Marvel Legends (Lizard Wave): Gwenpool by Hasbro

Writing about new Marvel characters is often tough for me, as it more often than not turns into a mean-spirited rant about how much I hate the comics that Marvel is publishing these days. Fortunately, Gwenpool has been a sort of the exception to the rule. Yes, she’s technically part of the trend that has put me off Marvel’s comics these days, but she actually happens to be a pretty fun character. And while I’ve only read a few issues of The Unbelievable Gwenpool here and there, the ones I did read tended to be pretty good books. I’m pretty sure I remember hearing that her book got cancelled recently, which is a shame because if nothing else, it was better than half the other books Marvel is turning out these days. But even if that is the case, I’m sure we haven’t seen the last of Gwenpool.

And here we have Gwen in her box and looking pretty spiffy against her hot pink themed background and with her snazzy logo down below. She’s obviously a product of the wild, breakout success of Spider-Gwen coupled with the cult of rabid Deadpool fans. But what really sells Gwen as a fun character is her self-awareness at being in a comic book, and her perceived lack of consequences that comes with that knowledge. She’s more than a lazy copycat character and more than a “What if” fugitive from another Earth. Everything about this character is on the nose, and I think that’s what makes her work for me so well. I’d complain that they didn’t shove a little PVC Howard the Duck into the box, but there’s already plenty of stuff in there, so I’ll hold my tongue and get started with this review!

Rather than just slap a pink version of Wade’s costume, Gwenpool’s creators gave her more of a stand out look and Hasbro did a nice job bringing it to action figure form. The costume represents a decent mix of painted details with some new sculpting. Most of her long sleeved one-piece is achieved through some sharp and vibrant white and pink paint, and the white even has a cool pearlescent sheen to it in some areas. She does have newly sculpted arm bracers, as well as sneakers and shin guards over her socks. The legs are bare with an even flesh tone painted on.

Her brown belt is a separate piece and includes her trademark pink “G” belt buckle. The belt features plenty of sculpted pouches, and even a place for her to keep her cell phone. The cherry on top of this outrageous outfit is her big fat cuddly penguin backpack, which includes slots for her to keep her katanas. Everything about Gwen’s costume is beautifully done here. Hasbro obviously poured a lot of love into this gal, and it shows! The articulation is pretty standard for your average Marvel Legends lady. The arms have rotating hinges in the shoulders and elbows, and the wrists are on hinged pegs. 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. There’s a ball joint just under the chest and the neck features both a hinge and a ball joint. My usual gripe about the lack of bicep swivels stands, but I can still get a lot of nice poses out of her.

Gwenpool features two different heads. One is a regular smiling head, the other has her sticking out her tongue as if she’s licking her lips. It’s a nice extra, but to be honest, I would have much rather they included an unmasked head. I wound up having to go to Diamond Select for that look, but that’s a review for another day. Besides, I get it, this head didn’t require an entirely new sculpt and it does add plenty of personality to the figure. Both heads feature more of that pretty pink and white paint and the exposed portion of her face is nicely sculpted with some sharp paint.

Along with the extra noggin, Gwenpool comes with three sets of hands, and two of these pairs are very specific. In addition to the katana holding hands, she has a pair so she can make a heart shape with her fingers. The third pair consists of her left hand holding up a two-finger peace symbol, and one to hold her cellphone. The cell phone is a simple black slab of plastic. I’m tempted to say they should have just sculpted it as part of the hand, but then you couldn’t keep it in the nifty spot they provided on her belt. The extra hands are fun and they certainly suit the character, but don’t even get me started on Marvel and their annoying habit of having all their goddamn characters snapping selfie’s all the time. It’s almost as trite as the recap pages using Tweets or social media posts in books like Squirrel-Girl, or using a Youtube show as the basis for an ongoing plot in She-Hulk.

In addition to the cellphone, Gwen comes with her twin katana swords and these are excellent sculpts. While her right hand seems like it’s sculpted more to hold a pistol than it is a sword, she can still hold the pair of them pretty well, and she’s tons of fun to pose with them.

I’m not looking to get a lot of new Marvel characters on my shelf, but I’ll confess that I was quite happy to see Gwenpool turn up on the Marvel Legends roster. And now that I have her in hand, I have to say that she doesn’t disappoint. Everything about this figure feels really fresh and fun. The newly sculpted parts look great and the paint is sharp, clean, and fits the bill perfectly, so long as you don’t mind your anti-heroes looking like an ice cream truck, I think Gwenpool is going to be a welcome addition to a lot of collections out there! And just a quick reminder, this week starts my randomization of Marvel Legends reviews, so don’t expect another figure from the Lizard Wave next week. It could happen, I’m just not saying it’s going to happen! It’s probably not going to happen.

DP: “That’s not even how you hold that. You’re never going to hit anything unless you…”

** POP! **

DP: “OOOooooOOowwww! Right in daddy’s Chalupas!

DP: <groan.”You better make a run for the border, because when I get feeling back in my Chimichangas…”

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

As promised, I’m back tonight to wrap up the somewhat Black Panther themed wave of Marvel Legends with the Okoye Build-A-Figure. Technically, I could have reviewed this figure last week, since the Iron Man I opened this morning did not include any BAF parts, but since this is the last Legends Wave that I’ll be reviewing consecutively, I decided not to mess with tradition.

