#2142: Sabretooth

SABRETOOTH

X-MEN (TOY BIZ)

“Sabretooth is just one of the several man-made killers created by the Weapon-X project. Once an ally of Wolverine, he is now one of the most vicious of the X-Men’s foes. He has an incredible healing factor that makes him immune to most drugs and poisons, and he has greater endurance than most human beings. With his fearsome claws, sharp teeth and innate savagery, Sabretooth has a bloodlust that is rivaled only by his hate for Wolverine!”

Early in the Toy Biz X-Men line, there was a frequent occurrence of characters having just changed their costumes just as their figures would get made.  Mainstay X-Men Wolverine and Cyclops needed V2s pretty quickly, but so did a few of their foes.  Sabretooth was a notable example, having just gotten a major redesign right before his V1 figure’s release, requiring a second go less than a year later.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Sabretooth was released in Series 5 of Toy Biz’s X-Men line (the same series that also gave us the second Cyclops figure) in 1993.  He uses Sabretooth’s updated Jim Lee design, which, in addition to streamlining his costume, also began the trend of bulking the character up considerably.  It was also the look that was used on X-Men: The Animated Series, which had started not long before this figure’s release.  The figure stands 5 1/2 inches tall and has 4 points of articulation.  He’s actually pretty limited on the articulation front for one of these figures.  Necks and elbows were still pretty inconsistent at this point, so that’s not a huge shock, but the lack of knee joints is certainly odd.  It also makes him incredibly hard to keep standing, which isn’t exactly a plus.  Why exactly they opted to cut so much articulation from this figure isn’t exactly clear.  The sculpt itself isn’t bad.  It capture’s Victor’s bulked up look pretty well without going too overboard.  He matches up well with Lee’s usual depiction of the character, even if his stance is perhaps a little rigid.  The paintwork is on the basic side, and there’s definitely some slop on the edges of the brown, but it’s about what you’d expect for the time.  Sabretooth included no accessories, but he did have a “Snarl and Swipe” action feature; squeezing his legs swings his arms in and out and opens his mouth. It’s not a bad gimmick, all things considered, and the lack of exposed levers and such was a marked improvement on Toy Biz’s earlier offerings, taking a page out of the Super Powers book.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

My first V2 Sabretooth was not his original release, but was instead the Marvel Universe re-release, given to me as a gift by a family friend.  That one eventually broke on me and got lost in a shuffle of figures some time back.  The one seen here is the original release, which I actually got for my birthday a couple of years ago, alongside a handful of other ’90s Marvel figures.  He’s not exactly a very playable figure, but he certainly looks the part.

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#2141: Spider-Man & MJ

SPIDER-MAN & MJ

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

Students at the Midtown School of Science and Technology, Peter Parker and MJ experience the powers of Spider-Man firsthand when the web-slinger must suit up to take down the Vulture.”

The Legends coverage for Spider-Man: Homecoming followed the usual Spider-Man movie range, meaning we got the main villain and a bunch of Spider-Man variants.  We did also get an Iron Man figure, but that was sort of on his own merits.  Beyond that, the other characters were really left out.  While the Far From Home offerings more or less followed the same set-up, but between the two, we did get one of the more important supporting players, albeit in a slightly rebooted form with Michelle “MJ” Jones.  Of course, surprising no one, there’s also another Spidey variant along for the ride.

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

Spider-Man and MJ are a Target-exclusive part of the Marvel Legends line.  They’re both officially based on Homecoming, though the set was clearly meant to tie-in with MJ’s increased role in Far From Home.

SPIDER-MAN

We got both of Spidey’s main looks from Homecoming back when the movie came out, but there was one notable design missing.  When locked in the Damage Control vault at the movie’s mid-point, Peter keeps himself warm by layering up and putting his hoody and decathlon team jacket over his costume.  It’s a pretty distinctive look, and was even used on the film’s main poster, so its recreation as a toy was pretty much inevitable.  The figure stands 6 inches tall and he has 30 points of articulation.  Spider-Man uses a lot of parts from the initial Homecoming figure, but obviously swaps out the arms for a new pair with sleeves to match the jacket.  It also re-tools the upper torso to remove the butterfly joints at the shoulders.  I was admittedly never a huge fan of how they were implemented on the original figure, so I don’t miss them here.  In addition to the arms, he also gets the Coulson jacket, plus a new hoodie piece that slips underneath of it to complete the look.  Paintwork on this guy is actually a little different from the original release; the weblines are a little tighter and the tech-lines on the blue sections are a little darker.  It makes the figure pop a little more than the original, but the reds on the suit are the same, meaning the extra head from the first figure is still compatible.  Spidey is packed with two sets of hands in fists and thwippign poses.  It’s a shame he didn’t also get his Beats, but the hands are at least something.

