Marvel Legends (Caliban Wave): Gambit by Hasbro

Last time I promised y’all crawdads and gumbo, and here we are zipping back to the Caliban Wave with a look at you know who. “Who? To my friends, de name’s Remy LeBeau. To my enemies, it’s Gambit!” Yes, the ever quotable Gambit. He’s a character I love to hate. Or is that hate to love? Maybe it’s both. Alls I know is he frequently made me want to punch my TV screen whenever he appeared in the X-Men cartoon. Whatever the case, he’s a staple of my X-Men stable and it’s about time we got him in the modern Legends line!

Gambit is the fourth figure I’ve opened in this most solid of waves, and he’s definitely one of my more anticipated figures. It’s been a long time since I owned the Toybiz Legends version, and I still have some fond memories of that figure, especially that they had the balls to do a soft-goods jacket in that scale. Hasbro has shied away from any soft-goods in Marvel Legends and they even use it frustratingly sparingly in the Star Wars Black Series. Anyway… Can Hasbro’s modern version outmatch my fondness for the old figure? Let’s find out right now.

Well, still no soft-goods here, and I’m pretty sure that’s a good thing, even if the coat here is instantly familiar. We saw it all the way back in 2012 on Fantomex and since then Hasbro has recycled this jacket so often that if it wasn’t made of plastic, it’d be threadbare by now. But it works, and it works very well for this figure. With its stylish high collar and the segmented lapels, this jacket looks great in brown, and the sculpted sleeves on the arms fill in the holes to make the illusion that it’s all one garment work almost perfectly. And there’s some amazingly subtle detail in it, from the creases and texture of the fabric to the sculpted rumples and stitch lines. Some of these details didn’t show up quite as well when cast in black or white, but it sure does now.

Under that coat there are some great colors and a surprising amount of new sculpting going on. The boots, the collar piece and the piping running along his belt line are all sculpted details, which could have probably been phoned in with simple paint detail. And speaking of paint, I really love the metallic purple and blue they used for his suit. When contrasted with the brown matte of the jacket, it pops beautifully. The body’s articulation is standard stuff except for two surprises. The elbows don’t have the usual double-hinges, but instead are rotating hinges. Aesthetically, I guess it works better for the sculpted sleeves, but it does inhibit the range of the elbows over what I’m used to seeing.

With the costume portrayed so well, it was up to the head sculpt to make or break this figure, and I’m happy to say that the portrait succeeds on all fronts. From the way his shock of hair protrudes from the top of his cowl to the very subtle traces of his beard and mustache, Hasbro did Gambit proud here.  The jutting chin, prominent nose, and black and red eyes are all quite unmistakable. And while it may sound like a joke, I think these are some of the best ear sculpts Hasbro has done yet. Seriously!

Gambit comes with a few accessories to round out the package. Obviously, he comes with his Bo staff. It’s nothing special, just a gray segmented staff, which can be gripped in his right hand and cradled in his left.

Next up, he comes with a little energized playing card effect part, which can be laced around his hand and works exceptionally well on his left hand with the two pointing fingers. I actually dropped this goddamn thing while I was shooting and it took me ten minutes of crawling on the floor to find the thing. Happily I eventually did, otherwise the cats would have claimed it as their own and I never would have seen it again.

The second effect part is connected to an alternate left hand, which has him throwing three charged cards. This one looks pretty great too and it should be a lot harder to lose since it’s attached to a hand.

I hope y’all aren’t tired of X-Men yet, because I’m going to keep this Mutant ball rolling along next week. The last couple years has been like an X-Men Renaissance within the modern Marvel Legends line. It’s like Hasbro has been working overtime to pack as many X-Men into the lineup as they possibly can, and I’ve got no problems with that! 2019 even upped the ante with some superb multi-pack box sets in addition to stacking the decks with excellent waves like this one. I won’t give away who I’ll be opening next week. You’ll just have to read my mind!

Marvel Legends (Caliban Wave): Jubilee by Hasbro

Well, folks, I’m not off to a good start for the new year, as I wasn’t able to check back in again last week after Marvel Monday. I’m still swamped with stuff that’s wrestling for my time, and it’s probably going to be a few more months before I’m locked back down to regular updates. Nonetheless, I’m back to spread more X-Men loving today and I have a good feeling that the rest of the week will work out. Today I’m headed back into the Caliban Wave with a look at Jubilee!

I guess you can consider Jubilee here an apology figure. Hasbro gave us to her a few years back as a Build-A-Figure, which was an odd choice in and of itself. Then to add fuel to the fire, the Wave was notoriously hard to find and complete. I don’t think I ever saw any of the figures once, although I heard tell it wound up as a Toys R Us Exclusive. Needless to say the figures went for big money online. Beside that, the Jubilee BAF wasn’t based on the classic look for the character anyway, so here’s Hasbro taking a brand new stab at getting her into the hands of collectors.

I don’t own the BAF Jubilee, but comparing this one with some pictures, it looks like there’s definitely some recycling here, at the very least her yellow trademark jacket looks the same. And they did a nice job with it. It’s cast in retina-melting yellow plastic, features a high, popped collar, and comes down to behind her knees. The sleeves are sculpted onto the arms, rolled up to the elbows, and she sports a pair of blue gloves, which match her boots. Under the jacket, she casts off the black outfit from the previous release in exchange for her blue shorts and pink top. There are some lovely little touches in the sculpt, including the buttons and the pin on her chest, all of which are neatly painted in gold. Her sculpted black belt features a gray belt-buckle, and the shorts have some sculpted tailoring and cuffs around her thighs. The colors on this figure are fantastic!

