#1373: War Machine

WAR MACHINE

IRON MAN (TOY BIZ)

“A long-time friend and confidant of Tony Stark, chopper pilot Jim Rhodes was rewarded for his loyalty with his own suit of technological combat armor, turning him into a one man War Machine!  Now armed with an impressive array of cutting-edge weaponry almost the equal of Iron Man’s, War Machine battles shoulder-to-shoulder with the armored avenger in his secret war against the forces of the Mandarin!”

And, just like that, we’re back to Marvel.  That’s gonna be happening a lot.  So, today, I’ll be going back to a ‘90s Marvel line that I feel I haven’t looked at enough: Iron Man!  With just four series (plus a fifth one that was cancelled), it’s hardly one of Toy Biz’s longer-running entries, but four series of an Iron Man line more than a decade before the general public cared about Iron Man is far from the worst thing.  Attempting to capitalize on the success of the then-current cartoon, the line provided us with most of ol’ Shellhead’s supporting players from the show, including Tony’s wingman, Jim “Rhodey” Rhodes, aka War Machine!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

War Machine was released in Series 1 of Toy Biz’s Iron Man line.  This was the very first War Machine figure ever produced (though not the first James Rhodes; Rhodey was still Iron Man at the time of Secret Wars, meaning that figure is technically him).  The figure stands a little over 5 inches tall and has 9 points of articulation.  War Machine is based on the second version of the armor, which was the first one worn by Rhodey.  It’s the version seen in the cartoon, and is one of the best known versions of the character.  As I noted in my review of Space Armor Iron Man, the Iron Man line’s armored figures were handled in a slightly unique way; each of them was a basic figure, with extra clip-on armor parts to really complete their look.  War Machine was actually one of the more faithful basic figures, and can essentially function without the extra pieces if need be, which is a definite plus in his favor.  The sculpt is generally pretty sharp, and the details of the armor match up pretty well with both the show and the comics, though some parts are more condensed and streamlined.  There are the armor ports, of course, which still look a little goofy, but they’re far from the worst thing.  There were 10 clip-on armor pieces included with War Machine: Chest plate, back plate, belt (front and back), shoulder pads, gauntlets, and shin covers.  These pieces serve to enhance the look of the figure, and really make for quite a faithful War Machine figure.  War Machine had one of the better paint schemes of the armored figures; all of the basic paint is nice and clean, and the armor, by virtue of it’s silver coloring, is less prone to issues with chipping and such, which plagued the more colorful Iron Men.  In addition to the clip-on armor, War Machine also included two cannons to be mounted on his shoulders, one of which has missile launching feature.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

As with a number of the ‘90s Marvel lines, I had to play a little bit of catch-up on the first series of Iron Man figures.  By the time I was really collecting the line for myself, they were onto Series 2.  While I was able to track down a few of the Series 1 figures, I had to settle for Series 4’s War Machine II as my main version of the character.  I’ve been looking for this guy for a little while, but the armored figures from this line aren’t always the easiest to find, especially when you primarily go for loose offerings, like I do.  I was pleasantly surprised to find a loose but complete War Machine at Pop Culture Exchange, for under $5, no less.  He’s definitely a strong offering for the line, and I’m very happy to have finally tracked him down!

#1371: Maverick

MAVERICK

X-MEN (TOY BIZ)

“A secret agent formerly allied with both Wolverine and Sabretooth, Maverick is as tough a customer as they come! A master strategist and martial artist, Maverick is one of the foremost mercenaries in the world, accepting any assignment… as long as the price is right! With both espionage skills and the mutant ability to absorb kinetic impact, Maverick is a hard man to keep down indeed!”

Maverick is about as ‘90s X-Men as a ‘90s X-Men character can get.  Shoulder pads? Check.  Former ally of Wolverine?  Check.  Sketchy past?  Check.  Single word name picked purely because it sounded cool?  Check.  Vague power set that ultimately translates to “has a big gun”?  That’s a bingo.  Of course, like a lot of uber ‘90s X-Men characters, I have something of a soft-spot for the guy, given his presence in both X-Men: The Animated Series and the corresponding X-Men toyline from Toy Biz.

