#2895: Marvel’s Katy

MARVEL’S KATY

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

“Katy, Shang-Chi’s oldest friend, is free-spirited and fiercely loyal.”

Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings hit theatres two weeks ago today, after a few delays, as with all of the Marvel slate right now.  The tie-ins all hit back in the spring, closer to the film’s original release date, but, hey, at least they hit in the same year.  For the Legends side of things, there were four figures in the main assortment, with one additional one as an exclusive off on its own.  Said exclusive is Katy…sorry, *Marvel’s* Katy, Shang-Chi’s best friend, portrayed in the film by Awkwafina.  Katy serves as the film’s everyman, experiencing the weirdness in much the same way as the audience.  She also serves as a nice subversion of the usual Hollywood trope that all Asians know kung-fu, since she’s the one character in the main cast without any real fighting experience.  She’s also just pretty entertaining, so I’m all about it.  Anyway, here’s her figure.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Katy is a Target-exclusive Marvel Legends release, meant to coincide with the main tie-ins contained in the Mr. Hyde Series.  She started showing up at Targets right around the same time as the main assortment, and actually seemed to show up in pretty decent numbers, at least from my experience.  The figure stands 5 3/4 inches tall and she has 28 points of articulation.  The articulation on Katy is notably restricted by both the skirt and her longer hair, as well as the general design of the sleeves.  In general, she’s just not a super agile figure.  Of course, she’s not a super agile character either, so I suppose it sort of works out.  This figure presents Katy in her attire from the film’s climactic battle sequence.  It’s a get-up that’s not quite in line with what she wears for most of the film’s run time, but it’s also not just basic civilian attire, and it means she matches up with Shang-Chi and Xialing’s figures, since they’re also in the final battle attire.  Generally, it makes a lot of sense, and I totally see Hasbro’s angle here.  It’s a decent sculpt.  Maybe not as optimized for posability as it could be, but the likeness on the head’s probably the best of the four from the movie, and the detail work on the outfit’s texturing is really strong.  The paint work on Katy is pretty decent.  It’s mostly pretty basic, but there’s some rather impressive detailing on the collar and belt, matching the floral pattern from the movie.  Katy is packed with a bow, a quiver, a separate arrow, plus two combined arrows meant for filling the quiver, plus, best of all, Morris, the crew’s little animal guide to the supernatural spirit world.  There’s probably one other character who might have made more sense to pack with Morris, but that character was far less likely to get a figure, so Katy’s not a bad second choice.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

As with the other Shang-Chi figures, not knowing much about the characters when the toys actually hit made Katy sort of a weird sell.  Since she was an exclusive, and as such didn’t just fall into my lap the way the others did, I wasn’t quite as quick to pick her up.  That said, Target wound up putting her on a rather deep clearance rather quickly, which meant she was under $7, and there’s not really any Legends I’d pass at that price.  She didn’t do much for me prior to the film, but after the fact, I was very glad I picked her up.  She’s a decent enough piece, and fits nicely with the rest of the movie figures.

#2894: Melina Vostokoff & Red Guardian

MELINA VOSTOKOFF & RED GUARDIAN

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

“After decades of service, Melina Vostokoff distanced herself from the Red Room. But when Natasha Romanoff returns, Melina and Red Guardian must decide where their allegiance lies.”

After a year of delays, Black Widow finally got its release this past July.  It’s still not been entirely smooth sailing, but it did at least clear the slate to let the other movies get released.  The tie-in component for the movie was, unfortunately, too far along when the pandemic hit in 2020 to hold it back, so they shipped to stores more than a year before release, resulting in them being essentially gone by the time the movie actually hit.  Hasbro did at least hold off one piece of merch until after the film’s release, a two-pack of Melina Vostokoff and Alexei Shostakov (aka the Red Guardian), Natasha’s surrogate parents from the film.  I’m taking a look at that pack today.

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

Melina and Red Guardian are a standalone two-pack Marvel Legends release, designed to tie-in with the movie.  If prior offerings are anything to go by, they were probably meant to be the home media tie-in, hitting some time last fall, but they were able to be pushed back.  Whatever the case, they started hitting retail within the last month or so, and seem to be generally sticking to the specialty channels at the moment.

