Marvel Universe Infinite: Sandman and Black Cat by Hasbro

Since I’ve spent the last two Marvel Mondays with Hot Toys, I thought I’d slum it up a bit this week with some Marvel Universe. Yes, this line still exists! It’s no secret that Hasbro’s 3 3/4-inch Marvel line has taken a backseat to their 6-inch Legends. Looking back, I only featured four of these smaller scale figures in all of 2015 and meanwhile I’m struggling to keep up with the non-stop flood of their larger cousins. And yet, Universe/Infinite Series, whatever you want to call it, continues to cling to life with new waves releasing every now and then. Last time I visited with this line I checked out a couple of Spider-Man villains, and since we recently got a teaser of Spider-Man in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, I’m going to keep the Spidey love going with Black Cat and not one, but two versions of Sandman!


Nothing conveys the excitement of a comic book action figure than drab, black and gray packaging. I know, I harp on this every time, but it’s such a far cry from the old days when you got bright and colorful character art and Hasbro had some fun with the whole HAMMER and SHIELD thing. At one point you got personalized figure stands and little envelopes with character profiles, but that’s all gone and the presentation for this line has sucked for a while now. The 3 3/4-inch line is getting re-branded this year, so here’s hoping we get something better. But enough harping on Hasbro’s cut-backs and lazy graphic design, let’s start with Sandman.


William Baker, or Flint Marko if you prefer, comes in his brown trousers, belt, and familiar two-tone green shirt. He borrows heavily from the now ancient Absorbing Man figure. And I’m not just talking about the carded release, but way back to the Secret Wars comic two-packs. Yup, this body has been around the block more than a few times now. I mean, holy hell, how many times are we going to see these legs? Absorbing Man, Drax, Luke Cage, Doc Ock… these trousers have seen more hand-me-downs than a pair of Goodwill bell bottoms. The torso is also from Absorbing Man with the shirt painted on. It’s a decent enough body, although the legs look super puffy to me when compared with the waist. The head sculpt is new and while it’s a tad soft when compared to some of the MU’s better offerings, it’s not bad at all.



Besides the head, the other new bits are sandy-effect forearms and these are done quite well. His right hand is an enlarged grasping claw and his left hand is a giant spiked fist-hammer. Both of the sand limbs feature some fine sculpting and paint work to make them look convincing. The grabbing hand is sculpted so that it can hold another figure by the arm or leg, which is pretty cool. If Hasbro gets around to doing Sandman in the 6-inch line, I’d like some swappable parts for these, but in the 3 3/4-inch line, that’s expecting rather a lot.



The variant Sandman is the same sculpt with an all sandy paint job. I’m not usually big on the repaint variants in the line, but here I think it works beautifully. I also really dig the white pupil-less paint for the eyes. If I were only going to go for one of these, I’ll confess I’d be torn on which one to choose.


Since both figures use the same older body, the articulation isn’t quite up to what I’ve come to expect from the recent releases in the line. That’s not to say it’s bad. The arms feature rotating hinges in the shoulders and elbows. The legs are ball jointed at the hips and ankles, and double hinged at the knees. There’s a ball joint in the torso and another in the neck. I guess the thing I miss the most are swivel cuts in the thighs. Overall, these guys are pretty fun in hand, but they’re a little floppy and getting them to pose well on their own is damn frustrating. If you’re just looking for figures to stand on the shelf, maybe there is something to be said for the retro 5-POA schlock. Moving on to Black Cat…


Felicia Hardy features her iconic black body suit with sculpted white tufts of fur on the legs and arms, as well as around her plunging neckline. You don’t get the white paint for the boots or gloves, so it’s a little different than the look we got on her recent 6-inch figure. The headsculpt is a solid effort with a long white hair and her mask both sculpted and painted on the face. Extra details include the large hoop pull on her front zipper and a choker collar. There’s nothing terribly flashy in the paint or sculpt here, but Black Cat gets the job done. Still, it would have been nice if they ponied up for a tiny whip.


Like Sandman, Black Cat is built on one of the older style female bucks and that means articulation is more limited than what I would have liked to have seen in an acrobatic character like Black Cat. There are rotating hinges in the shoulders, elbows, and ankles, ball joints in the hips, double hinges in the knees, and a ball joint in the neck. The lack of swivels in the wrists and thighs, as well as torso articulation of any kind is particularly disappointing, but there’s still some fun that can be had here.





Stumbling upon this trio of figures was a pleasant surprise for me, particularly because the pegs are usually full of much older waves. Add to that the fact that these were on sale for about $7.88 (in addition to a few others that I picked up) and it was like old times again. I almost forgot what it was like to come home from the store with a bag full of 3 3/4-inch figures of classic characters, rip them open, and have some fun. No, none of these are particularly amazing, but they’re solid, fun figures and they help fill out my 3 3/4-inch Spider-Man shelf.

