Marvel Legends (The First Avenger): Captain America and Peggy Carter by Hasbro

I know, I crapped out on delivering a second review last week, but finding time for FFZ continues to be a struggle. At least I’m here for Marvel Monday again, and I promise that I will have at least one more review for this week. Who knows, maybe even a third. But for now, I am once again saying “Piss off, Randomness!” and bumping a new Marvel Legends acquisition to the front of the line. Let’s check out Captain America: The First Avenger Cap and Peggy two pack!

The initial arc of Marvel movies may be over, but that’s not stopping Hasbro from going back and mining out all the missed opportunities from all those movies. Here we are revisiting the first Captain America movie with a new version of Steve Rogers and the first Peggy Carter figure. The packaging is similar to the First Ten Years presentation with the squared off box and some artwork to reflect Cap’s first movie. You get character shots on each side panel and some multi-lingual bio blurbs on the back. Everything here is collector friendly, and while I’m tempted to keep this box, it’s probably going to be consigned to the dustbin of history. Or at least the one in my kitchen. Let’s start with Cap!

Can you believe it? After all these years Hasbro is still finding new versions of MCU Cap to turn into figures! I have to admit, that this one got me pretty excited from the moment it was shown off. And as it turns out, it was well worth getting excited over. I mean, just check him out! Cap comes decked out in his full WWII gear with a bomber jacket over his costume top, a full array of web-gear, complete with sculpted pouches and a functional holster. His trousers include more sculpted pouches, detailed spats, and a functional sheath for his combat knife.

The web-gear is removable offering a better look at the jacket, and I think the figure displays quite well without it, although I’m sure I’ll be keeping it on him. I like the little touches, like the US sculpted into the flap of the holster, the sculpted bolts along the edges of the sheath, and the individually painted snaps on the pouches. Apart from those dabs of silver, the color palate here is mostly drab military, but the glimpse of blue and white from under his jacket makes for a nice contrast.

The figure comes with two head sculpts and I’ll confess I find them a bit confusing. They appear to be different sculpts, but I’m not sure what the difference is supposed to signify. One has a more pronounced part in the hair and the face looks a tad thinner and possibly younger. At first, I thought one was meant to work better with the helmet, but that doesn’t seem to be the case. Both portraits are decent, but the eyes are rather lifeless, giving them something of a mannequin effect. The helmet is a beautiful piece in and of itself. It fits well, has the chin strap hanging off on the right side, and the goggles look so good, that for a moment, I thought they might be able to be lowered over the eyes, but they are actually permanently attached.

If all that isn’t enough, Cap comes with a bevy of accessories, including a knife, two guns, and two shields. First off, he comes with his M1911 service pistol, which is a beautiful little sculpt. I love the textured finish on the grips and there are lots of details on the slide. The pistol fits perfectly into his holster and can be held in either hand. The combat knife fits into the sheath, and while he can hold it fairly well in his right hand, it does fit rather loosely. I’d say an extra hand with a tighter grip would be in order, but this figure already comes with so much, it’s hard to ask for more.

Next up is his Thompson submachine-gun. This has always been a favorite of mine among WWII small arms and this little version captures its iconic profile quite well. The wooden stock and foregrip are both painted brown, while the rest of the gun is left a bare gray. Nice details include the groove in the magazine where it is supposed to slide in, and the sculpted fixtures for a carry strap.

Moving on to the two shields, first he comes with the original heater-type shield with some crisp and colorful red, white, and blue paint as well as some mud splatter to show that it’s been carried into battle. The reverse of the shield features two carry straps. These are a little tight going over the sculpted sleeves, but I’ve been able to get him to hold it pretty well.

Finally, he comes with the unpainted prototype version of his iconic shield. I suppose this is a cool addition, since I don’t think we’ve seen it as an accessory before. Unfortunately, it’s not all that exciting. The shield itself is just bare silver plastic, which doesn’t look as good as if they had painted it. It does have two straps on the back, and these work much better than the ones on the heater shield. All in all, the inventory of gear is very impressive, but as we’ll see in a moment, the distribution of accessories in this set is woefully lopsided… Let’s move on to Peggy Carter!

Here’s a figure I would have wagered we would never get, and I’m very pleased to be proven wrong. I do, however, have some mixed feelings about the end result. So, let’s talk about the good stuff first! The uniform is quite well done. The belted tunic looks great and I love the sculpting on those tiny lapel pins! The buttons and pins are all carefully painted with a touch of gold and they even painted the seams running up the backs of her stockings. A lovely touch, even if it isn’t terribly convincing. Round out the outfit with some meticulously sculpted stitch lines and you’ve got a fine effort.

The portrait here is good, but I don’t think it’s great. I think most of the resemblance comes from the hair and the outfit. Sure, to my eyes, there’s more than a glimmer of Haley Atwell in there, but I just don’t think this is one of the better MCU head sculpts. And that’s nothing to be ashamed of, because they have all been generally quite good.

