What? You thought that just because I did a whole week of Marvel Legends last week that you’d be spared Marvel Monday? HA! Just for that I have a good mind to do another Marvel Week. I should, really, because Age of Ultron premiers this Friday here in the US and I am going to be pumped for it all week. But, I do have other stuff to look at so I’ll resist that urge. On the other hand, I can’t promise you won’t see the other Age of Ultron figures from The Thanos Wave appearing here on Friday and Saturday. Anywho, let’s move things along with a look at The Hulk!
Here’s the obligatory package shot. I don’t have a lot new to say other than it’s impressive that Hasbro was able to cram him into a regular sized Legends box and include a BAF part to boot! The top of the package features the Avengers: Age of Ultron logo and the back has a shot of the figure and the usual little snippet about the character. I’ll confess I was really excited to get this figure because The Hulk is another one of those Walmart exclusive Avengers figures that I missed out on last time and I’ve sorely missed having a Legends Hulk in my collection. Of course, this is the Age of Ultron version, so I had to make some compromises. Let’s SMASH the packaging and see what he’s all about.
So, it’s The Hulk. What could they possibly change in terms of design for the new movie? Well, that’s my one sticking minor sticking point here. At some point I guess they designed Bruce Banner some stretchy pants so he doesn’t have to go through all those pairs of torn purple trousers every time he changes. It makes sense, but it departs from The Hulk design that I know and love in a big, big way. I get it, that they’re trying to sell more action figures, but the new pants make me very glad I picked up The Hot Toys Hulk from the first movie and very sad I didn’t get the Legends Hulk from the first movie. Ah well.
Everything else here in terms of sculpt is pretty damn great. I’m going to assume that a lot of this figure is reused from the first Avengers Hulk, which would make sense. The head sculpt is absolutely fantastic. From the broad nose to the gritting teeth, they did a wonderful job captured the Hulk’s likeness for this scale. There are some odd differences in the texturing on the rest of the body, which could tell a lot about Hasbo and their tendency for parts reuse. The torso is totally smooth, whereas there’s a lot of texturing and veins sculpted into the arms. Just for shits and giggles I grabbed my incomplete Ultimate Green Goblin BAF only to find that torso does indeed have some sculpted detail. Why not go with that torso? I’m not sure. Also, the upper legs are textured in line with his new trousers, whereas the bottom of the legs are textured like smooth skin. The part of the pants that extend below his knees are just painted there. No big deal, but worth mentioning.
The articulation here is good on paper, but a little frustrating in practice. First, let’s run down all the points! You get rotating hinges in the shoulders, hips, and wrists. There are double hinges in the elbows and knees. You get swivels in the biceps and thighs. The ankles feature both hinges and some really generous lateral rockers. There is no swivel in the waist, which is a big disappointment, but there is a ball joint in the torso, which helps along with rotation. The head is ball jointed, but sadly there is no hinge, which means that if you put The Hulk in that typical ape-like hunch, you can’t really get him to look forward. Boo! Also, the legs feature a lot of movement, but for most of it, they like to go really wide, giving Hulk a rather uncharacteristic sumo wrestler vibe. Don’t get me wrong, he’s still loads of fun to play with, but there’s some things he just can’t do as well as I’d like.
All gripes aside, Hulk is a great figure, but this is one case where I wish Hasbro had totally cheaped out and just repacked the Hulk from the first movie, especially since that original Hulk is selling for upward of $45 on Teh Ebays these days. Do a pair of pants really matter? Nah. Only when I over think it. The torn pants always represented the unpredictable and savage nature of The Hulk busting its way out of Bruce Banner and it’s certainly a trademark for the character. Giving Hulk a version of a uniform may make sense, but I never saw Hulk as the type to conform, much less allow anyone to brand him with a trademark (in this case, the Avengers “A”). The Thing might wear pants that match his team’s colors, but The Hulk? Really? And yes, I realize these are more creative issues I should be taking up with the movie (and I suppose even the Marvel NOW! comics) and not the figure, but in the end I’m not letting them ruin my enjoyment of either.