Category Archives: Super-Articulate

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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.

Super-Articulate: Nova, Mobius, Aurra, and Tech

The stuff never stops rolling out of Hasbro these days, so here’s a bit of housekeeping before I drop a big Eternals piece in time for the movie. That one will include the entirety of the BAF assortment, the deluxe Kro, and the exclusives Thena and Ajak. For today, we have two Marvel exclusives and two Star Wars figures in general release. We’ll hit those first.

Star Wars Black Series: Aurra Sing

I’ve been waiting on this one for some time. The bounty hunter that popped up in Episode I and had a much bigger presence in The Clone Wars (and also apparently got knocked off before Solo) is a distinctive character with an interesting look. I’m a fan of the bounty hunters in general, so this was a natural for me.

I’ll start with weapons first, for once. Sing comes with two dual-trigger blasters and sniper rifle (is it a Fallan hyper-rifle?). These are the obvious, and a great, choices, though it might have been cool to get some trophy lightsaber handles.

As for the overall look, it’s just right, acknowledging the height, her unique hands, and costume details. Of particular note are the holsters (including that excellent chain) and the vest. It’s really strong work, set off by an excellent face sculpt. The head antenna also looks great; I was a bit concerned that it could be damaged during removal from the package, but it turned out just fine. I have to say that the color is really nicely done; outside of pilot outfits, we don’t get a lot of orange, so it’s nice to see this shade rendered with care. Well-done.

Star Wars Black Series: Tech from The Bad Batch

One more member of the Bad Batch down! Like the other figures, Tech comes with multiple accessories which include a backpack, a blaster, and his helmet. The helmet is my favorite part of the figure, due mainly to those large optics. The blast shield does drop over the eyes, which is a detail that I appreciate. The best detail is the tool pouch on the characters left thigh, with exposed and removable tools. That’s just a great touch.

Overall, the body is comparable to the other clones, but the paint apps do a great job of differentiating the look. Like Sing, the holster is well-rendered. The face sculpt, scene here in a couple of photos, is another fine execution based on the animation. I don’t have a ton to say about Tech overall, but it’s a good, solid figure and a fine addition to the line.

Marvel Legends: Target Exclusive Mobius

Getting exclusives from Target has gotten a lot easier, in my opinion. I use the Target app and I have a Red Card, so preorders get made quickly and come with 5% off. I also use the free pick-up option. It certainly worked great for both Thena (coming soon to this space) and Mobius.

Mobius was a totally logical figure to make. He has a big role in Loki, so of course it makes sense to add him. It’s not a hugely exciting figure, but I’m glad it exists. The suit body is the now-familiar buck. I know some people have made fun of the head sculpt online for looking a little like Alex Trebek, but I think they did a fairly decent likeness of Owen Wilson in the role.

The figure comes with two accessories. The first one is the TVA time baton that the group uses as both weapon and transport device. The other is a TVA TemPad. I kind of feel like Mobius got the accessories and not Loki so as to create a value-add for this figure. Loki is Loki; he’ll sell anyway. Whereas, some might be on the fence about Mobius and go over the edge of purchasing because of the extras. Like I said, not hugely exciting, but cool enough. (By the way, if you want to give him a jetski . . . here.)

Marvel Legends: Walgreens Exclusive Nova

No need to hold back. I loathe the Walgreens Exclusive process. They only sporadically make the ML exclusives available online and social media is alive with tales of how much people hate the distribution. And that was PRE-pandemic.

So while there have been lots of reports on people spotting Nova on the East or West Coasts, I live Indiana. We are about the last to get anything, and that’s certainly been true of Nova. When I saw a seller have one for an extremely reasonable price, I jumped on it. Thankfully, that hunt is over. Now I’m on the lookout for Quasar. Sigh.

At any rate . . . hey! This Nova is excellent! The figure comes with “fight” and “flight” hands, but the best extra is Nova Corps member Qubit with a flight stand. It’s a great touch that Hasbro gives us small characters like this from time to time.

This particular Nova is based on the characters classic look and is just a great sculpt overall. It’s really poseable and has some great paint apps. I also like the blue-glow eye effect; it sets this Nova off from other versions. I got this Nova particularly to display with my New Warriors, which I did. While I could have done without fruitless Walgreens searches, the actual figure was worth the wait.

Super-Articulate: More Infinity Saga and a Big Clone

Figures having been falling like rain for the last few weeks, and I have fallen further behind. In hand and waiting to be reviewed, I have the Eternals assortment (and Thena) and the Star Wars Black Series Tech, among other. Today, I’m knocking off the last of the Infinity Saga and Tech’s teammate.

Star Wars Black Series: Wrecker

I pre-ordered Wrecker the day he came available on Hasbro Pulse many months ago. There was a brief spate of the figure showing up in stores, but then I saw a lot of reports of it being difficult to find. Mine finally arrived, for which I’m glad, but I not sure what prompted the various shifting dates.

Wrecker got the Deluxe treatment, so it’s a higher price point ($29.99 on Pulse). The figure IS larger, fitting the character’s nature, which is the right decision. I like that Wrecker has some mass, and it makes him stand out next to (for example) Hunter.  The face sculpt is strong, and the overall paint app is really good. It might be the best of the three Bad Batch figures I’ve reviewed so far. I found the poseability to be fairly strong. Both larger characters and armored characters can sacrifice articulation at times, but Wrecker has a good balance.

