Sunday, 31 May 2015

Creature from the Black Lagoon Funko POP! (Glow in the Dark variant)

Series: POP! Movies
Company: Funko
Year: 2015

Late last year I reviewed Funko’s Creature from the BlackLagoon POP – it was a great figure, one of my favourite purchases of 2014. I really hoped that there would be a glow in the dark release* of him too, but I didn’t dare get my hopes too high – I’ve been burned before. But then I was browsing late one night and discovered that there was one in the offing. That was back in April, but he only turned up a couple of weeks ago.  

This guy is the same sculpt as the original, cast in glow in the dark plastic. This alone would have been enough to sell me on the concept. Funko have decided to go one step further though; certain details have been picked out in paint – the tongue, his nails, his stomach, some of the shading on his fins and his eyes.

The glow is very satisfying – a bright green, as might be expected. Awesomely, his box also has glow in the dark “slime” applied to the window – this is a great little touch, and I plan to keep him stored in the box most of the time for display.

The glow in the dark aspect is obviously the most appealing part of the figure, so as a standalone release, he’s a little mixed. It doesn’t really capture the iconic look of the Creature, but it does have a considerable novelty factor that supplements the first release nicely. I’m glad I got him, though I would definitely suggest that if you’re only going to get one then you should get the regular release. But for GitD obsessives like myself, it was an essential purchase.

*On the subject of variants, there’s another one which I haven’t seen in the flesh as yet – a metallic one, apparently a Gemini Collectibles exclusive. I’ll probably pass on him, as these two are enough for me, I think.   

Sunday, 17 May 2015

Spider-Woman (Marvel Legends Infinite: Thanos Wave)

Series: Marvel Legends 
Year: 2015
Company: Hasbro


So, here are with Spider-Woman, another Marvel Legend. As with Captain Marvel, I’m pretty sure I’ve read virtually none of the comics that Spider-Woman appears in. Maybe an Avengers comic or two; that would be about it. But I’ve always thought her costume design was great – so simple, yet so striking. In fact, until this year it’s been essentially unchanged since it debuted in the 1970s (and the original is substantially better than the new one, too). 

Jessica Drew has had both a Marvel Legend and Marvel Select figure in the past. While both were adequate (and even pretty good on some points) at their time, they’re both showing distinct signs of age. So now we get a very welcome update.  

Spider-Woman has the following articulation:
*Ball-jointed neck
*Swivel-hinged shoulders
*Swivel biceps
*Swivel-hinged elbows
*Pegged wrists
*ball-jointed torso
*cut thighs
*double-hinged knees
*rocker ankles

All of it works well; some of it was a little tight straight out of the box but not unworkable. Best of all, she actually stands up properly! Not nearly as much fussing around as Captain Marvel or Scarlet Witch.

Spider-Woman uses the same base body as Captain Marvel – which I suppose makes sense seeing as they’re apparently besties in the comics. While this is good for the most part, I think it would have actually made more sense to use the “leotard”-style body that Scarlet Witch had (and swap figure Hellcat uses). It would have given her just that little bit more room for posing her legs. It wouldn’t make much of a difference on some characters, but on someone who’s meant to be as agile as Spider-Man, it seems like a bit of an oversight. It’s a little more irritating as she actually does have Scarlet Witch’s hands too. With that said, Hasbro and ToyBiz have both have a mixed history when it comes to depicting the female form so I think this is an overall good compromise.

The only new feature is her head, which captures the look of the costume quite well. Her hair is quite hard plastic, so you’re locked in to a few specific poses, but this is a common thing with female action figures in general.    


Jessica has two different sets of arm webbing – one spread wide for a gliding look, and another set that is folded, for when she’s doing things like keeping her hands by her side. I’m not sure if it’s a perfect solution to the webbing problem, though. The old figure had cel-style plastic stuck to the arms, which seems to crack and rot over the years. This is better than that but I think softer, more flexible plastic should probably have been used.  

Some kind of energy blast would have been nice, like with Captain Marvel, but I can live without it.
Additionally, she comes with two Build-A-Figure parts – Thanos’ head and one of his arms. I’ve seen the completed figure and I’m not overly impressed (he doesn’t look big enough to me, for one thing) so I think these will just go on eBay.    


