Welcome, friends, to the last Marvel Monday Review of 2022… and it’s on a Wednesday! Yup, instead of being productive, I decided to be really lazy on Christmas and just drink, eat, loaf around, and watch a bunch of videos and I can’t say as I regret it. But, I didn’t want to crap out on the last Marvel Monday Review, so not only did I bump it to today, but I’ve decided to speed-review the rest of The Controller Wave, so as not to end the year in the middle of a wave! So, that’s four figures plus the Build-A-Figure to check out today. LET’S DO THIS!!!
I already checked out Madam Hydra and Quake, and I didn’t buy the Iron Man from this assortment because he didn’t come with a BAF part, so that leaves us with this happy band of four figures to open. That’s a lot to cover in one sitting, so I’ll be brief where I can. We’ll go ahead and start with Blue Marvel!
I was very happy to see Adam finally get a figure in modern Legends, and I think this one turned out great. The costume is mostly comprised of a painted buck, but you do get fully sculpted boots with laces, plus a belt and a jacket. The coloring on this figure looks pretty sharp, with a mostly blue suit and black and white trim. The paint lines are clean, and thanks to the design of the suit, the unpainted pins in the elbows and knees don’t create a mismatched eyesore. I really like the sculpted stitching on the jacket and the chunky collar.
The head sculpt is excellent, with some great definition in the facial details. The hair is sculpted separately to create a clean hairline and I dig the creasing around his eyes and the prominent brow.
Blue Marvel comes with two sets of hands, one being fists and the other being what looks like accessory holding hands, but he doesn’t come with anything to hold. He does, however, come with some energy effect parts. These are cast in clear blue plastic and fit over his fists. I’m never going to complain about extra hands, but I think Adam would have been fine with just the fists. Either way, I love this figure and he’s definitely one of the highlights of this assortment. Next up… Speedball!
Speedball is a pretty simple figure, at least from the neck down, and built off what appears to be one of the Spider-Man bucks, as I’m pretty sure I recognize the pancake feet, plus he has the lateral crunches in the shoulders. The costume is achieved entirely through paint, but I have to say I really like what they did here. The molecular pattern on his boots, gloves, and belt looks really cool, especially against the blue of the suit.
I do like the head sculpt as well. The goggles are extremely well done, with yellow lenses that show his painted eyes behind them. His tuft of hair is certainly distinctive and you get the same cool molecular pattern on his hood. Very nice!
I’m glad they went for the extra articulated body here, but I think Robbie could have used an extra pair of hands, certainly more so than Blue Marvel. As it is, he’s the only figure of these four that doesn’t come with a second set of hands, so you know I gotta call him out. He only has fists, and I think either relaxed hands or the running kind with the fingers tightly closed into a chop would have suited him really well. Still, a very cool figure! Next… Thor!
This is Herald Thor and of all the figures in this assortment, this is the one I would have liked to single out and review solo if I had just one more Marvel Monday before the end of the year. I really dig everything about this figure. The black tunic and armor pieces over the traditional checkered silver armor looks great, especially with the red belt and bands on the boots and the white added to the tunic. The cape also has some great paint on the interior going from purple to red at the bottom. The spikes in the knee pads and arm bracers are a nice touch too!
The portrait is easily one of the most unique looks we’ve had for the character. He sports extremely long pale blonde hair, a black head band, and his eyes are light blue with white pupils, giving him a really creepy affect. The chiseled facial features give an awesome severity to his expression. This is great stuff!
Thor comes with a translucent blue version of Mjolnir with a lightning part that wraps around it and makes for a really cool effect! You also get two pairs of hands, one being fists and the other including a right hand to hold the hammer and a left hand that looks like it’s poised to cast forth a bolt of lightning.
And we aren’t done yet, because Thor also comes with the Ravens, Hugin and Munin, each of which are unique sculpts. One is posed at rest with his wings tucked in, while the other is in flight. This is an absolutely awesome, and easily my favorite release in this wave! The last figure to open is US Agent!
Yup, I saved the dud for last. I think this is the second release of US Agent in the modern Legends line, as I can recall getting the first release way back in 2012 as part of the third wave. Heck, I even remember also reviewing that figure the week after Christmas, so how’s that for serendipity! And I honestly can’t figure out what the point of this release is, because it’s practically the same costume with just a few tweaks. You get the same red gauntlets and buccaneer boots, the same pattern on the chest, which is a little wider here, and a simpler and cleaner belt, which I think works a bit better for a classic comic look.
The head sculpt appears to be lifted directly from that previous release, and if it’s not well it’s pretty damn similar. I don’t think it’s aged well, nor do I think it’s a particularly great sculpt to begin with. The bulbous nose is off-putting, and the facial features are really soft. I just don’t like it.
