It’s that time again at the end of a wave of Marvel Legends where I get to collect all the pieces together and cobble together my Build-A-Figure. Now, I don’t always like to admit it, but there are holes in my Marvel knowledge that come from being selective about my reading. There are characters I only know by name and history, and Man-Thing is certainly one of them. I don’t think he makes an appearance in a single book on my shelf. Still, he’s got a truly twisted background that I really should explore someday, but for now I’ll just have to be satisfied knowing that he’s one of the few Marvel characters that originated from my adopted home state of Florida.
Man-Thing consists of six parts, spread out over the entirety of the aptly named Man-Thing Wave. That includes two arms, two legs, a torso, and a head. Now, I’m not one of them fancy plantologists, but I was able to figure out how to put him together. Doing so, however, require a lot of strength and tolerance for pain in my hands, because this guy did not go together easily. Both the head and the legs required a lot of force and left plant texturing imprinted on the palms of my hands.
While I don’t read his books, I’ve always really liked Man-Thing’s design. It reminds me of something out of the old Inhumanoids action figure line. Hasbro really went all out on the sculpt with this fellow, and other than the bottoms of his feet, I can’t find even the tiniest spot that isn’t covered with some kind of intricately sculpted veggie motif. Even the hinges in his elbows are covered in sculpted detail. That’s pretty cool.
Amidst the tangle of vines, you get some shaggy looking grass hanging off his forearms, palm fronds on his feet, some mushroom caps jutting out of his right thigh, and a mossy buildup on his back. Despite the overload of detail in the sculpt, there isn’t much going on with the paint on this figure. The body itself is mostly just green plastic, with some wash to give some areas more of a yellowish-green look and give the sculpt some depth. Also, he does have his fingernails and toenails painted. I guess what I’m trying to say is some individual paint hits to some of the specific detail would have been nice, but still the figure still looks great. Nonetheless, I’ll bet some people with skills (not myself) could do a beautiful job painting this figure up.
The head sculpt is every bit as good as the body, and this is where I think this design really shines. I noted earlier that he reminds me a bit of The Inhumanoids line, Tendrill to be specific, although going back to a picture of that figure there really isn’t that much resemblance. It’s probably the distinctive tendrils that are formed from his uni-brow that gives him that Inhumanoids/Eldar God vibe. Those rooty tendrils are painted brown and they frame his large red eyes. It really is a great design and this figure carries it splendidly.
The articulation is pretty standard BAF fare. He has rotating hinges in his hips, and these come already attached. The legs attach via the rotating hinges in his thighs. He also has double hinges in his knees, and both hinges and rockers in the ankles. The arms have rotating hinges in the shoulders and wrists, hinged elbows, and swivels in the biceps. The torso has both a swivel in the waist and a hinge for an ab crunch. The neck is ball jointed, but because of the hunched shoulder he can mostly just tilt his head from side to side and look up just a little bit. I should note that my figure’s left arm was fused at the elbow, but a little heat loosened it up.
Of course, in the category of comic book based plant-thing figures, Mattel still takes the top prize with their DC Universe Classics Swamp Thing figure from a little ways back. It’s probably not fair comparing them, since Man-Thing is a retail Build-A-Figure and Swamp Thing was an SDCC Exclusive that ran around thirty or forty bucks, but I couldn’t help myself from checking them out side-by-side. Swamp Thing’s spongy rubber skin is still really cool, but it’s the extra paint apps that really make Swamp Thing stand out.
One of the greatest things about universe building with action figures is that it lets me discover characters I had little to do with before. Sometimes it’s just the design and artistry that I dig, but more often then not it will spark an interest and I’ll go find some books and do some reading. That’s probably going to be the case here with Man-Thing.
And that’s another fantastic wave of Marvel Legends in the bag. Part of me wishes that this was a full-on Netflix Wave with both Luke Cage and Danny Rand included, but then I realize that Blade and Bullseye are my two favorites in this assortment and I should probably be careful about what I wish for. Either way, Hasbro continues is still killing it with Legends. I was originally going to backtrack to either the Sandman Wave or the SDCC Battle For Asgarde set, but instead I think I’ll jump to the Black Panther Wave next, so I can actually look at some of those figures while the movie is still in theaters!