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

Here we go! It’s the very last Marvel Monday review of 2018 and I am still ridiculously far behind on my Marvel Legends, but I’m so very glad to be ending the year with a figure from Infinity War. As far as movies go, that one was one of the highest points of the year for me. So much so, that I’m going to be ending the year watching it on Blu-Ray tonight for the the umpteenth time. So let’s get right down to business so I can watch my movie and you all can go about your New Years Eve business!

For all intent and purposes, Cull Obsidian is the Black Dwarf of the MCU’s Black Order and only the second of Thanos’ minions (so far!) to get a figure in the Legends line. He’s comprised of seven parts, if you include his weapon, spread out over all six figures in this wave, with the weapon being doubled up with one of the arms. Before slapping him together, it’s worth mentioning that this figure deviates a bit from his look in the film. The body and head sculpt both look pretty much on point, but he wore a lot more armor in the film. Is this one of those cases of Hasbro being given early concept art to work with? Probably. Does it hurt the figure? Not necessarily.

Sure, if you’re looking for a perfect representation of Cull Obsidian on the big screen, you’re going to be disappointed, but with that having been said, I think this guy turned out fantastic. This fellow is a good head and shoulders taller than his boss Thanos, and that makes him pretty imposing when compared to the regular-sized figures. He’s a big reptilian brute covered in scaly skin, with ridges on his shoulders, powerful hands, and three-toed feet. He kind of looks like something you’d find Duke Nukem fighting, and that ain’t a bad thing. As mentioned, the armor is quite different than what he wore in the film. Here he has grieves on his lower legs, a metallic armored belt with sculpted plastic cloth hanging down in tatters, a segmented piece of armor on his right forearm, and a massive piece of armor on his right shoulder, which is actually a separate piece and can be removed if you want to.

From the back, you can see armored plates running up his spine and a single armor plate stuck to his lower left leg. The coloring is mostly brown with some black wash to bring out the details, and some yellow-brown added to his chest. I would have loved to see a little wash on the armor, as it looks rather flat when compared to the rest of the body. The body features solid articulation for such a big guy, indeed it’s basically the same as what we get in the regular releases. The arms have rotating hinges in the shoulders and wrists, the elbows are double-hinged, and there are swivels in the biceps. The legs have ball joints in the hips, swivels in the thighs, double-hinged knees, and both hinges and lateral rockers in the ankles. There’s a ball joint under the chest and the neck is ball jointed. As expected, this guy is as solid as they come, and he’s loads of fun to play with.

The head sculpt is a thing of beauty, and by that I mean it’s ugly as sin. Like the body, the portrait looks pretty close to the character seen in the film. I love the tiny piercing gold eyes, and the things on his chin and lower jaw that look like tusks. There’s some wonderful detail in the lines of his face, the ridges on his head, and all the other little scales and bumps.

If this figure disappoints at all, it’s definitely because of his weapon. In the movie he carried a cool axe that could shoot the head out on a chain. It looked like it was made out of space junk, but really cool looking space junk. Here we get this hammer thing that looks like a lame Minecraft weapon. It kind of has an MCU Kree technology flavor to it, but I just don’t dig it. He can only hold it in his left hand and while I’m sure he could do some major damage with it, I’d much rather we got something closer to the weapon in the movie.

Lame weapon notwithstanding, I absolutely love this figure. It really doesn’t bother me that he strays from the actual on-screen look, especially since the difference is mainly in his costume. He’s big and nasty-looking and he’s definitely going to spend some time fighting The Hulk on my shelf. Pretty soon I’ll be opening up Proxima Midnight and I’m really looking forward to the release of Ebony Maw and Corvus Glaive. I think they’re going to make for one hell of a display!

And that’s a wrap for 2018. I’m not doing any kind of End of Year list this year, mainly because I’ve got a busy couple of weeks with work and also because I don’t want to fall any farther behind in my backlog. At some point in the next month or so, I’ll probably be doing a Marvel Legends week, just to try to get me a little boost, although at this point I would need to do a whole Marvel Legends month just to try to get sort of caught up. Anyway… thanks to everyone who stuck with me for another year and I hope you all have a safe and happy New Year! 

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Marvel Legends (Cull Obsidian Wave): Malekith by Hasbro

It’s the last Marvel Monday of 2018 and I vowed to get through one more wave of Marvel Legends before we flip the calendar to 2019, so I’m going to be doubling up today. This morning I’m opening my final boxed figure in the Cull Obsidian Wave, Malekith, and I’ll be back later to build Cull Obsidian, himself… Let’s go!

Malekith is the third figure from the 2017 SDCC (Now Not-So) Exclusive Ragnarok (the others being Jane Foster Thor and Thor Odinson) to get a subsequent retail wide release. Sure these were all repainted, making those versions still technically exclusive, but that leaves just Ulik and Bor as the only figures in that set not to get a brick-and-mortar treatment. You could argue that those two are the best in the set, but I still haven’t opened mine yet, so off-hand I couldn’t tell ya. It also means I won’t be doing any side-by-side pictures of this Malekith and the SDCC version, but I will be doing some verbal comparisons.

The retail release is so very nearly a straight repaint of the SDCC version, but there is one change and that’s the left hand. The exclusive version had an open hand, this one has a closed accessory holding-hand. Why the change? Maybe it was just so they could point to something other than the paint to distinguish the two figures. I dig it, because now he’s ambidextrous! Although the grip on mine is actually closed, so you’ll need to make do a quick slice with a razor if you want him to hold the sword in the other hand. Malekith makes use of a lot of paintwork to characterize his costume, but there’s some new sculpting attached here as well. The shoulders and collar are cast in one piece of soft plastic, although it looks like three separate pieces from the front. Happily, the flexibility in the shoulder armor means that it won’t inhibit the arm articulation. He also has two belts, One with the skirt attached to it, which feels like it might be glued into place. The other hangs loose on his hips and features some sculpted pouches on his left side. Finally, the forearms are sculpted with his wrist bracers.

As for the deco, well that’s going to be an issue of personal preference. This retail release is definitely brighter and cheerier, but I’m going to go with the Exclusive version as having the more appealing deco. The darker red and the black in place of maroon just makes for a more sinister and striking figure to me. That’s not to say this one is bad, they’re both fine. I dig the gold paint on the bracers and necklace, although I would have liked some additional paint hits to the belts.

