Marvel Legends (Armadillo Wave): Doctor Strange by Hasbro

Yup, last week was another truncated week for content, and with a hurricane bearing down on my general location later this week, I’m not going to make any promises. But, I’m here today and it’s another Marvel Monday, and I’m pressing on with the Armadillo Wave of Marvel Legends!

Oh, look! It’s another Doctor Strange! When I saw this figure turn up in this wave, I truly knew what action figure fatigue felt like. We had the What If? version of him in the very last assortment I reviewed and here’s yet another version. Even if you’re only counting the MCU versions of the character, we’ve seen a handful of Stranges in recent years. I even skipped the Multiverse of Madness wave completely. Indeed, I was all ready to just skip reviewing this figure out of sheer boredom, but then I had a look at him, and I had to begrudgingly admit he’s the best Legends Strange we’ve had yet. But I’m still not going to spend a lot of time on him.

As the package suggests, this is Strange as he appeared in Spider-Man: No Way Home, and while his costume still hits most of the beats that it did since Strange was introduced in his own flick, it has been tweaked here and there to become what we’re looking at today, but it’s not so much all those nips and tucks to the costume that make this figure my favorite version so far, but rather the crisp and clean sculpt and coloring that makes it work so well. The blue plastic tunic is more refined, and I love the sculpted pleats that converge down the center of his chest. The network of belts are particularly well done here, with some excellent texturing and some sharp detail in the fixtures and the Sling Ring. Alas, the tunic has no slits in the sides and as such in severely inhibits his leg articulation, and thereby inhibits a lot of the fun of the figure.

The Cloak of Levitation looks great, but it’s pretty close to what we got in the First Ten Years Infinity War set. This one seems to be blowing a bit more to the left hand side, rather than being more centered. Still, it looks more like a new sculpt than a re-sculpt. It only has a lick of gold paint on the fixtures by the collar, and the sculpted tailoring on the back of the Cloak is a little soft, but I dig the texture work on the interior. The Cloak secures fairly well on the neck and shoulders and pegs into the figure’s back for a little extra stability. The red plastic of the cape really compliments the blue and brown of the rest of the costume. I will say, however, that it would have been nice to get just one Strange with a softgoods Cloak with a wire in it. The Cloak is practically its own character. It deserved softgoods at least once.

The portrait here is also the best we’ve seen, both in terms of Cumberbatch likeness and overall sculpt and execution. The figure from the original film was fine for the time, but looks a spot too generic to me now, and the First Ten Years box release is also good, but maybe a bit too much caricature in it, compared to his one. That’s it! This one is great, Hasbro… You can stop now! No more Cumberbatches… please!

You get a new Eye of Agamotto hanging around Strange’s neck. It looks nice, but I prefer the one that came with the last release. It was a little less chunky. Wait, didn’t this contain the Time Stone in the MCU? Did he still wear it in No Way Home? Was it just an empty shell? I can’t even remember. These movies are starting to blur together.

And now it’s time to bitch about hands again, because apparently I have a real hand fixation with this wave. Once again, we get a pretty useless set of accessory holding hands with Strange, and I’ll point out yet again that we didn’t get any splayed finger wall-crawling hands with Integrated Suit Spidey. Strange’s stock hands are OK for spellcasting, but if we’re getting a second pair, give him those two finger extended hands that he uses to trace his spells with, not hands for holding accessories he doesn’t come with. Alls I’m saying is Hasbro should have shifted that little bit of hand budget over Spider-Man’s way.

He does come with a set of hands that are permanently attached to some magic effect parts, and these are pretty cool. They’re a huge step up from the clumsy grab-bar we got on the magic discs bundled with the previous Stranges. I like the rough edges, and the sculpted inscriptions look really nice.

It’s a real tribute to how great this figure turned out, that I didn’t just post a couple of pictures and write: “Here’s another Marvel Legends MCU Doctor Strange. I can’t even. The End.” So, kudos for that, Hasbro. But I’m seriously done with buying Cumberbatch Stranges in the Marvel Legends line. It’s enough. You’ve given us the definitive version and I would appreciate not having any future BAF parts locked away behind any more Cumberbatch purchases. Thank You and Good Day!

Star Wars Black Series (The Mandalorian): Dark Trooper by Hasbro

So far, The Mandalorian has been the only Disney+ series that I think has been worthy of my time. Book of Boba Fett went nowhere fast, Obi-Wan was ludicrous and boring, and while I desperately want it to be good, I’m not holding out hope for Andor. So, it sure is nice to look back on that amazing ending to Mando Season 2 and know that if they try really hard, Disney is capable of producing some cool shit. Oh yeah… and we got to see some Dark Troopers!

Now, it’s only fair to say that I was not all that smitten with these guys on the screen. They looked a bit too much like rip-offs of the mechanical Cylons from the Battlestar Galactica reboot and the way they took to flight reminded me a little too much of either Iron Man or the Cybermen in Doctor Who‘s Series 8 finale. They just looked kind of cheesy flying around, and while that works for Doctor Who, it doesn’t so much in Star Wars. For some reason, I also LOL’d when they started punching the bulkhead repeatedly. Now, with all that having been said, these guys have grown on me a bit, and I suspected from the beginning that they were going to succeed for me a lot more as action figures, so let’s see if that’s true!

Well, I don’t know where to begin. First of all, the glossy black finish on this figure is absolutely gorgeous. It’s like a beautiful new car sheen, which probably doesn’t come across as well as it should in my pictures on account of how prone to fingerprints these are. And it’s good that the black finish is so impressive, because there isn’t a lot else here in terms of coloring. You get some silver paint on the joints and servos, and a subtle amount of dry-brushing on the feet to denote wear, but clearly these guys are meant to look fresh out of the factory and spoiling for a fight!

