#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.

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#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.

#1434: Gamora

GAMORA – DAUGHTERS OF THANOS

MARVEL LEGENDS

“Though each chose their own path in the wake of their father’s rise to power, these skilled assassins forever share a familial bond.”

Thanks to the vast majority of the characters being introduced in the last film, Guardians Vol. 2 actually had the chance to go back and add a little bit more to each of its main characters.  While the overarching story of the film is still rather centered on Peter and his relationship with his newly discovered father, the film still managed to have a nice little arc for each member of the main team.  As much as I enjoyed Zoe Saldana’s performance as Gamora in the first film, it was really nice to see her get to do more than just be serious and intimidating this time around.  Her move from cold killing machine to level-headed-only-sane-man of the team certainly made her quite a bit more likeable, and I absolutely loved her scenes with Karen Gillan’s Nebula.  While her last Marvel Legends figure was decent at the time, I was anxiously awaiting another stab at the character, which Hasbro was more than happy to deliver.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Gamora is figure 2 in the Mantis Series of Marvel Legends.  She’s listed as “Daughters of Thanos” on the packaging; it’s a name she shares with Nebula, and I think this is probably the most sensible that one of these shared name deals has ever been.  The figure stands about 6 1/4 inches tall and she has 27 points of articulation.  Gamora’s based on her new Vol. 2 design, which is probably my favorite of the redesigned looks.  None of her looks from the first film really stuck with me, but I dig the cavalier, sort of adventurer/pirate thing she’s got going on in the sequel.  The figure’s sculpt is an all-new endeavor. I was actually a pretty big fan of the last Gamora sculpt when it was new, but I have to say that this one completely blows it out of the water, in every capacity.  You know how much I loved the Star-Lord sculpt, right?  Yeah, this one’s definitely on par with that.  She has a little trouble standing.  That’s my entire list of complaints, and even that one’s downgraded from the last figure.  From top to bottom, this is an awesome sculpt.  The head is a spot-on recreation of Saldana’s likeness, of a quality that rivals even Hot Toys. Her implants are sculpted this time, instead of painted, with definitely adds a lot.  The hair is not only well detailed and well shaped, it also manages to not be anywhere near the articulation-killer it could have been.  There’s some slight limitation, but it’s hardly as bad as we’ve seen in the past.  The proportions on the body are solid, and make her look more or less like a real person, which is always a plus.  The details on her costume are really sharp, and really capture the complexity of the pieces.  I like that the bottom of her jacket has a little bit of flow to it, keeping it from being too rigid, but also avoiding going too crazy.  Gamora’s paintwork keeps the good vibes going; like Rocket, she’s got the new face printing technique, which looks super nice here.  The shade of green used for her skin tone is nice and vibrant, and definitely more accurate than the last figure.  The hair also gets the subtle change in color down pretty well, and manages to not look too goofy. There’s a little bit of slop on the edges of her shirt, but that’s about it, and it’s really minor. Gamora is packed with her signature sword (which she can actually hold this time!), in bot extended and compact forms, as well as the Star-Lord-annoying gun from the opening fight scene (which, fun continuity fact, is the same gun that Rocket steals during the prison break in the first movie), and the leg of Mantis.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Gamora was at the top of my list of wants from this series.  I already liked the re-design, but I saw some early in-hand shots of the figure that just looked fantastic.  It’s actually her fault it’s taken me so long to get the rest of this series, actually.  I’d seen every other figure in the set at least once, but Gamora was always gone, so I kept holding off.  Seeing her at the TRU a couple weeks ago was what got me to break down and buy the whole set.  I really liked the old Gamora when she was new, but this one’s made me realize that figure’s flaws, and is really just an amazing figure in her own right.  If you only buy one Legends figure this year, buy this one.  She’s so worth it.