The figure comes with four accessories: a helmet, backpack, vibroknife, and blaster. The helmet has a very good, show-accurate deco, the backpack has some good detail work, and the weapons are the usual dependable Hasbro Star Wars quality. This is another good-looking new character for the line, and I look forward to getting Tech opened and set up with the others.

Marvel Legends: The Infinity Saga Avengers Endgame Iron Man LXXXV & Thanos two-pack

Yes, I open this review acknowledging that a good many of you are Thanosed out after repeated BAFs and releases since 2018. There’s been the unarmored BAF, a tweaked version of same in a three-pack, the armored BAF, the Deluxe comic version, and now this one. Part of the reason for this version of Thanos existing is rather simple: there is stuff here that would have been major spoilers in 2019.  I was pretty uncertain about it myself. But I have to say that the team did a really fine job here.

The basics: two figures, seven (!) heads, and a bunch of accessories. If you look closely, you’ll see that this two-pack is basically meant to cover every stage of the final battle from Endgame, beginning when Thor, Capt, and Iron Man engage Thanos on up until the Mad Titan’s dusting. You have the weapon that Tony first uses to attack Thanos, Tony’s energy shield, and four additional Iron Man hands (one of which is for the climactic snap). There’s an unblemished Tony head, an Iron Man head/helmet, and the wounded Tony for the snap. On the Thanos side, there’s his rotor blade, a helmeted head, two unhelmeted heads with different expressions, and an oh-shit-I’m-dusted-now head. Thanos has closed fist Stark Gauntlet with stones, and a snap-gesture Stark Gauntlet with the stones removed (that, my friends, is attention to detail).

Overall, the details and paint apps here are killer. Take a look at some of the pictures to see the fine notes on each set of armor. Both are well-articulated, and the posing potential is really strong. Of course, I put Tony on the shelf in the final “I am Iron Man” kneel. If you’re happy with previous versions of the characters released over the life cycle of the film, then by all means, enjoy those. But these are some top-notch efforts that make me feel like the scenes are complete on my shelf in a way. Really nice work all around.

Marvel Legends: The Infinity Saga Thor:Ragnarok Surtur

I love this guy. I love him because he’s huge and crazy. After Ragnarok passed, I didn’t think we get cinematic Surtur (or any Surtur), but I was delighted when this was announced. It’s hard to conceptualize how big 13” is against other Legends, but Surtur is pleasantly huge. He’s also got an insanely big Twilight Sword (which even huge-sword-wielding Guts from Bezerk must admire).

Take a look at the pics to see Surtur next to Thor. Sure, he’s not as big as he gets in the climax of Ragnarok, but that’s impressively large in non-HasLab Legends terms. I know some didn’t like the overall color appearing, but I like the face and flame details here. The figure is pretty poseable overall, but balance is an issue with the figure’s size.

I feel like putting out a big figure like this at an elevated price point ($52.99 initially) was kind of a risk for Hasbro, but I’m glad they did it. Recent years have seen them show a willingness to stretch the notion of bigger or Deluxe figures with releases like MODOK. I’m glad that they’ll take chance just because there are fans out there that have off-the-wall stuff that they want to see. I like that this guy even exists, and I appreciate the work that went into it.

Super-Articulate: The Infinity Saga and More

You don’t need me to tell you that supply chains have been wacky. As such, not everyone is getting their figures at the same time, whether by in-store or pre-order. Sometimes, they come like a chain of fireworks. That’s been happening to me, as I had a number of figures from the Marvel Legends Infinity Saga arrive one right after the other. To that end, today I’ll be cover the following figures from that expression: Happy Hogan/Iron Man XXI, “Endgame” Thor, Odin, Quicksilver, and the Captain Marvel/Rescue two-pack. I’ll also throw in the Diamond Select/Marvel Select Titanium Man, which arrived in August but took a little more time to get to me. Let’s dive in.

The Infinity Saga Overview
The Marvel Legend Infinity Saga subset is an expression consisting entirely of MCU figures. It contains a few characters that have never been done before (Quicksilver, Odin, Surtur, Obidiah Stane, Happy Hogan), different undone versions of familiar characters (Endgame versions of Thor and Captain Marvel), and some that are more seen as updates (Rescue). On a personal level, I decided to give a few a miss (the individual Iron Man, the redo of Infinity War Cap, the Obidiah/Iron Monger two-pack). I remain curious about some characters that weren’t put into the Infinity Saga subline (notably Wong and Kraglin), but I suppose they could be tucked into a regular assortment down the road. As an overall concept, it’s a good idea for people that try to make as complete an MCU as possible, and I feel like quite a bit of work went into a few figures in particular.

Happy Hogan & Iron Man XXI: Let’s face it. I straight up ordered this for Happy. Jonny Favs is the man behind the scenes; after all, he made Iron Man work and he co-brought us The Mandalorian (and Swingers!). And I’ve particularly enjoyed the dynamic between Happy and Spider-Man in the movies.  The design team absolutely nailed Favreau’s face here. That, coupled with Happy’s ever-present phone, makes for a great figure that can lend itself to some comedic posing. Parts of the body build have been used before, but there’s nothing wrong with repurposing suit elements.

