Marvel Comics: Domino (Exclusive) Premium Format by Sideshow

Yeah, another week of abbreviated content. I didn’t make it back on Wednesday because of real life craziness, but at least I did double up for Marvel Monday. And to make up for it a bit more, I’m tackling a big one to end off the week! Sideshow’s delectable quarter-scale Premium Format figures are the bane of my existence. They’re so big and expensive, and yet they’re so damn pretty. I shouldn’t buy them, but I always want to. I’ve only reviewed one of these beauties before, and that was the Batman Returns Catwoman I won from one of Sideshow’s contests about three years ago. Yup, people actually win those! Free is great, but as any good drug dealer knows, it’s that first free hit that hooks you. Since then I’ve picked up a few more but haven’t gotten around to reviewing them, mainly because it takes a lot of effort to gerry-rig my little photo stage to handle them. Anyway, I’d like to remedy that by starting to review some of these, and what better place to start than the one I got in this week! I’m like a kid on Christmas morning!

It’s Domino! A character that I’ve been in love with ever since lucky Neena Thurman first graced the pages of Marvel Comics. Hell, X-Force #11 from 1992 was one of the first comics I ever got CGC graded. When Sideshow solicited this one, I knew I had to have it, but not just because it’s Domino, but because the composition is so amazing. But I’m getting ahead of myself. As always the statue comes in a box massive enough to house the 20-inch tall statue and plenty of Styrofoam to protect it. The box is made up to look like a giant slot machine and has some cool touches, like X-Men stickers ripped off one side and the machine’s marquee branded after Domino herself. There’s a silver foil sticker on the bottom left corner of the front panel to denote that this one is a Sideshow Exclusive, limited to 1,000 pieces.

Inside the Styrofoam, it looks like something that’s been cocooned by spiders. As expected, there is some unwrapping and assembly required here, and this phase tends to be the most stressful of the un-boxing. Are all the parts going to be OK? Is everything going to fit together properly? In this case I’m happy to say, Yes and Yes. Assembly includes attaching the figure to the base with a key tab that protrudes from her butt. Next up, the hands (each holding a gun) gets attached and held by magnets. The slot machine arm keys into the side and attaches to the toe of Domino’s boot with a magnet, and finally the head attaches by magnet as well. When all is said and done, this is a very solid and pretty heavy piece all ready for display. I’ll also note here that there is no mixed-media in this figure, so the entire costume is part of the sculpt.

And what a display it is! Domino sits playfully on top of a leaning X-Men-themed slot machine with her legs crossed and one foot resting on the arm. She leans back to support herself with her right hand, still holding a pistol, while she draws the pistol in her left hand up near her neck and points it to the ceiling. I don’t think Sideshow has ever managed to have the base upstage the figure itself in one of these Premium Formats, this might be pretty close. In truth, they both just complicate each other tremendously well. I tend to waffle between preferring classic museum style poses and something more dynamic and action-y, but this one introduces a whole new ballgame. It’s wildly creative, it’s deliciously meta, and it understands the character so well.

Of course, this is a pretty modern look for Domino, which really just means that her traditional black cat suit is enhanced with a lot more detail and a more tactical look to it. And while we already have a Domino for the films and I wouldn’t take any of that away from the glorious Zazie Beetz, I do think that this version of Domino has a realistic quality to her, which would have worked fine for the big screen. The bulk of the suit is a delightful mix of black and blue, which comes out beautifully under the studio lights, and is enhanced with patches of exposed ribbed blue “material,” presumably to add a little flexibility. Again, it’s all sculpted, but I have no quarrel with the decision because the end results are quite spectacular. Everything from the zipper track to the stitch lines, and the subtle wrinkles here and there make for a very convincing garment, even if it is all polyresin.

The suit is covered with tactical gear, all held on by sculpted segmented belts. Her inventory includes all sorts of pouches, slots for extra magazines, empty shoulder holsters under each arm, and a futuristic looking gun strapped to her right thigh. The gun is a great example of all the detail that went into the sculpt. The hard-molded style holster is textured and features sculpted rivets that simulate holding it together. There’s a sculpted retaining strap locking the weapon into place and the weapon itself is just brimming with detail. The twin pistols in her hands enjoy all that same great attention to detail. The X-branded belt buckle breaks up the blues and blacks with a bright red glossy background.

The standard portrait is superb. Domino sports her trademark pixie cut and offers a sideways glance and a knowing smirk. It’s like she’s thinking, “My luck is going to hold out, but yours is about to change.” I love the pale coloring they used for her rather unusual skin tone and the iconic spot around her left eye is crisp. For that matter all the paint work on the face is sharp and crisp. The sculpt for her hair is intricate and almost looks like it’s layered. The hair color follows the same pattern as her suit, being black with some blue-purple highlights. The only thing that sucks about this portrait is that the Sideshow Exclusive comes with a second, and that’s going to make for some tough decisions…

The Exclusive head features longer hair, the left side of which is blowing off to the side a bit. The head is turned to face her gun and her lips are pursed. It looks fine just like this, but it’s intended to be displayed with the addition of one extra piece.

 

Add the smoke effect to the gun barrel and now she looks like she’s blowing the barrel of her pistol after having fired it. I love the way this turned out and it’s creating quite the conundrum on which look to go for. The pixie cut from the standard head is more Domino to me, but the Exclusive looks so good. Luckily they are easy to swap, so I may just wind up doing that every couple of weeks.

And that brings us to the base, which is usually not something I need to spend a lot of time on when discussing statues, but here’s the exception to that rule. This is just amazing from both a composition standpoint as well as execution. It offers an on the nose nod to Domino’s mutant power, but it has a lot of fun with it too.