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

As you’ve probably pieced together from the intro, Maverick was released as part of Toy Biz’s ‘90s X-Men line.  There are two versions of Maverick available, and there’s a bit of a saga behind those two figures being released.  The gold and silver Maverick was originally slated for release in Series 5 of the main line, as a replacement for the cancelled Gauntlet/Barrage figure.  However, Maverick himself was cut from the line up rather early on in the process, and bumped to the next series, whose line-up he remained a part of long enough for his prototype to be in the line-up shot that was meant to go on the figure cardbacks.  He was dropped from this assortment as well, and his prototype was hastily cut out of the Series 6 photos (you can actually still see his gun overlapping Morph’s hand on the card backs).  This version would eventually see release alongside Series 6’s Trevor Fitzroy in a KB Toys-exclusive two-pack, but did not see a single-carded release.  The single-carded Maverick is the  blue version seen above, and he was released as part of the “Mutant Genesis” series, two years after he was originally supposed to hit retail.  That seems like a whole lot of trouble to go through for Maverick, but I guess it’s nice he finally made it out.  Both figures share the same mold, and thus both figures stand about 5 1/4 inches tall and have 8 points of articulation.  The sculpt is a pretty decent one, overall.  It’s very similar to the other ’93-’94 X-Men figures stylistically, meaning he’s not quite as large and exaggerated as some of the later figures would become.  He’s a little on the stiff side (which was common to a lot of the figures from this point), which isn’t really helped by his lack of neck articulation.  However, for a character like Maverick, who was usual fairly rigid in his movement, it’s not terrible. The sculpt captures Maverick’s (admittedly rater unattractive) design rather nicely, and offers some rather intricate work on the various small details of the armor.  The cables are a softer material, which I suppose would be cool if he had neck articulation, but since he doesn’t, it’s a nice thought that doesn’t amount to much of anything.  At least they tried?  The rest of the figure is done in a much stiffer plastic, which means that his shoulder pads can break if you’re not careful (you can see this breakage on gold/silver Maverick’s left shoulder).  Paint is, of course, the divergent bit of these two.  The original one was gold and silver, and more or less follows Maverick’s design from the comics.  There are a few spots where paint is obviously missing, but he’s generally a good match for his 2-D counterpart.  The second figure opted to replace the silver parts with blue, for…reasons?  I don’t believe this follows any established look for the character, and it looks a bit off.  It wouldn’t be so bad if the blue were a more subdued shade.  Some of the missing paint from the first figure is corrected here, but a few other bits are lost, making for a pretty equivalent trade.  While the blue color scheme is generally fine as its own thing, the one part I’m not much of a fan of is the hair, which goes from a rather believable dirty blond to some sort of off green/grey sort of thing.  Yuck.  Both figures originally included a gun; silver for the gold/silver figure, and black for the blue figure.  It fits in his right hand, and is worked into his “quick-draw” feature, which swings his arm downward when you press the lever on his back.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Maverick is another more recent purchase.  I always wanted one of these two, but I just never found one in-person.  I ended up finding the blue version at Bobakhan Toys on my way out of Seattle this summer.  At the time, I lamented that they didn’t have the silver one, and then two days later I ended up fishing him out of a $1 bin at Pop Culture Exchange, which was pretty cool.  Even without owning him as a kid, I’ve always had a bit of sentimental attachment to the character, due to his inclusion in the board game X-Men Alert, where he was very frequently on my team.  Neither Maverick figure is perfect, but they’re both still pretty fun, and I’m happy to have been able to add them both to my collection.

#1369: Spider-Woman

SPIDER-WOMAN

SPIDER-MAN: THE ANIMATED SERIES (TOY BIZ)

“Once an illegal operative, Jessica Drew left the group called Hydra to fight crime as the original Spider-Woman! With the ability to climb walls and emit bio-electric spider-blasts, Spider-Woman put many super-villains behind bars. Eventually giving up her identity as Spider-Woman, Jessica Drew now fights crime as a private investigator!”

