Category: Action Figures and Toys

Val’s Toy Chest- Toyetic Villains

This week’s issue of the Weekly Planet is an all-villain issue, so this column is a tribute to some of the bad guys and gals of the toybox. Whether they originated in the movies, TV or the comics or even the toyline itself, plenty of villains have found their way onto toy shelves since the advent of media tie-in action figures. I’m going to take a quick look at some of the more notable ones from the past thirty-plus years or so.

Star Wars- Darth Vader was the premier villain in the 1977/78 line by Kenner. Vader was hardly the only villain produced in the original line but he was definitely a striking figure dressed in his all black outfit with vinyl cape and red lightsaber. I never had Vader as a child but bought him when Kenner brought out the 1995 Power of the Force line. Other notable villains in the classic trilogy line include the Emperor, Jabba the Hutt and Boba Fett. I definitely don’t have to tell you what those guys look like as their iconography has transcended pop culture.

Masters of the Universe/Princess of Power– 1982 was the very first year of the classic Mattel line and there was no shortage of baddies in the line. Skeletor was the main bad guy for the first couple of years with lackeys such as Mer-Man, Beast Man, Trap Jaw and Evil-Lyn as his henchmen. Skeletor would come in several variant versions during the series’ heyday which would highlight a new action feature such as a water-spraying dragon or battle armor that would show damage every time it was hit. My childhood included the two versions mentioned above but not the original version for some reason. 1985 was the year that Hordak joined the series and his black and red armor and bat motif definitely resonated with me. Hordak was introduced in the He-Man line but fans of the mythology know that he was the main antagonist in the She-Ra animated series. She-Ra’s toy line had its own feline foe in Catra who was also on the cartoon as one of Hordak’s army. He-Man was my first major toyline and I had a good portion of those baddies growing up, as well as several She-Ra dolls, Catra included.

Teenage Mutant Ninja TurtlesThe Shredder, Krang, Bebop, Rocksteady, The Foot Soldier– Playmates’ 1988 line featured all of these characters and would expand to include villains of all sorts of shapes, sizes and species. The original Ninja Turtles series was the very first expansive line that I had every unique character from. And they were definitely unique, from the fly version of Baxter Stockman to the cajun alligator Leatherhead with a dose of a psychotic pizza chef(Pizzaface), an actual CAT burglar(Scratch) and everything in between, chances are if there was an animal or concept you liked, there was a Ninja Turtle character inspired by it.

Star Trek– 1992’s Star Trek: The Next Generation line kicked off a good seven year run of action figures from Playmates Toys, which would eventually include characters from all four of the original series and several of the movies up til Star Trek: Insurrection. Characters such as Khan, Q, The Borg, The Borg Queen, Gul Dukat, Sela, Seska and more made it into the series. The articulation and depth of character selection for a Trek line has thus far remained unmatched by any modern line, with most stopping at the crewmembers and including very few of the bad guys and/or aliens.

Of course there have also been multiple toy lines featuring the pantheon of DC and Marvel characters from companies like Mego, Kenner, Mattel, Toy Biz and Hasbro. Most of the classic DC and Marvel villains have seen some form of plastic immortality particularly with the modern DCUC  and Marvel Legends lines. For example, characters like the 13 members of the legendary Legion of Doom from the 1978 season of Challenge of the Super Friends were all released in the DC Universe Classics line over the 20-plus series of figures. For those playing at home, that lineup included: Lex Luthor, Bizarro, Brainiac, Toyman, The Riddler, Scarecrow, Cheetah, Giganta, Captain Cold, Grodd, Black Manta, Solomon Grundy and Sinestro. Marvel villain teams like the Sinister Six and the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants have seen multiple plastic incarnations in several different sizes as well. Though villains aren’t always considered great sellers, the smarter toy companies know that we need them to build our universes.

Honorable villain shout-outs to: The Baroness, Destro and Cobra Commander from G.I. Joe, The Misfits from Jem and the Holograms and Mumm-Ra from Thundercats.

Briefly: NECA’s latest wave of Predators have hit which includes three figures from Aliens Vs Predator: Ancient Warrior Predator,Masked Scar Predator, Temple Guard Predator  and we’ve also received our shipments of Hot Toys’ Ant-Man and Princess Leia Organa. Catch you in the store next time!

 

 

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Val’s Toy Chest- She Is The One Named

Hey readers, we’ve got some cool stuff in this week including a couple of new Hot Toys, some eagerly anticipated Funko POP figures and I’ve got some cool toy news to share as well.

Our newest Hot Toys arrivals include a Bounty Hunter and one of Iron Man’s army. Everyone’s favorite Mandalorian is here in two distinctive versions. The regular Boba Fett features his detailed armor and helmet as well as several accessories, a standard base and interchangeable hands. The Deluxe version features all of the same components of the regular figure as well as a Sarlacc Pit base and blast effects for his jetpack.On the Marvel side of things we have the Iron Legion from last summer’s Marvel blockbuster: Avengers: Age of Ultron. The Iron Legion figures the usual standard of Hot Toys articulation as well as moveable fingers and light-up features. There are a couple of incoming Hot Toys as well that should be arriving within the next couple of weeks, if not sooner. The first of these is the Ant-Man figure as seen in last year’s feature film, the other is a character from a galaxy far, far away.  Yes- one of my most anticipated Hot Toys will make her debut as the Princess Leia figure is due to arrive, complete with her white dress, blaster and iconic hairstyle from Star Wars: A New Hope.

Funko POP has been compared to fads like Beanie Babies and Troll dolls, while there could be some truth to that statement, I think Funko POPs will last a whole lot longer. Why? It’s all due to licensing. Trolls were a revival of a 70’s fad while most Beanie Babies were just cute plush animals. POPs offer up a variety of licenses from all over the pop culture spectrum. One of the biggest markets right now is the Manga/Anime genres. One of the most famous of these is Sailor Moon and Funko now has figures based on the characters from that series. Currently in stock at the moment are Sailor Moon, Tuxedo Mask, Sailor Mars, Sailor Venus and Sailor Mercury. Jupiter has yet to arrive. Sailors Moon and Venus each come with a cat companion, Luna and Artemis, respectively. Also new to the store are the Harry Potter Neville Longbottom POP and the Pac Man POP.

