MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)
“Time. Space. Reality. It’s more than a linear path. It’s a prism of endless possibility, where a single choice can branch out into infinite realities, creating alternate worlds from the ones you know. I am the Watcher. I am your guide through these vast new realities. Follow me and ponder the question…What If?”
First introduced during Stan Lee and Jack Kirby’s second year on Fantastic Four, the Watchers have remained a consistent fixture in the background of the Marvel Universe. Our central Watcher, named Uatu in the main universe, at least, participated in numerous prominent events, most notably the Galactus Trilogy, where he was forced to break his vow of non-interference to help save the planet from destruction. Uatu became a fixture of Marvel’s What If…? title with its launch in 1977, serving as a host for the stories featured, much like Rod Serling in The Twilight Zone. For the MCU’s animated adaptation of the concept, the Watcher is back in his central role as host, now voiced by Jeffery Wright. And, in a rather fitting fashion, he’s also the central piece of the tie-in toy assortment as well.
THE FIGURE ITSELF
The Watcher is the eponymous Build-A-Figure for the Watcher Series of Marvel Legends. He’s a perfect choice for the spot, since he’s got ties to (almost) all of the figures in the set. This is the first time the Watcher has been included in Legends, and only his second time as a figure, following his Marvel Select figure from several years back. He’s of course based on his show design, but the nature of that design does also give him the ability to work in a multi-faceted sense. The figure stands 8 3/4 inches tall and he has 28 points of articulation. The mobility on the figure is a little bit restricted by the design, of course. He’s got full articulation on the legs, for instance, but the rubber skirt piece pretty much means you’re not ever going to do much with them. The arms at least have a little more room for range, though the right arm has been tweaked so that its articulation won’t break up the sculpt of the sleeve too much. The sculpt is an all-new offering, clearly based on his main animation design. I don’t know that there’s a ton of re-use potential here, but I suppose some of it could be repurposed if they wanted to do an Armored Watcher…that’d actually be pretty cool. The sculpt is a pretty decent one. He captures the character’s on-screen design pretty well, while still fitting in pretty nicely with the line as a whole in terms of styling. In particular, I think the head has turned out very nicely. He’s got a neutral expression that doesn’t seem like it’s doing too much, but has some subtleties to it when you look at it more closely, much like a proper Watcher sculpt should have. The Watcher’s paint work is overall pretty basic. Mostly, it’s just molded colors, like the rest of the assortment, but there’s some nice work on the head again, which gives him a fair bit of character. The Watcher is without any extras or accessories, but I’m not sure what there would be to give him, and he’s honestly an accessory himself, so it’s not a big deal.
THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION
The Watcher is one of those important characters from a story perspective that doesn’t really make for the easiest toy translation, since he, by design, doesn’t really do much action oriented stuff. The Marvel Select kind of fulfilled what need there was for him, but that one got very hard to find, and he started to look a little out of place with some of the newer stuff. An update’s not a bad thing, and I was actually pretty happy to see him turn up here. The end product isn’t amazingly playable or exciting, but he’s a solid piece, and he looks very nice with the rest of the set.
I like this set quite a bit overall. Captain Carter is definitely the star piece for me, with Zombie Cap not too far behind. Strange and Sylvie are both solid figures that are only held back by a few small things. Heist Nebula is a fun, if not essential piece. Zombie Hunter Spider-Man is at least an okay basic Spider-Man under it all, if nothing else. T’Challa’s really the only weak link, and it’s not even that he’s a bad figure, just sort of a messy one with limited applications. And The Watcher’s really one of the best choices for a Build-A-Figure in a while.