#1541: Black Panther

BLACK PANTHER

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

“With his claws sharp and his eyes set on his target, Black Panther is ready to pounce.”

I really try not to critique the packaging bios too much, but I gotta say, if you’re completely unfamiliar with Black Panther as a character, that’s probably not gonna do much to help.  In fact, it sounds more like the sort of description you’d see of an *actual* panther.  Hasbro knows he’s not an actual panther, right?  One would certainly hope so…

We’re about a month out from the theatrical release of Black Panther, 2018’s first on a long list of super hero movies.  This, of course, will mark the second time audiences see T’Challa grace the screen, after his pretty much universally praised appearance in 2016’s Captain America: Civil War.  I’m certainly excited to see more of the character, especially given the rather rich history they’ve got to draw from.  The landslide of movie-based product just started hitting last week, but before I get to that, I’ll be looking at one of Panther’s comic-based figures!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Black Panther was a Walmart-exclusive Marvel Legends figure, released last year.  When it was released last year is very much up for debate.  Samples of the figure started showing up over seas at the beginning of 2017, and the product was given to Walmart not long after that.  However, there was no official announcement that he was coming from Hasbro or Walmart, and no real estimated street date.  A few people found him starting in the spring, but for a lot of people, this guy didn’t actually show up until just before the winter holidays.  Quite a lag time.  But the figure’s here now, and that’s really all that matters, right?  For the most part, this figure’s just a slight re-working of the Rocket Raccoon Series Black Panther from 2013.  That whole series was pretty difficult to track down, and Panther in particular was always the most popular, so it’s nice for Hasbro to give some of us another shot at him.  Like the Marvel Universe figure, this one’s based on his classic 60s/70s appearance, from when he was with the Avengers.  With the included cape, he actually comes pretty close to a first appearance Panther, but the cape’s a touch long and he’d still need the satchel.  The point is, he’s a pretty standard “classic” Black Panther.  The figure stands 6 1/4 inches tall and he has 32 points of articulation.  He’s built on the Bucky Cap body (which, when it was used for the last Panther, was still a fairly new addition to the line).  There have been some arguments made that he should actually be on one of the slightly larger bodies, but I find this base feels right.  He gets the same head as the Rocket Raccoon Series figure, which is a good translation of Panther’s distinctive full-face mask.  There are enough details that you can actually make out some of T’Challa’s face beneath it, which I think is pretty darn cool.  Changing things up ever so slightly from the last figure, this one gets the belt piece from Daredevil, and the hands from the Civil War Panther.  I wasn’t sure about the use of the hands at first, since the CW Panther has a lot of sculpted textures that I thought would be out of place on an otherwise comics-inspired figure, but they work surprisingly well.  The figure also sports a cape, reused from the 2008 Adam Warlock figure.  It’s not bad, but I definitely prefer Panther sans-cape.  The paint on Panther is subtle, especially when compared to the RR one, which had a lot of blue going on.  This one’s mostly just straight black, with a bit of detailing for the accents on the boots, gloves, and belt.  I really dig the striped boots and gloves, as they’ve always been one of my favorite parts of the classic design.  Panther is packed with the previously mentioned cape, a spare set of normal gripping hands, and a spear (borrowed from Kraven the Hunter).

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I always wanted the RR Series Panther figure, but never could find one.  I eventually got the Civil War figure, which is an awesome enough figure that I was willing to let it slide that he wasn’t a classic Panther.  Needless to say, when this figure first surfaced, I was pretty dead set on getting one.  It took me until December to actually find one.  My closest Walmart put out about 20 of him all at once (all of which were gone within a week, I might add), so I grabbed him as soon as I saw him.  There’s not anything particularly innovative or new about this figure, but he’s still one of the best Black Panther figures in my collection, and I’m happy to add him to my Avengers shelf.

Advertisements

#1017: Black Panther

BLACK PANTHER

MARVEL LEGENDS SERIES

PantherCW1

We’re now four days into Giant-Man week. Today, we’ll be looking at my favorite figure from the set. Oops. Spoilers? Ah, you’ll get over it.

