#2092: Nightwing

NIGHTWING

DC UNIVERSE CLASSICS (MATTEL)

After his parents were murdered, young Dick Grayson was adopted by Bruce Wayne, becoming his ward… and, as the first Robin The Boy Wonder, his partner in the war against crime. Years later, Robin struck out on his own as Nightwing and now lives in the corruption-ridden city of Bludhaven where by day he serves as a member of that city’s police department.”

Mattel’s DC Universe Classics was born out of DC Superheroes, a line that was itself born out of their earlier Batman line.  DC Superheroes introduced some Superman characters into the mix, but was otherwise still very Batman-focused.  When it came time for DC Universe Classics, there was no corner of the DCU unavailable, so Mattel got a lot deeper with their coverage.  However, they still didn’t stray too far from the Batman side of things, meaning it wasn’t a huge surprise to see two of his sidekicks crop up early in the line’s run.  I’ve already looked at the Robin, so how about the former Robin, aka Nightwing?

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Nightwing was part of Series 3 of DC Universe Classics, alongside the previously reviewed Tim Drake Robin, Green Lantern, Sinestro, and Deathstroke.  He was the third figure Mattel had done of Nightwing at this scale, and like Robin before him, this figure marked the first time that the Four Horsemen worked on the character.  Nightwing is seen here in his traditional blue/black costume, which had been his consistent look for over a decade when this figure hit shelves, meaning it was a pretty safe choice.  The figure stands 6 1/2 inches tall and he has 23 points of articulation.  Nightwing used the mid-sized male body, which was first introduced for this very assortment, and would be used simultaneously for both him and Hal Jordan.  It’s a little on the bulky side for how Dick is usually portrayed, especially in the shoulders, but within the context of the line, it worked alright.  Nightwing had a unique head, forearms, and shins.  The head depicts an early-to-mid ’00s Nightwing, as denoted by the hairstyle.  While I might like it to be a little more expressive, it’s otherwise a pretty strong take on the character, and there’s plenty of detail work, especially in the texturing of the hair.  The forearms and shins depict the most inconsistent element of this Nightwing costume: the cuffs for the gloves and boots.  They were frequently all different shapes, sizes, and positions, and by the time of Hush, Jim Lee had removed them completely.  That streamlined look is honestly my preferred interpretation, but to Mattel’s credit, there’s been very little action figure coverage with these pieces included, so it does help the figure stand out from DCD’s offerings.  The paintwork on Nightwing is mostly pretty basic, straight color work.  The blue is appropriately bright, and the application is clean.  There’s some ever so slight accenting on the hair, which helps bring out the sculpted textures, and that’s pretty nice.  Nightwing was packed with his usual Eskrima sticks (which he can store on his back, another unique feature of this figure), as well as the head/torso of the Grundy CnC.  Why he got the largest piece over the comparatively much smaller Robin figure is anyone’s guess, but mine didn’t have it anyway, so it doesn’t really matter.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Okay, it’s a DCUC review, so you know the drill: this assortment was hard to find at retail, and I never saw a Nightwing in person.  I managed to track down GL and Sinestro, my two main wants, in-package and new, and got the reissue of Robin a little later, but Nightwing never turned up.  I already had the Hush figure, so I wasn’t too worried about it, but when this guy was among a large DCUC collection that got traded into All Time Toys last year, I jumped at the opportunity to get him.  I’ve got a lot of Nightwing figures, and I can’t say this one really stands out from the pack, but he’s certainly not a bad figure.

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#2091: Family Matters

MAGNETO, QUICKSILVER, & SCARLET WITCH

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

The parentage of Quicksilver and the Scarlet Witch has been quite a storytelling merry-go-round.  Originally just a pair of mutant siblings born to unnamed parents, they were eventually revealed to be the children of a Gypsy couple.  That couple then revealed they were actually the twins’ adoptive parents, and their real parents were the Golden Age heroes the Whizzer and Miss America.  That story stuck for a little bit, before the best known twist occurred, and X-Men foe Magneto was revealed to be their father.  That’s the story that stuck…well apart from a few years back when Marvel toyed with removing their connection to Magneto in the midst of their troubles with getting the X-characters’ media rights back from Fox.  It would seem they’ve decided to role back that decision, at least as far as other media is concerned.

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

Magneto, Quicksilver, and Scarlet Witch make up the “Family Matters” boxed set, an Amazon-exclusive Marvel Legends offering, coinciding with the “80 Years of Marvel” celebration.  The set was put up for order a few months ago, and just started shipping out two weeks ago.

