Toy Review: Entertainment Earth Exclusive TMNT Glowing Mutagen Man
Note: Entertainment Earth provided the sample figure for this review. Opinions expressed are the writer’s. Superhero Hype is part of the Entertainment Earth affiliate network and may earn fees on purchases made through site links. The Mutagen Man figure can be purchased HERE.
The first thing to notice about Mutagen Man is that he’s huge. Especially to anyone who remembers the original. Like most Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles figures by Playmates, Mutagen Man was a 5-inch scale figure, and not a particularly large one at that. But he had a great gimmick: fill his body with water, or slime, and watch the contents of his stomach float around. ’90s toys loved that sort of gross-out humor, and my cousin and I even filled him with Mello Yello for extra grossness. Over time, the figure might leak a bit, and that one no doubt became a major ant attractor. But considering most TMNT figures didn’t have gimmicks unless they specifically came in a gimmick assortment, it was cool.
Few collectors expected Mutagen Man to come so early in Super7‘s Ultimates lineup that remakes old Playmates figure designs. But he not only came early; he came with a variant as well. Entertainment Earth quickly sold out of their glow-in-the-dark Toxic Avenger figure from Super7, so the company followed it by giving them a glowing Mutagen Man. He has not sold as fast, but then again, Mutagen Man doesn’t star in four feature films from Troma.
Mutagen Man’s backstory is that he was once human, but now exists as a mutant with his limbs aglow and his innards held together loosely in a tank. He’s big enough that if we assume Super7 Ultimates should mostly come in scale (save the obvious giant robots), he dwarfs He-Man. His brain’s about right, but the eyes are ridiculously huge and the skull absurdly small. Considering the skull could never hold that brain, we must assume the ooze shrunk it. Yes, he appeared on the cartoon, and NECA recently made the much less gross version from the animated style guide. Super7’s deal, however, is to stick to the toy designs.
The glowing Mutagen Man comes in now-standard Super7 Ultimates packaging, which in turn was based on Mattel’s Masters of the Universe Classics. Brown mailer box with logo. Open that to find the inner box in a plastic bag. The inner box features a partial sleeve that slides off to reveal the window box underneath. In this case, both the sleeve and window box include glow-in-the-dark deco, like the ThunderCats glow-in-the-dark Mumm-Ra variant.
Two twisty-tie wires hold the figure in place, which feel downright quaint nowadays. Collectors used to rail against them, usually because companies like NECA would use twenty-some for the bigger sets. But at least they could be undone manually. Nowadays, the shirt-ties and rubber bands require hand strength to break apart and sometimes recoil the figure across the room. So hooray for twisties! With only two, it’s possible to preserve most of the packaging for reuse if that’s the goal.
Mutagen Man comes with his gun, alternate fist hands, and two versions of his internal accessories. Like all the TMNT Ultimates, he includes individual versions of his classic accessories, and a vintage-style sprue frame in one color with all of them attached. This always seemed a pointless affectation — if the goal is to do the vintage designs better, why not stop at the individual versions? But some like it. The internal bits, which include a baby turtle, apple core, spanner, pizza slice, bone, eyeball, and fish, were originally meant to go inside him and float in water. That can’t really happen here, for two reasons.
One, although his body tank does open by removing the stopper atop his head, two of the items won’t go all the way in. The turtle doesn’t really fit at all, and the apple core won’t go lower than atop his brain. Fine. The main issue, though? He’s not water-tight. Fill him with water, and it dribbles down his leg like a Betsy Wetsy doll. Consider it a urination action feature, maybe. No slime was provided, so that’s untestable at this time. But should anyone want to try it, prepare for leakage. That said, it’s a slow enough leak that the liquid lasts long enough for photos. And it looks cool, so it’s a shame about the dripping.
The trade-off, though, is that this Mutagen Man boasts a lot more articulation. With the exception of his hinge and rocker ankles, all his joints are disc and pin ball joints. Shoulders, elbows, hips, knees, and wrists. The elbows and knees feature full 90-degree ranges of motion, the hands swap out easily, and the figure can even balance on one foot, unassisted.
As for his glow feature: charge it right, and it’s intense. Even more so when kept in the glowing package, which reflects the light back on itself. He’s practically a night light.
Ultimates cost a pretty penny — at $55 apiece, they don’t generally appeal to the casual buyer. But at least in this case, glowing Mutagen Man has stuck around long enough that potential customers can now see what they’re getting. Ultimates have never really reproduced classic gimmick features, so it’s no great shock the floating inner pieces effect no longer works. But that glow is mighty powerful, and goes a long way to make up for it. If he was ever a favorite toy in the ’90s, this update will feel worthy, including the metallic tinge in the green paint on his body.
If any figures in this line beyond the iconic characters are worth it, this one is. For a kid toy design, he’s low-key pretty horrific, in a good way. Take a look through the larger gallery of our images below. Then should you feel similarly, you know where to buy.
Recommended Reading: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Ultimate B&W Collection Vol. 1
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