#2725: Hydron



“Hydron is a space sea commander from the domed undersea city of Orca, situated not far from Titus, a small island in the Guardian Sea on Primus. He was ordered by Darius to locate the legendary twin warriors prophesized to defeat the Horde Empire. Arriving on Eternia shortly after Skeletor’s victory at the Second Ultimate Battleground, Hydron and his Lieutenant Icarius recruited not only He-Man and She-Ra, but several of the members of the Masters of the Universe who were eager to pursue Skeletor. Preferring the Triton Spear Gun, his weapon of choice is suitable for intergalactic as well as undersea fighting.”

After a bio that in depth, is there really much more I can do with an intro?  I guess so.  It’s been a little bit since I’ve looked at any Masters of the Universe figures, and there’s a whole new iteration of the franchise running.  So, am I looking at one of those?  No, don’t be silly.  Why would I do that?  Instead, I’m digging into a portion of the franchise I’m so overly familiar with: New Adventures of He-Man…Yeah, familiar…that’s the word I’m going with…that mean’s “barely a passing connection,” right?  Though I’ve never had much in the way of direct interaction with this version of the franchise, I do know the tiniest bit about it, and one of the things I do kind of know is Hydron, the guy what the the bio above talked about.  I hear he’s pretty cool.  He looks pretty cool at least.  Is he pretty cool, though?  Let’s find out.


Hydron was added to Mattel’s Masters of the Universe Classics line during their 2014 sub year, as the March figure for that year.  As with all of the New Adventures-inspired figures from the line, he takes the original design for the character and sort of homogenizes it with Classics‘ heavier vintage stylings.  The figure stands 7 inches tall and he has 23 points of articulation.  Like most of the line, Hydron was built on the standard core male body, with all its pluses and minuses.  It didn’t on its face suit the New Adventures guys quite as well, but they were pretty far into the line when they started doing them, so it’s hard to say there wasn’t some precedent.  It certainly made Hydron far bulkier than he had previously been, especially in conjunction with the new parts.  Said new parts are a brand-new head, forearms, right thigh, lower legs, and waist, as well as a new add-on for the chest armor.  The majority of the bulking up is being done by the chest armor piece, which comprises the whole torso cover/helmet/rebreather set-up.  By making the cover a separate overlay, they add a lot of bulk to the mid section of the figure, and ultimately robs him of his mid-torso articulation.  It was an attempt by Mattel to unilaterally handled the torso designs for the line, but it ultimately hurts this guy, who would have more benefited from a more specifically sculpted torso piece.  It’s still got some cool detailing, of course, so it’s not a total loss, but I feel it could be a touch better on the implementation front.  On the plus side, the figure’s other new parts are all pretty fun, with the star piece being the head beneath the domed helmet.  It depicts Hyrdron with his scuba cap and rebreather device, giving him a really nifty retro sci-fi appearance which I really dig.  Hydron’s colors are a bit different from the norm for Masters, with a lot of light blue and green.  It’s an eye-catching look to say the least, and certainly a rather nice change of pace.  The paint work on this guy was fairly basic but generally fairly good.  The only slightly off part about it is the slight shift in color between the main body and the torso overlay piece.  It’s not major, but it’s there.  Hydron was packed the Triton Spear Gun mentioned in his bio, which is an awkward weapon to say the least.  I think mine’s probably holding it wrong, but I like it better this way, so I’m sticking with it.  MOTUC were never heavy on extras, so Hydron’s fairly average, but after getting the extra un-helmeted head with Flipshot back with his release, it was a shame that Hydron didn’t get more of an unmasked appearance as well.


Even with no attachment to the NA version of the franchise, Hydron’s always been a design that I enjoyed.  Back when these figures were still coming out, Hydron was honestly on my list of figures I wanted, but Mattel’s mismanagement of the line left me rather burned out on the whole thing, and I just gave up.  As such, I didn’t Hydron when he was new, and I probably wouldn’t have gotten him at all, but then he came in with the same collection that got me the BAT and Blake, and I was kind of a weak mark.  Plus, I had Tuskador, and he just looked so lonely.  Ultimately, this guy’s got his flaws, but he’s still pretty fun, and I’m glad to have finally added him to my collection.