So what’s the bad stuff? Well for starters, the plastic skirt renders a great deal of this figure’s articulation useless. You can position her legs and feet a bit to get her to stand, but that’s about it. Allowing for slits in the skirt may not have been accurate, but it would have made for a more fun figure. As it is, the posing here has to take place from the waist up, and that’s a shame, because Agent Carter wasn’t one to shy away from the action. But for me, the biggest downer is that she doesn’t come with any accessories, and that plain sucks. Sure, there’s plenty in the box to make it feel like a good value, but everything belongs to Cap. Why, Hasbro? Why not toss her a gun? The fact that her right hand is clearly sculpted to hold a gun is like rubbing slat in the wound. I would have also liked a clipboard or a file folder with HYDRA or TOP SECRET stamped on it. The fact poor Agent Carter comes with nothing just feels like a big slap in the face.

Despite some nitpicks, I really do love this set. Getting this version of Cap and any version of Agent Carter a major victories for my MCU Legends display. Both figures are solid efforts, but I think Cap came out the big winner in this box. Every aspect of this figure is on point, and while the purpose of the second head may be lost on me, I’m never going to complain about an extra noggin. And even Peggy Carter is by no means bad, but just go back and look how much of this review is about Cap and how much is about Carter. In the end, I just wish Hasbro had divvied up the accessories a bit more fairly. I would have happily given up the unpainted shield to give some goodies to Agent Carter.

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Marvel Legends (Kingpin Wave): Black Cat by Hasbro

Well, look at this! I’m on track with Marvel Monday for three weeks in a row! I feel like I’m finally getting back in the (web) swing of things. Once again I’m tossing randomness in the wind, as I have a hankering to finish me off a Kingpin Build-A-Figure. And I wouldn’t be surprised if this is the wave we’ll be looking at until I complete him. I’m also in a very catty mood as having just adopted a pair of kitties, so let’s check out Black Cat!

I first dipped my toe into this wave when I opened Silver Sable waaaaay back in February. Ah, February. It feels like ten years ago. Before everything in my life started breaking down. What a simpler time that was. Anyway… as already mentioned, today I’m opening up the other femme fatale of the wave, Black Cat, and also adding a Kingpin arm and cane to the mix. We last saw a nice classic version of Black Cat back in the 2014 Ultimate Green Goblin Wave. This time Hasbro is serving up Felicia in her more modern costume.

And, oh boy, I am not fond of this look for her. Felicia still dons a black bodysuit with furry fringe on the lower legs, forearms, and collar, but this time the fringe is left black and it just doesn’t have that same great pop as her classic look. This costume also adds a pair of yellow cat eyes above her chest, and to me these just look dopey. All I can say is the new and longer style of the fur fringe gives her an interesting silhouette, but I do prefer the curvier look of Classic Felicia.

The costume is rounded out by the gray whip, which is coiled around her waist as a belt and hangs down behind her like a kitty tail. I love the idea here, but I’m not a fan of the whip being just bare grey plastic. Now keep in mind, all of my criticisms here rest firmly in the suit design. As far as the figure itself goes, Hasbro did a nice job bringing it to plastic form. The sculpted fur fringe all looks good and the attention to detail shown in the tiny cat-head zipper is fantastic.

The head sculpt here is also worthy of kudos. Is it better than the previous Black Cat. Mmm… not really, but it is good. Here Felicia sports a big toothy grin as if she’s flaunting her latest stolen bauble. Her white hair is sculpted to be straighter and more form-fitting to her head. I also like that the domino mask is sculpted as well as painted. This portrait is definitely a solid piece of work, and easily my favorite thing about the whole figure.

Articulation is identical to Silver Sable, but since it’s been forever since I reviewed her, I’ll go ahead and do the rundown again. You get rotating hinges in the shoulders, elbows, and wrists. The legs have ball joints at the hips, swivels at the thighs, double-hinges in the knees, and both hinges and lateral rockers in the ankles. She has a ball joint under her chest and both a ball joint and hinge in the neck. It’s mostly the same old stuff, but I will say that this figure’s elbows have a better range of motion than the previous Black Cat.

Black Cat comes with one accessory, her whip, and once again I am not a fan. The segmented silver plastic makes it look more like one of Omega Red’s tendrils than it does a whip. It’s also sculpted in a fairly generic curvy pattern that doesn’t lend itself all that well to posing. And isn’t the whip and belt supposed to be the same? If that’s the case, why didn’t they make it so that it can be removed from her waist with a peg or something? It just looks silly with her wearing it and wielding it at the same time. Harrumph.

This is one of those instances where I have to come away with a resounding Meh. This figure is mostly well done, but it’s not my Black Cat. I just don’t like the costume at all and with that being the case it’s hard to really enjoy the figure. Indeed, if it weren’t for the BAF parts, I probably would have given this kitty a pass. And that’s really saying something, because y’all know how much I love cats.

Star Wars Black (Rebels): Ezra and Chopper by Hasbro

No, I’m not back to my regular schedule yet, but I am happy to be back with a second update this week. Progress! And I decided to do two figures today to make up for the fewer updates. While I still have a pretty big backlog of Star Wars figures to open and review, today I’m going with a pair of more recent acquisitions. It’s no secret that I’ve been a huge fan of the 6-inch Black Series Rebels figures and with the release of Ezra and Chopper, we’re getting ever so close to having a full set of The Ghost crew! Let’s take a look!

