And here we go… So I picked up the first wave of Marvel Legends figures at Toys R Us’ website, all except for Ghost Rider, which they didn’t have In Stock. That was cool with me since I really wanted to hunt down the orange variant rather than the bewilderingly standard blue flame version, or as I like to call him Hellespont Ghost Rider. As luck would have it, I ran across the orange version the very next day at Walmart just standing there on the shelf and I snatched him up. It was the first time I’ve seen these at retail, so they must have just put them out because there was almost an entire case there.
Behold, the new Marvel Legends packaging! The first time I saw pictures of this my head almost exploded from sensory overload. It is a very busy package deco with word explosions coming at you from all angles. Overall, I like it for its “in your face” comic book style motif. I’d almost say I prefer Mattels more elegant and refined DC Universe Classics cards if it weren’t for the personalized character artwork on the front and back of the new ML cards. Yep, that’s Ghost Rider’s huge mug on the upper left hand corner of the card and I’ll always go for a personalized cardback over a generic one anyday. Among the scattering of declarations on the card is the figure’s name, the fact that it is part of the Terrax wave and includes both the left and right arms of the figure, and that this is indeed the “Return of Marvel Legends.” Whereas Mattel hides their C&C pieces at the bottom under the insert, Hasbro has chosen to feature them by putting them off to the side in front of a segmented part of the card. I think I like it!
Surprisingly, the back of the card is a lot less cluttered. You get a huge, really nice piece of character art with a little tag line about Ghost Rider. You get a picture of the BAF, Terrax, and you get pictures of each of the other figures in the wave and which BAF piece they come with. So, my only complaint here is that Hasbro should have included a little bio and stats on the character like Mattel does with the DCUC figures. At the very least a “First Appearance” stat would have been nice.
Wow. I was pretty nervous about what Hasbro was going to turn out here, but once out of the package, Ghost Rider has set a lot of those fears at ease. Yes, he’s a really solid and detailed sculpt. Let’s face it, a character with a flaming skull is not the easiest action figure to sculpt convincingly, but I really think Hasbro’s team did a great job here. The skull itself sports a lot of character with narrowed, squinting eyes and the a rictus grin worthy of The Rider himself. The use of the sculpted, orange translucent plastic on the top of the skull and the shoulders really looks fantastic, and I’m willing to bet it also looks pretty good in the regular blue version too.
With the exception if his forarms and lower legs, Ghost Rider’s armor and chains are sculpted in separate, softer plastic pieces and worn over the figure’s core body, with the trench coat style top coming down off of his back to just above his ankles. The leg and arm armor have a nice rough-hewn, pitted texture, as does his shoulder armor. The whole ensemble really delivers on Ghost Rider’s sinister and iconic look very well. In terms of overall sculpt and design, there’s really nothing I would change here.
The paintwork, on the other hand, doesn’t impress me as much as the sculpting. Here’s the problem: There’s some subtle orange paint wash on the armor, chains, and the inside of the collar that is probably meant to convey the flames reflecting off the metal. It was an incredibly nice idea that shows a lot of thought went into the deco. Unfortunately, its something that is probably hard to pull off with exacting detail on a figure in this price range, and I don’t think it turned out quite as intended. It just looks more like tarnish than reflected flames. It doesn’t spoil the figure for me, but I’d have preferred the figure without it.
How about articulation? Ghost Rider features ball joints in the neck, shoulders, and hips. You get double hinges in the elbows and knees. The wrists and ankles feature both hinges and swivels, and he has a ball joint in the torso. While the number of points may seem lacking, the truth is that between the ball joints and the double-hinges, you really can get an amazing amount of good poses out of him and overall he seems to have a bit more range of motion than Mattel’s DC Universe Classic figures.
Accessories? Nada. Unless you count Terrax’s arms, Ghost Rider doesn’t come with any accessories. That’s a bit disappointing since his right hand is obviously sculpted to hold something and even the Marvel Universe version came with a length of chain for him to hold.
And there we go. I’m going to give Hasbro a pass on the paint, since its more a personal preferance on my part than anything else. That being said, Ghost Rider is certainly a home run in my book. The inaugural wave of Marvel Legends really needed to shock and awe collectors in order to get them to bite, and I think that makes Ghost Rider a nice pick for this wave. In a line that will inevitably feature a fair number of figures with standard bodies and painted costumes, this guy flaunts a lot of specialized sculpting and shows off what the line will be capable of at its best. As the first figure in this line that I opened, I come away very satisfied and looking for more. Tomorrow… Extremis Iron Man!