Throwback Thursday: Krull (1983)

“The Black Fortress…where does it rise?

My relationship with the 1983 film Krull is an odd one. I didn’t actually see the film when it was first released in theaters but my parents bought me the Atari 2600 game that tied into the film because I was enthralled with the movie. I also had a cousin who saw every single fantasy and science fiction film that hit theaters during those days and she bought me the Parker Brothers Krull card game because she knew that I would love it. Thanks to the video game, I had a basic understanding of the film’s plot. The card game featured some amazing artwork and made me long to see the film. For whatever reason, my parents didn’t take me to see the movie and when it was eventually released on VHS, I didn’t get to see it until I spent a summer at my sister’s old apartment in Alexandria in 1993. The local Blockbuster had a copy of the movie so I rented it and watched it over and over again.

I love this movie. Yes, I know that it isn’t necessarily the greatest film to ever hit celluloid, but there is something extremely appealing about this movie. It basically takes Star Wars, a film that fuses fantasy with science fiction elements, and leans harder on the fantasy aspects. There’s a battle in a swamp, an oppressive army of soldiers known as Slayers who have laser firing weapons, a Cyclops, a massive spider web, fire mares (more on this later), and a cast loaded with characters that all deserve their own action figure in my opinion.

In the film, Prince Colwyn (Ken Marshall) is about to marry the beautiful Princess Lyssa (Lysette Anthony) in order to unite their respective kingdoms in order to battle the invading Beast and his Slayer army (Slayerrrrrrrrrr!). Instead, the wedding is interrupted by the Slayers who kill Colwyn and Lyssa’s fathers, kidnap Lyssa, and cause general disarray. Colwyn manages to survive the attack and is aided by Ynyr (Freddie Jones). Ynyr tells Colwyn that the Beast can only be defeated by using the Glaive, an ancient and powerful weapon. Colwyn rounds up a few less than respectable outlaws to aid him on his quest, and the film plays out as a traditional fantasy questing film with a slight twist at the end. I won’t say what that twist is, but I will say that it sort of dismisses the necessity of the Glaive.

In any case, I love this film. It’s clunky but the music and special effects are very well done. The cast is loaded with popular British actors, some already established and others that would go on to bigger and better things. American Ken Marshall portrayed Colwyn and he has had a prolific career on television in guest starring roles. He also portrayed Marco Polo in the 1982 miniseries of the same name and guest starred on shows such as Star Trek: Deep Space Nine and Baywatch. Much like Marshall, English actress Lysette Anthony has had a long and successful career that saw her in many supporting and guest roles. Alun Armstrong portrayed the bandit named Torquil. His career includes roles in major films such as Sleepy Hollow, The Mummy Returns, Eragon, and Van Helsing. He has also had a very successful career on television. Bernard Bresslaw, who portrayed the Rell the Cyclops, was already well known as a member of the Carry On comedy team in Britain. He was no stranger to science fiction or fantasy, however, as he had already worked on Doctor Who.

The two actors that most viewers these days would recognize are Liam Neeson and Robbie Coltrane. Both of these actors had relatively small roles in Krull, but they would both go on to have massive careers, especially Neeson. Coltrane is probably best known for his work in the Harry Potter films as Hagrid and his work in James Bond films. Neeson has done everything from Star Wars: The Phantom Menace to the Taken franchise to cult films like Darkman and Disney films such as the Chronicles of Narnia series.

Like I said earlier, I loved this film entirely based on how much I loved the Parker Brothers card game and the Atari 2600 video game that I was given by family. The cards were amazing and the video game hooked me with the fire mares, horses that ran so fast that they would actually catch on fire and leave a trail of flames behind them. The Beast’s castle, which doubled as a dematerializing spaceship, would randomly appear across the surface of the planet and the only way that Colwyn and his friends could get to the castle before it moved again was by riding the insanely fast fire mares.

So is Krull worth a look? It is in my opinion. It’s not a brilliant film but it is a fun adventure to watch. Plus, it’s pretty cool to see Liam Neeson and Robbie Coltrane in two of their earliest roles. Give it a shot. I don’t think that you’ll regret it.

I want to give props to the Pop Ninja Podcast for their most recent episode that brought up Krull. That episode triggered so many memories for me that I had to blog about it. Be sure to check out their podcast wherever you listen to your podcasts. Thanks for reading my post. See you again real soon!

