Wednesday (Netflix, 2022)

“I prefer spooky.”

Despite plenty of callbacks to the original series and films and nods to everything from Edgar Allan Poe to the Headless Horseman, Netflix’s latest series, Wednesday, is much, much more than a nostalgic trip for fans of all things creepy and kooky. Yep, Wednesday is one of the best new series to make its gloomy way to the streamer. I watched the entire series over the weekend and I absolutely loved it.

While catching the many references and Easter eggs in the series was fun, the actual plot of the show was much more interesting. In the series, Wednesday (Jenna Ortega) is sent to Nevermore Academy, a school for outcasts (and the alma mater of her parents), after getting booted from too many public schools. As the days pass at the academy, Wednesday is pulled into an investigation involving a series of grisly murders outside of the school and nearby town of Jericho and also discovers that her father might be a murderer. She forms an uneasy bond with the local sheriff, Donovan Galpin (Jamie McShane), as they attempt to uncover the truth about the brutal murders. She also develops a relationship with the sheriff’s son, Tyler (Hunter Doohan). At the school, Wednesday locks horns with Principal Weem (Gwendoline Christie), befriends the “normie” teacher, Ms. Thornhill (Christina Ricci), and deals with the day to day life of a typical teen in school (but with werewolves, vampires, sirens, and more).

The series has a very “Hogwarts meets Sherlock Holmes” vibe to it. Although the kids at the school aren’t divided into houses like Ravenclaw and Slytherin, they definitely have cliques. There are also a lot of stereotypical characters in the school that all prove to be more than their stereotypes in the long run. There’s Joy Sunday as Bianca Barclay, a siren who happens to be the most popular girl in school. Then you have Percy Hynes White as Xavier Thorpe, the angst-ridden artsy heartthrob who has the ability to bring his paintings to life, some of which can be quite violent. The show also has the nerdy loser with a heart of gold, Eugene Otinger (Moosa Mostafa), who really loves bees and is the lone member of the school’s beekeeping club, the Nevermore Hummers, until Wednesday joins up with him. Last but not least we have the quirky remote and ultimately best friend of Wednesday, Enid Sinclair. Enid is played by Emma Myers and she is the polar opposite of Wednesday. She’s a werewolf who has yet to change who loves bright colors, pop music, and pretty much any and everything that Wednesday despises.

Of course, no series about one member of the Addams family would be complete without at least an occasional appearance by the rest of the gang. Joining Guzman and Catherine Zeta-Jones are Isaac Ordonez as Pugsley, Fred Armisen as Uncle Fester, and George Burcea as Lurch. All of them have fairly limited time on the screen, especially Lurch, but the series manages to have some of its most touching moments with these characters. Specifically, Wednesday is extremely protective of her younger brother, Pugsley, and the duo share a very touching moment late in the series.

Perhaps the biggest star of the series outside of Wednesday is, at least in my opinion, Thing. Yes, Thing is just a hand but he manages to steal nearly ever scene that he appears in throughout the series. Thing is extremely expressive and communicates his messages to the rest of the characters (and the audience) without saying a word. He’s portrayed by Victor Dorobantu, a magician, and he is essentially Wednesday’s right hand man (pun intended) throughout the series. Dorobantu’s performance is amazing and almost moved me to tears.

All of the cast is strong but Jenna Ortega blew me away with her portrayal of Wednesday. Her emotions are revealed in subtle movements and glances. Gwendoline Christie is another favorite of mine in the series as is Jamie McShane. Along with those that I’ve already mentioned, the rest of the cast includes Riki Lindhome as Dr. Kinbott, the town therapist, Tommie Earl Jenkins as Mayor Noble Walker, William Houston as Crackstone, a pivotal figure in the history of Jericho who plays a key role in the series, Georgie Farmer as Ajax, a student at Nevermore who happens to be a gorgon, and Calum Ross as Rowan, a student at Nevermore with telekinetic powers.

This series is surprisingly heartwarming. Tim Burton, who directed the first four episodes and executive produced, definitely has his stamp on the series but it isn’t as obvious as it has been throughout the rest of his projects. That’s a good thing in my book as I don’t immediately think, “Oh, this is a Tim Burton project,” right off the bat. I simply watched the series as it was and enjoyed it. I believe that you’ll enjoy it as well.

