#1389: Loki

LOKI

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

““Forever a trickster, Loki’s allegiances are often unclear. However, one thing can be said for certain: Loki always looks out for Loki’s best interests.”

Summer’s on it’s way out.  So, move over summer blockbusters!  It’s time for…the fall blockbusters?  We’ve had Guardians Vol. 2 and Spider-Man: Homecoming.  Now it’s time for the next Marvel entry, Thor: Ragnarok!  After being slightly underwhelmed by The Dark World, I’m hoping that Ragnarok can deliver something a bit more enjoyable.  The Dark World had only an incredibly modest offering of toys, but Ragnarok is getting a little more coverage.  The first of the product is just starting to hit retail now.  Today, I’ll be looking at the trickster god Loki!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Loki is figure 2 in the Ragnarok assortment of Marvel Legends.  This is actually the first time Hiddleston Loki’s been given a proper retail release, since the Avengers was only available as a Walmart exclusive, and then was re-released as part of the European version of the Hulkbuster assortment.  This one is, obviously, based on his Ragnarok appearance, which seems to have been somewhat influenced by the Lady Loki design of all things, along with a touch of the “Agent of Asgard” look.  It’s not a bad look.  The figure stands about 6 1/2 inches tall and he has 30 points of articulation.  His sculpt is new to this figure.  It has its ups and its downs.  By far, the best part is the head sculpt, which has quite a nice likeness of Hiddleston as Loki, slight little sneering grin and all.  I also quite like the hands, which are a nice open gesture, thus adding a lot of character when you pose him.  I’m a bit iffy on the torso, which seems slightly oddly shaped and kind of rudimentary.  Compared to some of the other Legends of late, this feels like a bit of a step down.  I’m also not a fan of the floating skirt piece on the waist.  I feel like a fixed piece would look better, and be less annoying when posing the figure.  Lastly, I don’t care for how the cape attaches.  Maybe it’s just my figure, but I found it to be rather difficult to bet both clips properly seated on the shoulders, and even once they’re in place, it doesn’t take much to knock one or the other out of place.  It gets a little frustrating.  On the plus side of things, the paintwork on Loki is pretty strong.  The best work is definitely the face; this is my first experience with the “printing” technique that Hasbro’s started to use on the movie figures.  Photos online had me skeptical about the process, but it person it looks really good.  The rest of the paint is pretty straight forward stuff.  The colors seem to match the movie design, and the application is all pretty sharp.  Loki includes his “helmet”, which has been streamlined down to more of a headband with horns attached.  It’s a little bulky, but fits on his head pretty well. He also includes the left leg of the series’ Build-A-Figure, Gladiator Hulk.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

This guy snuck up on me.  I barely even knew of his existence when I found him at one of my local Targets.  I was actually looking for the Homecoming figures, which I still haven’t had any luck finding, when I came across this guy.  I was pretty excited to find him (and I’ve already tracked down a duplicate for Super Awesome Girlfriend).  Ultimately, he’s a bit of a mixed bag.  The torso on this guy is really poorly designed, just all-around, which is a real surprise from Hasbro these days.  Still, the good does outweigh the bad on this guy, and the end result is an overall nice figure.  He’s not going to be figure of the year, but he’s far from terrible. 

#1200: Thor

THOR

THE AVENGERS (HOT TOYS)

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Well, it looks like I made it another hundred reviews.  That’s cool, I guess.  Admittedly, we’re getting to the point where 100 reviews doesn’t feel like that big a deal anymore.  I mean, I’ve done it 12 times, so, maybe I should up the interval again.  I don’t know.

Anyway, it’s an ’00 review, which means it’s time for another high-end figure review.  Once again, it’s a figure from our friends over at Hot Toys.  More than a few of my Hot Toys figures hail from the MCU, and today’s entry is no exception.  Yes, it’s the God of Thunder himself, Thor Odinson!  Is the last name too much?  It sounds goofy, doesn’t it.  But, well, that’s his name.  So there it is.  Onto the figure!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

thorht2Thor is figure 175 in Hot Toys’ Movie Masterpiece Series, which puts him smack dab between the Avengers versions of Captain America and Loki, which is sensible.  Like those two, he’s based on his appearance in The Avengers, specifically his fully armored up look from the film’s climactic battle.  He hit in early 2013, which was actually pretty good turnaround for a HT figure of the time, arriving less than a year after the movie he was based on.  The figure stands about 12 1/2 inches tall and has “over 30 points of articulation” going by the blurb on the Sideshow website. 

