Life In Plastic: RETRO REVIEW: Mighty Max vs. Zombies (Zomboid, Corpus, The Hand)

Well, remember how last time I touched on Mighty Max a little, and talked about how the line was all about these fully-encompassed playsets?  And then didn’t show off a single one?

ah ha ha ha ha.  Time to fix that.

While most of the Mighty Max Doom Zones and Horror Heads became cartoon episodes, the zombie-themed sets were oddly absent.  Zomboid got a fairly faithful adaptation, but Corpus was remade into  mad scientist with a blob, and The Hand was nowhere to be seen (there was a hand-themed episode, but it was about mummies).  Odd, considering the series’ heavy horror theme – and, in fact, there were three zombie sets in total (technically four, but Head Case is just a Shrunken Head).  The Horror Heads Zomboid and Corpus, and the Doom Zone Mighty Max Grips the Hand.  And so, it’s time to look at all of them at once.

When sets are themed, they can sort-of boost one another.  Horror Heads are much smaller than Doom Zones, and thus the two zombie Horror Heads can compliment The Hand, though Corpus fits much more thematically than Zomboid.  Most Horror Heads came with Max plus two figures, one larger and one smaller.  Most Doom Zones were similar, only with larger figures and a few play features in the sets, themselves.  But again, there was room for variation in all of them.  Each set also came with a comic, which will be linked from the title.  Without further ado, let’s look at the undead menace!

 

MIGHTY MAX NEUTRALIZES ZOMBOID

The comic is pretty straightforward.  As you can see, Max wins because one of the monsters is extremely clumsy and indiscriminate.  This is kind of a running theme – in most comics, Max wins by dodging one monster, which then devours the other.  Or just standing around until the bad guy falls off a cliff, or something.  But aside from the extremely easy solution, note that the backdrop seems to match the interior of the set. But we’ll get to that in a minute. First thing is, the Zomboid compact looks like an incredibly decayed, incredibly ruined corpse, almost unrecognizable as human. It’s surprisingly gross, even for a zombie! Nothing like it appears in the actual set, but there are signs that Max’s entire adventure actually takes place inside a titanic zombie’s head. So in a sense, this is part of the set – gross, eh?

 

The interior of the set is pretty clearly the interior of the zombie head. It’s all veins and maggots and rotting flesh. With that, this series is officially not child-friendly. Seriously, there is no indication of it taking place anywhere else than the insides of a giant corpse. The “footprint” for Max to stand in is even situated right at the top of the spine!

 

In fact, the “brain” fits there when you close the case! How appropriate. How appropriate indeed. This also leads into one of the greatest figures in all of Mighty Max: Zomboid! I won’t deny having an irrational love for this toy – it’s like they just took my basic imagination and personality, and packed it inside a simple case.

 

Zomboid is essentially a tentacled brain with eyes. He’s not a zombie, but that’s all right – it’s a great, well-sculpted little hideous creature, and the incredibly obvious brain monster concept just hasn’t been done enough! His paint is fairly durable, too, not really scuffing except under serious abuse.

 

There really is no wrong place to put Zomboid. You know what? Zomboid is awesome.

 

And here he is on top of an astonishingly appropriately-painted Crayboth. A body!

 

Man, poor Max. First-generatio Mighty Max was really tiny and childlike. It formed a great contrast with the horrors surrounding him.

 

Sluggon is basically just a centipede, but it’s got some great texturing. Its legs and body are in mid-ripple as it continues its undulating walk, just like a centi-millipede! Note the blood on its mouth, too. That’s important.

 

You see, Sluggon is perfectly designed to bite Max in the throat! Now look at that blood, and ask yourself how kid-friendly this toy line is.

 

But then, it also fits well if you want it to devour Zomboid. Just like the comic! Either way, I love this set disproportionately.

 

MIGHTY MAX SURVIVES CORPUS
Okay, I have to point out that as far as I can tell, Mighty Max is just a murderer in this one. There is no indication whatsoever that Mort the Gravedigger is doing anything more evil than digging a grave, and yet Max sics a zombie on him! Or maybe that’s not the ase, but this comic was not well-drawn or written. The Horror Head itself is fancier than Zomboid, with a decidedly less-decrepit head. It’s held together by metal bands and stitches, and appears to be quite juicy. Perhaps it’s a revival attempt gone wrong?

 

Unique among Horror Heads, Corpus opens in two pieces! If you remove one panel, you’ll notice a fully-sculpted eye beneath that patch. Nice detail, there.

 

And when half-open, you kinda-sorta have a half-dug grave, with steep dirt walls surrounding Mort, and a little cave underneath. The facial texturing up top does not support this well, though. And when you open it the whole way?

