#2991: The Thing

THE THING

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

“With his nearly indestructible body and incredible strength and stamina, the Thing possesses the ability to crush evil.”

Benjamin J Grimm tends to get simplified down to just dumb muscle, but he’s actually quite a nuanced character, perhaps the most nuanced of the core team.  He’s quite literally the rock that grounds the team, as well as the most practically-minded member of the team, making him the perfect counterpoint to Reed’s lofty theoretical concepts.  And, in case you couldn’t tell, he’s also my favorite member of the team.  So, I’m always happy to see him get more proper appreciation.  I’m also happy to see him get solid toy coverage, which is, admittedly, rather frequent.  That works out, I guess!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

The Thing is part of the FF-themed assortment of the Retro Collection sub-line of Hasbro’s Marvel Legends.  As with the rest of the team, he’s patterned on his old ’90s Toy Biz figure, in terms of both the packaging and the figure packed within it.  That means that, like the others, he’s wearing his Byrne-era costume, specifically the more classic speedo-wearing look.  The figure stands 7 inches tall and he has 28 points of articulation.  He’s largely the same as the last two Thing figures, which is understandable.  It’s a really good starting point, and I’m sure Hasbro would like to get as much traction out of it as possible.  Three years later, it still remains a very strong sculpt, and it’s still the best version of the Thing out there, so you’ll hear no notable complaints from me.  This time around, he gets two new head sculpts, as well as a new set of hips to actually give him the short-shorts look.  I didn’t hate the briefs look for the last two figures, but it would have definitely been out of place for this design in particular.  The two new heads cover two different expressions, one angry and teeth gritting, and one more calm.  Both sculpts take some rather clear inspiration from the character’s second season animation model from the ’90s cartoon, which I am totally on board with.  It’s a little sharper on the edges to fit with the pre-existing body sculpt, but it really works.  The angry expression is really great from every angle.  The calm one is a little dopey looking in some angles, but even so I kind of find myself a little more drawn to it, just do to my own want to always have a not as angry option for any given Ben Grimm figure.  Ben’s paint on this release more follows how the Super Skrull Series version did things, providing some highlights to a few areas of the sculpt.  I don’t know that it works out quite as well on this particular release.  In some spots, especially the feet, it feels a little bit slap dash.  It’s ultimately not terribly noticeable in person, but it stands out a bit more in the photos than I’d prefer.  It could certainly be worse, but I find myself almost wishing they’d foregone the accenting entirely, to really capture that ’90s figure feel a bit more.  In addition to the previously mentioned extra head, Ben gets two sets of hands, one in fists and the other in open gesture.  In contrast to the other figures, Ben and his accessories literally take up every available spot in the blister, so he definitely doesn’t feel like he’s lacking anything.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Any good FF set needs a good Ben Grimm for me, and I’m especially attached to that ’90s animated look.  The fact that this guy is not only in the Byrne costume, but also leans more heavily into the actual animation style is pretty much exactly what I need.  The accent paint’s a bit wonky, but certainly not enough to ruin the figure at all, and the sculpt still really shines.  I’d love to see a variant in the tank top gear, but I can wait on that.  This one is more than enough to hold me over until then.

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.

#2990: Mr. Fantastic

MR. FANTASTIC

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

“As Mr. Fantastic, Reed Richards utilizes his scientific brilliance and pliable form to make a difference in the world.”

