Written by Jonathan Wojcik
The Trash Pack: Gross Zombies!
If you thought I'd reviewed enough Trash Pack for one manchild, it seems you were wrong...DEAD wrong! Haha!! Like a dead thing!!! This past month, I've probably been to the same Target at least three times, attempting to complete a set of something I'll be reviewing later in the season, but what else should I find on my treasure hunts but a brand new, Halloween flavored Trash Pack product?
Previously, both the first and second series were re-released as transparent "Gross Ghosts," but to shake things up, they decided to revive the third series as more corporeal undead, which raises a lot of questions considering the fact that most Trashies are already decomposing and others are just inorganic objects, both now in "zombie" form. Either way, they're probably the best looking Trash Pack series yet...mostly.
For the first time ever, the Trash Pack tradition of either white or yellow Matt Groening eyeballs has been broken by solid black "zombie" eyes, and the usual bright color schemes have been swapped out for dingy, more muted tones and a "dirty" wash that would have really suited Trash Pack figures since the very beginning, and makes these guys even more fun to amass. No two Gross Zombies ever have exactly the same pattern of filth!
In case you're wondering, these three are Skabby Shark, Kruddy Kennel and Pesty Parasite. Yes, a zombie doghouse with a (zombie?) dog sleeping in its mouth is probably now the weirdest thing to come of this series.
A select number of characters in this release have also been upgraded to "GLOWIN' GRAVE" Trashies, and in addition to their bioluminescence (which I'm going to chalk up to fungi), they're also flecked with what's obviously blood. I really lucked out with the single figure pack I bought, since Junkosaur and Junk Mail are definitely the two most appealing of the "GLOWIN' GRAVE" options, and make the most sense to be bloodstained. One because it is a tyrannosaurus made of scrap metal, the other because it probably ate a mailman's hand. That's not the only way I lucked out, either...
Every Gross Zombies twelve pack gives you exactly one "rotten flesh" Trashie, and mine was precisely the one thing I wanted most out of the line: Grotty Bot Fly. Unfortunately, "rotten flesh" really just means a flocked, fuzzy figure, identical to what Series 2 called "moldy," and this presents a minor disappointment I'm going to devote a whole paragraph to explaining while I have you trapped (I do have you trapped, right? It worked? Pincers came out of your chair, right? Like they always do when you're reading my articles?)
As a slobbering, fanged botfly with huge googly eyes, Grotty is possibly my favorite Trash Pack figure in concept, but originally only released as "color change" figures, which, as you can see, have among the worst looking paint jobs in the franchise. I'd hoped rereleases would rectify this gross injustice, but "Rotten Flesh" Grotty is only a marginal improvement, the fuzzy texture only obscuring her beauty and making her look out of focus in every possible photograph. I say "she" instead of just "it" because Grotty needs to be a mom. Grotty needs to actually be responsible for somebody's myiasis.
Too-hairy botflies aside, Gross Zombies also features its own exclusive collector's tin, the "Rotten Coffin," which is covered in gorgeous artwork of Gross Zombies actually devouring one another. How gruesome is this shit? Vomster has eaten Smelly Onion's hand and is now barfing it up, while Scaboon seems to be swinging from his own brains as they're picked out by Piggy Pigeon. If there's seriously one thing the Trash Pack was missing, it was an orgy of undead ingesting one another's flesh.
Even the back of the coffin is wonderfully detailed, with the skeleton of some unidentifiable beast seemingly smashed under it and possibly picking its nose at the time. There's even a little zombie snail creeping around, but not actually any of the slugs or snails that have already appeared as Trashies.
The coffin comes with two zombie versions of previous "exclusive" figures, Slime Bucket and Mouldy Mushroom, which look nice enough in corpse form, though both of them have been kind of outclassed by more monstrous sludge-filled buckets and mushroom monsters in subsequent series.
The smaller coffins, meanwhile, are definitely the coolest trashie containers next to the Junk Germ test tubes. The lids of the littler ones pop completely off, and they actually bothered to detail their interiors, with skeletal remains varying between the two sizes! Does this mean the Gross Zombie trashies have simply stolen coffins from other dead creatures, shoving the bones in the back? There are half-eaten apples and stuff in there, too. A bunch of dead doghouses and mailboxes digging up people's graves to just sort of live in them and never clean them up is one hell of an interesting apocalypse scenario.
All in all, if you only collected one Trash Pack series, I'd suggest a toss-up between the Junk Germs or these tastefully grungy ghasts, even if the series continues to dump on poor Grotty. She doesn't look that bad with rotten flesh. Who does?
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