 

When open, you’ve got everybody posed in a great scenario already! There are even two footprints for Max to stand in, which makes little difference. It’s a nice scenario on its own merits, as opposed to the figures being slotted in however they can fit.

 

Corpus himself fits nicely into the coffin, and is even wedged just slightly enough to avoid bouncing around loose.

 

Note the footprints. There is no shortage of places for Mighty Max in this set!

 

The “back wall” of the Horror Head is the interior of a crypt, and although scaled just slightly smaller than Max (he’s bigger than the door), it does contain some decent play value.

 

Hey, they fit on the ledges! Wait, could it be…

 

Yes! All three of them!

 

Mort is a pretty standard grave digger, but he’s got some amazing personality for such a tiny sculpt!

 

Corpus is intentionally sloppy, and extremely tall. He’s a unique zombie, whih helps him stand out quite a bit in this set despite his messy paint.

 

There has to be a word for toys that only look good from one angle.

 

Corpus is decidedly taller than the other ordinary zombie in the line!

 

None of the figures in this set are as large as Zomboid or Sluggon, but they do a great job of telling quite a specific story! Whereas Zomboid gives a surreal, horrifically gory look at the living dead, Corpus takes a more traditional line. But then, there’s one more zombie set, isn’t there?

 

MIGHTY MAX GRIPS THE HAND
Okay, this comic is poorly-drawn, but it does make sense. Max runs from zombies, gets eaten and teleported into a tomb, and then uses a toch to burn a tree monster. Or something. Every piece of it is part of the set, it’s just very disjointed. When closed, The Hand is roughly the size of my adult hand, which is rather cool when you think about it. They also turned the usually-unsightly MM logo into an actual ring worn on one of its fingers, which is a great touch.

 

Although you can manually pull down the knuckle hinge and open the case, the easiest way to do it is to pull its finger. I kid you not. The case will “crack” open satisfactorally then.

 

It even looks gory while you open it!

 

The Hand folds out into one of the largest Doom Zones, space-wise. And you can already see that it’s packed with stuff! Empty space is not a problem in this graveyard!

 

The Max in this set is second-generation, which means he looks slightly older. But more importantly, he’s in a graveyard that seems to be coming to life! The tan zombie swivels in place, though you can see its legs sculpted into the floor. The set has one coffin sticker, but plenty of surfaces where they could have dded more – still, it’s all more detailed than first meets the eye. Pay attention to that crypt, too.

 

As it turns out, it is hinged – the roof snaps shit and holds securely, but can be opened without too much trouble.

 

There’s another zombie inside!

 

In the knuckle part is a pair of graves, one of which (it’s hard to see) actually says MAX. Of course, youc an tell that this is another hinged part, can’t you?

 

The other side of the hinged part contains skeletons. See what happens when you dig up graves?

 

But wait, there’s a corpse inside! The set’s only basic “zombie” figure, it’s sculpted extremely well for such a tiny scale.

 

Really, it’s a solid figure, and better detailed than many larger toys.

 

Meanwhile, the pointer finger opens up into a huge mouth! It’s hard to tell what it belongs to, but in the comic this was the “slide” that dropped Max into the crypt.

 

Yes, Max can drop down and into the open crypt, but it’s probably more fun just to have the mouth close and chomp him.

 

The back wall is dominated by a massive, magenta tree. It’s colored like that to stand in for viscera in the Hand itself, though this does detract from its treeishness. it has a face, suggestin that… wait, does it contain Lignin, or is it Lignin?

 

Well, it does contain the main villain of the set when opened.

 

The inside is extremely well-detailed. It’s clearly Lignin’s lair, and perhaps something he controls from the inside.

 

Lignin is an obtuse yet witty pun, but a fearsome tree monster! He’s shaped more like a demon than a typical treant, and although this set does not have a “huge” figure, Lignin is clearly the largest. An evil tree was a creative choice for a zombie master, which helps keep the set from being too much of a standard zombie tale.

 

And yes, you can fit them all easily in the main graveyard part of the set.

 

Lignin is purple under a black light, for what it’s worth.

 

As strangely surreal as it may be, this set sort of bridges the gap between Corpus and Zomboid – it has actual zombies, but also a strange tree monster instead of a grave digger.

 

In fact, all the figures fit together way too well, don’t they? Mighty Max may not have a zombie horde, but it’s certainly got a necro-theme! Now, unfortunately, these sets can get pricey. But if you manage to find the cheaply enough, I’d have to recommend them – they’re fun to actually play with, like you’re a kid again. Mighty Max was an amazingly grisly horror line, and we have not seen its like since.

 

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