#2136: Wildcat

WILDCAT

DC UNIVERSE CLASSICS (MATTEL)

Ted Grant was a heavyweight boxing champion in the 1930s. He became a fugitive when mobsters framed him for murder in the ring. Ted donned a black costume and, adopting the name Wildcat, used his combat skills to beat a confession out of the men who framed him. Wildcat decided to remain in costume and focused his attention on mob-related crime. In his civilian identity, Ted Grant has operated a gym and trained Batman, Black Canary, and Catwoman in hand-to-hand combat arts.”

I had been tempted to start this review with a gag about how I hadn’t reviewed any DC Universe Classics figures recently, and how that was actually Mattel’s fault.  Trouble is…it’s only been two weeks since my last DCUC review, so I guess that joke doesn’t really fly so well.  Well, I’m still gonna blame Mattel…force of habit really.  For today’s review, I turn to one of the DC Universe’s older heroes, Wildcat, notable for sharing his first appearance with Wonder Woman (and Mister Terrific, but not as many people know him).  As a definite second stringer to her starring role, he found himself somewhat pushed to the sidelines, not even joining the premier Golden Age team, the Justice Society, until after the Golden Age had ended.  He found a renewed life after Earths 1 and 2 merged after Crisis on Infinite Earths, where he was retrofitted into an aged hero who had trained most of the current generation.  As a mentor, he flourished and became a fan-favorite.  And that’s how he’s become one of the most action-figured golden age heroes.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Wildcat was released in Series 9 of DC Universe Classics.  He wasn’t technically the only JSA member in the assortment, since Black Canary was also part of the line-up, and the two actually made for a pretty sensible pairing.  He was also right at the head of the oncoming push for the JSA, and continued the DCUC trend of providing updates to characters DC Direct hadn’t touched in a while.  There were two versions of Wildcat available, though unlike a lot of the variants produced for this line, the differences between the two are menial at best.  The standard’s body suit was a straight black, while the variant (reviewed here) was instead a very dark blue.  The reasoning behind the variant was never really explained, since it’s not exactly a callback to a specific look.  Both figures went for Wildcat’s slightly modernized look, with his wrapped up hands, befitting his past as a boxer.  The figure stands 6 1/2 inches tall and he has 23 points of articulation.  Wildcat was built on the larger male body, which was in service from Series 1 to Series 20.  For a bruiser like Ted, it was a good fit.  He also got a new head, forearms, hands, and feet.  The head is definitely the most impressive piece; rather than just a solid piece, the face is separately sculpted from the mask on top of it.  It adds some nice depth to the sculpt, and makes him unique amongst the other, single-piece sculpts from the line.  Wildcat’s colorscheme is fairly monochromatic, and by extension his paintwork is pretty simple for the most part.  The variant is sort of a purplish-blue, which doesn’t look half-bad, and he gets some pretty impressive work on those hand wraps.  Wildcat was packed with the torso and head of the Series 9 CnC, Chemo, who I didn’t actually complete, but there it is.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I feel like all of my DCUC reviews have the same “Me Half of the Equation,” but here goes: Series 9’s distribution was spotty.  Not as spotty as Series 8, but still pretty damn spotty.  I never saw either version of Wildcat at retail, and so I never got one while the line was running.  Fortunately for me, when All Time Toys got in a DCUC collection last December, I was able to find this guy among them.  He’s a strong figure, no doubt, and I’m definitely glad I was able to get ahold of him, because he really exhibits the line’s strength in simplicity very nicely.

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#2135: Rebel Pilots

WEDGE ANTILLES, TEN NUMB, & ARVEL CRYNYD

STAR WARS: POWER OF THE FORCE II (KENNER)

“For generations, an evil power has spread throughout the galaxy. It began with Darth Sidious’ sinister plot to conquer the planet Naboo and peaked with the Empire’s domination of the galaxy. Throughout the era, brave starfighter pilots flew into space to fight this power. Naboo pilots braved impossible odds to save their planet from the superior forces of the Trade Federation. years later, X-wing pilot Wedge Antilles, B-wing Pilot Ten Numb, and A-wing pilot Arvel Crynyd were part of the assault on the second Death Star. Their success at the Battle of Endor released the iron grip on the galaxy.”

