#1505: Kryptonite Batman

KRYPTONITE BATMAN

SUPERMAN/BATMAN (DC DIRECT)

“When the Joker got his hands on Batman, he united him with a being of practically pure Kryptonite named Mr. Kryptonite.  Possessed by this other being and bent on destroying Superman, Kryptonite Batman is a deadly foe of the Man of Steel”

In the early ‘00s, DC decided to give a go at reviving their old Batman and Superman team-ups from World’s Finest, under the more minimalist Superman/Batman title.  It started out moderately well, with an at least enjoyable opening arc, followed by a few actually decent ones, before sort of becoming a place where half-formed Superman and Batman stories went to die.  I think the first telltale sign was the story that spawned today’s figure, titled “With A Vengeance.”  I’d give a synopsis of the story, but, as someone who read every issue, I still don’t know what happened.  Anyway, let’s just look at the figure.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Kryptonite Batman was released in Series 4 of DC Direct’s Superman/Batman, which was a whole assortment based on “With A Vengeance.”  This was the main Batman-variant of the assortment, because you gotta have at least one.  The figure stands 6 1/4 inches tall and he has 11 points of articulation.  None of these style of figures were particularly amazing when it came to mobility, but the Batman figures were actually some of the worst, because his armoire permanently stuck out.  Seriously, dude looked like Randy from A Christmas Story.  This figure’s sculpt was actually a complete re-use from the basic Batman released in Series 1 of this same line.  Since he was just a palette swap in the comics, it’s not an unreasonable choice.  Like the two JLA: Classified Supermen I looked at a while back, this guy’s based on Ed McGuinness’s rather distinctive style.  In fact, he actually uses the same basic starting point as those two figures, albeit with a variety of more Batman-specific items.  Despite the difficulties with posability, the actual sculpt isn’t half bad, and does a pretty solid job of capturing McGuinness’s Batman in three dimensions.  Paint is the main thing that differentiates this figure from the Series 1 offering, but even on that front, he’s not that different.  He’s got most of the same basic detailing, but with glow in the dark green plastic instead of the grey for his body suit.  It certainly makes for a unique look.  The figure is packed only with a display stand, sporting the Superman/Batman logo.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I picked up a number of the “With A Vengeance” figures when they were new.  This one wasn’t among them.  Instead, it took me ten years to finally get around to buying him.  Why did I finally get him?  Mostly because Cosmic Comix was selling him for $7, which was a low enough price to get me to bite.  He’s goofy, and not really for everyone, but I enjoy him.

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#1402: Rorschach & Dr. Manhattan

RORSCHACH & DR. MANHATTAN

WATCHMEN MINIMATES

“ERNIE KOVACS has a troubled mind, and will go to great lengths to protect the innocent as RORSCHACH.  When someone kills an old colleague, his investigation into the death brings mysteries to light and puts him back in touch with the world’s only known super-powered human – DR. MANHATTAN.”

On the plus side, this bio does at least do a better job of working in both characters than yesterday’s set did.  Unfortunately, Rorschach’s name is WALTER Kovacs.  Ernie Kovacs would be this guy.  And, while it’s still up for debate as to whether or not Ernie had a troubled mind, he most definitely wasn’t going around as a costumed vigilante…I think…

Right, the actual review.  I should get to that!  Here’s some more Watchmen Minimates!  As noted by the bio, it’s Rorschach and Dr. Manhattan.  Alright!

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

Like yesterday’s set, Rorschach and Dr. Manhattan are one of the “shared” pairs of Watchmen Minimates, available in both the specialty four pack and as a two pack in the Toys R Us’s assortment. Mine are the two-pack version, but they’re functionally the same.

RORSCHACH

Rorschach is the closest the story gets to a main character, and is probably the most popular character contained there-in.  He was originally intended to be The Question, and is honestly the least changed character in that respect.  Rorschach’s design in the movie was completely unchanged from the comics, resulting in a ‘mate that can easily work for either version of the character.  The figure stands about 2 1/2 inches tall and has the usual 14 points of articulation.  He’s built on the basic body, with add-ons for his hat and coat.  Both pieces are new to this figure, and they work pretty well.  The coat’s a little on the bulky side, but it’s decent enough, and the hat’s one of the better takes on a fedora in this style.  Rorschach’s paint is about on par with the pair I looked at yesterday.  It’s pretty decent overall, but there’s some slight sloppiness on some of the base paint.  The detail lines are also minimal on this guy, so it’s a bit less of what DST’s good at, but what’s there is pretty solid.  Rorschach is packed with his grappling hook (a standard Rorschach accessory), as well as an unmasked head and hair, and a clear display stand.  The extra head is definitely cool, and my favorite extra.  The grapple is okay, but I can’t say I get why every Rorschach has it; I find it to be a rather minor piece.  I would have much rather had the aerosol can he uses to escape the cops, or his journal.  Also, the lack of extra heads with differing expressions is a little annoying.  Still, not a bad selection.