MAGNETO

The biggest name in the set, and certainly the one with the most action figure coverage, Magneto actually has gotten two Legends releases since the line relaunched in the new packaging style.  The first was using old parts, and the second, while a solid figure, put Mags in a more recent, less classically-inspired costume.  This one goes for about as classic as you can get for Magneto, placing him with his early ’80s/’90s red and purple design.  The figure stands 6 1/2 inches tall and has 32 points of articulation.  Like the last figure, this Magneto is built on the Spider-UK body, which is honestly a fantastic choice for the character.  Beyond the base body, there actually aren’t any parts shared between the two figures.  This one gets a new set of forearms and boots, plus add-ons for his cape and belt, and is topped off with two brand-new head sculpts.  The forearms and boots fit right in with the pre-existing Spider-UK tooling, and give him all of the proper details he should have.  The cape is definitely one of Hasbro’s best, as it pretty much pitch-perfectly captures the way his cape is often drawn in the comics.  I really love how it sits over the shoulders.  The belt’s a pretty darn basic piece, but it works well enough for what it’s supposed to be doing.  The two heads are fairly similar, with the helmets in particular being the same sculpt.  I can appreciate that from a consistency stand-point.  Beneath the helmets is where the difference lies.  There’s a calmer, friendlier head, and an angrier, more power-crazed head.  Both are really nice, and work for the diverging takes on the character.  The helmet sits a little higher than I’d prefer on the calm head, but it’s not awful, and I don’t know which one will end up as my default.  Magneto’s paintwork is a definite step-up from the last figure.  It’s bright and eye-catching, and the application’s all very clean.  I really dig the glossy finish on the helmet, and the mix of metallic and flat finish on the purple sections.  Also, I dig that they used the same red and purple on this guy that they did for Onslaught, allowing for another head-swap option.  Magneto is packed with two pairs of hands (fists and open gesture), as well as a pair of energy effect pieces molded in a flecked purple plastic.

QUICKSILVER

Pietro Maximoff is the member of family who’s been absent from Legends for the longest period of time.  His first, and only, release was way back when Hasbro first took over in 2007, with no updates since then.  As the least prominent of the three, it’s not a huge shock, though it was a little surprising that he didn’t get any coverage around Age of Ultron.  Whatever the case, he’s here now, based on his classic blue and white attire.  The figure stands 6 1/4 inches tall and he has 34 points of articulation.  Quicksilver is built on the ANAD 2099 body, which isn’t necessarily ideal.  I mean, it’s okay in theory, but not quite in practice.  I like this body’s posability, and general build, but the narrower shoulders compared to other bodies make scaling on the head a much more delicate art, and they just missed it with this guy.  His head’s just a tad too large for the body, which results in Quicksilver looking rather cartoony and goofy, at least in most poses.  Placed on something like the Bucky Cap body, it actually looks okay, so I wonder if they originally intended to build him that way.  I do like the head on its own; it captures that arrogance that only Pietro Maximoff can pull off, and the hair’s been translated in a pretty realistic, not super crazy fashion.  Quicksilver’s paint ends up as the weakest in the set, though that’s largely just my figure.  The base work is fine, and I particularly dig the slightly pearlescent finish on the boots and gloves.  However, my figure’s got some pretty serious slop on the lightning detailing on his front.  It’s pretty distracting, and hopefully this isn’t a widespread issue.  Pietro is packed with two pairs of hands in fists and flat-handed poses.

SCARLET WITCH

Wanda’s gotten some pretty good toy coverage recently, no doubt because of her breakaway success in the movies.  We haven’t gotten a comics-based release of her since the Allfather Series in 2015, and I actually liked that figure a lot.  Apart from some minor issues, I really wouldn’t have expected another release.  The theme of the set kind of begs for her inclusion, though, and a more modern variant wouln’t really fit with the other two.  Hasbro took advantage of this opportunity to give us a proper ’80s Scarlet Witch, rather than the slightly amalgamated design we got last time.  The figure stands 6 1/4 inches tall and she has 27 points of articulation.  The majority of the body, as well as the cape of this figure are the same parts used on the Maidens of Might release (though I erroneously referred to them as Moonstone and Emma Frost parts the first time I reviewed them), which is fine, since they were pretty good the first time around.  She swaps out the heeled feet for flat soled ones, fixing my main complaint about that figure, and also swaps out the forearms for Kitty Pryde‘s flared gloves.  It’s all topped off with a brand-new head, which is not only an immense improvement on the old Toy Biz monstrosity, it’s also one of the most attractive female heads that Hasbro’s produced for this line.  The details on the head are crisp and numerous, and I really like how they’ve worked in all of the layers between the hair, headpiece, and face.  Wanda’s paintwork is pretty solid.  At first, I wasn’t sure how I felt about it compared to the prior figure, since the two shades of the costume look rather close, and I didn’t know how the metallics would work out.  In person, I actually think it looks really nice, and I prefer it to the straight red and pink from before.  Additionally, there’s a lot of very nice small detail work on the face, especially on the eyes, just further accenting the already very strong sculpt.  Wanda is packed with the two energy effect pieces introduced with the Infinity War Scarlet Witch, which have the advantage of not being super over-used yet.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I’ve been waiting for a classic Magneto pretty much since the line relaunched, and as much as I liked last year’s figure, I knew I wanted this one as soon as he was shown off.  The other two were really just along for the ride when I jumped on the preorder as soon as it went up.  I sort of forgot about them, if I’m honest, and after dropping a lot of money on two new series of figures two weekends ago, the last thing I thought I needed was more Legends. Then I got notification that these shipped, and boom, three more.  Magneto’s awesome, no doubt.  Definitely the definitive take on the figure, and I wouldn’t be shocked if he gets singled out for his own release later down the line.  Quicksilver is the real weak link of the set for me.  The body choice doesn’t work, and the paint issues just make things worse.  He’s not awful, but he could be better.  The real surprise for me is the one figure in the set I didn’t think I needed at all: Scarlet Witch.  Not only is she just an unquestionably superior figure to the last comics release, she’s also just my favorite part of the set, no doubt.

