#1360: Invisible Woman

INVISIBLE WOMAN

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

“With HERBIE by her side, Sue Storm uses psionic energy to suit up as the incredible hero, Invisible Woman!”

Fantastic Four Marvel Legends?  It’s a Christmas miracle!  Or something.

The poor FF has fallen out of fashion in recent years, in no small part due to the lackluster-to-atrocious quality of their live-action films and the fact that their film rights aren’t currently with Marvel proper (it also doesn’t help that creative teams who actually know what to do with the characters are a dying breed, meaning their comic hasn’t really been selling well either).  On the plus side, it looks like things are on the upturn for the Fab Four, with a triumphant return to the toy aisles, starting with Sue Richards, aka the Invisible Woman!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Invisible Woman is the latest Walgreens-exclusive Marvel Legends figure.  This marks only the second time that Sue’s been offered as a single figure in the Legends line. Unlike prior Walgreens exclusives, Sue’s not attached to any other particular series.  Instead, she’s the first of a sub-set of FF figures exclusive to Walgreens, and she’ll be joined by her brother Johnny later this year.  The figure stands about 6 inches tall and she has 27 points of articulation.  She’s built on the new base female body (seen previously on the likes of Phoenix, Kitty Pryde, and Kate-Guy), which is, as always, a welcome choice.  It’s a pretty solid base overall, and serves as a good starting point for Sue.  She also gets a new head, which is just a, pardon the phrase, fantastic piece.  Easily one of my favorite head sculpts from Legends as of late.  Definitely Hasbro’s best female, and that’s saying something, given their recent track record.  Sue’s had a number of hair-dos over the years, and a lot of them have been really period-specific.  The one they’ve gone with is pretty timeless and true to the character.  I like that the face is calm and friendly, as Sue should be, rather than being too bland or intense.  The paint on Sue is pretty decent, but there are a few things that seem a little off.  The overall application is really sharp and bold.  The face is particularly clean, as is the emblem.  The emblem being all in grey is a little different than I was expecting, but I can’t say I dislike it.  The only real issue I have is how they’ve implemented her powers.  The actual work isn’t bad; her right arm starts full color and slowly fades out.  It’s a cool effect, and very well rendered.  The real issue is that there’s no option to swap the arm out, meaning she’s always stuck like that.  Still, that’s a pretty minor issue.  Sue *does* include an extra hand, that’s done up to match the right arm, so that’s cool.  And, since it’s going to be a little while before the rest of her teammates are released, Sue also includes a HERBIE pack-in figure to keep her company.  Believe it or not, this is actually HERBIE’s third time as an action figure, and second as a Marvel Legend.  He’s about 3 inches tall and has a joint as the neck, as well as a removable flight stand to let him hover.  His sculpt is pretty awesome, and his paint is nice and clean.  He’s just an all-around awesome inclusion.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Here’s a shock: I got this Walgreens exclusive figure at Walgreens.  I know.  Thrilling.  In all honestly, I’ve been patiently waiting for this figure ever since Toy Biz released Reed back in Series 5 of the original line.  14 years is a lot of waiting.  Ultimately, I’m glad I waited, because this is best Invisible Woman figure ever released.  I can’t wait to get the rest of the team to match!

#1336: Astonishing Wolverine

ASTONISHING WOLVERINE

MARVEL LEGENDS (TOY BIZ)

“Little is known about the man known as Logan whose past remains shrouded in mystery. The feral warrior, code-named Wolverine, possesses genetically endowed animal-keen senses of smell, sight, and hearing, as well as a mutant healing factor that can mend almost any wound. His deadliest weapons are his razor-sharp claws and skeleton both made of unbreakable metal alloy called Adamantium. However, with these abilities comes a curse, a bezerker rage that he must forever struggle to control. Now Logan must contain the beast raging within while he battles to protect a world that fears and hates him.”