In contrast to what Reed’s bio may say above, when the Fantastic Four first debuted, Stan Lee intended for them to have no direct impact on the world around them.  In particular, Reed’s inventions and jumps forward would be mostly self-contained within the team’s own adventures, and not so much affecting the world around him.  This was the status quo for some time, but slowly it was shed, to the point that Reed became a major architect for advancement within the Marvel universe, as kind of a touch stone for the other heroes.  What’s all of this got to do with the toy?  Not a ton, but I was running out of ways to start FF reviews, so here you go.  Let’s look at this new Reed Richards figure.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Mr. Fantastic is part of the FF-themed assortment of the Retro Collection sub-line of Marvel Legends.  Like Sue, he’s based on his ’90s figure, to match with the packaging style, which places him in his John Byrne-designed costume.  He’s also a separate throwback to his Toy Biz Legends boxed-set counterpart, making him a two-fer.  Nifty!  The figure stands 6 1/4 inches tall and he has 30 points of articulation.  Like Sue, Reed is making use of the same basic construction as his Walgreens counterpart.  This time around he keeps the same head sculpt, since it’s just a pretty solid classic Reed sculpt.  He swaps out the standard arms from the last figure for a pair of suit jacket arms, as well as an all-new lab coat piece, allowing him to do the lab look like the Toy Biz ML figure had, which is a fun touch.  And, thanks to the way the Mr. Fantastic body is constructed, they jacket is easily swapped around to the other Reed figures, so it’s got even more use to it.  Reed’s paint work is generally pretty solid.  He matches Sue in terms of coloration, and the application is generally pretty cleanly handled.  The streaks in his hair now use the printing technique, rather than straight paint, which makes them a little subtler, and generally just a bit nicer looking.  Reed is packed with a standard set of arms done up to match his uniform for that non-coated look, as well as the stretched out hands from the Super Skrull Series release, for just a little bit of stretch-y look.  Compared to Sue, this feels a little less light, and it’s a nice selection of extras.  I would have loved to get the fully stretched out arms too, but at this point it’s sort of a running gag that the Legends versions of this costume don’t ever get both normal and stretched out arms ever.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I have a definite soft spot for the Toy Biz Legends version of this guy, so it was a high bar to clear.  The inclusion of the lab coat certainly helped him on that front, as did not really changing too much from the Walgreens version, since that was also just a very good figure.  Reed’s a figure that maybe gets a little lost in the shuffle of this whole assortment, but he’s no less a cool figure, and he’s my favorite Legends Reed to date, as well as a worthy update to two of my favorite Reed figures in general.

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.

#2989: Invisible Woman

INVISIBLE WOMAN

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

“After receiving superpowers, Sue Storm Richards co-founds the Fantastic Four and emerges as the single-most powerful member of the group.”

Is it weird that it’s become so passé to review Fantastic Four Marvel Legends these days?  I mean, it was the astronomically huge deal back in 2017 when the Walgreens-exclusive Sue kicked off that line, and now they’re sort of a yearly thing.  I mean, I’m certainly not complaining.  I love the FF, and my truest love of them comes from the ’90s cartoon and its corresponding toy line, which served to really introduce me to the team.  I get very nostalgic, and Hasbro’s really gaming to tap into my era of nostalgia these days, I suppose.  They’ve been doing the retro-card thing for a bit, and the FF is finally getting in on it.  I’m thrilled you guys.  Thrilled.  So, let’s kick this off with our latest version of Sue Storm, the Invisible Woman!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Invisible Woman is part of the FF-themed Retro Collection assortment of Hasbro’s Marvel Legends.  They’re all patterned on the packaging for Toy Biz’s own Fantastic Four line from the ’90s, which makes them a little more removed from the other Retro Collection figures, apart from the Fan Channel Dr. Doom from last year, who officially debuted the packaging style.  To match the style of the package, Sue is wearing her John Byne-designed costume from the ’80s/’90s.  These are by far my favorite costumes for the team, so I’m pretty psyched to see them show up.  The figure stands about 6 inches tall and she has 27 points of articulation.  Like the last two Sue figures, she’s built on the Phoenix body.  It’s a good match for how Sue is usually depicted, and is just generally a pretty nice body, so it makes sense to use it again here.  The main change up is that she gets a new head sculpt.  It’s based on earlier in Byrne’s run/the cartoon run, which makes sense, since it’s a far less dated appearance than the mullet.  It’s…well, okay, it’s better than I’d expected.  I’ll say that from the start.  When the first pictures were shown off, it looked pretty bad.  In hand, it looks a lot less bad.  I don’t know that I’d venture into calling it good, but it’s less bad.  It’s not the hair; that actually works well.  It’s definitely the face, which just has to be viewed from exactly the right angle to really work, and it’s very hard to find that sweet spot.  There have been some pretty great customs that have swapped out one of the other two Sue faces under the hair, and it honestly looks pretty good, so I might be trying that myself.  Sue’s paint work is generally pretty good.  Rather basic, as you’d expect, but the application’s pretty clean.  As is usually the case with the Byrne costumes, they’ve gone for a darker blue, rather than an almost black like Byrne intended, but that’s just the name of the game at this point.  I actually quite like the color, so I’m really okay with it.  Sue is packed with two sets of hands, as well as the invisible shield effect we saw on the last release.  As with most Retro releases, it’s a little lighter than the standard, but it’s not terrible.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Did I mention that these costumes are my favorites for the team?  I don’t know if I’ve brought that up enough yet.  Well, they are, and I’ve been wanting a good set of them since the FF came back into modern Legends.  I was elated by the announcement of this set, and I’ve been eager to get them since.  Sue wound up being the first one I got, since she got traded into All Time loose a couple of weeks before the wholesale stock arrived.  I’m kind of glad it worked out that way, because it allowed me to appreciate her on her own before the rest of them arrived, which was to her benefit.  She’s the weakest figure in the set, there’s no doubt of that, but that’s less because she’s a bad figure, and more because she just doesn’t quite stick the landing the way the others do.  I’m still very happy to have her, and I still think she’s a good figure.  Sue’s certainly had worse.

