Adult Swim Series 1
Debbie Dupree and Dr. Quinn
Master Shake and Mothmonsterman
Brak's Parents
Phil Ken Sebben and the Bear

Every night about 11:00pm, the kiddies are tossed out of the pool that is Cartoon Network, and it's time for the Adult Swim. For the next few hours, you are can watch shows that range from silly to genius, awful to hilarious, stupendous to just plain stupid, but they are all certainly unique.

Palisades picked up the license to produce figures based on the wide variety of shows, rather than targeting individual hits. That's a great idea, since it allows for so much more breadth and depth, and gives the line a broader appeal. On the flip side, if you're a fan of only one show, it's going to take you a little longer to get the core characters.

The first wave has just started to hit, and includes four two packs - Master Shake and Mothmonsterman (Aqua Teen Hunger Force), Phil Ken Sebben and the Bear (Harvey Birdman), Dr. Quinn and Debbie (Sealab 2021), and Brak's Mom and Dad (The Brak Show). They retail for around $13 - $15 for each pair, although if you buy the set you can get some deals online. I have a variety of suggestions at the end of the review.

Are there exclusives? I'm glad you asked. Of course there are! Series 1 has two exclusives. The first is through the Musicland family of stores (Media Play, Sam Goody, Suncoast) and is Master Shake wearing his nifty spotlight head piece, and a glow in the dark version of Mothmonsterman. These should be popping up in the next couple weeks.

The second exclusive is shared between the Palisades Direct store and the Adult Swim website. This one includes the Bizarro Debbie and Quinn, and Quinn is definitely an all new sculpt! These should be popping up soon as well. 

Series 2 has already been announced, with a release scheduled by the early fall. This time there will be three two packs, including Sparks and Captain Murphy (Sealab 2021), Meatwad and Frylock (ATHF), and Mentok and Reducto (Harvey Birdman).

Packaging - ***1/2
Each of the two figures is packed in a large clamshell, with the accessories laid out in such a way as to be as visible as possible. The style of the package matches up with the simple bumper theme that Adult Swim uses, so this time around simple makes sense. Each insert is also specific to that two pack, with a background shot on the front that is directly from the show.

I usually complain with packages are overtly simple, but this time around it makes perfect sense, and it can be a real art to executing minimalism successfully.

Sculpting - Shake, Mothmonsterman ****; Bear, Brak's Mom ***1/2; Phil, Debbie, Quinn ***; Brak's Dad **1/2
In general, the sculpting and design on this line is excellent. There's a few points to quibble here and there, and any time you do eight figures you're bound to have a couple that aren't quite as good as the rest. But fans of all four shows should be pretty pleased with how the sculpts turned out across the board.

My favorites are Master Shake and Mothmonsterman, at least in this category. Okay, so how hard is it to actually sculpt Shake - he's not the most complex character design you've ever seen. Still, it gets back to being able to transfer simple two dimensional characters into accurate three dimensional versions, something other companies have failed at miserably. Palisades certainly knows how to do cartoons, and do them consistently well.

Of course, Mothmonsterman is more complex in design than Shake, and he's another excellent job. His scale matches up nicely as well, and the two look great together. I'm looking forward to picking up the variant Shake though, since his spotlight attachment is what attracted the poor guy in the first place.

Shake's hands couldn't be sculpted to hold his accessory of course, and so magnets were used. Rather than just putting the magnet in one hand, Palisades went the extra mile and included one in both hands, so you can place his sandwich in either.

Bear and Brak's Mom aren't quite as nice as the ATHF pair, but the are still well above average. Bear has just the right amount of detail to his fur and face, maintaining the cartoonish appearance and yet not coming off as too bland and boring. Brak's Mom is the right scale for the rest of the line, with a reasonable amount of detail, but she is just a touch short when compared to the Brak figure released by Toycom three years ago. Still, it's not so far off that you'll be too annoyed, and the style matches perfectly if you can ignore a little height difference.

Debbie and Quinn fall into a close but not quite category. These really do look like toys in the traditional sense, where you know it's those two characters, but there's something *slightly* off. The leg poses also cause them to topple a little too easy, and with limited leg articulation that can be a problem. Quinn has one hand sculpted to hold his shot glass, but getting Debbie to hold any accessories is a big no go.

Phil is...well...Phil. He's not my favorite character, and I would have much preferred a Birdman right away, but I can live. The sculpt, similar to Debbie and Quinn, is close but lacks any wow factor. He does stand up perfectly on his own though, and has one handed sculpted to hold his shot glass.

Brak's Dad ends up on the bottom of the pile, not because he's a boring character - which he is - but because of one huge flaw. His legs aren't the same length on mine, which means he's forever standing at a tilt, or if you use the enclosed stand, one leg is up off the ground. Fortunately, they did do a great job of scale with the dad in comparison to mom, where a huge difference is appropriate.

Dad can also hold the paper quite well, and can sit at the table much better than he can stand.

