Marvel Legends (M’Baku Wave): Erik Killmonger by Hasbro

Just when I thought I had dipped into all the waves of Marvel Legends that were out there, this week my random draw from the Box of Shame™ pulled out a figure from the M’Baku Wave. And yup, this is my first foray into this assortment. I kind of forgot all about it. And as is often the case these days, I’m a little pressed for time today, so let’s just jump right in and check out this new(ish) version of Killmonger!

Of course, we already got a Killmonger in the original Black Panther themed wave. That version was wearing his Panther suit, while this one portrays him in his mercenary-style outfit. And considering that Erik here ranks up there as one of my favorite MCU villains, I’m all for getting another figure of the character. And hey… an actual portrait based on Michael B. Jordan’s likeness! The Panther suited version of Killmonger didn’t have an unmasked head, but we did get one in the two-pack, when he was bundled with Agent Ross. I haven’t picked that one up, and now that I have this portrait, I’m not sure I will. Ah, but I’m getting ahead of myself, let’s check out the figure!

I really liked this look for the character in the film. It was certainly more interesting than an “evil” version of the Black Panther suit. And as a general fan of military figures, this one also scratches that itch nicely. For starters, the outfit is brimming with detail! Hasbro doesn’t usually skimp on the sculpting when they’re doing the MCU figures, and this figure keeps that trend rolling along nicely. I especially dig his armored vest. It features some great panel lining and edging, as well as all the individual sculpted straps intended to keep it in place. The great detail in the vest is contrasted by the arms, which are simple blue sleeves, the baggy trousers feature an ammo strap on his left leg, just above the knee, and even the detail in the combat boots is impressive.

There’s more impressive detail to be found on the tactical belt, which is also removable. You get more pouches with magazines in them and a permanently sheathed combat knife. What I find a bit puzzling, and disappointing, is the decision to sculpt the sidearm as part of the holster. Hasbro’s 6-inch figures are no strangers to having functional holsters, so what happened here? It’s even more of a poser when you consider that he comes with the gun that I believe is supposed to be in the holster.

The coloring here is also quite well done. Indeed, it’s surprising just how colorful this figure turned out. The camo pattern on the pants looks great, and the blue sleeves and little touches like the emerald green on the shoulders makes what could have been a drab-looking figure turn out to be anything but. The straps for the vest are painted tan, and they even picked out the grenades on the belt with some green and the belt buckle with some silver. But most of all, I dig the subtle metallic wash on the front and back of the vest. Great stuff!

And because the character portrait is such a big draw for me here, I’m happy to report they did a wonderful job on the likeness. Not only is the face sculpt a solid piece of work, but I really dig how they did his hair. It adds some nice depth to the portrait. The half-tone style printing method still appears to be in use here, and I’d say this is one of the best examples of it. It even holds up pretty well when I get in real close.

And yes, the unmasked head fits nicely on the previous Killmonger release!

Killmonger also comes with the horned mask that he took from the British Museum’s West African Exhibit and this is a nicely done piece as well. It’s designed to fit over the face and it pretty much just stays on with friction. It tends to come off when I’m playing around with the figure, but it will usually stay put when I’m displaying him.

In addition to the mask, Killmonger comes with two weapons. The pistol is most likely supposed to be the Springfield 1911. It’s a decent little pistol cast in black plastic and it can be held comfortably in either of the figure’s hands. Again, why they didn’t just give him a functional holster to hold it in, rather than sculpting one in the holster as well? Who knows.

And last but not least, Erik comes with the BCM Recce 14 KMR-A with scope and grenade launcher. I don’t know if it’s all the goofy coloring and crazy sci-fi designs we’ve been getting with the comic figures lately, but I find myself really appreciating this beauty. It’s a wonderfully detailed sculpt, and like the pistol, he can hold it well in either hand.

Well, I’ve gushed a lot about this figure, but now comes the time for some gripes, and surprisingly they all seem to revolve around the articulation. All the points conform to the usual Legends model, so I won’t tick them off here. Instead, let’s talk about a few issues I had. Some of the hinge joints on this figure are really soft, particularly in the elbows, and mushy hinges are one of my pet peeves. But the wrists are even more problematic. At first, I thought the hinges were stuck, but instead they seem to have a weird ratcheting effect, where it takes a lot of force to move them and when they do move, there’s no subtlety there at all. As a result, the hands often look oddly positioned. Not to mention, the amount of force it takes for me to work those hinges puts stress on those tiny wrist pegs. I’ve never come across this phenomena in a Legends figure before and hopefully I never will again.

