#2842: Captain America

CAPTAIN AMERICA

AVENGERS: ENDGAME (HOT TOYS)

These days, I pretty much exclusively save my Hot Toys reviews for monumental numbers, but I’ve gotten to the point now where anything less than 500 doesn’t seem worth it, so it’s literally less than one a year.  Despite my last one being not even a whole year ago, when I crossed the 2500 mark, I’ve actually picked up a new one that warrants reviewing, and I don’t particularly want to wait seven months to review him, just to get the numbers to line up right.  If he’d actually come out when he was *supposed* to, I would have been golden, but nooooooooo….  So, anyway, I’m breaking the structure.  I know, you’re all so broken up about it, right?  Let’s jump back to 2019, when the world sucked a great deal less, and discuss the culmination of a decade’s worth of movies in Avengers: Endgame, and, more specifically, Captain America!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Captain America was released as part of the Endgame component of Hot Toys’ core Movie Masterpiece Series, where he’s figure 536.  He winds up being the sixth release of the Endgame figures, though he was originally meant to be a little bit earlier.  His initial release date was projected for June of 2020, but he wound up being about a year later than expected, making him so far the most delayed of the Endgame figures.  Presumably, the need to add some more final battle-specific parts contributed to this at least a little bit, but there was also that whole pandemic thing going on, which I’m sure did not help.  He’s finally here, though, and that’s the thing that matters the most of all.  Cap is based on his all-new super suit from the movie, which places him as a specifically third-act version of the character, which is really where he gets his best look, so I’m all about it.  It’s definitely Chris Evans’ Cap at his Cap-iest.  The figure stands about 12 1/2 inches tall and he has over 30 points of articulation.

As is the norm for masked characters, Cap is packed with two different heads for this release.  The first is a helmeted look, which is a quite nicely layered sculpt that looks like he’s actually got a separate helmet and everything.  For this head, they’ve given him an extra joint at the base of the jaw, for some extra mobility.  It works pretty well, but does result in a slightly noticeable seam at the back.  It’s certainly an improvement from earlier versions of such designs, though, which is good.  The head has a solid likeness of Chris Evans under the helmet, showcasing an improvement even on the already really good likenesses of the older Caps.  Much like the DX12 Batman, the helmeted head has three different mouth plates that you can swap out for different expressions.  The standard is fairly neutral, and has the most versatility, but he’s also got one with the mouth slightly opened, and one with the teeth firmly gritted and bared, which is perfect for the more intense battle poses.  The plates are attached with magnets, and can take a little bit of doing to place, but stay nicely once set, and swap out without too much trouble.  It certainly works a bit better than the straight up pegs that were on Batman.  The paint work on the head is up to the usual HT standards, with a very lifelike appearance for the face, and some really nice wear and tear detailing on the helmet.  The second head gives us a proper un-helmeted look for Steve.  Originally, the photos showed the same unmasked head that was included with the Winter Soldier, Age of Ultron, and Civil War releases, but prior to release, Hot Toys replaced it with an all-new sculpt that more accurately depicts Evans as seen in Endgame.  It’s a very strong sculpt, with a really impressive likeness, perhaps even better than the one on the helmeted head.  Unlike the helmeted head, this one doesn’t have the extra joint.  It makes for slightly less posability, but looks better aesthetically, and given his more composed appearance, it’s not really meant for crazy poses anyway.  The only real downside to this sculpt is that there’s a rather noticeable seam on the sides of the head.  Fortunately, it’s not too bad when not directly lit, but at this price point, you would hope for it to be just a little bit better.

Cap’s new suit for Endgame‘s final battle was a fairly strong point for the movie.  It’s kind of indicative of the MCU movies as a whole,   taking various elements that worked previously, and rolling them all into one slightly more perfected, more direct comics-directly adapted final product.  It looks really cool, and it just really works.  It’s construction is also a bit more involved than earlier designs, as well, which is reflected in its translation here.  His underlying “body suit” is two distinct pieces, a shirt and pants.  The pants have some molded knee pads glued in place, and the shirt has plastic plating for his chest and shoulders, as well as a sculpted insignia at the center.  Beyond that, the detailing is down to tailoring, which looks pretty solid for this scale.  Some of the stitching is a little bit larger than it should be, but, of course, there’s only so much that can be done about that.  The base suit is topped off by his harness, belt, and boots.  The harness is largely cloth, as you would expect, and is again a well-tailored translation of the design seen in he film.  The belt sits a little bit low, but overall looks alright, and is attached permanently to the suit.  The boots are sculpted, but unlike earlier sculpted boots, which sacrificed articulation for the sake of aesthetics, these ones are jointed at the ankles, allowing for much better options when posing.  It’s definitely a much appreciated improvement for me.

