Do you remember the last time you were captivated by a new toy? I don’t mean rediscovering MOTU in its Classics form or finally seeing the appeal of Golden Pharaoh when he’s been realized in six inches. I mean a new toy – no cartoon or movie, no history, or nostalgia. Just a little pillar of plastic awesomeness.
When I was a kid, my toy stockpile (it wasn’t so much a collection as it was something to draw players from) consisted of some figures that I didn’t always know who they were originally. One of my all-time favorite Joes was a red-headed dude with a mustache and a green v-neck. I got him at a rummage sale about a mile’s walk from my Grandma’s house when I was eight. He looked Scottish to me and he played his role as a European specialist time and time again.
Years later, I learned his name was Crankcase and he was “from” Kansas, just a few hours drive away, in fact. But it didn’t matter. I enjoyed him for the cool figure that he was and still do. And I’m still sure he has some Scottish heritage…
The point of that trip down memory lane is to reminisce a bit about “toy first, canon second”.
It’s become a rare commodity these days. All too often, we find something that we like (just this week, I find myself totally in need of a Flashpoint Batman figure) and then find ourselves willing to make concessions (DC Direct’s Flashpoint Batman is light on articulation and has a rather young head sculpt) to obtain a figure of said cool thing. I don’t always like the concessions I’m willing to make, but we live in a good time for toys – even though the price is slowly creeping out of control. I’m happy to assemble the Anti-Monitor or get a sweet update of an old Transformer like Warpath, but I do occasionally lament the “good old days”. But the truth about the good old days is that most of the time, you can still find something like them if you look. And “toy first, canon second” is out there if you want it.
“Toy first, canon second” is what attracted me to the Fantastic Exclusive project years ago. While all of the involved properties do have back stories that we’ll hopefully see one day, you get that sense that, because they spring from the minds of toy creators, the back story will enrich the cool toys instead of the toys simply being totems of a cool franchise.
Now, I will admit the adult collector in me does want to plead with the Four Horsemen for even just a brief sentence or quote that would draw a line around Anubos or Melchom and help me better get a handle on them, but I can also appreciate the temporary void that the Four Horsemen have created by keeping the Gothitropolis story under their hat. Right now, I can make up whatever I want – that Azazel looks like he’s got some Scot in him, doesn’t he?
Speaking of, we’re a few paragraphs in and you’ve probably figured out by now that this review isn’t following the normal format. That’s because there’s so much to these figures – both in and out of the package – that I’ve been thinking about these reviews day and night for a couple days and I’m sorting out how best to cover them. That said, you might have noticed the “Day One” in the title of this review.
The plan is two spotlight two of the figures each day this week while I focus on a different aspect (or aspects) of the figures on each day. What’s part one then? Well, this far in, I’d say that today is the gist. If you’re going to read one review, it’s this one. Though, you should probably come back and look at all the pretty pictures each day. I’d be hurt if you didn’t.
Anyway, Scarabus and his clan arrived on Friday courtesy of the Four Horsemen and each time I open one of them, I’m captivated. I don’t want to gush, but that’s honestly the right word. As of this writing, I haven’t even opened them all yet! Each time I grab a new one from the shipping box, it’s a new experience. Yes, the basic sculpt is the same – but I assure you they’re all unique too. Plus, there’s all the options – different faces, hands, tendrils, and other accessories to decide on the right look for each figure. And then there’s part swapping too… yeah, there’s a lot to take in.
In package, the first thing you might notice about Scarabus and his minions is the sheer number of accessories in the box. It’s hard to find a clear spot to see the card! Each Scarabus includes (deep breath) four additional hands (six total), two energy flames, two extra scarab legs for his back, a staff with two interchangeable heads, three pieces of Timekeeper armor, a cape, and at least one interchangeable faceplate or alternate head. I’d count up how many permutations are possible with that many options, but it’s getting late, I don’t want you to know about my freaky math skills, and once you start swapping parts between figures the numbers go crazy. Continue to Page 2…