For the most part, the paint is of a very high standard. Some of the thick black lines are a little wonky around the edges, but there’s nothing so major that it can’t be overlooked. Though there are some minor flaws (like the yellow on the belly being a little thin) everything looks pretty good from a distance and there aren’t any major problems. The only thing I think is missing is some blue highlights on the hair; currently, it’s all solid black.

Interestingly, there are a number of orange highlights on some of the yellow areas of the figure, though they don't really show up in the picture. They’re quite subtle and help break up what could otherwise appear as very flat surfaces.    


I’m still quite new to the Marvel Legends range, owning 4 at this point. But so far I like the series and could see myself continuing with it in the future. All that I’ve bought so far have been of roughly equal quality, and Spider-Woman continues that high standard. She may not be especially innovative in her approach, but she’s consistently well-executed and probably my favourite Marvel Legend in my limited experience so far.   

Saturday, 16 May 2015

Vision Funko POP! – Phasing Variant (Avengers: Age of Ultron)

Series: POP! Marvel
Year: 2015
RRP: $16.99 AUD

Avengers: Age of Ultron – how much fun was that movie? It certainly wasn’t perfect (I couldn’t help but think of Superman Returns when the island started levitating) but it was more than a passable middle movie, setting up for the likely-to-be-epic Captain America: Civil War and Avengers: Infinity 

I was dubious about Vision when he was first announced for the movie. He’s a pretty vital member of the Avengers in the comics, but his costume has always been a little on the nose and I wasn’t sure it would translate well. It didn’t help when the first poster featuring him made him look like a terrifying creature that had emerged straight from the Uncanny Valley to bring death to mankind.
Of course, I needn’t have worried; Vision ended up being one of the best parts of the new film. I’m not totally sold on his costume, but I found him so likeable and noble that I didn’t really mind. His design looks even better in POP style, so after seeing this particular version on Free Comic Book Day a few weeks ago, I decided it was time to invest in one.

There are two versions of Vision currently available, both of them using the same sculpt. One is fully cast/painted in the appropriate colours, whereas this particular guy resembles Vision in mid-phase – something he does only briefly in the film but is an important part of his powers in the comics. 

To replicate this effect, numerous parts are cast in translucent plastic, some of which are then partially painted. His legs, torso and hands are all cast in this translucent plastic, while his head and arms are cast in colour.

Considering that Funko isn’t known for its amazing paintwork, they’ve done surprisingly well to replicate the effect so smoothly. The paint problems with the figure are mostly confined to the sculpted details on the back of the head; given that you’ll probably display him facing forward it’s not such a big deal.            

I’m not sure how common or uncommon this guy is. He seems to be available as part of the standard part of the range, more of running change than a true “chase” figure. Both figures look great, and it was a close call between them for me – ultimately I got this one because I figured it would be harder to find him later if I changed my mind.

Vision is another solid entry into the POP collection, if not a spectacular one. Still, the combination of cutesy-friendly design and the phasing effect gives him a bit of extra…well, pop…to stand out from the crowd. 

Friday, 15 May 2015

Alien Funko POP! (The X-Files)

Theme: X-Files
Series: POP! Television
Year: 2015

From a rational perspective, I think it’s very likely that there is life elsewhere in the cosmos. The chances of it visiting earth on a regular basis, however, are substantially lower. But that doesn’t mean that I’m not interested in the possibility and thus I have cheerfully invested a good chunk of my life reading about topics which are (at best) on the fringes of science and outright fraud at worst. Wasted time for some, hours of entertainment for myself. So it goes with just about every hobby, I've found.

This has been going on since I was quite young, so naturally I was interested in The X-Files as a kid. But my parents felt that it would probably give me nightmares – fair enough, considering I was only 8 in 1993. As an adult, I ended up watching the first two seasons, which were great fun but not really compelling enough to make me watch the remaining seven (though I’ll probably give series 3 a go at some point).

