#1876: Supreme Leader Snoke – Throne Room

SUPREME LEADER SNOKE — THRONE ROOM

STAR WARS: THE BLACK SERIES (HASBRO)

“The Shadowy commander of the First Order, Supreme Leader Snoke prefers to operate from a distance, looming over his underlings in the form of an immense hologram.  As the First Order rallies, this master of the Dark Side emerges from the shadows to seize victory.”

Hey, you guys wanna talk about something that’s not at all divisive in the slightest?  Well, than I’m afraid you’ve come to the wrong place, because not only am I looking at a Last Jedi figure, but I’m looking at one of the most divisive characters in the movie, one Supreme Leader Snoke.  I long for the days when I was just reviewing Captain Phasma figures…

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Supreme Leader Snoke was a GameStop-exclusive Black Series offering…well, this specific release was, anyway.  The actual Snoke figure, sans the big throne, was released as part of the main Black Series line-up as well.  More on that later.  The figure stands 7 inches tall and he has 31 points of articulation.  His sculpt is unique to him because, quite frankly, who else would you use it for?  The head and hands are the best parts to be sure, matching up pretty nicely with Snoke’s actual look from the movie.  The details are sharp and well-defined, and he definitely looks unique.  The majority of his sculpt isn’t actually meant to be seen, because like yesterday’s Zuckuss figure, Snoke is a mixed media affair.  Unfortunately, it doesn’t work out quite as well for him as it did for the Zuckster.  Snoke looks like an old guy in a worn out bathrobe.  Not exactly the most imposing look, and certainly on the goofier side when compared even to his on-screen counterpart.  There’s just something about the way the bone sits, and the way the stitching is frayed, and how it’s fitted to him, that just makes him look like something of a lumpy mess.  I understand the need for the cloth robe, especially with the throne and everything, but the execution just isn’t there.  His paintwork is at least respectable.  His exposed skin has a nice variety of coloring and detailing to it, which accents the best parts of the sculpt.  The main line’s version of Snoke was without accessories, but the big selling point of this release was his thone.  It’s a sizable piece, with some really sharp detail work.  And, even if you don’t like Snoke, it’s a generic enough design to work for all sorts of crazed fictional despots.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I honestly don’t have any attachment to Snoke as a character.  That extends back to his appearance in TFA.  So, his appearance in TLJ didn’t exactly excite me into a toy-buying frenzy.  But you’ve read the review, and you know I bought this sucker already.  You may ask me “how did you get here?”  And you may ask me “my god, what have you done?”  Well, the answer to both of those Talking Heads-esque questions lies in Hasbro’s poor line management.  The nature of Snoke’s role in TLJ was, of course, kept rather in the dark, but given how TFA ended, they undoubtedly thought he was going to be very prominent, so they released him two different ways: with and without the throne.  Presumably, they thought this would be necessary to meet all of that crazy Smoke demand out there.  And then the movie came out, and there were two widely available releases of the same basic figure, based on a character that most people didn’t have a whole lot of reason to buy, so neither release moved particularly well.  This one specifically lingered, what with the higher price tag and the whole “shipping in cases of himself”, and perhaps the fact that the corresponding Kylo exclusive didn’t show up for another couple of months.  Anyway, the point is, Snoke ended up on super clearance at Super Awesome Fiancee’s store, so I ended up getting him for just a few dollars.  Snoke himself is okay, but not terribly impressive.  The throne, on the other hand, is actually pretty darn cool, and it’s potential for outside use makes it really worth the purchase.

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#1853: Spider-Man

SPIDER-MAN

MARVEL LEGENDS GAMERVERSE (HASBRO)

“Now a seasoned Super Hero, Peter Parker has been busy keeping crime off the streets as Spider-Man.  Just as he’s ready to focus on life as Peter, a new villain threatens New York City.  Faced with overwhelming odds and higher stakes, Spider-Man must rise up and be greater.”