Speaking of suit elements, I thought the XXI was a little meh until I looked at it in person. The thing that I like the most is use of gray in the joints. It adds a touch of color that a) you don’t see in most pictures and b) breaks up the monochrome. I know that some people tire of Iron Man versions, but I’m never down on another suit, given their ubiquity in both the comics and Iron Man 3 in particular. Would I like to see Igor someday? Of course, but this one is pretty cool if you get a close look, and fairly poseable.

Endgame Thor: Here’s a figure people have been asking for pretty much since Endgame premiered. Call him Final Battle Thor if you want, but it’s the version of the Odinson that we get near the film’s end. Having been on his traumatic journey and attempting to emerge on the other side, Thor summons both Mjolnir and Stormbreaker, adoring himself in armor once again and throwing in a great Vikings-inspired beard to boot. This is a tremendous figure. This wasn’t just slapping a belly on Thor and calling it a day. There is considerable new work in the heavier torso, the arms, the legs, and the intricacy of the armor design. We see quite a bit of detail in the face, beard, and hair. The powered-up blue eyes were a good choice as they sort of reflect the exact moment that Thor becomes this version of himself. Obviously the figure comes with the two weapons, as well as attachable lightning effects and an extra pair of hands. Putting this figure on the shelf really felt like I was adding a missing piece. It’s great.

Odin: It’s been 10 years since Odin appeared in the MCU for the first time, so . . . better late than never? Odin comes with two heads (one helmeted, one not and with his hair down) and his spear, Gungnir. I chose to go with the helmeted look. The figure looks nice; it’s certainly a good sculpt. And I’m glad there’s pop of red from the cape, because the brown, while fairly accurate to some of Odin’s onscreen scenes, is fairly drab here. I like the figure well enough, and I’m glad that it exists, but it’s not the most exciting of the batch.

Quicksilver: Turning back to missing pieces . . . Quicksilver made his MCU debut in the post-credits scene of Captain America: The Winter Soldier in 2014 and finally makes it into the Legends line here. Don’t let anyone dissuade you: this is a GREAT figure. While it certainly looks good (and the multi-toned hair is well-done), the major reason for its success is poseability. It rivals the recent MCU Shang-Chi on that level. You can do a number of running and fighting poses (the two sets of hands also lend themselves to sprinting and action). This guy just looks REALLY good. It struck me that there’s actually no Marvel Legends AoU Wanda counterpart for Quicksilver; Wanda’s film figures prior to WandaVision come from the very end of AoU or Civil War. Regardless, this Quicksilver is, again, GREAT. Well done, team.

Captain Marvel/Rescue: I sort of ordered this for completeness/accuracies sake in terms of my Endgame shelf, but I’m ultimately really glad I did. I like this set a lot. Captain Marvel accurately reflects the color-flip that the character’s costume got in Endgame, and the headsculpt over course recognizes that hairstyle that she sports after the five year jump. Like Quicksilver, the figure is very poseable, and the loose sash hangs well. The best accessory is the Stark Gauntlet, which can be tucked under Carol’s arm just like in the film. I like that they made this take on Carol; you really do need her for your Endgame set-up.

As for Rescue, this is basically a re-do. The body is similar to the original movie-time release, but the helmet sculpt has been improved and the pack includes two additional heads. One is a helmetless pony-tailed Pepper (essentially the look when she joins Captain Marvel in the “She’s got help” scene) and the other is the flipped-up faceplate look from when she enters the Assemble scene and lands by Tony. The biggest addition is that expanding set of weapon attachments that connect to the backpack. Special note here: there are two backpacks. You have to use the one with highlighted silver panels, and those panels have to come off in order in attach the expanded weapon array. With all that on, it’s a fairly impressive figure; for display purposes, I used the pony-tail head because that was the look my wife preferred.

And here’s another thing . . .

Diamond Select/Marvel Select Titanium Man: I don’t normally pick up Marvel Select figures, but I saw a couple of people online displaying this late-August arrival with their Winter Guard and I had to pick it up. This figure is monstrous. I mean it’s HUGE. In package, it was bigger than the steering wheel on my Hyundai. I took a picture of the package next to the Expanded Version of The Stand because it’s almost comically big. But wow, does it look great. There’s a ton of detail here. The Boris head is suitably angry, and the “helmet head” captures the original feel of the character. Lots of care was taken with the sculpt, from the bumps on the armor to the treads on the boots. It’s also surprisingly poseable for such a big figure. It might not be to everyone’s tastes and purists may want a Legends-only display, but I think he looks great with my own Winter Guard and adds a dimension and density to it that I otherwise would not have had.

Super-Articulate: Marvel Legends Bring on the Bad Guys!

Hey! I know it’s out of order! And late!

Here’s the deal: I actually got the previously reviewed Iron Man/Ursa Major BAF wave ahead of completing the Bad Guys/Xemnu BAF assortment. Also, I live in Indiana, which is seemingly the last place to get anything that isn’t basketball. At any rate, it resulted in a situation where some venues got their Bad Guys weeks ago, and I didn’t complete mine that long ago. Plus, it’s been a little crazy over here for other writing and life reasons, none of which would interest you that much (except for maybe the inter-company crossover I wrote that I can’t talk about yet). Therefore, with no further delay, Bring on the Bad Guys!

Overview: I previously said that the Ursa Major wave was my favorite of the year. I think it’s now duking it out with this one. Eight (counting Xemnu) classic comic villains, some of whom have never been done before, and a couple of whom that have never been done before in their classic style for Marvel Legends, would have been an automatic get for me anyway. But the design team really outdid themselves here. There are great flourishes for each figure and some excellent accessories.

