Some figures become favorites because they are so cool, some because they are great representations of certain characters, some because they are radically different, and then there are those that are just plain goofy. Say hello to Ben Quadrinaros who falls squarely into the latter category. . So Ben hopped out of into Star Wars in the infernal mess that was Episode I. Right away his resemblance to a Loony Toons character was apparent, not that there is anything wrong with it, but I don't remember Daffy or Bugs wielding Lightsabers at any point (Hey, give it time).
And you know you have to love Ben's Podracer. It sticks out from the crowd. I just wonder if his name was odd fortune or if he changed it because he was so dedicated to podracing. The universe may never know and we may even go mad if we knew the answer.
And yes, he's goofy looking, but I LOVE goofy. Although I have to admit I do wonder how he processes his food being essentially a head with legs. I mean what could his race's toilets be like after all.
And I know some fans HATE Ben but me I am pro-goofball as long as it's not too far. Ben is the line for me, plus I get so many Scale Wars jokes from him.
As for freaking on him, seriously I freaked more of the thong outfit in the bar in Episode 2. After all there's just no underwear in space, why should there be butts ;-).
So I have confessed to Spidey burn out and yet here he is again, so what gives?
Well, this figure is kind of notable, he is only the second figure I bought from the Spidey line this year (and apparently lots of others felt the same way), he actually almost lives up to the "Ultra-poseable" title, and despite my initial misgivings the costume isn't bad at all for the movie. I'll always love the original and what I loved about the SDCC Movie version was the fact it so resembled the original. What I ended up liking about this version was it took the great qualities of the original design and then went in a few other directions with them. Do I like it better, well no, but I do like it.
I really think Hasbro has overestimated Spidey's popularity over the years though. I like Spidey but really he has had TWO lines of his own and numerous releases in the MU line. I tend to stick up for Iron Man a bit just because one can justify many of the different versions of him (I mean Stark has tons of different armors). Spidey has had a few costumes over the years but there is a limit (never mind the fact that most of the time Hasbro just gives us variations on the original in the first place).
Still he is just different enough (and it helps that we had a movie with the costume in it) to warrant some place in my collection I think. Even though the movie wasn't that great to me I didn't hate it either so keeping this new version of the costume isn't something I would think would be too big a deal. Besides, at least it's actually Parker, right?
So like most Joe fans you might be thinking "OK why do the Drednoks need a poacher?' Well they don't, but that kind of is the point. As I had Gnawgahyde he was a poacher but his experience brought a certain skill set. He was a sniper, survivalist, wilderness expert. In other words he came in really handy when the Drednoks had to hide out in a wilderness area or something. In addition his gun suggested he was a good sniper thus he often held back and was shooting from a distance. Not bad turn around for a weak character idea, eh.
Now with the shortened name "Gnaw" he...ok I have no clue why the shortened name is significant if at all beyond Hasbro's inability to hold on to copyrights. At least Gnawgahyde kind of links to what he does. Gnaw makes it sound like he might be hanging out with that gimpy Cobra Commander from Renegades. Personally I love changing aspects of Joes and Cobras to suit my needs. I find the comics, cartoon, and file cards to be guidelines rather than gospels.
Clearly this figure has some influence from Kraven the Hunter. That's not a bad thing, but something that should be noted. The vest and such have the biggest influences with a mane very reminiscent of Kraven's. That gun looks similar to the one he used in "Last Hunt" as well which rounds out the whole ensemble. There are worse figures to emulate after all.
The first book I ever read was The Hobbit. Simply put I loved it. I liked it so much when I later read Lord of the Rings I was actually disappointed that Bilbo was older and not a main part of the story. So yeah, when I heard about the move I got excited.
But what got me REALLY excited was the prospect of 1:18th figures based on the movies and of course Bilbo was one of those figures I wanted right away. Some might scoff at a Hobbit action figure. He's not strong or powerful or classically heroic or any of the aspects you would expect for an action figure. Of course if that is what you are looking for in the Hobbit you are kind of missing the point. Bilbo is the most unlikely of heroes and it works out great (So much so George Lucas himself copied the idea).
Anyway I love the figure, articulation is just about perfect only really missing ankle articulation (which I can live without in certain cases). The likeness isn't perfect but with Bilbo there have been so many drawings and paintings and such that the resemblance (Or lack there of)can be justified. And of course there is STING in 1:18th scale at last.
Bilbo just fits great into my strange little world, an iconic character who has had huge impact.
The biggest, baddest, toughest villain in the Marvel Universe. The brains of Batman and the strength of the Hulk in one place and set on destroying the universe just so a girl will like him. He's Thanos and of course we got him this year in a comic pack. Some might argue that he did hit last year, which is technically true. But I just chose to go with it as he hit retail this year and he's a character I never got the chance to talk about last time he was eligible in my faves list (As a single pack). At any rate the new head and paint scheme for this figure make him seem like an all new figure so I'm rolling with it.
Thanos has been around for a very long time. I vaguely (and I mean VAGUELY) remember reading about him in Marvel Two in One (I believe it was an annual but I am not positive, I know I sold the book of in the 1990's for a fair chunk of change). He died for a while and then popped back up in Silver Surfer years later. That storyline lead to the Thanos Quest which of course lead to the famous Mini-Series Infinity Gauntlet. Gauntlet pretty much made Thanos immortal to the eyes of fandom everywhere. Apparently people still talk about it (especially after Thanos's brief appearance at the end of Avengers movie).
