#1466: Batman

BATMAN

DC ICONS (DC COLLECTIBLES)

For today’s DC Icons Friday, I’m taking a bit of a leap back.  The last three weeks have all been figures from ore towards the end of the line’s run, but for this one I’ll actually be going all the way back to the earliest releases of the line.  I’ll be taking a look at the heaviest hitting of DC’s heavy hitters, Batman, in his inaugural Icons figure form.  Strap in FiQ-fans; this one might get a bit bumpy.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Batman is figure 01 in the first series of DC Icons figures.  Interestingly, though he’s numerically the first, he ended up hitting a week after the other three Series 1 figures, for unknown reasons.  Batman’s packaging lists that he’s based on the “Last Rights” storyline, which was the follow-up to the “Batman R.I.P.” that deals with the various Bat-cast’s reactions to the death of Bruce Wayne.  It’s an odd choice for a Batman figure, since, as you might have guessed, he spends the story…well, dead…ish (it’s a long, convoluted, complicated story.  Best not to ask further questions).  I think there’s a flashback with Bruce in costume at some point, but it’s brief.  Odd choice of storyline aside, it’s really just a pretty standard pre-Final Crisis Batman, which is generally a good thing, since that’s a rather definitive take on the character.  The figure stands a little under 6 inches tall…yeah, you read that right.  Here’s what its hands down the greatest flaw of this figure: he’s too short.  He’s one of the shortest Icons figures produced.  And that just doesn’t quite work out, since he’s Batman, and he really shouldn’t be that short.  And it’s not like he just missed a little height in his legs or torso or something; he’s actually just a smaller scaled figure, so he looks out of place next to most contemporary 6-inch lines, including the line he’s actually a part of.  Looking at the positives, he’s got 29 points of articulation, and is without a doubt one of the best articulated Batman figures ever to be produced.  Only the later Rebirth Batman really surpasses him.  Some of the articulation could still be better, of course.  The lack of any joints on his thighs continues to be the biggest flaw of any Icons release, and his neck joint is rather limited (and his head has an annoying tendency to pop right off the joint at a moment’s notice).  Still, there’s a lot of great poses that this guy can pull off that no other Batman really can.  This Batman figure has a unique sculpt, which is definitely one of the better Batman sculpts out there.  Like the other figures in the line, it’s based on Ivan Reis’s work, and makes for a very satisfying Batman, at least from a design front.  He’s less pouty than his Rebirth compatriot, which I like, and is in general one of the more realistically built figures in the line.  I like the small details like the wrinkles in his costume, and I love how well the belt turned out.  Even the cape is well done, and I’m the sort of guy that’s hard to please when it comes to capes.  The only real issue I have is the gauntlets of his gloves, which have the “spikes” placed on the sides, when they actually should be running on the backs of his forearms.  It’s a symptom of the gloves originally having a swivel joint above them that was later removed; they were just affixed in the wrong position.  Paintwork on this figure is pretty decent overall.  The colors match up well with the usual look of a mid-00s Batman, and the application is mostly pretty clean, aside from a few very minor spots of slop.  There’s one slight oddity with the paint; for some reason he’s got a pair of black eyebrows painted on his cowl.  Now, eyebrows aren’t uncommon on Batman designs, but the modern look mostly dispensed with them, so they can look a little goofy.  Fortunately, they’re effectively invisible to the naked eye.  Batman is packed with two sets of hands in fists and gripping poses, as well as an additional left hand holding a grapple, and a pair of batarangs.  It’s a decent selection of extras, though I can’t say any of it’s terribly exciting.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I didn’t buy this figure when he was new, largely due to the whole scale thing.  I thought he looked cool, but the size was a big obstacle.  Cosmic Comix also never seemed to keep him in stock for particularly long, so it’s not like there was one there to tempt me.  With the cancellation of the Icons line, I’ve been feeling a little bad for it, so I’m working on tracking down as many of them as I can.  Batman’s value’s actually taken a bit of a jump on the after market, so I didn’t really think I’d be getting him soon.  Then Cosmic Comix found one in their back room, and priced him at his original retail, so I figured why not?  This figure is frustrating.  Taken purely on his own, he’s possibly the greatest single Batman available.  The problem is he sort of exists in this weird vacuum, where nothing really goes with him.  On the plus side, I did remember that I had a similarly mis-scaled Tim Drake Robin from DC Universe Classics, so at the very least these two now have each other.