Though my opinion of it has waned in recent years, at the time of its release, Joss Whedon’s Astonishing X-Men was a serious breath of fresh air.  I was never much impressed by Morrison’s “let’s put everyone in black leather and completely disregard prior character interpretation” New X-Men run that immediately preceded it, so taking the X-Men a bit more back to basics was pretty cool.  I also really liked John Cassidy’s art for the series, as well as his returning of several of the cast to more classically inspired costumes.  While most of the team eventually made it into toy form, it took quite a while.  Unsurprisingly, the first team member to make it into plastic was Wolverine, who I’ll be looking at today.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Astonishing Wolverine was released in the 12th Series of Toy Biz’s Marvel Legends, also known as the “Apocalypse Series.”  It was the fourth Wolverine in the line, and was at the time his current look. There were both masked and unmasked versions of this guy; the one I’m looking at today is the masked version, obviously.  This figure also served as the inspiration for the larger Marvel Legends Icons version of the character, although he was slightly tweaked to offer an alternate version of this costume.  The figure stands 5 1/2 inches tall (it’s one of the first times they actually got his scale right) and he has 40 points of articulation.  In terms of sculpt, this figure was all-new, and he’s based on Cassidy’s work from the comics, albeit somewhat loosely, since Cassidy’s style doesn’t quite lend itself to super-articulated action figures.  The head’s definitely the best work; there’s a lot of smaller detail work that looks really nice, without being too over-done like a lot of Legends Wolverines.  The rest of the body was good for the time, but doesn’t as much hold up to scrutiny these days.  Once again, there’s a lot detail work that’s really nice on the stitching and the piping.  However, he’s really, really scrawny, which removes some of his intimidation factor.  It’s the worst in the legs, where the precedence clearly went to the joints, resulting in an almost skeletal set of limbs.  And of course, they split the belt in two for the waist articulation.  Why did they do that?  Beats me.  Seems it would have made a lot more sense to go either above or below.  Worst case scenario, you could do the joint where it is currently and have the belt be an add-on.  But splitting it right down the middle just seems lazy to me, like the base body was already sculpted and they added the details later without taking placement into account.  On the plus side of things, he’s probably got the best claws we got on a TB ML Wolverine; they’re well-shaped, unlikely to break off, and resistant to heavy warping.  In terms of paint work, the figure’s decent enough.  The base colors match up pretty well with what was being used on the comics, and most of the application is fairly clean.  The only part that’s a little odd is the arm hair, which really just looks like a bunch of brown tally marks that someone’s drawn on him.  Wolverine included no accessories of his own, but he did come packed with one of the legs of Apocalypse.  So, that’s cool, I guess.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

This guy was a Christmas present from my friend Charlie.  He and I shared a love of Marvel Legends, and in particular, we were both on the lookout for the perfect Wolverine.  So, when this series hit, he made sure that I got this guy, which was very nice of him (I repaid the favor a year later when I made sure he got a completed Mojo Build-A-Figure).  He’s definitely got some flaws, but I really do think he was Toy Biz’s best take on Wolverine, and the best Legends version  of the character until Hasbro’s recent Brown Costume figure.  It’s honestly a little surprising that TB never retooled him into a more conventional Wolverine.

#1329: Iron Man

IRON MAN

MARVEL LEGENDS (TOY BIZ)

“To the public, Tony Stark is a handsome, jet-setting industrialist and inventor. What they don’t know is that he leads a second life as Iron Man. The armored Avenger gets his fantastic powers from his suit of micro-mesh armor. It gives him superhuman strength, the ability to fly via his jet boots, and a variety of built-in weapons, foremost among these being his devastating repulsor rays! Iron Man is dedicated to defeating those forces that would threaten the security of the nation and the entire world.”

Iron Man is easily one of Marvel’s best known characters these days, but that wasn’t always the case.  Aside from a brief cartoon runs in the ‘60s and ‘90s, he was largely out of the public eye until his 2008 film.  So, in 2002, when Toy Biz launched Marvel Legends as a follow-up to their successful Spider-Man: Classics line, and had Iron Man as one of the headliners of Series 1’s four figure assortment, it was a pretty big deal.  It’s hard to believe now, but when Marvel Legends debuted, the most demanded figure by far was the Iron Man.  Can you even imagine a time when the fanbase didn’t let out a collective groan at the inclusion of an Iron Man figure?