From a solely X-Files perspective, this alien is okay but not great. Of the four POPs they’ve released, I think the Cigarette Smoking Man fares the best in comparison with his real-life counterpart. Scully looks the part, but Mulder could be anyone. Likewise, looking at images of the aliens in the series, this guy looks a little off. But don’t think that means I don’t like him – quite the opposite, in fact. The fact that it’s X-Files merchandise is really neither here nor there for me; it’s clearly a Grey and the Funko style renders it generic enough that it’s not tied specifically to that brand. Naturally I hope they do a few variants of this guy – green, glow in the dark, metallic, to name a few. I would happily buy a small army of these guys, were space and finance to permit it. Realistically, I think the smart money’s on the GiTD variant – and if Funko doesn’t do one, I may have to buy a second one and paint it myself.  

Given Funko’s investment in original moulds of late, I suspect we won’t see this piece reused very often, if at all. Though it would be great to see this sculpt reused (and maybe slightly retooled) for a Communion series of Funko POPs. It’s shocking that Christopher Walken doesn’t have his own POP yet -- but Communion seems oddball and obscure enough for it to work.

At any rate, this Alien has been an essential addition to my collection since I first saw him previewed – your own mileage may vary a little, depending on your tolerance for unusual ideas and/or X-Files fandom. 

Sunday, 10 May 2015

Captain Marvel (Marvel Legends Infinite: Allfather Wave)

Captain Marvel

Series: Marvel Legends 
Company: Hasbro
Year: 2015

No, not that Captain Marvel. Rather, my Marvel Comics kick continues with yet another character I really know very little about.

In spite of sharing a name with the company the character is from, Captain Marvel is actually fairly C-list – the original iteration was probably best known as the superhero who died and actually stayed dead for more than 5 minutes. But the last couple of years there’s been a bit more emphasis on promoting the current Captain Marvel – Carol Danvers, who’s previously spent most of her career as Ms Marvel, and will apparently be getting her own film in 2018.


Captain Marvel is the swap figure for Scarlet Witch as part of this wave – both of them are released in identical boxes, which have been bestowed with the name “Maidens of Might”. Apparently the original concept behind these swap figures was that they would be more or less the same figure, with a few key details (like the head or paint) different. However, these two figures look to share barely any (if any) pieces between them at all. I think the hips, thighs and knees are the same, but that looks to be about it.

Sculpted with short hair, Carol has been sculpted with a sassy expression, much more Anglo-American -looking in comparison to the Eastern European Scarlet Witch. Her body looks fairly generic, with no sculpted details, aside from her sash. She's fit, with a few curves thrown in here and there. Not overly muscular – with the exception of the thighs, which look just a shade too large in comparison to everything else, to my eye. Realistically, you could probably use it for a lot of different female characters and people would say “yeah, that looks about right”. Such is the nature of parts re-use in modern toymaking. However, this shouldn’t be taken as a negative; it looks perfectly fine and doesn’t enter into the outrageous objectification that often affects women in comics.  

She’s got the following articulation:
*ball-jointed neck
*swivel-hinged shoulders
*swivel biceps
*ball-jointed torso
*swivel-hinged elbows
*swivel-hinged wrists
*ball-jointed hips
*cut thighs
*double-hinged knees
*rocker ankles

No waist joint, but this isn’t a bad thing; it would have broken the sculpt and made it look quite ugly. The shoulders were quite stiff; this is at least in part due to the relatively thick paint on them. Additionally, the ankles don’t really move from back and forth; just side to side. I suspect, though I can’t be certain that is because the feet are new and haven’t gelled properly with the existing calf/ankle piece.

She’s got flat feet, rather than heels like Wanda, but her centre of gravity is a little funny so it was still quite tricky to get her to stand. You’ll be able to do it with a bit of work, but it was a little annoying nonetheless.  


There are some impressive little details on Carol, but they’re not immediately obvious at first glance. She’s been given buttons on the forearms of her gloves, as well as the “star and stripes” design on her chest. The stripes carry over to her shoulders, where the paint gets a little thick, though still looks good on the whole. Also, both her hairpieces look great, thanks to the wash that’s been applied.  

The yellow stripe down the centre of the costume doesn’t quite align with the chest area, but it’s not massively noticeable. There are also few spots of dark blue slop spotted around on the red, but your chances of being able to find them are probably mixed – some are in spots you just won’t be able to see while the figure’s in the box. Last but not least, the eyes on her head are a little off-centre from the sculpted detail, but as they’re both uneven it’s less of an issue.  

