#2016: Ebony Maw

EBONY MAW

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

“The dangerous assassin Ebony Maw puts his powers of persuasion to sinister use in the service of the evil Thanos.”

It’s kind of funny that the first member of the Black Order we see in Infinity War is the last one to get a figure, isn’t it?  Yes, despite his fairly prominent role as Thanos’ top hype-man, Ebony Maw was displaced by fellow Order member Proxima Midnight when it came to the initial toys.  In defense of the toy makers, Proxima does some like a more conventionally easy sell, what with Maw’s general non-action stance.  The important thing is that we have him now, and it only took a year (hey, that’s better than Red Skull, Ronan, and Crossbones).  So, was he worth the wait?  Let’s find out!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Ebony Maw is figure 2 in the first series of Endgame-themed Marvel Legends.  Hasbro switched to referring to these assortments by the name of the figure you’re building, and I generally follow their lead, but seeing as this is our third “Thanos Series” since the relaunch, I have to be slightly more specific.  Despite his presence alongside Endgame products, Maw is officially an Infinity War figure, barring any surprise appearances during Endgame.  I haven’t seen the movie yet, so I wouldn’t know.  The figure stands 7 1/2 inches tall (retroactively making Corvus seem a little small compared to the rest of the team) and has 31 points of articulation.  Ebony Maw is sporting an all-new sculpt, because really, what could you possibly get away with re-using.  Well, I mean, I guess you could try, but it wouldn’t turn out very well.  This figure’s sculpt, on the other hand, turned out swimmingly.  Like Corvus, he benefits from having a year to get all the details right, and, while he’s not quite as smoothly articulated as Corvus, Ebony’s articulation is a marked improvement on Proxima’s.  The detailing on Ebony is crisp, and very spot-on.  The texturing on his sleeves and pants is really solid work, and that head sculpt is absolutely the spitting image of Maw’s Squidward-like visage.  His hands are suitably expressive, and I especially like the gesture of the left hand, which feels like a perfect match for the character’s personality.  Like all of the Black Order, Ebony Maw’s color scheme isn’t the most thrilling, but the figure replicates it nicely enough.  For me, the most impressive part of the paint is the subtle texturing of his exposed skin, giving him a properly lifelike, if perhaps alien, appearance.  Perhaps the only drag to Maw is what comes packed with him.  He has Thanos’ left leg, but nothing of his own.  A few effects pieces with the glass daggers, or even some alternate hand poses would have been really cool.  At least with his larger size, the packaging doesn’t feel as empty as it did with Cap.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I was always fairly certain we’d be seeing Ebony in Legends, but I’ll admit I was getting slightly concerned as we moved away from the Infinity War product.  Once he was slotted into this assortment, it felt like it took no time at all to get him.  While I was initially distracted by getting the two Endgame figures, getting to finally complete the Black Order was a very nice feeling, and Ebony may well be the best figure in the set (I still *really* like Corvus, though.  I might be a little biased on that one).

I grabbed Ebony May from All Time Toys, and he’s currently in-stock at their store, here. And, if you’re looking for other toys both old and new, please check out their website and their eBay storefront.

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#2015: Ronin

RONIN

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

“Clint Barton is a master sharpshooter and skilled martial artist who fights alongside the Avengers.”

