Marvel Legends (Retro Fantastic Four): Psycho-Man and The High Evolutionary by Hasbro

While this is the first time these are appearing here on FFZ, I have been collecting the Retro Carded Fantastic Four figures since they first started hitting the toy aisles. But, since I originally set out to collect these mint-on-card, I haven’t actually reviewed any. Well, now that these are turning up on the cheap at some online retailers, I have been buying doubles to open. I don’t know that I’ll get a complete second set, but for now I thought I’d open up two of the baddies of the assortment: Psycho-Man and The High Evolutionary!

Oh, I do love me this packaging! You get the beautiful Fantastic Four logo at the top with the team depicted just below the 4. The large bubble showcases the figure and also has some personalized character art at the bottom of the bubble. The card is made of decently hefty stock, so as not to easily bend or tear, making them perfect for mint-on-card collectors. I got this set from Amazon and even with their firm belief in using zero packing materials whenever possible, they arrived in great shape. The cards also featire both a J-hook and a balanced bottom surface, so these beauties are at home either hanging on the wall or standing on a shelf. Let’s start with Psycho-Man!

Encased in his suit of armor, the microscopic Psycho-Man features a deliciously distinctive character design that manages to be retro and yet still pretty fresh. The white suit consists of heavy rumpled leggings and stocky boots, which look like they’re straight off an Apollo Astronaut. These are encased in a framework of metallic green rods and rings. His torso is clad in a white sculpted tunic, with a partial green-paneled belt, a green gorget, and green gloves that run all the way up to his armpits! The simple deco looks amazing thanks to the beautiful metallic green paint contrasting with the bright white. It’s all so delightfully Kirby, no wonder I freaking love it! Alas, there’s a little bit of rubbing on the green paint at the bottom back of my figure’s tunic, but better there than in the front, I guess.

When it comes to Psycho-Man’s portrait, it’s hard not to be reminded of one of Kirby’s major DC creations, and I am of course referring to Darkseid. I think it’s the way the face is nestled in that hood, and the harsh contours of the face. The gold brings the only reprieve from all that green and white, with almost circuit-like lines protruding down his forehead. The two pupil-less white eyes gaze straight through my soul, and he looks decidedly displeased. It’s wonderful!

Despite the chonks of his armored suit, Psycho-Man sports the usual Legends articulation. Granted, you don’t have quite the same range of motion in the elbows and knees as you might with the leaner figures, but it’s still not bad. The tunic does impede the hip articulation ever so slightly, but the framework on his legs do not, which is pretty impressive. It’s worth noting that some of the joints are built on hinged pegs, which I found a bit odd. Maybe he was originally designed to be a Build-A-Figure.

You get one accessory with Psycho-Man, and that’s his Control Box. It’s a pretty simple sculpt, but a nice looking piece of kit, with the emotions, HATE, DOUBT, and FEAR clearly labeled on it. His right hand is sort of designed to hold it, but it’s a little snug. OK, let’s move on to The High Evolutionary!

Another banger of a Kirby villain with a batshit crazy past, The High Evolutionary really transcends The Fantastic Four, but it’s still nice to get him in this style packaging. Wyndham comes sporting his silver exo-suit, which is characterized by tight horizontal ribbing and some fine muscle tone. He has bright crimson gauntlets and boots, and a matching tunic and sash with a wide and spiffy belt, all decked out in silver studs and some pointed shoulders to look extra imposing. I do like the subtle variety found in the matte plastic used for the tunic and the glossy stuff used for the boots, but I’m not fond of the creases we get from the molding process with this particular plastic. Still, overall this guy looks great!

The head sculpt is solid, but is ultimately let down by the quality of this plastic. It does have a nice glossy sheen, but it doesn’t hold the sculpted details very well. As a result all those lovely panel lines just end up looking rather soft. We also get some more of the molding creases. On the plus side, the yellow eyes look decent, and I love the silver painted panels on the top of his head and the cut-outs in his mohawk. The close ups hot here also shows off some of those unfortunate creases in the tunic’s plastic. It’s certainly not as bad to the naked eye when you’re just holding the figure in hand, but it still somewhat mars what would otherwise be a gorgeous figure.

