#2481: Blue Beetle



When policeman Dan Garret grew tired of the slow pace and red tape of normal police work, he adopted the masked identity of the Blue Beetle to continue his battle to avenge the murder of his father!”

In the summer of 2014, I backed a good number of action figure-centered Kickstarters, as I was trying to really expand my reviewing options, as well as my reviewing foot print out in that crazy online world.  A pair of the Kickstarters that I backed were for Fresh Monkey Fiction’s Amazing Heroes line, which was devoted to producing figures of some more obscure, largely public domain super heroes.  After running two successful Kickstarter campaigns to get us nine figures to start things out, Fresh Monkey has also been slowly adding more figures as they can, through other channels.  At the beginning of this year, they ran a Jumpstart campaign to get another four figures produced.  I managed to jump in for one of those, Blue Beetle, who I’ll be looking at today.

Now, before I jump into the review proper, I’m sure there are a good number of you going “wait, isn’t Blue Beetle a DC character?”  Yes, yes he is.  And before that, he was also a Charlton Comics character.  However, thanks to a whole bunch of different incarnations in the character’s lineage, the very first Blue Beetle, Dan Garret (note the single “t” at the end of his last name; it’s important), actually went into the public domain.  Charlton picked up the character in the ‘50s, and eventually introduced his successor Ted Kord in the ‘60s, at which point the quietly added a second “t” to the end of his name, making Ted’s true predecessor Dan Garrett a proper Charlton creation.  But, at the end of the day, Garret is still public domain, and therefore easy pickings for this line.  Amusingly, he gets a figure, while Garrett never has.


Blue Beetle is one of the four figures produced for Wave 4 of the Amazing Heroes line.  He was produced to demand, and he and the rest of his compatriots started arriving to backers in late June/early July. The figure stands 4 1/2 inches tall and he has 5 points of articulation.  As with the rest of the line, Blue Beetle is built on a centralized body, patterned on the old Secret Wars bodies from Mattel.  He uses the core body and the bald head piece.  He also gets a little bit of new tooling for his arms, which now sport flared gloves.  It’s a small touch, but it does a lot to make him feel just a bit different from the earlier releases.  In general, this figure’s construction is nicely consistent with the more simplistic and basic feel of the rest of the line.  It definitely works well with Blue Beetle’s design.  The paint work is likewise pretty basic and simple, but it again works pretty well to convey the design.  They’ve opted not to do any hinting of his scale-mail, which seems like the right call, and is also consistent with the Secret Wars stylings, since Cap was the same way.  The application is all really sharp, though, which looks great.  Beetle is packed with an extra unmasked Dan Garret head, which is a repaint of the Captain Action head.  It’s a decent enough match for him, and it’s just nice to have the option.


I had to forego most of the post Kickstarter Amazing Heroes offerings due to monetary reasons, which definitely bummed me a bit.  However, once these guys were shown off, I knew I wanted to at least grab this guy.  And hey, even in the midst of everything going on right now, Fresh Monkey still managed to get these guys out in a reasonable amount of time.  Blue Beetle’s pretty basic, but also pretty fun, and it’s nifty that we were finally able to get him in figure form.

#2480: Ranger Slayer



Though they were a smash success on TV, Power Rangers and comics didn’t have the strongest start.  Attempts were made to start some sort of on-going in the show’s hey-day, but nothing really took off, and eventually things just got dropped.  However, a renewed interest in the MMPR-incarnation of the show allowed Boom Studios to launch a comics-based revival in 2016, which ultimately expanded into its own full-fledged continuity.  One of the bigger stories to come out of it was “Shattered Grid”, an alternate universe story featuring an evil Tommy Oliver as its primary antagonist Lord Drakkon.  Serving Drakkon was a brainwashed and crazy Kimberly Ann Hart, now under the monicker of Ranger Slayer.  Hasbro is starting to delve into the comics a little with their toyline, including Ranger Slayer, who I’ll be looking at today!