THE FIGURE ITSELF

As noted in the intro, Iron Man was released in the first series of Toy Biz’s Marvel Legends line.  There were actually two Iron Men in the assortment; the regular release reviewed here, and the one-per-case horned-mask variant.  Even later, there was also a Walmart-exclusive release, which decked this guy out in his stealth colors.  This guy is based on Tony’s classic armor from the 60s and 70s, which at this point hadn’t been released in plastic form for almost two decades.  The figure stands about 6 1/2 inches tall and has 38 points of articulation.  Some of the articulation (particularly the neck movement and the mid-torso joint) is a bit antiquated, but it’s mostly pretty workable.  Amusingly, some of the articulation the was more quickly deemed out of date within the line itself has actually become the more standard way of doing things, so in some ways he fits in better with the more recent Hasbro offerings than he does the later TB offerings.  Iron Man sported what was, at the time, an all-new sculpt, which would later be used for the Silver Centurion armor, as well as War Machine and Magneto.  The build is a little bulkier than the usual depictions of the classic Iron Man armor, but it actually makes sense, since it’s supposed to be wrapped around a normal-sized guy; it’d have to be a little heftier in real life.  The proportions are actually pretty solid for a figure of this era.  Compare this guy to his Series-mate Captain America, and you’ll note that he’s got a much more balanced anatomy.  He even avoids the dreaded duck feet!  The articulation is also pretty well worked-in for a Toy Biz offering; sure, there are still some spots where compromise has been made (the waist really sticks out), but it’s generally a good middle-ground.  In terms of detail work, this guy goes a bit more simplistic than later TB fare (another reason he fits in a bit better with the Hasbro stuff), but that’s definitely a plus.  All of the important details are there, they’re all very sharply defined.  The figure has a removable faceplate, which reveals Tony Stark beneath the mask.  I’ve always felt he bore a resemblance to Timothy Dalton, which is a neat little “what-if” casting idea.  The face has some of the best work on the whole figure, which shows real commitment on the sculptor’s part, since it’s largely going un-seen.  The faceplate is molded to fit into the contours of the face, and it actually stays in place really well.  In terms of paint, Iron Man’s handled really well. He’s got the base red and yellow, which are nice and vibrant, and then on top of that, there’s a hint of silver lightly applied to all the armored portions of the figure, which makes him look suitably metallic, while avoiding the issues of blending that plague the Iron Men that use gold in place of the yellow. Iron Man was packed with a display stand designed to look like a Stark Industries satellite and a reprint of Iron Man #149 (which contains “Doomquest,” one of my favorite Iron Man stories).

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

This guy came from my Nana.  Every year, she’d take me and my cousin to Toys R Us at the end of school and let us each pick out one or two things.   Of course, I went through the usual back and forth, having to reassure her that yes I really did want this Iron Man fellow instead of a handful of Attack of the Clones figures like my cousin was getting.  At the time, this guy was still pretty hard to get, so finding him so quickly was pretty sweet.  He was my very first Marvel Legend, and I gotta say, dragging him out for the purpose of this review has reminded me that he’s still very definitely one of my favorites.  As far as classic Iron Men go, this guy really hasn’t been topped.

#1305: Captain America – Addendum

CAPTAIN AMERICA

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

-ADDENDUM-

Since Hasbro relaunched Marvel Legends, I’ve been consistently displeased with the heads on their Steve Rogers figures.  When the line was relaunched, all of the unmasked males suffered from what I call “Hasbro-Face”: they would have a deep scowl and incredibly squared-off features, and just generally look more like the titular character from The Goon than the superhero characters they were supposed to be replicating.  As the line has progressed, the Hasbro-Face has slowly died out, with the exception of Steve Rogers.  I guess Hasbro wants to keep all of the versions of him consistent, but it means I haven’t truly been happy with a Legends Captain America since Toy Biz.

In today’s review of Captain America, I noted that a major contributing factor to my finally acquiring him was seeing an image online of a mod for the figure.  This mod replaced the stock figure’s atrocious head with that of the very first ML Cap figure, which, in my opinion, is still the best Cap head ever.  The biggest hoop in performing this mod is getting the first TB Cap.  I have my old one, but I really didn’t want to put that one under the knife (or drill, as the case may be).  Fortunately, I was able to find a loose one sans accessories for $5, which is really the main thing that sparked this whole project (ironically, I actually paid a dollar more for my “junk” Cap than I did my original).

Perhaps the most difficult part of this whole project was just getting the TB Cap’s head off the body.  Toy Biz heads weren’t really designed for easy removal like their Hasbro brethren, so you’re pretty much going to have to use the boil-and-pop method, and even then, it took me a few rounds to finally get it popped off the joint.

As you can clearly see from the photo, the socket on the TB Cap’s head is maybe an eighth the size of the åHasbro figure’s ball-joint.  In order to get it to fit, it needed some significant plastic removal.  The best tool for such a project is really a dremel; I didn’t have one handy, so I just made do with a basic power drill, starting with a drill bit just a little larger than the socket and slowly working my way to larger bits, until it was a good fit.  I actually went the slightest bit too large on the socket, but that’s an easy fix.  All you need is to put little bit of super glue in the socket, do a few turns while on the joint, and then take the head off and let it dry for a few minutes.  This gives the socket a little more texture, which helps the head stay put on the joint.

Throw in the shoulder harness from the Target 3-pack Cap to replace the wonky straps from the original figure, and I’m pretty happy with this figure.  The head/body paint matches up surprisingly well (any differences are virtually invisible to the naked eye).  The smaller head is scaled much better with the body, and it even makes the body look a little less chunky (I think the chunkiness I was seeing was actually an optical illusion).  And, best of all, he cost me less than the retail of your average Legends release to put together.  Now I have a Legends Captain America I can be proud of! Added bonus: with the left over parts I can put together a pretty sweet Cap Wolf!

