#1491: Dr. Impossible

DR. IMPOSSIBLE

DC UNIVERSE CLASSICS (MATTEL)

“Who is Doctor Impossible? On the surface, he appears to be a dark, mirror-image of Mister Miracle.  Where Mister Miracle is aided in his fight against evil by a personal super computer known as Mother Box, Doctor Impossible accomplishes his evil deeds with the help of his “Father Box.”  Doctor Impossible claims to be Mister Miracle’s brother from Apokolips.  Origins aside, Doctor Impossible remains a formidable foe and disturbing flipside to the powers of Mister Miracle.”

Believe it or not, that bio is the most ever written about this character.  Crazy, right?  Dr. Impossible was introduced during Brad Meltzer’s post-Infinite Crisis run on Justice League of America, and never really amounted to a whole lot.  In his defense, DC decided to put a hold on the usage of the New Gods in general not too long after his debut, but even in his inaugural story, he’s little more than a bit player. Despite that, he’s gotten two whole action figures, one of which I’m taking a look at today!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Like last week’s Mr. Miracle figure, Dr. Impossible is from the sixth series of Mattel’s DC Universe Classics.  As a matter of fact, Dr. Impossible was just a variant of said Mr. Miracle figure.  Being quite frank, his shared pieces from Scott are probably what really got him made, since he was presumably a cheap to produce figure.  The figure stands about 6 1/2 inches tall and he has 25 points of articulation.  Just like Scott, Impossible’s built on the medium base body, albeit with far less unique pieces this time.  He only gets a new head (slightly re-tooled from Mr. Miracle) and forearms, as well as Mr. Miracle’s cape add-on piece.  Obviously, he’s not quite as impressive as Miracle (who just has an objectively better and more dynamic design), but he’s a solid enough translation of the source material, and he looks pretty decent with the Mr. Miracle figure.  The paint on Dr. Impossible is solid work.  It’s cleanly applied, and the colors are pretty accurate to the source material.  I like the flat colors used here more than the metallic shades on the DCD figure, so that’s a plus.  It’s a shame that he doesn’t get any of Miracle’s accent work, though.  Where Mr. Miracle was packed with a bunch of character-specific extras, Dr. Impossible is not so lucky.  All he gets is the leg of Kaliback, which is exactly the same as Miracle’s piece.  This coupled with his lessened use of unique pieces makes the figure feel rather light for the base price.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Where Mr. Miracle was largely absent from retail shelves around me, Dr. Impossible was quite plentiful.  He was quite plentiful everywhere, and for a good reason: compared to the Mr. Miracle figure (who came with the exact same piece of Kaliback), he’s just not as good a figure.  Add in that he’s a character that even hardcore DC fans will have only moderate interest in, and you’ve got DCUC’s first major peg-warmer.  So, if he’s a disappointment, why’d I get him?  Mostly because the guys at Cosmic Comix just know me way too well.  When I brought Mr. Miracle up to the counter, David (the guy behind the counter, who is aware that I’m an opener) quickly asked if I might be interested in a Dr. Impossible with a dinged up box, offering it at $5.  For $5, I was content to buy him.  Sure, he’s not anywhere near as good as Miracle, but at a fraction of the price, I can certainly enjoy him for what he is.

#1490: Thor & Valkyrie

THOR & VALKYRIE

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

“Armed with ancient weapons and legendary strength, these Asgardian warriors proudly defend the legacy of their realm.”

In terms of toy lines based on the MCU, Thor seems to draw the short straw.  Hasbro went all-in for his first film, and produced a rather expansive line.  Sadly, this one proved to be less than successful, which made retailers a little bit wary of backing him for later films.  Dark  World only got a very small assortment and Thor himself was only offered in an online-exclusive boxed set for Age of Ultron.  For Ragnarok, there’s a bit more coverage, but we still only got a small fraction of the main cast.  For instance, Valkyrie, one of the film’s main protagonists, was only available in a two-pack with a variant of Thor.

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

Thor and Valkyrie are a two-pack of figures from Hasbro’s currently running Marvel Legends.  Like the prior Star-Lord and Ego pack, these two aren’t exclusive to any one retailer.  Unlike that earlier set, these two actually hit in time for the movie, arriving on shelves about a week before the movie.

