#1044: Havok

HAVOK

MARVEL LEGENDS (TOY BIZ)

HavokML1

The X-Men are known for their tendency to change up the line-up a lot. Now-a-days, the team is rather large and nebulous (necessitating at least two X-Men titles to be running consistently since the mid-80s, just so everyone can get a fair shake), but when they first started, there were just five members. The team’s first additional member, Mimic, only lasted for three issues, before being de-powered and written out. Eventually, they would acquire their first full-time addition Lorna Dane (later Polaris) in X-Men #49. Just six issues later, the team would also gain Havok, aka Alex Summers the younger brother of Cyclops. Havok’s sort of been a peripheral member of the team for a lot of his career, but has served as team leader for both the X-Men and X-Factor on a few occasions. He also happens to be my personal favorite member of the X-Men, which is why I own just about every figure of him in existence, including the one I’ll be reviewing today.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

HavokML2Havok was part of the Giant-Man Series of Toy Biz’s Marvel Legends. It was the first Walmart-exclusive series of Legends, though it would hardly be the last. This is also Havok’s first Marvel Legends figure, though it’s the fourth Havok figure Toy Biz released. The figure stands 6 ¼ inches tall (not counting the headgear), and has 40 points of articulation. Havok is based on his classic Neal Adams-designed costume from the 60s (my personal favorite). The initial prototype for Havok had him in a more modernized design, but that figure was ultimately shelved for this more classic look. The figure is built on Series 9’s Bullseye body, in one of the earlier attempts at moving ML to a system of base bodies. As I noted in my review of Iron Fist (the final figure to be built on this body, released a full ten years after it debuted with Bullseye), this body was one of my favorites from Toy Biz’s run. It’s become a little clunky when compared to the more recent stuff, but it still holds up pretty well, certainly a lot better than some of TB’s other Marvel Legends. The only real issue I have with this particular iteration of the body is the shape of the lower legs and feet. The legs are clunky and tube-like, and the feet are large and sit HavokML3too far forward at the ankle. Havok’s only truly unique piece is his head, which does quite a nice job of capturing the early depictions of Havok’s face. I like that the expression is angry without going too overboard, and I’m especially glad that they were able to make the headgear look okay in three dimensions. Havok’s paintwork is pretty straight forward. The costume is just straight black and white (excepting, of course, the silver collar). There’s no accent work, but I actually much prefer it that way. The face has a nice, clean paint job, with some great little subtleties to the coloring, making it stand out nicely from the costume. Havok included the left leg (but NOT the left foot) of Giant-Man, as well as a copy of X-Men #97, which is one of Havok’s few focus issues during the “All-New, All Different” era (also one of his best appearances). It should be noted that the issue actually rather deceptively uses the cover to X-Men #58, which is the first appearance of the classic costume and the name Havok.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Pretty much as soon as Marvel Legends started doing X-Men figures, Havok was at the top of my list. I even made my own Havok custom (albeit in his ‘90s costume) from a spare Gambit, just to hold me over. I was beyond thrilled when this guy was announced. Of course, then the Giant-Man Series ended up being rather hard to come by, which acquiring Havok none too easy. Fortunately, my Dad just happened to find this guy the day before my birthday in 2006. Words cannot begin to describe how excited I was to open him. Ten years later, this guy shows his age, but still holds up remarkably well. I think I’d still rank him in my top 10 Legends.

HavokML4

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#1043: Marvel’s Phoenix

MARVEL’S PHOENIX

MARVEL LEGENDS SERIES (HASBRO)

PhoenixHas1

“An expert of psionic force, Jean Grey uses her powers of telepathy and telekinesis as the mind-controlling hero, Phoenix”

I can’t help but feel that bio severely downplays the whole Phoenix bit of the character. It actually feels like they wrote a generic Jean Grey bio, remembered this was a Phoenix figure, quickly stuck the Phoenix name at the end and hoped no one would notice. Well, I did, so…yeah…that probably says more about me, doesn’t it? So, yesterday I looked at the first Marvel Legends Jean Grey, and now I’ll be looking at her most recent!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

