#2056: Hawkeye & Black Widow

HAWKEYE & BLACK WIDOW

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

From the ranks of SHIELD to the growing team of Avengers, Black Widow and Hawkeye put their expert training to use as they suit up to defend their world and universe from intergalactic threats.”

There sure was a lot of pre-movie hype built around the Avengers’ Quantum Suits in Endgame, and then…well, let’s just say they aren’t overly present for much of the film.  But, I suppose they did get that grand entrance, and they were certainly an intriguing new design.  They’re also a decent way of getting out a fair number of the main characters out with as much shared tooling as possible.  I’ve looked at one Legends offering of the Quantum Suit (worn by Captain America), and now I’m following it up with fellow founding Avengers Hawkeye and Black Widow!

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

Hawkeye and Widow are a Target-exclusive two-pack of Marvel Legends, and started arriving at shelves right around the film’s release date.

HAWKEYE

After quite an absence from the toy realm, Clint Barton has been pretty well-served by the initial Endgame product, with a whole two Legends figures, right out of the gate.  No body else got that!  Well, okay, Cap’s almost getting that, since the Walmart-exclusive is already hitting, just over a month after the first figure, but let’s not sully Hawkeye’s good fortune.  The figure stands 6 1/2 inches tall and has 32 points of articulation.  This guy is mostly made up of re-used parts, being identical to the Quantum Suit Cap from the neck down.  It’s really not a surprise, especially given the slightly more averaged proportions of the body.  It’s also supposed to be the same suit on everybody, so I guess it’s a sensible choice.  Hawkeye gets a brand-new head sculpt, sporting Clint’s radical new hair, or at least an approximation of it.  It’s also got probably the best Renner likeness we’ve seen from Hasbro (although Super Awesome Fiancee says he does have enough of a “dad” look to really be Hawkeye), and is generally a nice offering.  It has the added benefit of looking pretty nice on the Ronin body, should you want his look from most of the movie.  The paint on Hawkeye is about what you’d expect.  The head sports the face-printing tech, which looks nice and lifelike, and the body is an exact match for the paint on the Cap figure.  Hawkeye is packed with his bow, re-used from his first Avengers figure.  Befitting the “lots of characters from the same shared tooling”, he also includes two alternate heads, for Iron Man and Ant-Man.  They’re re-used from the IW Thanos and the Cull Obsidian series figures respectively.  Not at all accurate, but hey, that hasn’t stopped these figures before.

BLACK WIDOW

Widow was represented in the Infinity War toys, but thus far has had a much sparser selection for Endgame, with this being her only planned figure from Hasbro, at least so far.  I wouldn’t be shocked if that changes going forward, though.  The figure stands 6 1/4 inches tall and has 29 points of articulation.  Widow’s sporting an all-new sculpt.  It’s a solid match for the male version of the suit, and it’s in fact a little better, at least from a proportions stand-point.  The head is sporting a very nice likeness of Scarlet Johansen, which, again, I’d say is the best version of her likeness we’ve gotten from Hasbro.  It’s also sized well to fit on the Infinity War Widow body, if you want her non-Quantum-Suited.  The paint on Widow matches pretty decently with Hawkeye’s, so it’s another very strong offering.  I especially like that they got that little bit of blonde at the end of her ponytail.  Widow is packed with her twin batons (re-used from the Infinity War release), as well as an extra head and pistol so she can be used as Nebula (both re-used from the Mantis Series figure).

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

This set was a little scarce around the movie’s release, what with the hype and whatnot.  I was searching for a little while without much luck, and kind of gave up, honestly.  Then the power went out a few weeks ago, and we had to run out for dinner and some supplies, and I just happened to wander past the toy aisle and, boom, there they were.  While having the quantum suits doesn’t mean as much to me, I’m definitely glad to have the new heads for Nat and Clint.

