Tekken: Jaycee Bishoujo Statue by Kotobukiya

I’m not proud to admit that I’ve been neglecting Kotobukiya’s Tekken series of Bishoujo statues. It hasn’t been intentional, but Koto is releasing so many of these damned things that I have to have prioritize. When I’m presented with characters from Marvel, DC, and now Street Fighter, Tekken has fallen down toward the bottom of the list. I have been trying to remedy that recently, especially with some of these statues starting to creep up in value on the secondary market. I can’t tell you how glad I am to have picked up Christie Monteiro when she first came out as now she’s commanding upward of $180 in some reselling circles. I was crazy into Tekken 3 and 4 back in the day, but I have long since stopped following the franchise with any real gusto. Of course, that hasn’t stopped me from wanting to pick up the statues and that brings us to today’s feature, Bishoujo Jaycee. I believe Julia Chang first appeared in 2012’s Tekken Tag Tournament 2, a game that is sitting on my shelf, but hasn’t spent a lot of time in my PS3. Needless to say I’m not all that familiar with the character, but she’s a Bishoujo Tekken gal and that’s good enough for me.

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The box is right in line with all of Koto’s Bishoujo offerings. You get a big window in the front and smaller windows on the top and side panel to let some light in. You can get a little peek at the statue inside, and in this case the extra pieces that come with Jaycee. Unlike the predominantly white boxes used for the Marvel and DC statues, Koto has opted to go with a black deco for the Tekken pieces. Finally, you get some gorgeous artwork by Shunya Yamashiti and the Tekken Tag Tournament 2 logo on the front and back. It’s a fairly westernized box with most of the text appearing in English.

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Jaycee comes more or less assembled and ready to go. She is attached to her base, although she is removable if you so desire. Her pony tail has to be pegged into the back of her head and I had a wee bit of difficulty getting it to peg in, but I eventually got there. Aside from the alternate masked portrait, which we’ll get to in a little bit, she has a mask, which she can hold in her right hand or be placed on the base and it’s is a very nice accessory if you choose to go with the unmasked portrait. And with all that out of the way, let’s see how she looks…

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Oh yeah, I can dig it! Jaycee has a very specific pose, which in turn is clearly intended to be viewed from a specific angle. Some may be put off by that, but there’s something to be said for having that one intended sweet spot in a statue’s composition. In this case, she’s best viewed slightly from behind with her head turned and looking over her right shoulder. If a nice tushie is your thing, you shouldn’t have a problem with the view. She has a very wide stance, standing up on her toes, left hand proudly planted on her hip, and her ponytail flowing outward in the breeze. The pose lends itself to the artwork very well, but that’s not to say it isn’t worthwhile to check her out from all the other angles, because a lot of beautiful work went into her costume.

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Hailing from Arizona, Jaycee’s Southwestern flare is represented in her luchador costume. In this case, it’s more like luchador lingerie with a pinch of S&M thrown in. Her delightfully skimpy one-piece is held on by leather straps and yet it’s also laced up the back with some feathery, frilly bits around the shoulders. Her long gloves include straps around her wrists and a pair of generous elbow guards. The outfit is rounded out by a pair of thigh-high boots and holy crap it must take her forever to lace those babies up! The coloring on the costume makes for a very striking piece. You get a pearlescent silver mixed with purple and some blue piping and a little black thrown in for good measure. Most of the costume has a subtle glossy finish to it, which contrasts nicely with the soft matte tones of her skin.

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You do indeed get two portraits with the statue, masked and unmasked. I’ll probably be going with the unmasked look most of the time, which was my focus for most of the pictures. Why? Mainly because this way you can see her face and also see the mask as she’s holding it. It’s kind of the best of both worlds. She has a pretty face with the usual soft features and her big, beautiful eyes are a gorgeous amber color. The only thing that throws me a bit is the darker red paint on her bottom lip. It looks to me like she’s sticking her tongue out, but I think it’s just supposed to be a little pouty. As usual, Koto works their magic with the hair by having it gradually turn transparent toward the edges, an effect that I always appreciate.

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When you swap the head, you do have to swap the ponytail too, which worked a lot better for me the second time around. The exposed parts of her face are a good match for the other head and the wild design of the mask coupled with the same silver, purple, and blue does a nice job of balancing out the costume. Jaycee really does look great with her mask on and this may be a statue that I wind up actually swapping out the head every so often.

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Koto has been using clear bases for their Tekken and Street Fighter statues and Jaycee is no exception. The bottom of the base can be pulled out and you can customize your statue with your choice of the included transparent inserts. You get a signature insert and two with character art, one masked and one unmasked. As long as I’m going with the unmasked head, I’ll probably go with the masked artwork just to mix things up. I’ve been warming up to using the fan art for these because I think it really dresses up the base and compliments the statue beautifully. As for the clear plastic bases, they do tend to show scratches easily, which is disappointing. When I removed my Christie Montiero to shoot with Jaycee, I noticed some scratches on the bottom of her base and that piece has done nothing but stand on my shelf and get picked up every now and again to be admired.

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And so here we have another great effort by Koto. Jaycee’s design and sculpt are fantastic and the paintwork is pretty much flawless. I believe Jaycee was the fourth release in Koto’s Tekken sub-series, but as I mentioned earlier, she’s only my second. I was lucky enough to grab Jaycee at her original retail of around fifty bucks and getting her on my shelf has given me just the push I needed to start picking up the rest of the Tekken gals before they start creeping any higher in price. I’ve targeted Asuka for my next purchase, as she’s already commanding upward of $100 in a lot of circles and based solely on the promotional images and reviews I’ve seen, I’ve just got to have her!

