#1641: Black Panther

BLACK PANTHER

MARVEL MIGHTY MUGGS (HASBRO)

While I have come to tolerate Funko’s Pop! line in recent years, and even put together a sizable collection, there’s no denying that they’ll always be my second choice for pseudo designer vinyl media tie-in figures.  Number one will always go to Hasbro’s sadly under-appreciated Mighty Muggs.  Fortunately for lovers of the Muggs, they’ve made a comeback this year.  I’ve looked at one of the Star Wars ones, but Hasbro’s also launched a Marvel line alongside them, and I’ll be looking at my first of those today with Black Panther!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Black Panther is figure 07, the second figure numerically in the second assortment of Marvel Mighty Muggs.  Panther’s design is based on his appearance from Captain America: Civil War.  A movie design allows Hasbro the chance to offer some more detailing, and of the two film designs, I’m still pretty partial to the original design.  The figure stands 3 1/2 inches tall and has articulation at each shoulder.  Panther uses the same standard body used for Luke, with a different head piece depicting Panther’s mask.  Only the actual “face” of the mask is left uncovered.  It works with the natural lines and breaks of the mask, so the changeover from the sculpted headpiece to the painted face is fairly subtle, and doesn’t look to jarring.  The sculpted details of the headpiece are simple enough to fit the style, but still plentiful enough to add some nice depth to the overall design.  As I discussed in my review of Luke, the new Mighty Muggs all feature an action feature, allowing for changing facial expressions.  As a masked character, his expressions have to be a bit more inventive than Luke’s, I suppose.  It all comes down to the eyes.  There’s wide-eyed, squinty-eyed, and a mix of the two.  There’s a lot of variety offered by those different eyes, and it’s an impressive handling on Hasbro’s part.  I think the basic wide-eyed is my personal favorite, but all three are a lot of fun.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

After being so impressed by the Luke figure, I was definitely on the lookout for some of the others.  Panther certainly looked cool, and Super Awesome Girlfriend ended up picking him up for me one day while she was at work.  My excitement for this line has not subsided at all; Panther is just as well handled as Luke, and I’m definitely on board with both currently running Mighty Muggs lines.

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#1623: Black Panther & 90s Storm

BLACK PANTHER & 90s STORM

MARVEL MINIMATES

The subjects of today’s review, Black Panther and Storm, have actually been on my review docket since February, believe it or not.  For one reason or another, they’ve been on the chopping block no less than five times since they went on the schedule.  Fortunately for them, the original item I planned to review today has itself been bumped.  Gotta love that, right?

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Black Panther and 90s Storm were released in the 29th Series of Marvel Minimates.  At the time of their release, Panther and Storm were still married, so I guess this pairing made some sense, though the choice of costumes was sort of incompatible.

BLACK PANTHER

“The leader and defender of his native Wakanda, T’Challa became the Black Panther afther his father’s demise at the hands of the villainous Klaw. His blend of physical prowess, mental discipline and scientific study makes him a truly formidable opponent in any setting.”

This wasn’t Black Panther’s first Minimate, but it was the first complete one, since the Marvel Zombies variant that preceded it was missing an arm and a leg.  He’s based on his at the time current design from the comics, which was certainly a sensible choice.  The figure uses the standard ‘mate body, with the standard 14 points of articulation and an approximate height of 2 1/4 inches tall.  Panther came from a time in the line when the necks had gotten kind of short and the feet had become shallower, which isn’t 100% ideal, but not the end of the world.  He has add-on pieces for his mask, cape, belt, and wrist bands.  The mask was re-used from the Zombies variant, and it’s an okay piece, but in conjunction with the shorter neck, and shallow feet, it kind of makes him look a little bobble-headed.  Fortunately, it’s masked (heh) a bit by the cape piece, which was new to this particular figure, and is a pretty decent piece.  The only problem it has is how top-heavy it made the figure, so it can be a little difficult to keep him standing.    As far as paint work goes, Panther was ambitious in idea, but ultimately rather flawed in execution.  There’s a lot of detail work on the mask and torso, which would look really great if it were actually visible, but the shades are just too close together.  Similarly, there is detailing on the shins and wrists, which is meant to capture the striped gloves of Panther’s classic costume, if you take off all of the add-ons.  But, as with the other details,  these are essentially lost on the final figure.  T’Challa included a hairpiece, allowing for an unmasked look.