#2090: Ultra Magnus

ULTRA MAGNUS

TRANSFORMERS: COMBINER WARS (HASBRO)

The legend of Ultra Magnus is exceeded only by the legend of Optimus Prime. When Ultra Magnus was lost, the forces of justice would not let a warrior of his caliber fall. Minimus Ambus, using the power of his rare loadbearer spark, enables Ultra Magnus to fight on.”

As I am doing my very best to become a respectable Transformers fan, I’m working on doing what a respectable fan must do: picking out favorites.  There was no denying that Soundwave was my undisputed favorite Decepticon, because, I mean, look at him.  I mean, that dude’s just pretty cool, right?  But what of the Autobots?  There were a few potential choices, but I just can’t help but really dig Ultra Magnus.  He appeals to my ingrained dislike of main characters by checking off a lot of the boxes that Optimus does, while at the same time *not* being the actual main character.  He also has a tendency to get some pretty darn cool toys, even if they often start off as Optimus reworks.  Additionally, his Siege figure was really the one that sold me on the line as a whole, so I’m definitely developing a somewhat sentimental beat for the guy.  And what does Ethan do with characters he likes?  That’s right, he buys all of the toys.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Ultra Magnus was the Wave 3 Leader Class release from Tranformers: Combiner Wars.  Combiner Wars, the first part of the “Prime Wars” trilogy, was unsurprisingly built around a combining gimmick.  That said, the Leader Class figures actually weren’t designed around said gimmick, so Magnus is really a stand-alone release.  Though clearly G1-inspired, Magnus takes more direct inspiration from his design from IDW’s retelling of the G1-verse.  In his robot mode, Magnus stands about 8 1/4 inches tall and he has 25 points of articulation.  He’s got more points of articulation than his Siege counterpart, but I ultimately found him to be slightly stiffer than that figure, largely due to his lack of movement at the waist and wrists.  Additionally, while the articulated fingers are cool, they don’t work out quite as well as you’d hope; getting them to grip his included weapons is rather difficult, and definitely not going to be a long-term thing, unless you find some way to affix them.  At the very least, some pegs on the insides of the hands to hold things in place would have been a nice fix.  While Magnus’s original figure (and his Siege update) had his main look as the result of armor clipped overtop of an all white Optimus-style bot, this figure instead just streamlines it into a single bot-mode…mostly.  I’ll get to that in a second.  The bot mode is a little sleeker than the Siege figure, mostly because it’s not the result of a lot of clip on parts.  Though not as boxy, he’s still quite boxy, though, as you would expect for the character.  He’s directly based on Nick Roche’s design for the character, which is itself drawing more directly from Magnus’s animated appearance.  For instance, his “eyes” are lenses, something not present on the Siege figure.  It’s a different look, and I definitely can dig it.  This figure ends up being about an inch taller than the Siege figure, but in order to facilitate this, he has to cheat some plastic use, resulting in some hollow spots.  The most notable ones are in the legs.  The backs are exposed, but otherwise not a huge issue.  The lower legs fold up to hide the hollowness, but have a tendency to pop apart, which can be a little frustrating.  I definitely prefer Siege‘s solid construction.  That being said, there’s one area where this figure’s hollow nature plays to his favor.  In the IDW series, they referenced Magnus’s inner-robot mode by revealing that the real Magnus had died some time back, and his name was subsequently carried on by a number of other bots, wearing Magnus armor.  The longest-serving replacement was Minimus Ambus, and this figure rounds out the IDW-reference by including a small Minimus Ambus figure, who stands 2 1/2 inches tall and has 6 points of articulation.  He can be placed in the empty chest cavity of the figure for the full effect, which is actually pretty cool.