ReAction Figures: Universal Monsters, Series 2 by Funko

I’ve certainly given my share of grief to Funko’s ReAction line of action figures and that’s despite only having featured one of them here on FFZ. I’m not against the concept. Hell, my unending praise of Warpo’s Legends of Cthulhu line alone should prove that. But Funko’s scatter shot approach to the whole retro-vintage thing makes it seem more like a shameless cash grab than actually doing something interesting with the concept. This entire faux-vintage idea grew out of Super-7 bringing the un-produced Kenner Alien figures to market based on original prototypes. It was a pretty big success for something as niche as it was and so ReAction was born giving us “what if” imaginings of lines that were never produced. I think it’s a noble gesture where actual 70’s and 80’s properties are concerned, but when you extend it to stuff like Firefly or Buffy the Vampire Slayer, everything starts to break down. Of course, by casting a wide, wide, WIDE net over all sorts of properties it means that they do have a chance to get it right sometimes and today we’re looking at one of those instances with Series 2 of their Universal Monsters. (I know, “what happened to Series 1?” I’ll get to it eventually.) Keep in mind, these figures aren’t a case of paying tribute to what could have been, but rather what was, as the company REMCO* put out a line of six 3 3/4” Universal Monsters figures back in 1979 and I have a lot of fond memories of those figures and the playsets.

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Series 2 consists of Dracula, The Mummy, The Phantom of the Opera and The Wolfman. While Series 1 actually contains my favorite monster, The Gillman, I went with this Series first because I thought it was a little better fleshed out and all of the figures were ones featured in the vintage REMCO line. I like the fact that the cards are all original and the front of each one is branded solely based on the character’s movie. You actually have to turn the card over to see anything tying it in with a larger series. The figures each come just rattling around in their coffin-style bubbles, just like the good old days, although my Dracula came with the bubble completely detached from the card. That sort of thing would have really pissed me off if I was keeping them carded, but who am I kidding? There was never any chance of that!

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It would be impossible to pick my favorite card in this set as they all feature great B&W shots from the original films. I will say that I get a chuckle out of The Phantom’s every time I look at it. It looks like Lon Chaney is looking down in horror at his little action figure! Everyone’s a critic! As good as these cards are, I really wasn’t sad about opening them up. It’s probably because the appeal here is the figures themselves as replacements for my beloved REMCO monsters. Let’s start out with Dracula and The Phantom of the Opera.

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These guys look splendid, although as might be expected there’s some parts sharing and resculpting here. You wouldn’t think that would be a factor in cheap ten dollar figures, but it’s done well so I don’t have any issues with it. These are, afterall, a couple of dudes in black suits and capes so the arms and legs are shared. The torso’s appear to be remolds as there are obvious differences, like Dracula’s very nicely sculpted and painted medallion and The Phantom’s tie. They both have waistcoats, but Dracula’s hangs down over his pants, whereas Phantom’s does not. And of course, they both sport the same basic black vinyl cape, which should have old school Kenner fans mighty happy.

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The head sculpts are also quite good and not overly proportioned like on some of the other ReAction figures. Dracula isn’t really the spitting image of Bela Lagosi, but it’s a good generic vampire. Phantom on the other hand, I think they did a pretty nice job on making him look like Chaney in the makeup.

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Next, we have The Wolfman and The Mummy and again, Funko did some nice work on this pair. I’d say Wolfman is probably the best sculpt of this wave just because of all the detail they put into his furry hands and feet, the little rumples in his shirt and the creases in his trousers. The head sculpt is pretty damn nice too and all the paint is sharp and clean.

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The Mummy also has a lot of detail packed into his sculpt. All the bandages are defined and thre’s little tatters and tears in them to make them look old. There’s not a lot of paintwork on this guy, but then he doesn’t need it. This head sculpt is equally as impressive as Wolfman’s and I’d say if we’re talking likenesses, this one comes pretty damn close to a Boris Karloff in makeup.

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As expected, these figures all have the standard old school five points of articulation. The joints are all nice and tight and the plastic quality feels great. The only drawback might be the total lack of accessories, but then I can’t think of anything to include with these characters anyway.

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I’ve been really choosey about which ReAction figures I’m buying and so far I’ve made some fairly good choices. Sure, The Rocketeer was a little disappointing, but I was perfectly happy with my 80’s Slashers and these Universal Monsters are absolutely fantastic. They hit the right nostalgia buttons by letting me relive the fun memories of my REMCO figures and these actually look like Funko put a lot of love in them, rather than just crank them out. These guys are proof positive that you can do genuine retro-style figures and not have them look like trash. I’ve already got Series 1 on order so I should be able to swing back and check them out in a week or so.

*If you want to read a great little article on the original REMCO toys, check out Terrordaves.com.

Masters of the Universe Classics: Snake Armor He-Man and Battle Armor King Hssss

I tried to get this one in before the month ended, but alas, no such luck. But, at the very least I’m getting it in before March’s Sale Day. This 2-pack seemed to come out of nowhere and I certainly wouldn’t have expected to see anything like it in the final year of the line (as we know it). Of course, after Toy Fair it makes a lot more sense. Matty has since revealed their MYP-based Mini Sub, which opened up for sale last Monday (Yup, I already subbed!), so it’s probably no coincidence that they gave us a little taste of MYP He-Man goodness to help push us into getting out our credit cards and subbing up like the good little He-Fans that we are.