And here she is all laid out and ready for assembly. The figure consists of the torso, the limbs, the head, and two weapons. This is one of those BAF’s that could have easily been a packaged figure, because she’s so small. I always see a number of fans come out of the woodwork and complain when Hasbro does this. I get it, I still think this wave should have been all from the movie, but if they released Okoye as a packaged figure, I’m not sure what they could have done for the BAF. Maybe the Wakandan throne? Anyway, let’s get Okoye together and check her out.

The first thing that impresses me here is how little of this figure is recycled from Nakia. Without close inspection, I was assuming there would be a lot of shared parts, and while it definitely looks like some of the parts here are likely re-sculpted, there’s enough new sculpting to make it look like a new figure. The upper legs appear to be directly shared, which goes back to how odd I thought they were on the Nakia figure. At least here they’re painted black and not in her skin tone, so the decorative patterns look like part of her leggings and not like they’re carved into her skin. I also like the streamlined look of Okoye’s boots, making her legs look a lot more sleek and graceful. Those clunkly accordian-style tops on Nakia’s boots didn’t do her any favors.

Like Nakia, Okoye uses a soft plastic sculpted belt with the lower half of her coat and it’s pretty convincing in making it all look like one piece. I like that the back of this piece is detailed to look like several layers overlapping, and it’s designed so as not to hinder the leg articulation too badly. The plastic garment features all sorts of ornamental detail etched into it along with a little gold wash to help it stand out. Okoye’s segmented bracers looked to be borrowed from Nakia at first, but these have pieces that extend up to her elbows, so there was definitely some tweaking done here. These are left in a bare gold plastic, which looks OK, but not nearly as good as the gold plastic used for her shoulder armor. It’s a shame they couldn’t spare some of that paint for these.

Hasbro has been killing it with all the MCU Black Panther head sculpts and Okoye here is no exception. This portrait is a tiny work of art. The smooth contours of her face are so beautifully done, the paint is wonderful, and the tattoos on her head look amazing. It’s so hard to believe this is the same company producing those noggins used in the 6-inch Star Wars Black Series.

The articulation is identical to what we saw with Nakia. The arms have rotating hinges in the shoulders, elbows, and wrists, and yes, I’d still rather see Hasbro go to double hinged elbows and bicep swivels for the ladies. The legs feature ball joints in the hips, double hinges in the knees, swivels in the thighs, and both swivels and rockers in the ankles. She has a ball joint under her chest, and both a hinge and ball joint in the neck.

Okoye comes with two weapons: A long spear and a spear head with a very short shaft. The long spear has a textured staff with a spearhead that’s split in the middle giving it a rather distinctive look. Both her hands are designed for gripping, so she can comfortably wield this weapon in either or both of her hands.

I don’t recall the smaller spear-type weapon from the movie. I’m not sure if this is supposed to be a unique weapon or a broken piece of s spear. The shaft here is a little too slight to allow her to get a firm grasp on it, so it tends to wobble loose in her hand a bit, but I was still able to get her to hold it fairly well.

I have to hand it to Hasbro, the MCU Black Panther figures have been some of their best work to date. Scoff if you will at the fact that Okoye didn’t need to be a BAF, but I don’t care. I’m not privy to the business decisions that made Hasbro go this route, but so long as we got her, I’m cool. I will, however, keep harping on the fact that the comic-based figures in this wave should have gone elsewhere in favor of Shuri, Klaue, and Everett Ross. Yeah, we’re getting Ross in a two-pack, but what about the other two? I don’t see a big opportunity down the road to release any of these figures, unless they roll them into future releases of the 10-Year MCU Anniversary figures. Unfortunately, we don’t know whether that will be an ongoing thing or not.

On the next Marvel Monday, I’ll start randomizing my Marvel Legends reviews as I continue to hack my way through the pile of backlogged figures in the corner, and there is a lot of them, so what figure will be turning up next week? Your guess is as good as mine!

Marvel Legends (Okoye Wave): Invincible Iron Man by Hasbro

Here we go, folks, it’s the last packaged figure from the Marvel Legends Okoye Wave and it is… Iron Man!?! Oh, Hasbro! Well, I guess you’ve been so good about cutting back on your Iron Man releases, I’ll give this one a pass. And in fairness, Hasbro made it so you don’t have to buy this one in order to complete the Okoye BAF, but even so, I couldn’t resist picking this one up when I saw it on the peg. There’s just so much cool extra stuff in the package!

I believe this is Tony’s armor from a recent run of the “All New, All Different” Avengers, or something like that. As most of you know I’ve been on a sabbatical from Marvel’s current books until they get their collective comic book house in order. But hey, I don’t need context to appreciate another variant of the Iron Man armor, especially when it’s a comic-based one. So, let’s get him open and see what he’s all about!

In the comics, it seems like the more advanced Tony’s armor gets, the simpler it looks. That’s definitely the case here and I really dig that. From memory, this suit reminded me a whole lot of the Extremis Armor figure we got way back in the Terrax Wave. When I put them side by side, it’s maybe not quite that striking, but there are similarities. The limbs here are a little bulkier, the torso less stylized, and he doesn’t have the shoulder armor. I like the economy of panel lining, as most of it resides in his abs, and the crystal-style Arc Reactor is pretty cool. He also has a cool looking spine sculpted into his back.