The Hood: I’m going to start with the much maligned Hood. First off, you guys must secretly love him if you’ve made him the star of memes without end. And I’ll give you, the face sculpt is an odd choice. His expression is that of a man that just stepped in a bear trap. But I’m honestly just happy that The Hood finally exists. Parker Robbins was a major villainous presence in the Marvel Universe for much of the 2000s, appearing in or impacting events like Secret Invasion, Dark Reign, Siege, and the Heroic Age.

I feel like the figure gets a number of things right, but I do think it’s a touch short for the length of the, well, hood. The pistols and their effects turned out really well, and I think that it’s great to have the character alongside members of the crew he assembled in comics. I don’t think it’s bad, but it’s a solid okay.

Red Skull: Okay, there’s no question for me. Of the two heads that come with this figure, it’s the smile version all the way. There’s some serious Kirby/Erik Larsen energy in that leer. I love it. Remarkably, this is the first time that the Skull has been depicted in figure form in the straight-up green Hydra costume. This is indeed a very classic Skull, and the sculptors nailed it.

In terms of accessories, I have to give a hat tip to whomever decided to make the grasping hand big enough to really grip the Cosmic Cube. That makes a ton of difference in posing, and opens up other options. The pistol looks perfect for this version of the character as well. The new Skull is pretty striking, and of all the different versions (including Iron Skull, Red Onslaught, etc.), this is my favorite.

Arcade: IT’S ABOUT TIME. Think of all the times that Arcade has appeared in Marvel video game media alone! That original X-Men PC game, Ultimate Alliance, etc.? And Arcade has figured into some truly memorable storylines; there’s his first appearance, his team up with Dr. Doom (Doombot, whatever), Avengers Arena. It’s crazy to think that there has NEVER been an Arcade figure. This is a huge character choice win. As far as the design, I think it’s great. It’s an extra mile figure, too, in terms of detail. Look at the lifts in his shoes. Check out the number of tiny paint apps here. The extra head (with the Arena look) is a welcome surprise. He looks so good, it makes me want to build death traps for my X-Men. Well done.

A.I.M. Scientist Supreme: This was the figure that I was least sure of, but I love this guy. It’s just a terrific realization of the overall look of one of my favorite costumes in comics: the A.I.M. “beekeeper suit.” But the great bits are how the figure incorporates the modernized elements of the look. The shiny finish, the belt, the joints . . . all look especially good. I really enjoy how poseable the head is, making it easy for the Scientist Supreme to look at his data pad and despair how much repeated Avengers ass-kickings are costing them. Sometimes, it’s just the look, y’know. This one just looks great.

Dormammu: I’ve always thought that the SDCC Exclusive “Book of the Vishanti” Dormammu was well done, and it still looked good when it reappeared as a BAF. However, I’d always wanted the classic look. The first book that I recall owning that included Dormammu was Marvel Feature #2, starring The Defenders. While this look isn’t exactly the same as that one, it’s the idea that I have when I picture classic Dormammu. Like Red Skull, I feel like this is a fairly definitive take on the comic version of the figure. That maniacal face sculpt just puts it over the top.

Lady Deathstrike: The Marvel Legends line had an early Lady Deathstrike and it, well, had some problems. Notably: the arms with the mechanical extrusions which drastically limited poseability. However, this one is just excellent. It’s one of those instances where it looks like it was just peeled off the page. And this is definitely a figure that benefits from updated and added poseability. It’s like night and day to the original version. The billowy sleeves are a nice touch, but it’s the outstanding hand sculpts and the vastly improved face that really make it.

Doctor Doom (Secret Wars): God Emperor Doom! Secret Wars was a sprawling story filled with some memorable scenes (not the least of which was an Infinity Gauntlet-wielding Black Panther and Sub-Mariner teaming up), but one of the stand-outs was Doom’s utter demolition of Thanos. If you’re into Mortal Kombat-fatality homages, this figure is for you. In what has to be one of the grossest and most hilarious accessories in ML history, Doom comes with the spinal column and skull of Thanos. It’s tremendous. As for Doom himself, the look is great, the finish is solid, and the eyes are very well done. However, I have seen some reports that the figure is fragile on the underside, so be careful with your leg posing. I wouldn’t say this is necessary for the casual fan that has other recent Dooms, but it’s a solid pick-up for the deep bench collector.

Xemnu BAF: Never in a million years did I think we’d see a BAF of Xemnu the Titan! The long-time Hulk antagonist was created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby in 1962, and he’s popped up a number of times over the years, including in The Immortal Hulk. I know that some were disappointed that this BAF was a more obscure character, but not me. I’m a huge fan of the “Universe” aspect of Marvel Legends, so any new inclusion is fine by me. It also makes sense to repurpose parts (like from Sasquatch) when the need arises. And honestly, I just love the look of it. Plus, we can always use more huge bad guys, right? I find this to be an extremely fun figure, and I’m glad they used the BAF slot on it.

Super-Articulate: Marvel Legends Ursa Major BAF Wave

No preamble. Let’s get into it.

Overview: This might be my favorite assortment of the year so far. There’s a lot to be said for an assortment that is so heavily, well, comic book. We’ve gotten some great movie figures this year, with more to come, but my favorites are always going to be the ones heavily rooted in the Marvel mythos. Couple that with a couple of long-terms Wants, and this turns out to be a real delight.

