#2959: The Flash

THE FLASH

DC UNIVERSE CLASSICS (MATTEL)

You do have to give Mattel a little bit of credit, and I can’t believe I’m saying that, on how they handled the early line planning on DC Universe Classics.  There was some serious effort not to just front load the whole thing with all of the hitters right away, instead using them to anchor assortments of otherwise more minor characters.  Their first year saw them struggling to reach full retail distribution, but going into their second, things were starting to seem a little more solid.  They kicked off the year with an assortment loosely centered on today’s focus, the Flash, specifically of the Barry Allen variety, since he had just returned to life after a lengthy period of deadness just a few months prior.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Flash was part of the seventh series of DC Universe Classics, the series that built the Atom Smasher figure I reviewed last year.  This marked Mattel’s first of many assortments where the heavy hitter of the set would be sold sans Collect-N-Connect part, something Hasbro would end up co-opting into their Legends line when it returned a few years later.  Flash was, unsurprisingly, the heavy hitter for this assortment.  The figure stands about 6 1/2 inches tall and he has 25 points of articulation.  At this point in the line, the rockers are still present on the ankles, for all the good they do.  Okay, that’s a little unfair, because they do wind up being somewhat useful on Flash, at least for some slightly better running poses.  He’s still not gonna balance very well in those poses, but let’s take what we can get.  Flash was built on the medium male body, originally introduced in Series 3 for Nightwing and Green Lantern.  It was the slightest build they had available for an adult male body at the time, and would remain that way for quite a while.  Ultimately, it’s just too bulky for any iteration of the Flash.  Barry can be a little bulkier than the average speedster, but this goes to excess.  I honestly think that it’s really the shoulders that throw things off; the DCUC bucks always had very prominent shoulders, and for a character like Flash, this stands out even more.  Generally speaking, however, it’s not the worst it could be, and in light of a line that was built upon such things across the board, it’s ultimately a minor issue.  Flash got a new head, shins, and feet.  The head is decent, if a bit devoid of personality for Barry.  A slightly warmer expression would go a long way.  The lower legs gave him proper boot sculpts, which are actually quite nice.  The feet even get treads on the bottoms, just like Flash always had.  It’s certainly a nice touch.  His paint work is generally pretty basic, but it’s also generally pretty clean in its application.  He also gets a little bit of accenting on the reds and yellows, just to keep things a little more visually interesting.  It actually works pretty nicely.  Flash was the one figure in the set not to get a CnC piece, but he did get one of Mattel’s patented crappy blue display stands.  They were great for…umm…being not so good at helping the figures stand?  They sure were blue and translucent, though.  They did that part well.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

By the seventh series, the line was starting to get a little easier to get, so it wasn’t quite the nightmare of other sets to get these figures.  That said, I didn’t actually get Flash until after the line was essentially dead.  At the time he hit, I was still mixing these guys in with my DC Directs, and I had a couple of other Barry Allen Flash figures I liked well enough, so I didn’t go after this one.  When the line ended, I realized how close I was to having the Satellite Era League, so I filled in a few gaps, and picked this one up for a decent price loose.  He’s not my favorite figure from the line, but he does an okay job, and he does look cool with the rest of the League.

#2958: Phastos

PHASTOS

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

“Over the centuries, Phastos has helped nudge humanity forward technologically while always keeping his brilliance hidden in the shadows.”