Sideshow went above and beyond with the detail in the bullet-ridden one-armed bandit. It has a steel sheen to the sides and back and the sculpted bullet holes look quite realistic. The back of the unit has all the vents and bits that you would expect to find on something like this. The coloring on the upper and lower marquee are beautifully illustrated. It would have been cool if SIdeshow added some lights to this base, but I don’t think that’s something they ever do in the Premium Formats. I particularly love the bullet holes in the plastic screens that cover the top marquee and the rollers. The later of which look convincing enough that I’d swear I could pull the lever and watch them spin.

Finally, the Days of Future Cash slot-machine rests on top a pile of Deadpool-branded tokens with spent bullet casings peppered generously throughout. Under this pile of loot is a simple black circular base. Lift it up and you get a little Domino artwork along with the limitation of the statue. Mine is hand-numbered 208/1000.

It’s s funny thing buying these Premium Formats. I always go into the purchase with sweaty, nervous palms and yet I’ve yet to be disappointed with one of these pieces when they arrive. And that’s saying a lot because they sure ain’t cheap. At $585 ($570 for the regular edition), I fear these statues are creeping past my budget right when I’m starting to get into them. But it’s easy to see where the money went, as Domino makes for an impressive presence on the shelf, and I can’t find anything on the piece to even nitpick about. The sculpt, paint, and overall design came together so beautifully. I’m certainly glad I didn’t pass this one oup.

Marvel Comics: Lady Deadpool Bishoujo Statue by Kotobukiya

That’s right… Marvel Monday was yesterday, but I’ve got so much Marvel stuff to look at, I’m extending it out to today. That means you get an extra helping of Marvel Monday without the Monday! Besides, I’m also falling behind on my Bishoujos. Case in point, this one dates back to last Summer and it is indeed Lady Deadpool! I was originally going to take a pass on this release, but I was pretty disappointed by Diamond Select’s Marvel Gallery Lady Deadpool and decided that I’d try my luck with the Bishoujo version. But I really didn’t need luck, because with Kotobukiya, it’s never a gamble.

Now, I know what you’re thinking… Take a pass? But it’s Bishoujo and it’s Deadpool and it’s Bishoujo Deadpool? It’s the self-proclaimed Chickee of Chimichangas appearing in your most favoritest statue line of them all! Are you feeling alright? Yes, but for some reason the whole Bishoujo Lady Deadpool thing didn’t click with me, and I’ll get into one of the reasons why in a bit. Anyway, Wanda Wilson comes in a typical Marvel Bishoujo box, white with windows on the front, top, and one side panel to let in plenty of light and see the goods inside. There’s also some wonderful character art by the great Shunya Yamashita, on which this statue is based. Everything is collector friendly, so let’s get Ms. ‘Pool out of the package and check her out!

So, now things are clicking, and it’s hard to deny that this is a very attractive statue. Leave it to Koto to take an idea that I’m lukewarm on and still win me over at first sight. Wanda stands with her left knee bent and her heel off the ground, striking her sexiest of poses. She gestures to herself with her left thumb and proffers a trademarked grenade in her other. Because even if she does hail from Earth-3010 and is packing lady parts, she’s still a Deadpool and she’s still gonna blow some shit up. There is absolutely nothing groundbreaking about this pose. In fact, I’ll go ahead and say it feels like they played it safe, but it’s executed quite beautifully and it just works for me. I think a lot of it has to do with the sheer kineticism of her snaking pony tail. Even if most of the composition here is pedestrian, that hair is pure poetry. I’ll also concede that this statue has several sweet spots to view her from.

I suppose a lot of the appeal here also has to do with Koto’s unswerving dedication to craftsmanship. The coloring on this piece is gorgeous. It eschews this line’s frequent love affair with high gloss finishes and serves up a combination of sassy matte reds and blues for Ms ‘Pool’s costume. It may not pop quite like a lot of the other Bishoujos on my shelf, but the red is deep and rich and I love it. And if you’re looking for something shiny, you get it in her wrist and ankle cuffs, as well as her bicep bands and collar. The quality of the paint application is quite nearly flawless too. I also appreciate that all the details on this costume are part of the sculpt, so you get raised piping on the borders between black and red. You also get some tantalizing rumples in between both bosoms and buttocks!

This Deadpool may not be packing a bulge in the nether regions, but you do get a belt with plenty of pouches and a kick ass belt buckle with a brushed silver finish. I find it a little odd that the buttons on the pouches aren’t painted, because Koto is not one to ever skimp on the paint. That leads me to believe it was a deliberate decision, they did after all paint the fixtures on the shoulder rig, so I guess I’m OK with that.

Her back is decked out with her sword rig and twin katanas, again all cast in brown. The grips feature sculpted brown wraps with some gold paint showing through. Again, it’s kind of a dull coloring for her swords, but here it’s clearly intentional because the paint hits are there and the effort was made.

And that brings us to the portrait, which is replete with Deadpooliness and certainly befitting of Lady Sassy Pants of the House of ‘Pool. Wanda has one eye popped and one eye squinting and you can clearly make out her dainty little nose jutting out from the middle of the mask. It looks fantastic. But, is it really a Bishoujo statue if the figure is masked? Of course not, and that’s why Koto always gives us a second, unmasked portrait. In this case, the alternate look not only involves a pop-and-swap for the head, but also the left arm, which includes the mask.