Killmonger has some issues, but even so, I think he still turned out pretty great. The coloring and attention to detail are both excellent, the weapons are awesome, and the mask is a mighty nice bonus. And unless it turns up super cheap, I really didn’t have any intention of buying the Killmonger two-pack, so naturally I was happy to get this unmasked head. Never in a million years did I think Hasbro was going to take a second pass at Black Panther with another wave of Legends figures, but if Killmonger here is any indication, I’m certainly glad they did.

Advertisements

Marvel Legends (Kree Sentry Wave): Captain Marvel in Bomber Jacket by Hasbro

I started this week with Carol, so I might as well end it with her too! We got two versions of Captain Marvel in this wave, one in her official MCU suit and this variant, also in her official suit, but with her bomber jacket on over it. Some may have hoped for another character in the wave instead, but I was sold on this figure the moment I saw it.

After a week of this wave, I’ve got nothing new to say about the packaging. You will, however, note that that this is the version of Carol you have to buy if you want to build the Kree Sentry. Back in the day, Hasbro would have just included the same part with both figures, but they’ve gotten wise to that. I do appreciate that they actually cooked up different character art for the back of the package to reflect this look. And the way they posed her on the tray holding Goose gets my vote for best packaged Legends figure ever. Seriously, I may need a second to keep sealed.

Obviously, this figure features a lot of parts-sharing with the other Captain Marvel. The torso and legs are all the same, and the jacket is the usual illusion comprised of a soft plastic vest with the sleeves sculpted onto the arms. And so from the neck down, the arms and hands are the only new pieces of sculpting here. At first, I thought they just recycled the flat hands from the other figure, but these feature a little more curving to the fingers and the thumbs are out, making them perfect for holding her furry friend. And yup, you can use the two sets of hands that came with the other Carol if you want to. The jacket is pretty simple, but it looks great. There are sculpted elastic rings around the sleeves and waist, sculpted lapels, and there’s a printed image on the back

The biggest addition to the figure is the new head sculpt, which features Carol with slightly windblown hair and smiling. I’m really glad to see the expression on this one, since there’s been some criticism in the trailer of Carol not emoting much and just looking darkgrim or expressionless. Personally, I’m not worried about it. Marvel has never had a big problem with balancing their movies with levity and keeping them lighthearted. Of course, the heads are interchangeable between the figures, a great bonus for owning them both. The printing on the facial features doesn’t do it any favors in close ups, but it looks great in hand and with the naked eye.

Articulation here is identical to the other Captain Marvel, so let’s skip it and head straight to her accessory. It’s another version of Goose, and this time he’s not in creepy restraints, and instead just looking adorable. He’s a static sculpt, but the pose is versatile enough so that it not only works for being held by Carol, as he is in the package, but also standing on his own with one paw outstretched and the other drawn back as if he’s playing.

I’m a little surprised, but this figure quite possibly turned out to be my favorite in what was a pretty strong assortment of figures. I just really dig the costume with the jacket over it, and it’s definitely my favorite portrait of the three. It would have been just as easy for Hasbro to go with a repaint of Captain Marvel in the Kree Uniform colors, and while I’ll still happily pick that one up if they do it, it’s nice to see that they didn’t settle for the low-hanging fruit. And that wraps it up for the individual figures, come on back later tonight and we’ll check out the Kree Sentry!

Marvel Legends (Kree Sentry Wave): Talos by Hasbro

It’s Day Three of this Captain Marvel Legends week! This nonsense will be going on until Sunday when I finish things off with the Kree Sentry Build-A-Figure and I’m still going to try to squeeze the regular Mythic Legions Wednesday later on tonight. I haven’t marathoned this many reviews into one week in a while. It’s a young man’s game, something I am not, so it’s going to be interesting to see if I can make it! Let’s dive right in with our first look at an MCU Skrull… Talos!

We’re getting into some unfamiliar territory today with Talos from the upcoming film. Obviously we knew who Captain Marvel and Nick Fury were, but for this one I’m relying solely on the back of the package. The blurb calls him “the most cunning spy in all the Skrull Empire,” and that sounds like quite a big boast. Is he going to be the lead baddie in the flick? Possibly, and to be honest, I don’t want to know until I see it. So, no spoilers!

