#1343: Imperial Death Trooper

IMPERIAL DEATH TROOPER

STAR WARS: THE BLACK SERIES (HASBRO)

“The elite soldiers of Imperial Intelligence, Death Troopers are encased in specialized stormtrooper armor with a dark, ominous gleam and serve as bodyguards and enforcers for Director Krennic.”

Man, for being so elite, these guys didn’t exactly amount to much, did they?  Well, it’a not really their fault, I guess.  At their core, they’re still just Imperial Stormtroopers, aren’t they?  And these guys do manage to hit at least a few of their targets.  Good for them.  Like any good faceless Star Wars troop, they also make for really great toy fodder, so hey, here’s another Imperial Death Trooper figure!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

The Imperial Death Trooper is part of the small, four figure assortment of Rogue One-themed small scale Star Wars: The Black Series figures, which were released exclusively at Walmart back at the end of last year.  This is one of the two troop builders in the assortment, which makes it slightly more difficult to find (though not as difficult as the Shoretrooper, let me tell you).  The figure stands just over 4 inches tall and has 26 points of articulation.  As with all of the figures in this assortment, the articulation is a marked improvement over the Force Awakens figures from the prior year, especially on the legs.  That being said, I did find the Death Trooper to be the most difficult to pose of the three I’ve got.  It’s possible that’s due to the character design, though.  The sculpt is all-new to this particular figure, and it’s a pretty great rendition of the unique Death Trooper armor from the movie.  The lankiness of the character is a little more down-played here, which I think is for the best.  There’s an add-on with a pauldron and web gear, denoting that this guy’s a slightly different variation of the Death Trooper than I’ve looked at before.  I believe this makes him a squad leader.  Anyway, the extra gear is pretty cool, and adds something new to this guy.  It’s also easily removable, should you just want a basic Death Trooper, which makes him really great for army building.  The paint on this guy is pretty straight forward; for the most part, he’s just molded in black, but there’s some slight detailing here and there to help break things up a bit.  The application is all pretty clean, and he looks like he does in the movie.  The Death Trooper includes his standard larger blaster, as well as the smaller blaster pistol we saw with the larger Black Series figure as well.  Both are pretty well sculpted pieces, though he does have a little trouble holding the rifle (though it’s nowhere near as bad as the First Order Stormtrooper from Series 2).

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

As I noted in my reviews of Jyn and Cassian, when I didn’t find any of these guys back in December/January, I had resigned myself to never getting them.  When I found the other two, I still resigned myself to never getting either of the troopers, since the army builders would have no doubt cleaned out all of the supplies long ago.  But, while in Seattle with Super Awesome Girlfriend and her family, I found this guy at one of the nearby Walmarts.  He’s pretty cool, and like the other two, I think he’s the best version of the character out there.  Now, if I could just find the Shoretrooper….

#1334: R5-D4

R5-D4

STAR WARS: POWER OF THE FORCE II

Hey guys! I’m not feeling too hot tonight so Super Awesome Girlfriend is helping me write this review. Isn’t she super awesome?

We’re looking at Star Wars stuff again. Something something something, droid info here-wait Ethan is actually reading this over my shoulder, so I should write something real…

Everybody knows C-3PO and R2-D2, but not many people know about R5-D4. Why? Because he blows up early on in the movie. It’s okay though, because he shares a lot of the same parts as R2 so he gets plenty of toys! Yaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay! Today, we’ll be looking at one of those toys.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

R5-D4 comes from the second year of Kenner’s Star Wars: Power of the Force II line. The figure is about 3 inches tall and depending on how you count articulation, he has 1 or 3 points (this will make sense later…so he says). So umm, surprisingly enough he and R2 don’t star any parts.

The sculpt is pretty accurate, overall, but it has a few inaccuracies. To start with, there’s the weird bar thingy running between the two back feet (roller things). The R2 figure didn’t have this, so why this one does is beyond Ethan’s congested mind. It just looks weird. Beyond that, there’s the weird silver thingies attached to his legs. Why are they there? Nobody knooooooows. Maybe they’re guns? Ehhhh… ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ The sculpt is also hindered by the action feature. Remember how I mentioned that he explodes in the movie? Well Kenner tried to replicate that…sort of. The top of the figure, the dome, splits in half when you press the special yellow button at the base of the body. There’s also this missile that gets launched because why not? It kind of holds the figure back, because you can’t move the head around due to the missile stored there, which is kind of annoying really. But they tried…I guess. Okay, paint. This figure has paint. Let’s talk paint. It’s sandy looking, which is good because you know Tatooine has lots of sand. You know who hates sand? Anakin hates it, because it gets eeveeeeeeeeeerywhere! Including on this guy! Good work team, go team go. Ethan will probably edit this one later, you know, when his head isn’t full of mucus.

You know what the droid’s head is full of? Missiles…nah, just one, which is his only accessory.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

This lovely addition to the collection came from the Farpoint charity auction. Ethan has always had a soft spot for R5, which isn’t surprising because he has a soft spot for every robot, droid character. The figure is okay, he’s a bit held back by all the explodey stuff Kenner tried emulating with the figure. They could’ve done a lot worse, so he isn’t bad, just sandy. I honestly have no attachment to the droid, so there’s not much for me to say about it. I guess that’s it? Oh, Ethan just burrowed into the blankets…aaaaaaaaaaand he’s gone. I’m terribly sorry.

