#3070: Fezzik

FEZZIK

THE PRINCESS BRIDE (MCFARLANE TOYS)

Providing the natural pair-off to Princess Bride’s dark and brooding Inigo, is the large, jovial, and friendly Fezzik.  Fezzik is the classic jolly giant, portrayed by a real-life jolly giant, Andre the Giant.  Did I say “giant” enough?  Though author William Goldman wrote the role of Fezzik specifically with Andre in mind, he was not the first actor cast in the role.  When the film first went into production, Andre was unavailable, so the role was initially given to a relatively unknown actor by the name of Arnold Schwarzenegger.  Production stalled, and by the time it picked back up, Schwarzenegger was, well, not so unknown, and Andre was available.  But there exists an alternate reality where The Princess Bride starred Arnold Schwarzenegger, and, by Last Action Hero rules, a corresponding reality where Fezzik was played by Sylvester Stallone.  Crazy, huh?  Also weird to acknowledge an example of us being in the objectively better reality.  How about that?

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Fezzik is a Megafig release from McFarlane’s The Princess Bride line, designed to correspond with the standard Series 1 figures.  For those of you playing at home, that means that McFarlane actually gave us the whole core cast in one shot.  No weird oddball choices or obviously missing characters.  Are…are they aloud to do that?  Well, I guess we’ll give it a try.  Fezzik stands 9 1/4 inches tall and he has 23 points of articulation.  Right off the bat, the biggest issue with this figure is…well, how big he is.  Andre the Giant was 7’4″ tall, which, given that Cary Elwes and Mandy Patinkin are both right about 6′ tall, that should make this figure about an inch shorter than he currently is.  Hey, nobody ever said McFarlane was any good at scale.  In fact, it’s usually the opposite.  It’s a shock the other three were as well balanced as they were.  Ultimately, Fezzik is noticeably larger than the rest of the cast, and so is this figure.  So, he should be smaller, but he’s not, and we’ll just have to make the best of it.  Speaking of “the best of it”, despite the larger than it should be stature, the sculpt on Fezzik is probably the strongest of the figures so far.  The detailing, especially the texturing on his clothing is really top notch, and the bulk of the body matches well with Andre’s real-life build.  The head sculpt isn’t a spot-on recreation of Andre’s likeness; the hair’s a little too tidy, and the face seems a touch elongated.  That said, it captures a lot of the important elements in terms of quick recognition, and I’m especially pleased that they’ve gone with a more jovial expression for the face, as that feels far more in keeping with Fezzik as a character.  The real down turn for this figure winds up being the paint work.  It’s not terrible, but there are some notable issues.  Like the rest of the series, he’s got the side-eye going on, which is annoying.  On top of that, he’s got some fairly heavy shading on the eyes, which makes him look a bit like a racoon, as well as on the lower face.  Andre was fairly clean shaven in the film, and didn’t have any odd shading on his eyes, so the choice to do this extra shading, especially coupled with his general skin color feeling a bit paler than it should, makes him look a little spooky and sickly, which I don’t think is the intent.  Fezzik is packed with a rock (specifically the one meant to be thrown at Westley’s head), a peanut, and a display stand.  So, umm, about the peanut?  Yeah, Fezzik never actually has one.  Nor does anyone, at any point in the film.  This is a no-peanuts film.  It’s obviously a reference to Fezzik’s “Anybody want a peanut?” line, during the rhyming sequence.  But, the thing is, he doesn’t actually have one, and he’s actually just using the question to annoy Vizzini.  It’s a great scene, but, well, again, there’s no actual peanut.  Also, this peanut is, like, three times the size it should be, and looks downright ridiculous.  Why is it here?  Mostly to justify pushing the cloak off to a second release, which honestly feels rather weak.  I’d have much rather had the cloak.  I mean, what am I gonna do with this on the shelf?

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

There was no way I was going to miss out on completing this particular set, and the Fezzik was included right from the get-go, with no weirdness surrounding likeness or anything, was a definite plus on getting me on-board for the whole thing.  Inigo’s my favorite, and the strongest of the set, but I think Fezzik’s a pretty strong second.  There are still some definite issues with the final release (it wouldn’t be a true McFarlane release if their weren’t), but ultimately, the good of the figure shines through them.  All-in-all, it’s a stronger set of figures than it has any right to be, and at this point, I’m just happy to have them.  I’m on board for more and will be picking up (most of) Series 2, but if the line stopped right here, I’d still be pretty happy.