Hasbro Marvel Legends Series: Shang-Chi

Somewhere right now, Umma is asking Janet why she doesn’t have an action figure like Jung.

I love Kim’s Convenience. I love the characters and their stories and see parts of myself in some of the characters, especially Mr. Kim. When I heard that Simu Liu, who portrays Jung on the series, would be taking on the role of Shang-Chi in Marvel’s upcoming Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, I knew right away that I would be buying at least one of his action figures.

Well, I finally picked up Hasbro’s Marvel Legends Shang-Chi 6″ figure today and all I can say is that I love it. I don’t normally purchase many Marvel Legends figures because I’m more of a DC fan, but in the case of Shang-Chi, I decided to make an exception. The figure features the standard multi-point articulation of most of the other figures in the Legends line and comes with a Marvel’s Mr. Hyde Build-A-Figure piece (leg). He comes with three pairs of hands that are swappable and a bo staff.

The likeness to Simu Liu is wonderful. The articulation is somewhat stiff, but this actually comes in handy because you can pose the figure in a number of ways without the necessity of a base. The figure’s look is based upon Shang-Chi’s suit as seen in the film’s trailer. I’m curious to see if any other suits or variants will be released after the film hits theaters.

Other figures in the line include Wenwu, Xialing, Civil Warrior, Iron Man, and the Death Dealer. If you collect all of them, you’ll be able to build the aforementioned Mr. Hyde figure. Of the bunch that remain, I’ll probably cough up the money for the Shang-Chi film figures, especially the Death Dealer, who looks awesome on the screen and in figure form.

Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings is the first Marvel film that I’ve been excited about in a long time. I’ll be sure to review it once it comes out in theaters. Until then, thank you for reading my post. I’ll see all of you again real soon!

Marvel Sizzle Reel 2021

“We’re All Part Of One Big Family.”

With Stan Lee’s voice discussing how we are all one big family setting the tone, Marvel’s newest sizzle reel takes a look back at the films that have made the MCU so extremely popular, visits the defining “Avengers assemble” moment in Endgame in a crowded theater, and then goes into full promotional mode with a litany of upcoming films into May of 2023. Some of the films listed include the Black Widow solo film, long held prisoner by COVID-19, finally releasing in July, Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, Eternals, Spider-Man: No Way Home, and Black Panther: Wakanda Forever. There’s also a teaser of what looks to be the Fantastic Four logo.

You can see the video for yourself here:

It will be interesting to see how Marvel’s film success holds up considering the fact that the more mainstream and popular characters such as Captain America (Steve Rogers), Hulk, and Iron Man are out of the picture and more lesser known characters are having to carry the load. Sure, Black Widow, Spider-Man, Thor, and the Guardians of the Galaxy are still around, but can they keep the MCU on a successful path? I’m fully aware that Iron Man was a gamble before and that the GOTG have become much more popular since they arrived on the big screen, but will mainstream audiences pile into theaters in order to see the Eternals, a Black Panther film without Chadwick Boseman, and Simu Liu’s Shang-Chi?

I’m absolutely glad that Marvel is digging deeper with their films as we finally get to see if the writers can build up these lesser known characters without the opportunity to throw an Iron Man or a Thor into the film to drive ticket sales. I want characters like Shang-Chi and Shuri to flourish and become mainstream, but I want them to do so in excellent films with fresh stories. I know that fans of these characters from the written page will show up to support them, but will general audiences turn out for them?

I am well aware of the fact that my opinion of Marvel’s films so far isn’t a popular one. I’ve always held the belief that most of the MCU flicks are cookie-cutter films meant to set up the big payoff in the Avengers movies. As the years have passed and the wonder has worn off, I’ve come to the realization that of the four Avengers movies, only Infinity War stands out as a solid film. Age of Ultron was abysmal, The Avengers was only as good as it was because of the performance of Tom Hiddleston as Loki, and Endgame, despite all of the “shocking” moments, was nothing more than a few high points laced together to tug at hyped up emotions.

As far as the other films in the MCU so far are concerned, some of the best ones in my opinion were Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Doctor Strange, Iron Man, and Ant-Man. Some of the weakest of the bunch were Thor: Ragnarok, Captain America: Civil War, Thor: The Dark World, Captain Marvel, and Spider-Man: Far From Home. Yep, I’m pretty sure that more than half of the folks reading this right now disagree with me and that’s okay. One day I hope to compile a list of all of the MCU films and rank them from best to worst. That’s going to take a bit of time because I plan on watching each and every one of them again.

