#2838: Dr. Doom

DR. DOOM

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

“From the wreckage of colliding universes, Dr. Doom emerges as the supreme ruler of a new domain known as Battleworld.”

Ah, 2015’s Secret Wars, a Marvel cross-over event which had Dr. Doom as the main antagonist.  Not to be confused with 1984’s Secret Wars, a Marvel cross-over event which had Dr. Doom as the main antagonist.  Or 2003’s Secret War, which did *not* have Dr. Doom as the main antagonist.  Or 1985’s Secret Wars II, which also didn’t have Dr. Doom as the main antagonist, but did at least have Dr. Doom in it, so that was a step in the right direction.  No, we’re talking 2015, the source of God Emperor Doom, from when Doom gets a major power up and decides to ditch his shirt, apparently.  As you do.  Shirts cannot contain his power.  But then he loses the power, so he has to go back to his old shirt-wearing ways, like some sort of pleb.  But, at least he gets a toy to commemorate his time amongst the shirtless, right?  Right.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Dr. Doom is the final figure in the Xemnu Series of Marvel Legends.  He’s not officially numbered like the others, as he doesn’t feature a Build-A-Figure part like they do.  He is also the double pack, presumably because he’s really the only villain who’s justifiable in doubling up on.  It’s a good thought in theory, but less so in practice, since last year saw two variations on standard Doom released, which meant that this one had to be a variant look in order to justify his existence.  Hasbro went with the aforementioned God Emperor look from Secret Wars, which is not really a standard Doom look, nor is it an amazingly memorable one, really.  Also, it’s just kind of a weird concept.  Like, the white is all fine and good, but why ditch the shirt?  And also, if you’re ditching the shirt, why swap out the cool metal gauntlets for just regular cloth gloves?  That seems weird, right?  And really, why not just be Doom 2099?  Because you know what’s a cool Doom variant?  Doom 2099.  This should just be Doom 2099.  And now I’ve made myself upset that this isn’t Doom 2099.  Great, now I’m gonna have to deal with this.  I was already luke warm on the whole idea behind this guy to begin with.  Well, might as well just get this disappointingly non-2099 Doom review out of the way, then.  I’m sure I’ll be quite balanced and fair with the figure now.  The figure stands 6 1/2 inches tall and he has 32 points of articulation.  Structurally, he’s very similar to the last two Dooms, sharing the entire lower half, as well as the upper arms, and the modern head from the first figure.  He gets a new torso, lower arms, and cape in order to facilitate his conversion into God Emperor.  They’re fine from a technical stand point, I suppose.  They mesh alright with the older parts, and he looks like the design from the comics, so it checks all of those boxes.  The sculpting on the gloves is pretty nice, with the various wrinkles and stitching being well-defined.  In terms of paint, he’s pretty basic, since most of his coloring is just molded plastic colors.  It does what it needs to.  What paint is there is well applied, so that’s at least fairly nice.  Doom is okay on the accessories front, with 5 different hands (a pair of open gesture, a right wide grip, a right pistol grip, and a left fist), the gun from the last two (in silver this time), and the skull and spinal column of Thanos, which is a direct reference to a sequence from the comics.  The Thanos skull is certainly a more fun and unique piece, so kudos to them on that one.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I was happy with my Super Skrull Series Doom, and felt no need for a replacement.  Then the retro Doom came along and replaced him, which was a good move on Hasbro’s part, but it did leave this guy kind of in the lurch, because I really didn’t need him.  And then I got him in hand, and I still felt like I didn’t need him.  And then I got to thinking about other Doom variants we could have gotten, which took me down the Doom 2099 rabbit hole, and that just made matters a lot worse.  Admittedly, none of that is this figure’s fault, but at the same time, if they were going to kind of do a phoned in Doom variant anyway, why not just go with the Future Foundation look, which is also an all-white Doom, but one that at least doesn’t need any new tooling.  Because, if I’m honest, the new tooling doesn’t really do this guy many favors.  Maybe it’s just not for me, and there’s a market for God Emperor Doom out there, but for me, this guy’s just a testament to how there *could* have been something cooler in this set.  Which, again, isn’t really his fault.  But I’m gonna be all unreasonable and cranky until I get my Doom 2099, I suppose.

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 and their eBay storefront.

#2837: A.I.M. Scientist Supreme

A.I.M. SCIENTIST SUPREME

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

“Brilliant and diabolical, the Scientist Supreme helms a massive criminal cabal known as Advanced Idea Mechanics (A.I.M).”

