Family Guy Series 3
Peter in Drag, Joe, Mayor, Pope, Jasper and Christobel

They're back! Stewie, Brian, Peter, Lois, Meg, Chris and company made their triumphant return to television earlier this spring. Surprisingly, the episodes have been more edgey than I had expected, considering the bashful nature that FOX had taken in the past. Then again, this is the station that brings us the lowest of the low in reality programming, so nothing should be in too poor of taste.

The Family Guy series of figures from Mezco has been a big hit as well. The first series sold through quickly, and the second series has left most pegs. Oh, there's still a few straggling mutant Stewies around, but for the most part the second series sold through well. The third series is now hitting stores, starting with Hot Topic.

Mezco is using some traditional techniques with their character selection for each wave. First, you need at least one new fairly regular characters. In this set we have Joe, the disabled neighbor with an attitude. YEAAAAA! Then you need at least one variant on Peter or Stewie. This time around Peter takes the bullet by dressing in drag. Next you need a variant on someone else in the family - either Chris, Meg or Lois. Chris steps in with his Christobel outfit. Another aspect of each series (well, since the last series anyway) is one new character that looks like a family member. In series two it was Rufus Griffin, and this time around it's Jasper, Brian's gay cousin. Finally, each wave needs two new, never before done figures from the many B-list, occasional and major one shot characters. In this wave, those two are the Mayor and the Pope.

There's also two versions of Jasper, one in a pink shirt and one in a blue/green shirt. Every case comes with two of each figure, and there is always one of each shirt color of Jasper, so there's no true 'shortpack'. However, since completists are going to end up buying both Jaspers but only one of the others, it will be Jasper that disappears first.

You can find these at your local Hot Topic right now for about $13 each, or check out my Where to Buy section for some better deals online. 

Packaging - ***
The packages haven't changed, so there should be no surprise. While they cardback/bubble style isn't as sturdy as clamshells, at least they're easy to get into. There are a few twisties, but nothing extreme.

I would like more text though, especially with characters that are so episode specific. Details man, people want details! How many times has Jasper been on the show? In which episode did we see the Mayor's 'bride'? These are the burning questions!

Sculpting - Pope ****; Mayor, Christobel ***1/2; Peter, Jasper, Joe ***;
This is the third series of figures, and Mezco is hitting their stride. All the sculpts here are above average to great, and while the articulation is somewhat limited, it works extremely well with the designs.

My favorite of the bunch is the Pope. He has lots of detail in his face (comparatively speaking of course), and looks just like the reference material. He's also a hilarious character in general, and is likely to be the best seller of this series. He stands great on his own, and his hands are sculpted to hold his accessory, and do some very Pope-ish poses.

Both the Mayor (Adam West, not THE Adam West, although he is voiced by THE Adam West), and Chris' artistic alter ego, Christobel, are damn close to perfect sculpts as well. The Mayor character is particularly tough, since he doesn't have quite the same level of personality in his design as the others. Let's face it, basically he's a guy in a suit. All his personality comes from the great voice work by Mr. West. Still, they've managed to capture the character extremely well.

When Chris' artwork is discovered by a famous gallery owner, he becomes his pupil - Christobel. The sculpt is also extremely good, although Chris is a tad large here. He's slightly taller than his previous versions - maybe he's wearing lifts, since he's dating Kate Moss. There are some nice extra details sculpted here, like the additional brushes in his jacket pocket. His hands are sculpted special to hold the brush and paint palette, and this works well with the articulation to give you some nifty poses.

Peter in his hooker outfit (or as the card proclaims "Peter in Tube Top") is a decent sculpt, certainly above average. It's an interesting choice, since he gets all of about 10 seconds of screen time in this get up, but it's certainly memorable screen time. His hands are sculpted to hold his accessories adequately, and as always with this line, he stands up perfectly on his own.

Jasper isn't doing a whole lot, but he's a reasonable addition to the line up. As Brian's gay cousin, I believe he's been in two episodes, although I only remember one distinctly. Now you'll just have to keep him and Smithers from fighting over the Malibu Stacy doll. His hands can hold a couple of his accessories as well.

Finally, there's Joe. The sculpt from the neck down is excellent, and I love the racing style wheels on the chair. His hands are designed to either hold accessories OR work perfectly with the wheels.