While the bulk of the Eternals line-up in the movie are characters introduced in Jack Kirby in his original run on the title, one character who is a notable later addition is Phastos.  An inventor, creator, and pacifist, Phastos was clearly inspired by the likes of Hephaestus in terms of his placement amongst the other god-like characters.  He was introduced by Sal Buscema and Peter Gillis during the book’s second volume, and does feel like a fairly natural part of the group, even if he’s a bit underused in the comics proper.  In the film, he’s a pretty notable player, and perhaps one of the most fully characterized of the cast.  He’s also notable for being the first openly gay character in an MCU film, and accomplishment in itself.  And today, I’m taking a look at his action figure.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Phastos is figure 4 in the Gilgamesh Series of Marvel Legends.  The figure stands 6 1/2 inches tall and he has 29 points of articulation.  Phastos’s articulation scheme follows the set-up we saw on Ikaris, which generally makes sense.  As with Ikaris, it’s a bit restricted, even a little bit more so, in fact, due to the nature of the design.  The mid-torso joint doesn’t have the same range, and the hips are notably restricted by how the skirt piece works.  Of course, Phastos is a less active character in the film, so it’s not terribly limiting for the character.  His sculpt is another all-new offering, based on his fully geared up look in the movie.  The head sculpt isn’t one of the stronger ones in the set, to be honest.  I mean, it’s not awful, and there are definitely some traits of Brian Tyree Henry in the sculpt, but something about it just generally feels off.  I think a lot of it is to do with expression; he’s kind of devoid of any, which doesn’t really suit Phastos as he’s portrayed in the movie.  Here he kind of looks a bit bored.  It doesn’t help that the head definitely sits too high on the neck, nor does it help that he’s missing his earrings, which are a pretty constant fixture of his design in the movie.  On the flip side, the body sculpt is a bit better.  The detailing on the suit is nice and clean, and the proportions do an alright job of capturing Henry’s less conventionally super-heroic build.  It makes him nicely distinct from Ikaris in terms of build.  Phastos’s paint work is generally alright.  It’s probably the cleanest application so far on the outfit, as well as one of the more intricate paint schemes.  I do like how the purple and gold work together.  Phastos is packed with two sets of hands, one in fists, the other in more relaxed posing.  He also has the right leg for Gilgamesh.  I’ve brought up the lack of effects parts on the last two reviews, but it honestly bugs me even more here; I’d have loved to get some of his tech gimmick effects, since they’re pretty prominent to his role in the final act.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I really didn’t know Phastos at all before the movie, since he’s a slightly later in the lore character.  I do like the concept, and Henry’s performance in the movie was definitely one of its most memorable ones.  The figure is ultimately one of the weaker ones in this set.  He’s better than Sprite, but I definitely wish the likeness was a bit better on that head.  Still he’s a decent enough figure, and certainly one with a more unique look.

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.

#2957: Sersi

SERSI

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

“The Eternal with an affinity for humanity, Sersi has the ability to manipulate matter, changing the make-up of any non-sentient material she touches.”

Though the film has quite a large cast of characters, all of whom play prominent roles in the whole of the film, Eternals‘ definitive main character is Sersi.  It’s not a huge surprise, given that Sersi has by far been the most successful member of the team over the years, being the only one of them to actually see any real traction in the Marvel universe outside of the main Eternals book.  Heck, she was even an Avenger for a while, to say nothing of her history with Black Knight, who I have it on good authority is a pretty cool dude.  Definitely up and coming.  Boy, wouldn’t it be cool to see him in a movie or something?  No, sorry, I’m getting distracted.  This is a review about Sersi, not Black Knight.  Even though he’s totally the best character in the movie.  But that’s not the point.  What’s the point?  Umm, Sersi, I guess.  Right, Sersi, is the main character of the movie, portrayed in the film by Gemma Chan, who has actually been in the MCU before as Minn-Erva in Captain Marvel.  So, hey, now Gemma’s got two Legends.  Good for her!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Sersi is figure 3 in the Gilgamesh Series of Marvel Legends.  Though she may be the most prominent of the Eternals, this is still her first figure, just like the rest of the cast.  The figure stands 6 inches tall and she has 27 points of articulation.  Sersi’s articulation scheme is fairly similar to the other two female Eternals I’ve looked at, so it’s generally pretty good in terms of movement.  The hips are definitely a bit more restricted here, though, due to the design of her skirt.  It’s still not as bad as it could be, and ultimately she’s still capable of a great many poses.  Her sculpt is all-new, and is based on her design from the film.  Sersi’s classic comics design isn’t the most involved thing; it’s pretty much just a green bathing suit.  This takes the general vibe of her earlier designs, and also cements it into something that’s more in line with the overall cohesive aesthetic of the Eternals in the film.  I generally do rather like it.  The sculpt does a nice job of translating it into toy form.  The head sports a pretty spot-on likeness of Gemma Chan, certainly more on point than her Captain Marvel figure, and rivaled only by Makkari for the figures I’ve looked at so far from this set.  I do also like the slightly dynamic blowing of her hair, although it’s slightly amusing that the skirt piece isn’t really sculpted with any similar movement.  Sersi’s paint work is pretty solid for what it is.  The costume is basic, but it’s at least cleaner in application than Ikaris, and the printing for the face is actually really good on this figure.  Probably the best of the set, really.  Sersi is packed with two sets of hands, one set relaxed gesture, and the other a fist/two finger point combo.  She also gets the left leg to Gilgamesh.  I again feel like some effects pieces would have been cool, but I guess they might be a little trickier with her power set.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Sersi is the only of the Eternals I had any attachment to going in, almost entirely because of the Black Knight connection.  I sure do love me some Black Knight.  Sersi herself isn’t a bad character, and I was glad that she was well and truly the central character of the story, because I think she worked well in that role.  She’s perhaps not as flashy as some of the others, but I liked her story, and I liked her.  And, I also do quite like this figure.  Now, can I please get an MCU Dane Whitman of some sort?