In the last few years, we’ve finally gotten some proper appreciation for AIM and their weird beekeeper looking mooks, which I have very definitely been all about.  But, you always have to be wondering “is this the best I can do in terms of weird beekeeper looking mooks?”  Couldn’t there be better, more advanced weird beekeeper looking mooks?  I say there could!  What if we added sour cream and tomatoes!  What’s that?  I’ve already used the “sour cream and tomatoes = supreme” joke?  But I’m just so darn proud of it, you guys!  Well, fine, maybe this new AIM Scientist doesn’t have sour cream and tomatoes, but he’s certainly “supreme” now isn’t he?

THE FIGURE ITSELF

The AIM Scientist Supreme is figure 6 in the Xemnu Series of Marvel Legends, placing him just after the Red Skull figure that I totally reviewed out of order because I felt like it.  Unlike the others in this set, he’s not so much a specific character, as he is sort of a role that needs to be filled.  There have been a number of Scientists Supreme over the years, and while they tend to just look more or less the same as the regular AIM guys, but this one seems to be more specifically based on the Andrew Forson version.  He’s a little more beefed up and advanced, which is fine by me.  I can definitely dig this look, and it works for pretty much anyone else who’s held the role as well.  The figure stands about 6 1/2 and he has 31 points of articulation.  Structurally, the Scientist Supreme is largely borrowing from the modern style Taskmaster figure (who also served as a basis for a lot of Hydra Supreme, so he’s just a supreme sort of mold, I guess), using that figure’s arms and legs, along with an all-new head, torso, and pelvis.  The armored parts from Taskmaster are really well implemented parts, and they match up with the more modern Scientist Supreme design quite well, so they’re certainly well chosen.  The new pieces line up pretty well with the old parts, and present a very clean and sleek look for the character.  I also really appreciate the new articulation styles on the mid-torso and neck joints, which give him an improved range of motion.  The Scientist Supreme’s paint work is another pretty straight forward offering.  It’s pretty clean, and the gold is a nice color scheme for him.  It’s different from the straight yellow of the standard guys, but it still meshes pretty well with them.  The Scientist Supreme is packed with a sort of a data pad sort of thing, which is a fun piece, as well as the right arm of the Xemnu Build-A-Figure.  It’s a little lighter than some of the others, but at least the data pad is unique.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

When this line-up was initially hinted at, and all we had to go on was “AIM Supreme,” I didn’t know exactly what to expect on this guy.  I haven’t been super up to date with the various designs, but when this one was shown off, I definitely liked the general look of him.  He’s another fun design, and that translates to another fun figure.  He does what he does pretty well, and that ranks him pretty high on my list.

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 and their eBay storefront.

#2836: Arcade

ARCADE

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

“A brilliant assassin with shadowy origins, Arcade makes up for his lack of physical strength with a keen intellect and a vast personal fortune.”

Okay, for our latest round of “Ethan critiques the bios,” let’s address the fact that they wrote an Arcade bio without even alluding to Murderworld.  I mean, I can get not actually mentioning it by name, since putting something with “murder” in its title on the back of the box for a toy does seem like a not so great move, but not even a mention of him running a deadly amusement park or something along those lines?  I mean, it’s kind of his main gimmick, guys!  …Okay, enough of ripping these poor bio writers to shreds.  It’s probably not their fault.  Right, so Arcade.  He’s got some solid pedigree, having been created by Claremont and Byrne in 1978.  He first faced off against Spider-Man and Captain Britain, but he’s since faced off against most of the Marvel Universe, and is a really great all-purpose villain, always good for a fun story…well, most of the time, anyway.  His oddball persona and lack of tie to one particular group or hero does make him hard to nail down for merchandising, though, which is why he’s never had a figure.  Well, not until now, that is!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Arcade is figure 4 in the Xemnu Series of Marvel Legends.  Arcade is the perfect choice for a purely villains assortment, since he’s a classic character of decent prominence, who otherwise doesn’t fit into any other assortment breakdowns.  This way, he’s just one of a whole group of villains.  The figure stands 6 1/4 inches tall and he has 30 points of articulation.  Arcade is built on the Coulson body, which is honestly a pretty good choice for him.  The Fury body has slightly better movement, but it’s also larger, and there’s that shoulder holster that they’ve yet to get rid of.  He swaps out the standard jacket piece for the jacket/vest combo that showed up on the Movie Xavier figure last year, as well as adding a new tie piece, and a new head and feet.  The new tie is a rather absurdly large bow tie, which certainly jibes well with the character.  The standard head fits the general classic appearance for him, with a smarmy grin, and a slightly evil eye behind his gaze.  The new feet trade in the classic dress shoes for a far goofier set of platform shoes.  They more than anything else about this figure feel like an area where Hasbro probably could have gotten away with phoning it in, but they didn’t, and it makes the figure that much better, because they just give the character that extra bit of flair that Arcade absolutely needs.  Paint work on this guy is once again pretty basic, but he gets all the details he needs and generally looks pretty slick.  The polka dots on the tie and the piping on the shoes really work and are very cleanly applied, which is certainly a plus.   Arcade is packed with an alternate head with a longer hair style and a slightly crazier expression, for variety’s sake, I suppose, as well as his cane, and the leg to Xemnu.  Not a ton, but not nothing, so generally it’s a decent set-up.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Arcade is definitely one of those characters that I wanted in figure form, but that was always more in the back of my mind.  Like, I don’t think anyone’s really campaigning for an Arcade figure, but you keep remembering he’s never gotten one, and that doesn’t seem right.  I was glad to see him finally get his due, and the final figure is one that is fairly by the numbers, but in the right way.  He does what he needs to do, and that makes him a fun figure of a fun character.  I can certainly get behind that.

