MARVEL UNIVERSE: GIGANTIC BATTLES (HASBRO)
Black Panther is the Marvel Universe’s first prominent African character and not long after his introduction in 1966, they introduced their first noteworthy African-American character into their super hero world in the form of Hank Pym’s lab assistant, Bill Foster. Bill was a big deal at the time, being totally competent in his job, and being the best expert in Pym Particles outside of Pym himself, all while avoiding many of the negative stereotypes that struck most black characters at the time. In the ‘70s, he was promoted to a super hero in his own right, taking on the role of Black Goliath. He then eventually took on Hank’s old Giant-Man name for a time, before retiring for a bit due to health issues. In the early ‘00s, he was brought back, dropping the “Black” from his name and simply going by “Goliath.” Then he got dragged into the stupidity of Civil War and ended up dead. Thanks, Millar. Well, at the very least he got an action figure out of all of it.
THE FIGURE ITSELF
Goliath was released in the second series of Hasbro’s Marvel Universe: Gigantic Battles line, a sub-line of their main Marvel Universe line. He was originally packed with Ragnarok, the evil clone version of Thor from Civil War, as well as Civil War #4, the issue where Bill died. Those two parts of the set were a little morbid for me, so I got rid of them. Just the Bill figure for me! The figure stands about 12 inches tall and he has 32 points of articulation. Bill is wearing the costume he was sporting during Civil War (though it was introduced just prior to that, I believe during Dan Slott and Andrea Di Vito’s The Thing mini-series). It was a short-lived look, but also one of Bill’s best designs, lacking a lot of the dated design elements his other designs possessed. Structurally, the figure’s mostly a re-use of the Marvel Icons Cyclops figure, the same body used for the previously reviewed SDCC-exclusive Giant-Man, as well as the Gigantic Battles version of Hank Pym Goliath. As I noted in the Giant-Man review, it’s a body that’s started looking quite dated in recent years. It’s really gangly, and the articulation isn’t particularly well worked-in. The gangly-ness of the body is particularly notable with Bill, who was classically depicted as having a fair bit of mass in his giant form. That being said, one of my major issues with its use on Giant-Man was how the sculpted costume details didn’t line-up with his design. That’s not an issue for Bill, which results in him looking a whole lot less strange when compared to Hank. Bill had a new head sculpt, which remains one of Hasbro’s greatest head sculpts to date. The level of detail on this sculpt is really incredible, to the point that it almost kinda looks out of place on this particular body. He’s also got an add-on belt piece, which covers up the sculpted x-belt-buckle. Due to its design and size, it covers the original belt much better than the piece on the Giant-Man figure. In terms of paint, Bill’s fairly decent. The base colors match up pretty well with the comics, and there’s some nice airbrushing present on several parts of the costume. Since the arms they used have sculpted seams and folds, they couldn’t do the proper bare arms, so instead they’re black like the pants and boots. It sort of looks off, but I guess it works alright.
THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION
Bill is actually one of my favorite comics characters. It all goes back to his appearance in the tie-in comics for Avengers: United They Stand, which is one of my personal favorite runs of Avengers comics. I liked him there, which led to me tracking down some of his other appearances (with the Champions, another favorite team of mine, as well as in his short-lived solo series). He’s just one of those cool background characters that I really enjoy, and I was beyond pissed when he was killed in Civil War. I was super thrilled when Hasbro announced him as part of this line, and waited patiently for the two years it took for him to make it to retail. Goliath isn’t one of Hasbro’s best, especially in light of the leaps and bounds they’ve made with Legends, but he was actually one of the best entries in the MU line at the time, and he’s the only Bill Foster action figure out there.