#1298: Imperial AT-ACT Driver

IMPERIAL AT-ACT DRIVER

STAR WARS: THE BLACK SERIES (HASBRO)

“The Empire’s combat drivers are trained to handle everything on the Imperial ground arsenal, from heavily armed AT-ATs to the more utilitarian AT-ACT walkers.”

You can’t have Star Wars figures without a metric ton of generic Trooper figures.  They’ve long been the backbone of the line, so it’s not a huge surprise that the movie makers put effort into introducing a few extra variants every time there’s a new movie.  Rogue One gave us the whole Scarif sub-set of troopers, which are some of my new favorites.  Today’s figure isn’t *technically* a Scarif trooper, but he share’s a lot of design elements, and he only actually shows up during the Scarif sequences of the movie, so I’m grouping him with them.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

The Imperial AT-ACT Driver is a Target-exclusive entry in the Star Wars: The Black Series line.  He follows the store-exclusive trooper trend, coming out after the TRU-exclusive Hovertank Pilot and the Walmart-exclusive Scarif Trooper.  In the movie, there are actually two drivers seen in the AT-ACT; a basic driver and a commander.  This figure represents the commander.  Of course, thanks to the fairly easily swapped heads on all these troopers, if you swap the head on this guy onto the Hovertank Pilot’s body, you can get both the basic AT-ACT driver and the Tank Commander, if one were so inclined. The figure stands about 6 inches tall and he has 27 points of articulation.  Structurally, he’s a total parts re-use; he’s got the body of the Hovertank Pilot and the head of the Scarif trooper.  It’s totally warranted re-use, since the movie design was the same.  Plus, the pieces are solid, so I have no issues with having them used again.  This figure’s main differences are, of course, the paint.  The basic colors match up with those of the Hovertank pilot (no doubt intentional, since it makes the previously mentioned head swap much easier), but he also gets the additional grey markings on the shoulders to denote him as a commander.  The markings are nice and sharp, which is good.  There’s also a little bit of weathering on the armored sections, offering a bit of accenting to the sculpt.  I’m glad to see the weathering on troopers is remaining a rather consistent thing.  The AT-ACT Driver includes a standard E-11 Blaster.  In uses the same extra detailing used for the blaster included with the K-Mart-exclusive Jyn, which is another thing that’s nice to see be a recurring feature.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

This guy caught me by surprise, since he wasn’t really promoted that much by either Hasbro or Target.  On the same trip where Tim bought me Moon Knight, I also found this guy, but I was still planning to pass, since I was trying to hold off on buying as much.  Of course, this just wouldn’t sit with Super Awesome Girlfriend, who insisted on getting him for me.  This figure doesn’t exactly offer anything new, but I do really like him.  He’s probably my personal favorite of the various Rogue One troopers that have gotten Black Series releases.

#1295: Egyptian Catwoman & Batman

EGYPTIAN CATWOMAN & BATMAN

LEGENDS OF BATMAN (KENNER)

In an effort to prevent this site from becoming all Marvel Legends all the time, and risking becoming too monotonous, today I’m going to be looking at a DC-related item.  Just to add a bit of variety.  Now, yesterday, I looked at a caped vigilante of the night with a bit of an Egyptian flair.  Today, I’ll be looking at…a caped vigilante of the night with a bit of an Egyptian flair.  The more things, the more they stay the same, right?  Today’s review takes us once more to Kenner’s Legends of Batman line from the ‘90s.  While prior reviews have focused primarily on the line’s pirate-sub-line, this time we’re looking at another of the goofy reimaginings, with Egyptian Batman and his foe Egyptian Catwoman!

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

Egyptian Catwoman and Batman were released in 1996 as one of a pair of two-packs in the Legends of Batman line (the other two-pack was the previously reviewed Pirate Two-Face & Pirate Batman).  Like most of the goofy variants from this line, these two were original creations of Kenner, and had no ties to the comics beyond being Batman and Catwoman.

CATWOMAN

Ancient Egypt revered the cat—with the exception of Egyptian Catwoman.  The mightiest woman pharaoh ever to rule, Egyptian Catwoman tainted the royal throne through her misuse of her immense power.  Forcing whole nations into slavery to build her lavish palace, pyramids, and towering monoliths, Egyptian Catwoman was despised and feared throughout the land.  Only her sworn enemy, Egyptian Batman, could stand up to her evil-doings and massive cat-claw battle staff to release her unfortunate subjects from her iron rule.”

