#1930: Ghost Rider & The Fallen

GHOST RIDER & THE FALLEN

MARVEL MINIMATES

Toys and gimmicks go together like…two things that go together really well.  Sorry, I’m not much of a wordsmith.  (Pay no attention to the fact that I’ve written 1929 prior daily entries for this site).  Toys and comics also go together pretty well, as do comics and gimmicks.  So, sometimes, you hit this perfect trifecta of toys based on gimmicky comics.  Take, for instance, today’s focus, the Avengers of 1,000,000 BC, a very gimmicky concept running in the current Avengers comic from Jason Aaron, which has, in turn, led to some matching gimmicky toys.

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

Ghost Rider and The Fallen are one of the four two-packs in the standalone “Avengers of 1,000,000 BC” series of Marvel Minimates, available exclusively at Walgreens, starting in the fall of last year.

GHOST RIDER

“Bonded to a Spirit of Vengence, the Ghost Rider sits atop a giant wooly mammoth, who later falls victim to the Fallen.

I feel I should at this juncture clarify something I needed clarified for me: it’s the mammoth that is a victim of The Fallen, not Ghost Rider.  The phrasing on the bio’s slightly off, so I got confused, especially since I haven’t actually read the whole “Avengers of 1,000,000 BC story.  With that bit of confusion aside, let’s look at the actual figure!  He stands 2 1/4 inches tall and he has the usual 14 points of articulation.  He’s constructed on the basic ‘mate body, with add-ons for his “hair,” necklace, loincloth, and arm wrappings.  The hair is re-used from the Series 50 Ghost Rider; a sensible choice, since it’s not like flame hair’s gonna really change all that much.  The arm bands are similarly re-used; they’re the same ones that cropped up on the Best Of Iron Fist, among others.  The necklace is new, and it’s a pretty impressive piece.  It certainly sells the 1,000,000 BC aesthetic.  I *think* the loincloth is new, which is honestly a little surprising, since there’s not really anything all that unique about it.  That said, the same piece was also used for the Phoenix from this line-up, so maybe DST just thought it was time for a new standard piece.  Whatever the case, it gets the job done.  The paintwork on Ghost Rider is solid work.  The colors are a bit monochromatic, but that’s true of a number of the designs from this set.  The line work is quite sharp, and I do really like the skull face on this one.  I may be swapping that onto a more standard issue GR.  Ghost Rider is packed with a pair of flame effects to slide over his fists, as well as the standard clear display stand.

THE FALLEN

“The Fallen is one of a race of Celestials, highly powerful beings who pass judgement on all planetary bodies and the creatures who live on them.”

Despite their recurrent presence in the Marvel Universe, the Celestials have never been a particularly toyetic bunch.  Also known as Zgreb the Aspriant, The Fallen is the first of them to actually been made as an action figure, largely thanks to his presence as the main antagonist to the Avengers of 1,000,000 BC’s first story arc.  He’s by far the most divergent of the bunch design-wise, being all futuristic and robot-y.  He’s also largely re-used parts, if you can believe it.  His torso/head is an all new piece (and a quite nicely sculpted one at that), but the other eight add-on parts are borrowed from the Series 63 Hulkbuster. While not perfect matches for the source material, I’m willing to call the appendages close enough, and there’s no denying he looks pretty darn cool.  Also pretty darn cool is the paint; unlike the rest of the assortment, he’s actually pretty colorful and dynamic, going back the classic Marvel color scheme of green and purple.  The application is nice and clean, and the metallic finish really looks top notch.  His only accessory is a clear display stand, but honestly, I don’t know what else you would give him.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I’m not overly enamored by the whole Avengers of 1,000,000 BC thing, so for the most part the ‘mates didn’t do much to excite me.  However, I came across them after last year’s incredibly lengthy minimate drought, so I was just excited to find *anything* new.  While the other three sets still didn’t grab me, I liked The Fallen a fair bit, and if nothing else Ghost Rider had a decent Ghost Rider head.  Of course, then they sat on my desk waiting to be reviewed for five months.  Yikes.