Anyway, Black Panther was by far the coolest thing to come out of Civil War (which is saying a lot, because Civil War had *a lot* of cool things in it). As of yet, merchandise of him has been a little difficult to find. I’ve looked at Hasbro’s smaller figure and the Minimate, both of which were pretty cool, but still left me wanting just a little bit more. My most anticipated Panther figure was the Marvel Legends version. It’s been a bit of a wait, but he’s finally here! Does he live up to the expectations? Well, duh.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

PantherCW2Black Panther is figure 3 in the Giant-Man Series of Marvel Legends. He’s the third of the three Captain America: Civil War-based figures from the series (not counting the build-a-figure, of course). Of course, Panther ended up with one of the most faithful costume translations in all of the Marvel movies, so there’s no reason this guy couldn’t pass for a comic Panther too. The figure stands 6 ¼ inches tall and he has 30 points of articulation. Like the Mark 46, Black Panther sports a completely new sculpt, and an impressive one at that. Not only is his musculature nicely proportioned and balanced, but he’s also a pretty much perfect match for Panther’s build from the movie. On top of that, ever bit of this guy is covered in sculpted texture. Panther’s suit looks like it’s made from an actual woven material, which at this scale is immensely impressive. Even the hands are well done, offering a cool claw bearing pose that works really nicely with the figure’s articulation. The sculpt also manages to work in all of the articulation in a way that disrupts the sculpt as little as possible, which is greatly appreciated.  Panther’s paintwork is rather on the minimalistic side, but what’s there is quite sharp, which is good, because imperfections in the paint would be rather obvious due to the highly contrasting natures of the colors. This is one of those times where less is more with the paint, because the lack of superfluous painted details allows the finer parts of the sculpt to really shine. Panther includes an unmasked T’Challa head, which has pretty nice likeness of Chadwick Boseman. Oddly, the head lacks his slight bit of facial hair. The Minimate has this same issue, so it’s possible that he was clean shaven in early shots. Panther also includes the left leg of Giant-Man. I wouldn’t have minded some extra hands as well, but the extra head is certainly a cool extra.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Panther is the figure I’ve been most looking forward to in this set. I’m not alone in this, however, causing him to be the most difficult figure to find by far. Fortunately for me, my local TRU got in a case of this series right before my birthday, when I just so happened to stop by. Panther ended up being bought for me by my boy Tim. This figure not only lives up to my expectations, it actually manages to exceed them. The sculpt is great, the movement is great, and even the paint is pretty great. Hasbro really upped their ante on this guy. Let’s hope they can keep it up!

PantherCW3

#0952: Black Panther & Iron Man

BLACK PANTHER & IRON MAN – MARK 46

MARVEL MINIMATES

PantherIM1

It’s not really news to the regular followers of this site, but I really, really enjoyed Captain America: Civil War. While it was still undeniably Cap’s movie, the supporting players really stood out. One of the best parts of the movie was Black Panther, who was introduced into the MCU with a standout performance from Chadwick Boseman. I can’t wait to see more of this guy! Until his solo Black Panther movie hits, I’ll just have to hold myself over with some of his toys. Though I haven’t yet found his awesome looking Marvel Legends figure, I did manage to snag his Minimate, which I’ll be looking at today, along with his pack-mate Iron Man.

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

Panther and Iron Man were released in Series 66 of the Marvel Minimates line. The whole series is based on Captain America: Civil War. These two are also one of the shared sets between the specialty and TRU assortments.*

BLACK PANTHER

PantherIM2Amazingly enough, is is only Black Panther’s third appearance as a Minimate. He hasn’t shown up since Series 29! This one is, unsurprisingly, based on his movie appearance. Admittedly, it’s not very far off from his basic comics appearance, so he could really work as either version in a pinch. The figure stands about 2 ½ inches tall and has the usual 14 points of articulation. Panther’s only add-on is his mask, which is the same piece used by the last two Panther ‘mates. It’s a well-sculpted, simplistic piece, which suits the character very well. It’s too bad he didn’t get a set of clawed hands as well, but that’s a fairly minor nit. The rest of Panther’s detailing is done via paintwork, and it’s some pretty exceptional work at that. There’s a ton of small detail work to make up the unique texturing of Panther’s costume in the movie, and I love how much depth the variations of finish give him. Under the mask, there’s a fully detailed head, with painted on hair and ears. It’s not a perfect likeness of Boseman as T’Challa; for some reason he’s missing his facial hair (which appears to be the case with the Legends figure as well), and his expression is also a bit bland. But, it’s still a nice touch, and adds an extra bit of coolness to the figure. Panther’s only accessory is a clear display stand. It seems a bit light, but I’m not really sure what else they could have given him.