Ranger Slayer is the final figure in Series 5 of Hasbro’s Lightning Collection.  Following Lord Drakkon’s release in Series 3, she’s our second Boom Studios-inspired figure.  The figure stands just shy of 6 inches tall and she has 30 points of articulation.  Ranger Slayer is sporting an all-new sculpt, and even gets a slightly tweaked articulation scheme, most notably on the ankles, which are a slightly more compact design than the standard boots we’ve been seeing on other Rangers in this line.  The articulation’s great in concept, but perhaps a little iffy in execution, as on my figure, her feet tend to fall off at the ankle during posing a lot.  This also makes her not exceedingly stable on her feet, so she falls down a lot.  I’m not a huge fan of this.  In contrast to Magna Defender and his permanently attached cape, Ranger Slayer’s cape is totally free floating, and doesn’t actually attach to the figure.  Ultimately, it works out okay, but it does mean it falls off a lot, which I’m again not the biggest fan of.  At the very least having it peg into her back would have helped.  The final issue with my figure is one that isn’t a line-wide one, but is an annoying one nevertheless.  It seems the head on my figure wasn’t quite properly molded, resulting in the socket for the neck joint not actually clicking into place.  It just sort of wedges on there, and never all that securely.  That, coupled with the cape and the feet, really makes posing her a pain.  Moving past all of that, I will say that the figure has a good *looking* sculpt, and I particularly like the way the cape has been sculpted so dynamically.  Her paint work is decent, but probably the weakest of my Series 5 set.  There’s a few spots of noticeably missing paint, and some sloppy edges, especially on the legs.  Ranger Slayer includes her Bow of Darkness, Blade Blaster, a stock of three arrows, a shooting arrow effects piece, and two sets of hands (gripping and fist/flat combo).  It’s too bad she didn’t also get an unmasked head, especially given that Drakkon got one, but at least she doesn’t feel like she comes up too light.


I haven’t really followed the comics from Boom, but I have been aware of some of the broad strokes elements, which included Drakkon and Ranger Slayer, both of whom have some pretty nifty designs going for them.  I missed out on Drakkon’s initial release, but I definitely didn’t want to miss this one (or any of this series, really).  Ultimately, this is a figure I had pretty high expectations for, and unfortunately, especially in the case of my personal copy, I definitely feel a little bit let down.  She’s not a bad figure, and she still does have an impressive design, but she’s just not quite as playable as I’d like.  Still, I wouldn’t mind seeing Hasbro go back to the comics well again for things such as the Ranger Sentries.  That’d be pretty cool.

Thanks to my sponsors over at All Time Toys for setting me up with this figure to review.  If you’re looking for Lightning Collection, or other toys both old and new, please check out their website and their eBay storefront.

#2479: Time Force Red Ranger



My relationship with Power Rangers is a little bit turbulent.  While I recall the tail-end of the original run of MMPR, it wasn’t until Zeo that I jumped into the merchandising aspect of things.  Then Turbo came along and kind of killed any real interest I had, before I got thoroughly hooked by In Space.  Its follow-up Lost Galaxy was fine, but not my favorite, and Lightspeed Rescue has really always left me a little bit bored.  My last true hurrah with the franchise was Time Force, after which I pretty much tapped out (but then again, so did Saban…at least for a bit).  Time Force is finally making its entrance into The Lightning Collection, with its Red Ranger, Wes Collins, who I’ll be taking a look at today!


