You can always tell the good toy companies by the choices they make. Any variants? How easy are they to find? How's the packaging? What little extras does the figure include? There are dozens of factors beside the simple sculpt, paint and articulation that help make a toy (or a toy company) worthwhile.
Mezco has long been proving themselves one of the best, and the streak continues with their Hellboy figures. While there is more than one version of Hellboy himself, the line isn't buried under pointless permutations. We're still getting the rest of the team, as well.
The origins of the mysterious mer-man known as Abe Sapien are uncertain. He was discovered in a state of suspended animation inside a water-filled cylinder hidden away in an abandoned lab beneath a Washington, D.C. hospital. The tube bore the date April 14, 1865 - the day Lincoln was assassinated - and the inscription "Icthyo Sapien."
Now, you may think that "Icthyo Sapien" means "fish man," and that would be a decent guess. However, the "homo" in homo sapien is Latin for "man" - sapien means "intelligent" or "wise." To be a fishman, Abe would have to be homo icthyus. As it is, he's instead an intelligent fish.
Whatever the case, the film version of Abe Sapien uses some great make-up artistry to create a very impressive creature, which Mezco has captured perfectly. 7 1/4" tall, he's the same bright blue in plastic that he is on screen. The patterns are all painted well, crisp where they should be and faded nicely elsewhere. The paint job looks just as good on the production figures as it did on the prototype, and that's damn impressive.
Abe moves at the head, neck, shoulders, biceps, elbows, forearms, wrists, torso, waist, hips, thighs, knees, ankles and mid-foot. Rather than toe joints like the Marvel Legends have, his foot actually rotates halfway through. It's not anything we haven't seen before, but it's still odd. Additionally, his balljointed hips are a bit weird: instead of connecting to the body horizontally (like most balljoints do), they attach vertically; they still have the full range of motion, just be aware of their assembly before you try to move them.
The figure's sculpt is very good, from his vaguely alien head to his sharp little toes. He's got small dorsal-type fins on the back of his neck, shoulders, spine, thighs and calves, webbed fingers and what look like suckers on his palms. Abe is wearing a pair of black trunks that have slits on the back of his legs to allow his fins to poke through, and includes a removable utility belt that can be strapped around his waist.
There's only one company around that is still crappy enough to make fans buy two figures to get a variant head, and that company isn't Mezco. Abe has a few accessories, including an alternate head wearing big dark goggles - for a guy designed to live at the bottom of the ocean, sunlight's gotta be killer. The heads can be popped on and off easily.
An amphibious creature, Abe requires some assistance if he's going to be away from water for any significant length of time, so his other accessories sort of comprise his "street clothes": a two-piece collar that envelops his gills and probably keeps him nicely hydrated.
Abe's other accessory is a tiny green tadpole-lookin' thing. Wanna guess what it is? A nascent Sammael, ready to grow up and wreak havoc upon the human world. He's an ugly little spurd, but tiny enough that you'll lose him straight away and not have to worry about it again.
There's a variant Abe on his way, wearing the full black bodysuit from the film. Personally, I chose to get this version because I like the paint scheme of his torso - Mezco really put a lot of attention and care into this toy, and the normal version lets you appreciate it.
Has there ever been a cooler fishman than Abe? Tell us on our message board, The Loafing Lounge.