Author Archives: Troy Brownfield

Super-Articulate: Marvel Legends Avengers Endgame Assortment 2

We’ve been in the Endgame now since late April, and Marvel Legends is keeping us there with a pretty dynamic new assortment. Hasbro provided us this assortment free and for the purposes of our review, so we’d like to thank them. It’s a good group, kids. Let’s get into it.

This assortment is divided between some film-specific versions of characters and characters/versions drawn from the comics. It’s a good balance and the overall assortment is of very high quality. We’ll go comics first, and we’ve got to start with one of the most obscure figures ever produced for the line.

Rock Python: I can’t even begin to describe how delighted I am that this guy even exists. If you didn’t know, Rock Python is a villain, a member of the Serpent Society. The Society has been a running undercurrent in assortments for a few years now; in addition to the hard-to-find Viper/Madame Hydra from the 2012 Arnim Zola wave, we’ve had Constrictor (Terrax, 2012), Cottonmouth (Red Onslaught, 2016), Eel (Abomination, 2016), and King Kobra (Thanos, 2018). That’s a pretty good stealth build-up of a team that’s had a long history and a large roster. Rock Python is just a great addition because he’s got colors that you don’t necessarily see in a lot of costumes and that funky head. The sculpting is solid, especially on that unique head. I’ve always loved seeing lower-level villains, and I’m partially just in love with this one because it’s a crazy selection. It gives me hope that we’ll see more Society members like Sidewinder or Anaconda, because I love the low-key commitment to this team. Great choice.

Union Jack: While the last Union Jack was a decent figure, it was made as part of the hard-to-find Target Exclusive Red Hulk wave of 2008; I’d venture to say that a lot of people missed it (by the way, Hasbro, can we get a new Spiral next? Thanks). THIS Union Jack is very well-done. The body type is good, and the accessories are on-model for the character (Revolver? Check. Knife? Check.) The belt holds the accessories, and the paint job is great. I’m choosing to display the original with my “Invaders” group, while I’m putting this one with his fellow Knight of Pendragon, Captain Britain, and the other members to date (modern Blade, Black Knight) of MI:13.

Loki: This is the Loki that I’ve wanted for years. A comic-accurate first appearance-ish Loki. THIS is how I first encountered the character in comics and in animation. And they NAILED IT. I love this figure. The face, the attitude, the horns, the hair. This is exactly that Loki. Great sword, too. I also like that the collar is an independent piece; the scale-paint is well-handled as well. For longtime fans, this is a must-get. He’s got a home on my shelf with the “first appearance” Avengers. It’s so good, gang.

Beta Ray Bill: Beta Ray Bill has been rendered in a couple of worthy versions before. The Toy Biz figure from way back was really good for the time. The Simonson-esque take from the MODOK BAF wave from 2006 (also Toy Biz) is pretty good, too. The new figure is a modern take along the lines of the character’s representation from Annihilators, and it’s damn good. Let’s start with Stormbreaker; it’s a pretty perfect take on the comic version. For BRB himself, he’s appropriately tall and powerful-looking. The face sculpt, which is crucial for a character like this, is dead-on. The cape and shoulder elements are strong, which also serve as a reminder of Hasbro is doing consistently, and that’s paying attention to the details. They could have painted on Loki’s collar or ignored the straps on Bill that you only see at the torso joint on closer examination. But they didn’t; Hasbro is doing as much as they can in each figure, and it shows. It’s good work from top to bottom. For those that slavishly follow my shelf placement, this one replaces the old one with the Annihilators, while that one moves to the shelf with my Asgardians (Odin, Lady Sif, etc.).

The remaining four figures have their looks drawn either more or directly from Endgame.

War Machine: Guys. GUYS. When this was announced, I thought, “I don’t think I need another War Machine.” So, um, wrong. This is excellent. First off, it’s big. Secondly, the accessories are nicely sculpted and just look cool. The figure body itself boasts some intricate design work, and yes, it’s different than other recent armored bodies. I have not yet tried to hang a Rocket Raccoon figure on the right arm, but that day is coming. Other bits of note: the insignia on the left arm (nice work), the red in the shoulder cannon, the distinctive lines in the faceplate, and the eye details. Beyond my expectations.

Rescue: I’ll start with my one gripe. This should have had an extra head with the flipped-up faceplate like they did for the Iron Man and War Machine Age of Ultron figures. That seemed like a must, given the hero shot we get of Pepper’s landing and faceplate-raise in the final battle in Endgame. Alas, it is not here; I hope it shows up with a future figure. Other than that, I like it. Great color, for one thing. The swappable backpack unit (one closed, one open for blasting) makes great sense as an accessory. The figure manages to be thinner than Tony or Rhodey figures without being slight. Nice details abound, particularly on the head. The figure is also a smart choice, given the action of the film. Hasbro really went out of the way to get as many characters and looks as possible from Infinity War and Endgame represented, include clever measures (like the Target quantum suit two-pack with extra heads), BAFs, and the simple inclusion of figures like this. Nice.

