\So let's talk about the elephant in the room, I haven't been reviewing much lately. Time is a huge factor but also I have to be honest I am feeling very uninspired. I like reviews but that is not my main focus and to be honest the first part of this year was SOOOO crappy. Not faulting you who like the Avengers line, but I just feel like they are mostly weaker representations of cooler figures we already have, Marvel Universe has been in a holding pattern, GI Joe has now been moved to next year (with the exception of Wave 1), and there are some other lines I will touch on here but for the most part the showings of 2012 have been totally weak. If one does believe the Mayan Calendar then maybe the end of the world will come due to fanboy rage after waiting and waiting.
Really I have been ultra cherry picking this year, I have picked up nothing regularly at all and most of what I have bought has been carry over from last year. Call me a hater but from where I sit Hasbro is screwing up royally, Star Wars distribution is rearing it's ugly head again and there is nothing to find on the shelves besides a figure or two from the movie lines. Hasbro has apparently burned several retailers as well according to this article (and the one linked) in which this quote says a great deal: "As one buyer put it to me yesterday: 'I do not think I will give Hasbro as much latitude in the future. They totally screwed me up this time!”
Truthfully I wouldn't give Hasbro, as a company, the time of day if they didn't have some of my favorite characters of all time under their umbrella, but they do so there I am. Of course there is always Mattel, who in this installment proves that if you look under the barrel you can find much worse (more on that in a second).
It's hard to find a theme when you are cherry picking so much, so for this review I am just going to say these are linked to summer movies (some are somewhat loosely like Wondy/Quicksilver pack to Avengers, but it still works).
In the article above I pointed out a quote, but there is another one about the Batman toyline that did cause me to chuckle a bit. It reads: "In other words Batman, not the Avengers, will dominate the all-important four toy-selling months between September and December."
OK I think the writer was trying to talk about timing of releases rather than actual sales, but you have to ask if they have actually taken a look at these toys. I couldn't believe it when I saw them and I picked up one just to be able to say something, Mattel you got's some explaining to do:
Now those who have read my reviews will notice something, that's right I give this figure ZERO Stars. I normally give it at least a half a star just to let the casual reader know I did actually review it, but no this piece of dog crap doesn't even deserve that.
I was very harsh on the Green Lantern figures last year, but the greatest shock to my system is that somehow Mattel has found a way to make even the worst 1:18th scale line of the modern era look better by comparison. I think the one thing that might be just as bad is the stupid vehicle drivers from the GI Joe Retaliation line, but to be fair I haven't found any of those at retail yet and have only seen pictures so I can't say that for certain yet.
Yes, this "action figure" sports a whopping 5 points of articulation, and making it worse is that this time the arms don't have that ball joint shoulder (as was in the GL line). And while this figure is much cheaper than the GL Line, the truth is it should have been sold for a dollar. Chap Mei has seriously worked harder on details at least. This figure barely has any (OK Bane does look plain in the previews, but we have seen plenty of figures that are plain look pretty good before, so that's no excuse).
I ended up grabbing this figure just for the spear. I gave it to Odin as he needed a spear (as I mentioned in my review last year).
The paint is horrid, terrible colors, the eyes look like a 2 year old poked them on there, the proportions look wonky (with gorilla like arms and stubby legs), the plastic feels cheaper than most knock off figures, basically this figure has NO redeemable qualities beyond his spear (which is also flimsy but also looks better with a better figure).
Am I being mean-YES-because in this modern world we should expect better from our hobbies. Avengers left me cold because of redone designs that were done better the first time and even more redundancy (which was somewhat expected but not to the degree we saw). I almost wish the same could be said here though, even if this was a redone GL fig (OK I know they are different body types, but come on it's an analogy) there would be that quality at least. As much as I hated the GL figures and as much as I panned them and even though I waited until clearance to get most of them (and still felt cheated) they are ten times better than this.
So I just think suck is too mild of a word here, I have no word to express how bad this figure is, just avoid it at all costs, even on clearance.
So from suck we go to blow:
Is it just me or does the Lizard look like a reject Sleestak from the most recent remake of Land of the Lost? I don't mean that in a good way.
I will be up front on this figure though, most of my issues are from a design aspect which can be attributed more to the movie designs than anything else. When I found him I was looking for Ultra poseable Spidey and when I got a first hand look I just felt I had to get him for poops and puns (That is a nice way of saying shits and giggles guys).
It's a shame too, I think Lizard is one of my favorite Spidey villains. When I reviewed the Lizard last year from the Spider-Man line I noted the size of the figure, and that is one good quality of the movie figure. He seems a normal size in comparison to the Spider-Man line counterpart. So I guess if you dig for a good quality there it is.
Articulation (as seems to be the Hasbro norm this year) is kind of crappy. T-crotch and knees that only half bend (due to the design of the fig) kind of cause you to lose some coolness when looking at him. Of course the worst is the face which is plain to see for anyone and just doesn't work for Lizard's first major motion picture debut. I didn't expect exactly from the comic but something better than a reject from a Sy-Fy movie of the week at least. The Sci-Fi channels version of Man-Thing at least looked like Man-Thing, right?
A weird little thing about the figures hands, one had has only four fingers while the other has five. I'm not sure if this is on purpose or not but I suspicion is that this is something movie related in the design. Not sure why as in as far as I can tell Dr. Connors has a pretty similar origin to what he had in the comic and it would seem he would regenerate with all his fingers. Maybe there is an explanation in Amazing Spider-Man.