The next thing that I really love about this guy is the way the upper body armor is layered onto the figure. It makes for a more complex feel and appearance than if it were all just sculpted as one piece. The articulation here is every bit as good as your average Stormtrooper, so don’t let that bulky armor and those Protocol Droid-style disk-joints fool you into thinking this guy isn’t agile. It’s kind of a shame that the hydraulics in his abdomen don’t actually articulate with the figure, but they are in fact static, and the torso articulation is confined to a ball joint below the chest. Still, they look great! You get two sets of hands with this fella, one pair of fists, and a pair to interact with his gun. Oddly enough, his fists look really small and puny.

The helmet sculpt is great. It’s a nice homage to the original Dark Trooper design, but updated to work with the modern series. The red eye lenses are surprisingly vibrant amidst that sea of black, but man, it would have been cool if we could have had some light piping up in there!

The blaster design is OK, but the trusty old E-11 Blaster doesn’t have to worry about this design becoming my favorite. I like my Star Wars guns to have a firm and obvious design nod to real world vintage weapons, and this one just doesn’t do it. But it sure ain’t bad. There’s nowhere for the Trooper to store the weapon that I can see, but his gun-hands work well to carry it, with the left hand sculpted to cradle the weapon’s foregrip. It might have been interesting to see these Troopers designed with an integral blaster, like the Super Battle Droids, but maybe they can save that for an upgraded design.

In addition to the Blaster, you get a couple of jet effect parts to stick into his feet. These look fine, but I think I would have rather these guys had jetpacks, than just jet boots. Again, it’s a little too Iron Man-y on the screen, but it looks a lot more credible and fun as an action figure.

“Hey… you notice that the new guy doesn’t say much?”

At $32, The Dark Trooper is priced a bit higher than your average Black Series figure, but he is a bit more complex than what we usually get. I will say that I expected him to be a bit bigger, as he isn’t really any bigger than the Death Troopers, which I included in a comparison shot. Still, I’m not complaining, because he’s a damn fine addition to my Imperial forces. I originally pre-ordered a pair of them, but I may wind up hunting down one more.

Marvel Legends (Armadillo Wave): Shriek by Hasbro

Yeah… I had to crap out of delivering new content last Friday, but it’s a brand new week and I’m optimistic about being back on track. And for today’s Marvel Monday, I’m pressing through with the Armadillo Wave and a look at crazy shouty person, Shriek!

Shriek continues to add to the Spider-Man flavor of the assortment, and because she’s on the petite side, she gets the Armadillo torso crammed into the package with her, and boy is it crowding her! I had heard that Shriek was going to appear in this wave before actually seeing the solicitation shots, and I’ll confess, this is not the version I had in mind. Give me the version on the Amazing Spider-Man #393 cover and I would have been a much happier person. But, let’s get her out of the package, have a look, and try not to hold that against her.

I’m assuming this is a recent look for Frances, because it smacks a bit of the OMG CUTESY look that Marvel seems to be going for these days, which is kind of at odds with the sultry and insane version of the character I prefer. That’s not to say it’s a huge departure in terms of costume. Her black and white body suit is familiar enough and it looks good, although I’d be lying if I said I didn’t miss the ample show of cleavage and solitary buccaneer boot. The paint lines are pretty clean, and while white paint over black plastic is usually a nightmare for Hasbro, it manages to look pretty clean and vibrant here. Nearly the entire costume is executed through paint, but you do get a belt and bangle on her left wrist, both of which are separately sculpted pieces.

The portrait is fine, but again I prefer her with the more voluminous 90’s headbanger hair. It would have also been cool to get a Cable-style effect part for her left eye. I think the blur effect from the halftone printing is a little more apparent here because of the black and white (and blue) contrast, but it really only starts to break down when you get in close. My biggest issue is she just looks too happy, cutesy and nice. If you’re going to give her a smile, at least give her a crazy smile. I obviously don’t know what’s going on with her in the current crop of comics, because I don’t read contemporary Marvel, but she definitely looks like she’s lost her edge. Obviously, it would have been nice to get a shouty head, but this is likely one of the cost-saving figures in the assortment, so that was never going to happen.

But what’s this??? Double-hinged elbows? Swivels in the biceps? ON A G-G-G-GIRL??? Yeah, we saw this on Captain Carter in The Watcher Wave, and I’m surprised to see it here again. I like it so much better than the rotating hinge elbow that we usually get on the ladies, and I hope to see it continue. Additionally, Shriek comes with three sets of hands! You get a pair of fists, a pair of splayed hands, and a pair of totally useless accessory holding hands. Really, Hasbro? You give Shriek a third pair of hands, but we don’t get the splayed crawling hands with Integrated Suit Spider-Man? This makes no sense to me. Oh well. The splayed finger hands here work well for focusing her sonic attack, or it would if she had a shouty face to go with them.

Despite what it probably sounds like, I don’t dislike this figure at all, it’s just not the version of the character I wanted. Indeed, everything about this figure is executed quite well, from the sculpt to the paint. Yes, I wish they omitted her third set of hands and a third set to Spider-Man from last week, but sometimes it’s tough to understand what the peeps at Hasbro are thinking. I’d like to think we might still get a more classic version of Shriek with a proper screaming head… maybe a Doom Maidens box-set? Eh, probably not, but you never know!