His head sculpt leaves me a tad cold though. It's the expression. They went for the over enthusiastic Joe, which was a good idea, but didn't quite hit the mark. Still, he's a great add on to the set.

It's impossible not to compare this line with the World of Springfield. In one area, this line has a major advantage - they've always gone for active, dynamic sculpts with real personality. There's no zombies here, and Mezco uses the eyes, eyelids, eyebrows and mouths to give them that extra added visual interest, something that WOS only did on occasion. It doesn't always work - just look at Joe - but it's still deeply appreciated.

Paint - ***1/2
The Family Guy designs don't call for a lot of small detail paint ops, but rather large areas covered in bright colors. Still, Mezco managed to find a way to get some of those small details in there.

That's most notable on Christobel, with his sloppy paint coat and funky hair color. But just about every character has some level of small detail paint work, from the earring on Jasper to the 'jewels' on the Pope's hat. Everything is clean and neat, with no bleed or slop.

For these figures, consistency in the colors across the larger areas is crucial, and again they did very well. There's also very little of the blue wash on either the white Pope robe, or the white coat on Christobel. Oh, there's a little, but nothing like we saw earlier with Peter.  They did use the wash though with Jasper, which was a smart move, and keeps him consistent with the earlier Brian.

There were a couple spots where eyes weren't quite perfect, but none of the issues were major. I didn't notice any variations in eyes across the case I saw, and I'm pretty sure there aren't any eye variants.

Articulation - Mayor ***1/2; Pope, Christobel, Peter, Joe ***; Jasper **1/2 that? That sound? That's the wind of change...Mezco has once again added MORE articulation to this line!

They added some wrist joints with the Peter and Lois two pack, and not only have they continued those joints with these figures, they've added 45 degree elbow joints on Christobel and the Mayor! Woo Hoo!

That's not all - the Mayor gets his amazing score because he had the usual waist joint, wrists, ball jointed shoulders (but very basic ball joints, with a limited range of movement), the new cut elbows, AND, get this, a ball jointed neck! He can look up, down, tilt to the side...I'm astounded.

Okay, so the shoulders and neck don't have the range of movement of say, a Marvel Legends figure. But it's still pretty awe inspiring to see the company hearing what fans are saying and reacting in appropriate ways. They aren't over doing it, trying to turn these rather difficult to articulate cartoon designs into super poseable action figures, but they are including joints when and where it makes sense. Let's give them a round of applause!

The Mayor is the best of the bunch, but the Pope ain't too bad either. He has a regular neck, ball jointed shoulders, and cut elbows and wrists. These joints give him tons more posing possibilities than he would have had with straight, non-jointed arms. He did lose the waist joint though, to keep the flow of his robes solid and smooth. I did have one weird problem with my Pope - his head wanted to pop off. I finally managed to get it to stay, but the neck post seems a little short for the sculpt of the robe.

Christobel, Peter and Joe have varying levels of reasonable articulation. All three have the pseudo ball jointed shoulders, cut wrists, and neck joints. Peter and Chris also have waist joints, and Joe has wheels that roll on his chair. A waist joint on Joe would have been nice, and I'd like to see more ball jointed necks where possible, but the level of articulation on these is reaching a point where it's almost as good as it can get.

Accessories - Christobel ****; the rest ***1/2
One of the best features of this line is the accessories. That's another comparison that you can make with WOS, and one in which both lines are very similar.

Mezco is producing at least a couple, often more, accessories with every figure. These accessories make sense, are always very accurate, and often show specific. They relate well to the characters, and make perfect sense. What more could you ask for?

Christobel is the perfect example. He comes with five - count them, five - separate accessories, all pulled directly from the episode. There's his easel, his painting (yes, it's a separate accessory, in case you have other uses for the easel), a paint brush (which fits perfectly in his right hand due to the unique sculpt, and lays back against the space between his thumb and forefinger so that it looks right with either the brush end down at work or up at rest), his palette (again, designed to fit perfectly in his left hand), and his 'super model girlfriend'. That's what the package calls her, but we all know that this very thin plastic stand up is actually Kate Moss. And since she was paper thin on the episode, you could actually consider this a second figure!