Cap’s underlying body captures Evans’ proportions pretty nicely and is one of the more basic ones, which prioritizes function over form.  After the first few Caps placed him on slightly less articulated muscle bodies, I do appreciate one that’s more cleanly designed for posing.  The nature of his costume design does impede some of the movement ever so slightly.  For the most part, the upper torso fares alright in terms of range, though the shoulders are a little tight for some poses.  The pants are rather restricting, especially at the hips, but with some slight shifting, it’s workable.  He just won’t be getting into any deep lunges or anything.

In addition to getting the previously mentioned extra head and mouth plates, Cap gets a rather extensive selection of other extras for a whole ton of options for display.  Included are:

  • 7 hands
  • 2 shields
  • Mjolnir
  • Compass
  • Empty helmet
  • Display stand

The hands include fists, gripping, pointing (right), open gesture (right), and loose grip (left).  They pretty much cover all of the needed options for posing, and look suitably realistic, including some solid detail work on his gloves.  They also swap out pretty easily, considering my prior experiences with Hot Toys.  The two shields give you both standard (if a bit scuffed), and damaged, which also includes the broken shards, which I certainly wasn’t expecting.  The shields also include a piece that can swap out for one of the straps, which allows you to hang one of them on his back.  Mjolnir is similar in styling to the one included with Thor, but this time around the top is plastic, rather than metal.  While it doesn’t have that same impressive heft, it also won’t leave his wrist joint all floppy and loose after a few months posed holding it aloft.  The compass is properly hinged, and even has the small photo of Peggy in it, as seen in the movie.  The helmet matches the helmeted head, minus the head, of course, and can be held when he’s using the unmasked head.  The stand swaps out the old basic oval design for a hexagonal design featuring a design based on the movie branding.  It does its job well, and has a rather clean design, which works pretty well.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Completing the first Avengers line-up was really my last hurrah for Hot Toys collecting, and I’ve not really been keeping up with it since.  However, when I walked out of the theater after seeing Endgame, I pretty much wanted this Cap design in any form I could get.  I placed my order for this guy as soon as he was available.  It’s been quite a long wait for him, given he was supposed to be slated for last year, but I was certainly okay with being patient.  Ultimately, this figure wound up as part of my path to figuring out my new normal, since he finally shipped just a week after Jess’s passing.  It’s weird, I suppose, but maybe sort of fitting, since I had moved past Hot Toys collecting when she and I started dating.  It was definitely weird not getting to experience this one with a companion, but I’m starting to find my footing on what I like purely for me.  I do like this figure.  I took me a little bit of time to get back into enjoying a Hot Toys figure the same way I used to, but he’s a good re-entry into the style.  I’m not jumping back into these full force, but I am going to keep up with my Captain America chronology at the very least.

Thanks to my sponsors over at All Time Toys for setting me up with this figure to review.  If you’re looking for cool toys both old and new, please check out their website and their eBay storefront.

#2841: Beast & Azazel

BEAST & AZAZEL

MARVEL MINIMATES

Since no other licensors were really looking to dive their hands into the X-franchise after the financial failures of X3 and Wolverine: OriginsX-Men: First Class‘s entire tie-in output was in the form of Minimates, who had previously been rather light on coverage of the X-films.  But here they were, doing Minimates from the movie, I guess.  And good for them, really.  So, today, I’m taking a look at Beast and Azazel!  What do the two figures in this set have in common?  Well, if we’re going by the comics, nothing.  If we’re going by the movies…still nothing.  But, if you view them through the strange nexus of both of those things, both of them are romantically linked to Mystique.  How about that?

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

Beast and Azazel were, like the rest of the First Class ‘mates, released in the Toys R Us-exclusive FC-tie-in assortment of Marvel Minimates, which hit in early summer 2011.

BEAST

Hank McCoy had the good fortune of being the only founding X-Man from the comics who was also allowed to be a founding member in the movies, as well as the good fortune to be part of both of the first two X-Men-movie-related Minimate assortments.  What a lucky guy!  This figure details him after his transformation into a blue furry monster guy, which I guess is sensible.  Certainly more exciting than “guy in glasses and a sweater vest.”  The figure is on a standard ‘mate body, so he’s about 2 1/4 inches tall and has 14 points of articulation.  Beast makes use of the most sculpted parts of any figure in this assortment.  He has add-ons for his hair, torso cap, and belt, as well as non-standard hands and feet.  As with everyone else, all of these pieces are re-used.  The hair was previously Weapon X’s from the Wolverine Through the Ages Boxed Set.  It’s a reasonably well-sculpted piece, but it’s not at all close to Beast’s design from the movie.  Certainly there were other pieces that would have worked better?  The torso cap is the bulked up Hulk piece introduced in Series 22.  It’s not the best powerhouse piece, and it’s especially restrictive to the arms, but it was the standard at the time, so not an unreasonable choice.  His hands and feet are borrowed from the Universal Monsters line’s Wolf Man, and are definitely the best chosen re-use pieces here.  They’re very nicely sculpted parts, and they actually match up pretty decently with Beast’s look in the movie.  The paintwork on Beast is decent enough.  His uniform details more or less match up with the rest of the team, which is certainly a plus, given how great those all were.  There are some slight fur details on the wrists and ankles that help to differentiate him a bit.  If there’s one major flaw, it’s this: he has a nose.  Minimates aren’t supposed to have noses, but Beast does.  It really over-crowds his face, and makes him just look…strange.  Beast included no accessories.  Not a change for this assortment, of course, and Beast is another instance where I’m not sure what you *could* give him anyway.