For my second official Endgame-centered review, let’s talk about something I loathed in the comics: Ronin.  Ronin is, as his generic name may suggest, a really generic concept.  The identity appeared during the first arc of New Avengers, and there was this whole mystery that led to a kind of forgettable reveal.  Then, the recently un-deceased Clint Barton was looking for a new identity, settling on “Ronin” because, hey, they’d just spent all this time hyping this super generic concept up, so they might as well not abandon it quite yet.  So, Clint spent four years as Ronin, mostly for the sake of annoying fans who were upset he was killed in the first place by further delaying his return to the identity we all knew he’d be taking back.  You may have gleaned I was amongst those annoyed fans.  It’s okay, I’ve moved past it.  I’ve totally let the fact that they saddled Hawkeye with this dumb, lazy, super generic identity for four years slide.  Seriously, I’m very chill about it.  For the sake of the movies, Clint’s move to the identity seems to have a more direct narrative reasoning, so odds are good it won’t turn out as lame as it was in the original source material.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Ronin is figure 1 in the first series of Endgame-themed Marvel Legends, and is the second of three direct tie-in figures for this assortment.  Given Hawkeye’s absence from the last film and its associated tie-ins, putting Clint front and center this time was definitely a smart move, though I do have to laugh a little bit about him having more figures than anyone else coming out of the gate.  The figure stands 6 1/4 inches tall and he has 32 points of articulation, although that articulation is somewhat restricted, especially ab crunch and waist swivel, thanks to how the figure is constructed.  He’s sporting a brand-new sculpt, based on his new gear from the movie.  The design is fairly faithful to the comics look, albeit slightly filtered through the MCU stylings, and with a definite cross purpose of easy conversion to a more proper Hawkeye appearance.  The sculpt is a pretty solid offering.  There’s a lot of nice, small detail work, and quite a bit of texturing, which makes him a very visually interesting figure.  Everything is also quite sharp, continuing the trend we’ve been seeing on most MCU figures as of late.  The head doesn’t officially have a Jeremy Renner likeness, but you can actually make out a decent likeness on what we can see of the eyes and brow.  The add-ons for the hood and jacket are a little bit overly bulky, with the hood in particular looking rather goofy in most poses.  On the plus side, said hood is easily removed, resulting in a better overall looking figure.  The jacket can also be removed, though it’s not quite as easily done.  In fact, I thought it wasn’t meant to be removed at all at first, but the fully detailed torso beneath it begs to differ.  Fortunately, I was able to get it off without horribly mangling it.  Underneath, there’s a respectably well-detailed version of what we’ve seen of his underlying garment.  It’s a little softer on the details than the rest of the sculpt, and his head sits somewhat high on the neck, but I imagine it’ll look nice with the unmasked Hawkeye from the Target set.  Ronin’s paintwork is largely relegated to just gold accents on black plastic, but it does it well, and he looks pretty sharp.  His eyes are also pretty nicely painted, and make use of the printing technique, which works pretty well here.  After the rather lightly-packed Cap, Ronin is a definite step-up.  There’s still no unmasked head (which has been a regular complaint online), but at least there’s one available that’s compatible with this body.  What’s more, there’s plenty of other stuff to make up for it.  He includes two differently-sized swords, a sheath to store them in (with an adjustable strap to allow for use both with and without the jacket), and an alternate hand with throwing stars attached.  He also includes our first piece of the Armored Thanos Build-A-Figure, his left arm, sporting the Infinity Gauntlet.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Legends hasn’t been overly kind to Jeremy Renner’s Clint Barton, and his exit from the MCU during the years when the figures were really picking up hasn’t helped matters.  Fortunately, he’s back in a strong fashion with this figure.  While I’m not the biggest fan of the Ronin concept, I do like how it translated to the film, and subsequently to the toy.  After a slight misstep with Cap, this figure puts the assortment on more solid footing.

I picked up Ronin from my friends at All Time Toys, and he’s currently in-stock at their store, here. And, if you’re looking for other toys both old and new, please check out their website and their eBay storefront.

#2014: Captain America

CAPTAIN AMERICA

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

“The First Avenger, Steve Rogers continues to protect the world from evil as the star-spangled hero, Captain America.”