THOR

Thor gets quite a makeover in Ragnarok, and this figure replicates that new look.  I know a lot of people weren’t really big on the new short-haired look, but I didn’t mind it too much, and I certainly liked Thor’s new gladiator gear.  This figure makes use of a lot of the single-release Ragnarok Thor’s pieces.  Mostly, this one’s just got a new head to differentiate him.  The figure stands just shy of 7 inches tall and he has 30 points of articulation.  The new head is obviously the star piece here.  It’s not a bad likeness of Hemsworth; definitely the best we’ve gotten so far from Hasbro, I’d say.  It looks good head-on, I think it’s just the profile that throws it off.  The body sculpt is pretty decent, but I noticed similar issues with the torso to what was going on with the Loki figure.  He just seems a touch flatter than he should be.  I also found the cape to be a little too detached and easy to fall off for my taste.  On the plus side, the figure’s paint is pretty top-notch.  The face is the best work, rendering a rather life-like take on Hemsworth.  The body gets the bold color palette down, and I quite like the red detailing that runs down his left side.  That’s a fun touch.  Thor doesn’t include his usual hammer (since it was destroyed and all), but he does get an extra set of open hands, a lightning effect piece, and, somewhat oddly, Heimdall’s sword.  Not sure why that last one came with Thor and not, say, a Heimdall figure, but there it is.

VALKYRIE

Thor’s great and all, but the real draw of this set is definitely it’s new character, Valkyrie.  I was quite a fan of Tessa Thompson’s take on the character, and I’m eager to see the character turn up in future films.  And I’m also excited to have her in figure form.  Valkyrie is seen here in her bounty hunter garb from the first chunk of the film.  It’s the look she spends the most time in, and is also pretty close to her current comics look, so it’s a good choice.  The figure stands about 6 inches tall and she has 27 points of articulation.  Her sculpt is completely unique to her, and it’s definitely a very nice one.  It’s certainly my favorite of the Ragnarok sculpts I’ve seen, that’s for sure.  The likeness on the head is a pretty solid match for Thompson, and she’s sporting a pretty balanced and realistic set of proportions.  The cape is permanently affixed, which I like more than the removable capes of Thor and Loki. I wish the knives strapped to her legs were actually removable, but at least they’re actually there.  In terms of paint, Valkyrie’s pretty decent, with clean application and solid color choices.  My only real complaint is the small bit of splatter on her forehead, which is a little bit distracting.  Valkyrie is packed with her valkyrie sword, as well as its scabbard, which doesn’t seem to actually have anywhere to go.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I saw this set a few times before the movie’s release, always in rather large quantities.  After seeing the film, I came across it again at my local Target, but this time there were only two of them left.  Since I really enjoyed the film (and Valkyrie in particular), I figured I should probably grab them while I could.  Valkyrie is definitely the stronger of the two, but Thor’s still a solid figure in his own right.

#1489: Cybertron Advisor Meister

CYBERTRON ADVISOR MEISTER

TRANSFORMERS: ENCORE (TOMY)

“08 Cybertron Advisor Meister

Function: Cybertron Advisor Assistant to Convoy

Transformation: Racing Car

Ability: Has a high performance stereo speaker system and is able to confuse enemies with light and sound displays.

Character: A skilled Cybertron warrior who loves Earth’s culture; knowledgeable and competent at undertaking dangerous missions.”

And behold, my stock of Transformers reviews grows exponentially!  Now I’ll have reviewed *three* of them!  As I’ve mentioned once or twice before on this site, Transformers generally aren’t on my collecting radar, and never really have been.  I’m moderately familiar with some parts of the franchise, though, and I do have a few characters that I’ll buy in toy form.  My all time favorite is Soundwave, but on the Autobots side of things, I’m also a pretty big fan of Jazz.  But wait…doesn’t the title say Cybertron Advisor Meister?  It does.  I’ll get to that in a second.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Cybertron Advisor Meister was released in 2008 as part of TOMY’s Transformers: Encore line.  In case you hadn’t yet caught on, Meister is Jazz’s name in Japan, and this is a Japanese release.  In fact, it’s a re-release, or a slight retooling anyway, of the original Jazz/Meister from the ‘80s.  In his robotic form, Meister stands about 5 inches tall and has 8 workable points of articulation, all in his arms.  His sculpt is okay for what it is, which is an old style Transformer.  This is back in the days when the priority was placed on the vehicle form, and less on the robot form, so he looks a little goofy to be sure.  There are a lot of cool little details, though, especially on the car parts of the sculpt.  I also quite like the head, which was the newest piece of the figure.  In his car form, Meister’s a race car, and he’s about 4 inches long and two inches wide, with four moving wheels.  My figure is missing his doors, but otherwise it’s a rather convincing transformation.  The paint work is actually pretty decent.  Mostly basic blacks, whites, and silvers, with a helping of vac metalicizing thrown in for good measure.  There’s some tampography on the fine details of the car, such as his number, Autobots symbol and the like.  It’s all quite clean, and a definite step above the decals seen on other releases.  Meister included a silver blaster, as well as shoulder mountable cannon (missing from mine).