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The Blaster In Question #0028: SharpFire

SHARPFIRE

N-STRIKE

This week, we’ll be playing the NES classic, Duckhunt using the zapper light gun.  Wait, hang on.  Nope, scratch that, this is a Nerf blaster, but let’s be fair, you can understand my confusion.  I mean, look at it.  Ok, fine, we can look at it together.  Let’s get into reviewing the N-Strike SharpFire.

THE BLASTER ITSELF

The SharpFire was released in 2015 as part of the N-Strike series which was a little odd seeing as N-Strike Elite had already been launched several years prior.  It is a single-shot, breach-loading pistol/rifle thing.  It’s a bit of a mess, quite frankly.  To my knowledge, it was the first Nerf blaster to use this breach-loading mechanism but not the last as it has also appeared in the Modulus and Accustrike lines as the IonFire and FalconFire respectively.  The core blaster can be used on its own as a small pistol or combined with the included (and proprietary) stock and barrel extension.  The barrel extension is just a tube that snaps on the front, but the stock can be reversed and used as a holster of sorts.  It even has a belt clip on one side and can hold 6 extra darts in storage as well as holding onto the barrel extension when not in use.  The shell of the blaster is completely original and has only seen reuse in the SharpFire Delta, effectively just a recolor and without the accessories.  The ergonomics of the SharpFire leave something to be desired.  The lump on the back of the pistol grip makes achieving a firm grip rather awkward, and the barrel and stock are too short.  The stock is especially uncomfortable as it has no semblance of a cheek rest of any kind, leaving your head floating awkwardly behind the blaster as you hunch way down to get any kind of sight picture.  The whole thing is quite literally a pain in the neck.  This is not helped by the fact that the barrel attachment mechanism is so poorly designed that it is both too tight where it causes stress marks in the plastic from attaching and detaching, but also too loose so the barrel never stays on straight.  As a pistol, my left hand can wrap around the fingers of my right hand in a standard grip, but as a rifle (kinda sorta), It feels like there should be something more substantial to hold on to in the front of the blaster and there isn’t.  These would be bad enough except that both of these accessories are only compatible with the SharpFire, and likewise, the SharpFire can’t accept standard attachments.  Performance isn’t exactly stellar either.  With just the core blaster, many shots seem to idly coast through the air before dropping to the floor as opposed to the speed and force seen with Elite series blasters, which again, had been out for 3 years at this point.  I just feel like I need to point that out again.  With the barrel attachment on, the loose fit would sometimes mean that darts would impact the inside of the barrel and slow down before exiting the blaster, leading to some hilariously flaccid shots.  Needless to say, you don’t want this happening when you decide to bust into your younger sibling’s room.  You’ve got an image to maintain.  The SharpFire comes packaged with its stock, barrel extension, and 10 N-Strike Elite darts.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Hoo-boy.  That was a rough one.  When it was first shown in a leaked promo image back in 2014, I was super excited for it to come out because it didn’t look like anything that had come out before it.  I was really confused why no one else seemed interested in what could have potentially been a dedicated Nerf sniper.  Then it came out and I figured out why.  I guess it’s hard to convey scale on a low res leaked picture but this thing really is just kind of disappointing all around.

 

#1441: The Atom

THE ATOM – DC’s LEGENDS OF TOMORROW

DC COMICS MULTIVERSE (MATTEL)

Oh dear.  It’s a Mattel review.  DC Comics Multiverse even.  This don’t look good….

In effort to at least try to get off to a good start, I’m going to talk about some more pleasant things.  Just over a week ago, I was mentioning that DC’s actually got a pretty good slate of live action TV shows running right now.  Flash and Supergirl are solid straight super hero shows, but over in the eclectic odd-ball corner, there’s Legends of Tomorrow, which is pretty consistently fun.  Part of its success lies in spinning off some of the breakout characters from The Flash and Arrow, including today’s focus, Ray Palmer, aka the Atom.  I’ve been a fan of the character for quite some time, and Brandon Routh’s portrayal of him in Arrow and Legends is always enjoyable.  I’ve been patiently waiting for him to get a figure from *someone* and it looks like Mattel was first up to the bat.  I really like this character and his design, so I’m going to try very hard to like this figure.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