In any case, the sizzle reel is available above and I really hope that Marvel does a good job with the upcoming films. Are you excited for the new movies? Which films are you looking forward to seeing? Let me know in the comments. Also let me know just how right or wrong my opinion of the MCU is in the comments. Oh, and “You’re a DC fanboy” is not a constructive argument.

Thanks for checking out my post. I’ll be posting again real soon!

Dime Store Reads: Do Androids Dream Of Electric Sheep?

“The electric things have their life too.”

First published in the late 1960’s, Philip K. Dick’s Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? is an odd book that plays straight for the most part but wanders into disjointed realms (on purpose) at times. I picked this book up for three bucks at a local Dollar General store. Having heard about the book for years and both of the films that were inspired by it (Blade Runner (1982) and 2017’s Blade Runner 2049), I decided to see what all the fuss was about.

I’ve never seen either of the films that this book is based upon nor have I read the book until just recently. I have to admit that I really enjoyed the book, especially its dystopian setting and the bleakness of the entire read. The story focuses on a bounty hunter named Rick Deckard who is tasked with eliminating six android adversaries. The six androids are new Nexus-6 models that are almost impossible to distinguish from humans. The androids murdered their owners on Mars and escaped to Earth in the hopes of blending into society. As the story goes along, Deckard encounters an android that makes him question his motives for “retiring” the murderous models, teams up with a fellow bounty hunter that may or may not be an android himself, and goes on the hunt for a live animal for his wife, Iran.

Without giving too much away, I was very intrigued by the story involving Resch, the bounty hunter that begins to doubt his own humanity as a result of a massive fabrication made by the androids. When Deckard begins working with him, it gave me a lot of insight into Deckard’s true feelings. I also enjoyed the androids, particularly Pris Stratton and Luba Luft. Luft proves to be quite prepared to keep herself alive and she does a fine job of holding off Deckard for the most part. Pris uses a “chickenhead” named John Isidore to hide herself and two other androids. Isidore is called a chickenhead because that term is used to describe humans who have slowed mental capabilities or other deficiencies due to the effects of radiation following World War Terminus.

The story reveals how humans are losing their own humanity, resorting to following a religion known as Mercerism, which uses virtual reality to trigger empathy within people. It involves an old guy getting hammered by rocks and eventually leads to Deckard and Isidore both experiencing virtual reality bizarreness, but you’ll have to read the book to catch what’s happening and define it for yourself. Humans also use Penfield Mood Boxes to literally dial up an emotional state, encouragement, denial, and more. Again, this shows how humans are losing their humanity and, in reality, the androids are probably more human than….humans.

This book makes you think and I quite enjoyed reading it. Deckard isn’t necessarily the nicest of guys and I actually preferred the android moments more than his own. I recommend checking this book out. It’s definitely worth a read. It’s also convinced me to watch both of the Blade Runner flicks. When I do get a chance to see them, I’ll be sure to blog about them here.

Thanks for checking out my post. I’m currently reading a book about fan fiction therapy and…..it’s a task. I’ll be sure to let all of you know how good or bad it is very soon!

A New Marvel Film, Short Film Fun, And More…..

“Okay, see you…..in September!”

Today is Simu Liu’s birthday. Fans of Kim’s Convenience (available in the United States on Netflix) already know Liu as Jung, the elder Kim sibling who has a strained relationship with his father in the series. For the rest of the world, Marvel’s Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings will most likely be their introduction to the actor.

Simu Liu (rear, left) with the stellar cast of Kim’s Convenience. L to R: Andrea Bang, Paul Sun-Hyung Lee, Andrew Phung, Jean Yoon, and Nicole Power.

I can’t wait for this film to hit in September. Shang-Chi offers us a chance to see Marvel spread its wings a bit and take a chance on a character that few outside of the comic book shop have ever heard about in pop culture. I know that I’m in the minority when I say this, but Marvel has pretty much been on autopilot with their films, with strategic releases of lesser known character flicks like Captain Marvel, Ant-Man, and Black Panther book-ended by bigger films or with those characters introduced in movies anchored by characters like Captain America and Iron Man. Shang-Chi is pretty much walking into theaters solo, much like the first Iron Man flick did so many years ago. Hopefully Shang-Chi will breathe new life into a stale MCU. Be sure to check out the teaser trailer here.

