#3008: The Family That Busts Together

PHOEBE & EGON SPENGLER

GHOSTBUSTERS: PLASMA SERIES (HASBRO)

“Phoebe’s love of science and affinity for bustin’ ghosts runs in the family. She’s got Spengler blood, after all.”

Finding a good follow-up to the first Ghostbusters has been a difficult task since, well, the first Ghostbusters, honestly.  Even the combination of the whole original cast, the original director, and the original writers on Ghostbusters II wasn’t enough to capture that particular lightning back in the bottle, so in a modern world where reassembling the whole team is no longer possible, it’s an even more daunting task.  2016’s attempted reboot was divisive to put it mildly.  So, Afterlife seemed like it was taking on a rather Herculean feat, but it actually managed to achieve the seemingly impossible, and finally craft an actually pretty decent follow-up to the first movie.  Its success largely lies in how it interweaves old and new, as the old story is still there, but there’s also an actually rather likable cast of new characters to accompany them.  Central to the film is Egon Spengler’s granddaughter Phoebe, whose curiosity about her grandfather’s old habits launches her into the film’s events, as she is guided by her grandfather’s spirit, metaphorically, and then (SPOILERS), not so metaphorically.

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

“The Family That Busts Together” set is a Target-exclusive Ghostbusters: Plasma Series release, which was announced the week after Afterlife hit theaters, and started hitting shelves just after Black Friday/Cyber Monday.  Currently, the set is the only way to get Plasma Series versions of either of the two included characters.  It does seem a little odd, since Phoebe is unquestionably the film’s main character, and it’s an exclusive set, but with the rather notable spoilers surrounding the other half of the set, I can get the move for a retailer exclusive, since that allows for a closer to film release, while also keeping the reveal close to the vest for as close as possible.  The set did at least prove fairly easy to find at first, though in the aftermath of holiday shopping, time will tell as to exactly how easily acquired it is.

PHOEBE

Afterlife‘s new cast each sort of follow the archetype of one of the earlier ‘Busters, with McKenna Grace’s Phoebe taking her grandfather’s spot as the slightly quieter, more scientifically-minded member of the crew, though perhaps one that’s a little more outwardly driven than Egon ever was in the films proper.  As with all of the figures thus far from the film, Phoebe is based on her fully geared up look from later in the film, which is certainly sensible, as far as toy choices go.  Just basic day-to-day attire might not be quite as fun.  The figure stands about 5 inches tall and she has 25 points of articulation.  While there are similarities in the sculpts of all the new Ghostbusters, none of them are actually sharing parts, so Phoebe is an all-new mold.  It’s a pretty solid one.  The articulation is perhaps a touch more limited than I’d like, but it does somewhat come with the territory of her being much smaller.  The likeness on the head sculpt is pretty spot on, and I really like the little touches to show that she’s had to quite hastily tailor her grandfather’s jumpsuit to her smaller stature.  The paint work on the figure is on par with the earlier releases in the line, which is to say its pretty clean and basic, with the best work by far being shown off on the head, which has the face printing.  Phoebe gets a rather impressive selection of accessories, including Egon’s modified proton pack, with removable back plate and neutron wand, as well as an effects piece, a PKE meter, which can be clipped to her belt, a jar of ooze from the second movie, and one of the chess pieces from the game she and Egon’s poltergeist are playing throughout the film.  The very moment-specific extras are definitely a lot of fun, and I was glad to see them turn up.  Lastly, and not so much for her specifically, the set also includes the head to the Terror Dog version of Zuul, designed for use with the Build-A-Figure body released last year.  Since that one was specifically Vinz Clortho, and it was re-used again for the set with Tully, it was very nice of Hasbro to find a way to give collectors both dogs.

EGON

Afterlife begins with the death of Egon, shot in such a way as to avoid showing him directly, given Harold Ramis’s passing seven years before the film.  Throughout the film, he continues to have a role in the film as a spirit with no visible form, again to keep him included, while still acknowledging the loss of Ramis.  The big reveal during the film’s climactic battle, after the remaining three original ‘busters have shown up to assist the new team, and after Phoebe in particular steps up to face down Gozer, is Egon as an actual visible ghost.  It’s a moment that allows both Egon and Ramis to stand alongside their respective teams one last time, and it’s one of the film’s most emotional moments to be sure.  This set in particular is designed to replicate that sequence, and Egon’s appearance in particular.  The figure stands just over 6 inches tall and he has 29 points of articulation.  Structurally, he’s largely the same as all of the other older ‘busters from Afterlife, meaning he’s using the Ray body from the first series.  It gives him a slightly huskier build, which matches to Ramis’s look later in life, as well as how Egon is portrayed in the film.  The only thing that *doesn’t* match up with the film is the presence of gloves, which Egon pointedly didn’t have on as a spectre.  However, there aren’t yet any non-gloved hands and forearms for the standard ‘Busters body, so it would have required new tooling, and given how the coloration works, it’s a forgivable change, since it’s not very visible anyway.  The one new piece here is a new head sculpt.  It’s not as spot-on a likeness as the prior Egon, but it’s also based on a cgi recreation of a likeness, and it given the turnaround time on this one, it’s likely it wasn’t even a fully-formed render at the time yet.  All things considered, it’s perhaps a little on the large side, but otherwise not a bad sculpt at all.  The paint work on this figure is a definite change-up from the others, since it needs to give him that spectral look.  This is achieved by molding him in translucent blue plastic, and then painting on some trace details, notably on the face and the upper torso, making him look like an apparition that fades away as it gets to the edges of his body.  It’s a well-rendered effect, especially when seen in person.  Egon’s more of an accessory himself, so he doesn’t get anything of his own, but a few of Phoebe’s accessories also work for Egon as well, so there’s some crossover there.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

