Marvel Legends (Man-Thing Wave): Elektra by Hasbro

Here I go once again, assuaging the hurt of Monday by opening up a new Marvel Legends action figure in a little thing that I like to call Marvel Monday. Also… I saw Black Panther last Thursday and it was amazing and I wish I was talking about that wave of figures, but rules are rules and I have to finish going through this wave before moving on to another. ARGGGGHHHH!

Sorry, Elektra, I’m not intentionally downplaying how amazing it is that we’re getting Legends figures based on the various Netflix MCU series, but that’s the conundrum with Marvel these days. So many great movies, so many great figures, so many great characters, so many great comics! Oh, wait. Scratch that last one. The current crop of Marvel comics are still garbage books largely written by hacks, but I have hopes that Marvel will turn that around eventually. Until then at least we have the movies and toys and a HUGE backlog of older and better comics! Anyway, let’s check out the last of the Netflix figures in this wave… Elektra!

This is Elektra as she appeared in Daredevil Season 2, which is a perfect place to start, because I felt she began to overstay her welcome a bit in The Defenders. But that’s a discussion for another day. Elektra here is a pretty fab example of a figure with some simple sculpting and paintwork that still gets the job done. I’m pretty sure the pelvis and abs are recycled from Jessica Jones, and if that’s the case it works just fine. You get the same sculpted pockets, belt loops, and a painted button in the front. The new upper body features a V-neck vest revealing a sculpted red turtleneck underneath it. Her bare arms are a tad lumpy. I get the sense they were avoiding the super skinny female arms they usually do and tried to give her some muscles. It looks OK at some angles, but from others, those elbows look kind of strange. Her outfit is capped off by a pair of red and black sculpted gloves. Again, it’s a simple buck with simple coloring, but I think she looks great.

Elektra features two heads, one masked and one un-masked, and both are pretty good likenesses to the lovely Élodie Yung. Although, it should be noted that this new face printing thing that Hasbro is doing looks fantastic with the figure in hand, but is not terribly flattering when you get up close with the camera. Also, Elektra avoids the ugly seam that Jessica has running down the middle of her neck. Thank God for that!

The masked head is probably my favorite of the two, mainly because the likeness is impressive enough to still be recognizable even when half her face is covered. It’s all in the eyes! My only nitpick here is that I seem to recall her mask just being her collar pulled up to hide the bottom half of her face. That’s obviously not the case here, but I’m not going to let that bother me. The hair sculpt seems more or less identical on either head, and that’s not a bad thing because it’s quite well done.

Obviously, Elektra is a figure that needs to be super-articulated, and while what’s here is good, I would have liked some changes. From the waist down, it’s all good. She has ball jointed hips, swivels in the thighs, double hinges in the knees, and rockers and hinges in the ankles. A waist swivel would have been nice, but at least she has the ball joint under her chest, and her neck is both hinged and ball jointed. It’s the arms where I take some issue. She’s got rotating hinges in the shoulders, elbows, and wrists, which seems to be pretty typical for the Marvel Legends ladies. I think bicep swivels and double hinges in the elbows would have gone a long way to make Elektra a little more flexible. With that having been said, she’s still plenty of fun to play with.

Elektra comes with her trademark Sai, which the series teased us with for I can’t remember how many episodes, before finally putting them into her hands. These are simple, but cool looking, weapons with a gray finish and black painted grips. She can hold them in either hand, but I really dig how her right hand is sculpted so you can pass the blade through her grip and have the fingers hooked over the guard. It’s a beautiful little touch that goes a long way.

I think Hasbro did a nice job with this figure, even if there are a few things I would have done differently with the articulation. She isn’t likely to blow anyone away with complexity of sculpt or paint, but what’s here is damn solid. A beefier selection of weapons would have been cool, or even an extra set of hands, but I have to imagine that actor licensing on the MCU figures cut into the costs for extras, so I won’t complain too much. Nor should I, because not too long ago I would have bet against us getting any Marvel Legends from the Netflix series and now we have four! I hope this little assortment isn’t the end, although I couldn’t help but notice Hasbro didn’t show off any more Netflix figures at Toy Fair this past weekend. But did you see those 10 Year Anniversary MCU figures! Holy hell, they look great!

Next time I’ll start dipping into the comic-based figures in this wave.

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Marvel Legends (Man-Thing Wave): Jessica Jones by Hasbro

I’ve got a double dose of the Mondays today, because it’s my first day back at work after a vacation that went by way too fast. It sucks, but at least I get to open a new Marvel Legends figure to brighten my day and I’ve only got a few days until Black Panther! For now, I’m still pressing on through the Marvel Netflix figures in this Man-Thing Wave and today I’m checking out the ever charming alcoholic-gumshoe-asskicker, Jessica Jones.

Here she is in the box, with the giant Man-Thing torso and the series logo down at the bottom. I’m still surprised they didn’t work the Netflix brand onto the front, but I guess that wasn’t part of the licensing. While the tray seems pretty full thanks to the BAF part, I can’t help but think a couple of extra hands could have easily fit in that upper left corner, and I’ll come back to that later on.