And as long as I’m piling on the criticism of the plastic, the jointing in the knees and elbows here is kind of mushy. Otherwise, the articulation is solid, and the slits on the sides of the sash help to not inhibit the hip articulation too badly. Herb does not come with any accessories, but he does have an extra pair of hands, giving him one set of fists and one set of open relaxed hands. He actually comes out of the package with one of each equipped.

I really dig both of these figures a lot! The coloring on this pair is gorgeous, and I’m very excited to add them to my Legends lineup. I think Psycho-Man comes out on top among the two, and that’s partly because I love his design so much and partly because Hasbro did such a fine job with it. It may sound like I came down pretty heard on The High Evolutionary, but even with his flaws, he’s not a bad figure, and one that I have had on my Legends Wanted List for a long while now. Both of these fellas are available right now for pretty cheap through some of the big online retailers, and I’m glad I was able to get doubles to open!

Marvel Legends (3 3/4-inch) Retro Collection: Wave One by Hasbro

As promised last Monday, I’m taking a break from my cruise through the Legends Tri-Sentinel Wave to have a look at Hasbro’s new Retro 3 3/4-inch figures. Because The Great Lord Galactus knows I really need another Marvel line to collect, right? Well, these are similar to the ReAction figures I collect, in that I bought them to keep carded. But, I did buy a four doubles out of the six for openers, so we will at least be getting a feel for a few of them out of the package and in hand.

And yes, technically, these are Marvel Legends, it says so right on the card, which seems really weird to me. It’s doubly confusing when you consider that Hasbro is already doing a sub-line of Retro-Carded 6-inch Marvel Legends. So what the hell are these? Well, they’re retro-style 5-POA figures designed with old 80’s Kenner-style figures in mind. It’s kind of a What if Kenner did Marvel? Hasbro really did their own thing with the presentation, since they probably didn’t want to copy the look of their competitor Mattel’s Secret Wars line from the 80’s, or the chunked out proportions of Toy Biz’s 90’s line. The first wave is comprised of six figures, and there doesn’t seem to be a lot of rhyme or reason to the character selection here. As expected, these packages are not collector friendly, but at least the figures are set on trays inside the bubbles, which keeps them from rattling around in there. Also, I’ll note that these cards are made of some pretty sturdy and seemingly durable cardboard, and all the ones I bought online came unpunched, which is pretty cool. Let’s have a look at each one, starting with the two I didn’t get as openers.

Magneto represents the X-Men, and I thought him a strange choice for the first wave, but that doesn’t make him any less welcome. The card features the Uncanny X-Men logo at the top left with Magneto’s character art dominating most of the right side. Everything is just about perfect here, especially the coloring. The figure looks like a solid effort. He’s sporting his traditional red and purple costume, just as it’s depicted in the card art, and the paintwork seems pretty clean. Articulation for all of these figures conforms to the usual standard 5-POA, which includes a T-crotch, swivels in the shoulders, and a rotating head. I do find it interesting that they didn’t drive the Kenner homage all the way home by giving him a vinyl cape, but I’d certainly argue the sculpted plastic cape looks better.

I’ll show off the back of the card for Magneto and then leave it at that, since they’re all pretty much the same. You get a character card that can be clipped out and saved along with the figure. You also get a single sentence blurb about the character. I was hoping this was going to be a little more descriptive, but it’s just the same thing in multiple languages. The bottom third or so of the card is just jumbles of legalese. Man, I miss the days when toy packaging didn’t have to be littered with all this crap!

Next up is The Incredible Hulk, and this is the second of the two figures that I have yet to get an opener of, but I’m still looking. Hulk is bigger than the others, but not crazy big. He seems fairly size-appropriate, but best of all, they were able to do him without having to make a bigger card, or throw off the uniformity of the presentation. The Incredible Hulk logo features the brick pattern in the lettering, and the character art is fabulous. I also really dig the deep blue backdrop and the action lines fanning out to the borders. It’s exciting and colorful, and everything a comic book superhero action figure package should be! As for the figure, I think this is a really strong sculpt, especially the portrait. They did a nice job sculpting his muscles, and the vibrant purple paint on his pants looks snappy!

