Written by Jonathan Wojcik
It's been at least a year or two since I've had much to say about The Trash Pack. After a point, even undead bananas with Simpsons eyeballs all start to look kind of the same, and I hit that point somewhere shortly before the toys were curiously rebranded as "The Grossery Gang." The rest of you probably hit that point about half-way through the first of my ten million Trash Pack review articles.
Moose Toys, to their credit, seems well aware when their ideas are growing mold, and after over half a decade of the Trash Pack and similarly styled toys, they've finally decided to spin the property off into the sometimes merciless action figure game - more on that later.
So, I found the things at Toys R' Us just today, and I got the two I liked best. At under $7 each, they're actually a heck of a lot cheaper than most toys of their kind, including the aforementioned shelled reptiles, who will cost you more along the lines of ten bucks in most stores, and aren't a whole lot bigger.
On the back of the box, you can see all nine figures in the line, which even includes a giant, mutant version of Blow Fly, the Trash Pack mascot, which is a pretty cool gesture even if it's not nearly fly-like enough to grab me.
You'll also notice that there's finally a "plot" of some kind connected to these garbage-beings, with the "Putrid Power" team actually protecting their fellow sentient filth from the "clean team," a bunch of robotic vacuums and mops who are evil because they were designed to maintain safe and sanitary conditions for their presumably human creators. It definitely raises a lot of strange, ambiguous moral questions about this continuity that I'm fairly certain no official material is ever going to address, though it's hardly the first time us humans and our safety are part of the "villain side" of something. Just think of all the cartoons we've made about cute, friendly fleas.
I'm really rambling off in some directions here, but that's probably what you intended to sign up for when you showed up here. So, here's a clearer look at the Gooey I actually own now, and I'm realizing that, like some sort of bird or raccoon or I guess a bee, I only picked out this one because I couldn't resist the intensity of its colors. I just love that vivid pink fading into purple-blue, gorgeously accented by the pitch black, slimy mouth and popped-out eyes. You can almost guess without being told that this is a being made of used bubblegum, but it's perfectly acceptable to assume you're looking at taffy, ice cream or even some sort of exceptionally pretty industrial sludge.
The articulation on these guys is pretty basic, but still more than I expected. The heads, when they have heads, are ball jointed to rotate fairly freely, and they've got both rotating and bending joints at the hips and shoulders. Each also comes with an exclusive "Grossery" representing their "de-powered" original forms, though it's a whole lot more fun to imagine them as independent sidekicks. You could even assume the smaller gum-thing is what Gooey uses as his slingshot ammunition. He looks fine with it to me.
The other grossery man I picked up was Trash Head, SURPRISINGLY the only action figure I've ever found that was just a living garbage can, an image that would have been all the rage back in the day. This is a pretty big global milestone for Trash Head to live up to, but I'd say he meets all the minimum requirements adequately enough; he's got a nice metallic finish, beautiful green-yellow glop pouring out of him and even a skeletal fish as a weapon. If I only have two suggestions, as a connoisseur of skeletonized fish, it's that a pale bony color might have been nicer, like the fish bones already visible in Trash Head's slobber, and if the fish had those trashie eyeballs on it, everyone would be more obligated to pretend it's alive and can talk.
"De powered" Trash Head, or small friend trash can, also shows off the admittedly superior quality of "Grosseries" over "Trashies." Trash Pack figures tended to have pretty crude, minimal paint jobs and very little detail compared to their official artwork, but this little, barfing garbage can has a metallic finish to match its big brother and very nicely painted details.
My only critique? You can see here that Trash Head's lid is a separate piece, but it's fused in place. It wouldn't have cost them any extra to make it removable, so kids could hide their smaller grosseries, fake slime, real slime, or a mummified rodent in there.
The last thing I'll say about these guys is just how impressive they actually are in the current action figure market. It's almost unheard of, especially now, for action figures to debut without a VERY well established television series, movie or video game franchise to back them up, and while these seem like fairly cheap and simple figures, their quality is honestly far superior to those ten-dollar turtle figures I was talking about. Just compare my photographs of Trash Head to my photos of the newer version of Mutagen Man here:
2013 Mutagen Man, to be fair, DOES have a removable lid, so that's one point in his favor, but a Putrid Power figure has a far more expansive, more striking color palette than anything I'm seeing from the turtles right now, and even includes that fully painted rubber mini-figure for an overall lower shelf price. I can't see the new Grossery superheroes really making waves in such a competitive marketplace, but they would absolutely deserve to.
Heck, Moose even went the extra mile with an attempt to rectify that "no cartoon tie-in" dilemma with an "official movie" advertised on the figures themselves. Admittedly, even the youngest children these days have access to more compelling drama and higher production values in series such as Dinotrux, but they tried. Somebody tried and they put their heart and soul out there and you're not even going to watch the four or five minutes you can probably stand?! At least leave it on while you go in the other room and do the dishes. Let their work feel loved.
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