Shuri: Can we just say perfect and move on? This is great. Incredible detail with the face-paint and the Panther gauntlets. Love the skirt and the fact someone sculpted fringe/stitching; that’s crazy. This is quite obviously a figure that was made with some love behind it. It’s great that Shuri has been a breakout character, and I’m happy that Hasbro made the effort to represent her in both comic form (in that two-pack with Klaw) and this film look. If you loved Black Panther, the last two Avengers films, or Shuri in general, this is a must-get for you.

Professor Hulk BAF: This is a perfectly fine Hulk figure with a pair of good head likenesses of Mark Ruffalo-as-The-Hulk. For me, though, it’s not an exciting Hulk. In part, that’s because we’re abundantly blessed with Hulkiness this year. From the Retro SDCC exclusive to the Hulk in the Wolverine two-pack, we’re getting a lot of distinct Hulks. This one, however well-made, doesn’t quite get over the top. If it had glasses and a labcoat or a quantum suit or a swappable “post-snap” mangled arm or an Iron Man Infinity Gauntlet hand, then yeah . . . I’d be more enthusiastic. As it is, it’s a fine figure but suffers a bit in comparison to the abundance of gamma-ray-riches we get this year. Nice heads, though.

There we go, readers! What are your thoughts? Do you have a favorite? And what are you looking forward to at SDCC?

Super-Articulate: Marvel Legends Spider-Man: Far From Home/Molten Man assortment

Greetings, kids, and happy Marvel Movie Day! Yes, we’re moving the column up a couple of days this week because of a) Fourth of July, and b) it’s extremely appropriate to run this on the day that Spider-Man: Far From Home opens wide. Once again, we thank the fine people at Hasbro for providing this set of figures free to us for the purposes of review. Let’s dig in; I think you’re going to like it.

Assortment Overview: Upon the initial reveals, the figure that I was most excited for was the Doppelganger. I’d been waiting for this one for quite some time, as I’ve always liked the look of the character and thought it would be another fine addition to the line. Seeing this line in person, though . . . wow. They nailed this. On with it.

Spider-Man: The basic Far From Home Spidey in the red and black suit is simply another stellar entry in Hasbro’s long history of crushing it with Spidey. I love the fact that the company created the distinct teen bucks several years ago, and they continue to deploy them in excellent fashion. As the line goes on, things like scale get more important, not less, and the smaller teen body for the movie Spider-Man just makes perfect sense. It’s got a great paint job overall, and it’s imminently poseable (it makes for an excellent Spidey crouch). This figure comes with an extra set of hands (one set of fists, one set of Thwips). This is also the one in the assortment that DOES NOT include a BAF figure, so it’s a great stand-alone buy for casual fans or young fans just getting into Legends. It would be a great desk-shelf-rider at work, too. Very nice.

Spider-Man (black/stealth suit): Possibly the least essential entry in the assortment, but it still looks great. The best part for me is the extra head with the flipped-up goggles. Again, the body type is a crucial element in what makes it good. There’s also really nice texturing and detail on the figure. Like the regular Spidey, it also comes with two sets one hands (fists and Thwips).

Spider-Woman (Julia Carpenter): Julia first appeared in the original Secret Wars comic from 1984. She later became a member of the West Coast Avengers, Force Works, and Omega Flight. These days, she’s the new Madame Web. There’s been one prior ML Carpenter in her classic look (a variant in the 2006 Toy Biz MODOK wave), and it was decent. This one, however, is a huge leap forward. The hair alone is tremendous; I included a close-up shot that puts a fine point on how good Hasbro has gotten with the hair on the female figures in the past couple of years. This is a strong figure. It also comes with a “psychic web” accessory that’s attached to a swappable right hand; it looks pretty good. This is a well-done figure and a good inclusion for people that didn’t get the other one from (wow) 13 years ago.

Doppelganger Spider-Man: We knew when we saw the Six-Armed Spidey from the Kingpin assortment that this one would be on the way. That torso type obviously paved the road for it. Doppelganger is much better than that (nevertheless enjoyable) figure, as it adds a level of articulation to the extra arms that pairs well with the other details, like a solid head sculpt, and comic-accurate monstrous feet. As I said, this is the first one that I was here for in this wave, and it doesn’t disappoint me. I also like that the packaging mentions the infusion of demon-power from the Demogoblin; frankly, I think it would be cool to see a couple of other (comics) Infinity War Doppelgangers, but I know that the Spider-version is the one that’s actually hung around in continuity. I would ALSO like to see this new body type applied for an Outrider, which I think would be a great army-builder figure.

