“Stand by for ADVENTURE!”
For this review I must warn you that this is going to be one of the toughest for me to stay focused on just the toy. This 8 inch rendering of one of Jay Piscopo’s creations has a very special place in my heart and imagination. The reason’s may sound corny or even cheesy to some but so be it. I’ve never once claimed to be non-corny or non-cheesy.
This 1950’s Commander X is actually so much more than just a toy. He is to me, the embodiment of creative expression that embraces “branding” in an almost Disney style outreach that is if given the chance, a wonderful vehicle for today’s kids to get introduced into not only the fun that comes from playtime with action figures but also the adventures your mind can go on thanks to the pages of a comic book.
The mysterious, time traveling hero known as Commander X is actually a secondary character from Jay’s “Undersea Adventure’s of Capt’n Eli” graphic novels. In those books the Commander serves as a mentor of sorts to this remarkable young boy who spends his days under the sea fighting the good fight for both the sea dwellers and land lubbers alike. See it’s far too easy for me to get off track here because what this one action figure represents. Do yourself a favor and learn more about Capt’n Eli at Jay’s official website www.captneli.com and also check out the interview I did with Jay discussing the many facets of this wonderful world at via these links
Part 1: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=axy9Qe0aPFc
Part 2: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w4hwTQc2Tj8
Part 3: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IaaSj6kPDiw
Once you visit Jay’s site or watch the interview you’ll see why not only is this a cool comic book world but also the workings of an artist and creator that deserves applause for his outstanding efforts to create a comic for kids that is fun and exciting. Oh yeah, and you can also learn more about the Commander’s pal “Sea Ghost”. You’ll be glad you did.
Now back to “The Wall”
Point #1. What it is.
This particular version of the Commander is definitely my favorite of all the versions that are available. With his Retro 50’s hero look along with his real world hero accessories (the gun and knife) are just too cool for school. And probably wouldn’t be allowed on the playground these days anyway. “A gun and a knife?!?! Call the ATF!”
Point #2. Where it came from.
All of the Commander X Limited Edition action figures are the product of “Dr. Mego” himself, Paul Clark. The good
Doctor actually puts these fellows together one by one using factory made Mego reproduction parts as created by himself. To those who don’t know Dr. Mego is also one half of the people that make up EMCE Toys which is indeed the 21st Century reincarnation of Mego. As for my figure he along with the Western Knight version (also a top ten favorite of mine) were sent to me as a review copy for the interviews that I mentioned above. So while I didn’t shell out the $19.99 for him this figure is truly priceless to me and Lord willing I hope to never have him leave my collection.
Point #3. The Good.
Being that Commander X here is made up of the most authentic Mego parts out there I dare to say that he is the first *NEW Mego produced on a large scale basis. Sure EMCE re- released both the Star Trek and Planet of the Apes lines wonderfully, Commander X however is to the best of my knowledge, the first original character to come from the Dr.’s lab.
*EDIT – I need to clarify a timeline goof on my part. The first actual NEW Mego’s produced by EMCE were the Night of the Living Dead Figures of Ben and the Zombie. Check those really cool 1st NEW Mego’s and a whole lot more New Mego Goodness at EMCE’s official site via this link… http://www.fourthcastle.com
Another very good point is the clothing. The jacket, pants, and shirt are all factory made and hold up very well under normal playtime conditions. Mego fans will note that the Jacket and Pants are actually a Clark Kent Alter Ego reproduction suit, but with the way the lapels have been flattened and the pants legs are tucked in, the novice may over look this point.
The cache of accessories that Commander X comes with is also awe-inspiring. Not only do you get a gun and a knife, you also get really cool boots, a belt emblazoned with the “X” logo and a matching hat. All of this for only $19.99? Crazy I tell ya, Crazy!
And one final touch that can be easily overlooked is that the Commander (like most EMCE toys) comes in a resealable package that is perfect for display and storage as well as making the figure easily accessible for play. The card art is nothing to overlook either but that you can see for yourself when you order one..
Point #4. The Bad.
In all fairness and as an unbiased reviewer I hate throwing out the negative but, it’s part of the gig. With that said my biggest concern came from the knife. The handy dandy dagger comes positioned in the Commander’s boot and looks super cool. The problem came when I pulled the knife out for the photo shoot. It came out fine, the Commander held it fine, but when I went to put it back… it snapped where the blade meets the hilt. Ouch! There’s nothing worse in my opinion then a toy that breaks easy. It appears the knife was cast in a resin where if had been done in a rubber this type of breakage wouldn’t be an issue. (*Edit- Nemo Publishing has offered to replace the knife. Mind you in this review I am not complaining in the least and I applaud them for their stand up customer service!)
The only other “Bad” point that I can find is the stiffness in the shoulders. Being a true Mego style Type 2 body overall poseability is excellent but the shoulders are just a smidge too tight to raise his arms up above his head. But then again Commander X is not one to surrender so how often would you need to do that anyway?
Point #5. Why I like it.
Commander X is a great comic book character. His look is so traditional when it comes to what my mind says a hero should look like. The squared jaw, the sharp features, the pupil less eyes… now that’s a hero!
It also doesn’t hurt that at his base his head is a re-purposed Mego Superman head with the eyes whited out and a black mask and mustache added. To me that is exactly what Mego would have done had they had the Commander X license back in the day.
And while some may poo-poo this aspect, I say;” Read the books and check out the art. This sculpt looks more like Commander X than Superman anyway.” And for those who know me, know that I don’t say that lightly considering the Mego Superman is my favorite toy EVER.
Point #6. Why you should or shouldn’t get one.
Why you should:
Not wanting to sound redundant here but come on, he is simply a cool looking toy. This guy SCREAMS action and adventure! Add to that, with the web and comic book tie-in’s it is a great way to introduce kids into a total package concept that doesn’t involve a video game.
Why you shouldn’t:
With the exception of the knife issue I honestly can’t think of any real reason why you shouldn’t order this fellow or one of the other versions today. Simply put there is nothing that I can fault here. Not even the price. Considering all that you get, you will never find a better bang for
your buck when it comes to an 8 inch action figure. If you disassembled the Commander down to his individual parts and priced them at Dr. Mego’s site ( www.drmego.com ) and you’ll see that this effort is a true labor of love with playtime being the biggest winner.
Like I said at the start, this was a tough review to stay focused on for just the toy considering how much more is
involved with this heroes back story. I sincerely hope that each and everyone of you who read this will take the time to visit Jay Piscopo’s site, watch the interview, study up on all the great things that Commander X and his pals offer and allow yourself the chance to enjoy perhaps for the first time, how much fun a comic book character can be.
Now, Go Play!
Jim Bumgardner is a 20 year veteran of the broadcast industry and currently serves as the news director for television station TKO 8 in Harrison, Arkansas. Jim is the father of two the husband of one and firm believer in the power of toys for both the mind, body and soul. You can contact Jim via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit his website at www.jimsmegos.com
All images and products are the sole copyrighted property of it’s respective owners. Specialty photographs and graphic work used for this article were done by Jim at the TKO 8 Studios located at 500 N. Main St in Harrison, Arkansas. “Little Jim” was created by Dawn O’Connell of Little Buddies Action Figures. Learn more about getting your own Little Buddy at www.littlebuddiesactionfigures.com
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