The coloring here is predominantly red plastic. There’s a little of that swirly effect in it, but not too much. Indeed all the red here has a nice, bright new car luster that makes for a snappy looking figure. Gold paint is used sparingly on the toes, inside of the thighs, the biceps, and the fingers. You even get a bit of matte gray under-suit showing around the neck and under the arms. Also, you may note that the pegs in the elbows aren’t painted to match the gold areas. This bugs the hell out of some people, and I get that, but it doesn’t really bother me at all. There are no repulsors sculpted into the bottom of the feet, but for all I know that’s part of the armor design and not an oversight.

I’m a little iffy on the design of the helmet. The eyes have evolved into almost non-existent slits and the face plate has a sharp angle running down the center. It’s certainly different, and I’m thinking it might grow on me the more I mess around with him. I do like the blue used for the eye slits, as they almost give off a glowing effect under the right lighting.

You also get a really cool comic-based Tony Stark head, which really sold me on this whole package. It’s a beautiful sculpt that borders a bit between comic and animated. It’s got some pretty sharp paint and the sculpting for his hair is especially well done. Gotta dig that pompadour! All in all, I think this noggin looks fantastic on the figure.

The articulation holds no surprises. The arms have rotating hinges in the shoulders, double hinges in the elbows, swivels in the biceps, and hinged pegs for the wrists. The legs are ball jointed at the hips, double hinged at the knees, and have swivels in the thighs. The ankles have hinges and rockers. There’s a swivel in the waist, an ab crunch hinge under the chest, and the neck is both ball jointed and hinged. The joints all feel great and I can sort of get him into an acceptable ground pound pose… well, with an emphasis on the “sort of.”

Iron Man comes with two sets of hands, and these include fists and the open hands for firing off his repulsor beams. He also includes a set of blue blast effect parts, which can peg into the open hands. The effect parts work OK, but they do droop a little because they’re made of soft plastic and that ruins the effect a bit.

Lastly, you get this big cannon that clips onto either of Tony’s arms. At first, I thought this thing looked like one of the goofy oversized missile launchers that Hasbro loves to pack in with their 4-inch figures, but I’m guessing it’s supposed to be something that deploys and retracts from the suit. I actually like this thing a lot and you can plug the effect part into the end of it as well. It’s pretty fun.

I wasn’t really looking forward to it, but this figure turned out to be quite a nice surprise. I don’t think the armor design is going to be everyone’s cup of tea, but I’m happy to be getting some more comic-based armors, and while I wouldn’t want this to be an everyday look for Tony, I can get behind it for special outings. Granted, I’m a pretty easy sell when it comes to Marvel Legends. I’m probably as close to a completionist as you can get without actually being one, so it’s not like this one was a hard sell, but I’m definitely glad I picked it up. Come on back tonight and I’ll have a look at the Okoye Build-A-Figure!

Marvel Legends (Okoye Wave): Black Bolt by Hasbro

I’ve got just a few more figures in the Okoye Wave before I switch over from looking at consecutive figures in each wave to randomizing my Marvel Legends reviews. It seemed only right to wrap this wave one before I make the change and I should be able to do that by next week. So today let’s check out the second to the last packaged figure in the somewhat Black Panther themed Okoye Build-A-Figure Wave: Black Bolt! I’ve had this one sitting around forever, so I’m pretty excited to get him open and see how he turned out.

Last time I gave poor Sub-Mariner a lot of shit for not being Shuri. I don’t feel right doing the same thing here, because I was thrilled to see Black Bolt getting the Legends treatment. Sure, they could have tucked him into another wave and given us more MCU Black Panther figures, but whatever the case, I just can’t be upset over getting this figure. I imagine if that ill-fated Inhumans series had turned out better, we might have gotten an entire wave of Inhumans Legends, but considering how bad the show was received, I’m surprised we got the ones we got. Anyway, he comes with his shouting head on the figure, but let’s start with the regular head.

Here’s Black Bolt out of the box and my first reaction is to be a little underwhelmed. Overall, I think the suit is pretty good. The buck is cast in a dark blue plastic with silver paint to make up the various striping. The paint lines are clean enough, but there some slop on the silver up near his right shoulder where it looks like some hair or other foreign matter got in under the paint. It’s nothing terrible, but a little vexing nonetheless. The gauntlets are formed by plastic cones slipped over the forearms, and I’m n+-ot really happy with the way these look. They’re too chunky and make his fists look extra small to me. They also don’t help the wrist articulation much.

The wings were always going to be a compromise here, and I guess I’m OK with the direction Hasbro went with them. They are firmly attached to the figure, so at least I don’t have them popping off every time I touch the figure like the MCU Spider-Man figure. They actually don’t look half bad when his arms are at rest at his sides, even though it’s not what they’re supposed to look like, I kind of dig the blade-like effect. But obviously, they’re intended to look their best when Black Bolt is standing with his arms straight out at the shoulders, and they do indeed look nice when the figure is posed this way.

I haven’t pulled out the figures to check, but I feel like Black Bolt’s head is a re-working of one of the older Captain America figures. It has a similar soft facial sculpt to it. Whether or not that’s the case, it strikes me as kind of generic and boring, particularly when viewed from the front. The cowl does look good and the eyes are painted well. I also like the tuning-fork on his forehead. Despite being cast in soft plastic, it seems like it won’t have too much problems with warping.

