#1638: Rocket & Teen Groot

ROCKET & TEEN GROOT

AVENGERS: INFINITY WAR (HASBRO)

Remember last week when I looked at Star-Lord, and I did the whole thing about the Guardians of the Galaxy being part of the line?  Well, here’s the follow-up, Rocket and Groot, the inseparable pair, who make up the token Guardians slot of the deluxe assortment.  So, let’s see how they turned out!

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

This pair makes up the second half of the first deluxe series of Avengers: Infinity War figures.  Unlike Hulk, it’s not that either of them is really larger than a standard figure, but more the two-pack aspect that makes them deluxe.

ROCKET

Rocket’s look is essentially unchanged from his Guardians Vol. 2 look (which was itself pretty much the same as his look from the end of the first film).  The figure stands about 3 inches tall and the has 7 points of articulation.  The sizing of this figure is much smaller, so it made more sense to do the two-pack thing for him.  His sculpt is decent enough.  Obviously, not quite as impressive as the recent Legends figure, but certainly superior to the Vol. 1 version.  No elbow joints, but at least this one can actually move his legs.  That’s certainly a plus in my book.  The level of detailing could perhaps be a touch sharper, and it’s hard to make out any sort of expression on his face, but for the style of the line, it’s a pretty solid sculpt.  His paintwork is probably the most nuanced of the figures I’ve looked at so far from the line, especially on the face, which features a number of variations in the coloring of his fur.  The work on his jumpsuit and armor plates is a little fuzzy around the edges, but it isn’t terrible.  Rocket is packed with a rather large gun, which, unfortunately, he can’t really hold that well.  He also has the Power Stone, which is the first repeated stone we’ve gotten (having been also included with Black Widow).

TEEN GROOT

Groot is possibly one of the most changed characters for Infinity War, having aged to adolescence over the course of the Vol. 2 stinger scenes.  This is our first Teen Groot figure.  The figure is 5 1/2 inches tall and has the same 11 points of articulation as most of the other figures in this line.  His sculpt is once again all-new, and it’s probably my favorite of the sculpts from the basic line.  What I really like about it is how well it can slip in with a set-up of Legends figures, should you be so inclined.  The level of detail is still a little simpler, but it’s really not that far off.  He definitely has some similarities to the Build-A-Figure Groot, which was one of my favorite sculpts of the time.  I quite like Teen Groots sulky expression, which perfectly encapsulates what we’ve seen of him so far.  Like Rocket, Groot’s paintwork is more nuanced than the others in the line.  There’s some darker accent work, as well as a little bit of green, since he’s a plant and all.  It’s perhaps not as subtle as I’d like, but it’s still much better than just getting a straight brown.  Teen Groot has no accessories of his own, but with Rocket and all of his extras, it’s not like this pack is particularly light.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

This set, along with Widow, is what really sold me on the whole line.  Sure, there’s a Legends set with these two in the pipeline, but without them being available right now, and with Groot being the only of the Guardians to be notably different, this set certainly has quite a bit of appeal.

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#1637: Hulk

THE HULK

AVENGERS: INFINITY WAR (HASBRO)

