Today: A giant killer Jolly Rancher.
Released in 1994, it’s Lava Planet Predator, part of Kenner’s sprawling line of Predator, Aliens and Aliens Vs. Predator toys.
My interest in these characters hadn’t fully bloomed by mid ‘90s, but now that I’ve put in the research, wow, this was a fantastic line. Both the Xenomorphs (Aliens) and Yautja (Predators) turned up in their true-to-film looks, but there were other figures that spat in canon’s face in unbelievably great ways.
I’ll tell you more about that later. First, let us celebrate this candied Predator.
It was another of my Monster-Mania finds. While many of the convention’s toy sellers stuck to still-in-stores figures with ridiculously inflated prices, a certain few dealt exclusively in “oldies.”
I found Lava Planet Predator with a vendor who dealt mainly in comics, and somehow, the guy only wanted five bucks. I would’ve gladly paid four times that amount. Well, maybe not gladly, but I still would’ve paid it.
Three things I can never say no to: Olives, cherry Predators, and the Sopranos episode where Artie and Benny have a beef.
The packaging is freakin’ killer, mixing old school toy art with old school Nintendo art with old school horror VHS box art. You can’t go wrong when you mix that much art. Lava Planet Picasso?
I searched online for any references to a truly canonical “Lava Planet Predator,” but from all I see, the concept was exclusive to the toys.
The package offers no help in identifying what a Lava Planet Predator actually is, leaving us to fill in the blanks. Going by appearance, I guess he belonged to a Yautja subspecies that evolved into fear-no-fire warriors with blood made of hot magma. Yes!
I love the semi-translucent, cherry red flesh. I suppose that’s one of Lava Planet Predator’s tricks, because when this guy’s running at you, your first impulse is to stand still and accept your prize of fruity gummy snacks. By the time things become clear, your sad remains already look like a sick ostrich’s messy cloaca.
Lava Planet Predator also comes with the traditional mask, and something Kenner calls a “blazing rocket launcher.” The issue with their terminology is that the rocket launcher is actually the only part of Lava Planet Predator that isn’t blazing.
The missile really fires, and it fires well. Almost too well. It would take a rare set of circumstances, but I bet I could cause great pain with this figure. I’ll never own a gun, so it seems like an interesting way to defend myself. Sure beats my backup plan of slapping wildly with my eyes closed.
I’ve seen the line’s other figures plenty of times before, but always with diverted attention. Now that I’ve taken a good long look at them, I’m very strongly considering buying the whole collection. Only a few of the figures have become hideously expensive, and fortunately, they do not include the one that’s part Alien, part Gorilla. (I really want that guy.)
Course, since I already have the Jell-O Predator, maybe I should stop here. There’s nowhere to go but down.