#1305: Captain America

CAPTAIN AMERICA

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

“Steve Rogers is a soldier with superhuman strength and an indestructible shield!”

Generally speaking, I’m a pretty big supporter of Hasbro these days.  They run two of my favorite lines and generally do things that I support.  They get a lot of hate, and I think a lot of it’s undeserved.  With all that said, about a decade ago, I was NOT much of a Hasbro fan, due to a lot of very silly decisions on their part, both with the end of their DC license and the early days of their Marvel license.  While they’ve improved leaps and bounds, they do still have the occasional slip-up.  Today, I’m looking at one such slip-up.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Captain America is the first figure in the Red Onslaught Series of Marvel Legends, which was the first of the three vaguely Captain America: Civil War-themed series released last year.  I looked at a handful of figures from the series back when they were still new, but never got around to this guy, mostly for the aforementioned “slip-up” reasons.  This figure is, or is at least intended to be, an updated classic Captain America, which was a nice thought, given that the last actual classic Cap before this one was the Face Off version from Toy Biz.  He stands a little over 6 1/2 inches tall and has 32 points of articulation.  Cap is built on the Reaper body, which most of us had figured would be the case as soon as the Reaper body showed up.  I’m not sure it’s the best base for the character; it seems a little chunky for him.  That being said, it’s certainly an improvement on the body that was previously being used for Cap, so that’s a plus.  Cap got unique pieces for his head, forearms, shoulder straps, belt, and boots (the forearms, belt, and boots would later be re-used for Red Guardian).  The majority of the pieces are decent work, and they fit well on the body.  He really, really could have used at least one fist, but that’s minor. The first major nit I have with the figure is the straps on the shoulders; previous pieces have always been done as a single harness piece, but for some reason this time Hasbro opted to go with two separate pieces.  The issue is that they don’t have anything to connect to, nor do they have the tension that would be brought by connecting to each other, so the end result is that they’re pretty much impossible to keep in place.  They just fall right off the arms.  Just getting the one photo with them was a nightmare.  The second major nit, and the primary reason I held off on getting this figure for so long is the head sculpt.  I’ve never been happy with the Hasbro Legends take on Steve Rogers, and this figure really exhibits the worst of that, even more so than prior figures.  His head looks thuggish and angry, and just all-around ugly, which is hardly how I think of Cap.  He takes the squared off, scowlly “Hasbro Face” that I so despise and dials it up to 11.  On top of that, the head is super, super wide, like it’s been stepped on or something, and is in general just way too large for this body.  It’s almost like they scaled it to the Hyperion.  I wish I had something nice to say about this head, but I really, really hate it.  The paint on this guy is okay, but hardly Hasbro’s best.  It’s a bit weird stepping back a year to just before they started really making the strides in paint quality.  He’s okay, but there’s some noticeable slop, especially on the white sections.  Ironically, the head gets probably the best work, but it’s not enough to save it.  Cap is packed with his mighty shield (which is the same mold used for Taskmaster, Red Guardian, and Vance), a pair of gripping hands, a left hand that’s pointing, a right hands that flat, an extra Cap Wolf head (which is probably the coolest included piece, and at least gives the figure *some* value), and the back-thingy of Red Onslaught.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I saw this figure a ton of times over the course of the last year, but, despite being rather excited when he was initially announced, I just couldn’t bring myself to pay full retail for this guy.  A few things happened that finally got me to buy him.  First of all, Hasbro’s eBay shop marked the figure down to $8.99, which for those of you playing at home is less than half of the original retail price.  On top of that, I came across an image of a mod for the figure (which I’ll be posting about later today), which finally convinced me he was worth owning.  The basic figure is certainly disappointing.  That head is just terrible, and the shoulder straps are beyond annoying.  However, the base body is pretty decent, and at lest he’s got the extra Cap Wolf to make him more worthwhile.

#1294: Marvel’s Moon Knight

MARVEL’S MOON KNIGHT

MARVEL LEGENDS — 3.75 (HASBRO)

“A vision in an Egyptian temple leads Marc Spector to don a silver shroud and become the crime-fighting hero, Moon Knight.”

