The 80’s and 90’s brought us some of the greatest toy lines of all time. Some have managed to keep relevant and popular throughout the years, while others have fallen into undeserved obscurity. One such toy line is Mighty Max.
Introduced in 1992 by Blue Bird Toys, Mighty Max essentially consisted of small monster heads that opened up into playsets, each one carrying its own theme. From evil labs to cursed graveyards to haunted castles, the line chronicled the adventures of young Max, a boy who travelled to different worlds using a magic cap. The sets had a distinct horror influence and were mainly intended for boys, unlike the similar Polly Pocket Franchise.
The toys were a huge success, spawning a great tv series, a comic book, and a godawful video game. I was a big fan of the series myself, so I’ve compiled a list of my top 10 favorite Mighty Max playsets. Enjoy!
10. Mighty Max Conquers the Palace of Poison
This was one of the first sets released, and as a result, everyone seemed to have it. It was your quintessential mummy tomb… complete with a giant scorpion. From snakes to skeletons to pots, every inch of the set displayed the attention to detail that the toy line would become known for. It wasn’t the best set in the series, but it made a hell of a first impression.
9. Mighty Max Trapped by Arachnoid
In a toy line that makes use of pretty much every trope in the horror genre, it’s no surprise that one of the first sets released was a giant spider. Rather, a giant spider that opens into a spider’s lair, complete with a smaller (but still giant) spider, as well as a spideresque humanoid creature. This was one of the more memorable and popular sets of the series.
8. Mighty Max Blows Up Dino Lab
What kid doesn’t love dinosaurs? Dino Lab came with a pterodactyl, a raptor, and a fat guy, not to mention a raptor cage and a volcano that opens up into a laser cannon. There’s also a bizarre creature coming out of the toxic water, grasping at the bridge above with a slimy green hand. Not quite as SCARY as some of the other sets, but cool nontheless.
7. Mighty Max Escapes from Skull Dungeon
If you read my post about the Real Ghostbusters toy line, you know I’ve got a thing for Frankensteins. Despite the name and exterior of the set hinting at a skeleton theme, this is in fact a Frankenstein set. And what more could you ask for? You’ve got the Doctor’s study, a dungeon cell, a door hidden in a bookcase, and of course, a fantastic laboratory making up the bulk of the set. The mouth even opens into a staircase!
6. Mighty Max Stings Scorpion
This set feels like Arachnoid’s badass big brother. Despite the playset itself having considerably less going on, this set makes it so high on the list thanks to Scorpobot, a huge bio-organic scorpion machine thing that Max can ride. Look at that thing; none of the monsters stand a chance against Max NOW.
5. Mighty Max Liquidates the Ice Alien
One of several Sci-Fi themed sets, this one’s always been one of my favorites, and it’s a bit hard to explain why.
One reason might be the setting. I like ice, and icy landscapes. The varying shades of blue and purple here make it one of the most visually appealing sets, at least in my opinion. The monsters are pretty awesome as well… and you gotta love that campy, oldschool robot. Really, it’s hard to say just what makes this set click, but I love it. It’s also one of the few sets I have that’s still somewhat complete, so that helps.
4. Mighty Max Crushes the Hand
This thing. While part of the main line, the Hand sure as hell didn’t feel like it. No, the Hand felt more like a Deluxe set despite its small size, and stood out from the crowd by being a ROTTING CORPSE HAND. Opening into an eerie graveyard scene, the Hand was one of the most morbid sets in the toy line. With rotting corpses emerging from the ground, a mausoleum containing yet another corpse crawling out of the ground, and the genuinely scary tree spirit Lignin surveying all, the Hand was easily the best that the main line had to offer.
3. Mighty Max Assaults Skull Master
A bit later into the series’ lifespan, characters from the cartoon were finally introduced into the toy line. Skullmaster, the main villain of the series, was a common inclusion in the deluxe sets, as was the heroic warrior Norman. Not only did this set bear the visage of Max’s greatest foe, but it was quite large as well.
2. Mighty Max Storms Dragon Island
Dragon Island was another deluxe playset, and man was it awesome. This thing was packed full of features, like lights, firing missiles, moving parts, and an ass-load of heroes and monsters. It even came with a huge red dragon that could drop a bomb. This was, in my opinion, one of the coolest toys of the 90’s, and I can think of only one Mighty Max toy that tops it…
1. Trapped in Skull Mountain
This fucking thing.
Skull Mountain was, without a doubt, the largest, coolest, and most memorable playset the toyline had to offer. Though he was absent, Skull Mountain was the lair of Skullmaster himself… so naturally, it was filled with all kinds of dangerous monsters.
If you collected Mighty Max, you HAD to have this playset. If you WEREN’T into Mighty Max, this playset would change that.
So that’s it for my Mighty Max Top 10! I hope you enjoyed. Mighty Max was undeniably a fantastic toyline, which unfortunately doesn’t get the recognition it deserves. Hopefully, someday it will make a comeback… but until then, at least we have our memories.