#1774: Evil Ash

EVIL ASH

MOVIE MANIACS (MCFARLANE)

“Oh, you wanna know? ‘Cause the answer’s easy! I’m BAD Ash… and you’re GOOD Ash! You’re a goody little two-shoes! Little goody two-shoes! Little goody two-shoes!”

Director Sam Raimi’s first proper film work was Evil Dead, a promising, but ultimately kind of generic horror film.  But promising it was, so Raimi was able to actually get a studio on board for not one, but two sequels to it.  The second of those, Army of Darkess, ended up being the most financially successful of the three, and up until recently was the one with the most merchandising attached to it.  Its first action figures courtesy of McFarlane Toys’ Movie Maniacs line.  Today, I’m looking at AoD’s primary antagonist, the dark reflection of the main character, Evil Ash.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Evil Ash was released in Series 4 of Movie Maniacs, as the follow-up to the standard Ash Williams from Series 3.  Evil Ash is based on his armored, leader of the Deadite army appearance from Army of Darkness’ big climactic battle, which is a sensible choice, since any other version would just be largely indistinguishable from a standard Ash.  The figure stands about 6 1/2 inches tall (thanks to his hunching positioning) and he has 8 points of articulation.  Movie Maniacs were from the period where McFarlane had given up on actually making real action figures…or posable ones at least.  He’s really just a plastic statue, with some cut joints thrown in.  But, as with a lot of these figures, his articulation is mostly there as a matter of habit; it doesn’t actually allow for anything but the one main pose.  On the plus side, Evil Ash’s sculpt is definitely a strong one.  It actually quite accurately captures the details of Evil Ash’s costume from the movie.  The details are all quite crisp, and they’ve even gotten the horribly scarred visage that is his face down pretty much spot on.  Also, despite rather missing the mark on the likeness for their standard variant of Ash, you can make out a pretty decent Bruce Campbell likeness on this guy, even under the horrible scarring.  It’s the chin that really sells it. Evil Ash’s paintwork is another strong point of the figure.  They’re really managed to get that grimy, really broken-in look that he has in the movie, and the detailing on his face really accents the scarring of the sculpt quite well.  Overall, he just looks like quite lifelike, and they really did the best to accentuate all of the details of the sculpt.  Ash is packed with a pair of swords, which he will forever have to hold, because what else is he going to do with those sword gripping hands, right?  He also gets a movie poster marquee base, like all of the earlier Movie Maniacs.  I guess it’s cool, but I think he might have greatly benefitted from an actual display stand.  Still, it’s kind of neat.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

My first exposure to the Evil Dead films wasn’t actually the movies themselves, but was instead Bruce Campbell’s memoir If Chins Could Kill, which I started reading because I knew him as “the guy from all of the Spider-Man movies.”  I know, weird.  I missed out on a lot of Evil Dead stuff when it was first released, and ultimately ended up going for NECA’s offerings, though those didn’t include this guy.  Despite his statuesque nature, Evil Ash is actually one of the better offerings I’ve run into from Movie Maniacs.

This guy isn’t part of my personal collection.  He was loaned to me for review by my friends over at All Time Toys.  If you’re interested in owning this figure, he’s available via their eBay page.  And, if you’re looking for other toys, both old and new, please also check out All Time’s full eBay store front, and take a look at their webstore at alltimetoys.com.

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#1773: Captain America & Falcon

CAPTAIN AMERICA & FALCON

MARVEL MINIMATES

Infinity War saw a lot of familiar faces returning, and by extension so have the accompanying toys.  The Minimates have been split into two main assortments, and by far the most noticeable absence from the first one was the Star-Spangled Man himself, Captain America.  Fortunately, he’s headlining the second assortment, alongside his frequent partner in crime, the Falcon!

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

Cap and Falcon are part of the second assortment of Infinity War-themed Marvel Minimates.  They’re one of the two sets shared between specialty and Walgreens (and were originally supposed to be offered at Toys R Us).

