#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.

#0920: Whirlwind

WHIRLWIND – FORCES OF EVIL

MARVEL LEGENDS SERIES

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The Marvel universe has a lot of pretty amazing super villains, but for me, the best sub-set of villains they have are the laughably terrible ones. The ones that keep showing up, getting their butts kicked, and generally being ineffective. The likes of Shocker, Stiltman, Batroc the Leaper, and even today’s focus character Whirlwind. He initially started his career as the Human Top, which isn’t as cool a name as Whirlwind, but is probably more fitting for the character. There’s actually one thing that sets Whirlwind apart from the other lame villains: he’s actually the got an arch-nemesis. Yep, ol’ spinhead here is the arch enemy of the Wasp (also her chauffeur, but that’s a whole other story). I mean, he still kinda sucks, but that’s part of the charm. Amazingly enough, Whirlwind has a whole three action figures in his tenure as a villain, the latest of which I’ll be looking at today.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Whirlwind2Whirlwind is another figure from the third series of Captain America Marvel Legends(why he’s in a Captain America-themed series instead of getting a slot in last year’s Ant-Man Marvel Legends is anyone’s guess. Maybe Wasp finally got that restraining order). He’s been dubbed “Forces of Evil,” which is a name he shares with the Serpent Society’s Cottonmouth. The figure stands about 6 ½ inches tall and he has 32 points of articulation. Whirlwind is presented in his classic costume, after he’d added the chainmail (before that he’d just been shirtless, which was weird). He uses the slightly larger male body, introduced with Grim Reaper. To aid in making him more “Whirlwind-y” he has a new head, torso, and forearms. The head is actually two pieces: face and helmet. This results in a figure with the proper level of depth to his eye and mouth slits, which looks pretty neat. The actual helmet does a very nice job of capturing Whirlwind’s comic look. The torso also does a decent job of handling Whirlwind’s weird chest armor, and the forearms feature actual spinning blades, which is a nice touch. It’s a bit of a shame that he doesn’t have any chainmail detailing, but that would have meant giving him a 100% new sculpt, which seems like a bit much to ask for whirlwind3Whirlwind. Whirlwind’s paintwork isn’t particularly complex, but what’s there is fairly clean. I especially like how well the eyes turned out. Also, the choice of a metallic finish takes what could have been a slightly bland figure and gives him some pop. Whirlwind’s only accessory is his Build-A-Figure piece, which is the left arm of Red Onslaught.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

On my search for the other three figures I wanted from this series, I saw quite a few Whirlwinds, and passed several times. It’s not that I don’t like the character, nor is it that I wasn’t excited for the figure, I guess I was just prioritizing the others. After finding the other three, I broke down and got Whirlwind. I’m glad I did. He’s a very well-put-together figure. He sticks to the established formula of a few new parts on a base body, but he’s the sort of character that really lends himself to such a concept.

#0919: Sharon Carter

SHARON CARTER – AGENTS OF SHIELD

MARVEL LEGENDS SERIES

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Hey look! It’s Agent Carter! No, not that Agent Carter! This is Sharon Carter, the other secret agent with the last name Carter who dated Captain America. I can understand the confusion. See, after Cap spent 20 70 years on ice, he still needed a love interest, since Peggy had gotten up there in years. So, they introduced Peggy’s sister niece, Sharon, who worked for SHIELD under the code name “Agent 13.” She’s been a fairly important part of Cap’s supporting cast since her introduction in 1966 (apart from being dead for a few years). Technically, she’s had two action figures, but one of them wasn’t actually named, so I’ll be looking at the first officially named Sharon Carter figure!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