Stealth Iron Man: Yes, this is essentially the same body as the 80th Anniversary figure and the recent A.I. Iron Man. HOWEVER. Like many of the armored figures in the assortment, it makes great use of the metal finish. Back in the ‘90s Toy Biz Iron Man line, they called it vac (vacuum) metallization. Whatever the process name is now, it looks great. The metallic sheen looks great in the deep blue in particular. Even if you have an earlier pass at the Stealth Iron Man, this still looks extremely good. I was lukewarm on this at the announcement, but I really like it in person.

Vault Guardsman: Though it wasn’t at the top of my Want List, it was still a figure that I wanted to see. I’ve been digging the Guardsmen at least since the Avengers two-parter back in #236 and #237 in 1983. It’s a fun story with Spider-Man, Blackout, Moonstone, and yes, the Guardsmen. This is a strong representation of the characters from the comics, and it also deploys the metal process. There’s also a slight bulkiness to the frame that I think looks good; it varies the size of the armored figures and is a great look for a character that’s a potential threat. I also really like the green, which is a generally unrepresented color in the armored figures.

Hologram Iron Man: My very first thought upon seeing this in person was how much it reminded me of the Tomy Tron figures from 1982. I loved the look of those, and I would be surprised if it wasn’t a touchstone of inspiration for the design team. As you know, the Hologram Tony has figured into the books in a number of ways over time. And like the green of the Guardsman, this figure is striking because it stands out among the other armors. I enjoy the fact that Hasbro is willing to take risks with oddballs like this. As you know, I’m always for the most complete version of the Marvel Universe that we can get, and this fits the bill.

Ironheart: Similarly, you know that I’m given to go on about the hair work that the designers do on the figures. In that regard, this is a (no pun intended) champion. The Riri head is spectacular. That is top-flight hair and face sculpting. This is one of those instances where it looks like the figure was peeled off of the page. It’s just outstanding.  Another great note is the slim build for the figure; this LOOKS like an armored teen. I knew that I would like this figure, but it’s really terrific to look at once you get it out of the package. Ironheart also looks great next to fellow Champions Ms. Marvel, Miles Morales, and Nova (Sam). This is the part where I stump for Brawn (Amadeus Cho) and Snowguard. If you’re on the fence about this one, remember that it will likely skyrocket in price once the impending Disney+ series gets closer. Don’t be left out.

Modular Iron Man: Can a review just be the Daniel Bryan “Yes!” chant? The much-demanded look that debuted in Iron Man #300 and was the cornerstone of the ‘90s animated series gets the modern Hasbro version it deserved. This sculpting, the finish, and the over coolness of the original design merge into an absolutely terrific figure. The only possible knock is that it would have been cool for the Modular armor to come with a couple of attachments outside of blasts and extra hands. I could totally see some of those coming down the road, though. In fact, here’s my second stumping: how about some Hasbro Pulse accessory packs and/or alternate heads? I could see some modular arm and back attachments for this one; for something like the Crimson Dynamo assortment Black Widow, I could see a sniper rifle and an alternate head with braided or lose hair like she sports in the film’s climax. That aside, I know that this was long-awaited, and the team didn’t let us down.

Darkstar: You know I like to fill out teams. And Darkstar fills a gap in both the Winter Guard and the original Champions. I’ve dug this character since I was about 10 years old, so it’s great to see her become a Legend. This has another top-notch hair sculpt; happily, the extra mass of the hair doesn’t unbalance the figure. I know that some have grumbled about the frequent use of the “conjuring” hands, but I think that they’re a perfect fit for a figure of a character with her particular powerset. Darkstar also works well in terms of height next to the rest of her team. Rock solid delivery.

Ultron: Not gonna lie. This is the Ultron I’ve always wanted. It’s the classic look from the classic stories that I grew up on, from the Crimson Cowl to “This Evil Undying” to the original Secret Wars. And the use of the Kirby Krackle is just a work of insane genius. What a treat this figure is. Shoulder spikes, ear pieces, that face . . . this is fabulous, kids. Nothing more I can say.

Ursa Major: I am unreasonably happy that this exists. Hasbro did tremendous work on the claws, and the overall paint ops are spot-on. Love the head, too, which looks appropriately savage. Kudos also for that sort of carapace over the back that fills out the overall appearance of the figure. It would have looked oddly thin without it; with it, it makes Ursa look more like a bear in full. As good as this looks on its own, it’s even better when grouped with Darkstar, the Crimson Dynamo BAF, and the comic Red Guardian. I can’t believe that Hasbro gave us a Winter Guard! That’s awesome, kids.

We’ll have to see how the rest of 2020 shakes out, but this is a strong contender for my favorite assortment this year. A mix of much-wanted characters, surprises, and generally strong craftsmanship makes this a winner for me. How about you?

Super-Articulate: Marvel Legends Disney+/Captain America Wave

Let’s just dig right in . . .

Vision: With a wave based entirely on the Disney+ wave of the MCU, the figures need to accurately reflect the look of the show. And I think Vision does particularly well in that regard. The face sculpts in this wave are a big level-up, with you can tell. I also like the choice of making the cape semi-transparent; it’s a very cool look and no other Marvel Legends figure has something quite like it.