Marvel Legends (Armadillo Wave): Integrated Suit Spider-Man and J. Jonah Jameson by Hasbro

Welcome back to another Marvel Monday! This week, I’m kicking off a brand new wave, and by that I really mean an older wave that’s on my backlog pile. The Armadillo Wave is a smattering of Spider-Man based figures covering everything from the MCU films, comics, and even the GamerVerse! I’d say only about two-thirds of this assortment really interested me, but the Armadillo Build-A-Figure was enough to tip me over to getting the whole wave. Let’s start today with Spider-Man in his Integrated Suit as he appeared in No Way Home, and then J. Jonah Jameson!

I re-watched No Way Home a couple of weeks back and I still really dig that movie a lot. Indeed, as sad as I am to say it, right now these Sony-Disney efforts are about the only thing holding my attention toward the MCU these days. Integrated Suit Spider-Man does not come with any BAF parts, but I’m guessing Hasbro figured this one would be the most desirable one in the wave and that he’d have no problem selling on his own.

The Integrated Suit is basically a merged version of both the Iron-Spider and Upgraded Suit, and the design is definitely not one of my favorites. I tend to like my Spidey suits red and blue and vibrant, although the straight-up Iron-Spider Suit was spiffy enough to get my approval. This one takes the black and red from the upgraded Suit and adds some gold trim and a gold spider emblem on the chest and back, as well as gold web-shooters. The gold does spruce up the Upgraded Suit design, but I still think this whole design is just a mess. Of course, none of that is the figure’s fault, and to be fair, I think Hasbro did a pretty nice job with what they had to work with. The paint here is very sharp, and the texturing on the red parts of the suit looks fantastic. I do, however, think a little wash or panel lining in the web pattern would have looked nice.

You get only one portrait, which feels kind of cheap given the lack of a BAF part. Hasbro has enough Tom Holland heads by now that they really should have thrown one in here. And if not an unmasked head, than maybe a second masked head with squinting eyes.

The articulation is everything I expect from my Spidey Legends these days, which means it has all the usual points plus the shoulder crunches. You won’t get some of the extreme poses you will out of the more expensive imports, but I still had a whole bunch of fun playing around with this figure, and he’ll likely spend some time on my desk so I have something to fiddle around with on my down time.

You get two sets of hands: Fists and thwippy hands, and once again here the figure comes up short. With no BAF part and no extra head, the least Hasbro could have done was throw in the splayed finger hands we’ve seen with some previous Spidey Legends releases. I think this wave came out before the big price hike, but with Legends now approaching $30 each, I’m going to need more to get me to keep going even as a selective buyer.

Overall, I think this is a decent figure, it’s just based on a suit design that I’m not terrifically fond of. Still, if anything I think the design works better as a toy than on the big screen and Hasbro did a decent job making me like it a little more here. An extra head, another pair of hands, and a little linework on the web pattern, and I’d have no other complaints. Still, even with no BAF part, I’m glad I picked him up. Let’s move on to J.J. Jameson!

OK, so I absolutely lost my shit when I saw that post-credits stinger at the end of Far From Home with J.K. Simmons reprising his role as J. Jonah, and again in No Way Home. Say what you will about the Raimi Spider-Man movies, and I am most definitely still a fan, but Simmons as Jameson was pitch-perfect casting. It was inspired. Still, this figure is something of a consolation prize, because I would have much rather had younger, newspaperman Jameson from those films as a modern Legends figure. But hey, I’ll take what I can get, and I still think this figure is a real treat. This looks to be mostly a reuse of the business-suit body that we’ve seen in the past with characters like Agent Coulson and Chameleon, but the lack of tie puts it a lot closer to the Bruce Banner figure we got in the Age of Ultron 4-pack. The key difference is Jameson here has one button of the sports jacket buttoned. I don’t remember seeing that on a previous suited figure, so it may be some new sculpting there, or just recycled from a figure I missed. The suit is blue, the underlying shirt is white, and he’s got a freshly polished pair of black shoes. Yup, this was a pretty easy figure for Hasbro to knock out, and as such I don’t have a whole lot to say about it.

The two portraits are really spot on for a contemporary Simmons. And even without the full head of hair and the trademark silver wing tips, this is still J. Jonah through and through. The sculpt does a beautiful job of recreating every line in his face, both in the relatively calm portrait and the angry shouty one. And let’s be honest, who among us is going to display this figure without the shouty face?

You get two sets of hands, the first of which are relaxed hands. Well, I say relaxed hands, but they really aren’t. They’re actually more like flat karate chop hands, and they don’t really fit this figure unless you want to have Jameson doing the robot at the Daily Bugle’s annual Christmas party. And honestly, I just don’t think that’s his style. A pair of actual relaxed hands would have been more welcome here, and we all know Hasbro has done them before, so it’s odd they went with these instead.

Now, the second pair is more his type. You get a pointing finger on his right hand and a left hand that is clenched into a tight fist of righteous anger. Combine these with the shouty head, and you’ve got all you’ll ever need!

As I stand with one foot ready to step outside the Marvel Legends collecting circle, figures like these give me hope that maybe I’m not quite done yet. Jameson surely isn’t the most exciting figure around and he isn’t the version of Simmons/Jameson that I really wanted, BUT… I love him, and I love that Hasbro gave him to us. Likewise, the Integrated Suit ranks pretty far down on my list of Spider-Man’s MCU suits, and yet I can still find some fun and joy in this figure. Off the top of my head, I honestly couldn’t tell you what other figures are in this wave, so it’ll be a surprise when I dive into the box to get my next figure to review, but so far the assortment is off to a pretty OK start.