The Atom (or should I say “FGC12,” since that’s how he’s listed on  the back of the box.  Yes, it looks like Mattel forgot to swap out the actual character names for the assortment numbers when the box went to print.  I can’t wait for kids to try and beg their parents to buy them DWM60 figure to go with their Robin) was released in the “Rookie” series of DC Comics Multiverse figures, which started hitting towards the end of the summer.  Atom is based on his slightly upgraded design from the second season of Legends, which I think is a slightly stronger look than the earlier design.  The figure stands about 6 1/4 inches tall and he has 22 points of articulation.  As with the last few Multiverse figures I’ve looked at, the articulation count is largely theoretical.  This figure hasn’t met a joint it couldn’t limit.  The neck is a balljoint that operates as a simple swivel.  The shoulders, elbows, hips, and knees all get less than 45 degrees of movement, so sitting poses and any real flying pose are out of the question.  There are ankle joints present, but they don’t seem to actually do anything, so I’m not sure what they’re supposed to be accomplishing.  They’ve foregone the ab-crunch completely this time, which I suppose is better than the essentially useless one found on the Suicide Squad figures.  At least this way the sculpt isn’t needlessly broken up.  Well, in that one place, anyway.  Despite it’s lack of actual effectiveness, most all of the articulation is out there, naked, on display.  Noticeable gaps in the sculpt somehow still leave the joints insanely restricted.  How do you do that? You be Mattel, that’s how.  The figure’s sculpt is all new, and it’s not atrocious.  The details are certainly sharper than on a lot of the TV/Movie figures that Mattel’s offered in the line.  The suit pieces certainly don’t look terrible.  That said, the underlying body is definitely off, though.  The neck’s really skinny and leaves the head sitting too high, the forearms almost look backwards, and the legs are very tube-shaped and inorganic.  He’s also got that hideous hip construction that Mattel seems dead-set on saddling every one of their live-action figures with.  The best I can say about this sculpt is that the whole is the slightest bit better than the sum of its parts; the complete figure looks okay.  The paintwork on this figure is a bit better than some of Mattel’s other offerings.  There aren’t any glaringly missing applications, and the work seems to be overall pretty clean.  If you want to get nitpicky, the visor shouldn’t be solid black like it is, but it’s not terribly far off from the Season 2 design.  Atom is packed with a smaller version of himself, which is a pretty standard extra for Atom figures.  It’s decent enough, but it’s rather hard to keep standing.  There’s also an unmasked Ray Palmer head, which is cool in theory, but not so much in practice.  It doesn’t really look like Routh at all, it’s too large for the body, and it’s really, really shiny.  Of course, seeing as it’s a Mattel accessory, I suppose we should just be glad he doesn’t have “CHINA” stamped right across his forehead.  Lastly, Atom has both the head and pelvis of the Rookie Collect-N-Connect.  Apparently Rookie is the name they assigned to Commissioner Gordon’s big Batman suit.  Was that really a name associated with that suit? Because I don’t believe I ever heard it referred to as such.  Bleh, I’m getting side-tracked again.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Okay, I’ve been burned by Multiverse before.  I don’t really like this line.  Why did I buy another one?  Honestly, I just really wanted a TV Atom figure.  I found this guy at Walmart while I was moving in August, and he just sort of called to me.  I wanted to like him, I really did, but as soon as I took him out of his packaging, I found myself immediately let-down.  Mattel’s articulation has been weak before, but I think this figure may be a new low on that front.  The best you’ll be able to get from him is a semi-decent standing pose.  That’s it.  And, unfortunately, unlike the DCC TV Supergirl, who was also articulation-challenged, Atom’s sculpt isn’t high enough caliber for me to feel his lack of movement is justified.  Instead, he’s just another below average figure.  And that kind of sucks.  I was really rooting for this figure.  I don’t entirely hate him.  He looks okay in that standing pose.  But he’s hardly fun.  For what may be the first time ever, I wish I’d left a toy in its packaging.  At least that way I wouldn’t know just how disappointing he is, right?  DCC’s releasing their own take on Atom in a month or so.  I guess I’ll see how that one turns out.

#1394: Iron Man

IRON MAN

MARVEL SUPER HEROES (TOY BIZ)

“Iron Man is the world’s greatest high-tech hero. Iron Man’s armor is made of space-age alloys and is virtually indestructible. Not only that, but the armor is filled with an awesome arsenal including energy blasting repulsor rays, a navigational computer and rocket-powered boots that can fly him at a top speed of 960 miles an hour! Iron Man is really the millionaire inventor and industrialist, Tony Stark. When he’s not wearing his armor and helping his friends Thor and Captain America save mankind from super-powered enemies, Tony’s in his lab creating a new invention to save lives or clean the environment.”

