#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.

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#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.

#1519: Gamora & Rocket (w/ Groot)

GAMORA & ROCKET (W/ GROOT)

MARVEL MINIMATES

Who would think that a raccoon and a giant radioactive turtle would make such a great pairing?  What what?  Not the turtle?  Oh, with the “o.”  That makes more sense.  You can understand my confusion.  Man, how cool would it be if Rocket just came packed with Gamera?  I mean, Gamora’s still, cool, I guess, but now I’ve got Gamera on my mind.  I’ve set myself up for disappointment now, haven’t I?  Well, better just review these figures, then.

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

Gamora and Rocket are the second of the two shared sets between Marvel Minimates Series 71 and the Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 TRU-themed assortment.  Unlike the first film, TRU actually had the whole team in their assortment this time around, which I’m certain was done in part due to DST wanting to avoid any ill-informed parent anger like what happened for the first movie.  It seems to have paid off in that regard.

GAMORA

Gamora inadvertently ended up in the hardest to procure of the two-packs from the original Guardians assortments, so it wasn’t a huge surprise to see her included in a shared pack.  She’s sporting her slightly fancier Vol. 2 design, which I’m quite a fan of.  The figure is about 2 1/4 inches tall and has 14 points of articulation.  She’s got add-ons for her hair and the bottom section of her jacket.  Both are re-used, with the hair being the same piece as the Series 57 Gamora, and the jacket being from the Civil War Scarlet Witch.  Both pieces work well here, and recreate her onscreen design pretty nicely.  I even find the jacket’s crossing across the waist far less distracting here than I did on Scarlet Witch, which is certainly a plus.  The paintwork on Gamora is overall pretty solid.  The detail work in particular, especially on the face, is really strong, and as a whole she just looks really clean and well put together.  My only real complaint is the way the hair has been handled; the change from brown to purple is a bit too jarring for my taste.  Gamora’s packed with her sword (the same one seen with the Series 57 version) and a clear display stand.

ROCKET

There have been two “minimate” Rockets in the past, but they were both completely static pack-in figures.  This one switches things up, and gives us an actual ‘mate, with articulation and everything.  Less articulation than the average ‘mate, of course, since he’s using the shortened limbs to keep him smaller.  He’s still got 8 points, which is a definite step up from “none at all.”  Construction-wise, Rocket gets a new head, the shorted arms, new shortened legs, and a belt featuring his tail.  The head’s definitely my favorite piece, and it looks pretty awesome, but the rest of the pieces make for a decent enough take on Rocket, albeit a slightly large one.  The paint on Rocket is decent enough.  Some of the base work is a little sloppy, but not unreasonably so, and the detail work on the torso is nice and sharp.  In addition to a clear display stand, Rocket includes his companion Groot, now in his baby form.  Like the prior Rockets, Groot is unarticulated, but given his smaller size, that’s pretty reasonable.  Rocket also includes a larger gun, the origin of which I’m not entirely certain.  Initially, I thought it was actually supposed to be the huge gun Gamora used to attack Nebula, but that looked different, and it would leave Rocket with no guns, which would just be odd.  

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Gamora was one of my favorites of the Series 57 ‘mates, so this one had a pretty high bar to clear.  I’m happy to say she’s certainly stepped things up.  Rocket’s no contest, of course, since this one’s an actual figure, rather than just a statue.  I wasn’t sure how well it would work, but it really did.  Sure, he could use some guns, but Baby Groot is a fun extra, too!

#1518: Star-Lord & Yondu

STAR-LORD & YONDU

MARVEL MINIMATES

“Set to the all-new sonic backdrop of Awesome Mixtape #2, Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 continues the team’s adventures as they traverse the outer reaches of the cosmos! The Guardians must fight to keep their newfound family together as they unravel the mystery of Peter Quill’s true parentage. Old foes become new allies and fan-favorite characters from the classic comics will come to our heroes’ aid as the Marvel Cinematic Universe continues to expand.”

Alright, enough of all this Star Wars stuff.  Let’s be different!  And by that, I mean let’s look at something from the other sequel to a wildly successful space opera franchise!  Yes, let’s have a look at something from one of my top movies of the year, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2.  I’ll be spending the next four days looking at the Minimates from the film, kicking things off with the film’s lead Star-Lord, alongside his pseudo father figure Yondu!