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I’ve always rather liked Jazz, but I’ve never had a proper toy of him.  I found this one at a 2nd Avenue of all places, in a bag with a bunch of die cast cars, for like $2.  I figured he was one of the Hasbro re-releases and was a little surprised to find out he was a foreign release.  It’s odd to me that something like this ended up at a 2nd Avenue, and I have the wonder what the story is behind that.  He’s missing a few pieces, but looks good enough in robot mode and I’m happy to have a Jazz for the shelf.

*I realized while writing this review that I’m a total dingus who left the foot pieces down for all of the photos.  Silly Ethan.  I’ll try to reshoot those when I can.

The Blaster In Question #0033: FocusFire Crossbow

FOCUSFIRE CROSSBOW

REBELLE (ACCUSTRIKE)

The Rebelle line of products and its handling has always slightly confused me.  At a surface level, getting girls into a hobby dominated by boys by making products targeted to them sounds like a good thing, exactly what constitutes a “girl blaster” is odd to say the least.  I’m not about to go on a rant about gender equality or how Hasbro should run their business, but what I will do is talk about one such Rebelle blaster, the FocusFire Crossbow.  Let’s get into it.

THE BLASTER ITSELF

The FocusFire Crossbow was released in 2017 as a crossover blaster between the Rebelle and Accustrike lines.  Mechanically, it’s a 5-round revolver.  That’s it, the crossbow arms don’t actually affect the performance of the blaster in any way.  As such, you may notice that I chose to leave them off of mine.  Had I left them connected, I could store a few extra darts on the crossbow arms themselves.  The string of the bow arms is intended to loop through the priming handle on the top of the blaster which locks back when primed and snaps forward again when you pull the trigger, thereby imitating a crossbow action kind of, I guess.  The internals aren’t really anything special, but I do quite like the exterior of the blaster quite a bit, at least up to a point.  I have always been a fan of Rebelle’s smoothed, clean shell designs for the blasters and this is no exception.  The FFC has some really nice flowing lines with just a little bit of texturing on the grip that adds an air of technological sophistication into the overall grace of the design (can you tell I was an art student?), kind of like somthing I’d expect from the Asari from the Mass Effect video game series.  I also really like the paint deco on the right side of the blaster.  It’s just a shame it didn’t make it to the other side as well, like with so many other Nerf blasters.  There aren’t any places to add attachments on this blaster, but it does have an interesting integrated sight setup on top.  The blue piece can fold up or down to give you a choice of sight picture.  When folded down, it effectively acts as a hybrid peep/notch sight that’s more or less parallel with the barrels.  Flipping it up gives you a few more options as the entire piece can theoretically work as a ladder sight for angling long-range shots with a few pre-selected notches for quicker aiming, I suppose.  It’s a nice feature, but it doesn’t really help that much if at all.  I assume it was added to coincide with the fact that this blaster comes with Accustrike darts.  In theory the better accuracy of the darts could be taken full advantage of with the use of proper sights, and while accustrike darts are vastly superior to Elite darts, its still a toy, so sights can only do so much.  There is at least nice contrast between the blue rear sight and the orange front sight so they’re easy to aquire and line up.  The construction of the blaster feels solid, so no issues there.  Where I do have some issues is in the scale of the grip area.  The grip is noticeably smaller than on standard Nerf blasters both in length and thickness.  I can still fit my whole hand on the grip, which is more than I can say for some Rebelle blasters, but the notch toward the end can dig into my pinky a little.  The worst part, though, is the stock.  It’s too small to use, period.  I know Rebelle is geared to younger girls, and in general girls are slightly smaller than boys, but when my 11 year old sister can’t even use this thing, you know it’s just too small.  I would have loved it if it was a useable length, but as it stands, its just this weird extra part that hangs down and blocks your wrist.  As is the norm for Rebelle, the FFC is a little underpowered when compared to similar Elite blasters.  Not by much, granted.  You can still land some good hits on your younger siblings with it, and of course, the added accuracy of the darts helps with shot placement.  The FocusFire Crossbow comes packaged with the bow arms not attached, and 5 fancy purple Accustrike darts.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Sadly, it seems like Rebelle has been on the decline as a product line.  There have still been some new releases with blasters like the Com-Bow, but not nearly as much as we used to see and that does bum me out.  Sure, maybe the line could have been handled better, but the problems are pretty much all easy fixes, and I’d much rather see these issues taken into account with future releases than have the whole line disappear.

