ReAction ThunderCats (Wave Two) by Super7

The good news is, I’m actually here on a Wednesday with some midweek content. The bad news is it’s a quick and dirty look at some packaged figures that I won’t be opening. For the record, I’m really enjoying lots of different licenses from Super7’s ReAction line, and they are to date the only figures I collect with the intent to keep them carded. I love some of these lines so much, I just want to share them even though I’m not playing around with them and delivering a full on review. At the same time, it’s frustrating because I want to tear them open and play with them. But ultimately, I think more than half the charm of these releases lie in the packaging and overall presentation. On the other hand, if Super7 wants to get me to buy doubles and open them, all they need to do is release a Cat’s Lair and some vehicles, and I’d have no choice! And then I’m reminded that I’m still making the toy equivalent of car payments on that Ultimate Thunder Tank.

Anywho, as you can tell by the title, this is the second wave of ThunderCats ReAction figures and I’m starting off with a shot of the back of the card’s “Collect Them All!” panel to show what figures were included in the previous wave. Or you can just check out my review for the complete rundown. For the uninitiated, ReAction figures are basically old school 5-Points of Articulation figures patterned after the old Kenner stuff. It’s basically a big What If? or What Could Have Been? Funko had the ReAction license for a while, and while some of them were decent, like the Universal Monsters, most were just crap. Super7 has been making out a lot better, and I own far more of these than I have shown off here. I really have to fix that!

The first assortment gave us Lion-O, Panthro, and Cheetara, and this one delivers on the final adult ThunderCat, Tygra. The character art for each of the previous ThunderCats has been nothing short of fantastic, and Tygra’s card isn’t going to upset that winning streak. I particularly love the way his bolo whip disappears behind the bubble, leaves the card, and reemerges. As with the previous wave, the figures are nested in trays inside the bubbles so they don’t rattle around in there. The body sculpt here is a bit soft, but that fits in with the animated look. The portrait, on the other hand is excellent. They really captured Tygra’s look perfectly, and all the paint is nice and clean. Tygra’s bolo whip is actually made of string and has a plastic handle and plastic balls on the end. Will Wilykit and Wilykat be a two-pack in the next wave? My guess is that they’ll be single-packed with their hoverboards. But what about faithful old Snarf? Will he get a card of his own? Only time will tell!

We got two Evil Mutants in the first wave, Slithe and Jackalman. This time, Monkian joins the team of baddies! I’m fine with that, but poor Vultureman seems to never get any love these days. Hopefully we’ll see him in Wave Three! Monkian is a solid figure, but his head sculpt isn’t quite all that I hoped it would be. I don’t think it’s bad for this style of figure, but I think Jackalman made out a lot better. I will say the detail in the mouth is pretty well done for the scale. The card art, on the other hand, is much better than we got for Jackalman. Monkian comes with his spiked flail, and the ball is actually connected to the handle with a chain, which is totally rad!

The first wave gave us powered up Mumm-Ra, so here we get withered old Mummy Mumm-Ra. This figure was probably a lot more difficult to do, because of the robes. Naturally, they took the old school Kenner route by sculpting the robes as part of each leg and it works well here. The bandages are a little too neatly sculpted, but I think they probably did the best they could given the scale and simple style of the figure. I do like the head sculpt and the way the hood hangs over the face a bit. Mumm-Ra comes with his staff and it looks pretty good. I started with these three figures, because I think they were all a given for this wave. The rest are surprises of varying degrees.

First up is Jaga, and I think this was the least surprising. Jaga is a pretty big deal in the cartoon and he appears in a lot of episodes, especially for someone who’s killed in the premier! I like this figure a lot. Once again the body is fairly simple but fits the animated look. The little studs on his wrist cuffs are a nice touch, as are the sculpted tops of his boots. The head sculpt is a great match for his cartoon counterpart as well. The cape is vinyl, but I thought it interesting that they didn’t go the Kenner route and attach it with shoulder loops. Instead it hangs around his neck. I’m not sure how the shape will hold up once he’s out of the package, and I may never know! Jaga comes with a pretty generic looking sword. I think it’s safe to say we’ll be seeing a translucent spirit version of Jaga in the near future. In fact, I’d bet a cartload of Thundrillium on it!