#1433: Rocket Raccoon & Groot

ROCKET RACCOON & GROOT

MARVEL LEGENDS

“A genetically engineered raccoon and a regenerating, tree-like humanoid, Rocket and Groot make for a one of a kind duo -– not sure what kind, but definitely one of a kind.”

I didn’t get much chance to mention it, but Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 was one of my favorite movies of this past year.  I very much enjoyed the first one, so I was expecting to like the sequel, but I was actually a little surprised by just how much I liked it.  It’s possibly my favorite MCU film yet, and that’s a pretty big thing for me to say.  Despite my immense enjoyment of the film, up until recently, I had very little in the way of toys from it.  Why?  Because of poor distribution, that’s why.  But it’s sort of getting better now.  Without further ado, here’s everyone’s favorite space-fairing smuggling duo since Han Solo and Chewbacca, Rocket and Groot!

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

Rocket Raccoon and Groot are “figure” 1 in the Mantis Series of Marvel Legends, which is the second Guardians-themed assortment of 2017, following January’s Titus Series. Though both characters are billed in a way that might suggest this is a two-pack, this is really a Rocket figure that includes a small Groot figurine as an accessory.  So, with that in mind, I’ll be reviewing them that way.  Rocket stands about 3 inches tall and he has 24 points of articulation.  Rocket is an all-new sculpt, re-using no pieces from the prior version of the character.  That’s definitely for the best; while I never hated the older figure, there’s no denying that it was by far the weakest of the original set. The articulation is definitely much improved over the prior figure; this guy actually can move his legs, which is a definite *step* up.  Get it?  …Yeah.  The articulated legs mean that this Rocket figure can actually stand a bit better than the last figure, and he’s just a lot less clunky in general.  He also largely improves the film accuracy of Rocket.  The texture on the hair is definitely of a higher detail and the overall proportions seem a bit more balanced and consistent with Rocket’s CG model.  The figure as a whole is a fair bit smaller than the last one, which is definitely a plus, since that one was a bit on the large side.  While the body certainly has a lot of improvements, the greatest leaps are definitely on the head, or should I say heads?  There are two of them around, offering us two different expressions for Rocket.  There’s a slightly more calm one, and then there’s one that’s looks like he’s going ballistic.  Both heads sport a lot more character than the prior head, which looked more like a generic raccoon.  I really like how well they’ve captured Rocket’s expressions here, and the level of detail on both heads is truly amazing.  Hasbro’s really been improving on paint, and Rocket definitely falls in line with that.  His head uses the new matrix printing stuff they’ve been trying out recently, which allows for more variation to the shades of his fur.  It’s still a bit more jarring than it would be in real life, but it’s great for the scale and price point.  The rest of the paint is respectable work all around; the application is pretty clean and it all matches up nicely with the film.  Rocket is packed with a pair of blasters (fun fact: the one in his right hand is actually patterned on the Nerf Nitefinder IX-3; thanks Tim!), as well as the torso of Mantis.  There’s also the previously mentioned Groot figurine.  This little guy’s about 3/4 of an inch tall.  He’s got no articulation, but that’s excusable at this scale.  I do wish he could stand a little better; you have to sort of bend his legs out and set him in place.  He’s depicted here in his Ravager jumpsuit, which is well rendered, and the sculpt is general is quite nice and accurate to Groot’s on-screen counterpart.  Some of the details are a little soft, but again, at this scale, I’ll forgive some of that.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I was a bit let down by the last Rocket, so I was eager to get the new one.  Since he’s the double packed character from this series, I’ve actually seen him a few times, but held off on grabbing him until I was certain I could find the whole series.  I stopped at a TRU on the way home from work with the hopes of finding some Black Series figures, and while I had no luck with those, I did find the whole Mantis Series, so I was able to grab a Rocket finally.  I remember feeling that the Vol. 1 Rocket wasn’t really worth the $20 price tag, given his lower quality and small stature.  I feel with this one the price is far more warranted.  The extra posablilty is awesome, and he’s leaps and bounds ahead of his predecessor.  I mean, I thought Star-Lord was a huge improvement, but this one makes the old Rocket look like a sad trash panda.

