Marvel Legends: Deluxe Black Widow by Hasbro

I know, I promised to finish off the Wendigo Wave this week, but then I got this new Black Widow figure in the mail and all bets were off. This figure was supposed to be hitting shelves about a month before the Black Widow movie hit, but then The Plague came and everything got pushed back. I think the new target date for Black Widow’s flick is sometime in November. Oh well, at least we can enjoy the toys now!

One look at the package and it’s easy to see what makes this figure Deluxe. Hands! Weapons! Effect Parts! And there’s even an articulated figure stand buried in there somewhere! Why the special treatment for Natasha? It all feels like some kind of mea culpa for Widow not getting a stand-alone movie a long time ago. There are some sweet pieces of character art on the side panels and the front of the package is branded with the Black Widow movie logo. Looks like there’s some cool shit in here, so let’s get it opened and have a look at Black Widow!

Or is that White Widow? I may have a handful of MCU Black Widows on my Marvel Legends shelf, but this one is certainly the most distinctive thanks to her spanking new white outfit. There are some panel lines sculpted into the suit itself, but it feels a refreshingly simpler than some of the hyper-detailed suits we’ve seen come out of the MCU. I think this is an all new body sculpt, but I’d be lying if I said I remembered all the little details in the previous Romanovs. The suit features a high collar with a plunging neckline, some sculpted armor bits on the shoulders, with painted silver “straps,” as well as knee and elbow pads. The wrist bracers are sculpted separately in black plastic and lifted straight from the comic look. She also has a black belt rig with holsters and thigh straps. She has a shoulder harness, which is part of the body sculpt and painted black, and two tiny red paint operations on her shoulder armor. All in all, I really dig the white, and I think the black extras look great in contrast with the costume.

The articulation holds few surprises, although it’s worth pointing out that the rotating hinges in the elbows are different from one we usually see. These are similar to the ones I seem to remember Hasbro using for some of the Spider-Woman figures. They’re a little weird but they get the job done. Nonetheless, I still think it’s well past time we get double hinges for the ladies’ elbows. The rest of the arms feature rotating hinges in the shoulders, swivels in the biceps, and hinged pegs for the wrists so the hands can pop out and be replaced. The legs are ball jointed at the hips, have double-hinges in the knees, swivels in the thighs, and the ankles have both hinges and lateral rockers. The boots are sculpted with high-heeled wedges, which didn’t present much of a problem getting her to stand. The torso has a ball joint under the chest, and the neck is hinged and ball jointed. Unfortunately the hair sculpt prevents much in the way up backward head movement.

Hasbro has had plenty of practice casting ScarJo’s portrait into plastic, and I think that’s reflected here. They’ve come a long way since that initial Black Widow head sculpt from The Avengers. I think the likeness is spot on, particularly when viewed in profile. The nose and lips are just about perfect and the eyes are no slouch either. The portrait makes use of the now standard printed method, which continues to impress me, so long as you don’t get in too close. I do enjoy that they gave her a hint of a confident smirk, but here’s where I would have liked to get a more serious expression on an extra head for those action poses. My figure has a little smudge on her forehead, which isn’t a big deal, but might give me an excuse to pick up a second one for all the extra goodies.

Natasha comes with two sets of weapons, including extra hands to work with them. First off she has a pair of pistols, which I assume are supposed to be the same Glock 26’s that she carried in Avengers and Age of Ultron. And let’s not overlook how great it is to have these, since Hasbro has been inexplicably reluctant to give most of their Black Widow Legends figures her trademark guns. These are tiny, and while she holds them fairly well, they don’t always look straight in her hands. The pair with sculpted trigger fingers don’t quire do what they’re supposed to, as it’s tough to get the fingers into the trigger guard and have them stay put. I do, however, appreciate how perfectly they fit into her holsters. I’ve yet to have them fall out once.

Her other set of weapons are kind of like little sickles coming out of batons. Yeah, I have no idea what these are, but they remind me of those hooked pikes that rock climbers use. I’m sure they could be pretty deadly once you start swinging them around. Natasha comes with a pair of hands specifically for holding these.

Next up are the effect parts for her Widow’s Sting. These are just translucent blue plastic pieces that go between the hands and wrists. They look pretty cool and I’m surprised that it took this long to get something like this on a Black Widow Legends figure.

 

I’ve already showed off the stand in some of these pictures, and it’s kind of a big deal for Hasbro to pack something like this in with one of their figures. It’s actually a pretty elaborate and well done piece of kit. It draws influences from the Tamashii stands, but it’s not nearly as versatile as those. That’s not to say it’s bad. The chunky design feels durable and the base has the ability to work with some of the effect parts, thanks to a number of sockets and peg holes. There are also some pegs to allow the figure to stand directly on the base. For more dynamic poses, the figure is gripped with spring-loaded pincers and attaches to the vertical stand with ratcheting system to raise and lower the figure. Not bad at all!

And finally we get all sorts of explosion and blast effect parts. I feel like some of these might have been reused from Transformers or Star Wars lines, but maybe not. They look good and the stand gives more than a few options on how to plug them in.

I sincerely hope that this Deluxe release is the beginning of something for Hasbro. Considering the figure would have been $20, getting the stand and effect parts for an extra ten spot feels like a good value. And since the stand is just branded Hasbro, there’s nothing to stop them from including it in releases from the Star Wars and GI JOE Classified lines as well. No, I won’t be retiring my Tamashii stands in favor of this one, but I think this will be a welcome addition for collectors out there who otherwise aren’t going to take the time and money to track down one of those display systems. OK, next week I promise I’ll finish off that Wendigo Wave!

Transformers “Earthrise:” Hoist by Hasbro

I still have a bunch of Transformers from Siege left to review, and I do hope to get to those eventually, but a few weeks back I got in the first wave of Earthrise Deluxe Class figures, and I thought it would be fun to be topical and current for a change. Plus, I was really excited to open one of these and that motivated me to squeeze in a second review this week. I can’t even begin to tell you what a triumph of time management this is! Anyway, this assortment consists of Wheeljack, Hoist, Cliffjumper, and Ironworks. I’m going to go for Hoist first!