#1754: The Champions

ANGEL, GHOST RIDER, BLACK WIDOW, & HERCULES

MARVEL MINIMATES

In wake of the success of the Avengers and the Defenders, in the ’70s, Marvel was looking for another big team-up book to push.  In 1975, Tony Isabella and Don Heck introduced the Champions, a collection of two X-Men, two fan favorite solo acts, and a former Avenger.  The team wasn’t really a smash success, running only 17 issues, before the team disbanded and the members were absorbed into other projects.  They remained a favorite amongst die-hard fans, though, as well as having a pretty strong line-up, which led to them getting an Action Figure Express-exclusive boxed set in 2009.

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

These four were released via AFX at SDCC 2009.  They cover four of the five founding members.  Sadly, we’ve never gotten a proper Iceman to match the other four, but there are a few stand-ins…anyway, onto the four we actually got!

ANGEL

We’d had two Archangels prior to this figure’s release, but this was the first proper Angel ‘mate.  Angel notably had two distinct looks over the course of the series.  This figure is based on the second, less dated of the two, which was a variant of his blue and white costume from the ‘60s.  This is one of the character’s longest-lived looks, so it was definitely a well-deserved variant.  The figure is built on the basic ‘mate body, so he’s 2 1/4 inches tall and has 14 points of articulation.  He gets an extra two points via the ball-joints for the wings, which brings his count up to 16.  Angel had four sculpted add-on pieces, for his hair/cowl, harness, and wings.  The hair is a new piece (which would see re-use later down the line for two other Angel variants), and, aside from the cowl being a little bulky at the sides, it’s a good match for Angel’s style of the time. The harness is the same one first used on Archangel, with a new set of feathery wings attached to it.  The new wings are a marked improvement over the DCD Hawkman wings, with greater size, greater posablity, and a far more durable point of connection.   Angel’s paint is privy to its ups and its downs.  The detail lines are all nice and sharp, and the face does a pretty great job of capturing Angel’s pretty-boy persona.  The colors are all very bright, and match up with the comics in that regard.  The big problem is with the application of the paint.  The changes from red to white are particularly sloppy, and the yellow for the gloves and boots is too thin to fully cover the reds in some areas.  It makes for a somewhat sloppy figure.  Angel included no accessories, but with the wings, it’s not too much of a loss.  I suppose an extra hair piece might have been nice.

GHOST RIDER

The fourth Ghost Rider, and technically the second Johnny Blaze, this figure marks the first, and to date only, ‘mate of the classic incarnation of the character.  Ghost Rider makes use of sculpted add-ons for his hair, collar, glove cuffs, and belt.  His hair and cuffs are re-used, with the hair coming from the Series 8 Human Torch, and the cuffs being the rolled-up sleeves from the Spirit two-pack.  At first glance, the collar looks to be the same one from the DCD Star Sapphire, but it’s not quite the same.  The belt is likewise a new piece for this set.  The collar sits a little high on the torso, and hides his neck, which looks a little off.  Otherwise, the parts make for a pretty solid recreation of Ghost Rider.  Ghost Rider’s paint is a marked improvement on Angel.  Perhaps it’s the variations of blue helping matters, but application seems to be cleaner and sharper than it was on Angel.  The new head also does a tremendous job of handling GR’s flaming skull, doing it in a much more pleasing way than prior variants had handled it.  Accessories are pretty much going to be the failing point of any Ghost Rider Minimate ever, since contractually he can’t have the Hellcycle that actually makes him a “rider.” As the classic version of the character, this one’s even lighter than other variations of the character, since he didn’t yet have the usual chain whip.  This one instead just gets a flame effect piece, which is certainly better than nothing.

