Does anyone else chuckle at the fact hat a camouflage expert wears a pink scarf and baby blue armor.  I just imagine him saying "HA, you can't see me Zartan" and Zartan saying "Ignore him."

I always felt Zandar was a bit weird looking.  Granted his sister, Zarana, is too but in her case the pink and blue work (You know, being a girl and all).  Still, like I mentioned with Ben Quad at #30, I like goofy characters and in the GI Joe world Zandar is probably my #2 favorite goofball.  

He is one of the few characters of the Drednok set I would have bought single carded.  Now I grant you I was very surprised by the set and pleasantly so.  There were several character I probably would have ignored that ended up on my favorites list this year from that set.  However, I am firmly convinced that this Zandar would have ended up about here even if the entire set had been rleased as singles (If I had found them at all that is).  

So I guess in this case Zandar is not the ignored one.  


So have I ever mentioned that Kraven's Last Hunt is probably my favorite Spider-Man story of all.  Well now I have.  That alone made Kraven a desirable figure for me.  

What was funny though is when I got the figure I instantly noticed that Kraven looked just like my daughter's boyfriend so I began calling him "KYLE-The action figure."  Yeah, I have had some fun with this whole thing.  

Fun is what makes action figures and I could justify him being in my faves for all the jokes I have been able to make alone.  But he is also cool, with some great accessories (and is one of the few figures in the MU line that warrant a good amount of accessories).  Kraven is one of the few comic characters that has remained relatively dead (but he does come up from time to time, and he has been replaced a few times too).  Then again if they can bring Bucky back, anyone can return so he might not stay dead.  He also has been "replaced:" a few times as well).

There are a ton of reasons to love this figure, point is another great one to add to the collection.  


One of the biggest and most disappointing moments of the past year was the screw up with the GI Joe Retaliation line (Which put some GREAT figures on the back burner until 2013).  But one of the few gems of the first wave was Red Ninja which (as many of his predecessors) was based on the Storm Shadow mold that was JUST AWESOME!

This one took that mold and added rocker ankles which made perfection even better.  However, it wasn't for Storm Shadow but the Red Ninja which kind of works against him in some ways because as cool as Red Ninjas are they are not Storm Shadow.  Granted they make great Hand Ninjas too.    

This is the only figure I bought from the Retaliation line (Until I found a Cobra Trooper on clearence).  For whatever reason the figures put out were just plain weak and most of them have much, much, much better versions coming very soon in later waves.  

But I also cannot help but like this figure, I do wish the accessories were closer to the Storm Shadow mold this is based on, but overall this works great.  I totally hope I am able to find even more in the next year.  


Thor is probably my favorite comic character.  I was so very disappointed that the movie line last year didn't have a comic line and thus no "Ultimates" version of Thor.  Thankfully the Avengers line remedied that situation.  OK sure the articulation is lowered but I will take it just because I really, really, really wanted this figure.  

On of my favorite aspects is the Ace Hammer which just looks SOOO cool.  It was an aspect of this character I have loved SOOO much over the years and am so glad to have it now in !:18th form.   Granted the articulation is less than desired but of the many Thor Variants possible this was the main one I wanted.  

So why isn't he much higher on the list?  Well it's the articulation.  Granted Thor doesn't need it as much as some characters but really the absence of wrists and some sort of torso/waist movement hurt this figure greatly.  I love it and am glad I have completed my "Ultimates" collection, but I wish he had a better range of motion at the same time.  


Of all the X-Men, Beast is probably my favorite.  He is in a close tie with Archangel (and I only mean with the metal wings) due to the nature of his character.  

Hank and his bestial form betray his brilliant nature and I love that about him.   Now this version is not my favorite is the problem.  I just am not a huge fan of "Cat Beast" and much prefer the one I grew up with.  

BUT this is a cool figure and if the SHS version didn't exist I might not have placed him higher on my list.  Granted this is the "Current" version and I don't hate it but I don't love it either.  

Still I do "like" it so I had to grab it given the chance and here we are.  I admit that I like the figure much more than I thought I would though.  There are worse versions of Beast out there (ever look at the Wolverine and the X-Men line?  OUCH!).  This version has a good range of motion and is a decent mold so he warrants a place on my favorites list despite the face he isn't my favorite version of the character.  


I think Mercer might just be more popular than most anyone gives him credit.  He is very interesting due to his background.  I mean after all what turned him away from Cobra.  To my surprise there has been very little done by Hasbro or licensed stuff with him.  In fact, his few appearances in other media are pretty scant.  Virtually no actual details exist on Mercer's background, why he betrayed Cobra, nor why his V2 has a completely different file name.  BUT he has given so much imagination to fan creations.  Tons of info (all fan based) exist speculating on who exactly Mercer is and why is is who he is.  It surprises me that no one has really reached into such a rich background to tell some interesting stories with him.  

The Slaughter's set was a bit of a let down, most of the figures were disappointing but Mercer was able to come through and shine greatly.  He's the best of the bunch.  While I liked the other Renegades, the figures left a great deal to be desired.  The character choices hurt the rest of the set.  Mercer borrows elements of the Viper while retaining some original elements as well.  He is a big standout in an otherwise mediocre set.  

I'm not sure what could have improved the set (My first thought is better character selection), but over recycling parts (Hasbro's general thing now) did hurt the set a bit.  At least with the Drednok set the recycling had been done creatively.  With the Slaughter's set the effort seems tired and worn.  Still at least there was Mercer.  


