#3245: Superman

SUPERMAN

NEW GODS (DC DIRECT)

“One of Superman’s greatest foes is the god Darkseid.  They are each other’s ultimate enemies–and Kalibak shares his hatred for the Man of Steel with is father Darkseid.  Superman versus Darkseid?  The ultimate Good vs. the ultimate Evil.”

When DC Comics brought Jack Kirby over from Marvel in the ’70s, they largely isolated him in his own little corner of the universe, the Fourth World.  However, to launch that corner, they also had him do a little work on Superman spin-off series Superman’s Pal Jimmy Olsen, which itself got wrapped up in the whole Fourth World thing.  However, despite putting a lot of time and money into bringing over Kirby and with him his signature style, when Jack drew Superman’s number one hero Superman in the pages of Jimmy Olsen and The Forever People, DC’s odd and at times frankly silly attachment to not letting differing interpretations of their characters potentially “damage” their brand kicked in.  Kirby’s illustrations of the Man of Steel were deemed not up to DC’s standards for the character, so they had the heads redrawn by Al Plastino and Murphy Anderson.  While the final result was certainly a very classic Superman, it was also one that clashed heavily with the style of the rest of the artwork.  Due to DC’s handling of original work at the time, only a few small samples of Kirby’s original Superman remain, making any attempt to restore his original work next to impossible.  There have been a few consolation prizes, however, such as using an unused cover sketch as the basis for a Steve Rude illustration to serve as the cover for one of the collections of Kirby’s DC work, and, in the action figure realm, a Kirby-based Superman that actually looks like a Kirby illustration.  I know, crazy concept.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Superman was released in the second, and ultimately final, series of DC Direct’s New Gods line.  Given the line’s short run, Superman’s presence as 1/8 of the total coverage wasn’t ideal, but with Darkseid already covered in Series 1, they presumably felt they needed another heavy hitter.  Hence the very clumsy packaging text explaining his ties to the New Gods…sort of.  The figure stands about 6 1/2 inches tall and he has 16 points of articulation.  Though less mobile than the previously-reviewed Barda, Superman still wound up with a fairly decent articulation set-up, as did all of the Kirby figures.  He uses the same core base body as all of the standard male bodies, which is a suitable starting point for something based on a Kirby illustration.  He got a new head, hands, and cape to fully sell the Superman angle.  Since all we really have to go by for Kirby’s Superman are some unfinished sketches, it’s hard to nail down exactly what his Superman should look like in finished form.  The roughs we’ve seen aren’t quite up to Kirby’s usual finished standards, so this figure takes them as a starting point and polishes them up just a bit more.  He very much keeps the Kirby styling for the face and expression, while making sure he’s actually got things like the proper spit curl for the hair.  The end product is actually pretty cool, and means that this guy doesn’t clash with the rest of the line.  The figure’s paint work continues that trend of making the sketches into something more finished.  The general colors are classic Superman, and they look really nice.  Application is all very clean and sharp, and he just generally looks pretty slick.  The one notable Kirby element here is the logo; Kirby was infamously bad at doing the Superman logo, and his roughs showcase something that’s very off-model.  This one is closer to the proper, but still keeps a little bit of the shaping that Kirby gave it, again giving us that sort of optimized, what if they’d kept more of Kirby’s work feel.  The figure is packed with a Kirby Dots-emblazoned display stand, matching up with the rest of the line.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I remember being quite let down by this figure’s announcement back in the day.  I was going through a real Kirby kick when the first series hit, and was disappointed to see them give a slot to Superman instead of an actual Kirby character for the follow up.  I wound up skipping the whole set when they dropped, and it’s all Superman’s fault.  Okay, not really.  Over the years, I’ve gained more of an appreciation for this figure’s place in the line, and I do like what he represents.  I was able to snag one when he got traded in loose at All Time not too long ago.  And, having gotten him after finally getting the Barda that I really wanted from this series, I can appreciate him for what he is.

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.

