THE AFJ REVIEW: DIAMOND SELECT GHOSTBUSTERS WAVE 3!
By Jarrett Kruse
It is hard to mentally process that the original GHOSTBUSTERS hit theaters over 32 years ago. It is even harder to process that it took just as long to get the best action figure iterations of our favorite New York City fighters of the paranormal to arrive. Leave it to Diamond Select Toys, one of my personal favorite toy companies that seems to nab every 80’s license that I adore with ease, to release the best GHOSTBUSTERS figures the toy world has seen. Not only are they affordable ($24.99) but they pretty much obliterate the defunct CLUB ECTO-1 from MATTEL that just a few years ago, I thought was the absolute cat’s pajama’s in the way of facial likenesses. It was not. Comparing the DST GHOSTBUSTERS to the CLUB ECTO-1 figures is like comparing OREO to Hydrox–nobody wants a Hydrox over an OREO.
GHOSTBUSTERS fans are among the most devout in the world with an ominous presence at any Con you go to from the smallest firehouse to the hallowed halls of San Diego. “Who you gonna call?” is a mantra that even the casual fan cannot ignore. On the heels of a terribly received reboot that lost SONY tens of millions of dollars, it is only appropriate that DST coordinated the release of this epic line of figures in the same general time period that the new female-busters film flopped again reminding us that their can only be one team of GHOSTBUSTERS in the Big Apple. Now, with Wave 3 hitting comic shops and online, the race to finish the most epic diorama in action figure history is on. Plus, with the core four already made, Wave 3 debuts with DST really flexing their creative muscles with a Variant Ray Stantz and two peripheral characters that have a massive fan base all their own. Lets break it down, figure by figure.
QUITTIN’ TIME RAY
The heart and soul of the GHOSTBUSTERS is paranormal expert Ray Stantz and it is really him that drives the team to even go into business. He has a personal relationship with the iconic GHOSTBUSTERS firehouse as well and is a hybrid of both Egon & Venkman with both their respective book smarts and sense of humor. In Wave 3 we are treated to a slime-stained “Quittin’ Time Ray” and it really is a terrific figure from top to bottom. Because of the sheer weight of the amount of equipment on his jumpsuit, their is no issue standing the figure up and posing him. It does take a little elbow grease to get the, well, elbows and their joints moving along correctly. However, that is just a testament to a well built figure because the last thing you want is a loose jointed figure that you cannot pose. Ray comes with no less than 4 sets of hands, two of which are the heavy black gloves the team uses. He has his Neutrino Wand and Proton Pack but I still have not found a great way to attach the “stream” to the wand unfortunately. For some reason I cannot attach the stream without breaking it so a delicate hand is needed here. The real bonus here is the Ecto-Goggles with a rubber band that secures the iconic piece of equipment easily to Ray’s head. I have the MATTEL prop replica of the goggles and this is a really well crafted extra that you can even use on the other GHOSTBUSTERS in previous waves.
Overall, this is a stellar Ray figure to have along with the original one released earlier this year. No detail is overlooked and Ray’s casual look with the open jumpsuit, black t-shirt and slime everywhere, is the “just another day at the office” vibe that embodies Ray Stantz that DST captures perfectly. The only thing missing is his signature cigarette dangling from his mouth. I am sure some Junkie custom makers are going to be adding that for extra authenticity.
Annie Potts was a little known actress when she landed the part of feisty New Yorker and GHOSTBUSTERS receptionist, Janine Melnitz. Who knew that her hysterical turn as Janine would become a fan favorite among die hard GHOSTBUSTERS fans leading to years of demand for an action figure in the actresses likeness. While there have been former iterations of Janine in figure form, never before have they captured Potts’ unmistakable mug. DIAMOND SELECT really nailed this figure and it is only appropriate that Janine has finally got her plastic due at long last.
The buttoned up secretary with the vibrant “New Yawka” accent that plays racquetball and has eyes for Egon, is perfect from head to toe. The vibrant and rich reds offset the dark greys and totally 80’s attire giving her that “Working Girl” vibe that was once so popular. With a peripheral character like this that does not really get in on much action, at least until the sequel, the figure does not require as much bells and whistles in my opinion. Granted she does come with some NYC takeout (Chinese food), an old school corded phone (phones used to have cords!) and of course the desk buzzer that she hits in the boys’ first gig announcing, “WE GOT ONE!!” throughout the Firehouse. It is the facial likeness that really impressed me on this figure as it is really dynamic in its presentation. It aids greatly into the GHOSTBUSTERS canon by adding a regular character into the mix. My one gripe is that because of her high heels, it is a little difficult to pose her standing and keep her standing up straight. Still, very cool all around and I am certain that Designing Women fans are sure to custom make a variant figure after the popularity of Golden Girls figures earlier this year!
Perhaps one of the biggest scene stealer’s in GHOSTBUSTERS is the CGI marvel that is Slimer. After giving it much thought, I think that the very hungry specter is probably the most popular ghost in modern cinema and overall pop culture history. While their have been many versions of Slimer in action figure form, including oversized prop replicas for comic book shops, never have we had one of such intricate and superior sculpting detail. One of the things I like best about Slimer is that DST decided to include a really terrific and useful figure stand to give this piece an added bonus. Instead of figuring out cool ways to display the ghost with the most, Slimer snugly snaps in to the see through plastic base giving the appearance that he is hovering in midair.
While some might complain that Slimer is too small and the price should be discounted, I disagree because he is perfectly made to scale with the rest of the crew. As if that was not enough, you get not one but two extra heads and one of course one is the classic face full of hot dogs from the epic finale of the film when all captured ghosts are purged onto the New York City populace. Even the articulation is spot on with Slimer making for an excellent level of “play-ability” that I think will be a great way to introduce to a new generation of kids that not all ghosts are scary. Some are fat, slimy and love nitrate filled meat products.
THE FINAL WORD
The most epic diorama in action figure history is now more than halfway done! Even casual fans need to invest in these figures just for putting together one of the greatest pieces of toy architecture and cleverness of the 21st Century. The success of the GHOSTBUSTERS line, all released in 2016, gives me hope that the DST can pull this off on other popular 80’s properties that a lot of Junkies like myself love.
Overall this new wave is a solid mixed bag of the whole gamut of GHOSTBUSTERS characters. I like that DST is giving attention to the second tier characters from the franchise because I think it is now especially important, after the failed film reboot, to keep the greatest sci-fi comedy as fresh as it was back in ’84.