- The Washington Times - Friday, May 12, 2017

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.

Carl Grimes

McFarlane Toys continues to celebrate the coolest characters in movies, television, comics and video games with its latest Blue Wave, Color Tops’ figure collection.

I’m still not sure the point of the color labeling system, but these 6.5-inch-tall, statuesque and highly detailed odes deliver beautifully crafted designs of such stalwarts as Spawn, Narutu Uzamaki and Assassin’s Creed’s Aguilar.

Perhaps the best of the Blue bunch is the three-dimensional representation of one of the humans in AMC Channel’s “The Walking Dead” television series. It’s a boy turned into a ferocious fighting machine who fans have watched struggle in the zombie apocalypse.

Figure profile: (paraphrased from the McFarlane Toys website) The son of Rick and Lori Grimes, Carl has gone from being a reserved, fearful child to becoming a true battle-hardened Walker dispatcher. As the youngest original Atlanta survivor, Carl has been forced to grow up brutally fast with little to no room for childhood amenities.

Price: $19.99.

Accessories: A fantastic version of Carl greets owners led by the figure’s near-perfect head sculpts created using 3-D scan modeling of Chandler Riggs, the actor from the TV series.

He comes dressed in crinkled jeans, a plaid-blue shirt (sticking out of his pants that also covers a brown undershirt), boots and a removable sheriff’s hat.

The figure’s specific designs are taken from both issue No. 83 of the comic book series and Episode 9 “No Way Out” from the sixth season of the show that portrayed an injured Carl after a panicked survivor shot out his eye.

The figure has two interchangeable head sculpts, one with a bloodied eye socket, and one with a white bandage covering his forehead and a white patch over the eye area.

Carl can also wear a removable poncho covered with the bloodied guts of a walker that he once used to mask his human smell while walking through a herd of attacking undead.

It’s worth noting, Carl is more statue than action figure. He is meant to stand affixed to the included base in a set pose.

That means limited articulation in the legs, but the torso twists, arms move at the shoulder and elbows, wrists of the gripped hands twist (he could have used a weapon to grip), and the head is attached at the neck by a ball joint.

However, twisting the head too far left or right makes it look like Carl has a goiter on the side of this neck rather than a properly placed Adam’s apple.

That neck articulation function is a common complaint for collectors of some of the other Color Tops figures.

Read all about it: Image Comics offers that fateful Carl Grimes‘ sequential art issue as part of “The Walking Dead Compendium Two” ($59.99). The book, available in hard copy or digital versions, also includes issues Nos. 49 through 96 of the comic book series featuring stories by Robert Kirkman and artwork from Charles Adlard. 

Watch it: Anchor Bay Home Entertainment released the Blu-ray and DVD collection of “The Walking Dead: The Complete Sixth Season” ($32) that features 16 episodes of the show and enough gore and angst to require a toweling off by viewers.

What’s it worth: I’m still not sold on the Color Top line from McFarlane Toys. More statue than action figure, the masterpieces are best showcased in a geekified office cubicle to impress fellow workers and not really articulated or accessory rich enough to stand with other figures and recreate more complex scenes from the show.

Yes, some, slightly disturbed humans with too much time on their hands actually do this.

Also, the hodge-podge of character choices makes it difficult for collectors to sink their bucks into a single favorite franchise.

I am more impressed by the incredibly poseable, 5-inch collections of action-figure versions of “The Walking Dead,” both television and comic book characters, as well as the retired line of buildable, micro-sized dioramas. I sill have the creepy Governor’s Room and Dale’s RV within eyesight as I conclude this review.

Pop Vault

Here’s a look at a famous prop sure to please older fans of Robert Kirkman’s zombie apocalypse TV and comic book series.

Lucille (McFarlane Toys, ages 17 and older, $39.99) — Appreciate an instrument of death used lavishly in one of the most shocking and disgusting episodes in the history of the “The Walking Dead” television show with this life-sized replica of Negan’s favorite pal and punisher.

Specifically, the villainous leader of the Saviors (played ferociously by actor Jeffery Dean Morgan) is known to walk around his compound and surrounding lands wielding a baseball bat wrapped in barbed wire and ready to take out his rage on his minions as well as the undead and unhelpful recruits to his gang.

Crafted using injected, hard plastic materials, the 32-inch-long hitter mimics a varnished, wood-grain finish throughout and a burnt-in oval marking and the number “4” on the tip of its handle. Adding to its horrifying authenticity is the wrapping of soft rubber barbed wire, painted to look razor sharp. Coming in September is even a “Take It Like a Champ” ($34.99) version of the bat soaked in faux-blood.

Suffice it to report, this fantastic prop replica is not for the children and is hard enough to bust a youngster’s head open. Lucille should get safely mounted on a wall in an entertainment room to be appreciated by the owners and will hit a home run with any unsuspecting fan of “The Walking Dead” franchise strolling by.

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