I had originally planned to continue the Star Wars thing today, but with the passing of comics-legend Stan Lee yesterday afternoon, I’ve decided to shift focus for the purposes of today’s entry.  I never met Stan Lee, but for 23 of my 26 years, he managed to influence every day of my life, be it directly through his introductory segments during the Marvel Action Hour in the ‘90s and his numerous cameos in all of the Marvel films since, or indirectly through the universe he helped to create, and all the characters he created to populate it, and all of the important messages that he would use them to tell.  The man influenced the lives of a great many people he never even met, and taught a lot of us how to be the best versions of ourselves, while at the same time reminding us that nobody’s perfect, and that’s okay too.  Stan had great power, and he did his very best to use it responsibly.  The creation Stan was always the proudest of was Spider-Man, and so I feel it’s only fitting that in his honor, I take a look at a Spider-Man figure.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Spider-Man is the inaugural release in the Marvel Legends Gamerverse line, which, as you may have gathered from the name, is a line devoted to the current crop of Marvel video games.  Spidey here is based on his appearance in the recent PS4-exclusive Spider-Man game, which hit just a few months ago.  The figure was initially supposed to hit closer to the game, then was pushed back to December, and then was moved up again.  The important thing is that he actually made it out.  So, yay.  The figure stands 6 1/4 inches tall and he has 34 points of articulation.  He’s built entirely from re-used parts, but Hasbro’s got a substantial enough library that it’s a reasonable way of handling certain figures, this one included.  He’s built on the 2099 body, and makes use of the head from Spider-UK.  Interestingly, this means we have a Peter Parker figure that’s not built from any Peter Parker parts.  The end result is a figure that actually has something of a John Romita Sr-styling to him (I’d love to see this same combo done up in a classic deco), which definitely works for the game’s version of our favorite wall-crawler.  The paintwork for this figure is, of course, its main selling point, since that’s what truly signifies it as a video game Spidey.  The design is nice and distinctive, and the paint is crisply applied and a solid match for the in-game appearance, all while still maintaining the currently running Legends aesthetic. Spidey is packed with two different sets of hands in thwipping poses and fists, as well as a two of the new webline piece we first saw with the House of M Spidey.  It’s a nice selection of extras, especially in light of some of the recent Spidey variants lacking the extra hands and such.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I’ve liked the PS4 Spidey design since it was first shown off, and was definitely hoping for a figure of some sort, so when this guy was announced, I knew I’d want to get one.  Super Awesome Fiancee was nice enough to pre-order him for me through her store, which proved an especially helpful move, since this guy’s proved rather scarce since his release.  Despite being made up totally of re-used parts, this is one of my favorite Spider-Men of recent years.  He’s just an entertaining figure all-around, and a good fit for today’s theme.

Excelsior!

#1655: Guardians of Evil

SENATE GUARD, IMPERIAL ROYAL GUARD, EMPEROR’S SHADOW GUARD, & ELITE PRAETORIAN GUARD

STAR WARS: THE BLACK SERIES (HASBRO)

Hey, it’s May the 4th!  You guys know what that means…it’s the original Infinity War release date!  Nah, just kidding.  It’s obviously Star Wars Day.  In honor of the day, I’ll be taking a look at a Star Wars-themed item.  I have a few of those lying around here, I think. <Checks the mountains of un-reviewed figures>  Yeah, I think I can manage that.  So, let’s have a look at the “Guardians of Evil” boxed set!

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

The Senate, Imperial Royal, Emperor’s Shadow, and Elite Praetrorian Guards were released as part of the Star Wars: The Black Series line, as the GameStop-exclusive “Guardians of Evil” boxed set, which hit just after last year’s Force Friday II event.

SENATE GUARD

“For centuries, the Senate Guards kept the galaxy’s legislators from harm while they went about the Republic’s business on the capital world of Coruscant.  With the decline of the Republic, the blue guards were phased out by the Imperial stormtrooper patrols and the red guard in the Emperor’s service.”

Though largely forgettable, the Senate Guards appear in both Phantom Menace and Attack of the Clones, and were technically in Revenge of the Sith, I guess.  Their best showcase, however, came via the Clone Wars cartoon, where, admittedly, they had a slightly tweaked design.  Of course, the film design is essentially the same as the Royal Guard, thereby allowing for some serious parts re-use.  The figure stands 6 inches tall and he has 26 points of articulation.  The Senate Guard’s sculpt is a mixed-media affair.  The bulk of it is sculpted, though it’s largely hidden by a cloth cape.  A cape, which, by the way, is a lot better tailored than a lot of the cloth parts from this particular line.  Under the cape, there’s a fully detailed, fully armored body.  This armor design first showed up in toy form back during the Revenge of the Sith days, shared by the Senate and Royal Guards from that line.  The sculpt is top-notch, and the armor is nice and sharp.  The arms are just a touch on the long side, but that makes them look a bit better when the cape is pulled down.  The Senate Guard’s helmet is actually one of my favorite designs from the prequels.  It’s got this cool futuristic Spartan warrior flair to it, which is quite fun.  The paint work on the Senate Guard is quite subtle, with lots of variations of blue.  The armor is appropriately shiny, which looks nice.  The blue on the cape matches pretty well with the paint and molded plastic, which is definitely a plus.  The Senate Guard is packed with a blaster rifle, which he can hold in his hands, or sling over his shoulder, as well as a small blaster to keep in his hip holster.