Alright, after a short intermission and a quick word from our sponsors at…Kenner and DC Direct (coincidentally both dead companies, it should be noted), I’m diving back into the world of Avengers: Infinity War!  As I noted last week, Hasbro has two different main lines of product tying into the film, but there’s even some further division within those particular lines.  The basic line has its standard assortment, of course, but there’s also a complementary deluxe assortment, handling some of the more oddly-sized characters.  From that assortment, I’ll be looking at main Avengers member The Incredible Hulk!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Hulk is one of two items in the first deluxe series of Avengers: Infinity War figures.  He’s based on Hulk’s newest look from Infinity War, which doesn’t appear to be all the different from the one he was sporting in Age of Ultron.  The sweatpants are a little shorter this time; that’s about it.  The figure stands about 6 1/2 inches tall and he has 11 points of articulation.  He’s a bit on the small side for a proper MCU Hulk, who should probably have another inch or so of height to him, with bulk to match.  That said, he’s visibly taller than the others in the line, which is the most important thing when dealing with a Hulk figure.  The sculpt is decent enough I suppose.  As with a few others in this line, it reminds me of a Legends sculpt, specifically the Age of Ultron Hulk from 2015.  It was far from a perfect sculpt, but I think the issues of simplicity and lack of texturing are far less of an issue in the context of this line.  The paint on Hulk is fairly simple stuff, and it’s mostly pretty good.  The only real issue I have is with the eyes, which just sort of seem to be a little downshifted from where they should be.  It’s entirely possible that this is limited to my figure, though.  The accessories in this line so far have been rather connected to the characters they were included with.  Cap gets his shield, Thor gets his hammer, Widow gets her baton, etc.  Hulk?  Hulk gets his unforgettable weapon, the ol’ chunk of cement with a piece of girder sticking out of it.  You know, that thing that Hulk is never seen without?  Okay, yeah, it’s not exactly essential.  It’s largely just here to have something for the included Infinity Stone (the Soul Stone, for those keeping score; now I’ve got a complete set!) to be attached to.  There are certainly worse extras, and, if I’m totally honest, I like this extra more than Iron Man’s cannon.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I grabbed Hulk at the same time as Cap and Star-Lord, from a somewhat out of my way Toys R Us I’d stopped by.  He’s an alright figure.  Nothing amazing to write home about, but a reasonable figure nonetheless.  And, without a Legends figure on the market at the moment, he’s your best bet for a new Hulk figure.

#1634: Iron Man

IRON MAN

AVENGERS: INFINITY WAR (HASBRO)

So, yesterday, I had to review a Thor because it was Thor’s Day.  Obviously, I have to review an Iron Man today, what with it being….Friron Man’s Day?  Not buying it?  Yeah, that’s okay, I don’t blame you.  I’m still reviewing the Iron Man figure, though.  You know, because, well, I reviewed all of the others.  So, without further ado, here’s another Iron Man!  Woo!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Iron Man is the last figure in Series 1 of the basic Avengers: Infinity War line.  Tony is seen here in his brand-new Mark XLVIII armor, which is being called the “Bleeding Edge” armor, after a similarly advanced armor from the comics (pretty much all of the movie armors since Mk 43 have been patterned on the Bleeding Edge’s design, but it sounds like they’re actually using the name this time).  The figure stands 5 3/4 inches tall and he has 11 points of articulation.  The sculpt is once again all-new.  It reflects the more organic nature of this armor’s design pretty well.  It’s very smooth and sleek; sort of divergent from the rest of the figures from this assortment so far, who have all been full of a lot rough textures.  It does make this figure seem a bit simpler at first, and I wasn’t sure I liked that so much, but ultimately, I’ve found it to actually be a very clean and polished looking figure.  I also quite like the repulsor hand on the right arm; it’s a subtle change-up in the posing, but it adds a lot of character to the figure, as well as offering up some more variety in posing.  The paint is, like the sculpt, rather on the basic side; mostly he’s just molded in the appropriate red, with paint for the gold, silver, and blue.  The application is mostly pretty clean, though there’s a little bit of missing paint right at the top of Tony’s faceplate here.  Other than that, it’s solid work.  Iron Man includes a…cannon?  Something like that.  It’s done up to match his armor, which is nice enough.  I don’t know if it’s actually going to be in the movie, though, especially since it’s hand-held, which doesn’t quite seem like Tony’s style.  It’s also rather awkward for him to hold.  Really can’t see this getting much use, from collectors or kids, honestly.  It does at least have a peg for attaching the included Infinity Stone, which, for those keeping track, is the Time Stone.  Well, as long as it’s with *one* of the Sherlock Holmeses, I guess it’s okay.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Iron Man was the last of these I picked up.  I actually just got him within the last week, grabbed from my local TRU during one of my many visits.  I’d seen him a few times before, when I picked up the others.  Since there were an odd number of figures, and I grabbed the others during “buy-one-get-one” sales, he was just the actual odd-man-out every time.  I’m glad I finally grabbed him.  I mean, an Iron Man’s an Iron Man, but I didn’t have one in this particular style, and this design is actually pretty strong.