Several reviews in, I must admit, I’m running out of interesting things to say about Rebel pilots.  There sure are a lot of them, which is probably a good thing, given their high mortality rate.  Like other areas of the Star Wars ‘verse, they also get into the whole specialization bit that Lucas got particularly fond of, with each ship getting its own branch of pilots.  A few of them were packed with their vehicles, but Kenner eventually went for broke and threw a handful of them together in one multipack.  I’m looking at that set today!

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

These three were released as the “Rebel Pilots” Cinema Scene, released as part of the third year of Power of the Force II Cinema Scenes in 1999.  Of all of the Cinema Scenes, they were the one that seemed to have the loosest grasp on the concept, since it’s not actually based on a particular screen grab from the film like the others.  I think Kenner was just using the easiest excuse to put out these guys in a multipack.  I’m certainly not complaining.

WEDGE ANTILLES

After being officially introduced to the line in 1997 as a pack-in with the Millenium Falcon carrying case, Wedge got his second figure in pretty short order as the real headliner of this set.  While that figure gave us Wedge in his cold-weather gear from Hoth, and generally followed the stylings of the earlier figures from the line, this one gives us him in his more standard X-Wing pilot attire from both A New Hope and Return of the Jedi.  The figure stands 3 3/4 inches tall and has 6 points of articulation.  From the neck down, he’s the same body as Biggs and the Rebel Alliance Pilot.  It’s a fairly standard pilot attire and they had fairly similar builds, so it works fine for Wedge.  He gets a new head, which marks a first in the line, giving a pilot a removable helmet.  It’s a little oversized, especially when compared the admittedly quite undersized helmeted heads of the earlier pilots, but actually looks pretty decent.  Under the helmet, there’s a decent likeness of actor Dennis Lawson, which looks closer than the prior attempt.  It does, of course, benefit from being his whole head, rather than just the face. The paintwork on Wedge is pretty decently handled, albeit pretty basic in implementation.  Interestingly, the various colors on his flightsuit have been slightly changed from Biggs and the Rebel Alliance Pilot, making Wedge a little bit more unique.

TEN NUMB

While everyone knows fellow Sullustan rebel Nien Nunb, he’s not the only one to figure into Jedi‘s climactic star battle.  B-Wing pilot Ten Numb was also there, and so he got a figure.  Yay.  The figure stands 3 1/2 inches tall and he has 6 points of articulation.  He’s an all-new sculpt, although a lot of his parts are unsurprisingly pretty close to Nien Nunb’s.  It’s honestly not a bad offering.  He’s not super posable or super detailed, but he’s a good match (at least sculpturally) for the character’s on-screen appearance.  Like Wedge, he’s also got removable headgear, which is actually pretty impressive given how oddly shaped his head is.  Ten’s paint is the subject of some scrutiny, because his jumpsuit is actually entirely the wrong color.  In the film, he’s in red, but early promotional shots had the character in white, and that’s what his figures tend to be wearing.  If nothing else, it makes him more easily distinguished from Nien Nunb, so I guess there’s that.

ARVEL CRYNYD

Okay, so this guy?  Not actually Arvel Crynyd as it turns out.  Arvel is an A-Wing pilot, and is notable for crashing into the bridge of the Executor.  If a figure’s getting his name, it would make more sense for it to be the A-Wing Pilot.  This guy on the other hand, isn’t an A-Wing pilot at all.  He’s actually a Y-Wing pilot named Lt. Telsij.  Talk about mistaken identity.  Telsij is another all-new sculpt, and he’s pretty much on par with the other two, although he’s obviously a little closer to Wedge in terms of styling.  He too has a removable helmet, which is another good fit.  Beneath it is a nicely detailed, sufficently unique looking head.  In terms of paintwork, Telsij is in a similar situation to Ten.  His jumpsuit is red here, but should actually be grey to be screen accurate.  What’s weird is even if this were Arvel, the red would be incorrect, so I’m not sure where the color came from.  Whatever the case, it’s likely going to be hidden from view and he’s minor enough for it to be forgivable.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I didn’t have this set as a kid, but I knew of its existence, and have wanted it for a bit.  I finally got it via a large Star Wars collection that was traded into All Time Toys.  There were actually a few of this set mixed in with all the loose items, so I was able to fish out the best copies of each of them.  It doesn’t fit the trend of the rest of the line, but I don’t really mind it, because this is actually a pretty dope set.