CAPTAIN AMERICA

Captain America’s got quite a different look this time around, owing a lot to his appearance during his days as Nomad in the comics.  Given the similar thematic elements between the storylines, it’s a well-chosen look, and it aids in filling us in on how things have gone for him since he abandoned the shield at the end of Civil War. Cap’s construction is very similar to his Civil War figures, which is sensible, since it’s the same costume and all.  He uses the shield harness, gloves, and belt from that set-up, and swaps out Ego’s hair for the usual close-cropped fare.  The end result makes for a pretty solid approximation of his design from the movie. Sure, the shape of the buckles on the harness isn’t movie accurate (they should be circular), but that’s an exceedingly minor change that DST is forgiven for overlooking.  In terms of paint, Cap is pretty well-off.  The face is sporting a pretty decent likeness of the bearded Chris Evans, and the rest of the details on the uniform and such are very crisp, and all of the important details are there.  The intent from his missing star insignia is clearly defined, as are all of his pockets and such on his uniform.  It’s a shame his uniform isn’t showing the small rips and tears like in the movie, but that’s another small detail. Cap is packed with an extra set of hands, featuring his replacement Wakandan shields.  They’re a bit on the small side, and it’s kind of difficult to tell the difference between them and the standard hands.  That said, they’re new pieces, and they’re certainly better than nothing.  He also includes the usual clear display stand.

FALCON

Unlike Cap, Falcon’s look for Infinity War is largely unchanged from his prior appearance in Civil War.  However, the Civil War release was exclusive to Toys R Us, so it’s sensible that DST would want to give buyers another chance at the character.  Falcon is built from the same collection of pieces as his Civil War figure (reviewed here).  They worked very well the first time around, and they continue to work here.  As it’s the same costume in-movie, it would be silly for DST to try and recreate these pieces wholesale.  Falcon’s paintwork is also rather similar to his last figure, but there are a few minor differences.  His facial expression has changed slightly, closing his mouth, but still keeping his angrier appearance.  The colors of the costume have also been subdued a bit, which actually brings him a bit more inline with how he appears onscreen, since the Civil War release was using an earlier color scheme.  Sadly, Falcon takes a little bit of hit in the accessories department.  He’s got his flight stand and gets both of his twin guns (as opposed to the single one from last time), but loses the Redwing drone.  It doesn’t get any play in Infinity War, but it’s still a little sad to see him with less extras than before.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Cap’s the undeniable selling point of this set, and he’s a very strong entry.  After getting a lot of very similar looks in the first round of Infinity War ‘mates, this distinctly different looking Cap is definitely a breath of fresh air, and a fun figure in general.  How much you like this FALCON figure is going to be very connected to whether you got the last one.  He’s still a solid release, no doubt, but he doesn’t have much new to offer.

#1772: Reverse Flash

REVERSE FLASH

DC COMICS ESSENTIALS (DC COLLECTIBLES)

Hey, does anyone know what time it is?  Don’t worry, I do!  It’s “DC’s in-house toy company abandons it’s flagship line in favor of a completely new completely incompatible one”-o’clock!  …Wait, I think that might just be the time on my end.  Sorry, I don’t subscribe to the standard clock concept.  I go more for abstract reference clocks.  Just wait til it gets to be “SDCC exclusive rereleases are the literal devil”-thirty.  That’s when things go off!

Strange time-keeping jokes aside, it’s really a common trend for DC Collectibles (and their predecessors, DC Direct) to constantly abandon current projects in favor of new ones that let them re-release the same crop of heavy-hitters over and over again.  The latest example of this is their DC Icons/DC Essentials change-over.  Icons was itself a tonal shift for DCC, and had some rough beginnings, but it was finally shaping up into a respectable line, just in time for DCC to completely drop it in favor DC Essentials.  Essentials is basically the same concept as Icons, but done in such a way that the two lines are completely incompatible.  Cue the need to release all those heavy hitters again!  Amongst the line’s debut offerings, there is exactly one character who wasn’t covered by Icons, and not coincidentally, he’s the one I’m looking at today!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Reverse Flash is figure 4 in the first assortment of DC Essentials, making him chronologically the last of the set.  He’s designed to pair off, unsurprisingly, with the standard Flash figure that’s also in Series 1.  He’s technically a modern take on the character, but since he’s essentially had the same look for most of his career, it’s more or less his classic design.  The figure stands 7 inches tall and he has 34 points of articulation.  Let’s just ignore the height issue, because we all knew that was coming.  He’s a full inch taller than any of the Icons figures, and  3/4 inch taller than the average Legends release.  That’s the way it is, and that’s not going to change.  Okay, so, with that out of the way, let’s tackle the other big thing here, which is the articulation.  Overall, it’s very good.  The movement on the joints is solid, and they’ve finally captured that Legends-style articulation they were aiming for.  They’ve even improved on it slightly, especially on those ankles.  But something is rotten in the state of Denmark…and it’s that abdominal crunch.  The actual joint is fine, but you know what’s not?  Those huge, obvious peg holes on either side of his ribs.  They’re just out there, naked, on display, like some sort of joint whoo-ore.  I know it’s a minor flaw, but they really, really jump out at me.  Moving past that, how is the actual sculpt?  Actually pretty good, but not without some slight drawbacks.  He uses the same basic body as the other three figures in the set.  Overall, it’s a decent offering, but the arms are about a half an inch too long for this body.  With the right pose, they look okay, but it’s a little off looking.  I’d like to see them fix this issue for future uses.  The head sculpt is definitely the star piece of this figure.  It’s suitably unique from the basic Flash figure’s head, and the evil smirk is absolutely perfect for Thawne.  The hands are also unique, and while I do like them a lot, I’m not sure how I feel about them being the only hands included here.  Reverse Flash’s paintwork is very clean, very bright, very bold, and extremely eye-catching. Very top-notch work.  Reverse Flash includes no accessories, which is a real let down given the price tag on these figures.  At the very least, he should have an extra pair of hands.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I was apprehensive about this line, because I’d quite grown to like Icons, and I was honestly a little bitter about the last handful of Icons figures being cancelled seemingly to make way for Essentials.  I’m also really, really not looking to buy yet another set of the main DC heroes.  But I saw Reverse Flash in person at Cosmic Comix, and I kind of caved.  I’ve still got some mixed feelings.  There’s a lot I like about this figure, but there are a lot of minor mistakes that I feel DCC would be able to avoid if they didn’t feel the need to shake everything up every couple of years.  And, above all, he doesn’t go with anything I own, which is perhaps the most frustrating thing, since, as I said, he’s a solid figure.