AZAZEL

I don’t think anybody was particularly happy when Azazel was announced for First Class.  The arc that introduced him in the comics is rather infamously bad, and he’s more than a little convoluted.  Then the movie came along and just used him as “Red Nightcrawler”, and that actually worked a fair bit better.  Azazel is constructed with two add-ons and a pair of non-standard hands.  All of these are re-used from the GSXM-version of his son Nightcrawler, which is at the very least a nice touch.  That being said, it doesn’t necessarily lend itself to the most accurate figure.  The least accurate piece is definitely the hair, which is just flat-out wrong for the character.  I get that they wanted to keep his pointy ears, but couldn’t they have at least used the updated piece from the Excalibur boxed set?  It still wouldn’t be 100% accurate, but it’s a little closer, and it’s at least got some smaller detail work going on.  This one, being from very early in the line’s run, is a lot simpler than more recent offerings, and it looks out of place.  The hands are another point of inaccuracy, though slightly less frustrating.  Azazel’s more or less got normal hands in the movie, rather than Nightcrawler’s three-fingered hands.  That said, they don’t distract too much, and it’s the sort of detail you can more easily overlook.  Plus, it’s not that hard to come by normal ‘mate hands.  His tail is the piece that works best, because how do you screw up something like that?  Azazel’s paintwork is actually pretty decent.  There’s some really great contrast going on between the red and black.  The red in particular is really bright, and very eye catching.  The likeness on the face bears a very strong resemblance to actor Jason Flemyng, and is generally just very sharp looking.  They even included Azazel’s scar over his left eye!  Azazel brakes from the norm for this assortment, and actually gets an accessory.  It’s the “bamf” cloud from the Excalibur set, but done up in red, so as to match Azazel’s effect from the movie.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I picked up my set of these figures while on a family road trip in 2011.  It was before I’d seen the movie, and therefore knew how much I’d liked it, but after it had become clear that the film stood a chance of not totally sucking.  This set’s not the assortment’s strongest.  Beast is definitely the weakest of the main team in this assortment.  While the others were all perfectly do-able using stock parts, it’s ultimately robbed Beast of any real screen accuracy.  He’s fine for rounding out the set, but that’s about it.  Like Beast, Azazel is rather inaccurate, and a bit hampered by the lack of new parts.  However, in his case, he still ends up as a rather entertaining figure despite that, and really carries this set.

#2840: Sun Boy

SUN BOY

LEGION OF SUPER HEROES (DC DIRECT)

Though introduced relatively early on to the Legion (he technically debuted alongside the far more prominent Brainiac 5), Dirk Mogna, aka Sun Boy, has remained relatively minor in terms of actual story telling.  He filled Lightning Lad’s spot as slightly persnickety red-head while LL was dead for a bit, but has otherwise just sort of been around for most of his time with the team.  He was even dropped from the team during the first major reboot in the ’90s, and hasn’t really figured prominently into any of the team’s non-comics appearances.  Despite that, he did still get a figure from DCD’s line, which is good for him, really.  Congrats, Dirk.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Sun Boy was released in Series 3 of DCD’s Legion of Super Heroes line.  Though hardly obscure, he’s probably the least relevant character the line would produce.  He’s sporting his classic ’60s costume, which is really the best known costume he’s got, since he kind of stuck with it, unlike others.  The figure stands just shy of 6 inches tall and he has 11 points of articulation.  Sun Boy is built on the post-Series 2 body, but specifically with a pair of upper arms that sport some pretty mean shoulder pads.  These arms were shared with his Series-mate Chameleon Boy.  He also got a new head sculpt, complete with a collar, and a belt buckle piece.  It’s not a bad selection of parts, truth be told, and he even swaps out the hands so as to have one open and one closed.  The head in particular is fairly distinctly different from the others in the line, with the hair having its own distinctive shape, following the early ’60s depictions of the character.  The only down side is that he does have a rather obvious plug on his back from where the cape would have been if he’d had one.  Other non-caped characters also had it, but it feels like it stands out more here for some reason.  Sun Boy’s paint work is pretty much on par with the rest of the line.  He is again entirely painted, but that works to his benefit more than others, since it means no need for the red or yellow to either one go over the other, keeping it a lot cleaner looking.  One thing that’s not quite so clean looking, however, is the tops of his boots, which are scalloped on his design, in contrast to the flat tops that are on the sculpt.  They just straight up painted across the line, which isn’t ideal.  It’s not terrible, but it does seem odd.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I had a bit of a fixation on Sun Boy when I was much younger, for reasons I’ve not really been certain of in later years.  Of course, it kind of just went away once I knew of Ferro Lad, and he suddenly became my main focus.  By the time these figures came along, I had moved on, and I didn’t wind up getting him when he was new.  However, I found him at the same time as Star Boy, while on a road trip with my dad in 2007.  Not much more to say about him really, but hey, I do have him, so there’s that.