I’m delighted to see that Hasbro hasn’t changed the package design from Siege to Earthrise. The artwork is still as gritty and wonderful as ever and the figure is packaged in his robot mode. Earthrise is the second chapter in this War For Cybertron Trilogy and as the name suggests, Hasbro has moved on to giving the robots proper Earth vehicle modes. It’s an interesting way of doing things, although with the scattershot character selection it means we’ll have some characters, like Hoist here, with only an Earth mode and no Cybertron mode, while presumably we’ll have someone like Ironhide with only a Cybertron mode. On the other hand, characters like Starscream and Optimus Prime are getting both, so who knows. Let’s start with Hoist’s alt mode…

And you can’t get much more faithful to the G1 alt mode than this! Hoist is a rugged looking tow-truck with a satisfyingly boxy 80’s aesthetic. That includes sharp angles (actually even sharper than the original toy!), flared wheel wells, and big chunky tires. I love it! The body is hunter green with black and yellow hazard stripes running down the sides, and he’s got a bold Autobot insignia crisply printed in the center of his hood. The front grill is painted silver and features translucent blue headlamps and fog lights. Some sculpted detail here includes three sections of grill and what I presume is supposed to be a coiled winch. The towing rig in Hoist’s bed, and some of the undercarriage, is cast in bright orange plastic, completing that familiar G1 deco perfectly. The windshield matches the plastic used for the headlights and the side windows are opaque black plastic. Finally, Hasbro is continuing to experiment with weathering, and that’s evident here by the silver spray around the edges of Hoist’s hood. I think it looks fine.

I’ve got to say that I’m smitten with this alt mode. It’s a fantastic update to the original toy, it feels like quality, and everything looks so incredibly clean and sharp. But that’s not to say it’s perfect. The body rides high on the wheels and you can see a little too much of the robot mode in the exposed undercarriage. The way the arms are just angled down there kind of reminds me of Siege Hound, only they’re even more prominent here. I also would have rather the light box on top of the cabin be painted silver to match the grill and the wheels. I’m also not a big fan of having the windshield translucent and the side windows painted a different color. But these are all gripes that I can set aside, because all in all it really is a great little truck.

And yes, the towing plate is articulated and can fold down to allow Hoist to tow one of his fallen comrades out of a hot spot!

Transforming this guy took me a couple times before it felt natural. It’s a little less intuitive than I expected, but it gets the job done. Like his alt mode, Hoist’s robot mode is also slavishly faithful to his old G1 design. There isn’t a lot of effort spent in smoothing out the design, although the proportions are improved and this modern version actually has a visible pelvis, rather than a pair of legs coming out of the hood. Utilizing the car bumper as a chest (like Prowl and the Datsuns) will always be my favorite Autobot design, but this one works well too, with the windshield taking on role of the chest and the hood pointing down to become the abdomen. This is undoubtedly a solid looking bot mode! The coloring remains faithful to the alt mode deco and I think the positioning of the weathering spray makes more sense in this mode. Although, I’m surprised they didn’t add some to his feet as well. If I were to nitpick the coloring here, I would just say that I wish the white parts were painted silver.

When viewed from behind, Hoist ain’t exactly pretty, but he’s not too bad either. His tow gear becomes a backpack with the two “wings” angling upward off his shoulders. He’s got a little hollow leg thing going on in his lower legs, but that’s nothing unexpected from a Deluxe these days. And then there’s those arm panels. Yes, they are totally faithful to the design of the original toy and that’s a good thing for keeping up tradition, but it’s also a bad thing for the overall workings of the toy. With the more modernized aesthetic and articulation, they feel rather out of place. And I can’t help but think that a few strategically placed hinges would have served to pack them up nicely and out of the way. Although, in fairness, I hadn’t remembered that they were included in the animated Sunbow design. Ultimately, I can go either way on them. At first I did not like them at all. But after playing around with the figure a bit, I’m finding that I don’t mind them nearly as much as I thought I would.

The head sculpt embraces the old Sunbow animated design a lot more than it does the original toy, and I’m happy with that. The “helmet” is painted black and his mouth-plate is gray. There’s no light-piping in effect here, instead the visor is simply painted blue. But it looks good and the color pops surprisingly well.

Hoist comes with a chunky orange funnel-like gun, which can be held in either hand. When it is held, however, it looks more like a natural extension of the arm, which is something that Hoist had going on in the old cartoon. Even the toy had the option to replace the hands with a missile-like weapon. I’m not sure why they went with orange, but I don’t hate it. It works well with the existing deco and I like that it preserves the option for him to have two hands if you want. You can also peg the gun into either side of his vehicle mode to give him a little more firepower.

I’ll confess that I was a little iffy on Hoist when I first got him out of the box and started playing with him. There were a few design elements that I thought could have been done better. But after just a couple transformations and a little bit of fiddling, he has more than won me over. He’s even going to stay on my desk for at least a few days because I can’t stop playing around with him. More than any other recent Transformers release, Hoist here feels like a straight up update to the original toy, and that’s not a bad thing at all. I don’t think he reaches the heights of Deluxe Perfection that we saw in a line like Titans Return, but he’s still damn good and I’m eagerly awaiting the remold into Trailbreaker!

Marvel Legends (Wendigo Wave): Nightcrawler by Hasbro

The X-Men hits keep on coming, folks, and I’m only two figures away from finishing off the Wendigo Wave. I was going to save the best for last, but truth be told this figure has been waiting long enough to be opened. So let’s check out Herr Kurt Wagner. BAMPF!!!

