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Twin Peaks

Funko ReAction
by Shocka

Those action figures you like are coming back in style.

With the stellar series return, now seems like the perfect time for a company like Funko to create action figures based on the cult property Twin Peaks. As unlikely a series as it would seem for a line of toys, part of the appeal of Twin Peaks was always its interesting and unique characters, and it's from here that Funko has wisely created a four-pack of figures, as part of their "9POA" line; meant to be a more modern take on figures than ReAction, 9POA features more articulation, more on-model likenesses, more modern packaging, and ultimately less rules about the design aesthetic, making them a good fit for an unusual property like Twin Peaks. Funko have even done a terrific job with the packaging here, with a very gorgeous looking window box displaying the toys, complete with imagery from the series. Let's go from left to right:

Special Agent Dale Cooper is an eccentric FBI agent who arrives in Twin Peaks in 1989 to investigate the brutal murder of the popular high school student, Laura Palmer, falling in love with the town and gaining a great deal of acceptance within the tightly knit community. He displays an array of quirky mannerisms such as giving a "thumbs up" when satisfied, sage-like sayings, and distinctive sense of humor along with his love for a good cherry pie and a "damn fine cup of coffee" (which he takes black). One of his most popular habits is recording spoken-word tapes to a mysterious woman called "Diane" into his microcassette recorder that he always carries with him, that often contain everyday observations and thoughts on his current case.

Funko have done a great job here of capturing Coop's look and actor Kyle MacLachlan likeness in their 3¾" style. With his overcoat covering his standard-issue FBI suit, Coop looks exactly the part; I'm especially fond of how well they've captured his slick haircut, and his facial expression, though not as signature as his grin, definitely captures his frustration and determination in trying to solve the murder of Laura Palmer.

As part of the 9POA series, Agent Cooper has nine points of articulation [WHAT?! --ed.] - shoulders, elbows, legs, knees and neck, which fits him nicely alongside similarly sized Star Wars figures. There's plenty of play in this guy, whether you want to have him investigating the Millennium Falcon or taking down G.I. Joes, and Funko have made a very solid, durable figure here. Accessory-wise, Coop includes his microcassette player so he can make notes for Diane - this is slightly too large, which I assume is an effort to make it difficult to lose - and one "damn fine cup of coffee." These are great little accessories, which he can hold with ease, though they do unfortunately draw attention to arguably the only downfall of these toys, and indeed the 9POA line in general: no wrist articulation. Getting Coop to comfortably hold his accessories takes some unnecessary tinkering, which could have been fixed easily with cut wrists. It's not as bad for Coop as it is for some of the other characters, but we'll get to that in a moment.

Laura Palmer was a high school student whose death shook the town of Twin Peaks and sparked an investigation led by FBI Special Agent Dale Cooper. She was well known and loved in the Washington town; she volunteered at Meals on Wheels, was her school's Homecoming Queen, and was (apparently) the darling of her parents, Sarah and Leland. However, the series gradually revealed that Laura led a double life - she was a cocaine addict, a victim of child sexual abuse, a fetish model and, briefly, a prostitute at One Eyed Jacks, a casino/brothel just north of the Canada–US border.

A dead, naked teenage girl wrapped in plastic is an odd pick for an action figure, but she's right at home here in the Twin Peaks set: her murder sets off the series, and she makes regular appearances in the Black Lodge when Dale visits it, albeit being much less dead in those appearances than she is here. It's further odd to have a toy like this in a line which boasts "9POA" - Laura Palmer has no articulation at all. This makes sense, as she is indeed wrapped in plastic, basically a solid chunk. But a very nicely detailed solid chunk! Laura is quite recognisable in the same kind of style as the Dale Cooper figure, with a nice sculpt of Sheryl Lee. The detail on the clear plastic with tape and blood is quite striking. Further, this unusual toy goes the next step as being a creepy paperweight or unusual object-to-spark-up-conversation on your desk at work. Try explaining to the boss why you have a naked teenage corpse wrapped in plastic next to your computer!

Killer Bob is a demonic entity who feeds on fear and pleasure. He possesses human beings and then commits acts of rape and murder in order to feast upon his victims.

