Author Archives: Troy Brownfield

Super-Articulate: Year-End Round-Up

Hell of a year for toys, right? We’ve seen some crazy stuff. Marvel Legends and Star Wars Black continue to boom. The end of DC Multiverse has come for Mattel; McFarlane gets the DC license for next year to add to their prodigious portfolio (including Harry Potter), while Imaginext and DC Super Hero Girls continue at Mattel. International companies and Funko are more popular than ever, and companies like NECA and Mezco continue to drive out high-end licensed goods. And that’s just the surface, really.

I want to take some time today to address what I see as the Best and Bummers about collecting this year. Ready to go?

Hasbro Logo

BEST: HASBRO PULSE

Hasbro’s site upgrade does a tremendous service to fans. It has pre-orders, exclusives, and the chance to sign on for Haslab projects. There’s free shipping for members, and the prices generally equal in-store pricing, if not lower. The design is also clean and easy to use. And I’ve never experienced lag, even when the Baby Yoda stuff went up yesterday. It’s very well-done.

BEST: ARMY BUILDER IN ONE

It’s not a totally new idea, as Marvel Legends has packed in alternate heads that “make” a new figure in the past (notably, Madcap with Deadpool or Hammerhead with Chameleon). But they leveled up with Dani Moonstar (more in a minute) by including two extra heads and two sets of hands to allow one body to become three characters (Dani, Karma, and Wolfsbane). This idea is extending with the Stepford Cuckoos, and it’s really clever in execution. If it were possible to have them be a little easier to find, I can think of a few other Marvel instances where this could be appropriate, from male New Mutants to alien Nova Corps members to a wider span of masked/unmasked options.

BUMMER: VHTF

In the past, the Marvel Legends Walgreens exclusives have been generally easy to obtain. That changed with Emma Frost. From phantom and disappearing orders on the website to a general lack of the figures ever showing up in some stores, it was a real pain in the ass to find Emma. It got even worse with Dani Moonstar. Here’s hoping that Walgreens manages the process better in the new year with the Stepford Cuckoos. Giving them a separate item number in the database would be a great start.

BEST: DC MULTIVERSE GOES OUT BIG

Even though it was the last year for the line, Mattel managed to knock out some of the best figures of their entire run this year. The Rebirth Titans (Beast Boy, Nightwing, Wally West, Starfire) were all very good, as were the surprising KGBeast and the wonderfully multi-headed Alfred. I’m very interested to see what McFarlane does, because they have some big shoes to fill for DC in the mass market.

BUMMER: DEAD DC

It appears that previously previewed DC Multiverse figures like the Mammoth collect-and-connect and Green Lantern Simon Baz will never come out. And that’s too bad.

BEST: FUNKO CHARACTER SELECTION

Good on Funko for staying on top of making virtual anything. Marvel? DC? Star Wars? PBS Hosts? Horror icons? Musicians? All in incredible varieties? There’s barely a property you can think of that DOESN’T have a line of Funkos to go with it.

How about you, readers? What are your Best and Bummers for 2019? What are you looking forward to the most in 2020? Thanks for reading.

Super-Articulate: Marvel Legends Havok & Polaris 2-Pack

Hey, we’re back! After a bit of an overlong holiday break, I return! Before we get to the main event, I’m going to drop one picture of . . .

Marvel Legends Dani Moonstar: Okay, campers. I’ve found ONE so far. I think the base figure looks great, but I resolve to not do a full review until I find TWO MORE and can build Karma and Wolfsbane. This is my quest! (And if you’re in area that’s abundant, let me know.)

That said . . .

Marvel Legends Havok and Polaris 2-pack: First shown at cons over the summer and announced as a fan-channel exclusive, this two-pack captures Havok and Polaris in their 1991 X-Factor (originally written by Peter David with art by Larry Stroman) looks from the “Mutant Genesis” relaunch. I ordered mine as soon as they went up on Entertainment Earth in July; I got mine a couple of days ago. It’s worth the wait. Interestingly, the package is stylized after the much loved Jim Lee X-Men trading card set, with the cards replicated on the back.

As for the figures?

Hey, these are great. I’ve always liked Havok’s various black costumes, but I also thought that this was a cool take. The jacket is nicely sculpted, almost like it could be a separate removeable piece. The head sculpt is terrific, honestly. There’s also something about the general stance of the figure that’s pretty cool. I had no problem with posing or limb-movement, and it’s well-balanced for standing. The figure comes with a fair of the familiar energy blast accessories; these happen to be yellow.

When it comes to Polaris, the hair really stands out. I know it’s probably almost a running joke at this point, but I’ve been really paying attention to the fine detail in the hair sculpting that Hasbro has gotten into with the Legends. Lorna’s hair was definitely a huge part of her character and depiction in Stroman’s art (and later, when the book was drawn by some guy named Joe Quesada). What’s kind of impressive is that the well-rendered mass of curls doesn’t imbalance the figure in any way. That’s kind of a feat of structural engineering. In fact, the overall look of the figure is really strong. Unlike Havok, Polaris comes with two sets of hands: fists and gesturing. I prefer the gesturing look, and they work with the green energy blasts that also accompany the figure.

