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 Jones, Daredevil 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!