MJ

Zendaya’s Michelle “MJ” Jones caused a fair bit of controversy when she was added to the cast of the first movie and was originally rumored to be a more direct adaptation of Mary Jane Watson.  It was honestly downright comical given how minor her role was in the first film.  Whatever the case, I found her performance to be enjoyable and the character to be a quite likable reimagining of a character we’ve seen quite a few times before.  And now I’ve got an action figure of her, which is always the best thing about any fictional character.  She stands a little over 6 inches tall and has 27 points of articulation.  MJ is built on the same body as the last Legends MJ, which is also the one used for Jessica Jones and Elektra from the Netflix line-up.  It’s a pretty sensible body, and fits the general build and look of Zendaya in the movie.  The figure gets a few new parts to help sell the new look better.  She has a new set of arms and jacket piece, as well as new lower legs.  It’s all topped off with two new head sculpts, one with the hair down and a more intense expression, the other with the hair pulled back and a more amused expression.  Both have a pretty spot-on likeness, but I personally prefer the second one.  MJ’s paintwork is more reserved than Spidey’s, but it’s still a pretty solid offering, with plenty of nice little touches, especially on the jacket.  MJ is packed with two sets of hands, one set in open gesture, the other in a gripping/fist combo.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Wanna guess where I got this here Target exclusive?  Did you say Target?  How ever did you crack that one?  This set first started hitting way back in June, but I didn’t actually find mine until a few weeks ago.  I had almost given up hope of finding it at retail, when a quick stop off on the way home to grab a few other things led to me finding a whole stock of them.  The Spidey variant is actually a lot of fun, and MJ’s kind of an essential figure, so I definitely dig this set.

#2140: Captain America & Peggy Carter

CAPTAIN AMERICA & PEGGY CARTER

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

When it comes to the MCU, I’m a very big Captain America fan.  His solo outings are all highly ranked among my favorites, with The First Avenger and Winter Soldier being two of my very favorite amongst the line.  I have a particular soft spot for TFA, which helped to remind me just how much I liked the character, and is my go-to MCU film for re-watching.  The fact that the Marvel Studios: The First Ten Years sub-line only gave us Red Skull left me really feeling the lack not just of one of Cap’s coolest looks, but also of one of the MCU’s most important characters.  Fortunately, the 80 Years of Marvel line is swooping in and offering up both of those very things, in one convenient package.

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

Cap and Peggy are one of the two exclusive 80 Years of Marvel two-packs (the other being Iron Man and Iron Spider from Infinity War), and they are available via Amazon.  While I’m still iffy on how many of these things are being handed off as exclusives, at least this one is relatively easy to acquire.

CAPTAIN AMERICA

Driven to help out his country during World War II, Steve Rogers enlists in the military as part of Project Rebirth. After he impresses the scientist in charge of the project, Steve is injected with Super Soldier Serum, increasing his strength and physique. He becomes the patriotic hero Captain America, fighting for freedom throughout the world.”

Before he became a full-fledged costumed hero, but after he’d given up being a patriotic monkey, Steve throws togething this distinctive number to go and rescue the POWs from the Hydra camp, in perhaps my favorite sequence of the movie.  Hasbro wasn’t doing dedicated Legends for the movies when The First Avenger hit, so obviously there was no chance for a Rescue Cap there, but even worse, they didn’t even include one in their smaller-scale line.  To get this look previously, you either had to settle for the Minimate or shell out the big bucks for the Hot Toys version.  The figure stands 6 1/4 inches tall and he has 32 points of articulation.  Cap is sporting an all-new sculpt, though it’s one that’s already been earmarked for re-use for the upcoming Legendary Riders WWII Cap figure.  It’s clearly been designed for accuracy to this particular look first and foremost, however.  After a number of MCU Cap figures that were a little bit scrawny, this one does a respectable job of looking the part.  The neck is a touch longer than I’d like, and some of the details on the uniform are softer than other recent offerings, but by and large, it’s a solid sculpt, and does the design justice.  Cap includes two different heads, which are slightly difficult to differentiate at first glance.  The one he comes wearing is a more straight-forward un-helmeted head, which has Evans with his pre-Winter Soldier hair.  It’s a decent likeness, though again softer than some recent sculpts.  As an added bonus, it’s the first Evans head to be compatible with the Quantum Suit body, which I was certainly happy about.  The second head has a far more compact hairstyle, meant to fit under the included helmet.  While they could have probably gotten away with just including a separate head with the helmet permanently attached, this way he can carry the empty helmet when using the non-helmet haired head.  I can certainly appreciate that.  Cap’s paintwork is all pretty standard.  The basics are all covered, and he’s using the face printing technique, which works pretty well here.  He’s packed with his original shield, a pistol, and a knife.  Both the pistol and the knife can be stashed on the figure, while the shield pretty much always goes on the arm.  Also included is the unpainted version of his standard shield.  It’s just a repaint of the Studios shield mold, meaning it has the star at the center, which isn’t technically accurate, but it’s close enough for such a relatively minor extra, and I’m honestly just happy to see it turn up at all.

PEGGY CARTER

A British agent with the Strategic Scientific Reserve, Peggy Carter is a capable soldier and strategist. She is part of Project Rebirth, which developed the Super Soldier Serum that was injected into Steve Rogers. When Project Rebirth ends, Peggy continues to assist Steve as he becomes the world’s first superhero, Captain America.”