I found the costume paint and details to be strong on both. These are good looks. They also arrive at an opportune time; with recent releases of Multiple Man and an updated Quicksilver, and a Strong Guy BAF on the way, we only need a Wolfsbane in the X-Factor costume to complete that particular iteration of the group.

Bottom line: This is a really good two-pack that gives us two solid versions of characters sporting their looks from a time when literally millions of people were reading the X-titles. This release was an easy call for Hasbro to make and they did a really nice job with it. The great thing about X-figures is that you can continue to go up and down the time continuum and make figures from various eras, and you’ll always find a group of fans that vocally supports their release. Now if we could just get Storm in her Giant-Size X-Men #1 outfit . . .

Super-Articulate: To Haslab or Hasnot?

Hasbro logo

Greetings, campers. As you know, Hasbro embarked on a couple of ambitious fundraisers this year with the Jabba’s Sail Barge and Unicron on their Haslab crowdfunding platform. Both succeeded, which is no surprise. However, the Marvel collectors out there have begun to discuss in earnest the idea of what Marvel Legends thing a Haslab project might try to bring to life. Let’s look at some potential suspects.

1. The Blackbird

X-Men Blackbird

Obviously, a Marvel Legends vehicle would be a rather large thing. If you wanted to put together a Blackbird that had seating to accommodate multiple figures, you’re likely talking three feet in length at least, not to mention wingspan, etc. However, this is sort of in line with the Sail Barge. The problem with a vehicle devoted to one specific team is that you have to bank on enough people wanting to back it to make it happen. Of course, the X-Men have that fanbase, so it’s a distinct possibility.

2. A Quinjet

See above. The real question here would be if they attempted an MCU-style vehicle or the classic comic-style Quinjet. The comic style might be a little easier to pull off; it’s not as wide as the film version and has more of a basic, compact shape. The advantage of the Blackbird is that it looks very similar in comics, animation, and film, partially due to being based on the real SR-71. With the Quinjet, it’s had a couple of different looks that are fairly divergent. It would be cool, but a lot of it depends on the style.

3. Master Mold

There have been a few versions of Master Mold, and they come down to “really big ass Sentinel” in some cases. However, the Master Mold is the Sentinel that produces OTHER Sentinels, so the idea of a Master Mold with the open chest cavity that you can pull BAF Sentinel parts from sounds awesome. In the recent House of X/Powers of X run, we saw a new iteration, Mother Mold, which is a giant head as part of another machine/satellite. While that’s wildly cool, it might not be the thing.

4. The Danger Room

I see this as pretty viable. A Danger Room could be part diorama, part series of traps/accessories that you can plug into a mostly featureless room. An exemplary version would include a control room as well. But I really like the idea of a customizable Danger Room bristling with flames, buzzsaws, spikes, and more.

X-Men Danger Room

5. Asgard

I’d see this as a playset combination of the Throne Room, Yggdrasil, and a Bifrost component. It would make a great display area for the rather large number of Asgardians we’ve gotten in the past few years (but still no Warriors Three or Balder. For to shame, Hasbro).

6. Stark Tower (or Hall of Armors)

There have been a lot of calls for some variation of Stark Tower, Avengers Tower, or even Avengers Mansion (I think that the class Buffy Library playset could even be a good inspiration for how to execute the Mansion). That said, I think that an actual Hall of Armors would kill in the fundraising stage. Both the miniatures and the Lego versions were popular. Picture a Hall of Armors/Tony’s workshop with the first-ever Marvel Legends version of Dum-E included. It would also be a cool place to include a couple of offbeat armors that haven’t been made previously as exclusive ML figures, like Mark XXXVIII (aka Igor).

7. Four Freedoms/Reed’s Lab

This one speaks for itself. A room with crazy Kirbyesque machines and a Negative Zone portal. What’s not to love?

8. Krakoa

When I say Krakoa, I’m NOT saying the current island home of the mutants, although I would advocate for the inclusion of a Krakoa Gate. I’m talking about Giant-Sized X-Men #1 Krakoa in all of its huge Lovecraftian glory. Picture setting that up and covering that sumbitch in X-Men. Glorious.

Giant Size X-Men Krakoa

What about you, readers? Do you have your own Haslab ideas? What do you think of Haslab in the first place? Did you back the Sail Barge or Unicron? Sound off, and let’s talk.

Super-Articulate: Marvel Legends Con Reveals and More

Over the past few weeks, the international conventions have been getting their share of Marvel Legends reveals. MCM London Comic Con, Paris Comic-Con, and, in just the past few hours, Lucca Comics and Games 2019 in Italy, have all dropped ML knowledge for eager fans. We’ll do a brief recap and see if we can figure out what this might mean going forward.

London: The BAF for the impending FF was revealed as a long-awaited Super Skrull. As a bonus, the figure has regular arms in addition to two combined power-effects arms (one stretchy/invisible; the other rocky/ablaze). We also got a look the classic Iron Man villain Spymaster, which is awesome; you know I love villains (and particularly obscure villains).

Paris: Another BAF was revealed here, with another long-awaited villain dropping into the previously announced Spider-Man wave. That BAF is Demogoblin, with appropriately burning glider. This has been on a lot of wishlists for a long time, so it’s great to see it finally make it. A second reveal was a new, updated Winter Soldier.

