#2846: Luke Skywalker & Ysalamiri – Heir to the Empire

LUKE SKYWALKER & YSALAMIRI — HEIR TO THE EMPIRE

STAR WARS: THE BLACK SERIES (HASBRO)

“Five years after the destruction of the Death Star, Luke Skywalker fears there is no hope as the remnants of the Imperial fleet are readied for war under the command of Grand Admiral Thrawn.  Using ysalamiri to sever a developing Jedi clone’s connection to the Force allowed mentally stable Jedi clones to be created—a discovery Thrawn would use in his war against Luke Skywalker and the New Republic”

Timothy Zhan’s Heir to the Empire made itself into a rather stable corner stone of the Star Wars Expanded Universe when it debuted in its original prose form in 1991, and became even more cemented when it was further adapted into comics form in 1995, giving a visual narrative to that post-Return of the Jedi world.  Heir would also introduced two of the EU’s most prominent and popular characters, Grand Admiral Thrawn and Mara Jade.  If you’re going to be doing a more EU-centered set of Star Wars figures, it’s a totally logical choice.  I mean, sure, we’ve already gotten a Thrawn, but there’s still a chance to do the *other* major character introduced, right?  That’s who you did, right?  Oh, no, we’re just doing a Luke Skywalker variant then, aren’t we?  Yep.  Well, let’s just do that, I guess.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Luke Skywalker & Ysalamiri is the third offering in the comics-based Star Wars: The Black Series line-up.  He’s one of two non-comics original characters featured in the set, the other being Darth Maul.  He’s based on his appearance from the cover of the comic’s first issue, which also serves as the front of his box.  The figure stands just shy of 6 inches tall and he has 29 points of articulation.  He’s identical in sculpt to the Dagobah Luke from last year.  It’s a pretty solid sculpt, and, as I noted, it’s the most articulated Luke body Hasbro’s got in their parts catalogue.  While the outfits are certainly similar, though, it’s worth noting that it’s definitely an Empire Luke, and Heir is very much a post Return story.  At the very least, it feels like they should have used one of the Jedi Luke heads.  He’s also missing the belt he’s sporting on the cover, which is a shame, and really misses the one chance they would have had to give him a new piece.  The paint’s a bit tweaked, but not majorly so.  His outfit’s all black now, and that’s really it.  I guess it’s a little more striking, but it also means he loses a lot of the cool accenting and dirt that the prior release had.  In terms of accessories, Luke is decidedly pretty light.  He’s got his lightsaber, and the Ysalamiri that’s listed on the box.  The lightsaber is his Jedi version, complete with a green blade that’s not accurate to the comic, but is accurate to what Luke’s saber *should* be, so it shakes out.  Giving him both blade colors might not have been a terrible option, though.  The Ysalamiri is an all-new piece, but isn’t really designed for use with Luke himself, instead being designed to fit over the Thrawn figure’s shoulders.  Obviously, it’s nice that it fits him, since he’s most classically remembered with it on his shoulders, but it just makes Luke feel even lighter when one of his two accessories isn’t even for him.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I really liked Dagobah Luke when he was released, so I certainly wasn’t opposed to a re-use.  That said, I never really warmed up to this figure that much pre-release.  Doing an Heir to the Empire Luke when we still don’t have any version of Mara Jade, the character he spends much of the story interacting with, in this scale at all, feels a bit backwards.  Not helping things is that he doesn’t really do much to give himself much reason to exist.  While this design’s the one on the cover, it’s not overly distinctive or exciting.  The pulled down jumpsuit look that the comic pack 3 3/4 inch version did might have honestly been a better choice, but barring that, just giving him a slightly more enticing accessory selection might have helped a bit.  As it stands, he’s alright, but not much to write home about.

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

#2845: Jaxxon

JAXXON

STAR WARS: THE BLACK SERIES (HASBRO)

“Jaxxon is a nearly 6-foot tall, green-furred, Lepi smuggler and captain of the Rabbit’s Foot. Known for his wise cracks and high kicks, Jaxxon has helped Han Solo and Chewbacca out on more than one occasion.”

