Toy Review: Mortal Kombat Yellow Card Series by McFarlane Toys
The new Mortal Kombat movie doesn’t have an official toy line. But it arguably doesn’t need one, as many of its designs hew pretty closely to the Mortal Kombat 11 designs, which do. Not all match, of course: the movie’s Sub-Zero design is considerably superior. And in general, a lot of the latest game designs feel overly “busy.” But the latest, yellow-carded wave from McFarlane Toys focuses on characters whose designs translate quite well.
Note that, as always, McFarlane makes multiple color variants. In previous waves, the alternate color schemes got called out on the box with shade-specific descriptions. Not this time. Gold Shao Kahn is simply Shao Kahn. However the company did provide us review samples of bloody variant Kabal and Noob Saibot, which actually feature different images on the box from the clean editions. Both versions of each feature the MK dragon logo in the package backdrop insert, while Shao Kahn and Liu Kang do not.
Perhaps this is because these two figures feature additional articulation. McFarlane figures typically sport the same 22-point scheme. But Noob and Kabal both add an extra cut joint to the double knee. And Kabal goes further with mid-bicep cuts at his sleeves. As a result, his lower arms may pop out at times, but they pop right back in.
The elaborate hip joints still don’t boast a lot of upper thigh twist, which is odd considering the Kickstarter Spawn seemed to fix that issue. Liu Kang in particular, with his baggy pants, might have copied Diamond Select’s Gimli and hidden some full ball joints under the codpiece. But he did not. At least Kabal and Noob demonstrate a willingness not to get complacent and try new joints.
Speaking of Liu Kang, he comes with alternate karate chop hands, as well as gripping versions to hold the nunchuks. Weapons in this line are nicely detailed — note the small gold highlights on the chuk handles, the MK dragon on Kahn’s hammer, or the blood splatters on the appropriate variants.
There’s just one area where paint details feel missing. Shao Kahn — this color version, anyway — wears armor that features brown leather straps, and also has parts of his skin that look like brown alligator scales. For the most part, the paint job does an excellent job of distinguishing the very similar shades of brown involved. It only fails on the feet, where his sandal straps remain unpainted.
Shao Kahn in general is not designed for elaborate poses, though they can be had with some effort. He looks best just standing in place.
Noob Saibot, who began life as simply an all-black pixel swap of the standard MK ninja base body, has evolved into something more McFarlane-esque. In fact, he looks a lot like the company’s previous Raven Spawn character. It would be shocking if the Mortal Kombat designers had no familiarity with Spawn, so in a weird way this feels like coming full circle. Unsurprisingly, then, he may be the best McFarlane MK figure since Spawn himself.
Kabal as a character typically holsters his hook swords on his back. While there are no clips to do so here, enough of his armor has straps they can be hooked through for a reasonable facsimile. It wouldn’t practically work well IRL, but good enough for play and display.
The army-green color on Kabal simply doesn’t look great on any of the figures. (I particularly dislike it on the initial Raiden release.) It is, however, game-accurate. As is the Ant-Man helmet. Can’t blame the toys for that.
As always, the bloody variants are the winners. Both Mortal Kombat and early McFarlane figures used to depend on such. Like the new R-rated movie, it can become the primary appeal.
Take a look at more images in our gallery below. All of these figures should be available shortly at your favorite retailers.
Which will become your favorite? Let us know in comments!
Recommended Reading: Mortal Kombat X Vol. 3: Blood Island
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