Time Force Red is part of Series 5 of Hasbro’s Lightning Collection, and is both this assortment’s requisite Red Ranger and our first Time Force Ranger.  The figure stands 6 1/4 inches tall and has 34 points of articulation.  Surprisingly, Time Force Red is an all-new sculpt.  Given how Galaxy Red was handled, I was definitely expecting this guy to be fairly re-use heavy.  Obviously, I’m sure most of these parts will end up used again for the the other three male Time Force Rangers, but it’s nice to see them actually go to the trouble of mixing things up a bit with some new parts.  I actually like how these parts turned out a little bit more well put together than some of the earlier parts.  It’s definitely a slightly sleeker sculpt than the MMPR parts, which definitely suits the design aesthetic of Time Force in general.  If I have one complaint about the sculpt, it’s that the helmet seems a touch wide, but it’s possible my memories of the old figures are playing tricks on my eyes with that one.  It’s certainly not a *bad* sculpt, so I’m hard-pressed to really complain.  His paint work is pretty clean, and is probably the best in this particular assortment, at least as far as my copies are concerned.  It definitely works well with the more crisp and clean nature of the design, as I think paint errors would have been more of an issue here.  Time Force Red is packed with his Chrono Blaster, a pair of Chrono Sabers, an effects piece, two pairs of hands (gripping and a fist/thumbs-up combo), and an unmasked Wes Collins head.  The sabers can combine as in the show, resulting in a slight compromise to the handles when they’re separate.  Still, it’s a cool gimmick.  The thumbs-up hand is one the better alternate hands, and the unmasked Wes head is another strong likeness.


Time Force still ranks pretty highly for me in terms of Power Rangers shows, and while Wes isn’t necessarily my favorite member of the team, I’m still glad to be getting our first taste of the team.  He’s a pretty solid figure, and I really dig all of the new parts they’ve given him.  I look forward to getting the rest of the team to go with him!

Thanks to my sponsors over at All Time Toys for setting me up with this figure to review.  If you’re looking for Lightning Collection, or other toys both old and new, please check out their website and their eBay storefront.

#2478: Mighty Morphin’ Blue Ranger



Continuing on yesterday’s Lightning Collection theme, today we’re jumping just a little bit back in Rangers history, with a Mighty Morphin’ era figure.  Hasbro’s been slowly weaving the inaugural team into the Lightning Collection line-up, and the latest to join them is Billy Cranston, the Blue Ranger, notable for being the only member of the MMPR team to stay with the show for its whole run, before being retired from active Ranger duty during the events of Zeo.


Mighty Morphin’ Blue is part of the fifth series of Lightning Collection figures, and is the MMPR offering for this particular set.  The figure stands 6 1/4 inches tall and he has 34 points of articulation.  Billy is largely built out of the same bank of parts as the other male MMPR Rangers, which is fairly sensible, and also fairly expected.  It also means he’s a pretty straight-forward figure in terms of what he does.  The new helmet’s a nice enough piece, though as with all of the MMPR figures, I think I do prefer the Figuarts one. Something about the proportions on this one just seems a little off.  Of course, it’s still got all the important Blue-specific elements, so it’s still very identifiable as Billy’s helmet.  As with Red and Black, Billy gets a slightly tweaked belt, with the proper belt buckle, which continues to be a really cool, and not immediately expected element.  Billy’s paint work is pretty straight forward stuff; if you know general Hasbro paint, you know how this one goes.  There’s minimal slop or bleed over on my sample, so that’s certainly good.  For me, the part where this figure really shines is the accessory selection.  He gets an unmasked head (with a pretty solid David Yost likeness; it’s easily the best of the MMPR likenesses), two pairs of hands (in gripping and fists), his power lance in separated and fully extended form, and a blue lightning effect.  The unmasked head is definitely a lot of fun, but I was also really happy to get the fully extended Power Lance, given its absence from the Figuarts release.  Now, between the two, I have the full accessory complement.  Yay!


While I generally haven’t felt the need to pick up the MMPR cast in the Lightning Collection style, thanks to already having the Figuarts and still being quite happy with those, Billy is by far my favorite member of the team, and just one of my favorite Rangers in general.  Given the extra unmasked portrait and the extended lance, this one was pretty easy sell for me.  Not gonna lie, he’s making it harder for me to stick to the my plans to skip MMPR, because I do really like this figure.  I think I’ll be able to manage holding out on the others, though.  Whatever the case, this guy’s pretty sweet.

Thanks to my sponsors over at All Time Toys for setting me up with this figure to review.  If you’re looking for the Lightning Collection, or other toys both old and new, please check out their website and their eBay storefront.