It’s the same old packaging! It would have been cool if they did a little something fresh for the Rebels figures, but then I don’t keep these boxes anyway, so do I really care? Nah! They are, however, collector friendly, so if you are in a mind to keep being able to take them out and return them to the box, well there’s nothing stopping you. You get the usual black box with red inserts, monochrome character art on the front, and multi-lingual bio on the back. I had to go online for these since the stores in my area have had the same DJ and Solo figures clogging their pegs forever. Let’s go ahead and start with Ezra.

I’m not usually a big fan of what passes for fashion in the Star Wars universe. A lot of the casual attire comes off to me as boring and flat. That’s not the case with Ezra here. He wears what appears to be a flight jumpsuit, with the lower left leg torn away above the knee, revealing a brown pants leg and piece of knee armor. The right lower leg is covered with a piece of white armor. He lacks the usual control box and straps commonly found on the flight suits, but he does have a waist belt with a holster and pouch, each of which secure to his legs with thigh straps. The outfit is rounded out by a pair of green, fingerless gloves, and his familiar vest with short sleeves and logo on the back. I think Hasbro did a fine job recreating all the little details here, both in terms of sculpt and paintwork. The suit has sculpted rumples, stitch lines and pocket, while the texturing on the jacket looks great. The yellow fringe could have been sharper. Or maybe it was applied intentionally rough to give it a weathered look. At least the logo on the back is nice and crisp.

The holster on his right hip is really just a hook with a flat flap for his lightsaber to rest against. It was a little tough to get it looped in there the first few times, but I got it to work eventually.

Of course, these figures are more realistic takes on the very stylized character designs from the show, and I’m always intrigued to see how they are going to turn out. I was a little worried about Ezra since he always struck me as having one of the odder looks in the series. There was something about his nose that looked really bizarre to me. Nonetheless, the portrait that Hasbro came up with here looks really good. The finish on the skin is a bit too waxy, making him look like he’s sweating, but as for the face sculpt, they definitely managed to make him easily recognizable while casting off the stylized look. The hair is sculpted as a separate piece to give it some depth and it falls around the face in a very convincing manner. It also features some nice purple highlights.

Of course, Ezra comes with his trusty lightsaber-blaster combo, which fits comfortably into either of his hands. I was not a big fan of this weapon early on in the series, I thought it was gimmicky, but I’ve grown to dig it quite a bit. This version looks good for what is a pretty small accessory. It even has multiple paint apps. Obviously, the lightsaber blade is removable, but it was really hard to get out the first time I tried. I was afraid to twist it and have the peg twist off of the blade so I just had to keep pulling on it until it finally gave way.

He also comes with his Imperial cadet helmet. It’s a great looking piece, exhibiting that lovely McQuarrie flavor, and fits over the figure’s head perfectly.The black and red paint apps are overall pretty sharp and crisp.

The articulation here is pretty standard stuff for a 6-inch Black Series figure. Ezra’s arms have rotating hinges in the shoulders, elbows, and wrists. His legs are ball jointed at the hips, have swivels in the thighs, double-hinges in the knees, and the ankles have both hinges and lateral rockers. The torso has a ball joint under the chest, and the neck has both a hinge and a ball joint. Ezra is lots of fun to play around with and I am absolutely delighted with how he turned out. Let’s move on to Chopper!

Chopper would have been an easy figure to cheap-out on since he’s so small, but I’m happy to say that Hasbro went the opposite route and instead poured the love into this grumpy little rust-bucket. Indeed, the most surprising thing for me after getting Chopper out of the box is that he feels so substantial. A lot of that has to do with the crazy depth in some of the sculpted details. Besides the panel lining and bolts, you get some components that have been sculpted separately and inserted into the open compartments. I particularly love the yellow square plate that’s just bolted haphazardly on the front. Granted, there’s a lot more detail on the front of Chopper’s body than the back, but I think that’s more a characteristic of the droid’s design than it is a cop-out on Hasbro’s part. Even the tiny eyes and the radar dish are wonderfully realized. And the sculpt can’t take all the credit, because the paint features some nice rust-weathering, in addition to the orange and yellow bits.

Chopper includes a retractable third leg with the beefy little tire on it. There’s no gimmick connecting it to the head rotation, like we saw in the Black Series Astromechs. The column is just held in there by friction so you can rotate it as well as push it in and pull it out. Naturally the side legs rotate back to put him in an ambulatory position and he looks great doing it.

Chopper comes with a replacement left leg, which was a plot point in one of the episodes. It’s definitely a cool bonus and I haven’t decided which way I’m going to display him yet. I am leaning toward the different one because it gives Chopper even more of a junky asymmetrical look.

Of course, you can’t have Chopper without what I like to call his tantrum arms. These pull out from the sides of his head and are remarkably sturdy and easy to manipulate. He also has a utility arm that can fold out from the horizontal panel just under his head. These three appendages even feature some articulation at about the midpoints.

Chopper’s final surprise is a rocket jet, which can replace his third leg, and has a thrust effect part. And since he can’t stand with this piece in, Hasbro included a larger effect part that serves as a stand for when Chopper is in flight mode. Yup, Hasbro really went all out on this little guy. In many ways I think this figure is executed way better than their original Black Series R2-D2. He’s chunky and fun, and he has so many extras that I would have never expected. I think the best thing I can say about this little fella is that he feels like a decent value even at the regular twenty dollar price tag.

