#2009: Iron Man

IRON MAN

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

Hey, remember when Hasbro was trying to get a 12-inch-scale line of Marvel Legends up and running?  Pepperidge Farm The North The Figure in Question remembers.  Sadly, it seems it was not to be.  Despite getting a big push at their launch in 2016, and putting out some really solid releases going into 2018, the line never seemed to secure its footing.  Well, I guess now I can go back and look at a few odd figures here and there that I missed.  Chief among them, Iron Man, the subject of today’s review!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Iron Man was a 2016 release for the line.  Though he didn’t arrive at stores quite at the same time as Cap and Spidey, he wasn’t too far behind.  He also seemed to be a slightly more popular release, since he didn’t seem to hand around as much as some others.  More than some of the others in this line, Iron Man’s design seen here is an amalgam of many different appearances.  He’s clearly getting a lot of movie influence, but there are also some definite traces of Tony’s more recent comics armors cropping up in there.  In this respect, he pairs off quite nicely with the similarly designed Captain America and Thor figures.  The figure stands just shy of 12 inches tall and he has 34 points of articulation.  His sculpt is unique to him, and unlike a lot of the figures in this line, it doesn’t really seem to have any common ancestry with one of the 6-inch sculpts.  It’s appropriately cleaner and sleeker than the Cap sculpt was.  I appreciate that, unlike a lot of larger-scale Iron Men, he doesn’t feel too hollow or light-weight.  The sculpt manages to check-off most of the usual Iron Man armor elements, with hard line-work and technical details weaved throughout.  As with all of the other larger Legends I’ve looked at, you can really see Hasbro’s sculptors taking advantage of the larger canvas presented to them by this scale.  Perhaps my favorite piece of the whole figure is the arc reactor, whose handling is totally a “larger canvas” situation.  It’s a fully sculpted, three dimensional item, topped off with a clear piece over top.  There’s pretty much no way to cost-effectively do this sort of thing on a smaller figure, but it sure looks really nice here.  The figure maneuvers itself away from being too movie-inspired largely by way of the suit’s proportions, which definitely err more on the side of comic book idealized proportions.  The prospect of an actual person in the suit is a little diminished, but it’s also in keeping with the general style of the rest of this line’s figures.  I particularly like the clean silhouette this figure gives his design.  He’s a lot less segmented than the smaller figures have been.  His paintwork is actually pretty minor.  The reds are all molded, with everything else painted on top.  I do quite like the hue of gold they’ve chosen (it properly reads as yellow when lit), and I dig the energy effects on the mini-reactors on his forearms.  Iron Man is packed with an extra Tony Stark head (the clearest example of “this isn’t a movie figure” in the box), plus two sets of hands (with fists and repulsor blast posing), and a pair of repulsor blast effects.  Compared to figures like Cap, Panther, and especially Wolverine, that’s kind of light, but it’s about the same as what Spidey got.  My figure lacks the second fist and repulsor blast, due to the circumstances of how I got him.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I very favorably reviewed Cap when he came out.  Why didn’t I grab this guy?  I honestly don’t know.  I saw him when he was new, and thought about getting him.  However, I was about to move, and finances weren’t really certain, and then I didn’t see him again for a while.  I kind of forgot about him to be honest.  Last year, I ended up picking up several other figures from the line, and I’ve had them up on the shelf, with sort of this Iron Man-shaped hole.  So, when this guy was traded into All Time Toys loose, only missing two accessories, I went ahead and grabbed him.  He’s not the centerpiece of the line or anything, and the later figures definitely out-paced him, but he’s still a fine figure.  It’s a shame Hasbro couldn’t really find the market for these.

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#2008: Carrion & Scarlet Spider

CARRION & SCARLET SPIDER

MARVEL MINIMATES

Something new and something old.  Not an uncommon theme when it comes to Minimates, especially Marvel, where there’s a definite need to refresh some looks every so often, so as to both make them available for a newer audience and update some things to fit in a little better with more recent releases.  And hey, if a new character comes along for the ride, that’s not so bad either, is it?  So, with that in mind, let’s look at Carrion (the new) and Scarlet Spider (the old).

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

Carrion and Scarlet Spider were part of the second to last TRU assortment of Marvel Minimates, Series 24.  The assortment was a sort of a mixed bag, with each set being a somewhat contained theme.