#2724: John Blake



Man, remember when DC movies weren’t totally divisive and the subject of much ire between fandoms?  Me either.  But I do remember Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight Trilogy, and there are certainly opinions about that one, aren’t there?  Personally, I break from the few agreed upon ideas about the trilogy, namely that I’ve never been that terribly impressed by The Dark Knight (not that I think it’s a *bad* movie by any stretch), and I actually quite like it’s rather divisive follow-up, The Dark Knight Rises.  Amongst the things that I really enjoy in Rises is Joseph Gordon Levitt’s turn as GCPD Detective John Blake, the closest thing this incarnation of the franchise got to a Robin (and as much as I enjoy the film, even I will admit that reveal was a little bit ham-fisted).  Mattel actually went pretty in-depth for their Movie Masters component to the film’s tie-in toys, covering most of the major players, John included.  I’m taking a look at him today.


John Blake was released in the third round of Mattel’s Dark Knight Rises Movie Masters figures, technically alongside Ra’s Al-Gul, though that implies that the two of them ever shared any shelf space at retail…or made it to retail at all, for that matter…This line was a little bit mismanaged to say the least.  The figure is just shy of 6 inches tall and he has 23 points of articulation.  As a Mattel product, especially from their movie lines, it’s probably not a huge surprise that his articulation doesn’t have the greatest range of motion.  In particular, the ab-crunch and elbows are quite restricted, not that any of that was surprising for this line.  Blake gets two distinct looks for the movie, his standard GCPD officer’s uniform, and the more dressed down attire he gets after being promoted to detective.  At the time, Mattel was doing pretty much everything they could to put as many of these guys as possible on the standard suit body, but despite that opted for Blake in his GCPD attire.  It’s his slightly more distinctive look, and the one used for most of the promotional stuff for the movie, so that made sense.  It also meant he got a surprising amount of new parts, with only the lower half of the figure using the suit body pieces.  The rest was new, and honestly not bad for Mattel’s usual output from this era.  The head’s got one of Mattel’s better likenesses for Movie Masters, and actually kind of looks like JGL.  He’s still perhaps a little on the cartoony side, but it’s pretty close.  His paint work is all pretty basic, but not bad.  It more or less gets the job done.  The hands are painted, rather than molded with makes them a little thick and devoid of detail, but it’s not terrible.  Blake was originally packed with part of the Bat Signal Collect-N-Connect scene, and that was it.  No character specific extras or anything, which feels kind of lazy.


I really wanted this figure when it was released, as I’d really enjoyed the character in the film, and I’m just generally a fan of Joseph Gordon Levitt as an actor.  Unfortunately, I never actually saw one at retail, nor did I even really see him on the secondary market, even for inflated pricing.  He was just rather uncommon.  I resigned myself to not have the figure, and kind of forgot about him.  That was until the same collection the got me yesterday’s BAT, also had this guy.  Huzzah, finally a John Blake!  Ultimately, he’s not really much to write home about, but he’s probably one of the best Movie Masters Mattel did during their tenure.

#2723: Cobra B.A.T. V1.8



Though they have so far been absent from the most recent incarnation of G.I. Joe (well, the toys, anyway; the video game is a slightly different story), Cobra’s robot forces, the Battle Android Troopers, have been a ready fixture in the franchise since their introduction in 1986.  They’re generally quite privy to adjustment tweaks over the years, under the guise of “upgrades.”  The 25th style figures generally just focused on re-interpreting the classic BAT for a new generation, but there are plenty of different Cobra BAT designs to choose from, and we did *just* manage to get one of those before Hasbro put 3 3/4 Joes on hiatus a few years back.  I’m taking a look at that figure today.