Moon Knight is one of the many Marvel heroes who began his career as an antagonist.  First created as a foe for Werewolf By Night, Moon Knight proved popular enough with readers to earn his own title, and in the process has become arguably better known than the character he was created to fight.  He was a fairly basic costumed vigilante to start with (he frequently found himself used as off-Batman); his only notable twist was that he had two secret identities, a wealthy playboy and a cab driver, neither of which was actually his original identity.  Which, for those keeping track, is a whopping four identities.  Eventually, it was decided that all these identities were actually due to Marc possessing a multiple personality disorder (which may or may not have been caused by the Egyptian God Khonshu’s influence on him).  You see, Marc isn’t pretending to be Moon Knight, or Steven Grant, or Jake Lockley; he *is* those people.  They’re all still very similar to Marc at their core, but each uniquely different in abilities, temperament, etc.  He’s definitely a fun character when handled right.  Above all, though?  He looks cool, and that makes for a good toy.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Moon Knight was released in the first 2017 series of the smaller-scale Marvel Legends line.  It’s sort of an oddball assortment of characters, but that’s honestly the best chance of getting made that Moon Knight ever gets.  The figure stands a little over 4 inches tall and he has 19 points of articulation.  Moon Knight is sporting his most recent costume; it’s got a lot in common with earlier Moon Knight designs, but with the usual streamlining we see on so much these days.  There are also crescents.  A lot of crescents.  Because the moon.  I’m generally a fan of this look, and I certainly like it more than some heroes’ modern designs.  He’s built on the most recent male base body, with a unique head, forearms, and shins, as well as an add-on piece for his cape and chest armor.  The base body is a good fit for Moon Knight.  It’s actually a first, I think; his base bodies have tended to be a little off on prior figures.  The new pieces are all pretty solid.  I wasn’t crazy about the head sculpt at first, but as I’ve had the chance to mess around with the figure and see it from different angles, it’s really grown on me.  It should be noted that it really looks best when viewed somewhat from above, rather than the upward facing angle most of the promo shots show it in.  The hood and cape both have a really awesome knitted texture going on, which helps to keep the figure from getting too monotonous, while still managing to not look overdone like some texturing at this scale can.  Moon Knight’s paint work is pretty straight forward black and white for the most part.  The application is all pretty clean; there’s some slop here and there, but nothing unacceptable for the scale.  I do like the presence of both flat and pearlescent white; it helps to differentiate between the armored bits and the cloth bits.  Moon Knight includes no accessories, which is a real letdown given the amount of money these things retail for.  At least give him his staff!

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

March was a pretty hard month for me in terms of purchases, so I swore I wasn’t buying any figures for the entirety of April.  Remember how I said I swore I wasn’t buying any figures in April?  Well, it turns out my friends and family are all big fans of loophole abuse.  Tim and Jill came down for a visit in mid-April, and I spotted this guy while we were out and about.  I looked at him, but ultimately put him back.  Of course, Tim saw me empty handed and demanded I show him where the figure was and then proceeded to buy it for me.  Because they’re all a bunch of no good enablers, that’s why.  One of these day’s I’ll pay them all back.  Literally.  Like, with money.  Or other goods.

I wasn’t initially sure about this figure, given that he was being released in such close proximity to his larger scale figure in there main ML line, but the timing of the releases worked out so that he hit right as I was really wanting a Moon Knight figure.  It’s for the best really, because if they’d been released at the same time, I’d have skipped this guy, and that’d be a real shame, because he’s actually really cool.  Here’s hoping the large figure’s even better!

#1292: Titus

MARVEL’S TITUS

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

And now for the thrilling conclusion to the “characters Ethan knows next to nothing about” trilogy!

So, hey, yeah, it’s Titus.  He’s the…uhhh…well, he’s that guy that….ummm….he’s owned by Marvel?  Okay, in actuality, he’s a former member of the Nova Corps, who  served alongside Sam Alexander’s father.  He’s served as an antagonist in Sam’s Nova series.  He’s not a super prominent character, but he’s got a tie to one of the figures in this particular series, and he’s made a few appearances in animation.  They could certainly go more obscure.  I mean, not *much* obscure, but it’s possible.  Onto the figure!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Titus is the Build-A-Figure for the first GotG-themed series of Marvel Legends for 2017, which has, unsurprisingly, been dubbed the Titus Series.  Titus is based on his post-Nova-Corps look, which is kind of his most prominent look, so that makes sense.  The figure stands about 8 inches tall and he has 28 points of articulation.  He’s built on the body introduced with the Space Venom figure.  It’s been slightly altered to remove a number of the character-specific elements (presumably to make it easier to use on more figures in the future).  It’s also got a number of new pieces, for the head, right arm, and left hand.  The new pieces integrate well-enough with the old…well, I mean, as much as a tiger head and a big gun/cannon can be integrated with a human-proportioned body.  The level of detail in the pieces is really nice; the head is a ton of great texture work, and a nice, intense expression.  I wish the jaw were articulated, but that’s about the only gripe.  The gun arm is super goofy, and really boxy, but it’s also a pretty much perfect recreation of the comics design, and also a lot of fun.  In terms of paint, Titus is fairly basic, but really sharp looking.  The best work is definitely on the head, which actually sports some pretty solid accent work to help bring out the smaller details.  In regards to the rest of the body, there’s some slight slop, but it’s mostly pretty good.   I really like the shade of gold they’ve used here; it’s essentially the same one used on Sam Nova, which I liked there as well.  Titus has no accessories of his own.  Several of the other recent BAFs have had extra stuff, which has been cool, but it’s not like it’s expected, since he, himself, is really just an accessory.  Plus, what extras would you even give him?