If your idea of nostalgia involved turning on the TV to watch Lion-O yell “Thunder-Thunder-Thundercats- Ho!,” then you’re in luck. Mezco Toyz decided to finally finish the adult Thundercats lineup with the addition of Tygra to their ranks. Tygra stands in scale with the previously released Lion-O, Panthro, Cheetara and Mumm-Ra and comes with his signature bolo weapon. Thundercats merchandise in particular hasn’t been as regular as He-Man merchandise has been, though there are set to be exclusive Mattel website figures later in the year. Fret not however if you’ve missed previous figures in the Mezco line as Lion-O is due back out with his sidekick Snarf and Cheetara may also find her way back soon too. I’ll keep you posted.

Finally in cool toy news- NECA continues to widen the character roster on their Aliens line of figures. Last week, Aliens Day was on 4/26 and to celebrate, NECA started announcing a few items which were solicited later in the week. Firstly, there is a Toys R Us exclusive Kenner colors Ripley, which looks gorgeous. Then actress Carrie Henn announced a Newt action figure which will be available at San Diego Comic Con. Finally, Series 9 of Aliens was announced which will include the concept Albino Alien, Private Frost and the frequently requested Vasquez figure. Vasquez and Frost will both be sculpted to resemble Jenette Goldstein and Ricco Ross respectively and will come with dedicated accessories. NECA will also revisit everyone’s favorite dream street, Elm with a new 18″ Freddy Krueger based on his appearance in A Nightmare on Elm Street 2: Freddy’s Revenge. As much as I love Freddy- where’s my Nancy Thompson, NECA?

On that note- I bid you farewell for the week and I will catch you next time!

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Val’s Toy Chest- Star Wars Black In the House!

If you’ve read my past columns, you know that I’ve been a casual Star Wars fan since I was a little kid. I haven’t been a fan of the entire saga, choosing to mostly ignore the prequels as they didn’t appeal to me. I did give the latest film a shot and really loved it- it helped immensely that there was a strong female protagonist in Rey and characters I loved like Chewbacca, Han Solo and Leia Organa were back. On that note, after a long wait, we have finally started seeing some new pieces from Hasbro’s 6″ Black Series line. There have also been a couple of restocks including one of my very favorite figures of the entire series thus far.

Fans of the Original Trilogy, The Force Awakens, Star Wars: Rebels and even the prequels should be thrilled with the assortment of figures just released by Hasbro. From the very first movie, A New Hope, comes the Luke Skywalker figure dressed in his famous white and beige outfit. Luke comes with his signature blue lightsaber and a pair of binoculars which clip on to his belt. His white tunic is made out of cloth and he features several points of articulation. The Force Awakens still gets the lion’s share of the Star Wars Black line for the moment- at least until Star Wars: Rogue One comes out later in the year. Figures out in this recent assortment include First Order Snowtroopers and Flametroopers, plus Han Solo as he appeared in this seventh installment of the fan-favorite film series. Each of the troopers comes clad in their respective armors with multiple points of articulation and character-specific accessories. Han comes with his blaster and is also fully poseable.

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Star Wars: Rebels has been a fairly popular animated series on the Cartoon Network and took over the reigns of the now defunct Clone Wars series. Hasbro has taken the character designs from the animated series and has given them a realistic look to fit in with the aesthetic of the regular Star Wars 6″ Black line. The first of the 6″ Rebels figures to arrive are Jedi Kanan Jarrus, the character played by Freddie Prinze, Jr. and fan-favorite character and original Clone Wars character, Ahsoka Tano, who has recently shown up on Rebels. Each figure comes with their distinctive lightsabers and follows the same poseability model as previous Star Wars Black figures. Finally- prequel fans get one of the cooler looking characters with the release of the Jango Fett 6″ Figure. Jango has his silver and blue Mandalorian armor, a removable helmet, his jetpack and two blasters.

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Back in stock from Star Wars Black is the premier villain of the entire Star Wars universe, Darth Vader. I’d argue that this is probably my favorite figure in the entire Star Wars Black line, even over the Leia in Boushh disguise figure. Vader comes dressed in his iconic black armor with a sweeping black fabric cape, his famous helmet and his red-bladed lightsaber. The blade is detachable and the helmet is removable, which helps you to recreate the scene at the end of Return of the Jedi where he reveals his scarred face to Luke. Definitely one of the best 6″ figures at this price point. Also back in- one of the newest heroes from the Force Awakens, Finn. Finn is dressed in the outfit he crashed on Jakku in. Still available are X-Wing Pilot Poe Dameron and Constable Zuvio, whose character ended up on the cutting room floor.

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Other toys scheduled to arrive this week include some Star Wars 3 3/4″ figures from the recent film, plus a restock on items from the wildly popular DC Collectibles Batman: The Animated Series line. Characters such as Bane, Batgirl, Killer Croc, The Joker, Harley Quinn, plus Batman and Robin should all be gracing our DC toy shelves again sometime this week. Newly arrived is the next figure in NECA’s popular videogame line, The Terminator 2 T-800 figure as seen in the 1991 T2 Video Game. Decorated to resemble his 8-bit pixelated appearance in the game, the figure is fully articulated and comes with interchangeable heads and a shotgun.

On a quick note, I’ve been listening to a lot of Prince this week due to his untimely passing. Prince may not have had a deep comics connection other than his soundtrack contributions to Tim Burton’s 1989 Batman film and a rare Piranha Press one-shot comic book, but he was an icon nonetheless and was definitely a memorable part of my youth. R.I.P. Purple One and thanks for “Manic Monday,” “When Doves Cry,” “Purple Rain” and so much more.

 

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Val’s Toy Chest- The Eighties Will Never Die

If you’re familiar with me, you’ll know that I have been obsessed with 80’s pop culture since like forever. If you hear a familiar tune from the decade of excess playing in the store, it most likely will be my playlist. Why do I bring up the ’80’s you ask? Well there’s some cool 80’s-related memorabilia in stock or coming in this week. So put on your legwarmers or bandannas, pop in the Huey Lewis or Ray Parker Jr.  song of your choice into your tape deck and let’s see what we’ve got.