 

#1488: Luke Skywalker – Dark Empire

LUKE SKYWALKER – DARK EMPIRE

STAR WARS: EXPANDED UNIVERSE (KENNER)

“Six years after the destruction of the second Death Star, the galaxy is thrust into turmoil. A reborn evil threatens to enslave the galaxy, and the Republic’s closest friend – Luke Skywalker – may become their greatest enemy. Freed from their detention cell, a group of rebels begin their escape from the Imperial planet Byss. But the sudden appearance of Luke Skywalker, Jedi Master, could mean unfortunate news for the Rebels. Has Luke fallen under the spell of the dark side?”

Remember two weeks ago when I was talking about the Star Wars Expanded Universe?  Well, hows about a little more of that?  Yeah, let’s go with that.  It’s another Dark Empire figure!  Wooooo!  This time, it’s Luke Skywalker, in his ‘90s anti-hero phase.  Let’s have a look!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Dark Empire Luke Skywalker was another of the four Dark Empire figures in the one and only series of Kenner’s Star Wars: Expanded Universe line.  The figure stands about 3 1/2 inches tall and he has 7 points of articulation.  Like the Clone Emperor, the seventh point of articulation is on his wrist (though this time it was the right one), which was more to allow for the removal of Luke’s hand…which is why my figure is missing his right hand.  Luke had a totally unique sculpt, based on his bad-boy look from the Dark Empire comics.  It’s sort of goofy and definitely dated, but I can’t help but find it endearing.  By this point in time, Kenner had lost the bulky, puffy look of their early ‘90s Star Wars figures, so this guy doesn’t look anywhere near as goofy, at least proportion-wise.  The head was a new mold, showcasing Luke’s extra bouncy hair from Dark Empire, but it has the same facial construction as Kenner’s second-generation PotF2 Luke heads, which had a slightly better Hamill likeness.  It’s a little strange that he’s ended up looking so much younger, but I don’t think it looks terrible at all.  Luke’s paint is pretty solid overall.  I think it’s a bit more pleasing to the eye than the Clone Emperor, and the application is generally pretty clean.  Luke included a lightsaber—red to denote his flirting with the Dark Side during the events of Dark Empire—as well as a blaster pistol.  He also included another of the fold-out 3D display stand things, which was pretty cool.  Reeeeeaaaaally wish I still had one of those.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I think this was the first instance of me eagerly awaiting the release of a Star Wars figure.  I was at the local Another Universe at the mall with my Dad, and I saw this guy on the cover of a Star Wars fan magazine, which had the details on the whole Expanded Universe assortment.  My Dad was nice enough to buy the magazine for me, and I remember dragging that thing all over the place while I eagerly awaited this figure’s release.  As I mentioned in the Clone Emperor review, I found this guy in the Farpoint dealer’s room the year he was released, and he was purchased for me by my Grandmother.  He’s a pretty awesome figure, and still remains one of my favorites.

#1487: Lex Luthor

LEX LUTHOR

DC ICONS (DC COLLECTIBLES)

Aw, you guys lucked out today.  Not one, but TWO DC Icons reviews!  And there was even one that *wasn’t* reviewed by me.  What a relief!