And so Hasbro continues to hit these Black Series Rebel figures out of the park. I’ve loved them all, and I think Ezra and Chopper may even be the best ones yet. Indeed, I think I’d be comfortable saying that I think these are some of the best Black Series figures, period! Surely, they can’t stop now and I’m hoping to see Zeb revealed in the next couple of days. He may be a little tougher to do in this realistic style, but I have faith that Hasbro will be able to pull it off. And hell, I’d also like to see them continue and give us some of the baddies from the series as well. And that’s a wrap for this week. Slowly but surely I’m trying to come back. I should be on track for Marvel Monday and then we’ll see how much time I have for the week’s content after that. Thanks for your patience!

Marvel Legends (Caliban Wave): Blink by Hasbro

I’m here to try to get Marvel Mondays back on track and this makes two in a row, which is a nice start. I actually began writing this review weeks ago and the original intro is no longer relevant, so let’s just scrap it. Blink is a recent addition to my Marvel Legends pile of shame, and I didn’t feel like digging through the pile for the sake of randomness, so let’s just jump right in and check her out!

It’s an interesting time to be an X-Men fan. The movie rights are now solidified with the MCU. Marvel is shaking up the X-Men comics and it sounds like they’re handing the reigns to Jonathan Hickman. And the X-Men are rapidly catching up to Spider-Man as the new darlings of the Marvel Legends line. There have been more than a few great waves of Marvel’s Mutants hitting the pegs, offering up some great Triple-A classic characters, as well as some of the lower tier ones, like Blink here. I guess it didn’t hurt that Blink appeared in live action X-Men spin-off series, The Gifted, but I can’t say as I watched it.

And here she is out of the box and looking like she just rode cross-country on a Bison. Yeah, before even getting into the figure, I have to mention that Blink came off the tray with her legs warped all to hell. I knew this would be the case before I even opened her. It’s easy to tell by the way she’s packaged, and oh boy is this a pet peeve of mine. Why would you knowingly damage a figure by posing it a certain way in the box? I’m sure I will have some luck straightening out those gams, but I’m not going to do Hasbro the favor of fixing the figure before reviewing it. This shit is just adding more misery to my life. But setting aside her bow-legged-ness, Blink feels a lot like the recent release of Mystique. I don’t think the body is a total reuse, but it’s close enough and when you couple that with the sculpted belt and sash, and the similarities in painted costume, it’s hard to shake that flavor of sameness. I’m not complaining, the figure is definitely faithful to the character design and I appreciate the extra touches like the sculpting on the tops of her buccaneer boots and the studded choker that matches her belt. Plus, the sash on the belt is pretty convincing as the lower extension of her painted dress. Although I do find the way it’s pinched almost the same on the front and back to be a little odd looking. The coloring here is also fine. I like the mauve they used for her skin and the green for the dress, sleeves, and boots. The studs on the belt and choker are also neatly painted.

And I certainly have no complaints regarding the head sculpt. She’s definitely a Mutant hottie, with well defined features, her ears have points, and I love the way they sculpted her hair, giving the portrait a great sense of dimension and character.The markings on her face are sharp, and the thick eye-liner around her squinting yellow eyes looks great. Bravo on the portrait, Hasbro!

Blink comes with three effect parts, all showcasing her teleport capabilities. First up is this portal effect. It’s cast in semi-translucent hot pink plastic and it’s pretty fun to play around with. By now y’all should know that I’m never too enamored with effect parts, especially not the ones that Hasbro tends to churn out, but this one is easy to incorporate onto the shelf for display and I think it truly adds something to the figure.

Next up, you get two teleport spikes, for lack of a better word. She flings these at people and objects to teleport them. There isn’t a lot more to say about them, other than she can hold them in each of her hands.

As I’ve said many times over, Marvel Legends has been great for universe building, and that means getting characters like Blink right alongside heavier hitters like Beast, Jubilee, and Gambit. Maybe she wasn’t all that high up on my list, but she was definitely on it, and I’m happy to be able to cross her off of it. And from sculpt to paint, they did a fine job with her. No, I’m not happy about the warped legs, andI should be able to fix that with a little hot water or a blow dryer, but come on, Hasbro. You’ve been in this game long enough that you shouldn’t be making mistakes like that.

Kitties!

Sorry, folks. I did have more content planned for this week. I was soooo close to completing a review for yesterday but, if you follow me on Twitter than you already know that I got caught up in adopting some kitties!

I went to the shelter on Thursday to turn in an application and meet with the cats. There were so many great kitties that needed homes, and I probably spent an hour and a half going into the Cat Pods and petting and playing with them. I narrowed it down to a handful and told the people at the shelter that I would be back on Friday to choose. I was aiming for a chill cat around 4 or 5 years old. But in the end, I came away with a two-year-old bonded brother and sister. Meet Jade and Lilly!

When I met these kitties I didn’t even know they were siblings, but Lilly was rubbing on my leg and Jade was rolling over in his bed soliciting belly rubs. When I found out that they were a bonded pair, I realized that I had to adopt them. Once I got them home, I knew I made the right choice. They explored a bit, ate their dinners, and then proceeded to stretch out on the floor and go to sleep like they had lived here their whole lives. I fell asleep on the sofa and when I woke up, they were both sleeping on top of me.