#2839: Xemnu

XEMNU

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

Xemnu the Titan is a character with an intriguing back story.  Part of a batch of monsters created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby before they birthed the Marvel Universe as we know it with the Fantastic Four, Xemnu first appeared in 1960 under the name of The Living Hulk, since the Hulk we all know and love wasn’t yet a thing and all.  Much like other pre-Silver Age Marvel Monsters Fin Fang Foom and Groot, Xemnu found himself worked into Marvel’s super hero fare after they took off, battling a number of Marvel heroes, most notably the one who took his original name.  Xemnu has yet to quite gain the following of either Foom or Groot, but perhaps his day has just yet to come.  Whatever the case, he’s finally getting a little bit of toy love in the form of Hasbro’s latest Build-A-Figure!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Xemnu is the Build-A-Figure for the self-titled series of Marvel Legends.  He fits the assortment’s all-villain theme, being, well, a villain and all.  He’s based on the character’s post-Silver Age design, which is sensible, since it’s his most prevalent.  The figure stands 8 1/4 inches tall and he has 28 points of articulation.  A lot of Xemnu’s sculpt is shared with the other big furry guys, Sasquatch and Wendigo, which seems like a pretty reasonable selection of parts re-use, since, I mean, he’s another big furry guy.  How many ways can you really change that up, right?  He gets a new head, mid-torso, hands, and feet, all in the effort of changing him up and making him more true to Xemnu’s comics appearances.  The new pieces do a pretty respectable job of meshing with the old, as well as capturing Xemnu’s truly goofy design elements.  They make it work, and the level of detail is impressive, especially on slightly smaller things, such as the interiors of his palms.  Definitely something that could have been left out, but adds something more to the figure now that it’s there.  Xemnu follows rather closely in the footsteps of the Wendigo in terms of paint work, since he’s got a pretty similar color palette.  The blue hue on the white is maybe a little strong in some spots, but generally looks okay, and the extra boldness doesn’t look quite as weird once you factor in the alien angle of the character.  Again, the interior of the palms actually gets a little bit of paint, which is cool, and those piercing red eyes certainly do add some pop to the design.  Overall, just a pretty decent paint set-up, especially after a lot of the others in the set were a little lighter on the paint apps.  Xemnu isn’t packed with any accessories, but that’s fairly acceptable, since he’s really an accessory himself.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Xemnu is one of those characters I’ve been aware of for a while, but not one I’ve ever had much direct interaction with personally. So, I wasn’t really in the market for any toys of him.  When this guy was shown off for this set, I was initially a little letdown, because I just wasn’t really drawn in by him.  I honestly wasn’t even 100% sure I was going to even try to complete him, though that was a short lived hill for me.  Once I got him in hand, though, I actually found myself really liking him.  He’s goofy and silly, but he works, and he’s more fun than I’d expected.

In general, that’s kind of a good description of this set as a whole.  Going in, the only one I really was invested in was the Red Skull.  He still wound up being my favorite, but I also really enjoyed a lot of the others.  Deathstrike was a definite surprise all-new offering, and Dormammu, the Scientist Supreme, and Arcade may be a little bit by the numbers, but they still turned out really nicely.  Sure, Dr. Doom is a wonky choice of design, and the Hood does nothing for me, but all-in-all, I liked this set a lot more than I’d expected to.

#2838: Dr. Doom

DR. DOOM

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

“From the wreckage of colliding universes, Dr. Doom emerges as the supreme ruler of a new domain known as Battleworld.”