If ever there was a figure that I thought Hasbro could screw up, it would be this one, but boy was I wrong. The outfit, the likeness, everything here is spot on and very nearly perfect. I could just shut down the review now, but I’ve got to keep up my average word count, so I’ll elaborate. Jessica comes wearing her blue jeans, boots, black t-shirt, and black leather jacket. This is about as close to an iconic look for her Netflix version as you can get. Maybe they could have added her gray scarf, but apparently the Star Wars Black Series Jyn Erso scarf makes for a good substitute with a little modification. The paint on the jeans is very well done and shows off some faded areas and an overall convincing denim finish. They also have sculpted pockets, seams, belt loops, and a teeny tiny silver painted button on the front. The tops of the boots are actually free-floating pieces to allow for the usual ankle articulation.

The jacket is my favorite piece of her ensemble. It just looks magnificent, right down to the rumples in the sleeves and the silver paint on the zippers. Yes, it’s the usual soft plastic vest with sleeves sculpted on the arms, and the effect works really well. It’s also easily removable, but I think the jacket sleeves are too bulky to pass as the sleeves to her t-shirt. Still, it’s an option.

What really surprised me about this figure was how good the likeness is to actress Krysten Ritter. Sure, Hasbro has been doing a solid job with most of their MCU portraits, but this one is up there with the best of them. It has to be noted, however, that while the portrait looks excellent in hand, it really breaks down as you get in super close. This will be a recurring gripe with me about Hasbro’s new facial printing method, but to be honest, I’d much rather have a great looking likeness in hand then one that looks great when I’m all zoomed in. Unfortunately, there’s one big flaw in this figure that keeps it from closing in on true excellence and that’s the hideous molding seam that runs right up the middle of her neck. Really, Hasbro? Was there no way to move that to the side, where it would have been covered up by her hair?

There aren’t any real surprises in the articulation here. Jessica’s arms feature rotating hinges in the shoulders, elbows, and wrists, but no bicep swivels. The legs are ball jointed at the hips, double hinged at the knees, and have thigh swivels. The ankles have both hinges and rockers. The torso features a ball joint under the chest, and the neck has both a hinge and ball joint. The figure is really good at high kicks, and like Daredevil, Hasbro has been delivering some bafflingly good balance on these figures.

Apart from her horribly scarred neck, the only other drawback here is a lack of extra hands. I like the fists. They make sense, as Jessica likes to hit things, but they’re rather limiting in what you could do with her. Some relaxed hands would have been cool. I would have also been happy with an accessory. I know, Hasbro isn’t going to give her a tiny bottle of whiskey, but maybe a laptop or a camera would have been cool. Without extra hands or accessories, I’ll confess that I felt a little strained just trying to come up with some different photos of her.

Nonetheless, I think Jessica Jones is another very solid figure in the Marvel Legends Netflix treatments and I’ll confess to be very surprised that this version of the character got a release. Not only is she a pretty ordinary looking person in street clothes, but I’ll bet the parents aren’t lining up to buy their kids action figures based on alcoholic private investigators. Not that I’m complaining, mind you. I’m hoping that these figures are selling well, because I really need a Netflix Kingpin, Killgrave, and yes I’d even happily take an Iron Fist to round out my Defenders. I’ll also take this time to gripe about Hasbro sticking the comic version of Jessica Jones in that Amazon Exclusive Defenders four-pack, because I already have the Luke Cage from The Thunderbolts set, and I don’t really need the other Iron Fist and Daredevil. Anywho, next week I’ll wrap up the Netflix portion of this wave with a look at Elektra!

Marvel Legends (Man-Thing Wave): The Punisher by Hasbro

What better way to celebrate the beginning of a new week then by opening up some new Marvel toys and playing with them? Well, that’s how I roll here on every Marvel Monday. Even better, I’m starting a vacation today and to be frightfully honest, I’m anxious to get to the orgy of drinking and video games, so let’s jump right in and check out the second figure in the Marvel Legends Man-Thing Wave… Frank Castle, aka. The Punisher. In case you haven’t guessed, I’m doing all the Netflix figures first.

Frank comes straight off the screen from the Netflix Series. Well, not straight off. This is actually The Punisher from the second season of Daredevil and not the more recent Punisher series, hence the Daredevil logo on the front. He comes in the same style of window box we’ve been seeing for a while now. Oh, and see that silver pistol in the package? I already lost it, so we won’t be seeing it again. And the fact that it’s silver means my cat has probably already dragged it to one of his secret stashes of precious treasures.

The Punisher comes out of the box looking as iconic as can be. While I’ve actually been a fan of all live-action Punishers over the years (all for very different reasons) this one has become my hands down favorite. And while I can’t lie, I wish he donned his official costume more than he does, I can understand why they go the more subtle route. Anyway, Frank comes dressed all in black, which includes: Big honkin’ black combat boots, rugged black manly-man-pants, a black tactical vest, and a black trenchcoat. The only thing that breaks up the black on the costume is his trademark skull on the front of his vest, and it looks fabulous. We’ll take a closer look at that in a bit.

Hasbro did a nice job on the sculpt here, although because of all that black, it can be difficult to make out all those details. The coat uses the traditional trick of a soft-plastic vest with the sleeves sculpted as part of the arms. The effect is a little bit marred here by the fact that the sleeve holes are so large, but if you’re looking at the figure dead on, it really doesn’t show. Most of the sculpted detail on the rest of the figure comes from the rumpled material of the pants and sleeves. Oddly enough, it’s the boots that are the immediate stand out here. Not only are the laces individually detailed, but you get some heavy duty treads in the soles, perfect for curb-stomping the injustice out of criminals.

