#1828: Guardians of the Galaxy

STARLORD, DRAX THE DESTROYER, & ROCKET RACCOON

MARVEL UNIVERSE (HASBRO)

“In the wake of the devastation left by the Annihilation War, the galaxy was unprotected. In a forgotten place at the edge of the universe, a group of heroes came together, determined to fill that void. From their base in deep space, the Guardians of the Galaxy protect the cosmos from threats both large and small.”

The year is 2011.  The world’s just getting comfortable with Thor and Captain America as major motion pictures.  The Avengers hasn’t shown up and blow the lid off of Super Hero movies.  Nobody knows who The Guardians of the Galaxy are, and yet, this is the year they get their first toys.  Groovy.

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

These three were released as one of the two debut team packs from Hasbro’s then fledging Marvel Universe.  They had done multi-packs of varying numbers up to this point, but this was when they really started to explore offering new characters and new sculpts in these sets.  The Guardians marked the debut figures for all three characters included.

STARLORD

Probably the most obscure of the characters included when this set was released, Starlord is never the less front and center, sporting his fully-covered appearance from when he first started leading the team.  It’s pretty far removed from what we connect with the character now, but was really just a slight re-design of his classic appearance.  The figure stands 4 inches tall and he has 23 points of articulation.  Starlord was built on the AIM/Ghost Rider body, which I’ve actually reviewed once before, way back at the start of the site, when it was used for Longshot.  It’s a decent body, and was certainly one of MU’s best offerings.  It works very well for Starlord’s design (to the point that Hasbro repeated this same shared body sequence for the Legends releases as well), and its all-around just a nice sculpt.  The legs can be a little finicky when you’re posing him, but other then that, the posability was really solid.  He gets a new head and belt, completing his transition into Starlord.  The head in particular is a very nice sculpt, showcasing a level of detail that a lot of figures from this line hadn’t gotten at this point.  Starlord’s paintwork is solidly handled.  The base work is pretty clean, and he gets some pretty great accenting on the bodysuit.  Not something we see a lot of anymore, but it certainly adds something to the figure.  Starlord is packed with a pair of identical guns, which he holds well in his hands.

DRAX THE DESTROYER

Drax is probably the most prominent of the Guardians, prior to their move to the big screen (which is likely why he was the one who got the Legends release the next year), and had just seen something of a revamp right before joining up with the team, so he’s sporting his then-current look for this figure.  Not necessarily a favorite of mine, as he ends up looking a touch generic, but it served to inspire the movie, which made it less so.  The figure is just over 4 inches tall, with 20 points of articulation.  Drax shares his body with the previously released Luke Cage figure.  Given their similar wardrobe choices at the time, it certainly made a lot of sense.  It’s an okay body, but definitely a lot more restricted than Starlord’s, and certainly lighter on the detailing.  He gets a new head and belt piece.  The head is fairly standard, and it’s actually a little bit surprising that it didn’t see a bunch of re-use.  The belt is a belt.  It’s decent, but hardly anything to get excited over.  Drax’s paintwork is fairy standard.  Base application is clean, and there’s some nice accenting on the upper half of the figure.  He’s not quite as eye-catching as Starlord, but that’s true to the design.  Drax is packed with a pair of knifes, which can be placed, somewhat awkwardly, in the sheath on the back of his belt.

ROCKET RACCOON

Original envisioned as something of a one-off character, Rocket Raccoon’s biggest claim to fame before the movies was earning a spot in Marvel vs. Capcom 3, which is actually a pretty darn prestigious affair.  It certainly elevated his public profile, anyway.  This figure was a wholly new offering, as you might expect, since there’s not really much you can re-use for a raccoon, right?  The figure stands 2 inches tall and has articulation as his neck and tail.  No arm articulation for this guy.  That’s a little disappointing, but he makes out better than other similarly styled figures from MU.  His sculpt is pretty solid work.  It’s dynamic, to be sure, which is certainly a plus.  He’s a bit more stylized than the other two in this set, but the folds on his uniform are close enough to those on Starlord’s that the two don’t look too out of place with each other.  Rocket’s paint work is probably the most complex of the bunch, what with all the fur detailing and the like.  He looks good, and once again matches well with the similarly uniformed Starlord.  Rocket includes a large gun, which is certainly in character.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

This pack was actually my first introduction to the modern Guardians.  I was familiar with Drax, but not the other two, as I was never much of a fan of Abnett and Lanning’s writing style.  Because of that, I didn’t really have any interest in this set at the time of its release, and ended up passing on it, even while in the midst of a pretty heavy bout of Marvel Universe collecting.  It’s actually too bad I did, because its a good set, and might have gotten me interested in the characters a little sooner.  It’s even better now that Gamora and a full-scale Groot finally surfaced last year.

This set was loaned to me for review by All Time Toys, and is available for purchase via their eBay store.  If you’re looking for other cool toys both old and new, please check out their website and their eBay Store.

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