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

Star-Lord and Yondu were one of the two shared two-packs between Marvel Minimates Series 71 and the TRU-exclusive Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 assortment.  As you can probably gather, they’re based on the characters appearances in the second Guardians movie.

STAR-LORD

This marks Star-Lord’s third time as a Minimate.  His ‘mate from the first film was by far the most disappointing of the original bunch, and while the Animated version was certainly a marked improvement, he was still an Animated design, so he didn’t quite fit.  This ‘mate gives us Peter in his short-jacketed look, which is definitely his most prominent.  The figure stands about 2 1/4 inches tall and he has the standard 14 points of articulation.  He’s build on the basic ‘mate body, with add-ons for his hair and jacket.  Both pieces are new to this figure, and they do a solid job of translating Star-Lord’s on-screen appearance into ‘mate form.  His paintwork also does a pretty respectable job of conveying his film design. The face still isn’t a spot-on Pratt likeness, but it’s certainly better than the last two Star-Lords.  I do have to say, I sort of miss the t-shirt’s logo like we saw on all of the Legends figures, but at least his torso isn’t a completely blank block.  Star-Lord’s packed with his twin element guns, his helmet, and a clear display stand, all of which are repacked from the first Star-Lord.  The mask seems a little tighter than it was before, and I actually ended up injuring myself getting it back off of him for the photos, so be careful.

YONDU

Yondu’s only prior ‘mate is his TRU-exclusive one for the first film.  But, of course, that one had Yondu’s old, stubby little head-fin.  This one has his new pointy awesome one!  That’s an important distinction!  Like Star-Lord, he’s built on the usual body, with add-ons for his head-fin, jacket, and belt.  The jacket is re-used from the last Yondu (sensible, since it’s the same jacket and all), and remains a pretty solid piece.  The fin is obviously changed to reflect the new design, but is also just a lot sharper on the sculpting.  That’s a definite plus.  The belt’s just a belt, but it does what it’s supposed to, so that’s good.  Like his predecessor, this Yondu’s sporting some awesome paint work.  The details are very sharp, and they’ve gotten all of the little bits and bobs of his costume.  I liked the last Yondu’s Rooker likeness just fine, but I think this one’s even better, if you can believe it.  While the last Yondu lacked any sort of extras beyond his display stand, this one gets perhaps his most important extra: his arrow!  Now he can be Mary Poppins y’all!

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I don’t know why it took me so long to finally pick this series up.  I was in a bit of a money crunch when they first hit, but I’ve had the whole summer to track them down, and just never got around to it.  I finally ended up grabbing the whole series from Luke’s Toy Store during their Black Friday sale, allowing me to get them for a pretty solid deal, too.  I have both Star-Lord and Yondu as Minimates already, but there’s no denying that these are both the superior versions, and I’m glad I finally got around to grabbing them.

#1511: Star-Lord & Ego

STAR-LORD & EGO

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

“Roguish and unpredictable, Ego and Star-Lord share many of the same qualities as father and son. But when it comes to defending the galaxy as each sees fit, their approaches unquestionably differ.”

It’s been about three months since I took a look at the second assortment of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2-themed Marvel Legends.  While those reviews mostly wrapped up the Legends releases for the movie, there’s still one item I haven’t yet reviewed.  I’ll be taking care of that today, with a look at the film’s main antagonist Ego, as well as another variant of his son, Peter Quill, better known as Star-Lord!

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

Star-Lord and Ego were released as a two-pack over this past summer.  They’re officially the last of the GotG2 releases to hit stores, but thanks to some wonky distribution, a lot of areas saw them before the Mantis Series (I live in one such area).  They hit around July/August, a fair bit after the movie’s release, which may not have been the strongest marketing strategy.