Okay, we had a little bit of a prelude to Endgame with yesterday’s Infinity War pairing, but today I’m moving onto the Engame product proper.  A central piece of the promotional work for the film has been the swanky new “quantum suits” that the surviving Avengers will be sporting, so it’s not a huge shock that the suits are showing up pretty prevalently in the toys.  For the main assortment of Legends, we’ve only got one sample of the suit so far, being sported by most Avenger-ly Avenger, Captain America!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Captain America is part of the first series of Endgame-themed Marvel Legends, which is currently arriving at most retail establishments.  He’s an unnumbered figure, due to being the one figure in the set not necessary to complete the Armored Thanos Build-A-Figure, much like last year’s Mark L Iron Man.  The figure stands 6 1/2 inches tall and he has 32 points of articulation.  The whole sculpt of this figure is new, though it should be noted that the body has already been re-used for Hawkeye in the Target-exclusive Hawkeye & Black Widow two-pack.  As noted in the intro, this figure is based on Cap’s quantum suit-sporting look.  It’s an interesting choice for our first Cap in the line.  While I’m not opposed to a uniformed look in principle, it does take some getting used to for a character like Cap, who has a more established solo look (and even has a brand-new solo look for the movie that we’ve yet to see any toy coverage for at all).  Still, these are the looks getting the clear push for merch, so I can’t really blame them for going with him.  The body is built to pull double-duty, so it’s maybe not a spot-on build for Chris Evans as Cap, but it works reasonably well, and I can understand their desire for a single body, especially with the two-pack’s included extra heads.  The suit itself is a pretty solid design, and I think it’ll look good in action.  Cap gets a unique head sculpt, and if I’m honest, it’s one of the more perplexing pieces of the figure.  He’s wearing a helmet that appears to be the same design as the one he had in the first Avengers.  While not a bad design, it’s been supplanted by the Winter Soldier-style helmet for a while now, and that’s even the helmet that is shown on the images on the back and sides of the packaging, making this older helmet seem out of place.  However, the helmet’s on this figure, the basic figure, and even the Minimate, so perhaps there was a change during production of the film.  What’s even more surprising, is that he’s wearing a helmet at all, since the concept art and trailers have all depicted Cap without any headgear while sporting the quantum suit.  Again, this is the sort of thing that might make more sense once I’ve seen the movie.  Whatever the case, it’s actually a rather nice sculpt, and I can definitely foresee a lot of people modding this to replace the Walmart exclusive figure from the first movie.  The figure’s paintwork is reasonably well-handled.  There’s a bit more slop than I’ve seen on other recent Legends, and some scuffing on the legs on my personal copy, which I was a little annoyed by.  Also, the printed face doesn’t seem to have worked quite as well for this particular figure, and results in him looking a little bit messy. The darker silver of the armor also seems to be in contrast to the more straight white we’ve been seeing in the trailers, but that could be a lighting thing.  It doesn’t look too terribly off here.  The real Achilles’ heel of this particular figure is the accessory compliment.  He’s got his shield…and that’s it.  The shield’s nice and all, and at least it’s the new and improved sculpt from the 10th Anniversary set, but he feels really, really light, especially with no Build-A-Figure part.  The lack of an unmasked sculpt is definitely the biggest killer, especially since the really nice unmasked head from the 10th Anniversary isn’t compatible with this release.  A slightly retooled release of that would have added a lot to this figure.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Chris Evans as Cap is one of my favorite parts of the MCU, so I’ve really been looking for a solid figure of him for a while.  Sadly, it seems like every Legends release so far has had *something* off about it.  In this figure’s case, I can forgive the slightly un-Evans-like build on the body, but the lack of unmasked head is really hard to get past.  Admittedly, I like this figure more than I’d expected to, but not as much as I’d hoped to…if that makes any sense.  Perhaps my opinion will change after the movie.  At the very least, I think he’s a better figure than last year’s Cap.

Cap was purchased from my friends at All Time Toys, and he’s currently in-stock at their store, here. And, if you’re looking for other toys both old and new, please check out their website and their eBay storefront.

#2013: Corvus Glaive & Loki

CORVUS GLAIVE & LOKI

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

“Known for his shifting allegiances, Loki faces evil head on when he is confronted by the Black Order — a sinister group of Thanos’ cohorts that includes the menacing Corvus Glaive.”

Hey, I hear there’s like, this movie coming out this week, that’s supposed to be a big deal or something.  You’ve probably never heard of it.  Yeah…

So, Avengers: Endgame will hit theaters this Thursday night, and is already starting to break all sorts of records.  Odds are good that it’s going to be the biggest movie of the year.  As the 22nd entry of the MCU canon, it’s got a lot riding behind it.  Product for Endgame officially started hitting shelves on the 31st of March, and is making its way around right now.  And I’m going to hype myself up for the movie by reviewing some of that product this week.  First up, something that’s not *technically* Endgame-related, Corvus Glaive and Loki!

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

Corvus Glaive and Loki are a Walmart-exclusive two-pack in the Marvel Legends line.  Though officially based on the characters as seen in Infinity War, the set is part of the official Endgame product, and has been showing up alongside it.  Corvus was shown last year (alongside Ebony Maw, who I’ll be looking at later in the week), but it was not until just a few months ago that we knew he’d be arriving alongside another Loki.

CORVUS GLAIVE

As I noted when I reviewed his minimate release, Corvus Glaive is the Black Order’s least developed member in Infinity War.  And, if you don’t believe me, just read that bio up top from the back of the box.  That’s a Loki bio with “oh, and Corvus, too” tacked on the end of it, despite the fact that Corvus is undoubtedly going to be the main selling point for most buyers.  That said, I think he’s got the coolest name of the bunch, and I liked what I saw of him, so I’m certainly happy to have him cropping up here.  The figure stands 7 1/4 inches tall and he has 32 points of articulation.  He ends up being a far more mobile figure than Proxima, which is a definite improvement (Cull gets a pass due to his extra bulk).  There’s some slight restricting on the left arm due to the design of the cape, but that’s a fairly reasonable sacrifice.  Otherwise, there’s a lot of potential with these joints, and he’s a very playable figure.  Corvus is sporting an all-new sculpt, and, of the three members of the Black Order I’ve looked at so far, it’s definitely the most screen accurate, thanks to having an extra year to get everything right.  His sculpt is, in addition to being film accurate, is nice and sharply detailed.  The details of costume in particular are really crisp and really pop out at you.  It’s all topped off with an impressively subtle paint scheme.  The gold detailing on his add-ons, as well as the entirety of his facial detailing, are handled via the printing technique, which gives them a nice amount of depth and realism.  Corvus’ only accessory is an acceptable choice: it’s his glaive, and it’s actually quite a nice piece, and is held well in his hands.  Plus, he can actually properly hold it, unlike the Minimate.