I spent most of the day today receiving our restock of Funko’s ReAction figures in the basement and there’s a ton of 80’s goodness there. Horror fans especially have something to look forward to here as the two biggest 80’s horror franchise villains are represented. In one corner- the man of your dreams is back- Freddy Krueger has returned to give the rest of your 3 3/4″ action figures their worst nightmares.  In the other corner is Camp Crystal Lake’s most notorious murderer- the man with the machete- Jason Voorhees. You can pit the two against each other ala 2003’s Freddy Vs. Jason or add them to your respective A Nightmare on Elm Street and Friday the 13th collections. Bloody horror wasn’t all the 80’s had to offer and Funko has the perfect solution- time to cue up “The Power of Love” on your Walkman and chill out with the Back to the Future ReAction figures of everyone’s favorite time travellers- Marty McFly and Doc Brown as skillfully played by Michael J. Fox and Christopher Lloyd respectively. Finally if you love furry critters with plenty of rules attached to them, you might want to take a gander at the Gremlins line, everyone’s favorite Mogwai, Gizmo is back in stock and we still have a handful of his human friend Billy left as well as a Gremlin in a bandit mask. ReAction figures may not be as articulated as modern figures but the throwback style to vintage Kenner action figures and inexpensive price range make these a fun addition to your collection.

If ReAction figures aren’t your scale or style, turn up Ray Parker Jr’s. “Ghostbusters” to 11 and check out Diamond Select’s latest series of Ghostbusters Action Figures. Which characters make up this second wave of figures? The lineup is solid with Bill Murray’s Peter Venkman, Harold Ramis’ Egon Spengler and Sigourney Weaver’s Dana Barrett(Zuul possessed version) all releasing this week. Each figure in the series stands approximately 7″ tall and feature multiple points of articulation and come with pieces to build a giant rooftop diorama.  Still in stock from the first series are Ernie Hudson’s Winston Zeddemore and Rick Moranis’ Louis Tully(Vinz Clortho possessed version). Future pieces in the line will include Gozer, the first ever Annie Potts as Janine Melnitz figure and more. Definitely a step-up from Mattel and NECA’s earlier lines.

If these ’80’s throwbacks aren’t outrageous enough for you, we’ve also got my second favorite all-female band(after the Bangles) returning to comics shops with a brand new issue. Jem and the Holograms #14 releases on Wednesday and is the next part in the current “Dark Jem” storyline. Can the Holograms disconnect Synergy and stop the infectious dark sound from spreading or are they too late? And if you’re behind on the series overall, the second trade of Jem and the Holograms will also be out Wednesday. This volume collects issues #7-10 of the ongoing plus the 2015 annual and holiday special.

There’s so much more 80’s nostalgia peppered throughout our shelves, whether it be trade versions of famous comic book events like Crisis on Infinite Earths and Secret Wars or even DVDs and Blu-Rays of obscure and cult-classic 80’s horror films to t-shirts,  magnets, housewares and more based on properties like Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Masters of the Universe and beyond. You should check it out! As for me, I’m going to “Walk Like An Egyptian” right out of this column for this week and catch all of you next time!

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Arriving This Week – Muppets Figures From Diamond Select

Yaaaaaaay! Forbidden Planet NYC’s receiving new Muppets toys from Diamond Select this week!

New Muppets toys action figures from Diamond Select

These multi-packs will be on sale Wednesday 3/28/16 in-store and are available to order via mail order through the following links:

Gonzo and Camilla – “If you were a chicken you’d be im-peck-able!”

Scooter and Fozzie

Kermit with Robin and Bean Bunny

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Val’s Toy Chest- Civil War 2016

Marvel’s got a massive movie coming out this May which is essentially as close to an Avengers film without actually being one. I am of course talking about Captain America 3: Civil War. Marvel is no stranger to merchandising their current spate of Marvel Cinematic Universe films and this year’s film is full of toyetic characters.  Before I started work on this week’s column, I was inundated with a massive amount of Funko boxes- many of which contained characters from the new movie. What did we get? Let’s take a look.

There are 11 announced figures coming out in Funko’s Civil War POP line and we’ve gotten 7 of those in this week’s shipment. Team Cap and Team Iron Man are both represented with the new POPs of Chris Evans’ Captain America and Robert Downey Jr’s. Iron Man. Fans of the female characters have Scarlett Johansson’s Black Widow and Elizabeth Olson’s Scarlet Witch to collect while Don Cheadle’s War Machine and Chadwick Boseman’s highly anticipated Black Panther round out the male heroes of the film that we’ve received thus far.  I think the Black Panther figure is going to sell out quickly, so jump on that one if you want it ASAP. That isn’t all as we’ve also received Frank Grillo’s Crossbones as a POP vinyl. I anticipate that he will also be a brisk seller since he is a brand new character to the line.

Funko and Vinyl Sugar have teamed up to bring us DORBZ and they’ve also crafted some Civil War collectibles for us. Vision, Black Widow and Iron Man are what we have right now with the others on the way soon. If you prefer to keep your lapels pinned, Funko has a line of Civil War POP pins using the POP style of several characters and those have shown up at the store as well. Characters available are Black Panther, Captain America, Crossbones and Iron Man.

It wasn’t all Civil War,  as more from the 2nd series of Harry Potter POPs have also started to hit our shelves. Luna and Malfoy came today as well as new versions of Harry and Ron. Hot Toys Snowtroopera Snowtrooper Officer and the impressive DeLorean from Back to the Future rounded out my very busy day at work.

Next week- if DC Collectibles’ current schedule holds, should see an awesome array of figures from the Animated Series as well as the current CW series- including my most anticipated figure of the year- Laurel Lance/Black Canary. I’m planning something special in the Weekly Planet for that figure if she comes out next week.  See you then!

