Transformers “Power of the Primes:” Wreck-Gar by Hasbro

Wow, Walgreens sure has been killing it with the Hasbro exclusives lately. Star Wars, Marvel Legends, and even Transformers have all been represented. And as strange a partnership as it is, I’m happy for it because either one of the two Walgreens nearest to me seem to always have me covered. And so the moment Wreck-Gar turned up in my Twitter feed, I made a quick trip to Walgreens around the corner and happily found him on the shelf! And all this when I thought I was completely done with buying Power of the Primes Deluxes!

Wreck-Gar comes in the standard Power of the Primes packaging with some pretty cool character art up at the top of the card. And unlike some of Hasbro’s other Walgreens releases, there’s no sticker or anything to indicate he’s a retailer exclusive. The bubble gives a great look at the figure in robot mode (albeit slightly mis-transformed to fit in the package) and there’s an illustrated insert showing the toy in his alt mode. Let’s start there…

If it wasn’t apparent from the packaged shot, Wreck-Gar is very nearly a straight repaint of the Deluxe Protectobot, Groove from Combiner Wars. Indeed, when he’s in his motorcycle mode, the coloring is the only difference. I liked this motorcycle well enough when it was Groove, and I still like it now. Yes, it’s a bit boxy, but motorcycle Transformers have always been tricky designs, especially when you’re going for a more boxy G1-style robot aesthetic. Plus this guy is a combiner limb too, so that has to be factored into the design problems. Taking all that into account, I think they did a pretty nice job. And hey, he’s still not nearly as chunky as the original toy! The new deco certainly sells it as Wreck-Gar. You get a lot of orange along with some red, black, gray, brown, and silver. There aren’t any complex paint applications here, but the range of colors is pretty high for a modern Deluxe. The clear windscreen has an Autobot symbol printed on it, and the headlamps covers are clear plastic.

Features include a turning front wheel, which is not tied to the handlebars, and a flip-down kickstand. It’s worth noting that the wheel swivel on my figure is crazy tight and when you couple that with the fact that the wheel struts are soft plastic, I had to be pretty careful when turning it so as not to stress the plastic, and I doubt I’ll be doing it again. It’s not a big deal in motorcycle mode but, as we’ll soon see, that swivel can be used for tweaking the transformation, if you so choose. And speaking of which, let’s go ahead and check out his robot mode.

As expected, the robot mode is simply a repaint of Groove with a new head slapped on him, and all things considered I think it works pretty well. Sure, he’s missing his rather distinctive nipple guns, and he doesn’t have a tire on his shoulder. Plus, it would have been cool if his combiner connector was painted silver to simulate the engine, but I still like how this guy turned out.

From the back, we can see that he wears the front of the motorcycle as a backpack, and while it does stick out pretty far, I don’t think it’s all that bad. And here’s where that front wheel swivel comes in. On Groove, I like to turn the wheel sideways as it makes the backpack a little less cumbersome, but given how tight the swivel is on this figure, I think I’m going to leave it be.

And that leads me to my other real gripe with this figure. The head is so damn tiny! Obviously they sized it so it could flip back into the compartment on his back, although I would argue that it wasn’t necessary. Well, maybe to make him into a combiner limb, but that’s not something I plan to do with him, so I would have rather just had a larger head. And that’s a shame because the sculpt itself is fantastic. They recreated the front of the motorcycle and handlebars that the G1 figure had as a “helmet” really well and his tiny beard and mustache are there too. I just with his noggin were bigger.

The figure comes with two accessories: A Black Prime Armor piece, which is getting tossed into the Tote of Forgotten Accessories™ and a bladed axe kind of weapon. The weapon looked familiar and sure enough it’s the same one that came with the Wreck-Gar figure from the 2011 Reveal the Shield release.

For what is essentially a quick-and-dirty repaint, I find myself enjoying this figure a lot. Yes, even with his small head! The 2011 Wreck-Gar was a decent figure, and his asymmetrical design really sold him as a Junkion, but mine broke during transformation, which was pretty disappointing because I don’t transform these toys a lot. Either way, I think this one’s boxier physique sells it more as a G1 homage, and for that I’m willing to give it the nod as my favorite of the two. If I still had the 2011 version, I’d try to do a head swap. Maybe I still have him kicking around somewhere! On a side note, I have one more Power of the Primes Deluxe to open up and review and then I’ll start hitting some of the bigger bots I missed out on. Hopefully, that’ll give me enough Transformers to talk about until the new line starts showing up!

Advertisements

Marvel Legends: The Thing by Hasbro

Once again, I have to put the random Marvel Legends reviews on hold as I push a figure to the head of the line. And it should come as no surprise that I’m doing that for Ben Grimm. To know me is to know how much I adore the Fantastic Four. It’s that one comic that most captured my heart as a child and kept me coming back for more, right up until it was shit-canned over copyright-politics. Hopefully that’s getting hammered out now with the recent shifts in the big corporate landscape. But either way, I’ve dreamed about a Marvel Legends re-do of Marvel’s First Family ever since the line came back and now thanks to some exclusive releases through Walgreens, of all places, Ben Grimm marks the last release of the Marvel Legends Fantastic Four!

And oh man, I couldn’t be happier to be holding this. For the most part, finding the Walgreens exclusives hasn’t been too difficult for me. I was able to pick up most of them at the store around the corner from my home and a couple I grabbed off their website. Ben was a little tougher, but after hitting a Walgreens about ten minutes away, I believe I found a new untapped source because they had piles of Legends and quite a few of their past exclusives. I think a big reason finding this set me at ease is because I was afraid of how much I would have been willing to pay for it on the secondary market if it came to that. The packaging is the same as we’ve been getting all along, and Ben is quite possibly the largest figure I’ve seen crammed into one of these window boxes. Not to mention the extra parts really push that tray to its limits. There’s a Walgreens Exclusive sticker on the window and not much else to say, other than bye-bye to this packaging, because it’s clobbering time!