STAR-LORD

This marks Star-Lord’s third Legends figure this year.  It’s functionally the same figure as the one released in the Titus Series, but there are some notable differences if you own both.  As far as the sculpt goes, the only real change is the hair, which is the more coifed Mantis Series piece, denoting this as a more official Vol. 2 figure than the first Star-Lord.  The hair’s seated better on the head this time around, making for a better overall appearance.  Beyond that, the sculpt’s identical to the first figure, which is hardly a bad thing since that was a phenomenal sculpt.  Like the sculpt, the paint is largely the same as the first release, but there are a few differences.  The most minor is the shirt, which is now a light grey instead of a dark one.  The more intense changes are on the face, which uses the fancy new face printing method.  It’s not terrible, and it’s certainly a vast improvement over the Mantis Series head, but the Titus Series head is still my overall favorite.  Star-Lord includes an extra helmeted head, his two element guns, and his Walkman.

EGO

In the comics, Ego and Peter Quill’s father are two separate characters.  James Gunn disliked Quill’s father’s identity in the comics, and decided to go for something a bit more exciting, finally deciding on Fantastic Four villain Ego the Living Planet.  He was slightly re-worked for the film (he doesn’t tend to have an actual body in the comics), but his overall characterization was pretty spot-on, and Kurt Russel was clearly having a lot of fun with the part.  It should be noted that this figure’s official name is actually “Marvel’s Ego,” which I found to be rather amusing in its own unintentional way.  The figure stands about 6 1/4 inches tall and he has 31 points of articulation.  His sculpt is new to him, and it’s…well, it’s alright, I guess.  Compared to some of the other Guardians figures, it feels a little weak.  It’s mostly how the articulation’s been worked in.  It just feels rather stilted and unnatural.  It’s not like we’re at Mattel levels of bad or anything, but it definitely could have been better.  It’s not all bad, though.  The head actually has a pretty solid likeness of Russel, and I was rather impressed with the texture work on his clothing.  Overall, I’m happy with the sculpt, I just think it wasn’t helped by being packed with one of Hasbro’s best sculpted figures ever, that’s all.  The paintwork on Ego is pretty solid work.  It’s not the most exciting set of colors, but it’s true to the movie, and there’s enough accent work to keep him from looking too bland.  Like Peter, he gets a printed face, which I think ends up looking a bit better than Peter, and is my favorite sample of this technique so far.  Ego is packed with an extra head, which is largely the same as the standard one, just with a slightly friendlier expression.  It’s not really all that noticeably different, and I can’t even say for sure that it’s even a different sculpt.  Personally, I’d have rather had a battle damaged head from when Peter shoots him, but I guess that might have been too morbid.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

When this set was first announced, I was pretty excited for it, even if I did already have the basic Star-Lord.  Then it took its sweet time getting here, and I had some financial things going on, and so by the time it actually arrived on shelves, I just could bring myself to drop the full $40 on it.  Ultimately, I ended up getting it for about half price from Target, meaning I pretty much just payed for the Ego figure.  The set’s alright, but I don’t find it to be quite as entertaining as the Thor/Valkyrie set.  Star-Lord’s different enough from the Titus Series figure for me to notice, but not enough to make me actually care to have the extra, which is a bit frustrating.  Ego’s not a bad figure, but he’s not a great one either, and I feel he’s a little bit of a step down from the rest of the set.  At half-price, I don’t feel ripped off, but I’m certainly glad I didn’t buy it when it was brand-new.