#2477: Zeo Gold Ranger




I began my last Zeo Gold Ranger review with a note that I don’t review many Power Rangers here, a statement that has become patently untrue, so I guess I can’t very fairly repeat it.  However, if I *didn’t* review many Power Rangers around here, this guy would still probably make the cut.  Why is that?  Because he’s the Zeo Gold Ranger, and the Zeo Gold Ranger is the best damn Power Ranger there is.  And I will fight you on that.  Okay, I probably won’t.  It’s okay if you don’t agree.  I’m gonna be sad, and that means you made me sad on my birthday, but I guess we’ll all learn to live with it.  I can learn to forgive.  Where was I?  Yes, the Gold Ranger review.   Excellent.


Zeo Gold is part of Series 5 of Hasbro’s Power Rangers: The Lightning Collection, following Zeo Blue’s debuting the show’s coverage in Series 4.  But, as I noted in the review of that figure, Zeo Gold was technically the debut figure, thanks to an early release last summer as part of an SDCC two-pack last year.  At their core the two releases are the same, but there are some differences when it comes to accessories, which I’ll touch on when I get to that section of the review.  This actually marks the third Gold Ranger in the line, after the Beast Morphers and Dino Charge versions, for those keeping track of such things.  The figure stands 6 1/4 inches tall and he has 34 points of articulation.  A number of Zeo Gold’s parts are shared with Zeo Blue, but he still gets a new set of arms, lower legs, head, and armor, which keeps him looking *fairly* unique when compared to Blue.  It’s a solid selection of the parts for him, and does a really nice job of capturing the suit as seen in the show.  The torso armor is a little more floaty than I might have liked, especially when compared to the White and Green Rangers.  It’s not terrible, and the floating is preferably to being totally fixed when it comes to posability.  It’s a really nicely sculpted piece, though, and it and the helmet are definitely the coolest parts here.  On the helmet, I especially like the raised kanji element, as the Bandai figures usually didn’t have quite as nicely pronounced.  It looks really sharp here.  The paint work is overall pretty solid on this guy.  The helmet’s definitely the best, with the sharpness again really coming though, but I also really like the accenting on the chest piece.  There’s a touch of inconsistent coverage on the upper sections of the knees, but beyond that, it’s pretty good.  Now, for the change-ups from the SDCC release, the accessories.  The biggest shift is the unmasked head, because while the SDCC figure was Jason, this release is Trey of Trifecta, and gets the corresponding unmasked head.  It’s just the one Trey head, and it definitely would have been cool to get all three triplets, but only one of them actually wore the suit at a time, so I guess this is fine.  I totally don’t need three of him.  That would be silly.  It’s worth noting that the Jason head that went with Jason in the SDCC set actually got packed with the standard Mighty Morphin’ Red in Series 3, meaning it’s pretty easy to make him Jason on your own.  No matter who you prefer to have in the suit, Zeo Gold gets two sets of hands in gripping and fists, as well as a yellow effects piece (both of which were the same on the SDCC version), and his Staff of Gold, which is in a slightly different configuration than the two versions included in the SDCC set.


As noted in the intro, Zeo Gold’s my favorite Ranger, so when be was initially released in the SDCC set, I was a little bummed, but figured a single-release was inevitable.  It was quite a wait (with two other Gold Rangers taunting me in the meantime), but he finally showed up, and boy was I excited to see him in the line-up, and he was the first figure I tore into once I got the set in-hand.  I was happy with the Legacy Collection Gold when he was released, but he’s not held up, and I was definitely glad for this upgrade.  He’s really awesome, and I’m so happy to have him.  ZEO GOLD!

Thanks to my sponsors over at All Time Toys for setting me up with this figure to review.  If you’re looking for Lightning Collection, or other toys both old and new, please check out their website and their eBay storefront.

#2476: The Punisher & Battle-Damaged Captain America



Following the lead of the line’s first year, the second year of Marvel Minimates augmented its main assortments with a handful of retailer and convention-exclusive packs.  While the first year’s exclusives were quite focussed in on the themes of the main assortments that year, 2004’s offerings were just as all over the place as the line itself was in its sophomore year.  This extended even within the packs, as today’s offering showcases, pairing a Captain America variant off with the Punisher of all characters.  You know, from all the times those two have hung out.