Here’s Ben out of the box and looking damned near perfect. When it comes to the sculpt here, there’s nothing at all for me to pick at. His costume consists only of his blue shorts with a black waistband and the rest of the figure is covered in glorious orange rock. The craggy skin is chock full of detail with an intricate network of crevices running between the rocky scales all picked out by a dark paint wash. The orange used for the skin is brilliant and combines with the blue shorts to make for a very colorful figure that looks like he just jumped out of a Marvel comic panel.

The Thing comes with two heads, both of which capture the character perfectly, complete with prominent craggy brow and baby blue eyes. The first head features a slightly neutral expression, although he still looks mildly pissed off. The second head is full on Clobbering Time with teeth exposed and a gaze that says he’s looking to do some damage. Honestly, I probably would have been perfectly happy with either head, and it’s a real treat that with all the original sculpting that went into this big boy, Hasbro still managed to sneak the extra portrait in there.

The same could be said for the extra set of hands. Ben comes with a set of fists and a set of open, clutching hands. Had they just mixed and matched these, I would have been fine with that, but the ability to swap out either or both is just a wonderful bonus. These also work well with the articulation for coming up with all sorts of clobbering poses. And if I had one thing about the figure that I absolutely had to nitpick, I would say that the rotating hinges in the elbows don’t offer the range of motion that double-hinges would have. Although, I will concede that the existing elbow points don’t interrupt the sculpt as much as the other option would have. Either way, it’s a compromise that I’ll happily accept.

Besides the elbows, the articulation here is right on par with most of Marvel Legends‘ big boys. The shoulders have rotating hinges, the wrists have hinged pegs. There are no bicep swivels, but that’s where the rotating hinge elbows come in. The torso features a swivel at the waist and a ball joint under the chest. The neck has both a hinge and a ball joint. Finally, the legs feature double hinges in the knees, swivels at the bottoms of the shorts, and both hinges and lateral rockers in the ankles to help keep his big feets flat on the ground.

I try not to throw around the word “perfect” a lot when I talk about my toys, as it tends to cheapen the word, but I’m going to go ahead and roll it out for this review. I thing Hasbro did a fabulous job with The Thing. I’d like to think that’s not just my love of the comic and the character creating bias, but rather just recognition of a job well done. The sculpt and coloring are spot on and including the extra head and hands with what is already a big figure with so much new sculpting, well that just goes above and beyond!

Transformers “Prime Wars Trilogy” Punch and Counterpunch by Hasbro

I’m supposed to be opening up another Terrorcon today, but then this fellow landed in my mailbox and I thought I’d bump him up to the front of the line. By 1987, I was 15 and I was already already getting out of buying Transformers. It was that strange time in my life where I felt I was too old to be buying toys to play with, and had yet to discover the joy of buying toys to collect them. As a result, a lot of the later and more gimmicky G1 releases passed me by. One of those was the very clever double agent known as Punch and Counterpunch. This character got a release a little while back thanks to a clever reuse of the the Classics Sideswipe-Sunstreaker mold, and now he’s getting a brand new, and all original, update thanks to this Amazon exclusive.

Exclusives often mean premium packaging, and that’s certainly the case here. Punch-Counterpunch comes in a collector friendly box with some bitchin’ artwork and a front flap that opens to reveal the figure through a window. He comes packaged in his robot mode as Punch with that weird Prime Armor Zodiac Wheel illustrated behind him on the tray. Before getting started, I should point out that this figure left the factory with a pretty serious QC issue, that being the shoulder joints assembled wrong. It doesn’t effect the figure in robot mode, but it does hinder the transformation. Thankfully, there’s a very helpful review on Amazon that explains how to do the fix. It’s quick and easy and doesn’t even require any tools. And with that behind us, let’s start with the auto mode!

Punch-Counterpunch is a snappy blue sportscar not too dissimilar from the original G1 toy only with all the curves and contours of a modern vehicle. I love the styling on this car and you get some nice sculpting in the form of hood vents as well as details to the front and back bumpers. The rear window is stickered silver, but the windshield and side windows are clear plastic, as are the headlamps. Some extra paint hits include the red wheels, silver vents just behind the front wheels, silver and black on the front grill, and red on the tail lights. The auto mode facilitates Punch-Counterpunch’s murky allegiances by forgoing any faction symbols.

There’s a peg port on the top of the car, so you can plug in his yellow gun, or you can attach the included Prime Armor. Using the Prime Armor isn’t my first choice, but I do like that they sculpted boosters on it. Moving on, let’s check out Punch!

Oh, man! Punch’s robot mode takes the squat and boxy G1 design and polishes it up to a fine shine. The proportions are great and the car kibble is neatly confined to being folded up into his lower legs or tucked off the back of his shoulders. He doesn’t have any actual feet per-say, but he stands fine and I don’t even mind the gaps that are in his legs below his knees. The sculpted detail on his chest looks great and really invokes the designs on the original toy. As for the coloring, the blue and yellow makes for a beautiful combo, and overall this update matches the deco of the original toy quite well, right down to the red hands and the silver and red paint hits on his upper legs. Gone is the original toy’s rub sign and instead, Punch proudly wears the Autobot insignia in the center of his chest.

From behind he looks pretty clean too, although here he’s displaying almost all blue, which is a little hint about his alter-ego. The two halves of the car front on his shoulders are more pronounced from this angle, but I don’t think they look bad at all. And because the backs of his legs are the fronts of Counterpunch’s legs, they look finished as well. All in all, this is a great looking robot, which is all the more impressive when you consider that he’s something of a Triple-Changer.

The head sculpt is also a very nice homage to that of the original figure’s noggin, albeit it’s a lot more stylized here. He still has the black top to his “helmet,” but the antenna are a lot more pronounced. His silver mouth plate looks great and he has a set of narrow aqua-colored eyes. The top portion of the “helmet” is hinged so that it reveals the eyes on this side of the head while obscuring the ones on the other. As a result, it does have a habit of flopping down sometimes, but it’s not a big deal.