#3244: Infinity Ultron

INFINITY ULTRON

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

Though initially an anthology of stories from unrelated universes within the MCU’s multiverse, Marvel’s What If…?‘s final two episodes were dedicated to tying a bunch of those prior stories (and one that didn’t actually make the cut for the first season) together into one inter-connecting narrative, as the Watcher assembled a team to take down a multiversal threat in the form of an alternate Ultron, from a reality where he successfully placed his consciousness into the Vision’s body, and was able to conquer Earth and eventually gather all of the Infinity Stones for his own use.  While a common complaint of Age of Ultron was how it generally removed a lot of the menace from Ultron when compared to the comics, this alternate version brought a good deal of that menace back, and made him a truly imposing villain.  And, hey, it’s also an excuse for more Ultron toy coverage.  I’m certainly not one to balk at that!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Infinty Ultron is the Build-A-Figure for the third Disney+ themed assortment of Marvel Legends.  In a bit of a shuffling around, he’s actually the only What If…? figure for this assortment, wedged in between two assortments that actually have quite a bit of What If…? coverage.  This guy is based on Ultron’s fully armored up, multiverse conquering attire, which gives him back that classic Ultron look, while still having him in the Vision body.  It’s a pretty strong look, mixing elements of his MCU and a few of a his comics looks, into one sort of cohesive design.  The figure stands 6 3/4 inches tall and he has 29 points of articulation.  In terms of articulation, Ultron’s rather a bit restricted.  There’s definitely an aspect of it that’s brought on from adapting the show design, but it also just doesn’t quite land in a few spots.  The shoulders are particularly confined; I feel like they might have worked out a bit better id the shoulder pads were mounted to the arms, rather than the torso.  The mid-torso joint doesn’t get much motion either, and coupled with the lack of a waist joint, and the general lack of mobility on the hips, makes his whole middle quite stiff.  His elbows also don’t quite bend all the way back, which feels a little odd.  All of it just feels like it was designed independently, so there’s just a general lack of flow to the movement.  His sculpt is an all-new one.  It’s not bad, but it’s not amazing either.  Generally, it looks okay, and it’s rather accurate to the source material.  I do feel it’s a little soft on some of the detailing, and I was certainly bummed by his face plate being sculpted in place.  Beyond that, though, I do like its overall look, and I do feel like it captures the general feeling of the character pretty well.  In particular, I actually quite like how the cape turned out.  The slight swept look gives it just a little bit of flair, without being too crazy. Ultron’s color work is passable; again, nothing amazing.  The bulk of him is molded in silver plastic, swirls and all.  It’s okay, but it doesn’t really help with bringing out the sculpt’s details.  The little bit of painting he gets is generally pretty nice.  The most curious application is definitely the shading on the inside of the cape; there’s no other dynamic or cel shading present on the figure, which makes this stand out.  It’s not bad, but it’s certainly odd.  Ultron gets his big javelin/spear thing as an accessory.  It’s impressively sized, and gives him his most basic extra.  I’d have liked to maybe get an extra set of hands, or an alternate head, but I suppose you can’t expect too much out of a Build-A-Figure; he’s kind of already an accessory himself.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

After being kind of let down by a good portion of What If…?‘s run, the last two episodes and they’re further building on Ultron actually really salvaged the show for me.  Ultron’s new design was a lot of fun, and I was hoping we’d see it in figure form sooner than later.  I was very much looking forward to this one, and, while I didn’t purely buy any of the figures just to finish him, I certainly was given a bit more of a push on a couple of them.  Ultimately, he’s okay.  Not great, just okay.  He gets the general job done, but he lacks some of the real oomph of some of the other releases.  Still, he’s far from the worst Ultron figure out there.

In general, this assortment is a real mix of “exactly what I expected” and “not quite what I’d envisioned.”  Moon Knight was my projected favorite, and he absolutely stuck that landing.  She-Hulk sneaks in on the secondary spot, after being a figure I had no real expectations on.  Kate’s a solid figure, if perhaps one without the pop of the first two.  Clint and Sharon are both decent mid-range figures, held back only by some minor design stuff.  Mr. Knight and Ms. Marvel are figures that I don’t dislike, but that I feel don’t quite live up to what I was hoping for.  And ultimately, I find Ultron to be the weakest in the set.  No one’s really a bad figure here, though, so perhaps he’s just undermined by how strong the solo figures are this time around.

#3243: She-Hulk

SHE-HULK

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

“Attorney Jennifer Walters’ life is forever changed when she suddenly gains Hulk-like powers after an accident exposes her to the blood of her cousin, Bruce Banner.”

