Tuesday, November 20, 2018

Disney Marvel Toybox Hulkbuster & Hulk Battle Set

This Disney Marvel Toybox set was intended for younger children, but collectors have been picking it up for the somewhat impressive Hulkbuster included. Rivaling the larger Marvel Legends Hulkbuster in visual appeal and articulation, the addition of lights and sounds just icing on the cake with this Toybox version. I'd never pay full retail for it, but at 25% off, I'm in. Check out the video:

Another thing this Toybox Hulkbuster has that the Marvel Legends does not have is a Tony Stark head under the helmet. There's even toe joints, and joints in the three fingers! My only gripe with this Hulkbuster is the loose joints, especially the left elbow- I've heard similar reports from the community regarding this and other larger Toybox figures like Baymax and Maui. I'm particularly enamored by the Hulk in the set- collectors who already had single carded Hulk w/purple pants may be less enthusiastic, but the roaring expression on this one is an improvement in my opinion. A single carded grey Toybox Hulk is now available as well. A fun set, but buy it on sale!

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Saturday, November 17, 2018

Marvel Legends Magik

Illyana Rasputin is the younger sibling of mutant X-Man Colossus, Piotr Rasputin- my familiarity with the character doesn't go far beyond that, but there's no denying the cool factor of this action figure. Magik has the ability to teleport and block telepaths with psionic shields, but is better known for her sorcery. A Walgreen's exclusive, she's been difficult to track down, having seen her myself in only a couple locations among several within my immediate ten mile radius and no indication of her availability through their website. I bought one and left the others for the other kids like a good nerd- if you can find her, she's a visual delight, packed with accessories!

Illyana comes with two magnificent swords and multiple magic effects accessories to bring them to life- not sure which of these is meant to represent her famed Soulsword, but I'd guess it's the smaller katana. The larger, oversized battle sword matches her aesthetic more closely, but they are both pretty cool, molded from translucent plastic.

The accessories hardly stop at the swords and magic effects, a small dragon and flaming skull round out the package, making Illyana one of the most packed Legends offering I can remember in recent history. Sure, the dragon is a repaint from Kitty Pride's Lockheed accessory, and the skull from Ghost Rider, but it's still lots of fun!

In anticipation of finding Magik, I'd procured a loose Nico Minoru from the 2016 Marvel Legends Dr. Strange Wave off eBay at a substantial discount, recognizing she'd pair well with the former. I often buy figures that may not be directly related per se, but complement one another in spirit and/or aesthetic. In addition to their translucent accessories and dark clothing, they share the same boots and a goth quality that unite them visually.

Nico Minoru first appeared in 2003 in Runaways, daughter of dark wizards she escapes from to become a superhero, later joining Marvel's first all-female supergroup, A-Force. A sorceress like Magik, Nico's Staff of One grotesquely emerges from her body when she bleeds, but her extra arm accessory interests me more, made of translucent magenta plastic. I can find no mention of this on the internet, and while not molded to specifically fit the magic accessory that wraps around her staff, I was able to carefully balance it around her magic arm.

I don't care much for Nico's staff, so she has inherited Illyana's extra sword so
 they can battle side by side against the forces of evil magic and sorcery!

Above: Marvel Legends Kamala Khan/Ms. Marvel with Nico Minoru.
Below: Marvel Legends Valkyrie and Angela with Magik.

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Monday, November 12, 2018

Funko POP! 6" Spider-Hulk

I usually start a post on a Funko POP! stating my best intentions in limiting the number of them in my collection, but in the case regarding this oversized 6" Spider-Hulk, but in the immortal words of the recently departed Stan Lee, " 'Nuff said!" Check out the video:

Spider-Hulk's first appearance was in Web of Spider-Man #70 (1990), but he appeared again a decade later in Hulked Out Heroes, a 2-comic mini series, part of the World War Hulks crossover in 2010. You can still find the 2006 pre-Marvel Legends Spider-Hulk from ToyBiz on eBay, commanding a respectable price on the secondary market twelve years after it's release. Below, Spider-Hulk towers over the Funko POP! Homecoming Spider-Man... 

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R.I.P. Stan Lee (1922-2018)

Sunday, November 4, 2018

POP! Venomized Iron Man

I'm constantly fighting the urge to buy another Funko POP! vinyl, and while I prefer the regular ball joint head design featured on the DC characters over the bobble-heads on the Marvel figures, I could not resist this Venomized Iron Man. The other Venomized characters of this series are cool, but Iron Venom was a standout! See more in the video below:

Below, Venomized Iron Man with Funko POP! Homecoming Spider-Man 

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Thursday, October 25, 2018

DC Collectibles Vibe

Another recent eBay find, DC Collectibles Vibe, another New 52 action figure from what I feel was a great moment in the line. For two or three years there around 2011 - 2013, DC Collectibles was making some beautifully sculpted action figures with nice paint apps. I bought several of the New 52 Justice League figures, and what they lacked in articulation was doubly repaid in aesthetics. I picked up the first issue of Vibe's New 52 solo title in February of 2013, and while I didn't stick with it, I did read more issues of different titles relaunched by DC around the sane time. I will say DC Collectibles did a commendable job capturing the character's look, producing a detailed figure with lots of great incised sculpting throughout Vibe's outfit.