#1771: Big Time Spider-Man & Shadowland Iron Fist

BIG TIME SPIDER-MAN & SHADOWLAND IRON FIST

MARVEL MINIMATES

Shadowland is an event I think most of us would like to forget, and most of us kind of have.  However, the event is notable for a few of the good things that came out of it.  Firstly, it led to a hard relaunch of Daredevil, thus giving us Mark Waid’s phenomenal run on the character.  Secondly, it gave us Marvel Minimates Series 38, which, despite its questionable origins, was a pretty exciting assortment, at least at the time.

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

Shadowland Iron Fist and Big Time Spider-Man were available in both the 38th specialty series and the tenth Toys R Us-exclusive series of Marvel Minimates.

SHADOWLAND IRON FIST

This was only Danny Rand’s second Minimate, hitting shelves a whopping 7 years after the first.  By this point, the character had been successfully re-launched by Matt Fraction and David Aja in the pages of Immortal Iron Fist, so a new version was overdue.  DST took advantage of his appearance during Shadowland to finally get us Danny’s current (at the time) design.  Iron Fist used add-ons for his mask, sash, and wrapped hands.  The sash was re-used, though not from the original Iron Fist as you might think.  Instead it came from the PX-exclusive Dark Phoenix, which had a much more simplistic piece.  Honestly, I think I’d have preferred the old Iron Fist piece, which had more detailing, but I guess a sash is a sash.  The mask and hands were new to this guy.  The mask actually gives Danny hair and ears, unlike the first one, and is generally just a solid piece (hence why it’s still in use another 7 years later).  The hands, on the other *hand* (heh), I’ve never been much of a fan of.  They’re just oddly shaped, and definitely far too long and skinny.  I think the wraps would have looked better as a painted on detail.  The paintwork on Iron Fist is actually surprisingly dull.  Like, I get wanting to maybe downplay the colorfulness of the costume a little bit, but this always seemed to take it a little far.  It still looks fine, though, and I suppose isn’t too far off from how he looked during the Immortal Iron Fist run.  I’ve always found the face to look a little old for Danny.  I think there are a few too many lines.  With the mask on, he looks decent enough, though.  The one detail that really frustrates me is that his sleeves go all the way down to his wrists.  He had extra unwrapped hands to swap out, but without the exposed skin on his forearms, he just ends up looking wrong.  In addition to those previously mentioned extra hands, Iron Fist also included a hair piece for an unmasked look (re-used from Series 27’s Ultimate Iron Man) and an energy effect piece for his “iron fist.”