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.

#2988: Nien Nunb

NIEN NUNB

STAR WARS: POWER OF THE FORCE (KENNER)

“The outstanding Rebel Pilot from the planet Sullust, Nien Nunb served as Lando Calrissian’s copilot in the Millennium Falcon during the Battle of Endor.”

Though one of their most defining traits is their high rate of mortality, there are a few Rebel pilots from the Original Trilogy who actually survive their missions, at least a few times.  The run on the second Death Star actually has a few of its participants make it out unscathed, including today’s focus, Nien Nunb, who is Lando’s copilot aboard the Falcon.  Nien Nunb isn’t a major character, but he’s certainly visible, which makes him slightly more memorable, and he’s also one of the handful of minor characters to return during the Sequel Trilogy, which is kind of cool.  Let’s look at Nien Nunb!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Nien Nunb was added to Kenner’s Power of the Force line in 1997.  He was a little bit isolated that year, as he and Ackbar are really the only later Jedi figures, and the Lando that matched wouldn’t be added until the following year.  This marked Nien Nunb’s second figure, following one from the vintage run.  The figure stands about 3 1/2 inches tall (Nien Nunb was a little shorter; he’d never pass as a Stormtrooper) and he has 6 points of articulation.  His sculpt was all-new, and remained unique to this release.  Ten Numb from the Cinema Scenes set was similar, but there are no actual shared parts between them.  Generally, it’s not a bad sculpt.  The head’s certainly the best part, and captures the on-screen puppet’s design pretty well.  The body is certainly a mid-run PotF body, so it’s ever so slightly pre-posed, and probably a little too bulky and puffy for true accuracy, but it works alright.  Nien Nunb’s paint work is generally pretty basic.  They match up with the colors on screen alright, application is clean, and no notable details are left unpainted.  In terms of accessories, he includes two blasters, one large, one small.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Not much of a story on Nien Nunb, really.  I always remembered the character, but in that sequence I’m usually fixated on Wedge being there, so I miss everyone else.  I didn’t have this figure as a kid, and wound up getting it in one of my batches of figures from All Time.  He’s an okay figure.  Nothing amazing, but he does what he needs to, and he’s another fun alien design.

#2987: Arkham Asylum Escape

BATMAN, TWO-FACE, POISON IVY, & HARLEY QUINN

THE NEW ADVENTURES OF BATMAN (HASBRO)

“They’re on the loose!  Those sinister, diabolical misfits of society, Two-Face, Poison Ivy, and Harley Quinn have broken the boundaries of incarceration and once again hit the streets on a path of destruction.  But Batman is ready to put them behind bars once and for all…where they belong!”

Hey, we’re heading down this late-game Hasbro DC rabbit-hole, so I guess we might as well just, you know, do that.  I sure do like themes, right?  And at least this theme is definitively not a Marvel Legends one, which is a nice change of pace these days.  I might be suffering from a bit of Legends burn out here, you guys.  But I’m not talking about them today!  No!  I’m talking about DC!  Yeah!  Let’s do it!

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

Arkham Asylum Escape, a set made up of Batman, Two-Face, Poison Ivy, and Harley Quinn, was released by Hasbro in early 2000 as a Toys R Us exclusive.  The set has the four figures, as well as a selection of accessories, some character specific, some less so.  The least specific is the Arkham Asylum sign, which actually should have two additional supports not seen in my photo.  It’s a cool piece that makes for a fun backdrop, which isn’t the sort of thing we tended to get for this line.  There’s also a straightjacket, which is listed as being Two-Faces, but which can easily be used for either him or Batman, and I honestly like it more with Batman.

BATMAN

“The people of Gotham City see Batman as an almost mythological figure, able to tame any adversary, no matter how powerful.  But now, with so many bizarre criminals running amok in Gotham City, Batman turns to his trusted allies to aid him in his battle against evil.  The Dark Knight has evened the odds by creating more amazing weapons, gadgets, and vehicles, all of which are available to his crime fighting team.”

