Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Comic Review: Transformers Animated The AllSpark Almanac by Patrick

The AllSpark Almanac is a visual guide to the first two seasons of Transfomers Animated, the Transformers series that recently aired on The Cartoon Network. In some ways it is like The Ark, which serves as a guide to Generation 1. However, much like the series on which it was based, The AllSpark Almanac approaches its task of being a visual catalogue with a great deal of personality and style.

It is almost surprising that there would be a book devoted to the art of Transformers Animated, as this was the one aspect of the series that caused the most controversy among fans. It was a little jarring at first to see giant transforming robots realized in such a consciously cartoony way but for those of us who stuck around as the series found its footing, it became clear that the art style played to the show’s greatest strength: characterization. Not since Beast Wars has a Transformers show been this successful developing characters and relationships, not to mention complex multi-season storylines.

In Transformers Animated, one finds very few of the sort of flat, dull characters that have plagued Transformers through out its long history. The show even finds a fresh angle on Optimus Prime, making him a younger, less powerful version of his classic character and we are invested in his journey to become the hero that we know him to be. And Animated features what is probably the best and most unhinged Starscream to date. The art style helps to support these kinds of fresh characterizations and is the polar opposite of the sort of horrible stiff characters from the shows of the later 1990’s and early part of this decade. One can make the argument that the Animated characters are less successful as literal interpretations of robots but I will take interesting characters over realistic robots any day.

Whereas The Ark is little more than pages upon pages of character models, The AllSpark Almanac contains a surprising amount of original text that accompanies the artwork. In keeping with Animated’s focus on character, the text here is primarily in-universe with characters talking about other characters, recapping episodes, journal entries, etc. One gets the impression that the book was simultaneously created for adult fans and also to sell to kids as well. While the mockumentary take is entertaining, there is little of the background information about the production that might have proved truly satisfying to fans of the show.

Ultimately, The AllSpark Almanac is a valentine to fans of this too-soon cancelled series, which contained some of the best Transformers storytelling ever produced (just compare The Revenge of the Fallen in terms of plot and characterization) and a fun celebration of twenty five years of Transformers history. The creators of The AllSpark Almanac have hinted that a follow up may be in the works focusing on season three, which was chock full of exciting characters and locations familiar to fans of the various Transformers series over the years. Hopefully that won’t be the last we see of The Animated universe.

Patrick Garone
Staff Reviewer


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Comic News: SCREAM 2009 Nominates Marvel Comics Best!

Marvel Entertainment is proud to be honored by Spike TV’s Scream Awards in the top comic-related categories!

The Scream Awards don’t air till October 27th, but right now Marvel Comic fans have the opportunity to vote on Spike.Com at http://www.spike.com/event/scream2009/ in the following categories:




So, what’re you waiting for? Show your support for Marvel at Spike TV’s Scream Awards! Click over to http://www.spike.com/event/scream2009/ for more information on Scream Awards and your chance to vote!


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DVD News: Clancy Brown reprises villainous role of Lex Luthor in Superman/Batman: Public Enemies

Fans’ favorite Luthor voice reunites with Tim Daly & Kevin Conroy as seminal roles in all-new DC Universe Animated Original PG-13 Movie for distribution Sept. 29

As villains go, Clancy Brown has covered the gamut of wicked characters across every medium with sinister perfection – but never is his evil expertise so evident as when he steps behind the microphone as the voice of Lex Luthor. Brown reprises his benchmark role as the focal point of Superman/Batman: Public Enemies, the next entry in the popular series of DC Universe animated original movies.

Warner Premiere, DC Comics and Warner Bros. Animation will present the all-new Superman/Batman: Public Enemies on Sept. 29 in a Blu-Ray™ Hi-Def edition, a special edition 2-disc DVD, and a single disc DVD.
Warner Home Video will distribute the action-packed movie, which will also be available OnDemand and Pay-Per-View as well as available for download on Sept. 29.