Lucca: While details are pending, two exclusives and a regular figure were shown. The exclusives were a new Crossbones, a new Age of Apocalypse Sunfire, and an Age of Apocalypse Wild Child.

What It Means: I like to look for patterns in releases, and one thing that the patterns are telling me is that Hasbro is more than happy to revisit the ‘80s and ‘90s. The Retro figures are one indication, but the combine X-lines are another. While the renewed emphasis on X-teams has picked up in the last couple of years, you can really see them getting comprehensive, especially with the X-Force characters, New Mutants (even as exclusives, grrrr), and even the Alpha Flight boxed set by extension. This suggests to me that we’ll see more of these teams continue to be filled out, hopefully with characters like Siryn, Rictor, and more.

My one concern there is having certain characters left out of overlooked. I love, love, love the Alpha Flight effort, but I’m concerned about Marinna. Marinna seems like a perfect fan-channel exclusive character, so I hope that she’s not left out. Similarly, the use of Wolfsbane as an alternate head and hands for the Walgreens Dani Moonstar makes me question how she’ll end up for X-Factor, as she’s the last of the ‘90s Mutant Genesis team to be made in that uniform. By extension, I wonder about the more obscure Feral, who, at this writing, is the last of the original seven X-Force members that hasn’t been made. (Don’t come at me on Siryn; she joined in #4). On the upside, the willingness of Hasbro to make characters like Spymaster make me feel like they’ll be willing to go all in on finishing these teams.

Another inclination I have is to think that Winter Soldier and Spymaster will be in the Black Widow assortment. I’ve kind of anticipated that the grouping will have Widow, Yelena, Red Guardian, Taskmaster, and hopefully an Ursa Major BAF. These two characters would make sense in that.

On the Spidey tip, I’m wild about the inclusion of White Rabbit. I love the obscure villains and she’s got a great look. I hope that it continues the trend of Spidey side-characters, as her inclusion is a great doorway for Spidey supporting characters like Frog-Man, Rocket Racer (there’s already a skateboard sculpt), and more. Similarly, Demogoblin and the comic return/upcoming movie focus on Carnage would pave the way for “Maximum Carnage” supporting characters like Shriek and Carrion.

All that said, here’s some things I’d like to see more of in the short and long terms:

‘80s/’90s Avengers: Quasar, Doctor Druid, classic Monica Rambeau in Captain Marvel outfit, Living Lightning, etc. Also, let’s get the Swordman, the last Avenger from the ‘60s to not have a figure.

New Warriors: The door is open. Let’s see Speedball, Namorita, Justice, and FIRESTAR.

GOTG: Two levels here. I think most people want to see the rest of the OG Guardians to join Vance Astro, especially since an original Yondu sculpt happened in the 3.75” line. But there are a lot of missing comics Guardians, too, like Moondragon, Phyla-Vell, Bug, and more.

The Inhumans: We need that Karnak and Lockjaw, Hasbro.

I could go on (and on and on and on), but those seem like viable things to me. What about you, readers?

AND NOW . . . Something Different.

As you might imagine, I frequent a lot of collecting groups. At Marvel Legends Collectors on FB, I ran across an awesome set of diorama photos from Roven Matthew Servando from Iloilo City, Philippines. Roven Matthew’s piece is an incredible diorama from the finale of Avengers: Endgame. You can see it pictured here. I asked Roven a few basic questions about his process.

Super-Articulate: Roven, would you mind telling us briefly what you used to create it?

Roven Matthew Servando: First, I used some cheap styro for the base. Then when I’m done, I cover it with tissues. Then, I mixed water and glue. I used it for the covered tissues and I leave it for 2 days to get dry. And when it’s dry, I used black and white paint. For the details and ruined effects, I just bought some cheap baskets and I cut it into pieces. And some simple materials: Superglue, sands, small rocks. And some of my old car toys, I also cut into pieces. You can find some of the details had ruined wheels. (laughs)

Super-Articulate: That’s excellent. I love the look of this. Did you use anything special for the red and yellow lights?

Roven Matthew Servando: I just covered it with some of my baskets that I cut into pieces. So that it wouldn’t really pop off the lights.

All photos credited to Roven Matthew Servando.

I think we should make a semi-regular feature out of this, gang. If you have great dioramas or displays that you’d like to show in the column, hit me up on Twitter @troybrownfield. Thanks for reading!

Super-Articulate: Marvel Legends Catch-Up – Emma Frost, Agent Anti-Venom, Korg, and More!

How do you do, fellow kids? It’s been pretty busy on the action figure front lately, and there’s a lot of tracking down to do. As of this writing, I haven’t been fortunate enough to happen across one Walgreens Dani Moonstar (let alone three), but I did get ahold of the previously MIA Walgreens Emma Frost. Additionally, my Agent Anti-Venom arrived from Hasbro Pulse, and I got around to picking up two of the two-packs in the wild as they got their deep discount at Walmart. Let’s take a look at all of that.