The Cobra BAT V1.8 was released as part of the “Force of Battle 2000” boxed set, which was a Collector’s Club-exclusive set offered up at the International G.I.Joe Convention in 2017.  There were actually eight of this guy packaged in the set, alongside a commander and the Battleforce 2000 contingent of G.I. Joe.  I’ve just got the one, though.  The figure stands about 4 inches tall and he has 22 points of articulation.  This BAT serves as an update of the V2 BAT from 1991.  That figure was a completely unique sculpt from its predecessor, where as this guy actually relies pretty heavily on parts from the V1-inspired 25th Anniversary figure.  Given the common features between the two designs, it’s not the worst call, and it helps that the 25th BAT is probably the nicest sculpt of that era.  There’s just a lot of depth to it, especially what’s visible of the inner workings of the torso (actually sculpted, as opposed to the lenticular of the older BATs), and how you can make out the robotic frame beneath the uniform.  To bring the sculpt more in line with the V2 design, the figure gets a new head, which is a pretty spot-on recreation of the original toy, and also ditches the 25th figure’s shoulder strap with grenade.  It makes for a respectable approximation, although there do still remain some elements that don’t quite match, such as the thigh holster, and the slightly more robotic lower arms.  Ultimately, I find the design works a touch better in this incarnation, and I don’t mind the changes, but your mileage may vary.  Since the V2 BAT was a ’90s Joe, he had a ’90s-esque color scheme to match, which this figure replicates.  He’s very bright and obnoxious, and I love it.  I do wish we had maybe seen a little bit of accenting on the mechanical sections, as we did on earlier uses of this mold, but in their defense on this one, I don’t know how that would have mixed with the orange.  The BAT V1.8 has an impressive selection of extras, including the standard hands for both sides, a flamethrower hand, a blaster hand, a claw hand, and a sword hand.  He’s also got the V1-style backpack to hold a few of them, a gun, a display stand, and the standard and damaged torso plates that later versions of the 25th mold sported.  You’ve got a lot of options for those eight figures that came packed into this set.


While I was pretty heavily into the 25th through 30th lines, I fell out of Joes during all of the Retalliation tie-ins, and was completely gone for all of the club-exclusive stuff, so I didn’t get this guy new. However, he came into All Time last summer as part of a rather large, rather spread out collection, and I’ve always liked BATs, especially on this mold, so I was a pretty easy mark for this one.  He’s a pricey boy these days, but that doesn’t make him any less of a cool figure, especially with all the extra pieces.  If they weren’t so darn expensive, I wouldn’t mind having a few more.  Alas, not for now.

#2722: Thanos



Back before he was a major movie star headlining two of the biggest movies of all time, Thanos was sort of an odd-ball who was rather hard to place when it came to toy lines.  Like, he was around, and some people knew him, but you had to sort of sneak him in there, lest someone notice his presence.  Such was the case with his original Minimate release, which was one of the early line’s sort of odd floater figures for a bit, much in a similar fashion to last week’s Dark Phoenix.  He finally made it out, of course, and there have been a bunch of subsequent releases at this point, but it did take a bit of doing.


Thanos was released as a San Diego Comic Con-exclusive Marvel Minimates release in 2005, packed alongside yet another reissue of the original Silver Surfer (albeit this one with C3 feet, rather than the long ones).  He had been shown off a few times prior over the preceding years, and before 2099’s inclusion was cemented in Series 7 of the main line, it was assumed he’d be in that slot.  Then he…wasn’t, and everyone was confused for a bit, until this exclusive surfaced the following year.  Hey, at least he got released, I guess.  The figure is built on the C3 base body, and he stands 2 1/4 inches tall and has 14 points of articulation.  Thanos has four add-on pieces for his helmet, chest cap, and gloves, all of them new to him.  These pieces are pretty nicely handled; they get the character’s usual design elements down, while also keeping him in line with this earlier line aesthetic.  They all sit pretty well, and he looks generally uncluttered.  I quite enjoy the simplicity of the Infinity Gauntlet here; later releases would go for the separate fingers, and it always wound up looking weird.  Thanos’ paint work falls into a similar boat as the Dark Phoenix and Cyclops; there’s a lot of detail and creative shading, but it doesn’t feel like it goes too overboard.  Thanos included no accessories of his own, unless you want to be rather demeaning to that Silver Surfer figure.


I still wasn’t really in on the exclusive game yet with this one, and I already had the standard Silver Surfer, who was my preferred figure out of this set, so I didn’t really try that hard to get this Thanos.  However, when the rather large Minimate collection came into All Time in 2019, and this guy was there, I opted to go for it, because, hey, why not.  I like the simplicity of this Thanos compared to others.  I think he’s one of those characters that they really got right the first time.

#2721: Hawkman



“Archaeologist Carter Hall discovered that he was the reincarnation of ancient Egyptian Prince Khufu in 1940’s Flash Comics #1!Using an experimental antigravity metal, Hall took flight as Hawkman!”

