STAR WARS: THE FORCE AWAKENS – BLACK SERIES WAVE 1 REVIEW

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Like any respectable leader of an action figure movement, I sat town before sundown at my go-to TOYS R US in Freehold, NJ. Fortunately, time went fast since I am always the businessman, handed out my business card to other Jedi's and Sith Lords waiting on line. Turns out, they were just as passionate about STAR WARS and figures in general and I can happily say that they are all now active Junkies. However, when the doors opened, I felt a great disturbance in the Force.  I knew it was bad when I saw a tumbleweed go by. Yogurt in SPACEBALLS had more merchandise. I did get lucky in being the first one in the store and score THE ONLY complete BLACK SERIES wave in the entire store. I guarded my basket with my life! Anyway onto the reviews which we were lucky to get! KYLO REN The mystery man that has had collectors chasing their tails since FARCE FRIDAY is a great looking figure. However, I don't know if the BLACK SERIES Kylo is the best iteration of EPISODE VII’s key villain. Or at least, the suspected key villain.

KYLO REN

The mystery man that has had collectors chasing their tails since FARCE FRIDAY is a great looking figure. However, I don't know if the BLACK SERIES Kylo is the best iteration of the Dark Side follower. First off, there are still a lot of collectors looking for the regular BLACK SERIES Kylo Ren with prices on evilbay reaching as high as $80 (shame on you scalpers). At my Toys R Us, I would not have scored the complete first wave had I not been first online for six hours. That's right, six hours and the store had a total of 7 BLACK SERIES, the complete wave that I scored and an extra Chewie and Kylo. That was it; in the entire store. I wanted to gut punch Geoffrey the Giraffe.

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The figure looks cool enough just like most BLACK SERIES except this is a character we don't know much about. We do know that KR is the primary antagonist in the long-awaited EPISODE VII from JJ Abrams. Adam Driver of HBO's GIRLS fame landed the coveted role of Kylo who has been described as tall, dark and gangly. Bullseye on Adam Driver who looks likes villain even without the mask! Kylo was born after the Battle of Endor or to you and you and me, the end of ROTJ. He is a member of the Knights of Ren and took on that handle as his surname while declaring his devotion to the Dark Side

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As far as the figure goes, I guess because that crossguard lightsaber was the first thing we saw in last years first teaser, STAR WARS Junkies feel they must get their mitts on all things Kylo. The BLACK SERIES 6-inch is nice enough and the standout is definitely the lightsaber. However, I have to say that I was more psyched when the DARTH MAUL BLACK SERIES was released. Right now though, it's Kylo Ren fever so give him his due. It is still a pretty dope figure and will go well with rest of your bad guys from the BLACK SERIES. Definitely a little overhyped, but it's STAR WARS, what'd you expect? 4 & 1/2 out of 5 ***

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REY (JAKKU) & BB-8

First I want to clear one thing up. JAKKU is a desert planet that is located in a remote section of the Outer Rim Territories. The planet JAKKU was known for being the home of thieves, outlaws, and scavengers. Thanks to the amazing Wookieepedia for the info! Now back to business!

Actress Daisy Ridley takes on the role of Rey and through all my research I came up pretty empty on the Jakkuvian beauty. Here is what we know and it's not much so far, unfortunately. Rey is a scavenger on the desert planet of Jakku whose proximity to Tatooine I do not know. To me, Rey sounds like the Luke Skywalker of the story wherein she is living a normal life before she "meets another character and an adventure begins." I presume that that character is Finn.

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Rumors are also about that Rey might just be Han and Leia's estranged daughter. You would think by then there would be some kind of international adoption agency to set these kids up with a good home. Anyway, the figure is pretty dope and probably now the hardest to find. Not only do you get Rey who is rumored to have bad guy ties but who knows at this point. Even though the lovable droid BB-8 is Poe Dameron's flight droid, I am not sure why so far in all of the toy packaging Rey & BB-8 are associated and come together. Definitely a mystery I'd like to solve. I friggin love BB-8 and the SPHERO BB-8 is going to be THE HOT HOLIDAY TOY. Rey comes with a really cool spear that is as tall as her and so far this is the best BB-8 for us collectors to own. The articulation and detail of the BLACK SERIES are all there but the characters origins are still being figured out by the masses and that includes me and the Junkies! 5 out of 5 *****

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FIRST ORDER STORMTROOPER

The figure itself is pretty great looking and I can see a lot of army building Junkies pouncing on every FIRST ORDER STORMTROOPER they see. And that's before all of the exclusives that are being released. I like that there is not a heck of a lot of difference between the Empire's Stormtroopers and the new First Order's. It is kind of like "Stormtrooper 3.0" which I dig because it proves that you don't have to make massive changes for something to be different. I am actually glad I waited and did not spent the exorbitant SDCC Exclusive prices for the Hasbro Con Exclusive. I am much happier now. It is a sleek design that also comes with two very cool liking futuristic firearms. I am sure they are still a lousy shot but hey, what can you do? There are also variants of the Stormtrooper-like the Flamethrower troop and the Snowtrooper that are yet to be released yet. All in all, I give this a 4 out of 5 *****

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FINN (JAKKU)

Not much is known about the character Finn played by actor John Boyega in Episode VII. We do know that he served as a stormtrooper in the First Order, 30 years after the Battle of Endor aka the end of RETURN OF THE JEDI. Somehow, he is stranded on Jakku and somewhere in the narrative, he has used the lightsabers of both Anakin and Luke Skywalker. Other than that, I have no idea if Finn is a good guy, bad guy, or on the cusp. Director J.J. Abrams has gone on record saying that not giving away Finn’s last name is “completely intentional.”

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Finn’s action figure is an excellent likeness to actor Boyega. His clothing is specifically what he will be wearing on the planet of Jakku. Kind of reminds me of what Luke was wearing on Bespin in ESB. There is some kind of marking on Finn’s left breast pocket that looks like some sort of ranking pin but I could be way off. Finn comes with a very cool pistol unlike any I have ever seen before in the STAR WARS universe. Finn has been the easiest Wave 1 figure to procure, probably because there is not a lot of bells and whistles to the figure. Still, he is probably the most mysterious character in the bunch that has me very intrigued. 3 & 1/2 out of 5 *****

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CHEWBACCA

I am not sure why they would throw in Chewbacca into the first EPISODE VII BLACK SERIES wave considering we already have a Chewie in this format. My first thought was that he must have an integral role in the film. My second thought was that they had a lot of Chewbacca's left over from the first go-round when he was released. I cannot say for sure that it is exactly the same figure because my original one is in storage but call me crazy but Chewie's beard looks a little longer. And I swear if you look at his face and a shaggy beard, you will see Michael J. Fox as TEEN WOLF. Still, the figure is ridiculously accurate looking and he is always a kid favorite and you now have two. Plus pretty much anyone can do a Chewbacca impression. Being in the first wave does say a lot about the Co-Pilot of the Falcon and the faith the toymakers have in him. If you ask me, the Wookie finally wins! 4 out of 5 *****

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