Transformers Legacy: Knock-Out by Hasbro

Today I’m checking out another Transformer from the current Legacy line, and one that I actually bought entirely by mistake. This guy went up for pre-order along with some of the Legacy Stunticons, and I guess I just went Decpti-Car mad and slapped that pre-order button one too many times. But that’s OK, because ever since the Stunticons were first introduced, I’ve always had a thing for Decepticon cars and I’m always happy to add another to the collection.

So, it looks like Legacy is just drawing characters from all over the Transformers Universe? Or was that already widely known and I’m just now figuring it out? Either way, Knock-Out here is a reimagining of a character that was introduced in Transformers: Prime. I liked the show well enough, and I collected the toys, but the designs always struck me as being sort of like a weird cross between Animated and Bayformer. Oh yeah, and the package even states “Prime Universe” so my dumb ass has no excuses for buying him by mistake. Let’s open him up and start with the alt mode!

I’ll get to some comparison shots in a bit, but other than being a red car, this alt-mode doesn’t have a whole lot in common with the original toy. But that’s fine because I’m prepared to treat this figure as its own thing for now. This car is a little boxier and less streamlined, but it looks really nice. You get some clear windows, silver decos on the doors, and some gold bling on the wheels. The rather aggressive looking front bumper is a nice mix of dark gray and silver, the headlamps are blacked out, and the hood has some stylish grills sculpted into them. You also get a understated Decepticon emblem front and center. This car holds together well and rolls perfectly.

Alas, there’s one big QC issue on mine, and that’s this mess on the rear driver-side quarter panel. Yeesh! What the hell is this? It doesn’t come off, and it almost looks like spilled adhesive that has melted into the plastic surface. I’d like to blame the lack of a window on the box for this, but I’m pretty sure whatever this is happened at the factory and should have been caught. Yeah, there’s also some gold paint spray on the tire below it. Not cool, Hasbro! I’ll also throw out here that the plastic in general has a grain to it, almost like you get with 3D printing, but not nearly as bad. Very odd!

Knock-Out comes with a two-piece weapon, which can be plugged into the vehicle on the various ports. I went with what the package suggested and it’s not bad. It basically gives the car a long cannon on the hood and a smaller gun-blade-thingy on the side. I do enjoy weaponizing my Decepti-Cars, so I like it! OK, so how about them comparison shots?

Yup, Legacy Knock-Out is bigger and beefier, and I’d say even a bit more aggressive in his design. He looks like he’d be more at home trading paint with Autobots on the highway than his somewhat fragile looking predecessor. The silver deco on the doors pays homage to the original toy’s design, but I wish Hasbro had included the darker maroon coloring on the Legacy version, as I find it pretty distinctive, and it would have helped to drive home the homage a bit more. I didn’t think original Knock-Out had gold rims, and when I dug him out I saw that I remembered correctly. They do look nice, though! On to the robot mode!

Getting Legacy Knock-Out into and out of his robot mode sure is a lot easier than it is with his fidgety predecessor. Indeed, the robot mode here conforms pretty close to the tried and true designs of the Autobot Datsuns, Hound, or Jazz, with the hood making up the chest, the back of the car making up the feet, and the top of the car worn as a backpack. If you’re looking for anything clever or fresh here in terms of engineering or design, you won’t find it. But, if you like this design trope as much as I do, you’ll be happy to see it’s done quite well here. I especially love how the aggressive front bumper makes for a powerful and intimidating chest, and the way the front wheels are concealed inside the shoulders. The deco keeps a lot of the red from the auto mode and throws a lot of black and gray into the mix. You also get some nice, sharp looking silver on his abs. It’s a great looking robot mode!

The head sculpt definitely draws from Prime Knock-Out, and while it’s certainly a good sculpt, it does lose a lot of the personality of the Prime figure. The helmet is toned down a lot with the central comb not nearly as stylized. He’s got a nose now, which is worth noting because TF: Prime Transformers didn’t seem to ever have noses. It’s pretty obvious, this portrait is made to conform to the G1 style and sensibilities and I can dig that. I do wish they let him keep his smirk, though.

When assembled together, Knock-Out’s weapon is meant to pay respects to the original toy’s trident. To be honest, I was never a big fan of that weapon in the first place, and this one doesn’t do much for me either. It looks good, but the way he’s meant to hold it doesn’t make any sense. And the peg at the base of the shaft is too small for him to grasp tightly. You can split it up into two weapons, and that works better for me. I particularly like the rifle. The blade-thing works as a pistol, I guess, but I wish he could hold it like a dagger. I just don’t think a lot of thought went into this thing.

In the end, Knock-Out is an interesting figure, that is at best only inspired by the Knock-Out of Transformers: Prime. His design allegiances clearly lie with the G1 aesthetic, and I actually dig that very much. But fans that were hoping for something a lot more faithful to the source material may very well be disappointed with this guy. Now at the risk of pissing some people off, I’ll say that I was pretty shocked when I dug up Prime Knock-Out for this review and transformed him. I have very fond memories of these toys, but this is one that has not aged well, and I fear that may be the case with the rest of my Prime figures, most of which I haven’t laid hands on in a while. He’s kind of ugly and not very stable, and while Legacy Knock-Out is a lot more homogenized, and maybe even a little generic, I’d still say he looks better on the shelf and he’s a much more fun toy to play around with. I dig him!

