#2795: Mr. Hyde

MR. HYDE

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

NOTE: This review was written before June 6th.

So, you know how I was talking about the lack of staying power behind the various Shang-Chi supporting players?  Well, that’s kind of coming to a head here, because for the assortment that is arguably supposed to be a Shang-Chi assortment, rather than getting a Shang-Chi related Build-A-Figure, we instead get Mr. Hyde.  Mr. Hyde isn’t actually the character from Robert Luis Stevenson’s literary tale, but is rather Calvin Zabo, someone who just models himself after Stevenson’s character.  He began as a Thor villain, but did the usual Marvel thing of getting passed around a bit, ultimately rattling around in the background of the Marvel universe for a while.  He also appeared on Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., portrayed by Kyle MacLachlan, which was pretty cool.  Be it in comics, or in other medium, I don’t know that he’s ever directly interacted with Shang-Chi, but his multi-purpose appeal does help somewhat there.  Maybe they’ll run into each other some time in the future.  But now he’s finally got an action figure, so that’s cool.  Let’s have a look at it.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Mr. Hyde is the Build-A-Figure for the latest set of Marvel Legends, which was designed to be a tie-in with Shang-Chi, but, again, direct ties are limited here.  The figure stands about 8 inches tall and he has 27 points of articulation.  Design wise, he’s a slightly more modern Hyde, based on his look from his stint in Thunderbolts, as well as his look from the Avengers Alliance game.  It’s a fairly evergreen design, and kind of ties him more into those literary roots.  He’s got quite a number of parts in common with the Joe Fixit figure, which was somewhat anticipated when that figure was shown off.  It’s a big guy in a suit, so it makes sense.  He uses the lower half and arms from that figure, with his own head, hands, and torso.  The new pieces do a good job of converting him into the intended design, and the head and hands in particular are quite expressive.  I also really dig the little touches, such as the suspenders beneath his coat and vest, in a spot where no one’s ever really going to see them.  The paint work on Mr. Hyde is generally pretty straight forward.  The greens are mostly just molded, but it’s a good shade that matches well with his usual coloring.  The work on the hands and head is pretty impressive, with some subtle work on the accenting to give him that slightly hairier appearance.  It helps with making him look even more monstrous.  I’m not quite sure about the eyes; the pupils seem maybe a little too large?  I don’t know, I typically don’t think of him having the pupils at all, so it’s all weird territory for me.  Not that it’s inaccurate, mind you, just not my personal preferred look.  Though he’s a Build-A-Figure, and accessories aren’t standard for them, Mr. Hyde is nonetheless armed with his cane, which is cool, because he’d feel a bit incomplete without it, honestly.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

My familiarity with Mr. Hyde largely stems from his time with the Thunderbolts, which was also the same run that gave me a big appreciation for Boomerang, so I was definitely down for this figure.  I was kind of expecting him after Kingpin and Fixit gave us bulked up suit bodies, and he’s a welcome addition to the line.  The figure’s pretty fun.  I do kind of wish he had the blanked out eyes, or maybe they could have done two different heads, for extra options like on a few of the other recent BaFs.  Whatever the case, he’s still a solid offering as-is.

This assortment was a weird experience for me, due to the whole bit of not actually knowing much about it going in.  Hyde as the Build-A-Figure definitely helped to sell me on grabbing the whole set, which was ultimately for the best, because there are some nice figures included within.  It’s hard to say how the set’s going to do in the longer run, because the movie figures are still a bit of a mystery with only the one trailer to go on.  In terms of ranking, the non-movie ones did more for me at this junction.  Civil Warrior was definitely my personal favorite, with Tony and Hyde being close behind.  Xialing was my favorite of the movie figures, though Wenwu was pretty solid too.  Shang-Chi is okay, but that killer comic version from last year’s hard to top.  Death Dealer’s the only one in the set I didn’t really get much out of.  Perhaps the movie will change my opinion on that.

#2794: Tony Stark – A.I.

TONY STARK — A.I.

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

NOTE: This review was written before June 6th.

“After a tragic battle, Tony Stark lives on in digital form as a hologram at the helm of a high-powered robotic suit of armor.”

