#3219: Groot

GROOT

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

“I AM GROOT!”

At the end of Endgame, Thor continued his journey by venturing out with the Guardians of the Galaxy.  Rather unsurprisingly, the Guardians are playing at least some sort of supporting role in Love and Thunder.  From the trailers, it appears the whole team will be along for the ride, but with their third film on the horizon, it doesn’t make quite so much sense to fill an entire Thor line-up with Guardians.  So, Hasbro picked some favorites, including everyone’s favorite walking tree with limited vocabulistics, Groot!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Groot is figure 6 in the Korg Series of Marvel Legends.  Between him and yesterday’s Ravager Thor, there’s also a new Star-Lord, but I opted to skip that one, on the basis that I’ve got a bunch of Star-Lords.  This figure is based on Groot’s “Teen” look.  It’s been given the Legends treatment once before via the Infinity War tie-ins, via the (supposed to be) TRU-exclusive three-pack with Thor and Rocket.  That one had gotten pretty pricey on the aftermarket, and with it looking to be more or less the standard version of the character going forward, it’s a sensible choice for a re-do.  The figure stands 5 1/2 inches tall and he has 25 points of articulation.  He’s using the body from the prior Teen Groot.  It’s not 100% ideal, mostly due to how the arm articulation works, but it could be worse.  Generally, it’s a nice sculpt.  I was never super sold on the head sculpt to the old one, and, hey, would you look at that, it’s the one thing they changed.  The new head is a lot more sharply detailed, and just generally looks like a better match for the animation model from the films.  That chin is much less pronounced, and the leaves and such at the top are much more leaf-like.  The figure’s color work is also a slight improvement.  He’s more in line with the adult Groots from the first movie, being molded in a slightly lighter brown, and with a fainter green detailing.  I think it works a lot better than the prior version.  Groot also gets a slightly better accessory selection, by virtue of not being stuck in a pack with two other figures.  He gets two standard hands, an extra right hand with a trigger finger, two branch-looking effect hands, a blaster rifle, and the torso to the Korg Build-A-Figure.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I was a bit lukewarm on the first Teen Groot.  Being stuck in a big, expensive boxed set, he just didn’t feel worth the price, and I always had some issues with the actual sculpt, especially the head.  I wasn’t initially sure about this release, as I’d expected it would be a pretty straight re-release.  But, I wanted Korg, and the new hands looked fun, so I grabbed him.  While he’s not drastically different, the new head does a lot for the figure, and I’m ultimately much happier with him than I’d expected to be.  This definitely feels like the definitive Teen Groot.  So, they’ll clearly be changing his design entirely for Vol 3, right?

Thanks to my sponsors at All Time Toys for setting me up with this figure for review.  If you’re looking for toys both old and new, please check out their website.

#2947: Heist Nebula

HEIST NEBULA

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

“Tech savvy and brave, the intergalactic Femme Fatale, Nebula is an intergalactic opportunist in the galaxy’s underworld.”

And we’re back to the Legends reviews.  I left off on Friday only part way through the reviews for the Watcher Series, a largely What If…? based assortment of figures, so for the first half of this week, I’ll be wrapping those up.  The first of those returning reviews is a second figure from the show’s second episode, “What If…T’Challa Became a Star-Lord?”  We already took a look at the episode’s title character, but now let’s take a look at T’Challa’s intergalactic love interest and business partner, Nebula!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Heist Nebula is figure 5 in the Watcher Series of Marvel Legends.  She’s designed for pairing off with the T’Challa figure, and really not much else, but I’m hardly one to complain.  This marks Nebula’s second time as a Legend, or third if you count the extra head included in the Endgame Hawkeye and Widow pack, which feels like a real stretch to me.  The figure stands just shy of 6 1/4 inches tall and she has 28 points of articulation.  Nebula is one of the heaviest parts-re-use figures in this line-up, which was probably a large contributing factor to her getting made in the first place.  From the middle of the torso down, she’s re-using the last Nebula’s parts, along with a set of standard female base body arms.  The head, upper torso, and belt are what’s new here.  Generally speaking, the last Nebula figure wasn’t a bad sculpt, and the costume design remained quite similar, so it makes sense to re-use.  The new parts mesh well, and are generally well-rendered.  I quite like the new head; it’s got a lot of character, and maintains some of the animation style, without going too deep into it the way T’Challa did.  The paint work on this figure supports her overall cleaned up appearance well.  The colors are close to her prior figure, while still being brightened up a bit, making them a little more eye-catching.  Nebula is packed with two sets of hands (trigger fingers and an open gesture/fist combo), her unique blaster pistol, and the upper and lower torso, collar, and skirt for the Watcher.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I quite liked the show’s new take on Nebula, and I really enjoyed her more cleaned up design, so I was certainly okay with her getting a figure.  She’s definitely the most oddball choice of the assortment, but I still like her as a figure.  I think it’s a design that translated well, and I’m ultimately glad she got the nod for this set.  I hope she signifies a chance to get some of the other secondary characters, should they do another assortment of these figures.