IRON MAN – MARK 46

PantherIM3Tony Stark really likes tweaking his armor. The Mark 46 serves as his only armor during the course of Civil War (I believe this is the first time he’s only had one). It’s not too far removed from the Mark 45, which he wore at the end of Age of Ultron. However, there are a few minor differences, most of which seem to be there to help bulk Tony up so he doesn’t look too overpowered by Cap. As a Minimate, the Mark 46 is built from the same pieces as the Marks 42 and 43, minus the chest piece. That means he’s got add-ons for his helmet, gloves, pelvis, and boots, as well as a non-standard set of upper arms. It’s not my favorite set of pieces, and the selection isn’t a spot-on recreation of what’s seen in the film (there are way too many join lines), but the end result isn’t too bad. The upper arms are still very limiting in terms of articulation, but the effect is at least somewhat lessened by the omission of the chest plate. The paint does a lot to really sell this figure. The colors of red and gold chosen work pretty nicely together, and the detail lines all do a good job of recreating the on-screen armor. There’s a bit of slop on the arms, but it’s all minor and fairly unnoticeable. Under the helmet, there’s a very angry Tony Stark face. I like the change of expression, though I do wonder why he’s lacking the black eye that Tony was sporting during all of his armored scenes. Iron Man is packed with a spare hair piece, a flying stand, and a clear display stand.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I picked these two up from Cosmic Comix the week they were released. Amusingly enough, it was actually on the way to take Super Awesome Girlfriend to see the movie. Panther’s definitely the selling point of this set. He’s a new addition to the MCU subset of ‘mates, and the first shot a lot of newer collectors have had at a Black Panther Minimate. He’s also just a pretty solid ‘mate all around. Iron Man’s certainly not a bad addition, but there’s so many Iron Men out there that this one blends in with the crowd a bit. He’s really not bad, and he may well be my favorite MCU Iron Man. He’s just not super thrilling is all. Still, this is definitely a fun set!

*Amusingly enough, in a similar fashion to the Hawkeye/Vision set, the first Black Panther ‘mate was packed with an Iron Man variant.  History repeats!

 

#0928: Black Panther & Hawkeye

BLACK PANTHER & HAWKEYE

CAPTAIN AMERICA: CIVIL WAR MINIVERSE

PantherHawkeye1

Civil War was released yesterday, so now I get to write review all the associated merchandise in light of actually knowing what happened in the movie (which was seriously awesome, by the way). I’ve been steadily making my way through Hasbro’s small-scale line of figures; of the four characters I’ve looked at, three have pretty sizable parts. The two characters I’m looking at today, MCU-mainstay Hawkeye and newcomer Black Panther, both get decently sized roles, though one of them is definitely more pivotal to the plot than the other.

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

These two are part of the first series of the Captain America: Civil War Miniverse line. Their pairing together isn’t the weirdest pairing the series has given us (that’s definitely Winter Soldier and Vision, who I don’t believe so much as glanced at each other in the final film), since the two have a brief bit of interaction. Still, Bucky would kinda seem like the more natural partner for Panther. But hey, I’m gonna wind up with the whole set anyway, so does it really matter?

BLACK PANTHER

PantherHawkeye3Early reviews of the movie were all very complimentary of Chadwick Boseman’s performance as the Black Panther, and man, they weren’t kidding. Guy just about steals the show! His figure stands 2 ¾ inches tall and he has the same 5 points of articulation as the rest of the line. The overall quality of the Panther’s sculpt is pretty good, but he seems to be suffering from a phenomenon similar to Crossbones, where the upper half of the sculpt is quite good and the lower half is less so. It’s not quite as pronounced on Panther, though, so it’s not too bad. He exhibits some tremendous texture work, replicating his rather distinctively patterned suit from the movie very nicely. I do wish his legs were a little less weirdly posed, as they make it very hard to keep him standing, but that’s really it. Paint is quite minimal on Panther, with detailing only on the eyes and collar. However, that’s appropriate to the movie, and the texture on the sculpt does the heavy lifting here. Panther is the figure in this pairing who gets the weird armor pieces. T’Challa’s is a little cooler than the others, since it at least fits well with him thematically. Still goofy as heck, but it is what it is.