#1633: Thor

THOR

AVENGERS: INFINITY WAR (HASBRO)

Okay, you had to know which Infinity War figure I was reviewing today.  You just had to.  Because it’s Thursday, aka Thor’s Day.  When a guy’s got the day named after him, he’s kind of a lock for the subject of the review.  If you’re thinking to yourself, “hasn’t Ethan already done this gag?,” the answer is yes, I very definitely have.  I very definitely will again.  It’s probably a safe assumption that I’ll do this with every Thor figure I remember to do this with going forward (so, probably about a 50/50 split; I’m forgetful).  Anyway, here’s my latest Thor!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Thor is another figure from Series 1 of the basic Avengers: Infinity War line.  Thor’s design has not changed drastically since we last saw him in Ragnarok.  Well, actually, a little before we last saw him in Ragnarok, truth be told.  He’s got both of his eyes again.  As of yet, all of the trailers and the like have shown him still sporting the eyepatch.  It’s still possible it will be healed during the film.  Of course, Hemsworth wasn’t actually wearing the eyepatch on-set for Ragnarok, and I don’t believe he was for Infinity War either.  It’s always possible licensees were seeing unfinished shots from the film, in order to preserve Ragnarok’s twist, and now we just have a bunch of inaccurate Thor figures.  I guess we won’t know until we see the movie.  Anyway, the figure stands 5 3/4 inches tall and he has 11 points of articulation.  Like yesterday’s Star-Lord, his sculpt has some definite similarities to last year’s Legends release.  Understandable, since they’re adapting similar looks.  The Hemsworth likeness is halfway decent.  It’s not amazing, but it’s hardly like it’s impossible to figure out who it is.  The body, particularly the proportions, feel a bit more cartoony and exaggerated than the others I’ve looked at from the line.  I think that’s largely the arms, which have almost a Popeye sort of feel about them.  It’s not like it looks bad or anything, just slightly different from the previously established style.  The rest of the body is fairly well detailed, and his costume is quite well-defined.  The paint on this figure is passable, but definitely more on the basic side.  Where Cap’s hair went too brown, I think Thor’s goes too yellow, adding more to that whole cartoony thing.  Also, his eyes seem a bit off.  Or maybe it’s his eyebrows.  Either way, he ends up looking like he just remembered he didn’t put the trash out to the road last night.  That’s not how I tend to think of Thor looking.  Thor is packed with his new weapon, Stormbreaker, which is actually pretty cool, and has some pretty awesome electricity effects going on.  Also, like the other figures in the set, Thor’s got an infinity stone, specifically the Space Stone.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Thor seems to be a rarer figure in the first Infinity War assortment, as he’s the one I’ve seen the least.  When I found most of the others, he wasn’t there, so I ended up getting him alongside Widow the new day.  I wasn’t even sure I was going to get him, but I sort of wanted all of the stones.  He’s not a bad figure.  Perhaps a little bland in terms of design (having the eyepatch probably would have helped), but he’s still cool.

#1631: Black Widow

BLACK WIDOW

AVENGERS: INFINITY WAR (HASBRO)

All of our favorite heroes are back for Infinity War…okay, most of our favorite heroes…amongst our favorite heroes, many of them are—right, I’ll come in again.

Today, I’m looking at the latest figure of Black Widow, a character who has far too often been left out of the whole merchandising thing. For Infinity War, Hasbro looks to be making a conscious effort to avoid that, with two figures already out and a third one on its way.  I’ll be looking at one of those first two today.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Black Widow is part of the first series of the basic Avengers: Infinity War line.  This figure gives us Widow’s brand new look for the film, which, despite her prior looks all being just slight variations on the same basic design, is actually kind of new and different.  This time around, she’s sporting a look based on the second main Black Widow from the comics, Yelena Belova.  It’s mostly the blonde hair that informs this.  Supposedly, she’s changed her hair color while on the run after the events of Civil War.  The figure stands 5 1/4 inches tall and she has 11 points of articulation.  It’s the same articulation scheme as we saw on Cap (and before that, Shuri and Star-Lord).  Her sculpt is actually quite good.  The proportions are well-balanced, the head has a pretty solid Scarlett Johansson likeness, and the level of detail is almost on par with what you’d get from a Legends release.  My only real nit with the sculpt is that only one of her hands is in a gripping position, which limits her posing potential slightly when it comes to her weapon.  Even her paint is pretty decent.  It’s still rather on the basic side, but her face in particular gets some really clean work.  Certainly cleaner than what we saw on Cap yesterday.  Widow is packed with her staff, which is sadly only in its full assembled form.  No separate batons, but I guess she couldn’t hold them anyway.  There’s a rather obvious peg on it, where the Infinity Stone is meant to attach.  Not the smoothes way of handling that, but I guess it’s not awful.  Widow’s included stone is the Power Stone, which is the only one to be doubled-up in the first assortment (it also comes in the Rocket/Groot pack).  Giving her, rather than a bruiser like Hulk, the Power Stone is certainly an interesting choice.  I wonder if it means anything.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Widow is actually kind of the figure that sold me on this line.  I saw her in the store and I really liked her, and almost bought her on the spot.  That said, she was actually one of the few figures in the set I did *not* pick up from Toys R Us.  They were all out, so I ended up finding her at Target the next day, rounding out the set that way.  She’s actually a pretty good figure.  I’m curious to see how much the Legends release is able to improve on her.

