#2422: Yelena Belova

YELENA BELOVA

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

“A product of the Red Room’s ruthless training program, Yelena Belova is a fiery assassin.”

Though initially a name purely associated with Natasha Romanov, in 1999 it was revealed that “Black Widow” was actually a title used by Russia’s top assassin, who, following Natasha’s defection to the US, was Yelena Belova.  Yelena made her debut as an antagonist to Natasha, and has gone back and forth over the years.  For her MCU debut, she appears to be coming in on more friendly terms.  Of course, we won’t really know for sure until October now, so I guess we’ll just have to wait on that.  Well, might as well review the figure, I guess.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Yelena Belova is figure 2 in the Crimson Dynamo Series of Marvel Legends, and the second of the MCU-based figures from the set.  It’s also our first Legends Yelena under Hasbro’s tenure, though we did get one previously waaaaay back in the Toy Biz days.  To say there have been advances since then is a bit of an understatement.  Yelena is sporting what appears to be her primary design from the film, an all-white suit similar to the one we’ve seen Natasha in, topped by a vest that looks suspiciously like the one Natasha had during Infinity War.  The figure stands 6 inches tall and has 27 points of articulation.  The height seems a bit much, because while Florence Pugh is taller than Scarlet Johannsen, it’s only by an inch, and given that this figure has flats, while Natasha is wearing heels, the height difference shouldn’t quite work out the way it does.  In terms of articulation, she tries out a slightly different articulation scheme, at least for the neck, which is a little more similar to how Black Series has been doing it recently.  I didn’t find the joint on mine to be quite as useful, however, and the neck ends up looking a bit longer than it should because of it.  Points for effort, though.  The sculpt on Yelena is a pretty solid one.  The likeness is respectably close to Pugh; perhaps a little thinner than in real life, but not by much.  The body sculpt is fairly realistically proportioned.  Interestingly, they’ve opted to sculpt the vest right onto the torso, instead of a removable one like on IW Widow, but I think the end result looks a little bit better.  Her paintwork is all pretty respectable.  She’s got the face printing, which looks better here than on Natasha.  The inclusion of the vest also helps break up her coloring a bit better than the all-white Natasha, making for a slightly more aesthetically pleasing figure to my eyes.  Yelena is packed with two sets of hands (fists and gripping), plus two more Markovs (though only one can be holstered this time; the other side has permanently sheathed knives instead), and the torso and shoulder pads to Crimson Dynamo.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Classically, I’ve never had much attachment to Yelena as a character, so I didn’t really have much of an opinion about her introduction to the films (I was honestly fine with IW Widow serving as a nod and leaving it at that), but I did like the look of the figure.  In-hand, she’s quite nice, and a good match for Natasha.

Yelena was purchased from my friends at All Time Toys.  If you’re looking for Marvel Legends, or other toys both old and new, please check out their website and their eBay storefront.

#2421: Black Widow

BLACK WIDOW

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

Natasha Romanoff reunites with a group of spies from her past to stop a lethal force.”

Hey, remember when I reviewed that one stray Black Widow figure last week?  Good, because if I’m honest, I only barely do.  It’s been like three weeks my time, so it’s but a distant memory.  Black Widow?  Now there’s a name I haven’t heard in quite some time.  Despite the film’s delay to October, all of the toys were set to arrive just before everything went nuts, meaning they’re all out there and ready to go for a movie that’s now six months out. Hey, who am I to knock new toys, though?  I’m kicking these reviews off with another figure of the title character herself, the Black Widow!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Black Widow is figure 1 in the Crimson Dynamo Series of Marvel Legends, which is the dedicated Black Widow-tie-in assortment.  She’s the first of the four movie-based figures in the main line-up (there’s also the previously reviewed deluxe Widow, which is its own stand alone release).  The deluxe release gave us Natasha in her all-white number from a lot of the promotional material, while this one gives us her in her more standard color scheme.  I’m actually quite a fan of this particular design, as it’s really the closest that the MCU Widow has gotten to her classic ’70s costume from the comics.  The figure stands 5 3/4 inches tall and she has 27 points of articulation.  A lot of what’s here is shared with the deluxe release, as I assumed would be the case when I reviewed that figure.  It’s sensible, as it looks like the two designs are rather similar.  This figure gets a new upper torso piece, which changes out the webgear she’s sporting on her shoulders.  Now there’s a spot for her to stow her batons on her back, something I was happy to see after said feature was absent from her Infinity War release.  Beyond that, it’s the same sculpt I looked at before, which is fine by me, because it was a really good sculpt.  The paintwork on this release is overall an improvement on the deluxe’s.  The color scheme of the costume allows for more of the sculpted details to be properly accented, and is just generally a slightly more engaging design.  The only slight down turn is on the face, which doesn’t quite have the same lifelike quality to it that the deluxe release did.  I’m probably going to end up swapping those two heads for my display.  Though not packing quite the same impressive haul as the deluxe figure, this release of Widow still includes two sets of hands (fists and gripping), her dual Markovs, batons, and the left leg to the Crimson Dynamo Build-A-Figure.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