PhoenixHas2Phoenix (or Marvel’s Phoenix, as she’s billed on the packaging) is figure 6 from the recently released Juggernaut series of Marvel Legends. This marks Jean’s seventh time as a Marvel Legend, and the second time we’ve gotten her as Phoenix (following the Toy Biz figure reviewed yesterday). There’s no variant in Dark Phoenix colors this time around (though I wouldn’t be shocked to see one show up down the line), but she’s also not short-packed this time around, so that’s a definite point in her favor. The figure is just under 6 ½ inches tall and has 27 points of articulation. While she may not have quite as much articulation as her predecessor, she’s got most of the same practical movement of that figure. I wouldn’t mind getting a bit more range on the elbows, but that’s really about it. Jean is built on Hasbro’s latest base female body. The upper arms and legs were used for the Red Onslaught series’ PhoenixHas5Mockingbird figure, but the actual body proper is making its debut with the Juggernaut series. It’s a very strong sculpt, probably Hasbro’s best basic female body so far. The legs are just a touch on the long side, but not horribly so. Also, my figure has a bit of trouble standing, but I don’t know if that’s true across the board. In addition to the new body, Jean re-uses the open gesture hands from Storm and Wasp, and the sash from Iron Fist, as well as an all-new head sculpt. I wasn’t sold on the head sculpt in the initial shots, but I have to say, I really like how it turned out now that I’ve seen it in person. It’s still a touch too gaunt for my ideal Jean, but it’s certainly not bad. The paintwork on Jean is quite nice. While she hasn’t got the fun metallic scheme of the last Phoenix, I think that the flatter color scheme still works pretty well. Everything is pretty cleanly handled, especially the face, which is possibly the sharpest work I’ve seen on a Hasbro Legends figure. Phoenix has no accessories of her own, but she does include the torso of the Build-A-Figure Juggernaut.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Jean is the first of the new X-Men Legends I acquired; she was gotten for me by my Dad, who found her at a Walgreens on his way to work. She wasn’t at the top of my list for this series, but I think getting her first allowed me to truly appreciate her. She’s a very nice replacement for the quite outdated Toy Biz figure, and is just a solid figure in general.

PhoenixHas3

#1042: Phoenix

PHOENIX

MARVEL LEGENDS (TOY BIZ)

PhoenixTB1

It’s been quite a while since the X-Men got any coverage in Marvel Legends. Back during the Toy Biz run, only 3 of the 16 series released were completely X-Man free, and they even got a boxed set and two different off-shoot lines. Even under Hasbro, the team was pretty well represented. Well, until recently, anyway, since the last time we saw X-Men Legends was two summers ago, and even then they were a pretty hard to find TRU exclusive series (I bought the only one of them I ever saw). Fortunately, Hasbro’s doing their best to make that up, with a new series of X-Men-themed Legends hitting just in the last month, and another on the way early next year. Of course, if you think that means I’m reviewing the new X-Men figures, you’ve got another thing coming! Well, another review coming, anyway. Since this latest set of Legends has a lot of re-released characters from Toy Biz’s run, I thought it might be fun to review the older figures in tandem with their newer counterparts. Today, I’ll be kicking things off with Jean Grey, aka Phoenix!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

PhoenixTB2Phoenix was released in the sixth series of Toy Biz’s Marvel Legends. She was Jean’s very first Legend, and she was only the second single-packed figure in the line, after Elektra (though both Rogue and Sue Storm had beaten her to release as part of larger boxed sets). She was also one of the two short-packed figures in the series. That was awesome. There was a variant of this figure painted up like Dark Phoenix, which was even harder to find. But, that’s another matter entirely. This figure stands about 6 ¼ inches tall and she has 44 points of articulation. While that might seem like of articulation, it’s not as useful as you’d hope. Yep, Phoenix is one of Toy Biz’s “twisting meat” figures, where the joints cancel each other out, resulting in pieces that spin for no reason. Oh joy. Sculpturally, Phoenix shared most of her parts with Elektra (and, by extension, Rogue and Sue). Jean obviously got a new head, but also a new pelvis, hips, and upper thighs, to give her more adequate hip articulation. The head is definitely the best part of the sculpt. The hair is a pretty spot-on recreation of Jean’s Phoenix hair (well, from when Byrne took over drawing her, anyway). The face is decent. She looks a bit like Laura Parker from Dark Shadows, who I can’t say is my ideal choice for Jean, but it’s certainly a more attractive sculpt than most of Toy Biz’s female Legends. The body is…umm, well they tried. I think. Her neck is incredibly square, her arms oddly flat, her bosom disproportionally large (and also covered by something that somehow manages to be both loose and tight fitting at the same time), and feet not unlike that of a duck. On top of all that, none of her joints are particularly well worked into the sculpt. Overall, she looks sort of a bit Frankenstiened, which isn’t really what you want in a Jean Grey figure. The paintwork on Phoenix is decent enough. The metallic green is particularly nice, but all of the colors are well chosen, and the application is by and large pretty cleanly done. The eyebrows weird me out, but I can’t really put my finger on exactly why. Phoenix was packed with a display base designed to look like the fiery bird typically seen surrounding Phoenix, as well as a reprinted copy of X-Men #101 (Phoenix’s first appearance).

 THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

When Phoenix was first announced, I was very excited. Marvel Legends was my favorite thing at the time, and I was dead set on putting together a sweet X-Men set-up. Remember how I said she was short-packed? It gets worse. See, there was only one Phoenix for every case of 12, making her instant scalper bait. Now, remember how Phoenix also had a variant figure? Well, the variant was randomly put into certain cases of figures *in place* of the normal Phoenix, thereby making the normal version even harder to get. Because of this, it was actually more than a year before I got a Phoenix, courtesy of my friend Cindy Woods (who, along with her husband Lance, has done a whole lot to help me track down hard to find items over the years) as a Christmas present. Looking back on her compared to what came later, she’s got some pretty serious issues. That said, she was at one point my absolute most wanted Legends figure, and I was beyond thrilled when I finally got her. I can’t help but be a little sentimental.

PhoenixTB3

#1041: Free Comic Book Day Blank

FREE COMIC BOOK DAY BLANK

PROMOTIONAL MINIMATES

FCBD2006a

Minimates are a brand that mostly runs on licensed properties, but their makers at Diamond Select Toys like to do what they can to get the brand out there, separate from the licenses they offer. One of the main ways they do this is via promotional blanks, handed out as freebies at various events, just to get the name and base body out there. Most of the time, these events are conventions that DST is attending, but twice now, said event has been Free Comic Book Day, a day where lots of other companies also try the whole promotional thing out at a larger scale.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

FCBD2006bThis Free Comic Book Day ‘mate was distributed on Free Comic Book Day in 2005, and is the first of the two FCBD ‘mates to be done. The figure is about 2 ¼ inches tall and has the same 14 points of articulation as every other Minimate. As a blank, this ‘mate uses no sculpted add-ons, but rather places the focus on the basic Minimate body. Interestingly, this guy has a head with a hole at the top for a hair piece. It’s far from an uncommon sight on a ‘mate, but most blanks tend to use the older style head without the hole. It’s a minor little difference, which makes this guy a little more customizable, but perhaps hinders his integrity as a standalone ‘mate. The FCBD ‘mate is molded in white plastic (which exhibits a nasty habit of yellowing over time, just as an fyi), with a printed Free Comic Book Day logo. It’s definitely a sharp looking design, and makes for a fun little piece. Plus, thanks to the interchangeable nature of Minimates, the logo-ed torso can even make for a cool t-shirt or something on another ‘mate.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

This was actually my very first promo Minimate. I picked him up from my local comic book store on FCBD, without much thought, actually. I didn’t even realize that it was a thing until I saw the little box of them my store had near the front. He’s actually become one of the prized possessions of my collection. He’s really only for diehard Minimate fans, but he’s definitely an awesome little figure!