#1439: Mantis

MANTIS

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

Of all the things I loved about Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 (and that’s quite a long list), perhaps my favorite part of the movie was its new addition to the team, Mantis.  I’ve liked Mantis since her earliest appearances, so I was excited to see her move to the big screen, and the movie delivered a version of the character that was just so inherently likable.  I look forward to seeing more of her in future installments.  In the mean time, I’ve got a Marvel Legend version of her to occupy my time.  Let’s see how that turned out!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Mantis is the eponymous Build-A-Figure from the Mantis Series of Marvel Legends.  I know there was a lot of discussion about why she was chosen to be the Build-A-Figure instead of one of the more sizable figures in the set like Ex Nihilo or Death’s Head II.  Would *you* have gone out of your way to complete either of those figures?  Me either.  And that’s sort of the point, isn’t it?  I mean, here I am, and I’ve bought the whole set, so Hasbro succeeded in their main venture, which is selling all the figures.  More power to them.  The figure stands about 6 inches tall and she has 32 points of articulation.  Mantis is, of course, based on her design from the film, which is a nicely crafted merging of all of her main looks from over the years.  The figure’s sporting an all-new sculpt, and it’s…it’s just amazing.  I mean, maybe not quite the same level as Gamora, but very close, certainly.  The head sports a beautiful likeness of Pom Klementieff as Mantis, and it’s one of the best head sculpts Hasbro’s ever put out.  It’s made from three different pieces, used for the hair, the face, and the eyes.  Yes, the eyes are a separate piece; they look the slightest bit off when you look really closely at them, but from a normal distance, they add a ton of depth and level to the figure.  The rest of the figure is very sharply detailed; there’s a ton of texture and folds and such in the clothing.  If I have one complaint about the sculpt, I’d say that her shoulders a perhaps a touch too broad.  That’s really minor, though.  Mantis’s paintwork is solid work all around.  It’s clean, and the colors look quite nice.  I particularly dig that metallic green they’ve used.  There’s a little bit of slop around the edges of her eyes, but that’s really about it.  Mantis, as an accessory herself, includes no accessories of her own.  Honestly, I can’t think of much they could have included with her, so I can’t say it’s a huge deal.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Obviously, I got Mantis by buying all six of the contributing figures in this series, which I found all at once at Toys R Us.  Mantis was my number one want from this set.  I’ll admit to being a little miffed at first that she was made the Build-A-Figure, but aside from one figure, all of the contributing figures were ones I wanted anyway.  Not a big loss on my part there.  Gamora may be the best figure in the series, but Mantis is hands down my favorite figure in the assortment.  Would life have been easier if she’d been a single-packed release?  Maybe, but I’d much rather have gotten her as a Build-A-Figure with a dedicated sculpt than have not gotten her at all or having gotten her in some compromised form.  At the end of the day, I couldn’t be happier with this figure.

#1437: Adam Warlock

ADAM WARLOCK – COSMIC PROTECTORS

MARVEL LEGENDS

“Masters of energy manipulation, these supreme beings seek to defend the cosmos at all costs.”

In one of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2’s five post-credits scenes, the audience returns to minor antagonist Ayesha, who sits in front of her newest creation, dubbing it “the next step in our evolution.  More powerful; more beautiful; more capable of destroying the Guardians of the Galaxy,” before eventually uttering it’s name: “Adam.”  After getting out of the film, I received a text from my boy Tim, asking what was the deal with the weird pod thing named Adam.  The best description I could come up with was “Space Jesus,” which I don’t think is a completely terrible way of describing Adam Warlock.  So, without further ado, here’s this Space Jesus action figure.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Adam Warlock is figure 5 in the Mantis Series of Hasbro’s Marvel Legends.  He’s dubbed “Cosmic Protectors,” which is a name he shares with Ex Nihilo.  This marks Adam’s second time as a Marvel Legend, following the one from the 2008 Target-exclusive Red Hulk Series.  That one was weak even when it was new, so an update was long overdue.  The figure stands 6 1/2 inches tall and has 32 points of articulation.  The previous Adam was sporting his Infinity Guantlet garb, but this one goes more modern, giving us Adam’s look from the 2009 relaunch of Guardians (the one that first assembled the line-up from the movies).  It’s not a bad design overall.  It keeps a lot of elements from his prior costumes, but adds a bit more flair to them.  I miss the cape, though.  Adam is built on the Bucky Cap body, which is a reasonable fit for the character.  He gets a new head and skirt/belt add-on, as well as a pair of Pizza Spidey hands for added gesturing.  The belt’s a little on the loose side for me, but it looks cool enough.  I really like the head; it feels very much in-character for Adam, and I like that the hair has a bit of a flow to it.  In terms of paint, Adam is pretty good overall.  There’s a bit more slop than we’ve seen as of late, but it’s still better than what we were getting a year ago, so I’m not complaining.  The black and red contrast well, and the gold is a pleasing shade, and doesn’t look like it’ll have a weird change in finish over time.  The head is actually orange like it is in the comics, which is a major improvement over the last Legends figure’s pale tan.  Adam is packed with a pair of the same effect pieces seen with Havok, Polaris, Wonder Man, and Shocker, this time in an opaque pale blue.  I’m getting a little tired of these pieces, truth be told.  I liked them at first, but they’re super over used.  Fortunately, that’s not the only extra included here.  No, he also has two more heads!  Granted, one of them is for the Build-A-Figure Mantis, but the other one depicts Adam’s bad alternate self, Magnus!  It’s definitely a modern Magnus (which is sensible, given the costume choice), which is probably for the best.  The afro’s just not as intimidating these days.  As much as I love the Adam head, I like the Magnus head even more.  The intense, completely insane grin just looks awesome, and is certainly unique.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Read the last several reviews?  Care to guess where I got this guy?  I almost picked this figure up several times.  I’ve always had this weird soft-spot for Adam Warlock, and this figure definitely looks cool, but I managed to hold off until I found a whole set.  While the movie Guardians definitely steal the show, there’s no denying that this is a fun figure.  I tried my hardest to like the last Warlock, but he was really not great.  This one’s so much better.  Throw in that extra Magnus head and you’ve got a real winner.  I’m honestly not sure which way I want to display him.  I may just have to track down a second figure at some point.

