Comic-Con 2016: 15 must-get action figure exclusives

Comic-Con week is upon us, signaling pop culture’s biggest annual event. To many, the convention represents a chance to make the pilgrimage to the San Diego Convention Center and hobnob behind the ostentation of your favorite cosplay under the auspices of a geek-friendly environment while every avenue of the collective entertainment industry humbly attempts to pitch its wares to the likes of you. However, for the often eccentric action figure collector community, it carries dual meaning, with a bevy of exclusive items and a rapidly depleting budget resulting from those acquisitions.

Truly, Comic-Con 2016 will provide quite the cornucopia of gets for attendees and, to a certain extent, online shoppers alike. However, we will focus on 15 of this year’s most notable exclusive action figures. So, prepare yourselves, because you just might find yourself screaming, “Shut up and take my money!” to someone or something soon enough.

15. Sideshow Star Wars Hot Toys Stormtrooper (Gold Chrome)

While collectors of the 1/6 scale Hot Toys line are no strangers to high price tags, this unique take on the classic Star Wars Original Trilogy style Stormtrooper will set you back $219.99! However, the reason for that steep price tag is rather obvious, seeing as he’s completely draped in gold – vacuum-metalized gold, specifically.

Thus, you'll have an opportunity to add an Imperial foot soldier to your Hot Toys collection who showcases a fancy, gilded dapperness that’s apropos to the absurd amount of money you’ve likely already put into the line. Of course, at the end of the day, he is still just a Stormtrooper and all the fancy covering in the world won’t help him hit the broad side of a barn to save his or anyone else’s life. However, he’ll look damn fine in anyone’s collection, posed in firing position, clearly missing his mark.  

14. Comicave Studios 1/12 Scale Iron Man Mark 42 figure with sofa

If you’re a fan of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, specifically its inaugural movie series Iron Man and the titular hero’s nearly decade-long run – and you’ve got $110.00 burning a hole in your pocket – you might want to head over to the Comicave booth and pick up this unique version of the Iron Man Mark 42 armor from 2013's Iron Man 3.  

The artists at Comicave have been dutifully translating several onscreen armors from the Iron Man and Avengers films worn by Robert Downey Jr.’s Tony Stark to their 1/12 scale premium toy line with almost flawless fidelity. The figures are highlighted by their shiny die-cast metal construction and working LED lights, none of which hinder the dynamic articulation. In the case of this exclusive Mark 42, the specialized Comic-Con 2016 acquisition comes with an item not included with the regular version in the form of a couch on which your lethargic Shell-Head can sit and chill, just as RDJ did in the film.

13. Funko Pop! Rides ’66 Chrome Batmobile with Batman figure

With a twisted, cutesy-cartoonish presentation, Funko’s Pop! line obviously isn’t for every kind of figure collector. However, many have embraced the way it captures the quintessence of pop-culture icons with a kitschy and absurd aesthetic. That idea is probably best embodied by their “Rides” sub-line with the amusingly deformed oversized visages peeking out of signature vehicles.

In the case of this particular exclusive from Funko and Toy Tokyo, we have a more colorful version of Adam West’s 1966 television series Batman than the standard issue figure or even the other themed exclusives that have dropped over the years. This Batman sits in a unique shiny vacuum-metalized take on the classic Batmobile that actually looks quite impressive, despite the line’s innate irreverence.

This exclusive can be purchased at the Funko booth. While no price appears to be listed, up-charging ebay resellers are already taking pre-orders for well over $100.

12. Hasbro Marvel Legends 3.75" The Collector's Vault set

If you are deep into the smaller 3.75” Marvel line, which now exists under the umbrella of the Marvel Legends brand, then you’ll probably find this set full of semi-obscure intergalactic Marvel oddities to be an essential addition to your collection. This is especially the case since some of its characters have taken a larger stage in 2014’s Guardians of the Galaxy.

While the theme of the 5-figure set centers on the eponymous figure of The Collector and his menagerie of captured galactic guests, the presence of characters like Cosmo the Space Dog, Howard the Duck and Moon Boy, along with some power-imbued accessories like The Wand of Watoomb, The Zodiac Key and The Casket of Ancient Winters will surely float your boat. However, the clear star of this set is the line’s first representation of the teleport-fetching canine Inhuman known as Lockjaw. For $69.99 they can all be yours!

11. Mattel DC Comics Multiverse Suicide Squad The Joker and Panda 2-pack

Suicide Squad is looking to be every bit the auspiciously outrageous kickstart that Warner Bros.’ DC Comics movie continuity needs after Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice was muddled by melancholy. Indeed, this 6” scale figure 2-pack falls in line with Suicide Squad’s innate absurdity, even from the faux-cereal-box “Joker-O’s” packaging.

The set comes with a version of Jared Leto’s Joker whose ink-covered bare chest is visible under his purple overcoat, sporting bling and grills to accompany his Cheshire grin, also modeling a pair of pants that features an ironic homage to his mortal enemy Batman. However, the real curiosity is the mysterious machine-gun-toting Panda mascot; a figure that will be flocked (covered in faux fur). The set also comes with a shiny vacuum-metalized stand accommodating both figures and even a Batman mask. For $40, this 2-pack is as economical of an exclusive that you can get, seeing as it matches the $19.99 per-figure retail cost of this line.