Thanks to my sponsors over at All Time Toys for setting me up with this figure to review.  If you’re looking for cool toys both old and new, please check out their website.

#2600: Evolution of Groot

EVOLUTION OF GROOOT

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

“From potted prodigy to towering tree-like humanoid, Groot uses powers of regeneration to become a legendary defender of intergalactic justice.”

Man, some of these reissues are going pretty far back, aren’t they?  Hey, I’m not going to complain.  For today’s Legends review, I’m turning my sights to an area of the MCU that’s been left out a bit for the last few years (by virtue of not getting a third movie just yet), Guardians of the Galaxy.  2017 was a big year for them, with their second film taking the May release on that year’s MCU slate, and two whole assortments of Marvel Legends just for them.  I reviewed all of the standard stuff when it hit, but there’s one item I never did review, mostly because I also never got it.  Today, I’m fixing that with a look at the Evolution of Groot!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Evolution of Groot was originally released as a Toys R Us-exclusive Marvel Legends offering in 2017, designed to coincide with the first series of Guardians Legends from that year, as well as the release of the movie.  It being a TRU exclusive, distribution was spotty at best, so it was a little hit or miss as to whether people could actually find the set.  Like a lot of the TRU exclusives, Hasbro has gotten it back out there, this time as a wider release through the Fan Channel set-up.  Though sort of sold as a multi-pack, this release is really a figure and two accessories, so I’m going to review them as such.  The core figure, adult Groot from the first film, stands 8 1/2 inches tall and he has 28 points of articulation.  He’s mostly a re-use of the Build-A-Figure Groot from the 2014 assortment, and is in fact so tall that his legs had to be popped off at the knees in order to fit him into the box.  I really liked the BaF Groot sculpt the first time I looked at it, and I still really like it.  The articulation on the legs is a little limited, but otherwise, it’s a great sculpt and a great figure.  He does get a new head sculpt.  The first one was a more neutral expression, whee this one replicates Groot’s goofy smile from after he takes out the Sakaraan’s on Ronan’s ship.  It’s still fairly multipurpose, and I like both sculpts a lot.  I don’t know if I actually prefer one over the other.  The BaF Groot’s paint work has some slight green detailing to help accent the sculpt, but this release dials that up even further, and honestly looks a bit better for it.  Also, thanks to all of his parts being sold in the same package, the shading doesn’t vary from piece to piece, making him feel a little more cohesive.  Groot is packed with two additional Groots, much smaller than the core Groot.  We get potted Groot from the end of the first film, as well as Baby Groot from the second one, this time sans the Ravager jumpsuit that the standard release put on him.  Personally, I liked the jumpsuit look more for Baby Groot, but getting potted Groot is a fantastic addition to the line-up.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I saw this set once at TRU.  However, in 2017 I was in a shakier place financially, and just really couldn’t justify buying a figure I effectively already had.  The BaF was good enough for me, and that was the end of it.  However, when Hasbro announced another production run, and that it would be a lot easier to get, I had a hard time saying no.  I quite like this guy.  Sure, he’s not amazingly new or anything, but the changes they made make for a slightly unique figure, and he’s also just a very nice stand alone piece for those that didn’t get the BaF when he was released.

