Yes, I realize that the new (and AWESOME) first series of Ultimate Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles from Super 7 doesn’t even hit pre-orders until October 1st, but we have never been a group content to rest on our laurels, or even have a bit of patience. This is especially true when it comes to new lines and properties we love, so while we wait to get our orders in, let’s contemplate what we would like to see from this line in the future.
Dudes, what a time we are living in. I mean, after living in a bit of a dead space when it came to TMNT collector lines, all I can say now is, “Cowabunga!” Seriously, NECA has been absolutely KILLING it with their cartoon, video game, and movie based figures, and they are just getting started. Those three sources alone have the potential to build a shell-shocking Ninja Turtles collection. Well, the only thing that was missing was a “Classics” or “Ultimate” style line a la Masters of the Universe Classics to bring us updates on the original toy line, and now Super 7 is delivering! I am such a TMNT glutton (after MOTU, it was probably my biggest and favorite line to collect as a kid), so I am going to be in for ALL of these lines, but if you are limiting yourself, between cartoon, games, toys, and movies, there has to be something in the mix that caters to your preferences.
So, as we do whenever a new line like this is announced, we are getting ahead of ourselves with rolling out the wish lists, but that is what makes passing the time between new line-up announcements and figure releases so much fun. Last month at Power-Con, Super 7 announced that they have a full five series already planned, and each series would have four figures, so we know that twenty new figures are already in the mix. I do not think that is a coincidence in terms of numbers and leads me to my first caveat headed into this list:
I STRONGLY support the original 20 characters in the vintage TMNT line be the first offerings in this new Ultimate offering. Even though I have some dear favorite characters and figures that came after those original twenty, I feel like those are most certainly the most important guys in a line like this. So, if we get more series past the first five, then the flood gates should be opened, however, even though my hypothetical wish list does not follow those twenty exactly, I still feel that all of these characters should be first. So, we have Raphael, Splinter, Baxter Stockman, and the Foot Soldier already coming, and they fit that pattern, so the following sixteen should still be the priority:
- April O’Neil
- Casey Jones
- Ace Duck
- Genghis Frog
- General Traag
- The Rat King
- And, if they can square the rights with Stan Sakai, Usagi Yojimbo
I would consider all of those guys essential to a line like this, even if some of my favorites (as you will see) would have to come later. If, for some reason, Usagi was not able to be produced, I would certainly slide Mondo Gecko up as next on that list, but now we are getting a bit inside. Don’t get me wrong, I want this line to recreate EVERY unique character from the vintage line-up, but those listed above are the most essential to the history of the original line.
That said, some of my top ten pulls from those guys, but most of it does not. The vintage TMNT line was a pageant of crazy characters and insanely cool designs, so I know everyone will be very specific about who they want to see. Sure, there are some characters where I prefer their cartoon look to their vintage toy (and vice-a-versa), but the following ten are some of my vintage toy line standouts who I cannot wait to see Super 7 and Four Horsemen tackle.
10. Wingnut (and Screwloose)
One of the best parts of the vintage line (for me) was the introduction of the smaller “sidekick” characters packaged with standard releases. Wingnut and his pal Screwloose really kicked off that trend (IIRC), and both of them have INSANE designs that would instantly stand out in your collection. Even as a kid, I thought some of the original toy designs were overly “busy” with the ripped holes in costumes, crawling bugs, etc., and Wingnut walks that line very closely, but you cannot ignore the “bat man” reference in his superhero costume, which is, in my opinion, a step up from his old Archie look.
Oh hey, here is the only figure on this list that I did NOT own as kid. If you know a bit of TMNT lore, I am sure you know why, but if you do not, simply put – he was released right at the end of the vintage line, and was very, very rare. He demands INSANE amounts of money on the secondary market now for those who want to complete their vintage collection, but that just means that most collectors have not, and will not, have chance to own that original figure. So, this new Ultimate line would be the perfect place to give everyone a chance to finally own Scratch. Sure, I would not prioritize my favorite characters, or those more essential to the mythos, ahead of him, but finally landing Scratch (Hot Spot, too!) would be a pretty big deal for a lot of fans.
8. Mondo Gecko
As a kid, after April and Casey Jones, I always considered Mondo Gecko the Turtles’ closest ally and Michelangelo’s best friend. His persona just connected to the group so well that he was kind of like the unofficial “5th Turtle” in my adventures. Plus, his design is just rad as a skateboarding lizard with clothes that captured that late 80s and early 90s style so well. I happen to know that Super 7 head honcho Brian Flynn is a fan of that era of skate, so without direct confirmation from him, I am going to go out on a limb and say that Mondo Gecko likely really appeals to him, which never hurts a character’s chances, you know?
