#3197: The Controller

THE CONTROLLER

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

First appearing at the end of the first year of Iron Man’s initial solo title, Basil Sandhurst aka The Controller is one of those villains who’s always sort of stuck to the background.  He’s largely remained an Iron Man foe, but also spent some time working with Thanos against Captain Marvel and the Avengers, as well as doing the general bounce around amongst the core Avengers cast.  He’s never risen to any particularly crazy heights, and despite his nature as a guy who controls other people, he’s more often than not working for someone bigger these days.  Most recently, he resurfaced in Iron Man’s current run, this time working for Michael Korvac.  This increased prominence, coupled with his design being “blue Thanos,” has netted him his first action figure treatment, as a Marvel Legends Build-A-Figure.  I’m taking a look at that figure today!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

The Controller is the Build-A-Figure for the self-titled series of Marvel Legends, which is the most recent Avengers-themed assortment.  Given that the assortment also features Iron Man in his most recent armor, Controller is a pretty natural fit.  The figure stands 7 3/4 inches tall and he has 30 points of articulation.  His size is a bit large for his listed height of 6 foot 2 inches, but as with most listed comic book character heights, there’s always a degree of variance in how they’re actually portrayed.  Controller’s certainly one of those characters that’s crept up in height over the years.  It’s also more excusable given the nature of his construction, which banks pretty heavily on the deluxe Thanos molds from last year.  He shares his arms, legs, pelvis, and shoulder armor with that figure, and his torso is also a slightly modified version of Thanos’s as well.  The two have classically looked astonishingly similar in their designs, and this is certainly a major factor in Controller getting made for this assortment, so I definitely get it.  He gets a new head, forearms, hands, shins, and feet, as well as a new belt piece.  By far, the head is the strongest piece.  It captures Controller’s cracked and segmented face really well, just really looks the part.  His new gloves and boots are far more simplified than Thanos’s were, which better fits the Controller’s usual look, and also just further removes him from the prior figure.  Controller’s paint work is more involved than it looks at first glance.  While the basic blues are just molded plastic, there’s a bit of highlighting on the lighter blues to make some of the muscle detailing stand out a bit more.  The exact shades seem just a little bit off, so it looks a little funky, but I do like to see Hasbro trying something other than just the flat colors.  The face also gets some accenting to really bring out those cracks, and that winds up paying off much better.  Despite being a Build-A-Figure, Controller nevertheless actually gets two sets of hands: basic fists, and a combo with open gesture.  The right open gesture hand is even holding a pair of his control discs, which is a fun touch.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I didn’t intend to finish this figure nearly as quickly as I did.  After a couple years of just buying full sets of everything Legends and sorting out what I didn’t want later, for this series I actually decided to be picky, since I wasn’t really that interested in more than half of the figures.  And, while I wasn’t opposed to owning a Controller, I was also content to wait for his parts to get traded in.  No rush.  Well, I got my two pieces from the figures I wanted.  And then Max got one figure, and didn’t want the parts.  And a customer at the store also wasn’t getting a full set, so I got those parts too, and one by one, I assembled a Controller in just over a day.  Hey, I won’t knock that!  He’s another one of those fairly by the numbers figures, who does exactly what he needs to, and ultimately succeeds because of it.  I wasn’t expecting a lot, but he’s certainly fun.

#3163: Bonebreaker

BONEBREAKER

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

“The villainous cyborg known only as Bonebreaker desires nothing more than the chance to wreak havoc. Employing his robotic abilities first as a mercenary and then as a member of the nefarious Reavers, Bonebreaker leaves a trail of destruction wherever his travels lead him!”