In the Golden Age, comic books were still very much periodicals in the vain of the pulp magazines that inspired them, with multiple features in each book.  For the most part, the earliest appearances of the heavy hitters only got one notable stand out per book; no one’s really talking much about the characters that were backing up Superman and Batman in Action and Detective.  However, there were a few instances, especially as they get into that slightly lower tier selection, where multiple characters might share their first appearance.  For instance, while Jay Garrick’s The Flash headlined the first issue of Flash Comics, also debuting in that same issue was fellow JSA member, Hawkman, who I’m taking a look at today!


Hawkman was part of the second series of DC Direct’s First Appearance line.  We’d gotten just one Hawkman from DCD previously at this point, and he was specifically the Silver Age version of the character (albeit one that happened to included a second, Golden Age-inspired helmet), as had all prior versions of the character in toy form.  The figure is approximately 6 1/2 inches tall and he has 13 points of articulation.  Like Alan, he got to keep those extra wrist joints that the Series 1 figures had been lacking, plus he had the extra added joints of the wings.  Hawkman’s sculpt was technically all-new to him, though I’ve actually looked at a lot of it previously, when it was re-used for the ReActivated! Hawkman.  Of course, that being a review from my first month of reviewing, I didn’t actually, you know, really review it.  It’s a rather nice sculpt. It’s got nice, balanced proportions, and does a respectable job of capturing Dennis Neville’s illustrations of the character from the interiors.  The head and wings are the notable changes between the two releases of the mold.  This one’s been designed to include a removable helmet, which is quite nicely handled.  Both the helmet and the underlying head work well together, with neither being too oddly scaled.  Additionally, the wings on this version are designed for more easy removal, and to also more resemble the original intent, where they were more of a glider set-up.  As such, they’re a little flatter, lack the more overt feather detailing, and have a connection via pegs, rather than the ball joint set-up of later figures.  It’s not going to be getting many killer poses or anything, but it does mean you can have a much more dressed down Carter Hall.  Following in Flash’s footsteps from the first series, Hawkman is the one figure in his set that doesn’t feature any cloth parts, mostly because, exactly what would you use them for?  He’s not exactly overly clothed.  Hawkman’s paint work is bright, colorful, and clean, and he’s got some nice variation, especially on the yellows and reds, which have two differing sheens, depending on where they are.  Hawkman’s definitely the best accessorized of the line up to this point, with the previously mentioned removable helmet and wings, as well as a dagger, shield, stand, and reprint of his portion of Flash Comics #1.  Compared to the others, his assortment definitely feels more all-inclusive.


At this point in my collecting, my dad and I were still kind of sharing a DC Direct collection, so we’d usually split any given assortment of figures.  When Series 2 was released, we got a full set, but Hawkman wasn’t one of the two I got out of that.  I wound up getting one of my own later down the line, under the same circumstances as the Flash figure I looked at earlier this month.  I actually do quite like this figure, even if Hawkman himself has never really been one of my favorites.

#2720: Bat-Tech Batman & The Joker



So, did you guys here about that exciting new DC-related thing that dropped last week?  It was pretty big.  It had Batman and Joker, and some others as well from what I hear.  Lot of time in the making.  I am, of course, referring to the latest assortment of Spin Master’s Batman: The Caped Crusader, dubbed “Bat-Tech,” which gives us some new, teched-out variants of the main players.  What else could I possibly be talking about?  Amongst these teched-out variants are, unsurprisingly, Batman and Joker, who are sort of headlining this whole thing.  I’ll be taking a look at the two of them today!


Bat-Tech Batman and Joker are both part of fifth series of Spin Master’s The Caped Crusader line, which is the first official assortment of 2021.  The two of them both key into the whole “Bat-Tech” theme of this assortment, and the whole line has been slightly rebranded, with a new packaging set-up.  They’ve kept the same general look and feel, including the blind boxed accessories, but the whole thing is slightly more refined, and just generally different.