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 and their eBay storefront.

#2835: Lady Deathstrike

LADY DEATHSTRIKE

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

“With adamantium-infused bones and cyber-genetic enhancements, Yuriko Oyama pursues a ruthless vendetta against the X-Men… and Wolverine in particular.”

Lady Deathstrike is classically considered and X-Men/Wolverine foe, which is somewhat amusing when you delve into her earliest appearances and discover that she actually began as a supporting character in Daredevil of all things, before bouncing over to Alpha Flight, which provided her first run-in with Wolverine (who, contrary to the way adaptations tend to go, she didn’t actually have any prior history with), and led to her move over into the X-side of things.  While her exact role in things has never been huge, she’s got a rather distinctive look, a decent power set, and a solid name, so she does show up in other media a lot.  That includes getting a handful of figures over the years, including one quite recently, which I’ll be looking at today!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Lady Deathstrike is figure 3 in the Xemnu Series of Marvel Legends.  This is only her second time as a Legends release; her first was back in the Toy Biz era, and was in fact part of their own completely villains-centered series.  She’s just a good fit for that kind of line-up, I suppose.  The figure stands about 6 1/4 inches tall and she has 29 points of articulation.  Her articulation scheme is a little limiting in a few areas, most notably the elbows and shoulders, but for the most part she does alright, and is certainly a step up from her last Legends go-round.  The ball joint at the waist in particular has some solid range, and it’s nice that she’s got the pinless construction for the knees.  Her sculpt is totally unique, which seems appropriate.  There aren’t exactly a lot of parts it would make sense for her to share.  It’s a fairly nice piece.  The head dress and the sleeves all have a dynamic flow to them, which makes for nice action poses, but they also look okay just in basic stances as well.  That’s never an easy balance, but Hasbro did alright with it here.  The detail work is all fairly crisp and clean, and there’s enough going on to keep her visually interesting, while also still avoiding over designing her the way the Toy Biz figure kind of did.  Her paint work is overall pretty basic work.  Aside from one tiny bit of slop on the side of her waist, my figure is pretty clean, and she looks the part.  Deathstrike is packed with no accessories of her own, just the torso to the Xemnu Build-A-Figure.  Maybe some alternate hands, or a pre-transformation head would have been cool, but honestly, there’s not a ton that could be given to her.  As a totally new sculpt, as well as getting the largest portion of the BaF, she doesn’t feel too light, so I can’t knock Hasbro here.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

My exposure to Lady Deathstrike is pretty much purely the cartoon and X2.  Mostly the cartoon, though.  I’ve never been overly attached to the character, really, since she mostly just served as a two-episode delay from getting to the absolute best portion of the cartoon.  That said, I do still somewhat fondly remember her, and I was down for a decent figure.  Thankfully, that’s what I got here.  This figure is very well put together, and certainly the best toy version of the character ever produced.  In an assortment that finally got me a good Red Skull, she still manages to stick out a little, and that’s great.

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 and their eBay storefront.

#2834: Civilian Thor & Asguardian Guard

CIVILIAN THOR & ASGARDIAN GUARD

MARVEL MINIMATES

The first Thor movie’s two Toys R Us-exclusive two-packs are a rather polarized ordeal.  The first included two fan favorite characters, Lady Sif and Volstagg, who had exciting designs and had never received Minimates before.  Today, however, I look at the second set, which includes a civilian variant of the main character and an unnamed guard.  It’s a well-meaning set, no doubt, but perhaps doesn’t possess the same flair present in the other pairing.  Perhaps DST’s attention to the little details can salvage it!