Scorpion: Holy crap, kids. This is a GREAT figure out of the package. The tail is ENORMOUS. I love that this is also a classic look that reminds me of when I first encountered the character as a kid. The articulation on the figure and the bendable nature of the tail combine to make this a figure with a lot of posing options. Great, solid color overall, and the defined lines created the ribbed look of the costume are great. This is one of my favorites in the group, which I didn’t expect at all. The second I had it out of the box, it won me over. If you don’t have a prior version of Mac Gargan, you’re doing to want this; if you DO have a prior version, you probably want this.

Hydro-Man: Now this . . . THIS is Hydro-Man. There was a Hydro-Man in the 17th wave of the Legends-adjacent Spider-Man Classics in 2006, but he’s got absolutely nothing on this. This is a classic, comic-accurate, HUGE Hydro-Man with a pair of absolutely amazing “water arms”. The size and weight of the arms make it a little more difficult to stand on its own; HOWEVER, the clever addition of the watery foot covers provides a sturdier base. You can actually see the problem-solving that went into the question of how to provide a figure that is both dynamic and impressive while being engineered to, you know, stand up. Kudos to Hasbro for demonstrating the time and care to address that while simultaneously making a great-looking figure. Also, that face! What a great, smarmy villain expression. Hydro-Man is a big win.

Movie Mysterio: I’ll register one small complaint: it would have been nice to have a Gyllenhead. Regardless, this is a terrific interpretation of both the movie version and one of the greatest crazy-looking characters in comics. The fishbowl head is just right, and the costume detail is positively ornate. It’s a really beautiful sculpt. I expect this to be a very popular figure in its own right. Solid, solid work.

Molten Man BAF: My 14 and 12-year-old sons get to weigh in for a moment. They LOVE this Build-A-Figure. Based on the movie form rather than the frequently shiny-gold, frequently burning Mark Raxton of the comics, this melted monstrosity is one of the reasons that we have the BAF format in the first place. This figure feels like the sculpting team just went crazy, and that’s a good thing. There are literally girders sticking out of it. And it’s HUGE. I’ve always embraced the BAF concept, but I really like when it’s used to give us unusual or oversized figures; this checks both boxes and does it well. Sure, I’d like to see classic Raxton at some point, but this thing is great. I’m happy that it exists, and I know a lot of people will dig it.

There you go. Thanks again to Hasbro for another win; next time, we’ll be looking at the next Marvel Legends Avengers: Endgame assortment. Tell us your thoughts, campers.

Super-Articulate: Making the Majestrix (and Infamous Iron Man!)

A while back, I wrote about the Walgreens Exclusive Mystique. If you recall, that figure came with a couple of alternate heads, including one of Empress Lilandra Neramani, Majestrix of the Sh’iar Empire. This was part of the recent Hasbro/Marvel Legends trend to include accessories that enables the assemblage of new characters that aren’t otherwise available. Another example is the extra Reaver head included with Skullbuster, or the Shadow King head packed with Professor X that fits the Kingpin BAF. It was pointed out pretty quickly, both by observant writers and Hasbro staff, that the Silver Sable figure from the Kingpin wave would make a great body for a custom Lilandra (particularly given the resemblance to her costume and looks we’ve seen for Lilandra, such as the cover to New X-Men #122. I decided to take a crack at that myself.

I picked up an extra Silver Sable on eBay. My first step was remove the head (it just pulls off, of course) and the various holsters, straps, and belts. The thigh holsters and harness are easily removed; I decide to clip the belt because I had another use for the parts later, but you can remove it by other means. With the basic headless figure in place, I added the Lilandra head. I decided to keep the small blaster, but I filled the “new” figure’s other hand with a trident that came with the Namor from the ML Ronan wave from 2007. I felt like that trident was appropriate as it has a decorative look that I would associate with other staffs that Lilandra’s held in the comics. Also, I have that Namor with my Invaders team display, and he never really used the trident in those comics from my youth. For the cape, I took a remnant from some craft fabric that my wife had; it’s got bit of a shiny, satiny look and feel, so it was that sort of sci-fi weight to it. I eyeballed the cut-size based on the Black Knight cape, and then I wrapped the top a bit before clipping it in the back. And THAT became my Lilandra figure. As Bob Ross says, you can do yours any way you want it, but I was pretty happy with how mine turned out. Good on Hasbro for coming up with clever ways to expand the universe of characters.

