Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Titan Hero Series Capt. America & Iron Patriot

I liked the last three Titan Hero Series action figures I picked up, and knew I'd come back for at least this patriotic pair. I wasn't really concerned about the lack of articulation, but fascinated with with their size and colors. I've said before that these appeal to me in the same way those 10" Deluxe Marvel Universe figures ToyBiz produced in the 90's. They're big, dumb action figures, and I love that   :D

The box construction on these Titan Hero figures is economically produced and attractive, made largely of a single piece of folded cardboard, four-color graphics on one side. I appreciate the paper ties holding the figure in place within the packaging, easily unwound without need for a blade. The box art is graphically punchy and colorful, with a large window on front to view toy, giving the large figure a deluxe feel.

Both of these had an accessory, Captain America with his mighty shield of course. I can pass on a Captain America if I'm feeling unsure about his outfit, as was the case with a couple recent Marvel Legends figures, but I think this slightly updated fit in classic Cap colors is really great- the reinforced jackboots, piping  through the uniform, and blue belt also remind me of  his Chris Evans/Avengers portrayal. And I don't care about stars on the shoulders as long as I get wings on the head!

Such as the case is with all these Titan Heroes, the paint detailing isn't carried around the back of the torso, the sculpted star on his back left nearly invisible on the field of blue. That's somewhat a shame as the outstanding sculpt is still there, but no small child will miss it, and mine will be on display face out. The shield is painted perfectly, it's concentric circles and star incised into the sculpt. Hasbro has the shield down pat, and has been delivering for some time on this accessory. 

Cap's shield fits snugly over the pouches on his gloves- a slot to fit onto his back would have been cool, ore better yet, straps, but this was a clever way to solve the problem without more parts. It holds best when his palms are toward his thighs, away from the bulge of his biceps. Well done, Hasbro. And aside from the swivel arms and legs, and ball-jointed head, Cap's extra point of articulation are rightly swivels at the glove tops, as he is a brawler. While some complain about the simple construction of these, kids will have fun with these, and I find them charming. They make a great display piece for any Marvel fan. I'd love to see more character released in this format when the new Guardians of the Galaxy movie drops, or maybe some more X-Men.

Like I said, I like wings on Cap's head more than I care about stars on the shoulders, which are in raised sculpt on this Titan Hero Cap, as the "A" and star on his forehead and chest. The great detailing in this figure continues on the incised stripes in the abdomen and piping throughout the chest and arms. The colors have the right shade- colorful, but not too bright, and his skin tone is semi-human, the eyes simply detailed in black, peering forward with steely determination. There's a little mold seaming visible, but otherwise it rocks!


I had a hard time choosing between Iron Patriot and Iron Man, but the former seemed to make sense as I was picking up Cap, and who could pass on the shoulder gun? Who am I kidding though- I'll pick up Iron Man on clearance soon enough, or when they release the forthcoming Titan Hero Thor! I love a variant as well, so this star-spangled version of Iron Man's armor is irresistible to me! I have a killer 6" Iron Man 3 Iron Patriot, and Concept Series Capt. America Armor Iron Man by Hasbro, so this giant will compliment my quickly growing armory...

Iron Patriot's shoulder-mounted artillery came bagged in two piece that interlock, the arm pegged at it's base to fit into two opposing holes in the shoulder blades. It can move side to side at the gun's base, but not vertically- it's hollow underneath, but the whole thing works. The are articulation is simple on these. Iron Patriot has a swivel at the wrists- appropriate for the outstretched repulsor hand. His leg movement is not as restricted in the rear by the sculpt of his buttocks as Cap's, and his ball-jointed head seems more expressive as well- a trait that adds a lot of value for myself. These action figures have no knee or elbow joints, so you are really limited in posing, but they look cool...

Iron Patriot's recent Iron Man 3 deco with the military-stenciled star never really did it for me before, but I appreciate it a little more. It's painted neatly, but due to the geography of Iron Patriot's armor and chest reactor it comes off looking uneven. Still, these Titan Heroes have simple, neat paint apps- mine are nearly flawless. Yes, at least some deco on the back would have been nice, but these are outstandingly clean.

The coloring is slightly different on this thematic pair, but they are still a natural fit. Iron Patriot has a blue closer to green than Capt. America, and his red a little more orange. While simple, they both have accessories, and are toys are made primarily for younger kids, the core of their target demographic. And hitting an attractive price point for the parent making the purchase is part of the goal for Hasbro. I quite like them!

Titan Hero Series Captain America with Wolverine, Hulk, and Spider-Man...!

More Later- Make It FUN!

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Uncanny X-Men #172

In continuation of my post on Vol.1 of Wolverine and how it influenced the recent motion picture starring Hugh Jackman, I present another comic from my youth, Uncanny X-Men #172 . Published several months after Wolverine, Logan goes on to propose nuptials to Lady Mariko after defeating her father, who forbade their being together and tried to kill the X-Man. His old teammates accept the couple's wedding invitation, including Rogue, whom Logan gives the cold shoulder upon their arrival to Japan, distrusting of the former villain, now a probationary member of the X-Men. Mariko welcomes Rogue, correcting her gruff groom's manners...