The film may be called Superman/Batman: Public Enemies, but this is a tour de force for Lex Luthor – and Brown’s intonations captivate during every moment Luthor is on screen. In the film, Luthor has been elected President of the United States, and he uses the oncoming trajectory of a Kryptonite asteroid to frame Superman and declare a $1 billion bounty on the heads of the Man of Steel and his “partner in crime,” Batman. Superman and Batman must unite to stave off the pursuit of heroes and villains alike, stop the asteroid, and uncover Luthor’s devious plot to take command of far more than North America.

Voicing Lex isn’t Brown’s only upcoming starring role. Fans will get a healthy dose of Brown on large and small screens in the coming months as he appears in both the remake of A Nightmare on Elm Street and in the Matt Damon vehicle The Informant!, as well as starring in ABC’s primetime law office drama, The Deep End.

Brown was cast as a villain in his very first theatrical role opposite Sean Penn in Bad Boys, and then forever sealed his place in fantasy villainy as The Kurgan in Highlander. Before playing an immortal, though, Brown etched his name in cult classic history as Rawhide in The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension.

Beyond Highlander, Brown is regularly recognized from his standout performance as Captain Hadley in The Shawshank Redemption, as the centerpiece of HBO’s Carnivale as Brother Justin Crowe, and to fanboys across the planet as gung-ho Sgt. Zim in Starship Troopers.

While he has voiced nearly 500 animated episodes and films, Brown is best known by the younger audience as Mr. Krabs in SpongeBob SquarePants. He is widely recognized as the quintessential Lex Luthor in Superman: The Animated Series and Justice League/Justice League Unlimited, and he has scored kudos for his voicing of Mr. Freeze in The Batman, George Stacy/Rhino in The Spectacular Spider-Man, Long Feng in Avatar: The Last Airbender, Captain Black in Jackie Chan Adventures, and Mister Sinister in Wolverine and the X-Men. His voice credits, to list just a few, include roles in Phineaus and Ferb, Ben
10: Alien Force, Kim Possible, Duck Dodgers, Teen Titans, Buzz Lightyear of Star Command and Gargoyles.

Brown made his TV debut in an episode of the The Dukes of Hazzard, and has since been seen in primetime guest appearances and recurring roles on series as varied as Law & Order, ER, Lost, Star Trek: Enterprise, The Practice, The Outer Limits, Tales from the Crypt and China Beach.

Want a treat? Pause for a moment to recall Clancy Brown’s patented voice for Lex Luthor. Suave. Smooth. Villainous. Now, as you read the Q&A, imagine that voicing uttering each of the answers. And enjoy …

After nearly two decades voicing Lex Luthor, are there any challenges to creating this character?

I'm pretty comfortable doing the voice of Lex, so the only challenges come from the script – and the Public Enemies script is tremendous. I think it suits everybody involved. It suits Kevin (Conroy). It suits Tim (Daly). It suits me and the voice characterizations that we created, you know, back right before the Civil War. I think that was when we started doing this. So there's not really much challenge to it anymore – it’s just a lot of fun now, and especially when you get to do it with Kevin and Tim and Andrea (Romano) and Bruce (Timm).

Can you remember your initial audition for the role of Lex Luthor?

Warner Bros. had been doing Batman and it was very successful, so they were gearing up this new iteration of Superman. They decided to sort of go outside the box as far as talent was concerned, and I had made it known that I wanted to do more voice work. I wasn't very good at it, but I wanted to get better. I enjoy cartoons and animation, and comic books were part of my life growing up. So they said “Come on in, We're trying to cast Superman.” So I went in and just blew them all away with my Superman. And then they said “Here's an idea (he laughs) nobody has ever thought of: What if Clancy played the bad guy?” (he laughs harder) So I rolled my eyes and said, “Can I, just one time, play the good guy?” And Andrea said, “No, you can play Lex.” So I said, “Fine, I'll play Lex.” Honestly, Lex is fun. I'm very happy to be Lex. It's a lot more interesting than Superman to me.