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

#3069: Inigo Montoya

INIGO MONTOYA

THE PRINCESS BRIDE (MCFARLANE TOYS)

While Buttercup and Westley are likable protagonists whom the story is undoubtedly centered upon, the success of The Princess Bride really lies with its supporting players, and their own respective journeys.  Perhaps the film’s most satisfying journey is that of Inigo Montoya (of “Hello my name is” fame), who begins the film as just a hired sword, albeit a terribly likable one, and finishes the story by tracking down the man who killed his father and finally gaining the vengeance he had been hunting for two decades, only to discover that vengeance is ultimately rather hollow.  It’s a powerful and impactful story, with a lot of weight to it for something that’s ostensibly a comedy.  And now he’s got an action figure, which I’m gonna take a look at today.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Inigo Montoya is the third and final figure in the first standard assortment of McFarlane’s The Princess Bride line.  Inigo’s only got the one look in the film, but it does sort of evolve in how disheveled he appears.  This figure’s rather on the cleaner side, signifying he’s from earlier in the film’s run time.  The figure stands a little over 7 inches tall and he has 35 points of articulation.  His articulation is really just the standard McFarlane fare.  It works decently with the sculpt, and manages to not break up the sculpt too badly.  His sculpt is all-new, but as with the others in the first set, most of his sculpt will see re-use on his Series 2 counterpart.  It’s honestly a pretty solid offering.  The proportions are slightly lanky, but not nearly as gangly and awkward as Westley’s were, and the general fit together is much better.  The leg articulation works in a bit oddly, but it’s again better than Westley.  The detailing on the outfit is definitely impressive; they’ve done quite a nice job of replicating Inigo’s very worn-in attire.  The head’s got a passable likeness of Mandy Patinkin; it’s a bit caricature, but it’s fairly easily recognized.  The more dour expression certainly works here, and they’ve even remembered to include the scars on his cheeks.  The hair is a little thick and un-hair-like, but it gets the proper shaping, which certainly is the most important thing.  Inigo’s paint work is honestly the best of the bunch.  It’s still rather basic, but there’s enough detailing to make it work.  Curiously, despite Inigo generally being scruffier than Westley, this figure doesn’t get stuck with the heavy shadowing on the lower half of the face, or any scruff at all, actually.  I think it works in his favor, and the rest of the face detailing is pretty solid.  I like the slight shading under his eyes.  The two things I don’t like are the fact that the shoulder cups are molded in flesh tone, revealing the clashing color scheme when he’s posed, and, as with all of the figures, the dreaded side-eye.  As with Westley, he’s looking the opposite direction of his sword hand, and, just like Westley, this further emphasizes the general stupidness of not including alternate left hands for these two.  He does include his rather ornate sword, as well as a display stand.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

If the very in depth introduction wasn’t an indicator, Inigo is and has always been my favorite character in The Princess Bride.  His figure was the one I was most looking forward to out of this bunch, and, in hand, I think he’s also the most impressive figure in the bunch.  Apart from the eyes thing and the lack of extra hand, this figure is a lot less hampered by issues than the others, making him genuinely just a pretty solid figure.  I definitely dig this one.

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

#3068: Dread Pirate Roberts

DREAD PIRATE ROBERTS

THE PRINCESS BRIDE (MCFARLANE TOYS)

While Princess Buttercup is the titular character of The Princess Bride, the story’s dashing hero is her love Westley, a former farm-hand, drafted into the life of piracy by the Dread Pirate Roberts (or at least a man using that name).  Westley himself adopts the title and uses it when going on his rescue of Buttercup, following her abduction by Vizzini and his crew.  Westley’s Dread Pirate Roberts attire is one of the film’s most classic looks, making it a logical choice for merchandising opportunities.  That’s not changed with the McFarlane offerings, which include Westley amongst their first assortment.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

