AGENT COULSON, NICK FURY, & MARIA HILL
MARVEL LEGENDS INFINITE SERIES
After a few years of treading water and treating the line as second best, Hasbro has really turned things around with Marvel Legends. It seems the 6 inch scale is here to stay, and the 3 ¾ inch scale is on its way out (for Marvel, anyway). One of the things that helped Hasbro to build a successful line is partnering with big retail stores to offer exclusive figures, allowing them to up the number of characters released in a given year. So, let’s have a look at their latest exclusive set, the Agents of SHIELD set!
THE FIGURES THEMSELVES
This three-pack, consisting of Agent Coulson, Nick Fury, and Maria Hill, was released exclusively through Toys R Us (and eBay!) just in the last few weeks. Though the set is named “Agents of SHIELD” it’s not really based on the show (although all three characters present here have been on the show). All three of these figures present the characters as they were seen in 2012’s Avengers. So, these guys might be just a little late to the party, but we’ll let them slide.
Yes, his first name is very definitely Agent. Coulson is really the main draw of this set, for a few reasons. First off, there’s that whole “Son of Coul,” most popular character in the MCU thing he’s got going for him. I don’t think anyone would have guessed that was going to happen to the bit part guy from the first Iron Man movie, but holy crap did it ever. The second, more toy-geek centric thing is that Coulson is also the first character to make use of Hasbro’s new suit body, which lots of people are excited about. Anyway, the figure is about 6 inches tall and he’s got 30 points of articulation. That’s a lot of articulation for a guy in a suit, but, aside from his elbows being a touch low, it works out really well. Coulson’s sculpt is all-new from head to toe. The suit body is definitely a strong sculpt. With something like a suit, finding a good balance between movement and sculpt can be tricky, but Hasbro’s done admirably here. The articulation all flows with the sculpt, and the sculpt maintains a great level of detail. The suit has all the proper fold, creases and even the stitching you’d expect from the real deal. He’s even got a proper crease at the front of his legs; Coulson does not let his pants go un-ironed! The hands feature a great level of detail, and work well with the included accessory, so that’s great too. Coulson has two head sculpts included: with or without sunglasses. He comes wearing the “without” head, which has a pretty decent likeness of Clark Gregg. It’s just a tiny bit off, but how much of that is sculpt and how much is paint is hard to tell. The “with” head is the same as the “without,” but with the addition of the sunglasses. The head ends up being the stronger of the two, and the likeness looks pretty much spot-on. As far as paintwork goes, Coulson ends up being mostly straightforward; the suit is molded in black, the shirt is molded in white, and the hands and head are molded in flesh-tone. The paint is mostly on the face and tie. The tie is pretty nicely done, with nice, clean, straight lines. The sunglass-ed head is pretty decent, but the one without has some slightly wonky eyes and eyebrows. Coulson comes packed with the extra head and, best of all, the Destroyer gun, which fits perfectly in the figure’s hands.
Fury here is kind of the requisite “re-issue” of the set, sort of filling the same slot as Cap in the Avengers set. We’ve essentially seen this figure twice before, although there are a few small differences here and there. The figure is just a little taller (though not as much taller as he should be) than Coulson and features 31 points of articulation. Fury makes use of Hasbro’s trench coat body, which was originally sculpted for the Ultimate Nick Fury several years ago. It’s an okay looking body, but the poseability isn’t really up to par, especially when compared to newer offerings. A basic standing pose is fairly attainable, but the biggest issue is easily the shoulders, which can’t get any closer to his sides than about a 45 degree angle. Fury specifically makes use of the Red Skull version of this particular body, which had newly tooled hands and lower legs. The new pieces end up being rather detrimental to Fury. The feet were designed to shorten the body, robbing him of the appropriate height, and the hands have been designed to fit the more meglomaniacal Skull. In particular, his left hand, which was sculpted to hold the Cosmic Cube, makes little sense for Fury. Topping it all off is the head sculpt, which appears to be the same piece used on the version of the character from the Walmart-exclusive First Avenger line. It’s a decent piece, with a good likeness of Samuel L Jackson, so that’s good. The figure’s paint is fairly basic, but good nonetheless. He’s mostly just molded in black plastic, with a few small silver and shiny black details here and there to keep things interesting. The head does have a slightly crazy eye thing going on, but it’s not as bad as some Hasbro figures. Fury includes two small handguns, deco-ed to look like the “night-night” guns from Agents of SHIELD.
The other new piece of this set is Maria Hill. Hill’s comic incarnation got a figure a few years back, but this is the first time Hasbro’s tackled the MCU version. Hill is just shy of 6 inches tall and she sports 26 points of articulation. Like Fury, Hill seems a little on the short side, due to parts re-use. Hill’s sculpt makes use of the legs and upper arms from last year’s Black Widow figure, along with an all-new head, torso, lower arms, and hands. I really liked the Widow figure, but I think that was a “whole is better than the sum of the parts” situation. The individual parts don’t hold up quite as well, and the legs in particular just don’t work quite as well here. The new pieces are okay, but not fantastic. The torso is probably the best. It’s nicely proportioned and decently textured. The head is okay, but it’s too large, and it has some very strange proportions when viewed from any angle but head-on. The likeness isn’t too bad, but it feels more like a caricature of Colby Smolders than a proper likeness. The hands end up being the worst piece of the sculpt. The right’s not bad, but the left is in a fist for some reason, and it’s not even a well-sculpted fist at that. The paintwork on Hill is probably the best of the lot. There’s actually a fair bit of detail and layering. The logos on the shoulders are nice an sharp, and the head manages to avoid any of the wonky eye issues. Hill includes no accessories, which is really annoying. Fury has two guns, so you can give her one of those if you want, but there really should have been enough of those to go around.
THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION
Well, feel free to take a guess as to where I acquired this Toys R Us exclusive set. Okay, I didn’t actually get this at a physical TRU location, I ordered it online. And I even had a pleasant experience. Shocking, isn’t it? I, like most people, bought this set for Coulson. For that purpose, the set lives up to expectations. Coulson is the star attraction here. He’s got the best pieces, the best likeness, and the best accessories. Fury ends up being the set’s weakest link, mostly due to the choice of body, and Hill falls somewhere in between the two, but probably closer to Fury than Coulson. All in all, it’s a decent set, and I can’t really ask for much more from Hasbro.
Where can I buy these dolls?
Well, they were a Toys R Us exclusive, so tracking them down in their original retail is kind of out. Ebay or Amazon would probably be your best bet, though the set does seem to have picked up a higher aftermarket value.