Yeah, they really do love each other. I can’t believe how sweet, gentle, and well-mannered they are, moreover how quickly I fell in love with them. Soooo… thank you for allowing me this indulgence. New content is coming. I have a Marvel Monday almost ready to go for next week and I’ve got another two reviews in the pipe for later in the week. Thanks for your patience!

Marvel Legends (Spider-Man Homecoming): Spider-Man and MJ by Hasbro

As promised, I’m back today, after a long and painful hiatus, serving up a new Marvel Monday review. I’m going to skip a lengthy preamble about coming back, and just jump right in. Hopefully I won’t be too rusty… So, I haven’t purchased many new toys in my absence, but I have plenty on the stack to get through, and my Marvel Legends backlog is as big as ever. I thought I’d bump today’s set to the top of the list, since I just saw Spider-Man: Far From Home last week and I’m still riding that Web-Head High. Wow, what a fun movie that was!

I want to say this set was a Target Exclusive, but there’s nothing on the package that calls it out, so don’t quote me on that. I just know that it showed up on my doorstep from Target, and up until that point I had completely forgotten that I pre-ordered it. And yes, it’s based on Homecoming, despite the fact that it shipped closer to the new movie than the former one. Included in the box is a variant of Spider-Man as well as a figure that I never thought we’d get… it’s the MCU version of MJ! The figures come in a standard two-pack Legends window box with some stills from the movie on the side panels and a great look at the goodies from the front. All in all, the package makes for an attractive display piece, but since available space continues to be at a premium around here, I’m gonna shred this box all to hell. Let’s start with Spider-Man!

So, this is Spidey in his original Stark-made Homecoming suit, while wearing both a hoodie and his school blazer over it. I expected this figure to borrow heavily from the last Homecoming Spidey, but there’s actually quite a bit of new work here. The legs appear to be the same sculpts, but these are painted much better than what I got on the previous figure. The blue and red looks a bit more vibrant, but the most notable difference is how much clearer the panel lining is on the blue parts. It can barely be seen on the original version, but here it’s just so much more prominent. The torso looks similar to the other figure, but it’s actually new as it doesn’t include the lateral shoulder crunches. The hit to articulation is a bummer, but it makes sense that these had to be omitted to accommodate the jacket and blazer.

The jacket and blazer are each cast from separate pieces of soft plastic and layered onto each other, which looks great. If you peel aside the blazer, you can see that the jacket under it is really just a frame made up of the exposed zipper edges and the hood. I’m guessing they went this route so it wouldn’t look too puffy and I think it was a good decision. The bright yellow blazer pops against the blue and red of the costume, includes some sculpted stitch lines, pockets, and even has the crest of the Midtown School of Science & Technology printed on it. As always the sleeves are sculpted as part of the arms, and apart from the absent shoulder crunches, the articulation is identical to the previous Spider-Man figure.

Alas, my big gripe with this figure is the head, which isn’t nearly as well done as the predecessor. The big issue here is that the white paint used for the eyes is badly misaligned. Also, I think the shading around the eyes looks weird. I’m not sure if this was supposed to convey shadow or if it’s just a sloppy job printing the web lines, but I don’t care for how it came out at all. Luckily the heads are swappable, but that doesn’t help when I plan on displaying both figures together.

Spidey comes with two sets of hands. You get the regular fists and the usual thwippy hands. Nothing new here, but I’m glad to see they packed in some options. All in all, this isn’t a bad figure, I just wish the head was painted better. I don’t know if I would call it essential, but I think him wearing the blazer is pretty iconic to this film, so I’m certainly happy to have it. Moving on to MJ…

So yeah, this was the figure I thought we’d never get. At least not from the first film, where her identity wasn’t even revealed until the end. Although thanks to casting leaks, most of us had gotten wind of it by the time the film premiered. MJ’s wardrobe didn’t really stand out for me, but I recall she sported something of a grunge look for most of the film, and this figure definitely reflects that. You get a black top, gray and black jacket, gray pants and black boots. It’s not the flashy stuff I’m used to comic book MJ wearing, but it reflects the new character pretty well. A number of the parts here look familiar, but it also looks like Hasbro invested in some new tooling. The jacket features the usual soft plastic vest with the sleeves sculpted on the arms and it looks fine. If this isn’t what I would call a stand-out figure, it’s more because of the design of the wardrobe than it is any failing on Hasbro’s part. In short, it’s perfectly fine.

What’s better than perfectly fine are the two head-sculpts. Hasbro did a beautiful job capturing Zendaya’s likeness, and I’d even go so far as to say this is some of their best work. The first head features her hair down and a rather perturbed expression. Lets not forget that MJ spent most of her time in the film looking skeptical or just plain scowling. Either way, I think they did a wonderful job with this one. If I had to throw out a gripe it would be that the hinge in the neck stands out quite a bit. But I’m really looking for nits to pick.

The alternate head features MJ’s hair tied back with a number of strands falling down the right side of her face and covering her cheek. This head also features a smiling expression, which is a nice contrast to the glowering alternative. Both sculpts capture her likeness perfectly, but I’m probably going to be partial to displaying my figure with the second head.