Back in 2019, Hasbro knocked out their first member of the cybernetically-enhanced X-Men foes the Reavers with Skullbuster, an admittedly soft opening for the line-up.  But, that’s what you get when you really don’t have the name recognition to justify much new tooling right out of the gate.  We also got the team’s two different leaders, Donald Pierce and Lady Deathstrike, though the actual ranks are still rather small.  And hey, now we’re getting arguably the most quickly recognizable member of the group, by nature of being half-man-half-tank.  Let’s check out Bonebreaker!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Bonebreaker is the Build-A-Figure for the titular series of Marvel Legends, assembled from the parts included with six of the seven figures in the assortment.  This is Bonebreaker’s second time in figure form, following up on the original Toy Biz one.  Hey, it’s better than all of the rest of his team, so that certainly counts for something.  The figure is about 6 1/2 inches tall and has 18 points of articulation, as well as a moving cannon and back-flap on the tank portion of the figure.  The proper articulation is confined to the upper half, which is making use of the upper portion of the Spider-UK body.  He also gets the bands from Captain Marvel, as well as a new head, overlay for the web gear and collar piece, and, of course, the tank half.  The new pieces are actually pretty impressive.  The head’s got a ton of character, between both the hair style and the crazy look on his face.  I especially like the hinged sunglasses, which add a lot of options for the character’s expressions.  The tank section is generally pretty solid as well.  The detailing is sharp and well-handled technically, and I really dig the dings and scratches.  The assembly is also pretty solid, considering how its got to be disassembled for the purposes of the Build-A-Figure set-up.  Bonebreaker’s color work is on the drab side, as expected, but there’s a lot going on, which keeps it interesting.  Bonebreaker is packed with two sets of hands (fists and gripping), as well as an assault rifle.  It covers everything he could need, and then some, so that’s a plus.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Back in the ’90s, I remember seeing Bonebreaker’s original figure everywhere, which sort of wound up deterring me from actually getting it, until I finally broke back in 2019 and finally got him.  Over the years, I’ve grown to like Bonebreaker a little bit more, and I was certainly intrigued by the prospect of him in Legends form, and this Build-A-Figure release looked pretty awesome when it was shown off.  In-hand, he turned out really well.  Clearly, a lot of fun was had with this one.  I’d love to see them tackle more of the Reavers to fill things out a bit, because they did really well with this one.

This assortment is really oddball, and generally pretty obscure, but boy do I like it.  Obviously, Havok’s the main star for me, because it’s Havok, and he’s great.  That said, Maggot and Bonebreaker are both really well handled figures of low-tier characters, who are just a ton of fun.  Darwin, Siryn, and Sabretooth are all rather by the numbers, but they do what they need to, and they do it well.  And you don’t even need to buy the Wolverine variant to finish the set!  Oh, right, there’s also Vulcan.  I mean, I guess he’s alright.

#3130: Korg

KORG

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

“A Kronan warrior on the planet Sakaar, Korg is forced to compete in the Contest of Champions.  When he meets fellow warrior Thor, he allies with the Asgardian to escape Sakaar and defeat Hela.”

Remember on Tuesday, when I was discussing Ragnarok‘s new characters, who were of varying importance and seriousness?  Well, hey, here’s Korg.  Not super important, I suppose, but certainly a good time, thanks to director Taika Waititi’s delightfully charming performance as the character.  He returned as the character for Endgame, and is now coming back once more for Ragnarok‘s sequel, Love and Thunder, which looks to be giving him an enhanced role.  I for one am very much in favor of this, as I absolutely love Korg.  And now I’ve got another Korg action figure.  Let’s see if I love that too.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Korg is the titular Build-A-Figure for the Korg Series of Marvel Legends.  It marks his second time as a Legend, following the Ragnarok version from the two-pack.  This one is based on his upgraded attire from the new movie.  It’s a little more personalized, since he’s not a gladiator anymore.  There’s some fur, and a bit more color to it, making it a little more visually interesting.  The figure stands just shy of 8 inches tall and he has 30 points of articulation.  Korg is built using a number of shared parts from the previous version of Korg.  It’s sensible, what with him being the same character, and the first version being a pretty solid piece of work and all.  This one keeps most of the arms and torso, as well as the feel, with a new set of legs, overlay for the torso, and head.  Generally, it’s a pretty nice selection of new parts, matching well to the quality of the original parts.  The head’s not super different, just with a slightly different expression.  This one’s a little more serious, though still not too serious, because, you know, it’s Korg.  The new legs notably give him actual pants.  That’s a nice improvement for him, I guess.  What’s not so much of an improvement is the hip movement.  He can’t actually get his legs to sit straight down for a standard standing pose; he’s always got to be low-key spreading his legs.  The figure’s color work is fairly decent.  The design allows for a brighter, more eye-catching look than the last one.  The application of the paint is pretty clean, though there’s not a ton going on in the way of accenting, much like with the rest of the assortment.  On the one hand, it’s a bit of a bummer, but on the other, it means there’s not a lot of mismatched shading, as can happen on some Build-A-Figures.  Korg is packed with his mace-thing, which appears to be the same piece as included with the last one, just with a slightly different paint scheme.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I really like Korg, and I really liked the last Korg figure, so I wasn’t certain I needed this figure.  That said, I did like the new design for the character, and I was at least somewhat interested in most of the figures needed to build him.  I was able to snag the part that came with Star-Lord on its own, meaning I had less figures I needed to buy, and making the whole thing just a bit easier.  While there are some slight issues with this figure, I do really like the end result, and he’s another fun Korg figure.