In other news, I spent most of my Saturday in Sulphur, LA at the Henning Cultural Center. I attended the Calcasieu Parish Short Film Festival. I watched a ton of excellent short films and even got to assist with the awards ceremony at the end of the event. Kudos go out to Patrick Bennett, director of the festival, and Thom Trahan and Kat Godsey, executive director and assistant director, respectively, of the Brimstone Museum and Henning Cultural Center. Not only did they put on an excellent event, they did so without two important buildings. The Brimstone Museum was completely destroyed by Hurricane Laura last year and the annex building (which usually houses many of the events on site, including the film festival) received extensive damage. Neither were available to be used for the festival. The Henning House came out of Hurricane Laura in relatively good shape, and was the sole building available for use. It proved to be a great setting for the event.

In other news, CONVENTIONS ARE MAKING A COMEBACK! I’m hoping to attend Day Ga Com in May this year. If I do get to go, it will be the first convention that I’ve attended in over a year! The guest list looks pretty awesome and they’re going to have wrestling going on as well, so I really want to go. Louisiana Comic Con is returning in August as well. Earlier this year I was offered the chance to put on a panel for a virtual version of CyPhaCon, but due to having to deal with the loss of my home during Hurricane Laura and a ton of other things, I did not turn in a panel for the event. I didn’t feel that I had enough time to prepare something that would be enjoyable for virtual attendees. That being said, I did turn in a panel for Louisiana Comic Con and I hope that my panel is selected for presentation.

Louisiana Comic Con has released the names of a few of this year’s guests, my favorite being Doug Jones of Hellboy and Star Trek Discovery fame. He’s been in a ton of films and television shows including Pan’s Labyrinth, Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer, and Hocus Pocus. Plus, he’s a great guest. I met him a few years ago at a Wizard World show in New Orleans.

In other news, I’m currently reading Do Androids Dream Of Electric Sheep? by Philip K. Dick. Look for my review in the near future. It will be a part of my Dimestore Reads series. Dollar General has surprised me with some of their book selections lately, and there are a couple more reviews around the corner from that store coming soon!

Thanks for checking out this quick post. More toy, film, and book reviews are on the way!

Star Wars The Black Series: Bo-Katan Kryze

“…Mandalorians are stronger together.”

I really like Hasbro’s The Black Series line of Star Wars figures. I’ve purchased quite a few over the years but always try to limit myself to characters that I love and/or figures that look wonderful. Recently, Hasbro has unleashed a number of new figures on collectors, many of which come from Disney’s wildly successful The Mandalorian series. To be quite honest, there aren’t many of the figures from this series that I want to purchase, but one figure, Bo-Katan Kryze, caught my eye.

Why did I choose to pick up a Bo-Katan figure? For the simple fact that I really enjoyed the character on Star Wars: The Clone Wars and was glad to see her return in a live action series. Katee Sackhoff’s portrayal of the character on the animated Clone Wars was flawless, and her live action delivery very good as well. I’d love to meet her one day and get a photo and autograph.

As far as the figure goes, it’s excellent. Sackhoff’s likeness is captured extremely well and her armor looks wonderful. The figure comes with Bo-Katan’s iconic Nite Owl helmet, complete with Mandalorian markings and movable rangefinder, and her armor is scored by scratches, burns, and other battle damage marks.

The helmet is removable and I have had a long debate as to whether or not I should display the figure with or without her helmet. Her included blasters can be holstered or held in her hands. Her jetpack looks great as well.

The figure features the standard multi points of articulation that allow her to be posed in a number of ways. Unlike many other armored figures in the line over the years, Bo-Katan’s articulation isn’t hindered too much by shoulder pads, shin guards, or anything else.

I don’t plan on getting any of the other figures from The Mandalorian at the moment. It’s nothing personal, I just don’t have the shelf space or funds to justify buying tons of figures that I really don’t want. Bo-Katan is a must-have for fans of the character, though. It’s a great figure in a very long line of excellent figures released by Hasbro.

Thanks for reading my post. I have to apologize for the somewhat blurry photos. I recently received a new ring light and this was my first attempt at using it. I hope to have a new phone in the next few months and hopefully that will remedy my blurry photos. Oh, and if you’re a photographer, I’d love to hear some tips on using a phone camera for pictures. I know that it’s not ideal, but it’s all that I have at the moment.