You get two pairs of hands, which include one set of fists, a right hand to hold the shield from the edge and a relaxed left hand. These later two hands are perfect for displaying him about to throw the shield. The shield itself has a new paint job and omits the star in the center that the previous release had. It’s equipped with both a peg and a clip, so he can wear it on his back or attached to his wrist. This is an OK figure, but nothing for me to get too excited about. It’s marginally better than the original release, but I’m not sure why we got him again at all. TO THE BUILD A FIGURE!!!
The Controller is your reward for buying six out of the seven figures in this assortment and he goes together exactly like most other BAFs do. Plug the arms and legs and head into the torso and you’re good to go. I’ll freely admit that this BAF was what compelled me to hunt down all the figures in this wave and I’m overall pretty glad I did, as it’s a really nice looking figure, even though the reuse of the collar and shoulder piece from the Deluxe Thanos release is super obvious. The two-tone blue costume looks good and I do like the super glossy finish on the Thanos piece.
The portrait is a real winner too! The Controller’s craggy face looks fantastic and they did a wonderful job with his expression. The deep set pupil-less eyes and the downturned mouth showing a flash of teeth looks like he’s about to kick some serious ass.
And hey, you get two pairs of hands too! And guess what? One of those pairs is a set of fists! The other pair includes a relaxed left hand and a right hand clutching a pair of Slave Discs. Very cool! I will note that while this big guy features all the usual articulation I expect to see in a BAF, the elbows have almost no range of motion because of the way they’re sculpted. You just get the teeniest bit of bend there.
And there you have it, the last wave of Marvel Legends for 2022. Overall, I think this was an excellent assortment with just US Agent there to offer up one slot of mediocrity. The ladies were great, Thor is amazing, I’m very happy to have Blue Marvel, and Speedball was there too! On a side note, this is actually the second to the last complete wave of Marvel Legends that I have in the pipeline to review, although I have quite a few multi-packs waiting to be opened. This coming weekend I’m going to be putting up some of my collecting resolutions for 2023, and one of the big ones is centered around Marvel Legends, so you won’t want to miss that! In the meantime, I’ll see you all back here on Friday for the last review of the year, and I have no idea yet what that will be!
U.S. Agent was my most-wanted from this wave (Speedball a close second), partly because I didn’t start collecting Marvel Legends until after Hasbro’s initial attempt was long gone from stores, and partly because said first attempt used the hilariously undersized “Bucky Cap” body, which had nowhere near enough mass to accurately represent the humanoid slab of beef that John Walker has always been drawn as. This new version is very much welcome and very much-needed (certainly much more so, and much more relevant, than Blue Marvel or another failed attempt at Viper/Madame Hydra).
I held off commenting on this one because it was one of my most anticipated waves of 2022 when it was first announced: I needed a properly-sized USAgent, an updated Madame Hydra, and a Speedball to round out my New Warriors. A new Maria Hill would also be great (no interest in Quake). Don’t know Blue Marvel but hey new character, unlike yet another Iron Man and Thor
And then we get a complete reuse for USAgent, no new parts except for an oversized, ugly lollipopped grandpa melon. And a completely reuse for Madame Hydra (on the worst female body they can find) except for a god-awful, hideous face/head. And a complete reuse for Speedball with ZERO accessories. At this point Maria Hill is the sole saving grace in the wave, and not enough to save the wave on her own.
Ultimately, it was this wave and the X-Men Bonebreaker wave that broke Marvel Legends’ back for me in 2022. The low efforts, the heavy reuses and poor designs (coupled with the new prices) were so egregious, they made me finally throw in my towel. Now that doesn’t mean I don’t want a decent USAgent and Speedball — if these guys hit the discount bins later, I may still pick them up if they ever drop below $10 apiece.
Could not have said it better. It’s a real shame, because I love how prolific this line has been, but it’s been at the cost of quality. Bonebreaker is the last complete wave I’ve purchased so it’ll likely be the last complete wave I review here, unless something really amazing drops.
When Marvel Legends kept to a more reasonable price, I was willing to stomach a couple of lower quality figures in each wave, if that meant getting more characters I wanted. Not exactly glowing praise for any product line, but it was a trade-off many of us accepted and I think Hasbro took it for granted.
Once the prices started skyrocketing closer to premium lines/import figures, customers will inevitably question the value. For me personally (and possibly for many long-time collectors), this all also came at a time when I have 95% of the Marvel characters that I would want on my shelf, and it’s close enough to completion that I’m willing to leave the few remaining holes unfilled.