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!

Marvel Legends (Caliban Wave): Skullbuster by Hasbro

I’m almost through my look at the Caliban Wave! And besides wrapping up a wave of Marvel Legends, there are few things more exciting than busting into a new team or sub-group in Marvel Legends, and today we’re doing exactly that. The Reavers! These guys are all sorts of cool, and touch on some pretty twisted shit in the X-Men comics, not the least of which being Spiral’s Body Shop, alien cybernetic replacement parts, and good old fashioned body horror.

Oh yeah! Here he is just waiting to get freed from his package prison so he can start kicking ass. From Doctor Who’s Cybermen to RoboCop, the idea of people replacing their parts with cybernetic attachments has always creeped me the hell out. There’s always that nagging question about how much you can replace before you aren’t you anymore. And keep in mind, The Reavers debuted the year before Star Trek would introduce us to The Borg, albeit they are very different treatments on the idea. So where best for Marvel Legends to start but with one of the original Reavers, Skullbuster!

Skullbuster borrows heavily from another cyborg figure we got back in the Sasquatch Wave, and that is indeed Deathlok. And when I say borrows heavily, I mean the body is identical from the neck down. Even the belt and holster is the same. I’m actually a little surprised at how much of him Hasbro did recycle without any re-touching at all. Does it work? I guess. The new jacket goes a long way in making him look a bit different and hiding some of the Deathlok stuff, like the giant hole in the chest where the cable attached. And damn, the jacket does look pretty great. The mis-matched shoulder pads include spikes on the right hand side, and a number of magazines sculpted into pouches on the front and back. The zipper tracks look great and they’re carefully painted silver. Sure it looks a lot like the primary costume piece from someone’s Mad Max cosplay, but it’s still pretty badass. The ensemble is punctuated by a shoulder strap of ammunition.

And of course, the head sculpt is all new and pretty damn creepy. We get a very normal looking face sculpt buried under black and white paint and a pair of piercing red eyes. The end result is a bitchin’ looking skull that’s more than a little bit intimidating.

Do you have Deathlok? If so, you know exactly what to expect out of the articulation here, because it is essentially the same body. I’ll just refer you back to that earlier review if you want to see the details.

Skullbuster comes with one accessory, and that’s the pistol he wears in the holster on his right hip. And yup, it is indeed the exact same pistol that came with Deathlok. I dig this gun quite a bit. It has a unique design and the new color plastic really brings out all those deep cuts and details in the sculpt. The scope is pretty cool and I like how the magazine extends down past the grips. That having been said, I do wish he came with some kind of assault rifle too. Besides it being nice to get a second weapon, it would have explained what some of those magazines sculpted onto his jacket are for.

Skullbuster comes with one cool surprise, and that’s the head of another Reaver, Murray Reese. I like the helmet, and the clear plastic face shield, but if I take off the shield it looks like Reese sneezed in there. There’s paint from his eyebrows all over the face. It’s not such a big deal with the helmet on, though. Of course, this is one of those situations where we have the head but no body. So, you can either choose which character you want to display the figure as, or you can pick up a second figure. I found that if you take off his jacket and ammo strap, he looks almost different enough to warrant making the second figure out of him. But either way they still look a lot like Deathlok.

I come away from Skullbuster a little conflicted. I love that we got him, but I do wish that Hasbro had invested just a little more original tooling. I’d even have happily sacrificed the Reese head if some of that money could have gone toward tweaking the Deathlok body just a little more. And considering that Hasbro already got a second release out of Deathlok with the X-Force version, this triple dip seems like a little much. But I can’t deny that he looks damn cool and so I can’t get too mad at him. Next week we’ll wrap this wave up with a look at Weapon X and the Caliban Build-A-Figure!

Transformers Siege: Shockwave by Hasbro

One of the many lessons I took away from Toy Fair is, OMG there are so many cool new Transformers coming and I’m woefully behind in reviewing the ones that I have. So, with Earthrise figures already hitting the shelves, and some sitting in my online Pile of Loot, I thought I’d dig in and open some of the Siege figures I’m sitting on. And it’s not like I haven’t given up on trying to be current with my content years ago, riiiiight? Oh, look… it’s Shockwave. Let’s check him out.