Because of the larger sleeve holes, the coat can be taken off pretty easily. I think the figure displays surprisingly well without the jacket, even know the jacket sleeves are still on his arm, they could pass as just sleeves from a bulky shirt if you don’t scrutinize it too closely. Either way, it’s worth doing, just to get a better look at some of the detail in the vest as well as the work of art that is his skull emblem. The image is printed using the new printing technique that Hasbro is currently embracing. Seriously, this came out looking great!

The portrait here is also mighty good, although I think it helps that Jon Bernthal is a very distinctive looking fellow. I’m really impressed with the subtle things like the shape of his nose, and the ears. Getting his haircut couldn’t have been easy, but I think they did a passable job there as well. I do wish they weren’t using such glossy plastic for the skin tone, though. Also, I’ll probably keep mentioning that the new printing technique for the faces look fantastic with the figure in hand, but tend to look blurry in close up shots. It can be a little vexing for people who enjoy photographing their figures, but I think the trade off is worthwhile since it looks so good to the naked eye.

Despite being a walking tank and overall pain sponge, The Punisher features some pretty solid articulation. The arms have swivels in the biceps, along with rotating hinges in the shoulders, elbows, and wrists. The legs are ball jointed at the hips, have double hinges in the knees, and swivels in the thighs. The ankles are hinged and have rockers. The torso features a ball joint under the chest and the neck has both a ball joint and hinge.

If there’s one area this figure comes up a little light, it’s with the accessories. The Punisher needs guns. Lots of guns. Like a whole shit-load of guns. This guy comes with two… and I already lost one, and yeah that’s on me, but still. I feel like two guns aren’t enough, and yet with the Man-Thing BAF part in there, the package doesn’t feel light. It’s just that back in the day we used to get a lot of accessories with some figures. Remember how many guns Mystique came with? Oh well, at least the one I still have is a good one. It looks like an AR-15 with a rail-mounted scope and an under-slung grenade launcher. It’s a great looking rifle, and if I want to give him some more, I’ve got plenty other figures that I can borrow from.

I’m also glad that playing with The Punisher gave me an excuse to pull out Daredevil again, because I failed to mention what a wonderfully balanced figure he is. If some of the poses up top look a little stiff, it’s because I tried to do them without stands, so yeah that dude really can balance on one leg pretty spectacularly. Ah, but this is Frank’s review, Matt. You’ve already had your turn. But all I’ve got left to say is that so far, Hasbro is doing a really nice job delivering on the Marvel Netflix figures. Daredevil and The Punisher are both fantastic, and I’m anxious to start in with the ladies on the next Marvel Monday. Who will it be, Elektra or Jessica? Well I’ve got a week to decide.

 

 

 

Marvel Legends (Man-Thing Wave): Daredevil by Hasbro

It feels like forever ago that I wrapped up the Gladiator Hulk Wave of Marvel Legends, but I took a few detours afterwards and now I’m ready to jump back in to a new assortment. With Black Panther hitting theaters soon, I was really tempted to dig into the Okoye Wave, but then I thought it would be more fun to look at those figures after having seen the film. So let’s go back in time to last year and kick off the Man-Thing Wave with Daredevil from the Netflix Series!

While Man-Thing and a couple other figures may have little to do with it, this majority of this wave, four figures to be exact, belongs to the various Netflix Marvel series. And really, I can’t express enough how happy I am to see these versions of the characters getting immortalized in 6-inch plastic form, because now they can co-exist on my shelf alongside their MCU allies. I’m kicking things off with Daredevil because his was the first series, and he remains my favorite character among the Netflix Defenders. Plus, after already reviewing the Hot Toys version, I’m super curious to see how Hasbro’s smaller version turned out.

While it’s sometimes hard to tell on screen, The Daredevil suit offers plenty of opportunities for detail, and Hasbro really stepped up here. The black and red areas are clearly distinguished by sculpted lines and the texturing is quite well done. There’s a really great sense of layering that makes the suit look almost convincing enough to be made of separate pieces laid onto the buck. The scalloped motif on the forearms and lower legs look great and you get some nice sculpted detail in the boot laces and even the stitching in the gloves. Neat silver paint hits punctuate the various buckles and catches and I like the use of both matte and gloss black. It really looks like Hasbro did their research when sculpting this guy and poured a lot of love into him. Truth be told, I’d like to see a little less black used on the design, but that might be something the creative team is saving for Season 3.

The head sculpt is solid is a bit more of a mixed bag for me. I think the mask looks every bit as good as the rest of the costume. You get more of that great texturing on the neck as well as the exposed black mesh areas between the helmet. The contours of the mask and horns are fantastic and I really dig that they put the little slits in over the ears. They even used a little gloss for the eyes to reproduce the creepy reflective effect they give off in the show. If the portrait stumbles a bit, it’s in the lower half of Matt Murdock’s face. I really don’t see a lot of resemblance there and the paint lines between the skin and the mask on mine aren’t as crisp as I would have liked. Granted, it’s challenging enough to do a good likeness in this scale and price point, and I imagine it’s doubly so when just doing the bottom part of the face. Still, I think what we got is solid, and I don’t want to pick at it too much.

Daredevil includes a set of holsters for his batons, and it isn’t lost on me that these actually work better than the ones on the Hot Toys figure. There they were too snug to insert the batons, but here they fit great and are easily removed. The batons themselves can be connected together into one longer truncheon via a peg. You also get two pairs of hands: One set of fists and one set to hold the batons.

