Monster High have outdone themselves with yet another expansive playset and breaking into the construction play pattern. WWE looks to veer off the established regular and elite figures and creating some fun customizable toys using their favorite Superstars. Batman undergoes a complete makeover for the kids’ line, while adding to their Multiverse and 1966 lines. It seems like Mattel has more up their sleeves than Hot Wheels and Barbie.
Monster High has gone through time, overseas to Scaris, and their latest adventure takes them to Boo York, Boo York. High city style combines with their own freaky features seem like a natural fit for these young students. Of course, while there, your favorite students will meet an assortment of new, fashionable friends. Among those introduced to the line include daughters of the Moth Man, Rat King, and Robot (Luna Mothews, Mousecedes King, and Elle Eedee, respectively). Two very unique standouts are Gooliope Jellington (the 17-inch daughter of the Blob) and Astranova, the daughter of the comet who can hover in place with her stylish magnet-controlled station! The Freak du Chic subseries gives the girls a fun circus theme. For the little builder in them, Megablocks also introduces a Megablocks line of Monster High. You can build playsets featuring all of the creature comforts you know those boys and ghouls enjoy.
Ever After High shows a much more confident presence this year than last year. The high school personalities are now venturing into the individual worlds of your favorite storybook progeny. Spring Unsprung has already ht shelves, but I think many will be looking for the Way to Wonderland. Alistair Wonderland, Bunny Blanc, and Faybelle Thorn are among the core Royal doll assortment, and new siblings Darling Charming and Rosabella Beauty round out the Rebels. The daughter of the Cheshire Cat is quite eye-catching and ready for all sorts of mischief. Apple White and Maddie Hatter need to watch both their clocks and their backs.
WWE had something of a dual presence at Toy Fair. The MattyCollector event gave fans a sneak preview of the next few Superstars and Divas coming to shelves this year. Notably, first-time releases of both Paige and the NXT Divas title will be one to hunt for. Other new Elite figures were De-Generation X member X-Pac, Junkyard Dog, the dominant Russian Rusev, and Doink the Clown! Defining Moments razor Ramon will be a must-purchase for wrestling fans, and the Ringside Collectibles Shawn Michaels Flashback figure is an impressive piece of work. Among the basic assortment, Jerry Lawler and single-carded Brie Bella should be snapped up quickly, and in the 2-packs assortment we get what best can be described as “battle-damaged” Usos with crutches. They give new meaning to the term “broken toy”. There is also a new WWE figure assortment resembling the mix and match play pattern found in Hasbro’s “Hero Mashers”. Create your own ultimate superstar featuring attire, stickers, and limbs of whatever superstar you choose. Lastly, Mattel created an ingenious Titantron playset. Using the iPad and the WWE Network app, one can play the Superstars’ and Divas’ Titantron entrance video packages while your figure makes his/her way down the ramp and into the ring. I think I am buying this for the sheer novelty of it.
Batman has probably the most varied offerings for Mattel. For child and adult collectors, they are continuing the 3.75” Multiverse line. These action figures span the comics, video games, movies, and any other multi-media property you can imagine. Some interesting figures and variants were on display, like the “Detective Mode” deco resembling the video game mechanic, and the Deluxe-sized Clayface and Solomon Grundy look impressive for their diminutive scale. Fans of the Batman 1966 figures continue their patient wait for the Yvonne Craig Batgirl 3-pack and the “To the Batcave! Batman” playset. The current plan is for a fall release, along with the Batmobile-reissue (this time with seated Batman and Robin action figures). Batman Unlimited dives into this year with some DVD releases and takes Batman in some kid-friendly directions. Besides the usual assortment of action figures, the new Batmobile transforms for some transforming and projectile-firing excitement. And to coincide with the DVD release of Batman Unlimited: Animal Instincts, Mattel gives Batman a new Cyber-Rex, which transforms for disc-firing mayhem.
Mattel has the most all-around creative presence at Toy Fair for me this year. Be it young or old, roleplay or construction, dress-up or do-It-yourself, there was something fun for everyone in the family. I am glad for the kid-centric offerings, while catering to the kid inside me using MattyCollector. Each of these brands is going in bold and untested new directions. As a single grown-up, I wanted to leave and tinker with most of it. I cannot envy the customers who have children with birthdays and Holidays.