Last week, my DC Icons review took a slight turn for the villainous with a look at Captain Marvel foe Black Adam.  Today, I’m continuing that trend, looking at the villainous brains to Superman’s heroic brawn, Lex Luthor!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Lex Luthor was released in the second series of DCC’s DC Icons.  He’s figure 08, which puts him right after Black Adam.  Like Black Adam, Luthor is also based on his design from “Forever Evil.”  “Forever Evil” is a rather Luthor-centric story, which means it’s a good basis from which to draw the character. It’s still not one of my favorites.  Personally, I’d have preferred his Crisis-era battle suit.  With that said, Luthor’s look has always kind of been in flux over the years, so I’m a bit more open to change.  This look is inoffensive.  The figure’s one of the shorter ones, standing just under 6 inches tall.  Fortunately, it makes sense for Luthor to be a little smaller than the majority of the Justice League, so he ends up scaling okay with the line’s later figures.  He’s got 29 points of articulation, distributed in essentially the same way as the rest of the line.  Luthor’s sculpt is completely unique to him.  It’s decent enough.  Like the design it’s based on, I find the sculpt to be a little bit bland, especially the head.  They’ve gone with a more stern take on Luthor, which is perfectly in-character, but not terribly exciting.  I’d have liked an evil grin or something.  They could have at least made it an alternate head.  The suit is at least well-done from a technical standpoint, with lots of clean line-work and a good mechanical look.  The paintwork on this guy is certainly passable, but sort of continues the overall trend of being a little bland.  They’ve opted for flat colors on the suit, rather than something metallic.  It looks fine, but doesn’t possess the pop that I feel it could.  Luthor is packed with several different sets of hands, posed in fists, open gesture, one energy effect for the right hand, and a left hand holding some sort of wand thing that I’m gonna assume is story specific.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I found Luthor at the same time as Black Adam.  He too was 50% off, which is pretty much entirely why I bought him.  He’s the sort of figure that’s fine in the grander scope of the line, and an important character, but he’s just sort of…blah.  Not bad in the slightest, but not exceedingly interesting either.  Still, he looks nice with the rest of the set.

Guest Review #0048: Super Sons

SUPERBOY & ROBIN

DC ICONS (DC COLLECTIBLES)

The following is a guest review by my dad, writer Steven H. Wilson!  Check out more from him over at his blog, located at stevenhwilson.com

So I bought this set a while back, on new comics Wednesday, and Ethan suggested I review the figures here, and then do a piece over on my blog about the characters and their history. You’ll note that Ethan’s blog is very focused, a new action figure review every day. Mine is not so much. It’s pretty much just whatever the hell I want to talk about, when I want to talk about it. And it hasn’t always been every day, though it has been for a while now. Anyway, here we have The Super-Sons!

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

The Super-Sons are a two-pack in the DC Icons line, what I’m told may be the last such two-pack in the series.

SUPERBOY

The fifth (I think?) Superboy in DC Comics history, Jonathan White Kent is the son of Superman and Lois Lane. The original Superboy was Superman, but it’s unclear these days if that was Jon’s dad. The original grew up to be the Superman of Earth One, which was destroyed (more correctly, merged with a few other earths) in Crisis on Infinite Earths. Jon’s father is the Superman of that merged Earth, who when introduced, was established never to have been Superboy [well, at least until they decided he was…–E]. I don’t know if that still holds because DC history is confusing. The other Superboys were Kon-El, a clone of Superman with different powers, Jon-El, sort of the same deal, and, of course, the dreaded Superboy Prime, the young hero of Crisis on Infinite Earths who later went bad.

Little Jon Kent, ten years old, is growing into his inherited powers. He sort of flies, has some strength, and uses his heat vision an awful lot. True to his father’s influence, he’s a boy scout who’s afraid to swear. True to his mothers, he’s utterly fearless.

Previous Superboy figures have included one that came in a two-pack with his cousin Supergirl from DC Direct, and two Superboy Primes released in the DC Direct Infinite Crisis line and the Mattel DC Universe Classics line.

Superboy stands about 3 ½ inches tall and has 29 points of articulation. He comes with the Icons “flying” stand, a clear plastic cylinder section with a slanted top and a pin the attach his foot. Face and body are original sculpts, about an inch shorter than the male adult figures in the line. The facial sculpt is good, capturing Jon’s confident half-smile and eternal optimism.

His “uniform” (or are they play clothes) is well reproduced—a Superman hoodie he found at a second-hand store, jeans with a rip in the knee, a red T-shirt and short red cape. I think perhaps the hoodie is a bit too form-fitting. It’s shown looser in the comics, contributing more to Jon’s “still-growing” look, and his air of casual disregard for his appearance.

He’s very poseable, although I had a hard time getting him into the “Up, up and away” pose shown on the box.

Like all Icons figures, he comes with extra pairs of hands, specifically three this time around.