For some reason, this review has been very hard for me to start.  Well, I say “for some reason,” but I suppose it’s a bit more transparent than that.  There’s a rather big reason that anything is difficult for me these days.  I guess the “for some reason” comment more relates to how difficult this one review has been for me to actually sit down and write.  I’ve even written other reviews around working on this one, so it’s apparently just this particular green space bunny that’s giving me trouble.  Said “green space bunny” is Jaxxon, a big green bunny man created by Roy Thomas and Howard Chaykin for Marvel Comics’ Star Wars #8.  He’s one of the earliest full-fledged EU creations, and is rumored to have been removed from the comics on Lucas’ request, although this rumor remains unsubstantiated.  Though an early player, Jaxxon was removed from the franchise just as early, and has up to this point been completely without a toy in a very toy-driven franchise.  Seems like a shame.  Fortunately, Hasbro’s on top of it.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Jaxxon is another of the four comics-based Star Wars: The Black Series line-up, alongside the previously reviewed Carnor Jax Kir Kanos.  Jaxxon is notably the only figure in the set without any prior toy treatment, as I noted in the intro.  There was just no love for the bunny before this.  The figure stands about 6 1/2 inches tall counting the ears (closer to 6 without them) and he has 27 points of articulation.  Though he looks very unique and different, Jaxxon actually has a fair bit of re-use going on.  His upper half is X-Wing Pilot Luke, and his lower half is ANH Luke.  He’s a lot of Luke, I guess.  It’s a combo that works pretty decently, though I’m admittedly a little surprised he’s not just a straight up Pilot Luke re-use.  I guess this keeps him a little more diverse.  Aiding in making him look sufficiently different is a new head, chest plate, and belt with holsters.  The new head is certainly a more realistic looking design than he usually gets, in keeping with how the line has handled other more cartoony characters, I suppose.  This is really Jaxxon viewed through the lens of actually being in one of the OT movies, where he’d have just been another guy in a rubber mask.  It’s a departure from the artwork on the box, but it’s not bad at all.  The new overlay pieces for the armor and belt sit well on the figure and do a strong job of selling him as having more new parts than he does.  Generally, the result of this mix of parts is a pretty good one.  His paint work suits the design.  It’s not many colors that you tend to really associate with Star Wars, but that helps him feel more unique, and certainly true to the character’s nature.  Application is pretty clean, and the head even gets some accenting to keep it from just being a basic green.  Jaxxon is packed with two blaster pistols, re-used from Jaina Solo.  Unfortunately, we once again have a figure with two blasters, but only one hand with a trigger finger.  Come on guys.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Disclosure: I’m talking about Jess a lot today.

I could give you the exact road map to how exactly “Green Space Bunny Pilot” invariably leads me to dwelling on Jess’s final days over and over again, but I can’t say that knowing the how really truly explains the why.  I suppose, technically, you could say it’s because this was the first item added to my collection that she never saw (since he came into the store before she passed, but I didn’t actually get him until after), and I suppose it could also be linked to him being another Star Wars piece, and how much we both enjoyed the franchise.  I suppose it could even be because he’s a Black Series figure, and that the figures I was photographing on the day that she asked me what I was doing and I answered “just taking a few photos of some action figures,” were the first series of Black Series. Or it could even be because he’s the first of the comic figures I’ve reviewed since Kir Kanos, who was the figure I was reviewing the last day I sat with Jess before we knew it was the end.  There’s a lot of supposing in there, huh?  That’s because I really don’t know any of it for sure.  I just know that, for some reason, every time I sat down to write this, it got very hard to do so.  I think it’s because Jess probably would have gotten a real kick out of the Green Space Bunny.  Seems like something that might be up her alley, honestly.  This feels like something I very much would have gotten to show her, and to experience with her, but it’s one of the first things I didn’t.  That sucks.  Plain and simple, it just sucks.  The figure doesn’t, for what it’s worth.  I actually quite like him, and look forward to more deep cuts like this for the line.  And perhaps those ones won’t be quite as hard for me to write about.  Time will tell.

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 and their eBay storefront.

#2844: ARC Trooper Echo

ARC TROOPER ECHO

STAR WARS: THE BLACK SERIES (HASBRO)

First introduced in the first season episode “Rookies,” Domino Squad is a group that The Clone Wars uses to really showcase the general progression of the clones throughout the wars, as well as also hitting home just how bad war can be, seeing as the Squad has a tendency to fall like, well, dominos.  Central to the squad’s early stories are Fives and Echo, the two that have the most advancement of any clones in the show, starting off as mere cadets, and eventually becoming full-fledged ARC Troopers.  Echo himself has gone even further, becoming one of the few Regs to continue his story post-Order 66 as part of Clone Force 99, aka the titular team from The Bad Batch.  This kid’s got some range, let me tell you.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