The Punisher and Battle-Damaged Captain America were one of two exclusive Marvel Minimates two-packs at SDCC in 2004.  Interestingly, while the other pack, Wolverine and Mariko, used just the standard packaging, these guys came in a rather unique box, the same dimensions as the normal, but being mostly black, with just two small illustrations of the characters gracing the front of the box.  It was certainly different.


Frank Castle made his debut into the line with this release.  In retrospect, it’s a little weird that such a prominent character (especially in 2004 terms) wound up only as an exclusive, but he got a second ‘mate at regular retail within the next year, so it wasn’t too crazy.  This figure was notable for being based on Frank’s classic spandex attire, rather than something more modern like most other releases would go for.  He’s additionally notable for being amongst the very first Marvel Minimates releases to get the C3-style feet that would become the norm.  They wouldn’t actually make it into the main line until 2005, but these exclusives got us started.  Beyond those new feet, Frank also got a hair piece that he shared with the C3 Superman, who hit the same month as this release.  It’s not awful for a more classic Punisher, so it works out alright.  His paint work is quite impressively handled, with one hell of a grizzled and angry face, plus some really cool looking artistic shading going on with the torso, hinting at his musculature, and preventing him from having too many stretches of single colors.  Unfortunately, the major drawback of this release is the accessories: there aren’t any.  Yep, the guy whose whole deal is his crazy arsenal of weapons didn’t get a single one of them.  There weren’t any tooled up at the time, I suppose, but it felt like a really major oversight on an otherwise really solid figure.


We’d just gotten the standard version of Cap three months prior to this release, but early in the line DST was definitely gung-ho on these battle-damaged variants.  It was admittedly surprising that such a seemingly retail-driven concept found its way into a con-exclusive pack.  One has to wonder if he might have been repurposed from a more standard assortment, perhaps even a Series 5 release alongside the standard variant?  Who knows.  While this was our first Battle-Damaged Cap, he wouldn’t be our last; there was also one in the Civil War boxed set in 2008, as another exclusive offering.  Structurally, this guy was the same as his Series 5 counterpart, apart from the change to the smaller feet, of course.  All of those parts were really good the first time, and they were still good here.  The paint is obviously changed up a bit, adding in a number of cuts and damaged spots.  His face has also been tweaked to show he’s taken a bit of a beating.  It works pretty well at conveying the damage.  He gets his shield, but it’s been slightly changed up, so that it’s now the holographic replacement shield he carried for a little while.  It was nice of them to give us that extra little piece, just to keep things different.  He also got a standard hand to swap out for the gloved one, thereby allowing for a more proper attachment of the shield, and ultimately fixing the one real issue with the original release.


Con exclusives weren’t quite as easily snagged earlier in the line, so I didn’t end up getting this one anywhere close to its original release.  Admittedly, neither figure included was really essential for me, so I wasn’t all that worried about it at the time.  However, when All Time got in their large collection of Minimates last fall, and I was filling in more and more of the gaps in my early Minimates collection, this one got really hard to pass on, so I went ahead and grabbed it.  It’s a rather fun little set, and I’m glad to finally have it.

#2475: Darth Vader with Removable Helmet



“Luke Skywalker removes his father’s head gear so that Anakin may look at at his son with his own eyes for the first time. Darth Vader became one with the light side of the Force when he rescued his son from the clutches of the Emperor.”

Remember last week when I was talking about the difficulty of coming up with credible variants for certain characters in Star Wars, given how little they change between installments?  Good, because it remains relevant for today’s review!  Darth Vader’s one of those tricky things to balance for toys, because the guy’s kind of the face of the franchise, but he also looks the same in all of his appearances (to the untrained eye, anyway).  For the vintage line, he only had one figure throughout the whole three movie run, and at the outset of Power of the Force II it looked like history might repeat itself.  That standard Vader did get a re-card, and even a slight tweak on posing to keep him on shelves, but by 1998, Kenner was doing revamps on all of the core characters, and Vader found himself on the receiving end of such a revamp, one which even gave us something we’d never seen on a Vader before: a removable helmet!