BLACK WIDOW

This set marked Black Widow’s Minimate debut, and she served as a prominent selling point for a lot of people.  Like the others, she’s seen here in her classic ‘70s garb.  Not quite as timeless as some of the others in the pack, but a very good choice nevertheless. Widow has four sculpted add-on pieces; one for the hair, two for the widow’s stingers, and one for the belt.  Apart from the belt, which is shared with the Ghost Rider from this set (and let’s be honest, was really designed for her and re-used on him), all of her pieces were new.  Sharp detailing, and good recreation of her look from the comics. Widow’s paint is by far the best in the set.  The shiny black for the body suit looks really spiffy, and the detailing on the torso is an amazing feat in adding dimension to a flat torso block.  The face could perhaps stand to be a little more emotive, but it still feels true to the character.  There are no accessories for Widow in this set, which is a bit of shame, but not totally surprising, since Widow’s primary means of attack at the time was her widow’s stingers.

HERCULES

Like Black Widow, Hercules made his Minimate debut in this set, though unlike her he’s yet to get a follow-up. There are a number of options when it comes to Herc’s design.  This one is the one he was sporting for the entirety of his time with the Champions, and it had just gotten a revival right around the time of this figure’s release, courtesy of Herc’s role during World War Hulk and its subsequent fall-out.  Hercules has five add-on pieces, for his hair, his chest cap, his wrist bands, and his skirt. The hair piece is new to Herc, and it’s a really goof piece.  The detailing on the hair is quite sharp, and the flow to his hair is quite realistic.  The rest of the parts are re-use, with the torso coming from the Wave 22 Hulk, the wrist bands coming from the DCD Ocean Master, and the skirt coming from the Star Trek line.  It’s an okay combination of parts, but not one that’s held up the best.  The chest cap in particular was always rather flawed design, with the shoulders in particular giving the whole thing a rather strange appearance.  As one of those sort of in-between characters size-wise, DST was undeniably in a tough as to how to handle him.  Herc’s paintwork is fairly decent work.  The face captures Herc’s likeness well (though I might have liked something a bit more intense or angry, following after the cover to The Champions #1), and has a lot of detailing in the brow and beard in particular.  The rest of the details are pretty well defined, but the orange and green sections of the skirt could probably have stood to get an outline, if nothing more than to match the strap on his torso.  Hercules was packed with his club, which was a newly sculpted piece.  It follows the comics design well.  It can be stowed on his back, which is a cool touch.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I’ve never been to SDCC, so it follows that I wasn’t there in-person to get this in 2009.  Fortunately, AFX was good about getting their exclusives up online, so I was able to secure myself a set without much trouble.  I was happy to get this set, because I’ve always really liked the Champions, and I’m excited for any recognition they get.  Apart from the lack of accessories, I think Widow is this set’s strongest offering, and still holds up as one of the best variants of the character.  Angel is a very good ‘mate held back only by some issues with paint application.  Had the paint been a little better, he would have been darn near perfect.  As is, he’s just close to it.  Ghost Rider is yet another version of the character that’s missing his cycle, but at least this is a solid ‘mate in his own right.  Herc’s not the strongest figure in the set, and is somewhat compromised by some of the pieces used for him.  Still, he’s far from a bad offering, and rounds out the set quite nicely.

#1682: Daredevil & Ghost Rider

MARVEL NOW! DAREDEVIL & ROBBIE REYES GHOST RIDER

MARVEL MINIMATES

And we’re back with the odd-ball pairings.  I started the week out with the somewhat strange Punisher/Moon Knight combo, and now I’m wrapping it up with another somewhat odd pairing: Daredevil and Ghost Rider.  It’s not actually completely unprecedented in this line.  There was a Target-exclusive pack that included both of them back in the day (though that was a Johnny Blaze figure).  Here they are again.

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

Daredevil and Ghost Rider were part of Series 75 of Marvel Minimates.  Though Ghost Rider’s tie to the theme is somewhat dubious, Daredevil is part of the newest version of the Defenders, as well as being the central piece of the Netflix shows.

This set also includes the last piece of the Build-A-Figure Quake, her head.  I’ll be reviewing the whole of her tomorrow!