When does a spin-off character have nothing to do with the original?  When they’re Spider-Woman, of course.  The first Spider-Woman, Jessica Drew, was introduced in 1977 as little more than a way of preventing Filmation from putting out a cartoon with their own Spider-Woman.  She had a similar power set to everyone’s favorite wall-crawler, but there the similarities ended.  The two characters wouldn’t even meet for quite a long time after her creation.  Which makes the fact that her very first figure came from a Spider-Man toyline all the more amusing.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Spider-Woman was released in Series 7 of Toy Biz’s Spider-Man: The Animated Series tie-in toyline.  She wasn’t based on a cartoon appearance (likely to avoid viewer confusion; her successor, Julia Carpenter, was a regular on the Iron Man cartoon at the same time).  In fact, Series 7 was right about the time that the series stopped focussing on following the cartoon, so Spider-Woman was not the only non-show figure in the series.  The figure stands about 5 inches tall and she has 8 points of articulation.  Jessica’s sculpt is a reworking of the Julia Carpenter Spider-Woman from Series 1 of the Iron Man line.  This would be the first time they’d share a sculpt, but far from the last.  Given the similarities in design, it’s a rather practical way of getting an extra use out of the molds, I suppose.  She’s been tweaked to add in elbow joints and also to remove Spider-Woman II’s action feature.  Sadly, they didn’t go as far as to add back in the neck movement lost due to the action feature, but that would have been a more hefty re-working, I suppose.  The sculpt is a pretty decent one overall.  The proportions are fairly balanced, and pretty decent for the time.  The hair has a pretty nice sculpt, and sits nicely, and the face isn’t too terrible.  The one main drag with this sculpt is just how stiff it is.  She doesn’t really look natural in any pose.  It’s largely to do with the arms, or more specifically, the hands.  She’s got this karate chop thing going on, and it just looks rather out of place.  The paint is really the key part of this figure, and it’s pretty decent.  The colors match well with her comics counterpart, and the work is generally on the clean side.  Some of the black lines are a little fuzzy, but it’s not terrible.  In terms of accessories, Jessica was about on par with most of the other figures of this time, which means she has a bunch of random stuff that doesn’t amount to much of anything.  There was like a shield and a weird gun-thing I think?  Mine has neither piece, and that’s just fine.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Spider-Woman wasn’t one of my childhood figures.  My dad had one, but I didn’t, largely due to not being overly familiar with Jessica Drew.  I’ve since picked up some knowledge and appreciation for the character, so I’ve been on the look out for this figure.  I found her at Yesterday’s Fun last week, but ultimately put her (and a few others) back in favor a few other things.  My Dad apparently took note of this, and presented me with the whole lot the next day.  He’s nice like that.  She’s a decent enough figure, I suppose.  Nothing amazing, but certainly entertaining.

#1368: Ms. Marvel & Kang

MS. MARVEL & KANG

MARVEL MINIMATES

Hey-ho there readers!  So, today’s gonna be another Marvel review, because, like 95% of what I’ve bought recently is Marvel.  On the plus side, I’m actually looking at a relatively new item for a change.  That’s cool, right?  I’ll be heading back over to the Minimates corner of my collection, and taking a look at one of my favorite new additions to the Marvel Universe, Kamala Khan, alongside long-time Avengers for Kang the Conqueror!

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

Ms. Marvel and Kang were released in the fifth Walgreens-exclusive series of Marvel Minimates.  Both are based on their appearances in the Avengers Assemble cartoon, but in both cases, this translates to a look that’s essentially identical to their comics counterparts.

MS. MARVEL

“Exposed to the Terrigin Mists, Inhuman high-schooler Kamala Khan gains the ability to shape-shift, and decides to become one of the super-heroes she idolizes.”

It’s been a good year for Kamala!  First she got a Marvel Legend, and now she’s got a Minimate too!  Not too shabby for a character that’s only been around since 2014.  Ms. Marvel makes her Minimate debut here, and is based upon her appearance in the episode “The Inhuman Condition.”  The figure stands about 2 1/4 inches tall and she has 14 points of articulation.  She’s built on the standard ‘mate body, with add-ons for her hair, scarf, and skirt.  The skirt appears to be a fairly standard piece, but the scarf and hair are both new.  They’re decent enough pieces, I suppose.  Obviously, they’re a bit more on the simplistic side, as is the case with most of the animation-based mates.  It’s really only noticeable on the hair, which you can easily replace if you really want a more realistic look.  That being said, the pieces mimic her design from the show pretty well, and fit the character nicely.  The paint work on her is generally pretty solid; the colors are still a little more washed out than I’d like, but she generally looks like she does in the comics, and the colors have more “pop” than some of the others.  I’m not the biggest fan of the rather bland expression on the face, though; Kamala’s usually depicted as rather jovial, so a smile or grin would have been more true to the character in my opinion.  Ms. Marvel is packed with a spare right hand and left arm (borrowed from Mr. Fantastic), simulating her stretchy powers, as well as the usual clear display stand.