Thanks to my sponsors over at All Time Toys for setting me up with this guy to review.  If you’re looking for Marvel Legends, or other toys both old and new, please check out their website and their eBay storefront.

#1889: Rocket & Adam Warlock

ROCKET & ADAM WARLOCK

MARVEL MINIMATES

What’s this?  New Walgreens-exclusive Minimates?  And someone’s actually found them?  Crazy concept, I know.  Even though Series 8 and 9 have yet to show up in full force in many parts of the country, it would appear that Series 10 is starting to make its way out there.  Today, I’ll be looking at its Guardians of the Galaxy-themed set, featuring Rocket & Adam Warlock!

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

Rocket and Adam are one of the four sets in Series 10 of the Walgreens-exclusive animated sub-line of Marvel Minimates.  Both figures are based on their animated counterparts, but should fit in pretty well with most comics-inspired ‘mates as well.

ROCKET

Due to his smaller stature, the first two Rocket ‘mates we got weren’t proper ‘mates at all, but were instead unarticulated pack-ins.  Since Guardians Vol. 2 and Infinity War both gave us a proper figure for the MCU Rocket, it’s only fair that we’d also get an update to the animated Rocket (who can, of course, double for a Vol. 1 Rocket, for those so inclined).  Rocket is constructed from the same selection of pieces as the Infinity War release, so he uses the Series 71 head and belt/tail piece, the shortened child-sized arms, the IW legs, and the torso from NBX’s Sally.  For those keeping track, that means Rocket’s only “classic” Minimate piece is the pelvis, but unlike some overly sculpted figures we’ve seen in the past, Rocket still feels very true to the Minimate form, and fits well with his teammates.  As with the Infinity War release, this is my favorite selection of parts for the character.  Since cartoon Rocket is still wearing his orange jumpsuit from the first movie, that’s the look we get for this figure.  The paint translates it well, and while he’s definitely of a more animated style than his movie counterparts, I think they’ve left in enough details that he won’t look out of place with the movie stuff.  One slight change that stands out is the presence of actual, discernible pupils for Rocket, which I think are the one main thing to marks him as “animated.”  I actually like them a lot, as they add a little more life to the figure, I feel.  Rocket is packed with a repainted Nova Centurion blaster, as well as a clear display stand.  The Centurion blaster works a lot better for him than the two prior guns, so I’m happy with its inclusion, and I’m honestly just happy to see it crop up in another release.

ADAM WARLOCK

It’s been a good long while since we’ve gotten an Adam Warlock Minimate.  His first and only prior to this figure was part of the Infinity Gauntlet set from back in 2009.  Fortunately, his presence on the Guardians cartoon’s second season made him a prime choice for a spot in the line-up here.  Adam is constructed from three add-on pieces, used for his hair, shoulder pads, and belt.  They’re all re-used parts; the belt’s a standard piece, the hair’s from Archangel, and the shoulder pads are from the GSXM Nightcrawler.  The hair is perhaps not a 100% perfect match for his animated look, but it’s close enough, and the overall construction and choices of parts are well-thought-out.  The paintwork on Adam is cleanly applied and has a nice amount of pop to it.  He doesn’t look as washed out as a lot of the animated ‘mates end up looking, and even his details, especially on the face, are actually more in line with the comics-based ‘mates than the average animated ‘mate.  The highlight work on his infinity stone and the black portions of the costume really add some solid dimension to the whole figure as well.  The last Adam Warlock suffered from somewhat lackluster paint, but that’s very much not the case with this guy.  Adam’s only accessory is a clear display stand, which feels a little light.  An extra Magus head or even a flight stand would have been nice.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I happened upon this set back in November, at a Walgreens nearby a run that my mom and brother were participating in.  I wasn’t expecting to find them, since I haven’t seen anything from the two series that preceded this one, but the whole set was there.  I was only immediately interested in these two, so they were the only ones I bought.  Come to find out, I’m one of the first people to find them, and they aren’t officially hitting until the spring.  Now I’m kicking myself for not grabbing the whole set!  Oh well, I’ll just have to make due with these two.  The IW Rocket was my favorite version of the character, but this one’s edging him out on that front.  Another solid take on the charatcer.  The IG Warlock has been representing the character for almost a decade now without much issue, but for a character as prominent as Adam, it’s nice to get another chance, and the somewhat differing nature of his animated design makes for some nice variety, even if you have the previous release.  This figure’s got a lot going for him.  All in all, a pretty solid set.