The articulation here is very good. The legs are ball jointed at the hips, have double hinges in the knees, and swivels in the thighs. The ankles have both hinges and rockers. The arms have rotating hinges at the shoulders, hinged pegs at the wrists, swivels in the thighs, and double hinges in the elbows. The torso has a swivel at the waist, an ab crunch hinge under the chest, and the neck is both hinged and ball jointed. Oddly enough, the feet are actually pegged into the legs, which is something I don’t recall seeing too often on my Marvel Legends figures.

I’ve been hoping for a Legends Daredevil from the Netflix Series from the very beginning, and while I think there’s a little room for improvement in the face sculpt, the figure still turned out pretty great. The detail and paint on the suit alone really carries the day and the articulation makes him a lot of fun to play around with. A second set of batons with the cord attaching them would have been pretty cool, but as he is this is still a great figure to kick off the new wave with. When this assortment first hit, it looked like they were going to be really hard to get, but eventually things cooled down and I was able to get Daredevil, and the entire Netflix team, off of Amazon for around $15 a pop. Not bad at all.

Marvel Legends: Spider-Man and Mary Jane by Hasbro

I was really hoping to have time to bust out another Marvel Hot Toys review for this week’s Marvel Monday, but I got really busy with work and it didn’t pan out. So, let’s have a look at a stand-alone Marvel Legends set, I’ll try to hit the Hot Toys figure next Monday, and then we can dive into a new Wave. Sound good?

Oh boy, did I have a tough time getting this one at a decent price. I’m sure you’ve heard me say it over and over again, but there haven’t been any Toys R Us stores in my area for years, and as much as I’m into collecting, I don’t have the time or patience to drive an hour just to visit the nearest one. That puts me at the mercy of the InterWebs for my TRU Exclusives. Sometimes it’s easy, sometimes not so much. I missed out on this one a bunch of times before finally scoring, and it’s been sitting around forever waiting to be reviewed. I won’t dwell on the packaging, because it’s a typical Legends boxed 2-pack. It’s collector friendly, it shows off the figures quite well, you get character art on the sides and a TRU Exclusive sticker on the window. Let’s just kick off with a look at Spider-Man!

If you pick up enough of these two-packs, you should be used to seeing some recycling. It’s just how Hasbro tends to cost out some of the figures that would might not otherwise make it to the pegs. In the case of this set, Spider-Man is a repaint of the Spidey from the Hobgoblin Wave. And that’s not a bad thing, because the Pizza Spidey body was an excellent figure and pretty well received by fans, so if you missed out, here’s a chance to at least get a variant of it. This version features one of Peter’s fairly modern tech suits, hence the blue-green glow that’s sprayed onto his chest symbol and the eyes, which really make this suit stand out as being unique.

Now, I’m not going to lie, having the glowy bits there doesn’t make this one of my favorite looks for ‘Ol Web Head, but it’s still a pretty cool variant to own. I really dig the coloring on this figure. The red and blue really pop and the black webbing is very well defined. The quality of the paint application is overall pretty good. There are some flubs here and there that are evident when you get in real close, but nothing stands out when I’m just looking at figure in hand. One of the common complaints with the previous release was that the pegs for the hinges aren’t painted to match the suit, and that’s still the case here. It’s not something that really bothers me.

In addition to the regular masked head, you also get the unmasked Peter Parker portrait. It’s a fantastic sculpt and definitely something that’s been on my Legends wish list for a while. Previously, we’ve had the half-unmasked head, and the Ultimate Parker head, but this noggin is a great little bonus and I’ll likely be either displaying it on this figure all the time, or perhaps picking up one of the Vintage Carded Spider-Man figures and using it on that one.

The articulation here is pretty fantastic, thanks in part to those lateral shoulder crunches. The arms have rotating hinges in the shoulders, pegged hinges in the wrists, double hinges in the elbows, and swivels in the biceps. The torso features a swivel in the waist, an ab crunch hinge, and the neck is both hinged and ball jointed. The legs are ball jointed at the hips, have swivels in the thighs, and double hinges in the knees. The ankles have both hinges and lateral rockers. Of course, you also get the usual selection of hands to go with the figure, including “thwippy” hands, splayed finger hands, and fists.  Let’s move on to Ms. Mary Jane…

As solid a figure as Spidey is, I have to imagine that Mary Jane is the real draw of this box for most collectors. That was definitely the case for me. With how many Spider-Man themed Legends waves we’ve had, it’s hard to believe it took this long to get MJ. She actually saw a 4-inch Marvel Universe release a few years back. While MJ has become anything but the classic Girl Next Door in the comics, Hasbro went back to her roots for a pretty conventional look here. Rather than going for the swanky nightclub owner, MJ is slumming it here in her simple jeans and black t-shirt, and I wouldn’t have it any other way. The paint for the outfit is fairly simple, although there’s some nice variation in the blue to create that worn blue jeans look. The waist of the jeans does feature some sculpted detail, like the belt loops and the button. The ensemble is rounded out by a pair of simple painted black shoes. This is an example of a very minimal amount of sculpting working quite well to create a band new look.

The portrait here really elevates the figure. The paint applications for the lips, eyes, and eyebrows is all precise and crisp, and I like the additional of the freckles. The hair is also excellent, not only in terms of sculpt, but the paint, which starts our a vibrant red at the top and darkens as it gets down to her shoulders. Hasbro has come a long way when it comes to creating pretty female portraits, and MJ here is a great example of that.

