Family Guy Series 2
Peter 'in the buff', Meg, Death,
Mutant Stewie, Rufus Griffin and Quagmire

Family Guy has been given new life by FOX this year, although if you're a fan of the show, you might be as skeptical as I as to whether they'll actually allow it to make it this time.  Will we see silly bleeps and cuts, shifting time slots, and weird air dates again?  I'd be very surprised if we didn't.

Mezco released the first series of figures based on the show last fall, and they sold out quickly.  The second series is just now hitting online and bricks and mortar stores, and includes Peter in the buff (hey, that's what they called him), Meg, Quagmire, Death, Mutant Stewie and Rufus Griffin.  They retail for $10 - $13 each depending on where you pick them up.

Some folks are a little worried that we're getting so many variants - three in just the second series - so soon, or such obscure ones, like Rufus.  Others are peeved that Death has a very rare variant, rumored to be as rare as one per every five cases, in which you see his actual skull, rather than just the robe.

I gotta admit that the skull Death variant seems like a mighty bad idea to me, but mixing up the assortments with some variants, and not putting out all the main characters too quickly, is an idea I can get behind.

He's winking at you!

Of course, only time will tell if any of these ideas end up sustaining the line, but there are already plans for at least two more series and a boxed set of Peter fighting the giant chicken.  Priceless.

Packaging - **1/2
The card art is adequate, although not at the same level of some of the other stuff we've seen Mezco design.  It works, and does show off the entire series on the back.  But it's very light on text, and light on character specificity.

Sculpting - Death ***1/2; Quagmire, Rufus, Buff Peter ***; Mutant Stewie, Meg **1/2
I really, really want to love every one of these.  I do.  But I can't look past the fact that some of them simply miss the mark.

Of the set, the one I thought I'd like the least from photos is the one I like the most - Death.  In person, this guy kicks all kind of butt, and really reminds me of the character from the show.  The sculpt isn't perfect, but of the overall set he's the closest to the source material AND the best 3-D translation.

I do wish they'd sculpted the interior of the cloak deeper, so that the back isn't quite so obvious, but otherwise, the sculpt is terrific.

Quagmire, nekkid Peter, and Rufus are all solid sculpts, but not fantastic.  I was really looking forward to Quagmire, since he's such a hilarious character, but something is just *slightly* off with the head sculpt.  It may simply be that his huge cheeks, chin and nose still aren't huge enough.  "In the buff" Peter is a fat, nekkid white guy, and he pretty much looks like you'd expect.  Since we've seen Peter naked on the show a number of times, and specifically with these accessories, it wasn't too surprising of a variant.  The facial expression is a little unusual though, but at least Mezco is trying to go for some variety here.

Speaking of facial expressions with variety, there's also Rufus Griffin.  Now here's a rather unusual choice for a variant so early in the line, a character from one episode ("If I'm Lyin', I'm Dyin'"), who wasn't particularly important there either.  He's definitely unique looking though, having starred in the classic film Black to the Future.

Again, he has a very dynamic and expressive sculpt, which is a real plus for this line. I like the detail work on the 'fro, while the rest f the sculpt maintains the same simple style of the cartoon.  The hand sculpts are done in such a way as to give you a pretty good variety of poses with the basic articulation.

Oh, I think I may have forgotten to mention this, but I've also included a picture of Peter's hoo-hoo.  Or haa-haa.  I always get that confused.

Meg was the only real disappointment of the set for me.  While the facial expressions on every other character (with the exception of Death, obviously), are very animated and dynamic - even more so than the show usually is - Meg has zombie disease in a major way.  She has an extremely blank expression, compounded by a lip sculpt that makes her appear way over medicated.  She also has these Popeye forearms that I don't remember from the show, but she's not all negative.  Her scale is very good, and she fits in nicely with the rest of the family, and the inclusion of clear plastic lenses in her glasses is a very nice touch.