Oh man, remember when She-Hulk totally ruined the MCU forever and ever with no chance of it ever being fixed ever at all?  Me either.  Actually, what I more recall was actually really liking the show, pretty much from start to finish.  Yeah, I liked a thing.  It’s the worst thing ever, right?  How could I?  She-Hulk was honestly a pretty pitch-perfect adaptation of the character through all of her various runs in the comics, and a fantastic showcase of Tatiana Maslany in the lead role of Jen Walters.  She-Hulk’s been present in Marvel Legends since the very early days of Hasbro having the license, with a handful of updates to her in the last few years.  The latest is, of course, based on her MCU incarnation, hot on the heels of her show’s first season wrapping up.  Let’s see how that one turned out!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

She-Hulk is figure 3 in the the Infinity Ultron Series of Marvel Legends.  She’s the final single-release figure in the set, and, like yesterday’s Ms. Marvel, she’s the only figure from her show.  Hopefully, there will be a little more follow-up to this one, since the show has so many other cool looks to offer.  Jen is seen here in her hulked-out form, sporting her “hero” suit, which was the one used for all the marketing, and is also the most action-oriented of her designs from the show.  The figure stands a little over 7 inches tall and she has 29 points of articulation.  The articulation scheme on She-Hulk is honestly the best in this whole assortment of figures, especially in terms of merging form and function.  The pinless double joints for the elbows and knees really work well, and I especially love the way the motion works on the ankle joints.  There’s a bit of restriction on the neck joint, which is really a design thing, but that’s really the only issue.  She-Hulk’s sculpt is an all-new offering, and it’s again probably the best in the series.  The face has got a fantastic likeness of the hulk-ified Tatiana Maslany, and honestly looks a little bit more realistic than the actual show model did.  The hair’s got a good weight and flow to it as well, and showcases the proper volume, which is an improvement on the other hair sculpts from this series.  The body sculpt has a very nice, very balanced set of proportions, with a realistic detailing to her various muscle groups.  Her outfit sports some really strong texture work, and matches up well with the design as seen in the show.  The color work on She-Hulk is definitely the boldest and most-eye-catching of this round of figures.  The greens are largely molded color, with paint work on the face and her outfit.  The face is printed, and looks spot-on.  The outfit’s a little bit sloppier in its application, but overall not terrible.  Shulky is packed with two sets of hands (fists and open flat) as well as the left leg of the Infinity Ultron Build-A-Figure.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

So, as I addressed in the intro, I did the forbidden thing of actually liking She-Hulk.  In fact, I liked She-Hulk a lot.  I was also actually quite a fan of her show design, and the fact that it means we get a new She-Hulk figure is just icing on the proverbial cake.  This figure’s definitely in the top two for this assortment for me, and given that the other one is a Moon Knight figure, that’s pretty high praise from me.  She’s a very well put-together figure, and is honestly the best She-Hulk out there, topping even the comics versions.  Now, about getting that proper John Byrne version….

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.

#3242: Ms. Marvel

MS. MARVEL

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

“Kamala Khan is 16 years old, good at school, and bad at fitting in. But when she unexpectedly develops super-powers, she’ll learn that what makes her different makes her powerful.”

Introduced in 2014, partially as a way to hang onto the “Ms. Marvel” title after Carol Danvers got promoted to Captain, Kamala Khan’s been something of a breakout character for Marvel.  She’s been consistently headlining her own comic since her launch, and rather quickly made the jump to both animation and video games.  Just this year, she also made her debut in the MCU, with her own self-titled Disney+ show.  Iman Vellani’s turn as Kamala was absolutely the highlight of the show, and I’m looking forward to seeing her interacting with the rest of the MCU in The Marvels.  Until then, I guess I’ll just make do with her Legends equivalent, which I’m looking at today.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Ms. Marvel is figure 2 in the the Infinity Ultron Series of Marvel Legends.  She’s the only figure from her show in this line-up, and is more than likely the only figure we’re likely to get from her show in general, since there aren’t a ton of toyetic designs to adapt.  This marks Kamala’s third time as a Legends release, which isn’t bad at all for a more recent addition to the lexicon.  She’s sporting her full costume from the show’s finale, which is honestly one of the MCU’s best adaptations of a comics design.  Apart from some slight punch-up on some of the line-work, and swapping the boots for sneakers.  The figure stands 5 3/4 inches tall and she has 27 points of articulation.  She’s got one of the more restricted articulation schemes for this assortment; part of it just comes down to design, since the skirt, long hair, and scarf all provide a fair bit of restriction.  It’s not awful, just not quite up to the very impressive standards of the rest of the assortment.  Ms. Marvel is sporting an all-new sculpt, and it’s not bad, but it’s not one of this set’s strongest, at least in terms of accuracy.  The likeness on the headsculpt doesn’t have much of Iman Vellani in it; the face doesn’t seem round enough, and the lines make her look a fair bit older than she should.  The hair is also rather flat, which doesn’t help the shaping issues.  The body is also a bit on the skinny side (a common theme for the women in this assortment, honestly), which only further highlights the issues with the likeness.  The actual detail work isn’t bad, though.  There’s a lot of decent texturing and sharp line work; at the very least, the costume design is pretty accurately handled.  Ms. Marvel’s color work is generally decent, but not quite 100%.  They went for metallics on the suit, which isn’t bad, but it winds up a little bit muddied in practice.  The golds in particular are a bit too dark, which I think just really throws the rest of the look off.  Just not quite enough pop there.  The application on the paint is at least pretty cleanly handled, and the whole thing does have a nice polish to it.  Ms. Marvel is packed with two sets of hands, in gripping and fists, as well as the torso and cape of Infinity Ultron.  Curious that she didn’t get any energy effects pieces, but I suppose they didn’t want to poke that particular bear again.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