Despite being a normie in the Marvel Universe, MJ still features some solid articulation. The arms have rotating hinges in the shoulders, elbows, and wrists. The legs are ball jointed at the hips, have swivels in the thighs, double hinges in the knees, and both hinges and lateral rockers in the ankles. The torso features a ball joint under the chest and the neck is both hinged and ball jointed. MJ features a fist on her left arm and one of those spell-slinging hands on her right arm. I really would have liked to get an extra set of hands for this one, but I suppose I can still be content with what we got.

MJ comes with one accessory, and that’s her purse. Oddly enough, this is a recolor of the satchel that came with The Hobgoblin from the Space Venom Wave. It’s a clever re-use, although the shoulder strap does look a tad big and bulky on MJ’s slighter buck.

The retail for this set was $39.99, which is standard for these two-packs and right on target when you consider the individual figures are about $19.99 each. I probably would have let this one go if I hadn’t eventually found it at regular retail price, but I’m glad that I ended up finding it. The Spider-Man certainly wasn’t a must-have for me, but it’s a solid variant and a great looking figure. Plus, the unmasked Parker head really sells it. A comic-based Mary Jane, on the other hand, is a figure I’ve wanted in this scale for a long time, so she made it worth the purchase all on her own.

FigureFan’s Disappointments 2017, Part 2

This is it, Toyhounds, the final day of my week of canned bullshit. It’s also the final five Biggest Disappointments of 2017. These are the things that I added to my collection and reviewed throughout the year that didn’t really live up to my hopes and dreams. These are in no particular order, so let’s get started…

Femme Fatales (Justice League Unlimited) Hawkgirl by Diamond Select: There was a lot of competition in this line for a spot on my Favorites list, but really only one that deserved to land among my Disappointments. I was really looking forward to getting the JLU version of Hawkgirl on my DC Gallery shelf, but when the statue showed up it was marred by some pretty poor paintwork, ugly seams in the arms, and just an overall lack of quality control. When I look at how amazing some of the Gallery statues have been this past year, it’s easy to forgive one bad one slipping by. But that doesn’t make me feel any better about laying out the cash for it.

Guardians of the Galaxy: Sixth-Scale Drax The Destroyer by Hot Toys: I have been called a Hot Toys sycophant. And yes, if sticking my tongue down their collective trousers would net me some extra Reward Points at Sideshow, I’d get right on that lickity split. So, it’s probably no surprise that never before has a Hot Toys figure appeared on my annual list of Disappointments, but I guess there really is a first time for everything. After a long series of delays, and the possibility that Hot Toys Drax might be a no-show, he finally showed up this year and he was a little wanting. The sculpt was solid enough, as was the likeness, but there’s just something about him that failed to impress. Toss in a faulty right arm on my figure that often pops out at the elbow joint and a price point that was too high for what came in the box (a common failing for Hot Toys in 2017), and I couldn’t help but dub him Drax The Disappointment. Oh, I’m still happy to have a complete Hot Toys Guardians team on my shelf, but Drax deserved more polish and a price tag around $20 lower.

DC Super-Villains: Johnny Quick and Atomica by DC Collectibles: For the most part, DC Collectible’s Super-Villains line has been pretty solid. Hell, I even liked their New 52 Captain Cold figure, and I kind of hate that character design. So when Johnny Quick showed up at my door with some terrible paint fading and an arm that pulled right out of the socket, it shouldn’t be any surprise to see him turn up here. And what a disappointment it was, because I really dig this design and I loved to hate him in the Forever Evil. But when you toss him in with a rather lackluster DeathStorm, it’s no wonder that I didn’t pursue the rest of the Crime Syndicate from this line.

Marvel Legends Warlock Build-A-Figure by Hasbro: What’s that, you say? You cry foul because I had a Marvel Legends figure on the list already? Well, you’re going to have to fight me, because here’s another one. I’m justifying this because 1) He’s a Build-A-Figure and 2) I really did review a shit ton of Marvel Legends in 2017, so you’re just going to have to let me have this one transgression. Warlock featured a decent sculpt and a pretty cool paint job, but he was not a character that I was interested in, and especially not as the BAF waiting as a reward for collecting an entire wave. Add that to the fact that the left arm of my Warlock simply will not stay in the socket, and you have a figure that I would have happily done without. Now that I think of it, this is the third figure on this list that had arm issues. Weird.

ThunderCats Classics Panthro by Mattel: Here’s the thing. I ran out of shit that disappointed me after nine, so I had to get cute with this last one. And that’s why after long deliberation, I decided to put a figure that I rated with excellent marks here on this list. Because no matter how great Panthro turned out (and he is a great figure),  he arrived to me heralded by a bitter chorus of disappointment. At the time I opened him, it seemed unlikely that ThunderCats Classics would continue. And shortly after we got word from Super7 that they were not able to secure the license and continue the series. And that was easily my number one biggest disappointment of 2017. It’s not Panthro’s fault, but he seemed like a good conduit to get this one on the list.

And that wraps up this week of so-called content. I’ll be back on Monday with the first Marvel Monday of the year and I hope to have Transformers Thursday and DC Friday on the books as well, along with whatever I wind up tucking into Tuesday. Have a great weekend!

