For the past few years, fans have been eagerly awaiting the official reveal of Hot Toys' Ellen Ripley figures. About 10 years ago, before Hot Toys was the detail-oriented company we know them as today, the company released a series of Alien and Aliens figures, but none of them had any actor likenesses. While those figures still fetch a princely sum based on the brand recognition alone, they weren't great. But then came the day when Sigourney Weaver finally signed off on her likeness being used a few Toy Fairs ago, and with it the news Hot Toys was going to revisit the Alien franchise.
Since that announcement, the Ellen Ripley figure has been one of the most anticipated Hot Toys releases, but it's been absent from the company's portfolio. Ripley had shown up at conventions overseas as an "in-progress" work, but as Alien Day came and passed, we still had no word from the Nostromo. This week, salvagers managed to find a lifeform as it passed through the outer rim. Ripley is here.
Alright, you got me. Technically Leia Organa isn't a Jedi Knight. Maybe at one time that was her destiny, but that might be something I made up in the '90s. As we all know today, Leia Organa may have been incredibly Force-sensitive like her brother Luke Skywalker, but she never took to the Jedi training like he did. Leia stuck with the Rebellion for decades, maintaining her role as a leader in the galaxy's Resistance against the remaining Empire forces. Her path to becoming a general however started way back in the original Star Wars, where Leia used her diplomatic privileges to help the fledgling Rebel Alliance.
Since debuting in Star Wars in 1977, Leia Organa has become an icon that transcended the genre. While it took a few figures to get here, Hot Toys has finally seen fit to honor one of cinema's greatest heroes with a figure worthy of her status. The Star Wars: A New Hope Princess Leia may not be the hardened general we know her as today, but Hot Toys' latest figure manages to bring her to life in figure form so well, you can see the beginnings of the galaxy's greatest leader in every detail.
If you feel like nearly every other character from Captain America: Civil War had his figure announced before Black Widow, you're like 99% right. Besides the teased Scarlet Witch and Crossbones, and potential figures for Agent 13, Spider-Man and Baron Zemo, there aren't many characters from the upcoming Marvel movie that haven't gotten their moments in the pre-ordering sun. But that's okay. I always knew the Black Widow was coming from Hot Toys. The company has never not released a Natasha figure since she first appeared in Iron Man 2. Though they haven't always been noteworthy figures, Hot Toys is nothing but consistent in its treatment of Black Widow. That's more than you can say about a number of its competitors.
As a fan of Matt Fraction and Salvador Larroca's Invincible Iron Man run a few years back, it brings me a tiny bit of joy to see the "Bleeding Edge" armor making its debut in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. As such, it also brings me a tiny bit of happiness to see that Hot Toys is adapting the new set of Iron Man's armor into die cast action figure form. While the MK XLVI armor is just the 46th different suit we've seen in the movies, this is something like the 60th Iron Man figure Hot Toys has released since Iron Man hit theaters eight years ago. He's easily the company's most revisited character in that same time span, but I've given up complaining. It's time to embrace the machine.
The only real downside to all of these Marvel movies is the number of Hot Toys figures we're supposed to try and keep up with. With one or two major Avenger movies per year, Hot Toys has been able to pump out the likes of Iron Man, Captain America, Black Widow and more with regularity. While that's good for Hot Toys and fans with a tremendous amount of expendable income, it's not easy on the wallet for the rest of us. I mean, it feels like just yesterday Hot Toys announced a Captain America: Civil War Captain America, and there's already a new version announced.
Though Cap has had his fair share of expensive action figures, the Scarlet Witch is still new enough to the process that her second figure in a calendar year doesn't feel too pushy. Perhaps it's the dramatic difference between her first figure from Age of Ultron and this New Avengers-styled interpretation, but it feels right to get another Scarlet Witch for this movie. That, and the reworked paint app for the head sculpt has done wonders for its likeness accuracy.
Since Hot Toys first started showing off its Captain America: Civil War figures, many collectors have been waiting for the first glimpse at the Black Panther. Unlike many of the other characters getting figures from the upcoming sequel, Black Panther won't merely be an update to an existing toy. This is the first time he'll be joining the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and as such, is the first time he'll be getting a figure of Hot Toys' quality. It's unfortunate then the figure itself is a little disappointing.