90s STORM

“The leader of the X-Men’s Gold Team, Ororo Munroe’s weather-altering abilities are powered by an innate control over nearly all forms of energy – limited only by her emotions and fears.”

This marked Storm’s fourth time as a Minimate, and also the fourth ‘mate in the ‘90s X-Men sub-set that ran for a few years.  This depicts her white Jim Lee-styled costume, which has a fair bit of notoriety, being on the cartoon and everything.  She has add-ons for her hair and cape/shoulder pads, and she was the fist ‘mate to have the unique puffy sleeved upper arms.  All of the pieces were pretty well sculpted, airing heavier on the detailed side of things.  She’s a bit on the bulky side, and a little hard to pose (those upper arms don’t stay in place quite as well as the standard ones), but a decent recreation of the design from the comics.  The paint work on Storm is a bit better than T’Challa’s, by virtue of not having all those issues with contrast.  The pearlescent white is pretty great looking, and the details are pretty sharp.  The shading on the torso was an interesting experiment.  It was a style they were trying in this series, but it was pretty quickly abandoned.  Also, like the rest of the ‘mates in this assortment, the color palette is a little washed out.  I’d have at least liked a more yellow-y gold.  Storm was packed with a pair of electricity effect pieces, which are a little tricky to get in place, but pretty neat nonetheless.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

As with most ‘mates of this era, this pair was picked up brand-new, on the day of release from Cosmic Comix.  I was excited for them when they were announced, given how much I like Black Panther, and my at the time lack of a Storm Minimate.  With that said, I’ve never been as happy with these two as I’d hoped to be.  In retrospect, they’re better than I remember, but they both have some notable flaws.

#1606: Tactical Killmonger & Casino T’Challa

TACTICAL KILLMONGER & CASINO T’CHALLA

MARVEL MINIMATES

Movie merchandise is always a tricky thing, especially with “top secret” movies like the Marvel Studios stuff.  It can often prove difficult to determine which characters, and more specifically, which designs for those characters, are going to end up with the most prominence in the final product.  For Black Panther, while it was a pretty safe bet which look would be T’Challa’s main costume, his primary antagonist Killmonger proved a different story all together.  His rogue Black Panther look ended up on all of the merch, and while that was prominent, it was actually his more unique tactical gear that most people were drawn to.  Unfortunately, if you want a properly articulated version of this design, Minimates are your only way to go.

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

Tactical Killmonger and Casino T’Challa are the second Walgreens-exclusive Black Panther two-pack.  Though they don’t quite interact with these particular looks, Killmonger’s rescue of Klaue happens just after the Casino sequence, so they fit together reasonably well in the timeline of the film.

TACTICAL KILLMONGER

Obviously, this figure is the draw of this set.  Erik’s tactical design doesn’t really have direct comics counterpart (though it does share a few elements with some of his looks over the years), but it offers him a more unique design than the basic Panther-riff.  The figure is built on the standard ‘mate body, so he stands about 2 1/4 inches tall and he has 14 points of articulation.  Killmonger has a single add-on piece, but it’s a good one.  It’s the tribal mask he steals during his museum heist with Klaue, which he then uses to obscure his face later on.  It’s only worn in one scene in the film, but it certainly has a lasting impact.  For this figure, it’s an all-new piece, which does a pretty respectable job of recreating the mask and simplifying it enough to look proper on the ‘mate.  The rest of Killmonger’s design is handled via paintwork.  The armor plating on the torso is definitely impressive, as is the camo and all of the stitched elements on his pants.  The likeness under the mask is also quite good; it depicts a slightly calmer Killmonger than is seen on the first ‘mate, which makes for nice variety.  There are a few spots of white on his face, but otherwise all of the paint is quite clean, and the colors are nice and vibrant.  Killmonger is packed with the same hairpiece as the last figure, allowing for the much needed unmasked look, as well as a pair of blades (the same stylings as were included in with the Legends figure), and a clear display stand.