ARC Trooper Echo is another of the four figures in the Target-exclusive Clone Wars-retro assortment of Star Wars: The Black Series.  He’s the first figure of Echo in the line, though it would be an incredible shock if he were the last, given the incredible prominence of Echo’s updated Bad Batch gear.  As the name signifies, this figure is based on Echo’s ARC Trooper look, which he sported in the “Citadel” arc of the show, which is notably the story that “killed” him, before the final season brought him back.  It’s the look that had the most appearances within the show (prior to The Bad Batch, of course), and it’s his coolest look as a Reg.  Plus, they haven’t done any actual ARC troopers in this scale, so he’s a good reason to introduce the tooling.  It does mean that he doesn’t actually go with any other figures in the line, of course, since he doesn’t match up with the Batch, and he also doesn’t match up with Rex, since Rex was in his Phase I armor still when Echo died, but there are worse things to have to deal with.  The figure stands 6 1/4 inches tall and he has 29 points of articulation.  Remember how I mentioned the weird mix-up of Hawk retooling Rex’s body into a more basic clone body, rather than using the newly introduced basic clone?  So, you might assume that Echo, with his ARC Trooper gear, would naturally be using the Rex body as well, right?  Nope.  Echo’s on the new basic clone body, with a bunch of stuff tacked onto it.  I know.  It’s weird.  I mean, it’s still a nice body, so I’m not complaining.  I’m just confused, that’s all.  In order to update that standard clone armor into a full ARC Trooper set-up, Echo gets a new set of forearms and lower legs, as well as new add-on pieces for his additional torso gear, as well as his belt, kama, and holsters.  He’s also got a brand new head and helmet to complete the whole set-up.  It’s interesting that he’s got a rubber kama, as opposed to the cloth we’ve gotten for the commanders thus far, but I don’t hate the look, and it doesn’t hold back the articulation too badly.  The unmasked head continues the trend of the unmasked clones not looking all that much like Temuera Morrison, though this one does at least seem to be heading a bit more in the right direction, I suppose.  The helmet sits well on the head, though, which is a definite plus, as some of the others have had a little bit of trouble with that fit.  The rest of the new parts mesh well with the old, and the end result is a quite nicely put together ARC Trooper set-up.  The paint work on Echo is generally pretty decent.  There’s a good deal of variety to it, but the application is generally pretty cleanly handled.  There are some fuzzier edges on a few of the blue lines, but it can be written off to a little bit of wear, to be honest.  He’s got the face printing on the unmasked head, which definitely helps with the likeness, at least a little bit.  And, just to make him properly Echo, he’s got the hand print graffiti, which is always a fun touch.  Echo is pretty well accessorized, getting a long blaster rifle, a short blaster rifle, and two blaster pistols.  He still can’t properly hold both pistols at once, of course, since only the right hand has a trigger finger, but at least you have some options.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

“Rookies” was the first episode of Clone Wars that really spoke to me, and I’ve long since had a soft spot for Domino Squad, and Echo in particular.  I always liked his story, and I was sad when he was killed off in the “Citadel” arc.  I was very glad to see him brought back in Season 7, and he’s thus far been one of my favorite parts of The Bad Batch.  I hope to get a Batch version of him soon, but I’m also glad to have gotten him in his peak form here.  Sure, he doesn’t match up with anyone at the moment, but hopefully we can at the very least get a Fives to go with him.  Once again, thanks to Max for setting me up with this one.  I wasn’t expecting him to be quite as easily acquired, but I’m happy he was.

#2843: Clone Pilot Hawk

CLONE PILOT HAWK

STAR WARS: THE BLACK SERIES (HASBRO)