You gotta have a Batman, so here’s the Batman.  He’s all Batman-y.  The figure stands 4 1/2 inches tall and has 6 points of articulation.  Amazingly, he gets a whole extra point of articulation, thanks to the swivel at the waist.  This Batman re-uses the mold of the Batman originally packed in the “Batman Vs Two-Face Battle Pack,” which is a rather basic Batman, but running.  Or lunging.  For some reason.  I guess it’s more dynamic.  It’s honestly not a bad sculpt, apart from being a little hard to keep standing.  It’s rather clean, and internally consistent with the standard Detective Batman sculpt.  To match his more dynamic pose, his cape is also more dynamic, with a whole arc and flow to it, which is really cool.  Though this set generally goes for TNBA designs, and the figure’s sculpt is clearly TNBA-based, the paint scheme on this guy is decidedly BTAS-based.  It’s not a terrible look.  The only downside is that it doesn’t really hold up so well to wear and tear.  Batman was originally packed with a grappling hook, but it was lost by foolish child Ethan.

TWO-FACE

“Two-Face (Harvey Dent), well-entrenched as an underworld crime boss, continues to be a major threat to Batman and Gotham City.  However, Two-Face is always finding himself at odds with his dual nature, torn between his own good and evil sides.”

Though prominent early in the show’s run, Two-Face’s only toy release during TNBA‘s actual run was in a two-pack with a Batman variant.  This one upgrades that to a four pack, so I guess it’s sort of a lateral move.  The figure stands 5 inches tall and he has 5 points of articulation.  His sculpt is shared with the two-pack release, and is based on his updated appearance from TNBA.  It’s a good look, and the figure does a good job of capturing the design and translating it into three dimensions.  Given how basic a suited body this is, it’s genuinely a bit surprising that no other uses came from this figure.  It seems like it would be kind of natural.  It was certainly a popular piece amongst customizers at the time.  The paint work was ever so slightly changed here.  Instead of off-white, the lighter parts are a true white, and the lip on the scarred side is red, rather than black.  Technically, the original release was the more accurate scheme, but this one I think maybe presents a bit better in figure form.  Two-Face was originally packed with a machine gun and a pistol, both of which I have been missing since shortly after getting the figure.

POISON IVY

“Villainous vixen of vines, Poison Ivy (Pamela Isley) returns to continue her crusade for botanical supremacy.  While essentially a loner, Ivy is not above ‘hanging with the girls,’ as she occasionally teams up with Harley Quinn.”

Ivy was completely absent from the TNBA tie-ins, at least for the main line.  So, this figure was the first of hers under that specific branding.  It’s a bit of a cheat, of course, since she’s actually not TNBA at all, but I’ll get to that.  The figure stands about 4 1/2 inches tall and she has 5 points of articulation…technically.  The neck joint doesn’t really do anything, honestly.  Since there was no TNBA Ivy sculpt from Kenner, this figure re-uses the BTAS sculpt.  It’s not a great sculpt, but it’s not a terrible sculpt either.  It’s biggest issue is that it’s rather squat and a bit pre-posed.  Of course, it’s biggest issue here in particular is that Ivy’s design changed pretty drastically between the two iterations of the show, so she doesn’t match the theme here all that well.  The paint is also kind of suspect.  Technically, they’re following her TNBA scheme…sort of.  I mean, she doesn’t have leggings, which is the main thing.  Her skin tone is still peach, rather than a greenish white, and her outfit is a far brighter green than it really should be.  Ivy is packed with a crossbow and a plant capture weapon.  Astoundingly, I’ve actually still got both of them.

HARLEY QUINN

“Harley Quinn (Harleen Quinzel) continues to be Gotham City’s deadly wild card.  Her lethal toys come in handy whether she’s working out her aggressions with her ‘puddin,’ The Joker, best gal-pal Poison Ivy, or taking on Batman solo.  While she masks her dark and unpredictable nature with playfulness, her hatred of Batman is never far from the surface.”