CASINO T’CHALLA

Not quite a “civilian” take on the character, but very close, Casino T’Challa depicts T’Challa as he is seen when he goes undercover in South Korea while on the hunt for Klaue.  I would guess this look was chosen over T’Challa’s other “civilian” look in the film because this one could be made with all pre-existing parts.  And made with pre-existing parts he is!  The hair is the same piece used for the unmasked look on both of the prior Black Panthers from this line, and the jacket is re-used from all the way back on the very first George McFly Minimate.  That one’s gotten some milage.  The paint does the hard work here, selling this guy as “all-new.”  The likeness on the face gives us yet another T’Challa expression.  This one’s somewhere between the other two in terms of intensity, but certainly still looks like the same guy.  The jacket and arms get extra detailing, depicting the texturing of his jacket from the film, and preventing this figure from being dressed in just flat black.  Casino T’Challa’s only accessory is a clear display stand.  A little light, but I think Killmonger makes up for it.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

This was the set I went to Walgreens to get, the others were all just along for the ride.  Of the two Killmonger designs, this one was definitely my preferred, and this being only way to really get it right now, makes this guy top priority.  Fortunately, he’s one of the best ‘mates from the whole assortment.  Casino T’Challa’s not anything to write home about, being essentially just a guy in casual clothes, but he’s still a solid figure overall, and I certainly don’t mind that we got him.

#1605: Powered Up Black Panther & Everett Ross

POWERED UP BLACK PANTHER & EVERETT ROSS

MARVEL MINIMATES

For Black Panther, we had a few returning players.  In addition to T’Challa and Ulysses Klaue, there was another, more minor return in Martin Freeman’s Everett Ross.  It’s not a shock, since Ross began his comics carrier as a Black Panther supporting player, and all.  I have to say, after getting virtually no impression from the character at all in Civil War, I was actually quite pleased by his reappearance.  Suffice to say, I was happy to find he was one of the many Minimates offered for the film, alongside a variant of its main character.

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

Powered Up Black Panther and Everett Ross are the first of the two Walgreens-exclusive Black Panther two-packs.  It’s not actually a terrible pairing, since Ross first appears during the sequence that also introduces Panther’s new uniform’s kinetic deflection abilities.

POWERED UP BLACK PANTHER

Our first proper Black Panther variant.  Very cool.  This is, of course, the same suit as the last one, just fully charged up with kinetic energy.  So, the construction is identical between the two.  He’s still 2 1/4 inches tall with 14 points of articulation, and he still has the mask add-on and clawed hands.  Everything works just as well here as it did on the first ‘mate, and the consistency is certainly sensible.  The main changes are obviously to the paint.  It’s the same basic starting point, but with some additional metallic blue details added to indicate his energy build-up.  It’s a subtle difference, but a cool one, and I actually find myself overall liking the look of this one a little more.  Under the mask, we get a second expression for T’Challa.  This one’s angrier, which makes sense for this particular look.  He’s packed with an extra hair piece and a clear display stand.

EVERETT ROSS

This is Everett Ross’s first ever figure, but won’t be his last (or, shouldn’t, anyway.  His Legends figure was set to be a TRU-exclusive.  It’s future’s a bit up in the air at the moment).  For a normal guy in a suit, that’s not terrible.  Ross is seen here in his suit and tie from the Casino sequence. It’s probably the best overall look for the guy, and it’s the same look he had in Civil War, so there’s crossover appeal.  He has add-ons for his hair, jacket, and tie.  All of these are re-used from elsewhere, though I don’t know 100% where the hair first showed up.  I just know it’s been used on others.  The pieces are all perfectly fine for Ross.  Generic, but that’s rather true to the character.  His paintwork is fairly straightforward stuff.  Lots of greys, which don’t excite all that much, but the Freeman likeness is quite good, so that’s a plus.  Ross is packed with a display stand.  It would have been nice for him to get a gun or something.  He just feels a bit light otherwise.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I picked up this pair as the same time as Panther/M’Baku and Killmonger/Klaue, during Walgreens’ recent sale on Minimates.  I was impressed by Ross in the film, and liked how the powered up effect looked in action, so I was definitely on board.  Sure, there’s not a whole lot of new going on here, but they’re both still pretty solid ‘mates.

#1604: Dora Milaje Nakia & Dora Milaje Okoye

DORA MILAJE NAKIA & DORA MILAJE OKOYE

MARVEL MINIMATES

Prior to seeing Black Panther, I was largely unfamiliar with both Nakia and Okoye.  Fortunately, the movie fixed that for me, and in fact I found both characters to be immensely entertaining and a great addition to the MCU.  Sure, they weren’t M’Baku or Shuri, but they were still solid supporting cast members.  Seeing as the two of them essentially never leave T’Challa’s side, they’ve found their way into just about every format of figure, including the Minimates, where they’re even packed together.