It’s time to bring back Tony Stark to life!  …yuck, okay, sorry guys, I can’t let that grammatical monstrosity stand.  It’s just…wrong.  Sure is a good thing that it’s only here on my website, and no one’s spent serious money on placing it on a billboard or something.  That would be super embarrassing.  Moving on.  So, following his body going comatose, Tony Stark’s consciousness continued on as an A.I. for a bit, mostly serving as an assistant to Riri Williams’ Iron Heart, but occasionally “suiting up” on his own and occupying a more classic Iron Man armor.  One of things is more inherently toy-etic than the other, which is why we’re looking at an armored up A.I. Tony figure today!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Tony Stark (A.I.) is figure 6 in the Mr. Hyde Series of Marvel Legends.  He’s the second non-Shang-Chi figure in the line-up, and the last single-packed figure in the set.  While Iron Man classically doesn’t have much to do with Shang-Chi, he *is* the Mandarin’s usual nemesis, so there’s at least a little bit of a tie there.  Certainly more of one than there was for Civil Warrior, and honestly, it’s more sensible than the other Iron Men we’ve gotten shoved into unrelated movie assortments.  The figure stands 6 1/2 inches tall and he has 32 points of articulation.  From a structural stand-point, this guy’s mostly a parts re-use from the 80th Iron Man, which is fairly sensible, given that the A.I. occupied a replica of Tony’s classic armor.  It’s honestly the best sculpt Hasbro’s produced for an Iron Man, and the definitive take on the classic armor, so it’s a solid choice.  Right out of the box, he’s not sporting the helmeted head, since they want to show off the hologram set-up.  So, he’s got an all-new unmasked head, designed to replicate the slightly more modern Tony that the A.I. was patterned after.  It’s a nice piece, and is quite distinctly different from other unmasked Tonys.  It’s not really my brand of Tony, personally, but it’s accurate to the source material.  He’s also got the standard classic helmeted head from the 80th figure, which was certainly the best head from that set.  The major change-up for this release is color scheme.  While the 80th figure was going for more of an Alex Ross-inspired, darker colored and metallic scheme, this one is done in flat colors.  It gives us a nice, more comic-styled red and yellow color scheme.  There’s a slightly more modernized aspect to it, with the blue for the eyes, mouth, and arc reactor, but otherwise, it feels very classic 70s.  I really like the new color scheme, and it does the sculpt a lot of justice.  In addition to having the two heads I mentioned previously, Tony also includes the two sets of hands from the 80th release, as well as a pair of repulser effects, done up in blue to match the holo head.  Also included is the right leg of the Mr. Hyde Build-A-Figure.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

As much as I loved the three 80th Avengers (and believe me, I did love them), the one thing I did notice about all three was how subdued the colors were.  I’ve been hoping to see some slightly more classically colored repaints.  Iron Man’s a good proof of concept on that, without being a straight re-release.  The colors really pop on this figure, and add a new life to him.  I genuinely don’t know which of the two I prefer, and that’s kind of a dilemma for me…

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.

We’ll Meet Again

I haven’t talked much, if at all, about this here on the site, but the last year has been perhaps harder for me than it has for others.  On top of battling the same pandemic that just about everyone else in the world has been facing, for the last year Super Awesome Wife, aka Jessica, and I have been fighting an even more personal battle.  In June of last year, after going in for treatment on a strange lump, Jessica was officially diagnosed with endodermal sinus cancer of the vulva, or yolk-sac vulva cancer.  It’s a particularly rare, particularly aggressive, form of germ cell cancer.  Since last June, Jess has bee going through a number of treatments, in the hope of getting things under control.  Unfortunately, last month, we discovered that the cancer had moved from its original location in Jess’s groin, into her lungs.  Yesterday, after a very hard week in the hospital, Jess passed away in her sleep, at 25 years old.

In preparation for this event, I have been doing a lot of advance writing.  There are 23 reviews already written, which will be posted daily for the next 23 days.  After that, I hope to keep writing more, but I genuinely don’t know.  But right now, I want to talk about my wonderful relationship with my Super Awesome Wife, Jessica Lynn Headlee.