Store exclusives have been the bane of pretty much every collector’s existence for the last year, because not only has the number of things that are exclusive jumped, but so has the number of people trying to scalp them in order to make a quick buck.  Not helping matters is the general lack of quality distribution when it comes to actually getting them out there, making for an all around just unpleasant experience.  So, there’s definitely a little twinge of anxiety that hits every time a new item is announced, and then also confirmed as an exclusive.  In the case of Star Wars: The Black Series, there’s a whole sub-set of throwback Clone Wars figures, which seemed poised to be the worst thing ever to get, but which now seem to be significantly less so, which I suppose is a good thing.  For me personally, I was most invested in getting the clones, which I have.  I’m starting things off today, with a look at Clone Pilot Hawk.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Clone Pilot Hawk is one of the four figures in Target’s exclusive assortment of Clone Wars-retro carded Black Series figures.  He’s the most obscure character in the bunch, to be sure, notably being the only one included who has never had a figure, even in the days of Hasbro’s far more expansive Clone Wars toy line.  Not only did we not get Hawk, we never even got one of the pilots with this specific helmet design, which does feel kind of baffling when you get right down to it.  The figure stands just over 6 inches tall and he has 29 points of articulation.  Now, the fact that Hasbro very recently introduced an all-new basic clone body into the line might lead you to believe that Hawk might, you know, be built on it, what with being kind of a basic clone and all.  However, you’d in fact be a fool to think that, because he’s absolutely not built on that body.  Neither is he built on the old clone body, though, so don’t think that either.  Instead, he’s actually built on the Captain Rex body, for some reason.  I mean, I’m not knocking it.  It’s a good body in its own right, and certainly an improvement on the old clone body, meaning his movement isn’t really restricted like it would have been on that older body.  In fact, his movement’s pretty darn great, so that’s cool.  He gets an all-new head for his unique helmet, as well as a connected breathing device, to signify his pilot nature.  Also, in a far more minor touch, he also gets a new belt, sans the kama and the holsters.  The new parts are nicely crafted, with the helmet in particular being the real star piece here.  It does a quite respectable job of walking the line between animated faithfulness and merging with the realistic style of the line.  I definitely like it a lot.  Hawk’s paintwork is generally pretty nicely handled.  There’s a little bit of slop on the hands on my figure, but he otherwise turned out pretty nicely.  I like the extra markings on the armor, as well as how they’ve weathered them a bit to show that his armor’s been in use.  Hawk is packed with a standard small Clone Trooper blaster.  It’s a little light, but it’s also fairly standard set-up for a pilot figure in this line, so it’s hard to say it’s a surprise.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Hawk was my only “must have” figure in this set, largely because I’ve just always liked this particular pilot design and it’s literally never gotten a figure before.  I was happy he got a figure, but not so happy that it wound up as an exclusive.  Fortunately, Max was able to help me out with this one, as it wound up being literally the first of the four he saw at retail.  He turned out really nicely, and I’m curious to see if we might actually get some of the other Clone Pilots in the main line now.  Time will tell.

There’s also a bit of a post-Jess segment to this one as well.  This figure is the last figure added to my collection before Jess died.  Max brought him to me during her last week in the hospital, and I had him with me those last few days.  He’s the last new figure I got to show her, and the last figure she got to be excited about me adding to my collection.  I didn’t know that when I got him, but those are the sorts of things you never do know, I guess.  I do know that showing off my new figures to her was one of my very favorite things about collecting in the last eight years, and the items I gotten since all feel a little different, since something’s very definitely missing.  He gets to be my last contact to that feeling, and the last true part of that collection.  My collection post-Jess will be a different one, and I’ll have to figure out how as I move forward.  But this guy’s not going anywhere, I can tell you that much.

#2839: Xemnu

XEMNU

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

Xemnu the Titan is a character with an intriguing back story.  Part of a batch of monsters created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby before they birthed the Marvel Universe as we know it with the Fantastic Four, Xemnu first appeared in 1960 under the name of The Living Hulk, since the Hulk we all know and love wasn’t yet a thing and all.  Much like other pre-Silver Age Marvel Monsters Fin Fang Foom and Groot, Xemnu found himself worked into Marvel’s super hero fare after they took off, battling a number of Marvel heroes, most notably the one who took his original name.  Xemnu has yet to quite gain the following of either Foom or Groot, but perhaps his day has just yet to come.  Whatever the case, he’s finally getting a little bit of toy love in the form of Hasbro’s latest Build-A-Figure!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Xemnu is the Build-A-Figure for the self-titled series of Marvel Legends.  He fits the assortment’s all-villain theme, being, well, a villain and all.  He’s based on the character’s post-Silver Age design, which is sensible, since it’s his most prevalent.  The figure stands 8 1/4 inches tall and he has 28 points of articulation.  A lot of Xemnu’s sculpt is shared with the other big furry guys, Sasquatch and Wendigo, which seems like a pretty reasonable selection of parts re-use, since, I mean, he’s another big furry guy.  How many ways can you really change that up, right?  He gets a new head, mid-torso, hands, and feet, all in the effort of changing him up and making him more true to Xemnu’s comics appearances.  The new pieces do a pretty respectable job of meshing with the old, as well as capturing Xemnu’s truly goofy design elements.  They make it work, and the level of detail is impressive, especially on slightly smaller things, such as the interiors of his palms.  Definitely something that could have been left out, but adds something more to the figure now that it’s there.  Xemnu follows rather closely in the footsteps of the Wendigo in terms of paint work, since he’s got a pretty similar color palette.  The blue hue on the white is maybe a little strong in some spots, but generally looks okay, and the extra boldness doesn’t look quite as weird once you factor in the alien angle of the character.  Again, the interior of the palms actually gets a little bit of paint, which is cool, and those piercing red eyes certainly do add some pop to the design.  Overall, just a pretty decent paint set-up, especially after a lot of the others in the set were a little lighter on the paint apps.  Xemnu isn’t packed with any accessories, but that’s fairly acceptable, since he’s really an accessory himself.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Xemnu is one of those characters I’ve been aware of for a while, but not one I’ve ever had much direct interaction with personally. So, I wasn’t really in the market for any toys of him.  When this guy was shown off for this set, I was initially a little letdown, because I just wasn’t really drawn in by him.  I honestly wasn’t even 100% sure I was going to even try to complete him, though that was a short lived hill for me.  Once I got him in hand, though, I actually found myself really liking him.  He’s goofy and silly, but he works, and he’s more fun than I’d expected.