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.

#2956: Sprite

SPRITE

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

“Sprite has the ability to cast lifelike illusions and is an Eternal much stronger and cleverer than she appears.”

Ah, yes, Sprite.  That refreshing lemon lime taste.  You know, for when they don’t have, like any of the drinks that you actually wanted.  Or maybe they didn’t have Sprite either.  Is Sierra Mist okay?  …Did you guys like that?  Did you like my beverage-related joke?  You see, it’s funny, because….ahem…her…uhh…her name is the same as a, uh, beverage.  I am the peak of humor and whit.  Laugh at me, damn you.  Or, with me, rather.  Not at me.  That would be cruel.  Maybe instead of laughing at me, you could just read my review.  That would work alright for me.  Is Sprite okay?

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Sprite is figure 2 in the Gilgamesh Series of Marvel Legends.  The figure stands just shy of 5 1/2 inches tall and she has 27 points of articulation.  Sprite’s definitely the smallest figure in the bunch, not surprising, what with her childlike appearance and all.  That said, at 5 1/2 inches tall, she’s about a 1/2 inch too tall to be properly in scale with the rest of the set.  This will come up a bit more as we get into the actual sculpt proper.  Sprite’s articulation is rather standard for a female Legend, but like with Makkari, there’s a slightly better range of motion here.  Not quite to the same level as Makkari, but still better than some of Hasbro’s earlier offerings.  Her sculpt is all-new, and it’s…well, it’s not terrible, but it’s also not the strongest.  It’s certainly the weakest of the Eternals sculpts as a whole. The head’s likeness of actress Lia McHugh is far more caricaturized than others.  There are some elements that match up okay, and the general picture isn’t terrible, but it’s also not particularly realistic looking.  The facial expression is definitely going for some sort of a smirk, but it doesn’t quite land it, so she kind of looks a little gassy.  She’s also got one heck of a lantern jaw, which is weird looking at this scale.  Additionally, the fact that she’s too large translates to an issue here, because her head is just…big.  Too big.  It looks almost alien when compared to the others.  The body sculpt is at least a pretty decent piece.  It recreates her costume from the movie pretty well, and there’s even a nice dynamic flow to her cape and skirt pieces.  It’s still a bit too large scale-wise, but it’s less an issue here than with the head.  Sprite’s paint work is alright overall.  The outfit is cleaner than Ikaris’s, which is a plus, and the face is at least rather lifelike.  Sure, the underlying sculpt is still a little wonky, but the paint does its best to make it work.  Sprite is packed with two sets of hands, in open gesture and in fists, as well as the torso for the Gilgamesh Build-A-Figure.  She could definitely use some effects pieces of some sort, but she does at least get the largest piece of the BaF.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I knew only a little more about Sprite than I did Makkari going into the film, and it was mostly that he was generally a rather annoying impish sort of character.  I didn’t really know how much I was going to like the character in the movie when I bought the figure, but I was already in for the whole set.  Ultimately, Sprite’s not my favorite character in the movie, but I can kind of see what they were trying with the character.  The figure….less so.  She’s definitely the weakest of this bunch.  She’s not *awful* but she’s not great either.  I guess it kind of fits with the character.