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#2047: Caliban

CALIBAN

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

In the early ’80s, it occurred to Chris Claremont that the X-Men were generally pretty attractive and normal-looking for a bunch of so-called “mutants,” so he introduced the Morlocks (named after the creatures from HG Wells’ The Time Machine), a band of sewer-dwelling mutants whose mutations weren’t as presentable as the more heroic X-Men.  One of the more prominent Morlocks, Caliban, actually wasn’t originally intended to be one of them and even predated their 1983 appearance by two years.  He’s subsequently served as an ongoing recurring character in the background of various X-Men stories, and has in his tenure been part of the X-Men, X-Factor, X-Force, and has even been one of Apocalypse’s Horsemen on two separate occasions.  Despite being around for a good long while, he’s not been graced with an abundance of figures, with a single figure during Toy Biz’s 5-inch run.  That’s finally changed, though!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Caliban is the Build-A-Figure for the latest X-themed series of Marvel Legends.  In keeping with the ’90s theme of the line-up, he’s based on his design during his time as the Horseman Death for Apocalypse.  Yeah, now we’ve got two of the Four Horsemen, and their both the same role…bleh.  Of all of Caliban’s designs, this one’s really the easiest to sell as a toy, which is probably why both of his toys, released two decades apart, are sporting this same design.  The figure stands 8 inches tall and he has 32 points of articulation.  Caliban makes use of a number of parts from last year’s Apocalypse, specifically the arms and upper legs.  The rest is new, with the head and hands in particular being the most character specific.  They’re nicely crafted parts, and provide some nice expressiveness.  The screaming expression on the face in particular seems very well-suited to this incarnation of the character.  The other parts I can definitely see having been designed with future re-use for other bulked up characters.  The new torso actually makes him a little bigger than Apocalypse, for what it’s worth.  The most impressive bits of Caliban’s paintwork are definitely the head and hands, which do a nice job of keeping Caliban’s exposed skin from being just a stark white.  The head even uses some slight printing around the eyes for a more subtle transition between colors.  The paint on his uniform is a bit more straightforward.  There’s a bit more slop here than on the single offerings, but I definitely dig the pearlescent white.  Caliban includes no accessories, but then again, he’s kind of an accessory himself.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I’ve never had much of an affinity for Caliban.  He sort of falls right into the gap of my X-Men fandom, since I’m really big on the ’70s stuff, then dip out, and then come back into things for the Animated Series era.  Caliban’s not really part of either of those things, nor is he a design that I really feel like I *need* to have.  Ultimately, this figure is a pretty serviceable one, and while I don’t think he’s going to be BaF of the year, he’s still a decent offering.  Maybe he’ll open the doors to some more Morlocks.

Despite a less than thrilling Build-A-Figure, I was very happy with this assortment as a whole.  Gambit steals the show for me, but Beast, Blink, and Weapon X are all respectably cool offerings, Forge and Skullbuster are decent figures of characters I didn’t *need* to have, and Jubilee is at least an improvement on the really hard to find BaF.  This continues the trend of X-waves just being really solid complete sets.   If you’re interested in getting a set of your own, five of the seven single figures are still in-stock at All Time Toys’ webstore.  And, as always, if you’re looking for other toys both old and new, please check out All Time’s website and their eBay storefront.

#2046: Skullbuster

SKULLBUSTER

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

An enemy of the X-Men, the cyborg Skullbuster is a member of the villainous gang called the Reavers.”