Punch comes with a yellow pistol, which we already saw mounted on top of his car mode. It’s all yellow and matches his chest. I like the design of this thing and it has some nice sculpted detail going for it. I seem to recall the original toy having a double-barreled gun, so some of the purists out there may scoff at this design. So let’s transform Punch into Counterpunch and send him into Decepticon territory.

Changing Punch into Counterpunch is super easy. Punch’s back becomes Counterpunch’s front. Just re-position the shoulders so the front quarter-panels of the car are flared out, rotate out his fists so the blue ones are showing, and flip the “helmet” up on his head to reveal his eyes and cover Punch’s. Finally, you flip up the panel revealing his Decepticon insignia and he’s all ready to go. Just like Punch, Counterpunch is a fantastic update to the original G1 figure and there’s nothing going on here that would really suggest he’s hiding a completely different robot mode. The shoulders can get in the way of the arm articulation a bit, but they look great, especially with those red mag wheels facing front and center. I also love how they faked out his windshield on his chest while the real one is folded up into his legs.

While Punch’s deco featured a combination of blue and orange, Counterpunch is mostly blue, with just a bit of orange poking out. He’s also got some really nice purple paint on the panels of his lower legs. From behind, Counterpunch is just as clean as his counterpart. I also like to add the Prime Armor piece to his back because it’s sculpted to look like a jetpack, while also hiding a lot of the orange of Punch’s torso. It’s nice to finally have a use for one of these Prime Armor pieces, since the gimmick doesn’t do a lot for me.

Counterpunch’s head sculpt is pretty damn distinctive with a silver chin showing through his chunky armored blue face and a pair of red eyes peeping out from under his black “helmet.”

I think it would have been cool to get an extra gun for Counterpunch to use, but alas he has to make due with Punch’s yellow blaster. It seems like a bad idea, as it’s a pretty distinctive looking gun and I would think at some point one of the Decepticons would be in a battle and say, “Heeeeey, isn’t that Autobot using Counterpunch’s gun? And where the hell is Counterpunch anyway?” 

In addition to the Prime Armor piece, you also get a Prime Master named Prima. I like the silver and translucent blue deco on this little bot, but to be honest, if I’m not getting a Pretender Shell, than I really haven’t got a lot of use for these Prime Masters, other than maybe populating one of my Titan Class cities.

Despite not having a whole lot of attachment to the character, Punch-Counterpunch turned out to be a really amazing figure. The robot modes are engineered beautifully and with an equally great alt mode, it doesn’t feel like anything was sacrificed for this rather unique gimmick. Indeed, I’d dare say that I rank this figure among my top five or so recent Deluxes and that’s saying a lot! This release was an exclusive to Amazon and at $25, he was a bit more than your average Deluxe Class Transformer these days, but not so much so that it felt like I overpaid. Sure, the QC issue is inexcusable, but I’d be more critical of the shoulder problem if it weren’t so easy to fix. Currently, Punch-Counterpunch is sold out on Amazon, but they do have an option to notify interested buyers when he becomes available again.

Marvel Gallery: X-23 as Wolverine (SDCC Exclusive) by Diamond Select

It feels like forever since I reviewed a statue here. That’s probably because I’ve been cutting waaaay back on buying these things as my available display space becomes more and more tight. I don’t have a problem with putting action figures away, because I can always take them out and play around with them, but if you can’t display a statue, then what’s the point of buying it, eh? And since there’s a nice sense of balance to beginning and ending the week with Marvel content… let’s check out Diamond Select’s new Marvel Gallery release of X-23 as Wolverine.

I’ve been an avid fan of both the Marvel and DC Gallery lines, even way back when they were part of the Femme Fatale’s line. These are roughly 9-inch scale PVC budget pieces, which seldom disappoint. As always, the statue comes in a collector friendly window box, with windows on the front, top, and side panels to let in plenty of light. The figure itself comes suspended between two plastic trays and displays fairly well in the box.

Diamond produced two versions of this statue, the regular retail features Ms. Kinney wearing her mask, whereas this unmaksed PX Previews Exclusive was available at San Diego Comic Con and afterwards at select retailers. The box itself denotes that it is an exclusive along with the addition of the “Unmasked” call-out at the bottom. There’s also a piece of silver tape over the top flap stating this release is limited to 4,000. Not exactly a strict limitation, but I presume it’s at least less than the production quantity of the masked retail version. There’s no assembly required here, so let’s get her out and see how she turned out! And just to put cards on the table, I’m not a fan of this book, but I sure do love the way X-23 looks in the Wolverine costume!

Diamond has been all over the place with the poses for this series lately. Sometimes you get something exciting and dynamic, other times you get something more reserved. X-23 here certainly leans toward that later with what I would consider to be very museum-style composition. Ms. Kinney stands with her right hip thrust to the side, her right arm down by her side, her left arm held up at the elbow, and both hands balled into fists and popping her her claws. The skin-tight suit shows her shapely form from all angles beautifully, and every bit of detail in the suit is incorporated into the sculpt. That last bit is a big deal for me, as with the fairly low price point of this line, I would have expected them to squeak by with just paint lines to make up the bulk of the costume. Other details include the belt, complete with signature “X” belt buckle, and the flared tops to her boots.

Budget statues tend to succeed or fail based on the quality of the paint applications, and I’m happy to say that the paint work on this piece is overwhelmingly good. The yellow is bright and vibrant, and the blue is deep with a beautiful high-gloss metallic finish. The belt is painted matte brown with a gold frame for the belt buckle and a black “X” on a red field. The paint lines for the costume itself are all pretty sharp. There are just a few very minor areas where slight improvements could be made. Indeed, the biggest flaw on my statue’s costume is a little blue showing through on the yellow trim at the top of her left boot, and even that isn’t so bad.