The head sculpt is quite spectacular. I love his broad, evil grin, and the black and blue paint on the face looks great, even though they splashed some blue onto his teeth. The hair is sculpted as a separate piece to give the portrait some depth. Early pictures made me think that the hair was going to be more of an orange-yellow tone, but in person it’s very pale and I’m happy with that. Although, I think I still prefer the whiter hair on the exclusive over what we got here.

The articulation here is pretty standard stuff. The arms have rotating hinges in the shoulders and wrists, double hinges in the elbows, and swivels in the biceps. The legs have ball joints in the hips, double hinges in the knees, swivels in the thighs and lower legs, and both hinges and lateral rockers in the ankles. The torso features a waist swivel, an ab crunch hinge, and the neck is both hinged and ball jointed.

Malekith comes with his sword, which is an absolutely bitchin’ design. The hilt is fairly simple with a ribbed grip, no cross-guard, and a gold finish, but the blade is so distinctive! It narrows at the hilt, then swells out, and ends in an upswept clipped point. It also features a nasty looking serrated back. It’s one vicious looking piece of cutlery!

I’m thrilled to finally have the comic version of Malekith represented on my Legends shelf. Hell, he’ll even be represented twice if I ever get around to opening the SDCC set! He may have been a bewilderingly odd choice to include in this wave, but generally speaking, I don’t care how the assortments play out, as long as we get the figures. It’s just a shame that the character was handled so poorly in the MCU, but then the villains have rarely been the MCU’s strong point. Anyway… give me a little time to recoup and I’ll be back later on tonight to check out Cull Obsidian!

Marvel Legends (Cull Obsidian Wave): Black Knight by Hasbro

After a few diversions, I’m back to spending Marvel Monday digging into my pile of unopened Marvel Legends. Although, today’s figure isn’t random, I actually picked it because I want to complete one more wave before the end of the year, and with two figures left to open in the Cull Obsidian Wave, that’s the one I’m going with. I also thought it would be fun to go with Black Knight, because I’ve been devoting one slot a day to opening Mythic Legions. So what do we call today’s figure? Marvel Legions? Mythic Legends? Whatever, the point is it’s Marvel’s Black Knight!

Here he is in the box, and with only Malekith left to open, Black Knight is the penultimate figure in this wave for me. He’s also one of those characters that I only recall encountering a few times in my 35 years or so of Marvel comic reading. I know he’s been around in one form or another since forever and it’s been about that long since I remember seeing him in my funnybooks. If anyone knows a good run for us to get introduced, please feel free to lay it on me.

And for a character I simply don’t know all that well, I have to say that I dig the look of this figure a lot. Hasbro took the torso, arms and legs right off of Green Goblin and Hobgoblin, which makes perfect sense because of the excellent chain-mail sculpt on the limbs. I was surprised to see that they didn’t recycle the gauntlets or buccaneer boots. I mean, I wasn’t expecting them to use the curled toe boots, but it seems like they could have cheaped out and recycled a lot more if they wanted to. Whatever the case, it all works well for the medieval knight motif. It kind of gives him that vintage Prince Valiant flavor that hints at just how far back the character goes. The tabard is achieved with a painted torso and a separate sculpted belt piece that hangs down below the waist and is pretty convincing as all being part one garment. The belt is 100% comic, though, with a monstrously large belt buckle and enough sculpted pouches to make Deadpool jelly.

The coloring here is fairly dark, but nicely done. I really dig the silver and gun-metal blue they used for the chain-mail. The gauntlets and boots are both matte black and there’s some red striping around the edges of the gauntlets, as well as the arm holes in the tabard. He also features a red flying eagle emblem on his chest. The belt is brown with some dull bronze paint for the buckle, but unfortunately there’s no paint on the pouch snaps.

The cape attaches via a peg in the back and hangs off the shoulders, so it doesn’t impede articulation much, but you can easily take it off for the more action-packed poses.

You get three different heads to choose from, each designed to offer a different one of his looks. The stock head features a helmet that covers the nose and leaves the lower half of the face exposed. It’s got some nice gold paint and the way it’s sculpted makes it almost look like it could be removed, even though it can’t. I dig the wings on the sides as well. This is easily the character’s look that is most familiar to me.

The next head features a classic Great Helm with a similar black and gold coloring. This one isn’t as convincing as a real helmet, since the eye holes are shallow and just painted over in black. I do like the eagle crest on the top, though. It’s cast in a soft plastic and looks great.

Finally, you get a noggin that looks like it’s probably meant to be for villain version of Black Knight. I’m not as big a fan of this one. The head sculpt is actually quite good, but the helmet itself reminds me of a Nova Corps helmet (as well as Captain Britain’s!) a bit too much. Still, not bad at all.

Black Knight comes with his trusty sword, The Ebony Blade. It would have been damn cool to get his photonic blade sword as well. I suppose I could always steal the one off of Taskmaster. Anyway, the sword is a nice sculpt with an elongated two-hand grip, and there’s a slot on the belt for him to wear it. The hand sculpts they went with for him aren’t perfectly suited to holding the sword. The left hand works best, and while he can hold it in the right hand, the grip is somewhat loose. He can also wield the sword with both hands.

The articulation here has all the right points, and rather than go through them all, I’ll just refer you back to either the Green Goblin or Hobgoblin reviews. The problem here is that he’s got some seriously gummy hinges in those elbows, which can be a bit of a drag when playing around with him.

Ultimately, I dig this figure a lot. He looks great standing on the shelf and there’s just something about his design that takes me back to films like the 1953 classic Knights of the Round Table. The extra heads go above and beyond for fans of the character who want to go with one particular look, and if this guy ever starts showing up for as cheap as some Legends figures have, I could easily see myself picking up a couple more. And that’s almost a wrap for this wave. Next Monday I’ll be back to check out Malekith as well as the Cull Obsidian Build-A-Figure.

And I can’t depart without wishing everyone a happy and safe Christmas Eve today and a Merry Christmas tomorrow. I also need to face up to the fact that I’m probably not going to be able to do a big review on Christmas, like I’ve been doing the last few years. Usually I can get a jump on that well before Christmas Eve, but this year my work schedule, family obligations, and other stuff going on in my life just hasn’t afforded me the time. I’ll still check in tomorrow, and maybe throw something together for Christmas Day, but I can’t promise anything. Perhaps, I’ll try for something special on New Year’s Day instead. 