Introduced in 1988, the Reavers are a concept that’s sort of been in the background of the X-Men mythos since their introduction.  They’re not super high concept or anything, they’re just cyborg mercs who tend to make for good fodder for Wolverine to cut up from time to time.  I became familiar with them through their spot on X-Men: The Animated Series, but they also figured into the plot of 2017’s Logan.  None of the members of the group have ever really made it big (apart from their original leader Lady Deathstrike), so they’re haven’t really been toys galore for them.  But, hey, Skullbuster got a figure, so maybe things are looking up!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Skullbuster is figure 6 in the Caliban Series of Marvel Legends, and is our only single-carded antagonist this time around.  Skullbuster’s spot as the Reaver in this assortment was undoubtedly chosen because a) he’s somewhat distinctive and b) he doesn’t require much new tooling.  Bonecrusher’s definitely more distinct, but he’s got that freaking tank half to contend with.  Also, as an added bonus, Skullbuster’s the Reaver taken out by Forge during their siege on Muir Island, so he ties in with the rest of the set pretty well.  The figure stands 6 1/2 inches tall and he has 32 points of articulation.  Skullbuster is a reskin of last year’s Deathlok, which I can’t say is super surprising.  It was an all-new sculpt that, up til now, had seen no re-use.  A new head, vest, and ammo belt completes the transformation from ‘lok to ‘buster.  The end result isn’t a perfect mach for any established Skullbuster designs, it’s a good approximation, and he’s really one of those character where approximation’s really good enough.  The important thing here is that he looks distinct from the Deathlok figure, which he does.  The paintwork on Skullbuster is on the drab side, which I suppose is appropriate for the character.  I do somewhat wish they’d opted for the red skull look, instead of the white, but they made it work.  Otherwise, the application’s all pretty clean, and the palette is well-chosen.  Skullbuster includes the smaller gun that came with Deathlok, as well as an extra headsculpt for Reaver Reese, one of the three ex-Hellfire Guard members who joined the group when Donald Pierce took over.  It’s a cool head, and I feel certain we’ll be seeing it re-painted for Cole and Macon down the line. Skullbuster also includes the right arm of the BaF Caliban.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I’ve got no major attachment to the Reavers, apart from their spot on X-Men: TAS, so I wasn’t beating down the door to get them.  That said, Skullbuster’s got a cool look and is built on a base I liked, so I had no complaints about his inclusion in this line-up, especially not when they showed off the extra Reese head as well.  I don’t have a ton to say about this guy, but he’s kind of fun.

I picked up Skullbuster from All Time Toys, and he’s still currently in-stock at their store, here. And, if you’re looking for other toys both old and new, please check out their website and their eBay storefront.

#2045: Jubilee

JUBILEE

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

The mutant Jubilee generates pyrotechnic energy blasts that she calls fireworks, capable of blinding enemies or causing serious damage.”

When Kitty Pryde was added to the X-Men line-up, one of the more unlikely pairings on the team was between her and the gruff loner Wolverine.  It was a particularly humanizing dynamic for Logan, and one that went over quite well with the fanbase.  When it came time to move Kitty on in her story and haver her forge out on her own, the writers were faced with the the dilemma of losing that humanizing element for Wolverine, and decided that the best thing to do was give him a new teenage girl to pal around with.  It’s been a wash-rinse-repeat cycle of that pretty much ever since, but the first character in said cycle was today’s focus, Jubilation Lee, aka Jubilee.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Jubilee is figure 5 in the Caliban Series of Marvel Legends.  She’s pretty much in a permanent face-off with Gambit for the best deserving of “most appropriate for a ’90s-centric line-up).   This is Jubilee’s second Legends release, and in the space of five years no-less; the last one was the Build-A-Figure for the first post-Infinite Series X-Men assortment, which was a TRU-exclusive and also really hard to find.  On top of that, she was sort of a compromised mix of classic and modern, which didn’t really suit itself to a proper ’90s Jubilee.  This one, on the other hand, is unabashed about which incarnation of the character it’s meant to be.  The figure stands 5 3/4 inches tall and she has 32 points of articulation.  Jubilee is built on a body that’s definitely inspired by the Spider-Girl base, but I don’t know that they have any actual parts in common, as Jubilee’s sculpt is decidedly character-specific.  I like it for the most part, but after several slam-dunk sculpts this time around, I will admit to being slightly underwhelmed with Jubilee’s finished product.  The body’s fine, and features solid work on the clothing elements.  The head, or should I say heads, because there’s two of them, is a respectable effort, but both seem a little…bland?  Expressionless?  I like the bubble gum blowing head, but I really wish one of these two sculpts had a grin or something.  The dour expression doesn’t feel right to me.  Also, call me crazy, but the clear glasses seem wrong to me; I know that’s how they’d look in real life, but I always think of them as being more opaque.  And the fact that they’re glued in place on the standard head seems kind of criminal, since more often than not she had the glasses up on her forehead.  The biggest issue, I feel, isn’t with the head or the body, but rather how they connect.  Neither head sits all the way down on the peg, and while it doesn’t look terrible from the front, it looks downright awful from the back. On the plus side, Jubilee’s paint work is appropriately bright, colorful, eye-catching, and obnoxious.  I wouldn’t want that any other way.  In addition to the extra head, Jubilee is packed with the largest piece of Caliban, his torso.  That’s it.  No effects pieces or anything, which feels like a missed opportunity.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I really wanted to build the last Jubilee, but was never given the chance to.  When a single release was announced, I was definitely on board.  In hand?  I think Jubilee might be my biggest disappointment in the set.  It’s not entirely Hasbro’s fault.  For all her flaws, this isn’t a terrible figure, but it’s a compromised one.  And, as the first proper ’90s Jubilee figure ever, it had a lot riding on it for me.  And in that regard, it ultimately came up just a little bit short.