Godzilla Vs. Kong

“Hell….It Goes To Hell.”

Yep, things go to a special kind of Hell during Godzilla Vs. Kong (2021). Don’t get my words wrong here, I’m quoting a humorous part of the film in my heading, but a lot of things do fall apart, get smashed, burn, get hacked up, and ripped to shreds throughout this film. It’s exactly what one would expect from an all-out brawl featuring the two most famous titans in monster history. This film was loud, fun, stupid at times, and everything you need for a couple of hours to get away from reality.

In the movie, something provokes Godzilla to attack Apex Cybernetics in Pensacola, FL. The attack, which catches the entire world off guard, triggers in motion a series of events that leads to Apex sending an elite squad and King Kong on a journey to find a power source strong enough to use in a weapon to defeat Godzilla. The big lizard has other plans, though, and tries to stop King Kong thanks to an apparent longstanding rivalry between the families of the titans. The duo square off in two massive battles, but something happens during the second battle that throws everybody’s (titan and human) plans into disarray. When the dust settles, who is the final monster standing? Who is the real enemy? You’ll have to watch Godzilla Vs. Kong in order to find out.

Below is a spoiler-fueled review, so stop right now if you haven’t seen the film yet. If you have seen the film, carry on and be sure to tell me in the comments what you thought of the film. For those of you who haven’t seen it, my recommendation is to see this film, preferably on

This movie was fun. It’s loaded with a ton of Easter eggs that call back to previous films in the franchise and the classic 1962 film, King Kong Vs. Godzilla. The movie is essentially three slug fests sprinkled with a minute amount of human interactions and plenty of action and new creatures. If you’ve seen the film, you know that it can be extremely loud, extremely dumb, and extremely exciting, sometimes all at the same time.

The film features some very solid special effects. I especially loved the battle in Hong Kong. The neon city looks brilliant and is the perfect playground for two (and eventually three) titans to pound one another in while the humans looked on helplessly. The first battle between Godzilla and King Kong was more fun than I was expecting and the second battle, especially the grand finale where King Kong gets to show off his fury, blew me away. The big face off between King Kong and Mechagodzilla had me cheering out loud. I loved seeing King Kong beat down the giant robot.

The adventure to and in Hollow Earth was the low point for me in the film. I enjoyed it, I just wish that it would have been edited down just a little bit because despite all of the amazing creatures, the fight with the warbats, and the battle in Kong’s throne room, the sequence felt a little out of place. I do look forward to more films that take place in Hollow Earth and I hope that Godzilla finds his way down there eventually as well.

If anybody dislikes this film because the science is unbelievable, they are an idiot. If you have to justify the science in a movie that features giant monsters and robots, worlds within our planet’s core, or a big lizard can nuke breathe his way to the center of the planet, you have missed the point of a film that features such things. This movie is meant to be fun and that is exactly what it is from beginning to end. The science doesn’t have to make sense. The plot just needs enough meat on its bones to bring the two titans together so that we can watch them try to destroy one another. Heck, you could even argue that Mechagodzilla could be tossed into the next film instead of being used so quickly in this one.

As far as the human cast goes, they did a good enough job to get us to fight night. The standouts for me were Kaylee Hottle as Jia, Kong’s deaf companion who gets him on a level that no other human does, and Brian Tyree Henry as Bernie, the podcasting conspiracy theory Apex employee who figures out (with a little help from Madison and Joshua), that Apex is planning to unleash Mechagodzilla on the world and are using Kong in order to get the power that they need to pump the metal monster full of power. I enjoyed seeing Madison (Millie Bobbie Brown) and her dad, Dr. Mark Russell (Kyle Chandler) return even though they weren’t necessarily needed to make the movie work. Rebecca Hall, Shun Oguri, Julian Dennison, Eiza Gonzalez, and the rest of the cast also did great jobs.

I loved the “big axe down the throat of Godzilla” homage to a similar scene involving Kong jamming a tree down Godzilla’s throat in the original film featuring this duo. I also loved how at one point in the Hong Kong battle that the two titans were moving about the buildings in a way very reminiscent of the classic Godzilla films featuring miniatures of the city. I don’t know if that particular moment was intentional, but it reminded me of those old movies. Other highlights included Mechagodzilla sneaking up behind Walter Simmons (Demian Bichir) and killing him mid epic speech, Kong’s literal crushing of Simmons’ daughter (Gonzalez) and her crew mates aboard one of the H.E.A.V. vehicles, and Mechagodzilla splitting one of the Skullcrawlers in half. I loved the use of the Godzilla Spike Axe by Kong, the atomic breath of Godzilla boring through the planet, and so much more.