The lack of a proper Peggy Carter figure has been one of the most glaring problems for just about every MCU-based line (barring Minimates, which was previously the only way to get Peggy).  Heck, we got a figure of the MCU version of *Sharon* Carter before Peggy.  Do you know how crazy that is?  It’s mega crazy, let me tell you.  It’s about time she finally got her due, with a figure based on her primary appearance from The First Avenger.  The figure stands just shy of 6 inches tall and has 29 points of articulation.  While she has the expected issues of restricted hip articulation thanks to the skirt, beyond that she’s actually surprisingly well articulated.  The waist joint in particular has some really solid range, effectively negating the lack of any mid-torso joint.  Definitely a good example of tailoring the articulation to the design.  Peggy’s sporting an all-new sculpt, and one I don’t imagine we’ll be seeing again soon (unless Hasbro feels like giving us a TV show Peggy, which I certainly wouldn’t mind).  It’s another strong offering, working the articulation in well, while still getting down a pretty realistic set of proportions and properly adapting the details of the uniform.  While the head’s not a spot-on Hayley Atwell likeness, it’s strong enough to sell who this is meant to be, and it’s about on par with the Evans likeness on Cap.  Peggy’s paintwork is decent for the most part.  The face paint is a bit messy on mine, and there was some excess glue from the hair, but boy do I love that the got the seams on the backs of her legs.  That’s a really cool touch!  Peggy includes a Thompson machine gun, or at least I’m saying that she does.  It’s packed next to Cap in the packaging, but Peggy clearly is meant to hold something, and does use a Thompson in the film, so I’m counting it as hers.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I love The First Avenger.  I love Rescue Cap.  I love Peggy.  There was no way I wasn’t buying this set as soon as I got the chance.  That made it slightly distressing when we went so long without any release information on this set.  It was one of the first 80 Years offerings shown off, but ended up as one of the last to be placed.  It kind of worked out in my favor, though, since the announcement that it would be at Amazon came alongside it being in-stock at Amazon, meaning I had it two days after it was officially solicited.  That was very nice.  This set isn’t without flaws.  Cap’s sculpt is a little softer than I’d like, and Peggy’s face paint is iffy, but honestly I’m just beyond thrilled to finally have both of them in my collection.

#2139: Luis & Ghost

X-CON LUIS & GHOST

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

After the monumental undertaking and twists and turns and misfortune of getting the first Ant-Man film to the screen, its sequel Ant-Man & The Wasp had a comparatively much easier time.  Perhaps because of that, the film seems to have faded into the background a little quicker than its predecessor.  Of course, there’s also a good chance that it was due to it being right in the middle of a run of six films in two years, and the fact that it was honestly the least overarching-MCU-plot relevant of those six.  I will admit that while I enjoyed it in theaters, I honestly haven’t given it a whole lot of thought since then.  So, I guess it’s Marvel Legends‘ job to come along and remind me, with today’s pairing of Luis and Ghost!

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

Luis and Ghost make up the final movie-based pairing from the basic two-pack assortment of the 80 Years of Marvel sub-line of Marvel Legends.  As noted above, they are based on Ant-Man & The Wasp, and round out the versions of the title characters released alongside the movie last year.

GHOST

“Ava Starr gained the ability to become intangible after a quantum accident.  She began working for SHIELD at a young age, under the codename Ghost.  Years later, she realizes she is slowly dying and makes plans to harness the energy of the Quantum Realm, putting her into direct conflict with Hank Pym, Hope Van Dyne, and Scott Lang.”

In the comics, Ghost is a mysterious enigma wrapped in a question, and is more or less agreed to be male.  For the film, Ghost was made definitively female and given an actual backstory, which works far better for an antagonist you’re hinging the movie on.  It also made her a far more interesting character than the first film’s primary antagonist, which was certainly a plus.  She was really the main thing I was sad to miss when the initial product for the film hit, so she was a very strong choice for this pairing.  The figure stands 6 inches tall and has 27 points of articulation.  Ghost is an all-new sculpt, based on her design from the movie.  Though her backstory may have changed, the movie’s costume design for Ghost is actually not a bad adaptation, merging the two main designs from the comics into one fairly pleasing design.  The figure translates that design pretty well, with reasonable proportions and some really solid texture work.  She’s not quite as posable as I might like, but she’s certainly not bad.  Ghost’s paintwork is fairly monochromatic, but it works for the character, and it’s overall fairly well-rendered.  The figure also includes a spare unmasked head and a pulled-down hood, for the look she sports for most of the film’s back-half.

X-CON LUIS

“The best friend of Scott Lang, also known as Ant-Man, Luis is a fast-talking, wise-cracking former thief.  After he, Scott, and two of their other friends are hired to help Hank Pym steal his own technology, the group bands together to form their own company, X-Con Security Consultants.”

Created for the first film, Luis’s inclusion was met with near unanimous praise, and led to introduction in the comics just a few months later.  Unsurprisingly, he was given an even larger role for the sequel, which has him participating in Scott’s security consultancy firm that the film had adapted from the comics.  Given how popular the character is, it’s not a huge shock that he found a spot here, even if he’s not super toyetic.  The figure stands a little over 6 1/4 inches tall and has 32 points of articulation.  Luis is built on the Coulson body, with a new head, right hand, feet, and jacket.  The head’s a decent likeness of Michael Peña; it’s not spot-on, but it definitely captures the spirit of the character.  The new jacket is interesting, because it’s actually the first closed up suit jacket we’ve gotten, and despite being new to the figure, his X-Con tag isn’t scultped in place.  The new feet give Luis a pair of slightly less formal shoes, which I guess is a nice touch, though it’s definitely something I wouldn’t have missed if they’d skipped it.  The new parts are all well and good, but end up suffering a bit due to the Coulson body, which is too skinny and a bit too tall for Luis, which makes the head in particular stand out, since it was clearly meant for a more properly proportioned body.  Luis’ paintwork is fairly decent, but I think the face print doesn’t quite work as well for him as it does for others.  Luis is packed with some fun accessories, even if they aren’t necessarily just for him.  He’s got the shrunken down Pym building (complete with handle and wheels), and the ant that Hope and Hank swap for Scott.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Kind of like the film it’s based on, this set definitely took a bit of a back seat to the rest of the 80 Years offerings.  I was certainly excited to see Ghost get a figure, and the idea of getting Luis certainly has a degree of novelty to it.  That being said, the execution of Luis doesn’t really work out as well as you might hope.  He’s not bad, but he’s certainly one of the weaker Legends of late.  Ghost is a pretty solid figure in her own right, but it’s tough to say if it’s really worth buying the set just for her.  If you like the film and you like the characters, this isn’t a bad set, but I don’t see it grabbing a lot of casual fans.