 

#2044: Blink

BLINK

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

Clarice Ferguson uses her mutant ability of teleportation to disappear and reappear in the blink of an eye.”

First appearing as the newly formed Generation X’s most expendable member, Blink was one of two prominent dead characters to be given new life by the 1995 X-family crossover Age of Apocalypse (the other being oldschool villain Changeling, who was re-branded Morph).  This alternate Blink became popular enough to be used as a launchpoint for a whole series of alternate reality characters in the pages of Exiles, where she served as the central character for a good chunk of the book’s original run, before serving as the sole carry-over character for both re-launches of the series.  Despite not being a “name” X-man, she’s definitely got a loyal following, and she’s also gotten some toys.  The latest of those is a Marvel Legends release, which I’m looking at today!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Blink is figure 4 in the Caliban Series of Marvel Legends.  In an otherwise early ’90s assortment, she’s something of an outlier, but she’s still a ’90s character, even if it’s late ’90s.  Since her redesign for Age of Apocalypse, all of Blink’s designs have tended to draw influence from that re-design.  This one’s not strictly from that story, but is definitely wearing her garb from that story and her follow-up in Exiles.  The figure stands 6 1/4 inches tall and she has 27 points of articulation.  Blink is built on the body introduced by Psylocke last year.  It’s not a bad base body, especially with the increased range of motion on the elbows, and it even feels like a better match for Blink’s usual physique than it did Psylocke’s.  While Blink’s previous two figures were decidedly AoA-based in their depiction of her, this figure aims for a little further in her career, and seems to be most directly inspired by Paul Pelletier’s illustration of her from the cover of Exiles #70.  It’s the hair in particular that is the tell.  Blink had a fairly consistent hairstyle for the first several years of her existence, but following her return to the Exiles, artists started to experiment a little bit more.  It’s not quite the look I think of when I think of Blink, but it’s certainly not a bad look.  The head gives us a rather somber-looking Blink, which isn’t inappropriate for the character, since she tends to be dealing with horrible loss like all of the time.  There’s a slightly dynamic flow to her hair, which works out pretty well, and makes it look like she’s just stepping out of a portal or something.  To finish off her look, Blink has four new add-on pieces for her collar, skirt, and boot cuffs.  They all stay pretty decently in place, and the skirt is sculpted with a similar dynamic flair to that of the hair, which works out pretty darn well.  Blink’s paintwork is pretty straightforward, but is no less well-rendered than any of the others in this assortment.  The linework is all pretty clean, and her face in particular is sharply defined.  Blink is packed with two of her energy javelins, plus a base that simulates one of her portal effects.  It’s a shame they didn’t come up with a super convincing way to simulate her passing through her portal, but it’s a fun piece nevertheless.  Blink is also packed with the left leg of the BaF Caliban.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I actually followed Exiles for a little while back when it was new (the first six issues are one of my favorites to sit down and re-read), so I’ve long had an attachment to Blink as a character.  The announcement that she would be getting a Legends release was definitely cool news, and while I may not have personally picked this incarnation for a figure, I can’t deny that I’m quite happy with the final product.  Now, how about a Morph?