Speaking of expanding the universe, I finally got ahold of the Walgreens Exclusive Infamous Iron Man. Infamous Iron Man was a 12-issue series that ran in the wake of Civil War II from the team of Brian Michael Bendis and Alex Maleev. In the book, Doom takes over for then-dead-A.I.-Tony Stark to try to help the world. As such, Doom combines his traditional look with one of the modern Iron Man looks. The result is a pretty cool figure. The extra head is Vic’s unscarred face (a result of Secret Wars, etc.); the figure also comes with extra hands and four power effects. This is definitely a figure that’s cooler in person. I like the cape sculpting, and the standard head is great. You can vary the power effects with the multiple attachments (as you can see in the photo of one “smoldering” hand and one “shooting” hand). It’s typically solid Marvel Legends work, and I dig it. If you haven’t found one yet, keep an eye out; incidentally, I’m hearing that the Walgreens Exclusive Emma Frost (in black, new sculpt) hits soon, so be prepared.

SDCC is right around the corner. What do you hope to see?

Super-Articulate: MVMP (Most Valuable Missing Person)

Today I’m digging back into my ongoing theme of team completion, but with a bit of a twist. We’re going to try to narrow it down to the ONE most valuable missing component from pre-existing Marvel Legends teams. Granted, it’s going to be a little tougher with X-Force, but play along.

Annihilators: Sure, they may be a bit more obscure than other Marvel teams, but the Annihilators had two big mini-series after Annihilation: Conquest. Additionally, team member Beta Ray Bill gets a new figure in the forthcoming second Avengers: Endgame wave, and both he and Quasar are rumored to appear in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3. The core line-up consists of Quasar, Beta Ray Bill, Ronan, Silver Surfer, Gladiator, Cosmo, and Ikon the Spaceknight. As you can tell from the photo, most of that group is represented. And while I’d love to get Cosmo in ML scale, we’re going to vote that Quasar is our MVMP. He also checks a box for a MVMP candidate in terms of ‘80s Avengers, but I’d actually give that award to Monica Rambeau Captain Marvel in her original outfit.

Guardians of the Galaxy: On a related note, if you consider the comic GOTG, we’re actually missing A LOT of characters. There’s most of the original team. There’s the aforementioned Cosmo. But there’s also Bug, a comic-accurate Mantis, Phyla-Vell, Moondragon, and Jack Flag from the DnA (and current) era. If we split it between classic and current, I’d say that a classic Yondu is the obvious choice (and easy, you’d think, considering they did a 3.75” version). For the current, I’m going with Phyla-Vell, despite the fact that I do indeed want the rest. (Frankly, I’d like a classic Mantis and Moondragon as well for the Avengers shelves).

Avengers: I’m only going with one here, and it’s a familiar one. Swordsman remains the only Avenger that joined in the ‘60s that hasn’t gotten a figure. He needs to happen.

For ‘70s members, there’s the aforementioned Mantis and Moondragon, but I’m going to go ahead and shout out Two-Gun Kid because a) it’s weird, and b) there aren’t any Marvel Legends cowboys.

I already mentioned my ‘80s pick, but there’s still a lack of Doctor Druid and Starfox to contend with. I feel like Starfox will get some love when The Eternals film hits, as will Sersi.

X-Force: X-Force has gotten its roster bolstered with some seriousness in the last year or two, and we still have Boom-Boom this summer. The first big absence I’d note is Feral, as she’s the last member of the original seven to not have a figure. Of course, that team will never be finished without Siryn, Rictor, and Sunspot, but Feral rounds out the originals.

X-Men: Fine. I’m breaking my own rule. Thunderbird and Mimic. Mimic and Thunderbird. Let’s see ‘em.

Masters of Evil: Look at that empty space longing for Melter. He was on the original team and Ultron’s “Crimson Cowl” line-up. He’s a classic Marvel villain, and he should get some Legends love.

What have you got, kids? Who are your missing MVMPs?

Super-Articulate: What Will the Wizarding World Bring?

These things we know. We know that McFarlane Toys has the Harry Potter/Wizarding World license. We know that four figures (Harry, Ron, Hermione, and Voldemort from HP&TDH2) and one Hippogriff are up for pre-order. We know that McFarlane will likely bring their long history of A-game sculpting to the line. Here’s what we don’t know: why has no one else ever made a successful long-term go of a Harry Potter action figure line?

Early in the life of the films, Mattel picked up the license for the line. And they, well, they Matteled, didn’t they? Those early figures (shown on the shelves in the pictures) lack inspired sculpting; consider that these figures were coming out against Toy Biz’s Lord of the Rings line, among others, and you’ll see that they effort just wasn’t there. Factor in early gaffes like the famously backward-armed Dumbledore, unequal pack-outs of Fred and George, and other weirdness, and one might remember those early message boards being rife with complaints. A second group came out for the second film, but the scale was off and they kind of stiffed at retail.