Hopefully some great stuff will come in the Avengers sequel with Thanos, but right now it's hard to say. Some rumors place Thanos actually coming into the Third Avengers movie or maybe even the Guardians of the Galaxy movie. Anyway you cut it anticipation is high for what his brief appearance might mean for the future. After all he apparently wants to "court Death" if you get my meaning.
I'm certain I said it with Zanya's review in the Drednok set. But my personal view of her in the Devil's Due comic was pretty flat. She was just another puck girl for the Dreds who threw her weight around. My story was different. She was actually a con artist and she made up her story with Zartan. Zartan was involved with her mother but her actual parentage is left to mystery. She used her con-artist skills to her advantage and conned Zartain into believing she was his daughter thus giving her instant second in command of the Drednoks. Here was the catch, Zarana caught wind of the con and eventually approached Zartan with evidence of the proof. But the thing was Zartan knew the truth from the start. He let Zanya pull her con to see how good she could do with it. She ended up pulling it off so well that Zartan couldn't help but admire her tenacity. He put away his plans to kill her and let her become his "daughter" in at least title and thus inheritance (of his skills and knowledge).
I thought this background gave her some more depth and made her something more than just another punk for the Drednoks. As we all know she was placed into the Drednok set in lieu of Zarana due to the fact Hasbro likes to makes it's fans suffer greatly. Oh wait, some say it's because otherwise Hasbro couldn't afford the mold to make Zarana, uh yeah. Anyway, She is here and really she is a pretty good figure but I do think she gets a bit overlooked due to her "fill-in" status.
But then again it is kind of fun to have a next generation of snakes no matter what the origin.
I think before the Avengers movie hit that most people had kind of forgotten the fact that Loki is a bad-arse in his own right. While not as strong as Thor he is still much, much stronger than the average super-hero. He also had the benefit of training almost all his life with Thor. The Thor movie had established Loki as a pretty tough contender but in Avengers he really showed of how nearly unstoppable he is. That is a major art of the reason the movie is so great, it had a great villain.
This figure would have been higher ranked were it not for the articulation cut-backs that caused the whole Avengers movie line to suffer. Still there are more to go in my favorites list this year so it's not like the figures from the line were terrible but not as great as they could be.
I really dig the colors on this figure. They all blend together well in a way I don't think anyone would have thought. I especially like the "artistic license" taken with the horns on the helmet. I originally grabbed this just because I couldn't find King Loki from Thor's movie. In some ways this is just as good. He even comes with the spear from the movie, how cool is that.
Where or where would we all be without the nameless and the faceless troops that make up the forces of evil. From Stormtroopers to Hydra to AIM and of course Cobra. Well, in a word the good guys would have no one to shoot at. Sure they could take shots at the main baddies but somehow those guys seem a touch less impressive if not surrounded by cannon fodder that protects them.
This figure is a practical application of the idea "less is more." He's one color with some minor details in silver and gray. But the thing is he is some impressive with just that it works. This guy saved Hasbro tons in paint apps and just really, really rocked because of it.
There are the debates of this being Night Force ect. However I coved such material in my review of him.
I prefer to just take him as he is, simple, cool, and an easy addition to the collection.
What's Thanos without his arch-nemesis? Actually pretty darn strong. Still Adam Warlock made a good foil for Thanos every though he hadn't been real great on holding his own series in the past few decades. Still he's not a character easily hated, nor is he easily loved either. I know that sounds a bit contrived but he sounds a bit on the neutral side of the likeable coin.
Still he seems like an essential part of a Marvel Collection. Warlock has been at the center of several HUGE storylines and as a result seems to be one of those characters that is always necessitated.
But even if you don't like him he does have one of the neatest accessories ever-THE INFINITY GAUNTLET! Best part about this accessory is that it can pretty much fit any 1:18th figure out there. That alone puts him so high on the list (But I suppose the digital sub Doom would work too, but I don't want to spend the money ;-).
The deleted scene figures first popped up a few years ago. The main ones we got were Luke, Han and Chewie for a mysterious "Sandstorm" sequence we seemed to know nothing about at the time. This year with the Vintage Collection we got the other two characters Leia (who appeared to be the previous Slave Leia with extra accessories) and Lando which could double as his Jabba's disguise figure. I have said so often that Star Wars has some renditions of characters that are musts and Lando in Disguise is one of those, the addition of the fact he can also be the Sandstrom is just a plus and makes this figure that much more desirable.
The two times I saw Return of the Jedi in the theater in 1983, the sequence where Lando pulls down his mask you could here kids gasp out "LANDO!" Not the reaction we get now, but it was fun to hear back then. However, I often think Lando often gets overlooked by fans of the Trilogy. Lando comes along in the middle and creates a big mess for anyone. He fixes it as best he can and it seems after that he just gets regulated to a sidebar. Sure he blew up the Death Star, but didn't that have a "been there, done that" feel anyway.
But Lando is sort of an outcast. He is the one person that didn't have any ties to the other characters. Luke and Leia were of course siblings, Han was involved with Leia and Chewie's "pet status" as Lucas implied tied him to both Han and Leia (Some say life debt but be that as it may). The droids established themselves with the rest of the group over the course of three movies. Lando didn't have that chance due to his role in ESB and he had to separate from the rest at the end of ROTJ. It always seems if Lando is in the books he has been off somewhere doing something and out of touch with the rest of the group as well. I suppose that could make him more independent but I think it weakens his stature to fans as well.
Still he is a cool multi-purpose figure and I like that about him.
Stay tuned, more to come after this word from Preparation H: Rose scent.
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