Your counterparts in this film both say you have the glory role with Lex. How do you respond?

That's because they always play good guys! They always play the heroes. Nobody knows what it’s like to be the bad man … behind blue eyes (he laughs). But I know. All too well.

What exactly is it that makes you the definitive voice of the character for the fans?

What I do with Lex, to me, is no different than how I always viewed Lex. I thought the early Super Friends animation of Lex was kind of lacking in many aspects. It's fun to watch – it’s campy and all – but Lex wasn’t quite what I thought Lex should be. So when this started, you had this accident of everybody kind of being on the same page about what the story was and who the characters were. I just went in and did what I've thought Lex always should sound like. I totally enjoyed Gene Hackman's portrayal of Lex Luthor, but it wasn’t a Lex that I was ever afraid of. I enjoyed Kevin Spacey in the newest film, but again, that wasn’t the Lex that I thought made a good opposition to Superman. Lex is the bad guy. He's the archetype. He's everything that's ugly about who we are as people. But he is also what is seductive about that side, which is the wealth and the power. He's Darth Vader. Oh man, there’s the one I should've played – Darth Vader.
Darn. Missed opportunity. Okay, so what do I bring to Lex? I don’t know. I'm just lucky enough to have a low voice and the highfalutin idea to play Lex where I think he should be. After that, it’s all about the quality of the scripts.

Where did you get that idea of what Lex should be?

The vision was so clear in the original comic books and throughout the '40s and '50s and '60s, as you saw him develop and become what is frightening about all the things that we want, and the sins that we have to commit in order to achieve that money and power. Of course, Lex has no problem with any of those sins – he’s quite at ease with running a corporation that has no conscience. What is seductive about Lex is that he is unremorseful. He is simply doing what he thinks is best. Does he think he's a bad guy? No, of course not. But he doesn’t pretend to be a good guy. To him, it's an immoral world anyway, and that people try to lay morality and ethics over the human action is just foolish. You can't accomplish anything that way. The only way you accomplish something is to jettison all of that spirituality, all of those morals and ethics, and get on with business.

Like Bruce Wayne, Lex is wealthy beyond means, has unparalleled intelligence, and no superpowers. Does that make Lex the anti-Batman?

What does Kevin (Conroy) always say about the duality of Batman?
There's a real dark side of the Dark Knight. Maybe Lex is a day bat.
It would be more interesting to have Lex in Batman’s world, wouldn't it? I hadn't actually put that together because I don’t care about the bat world – it’s all Metropolis for me (he laughs). Boy, when you think about it, super powers are kind of a cop out. They’re not real.
What’s real is what Batman does, although he dresses funny. So what’s really real is what Lex does, thought he doesn't go to the gym as much, you know? That’s probably why both of them are attractive – because you can conceivably become Batman or Lex Luthor, but you can't really be from Krypton.

The title is Superman/Batman: Public Enemies, but that’s not what this film is all about, is it?

It’s the Lex Luthor story. It’s always the Lex Luthor story. Superman would have nothing to do if Lex wasn't out there stirring it up. And you never know what Lex is up to – he doesn’t ever really go through a character arc. You can depend on the fact that he's self-serving, that he's got his own agenda, and you really can't trust anything he says.
It's always interesting to see how he manipulates everybody around him and how he's reinvented himself this next time. He’s benevolent, he’s a humanitarian or, like in this film, he’s an experienced politician and the right man for the right job. He tends to fool most of the people most of the time, but he doesn't ever fool Superman … (he
laughs) or me.

Tell us about this voice cast reunion.

Working with Tim and Kevin is so much fun. Tim's got a day job (ABC’s Private Practice) and so he couldn't be there when we started recording. I don’t think I've seen Kevin for 10 years because he lives in New York and Lex and Batman didn’t do much together anyway. But I always enjoyed it when Kevin was in town because I kind of knew him from even before Batman. He's a great guy and I love him, so I'm always glad to see him. Kevin has a terrific energy, and I always loved what he did with Batman. I always enjoyed the times that we've actually been able to mix the worlds. Tim is a different story. We had a few years together doing this material, and there was a rapport there that kind of instantaneously came back.