As I’ve brought up before, I’ve been following Kamala since her first appearance in the comics, and I thoroughly enjoy the character, so I was definitely down for her being added to the MCU.  Her show didn’t quite click with me the way some others have recently(but I’m not really in its target audience, so that’s totally okay), but as I mentioned in the intro, Iman Vellani’s performance in the lead role was still really, really strong.  Unfortunately, in terms of the toy coverage, this one’s not quite it.  It’s not a bad figure, but it’s not a particularly accurate figure, and it just doesn’t stick the landing for me the way the comics version did.

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.

#3241: Thor & Nighthawk

THOR & NIGHTHAWK

MARVEL MINIMATES

Early in the run of Walgreens taking their own exclusive sets of Minimates, everything was completely animation based, drawing from Ultimate Spider-ManAvengers Assemble, and Guardians of the Galaxy.  While this meant there was a lot of re-hashing of the heavy hitters in their animated designs, it also allowed DST to sneak in a few lower tier characters with animated appearances who had not yet shown up in the main line.  Avengers Assemble‘s inclusion of the Squadron Supreme in particular was taken advantage of, giving us a whole line-up of those wacky not-the-Justice-League guys.  Today, I’m looking at one of those Squadron-inspired sets.

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

Thor and Nighthawk were released in Series 2.5 of Walgreens’ exclusive Marvel Minimates.  Yes, there’s a .5 in there.  For some reason, the first four assortments at Walgreens used the half-series numbering.  They abandoned it after this one, presumably because it was just kind of confusing.

THOR

“The Prince of Asgard, where magic and science are the same, Thor uses his hammer, Mjolnir, to protect Earth as an Avenger.”

Slowly bust surely, DST pieced out the animated versions of the core Avengers, intermixed with their alternate universe “Dark Avengers” counterparts.  Thor’s Dark version came first in Series 2, and the standard followed shortly after.  The figure is based on the standard post-c3 base body, so he’s about 2 1/4 inches tall and he has 14 points of articulation.  Thor gets three add-on pieces, for his helmet/hair, cape, and belt.  The cape is re-used from the DCD Superman, while the helmet and belt were first used for the Dark Thor in the prior assortment.  It’s a clean set of pieces that match up well with the character’s animated appearance, and sit well on the base body.  The paint work on this figure is pretty solid.  It’s clean and simple, and it works well for the aesthetic they were aiming to capture.  He looks like the animation models, but also still fits in alright with the pre-established line.  Thor was packed with Mjolnir, a flight stand, and a display stand.

NIGHTHAWK

“Disguised as SHIELD Agent Kyle Richmond, Nighthawk secretly paved the way for the arrival of the corrupt Squadron Supreme.”

Despite his mainstream counterpart bouncing around amongst a number of teams and not being *absurdly* obscure, Nighthawk was not able to get any ‘mate coverage until he showed up in animation.  I suppose it’s not the worst thing.  On the plus side, his animated counterpart kept the character’s classic costume design, so he can at least pull double duty very easily.  Nighthawk’s got two add-ons, one for his mask, and the other for his cape.  The headpiece is just the standard full-face mask, while the cape is an all-new one.  While I would have liked to see a proper sculpted piece on the mask, it’s a simple enough that the full-face set-up doesn’t look too terrible, and if it was either the mask or the cape, they definitely made the right choice.  The cape is really nicely handled, and sits quite well on the figure’s shoulders.  Nighthawk’s paint work is clean, colorful, and a good half step between the animation and the comics, which I certainly appreciate.  There’s a full face under the mask, and he’s also got an extra hair piece (borrowed from BttF‘s Doc Brown) to show it off.  He also includes a clear display stand.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I’m gonna be honest, I don’t actually recall exactly how I got this set.  It was probably at a Walgreens, but it’s also entirely possible I got it second hand because I just really wanted the Nighthawk figure, and there was enough weirdness with the early Walgreens exclusives that I don’t remember exactly how these particular chips fell.  I do recall being excited about Nighthawk, but also kind of meh on another Thor.  Ultimately, Thor’s not terrible, and I don’t hate having him, but he’s certainly not the draw.  Nighthawk has to make due with the re-used head piece, but he’s otherwise really great, and I’m glad they were able to work him into the line one way or another.