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.

#2955: Makkari

MAKKARI

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

“Makkari uses her cosmically powered super-speed to scout planets, and as the only deaf Eternal, she is not affected by the sonic boom that accompanies her cosmic running.”

The Eternals as created by Jack Kirby are not the most inherently complex selection of characters.  Not that they really needed to be, of course, but it does leave them a little more room for growth and change, a direction that the film version of the characters took.  The comics version of Makkari, patterned on the Roman god Mercury, is a male speedster.  In the film, Makkari played by actress Lauren Ridloff, and gains a gender swap as result.  The character also became deaf, much like Ridloff, adding another slightly more unique trait to the character.  It took a character that could have honestly wound up as little more than just a Flash pastiche, and granted her a far more memorable selection of interactions with the other characters around her.  In general, she was just a very likable and nicely rounded character, and certainly one of my favorites from the film.  In honor of that, how about a look at her action figure?

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Makkari is figure 1 in the Gilgamesh Series of Marvel Legends.  The figure stands just over 6 inches tall and he has 27 points of articulation.  Makkari’s articulation scheme is generally pretty standard for female Legends, at least in terms of layout.  It’s worth noting that the actual range of motion on the joints is a little bit better than average.  She’s capable of a good assortment of deeper running poses.  Only the neck is sort of restricted, and even then, it’s not as bad as you might expect with the hair as it is.  The joints also nicely worked into the sculpt, with pinless construction on the knees, as well as joints that don’t require the sculpt to look wonky and broken up when posed.  Makkari’s sculpt is all-new to her, and it’s a pretty solid one at that.  The build is nicely balanced and a good match for how she looks in the film, and the Ridloff likeness is probably one of the best in this assortment.  Unlike Ikaris, it’s clear who she’s supposed to be even without outside context.  That being said, while she does look spot on to Ridloff, the hair style isn’t quite right for Makkari’s in the final film; her pony tail had a much tighter braid in the movie than what we see here.  Presumably, this is based on earlier design work than the finished film.  It’s not largely different, though, and ultimately it still works okay for the character.  Makkari’s paint work is generally pretty decent.  The printing on the face works well, and the application on the suit is across the board better than how it was on Ikaris.  Makkari is packed with two sets of hands, on pair in fists, the other with an open gesture left hand, and a right hand making the “I love you” sign, which is a cool touch.  Yeah, it’s really just a Spider-Gwen hand, but it’s a good repurposing, and I like that they made sure to include at least one signing hand to showcase that side of the character.  Also included is the right arm and hands for the Gilgamesh Build-A-Figure.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Makkari is a character I only sort of knew going in, and I didn’t really have a particularly large attachment to the character.  Going into the movie, I had no real expectations, but I was buying the whole set, because why not?  Ultimately, I really liked her a lot in the film, and I’m glad I have the figure.  It helps that she’s just generally a very nice figure, especially given how well the articulation scheme works on this particular release.

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.

#2954: Ikaris

IKARIS

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

“Moral, kind, and charismatic, Ikaris boasts incredible strength, flight, and the ability to project cosmic energy beams from his eyes.”