Blink came from my friends over at All Time Toys, and she’s still currently in-stock at their store, here. And, if you’re looking for other toys both old and new, please check out their website and their eBay storefront.

#2043: Forge

FORGE

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

Living up to his name, Forge is an expert inventor who supplies the X-Men and other groups with advanced technology.”

Forge follows a tradition in the X-Men comics of long-running supporting that eventually find themselves added to the main team line-up.  Forge was introduced in 1984 as a tech-savvy supporting player, and is, amusingly, the second tech-savvy supporting X-player who would eventually join the team, following Cypher, who beat Forge to publication by a mere five months.  Both characters were created by Chris Claremont, who definitely has an assortment of tropes he likes to fall back on, because they also both first started out working with their respective team’s antagonists.  All of this is bringing to the forefront of my mind that I still don’t have a proper Cypher action figure…where was I?  Right, Forge.  The other guy.  The one with actual toys.  Lucky him.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Forge is figure 3 in the Caliban Series of Marvel Legends and definitely fits in with the previously established ’90s theme of the assortment, seeing as that was Forge’s real heyday.  However, while he may be wearing a very Jim Lee-inspired costume, it’s worth noting that this figure is more of a later ’90s Forge, since he lacks a number of the Lee-specific elements.  This really ends up making him more of a multi-purpose figure, though, and at a glance you’d really be hard-pressed to notice the differences.  The figure stands 6 1/4 inches tall and has 32 points of articulation.  He’s built on the Bucky Cap body, which seems like a decent enough choice for the way the character tends to be depicted.  Forge uses the already tooled flared gloves for the body, as well as Ultimate Cap’s shoulder strap, Cyclop’s X-Belt, and Taskmaster’s thigh holster, and tops everything off with a brand new head sculpt, right thigh, and fringe-add-ons for his boots.  The head’s gotten some flak for being rather bland and lacking in expression.  I can definitely see that.  I don’t hate getting a more reserved looking Forge, but ultimately there is something pointedly generic about this particular sculpt, especially when compared some of the other sculpts in this very series.  Still, it is, at least from a technical standpoint, quite nicely rendered.  Forge’s paintwork is bright and eye-catching, which is definitely a good thing for him.  The application is all quite cleanly handled as well.  The yellow in particular matches Cyclops, though it’s worth noting that the blues are totally different.  Forge is packed with two guns: a pistol and a rifle.  Both are of a decidedly sci-fi nature, and suit Forge’s usual style well.  They also appear to be new offerings, though I could be wrong.  Forge also includes the left arm of BaF Caliban.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

As I noted the last time I reviewed a Forge figure, the character’s never really been a favorite of mine, so I can’t say I had a ton of excitement for this figure’s release.  That being said, he goes well with the growing ’90s line-up Hasbro’s been working on so dutifully to build.  He’s a perfectly respectable figure from a technical standpoint.  To someone who cares at all about Forge, I bet he’s pretty cool.  For me, he’s just another figure in the crowd.

I picked up Forge from All Time Toys, and he’s currently in-stock at their store, here. And, if you’re looking for other toys both old and new, please check out their website and their eBay storefront.

#2042: Weapon X

WEAPON X

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

“The Weapon X program experiments on humans and mutants alike, including Wolverine, who undergoes a brutal process that bonds Adamantium to his skeleton.”