Just called "Bob" on the packaging here, Killer Bob serves as the ongoing series antagonist, an evil spirit currently in possession of Agent Cooper in the terrific 2017 continuation. But originally, he was something of an accidental addition to the show:

During the filming of a scene in the pilot, "Northwest Passage," taking place in Laura's room, Frank Silva, a set dresser, accidentally trapped himself in the room by inadvertently moving a dresser in front of the door. When told of the incident, Lynch had an image of Silva stuck in the room and thought it could fit into the series. After filming him crouched at the foot of Laura's bed, looking through the bars of the footboard, as if he were "trapped" behind them, Lynch filmed the scene a second time, without Silva. After reviewing the footage, Lynch liked Silva's presence so much that he decided to make him part of the series.

Frank Silva's delightful and unique visage made him a perfect foil for the clean-cut Dale Cooper, and a terrifying antagonist for the series, so it makes sense that he'd make for a terrific toy here. His sculpt is, to my mind, the best of the set - Bob is sneering just as he did in the original visions, baring his teeth with wide eyes, a perfect sculpt of Silva in the new 9POA style, and he looks awesome. It's one of my favorite parts of the hobby when a sculpt not only nails an actor's likeness, but also captures the specific feel of the character itself, and in that regard Killer Bob here is perfect. Just let this guy on the Millennium Falcon to threaten Han and Chewie!

Killer Bob doesn't feature any accessories, though I'm not sure what would have suited him. He shares Coop's nine points of articulation, but here the lack of wrist articulation doesn't do him a disservice; his hands are clawed, ready to attack anyone whom he might feast upon. What's more, the shoulders here are balljointed allowing for much more fun with posing! I didn't expect to like Bob as much as I do, but he might be my favourite of the entire set.

The Log Lady is a fixture in the town of Twin Peaks by the time of Laura Palmer's murder, and most residents in the town regard her as crazy. This is mainly due to her habit of always carrying a small log in her arms, with which she seems to share a psychic connection, often dispensing advice and visions of clairvoyance which she claims come from the log; prior to the murder, she delivers moving and cryptic warnings to Laura Palmer herself. The Log Lady does not interpret the messages transmitted by the log, but instead functions as a medium for the information it conveys.

The Log Lady is one of many tremendous icons from Twin Peaks, up there with the red curtains that make up the Black Lodge and Coop's love of cherry pie. Wonderfully portrayed by the late Catherine E. Coulson, who fortunately shot scenes for the continuation before her passing, her cryptic musings help the forces of good fight the evil that permeates the town of Twin Peaks, and beyond, all via an apparently inanimate piece of wood. (Does John Kricfalusi owe David Lynch royalties?) A set of Twin Peaks toys wouldn't have been complete without the Log Lady, and although her presence here is positive she's easily the least of the set. Part of this comes down to the sculpt; although this is the same good work as the other figures, capturing Coulson in the specific style, her red glasses here are huge and appear much too thick. There's not a lot of ways around this; like softgoods on toys, it's hard to do glasses without making them appear too large, especially on 1:18 scale or smaller. But still, they obscure her eyes and most of the sculpt here, which is a shame, as everything else is amazing; her hair, clothes, even her wedding ring is perfect for the character. You also need to check to make sure they're glued on straight, or they'll look even worse.

She features the accessory she absolutely had to have - her log - which can even stand on its own, but this is let down by the unfortunate lack of wrist articulation: it is frustratingly hard to find a pose where she can hold the log as she did throughout the Twin Peaks series, and basically impossible to make it look natural. This is an instance where having a figure pre-posed would have vastly improved the toy; would anyone really want to pose The Log Lady without her log?

Despite these issues, this is still a terrific set. When Toys Я Us first put it out, they mistakenly priced it at $9.99, like a single ReAction figure; that was soon corrected to $29.99, but at either price, this is a thrilling piece of merchandise for fans of Twin Peaks. For as much as I never would have expected a continuation of the beloved series, getting a set of action figures is even more surprising! But a happy surprise, especially with this high a quality of toy. I'd love to see more toys like this, maybe a Black Lodge with red curtains and The Arm, aka The Man From Another Place, and a not-dead Laura Palmer? Or go the full hog and have a 1:12 scale line of realistically detailed figures? We can all dream!

-- 06/25/17


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