#1706: Reverse Flash

REVERSE FLASH

TOTAL JUSTICE (KENNER)

It’s not uncommon for superhero stories to introduce a villain that’s some sort of dark reflection of the hero, but there are few instances as straight forward as Professor Zoom, the Reverse Flash.  Reverse is right there in the name.  Toy makers are fond of this particular character, since he’s a pretty easy palette swap of the Flash.  I’m looking at one of those figures today.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Reverse Flash was released in 1999 as a ToyFare magazine exclusive continuation of Kenner’s Total Justice toyline.  Despite how easy it is to make the character, this would be his very first figure (though one was planned for Kenner’s Super Powers line before the line ended).  The figure stands 4 3/4 inches tall (and would be closer to an even 5 if he were standing up straight) and he has 5 points of articulation.  The sculpt for this figure is, predictably, reused from the main line’s version of Flash. Now, if you want to get technical, it’s a Wally West Flash, and Professor Zoom should have Barry’s costume, but the differences are minor enough that it’s not really worth complaining about.  As far as the quality of the sculpt, it’s got all the hallmarks of this line, with the proportions and muscularature being super exaggerated and the whole figure being super pre-posed. Of course, the pre-posing is less of an issue here, since they gave him more of a running pose.  Zoom’s paint is reasonable enough.  It’s a bit brighter than the corresponding Flash was, and the yellow looks a touch goofy with how blindingly bright it is.  Also, the contrast really isn’t there between the eyes and the mask, like it was on the Flash.  Perhaps black eyes might have worked better?  It’s not terrible, though. Reverse Flash included no accessories, but since all the main Flash got was tactical armor, I don’t feel like he’s really missing out.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

It’s this figure that’s the whole reason I even know this character exists. Back when I was much smaller, I saw him on a dealer’s table at a Farpoint.  He was too pricey for me to get at the time, but my dad explained the character to me, and I’ve been intrigued ever since.  It’s taken a while, but I finally found this guy, courtesy of House Of Fun, last November.  He’s pretty simple, but still a lot of fun.

#1397: Eradicator

ERADICATOR

MAN OF STEEL (KENNER)

After producing one of the most expansive DC toylines ever in the ‘80s with Super Powers, Kenner ran into some issues keeping up with the whole “expansive” aspect as they moved into the ‘90s.  If it wasn’t Batman, it really wasn’t selling.  They tried out a Superman line, Man of Steel, in the mid-90s, which was at best moderately successful.  After two series at retail (the second of which was virtually nonexistent) the line’s third series was scrapped.  Fortunately, two of the proposed figures were salvaged and offered later down the line as exclusives.  I’ll be looking at one of those two, prospective Superman-replacement Eradicator, today.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Eradicator was offered by ToyFare magazine as a mail-away offer, extending Kenner’s Man of Steel line by one figure.  He’s based on Eradicator’s design from the “Reign of the Supermen” arc, which was, at the time of this figure’s release, the character’s only design.  The figure stands about 5 inches tall and he has 5 points of articulation.   His sculpt was unique to him, and is a pretty decent recreation of Eradicator’s page bound counterpart.  He’s a little more pre-posed than the earlier Man of Steel figures, showcasing Kenner’s steady move into the Total Justice style of pre-posed figures.  Eradicator is at least not ridiculously pre-posed; the slight upturn of the arms at the elbows makes sense for his energy-based powers, and the slight step in his legs helps to keep him balanced with the slightly heavy cape piece.  The head sculpt has a rather intense expression, which was fairly in character for Eradicator, and offered a nice change from the standard Superman sculpts.  The hands on the figure do seem a little on the large side, but perhaps it’t just the pose throwing things off.  His cape is a removable piece, which plugs into place.  It’s a little on the bulky side, but not terribly so.  Underneath is a fully detailed sculpt, which actually has a pretty nifty light-piped feature where the usual logo would be.  Eradicator’s paintwork is pretty decent; the application is mostly clean and sharp.  The contrast could maybe bee a little higher on the blue sections of the costume, but the metallic sheen is still pretty cool.  Also pretty cool?  The translucent feature on his arms.  That’s a lot of fun.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Eradicator predates me really getting a lot of the ToyFare exclusives, so I didn’t get him new.  I’ve been on the look out for one recently, and I ended up fishing this guy out of 2nd Chance Toyz’s $1 bin.  He was still in his little baggie and everything!  This guy’s okay overall.  Not the most exciting figure of all time, but he’s a solid rendition of the character.