An X-Men line-up is just no good without a Wolverine variant, right?  Even if he’s not actually named Wolverine on the box (well, not the front, anyway; he gets a name drop on the back).  Today’s figure goes back to a rather tried and true Wolverine variation, the Weapon X experiment look.  First appearing in the pages of Marvel Comics Presents in the early ’90s, Logan’s cyber-punk looking gear has been a mainstay of toyline’s ever since Toy Biz’s ’90s X-Men.  And now Hasbro’s brought it back into the Legends fold.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Weapon X is figure 2 in the Caliban Series line-up of Marvel Legends, where he fills the slot of required Wolverine variant.  This marks the second time that this design has seen Legends treatment, following Toy Biz’s offering back in 2004.  The figure stands just under 6 inches tall and has 32 points of articulation.  He follows the trend of rebuilding past Wolverine figures on the 2016 Brown Costume body.  He uses that base, in conjunction with a new head, shins, feet, and an assortment of add-on pieces for all of the gear that’s stuck to him.  As far as base bodies go, it’s really had to do better than this one, especially for Logan, so it’s a solid starting point to be sure.  The standard head has his weird visored helmet sculpted in place, and is a rather impressive piece of work.  The actual head’s detailing is a little on the soft side, but the helmet is definitely top-notch.  The new add-on parts give us all the tubes and gear from the comic, attached at his wrists and waist.  They’re intertwined with his limbs, and not designed for easy removal, but if you’re determined, they’ll come off (I was not particularly determined).  He’s also got a harness on his torso, again not really designed with removal in mind.  They’re all nice and sharply detailed, and the tubes are flexible enough to not really impede his movement, but not so frail as to break if you aren’t careful.  Perhaps the crowning achievement of this figure is the paint, or more specifically, the painted body hair.  That takes commitment and dedication, let me tell you.  Beyond that, he kind of looks a bit bland, but that’s true to form.  Weapon X is packed with an extra un-helmeted head and the leg of the BaF Caliban.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I run hot and cold with this particular Wolverine design.  I had the 5-inch figure as a kid, and always enjoyed that, but I harbored something of a resentment towards the original Legends release, given the abnormally high-pack out numbers of it compared to the likes of Vision and Hawkeye from the same assortment, and the fact that I ended up seeing that damned figure hanging everywhere, taunting me for several months at that time.  Ultimately, though, this is a design that makes for a good toy, and Hasbro translated it well here.  He’s not going to be my go-to Wolverine by any stretch of the imagination, but he’s a good deal of fun.

Weapon X came from All Time Toys, and he’s currently in-stock at their store, here. And, if you’re looking for other toys both old and new, please check out their website and their eBay storefront.

#2041: Beast

BEAST

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

One of the original X-Men, Hank McCoy is a Genius whose mutant ability gives him a furry, blue, beast-like appearance.”

Okay, I need to address something real quick:  Hank McCoy’s furry, blue appearance is *not* from his mutant ability.  It’s from an experimental serum he drank that was supposed to enhance his powers.  It unlocked a potential for a beast-like appearance from his genes, but his mutant ability doesn’t make him blue and furry inherently.  This has been today’s lesson of “why the bio’s wrong,” I’ve been your lecturer, Ethan Wilson.  Okay, so now I should probably review the actual figure, and not the blurb on the back of his box.  This is “The Figure in Question” not “The Bio in Question.”  Onto the figure!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Beast is officially figure 1 in the Caliban Series of Marvel Legends (since Gambit didn’t have a BaF piece, and therefore doesn’t technically have a number).  Beast is getting his fifth Legends release, though this one’s the first since the original Toy Biz figure to be sporting his typical blue and furry ape-man appearance, with the interim figures being, in order, a movie figure, a cat-faced figure, and a human figure.  This one draws more direct inspiration from Jim Lee’s Beast, which means he fits with the rest of this assortment (and the general ’90s theme that Hasbro’s been pushing for the X-Men).  The figure stands 7 1/2 inches tall and he has 36 points of articulation.  Beast’s height has been the cause of some frustration amongst the fanbase, since even at his biggest in the ’90s, he was still officially listed as under 6-feet.  That being said, very few artists ever really stuck to that, making this figure’s height a rather similar dilemma to last year’s Thing figure.  Ultimately, I don’t see myself ever having him standing upright next to the rest of the team, so it’s kind of a non-issue, but your mileage may vary.  I should note that he’s more or less the same height as the original TB figure, for what it’s worth.  Despite his larger size, Beast is actually one of the best articulated of the modern Legends, which I count as a definite plus for an acrobatic character.  The sculpt is an all-new one, and it’s actually pretty darn good.  It’s bulky, but not too bulky (which has been a problem with prior Beast figures), and the fur detailing is pretty realistically rendered.  The head is very much Lee-inspired, and with a rather intense expression.  It’s not a bad sculpt, though I’m generally partial to calmer interpretations of the character.  Still, I like it well enough.  Beast’s color work is actually pretty decent.  The base blue is nice and bright, and a good match for the comics appearance.  He’s actually got some solid accent work going on, which adds a nice bit of variety to his furry appearance.  Beast is packed with two pairs of hands, which help with his various acrobatic poses.  In particular, there’s a flat hand for his left hand, which, with some very careful balancing, lets him hold himself aloft with one arm.  Beast also includes the head of the BaF Caliban.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Since I’m not much of a fan of most other interpretations of Beast, I’ve been making use of that old Beast figure for a good long while.  I’ve been hoping for an update, though, if I’m totally honest, I was really hoping for more of a Perez-style Beast.  Of course, with all of the ’90s X-Men stuff we’ve been getting recently, this guy makes a bit more sense, and certainly fits in a little better.  While I’m not super sold on the facial expression, I’m overall quite happy with this figure as a whole.  I’m also really hoping that the fact that he got an all-new sculpt means we’ll be seeing a variety of other Beasts in the near future.

