#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.

#2844: ARC Trooper Echo

ARC TROOPER ECHO

STAR WARS: THE BLACK SERIES (HASBRO)

First introduced in the first season episode “Rookies,” Domino Squad is a group that The Clone Wars uses to really showcase the general progression of the clones throughout the wars, as well as also hitting home just how bad war can be, seeing as the Squad has a tendency to fall like, well, dominos.  Central to the squad’s early stories are Fives and Echo, the two that have the most advancement of any clones in the show, starting off as mere cadets, and eventually becoming full-fledged ARC Troopers.  Echo himself has gone even further, becoming one of the few Regs to continue his story post-Order 66 as part of Clone Force 99, aka the titular team from The Bad Batch.  This kid’s got some range, let me tell you.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

ARC Trooper Echo is another of the four figures in the Target-exclusive Clone Wars-retro assortment of Star Wars: The Black Series.  He’s the first figure of Echo in the line, though it would be an incredible shock if he were the last, given the incredible prominence of Echo’s updated Bad Batch gear.  As the name signifies, this figure is based on Echo’s ARC Trooper look, which he sported in the “Citadel” arc of the show, which is notably the story that “killed” him, before the final season brought him back.  It’s the look that had the most appearances within the show (prior to The Bad Batch, of course), and it’s his coolest look as a Reg.  Plus, they haven’t done any actual ARC troopers in this scale, so he’s a good reason to introduce the tooling.  It does mean that he doesn’t actually go with any other figures in the line, of course, since he doesn’t match up with the Batch, and he also doesn’t match up with Rex, since Rex was in his Phase I armor still when Echo died, but there are worse things to have to deal with.  The figure stands 6 1/4 inches tall and he has 29 points of articulation.  Remember how I mentioned the weird mix-up of Hawk retooling Rex’s body into a more basic clone body, rather than using the newly introduced basic clone?  So, you might assume that Echo, with his ARC Trooper gear, would naturally be using the Rex body as well, right?  Nope.  Echo’s on the new basic clone body, with a bunch of stuff tacked onto it.  I know.  It’s weird.  I mean, it’s still a nice body, so I’m not complaining.  I’m just confused, that’s all.  In order to update that standard clone armor into a full ARC Trooper set-up, Echo gets a new set of forearms and lower legs, as well as new add-on pieces for his additional torso gear, as well as his belt, kama, and holsters.  He’s also got a brand new head and helmet to complete the whole set-up.  It’s interesting that he’s got a rubber kama, as opposed to the cloth we’ve gotten for the commanders thus far, but I don’t hate the look, and it doesn’t hold back the articulation too badly.  The unmasked head continues the trend of the unmasked clones not looking all that much like Temuera Morrison, though this one does at least seem to be heading a bit more in the right direction, I suppose.  The helmet sits well on the head, though, which is a definite plus, as some of the others have had a little bit of trouble with that fit.  The rest of the new parts mesh well with the old, and the end result is a quite nicely put together ARC Trooper set-up.  The paint work on Echo is generally pretty decent.  There’s a good deal of variety to it, but the application is generally pretty cleanly handled.  There are some fuzzier edges on a few of the blue lines, but it can be written off to a little bit of wear, to be honest.  He’s got the face printing on the unmasked head, which definitely helps with the likeness, at least a little bit.  And, just to make him properly Echo, he’s got the hand print graffiti, which is always a fun touch.  Echo is pretty well accessorized, getting a long blaster rifle, a short blaster rifle, and two blaster pistols.  He still can’t properly hold both pistols at once, of course, since only the right hand has a trigger finger, but at least you have some options.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

“Rookies” was the first episode of Clone Wars that really spoke to me, and I’ve long since had a soft spot for Domino Squad, and Echo in particular.  I always liked his story, and I was sad when he was killed off in the “Citadel” arc.  I was very glad to see him brought back in Season 7, and he’s thus far been one of my favorite parts of The Bad Batch.  I hope to get a Batch version of him soon, but I’m also glad to have gotten him in his peak form here.  Sure, he doesn’t match up with anyone at the moment, but hopefully we can at the very least get a Fives to go with him.  Once again, thanks to Max for setting me up with this one.  I wasn’t expecting him to be quite as easily acquired, but I’m happy he was.

