.  In terms of accessories, he only includes a display stand.  I feel like there has to be something else he could have gotten.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I found these two while looking for Marvel Legends at Walgreens.  I’ve largely fallen out of collecting Minimates hardcore, in part because of the difficulty of finding the Walgreens releases, so these two sort of snuck up on me, and I was really surprised to find them as quickly as I did.  Ms. Marvel’s the real draw of the set for me, and aside from the slight disappointment with the expression, I’m really happy with her.  Kang is kind of meh.  Rather drab and un-interesting to me.  Perhaps it’d be different if I didn’t have the first one.  Still, it’s a pretty decent set all in all.

#1367: Falcon

THE FALCON

MARVEL SUPER HEROES: SECRET WARS (MATTEL)

“Transported to a strange planet by a force from beyond the universe, earth’s deadliest villains try to destroy the Marvel Super Heroes – as they fight the Secret Wars through the use of secret messages!”

Before Toy Biz came along and gave us just about every single Marvel character under the sun in the ‘90s, there was a very eclectic selection of Marvel characters available in toy format.  Major characters went completely figureless for years.  And yet, in the chaos of pre-Toy Biz Marvel stuff, somehow The Falcon, a relatively minor character until very recently, wound up with not one, but two whole figures.  I’ll be looking at the second of those, courtesy of Mattel’s Secret Wars line.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Falcon was released in the second series of Marvel Super Heroes: Secret Wars, alongside the previously reviewed Daredevil, Black Costume Spider-Man, and Baron Zemo.  As with DD and Zemo, Falcon is another character in the line who wasn’t present in the maxi-series at all.  Not sure why they went with so many non-series stars, but if it gets me a Falcon figure, I won’t complain.  The figure stands about 4 1/2 inches tall and has 7 points of articulation, counting the wings.  He’s built on the same basic body as most of the line, at least for the torso and legs, anyway.  His arms are from Captain America, and his head was an all-new sculpt.  The head is sort of iffy.  I think part of the problem is that he’s the only Secret Wars figure to incorporate hair, and Mattel clearly wasn’t up to hair in terms of sculpting prowess.  He’s also rather wide, and somewhat nondescript.  The standard torso’s been tweaked slightly to allow for the attachment of his wings.  The wings don’t really follow the usual layout for Falcon; his wings have classically been attached to his arms, but these are purely attached to his back, sticking straight out like Angel or Hawkman’s wings.  I find it doesn’t look as cool as his traditional look, but doing them the right way wouldn’t have really been possible given the constraints of the base body.  The paint on Falcon is about on par with the rest of the line, which is to say it’s passable, but far from stellar.  The colors sort of run together, I find, and for whatever reason his shoes are the same color as his skin.  He’s also missing any detailing on the eyes, which comes across as incredibly cheap and lazy in my opinion.  Also, like all of the other figures I’ve looked at, this guy’s exhibiting some rather noticeable paint wear, a symptom of the lower quality paint that was used.  The worst of it’s the missing spot on the nose, which is a little frustrating, but far from horrible.  He was originally packed with his sidekick Redwing, as well as one of the goofy lenticular shields.  Mine has neither, but I can’t really say I’m hurting for either piece.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Falcon is a figure that’s eluded me for quite some time.  Cosmic Comix got one in about a decade ago, which I wanted to get, but decided to come back for later.  Sadly, he was gone when I got back, and not long after I discovered that he’s actually one of the rarer releases from the line.  I was able to finally track him down, courtesy of Heywood Comics in Asheville, NC.  He’s not in perfect condition, but he’s decent enough that I’m happy with him.  The figure’s not one of Mattel’s stronger offerings, but I can’t say he’s out of place with this line.  He could be worse.

#1366: Venom Space Knight

VENOM SPACE KNIGHT

MARVEL MINIMATES

Oh blind bags.  How I loathe thee.  There are certainly things that I hate more than blind bags, but they honestly aren’t coming to mind right now.  So, blind bags are number one right now.  I can sort of see the novelty of the concept to a certain degree, but beyond the first couple of figures, it just sort of wears out its welcome.  Which is really an issue when it comes to introducing blind bags to a pre-existing line.  DST started working the idea into their various Minimates properties to varying success.  It’s finally made its way into the main Marvel comic line, and I’m not super sure how I feel about that.  I’m giving it a try, though, and looking at one of them today.  Yes, it’s another Flash Thompson Venom, but this time, he’s a Space Knight.  And why not?

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Venom Space Knight is part of the inaugural Blind Bag series of comic-based Marvel Minimates.  He’s one of the less common figures in the case; he’s not a one-per-case-r like Silk, but he’s not one of the heavier packed ones.  Which is sensible enough, since Venom’s moderately popular, but not quite as hugely popular as Iron Man and Spider-Man.  The figure’s a little over 2 1/2 inches tall and has 12 points of articulation, taking the boots into account.  He’s got 12 add-on pieces for his helmet, chest piece, upper arms, hands, pelvis cover, upper legs, boots, and torso extender.  Most of the parts are re-used from other bulked up characters (including a few other Venom ‘mates).  The helmet’s all-new, and does a really nice job of translating the comics design into the ‘mate form.  In general, this design translated quite nicely into the ‘mate aesthetic.  Definitely a well-chosen design for the line.  The paintwork on this guy is all pretty solid; the line work is nice and crisp, and the colors are well chosen for the character.  The dark blue chosen for the bulk of the character is pretty nifty, and the white stands out nicely against it.  Under the armor, there’s a fully detailed face and torso, showing Flash in his non-armored look.  There’s also a spare set of arms and legs, as well as a hairpiece, allowing for you to complete the dressed down look, which is essentially a whole second figure.  The paintwork is still solid on these extra pieces (especially the arms), and I really dig the artificial legs.  In addition to the alt pieces, he also includes the standard clear display stand.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I held off on this set for a good long while.  I didn’t really want to buy a whole case, and nobody was really selling them individually.  Fortunately, Cosmic Comix got in a case of them, thus allowing me to just grab one of them.  As luck would have it, it was Venom, who was the ‘mate I wanted the most from the set.  He’s actually a really solid ‘mate, and I love all the extras he includes.  All-in-all, I think this is my first experience with blind bagged Minimates that didn’t leave me feeling dirty and used.  I guess that’s a good thing?