Mezco Toyz One:12 Collective – My Top 5 Favorite Figures of 2020Jose Lopez
2020 was the worst, but that doesn’t mean it was all bad. The year also saw some excellent action figures released, especially from Mezco Toyz 6-inch line, the One:12 Collective. While they weren’t all winners (John Wick, I’m looking at you.), there was more than enough to make you forget those blips on the radar. There are plenty of deserving figures that aren’t on this list – Black Bolt and Lockjaw, Gomez of Death, Baron Bends and the Aquaticons – but these 5 figures are the releases that really stood out to me personally as the high points in 2020.
Silent Screamers – Nosferatu
Mezco Toyz began as a toy company with a heavy concentration on horror figures, which they continue to do with their popular Living Dead Dolls line. One of those earliest forays into the macabre was a brand called Silent Screamers, which concentrated on classic horror films like The Cabinet of Doctor Caligari, Metropolis and of course, Nosferatu. Revisiting and remaking that vampire classic as an entry into their hit One:12 Collective line was a stroke of genius and was just what I wanted from the company this year. As of late, Mezco has been all about their Gomez mascot, producing multiple variations of the character, to much acclaim and sell-outs. Releasing Nosferatu was a move that reminded me just how good Mezco can be when they want to show their true love for a licensed property, making it a perfect first entry for this list.
Everything from the perfect paint to the stellar sculpting to the terrific tailoring comes together to create the perfect representation of Count Orlock, or at least Mezco’s take on the monster. As they do with other properties, particularly those belonging to Marvel and DC Comics, the company has given their own spin to the character, while still maintaining what makes him, well, him. The interchangeable heads are some of my favorite portraits of the year from any toy company and the accessories are perfection. Getting a rotted, wooden casket that the figure fits inside would be enough, but the care and effort that went into it just amazes me. On top of that, we get extra rats in different poses for display? I could sing the praises of this release for days, but I have to get to the next figures on the list.
Popeye And Bluto: Storm Seas Ahead Deluxe Boxed Set
Continuing the trend of me loving Mezco’s releases that are a little more unique than just another superhero or a secret agent roach man variant, I am going to show some love to the company’s epic take on the classic cartoon characters of Popeye and his nemesis, Bluto. While this specific release marks the third time that Mezco has produced a Popeye figure, I will say that it is just as impressive as those earlier ones. We get a slightly new outfit, but it’s essentially a palette swap. The sailor man’s accessories are the same as before, though this Popeye did come with a great rain coat and hat that I really enjoy using and a battle-damaged head that lends itself perfectly to this set.
While I do have to call out the entire set as an entry, I’ll be honest: Bluto is the real reason it’s here. Besides Popeye being a variant of an earlier release, Bluto just overshadows everything in this set, literally! This figure is quite the hunk of plastic. It makes me happy when a new figure can impress me with nothing more than it’s weight! The tailoring on the villain’s clothing is some of Mezco’s best from this year, particularly his polo shirt. It feels like an actual shirt, which isn’t always the case with 6” approximations of clothing. Getting fun accessories like a kettlebell and a wrench for Bluto to toss around would already be fun, but having them be made of real metal? So good! The cherry on top of an excellent figure are the head sculpts, which manage to make Bluto seem both more realistic and more cartoony at the same time. I honestly don’t know how you could make a better action figure of Popeye’s favorite bad guy. Kudos, Mezco.
Rumble Society – Doc Nocturnal
You, dear reader, could not be blamed if you were to jump to the conclusion that I wasn’t a fan of Mezco Toyz’s original characters getting the spotlight in their One: 12 Collective line. I’ve taken a few jabs at their constant variants of Gomez, a character and figure that I am a big fan of, by the way. I just don’t need quite so many variations released in quite such a short amount of time. Your mileage may vary. However, with their earlier release this year of Baron Bends, the company showed that they had some other original cards up their sleeves. Cue Doc Nocturnal, the Phantom Knight.
The Good (Bad?) Doctor is just what I want to get from Mezco’s original line of characters: a pulp fiction-inspired “super” hero that is just as scary as he (or she?) is heroic, battling the supernatural. Yes, please. The figure itself is packed with fun factor. A bevy of accessories, many of which give the collector a variety of display options. The gas mask and the goggles are my favorite, but who doesn’t love a skull mask with an articulated jaw too? While some fans complained about Doc Noc’s more petite frame, I actually enjoyed it. Besides being built on a frame with plenty of articulation, the smaller size could open up a variety of backstories for the character, ranging from there being a teenager under that costume or even a woman. Half the fun of these new characters is filling in the blanks myself, especially when what is already there is done so well.
Gambit is a character that has been lucky when it comes to action figures in recent years. Having already received solid iterations from the likes of Hasbro’s Marvel Legends line and Revoltech’s Amazing Yamaguchi series, a new 6” Gambit figure would have to be something pretty special to top a 2020 list for me. Luckily, Mezco Toyz aimed to make a Gambit that would rule them all, and boy, did they succeed.
While Mezco can often get carried away with adding their own tweaks to their superhero figures, they actually remained fairly comic-accurate with Remy here, which makes this longtime X-Men comic book fan very happy. Gambit’s actually one of those characters whose design actually lends itself to Mezco’s strengths. The tailoring of his trench coat combined with the beautiful sculpt and paintwork of his metallic chest armor and boots are all done well. While, yes, I would have enjoyed some actual range of movement in his torso, it is hard to argue with how good his suit looks. The portraits are great and the special effect accessories that allow collectors to display his mutant powers is a blast. This Gambit blows the other versions that I have out of the water and, really, that’s all that I expect from a Mezco figure like this.
Batman – Supreme Knight
The last entry on my list is one that had a lot of hype and build-up attached to it. Being the final entry in Mezco’s own personal trilogy of an uber-popular character like Batman has a way of setting expectations quite high. Concluding a “story” that began with the Ascending Knight figure and continued with the Sovereign Knight release, this Supreme Knight had to be something special, which in and of itself was going to be difficult. Not only did this figure have to contend with its earlier entries, but the load of other Batman action figures that have been produced under the One: 12 Collective banner, including the similarly-themed Dark Knight Returns release.
All of my preamble is clearly a set-up for my saying that Mezco absolutely delivered. The Supreme Knight is one of the company’s best Caped Crusader figures, checking off all of the Batman boxes necessary while also adding some new ones. I loved the big, burly body of this older, more grizzled Bruce Wayne, along with the unmasked portrait. I’m not usually a fan of the chunky armor for someone like Batman, but it not only works here, but also feels and looks superb as well. Posing this guy is a good time, as well, with excellent articulation and an outfit that doesn’t offer much restriction. The best innovation of 2020 has to be the interchangeable capes for this release, finally putting to rest the great debate of whether collectors would rather have a wired cape or not. Now we can have both and no one is happier than me! Mezco Toyz’ Supreme Knight Batman ends the Dark Knight trilogy, and this list, on a high note.