The alternate screaming head is much better, but I still don’t think this is among Hasbro’s better work in the line. That’s not to say it’s bad. I actually like how they did the open mouth with the blue paint to suggest the power emanating from within. The whited out eyes look cool too and the translucent blue energy effect coming off the fork looks fantastic.

The articulation here holds no surprises. The arms have rotating hinges at the shoulders and wrists, double hinges in the elbows, and swivels in the biceps. The legs are ball jointed at the hips, double hinged at the knees, and have swivels at the thighs and lower legs. The ankles have hinges and rockers. There’s a swivel in the waist, an ab crunch hinge in the torso and the neck is both ball jointed and hinged. I’ll note here how much I wish they had gone with hands that weren’t fists. I think clutching hands or relaxed hands would have worked so much better.

Wow, it feels like I came down really hard on this one, but Black Bolt is not a bad figure. Maybe this was a case of my high level of anticipation working against him. A sharper head sculpt and a different set of hands would have gone a long way toward making me love him more. As it is, he definitely gets the job done, and chances are I’ll be displaying him with his shouting head most of the time anyway. I’m still happy to have this one in my collection and now Medusa doesn’t have to be lonely anymore.

Marvel Legends (Okoye Wave): The Sub-Mariner by Hasbro

After the high I was on from checking out the three MCU Black Panther figures in this wave, moving on to the next installment is like getting slapped in the face with a rotting trout. I’m not here to rag on Namor. I had nothing but praise for the Walgreens Exlcusive that we got last year, which depicted him in full costume. And maybe that’s the point. Did we really need to double dip on The Sub-Mariner so soon? And if so, did it really need to be dropped into this wave? Obviously, my answers to both questions are no, but I’m pressing on with the review anyway.

Here’s a quick look at the packaging, and straightaway I have a few issues to get off my chest. One, the package says Sub-Mariner on the front whereas it should have read Shuri. Second, the figure inside the box is actually The Sub-Mariner, whereas it should have contained a figure of Shuri. Finally, this figure is clearly a fishy-man-gigolo named Namor and not a spunky, tech-savy Wakandian cutie named Shuri. I’m going to do my best to get beyond each of these critiques and appreciate this figure for what it is… not Shuri.

Now, all kidding aside, Hasbro really went all out on this figure and they did a great job. But I don’t know how much I can possibly say about it. The figure itself depicts The Sub-Mariner wearing only a pair of scaly speedos, arm bracers, and he has the obligatory wings on his ankles. This is about as close to a naked dude as we’re likely to ever get swinging on the pegs in the toy aisle, or at least until we get a Hercules. Yup, this one is a special treat for the ladies. The body is muscular, but not bulky, has some great sculpted muscle definition, and I think it suits the character well.

There isn’t a whole lot of paint here, but what we get is quite good. His trunks are painted with a beautiful metallic emerald finish and has a gold belt with a tiny seashell sculpted in the middle. The wrist bracers are painted gold, and the ankle wings are painted white. Otherwise, you get a fleshy plastic, which granted is a bit glossy, but let’s assume Namor just got out of the water and is all wet.

Where Hasbro really went nuts here was with the extras. Not only did they include the swimming hands from the Walgreens Namor, but we also got two heads with this figure, and neither of those are repacked from the earlier release. The stock head looks like a simpler, more comic booky look than the Walgreens head. When I compare the two the previous release looks like it could pass for a realistic MCU version played by a generic actor. I like this new head a lot, the sculpt is excellent and the paint is perfect. Both heads have the hair trailing back a bit, which makes him look all the more streamlined for zipping through the ocean.

The alternate head features Namor all beareded out and looking like Tony Stark co-splaying as an Vulcan. Again, it’s a great sculpt with sharp and beautiful paint, but I think I prefer my Namor sans beard.

Articulation includes all the usual points. The arms have rotating hinges in the shoulders, swivels in the biceps, double hinges in the elbows. The wrists are on hinged pegs so they can be swapped out. The legs have ball jointed hips, swivels in the thighs and the lower legs, double hinged knees, and the ankles have both hinges and rockers. The torso has a waist swivel and an ab crunch hinge under the chest. The neck has both a hinge and a ball joint.

If all that wasn’t enough, Hasbro also gave Sub-Mariner a brand new trident. This one is more elaborate than the one that came with the Walgreens Namor. It looks more like a proper trident and less like a spear. This one is cast all in gold plastic and lacks any paint apps, but I really dig it. The sculpting includes a coiled sea-serpent and a pointed fin motif.

If you ever wanted an example of just how delightfully serious and passionate Hasbro is about Marvel Legends, Sub-Mariner here is the figure to look at. I certainly wouldn’t consider Namor an A-Lister, and yet this is the second release of the character in the line in about a year. Does Hasbro know something we don’t? Is Disney going to secretly launch a Sub-Mariner movie to go up against the DCEU Aquaman flick? Probably not, and that’s what makes this release all the more intriguing. Not to mention, they also kitted the figure out with two new heads and a brand new accessory. Now, as much as I admire this figure, I really wasn’t kidding about my feelings that an MCU Shuri should have been in this spot. Hasbro obviously has the likeness rights because they did her in the basic 6-inch Black Panther line. And besides, The Sub-Mariner could have been shoved into any wave and not feel as out of place as he does here. Instead, we have to settle for a comic-based Shuri in one of the upcoming two-packs. That’s not to say I’m not happy to have The Sub-Mariner here, but c’mon Hasbro… Give us a Legends Shuri!!!