NECA picked it up later with some good sculpts (like this Harry and Sirius), but they didn’t make an overly large amount. In 2007, PopCo picked up the European license and did some decent figures. Mattel even recently came back to make some “action figure dolls” of the leads, McGonagall and Dumbledore. However, the fact remains that there’s never been a truly comprehensive line at U.S. retail.

Mattel Harry Potter Figures

McFarlane has a crack at changing that. Aside from their general quality, they have wide-ranging distribution. The first four figures also have clever accessories; Harry, Hermione, and Ron each come with their patronus, and Voldemort is packed with Nagini. I also like the idea that McFarlane is starting with The Deathly Hollows Part II. For one thing, it’s the last film in the series, and the one that is the freshest in our minds, overall; for another, these versions of the cast have simply never been done before. It’s also a film that includes a huge variety of characters (the Weasleys, the Order, the Malfoys, most of the professors, Neville, Cho, Hagrid, etc.), so you could conceivably go about knocking out a big portion of the cast just from that film before reaching back into other stories and characters.

It’s important to note that the license in for the Wizarding World, so it also includes Fantastic Beasts. Buckbeak the Hippogriff looks great, so I’m already looking forward to what they do with other magical creatures. I think it would be smart for McFarlane to do an assortment of the main four humans (Newt, Tina, Queenie, and Jacob) at some point in the near future to plant a flag for the franchise, given that the third film now won’t be released until 2021.

What do you think, muggles? Are you interested in the new line? What would you like to see? Have you placed pre-orders? Talk to us. Thanks for reading.

Super-Articulate: Let’s Have the Legion

I want to circle back to something that I discussed in a video a few weeks ago, and that’s the idea of “unfinished teams” when it comes to toy lines. It’s a phenomenon that plagues a lot of collectors, and not just line completists. Often, fans of a particular team begin buying figures based on that group, only to see the figures stop without the basic, core team ever being finished. Sometimes, a line even gets several figures in before screeching to a halt; then, false hope comes when another line picks up the baton, only for that to fold, too. Today, I want to talk specifically about one of the most popular and, simultaneously, misunderstood teams of all time, and how they’re ripe for figure rehabilitation. I’m talking, of course, about the Legion of Super-Heroes.

Created by Otto Binder and Al Plastino in 1958, the Legion became one of the most popular and longest-running DC Comics teams of all time. The group was in some form of continuous publication from 1958 through 2013; they first appeared as teen allies of Superboy from the future, and grew into a sprawling team whose membership came from more than two dozen planets. The Legion occupied Adventure Comics for several years before bouncing around as a back-up feature at the beginning of the ’70s; finding a home in the Superboy series, they eventually received co-billing by 1973 and completely evicted Superboy in 1980.

Legion of Super-Heroes

In the early ’80s, the team’s popularity was white-hot with the team of writer Paul Levitz and artist Keith Giffen; their “Great Darkness Saga” in 1982 is considered an all-time classic. They were so big that a second book was launched in 1984; Legion of Super-Heroes was sold only in comic shops, while Tales from the Legion of Super-Heroes was sold everywhere. After a year, Tales started reprinting the direct market title, but proved popular enough to run three more years. The 1984 LSH ran until 1989, when the book got a new number 1 and a story that picked up five years later. Known to some as the “Five Year Gap” Legion, the new series told challenging stories about an occupied Earth and the Legion fighting to free it.

In 1994, the old Legion was pushed aside for a new Legion in Zero Hour. The young Legion was fairly popular, but that continuity only lasted 10 years before a completely new one came in. Referred to as the “Threeboot,” this new angle only stuck around for five years. In 2007, the original Legion returned in the JLA/JSA “Lightning Saga” crossover. Every version of the Legion got to play together in the Final Crisis tie-in Legion of Three Worlds. When the “New 52” settled in in 2011, the Legion again had two books, but these were gone by 2013. Since then, there have only been teases and hints that the Legion was coming back, most recently in Doomsday Clock.

The core concept of the Legion (“teen heroes from the future!”) is pretty durable, and has proven pretty adaptable to other media. The Legion have appeared in episodes of Superman: The Animated Series, Justice League Unlimited, Smallville, The Flash, and Supergirl. Beginning in 2006, they had their own animated series for two seasons. The Legion has also popped up in direct-to-DVD films like JLA Adventures: Trapped in Time, Lego DC Comics Super-Heroes: Justice League – Cosmic Clash, and this year’s Justice League vs. The Fatal Five.

For all this, the Legion have had a relatively finite showing in action figure form. There’s been a lot of representation in HeroClix, and a handful of figures (Brainiac-5, Lightning Lad, Cosmic Boy, and Saturn Girl) made it in the DC Animated line offered online. In the DC Direct days, just over a dozen Legionnaires were made, along with villain Mordru; the Legion members were Lightning Lad, Cosmic Boy, Saturn Girl, Brainiac-5, Star Boy, Chameleon Boy, Invisible Kid (Lyle Norg), Ultra Boy, Mon-El, Timber Wolf, Colossal Boy, Sun Boy, and Ferro Lad, as well as Superboy and Supergirl. These were well-made figures, but a consistent complaint was that the figures were made in their 1960s costumes, when their later 70s and 80s looks were by far the most popular versions of the characters.