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Val’s Toy Chest- Odds and Ends

She’s here! Actually that phrase applies to a couple of items we have received over the past week and a half. I mentioned in last week’s article that we’d gotten our shipping notice for the Hot Toys’ Scarlet Witch from last summer’s Avengers: Age of Ultron and she has finally arrived. The likeness to Elizabeth Olson is excellent and the rooted hair doesn’t detract from the figure at all, plus the costuming is gorgeous and the accessories all make sense. A very tempting piece for sure, I know I’m going to want one.

The other “she’s here!” piece I am referring to is the breathtaking Yvonne Craig as Batgirl Tweeterhead statue. Approved by Ms. Craig before she passed away last summer, the folks at Tweeterhead definitely put their best foot forward with this release. The Batgirl Maquette features the costume as seen in the 1960’s Batman TV series as well as a base that features the secret door to access her BatgirlCycle. Definitely one of the best Yvonne Craig likenesses out there and highly recommended if you are a fan of that iteration.

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Back in stock for Star Wars fans out there are the Hasbro Star Wars 6″ Black Series figures of Captain Phasma, The Guavian Enforcer and Poe Dameron have returned to our shelves and new to the store is the 6″ Kylo Ren figure. We also have a few assorted characters from the basic 3 and 3/4″ line still in stock as well as a handful of vehicles for both scales of figures. Speaking of Star Wars, Funko and Diamond Comics have teamed up to bring out their latest exclusive POP vinyl figures. The Star Wars: Return of the Jedi Funko POP three pack features Luke Skywalker, a 6″ Rancor and fan favorite Oola in POP vinyl form. Oola and the Rancor are both first timers for the POP line and this piece should also be a hot one.

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I don’t frequently talk about comics in this column but I thought I’d mention one this week since it is a character dear to my heart written by a person that I also adore. Black Canary #9 hits the stands on Wednesday and instead of the solicited story by regular series writer Brenden Fletcher, will feature a story by former FP employee and writer of last year’s acclaimed We Can Never Go Home, Matthew Rosenberg. Black Canary(the band) is hired to play at the birthday party of a young girl named Julia(possibly named for a fellow FP employee…) and there seems to be more to the gathering than meets the eye. I definitely think this issue will be an underrated gem and highly recommend picking it up as soon as you see it.

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That’s it for me this week, catch you guys next week with more toy and comic news. See you in the store!

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Val’s Toy Chest- MARVELous Toys Assemble

This week’s column continues the Toy Fair excitement and this time around, we will look at the various Marvel action figures heading our way this year.  Hasbro, Mezco and Diamond Select lead the pack for new releases in all different sizes from 2″ Minimates to 6″ cloth-costumed figures and even a new 12″ fully articulated line.

Hasbro has been the main license holder for Marvel action figures for over a decade now and though there have been slight hiccups after inheriting the Marvel Legends line from defunct toy company Toy Biz, they’ve been firing on all cylinders the past couple of years. Marvel has several films in the pipeline which includes the recent Deadpool, Captain America: Civil War, X-Men: Apocalypse and Doctor Strange. To fulfill all of our figure needs, Hasbro has a bevy of Cap-related figures, a wave of X-Men and Dr. Strange figures and a couple of Spider-Man waves in the traditional 6″ line coming throughout the year. Characters making their debut in 6″ form include Nuke, Silk, Red Guardian and Nico Minoru plus we will receive new versions of Phoenix, Deadpool, Rogue, Ultimate Spider-Men Peter Parker and Miles Morales, Hobgoblin, Havok, Iceman, Kitty Pryde and Cable. Movie versions of Captain America, Iron Man, Black Panther, Scarlet Witch and Doctor Strange will also make their way into stores. Each of the 6″ figures will come with a piece to build a larger figure.

Hasbro’s 4″ and 12″ lines will also be sold under the Marvel Legends banner. The latter line was revealed at Toy Fair and will kick off with Iron Man, Captain America and Spider-Man. Each figure will come with alternate body parts and accessories. New characters in the 4″ line include Gamora, Living Laser, Rage and Hydro-Man. Rogue, Vision, Morbius and Quasar will also be part of the single-packed series. The 4″ Comic packs return this year with 2-packs featuring Spider-Man, Scarlet Spider, Hyperion and Carol Danvers Captain Marvel among others. Retailer exclusives for the 4″ and 6″ lines are also expected.

The previously discussed Mezco Toyz One: 12 line was on display at Toy Fair and features DC, Star Trek, Judge Dredd and now Marvel characters. The first three characters announced for the line are Captain America, Daredevil and the Punisher- all in a variety of costumes. The anticipation for this line is pretty high and deservedly so, as these are gorgeous figures with full articulation and cloth costumes. All that is left is for Mezco to bring us the female characters and we might have a home-run of a toy line.

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Diamond Select Toys continues their line of Minimates with figures based on Captain America: Civil War, Netflix’s Daredevil and Jessica Jones series and the traditional Marvel comics characters. Minimates of characters from Marvel’s Giant-Size X-Men#1 were also shown.  The coolest reveal in my opinion was the Man-Thing Minimate, especially since he isn’t a character that gets too much merchandise.

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Diamond’s Marvel Select line continues with figures of Iron Man, Captain America and The Winter Soldier from Civil War as well as a re-release of their wildly popular Carnage action figure.  Marvel characters are also being incorporated into DST’s Femme Fatales line with Medusa, Captain Marvel and Jane Foster Thor shown off at Toy Fair. NECA also had the impressive 1/4 scale Hulk action figure on display. Definitely one of the highlights of Toy Fair.

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Briefly:

This week sees the release of the next issue of one of my favorite current ongoing series: Jem and the Holograms. Issue #12 features the next part of the “Dark Jem” storyline which features a corrupted Synergy infecting the music of Jem and the Holograms and a new Misfits lead singer following Pizzazz’s injury.

Chuck Dixon’s early issues of Birds of Prey are being reissued in new volumes that also feature never before reprinted stories including the fan-favorite Birds of Prey #8 which told a memorable Barbara Gordon/Dick Grayson story. Catch that tale in Birds of Prey Volume 2. I know I will.

