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Mafex

Review – Mafex – Gwenpool

So, I don’t really do “Figure of the Year” stuff, but if I did, Mafex Gwenpool would very likely be my “Figure of the Year”.  I can’t express how worried I was about this figure leading up tot he release.  All of the previous Mafex figures I have picked up had some sort of issue, most often, arms or heads that don’t stay attached well.  The sculpts on the figures are all great, but the quality is a little dodgy.  I’ve mentioned before that as much as I like Mafex being cheaper than say, Figuarts, I wish they would accept a bump in cost if it meant they had better quality control.  It seems like this is starting to be the case across the board, because I’ve noticed a bump in the price on their figures, but I have also noticed that the join tolerance issues are pretty much going away.

So onto Gwenpool. Some brief background on the character, who isn’t a Deadpool spin off or a really even a Gwen Stacy/Spiderverse character.  Recently, Spider-Gwen has become a popular new character in Marvel comics.  She’s essentially an alternate universe iteration of Spider-Man, where Gwen Stacy was bit by the spider instead of Peter Parker.  At one point, Marvel did a series of parody covers as sort of a riff on Spider-Gwen, with Gwen Stacy as other heroes, like Thor, or the Avengers, or, Deadpool.  The Deadpool version ended up being popular enough that it was made into it’s own parody comic, though Gwenpool is not Gwen Stacy as Deadpool, she is Gwendolyn Poole, a new character.

Confused yet?

So, anyway, Gwenpool, is supposed to be a normal comic fan person from “the real world” that was sucked into the Marvel Comics universe.  She has no actual super powers aside from an encyclopedic knowledge of Marvel characters, all of their super powers, weaknesses, secret identities, etc.  She uses this “ability” to sort of extort her way into becoming a mercenary in the Marvel Universe after getting some training from Captain America punching bag, Batroc the Leaper.

I mean, I already said it’s “Figure of the Year”, I’m not sure how much more praise I can give it than that.  The previous Marvel Legends is… not great.  It’s an ok toy, but the likeness is so off it’s may as well be a different character.  The Marvel Legends went for a sort of realistic look that just comes across as being some sort of weird midlife crisis old woman or something, the Mafex absolutely captures the essence of the stylized Gwenpool look.

She includes a bunch of fun accessories.  She has a pair of Katanas, two masked and one unmasked head with separate “hood down” part, a cell phone, and a couple of animal themed backpacks.  She also has a bunch of alternative hand options.  The handles on the Katanas in the back are also removable, which I mostly want to mention because mine were in very tight and I wasn’t sure they were.  One more minor complaint,t he only “holding” hangs she has are made for her Katanas, so she can’t really hold any other weapons (guns) from other figures very well.  She does tent to use other weapons at times.  You can sort of balance other things in her open palm hands, but the effect isn’t real super great.

The poseability is very good as well.  Between the joints and the alternative hands and heads, there is such a great range of action and emotion that can be expressed by this figure, which is great.  It’s just a very fun design which translates over to a very fun figure.

I have some other minor complaints.  The worst offense is that she really needed a second unmasked head (there is one coming with the upcoming Evil Gwenpool figure).  Basically just the smiling mouth on the unmasked head.  The unmasked head also had some iffy paint app choices, mostly on the mouth, though I’ve seen some light touch ups done by folks that really improved it.  I also kind of hate that she can’t wear the animal backpacks and the sword backpack at the same time.  Not a huge issue, but it would have been a nice addition.

I don’t have a lot to say about this figure, but it’s really a great figure.  The only real problem with it is that there are some who really dislike Gwenpool as a character.  Which is understandable, she is, by design, a little obnoxious.  Her whole shtick isn’t really meant to be a serious world shattering story like other heroes.  It’s pulling up F list nobodies like Batroc the Leaper and doing goofy stories with them.

(PS, Scooter not included, I just got it for her to use in the same order).

Review – Mafex – The Dark Knight Rises Batman (v2)

DC is over here trying to reboot it’s cinematic universe and here I am still stuck on the Nolan Batman films.  Maybe things will shape up and the new Batman will end up being amazing, but for now, I’m satisfied with Christian Bale’s take on the character.  I really just don’t feel Ben Affleck as Batman and I don’t like the design of the newer suit(s) as much.  As such, for now, I’m sticking with this Batman from Mafex as my “Batman in toy form”.  This is the second release of this figure, it fixes a lot of the quality issues that plagued the first release.  This seems to be quite a trend with Mafex, a lot of their figures get “second runs” with better joints.

Mafex The Dark Knight Rises Batman

Not every issue was fixed.  One common problem I’ve had with all of the Mafex figures I own is the head/neck joint pop off way too easily.  I have this issue with both The Joker and Superman.  I don’t know if the peg needs to be longer or the ball bit needs to be a bit larger, but the heads just tend to pop off too easily on these guys.

Mafex The Dark Knight Rises Batman

Otherwise the figure is pretty solid.  I particularly love the cloth cape, cloth goods at this scale tend to be great or garbage, and this one leans more to the great side.  The sculpt and scale are all nice, he fits in well with other 6″ figures as well as a lot of other Batman related toys.  The unmasked head looks very much like Christian Bale.