Was the film perfect? Absolutely not, but it was a ton of fun. It’s exactly what you’d want from a film featuring giant kaiju that blast radiation and swing giant power axes at one another. The action was fast and loud and in the end nobody really cared about any of the humans in the film. People watch this movie to see the big guys beat each other up and this film delivers that in spades.

I hope that you enjoyed my review of this film. Tell me your thoughts on the movie in the comment section. What did you like? What did you hate? Are you ready for another monster movie? Thanks for reading my post. See you again real soon.

McFarlane Toys DC Multiverse Batman Unmasked

“I’m a man who has too much blood on his hands to be called good.”

The Flashpoint Paradox is one of my favorite stories in comics. From the battle between Aquaman and Wonder Woman to the great hidden mystery of Kal-El, this story has some amazing alternate versions of some of DC’s greatest heroes and villains. My favorite character in the whole story is the alternate Batman, who happens to be Thomas Wayne in this universe. I won’t go into much detail as to why Thomas Wayne is Batman and not Bruce, but just know that Martha Wayne has taken on a new persona in this world as well. If you haven’t read the Flashpoint Paradox, I highly recommend checking it out.

When I first learned that McFarlane released a Thomas Wayne Batman in their DC Multiverse line, I became extremely excited. Unfortunately for me I learned about the character too late and those wonderful scalpers already scooped up most of the figures. The asking price was well out of my range, so I decided to play the waiting game. Thankfully I learned that McFarlane would be releasing another version of the Thomas Wayne Batman. This one would be unmasked and a Target Exclusive. I found out the release date and patiently waited to begin my hunt.

To my surprise, I managed to find the figure over the past weekend. He was the only one on the peg and the included sword was slightly bent, but I couldn’t pass up the chance to finally get my hands on a quality figure of my favorite Batman. I scooped him up like an excited child.

When I opened the figure, the first thing that I noticed was its bulk. Much like his comic book counterpart, this Thomas Wayne figure is big, grizzled, and war-weary. The mold looks excellent and just like all of the other figures in this line, it comes with twenty-two points of articulation.

The figure also comes with a simple display base, a collector card, two guns that can be holstered, and the Amazonian sword that Thomas Wayne wields at a climactic moment in the Flashpoint tale. The sword that I purchased was slightly bent but is made of very soft plastic, so with a little bit of motivation I managed to straighten it to a more suitable looking form. It doesn’t sit very well in Batman’s hands. In fact, it’s extremely loose fitting. The guns fit well in their holsters but don’t fit very well at all in Batman’s hands despite the hands being shaped specifically with Thomas’ trigger finger ready to fire on both hands. I wish that the figure had come with at least one other set of hands.

While I love the look of this figure, I can’t really say that it’s one of my favorite McFarlane figures. I don’t like the loose fitting sword or the ill fitting guns. I do like the mold of the figure which features some great details including the crumpled cowl on the top of the cape and the horned shoulders that are a signature design of Thomas Wayne’s costume. If you’re a fan of the character like I am, it’s definitely worth a purchase but if you’d rather have a Bruce Wayne Batman in your collection, save your money for one of those many versions of the character.

Thanks for checking out my post. As much as I love Thomas Wayne’s Batman, this figure is somewhat lacking. If you can find him, Spin Master has a four inch version of the figure (minus the shoulder horns) that looks pretty good and costs about fifteen dollars less at retail price.

Spin Master Bat Cycles

A comparison of two versions of the same vehicle.

Spin Master released an awesome four inch Batman Batcycle set. Part of the Creature Chaos series in the Caped Crusader line, the set featured an exclusive Batman figure and a Clayface figure. There are still a few of these sets left in the wild at brick-and-mortar stores, many of which I’ve seen on clearance, so if you don’t have this set yet, take a chance at a few retailers before ordering it on the web.

I managed to find the Batman vs. Clayface set on clearance at a local Target and scooped it up. About one week later, I managed to snag Spin Master’s 2021 Target Exclusive release of the same bike featuring the Caped Crusader line’s original Joker and an exclusive Batman figure. I picked it up on sale. Both sets feature the same bike with a different paint scheme. Despite this, both bikes are worth picking up as they both look wonderful and the exclusive figures look great as well.