First off, let’s have a look at Thor’s noggin.  When this figure was first shown, there was quite a bit of contention over the likeness on the head, due to the prototype shots looking less than stellar (he looked more like Leonardo DiCaprio than Chris Hemsworth, and those two don’t particularly look similar).  The final product showcased a marked improvement.  The final sculpt isn’t a spot-on Hemsworth likeness, but it’s very, very good.  A lot of it depends on the thorht3angle; when viewed from the right, as seen in the close-up shot, it’s clearly Hemsworth, but flip over to the other side and the likeness gets off pretty quickly.  You can always tell who he’s supposed to be, but it’s not always very convincing.  Likeness aside, the actual detail work is solid regardless; his face has tons of subtle little wrinkles and such, which really make him look like a real person, and the detailing on the stubble of his beard is surprisingly well-rendered.  Thor has long hair, and no matter how you handle that, there are always some compromises.  HT opted to go sculpted for this figure, which I think was the right call.  The hair is decent enough, but there are definitely some section s that are more convincingly hair than others.  Also, there’s a seam running near the front of his head, which is more present than I’d like.  As far as paint for the head, it’s the usual HT standard of insanely lifelike.  Really, it’s quite impressive how well down they have this.  The eyes in particular are what really sells it for me; there’s just so much life behind them.

Thor’s costume more of a mixed media effort than usual for HT.  The vest, pants, cape, and the red sections of the wrist bands are all cloth pieces, and are mostly tailored pretty well to the body.  The pants look a little odd in certain poses, almost looking backwards at times, but they’re not bad.  I like the brightness of the cape, and it’s a good, sturdy material, which is always a plus.  The rest of Thor’s costume pieces (the outer vest, sleeves, wrist guards, and boots) are constructed from various sculpted elements.  By and large, they do a good job capturing the movie’s designs.  The sleeves are a rubber cover for the arms, and do most of the work to give the arms actual shape.  They look good, but end up being very limiting when it comes to posing the arms; the elbows barely have even 45 degrees of movement, and even then, they have a tendency to slowly return to a straighter pose, due to the heaviness and thickness of the material.  Later Thor figures tackled the sleeves/arms by just putting a joint on the outside, but they were still figuring everything out for this guy.  The boots are each two pieces: a foot and a slip-over piece that covers the shin.  This is nice from a movement perspective, but ends up looking a little goofy in practice.

Thor isn’t super heavy on the accessories, but he does have a few fun pieces.  He comes with:

  • 9 hands
  • Mjolnir
  • The Tesseract in its fun little carrying case from the end of the movie
  • Display stand

thorinventoryThe hands come in relaxed (L and R), fists (L and R), tight grip (L and R), loose grip (L), and wide gesture (L and R).  They’re all very nicely sculpted, and look like real hands.  They’re a bit difficult to swap out, but do ad some nice expressiveness to the figure.

Mjolnir is definitely the main highlight here.  It’s made from metal, which gives it some really nice heft, and there’s even a little leather strap at the bottom, just like in the movie.

The Tesseract is definitely the most unique of the pieces. It’s sort of fun, and allows Thor to be posed with the Loki figure, like at the end of the movie.  It also continued the trend of giving us all possible variations of the Tesseract, after the normal one from Red Skull and the one in the metal case from Nick Fury.

Last up is the stand, which is the same basic stand we’ve seen tons of times before.  There’s a logo for Avengers and Thor’s name is on the front.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I pretty much have Thor because I was getting the rest of the Avengers line-up from the first movie, but what’s kind of amusing about him is that he was really the lynchpin of me getting the whole set.  Initially, I had just planned to get Black Widow and Hawkeye to put with my Mech Test Tony Stark and First Avenger Captain America.  Then I realized I would have most of the team, so I went ahead and pre-ordered Thor, which eventually led to me picking up both the Mark VII and Hulk, and realizing I might as well get Cap as well.  So really, it’s Thor’s fault.  Silly Thor.

#1115: Enchantress – Mystic Rivals

ENCHANTRESS – MYSTIC RIVALS

MARVEL LEGENDS

enchantress1

The Enchantress?  I thought I wasn’t looking at any more of that Suicide Squad stuff!  Oh wait, that’s the *other* Enchantress.  Yes, the Enchantress is one of those times that both DC and Marvel overlap on a character’s name, thereby providing immense confusion for all those non-comics readers out there.  Marvel’s Enchantress appeared first (in 1964, two years before DC’s), and has generally been the better known of the two characters, which makes DC’s version of the Enchantress being the first one to grace the silver screen all the weirder.  Neither version of Enchantress has ever been all that lucky in terms of action figures; up until this year, there was exactly one figure out there of the Marvel version, and that was it.  Fortunately, she seems to be lucking out this year, with two figures already out and another on the way (curiously, DC’s Enchantress is still left out in the cold, as perhaps the only major member of the Suicide Squad cast left unreleased).  I’m looking at one of those figures today!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