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

So, yeah, Titus.  Like I said, I’m not really familiar with him, so completing the figure was far from the top of my list.  I was fully intending to get rid of the pieces.  But then I got Darkhawk and Angela, and all of the sudden he was complete.  Didn’t mean to do that.  In my defense, I personally only bought one single figure that went towards to completing him.  Even then I wasn’t totally sure I’d keep him.  However, after assembling him, I gotta say, he’s a surprisingly fun figure.  For a character I’ve got no attachment to, I’m really happy with this figure.  This is how you do a figure of a character most people don’t know.

#1291: Marvel’s Angela

MARVEL’S ANGELA

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

“A master of hand-to-hand combat, Angela is known throughout the galaxy for her battle prowess.”

On the next installment of figures of characters Ethan knows next to nothing about…

Back in the early ‘90s, a group of poplar comic book artists, headed by Todd McFarlane, left Marvel Comics over issues of creative control and maintaining the rights to the characters they created.  They founded Image Comics.  Each artist was given their own free reign to do as they liked with the characters they created, and would each maintain the rights to their own creations.  What does this all have to do with Angela?  Well, Angela was born out of Todd McFarlane’s series Spawn.  Todd started delegating the creation of the actual comic pretty quickly, passing the reigns to a number of writers.  Among them was one Neil Gaiman, who wrote Spawn #9, which introduced the character of Angela, a co-creation of Gaiman and McFarlane (who was still handling the art duties).  Gaiman was initially told he would retain creator rights for Angela (as well as the other two characters created for the issue), but McFarlane later tried to back out, claiming Angela was the result of a “work for hire” contract (a tactic virtually identical to that used by Marvel to deny McFarlane rights to characters he’d created. Way to go, Todd).  Gaiman took the case to court, and was eventually granted full ownership of Angela, whom he promptly sold to Marvel.  Marvel integrated her into the main universe as a side-effect of Age of Ultron’s mucking with the timeline.  Now she’s apparently the sister of Thor and has also joined up with the Guardians of the Galaxy.  Yay?  Anyway, she got a Marvel Legend, so here it is.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Angela is figure 4 in the Titus Series of Marvel Legends and is the final single figure in the set to be reviewed on the site.  She’s another figure with the “Marvel’s” bit in front of her name, but this is one time I think it’s totally justified.  They paid good money for her, might as well let people know.  She’s based on her Joe Quesada-designed look that she got when she was introduced at Marvel, which seems like a pretty sensible choice, especially since it’s the look she had with the Guardians, and she’s in a Guardians-themed series.  The figure stands 6 3/4 inches tall and she has 27 points of articulation.  Angela is built on an all-new body.  I would imagine we’ll be seeing some of it again pretty soon, as it looks like the upcoming Lady Sif figure is built on the same base.  Beyond that, it’s not really going to be getting much use as a base body, since most of it’s got pretty character specific elements.  It’s a decent enough body.  The build isn’t too much on the impossible side, at least as far as comic book characters go.  She does seem rather leggy, but that’s not entirely off when you’re dealing with the Asgardians.  The character-specific elements are decent enough, though some of the armor (especially the shoulder pads and the one weird elbow thing) is rather restrictive of the articulation.  The head’s actually pretty nice; the face is fairly attractive and fits well with the other Asgardians in terms of basic features, while the hair has a nice, lively flow to it, which makes it look like she’s doing more than just standing there (but it also doesn’t go too overboard, a la the Ultimate Spider-Woman figure).  There are add-ons for the belt/loincloth and the…uhhh, scarf?  Straps?  Neck belt?  Leash?  I don’t know what that thing around her neck is, but it’s a separate piece.  It also kind of sits weird.  It’s not really the fault of the figure, but I’m not really a fan of the loincloth’s design.  Why is it only at the back?  Is it supposed to be some sort of butt cape?  I don’t know.  I really feel it would look much better if it were also present at the front.  As it is, she looks sort of half dressed.  I mean, I know she’s already somewhat on the scantily clad side of the spectrum, but that one bit just looks…unfinished.  It’s accurate to the comic and everything, so Hasbro’s not to blame, but it bugs me.  The piece also has some difficulty sitting properly, which seems to be a trend amongst her add-ons.  Angela’s paintwork is generally pretty solid, so that’s good.  The colors are all pretty vibrant, and all of the application is nice and clean.  There’s no real accent work to speak of, but it actually doesn’t seem that odd here.  Most of her artwork has her looking pretty clean, so this is consistent with that.  Angela is packed with a sword and a pair of axes.  The sword on mine is malformed into that weird wavy shape, but I actually kinda like it.  The axes are kind of goofy, but accurate to the comics, so that’s what that is.  She also includes the right leg of the Build-A-Figure Titus.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