Emma Frost: No question; this is a top-notch figure. Great design, great sculpt. I know some fans want a classic Hellfire Emma (and I’m one of them), but THIS one is terrific. The figure comes with two heads (one with a more modern cut while the other sports a look more akin to her Hellfire/GenX days) and two sets of hands (gesturing, fists). I vastly prefer the gesturing hands; not only are they nice work in a tiny space, but they’re character appropriate, approximating the way that artists pose Emma in the comics when she uses her powers. The swoop of the cape is well done, and all of the small details in the costume are well-realized. My sole complaint is that she can be a bit difficult to stand with the nature of her heeled boots. Overall, though, this is good work and a continued indication that Hasbro is committed to quality in their exclusives, just like they are in the regular lines.

Agent Anti-Venom: Yes, this is basically Agent Venom with a flipped paint job. But here’s the thing. It looks cool. IT. JUST. LOOKS. COOL. And if we can’t occasionally pick something up just because it looks cool, then why are we toy collectors? I happen to think that the black-on-white layout looks awesome, and it actually makes details pop that were hard to see in the original, darker versions. The accessories are basically the same, with the two pairs of guns and the pseudopod attachment. I really like it, and I’m sticking to that.

Luis/Ghost two-pack: I was frankly delighted when they announced Luis. Michael Peña has been a great value-add to the MCU, and it’s great to see supporting characters get some love. Ghost was also a great choice. The accessories here run from interesting to fun. The extra unmasked head and attachable hood make perfect sense for Ghost. The larger ant (presumably from an Altoids tin) and the shrunken Pym lab are the perfect kind of whimsical touches you’d associate with these sub-franchise. As for the sculpting, the facial likenesses are solid on both; Luis has the grin you’d expect, and the unmasked Ghost head captures some of the exhaustion that Hannah John-Kamen got across in her performance. This is a really nice two-pack. I just had to take a “No te gusta Moz?!?” picture with Luis, as well.

The Grandmaster/Korg two-pack: I’m not quite sure why Hasbro went with two Thor: Ragnarok two-packs instead of just going with another assortment with something like a Surtur BAF, but that was their decision. The other two-pack (Hela/Skurge) is still out there, but I’ve only picked up this one so far due to my long-standing (back to Planet Hulk) love of Korg. The Korg figure here is terrific from top to bottom; it has a great facial expression and loads of texture. His blaster-club is really accurate. It’s just a (wait, don’t say it) rock-solid design. As for the Grandmaster, he is appropriately Goldblum. I’m consistently impressed that Hasbro has gotten better and better with likenesses over time in their cinematic lines. The color palette of the figure is well-considered, and the melter-stick is another fine accessory. It’s another good set. Also, buying the two 2-packs at the same time gave me an opportunity for a “Piss off, Ghost!” photo.

There we go, gang. Some of the latest Legends. What are you getting? How are your exclusive hunts going? Let’s talk about it.

Super-Articulate: DC Multiverse Killer Croc Assortment

THIS . . . is a big one. Quite simply one of the best assortments that Mattel has released since the advent of DC Multiverse, the Killer Croc wave is almost everything that you’d want out of a Batman grouping. Let’s dig in. But first: thank you to Mattel for providing us with these figures free for the purposes of review. First up . . .

Red Robin (Tim Drake): I’m glad Tim got out as Red Robin before the Drake name change. (No sir, I do not like it). DC Multiverse has done a great job getting to Rebirth characters, and I’ve been really pleased with the attention paid to the excellent Detective Comics run. I think that Red Robin looks pretty great. The RR logo is easy to read. The cape is pretty solid. Also, the staff is well done. This figure has a pretty great face sculpt, too; that’s a grim and determined expression right there. I’m kind of surprised that it took until this deep in the line to get to him, but hey, I’m happy he’s here.

Red Hood (Jason Todd): This is the figure that I struggle with the most in the assortment. I’m definitely glad that it exists, but I’m equally bummed that the pistols are sculpted into the gun belt and can’t be removed. That’s a swing and a miss. The rest of the figure itself is pretty good. I like the jacket existing as a separate piece over the torso. The Red Hood helmet sculpt is okay, but the masked Jason head is great. This particular figure has some of the best paint work in the assortment; I especially like the shininess of the helmet itself. Red Hood also comes with a few extra hands, including hands sculpted to hold guns (which is a little ironic).

Katana: I was pleasantly surprised when Katana was announced as part of this group, and I think Mattel did a fine job. The splashes of red and white on a costume that’s predominantly black make for a striking figure; I got a really good paint op on mine, as it has a sleek sheen. Katana does have an extra hand for holding her namesake weapon; that’s another well-done piece. Knowing her history in the Outsiders, I had to take a picture of her with the CW Black Lightning from two weeks back. Seeing them together makes me wish Mattel had gotten time to do Geo-Force and Halo, too. Nice work, good figure.

Batman (Dick Grayson): There’s a lot to like about this figure. First off, I loved the Morrison/Quitely/etc Batman and Robin title. Secondly, he’s sculpted differently than Bruce. You can tell that THIS Batman is different from the OTHER Batman, and that’s excellent. Another difference that’s pretty clever is the use of the cloth cape; it’s another signifier, given the predominance in plastic molded capes for Bruce. Going in that direction with the cape also echoes the way that Quitely drew him, particularly on the cover of issue #1 of that run. The figure comes with an unmasked head and a”hanging cowl” accessory that lets you mimic Dick’s appearance when he has the cowl pulled off. I like this one. It wouldn’t have been one that I would have thought of immediately, and that’s cool; it makes for a nice surprise and it’s a solid figure.