CARRION

He’s not the most well-known of Spider-Man’s foes, but Malcolm McBride, the second incarnation of Carrion, is a sensible choice for a Minimate, especially given his pack-mate.  The original Carrion (who had more or less the same appearance as this figure) was a defective clone of Miles Warren, better known as the Jackal, the mastermind behind the infamous “Clone Saga.”  Malcolm was also a prominent player in “Maximum Carnage,” meaning this figure fits right in with the Maximum Carnage-themed Series 76, so he’s just all around a pretty sensible choice.  Carrion is built using seven sculpted add-on pieces for his hood, pouch, loincloth, and two pieces each for the wraps on his arms.  The upper and lower arm wraps are re-used from Heihachi and and Jack Skellington, respectively, and the pouch is Kim Bauer’s purse from 24, because Carrion is super down for taking fashion advice from the similarly accessorized Green Goblin.  The hood and loincloth both appear to be new pieces, and they work well enough, though the hood is a little restricting to the head movement.  Carrion’s paintwork is clean and sharp, though perhaps not the most eye-catching look.  Pale yellow and purple isn’t a particularly appealing palette, but it’s accurate to the character’s comic appearance, so one can hardly fault DST for that.  The linework is actually quite nice on this figure, and does a solid job of capturing that early ’90s style of illustration.  For accessories, Carrion is somewhat on the light side, with only a flight stand and a basic display stand.

SCARLET SPIDER

Carrion’s great and all, but the main reason for most people to buy this set is Ben Reilly, aka the Scarlet Spider.  He wasn’t a stranger to Minimates, with his Spider-Man costume cropping up first back in Series 10.  A proper Scarlet Spider followed in 2007, as an FYE exclusive of all things.  A decade later, he finally got an update.  Despite his predecessor making use of no add-ons, this Ben Reilly has six of them, for his hood, belt, webshooters, and ankle pouches.  All of the pieces are re-used from elsewhere, and they for the most part do their job pretty much perfectly.  The only slightly off parts are the ankle pouches, which are actually knife sheaths with nothing in them.  There exist non-sheath ankle straps, so why these parts were used is anyone’s guess.  Ultimately, though, they sell the look well enough, so I can’t complain too much about their use.  Scarlet Spider’s paintwork is actually quite impressive.  In the comics, he was frequently shaded in a very dynamic fashion, and that’s the look this particular figure tries to capture, at least on the figure’s mask.  It’s a cool looking effect, and the sort of thing that really only works on a Minimate.  Scarlet Spider is packed with an alternate head and hair for an unmasked Ben Reilly (the first proper Ben Reilly head we’ve ever gotten), a webline, and a clear display stand.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

After a bit of a hiatus from Minimates, I picked this set up last year, at the very beginning of Toys R Us’s shut-down process.  It was actually a set I was looking for, which I was only able to find once TRU started pushing things out from their warehouses.  Carrion wasn’t really going to be at the top of anyone’s list, but it’s always nice to get a new character, and DST did a respectable job of translating him to ‘mate form.  Scarlet Spider was in desperate need of an update, and this figure really delivered well on that.  He takes every aspect of the old figure and makes it better, and results in a generally far more enjoyable figure.

#2007: Autobot Jazz

AUTOBOT JAZZ

TRANSFORMERS: STUDIO SERIES (HASBRO)

Autobot Jazz brings all he’s got to defeat the Decepticons”

Sometimes, the time is really right.  For review #2007, I’m jumping back to the year 2007.  2007 was a weird time.  We had two Marvel movies, which isn’t that odd these days, but they were neither one an MCU entry (because the MCU didn’t exist yet).  But before Marvel could re-brand their film franchises, another one was just starting up.  That July saw the release of the first of the oft-reviled Michael Bay Transformers films.  I was never a huge Transformers fan, but I was still in the audience opening weekend, and I still came out…less than satisfied.  In fact, I think a good argument could be made that the film scared me off the franchise for a bit.  Needless to say, I generally avoid Bay-inspired figures, though I’ve made my first exception for the subject of today’s review, one of my personal favorite Autobots, the aptly named Autobot Jazz!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Autobot Jazz is a Deluxe Class offering from Hasbro’s Transformers: Studio Series, where he is numbered figure 10, and hit shelves in July of last year.  Given his demise during the first film, Jazz has been less lucky with releases since the original 2007 line.  This figure marks his first domestic release since all the way back in 2010, which is a pretty big deal.  In his Robot mode, the figure stands a little over 5 1/4 inches tall and he has 19 practical points of articulation.  Size-wise, he’s just a little bit taller than Bumblebee.  Given the scaling and price-point, Jazz is a fairly respectable recreation of his robot mode from the movie.  Not all of the details match up 100%, but the general proportions are there, and the robot specific parts are pretty much spot on.  It’s really the remaining elements of the car form that are slightly throwing off the look, and mostly limited to the arms.  Ultimately, it’s just down to needing a little bit of compromise to actually make things work at this scale and in order to maintain transformability.  While Jazz’s original alt mode was a Porsche, for the 2007 movie, it was changed to a Pontiac Solstice, which is still a reasonably sporty model, though it’s decidedly less distinctive.  Whatever the case, this figure maintains its accuracy by giving him the proper alt mode.  The transformation between the two forms is a little less tricky than the Bumblebee, but still a little more fiddly than the Siege figures I’ve been getting.  Overall, though, it was less frustrating than I was anticipating.  The end result is a pretty decent little car, though, like Bumblebee, he’s got a tendency to pop apart at the seams from time to time.  But, as is the usual case, I was more in this one for the robot mode.  Jazz is packed with his crescent cannon, which he can either hold in his left hand, or his hands can flip into the forearm to allow it to attach directly to the wrist.  It’s a nice little feature.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Jazz was an impulse buy.  Well, he was as close to an impulse buy as I ever really get.  I saw him at Walmart on my way home from work and passed.  Later that same evening, I was out to dinner with Super Awesome Fiancee, and passed by the Walmart again, at which point I caved and went back for him.  Though I’ve never really cared for most of the Bay film designs, Jazz is one of the few I didn’t hate, and his death in the film was perhaps one of my biggest complaints about it.  This guy makes for a pretty decent toy, and I’m glad I went back for him.