As I’ve mentioned before, Egon’s my favorite member of the Ghostbusters, and Harold Ramis is also one of my favorite creators, so the lack of both of them in this sequel was something I was worried about going into the new movie.  I really loved how they worked his legacy into the story, and I’ll admit to being rather touched by how they built to his ultimate reappearance late in the film.  Likewise, I really identified a lot with Phoebe and her quest to connect more with her late grandfather.  She was certainly my favorite addition to the cast, so I found myself wanting this set quite a bit after seeing the movie.  Thankfully, Max was there with the assist on this one, and snagged me one back in December.  Phoebe is definitely the real star here, but the accessory selection and inclusion of Egon really make it a home run of a set.

#2998: Andros

ANDROS

POWER RANGERS: LIGHTNING COLLECTION (HASBRO)

The continuing narrative of the first six years of Power Rangers, and its conclusion in Power Rangers In Space allowed for a slightly different structure to the show’s first episode.  Since most of the team had already been introduced in the preceding season, the show places its main focus on the one new member of the team, Andros, the season’s Red Ranger.  We first encounter him on a recon mission spying on a gathering of villains from prior seasons, which requires him to have a more incognito appearance, at least at first.  It’s a design that has as of yet not gotten any toy coverage, but Hasbro’s addressing that here, with the figure I’m taking a look at today.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Andros in Disguise is a Target-exclusive one-off release for Power Rangers: The Lightning Collection.  Or he’s at the very least an exclusive to Target for now.  It’s a slightly confusing situation, as has been the case with a handful of releases from Hasbro recently.  Photos of him showed up with no official announcement, and then Hasbro themselves showed him off, but with no actual mention of release plan, and no mention of any exclusive status.  And then he just showed up on Target’s website, and was very quickly in-stock, making the whole thing a rather surprisingly quick turn around.  The figure stands about 6 inches tall and he has 34 points of articulation.  Structurally, his actual sculpt is identical to Andros in his Red Ranger gear (and all of the other male Space Rangers, for that matter).  It’s a sculpt that gets the job done, and it matches up with the other Andros, so it makes sense.  The main structural change up is the addition of a cloth robe piece for him.  It kind of looks like a bath robe, which I don’t really think is the intended appearance.  It’s a little goofy looking, especially in the photos, but I’ll admit it looks a fair bit better in person than I’d expected it to, and actually holds shape pretty well.  Even the velcro on the front stays secure, which isn’t always a guarantee.  The color work on this guy is another notable change up. Technically, in the show, he’s just wearing his usual Red Ranger gear under the cloak, but it’s shot in a way that hides it in the shadows.  To simulate this, Andros is wearing all black this time.  It’s an interesting look, and the presence of extra gold accenting, especially the insignia on the front, makes it feel like this is an established design from elsewhere.  That being said, I don’t know specifically where, and my brief searching on the internet hasn’t turned anything up.  So, I guess it’ll just remain a mystery.  It certainly looks cool, though.  Andros is packed with two heads, one helmeted (and in all-black to match the main figure), and one unhelmeted (re-used from the prior release), as well as two sets of hands, his Spiral Saber, Astro Blaster, and effects pieces for both weapons.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

This is an odd release, and certainly not one I really thought I would need.  That said, In Space is my favorite incarnation, and there’s very little I wouldn’t buy from it.  So, this guy was certainly on my radar, not that I was in a rush or anything.  Max actually wound up ordering one online, before managing to find one in store.  Since he didn’t need two, he was kind enough to set me up with the spare.  He’s not essential, and it’s not like he really does anything new, but he’s a rather fun one-off variant.