So, depending on what you’re reading, Wanda either is or isn’t as scarred up as her Earth-616 Dudeoppleganger, but either way, this feels more like a chick in Deadpoolette cosplay than the real McDeal. Maybe it’s because she’s too cute, maybe it’s because the unmasked hair doesn’t match, or maybe it’s because the first time I actually saw this statue it was the SDCC 2016 Exclusive that had her holding a bunch of Comic Con swag. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a fantastic portrait. She’s adorable and the coloring is beautifully done. I don’t want to take anything away from the workmanship here. It’s just that this one reminds me of those Freddy, Jason, and Chucky Bishoujos, which are also akin to chicks in cosplay. You may have noticed that I passed on each of those.

Our last stop is the base, which is a simple disc with the Deadpool logo on it. Could it ever have been anything else? Nope. It’s perfect!

I absolutely do not want to sound overly critical of this statue, because it really is an exceptionally nice piece. I’ve never experienced anything even remotely akin to Buyer’s Remorse with any of Koto’s figures and this one is certainly no different. She’s beautiful and she’s going to look great on my Bishoujo shelves. I just feel that this particular character was a bit of a reach for the line. But then maybe I’m overthinking this piece way too much and maybe I should just try to enjoy it for what it is. Wanda slipped in just under the recent Bishoujo price hikes, which means she hit most retailers at around $60, but I don’t think she’s been selling as well as others, because here we are a year later and she’s readily available from a number of sellers for considerably less.

Marvel Comics: Spider-Gwen Bishoujo Statue by Kotobukiya

I know, riiiiight? It’s been forever and a day since I last looked at one of Kotobukiya’s Bishoujo statues and I have no excuses other than I’ve been prioritizing Marvel Legends so as not to fall too far behind. But it’s crazy to think that I haven’t visited with this line since the Summer of last year, and the last Marvel Bishoujo I showcased here was Ms. Van Dyne all the way back in October of 2015. Holy hell, that’s way too long. So today I’m opening up a brand new Marvel gal for this collection and it is indeed, Gwen Stacey, aka Spider-Gwen!

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The box is pretty typical for the comic book based Bishoujos. It’s mostly white with some great artwork from Shunya Yamashita. You get plenty of windows to let the light in and the statue comes between two clear plastic trays. Spider-Gwen is one of the very few Marvel books that I’m current with (at least in collected trade format), and I enjoy it a fair bit. But if I’m honest, Marvel’s comics have been going through some really weird phases these days and I find it pushing me to spend more time reading DC’s ReBirth. But that’s an entirely different discussion for a different time and place. Gwen’s set up only requires you to peg her left foot into the base. She comes with her unmasked portrait, but I’m actually going to start with her masked.

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And here she is, and she is fantastic! There’s a lot to love here, but straightaway, it’s the balance of this statue that really impresses me. With just her left heel touching the base, Gwen pulls off a fantastic gravity-defying pose, as she pulls back her right hand to throw a punch and her left hand reaches out to thwip out another web. Not only does the composition of this piece just exude energy, but it also allows you to get a great look at the figure from every angle. Koto has done some amazing poses for their Marvel and DC ladies over the years, but this is without a doubt one of my favorites and it suits the character perfectly.

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Gwen is somewhat unique among the Bishoujos in that she requires very little detailed sculpting and features a nearly entirely matte painted finish. Now, I don’t want to undercut the fantastic job they did with all her curves and contours, but apart from her lovely shape, the only real detail here from the neck down can be found on the cut web patterns on her arms and underarms, cut lines just below her knees, and on her shoes. You also get cut lines to reinforce the paint lines. Keep in mind, none of this is a criticism at all, quite the contrary, it’s totally appropriate for the character design and also serves to make Spider-Gwen a refreshingly simple figure.

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The other distinctive thing here that I mentioned was the completely matte finish, except for her shoes. Koto does indeed love their high gloss paints and in truth it does seem to go so well with so many of the super hero costumes. In this case, they were right to avoid it. The white here looks so bright and clean and the black is smooth and consistent. The plastic Koto uses for these takes white and black so well, which has sometimes been a problem with lines like Diamond’s Marvel and DC Galleries, which often show rubbing. The red webbing and blue shoes serve to break up the black and white costume beautifully. If I were to nitpick just a bit, the red in the webbing inserts doesn’t quite line up with the cut lines, but it’s not something that bothers me.

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One thing that does, however, bother me is how I’m going to choose which head to display her with. The hooded and masked head is superb. It goes on all as one piece and there are tabs on the hood to make it connect with the body. The sculpted and painted web patterns inside the hood look great and the mauve spray that defines her eyes is spot on. It’s amazing how quickly this costume has become iconic for me and that’s a strong argument to go with this this option. On the other hand…

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The unmasked portrait really conveys what the Bishoujo line is all about. This option is achieved with two pieces. The lowered hood tabs in first and then the head after that, and the combo is splendid. Gwen is one of those characters that fits right in with the Bishoujo style without a lot of tweaking at all. Her eyes and hair are perfect and that sly little smile is one of the best expressions Koto has done for this line. In the end, I’m probably going to go unmasked. The last time this decision was such a dilemma was with Koto’s Batwoman.

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The base is a raised disc with an incline, very similar to the kind used for Wonder Woman v2. This one is painted with a black and white city skyline and a mauve sky to match her costume deco. It really matches the art styling of the comic very well.

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Spider-Gwen is quite simply Bishoujo perfection. What’s more, even if you aren’t a fan of Koto’s Bishoujo line (WHAT’S WRONG WITH YOU??), and you’re just looking for a really nice Spider-Gwen statue, you could display this statue with the masked portrait and no one would be any the wiser. And I should toss in here how great it is, after such a long absence, to be opening one of Koto’s lovely Bishoujo statues again. It goes without saying that it’s particularly nice to come back to such a very strong entry in the series. It’s true there have been a couple of Marvel gals that I skipped. I wasn’t really keen on their She-Hulk and I haven’t gotten around to picking up Lady Deadpool yet. Fortunately, there are a lot of Bishoujo ladies hitting the shelves either right now or very soon, so it’s safe to say I’ll have some more Bishoujos featured here again in the coming months, particularly Squirrel Girl, Harley Quinn v2, Wonder Girl, Lady Thor, Lady Loki, and Street Fighter’s Ibuki. So sit tight, Bishoujo fans. Things are going to start heating up again real soon.