The Dread Pirate Roberts is another piece of the first standard assortment of McFarlane’s The Princess Bride line.  He’s presented here in the full Dread Pirate attire, from before his encounters in the fire swamp.  While the rest of the cast’s treatment has been rather sparse, we’ve had a couple of releases of Westley, specifically in this look, over the years, including one in the very same scale courtesy of NECA.  This one is markedly more articulated than the last.  He stands just over 7 inches tall and he has 35 points of articulation.  Apart from some slight limitations at the elbows, which are honestly to be expected, Westley’s articulation is decent in its range of motion.  Westley’s sculpt is all-new, though a good portion of it will be shared with the second assortment version.  It’s alright.  That’s really the best I can muster.  The individual parts have their strengths, to be sure.  The head sports a passable likeness of Cary Elwes, and the construction of the mask is well handled, with its multi-part construction.  I do miss the slight smile of NECA’s sculpt, but I suppose this expression works well enough for him.  The details of the outfit are pretty sharply handled as well.  The trouble is how it all fits together.  His neck is far too scrawny compared to the head, the articulation of the shoulders makes the arms look disjointed from the torso, and the figure’s pelvis is oddly flat and elongated.  It takes him just a step away from dashing hero, and ultimately lands a little closer to goofy caricature than it should.  The paint work is rather basic, mostly relying on molded colors for the black sections.  It would be nice to see some light variation in finish, especially for the mask, but it reads well enough for what it’s supposed to be.  The part gets the most of the actual paint work is the face.  It’s not awful, though the scruff on the face seems a little heavier than it should be.  Also, once again, he’s got the side-eye going on, which is rather limiting, and is also in the opposite direction of his sword hand, which makes posing tricky.  And that brings us to the accessories.  He’s got his sword and a stand.  It’s not bad, but it’s also very bare bones.  Once again, an alternate head without the side-tracking eyes would be nice, or, I don’t know, perhaps a left hand that could actually hold the sword?  It’s kind of a key piece of the fencing scene, and at the very least, it would allow him to point the sword in the direction the eyes are looking.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

This figure is quite certainly the weakest of the bunch in this round.  It’s definitely amplified by there being a version of him in this scale already, but this guy’s just got issues with his assembly, to say nothing of the eye issue cropping up once again here, and then that very issue highlighting the problems with the accessories.  He’s not bad, and as with the rest of the set, he’s better than I expected, though he’s closer to the quality I’d expected than the rest of them.

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

#3067: Princess Buttercup

PRINCESS BUTTERCUP

THE PRINCESS BRIDE (MCFARLANE TOYS)

There are some movies that are just undisputed classics, and The Princess Bride is one of those movies.  It’s adventurous, witty, and terribly quotable.  I think everyone will be quoting it in the future.  Or, you know, the now.  Since that’s kinda what I’m doing.  Despite its fixed placed in the cultural lexicon, the film has never been much of a merchandising juggernaut.  There have been a scant few attempts at toys over the years, mostly amounting to a bunch of orphaned Westley figures and an okay set of Funko Pops.  The first real stab at a true set of figures from the film comes from McFarlane Toys of all places.  I know, I’m just as surprised as you.  Even more surprising?   There’s actually a girl in the line-up!  Look at good old Todd, actually releasing the film’s title character, despite it’s potential to inspire serial killers everywhere.  I guess The Princess Bride is just worth that risk.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Princess Buttercup is part of the first standard series of McFarlane’s Princess Bride line.  She’ll be back again for a variant in series 2, again with the actually putting a girl toy out there.  How crazy.  This first release gives us Buttercup in her red dress that she wears during the horse ride that leads to her capture by Vizzini and his crew.  It’s the look she sports for the first half or so of the movie, and is generally one of her most distinctive, so it’s well-chosen.  The figure stands 6 3/4 inches tall and she has 35 points of articulation.  In a fashion typical of modern McFarlane figures, there’s a decent portion of the articulation that’s just there for the sake of it being there, with little practical purpose.  I mean, why does Buttercup need toe joints?  That said, the joints do work a little better with the overall sculpt than some of the other figures the company has put out.  Movement is fairly decent, and the joints don’t wind up breaking the sculpt too badly when used, so it’s an overall win.  Buttercup’s sculpt is all-new.  The legs and head might wind up being shared with the Series 2 Buttercup, so there’s already going to be some overlap, but it’s sensible.  All things considered, the sculpt is actually not bad.  The proportions aren’t nearly as wonky as other offerings, and the detailing on the outfit is actually pretty solid.  The lower portion of the dress is soft-goods, which better from a movement standpoint.  In terms of shaping, it has a bit too much of a train for it to be accurate to the red dress, suggesting that this might be sharing a pattern with the Series 2 wedding dress appearance.  Buttercup’s head sculpt is a respectable offering.  It’s not spot-on by any stretch, but given the generally fair features of Robin Wright, there aren’t a ton of immediate details to grab onto, which makes this sort of sculpt a good deal harder.  The straight on view gets it pretty close, but the likeness is lost a bit from other angles.  The general likeness is still certainly there, though, and it’s better than a lot of other McFarlane sculpts.  The paint work on Buttercup is generally pretty okay, apart from the one, rather glaring thing, which is the eyes.  Yes, for reasons only he can truly fathom, Todd decided to pull rank on a large number of figures currently in circulation and give them all some real serious side-eye, as opposed to the standard straight forward look.  It’s not a terrible thing, and does actually allow for a lot of character to be gained.  The trouble is, it’s very limiting.  Were it an alternate head, it would be awesome, but as the only option, it really doesn’t work.  Given that the figure’s only accessory is a stand, the extra head really would have been helpful to make her feel a little more worth the money, all things considered.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

