- The Washington Times - Saturday, December 8, 2018

Here’s a selection of top gift ideas for the pop culture collectors in the family.

Aquaman Movie: Mera (DC Collectibles, $165) — Limited to 5,000 pieces, this polyresin statue by sculptor James Marsano offers a realistic representation of actress Amber Heard’s portrayal of the royal Atlantean in Warner Bros.’ new film about the King of the Seas.

Jutting forward atop a wave at nearly 15 inches tall, Mera arrives in a finely painted, skin-tight, meshed, emerald-colored bodysuit with gold accents that looks ripped from the film’s costume department. The statue highlights her gold crown and orangish-red hair flying back along with her arm pointed forward in a pose representing her thrusting out from the water.

The DC Comics’ legend stands with one leg raised and one embedded in a mixed-media base depicting translucent, bluish water and also displaying the Aquaman movie logo.

Marvel Movie Gallery: Dr. Strange (Diamond Select Toys, $45) — Gift-givers looking for a deal will really appreciate this 10-inch-tall PVC diorama featuring the Master of the Mystical Arts standing in the war-torn streets of New York based on the movie “Avengers: Infinity War.”

Dressed in his film authentic blue garb with flowing red cape, Dr. Strange’s right arm is thrust forward with a hand ready to conjure a spell. His left arm and hand stay lower at his side as he wields a translucent orange disk of magical energy ready to attack one of Thanos’ minions.

Sculptor Nelson X. Asencio of Gentle Giant Studios almost delivers a perfect likeness of actor Benedict Cumberbatch, although a slightly younger and more cherubic version.

Paint details to appreciate include the golden necklace around his neck (with embedded green Infinity stone), silver buckles on his sash and belts, light-blue arm wraps and a display case with shaded rock rubble and dark red sewer piping.

Stranger Things: Ghostbusters Deluxe 4-Pack (McFarlane Toys, $69.99) — Taking its cue from a scene set during Halloween in the second season of the popular Netflix sci-fi horror series “Stranger Things,” this quartet of roughly 6.5-inch-tall action figures offers the four main boys dressed in beige Ghostbusters jumpsuits.

Specifically, owners get decent sculpted likenesses of Finn Wolfhard as Mike Wheeler, Noah Schnapp as Will Byers, Caleb McLaughlin as Lucas Sinclair and Gaten Matarazzo as Dustin Henderson. Figures boast 14 points of articulation for maximum poseability and even have name patches on the suits.

Each figure gets a fully detailed Proton Pack with a tethered wand to wear (styled just like the boys would build) and, also for the group to share, a ghost trap, a TMP video camera and a tiny creature nicknamed Dart.

Suffice it to report, this is one of those dream action-figure sets for the hard-core “Stranger Things” fan.

DC Designer Series: Jim Lee Trinity (DC Collectibles, $175) — Limited to 5,000 pieces, the most iconic trio of heroes in the DC Comics’ universe comes to three-dimensional life in this set of 7-inch-tall polyresin statues.

Of course, we are talking about Batman (sculpted by Paul Harding), Superman (Jack Mathews) and Wonder Woman (Clayburn Moore), all created to resemble the illustrative might of legendary comic book artist Jim Lee.

Batman is dressed in his grey-and-black costume (with yellow utility belt) and posed in almost a running stance with arms thrust on either side.

Superman gets his familiar red-and-blue costume with a hint of yellow while modeled with his face looking down, but fists ready to pummel.

Wonder Woman wears a blue-red-and-gold, star-filled, mini-skirted outfit as she looks to the heavens with flowing black hair while wielding a sword and a gold-and-silver shield.

The statues are mounted on separate, logo-encrusted bases with one leg hanging off of the base and each wearing radically flowing capes (Batman’s is roughly 8 inches long measured to his cowl) offering further motion to their dynamic poses.

Suffice it to report, these are nearly museum quality keepsakes, but I’ll offer a few words of caution. Each figure’s fragile polyresin cape could be trouble if the mini masterpieces are left in an unprotected environment. Get these beauties in a case for safe keeping.

Gerard Way’s Batman (DC Collectibles, $80) — Based on a design by Mr. Way, the lead singer of the band Chemical Romance and occasional comic book scribe, this nearly 8-inch-tall polyresin statue offers a haunting and stark vision of the Dark Knight.

Sculpted by Jonathan Matthews, the monochromatic gem features an emaciated Batman in nearly all-black costuming with a bluish, pale-white and scarred face (under his cowl) standing on a black-and-white bat logo base.

His tattered cape is held up by skeletal-like arms to display etched grey symbols and a cross pattern on its interior. Rounding out the design is a grey belt with a batarang hanging from it and padlock dangling over his heart.

Limited to 5,000 pieces, this is a gift worthy for any Goth-loving, comic book fan in the family.

DC Artists Alley: Poison Ivy  (DC Collectibles, $40) — Based on the artwork of illustrator Sho Murase, this 6.5-inch-tall vinyl statue offers a holiday theme color scheme for one of Batman’s more beautiful archenemies.

Sculpted by Sam Greenwell and limited to 500 pieces, the three-dimensional work of art highlights Poison Ivy with flowing red-and-green hair and wearing a shiny green, full-piece bathing suit covering her super-white skin. She is sitting on an emerald-colored stalk shaped like a throne, complete with teeth popping out of the foliage.

Wise owners should be able to use a bit of string or wire to get Poison Ivy, who is made of plastic and not very heavy, attached to a Christmas tree and offer an unusual ornament for guests to appreciate.

Lord Shaxx (McFarlane Toys, $34.99) — Lovers of the first-person shooter “Destiny” will truly appreciate this 10-inch-tall, solid PVC figure representing the handler of the Crucible territories where Guardians settled their disputes.

Wearing the colors of elite Vanguard class of Guardians, he is encased in orange-and-silver armor with fur on his shoulders (that looks more like brown shrubbery) and a familiar single-horned helmet while packing a removable hand cannon in his holster.

The figure, initially posed with fisted hands resting on its mid-section, offers 11 points of articulation and is almost heavy enough to be a bedroom door stop to guard new owners.

The package also includes a code to unlock a “Controlled Chaos” emblem to be used in the actual video game.

DC Comics Gallery: The Batman Who Laughs (Diamond Select Toys, $45) — Fans of last year’s sequential art series “Dark Nights: Metal” will love this creepy, 10-inch-tall, three-dimensional statue presenting a Jokerized version of the Caper Crusader looking ripped from the comic book pages.

The figure, presented in a nearly all-black costume with military boots, resembles something Clive Barker would have concocted in a nightmare.

It features a patchwork of buckled leather straps on its chest and shoulders, and a golden metallic spiked band covering its pointed cowl and eyes. The creature grips gold chains in one hand and a playing card in the other.

And, just to add a final scare factor, between the statue’s extended, buckled collar is the Joker’s smiling, pasty face with yellowed teeth.

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