IMPERIAL ROYAL GUARD

“Resplendent in crimson robes and armor, the Imperial Royal Guard protected the Emperor.  Secrecy shrouded the Guard, with rumors abounding about the sentinels’ backgrounds and combat capabilities.”

By far the best known of the four designs seen in this set.  The Royal Guard never does much in Jedi, but they sure look cool, and they’re one of the Empire’s most distinctive designs.  This figure’s actually a pretty straight re-release of the single-released Royal Guard from last year.  Of course, that one was pretty scarce, so the re-release was more than warranted.  Apart from the head, this figure’s sculpt is identical to the Senate Guard.  He had it first, so it’s fair.  The helmet is a pretty perfect recreation of the simplistic design from the movie, and sits perfectly on the body.  The paint work on this guy is the same as the Senate Guard’s but with shades of red instead of blue.  The differences between the reds are a bit more pronounced, though, which I think looks a little bit better.  The Royal Guard includes a staff, and the  same blaster pistol as the Senate Guard.

EMPEROR’S SHADOW GUARD

“Each one of these elite guards is specially chosen by Palpatine for his exceptional loyalty to the Empire, and for his ability to use the Force. Each of the Shadow Guard carries a pike that can be ignited to use as a lightsaber-like blade.”

The Royal Guard has taken the black!  Okay, I’m not actually familiar with this one.  My extensive research (read: I googled “Emperor’s Shadow Guard” and skimmed the link) tells me the concept comes from The Force Unleashed.  That makes this another video game-based figure, which is pretty cool, I guess.  Structurally, the figure’s 100% the same as the Royal Guard, which seems sensible, since they’re essentially the same design.  The main difference is that this one’s been done up in black, so he looks super edgy.  And also super slim, right?  Has he lost weight?  No, it’s just the black.  The Shadow Guard includes a new staff, with a removable laser blade, as well as the blaster pistol from the other two.

ELITE PRAETORIAN GUARD

“As the Supreme Leader of the First Order, Snoke was flanked by crimson-clad guardians, loyal protectors encased in ornate armor ready to defend the Supreme Leader from any threat.”

Last up, we’ve got the most recent, and most unique of the designs in the set, the Praetorian Guard.  I’ve already looked at one Black Series Praetorian Guard.  This one’s got a new hat different helmet.  Hasbro released all three styles of helmet in both scales; this one is the “hat-wearing” helmet that we also saw in the two-pack with Rey.  Probably my least favorite of the three designs, but a solid one nevertheless.  Anyway, this figure stands 6 1/4 inches tall and he has 29 points of articulation.  He’s largely the same figure as the other Praetorian Guard.  The big change is obviously the helmet, which it just as nicely detailed here as it was on the smaller figure.  The other, more subtle change is the skirt, which is now a cloth piece instead of sculpted.  It matches better with the rest of this set, but it means he’s not consistent with the other two Praetorian Guards, which is rather frustrating.  Also, while it improves posability, I don’t find it looks quite as good.  The Praetorian Guard is packed with his axes that snap together into a bladed staff, just like the smaller figure.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I’ve been eying this set up for a while, but it’s got a hefty price tag, so I was biding my time.  As luck would have it, the set went on clearance at Super Awesome Girlfriend’s GameStop, and she was nice enough to buy it for me.  I’m glad I was able to finally get my hands on a basic Royal Guard, and I’m actually thrilled to have the Senate Guard, since it’s one of my favorite designs.  Another Praetorian is never a bad thing either, and the Shadow Guard is fun in his own right.  Overall, quite a fun set, especially since I didn’t have to pay full price for it.