Thanks to the proliferation of film, comic-book and cartoon characters, consumers are being bombarded 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.
Gamma-radiated comic-book legend the Incredible Hulk is back in theaters with a new film starring actor Hasbro supports his return to the screen with an assortment of 6-inch-tall, poseable, power-packed action figures.
Fans will find multiple versions of the Green Goliath, including a Hulk that glows, one that claps and even one that uses half of a squad car as a boxing glove. Of course, the film's villain is also on shelves, and he's an abominable monstrosity who has been seen in the comics since 1967.
Figure profile: From the packaging: Desperate for enough power to destroy the Hulk, Emil Blonsky undergoes experimental treatment that heightens his strength and speed. His bones and muscles are flooded with powerful energy, but something goes horribly wrong. He soon mutates into the monster known as the Abomination. He's mad with power, and only the Incredible Hulk has any hope of stopping him.
Accessories: This raging muscle- and vein-popping thug gets more than 20 points of articulation and a steel pipe to clobber the Hulk. Unfortunately, holding the pipe during any lengthy battle sequence is a bit dicey for the figure, as the weapon falls apart too easily.
Read all about it: A slightly pricey but fantastic look at the early years of the Abomination in comics is found in Marvel's recently released "Incredible Hulk Omnibus" ($99.99). The hardcover edition collects Incredible Hulk Nos. 1 to 6, Incredible Hulk No. 102 and Tales to Astonish Nos. 59 to 102. (The first Abomination story is in Nos. 90 and 91.)
What's it worth: Despite the cheap pipe, this version of the Abomination is a durable behemoth, faithful to its on-screen counterpart and perfect for younger fans to relive moments from the film.
Strange but cool
A look at more products tied to the Jade Giant in film and comics.
* Hulk Smash Hands (Hasbro, $19.99 uses three AA batteries, included) - The defunct Toy Biz made these sound-effects fists popular, and Hasbro has picked up the mantle with the latest set for young Hulk fans to role-play his rage. Instead of foam molding, owners wear cuddly plush gloves with cloth coverings to deliver some gentler pounding. The right fist offers a selection of punch-activated crashing sound effects, frightening growls and a few Hulkisms such as, "You're making me angry. You won't like me when I'm angry." An overall great design, but it would have been nice to have sound effects in both gloves.
* Don't Wake Hulk (Milton Bradley, $19.99) - Based on the classic Don't Wake Daddy, this board game uses the preschool-friendly world of Spider-Man and Friends to give children a kinder look at the Green Goliath. Up to four players select a cardboard token of their favorite hero (kid versions of Storm, Iron Man, Wolverine or Spider-Man) and work their way around a colorful course with a napping Hulk in bed in the middle.
As players move around the board with the use of a die and cards, landing on certain spaces requires them to tap the Hulk's alarm clock. A wrong number of taps has the giant pop up from his slumber to startle the player, forcing him or her to move back spaces. The game features beautiful artwork of such favorites as the Lizard, Captain America, Doctor Octopus and the Beast, and the Hulk even wears a purple sleeping cap for the way-too-cute experience.
* Incredible Hulk Bust (Sideshow Collectibles, $224.99) - Scare young children and pets with this 2:1 scale head of Bruce Banner's alter ego. Made of high-quality polystone, hand-painted and hand-finished, the 14-pound work of art captures sculptor Mat Falls' raging vision of the character, an amalgam of comic-book versions of the Hulk from the past 10 years.
Limited to 400 pieces, the green sculpture features part of the Hulk's vein-bursting chest, a muscular back, a Gary Busey-size set of choppers, almost-too-tiny ears and a nicely trimmed coif (with possibly a bit of styling gel applied). An exclusive version also is available, including a collapsed building nameplate.
My minor beef is with the hunched-over position of the bust. At eye level, it's hard to admire the fine facial features.
Send e-mail to Joseph Szadkowski @email@example.com.