#2006: Bizarro

BIZARRO

DC COMICS MULTIVERSE (MATTEL)

You know, it would be really clever to write this whole review in Bizarro speak, wouldn’t it?  Well, clever as it may be, that seems like way more energy than I have to put into a Monday review.  I know, making things easy for myself seems to run counter to my whole brand, but consider this: I did the backwards speak gimmick for my first Bizarro review, meaning that doing it again would be a retread, so, in a way, this is the less traversed and therefore more difficult path.  Yeah, that’s what I’m going with…

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Bizarro is a Walgreens-exclusive release for the DC Comics Multiverse line.  He started cropping up in the last couple of months, though he was originally shown alongside the figures that made up the “Lex Luthor Series.”  The majority of those figures are modeled on the characters’ “Rebirth” appearances, but Bizarro here is actually a much more classically inspired figure, which was a kind of nice change.  The figure stands 6 1/2 inches tall and he has 23 points of articulation.  Bizarro, understandably, re-uses the body introduced with the Rebirth Superman figure from the Clayface Series.  It shares a more common ancestry with the old DCUC body than the body used for Ray, meaning it’s just not quite as refined.  It’s still a definite improvement on the old body, though it feels a little more piecemeal and uneven.  I think the pelvis and hips are the part that really throw the whole thing off.  Bizarro gets a new head sculpt, which is a pretty respectable piece.  It’s appropriately squared off and blocky, and the detailing on the hair in particular is quite nice.  Bizarro trades out Superman’s sculpted cape for a cloth piece that connects around the neck.  On a standard figure, it would be a little goofy, but for Bizarro it actually works to the design’s favor.  His paintwork is overall pretty clean.  The colors are nice and bright, and his skin has a nice textured look about it which works really well.  Bizarro is pretty decently accessorized.  He’s got two sets of hands, in fists and flat flying poses, as well as his signature “Bizarro No. 1” placard.  And, if you want an alternate look, well hey, he has one of those too!  You can give him his Kent Clark guise from the comics by adding a pair of glasses, a tie, and a rather raddy-looking jacket.  As a bonus to this look, the use of a cloth cape means that it can fit under the jacket and stick out like it does in the comics.  It’s a fun extra look and adds a real unique touch to this release.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I was moderately interested in this figure when he was shown off, but wasn’t 100% sold on it.  After picking up and being quite impressed by Ray, I found this guy while out on a day trip with my parents and my brother, and was actually pretty happy to do so.  While he’s not quite as strong as Ray, he’s still a lot better than Mattel’s output has been for a good long while.  I am again frustrated that they managed to improve things just before losing the license.  But hey, at least I got this cool Bizarro figure.

#2005: Cyber-Link Batman & Cyber-Link Superman

CYBER-LINK SUPERMAN & CYBER-LINK BATMAN

SUPERMAN: MAN OF STEEL (KENNER)

“The Man of Steel teams up with the Dark Knight to form the ultimate crime-fighting team!”

After a rash of success with their various Bat-themed lines, in 1995, Kenner tried to expand their DC reach, giving a dedicated line to DC’s other big hero, Superman.  Superman: Man of Steel was not a smash success like its counterpart Legends of Batman, but did manage to get two regular assortments, plus some deluxe figures, and even a few multi-packs.  In an attempt to get a little bit of synergy from the two lines, Kenner decided to team up the lead characters, as they had been so many times in the comics, releasing the pack as part of Superman’s line to give it a slight boost.  Today, I’m looking at that set.

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

Cyber-Link Superman and Cyber-Link Batman were the only set offered up in the second round of Multi-Packs from Kenner’s MoS line.  After the poor performance of the “Superman & foe” layout of the first assortment, this one was a push from Kenner for a better selling product.  Despite their propensity for just dropping these sorts of variants without much explanation or thought, these two actually got a backstory.  “Cyber-Link” was an Elseworlds concept, an alternate universe where Batman was a Metropolis resident and he and Superman were a crime-fighting duo.  Trace elements of Kryptonite within the Earth’s atmosphere necessitated the use of the Cyber-Link suits seen here.  All of this was explained in the 11-page Christopher Priest-penned comic included with this set.  It’s a surprising amount of backstory for something that seems kind of straightforward, but I guess they were trying to inject a little bit more of Legends of Batman into Man of Steel.