Those looks were reflected in the online exclusive boxed set that DC Universe Classics offered through Mattel’s MattyCollector in 2011; that epic 12-figure boxed set included Lightning Lad, Cosmic Boy, Saturn Girl, Matter-Eater Lad (YES.), Wildfire, Karate Kid, Superboy, Brainiac-5, Chameleon Boy, Ultra Boy, Timber Wolf, a super-sized Colossal Boy, and sidekick Proty. A figure of Star Boy/Starman Thom Kallor was also available that same year as an orderable figure through Matty’s Club Infinite Earths subscription series. Legion villain Validus made it into production as the Collect-n-Connect figure in one wave. DC Universe Classics was gone at retail by 2012, and the subs dried up by 2014. The DC Multiverse line became Mattel’s DC offering in 2016, but aside from the arguable inclusion of various Supergirl figures, no Legion members have hit shelves since.

So what have we learned, Charlie Brown? When McFarlane Toys takes over the line in 2020, it’s high time for some Legion. For one thing, outside of Saturn Girl and Supergirl, there have been ZERO other women produced as figures. And this is for a team with a huge number of female characters. Dawnstar would likely be the most popular, given her unique appearance, but fans have waited a long time for mainstays like Phantom Girl, Shadow Lass, White Witch, Duo Damsel, Sensor Girl, and many more. Likewise, we’ve been left hanging for years on visually interesting characters like Blok, Gates, and Tellus.

When the McFarlane line starts, it’s very likely that we’ll start with new versions of the big three and others right away. Such has always been the way of new DC lines. But I’d really like to see McFarlane embrace the idea of scale equilibrium and create some complementary, long-requested figures to make up the balance of those assortments. There are plenty of gaps in the JLA, the JSA, the Titans, the Outsiders, and more, but for a team that’s been around since the late 1950s, there needs to be some more respect given to the LSH. Long Live the Legion, kids.

Super-Articulate: Imaginext DC Super-Heroes Series 6 – The Rest

It took my sons and I a few weeks, but we’ve finally put together the rest of Imaginext’s DC Super-Heroes blind bag Series 6. This time out, we got all of them at Meijer and Walgreens stores; Walgreen had the most. Every other local outlet that carries them regularly has been a strike-out; some stores still Series 4 out. This is a shame, because this is a good set and it makes me wonder how long Fisher-Price will stay committed to this format if they simply can’t be found in stores.

We’ve covered Catman, Zan, and Signal before; let’s get to the final three.

Jayna: It’s honestly kind of amazing how absolutely few Wonder Twins figures there have been. Introduced all the way back in 1977 in The All-New Super-Friends Hour (and making their comic book debut in that same year’s Super Friends #7), Zan and Jayna are alien siblings with the planet Exxor. When they touch, they can activate their “Wonder Twin Powers!” of transformation. Jayna can take the form of any animal, while Zan can become variants of water. Prior to the Imaginext figures, there have really only been two figure versions of the Wonder Twins. One was an SDCC Exclusive for the DC Universe Classics line that was later available online (however, only the con version came with an additional Gleek). There’s also a Mego-style pack of the Wonder Twins and Gleek from Figures Toy Company. And that’s basically it.

The Imaginext Jayna is well-done, and offers a good complement to Zan. Sadly, there is no Gleek to be had; maybe Fisher-Price will roll one into a later blind bag or set. Jayna comes packed with a bird, as her most frequent transformation selection was becoming an eagle that would carry a bucket full of watery Zan. The feet of the bird aren’t that well done; they’re made to grip onto a characters arm when they really should be shaped to hold the bucket. So, the figure itself is nice, and the bird is okay, but it could have used more work. I added some shots of Jayna with the previously-reviewed Zan for comparison.

Superman Armor Lex Luthor: This one’s fine. I like the facial expression; that’s classic Lex. But unless you’re really into the whole Lex in SuperArmor story from the comics, this one might not do much for you. The sculpt is good and the cape is well-made, but it kind of sticks out against all of the other characters that could have been made to fill this lot.

Dr. Fate: Now this is something. Dr. Fate is easily the best figure in this group of six. The collar on the costume is patterned after the Hector Hall Dr. Fate from the Geoff Johns and company run on JSA. The colors stand out, and the cape looks good. The best feature is that they took the care to properly scupt the mask so it looks like there are spaces for ears like there are in the comics. That’s some crazy attention to detail. The clip-on power accessory looks good in the yellow plastic, but it’s too bad they couldn’t work an ankh in there. Still, great figure, best of the six.