DR. MANHATTAN

Dr. Manhattan is the story’s one true super human, originally planned to be Captain Atom.  Visually, Manhattan is one of the story’s most memorable characters, and as such, his design remained essentially the same when they adapted the comic to film.  Structurally, Manhattan is just a plain Minimate, with additional parts or anything.  It’s certainly well suited to the character.  It does mean that all of the heavy lifting is handled by his paint work.  He’s done in a semi-transparent blue plastic, which, fun fact, is also glow-in-the-dark.  It’s surprisingly powerful, provided you give it a little time to charge up.  The detail paint on this guy is phenomenal.  All of his parts have detailed musculature, and his face is a spot-on recreation of how he looks in the film.  It should also be noted that this is the first Dr. Manhattan figure to forego the usual black shorts seen on all the merchandise.  I mean, they still Ken-Doll-ed him; he’s still got to be decent and all, since he’s being sold at retail.  Should you want him to be more modest, though, he does include an extra pelvis piece, molded in dark blue, thus replicating the shorts.  In addition, he’s also got the standard display stand, as well as a flight stand.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Like yesterday’s set, I picked this pair up from Toys R Us on my birthday.  This pack is more comic-compatible than the last one, which is pretty cool.  Manhattan’s just plain awesome, especially for being a ‘mate that could have been super simple and boring.  Rorschach’s overall pretty decent, though I’m not sure he translated quite as well to the style.  Still, not a bad set, especially if you’re a fan of the source material.

#0923: TRU Aliens Minimates Series 2

ELLEN RIPLEY, SCREAMING XENOMORPH, SGT. APONE, GLOWING ALIEN, PVT. DRAKE, & EXTRA-DAMAGED ALIEN

ALIENS MINIMATES

AliensTRU2a

Well, it’s been almost a week since Alien Day, and I’ve started to miss those scary acid-bleedy monsters. So, how about another Aliens review? And, for extra fun, why not some more Minimates? Yeah, that’ll be cool, because I just got this brand-new set of them from Toys R Us. Let’s have a look at them!

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

These six were released as the second Toys R Us-exclusive series of Aliens Minimates. The pack breakdowns are Ripley and the Screaming Xeno, Apone and the Glowing Alien, and Drake and the Extra-Damaged Alien. Typically, I review Minimates one two-pack at a time, however, all but one of these figures are slightly tweaked versions of previously reviewed ‘mates. Rather than drag them out for the better part of a week, I thought I might as well get them all out of the way, since there’s not much new to review.

ELLEN RIPLEY & SCREAMING XENOMORPH

AliensTRU2b

Ripley’s the real star of the franchise, so it’s not a huge shock that she’s also the human with the most variations. This Ripley is a slight tweak of the Alien 35th Anniversary boxed-set version, reviewed here. The only difference between the two figures is the facial expression, which is a slightly cleaned up version of the Hive Assault Ripley from Series 1. The new face definitely helps her resemble Sigourney Weaver a bit more, resulting in a AliensTRU2eslightly superior figure. That said, the issue with the incorrect hair is still present, and is made more glaring by the fact that this is the second time we’ve seen it happen. Aside from that issue, she’s a pretty solid figure, just like her predecessor. Ripley includes a flamethrower (no flame trail, though), Jonesy the cat, a facehugger, and a clear display stand.

Not to be outdone by Ripley, the Big Chap goes for his fourth variation. This one’s a combination of two of the prior figures: he’s got the paint scheme from the “Crew of the Nostromo” set, with the head from the first set (albeit with the inner mouth removed). Not really much to say about this one, other than to say it’s just as good as all the other Xenos in the line. The figure includes a closed egg and a clear display stand.