Unlike Two-Face, it would seem Egyptian Catwoman is a markedly different character from her main universe character.  With that said, despite what her bio may insist, she doesn’t seem to be all that different from the average Pharaoh, apart from her willingness to fight her own battles.  Guess the cat-claw battle staff helps.  Also, can we address how silly it is that the bio has to call her “Egyptian Catwoman” every time she’s mentioned?  It just sounds kind of silly, especially since those living in ancient Egypt would be very unlikely to throw “Egyptian” in front of their name.  It’d be like me referring to myself as “American Ethan H Wilson” all the time.  Wouldn’t “Pharaoh Catwoman” have been a better choice?  Oh well.  The figure stands about 4 1/2 inches tall and has 6 points of articulation (counting the tail, which turns at its base).  Most of the articulation isn’t of much use, since she’s rather preposed; it’s really only there to let you fine tune things so that she doesn’t fall over so much (whether it actually helps with that issue is debatable).  The sculpt is okay, I guess.  It’s not as good as Pirate Two-Face, but also not as bad as Pirate Batman.  It’s somewhere in between.  The pre-posing is at least a pretty decent pose, which is clearly designed to interact with the Egyptian Batman figure.  In terms of design, she seems to take a good deal of influence from her then current Jim Balent-designed outfit, mostly in terms of color and general layout of the various elements.  There are, of course, the Egyptian-styled elements, which are all pretty decently rendered, if perhaps a bit on the soft side.  The Wolverine claws seem a bit overkill, but there are worse things.  The paint work on Catwoman is acceptable, but far from perfect.  There’s a lot of fuzz around the edges, and the gold paint doesn’t seem to have held up particularly well.  Catwoman includes a headdress (meant to evoke her exposed hair in the comics), as well as the previously mentioned cat-claw battle staff.

BATMAN

“Many years ago, the son of a high-ranking Egyptian official disguised himself as Egyptian Batman and made it his life’s mission to out an end to evil-doers.  He didn’t have to look far for his main target: his own father’s sponsor, Egyptian Catwoman.  Battling the evil, feline pharaoh with only his powerful bat-shield staff and keen intellect as weapons, Egyptian Batman strived to make his homeland a prosperous, peaceful place once again.”

Okay, so here’s my question here: why a bat?  Like, it makes sense for Bruce Wayne, but random Egyptian dude?  Cats work into the whole Egyptian mythology thing, but bats?  I don’t know.  Anyway, the figure stands about 5 inches tall and he has 5 points of articulation.  The articulation works a little better here, since the figure’s a little less preposed, which is a definite plus.  I think Egyptian Batman may well sport my favorite sculpt of the five Legends of Batman figures I’ve looked at so far.  Sure, he’s still got slightly exaggerated proportions and kind of insane muscles, but there’s a sort of balance to it.  I definitely get a Neal Adams sort of vibe from this figure.  The general design is also one of the stronger ones.  It maintains the basics of the classic Batman design, but also perseveres the whole Egyptian aesthetic, in a way that I feel works better than his pack-mate.  I particularly dig the morphing of his traditional bat-ears into more of a jackal sort of design.  It preserves the basic silhouette, but offers something new and different for the figure.  The paint work is pretty straightforward.  It’s mostly pretty clean, and the colors suit the character.  There’s still an issue with the gold paint one this figure, but it seems less present on this guy.  Like Catwoman, Batman includes a headdress, as well as his previously mentioned shield staff, which he has a little trouble holding properly.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Like the prior two-pack, I don’t actually remember seeing this set in stores when it was released.  This one I do recall seeing a few times elsewhere over the years, but I just never got around to getting one.  Super Awesome Girlfriend picked this set up for me at the same time as the Pirate set.  I was actually more interested in the pirate set at first (since they go with my other figures), but after opening them both up, this set was actually my favorite of the two, largely due to the pretty awesome Egyptian Batman figure.  If you’re looking for a good jumping on point for this line, you could do a lot worse than this set.

#1291: Marvel’s Angela

MARVEL’S ANGELA

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

“A master of hand-to-hand combat, Angela is known throughout the galaxy for her battle prowess.”

On the next installment of figures of characters Ethan knows next to nothing about…