Magnus’s alt-mode is a truck and trailer, a fairly classic choice for the character.  The transformation between the two modes is actually not too complicated, and I didn’t even have to consult any instructions to get him to the end result, so I’d say that’s a pretty good design implementation.  The final product isn’t a bad looking vehicle, though if you want to get into the relative scaling of everything, it’s worth noting that the trailer portion of the vehicle would stand roughly seven stories tall were it a real life vehicle.  I’m not sure how inconspicuous that would be, but then again, he’s a bright red, white, and blue truck with missile pods and two guns mounted on the back.  He may not be the best infiltrator just in general.  Minimus (who can’t remain in the main bot during the transformation) has an alt-mode as well, which is an even simpler transformation than the main bot.  He turns into a small car, which has a definite sci-fi bend to it, and is actually pretty cool.  In addition to the smaller Minimus figure, Magnus includes two blasters and two missile pods, which can also be combined into a pretty sweet looking hammer for Magnus to hold.  Additionally, thanks to the way his armor is implemented on his wrists, he can also hold the hammer a little more securely than he can the guns individually, making it by far the superior weapon choice.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I’m less and less able to blame Max for my Transformers purchases.  I tried with this one, but he’s put in an official bid to reject it, so I guess he gets a pass.  In all of my research when I was reviewing the Siege Magnus, I came across this guy and thought he was pretty cool, and that I might like to track him down eventually.  Well, instead, he tracked me down.  Two large Transformers collections were traded into All Time Toys, and this Magnus was contained in one of them, so home with me he came.  As purely an action figure, the Siege version’s definitely superior, but there’s a lot I dig about this guy, and there’s enough to differentiate the two versions that I don’t feel so bad having them both in my collection.  Of course, now I want even more Ultra Magnuses, so that’s probably going to become my new thing.

As noted above, Magnus was purchased from my sponsors at All Time Toys.  If you’re looking for Transformers, or other toys both old and new, please check out their website and their eBay storefront.

#2089: White Ranger

WHITE RANGER

POWER RANGERS: THE LIGHTNING COLLECTION (HASBRO)

Since it’s arrival on US shores in the mid-90s, Power Rangers merch has been produced by Bandai, who are generally the go-to for Japanese media that gets imported.  They’ve been doing that thing for like two decades, but admittedly started to falter as Power Rangers‘ reach grew outside of its original, younger demographic.  Bandai, or their American component at least, has never been one for the more collector’s oriented side of the toy world.  You know who’s actually pretty good at that, though?  Hasbro.  And Hasbro really wanted to make Power Rangers toys, apparently, and decided that the easiest way to facilitate that was to buy Power Rangers.  Not the license, the brand.  They officially took over at the beginning of the year, with their first products being for the latest incarnation of the show.  The big exciting thing, though, is their go at a collector’s line, dubbed The Lightning Collection.  I’ll be looking at my first figure from the line, the White Ranger, or, if you’re my drunk best friend, the White Ragnar.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

The White Ranger is the first of four figures in Series 1 of The Lightning Collection.  He’s clearly designed as the natural pairing to the Lord Zedd figure also featured in this same assortment.  The figure stands a little over 6 inches tall and he has 34 points of articulation.  The Lightning Collection is designed as a counterpart to Hasbro’s Star Wars: The Black Series and Marvel Legends lines, so it’s scaled pretty similarly, kind of bridging the gap between the two of them.  But more importantly than that, let’s discuss the scaling relative to other Power Rangers lines.  The Figuarts and Legacy offerings were on opposite sides of the rather nebulous 6-inch scale, and kind of both off on their own.  This line definitely scales a lot closer to Figuarts.  They’re a little taller, but it’s close enough scaling that it’ll work more or less.  At the very least, this version of Tommy will fit in alright with the Figuarts releases of the main five Mighty Morphin’ guys.  Like the scaling, the styling of this figure’s sculpt falls somewhat between the two prior collectors lines.  While he’s definitely got a little more bulk to him than the Figuarts stuff, he’s nowhere near as crazy buff as the Legacy stuff was.  It’s actually a rather nice happy medium, and I think my favorite styling so far.  The sculpt on this figure is all-new, of course, and a pretty strong recreation of his design from the show, in a pretty realistic fashion.  The details aren’t quite as crisp as the Figuarts stuff, but that’s largely due to the slightly more rubbery plastic, which ultimately makes the figure feel a lot sturdier than those guys did.  I do miss the ability to remove the holster on the belt, like you could on the Figuarts, but beyond that, I like it a lot.  The White Ranger’s paintwork is decent overall, but I did encounter a number of issues from figure to figure when I was looking through them.  I picked the best of the bunch, and he still has a few issues, so there’s definitely some flaws to be had.  Overall, though, the issues I encountered were all pretty minor; I was just being picky.  The White Ranger was packed with two sets of hands, one in fists, the other in a karate chop/gripping combo, as well as his Saba Sword, an effect piece for the sword, and an un-helmeted Tommy head.  That’s quite an impressive accessory compliment, and I hope Hasbro can keep this up for future offerings.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I passed on the Figuarts White Ranger when he was released, so there was this White Ranger-shaped whole in my Power Rangers line-up.  I sort of filled in that spot with the 20th Anniversary Movie White Ranger, but it wasn’t quite the same.  When this guy was on the list for the first line-up, I was actually pretty excited and I’ve been waiting for this line to hit.  After being kind of let-down by the Legacy Collection, I wasn’t quite sure what to expect from these, but I gotta say, I’m really happy with the end result.  He’s a little sturdier than a Figurarts, which makes him a lot more playable, but at the same time, he scales pretty well with them, meaning there’s less of a need to rebuy everything again.