#1436: Star-Lord

STAR-LORD

MARVEL LEGENDS

“Cosmic calamity!  When Star-Lord blasts into battle, it’s not a matter of if things get weird, but a matter of when.”

“Cosmic calamity?”  Maybe it’s just better not to ask about that one.  Though the GotG films both succeed in no small part due to their amazing ensemble casts, there’s no denying that, at their heart, both are following the story of Peter Quill, aka Star-Lord.  Due to his central nature, Star-Lord is the luckiest member of the team in terms of toy coverage, finding himself in both of the Legends assortments for the movie.  I looked at the first assortment’s short-coated figure, which was one of my favorites this year.  But, can the second round’s long-coated variant live up to that?  Let’s find out!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Star-Lord is figure 4 in the Mantis Series of Marvel Legends.  This figure covers the the second of Peter’s three prominent looks in the film, giving us his aforementioned long-coated look.  The shorter version still ended up being the more prominent look for the sequel, but this look at least didn’t disappear quite as quickly as it did in the first film.  The figure stands about 6 1/2 inches tall and he has 32 points of articulation.  He’s built from the same starting point as the Titus Series Star-Lord, sharing that figure’s torso and legs, along with a new head, arms, and jacket (obviously).  The new jacket is a very nice piece, and is a stronger sculpt than we saw on the first film’s figure, or even the Titus Series Yondu.  While it’s not as sharp in detailing as the shorter version (due to needing to be molded in a slightly softer plastic), there’s still plenty of very sharp work.  The new arms look decent enough, though they do seem a little more gangly than the Titus Series arms.  My only real complaint about them is that they don’t quite sit flush at his sides.  Still, they get pretty close, and a bit of careful posing covers any remaining issues.  The new gloved hands are fun, and I had a lot less trouble getting the blasters into them this time around, which is a definite improvement.  You know what’s not a definite improvement?  The head.  The Titus Series Star-Lord head is an amazing piece, and was sporting a near perfect Chris Pratt likeness.  This one misses the mark on a few counts.  I do appreciate the more goofy expression, since that’s been missing from prior Legends Star-Lords, and honestly, I don’t think it’s the face that’s really throwing it off.  I think it’s the hair, which has been slightly changed from the last figure.  It’s hard to say if it’s that the hair’s just not as well done this time, or if it’s just been placed a little off on the figure, but it doesn’t look quite right. On top of that, the paint has also taken a slight dip on this guy.  After using newer techniques on the last Star-Lord, as well as this series’ Rocket and Gamora, this figure looks to have gone back to more traditional painting techniques.  There’s a lot more slop, the lines are a lot thicker and less lifelike, and, most annoyingly, they’ve gone back to the “smear some brown paint on the lower half of the face” style of facial hair, which looks really goofy.  Without the prior figure to compare to, I probably wouldn’t have any major issues with the paint here, but after seeing how close they can get it when they put in the effort, it’s a little sad to see a slight step down here.  On the plus side of things, the rest of the paint is top notch.  His shirt gets the print like the one we saw on the earlier figure, which is a fun detail.  They’ve also put a bit of a wash on the jacket, which makes it look appropriately worn-in.  Star-Lord is packed with the scarf we see him wearing on his way to Ego’s “planet,” as well as his Walkman, his two element blasters, and one of Mantis’s arms.  It’s a shame that he doesn’t get the headphones for the Walkman, especially since Hasbro’s already got the mold for them.  Also, while he never wears his helmet in this jacket, it might have helped this figure a bit to include that extra head, since the main issue I have with this figure is the head.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I grabbed this guy at the same time as the last three figures.  I’d seen him a few times before, but I held out for the full set.  I like the long-coat look a lot, so I was looking forward to this guy after the awesomeness that was the Titus Series figure.  The head’s definitely a let-down, and he’s got a few other minor issues that hold him back from being quite the same quality as the last one.  Still, there’s quite a lot to like about this guy, and he’s certainly an improvement over the Vol. 1 figure.  Throw one of the two heads from the Titus Series figure on this guy and you’ve got a real winner!