After what seemed like an eternity of boring packages inspired by the Bay movies, Siege upped the ante with some amazing artwork. I love the gritty and realistic renderings of these bots, and the art design matches the look they were going for with the figures. I’m crowing a lot about the artwork because, to be honest, this package isn’t showing Shockwave at his best, and I was almost tempted to leave him on the shelf when I first found him. Anyway, he’s a Leader Class, but that can be a little deceptive since a lot of his parts are optional for his robot mode, and in my case, I prefer to leave them out. But I guess I’m getting ahead of myself… let’s start with his alt mode.

I don’t really understand Hasbro’s unwillingness to do a proper alien laser gun alt mode for Shockwave. I mean, they sell Nerf guns and some of those resemble real guns a lot more than Shockwave ever did. And yes, there’s a workaround to reach a fan-mode that resembles a gun, but it’s not something I’m going to touch on here. In any case, what do you do with a Transformer who’s alt mode used to be a camera, or a tape deck, or a laser gun? You turn them into a spaceship. And so, Siege presents Shockwave as Decepticon Space Cruiser, and as sarcastic as I’ve just been on the subject, I’m actually pretty keen on this design. I’d like to imagine that there’s a lot of mass shifting involved here, because the design looks like it should be massive. Hell, this would be a great stand in for the Decepticon Flagship, Nemesis as far as I’m concerned. Although that would have to be a hell of a lot of mass shifting!

As with many of Siege’s figures, the sculpting is complex and very busy. The hull surface is littered with panel lines and there is hardly a millimeter of this craft that isn’t packed with some kind of detail. It’s also blistering with guns. There are two small turrets on top and three banks of cannons slung below each of the engine pylons near the back. I dig how powerful the engines look, again suggesting that this thing is supposed to be BIG and all the wings and fins coming off the back adds to its stylish complexity. And then there’s the giant emitter on the front, which I suppose could be some kind of Deflector Dish, like on the ships in Star Trek, or it could just be a super weapon. In the end, I guess it’s whatever I want it to be.

There are a lot of clever fake-outs on the ship design as well, making it seem like certain parts are components of Shockwave’s robot mode, when in fact these parts are removed for transformation. The engine pylons, for example, look a lot like Shockwave’s lower legs and the conning tower looks like it’s meant to be Shockwave’s head. Meanwhile, both of the side cannons resemble Shockwave’s gun arm. As I mentioned above, there’s a fair amount of parts-forming here and I realize a lot of fans don’t dig that, but when considering the toy as a whole, I’m OK with it. So let’s transform Shockwave and start with his most basic robot mode.

Stripped of his bulk, Shockwave transforms into a roughly Voyager Class figure, which happily puts him in perfect scale with Siege Soundwave and Megatron. Oh, and he also happens to be absolutely spectacular! The character has had a select number of figures in recent years from the forgettable Combiner Wars release to the weird Walgreens Exclusive that I still have to review one of these days, but this one scratches all of my itches. And yet all it does is take the original character design and do it right. The familiar translucent plastic bar is present on his chest, he still has the backpack where the electronics were stored in the original figure, and you get the necessary cable running from his right gun arm to the backpack. And all of that wonderful panel lining from the Space Cruiser mode carries over to make for a hyper-detailed robot. The deep purple deco from the alt mode also dominates the robot mode with some additional gray and silver. I just love this bot in every way imaginable. Except maybe in the literal sense of having intercourse with it.

And let’s just take a moment to appreciate the head sculpt with that single piercing yellow eye that sports some outrageously fine light piping. Seriously, just about anywhere I rest this figure, that light seems to be illuminated  They packed some amazing sculpting into the area surrounding that eye, and he has his traditional flat ear-antenna. Simply wonderful! Now… about all those extra parts…

Throwing back on all of those parts, we get Shockwave in his powered up mode and for me this is a big fat NOPE. The bulk of the parts go onto his upper body with a bigger backpack, bigger shoulders and a really weird extra set of arms that end in guns. It looks like some kind of Transformers body horror to me, like he went through the Space Bridge with another Transformer and this is what got merged together and came out the other end. Also, he acquires a pair of gun shoes. GUN SHOES!!! No sir, Hasbro. Only Predaking can pull off gun shoes. Don’t get me wrong, I’ll bet this mode is all kinds of fun for the kids and that’s great, but I won’t be displaying him like this. What else ya got, Hasbro?