The penultimate figure here is Grune and he gets the dubious prize of being my least favorite figure in this assortment. I was just never a big fan of this character in the original series. I liked him a little better in the 2011 reboot, but still not a whole lot. I think this figure looks OK. The shoulder armor is well done, and I really dig his mace, but that’s about it. His portrait isn’t bad and certainly shows off some pretty good detail for the style and scale. I’m not a fan of the card art on this one, either. He looks goofy and deranged. Not a total dud, but definitely bottom of my list so far.

And that brings us to the biggest surprise of the assortment, both literally and figuratively. I would never have guessed we’d see Snowman of Hook Mountain so early in this line, and yet here he is. And he’s quite spectacular! He’s a chunky guy, and in that sense, he kind of mirrors Slithe from the first wave as being bigger proportioned than the rest. I think they absolutely nailed this figure. He looks great, the colors are perfect, and I really love the card art. He comes with a spear and even his helmet, which is suspended off to the side of the bubble. My only gripe here is that they missed an opportunity to release him with Snowmeow, similar to the He-Man/Skeletor with BattleCat/Panthor that they gave us in the Masters of the Universe ReAction line. Yeah, that might have been more than they wanted to invest in the character, but it would have been cool.

And there you have it. Another six figures, and I’m quite pleased with what we got. These are going in clamshell protectors and eventually they will be hung on my wall along with the first wave. It’s killing me not to open them, but every time I’ve opened ReAction figures in the past, I’ve regretted it. And unfortunately, the pricing on these, about $18 a pop, makes me unlikely to run out and pick up doubles. Unless of course those vehicles and playsets get announced. Then all bets are off. Will there be a third wave? God, I hope so! We definitely need Vultureman and the Thunder Kittens. We need Snarf in some form. And they need to start digging into the Berserkers. Let’s get Willa and some Warrior Maidens! Lets get Lynxana and Mandora! Oh, I could go on and on!

ReAction ThunderCats (Wave One) by Super7

Why do I love collecting ThunderCats so much? It probably has to do with it being one of the few 80’s toy properties where I watched the cartoon religiously but never had any of the toys. I guess maybe I’m making up for lost time? And here comes Super7 to help me stoke that plastic furnace of thunder kitty love! I should just start a new recurring feature called Mint on Card by Super7, because I have been picking up a lot of their ReAction figures lately, and these remain the only figures I buy with the intent of leaving them carded. I realize that Mint on Card reviews aren’t terribly exciting. And believe me, if they weren’t so expensive, I’d be grabbing doubles of these figures to open, but at $18-20 a pop, that’s not going to happen unless they go on clearance somewhere. Anywho, Super7 has been hard at work keeping the ThunderCats Classics line they acquired from Mattel going, but they’ve also given us this little snack to tide us over in the form of ReAction ThunderCats!

For the uninitiated, the ReAction line takes various properties and converts them into retro-style figures similar to Kenner’s Star Wars line. This practice had varying degrees of success in the hands of Funko, but now that Super7 has taken over, the results have been a lot more even. The first wave of ThunderCats consists of six figures and it’s a satisfying mix of both Cats and Mutants. The assortment includes Panthro, Jackalman, Slithe, Cheetara, Mumm-Ra in his powered up form, and Lion-O. It’s a solid assortment, unless you happen to be a Tygra fanboy, and then you’re shit out of luck until the next wave. As always, these figures feature five points of articulation each and come carded on beautiful retro-style packaging, which is decidedly not collector friendly. The back of the cards all feature the same Collect Them All photo of all the figures in the wave. Let’s start out with a look at the Cats!

You can’t have a first wave of ThunderCats without Lion-O, The Lord of the ThunderCats! Also, I think Cheetara was a fine choice, because she often gets pushed to later releases so it’s nice to see her out front and center. And Panthro is the third to round out this trio. So, assuming we’re going to get single carded releases of the Thunder Kittens, this wave splits the team of heroic kitties right down the middle, leaving WilyKit, WilyKat, and Tygra for the second assortment. What about Snarf? Honestly, I would have expected him to be included with Lion-O as an accessory, but it’s probably not out of the question to get him as a single carded release. We’ve seen ReAction figures as small as Gizmo from Gremlins released in the past. But before getting into the figures, let me take a moment to gush all over these cardbacks, because they are indeed gorgeous.

