Marvel Legends (Deluxe Riders): Cosmic Ghost Rider by Hasbro

On the last Marvel Monday I checked out Squirrel Girl as part of the Marvel Legends Deluxe Riders series, and I commented on how I couldn’t believe Hasbro was taking the risk of bundling a character like Doreen Green in a $40 set. Surely they need to reserve these higher priced releases for more mainstream and important characters. But when faced with these questions Hasbro simply says, “Hold my beer” and bundles Cosmic Ghost Rider in the same assortment.

Now granted, there’s a world of difference between releasing Squirrel Girl on a scooter and Ghost Rider from Earth-666. That difference being that even if I had no idea who or what this figure represented, I’d still have picked it up because it looks all sorts of bad ass. Of course, it doesn’t hurt that this is Frank Castle back from Hell itself and infused with powers from both Mephisto and Galactus, and granted a bitchin’ space bike so he can go hunt down The Mad Titan, Thanos, and slay him to avenge the fallen Earth. Does anything get more bad ass than that? No. So why didn’t they put that on the package? Anyway, the set comes in a big window box that shows off the figure and the partially assembled bike. There’s not too much to slapping it together, but let’s start with the figure.

Holy shit, if I didn’t know better I’d swear this character design crawled out of a comic panel from the early 90’s. Frank’s new duds include a partially armored and twisted version of his skull-centric costume that we know from Earth-616. The skull itself is now sculpted into chest armor, emblazoned with two crimson red eyes and teeth like blades reaching down to his armored belt. His legs are also encased in armor, his shoulders sport a set of most deliciously ridiculous spiked red pauldrons, his wrists are encircled with space-age rings, and under it all is a black ribbed suit that’s speckled with red and blue Kirby-Crackle. You’ll no doubt note that Frank is sporting a rather awkward looking gap up in that crotch, and that’s no doubt to make him work on the bike. Hey, I’m cool with that. I doubt I’m ever going to pose him off the bike anyway. From behind, Frank is sporting the back half of a leather jacket, which makes no real sense to me. It just doesn’t jibe with the front at all. But it’s this kind of impossible ensemble that works when dealing with the reality-bending Cosmic Marvel.

Frank’s noggin has been transformed into the familiar flaming skull of the Spirit of Vengeance, but this time the translucent red skull sits engulfed in yellow flames inside a clear dome. It looks amazing and I was happy to see that you can pop off the dome to rotate his head from side to side.

The Cosmic Rider comes with a few fun accessories, the first of which is his flaming chain whip. This piece is made out of bendy transparent yellow plastic with orange flame licking off the edges near the tip. Both ends are sculpted as handles giving some options for display.

Next up, he comes with a pair of futuristic pistols and each one is a unique sculpt.  These big, chunky weapons are cast all in black plastic and aren’t overburdened with a lot of sculpted detail. They have rather distinctive designs and he looks damn fine wielding them akimbo.

And they each come with firing effect parts, which plug into the ends of the barrels and look great! And that’s all the little accessories out of the way, let’s check out that bike!

Wow, this thing is big, and I absolutely love the design! In place of the front wheel is a massive blue globe of energy, with white plastic tendrils of energy visible inside. I’ve simply got to find a little battery powered light for inside it! The chopper-style handlebars protrude from it and connect it to the bike’s sleek black body. The body includes a bulbous blue headlamp, some raised blue bands on the sides and behind the seat, floorboards for The Rider to rest his boots, and branching exhaust pipes sweeping off each side of the back. The back also features an exhaust port with a translucent red flame effect part erupting out of it. The entire bike rests easily on a transparent plastic base and it’s mounted on a ball joint, so you can position it at various angles for display. No doubt about it, Hasbro did a beautiful job recreating this bike!

Apart from looking absolutely fantastic, there aren’t a whole lot of features on this Cosmic Ride. Although the sides do feature holsters for the two guns. I thought that was a cool bonus.

And while I had issues getting Doreen to ride her scooter properly, Frank Castle mounts this Cosmic Hog with absolute perfection. His grippy hands work perfectly for grasping the handlebars, that big gab between his legs lets him rest easy in the seat, and his boots stay put on the floorboards without even needing pegs to secure them. He looks so good and natural seated on his ride that I can’t imagine ever displaying him any other way.