A week and a half ago, after a year of waiting, the WORST MARVEL EVER was released.  Oh, wait, sorry, no, Captain America was ultimately released as a TV movie in 1992.  That wasn’t this year at all.  What came out a week and a half ago?  Oh, Eternals.  You guys confused me here, because that’s actually not the worst Marvel movie. Or even close to it.  Seriously, have you seen the Matt Salinger Captain America?  It’s bad, guys.  It’s really bad.  Eternals is, notably, not really bad.  It’s not perfect, but there have been far worse things.  I mean, just this year.  Remember Snake Eyes?  Because I do.  And I you don’t, could you share your trick for that with me?  That’d be great.  In the mean time, let’s focus on that not bad thing I was mentioning and do some Eternals reviews.  Let’s kick things off with their resident not-Superman, Ikaris!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Ikaris is part of the main Eternals tie-in assortment of Marvel Legends.  While the rest of them all have parts for Gilgamesh, Ikaris is the non-BAF double packed figure.  The figure stands about 6 1/4 inches tall and he has 29 points of articulation.  His movement is definitely a little bit restricted by the design here, especially with that skirt piece, but it’s not terrible, and he does get some okay range.  I wish the neck and mid torso were just a bit more mobile, but otherwise, it’s pretty workable.  He’s got the pinless construction on the elbows and knees, which help with the overall sleekness of the design.  Ikaris’s sculpt is an all-new one, based upon his updated design from the movie.  He keeps a lot of elements of the comics design, while adding a few more ornate pieces and turning it into more of an armored look.  It removes him a little more from his Kirby roots, but it also makes him feel a little bit more alien compared to the rest of the MCU, so I can get what they’re going for.  The sculpt does a decent job of capturing this look, and the detailing on the suit looks pretty good.  The head sculpt is okay, I guess.  It’s not the worst take on Richard Madden, but it’s also not really spot on.  Like, I can get who it is through context, but I don‘t think the head on its own really sells it.  It’s definitely the best of Hasbro’s attempts, though.  Ikaris’s color scheme for the film was slightly tweaked, removing his usual red, presumably to remove him a bit further from Superman.  The paint work isn’t bad, but it also doesn’t hold up so much to close scrutiny.  The face looks okay with the printed technique, but the lines on the forehead aren’t helping with the likeness.  The suit looks cool and sleek with the metallic finish, but the gold details on mine are misaligned in quite a few spots.  The overall design of the suit does mask this a little bit, but it’s still a bit frustrating.  Ikaris is packed with two sets of hands (fists and relaxed), as well as an alternate head with laser effects on the eyes.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I know just enough to get by about the comics Eternals, so the movie tie-ins had me going in a little bit blind.  They looked cool enough that I thought they’d make good toys, but I had no clue on the film.  Ultimately, I did like the film, but it changed how I felt about the figures a little bit.  Ikaris winds up suffering a little bit for me, not because he’s a bad figure, but more because the rest of the assortment kind of got elevated a bit in light of the movie.  He’s still a solid figure, even if he’s perhaps a slightly flawed one.

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.

#2953: Demolishor

DEMOLISHOR

TRANSFORMERS:ARMADA (HASBRO)

Demolishor fights ferociously in every battle to which he’s sent, regardless of the odds. If Megatron tells him to do something, he does it without hesitation. To Demolishor, a leader must always be obeyed at any cost. Megatron values the unswerving loyalty of his best soldier, but abandons him, when necessary, to save his own life. Demolishor has never resented any of these betrayals. But will there come a day when Demolishor questions the orders of his leader?”

Hey, remember when I was talking about Transformers: Armada a week ago?  Wanna here about it some more?  Well, you’re gonna, because it’s my site.  Sorry, I don’t make the rules.  Oh, wait, I actually do.  Well, there we are, I guess.  Last week, I looked at one of Armada’s heroic Autobots, so today, why not give the other side some coverage, with Decepticon Demolishor.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Demolishor was released alongside Hot Shot in the first wave of Super-Con Class Armada figures.  The assortment was the two of them and Cyclonus, who I don’t actually own.  In his robot mode, the figure stands about 5 inches tall and he has 10 practical points of articulation.  Before we delve into the meat of the review, I want to address the elephant in the room: I am aware that Demolishor’s lower half is backwards in all of my photos of his robot mode.  I wasn’t aware when taking the photos, or for the nearly two decades I owned him prior to this review, but I’m aware now.  Honestly, he looks wrong to my eye in his correct configuration (I went for forward facing being the side that had the longer “feet” which seems more right to me), and this is genuinely how I’ve viewed him for almost 20 years, so I’ve decided to leave the photos as is.  For moral reasons, really.  Certainly not because I’m lazy and I didn’t want to have to reshoot and edit all of those photos.  Why would you even suggest that?  So, back to my morally correct version of Demolishor.  The robot mode on this guy does actually make for a pretty playable toy, much like Hot Shot.  Sure, he doesn’t have neck movement, but the arms are pretty solid, and they can even swivel forward and back, which not even Hot Shot could do.  Compared to Hot Shot, Demolishor’s kibble his also pretty minor. There are a few spots where extra details are present, but not really that many.  Demolishor also has a Mini-Con partner, Blackout, who, much like Jolt, is about 2 inches tall and has 6 points of articulation.  Blackout allows Demolishor to unlock the missile launching feature on his shoulder, though this does require flipping his arms around.