Beast came to me from my friends at All Time Toys.  He’s already sold out, but he should be coming back into stock soon. And, if you’re looking for other toys both old and new, please check out their website and their eBay storefront.

#2040: Gambit

GAMBIT

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

Remy LaBeau is an ex-thief from New Orleans with the mutant ability to convert energy and cause objects to explode.”

Alright guys, I hope you’re ready, because we’re about to embark on another week of Marvel Legends reviews.  It’s time for us to once again set our sites on Marvel’s band of merry mutants, the X-Men, whose yearly assortment now looks to have morphed its way into two.  Hasbro also seem to be easing themselves away from trying to keep things more current, as the latest round of figures is purely ’90s X-Men fare.  At the top of the ’90s X-Men heap is Gambit, who may not have been added to the team in the ’90s, but certainly hit the pinnacle of his fame during that time.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Gambit is the first figure in the Caliban Series of Marvel Legends.  He’s this assortment’s non-BaF-piece-sporting double-pack, which, given the fairly devoted fanbase for the character, probably isn’t the worst idea in the world.  This is only Gambit’s second time as a Legend (the first having been way back during the early days of the Toy Biz line), and the first one he’s gotten since Hasbro took over the license way back when.  It’s kind of crazy that its taken this long to finally get another stab at him, but to be fair, the original is one of the few Toy Biz figures to still hold up pretty well.  This guy follows that one’s lead, giving us Gambit in his full-on ’90s look, which, frankly, is the quintessential Gambit look.  Bothering with others seems kind of pointless.  The figure stands 6 1/2 inches tall and he has 32 points of articulation.  Gambit is mostly a new sculpt.  Just the arms and jacket are re-used (the jacket from Nick Fury, and the arms from Punisher, just like with Multiple Man).  The rest of the sculpt is brand-spanking-new, which, I’ll admit, did surprise me a little bit at first.  I was very definitely expecting to see some Bucky Cap show up on this guy, and there’s absolutely none of that featured.  The resultant body is certainly very similar in build, but every piece of it’s full of Gambit-specific detail.  The boots, the belt, the bib, heck, even the pink rectangles on his legs are all sculpted right onto the figure, which makes him a very unique looking figure.  Hasbro certainly could have phoned in the pink rectangles at the very least, but they didn’t, even though that details unlikely to be seen by most people.  Perhaps my only slight bit of contention with the figure is the head sculpt.  Well, not even the whole head, really; the main head, especially the face, is quite nice.  I just don’t like the hair.  It’s too lopsided for my taste.  I’m used to a Gambit with lots of hair bouncing out of his cowl from all angles.  This one’s decidedly to the one side.  I don’t hate it, but it’s off enough to bug me.  Gambit’s paintwork is up to the usual standards of the line, meaning it’s clean, bold, and matches well with his comics appearances.  His stubble is a marked improvement for what we’ve seen from Hasbro, being appropriately subtle and not a horrible mess.  That’s a huge step for them.  Gambit may not have a BaF piece, but he does still get his own assortment of extras, including his staff, a single charged card, and an alternate left hand with three cards in mid-throw attached.  It’s all of the basics you could want from a Gambit, so no complaints there.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