SGT. APONE & GLOWING ALIEN

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Well, I was wrong. In my review of the Series 1 Apone Minimate, I said he’d likely only get one Minimate appearance, and here he is with his second Minimate. Lucky him. Like Ripley, the only difference between this Apone and his prior ‘mate is his facial expression: he’s turned in his more collected (if still pissed off) expression for a more intense, teeth gritting one. This Apone’s clearly from his final moments in the hive, as he’s caught in a firefight. The resemblance to Al Matthews is lessened a AliensTRU2fbit by the new expression, but it’s not hard to figure out who it’s supposed to be, and the expression is worth the tradeoff. The rest of Apone’s details are identical to the last release, right down to the transposed letters on his USCM patch (it says “USMC”). Apone is packed with his baseball cap, an M41A Pulse Rifle, a newborn alien, and a clear display stand.

The other half of this set is the one truly new figure in this series: the Glowing Alien. No, you didn’t miss a scene in the movie; no aliens ever appear like this. He’s just a fun variant cooked up by DST. Sculpturally, he’s the same as any other Alien from the line (his head is the “Screaming” version). What sets him apart is the clear green plastic he’s been molded in. The figure isn’t just clear green, though; if you let him charge in sunlight for a while (and I mean a good, long while), he lives up to the adjective he’s given by the front of the box and does a bit of glowing. The Glowing Alien includes another egg, also closed.

PVT. DRAKE & EXTRA-DAMAGED ALIEN

AliensTRU2d

Okay, I had kind of figured that Drake might get a second ‘mate, and this one gives me pretty much exactly what I expected. This figure’s more or less the same as the Series 1 Drake; like Ripley and Apone, he just gets a new expression. Instead of the sly grin of the last figure, this one’s mid-yell, that honestly feels a bit more appropriate for Drake. Sadly, Drake is still lacking the flack vest under his armor, instead just sporting the normal fatigues. It wouldn’t be a big issue, if not for the extra pieces included. Drake comes with an extra head, sporting the acid burns he gets at the end of the hive attack. AliensTRU2gAt that point in the film, Drake had ditched his smartgun and its harness, which is when we see the flack vest. Of course, everything about this series points to them being put together as quickly as possible, so there probably just wasn’t time to do a new torso detailing. In addition to the extra head, Drake includes his smartgun, a hat without the headgear, a flamethrower (w/ flame trail), a newborn alien, and a clear display stand. It might have been nice to get a hairpiece without the hat, since Drake loses the hat at the same time as the harness, but he has enough extras that I don’t feel gipped.

We’ve gotten a number of Battle-Damaged Aliens over the course of this line. What makes this one different? He’s Extra-Damaged! No, but really, there are different blood splatters. Seriously, you guys probably don’t get how big a deal that is, but I’ve got like four of these already, all with the same damage. Some variety is much appreciated. Other than the slight change in blood splatters, this figure’s the same as the one included with Vasquez. The Extra-Damaged Alien includes another egg, open this time, and a clear display stand.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

On Alien Day, NECA released a re-deco of their Aliens Ripley figure through Toys R Us. I was busy during the day, but my Dad was nice enough to stop by a TRU during his lunch. He didn’t find the Ripley figure, but he did find these three sets. They’re not a bad consolation prize. Sure, there’s not a whole lot of newness to them, but each set has at least something exciting, especially for an Aliens geek like me!

#0771: Glow in the Dark Alien

ALIEN – GLOW-IN-THE-DARK

ALIENS MINIMATES

BigChapGiD1

Long before Minimates, the frightening titular character of ALIEN found its way to toy shelves in the form of the legendary 18-inch Alien figure, courtesy of Kenner Toys. The figure was quickly pulled from shelves, no doubt due to the nightmares it caused for many an unsuspecting child, and has become one of the bigger grails of toy-collecting. Now, 35 years later, DST pays tribute to that figure with this San Diego Comic Con exclusive!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