enchantress2Enchantress is the seventh figure in the Dormammu Series of Marvel Legends.  She’s officially titled “Mystic Rivals,” a name she shares with Runaways’ Nico Minoru.  This is our second Legends version of Enchantress this year, following the figure included in Hasbro’s SDCC-exclusive “The Raft” set.  The two figures are very similar in construction (it’s really just the arms and paint that are different), which has led to a bit of contention amongst the fanbase, some of whom feel exclusives should not be released.  Of course, a whole other section of the fanbase was upset that she was an exclusive in the first place, so I don’t know.  Personally, I’m happy to have gotten the second release (and, as someone who owns two of the other SDCC figures being re-released in this series, I don’t really see the problem with reissues on popular enough characters).  The figure is about 6 1/2 inches tall (a bit on the small side compared to our other Asgardians from this line) and has 26 points of articulation.  The SDCC Enchantress was built on the Scarlet Witch body from the Allfather Series, with a new had and skirt piece.  Obviously, Hasbro’s desire to reuse the Scarlet Witch base is what’s caused her to be slightly under-scaled, and, if I’m totally honest, I don’t mind all that much.  She’s still pretty suitably tall and imposing, and I think it would have been a little weird for her to be as hulking as, say, Valkyrie.  The new head is quite nice, and does a pretty suitable job of capturing Enchantress’ typical look.  I really like the slight sneering grin, like she’s up to something.  Very in character.  The skirt is a decent enough piece, though it’s a little bulky, and sort of exaggerates the smallness of her waist in comparison to her hips.  On this version of Enchantress, the Scarlet Witch arms have been swapped out for the arms from the new female base body (seen on Phoenix), which I find to be a much nicer set of arms than the prior ones.  I’m glad they made the switch.   The paint on Enchantress marks another change from the SDCC version.  The SDCC one was a bit more subtle, with everything being a slight variation of green, and an overall metallic sheen on the costume bits.  For this figure, the belt has been changed to yellow, and the base green is now darker and matte in finish.  Thanks to slight variations in coloring over the years, both figures are more or less accurate, so it really comes down to personal preference.  The quality of the application is very clean on this figure.  In general, the Dormammu figures are some of the best painted Legends we’ve gotten from Hasbro, which is a definite plus. Enchantress includes a pair of the Scarlet Witch spell casting effects, this time in a bright yellowish-green, as well as the torso of Dormammu.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Back when the SDCC set hit, I had contemplated trying to track down the Enchantress from the set, since she’s kind of an important character.  But, within a week or so, this figure was confirmed as being part of this set, which certainly made my life a whole lot easier.  I didn’t find her with my first find of this series, which was a little disheartening, but when I found the set again at my new local Toys R Us, she was right there with them, and I happily snatched her up.  I really like how this figure turned out, and I’m glad I didn’t have to pay the big bucks to get her!

enchantress3

#0950: Axe Attack Thor

ATTACK AXE THOR
THOR: THE MIGHTY AVENGER

ThorAA1Typically, when a superhero movie gets tie-in toys, the toy company wants to be able to cram as many versions of the main character into the line as possible. This means they tend to invent a bunch of non-canon variants, each one more gimmicky than the last. This is a time honored tradition, going back to Kenner’s toys for the 1989 Batman movie. For some characters, it works pretty well, and the figures sell regardless of their silliness. For others, it’s less successful, resulting in a bunch of figures absolutely no one wants. Well, except for me, because I’m the freaking personification of the Island of Misfit Toys. So, here’s a Thor variant!
THE FIGURE ITSELF
ThorAA2Axe Attack Thor was released in the fourth series of the Thor: The Mighty Avenger line, which was released to coincide with the 2011 Thor movie. The figure stands roughly 4 inches tall and he has 25 points of articulation (the Thor line was one of the last movie lines from Hasbro to be fully articulated). In case you hadn’t gathered from the intro, he’s not based on any design from the movie, but is instead from the minds of Hasbro’s design team. This is the second use of this mold in this line: it was originally used for Series 1’s Battle Hammer Thor. Regardless of where the design came from, the sculpt’s actually pretty awesome. There’s lots of fun detail work, and Athens sculpt is all-around pretty sharp. The head isn’t a spot-on Hemsworth likeness, but it isn’t terribly far off, and it at the very least looks suitably Thor-like. The paint is the thing that differentiates this guy from Battle Hammer Thor. Rather than the usual silver, black, and red, this guy is a mix of blues and turquoises, with just a bit of brown thrown in. It’s not your standard Thor look, but it actually looks pretty solid. The application is also pretty great, with only a few minor issues cropping up. Thor included his gimmicky namesake weapon, which is a weird axe/sword thing with spinning blades at the top. He also includes Mjolnir, but it’s molded in a translucent blue, which goes really well with the figure.
THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION
I didn’t intend to get this figure, I really didn’t. I picked up the main Thor from Series 1, and that was enough for me. Unfortunately, due to an insane over stocking of the first series, the later series didn’t make it to stores in any timely fashion. Since I wanted Series 4’s Lady Sif figure, I broke down and bought a full set of Series 4 from Big Bad Toy Store, thus getting this guy. I ended up getting rid of most of the other figures, but this guy intrigued me enough to keep him. He’s a bit weird, but I quite like him.