Well, how about this jet sled kind of thing? This is also not really doing much for me. He looks silly on it and it doesn’t hold together well at all. I guess as a separate attack drone, maybe? But all in all, I’m happy just putting these parts aside when I display Shockwave in robot mode.

I’m glad to be going back and hitting some reviews of the older Transformers from Siege before getting into Earthrise, because clearly there are some great figures here and I don’t want to miss out on gushing about them. Shockwave here will likely raise issues with some. He’s undoubtedly got elements of being a parts-former, but with both an alt-mode and robot mode that are as great as these, I’m perfectly OK with it. And to their credit, Hasbro tried to use those extra bits to good effect, but I’m still happy to put them in a pile behind him on the shelf so they’re on hand when I want to transform him, but otherwise out of sight and out of mind. And damn the Siege versions of the Holy Decepticon Trinity of Megatron, Soundwave and Shockwave sure look amazing together. Hopefully I’ll get some time to dig into Siege again next week to make up for lost time.

ReAction Transformers (Wave One) by Super7

I’ve been sick as a dog for the last two days and I didn’t think I was going to be able to get any midweek content in, but thanks to just the right cocktail of Nyquil, cough drops, and Jameson, I’ve managed to prop myself up at my computer and tap something out that’s quick and painless. A little thing called Toy Fair happened over the weekend and boy there were a lot of surprises and tons of cool stuff shown. One of those things was Super7’s new Wave of ReAction Transformers. These are kind of like the old Action Masters, in that they don’t transform, with a smidgen of Heroes of Cybertron. They’re roughly 3 3/4-inch scale, they’re based on the Sunbow cartoon designs, and like most ReAction figures they feature a nostalgic five points of articulation. The moment I saw these on the cards, I knew I was going all in. Unfortunately, I only have one set and I’m not opening them, so we’ll just have to settle for checking them out in package. And that’s fine, because I think these shine the most when carded. The initial assortment consists of Megatron, Starscream, and Soundwave from the Decpticons, and Optimus Prime, Jazz, and Bumblebee from the Autobots. Let’s start with the Autobots!

Oh yeah! These cards are absolutely gorgeous! We get all new character art, unique for each card, showing the character against a Cybertronian backdrop. The bubble is orientated to the left and the borders feature the familiar grid pattern that transitions from black to red, just like it did on the original figure packages. The top of the card has the iconic original Transformers logo in red for the Autobots and purple for the Decepticons, and you get the Kenner-style ReAction logo on the bottom right hand side. Even the character’s name above the figure is printed in the yellow and black box similar to how they originally called out the character’s name and function. The figures are secured in a tray so they don’t rattle around in the bubble like some ReAction figures do, and if they have a weapon it’s placed to the figure’s right.

On the flipside, you get a classic “Collect Them All” style spread showing all the figures in the wave. I’ll note that this card-back is taken from Soundwave and not Optimus Prime, as it has the Transformers logo in purple and says “Evil Decepticons.” I really dig that they even did some customization on the back, but I’m only going to show the reverse side for one. And yeah, I would have loved a reprint of the old tech spec card on the bottom instead of the multi-lingual warnings, but I guess you have to pay the lawyers, right?

Prime looks pretty good, although this is the one figure in this wave where the proportions are a little off. He seems a tad big-headed and his upper body makes his legs look a little scrawny. It’s not too bad, but worth pointing out, especially since the rest don’t really have this problem. The simple sculpt reflects the animated style of the cartoon, but there are still some great touches of detail like the markings on his forearms and the vents in his lower legs. The head sculpt looks great too. The coloring is just about perfect, with bright red and blue plastic and a flat gray for what would have been silver on the toy. There’s even some yellow paint hits on the pelvis and the chest windshield is painted blue. Finally, you get an Autobot symbol stamped on his left shoulder. I think this one is the weakest of the bunch for me, which is ironic because it’s freaking Optimus Prime. I still dig him, but I think he needed some tweaks. Prime comes with his iconic buster-rifle, which he can hold in his right hand.