#1358: Star-Lord

STAR-LORD

GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY (HASBRO)

“When the fate of the universe hangs in the balance, Peter Quill is ready to defeat interstellar evil!”

With the recent release of Spider-Man: Homecoming just last week, and a whole other slew of summer blockbusters in the last month or so, it’s easy to forget that this year’s summer blockbuster season was kicked off by Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2.  That’s a shame, because I really, really loved Guardians 2.  Like a whole lot.  I have yet to find the second assortment of Marvel Legends from the film (I’ve seen remnants at stores, but I’m hoping for a full set), but I’m sort of bridging the gap with some of the non-Legends stuff that’s hit in the mean time.  Much like Spider-Man: Homecoming, there was a slightly smaller, slightly less high-end line of figures based on the Guardians and a few of their supporting players.  Today, I’ll be looking at Star-Lord!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Star-Lord is from the first series of the smaller Guardians of the Galaxy line of figures, which hit sometime last year, I believe.  The figure stands just a little over 5 inches tall and he has 9 points of articulation.  It’s a bit of a shame that he hasn’t got any knee movement, but I do really like the mobility of the arms.  Now, you’ll recall that in my review of the Homecoming Spider-Man figure, I mentioned that his scale was a little hard to place; that’s less an issue with this guy.  He’s right about in line with the mid-to-late ‘90s figures from Toy Biz in terms of scaling, which is quite cool, since Peter was never privy to a figure from TB.  Obviously, he’ll fit in better with some figures than others, but he’s a nice fit.  In terms of design, he’s based on Peter’s appearance in the Guardians animated series from the last few years.  The show is itself borrowing a lot of its designs from the movies, but the characters are a little more angular and simplistic.  This is another point in favor of compatibility with the older figures, since it means he’s not quite as hyper detailed as more recent figures have become.  Even as an animated sculpt, there’s actually a lot of really sharp detail work, especially on the helmet.  For the price point of this line, I was pleasantly surprised by how clear the details were.  The paintwork is pretty straightforward color work; what’s there is mostly pretty clean, and it’s all pretty bright.  He does look a little washed out to my eyes, but that’s really just a symptom of the design he’s based on.  Peter is packed with his two element guns.  They’re pretty well sculpted, but completely un-painted.  Also, they aren’t compatible with his sculpted holsters in the slightest bit, which is rather perplexing.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I really kept meaning to pick this guy up to give the line a try.  I saw him so many times in the store and came so close to buying him, but just never did.  What finally got me to crack was finding him on clearance at Barnes & Noble and also having a gift card, meaning he cost me nothing.  Honestly, at full price, I still would have been very happy with this figure.  Obviously, he’s not on par with a Marvel Legend or anything, but as I noted, he’s a great fit with the old TB stuff, and just a pretty fun figure in general.  This is the style of figure that got me into collecting, and I’m happy to see it back!

The Blaster In Question #0008: Star-Lord Quad Blaster

STAR-LORD QUAD BLASTER

MARVEL

It is a well known fact that the Guardians of the Galaxy movies are awesome.  No one disputes this, it’s just true.  As with just about every Marvel movie to come out in the last decade (yeah, Iron Man was in 2008, I had to look it up) there’s been a decent amount of merchandise out there.  Regulars to the site will likely have seen at least one of Ethan’s numerous GotG figure reviews, but what if you’re one of those people who would rather be Star-Lord rather than just have him on your shelf?  Thats where we get the subject of today’s review.

