- The Washington Times - Monday, December 17, 2018

Here’s a selection of top gift ideas for younger, role-playing, action-figure fans in the family.

Power Action Pikachu (Wicked Cool Toys, for ages 4 and older, requires 3 AAA batteries included, $29.99) — Get a tactile dose of the Pokemon phenomenon with this 13-inch-tall, plush and interactive version of the franchise’s most popular pocket monster.

The almost all yellow, cuddly creature comes to life when its hands are pressed. Press either appendage to hear some cute gibberish phrases, crackling or zapping sound effects. His cheeks and tail also light up during the aural actions.

SPECIAL COVERAGE: Zadzooks 2019 Holiday Gift Guide

Also, shake the guy like he is in a blender and depending on the length of the shake, he offers other phrases and sounds.

Serious younger fans of Pikachu may also like an 18-inch plush version of the character ($29.99) that makes no noise but offers a very soft bedtime friend.

Spider-Man: Super Collider Playset (Hasbro, for ages 4 and older, $39.99) — Miles Morales’ alter ego delivers the hurt on a pair of New York City’s most infamous criminals in this old-fashioned shooting gallery that looks plucked from the current animated movie “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse.”

SEE ALSO: Zadzooks 2018 Gift Guide for role players

An owner gets a 6-inch-tall figure with articulated arms and legs of a string-bean Miles in his black-and-red Spider-Man costume. The hero stands on a launcher platform that simulates him shooting a web blast (a white missile with web texture).

He can aim the weapon at a colorful collider backdrop (20 inches wide by 18 inches tall), which highlights four potential targets that trigger an action such as a platform collapsing. Better yet, fans enjoy fantastic three-dimensional versions of the new large Green Goblin (with arms hanging, ripping at the device) and a standup target of the heavily obese Kingpin.

Parents will need to assemble the product in advance and apply the eye-watering 26 stickers so Junior does not have a meltdown waiting to smite the super villains.

Jack-Jack Attacks (Jakks Pacific, for ages 4 and older, requires 3 AAA batteries included, $39.99) — One of the stars of Pixar’s “Incredibles 2” and the youngest member of super-powered Parr family comes to life in a 15-inch-tall plastic doll dressed in red-and-black cloth pajamas and offering an assortment of sound and light effects.

Looking ripped from the movie, the toddler has a tuft of blond hair popping from his head, big blue eyes and six points of articulation. The magic begins with a press of his belly. The little fellow’s head turns bright red as he makes baby noises, and his eyes light up simulating shooting laser bolts (just one of his powers).

Press the belly again for his head to light up yellow with crackling noise heard (another power), or he turns blue showing his teleportation colors. Also, keep pressing and hear him cry, giggle or even deal with the obligatory bout of flatulence.

Also included is a 5-inch-tall version of his nemesis from the film, a feisty raccoon, that features a furry tail and swiveling head to create some noisy play sessions.

He’s a bit of a one-trick baby, but he’s one of the cooler toys of the year.

Shock Strike Spider-Man (Hasbro, for ages 5 and older, requires 2 AAA and 4 AA batteries, $59.99) — Youngsters take control of the heroic star of the smash animated film “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse” in this combination plastic figure and gauntlet role-play set.

Owners get a 10.5-inch-tall version of the black-and-red-costumed Miles Morales that rotates at the hips and permanently wears a missile launcher on his wrist, pointed for action.

Press his chest for his eyes to light up and hear a nearly limitless amount of chatter from the figure, including “Let’s shoot some webs,” “You haven’t seen a big nasty Goblin have you?” “We need to find the Prowler” and “the Kingpin is not a nice person.”

Better yet, strap the faux web shooter gauntlet to a child’s wrist, and he can remotely bring the figure to life. Press the right shooter button for Miles to twist and talk or the left to set off a battery of missiles (five included) while Spidey turns.

Although, the battery-hogging toy may cause some parents to grind their teeth, fans of the latest iteration of the friendly neighborhood Spider-Man will find his talking and shooting antics worthy of extended play sessions

Gwen Stacy (Hasbro, for ages 6 and older, requires 2 AAA and 4 AA batteries, $19.99) — Younger fashion doll lovers enamored by the comic book series and animated film “Marvel Rising: Secret Warriors” that stars a new generation of teen superheroes will appreciate this 11.5-inch-tall doll.

Peter Parker’s once romantic interest is now a rock drummer for the band the Emm-Jays and a super-powered hero named Ghost-Spider after getting bit by a radioactive spider.

Sporting rooted blond-and-pink-tinged hair, blue eyes and seven points of articulation, she arrives in very grunge-like outfit with black boots and shorts, a tied-off flannel shirt hanging from her waist and tattered top with a Spider logo.

Her costume is a Spandex-like material, primarily blue and green with white around the shoulder and the hood with patches of red-and-blue spider webbing under the arms and inside the hood.

The only complaint is that Gwen does not get a mask to show off her true and complete Ghost-Spider costume.

Also, beware: Extricating the doll from the packaging may cause a mental breakdown of most parents during Christmas morning festivities.

Other dolls available in the collection include Ms. Marvel, Squirrel Girl, Miss America, Inferno, Quake and Patriot.

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