Finally- fans of DC character Mari Jiwe McCabe have something to look forward to as the character makes her live-action debut on this week’s Arrow. For those not in the know, Vixen made her Arrowverse debut on the CW Seed during the hiatus between Arrow and Flash seasons in her eponymous animated web series and now Megalyn Echikunwoke who voiced the character is bringing her to life this Wednesday night on the CW. I cannot wait to see her interact with Oliver, Laurel and the rest.

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Catch you guys next week with a few more Toy Fair tidbits and whatever other toy news I can gather.

 

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Val’s Toy Chest Extra- Photo Edition

Hi guys- got some more photos today at Toy Fair- here’s some of the cool DC stuff coming out sometime this year!

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Mezco’s Shazam!, Reverse Flash, Green Arrow and Flash from their One: 12 Collective Line.

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Funko’s Rock Candy line featuring Batgirl, Wonder Woman, Harley Quinn and Supergirl.

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DC Collectibles’ Batgirl of Burnside from the DC Icons line. Not depicted: the awesome Batcycle she comes packaged with. Want to know more about this version of Batgirl? I’d recommend the Batgirl of Burnside TP or the second volume, out this week: Family Business.

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Flash and Green Arrow two pack from the current season of each TV series. If you’re interested in either show, there are a couple of trades out including The Flash: Season Zero as well as Arrow Season 2.5.

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Katana statue from the forthcoming Suicide Squad film.

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DCC’s new DC Films Premium Action Figure line’s Wonder Woman as seen in Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice.

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Batman: The Animated Series Zatanna Action Figure- should be in stores soon!

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Batman: The Animated Series Ventriloquist and Scarface– scheduled for later this year.

I have more pictures that I will share next week with some of the cool Marvel stuff I saw and maybe some other surprises! Catch you guys next week!

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Val’s Toy Chest- Toy Fair Part 1: DC-Palooza

Hi guys and gals- I have returned from my first day at Toy Fair and there is so much to talk about this year that I am going to split the news over the next few columns. This week we will discuss figures from the comic book company nearest and dearest to my heart- DC Comics!

On Thursday, DC Collectibles revealed a good portion of what we are to expect from them within the next year,  and there is a lot coming- let’s start with one of the best lines to come out of DC Collectibles recently- Batman: The Animated Series.  On display were a couple of figures we already knew about such as Zatanna, Commissioner Gordon and Etrigan, but DC Collectibles also showed off figures of Talia, The Ventriloquist and Scarface, Detective Harvey Bullock and Clayface from the original iteration of B:TAS and The Joker, Harley Quinn, Firefly and a “Girls’ Night Out” five-pack from The New Batman Adventures.  The five pack is slated to include repacks of Harley, Ivy and Batgirl plus brand-new figures of Supergirl and Live Wire.  There will also be a three-pack of figures based on The Dark Knight Returns characters as they were featured in the TNBA episode “Legends of the Dark Knight” A Batman Beyond three-pack and a massive Batplane/Batwing round out the series for the year.

I’ve discussed the DC Icons line in past columns and DC showed off some highly tempting items for this series as well. Swamp Thing, Wonder Woman, Cyborg and Deathstroke make up the newest single packed figures in the series while a DC Icons 7 pack of the New 52 version of the Justice League is due for release sometime during the year. A couple of deluxe sets will also be available including a two-pack of Darkseid and his daughter, Grail and arguably the best reveal from the Icons line thus far: the Batgirl of Burnside featuring the latest Babs Tarr designed incarnation of the dominoed daredoll with a motorcycle to display her with as well as interchangeable parts so she looks like she’s riding the cycle. Having gotten to see this piece in person, she is a beauty and definitely one that will break my wallet later in the year. Fans of cool accessories also have two accessory packs to collect to augment their existing figures. These packs come with smaller characters like Ch’P plus various DC artifacts and different hands or attachments.

I admit that I don’t pay much attention to the video game based lines since I haven’t really played any of the latest DC/Batman games but the new Arkham Knight Batgirl and Oracle set has been revealed and both figures are very stylized and a welcome addition to a Barbara Gordon collection.  Other figures shown include Harley Quinn, Poison Ivy and the Red Hood.

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The biggest news from DC Collectibles is that they are releasing their own figures based on both of this year’s DC Comics films. In scale with their TV figures, DC showed off figures from Batman V Superman and Suicide Squad,  2013’s Man of Steel is also represented. DC luminaries such as Batman, Superman and Wonder Woman are joined by Lex Luthor, General Zod, Faora, Jor-El, Harley Quinn and El Diablo?!?! Each figure features more articulation than your standard DC Collectibles figures and the pricing on these are TBD. Speaking of the TV lines, this was the one area where I was disappointed with the showing as we are only getting the latest versions of Flash and Arrow(now Green Arrow) as seen in the current seasons of the hit CW series. The new TV Flash figure comes with a Grant Gustin/Barry Allen head which is cool. Hopefully DCC has more characters lined up for the TV line as there are a ton of characters I’d still love to see from all three of the DC TV shows airing on the CW. DCC also has a Harley Quinn line based on Amanda Conner’s artwork and more Darwyn Cooke and Greg Capullo designer figures in the pipeline.

Briefly:

Diamond Select had a few new Gotham pieces including Bruce Wayne and Barbara Kean, plus Gotham Minimates and assorted JL and BTAS products.

Funko’s catalog offered a teaser of Speedy/Thea and Green Arrow POP from Arrow along with POPs of the classic comics versions of Firestorm, Power Girl, Supergirl, Cyborg and Black Manta.

Cryptozoic is getting into the blind box arena with a DC Bombshells vinyl figure line that will come randomly packed in tin boxes.

Mezco revealed a brand new Batmobile in scale with their One:12 Collective line, very cool piece. Price range is unknown at this time but it is a NICE toy for sure.

The last thing I will discuss today is the Mattel Multiverse line. Thus far Multiverse has covered BVS, Arrow, The Flash and the comics. Get ready for more as we have additional characters from BVS including Luthor and Aquaman and a good assortment of figures from Suicide Squad including the Joker, Captain Boomerang, Deadshot, Killer Croc and Katana. The best reveal for me other than Katana is the TV Supergirl figure based on the CBS series starring Melissa Benoist. She looks great and I cannot wait to add her to the collection. Other figures to come include more from the Dark Knight Returns.