This is a more focused set than previous movie sets, to be sure.  I’m glad that Hasbro’s finally splitting movie and comic into their own things, as I think it allows them to cover more of the core movie stuff without dipping into exclusives and multipacks, which are usually pretty frustrating.  That said, for me personally, I’m hitting a point where I don’t feel as pressed to buy every single new MCU figure any more, given how many versions I have of some of these characters.  This one was an interesting experiment for me.  I think Korg remains my favorite, as I expected.  The two Thors I picked up are both fun, if maybe not much beyond what I was expecting.  Valkyrie and Groot are both figures that exceeded my expectations, and have become my favorite versions of the characters, so that’s pretty cool.  And Gorr…well, he’s just sort of there.  Again, hard to judge without seeing the movie.  With the projected price jumps, this one does feel a bit like a last hurrah for this type of assortment, but we’ll see how things progress.

#3018: Colossus

COLOSSUS

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

In the apocalyptic world of Age of…Apocalypse…clever there, the usually gentle giant Piotr Rasputin is re-imagined into a tough as nails drill sergeant, who spends his portion of the cross-over training child soldiers to take down Apocalypse’s regime.  Perhaps not the most noble effort, but I guess desperate times call for desperate measures.  Likewise, Colossus’ still building relationship with Kitty Pryde became a full-fledged marriage in this alternate universe, as the pair of them became instructors for the AoA versions of Generation X.  Like Kitty, Colossus has previously been without any toy coverage, but Hasbro’s addressed that in this assortment as well.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Colossus is the Build-A-Figure for the eponymous series of Marvel Legends, serving as the line’s second AoA-themed BaF.  Prior Colossus figures in the line have been just shy of the scale for a BaF treatment, but the AoA version of the character was notably larger than the standard universe version, making the larger figure justified here.  The figure stands a little over 8 inches tall and he has 31 points of articulation.  Despite his larger size, this figure is actually a little more posable than the smaller Colossus figures, even getting full double-joint movement at the elbows and knees.  It’s impressive the amount of movement they were able to get into him, even with all the armor and everything.  AoA Colossus is an all-new sculpt, and he’s quite frankly the most impressive sculpt in this whole assortment.  There’s just a ton of detail work, especially with the banded metal texturing of his skin.  There’s also a real intensity to the expression on the face, which seems perfect for this version of the character.  The only part of the construction I’m not super crazy about is the way the shoulder strap works, since it’s not really secured in any way, so it rattles around a lot.  The suspenders help keep it from being totally loose, but a peg of some sort to hold it to the shoulder would go a long way.  His color work is largely handled with molded colors for the plastic, which works well for him.  The paint work that’s there is cleanly applied, and brings out some of the necessary details in the sculpt.  Colossus is a Build-A-Figure, so he’s really an accessory himself, but he nevertheless gets two sets of hands, one in fists, and the other in open gesture.  This matches with the set-up the the 80th Colossus figure got, which is nice to see continue.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

The Toy Biz Legends Colossus kind of started the character’s Legends run off with a pretty high bar to clear.  Thus far, Hasbro’s done everything in there power to make sure their own Colossus releases clear that bar.  I’ve been a fan of all of them so far, but this is Hasbro’s best version of the character so far.  As much as I appreciate the 80th release for what he is, I’d honestly love to see a mainstream version of the character with this level of quality.  Until then, this figure is really awesome, and not only my favorite of this particular assortment, but honestly my favorite of the AoA Legends as a whole.