Jess and I met in the summer of 2013, at the sci-fi convention Shore Leave.  She was working as a time keeper for the panels, and I was there as a plus one for my dad, who was attending as an author guest.  We were introduced by a mutual friend, and were infatuated with each other almost immediately.  After spending that entire weekend together, we exchanged contact information, and began texting on a near daily basis, separated at the time by a roughly six hour drive.

During those early days of texting, we got to know a lot about each other, and my hobby of collecting action figures was a topic that came up, almost by accident one night, when I mentioned I was updating my database with some new pieces.  This led to the inevitable question: “how many do you have?”  I was, admittedly, embarrassed by the answer, which was at the time just a few shy of 2400 pieces.  I went vague, answering “a lot.”  “A lot’s not a number,” came the reply, “what’s the actual number?”  So, I figured I might as well be honest, and I told her the exact number.  Her response changed my life: “That’s not that many, and I’ll fight anyone who thinks it is.”

Before Jess, I was always embarrassed by my collection.  It brought me joy on my own, but I sort of hid it from people, because I thought it made me weird.  Jess didn’t see it that way in the slightest.  More than that, she loved it.  She asked more questions about what figures I had, asked for updates if I got new ones, and asked if I ever did anything cool with them.  I had just started taking photos of them, and she asked if I ever did anything with those.  She even wanted me to send her photos of them occasionally.  Her full support of my hobby was a major part of the confidence boost that got me to actually launch this site, and she was a faithful reader during those long-distance days.  We would officially become a couple in December of 2013, and that was when she really doubled down on the support, going so far as to buy me *more* figures, a completely insane concept to me at the time.

Jess and I moved in together in the fall of 2016, after deciding the long-distance thing was getting to be too stressful for both of us, and that we wanted to see each other more than a single weekend per month.  Being around me and my collection on the regular didn’t slow down Jess’s desire to support my hobby.  In fact, it rather sped it up, and even got her to start amassing quite a collection of her own.  We started to collect certain things jointly, and she even started writing reviews of her own.  She would also add her own commentary to my reviews, point out which figures she liked most, and even tell me what silly nickname a certain figure was to have in a review.

In the last year, with restrictions due to the pandemic, we had periods of not being able to see each other.  She had a selection of her own figures (actually an entire collection of Ratchets, to serve as her own little medical team), which she would take with her.  I was also to send her photos of new additions while she was gone, and to talk to her about them in great detail when we spoke on the phone.  It was important to her to remain as invested as possible, and she truly did.  She made me feel supported.  She made me feel valid.  She made me feel loved, unconditionally.  She was one of the most amazing people I ever knew, or will ever know.  She had a capacity for love and an excitement for life that I don’t believe has an equal.  And she was a fighter up until the very end.  But now, she is finally at peace, and is suffering no more.  She was my very favorite person, and my very best friend.  She was truly Super Awesome.  And there are no words to describe how very much I am going to miss her.  But I know we’ll meet again, some sunny day.

#2793: Civil Warrior

CIVIL WARRIOR

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

“In an alternate Earth ravaged by civil war, Captain America assumes the mantle of Civil Warrior.”