Marvel Universe Infinite: Doc Ock and Vulture by Hasbro

While Hasbro’s 3 3/4″ Marvel line is still alive, it certainly feels like it’s on life support with only sporadic releases here and there. Even as a dedicated collector of this line, looking back I’ve only reviewed two of these figures all year and one of those was all the way back in January! Granted, Legends has been picking up a lot of the slack, but I still enjoy the smaller scale as well. Anyway, today I’m checking out two figures from one of the recent waves and both happen to be pulled from Spider-Man’s Rogue Gallery: Doc Ock and Vulture!


Blah! Well, the packaging hasn’t changed. It’s still as bland and flavorless as it has been for a while. God, I miss the colorful cards with the great character art and the funny quips on the back about collecting them all. This just feels like generic packaging at its worst. Oh well. Let’s rip these open and we’ll start with Vulture.



Vulture has a few good things going for him. The head sculpt is fantastic, although the right eye on my figure looks like it’s oozing out of its socket. But even still, you have to get in pretty close to see it. And if you want to stick him in a pose with his arms up over his head and his wings spread, he looks damn nice on the shelf. If you want to play with him, or change his pose, or touch him in any way, that’s where the problems begin.



Remember these wings? They’re the ones from the Falcon figure that was released four years back. I was iffy on them with Sam Wilson way back then and they’re not doing any favors for this figure now. A big part of the problem is that the wings will fall out of the slots in the arms if you just look at them funny. But even if that wasn’t the case. Even if I were to take a couple dabs of gorilla glue and stick them in there for good, they really only look good in that one pose and that defeats the purpose of the arm articulation. Put his arms down and they kind of look like they’re coming out of his head.


Speaking of articulation, Vulture feels like we took a trip back in time to the beginning of the line. He’s got absolutely zero torso articulation and yes, that means not even a waist swivel. The arms have rotating hinges in the shoulders and elbows, but no bicep swivels and no wrist swivels. The legs are ball jointed at the hips, have double hinged knees, and the ankles have hinges and rockers. The neck is ball jointed, but with the collar, it can barely turn left and right. Granted, this figure qualifies as super poseable when compared to the 5-POA Star Wars figures swinging on the pegs next to them, but they still feel really dated for this line. Let’s move on…



Doctor Octopus fares better on almost every level. The sculpt is fairly simple, but it works just fine. The portrait probably isn’t better than Vulture’s on a technical level, but it isn’t bad either. And while both figures feature add on parts for their gimmick, Ock’s mechanical arms work loads better than Vulture’s crappy wings.


The arms simply peg into the back and each one has one swivel cut to allow for a little bit of posing. I also really like the silver paint they used for the arms. Yeah, proper bendy arms would have been cool, but these look great on the figure and still allow for some play-ability. Frankly, I’m glad they went this way.


As for the rest of Ock’s articulation, it’s still lacking any torso articulation at all, but you do get some additional points over what Vulture’s dated body is sporting. Ock’s arms feature swivels in the biceps and rotating hinges in the wrists. There are no rockers in the ankles, but the sculpted pants cuffs would have canceled it out anyway.



And so here we have one hit and one miss on Marvel’s 3 3/4″ front. I really dig Doc Ock a lot and it’s kind of surprising to me that it took them this long to get around to doing him. Vulture is also a great choice of character for the line, but he really needed a new set of wings to make him work. These flappers were rather disappointing on Falcon and they’re no be here nearly four years later. I can appreciate Hasbro wanting to reuse parts, but this just wasn’t a good example of it. Oh, and the Marvel Universe love for Spidey’s villains doesn’t end here. There’s still a relatively new release of Sandman out there, I just haven’t found him yet.

Marvel Universe Infinite: Shanna The She-Devil by Hasbro

Lest you forgot about it, Hasbro’s Marvel Universe 3 1/4″ Scale line is still a live and kicking. Well, maybe not kicking, more like twitching, but either way it’s still a thing. The character selection has been a little hit and miss and I’ve been passing on more figures than usual because of it, but suffice it to say it is still very much on my radar because I love the line so much. On this Marvel Monday, I’m taking a brief interlude from the Legends figures to check out Shanna the She Devil!


The last time I looked at a Universe figure was way back in January, so here’s a refresher on the packaging… it still sucks! It’s black, bland, and boring. I’ve said it before, but this is everything a comic book package shouldn’t be. I miss the old days before the Infinite reboot when we got personalized cards with great character art. What’s that? Why do I care? I just throw them away. I don’t know, maybe it’s the principal of the thing. Maybe I want to be woo’ed. I want Hasbro to wine and dine me with the packaging before I lay my money down. Anyway, about the only thing this packaging does well is show off the figure. I mean, they didn’t even give her proper title on the insert. Maybe they thought “She-Devil” wouldn’t fly in the toy aisles in this day and age.