DAREDEVIL

Daredevil’s spot in this Anniversary-themed assortment is actually quite sensible, as Daredevil was included in two of Series 1’s three sets.  This marks his 14th time as a Minimate.  This one’s a slight departure from some of the others, being based on his current design, a mostly black number that is clearly inspired by his Season 1 garb from his show.  It’s actually a pretty sharp look, though I’m of course still partial to the classic red.  The figure is built on the standard ‘mate body, so he stands 2 1/4 inches tall and has 14 points of articulation.  He has add-ons for his mask, wrist wraps, and holsters.  The mask and holsters come from the Series 43 version of DD (though that release only had a single holster, not two), and make sense, since the design elements have remained consistent.  The arm wraps are from Street Fighter VS Tekken’s Heihachi (also re-used on the Best Of Iron Fist), and are pretty basic pieces, which certainly work for his comics look.  The paint on DD is quite good.  The color scheme is bold, and the line work is super crisp.  The grey high lights are a very effective way of creating dimension on the torso, legs, and mask, and make the suit look quite dynamic.  The face under the mask is great for action set-ups, with his teeth gritted and his brow furrowed.  The way they’ve done his pupils is unique from other characters, and helps sell that he’s blind.  DD includes a pair of billy clubs (just two, though, leaving one slot in each holster empty), an extra hair piece (re-used from Terminator 2’s young John Connor), and a clear display stand.

GHOST RIDER

Though Ghost Rider’s no stranger to Minimates, this one is actually a debut, since it’s the latest Rider, Robbie Reyes.  Robbie’s been getting the push from Marvel for a little while, and his appearances on Agents of SHIELD mean he fits in decently enough with the assortment’s TV-inspired theme.  The figure gets one add-on piece, which is his flaming, skull-inspired helmet.  It’s a new piece, and it does a respectable job of replicating the design of the helmet from the comics.  The rest of the detailing is done via paint.  Like Daredevil, there’s a nice contrast to this figure’s look.  The black and white looks really sharp, and I like the visual similarities to Johnny Blaze’s original design.  Under the mask is a fully detailed Robbie Reyes face, which seems to be in keeping with his comics likeness.  Robbie is packed with a pair of chains (because he just has to one-up Johnny, apparently), an extra hair piece, and a clear display stand.  He is, of course, missing his ride, but since Robbie drives a car instead of a bike, its absence feels more excusable.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Like the three preceding sets, this pair came from Cosmic Comix.  A new Daredevil wasn’t a necessity, but this one is definitely a fun figure, and there’s a lot of really sharp work going into him.  Robbie isn’t Johnny, so for me he’s not *the* Ghost Rider, but he’s got a cool look, he’s gotten exposure recently, and it’s nice to get a new character.  His ‘mate isn’t the star of this series, but he’s still a solid offering.

#0656: Ghost Rider

GHOST RIDER – HEROES FOR HIRE

MARVEL LEGENDS INFINITE SERIES

GRML1It may be surprising, given how many 90s tropes he fulfills, but Ghost Rider is actually one of Marvel’s more prominent 70s characters. The character now seems to be eternally linked to the 90s grunge style, however, he started off as a supernatural take on Evil Kinneval, definite a 70s icon. He was even a member of one the most 70s teams in their roster, The Champions. He’s so 70s, which, if you’ll recall from my Misty Knight review, I quite like. The original version of Ghost Rider isn’t as privy to toys as later versions, but Hasbro did see fit to add him to their most recent round of Marvel Legends