While I was able to enjoy the first AoA assortment when it hit, it was, admittedly, focused a lot on the portions of the crossover I’m less invested in.  I was really hoping for a second assortment that was more focused on my own personal interests from the story, and this assortment really delivered at that.  Colossus is the real star piece here, no doubt about that.  Rogue was definitely a surprise hit for me, and is probably next in the ranking, though Sabretooth certainly gives her a run for the spot.  Magneto, Cyclops, and Shadowcat are all figures that don’t *quite* stick the landing, but are still really solid figures of character designs I really wanted to see.  Iceman and Legion are both characters that weren’t as high on my list personally, but the figures turned out really well.  In general, this is just a really strong assortment, and to me, it really makes the whole set with the first assortment a more cohesive thing in general.

#2985: Armadillo

ARMADILLO

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

With how many animal-themed foes Spider-Man’s got, plus the fact that this is a Spider-Man-themed assortment of Legends, it’s natural to assume that Armadillo is just a Spidey villain through and through.  He’s not.  He actually first appeared in Captain America, and would kind of remain revolving around Cap and the Avengers for a bit, before the animal-themed thing did eventually lead to him being grouped with Spidey’s foes.  He’s one of those lower-tier villains with a rather tragic and relatable backstory, who writers like to start down the path of redemption every few years or so.  I certainly can get behind that type of storytelling, since it’s kind at the core of the whole Marvel experience, really.  Armadillo is the latest of those sorts of characters to finally get the action figure treatment, and I’ll be taking a look at said treatment today!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Armadillo is the titular Build-A-Figure for the Armadillo Series of Marvel Legends.  His choice for the assortment is more than likely based on his cropping up in the MODOK show, though it also just may be because Hasbro was running through the list of larger characters without any toy coverage and settled on him.  Either way, I’m not gonna knock it.  The figure stands about 8 inches tall and he has 27 points of articulation.  Similar to Ursa Major earlier this year, Armadillo is a figure I was expecting some sort of re-use or something on, since he’s a rather minor character and all.  However, this guy is all-new, which is a pleasant surprise to say the least.  He’s based on a more modern interpretation of Armadillo.  I like him to be a little goofier myself, but I won’t deny that it’s a pretty decent sculpt, which does an alright job of capturing the general essence of the character.  I quite like the detailing on the armor plating; it’s got some great texture work.  Curiously, though he’s an all-new sculpt, the elbows and knees have visible pins…on one side.  The other side is without the visible pin.  It’s weird.  Armadillo’s paint work is generally rather basic looking.  His construction means that the underlying body and the armor are mostly separate pieces, so they can be molded in the proper colors.  What paint is there is very clean, and I definitely dig the subtle shift in the coloring on the main body.  It adds more to the look than you’d expect.  Armadillo’s got no accessories, but there’s not a ton you can really give him, and given his size and the uniqueness of the sculpt, coupled with him being an accessory himself, it’s not a big deal.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Armadillo is one of those characters that you don’t realize you want until someone goes and makes a figure, and then you’re suddenly aware of how lacking your life has been without him.  Or maybe that’s just me.  He served as my main reason for completing the set, and I gotta say, he’s a really fun, really chunky figure.  I really love these sorts of characters and I’m glad that Hasbro’s focusing on getting them to us.

This assortment is, overall, kind of a weak one for me.  Armadillo was definitely the main selling point, and in hand he’s definitely my favorite piece.  Shriek is probably the best of the singles for me, since we’ve just never gotten one before.  I do like Jonah a lot, though he’s not breaking any molds or anything.  Strange and the two Spidey variants are nice figures, but at this point some of the MCU upgrades are getting harder to get enthused about.  And while Miles and Morlun are both serviceable, both are figures that aren’t remaining in my collection beyond these reviews.  Given how fantastic the Spider-themed assortment that started the year off was, I guess this one just had too high a bar to clear.  I am happy with the figures I like, though, so it’s not like it’s a waist of my time or anything.

