Somehow over the past two years, Quicksilver became a hot commodity in the Marvel movie landscape. With the character's rights in a bit of ownership limbo, both Marvel Studios and 20th Century Fox released films in their flagship franchises that showed off the silver-haired speedster and his one-note abilities. Both X-Men: Days of Future Past and Avengers: Age of Ultron showed Quicksilver's powers and personalities in different ways, with each version of the character having his fans. Regardless of which iteration of Pietro Maximoff you liked better, only one got an action figure. Ipso facto, Avengers Quicksilver is clearly superior.
Teased during ACGHK 2015, Hot Toys officially announced its Avengers: Age of Ultron Quicksilver sixth-scale figure today. While we already knew what to expect from the sculpt based on the prototype shown off at the toy and collectible convention, these production shots do give us a better idea of the articulation and detail. Though Quicksilver's outfit is a bit plainclothes compared to the actual members of the Avengers, Hot Toys' tailors manage to bring all the subtlety they can do the outfit. It's a good thing too, otherwise this figure would run this risk of being just a tiny bit on the boring side.
Though almost all of Star Wars expanded history has been wiped from the holocrons, there are still a great many stories that exist as part of the new canon. Stories taking place around the New Jedi Order or the Legacy of the Force have been left to memory, but the Clone Wars shows managed to maintain their legacies in the Star Wars pantheon. That era has given us some of the best new stories in the universe, as well as fan-favorite characters like Ahsoka Tano, Asajj Ventress and a number of Clone Troopers that otherwise had been generic soldiers in the Republic's war against the Separatists.
Where but a few of the Clone Troopers got some screen time in the prequel trilogy, the animated Clone Wars offered many more of the Jango-lites a chance to step into the spotlight. A few have even made the leap from the screen to action figure form. Such is the case with Echo, the second member of Domino squad to get a sixth-scale figure from Sideshow Collectibles. Though he borrows parts from other Clone soldiers Sideshow's previously released, Echo's slight variations make him a standout piece in an already solid series.
This past week, Hasbro and Marvel teamed up for another fan vote to determine one new figure for the Marvel Legends line. The qualifying rounds actually took place at San Diego Comic-Con, with each day of the convention hosting a different round of four. You had to visit the Hasbro booth to place a vote, but the initial round of 16 was quite intriguing. In addition to well-known characters like Symbiote Spider-Man, Quasar, Nebula, Lady Sif and Nova, there were a lot of fringe heroes and villains thrown into the mix like Lyra, Cosmo, Bor, the Executioner and Angela.
Now that I look at these names again, there were a lot of cosmic and Asgard-related characters. Guess that means there's likely to be a Thor line and a cosmic hero line in the next year or two, which makes sense given Marvel's movie schedule (Thor: Ragnarok and Guardians of the Galaxy 2 are both due in 2017). Of the sixteen announced, only three (Mysterio, Spider-Man and the Hood) wouldn't fit into those two molds. When all was said and done at SDCC, only four characters remained, and fans would have to choose from Mysterio, Symbiote Spider-Man, Darkhawk and Angela to determine the next Marvel Legend.
In 1987, 20th Century Fox introduced the world to the Predator in one of the most memorable action films of Arnold Schwarzenegger's career. I wouldn't see the movie until a few years after it's release on cable at a sleepover, but the impression it made was instant. In 1989, Dark Horse brought the alien hunters to the masses through the first of many mini-series, Concrete Jungle. The four-issue series actually focused on the brother of Schwarzenegger's Dutch Schaffer, a New York police detective working the narcotics division. Even all these years later, the cover to the first issue is still a bold and memorable one, which was a hallmark of DHP's Predator books way back when. Since those earliest Predator stories, the franchise has stuck with fans, and the tribal aliens have appeared in a variety of forms over the years.
These comics, which arrived on the scene before Danny Glover and Predator 2, were the first time we learned there could be more than one of these ugly mother f---ers out there. Dark Horse's books continued expanding on the universe of the Yautja over the years, building a deep history for the alien race, and even helping inspire a bit of cross-pollination with the Alien franchise (also at 20th Century Fox and Dark Horse). Still, Concrete Jungle, which acted as a direct sequel of sorts to the original film remains one of the most important. Now, in celebration of the 25th anniversary Dark Horse's first Predator comics, NECA's released a special version of the iconic hunter commemorating that stunning cover.
I'll admit, when Square Enix hinted the Black Widow would be joining its Marvel Variants line, I was a bit concerned. The Variants line is filled with some fairly radical redesigns of familiar characters, and some of the artistic choices made for the DC Variants line's female figures left little to the imagination. However, once I saw the prototype at SDCC this year, I was actually excited to see the final version. The Black Widow on display there wasn't quite as massive a departure as some previous Variants figures had been, and showed a lot of unpainted promise for the final release.