The portrait is pretty tight, although my figure has a bit of a wall-eye thing going on. I’m not so sure that it’s just the paint to blame, as the eyes really do look a little too far apart. Everything else is fine, though. The paint on her lips is sharp and clean, the earrings look great, and I love the sculpting they did on her hair. I particularly dig the way her transparent pink glasses came out. It’s never easy doing eyewear in this scale, but these fit the figure perfectly.

Now, with all the gushing aside, I will say that while I was quite excited to get this figure, now that she’s in hand I’m a little cool on her. Part of the problem might be that the plastic is really gummy on mine, particularly in those double-hinged knees and in the neck hinge. It’s weird. Working some of her joints feels like a dubious prospect and most of those hinges would rather try to warp than actually work the way they’re supposed to. Add to that the lack of any effect parts, and she’s just not as much fun to play around with as she might have been. I’m surprised Hasbro couldn’t even cough up a few of those hex-type effect circles that clip to the wrists. Yeah, I’ve got tons of them, but that’s not really the point.

She does, however, come with a couple extras, namely this second portrait with removable glasses. And yup, this one has her blowing a bubble with her gum. I love that they included this one, it’s a wonderful effect, and the removable glasses were a nice touch. Unfortunately, this head does not fit right on my figure. It won’t snap in properly and when I try to apply pressure, the gummy neck joint just bends. I can sort of make it work, but it’s just another example of how the QC on my Jubilee isn’t up to snuff.

I guess Jubilee turned out a little disappointing. The figure looks great, and she’ll be fine representing on my X-Men shelf, but the mushy plastic on this figure drags her down a lot. When I open a figure for Marvel Mondays, that figure usually stays on my desk for the week so I can play around with them on my down time, but Jubilee just isn’t that much fun, so I think she’ll be going right up on the shelf. Next week, the X-Men train rolls on. Who will it be? I won’t know for sure until I start digging through the Legends pile, but I feel like I have a hankering for some crawdads and gumbo.

Marvel Legends (Caliban Wave): Beast by Hasbro

I’m going to keep an X-Men streak going on Marvel Mondays for at least a few more weeks, although I’m not sticking to any one wave. Today’s figure is one I was really excited to get and it is indeed Dr. Hank McCoy! I thought this was the first time I was dipping into the Caliban Wave, but it turns out I already opened and reviewed Blink a little while back.

Beast is so essential to the X-Men lineup, it surprises me it took this long to get him and this long for me to open him. It’s also impressive that even with his rather large stature, Hasbro was able to cram an extra set of hands and Caliban’s noggin in there. Hell, they probably could have made Hank a BAF himself and I would have been cool with that.

And I’m certainly pleased with the look Hasbro went for here, as this is definitely my favorite version of the character. He’s big, burly, no shirt, and just a big slab of muscle and blue fur. His entire outfit consists of some blue undies and his branded yellow X-Men belt. And I have to say, both the detail in the sculpt and the beautiful gradations of blue conspire to make Beast a great looking figure. Virtually his entire surface is covered in sculpted fur texture, with extra thick patches on his chest, shoulders, back, and around his neck. He’s got giant feet and hands, along with an additional set of swap-out hands, which include a hand-standing hand and a fist.

Hasbro went all out on the articulation here, so much so that I’m getting some flashbacks to the Toy Biz days, where articulation often took a front seat to aesthetics. Thankfully that’s not quite the case here, although I will say that with all these points of articulation, I think Beast looks better in action poses than simply standing prone. Nonetheless, lets run down all of those points! His arms have the butterfly shoulder crunches, rotating hinges in the proper shoulders, double hinges in the elbows, hinged pegs in the wrists, and swivels in the biceps. The legs are ball jointed in the hips, double jointed in the knees, and have swivels in the thighs. The ankles have hinges and lateral rockers, and there are hinges in the feet. There’s a swivel in the waist, a ball joint under the chest, and the neck is both hinged and ball jointed. Needless to say, this figure is tons of fun to play around with!

If there’s one thing that I’m torn on here it’s the portrait. Don’t get me wrong, it looks great, but it also lacks some detail in the sculpt, particularly around the mouth and the teeth. The teeth are really just painted lines, and the paint is a little rough. It looks more like an animated portrait, and that’s not a bad thing, but it’s at odds with some of the more detailed head sculpts we’ve seen out of Hasbro in the past. With that being said, the hair and whiskers looks great and the fierce expression is certainly packed with personality. Still, I’m going to have to say it. We should have gotten a second head sculpt with this figure. Beast shouldn’t only be characterized in a furor like this. I would have loved a calm portrait for Hank.

But hey, I don’t want to end this look on a downer, because I really do dig this figure a lot! I was still playing around with him long after I was done snapping pictures, and this big lovable guy has been sitting on my desk for a few days now so I can pick him up and play with him on my downtime. With Beast, the core X-Men characters continue to pour onto my Legends shelves, and I say keep ’em coming, Hasbro. I ran short of time to do a decent group shot this week, but I’ll make up for it next week when I keep the Legends X-Men love train rolling along!

