MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)
“A cacophony of skill and supersonic powers make Melissa Gold the high-pitched hero Songbird.”
It’s generally agreed that ’90s comics, as a rule, all totally suck. This is a tad hyperbolic. The decade certainly delved into the excesses of the medium, but it’s less that everything sucked and more that the sudden boom of how many comics were being produced meant that the bad ones were that much more visible. There are some definite gems from the decade, and one of those is Kurt Busiek and Mark Bagley’s run on Thunderbolts. In the midst of the ’90s turning every hero into a gun-toting anti-hero, Thunderbolts returned to Marvel’s roots of taking villains and turning them into full-fledged heroes…well, some of them anyway. Perhaps the greatest success story of Thunderbolts is today’s focus, Songbird. She began her career as the rather forgettable villain “Screaming Mimi” and was chosen by Busiek precisely because of how under-developed she was. 20 years later, she’s perhaps still not an A-lister, but she’s easily the quintessential Thunderbolt, and a very highly ranking character amongst the fanbase.
THE FIGURE ITSELF
Songbird is figure 5 in the Thanos Series of Marvel Legends. She’s the second of the three comics-based figures. Songbird’s had a bit of a road to finally getting a Legend. A prototype was originally shown at at SDCC 2013, planned for a future assortment of the pre-Infinite Series line, and obviously meant to tie-in with that year’s Thunderbolts boxed set. Unfortunately, the line re-formated the next spring, and all of the figures shown were dropped…at least initially. The figures originally slotted for the infamous “Jubilee Series” all found their way into the Infinite Series branded line, as did most of the other odds and ends figures shown off in 2013. Poor Songbird was the last completely unreleased figure (though single-packed re-releases of the still boxed-set exclusive X-Force Wolverine, X-Force Archangel, and Moonstone also never materialized). Fortunately, the character’s loyal fanbase saw her to a victory in 2016’s Fan’s Choice poll, and Hasbro was able to find her a spot in this year’s line-up. The figure stands 6 inches tall and she has 23 points of articulation. Where the 2013 prototype used Songbird’s then-current design, this figure instead opts for her classic design, which she’s gone back to in recent years. It also updates her to a more current base-body; instead of the out-of-date body from the ROML days, Songbird is instead sporting the 2016 Phoenix body, which is a pretty good one. She’s got a new head, forearms, and hands, as well as add-ons for the shoulder armor and belt. All-in-all, it adds up to a pretty solid looking figure. The head capture’s Bagley’s depiction of the character without going too artist-specific, and there’s even a slight smile to her face, keeping her from being yet another vapid face on the shelf. The armor is sleek and well-fitted to the body; it limits the shoulder movement a bit, but not terribly so. The gauntlets on her new arms match the shoulder piece in terms of quality; they’re a little slimmed down compared to her usual look from the comic, but I don’t mind so much. I suspect there’s going to be some re-use in order, though. The new hands are pretty simple, being a flat-palmed position. We’ve already got this pose for the male bodies, so it’s good to get the female equivalent, and this pose is definitely better than the Phoenix hands for Songbird. Lastly, there’s the belt; it’s a pretty basic floating add-on piece. It does its job. The color work on Songbird is what we’ve come to expect from a Legends release. Appropriately colored plastic where possible, and all of the standard painted detailing. No real accent work to speak of, but the base application is clean, and her colors match well with the comics. Songbird includes a wing effects piece, showcasing her sound manipulation abilities in the way she most frequently manifests them. It plugs into her back and looks really cool when in-place. Here’s hoping we see a similarly-styled Phoenix force effect down the line! Songbird also includes the right arm of the Build-A-Figure Thanos. She’s got a better selection of extras than the last two figures I looked at, but I wish we’d at least gotten an extra set of hands.
THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION
Songbird was found at the same time as Proxima and King Cobra. I’m more familiar with her than I am the other two (I mostly know her from Avengers Forever, but I’ve read a decent selection of Thunderbolts as well), so I was looking forward to her quite a bit. I think King Cobra’s still my favorite from this set, but she’s a very close rival, and I’m glad she finally got made. Now, here’s hoping for a Genis Vell to go with her!