Scarlet Witch: I love the WandaVision outfit. It’s a terrific design, and the figure really captures it. In fact, it has a few details packed in that I overlooked on screen. It’s really nice work, but the best thing about the entire figure is that face. This IS Elizabeth Olsen; it’s an incredible likeness. Similarly, that hair is beautifully done. This is a figure where intent, design, poseability, and execution all come together so smoothly. Just a top-flight job all around.

Winter Soldier: I thought it was an interesting choice that, considering the Winter Soldier figures all the way back to that two-pack many years ago, Hasbro opted not to include a weapon with this figure. I kind of like that, especially since weapons weren’t really Bucky’s thing in this series. The detail on the vibranium arm might be my favorite part. I found this to be a good update figure for the MCU, but it’s not particularly distinguished outside of costume detailing.

Zemo: Two heads are definitely better. Again, great face sculpt, but there’s just something a little cooler about the masked version. Maybe it’s because we finally got to see it in live-action in the series. At any rate, excellent job on Zemo’s coat, and the shush/pointing hand is a clever inclusion. Speaking of clever, throwing in the Winter Soldier code book was a great touch. Only negative: the coat sculpt makes the figure a little hard to stand.

U.S. Agent: Yes, I’m aware that the big upset is the lack of white stripes. And yet, this still looks good. The figure really captures the look and attitude of John Walker. For me, the main minus is that there was no additional Cap shield, no black and red Agent shield, or no janky homemade shield. But as a figure itself, it’s well-done.

Captain America: What a terrific job they did on Sam. Great likeness, tremendous realization of the suit, and good poseability. The shield and backpack look great, the paint ops are on the point, and they really nailed the look of the goggles. This is my favorite of the group next to Wanda. Of course, he isn’t really complete without . . .

BAF: Cap’s wings and Redwing: I do get where some fans were upset that the BAF was the wing structure. However, I can see why that is with what they were going for. The wings are great, with additional hinges and moving parts.  The addition of a flight stand specifically designed for the figure makes sense, and Redwing is icing. Frankly, I’m pleased that they figured out a way to give us a Sam Cap that looks this great.

Loki: You notice that I keep addressing fandom gripes? Before the show even started to air, discontent mounted over the outfit chosen for Loki. And then . . . it’s exactly what’s he’s been wearing. Seriously, people will demand things as esoteric as Patch Wolverine in a tux, but bitch about TVA Variant Loki? The likeness is there, the costume is show-accurate, and it’s Loki unlike any other we’ve had. Damn it, I like it.

All right, campers. What do you think?

Super-Articulate: Some Reviews and Some Commentary

Welcome back, kids. Let’s get right into the new stuff. This time out, we’ve got Hasbro’s Star Wars Black Series Asajj Ventress and Crosshair (from The Bad Batch).

VENTRESS: This is a largely excellent job on a fan-favorite character. I’m surprised it took this long for Ventress to get this kind of representation in the Black Series, but I do feel like Hasbro did a proper job on it. I want to flip my normal approach and address the big flaw on my figure up front. I didn’t notice as much until I got into the photographs, but there are definitely some paint flaws around the window on the character’s torso. That’s a shame, given that the face and head have much more intricate paint ops and those look great.

On the other hand, the overall sculpt is strong and the soft goods pieces of the outfit are excellent. The lightsabers are show accurate and the figure doesn’t look like anything else on your Star Wars shelf. Putting her in the display near Maul, I was struck by the fact that the Black Series lacks a Savage Oppress. I think Hasbro should address that in the near future.

CROSSHAIR: I thought Hunter was great, and I may like Crosshair even better. I’m glad that Hasbro leaned in on the Bad Batch right away, even if we’ve yet to get an Echo announcement. Crosshair is the team’s sniper with a particular, uh, susceptibility to Order 66, and he looks great. There’s strong facial detail, including the scar, and there’s attention to detail, like the bandolier that separate’s Crosshair’s outfit and armor from Hunter’s.

The Bad Batch are accessory-heavy figures, and that’s a good thing. Like Hunter, Crosshair comes with a removable helmet (it’s funny what a novelty that feels like, as opposed to an extra head). He’s also packed with a backpack, a blaster, and an excellent sniper rifle. That’s Crosshair’s customized version of the 773 Firepuncher, and it looks great in figure form. As you can see, I took some shots of Crosshair and Hunter together so you can see the difference in the details on the figures. Those bits are what makes them stand out. This is another good figure for the Bad Batch.

DATES, DATES, DATES: If you’ll indulge me for a minute, I do want to lodge a complaint for a moment. I understand that shipping dates shift. I understand that things can change, and I know that we’ve come off of a really challenging year here. But I have to say that I find the disparity between the announced ship dates and arrival dates, particularly from Hasbro lately, are a pain.

We covered the whole thing with the Marvel Legends Shang-Chi figures, and how those hit stores before they were even announced. But recent events are also confusing and frustrating.

For example: if you ordered the ML Disney+ wave from Amazon, the site indicates that they won’t ship until August 1. Target had an arrival date of June 1. However, the figures began to show up in Walmarts ahead of that date. That’s fine, I suppose, but they also showed up on the racks in Target, and a number of Target stores refused to sell the figures to customers before June 1 DESPITE the fact that they were on the shelf. That’s wildly inconsistent and frustrating. On the Hasbro Pulse side, if you ordered the Bring on the Bad Guys wave, those show as shipping August 1. However, if you showed up at Target on June 1 looking for the Disney+ wave, many customers reported finding those as well. Honestly, I’m confused.