Let me start out by saying that I have more than a few issues with this figure, but most of them are based on the choices Hasbro went with rather than the execution. If I take Shanna for what she is, she’s fairly well done, although she feels more like one of the earlier Marvel Universe releases than being from the latest crop. New sculpting on the body includes her top, her boots, and a separate sculpted loin cloth hanging over her painted undies, which even has a working sheath for her knife on the back. Her left hand is sculpted into a fist and her right is sculpted to hold the knife. You get some painted arm bands and the ample amount of skin tone is well done.


I’d say my biggest issue here is with the boots. I can’t remember the last time I saw Shanna not being depicted as barefoot. And since I can’t place these legs on any other figure, I have to imagine they were sculpted for this figure. So, hey… if you’re doing the sculpt anyway, Hasbro, why not give us her most common look and sculpt some bare feet? It’s perplexing. Something else that’s odd… Hasbro seems to go out of their way to sculpt belly buttons through the costumes on many of their female figures. Here’s one that’s actually got a bare midriff and you can barely see it. Weird!


Like the body, the portrait is pretty good at least based on the direction they went with it. Shanna has her blonde hair sculpted down over half her face and this would not have been my first choice. An alternate head? Fine, go for it! But the face sculpt (at least half of it) looks so good, why not just let us see it all? I may try to pop the noggins off one of my Universe Sue Storms and see if that one works better.



Articulation takes a few steps back too. The last female figure I looked at in this line was Valkyrie and she was loaded with articulation. Shanna, not so much. The arms have rotating hinges in the shoulders and elbows, but no swivels in the biceps or wrists. The legs are ball jointed at the hips, have double hinges in the knees, and the ankles have hinges and lateral rockers. There’s no articulation in the torso at all and a ball joint in the neck, which is rendered inert by her sculpted hair. For an Olympic-trained athlete, Shanna deserved better.



You get one accessory, and that’s her tiny knife, which fits in the sheath on the back of her belt. Pretty cool, but nothing special.




Make no mistake, this is not in any way a bad figure. The sculpt is solid, the paint is fine, and even while the articulation is dated, it’s still better than most of what we’re seeing on the pegs in this scale these days. Had Hasbro gone a different way with her hair and decided to lose the boots, I would have been a lot happier, but I’m still not sorry I added her to my Universe shelf. And given Hasbro’s predilection for doing the same characters in Universe and Legends scales, I’m hoping that means we might see Shanna appearing in the 6-inch scale in the near future.

Marvel Universe Infinite: Valkyrie by Hasbro

I wasn’t planning on looking at Valkyrie this week, but two things brought me around. First, I’m on a big kick to get through a lot of unfinished business from 2014 and Valkyrie is the last Infinite Series figure that I have still waiting to be opened. Second, we’ve seen a lot of stuff from Hasbro of late suggesting that the 4-inch line of Marvel figures is going to be around for at least a little longer and that’s got me rather excited. It’s worth noting that Ares, a related figure in this Wave, was one of my favorite 4-inch figures from the entire year, so I have high hopes for Valykrie too.


Here’s the packaging. BLAH! Hasbro, please change the packaging in 2015. Actually, don’t even worry about it. Just keep making the figures. I toss the packages anyway so I don’t even know why I care. I count myself as a fairly prolific reader of all things Marvel, but I have so few experiences meeting Valkyrie in my travels through my funnybooks. I must just not be reading the right books. The most lasting impression this character has made on me goes all the way back to her self-titled one-shot that was published in 1990-something. And honestly, the only reason I probably picked up that book was because it had a hot, scantily-clad blonde chick by Pablo Raimondi on the cover. Needless to say I’ll mostly be judging this figure on her own merits and not making a lot of comparison’s to the character.



Here she is out of the package and the part of me that leans toward being a sexist pig kind of digs her revealing 90’s outfit a lot more. Fortunately, that’s only a little part of me so I can still find a lot to love about this more traditional Asgardian style of armor. Valkyrie’s buck gets by with very little sculpted detail, as the costume is entirely achieved by paintwork alone. That’s OK, though, as the paintwork here is particularly clean and crisp, especially on the circular points of her torso armor and her wrist bracers. The only other aspect of her costume is the belt that hangs loose on her hips.


The head sculpt here is good, but the paint doesn’t back it up. Hasbro put in a lot of effort on her hair, including the two long braids, with one falling down her front and one down her back when her head is faced forward. The face is also clean and pretty. On the downside, the eyes are a far cry from what’s seen on the package. It almost looks like she’s looking up. It’s not a deal breaker for me, but it does represent a major stumble on what could have been another homerun figure in this Wave.