#1630: Captain America

CAPTAIN AMERICA

AVENGERS: INFINITY WAR (HASBRO)

Apparently, there’s some sort of an Avengers movie coming out at the end of this month.  I know, it’s easy to miss it.  It’s not like there’s been *any* coverage or anything.  I’d imagine most people are planning to stay home that weekend, right?  Or perhaps go and see…<checking movies for April 27th>…the re-release of When Harry Met Sally perhaps.  Yep, that’s totally what the people want.  Or, I suppose, they could just see Infinity War.  I mean, I’m planning to see it.  I have to justify all this stuff I bought!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Captain America is from the first series of Hasbro’s basic Avengers: Infinity War line.  He depicts Cap with his bearded “Nomad” look, which is looking to be his main (possibly only) look from the movie.  It’s the same suit he was wearing in Civil War, but it’s looking a bit more worn.  As the name suggests, it’s calling back to his Nomad identity from the (first) time he quit being Captain America in the comics, though it doesn’t really look much like that particular design.  The figure stands about 5 1/2 inches tall and he has 11 points of articulation.  The lack of knee joints is still kind of bugging me, but he’s actually pretty posable for the price point.  His sculpt is unique to this particular figure, and does a pretty respectable job of recreating what we’ve seen from the trailers.  The level of detail isn’t quite on par with a Legends release, but it matches up well with the Homecoming and Black Panther offerings.  The paintwork is likewise a slight step-down from other offerings in the scale, but it’s not like it’s awful or anything.  Honestly, I think my only real complaint is how dark the hair and beard are.  At least some highlights or something would make it look a little better.  As it is, it’s decent, but kind of looks like an animated version of the character.  Cap is packed with one of his new Wakandan-designed shields, which he can’t quite hold like an actual shield, but it’s fairly cool.  Each figure in this series also comes with an Infinity Stone; Cap gets the Mind Stone, which can be clipped onto his shield.  It’s kind of nifty, and apparently ties into the “Hero Vision” gimmick that Hasbro’s currently pushing.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I was initially just planning to stick with the Marvel Legends offerings for Infinity War, but I ended up seeing these figures in the store, and they sort of oddly called to me.  I passed on them the first time I saw them, but ended up picking up Cap alongside most of the rest of Series 1 on one of my very many trips to Toys R Us recently.  He’s actually quite a good figure, especially for the price.  Sure, he’s not high-end, but I was hardly expecting that, now was I?

#1617: Black Widow & Motorcycle

BLACK WIDOW & MOTORCYCLE

MARVEL LEGENDS: LEGENDARY RIDERS (HASBRO)

“A sleek agent with the wheels to match, Natasha Romanov cruises into action as Black Widow.”

When it comes to collector-based lines, vehicles can be something of an issue.  Heck, just in general these days vehicles can be an issue.  Toy makers have enough of a hard time keeping the prices of the basic figures down, without throwing these massive hunks of plastic into it.  Unfortunately, there are some characters who sort of need a vehicle in order to be totally relevant.  Ghost Rider’s at the top of that list, what with “rider” being  in the name and all.  And yet, how many motorcycle-less Ghost Rider’s do we have?  Too many.  Why am I talking about Ghost Rider in a Black Widow review, you may ask?  It’s quite simple: Hasbro’s giving vehicles a try in Marvel Legends, and the first series is Ghost Rider and Black Widow.  In needed an intro to discuss the topic of necessary vehicles, and that makes way more sense for Ghost Rider than it does Black Widow.  But, since I don’t *actually* have Ghost Rider, it’s Black Widow who gets the intro.  Isn’t she special?

