THE HAND NINJA
MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)
“Skilled in martial arts and espionage, the ninjas of The Hand are a force to be reckoned with.”
Remember how Ethan didn’t really care for the Red Ninjas? Think that’s gonna come up again? It’s a pretty safe bet. First introduced in the pages of Daredevil #174 in 1981 by Frank Miller, the Hand were an ancient order of…well, pretty generic ninjas really. They share a lot of common ground with the Red Ninjas, serving as a force of rather generic ninjas mostly just there to give the bad guys some minions. They’ve kind of become the go to ninja foes for the Marvel Universe, and showed up in the second season of Daredevil on Netflix, as well as seasons of other shows that I’d prefer to not acknowledge the existence of at this juncture. They’re…well, there just kind of generic ninjas, but people seem to have gotten really attached to them. They’ve shown up twice before as Marvel Legends, but it’s been a little while, so the latest series has given us an update.
THE FIGURE ITSELF
The Hand Ninja is figure 5 in the Stilt-Man Series of Marvel Legends, and is the first of the the three comics-based figures in the line-up. He’s sort of a loose attachment to the overall Spider-Man theme of the line-up, falling a bit more into the Daredevil side, but DD stuff usually goes with Spidey anyway, so I guess it works. The figure stands 6 1/4 inches tall and he has 34 points of articulation. At first glance, the Hand Ninja looked like an all-new mold, but the visible pins on the elbows and knees got me to do a little bit of detective work, and confirm that his arms come from Mordo and the legs (up to the ankle, anyway) come from that same assortment’s Doctor Strange. Not the worst choice for re-used parts, I suppose, though it’s a shame they couldn’t get reworked like Gwen and Prowler’s re-used parts to bring them up to speed with the new releases. He still gets a new head, torso, pelvis, and feet, as well as add-ons for his bandolier/sheath and belt/skirt. These new parts implement some of the newer articulation standards, such as butterfly joints at the shoulders, and the newer balljoint/crunch combo for the torso. They work pretty well in terms of posing, and I was happy to see that the skirt didn’t impact the posability on the legs too much. In terms of the newly sculpted parts, I do find that there are some areas where the parts don’t quite fit together as well as I’d like. The head definitely sits a little too high on the neck, and the bandolier is rather loose and ill-fitted to the torso. It’s a weird enough fit that I had to double check a few times to see if it was a re-use. I don’t think it is, but whatever the case, it’s definitely a bit loose. For the most part, however, the sculpt looks pretty decent, and is a respectable sort of all-encompassing take on the various Hand Ninja looks from over the years, leaning more towards the more basic end of things. The paint work on the Hand Ninja is a lot of reds, as expected. They mesh together well, and he’s even got those eerie milky grey/green eyes that we tend to see on Hand Ninjas, which is a nifty enough design. The Hand Ninja is packed with two sets of hands (gripping and open gesture), a sword, and two Kama. Aside from having nowhere to keep the Kama when not holding them, it’s a pretty cool set-up. And, most importantly, the Hand Ninja includes the Stilt-Legs to Stilt-Man, as well as a stand for said legs.
THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION
Hand Ninjas don’t, as a rule, thrill me, much like the Red Ninjas. I don’t tend to like them so much as a story telling device, as I often find them to be kind of bland and boring (ie: most of the of their Netflix appearances). That being said, they can make a good toy, with the first Hand Ninja Minimate being a pretty stand out piece. I’ve not picked up any of their earlier Hasbro figures, but I did have the Articulated Icons Basic Red, which was a good stand-in. Did I need this guy? No. But then I saw that he came with Stilt-Man’s Stilt-Legs, and I kind of was locked in. Ultimately, after being disappointed by the Red Ninja, I was pleasantly surprised by this release. He’s got his flaws, but I like the overall appearance of the figure. I don’t see myself army building him, or anything, but he’s perfectly acceptable on his own.