Mafex The Dark Knight Rises Batman

He includes a variety of appropriate accessories as well, a Bat-Grappeling hook, the EMP rifle that he uses during the bike chase, and a few different hands.  A few batarangs or flash grenades might have been nice to flesh out his accessory count a bit.  It’s not a bad assortment but considering how much The Joker included it’s a bit of a let down.  It’s not nearly as anemic as Superman or Catwoman however, both basically came with nothing.

Mafex The Dark Knight Rises Batman

Mafex The Dark Knight Rises Batman

The bottom line is, this is probably the best figure of this version of Batman available.  The only other real releases for the Nolan Batman were from Mattel, and they tend to be kind of mediocre.  This is the “old” Batman design though, which may be a turn off.  The price is a bit higher as well being an Import, though a lot of the older Mafex releases go for fairly cheap compared to most imports (ie Figuarts and Figma).  If you are interested in this figure, definitely go for the Version 2.0 release.  It fixes the joint problems and includes the unmasked Bruce Head.  The easiest way to tell the difference is if it includes the Bruce Wayne head or not.

Review – Mafex – The Dark Knight Joker

I’m not a huge fan of the “Nolan Batman” films as a whole, but The Dark Knight is one of my favorite movies in the broad sense.  Batman Begins, The Dark Knight Rises, both are kind of mediocre, The Dark Knight is so good though.  A lot of this is because of the Joker as the villain.  Loving Heath Ledger’s Joker isn’t an uncommon opinion at all for sure.  Unfortunately, in the US, Mattel has the license for DC figures, and produces most of them.  Mattel, honestly, isn’t the greatest toy company, mostly because they tend to have wonky articulation and really spotty assortments.  The Dark Knight Rises 4″ line had cases of like 23 Batmans and 1 Bane or something ridiculous.  There was a version of The Joker released in the US, but I really wanted something nicer.

Enter Medicom and Mafex, and their Dark Knight Joker.  This isn’t Mafex’s first figure, though they don’t put out a ton of product.  Actually, especially previous to this Joker, Mafex has had a really awful reputation for releasing really crappy figures.  Not so much from a design standpoint but from a quality standpoint.

I’d heard that they had gotten better with this release, and I opted to go ahead and pick up the Joker here as my first figure from their releases.  I have to say I was not disappointed.  Though I also need to say, there are still some quality issues, particularly in the joints on these figures.  As of writing this review, I’ve picked up three figures from the Mafex line, and all of them have had joint issues of some kind, most often in the neck.  My Joker sometimes has problems with his arm falling off.

Aside from this issue, I’m really satisfied by this figure.  The sculpt is great, the weapon assortment is great.  The smiling head is a little too happy, which is kind of weird, but the normal glowering head is spot on great, and it’s really the onle that would be used most of the time anyway.

There’s a bit of hindrance to articulation by his coat, though the Joker, especially this iteration of the Joker, is pretty slow and shuffling in his movements anyway.  He’s not exactly an athlete or a ninja on any level.

So the question is, is it recommended?  It’s probably the best Heath Ledger Joker available in this scale.  That said, the join issues could be a turn off.  I’d recommend him, but not for a tremendous mark up, unless you’re a huge fan of this Joker.  I add the last part because now that we’ve moved on to the DC Cinematic Universe and the Suicide Squad Joker, this Joker probably isn’t going to get any sort of future release in a better line (Figuarts).

Review – Mafex – BatmanVSuperman Superman

I have to admit, I sometimes feel like a bit of a masochist because I’m still sticking with Medicom’s Mafex line for my DC collection.  My experience so far has been pretty hit and miss, the hits are good, but the misses tend to be pretty awful.  I feel like if I just stick with it, they will figure things out and start producing really solid figures.  Mafex Batman vs Superman Superman here is definitely par for this course.

I want to start with the good things, and why I stick with the line.  I really like the sculpts.  The proportions are good, the stance is good, the heads tend to look really good, which is what matters.  It’s definitely better than most domestic releases.  I also really really like the use of cloth goods for things like capes.  Cloth works sooooo much better than plastic or rubber, especially when done well.

I also, for the most part, like the pricing.  Recent releases are starting to creep up a bit admittedly, but the price of the line tends to be on the lower end for import figures.

The bad bits though really stick out and really get in the way.  The biggest and only real bad bit is the looseness and joint tolerances.  Superman for example, his head tends to fall off at the base of the neck.  It feels like a problem that could have been solved by even a few millimeters more length on the neck ball post so it stuck down into the socket just a bit deeper.  It’s weird too because you can attach the head, then pick the whole figure up by the head, which suggests it’s solid, but then after a bit of wiggling or posing, it just falls right out.

His legs are also a little loose.  Its not horrible and the figure isn’t super heavy so it doesn’t cause major issue but it can cause some frustration with getting him to hold a pose.

On Superman, I also wish his cape had wires along the vertical axis as well as the bottom.  I’ve seen custom fixes for this and may look into adding some wire myself.  It’s not a huge issue, but it would make the cape a lot more dynamic, though it’s already pretty dynamic and flows nicely around the figure.

For accessories, Mafex Superman comes with 3 (total) sets of hands and 2 heads, one normal, one with an angry head and colored eyes, as if he is powering up to use his heat vision.  He also comes with a standard Mafex stand.  It’s not an amazing parts count, but there isn’t a lot that Superman really uses as far as gear like say, Batman.

All in all it’s not an awful figure, I just wish Mafex could figure out it’s lose joint issues.  This isn’t the first figure I’ve had from them with similar issues.