There are three different Batmen in the main assortment, but this one’s the one that officially carries the “Bat-Tech” name, and is really the one that most clearly evokes that wacky variant feel.  This particular Batman design doesn’t really have any direct ties to the comics that I know of, but instead does sort of a Tron-esque tech suit thing, which is mostly black, with some bright blue mixed in.  I dig it.  I dig it a lot.  The figure stands about 3 3/4 inches tall and he has 17 points of articulation.  I’ve had some issues with stuck joints on some of these guys previously, but I had no such issues for this guy, which I definitely appreciated.  He’s an all-new sculpt, rather than borrowing from one of the previous Batmen.  He’s slightly armored up, but in a different fashion than the two prior armored Batman designs.  This one’s definitely more streamlined, which fits well with the overall design.  Like the other caped figures in the line so far, Batman’s is cloth.  It seems to be a slightly sturdier material than prior capes, and generally hangs a little better than the slightly more paper-like material from previous releases.  He’s still got the hole in it, to keep with the line’s overall playability set-up.  Batman’s paint work is pretty basic and straight forward, but also his strongest asset.  It’s quite eye catching, and the application is generally pretty clean, without any notable slop or bleed over. Batman’s blind packed accessories consist of a winged back pack, an oversized batarang, and what looks to be a grenade launcher of some sort.  Mine are all in a clear blue; I don’t know if they have varied potential colors like prior releases, but the all blue certainly works for me; it looks kind of like they’re hard light constructs or something.

Joker has been a consistent fixture of the Caped Crusader line so far, turning up in just about every assortment.  It makes sense, him being Joker and all.  Like Batman, he gets wacky-variant-ized here, taking the classic Joker design of earlier figures, and sort of disheveling it a bit.  He’s 3 3/4 inches tall with 17 points of articulation, and like with Batman, I had no issues with stuck joints this time around.  Joker’s sculpt is a mostly new offering, although he does make use of the head from the prior Joker.  It’s sensible from a consistency stand point, so I can’t really knock it.  This Joker sculpt takes the prior, more classic and clean Joker, and sort of makes him look like he’s been in the midst of the action, picking things up as he goes.  He’s ditched his tie, and lost one of his shoes, replacing it with a stray boot.  He’s also added a few straps of pouches, as well as adding his own utility belt.  It’s a cool, sort of wasteland-looking Joker design, and definitely a lot of fun.  His paint work mostly keeps with the classic Joker color scheme, with the added details getting their own paint work…for the most part.  One of the straps goes unpainted, but the others are good to go.  The application gets a little fuzzy on a few of the edges, but generally looks pretty solid.  Joker’s secret weapons are a boxing-glove arm attachment (which is totally getting used with my GL figure), a laughing fish, and a little wind up chattering teeth bomb.  They’re all in a clear green, which makes a nice contrast for the blue with Batman, and I love how they’re all so well tied to the character.


Full disclosure: the two figures reviewed here were sent to me in exchange for a review courtesy of Spin Master, in order to help promote their figures in conjunction with the release of Zack Snyder’s Justice League.  Per Spin Master, The Bat-Tech collection features exciting, high-tech styles of figures to collect featuring a variety of 4-inch and 12-inch figures from the Batman universe, and they are available in stores now.

I’ve been supporting Spin Master’s DC stuff pretty much since day 1, and I have definitely been pulling for them to really succeed with this line, because everything I’ve gotten from them has been so fun.  With the Bat-Tech set-up, it really feels like they’re starting to find their footing with the brand, and are making it more their own thing.  Both of these figures are a lot of fun, and give us two pretty solid new designs for characters that we’re undoubtedly going to see crop up again and again.  The new play pattern really works, and I’m definitely going to be snagging other figures from this set as I find them.

#2719: Autobot Elita-1



“Search for Alpha Trion” introduced a radical new concept to Transformers: women!  Okay, actually, it introduced gender in general, since previously they were just robots, and technically genderless.  Then these supposed “fem-bots” came along, and everything got kinda gendered…I guess.  The episode reveals that not only are there a force of female Autobots running around on Cybertron, but also that they had their own equivalent to Optimus Prime in his female counterpart, Elita-1 (whose name even has a similar root translation of “Best First”.  Pretty clever, right?).  Though central to “Search” and a fixture throughout the franchise’s various incarnations, Elita has remained a slightly less frequent choice for toys, which is really a shame.  Like Bumblebee, she was a character given a rather sizable role in Netflix’s War For Cybertron adaptation even before getting a toy in the accompanying toyline, and also like Bumblebee, she got her first War figure courtesy of the Walmart-exclusive tie-in to the show.  I’m taking a look at that particular figure today!


