#1785: Poison

POISON

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

“Believing himself to be a living miracle after seemingly coming back from the dead, symbiote-possessed Peter Parker rejects the Venom identity and calls himself Poison.”

Guys….I’m gonna critique the bio for a sec here.  I know, I keep promising I won’t, but it’s sort of important.  So, the “living miracle” “back from the dead” “gave up the Venom identity” Peter Parker, aka Poison, mentioned in the bio appeared in What If? Spider-Man: The Other in 2007.  He is *not* the character this figure is based on.  This figure is instead based on the Peter Parker Poison from last year’s Venomverse, where a symbiote-wearing Peter Parker was one of the first victims of the host-devouring symbiote hunters known as the Poison.  In Hasbro’s defense, neither character is anything bordering on major, so they can be forgiven for some slight confusion.  Now, let’s get onto the figure, shall we?

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Poison is figure 3 in the Monster Venom Series of Marvel Legends.  After the pretty obvious choices of Venom and Carnage, Poison is undoubtedly out of left field, given he’s got, what, three appearances?  If that?  But, I guess if Hasbro’s content to give us every single Spider-Man from Spider-Verse, it shouldn’t be a huge shock to see them dipping into Venomverse as well.  The figure stands 6 1/2 inches tall and he has 32 points of articulation.  Poison is built on the Spider-UK body, which is a favorite of mine.  That said, he actually gets a surprising number of new pieces.  He only actually shares his upper arms and lower legs with the standard body; everything else is brand new.  This allows for the figure to properly replicate Poison’s inorganic, exoskeleton-like appearance.  It serves as quite a nice counterpoint two Venom and Carnage from the last two days.  I definitely dig all of the etched detailing work on his torso, head, and upper legs as well; its something that could have easily been overlooked.  The tendrils mounted on the front of his torso showcase the last traces of the symbiote Poison assimilated, and while they can be a little odd to work with at first, they certainly do add a unique flair to him.  Poison’s color work is more involved than you might think; he appears just straight white and black at first, but the white is actually a slightly pearlescent plastic, and there’s some light silver accent work running along yhr engravings, giving them a nice extra bit of pop.  It’s a small touch that really adds a lot to the figure.   Poison includes no character specific accessories, but he does still get the left arm of the Monster Venom Build-A-Figure, which is certainly a sizable piece.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I had no clue who Poison was prior to this figure being shown off, and therefore didn’t really think much of his announcement or really plan on picking him up.  Like the last two days, it was really that Monster Venom piece that was pulling me in.  That said, after getting all of the figures in hand, Poison is undoubtedly my favorite of the set.  There’s just so much coolness going on with the design, the sculpt, and the paint.  Who would have ever thought a character like this would get this sort of treatment from Hasbro?

Poison was purchased from my friends at All Time Toys, and is still available here.  If you’re interested in buying other Legends figures, or are looking for other cool toys both old and new, please check out their website and their eBay Store.

Advertisements

#1696: Paladin

PALADIN

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

Paladin is a mercenary marksman who always has his eye on the bottom line.”