I can’t really comment on how screen-accurate the costume on this figure is, but I will say that it’s not wowing me. Don’t get me wrong, I’m sure it’ll look fine on the big screen, but for an action figure, it’s pretty meh. For a while I couldn’t for the life of me place what this design reminded me of, but I ultimately sussed it out as resembling Nero’s outfit from the 2009 Trek film. I don’t know that it’s really that close, but that’s just the vibe I get off of it. The deco here is really muted, with mostly a lot of matte black with only some purple to add a little pop. Even the silver on the shoulder armor is more like a dull gray.

The bulk of Talos’ outfit consists of what looks like a form-fitting trench coat but without the opening down the front. It’s molded in soft plastic and does open up the right side under the arm, as it’s secured together with tabs. Still, opening it doesn’t allow it to come off, as it appears to be glued to the figure under the left arm. There are tons of lines cut throughout the costume surface, which is reminiscent of wood grain patterns. It does give it a rather distinctive alien look, and I do dig how the purple bits look like they’re layered under the rest of the garment.

While the costume isn’t all that flash, the head sculpt gets me a little more excited. This guy is pretty easily identifiable as a Skrull from the funnybooks, and I love that. He’s got the green skin and extended Vulcan-like ears with creases in his face radiating out from his mouth. He’s also sporting some purple spotting on his bald pate, which forms “sideburns” down the sides of his face. The same coloring can be found on his inner lips and around his chin. It’ll be interesting to see if all the Skrull have the same color and pattern of markings. Either way, I definitely approve of the look.

All the usual points of articulation can be found here, but the form-fitting coat renders the range of motion in the legs rather limited. Other issues include the fact that his arms can’t really go all the way down by his sides. Toss in the fact that both my figure’s bicep swivels are pulled, leaving noticeable gaps, and I’m not really impressed. And just to add another bummer to the pile, Talos comes with no accessories, unless you count the BAF part.

I don’t really hate this figure, that’s too strong a word, but I just don’t find him all that fun or exciting. I do really dig the MCU Skrull design and I think Hasbro did the best they could with it. Unfortunately, the outfit is kind of boring and with no weapons or accessories, and some limited articulation, there isn’t a hell of a lot for me to do with him. I’ll probably be more excited about this one once I’ve seen him in action in the flick, but for now, he’s just not doing a lot for me. I understand the desire to get a major character out in the wave, but I think I would have been happier with a Skrull Soldier, even if it was a comic-based version.

Marvel Legends (Kree Sentry Wave): Nick Fury by Hasbro

It’s the second day of me powerhousing my way through the new Captain Marvel Legends wave. And as much as I had to lead in yesterday with Carol, there was no way I could go another day without opening up young Nick Fury. But don’t get too comfy, because today’s review is going to be easy-peasy, quick and breezy!

While the packaging looks the same as always, the windows are now just a clear cover on the tray. I’m not sure why they went this way, maybe it’s cheaper to make, but either way it doesn’t really effect me because I toss out these packages. Of course, this is Nick Fury circa 1995 and I’ll note here how curious I am about how much Fury will be in the film, since Disney is working their de-aging mojo on him. Although, they seem to be pretty comfortable with the technology, so hopefully it’ll be a lot.

And I’m getting off easy today, because there isn’t a whole lot to say about this figure as it features a standard guy-in-a-suit buck. I am, however, surprised to see that Hasbro didn’t just take the buck used for Agent Coulson and slap a Sam Jackson head on it. No doubt, there’s some re-use here, but this Agent Fury figure stands a good bit taller than the Coulson we got way back in that Agents of SHIELD 3-pack. Beyond that there are some notable differences, like the buttons on Fury’s coat being sculpted sharper, his collar is completely different, and his necktie is tied a bit looser. It’s not a lot to notice from a casual glance, but it’s still nice to know that Hasbro put some work into this figure. As usual, the jacket effect is achieved with a sleeveless vest cast in soft plastic and the jacket sleeves sculpted as part of the arms.

The head sculpt features a pretty good likeness to younger Sam Jackson, which depicts Nick Fury before he lost an eye. The painted details on the face seem to be actual paint and not the printed method they’ve been using lately. Either way it looks OK. My only real nitpick here is that the jointing of the neck to the head looks a bit odd when viewed from certain angles.