If there’s one thing alternate realities have taught us, it’s that Cap’s side winning Civil War always results in him getting some sick-ass armor.  This just furthers that his side was the morally correct one the whole time, because how could you NOT want the sick-ass armor?  In the mobile game, Contest of Champions, Cap actually gives himself a whole new identity upon dawning his armor, the Civil Warrior.  He may fight, but he’s gonna do it very civilly, I guess. And he’s also gonna get a Marvel Legend, because that’s just how he do.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Civil Warrior is figure 5 in the Mr. Hyde Series of Marvel Legends.  He’s one of the two non-Shang-Chi based figures in the assortment, as well as being the only figure in the set under the “Gamerverse” branding.  He definitely feels like something of an odd man out in this assortment, since he’s got no real ties to anything else thematically.  He’s kind of like the Black Bolt and Sub Mariner figures from the Okoye Series in that respect, I guess.  And just like those two figures, I’m not going to complain too much about getting him.  The figure stands 6 1/2 inches tall and he has 32 points of articulation.  Structurally, Civil Warrior is almost identical to the Hydra Supreme figure from 2019.  It’s sensible, since the two designs are just the same apart from colors.  It’s also nice because it was a really nice sculpt to begin with, and I’m happy to see it show up again.  The only change-up to this release is that he reverts back to Taskmaster‘s gripping style hands, instead of the Iron Man hands.  I’m not entirely sure why they made the change, but it’s kind of a lateral move, I suppose.  The largest change-up for this figure is, of course, the color scheme, which is now a more traditionally Captain America-y color scheme, as opposed to the prior Hydra colors.  It’s pretty straight forward, but it looks really nice, and honestly I think it works even better with the sculpt than the Hydra colors did.  The other notable change-up for the figure comes in the form of the shield.  Since Civil Warrior has a more traditional style Cap shield than Hydra Cap, the piece included here reflects that.  It’s an all-new piece, which was admittedly a little bit surprising.  It’s quite a nice piece, and the detailing on the arc reactor is cool.  The shield’s still got the peg for mounting on the figure’s back, but there’s no corresponding spot for it on the figure, which is a little odd.  Also included with this figure is the head to the Mr. Hyde Build-A-Figure.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

In my review of Hydra Supreme, I ended by saying I hoped we might get this recolor of the sculpt.  It took a little bit longer than I’d expected, but that doesn’t make it less cool that we finally got him.  I really liked the Hydra Supreme figure when he hit, but this one does him even better.  The traditional colors really work, and he’s just a lot of fun.  As simple as he is, he’s honestly my favorite figure in the set, because he just does what he does really 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 and their eBay storefront.

#2792: Ishi Tib

ISHI TIB

STAR WARS: POWER OF THE FORCE II (KENNER)

“The Ishi Tib characters come from the planet Tibrin, where they live in the cities built atop coral reefs. Ardent freedom lovers, several Ishi Tibs offered their talents in service to the Rebel Alliance.”

Ah, good, the bio pretty much answers any questions I had.  Well, that sure is convenient.  That’ll do, bio.  That’ll do.  Now, when you look at a character like this, a wonky looking alien, if you will, from the Star Wars universe, most assumptions go to it being from one of two places.  Either it’s a patron of the Mos Eisly Cantina, or one of the hangers on from Jabba’s palace.  This one is, shockingly, from neither of those.  Nope, this one’s instead from the Rebel briefing from Return of the Jedi, which looked to amend the overly human representation of the first two films by adding an assortment of its own wonky looking aliens.  And boom, here’s the Ishi Tib, who are, in fact, a race, and not just one guy.  Obviously.  Ishi Tib’s clearly not a name, you guys.  Why would you think that?

THE FIGURE ITSELF

The Ishi Tib was added to Kenner’s Power of the Force line in 1998.  It was a good year for characters from Jedi‘s Rebel briefing, so the Tibs fit in well with that.  The figure is just shy of 4 inches tall and has 6 points of articulation.  The movement on this figure is somewhat restricted by its design, with the head’s shape limiting what can be done with the neck joint, and the robe piece limiting the arms and legs.  The robe is designed so that it could be removed in theory, I suppose, with slits up the side, and a fully detailed sculpt beneath it.  However, the shaping of the head kind of keeps it stuck in place, unless you want to risk mutilating it.  It’s honestly a pretty nice sculpt, overall, though.  The head in particular holds up, and feels on par with more recent offerings.  I suppose it could use some extra texturing, but ultimately I think all the necessary details are covered.  The paint work on the figure is subtle, but well handled.  The base work is all cleanly applied, and there’s even some slight accenting on the head, which is pretty cool.  The Ishi Tib is packed with a somewhat goofy looking blaster rifle, as well as a Freeze Frame showing a shot of the Rebels all being briefed.  I don’t believe any of the Ishi Tib are actually visible in the shot, but it’s admittedly hard to tell.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I wasn’t really familiar with the Ishi Tib prior to acquiring this figure.  I mean, I knew the general design of them, and all, but I certainly wouldn’t have guessed this wasn’t just one guy named Ishi Tib prior to reading the figure’s bio.  This one is one I wound up grabbing during one of my big PotF pushes, in the fall of 2018, alongside a whole bunch of other figures.  I mostly grabbed this one at the time because I liked the more unique alien look.  It’s admittedly pretty cool, so I can get behind it.  It’s just a nice, fun figure.

