5 3/4 Inch scale
It’s Realm of the Underworld Week! What better way to celebrate Earth Day, than with a barbarian that’s from the salt of the Earth?! It’s the mighty HERCULES! Okay Hercules isn’t really a barbarian, but let’s not let the facts get in the way of a good story. The truth is, Hercules is a legendary figure with roots dating back into ancient mythology. He’s also the central hero in Wave 1 of the Realm of the Underworld toy line.
So just what is Hercules story in ROTU? Well, in a nutshell, Hercules is everything you would imagine him to be. Incredibly strong, heroic and always out for adventure. His father Zeus sends him to retrieve the “Sword of Heroes”, which holds great power. Using that sword, Hercules must battle the evil Hades and his minions of the underworld.
Realm of the Underworld is a new “retro” toy line in the same style as the classic Remco lines of yesteryear. A lot of people will immediately compare this toy to vintage Masters of the Universe, but this toy line is much more. It’s an epic love letter to the incredible work that Remco did on their various toy lines in this style and it’s an homage to a time when toys were simpler, but flat out cool.
It’s sort of strange that there would even be a market for figures that were essentially knock-offs when they were created way back when. And yet, there is! The real question of course, is can a toy line made in the modern era with modern prices, be a worthy investment if it’s an emulation of toys from 20+ years ago? Realm of the Underworld week kicks off with a bang as we examine the Mighty Hercules and discover what’s really at the heart of ROTU. Continue reading
Infantry Sperm Whale
3.5 Inch scale
By: Deep Fried Figures
Back in 2009, I had a great interview with Hauke Scheer about his interesting designs and how he was working towards creating action figures. I knew back then that Hauke was onto big things and since that time, he’s developed a ton of fun resin creations that are unlike anything else on the market. Now with MechaWhales, Hauke has a brand new toy available for purchase and it’s definitely an action figure.
Made of PVC, this figure is the first poseable toy from Hauke’s Deep Fried Figures line. The story is that in the future, whales will learn to communicate with humans, eventually leading to whales and mankind teaming up to fight off an alien invasion. Of course, these aren’t your daddy’s whales, they’re whales in biomech armor suits. It’s certainly an “out there” concept, but that’s been one of the staples of Hauke’s creations. Nobody is making toys on the market like this today.
Immediately when I saw this guy, I thought of Battle Beasts. In a lot of ways, this MechaWhale figure is sort of like a giant Battle Beast. Let’s take a look at this “Infantry” whale figure, but first, why not take a peak at the MechaWhales cartoon that Hauke created for this toy line…
Aquaman & Roboshark
2 Inch scale
I love Aquaman. I’m not sure why exactly, but Aquaman has always been a favorite of mine. Maybe it’s a lack of tub toys or something, but Aquaman just always had a certain appeal to me. Mego knew that Aquaman had some tub appeal as well, when they created their popular Aquaman versus The Great White Shark set back in the 70′s. This set from Imaginext has clearly been inspired by that old Mego set as well.
The shark in the old Mego set wasn’t supposed to be a robot, but it certainly looked like one. Given that Aquaman is supposed to have domain over most of the world of sea creatures, it makes sense that a robot shark would be a perfect foil for him. It’s a cheesy fun concept that plays well to Imaginext’s strengths. This set also benefits from having some nice sculpting and some great nostalgic throwbacks in all aspects of the design.
6 Inch Scale
The “Identity Crisis” mini-series in 2004 was brave in taking characters that comic book fans hadn’t cared about in some time and making them relevant again. It positioned Green Arrow as the guy who knows everyone (and everyone’s secrets), and brought a level of darkness to the sheen and quaint simplicity of the Silver Age. But one of the things that can’t be forgotten about the mini was its bravery in depicting a brutal murder…and it didn’t even happen to Batman or his supporting cast.
Ralph Dibny created and consumed a highly concentrated version of the rare Yucatan “gingo” fruit, which granted him the powers of extreme elasticity and malleability. Known as Elongated Man, and a model member of the Justice League of America, he was unprecedentedly open open to the public about both his secret identity and loving marriage. Tragically, his wife Sue was murdered by Jean Loring, ex-wife of the Atom, Ray Palmer. News of the murder rippled throughout the community of masked heroes, shaking the Justice League to its core and irrevocably devastating Dibny.
The tragedy about that bio is that it seems as though the most significant thing to happen to Ralph was the death of his wife. A case could be made that that is true, since they were virtually inseparable, but given the character’s forty-five year existence there was a lot more that could be said about his career. A secondary character that came from backup features in the Flash and Detective Comics to membership in the JLA in 1973, Dibny was the longest serving JLAer, bouncing around until 1995 in the main title and its spin-offs.
He was never truly forgotten even afterwards: he was reunited with his Justice League International teammates in two mini-series from that titles creative team, and later appeared in animated form on Justice League Unlimted and Batman: The Brave and the Bold. He was good friends with the Flash (Barry Allen) and Green Lantern (Hal Jordan), a friendly rivalry with Batman, and was a much loved character. Even his wife had a unique distinction: Sue Dibny was the only non-powered civilian to ever be granted official membership in the JLA, something Lois Lane can’t lay claim to.