#1379: Jason Todd

JASON TODD

BATMAN: HUSH (DC DIRECT)

“When the mysterious Hush swoops into Gotham City, Batman is forced to cut a swath through his famed Rogues Gallery with the aid of his closest allies in a desperate search for the masked villain’s true identity!”

No body ever stays dead in comic books.  There used to be exceptions to that rule, but slowly but surely they’re all finding their way back.  One character who managed to stay dead for a decent chunk of time was Jason Todd, the second Robin.  Following his death in 1989’s “Death in the Family,” he was gone for almost two decades.  He was first “brought back” during Geoff Loeb and Jim Lee’s “Hush” storyline, where he was revealed to be the titular villain.  Over the course of that particular story it was revealed that (spoiler) it wasn’t really Jason at all, but instead Clayface masquerading as Batman’s dead partner to mess with Bruce’s head, and that Jason was still deceased.  But, a returned Jason proved to be a popular idea, and so it was retconned that Jason had indeed been brought back during the course of “Hush,” and he’s since taken up the role of Red Hood.  Comics everybody!  He’s had a crap ton of figures since his return, but today I’ll be looking at his very first proper figure….which may actually not be him…or maybe it is?  Ah, heck with it, let’s just look at the freaking figure!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Jason Todd was part of DC Direct’s Batman: Hush line, and was offered as a special ToyFare-exclusive, released just before the first series of the main line.  The figure stands about 6 1/2 inches tall and he has 11 points of articulation.  Not a lot of mobility, but it was pretty good for the time.  He’s based on the Jason-Hush from the comics, depicting him from his fight with Batman, following the dramatic unmasking.  It was a pretty easy way for DCD to get an extra use out of the Hush mold from Series 1, so that’s exactly what they did. The Hush body is actually a pretty nice bit of work, capturing Lee’s design and style very nicely, and offering a crisp, highly detailed sculpt.  It’s really only got the one pose, but you can finesse it a bit, which offers a bit of variety, I suppose.  He gets a new head, which is nicely sized for the body (which is more than can be said for the standard head), and does a respectable job of capturing “Jason” from the story.  I particularly like the slight sneering to the mouth; it adds a lot of Jason’s character to the figure and helps to further separate him from the similar-looking Dick Grayson.  The only one draw back to the figure is his hands.  The Hush figure had guns permanently molded into his hands.  They’re well-sculpted, and work fine for the basic Hush, but Jason never actually has guns during his fight with Bruce.  The figure was originally supposed to have spare hands, but they were dropped somewhere along the way.  The paint on Jason is tight and clean, and very bold.  It’s on par with the rest of the line, and it’s aged a lot better than contemporary figures.  There’s minimal slop, and there’s even some awesome weathering on the jacket and gloves.  The figure’s only accessory is a display stand, which is the same one included with the rest of the line.  It’s a shame he didn’t get anything else; as is, he feels a bit light.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Talk about grail figures.  This guy’s been on my list for a very long time.  I remember very well when he was offered in ToyFare, and I really wanted him.  However, as I’ve noted in my review of Rex Ganon, I only had the money for one of the two, and I ultimately chose Rex.  Since then, I’ve always kept an eye out for Jason, but he’s always been far out of my price range.  Earlier this year, I found someone at a toy show selling a complete set of Hush figures for $400, Jason included, and asked if he might part with just Jason.  He said he would, but quoted me $250 for Jason on his own, which was most definitely not happening.  I came across another Jason just a week later, at Gidget’s Gadgets, a regular stop of mine.  This time he was $70, a far more reasonable price, but still outside of my range.  Have I mentioned before how my family are too good to me?  Because they are.  See, my brother was with me both times I asked about Jason.  He knew I really wanted the figure.  So, being the truly amazing person that he is, he went out and bought me the one that GG was selling.  Have I mentioned I love this guy?  I’m beyond thrilled to have this figure.  I’d reconciled long ago that I’d never own one, but now I do.  And he’s really, really cool.

