Monday, October 21, 2019

The Best Of 2019: Third Quarter part 2

So now it’s time for the main event as we close out the third quarter of 2019. Despite a good number of honorary mentions in my last post, none of them were quite good enough to crack my ongoing top ten list. But as I mentioned before, August was a big month for me in terms of new acquisitions. As a result, there are quite a lot of changes for the current top ten of the year.

As always, we first say goodbye to some of our previous entries in the top ten.

And with that out of the way, let’s get the ball rolling!

10) Black Series Ezra & Chopper

This was a real close call for the tenth place. Aside from being the central character from the Rebels series, Ezra is a really well done figure. And Chopper, well he’s my favorite droid from the entire Star Wars universe (R2-D who?). So together they were just enough to hold off the Emperor from this spot.

9) Dream Factory Steel Claw (Masterpiece Bonecrusher)

Maybe it’s his huge claw that is keeping him from completely falling out of the top ten. But I really am a fan of his rather odd design. His deluxe toy was the very first movie toy I ever purchased so I guess there is a bit of nostalgic element to his staying power on my list.

8) Marvel Legends 80th Anniversary Hulk

I’ll be the first to admit, I am not the biggest Hulk fan. Still, I do recognize that any decent Marvel heroes display needs some sort of representation by their jolly(?) green giant. And for the longest time, that slot was filled in my collection by the “slicked back hair” Hulk that came with Ghost Vision and Ultron 3 pack. And while that version was good enough for me for the time being, this new 80th version looked so much better.

So while I wasn’t overly excited about purchasing this Hulk, especially since he came packaged with yet another version of “favorite” mutant Wolverine (yippee), I pushed through with it anyway. And I am glad that I did. In hand, this figure is really good. It’s like night and day compared to my previous Hulk. He’s considerably larger than any Hulk figure I’ve handled, and a lot more articulated as well. More importantly though, this new version perfectly captures all the power and rage that the Hulk character naturally exudes. And he looks like he can beat the crap out of ANY figure on my shelf, which is what a proper Hulk figure should look like.

Oh and the “first appearance” Wolverine that came with it turned out to be pretty decent as well. So while I initially planned to just sell it off. I decided to keep him as well.

7) Marvel Legends Black Order

The Black Order, or Children of Thanos was a subgroup that I was not particularly familiar with from the comics. So my proper introduction to them was through the MCU movie Avengers: Infinity War. While I heard that they were more interesting as characters in the comics, in the movie they were mostly portrayed as super powered thugs who didn’t even survive until the end, all dying in fairly graphic and gruesome deaths. So my interest in them as characters coming off the movies was pretty pretty pretty low.

Needless to say, completing the Black Order wasn’t high on my collection priorities, especially since the Hasbro only released 2 out of the 4 members, Proxima Midnight and Cull Obsidian as part of their Infinity War Marvel Legends waves. When it came time for the sequel Endgame a year later though, Hasbro promptly rounded up the rest of the team by releasing the two remaining members, Ebony May and Corvus Glaive.

Once the possibility of completing the Black Order became a reality for collectors, they all quickly became some of the most highly sought after Marvel Legend figures. And due to my own self denial, I was basically late to the party. While it wasn’t easy, I eventually completed my own Black Order. How I got them is worthy of its own blog entry in my opinion, so I’ll just leave it at that for the time being.

As a group, they are definitely one of the most visually stunning collection of villains on my display.

6) Wei Jiang Hide Shadow (OS Blackout)

I know a lot of people hate the Bayverse Transformers designs and admittedly some of them are kinda hard to stomach. But as far as the movie designs go, this one is a classic. And this is the first version of Blackout that actually does the character justice.

5) SH Figuarts Yoda

The Yoda from the Original Trilogy and the Prequel Trilogy are almost like two completely different characters. While the Original Trilogy Yoda was portrayed as an old and tired Jedi who definitely looked like he had been residing in a swamp for years, the Prequel Yoda was a younger, lightsaber wielding Jedi warrior. While the Black Series gave us the Original Trilogy Yoda with mixed results, SH Figuarts pretty much nailed the Prequel version.

For such a tiny figure, this guy is definitely a whole lot of fun. And he comes with s slew of accessories (perhaps to make up for such a small figure). He’s got three interchangeable heads which are beautifully digitally printed. The differences from each head are basically in the eyes but they convey so much emotion. He also comes with a bunch of hands, plastic robe options, his cane, lightsaber and even his personal Jedi Council chair.

With so many accessories and swappable parts, this is definitely one figure that you could double dip on. Until now I still have a problem deciding how I ultimately want him posed on the shelf.

4) SH Figuarts Count Dooku

For the longest time, Count Dooku was one of the major characters missing from my Prequel Trilogy display. I guess it took awhile to get the likeness rights to actor Christopher Lee’s face. At first I was worried as initial reviews of this figure were lukewarm at best. But in hand I think he’s a pretty great figure.

Visually, his character design may not be as intimidating as Darth Maul or as unique as General Grievous, but in many ways Dooku definitely holds his own. While the other two have a more in your face bad guy look, Dooku represents a more subtle and more disciplined evil which I really like and appreciate.

3) Marvel Legends Series Power and Glory Captain America

As far as MCU Captain Americas go, Hasbro pretty much nailed it with this guy. However if you told me that “Worthy” Cap wouldn’t be THE Captain America release of the year, I would have a hard time believing you. But apparently, Hasbro was not yet done with the Star Spangled Avenger in 2019.

2) Marvel Legends 80th Anniversary Captain America

In case you didn’t already know, Captain America is my favorite superhero. And it has been a big frustration for me that Hasbro has been unable to produce a proper CLASSIC Captain America. Their previous attempt came close, but the head sculpt reminded me more of the US Agent, John Walker. And to make matters worse, they just painted on the scale mail on his upper torso. Well this year Hasbro finally gave me the Cap I longed for with their 80th Anniversary version. If I had to nitpick though I wish they would have painted him with a lighter shade of blue, but other than that, he’s practically perfect.

And I know this is kinda cheating but since this is my list, I’ll throw in the 80th Anniversary Thor and Iron Man into the mix as well. Having all three released at the same time just makes everything sweeter. Of all the various versions of Cap, Iron Man and Thor created through the years, these three will always be my favorites. It just gives me pure joy to see this triumvirate standing at the front and center of my Marvel Legends display. These were my heroes growing up. And their designs are timeless.

1) Transform Element TE-01 (Masterpiece Optimus Prime)

If there was one major nitpick some collectors had with Transform Element’s version of Masterpiece Prime, it was his head. While I personally didn’t have any problem with it, others felt it was a little off. So Transform Element went out of their way to produce a second head to appease the vocal minority. While I initially didn’t plan to get it (I was really happy with the original head), when the opportunity came for me to get the new head, I took it.

Even without the new head though, TE-01 is still a lock for the top spot.