#2952: Atom Smasher

ATOM SMASHER

DC UNIVERSE CLASSICS (MATTEL)

DC’s handling of the Justice Society from the ’60s forward marked an important change in how they handled story telling as a whole, at least for a while.  With the dawn of the Silver Age, they had rebooted most of their popular titles, but “Flash of Two Worlds” confirmed that the original DC heroes existed in a universe all their own, where time had progressed since we last saw them.  It created a universe where the heroes were allowed to age, which, in tandem, created a universe where the heroes were allowed to retire or otherwise pass their mantles onto a new generation.  Roy Thomas’s All Star Squadron was a series dedicated to the exploits of the JSA after we stopped seeing them regularly, and through it we were introduced to a whole collection of legacy heroes, who would eventually become Infinity Incorporated.  Amongst those heroes was the original Atom’s god-son Albert Rothstein, also known as Nuklon.  Al would later move up to the JSA proper, and would take on a new identity, Atom Smasher, whose second figure I’m looking at today.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Atom Smasher was the Collect-N-Connect for Series 7 of Mattel’s DC Universe Classics.  Atom Smasher would mark the first proper JSA offering within the line, but he would be the first of quite a few, including a whole JSA-themed series by the time the line ended.  Atom Smasher’s status as a CnC allowed him to be a little taller than is compatriots, standing about 8 1/4 inches tall.  His base body was really just patterned on the standard male body, so he kept the same basic 25 points of articulation.  In terms of height, Al had the ability to vary his, much like Giant-Man, but this figure still seemed a little bit on the small side; he felt more like a kind of tall guy, and less like an actual giant.  Still, it was at least a better representation of his size than *some* of the figures in this line…heck, in this very same assortment (looking at you Little Barda).  In terms of sculpt, the sized up base body worked pretty well for the character’s design at least, and the figure specific elements on the neck, belt, forearms, and boots all look pretty good.  The head was a pretty nice piece as well, and would wind up scaled down to normal figure size for use on Mattel’s version of the Al Pratt Atom a few years later.  Atom Smasher’s paint work is pretty good, showing the slightly more involved work from earlier in this line.  The base work is generally pretty cleanly applied, and he also gets some pretty nice accent work, especially on the larger stretches of the same colors on his mask and torso.  Atom Smasher had no accessories, but as an accessory himself, and without any major extras that warranted inclusion, that’s really not a big deal.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Atom Smasher was a slow burn figure for me.  I picked up the figures I most wanted from this assortment right away, so I had their parts for him floating about for a bit.  I even wound up with the Barda figure as well, so I had her part too, but I was so unimpressed with her, and so disenchanted with the possibility of finding the rest of the parts, that I actually wound up trading off the part that came with her before completing this guy.  It wasn’t until the end of the line, when I really started to go back and fill in some holes that I finally brought myself to finish him.   I’m glad I did, because even at his slightly smaller size, he’s a cool figure, and it’s unlikely we’re ever going to get a better Atom Smasher.

#2949: The Watcher

THE WATCHER

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

“Time.  Space.  Reality.  It’s more than a linear path.  It’s a prism of endless possibility, where a single choice can branch out into infinite realities, creating alternate worlds from the ones you know.  I am the Watcher.  I am your guide through these vast new realities.  Follow me and ponder the question…What If?”

First introduced during Stan Lee and Jack Kirby’s second year on Fantastic Four, the Watchers have remained a consistent fixture in the background of the Marvel Universe.  Our central Watcher, named Uatu in the main universe, at least, participated in numerous prominent events, most notably the Galactus Trilogy, where he was forced to break his vow of non-interference to help save the planet from destruction.  Uatu became a fixture of Marvel’s What If…? title with its launch in 1977, serving as a host for the stories featured, much like Rod Serling in The Twilight Zone.  For the MCU’s animated adaptation of the concept, the Watcher is back in his central role as host, now voiced by Jeffery Wright.  And, in a rather fitting fashion, he’s also the central piece of the tie-in toy assortment as well.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