Ah, 2015’s Secret Wars, a Marvel cross-over event which had Dr. Doom as the main antagonist.  Not to be confused with 1984’s Secret Wars, a Marvel cross-over event which had Dr. Doom as the main antagonist.  Or 2003’s Secret War, which did *not* have Dr. Doom as the main antagonist.  Or 1985’s Secret Wars II, which also didn’t have Dr. Doom as the main antagonist, but did at least have Dr. Doom in it, so that was a step in the right direction.  No, we’re talking 2015, the source of God Emperor Doom, from when Doom gets a major power up and decides to ditch his shirt, apparently.  As you do.  Shirts cannot contain his power.  But then he loses the power, so he has to go back to his old shirt-wearing ways, like some sort of pleb.  But, at least he gets a toy to commemorate his time amongst the shirtless, right?  Right.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Dr. Doom is the final figure in the Xemnu Series of Marvel Legends.  He’s not officially numbered like the others, as he doesn’t feature a Build-A-Figure part like they do.  He is also the double pack, presumably because he’s really the only villain who’s justifiable in doubling up on.  It’s a good thought in theory, but less so in practice, since last year saw two variations on standard Doom released, which meant that this one had to be a variant look in order to justify his existence.  Hasbro went with the aforementioned God Emperor look from Secret Wars, which is not really a standard Doom look, nor is it an amazingly memorable one, really.  Also, it’s just kind of a weird concept.  Like, the white is all fine and good, but why ditch the shirt?  And also, if you’re ditching the shirt, why swap out the cool metal gauntlets for just regular cloth gloves?  That seems weird, right?  And really, why not just be Doom 2099?  Because you know what’s a cool Doom variant?  Doom 2099.  This should just be Doom 2099.  And now I’ve made myself upset that this isn’t Doom 2099.  Great, now I’m gonna have to deal with this.  I was already luke warm on the whole idea behind this guy to begin with.  Well, might as well just get this disappointingly non-2099 Doom review out of the way, then.  I’m sure I’ll be quite balanced and fair with the figure now.  The figure stands 6 1/2 inches tall and he has 32 points of articulation.  Structurally, he’s very similar to the last two Dooms, sharing the entire lower half, as well as the upper arms, and the modern head from the first figure.  He gets a new torso, lower arms, and cape in order to facilitate his conversion into God Emperor.  They’re fine from a technical stand point, I suppose.  They mesh alright with the older parts, and he looks like the design from the comics, so it checks all of those boxes.  The sculpting on the gloves is pretty nice, with the various wrinkles and stitching being well-defined.  In terms of paint, he’s pretty basic, since most of his coloring is just molded plastic colors.  It does what it needs to.  What paint is there is well applied, so that’s at least fairly nice.  Doom is okay on the accessories front, with 5 different hands (a pair of open gesture, a right wide grip, a right pistol grip, and a left fist), the gun from the last two (in silver this time), and the skull and spinal column of Thanos, which is a direct reference to a sequence from the comics.  The Thanos skull is certainly a more fun and unique piece, so kudos to them on that one.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I was happy with my Super Skrull Series Doom, and felt no need for a replacement.  Then the retro Doom came along and replaced him, which was a good move on Hasbro’s part, but it did leave this guy kind of in the lurch, because I really didn’t need him.  And then I got him in hand, and I still felt like I didn’t need him.  And then I got to thinking about other Doom variants we could have gotten, which took me down the Doom 2099 rabbit hole, and that just made matters a lot worse.  Admittedly, none of that is this figure’s fault, but at the same time, if they were going to kind of do a phoned in Doom variant anyway, why not just go with the Future Foundation look, which is also an all-white Doom, but one that at least doesn’t need any new tooling.  Because, if I’m honest, the new tooling doesn’t really do this guy many favors.  Maybe it’s just not for me, and there’s a market for God Emperor Doom out there, but for me, this guy’s just a testament to how there *could* have been something cooler in this set.  Which, again, isn’t really his fault.  But I’m gonna be all unreasonable and cranky until I get my Doom 2099, I suppose.

Thanks to my sponsors over at All Time Toys for setting me up with this figure to review.  If you’re looking for cool toys both old and new, please check out their website and their eBay storefront.

#2837: A.I.M. Scientist Supreme

A.I.M. SCIENTIST SUPREME

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

“Brilliant and diabolical, the Scientist Supreme helms a massive criminal cabal known as Advanced Idea Mechanics (A.I.M).”

In the last few years, we’ve finally gotten some proper appreciation for AIM and their weird beekeeper looking mooks, which I have very definitely been all about.  But, you always have to be wondering “is this the best I can do in terms of weird beekeeper looking mooks?”  Couldn’t there be better, more advanced weird beekeeper looking mooks?  I say there could!  What if we added sour cream and tomatoes!  What’s that?  I’ve already used the “sour cream and tomatoes = supreme” joke?  But I’m just so darn proud of it, you guys!  Well, fine, maybe this new AIM Scientist doesn’t have sour cream and tomatoes, but he’s certainly “supreme” now isn’t he?

