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.
“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 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.