MELINA VOSTOKOFF

Known in the comics as Iron Maiden, Melina Vostokoff is actually an antagonist of Natasha, and, much like Red Guardian, classically more of a contemporary in terms of age and experience.  For the film, she is given a maternal role, and refitted into a far less antagonistic character, which generally works out pretty well.  Melina was the one major character absent from the tie-in wave of figures last year, so her inclusion here is somewhat expected and very much justified.  In terms of design, she’s been given her all-white suit from the film’s climax, which allows her to match up with the rest of the crew, certainly making it a good choice.  The figure stands 5 3/4 inches tall and she has 27 points of articulation.  Melina shares most of her parts with the two Widow figures from last year.  Given that she’s explicitly wearing the same gear as Natasha in the final sequence, as well as the fact that the builds between the actresses aren’t too far removed, it’s a sensible choice of re-use.  It’s aided by the fact that the body was a solid piece the first time around, and the second time around, so the third time makes sense too.  She gets an all-new head sculpt, which sports a rather solid likeness of Rachel Weisz, and meshes well with the pre-existing parts.  The torso is also modified slightly, as sort of a merging of the two prior pieces.  She keeps the basic detailing of the deluxe Widow, but gets the back pack from the single release.  Lastly, she ditches the Widow stingers, in the name of screen accuracy, since Melina doesn’t have them.  Her paint work is overall fairly decent.  The head uses the face printing, which turned out well.  The rest of the body relies fairly heavily on molded colors, but it works well.  There are some slight change-ups from the deluxe Widow’s color scheme.  Generally, it seems to make her more accurate, though I do miss the extra painted detail on the belt buckle.  Melina is packed with three sets of hands (in fists, loose grip, and tight grip), dual Markovs, two batons, and a grappling hook.  The hands and guns are shared with deluxe Widow, and the batons come from the single release (albeit with better paint this time), while the grappling hook appears to be an all-new piece.  Not a bad set-up, all things considered.

RED GUARDIAN

Red Guardian was included in the standard tie-in line-up last year, but his figure was notably not as screen accurate as the others, making a second go at him a worthy venture.  He’s seen here in his fully kitted out gear from the movie (something he didn’t have all of the last time around).  The figure stands 6 1/4 inches tall and has 31 points of articulation.  He’s still a little bit on the small side, but at this point, I can be a little more forgiving, since I already dealt with that last year.  From the neck down, he’s the same as the Red Guardian from the main assortment.  The body was the best part of the earlier release, and wasn’t too terribly out of whack, so it’s re-use makes sense here.  To top it off, he gets an all-new head sculpt, this time sporting the helmet that was so notably absent from the first figure.  It’s a very nice piece, and works well with the body.  It designed to work like the more recent MCU Caps, where the helmet and face are separate parts, to aid in giving it proper depth.  Guardian’s new head also gives him the proper, fuller beard that he had in the movie, further aiding in the likeness’s effectiveness.  Red Guardian’s paint work has also been tweaked a bit from the prior version.  He’s got more silver this time around, as well as some extra detailing in a few spots on the costume.  Additionally, the light grey is now closer to white, which is more in line with how it looks in the movie.  In general, it does feel like a sharper appearance, and one that matches the movie just a bit better.  Red Guardian is packed with an alternate unmasked head, which, like the masked one, has a better likeness of Alexi’s disheveled appearance.  He also gets a set of alternate hands without the gloves, plus a miniature Red Guardian action figure like the one used in the movie’s prison break scene, and the same shield as last time, albeit in a darker color scheme this time around.  It’s not a bad selection, and I’m really glad the alternate head is there.  The shield’s kind of extraneous, since he doesn’t actually have it in the movie, and now we have two of them, but far be it from me to complain about extra stuff, especially when it doesn’t feel like anything important got cut.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I was glad to finally get to see Black Widow after such a long wait, and I enjoyed it as a fairly by the numbers action film.  It didn’t break any molds, it didn’t change the world, but it was a good time.  Natasha’s family were definitely my favorite part of the movie, so I was eager to get the full line-up.  Melina makes a good addition to the team we already have, and Red Guardian fixes the figure we already got in such a way that prior version is kind of unneeded at this point, I guess.  Definitely a very fun two-pack.

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

#2893: Quicksilver

QUICKSILVER

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

“Quicksilver’s ultra-high-speed capabilities are a major asset to the Avengers in the fight against Ultron.”