KANG

“Kang is a time-traveling warlord from the 30th century who finds himself repeatedly embroiled in conflict with the 21st century Avengers.”

Wow, another Kang?  Man, it was such a big deal to get him the first time, but I think I might have burned out all of the excitement.  Of course, that ‘mate was only in an exclusive 4-pack, which not everyone got, so I suppose a new one makes sense.  Like Ms. Marvel, he’s built on the standard body, and has the usual articulation.  He has add-ons for his head-piece, shoulder bit, and skirt.  The shoulder thing is re-used from the last Kang ‘mate (rather sensible), and the other two parts appear to be new.  They’re decently sculpted, though I’m not 100% sold on the head piece.  It’s an odd looking thing in the comics, and neither attempt at translating it into ‘mate form is particularly right.  This one’s not terrible.  This figure uses the standard upper-arms, which is one change I’m in favor of, since I was never much of a fan of the puffy sleeves from the last one.  As far as paint goes, I can’t say I’m a huge fan of the paint on this guy; the colors just aren’t vibrant enough for my taste.  The green in particular just feels really dull and boring.  I’m also not a big fan of the reduced detail work, since the things like the wrinkles of the shirt and the lines on his mask were some of my favorite parts of the last Kang.  In terms of accessories, he only includes a display stand.  I feel like there has to be something else he could have gotten.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I found these two while looking for Marvel Legends at Walgreens.  I’ve largely fallen out of collecting Minimates hardcore, in part because of the difficulty of finding the Walgreens releases, so these two sort of snuck up on me, and I was really surprised to find them as quickly as I did.  Ms. Marvel’s the real draw of the set for me, and aside from the slight disappointment with the expression, I’m really happy with her.  Kang is kind of meh.  Rather drab and un-interesting to me.  Perhaps it’d be different if I didn’t have the first one.  Still, it’s a pretty decent set all in all.

#1367: Falcon

THE FALCON

MARVEL SUPER HEROES: SECRET WARS (MATTEL)

“Transported to a strange planet by a force from beyond the universe, earth’s deadliest villains try to destroy the Marvel Super Heroes – as they fight the Secret Wars through the use of secret messages!”

Before Toy Biz came along and gave us just about every single Marvel character under the sun in the ‘90s, there was a very eclectic selection of Marvel characters available in toy format.  Major characters went completely figureless for years.  And yet, in the chaos of pre-Toy Biz Marvel stuff, somehow The Falcon, a relatively minor character until very recently, wound up with not one, but two whole figures.  I’ll be looking at the second of those, courtesy of Mattel’s Secret Wars line.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Falcon was released in the second series of Marvel Super Heroes: Secret Wars, alongside the previously reviewed Daredevil, Black Costume Spider-Man, and Baron Zemo.  As with DD and Zemo, Falcon is another character in the line who wasn’t present in the maxi-series at all.  Not sure why they went with so many non-series stars, but if it gets me a Falcon figure, I won’t complain.  The figure stands about 4 1/2 inches tall and has 7 points of articulation, counting the wings.  He’s built on the same basic body as most of the line, at least for the torso and legs, anyway.  His arms are from Captain America, and his head was an all-new sculpt.  The head is sort of iffy.  I think part of the problem is that he’s the only Secret Wars figure to incorporate hair, and Mattel clearly wasn’t up to hair in terms of sculpting prowess.  He’s also rather wide, and somewhat nondescript.  The standard torso’s been tweaked slightly to allow for the attachment of his wings.  The wings don’t really follow the usual layout for Falcon; his wings have classically been attached to his arms, but these are purely attached to his back, sticking straight out like Angel or Hawkman’s wings.  I find it doesn’t look as cool as his traditional look, but doing them the right way wouldn’t have really been possible given the constraints of the base body.  The paint on Falcon is about on par with the rest of the line, which is to say it’s passable, but far from stellar.  The colors sort of run together, I find, and for whatever reason his shoes are the same color as his skin.  He’s also missing any detailing on the eyes, which comes across as incredibly cheap and lazy in my opinion.  Also, like all of the other figures I’ve looked at, this guy’s exhibiting some rather noticeable paint wear, a symptom of the lower quality paint that was used.  The worst of it’s the missing spot on the nose, which is a little frustrating, but far from horrible.  He was originally packed with his sidekick Redwing, as well as one of the goofy lenticular shields.  Mine has neither, but I can’t really say I’m hurting for either piece.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Falcon is a figure that’s eluded me for quite some time.  Cosmic Comix got one in about a decade ago, which I wanted to get, but decided to come back for later.  Sadly, he was gone when I got back, and not long after I discovered that he’s actually one of the rarer releases from the line.  I was able to finally track him down, courtesy of Heywood Comics in Asheville, NC.  He’s not in perfect condition, but he’s decent enough that I’m happy with him.  The figure’s not one of Mattel’s stronger offerings, but I can’t say he’s out of place with this line.  He could be worse.