While Valkyrie does suffer from some slightly mushy knee hinges, the articulation here is otherwise solid and stable and there’s a lot of useful points. The arms have rotating hinges at the shoulders, double hinges in the elbows and swivels in the biceps and wrists. The legs are ball jointed at the hips and double hinged at the knees. There are swivels in both the thighs and again just below the knees. The ankles are hinged and also feature lateral rockers. There’s no waist articulation, but she does have a ball joint just under her chest and both a ball joint and hinge in her neck.



Valkyrie includes one accessory, her enchanted blade, Dragonfang. While it doesn’t quite live up to the amazing detail Hasbro put into Ares’ axe it’s not at all a bad looking sword. You can even make out the tiny dragonhead sculpted into the pommel. The sword features a two-handed blade and, thanks to Val’s excellent articulation, she can easily wield it in one or both hands. There’s no specific way to secure it to her person, although you can pass it through her belt if you want her to wear it.




Valkyrie is every bit a solid figure, although she doesn’t pack the “wow factor” that I got from Ares. And speaking of other figures from this Wave, if you lost track, it included Ares, Ant-Man, Deathlok, and Omega Red, all of which I would count as exceptional figures, and one dud: Cyclops. Leave it to Scott Summers to douche everything up, eh? That’s still a pretty good record and it made the subsequent Wave of mostly repacks pretty disappointing. Fortunately, we’ve seen some excellent looking figures teased for the line in 2015, which gives me some much needed hope after seeing the shitty looking toys Hasbro has planned for the Age of Ultron film.

Marvel Universe Infinite: Deathlok by Hasbro

[Sorry for the technical difficulties this morning. This is my second crack at today’s feature as I had a problem with the original upload and the first completed draft was lost to the farthest reaches of the Interwebs. I’ve done a speedy re-write in a coffee and donut fueled rage, so let’s try this again… ]

Well, Christmas if finally behind us and I’m anxious to get back to business as usual. Sometime last week I was cleaning out the Toy Closet and I happened upon a couple of unopened Marvel Infinite Series figures, Deathlok and Valkyrie, that had fallen behind the shelving. It’s always fun to find unopened toys that I forgot I had, so let’s tear one of these babies open! I’m going with Deathlok because if I had remembered that I had him I would have opened him up along time ago. No offence, Valkyrie, but it’s Deathlok!


Ah, there’s the bleak and ugly Infinite Series packaging. It’s black and boring and everything a comic book action figure package should not be. The back of the package points out that this is the Luther Manning version of the character, but apart from that I don’t have much more to say about the card. I haven’t heard much about the Infinite Series since the last wave when Hasbro made the mistake of re-releasing the Guardians of the Galaxy figures on single cards. They were great figures and all, but it was a poor choice considering that boxed set was still sitting on the toy shelves of many big box retailers. At least that Wave did give us a powered up version of Wonder Man. What was I talking about? Oh yeah, Deathlok…



I have a strange affinity for people who are mortally injured and saved by cybernetic enhancements. It’s a cool compromise in that you’re still alive, but not quite the person you used to be. That’s why I love Robocop so much, and Deathlok too. Of course, Deathlok takes it to a whole new level with dimension hopping and fighting demons and all sorts of crazy Marvel shit. I think Hasbro did a really nice job on the figure, even though it’s obvious they did some parts shopping from other figures to build him. The limbs are almost definitely off of Marvel Universe Colossus and we saw them again as recently as Wave 2 of Infinite Series with Death’s Head. I’m not complaining though, the parts reused make sense and there’s enough new stuff here to make the figure work. The paint is quite well done as the yellow striping on his costume and the American Flag tampo on his chest are both clean and precise. Most of the sculpted detail on the body comes from the segmented design of the cybernetic limbs.



The portrait here is really good. The organic part of the head looks grisly and zombie-esque and contrasts beautifully with the sterile and almost featureless cybernetic half. Hasbro has introduced some pretty great sculpts into this line since the Marvel Universe days and I’d dare say that Deathlok’s is among the better ones.




In addition to borrowing some parts for the figure, Hasbro also raided the Marvel Universe Cable figure for Deathlok’s arsenal. The gun belt is the same, only repainted brown and both the pistol and rifle are the same, just cast in a different color of plastic. I suppose that the pistol could pass for Deathlok’s helium neon laser pistol and as for the rifle, well that’s one of my favorite weapons in the line so I don’t mind getting it again.



Unfortunately, Deathlok has some issues with articulation. The points are all there with everything I’ve come to expect from the modern Marvel Universe buck, but his leg joints came out of the package a bit warped. He still works OK for action poses, but I can’t get him into a regular, standing at attention pose because the legs just want to be splayed outward. Also, the ball joint in his torso is really loose and floppy. It feels like an old GI JOE figure when the O-ring was going bad. I’m not sure if it’s a problem with my specific figure or one that is common to the whole run, but I like this guy enough that I may pick up another to see if I make out any better.