Elita-1 was released as part of the second Deluxe Class assortment of Walmart’s exclusive War For Cybertron tie-in line, alongside Bumblebee and re-decos of Wheeljack, Red Alert, and Impactor.  In her robot mode, Elita stands roughly 5 1/2 inches tall and she has 24 workable points of articulation.  While these figures are theoretically meant to be more show accurate, Elita joins Bumblebee in being, well, not.  I mean, she’s not *incredibly* far off, I suppose.  The basics are there, but as I touched on in Bumblebee’s review, it’s a case of Elita’s show model being one of the few that didn’t have a pre-existing toy CAD file to work from, meaning it’s not quite as play-tested and ready to go as some of the others.  So, she is instead built on the underlying structure of the Earthrise Arcee mold.  It’s not an awful choice, since they’re supposed to be rather similar in design, and they did just tool up the Arcee mold and everything.  She does get a fair portion of new parts to differentiate, with a new head, torso, pelvis, and shoulders.  They do quite a respectable job of changing up the look, especially the silhouette.  I quite like the new head sculpt, and I do like how the new torso actually gives Elita a slightly different body shape than Arcee.  There was some confusion regarding the shoulders for this figure; initial renders showed unique shoulders, but early production samples had Arcee’s more simplified shoulders.  In hand, however, she’s back to the unique ones.  Also the subject of some changes was Elita’s paint scheme.  The exact placement of the darker red and tan sections changed around a bit between renders and then the final product, with the final settling on full red for the lower arms and tan for the lower legs, as opposed to the reverse.  It’s a pretty nice set-up, and what’s actually painted is nice and clean.  Elita is packed with the same weapon that was included with Arcee, molded in a darker transparent blue.

Elita-1’s alt-mode is exactly the same as Arcee’s.  Now, as you may recall, I was not much of a fan of Arcee’s alt-mode.  I didn’t actually refer to it as “garbage,” but I certainly thought it.  I thought it a lot.  With that in mind, prospects weren’t high for this figure. If I’m entirely honest, it didn’t bug me quite as much as I expected it to.  I don’t really think it’s because I like it any more, but more because I just knew what I was getting this time, and didn’t really get let-down by it this time around.  The transformation scheme’s still kind of involved and not super fun, and I’m still not really convinced by the final product or its playability.  But, I suppose it could be worse.


As I’ve been watching the admittedly less than stellar Netflix show’s two seasons, one of the few things I didn’t hate was Elita and her Cybertronian crew.  So, I was definitely looking to get her for my collection.  With Max’s help, I was able to get both Soundwave and Bumblebee from this round back before the new year, but I wasn’t able to snag and Elita quite as quickly.  I happened to mention to Max just the other week that I was still looking so if he *happened* to see her, I’d still be interested, and as luck would have it, he found her about 10 minutes later.  I’m certainly not complaining.  Elita’s got a cool design, and she makes for a decent toy.  Yes, she inherits the same issues Arcee had, but she’s also got the same strengths.  That means she’s got a kick-ass robot mode, and I’m not gonna knock that.

#2718: Brock Samson



Though the show is named after Hank and Dean Venture, the unquestionable break out character from [adult swim]’s The Venture Bros is undoubtedly Patrick Warburton’s Brock Samson, the Walking Swedish Murder Machine.  Brock’s the show’s send-up to the likes of Race Bannon, a body guard paid to keep our exceedingly danger-prone protagonists safe, and one of the few characters on the show to at least be moderately aware of the utter insanity of the happenings around him.  And, unsurprisingly, when it came time for toys, Brock came right along.  I’m taking a look at one of those today.


Brock was the first figure from Bif Bang Pow!’s rather short-lived smaller-scale The Venture Bros line.  After their plan to put the whole line into production a wave at a time via pre-orders fell through, they switched gears to do things a single figure at a time, starting with Brock here.  There were actually a few different versions of Brock available, with standard black t-shirt, bloody, white t-shirt, and naked all as options.  This one would be the standard.  Brock’s about 4 1/2 inches tall and he has 10 points of articulation.  Height wise, there was some discussion that he was a bit too tall for a 1:18 line, but Brock is pretty comedically large in the cartoon, and seems about right to me.  Brock’s articulation scheme is the same as the two boys.  It’s a rather basic set-up, and perhaps a touch rudimentary, but at least it remained consistent throughout the line.  While the boys were definitely a far more early show set-up, Brock’s design is a slightly later show look, after he’s ditched the polo shirt of the first season or so, and streamlined to just the t-shirt.  It’s more classically Brock, I think, so it sticks with the overall iconography for the line.  Brock does an alright job of capturing the character’s 2D design in 3D.  The signature pieces of his look are definitely there.  The shaping on the head’s a tiny bit off, especially when viewed directly from the front, but in general it’s pretty close.  I think Dean is still the most accurate of the three I’ve got, but I’d place Brock ahead of Hank, at least.  Brock’s paint work is quite nice.  It’s sharp and clean for the most part.  The eyes are slightly off, but that’s really it; everything else looks quite good.  Brock was packed with a single knife, which he can either hold or stow in the sheath on his belt.  You can also augment him with the extra weapons that were packed with the boys, if you’re so inclined.


