5 Must Have Mezco Toyz One:12 Collective Figures You Need To Own..Jose Lopez
In the four years that Mezco’s One: 12 Collective line has been around, it has produced some of the best 6″ scale action figures to date. Mixing the sensibilities of companies such as Hot Toys and Hasbro to produce something wholly their own, the ONE: 12 brand never fails to up the ante every new release that they announce. Mezco’s production slate for the line has ramped up considerably since they launched, so getting into the game now can be an overwhelming feat for some. Let’s take a look at the best of the best, in order of production, that any Mezco One: 12 collector worth their salt should own.
One of the most surprising and unique releases from Mezco this past year has been their Gomez action figure. Based on the company mascot, the stylishly clad insect was the source of much controversy amongst collectors when he was teased. Complaints were everywhere concerning the need for such a silly entry into the One: 12 line, whether or not he deserved a spot before another character, and if Mezco was just trying to pocket some licensor-free cash. Despite the strife, Gomez was released with nearly universal praise as one of the company’s best entries to date. Gomez showed an improved, articulation-abundant choice for the “narrow” body that many fans had complained about, came with an ample amount of accessories like his Boom Box that doubles as a weapon case and his hoverboard which magnetically attaches to the soles of his sneakers, and most importantly, was a crap-load of fun. Throwing a variety of insect heads on a human body wearing normal clothing turned out to be a wacky choice that worked in a wonderful, nonsensical way. Gomez is here to stay, ladies and gentlemen, and I’m sure Mezco wouldn’t have it any other way.
Preferred variant: The Agent Edition continues to be my favorite, as neither the street clothing nor the ninja outfit scratch the absurdity itch like a cockroach wearing a smart black two piece-suit. Plus, he was the first in what looks to be a long line of Gomezes.
Despite having much more pop culture recognition than Gomez, Popeye was, in many ways, a similar out-of-left-field choice for the One: 12 Collective line. Marvel and DC superheroes have taken over much of the yearly releases, so characters from other franchises are always going to be somewhat surprising. You throw in Popeye the Sailor, a comic strip and cartoon character from the 1930s that has hardly been in the public eye over the last few decades, and people are going to raise an eyebrow. Mezco as a company has not been shy about its love of the character, having previously released plenty of collectibles based on the brand in their other lines. However, this Popeye was unique in that his design eschewed the usual cartoony design and went with a realistic if still caricatured style. Promotional photos were called “nightmarish” when first released, but as has become a pattern with the One: 12 line, Popeye surged in popularity when actually in people’s hands. The figure came with a variety of extras that lent themselves to fleshing out the world of Popeye, like a duffel bag, peacoat, spyglass, and compass. His outfit evoked the classic cartoon, while not clashing with the new “real world” appearance. All in all, Popeye earned a top rank in the line, due to the combination of his unique stylization and oddball character choice.
Preferred variant: I’m going to go with the regular release due to that look being the most iconic to me, though the “Deluxe Sailor Edition” looks amazing in his dress whites and comes with the BEST packaging this side of any action figure release. Mezco also looks to have another variant on the way, packed in with the character’s nemesis, Bluto.
3. JOKER (COMIC)
This was a difficult one for me personally, if only because the other four on this list required so little debate in my mind. Mezco’s Joker got the spot, however, due to some key factors. The head sculpts that Mezco put together for the Clown Prince really pushed this release up a notch; the variety of emotions made available to collectors via these portraits would bring a smile to any fan’s face. In addition, the many nods to the comic books and iconography of the character were crowd-pleasers, from the wind-up chattering teeth to the Joker playing card to the bloody crowbar (Sorry, Jason Todd!). Despite Mezco generally improving on their renditions of certain characters as the years go by, this Joker figure still ably stands as the only Joker you’re likely to ever need.
Preferred Variant: No contest. Deluxe Edition definitely delivers more bang for the buck, with plenty of accessories, five alternate heads, a trench coat, and a three-piece suit in the more classic colors. Without a doubt the Joker to have.
2. PUNISHER (COMIC)
When the action figure historians discuss just when it was that Mezco’s One: 12 Collective line truly hit its stride, silenced the naysayers (well, most of them) and converted many Marvel Legends and DCU Classics collectors to their brand, they will point to one event: the release of the Punisher. Despite hesitancy on the part of most 6″ collectors during Mezco’s early years, the Punisher represented such a perfect combination of the One: 12 style with the ideal character choice. Frank Castle’s aesthetic was sublimely realized by the Mezco team, blending tactical with urban and superhero sensibilities. Multiple heads showing Frank going from stern to angry to beaten and bloodied were expertly crafted, evoking famous Punisher cover artist Tim Bradstreet. And the guns. Oh, for the love of God, the guns! Punisher fans had been waiting for the day a Punisher would come with weapons that didn’t look like cheap plastic water guns. Mezco spared no attention to detail in crafting the varied and numerous armory their Punisher would come with. Every part of this action figure would come together to form the perfect whole. Truly Mezco’s finest work.
Preferred Variant: The Preview Exclusive “Fully Loaded” edition is the stuff of dreams for any Punisher fan. Just look at that photo above. He is so chock full of weapons, accessories, and outfits that anyone would be hard pressed finding anything left to add.
1. DARK KNIGHT RETURNS BATMAN
And so we end where it all began. No “must-have” list for the One: 12 Collective line would be complete without the action figure that started it all, Dark Knight Returns Batman. While it would garner an entry based on that fact alone, the good news is that it still holds up as an amazing entry in the line. While there have been many, many, many Mezco Toyz Batmen since 2015, DKR Bats is one of the best. His comic accurate outfit is expertly tailored, with what I feel is still the best Batman cape made, due to the weighted edges. The paint applications and sculpt walk the fine line of realistic and stylized, taking heavy inspiration from Frank Miller’s artwork. Finally, his articulation and accessories continue to impress, even now, despite being somewhat “first generation”. For a an action figure that was released at the very dawn of the brand, DKR Batman continues to be the bar later releases continue to be measured against.
Preferred Variant: The 2015 San Diego Comic-Con Exclusive version came as a Battle-Damaged variant, and it is impressive. As added bonuses, it came bundled in a boxset that included a battle-damaged Mutant Leader figure and a wonderfully done polystone diorama base for both of them. If you can find it, it’s the one to beat.