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

As noted above, these two are one of two TRU-exclusive packs of Marvel Minimates designed to coincide with the release of the first Thor film.  Only half of the set’s truly exclusive, though, since the Guard was actually a straight re-release of the single-packed Asgardian Guard from the army builder case, but as an army builder, the double-packing does make some sense.

CIVILIAN THOR

One of two Thors in this assortment, this figure represents Thor as he looks on Earth, which is a pretty decent chunk of the film’s run-time.  It’s not an overly unique get-up, being just a t-shirt and jeans, but that *is* what he looked like in the film.  He’s built on the base ‘mate body, so he’s about 2 1/4 inches tall and he has 14 points of articulation.  The figure gets one sculpted add-on, for his hair.  Surprisingly, this is NOT the same piece used on the single-packed Thor.  It’s very similar, but has some more length at the bottom, since there’s no cape to contend with.  As with a few other lines from around this time, there are a few notable things going on with the plastic used for the Thor ‘mates.  Firstly, the necks were shorter, and the feet a little shallower, which makes them look a little more top-heavy.  Fortunately, with Thor, that’s not so big a deal.  The other issue is one of quality of plastic.  For whatever reason, the plastic quality was much lower on the these guys, making them feel rather waxy, and making the overall detailing of the sculpted parts a little softer.  It’s not quite as impactful on the sculpt, but it does impact the paint.  Said paint is decent enough in application, but the plastic is more absorbent than usual, which renders the detail lines much duller than we’ve come to expect.  It’s especially notable on the torso, where it’s hard to see there’s any detailing at all.  The colors of the plastic, particularly the peach-tone of his skin, are also much drearier, making him look almost a little sickly.  He’s not hit quite as badly by this as other ‘mates from the same time, but it’s still noticeable when you place him with other MCU ‘mates.  The thing that saves this figure from being mediocre is the accessories. He comes with Mjolnir (the same one included with the standard Thor and *almost* every MCU Thor since), and even cooler, he also comes with a mound of stone that’s molded to fit around the head of the hammer, just like it’s seen in the film.  Definitely a very fun extra.

ASGARDIAN GUARD

Asgardian Guard is a bit of a mouthful, isn’t it?  As the Asgardian Guard guards Asgard–I’m getting distracted.  The Guard has four add-on pieces, for his helmet, breastplate/cape, and wrist guards.  All four pieces were new to this particular ‘mate, and seem to be a decent match for the source material.  The breastplate/cape combo tends to look a little bulky, but with that sizable helmet, it ends up evening out pretty well.  The detailing on all the sculpted bits is quite sharp, and doesn’t seem to be quite as negatively impacted by the lower grade plastic as some of the others in the assortment.  The Guard’s paint is slightly more exciting than Thor’s, but has its own assortment of issues.  There’s a lot of slop on the cape, especially around the collar.  It’s bade enough on mine that I don’t actually know where the paint was *supposed* to go.  The gold on the back of the cape is a little better at staying where it’s meant to, but the actual application is rather thin and inconsistent.  The tampo work is a little better, with the armor detailing on the legs in particular looking quite sharp.  Unfortunately, the lower grade plastic strikes again on the flesh-toned bits, causing that same waxy appearance and washed out face print we saw on Thor.  In addition, my figure has some sort of mis-print or flaw in the plastic that leaves a dark streak down the center of his face.  For accessories, the Guard includes a sword and a staff, which aids in his army building capabilities, since you can arm him however you like.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I don’t actually recall exactly when I got this set, but I know I got it new.  It’s not terribly exciting.  Civilian Thor, taken purely on the quality of just the figure, seems like a little bit of a waste, especially when there are prominent characters who are still unreleased (poor Fandrall and Hogun).  That said, the hammer and stone base do at least offer a cool diorama, proving that there’s more to him than you might initially think.  The Asgardian Guard is a figure that was great in theory, but marred a bit by the execution.  He’s still far from awful, but he could have been a lot better.  DST really tried, but their factory let them down.