Luis and Ghost came from my sponsors at All Time Toys.  If you’re looking for Marvel Legends, or other toys both old and new, please check out their website and their eBay storefront.

#2138: Grandmaster & Korg

GRANDMASTER & KORG

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

While none of the Thor films have been short on world-building and colorful and interesting side characters, Ragnarok really stepped things up even further, with some of the most colorful side characters we’ve seen so far.  The entire Sakaar segment of the story is really just a showcase of the MCU’s quirkier side, following very much in the footsteps of Guardians before it.  Part of the success really just came from letting actors with well-established quirks play the characters as they liked, which resulted in to of the film’s most entertaining characters, the Grandmaster and Korg!

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

Like yesterday’s pairing, Grandmaster and Korg are part of the MCU-based line-up of two packs for the “80 Years of Marvel” sub-line of Marvel Legends.  It’s the second Ragnarok set, which definitely gives the whole line-up a decidedly Ragnarok-heavy feel.  I guess they wanted to make up for leaving it out of the Ten Years celebration.  Though the two characters never actually meet in the film, Grandmaster and Korg are actually a pretty sensible pairing, seeing as Grandmaster is the ruler of Sakaar and Korg is the leader of the (ill-planned) resistance efforts.

GRANDMASTER

“The ancient and tyrannical ruler of Sakaar enjoys gaming, gambling, and manipulation.  He runs the Contest of Champions, pitting warriors from across the galaxy against each other in a fight to the death.”

In the comic version of Planet Hulk (which the Sakaar segment of Ragnarok adapts), the ruler of Sakaar is actually the Red King, a rather different type of character than the Grandmaster.  Red King is admittedly a slightly generic character (his name is “Red King” for Pete’s sake), so a slightly more charismatic take on the Grandmaster was included instead, which really just worked out well for everyone.  Pretty much right on top of this figure’s release, there was also a Grandmaster included in a Summer Con-exclusive two pack alongside his brother the Collector.  Apart from the facial expression, the two are pretty much identical.  This figure stands 6 1/4 inches tall and has 31 points of articulation.  At his core, Grandmaster is built on the Nick Fury body introduced early on this year.  He uses the legs and left hand from that figure, with the rest of his parts being all-new (well, apart from being shared with the previously mentioned exclusive).  The legs are honestly a pretty clever re-use, since the new color is enough to sell them as an entirely different style of pants.  The rest of the parts really work to sell the Grandmaster’s rather flamboyant design.  The robe is handled via an overlay piece which can be removed if you so choose, not that I can imagine anyone would want to.  There’s a very nice flow the how it’s sculpted to hang, which looks quite natural and manages to not get in the way of his articulation too much.  The head on this version of Grandmaster sports a more reserved expression than the exclusive, and at first I was a little bummed about that, but in person I actually quite like this look.  Grandmaster’s appropriately bright and colorful in the paint department, which definitely makes him a figure that pops.  The application is all nice and clean, and the face looks quite realistic.  Grandmaster is packed with his melting prong from the movie.

KORG

“A Kronan warrior on the planet Sakaar, Korg is forced to compete in the Contest of Champions.  When he meets fellow warrior Thor, he allies with the Asgardian to escape Sakaar and defeat Hela.”

Korg was lifted wholesale from Planet Hulk, having no connection to Thor in the comics (what with Thor being dead during the stories that introduced Korg and all).  That said, Thor’s very first foes were actually Kronans, and we had even seen one in The Dark World, which made Korg a pretty solid choice for inclusion in Ragnarok.  It also gave director Taika Waititi a chance to be super goofy, which, like the Grandmaster thing above, really worked out well for everyone.  The figure stands just shy of 8 inches tall and he sports 30 points of articulation.  Korg’s got a brand-new sculpt, and I’m hard-pressed to figure out exactly what else Hasbro could do with this, so my guess is it’ll be a one-off.  It’s a very impressive piece of work; it takes the strong work we saw on the Thing figure from last year and adds even more of a realistic element to it.  It follows the design from the movie quite closely, and even manages to work in the articulation pretty well.  Korg’s paintwork is a fairly nuanced affair.  He’s one of the less colorful characters from the film, but that doesn’t stop Hasbro from getting down the color scheme he does have, and offering up some pretty solid accent work on his rocky skin and leather gear.  Korg is packed with his mace-like thing, which he holds in the least threatening way possible, as the character would.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Honestly, when Ragnarok was released, I never thought either of these two would get Legends releases, which is part of why I tracked down most of the Minimates.  But even the Minimates didn’t have a Korg, which was certainly a bummer.  So, Hasbro showing off this pairing last year meant for a definite buy from me.  Grandmaster is a pretty solid figure, no doubt, but Korg completely steals the show.  He’s definitely one of the best MCU figures Hasbro’s put out, and I really like him a lot.  He was really worth the wait.