I’ve included some photos of all 6 figures from this series together. Overall, it’s a good little group. Fisher-Price’s Imaginext expression has a good thing going in DC Super-Heroes. Going forward, I’d like to see them casting wider nets for the blind bag figure choices, and seeing what they could do to fill some obvious holes (Alfred, more of the Shazam family, the Atom, etc.).

What do you think, readers?

Super-Articulate: Gaps in Marvel Legends

Today, we look at character gaps in Marvel Legends teams and subcategories. What figures would you like to see Hasbro release? Sound off in the comments below!

Super-Articulate: Marvel Legends X-Men Caliban Wave

Every year for the past three, the X-Men wave has been one of the most hotly anticipated arrivals in the world of Marvel Legends. This year generated particular excitement, as a number of long-requested characters either got new versions or finally joined the ranks with their first interpretation. Let’s dive in for a look at what’s sure to be a strong seller. But first, we need to thank Hasbro for sending us these figures for free for the purposes of review. We certainly appreciate their assistance.

The wave comes with seven figures; of the group, Gambit contains no BAF piece. The remaining six are Weapon X Wolverine, Jubilee, Forge, Blink, Skullbuster, and Beast (Jim Lee-style). The BAF is Caliban in his X-Force iteration. This is a very, very ‘90s-inspired wave with a particular emphasis on the Silvestri/Lee runs on the book (indeed, this version of Forge, Skullbuster, Jubilee, Gambit, and Beast come right from that era). It hits a lot of sweet spots for obvious reasons. Let’s dig.

Jubilee: It sort of blows my mind that there has never been a classic Jubilee that captures her early appearance from the comic and the celebrated animated series. In the original Toy Biz line, there was a Generation X version and a sort of anime-inspired version (in the Robot Fighters assortment), and Marvel Legends had the scarce BAF the featured the black outfit prominently seen in stories like “Curse of the Mutants.” But the vaguely-Robineseque original look never got committed to Legends plastic. Until now.

This figure is an automatic winner. The body is appropriately teen-scaled. The second head that sports a bubble-gum-bubble is absolute genius. Removable glasses are a solid idea. And the trenchcoat sculpt is tight. In short, Hasbro killed it. I can’t believe that this figure FINALLY exists after literal decades. If the internal goal is to produce the entire line-up seen in the biggest selling single issue of all time, they’ve almost got on. Good on Hasbro, and great work.

Weapon X: I might be the least excited about this figure, because I was pretty happy with the one produced for the line several years ago. However, I love one thing in particular, and that’s the height. Wolverine is SUPPOSED to be short. He’s roughly 5’3” in the comics, but he’s gotten progressively taller in extra-media protrayals, particularly by Hugh Jackman. Still, this is a great sculpt, and I’m well aware that many collectors may have missed the original version. It’s well done, but it didn’t check any boxes for me.

Forge: Similarly, Forge is a redo of a figure made years ago in an exclusive two-pack. Of the two, THIS is the superior figure. It’s a really strong version of the character as he appeared in the issues transitioning from Silverstri to Lee; it’s also appropriate that he appears in the wave with Skullbuster, as Forge and Banshee kicked huge Reaver ass on Muir Island when they began to search for the then-missing X-Men. I love the look of the figure, down to the boots and the two weapons. The original Forge is decently rare, so this is actually a much-needed upgrade that a lot of X-fans are going to scoop up. Another really solid job.

Beast: Holy crap, man. It’s been YEARS since we got a Beast (what, like OG Legends wave 5?). This is a massive, massive improvement and absolutely captures the Jim Lee look. It’s frankly stunning. The figure has size and heft, too. It also comes with two spare hands to give closed fist and open hand options. My singular, minor regret is that there isn’t an extra bespectacled head. But, again, that’s minor. This is a really, really good, much-demanded figure, and it’s, not to be repetitive, another home run.

Gambit: In the wider span of Marvel Legends history, there have been a few Gambits. The “best Gambit” question has now been answered. This one. Part of that comes from the sculpt, which is rock-solid. Part of that comes from the hand attachments, which are perfect. One is a splay-fingered card throwing attachment. Another accessory is a “charged card” that slides between another hand’s index and middle fingers. The staff is well crafted, and it’s a good height. I also like the flair of the trenchcoat and the facial expression. This one’s pretty immaculate, kids.

Skullbuster: I was pretty happy to see Skullbuster. He never got made in the OG Toy Biz days, and he’s never been represented in Legends. In fact, the only extant Reaver in the line is a years-old Lady Deathstrike. As I said, the figure plays a role alongside Forge, so that’s really cool. I LOVE that there’s a second head for Reese, another Reaver; as I’ve said in the past, those little touches make for great value-adds. The ammo belt is well-done, and the pistol is comic-accurate. What a cool, surprising figure.