#0889: Absorbing Man

ABSORBING MAN

MARVEL LEGENDS SERIES

Absorbingman1

Marvel has something of a tradition of passing foes between their heroes. Kingpin, now Daredevil’s arch enemy, began as Spider-Man foe. Similarly, Sabretooth first appeared in an issue of Iron Fist. Today’s focus character, Crusher Creel, aka the Absorbing Man, made his debut as a foe for Thor, but has spent a pretty sizeable portion of his career menacing the Hulk. He’s also faced off against a few other Marvel heroes, including Spider-Man, which I guess was Hasbro’s justification for having him be part of a Spider-Man themed series of Marvel Legends.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Absorbingman2Absorbing Man is the Build-A-Figure for the fourth series of the Spider-Man Marvel Legends Series line. Absorbing Man has had a few different looks over the years, but for the most part, they’ve all just been slight variations on the same basic theme: a bald, shirtless guy, wearing a pair of pants from a prison. Here, the pants are purple; not the most common color for prison garb, but certainly common for a Marvel character. The figure is just shy of 8 inches tall and has 29 points of articulation. As with most of the Thor-related characters that Hasbro has released, he’s much larger than he’s usually depicted. Creel’s still supposed to be a roughly normal-sized dude, and this figure’s a giant. However, his size is comparable to that of the equally over-sized Wrecking Crew, so he isn’t horribly out of place. Creel is built on the Terrax body, making its second appearance in the last year (it was also used for the SDCC set’s Dormammu). In his “clean” look, the figure uses the Terrax torso, pelvis, hips, and arms. He gets a new head and legs, as well as an add-on piece for his belt. The legs are suitably detailed, and the belt is a very nicely handled piece. The basic head is okay, but I will admit, it’s not my favorite of the two. To simulate his absorbing abilities, Creel has an extra head and arms. The head is similar to the basic one, but the left half now has a rocky texture, and his expression is an open-mouthed scream, which looks a bit better than the regular head’s slack-jawed sneer. The new arms are wooden and stone, respectively, and have some pretty awesome texture work to help sell that. Prior BAFs had some difficulty being taken apart after being assembled, but Absorbing Man goes together and comes apart without too much trouble. The paintwork on the basic parts is pretty straight forward. He’s molded in the appropriate colors where possible, but he’s still got a bit of detailing on the face, pants, and lower right arm. The pants are nice and clean, and the metal detailing on the arm is pretty cool. The face is alright, but the eyes are a bit wonky, which throws the whole head off. The extra pieces make out the best in terms of paint; the texture work of the sculpts for the arms is accented really nicely, and the face is way cleaner and more detailed on the second head. If I had one complaint, it would be that the torso has no marks of any absorbed substances, which makes the extra head a bit jarring. That said, it’s understandable, since the extra pieces necessitated going one way or another. Creel includes his ball and chain. It’s a re-use of Thunderball’s wrecking ball, which isn’t technically accurate (in-universe, it’s actually the ball and chain that Creel had attached to him when he got the powers), but it works reasonably enough that complaining about it seems petty.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

If you’re a faithful reader, then you already know where this guy came from: he’s constructed from the pieces included with this series of figures, which my parents picked up for me a few weeks ago. I’m not the world’s biggest Absorbing Man fan or anything, but I do have enough of an appreciation for the character that I wanted to complete him. His size is a bit of an issue, and the normal head looks a bit off, but this figure is actually a pretty great one.

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#0871: Captain Marvel & New Thor

CAPTAIN MARVEL & NEW THOR

MARVEL MINIMATES

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Change is kind of a constant thing in comics. However, as quickly as things change, they’ll just as quickly revert right back, because status quo trumps just about everything. Seriously, for all the times a popular character has been replaced by another iteration, you can probably keep count of the ones that actually stuck on one hand. So, today, let’s look at two new(ish) incarnations of classic Marvel characters, Captain Marvel and Thor. One of them’s likely to be one of the few changes that sticks, while the other’s probably only got until Chris Hemsworth’s Thor graces the big screen next year.

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

Captain Marvel and Thor are part of Series 64 of the main Marvel Minimates line. This is one of the two sets only available in the specialty assortment of figures. While Carol and the new Thor don’t have a ton of history together, they are both Avengers, so the pairing certainly makes more sense than Howard and Dazzler. Plus, how often do you get two female characters in one set? That’s pretty cool.

CAPTAIN MARVEL

ThorCapMarvel2Captain Marvel is a title that Marvel has passed around a lot over the years, mostly because none of the characters really hit it big and Marvel was reeeally determined not to let the name lapse. Carol Danvers spent a large portion of her career as Ms. Marvel, and after managing to hold her own series under that title, Marvel finally realized that easiest way to keep the Captain Marvel name going would be to give Carol a much deserved promotion. She’s actually been Captain Marvel for a while now, so it seems like this one’s gonna stick. Carol’s had pretty much the same look during her entire tenure as the Captain, so that’s the look here. The figure is the standard 2 ½ inches tall and has 14 points of articulation. She uses the basic body, with add-on pieces for the hair and sash. Both pieces are new to this figure and they do a pretty good job of capturing her in-comic look. The hair’s peg is a little long, so it sits just a bit high, but other than that, it looks okay. The paint on Captain Marvel is pretty decent overall. The only real issue is that the dark blue is the base color, so the red and gold are just a touch murky in a few spots. Other than that, the colors look pretty smooth, and everything’s nice and clean. For accessories, the good Captain includes her helmet (which she only seems to wear very occasionally), as well as a flight stand and a standard clear display stand.