I think Funko’s biggest misstep with ReAction was saving money by using a single generic card for each series. It was a missed opportunity to exploit the potential of the whole retro-carded formula. Super7 recognized the value in collecting these figures as showpieces, making the card itself almost as important as the figure. As a result, the art for each of the characters is unique, dynamic, and exciting with the characters spilling out over the borders of the cards as if they’re coming right at you. Almost like these ThunderCats are loose! Lion-O strikes his iconic pose, Panthro looks like he’s ready to put the beat down on some dirty Mutants, and Cheetara is just looking sexy as all hell. Meow! All of the cards feature the beautiful ThunderCats logo emblazoned across the top and the Kenner-style ReAction logo in the bottom right hand corner. My only complaint here is that Super7 really should have credited the artist on the back of the card. It just feels like that’s a major part of what makes these so collectible.

The figures are fitted into trays inside the bubbles ensuring they’re accessories stay put and the Cats are always in the optimal position for display, which is a huge win over Super7’s Teenage Muntant Ninja Turtles ReAction (I’ll have a look at those here soon!) where they just are just rattling around in their bubbles. Sure, the later is more accurate for the vintage vibe they’re going for, but I’m willing to embrace the anachronism for a better display item. The sculpting on these figures is sharp and the paint is bright and clean. Of the three, I think Lion-O and Cheetara are the best at representing their characters. That’s not to say Panthro is bad, but I think he lost a little too much of his buff physique when being adapted to this format. These look like they’re the result of a lot more love and care than Funko ever injected into their ReAction figures, and the quality seems to be leaps and bounds better too. The accessories are pretty much what I would expect, with the ‘Cats possessing their iconic weapons. Panthro has his nun-chucks, connected with a piece of black string. Lion-O comes with both versions of the Sword of Omens, one retracted and one extended, as well as his Claw Shield. The swords are cast in gray plastic with the Eye of Thundara painted on the hilts. Cheetara’s staff is obviously the least interesting of the arsenal. Let’s move on to Mumm-Ra and the Evil Mutants!

As with the Cats, I think Super7 made some good character choices here as well. Mumm-Ra was a no brainer, but I would have been happier with either this or his decrepit mummy form. Slithe is the Leader of the Evil Mutants, so he was a natural choice. As for Jackalman? Well, honestly they could have gone with him or Monkian and I would have been fine. Poor Vultureman never seems to get any love. Ah well, maybe in the next Wave.

The card art for the baddies is (mostly) every bit as good as what we got for the Cats. I’m not ashamed to admit that Mumm-Ra scared the ever-living shit out of me when I was a kid, and this character art captures that freakish terror perfectly. From his beady red eyes, to his grasping claw and his shredded bandages, I can practically hear his demented blathering. Slithe has that bloated and confused look that he often shows, although they didn’t quite get his one popped eye right for the card. Finally, Jackalman looks good, but his jaw looks like it’s kind of sloffing off. But seriously, I’m nitpicking. This art is just fantastic.

As for the figures, they’re pretty great too. I was particularly interested to see how they would do Mumm-Ra’s cape and bandages, and they went with sculpted bandages and a vinyl cape, and I wholeheartedly approve. Slithe is particularly cool because they gave him his short and squat body type and his tail can be seen tucked between his legs too. As for Jackalman, well his little noggin is a work of art. As with the Cats, the coloring on these figures is superb. They’re bright and beautiful with some sharp lines and careful applications. As for accessories, Mumm-Ra comes with his sword and a dagger, Slithe comes with his axe, which is mostly hidden behind his back, and Jackalman comes with his spiked club.