THE FIGURE ITSELF

The AIM Scientist Supreme is figure 6 in the Xemnu Series of Marvel Legends, placing him just after the Red Skull figure that I totally reviewed out of order because I felt like it.  Unlike the others in this set, he’s not so much a specific character, as he is sort of a role that needs to be filled.  There have been a number of Scientists Supreme over the years, and while they tend to just look more or less the same as the regular AIM guys, but this one seems to be more specifically based on the Andrew Forson version.  He’s a little more beefed up and advanced, which is fine by me.  I can definitely dig this look, and it works for pretty much anyone else who’s held the role as well.  The figure stands about 6 1/2 and he has 31 points of articulation.  Structurally, the Scientist Supreme is largely borrowing from the modern style Taskmaster figure (who also served as a basis for a lot of Hydra Supreme, so he’s just a supreme sort of mold, I guess), using that figure’s arms and legs, along with an all-new head, torso, and pelvis.  The armored parts from Taskmaster are really well implemented parts, and they match up with the more modern Scientist Supreme design quite well, so they’re certainly well chosen.  The new pieces line up pretty well with the old parts, and present a very clean and sleek look for the character.  I also really appreciate the new articulation styles on the mid-torso and neck joints, which give him an improved range of motion.  The Scientist Supreme’s paint work is another pretty straight forward offering.  It’s pretty clean, and the gold is a nice color scheme for him.  It’s different from the straight yellow of the standard guys, but it still meshes pretty well with them.  The Scientist Supreme is packed with a sort of a data pad sort of thing, which is a fun piece, as well as the right arm of the Xemnu Build-A-Figure.  It’s a little lighter than some of the others, but at least the data pad is unique.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

When this line-up was initially hinted at, and all we had to go on was “AIM Supreme,” I didn’t know exactly what to expect on this guy.  I haven’t been super up to date with the various designs, but when this one was shown off, I definitely liked the general look of him.  He’s another fun design, and that translates to another fun figure.  He does what he does pretty well, and that ranks him pretty high on my list.

Thanks to my sponsors over at All Time Toys for setting me up with this figure to review.  If you’re looking for cool toys both old and new, please check out their website and their eBay storefront.

#2836: Arcade

ARCADE

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

“A brilliant assassin with shadowy origins, Arcade makes up for his lack of physical strength with a keen intellect and a vast personal fortune.”

Okay, for our latest round of “Ethan critiques the bios,” let’s address the fact that they wrote an Arcade bio without even alluding to Murderworld.  I mean, I can get not actually mentioning it by name, since putting something with “murder” in its title on the back of the box for a toy does seem like a not so great move, but not even a mention of him running a deadly amusement park or something along those lines?  I mean, it’s kind of his main gimmick, guys!  …Okay, enough of ripping these poor bio writers to shreds.  It’s probably not their fault.  Right, so Arcade.  He’s got some solid pedigree, having been created by Claremont and Byrne in 1978.  He first faced off against Spider-Man and Captain Britain, but he’s since faced off against most of the Marvel Universe, and is a really great all-purpose villain, always good for a fun story…well, most of the time, anyway.  His oddball persona and lack of tie to one particular group or hero does make him hard to nail down for merchandising, though, which is why he’s never had a figure.  Well, not until now, that is!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Arcade is figure 4 in the Xemnu Series of Marvel Legends.  Arcade is the perfect choice for a purely villains assortment, since he’s a classic character of decent prominence, who otherwise doesn’t fit into any other assortment breakdowns.  This way, he’s just one of a whole group of villains.  The figure stands 6 1/4 inches tall and he has 30 points of articulation.  Arcade is built on the Coulson body, which is honestly a pretty good choice for him.  The Fury body has slightly better movement, but it’s also larger, and there’s that shoulder holster that they’ve yet to get rid of.  He swaps out the standard jacket piece for the jacket/vest combo that showed up on the Movie Xavier figure last year, as well as adding a new tie piece, and a new head and feet.  The new tie is a rather absurdly large bow tie, which certainly jibes well with the character.  The standard head fits the general classic appearance for him, with a smarmy grin, and a slightly evil eye behind his gaze.  The new feet trade in the classic dress shoes for a far goofier set of platform shoes.  They more than anything else about this figure feel like an area where Hasbro probably could have gotten away with phoning it in, but they didn’t, and it makes the figure that much better, because they just give the character that extra bit of flair that Arcade absolutely needs.  Paint work on this guy is once again pretty basic, but he gets all the details he needs and generally looks pretty slick.  The polka dots on the tie and the piping on the shoes really work and are very cleanly applied, which is certainly a plus.   Arcade is packed with an alternate head with a longer hair style and a slightly crazier expression, for variety’s sake, I suppose, as well as his cane, and the leg to Xemnu.  Not a ton, but not nothing, so generally it’s a decent set-up.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Arcade is definitely one of those characters that I wanted in figure form, but that was always more in the back of my mind.  Like, I don’t think anyone’s really campaigning for an Arcade figure, but you keep remembering he’s never gotten one, and that doesn’t seem right.  I was glad to see him finally get his due, and the final figure is one that is fairly by the numbers, but in the right way.  He does what he needs to do, and that makes him a fun figure of a fun character.  I can certainly get behind that.

Thanks to my sponsors over at All Time Toys for setting me up with this figure to review.  If you’re looking for cool toys both old and new, please check out their website and their eBay storefront.

#2835: Lady Deathstrike

LADY DEATHSTRIKE

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

“With adamantium-infused bones and cyber-genetic enhancements, Yuriko Oyama pursues a ruthless vendetta against the X-Men… and Wolverine in particular.”