LOKI

Though only a small part in the overall film, Loki’s role in Infinity War is still a very prominent one.  Despite that, the sheer volume of characters in the film, coupled with his coverage in Ragnarok, meant that Loki was absent from IW‘s product line.  It’s not a huge shock to see him crop up in this set, though, especially given he was packed with the completely uniquely tooled figure.  This figure, comparatively, is a straight re-use of the Ragnarok version from 2017.  There are positives and negatives to that, because that sculpt was a bit of a mixed bag in regards to quality.  On the plus side, though, it means the two figures are consistent, so hey that’s cool.  The paintwork has been changed up to match Loki’s more stark green and black garb from the end of Ragnarok and the beginning of Infinity War, meaning we finally have the costume that actually goes with the headgear that came with the prior figure.  Also, I do think these colors work a little better for the sculpt.  Loki is packed with the most natural inclusion for an IW Loki, the Teseract, re-used from the Mandroid Series Red Skull.  It fits surprisingly well in his hand, and I’m glad it got another release.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Hey, wanna guess where I got this Walmart exclusive?  That’s right, a Walmart!  Yeah, when the Walmart around the corner from work put out their Endgame display, this showed up in surprisingly high numbers, so I had no trouble at all getting one.  I’m on record that Corvus Glaive is my favorite of the Black Order members, and I was waiting for him to get his figure due.  I’m quite happy with this figure, and I think he’s probably the best of the three we’ve gotten so far.  The Loki he’s packed with is definitely a space-filler, but he’s a reasonably well chosen one, and honestly I think he improves on the prior release enough that I don’t mind that I had to get a second one to get Corvus.

#2012: Apocalypse

APOCALYPSE

X-MEN (TOY BIZ)

“The megalomaniacal mutant villain known as Apocalypse believes that total war between humans and mutants is inevitable. In order to weed out those he feels are weak and unsuitable for the coming conflict, he manipulates mutants into battling one another, calculating that with the help of the strongest and most ruthless survivors he can conquer the world and become ruler of all – both man and mutant!”

Introduced in the ’80s, as a foe for the recently launched X-spin-off X-Factor, Apocalypse has gone on to become one of the X-franchise’s most enduring foes.  Throughout the ’90s, he maintained a rather prominent place in at the center of a lot of conflicts and cross-overs, and also wound up as a big-bad for the ’90s X-Men: The Animated Series, and, by extension, got some pretty solid coverage from the toyline that ran alongside it.  He was actually among the very first figures released in the line, but due to evolution of the character’s design, he found himself up for a second figure quite quickly.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Apocalypse was released in Series 4 of Toy Biz’s X-Men line, just two years after his initial figure debut.  Following Magneto, he was the second true remake of a Series 1 figure (Wolverine had also shown back up, but all of his figures up to this point were using unique designs, so it’s every so slightly different).  The figure stands 5 1/2 inches tall and he has 8 points of articulation.  He’s actually quite a step-down on the articulation front when compared to his predecessor.  He got an all-new, much more bulked up sculpt, based on the steady changes to Apocalypse’s design since he’d first appeared in the ’80s.  This was very much the current Apocalypse design at the time, making him a more definitive take on the character than his prior release had been.  His sculpt is a fairly decent one, and definitely had a little more menace to it.  The head in particular really captured how Apocalypse looked in the comics at the time.  His color work was another marked change from the prior figure, and again befitted the changing design of the character.  This one, with his brighter blue accents, follows the lead of the cartoon design.  I do miss the black details, but overall, it’s a decent colorscheme, and certainly one that’s accurate to the character.  Apocalypse was packed with a spare set of arms, simulating his techno-shifting abilities. There’s a claw arm and a drill arm, both of which are pretty neat.  They swap out at the shoulders, which means that both they and the regular arms do have a slight tendency to pop out of place when you don’t want them to.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I had a copy of this guy growing up, but it was a ways after getting the first one, who remained my favorite.  That one went missing, so I picked up this replacement during one of my splurges of 5-inch Marvel figures, about a year or two ago.  He’s an okay figure, and was certainly a more accurate figure at the time of his release.  Personally, though, I find that the changes make for a figure that’s just not as much fun to play with as the original was, so he’s always been second gear to me.