#1359: VF-1S Roy Fokker – Last Stand

VF-1S ROY FOKKER – LAST STAND

ROBOTECH: VERITECH SUPER POSABLE FIGURE (TOYNAMI)

For someone who’s so hardcore into media that has to do with giant robot fighting suits, you’d probably assume that I’d be all about Robotech.  Truth be told, I only actually started watching the show a month ago.  I’ve absolutely been loving it; I can’t really say why I put off watching it for quite so long.  Anyway, there are a ton of Robotech toys out there.  They aren’t the most common items to find, since there’s a pretty big fanbase that collects them, but every so often you do find the occasional stray figure, and I was fortunate enough to do so.  Today, I’ll be looking at the Veritech fighter of my personal favorite character from the show, Roy Fokker.  So, let’s look at the figure!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

In 2001, Toynami picked up the license for Robotech, and they put out a line dubbed Robotech: Veritech Super Posable Figures.  Roy Fokker’s VF-1S was from that line.  This particular version is dubbed the “Last Stand” version, presumably based on Episode 18 of the series, which contains Roy’s final stand and eventual demise (spoilers, I guess).  The figure was released as an exclusive through ToyFare magazine, as a way of promoting the line.  Sculpturally, the VF-1S is the same figure as the standard release, just with a tweaked paint job.  The figure stands about 7 inches tall (largely due to his splayed legs; he’d be closer to 8 standing straight) and he has 22 points of articulation.  It’s somewhat amusing to see this figure branded as “super-posable” in this day and age, given his lack of a number of joints that are kind of essential in this day and age.  The most egregious omission is the lack of anything beyond cut joints on the hips, which means he’s perpetually stuck in this slightly splayed-leg-pose.  It’s far from the worst thing ever, and there’s no denying that he’s highly posable in several other areas, but it’s still a little limiting.  For the time, though, it was actually pretty amazing, so credit where credit is due.  The sculpt on this guy is really solid work; he pretty closely follows the show’s design and the detail work is all really sharp and geometric, just like it should be.  The joints are also worked in very nicely, but that’s just a matter of keeping consistent with the character design (which isn’t exactly something that’s always done; looking at you, Hasbro!).  This is a non-transforming figure, so he’s always in robot mode (which is the cool mode), but the important elements that remain from the original mode are still there, and very nicely detailed.  They’ve even made his skull leader insignia a raised element, to help differentiate him from the other Veritechs.  There are a few mold lines that I wish were a little less obvious, but beyond that, I’m very happy with the sculpt.  The paint is what differentiates this from the normal release; where the basic figure was clean and shiny, this figure depicts Roy after he takes a beating.  There’s a bunch of heavy shading and burn marks, as well as some pretty amazing bullet holes and puncture wounds.  Those are all still just painted on, but are quite convincing as actual damage to the figure.  I find that all of this extra work really does a lot to bring out the strengths of the sculpt and makes for an all-around more visually interesting figure.  Roy’s VF-1S is packed with three sets of hands in fists, trigger finger, and open gesture poses, as well as his rifle, which has adjustable pieces, allowing it to be held in his hand or slung over his shoulder.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

As noted in the intro, I only got into Robotech very recently, so I didn’t get this guy new (though I do recall when he was offered in ToyFare, since I was a subscriber at the time).  Instead, I found him just a few weeks ago at this awesome place around the corner from me called Lost In Time Toys.  My brother got their card at AwesomeCon and we went to check them out and just happened to catch them in the middle of a moving sale.  This guy was amongst the handful of items still yet to be moved, so I got him for half of his usual price, which was a pretty darn good deal.  I will admit, I was a little annoyed by the hips when I got him out of the box, but other than that small issue, I just can’t help but love this guy.  I foresee myself tracking down more of this line.