Marvel Legends (Okoye Wave): Nakia by Hasbro

Ah, it’s a great time to be a Marvel fan! What? No, they haven’t fixed the dumpster fire on the comic side of things, but we’ve got some amazing trailers for Deadpool 2 and Infinity War, I just picked up the Blu-Ray of Thor: Ragnarok, and I’ve got enough Marvel Legends figures to keep me happy for the foreseeable future. Today I’m pressing on through the Okoye Wave and opening up Nakia from the spectacular Black Panther movie!

Nakia, not to be confused with that brand of famously indestructible Finnish cell phones, Nokia, comes in the typical Legends window box. It’s got some great character art on the side panels, the back panel shows you the rest of the figures in the wave, and the window on the front lets you get a look at all the goodies inside the box. I really enjoyed Nakia in the film, and I’d love to see them explore her character further in the next one, particularly her background with the Dora Milaje, and boy would it be cool for them to work the Malice storyline into it. I can practically see that whole thing unfolding on the screen and it would be awesome.

And here she is out of the package and looking fabulous. Black Panther was a visual feast, and a lot of that came from the pageantry of the Wakandan costumes. Hasbro had a lot to work with when it came to Nakia’s outfit and I think they did a bang up job with it. The top of the red tunic is part of the buck, while the lower half is part of the belt, sculpted in soft plastic, and extends down to hang down the front and back. The effect works really well, and it’s pretty convincing as being one plastic garment. There are a ton of cut lines running throughout the tunic, forming various geometric patterns, some of which are picked out by gold paint. On top of that you get long segmented bracers on her forearms, a large piece of armor on her right shoulder, a smaller piece on the left, and some sharp detailing around her neck, all painted in silver. She also has a sculpted silver belt buckle that looks like a panther emblem. This is some fantastic stuff!

My only nitpick is the legs, which are painted to look like they’re supposed to be bare, but have a lot of the same ornamental cut lines running throughout. Just looking at them makes me wince, because it’s like she went through some kind of ritual and had these carved into her flesh. I’ve only seen the movie twice now, but I don’t remember this being the case, and I haven’t been able to find any reference shots of her costume showing it either. In fact, it looks like she’s just wearing some fairly plain leggings. Okoye’s costume does have these designs, but they’re part of her leather leggings. Anyway, her ensemble is rounded out by a pair of black boots, with some accordion style rings on the top, which look a little clunky, and throw off what is an otherwise pretty graceful figure. If it sounds like I’m coming down on this figure, keep in mind, these are just nitpicks, and I think the sculpting and coloring on this costume look outstanding.

Also outstanding is the head sculpt. More often than not, Hasbro has been on point with their MCU head sculpts, but they’ve really upped their game recently and this is another great example of that. The likeness to the lovely Lupita Nyong’o is certainly there. Granted, I prefer it when she’s smiling, but the stern and solemn look here is more appropriate for the character and action figure. They did an amazing job sculpting her hair and she even has her tiny earrings.

The articulation here is what I’ve come to expect from my Legends MCU ladies, which means good, albeit not perfect. I would still love to see Hasbro go with double hinged elbows and bicep swivels in the arms. Instead, we get the typical rotating hinges in the shoulders, elbows, and wrists. The legs fare a lot better, with ball joints in the hips, double hinges in the knees, swivels in the thighs, and both swivels and rockers in the ankles. There’s no waist swivel, but she does have a ball joint under the chest, and she has both a hinge and ball joint in the neck.

In addition to the BAF parts, Nakia comes with a pair of Chakram, which as far as I knew were generally from India, but I’m not going to quibble about it because they’re exotic and cool and movies often play it fast and loose with historical authenticity. Anyway, these are beautiful accessories, with brown textured grips to simulate wood or leather, and silver blades with decorative inscriptions scultped into them.

Black Panther and Killmonger were both great figures, but lets face it the black with gold and black with silver suits didn’t really showcase the movie’s colorful costumes. With Nakia, we finally get to see some of that translate to plastic, and it looks superb. I nitpicked some of the liberties Hasbro seemed to take with the costume, but really I have nothing but love and admiration for the work they did here. From the exquisite costume, to the beautiful likeness, to some really fun accessories, this figure has it all.

And that’s it for the packaged MCU figures. Next week, I’ll start in on the comic-based figures!

Marvel Legends (Okoye Wave): Killmonger by Hasbro

The new Infinity War trailer may have dropped last week, but I’m still working my way through the Black Panther inspired wave of Marvel Legends. Hell, I’ll be lucky if I get to the Infinity War figures by the time that movie hits theaters next month. Part of me is screaming, “Slow your roll, MCU. Stop stealing the spotlight of your own movies.” But then I tell myself to shut up, because I want more Marvel movies as quickly as possible. I’m an old man and I don’t have time them to worry about pacing themselves! But for now, let’s focus on Black Panther and have a look at Erik Killmonger!