#1040: Wonder Woman

WONDER WOMAN

DC UNIVERSE CLASSICS (MATTEL)

WonderWomanDCUC1

Oh, DC Universe Classics, how you confuse me.  The line had a lot of promise. Heck, it had a lot of success. After all, 20 series at retail is nothing to sneeze at. Unfortunately, the whole line was plagued with issues with distribution, strange character choices, and the latter half was really hit by odd design choices for long-awaited characters. Still, early on, the figures really seemed to be really on point. If nothing else, the line gave us some pretty definitive versions of DC’s biggest characters, including today’s focus figure, Wonder Woman.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

WonderWomanDCUC2Wonder Woman was released in Series 4 of DC Universe Classics. She served as the series’ “anchor figure,” which seems pretty sensible, what with her being one of DC’s top three characters and all. The figure stands a little over 6 inches tall and she has 25 points of articulation. Wonder Woman is based on the look introduced in the late ‘70s-early ‘80s. It’s the look that the character had for a good 20 years or so, so it’s definitely a good choice. It’s also the same costume used by the Super Powers figure, which fits with DCUC’s theme of recreating SP. The figure had a new sculpt at the time, which was meant to serve as a starting point for future female figures. It’s not bad, though it hasn’t aged quite as well as some of the other sculpts from the time. Like the male bucks from the line, there’s the whole shoulder thing, where they just sort of…jut out. At least the line is internally consistent, I guess. The shoulders wouldn’t quite so much of an issue if her arms weren’t as skinny as they are. They aren’t horrid, but they really should be a bit thicker, especially for an Amazon. The waist is also pretty tiny, especially when compared to later figures in the line. On the plus side, the head sculpt is really strong on this particular figure, especially the hair, which has a nice weight and flow about it. Wonder Woman’s paintwork is pretty decent. While she’s not breaking any records or setting the bar, she’s pretty solid. The colors are nice and bold, and everything’s pretty clean. As far as accessories go, Wonder Woman’s a little. The obvious choice is the lasso, but that’s permanently attached. Instead, she gets an axe and a shield, which are fine, but they mean that her hands are in this odd loose grip, instead of a more preferable fist pose. She also included the left leg of Despero, the Collect-N-Connect for Series 4.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Series 4 of DCUC was the first series that I didn’t have much trouble finding at retail. I actually found all but one of the figures at KB Toys just before they went out of business. Which was cool, since they were 60% off and all, but also really sad, since, you know, KB Toys was closing and all. Ultimately, Wonder Woman isn’t one of the strongest figures in the line, she’s still a pretty solid figure, and a pretty good rendition of the character.

#1039: Raphael & Michelangelo

RAPHAEL & MICHELANGELO

TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES (NECA…ish)

Raph&MikeyNECA

Wait a second!  Didn’t I just say yesterday that I never found the other half of the NECA Ninja Turtles?  Fear not dear reader, this feeling indicates only that you are still sane.  No, I never did find those other two Turtles.  Well, not officially, anyway.  I’ve spoken once or twice about bootlegs, unlicensed action figures, usually produced by chinese factories as a way of making a quick buck.  They tend to be very cheaply made, and rarely can they be mistaken for any official product.  It does happen, though, especially if a factory producing figures for an American toy company decides to make use of some of the molds they have lying around to earn a little extra profit.  That’s what happened to NECA.  In 2013, it had been a fair while since NECA had lost the license to produce TMNT figures, and the main four had all shot up pretty far in price.  Slowly, more and more of these figures began showing on eBay, shipping from China, and selling at lower prices than usual.  As it turned out, these figures were clever forgeries of the real deal, created by one of NECA’s ex-factories.  While the initial bootleg Turtles were just straight recreations of the official NECA figures, the already unlicensed nature of the the figures quickly opened the door to variations of the NECA figures in the usual cartoon colors (which NECA had not legally been able to use).  Needless to say, I came into possession of the remaining two Turtles, which I’ll be looking at today.