I grabbed the White Ranger from All Time Toys, where he’s still available here.  If your looking for other Legends or other toys both old and new, please check out their website and their eBay storefront.

#2088: Molten Man

MOLTEN MAN

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

Compared to some of the others in this line-up, Molten Man is actually a pretty old foe.  He first appeared just two years into the original book’s run, and sort of followed the flow of fairly straight gimmick characters.  That said, he’s never majorly taken off as a character and has a tendency to sort of go away for long periods of time.  He’s also not generally been very prominent in much of the off-shoot media, though his name at least was used for the fire elemental in the build-up to Far From Home.  Said elemental also serves as the central Build-A-Figure for the latest round of Legends.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Molten Man is, unsurprisingly, the Build-A-Figure for the “Molten Man Series” of Marvel Legends.  As noted in the intro, he’s not the classic Molten Man, but rather the movie’s re-imagining of him.  Where Mysterio stuck pretty close, Molten Man is more monstrous than usual, so slotting him in as his comics-equivalent seems unlikely to work, unless you’re game for a very different take on the character.  The figure stands 7 1/2 inches tall and he has 30 points of articulation.  Molten Man’s sculpt is a brand-new offering, and a pretty in-depth affair.  By far my favorite piece is the head, which has this really awesome melted look to it, while still keeping his face rather expressive.  The rest of the body continues the fluid, melting appearance pretty well, though it maybe doesn’t work quite as well over larger surfaces.  I do like the melting girders sticking out of his arms, though.  Unlike a lot of Legends, Molten Man is definitely sculpted with a particular pose in mind; he’s meant to be slumped over and leaning on his left side, in sort of an ape like posture.  It works pretty well, and still leaves some room for variance, even if all of the poses still kind of center on one main posture.  The paintwork on Molten Man has its ups and downs.  The torso is the best, being molded in clear plastic, with the gold  being applied over top.  This makes him look like he’s being lit from within in the right set-up, but is unfortunately not carried through to the rest of the parts, where the gold is the base coat, with orange detailing painted over.  It doesn’t look horrible, but it’s not quite as impressive, especially when lit.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Molten Man is another character I don’t have a ton of attachment to, movie or comic-wise, so I wasn’t beating down the door to complete him.  That said, I did think he looked okay in the shots I’d seen.  In hand, I quite like this figure.  He’s a nicely crafted piece, and just a solid big monster baddie. I see this guy being pretty versatile in a display.  He’s definitely one of my favorite Build-A-Figures of the year so far.

Molten Man serves as a nice central point to another surprising assortment from Hasbro.  While I won’t deny there were a few figures that left me slightly cold (namely Stealth Spidey and the Doppleganger), there were far more figures that were a pleasant surprise.  There’s a strong basic Spider-Man, a fantastic new figure for a slightly lesser villain, two great movie villains, and serviceable updates of two more classic characters. Definitely a strong assortment.

 

#2087: Scorpion

SCORPION

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

“In order to track down Spider-Man, Mac Gargan undergoes an experimental procedure to fuse his body with an animal, becoming the super-powered criminal, Scorpion.”

