MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)
“With his claws sharp and his eyes set on his target, Black Panther is ready to pounce.”
I really try not to critique the packaging bios too much, but I gotta say, if you’re completely unfamiliar with Black Panther as a character, that’s probably not gonna do much to help. In fact, it sounds more like the sort of description you’d see of an *actual* panther. Hasbro knows he’s not an actual panther, right? One would certainly hope so…
We’re about a month out from the theatrical release of Black Panther, 2018’s first on a long list of super hero movies. This, of course, will mark the second time audiences see T’Challa grace the screen, after his pretty much universally praised appearance in 2016’s Captain America: Civil War. I’m certainly excited to see more of the character, especially given the rather rich history they’ve got to draw from. The landslide of movie-based product just started hitting last week, but before I get to that, I’ll be looking at one of Panther’s comic-based figures!
THE FIGURE ITSELF
Black Panther was a Walmart-exclusive Marvel Legends figure, released last year. When it was released last year is very much up for debate. Samples of the figure started showing up over seas at the beginning of 2017, and the product was given to Walmart not long after that. However, there was no official announcement that he was coming from Hasbro or Walmart, and no real estimated street date. A few people found him starting in the spring, but for a lot of people, this guy didn’t actually show up until just before the winter holidays. Quite a lag time. But the figure’s here now, and that’s really all that matters, right? For the most part, this figure’s just a slight re-working of the Rocket Raccoon Series Black Panther from 2013. That whole series was pretty difficult to track down, and Panther in particular was always the most popular, so it’s nice for Hasbro to give some of us another shot at him. Like the Marvel Universe figure, this one’s based on his classic 60s/70s appearance, from when he was with the Avengers. With the included cape, he actually comes pretty close to a first appearance Panther, but the cape’s a touch long and he’d still need the satchel. The point is, he’s a pretty standard “classic” Black Panther. The figure stands 6 1/4 inches tall and he has 32 points of articulation. He’s built on the Bucky Cap body (which, when it was used for the last Panther, was still a fairly new addition to the line). There have been some arguments made that he should actually be on one of the slightly larger bodies, but I find this base feels right. He gets the same head as the Rocket Raccoon Series figure, which is a good translation of Panther’s distinctive full-face mask. There are enough details that you can actually make out some of T’Challa’s face beneath it, which I think is pretty darn cool. Changing things up ever so slightly from the last figure, this one gets the belt piece from Daredevil, and the hands from the Civil War Panther. I wasn’t sure about the use of the hands at first, since the CW Panther has a lot of sculpted textures that I thought would be out of place on an otherwise comics-inspired figure, but they work surprisingly well. The figure also sports a cape, reused from the 2008 Adam Warlock figure. It’s not bad, but I definitely prefer Panther sans-cape. The paint on Panther is subtle, especially when compared to the RR one, which had a lot of blue going on. This one’s mostly just straight black, with a bit of detailing for the accents on the boots, gloves, and belt. I really dig the striped boots and gloves, as they’ve always been one of my favorite parts of the classic design. Panther is packed with the previously mentioned cape, a spare set of normal gripping hands, and a spear (borrowed from Kraven the Hunter).
THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION
I always wanted the RR Series Panther figure, but never could find one. I eventually got the Civil War figure, which is an awesome enough figure that I was willing to let it slide that he wasn’t a classic Panther. Needless to say, when this figure first surfaced, I was pretty dead set on getting one. It took me until December to actually find one. My closest Walmart put out about 20 of him all at once (all of which were gone within a week, I might add), so I grabbed him as soon as I saw him. There’s not anything particularly innovative or new about this figure, but he’s still one of the best Black Panther figures in my collection, and I’m happy to add him to my Avengers shelf.