Don’t let my talk about parts re-use fool you, I really dig this figure a lot and I’m kind of surprised that it took Hasbro this long to get us this character in their expansive 3 3/4” line. I am a bit surprised they went with the more classic look over Deathlok’s most recent appearance, but I’m not disappointed. I like the classic look a lot better and despite all my efforts, I haven’t been able to get more than a few issues into v5 of Deathlok before wandering away from the book to read other things. Next time we revisit the Infinite Series, I’ll check out Valkyrie and that should just about bring me up to date on Hasbro’s 3 3/4″ Marvel offerings.

Marvel Universe Infinite: Hyperion by Hasbro

Yesterday I served up some DC Comics action figure loving so we might as well flip the coin today and look at Marvel. I still have a few Marvel Infinite figures hanging around and waiting to be opened and today’s offering goes all the way back to the initial wave of this curious re-branding of the 3 ¾-inch Marvel Universe line. It’s Hyperion and it’s a crazy coincidence that last year at this time I was looking at the Marvel Legends version of this character. Folks, I gotta be honest, I’m really pressed for time so today’s feature is mostly filler… Sorry, Hyperion… no offense. But yeah, mostly filler.

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There’s the packaging. It’s been a couple of weeks since we looked at anything from Marvel Infinite so in case you forgot, I don’t like this packaging at all. About the only thing this has going for it is that it shows the figure off pretty well and it does indeed scream MARVEL! at you. Hyperion is not a character that I have a great affinity for. He turns up in my reading from time to time, I dig him well enough, but I don’t seek him out. I will say that it’s cool to get a figure of him in his more classic style costume, as we did with his Legends version, but at the same time I wish Hasbro had taken the opportunity to give us his darker and grittier Marvel NOW! costume.



If you’re familiar with the character than you should know what to expect here. If not, well Hyperion a pretty generic looking caped crusader. Oh wait, that’s the other guy. Hyperion always reminds me of Captain Marvel. Not Marvel’s Captain Marvel… DC’s Captain Marvel. You know, SHAZAM! Anyway, it’s obviously the red and yellow color pallet of his costume that causes my mind to make the connection. Hyperion is built on a very muscular buck and unlike the Legends figure, this one is sporting a little gold in the costume, particularly on the midriff. I dig it a lot. It just makes for a more visually interesting costume to me. Also, Hyperion’s cape is only attached by two pegs and is removable.



The portrait is very similar to the Legends head sculpt giving Hyperion a rather severe and somewhat pissed off visage. It’s possibly not quite as harsh as the larger figure, but he definitely looks displeased. I like it. There’s a lot of personality packed into this little head sculpt.



You get the same great articulation we’ve been seeing in most of the Infinite bodies. The arms have rotating hinges in the shoulders, hinged elbows, and swivels in the biceps and wrists. The legs are ball jointed at the hips, double hinged at the knees, there swivels at the thighs and tops of the boots, and the ankles have both hinges and rockers. The torso features a ball joint just below the chest and the neck is both ball jointed and hinged. My only gripe here is that there are some gaps in the swivels between the boots and his legs and they really bug me. I had this curious jointing phenomenon occur on one other Marvel Universe figure, but I can’t remember which one. Maybe Kang?


Yeah, like I said, today was mostly filler and I apologize. Hyperion is not a bad figure by any means, but I just can’t get terribly excited about the character. The figure tagged along as part of Wave 1 when I bought the assortment case and I’m cool with that. For me the 3 3/4″ Marvel line is all about universe building so any time I can add another character to my shelves, I’m happy, even if it is a character I don’t care all that much about. I’ll make up for phoning in today’s feature tomorrow with a look at something special…

Marvel Infinite Series: Captain America and Iron Man by Hasbro

I try to work something Marvel into each week, but last week it just didn’t happen. As a result, I’m double dipping today and giving you two figures for the price of one feature. Ok, it’s not really about a sense of value and fairplay, it’s more because these are two pegwarmers from the first wave of Marvel Infinite and I’m not sure each is really worthy of his own feature. Today we’ll check out Captain America and Iron Man…


Wave 1 consisted of some really solid figures like Wasp, Hulk, Executioner, and then you had these guys. I can understand the need to keep main characters on the pegs, and this is an Avengers based series after all, but Cap and Iron Man figure fatigue was in full swing by the time these figures hit the pegs. This pair was quickly turning into the Bumblebee of the Hasbro Marvel line. Everywhere I went these were the only two I ever saw. Yeah, I still hate this packaging, so I’ll pass on ripping it apart figuratively and jump right it into doing so literally. Let’s start with Cap…



So, straight away I’m a little confused as to the context here. Logically I would have expected this one to be either a Marvel NOW! or Heroic Age Cap, but he’s clearly neither. Instead what we have seems to be fairly general “use him for whatever you want Cap.” The belt, boot cuffs and raised wings all make him feel like a more traditional appearance of the costume, but he lacks the texturing to the upper body that I usually associate with a Secret Wars era Cap. It’s also worth noting that he’s strapped into that tray so tight that my figure came out a little warped.