Much has been said about how Killmonger is one of the best MCU villains since Loki, and I can’t argue with any of it. He was charismatic, sympathetic, and he was one of the many characters that seemed to get as much development and screen-time as our hero, T’Challa. All of this is pretty impressive, since when you boil it down, his costumed-persona was just an evil version of Black Panther and his name is… well, Killmonger! Even in the 70’s that name was a little cringe-worthy. Anyway, I didn’t have high hopes for this character in the film, but it shows what I know, because everything turned out so much better than could be expected. It also redeemed actor Michael B Jordan’s legacy in the Marvel films. Not that he was really at fault for that Fantastic Four movie.

When I looked at Black Panther last week, I complimented Hasbro for not cheaping out and reusing parts from the Civil War version. Indeed, I had no idea there were so many differences in the costume! Well, the same can be said for Killmonger. This is an entirely new sculpt, and considering it’s basically a one-and-done buck, I’m surprised they didn’t share some parts between Erik and T’Challa in this wave. It’s also easy to dismiss this as just another black-suited figure with some gold paint accents. I’ll confess that was my reaction when I first saw pictures. But with the figure in hand, I find the subtleties in the sculpt and coloring rather impressive. Of course, all of this can be said for the Black Panther figure as well.

Killmonger’s suit is simpler than T’Challa’s. You don’t get as much in the way of panel lines and texturing, but it does feature some beaded lines running throughout. It also has a very subtle panther spotting effect that can be tough to see under normal lighting. Where T’Challa’s suit had silver accents, Killmonger’s has gold, and there isn’t nearly as much of it, at least not from the neck down. There’s a little on the hands and feet, and at the hips. The necklace appears to be sculpted separately in gold plastic and attached to the figure.

The head, on the other hand is absolutely brimming with detail. I really like the sculpted iconography near the ears. The beaded lines feature some gold paint, as well as some general gold dry brushing around the forehead area. The eyes are painted gold, and you get a little silver paint on the gold necklace. No doubt, this is a pretty intimidating mask!

The articulation is identical to what we saw on Black Panther. The arms have rotating hinges in the shoulders, double hinges in the elbows, swivels in the biceps, and hinged pegs in the wrists. They also feature the lateral hinges in the shoulders that we often see on the Spider-Man figures. The pegs in the wrists allow you to swap hands, between attack hands and accessory holding hands. The legs are ball jointed at the hips, double hinged at the knees, and have swivels in the thighs. The ankles feature both hinges and rockers. There’s a swivel in the waist, an ab crunch under the chest, and both a hinge and ball joint in the neck.

While T’Challa came up empty in the accessories department, Killmonger comes with two weapons and an extra set of hands for holding them. The first is a what I believe is meant to be a Konda-type sword, with the rather distinctive flaring tip that’s designed for slashing. The segmented grip is black, the blade is painted silver, and there are four holes cut out in across the top edge.

The other weapon is a short spear in silver and gold with some brown painted ties in the middle. Both of these weapons are pretty cool and quite distinctive.

Marvel Studios did a great job with Killmonger in the film, and now Hasbro follows suit with a great figure. In fact, the only real complaint I have is that there is no unmasked head. Yes, the two weapons make up for it in terms of value, but I can’t help but think the real reason was so they could bundle the character in a two-pack with an unmasked head and make me buy it again. Although in fairness, that figure looks like it’s going to be radically different, rather than a straight repack. Do I need two Killmongers? Probably not, but between the unmasked head and the Everett Ross figure, I’m only kidding myself if I pretend like I won’t buy it when I see it, but I don’t think I’ll pay a premium for it.

Marvel Legends: Black Panther (Okoye Wave) by Hasbro

It’s time to start in on an all new wave of Marvel Legends, and hey, look at that! I’m actually getting to the Black Panther Wave while the movie is still in the theaters! But collecting Marvel Legends is like fighting Hydra, complete one wave and two more take its place. I still haven’t opened or reviewed the Sandman Wave, and I haven’t started buying the new Deadpool, Spider-Man, or Infinity War Waves. And I am most definitely not complaining, Hasbro. Keep ’em coming!

Yeah, I called this the Black Panther Wave, but only half of the figures, plus the Build-A-Figure, are from the movie. There are also three random comic-based figures tossed in, and only one of those has me excited, and no it’s not the half-naked Namor! I know we’re getting Everett Ross in a two-pack, but no Klaw or Shuri? That’s just unforgivable. Anyway, the packaging is the same old thing with some nice branding on the front to tie it into the film. Let’s take a look at the figure, and I’ll do some comparisons with the Civil War version along the way.

Appropriately enough, the new suit features an all new sculpt, so don’t go thinking Hasbro cheaped out on this one. Honestly, they probably could have and I wouldn’t have noticed the difference until the movie hit Blu-Ray and I could really scrutinize the design. Indeed, getting these two figures side by side is the first time I’ve really taken the time to look the changes made to the costume. I was surprised to find so many differences. The sculpted lines in the costume are all different patterns and the new costume doesn’t feature quite as many of them. But the most obvious difference for me is in the necklace, which is a lot simpler.

The coloring is the same matte black with silver accents and Hasbro did a nice job on the little bit of paint that’s here. All the silver apps are nice and clean on my figure. The new costume has some rather aggressive spike-like bits painted on his gauntlets, whereas the old look just had a painted border at the edges. You get more of those silver spikes around the tops of his his boots, where the older costume had none. All in all, there’s a little more silver on this release and it’s more of a pure silver, whereas the older figure was more of a silver-gray.

