As licenses age, they can get pretty weird. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles was always a little strange, but adding Universal Monsters and Star Trek-themed figures was a bit of a stunner. The Mutant Raphael was without a doubt the most obscure creature tackled in this 2-year, 8-figure sub-line from Playmates. Most young people know the Metaluna Mutant (emphasis on the "ANT" part) from 1996's barely-seen Mystery Science Theater 3000: The Movie which certainly was useful to find out why exactly I had bought this figure earlier. It's something of a miracle that this figure exists, the 1993 Monster TMNTs were overstocked and clearanced out quite cheaply.
Looking like a cross between Urkel and any given giant brain monster, the coloring doesn't make a lick of sense. Most Mutant toys are blue with a little red, this one has green-- which makes sense-- but why so much orange? The Mutant in the movie is slathered in orange belts and pieces, so why not Raph as the red Turtle? While none of the figures are completely true to the movie, or the Turtles, that's to be expected. This one turns up the weirdness a notch by not going out of the way to really claim elements of either in a lot of places, resulting in what looks like Raphael in a bad home-made Mutant costume rather than the slightly more polished and potentially authentic look to the bulk of the other 7 figures in this short-liveed line.
The figure is an entirely new sculpt and to my knowledge, was never repainted, but variant weapon colors do exist. The Super Atomic Sai is the best of the set, but the "club" and ray gun are also peppered with the traditional retro atom symbol which automatically makes everything cooler.
When I bought this figure, it was one of many Playmates toys I bought just to keep the set going-- I did the same thing with Star Trek for a while, and now Hasbro's Star Wars lines. It's so weird, it's charming. Why are his pants blue, but not the skin? Why is he wearing pants at all? Why did Universal approve this, would they approve anything in the early 1990s? (Answer: yes.) With 7 points of articulation and, to be honest, a pretty good sculpt with very clean paint applications, it's easy to love this figure in spite of his faults. There are many, between the weird eyes and the coloring, but it's just so funky, how can you not enjoy it at least a little?
Today this figure will set you back $20-$30, which is more than I would suggest paying for it. It tends to be cheaper in bulk lots, so if you can swing it, I suggest buying the collection all at once. And oh yes, we'll be getting to them all between now and Halloween.
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