#2843: Clone Pilot Hawk

CLONE PILOT HAWK

STAR WARS: THE BLACK SERIES (HASBRO)

Store exclusives have been the bane of pretty much every collector’s existence for the last year, because not only has the number of things that are exclusive jumped, but so has the number of people trying to scalp them in order to make a quick buck.  Not helping matters is the general lack of quality distribution when it comes to actually getting them out there, making for an all around just unpleasant experience.  So, there’s definitely a little twinge of anxiety that hits every time a new item is announced, and then also confirmed as an exclusive.  In the case of Star Wars: The Black Series, there’s a whole sub-set of throwback Clone Wars figures, which seemed poised to be the worst thing ever to get, but which now seem to be significantly less so, which I suppose is a good thing.  For me personally, I was most invested in getting the clones, which I have.  I’m starting things off today, with a look at Clone Pilot Hawk.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Clone Pilot Hawk is one of the four figures in Target’s exclusive assortment of Clone Wars-retro carded Black Series figures.  He’s the most obscure character in the bunch, to be sure, notably being the only one included who has never had a figure, even in the days of Hasbro’s far more expansive Clone Wars toy line.  Not only did we not get Hawk, we never even got one of the pilots with this specific helmet design, which does feel kind of baffling when you get right down to it.  The figure stands just over 6 inches tall and he has 29 points of articulation.  Now, the fact that Hasbro very recently introduced an all-new basic clone body into the line might lead you to believe that Hawk might, you know, be built on it, what with being kind of a basic clone and all.  However, you’d in fact be a fool to think that, because he’s absolutely not built on that body.  Neither is he built on the old clone body, though, so don’t think that either.  Instead, he’s actually built on the Captain Rex body, for some reason.  I mean, I’m not knocking it.  It’s a good body in its own right, and certainly an improvement on the old clone body, meaning his movement isn’t really restricted like it would have been on that older body.  In fact, his movement’s pretty darn great, so that’s cool.  He gets an all-new head for his unique helmet, as well as a connected breathing device, to signify his pilot nature.  Also, in a far more minor touch, he also gets a new belt, sans the kama and the holsters.  The new parts are nicely crafted, with the helmet in particular being the real star piece here.  It does a quite respectable job of walking the line between animated faithfulness and merging with the realistic style of the line.  I definitely like it a lot.  Hawk’s paintwork is generally pretty nicely handled.  There’s a little bit of slop on the hands on my figure, but he otherwise turned out pretty nicely.  I like the extra markings on the armor, as well as how they’ve weathered them a bit to show that his armor’s been in use.  Hawk is packed with a standard small Clone Trooper blaster.  It’s a little light, but it’s also fairly standard set-up for a pilot figure in this line, so it’s hard to say it’s a surprise.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Hawk was my only “must have” figure in this set, largely because I’ve just always liked this particular pilot design and it’s literally never gotten a figure before.  I was happy he got a figure, but not so happy that it wound up as an exclusive.  Fortunately, Max was able to help me out with this one, as it wound up being literally the first of the four he saw at retail.  He turned out really nicely, and I’m curious to see if we might actually get some of the other Clone Pilots in the main line now.  Time will tell.

There’s also a bit of a post-Jess segment to this one as well.  This figure is the last figure added to my collection before Jess died.  Max brought him to me during her last week in the hospital, and I had him with me those last few days.  He’s the last new figure I got to show her, and the last figure she got to be excited about me adding to my collection.  I didn’t know that when I got him, but those are the sorts of things you never do know, I guess.  I do know that showing off my new figures to her was one of my very favorite things about collecting in the last eight years, and the items I gotten since all feel a little different, since something’s very definitely missing.  He gets to be my last contact to that feeling, and the last true part of that collection.  My collection post-Jess will be a different one, and I’ll have to figure out how as I move forward.  But this guy’s not going anywhere, I can tell you that much.