Ah, Paladin.  Truly the most–he’s really quite the–okay, I don’t have a lot to say about Paladin.  I mean, to be fair, nobody really does.  In the 40 years since his introduction, he’s not actually gotten much of a backstory…or anything, for that matter.  He just sort of exists to fill a mercenary slot when needed.  Like in this Deadpool-themed Marvel Legends assortment.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Paladin is the final figure in the Sasquatch Series of Marvel Legends.  He’s based on a more modern incarnation of the character, from around his time with the Thunderbolts.  Not his most memorable or distinctive look, but there’s a clear rationale behind this design choice, and that rationale is parts re-use.  I’ll get to that momentarily.  The figure stands 6 1/4 inches tall and he has 32 points of articulation.  As noted above, Paladin makes use of some parts re-use, though not as much I’d initially thought.  He’s built on the body used by the last Blade figure (which in turn re-used some parts from the ASM2 Electro).  He gets a new head, forearms, hands, and shins, as well as a holster add-on piece which appears to be new, but I could be wrong on that.  The new parts are decent recreations of his comics designs.  The head’s suitably generic, and the padded forearms and shins help to differentiate him from Blade.  The holster is mostly just there to hide that Hasbro still hasn’t re-tooled the Electro legs to remove that little nodule on his left thigh.  Paladin’s paint work is really the main thing that signifies his modern influences.  His palette is swapped from the classic look, which was purple armor on black, rather than black armor on purple.  I find this isn’t quite as striking a design, but I suppose it’s not terrible.  The application is at the very least cleanly handled, so I’ll give him that.  Paladin is packed with a pair of golden pistols (re-used from Zemo) and a knife.  The knife can be nicely slotted into the sheath on his boot, which is cool.  Unfortunately, there’s one holster for two guns, and the guns don’t actually sit that well in the holster.  That’s kind of disappointing.  He also includes another leg to the Build-A-Figure Sasquatch.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Paladin slightly frustrated me.  When I heard they were making him, I was kind of excited, but when the prototype was unveiled with the modern look, I was a bit let down.  The more streamlined modern Paladin design facilitates the re-use more than the classic look would have, I suppose, but I can’t say I’m super into it.  I feel like with the amount of new pieces he got in the end, it wouldn’t have been too much of a stretch to go for an approximation of his classic design.  Because of this, I ended up passing on him the first few times I found him.  I ended up getting a bunch of store credit for Cosmic Comix after helping out on Free Comic Book Day, and they had this guy, so I ended up grabbing him from them.  He’s not a bad figure at all, and certainly works as a generic merc, but I do wish he were a little more distinctive.

*Want a Paladin figure of your own?  Well, he’s literally everywhere, but do you also want to help out an awesome business?  All Time Toys currently has this guy in stock!  Check him out here!

#1583: Animal Man & B’wana Beast

ANIMAL MAN & B’WANA BEAST

DC UNIVERSE CLASSICS (MATTEL)

Mattel’s DC Universe Classics was really all about the odd-ball characters.  And it’s hard to get much more oddball than the pair of characters I’m looking at today.  Born out of the ‘60s fascination with animal themed heroes, both Animal Man and B’Wana Beast have picked up their respective fanbases over the years, and, believe it or not, they’ve both manage to gain multiple action figures.  Weird, right?

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

Animal Man and B’Wanna Beast were part of DC Universe Classics, released in 2009 as the Matty Collector-exclusive “Justice of the Jungle” two-pack.  This was the last of the four such two-packs released this way in 2009, and ultimately the last two-pack in this particular venture for Mattel.

ANIMAL MAN

“When a teenage Buddy Baker went hunting in the Adirondacks, he found more than big game – he found an alien spacecraft! After being exposed to its strange radiation, Buddy found he could take on the powers and characteristics of any nearby animal – down to regenerating severed limbs, like an earthworm. He has faced many surreal menaces, traveled through space, and seen his entire reality torn apart more than once, but he always remains plain old Buddy Baker, family man and occasional hero – an oasis of sanity in the stranger corners of the DC Universe.”

Buddy Baker sort of follows the Ant-Man model of super hero creation.  His initial appearance wasn’t quite of the super heroic variety, instead just following the story of a stuntman who gained animal powers.  It wouldn’t be for another year that he’d get his costume, and even then he was A-Man, not Animal Man.  He was just a fairly run-of the mill forgotten hero, until Grant Morison relaunched the character in the ’80s, bringing the character to critical acclaim and giving him his own unique flavor.  Animal Man’s first figure was via DC Direct’s 52 line, but that one was admittedly less on the whole “action” front, so this one was appreciated.  The figure stands 6 1/2 inches tall and he has 23 points of articulation.  He’s built on the medium sized male body, which is a decent enough fit for Buddy.  He gets a new head and arms, as well as an add-on piece for his jacket.  The head is possibly the most detailed head sculpt we got out of this line.  There’s a lot going on there, between the fully detailed eyes beneath his goggles and the insane amount of detail that’s gone into his face.  While it certainly helps him to stand out from the pack, I do feel all of those lines on his face do age poor Buddy just a touch more than I’d like.  Obviously, I’m okay with him looking a bit more experienced than some of the DC heroes, but this does feel like it goes a little far.  Still, an impressive piece nonetheless.  The jacket served to mask some of the same-ness that this line was really running into with the base bodies, and was very nice recreation of Buddy’s signature denim jacket.  The texturing and the small detail work on all of the zippers and stuff is really top-notch.  The paintwork on Animal Man is decent enough; he hails from the line’s best period in this regard.  The base application is pretty sharp, and there’s even some pretty nice accent work.  The only real issue is the slight mismatching of the oranges on the legs, but that’s quite minor.  There were no accessories for Animal Man, which, while a slight bummer, wasn’t much of a surprise.

