Buffy the Vampire Slayer has a new home for next year at UPN, and the terrific line of figures from Moore Action Collectibles continues on.  The latest release is Spike, and is just shipping to comic book stores.

There will also be a vampire version of this figure later this summer, and the next wave will included Xander and Cordelia.  If we're extremely lucky, we'll see Anya, and a Gentleman by the end of the year.

Spike is not shipping to mass retailers, or at least that's the current situation.  Check your local comic shops, or check out some of the on-line shops I have listed at the bottom of the page.  Expect to pay any where from $14 - $18.

Packaging - ***
It's the same packaging we've been treated to for the rest of the line.  The front of the card isn't anything to write home about, but the back has a great shot of Marsters, along with pictures of the other figures, current and planned.

Accessories - ****
Spike comes with seven, yes SEVEN accessories, all of them quite lethal.  Well, if your a vamp anyway.  Coolest of the set is the gold crucifix with cloth wrapped around it to protect Spike's own hand.  There are also various pointy weapons, including a fire place poker.

Spike also comes with a terrific base.  It looks great, and it's really the only way to display the figure.

Sculpt - ***
Wow.  Of the entire Buffy line, this sculpt is the best.  They've capture Spike dead on, and even the slouched body sculpt works with the character.

So why not four stars?  Because of the hand sculpts.  Sure, the hands look great - but neither can hold a single weapon.  Why give us seven accessories, and make everyone of them useless with this figure?  I consider that a MAJOR flaw, and a real disappointment.  If they had made at least one of the hands capable of holding something, I would have given this figure four stars for sculpting.

Paint - **1/2
The face paint looks pretty sweet on these, and they've captured the vampire pallor well.  The eyes are a little dicey on some of these, so you have to be picky. 

Unfortunately the paint on the jacket is not so good.  The black is uneven and splotchy, and looked poor on several figures I inspected.  I'm also not thrilled with the worn look on the paints, but at least it's done well.

Articulation - ***
This is a tough call.  There's plenty of articulation - neck, shoulders, biceps, elbows, wrists, thighs, and knees.  But most of the articulation in the legs is worthless.  The arm articulation is good, and allows a lot of poses.  But the feet are sculpted such that the only way to stand Spike is on the base, in a single walking stance.  If you're going to force us to display him in only one pose for his legs, you might as well just sculpted them that way in the first place.

Value - **1/2
At $14, you're pressing it with this figure.  Sure, there's a ton of accessories, but they aren't any good with Spike.  Half the articulation is pretty useless, so you aren't getting nearly as much as you'd think.  And if you end up paying $16 or more, you're getting ripped.

It is an 'exclusive' of sorts, so the production numbers are lower, but considering that this exact figure will get re-issued with another head, the cost shouldn't be this high.

Overall - ***
After hearing all about the sculpting on this figure, and seeing the early pictures, I was expecting to be blown away.  I think it's always far worse to have high expectations than low - you feel a lot better when your pleasantly surprised than when you're disappointed.

And this figure did disappoint me - some.  Yes, the sculpt kicks butt, and the accessories are great.  But the overall figure had too many problems to give it the four stars I was hoping it deserved.

Where to Buy:
Comic shops received these this week from Diamond, so check your local shops.  On-line you have tons of options:

- Action Figure Express has Spike for $14.95, and they also have a Cordelia that is supposed to be exclusive to their site. If you order Spike and pre-order Cordie, you might save on shipping.  (MROTW affiliate)

- Amok Time has Spike for $14.99.  I've never dealt with them however.

- Comics Infinity is charging $15.25, which seems odd for them. They normally aren't the highest.  I've dealt with them several times and they are always fast and reliable.

- Entertainment Earth also has them listed at $14.99, but it doesn't say they're shipping yet.  I'm assuming that's because they haven't updated the web site yet.  You can also buy a case of Spike's from them for $139.99 (or $11.66 each) so if you have some friends who'd like to go in together, that's the ticket. (MROTW affiliate).

Figure from the collection of Michael Crawford

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