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

It’s that time again! Time to try to figure out where I put all the BAF parts for a wave that were accumulated over the span of the last five weeks! Actually, I was smart this time and put them aside with all the figures so I could do the obligatory group shot at the end. But, before we take a quick look at The Watcher BAF, it’s story time! I was originally going to skip this wave entirely because I wasn’t into the Disney+ What If? series and Diamond Select had their own Watcher figure coming out. I pre-ordered it, but my pre-order was summarily cancelled because apparently the company that took my pre-order likes to take pre-orders for product they aren’t going to be able to fill. I won’t call them out by name, because I’m above such pettiness, but let’s just say that its a company that sells Entertainment products to people who live on Earth.

And so, here we are checking out The Watcher BAF! Yes, this bulbous headed bastard is the main reason I bought this wave, and I can’t say I’m sorry I did. Now, this particular figure is based on his appearance in the What If? series, so I guess you could say he’s an MCU Watcher, but the design is certainly close enough that he could pass for a modern comic appearance. The Diamond Select figure was a more classic comic look, which I still would have preferred, but as far as consolation prizes go, this guy is not at all bad.

The assembly here was a tad different than the usual plug four limbs and a head into a body deal we usually get with these BAFs. Sure, you still had four limbs and a head, but the body came an an upper and lower piece, with the skirt piece getting sandwiched between them. There is also the piece of his costume which extends up behind his head, which plugs into the back. Still, Hasbro was able to bundle all the parts over just six figures, as Zombie Cap didn’t include one at all. The physical assembly was a real pain in the ass, because the bottom of the torso took a ridiculous amount of force to get it to plug into the top. I seriously thought I was going to break the thing, but eventually the peg popped in securely. The arms were also really tough to get plugged in, but we got there in the end.

I really dig this guy’s robes, even if the lower portion renders all the articulation in his legs completely useless. You can make minor adjustments to get him to stand, but it seems like a waste to have given him full knee and hip articulation. Maybe these pieces will be recycled at some point, but it seems unlikely. You do get full articulation in the arms, although the wizard robe cuff on the right arm looks funny unless you have the arm positioned so the cuff is falling about the arm downward and not defying gravity. Still, the blue and gold combo looks nice, especially when accompanied by The Watcher’s orange skin.

The head sculpt is excellent, even if this Watcher’s head isn’t quite as bulbous as I would have liked. I mean, his noggin is big, but not as creepily disproportionate to the body as good old Jack Kirby’s version, and I do prefer the more classic look. Still, the sculpted definition of the face here is just beautifully done, and combined with that judgmental pout and those empty eyes, I think this head sculpt is quite a work of art.

And that’s really all I have to say about this guy. I think he’s a great figure, but I still wouldn’t mind picking up the Diamond Select release, as this guy doesn’t quite scratch that itch for having a classic Watcher on my shelf. And since it does seem to be popping up here and there online at or close to retail, I’d say there’s a good chance that you might see that figure reviewed here at some point in the near future.

All in all, it was an interesting trip through this assortment, as this is one of the first times I completed a Marvel Legends wave that I had so little interest in, just to get all the BAF pieces. But with that having been said, most of these figures surprised me in some way or another, and when all is said and done, I think Sylvie is the only one of the bunch that I genuinely have no use for. Nebula and Star-Lord are fun, Zombie Hunter Spidey is actually a great little Spider-Man figure, especially if you toss away the Cloak. Zombie Cap and Strange Supreme are both awesome, and Captain Carter may be my favorite of the assortment. There are some great sculpts on display here, and the running theme of this assortment has been the bright and vibrant colors on most of the figures. I was pleasantly surprised by these!

Marvel Legends (The Watcher Wave): Doctor Strange Supreme by Hasbro

Welcome back to another Marvel Monday. This time, I’m wrapping up my look at the boxed figures in the What If? inspired Watcher Wave with Strange Supreme! Like a lot of figures in this assortment, this is one that I wasn’t particularly excited about, but as we’ll see it surprised me in some ways. Let’s jump right in!

I really tried to go through and again try to watch each episode before reviewing the corresponding figure, but in this case I just didn’t make it far at all. These Disney+ Marvel shows haven’t been able to grab me enough to invest the time, and that trend doesn’t seem to be changing, as I barely made it fifteen minutes into the first episode of She-Hulk, before I seriously asked myself, “Why am I watching this?” and noped out of it. Anyway, the idea here, as I understand it, is that Strange crosses the line between good and evil in order to save Christine Palmer and we get a very sinister version of Strange corrupted by the dark magics.

And here’s another example of me not having to be invested in the source material to really like a figure, because this guy is all sorts of awesome. I’ve been really fixated on the beautiful colors in this wave (except for you, Sylvie), and I’m impressed at how they’ve managed to keep that going even in a figure that is supposed to be all kinds of grimdark. I’m sure the temptation was to go with a lot of dark colors, but even evil Doctor Strange has a costume that just pops beautifully with some blues, purples, reds, golds, and even some orange!

The sculpt here is excellent, and I particularly dig the sculpted tunic, which looks a bit like a tabard that a Templar might have worn, complete with a sculpted emblem on the front. If you get in real close, you can see it even has a cloth like texture. There’s also a lot of detail in the complex system of belts cinched around his waist. My only gripe here is that I wish each of these were painted instead of left the same color as the tunic. It looks kind of unfinished the way it is.

The cloak is really the showpiece of this figure. It pegs into the back and rests on the shoulders for a decent fit, and I love the way it billows out and practically frames the figure itself. The outside is black while the inside is a very regal high-gloss purple, with some gold trim and a network of gold striping running throughout. It looks fantastic!

