MASTERY, OBLIVION, EXPLORATION, CREATIVITY, CURIOSITY, INGENUITY, & LOGIC
I AM ELEMENTAL
For my sixth post-Christmas review, I’m going back to one of my favorite projects, I Am Elemental. Frequent readers are likely familiar with the line. It was the project that got me into backing action figure-based Kickstarters, and it’s been something I’ve supported every way I could since it was launched. The concept behind the line started as action figures for girls, but has morphed into something very much aimed at collectors of all genders and ages. They’re a throwback to when toys were designed specifically with being cool toys in mind. I loved the first series of figures, and I loved the deluxe follow up figure even more. The second series of figures just started hitting towards the end of 2016, and I’ll be taking a look at those today.
THE FIGURES THEMSELVES
The seven figures I’m looking at today make up the second series of the I Am Elemental line. Each series of the line is based around one quality (with the individual characters being the emotions or “elements” that make up that quality), and inspired by a classical heroine who embodied that quality. The first series was Courage and patterned after Joan of Arc. The second series has been dubbed the “Wisdom Warriors” and are inspired by Hypatia, Greek mathematician and philosopher.
As with the first series of figures, these gals were available a few different ways. I got the Lunchbox set (which is the same release style I went with for the first series), which includes the seven Wisdom Warriors, an activity book, one carrying back, and a bracelet for linking all seven shields, all packed in a metal lunchbox/carrying case.
“Creativity uses her imagination to dream up original ideas. She has the ability to bring any object she can imagine into being.” Like Bravery before her, Creativity takes this set’s spot as the most classically heroic looking of the bunch. She’s also got a power set that sounds akin to something like the Green Lanterns from DC, which is a pretty fun concept. This figure gives us our first taste of the new base body for the Wisdom Warriors. She stands about 3 3/4 inches tall and has 15 points of articulation. The base body clearly has common ancestry with the Courage Series body, but takes things a slightly different direction. All of the figures in this set share the same torso, upper arms, and upper legs. They’re good piece. In particular, I love the Grecian design to the torso’s armor detailing, especially on the straps. I also like the addition of the belt to the design; it helps to further differentiate these figures from he Courage Series. Creativity also gets a set of lower arms with bracers (shared with Logic) and lower legs with mid-length boots (share with Mastery and Oblivion), as well as a helmeted head all her own. I really love the head sculpt; the helmet just really makes her stand out amongst the others, and the dynamic motion on her braid makes posing her a lot of fun. The paint apps on the last series of figures were solid, but they’ve really stepped up their game this time around, and added a lot more variation. While Creativity’s main color is a nice blue (used for her skin), she also gets a secondary theme of a dark red, which goes well with the blues. Creativity includes a little construct that looks like a crossbow, a shield with her symbol on it, a character card, and a display stand. I’d just like to take a moment here to point out how awesome it is to get stands this time around; not enough figures get them, and stands are always a godsend to a collector with tons of action figures that are always falling.
“Logic uses reason to make connections between facts and draw conclusions. She has the ability to always distinguish what is true from what is false.” After the more classical design of Creativity, Logic is a step into slightly more modern or even futuristic themes. She uses a lot of the same pieces as Creativity, though she gets lower legs with taller boots, as well as an add-on piece for her rather elaborate shoulder armor. She also gets a new head sculpt with sort of a bowl cut going on. Given it’s prominence on Vulcans and the like, one can only assume that it’s simply the most logical hairstyle. I have to say, the hairstyle and the color scheme on this figure give off a vibe of Raven from Teen Titans. Raven and Vulcans are certainly good call backs for this particular emotion, so good choices of inspiration indeed! I don’t know if it’s just these particular colors, but the paint work on Logic feels a lot sharper than some of the others in the series, which is definitely saying something. Logic includes her shield, character card, and clear display stand.
“Ingenuity is an inventive and resourceful problem solver. She has the ability to change herself to mimic her environment.” Ingenuity almost feels like this set’s counterpart to Industry’s quirky tech person, albeit with a more “environmental” twist. She’s got less of a heroic thing going on, and more of an explorer thing. She trades in the more expansive boots of the last two figures for a more sensible pair of hiking boots (shared with Exploration), and has a rather humble pair of small wristbands (shared with Oblivion). I definitely get an aquatic vibe from her. Her color scheme is very aquatic (lots of blue-greens), and she includes a little octopus-tentacle construct, and even the dreads in her hair sort of match the tentacle thematically. Maybe she mimics aquatic environments?
“Curiosity has the desire to learn and know everything. She has the ability to communicate in any language” Ah, so we’ve got a Cypher thing going on here. Obscure X-Men references by me aside, the communication angle is fun, and fits right in with the curiosity concept. It also places emphasis on communication, which is something we desperately need more of these days, so it’s a good message to send. At first, I though Curiosity’s design was a bit hodgepodge, but then it hit me: of course it is! She’s curious about everything, so why would she stick with one common design element? The kama is a neat design element, and helps set her apart from the others (and is also a nice thematic replacement for the usual superhero cape). She’s kind of a figure that I was uncertain about at first, but the more time I spend messing with her, the more I like her.
“Exploration investigates and takes voyages of discovery. She has the ability to transport herself anywhere in the world.” I really dig Exploration’s design. It takes the design of Honesty (my personal favorite of the Courage Series figures) and sort of adds a Da Vinci/Steampunk sort of bend to it, which works very well. Clearly someone on the IAE design staff likes wings. I can’t fault them there; wings are cool, and I really like how they made them look like an invention, thereby fitting in more with the Wisdom theme. I also dig the goggles, because, like wings, goggles are cool. Exploration was one of the earliest designs we saw (her silhouette was teased before toy fair) and I’ve been looking forward to the final product since then. She certainly didn’t disappoint!
“Mastery trains to become an expert in everything she does. She has the ability to create physical duplicates of herself.” Okay, so we’ve got Cyper AND Multiple Man! Alright! …No more X-Men references? Alright. Mastery is another one of my favorite designs from this set. She’s got a lot going on that just really works for her. Hers is probably the simplest of the new designs, resulting in her possessing a very bold look about her, and bringing her the closest to the Courage Series figures in terms of feel. In particular, I really love the scarf piece, which, like Creativity’s braids, has a great dynamic flow to it, and just pulls the whole figure together. I also really like the color scheme here; it’s different, but the bright green and blue give her a very definite “pop.”
“Oblivion wears blinders and has her head in the clouds. She has the ability to erase the minds of others.” Following Fear’s lead, Oblivion is another “Dark Matter” element, sort of an anti-heroic member of the team. Hands down, Oblivion is my favorite of the new designs. I just love the retro-sci-fi feel of her helmet piece, right down to the fin on top of it all. She’s really sleek and it looks oh so cool. The cloud back pack is also an interesting way of interpreting the “head in the clouds” comment from her card, I guess. Not totally sure what it’s supposed to be in reality, but I don’t really care, because, as noted, I just really like this design.
THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION
This set was given to me for Christmas by my always so supportive parents. I’d been eyeing these guys up pretty much since they were announced, so I was quite happy to open them up Christmas morning. When you start off as strong as IAE, there’s always some worry about keeping up the quality, and I myself was a little worried about that. However, I’m happy to say they did just that, and produced a set of figures that is a fantastic counterpart piece for the first series, both in terms of actual figure quality, and in terms of creativity and fun. I can’t wait to see what the Wisdom power figure looks like!