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Thursday, August 9, 2012

Toy Review – S.L.U.G. Zombies Series 1 By JAKKS Pacific


(This is the Series 2 box because I have no idea what happened to the pictures I took of the Series 1 box. Squint and you'll never know the difference.)
 This toy review is going to be a little different from the norm. I’m going to be reviewing 12 different little figures here, so that’s going to require a bit of variance from my regular format.
I was going to just cover the first and second series in one post, but I got just enough mileage to split ‘em up.
I guess I could have bullshitted my way through twenty-four separate posts and had myself set through Halloween, but I just can’t imagine writing distinctive pieces for these guys. Heck, I couldn’t even manage four reviews for the new Ninja Turtles, as you’ll see next week.
I first caught wind of the SLUG (pardon my dropping of the periods, but that’s a pain in the ass to type) Zombies back at Toy Fair. I was on board pretty much the second I saw them. My only concern was the price point.
It turns out the price point is not an issue, as for ten bucks (plus tax) you can get twelve of ‘em. I think that’s a pretty darn good deal. I found the first series a Target several months ago and took my pictures and everything; I just couldn’t quite figure out how I wanted to write about them. They’ve been standing around the Man Room since then, just waiting for attention.
The other day I found Series 2 at Toys R Us (for the same price, oddly enough) and brought them home. I put a couple of pics up on Instagram and liked them a lot, but didn’t feel like doing individual posts for each one. So I decided a post was in order. I definitely want to bring attention to these new toys because they are awesome. They’re essentially just like the M.U.S.C.L.E. toys from the 80’s, but zombies. But rather than being Millions of Unusual Small Creatures Living Everywhere, these are Scary Little Ugly Guys.

First Glance: My first glance was technically from the Toy Fair coverage and I was immediately in love, but seeing that coffin-shaped box on the shelf at Target was pretty exciting. It’s no translucent garbage can, but it’s not bad.

Sculpt: This is where things get a little different. I’m just going to discuss each of the figures and what I think of them. Nothing too detailed, just a sentence or two. This is mainly a post to spotlight these cool toys and show you some pictures.
There’s a pretty good and random assortment of characters here, as you’ll see. Oh, and be warned – some of the names are kind of funny, but most of them are fairly groan-inducing.
King Guts
This one is kind of stretching the generally accepted definition of the word “zombie”, but then again most modern interpretations are. I’m cool with him. He’s nice and skinny and menacing and his headdress looks cool. Plus he has a little Scott Ian beard.
Jon B. Gone
I think he’s supposed to be sort of a Jimmy Hoffa type. I dig that the designers are doing stuff like this. Rather than just sticking with shambling or groping, they have some figures interacting with environmental objects in the way a zombie would. This guy busting out of his coffin is just cool.
Gutslingin’ Grimm
General Custer, maybe? Or just a generic sheriff. I’m not sure. But I like his mustache and little bandanna.
The Corroding Kid
I really like this one. Clearly somebody swept the leg. The name is pretty clever and I like the execution of the figure. Pretty gory and gross for a kids’ toy.
Grave Lincoln
This one borders on being disrespectful. I mean, I’m not particularly offended, but I dunno – might be questionable. Especially since one of his dislikes is “Theater Seating”. But he does look neat.
Inspector Bones
Obviously a Sherlock Holmes character. The execution is nice, but I’m just not big on this one.
Erik the Dead
This guy, on the other hand, is great. Vikings are awesome and zombie Vikings are more so.
Rigamortis Lourdes
This is a good one. The name is a bit much, but the idea of a zombie cheerleader with severed heads as pom-poms is pretty darn funny. I would like to bring up that these are toys for children.
Brain Eatin’ Brandon
He used to be a pizza delivery guy. Now he is a brain delivery guy. I guess it would have been legally imprudent to say he worked at Zomino’s Pizza.
Decayin’ Dom
I think he’s my favorite, partly because he has one of those environmental props I mentioned, but also due to the fact that he is clearly inspired by the Tar Man from Return of the Living Dead.
Neil Armgone
This name might seem like a groaner, but I kind of like it. Mainly because his arm actually is gone. I like the idea of a zombie in a space suit and think it’s something we don’t see nearly enough of outside of Doctor Who and Dead Space.
Cap’n Scurvy Jack
Obviously a reference to Captain Jack from Pirates of the Caribbean, but the name is just awful. “Scurvy” just doesn’t do much for me. But the figure itself is great and I’m glad to have him.
Not included in the box are these four: Headless Halpert the football player, Piece Mail Pete the mailman, Officer R.I.P. the cop, and Mighty-Bite Mac the boxer (who is Mike Tyson and has an ear in his mouth). These all have terrible names and I’m not going out of my way for any of them. They’re not bad figures, but I’m not buying doubles of others just to get them.

Design: The figures are all a sickly, pukey, green color. I think it’s perfect for the line and it really makes them stand out in the Man Room. I wonder if this is a trademarked hue like Barbie Pink™? I’d love to paint my bathroom S.L.U.G. Green™.
Packaging: (That's the Series 2 box again - don't look too closely. Also, don't be disappointed when you see it again in a few days.)
There are two types of SLUG Zombie packaging so far – coffins and blister cards. The coffins each have twelve specific figures in them and the blister cards have three random figures. I originally thought buying the coffin got you all of the figures, but it doesn’t. There are sixteen figures in each series, so you’re going to have to buy a few blister packs if you want them. This is where I get a little irritated, as it means collecting a whole set is going to require you to buy not only doubles but to pay the extra that blister packs cost. The coffin of twelve is $9.99 and the three packs are $3.99, so it’s less than a dollar a figure for the big one and $1.33 apiece for the smaller packs. But whatever – I think I’m just going to live without the four extras. So far they aren’t characters I have to have.
The coffin itself is pretty flimsy cardboard with a window in the front to show one of the figures so you know what you’re getting. I have to give JAKKS credit for that one. Some other toy companies might have had some nice, full-color depictions on the front and just let you assume you were getting fully decoed figures.

Overall: I’m pretty much thrilled with these guys. I love the idea of miniature, collectible zombies and I definitely have a strong nostalgic love for MUSCLE influencing my liking these things. They are well executed and a great value, even if some of the characters and concepts aren’t the best in the world.
4 out of 5
Go and buy some SLUG Zombies! Even if you just pick up one of the 3-packs you owe it to yourself to bring some of these gross creations home.
-Phantom

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