#2970: Happy Hogan & Iron Man Mark XXI

HAPPY HOGAN & IRON MAN MARK XXI

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

Moving along the Iron Man timeline with our reviews here, we make our way to the final entry in that set of films, Iron Man 3.  IM3 had the good grace of being the first MCU film to get the Legends treatment proper, which was a pretty big deal at the time.  That said, it was just two movie-related figures in an otherwise comics assortment, which meant we just got the rather barebones Mark 42 and Iron Patriot releases, with scrapped releases for War Machine Mk II and Ben Kingsley’s Mandarin.  Later Legends treatments got those additional two released, and there’s been a slow trickle of a few additional House Party armors every so often.  We get one tribute to the film in the Infinity Saga set, featuring Stark Industries Head of Security Happy Hogan, as well as one more House Party armor.

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

Happy Hogan and Iron Man Mark XXI are a Target-exclusive two-pack, released in the Infinity Saga sub-line of Marvel Legends.  They started hitting retail at the beginning of October, and have thus far been hitting in at least okay numbers.

HAPPY HOGAN

Stark Industries’ new Head of Security gets caught in the middle of the battle as Iron Man gears up to face an all new powerful threat.”

After six film appearances (with a seventh in later this month), Jon Favreau’s Happy Hogan finally gets some Legends coverage.  Not bad for a guy in a suit, I guess.  The figure stands just shy of 6 1/2 inches tall and he has 30 points of articulation.  Happy is a much larger guy than any of the other suit-wearers we’ve gotten, so he requires mostly new pieces.  He borrows the arms from the Logan version of, well, Logan, but is otherwise sporting all-new parts.  I certainly appreciate getting more variety to how the guys in suits are built; things were beginning to get a bit samey.  I do appreciate that he’s even got a pocket on his shirt under the jacket, showcasing that he’s just a little bit more working class than most of the other suit wearing guys we’ve gotten.  The only downside to the sculpt is that they’ve neglected to give Happy his ID badge, which is definitely gonna set him off.  C’mon guys, everyone needs to be wearing their ID badges.  By far the best part of the sculpt is the head, which has a pretty spot-on likeness of Favreau circa IM3, which is when Happy really comes into his own, so it’s a good choice.  He’s got a good recreation of Happy’s usual “sunny disposition.”   Happy’s paint work is reserved, but works well.  Mostly it’s just the face, which is quite lifelike.  Theres a few other spots on the suit, namely the belt and buckle.  It’s all pretty clean, and it does the job well.  Though he may not have his ID badge, Happy does at least get his cellphone.  It’s a tiny little piece guaranteed to be lost, but hey, it’s still a cool touch.

IRON MAN MARK XXI

“Mark XXI, codename ‘Midas,’ is a fully loaded high-altitude suit built by Stark that’s outfitted with enriched gold titanium alloy.”

There are a great number of varieties of Iron Man suits presented by the film’s “House Party” concept.  Many of them are quite unique, while others are really just re-decos of prior armors.  This one’s one of the latter.  Dubbed “Midas,” the Mark XXI is a recolor of Avengers‘ Mark VII, done up in all gold as a reference to Iron Man’s distinctive all-gold armor from the early Silver Age.  Unsurprisingly, the figure is likewise just a re-use of the Mark VII mold.  He stands 6 1/2 inches tall and he has 37 points of articulation.  The sculpt worked well for the Mark VII and it works well for Midas as well.  It’s hard to fault Hasbro for the re-use, especially when the mold is as good as this one.  The color work is changed up, of course, so that he’s now all gold.  It’s a mix of molded plastic and painted sections, so there’s som variety to the finish.  It doesn’t look half bad.  Midas gets the same accessory selection as the Mark VII: two sets of hands and blast effects, all in changed up colors to match with the core figure.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Happy Hogan is one of those character’s I’ve always loved in the comics, and I’ve been thrilled to see him actually get to grow over the course of his MCU appearances.  I didn’t have the highest hopes for a Legends release, but they’ve been pulling out all the stops recently, so it’s not the craziest thing.  It was definitely cool to see him show up here, and I like that they went with his IM3 appearance.  Midas isn’t one of the more thrilling House Party armors, but the original base figure was nice, and so is this one.  There have been worse space fillers in these two-packs.

#2965: Thena

THENA

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

“A fierce warrior, Thena has the ability to use cosmic energy to form any handheld weapon she can think of.”