THE BLASTER ITSELF

The Star-Lord Quad Blaster was released in 2014 as a Marvel tie-in product to coincide with the release of the first GotG movie.  Interestingly, there is no Nerf branding anywhere on the blaster, but just a quick mention on the box.  Aside from using a “smart air-restrictor” setup found in a plethora of other Nerf blasters, the Quad Blaster is completely original.  The blaster is operated by priming one or both of the slides on the rear and pulling the trigger.  Unlike the Roughcut and other similar blasters, the Quad Blaster does not have a staggered trigger, if both barrels are primed, both will fire simultaneously.  In addition, the smaller secondary trigger just below the firing trigger releases the latches holding the spring-loaded front ends, causing them to snap back, revealing two extra barrels.  In all honesty, this feature was 85% of the reason I got this blaster.  It’s just a ton of fun fiddling with even if you’re not actively firing the blaster, and if you flick your wrist just right, you can reset the barrel covers without touching them.  Opening the front covers is required to fire the second barrels on the top and bottom.  The blaster is very sleek and definitely has an appropriate sci-fi feel to it, almost like one of the plasma weapons from Halo.  The grip could maybe stand to be a little bigger as I could see someone with larger hands feeling cramped while holding it, but it’s forgivable when you remember the target audience.  The main body of the blaster feels on par with other Nerf blasters in terms of structural integrity, but it is worth noting that the plastic for the priming slides feels a little thin, and the front covers are a smoother, slightly more rubbery plastic than the rest of the blaster.  The priming stroke on the Quad Blaster is very short and not terribly heavy, as such, the performance is limited.  It’s still fine for running around the house, blasting your friends, but even on longer indoor distances, the darts tend to drop off a little sooner than I might like and the impacts can feel kinda flaccid.  Again, I can understand this decision given this is meant for children, and Nerf has to keep it’s own core products competitive, but it’s still a bit of a bummer.  The Star-Lord Quad Blaster comes with 4 Elite darts but with black bodies instead of the traditional blue.  Unfortunately I wasn’t able to find all 4 of mine but I got 2 and some regular Elites for comparison.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

It’s become sort of a recurring event in my life where every time Chris Pratt is in a movie or tv show (Gotg, Jurassic World, Parks and Rec) people tell me that his character reminds them of myself.  Normally I wouldn’t really take this to heart, but when my own mom is one of the most vocal people on this opinion, I figured I would just roll with it.  I mean, it’s no surprise that I would buy a Nerf blaster, but being attributed with Star-Lord (WHO?!) just moved it up my priority list.

#1291: Marvel’s Angela

MARVEL’S ANGELA

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

“A master of hand-to-hand combat, Angela is known throughout the galaxy for her battle prowess.”

On the next installment of figures of characters Ethan knows next to nothing about…