Demolishor’s vehicle mode is a big made up sci-fi tank thing.  It’s a pretty easy transformation process, and the end mode is a pretty cool tank.  It’s even got a little seat, where you can place Blackout or one of the other Mini-Cons, in order to man the tank.  Blackout himself has his own tank mode.  It’s much smaller and conservative in its design, but it looks cool too, and can even combine with Demolishor’s vehicle mode for a more complete front to the tank.  In this mode, Blackout can also combine with Demolishor’s robot mode to form an arm cannon of sorts.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

As I brought up in my Hot Shot review, I didn’t get my Armada figures new, but instead got them fairly quickly after their release when my cousin Patrick decided he didn’t want his anymore.  Demolishor was one of the three of them I got, and I got him mistransformed and without any instructions, so I just never knew.  Seriously, it kind of broke my mind you guys.  I found it out, and I had to text Max for emotional support and everything.  How could I be living this kind of lie all this time?  What else am I doing wrong?  Okay, it’s probably not that serious.  Demolishor may not have been my favorite of the three figures I had, but I did still really like him, and like Hot Shot, I still think he really holds up.

#2952: Atom Smasher

ATOM SMASHER

DC UNIVERSE CLASSICS (MATTEL)

DC’s handling of the Justice Society from the ’60s forward marked an important change in how they handled story telling as a whole, at least for a while.  With the dawn of the Silver Age, they had rebooted most of their popular titles, but “Flash of Two Worlds” confirmed that the original DC heroes existed in a universe all their own, where time had progressed since we last saw them.  It created a universe where the heroes were allowed to age, which, in tandem, created a universe where the heroes were allowed to retire or otherwise pass their mantles onto a new generation.  Roy Thomas’s All Star Squadron was a series dedicated to the exploits of the JSA after we stopped seeing them regularly, and through it we were introduced to a whole collection of legacy heroes, who would eventually become Infinity Incorporated.  Amongst those heroes was the original Atom’s god-son Albert Rothstein, also known as Nuklon.  Al would later move up to the JSA proper, and would take on a new identity, Atom Smasher, whose second figure I’m looking at today.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Atom Smasher was the Collect-N-Connect for Series 7 of Mattel’s DC Universe Classics.  Atom Smasher would mark the first proper JSA offering within the line, but he would be the first of quite a few, including a whole JSA-themed series by the time the line ended.  Atom Smasher’s status as a CnC allowed him to be a little taller than is compatriots, standing about 8 1/4 inches tall.  His base body was really just patterned on the standard male body, so he kept the same basic 25 points of articulation.  In terms of height, Al had the ability to vary his, much like Giant-Man, but this figure still seemed a little bit on the small side; he felt more like a kind of tall guy, and less like an actual giant.  Still, it was at least a better representation of his size than *some* of the figures in this line…heck, in this very same assortment (looking at you Little Barda).  In terms of sculpt, the sized up base body worked pretty well for the character’s design at least, and the figure specific elements on the neck, belt, forearms, and boots all look pretty good.  The head was a pretty nice piece as well, and would wind up scaled down to normal figure size for use on Mattel’s version of the Al Pratt Atom a few years later.  Atom Smasher’s paint work is pretty good, showing the slightly more involved work from earlier in this line.  The base work is generally pretty cleanly applied, and he also gets some pretty nice accent work, especially on the larger stretches of the same colors on his mask and torso.  Atom Smasher had no accessories, but as an accessory himself, and without any major extras that warranted inclusion, that’s really not a big deal.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Atom Smasher was a slow burn figure for me.  I picked up the figures I most wanted from this assortment right away, so I had their parts for him floating about for a bit.  I even wound up with the Barda figure as well, so I had her part too, but I was so unimpressed with her, and so disenchanted with the possibility of finding the rest of the parts, that I actually wound up trading off the part that came with her before completing this guy.  It wasn’t until the end of the line, when I really started to go back and fill in some holes that I finally brought myself to finish him.   I’m glad I did, because even at his slightly smaller size, he’s a cool figure, and it’s unlikely we’re ever going to get a better Atom Smasher.

