Greetings, lovers of plastic! We’re moving over from Blog@ to the main site today to talk about some of the best comic-related action-figures of the year. We’ll focus on a couple of major lines and some of the big releases that could be found within, but we’re going to lead off with a preview of something that promises big things (again) in the future.
Preview: The return of Marvel Legends: In a few days, you’ll see my complete review (with photos) of the now-available Marvel Legends two-packs that consist of Deadpool/Warpath, Black Widow/Winter Soldier, and Hulk/Valkyrie. These ToysRUs exclusives feature some of the great sculpting and attention to detail that were a hallmark of the line in the heyday. Here’s hoping that the line can return to its greatness.
Now, sticking with Marvel for a moment . . .
Marvel Universe: This line continues to crank out the characters in impressive fashion. As a confirmed Marvel Legends fan, I was actually disappointed to see some Marvel stalwarts get the love in this format when they’d never made Legends status (Wrecking Crew, I’m looking at you). Nevertheless, these smaller scale figures have featured strong sculpts and strong paint work. The major drawback in the price; there are a number of outlets where you can’t find these for less than $9, and that’s too bad. These are quality figures, and a number of potential collectors might be scared away by that price tag. It probably also hasn’t helped retail to see so many pegs consumed by practically untouched Iron Man 2 figures in this scale. Granted, those are great figures, and it’s a kick to see the Guardsman show up, but $10 for a figure this size isn’t going to be an easy impulse buy for most parents, particularly when you have other, larger figures (like Toy Story 3 or Batman:Brave and the Bold) available for less money.
Toy Story 3: Okay, so comic-related by din of the Boom! series only, but worth a mention because they’re good solid toys. The line managed to also account for a number of background characters, including Twitch, Stretch, and Mr. Pricklepants. However, it’s a negative that the memorable Big Baby was consigned to a ToysRUs exclusive two-pack with a Buzz that most kids probably already had, making one of the more striking characters one that most people probably won’t get. Also, the lack of a Lotso for this line is criminal, particularly when he was available in both the small scale and Imaginext lines.
Batman: The Brave and the Bold: It’s starting to look like this line is going to end up in the Missed Opportunities file. New figure releases have slowed to a trickle. Though shoppers were greeted this year with the B’wana Beast figure (he’s now been done in FOUR lines/scales; amazing), many of the literally dozens of characters that appear on the show have gone unproduced. Even worse: no female characters. That’s particularly galling when you’ve had episodes where Huntress and Black Canary have had major involvement, to say nothing of the more recent introduction of Batgirl. Also, this line without Robin? Are you kidding?
DC Universe Classics: Hands down my winner for the year, DC Universe Classics put out a staggering amount of product. Four waves made it out this year (more if you include the Green Lantern Classics that have started showing up) in addition to the Green Lantern boxed set and store exclusives that included two-packs and repaints (not to mention the SDCC Plastic Man). Combine that with the fact that each wave assembles a Collect and Connect figure, and you’ve gotten an impressive sampling on the DCU in the past 12 months.
Overall, my favorite of the C+Cs is Ultra-Humanite. Finally, an action figure of the character in the style of his George Perez-drawn visage as featured in the classic confrontation between the JLA/JSA and the Secret Society of Super-Villains! Of the individual figures, I have to say that I love that there are Metal Men out there.
One last note: I think it’s safe to say that the figures that entered our house in the greatest numbers this year have to be . . . Star Wars Galactic Heroes. My boys LOVE these, and they’ve hit that line like a hammer. Then again, Super-Hero Squad has been fairly well-represented as well.
What say you, collectors? Have a favorite line I didn’t mention? What have you been picking up? What are you looking forward to in 2011? Marvel Legends? The promised Young Justice line? That Legion set? Speak!What caught your eye in 2010? What's catching your eye in 2011?