Nightcrawler has been kicking around the X-Men funnybooks for a long time. Indeed, he’s almost as old as I am! I was a big fan of his growing up, mainly because he looked cool and I thought teleportation would be one of the best mutant powers to have. At the same time, I always thought he was one of the better examples of the Mutant dilemma, since so many could hide their mutations in the guise of their normal appearances. To me, the really interesting Mutants were the ones who traded their great gift for an appearance that instantly placed them outside normal society. And That was the case with Nightcrawler. Is it long past time we got him in modern Marvel Legends? Hell, yeah it is!

And it sure was well worth the wait! Hasbro just poured the love into this figure and appropriately so, because he is such a fan favorite. He’s built off a rather lean and almost lanky buck, which plays well to his superhuman agility. The body is cast in black plastic with some red and white paint for the boots and gloves. Yeah, there’s some bleed through on the red paint, which is a shame, but surprisingly there’s none at all on the white.

Kurt’s V-shaped vest is painted on below the chest, but sculpted above it and it flares out from the shoulders. The red paint doesn’t quite match between the two pieces, but it’s close enough. His hands are sculpted appropriately with three fingers and his feet with two toes. The figure is rounded out with a thin blue tail with a devilish point. The tail is pre-posed in a snaking fashion, so no bendy plastic here, however it’s sculpted in a way that really makes use of the swivel at the base, allowing for some varied poses.

Hasbro included not one but two extra heads! The first is a fairly neutral expression. Maybe a little perturbed or just plain stoic. Whatever the case, it’s absolutely fantastic. There is some excellent definition in his facial details, the bushy eyebrows look like they’re judging me a bit. His pointed ears jut out from behind his sculpted sideburns, and the hair is beautifully sculpted and swept back. The pupil-less yellow eyes and the deep blue skin coloring complete the portrait perfectly.

The second head offers a broad smile and I’m very glad that Hasbro included this one as it very much suits his personality, particularly in the earlier appearances. Everything that I said about the previous face holds true for this one, however, I do have a couple nitpicks here. Firstly the paint on the teeth could have been executed better. There’s a little slop from his fangs onto his bottom lip, and there isn’t any white paint on his lower row of teeth. This second bit isn’t a huge problem, as it looks like maybe they’re concealed behind his bottom lip, but I don’t think that was the intention. Also, the paint on my figure’s left eye here is a little miffed.

The third head is Kurt’s battle face and it is most definitely successful at showing off his rage. The paint on the teeth here still has some issues, but it’s a little better than the previous head. You also get some paint inside the mouth on his tongue. The furled brow and the chiseled lines on either side of his gaping mouth are quite well done.

As for articulation, Hasbro graced Nightcrawler with one of the more poseable bodies, which includes the lateral crunches on the shoulders. In addition to those, his arms feature rotating hinges in the shoulders, double hinges in the elbows, swivels in the biceps, and hinged pegs for the hands. His right hand can be swapped between an accessory holding hand and a graspy hand. The legs are ball jointed in the hips, have double hinges in the knees, swivels in the thighs, and the ankles are both hinged and have lateral rockers. There’s a swivel in the waist, an ab-crunch hinge under the chest, and his neck is both hinged and ball jointed. And once again, there is a swivel at the base of the tail.

In addition to two extra heads and an extra right hand, Nightcrawler comes with his swashbuckling sword. This weapon is influenced by the sword on the pirate-themed cover of Nightcrawler #1 only with a straight blade. The hilt is gold and fits snugly into his extra right hand. This is about as perfect an accessory as I could think to include with him, and he’s a lot of fun to pose with it.

I don’t feel like it’s hyperbole for me to say that Nightcrawler is one of my absolute favorite figures to come out of Legends in a while. Do I say that a lot? It feels like I say that a lot. Well, this time I really mean it. He’s definitely the best offering of this wave, and that’s not something I say lightly since this wave also gave us an excellent figure of mah-man, Sinister. Sure, I have a few nitpicks here, but some of them may be QC issues unique to my figure. And besides that, the broad strokes here are all just perfect. The articulation is excellent, the extra heads are most welcome, the tail has just enough versatility for posing, and Kurt looks great swinging into action with his sword. It feels like Hasbro has given us a ton of excellent X-Men figures in a short space of time, and I haven’t even dug into the Apocalypse Wave yet! But first things first, and next week I’ll wrap up this wave with a look at Boom-Boom and the Wendigo Build-A-Figure!

Marvel Legends (Wendigo Wave): Mr Sinister by Hasbro

Yes, it’s Marvel Monday on a Friday, folks! I am just barely getting this one in under the wire and it still wound up having to be an abbreviated update. I had one day off this week, that was yesterday, and I spent it reading comics, playing some Nintendo Switch and drifting in and out of sleep. I intended to get some more time taking photos, but it’s been so long since I’ve had time to do that, the cats have taken up residency on my photo stage and I didn’t want to roust them. Anyway, things continue to be crazy busy for me and I won’t make any promises for next week, other than I will get another Marvel Legends review in at some point. And that’s it. Keep on keeping on out there. Be smart. Be safe. Cling to your happy things, and hopefully this will all blow over sooner rather than later. OK, on to Marvel Monday…er, Marvel Friday!

Mr Sinister! He was far up on my short list of modern Legends figures that I wanted on my shelf. I was the optimal age of 15 when he first appeared in Uncanny X-Men and over the years he would proceed to blow my teenage mind out the back of my head. I thought he as so cool, so bad-ass, and so damn creepy at the same time. Whenever I was reading an X-Men comic and Mr. Sinister wasn’t in the panel, I was asking, “Where’s Mr. Sinister?” He was one of the very last Toy Biz Marvel Legends I got rid of. Indeed, I think I even featured that figure in one of my Deadpool reviews within the last few years. Despite being a beefy character, Hasbro still managed to cram a Wendigo arm in there. Oh, and can I say how unbelievably thankful I am that Hasbro didn’t give us the terrible suit-wearing modern look of Sinister from Secret Warriors. THANK YOU, HASBRO!!! Ok, let’s get him open.