BIG TIME SPIDER-MAN

Right around the same time that all that crazy stuff was going on in Daredevil, Dan Slott began his legendary run on Spider-Man, kicking things off with a storyline titled “Big Time,” which finally brought the focus back to Peter Parker’s prowess as an engineer.  During the story, he starts building newer, more advanced Spider-suits, including the stealthy suit seen here.  Though the suit was rather short-lived, it was a very sleek look, calling back to the fan-favorite symbiote design, as well as throwing in a bit of Tron for good measure, so it had a lasting impression with fans.  This would be the first of a handful of figures based on this costume.  This Spider-Man, like a lot of Spider-Men, is a completely vanilla ‘mate, making use of no extra add-ons or anything.  It’s nice to get the occasional vanilla ‘mate to remind you of how good the standard body is.  All of the important details are handled via paint, which is handled pretty well overall.  The slight highlights are a very effective way of detailing the all-black suit, and capture Humberto Ramos’ illustrations of the suit well.  My only complaint is the shade of green used; I think something brighter would have popped more against the suit.  It’s not bad as is, but it could be better.  Spidey was packed with a web-line piece.  It’s the same piece used with other Spider-Men, but molded in translucent yellow plastic, which gives it a nice, unique feel.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Iron Fist was a much anticipated figure, but also a somewhat flawed one.  It fixed some of the issues from the first Iron Fist ‘mate, while at the same time introducing new ones of it’s own, making the whole thing a bit of a wash.  The later Best Of version ended up being the one most of us were actually waiting for.  Big Time Spider-Man is one of my favorite Spider-Man designs, and this ‘mate does a pretty exceptional job of translating it into plastic.

#1770: Han Solo – Exogorth Escape

HAN SOLO — EXOGORTH ESCAPE

STAR WARS: THE BLACK SERIES

“Han Solo, captain of the Millennium Falcon, was one of the great leaders of the Rebel Alliance. In the wake of the of the battle of Hoth, Solo fled with the rest of the RebelForces and evaded the pursuit of Imperial TIE Fighters as he expertly maneuvered the Falcon towards the perceived safety of a crater in the Hoth asteroid belt. Infamous for his bold plans that seemed to always defy the odds, Solo soon discovered that the unstable crater upon which he had landed the Falcon – and its crew made up of co-pilot Chewbacca, Princess Leia Organa, and C-3PO – was in fact the cavernous mouth of a giant space slug known as an Exogorth. In the belly of the beast, Solo and crew discovered an inhospitable environment of noxious fumes and parasitic, swooping Mynocks – bat-like creatures who ate through power cables and drained the energy from even the most impressive ships. With the life of his comrades and beloved Millennium Falcon threatened, Solo was called again to emergency action, and steered the Falcon to safety, barely escaping into space through the rapidly collapsing jaws of the ravenous Exogorth.”

Remember the Solo Han Solo Black Series figure that I liked so much?  And remember how I said at the end of that review when I said I’d be sincerely disappointed if there wasn’t a Bespin Han of a similar quality released within the next year?  Well, looks like I don’t have to be sincerely disappointed!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Exogorth Escape Han Solo was released as a SDCC 2018-exclusive offering for Hasbro’s Star Wars: The Black Series.  Like Thrawn, Jyn, and the First Order Stormtrooper before him, he serves as a sort of a preview for a mass-retail released figure, specifically Bespin Han Solo, who is hitting stores in the latest round of Black Series figures.  The figure stands 6 1/4 inches tall and he has 27 points of articulation.  Han’s articulation scheme follows the trend established by the Solo versions of Han and Lando, which is to say he’s got some really great range on a lot of those joints, especially the neck joints.  I definitely appreciate this new style for the line, and it’s nice to have a Han can be more expressive than the rather stiff Smuggler version.  The sculpt for this Han is all-new, and overall one of the line’s strongest offerings.  The head sculpt is the main selling point, based largely on its improved Harrison Ford likeness.  While we got a pretty good older Ford likeness from the TFA version, the younger Han has always been a tough mark.  This figure has one of the best takes we’ve seen to date.  It’s still not 100% there.  The hair seems a little off, and the face goes a little bit more for caricature, but the overall appearance is very, very close.  The body is a fairly balanced sculpt, proportion-wise.  The shoulder’s could probably stand to be a little broader, but that’s a decidedly a minor issue.  The detail work, especially on his jacket, is clean and sharp, and there’s some solid texture work all throughout.  I’m also quite happy that they’ve changed up how they do the non-dominant hands, so that it’s a more sensible grip, rather than the weird claw grip we got with the last two Han releases.  Han’s sculpt is aided by some absolutely top-notch paint work.  He uses the printed face technique, which really further sells the likeness on the head.  The SDCC release gets a little extra shading on the face than the regular release, but it’s definitely a minor change.  The body paint is more basic, but he does get some nice weathering on his belt and holster.  Aside from the minor paint difference on the face, the main thing that separates this release from the regular retail offering is his accessory complement.  Both figures include Han’s blaster, which is mostly accurate to the Empire model of the blaster, apart from lacking silver paint on the barrel.  In an effort to make this figure live more appropriately up to his “Exogorth Escape” subtitle, this Han also includes one of the Mynock creatures that had affixed itself to the hull of the Falcon, as well as his breathing apparatus he wears while walking around the Exogorth’s innards, a hydrospanner, and an extra left hand.  The Mynock is a fun piece, and I really like the slightly transparent wings.  I do sort of wish it had a flight stand of some sort, though.  The rebreather fits nicely over Han’s face, though I would be careful about taking it off; those seams on the strap don’t look too durable.  The hydrospanner is a nice scene-specific piece, which looks good in his off-hand.  The left hand might actually be my favorite accessory in the whole set; there’s just so much Harrison Ford in how the hand is posed.  I can practically hear him telling off Threepio!