KGBeast: Holy crap; this guy’s HUGE. Originally appearing in the class “Ten Nights of the Beast” story and popping up on occasion across media (Justice League Unlimited; there by his real name in Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice), KGBeast has always been a favorite weird villain of mine. I feel like they got the flavor of the guy, particularly with his crazy weapon attachment. That’s just ridiculously big, and also awesome. A pair of daggers go into booth sheaths, which is a great touch. It’s just a massive and intimidating figure, and I really dig it.

Alfred: This Alfred figure is just tremendous. The basic look is terrific. It looks just like Alfred from the comics. The choice of serving tray and glass accessories is hilarious and super-appropriate; way to be on-the-nose, Mattel. This is all well and good. But the thing that pushes Alfred into the stratosphere is the fact that he’s got not one, not two, not three, but four frickin’ heads. Love the ’60s TV show? There’s the Napier head. Love the Keaton movies? Allow us to show you the Gough head. You a comic person? Comic head! And the fourth . . . the Outsider! If you don’t know who the Outsider is (short form: bad Alfred), then trust us; it’s a little complicated to get in right now. But that choice is just awesome. I love this Alfred; obviously, there have been a few over time in various lines, but I think this is the best.

Collect + Connect Killer Croc: Did I say KGBeast was big? Good Lord. Killer Croc is enormous. But even better, he’s still extremely poseable. Frequently in figures of this type, you trade that poseability for the size. Not here. Aside from the hinged jaw, you have good mobility at the joints. And the detail! The size makes it a little easier to achieve this, but this figure is a veritable explosion of scales and ridges. The texture and general weight of this figure is off the charts. Outstanding work.

As you can tell, I think that Mattel pretty much pulled out the stops this time. There are some fine figures here and I appreciate the selection. I got out the DCUC Signature Damien to pose Al and the boys for a couple of shots to mark the occasion. What about you, readers? You like this set? Tell us about it in the comments. Thanks for reading!

Super-Articulate: DC Multiverse Batman Ninja Assortment Part 2

Welcome back! Last time, we took a deep dive into catching up on the DC Multiverse Batman Ninja assortment.  This Titans-heavy group was released a few months ago, but are readily available at online outlets and can be found in the wild at various stores. This time, we’re focusing on the last regular figure in the group, the Collect and Connect figure, and two figures from last year that you might still see swimming around. Before we begin, we’d like to thank Mattel for providing these figures free for the purposes of review.

Beast Boy: The last regular individual figure is fantastic. Beast Boy is based on the Rebirth redesign, but also has a few cool anime touches. The face and hair definitely echo what you’d expect from a Titans manga. This is a very good sculpt overall, but the real stars are the hands and feet. If you look closely, there’s a lot of fine detail on the fingers, toes, and the nails on both. That took time, and it’s the kind of detail that a casual observer might miss.

The figure is pretty striking, and I found it to be the most poseable of the group as well. That makes sense due to the nature of the character, but it’s evident when you work the joints and set a position. It’s well done. The only issue that I have with the figure is that it probably should have come with some small green animal for Garfield to transform into; however, I also understand that there’s a lack of room here, as Beast Boy comes with more than one piece of the Collect and Connect figure. Overall, though, this is one of the better, if not the best, figure this time around.

Batman Ninja: Based on Batman’s appearance in the 2018 animated film Batman Ninja, the Collect and Connect figure is dripping with detail. Afro Samurai creator Takashi Okazaki did the design work for the film, and the figure really manages to capture the look in an exacting fashion.  It’s a beautiful looking piece once it’s all together.

A word about the construction: I found this to be a really interesting C+C in a couple of regards. The first one is that the head doesn’t connect directly to the shoulders. The cape goes on a post on the torso first, and then the head attaches to a post on the cape. That’s definitely different, but it’s innovative, and it gives the cape a full and solid look that might have been obstructed by other approaches. I also like that the figure lends itself really well to the katana-drawing pose. This is certainly a figure that you look at because there are little design elements here and there that you miss the first time.

Our two bonus guests . . .

From the Aquaman film and the Trench Warrior C+C assortment . . .

Aquaman: Aquaman is a decent movie figure. The head captures the likeness of Jason Momoa fairly well. The body sculpt is good, with the attention to individual scales being particularly praiseworthy. The trident accessory is appropriately long and a little thicker than I expected; that’s a good thing, as other tridents from other Aquaman figures from across lines come in various degrees of fragility. I think this one is better.

Black Manta: Every pun intended, but Black Manta blows Aquaman out of the water. This is an outstanding, absolutely crazy-looking figure. The head seems a little oversized, and yet, that makes it a little more awesome.  Interesting details abound here, as well as smart choices like that wrist blade. The paint quality is particularly good; those red eyes pop like crazy. There’s something about the design here that just feels so . . . modern. It’s really a top-notch version of a character that’s had more than few figures over the years.