Yup, that’s the classic Sinister that I know and love. He’s sporting the metallic blue segmented body, which exudes a very strong Colossus flavor and looks absolutely stunning. The midnight blue boots come all the way up to his thighs and flare out at the sides, he’s got matching gloves and flared out shoulders, all of which produce a sharp contrast between the matte finish and the metallic body. The body is rounded out by a red diamond on his chest and a simple red belt around the waist. Hasbro did a beautiful job updating the body from the old Toy Biz version. I think the build is perfect, the sculpt is simple but effective, and the colors look great.

And then there’s the cape! Sinestro is sporting his bizarre cape, which looks like it got stuck in a paper shredder. It’s also got that great gravity-defying plunge up and over the shoulders and a high collar that would make Dracula jealous. This garment looks fantastic in the comics, but I’m not sure it was ever meant to really translate into the real world. To be fair, I think it looks pretty good from the front, but from the back, it’s just an eyesore of a mess. It’s not the figure’s fault. I think they did the best with what they had to work with.

The head sculpt is excellent. Sinister is offering a wide and toothy smile, sports high-arching and proper evil looking eyebrows, red eyes, and has the diamond right in the middle of his forehead. They did a fine job with the flat-top hair cut too. The black of his lips and hair accentuates the white of his skin. Personally, I would have preferred a bit of a wash on the face paint to bring out some of those details. It’s maybe a little too white, but now I may be nitpicking. I also feel that a second head would have been called for here. Something a little more dire and grim.

Sinister sports all the usual articulation for a Legends figure. That includes rotating hinges in the shoulders and wrists, double hinges in the knees, and swivels in the biceps. The legs are ball jointed at the hips, have swivels at the tops of the boots, double hinges in the knees, and both hinges and lateral rockers in the ankles. The torso has a waist swivel and an ab-crunch hinge, and finally the neck has both a hinge and ball joint. The hands are sculpted into a fist on the right arm and an open grasping hand on the left, which works about as well as anything I would have come up with.

After all that gushing, I will say that I didn’t have a lot of inspiration for photographing Mr. Sinister. Maybe that has something to do with the cape being rather unwieldy. Maybe it has to do with his one-note expression not really fitting in with a lot of action poses. I’m not sure, but it kind of worked out this week since I didn’t have a lot of time to spend on him. But don’t take that as a slight on this figure, because I absolutely love him. He’s probably one of my most anticipated Legends figures in a long while and the fact that he lived up to my expectations says a lot. Not to mention that he makes the Toy Biz version (a figure that I’ve loved for many years) look positively prehistoric by comparison. Everything from sculpt to coloring just came out so well on this guy, and I’m happy to be able to cross him off my X-Men Legends Want List.

Marvel Monday Postponed Due To Plague

Nope, I’m not sick. And thank God for that. I did, however, spend the weekend recouping in self-quarantine from a ridiculously harsh work week. I spent a little time working on content, but I didn’t get anything finished. Instead I laid around, drank whiskey, slept, kept up with the news, and read a bunch of comics. It was a good, restful weekend and I really needed it. Oh yeah, I also had plenty of quality time with the cats. And I got a few cool comics in the mail, and I’ll share some pictures of those below. If nothing else, cats and comics have been a nice diversion for me this past week.

“Jeez… are you going to be home all weekend, human? We’re trying to sleep!”

So, I work for what has been deemed an “Essential” business, so instead of getting to stay home and wait for this to blow over, I’ve been putting in ten to twelve hour days at work last week. I imagine this week will be the same. I don’t mind it so much. I feel good that we’re getting food and supplies to people who need it. Even if they don’t need it. It makes them feel like they’re in control when they buy stuff. I’m not crazy about being in contact with so many people every day, but I’m trying to be smart about it. Besides, I’m still a few years on the right side of 50, and apart from the fact that my liver has been marinating in Jameson for the past 25 years, I suppose I’m probably healthy enough to handle a dose of it if I have to. But I’d rather not have to.

Slabbed “Web of Black Widow.” Virgin Cover by Shannon Maer. 379 of 600 copies. Signed!  

It’s likely that I’m going to be just sleeping and working a lot this week, so I really don’t know that I’ll have a lot of time to get anything done on the blog. It’s frustrating because I felt like I was on the road to returning to business as usual. It’s also frustrating because I rely on FFZ to take my mind off of things. But sometimes you just have to look around and realize there’s more important stuff going on, and pushing myself to finish updates is just going to stress me out and result in crap updates.

Gwen Stacy #1 Variant Covers by J. Scott Campbell. Signed! 

So, right now my goal is to get Marvel Monday done before the end of the week. I can’t really afford to miss any Marvel Legends reviews if I ever want to get caught up. Plus that review is like 80% done anyway. I’ll likely leave it at that, but if I do get a burst of energy and some free time later in the week, maybe I’ll shoot for two updates this week. We’ll see how it all works out.

Amazing Mary Jane #1. J. Scott Campbell Cover. Signed!

As of right now, the State of Florida is not under official Lockdown, but they have closed most non-essential businesses and even restaurants are only allowed to provide take out. I only went out once yesterday, to get gas and help my brother with some stuff, and it seemed like there weren’t a lot of people about. I should make it through today without setting foot outside. Although, to be fair, that’s my idea of a perfect day off even without the raging Pandemic.

And that’s all I’ve got. Be safe everyone. Be smart. Be kind and respectful of each other. And I hope to catch you all at the end of the week!

Marvel Legends: Stepford Cuckoos by Hasbro

Congratulations, you made it to another Marvel Monday! I hope y’all are staying safe, washing your hands, and for God sake, STOP TOUCHING YOUR FACE!!! I never realized until now how hard that is to do sometimes. Anyway, since I wrapped up the Caliban Wave last week, I thought I’d open a stand alone figure today before jumping into another assortment. But, we’re going to keep that X-Men love train rolling with a look at one of Walgreens’ exclusives… The Stepford Cuckoos!