So Lizard is ok if you like some goofy figures as I do but otherwise try to avoid, even on a goofy level he is a bit of a letdown as he just looks like no effort was made on a design level. Stick with The previous Lizard as he still looks awesome.
So moving on I think I will cover a figure I missed last year and finally found at retail, the Scorpion.
So up front I will say that this is not my favorite design of Scorpion. Truth is (like with many characters) I just like the original design:
Others like the updated design from the 90's as well. Either way this isn't the Scorpion I wanted but somehow he transcends that quite easily. He somehow is cool despite the fact that the design in the comic is not my favorite. One of my favorite aspects of the figure is the extra articulation points in the tail.
The tail also helps to stabilize the figure (much as it did with the lizard above, but even better than that). This is a pretty necessary thing when you consider the weight of the tail and that it makes Scorpion a bit unstable.
I had found Scorpion once in a store along with Lizard last year. I bought Lizard first because I could only afford one that day. The next day I came back and in the ultimate irony for toy selling patterns (as Lizard sold out first most of the time.
My major knock to the figure would have to be the spring loaded launcher in the tail. I think it would be less of an issue if the missile would fit properly in the tail but as it is it sticks out oddly and without it the tail looks like it's missing it's main piece.
Overall Scorpion is cool despite not being the figure I think most fans wanted. I think he would be better in MU proper, but he is a necessary Spider-Man villain if you are a Spider-Man fan so I say grab him. I doubt Hasbro will go back and give us the original design anytime soon because let's face it the hoards of fans for Scorpion are not as big as say Beta Ray Bill. Still he isn't bad by a long shot and in comparison to the Movie version of Lizard he is a masterpiece (maybe why I am giving him such a high rating, that combined with the fact I had such a hard time finding him).
Next up is another acquisition that probably fits better into last year, Wonder Man and Quicksilver comic pack. These two get my Avengers team sooo much closer to being complete (Just missing Scarlet Witch now to which I am waiting for her to do a group shot, but old school Giant Man and a regular sized Wasp would be appreciated Hasbro).
First up Wonder Man who is cool but could be better.
The major issue with this figure is a lack of fist, this is especially ironic when you consider that almost every single figure that used the standard "big guy" mold like Wondy has also had a fist on the left hand. Been trying to find a suitable replacement but thus far the skin tone is a major issue.
Wondy has his jet belt which is nice to see and is a little detail I could see getting looked over by Hasbro. The head sculpt is pretty spot on and works on many levels and as stated the body is that standard big guy mold that has worked on many characters now. I think I would have much preferred the jacket version of the 1970's but this one works as he did wear this outfit for many years as well.
So ultimately he is functional but could have been better if Hasbro wouldn't be so cheap (yeah, I said it). It is a bit irritating when one considers Marvel Universe is the line that has the most recycling of any Action Figure line of Hasbro but yet seems to be the most expensive as well. Nothing can really be done but complaining but that is what it is.
Next is the son of Magneto, Quicksilver:
Yet another use of the "skinny guy mold" which does kind of work with Quicksilver. Granted there is an argument here that both these guys are step back from their wave-mates Bullseye and Daredevil. Still I would rather have functional versions than none at all.
Quicksilver is one of those character I have a hard time liking to be honest, he's arrogant, often acts like a villain, and sometimes has a hard time with allegiance or disputes with his dad, Magneto. Still he adds a dynamic to the Avengers that helps the team be interesting: conflict. His very presence creates it (and toss in Magneto and you have a rich level of internal conflict). These aspects are not always explored to their fullest in the history of Quicksilver's time with the Avengers but they are an aspect that keeps his presence interesting at least.
So these guys weren't in the Avengers movie but they are connected to the Avengers, as such they should be kind of popular but I can't help thinking both could be much better with aspects like rocker ankles and thigh swivels. I think before those innovations these figures would have ranked much higher but as it is they feel like a step backwards. Still they are cool despite all of this and I would recommend this pack to any Avengers fan.
Now a figure I do admit I begrudgingly like, Loki:
So at this point I have seen the Avengers movie but I admit Loki has been sitting around my house for a few weeks. I grabbed him quick as I loved his appearance in the Thor movie and SOOOO wanted to get the King Loki from the Thor line. Of course right after this purchase Hasbro announces King Loki is getting a repaint in an exclusive four pack, oh well.
Of course this figure NEEDS some more articulation (At least the wrists, come on Hasbro, losing articulation looks cheap in comparison). I have to say though that the overall design lets this version of Loki be pretty darn tolerable and in fact even cool. The Spear is great and of course his little spring loaded thingy got tossed to the side five minutes after I opened him. The colors are very dynamic and is odd as I don't think I would have thought Gold, Copper and green would have worked so well together but they do.
The copper on the horns is a nice touch and really makes the figure distinct. I was too caught up in the movie to notice if that is how Loki looks in the film, I know weird just wasn't thinking about it as I was distracted by so many other cool things. Still it's a nice design aspect that makes the figure unique without destroying the figures look as well.
So if you missed King Loki last year, this is a reasonable substitute I think. I have found several of these all around so he should be easy to find as well which is a relief after all the crap with the Thor line. Granted the later figs for Avengers might not be as easy to find too, but we'll see.
If you like the look of Loki I say grab him, easier than hunting ebay for King Loki and you also don't have to get another cap, Thor and Iron Man for him in the exclusive pack.
So that is all for now, with the hopes that the rest of the year gets a bit better, as of this writing the ultra cool Hulk Marvel Universe wave just went up on pre-order which gives me hope for the latter half of the year.