The Princess Bride is one of my favorite movies, and very certainly one that brings me a lot of comfort, so I return to it quite a lot.  I’ve always wanted a good set of toys from it, but there’s never really been a good venue.  When McFarlane announced the license, I was skeptical, but hopeful.  Buttercup is better than I expected, that much is for sure.  That said, she’s also held back just the tiniest bit from perfection, largely by those stupid eyes, which were such an easily avoided issue, and one that will plague this whole first assortment, unfortunately.

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

#3021: Batman Earth -32 & Green Lantern Hal Jordan

BATMAN EARTH -32 & GREEN LANTERN HAL JORDAN

DC MULTIVERSE (MCFARLANE)

“Hal Jordan’s life was changed twice by crashing aircraft. The first time was when he witnessed the death of his father, pilot Martin Jordan. The second was when, as an adult and trained pilot himself, he was summoned to the crashed wreckage of a spaceship belonging to Abin Sur. Abin explained that he was a member of the Green Lantern Corps, an organization of beings from across the cosmos, armed with power rings fueled by the green energy of all the willpower in the universe. Upon his death, Abin entrusted his ring and duties as the Green Lantern of Earth’s space sector to Hal Jordan.

In DC’s Dark Multiverse, on Earth -32, the green light of will has twisted an angry Bruce Wayne into something very dark and sinister. After the murder of his parents in Crime Alley, young Bruce is gifted with a Green Lantern ring, which allows him to fly and to generate deadly hard-light energy constructs. With no Alfred Pennyworth™ to guide him, he soon swallows his fear and pain and lets the void that remains corrupt him and the ring, unleashing a wave of darkness across his world, and now ours, as The Dawnbreaker.”

Hoo boy, it sure has been a lot of Marvel-centric Hasbro reviews around here lately.  I’m gonna be honest, that’s burning me out ever so slightly, so I’m voting to mix things up just a tad this week.  Don’t get too excited, though, because that doesn’t mean it’s all butterflies and rainbows.  No, in fact, I’m jumping over to the McFarlane side of things.  Oh boy, won’t that be fun and thrilling?  Well, this one’s at least half not-Batman.  So, there’s that, right?  Sure.  Without further ado, here’s some Green Lantern stuff, with a bit of Batman mixed in!

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

Batman of Earth -32 and Green Lantern Hal Jordan are the second DC Multiverse two-pack of 2021, hitting retail last fall.  They’re based on Dark Knights Metal, and follows up on the Superman vs Devastator and Flash vs Red Death packs previously released from the same cross-over.  Dawnbreaker is identical to his single release from 2020, for better or for worse, while Hal is a new release to this pack.

