Max Steel is an interesting action figure property without much of a following in the United States. But Mattel has recognized the brand's potential and decided to relaunch it alongside a breadth of media to a new and younger audience.
The original Max Steel figures were little more than a derivative of lines like G.I. Joe and Mattel's own Big Jim. And following in that trend, the newly-revealed Max Steel line at Toy Fair 2013 looks to reproduce the popularity and visual style of Ben 10 and other modern cartoons. Hopefully this new take on Max Steel will be able to carve out its own niche in the toy aisle and create a new popular property upon which Mattel can start to build a bigger presence at retail.
The figures certainly have some dynamic sculpts and lots of detail for a child-oriented mass market line, but they look to suffer from severely limited articulation. I don't think this line will ever take hold of the American collector market, but I hope to be surprised by the popularity of the unique designs and strong sculpts.
The various Max Steel costume variations and standard human figures aren't doing much for me, but I may have to grab a villain or two from the line. They definitely have a powerful physical presence and some really cool design features. The translucent parts of each figure do give them a little visual "pop" that's pretty nice. I could see a few select figures making their way into a random science fiction display quite comfortably.
Although I'd love every toy line to succeed beyond my greatest expecations, I don't see Max Steel taking off in my part of the world. It's entering a competitive market without any particularly defining characteristic or eye-catching feature. It will likely come down to the associated cartoon's success and nothing more. I'd love to know if any DASH members are excited about the return of Max Steel and the reveals from Toy Fair.