Contrary to popular belief (i.e. Tim), this guy is *not* a Mortal Kombat character, nor does he have a chain, or a skeleton face, and at no point does Ed Boon lean in and say “that’s toasty” when he does that thing.  I can’t stress enough, that’s not this guy.  He’s a different guy.  The Mortal Kombat guy, for instance, wears yellow, where as this guy favors green.  There are other differences as well, but that’s the big one.  Anyway, here’s a look at this decidedly not MK-based Scorpion figure.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Scorpion is figure 6 in the Molten Man Series of Marvel Legends.  He is the final figure needed to complete the Molten Man Build-A-Figure, and is Scorpion’s very first time as a Legend proper, since his Toy Biz figure was part of Spider-Man Classics.  It was also released quite a long time ago, and Scorpion’s a prominent enough character that an update was definitely in order.  The figure stands 6 1/2 inches tall and he has 32 points of articulation, plus a bendable tail.  Scorpion is technically built on the Spider-UK body, but only technically; the only actual UK parts used here are the boots and the pelvis.  Everything else is all-new.  The build is a little skinnier than I tend to think of for Scorpion, but given the generally classic nature of this figure, it’s not all that off.  I definitely appreciate that the sculpted nature of the bands, much like I enjoyed the quilted pattern on last year’s Mysterio.  These are details that could be left off, and previously have been, but they took the extra effort, and that’s defintiely cool.  The only part I’m not super crazy about is the tail, and in Hasbro’s defense, apart from going through the very expensive process of segmenting the whole tail, there’s not much they could do.  I just find the bendable nature to be tricky to work with, as it’s not quite as mobile as I might like.  I suppose it’s an improvement to the static arms like we got with Doc Ock.  Scorpion’s color work is pretty decent, but it does have one issue that a lot of fans aren’t liking.  They’ve gone with the first appearance look for the mask, meaning the bottom of his face is painted green, rather than giving him the cowl-like appearance he would end up sporting later.  While I don’t mind it so much myself, I do feel like an extra head, even just the same head with the second color-styling, would have been the best option.  As it stands, Scorpion has no actual accessories of his own, though he does get the right leg of Molten Man.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I don’t know why, but I’ve really never had a huge affinity for Scorpion, so I don’t actually have all than many of his figures from over the years.  I didn’t pick up the old Classics figure, so there’s been this Scorpion-shaped hole in my 6-inch Spider-Man collection.  Since I was picking up the rest of the set, he was sort of along for the ride.  He’s a decent enough figure, though I can’t say he’s changed my opinion on the character all that much.

#2086: Spider-Woman

SPIDER-WOMAN

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

“Julia Carpenter becomes an ally of Spider-Man and the Avengers after she is given spider-powered abilities by a secret government experiment.”

So, last year, I returned from my fourth of July review to a set of Spider-Man-themed Marvel Legends with a review of a Spider-Woman figure…and I’m doing that again.  What are the odds?  To be fair, while the codename’s the same, this is a distinct character from last year, specifically the Spider-Woman of the ’80s and ’90s, Julia Carpenter!  Though she’s faded into relative obscurity these days, Julia was a somewhat prominent character for a while there, and even became a member of the Avengers before her predecessor, as well as netting a pretty sweet supporting role in the ’90s Iron Man cartoon, where she was for all intents and purposes merged with Pepper Potts.  After the ’90s, her toy luck wasn’t so great, though, and she’s mostly been relagated to being a quick variant whenever Jessica Drew gets a figure.  Not the case today, though.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Spider-Woman is figure 5 in the Molten Man Series of Marvel Legends, and is the penultimate figure needed to complete the Build-A-Figure.  She’s the most loosely Spider-Man-related of the figures included, bit is still a slightly better fit than Jessica Drew was last year.  She’s wearing her classic costume, which is really the only way to go, as it’s by far her most striking.  The figure stands 6 inches tall and she has 27 points of articulation.  Spider-Woman’s built on the Phoenix body, which is a solid choice for the character, especially since the two characters even shared parts back in the 5-inch line in the ’90s.  She gets a new head sculpt, which isn’t a bad match for her ’80s appearances.  It’s also distinctly different from both Jessica Drews, which is more than can be said for a lot of Julia’s figures.  Julia’s paintwork is actually some quite solid work.  The costume is a nice, stark black and white, which has very sharply defined lines that all work very well.  On the flipside, the hair actually has a lot of accent work going on, which was something of a surprise to see, but definitely a pleasant one.  Spider-Woman is packed with an extra hand with a web attached to it.  The actual web is slightly purple and iridescent, which is a nice change from the basic Spidey webs.  Spider-Woman also includes the torso of the Molten Man Build-A-Figure.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Pretty much everything I know about this character comes from the Iron Man cartoon.  In the comics, I’ve never had a huge attachment, so I’ve not really gotten many of her prior figures.  I can certainly appreciate her design, though, and after two versions of Jessica, finally getting an update to Julia is definitely nice.  This is a solid figure, and probably the best the character’s ever gotten.