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The package is that familiar trapezoid shaped window box that has been used for Masters multi-packs in the past. In this case it feels a lot more compact with not a lot of wasted space. The window bears the “Snake Men” sticker on the front and proclaims He-Man to be “The Most Powerful Snake Hunter in the Universe” and Hssss the “Slithering Leader of the Snake Men.” At this point I might as well mention that the MYP version of He-Man is by far my favorite aspect of the Masters fiction and yeah, that’s coming from a 42 year old who grew up with the original Filmation cartoon. Despite never seeing the new series when it originally aired, I picked up the DVD box set on the cheap. It sat unopened on my shelf for months until one weekend when I was sick in bed I gorged myself on practically the whole thing and really loved it. The figures, on the other hand were another matter. I remember having to shuffle through piles of the 200x figures at the KB Toy Outlet just to get to something I actually wanted. A lot of fans blame the 200x era for Masters’ decline and disappearance from the toy aisles. It makes me wonder whether Mattel isn’t opening an old wound by revisiting this stuff, but that’s an argument for another day. Let’s kick it off with He-Man…

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As someone who was not a big fan of the whole themed variants concept that ran amok in the 200x line I still have to say that I am in love with this armor. Snake Armor? Pfft… don’t care what kind of armor it is, it just looks absolutely bitchin’. I get a little medieval vibe off of it in the legs, and a major gladiator feeling off the shoulder piece. I also really dig that it keeps the He crest and at least one of the cross straps to maintain the flavor of He-Man’s iconic design. And yeah, you also get the snake and sword emblem just in case the whole Snake Armor thing is something that you do care about. Besides the overall design, the sculpt is just packed with detail. The “skirt” strips are textured to look like leather, the shoulder guard has a great hammered finish to it, and there are little cracks and dings here and here to make it all look a little battle weathered. Everything about the execution of the armor from sculpt to paint is just solid work. I also love what they did with the colors. The red, gold, and green really make the figure pop.

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The portrait, on the other hand, I’m a little iffy on. Don’t get me wrong, it looks great by itself, but there’s something a little off about it as an MYP style He-Man and yet I can’t really call out any one specific thing. It seems petty to gripe about something like that on what is a really amazing looking figure, so I’m not going to dwell on it.

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He-Man comes with two accessories: A pincer claw for his right gauntlet and his Power Sword. The sword is the same basic piece that came packed with Man-At-Arms waaaay back when. It may have a different paint job, but it looks quite similar to me. I was never a huge fan of this sword design, it’s probably one of my least favorite things about the MYP series, but I’m still glad he came with it and he can sling it on his back thanks to a carry strap in the armor.

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As for the pincer claw, assuming that’s what it is, I’m not all that into it, so I’m especially glad that it’s removable. Although in the short time I’ve spent playing around with these figures it is starting to grow on me a bit, so he may eventually wind up displayed with the piece attached.

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And that brings us to King Hssss. I can’t even begin to recount how much more I like his MYP design over the more Classic one. Is that sacrilege? I don’t know, nor do I care. This new version has more of a regal look to it, like an ancient Babylonian King and I think it really suits the character well. The segmented armor and scaled sash drive the snake motif home really well and man do I dig that gold belt with the sculpted snake face and fangs coming down over the red sash. Even the paintwork on his gorget, with the gold fringe and green snake emblem, is just beautifully done. Oh yeah, he also has Predator feet and sandals! As with He-Man, I really dig the coloring on this figure as well, particularly that gorgeous crimson paint they used on his sash.

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The portrait features a very stylized face and it’s the face of a man with a very bad temper. The gray skin and piercing red eyes serve to make him look all that more monstrous and intimidating. The paintwork on the helmet features both gold and copper paint.

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This version of Hssss was originally shown off with a newly sculpted snake torso and that is conspicuously missing from the box. Disappointing? Yes, especially since it looked really good, but I’m not counting it out yet. I have a feeling we’ll be seeing it bundled in somewhere down the line. Of course, if you were wondering, you can still pull him apart and slap on the old Classics Hssss snake torso as something to tide you over.

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Hssss does come with his staff and shield. Suprise! We’ve seen these two molds before. I will, however, say that this is my absolute favorite version of the Snake Men staff. The shield is painted in a dark chocolate brown with a slight metallic twinge to it and it ain’t bad either.

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Articulation on both of these figures is what we’ve seen all along in the line’s male bucks. The arms have rotating hinges in the shoulders, swivels in the biceps and wrists, and hinges in the elbows. The legs are ball jointed at the hips, hinged at the knees and again at the ankles. Because of the sculpt, Hssss doesn’t have a lot of movement in the ankle hinges. Both figures have ab crunches hinges, can swivel at the waist, and have ball jointed necks.

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This two pack was a welcome treat, not only for being delightfully unexpected but for the simple fact that it contains two really solid figures. The He-Man is quite stunning and while I didn’t think I needed another version of Hssss, I have to say that he’s easily my favorite of the two Classics versions. The set certainly performed well for Matty and did indeed sell through, even at the non-subber price of $55. I could have seen myself paying a lot to get this He-Man on the secondary market if I had to. He’s just that good. Now the only problem is that I have absolutely no idea which of my Masters shelves to display them on.

Godspeed, Leonard Nimoy…

As everyone no doubt already knows, we lost a national treasure today when Leonard Nimoy passed away. Everyone who knows me or rummages around this silly blog should know that I’ve been a Star Trek fan all my life. I was raised that way because my Mom was a huge Star Trek fan and she raised her boy right to be one too. Growing up, the original series was in syndication and on at around 6pm every weekday and my brother and I used to gulp down dinner so we could sit in front of the TV and watch it. It was one of the few times we weren’t trying to kill each other. At least until after when we would pick up brooms and pretend they were Vulcan tribal weapons and beat the shit out of each other to win the hand of T’Pring (played by Arlene Martel, who happened to pass away last year). When my parents took me to see The Motion Picture, I was only about 8 years old, and it fascinated me. Ok, no it didn’t, it bored me to tears and the best part of that night was getting the Star Trek: The Motion Picture Happy Meal at McDonalds. No, it wasn’t until Wrath of Khan came out that I really got into the movies.