#0347: Snake Eyes & Agent Scarlett

SNAKE EYES & AGENT SCARLETT

GI JOE VS COBRA

SnakeEyes&Scarlett

In 1965, Hasbro invented the action figure with the very first GI Joe. The figure offered a take on the traditional doll idea, but meant for boys. He was 12 inches tall, had a cloth outfit, and was a pretty straight forward military man, offered in a variation for each of the four branches of the US military. After the end of the Vietnam War, soldiers and war were seen in a more negative light, so Hasbro had to change things up. This led to the Adventure Team era, which prevailed for most of the 70s. At the end of the decade, they faced another issue. Thanks to Kenner’s smaller scale Star Wars line, the industry was moving to smaller, less accessorized figures. Hasbro had to move quickly to reinvigorate GI Joe for a new audience, leading to the creation of GI Joe: A Real American Hero, which reworked the scale and made the line a collection of unique characters. It also provided the Joes with their first real foe, Cobra. It has remained the definitive take on the GI Joe concept pretty much since its inception. While the line never went away, after the 80s the line dwindled, until it was once again re-worked in 2002. That’s when I came on board. The line operated mostly on new sculpts, but there were a few re-releases mixed in. Today, I’ll be looking at one such release, with Joe mainstays Snake Eyes and Scarlett.

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

This pair was released as an exclusive two-pack through Toyfare magazine. They were meant to tie-in with the then current GI Joe VS Cobra.

SNAKE EYES

SnakeEyes&ScarletWilson1This is the 15th version of the ever silent ninja/commando/everything but the kitchen sink, Snake Eyes! Snake Eyes is 3 ¾ inches in height and he features 14 points of articulation. He’s meant to be a slightly more high quality recreation of the very first Snake Eyes figure, so he unsurprisingly used a lot of the same pieces. He’s mostly built out of the version 1.5, after Hasbro added the now standard swivels to his biceps, but instead of the original, he’s been given that of the second version of Roadblock. Not sure why that is, but I assume Hasbro had a good reason. Anyway, it’s a pretty great sculpt, even if it does show its age just a little. Obviously, it’s a tad more simplistic than most modern day sculpts, but that’s not too bad. He still has his fair share of detail, and he looks pretty great! The paint is a key point on this figure, as the original Snake Eyes didn’t actually have any. For this one, they’ve added some additional details to the various pouches and straps on the body to give him a little more variety. There is also a shade of very dark gray applied to the visor on his head, which was so subtle I almost didn’t notice it at first. Overall, the paint is pretty good, but there are a few areas where he has some bleed over. Snake Eyes included a submachine gun, a sword, some explosives, and a back pack, which a pretty impressive accessories compliment!

AGENT SCARLETT

SnakeEyes&ScarletWilson2This is the 6th version of Scarlett, or Agent Scarlett as she’s called here. She’s 3 ¾ inches in height and she has 14 points of articulation. Like Snake Eyes, she’s meant as a recreation of the original Scarlett figure from way back in the very first series of GI Joe: A Real American Hero. The figure is a complete re-use of swivel-armed version of the original figure, which is reasonable. Admittedly, the Scarlett sculpt is not as nice as Snake Eyes. Her arms sit a little bit far out at the shoulders, and the face is rather on the mannish side. It’s not terrible, but it’s not the greatest. The paint on Scarlett is a bit more intensive than that on Snake Eyes. All in all, it’s pretty good. There’s no real slop or bleed over, so that’s good. They’ve also made her a bit more colorful than her original incarnation, which is probably for the best. Scarlett comes armed with a crossbow and two swords, as well as a backpack.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

GI Joe was mostly in a lull when I came into the world of action figure collecting. As such, my first real introduction to the property was GI Joe VS Cobra. Once I had gotten the newer figures, I began looking into the older figures, particularly those of Snake Eyes. Thanks to an article run in Toyfare magazine, I learned of the second version of the character, which I really wanted. It didn’t prove easy to find, so I had to go without it until recently.

In the meantime, I purchased this set from Toyfare to hold me over. I remember being extremely excited when I first saw the order form in the issue in which they were offered! My always supportive Mom was feeling particularly awesome, so she ordered the set for me. Since then, it’s easily remained one of my favorite pieces of my GI Joe collection. It’s a great set and I really love it!

#0082: Power Man & Iron Fist

POWER MAN & IRON FIST

MARVEL MINIMATES

Day 4 of my post-Christmas Review is now here, and shocking absolutely everyone, it’s more Minimates!  This time around, it’s another set of Marvel Minimates, though it’s actually one of the older ones that I missed on its initial release.  It’s everyone’s favorite Heroes for Hire:  Power Man and Iron Fist!