#2791: Havok

HAVOK

X-MEN (TOY BIZ)

In the Series 3 of Toy Biz’s X-Men line, the original line-up included a Havok figure, who, like US Agent and Adam Warlock later would be, was cut from the line-up due to the slow-roll of scaling back how many figures were in each assortment.  Unlike those two, however, Havok was scrapped before getting to the prototyping stage, so the only thing we saw of him was an illustration of his head alongside the others in the assortment on the card backs for that set.  While Havok would of course make his way into the line proper several years later as part of the Invasion Series, that was after he had changed over to his X-Factor team uniform.  His classic attire would go un-produced for another six years, when it would finally make its way into toy form as an exclusive through ToyFare magazine.  I’ll be looking at that figure today.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Havok was offered up as an exclusive mail-away figure in ToyFare #16, officially going up for order at the end of 1998, and arriving to collectors in early 1999.  Though clearly designed to accent Toy Biz’s ongoing X-Men line, the only branding on his fairly simple white box was his own name and the ToyFare logo.  Honestly, it was a bit surprising that he got anything at all, as earlier figures had just been in plain white boxes.  The figure stands 5 1/2 inches tall and he has an impressive 16 points of articulation.  Havok is based on the body of the Spider-Man line’s Daredevil, one of Toy Biz’s very best bodies from their 5-inch days, not only on a sculpt front, but especially on an articulation front.  It also was a fairly blank canvas, which made it a decent starting point for Havok.  There are some remnant details for the glove, boot, and belt lines, but given that he’s all black, they’re easy enough to look past.  Havok’s head sculpt is borrowed from Black Bolt, but with the tuning fork on the head removed and replaced with Havok’s usual head gear.  That head gear does have a tendency to come loose if you’re not careful, and the actual head’s eye holes on the mask don’t line up with Havok’s, but it’s generally an okay set-up, and certainly good given the standards for prior exclusives up to this point.  Havok’s paint work is fairly basic, but follows the design well.  It does have to contend with the sculpt not matching with the paint on the head, but it could be worse.  It hits the right notes, and that’s what’s important.  Havok included no accessories, but I’m honestly not sure what he could have gotten.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

It’s again a Havok figure’s fault for a huge chunk of my collecting.  I know; you’re all terribly surprised.  I already had the main line Havok by this point, but when this guy was announced as an exclusive and I read about it on my main source for toy news, one Raving Toy Maniac, I was all about getting him, which meant buying my first issue of this weird ToyFare thing.  Upon reading this weird ToyFare thing, I was pretty well hooked, and got myself a subscription, which I hung onto until rather close to the end of the magazine’s publication.  It undoubtedly was responsible for me being as up-to-date with toys as I was at the time, and got me buying plenty of things I would have otherwise not even known had existed.  Havok himself is a pretty nice little figure.  Sure, he’s mostly repaint, but he’s a good repaint, and probably one of the stronger 5-inch Marvel exclusives from ToyFare.

#2790: Death Dealer

DEATH DEALER

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

“Death Dealer is one of the most formidable opponents Shang-Chi has ever faced.”

Well, that’s *wonderfully* descriptive, isn’t it?  Just tells you everything you want to know about the guy, right?  Okay, let’s be real here, though: who’s Death Dealer?  Without the movie to back us up yet, the current answer is that he’s a relatively obscure Shang-Chi villain from the ’80s.  He appeared in four issues total, and was killed at the end of them.  There’s not a ton to it beyond that.  This being the MCU, it’s possible they may add some more depth to the character, or it’s possible they may just have him as a henchman for Shang-Chi’s father (which was pretty much his original role, anyway).  Time will tell.  I the mean time, how about an action figure?