Marvel Legends: Luke Cage and Claire Temple by Hasbro

It’s another Marvel Monday, and I was all ready to get back into randomly pulling figures from my unopened Legends Pile of Shame, but then this set arrived at my door and I decided to move it along to the head of the line. It seemed only fitting, what with the rash of Marvel-Netflix cancellations. Luke Cage and Iron Fist were the earliest on the chopping block, but with their flagship series, Daredevil getting the axe, it seems like a no-brainer that The Punisher and Jessica Jones will meet the same fate after their latest seasons are released. And with that depressing intro, let’s have a look at Luke Cage and Claire Temple!

The figures come in your typical Marvel Legends 2-pack window box with the Luke Cage logo on the front and the figures names on each side. This set is a Walmart Exclusive and there’s a sticker on the front window proclaiming the fact. And because the Walmart in my neighborhood rarely ever stocks their own exclusives, I had to go online for this one. Luckily, they were having a pretty good Rollback on it as well as free shipping. Anywho, the packaging is totally collector friendly, but if I kept all my Legends boxes, I’d have to rent out a storage unit just to have a place to put them, so this package is getting shredded and tossed in the trash. Let’s start with Luke Cage !

Can I get a Sweet Christmas? We’ve had two comic versions of Luke Cage in the modern Legends line. One was released as part of the SDCC Exclusive Thunderbolts set back in 2013 and the other was part of an Amazon Exclusive Defenders set, which I think came out last year. Netflix Luke Cage also got a release as part of the Defenders SDCC Exclusive Rail Authority box set. I opted out of dropping the $125 on that one just to get Colleen Wing and Iron Fist and a bunch of variants of the rest. This retail version features a beefy body, that’s toned down from the enormous comic versions, but still makes him look like a powerhouse. Luke is donning his familiar yellow T-shirt, grayish-blue jeans, and boots. And… um… there’s not much else to say about this figure from the neck down. The shirt is nice and bright, his hands are appropriately clenched into fists, and they even sculpted a watch on his right hand, but sadly there’s no detail work on the face so it looks a bit awkward. I’m tempted to say they should have sculpted him in his hoodie, but then I think the plain yellow top is the best way to convey his iconic comic look.

I dig the head sculpt a lot. It’s possibly not the best of the Marvel Netflix likenesses, but it’s no slouch either. The printing for the eyes is clean and the paintwork on his beard is very sharp.

And the articulation here should hold no surprises. The arms have rotating hinges in the shoulders and wrists, with swivels in the biceps, and double hinges in the elbows. The legs are ball jointed at the hips, have swivels at the thighs, double hinges in the knees, and both hinges and lateral rockers at the ankles. The torso has a waist swivel and an ab crunch hinge, and the neck is both hinged and ball jointed. Luke doesn’t come with any accessories, so let’s move on over and check out Claire!

Like Luke, Claire is a very simple figure from the neck down, making use of minimal sculpting and not a lot of color either. She’s got some light wrinkles sculpted in to signify her shirt, as well as a sculpted collar, but that’s pretty much it. Her top and shoes are black, her pants are gray, and they painted a little skin showing around her ankles. Claire never really had what I would consider an established look in the various series, and while this particular one isn’t all that exciting, I guess it lends itself pretty well to recreating her action scenes. Articulation is similar to Luke, but with rotating hinges in the elbows instead of the double hinges, no bicep swivels, and no waist swivel. Instead of the ab crunch hinge, Claire is rocking a ball joint under her chest.

The head sculpt here is fair. I think this is one of those portraits that breaks down quite a bit as you get closer. Part of that has to do with the new printing technique looking blurry up close, but I think the sculpt itself looks lumpy under closer scrutiny. It’s certainly not terrible, but it’s a far cry from what we got for Jessica Jones, Frank Castle, or even Luke Cage.

While Luke got shorted out of any accessories, Claire got a few. First up is her purse, which is another outing for the Green Goblin/Hobgoblin/Mary-Jane satchel. It’s not an essential inclusion, but I’m not going to complain about it. Personally, I’d rather regard it as a medical bag than a purse.

Next up, we’ve got a pair of blue hands, which are supposed to be her latex gloves… because… you know… she’s a nurse! Honestly, I find these to pretty baffling. Why would Hasbro put the effort and money into including these? Was anyone going to miss them? Is anyone going to display her with them? It would have never even occurred to me if I didn’t see them in the package.

Finally, and easily her best accessories are her Shuko, or ninja claws! These are another pair of swap out hands with the claws sculpted onto them and they’re pretty damn cool.

Both Luke and Claire are solid figures, but I don’t feel like this set is entirely essential. Don’t get me wrong, Luke was damn essential to me, but I think he should have been part of the Man-Thing Wave with the rest of the Netflix Defenders. The Claire figure is fine, but I didn’t really need her on my shelf, especially since Hasbro has passed up far more important characters like Karen and Foggy from Daredevil. But hey, if this is the way I have to get Netflix Luke Cage in my collection, I’m perfectly fine with that. Toss in the fact that I got this set for under $30 on Walmart’s site and it’s hard to complain.

Marvel Studios “First Ten Years:” Iron Man Mk L, Thanos, and Doctor Strange by Hasbro

For the second Marvel Monday in a row, I’m going to forgo random chance and bump something to the head of the line. Last week it was the Walgreens Exclusive Magick and this week it’s the First Ten Years Infinity War 3-pack. I’ve passed this up in the local toy aisles more than a few times, but a sale on Amazon finally got me to take the plunge…

In case you’re just joining us, Hasbro has been celebrating the First Ten Years of the Marvel Cinematic Universe by releasing some MCU-based Legends figures that they didn’t get to the first time around. These have run the gamut from single figures to two-packs and three-packs. Today’s set is arguably the least essential of them all, since the Thanos Wave not only let us build an MCU Thanos, but it also gave us the Mark L Iron Man armor. Plus, Doctor Strange’s look hasn’t changed much since the MCU version was released in the Dormammu Wave. Nonetheless, there are some tweaks and bobs here to offer something new. So, let’s dive in and see if this set can really justify its existence, and we’ll start with Iron Man!

