MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)
“Who’s Ursa Major?”, you may ask. He’s a big bear. He’s Russian. You’re pretty much caught up. What, was that not good enough? ….Alright. Ursa Major was introduced in 1981, created by Bill Mantlo and Sal Buscema. He was a member of the Soviet Super Soldiers, who would later be renamed “The Winter Guard,” and he was a mutant with the ability to transform into a very large anthropomorphic bear. Much like Sasquatch is “Hulk but more Candian,” Ursa Major is kinda “Hulk but more Russian.” He’s never been a major character, but he does have the distinction of being one of the few members of the Guard who’s actually been the same person the whole time, rather than being just a code name with a rotating roster like the rest of them. He also had a small cameo in Black Widow, although not as a bear. Still, things are moving up, right? And now he’s got an action figure. Hard to beat that, really.
THE FIGURE ITSELF
Ursa Major is the titular Build-A-Figure for the Ursa Major Series of Marvel Legends. It’s really an Iron Man series, and Ursa’s not really an Iron Man character, but the Winter Guard are a little more all-purpose, and seeing as Iron Man loaned a few characters to Black Widow last year, she’s again loaning one back, so to speak. At the very least, he pairs off nicely with the Darkstar also included in this assortment. The figure stands about 8 1/4 inches tall and he has 25 points of articulation. His articulation is surprisingly good given the size and bulk of this particular piece. The mid-torso joint in particular really gives him some solid range. I was also pleased by how stable on his feet the figure wound up being. Also rather surprising is that this figure’s construction is all new. I had expected that he would be making use of at least some of Sasquatch’s parts, given their similar builds and generally hairy nature, but there aren’t any parts in common here. Ultimately, it’s the right call, since Ursa, being a bear, should really look a little different, and would you look at that, he does. For being a sculpt of effectively just a bear, they do a pretty solid job of giving him a little bit of character. Some of the anthropomorphized features are definitely present in the core body, but he’s still more beastial than Sasquatch and his brood. While I’m not always big on super dynamic or intense expressions, the one they’ve given Ursa really works, as the roaring look helps with giving him that extra touch of character and uniqueness. Ursa’s paint work is generally pretty solid. It’s not a ton of variety, but there’s some rather nice accent work, especially on the torso. The only real downside is the shift in shades between the torso and the limbs, but it’s not as bad in person as it is in the photos. Ursa doesn’t get any accessories, but, really, what is there to give him? He’s a big bear. That’s his thing.
THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION
I was in for the whole set of figures as soon as they were shown off, so Ursa himself never got to really be much of a selling point, or anything. That said, I certainly wasn’t unhappy about getting the chance to assemble him. If there’s a word that best describes him overall, it’s “surprising.” I just wasn’t really expecting to like him quite as much as I do, but he sure is quite a lot of fun, and it’s nice to have a little Winter Guard display now.
I really liked this assortment a lot, as a whole. The last few sets of Legends have been fine, but not really the most thrilling across the board. This one’s a pretty consistently exciting set. Ursa’s a surprise hit, as I mentioned. Modular Iron Man and Ultron are fantastic versions of two of my favorite looks. Iron Heart is a really solid set of new tooling for a new character for the line. Darkstar and Guardsman are somewhat by the numbers, but still strong new figures. Stealth and Hologram Iron Man aren’t the most essential variants, and they’re just simple repaints, but they’re still pretty fun too. A strong set from start to finish.