So, I didn’t plan on getting Angela.  I don’t really have any attachment to Angela, like, at all.  Even less than Darkhawk, who I also wasn’t gonna get.  But I did get him.  Remember in Wednesday’s review, where I mentioned that whole barter system, doing IT work for action figures thing?  Well, while Super Awesome Girlfriend’s mom was in town a few weeks ago, we were all at a Books-A-Million, and SAGF’s mom was buying her some books.  Since I’d done quite a bit of IT work for her, she asked if I wanted another action figure.  This was one of two Marvel Legends in the store that I didn’t already own, and Titus was exactly one piece away from completion.  So, home with me she came.  She’s not a bad figure at all.  Were I a fan of the character, I’d probably be really happy with her.  As it is?  I’m still not totally sold on the design, and there are a handful of minor issues with the figure.  But, she’s overall pretty fun.  So, now I own *two* Angela figures.  Yippee.

#1288: Darkhawk – Masters of Mind

DARKHAWK — MASTERS OF MIND

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

“With incredible powers of both body and mind, these heroes prepare for any intergalactic mission.”

Yes, today, we’re looking at yet another Marvel Legends figure.  Like I said last week, I picked up three whole series of these guys last month, and I have to fit them in somewhere!

Today’s figure is Darkhawk.  Who is Darkhawk?  Well, uh….with incredible powers of both body and mind, he prepares for any intergalactic mission, I can tell you that much!  Okay, so I don’t really know a whole lot about Darkhawk.  I know he was popular in the ‘90s, and he was a member of the New Warriors, and that his main gimmick was that he was a kid who could transplant his mind into a space warrior…thing. I know he also looks cool, which is always a good thing in the action figure world.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Darkhawk is figure 5 in the Titus Series of Marvel Legends, which is the first of the two GotG-themed assortments this year.  He’s officially titled “Masters of Mind,” a name he shares with the previously-reviewed Vance Astro figure. This is Darkhawk’s first time as a Legend.  However, he was actually taken to the control art stage by Toy Biz back before the license passed to Hasbro, so he’s been a long time coming.  Darkhawk is based on his modern, more streamlined appearance.  This was a point of contention for some fans, who wanted a more classic look.  As someone who’s not super familiar with the character, I kind of prefer this look, myself, but I understand the frustration.  The figure stands about 6 1/2 inches tall and he has 34 points of articulation (counting his articulated shoulder pads).  This guy is based on the Bucky Cap body, but you’d be forgiven for not noticing.  He has a new head, torso, pelvis, arms, and feet (as well as a belt that he stole from Daredevil).  That all adds up to a figure that might as well be a completely unique sculpt.  I appreciate how modular the Bucky Cap body has become.  The new pieces fit really well with the existing stuff, and in also improve upon some of the minor issues I have with the Bucky Cap base.  The head is a really cool, angular design, which looks good and sharp.  The torso and feet actually do a lot to bring this body in line with the 2099 and Spider-UK bodies, which is much appreciated, and easy to overlook.  The arms are my only area of complaint on this guy.  The actual arms themselves are fine, it’s more the extra bits that are the issue.  For one thing, the claw on his right arm looks and feels nice like wires sticking out of his gauntlet than an actual claw set up.  More pressing, however, are the wings.  They’re split between the upper and lower arms, in a similar fashion to the Toy Biz Falcon figure.  It worked okay there, but it isn’t exactly the most ideal here.  Ultimately, the way they’re sculpted, they don’t really look natural in any pose.   I mean, it’s not terrible, but it’s also not great.  On the plus side, the paintwork on Darkhawk is pretty top notch.  He’s got that cool metallic blue thing going on, which looks pretty nifty, as does the nicely contrasting  silver and flat red/orange.  The application is all pretty clean too, which is a definite plus.  Darkhawk includes no character-specific extras, but he does include the head of Titus.  Tiger head!