Darth Vader with Removable Helmet was added to the Power of the Force line in 1998, as the line’s third basic Vader release.  Unlike the line’s prior Vaders, which were all sort of amalgams of his designs from all three films, this one was the first to specifically replicate one design, in this case Return of the Jedi.  The figure stands a little over 3 3/4 inches tall (as they were back to acknowledging that Vader was taller), and had 7 points of articulation.  Just like the Bespin Luke figure from the same year, Vader is granted an extra point of movement on his right wrist, thanks to a removable hand (again making this a more Jedi-specific release).  I’ve actually looked at the bulk of this figure’s sculpt before, when it was used for the “Escape the Death Star” Removable Dome Vader release.  It really was the best sculpt Vader got out of PotF2, so I definitely can’t complain too much.  It’s far less beefy than the initial Vader, and even adds the missing inner robes that hadn’t actually been done in action figure form at this point.  The main distinguishing feature on this guy is the unmasked head, which is a pretty solid recreation of his unmasked appearance in the film, especially given the level of detail we typically got from this era of figure.  In terms of paint work, this figure marked another improvement for the line, with more than just the straight black of the initial Vaders from the line.  This guy also gets some of the proper silver detailing on his shoulders, plus all of the various colors he should have on his chest panel and belt.  And, of course, he gets a fully painted face under the helmet, complete with eyebrows, meaning he’s pre-Special Edition!  Vader was packed with his lightsaber (whose blade has a tendency to fade over time for this particular release), as well as a Freeze Frame.


Add this Vader to the list of figures I didn’t have as a kid (which, to be totally fair, is all of the Potf2 figures I’ll be reviewing from here on out), but it’s one I very much wanted and never managed to get.  One of my parents’ friends had both this and the Bespin Luke when they were released, and I always wanted this guy to pair off with my own Bespin Luke, but I never quite managed it.  Over the years, I kept an eye out, but he doesn’t crop up as much as some of the other entries in the line, so it took a little while.  Fortunately for me, one wound up floating around the back room at All Time for a little bit, so I was finally able to snag him.  He’s definitely the best Vader for this line, so I’m very glad to have him.

Thanks to my friends at All Time Toys for setting me up with this guy.  They’ve got a decent back stock of Power of the Force, and other cool toys both old and new, so please check out their website and their eBay Store.

#2474: Rhino Alien



NECA’s Aliens used to be a rather frequent feature around these parts, but the line has slowed down a little bit as of late.  The core stuff right now has been a handful of one-off releases, largely centered around Kenner-inspired variants on previously.  A few months ago, I took a look at their Kenner-ized Drake, and now I’m jumping over to another one of the Xenos.  As I’ve no doubt brought up before on this site, Kenner took the concept of the Dog Alien from Alien 3 and really ran with it, creating all sorts of Xeno off-shoots.  NECA’s crafted a few of them in their 7-inch line, and the latest of the bunch is today’s focus, the Rhino Alien!