NEW THOR

ThorCapMarvel3New Thor seems like an odd idea. While the concept of someone else wielding Mjolnir certainly isn’t new, and New Thor hit right in the midst of change-ups to other popular characters, it was weird to see another person called “Thor” since it’s not a title, it’s his actual name. However, the character seems to have been pretty well-executed, and I’ve especially loved her in Mark Waid’s run on Avengers. While she’s sure to be a temporary replacement, she’s certainly a fun take on the character. Thor makes use of four add-ons for her helmet/hair, cape, gauntlet, and belt/skirt. The cape is re-used from the MvC Thor (which is certainly appropriate), but the rest of her add-ons are new. The helmet is a pretty awesome piece, with some really cool detailing, and the skirt and gauntlet are pretty cool too. Thor’s paint is nice and sharp, and has some nice, bold work. Under the mask is a nice depiction of Jane Foster’s sickly appearance, with a nice, stern look to it. Thor is a bit light on the accessories, but she has what’s important: her hammer Mjolnir and a clear display stand.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

While I wasn’t quite as excited for this set as I was Dazzler and Howard, I do really like both of the character designs included. Captain Marvel is a long time coming, and she turned out very nicely. Definitely worth the wait. And Thor is a solid ‘mate of a pretty cool design, and a very good choice for this set.

#0757: Thor & Malekith

THOR & MALEKITH

MARVEL MINIMATES

ThorMal1

Phase two of the Marvel movies was, generally, pretty well-received amongst fans. That said, it seems that there’s no real common consensus as to which of the sequel films offered therein was the best and which was the worst. It seems like everybody’s got one they really like and one they really don’t like. For me, the one I didn’t like was Thor: The Dark World. Okay, that’s not fair. I did actually like the movie, but I didn’t like it anywhere near as much as I’d hoped. When the movie was good, it was really good, but when it was bad, it really pulled me out. And don’t get me started on the mounted turrets in Asgard! Anyway, most of my major issues with the film lied with the main antagonist Malekith, who I just found dreadfully boring, which isn’t exactly what you want from the guy stepping in to replace Tom Hiddleston’s Loki. Anyway, I generally passed on toys of Malekith, but I did end up with one, unsurprisingly coming from the Marvel Minimates based on the film. So, let’s look at him and his pack-mate Thor.

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

Thor and Malekith were released in Series 53 of the Marvel Minimates line, which was based on Thor: The Dark World.

THOR

ThorMal2You can’t have a set of toys based on a Thor movie and not have Thor, so here he is! Hemsworth’s Thor has stayed pretty consistent looking throughout the Marvel films, but his design did take a slight jump towards his modern comic look starting with The Dark World (and, by nature of him having almost the same design, AoU). This figure is based upon his look in TDW, specifically his full-sleeved look from a lot of the fight scenes. The figure is roughly 2 ½ inches tall and has 12 points of articulation (down from the usual 14, thanks to the boots). Structually, Thor uses the basic Minimate body, with six add-on pieces for his hair, chest/cape, wristbands, and boots. These pieces all originated here, though they were all later used on the Series 61 AoU Thor. They do a pretty good job of summing up his look from the film and have a lot of nice detail work. Thor’s paint work is generally pretty nicely handled; the base colors are applied fairly cleanly, and the detail work is nice and sharp. The face doesn’t really scream Hemsworth, and he definitely looks a bit too old, but, overall, he seems pretty cool. Thor includes Mjolnir and a clear display stand.

MALEKITH

ThorMal3Zzzzzzzzzzzz…….Oh, sorry! Must’ve dozed off for a sec there. Malekith does that to me sometimes. *Ahem* Well, here’s Malekith. Look at him. There he is. So, he’s built on the usual body, with add-ons for his helmet/hair, hands, and torso/cape. These parts are all pretty well-sculpt, and are accurate to the source material. The hands are shared with the Dark Elves, which is reasonable, since he is their leader. All in all, he looks like the guy from the movie, so that’s good. His paintwork is mostly blacks and off-whites, which are done reasonably enough. The level of detail on the legs is actually pretty fantastic, so you can see that DST was definitely putting in the effort on this guy. The basic head depicts Malekith with the right half of his face all scarred up, as it is in the second half of the film, which is a somewhat interesting look. He doesn’t really look a whole lot like Christopher Eccleston, but he doesn’t not look like Eccleston either. Also, the eyes aren’t accurate to the movie, where they’re mostly black. Malekith is packed with a spare, unscarred head, which matches the regular look, as well as a clear display stand.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Unlike most Marvel Minimates, where I rush out to get them on the day they’re released, I actually skipped this pair for a good long while, mostly due to my disinterest in Malekith. This pack ended up being one of the items in the grab bags I got from Luke’s Toy Store during their 6th Anniversary sale. It’s still not a set I would be inclined to pick up on my own, especially since the AoU Thor is similar to this one, but it’s at least a quality made set.