The masks are quite different too. I think the old one looks a lot more severe. The silver lines that converge on his brow make him look a lot more aggressive to me, as do the points on the ears. The new head is a little more rounded. If you were to ask me to choose a favorite between the two, I’d be leaning toward the Civil War release, but they both look great, and in the end it’s just a matter of taste.

You also get an unmasked head, and holy shit, if you ever want an example of Hasbro being a company looking to improve, just check out this two years of progress. I remember being rather favorable toward the head on the Civil War figure, but oh boy does it look dated compared to this one. The likeness to Chadwick Boseman is very much on point. If I’m going to nitpick, I think the hair could have been done a little better on the new figure. It’s a little too precise and has a painted on look to it. But still, overall, this is a fantastic new likeness. I really hope they can start bringing this kind of portraiture to the Star Wars Black Series at some point in time.

In terms of articulation, you get all the same points in the Civil War version. That means the arms have rotating hinges in the shoulders, double hinges in the elbows, swivels in the biceps, and hinged pegs in the wrists. The pegs in the wrists allow you to swap hands, between fists or attack hands. The legs are ball jointed at the hips, double hinged at the knees, and have swivels in the thighs. The ankles feature both hinges and rockers. There’s a swivel in the waist, an ab crunch under the chest, and both a hinge and ball joint in the neck. So what’s the difference? Hasbro upgraded to the lateral hinges in the shoulders, and that’s pretty damn cool.

 

Apart from the extra hands and head, T’Challa doesn’t come with any additional accessories, and that’s fine. I can’t really think of anything he’s missing.

If I had missed out on the Civil War release, I’d be very content to have this figure representing the MCU Black Panther in my collection. Yes, aesthetically I gave the edge to the previous one, but this is still a beautiful figure and the added articulation makes it all the more fun to play with. Not to mention the unmasked head is a huge improvement. Initially, I wasn’t really sure we needed another Black Panther figure so soon, but this release proves me wrong. On the next Marvel Monday, I’ll check out Killmonger!

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

It’s that time again at the end of a wave of Marvel Legends where I get to collect all the pieces together and cobble together my Build-A-Figure. Now, I don’t always like to admit it, but there are holes in my Marvel knowledge that come from being selective about my reading. There are characters I only know by name and history, and Man-Thing is certainly one of them. I don’t think he makes an appearance in a single book on my shelf. Still, he’s got a truly twisted background that I really should explore someday, but for now I’ll just have to be satisfied knowing that he’s one of the few Marvel characters that originated from my adopted home state of Florida.

Man-Thing consists of six parts, spread out over the entirety of the aptly named Man-Thing Wave. That includes two arms, two legs, a torso, and a head. Now, I’m not one of them fancy plantologists, but I was able to figure out how to put him together. Doing so, however, require a lot of strength and tolerance for pain in my hands, because this guy did not go together easily. Both the head and the legs required a lot of force and left plant texturing imprinted on the palms of my hands.

While I don’t read his books, I’ve always really liked Man-Thing’s design. It reminds me of something out of the old Inhumanoids action figure line. Hasbro really went all out on the sculpt with this fellow, and other than the bottoms of his feet, I can’t find even the tiniest spot that isn’t covered with some kind of intricately sculpted veggie motif. Even the hinges in his elbows are covered in sculpted detail. That’s pretty cool.

Amidst the tangle of vines, you get some shaggy looking grass hanging off his forearms, palm fronds on his feet, some mushroom caps jutting out of his right thigh, and a mossy buildup on his back. Despite the overload of detail in the sculpt, there isn’t much going on with the paint on this figure. The body itself is mostly just green plastic, with some wash to give some areas more of a yellowish-green look and give the sculpt some depth. Also, he does have his fingernails and toenails painted. I guess what I’m trying to say is some individual paint hits to some of the specific detail would have been nice, but still the figure still looks great. Nonetheless, I’ll bet some people with skills (not myself) could do a beautiful job painting this figure up.

The head sculpt is every bit as good as the body, and this is where I think this design really shines. I noted earlier that he reminds me a bit of The Inhumanoids line, Tendrill to be specific, although going back to a picture of that figure there really isn’t that much resemblance. It’s probably the distinctive tendrils that are formed from his uni-brow that gives him that Inhumanoids/Eldar God vibe. Those rooty tendrils are painted brown and they frame his large red eyes. It really is a great design and this figure carries it splendidly.

The articulation is pretty standard BAF fare. He has rotating hinges in his hips, and these come already attached. The legs attach via the rotating hinges in his thighs. He also has double hinges in his knees, and both hinges and rockers in the ankles. The arms have rotating hinges in the shoulders and wrists, hinged elbows, and swivels in the biceps. The torso has both a swivel in the waist and a hinge for an ab crunch. The neck is ball jointed, but because of the hunched shoulder he can mostly just tilt his head from side to side and look up just a little bit. I should note that my figure’s left arm was fused at the elbow, but a little heat loosened it up.

Of course, in the category of comic book based plant-thing figures, Mattel still takes the top prize with their DC Universe Classics Swamp Thing figure from a little ways back. It’s probably not fair comparing them, since Man-Thing is a retail Build-A-Figure and Swamp Thing was an SDCC Exclusive that ran around thirty or forty bucks, but I couldn’t help myself from checking them out side-by-side. Swamp Thing’s spongy rubber skin is still really cool, but it’s the extra paint apps that really make Swamp Thing stand out.

