MARVEL LEGENDS (TOYBIZ)
Countdown to Avengers: Age of Ultron: 4 days remaining.
Ultron first made his way into the toy world courtesy of one of ToyBiz, as art of one of their many one-shot lines of figures from the tail-end of the 90s. He then quickly received his second figure thanks to the tie-in line for the short-lived Avengers: United They Stand cartoon. Eventually, Ultron made his way into ToyBiz’s popular Marvel Legends line. Interestingly, his first induction into the line was not as a figure himself, but rather as a non-articulated piece of the stand included with Series 8’s Modern Iron Man. Eventually, he got a whole figure to himself, but the results were… mixed at best. I’m gonna be upfront here: this review is going to be rather critical of ToyBiz, to, like, Mattel levels. You’ve been warned.
THE FIGURE ITSELF
Ultron was released as part of the eleventh series of ToyBiz’s Marvel Legends, also known as the “Legendary Riders” series. The figure was one of the shortpacks of this particular series, because he was a fan-demanded character and ToyBiz didn’t understand how business worked. Ultron is roughly 7 inches tall and features 35 points of articulation. Of course, the way the sculpt works, most of that articulation is mostly blocked, but, hey ToyBiz just wanted the number to print on the front of the box, so who cares how it actually works, right? Now, Marvel Legends began as a way to release characters in their classic, memorable looks. They were Legendary, if you will. So, what classic, unforgettable Ultron design did the go for on this one? None of them. See, ToyBiz looked at all the classic Ultron designs and thought “Nah, we can do better!” So, ummm, we got….this thing. To their credit, it was a totally unique sculpt. And viewed purely aesthetically, it isn’t bad. The details are all nice and clean, and each piece is appropriately symmetrical and even. There are lots of cool little details and layers all over the place. The sculpt is definitely a quality one. …But it’s not Ultron. Like yesterday’s Vault Ultron, this figure’s weakest point is the head. Now, to be fair, it could have been much worse. The prototype had a head that featured some sort of built in visor thing in place of the eyes, further distancing it from the classic Ultron look. The final head is better, but still not really there. Right off the bat, they’ve done the antennae wrong again, in pretty much the exact same way as before. Moving past that, you’ve got the actual head. The mouth is alright, but the “teeth” are a bit too close together, making them look a bit like buckteeth. The eyes are just plain the wrong shape. They’re way too square. The sum of these parts ends up looking like some sort of mechanical bunny, which really isn’t what you should see in an Ultron figure. Like Scarlet Witch, Ultron feels really shoehorned into the “Legendary Riders” theme. He included a glider thing, which actually had a halfway decent classic Ultron head mounted on the front of it, but was otherwise complete nonsense. Also included was a copy of Avengers Vol. 2 #22, which, for the record is a fantastic showcase of the CLASSIC ULTRON EVERONE ACTUALLY WANTED BUT DIDN’T GET!!!!!! …Just in case the poor design choice wasn’t present enough to begin with…
THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION
I picked this figure up from my local comic book store, at a rather marked up price: a whole $18. That, of course, is actually a little lower than the current retail price of a basic Infinite Series figure. However, it was almost three times what the figure was supposed to retail for. I bought it because I didn’t want to not have an Ultron in my collection, but I wasn’t particularly thrilled about it. Looking back at this figure, he reminds me of just about every reason I disliked collecting ToyBiz Marvel Legends: stupid packout decisions, the inevitable markup, pointless articulation, and questionable sculpting choices. Plus, this one adds in ToyBiz’s own arrogance regarding their designs being better than what was in the comics. The package might have said Ultron, but that wasn’t what was in it. This is a well-constructed toy and all, but it’s just not what anyone wanted.