I was a little slow to warm up to the Deluxe Riders line. Hell, I still haven’t picked up the regular Ghost Rider and bike, but I’m damn glad I didn’t hesitate on this one. Everything about this set is just so fresh and original. The backstory is batshit crazy, the design of the bike is genius, and even Cosmic Ghost Rider’s crazy 90’s throwback design works so well when seated on it. What’s more with how big the bike is, this set actually feels like a damn bargain at forty bucks. Hasbro will never cease to amaze me with what they are willing to risk and put out when it comes to Marvel Legends. I truly believe that anything is possible, no character is too minor, no side story too crazy, and no toy is out of the question. And all I can say is keep magic like this coming, and I’ll keep buying.

“Sadists, psychos and killers.

Don’t matter what planet they’re from.

All deserve to be punished!”

Marvel Legends (Deluxe Riders): Squirrel Girl and Scooter by Hasbro

After a long run of X-Men themed Marvel Mondays I thought I’d mix things up today and check out something that just arrived a few days ago. Hasbro has been serving up a bunch of these Deluxe Riders sets, which bundles a figure with some kind of small vehicle. I haven’t picked up a lot of them, but I did review Black Widow, Deadpool, and of course last week’s Professor X. Now it’s time to go nuts with Doreen Green aka Squirrel Girl. Chitty chuk Chhhtt! I think that’s squirrel talk for let’s do this!

It’s times like this when it’s fun to think back to the origins of this Modern Legends line. Back then, I never would have thought Hasbro would have gambled on giving us a regular release of Squirrel Girl and yet here she is debuting in a big deluxe boxed set. The package is the same format as the Deadpool Scooter set, which makes sense, since this one is very nearly a straight repaint of that scooter. There’s a little assembly required, but nothing too bad. Let’s start with a look at Doreen!

Obviously SG is a rather unique looking character and that’s beautifully reflected in this all newly sculpted figure. There’s a great feeling of depth on this gal, mainly thanks to the half-jacket which is sculpted separately in soft plastic, and the belt that fits pretty snug around her waist. Her outfit features a ton of plastic furry fringe from the lapels of her jacket to the rings around her shorts’ legs and the tops of her boots. The belt has a subtle texture and sculpted pouches on either side. And for a color palate that is rather muted, there are still some nice flourishes. Her jacket matches her boots with just a slightly darker shade of brown than her top and shorts.

From the back, Doreen is mostly tail. That big bushy squirrel tail comes right off the top of her butt and plumes up her back all the way to her head. It’s a wonderful sculpt and I’d love to tell you that it doesn’t make her almost impossible to stand, but that’s not the case. She’s ridiculously back heavy and just about every shot I took of her is involving some trickery to get her to stand.

In a word, the portrait is perfect. And that’s no small feat considering how bad Doreen has sometimes looked in the comics. I’m getting flashbacks to Erika Henderson’s god-awful art from the 2015 book when I was wondering if Marvel will truly hire anyone to draw their books, regardless of talent. Here SG looks super cute, her face is beaming with a perfectly cheesy grin. The paint on her eyes is particularly sharp and well executed. The hair sculpt is fantastic and nice touches include the tiny acorn earrings and the headband with those tiny squirrel ears.

 

The articulation here toes the line when it comes to female Legends. That means we get the rotating hinges in the shoulders instead of the double-hinges, and that makes sense here to maintain the sculpt of the jacket sleeves. Otherwise, you get rotating hinges in the shoulders and wrists. The legs are ball jointed at the hips, have double hinges in the knees, and have swivels in the thighs and tops of the boots. The ankles have both hinges and lateral rockers. Finally, we get a ball joint under the chest, both a ball joint and hinge in the neck, and while the tail may have a swivel in there, mine doesn’t want to move.

You can’t have Squirrel Girl without her army of squirrels, and this set includes three of them and they’re each unique sculpts! Two of them are sitting up on their hind legs, one with a pink bow and the other eating an acorn. The third is positioned on all fours, although it would probably work as a leaping pose too. I have no idea which squirrels these are. In fact, the only two names I remember are Monkey Joe from the old days and Tippy Toe from the dreadful 2015 book. Maybe the one with the bow is Tippy.