Jasper comes with three accessories. There's the Chinese takeout bucket, his horn, and an appropriate cocktail. The actual drink inside the glass is removable, if you want the clear glass without the foo-foo drink.

The Pope only has two accessories, but they are so important. There's the cool hat of course, which I think is the only reason people want to be Pope. It fits on his head perfectly, without benefit of magnets or odd sculpting designs. It stays on pretty well too, but not as well as some of the magnet style. He also has his staff, done in the minimalist style. I'm sure this thing has a name, but don't ask me what it is.

Joe has only two accessories as well, since his wheel chair is part of his overall sculpt. There's the baseball bat, which he can hold in his right hand quite well, and the large baseball trophy.

Again, the Mayor has only two accessories, but his 'wedding dress' right hand is right up there with Series 1 Peter's Mr. Zucchini as a truly unique item. His right hand pops off easily enough, and the new one all dressed up in white pops right on. I believe that's all I want to say about this particular accessory.

He also comes with some taffy, which regular viewers know holds a special place in the Mayor's heart, right up there with his right hand. And here I said I was done talking about that.

Finally, there's Hooker Peter. He has four accessories altogether - the lipstick, compact and purse, along with the pink boa. The boa tends to shed a little too much, but fits around his neck and arms nicely.

Fun Factor - **
While I'm not exactly sure what Pat Robertson would say about giving a kid an action figure of a man dressed up like a hooker, these actually have a lot of fun potential. Ok, I lied - I know exactly what Pat Robertson would say. But that doesn't change the fact that these are, at least in theory, fun toys to play with.

If you have kids old enough to enjoy they show, they would enjoy these. I doubt they'll get much actual play time, but even adults can appreciate their potential.

Value - **1/2
I paid $13 each for these at Hot Topic. Considering the current specialty toy market, that's a fairly average value.

However, you can pick these up as cheap as $10 each at some places (and I have some of those places listed at the end of the review), and at that price you can add another half star to this score.

Things to Watch Out For - 
As is always the case, especially with rotocast toys, you want to pay extra attention to the paint ops when you're picking them out. I didn't see any major issues, but there's nothing more depressing than getting them home and realizing you grabbed the only one on the shelf with a big gob of paint on his nose.

Overall -  Pope, Mayor ***1/2; Joe, Jasper, Peter, Christobel ***
My scores for these figures have gradually increased over time, ever since series 1. That's due to two things - first, Mezco is going out of their way to actually improve the figures in terms of accessories, quality of paint ops, and articulation. Second, this line, like WOS, tends to grow on you over time if you're a big fan of the show. They might not always be perfect, but they're still pretty damn good.

I'm really enjoying the more dynamic personalities given to the sculpts, and the accessory selection continues to be excellent, with almost no reuse. The character selection has been smart, and they've managed to avoid serious peg warmers so far. This line could easily go 10 or more waves if managed well, and it's true potential is only just started.

Packaging - ***
Sculpt - Pope ****; Mayor, Christobel ***1/2; Peter, Jasper, Joe ***;
Paint - ***1/2
Articulation - Mayor ***1/2; Pope, Christobel, Peter, Joe ***; Jasper **1/2
Accessories - Christobel ****; the rest ***1/2;
Fun Factor - **
Value - **1/2
Overall - Pope, Mayor ***1/2; Joe, Jasper, Peter, Christobel ***

Where to Buy -  
I grabbed this set at Hot Topic for $13 each. That's $91 for the set - ouch! Online options include:

- Amazing Toyz has the set for just $60, or individual figures for $10 - $12 each.

- CornerStoreComics has the set for $65, or the individual figures for $11 - $12 each.

- Krypton Collectibles has the set of 6 for $66, or a case of 12 for $110 (check in the 'pre-orders' section!)

- Alter Ego Comics has a case of 12 (two of each figure) for $122.

- Killer Toys has the set of 6 for $70, or the individual figures for $12 each.

- Toy Fellas has the individual figures for $13 each.

Related Links -
I've reviewed all of the figures released so far...

- here's my review of the series 1 figures, series 2 , and the Nighttime Peter and Lois two pack.

- Mezco also has a great site company site, including some excellent discussion boards.

Figure from the collection of Michael Crawford.

This page copyright 2003, Michael Crawford. All rights reserved. Hosted by 1 Hour