SharonC2Sharon Carter is part of the third series of the Captain America Marvel Legends Series. She uses the “Agents of SHIELD” title, which she shares with the previously reviewed Mockingbird figure. It’s certainly appropriate for the character, so that’s good. The figure is a little under 6 inches tall and she has 26 points of articulation. From the neck down, Sharon is identical to last year’s Maria Hill figure, which in turn means she shares some parts with the Winter Soldier version of Black Widow. I’ll admit, the body isn’t one of my favorites. While the Widow figure was fine, the pieces used don’t gel exceptionally well with the Maria Hill parts. Also, I still don’t like the gimpy, misshapen fist for the left hand. However, I will admit that the body seems to work a little bit better for Carter than it did for Hill. Maybe it’s the coloring or maybe it’s that there’s not a real person to compare it to. It could possibly SharonC3be the new head, which seems to sit a little better on the body. It’s not super stand-out work, but the piece does a decent enough job of capturing Sharon’s look from the comics. I’m actually tempted to pick up a second figure to use as the beginnings of a classic Mockingbird. Sharon’s paintwork is decent overall, but has a few drawbacks. Some of the smaller details are a little misaligned, which is a little annoying, but the most present issue is that the whites on the arms and legs don’t match up with the torso and hips, creating an odd contrast that shouldn’t be there. Sharon comes packed with a silver version of the weird sci-fi gun that came with Red Skull (I would have preferred something a bit more normal looking, but oh well), as well as the right leg of Red Onslaught.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

After Mockingbird, Sharon was my second most-wanted character from this line-up. Currently, she’s one of the more difficult figures to find, so I had to do a bit of searching. My dad ended up finding her for me while at a small convention a few weekends ago. She’s not as strong a figure as Mockingbird or Taskmaster, but she’s reasonably well-done, and a good enough figure that I don’t feel like I wasted my money on her.

#0918: Taskmaster

TASKMASTER – MERCENARIES OF MAYHEM

MARVEL LEGENDS SERIES

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Superhero comics like foes who mimic the abilities of the heroes. Marvel in particular seems to like this concept, as they have several different characters with this gimmick (including one who’s actually named “Mimic”). Generally, such mimicry comes from some sort of mutant or otherwise built-in power. Not the case with Tony Masters, better known as Taskmaster. His mimicry was all based on him being a really good tactician with a photographic memory, allowing him to duplicate the physical movements of anyone he sees. Sure, he can’t mimic actual super powers, but he comes pretty darn close. He started out as a pretty straight villain, but has become more of an anti-villain, gun-for-hire sort of character over the years. Since his introduction in 1980, he’s gotten seven action figures, the latest of which I’ll be reviewing today.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Taskmaster2Taskmaster is part of the third series of the Captain America Marvel Legends Series (the Infinite part’s been dropped on all Hasbro’s Marvel lines; should we be concerned that they’re all finite now?). His official title is “Mercenaries of Mayhem,” which is a name he shares with Demolition Man. The figure stands about 6 ½ inches tall and he has 32 points of articulation. The origin of the costume worn by this figure is somewhat complicated: in the early 2000s, UDON Studios redesigned Taskmaster, taking him out of the more classic superhero-styled costume he’d been wearing and replacing it (and the creepy skull face that went with it) with a much more tactical get-up. That look lasted for a while, but he eventually switched back to the classic costume. On the Ultimate Spider-Man cartoon, he was given a sort of an amalgam of his two looks, which is what this figure’s primary look is based on. As far as I know, it’s not a look that has appeared in the comics, so this figure is technically cartoon-based. The figure uses the torso, pelvis, and hips of the Bucky Cap body, along with an all-new head, arms, and legs, as well as add-on pieces for his shoulder holster and belt. The new arms and legs feature some cool, almost knight-like armor, and add a nice bit of heft to the figure. It’s nice that Hasbro didn’t just paint the basic Bucky Cap arms and legs silver, and it kind of makes me wonder what other figures they could get out of these parts. I certainly wouldn’t mind these being used as the starting point for a Doctor Doom. Taskmaster actually gets two all-new heads. The one he comes wearing is more classically inspired, with a skull-face and white hood. It’s true to his Ultimate Spider-Man design, but could also make for a nice classic Taskmaster, should someone want to build a full version of his original costume. The second head is based on the UDON design’s masked look, which allows you to sort of have Taskmaster as he appears in Captain America & Iron Man: Heroes United. He doesn’t have the hood there, but this way you can essentially have the UDON costume. I find myself preferring the UDON head, but I’m not 100% sold on the hood; both heads definitely have merit. Taskmaster’s paint is all pretty solid, and he’s probably got the cleanest paint I’ve gotten on a Hasbro figure in a little while. There’s a little slop on the hands, but other than that, everything’s pretty sharp, especially on the two heads. In addition to the second head, Taskmaster includes a shield (with exceptionally clean paint), a laser sword, and the head of Red Onslaught, the Build-A-Figure for this series.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

