RETURN OF MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)
“Justice and virtue have found their champion… a super-soldier named Captain America!”
In 2012, Hasbro changed the game for Marvel Legends. And not in the way that you might think. I mean, yeah that’s the year that they brought the line back from its hiatus, but it wasn’t just that. See, in Series 2 of this newly launched line, released in the spring of that year, they introduced one of the most single-handedly influential things that their run on the line has experienced. What am I talking about? I’m talking about Bucky Cap, the body that a metric ton of the modern line uses as a starting point. Just on this site alone, I’ve reviewed 70 of them. And if you don’t believe me, just check out the absurd amount of hyper links that make up these two sentences where I’m referencing the number of uses, because, I assure you, it’s, like, a lot of uses, more uses perhaps than I have any right to have here on this site, and yet here they all are. In the seven years I’ve been reviewing Legends, I’ve talked a lot about this base body, and yet, I’ve never actually looked at the original use. So now, as the molds begin to enter into their twilight years, let’s jump back to where it all started.
THE FIGURE ITSELF
Captain America was released in the Arnim Zola Series of Return of Marvel Legends, which was the second line-up for the line. It hit in the spring of 2012, about six months after Bucky had given the title of Captain America back to Steve and resumed operations as the Winter Soldier, which is about right for timing on these sorts of things, really. The figure stands 6 1/4 inches tall and he has 32 points of articulation. The articulation on this mold has become rather standardized and just part of the background noise these days, but it was a really great effort for the time. Legends were still working their way out of the “twisting meat” era at the time, so having something that was not only really posable, but also didn’t have to look terrible to get there was a pretty big deal. At this point, some of the joints are a little restricted, but even now it does still hold up alright. For the first use of the mold, it’s actually maybe a little small for Bucky as Cap, at least in the context of the line that followed. At the time, scale was still a little all over the place, though, so it didn’t seem quite so out of place. It certainly wasn’t a bad match from a looks standpoint, generally doing a pretty solid job of recreating Bucky Cap’s design from the comic in a spot-on fashion. In terms of unique parts, he has a head sculpt featuring his his slightly tweaked version of the mask (notably missing the ears, as it should be), an add-on for his belt, and forearms and shins depicting his rolled up gloves and buccaneer boots. Later figures would retool the arms and legs to have more standardized parts, though the gloves and boots would remain in service for other figures as well. The head and belt have remained unique to this particular figure, which is sensible, given that they have more limited applications. The do work well with the rest of the body, though the whole body has presumably designed to work as Bucky Cap first, and then retrofitted for re-use later. Bucky Cap’s paint work is generally pretty nice. The metallic blue fits the design perfectly, and the application’s really not bad for the time, since Hasbro was still contending with some iffy QC. The “A” on his head is slightly off center on mine, but all things considered, it’s not too bad. Bucky Cap was packed with a handgun and knife, both of which could be stored in his belt, as well as his shield, and one of the legs to Arnim Zola.
THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION
As I discussed yesterday, I was hesitant to get back into Legends when it relaunched, so I didn’t pick up any of the early ROML figures new. I think I saw this guy maybe once, but didn’t think much of it. In light of this being such an influential figure, though, as well as being a Captain America, I did feel compelled to track it down. I wound up snagging it from Gidget’s Gadgets in Rehobeth Beach a few years back while vacationing with my family. He’s been sitting in my office area unopened for a couple of years (for shame, I know), but I finally got to opening him up a few months ago, and felt compelled to finally get around to reviewing him. I’ve looked at so much of him before, so many times, but it’s honestly a very good mold, and I totally get why Hasbro was so attached to re-using it as much as they did. As we enter into a full decade of use for it, though, I do have to wonder what base body is going to take up the baton from it, after it did the same for the Bullseye body about 5 years ago. Until then, you do have to admire its range.