#0716: Age of Ultron Boxed Set

THOR, BLACK WIDOW, BRUCE BANNER, & HAWKEYE

MARVEL LEGENDS INFINITE SERIES

AoUML1

Trying to get a full line-up of the whole Avengers team from Avengers: Age of Ultron has been a barren source of amusement. Hasbro’s 2 ½ inch line has given us all but Black Widow and Quicksilver. The 3 ¾ inch line is missing those two again, plus Hawkeye and Vision. Up until recently, the Marvel Legends figures had only given us movie versions of Hulk, Iron Man and Captain America. Amazon has stepped in to help us at least finish up the main team (sans new additions), giving us a boxed set containing Thor, Black Widow, and Hawkeye from the second film, as well as figure of Mark Ruffalo’s Bruce Banner for good measure.

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

These four were sold as a single boxed set, which just started shipping out a few weeks ago. They’re technically an Amazon exclusive, but time will tell if that sticks or if other stores might start getting them.

THOR

AoUML2This guy’s probably the most surprising to see relegated to an online-only boxed set. I mean, he’s Thor. That seems pretty big. But, I guess stores are still afraid of him after the incredibly slow sales of the toys from his first solo movie (available at a Toys R Us near you!). The figure is about 7 inches tall and has 28 points of articulation. He’s based on his design from Dark World/Age of Ultron (They’re more or less the same), specifically the sleeveless look. Since he’s lacking the sleeves in both of AoU’s main fight scenes, that seems like a good choice. Structurally, this guy’s all-new, making him the only AoU figure outside of Ultron to get all-new tooling. The sculpt is really great, all around. The face isn’t a pitch-perfect Hemsworth, but it’s definitely the closest Hasbro’s gotten so far, and it really isn’t far off. The hair manages to be rather intricately detailed, and it doesn’t get too bunchy anywhere. It also doesn’t restrict movement nearly as much as you might think, which is a definite plus. The rest of the body is well proportioned and loaded with detail, all of which looks pretty accurate to the movie design. Even the cape is handled well, which doesn’t happen often. If there’s one drawback, it’s the choice to make both hands gripping; I feel like one of them being in a more outstretched pose could have added to the posing options. The paint on this figure is interesting, as it’s quite a bit different from what was seen on the prototype. In addition to the paint being much thicker than on the final figure, the prototype also had many of the accents painted gold, making the figure a Dark World figure, not an Age of Ultron figure. The final still has a slight tint of gold on those areas, but it’s minor enough that it won’t stand out as obviously wrong in an Avengers set up. It’s a happy medium, which is a good choice. Thor is armed with his mighty hammer Mjolnir, which is very nicely sculpted and painted and fits well in his hand to boot.

BLACK WIDOW

AoUML4On to opposite end of the spectrum from the all-new Thor figure is Black Widow, who is just a repaint. Yep, Widow here is head to toe a repaint of her Winter Soldier figure. You can read my opinions on the sculpt, here. Briefly recapping, it was a good sculpt then, and it still holds up pretty well here, aside from being too tall for Johansson. She uses the Avengers-styled head (the hair is seated a bit better this time around, so the likeness is better), which is sensible, since her hair in AoU was more or less the same. What wasn’t more or less the same was her costume, which actually had several differences between TWS and AoU. The figure uses paint to make these changes, but doesn’t quite make it work. The most notable change to the costume was the addition of red gauntlets, which this figure skips all together. There are these random red squares on the forearms, but they don’t even come close to being “gauntlets.” Widow also had full gloves this time, as opposed to the usual fingerless ones. Rather than actually changing the hands, Hasbro opted to just mold them in a solid black. It’s not immediately evident that they aren’t right, but to someone like me, who knows the lines for the ends of the gloves are there, it’s kind of annoying that nothing was done to fix this. They did at least get the blue “tron lines” right, so there’s that. Also, the kneepads seem a little too bright, but they are, at the very least, close to accurate. For accessories, Widow loses the extra head and hands of her TWS counterpart, and still has the non-removable guns. She does get her baton thingies from the movie, but they’re kind of a little…droopy.

BRUCE BANNER

AoUML5Believe it or not, this is the first proper, Marvel Legends-scale Bruce Banner we’ve ever gotten. We got a Banner figure from Toy Biz’s Hulk Classics line (packed with Series 2’s Gamma Hulk), but he had inferior articulation and was just slightly out of scale. We haven’t seen another until now. Civilian versions of heroes are kind of a hard sell, I guess. Banner appears to be based on his arriving at the Helicarrier look from the first Avengers movie, though it’s really just a basic business casual look, so it can work a lot of places. The figure stands about 6 inches tall and has 30 points of articulation. Banner uses the recently developed suit body (first used on Agent Coulson) as his base. It’s a well sculpted body, and it’s certainly the best suit body on the market, so it’s a good starting point. Bruce gets a unique head sculpt, as well as a new upper torso piece. The head is a halfway decent interpretation of Mark Ruffalo. It’s far from perfect, but you can see who it’s meant to be. I think a better paint job could bring the likeness a lot closer. The new upper torso piece is really just a minor tweak on the old, removing the tie and opening up the collar, and thereby giving Bruce a more movie-accurate look. The paintwork on Banner is alright, but not fantastic. As noted above, the paint on the head hides the sculpt; it’s just a bit too sloppy and there’s virtually no work done to play up the sculpt’s strengths. The rest of the paint is just sort of there; the colors are good and everything stays where it’s supposed to, but there’s not much that stands out. Banner includes no accessories.