10. Entertainment Earth Star Wars: The Force Awakens Premium Edition Vac-Metal C-3PO

If you’ve wandered into any toy aisle in the last few years, you might have noticed (or violently bumped into) an example of Jakks Pacific’s current BIG direction, specifically with their Star Wars lines.

The oversized figure line might not sport the kind of articulation that some pose-happy collectors prefer, but they do make quite the spectacle for a generally reasonable price. However, this 18” exclusive C-3PO figure from The Force Awakens is undoubtedly a head-turner. Completely covered in a shiny vacuum-metal finish, this is one protocol droid that’s too impressive for even Han Solo to pretend he didn’t recognize, despite a movie-specific red replacement arm on display.

At $60, this figure isn’t too much of a budget hit, considering its size. However, it will only be available to purchase at the Entertainment Earth booth at the Con, meaning that those who are lucky enough to nab one will have to schlep the mega-figure around the convention floor.

9. Mattel Wonder Woman Amazon Princess Barbie doll

Most action figure collectors would scoff at the very notion of someone calling their quarry “dolls.” However, this year’s Comic-Con exclusives might just interrupt that paradigm with a few amazing figures that are properly classified as “dolls.”

With this past March's Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice serving as an impressive debut platform for Gal Gadot’s Wonder Woman, going into next year’s Wonder Woman solo film, this decked out and fully-articulated Barbie doll inspired by the comic book icon’s new movie version looks like she couldn’t give a rat’s ass about Ken, pink convertibles or any stupid dream house.

Underneath her gold-lined cloak, this Amazonian ass-kicker is covered from head to toe in gold vacuum-metal, also wielding deadly and equally-shiny accessories such as her sword and shield. Of course, Wonder Woman’s Lasso of Truth also sits prominently at her side. The action-ready doll will go for $80.

8. Funko Pop! Fantastic Beasts Newt Scamander figure

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them will be quite the momentous event this fall for fans of the Harry Potter franchise who thought that the movie mythos had exhausted itself permanently. Comic-Con 2016 offers the first shot at a plastic rendition of Eddie Redmayne’s 1920’s New York-bound “Magizooligist” Newt Scamander and his clown car of a suitcase containing creatures that remain unseen by muggle eyes.

The Funko Pop! Comic-Con 2016 exclusive Newt Scamander encapsulates everything that defines the character – at least, based on what we’ve seen of him in the trailer – with details like his magic-hollowed Halliburton, his wand and, of course, his striped scarf that identifies him as part of Hogwarts’s House Hufflepuff. While it’s difficult to imagine how this exclusive will differ from the standard retail version, a special Comic-Con 2016 sticker will grace the package as a bonus for boxed collectors. No price appears to be listed for this one as of yet.

7. Mattel WWE Elite Shockmaster figure

One of pro wrestling’s most notoriously-botched moments is commemorated by Mattel in their WWE Elite line with this Comic-Con 2016 exclusive Shockmaster figure.

Back in 1993, wrestler Fred Ottman (formerly known in the WWF as Tugboat), made his debut in WCW. However, the unveiling of his new persona “Shockmaster” – meant to inspire awe – would only evoke laughter. As Sting introduced him as the secret partner for an 8-man tag-team match, a fiery explosion erupted as the Shockmaster crashed through an adjacent wall like the Kool-Aid Man. However, he only broke through halfway and face-planted on the floor, losing his helmet! As he got up, composed himself and awkwardly put the helmet back on, fans glimpsed his absurd attire, notably a Star Wars Stormtrooper helmet covered in glitter!

This super-articulated $30 exclusive figure captures that hilarious YouTube favorite in all its glory (barring a slight copyright-evading tweak to the Stormtrooper helmet), including packaging that actually recreates Shockmaster’s embarrassing plunge!

6. NECA TMNT Arcade Turtles and Foot Clan box sets

Here’s a set that’s filled with so much nostalgia that it’s practically oozing out of the package. NECA takes another crack at the TMNT property with this spectacular duo of 4-figure sets commemorating the 1989 Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles arcade game, which was based on the classic cartoon series. One set features the titular turtles themselves, the other contains their arch nemesis Shredder and three of his Foot Clan robot ninja flunkies.  

While NECA regularly utilizes similar video game style paint jobs based on classic vintage video game appearances, the technique has never shined brighter than with this homage. The pixelated aesthetics of the coin-operated breakthrough Beat ‘em Up has been reproduced in plastic form with freaky precision, almost distracting you from the figures' spectacular sculpts, killer accessories and 30 points of articulation. On top of that, the packaging for both sets are directly inspired by the (very 1980’s) art that originally adorned the arcade cabinets. Each set will cost $100, yielding a $200 price tag to nab all 8 figures. 