SUPERMAN

He’s the star of the line and the star of the set, so I guess he gets to go first.  The ninth out of nine Superman figures, this one didn’t exactly cover new ground, but was interesting in his lack of a specific purpose like we had seen with the prior variants.  It’s definitely a different sort of design for the character, a departure from his classic look.  He’s even sporting the mullet still, further removing him from the Superman we all knew.  Of course, in light of things like the New 52, I guess the design doesn’t feel quite so out there anymore.  The figure stands 5 inches tall and has 6 points of articulation.  Yay for waist joints!  Despite his non-standard nature, the sculpt for this figure is actually pretty decent.  The pre-posing that would plague Total Justice was starting to settle in, but it doesn’t seem quite as bad here.  It’s got sort of a dynamic “just about to leap into action” look about it.  He also doesn’t have any trouble staying standing, which is nothing short of a miracle with most of these figures.  His head, despite the dated hairstyle, is a good take on Superman, and the removable cape is quite nice, and further supports the dynamic stance.  Superman’s paintwork doesn’t stray too far from his classic colors, though the blue and yellow are kind of metallic, and there’s quite a bit of black.  There are also a number of sculpted lines that just sort of get ignored here, though they would be more emphasized on later uses of the mold.  Superman included no accessories, though his hand looks like it was supposed to hold something at some point.

BATMAN

Man, how often is it Batman that plays second fiddle?  Obviously, this was his first figure in this line, though he was hardly lacking on figures from his own lines.  Batman’s design here isn’t quite as foreign as Superman’s, but that may be partly because he’d just had a more fluid design up to this point.  He’s a little more on the armored side, and some of his color elements have been moved around a bit, but otherwise he’s going to pass the squint test.  The figure, like his Kryptonian counterpart, stands 5 inches tall and has 6 points of articulation.  Batman’s sculpt was unique to him, and is an okay offering, though I don’t think it’s quite as strong as Superman’s.  The posing seems a bit more extreme, and the proportions a bit less balanced.  He also has a little more trouble staying standing, though he still doesn’t face plant nearly as often as some of these guys.  I do kind of like that little sneer to his expression; it’s unique for a Batman figure.  His paint/color work is about on par with Superman.  It’s just slight variations on the usual colors, and some of the sculpted elements are kind of ignored, but the overall work is solid.  Like his packmate, he includes no accessories, but still looks like he’s supposed to be holding something.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I had none of the Man of Steel two-packs growing up.  In fact, I didn’t have anything from the line beyond several Series 1 figures.  However, my obsessive toy-nerdiness meant that I gazed upon their photos many a time on the back of the package and on Raving Toy Maniac’s old archive page, so they’ve always been in the back of my mind.  A loose set ended up traded into All Time Toys alongside a larger collection of ’90s toys, and since there’s not a huge market for these guys, I felt compelled to save them from hanging around the store for forever.  Superman’s my favorite of the two, but I kind of dig both of them, and all their crazy ’90s glory.

As noted above, I got these from All Time Toys.  If you’re looking for other cool toys both old and new, please check out their website and their eBay storefront.

#2004: Speeder Bike (w/ Luke Skywalker in Endor Gear)

SPEEDER BIKE (W/ LUKE SKYWALKER IN ENDOR GEAR)

STAR WARS: POWER OF THE FORCE II (KENNER)

A couple of weeks ago, I took a look at the first of three versions of the Imperial Speeder Bike released by Kenner in their Power of the Force II line.  The vehicle’s mold was first introduced in the vintage Return of the Jedi line, and was then re-packaged in the ’90s, with one of three different pilots.  I’ve already looked at the one with Leia.  Today, I look at her brother Luke, alongside his own Speeder.

THE VEHICLE ITSELF

The speeder bikes in these sets were all identical, meaning this one is exactly the same as the one I looked at alongside Leia two weeks ago.  I liked it then, and I still like it now.  I imagine I’ll still like it when I get around to the third variant of this set.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Like the Leia figure included with the last one, this one has an Endor variant of Luke Skywalker.  Luke spends a little bit less of his time in this gear, but it’s still a fairly distinctive appearance for the character.  Like Leia, it had previously appeared in the vintage line, but this was the first we saw of it in this re-launch.  It would also be our only Endor Luke for a little while, as figures of him from Jedi tended to go for his, well, Jedi appearance.  As such, this figure’s sculpt would remain completely unique to him.  He stands 3 3/4 inches tall and has 7 points of articulation.   Check out those sweet knee joints!  That was a pretty huge deal.  Luke’s head is rather similar to the Endor Rebel trooper, not only with the same helmet, but also a rather similar facial structure.  This Luke’s sculpt was notable for not including his outer vest; he was not the only version of Luke to omit it in this line, but he was the first one.  Like his sister, Luke has a removable rubber poncho piece.  This one’s not quite as nice.  It isn’t very well fitted to the figure, making him look really pudgy.  It also lacks the nice, subtle paintwork, meaning it’s just a lot of unpainted tan plastic.  This guy was packed with a variant of the green lightsaber included with the basic RotJ Luke, though this one was wider than that one so that his slightly enlarged grip can still hold it.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

As a kid, I only had one Speeder Bike, and it was this one.  I was definitely a Luke kid, so I needed to have another version of him, and the Endor one was one of my favorites.  That being said, I remember the actual figure didn’t get a ton of use; instead he was robbed of his poncho and speeder, which I gave to my standard Jedi Luke.  Looking back at this figure, I kind of remember why that was the case.  He’s not a bad figure, but he’s not as strong a figure as the Leia.