That’s it for me this week- next week: the Marvelous side of Toy Fair! Catch you then!

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Val’s Toy Chest- Heroes and Villains to Gather

As we get further and further away from the beginning of the year the toy releases are starting to trickle in slowly. I’ve got some intel on what Hot Toys we should be getting within the next few weeks(should release schedules hold up), as well as details on what will be here this week. Lastly- CW shows are back on this week and I am heading to Heroes and Villains Fan Fest this weekend to meet a bunch of the actors from these very shows.

First we’ll talk about the new releases schedule to come out this week. The latest figure in the Marvel Play Arts Kai series is due and it just happens to be my favorite Marvel character- Natasha Romanov- the Black Widow. Black Widow will come with an array of accessories including weapons and blast effects and is fully articulated. Another of my favorite characters makes her dazzling debut in the high-end Robert Tonner doll collection with the release of the Classic Batman TV Series Batgirl. Batgirl will be 16″ tall and dressed in her glittery purple bodysuit with gold emblem, a purple and gold cape, a belt and will feature the likeness of the original live-action Batgirl, Yvonne Craig. The doll will have a removeable brown wig to simulate Barbara Gordon’s look on the show as well as a mask with attached red hair to complete the Batgirl ensemble. Elsewhere in the DC Universe- the Mattel figures I mentioned in last week’s column should start to hit this week. The first Mattel product will be the basic Batman V Superman movie line which will showcase Batman, Superman and Wonder Woman. There will be three versions of the Caped Crusader, two of the Man of Steel and one of the Amazing Amazon in this initial shipment. All figures will feature limited points of articulation as well as kid-friendly gear and weaponry.

Now as far as Hot Toys go- we’ve gotten notices for two very exciting figures to be released within the next few weeks. First among these is the long-awaited Guardians of the Galaxy Thanos 1:6 scale action figure. Thanos will come with a newly developed muscular body sculpt with body armor and a light-up throne for him to rule the galaxy. The other even more exciting release in this author’s humble opinion is our first non-Stormtrooper Hot Toy from the recent box-office smash Star Wars: The Force Awakens. I’m speaking of the villainous Kylo Ren. Kylo will come dressed as he appears in the film and will come with his lightsaber and the usual Hot Toys articulation and interchangeable parts. Another Star Wars Hot Toy that should be here soon is the First Order TIE Fighter Pilot featuring the character as it appears in the new movie.

The Flash returned with a new episode last night and tonight sees the return of Arrow. Will Oliver Queen find his quarry Damien Darhk after the attack on his –groan– fiancee Felicity Smoak? Will Felicity become a low-rent Oracle in everything but name? Will Diggle, Thea and especially Laurel ever get a meaningful storyline for the rest of this season? We shall see. The long-awaited debut of Legends of Tomorrow will bethis Thursday and I am excited about it. The show follows the adventures of a ragtag team that includes fan-favorites like The Atom and ex-Canary Sara Lance (now going by the name White Canary) alongside new heroes Hawkman, Hawkgirl and Firestorm and Flash rogues Captain Cold and Heat Wave gathered by a time-traveler named Rip Hunter. Their goal: stop Vandal Savage from becoming a threat in the far future.

Speaking of the Flash, Arrow and Legends of Tomorrow– this weekend at the Meadowlands will be the inaugural Heroes and Villains Fan Fest put on by the same people that run Walker Stalker Con. This particular show is also co-organized by one Stephen Amell (Oliver Queen/Green Arrow) which explains the high volume of his fellow castmates attending the show this weekend. If you’re a fan of Arrow, Stephen will be there along with Katie Cassidy (Laurel Lance/Black Canary), David Ramsey (Diggle), Willa Holland (Thea Queen/Speedy), Paul Blackthorne(Detective Lance) John Barrowman (Malcolm Merlyn), Colin Donnell (Tommy Merlyn) and Katrina Law (Nyssa Al Ghul). Flash fans have Danielle Panabaker (Caitlin Snow), Robbie Amell (Ronnie Raymond/Firestorm) and Teddy Sears (Jay Garrick) to look forward to. Legends of Tomorrow fans will get to meet the two lovely ladies of the series with Caity Lotz(Sara Lance/White Canary) and Ciara Renee (Kendra Saunders/Hawkgirl) scheduled to make an appearance at the show. Fans of Gotham will also have a couple of castmembers present and Doctor Who fans can look forward to Karen Gillan(Amy Pond) in addition to the aforementioned Barrowman. I will be in attendance both days and I will try to have my con experience for all of you in my next column.

On that note- catch you guys next time!

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Val’s Toy Chest- Top 5 Action Figures of the Year

It has been quite an eventful year in the worlds of fantasy, sci-fi, comics and horror. We’ve lost a few stars of the genre this year including the beloved Mr. Spock (Leonard Nimoy), sassy librarian Barbara Gordon a.k.a. Batgirl (Yvonne Craig), the father of some of our worst Nightmares (Wes Craven), Superman’s best friend Jimmy Olsen (Jack Larson), the original Leatherface (Gunnar Hansen) and another of Kirk’s crew,Yeoman Rand (Grace Lee Whitney). It wasn’t just a year of loss as we witnessed the Age of Ultron and saw The Force Awaken(s) on the big screen. Heroes arose in live-action on regular and internet TV(Black Canary, The Atom and Speedy on Arrow, Hawkman and Hawkgirl on The Flash, Jessica JonesDaredevil and so much more) and the silver screen (Scarlet Witch, Ant-Man, The Vision plus the heroes of Star Wars: The Force Awakens) to much fanfare. The toy world has exploded with all sorts of characters this year including a bunch from the aforementioned properties and there will be a bevy of awesome figures coming out next year as well.