Marvel Legends (X-Men): Wolverine, Jean Grey, and Cyclops by Hasbro

Hey, folks! It’s the last Marvel Monday of the year! I keep wanting to wrap up that Wendigo Wave, but distractions keep coming my way. In particular, I had several X-Men-themed boxed sets hit my stoop by way of Santa himself, and I thought I’d knock out one of these before the end of the year. Today I’m checking out what I like to call The Apology Pack, wherein Hasbro says they’re sorry and makes good on a new Jean Grey figure. But they can’t be too sorry, because they’re making us buy two other re-do’s with her! Well, sort of. Trust me, it’s all worth it in the end.

Because there’s nothing about this glorious set that would even make me hesitate buying it had I not received it as a Christmas gift. Sure, I don’t consider “Bomber Jacket” Summers essential, and sure Hasbro could have just thrown in the extra Logan heads with a single Jean Grey release, but just looking at this set makes me so happy, I don’t care. I don’t know if it’s the snappy blue color of the box that makes that X-Men logo stand out. Or maybe it’s just seeing this much 90’s-Jim Lee-glory in one package. Either way, it’s hard to quantify how much greatness is packed into this box. There’s a lot of stuff to look at, so let’s jump right in! And going from left to right, we’ll start with Logan!

If you collected the Apocalypse Wave then surely you recognize this figure, or at least the body, which appears to be completely recycled here. I haven’t gotten around to opening all of that wave yet, so that makes him relatively new to me. Although, to compare him to a figure I have opened, he does still share a lot of the body used for Wolverine from the Juggernaut Wave. You get those wonderful flared boots, a belt with an X-buckle, and shoulder armor. The coloring here is absolutely exquisite, with the bright yellow leggings and top, complete with tiger stripes. The boots are blue with black trim, and his gauntlets, undies, and shoulders are all matching blue. Toss in the bright red belt and you’ve got a feast for the eyes. This figure comes out of the package with Logan’s bone claws equipped, which is a little something more to set it apart from the Apocalypse Wave Logan.

The figure also comes with the battle damaged head sculpt, and man is this thing great! The flared out “ears’ are tattered, and rips in the top of his mask have his sculpted hair spilling out on top. Couple all that with an absolutely raging expression, and this makes for one badass portrait. Between this head and the bone claws, there’s definitely good incentive for double-dipping on this version of Wolverine, should you already own the previous release.

The articulation here is identical to what we’ve seen with the past two Wolverines I mentioned, so I won’t go through a whole run down. I will, however, point out that he features those shoulder crunches, which adds to the posing possibilities. To be honest, if the damaged mask head and bone claw fists were all he came with, I think it still would have been a very worthwhile variant for my collection, but there’s still more to talk about.

If you don’t have that Apocalypse release, you also get the regular masked head and the regular adamantium claws seen on that figure, which certainly adds to the value of the set. The claws are included in separate fists, so you don’t have to pull out and swap each one. The middle claw on my figure’s right hand angles a little funny, but they are pretty fragile and prone to warping.

The regular masked head sculpt appears to me to be identical to the one included with the Apocalyse Wave, and that ain’t a bad thing because it’s a fantastic sculpt. But wait, we’re still not done!

You also get a completely unmasked head with a mask that can be worn down the back of the neck. I think these are the same that were included with the brown suit retro release, another figure I haven’t gotten around to opening yet, but still a nice bonus. So with three sets of heads, two different sets of clawed hands, and the mask, I sure don’t feel bad about having to buy what is essentially a figure that I already own. Let’s move on to Jean Grey.

For many, Jean Grey will be the star of this set, because the last Jean that Hasbro released in modern Legends wasn’t so great. I didn’t have a big problem with it at the time, but looking at it now, I can certainly admit that it hasn’t aged well. Here we get the same Classic 90’s look for the character, but completely redone. Gone are the hideous ball-shaped hips, and in its place a body that looks a bit better proportioned and less awkward. The suit has a bit more of a mustard color to it than the brighter yellows of Logan and Scott’s costumes. And while I will admit to liking the metallic blue they used for the original figure, the more subdued darker matte blue they used for this suit is a lot more sensible. And the bracers still have a glossy finish to them to satiate my love of shiny things. The thigh panels are also more subtle here, and the shoulder pads are redesigned.

The figure comes out of the box with a brand new head sculpt depicting Jean’s voluminous flowing red coif, which mostly conceals her form fitting partial hood. And I have to say this portrait is a little hit and miss. The hair looks great, the eyes look great, and the lips… well, that’s where it starts to lose me. I’m sure they were going for full and sultry, but what we got is just a little off. I can’t quite put my finger on what exactly it is, but I think the mouth is the one part of this portrait that lets it down.

You also get a second portrait, this time with her hair pouring up out the top of her headpiece in a sort of pony-tail affair. This portrait is also overall pretty good, but once again, there’s just something about the lips. Here I think it’s just a case of them being too big. I don’t know. I’m not totally hating on either of these heads, but Hasbro has been doing a great job with the female portraits lately, and these two just feel like they missed the mark a bit.

Other than the improved hips, the articulation here is right in line with all the other Legends gals. That means no bicep swivels and rotating hinges in the elbows instead of double-hinges. It’s worth noting that Jean comes up the lightest of the three figures when it comes to extras. There are no extra hands or anything other than the second head. Moving on to the final figure…

I said earlier that Jean Grey was probably going to be the star of this set for a lot of collectors, but I have to imagine Cyclops is coming in a close second. Sure, we just got him a little while back in the Warlock Wave, but that figure has gone on to command some ridiculous prices on the second hand market. Hell, you can buy this whole set for less than what you’re likely to pay for that earlier release of Scott Summers. As a result, the fact that this guy is mostly a recycled release maybe ain’t so bad. Obviously the big change here is the bomber jacket with newly sculpted arm sleeves, otherwise the rest of the sculpt seems to be the same, albeit with a brighter shade of yellow paint and plastic. The jacket is a great new sculpt with nice detail in the stitching and even the zipper. There’s also an X-patch on the left shoulder. I will note that the thigh and boot straps stay on a bit better on this one, but the peg that holds his belt on in the back will not stay in at all. Fortunately the jacket covers it, so you can’t really tell that it’s popped. I may just go ahead and glue it together.