#2134: Baroness

BARONESS

G.I. JOE: A REAL AMERICAN HERO (HASBRO)

“The spoiled offspring of wealthy European aristocrats, the Baroness graduated from student radicalism into international terrorism and finally into the ranks of COBRA. She was severely burned during a COBRA night attack operation and has had extensive plastic surgery. Rumor has it that she is the only one who knows Destro’s secret identity. Qualified expert: M-16; AK-47; RPG7; Uzi; H.I.S.S. tank operator.”

While the GI Joe comic was designed primarily to sell the toys in the toy line, it wasn’t entirely without its roster of non-toy-bearing characters.  On the Joe side, it was most limited to higher ranking officers who didn’t get in on the action quite so much.  On the Cobra side, however, there was the Baroness, who would go on to be one of the franchise’s most prominent fixtures.  Though introduced in the very first issue of the comic in 1982, Baroness wouldn’t join the toyline for another two years, and in fact would only have a single figure during the original vintage run.  I’m reviewing said figure today.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Baroness was added to the GI Joe line-up in 1984.  The line was at the time doing one female figure per line-up, making Baroness the third female figure to be inducted into the line.  She was the first female Cobra added, and she would remain their only female member until Zarana jointed the line in ’86.  The figure stands 3 3/4 inches tall and she has 14 points of articulation.  Baroness’s sculpt was all-new to her at the time, but would go on to see re-use for a few other Baroness figures later on down the line.  It’s probably the most attractive female sculpt that the vintage line produced, and certainly a step up from the likes of Scarlett and Covergirl.  It’s pretty decently proportioned, and really captures that femme fatale thing that Baroness had going in the comics and cartoons.  Additionally, it follows that great trend with a lot of these mid-run Joes, where there’s just so much depth to their sculpts.  You can make out what’s body armor, versus what’s the underlying jumpsuit.  It gives her a definite weight that a lot of similarly styled figures tend to lack.  They even manage to not make the glasses look totally awful, which is certainly not a bad thing.  Compared to others, Baroness’s paint is perhaps a bit lax, with a majority of the figure being un-painted black plastic.  What paint is there is really made to count, as she’s one of the cleanest vintage Joes I’ve ever handled.  Baroness is packed with a small back pack and a laser rifle.  The rifle would later see itself repurposed during the 2002 line for the re-issued Vipers, which is kind of nifty if you ask me.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

When the large Joe collection that netted me the previously reviewed Destro figure arrived at All Time Toys, Baroness was one of the earliest pieces to jump out at me, even though the figure’s never been at the top of my must-have list.  There was just something very impressive about this figure in-hand, and finding both her and Destro complete and together was really what sold me on getting the two of them.  She’s a very strong figure, and I can definitely get why Hasbro felt this one would do it for the whole vintage run.  Certainly one of the strongest figures the vintage line had to offer.

As noted above, Baroness came from All Time Toys, who got in a rather sizable vintage Joe collection, the remnants of which can be checked out the Joe section of their eBay page here.  If you’re looking for other toys both old and new, please check out their website and their eBay storefront.

#2133: Captain America

CAPTAIN AMERICA

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

“As World War II unfolds, and super-powered beings emerge across the world, the patriotic hero Captain America is revealed, ushering in a new age of Marvels.”