#2003: Professor X

PROFESSOR X

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

“Professor Charles Xavier, better known as Professor X, is a highly gifted telepath and scientific genius who develops the Cerebro device to aid in the ability to control and manipulate psionic abilities.”

Professor X is a character that doesn’t seem outwardly like he’d make for a lot of really good action figures, but he sure does have quite a few.  I guess naming the team after yourself is a good way to make yourself essential to a line-up.  It helps that toy companies have actually gotten pretty decent at squeezing some cool concepts out of his figures.  Despite their usual knack for adding interesting touches to their figures, the original Toy Biz Marvel Legends Xavier, is one of his less thrilling toy entries, not doing much to move past his “bald guy in a suit sitting in a wheelchair.”  He was also released 14 years ago, so it seems like a good time for an update, especially with all these X-Men Legends we’ve been getting lately!  Fortunately, Hasbro was more than happy to deliver that update.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Professor X is the second figure in the third series of the Legendary Riders sub-line of Marvel Legends.  The “rider” tag seems like a *little* bit more of a stretch for Xavier, but becomes more sensible when you take into account that Hasbro’s gone with the ’90s hoverchair version of the character.  The actual basic figure on his own stands 6 1/4 inches tall and has 30 points of articulation.  He’s built on the basic suited body, which is a sensible choice for Xavier, what with him tending to be a guy in a suit and all.  I’ll admit, I’m still hoping to see his tactical jumpsuit from the ’90s, but there’s no denying this is the more distinctive look, and it’s a lot of re-use, which I’m sure Hasbro was fond of.  Xavier has a new head and hands, both of which are well tailored to the body.  The head’s perhaps a little more on the cartoony side than I was expecting, especially given the general Jim Lee-inspired nature of this figure and the others he’s meant to go with.  With that said, after getting him in hand, I don’t mind the appearance so much, though I can understand why it’s not for everyone.  I do really like the new hands, though, and they’re just pure classic Xavier poses.  Xavier’s suit is green, a new color for this mold, with a stylish blue and black striped tie, just like he used to sport on the animated series.  But enough about the main figure.  Though he may be the title item, he’s not the main selling point here.  No, that would be his hoverchair.  Introduced in the ’90s as a more hi-tech replacement for the wheelchair in which he’d spent three decades, the hoverchair was really only at the forefront of the comics during the ’90s.  Of course, the X-Men were at the height of their popularity, and they got a cartoon, meaning the chair is the go-to look for Xavier for a whole bunch of fans.  It’s also got a little bit of that “one that got away” thing going for it; Toy Biz’s Xavier was originally supposed to have its own version, but it was cut from the release when they decided to offer Galactus as a Build-A-Figure.  In the 14 years since, we’ve been patiently waiting to finally see it show up in this scale.  Hasbro previously offered up this design at a smaller scale as part of their Marvel Universe line, but since he was offered as a standard figure, the chair was rather downsized and compressed.  This time, a focus has been placed on making the chair as accurately proportioned as possible.  It’s split down the middle in the package, but assembles easily enough, and stays together once assembled.  The sculpt is cleanly defined, with a nice, mechanized fixture appearance on the outside, and a nice stitched-leather looking interior.  Additionally, the armrests slide open, in a similar fashion to the old TB 5-inch figure, giving us a view of a pair of hidden consoles.  In order to simulate his hovering, the chair has a little exhaust effect piece that plugs into the bottom, keeping it stably held aloft.  Xavier slides into the chair without much fuss, and can be easily removed, so you’ve got your options.  The figure and the chair is a pretty impressive package already, but this set also includes a few more extras.  There’s always a threat of Xavier’s legs getting cold in a big metal chair like this, so to fight off that cold, he’s got himself a blanket.  It’s something that always accompanied the chair in the comics, and in this case it slips over Xavier’s legs to help hold him in place when in the chair.  Also included is Xavier’s Cerebro helmet, along with a clip-on effect piece for added dynamics.  Lastly, following the “accent another figure” trend that Hasbro’s gotten so into recently, there’s also a head included for Xavier’s long-time foe, Amahl Farouk, better known as the Shadow King.  It’s designed to fit the body of the recent Kingpin BaF, and it’s a pretty pitch-perfect fit.  It captures his design well, and I really dig those removable glasses.  I do sort of wish I had an extra Kingpin figure now, though.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I’ve been waiting for this figure for 14 years.  I still have the TB figure, but only because I bought him to finish my Galactus.  He’s never stayed up on the shelf, and he certainly hasn’t had a spot with all the Hasbro figures.  I’ve always been partial to the hoverchair look, and I was definitely looking to see it done proper justice.  I’m happy to say this release undeniably does it that justice.  He’ll be a nice centerpiece for the ever growing ’90s X-Men figures to be sure.  Throw in a pretty sweet Shadow King head, and you’ve got another winning set.