Paint - Bear, Mothmonsterman ***; Shake, Debbie, Quinn **1/2; Brak's Mom, Brak's Dad, Phil **
I really want to love these figures across the board. I really do. But I was very disappointed by the paint apps.

I do have to point out that I did not pick these out on the pegs. My wife did, being the sweetheart that she can be and grabbing them for me at Hot Topic when she was making a mall run. However, these six characters could have easily been lumps of coal for all the difference it meant to her, and she didn't spend any real time examining them for flaws. Had I been picking them out, you might not have seen some of these issues in my photos, particularly when it comes to Shake's eye.

Yes, he has a big scratch on one eye. He came that way, and it bugs the hell out of me. The rest of his paint ops are clean and neat, but there's that big scratch. Grrr. Then again, other than his eyes and hands, there's not much paint on this guy.

The paint ops on Mothmonsterman are the best of the bunch, but the color seems off. I don't remember him being this yellow, and went back and rewatched the episode ("Bus of the Undead") to double check. He wasn't this color in the prototype shots, and sure enough, he seems off from the show to me. On the show he was very close in color to Shake's eyes, much paler than he is here.  The final version looks more like Frylock's fries.

Debbie and Quinn don't have too many paint ops either, since the majority of the figure is cast in the suit color. But there are issues both at the hair lines and at the shoulder 'pads', where there's bleed and poor definition.

Phil sports these same problems, and his hand painted gray line down the front of his jacket and his buttons look like I painted them. After three Mountain Dews. The 20 ounce kind.  His jacket also has an odd texture to the paint that's not really sticky, but seems to pick up dirt and scratches really easily, and hang on to them like Rosie hangs on to a Quizno's sub.

Several of the figures also show problems with the masking tools being lined up right. Brak's mom and dad are the most obvious here, with his eyebrows and moustache and her mask not lining up with the actual sculpt at all. Her nose and lips are actually off center, and since there are sculpted features, it's painfully obvious.

Did I say Mothmonsterman was the best of the bunch? I lied, it's really Bear. He has some pretty basic ops as well, and there are still some issues with his claws and eyes, but for the most part he's decent.

However, when you get this kind of truly inconsistent quality across the paint operations, it's safe to say it isn't consistent for one figure either. Don't assume every Bear and Mothmonsterman will be good and every pair of Brak's parents will be bad - look at every one to get the best you can.

Articulation - Brak's Dad, Phil, Mothmonsterman ***; Brak's Mom, Debbie, Quinn, Shake, Bear **1/2
Each of the figure sports adequate if not exceptional articulation. These aren't as articulated as most of the Muppets, but they're better than Invader Zim.

Debbie and Quinn have neck, cut shoulders, pin arms, cut wrists, cut waist, and hips. Quinn's hips are more of a T joint, while Debbie's are more of a V.

That's good enough for basic standing poses, and even with the limited leg articulation they both stand fine. They lack the one joint that every figure should have though - the ball jointed neck. The cut joint neck is okay, but doesn't allow for much personality.

Shake is the least articulated of the bunch, but I doubt that's any surprise. He has points of articulation at each wrist, and his straw turns. That's about all the articulation they could have given him, considering the character design.

Bear is slightly better, with neck, cut shoulders and hips. The hips will allow you to get him to stand nicely even with the tiny paws, and there's a few decent arm poses you can get out of the sculpt.

Brak's Mom also falls into this group of adequate but unexciting articulation with neck, cut shoulders, cut forearms (at the gloves), waist, and the very top of the legs, under her skirt. She stands fairly well, she's got a couple arm poses, but she is another figure that really would have benefited from a basic ball jointed neck.

Brak's Dad gets a better score though, and has a cut neck, ball jointed shoulders, pin elbows and knees, waist, T joint hips, and wrists. I already docked him points for the odd right leg, so I'll leave that go here. He does have trouble standing due to that though, but the articulation allows for sitting poses, a critical factor for this character.

Phil also scores higher, with identical articulation to Brak's Dad. He stands better though, although his joints were a tad loose. The one thing that does bug me about Phil's articulation is that he can't really 'use' the urinal. The arm articulation doesn't allow for his arms and hands to be in front of his body, and with the inclusion of such a cool accessory, it would be nice to actually be able to pose him at it properly.

Finally, there's Mothmonsterman, who has neck, waist, hips, and ball jointed shoulders for each arm. He is another excellent example of a figure that really needed a basic ball jointed neck, but the articulation that's here is all fairly useful. He stands fine without using the display stand, and the arms pose well. The wings do not move in back however, so what you see is what you get in terms of their pose.

Accessories - Debbie/Quinn, Brak's Mom and Dad ****; Phil/Bear ***1/2; Shake/Mothmonsterman ***;
Palisades rules when it comes to including plenty of cool, well thought out accessories. I was amazed at the sheer number of items with a couple of these sets.