THE FIGURE ITSELF

She’s gone seven years with no comic-based Legends, but then, just like that, Natasha’s back in, with two of ‘em, right back to back.  Well, okay, a couple of months apart.  But, for someone who’s not Iron Man, that’s actually pretty impressive.  The figure stands 6 inches tall and has 27 points of articulation.  Where the last Widow Legend was undeniably a classic ‘70s Widow, this figure takes a decidedly more modern approach.  A lot of elements of this figure’s design have been taken from Chris Samnee’s version of the character from her 2016 solo series.  It’s been made a little more generalized to a basic modern Widow  (she doesn’t have the shoulder holster, and her collar is more pronounced), but the overall feel is very much the same, right down to the shorter hair style.  As a fan of Samnee’s work, I’m very happy with the design choice.  As far as the sculpt goes, the hands are the same as the prior Widow.  Aside from that, this one’s all-new.  I like the detailing on the catsuit a lot.  The wrinkles and the piping on the sides really sells it as an actual item of clothing, rather than just glorified paint.  I also like the new widow’s stingers; the more geometric nature sells the modern design sensibilities in contrast to the Vintage figure.  I have two slight complaints.  The first is the seam that runs down the center of her neck, which looks rather strange.  The second is the belt, which is purely paint.  It’s rather obvious that it’s just painted on, and it looks slightly goofy.  I’d hazard a guess that it was painted on to preserve the re-useablilty of this sculpt.  Aside from the belt, the paint’s pretty light, actually.  Her head has decent work on the face, and the wash helps bring out the detail in her hair.  Beyond that, there really isn’t any paint, but the figure’s not really hurt by that.  Despite her trigger finger-ed hands, Black Widow includes no guns.  What she *does* have is an extra head.  It’s the same face, but the hair is longer, allowing for a less Samnee-specific look.  Well, that is, if you put it on this figure.  But mine never went on this figure.  Instead, it went straight on the Vintage Widow, thereby making the already great Vintage Widow even better.

THE VEHICLE ITSELF

Okay, so Black Widow’s hardly defined by having a motorcycle.  That does make the inclusion of this cycle a bit strange.  That said, it’s not unheard of for Widow to be seen riding around on a motorcycle, and she’s even on one on Samnee’s cover of Black Widow #1, so it makes a degree of sense in context.  There are certainly worse characters to choose to give this motorcycle to.  The motorcycle is 7 1/2 inches long by 4 1/4 inches tall, and has working wheels and even has suspension on the back wheel.  It doesn’t look like this bike is modeled directly on the one from Black Widow #1, but I’d guess that, like with the jumpsuit body, this mold has been designed with re-purposing in mind.  I’ve been a little spoiled by Bandai’s Cyclone and McFarlane’s Chopper, but this bike’s actually not half bad.  The tires are actually rubber, and there’s a working kickstand, and a decent amount of detail work.  It’s a bit unsightly on the left side, with all the screws and everything, and it’s perhaps a little wide for Widow to sit on properly, but by and large, I’m pleased with it.  If nothing else, it’s a decent display piece to go next to her, right?

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Despite Ghost Rider being the more obvious choice for this line-up, I actually didn’t have much interest in him.  I mean, I’m super happy he got released, especially for the people that really wanted him, but I’m pretty happy with my Rhino Series figure on the old Toy Biz bike.  Widow, on the other hand, was the one I was really looking forward to.  I was kind of thinking she would be pretty easy to find, but that didn’t prove to be the case.  I stopped at three TRUs, all of them chock full of Ghost Riders, with no Widow in sight.  I eventually got her at Walmart, which made me feel a little dirty, but hey, I gave TRU their shot.  Being totally honest, the bike doesn’t do a whole lot for me.  It’s not bad, but I really didn’t get this set for the bike.  So, Widow really just ended up being an extra expensive figure.  Fortunately, I really like her, and thanks to the extra head that’s now on my Vintage figure, it’s like I got two figures instead off just one.