The portrait here is solid, but maybe a bit unremarkable. Ms. Kinney is certainly pretty and she’s sporting a serene expression with just a hint of a smirk, like she’s about to dive into some action. I think the expression works OK with the very reserved nature of the figure’s pose, but I tend to expect a little more emotion out of X-23. The hair also looks pretty tame from the front, although it does fan out at the back, which is about as much energy as the composition here is putting out. The paint on the facial features is overall solid, but there’s an area on her top lip that could have been sharper.

I really dig the base they designed for her. It’s basically a sloping black oval with a raised “X.” The “X” features a gold border around translucent red plastic, which would look particularly nice when displayed on a light up platform. There are also a couple of scratches etched across the “X.” Oddly enough, Diamond continues to call these “PVC Dioramas” on the boxes, and while every now and then they do something that could be called a diorama base, most of the ones I’ve picked up lately are more stylized stands like this one. There’s nothing diorama-like about it, but I suspect the label is a way to get around licensing and what Diamond is allowed and not allowed to do. I can’t think of any other reason for it.

In the end, I really like how this piece turned out. Granted, it’s not the most exciting of poses, but then it wasn’t meant to be, so I think a lot of the appeal here will come down to personal taste in that regard. I do like some energy in my statues, but at the same time I find that more classic poses like this one are easier to display with other releases. They take up less space and usually look great together. I debated hard over whether to go for the masked or unmasked when I set about to pre-ordering and I ultimately went with the unmasked Exclusive, because I figured the regular release would be more readily available later on down the road should I decide to get both. Besides, at $45 the Exclusive was only five bucks more. Either way, it’s pretty cool to be able to get a statue like this for under $50, especially when they turn out this good.

Marvel Gallery: Gwenpool (Unmasked) by Diamond Select

Since I’m swimming in Marvel Legends, I didn’t want to take up Marvel Monday with a non-Legends item, so I thought I’d end the week by checking out my new Marvel Gallery statue. If you aren’t familiar with these pieces, the Gallery line grew out of DST’s Femme Fatales series. These are roughly 9-inch scale PVC statues, and DST has been pumping out a lot of characters from both the Marvel and DC Universes. A couple of Marvel Mondays back, I reviewed Marvel Legends Gwenpool and lamented the fact that they didn’t include an unmasked head, but when I found out that DST released an exclusive unmasked version of their Gallery statue, I decided to go ahead and add it to the collection. The unmasked version was a GameStop Exclusive, and to be honest, I don’t get why GameStop is getting exclusives on this comic book stuff. Although the last time I was in one, it looked like the toys and collectibles were beginning to overtake the games. Either way, I actually picked this one up online through Think Geek.

UH OH… This is the first time I bought anything from Think Geek’s website and that giant crunch to the corner of the box signifies that this will also be the last. They threw the statue in a box, dropped an airbag in it, and kicked it (possibly literally) out the door. The shipping box was perfect, but the statue box got crunched because there was insufficient packing. Can’t blame this one on the courier. I suppose it’s possible it was like that before they shipped it, but I’d consider that scenario even worse. Look, I’m not a real stickler about the condition of packaging. If I get a damaged Marvel Legends box from Amazon, I’m not going to cry about it. It’s a toy and it’s the cost of (usually) getting the item below retail cost. But when you’re a company that specializes in selling collectibles, like Think Geek is, you have to do better than this if you want me to do business with you.

Anywho, the packaging is exactly what you would expect from DST’s prolific Gallery series. The statue comes in a window box with windows on the front, top, and both sides to let in plenty of light, and Gwen is suspended inside between two clear plastic trays. As always everything is collector friendly. The box itself has a yellow and pink pokadot deco with a pink interior to tie it into the character. In the past, DST’s exclusive declarations have been pretty understated. Sometimes the retail exclusives have a sticker, while the convention exclusives just have a piece of foil tape with the limitation. In this case, the GameStop Exclusive is called out on the box itself, both front and back, and “Unmasked” has been under her name. Otherwise the deco and presentation is the same, and I’m still not sure why DST has started calling these “Dioramas” but it’s not really important. Let’s get Ms. Poole out of the box and check her out!

Gwenpool strikes a rather dynamic pose as she stands up on her toes, legs bent, as if she’s running towards a fight… and naturally, she stops to take a selfie, because that’s what all the young “hip” Marvel heroes (and anti-heroes) do these days. Most of the time it annoys me to no end, but here it just seems to fit the character well enough to not bother me. The pose does a wonderful job of accentuating Gwen’s curvy form, especially with the way her back is arched. What’s more, this is a pose that doesn’t rely on any specific “sweet spot” and looks great from a number of angles.

As is always the case with DST’s Gallery statues, every detail of the costume is part of the sculpt, even the lines where the pink and white meet. A lot of companies would have been content with just using paint, and that’s something I really enjoy about DST’s work on this line. You also get some particularly fine sculpting for her muscles and cool little details like the treads on her sneakers. I do wish they had added some vertical cuts to show off her knitted socks and distinguish them from the smooth shin guards. Oddly enough that’s something Hasbro did on their 6-inch Legends figure, but was omitted on this statue.

The quality of the paint application is pretty solid. The pink is smooth, as are the flesh tones in her legs. The brown leather on her belts and pouches have a rich, brown leathery look to them and the tiny buttons and buckles are all neatly painted bronze. Rather than being pure white, the white is a bit more of an eggshell color and has a little gloss to the finish, whereas the pink is matte, making for a subtle, but attractive contrast. They did a particularly nice job painting the laces on her sneakers. Overall, some of the lines could have been sharper, but there’s certainly nothing here that’s unacceptable for a statue in this price range. Quite the contrary, I’ve seen worse paint on more expensive pieces.

The portrait is certainly on point and again, most of the paint here is sharp and clean, particularly on her open eye and lips. I like that they didn’t go overboard on the smile. Yeah, Gwenpool is often depicted grimacing like a psycho, but I think what they did here works better with the context. The sculpted hair is a little thick, but I think it looks OK, and the way it frames her face gives it a nice sense of depth. The pink highlights in her hair look good, but I think the blonde could have been more blonde. Aside from that, my only real nitpick here is the winking eye, which from certain angles looks like she got punched and it’s swollen shut. Fortunately, there are plenty of options to display the statue where it isn’t all that prominent.