#1366: Venom Space Knight

VENOM SPACE KNIGHT

MARVEL MINIMATES

Oh blind bags.  How I loathe thee.  There are certainly things that I hate more than blind bags, but they honestly aren’t coming to mind right now.  So, blind bags are number one right now.  I can sort of see the novelty of the concept to a certain degree, but beyond the first couple of figures, it just sort of wears out its welcome.  Which is really an issue when it comes to introducing blind bags to a pre-existing line.  DST started working the idea into their various Minimates properties to varying success.  It’s finally made its way into the main Marvel comic line, and I’m not super sure how I feel about that.  I’m giving it a try, though, and looking at one of them today.  Yes, it’s another Flash Thompson Venom, but this time, he’s a Space Knight.  And why not?

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Venom Space Knight is part of the inaugural Blind Bag series of comic-based Marvel Minimates.  He’s one of the less common figures in the case; he’s not a one-per-case-r like Silk, but he’s not one of the heavier packed ones.  Which is sensible enough, since Venom’s moderately popular, but not quite as hugely popular as Iron Man and Spider-Man.  The figure’s a little over 2 1/2 inches tall and has 12 points of articulation, taking the boots into account.  He’s got 12 add-on pieces for his helmet, chest piece, upper arms, hands, pelvis cover, upper legs, boots, and torso extender.  Most of the parts are re-used from other bulked up characters (including a few other Venom ‘mates).  The helmet’s all-new, and does a really nice job of translating the comics design into the ‘mate form.  In general, this design translated quite nicely into the ‘mate aesthetic.  Definitely a well-chosen design for the line.  The paintwork on this guy is all pretty solid; the line work is nice and crisp, and the colors are well chosen for the character.  The dark blue chosen for the bulk of the character is pretty nifty, and the white stands out nicely against it.  Under the armor, there’s a fully detailed face and torso, showing Flash in his non-armored look.  There’s also a spare set of arms and legs, as well as a hairpiece, allowing for you to complete the dressed down look, which is essentially a whole second figure.  The paintwork is still solid on these extra pieces (especially the arms), and I really dig the artificial legs.  In addition to the alt pieces, he also includes the standard clear display stand.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I held off on this set for a good long while.  I didn’t really want to buy a whole case, and nobody was really selling them individually.  Fortunately, Cosmic Comix got in a case of them, thus allowing me to just grab one of them.  As luck would have it, it was Venom, who was the ‘mate I wanted the most from the set.  He’s actually a really solid ‘mate, and I love all the extras he includes.  All-in-all, I think this is my first experience with blind bagged Minimates that didn’t leave me feeling dirty and used.  I guess that’s a good thing?

#1365: Sunfire

SUNFIRE

X-MEN (TOY BIZ)

“The champion of Japan, the solar-powered mutant known as Sunfire considers himself a modern-day samurai — and will do nothing to betray his code of personal honor! Possessing the power to fly and to gernerate intensely hot flaming plasma, Sunfire seeks out the enemies of his nation — be they mutant or human — and turns on the heat!”