Like Spider-Man, MJ comes with two sets of hands. One pair feature splayed fingers, the other pair features a right fist and a left accessory holding hand. Nope, she doesn’t come with any accessories to hold, but I’m sure I could dig something out for her. As for the articulation, this is pretty standard stuff for the female Legends figures. The legs have ball joints in the hips, swivels in the thighs, double hinges in the knees, and hinges and rockers in the ankles. The arms have rotating hinges in the shoulders, elbows, and wrists. The torso features a ball joint under the chest, and the neck is both hinged and ball jointed.

As I mentioned earlier, I was interested in this set enough that I pre-ordered it. That’s something I don’t often do with Legends figures these days, because there are just so many of them coming out in any given month. And as it turns out I like these figures a lot, even if the Spider-Man head has room for improvement. I’m not sure I would call this a must-have, although with MJ playing a much bigger part in Far From Home, I wonder if she’ll get another figure in the near future. If not, I suppose she’s the real draw of this set. I dig the school blazer Spidey well enough, but I wouldn’t consider it essential. And that’s a wrap for my first review back. I do hope to be back again before the end of the week with something else, but it will all depend on how much time I get to spend at home in the next few days!

Almost there…

With about a month and a half since my last review, this has been the longest hiatus that this stupid toy blog has seen in all it’s 8+ years. And believe me, my absence has not been fueled by any lack of interest or failings of motivation. Writing about toys has always been therapeutic for me. It’s gotten me through some bad times, but this year has been the darkest time in my life and while fiddling with this blog would have helped, the fact is I literally have not been home long enough in the past couple months to churn anything out of any meaning or quality.

I am still down from my father passing away in April. My mother’s mental condition has gone off the cliff to the point where she cannot be left alone for more than an hour or so. My cat and best friend of 11 years passed away earlier this month, and I don’t have a lot keeping me going. If you follow me on Twitter, this is old news, but I thought I’d throw it out here for those that don’t. Nearly all my waking hours have been spent either at work or at my Mom’s house, watching over her, playing my Nintendo Switch, and engaging in some crazy retail therapy of the comic book variety. I’ve sworn off buying any new toys until I start going through the massive pile in my closet.

So when is that all going to happen? Well, I honestly had hoped that I would have been back in action by today, which is the whole reason I’m stopping by. I’m not there yet, but I feel as if I’m almost there. I’m making a commitment to myself to have a Marvel Monday up for next week, and then I’ll see where I go from here. If you’ve been checking back, I’m grateful for your patience, and hope maybe you’ve found some entertainment in the archives. If you’ve wandered off, I hope you’ll one day come back. And for all of you who sent out sympathies and words of encouragement, be it through emails here or DMs on Twitter, I can’t tell you how much it has all meant to me.

Hope to see you next Monday.

It’s only now some four weeks later that I can even bear to go through my pictures and post one of you in memory and tribute, and still even now I find myself tearing up. Baron, I have missed you every day since your passing and I feel as if I always will. You and I fell in together strictly by chance and while it’s true I saved your life by adopting you, you saved mine many times since, when your companionship was the only thing that kept me going. And while I will be looking to adopt another cat in the near future, it’s only to fill the hole left in my heart. Rest easy, knowing that yours was a friendship I could never, nor would ever seek, to replace. Rest in Peace, my friend.  

Marvel Legends (Sauron Wave): Sauron Build-A-Figure by Hasbro

Not much content last week, but if you knew what an achievement it was for me to find the time just to do this belated Marvel Monday on Wednesday, you’d forgive me. And who knows, maybe I can squeeze in a second review in this weekend, but I don’t want to make any crazy promises. Last time I opened Omega Red, the last figure in the Sauron Wave, and that means it’s time to cobble another Build-A-Figure together. I’ve been looking forward to completing Sauron for a while now, so let’s check him out…

When it comes to fun and crazy characters, Sauron ranks pretty high up there for me. Then again I’m usually biased toward anything related to The Savage Land. And appropriately enough, Sauron is a little different than your average BAF. He still requires the usual six pieces, four of which consist of the arms and legs, but the head is already attached to the torso and that sixth piece is his tail. And technically, the arms each consist of two pieces, as part of the wings are on detachable hinges to allow them to collapse. Hasbro could have easily milked this BAF for two more figures and packaged those wings separately. But despite the little change-up, this Build-A-Figure is still pretty easy to put together. And the results are indeed one of the most unique and interesting BAFs that we’ve had in a while.

Oh yeah, I’m in love! You know all those figures we get with just a bit of new sculpting and mostly painted costumes? Well, those are what allow for figures like this one. Sauron features a ton of new sculpting and unique parts, and is as much a love letter to collectors as we’re likely to see. The body is covered with sculpted scales, bumps, and all around great texturing. They even did a nice job sculpting the sinews and muscles in the arms and legs. There’s hardly any area on this figure that doesn’t feature some kind of detail. Even the primitive belt and pouches look great. And while the arms and legs mostly feature a chalky green skin tone, the chest is spruced up with some yellow highlights. The tail is cast in a soft plastic, so there’s some room for bending there, and it also helps to form a support as Sauron’s wings can make him a little back heavy with some poses. And hey… how about them wings?

Each wing is made of three pieces, which are designed to collapse inward and spread outward, based on Sauron’s arm movements. These work really well, and are a huge improvement over wings we’ve seen on some past Marvel figures, especially in the smaller 4-inch scale. I’m looking at you, Vulture and Falcon! And like the body, these wing pieces are positively covered with textured detail. The membranes show filaments crossing and crisscrossing each other, and there are even little places here and there where the membrane has worn through. The coloring is also fantastic, with the same green used for the body near the skeletal frame, and the membrane itself transitioning to yellow.