The cell phone in her left hand is pretty simple, as it’s got a pink case and a black screen. It’s a shame that DST didn’t run off a sticker with Gwen’s face to put on the screen, but it’s no big deal, since the screen won’t be visible with the way I’m going to display her. Her right hand is clutching her katana, and while the statue does come holding it, the sword is a separate piece. The hilt sculpt and paint are both very well done. I should compare and see if this piece was reused from the Lady Deadpool Gallery statue.

For the base, DST went for a semi-transparent pink “G” done in a block letter style. This works fine, although I do prefer displaying the statue from an angle that has the “G” slightly askew. If memory serves, this isn’t the base that they were going with when they first solicited the statue, but I’m fine with it.

If you’ve been kicking around FFZ for a while, you probably already know that I absolutely adore DST’s Gallery series, and Gwenpool here is a perfect example of why. This line is all about quality work and good value, and after adding over two dozen of these to my collection, I’ve only been let down by a couple. Unfortunately, I’ve had to reel myself back in a bit, because my collection of these has been getting out of hand and quite frankly I ran out of space to display them a long time ago. Gwen here set me back $40 for the Exclusive, and about $10 of that was shipping, so I certainly can’t complain about the price. I would only recommend that if you’re in the market for her, you hit up some GameStops and try to find her on the shelf. Not only will you be able to check the paint, but you can avoid having Think Geek send you one with a crunched box. She is up on Amazon right now, but at around $55 she’s going for a premium.

Marvel Legends: Mr. Fantastic by Hasbro

Welcome friends… It’s DC Friday and… oh. Sorry about that. Force of habit. DC Friday is still on hiatus and just to rub a little salt in the wound, I’m checking out a Marvel Legends figure on DC’s turf. I’m not trying to be a dick about the fact that DC doesn’t have a comparable action figure line, honest! If they did, DC Friday would still be going strong. As for today… well, I happened to find Mr. Fantastic while running into Walgreens for a frozen pizza and I really want to open him up without cutting into my already over-booked Marvel Monday slots. And like I said, it’s not like I have any new DC stuff to look at here yet. The DC Multiverse pegs in my area are all still full of the Wonder Woman movie wave. And unlike Marvel Legends, the recent DC Multiverse releases sell for scalper prices on Amazon. Maybe I’ll pick up one of the many DC statues on my want list, but for now let’s thank to Reed Richards for stretching his way in to save the day!

If you’re keeping score at home, Mr. Fantastic is the third member of Marvel’s First Family to get an exclusive Walgreens release in the Legends line, right behind Sue Storm and her brother Johnny. And now that we finally saw some production shots of The Thing, we know Hasbro and Walgreens are riding this one to the end. Unless, you wanna give us The Amazing Bag-Man, Hasbro, because I’ll happily take that figure too! To say I love The Fantastic Four would be an understatement of epic proportions. It’s one of a handful of comics that I’ve been reading since I was a kid, it’s one of my overall favorite Marvel Comics series of all time, and well… I miss it a lot. I’m misting up a little right now. These figures do help, though.

As far as the body goes, Reed is more or less exactly what I was expecting: A painted costume on a generic buck. That’s not a knock on the figure, as it fits the bill perfectly. The blue matches the shade used for Sue Storm pretty closely, but it might be a shade darker here. Naturally, you get black paint for the boots, gloves, and belt. The “4” emblem is printed neatly on his chest, and you get more black around the collar. There isn’t really any unique sculpting needed to make Reed stand out, and the costume looks… well… fantastic.

The head sculpt is also a winner. The definition in the facial features is very well done, his eyes are straight and sharp, and I really dig the one raised eyebrow suggesting that he was fascinated by something while doing the science. The sculpted hair features a few stray licks over his forehead and his trademark gray wings look spot on. My figure does have a birthmark just off to the side and below his left eye. It’s actually a flub in the paint, but I’m choosing to call it a birthmark, dammit! I think this is an all around excellent likeness to the character that I know and love. And sometimes hate to love. And other times love to hate.

The articulation holds few surprises for a modern Legends figure. The legs have ball joints in the hips, double hinges in the knees, swivels in the thighs, as well as both hinges and rockers in the ankles. The arms have rotating hinges in the shoulders and wrists, there are swivels in the biceps, and double hinges in the knees. The torso features a waste swivel as well as an ab crunch hinge. The hinge is placed a little awkwardly, and while I don’t think it would have worked on any other character, it gives Reed a very little bit of an elongated look that fits his special abilities. Lastly, he has both a hinge and ball joint in the neck.

Reed does come with one accessory and holy crap, it’s The Nullifier! I remember bitching about getting Phlish instead of The Nullifier back when Nova came out. Now I can’t remember why I was so hell bent on getting this little lump of gray plastic. But hey… Nullifier!

Of course, the big draw in the package are the swap out stretchy arms. When I heard that the FF were going to be Walgreens exclusives, I was really worried about Hasbro cheaping out on these and I honestly wasn’t expecting to get any stretchy parts with Reed. Oh boy, am I glad to be wrong on that one. The regular arms just pull right out at the shoulders and the stretchy arms pop right in, easy-peasy. They do have a bit of bend-ability to them, but nothing too crazy. They do, however, make the figure loads of fun. I bought every version of Reed that Hasbro put out in the 4-inch Marvel Universe line, but it’s so cool to finally get him with some stretchy parts.

Seeing just the three of the Fantastic Four assembled on my Legends shelf gives me the warm and fuzzies. It’s not lost on me how many things about these figures feels like a miracle. The fact that we’re getting toys at all with the comic having been cancelled is one thing, but actually getting them as Walgreens exclusives is also pretty crazy. But frankly, this whole Walgreens partnership has been working out wonderfully for me. I have some chance of finding Target Exclusives, almost no chance at Walmart Exclusives, zero chance at Toys R Us Exclusives, but I’ve never had a problem finding any of the Walgreens ones, and I don’t even have to hunt. Indeed, the one right around the corner has been a goldmine for all kinds of Marvel Legends waves.