I purchased Spider-Woman from All Time Toys, who set me up with this whole set to review.  If your looking for other Legends or other toys both old and new, please check out their website and their eBay storefront.

#2085: Captain America

CAPTAIN AMERICA

AVENGERS: UNITED THEY STAND (TOY BIZ)

“One of the original members of the Avengers, Steve Rogers – better known as Captain America – has always been the ultimate Wielding Soldier. Wearing the patriotic colors of the American flag, and wielding his trusty shield, he fights alongside his teammates in the name of truth and justice.”

Well, this isn’t a Spider-Man review.  What gives?  Fear not, dear readers, the Molten Man series reviews will return tomorrow,  but I’m taking a slight detour in honor of Steve Rogers’ birthday, July 4th!  Oh, also it’s some American holiday as well.  Whatever the case, I’m taking a look at a Captain America figure, because that’s how I do.  In the ’90s, Captain America figures were nowhere near as plentiful as they are now, and somewhat astoundingly, Toy Biz’s huge 5-inch line only spawned five figures of him over the course of the whole decade.  Today, I’m looking at one that just barely squeaked in under the radar in 1999, as part of the tie-in line for Avengers: United They Stand.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Captain America was part of the first series of the Avengers: United They Stand line (though, like other Toy Biz tie-in lines from the same time, both Series 1 and 2 hit shelves simultaneously).  Though not a series regular in the cartoon, Cap did have a prominent guest star appearance, and would have been joined by fellow guest star Iron Man had Series 3 ever been produced.  The figure stands 5 3/4 inches tall and he has 9 points of articulation.  If the sculpt on this guy looks familiar, it’s because I’ve looked at most of it before.  In a line otherwise made up of entirely new sculpts, Cap re-used the body of the Electro Spark Cap from the ’90s Spider-Man line.  Sort of an interesting choice, since it didn’t really match Cap’s design from the show, and all of the packaging actually showed the Marvel Vs Capcom Cap instead.  As I noted the first time I reviewed the sculpt, It’s quite large and exaggerated, which does make him look rather goofy.  He gets a new head and an Avengers belt buckle to differentiate him.  The head is a decent enough piece, and certainly feels more like your usual Captain America than the Electro Spark one, but it’s also really small, especially when compared to the body.  This only furthers the body’s proportion issues.  Cap’s paintwork is actually quite bright and eye-catching, and an improvement over the prior use of this mold.  There are some minor issues with bleed-over, but they’re as prefaced: minor.  Cap was packed with his usual shield, once again saddled with a gimmick, but this time not one that total destroys the aesthetics.  It’s just got a little magnet imbedded on one side, which triggers an “explosion” on the included droid accessory, where part of it pops out.  It never worked super well, but it also didn’t really ruin the figure, so I can’t complain.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

The United They Stand figures were pretty hard to find when they were released, so I got them as I found them.  Cap was nearer the end of my completion of the set, fourth to last.  I found him on a trip with my parents to a Kmart, which was sort of out of the ordinary for us.  It also marked an important change in my collecting, as my parents both tried to assure me that I pretty much already had this figure.  They were right, but still bought the figure for me, starting me down a path of buying nearly identical variants of the characters I like.

#2084: Spider-Man Doppleganger

SPIDER-MAN DOPPLEGANGER

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

Man, can you believe we’re still getting Infinity War tie-ins?  What’s that?  Wrong Infinity War?  Right.  Yes, believe it or not, the title “Infinity War” was not originally attached to Thanos’ quest to gain the Infinity Gauntlet (that was, wait for it, “Infinity Gauntlet”), but was instead a follow-up story centered on Magus, Adam Warlock’s evil alternate persona.  Over the course of the story, Magus created evil duplicates for most of Marvel’s major heroes, including good ol’ Spidey.  Spidey’s Doppleganger stuck around longer than the others (because they didn’t have enough evil Spider-Man equivalents) and actually found his way into a few other stories from around the time, including “Maximum Carnage.”  He’s not the most prevalent character to show up as a toy, but he’s got a few under his belt, and now he’s got a Marvel Legend.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