Like yesterday’s Deadpool, this set was purchased from my friends at All Time Toys.  He’s currently out of stock, but they’ll be getting him back in soon. And, if you’re looking for other toys both old and new, please check out their website and their eBay storefront.

#2002: Deadpool Corps Scooter

DEADPOOL CORPS SCOOTER

MARVEL LEGENDS: LEGENDARY RIDERS (HASBRO)

“Vroom vroom, baby.  It is I, Deadpool, and my merry heard of fluffy-tailed friends. All aboard, dirty-pawed brethren!  It’s ride-off-into-the-sunset time.”

It’s been exactly 200 reviews since I did my last Deadpool-centric review.  Time for another one?  Might as well be.  So, why a Deadpool review?  Well, let’s put some context on this one: just a little over a year ago, Hasbro launched the Legendary Riders sub-set of their popular Marvel Legends line.  It’s focus is, as you might expect, on providing some of their Legends with their rides.  Deadpool is just one of the lucky ones to get focussed on for this last go-round.  But, it’s not just Deadpool all by his lonesome, he’s bringing some of his Deadpool Corps teammates with him!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Since his re-appearance in the Juggernaut Series, there have been no shortage of Deadpool figures in Hasbro’s Legends line-up.  Just last year, he got four separate 6-inch releases.  Now he’s gotten one more.  This one’s another go at a default Deadpool, though he’s wearing a different derivation of his costume than the Juggernaut or Sasquatch Series releases.  This one goes back to Deadpool’s appearance from around the mid-00s, right about when his popularity really started to spike.  This is most clearly denoted by the y-shaped harness that he sported at the time, which is also seen on this figure.  I’m not as big a fan of this particular look, but it’s been a few years since it got a Legends release, and at least it’s something different.  The figure stands 6 1/4 inches tall and has 32 points of articulation.  As you might expect, he’s largely made up of re-used parts.  The bulk of the figure uses the same construction as the Juggernaut Series release, though he swaps out the harness piece for the one from the 2008 figure.  That figure was built on the Bullseye body, so the harness isn’t a perfect fit, but it’s close enough that it doesn’t look out of place on this figure.  The one new contribution here is the head, which is stylistically consistent with the prior DP head, but now depicts his eyes wide-open, and his mouth clearly agape under the mask.  It suits the incredibly goofy nature of this entire set very well, and I think it may well be my favorite of Hasbro’s Deadpool heads.  Deadpool’s paint work is a bit of a conundrum.  On it’s own, it’s a nice paint job.  It’s clean and bright, and suits the character well.  So, what’s the problem?  It doesn’t match either the dark red of the Juggernaut Deadpool or the exceedingly bright red of the Sauron Series Deadpools, meaning that there’s no way to swap the various expressions between the figures.  It’s a definite missed opportunity if you ask me.  Deadpool is armed with a pair of katana, which he can stow in the sheaths on his back.  They’re gold instead of the usual silver, which is a nice change of pace.

THE VEHICLE ITSELF

Deadpool may not be defined by his ride, but the image of him looking super goofy while riding around on an appropriately color-matched vespa has become fairly common place in the cultural lexicon, and is a sensible choice here.  It measures 4 inches tall by about 5 inches long.  It’s got working wheels and can properly steer, and all that jazz.  It’s also got a working kickstand to keep it upright most of the time.  The sculpt is actually really nicely handled.  The shaping is clean and sharp, and everything flows together quite well.  It’s also a very unique looking item, with less re-use potential than Widow’s cycle had.  It also doesn’t have the obvious screws that the cycle had, which I count as a very definite plus in this vehicle’s favor.  The scooter has it’s own specific accessory, a little horn to mount on the handle bars.  It also includes a sheet of stickers for customization, but I don’t see myself using that much.  The most important extras, though, aren’t for the scooter, but instead accent the included Deadpool.  We get figurines of both Dogpool and Squirrelpool.  Dogpool is articulated at the arms and neck, and can be mounted on the scooter.  Squirrelpool is unarticulated, but can be placed on Dogpool’s back.  Also included is an extra head, for a figure that’s not even in this set.  Whose head is it?  Why it’s only Deadpool’s bestest sidekick ever, Bob: Agent of Hydra!  It’s perfectly matched the standard Hydra Trooper from the Agents of Hydra two-pack, which is still quite readily available, making this a rather ingenious extra.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Okay, so, admittedly, this set wasn’t at the top of my list or anything when it was shown off, because it was shown off at the same time as the outwardly more impressive Professor X.  Also, I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t a little worn out on Deadpool.  That being said, I did used to be a fan back in the day, and the confirmation of the extra head for Bob really swayed me quite a bit.  Plus, I was also getting an Xavier, and I felt compelled to grab them both at once.  I’m actually really happy I did.  This is probably the best package deal of all the vehicle sets.  You get a solid, unique variant of a main character, a quite well-crafted vehicle, and a bunch of fun little extra characters.  I dig it.  I dig it quite a bit.