#2698: Bumblebee & Spike Witwicky

BUMBLEBEE & SPIKE WITWICKY

TRANSFORMERS: BUZZWORTHY BUMBLEBEE (HASBRO)

Despite his increased presence in the franchise in the last few years, Bumblebee has been without any major presence in the main core line of the toys since the beginning of the War For Cybertron Trilogy.  He’s gotten a couple of figures in Studio Series, of course, as well as the one notable exclusive figure from Walmart for the main line, but that’s admittedly kind of minor given how many Optimuses and Megatrons we’ve gotten in that same span of time.  Fortunately, Hasbro’s at least a little bit aware of the seeming lack of Bumblebees, and they’ve got a whole subline of stuff dedicated to him.  Isn’t that nice?  I mean, I think so.  Most of the line is re-releases, but there’s one new item in the starting line-up, a Bumblebee and Spike Witwicky two-pack, which I’m taking a look at today.

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

Bumblebee and Spike Witwicky are part of the Target-exclusive Buzzworthy Bumblebee line, specifically under the War For Cybertron branding.  Though dubbed as a two-pack, the focus of the pack is really the Bumblebee figure.  He’s part of the newly launched core-class size, which is a slightly smaller scale at an appropriately smaller price point.  In his robot mode, Bumblebee stands about 3 1/2 inches tall and he has 9 practical points of articulation.  Design-wise, this Bumblebee is definitely G1-inspired, though not quite as 100% cartoon accurate as some of the larger scale WFC figures have been.  There’s a little more stylization to this mold, and it matches up pretty decently with the other G1 figures we’ve seen from the core-class line-up so far.  The kibble is a bit more intensive on this robot mode, since his smaller scale makes folding such things up a little more difficult.  He’s also got some more hollow and exposed portions in robot mode, again thanks to the smaller size.  Ultimately, he’s pretty impressive for the smaller size, and he’s a fun little figure.  Bee is packed with a small blaster pistol, styled after his G1 weapon, which is pretty nifty.  He’s also joined by Spike Witwicky…or at least Spike’s exo-suit from Transformers: The Movie.  Spike’s about 2 1/2 inches tall and he’s got movable arms, and that’s it.  The sculpt’s pretty rudimentary, and is designed in such a way that you can’t actually see anyone inside of the exo-suit.  Silver lining: that means it can just as easily be Daniel!

Bumblebee’s alt mode isn’t the usual G1 VW Beetle, and is instead a more generic tiny little car.  Given the lower price point on this guy, the VW licensing probably wasn’t going to be worth it.  This is an okay alternative.  It’s generic, but not a terrible look.  It’s also a pretty easy transformation, and pretty fun to swap back and forth.  Spike’s also got an alt-mode…in theory.  You lay him down on his front and flip one panel over.  Boom.  He’s a…thing?  It’s a different thing, I guess?  I don’t know.  Hey, he’s pretty much an accessory; anything extra’s cool.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Kudos go to Max for setting me up with this set.  I’m not in dire need of any of the Core Class stuff, and I was content with just the Walmart Bumblebee, but the inclusion of Spike’s exo-suit made this set a bit more worthwhile for me.  Ultimately, he’s not the star of the set, and he’s pretty basic, but the price point on this set is also low enough that it doesn’t really hurt too much to pick it up.  The Bumblebee being a nifty figure on his own helps things out too.