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

RaphNECA2These two are one half of the set of bootleg Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles figures, patterned after the NECA releases.  As noted above, the bootlegs were available in both comic and cartoon color schemes (referring to the color of the bandanas).  These two are the cartoon color versions (though the two versions of Raph are the same).  As far as anyone can tell, the bootlegs are only available in the tube style packaging, likely due to them coming from the factory that produced that run of figures for NECA.  Both figures stand 5 ¼ inches tall and have the same 30 points of articulation as the official figures.  One thing I did notice is that these two have a tendency to pop apart at some of the joints, due to the slightly softer plastic that was used.  Like their official counterparts, Raph and Mike use the same body as Don and Leo.  There aren’t any sculptural changes that I can find, apart from some of the native texturing on the skin being a bit smoother.  The official Raph and Mike had unique heads, which is true here as well.  Raph sports one with a squinting, angry scowl, perfect for his more intense nature.  Mike, meanwhile, gets a much lighter expression, wide-eyed and smiling, RaphNECA2encapsulating his role as the team’s resident goofball.  Mike’s head is probably my favorite of the four, just for sheer expressiveness.  The changes between bootleg and official are most evident in the paintwork.  Obviously, Mike gets an orange bandana instead of the usual red.  It’s a minor change, but especially noticeable if you’re like me and the other three have red.  Raph’s bandana is more or less the same shade as the official figures, though it is a bit glossier in finish.  In fact, both figures as a whole are glossier than the originals, no doubt due to cheaper paint.  The greens of their skin are also a bit yellower than the official versions, and brown pads and belts are noticeably darker.  The black details have also been made a bit less striking, especially on the shells, and the accent work on the shading is a little more heavy handed.  As they are emulating the more bare-bones releases, Raph and Mike each get just their basic weapons: a pair of sai for Raph and nunchucks for Mike.   

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

When these bootlegs first started showing up, I was tempted to pick up some of them, since, as noted yesterday, my NECA Turtles were incomplete.  However, they tended to only be sold in sets of four, so I never got around to getting them.  Back in June, I was out with my brother, and we stopped by a local retro game store, who had just gotten in a set of the cartoon colored versions.  While I would have prefered the comic ones, just for the sake of matching the two I already have, I figured these two were close enough.  Perhaps one day I’ll paint Mike to match the rest.   but right now I’m happy to have all four, even if it is through questionable means.

NECATurtles

#1038: Leonardo

LEONARDO

TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES (NECA)

LeoNECA1

Hey, remember how I reviewed one of NECA’s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles yesterday? Well, guess what! I’m reviewing another one today! I know, it’s a total shocker, right? Okay, maybe not. Yesterday, I looked at Donatello, my favorite of the Turtles. Today, I’ll be looking at the Turtles’ leader Leonardo, who’s a definite fourth for me. But, I still bought the figure, so I guess that doesn’t really matter.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

LeoNECA2Leonardo was also released in the first series of NECA’s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles line. Like Don, he was available in a clamshell, tubed, and in a boxed set with his three brothers. This figure is the clamshell release. Leonardo is 5 ¼ inches tall and has 30 points of articulation. As I noted in yesterday’s review, all four of the NECA Turtles shared the same body, so most of Leonardo is exactly the same as Donatello. Seeing as Donatello was a pretty impressively sculpted figure, that’s hardly an issue. Leo does have one minor change to the body; there is a pair of sheaths for his swords affixed to his back. These sheaths are just as nicely sculpted as the rest of the figure, and add a cool touch of individualism to Leo. Leo also gets a unique headsculpt, with gritted teeth and an overall determined looking demeanor. It’s a good expression for Leo, and makes him instantly distinctive from Donatello.  For the most part, Leo’s paint is more or less identical to Don’s. There are a few minor differences, but none that are intentional (barring the obvious inclusion of his teeth and the sheaths). Leo’s paint does seem just a bit sloppier than Don’s, but that’s the sort of thing that will vary from figure to figure. All three releases of Leo included a pair of katana, which are very impressively rendered. The bottom of each hilt can be removed to allow for an easier time getting Leo to grip them, and they fit great in his hands or the sheaths on his back. The clamshell release also added a pair of open palm hands, a pre-mutation Leo (same as the pre-mutation Don), and a stand that looks like a portion of sidewalk, complete with a fire hydrant. The stand can connect with the one included with Don (as well as those included with the other two Turtles) to form a neat little diorama.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Like Don, I found Leonardo at a nearby FYE (though not on the same trip). At the point I found him, I’d more or less given up on finishing the set, but was happy to find him regardless. Despite the fact that Leo isn’t my favorite Turtle, this is still a really fun figure, just as good as the Donatello figure. Leo was the last NECA Turtle I found, and the high cost of the other two on the aftermarket meant that for 9 years I’ve only had half of the Turtles on my shelf.