Marvel Gallery: Spider-Gwen (SDCC Exclusive) by Diamond Select

What’s this? Marvel Monday without Marvel Legends? Yeah, since I’m between waves of Legends, I’m taking the opportunity to look at something different before engaging on a month-and-a-half long expedition into the Civil War Giant Man Wave. Marvel Gallery is DST’s extension of the Femme Fatales line of PVC statues and while all of the Marvel editions so far have been ladies, they will be including some dudes in both this line and their DC Animated series, hence the change in name. Today I’m checking out the SDCC Exclusive Edition of Spider-Gwen, which features an unmasked head.

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I really like the packaging for these statues. The boxes are fairly small and feature windows on the front, sides, and top to allow you to get a good look at the piece before you buy it. That is assuming, you’re lucky enough to have a comic shop in your area that sells them! And despite all the windows, the boxes are still quite sturdy. The Femme Fatale boxes have mostly been rather dark and bland, but these Marvel ones are bright and colorful. I especially like the printed insert. Everything is collector friendly, although Gwen here requires one bit of assembly. With over a dozen of these statues in my collection, this is the first time I’ve come across that, but all you have to do is attach her left arm, which is quick and easy to do.

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There is an SDCC Exclusive logo printed on the front of the box as well as “Unmasked Edition” lettered under the main window. Previous exclusives in this line have only been denoted by a piece of tape on the flap. You still get that here, with the limitation number printed on it. Mine is 2,847 of 3,000. Here’s where I point out that putting a number limitation on the tape that secures the flap of the box is the dumbest thing I’ve ever heard of, even if there is a flap on the bottom to go in through. Also, not putting a limitation on the statue itself sucks. Just saying, DST. If you’re going to limit your runs of these at least have someone write it on the bottom of the statue with a Sharpie.

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Once you get Ms. Stacey’s arm plugged in she’s all set to go and looking pretty damn nice. The pose features Gwen sticking to a wall via her right hand and the soles of her feet with her left arm stretched out and her hand getting ready to thwip out a web. I like this pose a lot and the paint and sculpted detail on the wall itself is very well done. You get a lot of texturing in the bricks and a goblin-style gargoyle head that looks to be glaring specifically at Gwen. A little bit of ivy here and there adds to the character of the setting. It’s nice to see DST learned their lesson. A little while back, they solicited a Star Trek statue of Seven of Nine in the Femme Fatales series with a sculpted plastic wall behind her and in the final release that was changed to cardboard. Even now, if you go to order that statue through most e-tailers, they’ll show the deceptive picture of the plastic backdrop.

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Gwen’s costume is recreated here mostly with paint, but all the paint lines are part of the sculpt as well, which is always nice to see. Some of the paint lines could have been sharper, but the black and white areas are clean. I was worried about the consistency of the white on this piece, but with the exception of a few visible brush strokes, the white is bright and vibrant. The black has a scuff mark here and there, but nothing major. The red web patterned areas under her arms and inside her hood look great, and her ballet-style slippers are painted blue. The designer even made sure that the left arm connects where there was a seam in the costume, so as to match it to the other arm.

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That brings us to the portrait, which is the only difference between this exclusive and the regular retail release. Here we get Gwen unmasked and I have to say they did a nice job on the sculpt and the paint. As much as I enjoy the Captain Marvel statue they did a few months back, there was something a little off about Carol’s face. Here, I think they nailed Gwen Stacey quite nicely. The skin tone is clean and the paint for the green eyes and red lipstick is precise. Even her familiar hair style and headband are recreated wonderfully here. I do wish they had sculpted the exclusive with the hood down, but I still like what we got.

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The base consists of a plain black disk, which supports the wall. With all the weight of the figure on the wall, I am a little concerned that over the course of time the statue may begin to lean forward a bit. Then again, I could be worrying about nothing. I may rig up a hook on the back of my shelf or wall where I display her to take up some of that weight just to be sure.

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Spider-Gwen seems to be the new go-to girl when it comes to marketing and as a fan of the comic and character, I’m glad to see it. I’m really happy with the way this piece turned out and I’m glad I went for this exclusive version. Gwen set me back about $45 shipped, which isn’t that much more than these statues usually cost. In fact, it can still be snapped up at a number of online retailers for around that price. Whether or not I’m going to double dip and pick up the regular masked release remains to be seen. I’ve actually already got Spider-Gwen from DST’s Marvel Premier Collection on pre-order, so I may just stick with one version of this release.

Marvel Gallery: Captain Marvel Statue by Diamond Select

I know, Marvel Monday was yesterday, but Mondays are going to be tied up with Legends figures for a long while now, so the Marvel goodness will be spilling out into other days now and then. Today I’m looking at Diamond’s first Marvel Gallery statue, which is, for all intents and purposes, a Femme Fatales statue by another name as she fits in at the exact same 9-inch scale and sits at the same price point. It’s my understanding that DST changed the name of the Marvel series because they will be incorporating dudes into this line. Fair enough!

