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, lets take a peek at some of the specimens worthy of a place in Zad's Toy Vault.
DC Direct, the collectibles division of DC Comics, celebrates the heroes and villains of its parent company with its 1:6 scale Deluxe Collector Series line. With nearly 25 figures already in the collection, including multiple versions of Batman, Lex Luther, the Joker, Harley Quinn and Bizarro, each doll stands roughly 13 inches tall and offers detailed cloth costuming and many points of articulation.
The latest rendering pays tribute to a character that has been in comics since 1947, often at the side of the mighty Green Arrow.
Figure profile: From the packaging - Born into a family of crime fighters, Dinah Laurel Lance followed in her famous mother's footsteps to become one of the most integral members of the Justice League of America and also Birds of Prey superhero teams.
Accessories: Miss Lance has 28 points of articulation and is dressed for heroic action in her traditional costume. Her garb includes a black pleather bolero-style jacket, high-heeled boots, fishnet stockings, choker and bustier.
Owners also get an interchangeable head sculpt of her in mid Canary Cry, a removable mask for each head, a pair of opened hands to swap with the clenched fists and a plastic display base.
The overall design most resembles actress Scarlett Johansson posing for a modern interpretation of the Golden Age Black Canary, mixing elements from artists Alex Ross, Jim Lee and Carmine Infantino.
Read all about it: DC Comics offers plenty of opportunity to read about the sultry heroine's exploits. Not only is Black Canary a regular in the monthly series Birds of Prey ($2.99 each), but she also stars with Green Arrow in their own series ($2.99 each).
What's it worth: The head sculpts are fantastic and highlight a beautiful woman, even when she's screaming. However, this is a $90 investment, and collectors won't appreciate leg joints that awkwardly show through her stockings and masks that often fall off.
Even so, she looks very impressive standing next to DC Direct's Green Arrow figure ($89.99).
Sideshow Collectibles continues its assault on collectors' wallets with its Star Wars: Order of the Jedi series of 12-inch dolls. The latest addition re-creates one of the leading commanders of the Clone Wars, Ben Kenobi. The noble knight is ready to stand next to others in the Sideshow line, including Mace Windu, Anakin Skywalker, Ki Adi Mundi, Aayla Secura, Kit Fisto, Plo Koon and Qui Gon Jinn.
Figure profile: From the packaging - The embodiment of Jedi ideals, Obi-Wan Kenobi is both wise and strong. His patience and keen powers of observation have served him well as one of the Jedi Order's most masterful negotiators. These qualities are matched in measure by his swiftness and skill with a light saber, making him Master Yoda's first choice for many unconventional missions. His successes in the Outer Rim campaign have earned him a seat among their number by the final days of the Clone Wars.
Accessories: The Jedi, with more than 30 points of articulation, gets an ignited translucent blue light saber, light-saber hilt, cloth cape and tunic, rubbery undersuit, Clone Trooper armor, four extra hands with various poses and a sturdy display stand.
The packaging is also a highlight with its wraparound cover sealed with a magnetic grip and various animated scenes from the Clone Wars on its back.
Read all about it: I would try either the quarterly graphic novella "Star Wars: The Clone Wars, Volume 1: Shipyards of Doom" ($7.95 each) for a compact taste of the man and his fellow Jedi in action or the monthly Star Wars: The Clone Wars series ($2.99 each), both from Dark Horse Comics.
What's it worth: Trevor Grove's spectacular sculpt takes its cue from of the actor who played young Obi-Wan in the movies, Ewan McGregor. It is distinguished by incredible eye detail; a focused, calm facial expression; raised eyebrow; and moles.
My only beef is with the loose knee joints, but this beauty is for admiring and not taking into an action-figure war. So set him up in a case and just appreciate one of Sideshow's best figures to date.
Visit Zadzooks at the blog section of The Washington Times' Community pages (www.washingtontimes.com/communities/zadzooks).