Today I’m continuing to open my stack of Marvel Infinite Series and so I did a random grab into the pile and came up with Ares. Cool! While I dig the character well enough in Siege and Age of Ultron, for me Ares is a figure that sells me more on his merits as a great looking figure than as a must-own character. Sure, in the comics he’s an Avenger, but at this point not being an Avenger is practically a club with more exclusive bragging rights. I don’t run into him all that often in my current comic reading selections, but one look at this guy in the package and I was anxious to get him open.
And here is that package. I’m not going to spend a lot of time ragging on it. Suffice it to say, I still don’t like it. What I do like is how well Ares and his massive weapons fill up that bubble. One of the cool things about buying a case of these figures is you can better see the cost offset from one figure to another. For example Ant-Man, while still a great figure, is just a painted scrawny buck with a new head sculpt and a tiny throw away accessory. $10 to $12 bucks for him doesn’t seem like such a great deal. But when he comes in the same case as this bad boy with tons of new sculpting, huge weapons, far more complex paintwork, and just a lot more plastic, everything evens out nicely.
Hot damn, this is an awesome looking figure! I hate to start out with comparisons by dragging another property through the muck, but… aw hell, no I don’t… it’s fun! Let’s do it! Let’s take a moment and look at Mattel’s Multiverse 1989 Batman figure. Here, take a look! Roughly same scale, roughly same price point. That piece of crap is Mattel representing one of DC’s main trinity of characters. Sure, he may be 25 year old Batman (and I do respect the idea that Mattel put an older version on the pegs), but he’s still Batman and a totally half-assed attempt at a figure. Now look at Ares. I don’t want to insult the big guy, but he’s hardly an A-lister and yet as I continue to look at this figure the one thing constantly in the back of my mind is that whoever was in charge of producing him didn’t give two shits that he’s not an A-lister. Nope, they treated this figure as if he’s one of the most important characters in the entire Marvel Universe. Or to put it another way, they just poured on the love.
The sculpting here is an absolutely fabulous mix of old and new. Hey Ares, got a little Hercules in you? You sure do! Most notably those arms and upper legs. Ares sports two wonderfully chiseled slabs of muscle for arms that hang off an impressively large buck and features original sculpting for his belt and grieves and chestplate. Zoom in closer and you can see all sorts of scrapes and cuts on his armor from past skirmishes. Always a nice touch! The head sculpt features a full Greco style helmet with a mowhawk brush and a sculpted ponytail coming out the back. Ares’ portrait is grim and surly. When you take it all in, the costume isn’t terribly complex, but all this attention to detail in the sculpt elevates it to something greater.
The paintwork here is also crazy good. The grieves alone are worth careful study. The weathering is beautiful and the overall finish is totally convincing as battle worn metal. His belt buckle is neatly painted and there’s a wash on it and the leather strapping above it to make it look like actual worn leather. The bronze paint on his helmet looks particularly nice and the whole ensemble is capped off with a crisply printed tampo of a skull with cross swords on his chest.
Ares also shines in the articulation department, offering all the great points I expect to find in these modern MU bucks. The shoulders are rotating hinges, the elbows have single hinges, there are swivels in the biceps and the wrists feature hinges and swivels. The legs are ball jointed at the hips, have double hinges in the knees, swivels in the thighs and hinged ankles. Ares sports a ball joint in the torso and again in the neck. The fact that Ares is a big and chunky figure makes his joints work beautifully. He is tons of fun to play with!
As if all this weren’’t good enough, Ares comes with two bitchin weapons: A sword and an axe. The battle axe is massive with a black head and two silver edges. The shaft has a sculpted grip with painted brown wraps. The sword has a bronze colored guard and pommel and a sculpted brown grip. The broad edge is painted silver and pitted with dings and cuts to show its age and that it’s been well used. Both weapons can be wielded in either hand and the sculpt and paintwork on these pieces are good enough that Hasbro could easily upscale these for 6-inch Legends figures and they would look better than some of the past weapons we received in that line.
Even if you never read a comic with Ares in it, I’d still recommend checking out this figure. He represents a wonderful piece of craftsmanship on Hasbro’s part, made all the more impressive by who he is. I’ll refer you one more time back to the Batman and Mattel analogy. It’s an example of Hasbro setting out to make an exceptional figure regardless of the importance of the character its based on. And while I would definitely recommend him as a wonderful figure straight out of the package, I have a feeling this is one that may get a lot of use by the customizers out there. I’m actually quite excited to put him up against my Boss Fight Studios Vitruvian HACKS Medusas when they arrive around the end of the year.