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Despite the name change, the box is right in line with what we’ve been seeing out of DST’s Femme Fatales statues. You get the same four panels of windows to show off the statue inside and a deco that is personalized for the character. If anything this box feels just ever so slightly more premium with some nicer coloring and a spiffy satin finish to the art. The statue comes between two clear plastic trays and there’s no assembly required. She’s ready to go right out of the box.

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This statue looked amazing in the promo pics and I’m happy to say all that goodness transferred to the final product. In hand, the statue looks quite striking for such a relatively low end piece. I’m especially fond of the pose they went with here that has Carol levitating, one knee bent and her arms gently out to her sides. It’s a very graceful look and while far from an action pose, it still manages to convey a little bit of energy and majesty to a gal who has become one of my favorite modern Marvel characters.

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There’s a fair amount of sculpting involved in the costume. In fact, none of the detail is conveyed by paint alone. Instead, you get some great details like the brass buttons running up the sides of her boots and gloves, the sash tied around her waist and secured with a medallion, and especially the starburst symbol on her chest. Even her gloves have subtle stitching lines running throughout. Add all those little flourishes to her beautiful curves, and you’ve got quite an eye catching display piece. Carol proves that you don’t have to show a lot of skin to be a drop-dead sexy superhero. She’s class!

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The paint quality in the Femme Fatales line has been overall solid, but I’ve seen it falter every now and then, mostly on a couple of the DC Animated pieces. I’m happy to say, the paint is quite good on Carol’s costume. The shades of red and blue are vivid and smooth and contrast beautifully with the bright gold paint. There’s really no slop to speak of and the lines are clean thanks in part to the way they are integrated into the sculpt.

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Did I mention she has a nice bum? She has a very nice bum. The figure does feature some seaming from where it was assembled. You can see these in the shoulders and again around the right leg where it meets the aforementioned very nice bum. We don’t tend to see these in a lot of higher end pieces, so they may prove to be distracting for some. Considering the low price point here, I don’t mind them much here, especially since it mainly looks like the sort of cuts you would get in action figure articulation.

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The portrait sculpt is excellent. I’m particularly pleased with the way the hair came out. It’s wonderfully detailed and has a little bit of glitter in the paint that makes for a rather interesting effect. That having been said, the eye makeup is a bit much for me. The look to the eyes leans a little more toward the Dexter Soy art than it does the David Lopez run, but it doesn’t quite match either exactly. That having been said, I think what I’m seeing is more an artistic choice than a comment about the quality of the paint. I think she looks absolutely fantastic when viewed from straight on, but there’s something a little off when she’s in profile.

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The base is a jagged burst of energy with a gradient orange and red paint that gives it a rather brilliant and almost luminescent effect. In the right lighting it almost looks like it’s glowing. It does a nice job supporting the figure and I like that her lower foot is still suspended just slightly above it to give her that levitating effect.

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I’ve been a champion and collector of DST’s Femme Fatales line long before it started dipping into the mainstream comics, and I’ll happily categorize Captain Marvel as another win for this line. Or, if you want to get technical, a very nice debut for the Marvel Gallery line. I was looking forward to getting this one ever since she was first solicited and so I had her pre-ordered at the MSRP of $40, which is actually just a wee bit less expensive than what the DC Animated statues are being released at. On the other hand, if Marvel Gallery is anything like Femme Fatales, e-tailers seem to be rather competitive when pricing these statues, so shopping around for a deal may be worthwhile. Captain Marvel has already been follwed by Jane Foster Thor, which I’m still on the fence over because I’m not enamored with the sculpt. On the other hand, Spider-Gwen should be out next month, and I’ve already got both the regular and SDCC versions of her on pre-order!

Pop! Vinyl (Marvel Comics): Deadpool by Funko

It’s a geek overload weekend, between Toy Fair and the Deadpool movie opening to great box office takings. I’m probably going to go see Deadpool on Tuesday when the crowds die down and I’m not obsessing over Toy Fair coverage. So, while I’m chilling at home never far from my Twitter Feed and taking in all the new plastic news, I thought I’d grab another Pop! Vinyl off my stack and take a look. Deadpool seemed appropriate.

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Granted, Funko have released well over a dozen different Deadpools in their addictive Pop! Vinyl format. The one I’m looking at is #20 in the Marvel Series and also their first release of the character. Although this particular figure was released in a whopping nine different variations, so if you’re a dedicated ‘Pool fan, then have fun tracking all of those down. This is Inception level character milking of the first degree that few companies other than Funko could pull off. Anyway, the box is standard fare for the Pop! series and it is naturally collector friendly. While I’m ashamed to say my Pop! collection has been growing rather quickly, I still keep them boxed. Hopefully I have the wherewithal to stop myself before I have a closet of Totes full of loose Pop!s.

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As a Marvel licensed Pop!, Deadpool is an actual Bobblehead with a spring inside his giant noggin that makes it jiggle all over the place like a jonesing crack addict. I much prefer the regular fixed head Pop!s, but due to licensing issues with Hasbro, Funko is forced to make all their Star Wars and Marvel Pop!s in this manner. It’s not a big enough issue for me to get me to boycott them, but it does make me be extra choosy when deciding whether or not to buy a Star Wars or Marvel Pop!.

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Deadpool dons his classic red and black outfit with plenty of pouches and wields a machine pistol and katana in his hands. It’s an instantly recognizable rendition and loaded with ‘Pool personality. The paint on mine is a little rough, though. There’s some fading on the brown belt across his strap where the red plastic is showing through and a spot of black paint on his left foot. On the other hand, the tampos on his giant face is crisp and they did a nice job painting his little belt buckle. These are mass produced items of the highest order, so unfortunately some paint flubs are inevitable.