To close out this year at Forbidden Planet- we’ve gotten and are getting a few noteworthy items to talk about this week and I will also talk about my five favorite figures that I’ve purchased in 2015 and my five most anticipated figures for 2016. Kicking it off with NECA’s products- the excellent Terminator 2: Judgement Day action figure of Linda Hamilton’s Sarah Connor has arrived and she is AWESOME. Fully articulated with three interchangeable heads and a neat array of weapons I’d highly recommend her for Terminator fans and female action figure collectors. NECA has also released a new series of Aliensfigures- this time based on the Alien: Isolation video game and featuring figures of a Xenomorph and two versions of Ripley’s daughter Amanda. If you are a fan of the Alien figure series- these figures follow the same styling and articulation scheme as previous Aliens figures. Finally- we are getting the newest entry in Kotobukiya’s Bishoujo series- my favorite stunning siren- Dinah Laurel Lance- the Black Canary. Featured in her classic fishnets and leather look, this statue should please longtime fans of the series as well as Canary fans like myself.

Now without further ado- my top 5 Action Figures of 2015:

5. Aliens Series 5 (NECA): Ellen Ripley– Dressed as she appears in the 1986 classic Aliens. She was one of my most anticipated and she definitely did not disappoint.

4. Marvel Legends Thanos Series (Hasbro): Hellcat– Currently the star of her own ongoing series, this 6″ fully articulated action figure of Patsy Walker is a first time figure and has always been a favorite character of mine.

3. Star Wars: The Black Series (Hasbro): Princess Leia Organa Boushh Disguise– One of my all-time favorite Leia variations made her way into the 6″ Star Wars Black line and she is a beauty. With a removable helmet and all the accessories one would need to reenact her scenes in Jabba’s Palace- this one was a definite favorite this year.

2. Terminator 2: Judgement Day (NECA): Ultimate Sarah Connor– As stated above- a great figure with a great sculpt and check out those guns!

1. Batman: The Animated Series- The New Batman Adventures (DC Collectibles): Batgirl– Based on the Kids WB version of Batgirl as seen in the 1997 series, this figure was gorgeously sculpted and looks like she just stepped off the screen.

And now- my five most anticipated figures for 2016, thus far-

5. Batman V Superman Movie Masters (Mattel): Wonder Woman– I am unsure how I feel about the film in general but I am still looking forward to seeing Wonder Woman in action on the big screen and collecting various paraphernalia. Based on Gal Gadot’s portrayal of the famed comic book character, this should prove to be a popular piece.

4. Marvel Legends Onslaught Series (Hasbro): Mockingbird– Never before available in a 6″ format- this figure of newly minted TV star of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.  Bobbi Morse features her in her latest outfit and should be a good figure for those building their Marvel Universe in figure form.

3. Star Wars: The Force Awakens (Hot Toys): Rey– I loved when spoiler and also that scene where spoiler. I don’t want to talk too much about her since the movie is still new but she is an amazing heroine and the Hot Toys version of her is sculpted to look just like actress Daisy Ridley. I know quite a few staff members anticipating her release. On a side note- I am also excited to find the cheaper 6″ Star Wars Black Hasbro version sometime in the new year.

2. Batman: The Animated Series (DC Collectibles): Zatanna– Based on her appearance during the 1993 run of Batman: The Animated Series this Bruce Timm designed figure was always one I wanted when I was a kid. The closest we ever got was the Justice League Unlimited Figure from Mattel. This one comes with episode specific accessories and should be as gorgeous as previous offerings in the series.

1. Arrow TV (DC Collectibles): Black Canary– It took two and a half seasons for Katie Cassidy’s Laurel Lance to fulfill her destiny as the Black Canary on the CW’s Arrow and this figure is a nice commemorative piece for a character and a show I mostly love. Combine it with the fact that Canary is my favorite character of all time and you have a real winner.

There’s sure to be more coming out next year that I’ll love and you can bet I will discuss them in this very column. That’s it for me this year! Catch you next year with an all new Val’s Toy Chest. Happy New Year!

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Val’s Toy Chest- Christmas with the Super-Heroes

It has been a busy weekend at the Planet- so much so, that I actually didn’t get to see the complete list of what’s coming in this week. I know we will be getting the new Justice League: Gods and Monsters Animated Movie Figures of Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman– all of whom are not the traditional versions of the characters and maybe a couple of other DC Collectibles items. This week’s column is a little different as I won’t be talking about our new items but rather discussing my all-time favorite comic book holiday tale.

The year was 1988 and I remember seeing and getting the DC Comics Christmas with the Super-Heroes special either at my local newsstand or at one of the mall bookstores I would sometimes find myself at. The cover featured seven of DC’s celebrated characters as illustrated by John Byrne in front of a Christmas tree with some very badly wrapped presents in front of them. Black Canary, Green Arrow, Batman, Superman, Wonder Girl Donna Troy, Robin Dick Grayson and Wildfire were the representatives of the six reprinted stories in the $2.95 cover-priced comic. There were two Batman solo stories, a Superman/Santa Claus team-up, a swingin’ sixties Teen Titans tale, a Legion of Super-Heroes tale and the one story that could quite possibly be my favorite Justice League of America story of all-time. First- a little background.

Now I know I mostly talk about toys in this column- so here’s something you might not have known about me- I am a huge fan of the classic JLA run- starting from when they were in the Secret Sanctuary with a mascot named Snapper Carr all the way thru the Satellite Era. I haven’t really connected with the Detroit era as much as I’d like to- but that’s another story. For me the very best of the original JLA title was the Satellite Era line-up which had been around maybe a couple of years by the time of this X-Mas tale. The Christmas tale entitled “The Man Who Murdered Santa Claus” was originally presented in Justice League of America #110 and was written by Len Wein and penciled by Dick Dillin. JLA members Superman, Batman, Green Arrow, Black Canary, The Red Tornado and the newly introduced John Stewart make up the issue’s roll call.

Something about this tale of a murdered Santa Claus and the perpetrator behind this act appealed to me- especially during the more action-oriented parts of the story. Here’s the plot- Old-school JLA villain- the Key is dying from radiation poisoning and wants to get revenge on the JLA. To set the events in motion- he murders a man dressed in a Santa Claus outfit that had been with Batman and Superman. Getting the rest of the JLA to investigate proves to be difficult as most of the members are celebrating the holidays with their families. Ollie, Dinah, and Reddy show up and try to locate the Key’s hideout with Batman, Superman and John Stewart (substituting for an injured Hal Jordan) helping out. Once they find their way into an abandoned building- the Key sets up multiple death-traps to take the JLA out.