Introduced within the original run of BTAS, Harley, unsurprisingly, got her very first figure in that line.  It was, however, never an exceedingly easy one to find.  So a second release was far from the worst idea.  The figure stands about 4 3/4 inches tall and she has 5 points of articulation.  She makes use of the single-release BTAS Harley’s sculpt.  It’s a good sculpt, which is pretty on model, and unlike Ivy, it actually matches okay with the TNBA set-up of this release, since her overall design wasn’t really that different between the two shows.  Her paint work is generally pretty decent.  The only change between this release and the single release is the color of the lips, which are red here, in contrast to the black on the original.  Harley was packed with a boxing glove launcher, as well as a gun with a “bang” flag.  Curiously, no mallet.  Mine is missing the gun, but still has the glove launcher.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I actually got this set at the same time as the set I looked at last week, both of them being given to me for my 8th birthday in 2000.  I was more interested in the Gordon set overall, but this one was a definite sleeper hit for me, because all of the figures in it were actually pretty solid, at least to child me.  Harley and Two-Face are still my go-to versions for this scale, and I definitely dig the Batman.  Ivy only really ranks lower because I wound up with the original BTAS release later down the line, and didn’t need it’s off-color repaint so much.

#2986: M.O.D.O.K. World Domination Tour

M.O.D.O.K. & THE CAPTAIN

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

Stuart Immomen and Warren Ellis’s Nextwave: Agents of Hate, which ran from 2006 to 2007, is, simply put, an experience.  An experience I very much enjoyed, but one that’s very definitely of an offbeat notion.  As such, it’s maybe not the most easily merchandised thing.  While the characters within the story were helped back into prominence by its existence, and have subsequently had an easier time getting toy coverage as an extension, purely Nextwave-based merch has been effectively non-existence.  Clearly, Hasbro’s Marvel Legends team are fans of it, since they’ve been sneaking in little references wherever they can.  Most recently, they actually bit the bullet and made an honest-to-god Nextwave-inspired item, the M.O.D.O.K. World Domination Tour Collection, which I’m taking a look at today!

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

The M.O.D.O.K. World Domination Tour Collection is a Hasbro Pulse-exclusive Marvel Legends offering, released as part of Hasbro’s second PulseCon event, in the fall of this year.  The set is made up of a M.O.D.O.K. variant and The Captain, two direct lifts from the pages of the aforementioned Nextwave.  The set’s focus on M.O.D.O.K. in particular seems to be an attempt to tie-in with the show on Hulu, though there are, of course, no direct ties, and M.O.D.O.K. himself is a very minor player in Nextwave proper.

M.O.D.O.K.

Certainly, M.O.D.O.K. feels like he’s what got the set made.  The show gave him some extra notoriety, and Hasbro just put the money into getting an all-new M.O.D.O.K. mold out there, so they undoubtedly wanted to get a second use out of it as quickly as possible.  So, they opted to give us the Elvis-looking M.O.D.O.K. variant seen in Nextwave #11’s “You must buy six copies of this comic now” splash page.  It’s a rather distinctive design, and one that even found its way into Marvel Vs Capcom 3, so it’s got some reach on it.  Like his standard counterpart, the figure stands about 8 1/2 inches tall and he has 25 points of articulation.  He’s mostly the same figure as we saw earlier in the year.  Not a bad call, really, because it was a nice sculpt the first time around, and was also very unique, so I get Hasbro’s desire to get more out of it.  This release gets a new face plate and hair piece, complete with the proper pompadour and side burns, as well as an alternate control stick, tweaked to look like a microphone.  In contrast to the last one, this figure only gets the one faceplate (though you can also swap for the other two, if you’re so inclined), but it’s at least a distinctly different one from the two we’d already seen.  The paint on this guy looks rather similar the other version, but there are definitely some small changes that are easy to miss.  The purples are now metallic, and a few of the smaller details have been changed up a little.  It’s still pretty clean, and also quite eye catching.  Elvis M.O.D.O.K. is packed with the two sets of hands included with the standard, as well as a pair of removable shades, his hamburger beam effect, and a corresponding display stand for the hamburgers.  Because why not?