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I was unable to attend SDCC this year (or any year, really; living on the other side of the country has that affect on you), so I didn’t have the opportunity to pick this set up in-person.  Honestly, I wasn’t even sure I was going to get it, since the base figure’s getting a standard release and everything.  But, Super Awesome Fiancee wanted the Doctor Aphra set, so I had to log onto Hasbro Toy Shop anyway, and this guy was just sitting there in-stock.  I’m glad I splurged for the deluxe version.  Bespin Han is hands down my favorite look for the character, and I truly love the extras they’ve packed in with him.  By far, the very best version of Han in this line.  Or any line, really.

The Blaster In Question #0064: Ripchain

BlasterInQuestion1

RIPCHAIN

ZOMBIE STRIKE

ripchain1If there’s one universal truth that Todd McFarlane knows, it’s that kids love chains, and I think we can all learn from that.  It seems like Nerf certainly has, with the recent release of their second belt-fed blaster.  So with this much Nerf chain out on the market for kids to love, this blaster obviously needs a name in line with something from the McFarlane universe.  Let’s see, Overt-kill is already taken, so we’ll have to go with Ripchain.

THE BLASTER ITSELF

ripchain2The Zombie Strike Ripchain was released in 2018 and features a 25-round loop belt which is fed through the blaster by pump-action.  The system bares some similarity to the manual fire mode from the Vulcan EBF-25, but without the option for automatic fire.  Sorry Todd, no wires on this one.  Also, I did try, but sadly the belts from the Vulcan are not compatible in the Ripclaw.  To load the Riptor, you fill the belt with 25 darts, lift the hatch on the upper front portion of the blaster, slip the belt over and into place, close the hatch and you can then proceed with firing.  Like the Vulcan before it, the Riptide has a mechanism that locks the hatch in place when closed over the belt, however it also has a switch that can unlock the hatch, making unloading the blaster much easier.  The ergonomics of the Cy-Gor aren’t exactly its strong suit, but they’re functional, at least.  Having the belt all the way in the front makes loading and unloading much easier but it also makes the blaster very front heavy.  Additionally, the plastic piece imitating a ripchain3cloth wrap on the pistol grip isn’t completely locked into the rest of the grip and wobbles just enough to make me concerned about the grip’s structural integrity, particularly if you try holding it by just the pistol grip.  The pump grip is a little blocky but it’s a decent enough shape overall.  The shell of the Malebogia is completely original and features a single accessory rail on the top.   Performance-wise, the Necrid actually has decent range and power given the potential for a poor air seal between the plunger tube and the individual links on the belt.  The belt itself is all plastic with pins connecting the individual links, rather than the cloth strap the Vulcan belts use.  This means turning quickly while holding the blaster causes the belt to swing side to side with a rather distinctive clacking sound.  This can either come across as silly if it’s unintended or can be a foreboding herald just before you bust into your younger siblings’ room and open fire.  The Ripchain come packaged with a 25-round loop belt, and 25 Zombie Strike Elite darts.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION 

Ok, first things first, I know all of the goofy names I used weren’t McFarlane properties but I felt it was more important to gradually warm you up to the joke with other “Rip” names first.  I suppose I could have used Rip Torn in there but I actually like stuff he was in so he gets a pass.  Anyway, I think it’s a cool, slightly gimmicky blaster.  Should you get it to be a purely practical blaster? Probably not.  Should you get it to be fun and because it’s belt fed?  Aw heck, yeah.