The Watcher is the eponymous Build-A-Figure for the Watcher Series of Marvel Legends.  He’s a perfect choice for the spot, since he’s got ties to (almost) all of the figures in the set.  This is the first time the Watcher has been included in Legends, and only his second time as a figure, following his Marvel Select figure from several years back.  He’s of course based on his show design, but the nature of that design does also give him the ability to work in a multi-faceted sense.  The figure stands 8 3/4 inches tall and he has 28 points of articulation.  The mobility on the figure is a little bit restricted by the design, of course.  He’s got full articulation on the legs, for instance, but the rubber skirt piece pretty much means you’re not ever going to do much with them.  The arms at least have a little more room for range, though the right arm has been tweaked so that its articulation won’t break up the sculpt of the sleeve too much.  The sculpt is an all-new offering, clearly based on his main animation design.  I don’t know that there’s a ton of re-use potential here, but I suppose some of it could be repurposed if they wanted to do an Armored Watcher…that’d actually be pretty cool.  The sculpt is a pretty decent one.  He captures the character’s on-screen design pretty well, while still fitting in pretty nicely with the line as a whole in terms of styling.  In particular, I think the head has turned out very nicely.  He’s got a neutral expression that doesn’t seem like it’s doing too much, but has some subtleties to it when you look at it more closely, much like a proper Watcher sculpt should have.  The Watcher’s paint work is overall pretty basic.  Mostly, it’s just molded colors, like the rest of the assortment, but there’s some nice work on the head again, which gives him a fair bit of character.  The Watcher is without any extras or accessories, but I’m not sure what there would be to give him, and he’s honestly an accessory himself, so it’s not a big deal.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

The Watcher is one of those important characters from a story perspective that doesn’t really make for the easiest toy translation, since he, by design, doesn’t really do much action oriented stuff.  The Marvel Select kind of fulfilled what need there was for him, but that one got very hard to find, and he started to look a little out of place with some of the newer stuff.  An update’s not a bad thing, and I was actually pretty happy to see him turn up here.  The end product isn’t amazingly playable or exciting, but he’s a solid piece, and he looks very nice with the rest of the set.

I like this set quite a bit overall.  Captain Carter is definitely the star piece for me, with Zombie Cap not too far behind.  Strange and Sylvie are both solid figures that are only held back by a few small things.  Heist Nebula is a fun, if not essential piece.  Zombie Hunter Spider-Man is at least an okay basic Spider-Man under it all, if nothing else.  T’Challa’s really the only weak link, and it’s not even that he’s a bad figure, just sort of a messy one with limited applications.  And The Watcher’s really one of the best choices for a Build-A-Figure in a while.

#2888: King Shark

KING SHARK

DC MULTIVERSE (MCFARLANE)

One of the absolute best parts of The Suicide Squad is Nanaue, aka King Shark.  King Shark has had a rather recurrent history with the team in the comics, but was left out of the first film in favor of Killer Croc, due to director David Ayer not wanting to rely as heavily on CGI for the character.  Given how the rest of the movie worked out, that was an odd line to draw, but whatever.  King Shark was in the second film, and he was awesome, and everyone agrees.  Great that we can all be on the same page about something.  Given his relative size, he’s been split up and made into a Build-A-Figure…but is also being sold as a single through Walmart, because why not?  Todd’s gotta Todd.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

King Shark is the Build-A-Figure for the Suicide Squad-tie-in line-up for DC Multiverse, split accross the four single figures included.  As I mentioned above, the same sculpt is also available pre-assembled and with a few accessories (and a different pair of shorts) as a Walmart-exclusive.  I’m just as happy to not have to deal with Walmart, so here’s the main line version.  The figure stands 9 inches tall and he has 26 points of articulation.  After giving McFarlane some credit yesterday on the articulation front, I’m going to have to give them a hard time again, because oh boy is the articulation on this figure’s lower half just an absolute mess.  There are full universal-style hip joints under the shorts, but due to the thick rubber of said shorts, they are completely motionless, which seems like a silly design choice.  Of course, even if the hips were free to move, the knees would still be locked.  Again, there are full joints, but for some reason, there is a sculpted “lock” on each joint, which prevents them from getting much range.  You can flex them ever so slightly, but that’s it.  The ankles and toes are fully articulated, though, which is super useful, what with nothing else on the legs being mobile or anything.  Thanks McFarlane.  At least the upper half isn’t so bad.  The arms and neck get decent mobility given the design, and he’s even got an articulated jaw, which doesn’t look terrible.  The general quality of the sculpt is pretty nice.  It matches well with the model seen in the film, which is itself a really good design for King Shark.  He’s got that perfect balance of menace and cuteness, just like in the film.  He’s also quite sizeable, as he should be, and there’s some serious heft to the figure.  In terms of paint work, he’s honestly pretty good.  The skin does a nice job of subtly shifting between the two shades, without too much in the way of slop, and the smaller details of his face are pretty decently rendered as well.  Even the pants get a touch of accenting to bring out the sculpted pattern, which is pretty cool.  King Shark is really an accessory himself, and while the single has a stand, a card, and some limbs to chew on, the standard release doesn’t get anything extra.  Given the sheer size, though, it’s not really an issue, plus, he is, again, essentially an accessory himself.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

