Lest you forgot about it, Hasbro’s Marvel Universe 3 1/4″ Scale line is still a live and kicking. Well, maybe not kicking, more like twitching, but either way it’s still a thing. The character selection has been a little hit and miss and I’ve been passing on more figures than usual because of it, but suffice it to say it is still very much on my radar because I love the line so much. On this Marvel Monday, I’m taking a brief interlude from the Legends figures to check out Shanna the She Devil!
The last time I looked at a Universe figure was way back in January, so here’s a refresher on the packaging… it still sucks! It’s black, bland, and boring. I’ve said it before, but this is everything a comic book package shouldn’t be. I miss the old days before the Infinite reboot when we got personalized cards with great character art. What’s that? Why do I care? I just throw them away. I don’t know, maybe it’s the principal of the thing. Maybe I want to be woo’ed. I want Hasbro to wine and dine me with the packaging before I lay my money down. Anyway, about the only thing this packaging does well is show off the figure. I mean, they didn’t even give her proper title on the insert. Maybe they thought “She-Devil” wouldn’t fly in the toy aisles in this day and age.
Let me start out by saying that I have more than a few issues with this figure, but most of them are based on the choices Hasbro went with rather than the execution. If I take Shanna for what she is, she’s fairly well done, although she feels more like one of the earlier Marvel Universe releases than being from the latest crop. New sculpting on the body includes her top, her boots, and a separate sculpted loin cloth hanging over her painted undies, which even has a working sheath for her knife on the back. Her left hand is sculpted into a fist and her right is sculpted to hold the knife. You get some painted arm bands and the ample amount of skin tone is well done.
I’d say my biggest issue here is with the boots. I can’t remember the last time I saw Shanna not being depicted as barefoot. And since I can’t place these legs on any other figure, I have to imagine they were sculpted for this figure. So, hey… if you’re doing the sculpt anyway, Hasbro, why not give us her most common look and sculpt some bare feet? It’s perplexing. Something else that’s odd… Hasbro seems to go out of their way to sculpt belly buttons through the costumes on many of their female figures. Here’s one that’s actually got a bare midriff and you can barely see it. Weird!
Like the body, the portrait is pretty good at least based on the direction they went with it. Shanna has her blonde hair sculpted down over half her face and this would not have been my first choice. An alternate head? Fine, go for it! But the face sculpt (at least half of it) looks so good, why not just let us see it all? I may try to pop the noggins off one of my Universe Sue Storms and see if that one works better.
Articulation takes a few steps back too. The last female figure I looked at in this line was Valkyrie and she was loaded with articulation. Shanna, not so much. The arms have rotating hinges in the shoulders and elbows, but no swivels in the biceps or wrists. The legs are ball jointed at the hips, have double hinges in the knees, and the ankles have hinges and lateral rockers. There’s no articulation in the torso at all and a ball joint in the neck, which is rendered inert by her sculpted hair. For an Olympic-trained athlete, Shanna deserved better.
You get one accessory, and that’s her tiny knife, which fits in the sheath on the back of her belt. Pretty cool, but nothing special.
Make no mistake, this is not in any way a bad figure. The sculpt is solid, the paint is fine, and even while the articulation is dated, it’s still better than most of what we’re seeing on the pegs in this scale these days. Had Hasbro gone a different way with her hair and decided to lose the boots, I would have been a lot happier, but I’m still not sorry I added her to my Universe shelf. And given Hasbro’s predilection for doing the same characters in Universe and Legends scales, I’m hoping that means we might see Shanna appearing in the 6-inch scale in the near future.