Fury comes with his trusty pistol and there’s not a lot for me to say about it. It’s cast in black plastic and his trigger finger doesn’t work so well with the trigger guard. Otherwise he holds it just fine in his right hand.

Articulation is standard stuff and actually identical to the suited-buck used for Coulson. The legs are ball jointed at the hips, have swivels at the thighs, double hinges in the knees, and both hinges and lateral rockers in the ankles. The arms have rotating hinges in the shoulders and wrists, double hinges in the elbows, and swivels in the biceps. There’s a swivel in the waist, a ball joint under the chest, and the neck is both hinged and ball jointed.

Fury also comes with one of two versions of Carol Danvers’ “cat,” Goose that are included in this wave, and I’ll defer from clarifying those quotes around the word cat to avoid any specific spoilers. Although as you can probably guess by the accessory, this isn’t your ordinary domesticated feline, because the little guy is locked up in restraints. The scruff of his neck is sculpted specifically so that Fury can hold him by it with his left hand. It kind of makes out like Fury and Goose aren’t going to get along, but seeing him playing with Goose in the trailer sets my heart at ease.

And that’s all I got for today. Don’t mistake my brevity as a slight on the figure, because I was really looking forward to getting him and I’m still happy to be getting young Fury from the film for my MCU Legends shelf. I greatly appreciate the changes to the suited-body, especially for when I’m displaying him and Coulson together. Indeed, I dig this figure so much, it makes me realize how badly we need a new regular version of MCU Fury. He would have been an excellent candidate for a do-over in The First Ten Years releases. Anyway… come on back tomorrow and we’ll dig into another figure from this wave!

Marvel Legends (Kree Sentry Wave): Captain Marvel by Hasbro

Captain Marvel Week Begins!!! Yes, I’ve decided to unleash a couple of Marvel Weeks in the next couple of months to work through my backlog of Legends figures, the first of which is starting today. I’m also pushing the new Captain Marvel wave to the head of the line, because it’s fun to be current and timely with my reviews every now and again, instead of being sad and way behind. I’m also going to give it my best to throw in the usual Mythic Legions Wednesday, but we’ll see how that goes. Let’s start with the soon-to-be newest star of the MCU… Carol Danvers!

I don’t usually have a lot to say about the packaging, but we actually have a few things worth mentioning here. First of all, the window is no longer part of the box, now it’s a top on the tray. Cool! Also, the back panel features some exceptionally beautiful and colorful character art from the upcoming film. I can’t say I’m the biggest fan of Brie Larson, but I’ve learned to stop questioning any MCU casting a long time ago, and I honestly think she’s going to be great in the role. If anything, the trailers have assuaged any of my apprehension about the future of the MCU after many characters from the old guard has been retired. Anyway… the figure comes packaged with her masked head, but I’ll start with the unmasked one.

Straight away, the first two things I love about this figure is the MCU suit design and the way Hasbro translated it to plastic 6-inches of plastic. The suit is colorful and features just enough sculpted line work to keep it from looking flat. While the MCU has been pretty good about drawing inspiration from comic looks, I’m still a little surprised that they played this one so close to the line. The snappy metallic red and blue deco makes the figure pop all on its own, but when you toss in the hints of gold trim, it elevates the the coloring even higher. Indeed, some of the gold work, like the edging on her lower legs, is extremely subtle, but it makes me appreciate it all the more on closer inspection. And the raised gold starburst on her chest looks fantastic!

The unmasked head utilizes all of Hasbro’s newly learned techniques to deliver a solid likeness of Larson. The skin tone is soft and matte to avoid a waxy look and the printing for the lips is sharp and subdued, but as always when you get in close, the printing starts to blur even though it looks fine in hand and with the naked eye. The expression is pretty flat and I’ve seen some criticisms of the trailer, saying that Larson doesn’t emote much, but here we get a hint of a smirk that I think works well for the character. Personally, I think people are getting a little too hung up on a few minutes of footage, but time will tell. Danvers’ hair is sculpted separately from the head, which adds some nice depth to the portrait overall and it’s given a dark sandy wash.