You can’t go anywhere these days without tripping over like 50 Iron Man figures, but that wasn’t always the case.  When Toy Biz took over the Marvel license back in the early ‘90s, there were only two prior Iron Man figures.  They eventually released a whole line of Iron Men, but their first figure of the character was released as part of their early Marvel Super Heroes line.  He’s kinda goofy and I’m looking at him today.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Iron Man was released in the second series of Marvel Super Heroes.  Along with that series’ Thor figure, he completes the “Avengers” set started in Series 1 with Cap and Hulk.  He’s based on the Neo-Classic armor, which is more rare amongst action figures.  This was actually its first time in plastic form, and would remain its only appearance until the Marvel Legends Showdown line more than a decade later.  The figure stands about 5 inches tall and he has 7 points of articulation.  These earlier figures kind of mimicked the Super Powers aesthetic, albeit in a slightly lower quality way.  This figure’s sculpt is…interesting.  It’s not the worst thing ever, but it’s not as nice as, say, the Captain America figure.  A lot of the figure’s issues come from the rather primitive snap-on armor.  While later Iron Men would place the focus on getting a decent starting figure and then enhancing them with extra armored bits, this figure goes for a combo Iron Man/Tony Stark.  The problem is that the end result is an Iron Man and a Tony Stark that are both off.  The armor is really bulky and has obvious clips (which are rather difficult to work with), and the underlying Tony Stark is just…odd.  Really, really odd.  I mean, just look at him.  That ain’t right.  The paint work on this guy is okay overall, but his armor is lacking a few of the yellow details.  Maybe they were working from a classic Iron Man image?

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

This figure slightly pre-dates me getting into collecting…and me existing…so I didn’t get it new.  I did eye it up a few times over the years, but it’s not the most common figure, and it was never high enough priority for me to actually go and track him down.  I ended up finding this guy at the most recent Dave Hart Toy Show back in July, for a pretty decent price.  He’s…strange?  I guess that’s the word.  I find him intriguing as sort of a pre-formed version of the later Toy Biz Iron Men, but as his own figure, he’s not Toy Biz’s strongest offering.

#1391: Fireball Shooting Hades

FIREBALL SHOOTING HADES

DISNEY’S HERCULES (MATTEL)

“Fast talking, slicker than slick, Hades is ruler of the Underworld.  When he shoots his deadly fireballs, he causes ultimate destruction.  Only the heroic HERCULES can put an end to this fiery villain’s evil plan!”

Poor Hades gets bum deal when it comes to popular culture.  In just about any adaptation of mythology, he’s perpetually cast as some sort of ultimate villain, when in the actual myths he’s actually one of the more level-headed and reasonable gods.  Compared to the likes of Zeus, Poseidon, or Hera, he’s really not that bad.  Disney’s Hercules is one of the prime offenders when it comes to reworking things to make Hades the villain.  The actual villain of most of Hercules’s stories in mythology is Hera, who resented Herc for being one of Zeus’s many bastard children.  Herc and Hades barely even interacted.  But, I guess having Hera constantly trying to kill Hercules out of a constant anger caused by Zeus’s sexual escapades wouldn’t have made for a very good kids movie, would it?  So, they went with the more obvious “god of death = evil” bit.  At least it was entertaining, right?

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Fireball Shooting Hades was released in the basic series of the Disney’s Hercules tie-in line from Mattel.  While Herc got all sorts of variants and the like, this was the only Hades figure in the line.  I’m not sure what other variants you could really do, but hey, I wouldn’t have though of Hydra Slaying Hercules either.    The figure stands about 6 inches tall and he has 3 points of articulation.  Bit of a step down from Herc on the movement front.  Obviously, he lost some articulation to his designs lack of legs, which is understandable.  It’s a shame they couldn’t at least put some extra movement in the arms.  At least his head can turn, though.  Hades’s sculpt was unique to him, and it’s okay, I suppose.  It’s more faithful than the Hercules figure I looked at, which is good.  However, it also means that the focus is on trying to be faithful to a 2D character, rather than making just a good looking toy.  The body works out all right.  It’s pretty clean and it follows the line work of the movie.  The smoke at his feet is a little blocky, but it’s not terrible.  You just need to find the right angle for him.  The left arm is a little impeded by the figure’s action feature, but I’ll touch on that a little later.  The biggest issues come from the head.  They’re pretty much entirely related to the fluidity of Hades’s face in the movie.  He’s very expressive and all over the place, which makes capturing him in one single sculpt rather difficult.  He’s the sort of character that would likely be better served with a few interchangeable heads, but the toy industry wasn’t quite there in ’97.  So, we have to settle with a single expression.  Mattel went with a scary, scowly, wide-eyed grimace.  It’s not a great look.  I mean, yeah, he looks a little frightening, but it’s more in that uncanny valley sort of way, where his eyes just seem too human.  Parts of the sculpt look fine, but it doesn’t add-up to a really great piece.  It’s not terrible, but it could be a lot better.  Moving onto the paintwork, Hades is pretty decent.  Nothing crazy stand-out or anything, but the application is pretty clean and the details are pretty sharp.  In particular, I like the way the flames behind Hades’s head have been handled.  I sort of which his actual hair had been done in a similar fashion, but the solid paint isn’t awful.  Hades has two different “action features.”  The first is the titular “fireball shooting.”  There’s a missile launcher in his left arm.  Load up the fireball and press the button.  There it goes.  Wooooooo.  The second feature is even less involved; move the slide on his back up and down, and the flames behind his head will rise and fall.  Fun times.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I picked up Hades here from Lost in Time Toys, at the same time as Hydra Slaying Herc.  It was actually finding Hades that got me to grab the pair.  Hercules was pretty fun, but Hades has a few more flaws that hold him back.  Ultimately, he’s fine if you want to stick him on a shelf or a desk or something, but his actual playability is kind of low.