I’m sure that Wednesday has something for everyone. There’s mystery, suspense, a little bit of romance, and Pilgrims! This is a fun series and I absolutely love it. If you haven’t watched the series yet, give it a shot.

Thanks for checking out my post. Let me know what you thought of this series in the comments section. See you real soon!

McFarlane Toys DC Universe Infinite Frontier Robin (2022)

Heir To The Demon Throne!

Swooping in with all of the cocky style expected of him, Robin (Damian Wayne) from DC’s Infinite Frontier Future State story arc has arrived with his own action figure! There’s also a Gold Label Unmasked version sold exclusively on the McFarlane Toys website and on a few of those pesky scalper sites as well. As much as I love Batman, Robin is definitely starting to make a dent in my DC Comics figure and comic book collection. In fact, I probably have more Robin figures, books, and statues than I have of any other DC character except for Batman. In any case, let’s take a look at this great figure!

Robin comes with the standard collector card and base as well as a lone accessory, his sword. The sword looks great and easily fits into Robin’s right hand. He features a flowing black cape with a yellow interior, grey high tops with green laces and faded red soles, and his suit is primarily grey with faded red trim. His utility belt is lined with silvery white snapped pockets.

I really love the attention to detail on this figure. His shoes are a particularly cool highlight and I love the grid-like look of his shirt and pants. I have to be honest and say that this particular outfit is one of my least favorite Robin suits from the comics, but I do like it on this figure. Robin is also very poseable with only minor limitations at the shoulder (as always seems the case with McFarlane’s DC figures). He’s also about an inch and a half shorter than other figures in this line in order to maintain scale. That doesn’t bother me but I did want to mention it for collectors who might be curious about the scale.

This is a pretty brief review but I have very few complaints about this figure. He looks great, has solid articulation, and stands on my shelf with ease. I definitely recommend picking up this figure, especially if you are a Robin fan!

Thanks for checking out my review. See you again soon!

The Year Of KISS: Psycho Circus (1998)

“I wanna leave but I can’t get away….”

With the recording of Carnival Of Souls: The Final Sessions all but forgotten, KISS rode a wave of nostalgia that started in 1995 with the reuniting of the original band on MTV Unplugged. KISS was once again at the top of the world, as the original members went on a reunion tour that ran through 1996 and 1997. Intent on staying at the top, KISS headed into the studio to record their first new studio album with all four of the band’s original members…..sort of. Recording for Psycho Circus began in January of 1998 and would last until April of that year. Although it was promoted as the first album to feature Paul Stanley, Peter Criss, Ace Frehley, and Gene Simmons together since Dynasty (1979), Criss and Frehley’s images were used much more than their actual musical abilities.

The album was released in September of 1998 to much success. It’s supporting tour, the Psycho Circus World Tour, also proved to be very popular with fans. A massive onslaught of promotions were put into action to pump up the reunited band’s image and tons of gimmicks were used on the tour, with music videos, and with the album itself. It was a lot like KISS’ gimmicks in the 70’s but on a much bigger scale. Some of the more notable things used by KISS included a 3-D music video for the title track, 3-D sequences on the supporting tour, and multiple versions of the album including a Japanese release with pop-up images and a lenticular version (the version that I personally own).

Screen cap from the Psycho Circus video.

The album featured ten tracks with one bonus track on the Japanese release. Three singles were officially released and a fourth one (I Finally Found My Way) was released as a promotional single. The first single, Psycho Circus, peaked at #1 on the Billboard Mainstream Rock Chart and hit the top ten lists of four different countries. We Are One, the second single, topped out at #18 on the Norwegian charts but failed to chart in the United States. The final single, You Wanted The Best, reached #22 on the Billboard Mainstream Rock Chart. The album debuted at #3 on the Billboard 200, one of KISS’ best album debuts.