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

Nakia and Okoye are the Toys R Us-exclusive pair from the Black Panther assortment of Marvel Minimates.  They shipped alongside the non-exclusive Black Panther/M’Baku and Killmonger/Klaue sets.

DORA MILAJE NAKIA

Okay, so, right off the bat, this figure’s a bit of a misnomer.  Nakia is not a part of the Dora Milaje.  She *is* wearing one of their uniforms (since it was what was available in the few moments before she charged into battle), but that hardly makes her one of them.  In fact, it’s kind of an important plot point that she’s not bound to their oaths.  So, yeah.  Nakia is based on the standard ‘mate body, so she’s roughly 2 1/4 inches tall and she has the usual 14 points of articulation.  The figure has four add-on pieces for her hair, belt/skirt, and wrist bands.  All of these are new to Nakia, and they work pretty well for her.  I think the shaping of the hair is a little off; it should be more top heavy than it is.  The paintwork is pretty solid.  The likeness is sort of generic, but it’s not awful.  The details on the uniform are sharp and cleanly applied, and she’s quite on the colorful side, which is always a plus.  Nakia is packed with her pair of hoop blades, as well as a clear display stand.

DORA MILAJE OKOYE

Okay, so Okoye *is* one of the Dora Milaje.  In fact, she’s the leader of the Dora Milaje, so the title here is definitely appropriate.  Structurally, Okoye is essentially identical to Nakia.  Same belt/skirt, same wrist bands.  The only actual difference is her lack of hair.  Seeing as it’s a uniform, the shared pieces are certainly acceptable.  The difference between these two is just paint.  Okoye’s paint is still somewhat similar, of course.  The details are sharp on her uniform, and her likeness is actually pretty darn spot-on.  The slight change in her color denotes her higher rank as well, and, like Nakia, she’s quite colorful.  Okoye includes her staff and a clear display stand.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

This set is ultimately the main reason I ended getting the whole assortment of Black Panther ‘mates.  After seeing the movie, Super Awesome Girlfriend wanted Pop!s of Nakia, Shuri, and Okoye.  Unfortunately, Okoye isn’t available at regular retail.  So, this set is another joint custody item, purchased so that SAGF could have some version of Okoye.

#1603: Killmonger & Klaue

KILLMONGER & ULYSSES KLAUE

MARVEL MINIMATES

Black Panther’s impressive supporting cast did the film a lot of favors.  While my personal favorites were amongst his allies, there’s no denying that the antagonistic side was pretty strong, too.  We not only got the returning ball of fun that was Klaue, but also one of the most fully-crafted of the MCU’s villains in Erik Killmonger.  What luck that the Minimates went and paired those two!

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

Killmonger and Klaue are the other shared two-pack in the Black Panther assortment of Marvel Minimates, though, unlike yesterday’s set, these two are only available in two-pack form, either from Toys R Us or Walgreens.  There’s a close but slightly different Killmonger in the specialty-exclusive four-pack.

KILLMONGER

This Killmonger uses the Black Panther-styled design that most of the figures are going with.  It wasn’t his main design, but it’s the one he wears during the final battle, and the one with all the parallels to T’Challa, so I suppose it makes sense.  The figure stands 2 1/4 inches tall and he has 14 points of articulation.  Construction-wise, Killmonger’s got the same exact set-up as Panther, with an add-on for the mask and the clawed hands.  The suits are meant to be very similar, so this is definitely a sensible re-use.  The main tweak here is the paint, which is slightly more involved than T’Challa’s was, thanks to all the leopard print and everything.  It looks pretty solid all-around, though I do feel I should note that my figure’s face is printed off-set to the right on the mask.  Under the mask, there’s another face, depicting a pretty solid (and somewhat angry) Michael B Jordan.  Killmonger includes a new hairpiece to show off this unmasked look, as well as the usual clear display stand.