Now, Mutant Stewie got just as bad of a score as Meg, but you'll notice I didn't say I was disappointed.  That's because I wasn't expecting a whole lot out of this guy.  The first two Stewie's weren't my favorite sculpts of that series, so I'm not surprised that this one isn't a whole lot different.  The head is actually very soft rubber, so that you can squeeze it and squirt 'ink' out of his bottom.  It's a cute idea, but it means the sculpt is a tad soft, but at least the facial expression is good.  The legs are also very sturdy, and you won't have to worry about wilting. 

Paint - **1/2
While the sculpts were a bit all over the place, the paint ops were pretty consistent.  Too bad they were consistently mediocre.

The more I play around with these figures, the more I'm reminded of the World of Springfield.  I suspect that as they go along, people (me included) are likely to cut them more and more slack for their failings (lack of articulation, weak paint ops), because we love the show and the characters so much.

Once again, they went with the use of a odd wash on most of the figures to highlight or shadow various areas.  I don't mind it too much, although it's a tad much on some of the figures like Rufus.  I can't complain too much about it though, since it does do the intended job pretty well.

No, what bugs me is the sloppiness that seems to be on almost every figure.  There isn't a lot of small detail work here, since the style of the show depends on bold colors over large areas.  The lines between these colors are often sloppy, and other colors are too thin or inconsistent to cover the darker color below.

If Mezco can tighten up the QA around the paint application, they can bring this line up to the standard you expect at this price point.

Articulation - Rufus, Death ***; Quagmire, Meg **1/2; Buff Peter, Mutant Stewie **; 
This isn't a line known for exceptional articulation, especially since the figures are rotocast.  Still, some of the figures have a few more joints than you might expect.

Mutant Stewie, even with eight legs, has only one point of articulation, his neck.  Clearly, he's going to rank at the bottom of this category.

Buck naked Peter is right there with him though, with only neck and cut shoulders.  He can sort of hold his pillow in front of him, but with his hands sculpted up and down and no way to turn them, it doesn't work quite right.

Quagmire and Meg have similar articulation, with neck, shoulders and waist.  However, Quagmire's neck is actually a ball joint - very cool - but has a bit of a limited range of movement - not so cool.  He's another figure just begging for cut joints at his sleeves so you could do something else with his arms.

Rufus and Death are actually getting closer to decent articulation.  Death has neck, shoulders, wrists, and a cut elbow on the right arm.  The wrists and cut elbow really do give him a lot more posing possibilities than the rest of the line.

Rufus doesn't do bad either, with ball jointed shoulders (the only one in the series), wrists, and waist.  Again, the arm articulation allows for some great posing with the dynamic leg sculpt.

Accessories- Death, Nekkid Peter ***1/2; Rufus, Meg, Quagmire ***; Mutant Stewie **1/2
For the most part, this series (and line) have some really great, unique, specific accessories.

Death takes the top spot again with his dog, complete in cloak and with an articulated neck, scythe, and Patriot Ale.  He can hold both of the latter accessories in his hands, and the dog looks terrific in his matching outfit.

In the buff Peter has three very funny and very show specific accessories.  He has his pillow, and it's been made out of a very soft rubbery material, so it actually feels 'pillowy'.  A very cool touch.  The pillow is shaped just right to sit in front of his belly and cover up those private parts. He also comes with his magical clam, and the 'relationship' videotape.

Rufus also does well here, because of his very cool guitar.  The guitar can fit over his head and arm if you're careful without removing the strap, which is what I'd recommend.  Put the right hand all the way in the air, and press the arm in toward the body, and you should be able to get the strap to slide right on over.

Now, in my messing around with mine, I did manage to pop the back peg out of the guitar.  I'm not sure it's SUPPOSED to come out, but perhaps, and once it does, it makes it even easier to put the guitar on and take it off.  Proceed at your own risk.

He also has a record and album cover, which fit together nicely.  But the guitar is really the stand out for him, and it's one of those accessories you can use in many different ways.

Meg didn't do so great in some of the other categories, but didn't do too badly here.  She has two purses, so I suppose it was a little tough for them to come up with ideas.  It would have been nice if either of the purses could actually go over her head and shoulder, but you'll have to finagle them on to a single arm.