Refreshment and relaxation is soon abandoned when Wolverine's keen senses detect the sounds of battle on the next rooftop, and fellow X-Man Nightcrawler teleports Logan to the scene. In fierce battle with the Silver Samurai, Logan's would-be-lover, Yukio, detected the spying assassin while stalking her former flame. The illegitimate son of Shingen, whom Wolverine defeated, Harada was dissatisfied with Lady Mariko's inheritance and sought to remove her from the equation. Storm saves her from a spill while leaping to her escape, but her brush with death is casually dismissed as Yukio cartwheels out of sight, perplexing the wind-rider. 

Relaxing at the Yashida residence later, The X-Men are left with Mariko's lady-in-waiting, who is ambushed by Viper upon her mistress' departure for "business meeting". The Hungarian mercenary poisons the X-Men's tea, leaving them to die while she attends the business of Mariko's meeting with half-brother, Harada, who's dissatisfied with the Lady's inheritance as head of the Yashida Clan.

Unbeknownst to Viper and the Silver Samurai ,Yukio had picked Mariko up and disguised herself as the Lady of the clan- exposed by Nabatone, the Yazuka intermediary. But the reckless Yukio strikes the surprised Samurai, in spite of her outmatched odds, Storm giving the assist in taking out Viper. Storm is forced to use her power over lightning to bring Harada down and again save Yukio. But when Yukio ends up pulling Ororo from the fire, the X-Man begins to warm to her new friend's thrill seeking ways!

Meanwhile, the X-Men are pulling through their ordeal with the poisoned tea that Viper served in intensive care- thanks to Logan's rich fiancee, the team has an entire ward to themselves. Wolverine's healing factor kept him on his feet, as did Rogue's partially alien physiology, having absorbed Carol Danver's psyche awhile back. (Interestingly, this story of Carol and Rogue was written for the cancelled Ms. Marvel title back in '79. but did not see publication until the fall of '92 in Marvel Super-Heroes Vol.2 #11.) Despite Mariko's pleas, Wolverine reluctantly takes Rogue as back-up to find Silver Samurai, "But you follow my lead, Youngster, my orders-- ev'ry flamin' step of the way!" Yes Sir! The X-Men became hugely popular in the 80's, and this issue has a lot going on, crossing Logan and Mariko's romance over into another title while continuing with several small character & plot developments occurring then. Read a trivia-packed post on this issue at Gentlemen of Leisure!

More Later- Keep Reading COMICS!

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Titan Hero Spidey, Wolvie, & Hulk

I resisted these Titan Hero Series action figures for as long as long can last, but caved when I saw the Hulk last weekend. There's a lot of talk among the action figure community about the lack of articulation and quality with some of both Mattel and Hasbro's recent offerings, but the fact remains that toys are made for kids, and hitting an attractive price point is part of the goal for these toy giants. It's true that ten dollars doesn't buy what it used to, but a large, colorful toy at that price is going to appeal to parents and children alike.

Since my last post was about the first volume of Wolverine (1982) and the recent summer blockbuster it inspired, we'll start with Wolverine. He has an appropriately beefier buck than Spider-Man, and his own special point of articulation, a swivel at the glove tops- appropriate for the adamantium-clawed mutant. His leg movement is restricted in the rear by the sculpt of his buttocks, but his ball-jointed head is quite expressive. He's cheaply made, light visible through the hollow torso, but a good looking toy nonetheless.

Wolverine's paint detailing isn't carried around the back of the torso, the sculpted side vents on his back and belt line left nearly invisible on the field of yellow. The existing paint apps are neatly applied, a small, red  X tamped onto the X-Man's sculpted buckle. We get some nice piping down the torso in his sculpt, and some great detail in his muscle definition. I like the contrast of Wolvie's ribbed gloves and boots in gloss blue against the flat yellow in his costume.

The box construction on these Titan Hero figures is interesting, made largely of a single piece of folded cardboard. I liked the paper ties holding the figure in place within the packaging, easily unwound without need for a blade. The box art is flashy and attractive with a large window on front to view toy, giving the large figure a deluxe feel.

The feature that makes this figure special are his removable claws- we saw these on a recent Marvel Legends Wolverine, and I'm surprised that Hasbro went to the trouble to do so on this otherwise simple toy. What wonderful fun! They easily pop in and out, and stay in place while handling the figure. Released around the same time as the new movie, Wolverine's deco is inspired instead by his recent appearance in Marvel Comics NOW! imprint, an extension of the character's blue & yellow costume origins. I used to prefer the brown & gold version, but in my old age I'm nostalgic for the other for whatever reason... perhaps the late eighties X-Men stuff seeped into my subconscious.  For the record, these aren't really 12" tall- it's more like 11". It's not a deal breaker, but they were advertised as such, and they aren't, It's a nitpick, but an untruth nonetheless. That said, I like the toy and If you only get one of these Titan Hero toys, I'd recommend  the Wolverine- he's rad!