The portrait is also superb. You get more of the same scaly and bumpy skin texture, a pair of beady red eyes, and some nice color gradation as the skin tone goes from green in the back to a sort of yellow-ochre toward the tip of the beak. But the real show here comes when you open the articulated jaws and have a look inside that mouth. The individually sculpted and painted teeth frame a lumpy red tongue, which has a little curl at the end. Even among the admittedly small sampling of Pterodactyl Men action figures, Sauron here is oozing personality.

Normally the rundown of articulation on these Marvel Legends bores me to tears. It’s always serviceable, but almost always the same. Here we get some differences thanks to the unique nature of the character. The legs remain pretty much true to form, with double hinges in the knees, hinges and lateral rockers in the ankles, and swivels up near the hips where the legs connect. The torso features a ball joint just above the waist and under the abs. The head mounts on a neck stalk with a ball joint and the stalk being able to slide forward and back in a slot. The arms are ball jointed at the shoulders and wrists, with swivels in the biceps as usual, but only single hinges in the elbows. Finally, the larger wing pieces are pegged in so they can swivel.

No doubt about it, Sauron is one of the most unique BAFs we’ve had in a while, and definitely a prime example of a figure that could never have been executed as a pack-in, thereby making great use of the Build-A-Figure format. Hasbro went all out on this guy, and I have to imagine that even collectors who aren’t familiar with the character, will have to concede that this is one absolutely gorgeous figure.

Marvel Legends (Sauron Wave): Omega Red by Hasbro

Hey, look! I showed up this week! I hope you weren’t waiting long. I’ve decided that if I can only manage one review a week this month (but I am aiming for better!), I’m going to keep the Marvel Legends love going, because that’s the one line where I’m backlogged the most. Although, with everything else piling up these past few weeks, everything is backlogged. So, no random grab this week, instead I’m going straight for the last figure I have to open in the Sauron Wave… Omega Red!

This bastard last graced FFZ back in 2014 when I reviewed the excellent 4-inch Marvel Universe version. It was a great figure, but even back in 2014 it seemed like Universe was getting steamrolled by Legends Now, that line is mostly just a memory that I keep in a box deep down in the bottom of the Toy Closet. Meanwhile, 6-inch Legends has become the dominant scale for true universe building. What a crazy, wonderful time it is to collect Marvel figures! Well, let’s open this asshole up and see if this bigger version is just as good.

Just as good? I’d say even better. Not to rag on the little guy, but I was in love with this figure the moment I got him out of the box. Or probably even before. To be fair, a lot of that comes from the character design, which I’ve always adored. This is every bit of that crazy, colorful, and bigger than life 90’s X-Men crack that I wish I could just inject right into my veins. And oh boy does it work beautifully as an action figure! OK, let’s give Hasbro the credit for executing it so brilliantly. Arkady is built on an appropriately beefy buck, which is a huge improvement over Red’s last Legends appearance. The bulk of the figure is cast in a snappy red plastic, with chalky white on the arms. New sculpting includes the massive knee and shoulder pads, harness, and the gauntlets which house his Carbonadium tendrils. I’ll circle back to those in just a bit. All in all, the costume here is just a nice mix of simple buck enhanced with add-on parts. I particularly dig the texturing in the shoulder armor and chest straps, as well as the painted bands on the canisters. The lick of silver paint on the gauntlets and kneepads looks great, as do the Omega symbols on the backs of his hands.

Hasbro continues to churn out some amazing portraits in Legends, and I tend to think the villains are among the best of the best. And here, Omega Red looks every bit the glorious monster that he is. He sports a frightfully wicked visage with his unsettling grimace and his face twisted into a snarl of rage. His blonde hair cascades down each side of his head and is partly kept in check with his red headband embossed with the Omega symbol. The rest of his coif is divided between spilling down his back and pluming out in a curiously placed ponytail. Arkady has always struck me as one of the more terrifying X-Men villains and this portrait lives up to my fears and expectations.

Omega Red’s tendrils allow for three display options. You can remove them entirely for a completely retracted look. You can put in the short ones, or you can go full-on Carbonadium mayhem with the really long ones. Both sets simply plug into the holes in the gauntlets, and you can use either one for either arm for extra display options.  Obviously, the longer tendrils are the most fun. They are cast in an extremely bendy plastic, which makes it easy to wrap them around other figures so Red can leach their energy.

And articulation adds to the fun too, because Omega Red features all those great points of poseability that I’ve come to expect in my Legends action figures. The legs have ball joints in the hips, double hinges in the knees, swivels in the thighs, and both hinges and lateral rockers in the ankles. The arms have rotating hinges in the shoulders and wrists, double hinges in the elbows, and swivels in the biceps. You get a swivel in the waist, an ab crunch hinge in the chest, and the neck is both ball jointed and hinged.