While the first Avengers film hit during a period of time when Marvel Legends were dead, so they had to rely on an exclusive run to get the team out in 6-inch scale (and they didn’t even get out the whole team, anyway).  By the time of its sequel, Age of UltronLegends was finally getting its footing back, but still wasn’t quite strong enough to support the entire extended line-up of the team as seen in the film.  Three members of the team wound up at mass retail, with an Amazon-exclusive boxed set to fill out the rest of the original core six.  That left the three new additions to the team, Scarlet Witch, Vision, and Quicksilver, out of the line-up.  Scarlet Witch and Vision were both able to get toy coverage out of their later appearances, but that didn’t work out quite so well for poor Pietro, who, you know, died in Age of Ultron and all.  We went through two special anniversary lines with no love for Pietro, but a third one would have just been ridiculous, I suppose, so here he is, after six whole years, finally in Legends form!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Quicksilver is part of the 10 piece “Infinity Saga” sub-set of Hasbro’s Marvel Legends line.  He’s one of the five standard sized single release figures, and one of four of those to be an actual wide release (because of course we can’t release a Captain America that’s not a Walmart exclusive, right?).  The figure stands about 6 1/4 inches tall and he has 32 points of articulation.  The range of motion on the joints is all pretty solid, especially on that neck joint.  I do wish the knee joints broke up the sculpt a little bit less when posed, but it’s far from the worst we’ve seen.  I also do dig the full transition to pinless joints here on the elbows and knees.  Quicksilver has an all-new sculpt based on his attire from the film’s final battle, which is a sensible choice, since that’s his most distinctive look, and the one that matches with most of the rest of the team (we still don’t have an AoU Scarlet Witch, so he doesn’t match her at all, of course).  The sculpt is an impressive piece of work.  The head doesn’t quite have a perfect likeness of Aaron Taylor-Johnson, but it’s certainly got a resemblance.  Likewise, the body seems like it might be perhaps a slight bit too small for his build in the film, but it’s again not too far off, and there’s some really amazing texture work going on in the clothing.  Quicksilver’s paint work is pretty basic stuff for the most part.  The head gets the best work, with the face printing to give him a lifelike quality, and some solid accenting on the hair, for his proper eurotrash dye-job appearance.  The rest of the work is rather on the basic side, but it works for what it is.  Quicksilver is packed with two sets of hands, in fists and an open gesture, plus the head, torso, and arm of an Ultron drone.  It sure would be nice to get a full Ultron drone one of these days, but this is certainly a start, right?

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Quicksilver, specifically the Age of Ultron version of the character, was one of Jess’s favorite Marvel characters.  She really, really liked him, and she was really upset when he died.  I think I may still have the marks from her hitting in the theater, in fact.  She was also really upset that he didn’t get the same toy love as the other characters.  This figure was shown off just a few weeks before she died, and she was very excited.  It had been my plan to get her one of her own when they were released, but that didn’t happen.  It’s a shame that she just missed him.  I think she would have been very happy with the end result.  I myself am pretty happy with him, and with the extra meaning he brings along with him.

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

#2892: Ocean Protector Mosasaurus

OCEAN PROTECTOR MOSASAURUS

JURASSIC WORLD: CAMP CRETACEOUS (MATTEL)

You know how I don’t review dinosaurs much around these parts?  Well, sometimes, I go against the norm.  I know, it’s weird, right?  This time, I’ve definitely got a good reason, though.  I can assure you of that.  Also, this one might not strictly be a dinosaur.  I no longer have a resident marine biologist on hand to give me the solid facts, so I make do with what I can find online myself.

The Mosasaurus, or “Lizard of the Meuse River,” is an aquatic reptile which inhabbited the Atlantic Ocean and seaways adjacent to it 82 to 66 million years ago, during the Late Cretaceous Period.  Though extinct now, they can be traced to modern day reptiles, with either monitor lizards or snakes being their closest relatives, depending on who you ask.  Though reptilian, scientific evidence suggests that these creatures were actually endothermic, or warm-blooded.  Pretty nifty.  And, hey, look, it’s a Mosasaurus toy.  How about I review that?

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Ocean Protector Mosasaurus is part of Mattel’s Jurassic World: Camp Cretaceous toy line, which is meant to tie-in with the Netflix spin-off of the same name.  I’ve got it on pretty good authority that the show’s not really worth it, but if it means more toys, I guess that’s not so bad, right? The figure is about 8 1/2 inches in height and measures a whopping 17 inches in length.  Based on the Mosasaurus’s average length being between 23 and 33 feet, that makes this figure about 1/18 scale, so it would technically fit with your 3 3/4 inch figures.  Of course, it’s sheer size means it’s not going to look exceedingly out of place with most common figure scales, since it’s always going to be really big by comparison.  The figure has 11 points of articulation, which includes an articulated jaw, flippers, and tail.  Not super posable, but also not a bad set-up.  While the majority of the line is just fairly average toy dino fare, the Mosasaurus, being an “Ocean Protector” and all, has a fun quirk to his construction.  He’s actually made from a pound of recycled ocean-bound plastic, which is plastic waste that is at risk of ending up in the oceans.  The plastic for these was recovered from within 31 miles of waterways in areas lacking in formal waste collection systems.  Plastic waste is a pretty big issue all around, but is especially bad for the oceans, and I’m all for any venture that does something to help stave that off.  The quality of the plastic doesn’t seem to be that far removed from what you see with other items in the line.  It’s slightly softer, so the details aren’t quite as intense, but what’s there looks pretty solid.  There’s a slight shift in detailing between different parts, as some of the plastic is a little more rubbery, but this all feels pretty by design.  I’m kind of curious to see how it holds up long term.  The actual design is a little more fearsome, I think, than most renditions of the creature, but that fits the style of the franchise, and it looks nice enough.  The paint work on this figure is pretty nice.  There’s some variance to the creature’s skin tone, with some cool flecks of color in the plastic, as well as some solid accenting and work on the lighter portions of the skin.  There are no accessories included with the Mosasaurus, apart from the potential satisfaction of doing your part to help protect the ocean.  And really, isn’t that an accessory enough?