With things starting to head back into the beginnings of the path to normality, the floodgates have kind of opened up on toy distribution again, so I didn’t have quite as much of a wait for the full assortment of Widow figures as I’d thought I might.  Having quite liked the deluxe release, I was more invested in this one.  Though the face paint was a slight let-down, the figure is otherwise really solid, and definitely the best MCU Widow to date.  Even with the film pushed back, this figure is definitely worth getting a hold of.

Widow was purchased from my friends at All Time Toys.  If you’re looking for Marvel Legends, or other toys both old and new, please check out their website and their eBay storefront.

#2411: Black Widow

BLACK WIDOW

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

Natasha Romanoff reunites with a group of spies from her past to stop a lethal force.”

Oh boy, a second new thing!  …Yeah, okay, I mentioned it yesterday, so I guess you guys kind of new this was coming.  So, after years of waiting, we’re finally getting a Black Widow solo film…you know, six months after we were supposed to.  To be fair, that feels about right for the track record of getting the solo film out so far.  A smooth journey never really was part of the process.  There are some things that you can’t really put a stop to, even if you move a movie’s release date.  In Widow‘s case, it’s all the tie-ins.  While the movie won’t be out for another six months, all the toys are starting to show up now anyway.  Oh darn, new toys.  What am I gonna do?  Write some reviews, probably.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

While there is a specific Black Widow-themed assortment of Marvel Legends that is hitting some places right now, this particular version of Widow is a solo-offering hitting alongside them, and is set up at the deluxe range price point like Archangel and the reissues of the Build-A-Figures.  While the standard release will be giving us Natasha in her more typical black attire, this release is based on the all-white number we’ve seen her in for a lot of the promotional material.  The figure stands 5 3/4 inches tall and she has 27 points of articulation.  Widow is an all-new sculpt (albeit one that has a large overlap with the standard release in terms of pieces), not relying on prior figures.  That’s good, because much like Cap’s Winter Solider figure got milked just a bit too much, so did Nat’s.  And, while the Infinity War version was a nice figure, the differences in costume design definitely warranted an all-new approach.  It’s the best MCU Natasha sculpt we’ve gotten, and I say this as someone who was quite a fan of both of the prior sculpts.  Something about this particular figure really seems to get down Scarlet Johansen’s build in a way that previous releases didn’t.  In particular, the last two figures were both a little bit skinny for Johansen, at least for any of the movies past IM2.  This slightly more solid build feels like a much better match, and makes for a sturdier figure as well.  The head also has our best Johansen likeness from Hasbro to date.  They’ve been steadily improving with each Widow they’ve done, and it seems to have really paid off here.  The paint work on this figure is fairly basic.  The head’s got the face printing, so that’s quite lifelike, but the body feels a little more devoid of anything.  I feel like a little more accenting would have gone a long way; the all-white nature of the body means that a lot of the really nice sculpted details are a little more easily lost.  Perhaps the standard release will be better in this regard.  As it stands, this version is certainly passable.  What sets this figure apart from the standard release even more than just the color of her suit is her accessory selection, which helps to justify that deluxe price-point.  Widow is packed with three sets of hands (in fists, gripping, and trigger finger), two Markovs (thanks again to Tim for the gun ID), a pair of hooked weapons, seven different effects pieces covering all manner of explosions, gunfire, and her widow’s stingers, and a dynamic display stand.  It’s an impressive selection, and a far cry from the days when Widow couldn’t even get a single pistol of her own.  Now she’s got stuff to spare, and I can definitely see this set being picked up by a lot of people just for the accessories.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

