VANCE ASTRO — MASTERS OF MIND
MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)
“With incredible powers of both body and mind, these heroes prepare for any intergalactic mission.”
When the Guardians of the Galaxy first appeared, they weren’t really the team they are now. Instead, they were kind of Marvel’s answer to the Legion of Superheroes; a team of aliens, each from a different species, living in the year 3000. The team’s leader was Vance Astro, an astronaut from the 20th Century preserved for 1000 years in order to battle the Badoon. Theoretically, he’s the same character as New Warrior member Justice, though he’s officially classified as an alternate universe counterpart these days. Since the Guardians as a whole are a bit more high profile these days, Vance has been lucky enough to get a whole two figures in the last year. Today, I’ll be looking at the most recent of those!
THE FIGURE ITSELF
Vance Astro is figure 3 in the Titus Series of Marvel Legends. He’s officially named “Masters of Mind,” which is a name he shares with Darkhawk. It’s far from the worst shared name we’ve gotten. The figure stands about 6 1/2 inches tall and has 32 points of articulation. Vance is predominately re-used parts (which is likely the biggest reason he found his way into this series, since it’s pretty heavy on new parts). He’s built on the Reaper body, which, I gotta say, I’m liking less every time it’s used. It’s not bad, but it really doesn’t hold up when compared to newer bodies such as the Spider-UK body. I’m also just not sure it’s the right choice for Vance; sure, he’s usually depicted as being slightly larger than average, but I don’t really think of him as being the same build as Wonder Man or Cap. I feel like Spider-UK would have been the better option here, but maybe that body just showed up too late in the game. Vance gets a new head sculpt. It’s definitely on the generic side, which is appropriate for Vance’s design. I can definitely see this being re-used for some other characters down the line. I will say that Vance’s head seems to be much better scaled to the body than a lot of the Reaper-scale heads, so that’s good to see. The rest of Vance’s details are carried out through paintwork. The overall paintwork is pretty solid. I really dig the metallic blue; it’s pretty much exactly how I’d expect the character to be depicted in real life, and it looks really cool. Most of the line work is clean, but there’s a bit of slop. The insignia on his chest is slightly out of sync with the outline, and, most noticeably, the white section of his left leg comes to a rounded end, in contrast to the pointed end on the right leg. It’s rather distracting. Vance includes Captain America’s shield, which is a more than appropriate extra, since he’s been carrying Cap’s shield in the comics for quite some time. Of course, he uses a different shield mold than the last several Caps (it’s the same as the one used for Red Guardian and Taskmaster, so it’s really the go-to knock-off Cap shield), but it’s the thought that counts. Maybe the sculpted edges get rounded down 1000 years into the future. He also includes the left leg of Titus.
THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION
My fandom of the classic Guardians is largely via my Dad, who’s more of a fan of them then I. I think I’ve read a handful of their appearances, and I’m a fan of the characters for sure, but they aren’t at the top of my list. So, while I wanted a Vance at some point, he wasn’t a figure I had to have. So, when I found both him and Nova at Toys R Us, and could only really afford to grab one, I went for Nova, hoping to come back for Vance later. Of course, Super Awesome Girlfriend was there with me, and she doesn’t really stand for me putting figures back, so he ended up coming home with me anyway. Vance isn’t without issues, but he’s still a decent figure overall. Here’s hoping we can get the rest of the classic team!