#1828: Guardians of the Galaxy

STARLORD, DRAX THE DESTROYER, & ROCKET RACCOON

MARVEL UNIVERSE (HASBRO)

“In the wake of the devastation left by the Annihilation War, the galaxy was unprotected. In a forgotten place at the edge of the universe, a group of heroes came together, determined to fill that void. From their base in deep space, the Guardians of the Galaxy protect the cosmos from threats both large and small.”

The year is 2011.  The world’s just getting comfortable with Thor and Captain America as major motion pictures.  The Avengers hasn’t shown up and blow the lid off of Super Hero movies.  Nobody knows who The Guardians of the Galaxy are, and yet, this is the year they get their first toys.  Groovy.

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

These three were released as one of the two debut team packs from Hasbro’s then fledging Marvel Universe.  They had done multi-packs of varying numbers up to this point, but this was when they really started to explore offering new characters and new sculpts in these sets.  The Guardians marked the debut figures for all three characters included.

STARLORD

Probably the most obscure of the characters included when this set was released, Starlord is never the less front and center, sporting his fully-covered appearance from when he first started leading the team.  It’s pretty far removed from what we connect with the character now, but was really just a slight re-design of his classic appearance.  The figure stands 4 inches tall and he has 23 points of articulation.  Starlord was built on the AIM/Ghost Rider body, which I’ve actually reviewed once before, way back at the start of the site, when it was used for Longshot.  It’s a decent body, and was certainly one of MU’s best offerings.  It works very well for Starlord’s design (to the point that Hasbro repeated this same shared body sequence for the Legends releases as well), and its all-around just a nice sculpt.  The legs can be a little finicky when you’re posing him, but other then that, the posability was really solid.  He gets a new head and belt, completing his transition into Starlord.  The head in particular is a very nice sculpt, showcasing a level of detail that a lot of figures from this line hadn’t gotten at this point.  Starlord’s paintwork is solidly handled.  The base work is pretty clean, and he gets some pretty great accenting on the bodysuit.  Not something we see a lot of anymore, but it certainly adds something to the figure.  Starlord is packed with a pair of identical guns, which he holds well in his hands.

DRAX THE DESTROYER

Drax is probably the most prominent of the Guardians, prior to their move to the big screen (which is likely why he was the one who got the Legends release the next year), and had just seen something of a revamp right before joining up with the team, so he’s sporting his then-current look for this figure.  Not necessarily a favorite of mine, as he ends up looking a touch generic, but it served to inspire the movie, which made it less so.  The figure is just over 4 inches tall, with 20 points of articulation.  Drax shares his body with the previously released Luke Cage figure.  Given their similar wardrobe choices at the time, it certainly made a lot of sense.  It’s an okay body, but definitely a lot more restricted than Starlord’s, and certainly lighter on the detailing.  He gets a new head and belt piece.  The head is fairly standard, and it’s actually a little bit surprising that it didn’t see a bunch of re-use.  The belt is a belt.  It’s decent, but hardly anything to get excited over.  Drax’s paintwork is fairy standard.  Base application is clean, and there’s some nice accenting on the upper half of the figure.  He’s not quite as eye-catching as Starlord, but that’s true to the design.  Drax is packed with a pair of knifes, which can be placed, somewhat awkwardly, in the sheath on the back of his belt.