It seems like not too long ago, in a review of another Captain America figure no less, I discussed the ramifications of making a good figure into a store exclusive.  Really, when your get down to it, it’s not really about being exclusive to any store at all, but more one store in particular, who seems to be getting a lot of exclusives at the moment, and doesn’t have the greatest history of backing toy exclusives.  The store, of course, it Walmart, who for some inexplicable reason have managed to net their second Captain America exclusive of the year in a year when Captain America hype is about as high as its ever been.  Seems like poor planning if you ask me, but no one did, so I guess I’ll stop rambling about it.  How about I ramble about something I’m a little more qualified to ramble on about: actual toy reviews!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Captain America is part of the Marvel: 80 Years sub-line of Marvel Legends.  The 80 Years line is effectively just taking the place of last years Marvel Studios: The First Ten Years line, but with comic figures thrown into the mix as well.  Alongside Iron Man and Thor, Cap is part of a trio of figures inspired by the work of famed comics painter Alex Ross.  While those two are standard releases showing up pretty much everywhere, he’s only at Walmart.  Since there’s no markings of him being an exclusive, there are rumors that he may be offered up to other retailers at a later time, but as of right now they’re just unfounded rumors.  The figure stands 6 1/2 inches tall and has 32 points of articulation.  The last couple of comic-based Caps were based on the Reaper body, and this figure is at the very least Reaper adjacent.  He shares his forearms, legs beneath the hips, and his belt with the Red Onslaught Cap (and by extension Red Guardian and Secret War Cap).  Those are the good parts of the Reaper body, so that’s all well and good.  He then gets a new head, torso, upper arms, pelvis, and hips, which make him look sufficiently new.  After years of the thug face (which hit critical mass with the Red Onslaught Cap), we finally get a new set of features for the comic book Steve Rogers.  There’s some definite Ross-influence occurring here, and that’s certainly a plus, since it plays true to the classic version of the character.  It’s a nice sculpt, and more than just the face, I also really like the texturing and stitching on his mask.  The new torso and shoulders give us a detail we haven’t seen on Cap since the early Hasbro days: sculpted scale-mail.  The lack of the scales was one of the major prevailing complaints about the RO Cap (well, after that hideous head), and Hasbro had even addressed it somewhat with the paint change-up on the Vintage reissue of the figure, but this time around they’ve gone all out and actually sculpted them properly.  As someone who runs hot and cold on the scales, I have to say, they really add a lot to this figure, as goes that three dimensional star.  There’s just a lot of pop.  Cap’s paintwork continues the Ross inspiration, going for a slightly darker palette than we usually see for a comics Cap.  It’s not a bad look, but I honestly wouldn’t mind seeing a repaint in slightly brighter colors.  As it is, there’s plenty of very strong work on this figure, and I definitely dig the metallic accents on the scales.  Cap is packed with two sets of hands, his trusty shield, a throwing effect with hand attached, and a second head.  The usual gripping hands are included here, but in addition, we *finally* get some fists for a Reaper-based release, which was majorly overdue, and is low-key one of my favorite things about this guy.  The shield is the same one Hasbro’s been using for a few years for the comic figures.  It’s a little undersized, and the star is off-center on mine, but it’s a serviceable piece.  It can be mounted on the throwing effect, which is the same one first introduced on the Secret War Cap, and is definitely a fun extra.  The second head gives Cap a slightly more stern expression.  I’m not certain if it’s based on a specific take on the character, but I don’t like it quite as much as the standard.  I honestly would have preferred an unmasked head, but I can see this one getting some play if you’re really jonesing for a John Walker Cap.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Since being disappointed by the Red Onslaught Cap, I’ve been waiting for Hasbro to do a more proper Classic Cap, and when this figure was shown off at Toy Fair, I was psyched.  I was less psyched when he was confirmed as a Walmart-exclusive.  While this one ended up being much easier for me to find than the Endgame version, it was still a little bit of a hassle tracking him down, and I can foresee him being one that a chunk of people miss.  Hopefully Hasbro will have another release of this mold in their back pocket for those who can’t track him down.  In the meantime, this is the best comic-styled Cap we’ve ever gotten, and I really dig him.

#2132: Chopper (C1-10P)

CHOPPER (C1-10P)

STAR WARS: THE BLACK SERIES (HASBRO)

“Chopper is the resident droid of the Ghost, assisting the crew in everything from ship maintenance to combat, even though he doesn’t always want to. After many years of repairs and patch jobs, Chopper has a beat-up, worn look that sometimes matches his cranky personality.”