On the whole, the paint apps are quite impressive; in particular the sheer number of them. I assume that the money they saved on the Scarlet Witch’s very minimal paint has been spent here. The main areas to watch out for are the stripe design (mine was a little chipped in the box) and her eyes.


Carol comes with two accessories – one is an alternate, helmeted head, as pictured above, while the other is a translucent, soft piece of pink plastic that’s presumably some kind of energy ball. It’s even got glitter moulded into it, which means I won’t be using it too often.  

The Build-A-Figure pieces are from the Allfather – head, axe and cape. They’re not of Odin, though, they’re all to go with “elderly Thor”. These will likely end up going on eBay – I doubt I’m going to be able to complete the Allfather, but if I do it will be as Odin.  


This is the second figure Carol has had in the last 12 months – the first was in her Ms Marvel incarnation, packed into a 3-pack with Cap and Radioactive Man. Of the two, though, this is the one I’d go for. As someone who’s not really invested in the character, this is a much better costume and more current with the comics. I don’t know if I’m going to race out and read up on her history, but she’s such a cool design I’m glad I picked this figure up.

Friday, 8 May 2015

Wonder Woman ’77 Special #1

Wonder Woman ’77 Special
Year: 2015
Publisher: DC Comics
Release date: 7/5/15 (AU), 6/5/15 (US)

Pic from Comic Book Resources
With Wonder Woman’s cinematic debut coming next year in Batman vs Superman: Dawn of Justice, there’s been a bit of renewed interest in the character. Last year she got her own digital series with the fun-but-mixed quality Sensation Comics, in addition to her regular monthly title and Superman/Wonder Woman. I can only assume that some of these are selling reasonably well, as DC went on to announce that she would be getting another digital series with Wonder Woman ’77, based on the 1970s Lynda Carter TV series.

I haven’t watched all of the old TV show, but I’ve seen probably a season or so. It was great fun – full of action and campy without being too silly. It was a balance many have attempted but few have gotten right. So I was pretty excited to finally get the chance to read it! The first chapter (as DC likes to call its digital-only issues) was released back in January, but it never became available on Comixology or DC’s digital stores in Australia. I was fortunate enough to meet Nicola Scott on Free Comic Book Day this year and she was shocked to find out that this was the case. I’m not sure why it’s not being sold digitally; my guess it’s to do with the rights to the TV show being tied up in some kind of funny arrangement under Australian copyright law, but that’s just speculation.

Pic from
Anyway, this release compiles all six chapters thus far released into a nice format – it’s got the feel of a regular comic, but is a little thicker, and with a perfect-bound spine rather than a stapled one. Were this a higher-profile title, it probably would have had a “proper” trade paperback release, but I’m pretty happy to take what I can get. There are two covers available – one by Australia’s own Nicola Scott and the other by Phil Jimenez. I prefer the Nicola Scott one, but they’re both pretty good.
The first story arc (Chapters 1-3) is the better of the two – it embraces the 1970s aesthetic pretty well and goes for broke with most of the action taking place in a disco. The second one (Chapters 4-6) is fun too, but mostly for the little cameos and in-jokes it throws in there rather than the story itself. Those unfamiliar with Wonder Woman’s wider mythos will likely be a little baffled – a couple of references get pretty obscure.  

However, chapter 4 does take the cake for best art of the run. I think it’s a bit of a shame that Jason Badower didn’t draw ALL of the chapters. The other artists (Drew Johnson, Matt Haley and Richard Oritz) are good too, but they tend to alternate between drawing good likenesses of Lynda Carter and slipping into just “plain” Wonder Woman.

Though you can certainly criticise this book on the basis of plot, I think the pacing is good and it is an awful lot of fun. It’s not quite the glorious return I’d hoped for, but hopefully this will sell well enough for DC to commission more chapters and things will pick up over time. My main problem with the book is actually that a lot of the colouring looks too modern. Printing technology now is light years ahead of where it was in the 1970s, which is a good thing for the most part, but for such an intentionally retro project I think it would have been good to go all-out and style the whole thing to look like a 1970s comic. Hire Jose Luis Garcia-Lopez to do the artwork and then colour it with that “dotted” look. That’s the Wonder Woman ’77 book I’d really like to see!