B’WANA BEAST

“While in Tanzania, Mike Maxwell found himself trapped in a cave high atop Mount Kilimanjaro. In his attempt to survive, he drank the cave’s water – which, unknown to him, was infused with a strange elixir that increased his muscle mass, making him much stronger. When Maxwell donned an ancient helmet, he discovered he could merge any two animals together into a new, hybrid form called a chimera. B’wana became a fighter for animal rights as the jungle’s premier hero.”

Despite being definitely the more obscure of the two, B’wana Beast actually has more figures than Animal Man, with this being one of four.  It was his first (though not by much) and is to date his only comics based figure, but still, that’s pretty impressive.  Like his pack-mate, this figure stands 6 1/2 inches tall and has 23 points of articulation.  He too is built on the medium-sized male body, which is fine, except for one small problem: no nipples.  B’wana Beast is supposed to be shirtless, but the sculpt doesn’t quite reflect that.  Mattel had done a shirtless torso prior for Series 6’s Hawkman, but I suppose the wing attachment was too difficult to remove.  Oh well.  On the plus side, B’wana Beast does get a new head and shins, as well as a new add-on piece for his loin cloth.  The pieces are all very nicely sculpted.  The helmet definitely takes its cues from his JLU counterpart, and manages not to look totally dumb, so that’s cool.  Also, despite just looking like the same cuffed shins introduced on Series 1’s Red Tornado, B’wana Beast’s shins are totally new, featuring a pretty nifty fur texturing.  B’wana Beast’s paint is very nice; not only did they manage to pull off the cheat spots on his shorts, boots, and mask without getting messy, but they also did a pretty solid job accenting his skin tone, making him look appropriately tanned for someone who runs around outside in nothing more than a loincloth and boots.  Like Animal Man, B’wana Beast has no accessories.  Still not surprising, but still disappointing.  No cool chimeras? For shame!

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Despite Mattel’s claim that these sets didn’t perform as well as they’d hoped, this set was sold out in less than two weeks.  Not a lot of time for someone without their own expendable income to get them, so I didn’t.  Instead, I wound up picking them up around Christmastime in 2012, using an Amazon gift card I’d gotten over the holiday.  I paid a bit of a mark-up, but they were worth it to me.  Neither figure is without its flaws (the biggest for both being the complete lack of extras), but both figures are amongst the strongest that Mattel produced for this line.

#1451: Jedha Revolt

JYN ERSO, SAW GERRERA, EDRIO TWO TUBES, & IMPERIAL HOVERTANK PILOT

STAR WARS: ROGUE ONE (HASBRO)

With all of the Last Jedi product floating around, it can be a little difficult to fit in some of my older Star Wars products, especially when it’s stuff that’s only a single movie back.  At least the Power of the Force stuff is noticeably different, right?  Not so much the case with Rogue One, from which I still have a few lingering figures.  Today, I’ll be crossing a few of those off my list and taking a look at the Jedha Revolt boxed-set!