The Spider-Man Doppleganger is figure four in the Molten Man Series of Marvel Legends.  He’s the second comic figure, and Doppleganger’s third figure overall*.  The figure stands 6 1/4 inches tall and has 58 points of articulation.  He’s constructed pretty heavily out of re-used parts, primarily being made from the body of the Kingpin Series’ 6-Armed Spider-Man.  He inherits that figure’s articulation issues on the torso, since no changes have been made to the mold, but at this point I’ve made my piece with it.  He gets a new head, two sets of new hands, and new feet, as well as swapping out the bare secondary arms of the Spidey for the fully sleeved main arms.  The final creation is a decent offering, but definitely comes in a lot smaller and scrawnier than Doppleganger is usually depicted.  There’s a degree of artistic license I suppose, and obviously Hasbro wanted to quickly get a second use out of the new molds.  Also, a slight oddity is that the new head, hands, and feet all have raised weblines (like last year’s Spider-Ham), in contrast to the rest of the body.  It doesn’t stand out terribly in person, but the lighting for the photos really brings it out.  Doppleganger gets a noticeably darker colorscheme than Spidey did, which actually does him some favors when it comes to those unpainted weblines.  I’d still really prefer they were painted, but I’ve made my piece with it.  Everything else is pretty decent, and I particularly like the pearlescent finish on the eyes.  Doppleganger has no character-specific extras (I’m not really sure what he could have gotten), but he does include the right arm of the Molten Man Build-a-Figure.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

There was speculation of Doppleganger as soon as 6-Armed Spidey showed up, but I was really surprised by this guy’s presence just one assortment later.  For all of the prior figure’s flaws, I ultimately was quite happy with him, and marked him as a pleasant surprise in his assortment.  Doppleganger I’m not so sure about.  He’s not awful, but he’s really tiny, and still has all the issues from the last figure.  Ultimately, I think he may have been better served as a Build-A-Figure with a unique sculpt, but that’s not how it played out.  As it stands, he’s one of the two weakest entries in a generally pretty strong line-up, so he makes out alright.

I purchased Doppleganger from All Time Toys, who set me up with this whole set to review.  If your looking for other Legends or other toys both old and new, please check out their website and their eBay storefront.

*Interestingly enough, this isn’t the first time that Doppleganger and Hydro-Man have been part of the same assortment.  They both made their toy debuts in the “Spider Wars” series of Toy Biz’s ’90s Spider-Man line.

#2083: Hydro-Man

HYDRO-MAN

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

The last time I reviewed a Hydro-Man figure, I discussed his nature as sort of a poor-man’s Sandman.  He wasn’t necessarily meant to be one, but that’s definitely where he tends to find himself, especially when it comes to other forms of media outside of the comics.  His biggest claim to fame was definitely courtesy of his stint on Spider-Man: The Animated Series, where he was really only featured because Sandman was off-limits.  By the time lines like Marvel Legends came along, Sandman found his way back into the spotlight, and poor Hydro-Man was back to playing second fiddle.  Fortunately things seem to be turning around, especially depending on how Far From Home plays out for him.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Hydro-Man is figure 3 in the Molten Man Series of Marvel Legends.  He’s the first comic-based figure from the set, though he was undoubtedly chosen due to the character’s presence in the upcoming movie.  Unlike his last 6-inch figure (from more than a decade ago), this figure actually puts Hydro-Man in his classic black t-shirt and jeans combo, which is a good start.  He stands 6 1/2 inches tall and he has 30 points of articulation.  The arms are a little restricted, especially at the elbows, but he’s otherwise quite posable and nowhere near as badly restricted as prior Hydro-Men.  The arms are actually some of the small handful of new pieces this guy gets, along with his head.  The rest of the figure is re-used from last year’s Netflix Luke Cage.  It was heavily rumored that those parts would be making their way onto a Hydro-Man, so nobody is super shocked to see that pay off here.  It’s worth noting that it’s a good fit for Hydro-Man, who is classically depicted as large, but not supernaturally so.  I was a little worried that there might be an attempt to re-use some Sandman pieces for him, which would not have worked at all.  The new parts jibe pretty well with the old, with the arms doing a pretty convincing job of the whole water thing and the head doing a pretty convincing job of the whole smarmy douchebag thing.  Hydro-Man’s paintwork is pretty straightforward, but definitely well-rendered.  It’s clean, and certainly hits all the major points.  He’s packed with two water effects pieces, which clip over his feet in much the same way as the parts included with the comics-styled Mysterio last year, and are a slightly better solution than the immobile lower half we tend to see.  Hydro-Man is also packed with the head to the BaF Molten Man.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I have an unabashed love for Hydro-Man, so I’ve been waiting for him to get decent Legends treatment for quite a while.  I was never big on his more “costumed” appearance, and was definitely happy to see this figure show up when this line-up was announce.  I think this figure turned out very well, and he’s easily the best Hydro-Man figure ever released.  He’s maybe not the most essential Spidey foe, but he’s still a very good figure.

I purchased Hydro-Man from my friends at All Time Toys.  If you’re interested in buying Marvel Legends figures, or are looking for other cool toys both old and new, please check out their website and their eBay Store.