ULYSSES KLAUE

Klaue was fortunate enough to have already gotten an MCU-‘mate, thanks to his Age of Ultron appearance.  But, that was back when he had two real arms, and a Klaue with two real arms is hardly Klaue.  The figure gets add-ons for his hair, vest, and sleeve cuffs, as well as a brand-new left forearm.  The hair and vest both look to be new to this particular figure (though the vest is already slated for re-use with the Series 75 Luke Cage) and both do an okay job capturing Klaue’s look.  The hair does seem a little hat-like, but it’s not awful.  The sleeves are the same pieces that have been in use since The Spirit, and they work just as well here as anywhere.  The new left arm is definitely awesome, and adds a nice bit of unique flair to what could have been a bland guy in a suit.  Klaue’s paint is reasonable enough, though not terribly exciting.  The Serkis likeness here is about on par with the last one, just with a more excited expression, which certainly befits the character.  There’s some slight slop around the mouth, making it look like Klaue’s just had a glass of milk or something, but he’s otherwise fairly clean.  Klaue is packed with an alternate left arm with his hand in compact form and a clear display stand.

THE  ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

As with yesterday’s set, I grabbed these guys while taking advantage of Walgreens’ sale on Minimates.  I had initially just planned to grab the two exclusive sets, but I liked the look of these two in person.  While neither of them is really my favorite from the assortment, or even necessarily  my favorite version of either character, both are definitely strong figures.

#1602: Black Panther & M’Baku

BLACK PANTHER & M’BAKU

MARVEL MINIMATES

Black Panther was not at all hurting for merchandise, which is certainly a good thing, since it was a pretty darn awesome movie.  And I like having action figures from awesome movies, so that all works out pretty well for me.  Minimates are usually the best way to get the largest cross-section of characters from any given property, and that’s definitely the case here.  So, without further ado, I present the first in a week of Black Panther Minimates reviews, starting off with Black Panther and M’Baku!

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

This pair is one of the shared sets for this whole assortment.  They’re available in two-pack form from both Toys R Us and Walgreens, and also in the specialty-exclusive four-pack.  For the sake of posterity, this particular set came from Walgreens.

BLACK PANTHER

T’Challa’s actually not as frequent a Minimate as you might think, though this movie has certainly changed that.  This particular version marks his fourth time in the format, and, unsurprisingly, it’s based on his updated suit from Black Panther.  The figure stands about 2 1/4 inches tall and he has 14 points of articulation.  For his non-basic parts, he’s got an add-on for his mask, as well as Cheetah’s clawed hands.  The claws are definitely a welcome addition, as their absence from the Series 66 version was really my only major complaint.  The paint on Panther is pretty solid work.  Detail lines do a nice job of capturing all of the intricate details of the costume from the movie.  I like the use of the dark blue for the base body so that the details stand out.  Under the mask, there’s a new Chadwick Boseman likeness, and it’s a marked improvement from the Civil War version.  The expression is fairly neutral, but avoids being too bland.  Panther is packed with an extra hair piece to display his unmasked look, as well as the standard clear display stand.

M’BAKU

M’Baku was perhaps my favorite character in the film, thanks in no small part to Winston Duke injecting a lot of life into what could have been a rather two-dimensional character.  His absence from most of the figure lines is understandable (I mean, he’s only got, what, 15 minutes of screen time?), but still somewhat disappointing.  The Minimate is currently the only figure version available, and he’s based on his garb from the film’s climax, which is a sensible choice (though a challenge two-pack of him and T’Challa might be a fun exclusive).  He’s got add-on pieces for his hair, torso armor, and skirt piece.  All three of these are new to this figure, and they’re decent enough.  The armor’s a little bit on the restrictive side, but not a bad piece overall.  M’Baku’s paintwork is solid, if maybe not super exciting.  Nevertheless, the likeness on the face is definitely a good match, and the more intricate work on the wrist bracers and the shins is really awesome.  M’Baku is packed with his staff and the usual display stand.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I’ve been debating whether or not to pick up this pair.  Obviously, I wanted both of them (M’Baku in particular), but I was initially going to holdout for the four-pack, but then Walgreens was running a buy-one-get-one-50%-off sale, and I’d otherwise have ended up with an odd number of sets.  Both figures here are pretty solid additions to the line.  And, hey, where else are you going to find an M’Baku figure?