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

The Jedha Revolt set is comprised of Jyn, Saw Gerrara, Edrio Two Tubes, and an Imperial Hovertank Pilot, all of whom came from the film’s first big set piece, Jedha.  This set is part of the Rogue One line, and is very similar to the Takodana Encounter set from The Force Awakens.  The real notable difference here is that there’s three new figures and one repack, instead of one new figure and three repacks.  Those numbers are better.

JYN ERSO

“Pushing behind a checkered past by lending her skills to a greater cause, Jyn Erso is impetuous, defiant, and eager to bring the battle to the empire.  Used to operating alone, she finds higher purpose by taking on a desperate mission for the Rebel Alliance.”

The Jyn in this set is the same one released in Series 2 of the main line.  I didn’t get that one, though, because I knew this set was coming.  That being said, the mold is also the same one used for the Jyn included with the AT-ACT.  It’s not a bad sculpt at all.  The paint’s a little different on this figure.  It’s not an incredible difference, but there’s enough to notice.  I prefer the work on the AT-ACT figure, truth be told, but I guess this one’s passable.  She gets the same blaster pistol, and adds in her scarf she wears on Jedha for good measure.

SAW GERRERA

“A battered veteran of the Clone Wars as well as ongoing rebellion against the Empire, Saw Gerrera leads a band of Rebel extremists.  Saw has lost much in his decades of combat, but occasional flashes of the charismatic ad caring man he once was shine through his calloused exterior.  Gerrera is bunkered on the ancient world of Jedha, coordinating a prolonged insurgency against the Imperial occupation.  Saw’s ailing health has not withered his resolve to fight.”

Saw is definitely a big selling point of this set, since he’s a fairly prominent character and this is literally the only proper figure of him released at this point.  We see Saw here in his garb from later on in the film, during the “present” sequences.  It’s a sensible choice, since his other look is only seen briefly and it’s not the one he’s sporting on Jedha.  The figure stands about 4 inches tall and has 5 points of articulation…in theory.  All of the joints are there, but you’re not really going to get much range out of any of them.  Saw’s not super agile or anything, so it’s not a big loss, but it’s still slightly frustrating.  The sculpt is all new to this figure, and it’s a fairly nice piece.  There’s quite a bit of detail work going on, and he certainly has a lot of depth.  The head has a passing resemblance to Forrest Whitaker, which is nice, and the overall design seems to have been translated quite nicely.  Saw’s paintwork is generally pretty decent and clean.  I do have one notable complaint, which has to do with the breathing apparatus.  It’s just molded in a solid off-white sort of color, which looks a little goofy.  It really would have looked better if they’d done it in clear plastic and added a few painted details.  Saw is packed with his walking stick which is almost seen carrying in the movie, as well as a small sidearm which he never uses, but is seen carrying on his hip just the same.  Both pieces are nicely detailed and great additions to the figure.

EDRIO TWO TUBES

“Edrio Two Tubes is a mercenary pilot who flies alongside his eggmate, Benthic.  They share the nickname derived from the breathing apparatus that allows Tognath physiology to process oxygen atmospheres.  Edrio’s notice world of Yar Tonga was conquered by the Empire, forcing him to flee as a refugee.  With a desire to strike back at the Empire, Edrio and Benthic have allied with Saw Gerra’s movement on Jedha.”

And now for the “who the heck is this guy?” portion of the set, it’s Edrio Two Tubes!  Yeah, I don’t know either.  But he looks cool, and that’s really the only necessary element for a successful Star Wars character (see: Boba Fett).  The figure stands 3 3/4 inches tall and has the same 5 points of articulation as the rest of the set, albeit in better working order than the ones on Saw.  Edrio gets another all-new sculpt, and it’s certainly top notch.   There’s a lot of really awesome detail work, especially on the jacket.  I dig the similarities between the chest piece and that of the Rebel Pilots.  Definitely a cool touch.  The only real complaint I have is that he’s a little hard to get standing, but once you get him there, he stays up alright.  Edrio’s paint is pretty solid, offering up clean base work, as well as some pretty sweet accent work on his jacket.  He definitely has the best work in the set.  He’s packed with a big ol’ rifle, which he sadly can’t hold particularly well, due to the limitations of his posability.  You can still get a decent “over the shoulder” sort of look, so it’s workable.