THE CAPTAIN

Nextwave’s five-member line-up was mostly pre-existing characters, but there was one notable exception.  The Captain, formerly known as Captain ☠☠☠☠ until Captain America objected, was an all-new creation, designed to fill-in for all of the lame, terrible, or otherwise forgettable characters with the moniker of “Captain” over the years.  Unlike the other members, who have other notable appearances to draw from for their figures, the Captain has no such luck, making it quite an accomplishment that he got a figure at all.  The figure stands 6 1/2 inches tall and he has 34 points of articulation.  I was quite pleasantly surprised to find a set of butterfly joints hiding under his jacket, as well as cut joints at the tops of his shoes, both of which make him a little more agile than I’d expected.  The Captain makes use of the arms and jacket from the Netflix Punisher figure, but is otherwise an all-new sculpt.  That’s honestly surprising for such a minor character, but I’m certainly not complaining.  The Captain has largely been drawn by his co-creator Stuart Immomen, who has his own rather unique style, which isn’t quite the same as the usual Legends fare, so this figure sort of splits the difference between Immomen’s usual depictions and the line’s standing aesthetic.  It works out pretty well overall.  To my eye, his head seems to scale a bit larger compared to the body, and boy is he not a looker, but it generally feels proper to the character as we know him.  He gets two different heads, one goofy, and one serious.  I prefer the goofy myself, but they’re both good sculpts, and I appreciate the options.  It makes for better variety when posing.  The Captain’s paint work is overall pretty basic, but it does what it needs to, and it does it well.  There’s quite a bit of detailing on both faces, and they’ve also done a solid job on the camo pattern of the pants.  The star on his shirt is a little inconsistent in coverage, but it’s otherwise good.  The Captain’s only accessory is the previously mentioned extra head, but it’s honestly all I can really think to give him.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I’ve been a big Nextwave fan since my college years, and I honestly never expected any dedicated figures for it.  I’ve been glad to get the few crossover characters we’ve seen so far, but I certainly didn’t think we’d ever get The Captain, much less a MODOK variant that appeared on one page.  I was honestly pretty hyped for this pack when they were shown off, and Max was kind enough to help me secure a set during Pulse Con.  I like this set a lot.  MODOK is far from essential, but he’s a lot of fun, and The Captain is just plain Awesome.  Here’s to hoping we can get dedicated Nextwave versions of the rest of the team.

#2985: Armadillo

ARMADILLO

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

With how many animal-themed foes Spider-Man’s got, plus the fact that this is a Spider-Man-themed assortment of Legends, it’s natural to assume that Armadillo is just a Spidey villain through and through.  He’s not.  He actually first appeared in Captain America, and would kind of remain revolving around Cap and the Avengers for a bit, before the animal-themed thing did eventually lead to him being grouped with Spidey’s foes.  He’s one of those lower-tier villains with a rather tragic and relatable backstory, who writers like to start down the path of redemption every few years or so.  I certainly can get behind that type of storytelling, since it’s kind at the core of the whole Marvel experience, really.  Armadillo is the latest of those sorts of characters to finally get the action figure treatment, and I’ll be taking a look at said treatment today!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Armadillo is the titular Build-A-Figure for the Armadillo Series of Marvel Legends.  His choice for the assortment is more than likely based on his cropping up in the MODOK show, though it also just may be because Hasbro was running through the list of larger characters without any toy coverage and settled on him.  Either way, I’m not gonna knock it.  The figure stands about 8 inches tall and he has 27 points of articulation.  Similar to Ursa Major earlier this year, Armadillo is a figure I was expecting some sort of re-use or something on, since he’s a rather minor character and all.  However, this guy is all-new, which is a pleasant surprise to say the least.  He’s based on a more modern interpretation of Armadillo.  I like him to be a little goofier myself, but I won’t deny that it’s a pretty decent sculpt, which does an alright job of capturing the general essence of the character.  I quite like the detailing on the armor plating; it’s got some great texture work.  Curiously, though he’s an all-new sculpt, the elbows and knees have visible pins…on one side.  The other side is without the visible pin.  It’s weird.  Armadillo’s paint work is generally rather basic looking.  His construction means that the underlying body and the armor are mostly separate pieces, so they can be molded in the proper colors.  What paint is there is very clean, and I definitely dig the subtle shift in the coloring on the main body.  It adds more to the look than you’d expect.  Armadillo’s got no accessories, but there’s not a ton you can really give him, and given his size and the uniqueness of the sculpt, coupled with him being an accessory himself, it’s not a big deal.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Armadillo is one of those characters that you don’t realize you want until someone goes and makes a figure, and then you’re suddenly aware of how lacking your life has been without him.  Or maybe that’s just me.  He served as my main reason for completing the set, and I gotta say, he’s a really fun, really chunky figure.  I really love these sorts of characters and I’m glad that Hasbro’s focusing on getting them to us.