#2692: Cobra Viper

COBRA VIPER

G.I. JOE: CLASSIFIED SERIES (HASBRO)

Alright, so, for my seventh entry in my crazy, insane “Day of the Vipers”–wait a minute! It’s not 2018 anymore, is it?  I…I already made it through the Day of the Vipers, didn’t I?  Right.  Sorry.  The “Day of the Vipers”, it did things to me, you guys.  I still haven’t fully recovered.  When I last left off with the Vipers, it was 2003, and the Joe line had just done a re-brand into it’s Spy Troops incarnation.  That line would lead into Valor Vs Venom, which got its own brand new Viper mold.  After VvV, the 3 3/4 inch line went on another hiatus at mainline retail, and moved to Direct To Consumer markets, until returning in 2007 with the 25th Anniversary line.  The Viper would gain an additional seven figures from that line (the first of which I reviewed here back in 2016), and then another revamp in the Pursuit of Cobra/30th Anniversary style.  The 3 3/4 inch line again went into hiatus following the franchise’s 50th anniversary, but Joes have returned once more, now in a 6 inch scale, and with an all-new Viper figure to boot.  What could possibly go wrong?  Yeah, about that…

THE FIGURE ITSELF

The Cobra Viper is the other half of the second “Special Misions: Cobra Island” assortment of G.I. Joe: Classified Series.  He’s officially figure 22 in the line, the highest numbered figure so far in the line-up.  He follows the trend set by the Cobra Trooper of standard Cobra army builders being exclusives, which isn’t very cool.  Hopefully he’ll also get a second release in the main line, just like the standard trooper, because as of now, he’s even harder to find than that one was. The figure stands about 6 1/4 inches tall and he has 35 points of articulation.  The Viper’s design is unquestionably an update on his V1 design.  Most Vipers since the ’00s have worked from this same reference material, so there’s been a lot of smaller tweaks to it over the years.  This one follows suit, with its own handful of tweaks, but does honestly stick closer to the original design than a lot of the Classified figures so far.  Most of the tweaks are of the rather minor variety, changing up some of the specifics of design, to modernize and somewhat utilitarianize the look, while still kind of hitting the same ending mark.  Things like the ribbed section of the shoulders on the original figure have now been adjusted to be straps holing things in place.  Same end result visually, but a more practical rational for it, and one that fits a bit more with the aesthetics of the line.  The biggest change to the character’s visual is on the arms; rather than the tightly rolled up sleeves of the original figure, this one’s arms are almost entirely covered in the default set-up.  The changes that cause this are two-fold.  Firstly, the new add-on pieces for the wrist guards are designed with removing them in mind, so they wrap solidly all around the arm, rather than leaving most of the forearm exposed like the original design.  Secondly, the sleeves come much further down the arms than the original, almost exactly meeting the guards.  This bit is caused by the figure’s only re-use; namely, he has the upper torso and arms of the Duke figure.  It’s not the worst choice of re-use, even if the sleeves aren’t quite right; it changes things a little bit, and removing the guards entirely helps to sort of simulate the old look in its own way as well.  He also gets Duke’s holster for his leg, giving the Viper a side-arm he doesn’t classically have.  The rest of the figure’s sculpt, apart from the arms, is all-new.  It’s a pretty solid sculpt, with quite a bit going on, and quite a few layers.  The helmet is a very clean piece; its shape is slightly sharper and more stylized than the classic helmet, but it fits well with the rest of the figure’s design.  Much like the 25th Anniversary figure, this one’s goggles are a separate piece, and much like that figure, there is some difficulty keeping them in place.  With a little bit of doing, you can get it to sit a little bit more securely, but I’ve heard that it’s prone to breakage, so I was quite careful.  Even so, mine’s started to split a bit at the back, so I don’t foresee it holding out terribly longer.  Ultimately, the removable goggles are an intriguing idea, but much like the 25th, I’m hoping Hasbro uses later releases to offer up a version with the goggles attached directly to the helmet.  The goggles are an interesting experiment, but they always seem to introduce extra problems, and honestly, how many people are really looking to display the Viper without the goggles?  It winds up as the one really annoying feature on an otherwise enjoyable figure.  The paint work on this figure is pretty decent.  It follows the usual set-up for the color scheme on a Viper, with a touch of extra red detailing worked in.  The flesh tone on the arms is a little sloppy around the edges, and misses the mark, as well as having a spot in the middle of one arm.  These parts aren’t really meant for being seen, I suppose, so it’s not the *worst* possible place for issues to occur.  The Viper’s accessory selection includes the previously mentioned goggles, a removable bandana piece, a back pack, Duke’s pistol (to match the holster), and a rifle with a removable clip.  The rifle’s not quite the distinctive silhouette of the classic Viper weapon, but it’s not an awful looking update either, and is a cool looking gun on its own merits.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Readers of the site may have *slightly* picked up on the fact that I’m quite a fan of the Vipers.  I’ve been anxiously awaiting their addition to Classified, and I was…less than pleased about the Target exclusive move.  Nevertheless, I was determined not to miss this one, but also not to pay scalper pricing.  I wound up stalking Target’s site for a couple of hours the day these dropped, and was actually able to get one pre-ordered in the less than 5 minutes they were actually in stock.  It wasn’t fun.  What also wasn’t fun was his delivery getting pushed back three separate times, all the while people were finding them in-store, and the aftermarket price was skyrocketing.  Fortunately, they actually came through, and he actually arrived, but Target *really* needs to work on that pre-order system…or maybe just not carry quite so many exclusives?  I don’t know.  It just seems like a bad set-up.  At least the actual figure turned out pretty nicely.  The goggles are annoying, but otherwise, I really like him.  And I’d really like to be able to have a few more of them, so maybe a mainline release?