Oh, and one more thing. Before this went live on Thursday, rektangular posted on Instagram that the Ursa Major BAF wave has been found in-store. Good luck out there, gang.

I’d just like some clarification, maybe in one of the Fan First livestreams, on dates going forward. I understand that Hasbro Pulse generally ships after everyone else. But the main thing is that it makes it hard to plan things from a financial perspective when you have multiple drops occurring in proximity and you aren’t sure from week to week whether you might have more than one assortment hit your bank account. I appreciate the emails that something has shipped, but it would be nice to have a calendar function or to receive updates for both in-store dates and Pulse ship dates.

What do you think, readers?

Super-Articulate: More Lucasfilm 50th and Bad Batch Hunter

Greetings! For your May the Fourth, we have five Star Wars Black Series figures here for your perusal. Four are new versions of previously released figures, all available on the Lucasfilm 50th Anniversary Archive Series card. The fifth is part of a brand-new Disney+ show that debuts today. Let’s check ‘em out.

The Bad Batch: Hunter: Hunter is the leader of Clone Force 99, nicknamed “The Bad Batch” because each Clone member possesses an advantageous mutation. Hunter himself benefits from enhanced senses. The characters’ armor is styled after the common Clone armor, but in a stylized gray.  In figure terms, Hunter comes with a number of accessories, including a removable helmet, a DC-17 hand blaster, a vibro-knife, a backpack, and a DC-17m repeating blaster rifle.

Right off, this guy looks great. The figure really captures the look from the animation, and they really tried to nail the face tattoo. The vibro-knife slides into a wrist gauntlet sheath, and the backpack fits on the figure via a t-shaped plug. The tendency today is to make two heads for a figure when you have a helmeted or unhelmeted look, but I really like that this comes with a (slightly flexible) helmet that you actually put on and take off of the figure.

I also find that Hunter is a touch more poseable than is the norm for the armored figures. Maybe that’s just my impression, but the fighter posed easily and the helmet managed the trick of both fitting snugly and coming off easily. I really like Hunter, and I’m looking forward to filling out the team.

Tusken Raider: I never had the first SWBS Tusken, so if this guy is basically the same . . . he’s new to me. I love this guy. The face is pretty exacting, the cloth robe hangs well, and the details sing everywhere. The figure includes a cycler rifle and a gaderffi stick with three interchangeable ends. When shooting the pictures, I was a little more interested in shots with the cycler rifle, probably because my original 12-back Kenner figure didn’t have one. However, I did include one triumphant gaderffi-hoisting shot. I think that this is just great overall.

Death Trooper: I’m a sucker for Stormtroopers and all their variants, so I jumped at the chance to pre-order that last three figures we’re covering this week. Up first is the Death Trooper, distinguished by its black armor. The figure comes with a pair of accessories: the SE-14r light repeating blaster, and the E-11D blaster carbine. Death Troopers were first seen in Rogue One, and have since appeared in The Mandalorian.

One of the cool things that you can tell under direct light or in the camera flash is that the figure isn’t totally black; it has gray and greenish accents at the joints. I like the Death Trooper design, and I’m glad it got a re-release for the people that didn’t get it the first time around (like me).

Shoretrooper: Like the Death Trooper and the Hover Tank Driver (coming in a minute), the Coast Defender Stormtrooper, aka Shoretrooper made its debut in Rogue One; like the other two, it’s also been seen in The Mandalorian. The Shoretrooper armor was designed for just that: operating in coastal environments. Like many Stormtroopers, the Shoretrooper carries an E-11 blaster rifle.

One distinct element of the Shoretrooper is the lack of full leg armor, and that’s reflected in the figure. Like the film character, the figure has that visor build-out on the helmet. I like the discoloration on the armor; it what armor would look like if it had to stay in a sandy, salt-heavy environment over a long period of time. It’s a good looking figure, and it can add some versatility to your displays.

Hover Tank Driver: This armor got a lot more play in Season 2 of The Mandalorian as Mando and Mayfeld. Hover Tank Drivers (aka Imperial combat assault tank pilots or tank troopers) did exactly what their name implies: they drive hover tanks and other heavy vehicles. In Rogue One, the operated hover tanks at Jedha City.

The armor bears similarities to the Shoretrooper, especially in terms of the unarmored thighs. The helmet is stylized differently, maybe evoking a heavier feel as befitting a helmet for an armored vehicle. Like the Shoretrooper and other Stormtroopers, this one comes with an E-11 blaster rifle. It might not be the most exciting divergence of the Stormtrooper armor, but I think it looks pretty cool.

All of these figures are available now in stores (if you can find them) and at various online outlets. So what do you think, collectors? Are you liking the Archive selections? How about the Bad Batch? Let’s hear it.

Super-Articulate: The rest of Mr. Hyde (and Katy!)

Welcome back, figure hunters! As you’ve read in recent weeks on Graphic Policy, the Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings Marvel Legends assortment has had a bit of a strange release. Figures slipped out ahead of the April 25 street date at some stores, the pre-order information didn’t go up until April 24, and it was generally a very odd roll-out. But that’s over, the figures are in stores all over the place, and I’ve obtained the remaining four in the Mr. Hyde BAF wave, as well as the Target exclusive Katy. Let’s break it down.