The story of how I got Widow here is pretty much the same as yesterday’s Probe Droid: All Time got her in right as I was hitting the peak of my “I haven’t bought anything new to review in a while” phase.  I was definitely planning to get this figure, but didn’t know what to expect.  She’s a lot of fun, both just as a figure, and as an excuse to get a lot of cool accessories.  I’m actually kind of glad I got her divorced from the standard release, because it lets me look at the two Widows on their own merits a bit more.  I think the core figure to this one might have gotten the short end of the stick otherwise.

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

#2056: Hawkeye & Black Widow

HAWKEYE & BLACK WIDOW

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

From the ranks of SHIELD to the growing team of Avengers, Black Widow and Hawkeye put their expert training to use as they suit up to defend their world and universe from intergalactic threats.”

There sure was a lot of pre-movie hype built around the Avengers’ Quantum Suits in Endgame, and then…well, let’s just say they aren’t overly present for much of the film.  But, I suppose they did get that grand entrance, and they were certainly an intriguing new design.  They’re also a decent way of getting out a fair number of the main characters out with as much shared tooling as possible.  I’ve looked at one Legends offering of the Quantum Suit (worn by Captain America), and now I’m following it up with fellow founding Avengers Hawkeye and Black Widow!

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

Hawkeye and Widow are a Target-exclusive two-pack of Marvel Legends, and started arriving at shelves right around the film’s release date.

HAWKEYE

After quite an absence from the toy realm, Clint Barton has been pretty well-served by the initial Endgame product, with a whole two Legends figures, right out of the gate.  No body else got that!  Well, okay, Cap’s almost getting that, since the Walmart-exclusive is already hitting, just over a month after the first figure, but let’s not sully Hawkeye’s good fortune.  The figure stands 6 1/2 inches tall and has 32 points of articulation.  This guy is mostly made up of re-used parts, being identical to the Quantum Suit Cap from the neck down.  It’s really not a surprise, especially given the slightly more averaged proportions of the body.  It’s also supposed to be the same suit on everybody, so I guess it’s a sensible choice.  Hawkeye gets a brand-new head sculpt, sporting Clint’s radical new hair, or at least an approximation of it.  It’s also got probably the best Renner likeness we’ve seen from Hasbro (although Super Awesome Fiancee says he does have enough of a “dad” look to really be Hawkeye), and is generally a nice offering.  It has the added benefit of looking pretty nice on the Ronin body, should you want his look from most of the movie.  The paint on Hawkeye is about what you’d expect.  The head sports the face-printing tech, which looks nice and lifelike, and the body is an exact match for the paint on the Cap figure.  Hawkeye is packed with his bow, re-used from his first Avengers figure.  Befitting the “lots of characters from the same shared tooling”, he also includes two alternate heads, for Iron Man and Ant-Man.  They’re re-used from the IW Thanos and the Cull Obsidian series figures respectively.  Not at all accurate, but hey, that hasn’t stopped these figures before.

BLACK WIDOW

Widow was represented in the Infinity War toys, but thus far has had a much sparser selection for Endgame, with this being her only planned figure from Hasbro, at least so far.  I wouldn’t be shocked if that changes going forward, though.  The figure stands 6 1/4 inches tall and has 29 points of articulation.  Widow’s sporting an all-new sculpt.  It’s a solid match for the male version of the suit, and it’s in fact a little better, at least from a proportions stand-point.  The head is sporting a very nice likeness of Scarlet Johansen, which, again, I’d say is the best version of her likeness we’ve gotten from Hasbro.  It’s also sized well to fit on the Infinity War Widow body, if you want her non-Quantum-Suited.  The paint on Widow matches pretty decently with Hawkeye’s, so it’s another very strong offering.  I especially like that they got that little bit of blonde at the end of her ponytail.  Widow is packed with her twin batons (re-used from the Infinity War release), as well as an extra head and pistol so she can be used as Nebula (both re-used from the Mantis Series figure).