The figure comes out of the box with the same head sculpt as the Warlock Wave with only the paint being notably different on the visor. Last time it had something of a glossy gold finish, now it’s straight up bright yellow to match the rest of the costume. They’re both fine, but I think I prefer this one. And while Scott comes with two fists, he does have a swap-out left hand so he can activate his visor.

The box also includes two more heads for Cyclops, each with a different style of eyeware. These include a set of red conventional shades, and a set of visor-type shades. Both are good looks, but the painted hairline on my second head is a little off and the red glasses paint on my third head is too. Neither are huge issues for me, but worth mentioning nonetheless. Ultimately, I like this figure a lot, and I haven’t decided which Scott Summers I’ll use for my regular X-Men display, but either way I think this is a fine alternative for collectors who missed out on the previous Cyclops and don’t want to drop a lot of money grabbing him from a second-hand seller.

I’m glad I was able to wrap up my 2019 run of Marvel Mondays with something special, not to mention a triple-figure review. This three-pack is an example of a box set done right. It gave us a brand new Jean Grey, a variant of a figure that is very tough to get at an affordable price, and a fan favorite with plenty of extras bundled in. And while I toss 90% of my Legends boxes because of space considerations, I was really tempted to keep this one, just because the presentation is so damn pretty. Indeed, I had such a great time playing around with these figures, I think I’m going to keep the X-Men love going a little longer. Next week, I’ll check out Beast! In the meantime, that’ll be it for me for this year. I’m going to try to make it back on New Year’s Day, but if that doesn’t happen, I’ll catch you all on Friday!

Marvel Legends: The Punisher War Machine by Hasbro

I was going to keep pressing on with the Wendigo Wave this week, and I probably still will next Marvel Monday, but for today I decided to take this detour and have a look at another one-off Exclusive. It’s Frank Castle wearing the Punisher-branded War Machine armor! I want to say this one was exclusive to Gamestop, but I grabbed it off of Amazon, so I wasn’t really paying attention. It’s a figure that I was not going to go crazy hunting down, but when it popped up in my recommendations at just a few bucks over retail, I took a bite.

The package is pretty much the same old stuff, but I particularly love the deco on this one. The art on the side panels looks great and the War Machine logo on the bottom front panel with The Punisher spray painted over it is just plain awesome. There’s not much of a blurb on the back, but the figure references The Punisher #218-220 where he adopted the War machine armor after Rhodey was killed in Civil War II. As a concept in the comics, the idea really tickled me, and as a device to sell a repaint of a figure, well it works for that too. But in all honesty, I don’t think you even need to be familiar with the circumstances to get a kick out of this one.

And yes, this is a repaint, but a repaint of one of the few Marvel Legends figures I don’t own. Yeah, I was shocked too, but apparently War Machine Mk III came in a two-pack with that garishly colored “Disco” Iron Man and I couldn’t see clear to dropping $40 on it. Hey, looks like sometimes I do exercise self control. Go me! Anyway, at least that means this figure is new to me, and it turns out that it’s pretty damn good! The Mark III armor looks a lot beefier than the previous Legends War Machine from the Hulkbuster Wave and I dig that. The bulk of the figure is cast in a dark gray with a little speckling to give it a pretty convincing metal look. Indeed, both the sculpt and coloring of the plastic conspire to make this figure look heavier and more substantial than it actually is… a lot like armor! Some basic paint apps on the body include silver brushed weathering, which looks quite effective, some silver accents, and bright blue paint hits to signify the blasters on his gauntlets. And then you’ve got the new stuff for The Punisher deco!

Yeah, this stuff looks great! It not only includes his iconic skull emblem on the chest, but also some kill counts in the form of tiny Punisher logos. He also retains the “000” on the right bicep. The head hasn’t changed as much, retaining the silver face plate and blue eyes. On the downside, repainting an MCU suit means that this guy doesn’t quite match the suit we saw in the comics, which had more of an organic design to it, particularly in the legs. But when the end result looks this good, I can live with that.

The figure comes with a fair number of accessories to mix and match. First off, he has twin machine guns, which can tab in under his forearms with hinged drop-down magazines. These can also be stored by tabbing them into his hips. Instead of popping out of the armor, I presume he just touches his forearms to his hips and they attach and equip. It’s a cool concept, but I’m not really in love with the designs of these things. They barely look like guns at all.

There are notches behind his shoulders for his other accessories, the shoulder cannon and the baton. There’s a cannon barrel that plugs in on the left shoulder to make it look like the cannon is retracted and just pointing up, while the right shoulder takes a piece that looks like the hilt of his baton where it is supposed to be stored.

By replacing the left shoulder piece with the fully articulated cannon, it can look like it’s been deployed for action. The cannon features a bright blue paint app on the edge of the barrel and it can rotate left and right.

