ZAN, JAYNA, & GLEEK
SUPER FRIENDS (FIGURES TOY COMPANY)
Wonder Twin powers activate! Form of: an action figure review!
Hey guys, so here we are on day two of the post-Christmas reviews. As I noted in the intro, this review is based around the Wonder Twins, that wacky duo (and their pet space monkey) who were sort of haphazardly shoved into the Justice League membership during the second season of Super Friends. Of all the Super Friends-original characters, the Wonder Twins are probably the most enduring, likely due to being the only ones who didn’t feel like a pretty direct rip-off of something else (okay, yes, they were just Wendy & Marvin with powers, but lets not talk about that too much). The duo were originally slated to get action figures during Kenner’s DC Super Powers line in the ‘80s, but the line ended before they could get past the drawing board. They did eventually make it into plastic form as an exclusive two-pack in Mattel’s DC Universe Classics line, but, well, that was Mattel, so you can probably guess the whole thing didn’t go particularly smoothly. Most recently, they’ve gotten another shot at action figure glory courtesy of Figures Toy Company. I’ll be taking a look at those figures today!
THE FIGURES THEMSELVES
Zan, Jayna, and their pet monkey Gleek were released as a special three-pack in Figures Toy Company’s Super Friends line. The line as a whole is patterned after Mego’s figures from the ‘70s, but with some of the more specific design elements coming straight from the Super Friends model sheets.
Form of: Zan! The male Wonder Twin is built on the standard Mego Type 2 style body. Unlike the Dr. Mego bodies used by DST and Biff Bang Pow or the Big Jim-styled bodies from Mattel, Figures Toy Company’s version of the body doesn’t have any changes or improvements; the body is pretty much the same quality as the old ‘70s bodies. This is okay from a consistency standpoint (since they’ll fit right in with the vintage figures), but means that the quality is that of a $4 action figure from the mid-70s, rather than a $20-30 figure from the last year, which can be slightly frustrating. Moving past that, Zan stands about 8 inches tall and has 14 points of articulation. As far as the body sculpt, he’s got a unique head and hands. The head is a pretty decent summation of his animated design (certainly closer than Mattel’s attempt), and also fits pretty well with existing Mego figures. The hands are a bit of a departure from the usual Mego style; they’re certainly nicely enough in terms of sculpt, but they’re made of a rather rubbery material, which makes they pop off the wrists at the slightest touch, and are rather difficult to get back in place. In terms of costume, Zan has a jumpsuit with a pleather collar, a belt, and a pair of boots. The pieces mostly fit well enough; the collar could probably be a little better shaping wise, but it fits the style, and you can mess with it to make it look a little more presentable. The one weird thing about the costume is the belt. Clearly, they wanted Zan, Jayna, and Gleek to all be able to wear the same belt, so it’s sort of this one-size-fits-all thing, resulting in all three belts having an extra length running from the back, almost like an oddly placed tail. One last thing: I feel I should note that the colors of the boots, gloves, and belt do all match in person, despite what it may look like on the photos.
Shape of: Jayna! Jayne here is built on the standard female body, which seems rather oddly shaped if I’m honest. It’s not awful, but not quite as solid as the male version. It seems Jayna’s body is just a bit to tightly strung in the middle as well, which permanently leaves her with this sort of hunch. It’s a bit odd. Jayne is assembled pretty much exactly the same as her brother; sculpted head and hands, cloth costume with pleather collar, and rubber belt and boots. The head is another pretty good piece, and looks well enough like Jayna. The hands seem to be a slight improvement over Zan’s, as I had no issues with them falling off on her. The issue with the belt, however, is even more noticeable with Jayna, thanks to her even smaller waist. Her costume also seems to bunch up a bit more than Zan’s, but that’s an issue prevalent with Mego figures in general. Not a whole lot more to say here, since she’s so similar to her brother.
Gleek doesn’t have a part of the catchphrase, so no witty intro there. He does break from the trend in this set by not using one of the Mego bodies; instead, he gets an all-new body, designed to fit his more simian appearance. The figure stands about 3 inches tall and he has 5 points of articulation and a bendable tail. Glenn’s sculpt is pretty solid, and actually does a very good job of capturing his design from he show. The head in particular is quite spot on. His little booties are sculpted onto the body, but the rest of the costume is tailored, so as to match with the twins. He’s got a jumpsuit, a cape, and the same belt as the other two (albeit slightly differently colored). The costume is on the baggy side, but it doesn’t look terrible. On the plus side, the cape is good for hiding the excess length of belt, thus eliminating the main problem with the other two figures’ costumes. None of the figures in this set include any extras, but I feel Gleek is hit the hardest by this, since the bucket he always had on hand to carry Zan in his water form seems like a pretty obvious missing piece. Guess I’ll have to find my own.
THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION
Like yesterday’s set, these guys were a Christmas gift from my Grandmother. It’s actually quite fitting, since the whole reason I’m familiar with Megos at all is because I played with my dad’s old figures when I would stay at her house, frequently watching taped episodes of cartoons such as Super Friends. Interestingly enough, while a lot of people hated the Wonder Twins, I actually always liked them and was quite frustrated by how the Mattel versions were handled. I was quite happy to actually get the duo and Gleek in figure form. I won’t lie, these figures aren’t without their sets of issues. If you aren’t firmly a Mego fan, these won’t be for you. That being said, this is a very prominent example of the whole being better than the sum of its parts. These figures didn’t disappoint me.