The Mark L armor was really cool in the film because of the things it could do, but the overall design didn’t really impress me. It’s not a bad looking suit, but there’s nothing all that distinctive about it to me either. This model is a bit more rounded and organic looking, which reminds me of the Mark II/III, but it does feature an interesting shape to the Arc Reactor, some cool panel lines, and some interesting placement of the gold trim. The red finish is also nice and glossy and replicates that new car finish that I like to see in my Iron Man armors.

You also get some light blue paint apps to simulate energy glow and the effects of these are hit-and-miss. I think they look OK on most of the figure until you get in close and then they can look rather sloppy. That’s especially the case around the eyes. The back of the figure features a rather unsightly screw to the battery compartment and an on/off switch to take the electronics out of test mode. Yes, if the Try Me window on the box didn’t give it away, this baby has a light up feature!

The light up feature only includes the Arc Reactor, but it is damn bright. I didn’t even have to dim my studio lights that much to make it show up in the pictures. It’s activated by a button just below the chest and I dig how it slowly activates, rather than just flicking on and off. I didn’t light it up for all the pictures, but it should be obvious in the pictures where it is ignited. When I bought this set online, I actually did not realize the light up feature was even there, so it was a cool surprise.

Of course, where there’s cool lights, there’s also a trade-off with articulation. This Mark L has absolutely no articulation in the torso, which is certainly limiting. All the usual points are present in the limbs. That includes rotating hinges in the shoulders, double hinges in the elbows and knees, hinges in the ankles, and swivels in the biceps and thighs. The neck is also ball jointed. The wrist articulation depends on which set of hands you have in place. One set is open hands and they are have no hinges, but will swivel on the pegs. I’m actually OK with that, because previous MCU Armors haven’t been able to get the open hands in full-on Stop! position because of sculpting in the sleeves. I’m happy this one can. And the swap-out fists do have hinges.

You also get a pair of repulsor blast effect parts. These peg into the holes in the open hand palms or the bottoms of the feet and they are indeed the same pieces that came with Invincible Iron Man from the Okoye Wave! Overall, I like this figure a lot and the novelty of the light up Reactor outweighs the hit in torso articulation. Plus, it’s nice to know that if I want that articulation, I could always pick up the Mark L that was part of the Thanos Wave, which has been turning up pretty cheap here and there. Let’s check out Doctor Strange next!

I’m not going to spend a huge amount of time with Doctor Strange, because he’s about 90% of the same sculpt as the one from the Dormammu Wave. In fact, from the neck down the only new sculpting involves his lower left arm, which now has permanently attached magic effect parts, and the Cloak of Levitation, which is an all new piece. This was a solid figure back then and it still is, but unfortunately the new paint on the costume isn’t all that great. The tunic is a lot brighter, and I don’t think it looks as good as the previous release. Also, Hasbro cheaped out on painting the belts. Previously they were painted brown with some gold paint apps on the fixtures, now they’re just left black with just some silver paint on the ring. The gold paint used for the Eye of Agamatto is also brighter and better looking on the older figure.

The permanent effect parts are probably going to irk collectors who are looking to pick this one up as their only MCU Strange, but since it’s my second Legends Strange I’m OK with them. The magic discs are cast in translucent green plastic and they look pretty cool, but I think the way to go here would have been to give him a swap-out arm so they aren’t always there. The new Cloak, on the other hand, is a big improvement over the one from the previous figure. This one pegs into the back of the figure, features a sharper sculpt, brighter colors, and it’s all around less cumberbatchsome. See what I did there?

If you haven’t noticed, the biggest plus of the new figure is the head sculpt, which features what I think is a much better likeness. At the time, I remember being quite impressed with the previous release’s head sculpt, but seeing the two together is like night and day. The new portrait uses Hasbro’s new half-tone style printing method, which looks great. I think they really nailed his eyes and eyebrows perfectly and he’s got a conceited little smirk, which fits the character so well. And in case you’re wondering…

You can indeed swap out heads and put this new one on the older figure, making what I think is very nearly the ultimate Legends MCU Strange. The only downside here is that the new Cloak can’t easily be put onto the older figure, as it doesn’t have a peg hole on the back. That’s a shame, because besides the head sculpt, the Cloak is the only thing I like more on the new figure. The sculpt is sharper, I like the brighter color, the clasps reflect the Infinity War change, and because it pegs into the back, it kind of looks like it’s levitating over his shoulders, which is cool. But with that having been said, I still think the new head on the previous release is the way to go.

Strange’s accessories include a swap out left hand that’s designed to hold the big yellow magic wheel that came with the last Strange figure. These are fine, but we’ve seen them before and I’ve got nothing else to say about them. As it is, this figure adds some nice new display possibilities, but it’s a real mixed bag, with some steps forward and some steps back. I do think that if they were going to make the magic effect parts permanent, they should have rigged them to light up, but now we’re probably adding more cost onto what i already a pretty pricey set. Let’s move on to the final figure in the box, Thanos!

Thanos is probably the most puzzling figure in this box, since it hits at a time when the Thanos Wave is still populating the pegs, and a lot of collectors are cobbling together the Thanos Build-A-Figure. This Thanos, however, was a big draw for me since I still haven’t found the Infinity War Captain America at a good price, and so I’d still be missing the head for my Thanos BAF. That means that I’ll have two bodies and two heads to display on them. Pretty cool. It also means, that I’ll probably just pick up Cap loose on Ebay without the BAF part and save a few bucks. And since I don’t have the Thanos BAF built yet, I can’t really compare the two figures. Still, from what I’ve seen the sculpt looks identical, at least from the neck down, and the only difference should be in paint variances. It’s a great looking figure, even though I wasn’t a huge fan of Thanos’ costume in the film. It’s not bad, it’s just a lot more pedestrian looking than his full-on armor. I get, why they needed to go for something more practical, though, and my lack of enthusiasm for the Infinity War costume wound up saving me money on a Hot Toys figure. Still, I’m happy to have him in Legends scale.

The two heads are pretty good. You get one sort of neutral expression and one with him grimacing (no pun intended) in rage. The former features a rather serene expression and I think he possibly even looks a bit stoned. The second one is my favorite of the pair, and it’s probably the one I’ll be displaying on the figure, at least until I build the other Thanos body.