Vibe's shoulders are mounted only to a swivel, no hinge to facilitate lateral articulation, and he has nothing in the waist. He utilizes DC Direct's classic Y-hinge at the hips, allowing only forward and back movement, but these figures have always been about aesthetic with less joints to break up the sculpt. While I enjoy a figure with expanded articulation, I do appreciate the beauty of these.

Vibe appeared first in Justice League of America in 1984, the first member of that team to be killed in action. He appeared in Blackest Night as a Black Lantern, but was retconned with the DC New 52 reboot, Cisco Ramon gaining his vibratory powers while being pulled from the event horizon of a boom tube by his brother, who was subsequently killed. Hence the impetus for Cisco becoming the hero Vibe.

Below, Vibe with the DC Collectibles Katana, another figure that came only in a 2-pack (Vibe w/Flash, Katana w/Wonder Woman). Like Vibe, Katana was reintroduced in the New 52 relaunch, and also enjoyed ten issues of her own solo title, starting in February of 2013.

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Monday, October 22, 2018

DC Multiverse Wonder Girl (Cassie Sandsmark)

This DC Multiverse Cassie Sandsmark was another eBay find, a figure I was curious about but not willing to pay retail for. As stated in my last post, I was a big fan of Mattel's DC Universe Classics, and the DC Mutiverse line is essentially an extension of that with the TV and movie characters mixed in. 

Female DCUC figures had notoriously poor abdominal articulation, and Cassie is no different, the swivel at her midriff offering not much beyond ten or fifteen degrees of lateral shift. Few of these figures have double joints in the elbows or knees, or rocker joints in the ankles either. Mattel hid the pins at the elbows and knees, but the shoulder joints are more pronounced on this figure than any of the past DCUC figures I remember. That said, I enjoy the DCUC aesthetic still present in many of the comic-based DC Multiverse figures. 

I feel my interest in Cassie is due in part to fondness for my DCUC Donna Troy, who shares similar design elements. I love the stars incorporated in the outfit and bracers like Donna, together in red with black boots make for quite the pair of warriors. Cassie made her firsr appearance in January 1996, Wonder Woman #105, 31 years after Donna graced the pages of DC Comics. My experiences with the character are limited mostly to Infinite Crisis, which found her lamenting over Conner Kent's body, murdered by Superboy Prime, but she was reintroduced in the New 52 relaunch as well as the more recent Rebirth relaunch. Read more about Wonder Girl at the DC Database!

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Friday, October 12, 2018

DC Multiverse Zero Year Batman

I scored this DC Multiverse Zero Year Batman off eBay this past summer at a greatly discounted price, curious about some of the Mattel figures that have passed me by the last couple years. I really enjoyed Batman: Zero Year back in 2013, and it's hard to believe how fast the last five years have flown past! A funny aside regarding this action figure: I have the DC Collectibles version of this Batman (pictured to the right), a gift from Kevin Kiniry after receiving an Earth 2 Hawkgirl with two left hands. It has more accessories than the Mattel Batman and a more Capullo-inspired portrait, as expected, but I was a big fan of the DCUC line, for which this figure's styling pays tribute. Mattel can't seem to compete with Hasbro in the 6" scale these days, their Marvel Legends line continuing to surpass in articulation and aesthetic, but I like this Batman well enough.

Mattel never really got back to a generous accessory count with it's 6" figures, but we did get a grapple gun, which though somewhat flimsy does fit neatly into it's holster strapped to Batman's thigh. Their failure to include just a couple batarangs may have stalled my retail purchase a couple years ago and cost them a sale ultimately, a far heftier price than a two slivers of plastic.

No development in range articulation from DC Universe Classics to the Multiverse line, but the hips on this particular figure has changed from the more typical, gappy DCUC joint that irked some action figure collectors a decade ago. Mattel has covered the pins at the elbows and knees, but I may have preferred double hinges there instead, or a hinged neck and ankle rockers. That said, if you are a fan of DC Universe Classics, this will likely do it for you- it does for me in some regard. I would have loved this figure as a kid, and I do really like the clean paint and sculpt details throughout. It's a cool Batman.

Below, Zero Year Batman with Mattel's more recent, and somewhat smaller DC Multiverse Rebirth Batman, both sporting a flash of purple in their outfits.  Zero Year Batman's purple gloves are an homage to the vigilante's first appearance in Detective Comics #27 from 1939, writer Scott Snyder and artist Greg Capullo's redefining Batman's origins post-New 52 relaunch. Though I didn't keep up with DC into 2016, consequently missing DC Rebirth, I'm unsure how I feel about DC Comics constant need to upend continuity only a few years after New 52. Regardless, Mattel's DC Universe Classics really got me into 6" action figures shortly after starting this blog eight years ago, and I have a soft spot for that style- especially in a Batman figure.

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Monday, October 8, 2018

My 1st 1:12 Scale Diorama

Seeing all the fantastic dioramas used by some of the ACBA artists on Instagram inspired me to test my mettle in the craft. My original intent was a wall or two with a door, which evolved into what you see above, measuring 21 x 21, 14". I thoroughly enjoyed the process and want to try another, perhaps to sell. Check out the video for a closer look:

The scale of this roomy diorama roughly approximates 1:12, perfect for 
6" action figures like Marvel Legends Deadpool and Colossus...

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