Track Listing:

  1. Psycho Circus (Single)
  2. Within
  3. I Pledge Allegiance To The State Of Rock & Roll
  4. Into The Void
  5. We Are One (Single)
  6. You Wanted The Best (Single)
  7. Raise Your Glasses
  8. I Finally Found My Way
  9. Dreamin’
  10. Journey Of 1,000 Years

Personnel: Paul Stanley (lead and backing vocals, guitars, bass), Gene Simmons (lead and backing vocals, bass), Ace Frehley (lead and backing vocals, lead guitar on Into The Void and You Wanted The Best), Peter Criss (lead and backing vocals, drums on Into The Void), Kevin Valentine (all other drums), Tommy Thayer (all other lead guitars except where noted), Bruce Kulick (lead guitars on Within and additional guitars), Shelly Berg (piano, orchestrations), Bob Ezrin (Fender Rhodes piano)

As you can tell from the personnel list, the contributions of Ace Frehley and Peter Criss were limited. Criss only played drums on one track and Frehley only played lead guitar on two tracks. In fact, only Into The Void (written by Frehley and Karl Cochran) features all four members performing together. Paul sang lead on four tracks. Gene sang lead on three tracks. Both Ace and Peter sang lead vocals on one track each. All four members traded off lead vocals for You Wanted The Best. Bruce Fairbairn produced the album. Stanley had five co-writing credits. Simmons had four writing credits. Frehley had one co-writing credit. Bruce Kulick, Holly Knight, Karl Cochran, and Bob Ezrin all had one co-writing credit and Curtis Cuomo had two.

I really enjoyed this album. It was the second album that I purchased from the band on its initial release. A friend of mine actually let me borrow his copy (as my copy of Hot In The Shade was gathering dust) and it re-ignited the spark for my interest in the group. In fact, you could say that Psycho Circus pushed me over the edge into being a full-fledged fan of the group. I love Into The Void. It’s my favorite track on the album. A very close second is Psycho Circus. You Wanted The Best and Within are two other tracks that I really enjoy. Even though most of the tracks aren’t truly the “original” KISS, they are still great tracks with strong lyrics (a weak spot for KISS in my opinion) and a massive sound. The only real clunker for me was I Finally Found My Way. To me it completely derails the pounding sound of the rest of the album.

Naysayers dislike the album because it isn’t “really KISS” and that’s a shame because this album is a really strong rock record. It’s not as good as Revenge or Creatures Of The Night, but it can hold its own against anything else that the band put out in the 1980’s and 90’s. It was great to see the original members back together again and up to their old tricks on the stage. Ace would eventually leave the group for good in early 2002 and was replaced by Tommy Thayer (in full Spaceman costume and face paint). Peter Criss would leave in 2001, return in 2002, and leave again for good in 2004. He was replaced by Eric Singer (in full Catman costume and makeup) on all three occasions. The addition of Thayer and Singer in costume was controversial, but fans old and new continued (and still continue) to support the band. In 2009, eleven years after the release of Psycho Circus, KISS would release their first album of new material featuring the so-called imposters, Sonic Boom. I’ll take a look at that album and its follow-up, Monster, next month to finish off The Year Of KISS!

Thanks for checking out my post! I’ll see you again real soon!

The Loyal Subjects BST AXN KISS “The Starchild”

“I’m the King of the Night Time world!”

After dragging their feet for what seemed like a lifetime, Walmart finally started putting The Loyal Subjects BST AXN The Starchild figures on the shelves in my region. Why do I say my “region?” Because I had to drive three and a half hours from my home in order to find a Paul “Starchild” Stanley action figure on the shelf. To this day I still haven’t seen a Peter “Catman” Criss figure yet, but I’m hoping that one will eventually pop up in my area. It’s been over a year since my last BST AXN KISS figure review (Ace in September of 2021) and there was only a two month difference between that figure and the first KISS figure released (I reviewed Gene in July of 2021), so waiting for Paul to show up has really tested my patience.

So was the figure worth the wait? Yes and no. The sculpt is amazing and is probably the best looking of the three figures that I’ve managed to acquire. The figure’s look is based upon Paul’s 1976 Destroyer tour costume. Sticklers will notice that his boots are silver-tipped, which makes them the second pair of boots that he wore on the tour. The originals were from the previous tour and painted completely black. The costume also features what appears to be either a black feather boa or collar and two wrist pieces of similar texture. I was an infant for the Destroyer tour, so I’m not one hundred percent sure if Paul ever wore anything like this but in all of the photos I’ve seen, he doesn’t wear either the boa or the feathered wrist pieces. Sure, he has worn jackets and armbands with feathers off and on in different tours (and even had a long jacket for the Destroyer tour with feathers), but nothing like this costume suggests.