GREEN LANTERN HAL JORDAN

We’ve gotten one of Earth’s other Green Lanterns from McFarlane already (twice over, in fact, since there were both Comic and Animated versions of John produced), we hadn’t yet gotten Hal Jordan.  Instead, he’s exclusively available in a two-pack with a figure that you inevitably already bought when it was released as a single, over a year before the two-pack was released.  But I’m not bitter about that or anything.  The figure whose release scheme I’m not at all bitter about stands 7 1/4 inches tall and has 32 points of articulation.  From the neck down, this figure’s sculpt is the same as the John Stewart figure.  I was less than enthused by the sculpt when it was used for John.  I’m still not incredibly enthused by it here.  It’s still over-designed, which is a real bummer when it comes to a GL design.  As I brought up the last time I discussed the mold, it was clearly designed with both uses in mind from the start, so there are elements of both costume designs worked it.  The John costume elements are a bit less of an issue on Hal’s costume, generally, so it works a *little* bit better, but it’s still really cluttered.  The one new piece to the sculpt is the head, which is admittedly a much better offering than the one we got for John.  It’s actually kind of a decent rendition of Hal, and probably one of McFarlane’s best human heads, so that’s certainly an accomplishment.  Hal’s paint work is alright; the colors match those used for John, which is at least consistent, I suppose.  I still think the green is maybe a bit too dark, but at least there’s more of it to sort of offset that this time.  At least the application is pretty clean.  Hal is packed with two construct pieces, a boxing glove and a jetpack, as well as a large construct stand meant for both Hal and Dawnbreaker.  After the kind of uninspired minigun piece from John, it’s actually really refreshing to get the boxing glove construct, which not only actually clips over his whole hand, but also is just appropriately true to the character.  The jetpack isn’t quite as much his speed, but it’s still a little more inventive, as is the larger display stand.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I do like GL-related stuff, and had generally found the early McFarlane stuff lacking in that regard.  The John Stewart really let me down, I won’t lie.  And, while I liked Dawnbreaker decently the first time around, I’m also not super enthused about having to buy him a second time around to get Hal.  I mean, Hal’s a decent figure and all, and certainly a better figure than John, but saddling him with a complete re-pack just generally sucks.  Additionally, as nice as he his, he’s at best a lateral move from the DC Essentials figure, much like Superman and Nightwing were.  Honestly, I kind of wish Hal and John were reversed in terms of quality, because I don’t really *need* another decent Hal figure, but I’m still waiting on an okay John.  Well, at least Hal’s a nice figure.

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

#3003: The Batman Who Laughs – Sky Tyrant Wings

THE BATMAN WHO LAUGHS — SKY TYRANT WINGS

DC MULTIVERSE (MCFARLANE)

“Born from the nightmares of the Dark Multiverse, The Batman Who Laughs is a hybrid version of the Batman and The Joker from Earth -22. This twisted version of Batman was created when nanotoxins from The Joker’s heart were released into Bruce Wayne’s bloodstream, causing the Dark Knight’s perfect mind to merge with the warped psyche of the Clown Prince of Crime. He soon became part of an attempt to plunge the entire Multiverse into ultraviolence, chaos, and utter darkness. After being initially defeated, The Batman Who Laughs managed to survive and remains a threat to the greatest heroes of the Multiverse.”

For Day 3 of the post-Christmas, we’re going back to more of my usual territory, specifically the realm of super hero comics.  Even more specifically, DC Comics.  They’re pretty busy doing nothing but Batman these days, and, well, umm, here’s some more of that, I suppose.  The last few years, DC’s bread and butter (and, by extension, their main licensee McFarlane’s bread and butter) has been Dark Knights Metal, a multiversal story where everyone is Batman.  Except for Batman.  Sometimes Batman is Joker.  And here we are with that.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