BigChapGiD2As noted in the intro, the Alien was released at this year’s SDCC, as part of the greater Aliens Minimates line.  I don’t often talk packaging, but I will here.  For many figures, the package is just the way to transport the figure from the store to the costumer in a nice, flashy way. However, this figure’s packaging is actually a pretty important piece of the figure. The basic layout of the packaging is more or less the same as the single packaging for the Aliens vs Marines Army Dump case, but it’s been done up with graphics meant to replicate the original 18-inch Alien’s box. It features that bright ‘70s blue, the old Kenner ALIEN logo, and an assortment of screen shots from the film. The Big Chap’s a little crowed in there, but the box does a great job of giving a nod to that which came before.  While most of the Xenomorphs we’ve seen so far have taken inspiration from the second film’s design for the creature, this one, like the 35th Anniversary Boxed Set, takes influence from the creature’s very first appearance in 1979’s ALIEN. It’s not leaps and bounds of differences from the later design, but it’s enough that even moderate fans of the films could probably discern between the two.  Like his second film-based brethren, the Big Chap has sculpted add-ons for his head, hands, tail and feet. All of these parts but the head are the same ones used for all of the other aliens. Those parts were good on all of the others, and they continue to be good here. The only minor nit is that the hand should technically be different to be accurate to the Big Chap design, since these use the Aliens three-fingered design, rather than the ALIEN six-fingered design. However, at this scale, that’s a minor issue. The head was initially used on the 35th Anniversary set Alien, and it does a very nice job of replicating the movie’s domed look. While the 35th Anniversary version had the dome glued in place, this version leaves the part loose, so that you can remove it to better see the cool skull design below. It means that the dome doesn’t always stay in place the best, but that feels like a reasonable enough trade-off.  The figure’s paintwork is where his main draw comes into play. The BigChapGiDPack1main detailing of the body is similar to the previous aliens, but the silver is a bit brighter, which certainly sets him apart. The other main draw is the paint on the skull under the dome, which is glow-in-the-dark, as the name of the figure indicates. It requires a bit of “charging” under a light source, but once that’s done, it makes for a pretty eerie effect. The figure’s only accessory is a clear display stand. However, as with all of the prior aliens, the number of sculpted pieces more than makes up for the lack of extras.

 

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Frequent readers of the site will recall that I did not attend SDCC, so I clearly didn’t pick this guy up there.  No, I actually ordered him from Luke’s Toy Store after the event.  I was actually pretty excited for this figure; the Aliens Minimates in general are a pretty exciting thing, but I liked the whole tribute bit.  This figure isn’t exactly new or anything, but it’s a fun variant of an already great figure.

BigChapGiD7

 

#0560: Skeleton Warriors

BARON DARK, TITAN SKELETON, & TRAVELER SKELEDEN

SKELETON WARRIORS

SkeletonWarriors1

“Skeleton Warriors! Da-nanana-nah!”

–Skeleton Warriors Opening Credits (paraphrased)

I totally missed out on Skeleton Warriors in its initial run (both the toys and the show). In my defense, while I was actually born, I was still rather young, and it did have the misfortune of not being in anyway related to superheroes. To be honest, I was completely unaware of the series’ existence until the “Return of the Skeleton Warriors” Kickstarter last year. Following my discovery of the Kickstarter, I did actually sit down and watch the first two episodes of the show. It didn’t really hook me, per say, but the figures still looked cool enough to warrant me pledging in for a full set. They just arrived last month, and I’ve finally gotten a chance to set aside all the Marvel-related stuff and take a look at these guys.

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

All of these figures are part of the first “series” of The Return of Skeleton Warriors. The Lightstar Crystal Blue Baron Dark and Titan Skeleton, as well as the Traveler Skeleden, were all exclusive to the Kickstarter campaign, while the regular Baron Dark and both the regular and glow-in-the-dark versions of the Titan Skeleton are available for individual purchase via the October Toys Store.

TITAN SKELETON(S) – REGULAR, GLOW-IN-THE-DARK, & LIGHTSTAR CRYSTAL BLUE

SkeletonWarriors4The Titan Skeletons are the backbone (heh!) of this line. They serve as the base starting point from which all of the more specific Skeleton Warriors can be built. There are three different varieties of Titan Skeletons: Bone colored, glow-in-the-dark, and clear blue. The three are identical in sculpt, so I’ll review them as one. The figure stands 5 inches tall and features 26 points of articulation. The Titan Skeleton’s sculpt is a pretty standard skeleton sculpt, and there’s certainly nothing wrong with that. It’s well proportioned, and each piece is sufficiently detailed and textured. Now, the cool thing about this figure (and all of the figures in this line) is that it’s Glyos compatible. If you don’t know what that means, let me ‘splain…no, it’s too much. Let SkeletonWarriors5me sum up: the figures feature Glyos joints, which means, not only can they disconnect at every joint, but the parts can be interchanged with lines like Weaponeers of Monkaa, which makes for some fun possible combinations. None of the Titan Skeletons feature any sort of paint, but they are molded in the three different colors as noted above. All three colors are nicely chosen, so that’s pretty great. The Titan Skeleton has no accessories, though the ability to be taken apart and reassembled is definitely a fun enough feature to make up for that.