Introduced in Eternals #5, Thena, the second of the two female members of the original Eternals, was, rather unsurprisingly, meant as a stand-in for Athena, Greek goddess of wisdom, amongst others.  She was later retconned to also be the incarnation of Minerva (Athena’s Roman equivalent) who appeared in Red Raven Comics #1 some 36 years earlier, in effect making her one of Marvel’s oldest characters, predating even the name “Marvel.”  Thena is perhaps one of the least changed characters within the film adaptation, where she is played by Angelina Jolie.  I’ll be taking a look at her figure today.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Thena is a Target-exclusive Marvel Legends release, the equivalent to Ajak’s Walmart-exclusive release, both of them released to coincide with the main Eternals assortment.  While Thena is certainly a more directly relevant character within the context of the movie, she does spend some of her time separated from the others, and, as perhaps the biggest name in the cast, it makes some sense that a big box store might want to lay claim to her.  In a perfect world, I’d probably swap her and Ikaris, but I can get why this is the direction they went.  The figure stands 6 1/4 inches tall and she has 27 points of articulation.  Her articulation scheme is largely the same as the others in the set, with the one slightly odd caveat of her knee joints not actually having knee caps.  It looks odd to say the least.  I mean, it’s hidden by the structure of the boots in just about every pose, but it’s still kind of a weird choice.  Thena’s sculpt is all-new to her, and it’s a pretty respectable recreation of her design as seen in the movie.  Said design is itself a pretty respectable translation of her comics looks.  The only real departure is the headgear, which is now admittedly more Wonder Woman-like than it was before.  The head sculpt is sporting a rather nice likeness of Jolie, certainly one of the best from this whole line-up.  The body sculpt more or less match with the other figures in the set.  The armor detailing is fairly sharp, and the proportions are decently balanced.  The paint work on Thena is all around pretty alright.  The face detailing is quite lifelike, and the hair gets some pretty nice accenting to bring out more of the details.  The armor is a mix of metallic paints and slightly pearlescent plastic, which does a good job of capturing the finish of her armor in the movie.  Thena is by far the best armed of the Eternals figures, as she not only gets two sets of hands, but also a staff, two styles of sword, and a small blade.  After the rest of them were so lacking in any sort of replication of their on screen abilities, it’s certainly nice to see Thena actually get some of the things she crafts in the movie.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I held off on Thena prior to the film, because I just didn’t know how I was going to feel about the character.  While I was able to get Ajak through a trade-in, I was none so lucky with Thena.  After seeing the movie, I felt the need to address that, so I actually went to a Target and bought her.  Crazy, I know.  What a concept.  She’s a rather nice figure, certainly the best accessorized of the set, and really the best overall package deal, I think.  She’d be better served as a non-exclusive, but at least she doesn’t seem to be a very hard to get one.

#2950: Mobius

MOBIUS

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

“Mobius M. Mobius is an Agent for the Time Variance Authority who specializes in the investigations of particularly dangerous time criminals.”

While prior MCU entries have had more direct stories to adapt, Loki was sort of a blender full of various ideas rattling around the Marvel Universe.  Among those ideas was the Time Variance Authority, a concept introduced into the comics by Walt Simonson and Sal Buscema, during Simonson’s run on Thor in 1986.  Initially, the staff of the TVA were all clones of real-world Marvel editor Mark Gruenwald, who had been instrumental at mapping out the Marvel multiverse, as well as cataloging its occupants via the Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe.  The TVA’s most prominent agent was Mobius M. Mobius, whose character was adapted as a major player in Loki, now played by Owen Wilson.  Wow.  And, despite just being another guy in a suit, he did get an action figure.  Double wow.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Mobius is a Target-exclusive Marvel Legends offering.  He just started hitting Target shelves across the country in the last few weeks, and he’s already being called a peg warmer, so we’re on track with how these things go, I suppose.  The figure stands 6 1/4 inches tall and he has 30 points of articulation.  I was all ready to write this one off as just being a pretty straight re-use of the Coulson body, but as it turns out, it’s actually not.  The arms and legs are the same, but the torso has been replaced with an all-new one, this time with a ball-joint at the middle, rather than the ab-crunch like before.  I’m not entirely sure why they made this change, but it is a little more posable when taking the jacket into account.  Oddly, despite this new sculpt getting him the proper belt buckle, he still has a standard shirt collar, instead of the one that goes all the way to the shoulders, as was the style for all of the TVA suits.  It’s largely hidden by the jacket, but still.  He does at least get the proper jacket with the inverted collar, so that’s cool.  Also, he gets an all-new head sculpt, of course, which sports a pretty spot-on likeness of Wilson in the role.  Weird broken nose and all.  The figure’s paint work is fairly bland, as is appropriate.  The application on the face is up to the usual standards these days, and looks quite lifelike.  I also quite like the patterning on the tie; it’s a nice extra visual touch for the character.  Mobius is packed with his tablet and pruning wand, both of which are pretty key to the character, and also seem like good choices for potential re-use if we wind up getting more Loki-based figures.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

The fact that Owen Wilson hasn’t gotten an action figure up to this point seems odd, if I’m honest, so the fact that we actually got one here was nifty.  I also really liked Mobius as a character, so I was down for the figure pretty much as soon as it was shown off.  I wasn’t really jamming on it as a Target-exclusive, but it seems this one isn’t going to be quite so impossible to get, which I consider a plus.  I myself was able to snag one through Target.com, so I didn’t even have to leave home to get it.  He’s not breaking the mold or anything, but he’s still a generally fun figure, and it’s nice to have him to go with Loki and Sylvie.