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

This set was a little scarce around the movie’s release, what with the hype and whatnot.  I was searching for a little while without much luck, and kind of gave up, honestly.  Then the power went out a few weeks ago, and we had to run out for dinner and some supplies, and I just happened to wander past the toy aisle and, boom, there they were.  While having the quantum suits doesn’t mean as much to me, I’m definitely glad to have the new heads for Nat and Clint.

#1754: The Champions

ANGEL, GHOST RIDER, BLACK WIDOW, & HERCULES

MARVEL MINIMATES

In wake of the success of the Avengers and the Defenders, in the ’70s, Marvel was looking for another big team-up book to push.  In 1975, Tony Isabella and Don Heck introduced the Champions, a collection of two X-Men, two fan favorite solo acts, and a former Avenger.  The team wasn’t really a smash success, running only 17 issues, before the team disbanded and the members were absorbed into other projects.  They remained a favorite amongst die-hard fans, though, as well as having a pretty strong line-up, which led to them getting an Action Figure Express-exclusive boxed set in 2009.

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

These four were released via AFX at SDCC 2009.  They cover four of the five founding members.  Sadly, we’ve never gotten a proper Iceman to match the other four, but there are a few stand-ins…anyway, onto the four we actually got!

ANGEL

We’d had two Archangels prior to this figure’s release, but this was the first proper Angel ‘mate.  Angel notably had two distinct looks over the course of the series.  This figure is based on the second, less dated of the two, which was a variant of his blue and white costume from the ‘60s.  This is one of the character’s longest-lived looks, so it was definitely a well-deserved variant.  The figure is built on the basic ‘mate body, so he’s 2 1/4 inches tall and has 14 points of articulation.  He gets an extra two points via the ball-joints for the wings, which brings his count up to 16.  Angel had four sculpted add-on pieces, for his hair/cowl, harness, and wings.  The hair is a new piece (which would see re-use later down the line for two other Angel variants), and, aside from the cowl being a little bulky at the sides, it’s a good match for Angel’s style of the time. The harness is the same one first used on Archangel, with a new set of feathery wings attached to it.  The new wings are a marked improvement over the DCD Hawkman wings, with greater size, greater posablity, and a far more durable point of connection.   Angel’s paint is privy to its ups and its downs.  The detail lines are all nice and sharp, and the face does a pretty great job of capturing Angel’s pretty-boy persona.  The colors are all very bright, and match up with the comics in that regard.  The big problem is with the application of the paint.  The changes from red to white are particularly sloppy, and the yellow for the gloves and boots is too thin to fully cover the reds in some areas.  It makes for a somewhat sloppy figure.  Angel included no accessories, but with the wings, it’s not too much of a loss.  I suppose an extra hair piece might have been nice.

GHOST RIDER

The fourth Ghost Rider, and technically the second Johnny Blaze, this figure marks the first, and to date only, ‘mate of the classic incarnation of the character.  Ghost Rider makes use of sculpted add-ons for his hair, collar, glove cuffs, and belt.  His hair and cuffs are re-used, with the hair coming from the Series 8 Human Torch, and the cuffs being the rolled-up sleeves from the Spirit two-pack.  At first glance, the collar looks to be the same one from the DCD Star Sapphire, but it’s not quite the same.  The belt is likewise a new piece for this set.  The collar sits a little high on the torso, and hides his neck, which looks a little off.  Otherwise, the parts make for a pretty solid recreation of Ghost Rider.  Ghost Rider’s paint is a marked improvement on Angel.  Perhaps it’s the variations of blue helping matters, but application seems to be cleaner and sharper than it was on Angel.  The new head also does a tremendous job of handling GR’s flaming skull, doing it in a much more pleasing way than prior variants had handled it.  Accessories are pretty much going to be the failing point of any Ghost Rider Minimate ever, since contractually he can’t have the Hellcycle that actually makes him a “rider.” As the classic version of the character, this one’s even lighter than other variations of the character, since he didn’t yet have the usual chain whip.  This one instead just gets a flame effect piece, which is certainly better than nothing.