IMPERIAL HOVERTANK PILOT

“Imperial combat drivers operate the Empire’s arsenal of armored repulser vehicles, from troop transports to heavily armored hovertanks.  Combat drivers are lightly armored, relying instead on the thick skin of their vehicles to protect them in battle.” 

No set would be complete without some sort of Stormtrooper variant, and this one actually gets one of my favorites.  We got the Hovertank Pilot in the 6-inch line pretty early on, but it’s certainly still cool to get him again in the smaller scale.  The figure is largely built from re-purposed parts from the standard Shoretrooper.  It’s a more than adequate starting point, as that was a pretty solid figure in its own right.  He gets a new head and belt, both of which are incredibly sharp sculpts, which certainly add a lot of polish to the final figure.  The paint on this guy is pretty straightforward, off-white and dark brown.  It’s all cleanly applied, though, and he looks pretty spiffy.  He’s packed with a large blaster rifle, which is the same one we saw with the Shoretrooper, Scarif Squad Leader, and AT-ACT Driver.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I was rather excited for this set when it was first shown off, but by the time it actually hit about 6 months later, I had sort of cooled down, and was actually in a bit of a tight spot financially.  Fortunately, it stuck around for a bit, and I was actually able to pick it up from Target for about half of its original value.  I will say, this one definitely has a lot more to offer than the TFA set, since most of the figures are new.  Saw, Edrio, and the Hovertank Pilot are all really solid offerings, and are among some of my favorite figures from the Rogue One line.

#1438: Ex Nihilo

EX NIHILO – COSMIC PROTECTORS

MARVEL LEGENDS

Alright, we’ve made it through all the figures in the series, time to look at that super awesome Mantis figure—what’s that?  One more figure?  Ex Nihilo?  Awww maaaaaan….

Who is Ex Nihilo you ask?  He’s..just this guy.  Okay, no, not quite.  His name is a latin phrase meaning “from nothing,” which is about what I feel about this guy.  He’s frikin’ pretentious-ass nothing.  He showed up during Jonathan Hickman’s run on Avengers, which means everything around him is simultaneously incomprehensible and nap-inducing.  Something about gardeners?  I can’t follow this stuff.  Let’s just look at the figure and get this over with.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Ex Nihilo is figure 6 in the Mantis Series of Marvel Legends.  He uses the name Cosmic Protectors, which he shares with Adam Warlock.  That just reminds me I’d much rather be reviewing Adam Warlock.  Sorry, back on point.  The figure stands about 7 inches tall and he has 32 points of articulation.  Ex Nihilo is based on the Hyperion body, which is really starting to show its age.  More recent figures using this body have tended to replace the torso, which is the weakest part, but this one doesn’t.  Obviously that’s far from the worst thing, but when I don’t have any attachment to the character, things like this bother me more.  He gets a new head, and I believe the feet are new as well.  They’re fine pieces.  The head is accurate to the source material, and certainly well-rendered from a purely technical stand-point.  I may not like the source, but this is still a very strong sculpt.  A strong sculpt based on a walking snooze-fest, but a strong sculpt nonetheless.  I’m definitely interested to see where else those bare feet turn up, though.  That’s right; the feet are the most interesting part.  Not super interesting?  The paint.  I mean, once again, it’s well handled, but I’d hardly classify it as exciting.  There’s a lot of gold, and then there’s some black.  Two colors?  Wooooeeeee, that’s the good stuff.  The application is clean, I guess (?), and the gold they used is a fairly nice shade.  The eyes and mouth are pretty sharp as well.  I’m really reaching for stuff here.  Ex Nihilo includes no proper accessories of his own, since that would be interesting and possibly exciting, and that ain’t how Ex Nihilo does things.  He *does* include the last piece of Mantis, which is by far the very best thing about this figure. 