Back in the early ‘90s, a group of poplar comic book artists, headed by Todd McFarlane, left Marvel Comics over issues of creative control and maintaining the rights to the characters they created.  They founded Image Comics.  Each artist was given their own free reign to do as they liked with the characters they created, and would each maintain the rights to their own creations.  What does this all have to do with Angela?  Well, Angela was born out of Todd McFarlane’s series Spawn.  Todd started delegating the creation of the actual comic pretty quickly, passing the reigns to a number of writers.  Among them was one Neil Gaiman, who wrote Spawn #9, which introduced the character of Angela, a co-creation of Gaiman and McFarlane (who was still handling the art duties).  Gaiman was initially told he would retain creator rights for Angela (as well as the other two characters created for the issue), but McFarlane later tried to back out, claiming Angela was the result of a “work for hire” contract (a tactic virtually identical to that used by Marvel to deny McFarlane rights to characters he’d created. Way to go, Todd).  Gaiman took the case to court, and was eventually granted full ownership of Angela, whom he promptly sold to Marvel.  Marvel integrated her into the main universe as a side-effect of Age of Ultron’s mucking with the timeline.  Now she’s apparently the sister of Thor and has also joined up with the Guardians of the Galaxy.  Yay?  Anyway, she got a Marvel Legend, so here it is.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Angela is figure 4 in the Titus Series of Marvel Legends and is the final single figure in the set to be reviewed on the site.  She’s another figure with the “Marvel’s” bit in front of her name, but this is one time I think it’s totally justified.  They paid good money for her, might as well let people know.  She’s based on her Joe Quesada-designed look that she got when she was introduced at Marvel, which seems like a pretty sensible choice, especially since it’s the look she had with the Guardians, and she’s in a Guardians-themed series.  The figure stands 6 3/4 inches tall and she has 27 points of articulation.  Angela is built on an all-new body.  I would imagine we’ll be seeing some of it again pretty soon, as it looks like the upcoming Lady Sif figure is built on the same base.  Beyond that, it’s not really going to be getting much use as a base body, since most of it’s got pretty character specific elements.  It’s a decent enough body.  The build isn’t too much on the impossible side, at least as far as comic book characters go.  She does seem rather leggy, but that’s not entirely off when you’re dealing with the Asgardians.  The character-specific elements are decent enough, though some of the armor (especially the shoulder pads and the one weird elbow thing) is rather restrictive of the articulation.  The head’s actually pretty nice; the face is fairly attractive and fits well with the other Asgardians in terms of basic features, while the hair has a nice, lively flow to it, which makes it look like she’s doing more than just standing there (but it also doesn’t go too overboard, a la the Ultimate Spider-Woman figure).  There are add-ons for the belt/loincloth and the…uhhh, scarf?  Straps?  Neck belt?  Leash?  I don’t know what that thing around her neck is, but it’s a separate piece.  It also kind of sits weird.  It’s not really the fault of the figure, but I’m not really a fan of the loincloth’s design.  Why is it only at the back?  Is it supposed to be some sort of butt cape?  I don’t know.  I really feel it would look much better if it were also present at the front.  As it is, she looks sort of half dressed.  I mean, I know she’s already somewhat on the scantily clad side of the spectrum, but that one bit just looks…unfinished.  It’s accurate to the comic and everything, so Hasbro’s not to blame, but it bugs me.  The piece also has some difficulty sitting properly, which seems to be a trend amongst her add-ons.  Angela’s paintwork is generally pretty solid, so that’s good.  The colors are all pretty vibrant, and all of the application is nice and clean.  There’s no real accent work to speak of, but it actually doesn’t seem that odd here.  Most of her artwork has her looking pretty clean, so this is consistent with that.  Angela is packed with a sword and a pair of axes.  The sword on mine is malformed into that weird wavy shape, but I actually kinda like it.  The axes are kind of goofy, but accurate to the comics, so that’s what that is.  She also includes the right leg of the Build-A-Figure Titus.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

So, I didn’t plan on getting Angela.  I don’t really have any attachment to Angela, like, at all.  Even less than Darkhawk, who I also wasn’t gonna get.  But I did get him.  Remember in Wednesday’s review, where I mentioned that whole barter system, doing IT work for action figures thing?  Well, while Super Awesome Girlfriend’s mom was in town a few weeks ago, we were all at a Books-A-Million, and SAGF’s mom was buying her some books.  Since I’d done quite a bit of IT work for her, she asked if I wanted another action figure.  This was one of two Marvel Legends in the store that I didn’t already own, and Titus was exactly one piece away from completion.  So, home with me she came.  She’s not a bad figure at all.  Were I a fan of the character, I’d probably be really happy with her.  As it is?  I’m still not totally sold on the design, and there are a handful of minor issues with the figure.  But, she’s overall pretty fun.  So, now I own *two* Angela figures.  Yippee.

#1263: Yondu

YONDU

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

“A captain of a Ravager faction, Yondu is a powerful warrior shrouded in mystery.”