#1769: Apocalypse

APOCALYPSE

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

Huzzah!  Another Series of Marvel Legends is complete, which means it’s time for another Build-A-Figure!  The X-Men have their fair share of exciting foes, but due to the sheer size of the main team’s membership, those foes can get left out, which has kind of been the case with Hasbro’s X-themed Marvel Legends so far.  The Juggernaut Series just had it’s build-a-figure, and last year’s Warlock Series didn’t have any villains at all.  Fortunately, this year’s assortment amends that issue, giving us two single-release villain, and a villainous Build-A-Figure, Apocalypse, who I’ll be looking at today!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Apocalypse is the Build-A-Figure for the Apocalypse Series of Marvel Legends.  I know, huge shock.  This is the third mass-retail X-Men series of Marvel Legends since the Infinite Series relaunch.  This marks Apocalypse’s third time as a Legend and his second time as a Build-A-Figure (though the last one was much larger).  He’s clearly a more classically inspired Apocalypse, although he’s still got a little bit of a modern twist in how some of the details have been carried out.  The figure stands 8 inches tall and he has 32 points of articulation.  Apocalypse is a brand-new sculpt, though given how he’s assembled, He was definitely built with future re-use in mind.  There’s a new base body, with add-ons for the collar, wristbands, shoulder pads , and belt.  He’s also got more unique pieces for his head, hands, and feet.  The overall construction is definitely top-notch, and he’s a great example of the character work Hasbro’s capable of doing even with pieces on a basic body.  The head in particular is a very good replication of the character’s look from the late ’80s/early ’90s, which is about as definitive as you can get for Apocalypse.  If I have one complaint, it’s the tubes that run from his belt to his arms; they’re really long, and they pop out of place a lot.  Of course, they’re totally removable if you don’t like them, and as far as the extra length, I’d say it’s likely Hasbro trying to correct the issues present on Warlock.  In that respect, I have to commend them; at the very least, they’re really trying.  When initially shown off, Apocalypse was sporting a slightly more modern-inspired color scheme, but Hasbro changed that along the line, giving us the more classic appearance we see here.  I personally am very happy for that change, as I think his colors are very striking, especially that slick metallic blue.  Apocalypse includes no accessories, since he’s essentially an accessory himself.  Fear not, though, he’s actually getting an alternate hand attachment, packed in with the upcoming Archangel deluxe release!

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

While I’m at best a moderate fan of Apocalypse (which is why I’ve never owned one of his Legends figures before), I do think he has a pretty slick look, and when this figure was shown off, I was pretty impressed.  As luck would have it, I was also really interested in all of the figures it took to build him, so here he is.  He hasn’t topped Warlock as my favorite Build-A-Figure (I’m doubtful anyone will for at least quite some time), but he’s certainly giving Juggernaut a serious run for his money.  All-in-all, this was a very strong assortment of figures.

#1768: Psylocke

PSYLOCKE

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

“Betsy Braddock adopts the identity Psylocke, combining mastery of the martial arts with enhanced abilities in telekinesis and telepathy.”