What was interesting is that Kevin and I were there early and we recorded most of the script. And then Tim came in later, and we ran through the script for some filmed publicity materials. We sort of pretended to do a rehearsal for the camera. And as I'm sitting there listening to Tim and Kevin, I'm thinking, “Wow, they're better. (he
laughs) Kevin's actually doing it even better. And I'm listening to myself and I'm thinking, “Wow, I'm actually better because Tim's in the room.” The energy of having everybody there from so long ago was tremendous – we had this wonderful performance rapport with each other. So we ended up staying and recording the whole thing again. And I’ll tell you what – anytime Tim Daly or Kevin Conroy wants to join me for any job, I'll be happy to have them on the set, behind the mic, whatever. I've got to read some stories to my son's kindergarten class and I’m thinking I may have to call up Tim or Kevin and see if they want to come in because I know, just because they're in the room, that I'll do a better job than if I tried to do it alone.

What does Tim Daly bring to Superman?

I don’t want to imply anything about the other guys that have played Superman, but for me, Tim was the guy that started it. So he's always the voice of Superman. I know George (Newbern) well, and I love George and I think he did a terrific job. But Tim's Superman sort of set the standard for this generation.

What I get from Tim's performance is that it's very grounded. It's very real. We can imagine ourselves as Batman or, in an absurd world, we could be Batman or Lex. But even in an absurd world, nobody can be Superman. So you need somebody that's actually going to humanize Superman, and Tim manages to do that. Maybe it’s in the timber of his voice or the choices he makes in inflecting, or the intelligence that comes across or just the ease of his delivery. It’s probably a combination of all of that and a lot of stuff I haven't mentioned. But he was a real good choice from the get-go, and he still has it. He still carries it with him. Plus, I think he’s still only about 28 years old – he hasn’t aged a bit. He said he has a 19-year-old son, but I don’t believe it.

And what makes Kevin Conroy the definitive voice of Batman?

It’s hard to imagine any other voice coming out of that cowl. The live action guys sounded like who they are. They didn't sound like Batman.
What’s interesting is that Kevin is not like this personally at all, so I don't really know where it comes from. But his voice carries this dryness and sadness and, I would say, humorlessness. But it's not humorless. It's like it's been ripped out of him. There's kind of a fatalistic thing that's communicated just in the sound of his voice.
That's why it’s always is a little weird when this Batman says anything that has humor or is pithy. Kevin's voice actually manages to take the pith out of the pithy. Kevin has the same thing in his voice that William Holden had on screen. It’s this kind of don't-mess-with-me gravitas, I’ve been there, I've seen it, I've been happy-go-lucky, I've been drunk in the streets, and I've seen it all.
So when I talk, you listen. Kevin just holds you that way, and he does it with his voice. I never heard anybody like that. It’s like the perfect match of voice to character with Kevin in Batman. You can't get better than that.

Can you explain the genius of Bruce Timm?

I can't explain the genius of Bruce Timm. I can't explain the genius of Steve Hillenburg (creator of SpongeBob SquarePants). I can't explain how these guys just seem to create and continue to refine and then recreate and build and define a cultural icon and these worlds that capture the imagination. They're just completely in their head.
There's not a lot of ego – or it’s not offensive ego. That's one thing I know for sure. And it isn’t an ugly obsession. There's an ease with it. They dig it. And they have the talent and brainpower to pull it off. I don’t know how Bruce does it. He always astounds me. He’s one of the real deals. It's great that he's with Andrea (Romano) because they enable and support each other. That’s greater than the sum of its parts every single time.

The fans call you the quintessential voice of Lex Luthor. Do you feel some sense of ownership for the role?