Okay, I can get behind the first half of this bio, but the second half is sort of losing me.  Is Yondu’s mysterious past going to be a key piece of GotG Vol 2 or something?  Because he honestly doesn’t seem that much more mysterious than the rest of the cast from the first film.  Here I am critiquing bios again.  I gotta stop with that.  So, if you hadn’t already gathered, today’s focus is Yondu, who, after being left out of Hasbro’s offerings for the first film, has found his way into Legends form for the sequel!  Let’s check him out!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Yondu is figure 2 in the Titus Series of Marvel Legends.  He’s the last of the three movie-based figures in this particular series.  The figure stands about 6 1/4 inches tall and has 30 points of articulation.  Yondu’s appearance in Vol 2 is largely the same as his Vol 1 appearance, with the only real change being his “mohawk,” which us now an actual head-fin thing, closer to his comics design.  Yondu’s Ravager garb makes him somewhat similar to the first Star-Lord figure in design, so Hasbro’s opted to re-use a number of that figure’s pieces here.  He’s got the same pelvis and upper legs for sure, and he might have the same arms.  I say might because Yondu’s arms definitely have a texture to them that isn’t present on the first Star-Lord.  It’s possible that the first Star-Lord was *supposed* to have the texture and it was just lost in the production process, and Yondu is Hasbro learning from their mistakes.  It’s also possible they slightly tweaked the mold to help Yondu fit in better with the newer figures.  It also appears that Yondu’s torso was built on the Star-Lord torso, given that they share the same neck and basic shaping, but the differences are enough that it’s effectively a new sculpt.  There are still some slight oddities with the proportions of the Star-Lord pieces, especially the gangliness of the arms and the odd flatness of the pelvis.  Thankfully there’s the all-new long coat piece to hide some of that.  The coat is very nicely crafted, and feels a bit sharper than the Star-Lord coat it replaced.  It’s also totally removable, if you so choose; it appears that the long coat section is more of a vest thing, which goes over the base Ravager uniform.  I’d honestly not noticed that before, but it kind of explains the varying length of Quill’s jacket in the first installment.  Yondu’s torso is full detailed, front and back, and does match up with the arms, so you can display him sans coat, in theory anyway.  In practice, I find he looks rather goofy.  He also gets new hands and boots, as well as a pair of heads.  Yes, like Black Widow before him, this Yondu figure is pulling double duty, acting as Yondu from both the first and second films.  He’s packed wearing the head from the first film, which has the shorter mohawk and a spot-on Rooker grin.  The second head is sporting the sequel’s taller head-fin style mohawk, as well as whistling expression meant to go with his arrow accessory.  I generally prefer the taller mohawk, but I do wish there were a way to swap the mohawk length between the two expressions, since my ideal look would really be the tall mohawk with the grin.  Nevertheless, both head’s are really solid sculpts, and both have a pretty dead-on Rooker likeness.  Yondu’s paintwork is fairly solidly done.  I might have liked some more variety in the large sections of red, but Hasbro tends to be of the opinion of “let the sculpt speak for itself” so here it is.  It’s still worth nothing that what paint is there is in line with the much cleaner work we’ve been seeing on this line as of late (it seems that Vance was the single exception to that).  In addition to the two interchangeable heads, Yondu also includes his golden arrow; it’s sculpted with a little trail on it, as seen in the movie.  When used in conjunction with the whistling head, it makes it look like he’s controlling it, which is pretty cool.  I wish we’d also  gotten one sans trail to put in the holster; as it stands, I just have him hover his hand over the empty holster when posing him “relaxed.”  Yondu also includes the right arm of the Build-A-Figure Titus.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Yondu seems to be one of the more popular figures in this series at the moment, so I didn’t see him the first several times I found the series at retail.  Fortunately, my parents were nice enough to keep an eye out for him, and my dad ended up picking him up from a Walgreens, where he was apparently the only GotG figure in stock (this isn’t a unique phenomenon, either.  About a week late, I saw the same thing at a Walgreens near me).  He was nearer the top of the list of the figures I wanted from this set.  I definitely like him, though I feel there are some minor issues that keep him from being quite on par with the some of the others I’ve looked at.  Still, he’s worth it for those head sculpts alone.  Those are definitely top-notch work.