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It might interest some people to know that I didn’t like Spock at first and a lot of that probably had to do with how well Leonard Nimoy portrayed the character. He was cold and alien and sometimes violent and he just creeped me out. It wasn’t until I got a little older that I learned to appreciate him. I found him to be particularly endearing in the films, starting with Wrath of Khan and by the end of that film I was ready to shed tears just like everyone else in the theater… and every single time I’ve watched the movie since. I can guarantee you that when I finally get around to watching Wrath of Khan again tomorrow night, I’m going to be blubbering like a helpless child. Nimoy became a focal point for the rest of the movies. The third was all about getting him back, he was perfect comedy relief in the fourth, the fifth was related to his misguided half-brother, and the sixth was him volunteering Kirk and the crew for a mission none of them wanted. Kirk may have been the Captain, but in the end, it was almost always about Spock and it’s hard to believe I’ll never see him don the pointed ears on screen ever again.

I can still remember where I was when we lost James Doohan and DeForest Kelley and I’ll certainly never forget today either. These people crafted characters that will forever be a part of what shaped my life. It’s a terrible thing to see so many heroes in your favorite fandom dying off and when you’re a fan of classic shows like Star Trek or Doctor Who, you have to endure a lot of it and sometimes it feels like memories of my childhood crumbling away. Right now I can relate to Kirk’s line in Wrath of Khan when Carol Marcus asked him to tell her what he was feeling. I feel old and worn out.

Anyway, it’s obvious that Leonard Nimoy took his own advice. He lived long and prospered and he will be sorely missed.

**Picture Credit: http://en.memory-alpha.org/wiki/Spock

By figurefanzero

Marvel Legends: Ms Marvel, Captain America, and Radioactive Man (Target Exclusive) by Hasbro

I just got in the new Allfather Wave of Marvel Legends, but before moving on to opening those, I have unfinished business in the Legends Universe. Some time last year Hasbro rolled out this Marvel three-pack as a Target Exclusive. I saw it a couple times on the shelves, but it didn’t seem worth the fifty bones they were asking for it. As it turns out a lot of people felt the same way because the set piled up on clearance and I was eventually able to grab it off the website for about $33 shipped. Since then it’s sat in my closet waiting for just the right day to be opened. I guess today’s that day.

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The figures come in a fairly impressive window box with “Collector’s Edition” across the top and the characters names on the bottom. The set itself doesn’t really have a name, which aggrevates my OCD just a bit. There’s some nice comic art on the side panels and the back of the box has pictures of the figures and blurbs about the characters. The whole ensemble is fairly collector friendly, as you can simply open the side flap and slide out the tray. Space being the valuable commodity that it is for me, I certainly won’t be keeping the box. Let’s start with Captain America…

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Who’s up for a kit-bash? Collectors of the Legends line should find this figure pretty familiar as it’s just a repaint and remold of the Ultimates Cap that came out in 2013 as part of the Hit Monkey Wave. Apart from the paint, the most notable differences are his jacket being swapped out for a shoulder rig and the holstered pistol missing from his right hip. The new paint includes swapping out the gray pants for blue ones and stars painted on his shoulders. I liked the original release of this figure a lot, but this one? Mmm… not so much. The paint isn’t nearly as good as the Ultimates Cap and those stars on the shoulders were a bad idea because they’re painted right on the hinges and only line up if his arms are positioned a certain way.

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Cap comes with two accessories: First you get an alternate head, which is the same one used on the Steve Rogers that was included in the initial Wave of Legends’ return back in 2012. It’s a great head sculpt and probably the best way to go when displaying this figure to at least set it apart from the Ultimates Cap. The other accessory is obviously his shield, which is the exact same one that was bundled with Ultimates Cap.

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Now don’t get me wrong, the sculpt on this figure is still good and I still really dig the detail on his equipment belt. The articulation is also great and he is most definitely a fun figure to play around with. In the interest of getting through all three figures in one Feature, I won’t run down the articulation, but rather just refer you back to my look at the Ultimates Cap. If you don’t own that figure, this is a decent pick up, but I’d still recommend the predecessor.

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Next up is Dr. Chen Lu, Radioactive Man, and we’ve got another figure borrowing heavily from Hasbro’s toychest. The most obvious is the reuse of the head from the 2012 comic version of Drax the Destroyer released as part of the Arnim Zola Wave. While I was all for getting a Radioactive Man in the Legends scale, when I heard about the reused noggin I did not expect to be receptive to this figure at all. Turns out I like it just fine. The green translucent plastic used for the buck makes for a nice effect and the I have to say the Drax head works surprisingly well for me. I really don’t have anything else to say, except that he comes with no accessories and features the standard Legends style articulation, which is to say it’s quite good.

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In case you haven’t guessed by now, I saved the figure I was looking forward to the most for last. In fact, it wouldn’t be inaccurate to say that I pretty much bought this set to get Ms. Marvel. This version of Carol, in her Warbird costume, had a less than stellar Marvel Universe treatment (mostly due to terrible paint) back in 2010 and given Hasbro’s proclivity to double dip on a lot of characters in both scales, I’m surprised it took this long to get her. Was it worth the wait? Mostly.