#2833: Starboy

STARBOY

LEGION OF SUPER HEROES (DC DIRECT)

The early days of the Legion of Superheroes had the characters sticking to a pretty set formula of “word to describe powers” and Boy/Lad or Girl/Lass.  Very basic, and generally very descriptive, right?  Well, not always.  Starboy may seem to follow the schtick closely, but “star” as a descriptor for “makes things heavier and lighter” does seem like a bit of a stretch, doesn’t it?  It’s not exactly “Matter Eater Lad.”  Nevertheless, Thom is a pretty prominent member, due to his placement with the JSA after he moved to Starman, as well as being the first member to be kicked off the team for breaking the rules, namely killing someone in self defense, which is a big no-no.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Starboy was released in Series 3 of DC Direct’s Legion of Superheroes line, alongside last week’s Ultra Boy figure.  He’s the first figure to be really negatively impacted by the line’s fixed point in the ’60s for the designs, since it means he’s in his original Superboy knock-off design, rather than his later, much cooler starfield costume that Dave Cockrum designed for him.  Alas, it just was what it was.  The figure stands just shy of 6 inches tall and he has 11 points of articulation.  He’s built on the body that had become the standard base at this point, and was the same exact one used for Ultra Boy (well, in theory, anyway; mine erroneously has the loose sleeve upper arm sculpt on his left side).  It’s fairly basic, so it still works.  He’s also got the same cape used for Series 2’s Mon-El (again, a sensible re-use), as well as a new head and belt pieces.  The new parts are different from those on prior figures, but only just enough to notice that their different.  It’s not exactly like they’re amazing new parts or anything, but they get the job done.  Starboy is totally painted, like the rest of the figures of the era.  He looks pretty decent, but he’s also a little more prone to wear and scratching.  Still, not a bad appearance.  He’s got no accessories, but they’d fully given up on them for this line at this point, and, honestly, what would you give him?

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I was in no particular rush to own this figure, due to this particular design not ever being a favorite of mine.  Starboy really just doesn’t get interesting until after he gets the new costume, so fixating on the old one does very little for me.  But, I wound up finding him loose, while on a road trip with my dad in the early summer of 2007.  It was him and a few other DCD figures that I found at the time, and he was more of a “well, I’m already getting the others” sort of a purchase.  He’s okay.  Nothing to really write home about, but he’s far from a bad figure.

#2832: The Hood

THE HOOD

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

“A chance encounter with a demon gives petty thief Parker Robbins a mystical cloak and transforms him into a true criminal menace.”

Hey, remember how I don’t like Bendis?  I’m pretty sure it’s come up a few times.  If ever you wonder to yourself why I hate his writing, you know, beyond the whole “he’s not terribly good at it” bit, I’d point to his tendency to take a more minor character, completely re-work them with no regard to prior stories, and then try to shove that regurgitated broken version of the character down everyone’s throats for way longer than anyone’s comfortable with.  One such character was The Hood, created by Brian K Vaughn, Kyle Holtz, and Eric Powell.  He began as a self-contained, very much supernatural type character, but Bendis decided to grab him, change him to make him generally less interesting, and generally more present, shoving him into just about every crossover for like 5 years, and building him up as this ultimate badass that was so ultimate and badass, because he totally said so you guys.  He’s like frickin’ Poochie, but with a hood.  Well, now he’s got a figure.  Yay.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

The Hood is figure 2 in the Xemnu Series of Marvel Legends.  In a series of otherwise classically-inspired villain choices, he’s kind of out of place, being from the 00s, and also not being all that noteworthy anymore.  He’s certainly the most oddball choice in the line-up, but not in a fun way, like Frog-Man or something.  In a bland way…like The Hood.  Sorry, I don’t have any other examples there.  I try to think of someone else that disappoints me, and I just keep thinking about The Hood.  There is no escaping it.  The figure stands 6 1/4 inches tall and he has 30 points of articulation.  From the neck down, he’s the same as last year’s Stan Lee figure, which I guess is okay, since it’s just a normal dude in a wind breaker and slacks.  Not very imposing, but why start now with The Hood, right?  He gets a new head, as well as the eponymous hooded cloak.  The head is…well, it’s very angry, I guess.  He’s very rage-y.  Combined with his rather average attire and build, a number of people have brought up that he looks a bit like a fanboy throwing a temper tantrum.  It’s again not the most imposing thing, but there it is.  Not sure why this was the expression they went for on The Hood, but if nothing else it’s different.  And also very comical.  So, good on them for that, I suppose.  The hooded cloak is a nice enough looking piece on its own, but that ends when you place it on the figure.  Since it’s all one piece, it really just sort of sits there, and it’s actually a bit too long for this figure, so it winds up sitting up too high, which looks really goofy.  Given recent trends toward hooded characters with capes, I’m not sure why they went for this set up over the hood and cape being separate pieces.  Yes, that would more than likely mean permanently affixing the hood to his head, but it’s not like there’s a lot of call for having Robbins without the hood.  It’s really the only thing that makes him remotely distinctive, you know?  And he definitely would have benefited from the two-part construction.  Oh well.  His color scheme is surprisingly bright and colorful for the character.  I’m not entirely sure why, but it doesn’t look terrible, I suppose.  He’s at least a little less drab this way.  Not much in the way of actual paint, but what’s there is reasonable enough.  The Hood is packed with a pair of pistols, plus some somewhat unfortunately shaped effects pieces for them, and the right leg of Xemnu.  Definitely light compared to the prior two figures in the set, especially given how little new tooling there is here.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