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I like the little sculpted tip of his hood that hangs off the back of his head. From the back you can also see lots more pouches on his belts and a little silver painted pistol in his holster. If I had one complaint it would be that both his scabbards are empty and yet he’s only holding one sword. Hey, Deadpool, where’d your other sword go? Yeah, I know, it wouldn’t have worked with the giant head. I’m still going to be picky about it.

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If you want a little snapshot of Pop! Vinyl economics, despite being about three years old and the first release of the character in this format, this Deadpool is still readily available and not terribly expensive. Sure, even at $15 he’s going for one and a half times the original retail, but my point is if you’re hunting him, it won’t break the bank. Some of the variants, on the other hand, tend to get a lot pricier. I’m disappointed in myself enough already for picking picking up these Pop!s as impulse buys, if I ever catch myself paying a premium for one, I hope someone out there loves me enough to do an intervention.

Marvel Comics: Deadpool Sixth-Scale Figure (Exclusive) by Sideshow, Part 2

Yesterday, I kicked off my look at Sideshow’s Sixth-Scale Deadpool by checking out the figure, the portraits, and a plethora of hands. Today I’m wrapping it up with a look at all the other extra bits. I’ve got a lot to cover, so let’s dive right in and start with Deadpool’s trusty pistols…

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‘Pool’s automatics are beautiful little pieces right down to the steel finish and the custom painted ‘poolified grips. Sideshow is no stranger to producing top notch looking weaponry in this scale and these guns certainly continue that trend. The receivers do slide back and while it looks like the magazines are removable, I haven’t been able to get mine out and I don’t want to force the issue. Sooooo, maybe and maybe not. The weapons fit comfortably in the holsters and the magnetic retaining flaps keep them in place and the special gun hands are absolutely perfect for displaying these tools of death. Pistols are often the least impressive accessories with these types of figures, but I think these really shine and fit the figure the best.

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Next up are his twin Katana swords, which come in plastic scabbards and feature beautifully sculpted grips that match Deadpool’s red and black deco. The scabbards feature metal clips, which can be attached to the web harness on his back. The clips on these are super delicate and I’ve already had to reattach one. Fortunately, it’s not a breakage, just a clean detachment that was easy to fix. I would have preferred Sideshow had gone with magnets like they used to hold their Major Bludd figure’s backpack in place, but I suppose this works well enough. But yeah… magnets, Sideshow… magnets!

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The sword blades are plastic, but very pointy and sharp! The special sword hands work beautifully for these pieces, although they can also be used with the gun hands to angle the blades a bit more. And as long as we’re on the subject of blades…

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‘Pool also comes with a tanto knife with a sheath and a clip. You can really put this anywhere on the figure that there’s a strap to attach it to, but I think it was designed as a boot knife. It has a shiny plastic blade and there’s not a whole lot more to say about it. It’s just a nicely executed little bonus.

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Blades are all well and good, but sometimes when you need to dispatch bad guys you want to go all shooty on their asses and even your pistols aren’t enough. That’s when you pull out this big boy. I usually pride myself on my firearm knowledge, but I have no idea what this thing is and Sideshow identifies it only as an assault rifle. Whatever it is, it’s big, it’s got some beautiful weathering and it even has a detachable scope, because what fun is it to blow heads off when you can’t see them explode up close and personal?

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If shooting and slicing doesn’t do the job, Deadpool can fall back on making things go boom with his pair of custom grenades. You get two of these little hand painted jewels and they are absolutely adorable. And with little clips on each one, you can attach them to Deadpool’s rig in a myriad of places.

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We’re done with Deadpool’s arsenal, but there’s still a couple of extras to look at and to use them Deadpool will require his stand. The stand is pretty stand-ard (haha!) stuff with a crotch-cradle and a hexagonal base. The base has a printed graphic on it, which I notice some people are pretty nit-picky about, especially on the Hot Toys figures. I really don’t mind these at all. It looks great and supports the figure well. In this case, there are also three holes in the post behind the wire stand to accommodate wires for the speech bubbles.

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Yes, easily the most unique set of accessories included with the figure are the speech bubbles. You get one white and one yellow and they attach to the stand with the wires. You also get a sheet of stickers with phrases and whatnot. It’s a very cool idea, but I can’t imagine the stickers will survive all that many times being removed and reattached, so I’m not going to go nuts with them. Using dry-erase bubbles, in conjunction with the stickers might have been a better way to go. It’s a very novel concept and one which I appreciate a lot, but to be honest, I don’t know that I’ll get much use out of them. And that brings us to the last accessory…

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The exclusive Headpool from Deadpool Corps! This little guy is an amazing piece of sculpting and paint and a bonus which definitely made going through Sideshow for this figure very worthwhile. You have to get in real close to appreciate all the disgusting detail Sideshow invested in this head. Deadpool Corps was a damn great book and including the extra version of ‘Pool was a great idea. Like the speech bubbles, he connects to the base using a wire to help him hover. I also appreciate that the design allows you to display the figure with both speech bubbles and the Headpool all at the same time. Nice!

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If you can’t tell by the length of this piece, I really, really love this figure. Sideshow’s Deadpool is absolutely outstanding. I’ll confess that somewhere along the line after the release of the Deadpool movie trailer, I started wondering if I had done the right thing. You can’t tell me that there isn’t going to be a Hot Toys version of Deadpool based on the movie. Nonetheless, I’m glad I didn’t falter and that I let the pre-order ride, because in hand this figure is everything I wanted him to be and more. I love the modern and realistic costume design, the articulation is tight and the body suit isn’t too restrictive, and the accessories are fantastic. So how about that price? At $230, Sideshow have now officially positioned themselves at an equal footing in the market with Hot Toys. Indeed, Deadpool was actually twenty bucks more than my last Captain America figure from Hot Toys. And that’s with no likeness rights here and none of that extra work required to craft the actor’s likeness. On the other hand, Deadpool has a lot more accessories. Is it a trade off? Well, I always imagined the cost and effort that went into a figure’s likeness was a considerable sum, so I’m at a loss to see how the comparison works out. On the other hand, the quality and workmanship in this figure is at a premium and the number of extras is off the charts, so the value is certainly there. I could go back and forth on the cost issue forever, but in the end, I love the figure and have zero buyer’s remorse, and I guess that’s good enough for me. Now I just have to decide if Sideshow’s Punisher is worth the same price tag.