ROBIN

The son of Bruce Wayne (Batman) and Talia Al Ghul, daughter of Batman’s immortal enemy Ras Al Ghul, Damian Wayne is the sixth individual to carry the code name Robin, the others being Dick Grayson, Jason Todd, Tim Drak, Carrie Kelly, and Stephanie Brown (very briefly). Damien Wayne is 13, short for his age, and pretends he only hangs out with Jonathan Kent because the kid has powers, not because he actually likes him, and not because their fathers have pretty much bullied them into being “friends.”

This is the sixth Damian Wayne Robin figure, the last coming out from Mattel’s DC Comics Multiverse line just recently, as well as one from Mattel’s online subscription service, two from DC Collectibles’ Son of Batman and Lil’ Gotham lines, and one from DC Direct’s Batman Incorporated before that.

The figure stands about 3 inches tall, with 29 points of articulation. The facial sculpt shows Damian pouting and angry, because, if Damian ever smiled, his head would explode in order to expel his face away from it with as much force as possible. Or maybe he’s just pissed that the figures so accurately represent how much smaller he is than his junior partner.

I wish he had come with an interchangeable head, so that he could be displayed with his hood up. He does come with a five sets of hands (in fists, flat, two different grips, and with bloody talons), and a staff to make up for not having a flying stand.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I looked forward to the Super-Sons title, because I was a kid when the original Super-Sons were having their imaginary adventures. (More about them on my own blog.) It’s such a completely hokey idea, and it was always great fun. I think Peter Tomasi has integrated the hokey idea into a fun book that works for a new generation of more-sophisticated (read: really jaded) readers. I was glad to see them rendered in action-figure form, since I doubt the original “Superman, Jr.” and “Batman, Jr.” (Yep, those were their names!) ever will be.

#1486: Ultraman Ginga Victory, Ultraman Jack, & Alien Baltan

ULTRAMAN GINGA VICTORY, ULTRAMAN JACK, & ALIEN BALTAN

ULTRA HERO/MONSTER 500 SERIES (BANDAI)

 

It’s been a painfully long time since I’ve reviewed any Ultraman figures.  In February of 2015, I looked at the Ultra-Act Mebius, but the ending of that line and its subsequent move to the slightly smaller Figuarts scale has left me without any regular Ultra purchases to review.  And that makes for a sad Ethan indeed.  While I’m sure I’ll get around to picking up some of those Figuarts releases one of these days, for the time being, there are some lower price-point options to keep me occupied, such as Bandai’s Ultra Hero 500 Series and it’s companion Ultra Monster 500 Series.  I’ll be looking at a few of those offerings today.

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

Ultramen Ginga Victory and Jack were released in the Ultra Hero 500 Series as figures 30 and 04, respectively, while Alien Baltan was released in the Ultra Monster 500 Series as figure 01.  Both series work on the “evergreen” style of distribution, where most figures in a line are kept in constant stock, at least in Japan.

ULTRAMAN GINGA VICTORY

Ginga Victory represents the fused form of Ultras…stick with me here…Ginga and Victory.  Shocking, I know.  This fusion made its debut in Ultraman Ginga S The Movie: Showdown! The 10 Ultra Warriors! which I assure is the actual title of the film, which I most certainly have not exaggerated in any way.  I wasn’t immediately familiar with this variant, but I correctly IDed it as some form of Ginga.  He, like all of the 500 Series figures, stands about 5 1/2 inches tall and has 3 points of articulation at the shoulders and waist.  Hardly super posable, but that’s never been the intent of this line. His sculpt is unique to him, and is about what you’d expect from a softer vinyl figure.  The build of the body is ever so slightly stylized to be a little more heroic in its proportions, but beyond that, he looks to be a pretty close match to the design from the show.  He’s certainly one of the more complicated Ultra designs, but it all flows together pretty well, and he looks pretty darn cool; there’s no denying that.  The complicated nature of his design also translates to his color scheme, but not quite so much to his paint.  He’s certainly got more details than many other Ultras in this scale and style, but there are a few parts of his design that just go unpainted.  It’s not terrible at first glance, however, upon closer expression, you can see the etched-in lines of details that were just left out, which is the tiniest bit frustrating.