ROCKET RACCOON

Original envisioned as something of a one-off character, Rocket Raccoon’s biggest claim to fame before the movies was earning a spot in Marvel vs. Capcom 3, which is actually a pretty darn prestigious affair.  It certainly elevated his public profile, anyway.  This figure was a wholly new offering, as you might expect, since there’s not really much you can re-use for a raccoon, right?  The figure stands 2 inches tall and has articulation as his neck and tail.  No arm articulation for this guy.  That’s a little disappointing, but he makes out better than other similarly styled figures from MU.  His sculpt is pretty solid work.  It’s dynamic, to be sure, which is certainly a plus.  He’s a bit more stylized than the other two in this set, but the folds on his uniform are close enough to those on Starlord’s that the two don’t look too out of place with each other.  Rocket’s paint work is probably the most complex of the bunch, what with all the fur detailing and the like.  He looks good, and once again matches well with the similarly uniformed Starlord.  Rocket includes a large gun, which is certainly in character.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

This pack was actually my first introduction to the modern Guardians.  I was familiar with Drax, but not the other two, as I was never much of a fan of Abnett and Lanning’s writing style.  Because of that, I didn’t really have any interest in this set at the time of its release, and ended up passing on it, even while in the midst of a pretty heavy bout of Marvel Universe collecting.  It’s actually too bad I did, because its a good set, and might have gotten me interested in the characters a little sooner.  It’s even better now that Gamora and a full-scale Groot finally surfaced last year.

This set was loaned to me for review by All Time Toys, and is available for purchase via their eBay store.  If you’re looking for other cool toys both old and new, please check out their website and their eBay Store.

#1757: Ronan

RONAN

MARVEL LEGENDS — MARVEL STUDIOS: THE FIRST TEN YEARS

An avid loyalist to the Kree whose family was killed by the Kree-Nova War, Ronan agrees to a partnership with Thanos in order to take down the Nova Corps on Xandar once and for all.

Sent on a mission by Thanos to recover the mystical entity known as the Orb, Ronan discovers that the target he seeks is in fact an all-powerful Infinity Stone.  Ronan uses the stone to destroy the Nova Corps’s fleet, but is ultimately destroyed by his own greed when the Guardians of the Galaxy take the Orb back and use it to entirely obliterate him.”

I *almost* posted the Thor review today.  How foolish I was.  It’s okay, I’m looking at another tall, hammer-wielding dude from space, Ronan the Accuser!

The first Guardians had decent Legends coverage, but with quite a sizeable cast, there were more than a few notable missing players.  The Vol. 2 figures got us Yondu and Nebula, but the team’s main antagonist wasn’t quite so lucky.  Fortunately, he got in on this anniversary business.  Lucky him!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Ronan is entry 6 in the Marvel Studios: The First Ten Years sub-line of Hasbro’s main Marvel Legends line. Like Red Skull, he’s one of the three standard single-release offerings (Mark VII Iron Man is the last of the three).  Ronan stands 7 inches tall and he has 30 points of articulation.  The figure is sporting an all-new sculpt, patterned on Ronan’s design from the movie.  The sculpt, not unlike Ronan’s design from the movie, is not without its quirks.  The biggest of these “quirks” is to do with his head piece and shoulder pads.  They are done here as one single piece, connected to the top of his head.  This has the unintended side effect of giving Ronan a very strange appearance should you decide to move his head, as his shoulder pads will be traveling with it.  It’s a very odd choice, but in the defense of this figure, it seems to be firmly rooted in the actual costume design, since Lee Pace wasn’t moving his head much in the movie either.  At least this way he still technically has all of his motion unencumbered, right?  Apart from that, the sculpt is actually pretty strong.  The texture work on his costume is nothing short of astonishing, capturing all of the various textures of his costume from the movie.  It also captures his rather imposing build, which means he looks appropriately menacing next to the rest of the Guardians.  If I had one other complaint about this figure’s sculpt, I’d say it’s the way the mid-torso joint’s been worked into the sculpt.  It’s a little bit obvious and slightly cumbersome.  The other articulation is worked in fine, though, so I can’t complain.  Ronan’s paintwork is overall pretty decent.  Not quite a subtly handled as some of the other recent MCU figures, but a bit of a step-up from the original Guardians offerings.  His eyes are really purple, signifying that this is a post-stone-powered Ronan, which makes him the best for fighting all of your Guardians.  Ronan is packed with his hammer, suitable for accusatory purposes.  It matches up with Ronan’s powered-up eyes, featuring the power stone mounted on one side.  It’s a shame yesterday’s Red Skull didn’t come with the Tesseract, since we could have assembled a bunch of the stone.  Oh well.  Ronan himself feels a little bit on the light side, with just the one extra, but I don’t know what else he could have gotten.  I suppose his larger size makes up for it a bit.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I’ve always had a soft spot for Ronan, so I was a little bummed when he was left out of the assortment for the first movie (it didn’t help that I had missed out on the comic-based Ronan Legend from a few years prior).  Needless to say, I was delighted when he was announced to be part of this line, and was definitely at the top of my list.  Fortunately, Super Awesome Fiancee had my back, and grabbed him for me from my work.  Ronan may not be a perfect figure, but he’s a very good one, and one I’m very, very happy to finally have in my collection.