As for the baton, you just pull out the partial baton piece and use the full one in either of his hands. Yes, there are two accessory-holding hands to replace the fists. The baton may seem silly when considering the awesome arsenal of the War Machine armor, but I like it. It’s one of Punisher’s trademarks and it’s addition helps drive home that this is indeed Frank Castle in the suit.

And just to try it out, the Castle head from my Retro Wave Punisher does fit, sort of. It doesn’t actually lock down and secure, but it looks fine balanced on that ball joint if you’re going for an unmasked look. I think it works great.

For a figure that I was content to skip, I found this one to be a really pleasant surprise. Maybe a lot of that has to do with the fact that I don’t own the original War Machine version of this sculpt, but I also think that it’s just a great idea and a fun figure, regardless. Sure, a few of the attachments could have used some refinement, but now I’m just nitpicking. Indeed, I like this figure so much, I may just circle back and pick up that original one in the two-pack.

Marvel Legends (Wendigo Wave): Cannonball and X-Force Wolverine by Hasbro

Welcome to another Marvel Monday! I’m doubling up today in a never-ending effort to get caught up on the unopened Pile of Shame© in my closet. Yeah, it still feels like digging a hole in the sand, but for the first time in a while, I feel like I don’t have quite as many Marvel Legends coming in, so maybe I am getting a little closer to being current.

And let’s just go ahead and hit the Wendigo Wave again, because most of that assortment is on top of the Pile and I don’t feel like digging through it only to have it collapse and bury one of my cats in the avalanche. Plus, Cannonball and X-Force Wolverine are a couple of figures that I think I can do proper justice to in a somewhat abbreviated format. I’m going to start with Wolverine!

I was expecting X-Force Wolverine to be mostly a repaint of the Logan we got back in the Juggernaut Wave some three years ago, and while I was partially right, there is just enough new sculpting here to make it feel a little fresh. The main changes are in the forearms and lower legs. The previous figure featured the flared comic-style boots, whereas this one sports a pair of heavier combat-style kicks with chunky treads. On the arms, he’s got heavy gauntlets and the more robust blades protruding from his fists. Unfortunately and inexplicably, Hasbro omitted the extra pair of claw-less fists and that sucks. What’s the deal, Hasbro? There was certainly plenty of room in the package for them. Finally, we get a new belt, this time with the X-logo on the buckle. With the recycled body comes identical articulation, right down to those wonderful extra crunches in the shoulders.

I was surprised to see a few sculpting tweaks to the head. It’s nothing major, but welcome all the same. My only complaint here is that the features on the lower half of his face are a little soft, like they were on the previous release. The gray and black deco looks great on the mask and the eyes are painted red giving him a distinctly sinister look.

The rest of the suit is repainted in the X-Force colors, giving us that sharp black and gray combo with the space behind the X on the buckle red. Nitpickers will have prime opportunity to complain that the pegs inside the knee hinges are left unpainted, thus showing gray in a field of black. The elbow hinges aren’t effected because his elbows are left bare. The paint lines on my figure are pretty crisp and clean, although there is a bit of gray on the black area of his chest. All in all, X-Force Wolverine is a solid variant that fills a very obvious hole in the Legends X-Men roster. It’s a well put together figure, and seeing as how long it’s been since the Juggsy Wave, I’m not complaining about seeing this one again so soon. Let’s move on to Cannonball!

Oh boy! There’s two ways for me to approach Cannonball. One is based on what we got, and one is based on what we didn’t get, and y’all no doubt know where I’m going here. What we got is pretty great. From the waist up the sculpt is excellent. He features his purple bombers jacket, brown gauntlets, and a painted white shirt.

The portrait is also pretty great. He’s got a rather fierce expression with the kind of gritted teeth one would have if one was shooting explosive force out one’s lower half. The goggles and aviator style cap look fantastic, especially with his short blonde hair spilling out the top of it. I got no complaints here!

From the waist down we get this effect part of Cannonball flexing his Mutant abilities and blasting off. It’s a decent looking piece, although I would have liked a little more paint around the transition between his body and the blast effect. As it is, it’s just a sharp and jarring line where the effect part plugs into the waist. Ahh, but maybe that’s a minor gripe, especially where I’m going next. That’s right, Cannoball has no legs, and this is outright inexcusable, and yeah, I know I already used that word in this review about Logan’s missing fists. I get it, throwing in a normal lower half for Cannonball is a lot more costly than repacking a couple of fists for Wolverine, and yet I can’t help but feel it’s the more outrageous omission of the two. Hasbro gets so many things right with Legends. They go above and beyond so many times. To not include a normal lower half for Cannonball is just so wrong. And as good as the effect part looks, the figure still looks kind of dopey just standing there on it. It feels like it should have been sculpted with a wider base that would have allowed Sam to be on an angle like he’s in flight.

So, today’s Marvel Monday was a real mixed bag. X-Force Wolverine is fine, so long as you weren’t expecting anything terribly new and exciting. It’s just a costume change, and not a terribly dramatic one at that, and that’s OK. Cannonball is superb from the waist up, the effect part is fine, and what’s here is so much better than the one we got from the old Legends line in that two-pack with Domino. But not being able to display him with his powers turned off really sucks. Maybe Hasbro will do right by us and toss in those legs in a later wave, but at this point I kind of doubt it. At best, I’m thinking we might just get an apology figure with legs in a future multi-pack. And you know what? I’ll be the idiot that lines up to buy it!