No Star Wars story is really complete without a stubborn droid or two.  And while most of the main-series uses R2 and 3PO for that role, there are occasionally times where they’re not available, due to continuity stuff.  Rebels was one of those times (well, apart from a cameo appearance early on), so we got an all-new droid, C1-10P, better known as Chopper.  Chopper takes the usual stubborn droid traits and amps them up to 11, which has made him quite the fan-favorite.  With that in mind, the only thing that’s truly surprising about him getting a Black Series figure is how long it took for him to finally make it into the line-up.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Chopper is figure 84 in the Black Series line-up, part of the most recent assortment of figures, where he shares the Rebels spotlight with the Ezra figure from yesterday and the astromech spotlight with BT-1.  The figure stands roughly 2 1/2 inches tall and he has 13 points of articulation, which is pretty darn impressive by astromech standards.  As a droid, Chopper is the member of the Ghost crew who required the least changes to make him workable in a more realistic line, so he actually stays pretty close to the show’s design for him.  Many of the recent Star Wars offerings have made use of Ralph McQuarrie’s design work for the original film, and Rebels had that in spades.  Chopper himself makes use of a lot of elements from McQuarrie’s R2 design, being more squat and utilitarian than the final R2 design.  This makes Chopper more divergent from the other on-screen astromechs, which honestly isn’t that out of place given his characterization.  The figure follows the lead of the main Black Series R2 and his various attachments.  However, unlike R2, who had lots of clip-on parts, most of Chopper’s parts are internal and can fold out.  By far the most impressive example of this is the arms on the head, which are completely articulated and fold back into the head totally flat.  It’s actually so convincing that I myself almost missed them when opening my figure.  There’s another arm at the front, which is pretty cool too, if slightly more simplistic in its implementation.  Chopper’s paintwork is true to this design on the show, so he’s plenty colorful, and all of the small details are there. Of course, Chopper’s hardly a brand-new model, so the figure is sporting a fair bit of muck and grime, which is handled via the same technique they’ve been using on the faces recently.  In addition to everything packed into the main figure, Chopper’s got a few add-on parts as well.  His third leg can be swapped out for a rocket booster, which also includes a rocket blast effect piece to keep him elevated.  He’s also got an extra left leg, which is paired with his right, so as to allow him to match, as seen in “The Forgotten Droid.”

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Since I was already picking Ezra, it wasn’t too hard to convince myself to pick up Chopper too.  Honestly, he’s probably the strongest figure in this line-up.  The fold up arms are fun, and his animation-true design is a very clean look.  It’s a nice change-up from the more formulaic figures of the line.  He’s just a lot of fun, and I’m happy to have added him to the collection.

Chopper was purchased from All Time Toys.  If you’re looking for Star Wars, or other toys both old and new, please check out their website and their eBay storefront.

#2131: Ezra Bridger

EZRA BRIDGER

STAR WARS: THE BLACK SERIES (HASBRO)

“Growing up, Ezra learned to trust no one and to rely on his street smarts – and subconcious Force abilities – to survive. This all changes with his introduction to the crew of the Ghost, a small band of rebels fighting back against the Empire. Ezra comes to believe in their cause, and sees that he can help change the galaxy for the better.”

Cartoons have been a part of the Star Wars universe since the mid-point of the much maligned Holiday Special, and they’ve been a part of the toyline since Droids and Ewoks, but it wasn’t until 2003’s The Clone Wars that we really faced the dilemma of how to handle animation-based figures in terms of integrating them with the rest of the line.  Clone Wars set the precedent of “why not both?” and that’s pretty much been the standard since.  The cast of Star Wars: Rebels were initially  only released in their animation accurate forms, but Hasbro has subsequently worked them into The Black Series one by one.  The latest is the character that’s ostensibly the main character of the show, Ezra Bridger.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Ezra Bridger is figure 86 in the Black Series line-up and is part of the latest assortment of figures.  He’s packed alongside fellow Ghost crew-member Chopper, plus Obi-Wan, and Aphra and her companion droids.   The figure stands 5 1/4 inches tall and he has 27 points of articulation.  Ezra’s based on his Season 1/2 appearance, though like the prior animation figures, it’s a real-world take on his design.  I find that his translation to a real-world look was slightly more successful than Kanan, though I’d say it’s partially due to Ezra being younger, and therefore being slightly more excusable with an ever so slightly cartoony appearance.  I feel like his eyes could stand to be just a touch lower on the head, but beyond that, he’s fairly realistic, and his sculpt handles things nicely.  His articulation is fairly well integrated and for the most part has a solid range, but it’s worth noting that his hips are rather on the restricted side, due to the belt straps and their placement.  It’s not awful, and it’s not like we haven’t seen issues like this before in the line, but it’s a shame there’s not an easy fix for it.  Ezra’s paintwork is all pretty decent.  It’s mostly just base color work, but it gets it all down correctly and none of the sculpted details have been overlooked.  He also uses the printed face technique, which works pretty well for this particular figure.  Ezra is packed with his unique lightsaber, as well as his stolen Imperial Cadet helmet, which sits surprisingly well on his head.  Not a ton of extras, but its one more than the usual single lightsaber we get with Jedi characters, so I’m certainly not going to knock it.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Ezra is a good example of my herd mentality when it comes to collecting.  On his own, I’m not certain I would have bought him, but he came out alongside the Obi-Wan figure I knew I wanted and the Doctor Aphra figures I was picking up for Super Awesome Fiancee, and I figured that, since I already have most of the Rebels crew anyway, I might as well grab him, too.  Honestly, he’s a pretty solid figure, and I’m glad I picked him up.

