Invader Zim
Old Man Zim and Doggy Suit Gir

It seems like forever since we've gotten any new Invader Zim product from Palisades. And it has actually, if you define "forever" as anything more than two months. Even then, that was just the Toyfare Angry Zim/Goofy Gir exclusive. It's been over 8 months since series one, and that's hurtin' the loyal.

But just to keep your appetite wet a little longer til series 2 hits, Palisades released another show exclusive at Wizard World Chicago. This time it's Zim in his "old man" outfit, which we saw him wear at least a couple times, and Gir in his doggy suit. The pair cost $20 at the show, and is available through the Collector's Club right now.

We should also be seeing wave 2 soon, hopefully by the end of September (at least the Hot Topic exclusive versions), including Human Zim, Doggie Gir, Gaz, Tallest Red and Zim's robot parents. There's also a boxed set of various repaints coming, but it's still be an awfully long wait for the faithful.

As a side note, if you have the Flying Pig that came with the regular release Gir, then this figure fits right in!  In theme, as well as in the cockpit, since he wore this costume on his way to get the Cruiser back from the morons...

Packaging - ***1/2
I love boxes. They stand up well to abuse, they store easy, there's very little wasted space, and lots of room for text and graphics. Palisades always does a nice job with their boxes too, and the inner tray on this one has some terrific graphics based on the interior of Zim's lab.

The box is also collector friendly, which is a big plus. Down with cardbacks, up with boxes!

Sculpting - Zim **1/2, Gir ***1/2
Ouch. That's a pretty bad score for poor Zim. What's my malfunction? Or more appropriately, his?

Well, it's not the general quality of the sculpt. I prefer the angry, wild expressions, especially on Zim himself, and this one works great. The disguise looks great, and the proportions are pretty good, although the head itself is a tad larger than previous versions.

The body sculpt is show accurate as well, and we get an half closed left hand, and flat palm right hand. The platform shoes are great, and in general, his basic look is perfect.

But he breaks a cardinal rule - he can't stand up for jack. Even using the included display stand, keeping him upright is a real effort. That's because his huge heavy noggin' isn't balanced well over his center of gravity, and is too far forward. That pulls the poor guy over every time, and with very little neck articulation (and a loose joint at that), there's no real hope of correcting for it.

Gir doesn't have that problem, although he has his giant dog hood behind him. He benefits from the fact that with his pointy legs, you HAVE to use his stand, and his works well. His sculpt is fantastic, and they managed to pull of the half on/half off doggy suit in a realistic way even in solid plastic. Of course, his head opens up just like all the other Gir's before him.

Paint - ***1/2
When folks last saw Zim, they were worried - it looked like his lower teeth were white, like his beard!  I'm happy to report that this is NOT the case, and both his upper and lower teeth are the same approximate shade of pink.

The paint work on both figures is very nice, with clean lines and lots of consistent broad colors.  There's some minor glooping here or there, but nothing major, and the lines of demarcation between colors are very clean this time out.

Articulation - **1/2
Both figures have articulation similar to past versions, which means not much, but considering the designs, probably enough.

Gir has a ball jointed neck, and ball jointed shoulders. The shoulders don't have a huge range of movement, but considering how tiny the arms are, any ability to pose is greatly appreciated. You can give him a lot of personality with the ball joints in the neck and the shoulders though, and they really add to the appearance.

Zim has a cut neck, which is a tad wobbly and weak on mine. He also has ball jointed shoulders, cut wrists, and waist joints. He can hold some interesting arm positions, but be careful twisting the wrists. They can get paint-stuck, and breaking them off is easy if you aren't careful.

Accessories - ***1/2
There are several accessories included with the set, including the mad dog (repainted), an Irken vermin, a lunch tray, and an Obedience Controller.

There are also the two display stands, one for Gir and one for Zim. I've already complained that Zim's doesn't work particularly well, and the peg and peg hole don't fit tightly enough to keep him up. Gir's works much better, with a thin, clear, plastic rod which fits tightly in the base. Be careful putting it in though, as it could snap quite easily!

The sculpts, details and paint on the Irken vermin are great. He looks about ready to rip your face off, and 'vermin' is a nice word for this guy. The lunch tray looks good, but could use a little more variety of nasty food sculpted in. I bet you could get one of the previous Zim's (or perhaps Dib) to hold the tray if you worked at it hard, but since Zim never wore this outfit in school, it doesn't really need to work with his hands.

Finally, there's the obedience controller, which doesn't fit particularly well in his hands, although with some work you can find some ways to use it. The sculpt is great though, and is another nice additional accessory.

Fun Factor - **
Both these figures are fairly fragile, which hurts them in this category. Kids won't be able to do much with them, since the arms, necks and other joints are awfully easy to break. Also, the fact that Zim can't stand can get pretty frustrating pretty quick to a small child. Or toy reviewer.

Value - **1/2
These two are $20 at the show, which is a couple bucks higher than you'd like to spend, but not terrible. The show exclusivity of the set means that the price was going to be a little higher anyway, and you knew it had to be an even amount as well. The choices for Palisades were $15 (and that would have been a fantastic bargain), $20, or $25. I'm just glad they managed to go with $20.

Things to Watch Out for - 
Be very careful pulling these guys out of the tray. I snapped off Gir's head doing it, right at the bottom of the post, and I didn't even pull very hard. Also, the small plastic rod that holds up Gir could be broken easily if you're not careful.

Overall -  Gir ***1/2; Zim **1/2
I'm glad I picked these up, as both *look* great. The price is a touch high, but their exclusivity helps soften that blow. But the fact that Zim can't stand, that I'll have to use poster putty under his feet to keep him up, and that even then, his wobbly neck joint may become an issue, means that he is not nearly as good as I'd hoped.

The Zim line is one of my very favorite lines right now, and that makes any disappointment all that much more difficult to face. I'm going to go cry quietly in my room now.

Packaging - ***1/2
Sculpt - Zim **1/2, Gir ***1/2
Paint - ***1/2
Articulation - **1/2
Accessories - ***1/2
Fun Factor - **
Value - **
Overall - Gir ***1/2; Zim **1/2

Where to Buy -
Since the Wizard World Chicago show has come and gone, you have two choices. You can take a dip in da 'bay (uh, ebay of course), or you can join the Collector's Club where this set is now available.

Related Links -
Of course, I've been keeping up with the reviews:

- Here's my review of the regular series 1, the Hot Topic series 1 exclusives, and the Angry Zim/Goofy Gir set.

- And don't forget the Collector's Club, where you can pick this up once you're a member.  It's already on sale there!

Figure from the collection of Michael Crawford.

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