BLACK WIDOW

This set marked Black Widow’s Minimate debut, and she served as a prominent selling point for a lot of people.  Like the others, she’s seen here in her classic ‘70s garb.  Not quite as timeless as some of the others in the pack, but a very good choice nevertheless. Widow has four sculpted add-on pieces; one for the hair, two for the widow’s stingers, and one for the belt.  Apart from the belt, which is shared with the Ghost Rider from this set (and let’s be honest, was really designed for her and re-used on him), all of her pieces were new.  Sharp detailing, and good recreation of her look from the comics. Widow’s paint is by far the best in the set.  The shiny black for the body suit looks really spiffy, and the detailing on the torso is an amazing feat in adding dimension to a flat torso block.  The face could perhaps stand to be a little more emotive, but it still feels true to the character.  There are no accessories for Widow in this set, which is a bit of shame, but not totally surprising, since Widow’s primary means of attack at the time was her widow’s stingers.

HERCULES

Like Black Widow, Hercules made his Minimate debut in this set, though unlike her he’s yet to get a follow-up. There are a number of options when it comes to Herc’s design.  This one is the one he was sporting for the entirety of his time with the Champions, and it had just gotten a revival right around the time of this figure’s release, courtesy of Herc’s role during World War Hulk and its subsequent fall-out.  Hercules has five add-on pieces, for his hair, his chest cap, his wrist bands, and his skirt. The hair piece is new to Herc, and it’s a really goof piece.  The detailing on the hair is quite sharp, and the flow to his hair is quite realistic.  The rest of the parts are re-use, with the torso coming from the Wave 22 Hulk, the wrist bands coming from the DCD Ocean Master, and the skirt coming from the Star Trek line.  It’s an okay combination of parts, but not one that’s held up the best.  The chest cap in particular was always rather flawed design, with the shoulders in particular giving the whole thing a rather strange appearance.  As one of those sort of in-between characters size-wise, DST was undeniably in a tough as to how to handle him.  Herc’s paintwork is fairly decent work.  The face captures Herc’s likeness well (though I might have liked something a bit more intense or angry, following after the cover to The Champions #1), and has a lot of detailing in the brow and beard in particular.  The rest of the details are pretty well defined, but the orange and green sections of the skirt could probably have stood to get an outline, if nothing more than to match the strap on his torso.  Hercules was packed with his club, which was a newly sculpted piece.  It follows the comics design well.  It can be stowed on his back, which is a cool touch.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I’ve never been to SDCC, so it follows that I wasn’t there in-person to get this in 2009.  Fortunately, AFX was good about getting their exclusives up online, so I was able to secure myself a set without much trouble.  I was happy to get this set, because I’ve always really liked the Champions, and I’m excited for any recognition they get.  Apart from the lack of accessories, I think Widow is this set’s strongest offering, and still holds up as one of the best variants of the character.  Angel is a very good ‘mate held back only by some issues with paint application.  Had the paint been a little better, he would have been darn near perfect.  As is, he’s just close to it.  Ghost Rider is yet another version of the character that’s missing his cycle, but at least this is a solid ‘mate in his own right.  Herc’s not the strongest figure in the set, and is somewhat compromised by some of the pieces used for him.  Still, he’s far from a bad offering, and rounds out the set quite nicely.

#1728: Infinity War Boxed Set

THANOS, IRON MAN, BLACK WIDOW, & WINTER SOLDIER

MARVEL MINIMATES

“As the Avengers and their allies have continued to protect the world from threats too large for any one hero to handle, a new danger has emerged from the cosmic shadows: Thanos. A despot of intergalactic infamy, his goal is to collect all six Infinity Stones, artifacts of unimaginable power, and us them to inflict his twisted will on all of reality. Everything the Avengers have fought for has led up to this moment – the fate of Earth and existence itself has never been more uncertain.”

Hey, did you guys know there was another Marvel movie released last weekend?  Well, let’s pretend there wasn’t, because I’m still making my way through the product from the one before that.  Avengers: Infinity War was a big movie, and by extension, it had a ton of merchandise.  As they have since the first Iron Man, Diamond Select Toys put out a few assortments of Minimates based on the film.  I’ll be looking at the main boxed set today.