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

As you may have surmised, I don’t particularly like Ex Nihilo.  I wasn’t thrilled when he showed up in the line-up for this set.  I bought him for one reason and one reason only: the Mantis piece.  Is this figure well executed?  More or less.  There are some issues, and he’s got a distinct lack of character to distract from them.  Is he fun?  For people who like the character, I guess.  For me, not really.  He’s just a barrier between me and a completed Mantis figure.  Kudos Hasbro, you have proven that I will pay full price for an arm an a box full of pretentious-ass nothing. 

#1385: Raza

RAZA

X-MEN (TOY BIZ)

“His body rebuilt as a cyborg after a near-fatal accident, the freebooting swashbuckler Raza travels the galaxy in the company of the star-spanning Starjammers, lending his sword and his courage to any battle for freedom and justice!”

The sheer character depth of Toy Biz’s ’90s X-Men line is perhaps its greatest strength.  They took full advantage of the popularity of the X-Men in the ’90s and used that to produce a very large chunk of the major and minor players in the franchise.  Even slightly older characters and groups eventually found their way into plastic form.  One of my favorite teams represented was the Starjammers, the group of space pirates introduced during the Phoenix Saga.  Today, I’ll be looking at one of the more minor Starjammers, Raza!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Raza was released in Series 7 of the X-Men line.  Believe it or not, along with Ch’od, Raza was the first appearance of the Starjammers in this line.  The figure stands a little over 5 inches tall and he has 11 points of articulation.  The sculpt was unique to this figure, and patterned on Dave Cockrum’s illustrations of Raza from the comics.  It’s an okay sculpt; it’s overall decent, but definitely not without issues.  A lot of the issues are to do with posing.  Raza’s pose is a little odd.  He’s a bit pigeon-toed, and his shoulders are oddly thrown back.  And, for whatever reason, his right hand has his palm facing forward.  In addition, the articulation, especially at the shoulders, isn’t well worked into the sculpt at all.  On the plus side, he does fit in pretty well with the rest of the line overall, and there’s plenty of solid work, especially on his head, which really capture’s Raza’s distinctive look.  In terms of paint, he’s pretty decent.  The colors match his colors from the comics, and the application is all pretty clean.  The colors are also nice and vibrant, which is always a nice thing.  Raza was packed with a sword and a pistol, both of which fit quite nicely in his hands (though it’s a shame his right hand doesn’t have an extended trigger finger) and stay pretty well put.  There’s also an action feature, where his arms rock back and forth at the shoulders.  It’s kind of hard to explain, and I’m not 100% sure what it’s supposed to do…

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

When I was growing up, my Dad had a Raza figure.  I always thought he was pretty cool.  I almost bought one of my own numerous times over the years, but never got around to it.  In actuality, I kept thinking I already had him for whatever reason.  After verifying I definitely didn’t have him, I eventually ended up getting him at the Dave Hart Toy Show in Timmonium, just about a month ago.  He’s not one of the star figures from this line, but he’s still pretty nifty.  At least he’s better than Ahab, right?

#1375: Ahab

AHAB

X-MEN (TOY BIZ)

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

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

THE FIGURE ITSELF

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

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

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

#1348: Dash Rendar

DASH RENDAR

STAR WARS: SHADOWS OF THE EMPIRE (KENNER)

“In all the galaxy there are few who can fly and shoot like Dash Rendar. Many years ago, as a cadet at the Imperial Acadmey, he continually impressed his superiors with the ability to push vessels beyond their usual limits, executing maneuvers his ships were never meant to perform. He held great promise as a future Imperial officer until a freight vessel piloted by his brother malfunctioned and crashed on Coruscant, destroying a private museum that housed many of the Emperor’s treasures. Though the mishap was not the pilot’s fault, the Emperor banished Rendar’s family and had Dash expelled from the academy. Given his bold disregard for regulation and arrogant confidence, it is doubtful that Dash would have fit in well within the ranks of the Empire anyway. He never hesitates to boast of his skills as an expert pilot and gunner. After his dismissal from the academy, he began a career as a thief and gambler, but soon discovered that his exceptional flying skills were a great asset in the smuggling business. He quickly became very successful, making his services expensive but guaranteed for the right price.”