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Jess was a marine biologist, something that I don’t think was too much of a secret.  She really liked the ocean, and even had an internship at the National Aquarium not too long before the pandemic shut things down.  She fully intended to return once she was able to, but never quite reached that point.  Teaching others about the ocean and the creatures within it was one of her very favorite things, and she was also very devoted to conservation efforts, even more so after starting her work with the Aquarium.  She liked to bring others into the conservation thing when she could, and she certainly worked at that with me.  For Christmas this last year, she got me a pair of Wall-E and EVA Pop!s that were made using some recycled plastic, and she was so excited by them.  When I heard about this toy, I knew it was the sort of thing that she would have absolutely tracked down to give to me, because it was very important to her that we find the places where our loves overlapped.  So, when I found this figure just a few days after my birthday, I has a hard time not getting it, as a little gift to myself, in memory of Jess.  Of course, my mom was with me at the time, and decided to beat me to the punch on that one.  I may not be the biggest fan of dinos, but I’m a big fan of what this toy represents, both personally and on a larger scale.  And I love it for that.

#2891: Rodimus Prime

RODIMUS PRIME

TRANSFORMERS WAR FOR CYBERTRON: KINGDOM (HASBRO)

The 35th anniversary of Transformers: The Movie has been a major focus of Hasbro’s Transformers toy output in the last year, with a major focus being placed on it in the Studio Series, but also some overflow going into its sister line, Kingdom.  Play factor does seem to be a major factor in what exactly goes where, but in the case of today’s offering, it’s more that the Studio Series doesn’t actually have a history of offering the class size that this figure utilizes.  I’ve already looked at Transformers: The Movie‘s main star in his Hot Rod incarnation, but he’s got two distinct looks in the film, since once he takes ownership of the Matrix of Leadership, he is reborn as Rodimus Prime, who is historically a little bigger than Hot Rod.  So, let’s take a look at Rodimus, shall we?

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Rodimus Prime is part of Transformers War For Cybertron: Kingdom, as the line’s Commander Class offering for the year, following in the footsteps of Jetfire and Skylynx before him.  In his robot mode, Rodimus stands 6 3/4 inches tall and he has 34 practical points of articulation.  Much like Hot Rod, Rodimus is notably smaller than other figures in the same size class, falling somewhere between modern Voyager and Leader scaling, but the reasoning behind his higher price point isn’t really scale, it’s actually engineering.  Hot Rod made use of the Voyager price point to gather more complex articulation and parts layouts, and Rodimus is really the same.  So, while he may not be as big as others, he’s still got a lot going on under the hood (in more ways than one).  He’s also got some very serious heft behind him, which is very much in line with how this incarnation of the line has been run.  In terms of mobility, this figure takes the articulation and range of motion seen on Hot Rod, and just improves upon it, removing the usual restrictions Hot Rods and Rodimuses tend to run into.  He also takes the already jointed hands on the Hot Rod figure, and further articulates them, adding additional movement at the second knuckle, as well as separating out the pointer fingers on their own.  And it doesn’t even make them too floppy or loose for use with the accessories, which is always an accomplishment on its own.  The sculpt, like Hot Rod before it, is a great translation of the animation for Rodimus from the film, following in the steps of the sleekness seen on Hot Rod.  The two sculpts are also quite similar, making them really feel like two versions of the same guy, as they well should.  Of course, as a Kingdom release, rather than a Studio release, there are a few elements of the sculpt’s styling which do go for a few extra little details, to add more to the slightly larger canvas, and also link him a little bit more to how the Siege and Earthrise bots tended to look.  It also makes him a little more distinctly different from his Hot Rod incarnation.  Keeping the ball rolling on the extra features worked into Hot Rod’s robot mode, Rodimus gets a pretty notable extra of his own; his torso is designed to open up in such a fashion so as to reveal the Matrix of Leadership contained within, which is a very cool touch, especially since you don’t really have to disrupt his robot mode to show it off.  In an effort to further justify Rodimus’s higher price-point, the figure gets a rather intensive selection of extras, the largest of which is his Mobile Defense Bay, patterned after the piece that came with his original G1 figure, which includes a rather sizable mounted cannon for him to man.  In addition to the Mobile Defense Bay, Rodimus also gets his usual long rifle, as well as the Sword of Primus, the previously mentioned Matrix (which is the same Earthrise version included with Hot Rod), and 10 effects pieces.  One of the effects is designed for use with the matrix (and is notably a different one than was included with Hot Rod), while seven of them are re-used from Omega Supreme, and work as modular effects for the cannons.  The last two are designed for the exhaust pipes that make up the cannons on his forearms, but aren’t quite as sensible in the form.