#2951: The Hydra Stomper

THE HYDRA STOMPER

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

“In the universe you know, Steve Rogers was the first Avenger, Captain America. In this universe, Steve is injured and fights in ‘The Hydra Stomper,’ an Iron Man armor created by Howard Stark.”

Hey, we’re back with just a touch more What If…? before we jump down a different Marvel rabbit hole for just a bit.  In 2006, Marvel ran an alternate universe miniseries, Bullet Points, which explored a world where Dr. Abraham Erskine is killed prior to turning Steve Rogers into a super soldier.  In this alternate reality, instead of becoming Captain America, Steve is given a suit of armor, and becomes that universe’s Iron Man.  Elements of this story were re-used for the first episode of What If…?, where, after Peggy gets the Super Soldier serum instead of Steve, he still wants to help out in the battle.  Howard Stark uses the recently recovered Tesseract to power a suit of Iron Man-inspired armor, dubbed “The Hydra Stomper.”  He’s far too large to be a standard release, so Hasbro has instead released him as his own solo release, tying in with the main assortment.  Let’s have a look at him today!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

The Hydra Stomper is, as noted, a larger-scale solo release for Marvel Legends.  He’s larger than the usual deluxe release, and is at the same price point as the Surtur figure from the Infinity Saga line.  By far, he is the largest of the What If…? associated figures at this time.  The figure stands just shy of 9 1/2 inches tall and he has 27 points of articulation.  In many ways, this figure’s construction is similar to Iron Monger, although it’s worth noting that there are no parts at all shared between the two figures.  Just similar structures, likely because they’re both big Iron Man-inspired designs that were in development by the same team at roughly the same time.  The Hydra Stomper sports an all-new sculpt based on its design in the show.  For this alternate universe armor, the designers have clearly put a lot of effort into homaging Tony Stark’s original armor in the comics (which also served as the basis of the Mark I in the MCU proper), with its bulkier build, the slightly different layout of the faceplate on the helmet, and the presence of the antenna on the shoulder.  What was that antenna for, by the way?  Research says it was for extending his range for radio signal.  Well, I guess it was the ’60s, and that was a bigger thing then.  It makes even more sense when you move it back to the ’40s, even.  Whatever the case, the original design is a fine starting point, and Steve was even seen using essentially just that armor in the aforementioned Bullet Points story, so it tracks.  For the purposes of the show, they’ve done a bit to more clearly sell the WWII-era military branding of the design.  Effectively, it looks like a Jeep that walks.  Unsurprisingly, I am okay with this.  The figure’s sculpt does a nice job of recreating the design from the show, and turning it into a hefty, impressive looking toy.  The line work is all pretty sharp, and he looks properly machined for the role.  Range of motion is a little limited at a few spots, as is expected with a figure this chunky, but he’s generally not too bad.  The roughest bits are definitely in the legs, especially at the knees and hips.  He also does need a little bit of care when it comes to making sure he can stay balanced, especially when the rocket pack is in place.  Said rocket pack is removable, and features posable thrusters.  It’s a decent piece itself, though it does fall off just a touch easier than I’d like.  As it stands, it’s not really possible to get Captain Carter on his back like in the show, even with the handhold present on his back, which I was a little let down by.  Hydra Stomper’s paint work is pretty basic for the most part, but it does what it needs to.  The few printed sections on the armor look nice, as does the slight variation in the exact color of olive drab.  Hydra Stomper is packed with two sets of hands (open gesture and fists), plus two blast effects for the rockets.  It’s not a ton, but he’s also a rather sizable figure, so he doesn’t really feel lacking.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