I just recently reviewed another figure of Power Man, so I won’t go into great detail there, but this time he comes with his trusty partner Iron Fist, who’s a guy with an…iron fist.  Okay, not literally, but he’s got a complicated origin I don’t feel like getting into here.  He’s a guy who’s really good at martial arts.

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

These two were released as a ToyFare exclusive 2-pack, released around the 7th series of the Marvel Minimates line.  For those of you paying attention, the last set I reviewed here was a Toys R Us exclusive set released to coincide with the 51st wave of the line, so these guys are from quite a ways back.

POWER MAN

First up, it’s the original Hero for Hire, Luke Cage, aka Power Man.  Power Man is depicted here in his original costume from his series in the 70s.  He’s built on the usual Minimate body, so he has the standard 14 points of articulation and stands about 2 ½ inches tall.  He has four sculpted pieces:  his hair, belt, and bracelets.  These pieces were all new to the figure, but have been used a few times since, particularly the bracelets, which have seen rather frequent reuse.  These pieces are all well sculpted, but are very definitely a product of the much more simplistic look of Minimates at the time.  The paint is alright, but definitely not up to par with the current offerings.  The detail lines are sparse and fairly heavy, and there’s a sizeable amount of slop around the boots.  Power Man includes no accessories.

IRON FIST

Next, it’s the master of Kung-Fu, Iron Fist.  Iron Fist is also depicted in his original costume from the 70s.  Like Power Man, he’s on the usual body, so he’s got the typical stuff there.  Iron Fist features three sculpted pieces: mask, torso cover, and sash.  These were all new to the figure at the time, but the mask and sash have both seen reuses within the line.  These pieces are all pretty well done, though the torso cover is a bit on the bulky side for Iron Fist, who shouldn’t be that big of a guy.  The paint on Iron fist is a bit better than that of Power Man, though he still has some pretty noticeable slop on his shoes.  One cool detail is the ability of the torso to be reversed, so Iron Fist can be displayed with or without his dragon tattoo.  Iron Fist is accessorized with a little translucent piece that slips over his hand and simulates his chi being transferred through his “iron fist.”   It’s a well done piece that would later see monumental reuse.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

These guys were yet another Christmas gift from my uber-supportive parents.  I had wanted this set for a good long while after missing out on ordering it from ToyFare, so I was very happy to unwrap it on Christmas morning.  It’s certainly not on the same level as some of the more recent releases in the line, but it definitely reminded me of cool the line still was, even at this point.  It’s so cool to see how far the line has come.

#0054: Green Lantern – Emerald Shield

GREEN LANTERN – EMERALD SHIELD

GREEN LANTERN: REBIRTH (DC DIRECT)

So, I’m a big Green Lantern fan, and as such, I have a whole lot of Green Lantern stuff.  Here’s a piece of that collection.  It’s another DC Direct review, this time from one of their many Green Lantern lines.  This line was done to correspond with Green Lantern: Rebirth, the series that brought the long dead Hal Jordan back from the dead.  I’ll be looking at one of the variants of Hal Jordan from that line.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Hal was released as a part of DC Direct’s Green Lantern: Rebirth line.  He was a Toyfare exclusive*.  He was a recast of the regular Green Lantern from the line.   He stands a little over 6 inches and has 13 points of articulation.  Like I said, he shares his sculpt with the basic Hal Jordan from the line, but this is the first of the two I’ll be looking at, so I’ll examine it here.  It’s a nice sculpt, with basic smooth lines.  The details of the costume are etched in.  The musculature of the body is handled pretty well, with no odd proportions.  The head is a decent approximation of Hal, looking somewhat cocky.  With the exception of his logo on his chest, GL  has no paint to speak of, because this particular figure’s gimmick is being molded in translucent green plastic to replicate when GL is all powered up.  GL includes a display stand, a piece that hooks onto the stand to allow GL to hover, and a power batter molded in translucent green.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

This figure, along with the regular version, was a birthday gift from my parents.  It’s great because it combines my love of translucent action figures with my love of Green Lantern!  While the idea has been used several times since, this was really the first time that a GL figure was released in clear green, which made him extra cool at the time!

*ToyFare magazine was a pretty fantastic resource for collectors back in the day, providing not only news on upcoming releases, but also augmenting collectors’ collections with a few exclusive items here and there.