Rodimus’s vehicle mode begins as a slightly modified version of the futuristic sports car that serves as Hot Rod’s alt-mode.  The transformation sequence isn’t quite as easily done on this one, and I did have some difficulty getting a few spots to seat correctly without using a little force, which isn’t always the most comforting thing.  One of the sides to the front fender also popped off during the sequence and doesn’t like to stay put when transforming anymore, which is a bit of an annoyance.  The end result is a pretty decent looking car mode, albeit one that’s not really animation based.   The smoke effects can be placed on the back of the exhaust in this mode, and the rifle and sword can both also be stored, albeit in a sort of janky fashion.  The Mobile Defense Bay and its contents fold up and turn into a trailer, as with the G1 version, allowing for something more in line with the proper Rodimus alt-mode when the core car mode is clipped in.  It makes for a more convincing version of the design than the Power of the Primes version, though it still strays a bit from the animation and original toy.  Like with Magnus, it’s just one of those things where compromises had to be drawn somewhere to make all of the different gimmicks work together, and like Magnus, I feel like the right call was made.  I also feel like it looks better in person than it did in the renders and stock photos, which I’d consider a win.  The only real downside is that the trailer does pop apart a little bit at the top seam, which looks like it may be a line-wide issue.  It’s minor, but still a little annoying.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I’m generally more of a Hot Rod fan than a Rodimus fan, so of the two figures that hit this year, the Studio Hot Rod was definitely the one I was jamming one just a little bit more, at least initially.  That figure was really, really good, and I felt that this one might have a difficult time topping it.  So, I was a little cautious with my expectations of this figure.  In hand, he really blew me away.  He takes everything that worked so well on Hot Rod, and builds on it, resulting in a truly impressive piece, certainly the star of the Kingdom line.  I mean, Magnus is still my favorite, of course, because, you know, Magnus, but still, mad props to Hasbro on this one.

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

#2890: Havok & Emma Frost

HAVOK & EMMA FROST

MARVEL MINIMATES

Summers and Frost are usually two things that don’t mix.  That is, unless we’re talking X-Men, in which case, those two things seem to mix a lot.  Unless, of course, we’re talking about X-Men: First Class, where it’s Alex Summers, not Scott, and therefore no real reason for the two to interact, so they actually never do, and therefore they again don’t mix.  Well, that is, unless you’re talking about the tie-in Minimates.  Which I am.  Yay?

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

Havok and Emma Frost were part of the TRU-exclusive First Class tie-in assortment of Marvel Minimates, and are by far the most oddball pairing of the line-up, since, as noted, the two characters never actually meet.  Still, here we are.

HAVOK

Since Scott Summers had been used for the first three X-Men flicks, and was therefore unavailable to be a founding member of the team for the prequel, his brother Alex, better known as Havok, was chosen in his stead, netting himself his second Minimate in the process.  The figure is built on the standard post-C3 ‘mate body, so he’s about 2 1/4 inches tall and he has 14 points of articulation.  Alex uses add-on pieces for his hair and belt.  The belt is the same piece used for Xavier and Magneto, as well as countless other figures.  It’s basic and it gets the job done.  The hair’s another story.  It’s re-used from Ultimate Iron Man, and it’s not really much of a match for Havok, who was sporting a much more high-and-tight hair style in the film. That said, if you look at some of the concept art from the film, Havok is seen with something much closer to this style. Ultimately, you can swap it out with one of the many MCU Captain America hair pieces, which results in a more accurate appearance.  Havok’s paintwork is about on par with the previously reviewed Xavier figure.  It’s still quite strong, though I’m not sure his likeness is quite as spot-on.  On the plus side, the control-thingy on his chest is still pretty darn cool.  Havok included no accessories.  An effects piece might have been nice, but it was a re-use wave, so no luck there.

EMMA FROST

Since Emma Frost had been used for X-Men Origins: Wolverine, and was therefore unavailable for a prequel, Fox decided to say “ah, screw it” and just use her again, but played by a totally different actress and written as an almost entirely different character, with absolutely no explanations.  Sure, let’s go with it.  Emma’s one lone add-on piece is her hair.  It was *technically* new, by virtue of Emma hitting shelves shortly before Peggy Carter, the character it was sculpted for.  It’s still a re-use in essence, though.  It works reasonably well for Emma, and matches up decently with how she looked on-screen.  The paintwork on Emma is reasonably well handled.  Like Havok, I’m not sure the likeness is really there, but it’s not like it looks un-like her.  They’ve opted for Emma’s leather jumpsuited look from early scenes on Shaw’s submarine.  While perhaps not her most distinctive look from the film, I suppose it’s not the most awful choice ever.  On the plus side, this choice of costume also makes it very easy to convert her into a comics-accurate version of Agent 13.  So she’s got that going for her.  Just like Havok, Emma’s got no accessories.  Given how little exposed skin she has, it might have been nice to at the very least get a diamond-form head and hands for her, since there’s no new tooling needed.  As it stands, quite light.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