Marvel Legends: Spider-Man and Mary Jane by Hasbro

I was really hoping to have time to bust out another Marvel Hot Toys review for this week’s Marvel Monday, but I got really busy with work and it didn’t pan out. So, let’s have a look at a stand-alone Marvel Legends set, I’ll try to hit the Hot Toys figure next Monday, and then we can dive into a new Wave. Sound good?

Oh boy, did I have a tough time getting this one at a decent price. I’m sure you’ve heard me say it over and over again, but there haven’t been any Toys R Us stores in my area for years, and as much as I’m into collecting, I don’t have the time or patience to drive an hour just to visit the nearest one. That puts me at the mercy of the InterWebs for my TRU Exclusives. Sometimes it’s easy, sometimes not so much. I missed out on this one a bunch of times before finally scoring, and it’s been sitting around forever waiting to be reviewed. I won’t dwell on the packaging, because it’s a typical Legends boxed 2-pack. It’s collector friendly, it shows off the figures quite well, you get character art on the sides and a TRU Exclusive sticker on the window. Let’s just kick off with a look at Spider-Man!

If you pick up enough of these two-packs, you should be used to seeing some recycling. It’s just how Hasbro tends to cost out some of the figures that would might not otherwise make it to the pegs. In the case of this set, Spider-Man is a repaint of the Spidey from the Hobgoblin Wave. And that’s not a bad thing, because the Pizza Spidey body was an excellent figure and pretty well received by fans, so if you missed out, here’s a chance to at least get a variant of it. This version features one of Peter’s fairly modern tech suits, hence the blue-green glow that’s sprayed onto his chest symbol and the eyes, which really make this suit stand out as being unique.

Now, I’m not going to lie, having the glowy bits there doesn’t make this one of my favorite looks for ‘Ol Web Head, but it’s still a pretty cool variant to own. I really dig the coloring on this figure. The red and blue really pop and the black webbing is very well defined. The quality of the paint application is overall pretty good. There are some flubs here and there that are evident when you get in real close, but nothing stands out when I’m just looking at figure in hand. One of the common complaints with the previous release was that the pegs for the hinges aren’t painted to match the suit, and that’s still the case here. It’s not something that really bothers me.

In addition to the regular masked head, you also get the unmasked Peter Parker portrait. It’s a fantastic sculpt and definitely something that’s been on my Legends wish list for a while. Previously, we’ve had the half-unmasked head, and the Ultimate Parker head, but this noggin is a great little bonus and I’ll likely be either displaying it on this figure all the time, or perhaps picking up one of the Vintage Carded Spider-Man figures and using it on that one.

The articulation here is pretty fantastic, thanks in part to those lateral shoulder crunches. The arms have rotating hinges in the shoulders, pegged hinges in the wrists, double hinges in the elbows, and swivels in the biceps. The torso features a swivel in the waist, an ab crunch hinge, and the neck is both hinged and ball jointed. The legs are ball jointed at the hips, have swivels in the thighs, and double hinges in the knees. The ankles have both hinges and lateral rockers. Of course, you also get the usual selection of hands to go with the figure, including “thwippy” hands, splayed finger hands, and fists.  Let’s move on to Ms. Mary Jane…

As solid a figure as Spidey is, I have to imagine that Mary Jane is the real draw of this box for most collectors. That was definitely the case for me. With how many Spider-Man themed Legends waves we’ve had, it’s hard to believe it took this long to get MJ. She actually saw a 4-inch Marvel Universe release a few years back. While MJ has become anything but the classic Girl Next Door in the comics, Hasbro went back to her roots for a pretty conventional look here. Rather than going for the swanky nightclub owner, MJ is slumming it here in her simple jeans and black t-shirt, and I wouldn’t have it any other way. The paint for the outfit is fairly simple, although there’s some nice variation in the blue to create that worn blue jeans look. The waist of the jeans does feature some sculpted detail, like the belt loops and the button. The ensemble is rounded out by a pair of simple painted black shoes. This is an example of a very minimal amount of sculpting working quite well to create a band new look.

The portrait here really elevates the figure. The paint applications for the lips, eyes, and eyebrows is all precise and crisp, and I like the additional of the freckles. The hair is also excellent, not only in terms of sculpt, but the paint, which starts our a vibrant red at the top and darkens as it gets down to her shoulders. Hasbro has come a long way when it comes to creating pretty female portraits, and MJ here is a great example of that.

Despite being a normie in the Marvel Universe, MJ still features some solid articulation. The arms have rotating hinges in the shoulders, elbows, and wrists. The legs are ball jointed at the hips, have swivels in the thighs, double hinges in the knees, and both hinges and lateral rockers in the ankles. The torso features a ball joint under the chest and the neck is both hinged and ball jointed. MJ features a fist on her left arm and one of those spell-slinging hands on her right arm. I really would have liked to get an extra set of hands for this one, but I suppose I can still be content with what we got.

MJ comes with one accessory, and that’s her purse. Oddly enough, this is a recolor of the satchel that came with The Hobgoblin from the Space Venom Wave. It’s a clever re-use, although the shoulder strap does look a tad big and bulky on MJ’s slighter buck.

The retail for this set was $39.99, which is standard for these two-packs and right on target when you consider the individual figures are about $19.99 each. I probably would have let this one go if I hadn’t eventually found it at regular retail price, but I’m glad that I ended up finding it. The Spider-Man certainly wasn’t a must-have for me, but it’s a solid variant and a great looking figure. Plus, the unmasked Parker head really sells it. A comic-based Mary Jane, on the other hand, is a figure I’ve wanted in this scale for a long time, so she made it worth the purchase all on her own.