As mentioned, the scooter is an almost straight repaint of Deadpool’s and it works surprisingly well. The red and black are replaced with turquoise and white with some black trim to the mirrors, exhast, and horn. The white panels on the side bring out the details there making this ride look a lot more retro to me, and that’s cool. You still get a sticker showing the gauge on the handlebars, but the mirrors are just left as black plastic. I would have loved some silver paint or stickers on those. The only sculpting changes are the added wicker basket, which covers where the Deadpool logo was on Pooly’s Vespa, and the seat. All in all, it’s a decent transformation that makes this vehicle work as its own thing. As before, the handlebars work in conjunction with the front wheel to make it turn. The horn can be clipped to either the left or right side, and the tires appear to be made out of rubber, which still impresses the hell out of me.

Unfortunately, it’s obvious that this scooter wasn’t made for the Squirrel Girl figure, as getting her to ride it in a convincing manner is tough. The foot pegs are a loose fit, and even if they weren’t it’s hard to get her to reach the handlebars with her feet pegged into them. I can kind of make it work by scooting her forward and balancing the tail on the seat, but it’s precarious at best. I think the way to go will be to display her half-off the scooter like she is on the back of the package.

The basket can hold all three squirrels, but you kind of have to jam them in there and let one hang over the edge. Two fit more comfortably, but either way they look fine in there.

Even with as prolific and dense as Marvel Legends has become Hasbro still manages to surprise me. At this point, I never would have doubted getting a character like Squirrel Girl at some point, because no character seems to be too small or silly to get the action figure treatment. But to come out and bundle her in a $40 set with a scooter? Well that takes a set of balls. Or in this case maybe nuts. Either way, this set came out great and that’s even taking into account the fact that Doreen isn’t a perfect fit for the scooter. It’s worth mentioning that this set came in an assortment with another rather unlikely release, and I’ll try to get to that one next week.

Marvel Legends: Professor X and Hover-Chair by Hasbro

Oh look, it’s two Marvel Mondays back-to-back because I really shat the bed again last week and didn’t get to do any content since last Monday. I can keep apologizing, but it was a rough week last week and I have a million excuses from being crazy busy at work, to having to go out of town, and finally getting my car sideswiped by an asshole. This week might not be much better since I have to take the car in to the body-shop, arrange for a rental, and I still have another crazy week at work ahead of me. But we’ll see what we can do. In the meantime, I’m continuing my streak of X-Men Legends content with a look at Professor X and his hoverchair! Holy shit, I’m so happy Hasbro finally got around to this one!

This set is part of Hasbro’s Deluxe Riders releases, the same subset that gave us Deadpool’s scooter and Black Widow’s motorcycle and many more. The box is really long because of the way they chose to package the chair in pieces, like it’s been squished flat. It works well enough, but this is one of the few X-Men boxed sets where I was not tempted to keep the packaging. The window lets you get a look at the figure and all the parts, the lower left hand corner sports the Marvel 80 Years logo and for some weird reason Xavier’s name doesn’t appear on the front of the package, just the X-Men logo. Obviously there’s some assembly required, but nothing too bad.

The chair basically comes in two halves, which get pegged together with the two cushion pieces going in between them and the hover effect part plugging in the bottom to serve as a stand. Everything fits together perfectly and none of the connections are permanent, so if you want to take it apart and return it to the box you can certainly do that. My only real gripe here is that the way it’s constructed doesn’t allow for the front piece to slide open like I remember it doing in the cartoon. Yeah, that’s pretty nit-picky on my part, but I thought I’d toss it out there anyway. With the chair occupied, the cushions aren’t very visible, but Hasbo put a lot of nice detail into them, so I thought I’d show them off. I’ll come back to the rest of the chair in just a bit.

And, I’m not trying to be insensitive, but here’s a look at Xavier before he goes into the chair. And yes, he’s standing, but it was the easiest way to show him off. There’s not a whole lot to say about this figure as it appears to be a re-use of the suited body we’ve seen many times already and most recently as Nick Fury from the MCU Captain Marvel Wave. Hey, I’m not complaining, it works fine for Professor X, and we did get some new hands, which are very character specific. This time around, the suit is painted green, the shoes are brown, the shirt is white, and the tie is a blue and black stripe, which to me really clashes with the jacket, but that’s what I recall him wearing in the 90’s cartoon so it works for me. My figure’s legs are seriously warped, but in this case, that’s not going to matter much because he’s going into the chair and staying put.