I grabbed Ezra from my friends at All Time Toys.  If you’re looking for Star Wars, or other toys both old and new, please check out their website and their eBay storefront.

#2130: Darth Maul

DARTH MAUL

STAR WARS: THE BLACK SERIES ARCHIVE (HASBRO)

“The evil Sith apprentice Darth Maul engages in a fierce lightsaber duel with Qui-Gon Jinn and Obi-Wan Kenobi.”

Star Wars: The Black Series‘ debut line-up was an interesting assortment.  Though everything included was instantly recognizable and a distinctive Star Wars element, everything was sort of adjacent to top tier.  The Luke included wasn’t his main look from any of the movies, the trooper included wasn’t a standard Stormtrooper, and the Sith lord included wasn’t Darth Vader.  It was Hasbro’s bid at trying out the line without potentially sacrificing any truly pivotal figures to possible early-line production issues.  Given the slightly more middling line-up, the first series was a much smaller run compared to later in the line, and some of its figures became quite tricky to track down as the line progressed.  In order to give new fans a chance to catch up, Hasbro instituted a new sub-line, dubbed “Archive” as an easy way to re-pop in-demand figures from older assortments.  While the first series was completely focussed on the Original Trilogy, the second line-up adds in some of the Prequel characters, including by far the most marketable character to come out of the Prequels, Darth Maul!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Darth Maul is one of the four figures in the second Archive line-up, and the second of the original Black Series figures to be featured (the third to get a re-release, counting the 35th R2; only the Sandtrooper remains without a reissue).  Rather fittingly, this assortment arrived at roughly the same time as the latest series of the main line, so Maul and Obi-Wan hit shelves together.  Maul stands just under 6 inches tall and he has 27 points of articulation.  Compared to more recent releases, Maul’s articulation is slightly more rudimentary, and a little less fluid; essentially it’s just the Legends articulation of 2013 applied to another line.  It’s most noticeable on the neck joint, as that’s an area where the two lines have most clearly diverged.  At the very least he has the ball-jointed torso to mix things up, which ends up being a pretty major saving grace of the figure’s articulation.  That said, it’s entirely workable even in its current state, and honestly a little better than some of the mid-line figures that would follow it.  Maul’s sculpt was always really the star offering of the initial line-up, being a solid recreation of his on-screen appearance with well-integrated articulation, and a decent level of detailing.  While it’s not all quite as sharp, it’s still a solid selection of work.  Maul’s paintwork isn’t too involved for the most part, with the body just being variants of matte and shiny black.  The real star work is on the face, and it’s also the only place where there’s a change from the original release, since he uses the new face printing for his eyes.  It’s not a super noticeable difference, but it helps him fit in better with the more recent figures.  The original pitch for the line was as close to one-and-done as possible, and Maul’s accessories were designed with that in mind.  He’s got an extra head with robes attached, his binoculars, and his double-bladed lightsaber, which has removable blades and can be split in the movie.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Like a fool, I passed on the original release of Maul when the first assortment was out, because I was trying to stick to the “no prequels” rule, which I hadn’t yet abandoned.  By the time I’d rethought it, he had jumped considerably in price, and so I had to play the waiting game.  While the Archive line-ups so far haven’t been for me, Maul was on my list as soon as his name was floated for the line.  He’s definitely a strong figure, and probably one of the best from early in the line.  He also pairs really nicely with Obi-Wan, which is a huge plus.

