- The Washington Times - Friday, September 5, 2003

Thanks to the proliferation of film, comic-book and cartoon characters, companies are bombarding consumers with an incredible selection of action figures. With tongue in cheek, let’s take a peek at some of the specimens worthy of a place in Zad’s Toy Vault.

Gambit

Marvel Legends returns for a fourth time with five brand-new, finely sculpted, highly posable action figures. Culling some of the greatest superheroes from the House of Ideas, Toy Biz packages a 6-inch-scale beauty with either a wall-mountable diorama-style base or display stand and a classic 32-page comic book that captures a critical episode in that character’s life. The current lineup includes the Punisher (with Punisher War Zone, No. 1), the Beast (with X-Men, No. 3), Elektra (with Daredevil, No. 176), Goliath (with Avengers, No. 28) and a reformed thief and member of the X-Men known as the ragin’ Cajun.

m Figure profile: Always an outsider, Remy LeBeau was shunned as a youth because of his strange, burning-red eyes. Eventually he realized he was a mutant — gifted with the ability to charge inanimate objects with explosively released biokinetic energy. In Gambit’s hands, even the most benign implement becomes an exploding projectile. However, he most often relies on kinetically charged playing cards.

Accessories: Gambit comes with his signature staff, brown cloth overcoat and a protoplasmic stream of hot pink plastic with a few aces embedded in it that he can grip to demonstrate his famous powers. The awesome display base is the remnant of a robotic Sentinel’s hand that obviously failed in its attempt to capture the X-Men.

Price: $7.99

• Read all about it: The package contains X-Men, Vol. 2, No. 4, featuring the creative efforts of a dream team, writer John Byrne and artist Jim Lee, with a plot that includes the return of villain Omega Red and Gambit going out on a very short date with Rogue. Also, Toy Biz has replaced the book’s original cover illustration by Mr. Lee with famed Gambit artist Steve Skroce showing the Cajun jumping into action.

Words to buy by: Through an amazing 36 points of articulation and detailed sculpting highlighting his wavy hair and legendary smirk, this representation of the charming scoundrel should easily satisfy both older collectors and children looking for some serious action-figure playtime.

T-850 Terminator

McFarlane Toys pays homage to Arnold Schwarzenegger’s latest blockbuster, “Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines” with four incredibly detailed, multiarticulated action figures. The 7-inch line offers a weapons-carrying T-850 Terminator, the endoskeleton of a TX, the female form of the Terminatrix and another T-850 re-creating a classic scene from the film that shows why it would make the perfect pallbearer.

Figure profile: Skynet’s series 850 Terminator is a cybernetic organism, featuring living tissue over a metal endoskeleton and very similar to Cyberdyne Systems Corp. 800 series, which uses living tissue rather than the rubber skin of the Series 600. The 850 comes refined with a toughened endoskeleton to handle Plasma weapon blasts, improved power cells and easy access points to make internal repairs to its CPU [central processing unit] port. Skynet also uses the 850 series as its basic infantry for ground combat. In these conditions, the endoskeleton operates without any skin. A model 101 was reprogrammed by John Connor and sent back in time to protect himself from a Terminator X series assassin.

Source: Resistance HQ Web site (www.eterminator.com)

Accessories: Our favorite, memorable-line-spewing machine is back with a soft faux-leather, bullet-riddled plastic jacket, drum-fed machine gun with strap, nonremovable sunglasses and a massive coffin with enough armaments to take on Rambo. McFarlane Toys also maintains its accessory superiority by putting in five removable weapons among the coffin’s faux-weapons stash.

Price: $9.99

Read all about it: Beckett Comics offers a prequel to the latest Terminator movie with a three-part sequential-art series, Terminator 3: Rise Before the Machines (48 pages each, $5.95).

• Words to buy by: The perfect sculpting of Mr. Schwarzenegger’s mug and frame combined with a high “coolness” factor makes the figure a perfect 3-D memory of the movie and a beautiful tribute to the Terminator legacy.

Strange but cool

A short look at bizarre products with a pop-culture twist:

P-51D Mustang (Corgi Classic, $25.99) and Memphis Belle (Corgi Classic, $49.99): The British company known for its quality die-cast models for the past 40 years celebrates a centennial of flight with a high-end Aviation Archive series of limited-edition collector planes.

The historically accurate aircraft include a Boeing B-17F Flying Fortress nicknamed the Memphis Belle, a craft that gained celebrity status as the first 8th Air Force Bomber to complete 25 missions and bring every member of its crew home safely (presented in 1:144 scale); and the P-51D Mustang: Petie 2nd from the 487th Squadron flown by Lt. Col. John C. Meyer, who received three Distinguished Flying Crosses for shooting down 24 German aircraft (presented in 1:72 scale).

Those with patience enough to extricate the delicate aircraft from its plastic package tomb will appreciate the ability to mount landing gear on each and view them at a distance with the swivel display stands.

For more information, comic books over the years often have paid tribute to the war ace going back to the 1940s and True Comics or Wings Comics. Today, comic fans can look to Ted Nomura’s work at Antarctic Press for some manga-stylized books looking at the likes of Pearl Harbor or his Tigers of Terra series ($3.95 each), or grab DC Comics’ Enemy Ace Archives: Vol. 1 ($49.95) featuring the work of Joe Kubert.

Zadzooks! wants to know you exist. Call 202/636-3016; fax 202/269-1853; e-mail jszadkowski@washingtontimes.com or write Joseph Szadkowski, The Washington Times, 3600 New York Ave. NE, Washington, DC 20002.

LOAD COMMENTS ()

 

Click to Read More

Click to Hide