Thanks for reading! Next time, we’re catching all the wall to the DC Multiverse Killer Croc C+C wave, which is in stores RIGHT NOW. See you then.

Super-Articulate: Catching Up on DC Multiverse (Batman Ninja Asst. Part 1)

Greetings again, friends! We have a veritable title wave of DC Multiverse to catch up on in our next couple of installments, as well as a look at the Imaginext Remote-Controlled Batmobile. We’re getting started today with five figures from the DC MultiverseBatman: Ninja Collect + Connect figure assortment. But first, we thank the fine folks at Mattel for providing us with these figures for free for the purposes of review. That said . . . Titans Together!

Nightwing: Four of the six regular figures in this group are Titans affiliated characters, and we’re starting off the ur-Titan, the original Boy Wonder himself, Dick Grayson, aka Nightwing. Nightwing has a pretty prestigious figure history at Mattel, having appeared in number of comic and animation-based lines. He lines up in verticals that include the mainstream DCU and animated product, as well as Imaginext. This particular version is a really nicely done piece; it’s look is taken from the recent Rebirth era in the comics.

One of the cool things about this particular figure is the hair. There was a singular look that Nightwing had in regard to his hair in the recent Titans series, via artist Brett Booth and others. Well, the sculpting and design team nailed it. On top of that, the general overall look of the figure is impressive. This is a rock-solid Nightwing. The figure comes with two sets of hands (fists and “holding”) and two escrima sticks. (I’ll talk about the individual Collect and Connect pieces in part two when I assemble Batman: Ninja).

Starfire: This is a really good representation of Kori. Focusing on the hair for a minute again, I really like the translucent effect that they used on the plastic; it allows light to pass through while also giving it a fiery and otherworldly vibe. It’s a nice resting effect for the character that gives the hair a unique look. The costume reflects that one that Kori’s been wearing in the Rebirth-era DCU, and that’s great. I have zero problem with her classic Perez look, which I love, but it’s been made a few times. This is a whole new take, and I dig it.

In terms of comic accuracy, Mattel went with the heeled boots here. Frankly, that doesn’t always work out, as figures with heels tend to fall easily. However, I had no problem standing or posing Starfire with the heels; even with the large hair, the figure is incredibly well-balanced. That’s a big win for displaying collectors. I also think that the face sculpt is fine work, with the individual tendrils of hair in front being a nice touch. This figure comes with two green energy signature/blast accessories. I found them to fit really nicely and up the display presentation of the figure.

Rebirth Wally West Flash: OG Wally West is one of my two favorite DC characters. I was a massive fan of Mark Waid’s run, and I was sad that he vanished from the DCU. I like the newer Wally, but I was also glad when our guy here made his return. For me, this was the figure that I anticipated the most from this assortment. I’m not disappointed.

Wally here has a number of cool touches. He’s got the silver accents. He’s got the two shades of red. He also has some cool hair. (Is 2019 the greatest year for action figure hair across all companies? It might be.) Including two sets of hands (fists and flat running/sprinting posed hands) makes complete sense. The silver lightning effects attach to the wrists to give the look that occurs when Wally is using his speed in the comics, which definitely shows that Mattel is paying attention to the books when they make the figures. Like Nightwing, Wally’s been represented a bunch of times in several formats, going back to Justice League, even. This is a fine version of the character that we’ve had back for a few years, and I was glad to see Mattel give it some love.

Green Lantern John Stewart: Not a Titan, but a stalwart of the DCU. With his somewhat recent return to the Justice League and his long history in animation and comics, John is definitely a DC A-lister. I’m glad to see him get a good treatment here. Of particular note are the eyes; the eyes might be the most “alive” set of eyes that I’ve seen on any of the DC Multiverse figures. That’s a really refined job there; it took some real craftsmanship to get that set and expression.

The figure overall is a pretty smooth sculpt. John doesn’t require a lot of extra details; just precision in the paint op and general quality, and this figure’s got both. In terms of extras, John comes with some alternate hands. The rest one is a ring-hang with a blooming energy signature. It’s a cool effect and looks good for display. It’s another strong showing from the team.

Black Lightning (CW TV version): Black Lightning (co-created by Tony Isabella and a Trevor Von Eeden) is back! This is a great representation of the TV version of Jefferson Pierce. First of all, that facial likeness, even around the goggles, is terrific. You can tell its him at a glance. It’s really well done.

The best thing about this figure would be all of the little fine details. The circuitry layout, etc. is captured really nicely and just pops under the right light. It makes the figure distinct from other figures. It’s a very cool effect. Also worthy of praise are the extra hands; we get three pairs here, including fists, holding, and electrified. I shot a picture of the lightning hand from the side to capture that “mid-action” look, and I think the piece turned out well. I’m historically less sure of TV or film-based figures, but this turned out to be a really good one.

So where’s Beast Boy? And the completed Batman:Ninja figure? You’re going to have to wait for the next installment for those! We’re going check out Garfield, assemble the Batman, and quite possibly check in with a couple of underwater inhabitants of the DCU. What do you think of these? Did you have luck finding them in your area? What’s your favorite? Talk to us here and on social. Thanks for reading!