Grandmaster and Korg came from my sponsors at All Time Toys.  If you’re looking for Marvel Legends, or other toys both old and new, please check out their website and their eBay storefront.

#2137: Hela & Skurge

HELA & SKURGE

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

Thor: The Dark World‘s biggest flaw by far was its exceptionally weak villain, especially in comparison the the very charismatic villain of his first outing.  For Thor’s third go at this movie-going thing, Marvel aimed to amend that issue.  In tandem, they were also looking to address their lack of female villains up to that point.  Enter Hela and her henchman Skurge, who proved to be a far more entertaining pair than the last movie’s walking nap and guy whose name is close enough to Skurge that I always confuse them.

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

Hela and Skurge are part of the MCU-based line-up of two packs for the “80 Years of Marvel” sub-line of Marvel Legends.  This set more than the others really feels a lot like a leftover “Marvel Studios: The First Ten Years” set, with its one-new-one-retooled break-down.  Given the lack of Ragnarok coverage in “The First Ten Years,” I wouldn’t be shocked to find out this was actually a displaced pairing.

HELA

“The ambitious Goddess of Death, Hela returns to Asgard to claim the throne after the death of her father, Odin.  To further her dark goals, she raises an army of fallen Asgardian warriors to fight for her as her Berserkers.”

Unlike a lot of MCU villains, Hela actually did get a movie-based figure from Ragnarok‘s tie-in Legends assortment, and it was even a fairly accurate one.  That said, anyone who wasn’t Thor or Loki from that line-up was actually pretty hard to find, so she’s been rather in-demand since.  Additionally, Hela has quite a few variations to her look over the course of the movie, so another shot at getting a few more of those is certainly welcome.  The figure stands 6 1/2 inches tall and she has 27 points of articulation.  She re-uses the body from the previous release, which seems fair enough.  It’s fairly accurate to her appearance from the movie.  She seems a little bit large if I’m honest, but the Thor figures are frequently a little over-scaled, and it’s not like Cate Blanchett is overly short or anything.  The cape is also re-used, and I’m a bit less of a fan of this piece.  It’s not badly sculpted, but it has a lot of trouble staying in place on her, which makes posing her while she’s wearing it quite tricky.  The first Hela included two different head sculpts, but this one ups the ante with three of them, all distinct from the previous two.  She comes wearing her “battle head” with the horns and all.  It’s an impressively ornate piece, and I quite like the teeth-gritting expression.  It’s outside of the realm of what we usually see on female figures, and works really nicely with this particular look.  Hela also gets two heads without the headgear.  The first has her disheveled appearance from her debut scene in the film, complete with messy hair and piercing stare.  This one’s my favorite of the three, and a great piece for recreating that specific moment of the film.  There’s also a slightly more cleaned up head, which isn’t quite as exciting, but is a solid piece in its own right.  Hela’s paint work fixes a few issues with the prior release, namely a few inaccurate placements of color, as well as just making the whole thing look a little cleaner and brighter.  I love the metallic green they’ve chosen, and this figure definitely highlights how quickly Hasbro’s improved on the face printing.  In addition to the three heads, Hela also includes a spare hand holding Mjolnir (perfect for pairing with the first unhelmeted head) and the eternal flame (re-used from the Infinity War Scarlet Witch).

SKURGE

“An Asgardian warrior desperate to prove himself, Skurge’s survival instinct leads him to join Hela and become her Executioner.  Skurge must wrestle with desire for self-preservation in the face of Hela’s violence against his home.”

In the comics, he’s a pretty straight-forward violence-loving brute, but for Ragnarok, Skurge took on a slightly different persona, slightly ineffective and a lot more cowardly.  It was actually a pretty effective move (especially after Kurse pretty much occupied the character’s comic role in the prior film), and one very definitely helped by the character being played by Karl Urban, who can make pretty much anything work.  I was quite bummed by his absence from the Legends line-up, so his inclusion here was certainly a plus.  The figure stands 6 1/4 inches tall and he has 30 points of articulation.  Skurge is sporting an all-new sculpt, which makes sense, because who exactly would he be sharing with.  Stylisitically, he’s very similar to the movie-tie-in Ragnarok figures, with some slightly off proportions and a slightly more rudimentary construction in a few spots (which just further supports him being an older piece that was delayed).  There’s still a lot of really strong work, though, especially on the various parts of the armor.  The head’s also got a decent likeness of Urban, which is certainly a plus.  His paint is on par with Hela.  Again, the metallic colors used on the armor are really nice, and the face printing works well for the character.  Skurge is packed with two sets of hands (in basic gripping and trigger fingers), his axe, and his twin M-16s “Des” and “Troy.”

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

The initial Ragnarok hit when I was between jobs, so I was much more limited on what I could pick up from it, meaning I didn’t get that first Hela figure.  I was holding out for a possible re-release, and this one was just the ticket, improving on a few of that figure’s flaws.  I’m definitely glad I waited on her.  Skurge was my most wanted figure that we didn’t get at the time, and I’m definitely glad that he found his way out.  His figure’s not perfect, but there’s certainly a lot I like about him.  Additionally, this is just a really solid pairing, and definitely feels like a really strong addition to the ever-growing Ragnarok line-up.