The masked head is also fantastic, and here’s where I really have to emphasize how surprised I am that the MCU version is playing it so close to the comic look. The mask covers everything but part of her lower face and includes pupil-less eyes and the mohawk of her hair jutting out the top. We get some more of that wonderful electric blue trim on the sides and while the paint could have been a tad sharper around the mask, it’s not really bad either. Finally, we get a little bit of a smirk on this portrait.

Articulation holds no surprises, but let’s break it down anyway. The arms have rotating hinges in the shoulders, elbows, and wrists, with no swivels in the biceps. The legs have ball jointed hips, swivels in the thighs, double hinges in the knees, and hinges and lateral rockers in the ankles. The torso has a ball joint under the chest and the neck has both a hinge and ball joint. And yes, I’ll keep beating the dead horse of how I wish Hasbro would give the ladies double hinges in the elbows instead of rotating hinges. Captain Marvel also comes with two sets of hands: Fists and open hands, to alternate between fighting and flying. You may have also noticed from the packaged shot that she does not come with a BAF part. I’m guessing Hasbro figured everyone was going to want her anyway.

I’ve been waiting for this figure ever since we knew Carol was coming to the MCU and I have to say all that anticipation was paid off in spades. The outfit design is great and the colors are spectacular. And like any great movie-based action figure that’s released before the actual movie, this one is making me all the more excited to see the film. It’s also got me excited to open up some more of this wave, so I’ll be back tomorrow with another review!

Marvel Legends (Thanos Wave): Proxima Midnight by Hasbro

My New Year’s resolution is that I’m determined to start getting caught up on my Marvel Legends reviews and get through some more of these older waves. And since I only have two more figures to open in the Thanos Wave, let’s go ahead and knock out that one today with a Triple Play. And so this morning I am throwing randomness to the wind and opening up the only other member of Thanos’ Black Order currently available: Proxima Midnight! While she’s not the stand out thug in Thanos’ stable, (that honor goes to Ebony Maw!) at least Proxima got some lines in the flick. She also had a couple of really bitchin’ fight scenes, so we’ll rank her in at number two.

I don’t have anything to say about the packaging, other then she comes with Thanos’ torso and there was a lot of speculation about her when this figure was revealed before the movie hit. Unlike Proxima’s cohort, Cull Obsidian, her figure is based closer to the way she appeared in the movie, but she’s still not 100% screen accurate. And for the record, I think her MCU look is a pretty damn cool adaptation of her comic look. Although to be fair, she’s a pretty new character, and I sometimes wonder whether Marvel is designing the new characters with potential MCU conversions in mind. Probably not, but it’s fun to think about it.

Wearing what is basically a black and white bodysuit, Hasbro could have easily cheaped out on Proxima with a simple painted buck. Instead, they went with an elaborate pattern of etched lines running all over her body. It almost looks like a topographical map! When coupled with the black and pearlescent white deco it looks quite striking. She also has some platinum colored armor pieces sculpted onto her lower right leg, her forearms, and a pauldron on her left shoulder.

The head sculpt is where the design of the figure and the on screen look differ a bit. The dark blue sculpted hair looks on point, as does the horn-like things that come up from her eyes. It’s the paint on the lower half of her face that doesn’t really jibe with the movie makeup. Her skin tone should be lighter, she shouldn’t have painted cheeks, and she should have a single stroke of paint running from her bottom lip down the middle of her chin. It’s not a bad looking portrait by any means, but I think this is another case of Hasbro working off of designs that weren’t quite finalized at the time. Indeed, there are actually promotional pictures of the character that looks just like this.

Proxima’s articulation actually breaks Hasbro’s tradition of cheating the gals by giving her double hinges in the elbows, instead of rotating hinges, as well as bicep swivels. The shoulders and wrists are the usual rotating hinges. The legs are ball jointed at the hips, have swivels in the thighs, double hinges in the knees, and both hinges and lateral rockers in the ankles. The torso has a ball joint under the chest and the neck is hinged and ball jointed. The shoulder armor even has a little give to it so as not to inhibit the left arm too badly.

Ms. Midnight comes with one accessory and that’s her very distinctive looking three-pronged spear. It’s cast in a platinum-gold color similar to her armor pieces, and it’s actually a pretty good match for the one she carried in the film. Only her right hand is sculpted to hold it, and I would have liked a swap-out left hand with the same ability. The spear is a bit bendy, particularly at the tips, but I dig it.