The Batman Who Laughs with Sky Tyrant Wings is the second version of the Batman Who Laughs to be released in McFarlane’s DC Multiverse line, as part of the Merciless Collect-To-Build assortment, which was released at the tail end of 2020, at least in some quantities, and made it out more fully last year.  The figure stands 7 inches tall and he has 40 points of articulation, thanks to the extra joints present in the wings.  In terms of articulation scheme, he generally follows the usual McFarlane set-up, for better or for worse.  The notable change-up is to the hips, which don’t have the same full range of mobility that we usually see, being far more restricted to just forward and back.  Given the long jacket, it’s not a huge surprise or hinderance, but it’s still noteworthy.  This Batman Who Laughs is based on the character’s later appearance after he steals the wings from the Sky Tyrant, the Dark Knights Metal version of Hawkman.  To give McFarlane some credit, as far as I can tell, there are no shared parts between the two versions of BWL they released.  There are certainly similarities, but this sculpt just generally improves upon the shared elements between the two, making for a generally more well put-together offering, at least to my eyes.  The crazier, more exaggerated facial expression works a lot better for the character, especially in toy-form, and the texture work on the outfit is pretty solid.  McFarlane certainly does torn-up and gritty well.  I also feel that the more posed hands work a lot better for the character than the more generic gripping hands of the prior release.  The most obvious change here, of course, are the wings.  They actually work quite nicely, as they’re well-articulated, well-detailed, and not terribly balanced considering.  It would be nice to see such work on a proper Hawkman, but this is McFarlane, so a Batman variant is really the best we can hope for, I suppose.  The paint work on this figure is generally pretty good.  It’s largely rather basic work, but I think that’s for the best, especially after the weirdness surrounding the accent work on the last figure’s mouth.  It just looked odd, so going a little more straight forward here is probably the right call.  The Batman Who Laughs includes a display stand and a collector’s card for the figure proper, as well as the head, shoulder pads, and sword of the Merciless Build-A-Figure.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Dark Knights Metal really isn’t my sort of thing.  It’s honestly a lot of the stuff I don’t like about DC’s current obsession with Batman and the need to constantly place him above all of the other heroes rolled into one big event.  The Batman Who Laughs himself is a concept that I don’t think is terrible, but like the whole cross-over, I kind of feel like he got played out a lot quicker than he went away, and he just sort of keeps resurfacing.  So, I wasn’t seeking this figure out on my own.  That said, I received this one from Jess’s parents for Christmas, and I can certainly appreciate the thought, the gesture, and ultimately the figure proper.  The story that spawned him may not be my main thing, but the figure did turn out pretty nicely, so I can’t really knock it.

#2909: Shriek Unmasked

SHRIEK UNMASKED

DC MULTIVERSE (MCFARLANE)

“Walter Shreeve was a skilled audio engineer living in Neo-Gotham, trying to fund his research in the field of sonics. Unable to do so, Shreeve used his highly advanced sound technology to build an armored suit capable of demolishing buildings with sonic blasts. Going by the name Shriek, he was soon hired to destroy Batman and nearly succeeded, but lost his hearing in the ensuing battle. He was then sent to Blackgate Penitentiary where he was able to continue his research behind bars. Since then, Shriek has managed to break out on occasion, each time seeking revenge against Batman and wreaking havoc on the citizens of Neo-Gotham!”

It was bound to happen eventually, I suppose.  After two days of McFarlane DC reviews that weren’t Batman-related, we’ve circled back to what Todd truly knows best about DC.  I mean, it’s not specifically a Batman, of course, but it’s a Batman villain, and it’s also got a stupid variant structure, so we’re right back in that McFarlane comfort zone!

Batman Beyond‘s creator’s strove to give Terry his own unique cast of villains, which wouldn’t just be cheap re-hashes of Bruce’s old foes.  Introduced early on, and becoming a rather recurring opponent, was Walter Shreeve, aka Shriek.  He’s got one of the most distinctive and memorable designs of Terry’s foes, making him a solid choice for toy treatment.  That said, he never did get it during the show’s original run, with his McFarlane figure being his very first…or second, I guess, what with there being two of them and all.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Shriek Unmasked is a solo release within McFarlane’s DC Multiverse line.  As with Batman Beyond, he was preceded by a Target-exclusive release, which also included a Build-A-Figure part, and was fully armored, rather than unmasked.  Yes, in classic McFarlane form, rather than giving us one figure with an extra head, they’re selling us two of the same figure with different heads, and thereby making both figures less valid than one single figure with an extra accessory would have been.  Greeeaaaaat.  The figure stands 7 inches tall and he has 32 points of articulation.  It’s largely the same as the usual set-up, but the movement on the arms is predictably kind of restricted by how the armor works.  To McFarlane’s credit, the movement is all pretty decent, and the arms work better than you might expect at first glance.  The sculpt is a pretty decent piece of work.  He’s technically based on the comics, as was the Batman Beyond, but it’s a good merging of the aesthetics.  The armor’s detailing is pretty sharp and cleanly detailed, and there aren’t too many extra details shoved in to really mess things up, so it’s generally a nice piece.  The head is likewise a very nice piece of work.  It’s real world-styled version of Shreeves, but it really still feels like the character as depicted in the show.  There’s just the right level of slimy sleezebag, and I love it.  Shriek’s paint work is well handled; the suit has some nice contrast on the black/white, and the clear blue parts are definitely fun.  His head has a rather involved paint deco, which gives Shreeves his usual sickly pallor.  He’s clearly a guy who doesn’t get out much.  Shriek is packed with two sound effect pieces, a display stand, and a collector’s card.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