The original Legends Gambit was always one of my very favorite of the Toy Biz figures, and Gambit’s a design I’m fond of, so there was a lot riding on his inevitable re-release.  When it was shown off, I was a bit apprehensive, mostly because of the hair.  In person, there’s just so much I love about this guy, to the point that the hair is really so minor that it doesn’t really affect my opinion of the figure at all.  He’s a very satisfactory upgrade to the original release, and a fantastic start to this line-up.

I got Gambit from my friends at All Time Toys, and he’s currently in-stock at their store, here. And, if you’re looking for other toys both old and new, please check out their website and their eBay storefront.

#2036: Spider-Man & Kraven

SPIDER-MAN & KRAVEN

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

Unwittingly bonded with an alien symbiote, Spider-Man has the enhanced strength and abilities he needs to take on his deadly enemy, Kraven the Hunter.”

The last time I reviewed a Kraven figure, I remarked that long-running lines require a somewhat cyclical nature.  Well, uhh, I’m now reviewing a re-release of Kraven from that very line…so, hey, here we are.  Guess we’ve already come back around to him, haven’t we?  I, of course, already had the previous Kraven, but one more certainly couldn’t hurt too much.  Nor could one more of the Spider-Man he’s packed with!

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

Spider-Man and Kraven are a Target-exclusive Marvel Legends two-pack, clearly patterned after the much-loved “Kraven’s Last Hunt” storyline.  The set started hitting shelves just a few weeks ago, and will hopefully be showing up in plentiful quantities throughout the summer.  Both figures are tweaks of prior figures that have packed up a sizable aftermarket price.

SPIDER-MAN

Spider-Man’s black costume (or at least a cloth copy of it) was central to “Last Hunt,” and is enough of a fan favorite that a re-release of his Sandman Series figure definitely makes sense.  The basic figure is essentially identical.  Same base body and head, and for the most part, the same paint scheme.  The symbol is ever so slightly different, with the head being a little wider.  It’s minor enough that you’d only notice the change with both releases side by side.  The main change-up is the accessories.  They were kind of the let-down of the original release, but this one amends that.  He loses the open gesture hands of the original, but exchanges them for the missing web-pose hands that were sorely missing the last time.  He also gains an alternate unmasked head, which is a re-paint of the unmasked head from the Spidey/MJ pack, now featuring some battle-damage.  Of course, since I still don’t have that, I’m just building a continuing collection of non-standard Parker heads.

KRAVEN

Kraven’s been absent from Legends longer than Spidey’s black costume.  His Rhino Series release was four years ago now, and just predates a lot of collectors getting into the re-launched line, meaning he still goes for a bit of a premium.  His re-release is definitely the main driving force of this set.  Where Spider-Man was a fairly straight re-issue, Kraven is actually quite different from his prior release.  Where that one was his most recent appearance, this one is a classic Kraven.  He gets a new head, right hand, and belt, and swaps out the boots of the last release for more streamlined parts.  The head is by far the best piece; the crazed expression is a perfect recreation of Mike Zeck’s Kraven from “Last Hunt,” and it’s a marked improvement over the more generic sculpt of the last release.  Another marked improvement?  The paint.  It’s sharper, bolder, and just generally better detailed than the last release.  Hasbro’s definitely gotten a lot better at this part of the figures.  Kraven includes the same spear as the prior release, and also adds in a hunting rifle, which is a pretty classic Kraven sort of piece.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Since I have both of the original releases, when this set was originally announced I didn’t know if I’d be picking it up.  The images of the new Kraven head definitely did a lot to sell me on him, but the Spider-Man didn’t look to have much new to offer.  I was out looking for the Endgame Hawkeye and Widow (who I still haven’t found), and came across this set, and upon seeing the unmasked head and webshooter hands was definitely sold.  Both figures included are improvements over their original releases, and I don’t regret grabbing this one at all.