In general, that’s kind of a good description of this set as a whole.  Going in, the only one I really was invested in was the Red Skull.  He still wound up being my favorite, but I also really enjoyed a lot of the others.  Deathstrike was a definite surprise all-new offering, and Dormammu, the Scientist Supreme, and Arcade may be a little bit by the numbers, but they still turned out really nicely.  Sure, Dr. Doom is a wonky choice of design, and the Hood does nothing for me, but all-in-all, I liked this set a lot more than I’d expected to.

#2838: Dr. Doom

DR. DOOM

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

“From the wreckage of colliding universes, Dr. Doom emerges as the supreme ruler of a new domain known as Battleworld.”

Ah, 2015’s Secret Wars, a Marvel cross-over event which had Dr. Doom as the main antagonist.  Not to be confused with 1984’s Secret Wars, a Marvel cross-over event which had Dr. Doom as the main antagonist.  Or 2003’s Secret War, which did *not* have Dr. Doom as the main antagonist.  Or 1985’s Secret Wars II, which also didn’t have Dr. Doom as the main antagonist, but did at least have Dr. Doom in it, so that was a step in the right direction.  No, we’re talking 2015, the source of God Emperor Doom, from when Doom gets a major power up and decides to ditch his shirt, apparently.  As you do.  Shirts cannot contain his power.  But then he loses the power, so he has to go back to his old shirt-wearing ways, like some sort of pleb.  But, at least he gets a toy to commemorate his time amongst the shirtless, right?  Right.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Dr. Doom is the final figure in the Xemnu Series of Marvel Legends.  He’s not officially numbered like the others, as he doesn’t feature a Build-A-Figure part like they do.  He is also the double pack, presumably because he’s really the only villain who’s justifiable in doubling up on.  It’s a good thought in theory, but less so in practice, since last year saw two variations on standard Doom released, which meant that this one had to be a variant look in order to justify his existence.  Hasbro went with the aforementioned God Emperor look from Secret Wars, which is not really a standard Doom look, nor is it an amazingly memorable one, really.  Also, it’s just kind of a weird concept.  Like, the white is all fine and good, but why ditch the shirt?  And also, if you’re ditching the shirt, why swap out the cool metal gauntlets for just regular cloth gloves?  That seems weird, right?  And really, why not just be Doom 2099?  Because you know what’s a cool Doom variant?  Doom 2099.  This should just be Doom 2099.  And now I’ve made myself upset that this isn’t Doom 2099.  Great, now I’m gonna have to deal with this.  I was already luke warm on the whole idea behind this guy to begin with.  Well, might as well just get this disappointingly non-2099 Doom review out of the way, then.  I’m sure I’ll be quite balanced and fair with the figure now.  The figure stands 6 1/2 inches tall and he has 32 points of articulation.  Structurally, he’s very similar to the last two Dooms, sharing the entire lower half, as well as the upper arms, and the modern head from the first figure.  He gets a new torso, lower arms, and cape in order to facilitate his conversion into God Emperor.  They’re fine from a technical stand point, I suppose.  They mesh alright with the older parts, and he looks like the design from the comics, so it checks all of those boxes.  The sculpting on the gloves is pretty nice, with the various wrinkles and stitching being well-defined.  In terms of paint, he’s pretty basic, since most of his coloring is just molded plastic colors.  It does what it needs to.  What paint is there is well applied, so that’s at least fairly nice.  Doom is okay on the accessories front, with 5 different hands (a pair of open gesture, a right wide grip, a right pistol grip, and a left fist), the gun from the last two (in silver this time), and the skull and spinal column of Thanos, which is a direct reference to a sequence from the comics.  The Thanos skull is certainly a more fun and unique piece, so kudos to them on that one.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I was happy with my Super Skrull Series Doom, and felt no need for a replacement.  Then the retro Doom came along and replaced him, which was a good move on Hasbro’s part, but it did leave this guy kind of in the lurch, because I really didn’t need him.  And then I got him in hand, and I still felt like I didn’t need him.  And then I got to thinking about other Doom variants we could have gotten, which took me down the Doom 2099 rabbit hole, and that just made matters a lot worse.  Admittedly, none of that is this figure’s fault, but at the same time, if they were going to kind of do a phoned in Doom variant anyway, why not just go with the Future Foundation look, which is also an all-white Doom, but one that at least doesn’t need any new tooling.  Because, if I’m honest, the new tooling doesn’t really do this guy many favors.  Maybe it’s just not for me, and there’s a market for God Emperor Doom out there, but for me, this guy’s just a testament to how there *could* have been something cooler in this set.  Which, again, isn’t really his fault.  But I’m gonna be all unreasonable and cranky until I get my Doom 2099, I suppose.