DC Multiverse (Steppenwolf Wave): Mera by Mattel

Welcome back, friends, to a second helping of Multiverse on this DC Friday. Christmas may not be until Monday, but around here every day is a good day to open toys! Earlier this morning I checked out the Justice League version of Aquaman and found him to be quite good! And now I’m spending tonight with his bride to be, Mera. That sounded creepy, what I meant to say is I’ll be reviewing her action figure. Despite a lot of fanfare about her casting, Mera was barely in the Justice League movie, but she sure has been playing a big part in the Aquaman Rebirth comic and I dig her a lot in it. Needless to say I was happy, albeit surprised, to see her get a DCEU release in this lineup.

I took the packaged shots when I thought I was going to review Aquaman and Mera together, but in the end I decided they each needed their own review. But here’s one more look at the figures in their window boxes. While it doesn’t state it anywhere on the box, Mera is actually an Amazon Exclusive. And while she doesn’t come with a Collect & Connect part for Steppenwolf, she does come with some extras to make up for that. There’s not much else to say about the packaging, other than for some reason Mera has more disclaimer information on the front of her box, and she has some lovely pictures of her from the movie on the front and side panels.

As good as Aquaman’s figure was, Mera is even better in every respect. In fact, Mera is so good, that she actually feels like she’s from an entirely different line. For starters, the detail on her sculpted armor is sharper and crisper than that of Arthur’s. The underlying emerald green suit is etched with fine lines and textures, all punctuated by golden interlacing lines. The mix of emerald and gold paint is rather stunning and when combined with the intricate patterns in the sculpt, the armor has a bit of a reptilian flavor to it. It really is quite simply a work of art on exhibit in a line that rarely seems to care.

The head sculpt is pretty solid. It’s certainly not a spot on likeness to the actress, but I can see a little something of her in there. I think the contours of her face feel more like stylized than realistic, and she looks a little too pouty, but overall I still like it a lot. She’s pretty and the skin tone for her face as well as neck and chest is extremely well done. The paint for the eyebrows and lips is fairly precise, although the eyes on mine aren’t perfectly straight, it’s something I didn’t really notice until taking some close up shots. It looks as if the hair may be sculpted in a separate piece, and the gold tiara is part of the hair sculpt.

And then we move on to what really floors me. Mera’s articulation is actually better than Aquaman’s. Considering how I’m used to seeing reduced articulation in my 6-inch ladies, this is a welcome treat. Mera features all the same points as Arthur, but adds thigh swivels and an ab crunch. The fact that Mattel was able to put an ab crunch in Mera and not compromise the sculpt or her shapely form, means there’s no excuse for Aquaman missing one. The same could be said for the thigh swivels as well. I can’t explain the decision making here, but I’m happy that Mera got the extra poseability.

Even when it comes to the the accessories, Mera offers more. For starters, she comes with an extra pair of hands sculpted with water effect parts. These look great and they’re a lot of fun to play around with.

And finally, she comes with this spear. Like Aquaman’s trident, it’s just a simple sculpt, and it’s cast in silver plastic with no paint applications. There’s a barb and a partial hook toward one end, giving it a little more of a harpoon vibe. It’s not bad, but it feels too basic to really feel like it belongs with such a great looking figure.

After going through a solid wave of Wonder Woman figures, I’m pleased to see that DC Multiverse looks to be continuing that streak. Aquaman was really good, but Mera here just blows me away for a figure in this line. It just goes to show that they can still bring the A-Game when they want to. But maybe it’s a little unfortunate that they wait to do it on a figure that’s an online exclusive and probably a more limited release. Mera’s price on Amazon has been fluctuating all over the place. I picked her up when she was around $15, but she’s dropped as low as $11 a few times this week. Either way, she’s well worth the money!

Marvel Legends: Medusa (Walgreens Exclusive) by Hasbro!

Hey, it’s one of those rare times on Marvel Monday when I’m between waves of Marvel Legends and I actually get to look at something other than Marvel Legends figures. So let’s look at a Marvel Legends figure! Because, thanks to Walgreens and their copious number of exclusives, I now have  Legends figures to interject between waves of Marvel Legends! MARVEL LEGENDS!!! These things are invading my home by the truckload, but don’t ever stop, Hasbro. Just keep them coming. Like sweet, sweet cocaine. You keep selling, I’ll keep buying. Also, today’s review is going to be super quick because I’ve been pretty much working non-stop all weekend.

Here’s Medusa in the package and it is appropriately branded for The Inhumans. I made a vow to get through this review without once mentioning how awful The Inhumans TV Series was. But seriously, did you see that mess? Holy shit! I’m so glad they cancelled a proper MCU-based movie for that steaming pile of garbage. Maybe Disney will let a few more phases go buy before they pretend the show never happened and green-light the movie again. Or now that they own The Fantastic Four, they can just work them into that movie. What? The toy? Oh yeah… Anyway, this is actually the first one of these exclusives that I’ve seen with a sticker denoting it as such. Is that a big deal? Not to me, because this package is about to get shredded into compost. Seriously, I’m an animal when I open these things.

From the neck down, Medusa is about as straightforward a figure as they come, as virtually her entire costume is achieved through paint, and not even much of that! You get the standard shapely female buck, cast in purple plastic with metallic purple paint applications for her boots, gloves, and the collar round her neck. She features the spell/power-casting hands, and the only original sculpting here is the belt that hangs on her hips. Now keep in mind, I’m not really complaining, the costume works perfectly for the character.

Of course, there’s plenty of new sculpting for the head, and that’s thanks to the cascade of hair that flows down her back. She’s got a pretty face with neatly painted eyes and lips. The metallic purple mask on mine is a little uneven, which is obvious on close ups, but it’s hard to tell with the figure in hand. The hair sculpt is especially well done, and that’s a good thing, since it is Medusa’s defining feature. There’s a lot of definition to the groups of strands, and I really dig the way it flows and swirls all the way to the ground.