#1037: Donatello

DONATELLO

TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES (NECA)

DonNECA1

For someone who never had a huge attachment to Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, I sure do seem to have a lot of figures from the franchise. What can I say? I’m a sucker for cool toys, and there are a lot of really cool Ninja Turtles toys out there. For most of their 25+ year run, the Turtles toys have been handled exclusively by Playmates, but in 2007, NECA put out a set of Turtles based on their original Mirage Comics appearances. Today, I’ll be looking at NECA’s take on my personal favorite of the Turtles, Donatello!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

DonNECA2Donatello was released in the first series of NECA’s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles line, and he (like the other three Turtles) was available three different ways: single-packed (clamshell), single-packed (tubed), and in a boxed set with the rest of the team. The particular figure being looked at today is the clamshell version, which means he includes a few extras that the other releases didn’t have. The figure stands about 5 ¼ inches tall and he has 30 points of articulation. All of the Turtles from NECA were sculpted by the Four Horsemen, based on Eastman and Laird’s original depictions of the Turtles. The four figures shared most of their parts with each other, with the heads (mostly their expressions) being their only distinctive features. This is true to the early depictions of the characters, so it makes sense. The sculpt is definitely top notch, not only capturing the distinct look of the art, but also offering a lot of really great texture work (which is far better handled here than it is on the Playmates equivalents). If I had one complaint, it would be the length of the neck; it seems just a tad longer than it should be. Donatello’s head sculpt is calm and pensive, which is pretty a good choice for Don’s personality. On top an already awesome sculpt is a very impressive paintjob which, in combination with the sculpt, really helps to sell this as the comics design for the character. The colors are nice and bold, and the black accent lines are sharp, and place just right to make it look like an inked drawing. All of the releases of Don included the basic gripping hands and his signature Bo staff. The staff is a really nice piece, and it spits at the middle to make it easier to get it in his hands. The clamshell-ed Don also gets a spare set of open hands for wall-climbing, a container of T.C.R.I. ooze, a small pre-mutation Don, and a stand that looks like a section of street. All of these are just as well-sculpted as the main figure, and the stand in particular is a really fun piece.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Don was the first of the NECA Turtles I got. The single-packs were rather difficult to find at the time, so I was quite happy when I found this guy at my nearest FYE. This was actually my first real introduction to NECA, and it’s one heck of an introduction. This is a fantastic figure through and through, and there’s definitely a reason that these guys are so demanded after the fact.

#1036: Batman

BATMAN

DC COMICS DESIGNER SERIES (DCC)

BatmanCooke1

Earlier this year, we lost Darwyn Cooke, one of my favorite artists in comics. As fate would have it, this was also the year that DC Collectibles decided to devote a sub-set of their Designer Series to Cooke’s work, with the figures arriving just over a month after his passing. The figures are nothing if not a very nice tribute to all the awesome things Darwyn did during his career. Today, I’ll be looking at Batman, a character Cooke illustrated quite frequently. DC Direct did a Cooke Batman back when they did their New Frontier line, but that one was one of the line’s weaker figures, and it was also based on Batman’s ‘50s design, so this figure, based on a more timeless design is far overdue.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

BatmanCooke2Batman is figure 1 in the Darwyn Cooke sub-set of DCC’s DC Comics Designer Series, released alongside Supergirl and Harley Quinn. The figure stands about 6 ½ inches tall and he has 14 points of articulation. The articulation count isn’t super high, but very similar to what the New Frontier figures had (with some of the range increased a bit), which helps this guy to still fit in with those figures. For the most part, he’s just going to be doing basic standing poses, but he can get a nice variety of nuanced changes, and you can even get some slightly more dynamic poses if you work at it. This Batman is based on the character’s look from the early-to-mid-40s, after his appearance had settled a bit, but before he had become his more jovial self. It’s Batman as he appears in a lot of Cooke’s work, such as Batman: Ego and the first half of New Frontier, so it’s definitely a good choice. The sculpt is very much in line with what I looked at with Doctor Fate. It’s probably one of the best sculpts I’ve gotten from DCC. They’ve done a very good job of capturing Cooke’s Batman, down to all the little creases in his costume. And, unlike the last Cooke Batman, this one doesn’t have an odd, unworkable sculpted pose, so he doesn’t look super awkward. That’s a definite plus in my book. Batman’s paintwork is all very sharp and clean. He’s certainly got a striking color scheme, and I especially like the use of glossy paint for his gloves, boots, and logo. The only slightly odd part of the paint is his mouth, or more specifically, his lower lip. It’s oddly defined and makes him look a bit pouty. Batman included no accessories, which is a bit of a bummer given the price, but certainly not the worst thing.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Cosmic Comix got this set of figures in dribs and drabs. My dad picked up Supergirl at the end of June, but she was the only figure in stock. About a month later, they got this guy, and I picked him up as soon as I saw him. This is a figure I’ve been waiting for since the second series of New Frontier figures all those years ago, which makes me very happy. Now, if I could just figure out what the heck happened to that Adam Strange figure…