#3240: Green Lantern John Stewart

GREEN LANTERN JOHN STEWART

DC ICONS (DC COLLECTIBLES)

Before they went out of business and then got reinvented as little more than a glorified way for McFarlane to put out more of the same figures, DC Direct/Collectibles went through quite a few attempts at creating a central, singularly styled line of figures.  There were a few extended lines based on specific works, such as Justice, which took advantage of the large cast of the book to do a sizable swath of the DCU in one style.  Their first deliberate aim at a consistently styled, full universe-spanning line was History of the DC Universe, which honestly was kind of doomed before it began, because it arrived only half-formed and never really tried to improve that.  After rebranding as DC Collectibles, the company launched with a New 52 line, again with the same basic idea, but given the lukewarm reception to the New 52 and its designs, the line again had short legs.  After that failed, they tried again, with DC IconsIcons had a sort of rocky start, but it managed recover pretty quickly, and actually was shaping up to be a really strong line…until DCC decided they didn’t have faith in it anymore, and decided to reboot once again with DC Essentials, a line doomed before it even began.  Though short-lived, Icons did at least have a solid run of figures.  I reviewed a bunch of them back when the line was still relatively new, but today I’m looking at one more.  It’s John Stewart Green Lantern!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Green Lantern John Stewart was part of the fourth series of DC Icons.  He was figure 15 in the line, placing him just before the previously reviewed Firestorm, also from the same assortment.  Each of the figures in this line was specifically patterned on a certain comics appearance.  In John’s case, he’s based on Green Lantern: Mosaic, a GL-spin-off series from the early ’90s.  The series was a showcase for John in particular, and laid a lot of ground work for the modern interpretations of the character, so it’s a pretty distinctive choice for him.  It was also nice to see them go for something a little bit older.  It does have the sort of odd side effect of not putting John in the outfit he’s been sporting since the early 2000s, which would match a good number of other figures in the line, but we’d seen that look a couple of time recently at this point, so the change-up was seemingly a show of good faith that they might possibly do more than one John.  How foolish we all were.  The figure stands about 6 1/4 inches tall (since this is after they’d started to address the early scale issues of the line) and he has 33 points of articulation.  He got the improved articulation set-up that came with the fourth series forward, which included the addition of drop hips, which makes for a much better posing situation.  John’s sculpt was completely unique.  It’s a pretty nice offering.  He’s got a larger build than Hal did, which feels appropriate for the character.  The head’s not my favorite take on John (that’s still the DCUC version, which just really slaps), but it’s certainly better than a lot of other recent takes.  It at least gets away from the “generic black guy” issue that I had with the McFarlane and Mezco figures.  It’s honestly not a bad translation of how he looked in Mosaic specifically, which is really the point.  The figure’s paint work is pretty decent; he matches up with Hal alright, keeping that satin metallic finish for the green, as well as the high gloss finish on the white.  Application’s pretty clean for the most part.  The eyebrows are a little bit misaligned, and there’s a spot of green missing on one of his shoulders, but otherwise things look pretty decent.  John gets a solid selection of accessories, including two different forearm/hand combos for both gloved and ungloved looks, since he alternated in Mosaic.  The gloved look gets an extra right hand, with a hole in place of the ring, allowing for use of the three construct attachments.  It’s a shame there’s not another one for the ungloved hands, but I understand the line being drawn somewhere.  He also includes a power battery, for all those recharging purposes.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I slept on a lot of Icons, unfortunately, and John was one of those that I really slept on.  Thankfully, I got another chance with him, since one got traded into All Time a couple of years ago.  I already wanted one, so he was an easy sell for me.  While the Mosaic design isn’t top of my list for John’s look, I can appreciate the variety, and I think it did turn out pretty well.  And, at least he actually got a figure in the line, which is more than can be said for a lot of DC’s prominent heroes.

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.

#3239: Sharon Carter

SHARON CARTER

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

“In hiding after breaking the Sokovia Accords, Sharon Carter inevitably finds herself entangled in Sam and Bucky’s globe-trotting fight.”

