It’s been almost two years since we saw the release of any comic styled Walking Dead toys, but the long awaited new series is finally starting to hit, and they were worth the wait. The new wave includes four new figures, with the same human/ zombie split structure we’ve seen in previous entries of both the comic and TV toys, although this round is decidedly light on heroes.
Glenn is the solitary good guy in this set, decked out in the riot gear armor the survivors picked up during their time at the prison. He’s a very good figure, with ample articulation and a sculpt that’s spot on to the appearance of the armored suit from the book. While the outfit is appropriately all black, there’s some nice paint work to separate the high gloss armor plates from the matte undersuit, as well as some subtle blood spatter that gives Glenn a decidedly post-zombie scuffle style.
Much like Rick from Series One, Glenn’s bald head doesn’t quite look like Charlie Adlard’s artwork, but it works for the figure. What works even better, though, is all the gear Glenn comes packing. The figure includes a removable helmet, with flip-up visor and chin strap, as well as two pistols with holsters, a baton and a riot shield with a very cool blood smear effect. This version of Glenn may not be his most iconic look, but it was a smart move for McFarlane– they can get lots of use out of this body if they make new heads for other prison characters like a new Rick or Tyrese, and a team of riot gear guys would look pretty amazing on this base body.
The other human in this wave is The Governor, who is far and away the coolest figure we’ve seen from the entire Walking Dead collection. Phillip looks uncannily like his comic panel counterpart, from his Roman nose and handlebar mustache to his vest and combat boots. The articulation pattern on the Governor is similar to Glenn’s, but the less bulky sculpt allows for an even greater range of motion and lots of posing options.
What really sends The Governor over the top, though, are his swappable pieces– he includes both a normal and battle damage head and right arm, which pop on and off with ease. The standard, two-eyed, two-armed Governor looks plenty cool, but I can’t imagine many fans not displaying him in his iconic, post-Michonne encounter look, complete with missing arm, eyepatch and ear bandage. On top of the interchangeable parts, Phillip also includes Michonne’s sword, a pistol with holster and a butcher knife, and he look appropriately scary brandishing any of them.
On the zombie side, we get two character walkers this time, instead of generics. Penny, the Governor’s zombified daughter, makes her decidedly creepy toy debut. The little girl is to scale, meaning she’s smaller than the rest, but her larger accessories more than make up for this shortcoming. Penny includes her dad’s fish tank, complete with three heads, as well as a bloody bucket filled with body parts for her to devour. The stuff all looks really good, and the pile of dismembered parts totally brought me back to 15 years ago, when McFarlane first proved themselves kings of severed limbs in the Spawn series.
Penny is less articulated than the humans, but she moves enough to strike some decent undead lurches, thanks especially to the very wide range of her ab joint. I would have liked to see more leg articulation, though– her legs are straight and offer only cut hips and swivel ankles, and my Penny’s legs were very bent out, so she has trouble standing flat footed, even with the included stand.
Rounding out the set is the fourth (and fifth, kind of) figure– Michonne’s armless, jawless zombie Mike. The detailing on this guy is great, with all his emaciated, grisly rotted skin and viscera sculpted with immaculate precision. Mike features his collar with a chain, as well as removable arms and a plug in jaw, both of which work far more effectively here than they did with the TV version of the figure. While his articulation is limited, this walker sports ball joint ankles that help him stand, and a removable intestine piece to change his appearance as you see fit.
You can technically get an easy fifth figure out of this set, if you pick up an extra Mike– One of the heads in Penny’s tank belongs to Terry, Mike’s best friend and Michonne’s second “pet.” The Terry head can pop onto Mike’s body so you can display both walkers alongside Michonne from Series One. It’s a very cool added feature, and the extra Mike head you’ll end up with can take up residence in the tank, making it still feel like a complete piece.
All four of these figures are strong entries in the Walking Dead collection, but there are a few issues to look out for. Like I mentioned with Penny, there are a few engineering drawbacks like her too-straight legs. Her father suffers as well, as the collar of his vest doesn’t merge very well with his long hair, forcing him to perpetually look down. It’s not bad, especially for the sinister character, but it’s noticeable.
On the zombie side, the biggest issue is paint. While the sculpt on Mike is very good, the paint seems a little too sloppy… and the whole body looks way too dark to synch perfectly if you make a Terry. I think I will repaint my second body to Terry him look less patchwork and more organic. The only other thing I found odd were Penny’s eyes. The aesthetic of the comic is solid white eyes for the undead (Penny included), and yet the figure features cloudy pupils, which, to me, make her look far more human… I’m not sure why this design choice was employed (maybe so she could be passed off as a TV version of the character, too?) but it leaves her looking a bit out of place with the rest of the comic style walkers.
Just like the first wave, these latest Walking Dead figures are very impressive. The Comic Series started much stronger than the first waves of the TV line, but now that both versions of the zombie property are producing such well-sculpted, poseable and very fun toys… it’s a great time for Walking Dead fans to jump on board!