My first introduction to The Hood was rather unfortunately during Bendis’s time with him, which was also when Bendis was essentially running the Marvel Universe.  It also coincides with me almost entirely quitting reading Marvel, because it was so abysmal.  So, I don’t have the most pleasant associations with the character.  As such, I wasn’t thrilled by his presence in this line-up, but I was willing to go along.  Hasbro’s given good figures to characters I’ve been iffy on before.  That said, my expectations were low.  And even based on those low expectations, the figure still wound up being quite a letdown.  That’s a shame.  The figure’s not without value, but it’s all chopped up, and not about the actual figure they’re selling here, which is too bad.  I foresee this guy sticking around for a good while, but maybe I’m wrong.

Thanks to my sponsors at All Time Toys for setting me up with this guy for review.  If you’re looking for Marvel Legends, or other toys both old and new, please check out their website and their eBay storefront.

#2831: Dormammu

DORMAMMU

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

“A maniacal cosmic being with an unquenchable thirst for conquest, Dormammu uses extra-dimensional abilities to invade realms across all planes of existence.”

Dormammu, I’ve come to bargain.  See, it’s funny, because it’s that thing from that movie, where he keeps saying the same…get it?  Yes?  Not funny?  Got it.  Right, so there’s this whole villains assortment for Marvel Legends, and it focusses on foes of some of the biggest Marvel characters, a category that now includes Doctor Strange, someone who was very definitely not one of Marvel’s biggest characters when we had our last Legends villain assortment.  But, by virtue of that change-up, we get our third Dormammu Legend in the last six years.  Good for him.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Dormammu is figure 1 in the Xemnu Series of Marvel Legends.  He’s the third Dormammu in the line (though really only the second, since the prior two were minor tweaks on the same figure), but the first to be sold as a standard figure.  He’s also a classic Dormammu, going back to the Human Torch head with purple long-johns look, which may be slightly goofy, but is also an important look for the character, and one that’s been overlooked all but one time before when it comes to toy coverage.  Honestly, it’s a pretty good counterpart to Red Skull’s green jumpsuit look, which also gets its proper due in this assortment.  The figure stands about 6 1/2 inches tall and he has 32 points of articulation.  Structurally, he’s quite similar to the aforementioned Red Skull, since he uses the same core body.  It’s pretty sensible to build the two of them off of the same bank of parts, given the general similarity of their body types and their jumpsuits.  It also makes that all new tooling even easier to justify.  Dormammu gets a new head, forearms, and shins, as well as new add-ons for his collar and belt, all of which helps to make him look rather distinctly different from Red Skull, to the point that their shared bodies really aren’t that immediately obvious, unless you’re doing something silly like reviewing them back to back.  Who would do something like that?  The new parts accent the shared parts well, and as a whole he does a pretty respectable job of capturing that classic Dormammu look.  The crown is removable from the head, and it’s probably the only part I’m not too keen on, due to how easily it falls out of place.  It does seem a little bit overkill making it removable, but I get what they were going for, and it’s hardly the end of the world.  Dormammu is pretty basic on the paint front, mostly relying on molded colors, but the work on his head is pretty nicely handled, and in general his palette is bright and eye-catching.  Dormammu isn’t *quite* as impressively accessorized as Red Skull, he does still have quite a bit.  He gets all of the same hands as Skull (so, that’s fists, open gesture, and gripping), plus two flame effects, and the left arm of the Xemnu Build-A-Figure.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

While I enjoyed the prior, more modern-inspired Dormammu from the Book of Vishanti set, I was definitely still very much wanting a proper classic version of the character.  It’s been a little bit of a wait, but it finally came around, and it really feels like it paid off.  He doesn’t quite knock it out of the park to quite the same degree as Skull does, at least for me, but he’s still a very solid version of the character.  Now, how about a classic Dr. Strange update to go with him?

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 and their eBay storefront.