This guy was my primary want from this set, from the word go.  I’ve always had something of a soft spot for the character, ever since the Total Justice days, and his recent appearances in Harley Quinn and the lead-up to The Suicide Squad got me very much on board with owning this figure.  After seeing the movie, that resolve only increased, and I was very excited to crack them all open and assemble this guy.  The leg articulation set-up sucks.  There’s no way around that.  I know there are modifications that can be done to fix it, but, unlike, say, Bloodsport, where the mods help but aren’t necessary, this feels more like fixing things that should have just worked out of the box.  All that said, the figure does look really nice, and the upper half is at least decent in the articulation department.  Even with the flaws, he’s still the second best part of this set.

All in all, I was expecting to be happy with this set, but I wasn’t expecting to like all of the individual figures quite as much as I did.  Polka Dot Man is the definite star for me, with King Shark right behind him.  Peacemaker and Harley are both really solid figures, too, and, much like in the movie, Bloodsport is the real surprise, as a figure I had no investment into, but that I actually came around to liking quite a bit.  The most damning thing about this set is the lack of a Ratcatcher II to complete the core team, since she’s really the heart of the film, and my favorite character to boot.  Hopefully, McFarlane will find a way to add her to the set.

#2865: Ursa Major

URSA MAJOR

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

“Who’s Ursa Major?”, you may ask.  He’s a big bear.  He’s Russian.  You’re pretty much caught up.  What, was that not good enough?  ….Alright.  Ursa Major was introduced in 1981, created by Bill Mantlo and Sal Buscema.  He was a member of the Soviet Super Soldiers, who would later be renamed “The Winter Guard,” and he was a mutant with the ability to transform into a very large anthropomorphic bear. Much like Sasquatch is “Hulk but more Candian,” Ursa Major is kinda “Hulk but more Russian.”  He’s never been a major character, but he does have the distinction of being one of the few members of the Guard who’s actually been the same person the whole time, rather than being just a code name with a rotating roster like the rest of them.  He also had a small cameo in Black Widow, although not as a bear.  Still, things are moving up, right?  And now he’s got an action figure.  Hard to beat that, really.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Ursa Major is the titular Build-A-Figure for the Ursa Major Series of Marvel Legends.  It’s really an Iron Man series, and Ursa’s not really an Iron Man character, but the Winter Guard are a little more all-purpose, and seeing as Iron Man loaned a few characters to Black Widow last year, she’s again loaning one back, so to speak.  At the very least, he pairs off nicely with the Darkstar also included in this assortment.  The figure stands about 8 1/4 inches tall and he has 25 points of articulation.  His articulation is surprisingly good given the size and bulk of this particular piece.  The mid-torso joint in particular really gives him some solid range.  I was also pleased by how stable on his feet the figure wound up being.  Also rather surprising is that this figure’s construction is all new.  I had expected that he would be making use of at least some of Sasquatch’s parts, given their similar builds and generally hairy nature, but there aren’t any parts in common here.  Ultimately, it’s the right call, since Ursa, being a bear, should really look a little different, and would you look at that, he does.  For being a sculpt of effectively just a bear, they do a pretty solid job of giving him a little bit of character.  Some of the anthropomorphized features are definitely present in the core body, but he’s still more beastial than Sasquatch and his brood.  While I’m not always big on super dynamic or intense expressions, the one they’ve given Ursa really works, as the roaring look helps with giving him that extra touch of character and uniqueness.  Ursa’s paint work is generally pretty solid.  It’s not a ton of variety, but there’s some rather nice accent work, especially on the torso.  The only real downside is the shift in shades between the torso and the limbs, but it’s not as bad in person as it is in the photos.  Ursa doesn’t get any accessories, but, really, what is there to give him?  He’s a big bear.  That’s his thing.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I was in for the whole set of figures as soon as they were shown off, so Ursa himself never got to really be much of a selling point, or anything.  That said, I certainly wasn’t unhappy about getting the chance to assemble him.  If there’s a word that best describes him overall, it’s “surprising.”  I just wasn’t really expecting to like him quite as much as I do, but he sure is quite a lot of fun, and it’s nice to have a little Winter Guard display now.