SkeletonWarriors6

BARON DARK

SkeletonWarriors2Baron Dark is the cartoon’s primary antagonist and is the leader of the titular Skeleton Warriors. The figure served as the main goal of the Kickstarter, and he’s definitely the one with the most work put into him. The figure stands just over 5 inches tall and has 26 points of articulation. The Baron uses the Titan Skeleton body as a starting point, but features his own head, upper torso, lower legs, and feet, as well as add-on pieces for his cape, loin cloth, and bracelets. The new pieces are generally very well sculpted, and feature an even greater level of detail than the Titan parts. The add-on pieces in particular feature lots of small detail work and cool little touches, like all the miniature skulls throughout the design. The only real flaw with the sculpt is the fact that the lower legs are rather restrictive of the ankle articulation, which causes the figure to be harder to balance in certain poses. It’s a relatively minor issue, but it’s hopefully something they’ll try to avoid on any future figures. What really separates the good Baron from the Titan Skeleton is paint. Baron Dark features a rather intricate paintjob. With the exception of a few minor instances of bleed over and exactly one SkeletonWarriors8instance of slop (near the top of his right calf) the paint is really cleanly handled. In addition to the basic color work, a fair bit of work has been done to accent the sculpt’s finer details and add a little bit more depth. All of the bone pieces feature a nice brown wash to bring out the recesses and texturing. The cape also features a little bit of darker red to indicate some weathering, although it comes and goes with some rather harsh lines. Baron Dark is armed with a big freaking sword, which he can hold pretty well in either hand.

SkeletonWarriors7

BARON DARK – LIGHTSTAR CRYSTAL BLUE

Skeletonwarriors3Just like the Titan Skeleton, there’s more than one variety of Baron Dark. He too was available cast in a clear blue plastic, which is always a plus in my book. He features the exact same height, articulation, and sculpt as his full color counterpart. The only difference between these two is that this one is … clear blue. He even features the same big ol’ sword, molded in a matching plastic. In addition to the awesomeness that is the clear blue plastic, this version also offers a nice look at the Dark sculpt without any paint to mask any of the sculpted details, which is a nice opportunity.

TRAVELER SKELEDEN

SkeletonWarriors9One of these things is not like the others! So, the thing of note about this particular figure is that it isn’t technically a Skeleton Warriors figure, it’s actually from the official Glyos line. It’s designed to be a merging of the Glyos Universe’s Pheyden and a skeleton, presumably from the Warriors universe. Skeleden stands roughly 3 inches tall and features 12 points of articulation. From what I’ve been able to find online, it appears that Skeleden’s hands, torso, calves, and feet are re-used from the Glyos line’s basic Pheyden figure. The figure’s head, arms, and legs are new, as well as the add-ons used on the torso and lower legs. The whole theme of this figure is merging the styles of the two lines represented, which the sculpt manages to do quite nicely. In general, the sculpt is a very strong one, with lots of very clean, sharp detail work throughout. The Skeleden’s paintwork isn’t quite SkeletonWarriors10as complex as that seen on Baron Dark, but he does have a little bit of work on his head, which is handled quite cleanly. The rest of his pieces ware molded in the appropriate colors. The Traveler Skeleden includes a specially crafted, skeleton-themed axe, as well as an extra head, arms, and legs which allow the figure to be displayed as a more standard Pheyden.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

So, clearly, since I have the Kickstarter exclusives and all, I got these figures by backing the Return of the Skeleton Warriors Kickstarter campaign. After breaking into the world of Kickstarter action figures with I Am Elemental, I found myself drawn to these guys, just based purely on how cool they looked. Well, they’re finally here, and I’m thrilled to have them. The Baron isn’t without issue, but he’s pretty darn close, and the Titan Skeleton offers a nice, base skeleton in a cool variety of colors. Plus, the Skeleden got me my very first Glyos figure, which, given how much I like this little guy, could prove to be another dangerously addictive line. All in all, this is another success for me on the Kickstarter front.  Now, here’s hoping for a series 2!