*The classic Viper rifle above was actually given to me, along with a few other classic Joe-esque designs, by Mark2Designs, whose work is quite impressive, and can be seen on his Instagram page!

#2691: Firefly

FIREFLY

G.I. JOE: CLASSIFIED SERIES (HASBRO)

I haven’t taken a look at anything from G.I. Joe since October, which does feel like a bit of a gap, doesn’t it?  In my defense, there hasn’t been a ton to look at, since I’ve been kind of keeping up with Classified as it’s been moving along, and there was a bit of a gap in new releases, as they at least attempted to actually get some of the older releases to some stores.  But, the new year has brought some new figures…or more specifically some new exclusives.  I know, I’m not thrilled either.  I’m starting things off with the *slightly* less frightening to acquire offering, Cobra’s resident saboteur, Firefly!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Firefly is one half of the second Target-exclusive “Special Missions: Cobra Island” series of G.I. Joe: Classified Series.  He brings us another Cobra mainstay, and another character that *probably* shouldn’t have started as an exclusive, but, hey, let’s not open that particular can of worms, huh?  Firefly stands 6 1/4 inches tall and he has 34 points of articulation.  FIrefly’s design is one of the ones that’s a little further removed from his classic v1 appearance, at least in terms of direct replication.  All of the major strokes are there to ID him, but he modernizes a few elements.  It’s not incredibly new for the character, since elements like the goggles and the bomb disposal vest were incorporated into the character’s design back during Resolute and Renegades, making him more of an adaptation of all of the character’s appearances through the years, rather than focusing in on just one figure in particular.  The figure is a mix of old and new pieces to achieve this design.  His upper half is shared with Beach Head, while the legs come from Snake Eyes.  While we’ve had some re-use previously, this is the first time that any of them have crossed teams.  Fortunately, they end up looking pretty standard issue, so it doesn’t look too specifically Joe-y.  He gets a new head and boots, as well as an overlay for the bomb vest.  The head’s the best piece, and I absolutely love what you can make out of the crazed expression beneath the mask, as well as that small touch of scarring over the eye.  The boots are sufficiently unique looking, if maybe not much to write home about.  They get the job done.  The vest piece is pretty cool looking, but my main beef with it is how much it restricts the mobility on the torso and hips.  It definitely impairs his posability a touch.  Firefly’s paint work is pretty nicely handled.  He’s got some proper camo detailing, which looks pretty sweet, and they’ve managed to keep him in all greys without him looking too bland or boring.  I also quite like the detailing around the eyes; it really makes them pop.  Firefly is pretty well off when it comes to accessory selection, including a pair of goggles, a gun (based on a modified version of the Nerf Vortex Praxis; thanks Tim!), a backpack, stack of dynamite, drone, and control panel for the drone.  The goggles are another cool piece of customization, and the drone’s certainly a lot of fun, and can even be stored on the backpack (as can the dynamite).  I wish he had a spot for the control panel, but no placement for it seemed to make sense to me.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