This set was purchased from my friends at All Time Toys, and it’s currently available from their store, here. And, if you’re looking for other toys both old and new, please check out their website and their eBay storefront.

#2001: Dryden Vos

DRYDEN VOS

STAR WARS: THE BLACK SERIES (HASBRO)

The public face of the Crimson Dawn crime syndicate, Dryden Vos is a contradiction: a pitiless enforcer known as a gangster of wealth and taste.  His good manners shouldn’t be mistaken for weakness, though: he can change from generous host to ruthless killer in a moment.”

Solo‘s antagonist Dryden Vos had quite a time making it into toy form, largely due to the character having even more of a time making it to the big screen.  He was originally to be played by actor Micheal K. Williams, who filmed his scenes wearing motion-capture gear in order to facilitate the character being a CGI character of some sort.  When Ron Howard took over as the film’s director, Williams was unavailable for re-shoots, and the character was still without an actual final design.  Short on time and money, Howard cast his frequent collaborator Paul Bettany (whose text asking for a role is so perfectly in character) in the part, and changed his design from a CGI monster to…Paul Bettany, but with some scars.  Ultimately, it seems to have worked out pretty well, as Bettany’s turn as Vos was one of my favorite parts of the movie.  Of course, all of the shifting around with the character meant that he was almost completely absent from merchandise.  His first figure from Hasbro arrived on shelves almost a whole year after the initial Solo product launch, and I’ll be looking at it today.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Dryden Vos is figure 79 in the Star Wars: The Black Series line-up.  He’s from the most recent assortment of figures, which just started showing up last month.  He’s one of two Solo figures in the line-up, the other being a Mudtrooper Han variant.  Dryden has two looks in the film, both following a fairly similar theme.  This figure is based on his initial appearance, when meeting with Han and Tobias after their botched heist.  Of the two designs, it’s the more visually striking, thus making it a solid choice for the figure.  He stands a little over 6 1/4 inches tall (Bettany’s a tall guy) and he has 29 points of articulation.  Dryden’s sculpt is an all-new affair, and it certainly captures Vos’ svelte nature pretty well.  As is common with Black Series sculpts, he can look a little off in some more extreme poses, but for the most part it works.  The head sports a pretty spot-on Bettany likeness, building on the already solid likeness we saw on last year’s Vision figure.  Dryden’s rather distinctive jacket/half-cape combo is rendered here through a separate overlay piece, which can be a little finicky when posing his left arm, but is otherwise a really sharp addition to the figure.  I’m glad they didn’t go the cloth route for this one and risk losing the visual sharpness of the design.  The piece *can* be removed from the figure, but it really doesn’t serve him well to do so, nor do we see him in this outfit without it, so on him it will stay.  There is one small inaccuracy to this figure’s sculpt: his thumbs.  One of the few “alien” aspects of the character’s design were his oddly pointy thumbs, a feature that this figure lacks.  That said, it’s a minor feature, and one that most people are likely to miss.  It hardly holds the figure back.  Dryden’s paintwork is full of nice, very subtle work, keeping all those darkly colored pieces of the costume distinct from each other.  The most impressive work is definitely on the face, though.  In the film, Dryden’s scars become redder and more visible when he gets angry, a feature replicated here through thermo-sensitive paint.  At room temperature, Dryden’s scars are faint, but when exposed to cold, they’ll flare up to a dark red.  It’s a really fun touch, and something that could be easily overlooked.  Dryden is packed with his pair of distinctive knives, which he uses to dispatch those who disappoint him in true Star Wars villain fashion.  Like Dryden himself, these are temperature sensitive, and will exhibit a bright orange hue at the ends when exposed to cold, simulating how they power up in the film.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I really liked Dryden in the film, and I was definitely bummed when no figures of him were available.  It’s been a long wait, but this guy hit Amazon for retail, allowing me to snag him pretty quickly.  Though perhaps not the franchise’s most pivotal character, Dryden is high in the running for my favorite Star Wars villain, and his figure absolutely did not disappoint.  He rounds out an already pretty awesome set of Solo figures.  Now, is it too much to ask for a Qi’ra that actually matches him?