The portrait is pretty stylized, reflecting the art direction of the show, but I still wouldn’t have a problem putting this figure on any of my comic-based Legends shelves. As with the cartoon design, the likeness is clearly based on Cumberbatch, but with a bit more severity to the facial features, making him look all the more sinister. The hair sculpt is really good, with a couple of stray swirls spilling over his forehead, and the beard is well defined and neatly painted. The eyes make use of half-tone printing and the dark patches under them add to his more sinister nature. And once again, the cloak just does a beautiful job of framing the portrait. Unfortunately, there’s a patch of mold flashing or something just above my figure’s left ear, which I’m hoping will clean up.

While Strange looks amazing, I have to report that he’s not all that fun to play around with. Sure, he has all the usual points of Legends articulation, but his plastic tunic really hinders all those points in the lower legs. As a result, I felt a little limited on what I could do with him. He does have full range of movement in the arms, even with the cloak on, and his hands are sculpted in a spell-slinging fashion.

Strange comes with one accessory, and that’s an extra right hand with a permanently attached magic effect part. I’m pretty sure this is recycled from the Infinity War boxed set that came with Iron Man, Strange, and Thanos, or at least sure enough that I’m not going to digging through boxes to find it and do a comparison. I’ve got no problem with Hasbro reusing this part, as we’ve only seen it once before, it’s a very nice piece, and it really does look fantastic on this figure.

Strange Supreme is a beautiful figure, but he’s not going to be spending a lot of time on my desk before getting placed onto the display shelves. That honor is reserved to figures that I enjoy fiddling with and posing in my downtime. Nope, this one is more of a looker than a poser, and that’s fine, especially when he displays as well as he does. I didn’t expect to really like a lot of figures in this assortment, but most of them surprised me in the end, and Strange Supreme is definitely one of those! And now that I have the final piece I need for The Watcher BAF, we’ll wrap things up next week with a look at that figure!

Marvel Legends (The Watcher Wave): Sylvie by Hasbro

I’ve got just two more figures left to open in this What If? inspired assortment before I can finally build The Watcher BAF. I would have been happy to pair them up, but Sylvie doesn’t really have much connection to the What If? Doctor Strange, so I guess I’ll take them each in turn. I’m going with Sylvie first, because I have little to no interest in this figure, and I didn’t want to end the wave on a downer.

Which one of these is not like the other? It’s Sylvie! She hails from the LOKI Disney+ series and not from What If? like the rest of these figures. Now, in fairness, I didn’t particularly enjoy What If? but at least I was able to sit through most of it. I bailed on the LOKI series somewhere into the second or third episode, I honestly can’t remember which. Even though I absolutely adored Hiddleston as Loki in the MCU flicks, giving him his own series seemed like a really strange idea, and from what I watched of it, it seemed to undo a lot about what made him a cool character in the first place. Yeah, Disney has been all about deconstructing a number of their MCU heroes lately, and it’s a big part of why so little about it all interests me any more.

You can sure tell that Sylvie isn’t part of this wave’s running theme, since all the pretty bright colors are gone and we just get dark colors with a bit of two-tone green on the cloak to spruce things up. Still, given the source material, I think this is a pretty solid representation. The detail in the body suit sculpt is somewhat soft, with the laces on the boots looking a lot sharper, and there isn’t much else going on with the costume sculpt. I really like the look of the cloak’s fit, but as expected it completely hinders the articulation of the upper body, and even a bit in the legs, so I’m going to cast it off. The problem is once it’s gone, so goes what is the best looking thing about the figure to me.

Well, you still have the head, which I think is an excellent sculpt with a decent likeness to the actress playing Sylvie in the series. I’m not familiar with her from anything else, but I like what they did here. The hair piece has lots of different sculpted strands, which offers plenty of dynamic depth to the portrait, and her horned tiara has one broken horn. I think the man-bun is a little weird, but I’ll blame that on the show’s character design and not the figure. The halftone printing for facial features looks great. Hasbro generally has a lot of success with these MCU portraits lately, and Sylvie here is certainly no exception.

Of course, we’re back to the standard female Legends articulation with rotating hinges in the elbows and no bicep swivels. Everything else is standard stuff. Unfortunately, my figure has a terrible pull to the swivel joint at the top of her right boot, leaving a bad gap. I get these joint gaps from time to time, but they are usually in one of the bicep swivels. Either way, it’s a real bummer, but I guess if it had to happen in this wave, I’m lucky it was on the figure I care the least about. Sylvie comes with two sets of hands: One pair for holding her accessory, and the other pair includes a right fist and a left hand with splayed fingers.

The accessory is a really cool short sword. I don’t remember this from the series, but like I said, I only watched a couple of episodes. It has a falchion-like design with an ornate golden hilt and a green blade that absolutely pops as if it’s being illuminated. It’s just an all around awesome looking piece.

It really irks me that Hasbro included Sylvie in this assortment, especially now that they have revealed another Disney+ assortment with a mix of characters from What If? and other Disney+ shows with a BAF that I don’t care about. They should have kept the two separate, or at least given Sylvie’s slot to Zombie Iron Man or Zombie Scarlet Witch. Sure, she is actually a very nice figure, but there are a lot of very nice licensed figures out there that I don’t buy because I have no love for the character or property they represent. And truth be told, I would have easily skipped Sylvie if it weren’t for her BAF part, but then that’s the whole strategy behind BAFs in the first place, so bravo Hasbro… you win this round! But I’ll get the last laugh because I’ve gone from a completist in this line to now cherry picking figures and buying a lot less. I suppose I could just toss her on the MCU shelf and just call her MCU Enchantress. Whatever!

