MARVEL LEGENDS (TOY BIZ)
“To the public, Tony Stark is a handsome, jet-setting industrialist and inventor. What they don’t know is that he leads a second life as Iron Man. The armored Avenger gets his fantastic powers from his suit of micro-mesh armor. It gives him superhuman strength, the ability to fly via his jet boots, and a variety of built-in weapons, foremost among these being his devastating repulsor rays! Iron Man is dedicated to defeating those forces that would threaten the security of the nation and the entire world.”
Iron Man is easily one of Marvel’s best known characters these days, but that wasn’t always the case. Aside from a brief cartoon runs in the ‘60s and ‘90s, he was largely out of the public eye until his 2008 film. So, in 2002, when Toy Biz launched Marvel Legends as a follow-up to their successful Spider-Man: Classics line, and had Iron Man as one of the headliners of Series 1’s four figure assortment, it was a pretty big deal. It’s hard to believe now, but when Marvel Legends debuted, the most demanded figure by far was the Iron Man. Can you even imagine a time when the fanbase didn’t let out a collective groan at the inclusion of an Iron Man figure?
THE FIGURE ITSELF
As noted in the intro, Iron Man was released in the first series of Toy Biz’s Marvel Legends line. There were actually two Iron Men in the assortment; the regular release reviewed here, and the one-per-case horned-mask variant. Even later, there was also a Walmart-exclusive release, which decked this guy out in his stealth colors. This guy is based on Tony’s classic armor from the 60s and 70s, which at this point hadn’t been released in plastic form for almost two decades. The figure stands about 6 1/2 inches tall and has 38 points of articulation. Some of the articulation (particularly the neck movement and the mid-torso joint) is a bit antiquated, but it’s mostly pretty workable. Amusingly, some of the articulation the was more quickly deemed out of date within the line itself has actually become the more standard way of doing things, so in some ways he fits in better with the more recent Hasbro offerings than he does the later TB offerings. Iron Man sported what was, at the time, an all-new sculpt, which would later be used for the Silver Centurion armor, as well as War Machine and Magneto. The build is a little bulkier than the usual depictions of the classic Iron Man armor, but it actually makes sense, since it’s supposed to be wrapped around a normal-sized guy; it’d have to be a little heftier in real life. The proportions are actually pretty solid for a figure of this era. Compare this guy to his Series-mate Captain America, and you’ll note that he’s got a much more balanced anatomy. He even avoids the dreaded duck feet! The articulation is also pretty well worked-in for a Toy Biz offering; sure, there are still some spots where compromise has been made (the waist really sticks out), but it’s generally a good middle-ground. In terms of detail work, this guy goes a bit more simplistic than later TB fare (another reason he fits in a bit better with the Hasbro stuff), but that’s definitely a plus. All of the important details are there, they’re all very sharply defined. The figure has a removable faceplate, which reveals Tony Stark beneath the mask. I’ve always felt he bore a resemblance to Timothy Dalton, which is a neat little “what-if” casting idea. The face has some of the best work on the whole figure, which shows real commitment on the sculptor’s part, since it’s largely going un-seen. The faceplate is molded to fit into the contours of the face, and it actually stays in place really well. In terms of paint, Iron Man’s handled really well. He’s got the base red and yellow, which are nice and vibrant, and then on top of that, there’s a hint of silver lightly applied to all the armored portions of the figure, which makes him look suitably metallic, while avoiding the issues of blending that plague the Iron Men that use gold in place of the yellow. Iron Man was packed with a display stand designed to look like a Stark Industries satellite and a reprint of Iron Man #149 (which contains “Doomquest,” one of my favorite Iron Man stories).
THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION
This guy came from my Nana. Every year, she’d take me and my cousin to Toys R Us at the end of school and let us each pick out one or two things. Of course, I went through the usual back and forth, having to reassure her that yes I really did want this Iron Man fellow instead of a handful of Attack of the Clones figures like my cousin was getting. At the time, this guy was still pretty hard to get, so finding him so quickly was pretty sweet. He was my very first Marvel Legend, and I gotta say, dragging him out for the purpose of this review has reminded me that he’s still very definitely one of my favorites. As far as classic Iron Men go, this guy really hasn’t been topped.