I respect it, but I think it goes like this: when I was growing up, the greatest basketball player was Julius Erving or Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. For my daughter, it was Michael Jordan. And now, for my son, it's going to be Kobe Bryant or Lebron James. Whatever comes next for this generation, that's going to be the greatest voice. I think it's the greatest iteration of this cartoon, and I'm immensely grateful and feel very fortunate that I'm part of it. I think it's going to be tough to top this version of Superman, even by any other medium. I don’t think you'll get a live action version that could be as good as this world.

How did comics fit into your childhood?

I would go down to Main News and flip through the comic book rack. It was always fun -- a nice little escape. Because I could never bring them home. I would buy them, and actually sit there and read them until Mr. Miller would say, “You know, (he laughs) I don't run a library.” I'd try to figure out if I wanted to spend my nickel on a candy bar or a comic. And I would be a rich man today if I had all those comics. I read Superman. I didn’t read Batman. I liked DC Action Comics. I read Marvel, too, but I was not a Spider-Man guy. I did like Iron Man a lot.

Why couldn't you bring comics home?

Because serious people didn’t read that stuff. (he laughs) I had homework to do. I had piano to practice. I had chores around the house. I couldn't waste my brainpower reading that stuff. It would rot my brain. Everybody knows that (he laughs hard).

How do you get into voice acting, and what made you stay?

Getting into voice acting was a completely practical decision on my part. My daughter had just been born. I wanted to stay in town. It was something that I hadn’t done before and I had a little bit of a presence in film and television that I could actually use as leverage to break through some of the barriers to doing voices. So I did that.

What I love about voice acting is really that the people involved are just so much fun. They're all good guys – there's nobody I don’t like.
Whenever I walk into a room, I'm happy to see whoever is directing, whoever is producing, whoever's acting. And it's usually a lot of fun.
I remember when I was the new person in the cast, I was just overwhelmed by the talent that was in the room and all I could think was “Man, I hope they invite me back because this is just too much fun.” And so they kept inviting me back. I can’t imagine every getting tired of it.

For more information, images and updates, please visit the film’s official website at www.SupermanBatmanDVD.com.

Clancy Brown, the voice of Lex Luthor, during the Superman/Batman: Public Enemies panel at Comic-Con International. Superman/Batman: Public Enemies, the next DC Universe animated original movie, will be distributed September 29, 2009 by Warner Home Video. (Photo courtesy of Gary Miereanu)

Clancy Brown is the voice of Lex Luthor in Superman/Batman: Public Enemies, the next DC Universe animated original movie, which will be distributed September 29, 2009 by Warner Home Video. (Photo courtesy of Gary Miereanu)

Lex Luthor is President of the United States in Superman/Batman: Public Enemies, the next DC Universe animated original movie, which will be distributed September 29, 2009 by Warner Home Video. Clancy Brown (The Shawshank Redemption) provides the voice of Lex Luthor.

U.S. President Lex Luthor recruits super heroes to help keep America safe, and that includes hunting down the Man of Steel and the Dark Knight in Superman/Batman: Public Enemies, the next DC Universe animated original movie. Warner Home Video will distribute the film on September 29. Clancy Brown (The Shawshank Redemption) provides the voice of Lex Luthor.

United States President Lex Luthor takes matter into his own hands in the pursuit of the Man of Steel and the Dark Knight in Superman/Batman: Public Enemies, the next DC Universe animated original movie. Warner Home Video will distribute the film on September 29, 2009. Clancy Brown (The Shawshank Redemption) provides the voice of Lex Luthor.

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Read on to find out more:

Marvel is proud to unveil the first full-length trailer to the hotly anticipated Astonishing X-Men: Gifted motion comic, based on the seminal comic story by superstar scribe Joss Whedon (Buffy: The Vampire Slayer) and renowned artist John Cassaday (Captain America). Now you can get your first look at Marvel’s newest original motion comic (available October 28th on iTunes) as the X-Men embark on a bold new mission! Discover more at www.marvel.com/motioncomics, bub!


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Ask Matty 9/1/09

Mattel took time out their busy schedule to answer some questions.