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Ms Marvel appears to be built on the female buck that I first encountered as part of the SDCC Exclusive Thunderbolts set and used for Moonstone and Judith Chambers. It’s a great body (har har) with solid articulation and no mushy hinges. From a quality standpoint, this figure exhibits a little sloppiness. There’s mold flashing hanging off her feet and some of the flesh paint on her thighs and arms manages to be uneven, chipping and gloppy all at the same time. I wouldn’t say the paint issue is terrible, but it isn’t great either. It’s one of those figures that you can look at and tell it was part of a multi-pack because the quality just doesn’t live up to the single carded figures. On the other hand, Carol makes up for some of the low points with a solid head sculpt and the paint on the face and the tampo of the gold lightning bolt on her chest is pretty crisp. She also features her trademark red scarf tied around her waist. In this case, it’s a molded piece of plastic that hangs loose on her hips.

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I can’t say this set was a “must have,” but at a deep discount of about eleven bucks a figure, I’m fairly satisfied with the purchase. I think Ms Marvel would have been better had she been issued as a single carded figure, but even as she is, she gets the job done. Radioactive Man is certainly a nice addition to my Avengers Rogue Gallery and as for Cap, well I could have done without him. He’s an interesting variant, but unlike the other two figures, certainly not one that I would have purchased on his own.

Transformers Generations: Legends Class Cosmos with Payload by Hasbro

It’s Transformers Thursday and I was going to look at Generations Arcee today, but I’m a little pressed for time. If only I had some more Legends Class figures to look at… Oh, wait. I do! I may be all out of Combiner Wars Legends, but I still have some unfinished business with the old Generations line. Today I’m looking at Cosmos and Payload. I couldn’t find this pair anywhere back when they first came out, but I was passing through the toy aisle the other day and there they were hanging on the pegs. Maybe the fine folks at WallyWorld were trying to get them out to make way for the Combiner Wars figures. Whatever the case, I’m glad to finally have him.

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Ah, there’s the lovely Generations packaging. I’ve still got a few more of these two-packs to look at so we’ll see it again, but sadly not for much longer. I love the G1-inspired grid deco and the character art is great. And you can’t beat getting two Transformers for eleven bucks, even if one is a small and simple Minicon. It doesn’t seem all that long ago that Cosmos had his first Legends Class figure. I used to think that one was pretty good, but with this new one in hand, there’s hardly any comparison. Let’s start with his alt mode.

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Yup, he’s still the little green saucer that we all knew and loved and I really dig the modern update. Cosmos has a pair of yellow engines in the back with a stylish tail fin. The front has a set of viewscreens on the central hub and a pair of guns peeking out from under the front of the disk. The coloring here is pretty simple. He’s mostly green with some yellow arrow decos orientating him to the front. Cosmos also features some great panel lining sculpted into the hull.

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Of course, flying saucer alt modes are easy, it’s getting them to turn into decent robots… that’s the tough part. Nonetheless, Hasbro nailed this robot mode beautifully. The proportions are surprisingly good and it captures the Sunbow look of the character better than I could have possibly expected out of a figure in this scale. Some of the particularly cool touches are the way the guns are placed on his knees, the way the fin and engines form a little jetpack, and the windows landing on his chest. He’s also got sculpted guns on his forearms. The green and yellow coloring is pure Cosmos as is that marveous little head sculpt.

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The articulation is quite good for such a little guy. You get ball joints in the shoulders, elbows, and hips and double hinges in the knees. Cosmos can also swivel at the waist and turn his head. Nice!

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Cosmos’ little buddy, Payload, is one of my favorite of these bundled Minicons. It’s not that there’s anything particularly great about him, but I just happen to like the sculpt and the coloring and his simple little transformation, which produces a clean little robot mode. I also like the idea of having a little space shuttle to fly around with Cosmos.

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Payload’s Targetmaster mode is also one of the better ones I’ve seen so far. It’s a double barreled gun which looks pretty good in Cosmos’ hand, although it does make him a little front heavy. It’s a lot of gun for a little guy, but I think it works even better when wielded by Deluxe Class figures. Damn, I really liked these Minicon Targetmasters. I wish they had carried over to the new line.

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In the end I’ve got nothing but respect for this little figure. Cosmos hasn’t really been done right since his initial G1 release and I think this is the first time seeing him be all he could be. It’s all thanks to some clever engineering and that extra bit of love that Hasbro seems to have invested in these recent Legends Class figures. If I had one complaint it’s that the Legends Class scale keeps him from hanging out with the Deluxe Warpath and Bumblebee, and one day I’d still like to see all the old Mini-bots have their due as Deluxe Class toys. Still, at least he’s right at home chilling with Combiner Wars Powerglide and they do indeed look great together.

Magic The Gathering (Legacy Collection): Ajani Goldmane by Funko

I’ve already checked out the three ladies from Funko’s MTG Legacy Collection and now I’m moving on to the dudes, starting with Ajani Goldmane. He’s not just a dude, he’s a LION dude, or more precisely an albino Nacatl Planeswalker, who specializes in spells that buff the health and strength of his allies. I don’t claim to have known any of that, nor is there any information about the character printed on the box, instead I consulted that all-knowing oracle of wisdom known as The InterWebs.

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We’ve seen this packaging enough now that I don’t want to waste a lot of time dwelling on it. It’s a nice, collector friendly window box that lets you see the figure your getting and also has the figure’s identity printed on the side panel, which is a huge plus in my book. Unlike the ladies of the line, Goldmane and his huge accessory really fills out his box completely. There’s very little room in there for anything else.

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Out of the box this is one impressively large figure. Granted, he’s not much taller than the ladies, but he’s probably got about twice the bulk of Lil, Chandra, or Nissa. And because he’s got those funky hind animal legs, he can actually stand a lot taller when they are extended all the way out. The sculpt here is quite impressive with all sorts of musculature in the buck, a lot of which isn’t even readily visible under the outfit, but it’s there nonetheless and I really respect that. On the other hand, the fur texture on the body isn’t all that well defined, giving him that kind of smooth Thundercat appearance where it’s hard to tell whether he’s supposed to be furry or just have skin. I do, however, dig the adorable and giant kitty paws he has for feet and he has a very soft and pliable tail.