It's hard for me to resist a large Hulk figure, even one as cheaply produced as this new Titan Hero version. The sight of him in that big window box was too much to bear, forcing me to pick some of these up. I have several, higher quality Hulk figures I love, but the simple rendering of this toy reminds me of Hulk toys in the 70's. He's got a classic Hulk face with clenched teeth, green hair, and purple pants. Just how I remember him! Freshly back into comics a couple years back, I picked up Vol.6 of Marvel Essential Hulk , instantly recognizing the cover art by Ron Validar from my childhood. While the stories didn't seem familiar, I loved every bit of this slice of the Green Goliath from '76 to '78 like a kid would have. I loved Sal Buschema's drawing of that era, and Herb Trimple's trippy Jack Kirby-inspired style on the guest issues. As a kid, I couldn't wait until Friday nights when Bill Bixby and Lou Ferrigno would bring the character to life on TV. It was around the same time Nicholas Hammond was starring as Spider-Man on the fellow CBS show, The Amazing Spider-Man. It was a fun time to be a kid. I had a 12" Mego Hulk doll that was superior to this Titan Hero Hulk, but this was a fun nostalgic purchase I let myself enjoy...

I love the sculpt on this toy! I love the classic facial expression, muscle definition, and sculpting around the torn pants, which have some great "stretched fabric" on the sides and stitched pockets in back. He's a nice shade of green- not to bright or fluorescent, and not too dark. Titan Hero Hulk's special point of articulation is at the wrist- appropriate as Wolverine's hand articulation, as Hulk is a brawler as well. The ball-jointed head is as expressive as Wolvie's, a feature that adds a lot to these big, cheap toys. 

Hulk isn't much taller than  Titan Hero Wolverine or Spider-Man, but makes up for it in his girth. He feels pretty light and hollow for his size because he is. At $12.99 however what can you expect? He looks great in cheap plastic, and if you are a Hulk fan of my vintage, you'll appreciate his classic looks!


This Titan Hero Spider-Man was tagged with the newest Ultimate Spider-Man animated television program. While not my favorite animated Spider-Man show, I found it reasonably entertaining for a kid's cartoon. I had my eyes on this Spidey for a few months now, the deal signed when I knew I could have a Hulk as well. Like peas and carrots in the diet of my childhood heroes. Spider-Man is his own sub-collection within my greater action figure collection. I watched the cartoons in the 70's & 80's, had the 8" and 12" Mego dolls, Colorforms, and many other toys of the character, and some of my earliest comics were Spider-Man. Like the Hulk, he's a big part of my fascination with superheroes from an early age.

Spidey's legs have a much wider range of motion than Hulk or Wolverine, allowing him to do the leg splits fully, front to back. He doesn't possess quite the range of expression as Wolverine and the Hulk in his ball-jointed head, but it's not terrible. Like Wolverine, the paint detailing isn't carried around the back of the torso, the sculpted spider insignia on his back left nearly invisible on the field of red. That's somewhat a shame, but no small child will miss it, and mine will be on display face out.

Again, the sculpt is really good on this toy, the webbing and spider insignia incised, his slender proportions textbook accurate. I love the big, white eyes in raised relief, neatly trimmed in black like his chest insignia. While there aren't a lot of  paint applications on this toy, but the ones there are cleanly done. A testament to Steve Ditko's superb design, this classic outfit has great eye appeal.

Spidey's added articulation feature is a swivel above the boot tops- as appropriate as any for the wall crawler, and one I like. It doesn't help him pose much more dynamically than the others- just a joint to twist and play with. One of the toy's hands has a cuffed grip to hang onto things, and the other posed in his classic web-slinging pose, where I'd have tied some fishing line as a youngster.


And now is the time we play BIG TOY/little toy on the Super-DuperToyBox! Titan Heroes Hulk with Hasbro Avengers Hulk and Marvel Select Avengers Hulk...

Pictured below: Titan Heroes Wolverine with Origins Wolverine, Marvel Universe Wolverine, and Marvel Heroes & Villains Wolverine (left), and Titan Heroes Spider-Man with Ultra-Pose Foam Ultimate Spider-Man, and Crime Fightin' Spider-Man (right).

These are big, dumb toys- what they were meant to be. That appeals to me in a big way, likely due to some of the action figures I grew up with, but also in appreciation of economical design. I'm a fan of  those 10" Deluxe Marvel Universe figures ToyBiz produced in the 90's for the same reasons. No, there's not a lot of poses these simple toys can hold- that's because they are made for play, what kids do with toys. They will love the large size and bright colors of these popular characters, as do I. 

More Later- Make It FUN!