Jazz is up next and I think he turned out great. I especially love his character art, where he’s offering a reassuring smirk, giving me the thumbs up, and just oozing personality and character. I can practically hear Scatman Crothers voice when I look at it. The figure is also excellent, although I would have liked a wider stance for just about all of these figures. The head sculpt on the figure is superb. Here you get a white and black deco with a couple of shades of gray and some blue and red hits, and of course a beautiful Autobot insignia on the chest-hood. Jazz comes with his gun, which looks to be accurate to the original toy’s weapon, and it looks like he can hold it either hand.

The last of the Autobots is Bumblebee, and this is probably my favorite of the three. I was surprised too! But for some reason as a kid I was obsessed with having a figure that actually looked like Bumblebee in the cartoon and this is about as close as I’ll likely ever come. His character art is pretty solid, but it’s the figure really shines for me. It reflects all those impossible changes in the cartoon where his car kibble is softened over to the point where you can barely make out the hood details in his feet, his upper arms are black instead of yellow with those segmented round tubes for elbows, and his chest is flattened and boxed out instead of curved. I absolutely love it! The head is probably too big, but I’m OK with that and I like how they emphasized his devil horns. The coloring here is mostly black and yellow but with some blue added for the windows and the red Autobot insignia on his chest. Unfortunately, the paint on this one is the weakest of the bunch. The paint lines on the black are a little rough in some areas, but it’s not terribly apparent when the figure is in hand. Bumblebee comes with his little pistol and I’m glad they included that! I should also note here that Bumblebee is scaled to be smaller than the other figures in the wave and that’s pretty cool too! Moving on to the Decepticons!

Megatron’s card art is epic, as he stands with his fusion cannon aimed and ready to fire. The figure is no slouch either. Maybe a little too much upper body bulk compared to his legs, but it’s all good. The head sculpt is just about perfect, and little touches in the figure’s detail include the triggers on the tops of the shoulders, the little triangles on his chest, and the vents on his abdomen. The pale white plastic they used is a great fit for his cartoon color and you get some darker gray on the legs, black for the cannon, pelvis and fists, red in the elbows, and some red,  yellow, and blue paint hits for the panel under his chest. Megatron doesn’t come with an accessory, but that’s because he has his mounted arm cannon. I think this guy turned out all kinds of great.

Up next is Soundwave, and oh boy is he perfect! The card art shows him holding his rather distinctive gun and about to eject one of his Cassette Warriors and it looks so damn great. The figure features a sharp sculpt and you get some cool details from the tape deck buttons on his pelvis to the vents on his lower legs. The coloring here is spot on from the blue and gray body to the yellow and red applications, it’s all right on the money. You even get the razor thin red stripes around his forearms. I like that they used the same blue for his tape door as the Autobots’ windows, it adds a nice uniformity to the line’s color palate. Soundwave comes with his battery gun, and they went all out with the paint on this one, giving it the red accents and painting the beam emitter silver. I’d say this is my favorite of the Decpticons, but there’s some pretty stiff competition here because Starscream is coming up next.

 

And he serves up some tough competition. Starscream’s card art oozes arrogance as he stands with hands on hips and offering a defiant smirk. The figure’s bubble is extra wide to accommodate the wingspan, and I’ll mention here again how much I dig the subtle size differences in some fo these figures. This sculpt is up there with the best of them, and it’s good they did such a fine job because I presume we’ll be seeing it at least two more times. Five more if they want to give us The Rainmakers, and hell yeah I’d buy them too. The head sculpt is possibly the best of the bunch. They captured Starscream perfectly, and I’ll be interested to see if the other Seekers get original portraits or if they just keep using this one. Like Megatron, the pale gray plastic they use here looks great, as does the blue and red coloring. He’s got red and white striping on his wings, as well as Decepticon insignia, and the yellow on the cockpit really makes the figure pop. Starscream comes with Megatron on his gun form.

The idea of Transformers that don’t transform may seem pretty daft to a lot of people, and I get that. But ever since I was a kid I wanted a proper line of figures based on the classic Sunbow designs, and these scratch that itch wonderfully. Indeed, if these were swinging on the pegs when I was a kid I would have gone crazy over them. Granted, I can’t vouch for how much fun they are but every time I glance over at them carded and standing on my shelf, I can’t help but smile. Better articulation would have been optimal, but I think this format gives us the best chance of getting a lot of figures. I will likely buy a couple doubles to open at some point down the road, but right now I’m just so excited about what else is coming for this series. The stuff Super7 showed off at Toy Fair looks great, and I hope this line goes on forever.