Now that’s not to say he’s a bad figure. In fact, the only thing I’m not terribly keen on are the protruding wings on his mask. They look more like tiny horns than wings. It’s like Rogers borrowed one of Daredevil’s masks and customized it. The coloring on the figure is particularly bright and the paintwork is clean. He also has all the great articulation of the more modern 3 3/4” Marvel bucks, which includes the swivels in the biceps as well as both at the thighs and the boots and the added hinge in the ball jointed neck. He even has lateral rockers in the ankles. Yup, Cap has got loads of poseability and he is damn fun to play with.




The shield is of the clip-on variety although I haven’t seen this particular one before. It’s dated 2011, but it has four sculpted squares inside the back of it. There’s no peg on it to secure to Cap’s back and no peghole there either, which is a disappointment. On the other hand, the paint on the front of the shield is immaculate.



Moving on to Iron Man, there’s no mistaking this version, as he’s donning the Heroic Age armor. I’m a big fan of this suit and I absolutely loved the Marvel Legends version from a little while back, so getting to add it to my 3 3/4” collection was a big deal for me. The figure feels like it should be a little bulkier, but otherwise it’s a really nice recreation of this suit in the smaller scale. The red and gold deco is gorgeous and he has the white and blue power points on his legs and hips as well as the Arc Reactor on his chest. You even get painted repulsors on the soles of his boots! He’s not quite as good as a scaled down version of the 6-inch figure, but he still looks great.



The articulation on Iron Man is a bit more limited than what we saw on Cap. There’s no waist swivel and no swivels in the lower legs. You do, however, still get the ankle rockers, which is always impressive to me when offered in this small scale. His left hand is sculpted flat as if firing off a repulsor blast, but because the wrists have only swivels and no hinges, it’s tough to get him into the firing position, at least not with his arm held straight out. His other hand is balled into a fist.



Iron Man comes with that ridiculous cone of energy effect part that we’ve seen time and time again. I can’t put into words how much I hate this thing and wish it would go away. It’s supposed to clip onto his wrist, but it doesn’t look like anything. I used to save these, now I just throw them away with the packaging.


If you’re new to collecting the Marvel 3 3/4” figures this pair can fill a couple of important slots and can be found clearanced at many online retailers for about $5 each. It’s a cheap and easy way to get the characters. They’re both certainly good figures, but long time collectors may find the Cap a little generic and redundant, whereas the Iron Man is certainly worth hunting down and picking up if you want a wide variety of Stark Tech armors in this scale. I picked these up as part of the entire wave a while back and I only now got around to opening them, so that should tell you something.

Marvel Legends Infinite: Agent Venom by Hasbro

So, I had originally planned on looking at DC Collectibles Starfire today, but my figure turned out to be all kinds of broken, so I’m working on getting a replacement. I also just made up a new rule. If a DC figure fumbles too badly to be reviewed then Marvel gets to take the ball. I suppose the reverse would be the case. Fair is fair. Anyway, today’s figure, Agent Venom, comes from that curious new breed of Walgreens Exclusives. Nope, that’s not a typo. I didn’t mean to say Walmart. As odd as it seems, Walgreens is indeed asserting their presence in the action figure game by signing exclusive deals with companies like Hasbro, Funko, and even Character Options to make them the only source for certain characters from Marvel, Game of Thrones, Star Wars, and Doctor Who. I actually had some luck getting one of the Doctor Who exclusives, but my hunt for Agent Venom proved fruitless. Luckily, thanks to this awesome dude, I was able to get me an agent Venom without having to carve out a piece of my kidney for him on Ebay. Although, his price on the secondary market does seem to be calming down.



I’ve got no packaging to show you, as I just asked that he be mailed to me loose or in a tray or whatever way possible. Suffice it to say, Agent Venom comes in a package very similar to what we’ve been seeing in Hasbro’s Marvel Legends Infinite line. Since there is no packaging to speak of, I’ll take the opportunity here to say that this was a character I desperately wanted in the Legends line. Flash Thompson is a fantastic and compelling character to me on every level. I loved that he didn’t get left out of the Superior Spider-Man run. Some of the interchanges between him and Doc Ock were priceless. And Agent Venom’s involvement in the affairs of Spider-Island was easily my favorite thing about that whole story arc. Well, him and J. Jonah, of course. It was cruel blow to find out that Flash was going to be a hard to find exclusive, and I’m really thrilled to have him in hand.