I really liked this assortment a lot, as a whole.  The last few sets of Legends have been fine, but not really the most thrilling across the board.  This one’s a pretty consistently exciting set.  Ursa’s a surprise hit, as I mentioned.  Modular Iron Man and Ultron are fantastic versions of two of my favorite looks.  Iron Heart is a really solid set of new tooling for a new character for the line.  Darkstar and Guardsman are somewhat by the numbers, but still strong new figures.  Stealth and Hologram Iron Man aren’t the most essential variants, and they’re just simple repaints, but they’re still pretty fun too.  A strong set from start to finish.

#2839: Xemnu

XEMNU

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

Xemnu the Titan is a character with an intriguing back story.  Part of a batch of monsters created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby before they birthed the Marvel Universe as we know it with the Fantastic Four, Xemnu first appeared in 1960 under the name of The Living Hulk, since the Hulk we all know and love wasn’t yet a thing and all.  Much like other pre-Silver Age Marvel Monsters Fin Fang Foom and Groot, Xemnu found himself worked into Marvel’s super hero fare after they took off, battling a number of Marvel heroes, most notably the one who took his original name.  Xemnu has yet to quite gain the following of either Foom or Groot, but perhaps his day has just yet to come.  Whatever the case, he’s finally getting a little bit of toy love in the form of Hasbro’s latest Build-A-Figure!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Xemnu is the Build-A-Figure for the self-titled series of Marvel Legends.  He fits the assortment’s all-villain theme, being, well, a villain and all.  He’s based on the character’s post-Silver Age design, which is sensible, since it’s his most prevalent.  The figure stands 8 1/4 inches tall and he has 28 points of articulation.  A lot of Xemnu’s sculpt is shared with the other big furry guys, Sasquatch and Wendigo, which seems like a pretty reasonable selection of parts re-use, since, I mean, he’s another big furry guy.  How many ways can you really change that up, right?  He gets a new head, mid-torso, hands, and feet, all in the effort of changing him up and making him more true to Xemnu’s comics appearances.  The new pieces do a pretty respectable job of meshing with the old, as well as capturing Xemnu’s truly goofy design elements.  They make it work, and the level of detail is impressive, especially on slightly smaller things, such as the interiors of his palms.  Definitely something that could have been left out, but adds something more to the figure now that it’s there.  Xemnu follows rather closely in the footsteps of the Wendigo in terms of paint work, since he’s got a pretty similar color palette.  The blue hue on the white is maybe a little strong in some spots, but generally looks okay, and the extra boldness doesn’t look quite as weird once you factor in the alien angle of the character.  Again, the interior of the palms actually gets a little bit of paint, which is cool, and those piercing red eyes certainly do add some pop to the design.  Overall, just a pretty decent paint set-up, especially after a lot of the others in the set were a little lighter on the paint apps.  Xemnu isn’t packed with any accessories, but that’s fairly acceptable, since he’s really an accessory himself.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Xemnu is one of those characters I’ve been aware of for a while, but not one I’ve ever had much direct interaction with personally. So, I wasn’t really in the market for any toys of him.  When this guy was shown off for this set, I was initially a little letdown, because I just wasn’t really drawn in by him.  I honestly wasn’t even 100% sure I was going to even try to complete him, though that was a short lived hill for me.  Once I got him in hand, though, I actually found myself really liking him.  He’s goofy and silly, but he works, and he’s more fun than I’d expected.

In general, that’s kind of a good description of this set as a whole.  Going in, the only one I really was invested in was the Red Skull.  He still wound up being my favorite, but I also really enjoyed a lot of the others.  Deathstrike was a definite surprise all-new offering, and Dormammu, the Scientist Supreme, and Arcade may be a little bit by the numbers, but they still turned out really nicely.  Sure, Dr. Doom is a wonky choice of design, and the Hood does nothing for me, but all-in-all, I liked this set a lot more than I’d expected to.