Lady Deathstrike is classically considered and X-Men/Wolverine foe, which is somewhat amusing when you delve into her earliest appearances and discover that she actually began as a supporting character in Daredevil of all things, before bouncing over to Alpha Flight, which provided her first run-in with Wolverine (who, contrary to the way adaptations tend to go, she didn’t actually have any prior history with), and led to her move over into the X-side of things.  While her exact role in things has never been huge, she’s got a rather distinctive look, a decent power set, and a solid name, so she does show up in other media a lot.  That includes getting a handful of figures over the years, including one quite recently, which I’ll be looking at today!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Lady Deathstrike is figure 3 in the Xemnu Series of Marvel Legends.  This is only her second time as a Legends release; her first was back in the Toy Biz era, and was in fact part of their own completely villains-centered series.  She’s just a good fit for that kind of line-up, I suppose.  The figure stands about 6 1/4 inches tall and she has 29 points of articulation.  Her articulation scheme is a little limiting in a few areas, most notably the elbows and shoulders, but for the most part she does alright, and is certainly a step up from her last Legends go-round.  The ball joint at the waist in particular has some solid range, and it’s nice that she’s got the pinless construction for the knees.  Her sculpt is totally unique, which seems appropriate.  There aren’t exactly a lot of parts it would make sense for her to share.  It’s a fairly nice piece.  The head dress and the sleeves all have a dynamic flow to them, which makes for nice action poses, but they also look okay just in basic stances as well.  That’s never an easy balance, but Hasbro did alright with it here.  The detail work is all fairly crisp and clean, and there’s enough going on to keep her visually interesting, while also still avoiding over designing her the way the Toy Biz figure kind of did.  Her paint work is overall pretty basic work.  Aside from one tiny bit of slop on the side of her waist, my figure is pretty clean, and she looks the part.  Deathstrike is packed with no accessories of her own, just the torso to the Xemnu Build-A-Figure.  Maybe some alternate hands, or a pre-transformation head would have been cool, but honestly, there’s not a ton that could be given to her.  As a totally new sculpt, as well as getting the largest portion of the BaF, she doesn’t feel too light, so I can’t knock Hasbro here.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

My exposure to Lady Deathstrike is pretty much purely the cartoon and X2.  Mostly the cartoon, though.  I’ve never been overly attached to the character, really, since she mostly just served as a two-episode delay from getting to the absolute best portion of the cartoon.  That said, I do still somewhat fondly remember her, and I was down for a decent figure.  Thankfully, that’s what I got here.  This figure is very well put together, and certainly the best toy version of the character ever produced.  In an assortment that finally got me a good Red Skull, she still manages to stick out a little, and that’s great.

Thanks to my sponsors over at All Time Toys for setting me up with this figure to review.  If you’re looking for cool toys both old and new, please check out their website and their eBay storefront.

#2834: Civilian Thor & Asguardian Guard

CIVILIAN THOR & ASGARDIAN GUARD

MARVEL MINIMATES

The first Thor movie’s two Toys R Us-exclusive two-packs are a rather polarized ordeal.  The first included two fan favorite characters, Lady Sif and Volstagg, who had exciting designs and had never received Minimates before.  Today, however, I look at the second set, which includes a civilian variant of the main character and an unnamed guard.  It’s a well-meaning set, no doubt, but perhaps doesn’t possess the same flair present in the other pairing.  Perhaps DST’s attention to the little details can salvage it!

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

As noted above, these two are one of two TRU-exclusive packs of Marvel Minimates designed to coincide with the release of the first Thor film.  Only half of the set’s truly exclusive, though, since the Guard was actually a straight re-release of the single-packed Asgardian Guard from the army builder case, but as an army builder, the double-packing does make some sense.

CIVILIAN THOR

One of two Thors in this assortment, this figure represents Thor as he looks on Earth, which is a pretty decent chunk of the film’s run-time.  It’s not an overly unique get-up, being just a t-shirt and jeans, but that *is* what he looked like in the film.  He’s built on the base ‘mate body, so he’s about 2 1/4 inches tall and he has 14 points of articulation.  The figure gets one sculpted add-on, for his hair.  Surprisingly, this is NOT the same piece used on the single-packed Thor.  It’s very similar, but has some more length at the bottom, since there’s no cape to contend with.  As with a few other lines from around this time, there are a few notable things going on with the plastic used for the Thor ‘mates.  Firstly, the necks were shorter, and the feet a little shallower, which makes them look a little more top-heavy.  Fortunately, with Thor, that’s not so big a deal.  The other issue is one of quality of plastic.  For whatever reason, the plastic quality was much lower on the these guys, making them feel rather waxy, and making the overall detailing of the sculpted parts a little softer.  It’s not quite as impactful on the sculpt, but it does impact the paint.  Said paint is decent enough in application, but the plastic is more absorbent than usual, which renders the detail lines much duller than we’ve come to expect.  It’s especially notable on the torso, where it’s hard to see there’s any detailing at all.  The colors of the plastic, particularly the peach-tone of his skin, are also much drearier, making him look almost a little sickly.  He’s not hit quite as badly by this as other ‘mates from the same time, but it’s still noticeable when you place him with other MCU ‘mates.  The thing that saves this figure from being mediocre is the accessories. He comes with Mjolnir (the same one included with the standard Thor and *almost* every MCU Thor since), and even cooler, he also comes with a mound of stone that’s molded to fit around the head of the hammer, just like it’s seen in the film.  Definitely a very fun extra.