Generally speaking, the Walgreens-Hasbro partnership has been good to me, as not being able to find these exclusives has been the exception and not the rule. Every now and again I have to hit a scalper, but not often. But with that being said, I had all but given up on finding the Cuckoos. And wouldn’t you know it on a random stop for cold meds and a frozen pizza I actually found one of these gals standing on the shelf. It’s always when you least expect it! As you can see from the packaged shot, Hasbro included two extra heads, so you can buy three figures and get three Cuckoos, and that very well could be part of the reason I had trouble finding just one.

Now, I have to confess some ignorance here, because my experience was the Five-in-One were identical quintuplet clones of Emma Frost and thereby looked identical and were depicted all with the same blonde hair. Granted, Hasbro was going for the Three-in-One here, so I presumed these are Celeste, Irma, and Phoebe? But with completely different looking heads? I’m going to write this off as a modern Marvel thing, because I’ve given up on reading Marvel’s books until they start focusing on hiring talent and not entitled social shills. As a result I’m not up on a lot of the modern character looks. Sorry, I started drifting into a rant there.

OK, so, I had to turn to the Internets to learn the identities. So as I make it, Phoebe is the redhead, Irma is the brunette, and that would make Celeste the blonde head that comes on the body? Let’s go with that, but feel free to slag me and tell me I’m wrong. Other than the heads, I guess the identical bodies make sense because of the whole school uniform thing. I keep wrapping my head around whether Hasbro will ever get to use this body again, and I can’t come up with any reasons.

The figure makes use of a smaller teenage body, similar to Nico from the Dormammu Wave. I’ll confess I expected a lot of reuse here, but that’s not the case. The school outfit consists of a green and white plaid pleated skirt, a white button-down blouse with green tie, and a black blazer. Down below you get white socks and black shoes. The outfit employs a lot of new sculpting, which is impressive in a character like this, and an exclusive to boot! The jacket is the usual fake-out with what is basically a sleeveless vest cast in soft plastic with the sleeves sculpted on the arms. The articulation is standard for Marvel Legends ladies, including the rotating hinges in the elbows instead of double-hinges. Although they do have swivels in the legs at the thighs and again down at the tops of the socks.

The three portraits are pretty solid, although two of mine have some mold flashing on their chins that I’ll have to shave off. The different hair sculpts range from the mundane brunette bowl cut to the more dynamic red windblown look. The eyes on all three are whited out and there’s some red painted in around the edges, which looks suitably creepy.

In addition to three heads and two sets of hands, you get a few more accessories in the box. The first are these milky-translucent plastic effect parts for their arms. They’re OK, but not much to write home about.

You also get Cerebro, and it’s the same one that came with the Deluxe Riders Professor X. It even still has the hole in the back for the effect part that came with that set. A nice, albeit unnecessary bonus.

And so Marvel Legends continues to dig deep for characters and Hasbro continues to find fun and creative ways to release them. The Cuckoos are what I would consider a perfect exclusive. I don’t consider them essential, so limiting their release wasn’t a big deal to me. That’s not to say there aren’t people out there who consider them must-haves, but that certainly wasn’t the case with me. Indeed, I would have more expected something like this to be released in a Comic Con Exclusive multi-pack rather than on the shelf at my local Walgreens. So I guess the question remains, am I going to triple-down on these gals? Nah, I don’t think so. If they were a wide release and turned up on Amazon for $15 a pop, I might be tempted, but I can’t see dropping another $40 to complete the Three-In-One. I have even since found one more on the shelf, and I wound up leaving her there.

Marvel Comics: Domino (Exclusive) Premium Format by Sideshow

Yeah, another week of abbreviated content. I didn’t make it back on Wednesday because of real life craziness, but at least I did double up for Marvel Monday. And to make up for it a bit more, I’m tackling a big one to end off the week! Sideshow’s delectable quarter-scale Premium Format figures are the bane of my existence. They’re so big and expensive, and yet they’re so damn pretty. I shouldn’t buy them, but I always want to. I’ve only reviewed one of these beauties before, and that was the Batman Returns Catwoman I won from one of Sideshow’s contests about three years ago. Yup, people actually win those! Free is great, but as any good drug dealer knows, it’s that first free hit that hooks you. Since then I’ve picked up a few more but haven’t gotten around to reviewing them, mainly because it takes a lot of effort to gerry-rig my little photo stage to handle them. Anyway, I’d like to remedy that by starting to review some of these, and what better place to start than the one I got in this week! I’m like a kid on Christmas morning!

It’s Domino! A character that I’ve been in love with ever since lucky Neena Thurman first graced the pages of Marvel Comics. Hell, X-Force #11 from 1992 was one of the first comics I ever got CGC graded. When Sideshow solicited this one, I knew I had to have it, but not just because it’s Domino, but because the composition is so amazing. But I’m getting ahead of myself. As always the statue comes in a box massive enough to house the 20-inch tall statue and plenty of Styrofoam to protect it. The box is made up to look like a giant slot machine and has some cool touches, like X-Men stickers ripped off one side and the machine’s marquee branded after Domino herself. There’s a silver foil sticker on the bottom left corner of the front panel to denote that this one is a Sideshow Exclusive, limited to 1,000 pieces.

Inside the Styrofoam, it looks like something that’s been cocooned by spiders. As expected, there is some unwrapping and assembly required here, and this phase tends to be the most stressful of the un-boxing. Are all the parts going to be OK? Is everything going to fit together properly? In this case I’m happy to say, Yes and Yes. Assembly includes attaching the figure to the base with a key tab that protrudes from her butt. Next up, the hands (each holding a gun) gets attached and held by magnets. The slot machine arm keys into the side and attaches to the toe of Domino’s boot with a magnet, and finally the head attaches by magnet as well. When all is said and done, this is a very solid and pretty heavy piece all ready for display. I’ll also note here that there is no mixed-media in this figure, so the entire costume is part of the sculpt.