That is a lot of bio right there.  And it’s especially long for a character who could best be summed up as “Han Solo for that one story where they needed Han Solo, but he was all frozen and stuff.”  That’s my official bio for him, anyway.  Dash is one of the earliest examples of a wholly Expanded Universe character appearing in a Star Wars toyline (he and Prince Xizor, from the same story, appeared at the same time), which is actually pretty nifty.  Sadly, that’s the only time he’s ever gotten a figure, but at least he got the one, meaning that I can review it here today!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Dash Rendar was released in the first and only series of Star Wars: Shadows of the Empire, a spin-off of Kenner’s Power of the Force II line.  The figure stands a little over 3 3/4 inches tall and he has 6 points of articulation.  Dash has a unique sculpt, which was based on a number of Dash’s various designs.  Yes, as a totally non-film character, Dash didn’t have one particular design, just more of a general set of generally consistent elements.  He’s got the armor and the padded jumpsuit, which showed up just about everywhere.  He’s also got long sleeves, which kind of look to be unique to this figure; most depictions of him were bare-armed.  To be fair, the sleeves make him fit in a little better with the rest of the Star Wars characters.  In general, Dash’s design really is Han Solo if Han Solo had been designed by a comic book artist in the ‘90s, which is to say he’s a little ridiculous and over-designed.  On the plus side, the slightly exaggerated proportions and pose that most of the PotF2 figures had is right at home with Dash’s uber ‘90s design, which does make him a little more consistent as a whole.  In general, there’s some pretty solid work on Dash’s sculpt.  There’s a lot of fine detail work that you didn’t usually see on figures of this vintage.  Dash’s paint work is pretty decent as well.  The colors are slightly garish, but that fits the character, and at the very least the application’s all really sharp.  The figure was packed with two blasters, one large and one small.  There’s also a back pack, with a little arm that can attach to the larger blaster.  You know, for….reasons.  I don’t know *what* reasons, but I’m sure there are some.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I didn’t have this Dash figure growing up (though I *did* have his Micro Machine), but I always kind of wanted one.  Of course, since he was the only truly unique figure in the set, he was a little more scarce than the other figures.  I’ve been on the look out for him for a little while, and I ended up finding him at Pop Culture Exchange in Omaha, while on my way back home from Seattle.  Sure, he’s super, super ‘90s, but that’s kind of the best thing about him.  Guess I’m gonna have to get the Outrider for him to pilot now.  Oh darn.

#1346: Ziv Zulander

ZIV ZULANDER

THE BOTS MASTER (TOY BIZ)

“Ziv Zulander – ZZ for short – created the CORP’s best selling bot, the 3A. But when he discovered the CORP was going to use his invention to enslave the world, he knew the only hope was to lead the BOYZZ – his own intelligent bots – in a war against the CORP! The struggle will be hard-fought, but armed with his quick-assembly laser cannon and laser-firing helmet, ZZ’s sure to show the CORP there’s only one BOTS MASTER!”