The figure comes with a BST AXN sticker, two extra pairs of hands (for a total of three pairs), a mic stand, and two of Paul’s guitars. The first guitar is the beautiful Ibanez PS10, the guitar that would be morphed over the years into numerous looks, my favorite being the PS1CM (Cracked Mirror). The second guitar is Paul’s modified Gibson Flying V. Both guitars, it should be noted, feature the correct strap (something The Loyal Subjects missed on Ace’s guitars). The mic stand is the same one offered with Gene and Ace and it appears to be to short for all of them.

The box boasts of thirty-one points of articulation but I can’t find them all. This figure is closer in accuracy to the twenty-two POA mentioned on the Ace and Gene figures. Paul’s head is severely limited due to his mass of hair. His shoulders don’t move at all which is ridiculous in my opinion. He does have swivel biceps, three POA at each elbow, upper and lower torso joints, wrist joints, hip and thigh joints, and foot and knee joints. The lack of movement at the shoulders and limited head swivel makes Paul difficult to put in anything more than basic poses. It also makes his guitar awkward looking in his hands.

The likeness is okay and both of the photos on the box are actually from the Destroyer tour. I also like the fact that Paul’s necklace is free floating on his hairy chest, so you can shift it around for poses. The interior of the box can be removed to make a cool diorama for the figure as well. I’ll most likely keep this figure boxed up like the other figures in this line, as they just don’t have the poseability that I want to display them.

Thanks for checking out my review. If and when I get my claws on a Peter Criss figure, I’ll be sure to review him as well. All three of the figures look great in their boxes and that’s most likely where they will stay. The Loyal Subjects know how to do packaging. I just with that these figures had better articulation.

See you again real soon!

McFarlane Toys DC Multiverse Talon (2022)

“He doesn’t have a name. Men have names, and he isn’t a man.”

The sinister assassin that does the dirty work for the Court of Owls in Gotham City comes to life in McFarlane Toys’ DC Multiverse Talon. Talon is one of my favorite recent Batman villains and I am glad to finally have a seven inch version of the character in my collection. I also have one of the Spin Master four inch figures but this bad boy from McFarlane is definitely an upgrade. The figure is based upon the New 52 William Cobb version of the character. Let’s hope that more versions, especially Calvin Rose, see the light of day.

The figure comes with a stand, two daggers, two swords, a sheath for the swords, and a collector card. The stand and card are standards of all figures in this line. The daggers look great and fit nicely in Talon’s hands, but there’s no place to store them on the figure, so they will perpetually be held by Cobb until I find a place to store them. Thankfully the sheath that attaches to Talon’s back holds both swords quite well. The sheath has two slits in it that allow you to slide the swords in place. The sheath does have a tendency to pop off of Cobb’s back, so once you get it in place, lock the figure down in a pose and he should display quite nicely.

Posing the figure is a bit awkward at times. His articulation is surprisingly limited in the arms and with the sheath on his back (at least in my case) he tends to be a bit top heavy. His mask also greatly limits his head movement. He looks great, however. There’s a ton of attention given to his gloves, knife bandolier, claw, throwing darts, and his amazing mask. The mask, as fans already know, has a bit of a Steampunk motif going on with it. The “owl horns” are soft plastic and move with just the slightest touch. The rest of the figure is built solid.

Talon is a beautiful figure and I love the details in him. Despite somewhat stiff joints, this is a great addition to my collection. I’m sure that any fan of Talon would be pleased with this figure.

Thanks for reading my post. See you again soon!

The Year Of KISS: Carnival Of Souls: The Final Sessions (1997)

“Faded smiles behind dark shades….”

Although 1992’s Revenge was positively received, KISS was starting to fade as a mainstream band. By the time the group returned to the studio to record their next album, Carnival Of Souls: The Final Sessions, the music that they inspired and ultimately embraced in the 1980’s, glam and pop rock, was all but dead thanks to the newest sensation, grunge. As KISS has been known to do over the years, they attempted to morph into their own version of grunge with Carnival Of Souls. The results were….mixed.