This guy reminds me of exactly why I don’t like how McFarlane does things, because the splitting of the two looks just really sucks all around.  I certainly was down for a Shriek to go with my Batman, but I wasn’t really big on how the helmet looked on the first release.  I wanted an alternate head of some sort, which this figure gave me, but, of course, at the cost of him never actually being helmeted now, which is limiting in its own right.  Sure, I may not be thrilled by the helmet’s design, but that doesn’t mean I don’t want the potential option of displaying it.  Ultimately, I was going to feel he was lacking either way, but I felt slightly less so this way, so it’s what I went with.  I do really like this figure, and I think he turned out really well.  He’d be better with the extra head, though.

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.

#2908: Green Lantern – John Stewart

GREEN LANTERN — JOHN STEWART

DC MULTIVERSE (MCFARLANE)

“John Stewart is a former U.S. Marine who uses his military training and discipline to protect Earth, and the rest of Space Sector 2814, as a member of the intergalactic peacekeeping force known as the Green Lantern Corps. As Green Lantern, John wields a power ring, which creates a protective shield around him, allows him to fly, and generates hard-light energy constructs in the form of anything he imagines. Fueled by willpower, Green Lantern’s power ring is one of the mightiest weapons in the universe!”

On the topic of McFarlane not always *just* doing Batman, here’s a bit more in that category.  I’m classically a pretty big Green Lantern fan, and there’s no denying that Todd’s been rather stingy on the GL love.  To date, there’s been a Green Lantern Batman (which only half counts), and two different versions of John Stewart.  I don’t really want to delve into the monstrosity that was the animated-style version, so I guess I’ll look at the other one.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Green Lantern John Stewart was 2021 release for the DC Multiverse standard line.  Again, there’s the whole distribution thing, which means he showed up early some places, but just showed up rather recently others.  Yay, that’s fun.  The figure stands 7 1/4 inches tall and he has 32 points of articulation.  John’s articulation scheme is again pretty much the same as the other DC McFarlane stuff, but I did find the range of motion on him to be a fair bit more restricted, and also more prone to breaking up the flow of the sculpt.  John’s sculpt was unique to him to start, but most of it’s already planned for a re-use on the upcoming Hal Jordan.  Effectively, this means they kind of designed it with the two uses in mind, so you can sort of see how the details are loosely meant to work for their two differing costume designs.  In simplest terms, that means that no matter which of the two you’re looking at, they’re really over designed, especially for GLs.  There’s just so many unnecessary details just really muddying up the cleanness of the GL design.  It’s especially notable on John, since he’s wearing his more modern, even further streamlined costume.  They didn’t even add extra lines to his costume during the New 52, you guys.  Even New 52 standards knew not to mess up the John Stewart design.  And yet, here we are, with way too much going on.  Todd really does remind me of the old adage “if less is more, think of how much more more could be.”  All the excess detail might be easier to get away with if the actual body sculpt worked, but it’s got kind of wonky proportions, with the arms in particular just being far too long.  I’m also really not digging that the right hand is doing a trigger finger grip; how do you not give a GL a fist for their ring hand?  Topping it all off is the unique head sculpt that’s supposed to be pulling the heavy weight on selling this figure as John Stewart.  Trouble is, it doesn’t really look like John.  It looks like a generic black guy.  They don’t all look the same, I can assure you.  I felt kind of the same way about Mezco’s version of John as well, so maybe there’s just some confusion about his defining facial features.  John’s paint work is alright.  It’s nothing to write home about, and I find myself wishing the greens were a bit brighter, or possibly even metallic.  Just something to make it pop more would be good.  John’s accessories include a construct armor piece for the torso, a construct minigun, a display stand, and a collector’s card.  The minigun isn’t the worst thing ever, but it does really feel a little less joyful and fun than the usual constructs.  I also don’t really like that’s only held, and doesn’t clip on in any way, nor do I like that we missed out on getting a lantern, or maybe some extra hands.  It’s not an awful selection, but it’s not particularly thrilling either.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