This assortment is, overall, kind of a weak one for me.  Armadillo was definitely the main selling point, and in hand he’s definitely my favorite piece.  Shriek is probably the best of the singles for me, since we’ve just never gotten one before.  I do like Jonah a lot, though he’s not breaking any molds or anything.  Strange and the two Spidey variants are nice figures, but at this point some of the MCU upgrades are getting harder to get enthused about.  And while Miles and Morlun are both serviceable, both are figures that aren’t remaining in my collection beyond these reviews.  Given how fantastic the Spider-themed assortment that started the year off was, I guess this one just had too high a bar to clear.  I am happy with the figures I like, though, so it’s not like it’s a waist of my time or anything.

#2984: Shriek

SHRIEK

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

“Frances Louise Barrison, a.k.a. Shriek, escapes from captivity and forms a twisted family with like-minded villains to terrorize Spider-Man.”

In the ’90s, Venom was all the rage, so Marvel spun-off Carnage from him.  And then Carnage became all the rage, so, in 1993, Marvel used him as the central player in a Spider-book-wide crossover, “Maximum Carnage,” which teamed him up with his own band of super villains.  Mostly, they were repurposed from elsewhere, but brand-new to the crossover was Shriek.  Though certainly prominent within the story, Shriek has struggled to do much of note since then, so she’s not had much in the way of toy coverage.  She did get a Minimate three years ago, and now she’s also has a Marvel Legend.  Lucky her!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Shriek is figure 6 in the Armadillo Series of Marvel Legends, where she is the second of the two comics-based figures.  Her spot in the line-up is no doubt due to the character’s presence in the Venom sequel, since it did elevate her profile at least a little bit.  The figure stands 6 1/4 inches tall and she has 29 points of articulation.  Shriek is built on one of the smaller female base bodies, but it’s been slightly tweaked to update some of the aesthetics, removing the visible pins on the knees, as well as updating the elbows to double joints.  The elbow construction is a little bit iffy, at least on mine. I wound up having to do a little bit of clean-up on the excess plastic at the edges, as it was causing the joints to get stuck and risk tearing.  After the clean-up, she was just fine, but it’s certainly something to keep an eye on when taking her out of the package.  In general, Shriek’s sculpt is a rather basic and straight forward one, but that’s something that Hasbro’s come to excel at, so she looks pretty good.  She’s quite clean and sleek looking.  A look like Shriek’s requires a very well-executed paint job, since it’s all just black and white.  Fortunately, she’s got some of the sharpest paint in the assortment, so her look winds up really sticking the landing.  Shriek is packed with a whopping three sets of hands, in fists, gripping, and open gesture poses, as well as the largest section of the Armadillo Build-A-Figure, the torso and backplate.  I suppose some effects might have been cool, but it’s hard to do sound as a visual thing, and I do really appreciate the extra hands.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I’m not the world’s biggest Shriek fan by any stretch of the imagination, but I won’t deny that the character has a pretty cool visual, so the fact that she’s been such a rarity in the toy world is kind of sad.  I wasn’t really rooting for her to get a spot here, but I also was definitely not opposed, and I do have to say that the final product turned out rather nicely.  She may be a rather by-the-numbers figure, but she follows those numbers well.

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.

#2983: Morlun

MORLUN

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

“From the darkness, the vampire Morlun hunts Spider-Man in an effort to slay the superhero and feed on his powers.”

In the early ’00s, writer J. Michael Straczynski took over as the main writer for the Spider-Man books, and decided to add his own lasting impact to the mythos with…well, let’s just call them some questionable ideas.  Everyone remembers the messes that are “Sins Past” and “One More Day,” two stories that Marvel’s been trying to shake for a while now, but one that gets overshadowed by those two a lot is “The Other,” a story that reveals that Peter getting bitten by the spider was no accident.  No, apparently the spider did it on purpose to pass its powers onto Peter and turn him into a Totem, a bridge between animal and man.  It only gets weirder from there, honestly.  The central villain to this very odd story is Morlun, a rather generic vampire guy, who’s a generic vampire and also…I mean that’s really it, I guess.  Maybe Straczynski forgot that Peter already had a vampire-themed adversary?  When Dan Slott took over the book years later, he decided that rather than just ignore all of this stuff, he’d try to make it actually a little more worthwhile, and made Morlun part of a whole family of multi-universal hunters called the Inheritors, who are all far more interesting than he is.  It makes him suck less on the whole, but it also makes me like him less by comparison, so it’s certainly a catch-22.  Now he’s got a figure, so there’s that.  Guess I’ll get that reviewed.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Morlun is figure 5 in the Armadillo Series of Marvel Legends.  He’s the first of the two comic-based figures in the assortment, and also marks Morlun’s first time in figure form.  The figure stands about 6 1/2 inches tall and he has 29 points of articulation.  Morlun is built from a mix of a few different parts, as well as a few new parts mixed in.  He’s got the arms from the male Hellfire Club members, as well as the core and legs of the larger suited body, mixed with a new head, hands, and jacket/torso cover.  It does a perfectly fine job of capturing the character’s, admittedly, rather generic design from the books.  The parts mesh well together, and they do at least give it there all on the detailing.  He’s even got the little life-force suckers on his hands, which is kinda cool.  The standard head has a toothy grin that’s fairly appropriate to the character’s depictions over the years, so that’s a cool touch too.  Morlun’s paint work is decent enough.  Certainly not crazy-eye-catching or anything, but it does what it needs to, and the application is generally pretty clean and sharp.  Morlun is packed with an alternate head, this time with his lips pulled back to reveal more of his upper teeth.  This is…imposing?  Or maybe it’s supposed to be?  It’s a near miss, I think.  It kind of just looks like he’s got indigestion.  Maybe something he ate is disagreeing with him?  Morlun is also packed with the right arm of Armadillo.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