And what a display it is! Domino sits playfully on top of a leaning X-Men-themed slot machine with her legs crossed and one foot resting on the arm. She leans back to support herself with her right hand, still holding a pistol, while she draws the pistol in her left hand up near her neck and points it to the ceiling. I don’t think Sideshow has ever managed to have the base upstage the figure itself in one of these Premium Formats, this might be pretty close. In truth, they both just complicate each other tremendously well. I tend to waffle between preferring classic museum style poses and something more dynamic and action-y, but this one introduces a whole new ballgame. It’s wildly creative, it’s deliciously meta, and it understands the character so well.

Of course, this is a pretty modern look for Domino, which really just means that her traditional black cat suit is enhanced with a lot more detail and a more tactical look to it. And while we already have a Domino for the films and I wouldn’t take any of that away from the glorious Zazie Beetz, I do think that this version of Domino has a realistic quality to her, which would have worked fine for the big screen. The bulk of the suit is a delightful mix of black and blue, which comes out beautifully under the studio lights, and is enhanced with patches of exposed ribbed blue “material,” presumably to add a little flexibility. Again, it’s all sculpted, but I have no quarrel with the decision because the end results are quite spectacular. Everything from the zipper track to the stitch lines, and the subtle wrinkles here and there make for a very convincing garment, even if it is all polyresin.

The suit is covered with tactical gear, all held on by sculpted segmented belts. Her inventory includes all sorts of pouches, slots for extra magazines, empty shoulder holsters under each arm, and a futuristic looking gun strapped to her right thigh. The gun is a great example of all the detail that went into the sculpt. The hard-molded style holster is textured and features sculpted rivets that simulate holding it together. There’s a sculpted retaining strap locking the weapon into place and the weapon itself is just brimming with detail. The twin pistols in her hands enjoy all that same great attention to detail. The X-branded belt buckle breaks up the blues and blacks with a bright red glossy background.

The standard portrait is superb. Domino sports her trademark pixie cut and offers a sideways glance and a knowing smirk. It’s like she’s thinking, “My luck is going to hold out, but yours is about to change.” I love the pale coloring they used for her rather unusual skin tone and the iconic spot around her left eye is crisp. For that matter all the paint work on the face is sharp and crisp. The sculpt for her hair is intricate and almost looks like it’s layered. The hair color follows the same pattern as her suit, being black with some blue-purple highlights. The only thing that sucks about this portrait is that the Sideshow Exclusive comes with a second, and that’s going to make for some tough decisions…

The Exclusive head features longer hair, the left side of which is blowing off to the side a bit. The head is turned to face her gun and her lips are pursed. It looks fine just like this, but it’s intended to be displayed with the addition of one extra piece.

 

Add the smoke effect to the gun barrel and now she looks like she’s blowing the barrel of her pistol after having fired it. I love the way this turned out and it’s creating quite the conundrum on which look to go for. The pixie cut from the standard head is more Domino to me, but the Exclusive looks so good. Luckily they are easy to swap, so I may just wind up doing that every couple of weeks.

And that brings us to the base, which is usually not something I need to spend a lot of time on when discussing statues, but here’s the exception to that rule. This is just amazing from both a composition standpoint as well as execution. It offers an on the nose nod to Domino’s mutant power, but it has a lot of fun with it too.

Sideshow went above and beyond with the detail in the bullet-ridden one-armed bandit. It has a steel sheen to the sides and back and the sculpted bullet holes look quite realistic. The back of the unit has all the vents and bits that you would expect to find on something like this. The coloring on the upper and lower marquee are beautifully illustrated. It would have been cool if SIdeshow added some lights to this base, but I don’t think that’s something they ever do in the Premium Formats. I particularly love the bullet holes in the plastic screens that cover the top marquee and the rollers. The later of which look convincing enough that I’d swear I could pull the lever and watch them spin.

Finally, the Days of Future Cash slot-machine rests on top a pile of Deadpool-branded tokens with spent bullet casings peppered generously throughout. Under this pile of loot is a simple black circular base. Lift it up and you get a little Domino artwork along with the limitation of the statue. Mine is hand-numbered 208/1000.

It’s s funny thing buying these Premium Formats. I always go into the purchase with sweaty, nervous palms and yet I’ve yet to be disappointed with one of these pieces when they arrive. And that’s saying a lot because they sure ain’t cheap. At $585 ($570 for the regular edition), I fear these statues are creeping past my budget right when I’m starting to get into them. But it’s easy to see where the money went, as Domino makes for an impressive presence on the shelf, and I can’t find anything on the piece to even nitpick about. The sculpt, paint, and overall design came together so beautifully. I’m certainly glad I didn’t pass this one oup.

Marvel Legends (Caliban Wave): Caliban Build-A-Figure by Hasbro

What’s this? Marvel Monday on Tuesday? Yeah, this happens from time to time when I want to put a wave to bed and tack on a review of the BAF after the last figure in the assortment. To be fair, I really could have just posted a Double Feature yesterday, because I’m not sure that today’s content warrants a day all to himself. Not to slight the character selection here, because we are indeed checking out Mutant-sniffer extraordinare Caliban, but as you’ll soon see, it isn’t going to take a lot of time to discuss what he’s all about. Also, apologies for the pictures. I tried a new background so as not to wash out his white and I am not at all happy with the end results. And with that ringing endorsement out of the way, let’s check out Caliban!

There’s nothing crazy here when it comes to building him. Caliban is comprised of six parts (legs, limbs, torso, and head), each acquired in part by buying Blink, Weapon X Wolverine, Forge, Skullbuster, Jubilee, and Gambit. Yup, Beast is in the wave too, but you don’t need him to build Caliban. Honestly, there isn’t a figure in this wave that I bought solely for the BAF part, nor was there a figure I would have passed on if not for building Caliban. Granted, that’s usually the case for me, because I’m all about the universe building, but it’s worth pointing out that I thought this was a solid wave.