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The top part of Goldmane’s outfit consists of large golden pieces of shoulder armor with a sculpted bluish-green cloak covering the one on his right. Yeah, once again Funko went the extra mile by actually sculpted the armor under the cloak. It’s something you wouldn’t actually see unless you removed the cloak and left shoulder piece, but they did it anyway. They also sculpted and painted a necklace, which is barely visible under the outfit. The rest of his wardrobe consists of a brown “leather” belt around his waist and “leather” thigh armor and matching arm bracers. All the pieces intended to be leather are sculpted in soft plastic and they’re embossed with various designs. Goldmane also features some wraps around his ankles and hands, which are sculpted as part of the buck and painted. The complexity of the outfit is all quite impressive as it’s comprised of quite a few pieces, all layered quite convincingly onto the figure.

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The portrait is good, albeit a little soft. Goldmane has one eye closed, presumeably from a wound, and his mouth open showing a pair of nasty fangs. I dig the braided hair that’s sculpted from his mane and the wrinkles around his nose are a nice touch. Still, as good a sculpt as it is, it falls a bit flat and I think that’s more down to the lack of paint apps than anything else.

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So let’s talk paint. There have been frequent complaints that the retail versions of the MTG figures are missing a lot of the paint apps that were seen on the prototypes. That’s not unusual as sometimes things just don’t cost out when items move from ideal vision to the mass production line. It didn’t bother me on any of the ladies, but I think it’s a lot more obvious on Goldmane, particularly where his fur is concerned. I get that he’s an albino, but even still the pure marshmallowy, white plastic buck comes off as rather bland and unfinished. A paint wash certainly would have helped things along, particularly on the head. This is a big figure with a complex sculpt, but when you get down to it the deco is just white, brown, blue-green, and gold and it falls a little short. There are also a few minor dings to the gold paint on my figure.

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Goldmane sports plenty of useful points of articulation and my figure had no issues with frozen joints or breakage. The arms have rotating hinges at the shoulders, hinges in the elbows, and swivels in the biceps and wrists. The legs are ball jointed at the hips with hinges in both sets of knees (I don’t know what else to call them!) and swivels in the ankles and thighs. He’s got a ball joint cleverly concealed in his torso and one in the neck, although the sculpt of his mane severely restricts his neck articulation.

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While the ladies of the line were rather lacking in accessories, Goldmane’s extras steal the show. He comes with a scimitar, which can fit into the brown sheath on his belt and he also comes with a massive double-headed ax. The sword is fairly simple, but it does feature some ornamentation etched in the blade as well as a raised leaping cat. The problem here is that Goldmane’s right hand is obviously sculpted to hold the narrow hilt, but the grip is so tight, it’s impossible for me to get the sword hilt into it. I’ve tried pulling his thum back just a bit and all I got for my efforts was stabbed by his super sharp claws. I’m sure a little blowdryer action would get to open, but I haven’t bothered with it yet.

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The ax, on the other hand, is an absolute work of art. As if a giant lion man in armor isn’t intimidating enough, Goldmane carries around this thing. It’s very tribal looking with sculpted strips of leather wrapped around the handle and teeth and fur trim. The blades are gray and gold and both have raised cat motifs.

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Goldmane earns another thumbs up from me for this line, although those thumbs aren’t held up quite as high as with the previous three figures. Yes, he could have used a few more strokes from the painter’s brush, but a lot of that has to do with his size and the impressive quality of the sculpt demanding a better quality deco. That’s not to say the paint that’s here is bad, I just wish there were more of it. Everything else about this guy is solid and I’d dare say he makes a great piece for any fantasty figure collection. Indeed, he even looks right at home amidst my Masters Classics figures. And even at the full retail of around twenty bucks, this is a lot of plastic for the money. At the $13 I spent on mine, the deal is all the sweeter.

Masters of the Universe Classics: Ninja Warrior by Mattel

Well, it is mighty nice to be all caught up and looking at a Matty Subscription figure in the same month that I received it. And that’s even with Matty’s slow shipping combined with February’s fewer days working against me. There were actually three figures for us Subbers in February, the first was Ninjor here and the other two were the Snake Armor He-Man and King Hssss 2-pack, which I’ll be holding over for next week. I gotta admit, I had absolutely no idea that Ninjor was a thing from the vintage line, but then I’ve never made my ignorance of all things MOTU to be a big secret. Another thing about me that isn’t a secret is I got tired real fast of what I like to call the “Ninja Saturation” of all the 80’s and 90’s toy lines. That shit practically took over GI Joe and can’t we all agree that straight up Teenage Mutant Turtles was so much better before Ninjas got involved? Wait, what?