ULTRAMAN JACK

This isn’t the first time I’ve looked at an Ultraman Jack on this site, nor will it be the last.  Jack hails from Return of Ultraman, where he was originally intended to be a returning Hayata before becoming a unique character.  Hence the design that’s just a slight variation on the original.  He too has a unique sculpt, which is on par with the Ginga Victory figure, albeit totally different.  His design is obviously more simplistic, and also more keyed to 60s aesthetics in terms of suit materials and his actor’s build, and this figure replicates all of that quite nicely.  I did note that Jack’s pieces don’t seem to fit together quite as seamlessly as Ginga Victory, but they aren’t too mismatched.  Jack’s paint is decent enough.  He’s got less going on than Ginga Victory, so he’s also not missing any key application.  Some of the silver’s a little fuzzy around the edges, but he’s generally pretty well handled.

ALIEN BALTAN

Alien Baltan is one of Ultraman’s earliest and most persistent foes.  The one seen here is Baltan I, seen in the second episode of the original Ultraman.  It’s my favorite Baltan look, so that makes me pretty happy.  Baltan’s sculpt is a bit softer than the other two.  It’s not a huge surprise, given all the extra details he’s got going on.  That being said, as a more organic creature, the softness is a little more excusable.  It’s a decent enough piece, I suppose.  It’s clearly a little more archaic than some of the others, and a tad more simplistic than I’d like, but the general idea is there.  Any Ultra-fan is gonna know who this is.  His paint is actually a fair bit more nuanced than the other two, featuring a fair number of airbrushed details.  Given the price point of the figure, it’s actually quite impressive.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Believe it or not, this trio made their way to me direct from Japan.  They were sent to me by my friend Rio, who previously got me the diecast First Order Stormtrooper.  In exchange for a generous quantity of Oreos, she’s agreed to keep me supplied with lots of cool action figure goodness.  These three were in the first care package that Super Awesome Girlfriend and I received from her.  It was actually really awesome, as the box arrived right after a rather stressful day at work, and nothing fights off stressful days better than Ultraman!

#1485: Human Torch

HUMAN TORCH

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

“Flame on!  Johnny Storm suits ip to command the head as the scorching hot hero, The Human Torch.”

I noted the miracle that is new Fantastic Four Marvel Legends when I reviewed the Invisible Woman earlier this year.  She was the inaugural figure in what is set to be an under-running theme in the upcoming Walgreensexclusive Legends releases, which is set to give us a complete FF by the end of next year.  For the second figure in this them, Hasbro’s gone with Sue’s younger brother Johnny, better known as the Human Torch!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

The Human Torch is the newest Walgreens-exclusive Marvel Legends figure.  He started hitting most Walgreens’ shelves in the last month (though people have reported finding him for a few months now).  Johnny is a character that’s proved to be somewhat difficult to translate to plastic over the years.  The most successful figures have tended to be the ones that went for some sort of half-flamed-on variation.  This figure doesn’t do that, and instead takes a stab at the every so tricky fully flamed-on variation.  The figure stands about 6 1/4 inches tall and he has 32 points of articulation.  He’s built on the Bucky Cap body, and, if I’m honest, I’m not 100% behind this choice.  Johnny’s typically be depicted as more on the slight side, so I was sort of expecting he’d be on the Pizza Spidey base.  At the very least, I was hoping that he’d use the Bucky Cap base with the less muscular Dr. Strange torso.  No such luck.  Admittedly, it’s not the worst choice of body.  It hardly ruins to figure.  He gets a new head, forearms, hands, shins, and feet, all sporting flame effects sculpted right onto them.  They’re obviously of a more stylized nature, but I think they look pretty decent.  They certainly look better than prior attempts.  The head is actually a fairly well rendered piece.  He’s got a sly grin, which is perfect for Johnny, and is a much better fit than the angry, teeth-gritted expressions we’ve gotten on prior figures.  They’ve foregone his hair, opting for a “bald” Johnny with unrelated flames at the top of his head, rather than some bizarre flame-hair-combo thing.  The paint on Johnny is pretty decent.  He’s molded all in translucent plastic, which adds quite a bit of life to the figure.  There’s some more opaque work on the actual flames, as well as some variation in the coloring, indicating his uniform beneath it all.  He’s clearly wearing his classic costume, which means he matches his sister.  I like that the head is a lighter yellow shade, making it clear that it’s his exposed flesh, and not the same color as his uniform.  Johnny is packed with two flame effect pieces (re-used from Iron Fist), as well as two standard fists, molded to match the figure.  Not quire as impressive as the whole extra figure included with his sister, but not terrible.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I grabbed Human Torch from a slightly out of the way Walgreens, where I was actually looking from Black Widow from the new Vintage series of Legends.  No luck there, but they had Johnny and he looked pretty cool, so I grabbed him.  Personally, I’m still a fan of the mid-flame-on style of figure, but this is definitely the best take on a fully-flamed-on Johnny that we’ve gotten!