Back in the early ‘90s, a group of poplar comic book artists, headed by Todd McFarlane, left Marvel Comics over issues of creative control and maintaining the rights to the characters they created.  They founded Image Comics.  Each artist was given their own free reign to do as they liked with the characters they created, and would each maintain the rights to their own creations.  What does this all have to do with Angela?  Well, Angela was born out of Todd McFarlane’s series Spawn.  Todd started delegating the creation of the actual comic pretty quickly, passing the reigns to a number of writers.  Among them was one Neil Gaiman, who wrote Spawn #9, which introduced the character of Angela, a co-creation of Gaiman and McFarlane (who was still handling the art duties).  Gaiman was initially told he would retain creator rights for Angela (as well as the other two characters created for the issue), but McFarlane later tried to back out, claiming Angela was the result of a “work for hire” contract (a tactic virtually identical to that used by Marvel to deny McFarlane rights to characters he’d created. Way to go, Todd).  Gaiman took the case to court, and was eventually granted full ownership of Angela, whom he promptly sold to Marvel.  Marvel integrated her into the main universe as a side-effect of Age of Ultron’s mucking with the timeline.  Now she’s apparently the sister of Thor and has also joined up with the Guardians of the Galaxy.  Yay?  Anyway, she got a Marvel Legend, so here it is.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Angela is figure 4 in the Titus Series of Marvel Legends and is the final single figure in the set to be reviewed on the site.  She’s another figure with the “Marvel’s” bit in front of her name, but this is one time I think it’s totally justified.  They paid good money for her, might as well let people know.  She’s based on her Joe Quesada-designed look that she got when she was introduced at Marvel, which seems like a pretty sensible choice, especially since it’s the look she had with the Guardians, and she’s in a Guardians-themed series.  The figure stands 6 3/4 inches tall and she has 27 points of articulation.  Angela is built on an all-new body.  I would imagine we’ll be seeing some of it again pretty soon, as it looks like the upcoming Lady Sif figure is built on the same base.  Beyond that, it’s not really going to be getting much use as a base body, since most of it’s got pretty character specific elements.  It’s a decent enough body.  The build isn’t too much on the impossible side, at least as far as comic book characters go.  She does seem rather leggy, but that’s not entirely off when you’re dealing with the Asgardians.  The character-specific elements are decent enough, though some of the armor (especially the shoulder pads and the one weird elbow thing) is rather restrictive of the articulation.  The head’s actually pretty nice; the face is fairly attractive and fits well with the other Asgardians in terms of basic features, while the hair has a nice, lively flow to it, which makes it look like she’s doing more than just standing there (but it also doesn’t go too overboard, a la the Ultimate Spider-Woman figure).  There are add-ons for the belt/loincloth and the…uhhh, scarf?  Straps?  Neck belt?  Leash?  I don’t know what that thing around her neck is, but it’s a separate piece.  It also kind of sits weird.  It’s not really the fault of the figure, but I’m not really a fan of the loincloth’s design.  Why is it only at the back?  Is it supposed to be some sort of butt cape?  I don’t know.  I really feel it would look much better if it were also present at the front.  As it is, she looks sort of half dressed.  I mean, I know she’s already somewhat on the scantily clad side of the spectrum, but that one bit just looks…unfinished.  It’s accurate to the comic and everything, so Hasbro’s not to blame, but it bugs me.  The piece also has some difficulty sitting properly, which seems to be a trend amongst her add-ons.  Angela’s paintwork is generally pretty solid, so that’s good.  The colors are all pretty vibrant, and all of the application is nice and clean.  There’s no real accent work to speak of, but it actually doesn’t seem that odd here.  Most of her artwork has her looking pretty clean, so this is consistent with that.  Angela is packed with a sword and a pair of axes.  The sword on mine is malformed into that weird wavy shape, but I actually kinda like it.  The axes are kind of goofy, but accurate to the comics, so that’s what that is.  She also includes the right leg of the Build-A-Figure Titus.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

So, I didn’t plan on getting Angela.  I don’t really have any attachment to Angela, like, at all.  Even less than Darkhawk, who I also wasn’t gonna get.  But I did get him.  Remember in Wednesday’s review, where I mentioned that whole barter system, doing IT work for action figures thing?  Well, while Super Awesome Girlfriend’s mom was in town a few weeks ago, we were all at a Books-A-Million, and SAGF’s mom was buying her some books.  Since I’d done quite a bit of IT work for her, she asked if I wanted another action figure.  This was one of two Marvel Legends in the store that I didn’t already own, and Titus was exactly one piece away from completion.  So, home with me she came.  She’s not a bad figure at all.  Were I a fan of the character, I’d probably be really happy with her.  As it is?  I’m still not totally sold on the design, and there are a handful of minor issues with the figure.  But, she’s overall pretty fun.  So, now I own *two* Angela figures.  Yippee.

#1290: Princess Leia Organa

PRINCESS LEIA ORGANA

STAR WARS: THE BLACK SERIES

“Princess Leia Organa was one of the Rebel Alliance’s greatest leaders, fearless on the battlefield and dedicated to ending the tyranny of the Empire.”

May the 4th be with you!  Yes, it’s May 4th again, known to geeks all over the world as Star Wars Day.  This year’s Star Wars Day is extra special, since this year marks to 40th anniversary of the release of the original movie.  I had initially planned to review another vintage figure today, but as luck would have it, I got a newer item that I wanted to slot into the schedule as quickly as possible.  So, without further ado, here’s Princess Leia Organa!