So, obviously this is Apocalypse Horseman Caliban because he’s a big boy! I have no doubt we’ve seen this BAF body before, as it’s pretty generic, but I’m not placing it off the top of my head. Suffice it to say it’s a giant slab of plastic muscle with some veins sculpted in here and there. He’s got heavy wrist bracers, grabby monster mitts, and his feet look like Ninja tabi boots. There’s not a lot new and original going on here from the neck down, other than the coloring. And the coloring is nice. The white pearlescent plastic exposed on the legs, shoulders and upper torso sure is pretty and the deep maroon paint for the rest of the body suit compliments it well. The bracers are dark gray and you get some blue and white necrotic skin for his big claws. The paint lines on my figure are pretty sharp and all in all I got no complaints.

The head sculpt is nothing short of fantastic, featuring some amazing attention to detail in the facial features. Caliban is captured in full scream with his mouth open and exposing his fanged teeth and a fully realized tongue. The deep set yellow beady eyes are placed under a prominent brow ridge, which sweeps up to the sides to form what look like horns. The paint is the same great stuff used for the hands and it has a slight gloss to it, giving the skin a rather disgusting, moist finish. Hasbro has done some epic head sculpts in this line, and Caliban ranks up there with the best of them.

The articulation holds no surprises. Hasbro usually manages to pack a lot of great poseability into these big and beefy BAFs, and Caliban is no exception to that rule. The legs have ball joints at the hips, double-hinged knees, swivels at the thighs and lower legs, and the ankles have hinges and lateral rockers. The torso has a swivel in the waist, an ab-crunch hinge under the chest, and the neck is both hinged and ball jointed. The arms have rotating hinges in the shoulders and wrists, swivels in the biceps, and single hinges in the elbows. Not bad!

And that closes the book on another solid wave of figures and a pretty damn cool Build-A-Figure. Hasbro keeps pouring on the X-Men love over and over again, wave after wave, and I’ve got no problem with it. They have a lot of lost time to make up for, and they’re doing just that. Personally, I would have preferred a regular version of Caliban before getting this one, but that’s fine. I’m sure they’ll get around to him eventually.

Next week, I’m going to look at a one-off exclusive and then after that I’ll probably jump back into the Wendigo Wave to wrap that one up.

 

Marvel Legends (Caliban Wave): Weapon X by Hasbro

Hey hey, it’s another Marvel Monday and I’m happy to say this week I’ll be wrapping up another wave of Hasbro’s ridiculously prolific Marvel Legends series. It’s been a while since I’ve been able to say that, and I’m beginning to think that Random Mode has been holding me back, and maybe I’m better off going back to tackling these figures one wave at a time. Or perhaps an even mix of the two is in order. We’ll see. In any event, today I’m opening the last figure in the Caliban wave and I’ve saved one of my more anticipated figures in the assortment for last.

Weapon X Wolverine! This one had me excited because somehow I’ve never owned a figure of this version of Wolverine before! That’s even including the old Toybiz X-Men figures and I must have had nearly all of them! So why not? Well, to be honest this version has always creeped me the hell out. Because who doesn’t want a figure based on one of their heroes suffering horrific surgeries, mental conditioning, and general all around excruciating pain and suffering. Kids comics, folks! Yeah, this version pretty much defines the character, but it’s not something that I like to be constantly reminded of. I guess it falls into the same argument that I don’t really need a Steve Rogers (After getting the shit beaten out of him in an ally before the Super Soldier Serum) figure either.

But holy shit is this figure iconic. I can’t argue with that. Straightaway, I’ll toss out there how much I hope this is as close Hasbro ever comes to releasing a completely naked action figure. I think this one even gives Namor a run for his money. Habro invested a lot of great sculpting into this buck, providing Logan with lots of muscle tone and even painting in his patches of body hair. And they went so far as to use the extra articulated body with the shoulder crunches, which is always a welcome treat. Mercifully, there is a pair of skimpy black underwear painted onto his groinular region to leave something to the imagination. And it’s no mistake that this design leaves Logan sans clothes. It’s a vulnerable look that really helps to communicates the horrible and invasive shit that they did to him.

Everything else is Logan is wearing is actually sculpted as separate pieces and attached to the figure. The gear consists of a chest harness, which is cast in brown plastic and features silver paint on the buckles, a belt with some of the Weapon X devices attached, and two brown wrist cuffs. There are tubes that connect from the boxes on his belt to the wrist cuffs and these are cast in translucent plastic, which makes them look like they’re conveying blood. Personally, this adds a lot to the creep factor, because I can watch the most horrible gore in horror movies, but I still get squeamish around IV tubes and seeing blood being drawn. Go figure. The tubes are made of super bendy plastic and have enough slack to them that they don’t impede the articulation.

The control boxes on his belt are big and bulky and something that I always thought looked weird about the design here. They seem like they would have been more appropriately placed on some kind of master control box in a backpack. But I guess the design they went with looks more experimental and kind of thrown-together. Either way, these boxes have some sculpted details as well as some paint applications for the instruments and they look pretty good.

Logan comes with two heads, the first of which features the helmet, which encompasses the top half of his head and has a tube running down to one of the boxes on his belt. The helmet looks great, with some panel lines and extra bits and bobs and a single red bar that makes up a visor. The way the helmet is sculpted with the hair spilling out the bottom makes it almost look as if it’s removable. But instead of going that route, Hasbro just gave us a second head without all the Weapon X gear.

The second head gives me some mixed feelings. First of all, it was ridiculously hard to get onto the ball joint. I had to use a crazy amount of force to finally get it to pop. The portrait is supposed to reflect Logan in a state of unbridled rage, and I guess it does that, but there’s something about it that just doesn’t sit right. There’s nothing wrong with the quality of sculpt or detail, and even the paint is pretty solid. Maybe it looks a little too cartoony compared to some of the other Legends portraits? I honestly can’t put my finger on what it is, but I don’t think I’m going to be using this head for display a lot.