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

Thanos, Iron Man, Black Widow, and Winter Soldier make up the specialty-exclusive Infinity War boxed set.  This follows the trend that was set by Thor: Ragnarok and Black Panther, where a movie gets a four-pack at comic book stores, and then two-packs at Walgreens and Toys R Us (Of course, it also ends the trend, what with TRU going under, but let’s not go there).  Thanos and Iron Man were also available in two-pack form through Walgreens and the would-have-been-Toys-R-Us-but-instead-became-another-specialty assortments.  This makes Black Widow and Winter Soldier the two specialty exclusives.  Admittedly, the packout here is a little strange.  Tony and Thanos make sense, but Widow and Bucky never interact with Tony at all, only really interact with Thanos via proxy, and don’t actually interact with *each other*.  What’s more, neither of them is particularly plot relevant.  Of course, we ended up with pretty much all of the major players anyway, so the packout isn’t so important, I guess.

THANOS

After all this time, we finally get an MCU Thanos Minimate!  It sure took its time, didn’t it?  This figure uses the same casual look as the Marvel Legend, which is sensible, since it’s his main look.  It’s perhaps not as exciting as other designs, but that’s hardly on DST.  He’s built on the usual body, with add-ons for his chest, pelvis, upper arms, hands, thighs, and boots.  His torso, upper arms, right hand, and thighs are all re-used; standard “large character” pieces.  The left hand, pelvis, and boots are all new pieces, detailing Thanos-specific parts.  While the skirt clashes a little bit with the more standard upper body, the boots are quite sharply detailed and true to the film.  The left hand is perhaps the most important piece, since it’s the Infinity Gauntlet.  Like all of the more recent larger figure hands (and unlike the corresponding right hand), it’s ambidextrous, should you wish to place it on someone’s right hand.  It actually seems a little small when compared to his non-gloved hand.  Thanos must have really needed help getting that thing on there!  Fortunately, it’s not overly noticeable if you get the posing right.  Thanos’s paintwork is about what you’d expect at this point from a Minimate.  The colors are pretty good matches for the movie, and the linework is all nice and crisp.  He’s sporting an angrier expression than a lot of the IW product.  It’s different, though I kind of wish we could have gotten an extra head with a different expression.  Thanos is packed with a spare left hand without the gauntlet, as well as a clear display stand.

IRON MAN

Iron Man is no stranger to Minimates, of course, especially not his MCU incarnation.  This figure replicates his nano-tech based Mark 50 armor from the movie, which is one of his coolest armors yet.  The ‘mate uses the usual construction, with a unique set of upper arms, as well as add-ons for his helmet and shoulders.  The helmet is just a basic slipcover mask, rather than a new sculpt.  However, given the sleekness of the design in the movie, this is a reasonable choice, and I certainly prefer it to another re-use of the Mk 42 helmet.  The new upper arms are also a huge improvement on the heavily restricted 42 arms.  Overall, decent basic construction. The paint is also pretty great, being a very bright, striking metallic red and gold.  The biggest flaw of this figure is the accessory compliment.  He’s got a flight stand and a hair piece for an unmasked look.  The armor in the movie could shift into all sorts of additional tools and weaponry, so the fact that none of this is replicated here is quite disappointing.  Sadly, this isn’t the only Mark 50 figure to have this issue.

BLACK WIDOW

Despite not yet having her own movie, Black Widow has made out pretty well in terms of Minimates.  In fact, her MCU version has actually made out a lot better than her comics counterpart.  This one, of course, presents her rather altered look from the movie.  The figure uses the same standard body as usual, with an add-on piece for her hair.  It appears to be new piece, and recreates her look from the movie well enough, though it seems a little more simplified than other recent pieces.  She also has a pair of holsters (the same holsters used by all of the Widow figures since Avengers)…with nothing to really go in them.  I’ll get to that in a second.  Widow’s paintwork is overall pretty decent, with the exception of her face, which, for some reason, looks nothing like Scarlet Johannsen.  They’ve gotten it down before, but this looks nothing like her.  So, onto those holsters with nothing inside of them.  Widow includes her staff in its fully assembled form, as well as the split form, and a handgun.  There are two holsters, so obviously the gun doesn’t go there.  Then there’s the split version of the staff, but each half is as long as her leg, and she definitely stores them on her back in the movie.  In the film, she has some sort of tasers stored in the holsters, at least going by the Marvel Legend.  So she’s just got the holsters and they just sort of remain empty.  I think it might have made more sense to just leave them out completely.