#1573: Iron Man, Hawkeye, Thor, & Grim Reaper

IRON MAN, HAWKEYE, THOR, & GRIM REAPER

MARVEL MINIMATES

“Iron Man, Thor and Hawkeye are just three of the Heroes who make up the super-team known as the Avengers. Together, they can neutralize any threat, even the manipulations of the evil Grim Reaper!”

I just mentioned Minimates passingly in yesterday’s Palz review, so I suppose it’s fitting that today I give them a whole focus of their own.  Because, as we all know, Minimates neeeever show up in my review schedule, right?  …Anyway, getting back to the Minimates, Disney’s acquisition of Marvel in 2009 left a little bit of uncertainty about the future of Marvel Minimates and whether DST would be allowed to continue as a licensee.  Disney assuaged fears by turning around a couple of Disney Store exclusives, sort of out of nowhere one day.  I’m looking at one of those exclusives today.

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

This set was released in May of 2012 as one of two Disney Store-exclusive boxed sets meant to tie-in with the release of the first Avengers movie (I already took a look at the other one here).  Iron Man and Thor are both the same figures as their Marvel Minimates Series 44 counterparts, while Hawkeye and Grim Reaper were exclusive to this set.

IRON MAN

The mid ‘90s marked a bit of a resurgence for Tony Stark as Iron Man (albeit nowhere near as big as the one he got in ’08), with fan favorite Kurt Busiek handling the character both in his solo book and in the pages of the re-launched Avengers title.  This figure represents the design he was wearing at that time, and it’s a favorite of mine. The figure is 2 1/2 inches tall and he has the usual 14 points of articulation.  He has add-ons for his helmet, breast plate/shoulder pads, gloves, belt, and boots.  All of these were new to this figure, and they all are pretty fantastic.  There’s a ton of sculpted detail on each piece, but he maintains the ‘mate aesthetic very well.  As far as paint goes, this Iron Man is generally pretty solid, but is definitely an example of DST’s learning curve with metallic paints.  While the reds are really great looking, the gold is still that very dark, very dull shade they were using for a while, and it’s also worth noting that it’s a paint that doesn’t hold up to time.  It’s not as bad as the Avengers #1 set’s version of Tony, but it’s pretty frustrating.  Even more frustrating is DST’s decision to package Tony’s helmet on him.  For most Iron Man ‘mates (at least leading up to this), the helmet would be packed off to the side.  The reason for this is simple: if the paint hasn’t fully dried when the figure is packaged and you stick the helmet on there, it’s likely not coming off.  That’s what happened with my figure.  Seriously, six years I’ve owned this guy, and I’ve yet to get that helmet off him.  It’s a little sad.  Guess it’s a good thing I like the fully armored look.  Iron Man was packed with a rocket trail flying stand, done in a nice pale blue.

HAWKEYE

Before this figure, there had been only one other standard Clint Barton Hawkeye (reviewed here), four years prior.  That figure had some notable issues, and really looked out of place with all of the other advancements going on.  So, he was due for an update, and the extra notoriety given to him by the first Avengers movie granted him that chance.  Plus, as a pivotal player in Busiek’s Avengers re-launch, his inclusion alongside the otherwise very clearly Heroes Return-branded ‘mates in this set and Series 44 made a lot of sense.  I’ve actually looked at a lot of this figure before, via the Best Of Marvel Minimates Series 3 release, which took it’s add-ons from this guy.  I liked the pieces there, and I liked them here first.  The only real difference between the two is paint.  And paint’s kind of what breaks this figure for me.  It’s not terrible.  It’s actually pretty decent, even.  That being said, if the Series 20 Hawkeye was too subdued, this one went too far the other way, making him way too bright.  It’s the blue in particular that throws him off.  It should definitely be a deeper tone (which the later release definitely fixed).  Another thing I’ve never much liked about this figure is his facial expression. I’m glad they got the face to line up correctly (since the first Hawkeye did not), but the angry, gritted teeth look just doesn’t feel right for Barton.  Hawkeye included his bow, three pointed arrows, two sonic arrows, and a hairpiece for his unmasked look.  The arrows were nice, and can even be placed in his quiver.  The bow, which was a new sculpt, was okay at the time, but was definitely on the small side, and a little hard for him to hold properly.