Transformers Legacy: Kickback by Hasbro

Well, it looks like a Hasbro trifecta this week, as I’ve gone from Marvel Legends to GI JOE Classified, and now to Transformers Legacy. But hey, I do collect an awful lot of Hasbro properties, so that’s bound to happen from time to time. Today I’m dipping back into Hasbro’s new(ish) line called Legacy, which has been keeping a lot of the G1 love rolling, and this time it’s with a brand new version of an old favorite Insecticon of mine!

Here he is in the rather colorful Legacy packaging…. We last saw Kickback released in the Titan Returns line as a Legends Class in about five years ago. HOLY CRAP, THAT WAS FIVE YEARS AGO!?! He was the final release in that Insecticon trio, and while I liked that figure a lot, Hasbro took too long to release all three and by the time we got to Kickback, they all had annoying differences in their colors and aesthetics. When I finally got to put them on the shelf together and they just didn’t feel like a cohesive team. Later that same year, I picked up Bad Cube’s unofficial Insecticon Trinity, known as the Evil Bug Corps. Soon thereafter Hasbro’s little bugs went into a tote and I haven’t seen them since. But I absolutely adore the Insecticons ever since they made their first appearance in the old cartoon, and I’m ready to see Hasbro take another crack at these bug bots, so let’s start with Kickback and his cyber-locust mode.

Just from handling this guy, you don’t have to see the robot mode, to tell that Hasbro remained VERY faithful to the design and engineering of the original toy. That could be good or bad, depending on your opinion of overly simple transformations. For me, one of the reasons I Loved the G1 Kickback figure so much was that he looked exactly like his Sunbow animated counterpart, he actually had decent articulation and felt like a real action figure, and he was quick to get from robot to bug and back, which made playing with him a lot of fun. And all that certainly applies here! Sure, the way his legs work has been tweaked, but in spirit everything here is the same as the original. The deco is simple and gorgeous, and black and purple one-two punch to the eyeballs is to die for, and the added yellow brings it to new heights. And while his yellow chest plate is perfectly visible on his back here, I’ll wait to talk about it until we get him transformed.

The only thing I am torn on here are those wings. Oh, they look really nice with their intricate sculpted patterns set upon clear plastic canvases. But, I really miss the silver, because it’s just such an iconic part of the original toy. The chrome present on the original toy is very noticeably absent here. I’ve decided that it’s not a deal breaker for me, and that’s probably just because these do look so nice. The gun storage, on the other hand, is such a wonderful bonus on this update. It plugs right up into his undercarriage and adds some nice firepower to locust mode. If you’re a fan of asymmetry, you can also mount it on either leg.

Kickback also comes with two energy sword-gun-things, which are designed to tab into his wings in the locust mode. These are cast in translucent purple plastic and they’re OK. I’ll never complain about some nice bonus accessories, but I’m never going to display him with them, so they’re pretty much lost on me. Actually, I’ll probably loan them out to other figures. Maybe two of the Legacy Stunticons. But, yeah I wish Hasbro had saved the plastic to give us two sets of wings and the ability to swap them out for two different display options. That would have been really cool. Let’s move on to his robot mode…

Awww, yeah! It takes only a few seconds to get him into robot mode, and what a killer mode it is! Kickback is a tad on the stout side, but apart from that this is just a beautiful homage to his original G1 toy. He has actual fists now, instead of claws cobbled from his insect legs, and while I didn’t realize it in time for most of these pictures, he actually has ankle tilts hidden up in them feets. But what I absolutely have to uncontrollably gush over is that yellow chest plate. It’s yellow-tinted clear plastic over what I assume is a silver painted plate under it, and it creates a gorgeous radiant glow, like he’s practically pulsating with energon. Holy shit, it’s just gorgeous, and I can’t wait to see Bombshell and Shrapnel get the same treatment. I imagine the only people who could gripe about the execution here is that it doesn’t open up as an homage to the diaclone pilot compartment from the original toy. The Decepticon insignia on his upper chest looks great, and I dig the addition of some red panels and yellow striping on his lower legs. Kickback even looks all closed up and polished from the back! What an amazing robot mode!

And the head sculpt is pure money! Hasbro went with the Sunbow style face, as opposed to that of the G1 toy, and I’m always happier when they go this route! He’s got some beautiful silver paint on his face and forehead, and his black “helmet” is flanked by his glorious yellow bug antenna. Yes, there’s a little silver overspray at the top of his bright red visor, but thanks to his pronounced brow, you have to get down low to really notice it. Thankfully, the rest of the paint is fine, but sometimes I worry about these silver faces exposed to the elements with no window to protect them in the packaging. I’ve been lucky so far, but I do buy most of these online and sight unseen, so it’s always a gamble now.

Kickback comes with a wonderful update to his original Electrothermic Blast Tube weapon, which is mostly silver, but also has some metallic purple on the muzzle and on the drum-style magazine. It’s a great looking gun and a very distinctive design!

And the sword-gun-thingies that we saw attached to his locust mode, can also be wielded as weapons in his robot mode. You can attach these to his arms as guns, or he can wield them like energon swords. Again, these are cool bonus accessories, but I don’t plan on using them. I would have much preferred Hasbro include some Energon Cubes instead of these.

Here are some comparison shots of Legacy Kickback with the Commemorative Collection G1 Reissue figure, and boy do I think he represents well! He’s a little bit bigger in locust mode and A LOT bigger in robot mode. Sure, the legacy version is missing a little of the pop from the stickers on the G1 toy, but still an absolutely great representation of one of my favorite G1 figures.