FigureFan’s Disappointments 2017, Part 1

Well, I hope everyone has been enjoying my Ten Favorites of 2017. There were a lot of items that came close to making the cut, but I tried to be good and stick as close to the self-imposed confines of my list as possible. And now it’s time to embark on the flip-side and look at my Ten Biggiest Disappointments of the year. I’m happy to say this list was a also difficult to assemble, but not because it was hard to whittle down, but rather it was tough to come up with ten acquisitions that really didn’t live up to my expectations. And that’s a good thing! So let’s kick off today with the first five…

Marvel Legends Astral Projection Doctor Strange: Hey, remember this turd? Generally speaking, 2017 was another fantastic year for Hasbro’s Marvel Legends line, but when you put out a lot of figures, at least a few of them are inevitably going to be crap. And this Doctor Strange variant was the cream of the crap. But this isn’t so much a case of a poorly made figure, indeed it’s a great sculpt, but rather a bad idea. Not only is it just a rehash of the regular Doctor Strange figure (FROM THE SAME GODDAMN WAVE!) cast in milky translucent plastic, but it was an obligatory purchase if you wanted the head for your Dormammu Build-A-Figure. And that’s what really earns this figure a spot on my List of Shame. If you’re going to toss this in as an extra in a three-pack or something, do what you gotta do, but don’t make him mandatory to complete a BAF. That’s just mean.

Star Wars Black Series Jawa by Hasbro: Just a reminder, that a figure doesn’t have to be bad to be on this list, just disappointing. And to be fair, I could say that Star Wars Black as a whole has been disappointing this year. It’s not that the figures are terrible, and yes there have been some great ones, but in general this line seems content to be average. It doesn’t feel like the “Collector’s Line” we were promised, but rather just a new scale set up to make idiots like me buy the characters all over again. The Jawa for me was a prime example of that. There’s just nothing here that hasn’t been done as well, if not better at a smaller scale. No tailored softgoods, a plastic robe that renders half the articulation useless, and he can’t even hold his guns properly. Need more? Well, this figure is also too small to justify this price point, it was really hard for me to get one, and in the end, it just wasn’t worth all the effort. If it weren’t for me trying to fill the Early Bird stand with the Original Twelve, I wouldn’t have bothered.

DC Multiverse: “The Dark Knight Returns” Batman and Robin: I’ll admit, I kind of feel like cheating by listing Multiverse figures in with my Disappointments. Truth be told, I didn’t have high expectations from this line at the time. But I was looking forward to getting these DKR figures on my shelf, only to be flabbergasted at how sub-par they turned out. Yes, flabbergasted! My monocle popped right out of my eye, as I exclaimed, “My word, what rubbish!” It’s hard to believe this is the same company that delivered so many great DC action figures in the past. This pair should have been a slam dunk, instead, they feel more like knock-offs. So much so, that I still haven’t bothered to complete this wave to build my goddamn Doomsday. Maybe next year.

Transformers Titans Return Murk & Octone by Hasbro: Just to prove that Titans Return wasn’t entirely made up of rainbows and kittens, here’s one that made my Disappointments List. 2017 was a stellar year for Deluxe Class Transformers, but maybe no so great for the Voyager Class figures. Figures like Broadside and Blitzwing made for solid robot modes, but their alt modes ran from somewhat lacking to downright terrible. And yet it was still pretty easy to single out Octone as the worst of the bunch. I was really looking forward to getting this guy in my collection, and I’ll still admit the robot mode is fine, but neither of his alt modes worked for me at all. Also, I hate what they had to do to his name. It’s OK, Hasbro, you’re still way ahead of the game for 2017.

And I do believe I’ll break for the day and tally up how much money I spend on these less than stellar purchases, some of which I regret and some I’d probably still buy just to have them in my collection. Join me again tomorrow as I round out this List of Disappointments and wrap up this week of lists.

 

Marvel Legends: Medusa (Walgreens Exclusive) by Hasbro!

Hey, it’s one of those rare times on Marvel Monday when I’m between waves of Marvel Legends and I actually get to look at something other than Marvel Legends figures. So let’s look at a Marvel Legends figure! Because, thanks to Walgreens and their copious number of exclusives, I now have  Legends figures to interject between waves of Marvel Legends! MARVEL LEGENDS!!! These things are invading my home by the truckload, but don’t ever stop, Hasbro. Just keep them coming. Like sweet, sweet cocaine. You keep selling, I’ll keep buying. Also, today’s review is going to be super quick because I’ve been pretty much working non-stop all weekend.

Here’s Medusa in the package and it is appropriately branded for The Inhumans. I made a vow to get through this review without once mentioning how awful The Inhumans TV Series was. But seriously, did you see that mess? Holy shit! I’m so glad they cancelled a proper MCU-based movie for that steaming pile of garbage. Maybe Disney will let a few more phases go buy before they pretend the show never happened and green-light the movie again. Or now that they own The Fantastic Four, they can just work them into that movie. What? The toy? Oh yeah… Anyway, this is actually the first one of these exclusives that I’ve seen with a sticker denoting it as such. Is that a big deal? Not to me, because this package is about to get shredded into compost. Seriously, I’m an animal when I open these things.

From the neck down, Medusa is about as straightforward a figure as they come, as virtually her entire costume is achieved through paint, and not even much of that! You get the standard shapely female buck, cast in purple plastic with metallic purple paint applications for her boots, gloves, and the collar round her neck. She features the spell/power-casting hands, and the only original sculpting here is the belt that hangs on her hips. Now keep in mind, I’m not really complaining, the costume works perfectly for the character.