The Rhino Alien is a standalone release for NECA’s Aliens line, loosely meant to coincide with the Kenner Drake figure, though it’s at a different price point and in a totally different style of package than Drake.  It started hitting shelves not too long after he did, although due to some production errors I know he’s been rolling out a little more sporadically.  At full height, this figure’s a whopping 10 inches tall and has 34 points of articulation.  Of course, given that he’s based on one of the Kenner line’s quadrupedal Aliens, he’s not really meant for standing at full height, and is instead meant for posing on all fours.  Fortunately, the articulation works well enough to make both types of poses possible with this guy.  The hips can be a little tricky, but for the most part he’s pretty easily posed, and I don’t feel quite as worried about breakage as on other NECA offerings.  I’m still going to be slightly cautious, because I’ve been wronged before, but it does seem a little better.  In terms of sizing, this guy’s one of largest Xenos (barring the Queen, of course, which is in a class of its own), not just in height, but in bulk as well.  He achieves this through an all-new sculpt, and a pretty impressive one at that.  It’s somewhat patterned on Kenner’s own Rhino Alien, of course, but it’s worth noting that in terms of body construction, it seems to be taking more of its cues from Kenner’s Bull Alien.  The Kenner Rhino’s anatomy was a bit more further removed from the standard Xeno’s, while the Bull had something a little more in line with the Dog Alien’s merging of the Xeno with a quadrupedal design.  Ultimately, I think the Bull’s approach worked a little bit better, and as an added bonus, this leaves the door open for a possible Bull Alien later down the road, which would certainly not be a bad thing.  The quality of the sculpt is on par with NECA’s other Xenos, so the details are all quite sharp, and follow all of the broad strokes of the original Kenner figure, while also filling in some of those smaller parts.  The head dome has been designed to be removable, revealing a whole bunch of further details, which had been hidden under the dome.  This is probably NECA’s most impressive Xeno sculpt, honestly.  In terms of paint, the figure steps things up for Xenos.  He’s molded in orange, with black, brass, and some purples painted over top.  It makes for an incredibly impressive appearance, and looks pretty sick when it catches the light just right.  In addition to the previously mentioned removable dome, the Rhino also includes a reprint of the “Ice Storm” minicomic that was included with the original Kenner figure.  It’s definitely a fun read, but very much a product of its time.


I haven’t been quite as completist on the Kenner-tribute Aliens as I was the movie stuff, so there were a fair number I’d missed.  Because of that, I wasn’t 100% certain I’d be getting this guy, but after seeing him in person, it was definitely hard to say no.  It’s a very, very fun piece, and definitely the best of the Xenos I’ve gotten.  It’s just so much fun to mess with, and pairs off well with the Space Marines I’ve picked up.

Thanks to my sponsors over at All Time Toys for setting me up with this figure to review.  If you’re looking for NECA figures, or other toys both old and new, please check out their website and their eBay storefront.

#2473: Sugar Man



Mixed in with a lot of re-imaginings of prior characters, Age of Apocalypse did also have a few honest to gosh new characters, wholly original to this reimagined universe.  Included in that grouping is today’s focus, Sugar Man, a character that even 25 years later still has no main universe counterpart.  In fact, he’s more or less his own main universe counterpart, since he was one of the four character’s to travel into the 616 following AoA’s wrap-up, and spent a good 20 years cropping up in the background of various X-Men stories.  He’s also really gross.  Yuck.  Well, let’s review him, shall we?


Sugar Man is the Build-A-Figure for the predictably titled “Sugar Man Series” of Marvel Legends.  Given his monstrous size and odd proportions, he’s a rather natural choice.  While this is his first Legend, it’s not actually his first figure, if you can believe it.  He managed to get a figure from Toy Biz’s 5-inch line back in the day.  The figure’s 6 1/2 inches tall, and just about as wide, and he’s got 38 points of articulation.  Though he’s got plenty of joints, he’s not exactly the most exceedingly mobile figure in the Legends line-up.  In the figure’s defense, however, a lot of the limits are imposed by the character’s design, and he’s certainly a dramatic improvement over the old ’90s figure.  Sugar Man’s sporting an all-new sculpt, which isn’t really that surprising, because really, who would he share parts with? It’s definitely an impressive sculpt, and a really hefty one, too.  The detailing is all nice and crisp, and there’s a great dynamic flair to him with the facial expression and his flailing tongue.  He is truly hideous, and I can’t really say I’d want him any other way.  Hideous is kind of Sugar Man’s game.  There’s also just a lot going on with this sculpt, from the unique gesturing on each of the hands, to the novelty buttons lining his suspenders.  Someone certainly had fun with this one.  In terms of paint, Sugar Man does a pretty solid job of translating the quite frankly rather messy color jobs the character was usually sporting in the comics into something that looks alright on a mass produced figure.  There’s a fair bit going on here, just like with the sculpt, with a fair amount of accenting, especially on the head/torso.  Sugar Man is packed with his hammer, complete with “SUGAR” inscribed on one side.  He can either hold it or keep it stored on his belt, though it’s a little tricky to get it in there, given his general shaping.