#2011: Starman

STARMAN

JUSTICE LEAGUE UNLIMITED (MATTEL)

Starman created the Cosmic Rod which collects stellar energy and allows him to fly and manipulate gravity on Earth and beyond.”

So, yeah, you know the guy mentioned in that bio?  It’s not the guy shown here.  The bio is very definitely talking about original Earth-bound Starman Ted Knight (not to be confused with the actor), who operated as a member of the JSA in the ’40s.  This here would be Starman #4, Prince Gavyn of the planet Kranaltine.  He was introduced in the ’80s, just before Crisis and is yet another only vaguely related character in the Starman mythos.  Also, for reasons that never quite made sense, he was the version of the character chosen to appear on Justice League Unlimited.  Hey, I’m certainly not complaining.  Though he never spoke once on the show, he somehow managed to get a whopping two figures in the toy line, the second of which I’m looking at today.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

This version of Starman was released at the tail end of the Justice League Unlimited line, after the line had left retail and moved to Matty Collector.  He was sold in a three-pack with Animal Man and Adam Strange.  His placement in this particular set is rather baffling, since I don’t believe he’s ever had much interaction with either of those characters, and he’d already gotten a figure, meaning he was hardly at the top of anyone’s list at the end of the line when character slots were all the more precious.  Further more, he’s not even based on his show appearance, but is instead based on the character’s second, all-blue get-up from the comics.  An odd choice to say the least.  The figure stands 4 1/2 inches tall and he has 5 points of articulation.  He’s the exact same sculpt as his previous figure, which is fairly sensible, since the costumes where really just palette swaps, and he *is* the same guy.  One small tweak, though, was that by this point in the line, the molding error on the base body’s leg had been repaired, meaning that he no longer leans to one side.  His head sculpt also remains one of my favorite in the line, and looks just as nice here as it did the first time around.  His paintwork is, of course, the main breaking point.  Rather than the red of the original figure, this one’s molded in blue, and drops the yellow and black detailing on the legs, resulting in an even more streamlined appearance.  It’s sufficiently distinct from the prior figure, and is still nice and striking.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

As I noted when I reviewed Animal Man, by the time of this set’s release, I’d pretty much abandoned collecting JLU, so I didn’t get it new.  I picked him up alongside Animal Man two summers ago when I made a stop at Factory Antique Mall while on a road trip.  He’s not much different from the first figure, but I loved that one, and I quite like this one too.  Now I guess I need to track down an Adam Strange to finish out the set…

#2010: Senate Commandos

SENATE COMMANDO CAPTAIN & SENATE COMMANDO

STAR WARS: CLONE WARS (HASBRO)

“A Senate Commando captain and his elite commando team confront suspicious arrivals to the Senate building. The captain and troopers rush to the platform where Cad Bane has landed without permission. They are prepared for a fight if necessary, but are taken by surprise when Bane springs his trap.”

In the break in movies between Revenge of the Sith and The Force Awakens, the Star Wars franchise didn’t go on hiatus as it had between Jedi and Phantom Menace.  Instead, it was kept going by a multimedia affair, the two most obvious being, of course, the toys, and the animated series Clone Wars.  Clone Wars took a lot of concepts, designs, and characters from the prequels and put them to new use.  Or, honestly, just put them to use period.  One such example were the Senate Guards, precursors to the Imperial Royal Guard.  In the movies, they didn’t do much more than stand in the background of scenes and remind you that one day they’d be putting on all red attire and serving the forces of evil.  The show, on the other hand, reworked them into the Senate Commandos, and even gave them a few focus episodes.  They made their way into the toyline, of course, but they aren’t among the easiest items to track down.  I managed to snag a set, though, and I’m reviewing it today.

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

Released as a Target-exclusive two-pack in 2010, the Senate Commandos paired off with a complimentary Cad Bane and IG-86 two-pack, both based on the first season episode “Hostage Crisis,” which was one of the focus episodes for the commandos.  While the other pack was straight re-releases, both figures in this pairing were only available here.  Following the 2010/2011 re-branding of the Clone Wars line, these figures were part of the “Galactic Battle Game” concept that Hasbro was attempting to introduce into the line.  To facilitate this, the set includes two stands, a card with stats for each character, and a die chance cube with various symbols on it, presumably meant for use in playing the game.