By now the ThunderCats have been released in just about every scale and style I can imagine. From the more animated faithful figures made by Ban Dai and Mattel to the vintage Masters of the Universe style of Funko’s Savage World, and now we have the old Kenner style. I like these a lot, and I think the characters translated pretty well, but I can imagine that they aren’t going to be everyone’s cup of tea. The biggest advantage to these little fellows would be allowing vehicles to be smaller and less costly, but I’m not sure if that’s part of Super7’s plans. Still, a 3 3/4-inch scale ReAaction Thundertank would be damn cool, not to mention a little playset based around Mumm-Ra’s tomb. Anything like that would certainly get me to spring for a second set of these to open and play with. In the meantime, I’ll just be anxiously awaiting a second wave. How about Tygra, WilyKIt, WilyKat, Shriveled Mumm-Ra, Monkian, and Vulture Man. Yeah, that would do nicely!

ReAction Transformers (Wave One) by Super7

I’ve been sick as a dog for the last two days and I didn’t think I was going to be able to get any midweek content in, but thanks to just the right cocktail of Nyquil, cough drops, and Jameson, I’ve managed to prop myself up at my computer and tap something out that’s quick and painless. A little thing called Toy Fair happened over the weekend and boy there were a lot of surprises and tons of cool stuff shown. One of those things was Super7’s new Wave of ReAction Transformers. These are kind of like the old Action Masters, in that they don’t transform, with a smidgen of Heroes of Cybertron. They’re roughly 3 3/4-inch scale, they’re based on the Sunbow cartoon designs, and like most ReAction figures they feature a nostalgic five points of articulation. The moment I saw these on the cards, I knew I was going all in. Unfortunately, I only have one set and I’m not opening them, so we’ll just have to settle for checking them out in package. And that’s fine, because I think these shine the most when carded. The initial assortment consists of Megatron, Starscream, and Soundwave from the Decpticons, and Optimus Prime, Jazz, and Bumblebee from the Autobots. Let’s start with the Autobots!

Oh yeah! These cards are absolutely gorgeous! We get all new character art, unique for each card, showing the character against a Cybertronian backdrop. The bubble is orientated to the left and the borders feature the familiar grid pattern that transitions from black to red, just like it did on the original figure packages. The top of the card has the iconic original Transformers logo in red for the Autobots and purple for the Decepticons, and you get the Kenner-style ReAction logo on the bottom right hand side. Even the character’s name above the figure is printed in the yellow and black box similar to how they originally called out the character’s name and function. The figures are secured in a tray so they don’t rattle around in the bubble like some ReAction figures do, and if they have a weapon it’s placed to the figure’s right.

On the flipside, you get a classic “Collect Them All” style spread showing all the figures in the wave. I’ll note that this card-back is taken from Soundwave and not Optimus Prime, as it has the Transformers logo in purple and says “Evil Decepticons.” I really dig that they even did some customization on the back, but I’m only going to show the reverse side for one. And yeah, I would have loved a reprint of the old tech spec card on the bottom instead of the multi-lingual warnings, but I guess you have to pay the lawyers, right?

Prime looks pretty good, although this is the one figure in this wave where the proportions are a little off. He seems a tad big-headed and his upper body makes his legs look a little scrawny. It’s not too bad, but worth pointing out, especially since the rest don’t really have this problem. The simple sculpt reflects the animated style of the cartoon, but there are still some great touches of detail like the markings on his forearms and the vents in his lower legs. The head sculpt looks great too. The coloring is just about perfect, with bright red and blue plastic and a flat gray for what would have been silver on the toy. There’s even some yellow paint hits on the pelvis and the chest windshield is painted blue. Finally, you get an Autobot symbol stamped on his left shoulder. I think this one is the weakest of the bunch for me, which is ironic because it’s freaking Optimus Prime. I still dig him, but I think he needed some tweaks. Prime comes with his iconic buster-rifle, which he can hold in his right hand.

Jazz is up next and I think he turned out great. I especially love his character art, where he’s offering a reassuring smirk, giving me the thumbs up, and just oozing personality and character. I can practically hear Scatman Crothers voice when I look at it. The figure is also excellent, although I would have liked a wider stance for just about all of these figures. The head sculpt on the figure is superb. Here you get a white and black deco with a couple of shades of gray and some blue and red hits, and of course a beautiful Autobot insignia on the chest-hood. Jazz comes with his gun, which looks to be accurate to the original toy’s weapon, and it looks like he can hold it either hand.