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Death Dealer is figure 4 in the Mr. Hyde Series of Marvel Legends, where he’s the fourth and final movie figure in the line-up.  The figure stands 6 1/2 inches tall and has 30 points of articulation.  In terms of articulation and movement, Death Dealer is definitely the most restricted figure in the set.  A lot of that comes down to the nature of the construction, namely the fact that a good chunk of the figure isn’t actually new.  The head, arms, and torso overlay piece are new, but everything else has been re-used from the Cull Obsidian Series Ant-Man.  It’s kind of an odd choice for re-use, since the two characters don’t really feel like they’d be sharing a lot of parts, and Ant-Man’s parts are kind of distinctive.  The majority of the torso being hidden under the robe piece certainly helps a bit, as the legs are at least a little more generic, but ultimately, it just feels kinda weird.  Also, the robe being an overlay, rather than integrated into the main figure means it’s a) a bit bulky and b) very restricting to the torso movement.  Neither of those things is super fun.  The new head and arms are, at least, a little more accurate, I suppose.  The arms still have those exposed pins, but that’s just true of all of these figures, so it’s not like it’s a surprise or anything at this point.  They’re nicely sculpted pieces, with some sharp detail and texturing work, which helps this guy fit in with the rest of the assortment.  The paint work on Death Dealer is pretty basic work for the most part.  It’s a pretty good color scheme, and certainly the most colorful of the movie figures, so it’s got that going for it.  The application is cleanly handled, and it’s generally pretty eye catching.  He doesn’t get any of the printing, since his face isn’t exposed, but it’s still pretty clean.  Death Dealer is one of the lightest packed figures in the series when it comes to accessories.  He’s got two sets of hands (open gesture, R throwing kunai, L holding kunai), and the left arm to Mr. Hyde.  Given how light he is on new parts in general, it’s a shame they couldn’t throw in a few more extras.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Being only minorly versed in Shang-Chi, I wasn’t familiar with Death Dealer before this figure.  I’m still not super familiar, but I’m about as familiar with him as anyone else not involved with the movie’s production.  Death Dealer’s definitely got a cool visual, but ultimately the figure’s kind of lackluster.  Not bad, but there’s a lot of re-use, and it’s not particularly inventive re-use either.  Compared to the other movie figures, this one feels a little bit lacking.

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.

#2789: Xialing

XIALING

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

“When her estranged brother Shang-Chi suddenly shows up in her life, Xialing must choose between the solitary life she’s created for herself or join her brother in the fight against the Ten Rings.”

Shang-Chi himself is not the most prominent character in the Marvel arsenal, yet at least, so by extension, he’s not got a ton of associated characters, and certainly none of major note.  Making matters worse is that whole “not licensing the Fu Manchu” thing, which hinders that character, as well as some of the peripheral characters.  Originally, Dr. Fu Manchu had a daughter, Fah Lo Suee, who was renamed to Zheng Bao Yu when Fu Manchu became Zheng Zu in the mid-00s.  More recently, another daughter of Zheng Zu, Esme, has been introduced.  It would appear elements of both have been combined for the purposes of the upcoming film, resulting in Xialing, Shang-Chi’s sister, and Wenwu’s other child.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Xialing is figure 3 in the Mr. Hyde Series of Marvel Legends.  She’s the third of the four movie-based figures included, and is also the first figure with no direct comics counterpart.  The figure stands just shy of 6 inches tall and she has 26 points of articulation.  Like Wenwu, Xialing’s articulation scheme feels a little more refined than Shang-Chi’s was.  She’s aided somewhat by the fact that, like most female Legends figures, she doesn’t have the double elbows, meaning she doesn’t have to worry about the exposed pins on the joints anyway.  The range of motion on this one’s pretty strong, and she’s got a lot of really good posing potential, which I certainly dig.  Xialing’s sculpt is an all-new offering, based on what I presume is her main look in the movie.  So far, we haven’t seen a whole lot of her, but she’s been sporting this look the whole time, so it tracks.  It’s a decent design, and matches up pretty well with her brother’s design, so the thematics are definitely there.  The texture work and intricate detailing on her tunic is quite sharply rendered, the proportions are nicely balanced, and she’s got a pretty decent likeness of actress Meng’er Zhang.  In terms of paint work, Xialing is fairly monochromatic, but it works.  The slightly pearlescent finish on her tunic is a nice look, and the black accenting is quite cleanly and sharply applied.  I also found the face printing on this figure to be the most lifelike of the three unmasked MCU figures included.  Xialing is packed with seven hands (R/L fists, R/L flat, R/L crane pose, & R gripping), a rope dart, and the torso for the Mr Hyde Build-A-Figure.  The hands are again a fantastic addition, and I do get a real kick out of her also getting fists, when poor Shang-Chi did not.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I know nothing of Xialing, and next to nothing of the various characters she’s based on, so I had very little to go on with this figure initially.  Pretty much it was just a general feeling of “hey, she looks pretty cool.”  After messing with this whole set of figures, she doesn’t just look pretty cool, she *is* pretty cool.  She’s probably my favorite of the movie figures in this set.  I definitely like how this one turned out.  Now, to see if I feel the same way about the character in the movie!