When I picked up Mockingbird from Cosmic Comix, they also had this guy. However, I decided to hold out to see if I could find him elsewhere. After two weeks of looking, I didn’t find him, and Cosmic Comix still had him, so I went ahead and got him. I’m glad I did, because this is a pretty darn fun figure, and possibly my favorite from this particular series.

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#0906: Mockingbird

MOCKINGBIRD – AGENTS OF SHIELD

MARVEL LEGENDS SERIES

Mockingbird1

How many comic book characters can say that the only lasting effect of a mega-crossover event was bringing them back from the dead? Well, a lot, actually, given that death’s a revolving door in comics. That said, it’s usually big name characters who get brought back, and as much as I like Mockingbird, I can’t say that she’s particularly big name. After dying in the early 90s in order to make Hawkeye more “edgy” (because that’s a thing we needed), Bobbi Morse was returned to life at the end of Secret Invasion, after it was revealed that the Bobbi what died was actually a Skrull impersonator. Bringing her back was far from the main purpose of the event, but it was a nice benefit, and, as I said, one of the few things to actually stick after the story wrapped. Bobbi’s found her way into the spotlight as of late, getting her own comic, serving as a supporting character in Spider-Man’s main series, and even serving as a fan-favorite character on Agents of SHIELD (and she was even popular enough to get a spin-off. Go her!). Through all of that, she’s only managed to get two action figures, the latest of which I’ll be looking at today!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Mockingbird2Mockingbird is part of the third series of the Captain America Marvel Legends line (counting the two released for Winter Soldier). Her official title is “Agents of SHIELD,” a name she shares with Agent Sharon Carter. For once, the shared name is 100% appropriate for both characters using it, and not super generic like some of the others. Bobbi began her career as the SHIELD agent assigned to Kazar in the Savage Land, and has intermittently worked for SHIELD since then. The figure stands just over 6 inches tall and has 27 points of articulation. She’s based on Mockingbird’s costume immediately following her return in Secret Invasion. It’s not a bad costume design, and it’s one she wore up until fairly recently, so it’s pretty relevant. I personally still prefer her classic design to this one, but this is still a nice design, and it does a good job of balancing the distinctive elements of her classic design with the more superspy nature of the modern incarnation of the character. Plus, it means she fits with the Heroic Age version of Hawkeye released last year! Bobbi appears to be an all-new sculpt. That’s pretty awesome for a character of her stature. Her proportions are all nice and balanced, and the costume specific details are nice and sharp, and a pretty spot-on match for what she looks like in the comics. Her goggles are removable; her hair sculpt has a spot on each side for them to slot into. When removed, you can clearly see where they were, but it’s not super distracting. On the plus side, when in place, they don’t look oversized at all, and they stay where they’re supposed to. Bobbi’s paintwork is a little on the sloppy side. Most of it looks okay, and the change from white to black is nowhere near as bad as it could have been, and the face is actually really clean. However, the area around the collar is really sloppy. On the plus side, a lot of it’s hidden by her hair. Mockingbird includes her battle staves, which are just a re-painted billy-club from Daredevil (though the quality of the plastic is much better this time around). She also comes with the torso of this series’ Build-A-Figure, Red Onslaught.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Mockingbird has been one of my favorite Marvel characters for a while, and I’ve always been kind of bummed by the lack of action figures. Her last figure was okay, but not super exciting, so I was happy when she was one of the first three figures announced for this series of Legends. I ended up picking this figure up from Cosmic Comix. She’s not my preferred version of the character, but she’s still a really good version of the character, and a pretty awesome figure to boot!

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