THE FIGURE IN QUESTION

Princess Leia was released as part of the first series of the special 40th Anniversary sub-set of Hasbro’s Star Wars: The Black Series.  All of the figures in the first series are re-releases of prior Black Series figures, but this time on special commemorative cards patterned after the vintage Kenner hardbacks of old.  The packaging is super nifty, and I was almost a little sad to have to open it up to take her out.  Leia is a re-release of the #30 Black Series figure released last year.  Unlike the others in this set, she’s actually got a slight tweak from her predecessor.  The initial head for the #30 figure was deemed unsatisfactory by Hasbro.  However, they were too late in production to completely replace it, so the initial shipments went out with the initial sculpt.  There was talk of a running change to replace the head, but I’m not actually sure if they ever made it out.  This release is making use of the new head from the start.  The figure stands 5 inches tall and has 29 points of articulation.  Like Luke and Obi-Wan before her, Leia makes use of a mix of sculpted and cloth parts.  The head, boots, and underlying body are all sculpted, and the dress and hood are a tailored piece, held in place by a sculpted belt piece.  In terms of the sculpted parts, the general work is pretty solid.  The head is, as noted, the improved piece.  It’s really quite a nice piece of work; easily one of the better Carrie Fisher likeness out there.  It’s leaps and bounds beyond the prior piece, and I personally think its a closer likeness than the Boushh disguise Leia, which was my personal favorite prior to this.  The underlying body sculpt is decent enough; it’s not really meant to be seen, so the proportions are more on the marionette side of things.  I do wish some of the joints offered a little more range, but other than that, it seems fine.  The boots are a pretty decent sculpt, and make for a pretty decent replica of the actual costume pieces.  They aren’t going to to be seen much, but the attention to detail is appreciated.  The cloth pieces on the Black Series figures have never been one of Hasbro’s strong suits.  I was particularly letdown by how the shirt turned out on the ANH Luke figure.  So, I was definitely apprehensive of how the dress would turn out here.  While I think I still would have preferred a sculpted dress, I’m happy to say the cloth dress is better than I was expecting.  It seems to be less ill-fitting than prior pieces, and sits on the figure rather nicely.  It’s not without issue, mind you.  The seams on the sleeves are rather annoying, and the hood is just sort of a mess.  It doesn’t really want to say up or down; I think sewing it in place would have been a better idea.  The belt piece holds the whole thing together nicely, and adds just the right folds.  It also doesn’t seem to ride up as much as Luke’s did, which is a serious plus!  I’ve been a little letdown by some of the Black Series paint as of late, but Leia actually turned out really well.  Her head gets the majority of the work.  It’s all pretty clean, and I was pleasantly surprised by the slight accent work on her face, which adds some extra color and brings some much needed life to the figure.  Here’s hoping that this style of paintwork continues!  Leia is packed with two blasters: the smaller one she carries during her opening scene and the larger Stormtrooper blaster she’s hauling around during the escape from the Deathstar.  I really appreciate the variety.  Of course the fact that she got both guns only further hammers home how annoying it was that Luke didn’t get any of his Stormtrooper gear, since both Han and Leia did.  Oh well.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I never did see the first release of this figure at retail (In fact, the only figure I did see was the Obi-Wan figure that I bought).  So, I was pretty happy to hear about the re-release, since I didn’t want my A New Hope set stuck without a major player.  I ended up finding this figure at the nearby comic book store, Power Comics, while Super Awesome Girlfriend was picking up last week’s comics haul.  I was going to wait to grab her, but Super Awesome Girlfriend insisted on buying her for me, because that’s what she does.  For once, I’m glad I had to wait for a figure, because this release is definitely superior to the prior figure.  The end result is a figure I’m really happy with.  She was definitely a pleasant surprise.  Here’s to more awesome Leia figures in the future!

#1289: Doctor Who Series 5 Set

RAGGEDY DOCTOR, PRISONER ZERO, & RORY WILLIAMS

DOCTOR WHO (CHARACTER OPTIONS)

Okay, let’s take a small break from all the Marvel stuff for a little bit (but fear not, dear readers, it’ll be back soon enough), and flip over to a slightly less frequent subject of review here, Doctor Who!  I know some people might not agree with me, but my favorite era of the show is the first season of Smith’s run on the show.  The figures I’m looking at today hail from that particular period of the show.  Let’s see how they look!

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

These three make up the Series Five three-pack from Character Options’ Doctor Who line, which was released around the time of the show’s anniversary.  All three figures are re-released from earlier in the line, with Rory and Prisoner Zero being single releases and Raggedy Doctor being in a two pack with a basic Eleven.

RAGGEDY DOCTOR

This marks the fourth figure of the Eleventh Doctor I’ve looked at on this site, which pulls him into the lead, just past Ten, who’s sitting pretty at three figures.  This particular figure is based on Eleven’s appearance in his debut episode “The Eleventh Hour,” prior to his selecting a new outfit for himself.  As such, he’s still sporting the tattered remains of Ten’s clothes from “The End Of Time.”  The figure stands about 5 1/4 inches tall and has 16 points of articulation.  This version of Eleven was a mix of old and new parts.  The head is, of course, just the same standard head used on the basic Eleven from the Eleven Doctors set (among others).  It’s not a perfect Smith likeness, but it’s got a passing resemblance.  The legs are just the basic Ten legs, which makes sense, since it’s the same outfit and all.  The upper body is new; it does a pretty good job of capturing the Doctor’s raggedness, which is kind of the main point of the figure.  That being said, for some odd reason, the torso section of the shirt is an overlay, on top of a more basic torso piece.  It looks okay overall, but there are some pretty obvious joint lines, especially at the neck.  On the plus side, at least the details are still pretty sharp.  In terms of paint, Eleven is pretty much on par with most of my other Doctor Who stuff.  The work is generally pretty clean, and the colors are sharp, but there’s not a whole lot in the way of accenting.  Still, it’s pretty consistent with the other stuff from the line, which is good.  Even though his hand is clearly sculpted to hold a sonic screwdriver, this figure includes no extras.  To be fair, his screwdriver was broken for most of the episode, so he shouldn’t technically have it, and at least this way he *can* have one if you want him to.  Still, something extra would have been nice.