In case you hadn’t picked up, I don’t really care for Morlun.  My first exposure to him was an off-hand mention in the bio of a Minimate, since I wasn’t a regular Spider-Man reader until well after he appeared, and I remember looking him up, only to discover how bland, disappointing, and out of place he was.  I didn’t hate what Slott did with the Inheritors, but Morlun himself has never stuck with me.  I wasn’t exactly jumping up and down about his inclusion here, nor does the figure do much to sway me on the character.  It could be worse, though, and at least this one means we might see the other Inheritors down the line.

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.

#2982: Miles Morales

MILES MORALES

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

“When a fierce power struggle threatens to destroy his new home, Miles Morales realizes that with great power there must also come great responsibility.”

In 2018, Sony took advantage of their exclusive distribution rights on Spider-Man media to release a totally PS4-exclusive game based on the character, which was rather a big hit. There were some toy tie-ins at the time, and last year they launched a follow-up game to go along with their launch of the PS5, now centering on Miles Morales in the title role. Unsurprisingly, there are some more toy tie-ins, starting with a standard version of the main character, who I’m taking a look at today.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Miles Morales is figure 4 in the Armadillo Series of Marvel Legends.  Miles is under the Gamerverse branding, and is the only such figure in this set.  He’s based on his standard costumed appearance from Spider-Man: Miles Morales, which is in turn a pretty straight translation of his costume design from the comics.  The figure stands just shy of 6 inches tall and he has 32 points of articulation.  In terms of how the articulation works, he’s pretty much set-up the same way as the Integrated Suit Spidey, with the adjusted neck joint which includes the double ball joint.  It’s generally not a bad set-up, so I can get behind it.  Miles is sporting an all-new sculpt (which is shared with the Gamestop-exclusive stealth version).  It’s a little taller and the proportions are a little more nuanced than on the previous strictly comics Miles.  There’s also a good deal more texture work this time around, with raised webbing and some actual patterning on the suit proper.  It all looks pretty good, and helps give him a little bit of extra sharpness over his predecessor.  It also means that, unlike the Peter figure we got back in 2018, Miles is quite screen accurate, which is pretty cool.  Miles’s paint work is generally pretty solid.  The application’s all pretty sharp, and I quite dig the slightly metallic finish on the red sections.  Miles is packed with quite an impressive selection of accessories, getting three sets of standard hands (in fists, open gesture, and thwipping), plus a set of hands specifically for his shock abilities, as well as an unmasked head, and the right leg for the Armadillo Build-A-Figure.  Given how anemic the accessory selection on some of the Spidey variants has gotten more recently, as well as the fact that he’s an all-new sculpt, there definitely feels like a lot of value here.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Special thanks to Max for loaning this figure for review.  I’ve been taking a closer look at how I collect Legends in the last year, and with me already owning a pretty standard-looking Miles figure that I quite like, I wasn’t sure I was in a rush to get this one.  Max, not having the prior release, was snagging one, so he was kind enough to set me up with the BAF piece, as well as letting me borrow this one to round out the reviews.  This figure’s quite nice, I won’t lie.  He turned out very well, and I certainly appreciate the level of detail on the sculpt, as well as how well accessorized he is.  I also like that Hasbro’s committed to keeping a standard Miles available, especially one that’s just a strong all-around figure.