These pair make for a nice little set.  Maybe someday I’ll actually find a Brock to go with them, but until then at least I have the two of them.  Go Team Venture!”

-Me, 2017

So, hey, about that… It’s been four years, to the date even, since I closed out my pair of Hank and Dean Venture reviews with a quiet hope that I might eventually get a Brock to go with them.  And here I am, with a Brock to go with them.  That’s pretty cool, I guess.  I wound up digging him out of a rather large collection of mixed items that came into All Time a few weeks back.  There were no other Venture Bros figures, but he was there, and that’s what I was looking for.  He’s not an amazing figure or anything, but he’s on par with the other two, and I’m just happy to have finally gotten him.

#2717: Wonder Woman – Last Knight on Earth



“The world has been destroyed. The Super Heroes lost, and a new evil by the name of Omega has taken over what’s left. Now, 20 years in the future, Wonder Woman leads a faction of heroes and survivors living underground known as the New Amazons. Hiding from the world above in order to stay alive, Diana and her band of warriors must choose between retreating deeper beneath the Earth’s surface or fighting for a better tomorrow.”

Have I mentioned the Batman-centric nature of McFarlane’s DC output?  Yes.  Yes, I have.  As has everyone else.  Many times.  It’s not new or different, and at this point, none of us should be surprised by each subsequent Batman he adds.  Let’s just try to enjoy the few not-Batman figures we get mixed in, right?  After initially swearing off them, the latest assortment adds up to a Build-A-Figure, and is all based on Snyder and Capullo’s “Batman: The Last Knight on Earth.”  In the story, most of the other super heroes are dead, so there’s not a lot of room for others in the toys, but Wonder Woman serves as a notable player in the whole thing, and found herself included in the first line-up.  Dig it.  That’s gonna be the one I’m looking at.  Dig it again.


Wonder Woman is one of the four figures in the latest Build-A-Thing assortment of DC Multiverse, all patterned on “Last Knight.”  They were officially slated for the end of March, but starting showing up in a few places towards the end of February.  Wonder Woman and Scarecrow are the two lighter packed figures in the set, which makes sense thematically, I suppose.  The figure’s quite tall, and almost 7 1/2 inches tall, and she has 38 points of articulation.  At this point, the articulation scheme for the McFarlane DC figures is pretty set, so Wonder Woman kind of follows that set-up.  She’s got a pretty solid range of motion on most of the joints, and in general I found her easier to pose than most of the other McFarlane figures I’ve grabbed.  Wonder Woman’s sculpt is another all-new piece, patterned on Greg Capullo’s illustrations of the character from the book.  McFarlane’s no doubt got some experience translating Capullo’s art into three dimensions, so it does overall work out a bit better than, say, their go at Jim Lee’s style with Superman.  That being said, it’s not quite as faithful a recreation of Capullo’s art as the DCC figures from a few years back, and is definitely a bit more in line with McFarlane’s house style.  The figure seems to be an earlier-in-the-story Wonder Woman, since she’s lacking the scarring on her face.  Oddly, she’s also sporting some stubble on the non-mohawk portions of her head, which she never really has in-story.  Another symptom of that house style peaking through.  Overall, it’s not a bad piece of work.  She hasn’t had any unnecessary extra details added, apart from the stubble, and the costume seems to match well with Capullo’s design.  The general proportions, while certainly stylized, aren’t as wonky as some of the prior figures, and the detail work is pretty solid.  The texturing on the cape in particular is quite impressive.  That said, there’s some really rough flashing on the cape for my figure, which, given the ragged nature of the design, isn’t immediately noticeable, but is still really sloppy for a professionally produced figure.  On the plus side, her paint work is all pretty clean.  The base work’s all there and rather decent for the most part.  There’s some slight mismatch between the molded fleshtone that makes up the bulk of the figure, and the tiny bit that’s painted on the skirt piece, and I also question why they’ve molded the lower knee joints in flesh color instead of the darker red of the boots.  Otherwise, it’s nice work.  Wonder Woman is packed with her sword and a stand (which she needs, because she struggles to stand on her own), as well as the arms of the Bane Build-A-Figure, which I don’t have.  It’s a shame she didn’t get the Doctor Fate helmet as well, but I guess she’s got the basics.