This week, Square revealed the fully-painted prototype, and the images (courtesy of ToyArk) show off a Black Widow that's actually really close to her comic book counterpart. Only Iron Man, Spider-Man, Venom and Thor have been shown off in this form to this point. Each of those is still immediately recognizable, but share some influences that are instantly noticeable as Play Arts style. The new Black Widow, while proportionately rocking some Taylor Swift legs, doesn't appear to look that drastically different from iterations of her design that we've seen in her comic book past.
Upcoming collectible toy video game Lego Dimensions has already promised a wealth of crossover potential with the likes of Batman, Gandalf and Wyldstyle starring alongside each other in an adventure that spans (almost) all of Lego's properties. While we've been focused on characters from Back to the Future, Scooby-Doo and Portal joining the fray, we almost forgot about the idea that many of these characters exist in different forms within the Lego Universe already thanks to the Lego Movie. TT Games hasn't forgotten though.
In the latest trailer for the developer's new flagship Lego title, we get to see a multitude of familiar faces from all ranges of Lego lines, but it's the chance meeting of DC's Batman and Wyldstyle's former flame, Batman, that gives us the clearest idea of what to expect from the upcoming action game. The lines between realities have been blurred beyond recognition, and now Batman and Batman will have to figure out which Batman is the Batman-est Batman to don the cape and cowl.
Typically, we only get to see the end result of the effort sculptors and designers at Hot Toys put into each of the figures the company releases. As the company is overseas, getting a look behind the scenes is rare. Sometimes Hot Toys will share a quick pic on social media of an in-progress sculpt, but for the most part, we're all in the dark about the creative process in the studio.
As one of the more secretive companies in the game right now, it's a big deal whenever we're given a peek behind the curtain. Such is the case with this brief YouTube video from The Story, a Korean news channel which featured an interview with Hot Toys' president, JC Hong. Originally released back in April, the video is only just now making the rounds, but still offers a small glimpse at the work and process each of Hot Toys' incredibly accurate and pricey figures goes through.
It's not often that I set my alarm on a Sunday, but when there is an opportunity to check out some new toys before they arrive on the market, I have been known to be motivated enough to drag myself out of bed. I've been eager to see Disney Playmation in action ever since it was announced, and even though I'm not the target demographic, I happened to know a would-be Avenger that was more than willing to try out the new toys, too. What kid doesn't want the opportunity to be Iron Man for a day?
There hasn't been much news about Playmation since its big reveal in June, but the Disney Store just started hosting public preview events earlier this month. Disney Playmation came about in response to a Disney-funded study that revealed parents wished their kids spent more time being active, but didn't want them to have to give up newfangled technological advances. Created by some of Disney's best and brightest Imagineers and developers to nail the intersection of that big Venn diagram, and with a little help from Hasbro, Playmation was born. Thirty minutes after arriving at "Avengers Labs," I had a much clearer idea of what Playmation was and what to expect. Even though I now have a better notion of how Disney Playmation works, I have concerns about whether or not it can accomplish the lofty goals set for it.
This week's Ani-Com and Games Hong Kong event is barely underway, but Hot Toys has already announced a handful of new and eagerly awaited figures in its sixth-scale Marvel line. The company's had an incredibly busy year with both the Star Wars and Marvel Cinematic Universe making up the bulk of Hot Toys' new figures. While the majority of the Avengers: Age of Ultron cast has already been shown numerous times, the ACGHK marked the debut of Quicksilver, and for the first time, an all-new Nick Fury based on his appearance in Captain America: Winter Soldier.
Neither of those reveals was as important however as the update to Guardians of the Galaxy's Drax the Destroyer. Drax has been MIA from any official release schedules, unlike the rest of the Guardians of the Galaxy. As the last member of the crew to be formally announced, fans had been plastering Hot Toys' social media pages with pictures of an earlier prototype, hoping against hope that eventually Hot Toys would actually have news on the character's figure instead of another new Iron Man armor to hype. Today, those dreams came true.
The hustle and bustle of con season may be well under way here in the States, but the Asian convention circuit is only just beginning. Ani-Com and Games Hong Kong 2015 kicks off this week, and Hot Toys will be there in full force showing off new items that were just not quite ready enough for San Diego Comic-Con. Though the company's been busy this week already with major announcements of new figures, there are plenty more on the way, including those that might fly under the radar.
Case in point, the just-announced Ant-Man and Flying Ant miniature collectible that will be on display for the first time at ACCHK. As part of what I'm presuming was a stipulation in all of Marvel's licensing contracts that any Ant-Man merchandise deals must include at least five mini-figures (seriously, enough already), Hot Toys has prepped a figure not unlike those you've seen from Hasbro and Funko already. The main difference being that this 4" collectible bears the Hot Toys brand name, and will come at a premium as a result.
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