The Hydra Stomper is something that almost feels tailored to me, really.  I mean, it’s Steve Rogers in a big, boxy suit of armor with lots of utilitarian design elements and just a hint of Jeep.  And he’s green, even?  What’s not for me to like.  Unsurprisingly, he was the What If…? figure I was looking forward to the most, so of course he was also the last one I was able to get ahold of.  That’s just how it goes, right?  The final product isn’t without its flaws.  I wish he was a little more stable, and I wish it was easier to replicate Carter riding on his back like in the show.  I also kind of wish that they had gone the Monger route and packed him with a pilot Steve figure, but I can see why that might have been seen as sales prohibitive this early in the game.  All those things don’t take away from the fact that I really, really like this figure, and I’m glad to have gotten both he and Captain Carter so quickly after the episode’s premiere.  He’s definitely very 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.

#2950: Mobius

MOBIUS

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

“Mobius M. Mobius is an Agent for the Time Variance Authority who specializes in the investigations of particularly dangerous time criminals.”

While prior MCU entries have had more direct stories to adapt, Loki was sort of a blender full of various ideas rattling around the Marvel Universe.  Among those ideas was the Time Variance Authority, a concept introduced into the comics by Walt Simonson and Sal Buscema, during Simonson’s run on Thor in 1986.  Initially, the staff of the TVA were all clones of real-world Marvel editor Mark Gruenwald, who had been instrumental at mapping out the Marvel multiverse, as well as cataloging its occupants via the Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe.  The TVA’s most prominent agent was Mobius M. Mobius, whose character was adapted as a major player in Loki, now played by Owen Wilson.  Wow.  And, despite just being another guy in a suit, he did get an action figure.  Double wow.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Mobius is a Target-exclusive Marvel Legends offering.  He just started hitting Target shelves across the country in the last few weeks, and he’s already being called a peg warmer, so we’re on track with how these things go, I suppose.  The figure stands 6 1/4 inches tall and he has 30 points of articulation.  I was all ready to write this one off as just being a pretty straight re-use of the Coulson body, but as it turns out, it’s actually not.  The arms and legs are the same, but the torso has been replaced with an all-new one, this time with a ball-joint at the middle, rather than the ab-crunch like before.  I’m not entirely sure why they made this change, but it is a little more posable when taking the jacket into account.  Oddly, despite this new sculpt getting him the proper belt buckle, he still has a standard shirt collar, instead of the one that goes all the way to the shoulders, as was the style for all of the TVA suits.  It’s largely hidden by the jacket, but still.  He does at least get the proper jacket with the inverted collar, so that’s cool.  Also, he gets an all-new head sculpt, of course, which sports a pretty spot-on likeness of Wilson in the role.  Weird broken nose and all.  The figure’s paint work is fairly bland, as is appropriate.  The application on the face is up to the usual standards these days, and looks quite lifelike.  I also quite like the patterning on the tie; it’s a nice extra visual touch for the character.  Mobius is packed with his tablet and pruning wand, both of which are pretty key to the character, and also seem like good choices for potential re-use if we wind up getting more Loki-based figures.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

The fact that Owen Wilson hasn’t gotten an action figure up to this point seems odd, if I’m honest, so the fact that we actually got one here was nifty.  I also really liked Mobius as a character, so I was down for the figure pretty much as soon as it was shown off.  I wasn’t really jamming on it as a Target-exclusive, but it seems this one isn’t going to be quite so impossible to get, which I consider a plus.  I myself was able to snag one through Target.com, so I didn’t even have to leave home to get it.  He’s not breaking the mold or anything, but he’s still a generally fun figure, and it’s nice to have him to go with Loki and Sylvie.