Maul was purchased from my friends at All Time Toys.  If you’re looking for Star Wars, or other toys both old and new, please check out their website and their eBay storefront.

#2129: Peter Venkman

PETER VENKMAN

REAL GHOSTBUSTERS RETRO ACTION HEROES (MATTEL)

You all knew this was coming eventually.  I’ve been building to this review since #0123, when I reviewed Ray Stanz, the first of the Real Ghostbusters Retro Action Heroes, and slowly working my way through the four man crew.  There was a bit of a curve ball back in June when I reviewed a Retro Action Heroes release that wasn’t one of the main four, but I’m finally circling back around, coming to the end, and taking a look at Dr. Peter Venkman!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Venkman is the final of the four ‘busters included in the mass release assortment of Real Ghostbusters Retro Action Heroes, released by Mattel in 2011.  Venkman was the most fortunate of the ‘busters when it came to this line, with not one, but three whole figures, thanks to a SDCC release, plus a variant of said release.  This is just the standard version though, which is sporting his unique jumpsuit from the cartoon.  The figure stands 8 inches tall and has 18 points of articulation.  Like the other three, Venkman was built on Mattel’s in-house take on the Mego-style body, which has its plusses and its minuses.  The most important thing is that it matches the rest of the crew.  Venkman gets a new head sculpt and, if I’m totally honest, it’s really the weakest of the heads from this line-up.  It’s not terrible, but it’s certainly more off-model based on the animation than the rest of them were.  It’s also a fair bit softer than the others.  Due to the SDCC-exclusive with which he shared his head being released prior to the main line, it’s likely this one was produced first, which might explain why it isn’t quite as spot-on.  Venkman has a cloth jumpsuit, which is the same one seen on prior three, just in the appropriate colors.  There’s also a pair of rubber boots, and his proton pack and neutrino wand.  The proton pack is, as always, definitely the highlight of these figures. Venkman’s color scheme isn’t quite as bright and exciting as the other three, but it’s still fairly eye-catching, and the paint work does its part to sell it, which I can certainly appreciate.  Perhaps the largest drawback to this figure is the accessory complement.  While the rest of the figures all got one extra gadget in addition to the proton pack, Venkman is lacking.  It feels like something of a missed opportunity if you ask me.  While we did get Slimer later down the line, including him here would have been a solid choice.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Though he’s the last of them I’ve reviewed, Venkman was actually the first of these figures I picked up.  I found him by himself at my local TRU, and he was cool enough to sell me on the rest of the line-up.  While he’s the weakest of the four main figures, he’s actually a great starter figure, since he was pretty easy to find and had the most basic extras, so it was all upward from here.

#2128: Wolverine

WOLVERINE

MARVEL LEGENDS VINGTAGE (HASBRO)

“Wolverine is the X-Men’s greatest fighter! A master of all forms of hand-to-hand combat, Wolverine also has a fearsome secret weapon – razor sharp retractable adamantium claws that can slice through anything.”

What’s an X-Men assortment without a Wolverine variant?  Statistically, not made.  They’re quite the hard sell.  For that reason, Wolverine gets toy love for just about every costume change, no matter how minor, no matter how restrained.  Case in point, today’s offering.  It’s Wolverine in his “Madripor” costume, an all-black number he picked up right around the time of his ongoing solo series starting up in 1988.  He wore it for a few of his world travelling adventures, before ditching it after less than a year.  Not exactly stuck in the minds of fans, but it’s only had one toy before, and it goes with Silver Samurai, so how about that?