They did a beautiful job sculpting the Infinity Gauntlet and the quality of gold paint is excellent, as it is on the rest of the figure. The obvious missed opportunity here would have been to include a swap-out fist for the Gauntlet, but I think that would have probably cost more than the extra head-sculpt.

There’s definitely an argument to be had for this being the least essential of all Marvel Studios First Ten Years releases. If you’ve been collecting all the  waves of Marvel Legends, you’re already set with all of these characters. And with an original retail of $70, it can be a hard pill to swallow for just wanting to be a completist. That’s especially the case when you factor in how prolific Legends has been and how collecting the non-stop releases can take a toll on your wallet. That’s not to say there isn’t some cool stuff in here. I’m surprised at how much I dig the light up feature on the Mark L Armor, and the new Cumberbatch likeness on Doctor Strange was also a welcome addition. It also helps that I picked up this set off a Cyber Monday deal, which dropped it down to about $38, making it only about $13 a figure. Not bad, but it would have been an easy pass for me at full price.

Marvel Legends: Magik by Hasbro

No random review for this week’s Marvel Monday, as I picked up the Walgreen’s Exclusive Magik last week and was so excited that I bumped her to the head of the line. And to truly appreciate how excited I am, you have to realize that I’ve been jonesing after this figure since 2015 when she was released as part of the SDCC Exclusive Book of Vishanti boxed set. I missed the window to buy that set and wasn’t willing to pay what secondary sellers were asking for it. I had basically written her off, but thanks to this unlikely partnership between toy-maker and corner drugstore, I’ve finally got my mitts on this magical minx.

Magik is actually the third figure in that set to get a regular retail release, as we eventually got Brother Voodoo, and Dormammu turned up as a Build-A-Figure. That just left me missing the comic version of Hela and the Astral version of Doctor Strange, and I guess I can live with that. The package features the X-Men logo on the front and a Walgreens Exclusive sticker on the front. And one look at the tray shows that this box is crammed with goodies, so let’s get started!

And here’s Illyana freed from her cardboard and plastic Limbo, and what a great looking figure she is! The costume is comprised of a mix of paintwork and sculpted detail, with the paint making up the sleeves and glove on her right hand, the upper part of her thigh-high stockings, and her shorts. The top is sculpted with some raised lines and a Power Girl-style boob window, the goth boots each feature a brace of straps and buckles, and her left arm and shoulder features her Eldritch armor that appears via the Soulsword. The ensemble is tied together by a wide black belt with silver painted buckle and eyelets. I’ve got to say, both the sculpted detail and paint on this figure is especially sharp. It’s worth noting that there are a few differences between this release and the one packed in the SDCC set. Most notably, the boots were simply painted on the SDCC version, whereas this Magik is borrowing Nico Minoru’s footwear.

The portrait is every bit as impressive as the rest of the figure. Again, the detail is sharp and the paint on the eyes and lips is immaculate. I especially dig the black added to her lipstick. He hair sculpt features a rather pronounced set of bangs with strands of hair falling forward over her shoulders, a third falling back over her left shoulder, and the rest cascading down her back.

And if a great figure wasn’t enough, this tray also comes packed with extras, including two swords and a passel of magic effect parts. The obvious accessory here is The Soulsword and it is indeed a cool piece of magical cutlery. The extended grip allows for two-handed use, and the extremely broad blade is made of translucent yellow plastic with black lines running through it from the hilt.

She also comes with this blue energy sword, which I can’t place from the comics, but that doesn’t make it any less welcome. It’s got an extended silver grip with not much of a guard, giving it a distinct lightsaber-y vibe. The translucent blue blade is thin and straight, and you also get a blue energy effect part to snake around it.

And if you dig that effect part, you’re in luck, because Magik comes with no less than three more! These are all similar blue lightning magic-energy pieces, and if you collect Star Wars figures, you’ll likely find these similar to the Force Lightning pieces that Hasbro sometimes likes to include with the Dark Jedi characters. You get two small ones, which are perfect for her hands, and a longer sleeve, which can go over either arm. I’m not usually a big fan of these pieces, but I’ll confess I’m having some fun with these.

I’m at a total loss for explanation over the red repack of Kitty Pryde’s Lockheed. I thought it might be some reference to the link between Shadowcat and Magik in Limbo or just something I never came across in the comics. Or maybe it just looked magical and Hasbro wanted to get some more use out of that rather particular sculpt. Either way, this little dragon is cast in a translucent red gummy-like plastic and actually features some paint applications, including some gold to bring out his scales and some black for his horns. He’s neat! I dig him!

Finally, Magik also comes with a flaming skull, and it doesn’t take an astute student of Marvel Legends to recognize this as one of Ghost Rider’s noggins. Why the skull? Eh. It’s creepy and magic-y and who’s going to complain about getting a burning red skull as an accessory? And yes, the jaw is also articulated and there’s still a ball socket up in there if you want to use it as a head on one of your other figures.

If you’re like me and you missed out on the SDCC version, than this release of Magik is a real treat. Not to mention that as far as I’m concerned, I think this one is actually the better figure. It was really weighing on me that I missed out on this figure back then, but this is one of those cases where everything worked out for the better. She’s an amazing little figure, with a great inventory of accessories, and a welcome addition to my X-Men Legends!

Marvel Legends (SP//dr Wave): Elektra by Hasbro

Blah. It’s my first Monday back at work after a long vacation and that’s bumming me out. Luckily, I can cheer myself up by opening one of the two dozen or so Marvel Legends figures that are piled in a box in my Toy Closet. And this week I’m not playing favorites, just reaching into the box with my eyes closed and pulling out… Elektra! And while I’m stoked to be getting a new comic version of Elektra for my Marvel shelf, I was hoping to draw another figure from the Cull Obsidian Wave, because I’m getting close to completing it. Ah well, maybe next week!

Fun fact! I was once on a flight where they were showing the 2005 Elektra movie and after twenty minutes I chose to take off my earphones and stare at the seat in front of me rather than watch it. Maybe Hasbro will release the Jennifer Garner version of her in 2025 for the 20th Anniversary! In the meantime, here’s a very badly needed update of the comic version by Hasbro (I never did find me that 2008 two-pack) and no, she doesn’t come with as many goodies as the old Toybiz version.