In the pages of his Marvel comics, Black Panther's suit is simplistic. It's loaded with all kinds of Wakandan technology, but it lacks definition. It's sleek, like the character's namesake. To pop a little more on screen, the costume designers applied some fantastic texturing that pays tribute to T'Challa's heritage. Hot Toys gets a lot of details right. The suit from the upcoming film is incredibly intricate, and that starts with the cowl. There's all kinds of wonder Wakandan art inscribed throughout, providing so much more personality to the character than his more traditional comic costume.
Hot Toys, we need to talk. For the most part, I appreciate all the effort put into the figures created by the talented team working for the company. The way Hot Toys is able to recreate the heroes and villains of cinema's most exciting characters must rely on some sort of ancient magic. Somewhere along the line these last few months, the magic well must have started drying up. Where costumes and accessories are still delightfully detailed, the once impeccable likenesses have started failing the characters they're modeled after. That's never been more apparent than the newest announcement, the Captain America: Civil War Ant-Man.
This year marks the 30th anniversary of Aliens, James Cameron's follow-up to the sci-fi horror classic, Alien. To celebrate the event, 20th Century Fox has overtaken the fan holiday of Aliens Day on April 26 (LV-426 is the planet where all the action happens in Aliens) to bring out a number of new collectibles and to promote the upcoming sequel, Alien: Covenant. Major corporations co-opting something as silly and fun as a fake holiday fits right in with the Weyland-Yutani mantra, and while we can debate the value of tactics like these, we are getting some products that might otherwise have never happened like replica Reebok sneakers and new Hot Toys figures.
I'm perfectly at peace in being complicit in allowing things like this to happen because I want to own cool things that celebrate the culture I enjoy. I love the Alien series. Most of it anyway. I also really enjoy toys. While NECA's been doing a tremendous job pumping out Alien figures at a steady and affordable pace, Hot Toys has been chilling on the sidelines with its Marvel and Star Wars licenses. The Hong Kong manufacturer once released a number of Alien figures, but it was well before the company became the juggernaut it is today. The revisiting of the franchise will give Hot Toys a chance to show off it's new skills with the Alien Warrior, a xenomorph that's been done a number of times before, but never quite like this.
Falcon is the man. Dude gets some serious chiding about his running from a superhero hopped up on TRT, HGH and any number of other substances deemed illegal for use by the Olympics, the USADA, the NSAC, the Sokovia Accords and people who think sports were better when people didn't have to wear helmets. And for what? Because he couldn't keep up with a morning jog? It was basically the Marvel movie version of "Do you even lift bro?" Yet Sam Wilson still opened his door to Steve Rogers when he needed a place to crash, and even helped him overthrow a HYDRA insurgency within SHIELD in spite of how rude Captain America was to him. Falcon is the man.
While he's gotten a figure from Hot Toys before, this latest version is much closer to the comic character we've all come to know and love since his arrival decades ago. The more realistic, militarized version worked well for a debut in Captain America: The Winter Solider, but the revamped model with red highlights helps separate him from the drab gunmetal of enlisted characters like War Machine. While it's not quite as rocking as his current comic look, the Captain America: Civil War Falcon still manages to have a signature look that gives him a bit more personality on the crowded battlefield.
I know the movie is called Batman V Superman, but they've both had their cinematic adventures before and the subsequent action figure lines that come with the territory. Both Batman and Superman have had numerous Hot Toys figures too, so for me, it's been all about waiting for that Wonder Woman reveal. The Hong Kong company has done well to keep Gal Gadot's Wonder Woman figure a secret, but now that the first preview screenings have started, it seemed like the perfect time to finally loose the Amazon warrior into the wild.
There's not a lot to dislike about this Wonder Woman, but even in releasing the first set of official images for the figure, Hot Toys has managed to not give us a completely clear look at the whole piece. Not counting the accessories montage image, there are just nine images of Wonder Woman available, with six focused completely on the head sculpt. It's not a tactic we're used to seeing, as Hot Toys usually throws more than a dozen different prototype images together for reveals like this which show off more costume and articulation details. The lack of posing in these images has me a little worried.
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