Mezco Toyz One:12 Collective Mezco Direct Exclusive Blade Review

Introduction

When Mezco Toyz released their standard Blade figure last year, fans loved it so much that many placed it on their “Best of 2019” lists. Garbed in the more 1990s-esque-leather trench coat and leather pants look, that iteration took inspiration from both the comic books of the time and the Wesley Snipes-starring films. 

Mezco is no stranger to variants in their One:12 Collective line, so it was only a matter of time before we saw another Blade pop up. (There was a Toy Fair Exclusive variant given away to the press as well, but I’m sticking to versions the average customer can actually purchase.) While this Mezco Direct Exclusive version is inspired by the character’s appearance in modern Marvel Comics, there is of course the standard Mezco twist to the design, allowing the company to make it their own. 

Background

Created by writer Mark Wolfman and artist Gene Colan as a supporting character for Marvel’s Tomb of Dracula series in 1973, the character of Eric Brooks was a child who was born while the vampire Deacon Frost feasted on his mother. This resulted in Blade (a nickname given him due to his proclivity with sharp weapons) having supernatural abilities such as the ability to sense the undead and near-immortality.

Blade spent the 1970s chasing the Lord of the Undead while occasionally guest-starring in other titles. Despite a couple of solo stories in the Marvel Preview anthology series, the character wouldn’t gain any major popularity until the 1990s where he would eventually gain several self-titled ongoing and limited series. In 1998, this popularity culminated in New Line Cinema producing what would become a Blade film trilogy starring actor Wesley Snipes, catapulting the vampire hunter into popular culture. 

Extra credit: It was in the films (and a subsequent television series) that Blade would become known as the “Daywalker”, essentially a vampire who could survive sunlight. This status quo would be adapted by the comics via a convoluted set of circumstances involving another vampiric Marvel Comics character, Morbius. 

Packaging

As is usually customary with Mezco’s exclusive releases that don’t come in tins, the box is of the smaller variety when compared to their retail releases. I’m a big fan of this smaller footprint and wish Mezco would just make these standard already. Blade’s logo is set large against a solid black background, with the One: 12 Collective design setting the tone in blood-red. You get the Mezco Exclusive badge as well as the Marvel branding, along with a cool logo containing three crossed knives within a circle on the side. On the back of the package, there’s some exceptional Blade artwork, which is a repurposed piece of Dave Higgins artwork from the 2010 cover to Marvel Comics’ Blade: Curse of the Mutants #1. All in all,  pretty simplistic in a way that works for a no-nonsense character like Blade. 

As usual, Mezco Toyz packaging is sturdy and collector-friendly, easily replaced once removed. The plastic trays and wrapping keep everything secure and safe from damage.

Outfit

Blade doesn’t really have a standard costume in the source comics, so Mezco pretty much had carte blanche in this department. They did stick fairly close to his 2010s-era appearances, though, which I always liked as an update for the character after years of basically just doing the “Wesley Snipes” look from the films. 

While the regular release sported a somewhat casual trench coat, black t-shirt and leather pants, this iteration switches it up for a more tactical ensemble. The biggest change is the armored vest he wears over his torso. This Blade is ready for a battle, no doubt about it. The vest is soft plastic and is easily removable, revealing a black tank top underneath. The textured design of the “armor” looks and feels great, giving a piece that could have ended up being visually boring some  extra pop. 

If there was one thing I didn’t like about the standard release of Blade, it was the leather pants. Besides my own personal aversion to leather, having those pants coupled with the also-leather trench coat came off like overkill to me. Thankfully, MDX Blade is sporting some simple cloth plants this time around, though Mezco could not resist the urge to add some vinyl piping to sexy them up. I don’t mind the added flair, though I don’t think it was really necessary. 

Sculpt

The sculpting offers a lot to love about this release. The boots and belt are identical to the regular release, which is just fine with me as I loved them just as much then. The combat boots with armored adornments is perfectly in character with Blade and they’ve been crafted to perfection, down to the tiny details.

The belt is just as impressive, matching the style and tactical vibe of the aforementioned armored vest. I love the slots on either side of the belt that allows Blade to “holster” his folding blades and the pouches on the back that hint at even more tricks up his sleeve.

Blade comes with 12 interchangeable hands, which all easily pop on and off. Several are designed to hold specific weapons from his arsenal and do so securely. There is some added “armor” sculpted on the back of the hands, giving them some extra detail that ties them in nicely with the rest of the outfit.

The two swappable head sculpts are quite the highlight of this release for me, though they’re far from perfect. While I enjoy the calmer look, it is my least favorite. That said, the skin texture is amazing, even giving the hint of pores along the surface. 

The snarling portrait with the teeth gritted is exceptional. You can even see the veins under his forehead, which is just insane. I do, however,  wish they had sculpted the individual teeth instead of just painting them, as the effect comes off flat and unimpressive. 

Paint

There are little to no complaints about the paintwork found here. Despite my issues with the teeth that I mentioned in the previous section, the rest of the paint job on the portraits is excellent. 

The tattoos found on Blade’s arms, neck and head look quite realistic, though I’m not sure if its due to their dim contrast against the skin or something else. The paint on the skin matches well between the body and heads. 

The accessories also have impressive paintwork, from the sunglasses to the weapons Blade comes packed with. Mezco has stellar paint more often than not in their One: 12 line and this release is another example of that.

Articulation

The Blade base body was one of the favorite things about the regular release and this Mezco Direct Exclusive is more of the same. I actually think that the range of movement of the legs is a tad better due to the cloth pants versus the leather pants of the previous version, though that may just be me. The head and neck have solid tilt and lean, and there’s plenty of ab crunch on the torso, though you’ll have to remove the chest armor to really take advantage of it.

The unfettered arms offer an obvious lack of restriction, allowing you to really use the double-jointed elbow, bicep swivel, and shoulder rotation. There’s plenty of ankle pivot in the two-part boots, which gives plenty of options for deep action stances. This Blade is designed in such a way that there is a maximum amount of articulation to be utilized with little to no restrictions. Enjoy.

Accessories

Blade comes with plenty of hands, which we’ve mentioned, 12 in total. All are easily swappable and hold the various stakes and guns securely. 

There are also the aforementioned two portraits that were also discussed previously, but they wouldn’t be complete without some shades. Blade comes with 4 pairs of sunglasses. These differ from the regular release’s shades by having red lenses instead of solid black. They slip on and off the head sculpts easily and stay pretty securely on once placed. Also included are six silver stakes, three of which can be slipped into the leg holster on the left leg. 

He comes with a sword and scabbard that attaches to a holder, which is attached to the back of his armored vest. Also included are two foldable throwing blades that can be holstered on either side of his belt. 

Despite his name, Blade is also a fan of firearms, evidenced by the three impressive weapons he comes included with. A pump-action shotgun, a pistol, and a small machine gun give the vampire slayer some added firepower and they look wonderful, with some excellent weathering and gunmetal and silver dry brushing.

Both guns with extra ammunition clips and firing effects that peg into the tiny barrel holes. As always, there is a display stand and large articulated arm that allows for Blade to be posed leaping or just standing in a vanilla pose. 

In The End

If you were able to grab this guy while he was available on Mezco’s site, then count yourself lucky as he sold out fairly quickly. With a solid number of accessories, excellent articulation, two great portraits, and a unique tactical take on the vampire hunter, this iteration of Blade is definitely worth the trouble to add to your collection.

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