The figure, on the other hand, is a nice improvement, and that’s not meant as a knock on Toybiz, because I think their Elektra is one of the few that still hold up fairly well today, even if it isn’t all that favorably looked back on by most. Indeed, the reason I’m bringing that figure up so much is that it was one of a handful that I was truly sorry to see go when I sold off my collection. But not anymore. This Elektra looks great and manages to do a lot with very little new sculpting. Indeed, the costume here is achieved almost entirely by paint, using only the belt and sash for sculpted detail. Honestly, it works, but I would have loved to at least see some sculpted wraps on her wrists and legs. At least the paint is pretty clean and the red is vibrant!

And it’s nice to see that all that extra sculpt went into what is a fantastic portrait. The paint on the eyes and lips is nice and clean, and I love the way they sculpted her hair and the scarf tied over the top of her head. There’s a little bit of mold flashing on the jawline and I wish Hasbro would get that shit under control, but I can probably clean it up a bit with a razor.

Elektra comes with two accessories: Her set of sai weapons. Like I said earlier, it’s a lot less than we got with that old Toybiz version, but at least the essentials are here. Maybe I’ll dig out one of my Articulated Icons figures and lend her some of those weapons. These appear to be repacks of the ones that came with Netflix Elektra, but with a more metallic finish and painted red wraps on the grips, which also crisscross the guards. All in all, I think these look a hell of a lot nicer than their last appearance. Also like the Netflix Elektra, this version’s right hand is sculpted to hold the Sai outward, with two of her fingers wrapped around the guard. It would have been cool if Hasbro included a second left hand like this, but I guess it wasn’t in the budget.

Articulation here is solid, and there’s nothing bad or unexpected here, but Elektra is one of those figures that shows some of the limitations of Hasbro’s female Legends. My big issue continues to be the elbows’ rotating hinges. It’s long past time Hasbro give the ladies those double-hinges. The ball joints in the hips are also a bit limiting for a character as agile and acrobatic as Elektra. Finally, the belt and sash can get in the way sometimes, and it tends to ride up above her hips on certain poses. Finally, her ankle hinges appear feel like they’re ratcheted, which is weird. I thought they had no room to go back and point her toes, but it just required a bit of extra force. Still, all in all, she’s loads of fun.

It surprised me that it took so long after Elektra’s Netflex debut to get us a comic version, but hey better late than never. I think she turned out great, although a little more fresh sculpting would have been welcome. Especially since, as we’ll eventually see, this wave has quite a few of what I would call budget figures. With a repaint of Daredevil, and two more Spider-Man variants, it feels like Hasbro could have plunked down a little more money on the sculpt or a few more accessories. But hey, I bought her, and I’m quite happy with her, so I guess they know what they’re doing.

Marvel Legends (Deluxe Riders): Black Widow and Motorcycle by Hasbro

[ Edit: Shortly after I posted today’s Marvel Monday Review, I heard the news that Stan Lee had passed away. I debated whether or not to post a separate tribute, but the more I tried to outline a piece that measured his impact on my life, the more I found that impact was immeasurable. I grew up reading almost every comic book I could get my hands on, but Fantastic Four and Spider-Man were among my favorites, and those are two books that have stayed with me the longest. But it’s simply impossible for me to recount the ways in which Stan Lee’s creations and imagination helped to influence my life from a child to a middle aged man, and almost every moment in between. I will, however, thank him for the fact that I never really did grow up. I’m 46 and I still read comic books and collect action figures, and have framed posters of Super Heroes on my walls. I’d like to think a big piece of that was because of him. 

I don’t want to look at Stan Lee’s death as a tragedy. We should all be so lucky to live to 95. We should all be so lucky to leave this world with so many adoring fans. We should all be so lucky to leave this world with such an enormous positive impact. But I will say that I will miss him terribly. Obviously, I didn’t know him personally. I never even met him. But his creations represented hope, goodness, justice, morality, and I can say that from what I’ve seen of Stan himself, he struck me as a never ending well of positive energy. It does give me great comfort to know that he lived to see his creations break out of the comic book shops and become so massively mainstream. His influences escaped the comic panels and burst out on 50-foot movie screens across the world. He lived to know that the fruit of his imagination was both boundless and timeless.

I did not know you, Stan Lee, but I loved you. Excelsior! ]

This week’s Marvel Monday is not a random grab, because if this huge box were in with the others, I’d wind up grabbing it every time. Nope, this one has been sitting beside my Legends Unopened Box of Shame and I just decided that this was the week to check it out. So let’s have a look at Black Widow and her motorcycle!

Remember when Toybiz did that line of Marvel Legends Riders? Well, I guess this is kind of like that. Only in that case a lot of the vehicles were pretty shitty. Hasbro seems to be doing it right this time by offering these figures in bigger boxes (and bigger price points!) to get us some really cool, full-sized vehicles. And given the 6-inch Scale of Legends it should come as no surprise that they’ve all been motorcycles so far, but I’m not complaining. The packaging looks great, it’s collector friendly, and it really shows off the goods splendidly. So let’s open this set up and start out with the figure.

I was expecting a straight repack of Natasha in this set, but we actually get an all new figure. And with all the Black Widows in my Legends collection, I’m happy to say that she still manages to bring a new look to the table. Indeed, this version strikes me as a nice balance between a classic version and a cutting-edge modern MCU version. Her bracers are silver and made to look like angled metal. These remind me of the ones she had in her earliest appearances. On the other hand the high collar and low zipper give her a bit more of a modern flare. The rest of the costume is just a black body suit and the painted belt consists of silver discs and the red Black Widow emblem. The costume is clean and simple, but looks great.

You get two different head sculpts, one with short hair and one with long hair, and I really dig them both. The paint applications for the eyes, eyebrows, and lips is all quite sharp, and there’s a little wash to bring out the detail in her red hair. The only thing here I don’t like is the big ugly seam that’s running down the center of her neck. Seriously, Hasbro? You couldn’t have hid that a little better?

You get standard Legends female articulation. That includes rotating hinges in the shoulders, elbows, and wrists. The legs have ball joints in the hips, swivels in the thighs, double hinges in the knees, and both hinges and lateral rockers in the ankles. There is no waist swivel, but you do get a ball joint just under the chest, and the neck has both a hinge and ball joint. I’ve had the legs pop out at the hips a couple of times while posing her, but they pop right back in. It’s a shame she doesn’t have any guns, but the extra head is the figure’s only “accessory,” unless you count the motorcycle!