Elongated Man has had several figures surprisingly: DC Collectibles (formerly known as DC Direct) released two: the first came in the second series of the JLA line (with Atom, Firestorm, and Adam Strange). The second was in the “Identity Crisis” line, based on designs by the late Michael Turner. Mattel followed suit and made a Ralph in the Justice League Unlimited line, and now that is joined by the DC Signature Collection/Club Infinite Earths exclusive 6” figure. Let’s see how he measures up.
Dino Showdown Allosaurus Assault
Dino Trackers Tyrannosaurus vs Ground Patrol
$29.99 & $9.99
PresidentJuggernaut here, getting to know you with another review. One more thing you should know about me is that I love Jurassic Park. I love the movie, it remains an all-time favorite, and I loved the book. So despite my lukewarm feelings toward 3D, I will probably see the rerelease when the movie returns to theaters next month. With a fourth movie moving toward production, the brand is attempting a comeback, and Toys R Us has an exclusive line of toys to promote the 3D release.
But first, a bit of history. Part of what cemented Jurassic Park as a pop culture staple was the awesome Kenner toyline, which provided some of my favorite toys of the 90s, and continued with figures based on The Lost World. When Kenner was absorbed by Hasbro, they took over the license and made JP III toys. These toys were sort of a step backwards, with hard plastic dinosaurs filled with electronic features in multiple scales, rather than the more unified single scale of the Kenner figures. Since 2001, the torch has been kept burning with several repaint toylines using moslty the JP III molds, but with a few new or Kenner molds sneaking out.
In 2009, Toys R Us had another exclusive set of repaints, and later some prototype images snuck out of new dinosaur sculpts and human dino trackers using GI Joe parts and vehicles. I guess the 2009 toys did not sell well enough, because the new toys did not end up making it out… until now. Mixed in with all the JP III repaints are two all new battle packs called Dino Showdowns, each including a large dinosaur and a GI Joe based dino hunter.
Neither the dinosaurs or the humans are based on anything from on screen, making these somewhere in the “expanded universe” of Jurassic Park. But are they still worth it? And what about the older repainted figures? JP III humans are returning as Dino Trackers, including each a small dinosaur. Today I will take you into some of these figures, the new Dino Showdown Allosaurus Assault and the repainted Dino Tracker Tyrannosaurus Rex vs Ground Patrol, in what I am referring to as… A Tale of Two… Two-Packs.
“New 52″ Batman
6 Inch Scale
2013 may be Superman’s big year with Zack Snyder’s Man of Steel coming out this summer but as usual Big Blue may be overshadowed a certain Dark Knight Detective. Currently, Batman is dominating nearly all forms of mass media, with a new animated series set to debut this spring, animated films chronicling his adventures with the JLA and solo, the video games Arkham Asylum and Arkham City still heating up game consoles, and several appearances in Mattel toylines (biggest news there being the classic 1966 TV show finally getting the action figure treatment this fall), with the newest offering and the subject of this review being in the 6” scale range from the successor to DC Universe Classics, DC Unlimited. So without further ado…nanananananananana….BATMAN!
As a young boy, Bruce Wayne saw his parents fall victim to a senseless crime. His focused purpose became to avenge their deaths by fighting Gotham City’s criminal elements a Batman. The people of Gotham City see Batman as an almost mythical figure, able to tame any adversary, no matter how powerful. To thwart crime, he relies on his awesome deductive powers, sheer physical speed, and an assortment of high-tech weaponry and unique crime-fighting aids.
When DC announced it was rebooting its entire universe in 2011, dubbing it “the new 52”, much of the company’s near eighty year history was wiped, with the exception of Batman; aside from the erasing of previous Batgirl Stephanie Brown from the timeline, much of Batman’s previous history remained intact. Also unlike most of the DC Universe, Batman has fared better with his current storylines. “Night of the Owls” and “Death of the Family” have both garnered much acclaim, with the core Batman titles getting its best reviews in years.
2011 also marked the end of DC Universe Classics at retail (Wave 20 being released a year later), to be replaced at first by the rarely seen All-Stars line, and now the Unlimited imprint that is both a replacement for DCUC as well as last year’s Batman Legacy line. Keeping that in mind, the focus of Unlimited is to present characters from the DC Universe as they appear currently, while Batman Unlimited features different facets of the Batman mythos from the years; wave 1 also includes Batgirl appears in her new-52 costume while the Penguin is in colors reminiscent of his Super Powers figure. Wave 2, already hitting stores, is slated to include Batman from Frank Miller’s game changing “The Dark Knight Returns” and another Bats called Planet X Batman (pulled from an obscure Silver Age tale and given a much darker turn in Grant Morrison’s hands during the “Batman R.I.P.” storyline), while yet another is intended to appear in an outfit from the upcoming Injustice: Gods Among Us video game.
Again, for 2013 being Superman’s big year, there’s an awful lot of Batman going around.