Articulation here is the same as we’ve seen dozens of times over with this female buck. It includes rotating hinges in the shoulders, elbows, and wrists. The legs have ball jointed hips, double hinges in the knees, hinges and lateral rockers in the ankles, and swivels in the thighs. There’s a ball joint under the chest and both a hinge and ball joint in the neck. Obviously the mane of hair takes its toll on the neck articulation, but it mostly just restricts her from looking up. Some of the early pictures I saw of the figure worried me that she would always be looking down, but I’m happy to see that’s not the case it all.

It would be fair to say that I’m not blown away by this figure, but she’s certainly a fine treatment of the character. I’m not sure if Hasbro sold the idea to Walgreens back before the TV series hit, but whatever the case, it’s nice to get a solid comic version of Medusa, especially with Black Bolt following close on her heels as part of the MCU Black Panther wave. It’s a big plus too that these exclusives seem to be pretty easy to get. Indeed, the Walgreens around the corner always has plenty on the shelf. I may have to hunt down regular Legends releases, but these exclusives are never a problem.

DC Multiverse (Ares Wave): Wonder Woman by Mattel

Welcome back to another one-two punch of DC Friday content. It’s a strange thing to still be talking about a wave of Multiverse figures after wrapping up the Collect & Connect figure, but in this case, Toys R Us had two exclusive releases, which weren’t necessary to build Ares, but did give him some extra accessories. This morning, I had a look at Menalippe and this evening I’m checking out Wonder Woman.

As with Menalippe, there’s no specific TRU branding on the package, which is weird, because TRU loves to stick their foil Exclusive stickers on everything. The only other thing notable here is that this figure is added to the back of the box, where she wasn’t pictured on either of the four wide release versions. Makes sense. Target and Walmart don’t want packages advertising figures you can only get somewhere else.

And here she is, Wonder Woman in all her cloakless glory, and she is a damn nice figure. Yes, I still find it really odd that the cloaked version was the regular retail release and the more iconic one was an exclusive. This is mostly the same figure I looked at last week, obviously minus the cloak and with re-sculpted head and arms to remove the hood and sleeves. I don’t own the Superman V Batman WW figure, but I think it’s very likely that this is more or less the same one with a new (and better) head sculpt. I’m also all but certain that the Justice League version, which I have yet to open, will also be a repack.

The sculpting and paint on her outfit is fantastic. So much so, that it’s hard to believe this is a Multiverse figure. Yeah, I’ve said that about several figures in this wave, but it’s worth repeating here as well. Her outfit features sculpted lines, including some battle scarring, and a leather-like texture on the skirt. The gold, red, and blue all have a bit of a metallic sheen to them, and it’s great to see this outfit in all its vibrant glory and without it being shot through a depressing filter or overly saturated.

Her gold and silver bracers include some sculpted panel lines and she has brown wraps for her hands, while her red and gold boots feature sculpted straps and some more scrapes from battle. Everything about this costume really shines!

Except maybe the shoulder rigging, which I’m still very torn on, and is permanently attached to her back. It was a little less bothersome on the cloaked figure because it was partially concealed, and it looked less bulky with the big cloak over it. But here it does get in the way of my enjoyment of the outfit. At least it serves a purpose, with a pegged loop on the right hip for her lasso and an enclosed loop on her left hip for The Godkiller. I guess I just wish it fit the figure a little more snugly.

The head sculpt is also excellent. There’s definitely some Gal Gadot in there, but I’m willing to be forgiving because it is generally a very good looking portrait. She’s pretty, the paint is applied with precision, and her the detail in her hair is very well done. The fact that part of the hair is sculpted to spill over her right shoulder doesn’t even hinder the neck articulation as bad as I thought it might. As far as 6-inch scale portraits go, it’s not up to Hasbro’s MCU standards, but I’d say it’s better than some of the Star Wars Black Series in my collection.

Wonder Woman sports some excellent articulation, but nothing we really haven’t already seen in this wave. Her arms have rotating hinges in the shoulders and elbows, and swivels in the wrists and elbows. The legs have rotating hinges in the hips, hinges in the knees and ankles, and swivels in the thighs. The torso features a swivel in the waist and she has a ball joint in the neck. The only thing really missing would be some lateral rockers for those ankles.

Both the sword and lasso are the exact same accessories that came with Cloaked Wonder Woman, so I won’t spend much time on them here. The lasso is sculpted in a coiled configuration and the sword is still a great looking sculpt and nicely painted. It would be nice if Mattel would toss in a piece of gold string to double as an uncoiled lasso, but I suppose that shouldn’t be too hard for me to find.

The new accessory is the shield and it’s a fantastic piece. This is definitely the more ornate version that she had in her own movie, as opposed to the blander one she carried in Batman V Superman. It features some sculpted geometric patterns, which make it look more Art Deco than Greek to me, but I don’t care, because it just looks fabulous. The shield itself is dark gray with bronze paint on the sculpted lines. The back of the shield features two soft plastic straps, which slide over the figure’s arm. I couldn’t really get her to grip the second one, but it works just fine without it in her hand. And speaking of shields…

Wonder Woman comes with a shield for Ares too, and it is an absolute work of art. I mean, just look at this thing! It’s got some insane sculpted detail decorating the front and a beautiful silver-blue finish, which matches the painted parts of his armor. It works the same way as Wonder Woman’s shield, with two straps on the back that slide over his arm. I’m definitely going to have to give his flaming swords to another figure, because there’s just no way I’m not going to always display him with this shield and his sword.

While I’ve enjoyed this assortment from the beginning, I have to say that this particular figure is a total home run. It’s a great sculpt, beautifully painted, and she’s lots of fun to play with. The only downside here is that it really should have been the wider release instead of the cloaked one. There are no Toys R Us stores near here and I wasn’t able to get her through their website. Nope, I had to hunt her down through a secondary seller. I didn’t get beat up too badly on the price, as she was just a couple of bucks more than she would have been at retail. But even with that having been said, this Gal is worth hunting down. On the next couple of DC Fridays, I’m going to switch gears to some DC Collectibles figures and then I’ll come back to Mattel to check out their DC Multiverse Justice League movie figures.