Marvel Legends (Deluxe Riders): Cosmic Ghost Rider by Hasbro

On the last Marvel Monday I checked out Squirrel Girl as part of the Marvel Legends Deluxe Riders series, and I commented on how I couldn’t believe Hasbro was taking the risk of bundling a character like Doreen Green in a $40 set. Surely they need to reserve these higher priced releases for more mainstream and important characters. But when faced with these questions Hasbro simply says, “Hold my beer” and bundles Cosmic Ghost Rider in the same assortment.

Now granted, there’s a world of difference between releasing Squirrel Girl on a scooter and Ghost Rider from Earth-666. That difference being that even if I had no idea who or what this figure represented, I’d still have picked it up because it looks all sorts of bad ass. Of course, it doesn’t hurt that this is Frank Castle back from Hell itself and infused with powers from both Mephisto and Galactus, and granted a bitchin’ space bike so he can go hunt down The Mad Titan, Thanos, and slay him to avenge the fallen Earth. Does anything get more bad ass than that? No. So why didn’t they put that on the package? Anyway, the set comes in a big window box that shows off the figure and the partially assembled bike. There’s not too much to slapping it together, but let’s start with the figure.

Holy shit, if I didn’t know better I’d swear this character design crawled out of a comic panel from the early 90’s. Frank’s new duds include a partially armored and twisted version of his skull-centric costume that we know from Earth-616. The skull itself is now sculpted into chest armor, emblazoned with two crimson red eyes and teeth like blades reaching down to his armored belt. His legs are also encased in armor, his shoulders sport a set of most deliciously ridiculous spiked red pauldrons, his wrists are encircled with space-age rings, and under it all is a black ribbed suit that’s speckled with red and blue Kirby-Crackle. You’ll no doubt note that Frank is sporting a rather awkward looking gap up in that crotch, and that’s no doubt to make him work on the bike. Hey, I’m cool with that. I doubt I’m ever going to pose him off the bike anyway. From behind, Frank is sporting the back half of a leather jacket, which makes no real sense to me. It just doesn’t jibe with the front at all. But it’s this kind of impossible ensemble that works when dealing with the reality-bending Cosmic Marvel.

Frank’s noggin has been transformed into the familiar flaming skull of the Spirit of Vengeance, but this time the translucent red skull sits engulfed in yellow flames inside a clear dome. It looks amazing and I was happy to see that you can pop off the dome to rotate his head from side to side.

The Cosmic Rider comes with a few fun accessories, the first of which is his flaming chain whip. This piece is made out of bendy transparent yellow plastic with orange flame licking off the edges near the tip. Both ends are sculpted as handles giving some options for display.

Next up, he comes with a pair of futuristic pistols and each one is a unique sculpt.  These big, chunky weapons are cast all in black plastic and aren’t overburdened with a lot of sculpted detail. They have rather distinctive designs and he looks damn fine wielding them akimbo.

And they each come with firing effect parts, which plug into the ends of the barrels and look great! And that’s all the little accessories out of the way, let’s check out that bike!

Wow, this thing is big, and I absolutely love the design! In place of the front wheel is a massive blue globe of energy, with white plastic tendrils of energy visible inside. I’ve simply got to find a little battery powered light for inside it! The chopper-style handlebars protrude from it and connect it to the bike’s sleek black body. The body includes a bulbous blue headlamp, some raised blue bands on the sides and behind the seat, floorboards for The Rider to rest his boots, and branching exhaust pipes sweeping off each side of the back. The back also features an exhaust port with a translucent red flame effect part erupting out of it. The entire bike rests easily on a transparent plastic base and it’s mounted on a ball joint, so you can position it at various angles for display. No doubt about it, Hasbro did a beautiful job recreating this bike!

Apart from looking absolutely fantastic, there aren’t a whole lot of features on this Cosmic Ride. Although the sides do feature holsters for the two guns. I thought that was a cool bonus.

And while I had issues getting Doreen to ride her scooter properly, Frank Castle mounts this Cosmic Hog with absolute perfection. His grippy hands work perfectly for grasping the handlebars, that big gab between his legs lets him rest easy in the seat, and his boots stay put on the floorboards without even needing pegs to secure them. He looks so good and natural seated on his ride that I can’t imagine ever displaying him any other way.

I was a little slow to warm up to the Deluxe Riders line. Hell, I still haven’t picked up the regular Ghost Rider and bike, but I’m damn glad I didn’t hesitate on this one. Everything about this set is just so fresh and original. The backstory is batshit crazy, the design of the bike is genius, and even Cosmic Ghost Rider’s crazy 90’s throwback design works so well when seated on it. What’s more with how big the bike is, this set actually feels like a damn bargain at forty bucks. Hasbro will never cease to amaze me with what they are willing to risk and put out when it comes to Marvel Legends. I truly believe that anything is possible, no character is too minor, no side story too crazy, and no toy is out of the question. And all I can say is keep magic like this coming, and I’ll keep buying.

“Sadists, psychos and killers.

Don’t matter what planet they’re from.

All deserve to be punished!”

Marvel Legends: The Punisher War Machine by Hasbro

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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