#2000: Batman

BATMAN

THE DARK KNIGHT RISES (HOT TOYS)

Did you see the number?  Did you see it?  Yes, you read it correctly faithful reader, today marks my 2000th review on this here site.  That’s…well, that’s a lot.  It honestly doesn’t feel all that long ago that I reviewed Rescue Cap for my 1000th, and, like that review, this one marks the departure of a consistent player around these parts.   Goodbye starting numeral 1, and welcome starting numeral 2.  Now, review #0001 was a Batman figure, so I suppose it’s only appropriate that #2000 should be another Batman.  There are, of course, two notable differences.  Firstly, as with most of my monumental reviews, this one comes from the high-end world of Hot Toys.  Secondly, where that prior figure was based on Batman Forever, this one is instead from the Nolan films.  Which were the most modern take on the character when I got this guy, but, alas, not the case anymore.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Batman was figure DX12 in Hot Toys’ Movie Masterpiece Series.  This marks my second look at a DX figure, following up the Battle-Damaged T-800 from all the way back in review #0050.  As I noted there, the DX line are an even more high-end subset of the Movie Masterpiece Series, focusing more on tentpole characters and giving them a larger variety of accessories and features.  This was the third time Batman got a DX release, and it was designed to pair off with the DX11 Dark Knight Joker.  Of course, seeing as this figure hit in 2012, he ended up pulling a bit of double duty.  He’s officially branded The Dark Knight Rises, and is meant to go with that subset of figures.  However, it’s the same costume in both movies, with only a very minor difference between them, allowing HT to tie him in with the Joker figure as well (and, in fact, this figure’s presence in the DX11’s solicitation shots let us know he was coming before we got an official confirmation).  The figure stands just shy of 12 inches tall and has over 30 points of articulation.

Batman was sporting two different head sculpts for this release.  The first is his masked appearance, which is, for the most part, a slightly simpler sculpt than we tend to see from Hot Toys.  This is film accurate, of course, since it’s replicating his smooth-plated helmet from the movie.  Prior TDK Batmen had some troubles with getting the helmet’s shape right, but it’s pretty darn spot-on here.  The head is designed with quite a bit of versatility in mind.  Firstly, since he’s a DX figure, he features PERS aka the “Parallel Eye Rolling System,” which allows for his eyes to be repositioned as you see fit.  It works a little differently here than it did with the T-800; the head is more easily removable, so the mechanism is accessed more directly, and requires a special tool.  I find I prefer this layout, since it means the head doesn’t have any odd seams.  Furthering the versatility are three interchangeable faceplates, with calm, scowling, and angry options.  All three have decent likenesses of Christian Bale, and they replicate his expressions from the film well enough, though they can certainly look goofy in some poses.  One last notable point about the head is its connection to the neck.  Rather than the usual ball-joint, it’s connected with a magnet, presumably to make for easier removal for accessing the features.  Ultimately, it feels a little gimmicky, and makes his head fall of a little more than I’d like.  The second head is an unmasked appearance, and it’s my favorite of the two.  It’s definitely the best unmasked Bale HT put out, and matches the sort of intense stare that Bale always had in the films.  It also features a removable collar piece, should you wish to use this head somewhere other than on the Batman suit.

Said Bat-suit was a major selling point of this particular release.  Prior versions of this design had used a molded rubber body suit, which limited the posabilty, resulted in softer detailing, and didn’t exactly hold up all that well over time (to say nothing of the DX02’s issues of weeping plastic caused by an unforeseen chemical reaction).  For this figure, the suit was built in a more film accurate fashion, using more rigid plastic armored parts glued in place on a cloth body suit.  It’s still not going anywhere near super posable or anything, but the look is definitely more accurate, and it’s certainly held up a lot better over time…well, at least in the seven years that I’ve had it.

As a DX release, Batman is pretty heavily packed with extras.  In addition to the two heads and extra mouth plates, he includes the following:

  • 6 hands
  • Grapnel gun
  • Transformable sticky bomb gun
  • Light-up electronic gun
  • 2 Belts
  • 2 batarangs
  • 2 mini mines
  • Connector for the Batpod
  • Light-up display stand

The hands come in fists, gripping, and a open/batarang holding combo.  They swap out okay, but it can get a little tricky to pop them back on.  The assortment of weaponry make for some nice specific call-backs to the film, but I personally haven’t gotten much use out of anything but the batarangs.  The sticky bomb gun is magnetic, allowing for it to be attached to the equally magnetic second belt…which would be super handy if the second belt on mine could actually be opened and placed on the figure.  Oh well.  The stand’s a pretty impressive piece, being modeled on the concrete steps where he faces off against Bane towards the end of the film.  The lights are a little gimmicky, but the overall appearance is nice.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

It was the Dark Knight versions of Joker and Two-Face that got me into Hot Toys collecting in the first place, but for a while I had no Batman to go with them, because I was just never than impressed by the available Batmen.  However, this one’s announcement, alongside Bane and Catwoman from the same movie, was right as I was getting into the HT thing pretty bigh, and that was enough to get me on board, and fill out my display a bit.  Ultimately, I think this guy makes for a wicked display piece, but he’s not a figure you want to pick up and handle all that much.  Taking him down from the shelf for this review was enough to really remind me of that.  Still, there’s no denying he was HT’s best Bale Batman.