- The Washington Times - Friday, October 31, 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.

Jason Voorhees

Sideshow Toy takes its mastery of 12-inch legendary movie-monster figures and applies it to four contemporary masters of fright in its Modern Horror Classics line. Collectors looking for quality, detail and precision sculpting from Mat Falls will truly appreciate Freddie Krueger from “Nightmare on Elm Street,” Leatherface from “The Texas Chainsaw Massacre,” Michael Myers of “Halloween” and Jason Voorhees, a fellow who has slaughtered and survived 10 “Friday the 13th” movies revolving around his murderous exploits and who helped herald the birth of the teenage slasher movie genre.

Figure profile: An idyllic summer turns into a nightmare of unspeakable terror for yet another group of naive counselors. Ignoring Camp Crystal Lake’s bloody legacy, one by one they fall victim to the insane Jason, who stalks them at every turn.

Accessories: Dressed in olive green shirt and pants, the maniacal madman comes with a display stand, bloody ax and machete as well as his trademark hockey mask, which can be removed to expose the disfigured face of an unstoppable killer.

Price: $39.99

Read all about it: Topps Comics actually produced a three-part adaptation of the film “Jason Goes to Hell” (priced at $3 each) in 1993, featuring the prose of Andy Mangels as well as a three-part series, Jason vs. Leatherface (also $3 apiece), in 1995 with covers by Simon Bisley.

Words to buy by: Sideshow Toy perfectly captures the Jason legend, and he makes an excellent, nightmare-inducing gift for the person who enjoys displaying an action-figure collection.

Gollum

Toy Biz prepares J.R.R. Tolkien fans for New Line Cinema’s December release of “Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King” with multiple lines of action figures. In addition to 11-inch and 6-inch laser-scanned likenesses of such characters as Frodo, Eomer, Arogorn and Eowyn, the company offers a special 11-inch homage to a key creature from Middle-earth whose only ambition in life is to get back his precious ring.

Figure profile:Named for the foul gurgle he makes in his throat, Gollum is a pitiable and wretched creature, enslaved by his desire for the One Ring. His need for it drives him relentlessly, corrupting his mind and twisting his tiny body into a mangled, sinewy echo of his former self. Within his weary frame, a fearsome debate rages between his two selves: Smeagol, the tortured bones of his old identity, and Gollum, his spiteful new self, born of the domination of the Ring.

Accessories: Combining traditional joints and bendy wires for articulation, Gollum can assume any pose as fans place him upon a rocky base that spews forth 22 phrases by using two buttons: one for his Smeagol side, the other for his more evil personality. The former Hobbit also comes with a fish (he can sing the “Wish for a Fish” song, too) and a detachable head, which can be replaced with the included version of his alter ego.

Price: $19.99

Read all about it: David Wenzel illustrated a three-part sequential-art adaptation of the Hobbit (with issue No. 2 highlighting Gollum on the cover) for Eclipse Comics in 1989. It can be found in a compiled format ($20) at most book stores.

Words to buy by: A wickedly delightful piece from Toy Biz that will have owners gurgling, “Speak for me, my precious Gollum.”

Geonosian War Chamber

Hasbro maintains the magic of the Star Wars universe with a new line of Saga Scene packs providing key moments from last year’s film prequel, “Star Wars: Episode II, Attack of the Clones.” Children eventually will be able to choose from four complementary dioramas, featuring three 33/4-inch figures each showing two views of the Jedi Council hard at work or two views of the leaders of the Confederacy of Independent Systems plotting strategy as the Clone Wars begin.

Figure profile: In a conference room on Geonosis, Count Dooku, Poggle the Lesser and San Hill watch Republic and

Separatist forces engage in what will become the first battle of the Clone Wars. A table displays holographic images of the various skirmishes. When Count Dooku prepares to escape, he takes with him secret plans for a deadly new weapon.

Accessories: The set includes a cardboard backdrop of the room, half of a circular table containing two mounted, translucent Republic transports and a homing spider droid; Count Dooku, with an out-of-scale hand permanently holding a device showing a hologram of the Death Star; the Archduke of Geonosis gripping a cane and sporting some slick wings; and an average reproduction of the Chairman of the InterGalactic Banking Clan.

Price: $21.99

Read all about it: Dark Horse Comics also

keeps George Lucas’ fantasy galaxy alive through multiple comic-book titles. Readers will find a host of new stories on the Clone Wars in the monthly series Star Wars: Republic ($2.99 each). I also suggest the trade paperback “Star Wars: Clone Wars Volume 2: Victories and Sacrifices” (priced at $14.95), which collects three issues from the Republic series along with the one-shot special on Jedi, Master Shaak Ti.

Words to buy by: A definite pick for the Star Wars fan in the family. Still, I might wait to start grabbing Hasbro’s new Clone Wars line featuring a special Anakin Skywalker modified Starfighter ($24.99), a figure of Anakin ($7.99) and General Yoda ($7.99). There will be time later to give the kiddies a much better role-playing adventure.

Zadzooks! wants to know you exist. Call 202/636-3016, fax 202/269-1853, email [email protected] or write to Joseph Szadkowski, The Washington Times, 3600 New York Ave. NE, Washington, DC 20002.

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