It seems like a while since I had a new Marvel Universe figure to look at. There are quite a few out there now that I’m after, but they aren’t on the pegs and I’m trying to let patience prevail over paying premiums for these figures on the Internets. Baron Zemo, however, was a release that I wanted very badly. I was pissed beyond belief when Hasbro first released him in a 3-pack SDCC Exclusive, a set that is still almost impossible to find under $100. I could sort of understand Radioactive Man and Tiger Shark going the exclusive route, but Baron Zemo is too prominent a character to be bundled in a hard-to-get set like that. Fortunately, Hasbro came to their senses and Zemo has finally seen a regular carded retail release, making me a very happy camper.
At a quick glance, the current crop of MU cards doesn’t seem all that different, but upon closer inspection it appears Hasbro has gone the dreaded multi-lingual route. If I were a MOC collector this sort of thing would really chaff my ya-ya’s, but fortunately I’m an opener and I’d be just as happy to get this figure wrapped in yesterday’s newspaper. Having foreign gibberish on my card doesn’t bother me at all, so it could even be a foreign edition of yesterday’s newspaper. Apologies to any foreign readers out there for the gibberish remark. Just know that I balk against your language because I’m not smart enough to read it, and so I always assume you’re writing bad things about me.
Anywho, you’ll also note that Hasbro has abandoned the ridiculous Collectible Comic Shot idea. As much as I found those to be insulting, now I’m even more insulted that Hasbro can’t even be bothered to pack in a tiny piece of printed cardboard as a bonus. Sheesh… and here I thought cutting out the figure stands was a low blow! This wave’s clever quip on the back of the card is brought to us by The Watcher, only it’s not really a clever quip at all. He just says “Collect them all!” WTF, The Watcher? Either you have no sense of humor or Hasbro just couldn’t fit anything clever into the bubble and still have room to reprint it in two more languages. Sorry if I sound extra bitchy today, but I’m on antibiotics and I have to tone down my drinking a couple of notches. It’s not going well.
So, Zemo is a good news and bad news scenario depending on your point of view. If you paid out the ass for the SDCC set, you’ll be happy to know that it’s not quite the same figure and that there is one notable change to the sculpt. If you really paid out the ass for the SDCC set, then you may not think the little change warranted laying out the extra bucks for a figure that eventually appeared on the pegs. On the other hand, at least you still got Tiger Shark and Radioactive Man for your troubles. So what’s that change? It’s the boots. The SDCC version has fur lined boot cuffs to match the ones on his shoulders. This retail release just has huge non-descript boot cuffs. I will concede that this difference makes the SDCC version the superior one, but not enough for me to regret not laying out that much extra cash.
Boots aside, what we have here is a fantastic looking figure that really captures the character for me. His buck uses a pleasing shade of purple and a crisp, shiny gold for the boots, gloves, and belt. The spotted fur fringe on his shoulders looks particularly good and the head sports an awful lot of personality for what is basically a guy in a hood. I’ll concede that the paintwash on the cowl and head are a little heavy handed, but it only starts to break down when you get in really close.
The buck feature all the articulation we’ve been getting out of the modern figures. The arms feature ball joints in the shoulders, swivels in the biceps, hinges in the elbows, and ball joints in the wrists. The legs feature ball joints in the hips, swivels in the thighs and at the boots, double hinged knees, and the ankles have hinges and lateral tilts. Lateral tilts in a 3 ¾” figure… Hasbro sometimes I could just kiss you on the mouth! And by you, I mean that hot redhead you have working in accounting. You know who I mean. Zemo was rather pre-posed in the package so I was seriously worried about warped joints, but I’m happy to say that’s not the case. The joints are all solid and not at all bendy as has been the case on some of the more articulated MU figures.
Zemo comes with two weapons. You get a sword and a pistol that looks like a broom-handled Mauser and by extension an awful lot like Han Solo’s blaster, a point about which I have already had a little fun. You may notice that I used some blue-tack in the photos and that’s because Zemo can’t hold either weapon for shit… and that’s really the only gripe I have against this guy.
And so, Hasbro has fixed a very major grievance of mine with this retail release of Baron Zemo. I’m thrilled to finally have this guy on my shelf and now I can finally have him team up with Cobra Commander against the combined forces of Cap, Bucky, and GI Joe! After all, it’s much better to appreciate what is a pretty solid figure of a very desireable character than get all uppity about the exclusive still being the superior release. The truth is there’s plenty to love about this figure just the way it is. Sure, I stand behind my argument that a character like Zemo should never have been an exclusive, but this way at least the diehards who ponied up the money for the Masters of Evil set can still rest easy knowing that they got something special for their money.