Marvel Legends: Emma Frost (Walgreens Exclusive) by Hasbro

Folks, I’m really trying to get back to a regular three-post rotation for content each week, but it hasn’t been easy. I almost had it last week, but stuff came up and I just didn’t have the time. Maybe this week will be different. In the meantime, it’s another Monday, and that means time to open another Marvel Legends. And today I am once again forgoing random chance and taking a look at a figure that was just pitched at my porch by an Amazon delivery driver. It’s the Walgreens Exclusive Emma Frost!

No, that’s no mistake. I had to go to Amazon to get this figure, which is unusual because my Walgreens has been pretty good at getting their exclusives on the shelves. I’m not sure if I missed this one, or just didn’t get lucky, but when I saw her turn up on Amazon at a sort of reasonable price, I gave up on my luck changing and jumped at the chance. Hasbro’s last crack at Frost wasn’t exactly a 10 out of 10, but I still would have been happy to have found her at a price that wouldn’t have prohibited me eating for a week.

And yes, this new release is sort of a consolation prize, because she isn’t Emma in her traditional white costume. Don’t get me wrong, I’m a big fan of Dark Reign, and I can’t deny the appeal of the black costume, but seeing as how this is currently my only Emma Frost on my Legends shelf, it’s not the iconic look I would have preferred. In terms of sculpting, this is one of those figures that relies heavily on paint to create the costume. Her black one-piece is all paint, with skin-tone recreating the split down the middle. Likewise, her sleeves are painted to be cropped short, and even her thigh-high stockings are painted with some gray lines running across them. She has high-heels, which I’m sure we’ve seen before, and there are separate pieces that hang around her wrists and ankles to create the illusion of the tops of her boots and gloves.

From the neck down the only other new stuff we get is a wide belt, a pair of shoulder armor, and her jacket-cape-thingy. I do really dig the slight billowing effect of her cape, and the sculpted stitch lines are a great touch. She also features red branded X’s on her shoulders, which I don’t really remember from the art, but I like them all the same. With that having been said, everything looks pretty good, although there’s fair amount of black paint spray around her chest. At least the silver buckle and eyelets on her belt are neatly painted.

The head sculpt here is absolutely fantastic. She’s very pretty and the paintwork is a heck of a lot more crisp and clean than some of those lines on her costume. The metallic blue lipstick is a nice touch too. The blonde hair is sculpted as a separate piece of plastic, which gives it that lovely degree of depth. It partially hides her right ear and the left side of her face.

The articulation here follows the usual Legends gal pattern. The arms have rotating hinges in the shoulders and elbows. The wrists are on rotating pins, allowing you to swap the hands between fists and the open magic-casting hands we’ve seen plenty of times before. The legs have ball jointed hips, double-hinges in the knees, swivels at the tops of her stockings, and ankles with both hinges and lateral rockers. And yes, it is a royal paint in the butt to get her to stand with those heels, but hey who needs practical when they look that good, eh? Finally, Emma has a ball joint under her chest and a hinged ball joint in her neck.

And in case you thought I forgot, Emma does come with a second head sculpt featuring her shorter cropped hair and metallic red lipstick. It’s every bit as good as the other head, possibly even a tad better, but you know what? It’s also like a big F*CK YOU to me, because now I have a perfectly iconic Emma Frost head without an iconic body to put it on.

Does it sound like I’m a little angry at this figure? Eh, I’m really not. It’s a great looking figure and certainly not a bad addition to my Legends line-up, but it isn’t the Emma Frost I wanted. Hell, I don’t even have any Dark X-Men to display her with on the shelf. Hey, Hasbro! There’s a great idea for an Amazon Exclusive. Do a Dark X-Men six-pack like you did with A-Force and Alpha-Flight to go along with this Emma. Hell, most of them would just be repaints anyway, and dopes like me will buy it. Anyway, Consolation Prize Emma set me back $28 on Amazon with that lovely free Prime shipping. So, yeah, I had to pay a premium for her, but at least I didn’t get too beaten up. Now if only Danni Moonstar would drop a couple of bucks, I’d bite the bullet and pick her up as well.

Marvel Legends (Wendigo Wave): Guardian by Hasbro

The Marvel Legends Alpha Flight six-figure set just landed on my door and I want to dig into it more than anything! But, I also know that I’m going to need to set aside some serious time to do that, so today’s not-at-all random pick for Marvel Monday is another member of Alpha Flight, who just so happened to be released in the X-Men heavy Wendigo Wave.

Yes, it’s James Hudson… Guardian… Weapon Alpha… and leader of Alpha Flight! And I promise to try to be as sensitive to my brothers from The North as possible during this review. Because why shouldn’t Canada have its own team of National Superheroes! And in any case, any character coming from the prolific pen of John Byrne has me on board 100%. As you can see, this is a pretty crowded package, and poor Guardian is being pushed off to the side by the significant bulk of the BAF torso and tail. Let’s get him out of there before he’s crushed.

Guardian proves that you don’t need the stars and stripes on your flag for it to inspire a great looking costume! Seriously, I love this suit! It’s pulled off here with beautiful pearlescent white plastic and some vibrant red paint. The lines are pretty crisp, especially around the prominent maple leaf on his chest, and other than some unpainted pins on his inner right knee, he’s just gorgeous. And sure, it’s obvious that when it comes to sculpting, Guardian is one of this wave’s budget figures, as the entire suit from the neck down is achieved by coloring alone, but I got no problem with that!