Hela and Skurge came from my sponsors at All Time Toys.  If you’re looking for Marvel Legends, or other toys both old and new, please check out their website and their eBay storefront.

#2136: Wildcat

WILDCAT

DC UNIVERSE CLASSICS (MATTEL)

Ted Grant was a heavyweight boxing champion in the 1930s. He became a fugitive when mobsters framed him for murder in the ring. Ted donned a black costume and, adopting the name Wildcat, used his combat skills to beat a confession out of the men who framed him. Wildcat decided to remain in costume and focused his attention on mob-related crime. In his civilian identity, Ted Grant has operated a gym and trained Batman, Black Canary, and Catwoman in hand-to-hand combat arts.”

I had been tempted to start this review with a gag about how I hadn’t reviewed any DC Universe Classics figures recently, and how that was actually Mattel’s fault.  Trouble is…it’s only been two weeks since my last DCUC review, so I guess that joke doesn’t really fly so well.  Well, I’m still gonna blame Mattel…force of habit really.  For today’s review, I turn to one of the DC Universe’s older heroes, Wildcat, notable for sharing his first appearance with Wonder Woman (and Mister Terrific, but not as many people know him).  As a definite second stringer to her starring role, he found himself somewhat pushed to the sidelines, not even joining the premier Golden Age team, the Justice Society, until after the Golden Age had ended.  He found a renewed life after Earths 1 and 2 merged after Crisis on Infinite Earths, where he was retrofitted into an aged hero who had trained most of the current generation.  As a mentor, he flourished and became a fan-favorite.  And that’s how he’s become one of the most action-figured golden age heroes.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Wildcat was released in Series 9 of DC Universe Classics.  He wasn’t technically the only JSA member in the assortment, since Black Canary was also part of the line-up, and the two actually made for a pretty sensible pairing.  He was also right at the head of the oncoming push for the JSA, and continued the DCUC trend of providing updates to characters DC Direct hadn’t touched in a while.  There were two versions of Wildcat available, though unlike a lot of the variants produced for this line, the differences between the two are menial at best.  The standard’s body suit was a straight black, while the variant (reviewed here) was instead a very dark blue.  The reasoning behind the variant was never really explained, since it’s not exactly a callback to a specific look.  Both figures went for Wildcat’s slightly modernized look, with his wrapped up hands, befitting his past as a boxer.  The figure stands 6 1/2 inches tall and he has 23 points of articulation.  Wildcat was built on the larger male body, which was in service from Series 1 to Series 20.  For a bruiser like Ted, it was a good fit.  He also got a new head, forearms, hands, and feet.  The head is definitely the most impressive piece; rather than just a solid piece, the face is separately sculpted from the mask on top of it.  It adds some nice depth to the sculpt, and makes him unique amongst the other, single-piece sculpts from the line.  Wildcat’s colorscheme is fairly monochromatic, and by extension his paintwork is pretty simple for the most part.  The variant is sort of a purplish-blue, which doesn’t look half-bad, and he gets some pretty impressive work on those hand wraps.  Wildcat was packed with the torso and head of the Series 9 CnC, Chemo, who I didn’t actually complete, but there it is.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I feel like all of my DCUC reviews have the same “Me Half of the Equation,” but here goes: Series 9’s distribution was spotty.  Not as spotty as Series 8, but still pretty damn spotty.  I never saw either version of Wildcat at retail, and so I never got one while the line was running.  Fortunately for me, when All Time Toys got in a DCUC collection last December, I was able to find this guy among them.  He’s a strong figure, no doubt, and I’m definitely glad I was able to get ahold of him, because he really exhibits the line’s strength in simplicity very nicely.

#2135: Rebel Pilots

WEDGE ANTILLES, TEN NUMB, & ARVEL CRYNYD

STAR WARS: POWER OF THE FORCE II (KENNER)

“For generations, an evil power has spread throughout the galaxy. It began with Darth Sidious’ sinister plot to conquer the planet Naboo and peaked with the Empire’s domination of the galaxy. Throughout the era, brave starfighter pilots flew into space to fight this power. Naboo pilots braved impossible odds to save their planet from the superior forces of the Trade Federation. years later, X-wing pilot Wedge Antilles, B-wing Pilot Ten Numb, and A-wing pilot Arvel Crynyd were part of the assault on the second Death Star. Their success at the Battle of Endor released the iron grip on the galaxy.”

Several reviews in, I must admit, I’m running out of interesting things to say about Rebel pilots.  There sure are a lot of them, which is probably a good thing, given their high mortality rate.  Like other areas of the Star Wars ‘verse, they also get into the whole specialization bit that Lucas got particularly fond of, with each ship getting its own branch of pilots.  A few of them were packed with their vehicles, but Kenner eventually went for broke and threw a handful of them together in one multipack.  I’m looking at that set today!

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

These three were released as the “Rebel Pilots” Cinema Scene, released as part of the third year of Power of the Force II Cinema Scenes in 1999.  Of all of the Cinema Scenes, they were the one that seemed to have the loosest grasp on the concept, since it’s not actually based on a particular screen grab from the film like the others.  I think Kenner was just using the easiest excuse to put out these guys in a multipack.  I’m certainly not complaining.

