If you are like me, you are still trying to wrap your head around all of the incredible TMNT goodness that NECA brought to SDCC 2022. The shear volume of new offerings was eclipsed only be the quality and amazing detail brought out in every new figure. While the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles cartoon line continues to be my bread and butter, I can say with absolute confidence that the new comic-based figures have the most excited. After all this time, it is pretty darn radical, dudes.
Many of the new figures were announced during our conversation with NECA’s Trevor Zammit during our “Toy Fair” coverage earlier this year. Getting the Mirage Comics figures up and going again is such a thrill, and Fugitoid released first with Renet, Utrom, and Casey Jones all coming soon. However, all things being equal, FINALLY getting figures based on the TMNT Adventures Archie Comics it probably the biggest thrill of them all for me. I still can’t believe it is happening. Well, we all better start believing because Slash is leading off the line soon, and fellow shell heads, this is probably the best Slash figure. Ever.
It’s funny, Slash is cool, and this might be sacrilege to many, but he has never been one of my favorite characters. As many of you would probably guess, Man Ray is my guy, so when these figures were announced, a lot of my focus went right to him. THAT SAID – this figure is absolutely phenomenal. He is such a chonky block of plastic, and his look from those seminal Archie adventures is captured damn near perfectly. My closest association with Slash has always been the vintage toy, but this is the look and feel of that design brought into a proper comic styling, and NECA just killed it. There were some things that I was expecting to be good, but there are some little details that have come through here that absolutely take this figure to another level. If this is the harbinger of things to come for the Archie figures, woo boy – buckle up.
NECA has given us a couple of cool Slash figure before in the form of the cartoon and Turtles in Time versions, but this is the figure that captures the form and feel of a classic Slash better than any of them. The figure is built on some of the parts of the animated Tokka figure, but it’s not as much as you would expect. For instance, I was thrilled to see that his shell is unique and Slash has just the right amount of spikes that are so closely associated with him. I love that this figure is thicker and stockier than the other Turtles, and he is ready to rumble. Paul Harding (who also sculpted Tokka) handled the sculpting work here, and boy are the details fantastic.
It is easy to start with the portrait, so we will, and this Slash has just the right balance of crazy and ferociousness to him, and I especially love the expression in the eyes. Every tooth and fang is individually realized and the bandana knot can rotate to another level of expressiveness to the figure. The detail extends to the shoulder armor, spiked elbow and knee pads, belt, and claws, too. I really love the claws – they are nice and thick and are made of a rigid plastic that will not warp. Slash also has three sets of interchangeable hands: fists, grips, and grabby hands, and all swap out easily and the grips hold the included weapons well.
Speaking of the accessories, Slash gets his signature bent up sai, as well as the kama-like weapon that harkens back to the accessory sprue included with the vintage TMNT figures. The sai is my weapon of choice here, but they both look great as wielded by this crazy dude, so you certainly have options. The grip hands are soft enough to hold the weapons easily, but they are also sculpted to lock the handles into place, so they stay put really well.
Now, I would be remiss to not talk about the paint here, because, even with everything else on this figure being top notch, the paint work on Slash absolutely makes this figure. It is some of the best work NECA has ever done, and it is probably the best paint work on any figure I have gotten this year in terms of style and application. All of the fine paint lines are so clean, and they give you that feeling of those Archie Comics in perfect plastic form. The work is really highlighted in the painting of the teeth, the circle bumps throughout the figure, the details on the shoulder armor, and shading of the belt and accessories. You really should take some time once you have this figure to examine the details of the paint here, because it is really nice.
As I said, it elicits the Archie Comic look, but it is also subtle enough (in my opinion) to allow this figure to work well with the cartoon TMNT figures, too. So, if the cartoon Slash is not your speed, I think this will work just fine as a stand-in there (and good news for me that Man Ray/Ray Fillet will be the same way). One last point – I want to call out where there is NOT paint, and that is the joints. I know there was some concern about early pre-production samples of this figure on display with different colored joints, but that is not the case on the final figure, everything matches up just right.
Finally, I want to mention the packaging for this line, because it is tons of fun. It follows the form of the Mirage Comic boxes as we saw with Fugitoid, and the style and shape really lets each figure shine. The design mimics the old Archie style well, right down to the figure numbering (like comic cover numbering) in the top left-hand corner. The best part is absolutely the art by Ken Mitchroney. Like Kevin Eastman handing the Mirage duties, Ken is such an iconic part of the Archie history and style, and it is such a thrill to see his work highlighted here. I am not typically a mint-on-card collector, but it is really tempting here.
My goodness, the Archie figures are just getting started, and they have already exceeded my expectations. Slash is so good, and he is most certainly in the “figure of the year” conversation right away. I think this is the Slash figure many people have been waiting for, and as a kick-off, the NECA TMNT Archie figures could not have gotten a better start. You will not want to miss this guy, so go get your pre-order in at Dorkside or BBTS. This is going to be a LOT of fun!
*Thanks to the team at NECA for providing this figure for a First Look.