#1389: Loki

LOKI

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

““Forever a trickster, Loki’s allegiances are often unclear. However, one thing can be said for certain: Loki always looks out for Loki’s best interests.”

Summer’s on it’s way out.  So, move over summer blockbusters!  It’s time for…the fall blockbusters?  We’ve had Guardians Vol. 2 and Spider-Man: Homecoming.  Now it’s time for the next Marvel entry, Thor: Ragnarok!  After being slightly underwhelmed by The Dark World, I’m hoping that Ragnarok can deliver something a bit more enjoyable.  The Dark World had only an incredibly modest offering of toys, but Ragnarok is getting a little more coverage.  The first of the product is just starting to hit retail now.  Today, I’ll be looking at the trickster god Loki!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Loki is figure 2 in the Ragnarok assortment of Marvel Legends.  This is actually the first time Hiddleston Loki’s been given a proper retail release, since the Avengers was only available as a Walmart exclusive, and then was re-released as part of the European version of the Hulkbuster assortment.  This one is, obviously, based on his Ragnarok appearance, which seems to have been somewhat influenced by the Lady Loki design of all things, along with a touch of the “Agent of Asgard” look.  It’s not a bad look.  The figure stands about 6 1/2 inches tall and he has 30 points of articulation.  His sculpt is new to this figure.  It has its ups and its downs.  By far, the best part is the head sculpt, which has quite a nice likeness of Hiddleston as Loki, slight little sneering grin and all.  I also quite like the hands, which are a nice open gesture, thus adding a lot of character when you pose him.  I’m a bit iffy on the torso, which seems slightly oddly shaped and kind of rudimentary.  Compared to some of the other Legends of late, this feels like a bit of a step down.  I’m also not a fan of the floating skirt piece on the waist.  I feel like a fixed piece would look better, and be less annoying when posing the figure.  Lastly, I don’t care for how the cape attaches.  Maybe it’s just my figure, but I found it to be rather difficult to bet both clips properly seated on the shoulders, and even once they’re in place, it doesn’t take much to knock one or the other out of place.  It gets a little frustrating.  On the plus side of things, the paintwork on Loki is pretty strong.  The best work is definitely the face; this is my first experience with the “printing” technique that Hasbro’s started to use on the movie figures.  Photos online had me skeptical about the process, but it person it looks really good.  The rest of the paint is pretty straight forward stuff.  The colors seem to match the movie design, and the application is all pretty sharp.  Loki includes his “helmet”, which has been streamlined down to more of a headband with horns attached.  It’s a little bulky, but fits on his head pretty well. He also includes the left leg of the series’ Build-A-Figure, Gladiator Hulk.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

This guy snuck up on me.  I barely even knew of his existence when I found him at one of my local Targets.  I was actually looking for the Homecoming figures, which I still haven’t had any luck finding, when I came across this guy.  I was pretty excited to find him (and I’ve already tracked down a duplicate for Super Awesome Girlfriend).  Ultimately, he’s a bit of a mixed bag.  The torso on this guy is really poorly designed, just all-around, which is a real surprise from Hasbro these days.  Still, the good does outweigh the bad on this guy, and the end result is an overall nice figure.  He’s not going to be figure of the year, but he’s far from terrible. 

