I’m continuing to push through my sizable backlog of Hasbro’s 3 3/4” Marvel figures. Today I’m popping back to the initial wave of the Infinite Series to check out Eric Williams, aka Grim Reaper! I was thrilled when Hasbro revealed they were finally adding this character to the action figure line. The history of Grim Reaper and his brother Wonder Man is a compelling one and I really like the way the story arc was handled on Earth’s Mightiest Heroes. They also did a pretty good job portraying Grim Reaper as a semi-regular bad ass.
I’m going to try to tone down my repeated criticisms of the Infinite Series packaging, mainly because it’s just getting tiresome. Instead I’ll just take this time to point out that while Grim Reaper has been kicking around the comics for a long time, his character design has remained fairly consistent. Sure, they took a lot of liberties for his animated design in EMH, but the character design on display here is versatile enough to work for a number of different periods throughout the Marvel comics timeline.
Grim Reaper uses a fairly lean buck and relies mostly on paintwork for his costume. The color scheme uses a subtle mix of black and dark blue to give him that great old school comic book style deco. The white skull and crossbones painted on his chest is a bit uneven in the shading, but overall not too bad. The purple cape is sculpted to sweep away from the figure’s legs and it doesn’t reach down to the ground. Both features help to not to inhibit the leg articulation.
The head sculpt here is quite good for the scale. Besides his distinctive mask with the double “horns” protruding from each side, Eric is sporting a pretty crazy expression that gives the figure personality in spades. I’d have to go back to Marvel Universe Constrictor or Bullseye to find a figure of a villain with a portrait as good as this one. The paintwork around the mask is a little sloppy, but you have to get in pretty close to notice it.
Obviously, Grim Reaper’s most notable feature is the scythe grafted onto his right arm by The Tinkerer. The appendage looks good and doesn’t warp too badly despite being cast from very soft plastic. I will take issue with the articulation here, because there doesn’t appear to be a swivel at the post where it is inserted into the arm. It’s a crazy oversight and it really limits some of the attack poses you can get out of him. This restriction is rather disappointing.
The rest of the articulation is both fine and predictable for the line. The arms feature rotating hinges in the shoulders, hinges in the elbows, and swivels in the biceps. There’s also a swivel in Grim Reaper’s left wrist. The legs are ball jointed at the hips and double-hinged at the knees. There are swivels in both the thighs and lower legs, and the ankles have both hinges and lateral rockers. The torso has a swivel in the waist, a ball joint in the chest, and the neck features both a hinge and a ball joint.
And so with the addition of Grim Reaper to my Marvel ranks, I can tick another important villain off my Marvel action figure want list. Overall, I think Hasbro did a nice job with this guy, particularly with that wonderful portrait. The one sticking point for me (no pun intended) remains the lack of a swivel in his scythe. It seems like it had to be pegged in there anyway, and I’m guessing they opted to glue it in, which is a real shame. Besides the ability to rotate it for greater posing, it would have been cool to have it detach as well. It’s not a big deal when he’s standing on the shelf, but it sure puts a damper on the fun when posing and playing around with him.