When these figures were shown off, I honestly didn’t pay Firefly much mind.  I was quite happy with Havoc as a stand-in on the shelf, and this one was an exclusive, and that’s not a game I was really looking to play.  I was far more invested in getting his assortment-mate anyway, so I wasn’t going to put any real effort into this one.  Then they started hitting, and I did stick to that bit about no effort.  Max, however, managed to find a pair of them out in the wild, and hooked me up with this one.  Admittedly, even after getting him, I held off of actually cracking him open for a bit out of protest about getting him before my pre-order for the other figure actually even shipped, but, well, he’s open now, so I guess you can fill in some blanks there.  He’s a well put together figure, but I can’t say he really jumps out at me as much as others from the line.  Still, I’m happy to have him, I guess.

#2622: Cyborg Spider-Man

CYBORG SPIDER-MAN

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

“Cyborg Spider-Man has enhanced cybernetic capabilities in addition to all the powers of Earth-616 Spider-Man: web slinging, wall crawling, and heightened spider senses. Villains are no match for this Spidey’s advanced cyborg technology!”

The bio above seems to imply that this guy is some sort of an alternate universe Peter Parker, when in reality, he’s actually just good old regular 616 Peter, with a few temporary cybernetic components added onto him, as seen in 1992’s Spider-Man #21.  There was a Cyborg Spider-Man included in “Spider-Verse” as well, but he had a slightly different look.  This one’s definitely been a go-to for alternate looks over the years, with coverage in both the old ’90s toy line and Marvel Minimates, as well as being featured as an alternate skin in Spider-Man on the PS4.  And now, it’s got a Marvel Legend.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Cyborg Spider-Man is another Target-exclusive Retro Collection offering from Hasbro’s Marvel Legends.  He hit shelves at the same time as Gambit and Rogue, and was joined by another Spider-Man variant that I haven’t yet picked up.  This guy marks the third toy of this particular design, after the two I listed in the intro above.  The figure stands 6 1/4 inches tall and he has 34 points of articulation.  Spider-Man is built on the 2099 body, but there’s actually more new parts than you might expect.  Obviously, the arm is all-new, as is the head, and the add-ons for the bandage on the leg and his utility belt.  The most surprising of the new parts is the new upper torso.  I’m not really sure *why* it’s new, since it seems like the standard 2099 piece would work just fine, but it’s a little different, seemingly for the sake of being different.  Whatever the case, it’s a good selection of parts.  The arm is definitely the star piece, with a lot of nice, crisp detail work going on there.  The shoulder pad is a separate, glued in place piece, and time will tell if it’s as prone to breaking off as the old ’90s one was.  Spider-Man’s paint work is all pretty straight forward stuff.  He’s got the basic Spidey paint scheme, which goes pretty well for him.  Application is clean, and the cybernetic parts look pretty nice as well.  This guy is packed with two right hands (in fist and thwipping…open gesture’s just gone, I guess), as well as a web strand.  The strand is the same one that’s been floating around for a few years, and it’s not really the best fit for this particular release.  Still, I won’t complain about getting more parts.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I recall the old Toy Biz version of this design rather fondly, so when this new version was found in the wild, it was a rather pleasant surprise.  That said, with Gambit and Rogue also hitting at the same time, and this figure being another Target exclusive, I was okay with waiting for a bit.  Then I was fortunate enough to snag the other two on Target’s website, and they were running a “Buy 2, Get 1 Free” sale, which meant I literally got this guy at no extra charge.  At that price, it’s certainly hard not to like this guy.  He’s not the star attraction or anything, but he’s a fun little variant.

