- The Washington Times - Friday, January 20, 2012

AMC’s adaptation of writer Robert Kirkman’s the Walking Dead comic-book series does not return to television until Feb. 12. However, devoted fans can keep thoughts of zombies and the apocalypse near and dear through McFarlane Toys’ latest action figures.

Its Walking Dead: Series 2 collection features 5-inch-tall representations of some of AMC’s on-screen stars, including a couple of gruesome undead specimens, Deputy Rick Grimes and a guy who wields a crossbow and isn’t afraid to use it.

Figure profile: From the AMC website — Still volatile over how his brother Merle was left for dead, Daryl is on a road of self-discovery now that he is out of his big brother’s shadow. He’s a tracker. He’s observant. And he is fully capable of surviving on his own. However, he is appreciating the concept of family from afar, perhaps for the first time in his life.

Accessories: Besides an unflattering three-dimensional scan of actor Norman Reedus’ head (it’s more of a caricature), a gloppy paint job (heavy flesh paint on the arms) and an excessive 18 points of articulation (way too much for a figure so delicate), Daryl comes with a crossbow, fire ax, hunting knife, pick ax, and, in the area of “a very nice touch,” a string of deceased (but not zombified) squirrels.

Although Daryl will disappoint the collector, he has his moments, such as a knife that fits into the thigh sheath, the bow that has arrows with multicolored fletching and a strap tethered with metal rings.

More importantly, McFarlane Toys does shine with his adversaries.

Specifically, it offers the Zombie Walker and Zombie Biter action figures ($15.99 each), with an emphasis on “action.”

* The Zombie Walker (seen during Deputy Grimes‘ first trip to Atlanta and portrayed by comic-book artist Charlie Adlard) features a wind-up mechanism in his back. It allows the creepy, long-haired fellow (dressed in a bloodied business suit) to slowly walk in place and scare off any of Hasbro’s puny 3-inch action figures. A word of warning: Do not break off the translucent pieces on his feet or Walking Zombie becomes Falling Over Zombie.

* The Zombie Biter (the deer-eating ghoul that Dixon decapitates in the episode “Tell it to the Frogs”) is equally impressive with a spring-loaded, moving jaw and 14 points of articulation. Simply press a button on his back to open his mouth. He comes dressed in a bloody, tattered dress shirt and necktie and has a hunk of deer torso to chomp on. It’s a novelty that should elicit a chuckle from onlookers.

Price: $15.99

Read all about it: Order some of Image Comics’ trade paperbacks compiling Mr. Kirkman’s fantastic sequential-art series immediately. The first three volumes ($12.99 each)  “Days Gone Bye,” “Miles Behind Us” and “Safety Behind Bars”  cover about six issues each and costar the artwork of Charlie Adlard and Tony Moore.

Although Dixon has never appeared in the comic book series (rumors say he may show up in the future), readers get a fantastic, mature, character-driven story about a deadly plague to mankind that threatens to munch away at the very fabric of society.

What’s it worth? Unfortunately, the pricy Daryl Dixon action figure is a piece of mediocre memorabilia tied to an awesome show. McFarlane Toys has done better, as witnessed during some of its work with the “Lost” and NFL licenses.

Still, the Walking Dead set of figures works well as a talking point for fans huddled around an office mate’s cubicle. However, the detail and fragile nature of these McFarlane figures (the joints get loose quickly with use, making poses difficult) combined with the mature subject matter (the packaging warns they’re for 13-year-olds and older) relegates the collection to distant admiration rather than roughhousing.

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