Sunfire!  Oh it’s sunfire.  I’ve reviewed a surprising number of Sunfire figures on this site.  Of the of the six available Sunfires, I’ve already looked at three.  Not a bad spread, if I do say so myself.  I’m looking at the fourth  of the six figures today.  This one’s actually his first, and unlike the last three, it’s from a slightly different source.  Let’s just get to the review already!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Sunfire was released in the Mutant Genesis Series of Toy Biz’s X-Men line (it was numerically, for those that are curious).  As noted, this was his very first action figure.  He stands about 5 1/4 inches tall and he has 9 points of articulation.  Unlike prior Sunfire figures, which were based on his classic appearance (which is my personal favorite look), this one is based on his, at the time current, ‘90s appearance, which does not possess the same timeless feel as his other look.  It’s super ‘90s, what with the armor, the shoulder pads, and the over designing.  Also, the crap ton of muscles.  Because ‘90s, I guess.  This particular suit was design to amplify his powers and stuff.  And also look less like the Japanese flag, which I guess was a good thing.  Unfortunately, I can’t really say it’s one of the character’s better looks.  Personally, I’ve always found he looked pretty darn goofy.  This figure lives up to that goofy-ness, presenting him with impossibly muscle-y proportions, as well as the really odd and goofy pony tail he was sporting at the time.  I guess it’s an accurate sculpt, and it avoids the scrawniness of TB’s other Sunfire figure, but something feels a little off about it.  To me, this just doesn’t feel like Sunfire, but maybe I’m just picky.  At the very least, I think we can all agree that his face looks a bit silly, right?  His jawbone looks like it could conquer a thousand kingdoms.  I don’t know if that’s good or bad, but there it is.  His paintwork is generally decent enough.  It’s cleanly applied, and follows the design from the comics. Can’t say it’s the most exciting color scheme, but it’s fairly standard for Sunfire, so that’s good, I guess.  Sunfire included a bit of clip-on armor, which goes over his shoulders and has been vac-metalized.  It fits well enough and looks pretty cool, so that’s nice.  He’s also got a shield, which matches the other armor and can be held in his right hand.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I’ve held off on this guy for a while.  This is a figure I’ve had my eye on since about the time I was 9 or 10, but never got him because, quite frankly, he just doesn’t look like Sunfire to me.  However, he was at Power Comics, and he was half-off his already low price, and I’m working on completing my Toy Biz X-Men figures, so I kind of needed him.  He’s really weird and goofy and strange, but he’s part of the set, and honestly he feels right at home.  And I can’t really ask for more.

#1364: Juggernaut

JUGGERNAUT

X-MEN (TOY BIZ)

“Virtually unstoppable and possessing super-human strength, the Juggernaut is one of the X-Men’s oldest and most powerful foes! Gaining his power from the mystic Cyttorak gem, the Juggernaut is vulnerable to psychic attack-but only when his helmet is removed! With a jealousy and hatred for his brother Charles Xavier, the Juggernaut will not stop until he has destroyed the X-Men!”

