And now, Scary-Crayon reviews…
Madballs: Jason Voorhees
by: Wes

So 2017 has been a garbage year for so many people for so many reasons — seriously, don’t get me started — but one good thing about it is that, this year, Madballs have really returned with a vengeance. Between the standard retail offerings from Just Play and the more elusive collector product from Kidrobot, that ballsiest of grossout 80s properties is currently available in nearly enough different styles and sizes to make up for the time they’ve been away (it’s been nearly a decade since the last Madballs resurgence). Among the more notable Madballs products currently hanging from the pegs is a Best Buy-exclusive sci-fi/horror line, which features several iconic film characters reenvisioned in the property’s repulsive spherical style. And today — in keeping with the date; it’s Friday the 13th! — I’m going to be doing a quick review of the Madballs incarnation of Jason Voorhees.

So, here’s Jason! One of the reasons he’s the only horror Madballs I’ve grabbed so far is that he really exemplifies the Madballs style: there have been Jason balls before, but this one really runs with the concept. Instead of the (relatively) clean hockey mask we tend to associate with the character, this Jason’s mask not only has an abundance of cuts around the edges, but also is missing a big chunk on its lower left side. (I’m not familiar with that comic, but it’s entirely possible that this is a reference to the Freddy vs. Jason vs. Ash series; apparently in that series Jason’s mask was similarly marred by a close-range boomstick blast.) That damage gives us a great look at Jason’s gaping maw, complete with his yellow teeth, red gums, and pink wormlike bottom lip. And speaking of pink worms! Jason’s got big fat ones all over his rotting face — there’s the more prominent one slithering out from under his right eye, but there’s another coming out of his right ear and a whole mess of them hanging out on the back of his head… along with the holes from which they’ve apparently been exiting and reentering his flesh. It’s delightful.

And oh, that worm-infested flesh? It’s a lovely shade of blue-green! (This is also potentially a callout to the comics; Jason’s exposed face appears to have a similar tint in the various comic series published by Wildstorm and Dynamite Entertainment.) It’s probably my favorite detail on the figure, but then I’m still sad that classic Aargh has been mostly absent from all of the Madballs revivals to date (Kidrobot did include Aargh in its blind-boxed series, but he’s the rarest ball of them all). Anyway, the blue-green makes for a lovely contrast with the aforementioned pinky pink worms, Jason’s dreamy blue eyes (which appear even dreamier since his right eye is narrowed in sleepy bedroom fashion), and the sparse splashes of green slime/blood leaking from Jason’s left ear and a few places on his skull. And finally, speaking of the skull, Jason’s brain is exposed above the mask on the left side of his noggin. Like the rest of the toy, it looks great… but exposed brains on Madballs are par for the course. Meh.

Madballs are pretty much just cool-looking foam balls, so aside from a visual assessment there’s not much more to review. The foam he’s made of feels nice and squishy — yet firm — and hopefully won’t rot or crumble over the years (even though it’s not the classic style, I’d have preferred a vinyl toy like Kidrobot’s blind-boxed Madballs). The paint is of course imperfect, but that’s kinda par for the course for this kind of toy, and Jason’s imperfections (in the paint as well as in the intermittent bubbles in the foam) kinda add to his Madballsy charm. And he’s boasting typical articulation for a Madball, which is to say none. Still, he’s a fun addition to any Madballs/horror fan’s collection, and for that reason I’d highly recommend him.

One minor caveat, though — the price. The $10 these Kidrobot foam balls go for isn’t going to break the bank, but it can seem a little steep for a ball that doesn’t really do anything, especially since one can get action figures with decent articulation for the same price. Add to that the fact that, whereas it’s perhaps easier to part with $10 for a single cool collectible, dropping $60 for an armful of balls might make your experience with them a whole lot less satisfying. As a result, I’d probably recommend picking them up one at a time (here’s hoping they stick around long enough for collectors/me to do that) or resign yourself to grabbing your favorite one or two balls and leaving the rest be. But that’s just how I roll when it comes to collecting. You do you.

— Wes —

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