ASGARDIAN GUARD

Asgardian Guard is a bit of a mouthful, isn’t it?  As the Asgardian Guard guards Asgard–I’m getting distracted.  The Guard has four add-on pieces, for his helmet, breastplate/cape, and wrist guards.  All four pieces were new to this particular ‘mate, and seem to be a decent match for the source material.  The breastplate/cape combo tends to look a little bulky, but with that sizable helmet, it ends up evening out pretty well.  The detailing on all the sculpted bits is quite sharp, and doesn’t seem to be quite as negatively impacted by the lower grade plastic as some of the others in the assortment.  The Guard’s paint is slightly more exciting than Thor’s, but has its own assortment of issues.  There’s a lot of slop on the cape, especially around the collar.  It’s bade enough on mine that I don’t actually know where the paint was *supposed* to go.  The gold on the back of the cape is a little better at staying where it’s meant to, but the actual application is rather thin and inconsistent.  The tampo work is a little better, with the armor detailing on the legs in particular looking quite sharp.  Unfortunately, the lower grade plastic strikes again on the flesh-toned bits, causing that same waxy appearance and washed out face print we saw on Thor.  In addition, my figure has some sort of mis-print or flaw in the plastic that leaves a dark streak down the center of his face.  For accessories, the Guard includes a sword and a staff, which aids in his army building capabilities, since you can arm him however you like.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I don’t actually recall exactly when I got this set, but I know I got it new.  It’s not terribly exciting.  Civilian Thor, taken purely on the quality of just the figure, seems like a little bit of a waste, especially when there are prominent characters who are still unreleased (poor Fandrall and Hogun).  That said, the hammer and stone base do at least offer a cool diorama, proving that there’s more to him than you might initially think.  The Asgardian Guard is a figure that was great in theory, but marred a bit by the execution.  He’s still far from awful, but he could have been a lot better.  DST really tried, but their factory let them down.

#2833: Starboy

STARBOY

LEGION OF SUPER HEROES (DC DIRECT)

The early days of the Legion of Superheroes had the characters sticking to a pretty set formula of “word to describe powers” and Boy/Lad or Girl/Lass.  Very basic, and generally very descriptive, right?  Well, not always.  Starboy may seem to follow the schtick closely, but “star” as a descriptor for “makes things heavier and lighter” does seem like a bit of a stretch, doesn’t it?  It’s not exactly “Matter Eater Lad.”  Nevertheless, Thom is a pretty prominent member, due to his placement with the JSA after he moved to Starman, as well as being the first member to be kicked off the team for breaking the rules, namely killing someone in self defense, which is a big no-no.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Starboy was released in Series 3 of DC Direct’s Legion of Superheroes line, alongside last week’s Ultra Boy figure.  He’s the first figure to be really negatively impacted by the line’s fixed point in the ’60s for the designs, since it means he’s in his original Superboy knock-off design, rather than his later, much cooler starfield costume that Dave Cockrum designed for him.  Alas, it just was what it was.  The figure stands just shy of 6 inches tall and he has 11 points of articulation.  He’s built on the body that had become the standard base at this point, and was the same exact one used for Ultra Boy (well, in theory, anyway; mine erroneously has the loose sleeve upper arm sculpt on his left side).  It’s fairly basic, so it still works.  He’s also got the same cape used for Series 2’s Mon-El (again, a sensible re-use), as well as a new head and belt pieces.  The new parts are different from those on prior figures, but only just enough to notice that their different.  It’s not exactly like they’re amazing new parts or anything, but they get the job done.  Starboy is totally painted, like the rest of the figures of the era.  He looks pretty decent, but he’s also a little more prone to wear and scratching.  Still, not a bad appearance.  He’s got no accessories, but they’d fully given up on them for this line at this point, and, honestly, what would you give him?

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I was in no particular rush to own this figure, due to this particular design not ever being a favorite of mine.  Starboy really just doesn’t get interesting until after he gets the new costume, so fixating on the old one does very little for me.  But, I wound up finding him loose, while on a road trip with my dad in the early summer of 2007.  It was him and a few other DCD figures that I found at the time, and he was more of a “well, I’m already getting the others” sort of a purchase.  He’s okay.  Nothing to really write home about, but he’s far from a bad figure.