#1596: Black Panther

BLACK PANTHER

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

With Infinity War pushed up a week, we’re quickly moving past Black Panther, but there’s still a ton of cool toy stuff that I want to look at.  While I looked at all of the standard Marvel Legends offerings, there’s one more Legends offering that’s slightly off the beaten path.  I talk, of course, of the 12-inch scale Black Panther.  I haven’t looked at this line since the first series’ Captain America, but I’m jumping back in for Panther!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Black Panther is the ninth figure in the larger-scale Marvel Legends line.  He’s noteworthy for actually being the very first figure in the line to be movie-based; others have clearly taken inspiration, but this is the first direct adaptation.  Of course, the line has generally done slight tweaks to the characters’ designs to add a little extra detail here and there, and if you do that to Black Panther, you pretty much just get his movie design.  So, he’ll actually fit in pretty well with the others, is what I’m getting at.  The figure stands 12 inches tall and he has 36 points of articulation.  In a lot of ways, this figure’s just a scale-up of the Okoye Series Panther.  Obviously it’s not the same sculpt, since the articulation scheme is slightly different, but it’s certainly similar.  That being said, the additional texturing and slightly more natural proportions make for a figure that I enjoy quite a bit more than his smaller counterpart.  Seriously, the 6-inch figure was fine and all, but oh boy does this figure blow that out of the water.  The layering and the texturing, especially to the levels of his mask, is truly impressive.  I really dig that the eyes are a separate piece; it makes the mask actually look like a mask, which is a rarity on this sort of figure.  Panther’s paintwork is generally fairly straight forward, blacks and silvers.  There are two different finishes to the black, which breaks up the monotony of the color a bit, and the silver is bright and clean.  Panther is packed with an extra unmasked head, three pairs of hands, and a short blade.  The unmasked head is a decent enough likeness of Chadwick Boseman; not perfect, but certainly not terrible.  The paint could be a little cleaner, but the overall appearance is pretty solid.  And, best of all, the head actually sits properly on the body this time, in nice contrast to the smaller figure.  The hands come in fists, claw bearing, and gripping.  They all swap out pretty easily, and make for a nice variety when posing the figure.  The blade is pretty cool, but I don’t actually recall him using it in the film.  Fun piece nonetheless, though.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I was actually pretty impressed by the Captain America figure, but for a multitude of reasons (cost of the figures being high on the list), I never got around to picking up any others.  I saw this guy in the store a number of times and really liked the look of him.  The week after the film’s release, Target was running a 20% off sale on all Black Panther toys, so I took advantage of that to get this guy.  I’m very glad I did because he’s the best Black Panther figure out there right now!

#1590: Shuri

SHURI

BLACK PANTHER (HASBRO)

“The sister of T’Challa, Shuri designs and wears vibranium-powered combat gear.

You know what was a good movie?  Black Panther.  Really just a solid picture all-around.  I gotta admit, I was a little worried at first that it might not live up to all of the hype surrounding it (especially since I’m apparently one of the few people on the planet who didn’t like Wonder Woman), but it really delivered, and I think it’s one of the MCU’s strongest entries.  T’Challa had already made a pretty solid impression with his appearance in Civil War, and he lived up to that here, but what really made the movie for me was his supporting cast.  I’d picked up the Marvel Legends offerings prior to the movie, and I’m happy to have the figures offered there, but sadly two of my favorite characters from the movie haven’t yet been granted Legends releases.  One of those two was Shuri, who was at least lucky enough to find her way into the movie’s basic figure line.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Shuri is part of the first (and so far only) series of basic Black Panther figures.  In an assortment of variations on the panther suit, she certainly stands out, and, as the only character included here that’s not in the Legends assortment, she tends to be the first figure to disappear.  The figure stands right at 6 inches tall and she has 11 points of articulation.  She’s a bit shorter than your average Marvel Legend, but given Shuri’s slightly smaller stature, she blends in pretty well.  The articulation is a little disappointing, especially after the Homecoming figures got actual knee joints, but what she’s got is certainly passable.  Shuri’s design is based on her fully geared up look from the film’s final battle sequence.  It’s definitely her coolest look, and it matches up with the version of Nakia they released, so I can certainly get behind it.  The sculpt is all-new to her, and it’s decent, but not without a few glaring issues.  The biggest problem is the hair, which is just inaccurate.  The tight braids she has here almost make it look like there’s an extra piece to her hair that’s missing from the final figure.  She should definitely have more hair than this, and it really ends up throwing off the figure’s whole look.  The face has a rather generic look about it as well, making me think this figure was put together based on design sketches rather than actual footage from the film.  I’m also not a huge fan of how the head connects at the neck; it just looks very unnatural and odd.  Fortunately, below the neck, the sculpt is actually pretty solid.  The proportions are pretty balanced, and there’s a lot of really great texture work on her armor.  Her skirt piece is a free-floating add-on, which helps to maximize posablity, and looks pretty solid to boot.  The paint on Shuri is passable, but definitely a bit rudimentary when compared to something like Marvel Legends.  She could definitely use a little more detailing on the armored parts, but she generally looks pretty good.  Shuri includes her pair of arm gauntlets, which can be slipped over her forearms.  The detail work on them is surprisingly sharp, and the energy effects look pretty awesome.  Definitely better than some gimmicky missile launcher or something.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