HAWKEYE

AoUML3It’s everybody’s favorite punching bag, Hawkeye! After being somewhat pushed to the side in the first Avengers, Hawkeye was presented a more substantial role for Age of Ultron, where he took a slightly divergent path from his comics counterpart and went straight to work checking off every “I’m gonna die” box possible. Then he made it out without dying! And there was much rejoicing (yay).  Hawkeye is right at 6 inches tall (like Widow, he’s just too tall) and he has 30 points of articulation. The figure is largely made of re-used parts from the first movie’s Walmart exclusive Hawkeye; only the head and quiver are different, and even the quiver is re-used from the more recent Marvel Legends comic Hawkeye. This of course means that Hawkeye is in his costume from the first movie, as opposed to his snazzy jacketed look from AoU. This look does still appear during the final battle, though, and the first release of this figure wasn’t the easiest to find, so this look is pretty valid too, I guess. Overall, the sculpt is pretty decent. The articulation scheme is a little outdated and the proportions are a little wonky in some spots, but the texture work on the uniform is superb. The new head sculpt is noteworthy because it finally gives us Hawkeye without the sunglasses that every figure seems to saddle him with, despite him not wearing them in either film. The Renner likeness is pretty decent, though the head does feel just a touch too wide. The paintwork on Hawkeye is pretty good overall. The eyes are a little bit off, but not terribly so, and all of the colors are well chosen. I also appreciate that the quiver isn’t just a solid color. I do wish the spot for the SHIELD emblem had something on it, because it’s distracting for it to just be a differently textured but unpainted bit, but that’s minor. Hawkeye is packed with his trusty bow, but, like the other Hawkeyes from Hasbro, no arrows.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Wanna take a guess as to where I got this here Amazon exclusive set? Yeah, I preordered this set pretty much as soon as it went up. Not gonna lie, I actually came pretty close to cancelling it, but Amazon went and shipped it without telling me it had arrived, so here it is. It’s not the most thrilling set of all time, but it does contain some pretty important figures. Thor’s definitely the star here, being the only truly new figure, and Widow’s definitely the weakest link (in terms of accuracy and not having anything new to offer. She’s still a good figure). Banner and Hawkeye both fall somewhere in between, being nonessential, but cool to have nonetheless. I think this set might be more exciting if Amazon were to follow it up with another 4-pack featuring Scarlet Witch, Quicksilver, Vision, and Falcon, so we could actually finish up the team, but that seems like wishful thinking.

AoUML6

#0567: Captain America & Thor

CAPTAIN AMERICA & THOR

MARVEL MINIMATES

ThorCapAvAoU1

Alright, we’re starting to get into full swing here with the Age of Ultron Minimates reviews. I looked at two of the new comers and two of the mainstays of the main team. Today, I’ll be taking a look at another set of the returning team members. Interestingly enough, it’s my favorite member of the main team and my least favorite member of the main team, packed together, Captain America and Thor. Now, hopefully the Hemsworth fans won’t kill me before I finish the review.

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

These two are part of the first assortment of Age of Ultron Minimates. Cap and Thor were one of the two sets of Age of Ultron-themed Marvel Minimates available in both the TRU assortment and Series 61 of the main Marvel Minimates line. Mine are the specialty release, and there are a few differences between Thor in the two releases, which I’ll get to shortly.

CAPTAIN AMERICA

ThorCapAvAoU2Chris Evans as Captain America may very well be one of my favorite things about the Marvel movies. His take on Cap is on par with Christopher Reeve’s Superman in terms of definitiveness. This figure is the 7th Minimate of his take on the character. He stands approximately 2 ½ inches tall and features the normal 14 points of articulation. Cap is based on his primary look from the film, which, as I noted in my review of the Marvel Legends version of the costume, is a tweak of his STRIKE team suit from The Winter Soldier. As such, it shares many of the same pieces with Series 55’s version of that suit. The helmet, harness, and belt are all the same, and they are just as good here as they were there. The gloves are a reuse of the ones seen on the AoU boxed set’s Nick Fury figure, and they represent a closer match to the gloves from the film than the WS pieces. The paintwork on Cap is generally not bad. There’s a bit of slop in a few areas, and, like the rest of the series, the detail lines could stand too be a little darker, but he looks pretty good overall. The face has a passing resemblance to Evans, which is certainly more than Hasbro’s managed. At first, I didn’t care for the facial expression, but it’s grown on me a little. I still feel that it should commit to either a calm expression or an aggressive one. This one is somewhere in between and ends up looking a little goofy. Cap includes his mighty shield (which is the same as all the previous movie shields), a hand for it to plug onto, a spare hairpiece (which is the same as last year’s Star-Lord, among others), and a clear display stand. These are mostly good pieces, but I don’t think the hair-piece works very well for Cap. It seems he was given this one so that he, Iron Man, and the two Hawkeyes didn’t all have the same hair, but it doesn’t work.