Wenwu: There’s no way around this: Tony Leung Chiu-wai, aka Tony Leung, is a f——g legend. LEGEND. A massive star of Asian cinema and one of its greatest actors, period, the casting of Leung as Shang-Chi’s father Wenwu (and *cough*TheMandarin*cough) is a coup of epic proportions. So obviously, they have to do a good job with the figure’s face. And they DID. Hasbro has really improved the facial rendering on MCU figures by leaps and bounds.

The whole assortment has some really great costume detailing. There are intricate patterns and textures on the figures that you can tell took time. Those are also pieces that wouldn’t easily be repurposed, meaning that this is a case when those parts were created expressly for this wave without a huge chance they’d be used again. The Wenwu figure benefits from the double-elbow joint, which is great for posing. You’ll notice the five rings on each forearm; advance buzz is that this is how the Mandarin’s ten comic book (finger) rings are represented in the film. That’s a striking look, and another unique pair of pieces. Like other figures in this assortment, Wenwu comes with various hands for fight posing. Nice work overall.

Death Dealer: The cinematic Death Dealer has a great look. That mask is awesome, and the figure captures it. Like Wenwu, there are highly detailed vinyl elements. The paint color on this figure in particular pops; the blue is very deep and rich. DD comes with multiple hands, two of which are devoted to knife throwing effects. One holds a single knife as if it’s about to be thrown; the other has two in flight. I like dynamic accessories like this that can suggest action even in static posing. There is a slight bit of posing difficult on the figure’s left side, as the cut of the tunic and the stiffer vinyl prevents that leg from accessing full poseability.  Nevertheless, it’s a great look, and there are creative ways to address that if you’d like. This might be my favorite on the group on sheer look.

Xialing: Shang-Chi’s sister Xialang gets an excellently poseable figure. Like the other Shang-Chi figures, this one comes with multiple hands for fight choreography posing. I realize that it’s specific to the character design from the film, but it’s always refreshing when a female figure isn’t in heels. For one thing: much, much easier to stand. While this figure isn’t quite as visually interesting as some of the others, I feel like the utility of being able to pose it well makes up for that.

Civil Warrior: The Civil Warrior figure is based on the character designed used in the Contest of Champions game. Some parts appeared to be repurposed from the previously released “Hydra Cap,” but I have to say that this one looks great. Nice color choices and great paint apps, particularly on the distressed shield, really stand out. And this figure has some great poseability as well. I realize that this won’t be everyone’s bag; hell, I wasn’t super-excited when it was announced. But it was definitely one that makes a strong impression in person. Solid.

Mr. Hyde: I’ve been waiting for Mr. Hyde for a long time, mainly because he was part of the “Under Siege” Masters of Evil line-up. Also, with Mr. Hyde in the line, that should theoretically move Quake closer to reality. I might have preferred the earlier look to the slightly more dapper Hyde, but this is a GREAT BAF. My favorite detail is the bloodshot eyes. What a great idea, and what fine execution. Love the cane as a big-ass accessory. It’s not often that the BAFs get an accessory that large designed for them (Cull Obsidian and armored Thanos aside), so it’s great to see the work go into it. Suit color is great and the figure comes out appropriately huge. I really like this and, for “Under Siege” reasons, I’m glad he’s bigger than the Wrecking Crew. Well done.

Katy (and Morris) Target Exclusive: If you’ve read this column, then you know that Exclusives are a bane of my existence. I had very good luck ordering the Target exclusive Retro Rogue and Gambit online a few months ago, though, so I tried to be optimistic. A few hours before the stores opened for the April 25 onsale date, the Target app added this one for order. I placed a pick-up order online, paid with Red Card (5% off, kids), and picked it up later. Incredibly easy.

Outside of being an exclusive, this one has been contentious online for a few reasons. One, people have mocked the name Katy. Y’know, it’s the character’s name. If she has another, hidden identity, they’re hiding it, and that’s fine. Two, the comparison between her outfit and Mulan. Seriously, that’s your gripe? Three, that it’s Awkwafina. That’s your own problem. And Four . . . Morris.

Morris (whose name we know because he comes in a Lego set, and is named on the box) is a DiJiang. It’s a divine bird from Chinese folklore. Obviously, the movie plans to lean into more of the wuxia genre; if you’re unfamiliar with the term, it means “martial heroes,” and references legendary heroes from ancient China, frequently represented in fantasy literature or film (notably, to American audiences, Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon and Hero). It makes sense to incorporate the genre, especially if the film contains a rumored appearance by Fin Fang Foom (a Great Protector dragon character has already been spotted in action toy and Lego form) and also features guardian lions (glimpsed in the trailer). So, as far as all that goes, Morris is cool. He’s a great value-add to the figure.

As for Katy herself, I think that the figure landed a good likeness of the actor. The bow, quiver, and arrows are all new accessories, and the quiver in particular is tailored to fit the figure. The long dress outfit is restrictive for posing, but it’s definitely distinctive and doesn’t look quite like any other figure in the line. In fact, one of the best things about the Shang-Chi figures in general is that have a unique identity, which is great on a number of levels.

If one thing characterizes this assortment, it’s EFFORT. You can see it in the detail, you can see it in the elbows, and you can see it in the willingness to make new pieces and accessories. They’re primarily new characters, they’re colorful, and they’re not like any Legends assortment we’ve seen before. I like them even more than I expected to, and I always consider that a fine compliment.

Almost American
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