Considering the myriad versions and variants of Wolverine that we’ve seen so far, it’s amazing to me that it took this long for Hasbro to give Logan the Weapon X treatment. But we’re finally there and I think they did a pretty fine job with the figure. But it’s still not going to be a favorite of mine. Indeed, in the fight for precious space on my Legends shelves, I’m not sure Weapon X Logan will find a permanent spot for display. Or if he does, it may just be in the back corner of one of the X-men shelves. He is, however, a pretty cool figure and I’m happy to finally have him in the collection. And with all the figures from this wave in the bag, I’m going to come back tomorrow and wrap things up with a look at the Caliban Build-A-Figure!

Mythic Legions (Advent of Decay): King No’Glin by The Four Horsemen

My apologies folks, but it was another week of stunted content. And I was doing so well for a while there! Well, these tough weeks are still going to crop up now and again. I had originally planned today’s review for Wednesday, but I didn’t get any time to work on it until Wednesday night, so I had to cut my losses and bump it to the end of the week. Hopefully next week I’ll be back to firing on all cylinders. But for now, let’s just get on with it… It’s been a few weeks since I checked back in with Mythic Legions, and if memory serves I was in the process of running through reviews of all the Goblins! Today we’ll look to the very top of these grubby little bastards with the Goblin King himself, No’Glin! We’ve seen the Advent of Decay packaging so many times by now, let’s just jump right in to the figure!

And doesn’t No’Glin look every bit the distinguished Goblin monarch? Hell, I can just smell the Napoleon Complex wafting off of this guy! He dons full plate armor from neck to toe, which is basically a bronze version of what we saw worn by the likes of Knubnik and Thwikk. The big difference here is the middle armor which features some more ornate pieces to protect his hips and little Goblin man-jewels. The optional pair of shoulder armor is the same sculpt worn by Knubnik, which has a roughly-hewn and jagged flavor that I think works great for these little buggers. The new coloring for the armor is fantastic, giving it a bit more regal flavor than that of his rank-and-file subjects, while still looking functional. A little wash helps to bring out the details in the sculpt, as well as the bits of wear and weathering. He also has some more copper colored bits in the arms and upper legs, and sculpted chainmail can be seen in the elbows and knees. I don’t think I’ll ever cease to be impressed with the way T4H’s sculpt and paint conspire to make these plastic armor suits look so realistic.

No’Glin comes with two tattered capes, one red and one black. Based on the promotional photos, I think these are supposed to be worn together, but I’m more keen on just giving him the red one. It’s visibly dirty and I think it reflects how difficult it is for No’Glin to look majestic when he basically lives in a hole in the ground. It’s got to be tough to keep clean in those tunnels! Besides, I may wind up giving the black cape to Snagg. He looks like he could use a cape.

The head sculpt is magnificent, and that’s been the case with all the Goblins so far. No’Glin features a broad and squat face with a slightly conceited grin and two beady yellow eyes that peer out from beneath his crown. The crown itself looks like it’s carved out of an old tree stump and features cuts in the side to allow his long pointed ears to jut out and a tiny animal skull positioned on the forehead. The woodgrain pattern sculpted into the crown is magnificent and I was initially convinced that the crown was a separate sculpt and could be removed, but it’s actually part of the head. It really does look that good!

No’Glin comes equipped with a passel of different weapons, but the ones I chose to put on his belt are his standard broadsword and the hooked dagger and sheath that we first saw a while back with Lucretia the Vampire. The plastic sheath hooks onto the brown sword belt and has been repainted brown and bronze to match No’Glin’s armor. At first I thought this accessory would be a little too fancy for him, but it actually looks good on his belt. And being a king and all, he should probably have some bits of finery. The sword is one of the designs that we’ve been seeing since the original Kickstarter, with a straight guard and a simple disc pommel. The blade is silver and the hilt has a nice antiqued finish to it. By now, y’all should know I’m a big fan of this simple, serviceable, no-nonsense sword.

He also comes with two more exotic swords, one of which is a sickle-type blade we’ve seen before. In fact, we last saw its like equipped by one of his subjects, Thwikk. It has a silver painted blade and a simple hilt with gold fixtures and a blue grip. The design isn’t terribly Goblin-y to me, but the size is just right and it’s fancier than his regular sword. The other blade is an Orc sword, which I believe was introduced to us in Advent of Decay. There are no paint application on this piece, instead it’s cast all in silver. That feels like a bit of a cheap-out, but then again he does come with a lot of stuff. Again, there’s nothing new here, but since both of these weapons are newer additions to the Mythic Legions armory, so I’m happy to get them again.

And since all kings need some kind of staff, No’Glin comes with a spiked mace head on a long shaft, painted in bronze to match his armor. I last encountered this weapon when I reviewed Faustia, although she was part of the assortment that came afterwards, so it’s only fair to point out that The Goblin King had it first. It’s a very long weapon, so much so that it looks kind of silly when No’Glin is holding it straight up with the butt resting on the ground. It would have been cool if T4H made this piece so you can take a part of the shaft out and shorten it. I’m just going to assume it’s an ornamental weapon because I just can’t see him swinging it with any force.

Even with so many of them already on my shelf, I can’t even put into words the high I get off of opening these figures. You simply can’t go wrong with Mythic Legions’ Goblins and that goes double for their King. Apart from the head, there’s virtually nothing new here, and yet T4H continues to prove themselves to be wizards at mixing and matching parts to come up with a figure that still feels fresh and new. And the new head sculpt is just packed with personality. No’Glin is going to look great ruling over my Goblin Horde and leading them against Mythoss’ forces of good. I only wish we had a little throne for him. Then again with how popular and lucrative Mythic Legions continues to be, I think anything is possible. I mean, if T4H have already begun producing horses, maybe a selection of thrones isn’t out of the question some time down the road. Come on, Horsemen, give us some thrones in the next Kickstarter!