THOR, BLACK WIDOW, BRUCE BANNER, & HAWKEYE
MARVEL LEGENDS INFINITE SERIES
Trying to get a full line-up of the whole Avengers team from Avengers: Age of Ultron has been a barren source of amusement. Hasbro’s 2 ½ inch line has given us all but Black Widow and Quicksilver. The 3 ¾ inch line is missing those two again, plus Hawkeye and Vision. Up until recently, the Marvel Legends figures had only given us movie versions of Hulk, Iron Man and Captain America. Amazon has stepped in to help us at least finish up the main team (sans new additions), giving us a boxed set containing Thor, Black Widow, and Hawkeye from the second film, as well as figure of Mark Ruffalo’s Bruce Banner for good measure.
THE FIGURES THEMSELVES
These four were sold as a single boxed set, which just started shipping out a few weeks ago. They’re technically an Amazon exclusive, but time will tell if that sticks or if other stores might start getting them.
This guy’s probably the most surprising to see relegated to an online-only boxed set. I mean, he’s Thor. That seems pretty big. But, I guess stores are still afraid of him after the incredibly slow sales of the toys from his first solo movie (available at a Toys R Us near you!). The figure is about 7 inches tall and has 28 points of articulation. He’s based on his design from Dark World/Age of Ultron (They’re more or less the same), specifically the sleeveless look. Since he’s lacking the sleeves in both of AoU’s main fight scenes, that seems like a good choice. Structurally, this guy’s all-new, making him the only AoU figure outside of Ultron to get all-new tooling. The sculpt is really great, all around. The face isn’t a pitch-perfect Hemsworth, but it’s definitely the closest Hasbro’s gotten so far, and it really isn’t far off. The hair manages to be rather intricately detailed, and it doesn’t get too bunchy anywhere. It also doesn’t restrict movement nearly as much as you might think, which is a definite plus. The rest of the body is well proportioned and loaded with detail, all of which looks pretty accurate to the movie design. Even the cape is handled well, which doesn’t happen often. If there’s one drawback, it’s the choice to make both hands gripping; I feel like one of them being in a more outstretched pose could have added to the posing options. The paint on this figure is interesting, as it’s quite a bit different from what was seen on the prototype. In addition to the paint being much thicker than on the final figure, the prototype also had many of the accents painted gold, making the figure a Dark World figure, not an Age of Ultron figure. The final still has a slight tint of gold on those areas, but it’s minor enough that it won’t stand out as obviously wrong in an Avengers set up. It’s a happy medium, which is a good choice. Thor is armed with his mighty hammer Mjolnir, which is very nicely sculpted and painted and fits well in his hand to boot.
On to opposite end of the spectrum from the all-new Thor figure is Black Widow, who is just a repaint. Yep, Widow here is head to toe a repaint of her Winter Soldier figure. You can read my opinions on the sculpt, here. Briefly recapping, it was a good sculpt then, and it still holds up pretty well here, aside from being too tall for Johansson. She uses the Avengers-styled head (the hair is seated a bit better this time around, so the likeness is better), which is sensible, since her hair in AoU was more or less the same. What wasn’t more or less the same was her costume, which actually had several differences between TWS and AoU. The figure uses paint to make these changes, but doesn’t quite make it work. The most notable change to the costume was the addition of red gauntlets, which this figure skips all together. There are these random red squares on the forearms, but they don’t even come close to being “gauntlets.” Widow also had full gloves this time, as opposed to the usual fingerless ones. Rather than actually changing the hands, Hasbro opted to just mold them in a solid black. It’s not immediately evident that they aren’t right, but to someone like me, who knows the lines for the ends of the gloves are there, it’s kind of annoying that nothing was done to fix this. They did at least get the blue “tron lines” right, so there’s that. Also, the kneepads seem a little too bright, but they are, at the very least, close to accurate. For accessories, Widow loses the extra head and hands of her TWS counterpart, and still has the non-removable guns. She does get her baton thingies from the movie, but they’re kind of a little…droopy.