1) Patrix75 asks - Can you give us an idea when King Grayskull will be re-issued? A lot of us started collecting with He-Man and Beastman and missed out on the first figure. So far, you have been a little tight-lipped about Grayskull's future.

King Grayskull will be reissued on a standard blister card sometime in the future but we are not saying when yet!

Vinto asks - What about the setting up of a customer service email that was said at SDCC 2008? Why wasn't a subscription offered to cover ALL figures that you are releasing not just the monthly figure?

Email customer support is coming in the fall. As the number of bonus figures and large scale beasts fluctuates, we cannot offer a subscription to cover these items. We do know that we are releasing 12 figures, 1 per month, in 2010, so that is what the subscription covers.

Shawn asks - How many (non re relase) bonus figures will we see in 2010? And can we expect anything like Battlecat, to be repeated in 2010, or should we expect only one deluxe figure/mini vehicle a year?

We have a few planned but you will have to stay tuned for further details!

Coptur asks - Will new adventure of he-man bios/story be incorporated into the main motuc?

Yes! We have at least one NA character planned for 2010!

Libey asks - With how well the first Ghostbusters figure sold is there any more word on playsets or an Ecto-1 for the line?

Nothing to announce at this time!

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Comic News: Marvel Presents Exclusive Offer For New Retailers!

Marvel is proud to announce that the groundbreaking Marvel Retailer Resource Center (http://www.marvelretailers.com/) will provide unprecedented support for new retailers!

If you’ve opened a new comic store in the last three months, Marvel is offering you three free months of the ultimate resource to expand your promotional efforts and customer base! Create and maintain a website for your store showcasing Marvel products as well as all your in-store products and events! Get a first look at Marvel’s newest titles a week before they go on sale. Download new shelf talkers, fliers, mini posters, postcards and a host of other marketing materials. Keep up to date on Marvel’s wide range of retailer incentives. Access the most up to date information on Marvel FOC and On Sale titles simplifying your weekly ordering process. Click over to http://www.marvelretailers.com/ and sign up now!

The best news of all is the first three months will be free if you are a new store opened in the past three months. For those stores who have been around longer fear not, Marvel incentivizes all retailers with enough product to make the MRRC virtually pay for itself! Check out
http://newcastlecomics.marvelretailers.com/ and http://samuraicomics.marvelretailers.com/ to see what’s possible with the Marvel Retailer Resource Center!

What are you waiting for? Visit
http://www.marvelretailers.com/ to sign up! For a video walk through of other great ways this groundbreaking program can help your store, watch this video here, hosted by Joe Quesada.


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Toy Review: NECA SDCC April O’Neil by Dean René Middleton

The 2009 San Diego Comic Con [SDCC] presented a plethora of exclusive action figures from many of the leading companies. This year one of the most noteworthy offerings came in the shape of the April O’Neil figure by NECA for their comic book styled Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles toy line.

This figure has been along time coming. The NECA TMNT set was originally released in 2008 to widespread critical acclaim. However, subsequent figures in the line have resided in what can only be described as development limbo leading many toy collectors to speculate that the line was in fact dead in the water.

With the exception of the 2008 SDCC mouser 3 pack, there had not been any other action figures released to help substantiate the TMNT toy line, however there were a few photographs shown of some of the prototypes of the upcoming figures to be released later that year, which included April O’Neil, the Shredder, standard and elite versions of the Foot Soldiers and also an Ultrom. All of the figures were sculpted to resemble the original Eastman and Laird comic book style and looked fantastic. Turtle fans were excited, but the “fall 2008” release date came and went with no further figure releases.

So, finally at the 2009 SDCC the April O’Neil figure was released, and being a fan of the 4 previously released TMNT figures I felt compelled to track this figure down.

