Figure Friday: Star Wars: The Vintage Collection Darth Maul, LEGO Marvel Studios Minifigures, Three Jokers

Wasn’t it just Figure Friday LAST week? Yes it was…and it will be Figure Friday again NEXT week too! Big thanks to Josh for helping to make this column as weekly as possible. There’s always a ton of cool toy stuff to write about so it just made sense.

Speaking of…

Star Wars: The Vintage Collection Darth Maul (The Clone Wars)

Now would be a good time to pledge my undying loyalty to the 3.75-inch scale figures that Star Wars basically invented and put on the map. Sure, we may have gotten distracted by premium format figures of varying scales over the last couple of decades but the old ways are still best.

I fully acknowledge that nostalgia for the pocket sized figures is most likely what keeps me coming back to the line. It’s only been eight years since the launch of the 6-inch scale Black Series figures for Star Wars and for a moment there it seemed like their smaller counterparts were going the way of brick and mortar toy stores (in the USofA, at least). Luckily, The Vintage Collection of Star Wars figures continues to carry torch for rapidly aging collectors such as myself.

Before I move on to the actual figure I feel the need to point out that the packaging has been designed in such a way that, when viewed, the brain is instantly blasted with dopamine and serotonin. The design is that of the vintage Kenner cards and is immediately recognizable to anyone that grew up in the 70’s or 80’s. A small part of you will think that you’ve time traveled to a store that’s still stocking original trilogy figures and that you can indeed buy happiness.

For a someone that was effectively killed off in The Phantom Menace the animated shows of The Clone Wars and Rebels have given Darth Maul new legs (I’m not even sorry for that). This figure depicts Maul as he appears in the final season of The Clone Wars during the siege of Mandalore. The sculpt and articulation are both surprisingly detailed for such a tiny figure and is certainly one of the better Vintage Collection figures I’ve picked up in recent memory.

My only complaint is that if you’re not preordering these figures they can be a real bastard to find on the pegs at retail. Their lower price point makes it easier for scalpers to clear the shelves and resell these on the secondary market. When I happened upon Maul at my local Target there were only a couple of him left and a handful of Jawas.

LEGO Minifigures Marvel Studios

Who doesn’t love LEGO?

I recently had to tell my mother to NOT buy me yet another expansive Lego set for the holidays this year. I appreciate the gesture but the massive sets I’ve received in years past are time consuming and complex to the point that the tedium of assembling them borders on unbearable.

Small sets that can be completed in a single sitting are much more my speed these days and the option to just purchase minifigures independent of a construction set is like getting just the frosting. A minfigure can be a cool little desk pal and can be assembled is under 30 seconds…perfect for an on-the-go profession such as myself who hasn’t left their house in days.

When out for my weekend grocery shopping trips I always make it a point to swing through whatever passes for a toy aisle. Usually, it’s 90% Hot Wheels or Matchbox cars and a few off-brand action figures. During my most recent outing I was surprised to see they had two boxes of the new Marvel Minifigures which includes characters from the recent Disney+ shows. The figures are “blind-bagged” which means you don’t know which character you’re getting until you open the bag. I threw two bags in my cart and proceeded to finish my shopping.

My feelings are split on the mystery aspect of these figures. On one hand it’s legitimately surprising seeing what figure fate has bestowed upon you and on the other it can be a deeply frustrating experience. Personally, I was hoping for a Captain Carter, Bucky, or Spider-Man…what I got was a (white) Vision and a Gamora. Still pretty cool and I was two figures closer to completing the whole twelve figure line, I suppose.

Long story short, I ended up going back the next day for more. My local grocery store is less than a mile from my house, they had two full cases of the things and come ON…they were right there. I bought two more blind-bags and I got…another Vision and Gamora.

Son of a bitch.

DC Multiverse: Batman – Three Jokers

Batman Day was last weekend and in celebration of it, McFarlane Toys teased the released of a Three Jokers inspired toyline on their Instagram page. Included in the line are Batman (obviously), Batgirl, Red Hood, and two Jokers.

All characters are based on the exceptional Jason Fabok art from the series which was arguably the best part of the whole story. I’ve been meaning to go back and re-read it but the main thrust of the story is that the WORLD’S GREATEST DETECTIVE didn’t realize that the Joker was actually three separate dudes in all the years they’ve been fighting each other.

Since they’ve only shown two of the three Jokers so far, the prevailing internet rumor is that the third will be a store exclusive. I’m particularly taken with the Batman and Red Hood figures from the line. The Batman is a solid, if not definitive, depiction of the character and Red Hood…well, I think I may be able to actually GET this one.

Fabok’s Red Hood design blends previous versions of the character’s costume with design elements of Jason Todd’s time as Robin. I would not be mad if DC decided to use this character design going forward. The figure comes with a crowbar (that’s dark, man) and hands that are sculpted with trigger fingers but (so far) no guns. I did see people kvetching in the comments section that DC has some kind of “no guns” mandate for their toys now but I don’t know how much stock to put in that.

The previous Red Hood figure came with his trademark double pistols (it’s kind of the characters whole gimmick) and was impossible to find. There have been other figures recently released with gun accessories so I’m failing to see the logic in this fan theory. It’s more likely that the figure will get re-released down the line unmasked and WITH guns since that’s how McFarlane Toys seems to be getting down with how they approach variants.

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