- The Washington Times - Thursday, July 31, 2008

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.

Liz Sherman

Mezco Toyz does not disappoint with its latest line of 7-inch-tall, articulated action figures for “Hellboy II: The Golden Army.” The company has gone above and beyond over the years with its three-dimensional gems devoted to both Mike Mignola’s sequential art and Guillermo del Toro’s filmed Hellboy worlds.

The first wave includes an agitated Hellboy, aquatic Abe Sapien, the airy Johann Krauss, the movie’s villain Prince Nuada and his massive bodyguard Wink and Hellboy’s favorite gal, Liz Sherman (played by Selma Blair on-screen), literally the hottest female on the planet.

Figure profile: Paraphrased from the movie’s Web site (www.hellboymovie.com) - The pyrokinetic heroine has only begun to embrace her awesome powers. Shunned as a child because of her gifts, Liz found not only a home in the Bureau of Paranormal Research and Defense but the love of her life in Hellboy. Tired of feeling like a freak, Liz warily accepts her team’s new role as no-longer-hidden heroes. When needed, she can unleash a barrage of flaming bolts upon any demon that threatens friends or innocents.

Accessories: A pair of interchangeable arms supports the 6-inch-tall Liz wearing a film-authentic costume and sporting 18 points of articulation. The right arm permanently holds a pistol and the left displays a wisp of smoke and blue flame.

On another note, Miss Blair is gorgeous and there was no way Mezco’s facial sculpt was going to do her justice at this scale. I just wish designers had taken a little better care, especially in the area of paint specifications, to replicate her beauty.

Price: $14.99

Read all about it: Unlike her pivotal role in the movies, Liz has less substantial appearances in the Dark Horse Comics’ Hellboy series. The best bet for new fans is either the trades “Hellboy: Weird Tales Volume 1” ($17.95) with an actual story devoted to her, or “B.P.R.D. Vol. 1: Hollow Earth and Other Stories” ($17.95), featuring a deadly search for the fire-starter. Also check the trade “Seeds of Destruction” for her first appearance.

What’s it worth: The female figure is the weakest link to the line that boasts an impressive 8.5-inch-tall troll Wink (a perfect, sturdy addition for a younger fan’s figure collection) and Johann Krauss in his bizarre containment suit. However, Liz is integral for any display case touting the Golden Army collection, and she fits well standing next to the cigar-chomping star of the movie.

Pop Bytes

A look at more products tied to the demon paranormal investigator and his spooky universe.

Hellboy Book and Figure Set (Dark Horse Comics, $24.99) This compact set is the perfect introduction for new fans to appreciate Mr. Mignola’s legendary creation. First, owners get a digest-size (5-inch-by-7.5-inch) hardcover version of “Hellboy: Seed of Destruction.” It compiles the pivotal, Eisner Award-winning, four-part miniseries from 1994 and was the basis for the first Hellboy movie. Next, the package includes a 4.25-inch-tall, nonarticulated PVC figure of Big Red, based on Mr. Mignola’s 2001 design.

Hellboy Animated Rubber Stamp Kit (Dark Horse Comics, $19.99) I am not quite sure of the target age for this art set, but it boasts a top-notch design and beautiful color illustrations on the packaging. Owners open a magnetized lid on the storage container to find a red-and-black ink pad, 20 note cards with envelopes and six wood blocks attached to rubber stamps. The interior cover offers a colorful spread of the cartoon versions of Hellboy, Liz Sherman and Abe Sapien in action. The stamps include head shots of the comic book versions of the characters and a B.P.R.D. logo.

Hellboy Roto Bust (Mezco Toyz, $29.99) This unusual statue, mounted on a faux stone base, highlights the torso and head of actor Ron Perlman’s cinematic version of the red demon. Standing 9.5 inches tall, it offers a nearly impeccable sculpt and paint design detailed down to chiseled horns and Hellboy’s maroon musculature. The lightweight bust’s best feature is three points of ball-joint articulation, which transforms a normally static three-dimensional piece of art into an ever-changing, posable entity.

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