Sharon Carter was introduced in the comics, rather shallowly perhaps, as a love interest for Captain America in the “modern era” of the ’60s.  She was originally the younger sister of Cap’s WW2 love interest Peggy Carter, before the sliding timeline necessitated her becoming Peggy’s niece, and eventually grand-niece.  Since Peggy is a far less present character in the comics, that allowed Sharon an opportunity to grow far beyond her role as simply love interest to Steve, making her quite an in-depth character in her own right.  When Emily Van Camp was cast as Agent 13 (who was not actually confirmed to have any relation to Peggy in her first appearance in The Winter Soldier), there was clearly a plan to carry forward much of her comics arc, but thanks to the movies deciding to make Peggy a far more fleshed out character on her own, Sharon was left without quite as much to do.  The Falcon and The Winter Soldier brought Sharon back, and gave her a new role, perhaps divergent from her comics counterpart, but nevertheless intriguing.  And, after presence in two movies and a TV show, she’s gotten a Marvel Legend!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Sharon Carter is figure 6 in the the Infinity Ultron Series of Marvel Legends.  She’s a little bit of an odd-ball in this assortment, as not only the only figure from Falcon and The Winter Soldier (largely covered in the first Disney+ assortment), but also as the only figure in the set from pre-What If…?.  She’s specifically based on her incognito look from Madripor, but given the general loose structure of her usual attire, she can kind of work in a few different settings.  The figure stands just over 6 inches tall and she has 27 points of articulation.  Sharon’s articulation scheme is honestly kind of behind the times.  In fact, her whole sculpt is kind of behind the times, which is curious, because, as far as I can tell, this is the first time we’ve seen any of it.  She’s still got single universal style joints on the elbows, exposed pins at the knees, and a rather restricted ball-joint set-up at the neck and mid torso, all of which points to older sculpt.  Sharon is, of course, the oldest source material in this batch by a bit, but it still doesn’t track, because even being a year and a half removed from the rest of the Falcon and the Winter Soldier figures, they all had more modern articulation schemes.  And what’s even more confusing is how specific Sharon’s sculpt is to that one appearance in the show.  This is very clearly Sharon from when they’re all exploring the storage containers in Madripor, and the details of her outfit all directly match-up, so this is not re-used.  It’s weird.  It’s not an awful sculpt, all things considered.  The likeness on the head is a respectable match for Emily Van Camp in the role, and the detailing on her outfit is pretty solid work.  She’s perhaps a touch too skinny, especially on the legs, but it’s pretty minor.  Sharon’s color work is largely rather basic, witch mostly molded colors.  The hair and face get the most involved work, and they honestly work the best, giving her a rather lifelike appearance.  Sharon is packed with her baton, a knife, and the head of Infinity Ultron.  The baton’s a decent piece, and it seems like she’s lacking any sort of gun for licensing reasons (which happed with the other TFATWS figures), but the knife is just straight up goofy.  It’s so cartoonish and flat; it’s not like they don’t have other knife sculpts sitting around, so why they went with this, I don’t know.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Sharon was the odd-ball in this round for so many reasons.  Her reveal was held off for a surprisingly long time, given how it wasn’t tied into any spoilers or reveals like the others, and she’s two series removed from the rest of her set.  Add in that she’s got this very old-feeling sculpt, and it feels like she was maybe a sculpt that had been sitting around for a while that got moved up when something else had to get dropped?  I don’t know.  I’m happy to have a Sharon figure finally, though, so I’ll consider it a win, and even if she feels a little out of date, she’s not a bad figure at all.

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.

#3238: Kate Bishop

KATE BISHOP

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

“Uncomfortable with her wealthy birthright, rebellious Kate Bishop’s well-meaning determination sets her on a collision course with her Super Hero idol, Hawkeye.”