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I didn’t initially plan on getting this guy.  After picking up the other four, I was pretty well done with this series.  I saw him once or twice in person, and he looked cool, but I don’t know the character.  Of course, then Super Awesome Girlfriend came in.  We were out picking up a printer, and while carrying said printer (which, it should be noted, was the second largest printer the store sold, putting it just under the size at which it qualifies for them to carry it out to the car for you…), I walked knee first into one of those cement pillars they have outside of most retail establishments.  Ouch, right?  Super Awesome Girlfriend felt bad, so she bought me this guy from Walmart.  He’s pretty cool, truth be told.  I may not know him all that well, but he sure does make for a cool toy!

#1287: Miles Morales – Ultimate Spider-Men

MILES MORALES — ULTIMATE SPIDER-MEN

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

“With amazing agility and wall-crawling skills, these young web-slingers take down the bad guys!”

Hey, remember waaaaaay back when I was reviewing Marvel Legends?  It’s been, like, days.  Plural.  I think I might be going into withdrawal.  Could be serious.  Near as I can tell, the only surefire way of avoiding that withdrawal is to review some Marvel Legends.  Oh darn.

Today’s figure hails from Marvel’s Ultimate Universe (or at least he did.  It’s sort of complicated).  I’ve only briefly touched on the concept before, but in a nutshell, it was launched in the early 2000s as a more grounded, more accessible line of comics, geared towards newer readers.  After a few years, the universe was suffering from a lot of the same continuity lock-out as the main universe, thereby robbing it of its main hook.  To try and salvage some things, Marvel repurposed the ‘verse, and started using it to try out some more daring story telling.  For instance, in the main universe, killing Peter Parker and replacing him would never stick, but in the Ultimate ‘verse, they were able to do just that.  Following the death of the Ultimate Peter Parker, readers were introduced to his replacement Miles Morales.  Miles was a serious breakout for the Ultimate line, and actually kept it afloat for several years, before he was eventually moved to the main universe.  By virtue of bearing the title “Spider-Man,” Miles has gotten an assortment of figures, one of which I’ll be taking a look at today!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Miles was released as part of the illusive Space Venom Series of Marvel Legends, under the title “Ultimate Spider-Men,” which he shares with the ultimate version of Peter.  This is Miles’ second time in this particular style; the first was released as a Walmart-exclusive figure in conjunction with the release of the first Amazing Spider-Man.  That figure was built on a very out of date, very ill-suited body, and was generally not well-regarded with the fans, on top of being nearly impossible to find.  This new one’s better on at least one of those counts.  The figure stands about 5 3/4 inches tall and he has 32 points of articulation.  Miles is built on the same base body we saw on the Sam Alexander Nova figure (it actually debuted here, though).  It’s a good, solid base.  Aside from the lack of butterfly joints at the shoulders,  and the addition of cut joints on the shins, it’s very similar to the Pizza Spidey body, which is certainly a plus.  The masked head (which is shared with the Peter figure as well) is also pretty similar to the Pizza Spidey head, though there are some key differences that help bring it more in line with the usual depictions of the ultimate masks.  I really dig the slightly wider eyes; it adds variety.  Miles also sports an unmasked head (putting him ahead of the main universe version of Peter in that respect).  It’s a really nice sculpt, and really manages to capture Miles’ in-comics look without getting too bogged down in any one artist’s style.  The level of detail, especially on the hair, is top-notch, and he’s got a nice, friendly expression that suits Miles really well.  The paintwork on Miles is generally pretty good.  The web pattern is sharp and evenly placed. Some of the reds on the rest of the body are a little thin, and there’s some slight slop here and there, but for the most part it looks pretty good.  The unmasked head is even better, with clean application all-around, even on the eyes!  In addition to the extra unmasked head, Miles also includes three pairs of hands (in fists, open gesture, and web-firing poses), as well as the right arm of the Build-A-Figure Space Venom.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

As I’ve noted in a few prior reviews, I didn’t have much luck finding this particular series at retail.  While that was a bummer all-around, the one figure I really, really wanted was Miles here, since I really needed him for my Avengers/Champions line-up.  While on a trip up to see Super Awesome Girlfriend’s dad, I stopped by the local Walmart, and they just so happened to have the remnants of this particular series.  I was initially only planning to get a Miles for my Dad, but Super Awesome Girlfriend insisted on going back and grabbing the second Miles for me.  Because that’s just what she does.  This is definitely a solid addition to the line, and a figure worthy of Miles’ awesomeness from the comics.  He really makes for a fun toy!  Now, if I can just get around to finishing Space Venom…