As mentioned previously, I snagged this whole assortment on a family road trip, just before seeing the movie.  I’m a big Havok fan, so I certainly wanted at least him.  While this Havok isn’t quite as strong a ‘mate as either Xavier or Magneto, with one quick fix, he actually turns out pretty alright.  Not a bad addition to the line-up.  Emma’s a perfectly serviceable Minimate, but suffers from not being terribly distinctive.  Overall, an okay set, that’s really the most middle of the pack.

#2889: Darkseid

DARKSEID

SUPER POWERS (KENNER)

“Darkseid’s powers are practically unlimited. Along with incredible strength and invulnerability is the bizarre Omega Efect, which he uses either to destroy his oponents or to teleport them to other dimensions.”

Though he’s a household name these days, Darkseid hasn’t always been quite as top tier, initially staying in Kirby’s little corner of the DC universe with the rest of the Fourth World characters, and not generally interacting with the rest of the DC universe.  It wasn’t until the ’80s that he really began to become a more encompassing foe, and it was via Jack Kirby’s own involvement with the Super Powers line as it moved forward that Darkseid and the rest of the New Gods found their place amongst the mainstream heroes and villains.  Darkseid would subsequently find himself worked into Super Friends in its later seasons, beginning the path that would cement him as one of DC’s heaviest hitter villains.  At the beginning of all that is the figure I’m looking at today.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Darkseid was added to Kenner’s Super Powers during the line’s second year, as one of the six Fourth World foes added that year.  The figure stands 5 1/2 inches tall and he has 7 points of articulation.  Darkseid was by far the tallest figure in the line, which was appropriate to his menacing stature in the comics.  His mold was totally unique to him, based partially on the house style of Jose Garcia-Lopez, and also on Jack Kirby’s own work for the line.  While the Fourth World characters were mostly changed up for the line, Darkseid is one of the few characters to remain effectively the same as his classic counterpart.  He’s got shorts instead of a loin cloth and he adds a cape, but neither of those things really changes up the look that much.  The sculpt is a pretty impressive piece of work, successfully giving Darkseid the presence that the character should have.  There’s some rather nice texturing on the exposed portions of his rocky skin as well, and the facial sculpt in particular seems to really capture Kirby’s take on the character.  Darkseid’s cape is cloth, as was the standard for the line, but it’s notable in its use of a far more elaborate clasp to hold in in place, which features a sculpted pendant piece.  It’s not a classic Darkseid piece, but it does add a nice little extra bit of flair to the design.  Darkseid’s paint is less intensive than most, relying heavily on molded colors, but what’s there is clean and bold, and matches usual depictions of the character.  Like many figures in the line, Darkseid had no accessories, but he still got an action feature, his “Power Action Raging Motion,” which swings his arms up when his legs are squeezed.  Additionally, he’s got light-piping in his head, which allows for his eyes to light up, simulating his “Power Action Omega Beams,” or, as they’re often called in the comics, “Omega Beams.”

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Darkseid was a figure I wanted from a rather early point in my collecting of the line, because of how fascinated I was with the Kirby characters, and how unique he was compared to the rest of the line.  He was very near the end of my Super Powers collecting as a kid, purchased at the Baltimore Comic-Con the year before I got Mantis.  He was without his cape at the time, but I was able to get ahold of a replacement for him in just the last month, courtesy of All Time Toys.  He’s truly one of the line’s definitive pieces, and just an all around solid figure.

#2888: King Shark

KING SHARK

DC MULTIVERSE (MCFARLANE)

One of the absolute best parts of The Suicide Squad is Nanaue, aka King Shark.  King Shark has had a rather recurrent history with the team in the comics, but was left out of the first film in favor of Killer Croc, due to director David Ayer not wanting to rely as heavily on CGI for the character.  Given how the rest of the movie worked out, that was an odd line to draw, but whatever.  King Shark was in the second film, and he was awesome, and everyone agrees.  Great that we can all be on the same page about something.  Given his relative size, he’s been split up and made into a Build-A-Figure…but is also being sold as a single through Walmart, because why not?  Todd’s gotta Todd.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