#1381: Spider-Man & Vulture

SPIDER-MAN & VULTURE

MARVEL LEGENDS – 3.75 INCH (HASBRO)

“When Vulture sets out on a nefarious mission to steal the world’s most powerful technology, it’s up to Spider-Man to shut down the bad guy and save the day.”

You know what was a good movie?  Spider-Man: Homecoming.  Oddly, the merchandise associated with it mostly didn’t go out until after the film premiered, and now, less than a month later, it’s completely disappeared from most store shelves.  Which has been rather frustrating for me, let me tell you.  I did manage to pick up the 3 3/4 inch Legends pack, which gives us the film’s protagonist and antagonist in one fell swoop!

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

Spider-Man and Vulture were released as one of pair of two-packs released in the lead-up to Homecoming’s release.  This pair is the movie-based set, with the Shocker and Spidey set being comic-based.

SPIDER-MAN

Can’t have enough Spider-Men, right?  I suppose this one’s fair.  It is his movie and all.  Peter is seen here in the suit he got from Tony Stark during the course of Civil War, which is also his primary look in Homecoming.  It’s a decent enough recreation of Spidey’s comic roots (there’s a lot of Romita Spidey in there), with a little extra flair to help it fit in a bit better with the other MCU designs.  The figure stands about 3 3/4 inches tall and he has 21 points of articulation.  The articulation is generally pretty good, but he’s really hindered by the lack of wrist joints.  Just two swivels would have gone a long way.  The figure’s sculpt is wholly unique to this release, and it has its ups and its downs.  The head is really strong, and definitely nails the design from the movie.  The upper torso and arms are also pretty decent as well.  Really, it’s the lower torso where it starts to fall apart; the two parts of the torso don’t match up at all.  And then the hips don’t really meet the waist very well.  And the upper legs don’t meet the knees all that well either.  It’s a bit of a mess.  It’s definitely not helped by the odd shape of the upper legs, which look almost like they’re upside down or something.  With the right pose, you can hide most of the issues, and the sculpt is decent enough as a whole, but I really feel like they could have workshop-ed this a little bit better.  The paint on this guy is passable; it’s about what you’d expect from a Spider-Man.  He’s red, blue, and black.  The application’s mostly pretty clean.  There’s some slop in a few spots (the arms seem to get the worst of it), but it’s okay overall.  This figure includes no accessories, which feels a bit off.  Not even an extra head, or a webline?  Something would have been nice.

VULTURE

Vulture was a nice choice for the film’s main villain.  He’s got some general public recognition, but his characterization’s not quite as set in stone as some of the other Spider-Rogues.  Plus, he hasn’t been overdone, and his less earth-shattering persona allows for a slightly smaller-scale story.  He also has one of my favorite MCU re-designs, so that’s cool.  This figure is based on that design…in theory.  He stands about 4 inches tall and he has 20 points of articulation (21 with the wings).  He’s a bit less hindered by missing joints than Peter, but I might have liked some form of joint around his mid-torso.  Like Peter, he’s an all-new sculpt.  On it’s own, it’s an okay piece of work, I guess.  The pieces line up better than they did on Spidey, and his overall proportions seem a little better.  The big issue here is that he’s not particularly faithful to the source material.  He’s got the most basic elements, but they all seem to veer off slightly.  The helmet’s the most noticeable for me.  It’s way too boxy, especially in the mouth/chin area.  Everything is super boxy, which isn’t what he looked like in the film at all.  His visor is also a solid piece, attached to the rest of the head, thus removing the eery illuminated eyes from the movie design, which is one of the cooler elements.  The wings are also pretty far off.  They’re under-sized, which is somewhat understandable, given the price point, but they’re also just the wring shape.  Where the helmet when too boxy, these go the opposite direction; they’re too sleek for movie Vulture.  They seem more like Falcon’s wing pack than Vulture’s.  His body is a little more accurate; the only real issue is the gloves going over his coat sleeves, which is relatively minor.  The paint is similar to the sculpt, in that it’s fine removed from the source, but rather inaccurate.  In general, the colors are far too light.  Areas that were a dark, gunmetal grey in the film are a pale, largely flat grey here.  This is most obvious on the head, which is made to look even larger than it is thanks to the lighter color.  The visor has been made an opaque metallic green for some reason; even if they couldn’t afford to make the visor a separate piece, couldn’t they have at least tried to replicate the eyes via some clever paint work?  Vulture’s only real extra is the wings, which still puts him above Peter, but I wouldn’t have minded getting an unmasked head or something.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I bought this set for two reasons.  First, to tide me over until I can finish finding the 6-inch Legends Homecoming assortment.  Second, because for reasons I can’t begin to fathom, Target started clearancing this set a week before the film’s release, so I was able to get it for $10.  It’s not a fantastic set.  There’s some very frustrating choices here.  But, for $5 a figure, it feels like an okay deal.  I’ve gotten worse figures.