I’ll be honest, I wasn’t sold on this head sculpt when I first saw it, but in hand I’m actually quite pleased with it. The facial detail is very well defined, features a rather stoic expression, and it certainly has tons of personality. And then you have those eyebrows. Did they go to far? Yeah, maybe a bit. I thought they were going to bother me a lot, but I’ve gotten used to them rather quickly. OK, let’s get him into the chair!

Xavier fits into the chair very easily and there’s even a sculpted plastic blanket to tuck in around his legs. Boy is that a great little touch! Unlike the necktie, the chair doesn’t seem based too closely on the cartoon, but to be fair I’m more used to seeing X in the more traditional wheelchair these days. The golden-yellow plastic looks great and is very appropriately used here. The sculpt for the chair features just the right amount of detail to give it that animated/comic look, while at the same time not looking too simple. There are some panel lines, some vents on the sides, as well as a painted panel of components on each side. Besides the spot-on aesthetics, I really dig how big and beefy this chair is. It doesn’t feel like they had to compromise the size at all and I think we owe that to the way they were able to break it down into parts for the packaging. No, the effect part isn’t all that convincing, but it does serve as an excellent stand. Would I rather they just went with something clear? Probably, but I’m fine with what we got.

I would have been perfectly content if that was all there was to the chair, but Hasbro also equipped it with some sliding panels in the arm rests, which open to reveal instruments. So cool!

Professor X also comes with a Cerebro helmet and effect part, and oh boy did this not turn out so great. The helmet looks really awkward on the figure, like it’s supposed to be some kind of breathing apparatus as opposed to a telekinetic enhancement device. A big part of the problem is the point that should be positioned on Xavier’s forehead is down over the bridge of his nose and the cables coming off of it just look weird. And to make matters worse the effect part is just an explosion of white goo that looks shockingly bad. I think the way to go here would have been to do a second portrait with the helmet part of it, and a better looking effect part which is detachable. Is it too much to ask for? Well, they included a second portrait in the box, but it obviously isn’t Professor X.

Nope, it’s the Shadow King. Now, I don’t want to seem ungrateful because this is a beautiful little piece of work, and it’s meant to go on the Kingpin Build-A-Figure. The sculpt is absolutely gorgeous and it has some excellent paintwork to back it up. The tiny glasses are removable, which I promptly found out when trying to remove the head, as they flew off and I had a good time hunting them down on the floor. Now granted, if you didn’t complete the Kingpin BAF, this extra noggin isn’t going to mean much to you, but I’m glad they included it.

Sure, I have a few little gripes with this set, but don’t make the mistake of thinking that I don’t love it. The figure is nothing outrageously special, but couple him with the chair and you’ve really got something here. I think it’s wonderful that Hasbro has found a way to get us some of these vehicles into the line, and while it’s odd to classify Xavier’s chair in the same category as a motorcycle or scooter, it was brilliant to include it as part of this assortment. I’m not sure how much this one originally retailed for, but I picked it up for $30 and it’s worth every damn penny to add Professor X to my X-Men Legends shelf.

Marvel Legends (Deluxe Riders): Black Widow and Motorcycle by Hasbro

[ Edit: Shortly after I posted today’s Marvel Monday Review, I heard the news that Stan Lee had passed away. I debated whether or not to post a separate tribute, but the more I tried to outline a piece that measured his impact on my life, the more I found that impact was immeasurable. I grew up reading almost every comic book I could get my hands on, but Fantastic Four and Spider-Man were among my favorites, and those are two books that have stayed with me the longest. But it’s simply impossible for me to recount the ways in which Stan Lee’s creations and imagination helped to influence my life from a child to a middle aged man, and almost every moment in between. I will, however, thank him for the fact that I never really did grow up. I’m 46 and I still read comic books and collect action figures, and have framed posters of Super Heroes on my walls. I’d like to think a big piece of that was because of him. 