Super-Articulate: Marvel Legends X-Force (Wendigo) Assortment

We’re back with another crazy assortment of Marvel Legends! This week, it’s the currently-in-stores X-Force assortment featuring the Wendigo BAF. These figures were provided to us by Hasbro for free for the purposes of review. Let’s get to it . . .

Mister Sinister: Presently being fabulous and, well, sinister in the pages of House of X and Powers of X, Mister Sinister falls squarely into the category of “re-dos that I didn’t know I needed until I saw them.” I always thought that the first one was great, but it did come out (checks notes . . . HOLY CRAP) 14 years ago. This figure is a top-to-bottom upgrade. Let’s start with the face. That grin is positively demonic.  And the cape! The cap is excellent. It’s separated, but feels heavy and sturdy. The fine details of Marc Silvestri’s costume design are present here. Based on this, I’d really like to see more Marauders appear in the various X-lines. Overall, this is a pretty great figure.

Boom-Boom: Though Tabitha Smith first appeared in (of all places) Secret Wars II, she quickly became a regular character in the X-franchise, notably as a member of the New Mutants. When the New Mutants title segued into X-Force in 1991, Boom-Boom was on the team, sporting this Rob Liefeld-designed look. Rob, if you’re reading, they did you proud. This is a terrific figure, and the sculptors really captured the look of Liefeld’s art, particularly in, of all things, the hair. Take a close look at the figure, and then look closely at the covers to #1 and #7; that is total Rob, kids. As with Jubilee, I love the alternate regular head/bubble-gum head dynamic. Also, the team went a step further on the extra accessories. Instead of just regular hand/other hand, we get a clearly individually sculpted “blasting hand” that has the energy bomb coming off of the hand. There’s also another explosive effect included. The separate belt and vest also indicate attention to detail and a dedication to getting the look right. Given her long history, Boom-Boom has been criminally underrepresented in figure form. This is an outstanding correction right here.

Cannonball: Some people like the blasting effect, and some don’t. I do. Do I wish there had been legs? Well, of course. But I also understand that idea behind the concept, and I support the desire for the Hasbro team to just do different stuff. Frankly, I’d like to see some kind of power-effects accessory kit, because the effects that they’ve been making and including (Boom-Boom’s aforementioned bomb-hand, the optic blast for Retro Cyclops, etc.) have been great. That said, this is a genuinely cool-looking piece, and the top half captures the flavor of that Liefeld Cannonball costume quite well.

Wolverine: Hat trick of shortness! Lately, I’ve been praising Hasbro’s inclination to keep Wolverine short again. In both the Wolverine/Hulk two-pack and the Retro Wolvie of late, they’ve kept the figure appropriately undertall. They’ve done it again, and it’s great. This particular iteration of Wolverine (with the black and gray X-Force gear) wasn’t a must-have for me, but I’m glad that it exists. The team did a great job on the claws (which I feel are receiving much more attention in the sculpting process these days). It’s a very good era-specific figure, and it’s a good make-up figure for people that weren’t able to get the early boxed set exclusive version. Definitely looks good.

Nightcrawler: The original Marvel Legends Nightcrawler was released when my oldest son was less than one month old. He’s in high school now. So yeah, this guy’s due. One of the most requested figures for a revamp, the new Nightcrawler more than does the job. With an extra hand, two extra heads for different expressions, a poseable tail, and a big sword, this Nightcrawler covers a lot of ground and covers it well. This is one of those characters where the overall poseability of the Marvel Legends style really pays off. Kurt is frequently depicted as slightly hunched or perching or being acrobatic; this figure allows you to accomplish ALL of those. If you want a swashbuckling Nightcrawler, throw on the happy face and the sword. If you want an angry Nightcrawler, swap heads for that too. It’s a generally well-considered figure that tries hard (and succeeds) to hit all of the points you’d want in a strong version of this character. A hearty well-done to the team.

Guardian: Just in time for the forthcoming Alpha Flight boxed set, Weapon Alpha here is a sold figure. He’s well-sculpted and has a great grumpy look. I regret the lack of energy attachments, but it makes sense due to the fact that he comes packed with two Wendigo parts, including the body. This is a very clean, very nice-looking super-hero figure, and it should make fans of Marvels most famous Canadian team pretty happy.

Wendigo: This thing is awesomely HUGE. I mean HUGE. Remember when I went on about how big the Wolverine/Hulk Hulk was and how cool that made it? This, but Wendigo. He’s freaking BIG. Which is great. Wendigo should be big. The overall body and design are great. I would have personally liked the head to be a little more like the Byrne version instead of the more modern take, but that’s a minor, minor quibble. This BAF is a monster. I took pictures for you with the very appropriate Wolverine and Hulk from the two-pack so you could revel in its hugeness and see it alongside First Appearance Wolvie, too. This is well-worth getting; I like it quite a bit.

Okay, readers. That’s it for today. Let’s talk about it. What do you think? Which one is your favorite? Mine, I’m happy to say, is Boom-Boom, probably followed by the Wendigo. There’s damn good stuff here. Talk to us, and come back next time. Thanks for reading!

Super-Articulate: Marvel Legends Retro X-Men

Greetings and welcome back! Today we’re looking at the Marvel Legends Retro X-Men assortment, which is in-stores now. I’ve also seen this referred to as the Vintage X-Men wave, but HasbroPulse lists the figures as Retro, so we’re going with that. We’d like to thank Hasbro for providing these figures free for the purposes of review. Let’s get started.