#1638: Rocket & Teen Groot

ROCKET & TEEN GROOT

AVENGERS: INFINITY WAR (HASBRO)

Remember last week when I looked at Star-Lord, and I did the whole thing about the Guardians of the Galaxy being part of the line?  Well, here’s the follow-up, Rocket and Groot, the inseparable pair, who make up the token Guardians slot of the deluxe assortment.  So, let’s see how they turned out!

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

This pair makes up the second half of the first deluxe series of Avengers: Infinity War figures.  Unlike Hulk, it’s not that either of them is really larger than a standard figure, but more the two-pack aspect that makes them deluxe.

ROCKET

Rocket’s look is essentially unchanged from his Guardians Vol. 2 look (which was itself pretty much the same as his look from the end of the first film).  The figure stands about 3 inches tall and the has 7 points of articulation.  The sizing of this figure is much smaller, so it made more sense to do the two-pack thing for him.  His sculpt is decent enough.  Obviously, not quite as impressive as the recent Legends figure, but certainly superior to the Vol. 1 version.  No elbow joints, but at least this one can actually move his legs.  That’s certainly a plus in my book.  The level of detailing could perhaps be a touch sharper, and it’s hard to make out any sort of expression on his face, but for the style of the line, it’s a pretty solid sculpt.  His paintwork is probably the most nuanced of the figures I’ve looked at so far from the line, especially on the face, which features a number of variations in the coloring of his fur.  The work on his jumpsuit and armor plates is a little fuzzy around the edges, but it isn’t terrible.  Rocket is packed with a rather large gun, which, unfortunately, he can’t really hold that well.  He also has the Power Stone, which is the first repeated stone we’ve gotten (having been also included with Black Widow).

TEEN GROOT

Groot is possibly one of the most changed characters for Infinity War, having aged to adolescence over the course of the Vol. 2 stinger scenes.  This is our first Teen Groot figure.  The figure is 5 1/2 inches tall and has the same 11 points of articulation as most of the other figures in this line.  His sculpt is once again all-new, and it’s probably my favorite of the sculpts from the basic line.  What I really like about it is how well it can slip in with a set-up of Legends figures, should you be so inclined.  The level of detail is still a little simpler, but it’s really not that far off.  He definitely has some similarities to the Build-A-Figure Groot, which was one of my favorite sculpts of the time.  I quite like Teen Groots sulky expression, which perfectly encapsulates what we’ve seen of him so far.  Like Rocket, Groot’s paintwork is more nuanced than the others in the line.  There’s some darker accent work, as well as a little bit of green, since he’s a plant and all.  It’s perhaps not as subtle as I’d like, but it’s still much better than just getting a straight brown.  Teen Groot has no accessories of his own, but with Rocket and all of his extras, it’s not like this pack is particularly light.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

This set, along with Widow, is what really sold me on the whole line.  Sure, there’s a Legends set with these two in the pipeline, but without them being available right now, and with Groot being the only of the Guardians to be notably different, this set certainly has quite a bit of appeal.

#1632: Star-Lord

STAR-LORD

AVENGERS: INFINITY WAR (HASBRO)

Wait a second, wasn’t I reviewing a bunch of Avengers figures?  Why the sudden shift to a Guardians of the Galaxy character?  This is totally crazy!

