Welcome to Marvel Monday, my continuing journey to get through all my Marvel Universe figures… and today is all about Beta-Ray Bill. I’ve always found Bill to be a very cool character, even though I’ve only occasionally encountered him in my funnybook readings. That having been said, he wasn’t really on my “must have” list for action figures, but he’s still a welcome addition to my collection. Hey, if you’re one of the few worthy enough to wield Mjolnir, then you’ve got the chops to hang out on my Marvel shelf. Let’s take a look!
Yep, that’s the current incarnation of the Marvel Universe packaging. Bill really fills out the card nicely and I totally dig his character art. Also present is the wonderful “Comic Shot,” and by “wonderful” I mean, I’m about to flick it at my cat so at least he might get some use out of it. Wait for it… nope. He’s not interested in it either. Anyway, I was in the middle of tearing Beta-Ray Bill open when I screamed out the revelation, “Oh shit, I didn’t take the package shot yet!” and that’s why it looks a little worse for wear. Usually when that happens, there’s alcohol involved. In this case, I was just really excited to get the figure out.
The back of the card has one of the more lengthy bios I’ve seen on an MU package. I’m guessing Hasbro thought a lot of people might not know who poor Bill is and thus his background needed an explanation. Hey, he got an episode in “Earth’s Mightiest Heroes,” so the kids should at least recognize him. You also get another little quip from Rocket Raccoon… Ha ha… “free of clowns” Ahh…Wait… I don’t get it. Getting Bill out the package is a project and a half. Between all the invisible rubber bands and his cape passing through a slit in the tray, I almost had to chew him out.
Since he wears what is essentially a set of Thor’s Asgardian armor, one might expect Bill to be a quick kitbash from previous Thor figures. In the early days of MU, I would have expected Secret Wars Comic Pack Thor with a horse head thrown on him. But no. I’ll hand it to Hasbro. They didn’t take the low road here. In the tradition of most of the recent MU figures, they stepped up and went all out on this guy. Beginning with the portrait, the head sculpt is excellent. The Asgardian helmet looks amazing and while the wings are a little soft, they aren’t warped at all. I totally dig the eyes, and the head has a special treat which we’ll touch on when we get to talking articulation… aw, hell, I’ll just ruin it now… HE HAS AN ARTICULATED JAW!!!
If the torso is recycled from a previous Thor figure, I sure can’t tell. In truth, it looks too lean, so I’m guessing it’s new. Either way, the discs on the armor are all actually part of the sculpt and he has a belt that hangs loose around on his waist. The legs appear to be new sculpts as well, with armor plates on the thighs and knees. The cape is a brand new piece and it has two pegs to secure it to the pair of sockets in Bill’s back. This is easily one of the better executions of the Thor style cape as it fits snugly on the figure, but it can easily be removed for when Bill needs that extra room to take care of business. I’ll also note here that the quality of Bill’s plastic is really excellent. There’s no warping or sense of soft joints.
As great as the sculpt is, it’s the coloring on this figure that impresses me the most. Bill is sporting one of the better paint jobs I’ve seen in this line, and that’s not intended as a loaded compliment. He’s gorgeous! The black and light metallic blue used for his torso looks amazing and when combined with the metallic gold of his belt and boots, the figure really pops. Toss in the darker metallic blue for the leg and shoulder armor and the bright white of his gauntlets, and this figure’s color palate screams comic book beauty! Even better, the quality of the paint is immaculate.
Naturally, Bill comes with his trusty hammer, Stormbreaker. It’s a relatively simple accessory stamped out in gold plastic, but it really completes his ensemble nicely. He can wield it in his right hand and his left hand is left clenched in a fist for punching fools.
Bill features all the articulation we’ve come to expect from the current crop of Marvel Universe figures. The arms are ball jointed at the shoulders, have swivels in the biceps and wrists, and hinges in the elbows. The legs are ball jointed at the hips and ankles, have swivels in the thighs, and double hinges in the knees. He has a ball joint in the torso and can swivel at the waist. Technically, Bill has a ball jointed neck, but he can really only turn his head from side to side. The reason? Because he has a goddamn hinged jaw, that’s why! A hinged jaw!!!! Well played, Hasbro.
Even if you have zero interest in Beta-Ray Bill as a character, you should buy this figure. Why? Because every bit of him is gorgeous! Hasbro really has been delivering the goods with the latest waves of Marvel Universe and Bill here is a perfect example of the added quality that Hasbro has been investing into the line. A year or so back I was wondering why I was paying $10 a pop for these figures, but in Bill’s case he’s worth every penny. It does my heart good to see Hasbro turning this line around over the course of the last year, but it also thrills me to no end when they invest this kind of effort into a character that is, well… let’s just say not an A-lister. In fact, I’ll go one better, Bill is probably in my Top 10 MU figures so far. He really is that good!