Retro as Hell: Hellboy Reaction Figures Series 2
All photos by Alex Aronowicz
This week I finally got my shipment of the much anticipated Hellboy Reaction Figure Series 2 sets, which Super7 debuted for sale at NYCC this year.
A little about Super7 and their Reaction line: In 2001, Super7 started out as a fanzine for Japanese toys. They, then expanded into a store in San Francisco in 2004 selling toys, shirts, books, magazines, and eventually their own creations. Fast forward to SDCC 2013, where they debuted their first Reaction figures, which were of the Kenner Alien figure line that was cancelled in 1979. A short partnership with Funko opened some doors for distribution and exposure, but then, in 2016, they brought Reaction back in-house and have since made leaps and bounds as far as creativity and licensing that fit their brand and mission statement.
As I said in my previous toy write-up, nothing excited me more than Super7 obtaining the Hellboy/B.P.R.D. license. The first set was amazing, but this time around, rather than 6 individual carded figures, they went with boxed 3-packs. It was an interesting choice; I am still unsure of how I feel. With Series One, I bought two sets, one to open and one to hang on wall while still on card, because I appreciate the box art. That’s not as easily done with boxed sets.
The box art on the new sets are still great, being wrapped in Mignola originals! Both packs sport a picture of Big Red on the sides in red and black monochrome. The back of the box invites you to collect both packs, with pictures of all six available characters. Pack A contains Kroenen, Shirtless Hellboy with Horns, and a Kriegaffe [editors note - I wonder which one…]. Pack B contains Rasputin, Shirtless Hellboy, and Johann Kraus. My favorite part of the packaging is actually inside. When you remove the plastic blister, it features a red and black Kirby Crackle background, which appears in most Hellboy comics.
The front of the box is where the packaging differs between the two offerings. On the Top of Pack A, you see Anung Un Rama, complete with dark purplish skin, horns, sword, and Crown of the Apocalypse, while pack B sports classic Hellboy (sans shirt).
Starting with Pack A, the first figure I played with is the Kriegaffe, because... Kriegaffe? Do I need another reason? It is the largest Reaction figure I own, and it has weight to it. I love the cartoonish face, the unnaturally stiff uprightness. That is part of its charm: recapturing the nostalgic style of the time. With the robotic arms and the bolts all over its body, they didn’t skimp on the detail, even with the bolts on its back.
Next, I went to Kroenen. I absolutely love that they stick to the Kenner aesthetic, with the long coats actually articulating with the legs. This is true for Kroenen’s black leather trench coat, just like Hellboy’s in Series 1. When you look closer at his outfit, you appreciate the little sculpting and paint application details like the iron cross necklace and the blue eyes of his mask.
With Kroenen and the Kriegaffe, I am honestly a little disappointed that they didn’t create Hermann Von Klempt. I am hoping that the series is popular enough to warrant a series 3.
I jumped over to Pack B, which is also a ton of fun. My first pick was Rasputin, as I identify with him the most (shaved head beard bros 4-lyfe)? Again, keeping with the Kenner Aesthetic, the bottom of the cloak articulates like legs, and the sleeves articulate like arms. The paint applications on Rasputin’s cloak are great! They nailed the Pentagram and dragon on the front, and did not skip the the crossed symbols on the shoulders. Rasputin’s signature fully blue eyes are a great touch, and his arm wraps really emphasize that Super7 attention to detail.
The next one is probably my favorite piece in this new series, Johann Krauss. They really nailed his outfit with the colors, gloves, boots, and utility vest. The coolest part about this figure is the translucent head and ectoplasm accessories. In the light, it almost appears that they are glowing. I absolutely love that they made his ectoplasm into handheld attachments. From some angles it does just appear that they are extending out of his gloves, and they are shaped like hands. It’s a fun and retro way to represent his ability.
Finally, I took a crack at the TWO new Hellboy figures. With Series 2 I now have four Hellboy reaction figures. The original, the translucent red one from SDCC, and now two shirtless Hellboy figures, one with full horns, and one without.
I feel like there are some missed opportunities with these. The fully horned version is just that: the same shirtless figure with long horns. I really wish they went with the full Anung un Rama look like on the box art. He could have been the darker vermillion, with a sword instead of gun, and the Crown of the Apocalypse, rather than just, again, horns.
Don’t get me wrong, I still absolutely love these. Without the bulkiness of the trench coat sculpt, there are added possibilities for poses and photos. There are also tons of little details that you notice, such as the cracks in the Right Hand of Doom, his scars, his utility belt, and the well worn gun. While most Reaction figures, including the first Hellboy, have four or five points of articulation (in classic Kenner Star Wars fashion), this new Hellboy sculpt actually has six. His head turns, his arms and legs move, and he has the addition of an exposed tail this time around, which can rotate 360 degrees. This makes it possible to have him sitting, which means I can have him team up with my Funko Batman in the Batmobile!
Now that I have reviewed the figures, I feel like I should review the price point. $90 is a big chunk of change to spend on these 6 figures. With each pack at $45, each figure is $15 individually. They are certainly worth it if you want the whole set, but I feel that, were they individually carded, I may have waited a bit to buy the 2 Hellboy figures, and it might have made it an easier sell for more people.
All in all, if you have the money, I do highly recommend these figures. They have a decent selection of characters now; perhaps enough to warrant a classic playset? Hopefully we have a Series 3 on the horizon, because I would love Kate Corrigan, Alice Monaghan, Varvara, Astaroth, Von Klempt, Koshchei, Edward Grey... I really could go on and on. I can’t wait to take these figures outside for some photos!