SkeletonWarriors11

#0115: Lifespring Empyreus

LIFESPRING EMPYREUS

WEAPONEERS OF MONKAA

LifespringEmpyreus3

Today I’m reviewing a figure from one of my favorite toylines out there right now: Weaponeers of Monkaa!

“What’s Weaponeers of Monkaa?” you ask? Allow me to fill you in a bit.  Weaponeers of Monkaa are made by a small company by the name of Spy Monkey Creations.  They got their start producing accessory kits for several popular toylines, like DC Universe Classics and Masters of the Universe Classics.   The accessories were modular, and fit in with numerous lines outside the target lines.  These sets went over pretty darn well, and two years ago, Spy Monkey decided to create their own line of figures to go with some of their weapon sets.  I have to admit, I wasn’t really all that interested at first.  Sure, they looked okay, but they weren’t anything spectacular.  But, then reviews started popping up.  The figures may have looked a bit simplistic initially, but they were completely modular.  Take them out of the package and you could make the look however you wanted.  And that was pretty cool!

Spy Monkey just released a new set of figures, so in preparation for their arrival, I figured I’d take a look at my favorite of their releases so far: Lifespring Empyreus!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Lifespring Empyreus represents the second look of WoM’s main character Empyreus, leader of the Gearo.  He’s shown here after accessing the “Lifespring energy” to defeat the “Bloodlust” powers held by Umbreus, leader of the villainous Vilhain (How cool is that?).  Effectively, that means he’s cast in glow-in-the-dark plastic, which is always super nifty*.  Every figure in the line is effectively built from the same parts, just cast in different colors and painted differently.  What this means is that, while this is technically a figure of Empyreus, he includes the parts to make him into any of the four main characters, or even one of the army builders, the Gohlems.  This adds a whole new level of fun to every figure, as you’re getting five figures in one.  Plus, three of those heads can also double as hands, adding even more options.  I’ve included a shot of the figure using four of the extra heads in varying capacities to demonstrate.  In his default state, Empyreus stands about 4 inches tall and has 17 (19 if you count being able to move the ear thingy’s on the Empyreus head) points of articulation.  The articulation is a bit different than on most lines, as it’s completely accomplished through simple swivel joints.  However, thanks to the modular nature of the figures, you can actually reconfigure him to get some deeper poses out of him.  The figure is assembled from about 25 different pieces, depending on how you have him laid out.  The sculpting on the pieces is pretty straight forward.  At first glance, it isn’t anything amazing, but after playing with them a while, you realize how much work had to be put into getting pieces to look like completely different parts depending on how they’re oriented.  Empyreus is technically one of Spy Monkey’s DX releases, which means he has some slightly more advanced paint apps than their “regular” line.  The paint is used sparingly, but very well.  There’s no slop, and the colors accent the molded plastic perfectly.  Empyreus includes a small blade and a sickle, molded in the same color plastic as the rest of him.  In addition to the additional paint apps, DX figures also include a vac-metalized piece of some sort.  In Empyreus’s case, it’s a large broadsword.  I liked the broadsword so much I also picked up the separately sold Lifespring Accessory pack, which is why my Empyrous is shown holding two of them.

LifespringEmpyreusDisassembledLifespringEmpyreus (2)

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I was slightly late to the game getting into this line.  The first series had been out for a while before I got around to ordering them, and even then, it took me a few months to even order the whole set.  But by the time this guy was released, I was totally hooked.  He was the very first figure in the line that I waited patiently to order the first day he was up for sale.  This line is a whole lot of fun, and it’s really nice to see a series of toys that are just good toys, on their own merits.  No tie-ins, no big marketing.  Just fun toys.

If you’re interested in getting into the line, you might be in for a bit of a struggle tracking down the older figures, but as of this writing, Spy Monkey’s webstore still had a few of the figures from the most recent set in stock, and I’m sure it won’t be long before another release.

LifespringEmpyrusAccessories

*As cool as glow-in-the-dark plastic is, the coloring of it, and the way it absorbs light make it virtually impossible to see this figure in pictures taken with the usual white background.  So, for those of you wondering, that’s why he’s on a black backdrop.

#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!