Of course, there’s plenty of new sculpting for the head, and that’s thanks to the cascade of hair that flows down her back. She’s got a pretty face with neatly painted eyes and lips. The metallic purple mask on mine is a little uneven, which is obvious on close ups, but it’s hard to tell with the figure in hand. The hair sculpt is especially well done, and that’s a good thing, since it is Medusa’s defining feature. There’s a lot of definition to the groups of strands, and I really dig the way it flows and swirls all the way to the ground.

Articulation here is the same as we’ve seen dozens of times over with this female buck. It includes rotating hinges in the shoulders, elbows, and wrists. The legs have ball jointed hips, double hinges in the knees, hinges and lateral rockers in the ankles, and swivels in the thighs. There’s a ball joint under the chest and both a hinge and ball joint in the neck. Obviously the mane of hair takes its toll on the neck articulation, but it mostly just restricts her from looking up. Some of the early pictures I saw of the figure worried me that she would always be looking down, but I’m happy to see that’s not the case it all.

It would be fair to say that I’m not blown away by this figure, but she’s certainly a fine treatment of the character. I’m not sure if Hasbro sold the idea to Walgreens back before the TV series hit, but whatever the case, it’s nice to get a solid comic version of Medusa, especially with Black Bolt following close on her heels as part of the MCU Black Panther wave. It’s a big plus too that these exclusives seem to be pretty easy to get. Indeed, the Walgreens around the corner always has plenty on the shelf. I may have to hunt down regular Legends releases, but these exclusives are never a problem.

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

Welcome back to the second half of today’s Marvel Monday! I’ve opened and reviewed each of the figures in the Gladiator Hulk Wave and that means, it’s main event time! And now, I give you your Incredible, Astonishingly Savage… HULK!!! It’s only fitting that I managed to get out to see Thor: Ragnarok one last time this past weekend before it disappears from theaters. I still can’t believe how well Marvel Studios managed to mate the Ragnarok and Planet Hulk stories into such a fun and enjoyable movie. And I’ve got to say, this movie just keeps getting better each time I see it. Let’s see if that’s true about this assortment of figures!

With a whopping ten pieces, including accessories, Gladiator Hulk is probably the most complex BAF that I’ve put together in a long time. Assembly is fairly easy, although I did have to consult a picture to make sure his shoulder armor went on correctly. The limbs plug in fairly easily and they stay locked in pretty well once they’re in place.

And when you’re done, you get this beautiful beast of a figure! There’s just something both iconic and awe inspiring about Hulk in gladiator armor and the MCU version is pretty damn rad. The Hulk buck features sculpted sandals, as well as armor for his hands and forearms, and a ribbed pair of shorts. Over the shorts, he has a soft plastic belt with a skirt of strips hanging down to just above his knees. The shoulder armor is also sculpted as a separate piece. The detail on the armor pieces is very well done. You get some leather-like texturing in the skirt strips, some sculpted pitting and wear on the arm plates and shoulder piece, as well as all kinds of sculpted straps and buckles meant to be holding these pieces on. The whole ensemble features a great scavenged and rag-tag motif, while mixing the traditional gladiator look with some more futuristic looking pieces.

The paint and coloring on the figure is also quite good. The plastic used for the buck is a rich, deep green. Yes, it is significantly deeper than the Legends Age of Ultron Hulk. The armor features a mix of really pale copper and blue, all done with a metallic sheen. The sandals are neatly painted brown, and Hulk has the Sakaaran war paint in white down the front of his chest and right arm, which also carries over the armor straps. There’s a little slop here and there, but nothing too bad.

The head sculpt is superb. It’s a calmer expression than the one we saw on Age of Ultron Hulk, with the mouth closed, but definitely showing signs of displeasure. I like it, but I would understand if some collectors would have preferred something more angry. After all, he does spend most of his time in the armor fighting. I’d argue that this would have been a great occasion to roll out an extra head, but this figure already features a lot of parts, so I can understand why that didn’t happen. Anyway, the hair is neatly painted and you get more of the white warpaint on the side of his face.

The gladiator helmet is a little work of art all unto itself and fits the figure very well. It looks like it was hammered out of scrap metal. You can see the seams of various plates jointed together and the hammered and battered finish makes it look well used. The paint is the same pale copper used on some of the body armor and he has more of the white war paint down one side. The sculpted comb on the top is painted with a bright crimson.

I’d be remiss if I didn’t say a few words about scale, because this guy is definitely not in proper 6-inch scale. Yes, he’s the same size as the Age of Ultron Hulk and he wasn’t in scale either. I would have really liked if they could have made him bigger, since he is a BAF, but it’s not a total deal-breaker for me. At least he’s still notably bigger than the regular figures. Maybe the way to go would have been to release him as one of the 12-inch figures we’ve been getting and then they could have made Korg the BAF for this wave. And as long as I’m comparing the two Hulks, I’ll point out that the articulation is almost identical. The one difference is the AoU Hulk had double hinged elbows, whereas this guy has just single hinges.

Hulk comes with two weapons, his huge hammer and his axe. Both of these pieces are cast in a silvery, almost pearlescent plastic and given a coppery wash. The hammer is my favorite as it looks like they just took some kind of engine block from a space ship and stuck a shaft onto it. Of course, the axe is no slouch either, and features a pretty nasty spike opposite the blade. Both of these pieces feature textured grips, and while they can be a little tough to get into his hands, but once they’re in there he holds them very securely.