WINTER SOLDIER

Winter Soldier/Bucky has been fortunate enough to get a ‘mate from every movie he’s been featured in, and Infinity War is no exception.  His role is rather minimal truth be told, so I guess the fact that he’s relegated just to this boxed set is pretty sensible.  Bucky’s design for this film is a nice merging of prior designs, keeping the basic design of his first Winter Soldier look, and the more classically inspired color scheme of his First Avenger look.  It’s my favorite of his designs so far to be sure.  He uses the usual body, with add-ons for his hair, wrist guard, the bottom of his jacket, and knife sheath.  All of the pieces are re-used, but they match well with his design from the movie, so it’s hard to complain.  The rest of the work is paint.  They’ve had some trouble with Stan’s likeness on past figures, but this one seems to get it a bit closer.  Still not perfect, but at least he doesn’t have the goofy eyes that all of the others ended up with.  His uniform’s detailing is pretty sharp, and looks really bold.  Winter Soldier is packed with a submachine gun and a knife, as well as a clear display stand.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I kind of dragged my feet on this set, truth be told.  I don’t quite know why, but I had trouble getting too excited for it.  I ended up grabbing it from Luke’s Toy Store while picking up a few other items.  I’m of mixed feeling about it.  Thanos is decently handled, but a little bland.  Iron Man’s another Iron Man, and lacks any of what really makes this armor all that unique.  Black Widow’s got her confusingly implemented accessories, but is alright apart from that.  Winter Soldier’s simultaneously the least essential and yet the best figure in the set.

#1667: Black Widow

BLACK WIDOW

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

“An agent of espionage and expert in hand-to-hand combat, Black Widow is trained to take out any enemy of justice.”

Despite some bad luck initially when it comes to action figures (being the only main team member from the 6-inch line for the first Avengers, being available only in an online-exclusive boxed set for AoU, etc.), things are starting to look up for Natasha Romanov.  In less than a year, she’s had a whopping three Marvel Legends, as well as being included in all three styles of the Infinity War product.  I’ve looked at the basic line’s take on her, and today I’m following that up with the Legends release!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Black Widow is part of the Cull Obsidian Series of Marvel Legends.  Outside of the Build-A-Figure, she’s one of two Infinity War-based figures in the assortment.  She’s got the same look as the basic figure, which is reasonable, since it’s also Widow’s only look in the film and all.  The figure stands 5 3/4 inches tall and she has 27 points of articulation.  Despite the last two MCU Widows using the same mold, this one is all-new.  I really liked the basic figure’s sculpt, and wasn’t sure how this one would fare when compared, but oh boy is this one just an all-around improvement.  The head is pretty solid.  I think the basic figure might have the better overall likeness (I’m getting a bit of a Charlize Theron vibe from this one), but this is definitely the more lifelike of the two.  The proportions of the body are nicely balanced, the details of the costume are crisp, and there’s a ton of texturing all throughout.  The vest is a little bit bulky, but there’s a good reason for that; it’s a separate overlay piece.  Pop off the head, and there’s a fully detailed torso underneath, showcasing Widow’s standard body sculpt.  Apparently she just threw a vest over her prior outfit.  That’s a cool detail.  Widow’s paintwork is pretty solid stuff too, matching up with the sculpt in quality.  She’s got the new face print tech, which looks nice and lifelike, and appears to be improving for every figure they use it on.  The body suit has a lot of subtle variations of blacks and greys, stepping up what we saw on the last two Widow releases and keeping her visually interesting.  Widow is packed with two pairs of hands (fists and gripping), her twin batons (which can snap together into one staff), and a pair of tasers to store in her holsters.  I wish the batons could be stowed on her back like in the movie, but beyond that it’s a pretty good assortment of extras.  She also includes the torso of Cull Obsidian, by far the largest piece of him.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

This figure had a high bar to clear, since the basic line’s version of her was quite good.  I was expecting to get more milage out of that release before this one came along, but not so much.  This is a very strong figure, perhaps one of Hasbro’s strongest MCU figures, and certainly the best figure of Widow out there.  Now, I’m hoping we get a slight tweak on this one for a proper red-haired variant.

Black Widow was purchased from my sponsors over at All Time Toys.  You can visit them in person on Main Street in Ellicott City, MD, or you can view their sizable online catalogue via their online store or their eBay store front!

#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.

#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.

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#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!