#2926: Alvin “Breaker” Kibbey with RAM Cycle

ALVIN “BREAKER” KIBBEY w/ RAM CYCLE

G.I. JOE: CLASSIFIED SERIES (HASBRO)

G.I. Joe: Classified Series has kind of slowed its pace in new releases, presumably to allow people a chance to, you know, actually find some of them.  The last two sets of the main line have been devoted to the ill-fated movie tie-in stuff, while the core line stuff is still kind of tied-up with exclusives.  Two years into the line, we’re getting a second vehicle, this time around for the Joes.  It’s another bike, though this time it’s actually an update on one of the vintage vehicles, specifically the RAM Cycle, one of the Real American Hero line’s debut vehicles.  It’s even packed with an updated version of one of the Original 13, Breaker!

THE TOYS THEMSELVES

Alvin “Breaker” Kibbey and the RAM Cycle are one of the two pieces in the latest round of Target-exclusive “Special Mission: Cobra Island” sub-set of Hasbro’s G.I. Joe: Classified Series.  They’re numbered 29 in the overall line-up, thus far the highest number we’ve seen.  Breaker with the RAM Cycle feels like a kind of an odd pairing, but it’s actually not the first time they’ve been packed together, since they did the same thing in the 25th line.

ALVIN “BREAKER” KIBBEY

Breaker was one of the handful of greenshirts that launched the ARAH line in 1982, but has largely been confined to purely recreations and anniversary stuff since then.  As such, he’s really only had the one look (we don’t talk about “Stars and Stripes Forever” guys), which is effectively one this one’s recreating, albeit in a more modernized sense.  The figure stands about 6 inches tall and he has 35 points of articulation.  In terms of articulation, Breaker is rather standard for the line, but I did note that on mine the left hip was exceptionally loose.  Structurally, Breaker’s got a lot of re-use, going on.  The torso is from Beach Head, the arms from Duke, and the legs and waist are from Snake Eyes.  He then gets a new head, chest cover, and boots in order to make him a little more unique.  I’m gonna be honest, I’m already kinda starting to get tired of seeing Duke’s arms; we really need a set with the more proper tighter roll on the sleeves sooner than later.  I’m also not entirely sold on the new head.  It’s not a bad piece, and even bears quite a resemblance to Jake Gyllenhaal, which I guess could work well if you want an unmasked head for Mysterio.  That said, it feels a little too suave and cool for Breaker.  Again, not bad, but it does seem slightly out of character.  The vest is also a little more bulked up, and with him being packed in with a vehicle, I do kinda feel like I’m getting Clutch vibes off of him more so than Breaker.  I guess this is just one of those things that comes along with how similar all of the original figures were.  Breaker’s paint work is fairly one note.  There’s a lot of olive green, which is true to his design, I suppose.  The application is a little spotty, especially on the hairline and on the edges of the wrists.  In general, he gets the job done alright, though.  Breaker is packed with an all-new helmet.  It’s got his comm piece built in, as well as an affixed visor.  The visor is totally opaque, which is kind of a bummer, and also adds to making Breaker look too cool to really be Breaker.  I’m also kind of sad we didn’t get an alternate head with his trademark bubble gum bubble; we got it for Jubilee and Boom, why not Breaker?

RAM CYCLE

Hey, we finally got a second vehicle for the line!  What’s it gonna be this time?  Another motorcycle?  Wow, what a total shock that no one could have possibly seen coming.  Look, we all know bikes are the most cost effective way of doing vehicles at this scale, so I think we can all just get comfortable with this one, right?  Unlike its predecessor, the COIL, the RAM Cycle is a classic Joe vehicle, so it’s nice to see it make a return here.  The RAM is an all-new mold, measuring 5 inches tall by 8 inches wide, and having working wheels and steering.  It’s a pretty decent recreation of the vintage RAM Cycle, scaled up to the new line size, of course.  There are some pretty cool sculpted details worked in, and it’s got a totally different feel from the COIL’s Cobra-themed aesthetic, making it clearly a Joe vehicle.  Breaker also sits on it a little better than Baroness did on the COIL, making it feel like a slightly more coherent set.  There’s a removable side car piece, designed with the included minigun in mind.  It mimics the old toy’s mounted gun, while also allowing for the gun to be used on its own, presumably for someone who’s, you know, not Breaker.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

The Target exclusives for this line are kind of burning me out at this point.  I’m just rather tired of the hunt, and of not finding anything, and of having to deal with all the related stupidity.  So, I made no notable attempt to get Breaker, because I just couldn’t be too bothered really.  Plus, it’s another vehicle, and I’m not really displaying those right now, so it felt like a bit of a waste.  Max wound up snagging one of these for himself, and after opening it, admitted he really only wanted the bike, so Breaker was going to just be tossed in a bin somewhere.  I admitted I really only wanted Breaker, so we opted to split the set, with me doing the full review here first.  Breaker’s fairly by the numbers, and kind of not terribly Breaker-like, but he’s a decent enough figure that I’m glad to have him.  The cycle is fun, and I’m glad I got to mess with it, but it’s not something I need to own, so this set-up really does work out for both of us.