Cast entirely in black plastic, Agent Venom is an imposing looking figure. The sculpt here is fantastic and I’m particularly fond of the armor pieces that look like a cross between sports equipment, riot gear, and crustacean parts. You get a mix of what looks like fabricated straps with that cool bumpy texture that looks and feels a bit like natural shell. Most of the torso bulk comes from a soft rubbery vest that’s laid on over the figure’s buck, which thankfully has the shoulder pads attached. This means that they can flop up and down to avoid hindering the shoulder articulation. It works so much better than putting them on a hinge as I don’t have to worry about them popping off like the ones on the Space Armor Iron Man figure included in the recent Guardians wave. The paintwork on the figure consists almost entirely of his white markings. I know some have complained about rough paint on this figure, but I’m actually pleased with mine. I think the paint itself could have been laid on a little thicker, as the black tends to bleed through in some areas, but apart from that the lines are pretty crisp and there’s no slop to speak of.


In addition to all that great armor, Agent Venom sports a well stocked equipment belt, which is all sculpted in one piece. The belt features enough pouches to make both Rob Liefeld and Deadpool jealous. He’s also got a canteen, smoke grenades, regular grenades, and a combat knife. Oh yeah, he’s also got a sculpted hip holster with a permanently attached automatic. And the silver paint on that gun is the only other paint on the figure apart from those white markings. Wait, what? The gun doesn’t come out of the holster? Boo. Agent Venom needs weapons!




Well, ask and you shall receive. Flash actually comes with four guns. You get a pair of gray automatic pistols, a gray sub-machine gun, and a black pistol with a laser scope (oh, look! One more paint hit!) mounted under the barrel. Nice! And like a lot of other people who get this figure, I’ll be giving those matching pistols to my Winter Soldier Black Widow who also suffered from Guns-sculped-into-the-holster Syndrome.


In addition to an embarrasment of guns, Agent Venom also comes with a single piece of four tendrils that plugs into his back. The ends of the tendrils are sculpted into little “hands” to hold his guns, although this feature works with somewhat mixed results. It’s still a very cool option.




The articulation on this figure is great. There are no mushy joints and all the right points are there. His arms feature rotating hinges in the shoulders, double hinges in the elbows, and swivels in the gloves. The legs are ball jointed at the hips, although they are those somewhat frustrating ones that require you to reposition the joint to make it work in different positions. The legs have double hinged knees, swivels at the top of the thighs, and the ankles have both hinges and lateral rockers. Agent Venom can swivel at the waist, and despite wearing the vest he can still hinge forward and backward a bit in the torso. He also has a hinge and a generous ball joint in the neck. He’s well balanced and loads of fun to play with!



Man, do I love this figure and I am absolutely thrilled to add him to my Legends shelf. Whether or not Walgreens having exclusive figures pans out to be a benefit or headache to collectors remains to be seen. On the plus side, I’ve got at least three Walgreens within a 20 minute radius of my home, whereas the nearest Toys R Us is about an hour away. On the downside, distribution seems to have been a little spotty so far, but I suppose we need to give it time. In the case of Agent Venom, however, we have a figure that was cancelled from a previous wave and then still left out when that wave found it’s way to TRU’s shelves. As a result, I would have been happy to get this figure in my hands no matter who wound up offering it. Hey, Walgreens, how about that red Legends Deadpool? Maybe you can work your mojo with Hasbro and get your hooks into that one too!


Marvel Universe Infinite: Wonder Man by Hasbro

The last time I visited with the Infinite Series, I took a look at Grim Reaper so it seems only fair that this time I check out Eric’s brother, Simon Williams, aka Wonder Man and as luck would have it, he just so happens to be part of the new wave of figures. I’m sure I mentioned last time how much I love Eric and Simon’s backstory. When it comes to origin stories, I tend to find the tragic ones a lot more interesting and that’s a big part of what draws me to Wonder Man, a character born out of desperation, manipulation and bad choices.


Here’s the packaging and since I’m tired of talking about how much it sucks, I’ll take this opportunity to put the figure into some context. Wonder Man’s first 3 3/4” Hasbro outing came back in the Marvel Universe line. This version of the character is his powered up and unstable form, which was also quite beautifully showcased in a story arc on Avenger’s Earth’s Mightiest Heroes. I’ll also note here that I’ll probably be skipping the rest of this wave as the rest of the assortment are repacks of the Marvel Universe Guardians of the Galaxy set from a year or so back. If you don’t have those figures, I highly recommend getting them, but chances are you may still be able to do better on price by tracking down and buying the boxed set. I still think packing that Rocket and Groot together as one $10 carded figure is kind of cheap on Hasbro’s part, but whatevs.