HAWKEYE

PantherHawkeye2Hawkeye’s Civil War appearance is, to me, the closest he’s come to that super awesome comics version of Hawkeye that I always loved.  And that makes me very happy. You know what doesn’t make me very happy? This figure. That sounds harsh; I don’t hate him, but he’s far from what I wanted. He’s supposed to be based on Hawkeye’s new look from Civil War, but, um, that’s not what he’s wearing. He lacks the asymmetrical sleeves, and has two gloves instead of one. That’s not the biggest issue though. See, Hawkeye’s gun is holstered on his right leg, which isn’t correct, since Movie Hawkeye’s a lefty. A closer look shows that, not only is the holster on the wrong side, but his whole quiver set-up is totally reversed. Now, a quick Google search shows that the promo shots of Hawkeye had a tendency to get mirrored, so maybe that’s where the confusion came from. He’s still sculpted to hold his bow in his right hand, though, which would make the placement of his quiver on his right shoulder more than a little impractical. It seems to me that this should have dawned on at least one person during the development process. His paint’s not much better. In the movie, his costume has a number of different purples, but none of them are the garish shade that is used for the majority of this figure. Also, whatever you do, don’t look directly into those soulless black holes that have taken the place of his eyes. That’s the stuff of nightmares. Cap got actual eyes, so I’m not sure what happened to Hawkeye. Hawkeye is packed with one accessory: his bow. It’s got no drawstring, but at this scale, that’s a minor issue.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I picked up this set at the same time as Cap and Crossbones. I was a bit more interested in Hawkeye when I bought it, though I certainly didn’t mind getting Panther. After opening it up, neither figure is perfect. That said, Panther’s the real winner here, even with the leg issues. Hawkeye’s a little disappointing, because he’s just not the figure I was expecting.

#0856: Black Panther

BLACK PANTHER

MARVEL UNIVERSE (HASBRO)

BPantherMU1

Poor Black Panther. He should be a really prominent character, but he always feels like he gets the short end of the stick. He has trouble keeping an ongoing comic (often due to poor creative direction), he’s mostly relegated to guest star roles in all the various Marvel cartoons (barring the truly awesome Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes), and he didn’t even get an action figure until the early 00s (and even then, it was only in the-10 inch line. It would take a little while longer before he got a normal 5-inch figure, just as the scale was starting to go away). Fortunately, it looks like his luck should be changing with the release of Civil War, as well as his solo film in 2018. Why not look at one of his action figures?

THE FIGURE ITSELF

BPantherMU2Black Panther was part of the first series of Hasbro’s Marvel Universe line. He’s based on the Panther’s classic look, from his time with the Avengers in the late 60s. The figure stands roughly 4 inches tall and has 24 points of articulation. Panther is built on Hasbro’s first attempt at a mid-sized male body. It was only used for him and two variants of the Punisher. The reason it didn’t see any further use is quite simple: it’s not very good. Sure, parts of it look pretty decent, but the overall assembly looks very awkward. The upper arms in particular are about as tall as they are wide, which just looks odd. In addition, the articulation scheme is weird and makes the figure pretty stiff. You won’t be getting much more than a basic standing pose out of this guy, which just isn’t right when you’re talking about Black Panther, a dude who does his fair share of crouching! The head, lower arms and lower legs are all unique to this guy. I like the head a lot, and it’s definitely the best part of the figure. The arms and legs do at least put some effort into detailing Panther’s striped gloves and boots, but they suffer from the same odd proportions as the rest of the body. The left hand is bigger than his face! Panther has paint for his eyes and… that’s it. Just the eyes. The rest is straight black plastic, which makes him a bit flat looking. Some highlights, or even painting the gloves blue, as they were often showed in the comics, would have done a lot to help this figure, but alas, no such luck. Black Panther was packed with a staff with a blade on it, which Wikipedia tells me is a naginata. It never struck me as particularly in keeping with Panther’s aesthetic, so I lost it at some point.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I’ve always liked Black Panther (I chalk it up to his Keith David-voiced appearance on the 90s Fantastic Four cartoon). So much so that when I was 7, I made one of my Batman Forever Batmen into a custom Panther using some black tape. When Hasbro showed him as one of the first MU figures, I was pretty excited to see him there, and he was one of my first purchases from the line. Unfortunately, he got saddled with the worst of the initial bodies, which held him back. He’s not a terrible looking figure, but he’s not super fun either, which is disappointing. On the plus side, Hasbro just re-released him in their Avengers Infinite line, using the later mid-sized body (used on Falcon), so the character wasn’t totally forgotten.