Initially introduced in the pages of Young Avengers, Kate Bishop became the second Hawkeye when granted the title by Captain America, who passed it to her during a period when Clint Barton was dead.  When Barton inevitably returned to the land of the living, he initially attempted to take the title back, but ultimately agreed to share, and it was brought to the forefront for Fraction and Aja’s run on Hawkeye, which placed Kate as a deuteragonist. Disney+’s Hawkeye show followed suit, and introduced Kate into the MCU as Clint’s successor to the mantle of Hawkeye.  And, in the process, she even got her second ever action figure, which I’m taking a look at today!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Kate Bishop is figure 4 in the the Infinity Ultron Series of Marvel Legends, where she’s the second of the two Hawkeye figures.  This marks Kate’s second time in Legends form, following up on the multi-pack release for her comics counterpart from 2016.  Like the Clint figure, Kate’s seen here in her finale attire, which seems inspired by her earlier Young Avengers gear.  The figure stands about 6 inches tall and she has 31 points of articulation.  Her movement scheme is actually pretty solid.  She gets butterfly shoulders, which we pretty much never see on female figures, but are a great help on the archery poses.  And, in contrast to Clint, she gets a ball-jointed mid-torso joint.  It doesn’t offer quite as much forward and back as the ab-crunch, but it has side-to-side movement, which offers a good deal more variety to her posing.  She’s got the pinless construction for the elbows and knees as well, which adds to her feeling of advanced motion.  Kate’s sculpt is an all-new one, done by sculptor Eddie Mosqueda Jr.  The sculpt is a pretty strong one overall.  The head’s not *quite* a spot-on likeness for Hailey Steinfeld; the face is perhaps a touch too thin, I think; however, it’s close enough that the context sells who it’s supposed to be.  The body sculpt does a rather nice job of capturing Kate’s adventuring gear from the show, with all of its differing textures and folds and such. The costume details also match up quite well with her show design, which is always nice to see on the MCU figures; obviously there was a more finalized design to work from here. The body’s proportions are again just a touch skinny for Steinfeld, but they’re far from the ridiculous proportions we’ve seen in the past; she still looks like a real person.  The color work on this figure is generally not bad; the colors seem a little bit more saturated on the figure than they were in the show, but it’s more than likely it’s a lighting thing.  It’s also a lot of purple, which always looks way different in photos than in person.  The paint application all looks decent enough; there’s a few small spots of slop, but nothing major, and the face printing is on point as always.  Kate is packed with two sets of hands (gripping and relaxed), her bow, and the left leg of the Infinity Ultron Build-A-Figure.  The hands are notably a different selection than she was initially shown with, which was two fists, and a gripping/open gesture combo.  I’m not entirely sure why this changed, but I honestly prefer what we got, so I don’t mind.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I’ve been following Kate in the comics since her earliest appearances, and I loved what Fraction and Aja did to work her and Clint into a story together.  I was also really happy when she was confirmed for the solo series, and even more so when I heard they’d cast Hailey Steinfeld, who I feel was a great choice for the role.  The show made her one of my favorite new additions to the MCU, and I’ve definitely been looking forward to the figure.  Like Clint, she’s not quite perfect, but she’s still a lot of fun.

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.

#3237: Hawkeye

HAWKEYE

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

“Hawkeye’s only shot at taking down a dangerous criminal conspiracy is an unlikely new partner: Kate Bishop.”

Lest I just fall into a pattern of opening all of my Marvel Legends reviews with song lyrics, I opted to not open this one with the lyrics to “It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year.”  I mean, I suppose it would have been at least slightly appropriate, what with the actual time of year, and the fact that Hawkeye was largely set at Christmas time.  But, I’ve not done it.  Instead, I’ve just spent far too much time talking about a thing I’m not doing.  Yikes.  Moving on.  After playing second fiddle to the rest of the Avengers for most of his movie run, Clint Barton finally got his own central focus in his self-titled Disney+ show, which dropped a year ago this week.  Though perhaps not the MCU’s most subversive or unique offering, it was certainly a fun adventure story, and a good emotional send off for Clint.  It’s also a good excuse to finally give him just a little bit more toy love, which I’m taking a look at today.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Hawkeye (or, more accurately, “Hawk-guy”) is figure 5 in the the Infinity Ultron Series of Marvel Legends.  This assortment is an entirely Disney+ based set, divvied up between the various Marvel shows, and Clint is the first of the two Hawkeye-based figures.  He’s based on his LARPer-designed costume from the end of the show, which is a pretty close recreation of his long-sleeved David Aja look.  Still no mask, but that’s a battle I’ve accepted we’re never going to win as far as Renner Hawkeye is concerned.  The figure stands 6 1/4 inches tall and he has 33 points of articulation.  The articulation scheme on this guy is generally pretty decent, though not quite as advanced as other recent figures.  He’s still using the standard ab-crunch, rather than the ball-joint set-up, but he does also get butterfly joints at the shoulders, as well as movement at the top and bottom of the neck, which is some pretty solid movement, especially compared to prior MCU Hawkeyes.  Hawkeye’s sculpt is an all-new one, done by sculptor Rene Aldrete.  Clint’s honestly not had the best selection of Legends sculpts, so this one definitely had some ground to cover.  It’s not perfect, but it’s a marked improvement on what we’ve gotten before.  The facial likeness is certainly the best version of Renner we’ve seen at this scale.  It’s not 100% there, but it’s pretty close, and the detailing for the bandaging on the forehead is a particularly nice touch.  The neck’s definitely a touch too long, but past that, the body’s proportions are actually pretty nicely balanced.  The detailing on his outfit is all nice and clean looking, and the folds and creases help to really sell the real-world look for him. I also really dig how you can make out his boots underneath of his pants legs.  The paintwork on Hawkeye is largely pretty basic.  There’s a fair bit going on for the face, but it’s otherwise some standard color work for the purple and the flesh tones.  Nothing crazy, but it works.  Hawkeye is packed with two sets of hands (gripping and a fist/open gesture combo), his bow, a removable quiver, and the arm to the Infinity Ultron Build-A-Figure.  The hands provide some decent variety, and I like the little touch of the wrapping on the handle to the bow.  The quiver’s also got a full stock of arrows, which is more than can be said for other movie Hawkeyes.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I’ve been hoping for a decent Renner Hawkeye pretty much since he was introduced.  I’ve not been successful in that hope up to this point.  I was rather disappointed that we didn’t get him from Civil War, since that was my favorite of his film looks, but I did also dig the design from the show, as well as its general focus on giving Clint’s MCU counterpart a bit more depth.  This guy isn’t perfect, but he’s easily the best MCU Hawkeye we’ve gotten in Legends form, and he sure is a lot of fun.