KISS started recording Carnival in November of 1995, just a few months after their appearance on the wildly popular MTV acoustic series, Unplugged. It was also on Unplugged where Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley reunited with founding members Peter Criss and Ace Frehley. The reunion proved to be popular with fans and would ultimately culminate in the band’s Reunion Tour. Both of the other members of the band at the time, lead guitarist Bruce Kulick and drummer Eric Singer, were unaware of the reunion plans and weren’t told about them until just before the Unplugged performance according to interviews with both Kulick and Singer over the years. KISS finished production of Carnival in February of 1996 but due to the popularity of the return of Ace and Peter, Gene and Paul pursued the Reunion tour with them and shelved the album. The band’s Unplugged performance would be released on compact disc and on DVD in March of 1996 while Carnival collected dust.

Despite the album being shut down so that the Reunion Tour could go ahead, KISS fans managed to get their hands on bootleg copies and began sharing it. This move forced KISS’ hand and they eventually released the album with little fanfare and no supporting tour in October of 1997. Critics attacked the album for being a desperate attempt by KISS to remain relevant. Others said that it was just one more in a long line of KISS albums that tried to emulate popular trends of the time. In this case the trend was grunge and while the band gave their best effort, the album just couldn’t find the right audience.

The album featured twelve tracks. It is the longest album by the band despite having fewer songs than Hot In The Shade. Only one song was under four minutes long and five tracks were over five minutes long. The lone single, Jungle, clocked in at 6:49. It peaked at #7 on the Mainstream Rock Tracks chart but failed to make an impact elsewhere. The album broke the top twenty in Finland and reached #27 on the US Billboard 200.

Track Listing:

  1. Hate
  2. Rain
  3. Master & Slave
  4. Childhood’s End
  5. I Will Be There
  6. Jungle (Single)
  7. In My Head
  8. It Never Goes Away
  9. Seduction of the Innocent
  10. I Confess
  11. In The Mirror
  12. I Walk Alone

Personnel: Paul Stanley (lead and backing vocals, rhythm guitar, 12 string acoustic guitar, ukulele), Bruce Kulick (lead and backing vocals, lead guitars, some acoustic and bass guitar), Gene Simmons (lead and backing vocals, bass), Eric Singer (drums, backing vocals)

Additional personnel included Carole Keiser, the Crossroads Boys Choir, and Nick Simmons (Gene’s son) on backing vocals on Childhood’s End. Songwriting credits include six for Paul Stanley, nine for Bruce Kulick, six for Gene Simmons, three for Steve Van Zen, six for Curtis Cuomo, and one each for Jaime St. James, Ken Tamplin, and future KISS lead guitarist, Tommy Thayer. Gene and Paul co-produced the album with Toby Wright.

This is one of my least favorite KISS albums. It’s an especially ill-fitting album for Paul Stanley’s voice. He sounds best on pop and hard rock tracks. His vocals are significantly restrained on this album. Almost all of his songs are slow, plodding dirges that limit his punchy vocal stylings. He only lets it rip for a little while on Master & Slave, but none of his songs are that notable. Gene’s voice is much better suited for grunge music and it definitely shows on this album. Although I am not much of a fan of any of these tracks, Hate and Childhood’s End stand out from the pack. Both songs feature Gene on vocals. This is also the only KISS album with Bruce Kulick on lead vocals. He mans the mic on I Walk Alone. That track features the best guitar solo on the album.

Over the years Bruce Kulick has been the most vocal supporter for the album. That might be due to the fact that he co-wrote so many of the album’s tracks and that he finally got to sing a lead vocal on a KISS album. It could also be because this album was released at such a terrible time for Kulick and Eric Singer. When Peter Criss and Ace Frehley ultimately left the band again (multiple times), only Eric Singer ever returned. Kulick never came back as a regular member of the band and, in my opinion, that’s a shame. Kulick has also been relatively quiet as to why he has never returned to the group. He makes occasional appearances on KISS Kruises and seems to have a good rapport with all of the members of the band past and present. He seems to be especially close with Eric Singer and Ace Frehley. He is currently a member of Grand Funk Railroad, has released his own solo work, and was also in the band Union.