SENATE COMMANDO CAPTAIN

First up, the ranking officer, the Senate Commando Captain.  Though un-named here, if he is indeed meant to be the commanding officer from “Hostage Crisis”, that would make him the ill-fated Captain Jayfon.  Yes, he had a name, because this is Star Wars.  Everyone has a name, just ask Elan Sleazbaggeno.  I suppose Jayfon should count himself lucky that he wasn’t named “Guardo” or something.  Anyway, this figure stands 3 3/4 inches tall and has 24 points of articulation.  He’s based on the streamlined design of the guards from the show.  Because of the more limited nature of the animation early in the run, the Guards could not keep their usual flowing cloaks.  For the sake of making things easier, their distinctive helmets and color-scheme were moved onto the standard Clone Trooper model.  The figure follows suit, being built on the basic Clone Trooper body from the line.  Fortunately, that’s one of the best molds the line produced, meaning this guy’s already starting ahead.    The forearms, legs, and pelvis are from the original base Clone Trooper, and the upper torso is from Rex, allowing for use of the smaller neck-peg for their heads.  The upper arms first showed up on Captain Argus in 2009, and since it’s supposed to be the same armor, they were sensibly re-used here.  It’s all topped off with a new head, which is a definite improvement to the removable helmet on the Argus figure.  It’s accurate to the source material, and sits nicely on the body.  For the most part, Jayfon is just molded in the appropriate shade of blue (which, it should be noted, is a different shade than was used for Argus; this one is technically more accurate), with black accent work.  As the captain, though, he needs some appropriate denotation, which the white accenting provides.  It’s more extensive than what we saw on Argus, though this is true to the show in both characters’ cases.  Whatever the case, it adds a very nice little pop to the figure.  Jayfon is packed with a small Clone-style blaster rifle.

SENATE COMMANDO

Okay, the Captain may have had a name, but the basic grunts really didn’t get them.  I guess this guy’s just an army builder. Crazy concept.  Like Jayfon, he stands 3 3/4 inches tall and has 24 points of articulation.  For the most part, his construction is the same as the Captain’s, but he does get a unique head, this time with the shorter head-fin that the basic grunts sported.  It’s not a huge difference, but it’s true to the show and it makes it even easier to differentiate the two.  His paintwork is also a bit simpler, as he drops the white accent work.  It means he doesn’t pop as much as the Captain, but that’s appropriate for a rank and file trooper.  Lastly, the Commado swaps out the small blaster for a larger clone-style rifle, which is certainly nice for variety’s sake.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Though not impossibly hard to find when released, the fact that this set shipped alongside a total re-pack set, and the two figures contained there-in never got re-issues meant that it never hung around anywhere for very long.  I was, rather foolishly, trying to convince myself I didn’t need to keep collecting Clone Wars figures at the time, and passed on them the one time I saw them.  I’ve regretted it ever since, especially after their price got pretty high on the after market.  Fortunately, I was able to get one when a very large collection of Star Wars figures was traded in to All Time Toys.  They still weren’t cheap, but they were a much better deal than they would have been elsewhere.  I really do like this set a lot.  The Captain’s the real star, but the basic commando is no slouch either.  It’s really criminal that the standard commando never got a single carded re-release, because I’d really love to have a whole squad.  Alas, that’s not financial feasible at the moment.

As noted above, I grabbed this set from my friends at All Time Toys.  While they only got one of these in, there was a whole lot more in that collection, and they can be found on their website and their eBay storefront.