THOR

Though he was the most glaring omission from the line for its first 15 series, by the time of this Thor’s release, we were kind of suffering from a glut of Thors, with this one being the ninth Thor in the space of a year.  Like Iron Man, this Thor was definitely patterned on the Heroes Return look, which is really just the classic design plus a beard.  Thor was built using add-ons for his helmet/hair, cape, wrist bands, belt, and boots.  The wrist bands were from the very first Thor in Series 16, the cape and boots came from the TRU-exclusive First Appearance Thor from 2011, and the belt was just a generic piece.  The helmet was new, though you’d be forgiven for not realizing.  Overall, a solid set of parts, though the cape does make it a little hard to keep him standing.  The rest of the look is achieved via paint.  I think it’s pretty good overall, though there’s some slight slop here and there, especially noticeable on the helmet and the cape.  He used the same gold paint as Iron Man, which isn’t super, but there’s less of it on Thor.  Thor included his hammer Mjonir, in both standard AND spinning configurations.  I quite like the spinning version.  He also had an extra head sans-beard, which, despite using the exact same facial features as the bearded head, ends up looking a bit too mean for Thor.  There’s also a spare hairpiece for a look without the helmet, I suppose to offer people who only knew the movie Thor a more familiar look.  Lastly, he included a clear display stand to help him stay standing with the spinning Mjolnir.  It’s important to note that these still weren’t a standard inclusion yet.

GRIM REAPER

Last up, the set’s one new character, Grim Reaper!  Reaper has been a long-recurring Avengers villain, and he was revived during the Busiek/Perez run, so he’s a perfect fit…well, apart from the total lack of Vision or Wonder Man in the set, but hey, I’ll take what I can get.  They went with the classic Reaper design (classic, not original, because no body really wants the technicolor dreamcoat monstrosity that was his first costume), which is sensible enough.  I’m still partial to his re-animated look from the ‘80s, but this works too.  The figure makes use of add-ons for his mask, cape, and scythe attachment.  The mask and scythe were new to this figure (and remain unique to this figure six years later), and were fantastic renditions of his look from the comics.  The cape is the standard cape from the DC Minimates Series 1 Superman.  It’s not a perfect fit (since Reaper’s really supposed to have the collar), but it’s close enough that it works.  In terms of paint, Reaper is certainly subdued, but very well-rendered.  The colors are suitably dark, but there’s still plenty of room for detailing.  I love the dynamic shading on the bodysuit and mask.  I also really love that crazed expression they gave him.  Reaper included no accessories, but I don’t really know what you’d give him.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I grabbed this set at the same time as its companion set, ordering them both from Disney’s online store (since none of my local Disney Stores ever carried Minimates).  Reaper’s always been a favorite of mine, so his inclusion definitely excited me, but I was also pretty happy to get another Hawkeye.  While Hawkeye didn’t end up being quit what I wanted, I was still pretty happy with the other three in this set.  In fact, this was my preferred of the two Disney sets.

#1542: Black Widow

BLACK WIDOW

MARVEL LEGENDS VINTAGE (HASBRO)

“Natasha Romanov uses her fearsome fighting techniques for good as Black Widow!”

Well, except for initially, when she…ya know….used them for…bad.  But that was only at the very start!  Promise!  Just two years at the very beginning there, then it was all straight and narrow from then out.  Despite being arguably Marvel’s most prominent female hero these days, Black Widow’s been oddly absent from the toy shelves, and what we’ve gotten’s been mostly movie-based.  In a slightly strange turn, we’re finally getting some comics-based Widow product…a few months after she died in the comics.  I mean, it’s not like it’s gonna last, but still.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Black Widow is part of the first series of Hasbro’s new Marvel Legends Vintage line.  Much like last year’s Star Wars: The Black Series: 40th Anniversary line, it’s a mix of re-releases and “new” figures, all packed on vintage-styled card backs.  In this case, the cards are patterned after the old Toy Biz Marvel Super Heroes packaging, which is certainly unique.  While Widow never had a figure in that line, they’ve done a respectable job of creating an accurate card in the same style.  The figure stands about 6 inches tall and has 29 points of articulation.  Widow is seen here in her third main costume, which debuted in Amazing Spider-Man #86, back in 1970.  It’s very definitely the “classic” Black Widow design, and this is the first time we’ve gotten it as a Legends figure.  Despite the all-new look and being the only “original” figure in this first series, Widow is actually almost entirely reused pieces.  She’s built on the Phoenix body, which is a good starting point for Widow (though I do wish the elbows had a slightly better range of motion).  On top of that, she’s got the bracelets from the Hobgoblin Series Spider-Girl, and the head from this summer’s TRU-exclusive Mary Jane.  The re-use on the head has been a point of some contention for fans.  Personally, I don’t mind so much, but that might be partly due to the fact that I never actually found the MJ figure anyway.  I also find this sculpt is pretty solid for Widow as well, so on it’s own, it really works well for the character.  Worst case scenario, the upcoming Widow and Motorcycle set’s going to have two heads packed in, so there are some options available. As far as I can tell, Widow’s only new piece is her belt, which is a fairly simple add-on piece.   I wish it was affixed some how so it didn’t float around so much, but it’s not terrible.  It’s possible her hands are also new, but I’m not 100% sure on that.  They’re just pretty standard trigger finger hands, but they get the job done.  Widow’s paint is clean and bold, and really well suited to her classic design.  There’s not a ton of work going into it, but the end result is still very sharp, and I just really like it.  The figure’s a little light on the accessories front, with only a pair of pistols packed in.  I can’t say there’s much else I would give her, but considering she retailed for the same price as normal, BAF-including figures, she does feel a little lacking.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