#1484: Mr. Miracle

MR MIRACLE

DC UNIVERSE CLASSICS (MATTEL)

“As part of a peace pact, Scott Free was raised in an orphanage on the cruel world of Apokolips.  Young Scott finally escaped that destiny and made his way to Earth where he was befriended by escape artist Thaddeus Brown, known as Mr. Miracle.  Under Brown’s tutelage Scott assumed the identity of Mister Miracle and elevated to greater glory as an entertainment super-escape artist!”

In time for Jack Kirby’s 100th birthday, his beloved Fourth World creations have made their triumphant return to the four-color-printed pages.  Well, a few of them, anyway.  Kirby’s most successful Fourth World creation is the evil monarch Darkseid, but I’d say that Mr. Miracle’s a pretty close second.  His original book ran for twice as long as the others, and he’s had more than a few revivals, including a currently running one, which I’ve been picking up and enjoying enough to keep reading.  He’s also had a pretty good helping of action figures.  I’ve already looked at two of them, but here’s one more.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Mr. Miracle was released in the sixth series of DC Universe Classics, which was the final assortment of the line’s inaugural year.  It was a rather rocky year, with a slow start at Series 1, poor distribution for the four series, and quality control issues all over the place.  Series 6 marked a real turning point, being a little easier to find at retail and offering overall higher quality figures.  Scott was the second Fourth World addition, following Orion in Series 1.   Following Scott, there’d be one New God per series until Series 12.  The figure stands about 6 1/2 inches tall and he has 25 points of articulation.  He’s built on the medium base-body, which works well enough for Scott, since he’s usually a little smaller than Orion and the like, but still usually depicted as larger than average.  Scott has a new head, forearms, and shins, as well as add-ons for his cape and belt.  It’s nice to see just how many new pieces there were on this guy, given how prone to just painting the details this line got as it went on.  The head is a generic depiction of Mr. Miracle’s mask, not based on any specific artist’s version.  Obviously, there’s some pretty heavy Kirby influence there, but it’s not a strict Kirby version of the character.  Nevertheless, it’s a good take on the character.  The other pieces are mostly just designed to slot in pretty flawlessly with the base body, which they do pretty well.  The cape, it should be noted, is made from a harder plastic than you might expect, which means it’s really stiff, solid, and heavy.  It can make him a little difficult to keep standing.  That being said, it’s still a nicely crafted piece, so no complaints there.  What I find most impressive about this figure are the details that most people will never see.  The back of his belt features a removable Mother Box, and the bottoms of his feet have been re-sculpted so as to get some Kirby circuitry.  Both easily overlooked details, but both details included here anyway.  The paintwork on this guy is perhaps his only real negative.  It’s not terrible, but it’s a little sloppier than I’d like.  Still, it’s got some very nice accent work that you don’t see much these days, and is all-around pretty good.  In addition to the previously mentioned Mother Box, Mr. Miracle is also packed with a pair of flight disks (which get a circuitry detailing similar to the underside of the foot), as well as the right leg of Kaliback.  Most impressively, he includes a pair of arm cuffs, clearly modeled after those included with his old Super Powers figure, making this guy the first official call-back to Super Powers in this line.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I didn’t buy this guy new. Not long before his release, DC Direct had done their own set of Jack Kirby designed New Gods figures, which I quite liked.  That Mr. Miracle was my favorite of the set, and I didn’t really feel like I needed another.  Then this figure’s price shot up fairly quickly, and I figured that was just as well.  Recently, Cosmic Comix got in a nearly complete set of DCUC figures, and they’ve been slowly putting them out.  I saw this guy, and it was the same week as the new issue of Mr. Miracle, so I felt it was appropriate.  I’m glad I picked him up, because he’s quite possibly one of the finest offerings from DCUC.  He’s a character that really fit the style, and it’s clear they went the extra mile to make him so cool.  It’s almost hard to believe this was actually a Mattel offering.