The last of the Autobots is Bumblebee, and this is probably my favorite of the three. I was surprised too! But for some reason as a kid I was obsessed with having a figure that actually looked like Bumblebee in the cartoon and this is about as close as I’ll likely ever come. His character art is pretty solid, but it’s the figure really shines for me. It reflects all those impossible changes in the cartoon where his car kibble is softened over to the point where you can barely make out the hood details in his feet, his upper arms are black instead of yellow with those segmented round tubes for elbows, and his chest is flattened and boxed out instead of curved. I absolutely love it! The head is probably too big, but I’m OK with that and I like how they emphasized his devil horns. The coloring here is mostly black and yellow but with some blue added for the windows and the red Autobot insignia on his chest. Unfortunately, the paint on this one is the weakest of the bunch. The paint lines on the black are a little rough in some areas, but it’s not terribly apparent when the figure is in hand. Bumblebee comes with his little pistol and I’m glad they included that! I should also note here that Bumblebee is scaled to be smaller than the other figures in the wave and that’s pretty cool too! Moving on to the Decepticons!

Megatron’s card art is epic, as he stands with his fusion cannon aimed and ready to fire. The figure is no slouch either. Maybe a little too much upper body bulk compared to his legs, but it’s all good. The head sculpt is just about perfect, and little touches in the figure’s detail include the triggers on the tops of the shoulders, the little triangles on his chest, and the vents on his abdomen. The pale white plastic they used is a great fit for his cartoon color and you get some darker gray on the legs, black for the cannon, pelvis and fists, red in the elbows, and some red,  yellow, and blue paint hits for the panel under his chest. Megatron doesn’t come with an accessory, but that’s because he has his mounted arm cannon. I think this guy turned out all kinds of great.

Up next is Soundwave, and oh boy is he perfect! The card art shows him holding his rather distinctive gun and about to eject one of his Cassette Warriors and it looks so damn great. The figure features a sharp sculpt and you get some cool details from the tape deck buttons on his pelvis to the vents on his lower legs. The coloring here is spot on from the blue and gray body to the yellow and red applications, it’s all right on the money. You even get the razor thin red stripes around his forearms. I like that they used the same blue for his tape door as the Autobots’ windows, it adds a nice uniformity to the line’s color palate. Soundwave comes with his battery gun, and they went all out with the paint on this one, giving it the red accents and painting the beam emitter silver. I’d say this is my favorite of the Decpticons, but there’s some pretty stiff competition here because Starscream is coming up next.

 

And he serves up some tough competition. Starscream’s card art oozes arrogance as he stands with hands on hips and offering a defiant smirk. The figure’s bubble is extra wide to accommodate the wingspan, and I’ll mention here again how much I dig the subtle size differences in some fo these figures. This sculpt is up there with the best of them, and it’s good they did such a fine job because I presume we’ll be seeing it at least two more times. Five more if they want to give us The Rainmakers, and hell yeah I’d buy them too. The head sculpt is possibly the best of the bunch. They captured Starscream perfectly, and I’ll be interested to see if the other Seekers get original portraits or if they just keep using this one. Like Megatron, the pale gray plastic they use here looks great, as does the blue and red coloring. He’s got red and white striping on his wings, as well as Decepticon insignia, and the yellow on the cockpit really makes the figure pop. Starscream comes with Megatron on his gun form.

The idea of Transformers that don’t transform may seem pretty daft to a lot of people, and I get that. But ever since I was a kid I wanted a proper line of figures based on the classic Sunbow designs, and these scratch that itch wonderfully. Indeed, if these were swinging on the pegs when I was a kid I would have gone crazy over them. Granted, I can’t vouch for how much fun they are but every time I glance over at them carded and standing on my shelf, I can’t help but smile. Better articulation would have been optimal, but I think this format gives us the best chance of getting a lot of figures. I will likely buy a couple doubles to open at some point down the road, but right now I’m just so excited about what else is coming for this series. The stuff Super7 showed off at Toy Fair looks great, and I hope this line goes on forever.