WEDGE ANTILLES

After being officially introduced to the line in 1997 as a pack-in with the Millenium Falcon carrying case, Wedge got his second figure in pretty short order as the real headliner of this set.  While that figure gave us Wedge in his cold-weather gear from Hoth, and generally followed the stylings of the earlier figures from the line, this one gives us him in his more standard X-Wing pilot attire from both A New Hope and Return of the Jedi.  The figure stands 3 3/4 inches tall and has 6 points of articulation.  From the neck down, he’s the same body as Biggs and the Rebel Alliance Pilot.  It’s a fairly standard pilot attire and they had fairly similar builds, so it works fine for Wedge.  He gets a new head, which marks a first in the line, giving a pilot a removable helmet.  It’s a little oversized, especially when compared the admittedly quite undersized helmeted heads of the earlier pilots, but actually looks pretty decent.  Under the helmet, there’s a decent likeness of actor Dennis Lawson, which looks closer than the prior attempt.  It does, of course, benefit from being his whole head, rather than just the face. The paintwork on Wedge is pretty decently handled, albeit pretty basic in implementation.  Interestingly, the various colors on his flightsuit have been slightly changed from Biggs and the Rebel Alliance Pilot, making Wedge a little bit more unique.

TEN NUMB

While everyone knows fellow Sullustan rebel Nien Nunb, he’s not the only one to figure into Jedi‘s climactic star battle.  B-Wing pilot Ten Numb was also there, and so he got a figure.  Yay.  The figure stands 3 1/2 inches tall and he has 6 points of articulation.  He’s an all-new sculpt, although a lot of his parts are unsurprisingly pretty close to Nien Nunb’s.  It’s honestly not a bad offering.  He’s not super posable or super detailed, but he’s a good match (at least sculpturally) for the character’s on-screen appearance.  Like Wedge, he’s also got removable headgear, which is actually pretty impressive given how oddly shaped his head is.  Ten’s paint is the subject of some scrutiny, because his jumpsuit is actually entirely the wrong color.  In the film, he’s in red, but early promotional shots had the character in white, and that’s what his figures tend to be wearing.  If nothing else, it makes him more easily distinguished from Nien Nunb, so I guess there’s that.

ARVEL CRYNYD

Okay, so this guy?  Not actually Arvel Crynyd as it turns out.  Arvel is an A-Wing pilot, and is notable for crashing into the bridge of the Executor.  If a figure’s getting his name, it would make more sense for it to be the A-Wing Pilot.  This guy on the other hand, isn’t an A-Wing pilot at all.  He’s actually a Y-Wing pilot named Lt. Telsij.  Talk about mistaken identity.  Telsij is another all-new sculpt, and he’s pretty much on par with the other two, although he’s obviously a little closer to Wedge in terms of styling.  He too has a removable helmet, which is another good fit.  Beneath it is a nicely detailed, sufficently unique looking head.  In terms of paintwork, Telsij is in a similar situation to Ten.  His jumpsuit is red here, but should actually be grey to be screen accurate.  What’s weird is even if this were Arvel, the red would be incorrect, so I’m not sure where the color came from.  Whatever the case, it’s likely going to be hidden from view and he’s minor enough for it to be forgivable.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I didn’t have this set as a kid, but I knew of its existence, and have wanted it for a bit.  I finally got it via a large Star Wars collection that was traded into All Time Toys.  There were actually a few of this set mixed in with all the loose items, so I was able to fish out the best copies of each of them.  It doesn’t fit the trend of the rest of the line, but I don’t really mind it, because this is actually a pretty dope set.

#2134: Baroness

BARONESS

G.I. JOE: A REAL AMERICAN HERO (HASBRO)

“The spoiled offspring of wealthy European aristocrats, the Baroness graduated from student radicalism into international terrorism and finally into the ranks of COBRA. She was severely burned during a COBRA night attack operation and has had extensive plastic surgery. Rumor has it that she is the only one who knows Destro’s secret identity. Qualified expert: M-16; AK-47; RPG7; Uzi; H.I.S.S. tank operator.”

While the GI Joe comic was designed primarily to sell the toys in the toy line, it wasn’t entirely without its roster of non-toy-bearing characters.  On the Joe side, it was most limited to higher ranking officers who didn’t get in on the action quite so much.  On the Cobra side, however, there was the Baroness, who would go on to be one of the franchise’s most prominent fixtures.  Though introduced in the very first issue of the comic in 1982, Baroness wouldn’t join the toyline for another two years, and in fact would only have a single figure during the original vintage run.  I’m reviewing said figure today.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Baroness was added to the GI Joe line-up in 1984.  The line was at the time doing one female figure per line-up, making Baroness the third female figure to be inducted into the line.  She was the first female Cobra added, and she would remain their only female member until Zarana jointed the line in ’86.  The figure stands 3 3/4 inches tall and she has 14 points of articulation.  Baroness’s sculpt was all-new to her at the time, but would go on to see re-use for a few other Baroness figures later on down the line.  It’s probably the most attractive female sculpt that the vintage line produced, and certainly a step up from the likes of Scarlett and Covergirl.  It’s pretty decently proportioned, and really captures that femme fatale thing that Baroness had going in the comics and cartoons.  Additionally, it follows that great trend with a lot of these mid-run Joes, where there’s just so much depth to their sculpts.  You can make out what’s body armor, versus what’s the underlying jumpsuit.  It gives her a definite weight that a lot of similarly styled figures tend to lack.  They even manage to not make the glasses look totally awful, which is certainly not a bad thing.  Compared to others, Baroness’s paint is perhaps a bit lax, with a majority of the figure being un-painted black plastic.  What paint is there is really made to count, as she’s one of the cleanest vintage Joes I’ve ever handled.  Baroness is packed with a small back pack and a laser rifle.  The rifle would later see itself repurposed during the 2002 line for the re-issued Vipers, which is kind of nifty if you ask me.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