Believe it or not, this is the first proper, Marvel Legends-scale Bruce Banner we’ve ever gotten. We got a Banner figure from Toy Biz’s Hulk Classics line (packed with Series 2’s Gamma Hulk), but he had inferior articulation and was just slightly out of scale. We haven’t seen another until now. Civilian versions of heroes are kind of a hard sell, I guess. Banner appears to be based on his arriving at the Helicarrier look from the first Avengers movie, though it’s really just a basic business casual look, so it can work a lot of places. The figure stands about 6 inches tall and has 30 points of articulation. Banner uses the recently developed suit body (first used on Agent Coulson) as his base. It’s a well sculpted body, and it’s certainly the best suit body on the market, so it’s a good starting point. Bruce gets a unique head sculpt, as well as a new upper torso piece. The head is a halfway decent interpretation of Mark Ruffalo. It’s far from perfect, but you can see who it’s meant to be. I think a better paint job could bring the likeness a lot closer. The new upper torso piece is really just a minor tweak on the old, removing the tie and opening up the collar, and thereby giving Bruce a more movie-accurate look. The paintwork on Banner is alright, but not fantastic. As noted above, the paint on the head hides the sculpt; it’s just a bit too sloppy and there’s virtually no work done to play up the sculpt’s strengths. The rest of the paint is just sort of there; the colors are good and everything stays where it’s supposed to, but there’s not much that stands out. Banner includes no accessories.
It’s everybody’s favorite punching bag, Hawkeye! After being somewhat pushed to the side in the first Avengers, Hawkeye was presented a more substantial role for Age of Ultron, where he took a slightly divergent path from his comics counterpart and went straight to work checking off every “I’m gonna die” box possible. Then he made it out without dying! And there was much rejoicing (yay). Hawkeye is right at 6 inches tall (like Widow, he’s just too tall) and he has 30 points of articulation. The figure is largely made of re-used parts from the first movie’s Walmart exclusive Hawkeye; only the head and quiver are different, and even the quiver is re-used from the more recent Marvel Legends comic Hawkeye. This of course means that Hawkeye is in his costume from the first movie, as opposed to his snazzy jacketed look from AoU. This look does still appear during the final battle, though, and the first release of this figure wasn’t the easiest to find, so this look is pretty valid too, I guess. Overall, the sculpt is pretty decent. The articulation scheme is a little outdated and the proportions are a little wonky in some spots, but the texture work on the uniform is superb. The new head sculpt is noteworthy because it finally gives us Hawkeye without the sunglasses that every figure seems to saddle him with, despite him not wearing them in either film. The Renner likeness is pretty decent, though the head does feel just a touch too wide. The paintwork on Hawkeye is pretty good overall. The eyes are a little bit off, but not terribly so, and all of the colors are well chosen. I also appreciate that the quiver isn’t just a solid color. I do wish the spot for the SHIELD emblem had something on it, because it’s distracting for it to just be a differently textured but unpainted bit, but that’s minor. Hawkeye is packed with his trusty bow, but, like the other Hawkeyes from Hasbro, no arrows.
THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION
Wanna take a guess as to where I got this here Amazon exclusive set? Yeah, I preordered this set pretty much as soon as it went up. Not gonna lie, I actually came pretty close to cancelling it, but Amazon went and shipped it without telling me it had arrived, so here it is. It’s not the most thrilling set of all time, but it does contain some pretty important figures. Thor’s definitely the star here, being the only truly new figure, and Widow’s definitely the weakest link (in terms of accuracy and not having anything new to offer. She’s still a good figure). Banner and Hawkeye both fall somewhere in between, being nonessential, but cool to have nonetheless. I think this set might be more exciting if Amazon were to follow it up with another 4-pack featuring Scarlet Witch, Quicksilver, Vision, and Falcon, so we could actually finish up the team, but that seems like wishful thinking.