I started Marvel Mondays many weeks ago to force me to get through the huge stack of Marvel Universe figures that I had building up in my receivings pile. I eventually got through them all and started padding it out with some Marvel Legends. But last week my BBTS Pile of Loot arrived bearing enough Marvel Universe figures to keep this going for another month or so. Today we’re looking at The Punisher. Much like Steve Rogers from a few weeks back, Punisher is an MU figure that has been released in the new Legends format as well. Also like that Steve Rogers, I found the ML version of Punisher to be an absolutely fantastic figure. Does this little guy have the chops to stand up to his bigger version? Let’s find out!
There’s the packaging. If you’re buying Marvel Universe Punisher from a reseller, make sure the package looks like that. You don’t want to get Hasbro’s first attempt at this guy because it was total ass. Seriously, he had a big slab of pinched ham for a head and looked like Masters of the Universe reject, Punish-Or. On the downside, this new release has no figure stand or Fury File, just a crappy little piece of cardboard with a comic cover printed on it. Hasbro, you’re not fooling anyone by trying to pass off little “comic shots” as anything that adds value to the figure. It really crosses the line, Hasbro, and Frank Castle shows no mercy to anyone who crosses the line. It says so right on your own package.
I’ll confess that I enjoy the running gag through each wave that has a Marvel character imploring you to collect all the figures. In this case it’s MODOK demanding that you turn them all into AIM soldiers. There’s something so strangely appropriate about MODOK schilling Hasbro products.
Kicking it off with a look at the portrait, The MU version of Frank Castle is very close to the Legends version. It’s the same great “I’m determined to make you dead” expression and it works quite well. This is a man that is inviting you to a bullet buffet and it’s all you can eat. This 3 ¾” version is clean shaven, and I think it’s a good thing Hasbro didn’t attempt the five-o-clock shadow on the smaller figure. I’m really quite happy with the head sculpt the way it is. I don’t think I’d change a thing.
Punisher makes use of a standard, painted buck with some extra parts for his gear. Alas, I’ve never big a big fan of Hasbro’s heavy use of blue wash on the white parts of the costume. I get what Hasbro is trying to do here, but it never really looks right and it gives me fevered flashbacks to the Stormtroopers in those initial Star Wars comic packs. I can live with it on the boots and gloves and belt, but it really works against the skull emblem on his chest. On the up side, I love the belt and holster rig. It fits the figure well and the FUNCTIONAL holsters have thigh straps. Hey, MODOK, you know what I always say about functional holsters?
Damn straight, dude! You also get a working sheath on his boot for his combat knife. All of this is so cool that I’m willing to overlook the unfortunate paint wash.
Speaking of holsters and sheaths, Frank comes with a decent assortment of artillery. You get his two automatic pistols, a combat knife, and a machine gun. The pistols seem kind of small for Frank’s overstated tastes, but I do enjoy the fact that Hasbro bothered to paint the receivers silver. I believe the machine gun is an MP-5, which is a nice addition. The combat knife has a serrated blade, for when Frank wants to get up close and personal, or possibly just sign his work. One thing worth noting is that Frank’s hands do not have the trigger fingers sculpted separately. That makes it very difficult for him to hold his weapons properly. It’s an easy fix. Just take a razor blade and cut between the trigger finger and the rest of the hand. It makes a huge difference!
Punisher is based on one of the better bucks, so he features excellent articulation. The neck is ball jointed and also has the extra hinge for a wider range of up and down movement. The arms feature ball joints in the shoulders, swivels in the biceps, hinges in the elbows, and swivels in the wrists. The legs feature ball joints in the hips, swivels in the thighs and again at the top of the boots, double hinges in the knees, and hinges in the elbows. There’s a ball joint in the torso and he can swivel at the waist. I’ll also happily note that my figure is free of any warping or QC issues in the joints.
The MU Punisher doesn’t quite capture all the amazing qualities of his Legends cousin, at least not as well as the Steve Rogers figures do. Nonetheless, I’m still very happy with the way this guy turned out. The paint wash is certainly disappointing and mars what could have been a perfect figure, but there’s always hope for a repaint or tweak later on down the road. In the interim, I’m certainly happy to have this guy in the 3 ¾” scale. He’s lots of fun to play around with and a worthy addition to any Marvel Universe collection.