The general lack of GL focus in the McFarlane output hasn’t really thrilled me.  I wanted to be excited by this guy, but the prototype shots did nothing for me, and seeing him in person didn’t do a lot either.  A loose one wound up coming in at the same time as the Flash figure I reviewed yesterday, so I decided that was the time to give him a try.  He’s…well, he’s really not great.  I want to like him, but I guess I’ve been a little bit spoiled by earlier, better John Stewart figures.  If I’m entirely honest, I pretty much went the whole review just wanting this figure to be the DCUC one, and he’s not, and he’s never gonna be.

#2907: The Flash

THE FLASH

DC MULTIVERSE (MCFARLANE)

“In a freak lab accident, forensic scientist Barry Allen was struck by lightning and doused with chemicals, which gave him the superpowers of the Speed Force. Now he uses these powers to defend his hometown of Central City—and the rest of the world—from the forces of evil as The Flash! The Fastest Man Alive can run up the sides of buildings, across oceans, and around the world at light speed. He can also vibrate his molecules to phase through solid objects!”

Hey, look at that, sometimes McFarlane doesn’t only do Batman.  I know, it’s a crazy concept.  Sometimes he’ll laser focus in on a different character for just a moment.  And for a little portion of the last year or so, one such laser focused character was the Flash, who’s now had a whole five figures.  Can you believe that?  I mean, I guess it’s possible to believe it.  I mean, there’s like empirical evidence to support it and all.  It’s probably been peer reviewed.  Speaking of reviews, that’s what I’m supposed to be doing here, so why don’t I do that?  Yeah, I think I will!  Let’s jump in on that!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

The Flash was part of the basic DC Multiverse line-up, hitting retail at roughly the mid-point of last year…some places anyway.  McFarlane’s distribution’s been all over the map, so exact timelines can be weird.  He was the first of the Flash figures McFarlane released, but was quickly followed by the slight retool of this one for the two-pack release with Red Death.  The figure stands 7 1/4 inches tall and he has 33 points of articulation.  Flash’s articulation scheme follows what we’ve become used to with McFarlane’s DC stuff.  The range isn’t bad, but it does have a tendency to break up the sculpt in rather odd ways.  Also, some of the joints, notably on the ankles, are a little on the loose side, so it can be hard to get him to hold poses for terribly long.  But, for the most part, it’s not terrible.  Flash’s sculpt was initially unique, but then saw re-use for the two-pack release, and is getting another re-use for the upcoming Reverse Flash as well.  It’s patterned on his far more ridge-y post-New 52 appearance.  While it’s got a bit too much going on for it to be my preferred Flash, it does seem like it’s more up Todd’s alley.  Also, it’s still his current look, so it adds up.  It does at least make for a pretty nice looking figure, and they didn’t add a bunch of other unnecessary details that don’t need to be there.  The main defining trait of this figure, in contrast to the two-pack release, is the head sculpt.  For this one, he gets a more playful expression with a smile.  It’s a bit cartoony an exaggerated, but it feels appropriate for the character, and I really like it.  The only part I’m a bit iffy on is the ear wings, which seem a little too crazy for my preferred take on Flash.  Otherwise, it’s pretty solid.  Flash’s paint work is generally pretty basic.  It’s bright and colorful, which is a bit of a contrast from the usual McFarlane output, so I won’t really complain on that.  The figure is packed with an assortment of lightning effects, as well as a display stand, so that you can get some more intense running displays…when he remains standing, of course.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

When DC Collectibles launched Essentials, I picked up Reverse Flash, but not the standard, because I found basic Flash to be just a touch too bland for my taste.  I still wanted one in a comparable scale, so when this guy was shown off, I was at the very least interested.  Of course, with the wonky distribution and such, All Time never ended up getting theirs, and I couldn’t really be bothered to actually hunt him down.  As luck would have it, he wound up getting traded in loose a couple of months ago, so I was able to pick one up without much fuss.  He’s still got those typical McFarlane things going on, but I do like him a fair bit overall, and he fits in well with my Essentials figures, so I’d call that a win.

#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.