Like the figure, the motorcycle goes above and beyond what I was expecting. It’s a sporty bike with a red, gun-metal gray, and lighter gray deco, and you even get a Black Widow emblem on the right side near the front. Other nice touches include stickers for the instrument gauges, a tinted yellow headlamp cover, and I do believe the tires are made of rubber! Sculpted details include the engine and the chain drive, as well as a textured seat. The steering wheel turns the front wheel, you get a flip down kickstand, and holy hell, the suspension on the front wheel actually works!

Even with all that good stuff, I think what delights me the most about this set is how well Natasha can fit on the bike. There’s no compromising here. I can get her to hold the handlebars, keep her tushie on the seat, and have both feet on the foot pegs and she looks she looks totally natural on it. The only thing worth noting here is that Natasha works better on the bike with the shorter hair, as it allows her to look up more. Also, that long hair should be flowing in the breeze when she’s riding, so it doesn’t quite work on the bike anyway.

Even with pumping out an obscene number of figures, Hasbro is still looking for new ways to grow the Legends brand, and I think that’s fantastic! Especially in this day and age when vehicles are getting scarce in the toy aisles. What’s even better is this set seems to be around $30 at most retailers, I picked it up for a few bucks less, but either way it feels like quite a deal. The figure is excellent, and when you consider that Legends figures sell for around $20 these days, that leaves only about $10 for the bike. Not bad at all! It’s also got me pretty pumped to pick up the Wolverine and Ghost Rider sets then next time I see them!

Marvel Legends (Thanos Wave): Iron Spider by Hasbro

It’s just another Marvel Monday, but I wish it was Sunday cuz that’s my fun day. Actually Mondays are pretty fun because I get to open another random Legends figure off my pile. Today my grubby mitts went into the “To Open” box and drew back Spider-Man from Infinity War! Ok, this one probably wasn’t so random because it’s the last figure I dropped into the box and I didn’t give it a good stir before picking today.

I can’t even begin to tell you how frustrating it was for me to get this figure. I never saw him on the pegs and, for the longest time, this Webhead was going for upward of $40 on Amazon. I finally grabbed him off another retailer who got some singles in and wouldn’t you know it, the next week he started selling on Amazon for the regular MSRP. That’s pretty par for the course when it comes to my luck with these Infinity War figures. Hell, I’m still hunting down Captain America and he’s usually the over-produced peg warmer of the wave.

So, here’s Spidey out of the box and right away, I have some issues. The figure features some extensive texturing, which feels all wrong. From memory, the Iron Spider suit in Infinity War was pretty slick and smooth. I checked a few stills and even the pictures of the upcoming Hot Toys version (which are usually a pretty good source for accuracy) and I think I’m justified as saying the texturing isn’t supposed to be there. It looks more like one of the older suits. Now with that having been said, I think the coloring is pretty good. I like the shade of red they used and the gold trim is neatly painted, especially around the spider logo. On the downside, this is one of those instances where Hasbro doesn’t paint the pegs, which is really obvious on the insides of the sleeves and the lower pegs on the knees where they interrupt the gold striping. Overall, not a bad looking figure, but not one that really conveys the suit from the movie to me.

The head sculpt just looks cheap to me. Once again, the texturing feels wrong, and while the web pattern shouldn’t be blackened, it should be more pronounced than it is here. The crazy amount of mold flashing hanging off my figure’s seam-lines also don’t help to instill a feeling of care and quality. The previous MCU Spidey gave us two heads to depict the eyes wide and narrowed. Here we just get the one noggin.

Fortunately, the articulation here is everything I expect from a Legends Spidey. I wasn’t sure they were going to put the shoulder crunches in this one, but they did and that makes me happy. The legs have ball joints in the hips, swivels in the thighs, double hinges in the knees, and both hinges and lateral rockers in the ankles. The arms have rotating hinges in shoulders and wrists, double hinges in the elbows, and swivels in the biceps. There’s a swivel in the waist, an ab crunch, and the neck is both hinged and ball jointed. As a result, Iron Spider is pretty fun to play around with!

So here comes the real sucky part. Iron Spider comes with absolutely no extras. No swappable fists, no second head, and the biggest crime? He does not come with his additional mechanical legs. Hasbro has set a bit of a precedent for extras with our Spidey Legends so when they don’t include them, it hurts the value. But not including his mechanical legs is something I just can’t overlook. It’s the coolest thing about this suit and they featured prominently in the film. Hell, I’m pretty sure even the shitty Titan figure got those legs.

After hunting so long for him, Iron Spider turned out to be quite a letdown. He’s a nice looking figure, but the texturing on the suit feels wrong and the lack of extras really hurts. For what was the biggest and coolest costume reveals for me in Infinity War, this figure deserved to be so much better. It’s still bewildering to me that Hasbro could have released this one without the mechanical legs. Even if they were just a static piece that plugged into the back, that would have been better than nothing. It’s not like Hasbro to drop the ball in this line, especially not with the MCU versions of the characters, but here’s one that needs an instant do-over.

Marvel Legends: AIM Scientist and AIM Trooper by Hasbro

Once again, I’m setting aside random chance and bumping some new Marvel Legends figures to the head of the line. Why? Because I just couldn’t wait to open this set, and it’s nice to be current and topical every now and then before going back to opening figures from four waves ago that no one is interested in anymore. Not to mention, I’ve been carrying a little grudge against the AIM Trooper ever since he was first released and absolutely impossible for me to find and now I can finally set all that ill-will to rest.

Behold… the AIM two-pack! If you remember the Hydra two-pack from not that long ago, then the idea and format behind this set should be familiar. Like the Hydra set, this one re-packs a popular troop builder and sort of kitbashes another one, while tossing in a whole bunch of recycled stuff to buff out your forces. The packaging features a large window that shows all the goodies laid out over an illustrated backdrop, and boy does it show off a lot of stuff! Is it a shameless cash-grab, or an opportunity to build up your AIM forces? Well, why can’t it be both? Let’s start with the AIM scientist.