Carnival Of Souls: The Final Sessions is a black mark for KISS in my opinion. Its bungled release, boring (and very un-KISS like) grunge tone, and lack of a tour made it extremely forgettable. It saw the permanent exit of Bruce Kulick as a member of the group, left Eric Singer in limbo, and made Gene and Paul look quite a bit selfish as they put their focus on the Reunion Tour. KISS would definitely recover, but the band was about to embark on a long run of no new material and a ton of nostalgia circuit tours.

Thanks for checking out my post. Next week I’ll be looking at the “Reunion” album, Psycho Circus. We’ve only got three more Fridays in the Year of KISS!

The Northman (2022)

To Valhalla!

Alexander Skarsgard co-produced and stars in the talent heavy Viking epic, The Northman. The film is based upon a tale recorded in the Gesta Danorum, a 13th century record of Danish history penned by Saxo Grammaticus, a theologian and author. Specifically, the film is based upon the legend of Amleth, a Scandinavian figure who also appears in other histories of Denmark, most notably the Chronicon Lethrense (author unknown). Amleth is also considered to be the inspiration for William Shakespeare’s The Tragedy of Hamlet, Prince of Denmark, as both characters share similar stories but different fates.

The film’s director, Robert Eggers, teamed up with Sigurjon Sigurosson (Sjon) to write the film. While the tale of Amleth provided the basis for the film’s plot, Eggers and Sjon drew inspiration from a number of other sources including the Prose Edda. With Alexander Skarsgard in tow, the film’s production began meticulously creating the villages, costumes, weapons, and other things needed for the film. Historians were brought in to verify that the production was staying accurate with everything in the film, from religious practices to the look of the characters.

In the film, Amleth watches as his father, King Aurvandill, is murdered by his jealous brother, Fjolnir the Brotherless. Fjolnir then gives the order to have Amleth killed as well in order to end any potential threat to his newly acquired crown. Amleth manages to escape, swears vengeance, and ends up living amongst another group of Vikings. He grows up to become one of the group’s greatest berserkers. After an attack on another village, Amleth hears of Fjolnir’s whereabouts, encounters a seeress who reminds him of his vow of vengeance, and sneaks onboard a ship as a slave headed to Fjolnir’s home. He plans to take save his mother whom Fjolnir has taken as his own bride, murder Fjolnir, and have his revenge. He teams up with another slave headed to Fjolnir’s land, a young woman named Olga of the Birch Forest, in order to execute his plans.

In Fjolnir’s lands, Amleth encounters a he-witch that tells him the location of Draugr, a sword that can only be unsheathed at night, that will be used to end Fjolnir’s life. After finding the sword, Amleth begins murdering key members of Fjolnir’s village, creating a panic amongst the people and making Fjolnir wonder if the gods are angry with him. As Amleth continues his reign of terror, he soon discovers that some people do not wish to be saved. In fact, he learns of betrayal and begins to question whether or not he should even seek revenge. What happens next? You’ll have to watch The Northman to find out!

I really enjoyed this film. It’s fairly predictable, especially if you’re familiar with the story of Hamlet or pretty much any other vengeance story. The action is swift and brutal. The scenes involving supernatural encounters with everything from foxes to ravens could be a tad trippy at times but that was intentional. The acting was especially strong as was the cinematography. Overall, this was a really solid film that should have performed better on the big screen.

Of special note are the performances of Skarsgard (Amleth), Claes Bang (Fjolnir), and Anya Taylor-Joy (Olga). All three of these actors did amazing jobs. The rest of the cast included Ethan Hawke as King Aurvandill, Bjork as the Seeress, Willem Defoe as Heimir, Ingvar Eggert Sigurosson as He-Witch, Ralph Ineson as Captain Volodymyr, and Nicole Kidman as Queen Gudrun. Gustav Lindh portrayed Fjolnir’s oldest son, Thorir the Proud, and he did an amazing job in the role. Eldar Skar played Finnr the Nose-Stub and Elliott Rose played Gunnar, Fjolnir and Gudrun’s son and Amleth’s half brother. The entire cast did extremely well and fans of Eggers’ The Witch will recognize many familiar faces.

