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June 11, 2001

Futurama Action Figures

Matt Groening's futuristic follies inspire four of the coolest collectibles of the year 3000
Futurama Action Figures
By Moore Action Collectibles, Inc.
MSRP: $12.95 each
By Sean Huxter
Philip J. Fry, pizza delivery boy, skips the millennium celebration, opting instead to deliver one more pizza, and through an accident with a cryogenic chamber ends up in the year 3000. He is revived in a bizarre world of the future where robots and aliens are commonplace, and where a person's job is decided for him. He soon meets Bender, a suicidal robot, and Leela, a one-eyed alien who is as practical as she is beautiful. He discovers he has a distant relative living in New New York, and together they form the "Planet Express" delivery service.

Futurama, the Fox TV animated series, is helmed by Matt Groening, revered for his massively successful show The Simpsons, which has become an irrevocable part of modern culture. Groening hoped Futurama would gather as much of a following as his signature show, but the executives at Fox aren't helping, switching the show's timeslots and airing it after football games, forcing viewers to watch it "already in progress" with a few minutes left in the episode. The fact that the fans remain loyal is a credit to the solid quality of the show.

So for those fans who would like a little stability, Moore Action Collectibles has provided it. Fans can now hold the characters from Futurama and keep them where they can see them and touch them.

Fry comes with Cryo-booth display stand, a weapon, Light Speed briefs, Angry Norwegian Anchovies and a can of Slurm. Bender features a suicide-booth display stand, a stack of cash, a metal bar for bending, Mom's Old Fashioned Robot Oil and a bottle of Olde Fortran Malt Liquor. Leela has two weapons, her pet, Nibbler, and his litter box, complete with a pellet of dark matter. The Planet Express ship comes with two alien creatures and a crate full of mysterious tentacled beings.

Moore made a future worth the wait
Both Fry and Leela have 16 points of articulation, which are crisp and strong. Bender has fewer points, but appropriately enough has "bendy" legs and arms, which move as depicted in the animated series. He has a working chest hatch in which his beer or oil can be stored.

The Planet Express ship is perhaps the finest piece in the set. It has a double-jointed front landing gear, which unfolds nicely, and two retracting rear landing struts. It has a rotating gun turret at its top, and is an attractive piece.

For avid viewers, the accessories are well chosen, referring to the finest moments from the series. Fry comes with a can of Angry Norwegian Anchovies, which fans understand to be the last can of anchovies on earth, which Fry won at auction for an astronomical sum simply so he could share with his friends their appeal when put on pizza. Similarly, his can of Slurm and his Light Speed Briefs were also pivotal items from great episodes.

Leela comes with her pet, Nibbler, which she rescued from a doomed planet. Fans know that Nibbler eats everything, condenses it and excretes pellets of dark matter, which can be used to power the Planet Express ship. And, never one to run from a fight, Leela is equipped also with two very ultra-cool futuristic weapons.

Bender's display stand is in the form of the suicide booth near which he met Fry. His favorite drink is Olde Fortran Malt Liquor, and Mom's Old Fashioned Robot Oil keeps him going. As a girder-bending robot, he would be lost without something to bend, so he is provided with a metal pipe.

Futurama may be the most anticipated product license to hit the toy market in a while now, and Moore has done an admirable job with its first wave of figures from this excellent series.

These figures are just incredibly cool. With their display stands and episode-specific gear, these make for incredible play or display. -- Sean