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Wolverine is the final figure in the X-Men-themed third series of the Marvel Legends Vintage line, where he fills the required Wolverine slot.  Though the Madripor costume was featured back during the Toy Biz days, it was much later in the line, and under a bunch of goofy armor, meaning he’s not quite a direct counterpart for any of those earlier figures.  Nevertheless, he gets the retro styled card, which honestly suits him better than the standard packaging might.  The figure stands 5 3/4 inches tall and he has 32 points of articulation.  He’s built on the re-engineered brown costume body, since that’s our new standard for Wolverine.  It’s a solid choice given the simple spandex nature of the costume.  He gets a new head and shins (which give us clean shins without the usual Wolverine boots for a change), plus the wrist bands from Union Jack (which are a very tight fit here) and the belt from Brown Wolverine. The new head goes for a screaming expression, which works well enough, and is honestly a nice change up from the slightly more reserved Wolverines we’ve gotten recently.  The rest of the parts a pretty standard issue, which works well enough.  The rest of the figure is sold by the paint, or at least what there is of it.  I was pleasantly surprised to find that the body suit is actually a slightly off-black, with the “boots” being a more straight black.  It’s subtle, but I like it.  What I’m not as crazy about is the face, or more specifically the eyes.  In Hasbro’s defense, the weird fishnet look is accurate to the comics…it’s just really goofy, and the lack of extra head means you’re stuck with it.  Wolverine is packed with a spare set of gripping hands and a katana.  But it’s not just any katana, it’s actually the Black Blade, which figured into the Madrior story and was wielded by Wolverine in this costume.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I’ve got no attachment to this Wolverine at all, nor do I find it to be a particularly exciting variant.  However, I was grabbing the rest of the set and felt bad about just skipping one figure, meaning he was along for the ride.  I can’t really say that he swayed my opinion on the design or anything, but it’s not like he’s a bad figure, and he’s certainly a nice accent piece for the Silver Samurai.

I picked up this Wolverine from my friends at All Time Toys.  If you’re looking for Marvel Legends, or other toys both old and new, please check out their website and their eBay storefront.

#2127: Silver Samurai

SILVER SAMURAI

MARVEL LEGENDS VINTAGE (HASBRO)

“The Silver Samurai has but one goal in life: to become the leader of the Japanese underworld! Trained in the martial arts and wielding a massive katana through which he can channel mutant energy, this honorless samurai has often come close to achieving his desire – if not for the interference of Wolverine and the X-Men!”

When you get down to it, it’s kind of amusing how many Wolverine foes began their careers not only not fighting Wolverine, but not even fighting the X-Men at all.  Much like he acquired his arch enemy Sabretooth from Iron Fist, today’s focus, Silver Samurai, first appeared in the pages of Daredevil.  After bouncing around the Marvel Universe for a bit, he would eventually be folded into the X-Men franchise, and found himself on multiple occasions paired off against Wolverine, and would even serve as the primary antagonist in 2013’s The Wolverine…albeit in a slightly convoluted sense.  Whatever the case, he’s just gotten a Legends release, which I’m taking a look at today.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Silver Samurai is the second the last figure in the third series of Marvel Legends Vintage figures.  This is Silver Samurai’s first time as a Legend, making him the only all-new character in this assortment.  He is, of course, the classic Kenuchi Harada version of the character, the same one to be released in the old Toy Biz line.  The figure stands 6 1/2 inches tall and he has 32 points of articulation.  Samurai is an all-new sculpt, which is quite the impressive feat for a line that was previously completely recycled parts.  What’s more, I don’t really foresee much parts reuse from this particular assortment of parts. Not exactly a lot of samurai in the Marvel universe.  What really impressed me was the lack of add-on bits; everything is actually fixed in place or just part of the main sculpt, meaning he’s not as floppy as some earlier built up Legends. Silver Samurai isn’t without a few QC issues, mostly to do with flashing, especially on his helmet.  On my figure I actually had to do a little bit of clean up around the eyes, as his left eye was almost completely covered.  It’s an easy enough clean-up, but still a little frustrating that I had to do it at all.  Paint work on this guy is minimal.  There’s really just the rising sun and the eyes.  His logo is a little messy, but not awful.  The rest of it’s molded plastic, which can be a slightly iffy prospect with silver, but it works out better than I’d expected here.  Samurai is packed with two swords, which can be sheathed on his belt.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Admittedly, I don’t have a big connection to Silver Samurai as a character, since he’s only in a single episode of the ’90s cartoon and doesn’t really figure into the periods of the X-Men comics I followed.  That said, he’s certainly got a distinctive appearance and I can appreciate his importance in the line-up. I didn’t know what to expect from him, but he’s actually a pretty solid figure.

I picked up Silver Samurai from my friends at All Time Toys.  If you’re looking for Marvel Legends, or other toys both old and new, please check out their website and their eBay storefront.