7. The Neutrinos
Yeah, I cannot ever get through a list like this without cheating at my own rules. I almost just called out Zak on his own for this spot to fit the format better as he was the first one released in the vintage line, but when I thought about it, I just cannot have him without Dask and Kala, too. I LOVE these Neutrinos, from concept to characterization, and I want them all in this line – badly. These hot-rodding teenagers from Dimension X are perfect foils to Krang and company, and would look amazing in this line. Plus, they were a part of the early run of the old cartoon, and those episodes are amazing. So, yeah, bring Zak, but Dask and Kala are just as essential.
6. Genghis Frog
So, there are a couple of figures on this list that fall into that essential “first twenty” listed above, but Genghis is here for a couple of reasons. First, I love the old figure, and when he arrived early on in the line, I was CERTAIN that Attila, Rasputin, and Napoleon would be promptly following him. Well, only Napoleon did, and he was not at ALL what I was expecting. Like, I hated that figure when I was a kid because I was expecting and hoping for simple palette swaps of Genghis to get us the other three. So, Playmates when nuts with Napoleon and Attila and Rasputin were lost to the dustbin of history. So – this give Super 7 a chance to give us ALL the Punk Frogs with paint changes. I get it, I should probably be barking up NECA’s tree about this ( and I WILL be doing that), but I am covering all my bases. I am not saying the old toy Napoleon should not be updated as well, because he should, but I want all of Frogs in matching style, too.
This guy has a bit of a strange history in the old TMNT line in that, he is actually a single character representation of a whole race of dudes called Triceratons. I did not actually know that as a kid, but I know I adored this figure, and he because a constant staple of play with our TMNT battles. What is not to love here? I mean, he is a damned bright orange triceratops man with a badass machine gun. He is here to fight and kicked your shelled backside. Guys like Triceraton are what made the old TMNT line, and I cannot wait to see him revamped in all of his modern glory.
Here is another dude who showed up near the latter part of the vintage line, but unlike Scratch, I DID own Hothead, and what a glorious figure it was. I mean, a friggin’ dragon in TMNT. I was only ever sad it took them so long to get that concept down. Now, maybe more than anyone else, Hothead is BEGGING for a re-up by the Four Horsemen. Can you even imagine? I found him to be one of the most detailed figures in a line with lots of detail to begin with, so he is just ripe to be brought forward into an Ultimate line. I know he is probably not at the top of many lists in terms of essential characters, but Hothead has the true potential to be the best figure in a line like this.
3. Ace Duck
Again, he is another character who is covered off by that first twenty list, but he is here because I am selfish and this is my list. Dudes, I absolutely adored my Ace Duck figure as a kid. He did not have much (pretty much ZERO) presence in the old cartoon, but I loved the simplicity of his design and it was always very effective for his File Card characterization. Plus, as a lifelong fan of Donald, Scrooge, and other ducks, I was probably destined to love him. Plus, he got to fly the Turtle Blimp. In my adventures, only Donatello and Ace got to do that, so he was always pretty important. He will look so slick as an update, and selfishly speaking, I hope he shows up in series two so my wait will be over.
2. Muckman and Joe Eyeball
I will admit, the second and first spots on this list as ostensibly a tie in my book. Holy crap do I ever love Muckman with all of my being. When we were kids, my brother and I collected the TMNT line together (much like MOTU), but since I got the bad guys with MOTU, I got the good guys with TMNT, and I was HOTLY jealous of Muckman and Joe Eyeball. Their vintage designs are so rad, they incorporated OOZE into their gimmick, and details were off the chart. Along with the aforementioned Hothead, Muckman would be one of the most disgustingly detailed figures in this line, and I want him so badly. Again, just think about what the Horsemen will do with these guys. Holy moly.
1. Ray Fillet and Fish Stix
If you took away Donatello, Ray Fillet would be my number one most favorite figure from the TMNT vintage line. Yeah, he had color change effects, but there was something about his overall design that I absolutely fell in love with the moment I saw him on a card back. I remember getting him for Christmas the year he came out, and my dearly devoted step-mother dove into pallets at Target at opening looking for him long before it was cool. I still proudly own that figure, and I want him updated into this line like no other. I have to admit I still despise the cartoon look of Ray, so I am all in for the toy version, and I hope he happens because he is just too slick not too. Plus, Fish Stix might be the best sidekick figure in the entire line. Make him so, Super 7!
Well, that is my list for now, and I am sure yours looks really different. That is okay though, because I will not be turning down ANY of the original characters from the vintage line. I know guys like Slash, Mutagen Man, Fugitoid, and others likely rank very high on a lot of lists, but there is room for all. This new Ultimate execution has the potential to do for TMNT what Classics did for MOTU, and I will not be satisfied until we get all of the characters. This is going to be a lot of fun to collect, and I hope we will be doing so for years to come.