I’ve always been a sucker for Ten Little Indians type stories where the protagonists get taken out one by one until you’re down to the last of them and this story didn’t disappoint. The most memorable moment for me is the scene where (of course) Black Canary has to sacrifice herself to save the rest of her team. Superman had just given himself up moments before and the five JLAers find themselves in a room filling with deadly gas which Dinah can hold back by using her sonic scream. Oliver wants to stay with her of course but she judo-flips him out of there as the door shuts separating her from the rest of the team- his despair- classic. I won’t tell you anymore as I think it is a story worth tracking down. As far as I know it has only been reprinted in that 1988 special- a shame since it was a good story that deserves to be read every Christmas season. I often wished that the Justice League cartoon would adapt the story into an episode- but alas.

That’s it for me this week- hope you and yours have an awesome holiday season- if you celebrate Christmas- Merry Christmas to ya! I will catch you all next week with my final column for the year. I’m not sure what I will talk about yet- but it should be a fun one!

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Val’s Toy Chest- DC Collectibles Christmas

There’s just one shopping weekend left til Christmas and this one is full of DC Collectibles goodness. There have also been a few new things out within the last couple of days that I will talk about as well.

DC fans will be very busy this week with 10 all-new figures. The Batman: Mask of the Phantasm two pack from DC’s successful Batman: Animated line will be out on Wednesday with a new Batman figure and a fully masked Phantasm.The New Batman Adventures gets some love as well with the release of the series’ unlikely pairing of Killer Croc and Baby Doll. DC Icons continues with figures from DC’s Forever Evil miniseries, an Infinite Crisis figure and more. Black Adam and Lex Luthor hail from Forever Evil, The Jaime Reyes Blue Beetle is from Infinite Crisis and there will be a deluxe Green Lantern Hal Jordan from a storyline called Dark Days. Finally, fans of Terry Dodson’s Teen Titans: Earth One Graphic Novel can look forward to the next three figures in the Terry Dodson Designer Series. Characters coming out this week include Beast Boy, Raven, and Cyborg joining the previously released Starfire. All of DC’s figures are fully articulated and usually come with at least one accessory.

By the time this week is over there will be a new Star Wars movie and we’ve started to get the new Hot Toys figures in. No major characters as of yet but we have gotten two versions of the new First Order Stormtrooper in. The first is the regular version and there is also the Heavy Gunner which comes with a few extra accessories. Each figure is fully articulated and comes with character dedicated accessories.

The Avengers continue to assemble in Hot Toys form with the release of the Avengers: Age of Ultron Thor. Based on the likeness of Thor actor Chris Hemsworth, this figure comes with two Mjolnirs, one with a light-up feature- the other is a metal one with a lightning effect add-on and a character base. Fully articulated and clad in an authentic cloth costume- the Hot Toys Thor would make a great gift this holiday season.

Finally- this week sees the release of a new holiday one-shot featuring one of this writer’s favorite fictional all-girl bands- Jem and the Holograms!  This new tale features a Secret Santa exchange between rival bands Jem and the Holograms and the Misifts. Will they try and bedevil each other or will the holiday spirit make them do nice things for each other? Should be a fun issue and a perfect stocking stuffer.

That’s all for me this week- catch you guys next Wednesday!

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Val’s Toy Chest- Let’s Get Animated

Greetings readers! There’s DC goodness this week, TV POPs galore, an animated all-girl band and three DC TV Heroes from different eras to discuss.

The next two animated Batman figures from DC Collectibles will be hitting our shelves on Wednesday. Penguin as he appeared in the 1992 Batman: The Animated Series and Poison Ivy based on her 1997 The New Batman Adventures look will be joining the popular DC Animated line after a production delay that should see sturdier figures going forward from DCC. The Batman Arkham video games series has been instrumental in introducing DC characters that have not had their own action figures before into the fray and will continue this week with a three pack featuring first time figures of the Electrocutioner and Lady Shiva as well as a civilian version of Harley Quinn.

Sticking with the Batman theme, we’ve gotten in the first wave of POP figures from the hit Fox show Gotham. In stock now are Fish Mooney, Jim Gordon and Harvey Bullock. Oswald Cobblepot, Selina Kyle and Bruce Wayne should all be here shortly. Other TV series POPs now in stock include characters from Sherlock and Outlander. Star Wars Episode VII merchandise continues to come in and we have POPs of Original Trilogy characters as well as the new film. Now in stock are Rey, C-3PO, Poe Dameron, Kylo Ren and a Snowtrooper. Captain Phasma, Finn and a Stormtrooper will be joining our POP ranks shortly.

There are some cool comic books coming in this week that I wanted to make note of. First of these is IDW’s Jem and the Holograms Annual which finds the Holograms and Jerrica having a girls’ night in complete with popcorn and movies. Sounds innocuous enough though we will see each band member imagining herself within a movie with some sure to be unexpected results. On the DC Comics side of things, Lynda Carter is back as Wonder Woman in the 2nd Wonder Woman ’77 Special based on the classic 1970s TV series. Three all-new stories featuring everyone’s favorite Amazing Amazon are culled from the Digital First series including a take on her arch-nemesis The Cheetah who never appeared on the TV series.

Fans of the TV show Arrow have a new collection to look forward to this week as the Digital First Arrow Season 2.5 series is compiled into a trade paperback. Arrow executive producer Marc Guggenheim tries to fill in the gap between seasons 2 and 3 with these original stories that were also previously available as a 12 issue series. A similar Flash Season Zero volume came out a couple of weeks back with stories by Andrew Kreisberg. Both series will return in October and we are expecting to receive all of the available single figures back in so you can create your own adventures (or just have them hanging out on your toy shelf.)

That’s it for me this week- Catch you guys next week with toy news and more as we head into October with New York Comic-Con and Halloween coming up.

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