VALKYRIE – FEARLESS DEFENDERS
MARVEL LEGENDS INFINITE SERIES
One of the cool things about the Marvel Universe is that it actually has a pretty wide range of differing female heroes and villains. They aren’t simply limited to one single type of role, just like their male counterparts. So, a few years ago, when a lot of the interesting female characters got booted out of the spotlight in favor of a near-unending stream of gruff, emotionless women who must compensate for not being as physically strong as their male counterparts, I was a little bummed. Good ol’ Valkyrie here managed to not be totally cast aside, mostly due to already being a somewhat minor character to begin with. She hasn’t really been a focus character or anything, but rumor has it that she’ll be making an appearance in Thor: Ragnarok, which should certainly boost her visibility, at least a little bit!
THE FIGURE ITSELF
Valkyrie is a part of the Hulkbuster Series (aka series 3) of the Avengers Marvel Legends Infinite Series. She’s listed as Fearless Defenders on the package, a name she shares with Thundra. The name is a much better fit for Valkyrie, given that she’s spent most of her career as a member of The Defenders, and she was in fact a main character in the recent Fearless Defenders comicbook. This figure opts to present Valkyrie in her most recent costume, which she started wearing towards the tail-end of the first volume of Secret Avengers, the same costume used for her Marvel Universe figure. I don’t find the design to be quite as striking as her classic look (I really miss the cape), but it’s a serviceable enough look. The figure stands just over 7 inches tall and has 30 points of articulation. She uses the same She-Hulk base body as Thundra and Hela, which is reasonable, but does have one notable issue: she’s just too tall! Her listed height is 6’3”, which puts her at just an inch taller than Captain America. At this scale, that should be a negligible difference; she certainly shouldn’t tower over the average male the way this figure does. On the other hand, Hasbro does seem to be up-scaling the Asgardians in general for this line, so compared to the most recent Thor figure, for instance, she isn’t quite as out of scale. Maybe the Asgardians have been juicing? Anyway, this figure has the same arms and legs as the other She-Hulk body figures, along with an all-new head and upper and lower torso pieces. The head is very nice piece. She’s got a nice, determined look to her; not as angry as Thundra, but certainly not as laid back as Wasp or even Captain Marvel. The face is much more angular than most female faces, which certainly works well conveying Valkyrie’s Nordic features. The hair is a separate, glued on piece, which is pretty nicely sculpted. The braids actually don’t look too ridiculous, which is always good, and the texturing on the various strands adds some nice dimension. She does have a pretty noticeable seam running along the right side of the hair, which is a bit distracting, but that’s the only real issue. The torso pieces are just a slight tweak on the more generic parts, really. One weird thing I noticed is that she’s got these weird ridges running down her backside; they aren’t present on any other figures using this body type, and I don’t believe they come from the comic design, so I’m not sure what they’re supposed to be. Weird. The collar and ….little circle things (?) are sculpted on, and look pretty good, certainly better than if they’d been painted. She also has an add-on for her belt, which is glued in place. The paintwork on Valkyrie is decent enough. It’s not terribly exciting (that’s kind of true to the comic design too, thought). The colors are pretty good and the transitions are pretty clean, so that’s good. The hair gets a nice warm brown wash to bring out the details. The face is pretty clean, even the eyes; not a huge fan of the bright red lips, but they don’t ruin the figure. Valkyrie includes her trusty sword Dragonfang, which is a little generic, but pretty good, as well as the arm of the Hulkbuster figure.
THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION
This marks the second time that Valkyrie has made it into the Legends style; her first figure was part of a Fan’s Choice two-pack, which also included an Ed McGuinness-styled Hulk. However, the set wasn’t the easiest to procure and holds a pretty hefty after-market value. What’s that got to do with this? Well, I missed out on the first Valkyrie, which kinda sucked. So, when this figure was announced, I was pretty excited. I was a little bit down on her at first (since the costume’s not the most exciting thing) but I have to say, the figure’s really grown on me, and I think she might very well be the best single release figure in the series.