Getting back to Wonder Man, this figure appears to use the same mold from the Marvel Universe version only this time he’s cast in translucent purple and blue plastics to simulate his ionic energy form. The only paint apps here are his eyes and the W-ish stripe that runs across his chest, back, and shoulders. I know some people go absolutely apeshit over translucent plastic figures and toys. I’m not one of them, but I have to admit that the effect here works well and the figure looks quite striking. I am, unfortunately missing the original Wonder Man release from my Marvel Universe collection, so I can’t give you a side-by-side comparison.



Translucent plastic sometimes has it’s downsides, but there’s none of that here. The sculpted detail in the head is pretty damn sharp and I can make out all the details from the original mold. The joints are also sturdy and the figure is highly poseable. How poseable? Let’s run down those points… The arms are ball jointed at the shoulders, hinged at the elbows, and have swivels in the biceps and wrists. The legs are ball jointed at the hips and ankles, and double-hinged at the knees. Simon has a ball joint in the torso and another at the neck. It’s basically most of what you expect to find in a modern MU buck, minus some swivels in the legs.



And that’s pretty much all there is to say about this guy. I’m not usually one to go for these kinds of… ah… repaints? But in this case I really like what Hasbro did here. The translucent effect looks fantastic on the figure and it suits the character quite well. I’m also very pleased I was able to get him at a decent price without having to buy the entire wave with three figures I already own. And I’ll give a shout out to Nerd Rage Toys for that! It’s a retailer that is quickly becoming my go-to source for Hasbro 3 3/4″ figures. I also think it was smart to get a version of Wonder Man on the pegs soon after Grim Reaper and without doing a straight repack too! I don’t know that this is an essential figure, but I’m mighty glad to have it in my collection.

Marvel Universe Infinite: Grim Reaper by Hasbro

I’m continuing to push through my sizable backlog of Hasbro’s 3 3/4” Marvel figures. Today I’m popping back to the initial wave of the Infinite Series to check out Eric Williams, aka Grim Reaper! I was thrilled when Hasbro revealed they were finally adding this character to the action figure line. The history of Grim Reaper and his brother Wonder Man is a compelling one and I really like the way the story arc was handled on Earth’s Mightiest Heroes. They also did a pretty good job portraying Grim Reaper as a semi-regular bad ass.


I’m going to try to tone down my repeated criticisms of the Infinite Series packaging, mainly because it’s just getting tiresome. Instead I’ll just take this time to point out that while Grim Reaper has been kicking around the comics for a long time, his character design has remained fairly consistent. Sure, they took a lot of liberties for his animated design in EMH, but the character design on display here is versatile enough to work for a number of different periods throughout the Marvel comics timeline.


Grim Reaper uses a fairly lean buck and relies mostly on paintwork for his costume. The color scheme uses a subtle mix of black and dark blue to give him that great old school comic book style deco. The white skull and crossbones painted on his chest is a bit uneven in the shading, but overall not too bad. The purple cape is sculpted to sweep away from the figure’s legs and it doesn’t reach down to the ground. Both features help to not to inhibit the leg articulation.


The head sculpt here is quite good for the scale. Besides his distinctive mask with the double “horns” protruding from each side, Eric is sporting a pretty crazy expression that gives the figure personality in spades. I’d have to go back to Marvel Universe Constrictor or Bullseye to find a figure of a villain with a portrait as good as this one. The paintwork around the mask is a little sloppy, but you have to get in pretty close to notice it.



Obviously, Grim Reaper’s most notable feature is the scythe grafted onto his right arm by The Tinkerer. The appendage looks good and doesn’t warp too badly despite being cast from very soft plastic. I will take issue with the articulation here, because there doesn’t appear to be a swivel at the post where it is inserted into the arm. It’s a crazy oversight and it really limits some of the attack poses you can get out of him. This restriction is rather disappointing.


The rest of the articulation is both fine and predictable for the line. The arms feature rotating hinges in the shoulders, hinges in the elbows, and swivels in the biceps. There’s also a swivel in Grim Reaper’s left wrist. The legs are ball jointed at the hips and double-hinged at the knees. There are swivels in both the thighs and lower legs, and the ankles have both hinges and lateral rockers. The torso has a swivel in the waist, a ball joint in the chest, and the neck features both a hinge and a ball joint.




And so with the addition of Grim Reaper to my Marvel ranks, I can tick another important villain off my Marvel action figure want list. Overall, I think Hasbro did a nice job with this guy, particularly with that wonderful portrait. The one sticking point for me (no pun intended) remains the lack of a swivel in his scythe. It seems like it had to be pegged in there anyway, and I’m guessing they opted to glue it in, which is a real shame. Besides the ability to rotate it for greater posing, it would have been cool to have it detach as well. It’s not a big deal when he’s standing on the shelf, but it sure puts a damper on the fun when posing and playing around with him.