THE FIGURE ITSELF

GRML2Ghost Rider is the sixth figure in the third round of Spider-Man Marvel Legends Infinte Series figures.  Officially, he’s named “Heroes For Hire,” a name he shares with series-mate Misty Knight.  Of course, that’s the only thing they share, as both figures use completely different part sets and Rider’s B-A-F piece is completely different.  It’s a little confusing.  But, as with Misty, I don’t really care what he’s called, as long as he’s a good figure.  Ghost Rider is just over 6 inches tall, with 30 points of articulation (including a moving jaw!)  as noted in the intro, this guy’s based on the classic 70s, Johnny Blaze version of the character.  The figure is built on the body of the AIM Soldier from the Cap Legends, which is a pretty good match for the design (and it’s a reuse Hasbro’s done before with their Marvel Universe line, so there’s precedent.)  In addition, he’s got a new head, neck, collar, belt, and chain piece.  The collar fits in pretty seamlessly, and the head and neck fit in very well and are nicely sculpted to boot.  The chain technically isnt accurate for classic Rider, but it’s easily removable, so that’s hardly an issue.  The paintwork on Ghost Rider is prett decent overall.  I wouldn’t mind him being a little more blue, but this coloring works well enough, and the light blue/grey accents are pretty clean.  The head is cast in clear plastic, with the bone color of the skull being gradually worked in, which makes the flame less obviously fake looking than previous versions.  The work on the eyes is also quite notable, as they appear to glow, even when not lit.  Ghost Rider’s only included extra is a piece of Rhino.  No motorcycle for a guy named Ghost Rider is a little odd, but I guess it’s hard to make these sorts of things cost out.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I’ve never followed any of his series super closely, but I’ve always had a soft spot for Ghost Rider, particularly the classic version.  None of ToyBiz’s versions ever really hit the spot for me, so I was pretty excited to see Hasbro give their own take.  All in all, this is a pretty fantastic version of the character.  I just wish he’d included a motorcycle!

GRML4

#0107: Original Ghost Rider

ORIGINAL GHOST RIDER

GHOST RIDER (TOYBIZ)

Time to take a jump back to the 90s and to ToyBiz’s powerhouse that was the 5 inch Marvel line.  Sure, they had the X-Men line, and the Spider-Man line, and they did a few waves of Hulk, Iron Man and Fantastic Four to tie in with the cartoons.  But they wanted to do more.  They wanted another character to devote a whole line to.  And seeing as it was the middle of the 90s and being oh-so-90s was the big thing to be, they needed someone who just bled 90s.  Someone who screamed “X-TREME!”  With chains, and leather jackets, and skulls!  And what do you know, Marvel had a character like that:  Ghost Rider!  And so, Ghost Rider was given his own toyline!  To ToyBiz’s credit, the Ghost Rider line is easily one of the highlights of the many toylines they produced in this time period.

Today, I’ll be looking at one of the variants of the main character from the line.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

“Original Ghost Rider” as he was dubbed was released as part of the second (and last) wave of the Ghost Rider line.  In spite of the name, he’s actually based on the second Ghost Rider, Danny Ketch, who was the main Ghost Rider at the time.  I’ll be honest, the name makes no sense.  Like, at all.  So, I’m just gonna overlook it and just review the figure on its own merits.  Ghost Rider stands just over 5 inches tall and has 13 points of articulation.  For the record, that level of articulation was phenomenal for the time, which just goes to show ToyBiz’s commitment to the line, which was odd, given there wasn’t a Ghost Rider cartoon or anything.  The sculpt on GH is actually really good.  It’s quite detailed, and it’s well-proportioned for the time.   The figure’s covered in flames, that all look to be well handled, if perrhaps a bit odd looking, give that they’re opaque.  Originally, the figure had an action feature where, when you pressed a button on his back, the front of his chest would pop open, displaying his fiery torso.  However, the chest pieces didn’t stay on very well, and I lost mine over the years, leaving my Ghost Rider with a permanently exposed chest.  That sounds awkward.  The paint is pretty good, though some stuff, like the glow in the dark gimmick on the head, leaves the paint under-detailed, which is a bit of a disservice to the sculpt.  Ghost rider was originally packaged with a set of glow in the dark chains to be clipped onto him, but child-me seems to have lost that piece.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Ghost Rider was part of a large subset of figures that were purchased for me by my dad what a nearby comicbook store called Ageless Heroes went out of business.  The store had a large stock of the various 90s 5 inch figures, and they were being sold for quite a discount.  I know this was my go to Ghost Rider for a while, and I really thought the chest thing was pretty cool.  Of course, I only bought Ghost Rider because I felt my Champions display needed him.   Yeah, I was that kid.  And for all of you who went “who are the champions?”, go look up Marvel’s Champions.  Be amazed at my obscure references!