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 and their eBay storefront.

#2837: A.I.M. Scientist Supreme

A.I.M. SCIENTIST SUPREME

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

“Brilliant and diabolical, the Scientist Supreme helms a massive criminal cabal known as Advanced Idea Mechanics (A.I.M).”

In the last few years, we’ve finally gotten some proper appreciation for AIM and their weird beekeeper looking mooks, which I have very definitely been all about.  But, you always have to be wondering “is this the best I can do in terms of weird beekeeper looking mooks?”  Couldn’t there be better, more advanced weird beekeeper looking mooks?  I say there could!  What if we added sour cream and tomatoes!  What’s that?  I’ve already used the “sour cream and tomatoes = supreme” joke?  But I’m just so darn proud of it, you guys!  Well, fine, maybe this new AIM Scientist doesn’t have sour cream and tomatoes, but he’s certainly “supreme” now isn’t he?

THE FIGURE ITSELF

The AIM Scientist Supreme is figure 6 in the Xemnu Series of Marvel Legends, placing him just after the Red Skull figure that I totally reviewed out of order because I felt like it.  Unlike the others in this set, he’s not so much a specific character, as he is sort of a role that needs to be filled.  There have been a number of Scientists Supreme over the years, and while they tend to just look more or less the same as the regular AIM guys, but this one seems to be more specifically based on the Andrew Forson version.  He’s a little more beefed up and advanced, which is fine by me.  I can definitely dig this look, and it works for pretty much anyone else who’s held the role as well.  The figure stands about 6 1/2 and he has 31 points of articulation.  Structurally, the Scientist Supreme is largely borrowing from the modern style Taskmaster figure (who also served as a basis for a lot of Hydra Supreme, so he’s just a supreme sort of mold, I guess), using that figure’s arms and legs, along with an all-new head, torso, and pelvis.  The armored parts from Taskmaster are really well implemented parts, and they match up with the more modern Scientist Supreme design quite well, so they’re certainly well chosen.  The new pieces line up pretty well with the old parts, and present a very clean and sleek look for the character.  I also really appreciate the new articulation styles on the mid-torso and neck joints, which give him an improved range of motion.  The Scientist Supreme’s paint work is another pretty straight forward offering.  It’s pretty clean, and the gold is a nice color scheme for him.  It’s different from the straight yellow of the standard guys, but it still meshes pretty well with them.  The Scientist Supreme is packed with a sort of a data pad sort of thing, which is a fun piece, as well as the right arm of the Xemnu Build-A-Figure.  It’s a little lighter than some of the others, but at least the data pad is unique.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

When this line-up was initially hinted at, and all we had to go on was “AIM Supreme,” I didn’t know exactly what to expect on this guy.  I haven’t been super up to date with the various designs, but when this one was shown off, I definitely liked the general look of him.  He’s another fun design, and that translates to another fun figure.  He does what he does pretty well, and that ranks him pretty high on my list.

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 and their eBay storefront.

#2836: Arcade

ARCADE

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

“A brilliant assassin with shadowy origins, Arcade makes up for his lack of physical strength with a keen intellect and a vast personal fortune.”

