Marvel Legends (Mantis Wave): Death’s Head II by Hasbro

It’s been a long road, with a lengthy detour, but I’m finally wrapping up my look at the Mantis Wave of Marvel Legends today. Death’s Head II is the last packaged figure I have to open and then I’ll be back later on this evening with a look at the Build-A-Figure, Mantis.

At this point, I don’t have anything new to say about the packaging, except that you’ll note Death’s Head II does not include a BAF part. Maybe Hasbro realized a lot of people wouldn’t be familiar with the character and thus chose to not make him a mandatory purchase to build Mantis. However, looking at the package, I think it’s more likely that they just couldn’t squeeze anything else in there. Also… “Marvel’s Death’s Head II?” As opposed to all those other Death’s Head II’s? I’d be interested to see what potential copyright infringement made them feel it necessary to do that. That’s just weird. Anyway, I’m anxious to get this guy open, but before I do that. first I’m going to take a moment to ruminate over what a cool time it is to be a comic lover and toy collector, because Hasbro made this delightfully obscure character into a figure and distributed it as a regular retail release to boot! OK, maybe obscure isn’t the right word. After all, his first issue, X-Treme Prejudice hit something like 500,000 copies and was one of UK Marvel’s most exported issues of all time! Hey, Marvel, how many copies of Mighty Captain Marvel did you sell in June? About 20,000? Oooooh. Lemmie, guess, it’s really popular in digital format? Yeah, whatever.

And holy hell is he all kinds of awesome! It’s like someone synthesized all that was great and ridiculous about 90’s comics into one action figure. Death’s Head II (hereafter DHII, because I’m getting damned tired of typing that!) is a super fun character for a few reasons. Sure, he’s an AIM cyborg who absorbed Death Head’s personality to become DHII. Sure, he’s his own sequel! But he also owes much of his extended fictional existence to copyright issues between Marvel and Hasbro. Plus, he can make the amazing claim of being canonical in not only the Marvel Universe, but also the The Transformers and Doctor Who Universes, as well. Did I mention he’s a f’cking cyborg badass?

DHII is built on a generously large blue buck with a hint of metallic sheen to it. While electric blue might not instantly shout out the idea of cyborg killing machine, it did back in the 90’s and to be honest it really looks nice here. He has gold bands wrapped around his lower legs, which produce jagged, curved spikes, and some more of those gold bands encircling his left forearm.  You get those very Colossus-like segmented cyborg biceps with some lovely tarnished steel paint and while his feet are still the same blue as the rest of the body, he also has some sculpted segmented lines there as well. Finally, his belt looks like a bunch of twisted brown organic tendrils that have reached around from his back in order to hold a giant armor plate to protect his cyborg goody sack.

And then you’ve got his beautifully sculpted metamorphic arm! As the name suggests, this monstrosity serves multiple purposes. Besides being a weapon, it is also the interface for DHII’s Cranial Siphon, which enables him to suck out and absorb the personalities and abilities of his victims. Hasbro did a fabulous job on not only the sculpt here, but also the coloring that gradually matches the color of his arm. Otherwise, it’s just an awesome twisted blend of blades, gun barrels, and segmented cables.

The portrait is also excellent and pretty damn grizzly. He’s got a a skull cap and downward pointing horns as well as some disgusting strands of “hair” snaking its way over his shoulders and down his back. The gold mask looks like it’s half melted to his face and his exposed jaws and teeth can be seen underneath. One eye is exposed, while the other is just a blue lens. I’m often very impressed by the head sculpts that Hasbro turns out for their Legends line, but even with that being said, few have given them the opportunity to shine like this guy and they really knocked it out of the park.

The articulation is everything I expect in these bigger Legends bucks. The legs feature ball joints in the hips, swivels in the thighs, double hinges in the knees, hinges in the ankles, and lateral rockers too. The arms have rotating hinges in the shoulders, swivels in the biceps, and hinges in the elbows. The left wrist is a rotating hinge. The torso has a swivel in the waist and an ab crunch hinge in the chest. The neck is both ball jointed and hinged. Oh yeah, DHII also has an extra left hand with an extended finger. I’m not sure whether this is meant to be pointing, or maybe it’s a “come here so I can suck out your identity,” finger. Whatever the case it’s a nice bonus.

When you consider how many well-known Marvel characters still haven’t seen the light of day as a Legends figure, I don’t know whether to be amazed or pissed off that I’m holding Death’s Head II. Nah, just kidding. I could never be pissed off about something like this. He’s awesome! Other characters will get their turns, but it clearly took just the right alignment of the planets, and just the right mix of alcohol and cocaine, for some magnificent bastard at Hasbro to green-light this release. Even if I had no idea who Death’s Head II was, I’d still love this figure. He’s imaginative, fun, and creative, and basically encompasses everything that I loved about comics from his decade. And so, that’s the last of the packaged figures, come on back later tonight, and we’ll wrap up this wave with a quick look at Mantis from Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2! 

2 comments on “Marvel Legends (Mantis Wave): Death’s Head II by Hasbro

  1. Here is my take on the rationale behind “Marvel’s Death’s Head II” labeling!

    The most (in)famous real-life “Death’s Head” is Nazi Germany’s SS Totenkopf (literally translated to “Death’s Head”) units, responsible for manning the concentration camps and a long list of war crimes/crimes against humanity. Marvel UK may have been an edgy, counterculture imprint who didn’t have a problem borrowing the name because it sounded cool, but Hasbro is selling toys to kids! I imagine they just want to be a bit more careful about these things.

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