King Shark is the Build-A-Figure for the Suicide Squad-tie-in line-up for DC Multiverse, split accross the four single figures included.  As I mentioned above, the same sculpt is also available pre-assembled and with a few accessories (and a different pair of shorts) as a Walmart-exclusive.  I’m just as happy to not have to deal with Walmart, so here’s the main line version.  The figure stands 9 inches tall and he has 26 points of articulation.  After giving McFarlane some credit yesterday on the articulation front, I’m going to have to give them a hard time again, because oh boy is the articulation on this figure’s lower half just an absolute mess.  There are full universal-style hip joints under the shorts, but due to the thick rubber of said shorts, they are completely motionless, which seems like a silly design choice.  Of course, even if the hips were free to move, the knees would still be locked.  Again, there are full joints, but for some reason, there is a sculpted “lock” on each joint, which prevents them from getting much range.  You can flex them ever so slightly, but that’s it.  The ankles and toes are fully articulated, though, which is super useful, what with nothing else on the legs being mobile or anything.  Thanks McFarlane.  At least the upper half isn’t so bad.  The arms and neck get decent mobility given the design, and he’s even got an articulated jaw, which doesn’t look terrible.  The general quality of the sculpt is pretty nice.  It matches well with the model seen in the film, which is itself a really good design for King Shark.  He’s got that perfect balance of menace and cuteness, just like in the film.  He’s also quite sizeable, as he should be, and there’s some serious heft to the figure.  In terms of paint work, he’s honestly pretty good.  The skin does a nice job of subtly shifting between the two shades, without too much in the way of slop, and the smaller details of his face are pretty decently rendered as well.  Even the pants get a touch of accenting to bring out the sculpted pattern, which is pretty cool.  King Shark is really an accessory himself, and while the single has a stand, a card, and some limbs to chew on, the standard release doesn’t get anything extra.  Given the sheer size, though, it’s not really an issue, plus, he is, again, essentially an accessory himself.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

This guy was my primary want from this set, from the word go.  I’ve always had something of a soft spot for the character, ever since the Total Justice days, and his recent appearances in Harley Quinn and the lead-up to The Suicide Squad got me very much on board with owning this figure.  After seeing the movie, that resolve only increased, and I was very excited to crack them all open and assemble this guy.  The leg articulation set-up sucks.  There’s no way around that.  I know there are modifications that can be done to fix it, but, unlike, say, Bloodsport, where the mods help but aren’t necessary, this feels more like fixing things that should have just worked out of the box.  All that said, the figure does look really nice, and the upper half is at least decent in the articulation department.  Even with the flaws, he’s still the second best part of this set.

All in all, I was expecting to be happy with this set, but I wasn’t expecting to like all of the individual figures quite as much as I did.  Polka Dot Man is the definite star for me, with King Shark right behind him.  Peacemaker and Harley are both really solid figures, too, and, much like in the movie, Bloodsport is the real surprise, as a figure I had no investment into, but that I actually came around to liking quite a bit.  The most damning thing about this set is the lack of a Ratcatcher II to complete the core team, since she’s really the heart of the film, and my favorite character to boot.  Hopefully, McFarlane will find a way to add her to the set.

#2887: Harley Quinn

HARLEY QUINN

DC MULTIVERSE (MCFARLANE)

“Harley Quinn, re-incarcerated for making a cash withdrawal with her car, buys her freedom once more by joining the Squad.  This colorful, cheeky, cheerful psychotic still has all her deadly dynamic moves, and the single-and-ready-to-mingle rogue is as eager as ever to show them off…much to Amanda Waller’s dismay.  But Harley, in her signature, ladylike style, isn’t afraid to manhandle anyone who comes her way.”

The Suicide Squad is a film that is, simultaneously, it’s own movie, and also a sequel to Suicide Squad. It’s a weird spot for a movie to be in, but it honestly handles things pretty well, by keeping just enough from the prior film to feel like it’s truly building something more, while also being light enough with pre-existing backstory that you don’t have to see the last one to understand what’s going on in the slightest.  One of the few characters to be carried over between both films is Margot Robbie’s Harley Quinn.  I felt the role wasn’t really written to Robbie’s talents in the first film, but TSS gave us a Harley that was the best version of the character pretty much since Batman: The Animated Series.  I found her to be a thoroughly likable character, and Robbie was given a great chance to shine.  As the highest profile character in the movie by far, Harley is of course one of the figures in the tie-in line, and I’ll be taking a look at her today.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Harley is figure 4 in the Suicide Squad-tie-in assortment of McFarlane’s DC Multiverse.  Harley gets two distinct appearances in the film, but this figure opts for her disheveled party dress look, which she has for most of the film’s run-time.  While I’d still like to see her jumpsuit and goggles look, I can understand doing this one first.  The figure stands just over 7 inches tall and she has 36 points of articulation.  After ragging on McFarlane about articulation implementation yesterday, I do have to give them a little bit more credit today, as Harley’s joints aren’t nearly as detrimental to the sculpt when she’s posed.  The elbows and knees in particular are a much smoother transition, and I do appreciate that McFarlane’s been good about making sure their female figures get double joints too.  Harley’s sculpt is generally a pretty decent one.  Her arms and legs are perhaps a touch lanky, and the dress is a solid chunk of largely unmovable rubber, but it looks good, and the Margot Robbie likeness is undoubtedly one of McFarlane’s best real person likenesses.  It’s still not perfect, mind you, but it’s still really good.  Harley’s paint work is a mix of kind of phoned in and really intricate, which is sort of weird.  The base work is all just sort of there, and much like Bloodsport, I really feel there are some areas that would benefit from some accenting, namely the dress and her hair.  However, there’s some really clean, sharp detail work going into her tattoos, which shows that they were at least trying.  And I can certainly appreciate that.  The no guns rule means that Harley doesn’t get any of her firearms, but she does at least get Javelin’s javelin, which is a pretty nice plot relevant piece, and one that makes her feel less lacking than Bloodsport or Peacemaker.  Also included is a display stand, a collector’s card, and the legs to King Shark.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Harley was the figure I was most dragging my feet on in this line-up.  I was purely just grabbing her for the King Shark legs.  Then I saw the movie, and I was really happy with how they handled the character, and suddenly I was really wanting this figure.  She’s honestly pretty good, and shows that McFarlane is stepping up their game in terms of figures based on real people.  I’m still hoping to see the other look, too, but this one’s a very good one for now.