#2009: Iron Man

IRON MAN

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

Hey, remember when Hasbro was trying to get a 12-inch-scale line of Marvel Legends up and running?  Pepperidge Farm The North The Figure in Question remembers.  Sadly, it seems it was not to be.  Despite getting a big push at their launch in 2016, and putting out some really solid releases going into 2018, the line never seemed to secure its footing.  Well, I guess now I can go back and look at a few odd figures here and there that I missed.  Chief among them, Iron Man, the subject of today’s review!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Iron Man was a 2016 release for the line.  Though he didn’t arrive at stores quite at the same time as Cap and Spidey, he wasn’t too far behind.  He also seemed to be a slightly more popular release, since he didn’t seem to hand around as much as some others.  More than some of the others in this line, Iron Man’s design seen here is an amalgam of many different appearances.  He’s clearly getting a lot of movie influence, but there are also some definite traces of Tony’s more recent comics armors cropping up in there.  In this respect, he pairs off quite nicely with the similarly designed Captain America and Thor figures.  The figure stands just shy of 12 inches tall and he has 34 points of articulation.  His sculpt is unique to him, and unlike a lot of the figures in this line, it doesn’t really seem to have any common ancestry with one of the 6-inch sculpts.  It’s appropriately cleaner and sleeker than the Cap sculpt was.  I appreciate that, unlike a lot of larger-scale Iron Men, he doesn’t feel too hollow or light-weight.  The sculpt manages to check-off most of the usual Iron Man armor elements, with hard line-work and technical details weaved throughout.  As with all of the other larger Legends I’ve looked at, you can really see Hasbro’s sculptors taking advantage of the larger canvas presented to them by this scale.  Perhaps my favorite piece of the whole figure is the arc reactor, whose handling is totally a “larger canvas” situation.  It’s a fully sculpted, three dimensional item, topped off with a clear piece over top.  There’s pretty much no way to cost-effectively do this sort of thing on a smaller figure, but it sure looks really nice here.  The figure maneuvers itself away from being too movie-inspired largely by way of the suit’s proportions, which definitely err more on the side of comic book idealized proportions.  The prospect of an actual person in the suit is a little diminished, but it’s also in keeping with the general style of the rest of this line’s figures.  I particularly like the clean silhouette this figure gives his design.  He’s a lot less segmented than the smaller figures have been.  His paintwork is actually pretty minor.  The reds are all molded, with everything else painted on top.  I do quite like the hue of gold they’ve chosen (it properly reads as yellow when lit), and I dig the energy effects on the mini-reactors on his forearms.  Iron Man is packed with an extra Tony Stark head (the clearest example of “this isn’t a movie figure” in the box), plus two sets of hands (with fists and repulsor blast posing), and a pair of repulsor blast effects.  Compared to figures like Cap, Panther, and especially Wolverine, that’s kind of light, but it’s about the same as what Spidey got.  My figure lacks the second fist and repulsor blast, due to the circumstances of how I got him.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I very favorably reviewed Cap when he came out.  Why didn’t I grab this guy?  I honestly don’t know.  I saw him when he was new, and thought about getting him.  However, I was about to move, and finances weren’t really certain, and then I didn’t see him again for a while.  I kind of forgot about him to be honest.  Last year, I ended up picking up several other figures from the line, and I’ve had them up on the shelf, with sort of this Iron Man-shaped hole.  So, when this guy was traded into All Time Toys loose, only missing two accessories, I went ahead and grabbed him.  He’s not the centerpiece of the line or anything, and the later figures definitely out-paced him, but he’s still a fine figure.  It’s a shame Hasbro couldn’t really find the market for these.

#2008: Carrion & Scarlet Spider

CARRION & SCARLET SPIDER

MARVEL MINIMATES

Something new and something old.  Not an uncommon theme when it comes to Minimates, especially Marvel, where there’s a definite need to refresh some looks every so often, so as to both make them available for a newer audience and update some things to fit in a little better with more recent releases.  And hey, if a new character comes along for the ride, that’s not so bad either, is it?  So, with that in mind, let’s look at Carrion (the new) and Scarlet Spider (the old).

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

Carrion and Scarlet Spider were part of the second to last TRU assortment of Marvel Minimates, Series 24.  The assortment was a sort of a mixed bag, with each set being a somewhat contained theme.

CARRION

He’s not the most well-known of Spider-Man’s foes, but Malcolm McBride, the second incarnation of Carrion, is a sensible choice for a Minimate, especially given his pack-mate.  The original Carrion (who had more or less the same appearance as this figure) was a defective clone of Miles Warren, better known as the Jackal, the mastermind behind the infamous “Clone Saga.”  Malcolm was also a prominent player in “Maximum Carnage,” meaning this figure fits right in with the Maximum Carnage-themed Series 76, so he’s just all around a pretty sensible choice.  Carrion is built using seven sculpted add-on pieces for his hood, pouch, loincloth, and two pieces each for the wraps on his arms.  The upper and lower arm wraps are re-used from Heihachi and and Jack Skellington, respectively, and the pouch is Kim Bauer’s purse from 24, because Carrion is super down for taking fashion advice from the similarly accessorized Green Goblin.  The hood and loincloth both appear to be new pieces, and they work well enough, though the hood is a little restricting to the head movement.  Carrion’s paintwork is clean and sharp, though perhaps not the most eye-catching look.  Pale yellow and purple isn’t a particularly appealing palette, but it’s accurate to the character’s comic appearance, so one can hardly fault DST for that.  The linework is actually quite nice on this figure, and does a solid job of capturing that early ’90s style of illustration.  For accessories, Carrion is somewhat on the light side, with only a flight stand and a basic display stand.

