As I may have mentioned last week, I’m stepping away from doing consecutive reviews of particular Marvel Legends waves in order to get to some multipacks, exclusives, and older figures. That’ll probably be the case through to the end of the year, but who knows? Maybe I’ll work at least one more complete wave and Build-A-Figure in before the end of the year. For now, I’m kicking this madness off on this glorious Marvel Monday with a look at the Exclusive Hellfire Club 4-Figure set that was released through Hasbro’s online Pulse store! The set includes The Inner Circle of The Club: Sebastian Shaw, Donald Pierce, Jean Gray (or Selene Gallio if you prefer), and Emma Frost. I originally planned to check out the whole set today, but I ran a little long, so instead we’ll look at the packaging along with Shaw and Pierce, and some accessories, and next week we’ll check out the ladies.
Hasbro has been well known for their elaborate Marvel Legends boxed sets, many of which released as San Diego Comic Con Exclusives. But with no Comic Cons happening, they’ve been seeking other routes for these impressive sets. I think this one was referred to as a PulseCon Exclusive, but whatever the case, it became available to Premium Members of Hasbro Pulse first and then to everyone else later. Now, I have had some terrible experience with Pulse this year. Most of what I pre-order shows up through Amazon Prime first and cheaper, so I wind up cancelling the Pulse pre-orders. I’ve also been shut out on a lot of pre-orders because they sell out so fast. Well, this time I was able to get in and get out without too much bother, but it has since sold out. The packaging here may be their best yet, as it not only relies on a special box, but also multiple cool components of presentation. On the outside, it cuts all the class of the prestigious and exclusive club that it represents. There’s an embossed iron gate on the front to keep the riff-raff out and an impressive gold and crimson foil H-seal in the middle. The back panel of the box features framed portraits of the figures inside.
Break the velcro seal and the front opens to reveal an illustrated portrait of the Inner Circle and it is a magnificent piece of art! The back of this card has an envelope that contains a facsimile letter. The obverse sides of the flaps have portraits of each of the four characters, and finally we get to the tray of figures, presented with a backdrop showing the luxury of the Hellfire Club’s parlor. I’ve managed to pick up nearly all of the modern Legends SDCC Exclusive sets, and none has really come close to how polished the presentation is here. Hasbro just put a ton of love into this one and it shows. So, let’s dig in and we’ll start out with a look at Sebastian Shaw!
Don’t judge me, but I sure do dig me some fancy 18th Century formalwear. Seriously, if it were socially acceptable to dress like this today, I’d be down for it! I’d also go by the name Martin Chuzzlewit and carry a silk hanky and a tin of snuff around with me. And who would have thought we’d get a beautiful example of this historic wardrobe with a Marvel Legends figure! Sebastian’s sculpted apparel includes a navy blue gentleman’s jacket with vest, all sculpted in soft plastic as one piece, with the sleeves sculpted onto the arms. The sculpt is great, the vest isn’t too bulky even if the arms are, and the jacket includes a stylish tail that extends down the backs of the legs. The vest is red with a textured pattern, and the jacket includes brass painted buttons and a flared collar. The jacket sleeves have exposed ruffles that would make Jon Pertwee proud. Superb! His gray culottes end just above his calves to expose his white socks (no doubt silk!) and his buckled shoes. Considering how limited the uses for this body must be, it’s nice to see Hasbro put so much work into it. It’s the perfect outfit for sitting in overstuffed chairs by the fire, sipping brandy, and discussing how you’re going to exert your wealth and power to control the world government.
Hasbro also did an admirable job on Mr. Shaw’s portrait, complete with a vintage-style ponytail, tied with a ribbon, impressive mutton chops, and a devastating widow’s peak. High arched eyebrows and a broad, smug grin, completes the head sculpt nicely. As has often been the case with the Legends villains, this likeness is just brimming with personality. Shaw has an affable face, and those are the villains that you have to watch out for!