In the packaging April comes in the familiar Clamshell which is synonymous with most NECA releases, such as the figures in their player select line. The packaging is quite attractive for what it is, and the figure is well presented and protected in the case. Mint on card collectors will be pleased about this since she fits in seamlessly with the clamshell packed individual turtles, as well as the SDCC 2008 mouser 3 packs. The side of the box features a nice sketch of April as she appeared in the original comic books. One aspect about the packaging that I thought was great was the little mouser drawings underneath her name, complete with the “Cratch / Chit” sound effects written in. It was a nice subtle touch which really took me back to the feeling of experiencing the original TMNT comics.

Out of the packet April stands at around 5 ½ inches high, which is very respectable. She fits in perfectly with other 6” action figures. When stood next to the NECA TMNT figures she looks only slightly taller than them, but this is fair enough since I’d never imagine April to be exceptionally tall. So when positioned in context I feel that April looks to be of an average adult female height when next to the Turtles and this is perfect.

April was also sculpted by the widely respected Four Horsemen Studios, and she looks fantastic. She retains the same comic book styling that the Turtles had, but at the same time looks very credible and not too stylised. It was always going to be interesting to see how the style choice would be applied to the human characters in the line and April is a great demonstration of just what is possible. Her face is clean and perhaps somewhat understated, but when combined with the stylised heavy black outlines around the eyes and lip area, it really stands out. The hair is also very detailed and has multi layered effect that helps to give April her distinctive character.

Since this figure is based upon the comic book, April appears in her all blue version of the jump suit. NECA had promised to deliver Yellow and Green jumpsuit versions of this figure later in the year. But for now, the SDCC exclusive is the blue version. The colour works well, and I’m very pleased with it. Again the comic styling is evident in the crease lines of the jumpsuit. April doesn’t have a great many points of visual detail on the jumpsuit, but, overall the simplicity works well for her. She has a very feminine looking body and the points of articulation are very well hidden, considering how “plain” the jump suit looks.

April has around 20 points of articulation. Which is a fair amount and as I mentioned before, each point is exceptionally well hidden on the figure. She has a cut joint at her waist which allows for waist rotation which I was very pleased about, since she does not have any ab crunch articulation of any kind. So it was a fair compromise in this instance.

An area that I did feel that the figure suffered though was in the leg articulation. April features a type of ball + hinge articulation at the top of her legs which is similar to her shoulders. But the problem with this joint is that it does not allow her to raise her leg in a straight line directly in front of her. This feature, combined with the fact that there is no thigh cut to allow for leg rotation means that April is totally incapable of any practical seated pose.

Well, she can sit down, but it really does not look very feminine at all if she is seated, due to the fact that her legs are splayed out at such a ridiculously wide angle. This was a major let down for me, especially since Aprils hands appear to be sculpted in a way which gives the impression that she is operating a computer terminal, and she would look great seated in front of a desk. That type of pose is simply not possible with this type of figure articulation unfortunately.

So, with that being said, April really is only capable of standing straight up, so her pose ability is severely limited. She also lacks a street scene display stand that the other figures came packaged with. While not a major issue for me, it may come as a disappointment to those who were looking to extend the existing diorama street scene that the Turtles came packaged with.

On the plus side the accessories that April does include are excellent. She comes complete with 2 Mousers. These are great for both those who missed out on the 2008 SDCC exclusive 3 pack, and those who did manage to get them. The mousers in this pack are a slight improvement over last years offering since this time they feature articulated jaws. The sculpting on the Mousers is excellent and even features a great deal of detail inside their mouths. One mouser is packaged in a damaged state, and unfortunately, the leg cannot be re attached to the figure, but this is not really a major problem because I’m sure that there are many people who would be able to find a suitable work around for that issue if they felt motivated to do so.

So, all in all, I would very much recommend the April O’Neil figure. Aside from the lack of thigh cut rotation joints on the figure, and the missing diorama display base there really is very little to fault. She is a fantastic compliment to the existing Turtles. And for those who are more familiar with the 1980’s cartoon there is a Yellow jump suit version on the way. Hopefully if the April figure proves to be a success, NECA will continue to release the Shredder and the Foot soldiers to help fill out this line in the not to distant future.

Dean René Middleton
Staff Reviewer


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