#2914: Spider-Man – Negative Zone

SPIDER-MAN — NEGATIVE ZONE

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

“Spider-Man’s Negative Zone suit allows him to absorb the Negative Zone’s dark energy and even merge with shadows. By doing so, the wall crawler becomes practically invisible, which gives him a major advantage against his enemies.”

Last fall, Hasbro leaned pretty heavily into the retro carded style for Marvel Legends, specifically for their Spider-Man sub-section of the line.  There was a dedicated assortment of figures, as well as a handful of one-offs and exclusives.  Target got themselves two different variants on Spidey himself for their exclusives.  I looked at Cyborg Spider-Man last year, but I never got around to the other one, Negative Zone Spider-Man, who I’ll be taking a look at today.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Negative Zone Spider-Man was released at the tail end of November of last year, alongside Gambit, Rogue, and Cyborg Spider-Man, as a small set of Target-exclusive Retro Collection offerings for Hasbro’s Marvel Legends line.  Like Cyborg Spider-Man, this is the Negative Zone suit’s third time in toy form, also following a Toy Biz 5 inch figure and a Minimate, just like Cyborg.  The figure stands 6 1/4 inches tall and he has 32 points of articulation.  The figure is a total repaint of Pizza Spidey.  It’s an interesting choice, really.  I don’t dislike Pizza Spidey in the slightest, and it was the standard Spidey for several years, but I find it funny that Hasbro tooled up a new standard Spidey for this very sub-line, and yet none of the variants on Spidey made use of the new parts.  Maybe they felt Negative Zone should be a skinnier Spider-Man?  Like I said, I don’t mind so much, but it is curious.  It’s all paint that makes the difference here.  He’s in a stark all black and white, as is accurate for the design, and it does look pretty sharp, I must say.  I just dig the sleekness, and the Pizza Spidey body emphasizes that.  Also something that excites me is the accessory selection, because for the first time in far too long, we get a Pizza Spidey release that actually gets the full range of hands.  How about that?  Boy how I missed the full range of hands.  He also gets the pizza, but in Negative Zone colors, which is pretty fun.  No half-masked head for eating the pizza, but I’ll learn to live with it, I suppose.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Neither of the Spidey variants from this round were essential to me, as I was far more focused on Gambit and Rogue at the time.  Target was running that “Buy 2 get 1 Free” sale at the time that they dropped them, and the only reason I really got Cyborg over this one was that this one wasn’t in stock at the moment I was ordering.  I saw him once or twice in-store, but I wasn’t in a rush.  I wound up getting him finally when one got traded into All Time.  I know, it’s quite a thrilling story, right?  Well, I guess more a touch thrilling than “I bought it at Target.”  I didn’t think much of the figure, but he’s actually pretty fun, and I’m glad I finally snagged 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.

#2895: Marvel’s Katy

MARVEL’S KATY

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

“Katy, Shang-Chi’s oldest friend, is free-spirited and fiercely loyal.”

Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings hit theatres two weeks ago today, after a few delays, as with all of the Marvel slate right now.  The tie-ins all hit back in the spring, closer to the film’s original release date, but, hey, at least they hit in the same year.  For the Legends side of things, there were four figures in the main assortment, with one additional one as an exclusive off on its own.  Said exclusive is Katy…sorry, *Marvel’s* Katy, Shang-Chi’s best friend, portrayed in the film by Awkwafina.  Katy serves as the film’s everyman, experiencing the weirdness in much the same way as the audience.  She also serves as a nice subversion of the usual Hollywood trope that all Asians know kung-fu, since she’s the one character in the main cast without any real fighting experience.  She’s also just pretty entertaining, so I’m all about it.  Anyway, here’s her figure.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Katy is a Target-exclusive Marvel Legends release, meant to coincide with the main tie-ins contained in the Mr. Hyde Series.  She started showing up at Targets right around the same time as the main assortment, and actually seemed to show up in pretty decent numbers, at least from my experience.  The figure stands 5 3/4 inches tall and she has 28 points of articulation.  The articulation on Katy is notably restricted by both the skirt and her longer hair, as well as the general design of the sleeves.  In general, she’s just not a super agile figure.  Of course, she’s not a super agile character either, so I suppose it sort of works out.  This figure presents Katy in her attire from the film’s climactic battle sequence.  It’s a get-up that’s not quite in line with what she wears for most of the film’s run time, but it’s also not just basic civilian attire, and it means she matches up with Shang-Chi and Xialing’s figures, since they’re also in the final battle attire.  Generally, it makes a lot of sense, and I totally see Hasbro’s angle here.  It’s a decent sculpt.  Maybe not as optimized for posability as it could be, but the likeness on the head’s probably the best of the four from the movie, and the detail work on the outfit’s texturing is really strong.  The paint work on Katy is pretty decent.  It’s mostly pretty basic, but there’s some rather impressive detailing on the collar and belt, matching the floral pattern from the movie.  Katy is packed with a bow, a quiver, a separate arrow, plus two combined arrows meant for filling the quiver, plus, best of all, Morris, the crew’s little animal guide to the supernatural spirit world.  There’s probably one other character who might have made more sense to pack with Morris, but that character was far less likely to get a figure, so Katy’s not a bad second choice.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

As with the other Shang-Chi figures, not knowing much about the characters when the toys actually hit made Katy sort of a weird sell.  Since she was an exclusive, and as such didn’t just fall into my lap the way the others did, I wasn’t quite as quick to pick her up.  That said, Target wound up putting her on a rather deep clearance rather quickly, which meant she was under $7, and there’s not really any Legends I’d pass at that price.  She didn’t do much for me prior to the film, but after the fact, I was very glad I picked her up.  She’s a decent enough piece, and fits nicely with the rest of the movie figures.

#2853: Mr. Freeze

MR. FREEZE

BATMAN: THE CAPED CRUSADER)  (SPIN MASTER)

Spin Master’s DC lines had a slightly rough start last year, what with the pandemic and everything, but they’re seemingly starting to get things a bit more back on track this year.  In particular, they seem to be having alright luck with the Batman half of their product lines.  Thus far, they’ve even had a small handful of store exclusives, with Target in particular having a few different pairs of Batman and one villain variant at a time.  The latest villainous addition is one of my favorites, Mr. Freeze, who I’ll be taking a look at today.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Mr. Freeze is one of the two latest Target-exclusive figures from Spin Master’s Batman: The Caped Crusader line, the other being another Batman repaint.  Freeze, on the other hand, is actually an all-new figure, which I do believe is a first for one of these exclusives.  That’s pretty nifty, I guess.  The figure stands about 4 inches tall and he has 16 points of articulation.  He lacks the usual neck movement, as most Freeze figures do, thanks to the domed helmet, which is a permanent fixture on this guy.  Design wise, he’s taking his cues largely from the post-New 52 version of the character.  While I was iffy on the design earlier in its run, the slight adjustments to it have made it a little bit more palatable.  I’m still not big on the suns out guns out arms, but I’ll live.  Structurally, he’s an all-new sculpt.  It’s pretty decent and generally in keeping with the rest of the line in styling.  There’s some pretty nice detailing going on in his various tech pieces, and I appreciate that he’s got a fully detailed head underneath the helmet.  It’s even got that pitch-perfect lack of expression on the face.  Can’t have any emotion on a Mr. Freeze figure.  I mean, not in front of other people, anyway.  That’s for later, back in his cell, when he’s all weepy and stuff.  But we don’t talk about that.  It gets awkward.  So let’s move on.  In terms of paint work, Freeze is rather basic.  There’s a little bit of painted work on the torso, but that’s it, with everything else just relying on the molded colors.  It’s not really far off from his usual colors anyway, so it works out fine.  There are a few smaller details that get left the same color as the surrounding stuff, but it’s still generally in keeping with the rest of the line.  Freeze is packed with three accessories, all of which are guns.  Lotta guns.  He likes his guns. They’re all re-used, which is a little bit of a let-down, but I guess they have to save some tooling where they can.  The re-used Killer Moth gun works out okay, but the Batman and Joker guns are a bit less so, since they’ve got a Bat-emblem and a pie tin on them, respectively.  Kind of not Freeze’s usual branding.  At least with the clear blue plastic, it’s not quite as immediately evident, but it would have been nice to see at least one new one here.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

As with so many of the Spin Master DCs, this one’s Max’s fault.  Okay, well, not entirely, I suppose, since I actually told him about the figure’s existence in the first place.  So, that’s on me.  I’m very definitely a Freeze fan, so I’m glad to see him added to the line, and while it may not be my first choice of outfit, it’s still pretty darn fun.  Spin Master’s quite good at keeping things fun, and I very much appreciate that.