THOR

ThorCapAvAoU3So, hey, remember in the intro when I said Thor was my least favorite cinematic Avenger? Please don’t hurt me, I can explain. See, Thor’s never been one of my favorite Avengers. Yes, he’s a founding member, but he just doesn’t fit well with the whole team thing. Now, I do love Chris Hemsworth’s portrayal of the character in the movies, and I enjoy his interaction with the others, but I can’t say I’m hurt by him having reduced screen time in AoU. Anyway, Hemsworth’s Thor has shown up a little less frequently as a Minimate, with this only being his 5th appearance in the line. Thor is just a slight bit taller than Cap, though he’s only got 12 points of articulation, thanks to the boots. Thor is based on his sans-sleeves look from the film. Seeing as it’s the look he has for both the opening and closing battles, it’s certainly well chosen. It’s also more or less the same design he had in The Dark World, and the figure uses the same selection of parts as the Series 53 Thor from that movie. I don’t actually have that figure (cuz Malekith sucks), but these pieces are all pretty decent parts, and they result in a Thor that looks like Thor. Yay. Now, for paint, it’s important to note that I have the specialty release of Thor, which, simply put, means the paint is better. The TRU Thor was missing a fair portion of the silver detailing on the torso and prevalent instances of the detail lines of the face not lining up with the colors. These issues aren’t present here. However, the figure still has a fair bit of bleed over on the major color changes, and the whites of the eyes and mouth are still the slightest bit misalligned. Also, the face on this figure doesn’t particularly capture Hemsworth’s likeness, though it is DST’s best attempt to date. Perhaps his likeness is just hard to translate. Thor includes his hammer Mjolnir, a flying base, and a clear display stand.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Like Iron Man & Black Widow, I picked up this set from my local comicbook store. This set is a little bit more exciting than yesterday’s, I think in part due to the strength of the two figures that these two are based upon. I’m glad to have another movie Cap in a more conventional set of colors, and this is the best movie Thor that I own (and I didn’t even have to buy a Malekith to get him!). All in all, this is a pretty decent set, and a worthy update on two rather important characters.

#0544: Thor

THOR

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

ThorLoA1

Countdown to Avengers: Age of Ultron: 12 days remaining.

Alright, we’ve seen Captain America and we’ve seen Iron Man. How about we take a look at the remaining corner of the “Avengers Trinity,” Thor, God of Thunder! Ummm, so I don’t actually own that many non-movie Thor figures. I know, bad Ethan. So, this one got picked by default. I swear I didn’t intentionally pick two Marvel Legends figures in a row to torment the readers still waiting for that Hobgoblin. Or did I? No, I really didn’t. Let’s just get to the figure already!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

ThorLoA2Thor was released in second series of Marvel Legends following Hasbro’s takeover of the Marvel license. The figure is roughly 7 inches tall and has 29 points of articulation. He’s based on the Thor’s more armored, Lord of Asgard appearance from the early 2000s, not long before he died for the first time (spoilers?). It was sort of current at the time, so I guess it makes sense here. Thor got a brand new sculpt for this figure. Supposedly, this was one of the figures ToyBiz had finished before passing the license over, and that actually does make a fair bit of sense. This figure, like a lot of the early Hasbro Legends, ends up feeling more like an extension of the ToyBiz Legends than part of a new line. It’s a pretty decent sculpt, though it’s certainly stylized, at least as far as the proportions go. There is a lot of nice detail work throughout the sculpt; his clothing has lots of texture, and there’s some pretty good work on the hair and beard. One real downside of the sculpt is that it ends up being rather restricting to the figure’s movement, so he ends up being really only good for a basic standing pose. Sure, it’s an intimidating standing pose, but it’s a little bland coming from a line that prided itself on crazy amounts of articulation. While the sculpt may be filled with lots of detail and texture, the same cannot be said for the paint. To be fair, it’s not that the paint is bad, sloppy, or messy. It checks all the basic boxes. The problem is that it’s just very flat. The colors are pretty much just there, with no accenting of any sort or even variety. Also, like a lot of the initial Hasbro Legends, his color palette seems really washed out, meaning he just sort of fades into the back of a display. Thor includes his trusty hammer, Mjolnir, a double-bladed axe, and a piece of the series’ Build-A-Figure, the Blob.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

When Hasbro first started to release Legends, I was deep in my obsession with the line. Still, I mostly skipped the first series of the line due to just not being interested in any of the figures. The second series, however, I was rather excited for. I ended up finding most of them at my closest KB Toys (gee, I miss them…). I ended up buying them in batches, and Thor found his way into the second “batch” of figures. Up until Hasbro’s most recent Infinite Series Thor, this was actually the only Legends Thor I had in my collection. He’s not a bad figure, but he’s definitely held back by the paint. Hasbro actually ended up re-releasing this figure with better paint as one of the figures they did to tie-in to the first Thor movie, but I’ve never actually seen one in person.