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.

#2788: Wenwu

WENWU

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

“Shang-Chi’s father Wenwu is the feared leader of the Ten Rings Organization, which has lurked in the shadows of the MCU since the very beginning.”

Originally, in the comics, Shang-Chi’s father was not a Marvel creation, but was, instead, the evil Dr. Fu Manchu, an early 20th century villain that Marvel was licensing at the time.  After the license lapsed, Marvel kept Shang-Chi, but was vague with any mentions of his father, due in part to the whole licensing, and also in part due to the Fu Manchu’s place as an unfortunately caricature-ized and stereotyped yellow peril foe.  Marvel’s own in-house character, The Mandarin, faced similar issues in a modern setting, and so, when adapting him to film in Iron Man 3, they opted to make him a false figurehead sort of character, entirely concocted by another villain entirely, and designed to play into those stereotypes on purpose.  While I thought it was a well-executed twist, some fans were let down by the lack of a true Mandarin in the MCU.  With the Shang-Chi film, there was obviously no way that they were going to be able to work in the Fu Manchu as the title character’s father, so they decided to combine a few elements, and introduce the true Mandarin as Shang-Chi’s father, Wenwu.  Let’s look at the toy!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Wenwu is figure 2 in the Mr. Hyde Series of Marvel Legends, and is the second of the four movie-tie-in figures included in the set.  The figure stands about 6 1/4 inches tall and he has 29 points of articulation.  Wenwu’s articulation structure is a lot less archaic than Shang-Chi’s.  While he’s still got the exposed pins on his elbow joints (though, again, they’re not present at the knees), the actual mobility and layout to the articulation is a lot more fluid, and in general he’s a lot easier to pose, especially when it comes to the torso.  The hips are a little bit restricted by the skirt piece, but otherwise, it’s all pretty unimpeded.  What we’ve seen in the trailers shows us a few different looks for Wenwu, but the figure goes for his blue/black cleaned up appearance.  While it’s not quite as classically Mandarin as the other main look we saw, this one looks like it’s going to be his primary design within the film.  It’s different, and perhaps not as distinctive, but it also walks him further away from being stereotypical, so I can get it.  Also, Mandarin’s comics design’s always been all over the place, anyway, so it’s not like this is radically different ground for him.  I will say, upgrading the rings to arm bands is an interesting change, but one that I honestly don’t hate.  I’m curious to see if they’ll still be going for the dragon-tie for their origin, as that might explain the larger size.  Whatever the case, it’s a cool design element.  Wenwu’s sculpt is a very impressive piece of work.  The outfit is intricately detailed, and even more involved than Shang-Chi’s.  There are a lot of layers, and it looks quite sharp.  The head actually has a pretty respectable likeness of Wenwu’s actor Tony Chiu-Wai Leung, and is certainly a marked improvement over the Shang-Chi likeness.  Wenwu’s paint work is generally pretty decent.  The application’s all clean, and the colors seem to match up with what we’re going to be seeing on screen.  The blue still takes a little getting used to for me, but I don’t dislike it.  It’s just definitely a slight change of pace for the Mandarin.  Wenwu is packed with three sets of hands (gripping, open gesture, and fists), a hook sword, and the right arm and cane for the Mr. Hyde Build-A-Figure.  Yay for actually getting fists with this one!