#1375: Ahab

AHAB

X-MEN (TOY BIZ)

“A houndmaster from a future timeline in which mutants are hunted down and destroyed, Ahab has time-traveled to the present to continue his mission of eliminating dangerous mutants. Employing advanced Sentinel technology in his powerful cyborg body, Ahab ruthlessly enslaves those mutants he does not kill, transforming them into telepathic hounds which he uses to track down others of their kind. Only the combined powers of the X-Men, X-Factor, the New Mutants and the Fantastic Four were able to put a stop to Ahab’s murderous rampage through our time in the past. Should he reappear, who knows what havoc he might wreak!”

You know how sometimes there’s bad figures of good characters?  Or, on the flip side, good figures of bad characters?  Today represents neither of those things.  Today, I look at what might be one of the very worst figures ever released in Toy Biz’s 5-inch X-Men line.  He’s a little figure by the name of Ahab.  Let’s just get straight to it, shall we?

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Ahab was released in Series 5 of X-Men.  In a series populated by fan-favorites, he’s…well, he’s not.  He’s an odd choice for the set, and the line in general really.  I mean, I guess he was involved in some semi-important stories in the comics.  But, given that one of the characters completely absent from Toy Biz’s entire run was Rachel Summers, who’s sort of the only reason Ahab matters at all, he feels out of place.  Maybe there’s a big Ahab fanbase out there or something.  I don’t know.  Anyway, the figure stands a little over 5 inches tall and he has 6 points of articulation.  For reasons I’m not entirely sure of, he lacks neck and elbow movement, which makes for a very stiff figure.  Already not the greatest start.  Ahab has what has to be one of the clunkiest sculpts of any figure in this line.  I genuinely don’t know how they managed to mess him up this bad.  I mean, he’s hardly got the greatest design in the comics, but it’s better than this, to be sure.  Everything about this figure is blocky, stiff, and inorganic.  That’s fine for the blocky, stiff, and inorganic parts, but not so much for the parts that aren’t those things. His head is particularly bad, given it’s incredibly thin, tall look, and complete lack of neck.  He’s got this sort of cyborg-zombie-Abraham-Lincoln thing going on, and the sculpt doesn’t seem to be able to decide what’s his hair and what’s his headgear.  They just sort of meld together. He’s also got this look on his face like he just crapped his pants.  Which, in a gross way, leads me to my next complaint: his legs.  Or, more specifically, his hips, which are oddly shaped, not particularly accurate to his comics design, and start a considerable distance after his torso ends.  Ahab’s paintwork is decent enough for what it is. It’s pretty basic, and far from the most appealing color scheme.  Burnt sienna and lavender isn’t exactly an imposing combo.  Also, we get the same issues the sculpt had with the hair/headgear changeover, which just sort of…happens.  The figure was originally packed with a missile launcher and three “harpoons,” which I don’t have.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

So, if I hate this guy so much, why do I own him?  Is he another gift from a confused family member?  Nope, he’s actually a pretty recent acquisition.  In the last few months, I’ve decided to try and complete my ‘90s X-Men collection.  That meant I was gonna have to get this guy eventually.  I found this one at Yesterday’s Fun for $1, which is really about the cap of how much I’m willing to pay for him.  He’s an awful figure.  Just awful.  But, I like to look at the positives: the collection only improves from here!

#1370: Diamondhead

DIAMONDHEAD

BEN 10 (BANDAI)