I don’t want to look at Stan Lee’s death as a tragedy. We should all be so lucky to live to 95. We should all be so lucky to leave this world with so many adoring fans. We should all be so lucky to leave this world with such an enormous positive impact. But I will say that I will miss him terribly. Obviously, I didn’t know him personally. I never even met him. But his creations represented hope, goodness, justice, morality, and I can say that from what I’ve seen of Stan himself, he struck me as a never ending well of positive energy. It does give me great comfort to know that he lived to see his creations break out of the comic book shops and become so massively mainstream. His influences escaped the comic panels and burst out on 50-foot movie screens across the world. He lived to know that the fruit of his imagination was both boundless and timeless.

I did not know you, Stan Lee, but I loved you. Excelsior! ]

This week’s Marvel Monday is not a random grab, because if this huge box were in with the others, I’d wind up grabbing it every time. Nope, this one has been sitting beside my Legends Unopened Box of Shame and I just decided that this was the week to check it out. So let’s have a look at Black Widow and her motorcycle!

Remember when Toybiz did that line of Marvel Legends Riders? Well, I guess this is kind of like that. Only in that case a lot of the vehicles were pretty shitty. Hasbro seems to be doing it right this time by offering these figures in bigger boxes (and bigger price points!) to get us some really cool, full-sized vehicles. And given the 6-inch Scale of Legends it should come as no surprise that they’ve all been motorcycles so far, but I’m not complaining. The packaging looks great, it’s collector friendly, and it really shows off the goods splendidly. So let’s open this set up and start out with the figure.

I was expecting a straight repack of Natasha in this set, but we actually get an all new figure. And with all the Black Widows in my Legends collection, I’m happy to say that she still manages to bring a new look to the table. Indeed, this version strikes me as a nice balance between a classic version and a cutting-edge modern MCU version. Her bracers are silver and made to look like angled metal. These remind me of the ones she had in her earliest appearances. On the other hand the high collar and low zipper give her a bit more of a modern flare. The rest of the costume is just a black body suit and the painted belt consists of silver discs and the red Black Widow emblem. The costume is clean and simple, but looks great.

You get two different head sculpts, one with short hair and one with long hair, and I really dig them both. The paint applications for the eyes, eyebrows, and lips is all quite sharp, and there’s a little wash to bring out the detail in her red hair. The only thing here I don’t like is the big ugly seam that’s running down the center of her neck. Seriously, Hasbro? You couldn’t have hid that a little better?

You get standard Legends female articulation. That includes rotating hinges in the shoulders, elbows, and wrists. The legs have ball joints in the hips, swivels in the thighs, double hinges in the knees, and both hinges and lateral rockers in the ankles. There is no waist swivel, but you do get a ball joint just under the chest, and the neck has both a hinge and ball joint. I’ve had the legs pop out at the hips a couple of times while posing her, but they pop right back in. It’s a shame she doesn’t have any guns, but the extra head is the figure’s only “accessory,” unless you count the motorcycle!

Like the figure, the motorcycle goes above and beyond what I was expecting. It’s a sporty bike with a red, gun-metal gray, and lighter gray deco, and you even get a Black Widow emblem on the right side near the front. Other nice touches include stickers for the instrument gauges, a tinted yellow headlamp cover, and I do believe the tires are made of rubber! Sculpted details include the engine and the chain drive, as well as a textured seat. The steering wheel turns the front wheel, you get a flip down kickstand, and holy hell, the suspension on the front wheel actually works!

Even with all that good stuff, I think what delights me the most about this set is how well Natasha can fit on the bike. There’s no compromising here. I can get her to hold the handlebars, keep her tushie on the seat, and have both feet on the foot pegs and she looks she looks totally natural on it. The only thing worth noting here is that Natasha works better on the bike with the shorter hair, as it allows her to look up more. Also, that long hair should be flowing in the breeze when she’s riding, so it doesn’t quite work on the bike anyway.

Even with pumping out an obscene number of figures, Hasbro is still looking for new ways to grow the Legends brand, and I think that’s fantastic! Especially in this day and age when vehicles are getting scarce in the toy aisles. What’s even better is this set seems to be around $30 at most retailers, I picked it up for a few bucks less, but either way it feels like quite a deal. The figure is excellent, and when you consider that Legends figures sell for around $20 these days, that leaves only about $10 for the bike. Not bad at all! It’s also got me pretty pumped to pick up the Wolverine and Ghost Rider sets then next time I see them!