One of the greatest things about universe building with action figures is that it lets me discover characters I had little to do with before. Sometimes it’s just the design and artistry that I dig, but more often then not it will spark an interest and I’ll go find some books and do some reading. That’s probably going to be the case here with Man-Thing.

And that’s another fantastic wave of Marvel Legends in the bag. Part of me wishes that this was a full-on Netflix Wave with both Luke Cage and Danny Rand included, but then I realize that Blade and Bullseye are my two favorites in this assortment and I should probably be careful about what I wish for. Either way, Hasbro continues is still killing it with Legends. I was originally going to backtrack to either the Sandman Wave or the SDCC Battle For Asgarde set, but instead I think I’ll jump to the Black Panther Wave next, so I can actually look at some of those figures while the movie is still in theaters!

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

It’s an especially glorious Marvel Monday because it’s the first day of my vacation and all is right with the world. It’ll be a week of toys, video games, comics, booze, and other expressions of geek debauchery. I’m also wrapping up the Man-Thing Wave of Marvel Legends with a look at the last packaged figure… Bullseye!

Damn, do I love me some Bullseye! What’s he doing in this wave? How the hell should I know? Why didn’t they save him for the Deadpool Wave? Again, you’re asking the wrong person. Alls I know is anytime Bullseye shows his ugly mug in one of my funnybooks, I’m a happy camper. Hasbro released two different versions of him in the 4-inch Marvel Universe line and I snapped up the both of them. Suffice it to say, his appearance in the modern Legends line is long overdue.

Every thing about this figure makes me happy, and that’s not just the good vibes of the vacation talking. The classic costume is achieved mostly through paint, white over very dark blue plastic. That’s usually not a good thing, as it often results in bleeding and drab colors, but happily that’s not the case here. The whites are bright and vibrant, there’s no evident bleed through from the darker plastic, and he has some crisp stripes painted on the boots, gauntlets, and collar. This is a great example of a simple painted costume done right.

The little bit of original sculpting comes in the form of his belt and holster rig. At least, I’m pretty sure it’s new. The white belt features three sculpted magazine pouches running across the front, a thigh strap to secure the holster, and a horizontal scabbard running across the back for his knife. Some great details include the tiny stitching on the ammo pouches and holster, as well as the sculpted wrap that holds the knife sheath in place.

Bullseye comes with two heads, and both are winners. The personality that Hasbro has been pouring into some of the villain sculpts has been one of my favorite things about this modern Marvel Legends line from the get-go. I just have to think back to Constrictor and Klaw and how much fun they must have had sculpting those portraits. The stock head features the dark blue hood-like mask with the big white bullseye on the forehead, and it’s absolutely perfect, right down to his broad gap-toothed smile.

The alternate head goes for that Dark Avengers look with no hood and the bullseye emblem carved right into his bald head. And oh boy just look at that expression! If this were a common figure around these parts, I’d definitely pick up a second to display the other head. As it is, I’ll be sticking with the hooded one, and it feels a shame to pop the other one into a baggie somewhere. The detail inside hte mouth really blows me away. The glossy paint they used for his tongue looks particularly good.

As for articulation, Bullseye is one of the proud few characters to be given the shoulder rocker treatment, which gives playing with him that extra bit of fun. The arms also include rotating hinges in the shoulders, swivels in the biceps, double hinges in the elbows, and hinged pegs in the wrists. The legs are ball jointed at the hips, have swivels in the thighs and lower legs, and have double hinges in the knees. The ankles have both hinges and rockers. The neck is both ball jointed and hinged. Bullseye is a hard figure to put down, and I have a feeling he’s going to have a go against several of my other Legends figures.

In addition to the extra head, Bullseye comes with two extra left hands. One is a pointing finger hand, the other is an effects part hand throwing three knives. Both of these are welcome additions, but the knife-throwing hand really goes above and beyond. It just looks great. Would it be too much to ask to also get a playing card holding hand like the Marvel Universe version? Yeah, I don’t want to push my luck.

As for regular accessories, Bullseye also comes with a combat knife and a pistol. The pistol is one we’ve seen before. The design reminds me of a .22 target pistol and it’s cast all in gray plastic with some nice attention to detail in the sculpt. It fits pretty well in the holster, but it has a habit of popping out when I’m playing around with him.

The knife is a standard tanto-type blade with black painted grips. Bullseye’s right hand is sculpted with a trigger finger to hold the gun, while the left hand is sculpted to securely hold his trusty knife.

Bullseye is a great example of simple classic comic design being perfectly realized in plastic. When I really love a character, I tend to be pretty demanding when they get a figure, but I’ve got no complaints here. The extra articulation makes him loads of fun, and Hasbro really captured the character beautifully, from the execution of his classic costume to the wonderful personality that’s packed into both of the heads. I saved Bullseye for last, because I suspected he was going to be my favorite figure in this wave, and that certainly turned out to be true. And keep in mind, this was an all around very solid wave, so giving Bullseye the top spot is high praise indeed!

Oh yeah, I’ll be back tonight to have a look at Man-Thing Build-A-Figure!