#2621: Rogue

ROGUE

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

“Rogue can absorb superpowers, personality traits, strength, and even memories from others with a single touch, making her capabilities in any matchup nearly limitless. These talents have naturally led her to be a leader among the X-Men.”

I guess this year’s not a bad year to be Rogue, is it?  I mean, I guess it’s rather fitting that 2020 might be okay for a person who can’t come in contact with others on a regular day to day, right?  Rogue’s history with Marvel Legends isn’t the best, really.  Despite her rather popular status among the X-Men, her only figure during the Toy Biz run was exclusive to a rather large boxed set (and not a very good figure at that), and then Hasbro didn’t tackle her for the first few years they had the license.  Their first attempt would have been part of the Puck Series in 2013, but it was one of two figures dropped when the assortment moved from mass retail to specialty.  Her ’90s costume got a release in the Juggernaut Series in 2016, but it was also the hardest to find figure in the set by far.  When a Rogue/Pyro two-pack was announced early this year, there were hopes it would be another go at the ’90s Rogue, but it wasn’t.  Fortunately, another go wasn’t too far behind, it seemed.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Rogue is in the same boat as yesterday’s Gambit figure, a Target-exclusive offering in the Retro Collection sub-line of Marvel Legends.  She and Gambit were shown off and released together, shipping in the same store display, which went up just after Black Friday.  Much like how Gambit serves as just a slight tweaking on the Caliban Series Gambit from last year, this Rogue serves as a slight rework on the Juggernaut Series Rogue mentioned in the intro.  She stands 6 1/4 inches tall and she has 26 points of articulation.  Rogue is, for the most part, the same sculpturally as the 2016 version.  While the Moonstone body is starting to show its age these days, Rogue is definitely a character for whom the body works well.  The add-on pieces also sit a little tighter on this release, as well, making her feel like an overall sturdier figure.  The one sculptural change up on this figure is her head, which is an all-new piece.  The head on the old figure wasn’t bad at all, and in fact I really quite liked it, but it was a little removed from the art style of the ’90s, and made it feel more like a 2010s take on the ’90s design.  This one goes closer to the source, and it’s another solid piece, and one that feels perhaps a bit more at home with the more recent ’90s X-Men offerings.  And it certainly gets her big ’90s hair down, doesn’t it?  The paint work marks another notable change for this release.  She follows in the footsteps of Gambit, Cyclops, and Wolverine, with a color scheme that more closely matches up with her animated counter part, making the yellow much less orange, and darkening the green a bit, and making it flat instead of metallic.  It definitely works well.  The only part I don’t really care that much for is the color in the cheeks.  It’s not as bad as some as Hasbro’s attempts, but it could stand to be a touch more subtle.  Rogue is packed with an extra set of hands.  Like her prior release, there’s the ungloved right hand, and this one also adds in an all-new left hand which is holding the right glove.  I already liked the extra hand the last time, and the left hand holding the glove just makes it even better.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

As much as I liked the Juggernaut Series Rogue, mine had that pesky incorrect upper arm on the right side, and then even wound up with a broken foot within a year of me getting her.  Finding a replacement wasn’t a cheap prospect, so the plan to re-issue her wasn’t a problem for me.  Her being a Target exclusive was a bit more of a problem.  But, as I mentioned in yesterday’s Gambit review, I wound up having no issues getting her ordered through Target’s website, so here she is.  She’s again an improvement on the prior figure, although I personally have trouble choosing which of them is my favorite.  First world problems, am I right?