Marvel Comics: Deadpool Sixth-Scale Figure (Exclusive) by Sideshow, Part 1

Deadpool. The Merc With A Mouth. El hombre que ama Chimichangas. He can be a polarizing character, but to me he’ll always be a favorite. I’ve probably re-read more of his comics than any other single character’s out there and that’s because to me they have staying power. If I have 15 minutes to kill, I’ll often crack open a Deadpool omnibus or grab a TPB and enjoy an ish. And don’t even get me started on Cable & Deadpool. I wept real tears when that run ended. Anywho, it’s a great time to be a Deadpool fan because we’ve got a film coming with a trailer that gives me nothing but confidence in the project. We also got this excellent figure from Sideshow Toys. I pre-ordered this guy back in November of 2014(!) and while it was a loooong wait, I’m excited to finally have him in hand. My schedule is a little tight this week, so I am going to be looking at Deadpool in two parts. Today we’ll check out the packaging and the figure and tomorrow the accessories. It seems only fair, since I found I have a lot to say about this guy.

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The figure comes in a shoebox style package that at first glance feels right at home on the shelf beside my myriad of Hot Toys boxes. It’s got some nice art that I’d be tempted to say is a little too artsy-fartsy for Deadpool if it didn’t look so damn great. If you netted the Exclusive from Sideshow, you’ll also see a silver sticker on the front stating the fact.

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Lift the box top and you get an illustrated cardboard insert and under that lies the figure packed neatly in foam cut-outs. The foam protects the figure nicely and under it is a tray that contains the bulk of ‘Pool’s accessories. There’s nothing wrong with this internal packaging style, but it feels just a tad lower rent than what I’m used to getting Hot Toys figures. Maybe I’m just a bigger fan of the molded plastic trays over the foam. I dunno. Either way, it’s just something that’s going to sit on my bookshelf, so let’s cast it aside and check out the figure.

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Sideshow has become masters of taking iconic character designs from comics or cartoons and making them look real. This was particularly evident in their GI JOE Cobra figures and Deadpool feels a lot like that same kind of treatment. While we now have a real movie Deadpool to compare, this version of Deadpool was conceptualized beforehand and still looks like he would be right at home strutting his stuff on the big screen. Indeed, I might even go so far as to say I like this version a little better than the design we’ve seen in the Deadpool trailer. But s’all good. I don’t want to knock anything in that trailer. One thing is clear, Sideshow spared no expenses pouches in executing this design and the result is a deliciously busy costume that is positively bristling with bits and bobs and just general detail.

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All told there’s about 20 beautifully crafted pouches covering our pal ‘Pool, each of which is clipped on and can be removed or readjusted to suit your taste. You also get Deadpool’s trademark belt buckle to help him look stylish and keep his pants up, but more importantly secure his two pistol holsters. The holsters feature retaining flaps with magnet latches, which are so much better than delicate snaps or buttons in this scale. Under the Liefeldesque web of straps and pouches, Deadpool sports a nicely tailored combat suit made of black and crimson fabric. The black bits feature a stitched quilted pattern and the suit is further reinforced with some plastic armor bits on the shoulders, knees, and forearms. If I had one nitpick on the costume it’s that my figure’s fly seems to prefer to stay exposed. But hey, that’s so Deadpool!

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Deadpool comes with two portraits, each of which are super easy to swap out, thanks to this rather odd neck post. Instead of just a regular exposed ball joint, there’s this cylinder that fits into the head. The noggin fits on smoothly and you don’t have to apply any force at all to get the head off. A single finger on the shoulder and a gentle tug will do the trick. On the flip-side, don’t try picking up your figure from the head only, as you’ll likely wind up with a catastrophe. The stock head is standard Deadpool, while the other features a goofier expression as if he’s trying to peer through the fourth wall. There are also some subtle differences in the configuration of his hood between the two portraits. The sculpt is pretty damn good on both, and while you’ll never be able to perfectly match sculpted fabric with real fabric, the heads still look great on the figure.

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If there’s one thing Sideshow has learned from Hot Toys, it’s that if you’re going to charge a lot for a figure, you’ve got to throw in a lot of hands. ‘Pool comes with no less than five different sets. You get the usual assortment of pedestrian meathooks, including fists, gun holding hands, and sword holding hands, but you also get some pretty cool and rather unique expressive hands to work with, which can be a lot of fun. Changing them out, on the other hand, is a bit of a chore. They’re a tight fit on the pegs and the plastic arm bracers tend to get in the way. Anyway, you can use the hands to relive great Deadpool moments, or make up your own…

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“Did you see that? I totally just sucker punched Kitty Pryde right in the gut!”

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“Peace! Haha… I’m still going to kill you!”

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“Hey Black Widow… Dat ass is fiiiiiiine!”

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“Gramps… Dude! Ya only got like six pouches on that outfit. You gotta get more pouches. It’s all about the pouches! I know a guy, I’ll hook you up!”

To be continued, tomorrow… Same ‘Pool Time, Same ‘Pool Channel!