Blink: OH MY GOD. Blink is beautiful. This is exceptional. Blink has one of the best faces in the line, period. The teleportation portal is great, the “energy knives” look really cool, and the sweep of the tunic/skirt is nicely realized. The figure is also sculpted in such a way that you can pose her in a position that makes it look like she’s emerging from the portal. That’s just nuts. I didn’t know how much I wanted a Blink in the line until I saw it revealed, and now that I see it in person, I’m just crazy about it. My favorite figure from the wave, and one of my favorite Legends this year. A must-buy.

Caliban: I’ve heard a few people say that Caliban wouldn’t have been one of their choices for the BAF. That’s fine; I dig him. The powered-and-sized-up X-Force version is rather cool, and the sculptors obviously had a field day. The head/face is just great, and I like the general mass of the figure. I’d really like to see more X-Force/X-Factor figures realized in the line, and with Caliban, the updated Cannonball, and Boom-Boom, it seems like Hasbro is committing to it. We really need Sunspot, Feral, Siryn, and Rictor, but I get that it takes time. Nevertheless, I like this figure and it was probably the best opportunity for Hasbro to execute on it, so good for them.

It’s a tough call, but this might be my favorite Legends wave of the year so far. It’s a really strong set of sculpts that leverages in some much-requested characters along with a couple of surprises. A whole lot of collectors are going to be saying, “To me, my X-Men!”

Super-Articulate: Marvel Legends Loki & Corvus Glaive

Rejoice, for I bring you tidings of great gladness from your lord and savior, Thanos! At his best, the Black Order of the films is finally complete! Bow down in subjugation, mortal wretches.

-Ebony Maw

Thank you, Ebony Maw, for that warm introduction. And he’s right; the film version of Thanos’s Black Order gets wrapped up courtesy of this Marvel Legends Walmart Exclusive two-pack. After a rocky initial offering online at Toy Fair time that sold out quickly, followed by a second listing online that caused problems for a number of customers (like this one), the much-anticipated Loki and Corvus Glaive two-pack started making its way into brick-and-mortar Walmart stores in the past few weeks.

Distribution on these is a bit of a crap shoot. The two Walmarts closest to me just outside of Indianapolis have been empty more than once, but there were plenty at one inside the city near the westside. I understand they’ve been fairly plentiful in California and the Chicago area, but again, your mileage may vary. Initial eBay prices were quite crazy, and some of them are still marked way too high, but with a bit of effort or connections with friends, you can probably find one for the regular price of $39.99.

Let’s start with the non-Odinson . . .

Loki: Why the figure is essentially very similar to the Loki from the Thor: Ragnarok assortment, there are a couple of good tweaks. Notably, the left hand is sculpted to be able to hold the included Tesseract; this, of course, mirrors the scene from Avengers: Infinity War wherein Loki is forced to offer the Infinity Stone up to Thanos. This is a solid Loki figurre, and the Hiddleston likeness is strong. I also like the cape (those that prefer their Loki capeless might find that this is a good cape for the Silver Sable/Lilandra head project we’ve mentioned before). I wouldn’t have necessarily gotten this figure on its own, as there are a couple of good Lokis out there and the classic comic version is due soon, but it’s a good figure, and one that will have a good home on my MCU shelves.

Corvus Glaive: This guy is totally why I came to this particular party. The stab-happy child of Thanos and leader of the Black Order is, well, excellent. The team did a terrific job here, going the extra mile on details like the raised pattern impressions on the cape. This face sculpt is absolutely full of personality and menace, too. The build is slight, mimicking the figure’s comic and film counterpart. The hands are shaped appropriately to hold Glaive’s signature weapon as well. Corvus Glaive is a strong figure and well worthy of inclusion into your own person Marvel Legends land.

As promised, I’ve included pictures of the entire Black Order; I opted to use the Armored “Endgame” Thanos. I’m not afraid to say that these five figures are kind of an achievement. Two years ago, I would have laughed at the idea that Hasbro would manage to work this many Order characters into the line already; I was wrong. Again, this is the MCU Black Order; maybe we’ll get the other comic members, Supergiant and Black Swan, down the road, but I won’t hold my breath. Regardless, Hasbro did an incredible job with their renditions of these films. The figures have that weight and mass and look just creepy enough. Hats off to Hasbro for going with this idea and seeing it through.

Overall, I think the two-pack is definitely worth it. Glavie is just great, and I like this version of Loki, too. Hopefully, the success of this two-pack will allow Hasbro to continue taking risks with character choice and be innovative in terms of exclusives.

« Older Entries