According to a number of sources, the film fared much better once it hit video-on-demand. That’s good news, as a quick look at a number of reviews of the film weren’t very kind. Most of the negative reviews that I read focused on the predictability of the film. It’s based upon a Viking legend and, not surprisingly, those tales (as are most historic legends) are pretty predictable. These reviewers couldn’t get beyond that and failed to see just how great the actors’ performances were and how well this film was shot and edited. This IS a good film and if you enjoy epic tales on an epic level, you can’t go wrong with The Northman.

Thanks for checking out my review. If you haven’t seen this film, I highly recommend giving it a look. I think that you’ll enjoy it.

Marvel Legends Retro Kenner 3.75: 2021 Daredevil and 2021 Electro (Reissue)

The Man Without Fear And A Really Shocking Villain!

Since 2020 Marvel and Hasbro (releasing as Kenner) have produced a collection of vintage carded Marvel superhero and villain action figures with beautiful cardbacks and figures that look like the classic five point of articulation figures of the 1970’s and 80’s but actually feature seven points of articulation. As more of a DC fan, I’ve never really gotten into collecting a lot of Marvel figures except for characters like Spider-Man, Daredevil, Nightcrawler, and good ol’ Doctor Doom. I saw plenty of the vintage figures on pegs at stores, but never pulled the trigger on buying any of them until I recently stumbled upon a couple of them on clearance.

Being a huge fan of Daredevil and also a pretty big fan of the classic looking Electro, I decided to pick up both of these figures at a price that was just a tad bit above half of the original Walmart retail price. Both were released in 2021. The Electro figure is a reissue of the 2020 figure with a different cardback. Both figures come with the previously mentioned seven points of articulation. They have swivel heads, shoulders, hips, and forearms (the two extra POA). The boots look like they are articulated but they are actually glued in place. The paint apps are reminiscent of classic figures from the 70’s and 80’s as well. Both figures have peg holes in their feet and Daredevil, for whatever reason, has a peg hole in his back.

As someone who prefers to open figures, I’ll most likely only buy more of these figures if I find them on clearance. At around twelve bucks apiece retail, they are definitely better suited to collectors who have no intentions of ever freeing these figures from their cardbacks. Younger children will definitely enjoy playing with these figures but would a parent really want to drop twenty five bucks for two figures with limited articulation and only one (or no) accessories? With that in mind, I can only recommend collectors to pick these figures up for their collection.

Thanks for reading my review of these two cool figures. While they might be priced a bit too high for the little ones to enjoy, older fans will definitely love having these figures in their collection. I have one other Marvel figure review coming up later this week, so keep an eye out for that one!

Diamond Select Firestar Gallery Diorama (2021)

Angelica Jones Is On Fire!

1981 was a big year for yours truly. I was five years old, a kindergarten student, and hungry to watch Saturday morning cartoons! Smurfs, Kid’s Super Power Hour With Shazam, Godzilla, Hong Kong Phooey, Tarzan, Superfriends, and more awaited me each and every sleepy Saturday morning. I would sit in front of the television with a bowl of Fruity Pebbles and watch cartoons for hours, completely enamored with them. One cartoon in particular opened my eyes to the wonderful world of Marvel Comics. That show was Spider-Man And His Amazing Friends. I was a DC kid through and through at the time, but I was also big into Spider-Man, the Incredible Hulk, Captain America, and a few other Marvel heroes as well. Seeing Spider-Man And His Amazing Friends introduced me to a number of new characters that I wasn’t aware of at the time. One of those characters was Firestar.

Angelica Jones, better known as Firestar (Fire-Star in the series) was created specifically for the Spider-Man And His Amazing Friends series after attempts to acquire rights for the Human Torch fell through and couldn’t be resolved by production time for the show. She and Iceman teamed up with Spider-Man to fight crimes while attending college together. The series ran for three seasons and produced a one-off comic issue of the same name which was also Firestar’s first comic appearance. She wouldn’t return to the page until May of 1985 when Chris Claremont would write her into Uncanny X-Men #193. John Romita, Jr. did the artwork for the book and Firestar’s costume didn’t stray at all from her television look. Sadly the character failed to, um, catch fire with a lot of comic fans so she spent a lot of time on the backburner until 1989 when she appeared in December 1989’s The Mighty Thor #411 as a founding member of the New Warriors team. Firestar has also been a member of the X-Men, the Avengers, and the Hellions over the years.