The only reason I can’t come away saying Omega Red is the hands-down best figure in this wave is because Bishop was in here too. And between the two of them, they make up for Hasbro’s rather dubious idea of cramming two novelty Deadpool variants into one assortment. If I were really pressed to pick a favorite, I would probably have to give the nod to Bishop, but there’s no shame in that for Omega Red, because it is really close, and both of them are absolutely fantastic figures. Now, normally I like to do a double feature when I get to the end of a wave and knock off the Build-A-Figure too, but it was a struggle for time just to get this one done, so right now I’m going to pencil the Sauron BAF in for next week. Because, if I get time to squeeze in another review this week, it’ll be something non-Marvel. Otherwise, I’ll see you back here next Monday. Fingers crossed.

Marvel Legends (Sauron Wave) Deadpools by Hasbro

Real life continues to be a nightmare of a challenge for me and it definitely didn’t leave any time to write content for FFZ. This week I’ll be back to a light schedule, beyond that we’ll see how things go. Hopefully in a month or so, I can come back in full force. Obviously, I missed Marvel Monday, but with so many Legends left to open, I decided to just bump it to today. And since I technically missed two Marvel Mondays, let’s do two figures today. Time to check out some Deadpools!

One novelty Deadpool variant is fun, but packing two of them into one wave is a little much. And that’s coming from an unabashed Deadpool fan. I can only imagine how salty the non-fans are for having to buy these figures to complete their Sauron BAF. And surprisingly, neither of these saw the huge price drop at online retailers that I anticipated. On the flipside, these have been clogging the pegs in my local toy aisles for a while now. I guess we’ll start with Underpants Pool.

No-Pants-Pool lives up to his name as he’s fully-suited topside, but lacking a pair of trousers down yonder. I have to hand it to Hasbro, they really committed to this idea with a lot of new sculpting. It’s hard to believe we’ll see these legs turn up anywhere else, and as a couple of one-off parts, that makes it even more impressive. The arms and torso, we’ve seen before, but they are enhanced by the white boxer shorts with adorable pink hearts. We’ve seen the belt before, and that’s fine, as it’s a good sculpt and has the ‘Pool Logo painted onto the buckle. I have one gripe with the belt, but I’ll swing back to that in a bit. His nasty bare legs represent a medley of exposed muscles and sores. He’s got one nasty, sagging grey sock on his right foot and a pair of pink slippers on his tootsies.

One of the highlights of this figure is the new head, which has the mask drawn up over the nose to expose his shit-eating grin. Even if you don’t have a lot of use for this figure, it’s a nice consolation to get that head for one of the other ‘Pools in your collection. As always, the sculpt here is excellent, including wrinkles and stitch lines on the mask and a lot of detail in the skin and teeth. Very nice!

No-Pants-Pool comes with a pair of guns, a pistol and rifle, and these are the same sci-fi designs that we saw issued to Domino and Silver Sable. I like these a lot, and I’m happy to get them in black plastic. On the downside, the pistol isn’t compatible with the holster on the belt, so I would have rather just had a standard automatic pistol with this figure. Oh well, no big deal.

The articulation here is standard stuff. The legs feature ball jointed hips, double hinges in the knees, swivels up under the shorts, and both hinges rockers in the ankles. The arms have ball joints in the shoulders and wrists, swivels in the biceps, and double hinges in the elbows. There’s a swivel in the waist, an ab crunch hinge in the torso, and the neck is both hinged and ball jointed. Let’s move on to X-Pool.

Like any person, Deadpool craves inclusion, hence this self-made “X-MEN” costume. It sports the yellow spandex of the real X-Men outfits with some black with red trim. I dig the concept of this figure a lot more than the previous figure, but since this one is more or less a kit-bashed repaint, it isn’t nearly as impressive to me and I’m not going to spend a lot of time on it.

We’ve seen this buck before. If I’m not mistaken it’s mostly a reuse of the 90’s Deadpool right down to them shoulder crunches. The belt, sword rig, and swords are also recycled, this time from the recent X-Force Deadpool. There are extra bands on his wrists to make his hands look more like gauntlets, as well as similar rings around his legs to simulate the tops of his boots. All four of these pieces are held on by friction, so they are sometimes apt to slide around when playing with the figure.

X-Pool also comes with a rifle, and this too is recycled. We’ve even seen it included with Deadpool before. It’s a weird sci-fi design cast in soft rubbery black plastic, and definitely not one of my favorite weapons in the Legends arsenal.

Finally, you also get the head of Madcap, Deadpool’s sometime rival. It’s an amazing sculpt and includes a removable wide-brimmed purple hat. The inclusion makes for a great pose in the package, and I suppose you could always pop it on this figure as, what? Madcap impersonating Deadpool again? I don’t know. Hasbro seems to have adopted a weird pension for including heads with figures instead of releasing them with the actual figure.

When it comes down to it, I dig these figures, and I didn’t mind having to buy them to complete Sauron. I’m sure there are plenty of collectors out there who will feel otherwise, but I guess them’s the breaks when you’re collecting BAF parts. X-Pool definitely feels like the cheap cash-grab of the wave, but he’s still cool. As for No-Pants-Pool, well, it still amazes me how much work Hasbro put into him. I’m kind of hoping that Hasbro is all ‘Pooled out for a while, although I still have to pick up that one with the scooter and Dogpool. Oh yeah, today’s reviews also puts me only one figure away from completing Sauron, so if I get a chance to do any reviews next week, I’ll likely throw randomness to the wind and open up Omega Red so I can finish it up.