I didn’t really intend to get this figure.  I mean, she’s got a decent look to her, and I was mildly intrigued, but not enough to justify the whole cost of purchase.  Max, on the other hand, was already planning to buy the other three, and decided to grab Wonder Woman to finish out the Bane figure.  He wasn’t really feeling Wonder Woman, so I ended up splitting the package with him, and took the Wonder Woman on her own.  She’s another one of those designs that’s really up McFarlane’s alley, and that results in her being another pretty strong figure.  And she’s not even a Batman.

#2716: Ultraman – The Animation



You know what be nice?  Not going over a year between Ultraman-related reviews.  Wouldn’t that be a novel concept?  I think it would!  I’m going to do my part, and so should you!  Now, my part is very clearly purchasing the Ultraman items and then reviewing them.  Your part is…reading the reviews?  I guess.  Seems like one of these jobs is gonna be way easier.  Not gonna say which.  But I’ll imply.  Because of the implications.  When last I spoke of Ultraman, I was focussed in on the Netflix animated adaptation of the manga, and I’m staying in that general area for today’s review.  But, while that review was of the Ultraseven stand-in, this time I’m looking at the series’ main central Ultra, Shinjiro Hayata.


Ultraman (The Animation) was released as part of the greater S.H. Figuarts line back closer to Netflix’s launch of the animation, as a tie-in.  I know, it’s a radical concept, right?  This is the second version of Shinjiro, following the manga-based version of the character that launched the Ultras into Figuarts back in 2015.  In adapting into animation, the suit uses the B Suit version’s colors, which were tweaked a bit to more closely read as the classic Hayata suit. The figure stands just shy of 6 inches tall and he has 40 points of articulation.  Ultra’s movement is rather similar to the Ace suit, as opposed to Version 7, where the hips and legs have good range, but the shoulders are a little more restricted.  It’s slightly different, since it’s not sculpt getting in the way so much on the shoulders, but more the joints just being tighter.  So, it’s possible to get more movement out of them, but it just takes a bit more doing.  I suppose that’s a little better for long-term posing, but it does at times make me worry I might break the joints.  The figure’s sculpt is up to the usual standards for Figuarts, so it’s sharp and pretty precise.  Compared to the pointy-ness of 7 and the boxy nature of Ace, this one’s a fairly good middle ground.  He’s fairly compact and streamlined. It has a lot of similarities to the 2015 figure, obviously, but it looks like parts sharing between the two is minimal.  This one adjusts things to slightly more streamline the silhouette.  It makes him look quite sleek, and I really like how clean he looks, especially when you get him into the right poses.  It also better captures the slightly adjusted design of the later suit, better emulating the classic Ultraman design.  The paint work on this guy is, like the sculpt, clean and sharp.  The color scheme is the later design’s colors, which, while perhaps not as unique, I find to be a bit more eye-catching.  The larger sections of the same color just seem to read better for the character.  In terms of accessories, Shinjiro includes three pairs of hands (fists, relaxed, and open gesture), two Specium Slash pieces, a Specium Ray effect, standard arm guards, arm guards with the Specium Blades deployed, and one arm guard with a spot to plug in the Specium Ray.  It pretty much covers all of the basics for the character, and they’re all pretty solid pieces.  I did have a little trouble with the arm guards popping out on my figure, but it’s not terrible.


After getting the Version 7 figure from Super Awesome Wife for Christmas, I found myself with both Ace and 7, but no standard Ultraman, which seemed slightly incomplete.  She and I wound up with several Barnes & Noble gift cards after the holidays, and this guy was one of the figures they had in stock, so I figured it was as good a time as any to snag him.  He’s a fun figure to be sure, and I’m glad I finally rounded out the set.