The standout figure in this set is the Batman that comes with Clayface. It features an amazing sculpt and Batman’s mask covers his entire face. The dark colors of the figure set him apart from the rest of Spin Master’s brightly colored line and the fully covered face adds a bit of sinister mystery to the figure and the line as a whole. A close second is the Target Exclusive Batman with a more traditional blue look with silver applications and a bright yellow utility belt.

The villains look wonderful as well. I was glad to see the traditional Joker figure in the Target set. I missed him in the original release. Clayface looks awesome and is the second largest figure in the line. Only Bane appears to be larger so far. Both villains are a great addition to anybody’s collection.

If there’s any drawback with these sets, it’s the fact that the claw accessories that are included are pretty lame. If you’ve read any of my other reviews of Spin Master toys, you know that I’m not a fan of most of the included accessories, but I realize that kids will probably love them. They’ll definitely love the bikes and adult collectors will fall for the figures.

Thanks for reading my brief review of both of these sets. The bikes are the exact same molds with different paint, but the figures are what make these sets worth picking up. Let me know what you think about these sets in the comments section!

NECA Defenders of the Earth: The Phantom

“The Beasts Call Him Brother, The Ghost Who Walks!”

I’ve been waiting a long time for a quality figure of The Phantom to hit store shelves. Those who have been following my blog know that I fell in love with the character years ago while reading the comic strips and watching the Billy Zane 90’s film as well as the classic serial featuring Tom Tyler in the iconic role. Unfortunately, finding an action figure of The Phantom that was both reasonably priced and looked good was difficult. Thanks to NECA, my wait for a good figure is over. They recently began releasing their Defenders of the Earth action figure line and while it’s not necessarily the classic version of the character that I love, it’s close enough to please me.

Released in 1986, Defenders of the Earth took three of King Features Syndicate’s most popular characters, The Phantom, Flash Gordon, and Mandrake the Magician, and teamed them up to do battle against Flash’s greatest enemy, Ming The Merciless, in a futuristic vision of 2015. Along for the ride was Lothar, Mandrake’s right hand man, and the children of all of the heroes (because bringing the kids along for battling a power hungry tyrant is sooooo safe).

So far NECA has released The Phantom, Flash Gordon, and Ming the Merciless. Originally available only at Walmart, the figures are now available in wide release. That being said, I’ve only found all three of the figures at one Walmart in my area. I found one lonely Ming figure at another Walmart and haven’t seen any figures at any other locations. Mandrake and Lothar will be released later. The packaging for the figures emulates the classic Galoob line from the 80’s and brought a ton of memories back for me.

I like this figure for the most part. It features over twenty points of articulation (although most of them are extremely stiff) and comes with a ton of accessories. The Phantom’s little sidekick from the cartoon, Zuffy, is included and he features quite a few points of articulation as well. Accessories include a blaster, two blaster “firing” attachments, one ring “power” attachment, three swappable right hands and one left hand. I really wish that there were two right hands and two left hands, but we get three righties instead.

The figure is beautifully sculpted but it does have a few flaws. For starters, the aforementioned stiff articulation makes me a little hesitant to pose the figure too much. I currently have him standing with his right fist in the air and that’s probably how he’ll stay for the time being. Another major flaw is that the figure appears to have been cast in purple plastic and the hands, boots, belt, face, and muscle shading was painted on after the casting. That’s fine, but as soon as I took the figure out of the box, the left hand (you know, the only left hand) had paint chip off at the wrist and the paint on the left ankle POA also chipped giving me two bright purple blemishes on an otherwise perfectly painted figure.

I love the Phantom and really want to love this figure. However, at a retail price of around thirty bucks, I’d hope for better paint and looser articulation. My advice is that if you do buy this figure or any other figure in the line, keep it in the box. I will say that the Flash figure looks great and the Ming figure’s details are simply beautiful. I’ll probably get both of them sooner or later and I can’t wait for Mandrake and Lothar to hit store shelves. These seven inch figures look great, but McFarlane’s current DC Multiverse line is cheaper, just as beautiful, and features easier to move articulation. The Defenders figures are better than most of the Star Wars Black Series line in my opinion.

Thanks for checking out my post. Let me know what you think about this line of figures in the comments section. Do you own any of these figures? How about the McFarlene figures? Drop me a comment!