PRISON ZERO

A perfect pairing with the Raggedy Doctor, seeing as it’s the primary antagonist for “The Eleventh Hour” and all. To be honest, it’s less a figure and more a glorified accessory.  It’s about 6 inches tall and moves at three places along the “body.”  The movement is mostly there to help you get the best possible balance for the figure, but I suppose you could get some slightly more inventive poses if you so choose.  Prisoner Zero sports a unique sculpt, which does a halfway decent job of capturing the creature’s CGI-rendered natural form from the episode.  In fact, I’d say it even looks a little bit more frightening than the creature seen in the episode.  I will say, not only are the joints on this figure rather obviously placed, they’re also not super sturdy; my figure already snapped off of its base at the joint, and I hadn’t even had it out of the box for more than a few minutes.  In terms of paint, Prisoner Zero is somewhat sparse; it’s mostly molded in clear plastic, with its joints molded in red so as to give it a nifty other-worldly quality.  There’s still paint on the teeth and eyes, which is all pretty good.  Prisoner Zero includes no accessories, but, like I said above, it’s more of an accessory itself than anything.

RORY WILLIAMS

Rory’s the one figure in this set I already have (reviewed here).  The other two figures are clearly from “The Eleventh Hour.”  While Rory was introduced in that episode, he doesn’t wear this particular get-up, which makes him seem a little out of place.  It seems a little odd to me that they chose to put him in this set, rather than giving the basic Amy a re-release, especially since she carries such a hefty value on the secondary market.  I mean, I own two Amys arleady, so I don’t have a real dog in this fight, but it just seems slightly odd.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

This set was given to me by Super Awesome Girlfriend’s mother, in exchange for doing some IT work for her.  Nothing like a good old fashioned barter system, right?  This isn’t really a set I’d have picked for myself, if I’m honest.  The Doctor included is non-essential, Prisoner Zero isn’t really an action figure, and I’ve already got a Rory figure.  With that being said, the Raggedy Doctor is a pretty fun Eleven variant, and Prisoner Zero is an entertaining backdrop for my Who collection.  Not a super thrilling set, but a decent one.

#1288: Darkhawk – Masters of Mind

DARKHAWK — MASTERS OF MIND

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

“With incredible powers of both body and mind, these heroes prepare for any intergalactic mission.”

Yes, today, we’re looking at yet another Marvel Legends figure.  Like I said last week, I picked up three whole series of these guys last month, and I have to fit them in somewhere!

Today’s figure is Darkhawk.  Who is Darkhawk?  Well, uh….with incredible powers of both body and mind, he prepares for any intergalactic mission, I can tell you that much!  Okay, so I don’t really know a whole lot about Darkhawk.  I know he was popular in the ‘90s, and he was a member of the New Warriors, and that his main gimmick was that he was a kid who could transplant his mind into a space warrior…thing. I know he also looks cool, which is always a good thing in the action figure world.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Darkhawk is figure 5 in the Titus Series of Marvel Legends, which is the first of the two GotG-themed assortments this year.  He’s officially titled “Masters of Mind,” a name he shares with the previously-reviewed Vance Astro figure. This is Darkhawk’s first time as a Legend.  However, he was actually taken to the control art stage by Toy Biz back before the license passed to Hasbro, so he’s been a long time coming.  Darkhawk is based on his modern, more streamlined appearance.  This was a point of contention for some fans, who wanted a more classic look.  As someone who’s not super familiar with the character, I kind of prefer this look, myself, but I understand the frustration.  The figure stands about 6 1/2 inches tall and he has 34 points of articulation (counting his articulated shoulder pads).  This guy is based on the Bucky Cap body, but you’d be forgiven for not noticing.  He has a new head, torso, pelvis, arms, and feet (as well as a belt that he stole from Daredevil).  That all adds up to a figure that might as well be a completely unique sculpt.  I appreciate how modular the Bucky Cap body has become.  The new pieces fit really well with the existing stuff, and in also improve upon some of the minor issues I have with the Bucky Cap base.  The head is a really cool, angular design, which looks good and sharp.  The torso and feet actually do a lot to bring this body in line with the 2099 and Spider-UK bodies, which is much appreciated, and easy to overlook.  The arms are my only area of complaint on this guy.  The actual arms themselves are fine, it’s more the extra bits that are the issue.  For one thing, the claw on his right arm looks and feels nice like wires sticking out of his gauntlet than an actual claw set up.  More pressing, however, are the wings.  They’re split between the upper and lower arms, in a similar fashion to the Toy Biz Falcon figure.  It worked okay there, but it isn’t exactly the most ideal here.  Ultimately, the way they’re sculpted, they don’t really look natural in any pose.   I mean, it’s not terrible, but it’s also not great.  On the plus side, the paintwork on Darkhawk is pretty top notch.  He’s got that cool metallic blue thing going on, which looks pretty nifty, as does the nicely contrasting  silver and flat red/orange.  The application is all pretty clean too, which is a definite plus.  Darkhawk includes no character-specific extras, but he does include the head of Titus.  Tiger head!