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There’s the packaging and it’s the same old awesome deco we’ve been seeing all along. There are, however, two things worth noting. First, it doesn’t say Ninjor on the front of the package, just “Ninja Warrior.” At first, I thought Ninjor just ran afoul of copyright law, but then I noticed he is referred to as Ninjor in the bio. What the hell, Matty? Of course, it concerns me not, as this package will be in the garbage two minutes after I bust this guy out. The other odd thing is the explosion of text that declares, “Uses special Ninja weapons to chop down foes!” Hey, Matty, I thought that exposition explosion was reserved for when you call reissued figures “The Original!” I just feel like up is down today. Anyway, I suppose one lone Ninja swimming in my Masters Classics soup can’t be all that bad. Let’s check him out…

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Aww, yeah! This dude is bad ass! The black, red, silver and gold deco is so strikingly beautiful and that sculpted dragon and dagger emblem on his chest is superb. It almost looks like the dagger could be pulled out even though it can’t. Ninjor comes out of the package wearing one of those standard He-Man furry barbarian diapers, but he has a far more ornate belt and sash that you can attach around his waist. I think sans-belt sash is more of a vintage look, but there’s no way I’m ever displaying this guy without the sash. It’s gorgeously sculpted and painted and looks like the décor right out of a Chinese Restaurant lobby. Other finer points worth mentioning include the different texturing used for his shoulder straps and the little painted pins that are supposed to be securing his shoulder pads down. I wasn’t sure I was going to be sold on the creature feet, but in person I don’t mind them at all. They just make him look all the more freaky and intimidating. Yup, in the end, it’s obvious that a lot of love and attention was put into Ninjor’s costume and it surely paid off.

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Ninjor includes two portraits. The stock head is masked allowing you to only see his narrow red pupil-less eyes and the bridge of his nose. With a quick head pop-and-swap, you also can display him with his unmasked head and might I say it is quite a phenomenal sculpt. Ninjor is sporting a fiendish looking stache and goatee and a pair of eyebrows that would make Peter Capaldi jealous. He also features some unfortunate male pattern baldness, but he compensates with a ponytail laced up and sticking straight out the back of his noggin. Toss in those gritting teeth and creepy red eyes and you’ve got one formidable looking foe wih loads of personality!

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Despite his line of work, Ninjor isn’t any more nimble than any of the other male folk from Eternia. In other words, you get standard articulation here. The arms have rotating hinges at the shoulders, swivels at biceps and wrists, and hinges in the elbows. The legs are ball jointed at the hips and hinged at the knees. There are swivels at the tops of the boots and the ankles feature both hinges and lateral rockers. Ninjor can swivel at the waist, he has a ball joint at the neck, and despite his bulky vest, he can still make use of his ab crunch hinge.

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Ninjor comes with a nice array of weapons to help him kill the good guys. You get a bow and arrow, a quiver of arrows, a katana sword, and a set of nunchuks. The bow and arrow is nothing special. It’s all sculpted in one piece and painted silver, so it doesn’t look particularly great and with Ninjor’s bulkiness and articulation being what it is, good luck getting him to hold it convincingly. I almost wish they had just sculpted it without the arrow knocked.

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The sword and nunchuks on the other hand are both very cool. More then a few MOTUC accessories these days feel like they’ve been lacking paint apps, like… for example… oh, hey, the bow that I just looked at! That’s certainly not the case with the katana and chuks. The katana has a silver painted blade and the hilt and pommel are actually painted separately from the black braided grip making it a very impressive little piece of work. Even the simplistic paint job on the chuks, with the silver chain and black ends is a welcome treat.

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Lastly, you have the quiver. It’s brown and textured to look like leather with silver painted arrows sculpted to look like they’re sticking out of the top. The coolest thing about the quiver is that it has clips for the bow and either the sword or chuks, so Ninjor can wield one weapon and comfortably wear the rest on his back. I always respect a figure that can carry all of their gear.

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And so, Ninjor turned out to be the little Ninja that could. He won my heart over thanks to his great coloring, fantastic sculpt, and his fun little arsenal of killing tools. I’m going to be hard pressed to decide which head to display him with, as I love the work that went into the unmasked head, but the masked head looks great too. I’d be tempted to pick up a couple more and leave them masked as his goons, but Ninjor was a popular fella and he sold out. The only other downside of Ninjor is that he makes me wish I had picked up Jitsu back before he hit $75 on the secondary market. It would be cool to have a nemesis for Ninjor to fight, but even I have my limits on what I’m willing to spend on these figures. Too bad, Matty didn’t roll him out again for the February Sale. It seems like a missed opportunity.

The Avengers: Iron Man ArtFX+ Statue by Kotobukiya

This is finally it… Kotobukiya’s ArtFX+ Avengers have finally assembled with the release of the final statue, Iron Man. I’ve been loving each and every piece in this line, but I was getting really excited to finally get the team on display together. Iron Man was available in two decos. You could go for the comic accurate black and gold Marvel NOW! version or the more traditional red and gold variant. I’m actually a fan of the black and gold look, and if this was a stand-alone piece, I probably would have gone for that one. In the end, I picked up the variant only because with Hawkeye, Black Widow, and Thor sporting so much black I wanted to add a little more color to the team display.

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I don’t really have anything new to say about the package. It’s a colorful and attractive fully enclosed box that protects the goods really well and looks damn nice on the shelf. I also dig the fact that the variant is what’s actually pictured on the box. Sometimes these things will simply be denoted with a sticker. Inside are two clear plastic trays securing all the parts to build Iron Man, including the torso, head, and all four limbs. Everything fits together snugly and I had no issues assembling my figure.

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Koto has been quite conservative with the composition of these statues going more for iconic character poses rather than originality and Iron Man is certainly no exception. He stands with his right arm stretched out about to fire off a blast from his palm repulsor. He has a moderately wide stance and his left arm is balled up into a fist. Sure, we’ve seen Stark in this pose a thousand times, but I still love it and I think it’s particularly effective for a statue meant to be displayed with the entire Avengers team.

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I’m also a fan of the style of this Marvel NOW! armor. I can see a lot of influences in it and in a way it strikes me as a more angular Extremis armor with the circular chest repulsor (my favorite) as opposed to the triangle. It features all the necessary segmentation between the plates and rather than go with a bunch of panel lines, the plates themselves are smooth and featureless giving it a very pleasing comic book vibe.