A few petty nitpicks aside, I am absolutely thrilled with how great Legacy Kickback came out. This is just another example of me retiring an older Transformers figure in favor of a newer update. He’s so much fun to zip in and out of locust mode, and to just play around with on my downtime. He’ll likely be on my desk for a while, before finding a home on the display shelves. Yeah, I may buy a second Kickback and have a go at coloring those wings, but we’ll see if the clear set grows on me. My only hope now is that Hasbro doesn’t wait a a couple years to finish the trio off, and that Bombshell and Shrapnel both show up with the same style chests, and an overall cohesive look for the team!

G.I. JOE Classified: Spirit Iron-Knife by Hasbro

It’s been too long since I dipped back into Hasbro’s outstanding GI JOE Classified series, and with some new figures stacking up in my backlog, it sure seems like a good time for me to get on that. Cobra has been getting a lot of the spotlight from me, so let’s have a look at one of the brand new JOEs… It’s Spirit Iron-Knife and Freedom!

If you’ve been away from GI JOE for a while, the name Spirit Iron-Knife may seem odd, but it’s just one of Hasbro’s little tricks to get around trademark legalities, by putting his real name on the box along with his Codename. My only gripe here is that I really do not like the character art they went with. It’s super stylized, and it just doesn’t stack up to some of the magnificent art we’ve seen on past packages. But, I mainly toss these boxes anyway, so it’s not a big deal. And I practically shredded this box, because I was so excited to finally get Spirit in this line. He was a fantastic release back in 1984, even though I’m pretty sure I didn’t get him until the following year. But once I had him, Spirit was on just about every team of JOEs I assembled, usually as a tracker, and often stepping in and picking off Cobra troops when his teammates got captured. I absolutely loved this guy!

And here’s Spirit out of the box and ready for action! And man, did Hasbro do a bang-up job on this update! Spirit hits all the right points of his vintage figure, from the high boots and khaki trousers to the blue shirt, rolled up sleeves, and red undershirt peeking out from the collar. This new figure sports the correct shoulder insignia, as well as the brown sheath slung vertically off the left side of his chest. The update adds a cross-strap and shoulder rig to hold the sheath. as well as a utility belt, and a regular belt with a bright silver buckle. The cross-strap has a couple of grenades sculpted onto it, which were sculpted as part of the shirt on the vintage figure, as well as that weird gizmo on his right shoulder that all the Classified JOEs have. Honestly, the only thing we’re missing here is the white feather necklace seen sculpted onto the original figure. I’m surprised they aren’t here, but I suspect something like that would be simple to make for him.

The backpack is a complete redesign from his old green one. Now it’s a mix of black and khaki, and instead of being stacked with arrow cartridges, we get four compartments, a peg for his rifle to hang off the side, and a perch for Freedom, but more on that in a bit!

And how about that portrait! This may be one of my favorite head sculpts in the Classified line to date. The definition in his facial features are splendidly realized, giving him a stoic, all-business visage. He has a thick, black hair, with one ear exposed, and a sculpted red bandanna, with some strands of hair spilling out of it and streaming down behind his left cheek. There are sculpted braids, which hand down over each shoulder, with red ties on the end. This is no doubt the face of Spirit! Let’s move on to his gear!

It may not be a surprise that Charlie Iron-Knife does love him some knives! Spirit comes with two combat blades, one stored in the chest sheath, and the other on a sheath that’s strapped to his left thigh. The former is a fancy knife with some patterns on the blade. I’m not sure if that’s supposed to signify a Damascus blade or a flint blade, but it sure looks cool. I only wish they had painted the hilt white to match the one sculpted on the original figure. The second knife is just a standard combat variety, similar to what we’ve seen other Classified JOEs carrying. Both his hands are gun-hands, but he can still hold the knives fairly well, if not quite as secure as I would like.

Next up, Spirit comes with an automatic pistol as a sidearm, which is stored in a holster double-strapped to his right thigh. It’s a decent sculpt, molded all in black, and I love it. There’s no sci-fi crap to the design, and it actually looks like a straight up Desert Eagle. Quite a nice addition, since the original figure didn’t come with a sidearm.

Possibly one of the biggest departures from the vintage figure is found in Spirit’s rifle. The original figure came with a scoped rifle that fired arrows. I never really got what it was all about, so I’m actually glad to see that Classified Spirit comes with a more traditional combat rifle. This beauty is mostly black, but with a brown foregrip, a suppressor on the muzzle, and a pretty serious looking scope. The magazine is even detachable, and I always love that! Yeah, some fans may be disappointed to not get an update to his classic weapon, but that thing never really became all that iconic to me.

And last, but certainly not least, Spirit comes with his trusty winged companion, Freedom! I really love what Hasbro did with this figure, and yeah it really is a figure all it’s own. There’s articulation in the upper legs, swivels in the feet, articulation in the neck, and the wings are on ball joints with a set of spread wings for flight, and tucked wings for chillin’. There are pegs in Freedom’s feet that allow him to perch on the backpack, and Spirit also has something like a Falconer’s Gauntlet on his left arm with peg holes for him to perch there as well!

Wow! Spirit turned out to be an absolutely fantastic figure, and he’s certainly high up there among my favorite JOEs in the line so far. Hasbro did a nice job paying respects to a lot about what made the vintage figure so special, while also tossing in a few new updates here and there. The fact that they were able to give him a solid assortment of weapons, in addition to decently articulated Freedom, really showcases the sense of value I get out of these figures. Especially when I see the price of Marvel Legends creeping up there. I guess it makes all the difference when you own the license yourself!