Okay, for our latest round of “Ethan critiques the bios,” let’s address the fact that they wrote an Arcade bio without even alluding to Murderworld.  I mean, I can get not actually mentioning it by name, since putting something with “murder” in its title on the back of the box for a toy does seem like a not so great move, but not even a mention of him running a deadly amusement park or something along those lines?  I mean, it’s kind of his main gimmick, guys!  …Okay, enough of ripping these poor bio writers to shreds.  It’s probably not their fault.  Right, so Arcade.  He’s got some solid pedigree, having been created by Claremont and Byrne in 1978.  He first faced off against Spider-Man and Captain Britain, but he’s since faced off against most of the Marvel Universe, and is a really great all-purpose villain, always good for a fun story…well, most of the time, anyway.  His oddball persona and lack of tie to one particular group or hero does make him hard to nail down for merchandising, though, which is why he’s never had a figure.  Well, not until now, that is!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Arcade is figure 4 in the Xemnu Series of Marvel Legends.  Arcade is the perfect choice for a purely villains assortment, since he’s a classic character of decent prominence, who otherwise doesn’t fit into any other assortment breakdowns.  This way, he’s just one of a whole group of villains.  The figure stands 6 1/4 inches tall and he has 30 points of articulation.  Arcade is built on the Coulson body, which is honestly a pretty good choice for him.  The Fury body has slightly better movement, but it’s also larger, and there’s that shoulder holster that they’ve yet to get rid of.  He swaps out the standard jacket piece for the jacket/vest combo that showed up on the Movie Xavier figure last year, as well as adding a new tie piece, and a new head and feet.  The new tie is a rather absurdly large bow tie, which certainly jibes well with the character.  The standard head fits the general classic appearance for him, with a smarmy grin, and a slightly evil eye behind his gaze.  The new feet trade in the classic dress shoes for a far goofier set of platform shoes.  They more than anything else about this figure feel like an area where Hasbro probably could have gotten away with phoning it in, but they didn’t, and it makes the figure that much better, because they just give the character that extra bit of flair that Arcade absolutely needs.  Paint work on this guy is once again pretty basic, but he gets all the details he needs and generally looks pretty slick.  The polka dots on the tie and the piping on the shoes really work and are very cleanly applied, which is certainly a plus.   Arcade is packed with an alternate head with a longer hair style and a slightly crazier expression, for variety’s sake, I suppose, as well as his cane, and the leg to Xemnu.  Not a ton, but not nothing, so generally it’s a decent set-up.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Arcade is definitely one of those characters that I wanted in figure form, but that was always more in the back of my mind.  Like, I don’t think anyone’s really campaigning for an Arcade figure, but you keep remembering he’s never gotten one, and that doesn’t seem right.  I was glad to see him finally get his due, and the final figure is one that is fairly by the numbers, but in the right way.  He does what he needs to do, and that makes him a fun figure of a fun character.  I can certainly get behind that.

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 and their eBay storefront.

#2835: Lady Deathstrike

LADY DEATHSTRIKE

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

“With adamantium-infused bones and cyber-genetic enhancements, Yuriko Oyama pursues a ruthless vendetta against the X-Men… and Wolverine in particular.”

Lady Deathstrike is classically considered and X-Men/Wolverine foe, which is somewhat amusing when you delve into her earliest appearances and discover that she actually began as a supporting character in Daredevil of all things, before bouncing over to Alpha Flight, which provided her first run-in with Wolverine (who, contrary to the way adaptations tend to go, she didn’t actually have any prior history with), and led to her move over into the X-side of things.  While her exact role in things has never been huge, she’s got a rather distinctive look, a decent power set, and a solid name, so she does show up in other media a lot.  That includes getting a handful of figures over the years, including one quite recently, which I’ll be looking at today!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Lady Deathstrike is figure 3 in the Xemnu Series of Marvel Legends.  This is only her second time as a Legends release; her first was back in the Toy Biz era, and was in fact part of their own completely villains-centered series.  She’s just a good fit for that kind of line-up, I suppose.  The figure stands about 6 1/4 inches tall and she has 29 points of articulation.  Her articulation scheme is a little limiting in a few areas, most notably the elbows and shoulders, but for the most part she does alright, and is certainly a step up from her last Legends go-round.  The ball joint at the waist in particular has some solid range, and it’s nice that she’s got the pinless construction for the knees.  Her sculpt is totally unique, which seems appropriate.  There aren’t exactly a lot of parts it would make sense for her to share.  It’s a fairly nice piece.  The head dress and the sleeves all have a dynamic flow to them, which makes for nice action poses, but they also look okay just in basic stances as well.  That’s never an easy balance, but Hasbro did alright with it here.  The detail work is all fairly crisp and clean, and there’s enough going on to keep her visually interesting, while also still avoiding over designing her the way the Toy Biz figure kind of did.  Her paint work is overall pretty basic work.  Aside from one tiny bit of slop on the side of her waist, my figure is pretty clean, and she looks the part.  Deathstrike is packed with no accessories of her own, just the torso to the Xemnu Build-A-Figure.  Maybe some alternate hands, or a pre-transformation head would have been cool, but honestly, there’s not a ton that could be given to her.  As a totally new sculpt, as well as getting the largest portion of the BaF, she doesn’t feel too light, so I can’t knock Hasbro here.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

My exposure to Lady Deathstrike is pretty much purely the cartoon and X2.  Mostly the cartoon, though.  I’ve never been overly attached to the character, really, since she mostly just served as a two-episode delay from getting to the absolute best portion of the cartoon.  That said, I do still somewhat fondly remember her, and I was down for a decent figure.  Thankfully, that’s what I got here.  This figure is very well put together, and certainly the best toy version of the character ever produced.  In an assortment that finally got me a good Red Skull, she still manages to stick out a little, and that’s great.