While she has never had a massive following, her supporters are loyal. I am one of those supporters. I’ve sought out figures of Firestar over the years but never really found one that I wanted to purchase. I finally stumbled across this Diamond Select Firestar Gallery Diorama statuette and I didn’t hesitate to purchase it. The figure is beautiful. She stands about ten inches tall and is captured in flight with a tail of fire coming off of her feet and a pair of fireballs emitting from her hands. The coloring is perfect, with every red, yellow, and orange detail painted to perfection. The statuette is made of PVC. Of special note is the fact that Firestar’s flames are somewhat translucent. This makes for great photographs when using a ring light.

Voiced by Kathy Garver, Firestar/Angelica Jones was one of my earliest kiddie crushes on a female character. Having this Diamond Select Gallery Diorama Statuette of the character brings back a ton of great memories. Although I’m not a huge fan of statuettes and stationary figures, I love this Firestar statuette.

Thanks for checking out my post. I told y’all that I had a special surprise this week and this was it! See you again real soon!

McFarlane Toys DC Multiverse Aquaman (Endless Winter) & Gold Label Ocean Master

“What are you going to do about it, Aquaman? Call some fish?”

Some brothers just can’t get along. In the case of Aquaman and Ocean Master, they literally go to war with one another. I believe that McFarlane Toys had the brotherly love of Arthur and Orm in mind when they released the Target Exclusive Gold Label Ocean Master (New 52) and the Endless Winter Aquaman. Ocean Master deserved to have his own exclusive figure and Aquaman, despite being a part of the Endless Winter line that includes pieces for a Frost King Build-A-Figure, was the lone figure that did not have any BAF pieces. It’s no matter, though, as this is definitely one of the best Aquaman figures that McFarlane has released to date and the Ocean Master figure is a work of art.

As is often the case with McFarlane Toys, the accessories with these figures is pretty limited. Each come with a standard DC figure base and a collector card. The also each come with their trademark trident staffs. Both figures also feature some great paint apps and bright colors. Aquaman’s orange and green suit looks great and his traditional golden locks look amazing as well. I’m also a huge fan of Orm’s look as well. His purple and black suit looks just like the one featured in the New 52 DC Comics run and the regal/imperial purple interior of his cape is just as wonderful as the interior on the recent DC Rebirth Batman figure by McFarlane Toys.

This deep sea duo of figures feature very good articulation. Aquaman in particular is relatively unhindered in his movements with the exception of his head. His hair gets in the way and limits his nautical noggin’s range of motion. Ocean Master’s cloak pretty much stays out of the way, but his hip armor does slightly limit the articulation in his hips.

Both figures look amazing. Of special note are the facial features on Ocean Master. His gritted teeth look awesome. The folds in his cape also look great. Despite the fishy friction between these two, both of them sport great looking scaled armor. Also, watch out for the fins on Aquaman’s calves and forearms. They are very sharp! Aquaman does have a slight side-eyed glance for some reason, but I must admit that it comes in handy when posing these two figures together.

Notice in the pictures above how both tridents seem to have slight bends in them. The tridents are rather flexible, so make sure that you keep them straight in poses while displaying your figures. My only other complaint about these two figures is that Ocean Master can be a bit of a pain to keep upright. I had to fight with the figure quite a bit to finally get him to stand without assistance. In fact, I’ve had to put him into more of a squatted attack position to keep him from falling over. I’m pretty sure that this is due to the weight of his cape.

Overall, these oceanic opponents look great and are definitely worth purchasing. To the best of my knowledge, the only other McFarlane Aquaman is the one from the Snyder Cut Justice League film. That figure is taller, bulkier, and much blander looking. His legs are also very stiff. The Endless Winter version of the figure looks more like the traditional Aquaman from the comics, has much better articulation, and the colors are better in my opinion.

Well, there you have it. Thanks for reading my review of these two awesome figures. Aquaman and Ocean Master look great on my shelf. I hope that you get both of these figures for your own collection!