Third out of the gate is Captain America, and here’s where I start to have doubles to open! If pressed, I’d say this is probably my favorite card in the wave, or at least maybe tied for first. The character art is just fabulous, and I love that they have him throwing his shield right out of the card and into the viewers face! It’s exciting, and the star spangled deco is absolutely perfect! If I had one little gripe, it would be the color of the bubble’s backdrop. The blue matches Cap’s outfit and the figure sort of blends in a little too much. But that’s me really nit-picking.

Out of the package, Cap looks and feels great in hand. If you’ve handled any of those Funko ReAction figures, you’ll be happy to know that the quality of the plastic here is just so much better. And while Cap maintains a bit of a simple style to him, there’s still plenty of fresh sculpting to be found in the buccaneer boots, and flared gauntlets. The portrait looks great, and the paint lines are fairly sharp for a figure in this size and style. Cap happens to be the only figure in this wave that comes with an accessory, because…. well you can’t have Cap without his shield. The shield has a clip to attach it to either of his wrists and he looks good holding it. There’s a hole on his back, but no peg to attach the shield, which is a tad disappointing. Still, a great figure that will be sitting on my desk for a long time to come.

The fourth figure is a bit of an odd choice for this initial wave, and it’s Ms. Marvel herself, Carol Danvers, wearing her Warbird outfit. I really love the character art on the card, but I thought it was a little odd that they went with The Avengers logo and don’t actually refer to her as Ms. Marvel on the card. It’s kind of weird, but not a deal-breaker to me. I’ll concede that I would have preferred her red, blue, and gold outfit, but I dig this one too.

Out of the package, she’s looking fine! This figure relies a little more on paint than for her costume than the previous ones, but I think they did a fine job. The fronts of her boots are a little uneven, but the lightening bolt on her chest looks sharp! I also love that they sculpted her waist scarf as a separate piece and it’s worn by the figure, kind of like an accessory, but not really. The portrait here is really good as well, with her domino mask actually part of the sculpt.

The fifth and penultimate figure in the wave is Johnny Storm from The Fantastic Four, and this one had me super excited, because I can’t wait to hang a full set of Marvel’s first family in this retro-style on my wall. The card includes The Fantastic Four logo over the NY City-Scape with The Human Torch in full flame on! They even did his flamed “4” logo in the sky behind him. Excellent!

I didn’t think this would be an easy figure to do in this style, but Hasbro absolutely nailed it! Johnny is cast in translucent orange plastic with some yellow flames sculpted onto his legs, arms, and head. The effect is quite striking, especially when it’s properly lit up. Dare I say it? Hot damn, I love everything about this figure! Sue Storm is coming up in the third wave, and I do hope they finish up the Fantastic Four sooner rather than later!

Last, but certainly not least is your friendly neighborhood Spider-Man, and if you haven’t guessed it Spidey is tied with Cap as my favorite figure in this wave. The card art features The Amazing Spider-Man logo set against the backdrop of the city with Spidey himself swinging right out of the card at you and framed by webbing.

Out of the package, this figure just pops like magic. The combination of blue and red is a feast for the eyes and the web pattern looks great. I also dig that they have his arms spread a bit and gave him two thwippy hands. Like Captain America, I just want to carry Spidey here around all day in my pocket at work, so he can have adventures on the desk when I’m bored to tears in meetings. I am really excited to see all of Spidey’s villains turn up in this series. Electro is actually part of Wave Two. Now bring on Gobby!

I’m really interested to see how this line does at retail, but I’m definitely hooked. I’m a sucker for the retro style, and there’s something to be said for these clean sculpts over the somewhat wonky results of the highly articulated Marvel Universe figures. I didn’t have time to dig out any of those to do comparisons, but it’s something I might look at doing in the future. Am I going to be buying doubles of this entire line. Nah, highly unlikely. I’ll mainly be collecting these to keep carded, pop into clamshells, and hang on the wall. But at about ten bucks a pop, I may go for doubles of the ones that I like the most! I already have a set of Wave Two, and maybe I’ll wrap up a look at these next week. Then again I’ve also got a new Marvel Hot Toys figure that I’d like to spend some time with. I guess we’ll see what I have time for!