Dazzler: When the announcements came down, this was the figure in the group that made me the most excited. You’ve probably seen people refer to this one as “Outback Dazzler.” If you didn’t know, that’s in reference to the ‘80s storyline just after “Fall of the Mutants.” The world believes that the X-Men died fighting the Adversary, but they’re really operating out of the former Reaver base in the Australian Outback. This ran from Uncanny X-Men #229 to, more or less, issue #253 (most of the X-Men finish going through the Siege Perilous in #251, the same issue where Wolverine is crucified by the Reavers; Jubilee rescues him, and we start seeing where the X-Men are popping up around the world in #253. Got that? It’s good stuff, and it also includes costumes for Rogue (black and green) and Psylocke (the armor) that would made cool figures, too). Dazzler also sported this costume in the X-Men: Pryde of the X-Men animated pilot and the awesome stand-up arcade game by Konami.

AND . . . I am NOT disappointed. This is a great figure. It’s one of those cases where it feels like the character was peeled right off the page. Marc Silvestri drew the bulk of that run, and they did him proud here. The only possible improvement, in my opinion, would have been the inclusion of an extra “finger-gun” hand. But man, did they get the little details right. The red band on the leg, the star on the other leg, the separate belt, the jacket, the headband, the fit of the gloves . . . those bits are all outstanding. I’ve also been increasingly happy with the hair work that the ML team is doing; their rendition of Dazzler’s do is no exception. This is superior work, and I can’t believe that we’ve gotten both classic renditions of Dazzler in such a short time.

Storm: Honesty time. I was bummed that this wasn’t First Appearance/Dave Cockrum-costume Storm. The line needs that figure. However, I understand this iteration of Storm was in big demand, and they did a bang-up job on her. The hair and face sculpts are the stand-outs, here. The cape is good; it can be a little difficult to pose the figure with the cape, considering the shoulder pieces, but those pieces are a necessary (and nice-looking) inclusion. The lightning effects are an obvious, but welcome, inclusion. This figure is a fine piece of work, but I was not its target audience.

Wolverine: Marvel Legends: Keeping Wolverine short! Yes! I love the continued emphasis on Wolverine’s diminutive stature. This is also a figure that’s been long-awaited by big portions of the fandom. It reflects that costume that Wolverine wore in his first ongoing solo series, right from the cover of the first issue. The angry/berserker face is inspired by that cover as well. It’s a nice-sculpt and definitely poseable, and it comes with extra non-clawed fists and a samurai sword. It’s also appropriate that we get this version in an assortment with . . .

Silver Samurai: I honestly can’t believe it’s taken this long to get to Silver Samurai in the Legends vertical, but I’ll take it. This guy’s got insanely detailed armor, a perfect in-character expression, and solid work on all the details from the helmet on down. I like that he’s big, but not excessive; he’s not Cull Obsidian-sized, after all. Silver Samurai first appeared in 1974, and for a few years he battled the likes of Spider-Man, Daredevil, Black Widow, and Shang-Chi. He and Viper ran up against the New Mutants in issue #5 and 6 or their original series before heading into the classic battle with Wolverine and Rogue in Uncanny X-Men #172-174. For that reason, I took some extra pics with Viper (Madame Hydra) and the appropriately-costumed Wolverine. This one looks good, kids. He’s a great addition to your gallery of X-villains.

Iceman: I think this Iceman is (don’t say it, don’t say it) pretty cool. I like the crystallization effects in the paint op, and the separation on the belt is nice. The ice-sled stand is a good piece. I’m not sure how much demand there was for Iceman after the recent previous version, but I suspect that there were a fair number of people that missed that one that now get a chance to own this one, and increased availability or repeat offerings are never a bad thing. I’m marking this one for display with my X-Factor subsection, which is also going to include . . .

Cyclops: In the land of awesome head sculpts, the new Cyke is royalty. Let’s roll back to the history a minute: this costume debuted on the cover of the original X-Factor #1, and it was also the costume used for the very first Cyclops figure from the original Toy Biz line of X-Men figures in the ‘90s. There was a previous ML variant of this outfit, but this new figure is The Stuff. Aside from just generally great sculpting and the classic “two-finger trigger gesture” on the left hand, it’s a strong representation. The best part, for me, would have to be the two heads and the optic blast accessory. The first head has a terrific “energy leak” feature, demonstrating the smolder that artists frequently depict as emanating from Cyke’s visor, post-blast. The second head is made to accommodate the insertion of the optic blast accessory into the visor, and it’s just great. Hasbro has really upped the game on power accessories in the past couple of years (Psylocke’s butterfly, the frequent magic/light/energy attachments, the lightning, etc.), but this is a champ. It literally looks like a Walt Simonson-drawn optic blast. As a big fan of Scott Summers, this figure is DEFINITELY made for me, and it is most welcome.

There you go, mutant-lovers. How do you feel about this wave? What’s your favorite? Tune in next week when we take a look at the X-Force wave that features the Wendigo Build-A-Figure. Thanks for reading!

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