#2830: Red Skull

RED SKULL

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

“Emerging from the ashes of World War II, Johann Schmidt rose to become one of Captain America’s greatest enemies, the Red Skull.”

Hey, remember how I was reviewing a whole set of Marvel Legends and I just wrapped it up?  Well, I’m just gonna jump head long into another one, because why not.  In an effort of sort of segueing, at least as much as one needs to segue between two sets of Marvel Legends, let’s jump from a Captain America to a Red Skull.  When it comes to toys, Red Skull is a great example of how quantity does not make up for quality.  He’s had quite a number of figures over the years, but they always feel lacking in some way.  His history with Marvel Legends has been particularly bad, with his very first figure being one of Toy Biz’s very worst, and even his more recent offerings being rather lackluster as a general rule.  Hasbro hasn’t truly done a basic Red Skull since 2014, so the fact that he was chosen for their new all-villains series does carry a bit of weight.  Will this finally be the one that doesn’t suck?  Let’s find out!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Red Skull is figure 6 (I know, I’m starting at the end, as opposed to going in order like I’ve tended to recently; don’t judge me, I do what I want) in the Xemnu Series of Marvel Legends, which is, as noted, an all-villains set, the first under Hasbro’s tenure, and 15 years removed from Toy Biz’s.  Red Skull has had a number of different looks over the years, and his figures have likewise been all over the place.  I myself have always been particularly partial to the green jumpsuit look that Kirby tended to draw him in, so I was pretty happy to see Hasbro hone in on that particular look for this release, especially given its relative rarity in toy form.  The figure stands about 6 1/4 inches tall and he has 32 points of articulation.  While other Red Skulls have tended to get stuck on re-used bodies, and therefore had to make do and compromise, this Red Skull is sporting an all-new sculpt (albeit one that’s also shared with one other figure in this assortment).  Generally, it’s pretty basic, since it’s just a jumpsuit and all, but it captures the look pretty well, with the looser fit being showcased in the various wrinkles and the like.  The build is appropriately stocky, and the articulation works well for the character.  He’s also got the new pinless look for the elbows and knees, which continues to be nice to see crop up.  Red Skull has two different head sculpts included this time around.  Right out of the box, he’s got a more modern style one that appears to just be a scaled down version of the Red Onslaught piece.  It’s more traditionally skull-like in a text book sense, which certainly has its appeal.  The second sculpt, and the one that’s definitely my favorite of the two, is one more based on Skull’s more expressive look in the Kirby style.  It’s got a lot of smaller details worked in, and just feels perfect for this particular version of the character.  In terms of paint, this figure is generally pretty basic.  The reds are very bright and eye-catching, which I like, while the rest of it’s a little more drab, as it should be.  Everything’s pretty cleanly applied, which is certainly a plus.  In addition to getting the previously mentioned extra head, Red Skull gets a quite impressive selection of accessories, including 3 sets of hands (fists, gripping, and open gesture), the Cosmic Cube, and the Nerf Vortex Proton-based gun originally included with Maverick.  I like that they’re starting this body out with a bunch of different hands, and the gun and cube make for a good variety in terms of posing and display.  Also included is the head to the Build-A-Figure Xemnu.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

The lack of good Red Skull figures in my collection is something I’ve been trying to fix for a while, pretty much since back in the Toy Biz days.  The Legends figures always feel lacking, and I’ve never been totally content.  I have the Mezco figure, which I do quite like, but he’s not a true Legend and thus doesn’t quite fit in with them.  Plus, he’s not the jumpsuit version, and that’s my favorite.  I had very high hopes for this release, and I have to say, they were very well placed.  This figure is very definitely the best Legends Skull out there, and my favorite Red Skull figure to date.  It will be a hard task to upstage this 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 and their eBay storefront.

#2829: Captain America

CAPTAIN AMERICA

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

“Donning a brand new suit and wings from Wakanda, Sam Wilson proudly takes on the mantle, ready to unite people as the world’s new Captain America.”

When Steve passed the shield to Sam in Avengers Endgame, Sam’s taking up the Captain America mantle seemed pretty inevitable, but The Falcon and the Winter Soldier devoted a lot of its time to showing that even when something is the inevitable or even most common sense outcome, that doesn’t mean that the journey there is always the easiest.  Much like Steve, Sam’s own hesitance at accepting the role, coupled with outside factors believing him wrong for the role based on superficial factors, are ultimately the very reasons that Sam is the right choice for the part, and the show pulls double duty of convincing both Sam and the audience watching that there’s really no other choice for the new Captain America.  And, if he’s going to be the new Captain America, then he damn well better get a cool new action figure while he’s at it, right?  Right.  So, let’s look at that, huh?