Yeah, so unless you’ve been living a rock for the last 2-3 years, you know by now that the Guardians will be teaming up with Earth’s Mightiest heroes for their third outing.  Pretty cool, huh?  Obviously, they’re just part of the whole ensemble, so they only make up a token segment of each assortment.  The first of the basic figures is Star-Lord, who I’ll be looking at today.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Star-Lord is part of the first series of basic Avengers: Infinity War figures.  Unlike the last two figures, it would appear that Peter hasn’t had any major costume changes since we last saw him.  He’s using pretty much exactly the same look we saw in Guardians Vol. 2.  If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.  The figure stands 5 1/2 inches tall and he has 11 points of articulation.  He’s got an all-new sculpt, but it definitely shares some common design elements with the Legends Star-Lord.  It’s the same basic design, so that is sensible.  It’s a pretty top-notch sculpt, with decent proportions and some pretty great texture work.  The arms are a little off, with the articulation having to be worked in and all, but they aren’t too bad. Just perhaps a little scrawny.  The hands are, thankfully, both sculpted for gripping, thus maximizing accessory-holding potential.  Star-Lord is wearing his helmet, so there’s no Pratt likeness here.  The helmet is expertly recreated, easily on par with the Legends version.  The paintwork is solid work overall.  It’s basic, of course, but everything is pretty clean, and all of the important details have been included.  Star-Lord is packed with a rather large gun of some sort.  It’s replacing his usual twin element blasters, but something different is certainly welcome.  It definitely looks like the sort of thing that Rocket would build, so I’m guessing that’s it origin.  As with the other figures in this set, Star-Lord also includes one of the Infinity Stones, specifically the Reality Stone, which can be attached to his gun.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I grabbed Star-Lord at the same time as Cap, in a visit to a Toys R Us.  I really only grabbed him because I was picking up the others that were there.  He’s not really a lot of new territory, but in Hasbro’s defense, there wasn’t a basic figure of the MCU Star-Lord, so it’s not like he’s unwarranted.  Ultimately, he’s a solid figure, and accents the rest of the set pretty well.

#1521: Ego & Ayesha

EGO & AYESHA

MARVEL MINIMATES

Every good movie needs a good villain.  Sometimes a bad movie tries to compensate for its badness by adding extra villains in the hopes of that making the badness less noticeable, like in the Joel Schumacher Batman movies.  Fortunately, that wasn’t at all the case with Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, which deftly handled having two antagonists by having one be the primary (Ego), and the other just a secondary (Ayesha).  It allowed both to have their own moments to shine, without the film feeling too cluttered.  As luck would have it, those two are the two figures I’m looking at today!

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

Ego and Ayesha, like yesterday’s set, are exclusive to Marvel Minimates Series 71.  Also like yesterday’s set, the pairing is a little bit off.  I mean, it’s not quite as bad, since these two at least share one scene (not that they actually interact during it), but I can’t help but feel the pairings would have made more sense if it had been Ego/Mantis and Ayesha/Taserface.  But I bought the whole assortment anyway, so I guess it doesn’t ultimately matter.

EGO

As noted in my last Ego review, the film changed a few things about the character in order to translate him to film, but I thought it worked out pretty well.  Like that figure, he’s based on Ego’s modern-day “human” appearance.  The figure stands about 2 1/4 inches tall and he has 14 points of articulation.  He’s based on the standard ‘mate body, with add-ons for his hair and his shirt/cape/belt.  Both of these pieces are new for Ego, and they’re both fairly decent.  I wouldn’t mind if the details of the sculpt were a little bit sharper, but they could be worse.  I’m not 100% sure why they’ve gone with a sculpted torso rather than just painting the details on, but it looks alright in the end.  Ego’s paintwork is decent enough, though like his movie counterpart, he’s a tad on the bland side.  Still, that’s accurate, so one can hardly hold that against him.  The face is a passable rendition of Kurt Russel as Ego, though it’s not quite as spot-on as some ‘mate likenesses.  Ego’s only accessory is a clear display stand.  What, no extra head with only the most minor cosmetic changes?  For shame!