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.

#3236: Captain Rex

CAPTAIN REX

STAR WARS: THE CLONE WARS (HASBRO)

“Captain Rex accompanies Anakin Skywalker to the planet Teth to rescue Jabba’s kidnapped son. Like all clone troopers, Captain Rex believes that the mission always comes first. When he and his fellow troopers are surrounded by battle droids, outnumbered and outgunned, he never wavers in his commitment to the mission, even if it means this battle could be his last.”

The Clone Wars begins with a focus on characters we’ve seen before in the main movie, but to allow for a little bit of visible growth, given its status as an inter-quel, there were a few new characters as well.  Over the course of the series, two of these new characters, Jedi padawan Ahsoka Tano and Clone Trooper Captain Rex, become the central focus of the series, as their unique views on the titular conflict allow for quite a journey for both characters.  Today, I’m looking at the first figure of one half of that pair, Captain Rex, today!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Captain Rex was figure 4 in the first series of Hasbro’s Clone Wars tie-in line, and was released with the main product launch before the pilot movie hit theaters.  Just before this figure’s main release, there was a special mail-away “Sneak Preview” version, which is more or less the same figure, albeit with an ever so slightly different paint scheme, and slightly different accessories.  The one seen here is the initial release, however.  The figure stands 3 3/4 inches tall and he has 24 points of articulation.  The Clones always had the best articulation in the line, and, apart from t-hips instead of universals, it really didn’t get any better than this.  Rex shares a number of parts with the standard Clone Trooper, namely the arms and legs.  The head, torso, and pelvis were unique when the figure first dropped, but pretty much everything on the figure would eventually be re-used elsewhere.  It was generally a pretty strong sculpt.  It’s not perfect, and it certainly doesn’t have the polish of the later Jet Pack Rex, but it was a good effort for the start.  The articulation on the hips is a bit stiff, but he’s otherwise quite posable, and it’s generally a good mix of function and aesthetics.  The helmet on this figure is removable, and it’s probably the weakest aspect of the figure.  Later removable helmets were more consistent with the non-removable ones, but this one’s oddly shaped to accommodate the design set-up.  The underlying head is a passable sculpt, but it suffers from the recurring issue of the early clones, where their faces made them look much older than they should have looked.  Rex’s paint work is fairly involved, and very much on par with the rest of the figures from the same time.  The base work is a little bit on the dark side, especially on the blues, so some of the contrast is lost a bit in some spots.  As a first release, he’s also got a lot of that black wash to add the grimy look to him.  It’s a little heavy handed in some spots, but he’s at least unique when compared to later clones.  Rex is packed with his long blaster rifle, two small blaster pistols, a grapple attachment for the front of the rifle, and two different missiles for it.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Back when the line launched, this was one of the first four figures I grabbed from Target, prior to seeing the movie or the show.  Obviously, I didn’t know who Rex was yet, but I had liked Fordo in the 2D series, as well as his corresponding figure, so I saw this one as at the very least an update to that.  Rex would wind up becoming one of my favorite Star Wars characters, so it was a figure purchase that certainly worked out for me in the end.