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Following in the footsteps of Homecoming‘s Vulture, Captain America is both the final single release in the Disney+ series of Marvel Legends and its Build-A-Figure, by virtue of his wings being parted out amongst the other figures, while the core figure himself is sold by himself.  This allows the wings to be far more intricate in their design than they might otherwise have been, while also giving people the option of just getting that main Cap look, which Sam does, admittedly have for quite a bit of his screen time.  The wings are certainly less key a piece for him than his Falcon design, or even really that prior Vulture figure, so I think it was a pretty wise choice.  The figure stands 6 1/4 inches tall and he has 30 points of articulation in his single-packed form, with an additional 6 points courtesy of the wings when he’s fully assembled.  His articulation scheme is pretty well balanced.  The wings can be a little floppy in certain poses, but they hold up alright, and the core body is on par with the rest of this line-up’s articulation.  Sam’s got an all-new sculpt based on his final episode design from the show, and let me take a moment here to once again discuss how strong many of the costume choices have been for these shows.  Much like Wanda’s Scarlet Witch design, Sam’s Captain America uniform is a quite faithful adaptation of his Cap suit from the comics.  I was quite a fan of that design in 2D, and I think it translated amazingly well to live action.  Rather fittingly, it’s also translated quite nicely into toy form.  The costume details match up quite nicely with those seen on the screen, and the head sports Hasbro’s best Anthony Mackie sculpt so far (which is saying something, because the prior Legends version was pretty good to begin with).  Most impressively, this time around the goggles are actually a separate piece, with a slight translucent feature to them, so you can ever so slightly see his eyes peeking out from beneath them.  If I have one complaint, it’s that he does still seem maybe a little too thin for Mackie’s build in the show.  That said, it’s not quite as bad as the prior figure, and on top of that, Mackie has also slimmed down a bit as his appearances have progressed, so it’s not terrible.  He still looks pretty good.  Generally speaking, his paint work is decent.  It’s not quite as sharp as some more recent MCU offerings, I think partially owing to just how much is going on with it, and there’s a few spots of bleed over and slop around the edges, but for the most part it looks okay.  I was certainly glad that they actually put the proper color change ups on the wings.  The core Cap figure is packed with the collapsed version of his wing pack, as well as his shield (which is distinctly different from Steve’s, as it should be).  I was a little letdown that he didn’t get any alternate hands, since he’s just got the open gesture ones.  They aren’t as limiting as just fists, or something, but I do still wish we’d gotten at least one more set, just to have the option.  The Build-A-Figure parts add in the whole extended wing pack, of course, which swaps out for the collapsed piece.  It also gives him the upgraded version of Redwing (which I really love that we got), who has his own flight attachment on the pack, and a stand to held support him when he’s got the full wing pack on.  While the core figure is perhaps lacking a touch, the full BaF treatment definitely makes him feel more complete.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

There was debate after Endgame about whether Sam should really be the next Cap.  As a longtime classic Cap fan, I’ve always felt he was the always the logical choice, so I was definitely there for it.  I really enjoyed seeing his journey to claiming the mantle, and I absolutely loved seeing his full Cap look in action, so I was definitely down for getting it in figure form.  I think the whole Build-A-Figure set-up worked pretty well for him, and the resulting figure is the best MCU version of Sam we’ve gotten so far, certainly worthy of the quality of the show.

I am, at this time, going to again get into some post-Jess stuff here, so another fair warning.  The MCU Falcon in Legends form definitely has some strong ties to Jess for me, because Winter Soldier was the first movie we saw in the theater together, not long after we started dating, and she also put a very large amount of effort into making sure that I got the first Legends MCU Falcon for Christmas the year it was released.  The Falcon and the Winter Soldier was also the last thing that the two of us got to watch start to finish together.  So, there’s already a fair bit of meaningful attachment to this guy.  But this whole set of figures gets an extra final little push, courtesy of some incredible generosity on the part of Jason over at All Time Toys.  Throughout all of Jess’s treatments and struggles, and our personal battles, Jason and the rest of the team at All Time Toys have been nothing short of amazing, doing whatever they could.  In the case of this particular round of figures, on the day Jess passed, Jason showed up at my house with this set in tow.  It’s a not small gesture, and it gave me something to focus myself on in the days immediately following losing Jess, which was an invaluable resource for getting myself back on my feet.  I was already poised to really like this set of figures, but now it’s a very special symbol of both the wonderful times I had with Jess and of the people who have been supporting me through these trying times.