#1035: Ellen Ripley – Fiorina 161 Prisoner

ELLEN RIPLEY – FIORINA 161 PRISONER

ALIENS (NECA)

RipleyCubed1

Hey, you know what movie I love? Aliens! By extension, you know what movie I hate? Alien3 of course! Now, I know what you’re thinking: If I hate Alien3 so much, why do I keep buying figures from it? Well, there’s at least a part of it that’s about it giving me more time to air my grievances with the movie. It could also have something to do with that fact that, as bad as the movie may be, there were still a few interesting designs. Mostly, though, it’s due to the fact that I have an action figure addiction which cannot be stopped. That seems to be the cause of a lot of things in my life, if I’m honest. Anyway, today’s particular figure is NECA’s fifth version of Ellen Ripley, based on her appearance in the aforementioned film.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

RipleyCubed2This version of Ripley was released in the 8th series of NECA’s Aliens line, which, as I noted in my Weyland Yutani Commando review, is a series totally devoted to Alien3. The figure is just shy of 7 inches tall and she has 25 points of articulation. Rather than giving us different figures based on various parts of the film (like the Alien Ripleys), this figure kind of rolls her two main prison looks into one. She has two sets of arms and a removable vest for both jacketed and unjacketed looks. The pieces swap out well enough and provide two nicely distinctive looks, making it almost a bit surprising that NECA didn’t go for two separate figures. I’m hardly complaining, though. The inclusion of two sets of arms was fortuitous for me, since the left hand broke off the jacketed arm while I was removing Ripley from the box. Nothing a quick dab of superglue couldn’t fix, but be careful unpacking her. This Ripley gets an all-new sculpt, which is, overall, pretty good. Perhaps it’s a bit of personal bias, but I don’t find this sculpt to be quite as good as the Series 5 Ripley, especially when it comes to the facial likeness. While I won’t deny that there’s a lot of Weaver in there, the whole face seems just a bit pinched. That said, there’s still some awesome detail work on her shaved head, and the rest of the body is both well-proportioned and very impressively textured and detailed. This definitely feels like the same person from the last two figures. Let’s talk about the paint. So, overall, the paint on the figure is quite good. The clothes all have lots of subtle work to bring out the sculpted textures, and the overall work is very clean and sharp. The skin even has the tiniest bit of airbrushed red to make her look a bit more lively, which is a fantastic touch. There’s one major issue with my figure, and it’s one I didn’t actually notice until partway through writing this review: her face detailing is skewed just the slightest bit downward. It’s seriously slight. So slight that, like 99% of people wouldn’t even notice. However, it’s enough to throw off the likeness a bit, which may be at least part of why I haven’t warmed to this sculpt like I did the prior Weaver sculpts. In addition to the spare arms, Ripley includes a flashlight and the torch used to lead the Dog Alien to its demise. Both pieces are very impressively sculpted, and both fit nicely into her right hand.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I actually found Ripley at the same time as the Commando, but I ended up passing on her at that time. Of course, then I found the remnants of the series at a couple of TRUs, and was kicking myself for not picking her up the first time. Fortunately, my closest TRU got in a case and I was able to score the last Ripley they had. I don’t like this figure as much as the Aliens version, but then again, I never really expected to. As a figure on her own merits, she’s pretty solid. If nothing else, I’ve got a nice little set of Alien3 figures that I can just pretend are a few more “concept figures.”

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