She also has a signed photo of her nudist next door neighbor who stole her heart, and the pig who stole her kiss in the closet.  Ah, those cruel, obnoxious high school kids.  The pig looks terrific, but I really wish he could actually stand up.

Quagmire has the largest accessory in his blow up friend.  She looks accurate, I guess, or so I'm told.  I mean, I wouldn't know myself.  Uh, anyway...the paint ops on her are some of the worst of the bunch.  I don't mind the googlie eyes, since that's part of the joke...I'm assuming...but the sloppy paint lines end up making her look like a little cheap toy instead of a life size cheap toy.

He also comes with the same Patriot Ale, a reuse of the bottle of beer.  Knowing Peter and his friends, this won't be the last time we see that bottle.

Mutant Stewie gets stuck with the short stick again, although not so bad this time around.  He has three of his little mutant offspring, and there is actually some difference in facial expressions.  he also comes with a big pile of the eggs, again done in rotocast plastic.  Sometimes the rotocast works, sometimes it comes off looking very dollar store.  Stewie's pile of eggs is one of those dollar store situations.

Fun Factor - **1/2
These aren't really toys for kids, any more than the show was a cartoon for kids.  Adult themes make for adult laughs, but not a real fun time for the under ten crowd.

Value - Mutant Stewie *1/2; the rest **1/2
I'm going to assume you're paying about $11 - $12 each for these, sort of an average price.  The closer you can get these to ten bucks, the happier you'll be, trust me.

Poor Mutant Stewie just can't win though.  He's a tiny figure, with only a handful of accessories (hey, just compare to all the stuff the first two Stewies came with!), all for the same price of something as cool as Death.  You're going to feel ripped at anything more than $6 or so, and he really should have been a pack in figure with another one of the characters from the episode Da Boom. 

Overall - Death ***1/2; Rufus, Quagmire ***; Naked Peter, Meg **1/2; Mutant Stewie **
Like I said earlier, I really, really want to love these.  Yes, I think the show is hilarious, and please don't write me to tell me what an idiot I am, and why the show is overrated, etc.  It makes me laugh, and that's just fine.

I suspect these will grow on me, and I'll get softer on them over time.  I hope so, because I actually like series 1 better than series 2 in general right now.  Death is the true standout, but I'm disappointed that we ended up with a chase of the coolest figure.

If I were only going to buy a few, I'd obviously pick up Death, Quagmire and Meg.  Hey, you have to have Meg to finish out the family!  The three variants are less important, but at least the Rufus Griffin is well done.  And yes, technically Rufus isn't a 'variant' since he's not Peter, but a unique character. The other two...meh.

I'm looking forward to the upcoming series, and in particular the two pack of Peter and the giant Chicken.  There's some great material here for Mezco to mine, and if they can just get a few of the quality issues under control, this could be a fantastic line.

Things to Watch Out For - 
No problems here - nothing likely to break, nothing tough to figure out.  If you do pick these off the pegs, pay extra special attention to the paint ops though to get the best possible versions.

Be careful putting the guitar over Rufus' shoulders - you might break the strap or pegs if you're not.  As I said, one of the pegs popped out for me, but I'm not sure if that was intentional or not.

Packaging - **1/2
Sculpt - Death ***1/2; Quagmire, Rufus, Buff Peter ***; Mutant Stewie, Meg **1/2
Paint - **1/2
Articulation - Rufus, Death ***; Quagmire, Meg **1/2; Buff Peter, Mutant Stewie **; 
Accessories - Death, Nekkid Peter ***1/2; Rufus, Meg, Quagmire ***; Mutant Stewie **1/2
Fun Factor - **1/2
Value - Mutant Stewie *1/2; the rest **1/2
Overall - Death ***1/2; Rufus, Quagmire ***; Naked Peter, Meg **1/2; Mutant Stewie **

Where to Buy - 
You can get these at a number of online stores right now, and some specialty stores, like Tower Records or Media Play, may get these in soon.  Online options include:

- should have them in any day, and always have excellent pricing.

- Krypton Collectibles has the full set of six for just $62.

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

- Killer Toys has the individual figures for $12, and the set for $65.


Figure from the collection of Michael Crawford.

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