I have reviewed a surprising amount of Psylocke figures for this site.  I mean, more than one would suffice really, but this one will mark the fifth.  How about that?  Interestingly, one of the few Psylocke figures in my collection I *haven’t* yet reviewed is her first Marvel Legends figure.  It’s interesting; she was part of one of my favorite assortments from that line, and is genuinely one of the better female figures Toy Biz released.  Despite all that, she’s never been a favorite of mine, or anyone’s for that matter.  Since the license transferred over to Hasbro, there’s only been one Psylocke figure under the Legends banner, and that was in an SDCC-exclusive pack from 2012.  Fortunately, Hasbro’s offering another take on the character, which I’m looking at today.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Psylocke is the seventh and final figure in the Apocalypse Series of Marvel Legends.  Like her very first Legends release, this one is based on Psylocke’s Jim Lee-designed, post body swap appearance.  While I myself am partial to Betsy’s armored look from the ’80s, there’s no denying that this particular look is the definitive Psylocke, so Hasbro’s choice was certainly a sensible one.  The figure stands 6 1/4 inches tall and she has 27 points of articulation.  Psylocke marks the debut of a new female base body.  A slight surprise, given a lot of people were just expecting her to be on the Moonstone body, which seems like a decent match for Lee’s take on Betsy.  This new body is comparatively a little slimmer, but as a trade off seems to have a better overall range of motion on the joints, and is perhaps a more realistic portrayal of Psylocke than Lee’s.  In particular, I quite like the elbow, which, though only single joints, can get a surprisingly deep bend to them.  Psylocke’s character-specific parts are her head and sash, both of which are decent, but not without flaw.  The head is certainly a respectable offering, but it’s a touch on the generic side.  Also, her hair is parted the opposite direction of the how Psylocke’s usually goes, which is a little odd.  Was this head perhaps initially meant for someone else?  Likewise, the sash is an alright piece, but isn’t really sculpted to flow with the contours of the body the was prior pieces have.  As such, it’s just a very floaty piece, and never really stays in place.  Psylocke’s paint was another area of contention amongst the fan base, though my personal figure wasn’t affected.  Early shipments of this figure had black hair in place of her proper purple locks, which is a pretty major issue.  Fortunately, it seems Hasbro was right on top of it, and Betsy’s correct hair color has been applied for more recent figures.  Beyond the hair snafu, the rest of the paint is actually pretty decent.  The metallic blue used for her costume is definitely a lot of fun, and the overall application is very clean.  Psylocke is packed with a psychic effect that clips onto her face, one of her psychic knives for her left hand, and a psychic Katana with removable psychic energy effects.  It’s all a bit psychic, really.  She also includes the left leg of the Build-A-Figure Apocalypse, which is the final piece to that particular figure.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I’ve never been super, super into Psylocke, but she was prominent in the ’90s, and I was certainly happy to have another go at the character.  In a series full of some serious hits, Psylocke is, admittedly, one of the weaker figures, at least for me.  She’s certainly not a bad figure, and a definite improvement on her Toy Biz variant.  In another assortment, she might have stood out better.  Still, I’m happy to add her to my collection, and I like her more in person than I’d have expected to.

Psylocke was purchased from my friends at All Time Toys.  If you’re interested in purchasing other Legends figures, or are looking for other cool toys both old and new, please check out their website and their eBay Store.

1767: Multiple Man

MULTIPLE MAN

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

“Not to be duped by duplication, Jamie Madrox uses the ability to clone himself to assign liaisons to travel the world and acquire new skillsets.”

Hey look!  It’s James Franco!  Okay, not quite yet.   And depending on how all the Fox/Marvel stuff shakes out, possibly not at all.  Still, higher chance than that Channing Tatum Gambit movie ever making it out, right? Jamie Madrox, aka the Multiple Man, is one of those fun lower tier Marvel characters who has had quite the history.  His initial appearance had him facing off against the Fantastic Four, and ended with him being put in touch with Charles Xavier, who shipped him off to Muir Island.  He hung around there just mostly being a background character for a decade and a half, before making his way onto the X-Men off-shoot team X-Factor, which was where the character really took off.  He’s maintained a fairly steady fanbase, and believe it or not, has managed to get an action figure in just about every major Marvel scale.  The only one missing was 6-inch, but Hasbro’s been kind enough to fix that this year.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Multiple Man is figure 6 in the Apocalypse Series of Marvel Legends.  This is Jamie’s first Legends release, though he was one of the potential choices in the 2009 Fan’s Choice poll that got us three TRU-exclusive two-packs.  That figure, of course, would have been based on Jamie’s more civilian X-Factor Investigations appearance.  This one instead opts for his ’90s era costume.  I think we can all agree that it was worth the wait to get the actual costume.  The figure stands 6 1/4 inches tall and he has 32 points of articulation.  He’s built on the Bucky Cap body.  Not a huge shock there; Jaime’s never been a particularly bulky guy, and since they went with the spandex look, this one fits it pretty well.  Of course, it wouldn’t be a proper 90s Multiple Man without the trench coat.  I think there was an expectation that this would be an all-new endeavor, but Hasbro opted for some parts re-use…thankfully it’s not a total re-use of the old trench coat body.  That would have been bad.  Instead, he just uses the coat overlay from that figure, paired up with the jacketed arms from the Netflix Punisher.  It’s honestly a much better combo, and goes a long way to salvage that coat piece.  I still feel like we’re going to need a new trench coat body sooner rather than later, but this is a serviceable substitute.  Topping off the frankenstiened body is not one, not two, but three all-new head sculpts.  The first is your standard Multiple Man design, skull cap and all.  He has a more battle-ready expression, teeth-gritted and everything.  The second head is the same as the first, but with a different face, this time more jovial.  This one’s my favorite of the three.  The last one is the most unique, lacking the headgear of the other two, and with a more neutral expression.  This is the sort of head that would probably look more at home on an X-Factor Investigations figure, so one has to wonder if Hasbro is planning a head with this one.  Multiple Man’s paintwork is fairly standard stuff.  The design on his costume doesn’t have quite as much going on under the trench coat as I’d personally like, but in Hasbro’s defense, the artists on X-Factor were never super consistent about his costume design, and tended to just hide most of the spandex under the coat anyway.  Jamie’s primary accessories are the two extra heads, which are fun.  I do sort of wish he’d gotten some extra hands to go along with them, but alas, it was not to be.  He does, however, include the right leg of the Build-A-Figure Apocalypse.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Multiple Man was my most wanted figure from this set, and, as luck would have it, the first figure from the set I was able to get a hold of.  I came across him, and only him, at my local Target.  I’ve always been a fan of Jamie, so I’ve been eagerly awaiting him getting the Legends treatment.  While I would have been happy with the X-Factor Investigations version shown back in ’09, I’m ultimately much happier to have gotten this variant now.  While not a perfect figure, he’s still a ton of fun.  Now I just need to see how many I can track down!