SCARLET SPIDER

Carrion’s great and all, but the main reason for most people to buy this set is Ben Reilly, aka the Scarlet Spider.  He wasn’t a stranger to Minimates, with his Spider-Man costume cropping up first back in Series 10.  A proper Scarlet Spider followed in 2007, as an FYE exclusive of all things.  A decade later, he finally got an update.  Despite his predecessor making use of no add-ons, this Ben Reilly has six of them, for his hood, belt, webshooters, and ankle pouches.  All of the pieces are re-used from elsewhere, and they for the most part do their job pretty much perfectly.  The only slightly off parts are the ankle pouches, which are actually knife sheaths with nothing in them.  There exist non-sheath ankle straps, so why these parts were used is anyone’s guess.  Ultimately, though, they sell the look well enough, so I can’t complain too much about their use.  Scarlet Spider’s paintwork is actually quite impressive.  In the comics, he was frequently shaded in a very dynamic fashion, and that’s the look this particular figure tries to capture, at least on the figure’s mask.  It’s a cool looking effect, and the sort of thing that really only works on a Minimate.  Scarlet Spider is packed with an alternate head and hair for an unmasked Ben Reilly (the first proper Ben Reilly head we’ve ever gotten), a webline, and a clear display stand.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

After a bit of a hiatus from Minimates, I picked this set up last year, at the very beginning of Toys R Us’s shut-down process.  It was actually a set I was looking for, which I was only able to find once TRU started pushing things out from their warehouses.  Carrion wasn’t really going to be at the top of anyone’s list, but it’s always nice to get a new character, and DST did a respectable job of translating him to ‘mate form.  Scarlet Spider was in desperate need of an update, and this figure really delivered well on that.  He takes every aspect of the old figure and makes it better, and results in a generally far more enjoyable figure.

#2007: Autobot Jazz

AUTOBOT JAZZ

TRANSFORMERS: STUDIO SERIES (HASBRO)

Autobot Jazz brings all he’s got to defeat the Decepticons”

Sometimes, the time is really right.  For review #2007, I’m jumping back to the year 2007.  2007 was a weird time.  We had two Marvel movies, which isn’t that odd these days, but they were neither one an MCU entry (because the MCU didn’t exist yet).  But before Marvel could re-brand their film franchises, another one was just starting up.  That July saw the release of the first of the oft-reviled Michael Bay Transformers films.  I was never a huge Transformers fan, but I was still in the audience opening weekend, and I still came out…less than satisfied.  In fact, I think a good argument could be made that the film scared me off the franchise for a bit.  Needless to say, I generally avoid Bay-inspired figures, though I’ve made my first exception for the subject of today’s review, one of my personal favorite Autobots, the aptly named Autobot Jazz!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Autobot Jazz is a Deluxe Class offering from Hasbro’s Transformers: Studio Series, where he is numbered figure 10, and hit shelves in July of last year.  Given his demise during the first film, Jazz has been less lucky with releases since the original 2007 line.  This figure marks his first domestic release since all the way back in 2010, which is a pretty big deal.  In his Robot mode, the figure stands a little over 5 1/4 inches tall and he has 19 practical points of articulation.  Size-wise, he’s just a little bit taller than Bumblebee.  Given the scaling and price-point, Jazz is a fairly respectable recreation of his robot mode from the movie.  Not all of the details match up 100%, but the general proportions are there, and the robot specific parts are pretty much spot on.  It’s really the remaining elements of the car form that are slightly throwing off the look, and mostly limited to the arms.  Ultimately, it’s just down to needing a little bit of compromise to actually make things work at this scale and in order to maintain transformability.  While Jazz’s original alt mode was a Porsche, for the 2007 movie, it was changed to a Pontiac Solstice, which is still a reasonably sporty model, though it’s decidedly less distinctive.  Whatever the case, this figure maintains its accuracy by giving him the proper alt mode.  The transformation between the two forms is a little less tricky than the Bumblebee, but still a little more fiddly than the Siege figures I’ve been getting.  Overall, though, it was less frustrating than I was anticipating.  The end result is a pretty decent little car, though, like Bumblebee, he’s got a tendency to pop apart at the seams from time to time.  But, as is the usual case, I was more in this one for the robot mode.  Jazz is packed with his crescent cannon, which he can either hold in his left hand, or his hands can flip into the forearm to allow it to attach directly to the wrist.  It’s a nice little feature.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Jazz was an impulse buy.  Well, he was as close to an impulse buy as I ever really get.  I saw him at Walmart on my way home from work and passed.  Later that same evening, I was out to dinner with Super Awesome Fiancee, and passed by the Walmart again, at which point I caved and went back for him.  Though I’ve never really cared for most of the Bay film designs, Jazz is one of the few I didn’t hate, and his death in the film was perhaps one of my biggest complaints about it.  This guy makes for a pretty decent toy, and I’m glad I went back for him.