Bots Master?  What the heck is Bots Master? Well, The Bots Master is a 1993 cartoon series, produced by Jean Chalopin—Okay, sorry, sorry, that’s just the opening of the Wikipedia entry on the series.  I actually don’t really know what it is, beyond that Wikipedia page.  But, Toy Biz made the toys and I have one of them, so I guess I’m gonna be talking about The Bots Master today.  This should be amusing.  So, without further ado, let’s look at Ziv Zulander (no relation to Derek)!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Ziv Zulander (or, as my brother likes to call him, Zed-iv Zed-ulander) was released in the basic assortment of Toy Biz’s The Bots Master line.  He is presumably based on Ziv’s look from the show, but I don’t really know for certain.  The figure stands about 5 inches tall and he has 9 points of articulation.  This guy’s sculpt is definitely dated, but shows the typical signs of a Toy Biz sculpt from this time period.  He is very much at home with the first few series of X-Men and X-Force figures.  In fact, he’s so at home that I spent a fair bit of time trying to determine if he shared any parts with those lines.  It appears that he’s a unique sculpt, though.  It’s not terrible; the basic proportions are all pretty well balanced, and he’s got some interesting details here and there.  He also uses some of the strange connectors like we saw on the Iron Man figures, which is a little odd looking when he doesn’t have all of his armor and such, but it’s not really that odd when next to the other figures.  The sculpt does definitely have some other oddities to it; he’s really rigid and uptight looking.  Also, the face looks…I’m not quite sure…like, what’s going on with his facial expression?  Is he happy?  Annoyed?  Gas-y?  I don’t really know.  It’s not the greatest.  I mean, it’s not the worst, either, so there’s that.  He’s definitely a bit awkward looking, though.  The paint on this guy is pretty solid for the time; it’s clean and bright and generally pretty solidly applied.  It hasn’t held up the best over the years, but it’s better than some other figures I’ve seen.  Ziv originally included a bunch of armor pieces, as well as an actual pair of 3D glasses meant to be worn during the cartoon’s “3D” sequences.  Mine didn’t have any of that stuff, though. 

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Okay, so if I don’t know anything about The Bots Master, then why do I have a figure of the show’s main character? Well, it’s very simple: I have a condition.  Okay, no, seriously, what happened was I found him at Bobakhan Toys, and he was packed with a Toy Biz Havok (a figure that I will buy literally every time I see it).  The pair of them were $2, and I was admittedly curious about what the heck this was, so I bought it.  He’s definitely an old Toy Biz figure, and minus the nostalgic twinge or being a character I actually care about, he’s not anything spectacular.  Still, for $1, he’s entertaining enough.

#1236: Aztek

AZTEK

JUSTICE LEAGUE UNLIMITED (MATTEL)

As much as I talk down on Mattel, it should be noted that I still hold some of the stuff they’ve done in pretty high esteem.  In particular, their run on the Justice League Unlimited line, while far from perfect, did get us a whole lot of minor DC characters who would have never seen toys any other way.  Such is the case with Aztek, a character from the ‘90s who never really took off, but has always had a pretty steady fanbase.  He made a few brief appearances in JLU, and it was enough to net him a figure, which I’ll be looking at today!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Aztek was initially released in the second series of three-packs from Mattel’s Justice League Unlimited line, where he was packed with Superman and Sinestro.  Why those two?  Your guess is as good as mine.  It’s worth noting that the packaging for this set incorrectly listed his name as “Aztec,” which is the name of the civilization, not the character.  Good research there Matty.  Aztek was later released single-carded, and his name was correct there, so I guess they learned.  The figure stands about 4 3/4 inches tall and has the usual 5 points of articulation.  He was built on the medium-sized male body (a retooled Green Lantern mold), with a unique head and arms, as well as the legs of Red Tornado and an add-on for his chest piece.  The new pieces were all pretty solid work.  The head’s sort of stuck looking a bit up all the time, but I suppose there are worse things.  The add-on for the torso lines up surprisingly well with the sculpted shoulder pads of the arms, so that’s actually pretty cool, as are the details on the gauntlets.  The paintwork on Aztek is decent.  It was a bit better when he was still brand new, as he’s plagued by the same issue that so many gold-painted figures from this era tend to be plagued by.  At one point, his shoulders matched with the torso, but no longer.  I’m still iffy on the whole concept of metallic colors on the animated figures at all, but I guess it is what it is.  Aztek included no accessories (unless you count the other two figures in the set), as was the norm with figures in the three-packs.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I picked up Aztek (and his pack-mates) back when he was new.  I believe I found him at a Walmart outside of Dewey Beach, while on a brief weekend trip with my family.  I was a pretty big collector of the line at the time, so I was pretty pumped to have found the set in stores, especially after the rarity of most of the first series three-packs.  Ultimately, I don’t know much about Aztek or have a ton of attachment to him, but this figure’s decent enough, and is on par with JLU when it was at its best.