Marvel Legends (Retro Style): Silver Samurai by Hasbro

I’ve spent the last bunch of Marvel Mondays wandering through some of Hasbro’s 80 Year Anniversary releases, and it’s almost time to dig into another regular wave. But before that, let’s squeeze in at least one more! This one is actually a double dip, as it’s not only an 80 Year release, but also one of them Retro Carded figures!

I am by no means a completist when it comes to these Retro Carded figures. The inner turmoil over whether to open them or keep them carded takes too much of a toll on my frail booze-addled nerves. But, when it’s a first time release like Silver Samurai here, there’s no question I’m going to pick it up and tear into it. The package art harkens back to the old Toy Biz X-Men line, and even though I was already in college when that line was out, I still get the nostalgia feels from seeing these. The character art is nothing mind blowing, but the figure sure looks awesome on the card. I’ve had some luck in the past carefully razoring the bubble halfway around to slide the figure out without too much damage, but I still wound up tossing the card eventually.

As a character, Silver Samurai is almost as old as I am. I’ve actually got a couple years on him. Even still, I find that I haven’t encountered him all that often in my decades of Marvel meanderings, but I’m always pleased to see him turn up, mostly because I love his armor so damn much. He’s had run ins with all sorts of characters from Daredevil to Elektra and Spider-Man to Wolverine. And it turns out that he makes for a remarkably unique and beautiful action figure! I mean, just look at this guy, shining in all his silver glory!

I’m used to Hasbro using the Retro Carded waves for a lot of repacks and repaints, so it’s odd to me to see a figure like this, one that uses nearly all new tooling, to not get a regular boxed release. And yet here we are! Most of Kenuichio Harada’s armor is sculpted as part of the figure’s body, although the armored skirt and shoulder are attached separately, giving an already complex sculpt a bit more added depth. And boy do I love the detail on this armor. It takes a pretty traditional looking Samurai design and casts it in brilliant silver, complete with sculpted rivets, as well as the tiny ties and straps that are meant to keep it on. I particularly appreciate how Hasbro colored many of those straps white to distinguish them from the silver armor. It’s a little touch that they could have left out and I probably wouldn’t have noticed. It just shows that extra bit of care.

And speaking of colors, some of you may know by now that I’m quite the afficiando of premium silver paint on my action figures. Hasbro has been using some nice stuff lately, and it’s certainly on display here. Some of the pieces, like the shoulders and skirt have been left as plain gray-silver plastic, which contrasts nicely with the snappy silver painted parts. He also has the brilliant crimson Rising Sun emblazoned on his chest and a red orb on the crest of his helmet.

The head sculpt is every bit as good as the armored body, with the majestic helmet covering the top half of his face. The exposed lower half shows a down-turned mouth and a grim expression. The overlapping plates that make up the sides and back of the armor have more sculpted rivets, and his deep-set eyes are painted without pupils.

Silver Samurai comes with his two swords, which the package identifies as a Katana and Wakizashi. At first I was going to cry foul, as I thought they were the same length, but the Wakizashi blade is a tad shorter than the Katana, but not by much. The blades and Tsuba are left the same bare plastic color as the skirt and shoulders, and it’s a solid color, not that weird semi-translucent gray plastic Hasbro sometimes uses for accessories. The blades are soft, but don’t seem too prone to warping. The sculpted grips are painted black, and the belt includes a loop for each sword on the left hip.

Despite a big build and a full set of armor, Silver Samurai still has great articulation. All the usual points that I expect from my Legends dudes are represented here. He even has extra swivels in his lower legs. The shoulders aren’t as restrictive as I would have guessed, and the way the skirt is designed, he still enjoys a lot of range of motion in his hips. The joints all feel solid, and he is ridiculously fun to play around with. He is, however, not the best balanced figure out there, and I do sometimes have difficulties getting him to stand in the more extreme poses.

Silver Samurai is a prime example of me not needing to have a deep relationship with a character in order to love a figure. Indeed, I would imagine that even if I weren’t collecting Marvel Legends, I would have still picked up this figure if I encountered him on the pegs. He’s a great design, which Hasbro has nearly flawlessly recreated in action figure form. And since I was never able to find the Marvel Universe Wolverine/Silver Samurai Comic Pack, getting him in the 6-inch line feels like an extra treat!