- The Washington Times - Thursday, February 5, 2009

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.


Lego’s buildable-action-figure universe expands with the release of the Bionicles’ Glatorians. These 7-inch-tall warriors from the planet Bara Magna battle in the traditions of ancient gladiators as a way for their tribes to settle disputes.

The lineup includes Tarix (representing the water tribe), Vorox (of the sand tribe), Metus (of the ice tribe), Gresh (of the jungle tribe), Raanu (of the fire tribe) and a black-armored fighter named Skrall from the rock tribe.

The new series also offers 5-inch-tall assistants to the Glatorians called Agori ($6.99 each, 13 pieces). These feisty fighters protect the gladiators and will gladly sacrifice themselves for the heroes.

Figure profile: From the Glatorian Web site (http://bionicle.lego.com/en-us/default.aspx) - Skrall Glatorians are arrogant, vicious, brutal, fear nothing and care about even less. They are just waiting for the opportunity to start taking whatever they want, whenever they want it. They are incredibly skilled fighters, with and without weapons. What they may lack in technique they make up for with sheer bludgeoning power and strength.

Accessories: Owners get 50 plastic pieces to build a biomechanical menace resembling what artist H.R. Giger might have created had he designed the Micronauts’ Baron Karza.

Skrall’s weapons, emblazoned with Roxtus tribal designs, include three chain-saw-style blades, a rotating-saw-blade shield and launcher that fires a spiked piece of Thornax fruit.

New to this Bionicles series is a life counter attached to each of the Glatorian figures, used to play a game. The instruction manual offers lame rules involving shooting the Thornax at an opponent or his container. Points are deducted on the counter for every strike.

A better game variation is found on the Lego Web site (http://bionicle.lego.com/en-us/default.aspx). That variation also uses the Agori figures in the battle and incorporates multiple Glatorians for lengthier contests.

Price: $12.99

Read all about it: Papercutz is publishing a pocketbook-size quarterly version of Bionicle comics ($7.95 each), reprinting DC Comics’ past series. A new Glatorian comic titled Sands of Bara Magna is available in the January issue of the official Lego magazine and drawn by Pop Mhan.

What’s it worth: The Glatorians blend a rich back story with easy-to-build figures and provide plenty of role-playing potential.

This year’s group is not as menacing as last year’s Phantoka and Mistika, but the slick, multicolor molding designs, touches of glow-in-the-dark elements and introduction of an actual game should capture younger imaginations.


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