Much as I tried, Ben 10 was one of those shows I just could never really keep up with.  I don’t really know why.  I liked the concept and I loved the character designs.  Heck, I even had a handful of the toys, despite the fact that they were made by Bandai America.  But I just never really got into the show.  Well, at least I still have the toys, right?  That’s always the most important thing.  Today, I’m gonna look at one of those toys!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Diamondhead was released in the basic figure series of Bandai’s main Ben 10 line.  He was in the second wave of figures, hitting a few months after the initial assortment.  He represents Ben’s initial Diamondhead look.  The figure stands about 4 inches tall and he has 7 points of articulation.  As with a lot of Bandai America figures, he’s rather under-scaled in comparison to the rest of the line, but he looks halfway decent when placed with other aliens that are meant to be of similar stature.  His articulation is a bit lower than the usual Bandai fare, to the point of not being useful for a whole lot other than standing.  I mean, it’s certainly better than nothing, but it’s still rather on the lacking side.  The sculpt was unique to this guy, and, on the plus side, it was actually a pretty solid piece of work.  He manages to be a mostly spot-on recreation of Diamondhead as seen in the show, and is generally just really sharp looking.  This is one of the better sculpts that this line produced to be sure.  The paint work on this figure is perfectly acceptable, but ultimately rather uninspired.  The colors are all chosen well enough, and the application’s pretty clean for the most part.  Heck, there aren’t even any missing paint apps, a rarity when it comes to Bandai America products.  The issue?  The diamond parts.  In the show, it’s clear that he’s not just one single shade of opaque blue-green, but that’s exactly what he is here.  This figure really would have benefited from some sort of slightly translucent or even pearlescent plastic for his exposed diamond skin.  As it is?  He feels a little drab and lackluster.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Here’s something I don’t say much on this site: I don’t know where I got this figure.  That generally doesn’t bode well, since if I don’t remember getting it, it means I’m not very attached to it.  This is perhaps the one Ben 10 figure I own whose origins I can’t relay.  Going back and reviewing the figure, I can’t say that’s a surprise.  He’s not anything special, and he’s not particularly fun.  Sure, the sculpt’s decent, but that’s really it.  Nothing about this figure goes beyond so-so, and without any sentimental value, I can’t say he does a whole lot for me.

#1367: Falcon

THE FALCON

MARVEL SUPER HEROES: SECRET WARS (MATTEL)

“Transported to a strange planet by a force from beyond the universe, earth’s deadliest villains try to destroy the Marvel Super Heroes – as they fight the Secret Wars through the use of secret messages!”

Before Toy Biz came along and gave us just about every single Marvel character under the sun in the ‘90s, there was a very eclectic selection of Marvel characters available in toy format.  Major characters went completely figureless for years.  And yet, in the chaos of pre-Toy Biz Marvel stuff, somehow The Falcon, a relatively minor character until very recently, wound up with not one, but two whole figures.  I’ll be looking at the second of those, courtesy of Mattel’s Secret Wars line.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Falcon was released in the second series of Marvel Super Heroes: Secret Wars, alongside the previously reviewed Daredevil, Black Costume Spider-Man, and Baron Zemo.  As with DD and Zemo, Falcon is another character in the line who wasn’t present in the maxi-series at all.  Not sure why they went with so many non-series stars, but if it gets me a Falcon figure, I won’t complain.  The figure stands about 4 1/2 inches tall and has 7 points of articulation, counting the wings.  He’s built on the same basic body as most of the line, at least for the torso and legs, anyway.  His arms are from Captain America, and his head was an all-new sculpt.  The head is sort of iffy.  I think part of the problem is that he’s the only Secret Wars figure to incorporate hair, and Mattel clearly wasn’t up to hair in terms of sculpting prowess.  He’s also rather wide, and somewhat nondescript.  The standard torso’s been tweaked slightly to allow for the attachment of his wings.  The wings don’t really follow the usual layout for Falcon; his wings have classically been attached to his arms, but these are purely attached to his back, sticking straight out like Angel or Hawkman’s wings.  I find it doesn’t look as cool as his traditional look, but doing them the right way wouldn’t have really been possible given the constraints of the base body.  The paint on Falcon is about on par with the rest of the line, which is to say it’s passable, but far from stellar.  The colors sort of run together, I find, and for whatever reason his shoes are the same color as his skin.  He’s also missing any detailing on the eyes, which comes across as incredibly cheap and lazy in my opinion.  Also, like all of the other figures I’ve looked at, this guy’s exhibiting some rather noticeable paint wear, a symptom of the lower quality paint that was used.  The worst of it’s the missing spot on the nose, which is a little frustrating, but far from horrible.  He was originally packed with his sidekick Redwing, as well as one of the goofy lenticular shields.  Mine has neither, but I can’t really say I’m hurting for either piece.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Falcon is a figure that’s eluded me for quite some time.  Cosmic Comix got one in about a decade ago, which I wanted to get, but decided to come back for later.  Sadly, he was gone when I got back, and not long after I discovered that he’s actually one of the rarer releases from the line.  I was able to finally track him down, courtesy of Heywood Comics in Asheville, NC.  He’s not in perfect condition, but he’s decent enough that I’m happy with him.  The figure’s not one of Mattel’s stronger offerings, but I can’t say he’s out of place with this line.  He could be worse.