Super-Articulate: Marvel Legends Eternals
Talk about a contentious group. Not only have audiences and critics been divided on Eternals (I personally really enjoyed it), there has been a strong current of bitching about the Marvel Legends figures since the first glimpses leaked. Granted, there is a solid component of ML fans that have no interest in MCU figures, but also take a profound interest in telling everyone that they have no interest in MCU figures. For my part, I generally get both comic-based and MCU figures, so that wasn’t a problem for me. However, figure buyers have been as sharply divided on the look of the figures as movie people have been divided on the film itself. Whatever your proclivity, the figures have dropped, and in generally available numbers. I’m going to start with the two exclusives and the deluxe, and then movie into the BAF wave.
Thena (Target Exclusive): Like many of you, I used to curse the sky in the name of Target exclusives. However, in the past year or so, Target has done a much better job of making stuff orderable online and in their app. Combine it with a Red Card for 5% off and free shipping, and it becomes easier and cheaper to grab one. I’ve successfully done it several times now, including last year’s Rogue and Gambit, Katy from Shang-Chi, Mobius from Loki, and now Thena.
Most movie figures live or die based on their likeness to the adapted actor, and in this case, the design team did a very good job adapting Angelina Jolie. Here’s a blanket statement for all of the Eternals to follow: Overall, the costume details and color apps on these figures are outstanding. If you’ve seen the film or studied the stills, you’ll see that each character has some very intricate design work in their costume. Hasbro has done an incredible job of transferring those notes into the figures, some of which only become really visible under stronger light. The effect is even stronger when the figures are grouped together, because the metallic finishes and design bits become more pronounced when you have say, Makkari’s red next to Druig’s black, and so on.
For Thena in particular, she comes with the most accessories, four weapons that reflect her ability to manifest same in the film. The figure is fairly poseable, though in Thena and some other figures, the flexible vinylish tunic gets in the way a bit. Still, the armed figure is pretty striking. I might have liked an extra head, given the way that slight spoiler her eyes occasionally change in the film. Overall, a strong figure and one of the best of the bunch.
Ajak (Walmart Exclusive): I preordered Ajak online during Walmart’s fan event, but happened to run across it in-store (I’m aware of the rarity of that), so I picked it up and cancelled the pre. I think that at this point we’re all aware that Salma Hayek made fun of the figure’s expression on Jimmy Kimmel. I have to say that the main head with the headdress has, let’s say, an unfortunate expression. The free-flowing hair look head that’s included looks more like Hayek, but it’s probably not the head most fans would use, given that she appears the other way more often.
Outside of the head/face sculpt, the rest of the figure is pretty great. Ajak’s robes are rendered well, the colors (as noted) are really nicely done, and the general look is good. I also feel that the figure scales nicely height-wise with the others. I do think that it’s unfortunate that Ajak was made a Walmart exclusive, giving the historical difficulty that retailer has with exclusives versus the fact that Hayek has an important role and an essential character for the group.
Kro (Deluxe Figure): Kro’s a little bit tougher for some people to reconcile. If you don’t like the look of the Deviants in the film, then you probably won’t like Kro. The early preview pics did it no favors. However, I do think that the figure looks better in person and out of the box. In terms of successfully representing the character as seen in the movie, the design team did a good job.
In terms of accessories, Kro comes with four sets of tentacle-like attachments. Two fit into the back, and two go on the figure’s arms. It’s important to note that even though the figure has removable hands, these tentacles DO NOT attach at the wrist. The figure has forearm breaks that allow the forearm and hand to be removed on each arm so that the tentacles can plug into those spots. The wider feet give the figure a better base to stand with tentacles attached, but there’s still a bit of tilting and leaning involved to get it to stand.
For my part, I think Kro looks decent enough for what it is, but it’s still of a bit of a let-down for me. I’m not wild about the Deviant design (they remind me a lot of Bay’s original Megatron), and the figure takes up A LOT of room on a shelf for someone that’s really a fairly minor character.
Gilgamesh BAF Wave overview (7 figures and 1 BAF)
I’ll restate the general sentiment: the design details and colors are great. Most of these figures come with, at least, extra hand accessories. I’ll note accessories outside of that in individual character write-ups. Individual notes really come down to likeness thoughts and other accessories.
Sersi: Great likeness of Gemma Chan. The figure really captures her character from the film, and the green sets off well against the other figures. It’s a strong entry.
Ikaris: Another really strong likeness. I like the idea of the extra head with the eye beam effect, but I’m honestly not sure where I land on it. Some days I like how it was depicted, and some days I’m less sure. In general it’s a good sculpt with and a solid representation.
Kingo: Kumail Nunjiani is a really expressive actor. The figure tries to capture that . . . and misses. From a couple of angles, I get what the sculptors were going for, but in execution, it’s not great. On the upside, the “finger guns” and energy effects work well, and the color of the costume is particularly great. It’s just unfortunate that the head takes ahead from everything else that works.
Sprite: The height is great, but this is another head sculpt that leaves a little to be desired. The likeness is okay, but the head feels a little big for the body. This is a figure that could have really used a power effect accessory or something extra. Essential for completing the set, but fairly bland.
Phastos: On the other hand, this is a really good likeness on a sculpt that captures the physical presence of the actor. Another stand-out in terms of costume color, Phastos pops. I also like that you can easily pose Phastos in his signature “creation power” move. One of the better figures in the line.
Makkari: I was great idea to assign one hand for sign language, given the character’s status as the first deaf character in the MCU. The head sculpt is good, but I would have preferred a second one with the braid that Makkari sports for the last third of the film, including the climax. The figure is generally poseable, but is hampered a bit by the tunic. Good effort on this one.
Druig: The red color details on this figure are just insane in the right light; they look great. The likeness is also terrific. However, the poseability is hampered by costume design and there aren’t any other accessories to counter that. I mean, it looks great, and I liked the character in the film more than I expected, but it is, color aside, kind of boring.
Gilgamesh: The Don Lee likeness here isn’t bad, but it’s not as spot-on as, say, Sersi. Still, the figure captures Lee’s physicality and the fists allow him to get in a good boxing pose. The only real let-down is that there’s no accessory for the sort of “energy boxing glove/gauntlet” that Gilgamesh manifests during the action scenes in the film. Overall, it’s pretty solid, but lacks a wow factor.
All Together Now: Interestingly, this is an assortment that I totally think looks better as a group that as stand-alone figures. Put together, the colors play off each other well and the line-up really captures that sort of cinematic moment of all the Eternals together that appears in both the trailer and the film. I get the disappointment from people that would have preferred some really Kirbyesque comic-based figures, but I also understand the notion of these falling in MCU style for their first figures. I would not be surprised at all to see a comic-based Sersi in the next year, given her status as an Avenger and significant presence in the ‘90s books that the design team seems to dig. A comic-based Ajak would be a good move, given how different that character is in the comics. Still, it was kind of a bold choice for Hasbro to go this way, and I don’t mind them doing things differently on occasion.