The new sculpting shows up above the neckline, and what we got is pretty damn good. The pearlescent tight-fitting cowl only reveals the lower half of Hudson’s face, and it’s advertising one of the biggest scowls I’ve ever seen on a Canadian before. Hey, I live in Florida and a lot of them vacation down here and all the ones I’ve met seem like lovely, happy people. I calls it like I sees it. Guardian, on the other hand, looks like he’s ready to put someone’s head through a wall.

I’m happy to see that articulation in The Great White North is the same as it is down here. Guardian sports rotating hinges in his shoulders and wrists, double-hinges in the elbows, and swivels in the biceps. His legs are ball jointed at the hips, have swivels in the thighs and lower legs, double-hinged knees, and both hinges and lateral rockers in the ankles. There’s a swivel in the waist, an ab-crunch hinge in the chest, and the neck is both hinged and ball jointed.

So, there isn’t a whole lot else for me to say, other than Guardian is another great example of simplicity of perfection, and what the wizards at Hasbro can do with just some new coloring and a new head. I can still remember the bitterness of getting Aurora and Northstar in the 3 3/4-inch Universe line and then nothing more after that. And that was before Legends became as prolific as it is. I never even dreamed of getting the whole Apha Flight team in Legends, and yet here I am trying to find the time to review them all. We truly live in a wonderful age!

Marvel Legends: Ant-Man Helmet by Hasbro

If you came around for Marvel Monday yesterday, I have to apologize for my inactivity. I mean, I know my content hasn’t been all that regular lately, but Mondays are usually non-negotiable. Alas, I spent the weekend getting drunk at the Medieval Faire and blowing off my hostly duties. Not that I’m apologizing. I really needed it. Anywho, here I am a day late and whipping up a fast review so I don’t fall any further behind. I’m keeping it in the Marvel Legends wheelhouse, but I’m also cheating a bit by looking at one of the roleplay prop-replica toys that Hasbro has been churning out now and then. I dipped my toe in this pool a little while ago with the Star Wars Black Series Stormtrooper helmet, and I was rather impressed. Let’s see if Hasbro can do the same for The Avengers!

The helmet comes in a fully enclosed box with artistic renderings of the toy that awaits you inside. The helmet itself comes wrapped in plastic and requires a little bit of assembly. The antenna pieces have to be snapped into place and the back cover has to be attached. Oh, and I’ll be coming back to that rear cover in a bit. The helmet requires three AA batteries (not included) to make the electronics work. These are installed by removing the mouth piece and using a screwdriver to open the battery case door. But as we’ll see in a little while, if you are fresh out of batteries, it may not be worth it to run down to the store to get some. OK, let’s get this thing out and see how it looks. Oh, by the way… I’m using a metal paper towel holder from Target as a helmet stand.

Out of the box, and I’ve got to say the helmet looks pretty damn great. The plastic has a nice, metallic silver coat that can pass for metal under the right lights. The sculpt is quite sharp, and while the design doesn’t feature a lot of hyper-detail, the toy has it where it counts, like in the mouth piece, the grommets around the eye lenses, and the panel lines. There isn’t a lot of call for paint here, as the helmet is mostly silver, but the red stripes coming up off the eyes looks bright and sharp, and the black pieces also have a solid finish that passes for metal. The eye lenses are thin plastic, and these pieces are the only area where the helmet approaches feeling cheap, but they are serviceable and look good. I just plan on being extra careful not to scratch them up while handling it.

The antenna attachment connections are strong and firm. They don’t wobble or come apart with handling, although they can be disassembled if you want to store the helmet in its original box, which is always a plus for me. The ear discs feature a bit of a rough texture and the exposed area around it has a sort of honeycomb screen texture that looks like it runs under the layers of plating, even though it’s all part of the same sculpt. The top of the helmet features some more of the same screen-like texture.

That brings us to the back plate, which is without a doubt this helmet’s biggest flaw. The piece fits onto the helmet almost seamlessly, but it relies on two sets of fragile clips to attach to two fragile bars to work as a sort of hinge to hold it in place and allow it to pull open just enough to get the helmet onto the wearer’s head. None of this works. It’s extremely difficult to get the clips to do their thing and even when they do, they tend to pull out even at the slightest jostle, causing the whole back plate to fall off. Why they couldn’t have just used a few simple magnets to make this work is beyond me, but I imagine anyone who plans on using this as a cosplay piece will have to work out some kind of alternate solution to keep the back on.

Apart from that, the helmet fits even my meaty adult melon fairly well, even with my glasses on. I wouldn’t go so far as to say it’s comfortable, but it’s not too bad either. There’s a strap that holds it on the back of the head and there’s a dial which can be used to tighten or loosen the fit to some extent. The weight of the piece rests on a similar soft plastic headband that circles the top of the inside. The interior of the helmet is also fully sculpted with vents, and panel lines, and little bits and bobs to make it look like a real piece of tech. Not bad.

And then comes the electronics, which are definitely not worth the price of admission (and I’m talking the cost of three batteries, not the helmet!). There are no sounds, just lights, and they are depicted in the two pictures above in all their disappointing glory. Press the button on the right mandible and four panels on the mask light up red, as do the tips of the antenna. Press it again and they all light up blue. I can usually barely tell that the red lights are lit unless the room is really, REALLY dark. The blue lights fare much better, but they’re still not all that exciting. Now, I can’t really fault the lack of sound effects, because I’m not even sure what those would be, other than sound clips of Paul Rudd. But here’s an idea, why not light up the eyes? You know, since they lit up on the mask in the movie? Eh, whatever!