When the large Joe collection that netted me the previously reviewed Destro figure arrived at All Time Toys, Baroness was one of the earliest pieces to jump out at me, even though the figure’s never been at the top of my must-have list.  There was just something very impressive about this figure in-hand, and finding both her and Destro complete and together was really what sold me on getting the two of them.  She’s a very strong figure, and I can definitely get why Hasbro felt this one would do it for the whole vintage run.  Certainly one of the strongest figures the vintage line had to offer.

As noted above, Baroness came from All Time Toys, who got in a rather sizable vintage Joe collection, the remnants of which can be checked out the Joe section of their eBay page here.  If you’re looking for other toys both old and new, please check out their website and their eBay storefront.

#2133: Captain America

CAPTAIN AMERICA

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

“As World War II unfolds, and super-powered beings emerge across the world, the patriotic hero Captain America is revealed, ushering in a new age of Marvels.”

It seems like not too long ago, in a review of another Captain America figure no less, I discussed the ramifications of making a good figure into a store exclusive.  Really, when your get down to it, it’s not really about being exclusive to any store at all, but more one store in particular, who seems to be getting a lot of exclusives at the moment, and doesn’t have the greatest history of backing toy exclusives.  The store, of course, it Walmart, who for some inexplicable reason have managed to net their second Captain America exclusive of the year in a year when Captain America hype is about as high as its ever been.  Seems like poor planning if you ask me, but no one did, so I guess I’ll stop rambling about it.  How about I ramble about something I’m a little more qualified to ramble on about: actual toy reviews!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Captain America is part of the Marvel: 80 Years sub-line of Marvel Legends.  The 80 Years line is effectively just taking the place of last years Marvel Studios: The First Ten Years line, but with comic figures thrown into the mix as well.  Alongside Iron Man and Thor, Cap is part of a trio of figures inspired by the work of famed comics painter Alex Ross.  While those two are standard releases showing up pretty much everywhere, he’s only at Walmart.  Since there’s no markings of him being an exclusive, there are rumors that he may be offered up to other retailers at a later time, but as of right now they’re just unfounded rumors.  The figure stands 6 1/2 inches tall and has 32 points of articulation.  The last couple of comic-based Caps were based on the Reaper body, and this figure is at the very least Reaper adjacent.  He shares his forearms, legs beneath the hips, and his belt with the Red Onslaught Cap (and by extension Red Guardian and Secret War Cap).  Those are the good parts of the Reaper body, so that’s all well and good.  He then gets a new head, torso, upper arms, pelvis, and hips, which make him look sufficiently new.  After years of the thug face (which hit critical mass with the Red Onslaught Cap), we finally get a new set of features for the comic book Steve Rogers.  There’s some definite Ross-influence occurring here, and that’s certainly a plus, since it plays true to the classic version of the character.  It’s a nice sculpt, and more than just the face, I also really like the texturing and stitching on his mask.  The new torso and shoulders give us a detail we haven’t seen on Cap since the early Hasbro days: sculpted scale-mail.  The lack of the scales was one of the major prevailing complaints about the RO Cap (well, after that hideous head), and Hasbro had even addressed it somewhat with the paint change-up on the Vintage reissue of the figure, but this time around they’ve gone all out and actually sculpted them properly.  As someone who runs hot and cold on the scales, I have to say, they really add a lot to this figure, as goes that three dimensional star.  There’s just a lot of pop.  Cap’s paintwork continues the Ross inspiration, going for a slightly darker palette than we usually see for a comics Cap.  It’s not a bad look, but I honestly wouldn’t mind seeing a repaint in slightly brighter colors.  As it is, there’s plenty of very strong work on this figure, and I definitely dig the metallic accents on the scales.  Cap is packed with two sets of hands, his trusty shield, a throwing effect with hand attached, and a second head.  The usual gripping hands are included here, but in addition, we *finally* get some fists for a Reaper-based release, which was majorly overdue, and is low-key one of my favorite things about this guy.  The shield is the same one Hasbro’s been using for a few years for the comic figures.  It’s a little undersized, and the star is off-center on mine, but it’s a serviceable piece.  It can be mounted on the throwing effect, which is the same one first introduced on the Secret War Cap, and is definitely a fun extra.  The second head gives Cap a slightly more stern expression.  I’m not certain if it’s based on a specific take on the character, but I don’t like it quite as much as the standard.  I honestly would have preferred an unmasked head, but I can see this one getting some play if you’re really jonesing for a John Walker Cap.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Since being disappointed by the Red Onslaught Cap, I’ve been waiting for Hasbro to do a more proper Classic Cap, and when this figure was shown off at Toy Fair, I was psyched.  I was less psyched when he was confirmed as a Walmart-exclusive.  While this one ended up being much easier for me to find than the Endgame version, it was still a little bit of a hassle tracking him down, and I can foresee him being one that a chunk of people miss.  Hopefully Hasbro will have another release of this mold in their back pocket for those who can’t track him down.  In the meantime, this is the best comic-styled Cap we’ve ever gotten, and I really dig him.