Keep in mind, the AIM Scientist isn’t a straight repack of the 2014 figure. The sculpt appears to be the same, but there are some paint differences. And since I don’t have the previous release for comparisons, this figure is basically all new to me and I am absolutely in love with this figure. I don’t know if it’s because of how much I dig the crazy concept of AIM, their goofy beekeeper costumes, or that I’ve built up so much anticipation over this figure in my mind. Maybe it’s a combination of all three. Whatever the case, the AIM Scientist features a yellow jumpsuit with a sculpted button down front flap on the chest, a stylish black and yellow belt, high black collar, tall black boots with buckles and pointed toes, and black gauntlets that reach up to his elbows. It’s a sharp looking suit, and I’m not ashamed to say I dig the yellow and black deco. After all, why do all evil organizations need to dress in dark and sinister colors?

In addition to the stock costume, the Scientist features a brown shoulder strap with some sculpted pouches on the front and back and some silver canister grenades. The stock head features the iconic flat-topped bee-keeper’s hood with a textured screen pattern over the visor. There are other head options, but I’ll come back to that a little later. Also, the articulation here is standard stuff, and since I have so much to cover today, I’ll just be lazy and refer you back to any of my other 200+ Marvel Legends reviews where you’ll get a good idea about what to expect. Suffice it to say, the poseability is great. Now, let’s check out some weapons!

I’m pretty sure we’ve seen this rifle before, and I think I remember throwing some shade at it in the past, but I think it fits in pretty well with the AIM crowd. It looks futuristic and like something AIM would have cooked up. I also absolutely love it in the yellow and black deco. It brings out the details in the sculpt beautifully and the blue paint applications show that little bit of extra care that Hasbro doesn’t always show toward the Legends weapons. It’s also branded “AIM” on the side. I love that!

Next up, you get this crazy pistol and I’m not as big a fan of this one. I guess I can give it a pass because, again it’s unconventional design works well for an AIM weapon. Here the blue paint on the end of the barrel makes it look a little toyish, similar to the orange plugs they put into toy guns these days. Not bad, but not my favorite.

And that brings me to my least favorite weapon in the box, and that’s this little shotgun with the drum magazine. Once again, I do appreciate that Hasbro actually branded it, “AIM,” on the drum, but mine came right out of the package all warped and with a droopy barrel. I also don’t think the yellow works as well on this weapon. Maybe if they had added some black, but as it is, this little gun is getting tossed into The Tote of Forgotten Accessories™. Before moving on to the next figure, let’s take a look at just two more accessories…

The set includes this backpack and brown shoulder straps. The straps are a separate piece and fit onto the figure pretty easily, while the backpack simply pegs into the back through a hole in the shoulder rig. You can, of course, use the backpack without the shoulder rig, but I think it compliments it very well. Also, while the rig will work with the shoulder strap, I found it’s better to take the shoulder strap off. In case you don’t recognize it, this backpack is recycled from the fairly recent Deathlok figure, and I have to say the deco does a decent job of obscuring that fact. It’s cast in yellow plastic, and in keeping with the AIM equipment theme, it has some blue paint apps, as well as silver paint on the central piece. Pretty cool! Now lets move on to the AIM Trooper…

Or AIM Shock Trooper, as he’s referred to on the back of the package. From the neck down, this fellow is a straight repaint of Paladin from the Sasquatch Wave and, while some may scoff, I wholeheartedly approve. Paladin’s tactical suit works brilliantly here in it’s new black and yellow deco, complete with the molded holster on his left thigh and the integral sheath on his right leg armor. Nope, Hasbro didn’t tweak a thing here when it comes to the sculpt, but there’s some great stuff here and I still really dig the texturing on the armor plates. The color scheme favors black a lot more than the traditional AIM Scientist uniform but I think it’s faithful enough to still conform to AIM dress codes. Some extra paint hits include the sculpted straps and buckles that hold on the chest and back armor, as well as some silver paint on the holster’s thigh straps. And hey, at least they didn’t repack the figure with the Paladin head, right?

Oooh. Oh no. That’s a bold move, Hasbro! The Paladin head is indeed included with a AIM-ified black and yellow paint job and some light blue for the goggles. It works OK, but I think it works better as an unmasked head for the Scientist.

Yeah, that looks good and it’s not quite as “on the nose” as using it with the Paladin body. Until I get at least one more of these sets, I won’t be displaying this head at all, but I’m not going to totally dismiss the idea of using it once I have some more AIM Troopers. Besides, the AIM Trooper comes packaged with a much better choice, if you ask me.

The stock head is from the 2016 release of Scourge/Demolition Man and I think it looks pretty damn cool with the AIM deco and it looks especially appropriate for the Paladin body. This is very likely the head I’ll go with for this figure, but you do get one more option.

And that’s the second Beekeeper head. To be honest, I didn’t think this head was going to work at all on this figure, but I’m not hating it. Not at all! OK, so enough with the head talk, let’s check out this guy’s weapons…

I’ve already mentioned that he has Paladin’s holster and sheath, so obviously he comes with Paladin’s pistol and combat knife. No complaints here, as these are both great little weapons. The knife’s hilt is painted yellow while the pistol’s receiver is painted yellow. It’s all part of pushing that AIM brand!

The AIM Trooper also comes with a rifle and this is one we’ve seen before and which I’ve never liked, but I’m not really hating it here. Once again, it’s the odd design that works pretty well as some kind of strange AIM invention. And like the AIM Soldier’s rifle, this one is also branded with AIM on the side. With a few of these rifles consigned to the Tote of Forgotten Accessories™, it’s nice to have one version that I actually like. And obviously, while I refer to some weapons belonging to the Trooper and some to the Scientist, that’s just based on their proximity on the tray. Sure, Paladin’s knife and pistol are meant to go with the Trooper, but the rest are free to be mixed and matched as you like.

And before wrapping up, the AIM Trooper also comes with his own shoulder rig to work with the backpack. I’ve got to say, I think it looks much better on this guy and it was probably intended for him from the start. Still, it’s nice to have the option to put it on either figure.

I remember an odd amount of collector backlash over the Hydra set and I’m not sure if the same will be the case here. Personally, I couldn’t be happier with this release. Not only did it finally get the AIM Scientist into my collection, and not only does it give me an opportunity to get a few more, but Hasbro created a pretty cool original design for the AIM Trooper. I try not to do a lot of troop building these days, because I’m so tight on space, but I’m definitely going to be on the hunt for more of these. Besides, the $43 I paid for this set ain’t too far off what the original AIM Scientist was going for when I was hunting him.