As soon as these figures were shown off, I knew I wanted Widow.  I’m fortunate enough to have the original releases of the other figures, but there hasn’t been a proper comic Widow since back when Hasbro did the two-packs, and that one was pretty hard to come by.  I ended up finding this figure sort of by accident.  Super Awesome Girlfriend and I were on our way home from taking the cat to the vet, and I made a wrong turn, and the next closest place to turn around was the Walgreens parking lot.  I figured I might as well run in and check their stock, and sure enough, Natasha was one of the two Marvel Legends Vintage figures they had on the shelf.  And, as luck would have it, they were even running a sale on Legends that week!  Hooray for me!  Like yesterday’s Panther figure, there’s not anything particularly revolutionary about this figure, but she’s still a really strong addition to the line, and I’m happy to add her to the shelf!

#1496: Hawkeye

HAWKEYE

THE AVENGERS (HASBRO)

God, it feels like forever since the first Avengers movie, doesn’t it?  While some other movies about super heroes teaming that shall remain nameless tried introducing half of the team in the team-up movie, Avengers did the slightly smarter thing and only had one member, today’s focus Hawkeye, introduced in the main movie, letting the rest of the team be introduced in earlier films.  Anyway, here’s Hawkeye.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Hawkeye was released in the second assortment of Hasbro’s The Avengers tie-in line, alongside frequent partner Black Widow and one of their Chitauri foes.  The figure stands about 4 inches tall and has 17 points of articulation.  He marked a slight downgrade in movement from the IM2, Thor, and Captain America lines, but Hasbro hadn’t fully downgraded the articulation like they did for Iron Man 3.  His sculpt was new to him, and overall does a pretty respectable job of capturing Hawkeye’s design from the film.  There’s plenty of texturing and fine detail work on the various bits of the costume, and his proportions are pretty decently balanced.  The head’s sadly the weak point of the sculpt.  It’s not bad, but it’s hindered by a few small issues.  First, there’s the sunglasses.  They were all over the promotional materials, but ended up completely absent from the film itself, which made this figure notably inaccurate.  In addition, the actual details on the head sculpt are noticeably softer than the rest of the body, and he looks a little bit rounder in the face than Jeremy Renner.  That said, it’s not like he looks completely unlike Renner in the movie.  The paint work on this figure is passable.  The standard color work is all pretty clean and sharp, and there’s some really great work on the various SHIELD logos.  The head once again ends up the weakest.  The paint of his face bleeds into both the hair and sunglasses, adding to the overall roundness of the face.  Hawkeye is packed with two versions of his usual bow: the standard version, and one with a big ol’ missile launcher mounted in the middle.  Why these needed to be two separate bows is anybody’s guess, but hey, there it is.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Hawkeye’s absence from the initial waves of Avengers product really annoyed me at the time, so I was pretty anxiously awaiting his eventual release.  When he finally hit, he was a little rarer than others, but I didn’t actually have too much trouble getting him in the end.  He’s not a perfect figure, but I was happy with him at the time, and I’m still pretty happy with him now.