#1435: Nebula

NEBULA – DAUGHTERS OF THANOS

MARVEL LEGENDS

The product for the first Guardians film covered the main team pretty well, but there were a couple of poor characters who found themselves a bit left out.  Completely absent from all of Hasbro’s offerings were both Fondu and Nebula.  Yondu found his way into the Titus Series earlier this year, and Nebula has followed suit, as part of the more recent Mantis Series.  I’ll be looking at Nebula today!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Nebula is figure 3 in the Mantis Series of Marvel Legends.  She has the name “Daughters of Thanos,” which she shares with her sister Gamora (who I reviewed yesterday).  The figure stands about 6 1/4 inches tall and she has 28 points of articulation.  In a bit of a change from most of this year’s movie-based Guardians figures, Nebula isn’t based on her new Vol. 2 look, but instead keeps her look from the first installment (which, to be fair, she does have for at least a little of Vol. 2’s run-time).  I’m actually okay with that, as I find her Vol. 1 look to be the slightly more interesting of the two.  Nebula is sporting an all-new sculpt, and it’s decent.  It’s a little bit of a disservice to this figure that she’s directly following Gamora, who had one of the best sculpts Hasbro’s ever put out.  This one is certainly passable, but it’s definitely not of quite the same quality.  She almost feels like she was intentionally sculpted to be sort of a half-way point between the 2014 Guardians Legends and the new ones, so she’s slightly summed down.  I felt the same way about Yondu, another figure designed to pull double-duty, so maybe I’m on to something.  It’s also possible that these two might have been sculpts that were started in 2014 and were slightly updated for Vol. 2’s release.  Regardless, Nebula’s sculpt is far from bad.  Apart from some slightly gamely proportions, there’s actually quite a bit to like.  There’s tons of texture work, especially on her robotic arm, and the head is sporting a pretty solid Karen Gillan likeness.  I wish her belt was a slightly less floaty piece, but it’s possible to get it seated so it doesn’t bounce around quite as much.  The paintwork on Nebula is once again up to par with Hasbro’s more recent work.  Everything is nice and sharp, and I really dig all of the metallic tones present here.  There’s one minor flaw: the bottom section of her elbow pad on her left arm hasn’t been painted purple.  It’s only just noticeable though, and I really only spotted it because it was painted the correct way on the alternate forearm.  Said alternate forearm is one of her accessories. It replicates her replacement claw-hand she has early in Vol. 2, thus allowing this to officially be a Vol. 2 figure.  She also includes a small blaster pistol and the other leg of Mantis.  It’s a little bit of a letdown that she didn’t get her cool batons from the first movie, but I guess what she has is acceptable.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I got Nebula from Toys R Us, same as the others I’ve looked at.  I was rather bummed that she was left out of the toys from the first movie, and was glad to hear she’d be included here.  She’s a decent enough figure overall.  There are some aspects I wish were a little better, but she’s still quite an enjoyable figure, and I’m happy to have her.