Tuesday, January 11, 2011
#0001: Ugly Laser Man
Welcome to the weird and wacky world of Tony’s toys. Each toy reviewed in this blog is fated to end up donated to charity, so you could see this as a eulogy of sorts, or as my own, queer, teary-eyed goodbye to my beloved pieces of plastic.
Why exactly am I doing this? I’m not really sure. The reason falls somewhere between wanting to make a tribute to the nostalgic ranting of X-Entertainment, and my recent viewing of Toy Story 3 convincing me that my Charles Barkley action figure has better things to do than sit around in a drawer for the rest of his days.
You might note, with some amusement, that I’ve labeled this with enough room for four figures worth of toys to be reviewed and scrapped, though honestly I think I’ll hit about thirteen before I regret this decision and frantically gather all of my toys together in a gesture of unending affection. I’m sad like that.
Enough of that, let’s look ahead towards the future. And where better to look into the future, than with the lucky first contender for review, Ugly Laser Man.
Not a bad segway, but in actuality I wanted to premiere with the aforementioned Charles Barkley toy. He isn’t where I remember leaving him (though in honesty, the location of my Charles Barkley toy isn’t frequently crossing my mind), leaving me to believe that, true to the events of Toy Story, he’s gone off on his own adventure, full of mystery and basketball. Bless his heart.
So who exactly is Ugly Laser Man, or ULM, as he shall be known henceforth? I’m really not sure. Logic dictates he’s just a nameless piece of unlicensed crap that was mass-produced for vending machines or something of that nature, and the fact that I have no idea of when and where I acquired him from would seem to support this assumption.
But perhaps he’s much more famous? He could be from some cartoon series from long ago that I’d forgotten existed. After all, it’s not like I was watching every single cartoon in 1991. That kind of attention was devoted solely to the Ninja Turtles.
I prefer the latter assumption; that he was once the king of the ring, and a series of unexplained scandals led to the lowly anonymity of today. He’s like Grizabella the Glamour Cat, or David Faustino.
At first glance, he appears not to be a bad bit of kit. He’s got some nice little touches here and there, little bells and whistles that contribute to his aura, and wonderful shiny sleeves that he has colour-coordinated with his laser gun.
He never got much use, as evidenced by the minimal damage to his paint job. There’s slight chipping in the corners, an inevitable fate in the world of ACTION, but since most of it is in his arms, you can assume that his revealed skin-coloured undercoat is actually just battle damage tearing his clothes away heroically. Or erotically. Depends on how you play with your ULM.
The most prominent example of this undercoat is on his gun, which shows unfortunate flesh tones right on the barrel. As a kid, I was always confused and disappointed by how the colour would chip away to be skin-coloured, but in retrospect, what a hideously petty thing to be disappointed by. There are starving children with no ULM at all; I really shouldn’t have been sweating the small stuff.
Besides, you can make up a cool story if you like, like the reason that there’s skin around the barrel of the gun is because he used the gun to tear through the flesh of his enemies. Oh hell yeah, that’s how badass this guy is; he doesn’t even use his laser gun for lasering, he chooses to bludgeon bad guys with the barrel.
Perhaps the biggest flaw with ULM would be the initial paint job itself, which is strong overall for a silly nobody like him, but shows severe laziness around the focal point of action; his gun. Check this out, but be warned: THIS IS NOT FOR THE FAINT OF HEART.
Oh how dreadful. There appears to be significant orange spillage around his wrist and gun, most noticeably on his left hand side. I understand that the extra room had to be filled in with something, but really, they should have just gone with blue, and made us assume that it was just some mysterious extension on his gun.
Instead, it’s hard to believe in his visage at all. It’s ripped me right out of my imagination world, and back into a world of bitter, skin-coloured disappointment. The only explanation that I can make is that his laser gun is so hot and radioactive, it has in fact melted his body into it, but that’s just silly. That would mean he could only point his gun in one direction, and that direction appears to be mostly towards the floor. I don’t want ULM to shoot floorboards and pygmies. It’s just not canon.
But I guess I’m splitting hairs here. We all know the fate of single bits of plastic with no posability, no accessories and no backstory. They’re doomed to be foot soldiers at best, to be kicked aside by your more popular toys and then left for dead throughout the rest of playtime’s duration. They’re like the extras of the toy world, and that’s all they can ever aspire to be. Particularly in ULM’s case, with his useless downward-oriented laser. It’s his own fault, really.
But still, we salute you, ULM, for your courageous efforts and your grizzled appearance. You’re a pioneer in this blog, in the same way that you were unable to be a pioneer in playtime. Perhaps for old time’s sake, I’ll give you one more boot in the face from Raphael or Krillin before I jettison you for good.