To say Vos is an oddity in the Jedi is a bit of an understatement.  He packs a gun, can apparently jump to the Dark Side on a whim to be a spy, and manages to avoid being "official" while often being mentioned endlessly.  So apparently all this time Vox has been hanging around Episode 1 and no one noticed.  Not sure if he was added in or was there the whole time and to be honest when I went to watch Episode I again I suddenly realized how crappy a movie it was and shut it off.  So maybe he was there and I never noticed.  He at least gets mentioned in Episode III (A fact that took years to confirm).   

Granted this figure isn't the normal dress Vos gets but he fits the part well.  Accessories are a bit minimal but work great for him at the same time.  The big surprise with this figure is the fact he is dressed in more traditional Jedi Robes verus his normal dress which looks somewhat primitive in nature.  That isn't a knock on the figure just an oddity that deserves some mentioning.  This has also been the EASIEST to find version of Vos yet.  Granted the first comic pack wasn't very hard to find, but it was difficult.  The Cone Wars version was impossible until this year when it popped up in those multi-packs at Wal-Mart.  Even then he wasn't that easy to find.  But due to the abundance of this wave this year he practically became a pegwarmer.  That isn't a bad thing since now anyone can get a version of Vos without any difficulty.    


Lucky #13 brings us to a character I have always felt got a bit of a bad deal.  In the 1990's Punisher's popularity mysteriously skyrocketed but the result was a deluge of Punisher titles and appearances that made him almost too much to deal with.  The thing is there are TONS of great appearances and stories but somehow the few bad ones (like changing his skin color) live on in infamy.  After his massive run, Frank Castle was punished with horrible concept after horrible concept.  From a demon to a quasi-Frankenstein monster thing, the Punisher became a shell of the character he once was.  

Media has not be kind to him as well.  The Punisher has a great deal of potential but is regulated to crappy and disappointing movies.  Non of the movies seem to be able to capture what is great about the Punisher.  

Still Punisher was in Wave 1 of MU and has had several disappointing figures over the past few years.  Finally, he got a good figure for 2012 utilizing the excellent mold used for Daredevil and Bullseye.  Really couldn't ask for more but he also comes with a good (and sensible) complement of weapons.  A great idea for a great character, now if we could only get Marvel to understand the comics need a similar back to basics approach.  Then we might get a Punisher series that can last. 


Last year I said I would probably never buy an new Storm Shadow.  I had good reason, the 30th figure really hits all your basic Storm Shadow needs.  Still while I was never a huge fan of the Ninja Force version of Storm Shadow I found myself liking this mold very much and once I saw him in the store I felt the need to grab him.  At the time he was hard to find but now he is kind of simple to track down (Just the day before this writing I saw four in one store).  Dollar General is an odd place to have an exclusive but hey these "cheap" figures have been better than the stuff released in Retaliation Wave 1 for the most part.  Better articulation, battle stand, even nicer paint jobs overall.  The major weakness is the accessories BUT if you have been collecting for a few years you probably have plenty of accessories.

One point of controversy with this figure was the fact he was marked as a Cobra rather than a Joe since this is reminiscent of his GI Joe Ninja Force outfit.  It's not exact but the influence is noticeable.  I say so what, I wasn't a huge fan of the NF figure (The action attack really ruined it for me to be honest) but the basic paint job was kind of cool.  Now I will say that I don't think it is nessessary to re-do every single paint job of characters but this one works for me so I am rolling with it.  Worst thing is I have another Storm Shadow with that fine mold.  The hood (borrowed from Zartain) is quite cool and works for what it is.  It looks better on Stormy than it did on Zartan in fact.  I really had no desire for the Snake Eyes though, I seem to be holding firm on my "enough of him" stance with this set, but Stormy was good enough to warrant another purchase.  Now with all the other Stormies I see the "enopugh of him" stance will be easy to hold on to.  But you never know, there could be surprises.  


Long ago I wrote a story that was the first meeting of Kang (for Kang's POV at least) and the Avengers.  The essence is the Avengers stopped him from stealing priceless art and transporting it into the future (where he planned to reap a reward),  However, the kick of the story was that Kang tried to stop the Avengers BEFORE this happened (which was to explain why Kang never tried to change history before, all he does is create an alternate reality and to his reality things go as normal).  The irony of the story was to be that Kang's interference before the theft (which to him happened after he had served time in prison for violation of time laws) directly lead to the Avengers stopping the theft and Kang's being caught by the Time Force (kind of made that up as an enforcement arm of the Time Authority).  Marvel didn't like it and rejected it, oh well.  I suppose because I made him a common thief and not a conqueror but my view was Kang had just discovered time travel and did what most people would do, try to get rich.  

One thing that has bugged me about Kang's stories is they all seem a bit TOO linear.  I know people try to avoid confusion with time travel but it seems if Kang can travel ANYWHERE in time he might try to travel to a time when the Avengers aren't quite as cool and the membership is kind of weak (happened sever times) or a point where they are disbanded even.  Instead he just shows up and really there seems to be no thought in his actions.   I know there have been attempts to explain this away from time travel not exact to other things.  I just always felt with time travel there should be more possibilities.  

There was a ton of complaints about this figure but personally I liked it.  Yes the lines aren't on the face but so what I say.  I kind of like this clean look for him.  He's a solid figure that borrows a bit from Dr. Strange but the borrowing is done so well it's barely noticeable.  I like it a lot. 


We are in the home stretch, next up the TOP TEN!!! 

Yeah, no quip this time. 




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