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

As I got into on yesterday’s review, this whole set sort of just showed up, before we had much background.  I was initially confused about who the heck Wenwu even was, but then the back of the box filled me in, and I was suddenly pretty excited about owning a proper MCU Mandarin.  Shang-Chi was an okay figure, held back by some design issues.  Wenwu is just a generally better figure, and I really find myself liking him a lot.  I look forward to seeing Tony Chiu0Wai Leung in the role, and seeing how this second attempt at Mandarin works out on film!

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.

#2787: Shang-Chi

SHANG-CHI

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

“Trained since childhood by the mysterious Ten Rings Organization, Shang-Chi must confront the past he thought he left behind when he is drawn back into his father’s web.”

Back before the world decided to be just the worst for a while, the MCU was planning to introduce its first Asian-American-led film, based on the Master of Kung-Fu himself, Shang-Chi.  The film was originally on the docket for an early release this year, but then 2020 happened, and everything got pushed around.  Of all the films, Shang-Chi is probably the least majorly affected, since it’s still getting out in its intended year, just in September, instead of the spring, like originally intended.  Hasbro did their best to time the toys to a release date that did not yet exist when they were in production, and they’re only a few months early, which is pretty good, considering the Black Widow stuff hit over a year ago at this point, and that movie’s still not out.  I’ve managed to get my hands on the Legends component of the tie-ins, and I’m starting my look at them with the main guy, one Shang-Chi!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Shang-Chi is the first figure in the Mr. Hyde Series of Marvel Legends, which is the assortment that serves as his movie’s tie-in.  He’s one of the four movie-based figures in this particular set, as well as being one of the five overall movie figures we already know about.  The figure stands about 6 1/4 inches tall and he has 29 points of articulation.  With all of these recent movie-based figures, it gets a little tricky to piece together just how long they’ve been in production, but Shang-Chi’s sculpt points to “a while.”  The biggest giveaway is the presence of exposed pins on the elbow joints (though, curiously, the knees are hidden like more recent figures), but in general, the articulation scheme on this guy does feel a little bit on the archaic side.  It’s not so much an issue of range, fortunately, but more of fluidity of motion.  The torso joints in particular are pretty simple in terms of design.  Articulation implementation aside, how’s the actual sculpt?  It’s an all-new piece, and he’s sporting what I assume is his primary attire from the film.  It’s nothing too fancy, but it does seem to capture the general spirit of the character’s looks over the years.  The design is pretty well replicated here, and there’s a lot of work going into the texturing and patterning on his tunic, which certainly helps to keep him from looking too bland.  The head’s likeness to Simu Liu isn’t quite as spot-on as other, more recent MCU likenesses.  Like, it doesn’t look entirely unlike him, but there’s definitely enough differences to make you feel like something’s off.  The head just feels too wide to me, and the hair’s a little too tidy, as well as parted on the wrong side, at least from what we’ve seen so far.  It’s far from terrible, though, and certainly nothing like Hasbro’s first attempts at some of the other big MCU actors.  Shang-Chi’s paint work is generally pretty cleanly handled.  There are no obvious missing details, application is fairly consistent, and the face printing is fairly lifelike.  In terms of accessories, Shang-Chi is packed with three sets of hands (gripping and two different styles of gesture; curiously no fists), a staff, and the right leg of the Mr. Hyde Build-A-Figure.  While the lack of fists is weird, I’m otherwise happy to see them keep up with the extra hands that the last Shang-Chi got.  Extra hands are always extra cool.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

This whole assortment was quite an odd-ball situation.  Given all the delays to everything surrounding the MCU, Hasbro opted to keep this one close to the vest, so the official announcement came after people were already starting to find them at retail, and the exact details were still fuzzy.  All Time actually got notification that the cases were on their way before we had any knowledge of what was actually in the cases, especially since we didn’t even yet have a trailer.  It was weird having my first knowledge of anything pertaining to the movie coming from the toys.  It’s been a while since that’s been the case for anything.  Shang-Chi’s a decent figure, if maybe not a groundbreaking one.  He’s got some cool extras, though, and given how hard the comic version was to find, it’s at least nice that there’s another version of the character out there.

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.