As with a lot of AoA stuff, I can’t really say that Sugar Man was a character I was dying to have in figure form.  Heck, I don’t even have the old one.  However, he did certainly look pretty impressive, and I was already planning to grab the whole assortment, so here we are.  He’s certainly one of the most unique BaFs we’ve gotten, I’ll give him that, and he fills out the rest of the assortment well.

This is definitely one of the most focused assortments of this line we’ve gotten, what with the very defined theme and all.  My favorite is definitely Morph, who’s quite basic, but just such a clean translation of his comics design.  X-Man’s another high ranking one for me, with Jean not too far behind.  Sunfire was certainly better than I’d expected, and I guess Dark Beast isn’t too bad either.  I can kind of take or leave Weapon X and Wild Child, but I definitely knew that much going in.

#2472: Dark Beast



“Dr. Henry McCoy constantly experiments on himself to enhance his superhuman powers.”

Within the AoA universe, there were a handful of characters who swapped over to the other team in terms of morality and good vs evil alignments.  Many former villains found themselves as reluctant heroes, but on the flipside, a few previously heroic characters became very much not so.  One of the most notable was Hank McCoy, known as Dark Beast in this new continuity.  Where the other was a kind-hearted, good-natured man who contrasted with his supranym, the AoA version was just downright evil.  He also wound up as one of the four characters to be “saved” from the AoA universe when it reverted back to the standard 616, taking him from a crossover villain to a full X-Men villain proper.


Dark Beast is the final single-packed figure in the Sugar Man Series of Marvel Legends, and our first proper antagonist in the line-up.  It’s the first Legends Dark Beast, but not the first ever figure, as he was released as a Minimate and as an under-articulated 6-inch figure by Toy Biz back in the day.  The figure stands 7 1/2 inches tall and he has 36 points of articulation.  The torso, arms, and feet are all shared with the Caliban Series Beast from last year, which was pretty much expected from the word go, what with them technically being the same character and all.  I do have to say, it actually works a little more to this particular figure’s advantage, since Dark Beast is typically depicted as being a far more towering figure, making the extra height less of an issue here than it was with the standard release.  To fully set him apart, Dark Beast gets a new head, pelvis, and legs.  The new head replicates the further mutated appearance of McCoy from the story, with his much wilder hair, and an evil grin cracking across his face.  For the hair, there was a lot of variance in the comics as to its actual shape.  This one opts for something closer to the wacky Wolverine hair side of things, which I think ultimately helps him read a little quicker as Beast, so it works for me.  I do quite like the facial expression, and it furthers my hope to see a calmer head for the standard Beast at some point.  The new legs give Hank his funky banded metal capris he was sporting throughout the event.  They’re very ’90s.  They’re very goofy.  But, they’re also very accurate, so, hey, good job Hasbro.  Another thing that had some room for interpretation in the books was Dark Beast’s coloring.  When he initially appeared, he was very clearly grey, presumably to show he had stayed his initial furry color in this universe, but as he appeared more often, he shifted more to a darker blue shade.  This figure kind of splits the difference on that front, going for a rather dark grey with a hint of blue to it.  It’s really the best possible choice, and looks good on the figure.  His actual paint application is all pretty clean and solid, and there’s more going on with it than you might realize at first glance.  Dark Beast is packed with the same two sets of hands as his normal universe counterpart, as well as Sugar Man’s Hammer, which is meant to go with the Build-A-Figure.


Dark Beast is an interesting concept to be sure, as well as a good excuse for Hasbro to get another use out of that mold they debuted last year, so he was definitely not a surprise addition to this line-up, nor is it a huge shock that he’s the hottest figure in the set in terms of demand.  With all that said, while I can certainly appreciate this is a well-made figure, I don’t personally find him to be quite as fun as some of the others in the set.  He’s fine, but that’s about where I leave it.

Thanks to my sponsors over at All Time Toys for setting me up with this figure to review.  If you’re looking for Marvel Legends, or other toys both old and new, please check out their website and their eBay storefront.