#1766: Storm

STORM

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

“An affinity for the magical elements make Ororo Munroe the mistress of weather manipulation Storm.”

….”affinity for the magical elements”?  That…that doesn’t seem quite right for Storm.  Her powers aren’t “magical.”  Darn it, Ethan, there you go critiquing bios again.  Knock it off!

Though one of the most prominent X-Men by far, Storm’s had rather a storied history when it comes to action figures, especially Marvel Legends.  In the whole run of the line, she’s only had two prior figures, one during Toy Biz’s tenure, and one during Hasbro’s.  Hasbro’s pulling a head of the game, though, and bringing their number up to a whopping two!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Storm is figure 5 in the Apocalypse Series of Marvel Legends.  Her last Hasbro release was based on her then-current Marvel Now appearance.  This one goes more classic (though exactly how classic the design is has been slightly up for debate), giving us Storm’s punk look from the late ’80s.  The Now figure also had a mohawk, giving us a slight taste of this design, but this one goes full-on.  The figure stands 6 1/4 inches tall to from her feet to the top of her head (the mohawk adds another half an inch) and she has 27 points of articulation.  Storm’s starting point is the casual-wear jeans and a t-shirt body introduced last year for Mary Jane and Jessica Jones.  On top of that, she gets the jacket and glove cuffs from Rogue, as well as a new head, upper torso, boots, and belt.  The base body is a fairly decent starting point for this particular Storm design.  I suppose an argument could be made that Storm should have a slightly larger stature, but I don’t think she’s too far off.  Certainly not as bad as prior Storm offerings.  The borrowed Rogue pieces, though not perfect matches for Storm’s garb from the comics, are close enough to warrant the re-use.  That just leaves the newly sculpted pieces, which are quite nicely rendered.  I was actually a little surprised that the head was an all-new piece, as I’d somewhat expected it to be a re-use from the prior Storm figure.  I was glad to find it was a new piece, as this one takes the decent starting point of the prior sculpt, and adds an additional layer of character, to both the facial expression and the slight tussled nature of the hair.  It’s a good match for her rye personality from the comics at the time she was sporting this look.  To be completely accurate to the comics, she should really have gotten a band on her arm, but that’s a relatively minor detail.  Storm’s paintwork is on par with the usual work we’ve been seeing lately.  The application is all clean, and the all-black costume is quite slick looking.  Oddly, she’s actually gotten a painted detail she didn’t need.  They’ve painted an exposed midriff on her torso, when it should technically be a full shirt, and thereby just be black like the rest of the shirt.  I can’t say I mind the change, though, and it doesn’t seem all that out of place with this particular look.  Storm is packed with a pair of lightning effects (the same ones included with Magneto and Thor; now we’ve got them in a whole array of colors), which technically she wouldn’t have with this costume, what with having lost her powers and all, but it would seem odd to get a Storm figure without them.  She also includes the torso of the Build-A-Figure Apocalypse.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Neither of the last two Storm Legends were particularly easy to get.  I fully intended to grab the last Hasbro figure but, well, that didn’t happen.  I’ve been hoping for another shot at Storm since then.  Storm was another birthday gift from my Super Awesome Fiancee (I guess there was a mohawk theme going on).  While this look isn’t my first choice (I’m still hoping for that First Appearance figure we were teased with back in 2007), I’m happy to have gotten any look at all, really.  She’s a solid figure to be sure.