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 and their eBay storefront.

#2832: The Hood

THE HOOD

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

“A chance encounter with a demon gives petty thief Parker Robbins a mystical cloak and transforms him into a true criminal menace.”

Hey, remember how I don’t like Bendis?  I’m pretty sure it’s come up a few times.  If ever you wonder to yourself why I hate his writing, you know, beyond the whole “he’s not terribly good at it” bit, I’d point to his tendency to take a more minor character, completely re-work them with no regard to prior stories, and then try to shove that regurgitated broken version of the character down everyone’s throats for way longer than anyone’s comfortable with.  One such character was The Hood, created by Brian K Vaughn, Kyle Holtz, and Eric Powell.  He began as a self-contained, very much supernatural type character, but Bendis decided to grab him, change him to make him generally less interesting, and generally more present, shoving him into just about every crossover for like 5 years, and building him up as this ultimate badass that was so ultimate and badass, because he totally said so you guys.  He’s like frickin’ Poochie, but with a hood.  Well, now he’s got a figure.  Yay.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

The Hood is figure 2 in the Xemnu Series of Marvel Legends.  In a series of otherwise classically-inspired villain choices, he’s kind of out of place, being from the 00s, and also not being all that noteworthy anymore.  He’s certainly the most oddball choice in the line-up, but not in a fun way, like Frog-Man or something.  In a bland way…like The Hood.  Sorry, I don’t have any other examples there.  I try to think of someone else that disappoints me, and I just keep thinking about The Hood.  There is no escaping it.  The figure stands 6 1/4 inches tall and he has 30 points of articulation.  From the neck down, he’s the same as last year’s Stan Lee figure, which I guess is okay, since it’s just a normal dude in a wind breaker and slacks.  Not very imposing, but why start now with The Hood, right?  He gets a new head, as well as the eponymous hooded cloak.  The head is…well, it’s very angry, I guess.  He’s very rage-y.  Combined with his rather average attire and build, a number of people have brought up that he looks a bit like a fanboy throwing a temper tantrum.  It’s again not the most imposing thing, but there it is.  Not sure why this was the expression they went for on The Hood, but if nothing else it’s different.  And also very comical.  So, good on them for that, I suppose.  The hooded cloak is a nice enough looking piece on its own, but that ends when you place it on the figure.  Since it’s all one piece, it really just sort of sits there, and it’s actually a bit too long for this figure, so it winds up sitting up too high, which looks really goofy.  Given recent trends toward hooded characters with capes, I’m not sure why they went for this set up over the hood and cape being separate pieces.  Yes, that would more than likely mean permanently affixing the hood to his head, but it’s not like there’s a lot of call for having Robbins without the hood.  It’s really the only thing that makes him remotely distinctive, you know?  And he definitely would have benefited from the two-part construction.  Oh well.  His color scheme is surprisingly bright and colorful for the character.  I’m not entirely sure why, but it doesn’t look terrible, I suppose.  He’s at least a little less drab this way.  Not much in the way of actual paint, but what’s there is reasonable enough.  The Hood is packed with a pair of pistols, plus some somewhat unfortunately shaped effects pieces for them, and the right leg of Xemnu.  Definitely light compared to the prior two figures in the set, especially given how little new tooling there is here.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

My first introduction to The Hood was rather unfortunately during Bendis’s time with him, which was also when Bendis was essentially running the Marvel Universe.  It also coincides with me almost entirely quitting reading Marvel, because it was so abysmal.  So, I don’t have the most pleasant associations with the character.  As such, I wasn’t thrilled by his presence in this line-up, but I was willing to go along.  Hasbro’s given good figures to characters I’ve been iffy on before.  That said, my expectations were low.  And even based on those low expectations, the figure still wound up being quite a letdown.  That’s a shame.  The figure’s not without value, but it’s all chopped up, and not about the actual figure they’re selling here, which is too bad.  I foresee this guy sticking around for a good while, but maybe I’m wrong.

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