The Debbie/Quinn set includes a dolphin (slightly small, but heck, maybe he's a baby!), underwater camera, monitor, shot glass, alarm clock, can of Mingus Dew, and three whisky bottles with varying labels. If you're a fan of the show, you know all this stuff fits right in, and the sculpting is solid, with better paint ops here than on the figures themselves.

Brak's Mom and Dad also have a ton of goodies, including the table and two chairs, fruit basket, family portrait, newspaper, and two sculpted sets of silverware/napkins. Again, scale is dead on with the show, and if you add in Brak and Zorak from the old Toycom line, you'll have a great display.

While Phil and the Bear don't have quite as many accessories as the first two sets, they include one of the coolest we've seen in awhile - a urinal. It's perfect for either one of them, and considering the amount of time the characters spend in the bathroom on the show, it makes perfect sense.

Phil also has a shot glass (same one as Quinn), his desk name plaque, his desk intercom, and two pieces of art from his office, one his bust and the other a more modern design.

Master Shake and Mothmanmonster have the fewest accessories with just three, and all three belong to Shake. This is his summer gear, perfect for lounging in Carl's pool - his big floatation device, sunglasses and 'broodwich'. As I mentioned earlier, the sub has a magnet on one side (not hidden though, which is rather unusual), and magnets in each hand, so he can hold it either righty or lefty.

The floaty fits over the bottom of his cup body nicely, and the sunglasses are designed to fit around the rim of his cup head.

All of the figures that might require them come with small, oval black stands.  Obviously, Shake doesn't need one, but the others include them.

Fun Factor - ***1/2
Okay, so the kids are SUPPOSED to be in bed, not watching these mind altering, mood enhancing, life ruining adult cartoons. But that's probably not the case - I know my 4 year old daughter thinks Meatwad is hilarious. And these figures are perfect for fun, either for kids or adults. With decent articulation and sculpting, plus a plethora of fun accessories, these prove once again that action figures can appeal to kids who want to play and adults that want to display at the very same time. Amazing, eh?

Value - ***
I paid $15 a pair for them, although it looks like some online shops might be a better bargain. I'm hoping that when they hit Media Play they'll be down around $13 as well, like most other recent specialty market figures. Even at $15 though, considering the number of accessories, the usual specialty market pricing, and the fact that you're getting not one but TWO figures, you're getting a better than average deal.

Things to watch out for - 
You'll definitely want to pay extra attention to the paint application on any figures on the pegs to get the best possible. If you've ordered online, cross your fingers.

Also, here's a big heads up on Shake - when putting on his sunglasses, be very careful! The black paint from the glasses will mark the white body extremely easily, and you'll have to use something like window cleaner to try to get it off.

Overall -  Shake, Mothmonsterman, ***1/2; Phil, Debbie, Brak's Mom, Phil, the Bear ***; Brak's Dad **1/2
These figures could have been four stars across the board - they're damn close. The paint ops are the big issue here, and with just a little QA on Palisades part - or a little luck on yours - that could be a non-issue.

Poor Dad ends up with the short straw this time because of his wonky legs. His paint ops don't help of course, and that combination proved a deadly one.

Even with the paint issues, which were the biggest problem here, I'm still really geeked about series two. It will be nice to finish off the main ATHF characters, and even though I'm not a huge Sealab fan, the set will look great. Still, where's my Harvey Birdman? If we can manage to get a series 3, Venture Brothers characters are a critical must have as well!

Packaging - ***1/2
Sculpt - Shake, Mothmonsterman ****; Bear, Brak's Mom ***1/2; Phil, Debbie, Quinn ***; Brak's Dad **1/2
Paint - Bear, Mothmonsterman ***; Shake, Debbie, Quinn **1/2; Brak's Mom, Brak's Dad, Phil **
Articulation - Brak's Dad, Phil, Mothmonsterman ***; Brak's Mom, Debbie, Quinn, Shake, Bear **1/2
Accessories - Debbie/Quinn, Brak's Mom and Dad ****; Phil/Bear ***1/2; Shake/Mothmonsterman ***;
Fun Factor - ***1/2
Value - ***
Overall - Shake, Mothmonsterman, ***1/2; Phil, Debbie, Brak's Mom, Phil, the Bear ***; Brak's Dad **1/2

Where to Buy -  
I grabbed this set at Hot Topic this week, where they were $15 a set.  Online options include:

- has the four sets for $48, or the individual sets for $12 each.

- Killer Toys has the four sets for $53 or the individual sets for $12 each.

- Circle Red has the set of four for $54.

- CornerStoreComics has the set for $55, or the individual packs for $14.  They also have pre-orders up for series 2!

- Clark Toys has the individual sets for $15, or the full set for $57.  They also have series 2 preorders up!

Related Links:
This is the first Adult Swim product I've reviewed, so there's not much in terms of related links, but you should check out Palisades Toys site.  They run an excellent company website, with lots of info and great forums.

Figure from the collection of Michael Crawford.

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