Okay, so two weeks ago I said this month was gonna be really Marvel heavy.  The last two weeks haven’t been as Marvel heavy as I’d initially anticipated, but this week I’m throwing in the towel and just doing a whole week of Marvel.  Strap in, guys. Let’s start the week off with an entry from the behemoth that was Toy Biz’s ‘90s X-Men line.  It’s one of the team’s oldest foes, Cain Marko, better known as the unstoppable Juggernaut!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Juggernaut was released in the “Light-Up Weapons Series” of Toy Biz’s X-Men line; it was the thirteenth series in the line.  This marks Juggernaut’s second figure in the line, following his inclusion in Series 1.  This one marked an improvement in size, detail, and articulation.  The figure stands about 5 1/2 inches tall and he has 7 points of articulation.  The articulation is a bit down from the usual for the line at the time (he loses movement in the arms to allow for the light-up deal), but was actually an improvement over the prior figure.  This guy had an all-new sculpt (which would later be partially re-used for the X-Men vs. Street Fighter version).  It’s not perfect, but it was a solid offering at the time.  He’s suitably bulked up, though the arms are definitely a bit on the long side, and conversely, the legs seem a bit short.  The musculature is rather exaggerated, but it’s the sort of thing that you expect to see with Juggernaut.  The big selling point of this guy was the inclusion of a removable helmet, allowing you to replicate said helmet’s removal at the end of like every fight he’s ever had with the X-Men.  The head under the helmet gives us a rather angry looking Cain Marko, who looks to be patterned after his appearance on the ‘90s animated series. The actual helmet is fairly nicely handled.  It lines up well with the face and it sits tight on his head.  The paint work on this guy is generally pretty decent.  It could have been somewhat drab, but there’s actually a nice bit of variety to the various shades of brown and such to keep it interesting.  That’s definitely a nice touch.  In addition to the removable helmet, Juggernaut also includes a…hammer…thing?  Not 100% sure what it is, but it’s the light-up bit of the figure.  Some of the light-up features made more sense than others.  This one’s nearer the bottom of the list of sensibility.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I originally got this version of Juggernaut at the same time as my first Light-Up Gambit figure; he was a gift from my Grandparents on my mom’s side.  This was the one of the two that I wanted the most, largely due to that awesome removable helmet.  I’m not 100% sure what happened to that figure.  Suffice to say, I needed a replacement, which was one of the handful of figures I grabbed from Bobakhan Toys at the beginning of the summer.  He’s still one of my favorite Juggernaut figures, goofy light-up feature and all.

#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!

#1358: Star-Lord

STAR-LORD

GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY (HASBRO)

“When the fate of the universe hangs in the balance, Peter Quill is ready to defeat interstellar evil!”

With the recent release of Spider-Man: Homecoming just last week, and a whole other slew of summer blockbusters in the last month or so, it’s easy to forget that this year’s summer blockbuster season was kicked off by Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2.  That’s a shame, because I really, really loved Guardians 2.  Like a whole lot.  I have yet to find the second assortment of Marvel Legends from the film (I’ve seen remnants at stores, but I’m hoping for a full set), but I’m sort of bridging the gap with some of the non-Legends stuff that’s hit in the mean time.  Much like Spider-Man: Homecoming, there was a slightly smaller, slightly less high-end line of figures based on the Guardians and a few of their supporting players.  Today, I’ll be looking at Star-Lord!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Star-Lord is from the first series of the smaller Guardians of the Galaxy line of figures, which hit sometime last year, I believe.  The figure stands just a little over 5 inches tall and he has 9 points of articulation.  It’s a bit of a shame that he hasn’t got any knee movement, but I do really like the mobility of the arms.  Now, you’ll recall that in my review of the Homecoming Spider-Man figure, I mentioned that his scale was a little hard to place; that’s less an issue with this guy.  He’s right about in line with the mid-to-late ‘90s figures from Toy Biz in terms of scaling, which is quite cool, since Peter was never privy to a figure from TB.  Obviously, he’ll fit in better with some figures than others, but he’s a nice fit.  In terms of design, he’s based on Peter’s appearance in the Guardians animated series from the last few years.  The show is itself borrowing a lot of its designs from the movies, but the characters are a little more angular and simplistic.  This is another point in favor of compatibility with the older figures, since it means he’s not quite as hyper detailed as more recent figures have become.  Even as an animated sculpt, there’s actually a lot of really sharp detail work, especially on the helmet.  For the price point of this line, I was pleasantly surprised by how clear the details were.  The paintwork is pretty straightforward color work; what’s there is mostly pretty clean, and it’s all pretty bright.  He does look a little washed out to my eyes, but that’s really just a symptom of the design he’s based on.  Peter is packed with his two element guns.  They’re pretty well sculpted, but completely un-painted.  Also, they aren’t compatible with his sculpted holsters in the slightest bit, which is rather perplexing.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I really kept meaning to pick this guy up to give the line a try.  I saw him so many times in the store and came so close to buying him, but just never did.  What finally got me to crack was finding him on clearance at Barnes & Noble and also having a gift card, meaning he cost me nothing.  Honestly, at full price, I still would have been very happy with this figure.  Obviously, he’s not on par with a Marvel Legend or anything, but as I noted, he’s a great fit with the old TB stuff, and just a pretty fun figure in general.  This is the style of figure that got me into collecting, and I’m happy to see it back!