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Koto rarely skimps on the paint quality, so it should be no surprise that Iron Man features a gorgeous coat of metallic red paint with gold metallic trim. The paint lines are clean and precise and there’s just a few very minor blemishes that I could spot under close scrutiny. The one area where the coloring on this piece isn’t all it could be are the repulsors on the chest and hips. These appear to be stickers and aren’t terribly convincing. They look rather Hasbro-ish to me, which is a tad disappointing in a fifty dollar collectors piece. Oddly enough, this is one the rarer instances where I think they look better in pictures than in person.

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As always, you get the simple black square base. It’s metal and designed to work with the magnets in the statues feet. You can adjust him anywhere you want on the base or even connect the bases together and have him straddle two of them. Of course, Iron Man can stand just fine on his own too.

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With the team all assembled, I have to say I’m so very glad that I started down this road last year. While any of these statues would work just fine as stand-alone pieces, nothing beats having them displayed together and Koto designed them with that in mind. There are a few ways to go when displaying the set, but I used the lineup on the back of the boxes as a guide and I think it looks pretty damn great. And they look all the better lined up on the shelf right above my ArtFX+ Justice League!

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At $50, Iron Man is second only to The Hulk in price and about ten bucks more than I paid for the others. The main reason I paid so much for Iron Man was because I was worried about limitation on the variant so I pre-ordered rather than shop around for a deal. That still seems to be the going price, but that’s subject to change after he’s been out for a little bit and as of now you can still grab all of these statues at or below their original MSRP if you hunt around. Forty to forty-five bucks is definitely the sweet spot for me and these ArtFX+ statues, but I don’t mind going over now and again if I have to because they are indeed awesome display pieces. It’ll be a little while before I revisit the Marvel ArtFX+ collection, but when I do it will be with none other than Deadpool!

Cover Girls of the DC Universe: Poison Ivy by DC Collectibles

A lot of this week’s Features have involved me revisiting with lines that I’ve been away from for a while, so I might as well keep that theme going with a new Cover Girls statue by DCC. Supergirl was the last time I looked at this line and that was way back in August of last year and I’m only now starting to get caught up. I figured Poison Ivy was the best place to start since I was totally blown away by the photos I’ve seen and have been looking forward to opening up this beauty for a long time. It’s worth noting that this is the second version of Poison Ivy since the reboot of the Cover Girls line. I didn’t care at all for the first one so I was mighty glad to see them take a second crack at her because the result is absolutey exquisite.

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I’ve gone on record as being totally unimpressed by the package design DC Collectibles has adopted for this line. It’s mostly white and kind of bland, but it does at least offer you a good photo of the statue and a little blurb about the character on the back. Based soley on the aesthetics, I wouldn’t bother holding on to these boxes at all. However, the box is collector friendly and when combined with the brick of styrofoam inside, it’s a good thing to have if you ever need to store or transport the piece and so I do hang on to these. When you get Ivy out of the styrofoam the only assembly required is attaching the statue to the base via the metal pegs that come out of the bottoms of her feet. It was a little daunting as the holes were just a little too far apart and I had to pull her legs out a bit to get her in. Once the pegs went in, however, all was good and she stands perfectly on the base.

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All set up, this statue is drop dead gorgeous. Ivy is caught in a sexy stride with a single rose held seductively in her left hand, at her side, and her right hand pinching at the top of her leafy one-piece. She’s got a pair of thigh high boots and long gloves, both topped with foliage trim. The costume design is pretty simple, but the attention to detail in the leaves is well done and the two shades of green combined with the wonderful skin tone all make for a striking piece. Yum! I certainly dig this look a lot more than the black and green outfit she donned early on in Birds of Prey.

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Of course, what’s really striking is the portrait. I’m totally in love with the face sculpt here. It’s so soft and beautiful and perfectly painted that I think it totally transcends what we’ve been seeing in this line so far. Her eyes are perfectly straight and the paint work on her green eye-liner and parted lips is exceptional. Ivy’s breathtaking face is framed by her lush red hair, which is peppered with leaves and cascades down her back. It’s all simply stunning.

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And it would be impossible to discuss this statue without talking boobs. Of course, all of the Cover Girls statues are sexualized to some degree, so boobs are certainly not new to this line. But, holy hell check these babies out! For once, I’m actually not trying to be an adolescent about the topic because quite frankly Ivy’s pair of lovelies are an amazing piece of work and they deserve better. Not only are they beautifully sculpted, but the coloring of the skin tone compliments them so well. I get the feeling that these were a labor of love and that the sculptor, Jack Mathews, had a good time doing it.

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It’s hard to top Ivy’s chest, so let’s just wrap it up with a quick look at her base. After releasing just a few statues in this line, DCC began making the bases more or less uniform and so we get simple ovoid platform, which is personalized with a green paint job and a leaf etched into the side. The limitation information is on the bottom and the base rests on four tiny felt pads. I mention the pads because one of them fell off my Supergirl statue shortly after featuring it here and I hope that’s not going to be the case here.

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Ivy has an MSRP of about a hundred bucks, but I was easily able to find her for $75, which certainly isn’t unreasonable. Sure, it’s no secret that this current Cover Girls line is considered to have lost some of the luster from the original Adam Hughes run of statues. There’s certainly some basis for that argument. I don’t think the statues have been as good, but I don’t think they’re bad either. I now have five of these ladies on my shelf and I’ve been satisfied with each and every one of them. Now, with that having been said, I think Ivy here is the first to come close to reclaiming the magic of the line’s former incarnation. In fact, I’ll go so far as to say I like this one better than the original Cover Girls release of the character. I don’t know if this is an instance of DCC upping their game or just the stars aligning to produce an exceptionally nice looking piece, but she’s definitely going to be taking a front row spot on my Cover Girls shelf.