AYESHA

Like Ego, Ayesha got some changes in her journey from the page to the screen.  In the comics, she’s an artificial human like Adam Warlock (who she looks to be the creator of in the movie-verse), and only actually an antagonist in the loosest sense of the word.  Neither version of her is super prominent.  She has a number of different designs over the course of the film, but this ‘mate goes for her more active pilot’s gear from when she’s flying the remote ship at the end of the movie.  I personally liked this design the best, so no complaints there.  She’s also constructed on the standard body, with a new hairpiece.  It’s an okay piece, but it’s very restrictive of the head movement (a common issue with the females in this series), and it looks a bit more inorganic than I’d expected.  Ayesha’s paint is clean and bold, and does a reasonable job of recreating the on-screen design.  All of the gold stands out really well against the darker blue, and gives her a lot of pop.  Like Ego, her only extra is a clear display stand.  I guess a piloting console was a bit much to ask for…

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I didn’t know much what to expect from this set.  I liked both of the characters in the movie, so I’m certainly glad to have them in figure form, and they do a nice job of rounding out my overall set.  Neither one of them stands out quite as much as any of the others in the set, but they’re still solid additions.

#1520: Mantis & Taserface

MANTIS & TASERFACE

MARVEL MINIMATES

So, beyond Drax and Nebula, who are part of the Toys R Us-exclusive set which I didn’t pick up, there’s only one main Guardian from Vol. 2 I haven’t yet looked at in Minimate form.  As chance would have it, it’s a personal favorite of mine, Mantis, the newest addition to the team.  I’ll be looking at her, as well as her pack-mate Taserface!

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

Mantis and Taserface are one of the two sets exclusive to Marvel Minimates Series 71.  They’re sort of an odd pairing, seeing as these two characters never once meet during the film, being a part of two divergent storylines and all.  In DST’s defense, they aren’t the only licensee to do this; Lego also packed these two together.  Perhaps it was an early story idea?  Who knows.

MANTIS

This marks Mantis’s very first Minimate, and is in fact her very first action figure in general, since it hit a couple of months before the Legends release.  The figure stands about 2 1/2 inches tall and has the usual 14 points of articulation.  She’s built on the standard body with add-ons for her hair and skirt.  Both of these pieces are new to this ‘mate, and they’re both decent enough.  With that said, I do feel Mantis is the sort of character that would benefit from a unique head, since the antenna being on the hair doesn’t quite look right.  It’s far from horrible or anything, but it’s a little off.  Still, both pieces are nice overall.  The paintwork on Mantis is largely pretty solid.  The detailing and color with on the body is top-notch, and I really dig the metallic green.  The hair is a little sloppier, as are the antennae, but they’re respectable.  Her face is decent, but feels like it has too many lines for Mantis.  She ends up looking way to angular and defined.  I think just losing the cheekbones improves things.  Mantis’s only accessory is a clear display stand, but I can’t think of much else you could give her, so that seems reasonable enough.

TASERFACE

TASERFACE!  It’s metaphorical!  Man, did I love Taserface.  I mean, I didn’t actually like him, but I sure loved everything that went on around him.  And I’m very happy he found his way into this line-up.  Like Mantis, he’s built on the usual body, bit with a unique head, as well as add-ons for his chest cap and wrist bands.  The head adds his top-not, beard, and ears, while still keeping the overall ‘mate thing going on, so that’s  cool.  The rest of the pieces do a decent job translating his film design into ‘mate form as well, though I feel the torso piece is maybe a bit soft on the details.  His paintwork isn’t as clean as Mantis’s, but then it’s not really supposed to be.  It works well enough for what it’s supposed to be doing, but it’s certainly not quite as interesting to look at.  Taserface is packed with a large blaster rifle and  clear display stand, which is a pretty nice assortment, I guess.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

It’s really this set’s fault that I took so long to actually get this whole assortment.  I came out of the theatre knowing I wanted a Mantis figure, and since the Legend was a little ways off, I stopped off at my comic book store to get this set.  Sadly, they were out of stock, and I just never got around to ordering them.  While Mantis isn’t perfect, she’s still pretty great overall, and I’m happy to have another version of her in my collection.  Taserface is pretty solid, and holds some extra value, being the only Taserface figure out there and all.