The Ant-Man helmet originally retailed for about $99 and that’s how much it was when I saw it on the shelf in Gamestop. I then proceeded to hop on my phone and buy it off of Amazon for about $60, and it still turns up at that price now and again. There’s no denying the rear panel is a faulty design and a huge misstep for such an expensive toy, but as I will be only using mine as a display piece, I can live with it. Sure, I would have liked some more impressive electronics to justify my purchase, but all in all, I’m pretty happy with this thing. It’s a pretty solid build, and it looks damn nice on the shelf. This thing isn’t likely to impress like those expensive Star Wars helmets, but for a Hasbro toy it looks damn fine on my shelf, and most people that take notice of it are surprised to learn it’s a toy when they handle it. I’ve been considering picking up the Iron Man helmet, or maybe even Cap’s shield, and despite this piece’s flaws, it has not deterred me.

Marvel Legends (Banner Hulk Wave): Rescue by Hasbro

With another wave of Marvel Legends wrapped up last week, I’m able to start indulging in some random reviews again. This time, I reached my Infinity Gauntlet’ed paw into the Pile of Shame™ and came up with Rescue from the Banner Hulk Wave. This wave will be an odd one for me, since I’ll been giving the BAF parts to my nephew. Right now I have about half the wave and he has the other half, and he’s really eager to build the Hulk BAF. Maybe I’ll borrow Hulk Banner from him when it comes time to wrap things up, but I already have a couple MCU Hulks in my collection and my desire to be a good Uncle outweighed my need for a third.

And hey… it’s Pepper Potts in the Rescue armor! Ever since Iron Man 3 teased us by putting Pepper into one of Tony’s suits, I’ve been hoping we’d see Rescue turn up. Hell, it even makes the cringe-worthy woke girl-power scene in Endgame worthwhile. But seriously, MCU, please don’t go down that route. You have some kick-ass female heroes in your roster to be proud of. You don’t have to do stunts like that. It feels like you may be flirting with more of it in the next Phase, but it hasn’t served the comics well, and I don’t think it’s going to do the films any favors either. But putting that aside, I’m so glad we got this figure in the Legends line. The Hot Toys release of Rescue is clocking in at over $400 and, as much as I love this armor design, that’s a lot more than I’m willing to spend, so this 6-inch version is probably going to be it for me.

But what a nice version it is! The Rescue armor features all the usual segmented and panel-lined detail of the other Iron Man suits, only this time contoured for the ladies! It’s not actually that much more demure than some of Tony’s more organic-looking armors, but you certainly do get Pepper’s feminine form bleeding through and giving it some character. Other highlights of the suit include forearm pieces that extend past the wrists (giving me a lovely Knight Sabers vibe!), a flight pack on her back, which I’ll come back to in a bit, and the more modern triangular arc reactor in the chest. As the name suggests, the Rescue armor looks like it’s built more for support and speed, than for heavy combat, but as we’ve seen in the film, when the shit hits the fan it can certainly account for itself in a fight.

The coloring on this figure is absolutely gorgeous. She features a metallic blue base coat which appears to be the actual color of the plastic. It definitely rivals any of Tony’s candy-apple red suits, with its’ lovely new-car shine. The blue is accented with some gold, and a few silver, panels all of which make the figure pop splendidly. The back pack features some gold striping, which kind of gives off a hazard stripe motif to me, and you also get the name RESCUE printed down one side and 0049 down the other, presumably making this one the Mark 49 armor. The paint lines on my figure are all quite sharp, as I really need to get in close to see any spray, and I can’t say enough good things about the overall quality of the finish used.

The helmet doesn’t offer too much of a change-up from those on Tony’s traditional suits. The configuration of the face-plate, eyes and mouth slit are all on point.  Maybe the eyes here are a little more feminine, and the sides of the plate are swept up to give the appearance of high cheekbones. Finally, the elongated neck further betrays that this is indeed a lady suit. As with the rest of the figure, the paint on the helmet is quite well done, adding a little blue for the eyes.

Hasbro even stepped it up on the articulation here. Y’all know my big gripe with the gals of Marvel Legends and their more limited arm articulation. Well, instead of the usual rotating hinges all around, Rescue features double-hinges in the elbows and swivels in the biceps, just like the dudes! Interestingly, the rotating hinges in the shoulders here are ratcheted, and while the wrists have the usual pegged hinges, the piece on the forearm can interfere with their movement. The legs feature rotating hinges in the hips, swivels in the thighs, double-hinges in the knees, and both hinges and lateral rockers in the ankles. There’s no waist swivel, but you do get a ball joint under the chest, and the neck is both hinged and ball jointed.

And speaking of neck ball joints… Yes, if you were wondering, the Pepper Potts head from the Iron Man 3 three-pack does indeed work with this figure.

The flight pack on her back can be removed and exchanged with an open one and boy does it sport some wonderful detail! The inside panels of each of the flaps is painted silver and features some pane lines and the exposed portion of the back is black and shows more sculpted detail. I especially dig the piercings in the lower flaps.

I was damn excited when this figure was first revealed and now that she is in hand, I’m just as excited to have her. Hell, I’d even go so far as to say this is my favorite Iron Man armor to be released in Legends in a long while. The sculpt is great, the colors are beautiful, and the added articulation to the arms makes all the difference. Sure, I’ll probably still drool over pictures of the Hot Toys version, but this makes for a pretty damn fine consolation prize.