Despite his stuffy outfit, Pierce still enjoys all the usual points of articulation I expect out of my Legends dudes. The legs are ball jointed at the hips, have double-hinged knees, swivels in the thighs and the tops of the socks, and the ankles have hinges and lateral rockers. The arms have rotating hinges in the shoulders, double-hinges in the elbows, swivels in the biceps, and hinged pegs in the wrists. There’s a swivel in the waist, an ab-crunch hinge buried up inside that coat, and the neck is both hinged and ball jointed. What a great figure! You might say that its so nice, Hasbro used it twice! In the same boxed set!
Donald Pierce is a straight repaint of Shaw from the neck down. And while it may seem rather cheeky to recycle a whole body in the same set, I honestly don’t mind it here. This costume is so well done and in fairness it works just fine for both characters. It probably doesn’t hurt that since both figures are brand new to me, it doesn’t feel as much like a rehash. I’m not even sure if that makes sense or it’s just that HasBRO kool-ade that I coif working its magic. Now, I will say that I wish Hasbro had added some tiny bit of sculpting trickery to set them apart, like maybe change up the cravat. But I’m still OK with what we got. Pierce’s outfit is decked out in more earthy tones with a brown jacket and slightly green culottes, while his vest is a green. He has the same cravat as his colleague as well as the same shoes.
And once again we see a portrait just brimming with personality. The facial features are wonderfully detailed, the eyes are a striking blue and he has a broad and somewhat imposing smile. While Shaw came across as more congenial to me, Pierce looks to be hiding malice, and not really hiding it too well. The articulation is obviously identical to what we saw with Shaw, but before moving wrapping this up for the day, we can check out some of the gents’ accessories.
For starters, you get a pair of fists, which can be used for either Shaw or Pierce, but I’m going to go ahead and give those to Shaw, because Pierce comes with his very own and very specific replacement cyborg hands! And might I say that there’s nothing quite as cool looking as a bloke in fancy dress sporting a pair of cybernetic meat hooks. The right hand is sculpted as a gun-holding hand and the other is kind of a graspy hand. But wait? Gun holding hand? Guns??? Yup, let’s check out the guns!
These both look familiar, so I’m pretty sure we’ve seen them before and both are very sci-fi designs. No doubt these are the best technology money can buy! The pistol works best with Pierce’s Cyborg hand and Shaw can hold the rifle quite well. Are they shining examples of 6-inch scale weaponry? Nah, not really. They’re cast in black plastic with no paint applications and the sculpts are a little soft. But I’m never going to complain about getting some extra guns in with my action figures.
You also get the Hellfire Book, which is a really cool little sculpt. It’s molded so that it’s perpetually open so that the members can peruse it’s page. The binding has a nice leather-like texture to it and there’s raised letterings sculpted into it. The front cover also bears the Hellfire H-insignia. Yup, the same one that’s on the front of this boxed set. Inside the book there are some charts and squiggly lines to denote text. I’ve been a book collector nearly all my life, so I can really appreciate getting such a cool little book in this scale. Sure Boss Fight Studios has done it better and in a much smaller scale, but this little plastic tome is still really neat.
And finally, you get both Wolverine’s mask and Magneto’s helmet as trophies. These are beautiful little accessories, and I wish there was a little shelf above that fireplace on the backdrop where you could display them. I don’t have anything else to say about these pieces, except that they’re welcome bonuses. And with that, I’m going to break for today. I’m also going to reserve any final judgements on this set until next Monday when I review the other two figures, but so far I’m digging this set more than most of the recent Legends Comic Con Exclusives. In my mind, exclusives should be comprised of figures that were never likely to make it to the toy aisles, and I think that fits these two fancy gents to a tee. Sure, Hasbro has amazed me with the obscurity or downright bizarre nature of some of the characters they’ve sent to the pegs at my local Walmart or Target, but I think these fellows would have been pushing it. Come on back next Monday and we’ll wrap it up with a look at Emma and Jean… and Selene!