Marvel: Spider-Woman Bishoujo Statue by Kotobukiya

It’s Bishoujo time again! Those nefarious money vampires at Koto have been especially prolific lately and it seems like at least once a week we’re seeing artwork or prototype pics of new and upcoming statues. It was just a couple weeks ago that I looked at their new Bishoujo Wonder Woman and hot on the heels of her arrival comes Spider-Woman. Jessica Drew has been sitting in my Pile of Loot for a little while and now she’s here and waiting to be opened. Let’s do it!

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The packaging here is right in line with what we’ve been seeing from all the Marvel and DC Bishoujo statues. You get a white window box with some gorgeous character artwork by Shunya Yamashita. Collectors may be surprised to find that the box is a lot smaller than those used for most of these statues, but that’s because of Spider-Woman’s pose, but fear not. She’s still crafted in the same 1/8 scale as Koto’s other Bishoujo offerings. The back of the box teases us with Jubilee, another great character choice for the line and we’ve already seen some pictures of that statue from Koto online and yes I’ve already got her pre-ordered, dammit!

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As usual, the statue comes wrapped in plastic and sandwiched between two plastic trays. You can get a good peek at her through all the windows in the box, but you’ll have to get in there and unwrap her to really appreciate what you’re getting. She comes separated from her base, and while the pegs are a bit of a tight fit, I got her in without too much trouble. Giggity.

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And there she is out of the box and ready for display and oh man is she gorgeous! And yes, as the box suggests, she is small. Again, it’s not because she’s scaled any smaller, but because the composition here has her in a compact and low profile squat. Still, if you own Koto’s Bishoujo Mystique you should know what to expect here. It’s interesting to note that I’ve seen some critics of the original artwork and prototype of this piece suggested this pose was too suggestive or just downright vulgar and inappropriate. It’s certainly sexual, but that’s nothing new to this line and, indeed it’s the whole damn point. Besides, Spider-Woman here is definitely one of the most clothed Bishoujo statues in the entire line. With the exception of her face, she’s literally clad from head to toe, but that doesn’t stop this statue from leaving little to the imagination. And yet, her squat, with right fingers touching the base and her left fingers reaching out, mimics the kineticism of Jessica’s spider-like acrobatics remarkably well for a static piece. I not only think the pose here is appropriate, but totally in character for her, and while it may be no surprise to everyone who knows that I’m a shameless champion of this line, I think it’s absolutely exquisite.

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And speaking of exquisite… let’s talk about the paintwork. Even though I started with the composition, the truth is that it’s the colors on this piece that first caught my eye. That’s saying a lot when you consider how alluring the sculpting is. The high gloss candy apple red that Koto used for her costume has to be seen in person to be believed. It’s so sumptuous that it’s almost like all this time I thought I was seeing the color red, but it’s always just been some dingy knock-off and only now am I seeing red in its original, brilliant form. And when you combine that with an equally impressive glossy luster in yellow, you have what is easily the most breathtakingly colored statue in my Bishoujo collection. Quite often, one of my favorite things about the coloring on these pieces is the contrast between the soft matte finish of the flesh tones and the sheen of whatever latex or leather the ladies happen to be wearing. Here that contrast is barely present. You get a little of it with the face and the hair and her translucent wings, but basically that red and yellow paint is carrying the day all by itself, and it carries it quite splendidly.

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Jessica actually has two portraits with the change achieved by switching out the face. The stock portrait has her masked and you get that same beautiful red and yellow high gloss on her mask, with some heavy black outlines and white eyes. The windblown hair effect is pretty much a staple in this line, but here it feels like Koto went that little extra mile. The hair just feels more chaotic and complex and that extra effort pays off because it looks smashing right down to the semitransparent edges.

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The alternate unmasked head is swapped in by removing the head from the neck post, taking off the bangs, and then pulling off the face. It’s quite similar to what I’ve seen with the S.H. Figuarts Sailor Moon figures. My first instinct was to dismiss the unmasked head because the masked version is just so iconic, but I think I’ve fallen in love with Jessica’s unmasked face. She has an almost wistful expression and yet a hint of a smile on her tiny mouth. She’s also got a set of beautiful green eyes and it’s almost a shame to cover them with that mask.

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Most of the time when I get a Bishoujo statue with variants, I have a clear preference on which way I want to go with it. With Black Widow I always prefer the rifle over the knife; with Storm I opt to leave the effects parts off; And Kitty Pryde is always displayed with Lockheed perched on her arm. In this case, I’m not sure which way to go and I’ll likely be swapping the heads out every couple of weeks to enjoy them both.

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Of course, with the Bishoujo line, you never know what Koto’s going to do for a base. In this case you get a simple black raised disc with a white spider-web pattern sculpted and painted onto it. It works perfectly for the character and the black really helps to accentuate the beauty of the costume’s red and yellow paint. Every time I decide that I want Koto to just standardize all of these damn bases, they pull something exceptional and unique like this and I back away from my argument. Another very cool thing about the base is that there’s a hidden compartment underneath where you can store the extra face. That’s plenty cool!

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And so, it should come as no great surprise that I’m in love with another of Koto’s Bishoujo statues. With 17 of these beauties now under my belt, Spider-Woman here is just another example of why I’ll follow this line until Koto decides to kill it or I happen to finally succumb to alcohol poisoning. She may not be as big or imposing as some of the other statues in my display case, but she makes up for it in every other way. And even with the diminished stature, at $55 I still think she was a bargain. Jubilee or Starfire will likely be next, and after that we can look forward to She-Hulk, Wasp, and Zatanna, not to mention what Koto has in store for the Street Fighter and Tekken sub-lines. Life is indeed good!