#2849: Major Bludd

MAJOR BLUDD

G.I. JOE: CLASSIFIED SERIES (HASBRO)

We’ve had something of a hiatus from G.I. Joe reviews around these parts, mostly because there hasn’t actually been all that much to review, surprisingly.  We’ve got a lot just now hitting and also on the horizon, but since I reviewed Zartan back in May, there’s only actually been one true addition to Classified Series, and, surprising very few people, it was an exclusive.  This time around, it’s another member of the Cobra forces, Major Bludd.  First added to the line in 1983, Major Bludd gave the Cobra side some variety in ranks, as one of the first actual face characters for them, as well as one of the very few to truly fit into the overall Cobra ranking structure, unlike Destro, who was more an outside contractor.  Bludd is often a character that gets no respect, and you know what?  That’s appropriate.  He hasn’t earned it.  No respect for Sebastian.  I shan’t allow it.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Major Bludd is figure 27 in the G.I. Joe: Classified Series line-up, and is part of the Target-exclusive “Cobra Island” sub-line of figures.  Unlike other Target-exclusives from this line, Major Bludd is the only new figure from his round, as he initially shipped with restocks of Firefly and the Viper.  His initial stock disappeared as quickly as anything else in the line, but there was a pretty decent push for solid restock cases, which made him *slightly* more available for about a week or so.  That was kinda nice.  The figure stands about 6 1/4 inches tall and he has 37 points of articulation.  Major Bludd’s design is generally a pretty straight forward updating of his original V1 design, with that little bit of the Classified sci-fi upgrading to help fill in some of the gaps from making it too bland at the larger scale.  Structurally, the core of Major Bludd’s build is shared with the Cobra Trooper.  It’s a pretty sensible choice, since he’s kind of the highest ranking grunt, and has classically had some design elements in common with them.  He gets a new head, right arm, torso overlay, belt, and boots in an effort to change him up.  Ultimately, it ends up working pretty well.  Bludd’s original head was a little nondescript, but this one is very descript.  He’s grizzled and angry.  His eyepatch is no longer just a standard patch, but is now this more armored, squared off looking thing, which appears to be mounted to his eye in some fashion.  The face is scarred beneath the patch, and the expression on the face is definitely not a pleasant one.  The helmet is, for the second time on a Major Bludd, a removable piece.  It sits securely in place, which is nice, and it adds a slightly more severe shape to the design than the original.  Perhaps the star piece of the new sculpt is the right arm.  Bludd’s V1 figure had an arm that lacked the usual articulation, but which sported vaguely cybernetic details, which weren’t mentioned in his bio, and were ultimately left off of all updates until 25th.  This time, he leans hard into those details, with an all-new appendage that is clearly a robotic replacement.  It’s a very cool design, which immediately reads as different from the rest of him.  It’s very cool.  Quite frankly, it’s too cool for Major Bludd.  He doesn’t deserve it.  But he gets it anyway.  Oh well.  Bludd’s paint work is largely very brown.  True to the character, but not terribly exciting.  The face gets some very strong detailing, though, so that’s cool.  Bludd gets a decent enough accessory selection, which includes the previously mentioned removable helmet, as well as a necklace of dogtags (a detail lifted from the V1 figure), an update on the V1 rocket launcher, two rockets, an update on the V1 backpack, and a very large revolver.  Despite not being V1-homaged, the revolver is probably my favorite piece.  But, again, it’s probably too cool for Bludd.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I’m not the world’s biggest Bludd fan by any stretch, and I certainly wasn’t jumping up and down for this figure.  Originally, he was brought up to some retailers as a standard release, at which point I would have just gotten him the usual way.  But, then he was suddenly a Target exclusive, and orders were being cancelled, and he was harder to get.  And that’s a lot of work for Bludd.  And is he really worth that?  I certainly didn’t think so.

FYI, there’s gonna be some Post-Jess talk here.

Three days after Jess’s passing, I was staying with my friends Tim and Jill, and I woke up one morning with a sudden urge to go to a Target.  No idea why.  I’ve pretty much entirely given up hunting these days, but I was feeling it for some reason.  Tim, Cheyenne, and Christian obliged, and off we went for a quick little trip.  The toy aisle was predictably barren, but I again felt an urge, this time to walk over to the “collectibles” section, which was a total mess.  I happened to pick up one of the NECA figures, and spotted the corner of a Classified box behind it, which turned out to be this guy.  I wasn’t actively searching for him in the slightest, but there he was, so I bought him.  Like the Disney+ Legends, he helped me navigate that first week without Jess, even if in a small way.  And, if I’m entirely honest, I almost feel like finding him was somehow her looking out for me.  I know it’s cheesy and hokey, and probably a very reductive way of looking at it all, but it makes my days a little brighter to think that some part of her is still out there, even if it’s only in my own mind.