So, Proxima Midnight isn’t a perfect match for her big screen counterpart, but I still want to give this figure a pass. The sculpted lines added to the body really makes her stand out, and the head sculpt makes her look even more sinister than she did in the film. The divergence in design may bother me a bit more when I finally get Ebony Maw and Corvus Glaive on the shelf, but for now, I think she turned out pretty great and I can get some kicks posing her fighting Black Widow and Okoye. And that’s the first part of today’s Marvel Legends trifecta! Stop back this afternoon for a look at King Cobra and later on tonight for a half-assed quick look at the Thanos Build-A-Figure!

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! 

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 (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 (Cull Obsidian Wave): Thor by Hasbro

It’s Monday again and that means it’s time for another random Marvel Legends review here at FFZ. This week my sticky fingers caught hold of another figure from the Cull Obsidian Wave, and it’s Thor from Infinity War! I’ve already checked out Ant-Man, Wasp, and Black Widow from this wave, so I’m finally more than halfway done. But with opening only one of these a week, it feels like Avengers 4 will be out before I even finish with the Infinity War figures.

And here’s the beautiful Pirate-Angel himself in the package, and between the figure, accessory, and BAF part, this tray is pretty damn full. This is actually the second version of Thor that Hasbro has released from Infinity War. The other is part of a three-pack with Rocket and Groot, and don’t worry I’ll get around to opening that one eventually.

Thor’s look has changed a bit throughout the films, and for me, I don’t think anything has surpassed his look in the original Avengers. That suit is so colorful and regal and it’s the one version of the character I display on my Hot Toys shelf. But I get the reason for costume changes. It not only sells new toys, but from a tonal standpoint, bright and colorful Thor would not have looked right in a film like Infinity War.

With all that having been said, this suit is fine, it’s just a little drab and boring to me. The chest armor is black, the trousers are black, the boots are black, the wrist bracers are black. The only real color being expressed here is the metallic silver used for his armored sleeves and the bit of red trim around the shoulders of the cape and the discs where they attach. And of course the cape itself. What’s a little frustrating here is that even though there’s so little paint on the figure, they still managed to get sloppy with the red around the trim of the discs where the cape attaches. There is, however, a nice little metallic sheen around the armor and the boots have a bit of a dark coppery wash to them.

The head sculpt here is excellent in terms of detail and realism, and I think it hits the mark pretty close on likeness. Here, Thor looks a tad older and more haggard, but it’s close enough for me. Indeed, I think it’s impressive how much Hasbro’s Hemsworth sculpt has improved in the short time since the Ragnarok figures were on the pegs. The painted skin tone is so much better than the waxy bare plastic we’ve seen in the past, the hair sculpt is extremely well done, and you even get a little bit of scar showing over the right eye. And yes, this is Thor after Rocket gave him a replacement eye.

Articulation holds few surprises, but let’s run down the points anyway. 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 swivel in the waist, but you do get a ball joint under the chest. The arms have rotating hinges in the shoulders and wrists, swivels in the biceps, and double hinges in the elbows. The neck is both hinged and ball jointed.

Thor comes with his brand new weapon, Stormbreaker and it is a beautiful accessory. The blade is cast in a satin-metallic silver and I really dig the way the handle (Groot’s severed arm) weaves itself around the head. I think this is one of the best looking accessories I’ve seen out of Legends in a long while.

Stormbreaker also comes with a lightning effect part, cast in soft blue translucent plastic and molded so that it can be snaked around the weapon. Some of you may know that I’m seldom impressed with the effect parts that Hasbro occasionally bundles with these figures, so it’s probably no surprise that this one will be going into the dreaded and bottomless Tote of Forgotten Accessories™. Hey, it’s fine and I’m never going to argue about getting something extra with a figure, but I just don’t have a lot of use for these things.

I like this figure a lot, but I’m mainly coming away really wishing that Hasbro would take another crack at The Avengers Thor. They’ve upped their game so much since the days of that Walmart Exclusive wave, I’d like to see my favorite version of The Mightiest Avenger get a re-do. Then again, I’m not sure I want to open the can of worms where I’m re-buying all these characters again. I mean, I’m already so hopefully behind on buying and opening this line of figures, that maybe we should just leave things well enough alone. Suffice it to say this is a solid enough figure and he’ll look great alongside the rest of the Infinity War crew when I finally get them all together and set up.