5. Mattel He-Man and the Masters of the Universe She-Ra doll

Nostalgia for Masters of the Universe on Mattel’s MattyCollector website is represented here with this 11” doll of He-Man’s power-imbued twin sister and the spinoff line’s titular Princess of Power She-Ra. With this stunning achievement in plastic, the exiled princess of Eternia can wage her Rebellion in the otherworld of Etheria against the evil demonic despot Hordak… after you’ve combed her rooted hair.

Indeed, this She-Ra doll seems to defy its nomenclature, combining the glamor of a traditional doll with an amazing array of articulation and action-packed accessories that’s befitting of the classic genre pastiche property. Besides including 2 swords, a shield, 6 interchangeable hands, a logo-bearing stand and a 12-page comic book, this doll can also engage in a transformation, since clothing is included that allows her to change back and forth from She-Ra to her unassuming secret identity Adora. This highly adaptable exclusive action doll can be yours for $75.

4. NECA Aliens 30th Anniversary Newt figure

NECA has long been tickling nostalgia-driven movie fans with their 7” lines, currently covering 1980’s action/sci-fi properties such as Predator and Terminator, with large varieties for army-building. However, the Xenomorph-filled Alien(s) line is surging, especially after NECA procured the rights to produce Sigourney Weaver Ripley figures. However, if you want to add one notable cast member from the second film in Carrie Henn’s young surviving LV-426 colonist Rebecca “Newt” Jorden to your collection, it will require the Comic-Con exclusive route.

This exclusive representation of the wayward, cubby-hole-hiding urchin from 1986’s Aliens is filled with the kind of high detail and articulation that fans have come to expect from NECA. She also includes movie nod items such as her 2nd grade award, a flashlight, a doll head and even Hicks’s helmet, which was given to her in the movie. The small child figure will set you back $30, which is a bit high, considering the bang for your buck that NECA usually gives you with the line’s regular $20 price point. Of course, it's also your only option if you want a Newt figure.

3. Hasbro Star Wars 6" Black Series Kylo Ren and Obi-Wan Kenobi exclusive editions

Interestingly, each of Hasbro’s Comic-Con 2016 exclusive Star Wars Black Series 6” offerings share the name “Ben.” An unmasked version of Kylo Ren or Ben Solo from The Force Awakens is the first entry, showcasing an excellent likeness to actor Adam Driver. Accessories like his ignited crossguard lightsaber and unignited hilt are included. Also impressive is an included First Order logo stand featuring an emblazoned flag. However, the addition of Darth Vader’s pyre-burned helmet takes the cake. This figure can be acquired at the Forbidden Planet toy booth for $34.99.

The second set contains the original Ben in the classic Jedi desert hermit version of Alec Guinness’s “Ben” Obi-Wan Kenobi from A New Hope. This is the line’s first shot at the aged Obi-Wan. Besides his cloth robe and removable blade lightsaber, he also comes with iconic accessories from his humble abode with his table and a mini holographic figure of Princess Leia that famously begged for his help. On top that, you also get Anakin Skywalker’s removable blade lightsaber, which Obi-Wan passes to Luke in the depicted scene. This set can be found at the Hasbro booth and purchased for $44.99.

2. Mattel ThunderCats WilyKit and WilyKat figures

As Mattel’s new ThunderCats subscription line prepares for its September rollout, it was announced that team member twins WilyKit and WilyKat would become Comic-Con 2016 exclusives. Feedback was mixed, since exclusives tend to be more expensive and are usually difficult to obtain. While this set will be offered on MattyCollector, the site is notoriously buggy and sellouts often occur in mere seconds. Thus, many fans will be turning to up-charging ebay sellers to properly complete their collection with this necessary addition.

Drama aside, this two-pack presents an excellent likeness of the classic animated look of the ThunderCats franchise’s signature wild whippersnappers. Each super-articulated figure stands at a 4” child size with the line’s 7” scale, coming with accessories such as their Space Boards (with “floating” effect stands), sets of removable claws, WilyKit’s lariat, WilyKat’s smoke bomb and whip, with furled versions of each one’s rope weapon. However, you’ll need to drop $60 to nab this 2-pack – if you’re even lucky enough to track it down.

1. Hasbro Marvel Legends Raft box set

This 6-figure Marvel Legends 6” set is the crème de la crème Comic-Con offering. The set is themed around The Raft, Marvel Comics’ contemporary technological island penal colony designed for powered prisoners deemed too dangerous for conventional incarceration, recently depicted on the big screen in Captain America: Civil War. Indeed, the set is filled with an array of powerful Marvel rogues that Legends collectors have been seeking for years – along with Old Web-Head, you know, for good measure.

Besides a solid standard version of Spider-Man, the Raft set contains Thor’s seductive nemesis The Enchantress, Iron Man villain Dreadknight, Jessica Jones’s habitual tormentor Zebediah Kilgrave (The Purple Man), a sand form version of Spidey’s A-list enemy Sandman and the Hulk’s monstrous gamma-powered peer rival the Abomination (a repaint of an upcoming build-a-figure offering). This supremely stacked set can be had for $119.99, which essentially matches the line’s $19.99 retail cost per figure! Thus, it's also kind of a bargain.

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