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

#2886: Peacemaker

PEACEMAKER

DC MULTIVERSE (MCFARLANE)

“A huge, hulking specimen with muscles on his muscles, Peacemaker is a world-class marksman—just like his fellow Squad member, Bloodsport, but if you ask him, better. He’s more than willing to fight, kill, and even start a war, but of course it’s all in the name of keeping the peace.”

First appearing in 1966, Peacemaker was a Charlton character, who, like the rest of the company’s characters, was passed along to DC when they purchased Charlton.  Peacemaker’s most notable contribution to the cultural lexicon is serving as the basis for the character that would become The Comedian in Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons’ Watchmen.  Peacemaker himself has been rather a minor character in the grand scheme of things, making him a natural fit for joining the Squad.  John Cena’s take on the super patriotic madman, and dude-bro Captain America type, proved so popular during the making of the film that James Gunn and John Cena have already been tapped to create a HBO Max-exclusive show all about him.  After seeing him in the film, I can certainly see the appeal.  And I’ve also got the figure.  Score!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Peacemaker is figure 3 in the Suicide Squad-themed assortment of McFarlane’s DC Multiverse.  As with Bloodsport, there are two versions of Peacemaker available: masked and unmasked.  The masked is the standard release, while the unmasked is a Target exclusive.  Todd’s gotta Todd, right?  The figure stands 7 1/2 inches tall and he has 36 points of articulation.  Peacemaker’s articulation is pretty typical for a modern McFarlane offering, but it also means he falls victim to some of the bigger issues that the articulation entails, mainly that his sculpt is pretty badly broken up by putting him into poses other than just basic standing.  The worst offenders are definitely the elbow joints, which are really broken up and jarring when they’re bent.  It’s not a great look.  I mean, it’s certainly posable, but you tend to hope for something of a middle ground.  Hasbro’s got double joints down that don’t do those sorts of things.  Surely McFarlane can do a little bit better.  Odd implementation of the articulation aside, the sculpt itself is generally pretty nice.  The head has a respectable likeness of John Cena, and the mask is a decent recreation of the really goofy helmet from the movie.  The body also has a fairly nice set of proportions, matching well with Cena’s usual build.  The costume details are also quite well rendered, with some really nice texture work, especially on the shirt.  Peacemaker’s paintwork is certainly the most colorful of the bunch.  It’s still generally pretty basic, but it looks good, and the application is solid.  I do wish the helmet was a brighter, and perhaps shinier helmet, maybe even chromed, but I get how that wouldn’t necessarily be practical at this scale and price point.  When it comes to accessories, Peacemaker is affected similarly to Bloodsport, in that he’s not allowed to get any fire arms.  Instead, he’s got a broad sword, which he’s seen using during the film, and in a more prominent role than Bloodsport’s weird katana.  It’s not a bad choice, even if it’s maybe not the main choice I’d go with.  Fortunately, there are other options available for him, and I was able to get myself a third party version of his modified Desert Eagle (courtesy of Mark2Design), so I’m pretty happy.  In addition, he’s got a display stand, a collector’s card, and the arms to the King Shark Build-A-Figure.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Of the individual figures in this line-up, Peacemaker was definitely a strong second, after Polka Dot Man.  He’s just got a really good look, and there’s never been a Peacemaker figure before.  It helps that I really liked John Cena’s portrayal of the role, and I look forward to seeing how the show turns out.  The figure’s generally a pretty strong one.  The articulation could be a little better, but otherwise, this one’s a pretty strong figure.

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