After seeing the movie, I knew I needed at least some version of Shuri in my collection.  Of course, so did everyone else, so she was a little difficult to find.  Fortunately, when I swung by Cosmic Comix to get my comics the next day, they still had a Shuri figure on the rack, and thus I was able to add her to my collection.  She’s not a perfect figure, and I’m still hoping for a proper Legends release down the line, but this one will hold me over until then.

#1578: Black Panther

BLACK PANTHER

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

“T’Challa wears a glowing suit made of Vibranium technology as the warrior hero Black Panther!”

Hey, hey, guess what was released in theaters today!  Yes, Black Panther finally made its way to the big screen!  In honor of T’Challa’s big debut, why not have a look at another of the many toy offerings surrounding the film’s release?  For today’s review, I’m going to be looking at another variant of T’Challa himself, once again based on his comic-book origins.  Let’s have a look at how he turned out!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Black Panther is a Walmart-exclusive Marvel Legends release, just like the last comic Panther.  While he’s not officially tied to any particular series of the line, he started hitting right around the same time as the Okoye Series.  Thanks to Walmart’s weird distribution style, he actually ended up arriving at a lot of stores less than a month after the last Black Panther-exclusive.  Hopefully, this doesn’t lead to issues of shelf warming for either of them.  The last Panther opted for a very classic take on the character but this figure goes for his most recent redesign from the “All-New, All-Different” relaunch.  It’s generally not terribly far removed from his other looks, but there are some minor tweaks.  The figure stands 6 1/2 inches tall and he has 32 points of articulation.  The last two comic Panthers were built on the Bucky Cap body.  This figure mixes things up a bit, moving T’Challa to the Spider-UK body.  This means he’s also the first non-Spider-Man on the body, which I suppose is pretty cool.  It’s a nice base body to be sure, and I think it’s quite a good fit for Panther.  I’m not sure which base body I prefer for him, honestly.  Of course, his more recent design has also been drawn with a generally more stocky appearance, so I think this might be a case pf both bodies being totally valid choices.  The figure gets a new head, as well as the hands from the Rocket Raccoon Series Panther, and an add-on piece for his necklace.  The head is a pretty solid piece, and a decent translation of artist Brian Stelfreeze’s more streamlined take on Panther’s mask.  While the swept back ears take a little bit of getting used to, it certainly makes for a distinctive figure.  The hands fit well on the figure, and in fact look a bit better scaled to this particular body.  I was admittedly a little surprised by the return to these hands after they were left off of the last comic Panther, but they’re still decent pieces.  The necklace I can kind of take or leave.  It looks fine, but it’s a bit too loose fitting for my taste.  As far as paint goes, this guy’s a bit different from prior Panther figures.  Recently in the comics, T’Challa’s begun to experiment with tactical applications of Vibranium’s energy output, resulting in this glowing look when his suit is fully activated.  There’s a bit of a Tron-lines thing going on all throughout the figure.  He’s very pink (Does that make him the Pink Panther?  Only Inspector Clouseau can know for sure). The line work is all pretty clean, and it certainly helps him to pop a bit on the shelf.  Panther includes an extra head without the pink details, as well as a spare set of hands in fists, and two energy effect parts.  The hands and energy parts are definitely fun, but the head baffles me a bit.  It’s just the same head without the extra detailing.  When placed on the body, it looks kind of out of place, and it’s too large to look right on the last Panther body.  I would have much rather have gotten an unmasked T’Challa. 

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I initially found this figure while still finishing the Okoye Series.  I passed on him at the time, since I had just gotten the other two Black Panther figures, and wasn’t 100% sure I liked the look of this one.  After finishing the first set, I saw this guy again, and I decided I liked him enough to pick him up.  While he’s still not my go-to version of the character (that’s still the last exclusive figure), there’s no denying that this figure is sill pretty fun.  I’m glad I went back on my initial decision.