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I didn’t initially plan on getting this guy.  After picking up the other four, I was pretty well done with this series.  I saw him once or twice in person, and he looked cool, but I don’t know the character.  Of course, then Super Awesome Girlfriend came in.  We were out picking up a printer, and while carrying said printer (which, it should be noted, was the second largest printer the store sold, putting it just under the size at which it qualifies for them to carry it out to the car for you…), I walked knee first into one of those cement pillars they have outside of most retail establishments.  Ouch, right?  Super Awesome Girlfriend felt bad, so she bought me this guy from Walmart.  He’s pretty cool, truth be told.  I may not know him all that well, but he sure does make for a cool toy!

#1287: Miles Morales – Ultimate Spider-Men

MILES MORALES — ULTIMATE SPIDER-MEN

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

“With amazing agility and wall-crawling skills, these young web-slingers take down the bad guys!”

Hey, remember waaaaaay back when I was reviewing Marvel Legends?  It’s been, like, days.  Plural.  I think I might be going into withdrawal.  Could be serious.  Near as I can tell, the only surefire way of avoiding that withdrawal is to review some Marvel Legends.  Oh darn.

Today’s figure hails from Marvel’s Ultimate Universe (or at least he did.  It’s sort of complicated).  I’ve only briefly touched on the concept before, but in a nutshell, it was launched in the early 2000s as a more grounded, more accessible line of comics, geared towards newer readers.  After a few years, the universe was suffering from a lot of the same continuity lock-out as the main universe, thereby robbing it of its main hook.  To try and salvage some things, Marvel repurposed the ‘verse, and started using it to try out some more daring story telling.  For instance, in the main universe, killing Peter Parker and replacing him would never stick, but in the Ultimate ‘verse, they were able to do just that.  Following the death of the Ultimate Peter Parker, readers were introduced to his replacement Miles Morales.  Miles was a serious breakout for the Ultimate line, and actually kept it afloat for several years, before he was eventually moved to the main universe.  By virtue of bearing the title “Spider-Man,” Miles has gotten an assortment of figures, one of which I’ll be taking a look at today!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Miles was released as part of the illusive Space Venom Series of Marvel Legends, under the title “Ultimate Spider-Men,” which he shares with the ultimate version of Peter.  This is Miles’ second time in this particular style; the first was released as a Walmart-exclusive figure in conjunction with the release of the first Amazing Spider-Man.  That figure was built on a very out of date, very ill-suited body, and was generally not well-regarded with the fans, on top of being nearly impossible to find.  This new one’s better on at least one of those counts.  The figure stands about 5 3/4 inches tall and he has 32 points of articulation.  Miles is built on the same base body we saw on the Sam Alexander Nova figure (it actually debuted here, though).  It’s a good, solid base.  Aside from the lack of butterfly joints at the shoulders,  and the addition of cut joints on the shins, it’s very similar to the Pizza Spidey body, which is certainly a plus.  The masked head (which is shared with the Peter figure as well) is also pretty similar to the Pizza Spidey head, though there are some key differences that help bring it more in line with the usual depictions of the ultimate masks.  I really dig the slightly wider eyes; it adds variety.  Miles also sports an unmasked head (putting him ahead of the main universe version of Peter in that respect).  It’s a really nice sculpt, and really manages to capture Miles’ in-comics look without getting too bogged down in any one artist’s style.  The level of detail, especially on the hair, is top-notch, and he’s got a nice, friendly expression that suits Miles really well.  The paintwork on Miles is generally pretty good.  The web pattern is sharp and evenly placed. Some of the reds on the rest of the body are a little thin, and there’s some slight slop here and there, but for the most part it looks pretty good.  The unmasked head is even better, with clean application all-around, even on the eyes!  In addition to the extra unmasked head, Miles also includes three pairs of hands (in fists, open gesture, and web-firing poses), as well as the right arm of the Build-A-Figure Space Venom.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

As I’ve noted in a few prior reviews, I didn’t have much luck finding this particular series at retail.  While that was a bummer all-around, the one figure I really, really wanted was Miles here, since I really needed him for my Avengers/Champions line-up.  While on a trip up to see Super Awesome Girlfriend’s dad, I stopped by the local Walmart, and they just so happened to have the remnants of this particular series.  I was initially only planning to get a Miles for my Dad, but Super Awesome Girlfriend insisted on going back and grabbing the second Miles for me.  Because that’s just what she does.  This is definitely a solid addition to the line, and a figure worthy of Miles’ awesomeness from the comics.  He really makes for a fun toy!  Now, if I can just get around to finishing Space Venom…

#1277: Pirate Two-Face & Pirate Batman

PIRATE TWO-FACE & PIRATE BATMAN

LEGENDS OF BATMAN (KENNER)

Remember when I reviewed Buccaneer Batman, the inexplicable pirate-themed Batman variant from super wacky ‘90s Legends of Batman line?  Well, he wasn’t the only inexplicable pirate-themed variant in the line.  Not by a long shot!  Today, I’m looking at the *other* pirate-themed Batman from the line, dubbed “Pirate Batman” (real original on that one, guys), alongside one of his pirate-themed foes, Pirate Two-Face (again, great job on the name, guys…).  Let’s have a look!

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

Pirate Two-Face and Pirate Batman were released in 1996 as one of the two two-packs from Kenner’s Legends of Batman.  These two wrapped up the Pirate subset that was started in Series 3 of the main line.