All petty gripes about size aside, I absolutely love this figure. It’s probably one of my favorite BAF’s all year, and that’s saying something because we’ve had some really good ones. The sculpt is fantastic, the coloring is beautiful, and he comes with a couple of amazing weapons. I won’t lie, I was hoping we’d get one more wave of figures out of Thor: Ragnarok, especially with how well it performed at the box office. The movie had a rich tapestry of great and bizarre characters, most of which would make wonderful figures. It seems a shame to leave characters like Korg, Meek, Executioner, and The Grandmaster on the table, not to mention Valkyrie in her armor. And what about a Build-A-Figure Fenris? There was a lot more potential here and a lot of it could have been fleshed out with just one more wave. But I guess I should be happy with what we got, rather than be sad over what could have been.

And that wraps up another kick ass assortment of figures from Marvel Legends! And I’m glad it was a good wave to go out on, because chances are I won’t be starting on the next wave until after the end of the year as I’ve got a couple of detours I’d like to take on the next Marvel Mondays. Next week I’ll likely be looking at the Walgreens Exclusive Medusa, and then if time permits, I’d like to check out Hot Toys’ Doctor Strange the week after that. That’ll put me back on track and starting to look at the Man-Thing Wave sometime around the first week of January.

Marvel Legends (Gladiator Hulk Wave): Lady Thor by Hasbro

Here we go, folks, today I’m opening up the final figure in the Gladiator Hulk Wave of Marvel Legends, and it’s Lady Thor! or Jane Foster Thor? or Fake Thor!?! I’m going to confess that I’ve re-written the intro to today’s review a couple of times, while waffling back and forth about how heavy handed I want to get with how the character of Jane Foster as Thor relates to the dumpster fire that is Marvel Comics these days. Ultimately, I decided to let a lot of it go, but I did just want to drop one editorial comment to Marvel here: It’s a wonderful thing to want to create more female characters as comic book A-Listers. It’s another thing to have to replace beloved existing characters with them. In the infinite world of comics, you don’t have to tear one thing down to build another. And if you do, don’t be surprised about the rage that you incur. I’d also suggest that there are a lot of great existing female characters in the Marvel lexicon that deserve engaging and well-written books of their own. And that’s where I’m going to leave it.

OK! Back to toys! And here’s Jane in the box, and once again thanks to some beefy BAF parts, we get a pretty damn heavy package. And thanks to this leg and shoulder armor, I’ll finally be able to complete my Champion of Sakaar and put him together later on tonight. But first things first, let’s get Jane out of the box and check her out. Oh yeah, I should note that like Thor Odinson, a variant of this figure was also included in the SDCC Battle for Asgarde set, which still sits over there unopened in the corner. I’ll get to it eventually.

Whatever issues I have with the character, I cannot deny that Jane is sporting some kick-ass Femme-Thor cosplay. I love this character design, that’s the main reason I’ve actually been excited to get this figure in hand, and I have to say it does not disappoint. The costume features several layers of Norse fashion starting with a painted black body suit, a skirt-like half-cape and belt cast in soft plastic, a silver breast plate layered on top of the buck, and a silver wrist guard on her left arm with individual sculpted straps and a partial black glove painted on the arm. Her lower legs feature sculpted wraps, silver boots, and separate winged pieces, like armored spats. I love the complexity here. The design really shines, and Hasbro did a fabulous job with it. The paint quality here is pretty fab as well. The silver paint they used on her armor looks great over the hammered finish. It’s also used on her boots, the studs on her belt, her arm guard, and even the tiny buckles on the straps.

Jane also sports a billowing cape, which pegs into her back and appears to float over her shoulders just like Classic Thor’s cape. There are two silver discs that position over her shoulders, but it’s a little tough to see them with her hair in the way. The cape does make her a little back heavy, but since it touches the ground in the center it also serves as a support for her.

The head sculpt is every bit as complex as the rest of the outfit. The helmet covers most of her head, leaving just her mouth and chin exposed. It’s cast in silver plastic, but it matches the paint for the chest plate fairly well. It also features a gold decoration on the front, and two sweeping side pieces that resemble wings. Jane’s eyes are represented as black with two silver pupils, which is more than a bit creepy, and her lips are neatly painted. The sandy blonde hair spills out from the bottom of the helmet and around her shoulders, but hardly hinders the neck articulation at all.

And speaking of articulation, here’s a rundown on what Jane’s got. The legs feature ball joints in the hips, double hinges in the knees, swivels in the thighs, and both hinges and lateral rockers in the ankles. The arms have rotating hinges in the shoulders, elbows, and wrists, and she has swivels in the biceps. She has a ball joint just under her chest and both a hinge and ball joint in the neck.

Of course, Jane comes with Mjolnir, which she can hold comfortably in her right hand. the left hand is balled into a fist. This is a familiar looking sculpt, and while I don’t have any of the others handy, I’m sure it’s recycled from a past Thor figure. I’ve got no problem with that, because it looks great.

In what has been a very solid assortment of figures, Lady Thor holds her own as a top contender for my favorite in the wave. The excellent character design translates beautifully to figure form and I believe I would have a lot more fondness for this version of Jane Foster if she hadn’t usurped Thor’s name and if Marvel’s current crop of writers were actually turning out compelling and entertaining reads. I didn’t intentionally save this figure for last, but it turns out to be a great way to end this look at such an excellent wave. Join me back here tonight and we’ll check out the Build-A-Figure of the wave… Gladiator Hulk!