No sirs, I am not the biggest Hulk fan in the world. I dig him well enough as a supporting character, but I’ve rarely ever made any of his books part of my regular reading habits. In fact, it wasn’t until Planet Hulk and World War Hulk that the big green rage machine’s books actually found their way to my shelves, but boy did I love them. Surely a Hulk book good enough to draw me in deserves an action figure in my collection. And that brings us to today’s Marvel Monday…
Today’s entry is a bit of an older figure, so we’re back to the days of the SHIELD logo, as opposed to those crappy little “Comic Shots.” Apart from that the packaging hasn’t changed a lot. I can’t say as I’m a big fan of the character art used here, but I don’t really need superb card art when I see how well Hulk fills up the bubble. My eyes are pretty much drawn right to the behemoth of a figure. In fact, this has got to be one of the heaviest MU figures released to date on a single card.
The back of the card shows the other figures available in this assortment. I have Spider-Woman, but I missed out on Spider-Man 2099 and that Heroic Age Iron Man. I may need to swing back and pick them up. Anyway, Hulk looks angry and ready to bust out, so let’s not keep him waiting.
Where to begin with this thing of beauty? I guess with the base sculpt. Marvel Universe has had its share of ups and downs with The Hulk. The Secret Wars version is solid enough and remains my standard Hulk, although he’s starting to look rather dated. The next single carded release suffered from a terrible pinhead. The last one released was a big improvement, but one I didn’t deem necessary to buy. This Hulk is absolutely fantastic. The portrait is excellent, with a broad, grim expression and a sculpted headband. The rest of the body is suitably muscled and features armor sculpted onto the left arm, sculpted leg straps, and sandals. What’s more he has all sorts of little texturing and hash marks on his skin. Serious love went into this sculpt. The coloring is perfect. I adore this deep shade of green, and here’s an example of a paint wash that actually enhances the figure rather than detracting from it. And speaking of paint, the patina of rust on his arm armor is executed flawlessly.
The belt, loincloth, shoulder rigging, and shoulder armor are all sculpted in separate pieces and fit the figure well. I really dig when figures have separate parts like these, not so much because they can theoretically be removed, but because it adds a lot of depth and credibility to the sculpt and don’t tend to interfere as much with articulation. The rigging features a functional scabbard. All the exceptional detail on this guy makes him feel like Hasbro took a Legends figure and shrunk it down to the Universe scale.
Articulation? Oh, Hulk’s got articulation! You get ball joints in the neck, shoulders, hips and upper torso. His arms feature swivels in the biceps and wrists, and hinges in the elbows. The legs have double hinges in the knees, swivels in the thighs, and swivels and hinges in the ankles. Hulk can also swivel at the waist. That’s some damn fine poseability for a character that isn’t known for his ninja-like prowess.
I don’t know what feels stranger, getting a Marvel Universe figure with this many accessories, or seeing The Hulk with this many accessories. Let’s just agree that both are pretty atypical. Still, the Planet/WW Hulk scenario that puts weapons into Hulk’s already-capable-of-mass-destruction-mitts makes me smile and I’m so happy to get a figure of Hulk in this guise. You get a two-handed broadsword, a battle axe and a shield. Both the sword and axe are nicely sculpted with pitting and nicks from wear in battle. The only downside is that neither fit tightly into his hand. He can hold them, but they rattle around a bit. Hey, I had to come up with something to nit pick here! The iron studded, wooden shield is also beautifully sculpted with scrapes and cuts and it clips securely onto the figure’s wrist. Hulk can carry all his gear on his back. The sword fits into the scabbard, the shield clips onto the scabbard and you can tuck the axe through the straps in his rigging. Very cool! Hulk also comes with a standard MU style figure stand. The kind we used to get before Hasbro cheaped out on us. It’s ironic because this figure has no need of it. He’s too big and he stands just fine on his own.
If you’ve been reading my Marvel Monday features, you will no doubt have noted that I’ve become more and more impressed with Hasbro’s efforts with this line. Back when it first started and the novelty of 3 ¾” Marvel figures began to wane, I seriously questioned whether many of the figures were good enough to keep me collecting them. Needless to say, MU has come a long way with the recent waves. Hulk here is an older figure and he was probably one of their great breakaway releases. Compare this dude to most of the previous offerings and he seems way too good to be an MU figure. He set a new standard for the line, a standard that I’ve been seeing reflected more and more in the recent releases. The sculpt, the coloring, the gear, the accessories, the articulation… it’s all perfect. And that’s not a word I like to toss around all willy-nilly. And it’s not a word I use to placate Hulk so he won’t smash me. No, this is quite simply a gorgeous and amazing figure, and unlike a lot of MU releases, he’s a great value at ten bucks. Who would have thought that I could love a Hulk figure as much as I love this guy. Hulk… you will not be going into the Marvel Universe display case right away. No sir, you have earned a place of honor on my desk, so I can play with you on my down time.