TWO-FACE

“After a tragic accident left half his body hideously scarred and half his mind horribly insane, the once promising ship’s captain Pirate Two-Face sailed the seven seas as the most ruthless pirate leader in the annals of history.  Upon boarding captured ships laden with treasures, Pirate Two-Face would decide the fate of the crew and passengers with the flip of a coin.  His unpredictability, unchecked greed, and sword fighting skills could be challenged by just one man, Pirate Batman, who he eluded at every port of call.”

So, in this pirate scenario, Two-Face is more or less unchanged, it seems.  Mostly, they just threw the word “pirate” in there a lot.  Fair enough.  It’s worth noting that this was Two-Face’s only figure in this line; Joker, Catwoman, and Riddler all had standard comic figures, but Harvey was stuck as a pirate all the time.  I mean, at least he got a figure at all, right?  The figure stands about 5 inches tall and he has 7 points of articulation.  Pirate Two-Face was a unique sculpt, and it’s actually a pretty solid one.  His design plays up the “good vs evil” dichotomy, but in true pirate style.  Rather than his usual suit, Pirate Two-Face is half naval officer, half dastardly pirate captain.  His naval officer side is clean and pressed while the pirate side is disheveled and wrinkled like crazy.  His collar on the pirate side is even slightly popped, before settling back down on the “good” side.  The pirate side gets the usual facial scarring (which is surprisingly gruesome for a kid’s toyline), and he also seems to have lost an arm and a leg along the way, replacing them with a peg-leg and some sort of swiss army knife-sword-hook combo replacing them.  As a whole, he really sells the pirate angle pretty well, while still sticking close to the Two-Face side of things as well.  For paint, Pirate Two-Face is generally pretty good for the time; his colors are obviously split down the middle, with blue on the right and red on the left.  The changeover works pretty well, though there’s a bit of slop right on the line, where some of the primer coat under the red shows through.  Most annoyingly, the paint for his belt doesn’t continue all the way around, so it’s just flat blue and red back there.  It looks kind of sloppy.  Pirate Two-Face included no accessories, which is slightly odd, since his hand seems to be begging for something to hold.  He does have a “sword-fighting action”; when you turn the wheel in his back, his sword hand spins.  Woooooooooo!

BATMAN

“Taking it upon himself to make the world’s waterways safe from marauding bands and looters, Pirate Batman relentlessly scoured the seas in pursuit of the most villainous of them all—Pirate Two-Face.  Armed with a razor sharp sword and dagger, Pirate Batman was renowned for his extraordinary dueling ability and courage in the face of danger.  He ceaselessly hunted his evil foe with the split-personality, hoping to rid the seas of his maniacal menace once and for all!”

There was already a Buccaneer Batman in Series 3 of Legends of Batman, but I guess Kenner felt a second one was needed to be made.  The bios for the two indicate they actually might be two different people, which is a somewhat interesting idea.  The figure stands about 4 1/2 inches tall and has 6 points of articulation.  Of course, one of those points is on his right shoulder, which does jack-all in terms of posing, thanks to the outstretched arm.  The figure is actually a complete re-hash of Series 1’s Power Guardian Batman.  Admittedly, the Zorro stylings of that figure lend themselves to a pirate-theme as well, so it’s not a terrible re-use in theory.  Unfortunately, it wasn’t one of the stronger sculpts when it was new, and two years later, it felt even more out of place with the rest of the line, especially the pirate subset it belonged to.  He’s more pre-posed than even the worst of the Total Justice figures, in this really deep lunge.  Remember when I said Buccaneer Batman had the widest stance I’d seen?  Well, this guy’s topped him on that, which has the added bonus of making him virtually impossible to keep standing.  Also, I’m not really sure what’s going on with the left arm; it’s just at an odd angle, and the hand’s doing…something.  Not really sure what.  And it’s at least half an inch too long and isn’t attached to the shoulder in a natural way at all.  In general, the proportions are just super wacky on this guy.  The cape is a removable piece, and while it looks okay, it never really seems to sit right and it falls off a lot.  Pirate Batman’s paint is decent enough.  His scheme is actually somewhat reminiscent of the “Gotham By Gaslight” design, albeit slightly bluer.  I personally find this design to be a bit more exciting than the Power Guardian look, so I guess that’s a plus.  The figure is packed with the sword and dagger mentioned in the bio (they’re the same pieces included with the PG version).  He’s also got his own sword-fighting action, which works fairly similarly to Pirate Two-Face’s.  Honestly, it’s probably the best thing about the figure.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I don’t actually recall seeing this set when it was new.  It wasn’t until years later that I even knew that it existed.  When I dug out my Buccaneer Batman to write his review, my interest in completing the set was piqued.  A few months back, while picking up Super Awesome Girlfriend’s comics, I noted that the store had this set in stock.  Super Awesome Girlfriend, being who she is, insisted on getting them for me.  Pirate Two-Face is pretty cool.  Goofy, but cool.  Pirate Batman is…well, he’s the other figure in the set.  And that’s about it for him.  He just feels really tacked on, and almost as if he’s from another line entirely.  Still, the set’s more than worth it for Two-Face!