#3278: Howard the Duck

HOWARD THE DUCK

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

“When an alternate Thor turns earth into an intergalactic tourist destination, Howard the Duck arrives to join in the festivities.”

Oh man, is that a Howard the Duck figure?  Like, on his own?  Not packed with, like, a Silver Surfer, or something?  That’s crazy.  Is that allowed?  I guess so.  I mean, here’s the figure.  So, you know, it exists.

Prior to his appearance in his self-titled, George Lucas-produced film in 1986, Howard the Duck began as a back-up feature in Adventure into Fear, headlined by Man-Thing of all characters.  He was a breakaway hit, getting spun-off into his own series, and then getting the aforementioned movie, which was both a critical and financial failure.  The character fell out of the spotlight after that, but resurfaced in the public eye for a cameo in 2014’s Guardians of the Galaxy film.  He’s gotten a few more spots in the MCU since then, and got a little bit of actual focus in What If…?, which was enough to net him another figure.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Howard the Duck is figure 5 in the Khonshu Series of Marvel Legends.  He’s the third What If…? based figure in the set.  Interestingly, bio suggests the figure is based on “What If…Thor Were An Only Child?”, which is admittedly odd.  While Howard *is* in that episode, and does get a little bit of focus, he’s far from important to the overall plot.  On the flip side, “What If…T’Challa Became Star-Lord?” gives Howard an actual plot relevant focus, and is the episode of the two that’s gotten figure coverage already from Legends.  It’s also just a much better episode.  It’s all kind of irrelevant, I suppose, though, since his animation model’s the same across the board.  Who am I to complain about specifically which episode I get my Howard the Duck action figure from?  Also, the bios aren’t even on the box anymore, so the whole thing becomes increasingly irrelevant.  The figure stands 4 1/2 inches tall and he has 14 points of articulation.  Howard’s articulation is on the lesser side of things.  I mean, sure, he’s more posable than the *last* Legends Howard, but that one was just a pack-in, not his own figure.  This one gets decent movement on the arms, okay movement on the neck and waist, and movement that barely counts as movement on the ankles.  There’s nothing actually on the legs proper, which, with a lot of things on this figure, seems to be a licensing thing, since we know Disney’s very particular about Howard merch.  The sculpt is all-new, and it’s fairly accurate to the source material, which is itself a pretty nice Howard the Duck design.  The one notable deviation from his main look is the inclusion of the hat, which is its own piece, but is glued in place on the head, so it’s not budging.  This again seems to be a licensing thing, since we know the Minimate was also required to have the non-removable hat.  It’s a minor issue, and I’m curious to see how hard it might be to remove it with some modding.  The color work on him is pretty basic; largely it’s molded in the proper colors, but there’s some paint work head and torso, which gets all the important stuff.  Howard has no accessories of his own, but the pack also includes the disembodied head version of Scott Lang from “What If…Zombies?”, which doesn’t really have anything to do with Howard, but it offsets the smaller size of the figure.  It also looks nothing like actual Paul Rudd (though I suppose it’s not a *terrible* take on the animated likeness), so it’s really only context that sells what it is.  To further offset the core figure’s smaller size, there’s also the torso of Khonshu, complete with his robe, which is the largest piece of the Build-A-Figure by far.  Like, to the point that, in the box, the torso is actually packed in the “figure” slot, and Howard is bagged up like one of the accessories.  It’s kinda goofy, but I sorta love it.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I was honestly pretty excited about Howard, because he’s just such a rarity in the toy world, and harkens back to the earliest days of Legends.  I tempered my expectations, of course, because the legal requirements always mess with the end product.  With that in mind, I acknowledge that this guy’s got some definite flaws, but he’s also just still a lot of fun.  Probably a bit pricey for what you get, but certainly more worthwhile if you’re after the Build-A-Figure.  Honestly, the only part of this package I’m not really thrilled about it Scott, and that’s probably more to do with my general lack of enthusiasm about the episode that spawned him.  But Howard’s definitely cool.

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.

#1215: Silver Surfer

SILVER SURFER

MARVEL LEGENDS (TOY BIZ)

surferml1

Didn’t I just review a Toy Biz Marvel Legends figure?  Man, usually I’m better about spacing this sorts of things out.  Ah well.  Well, the last review looked at a figure from towards the end of Toy Biz’s run; today’s review jumps back a bit, looking at the line’s second year.  So, without further ado, here’s Silver Surfer!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

surferml2Silver Surfer was released in Series 5 of Marvel Legends, which hit stores starting in November of 2003.  Series 5 is easily one of my favorite series from TB’s run with the line, and in a lot of ways showcased the line’s true potential.  It was also the last series where just about every figure was easily obtained, and thus the last series I have un-compromised memories about.  Anyway, this figure stands just over 6 inches tall and he has 40 points of articulation.  Surfer exhibits one of the earliest attempts at using a buck system for Legends.  He was built on the body initially designed for the second Spider-Man Classics Daredevil figure.  I always thought the body was too beefy for DD, but it’s not a bad choice for the Surfer.  It’s a sculpt that, like so many of the TB Legends, hasn’t aged super well.  The shoulders are a bit large, and the legs are somewhat gangly, but the general appearance isn’t awful.  My figure suffers from a minor assembly error: his left forearm is actually a right forearm, just flipped around, meaning the musculature doesn’t quite line up the right way.  Nothing major, but a slight annoyance.  The head sculpt on Surfer is fairly decent.  It’s stylistically consistent with the body, and presents a pretty reasonable version of the Surfer’s noggin.  It’s a little more alien than he tends to be depicted, and certainly on the cartoony side, but a fun sculpt nonetheless.  The Surfer exhibits some of the finer paintwork from TB’s Legends.  It may not seem like much at first glance, but there’s a really nice quality to the silver paint chosen; it’s much more vibrant and lively than the silvers you tend to see on production pieces.  There’s also the slightest hint of blue, airbrushed over the figure, which really helps connect him with the comics version of the Surfer, who was often highlighted with blue.  Over the years, various Silver Surfer figures have handled his titular surfboard all sorts of different ways.  This is probably one of the more interesting ones.  There’s a magnet in each foot, and the core section of the board is metal.  In theory, this allows you to affix him to the board while also leaving it without any visible footpegs when he’s not standing on it.  Of course, since molding the whole board in metal would be cost prohibitive, they had to sort of split the difference, and give the board a plastic frame, which doesn’t quite mesh with the metal section, and sort of messes up the whole seamlessness of the board.  Still, fun gimmick, though.  There was also an included chunk of space rock with an articulated arm attached, allowing for the board to be posed as if it were flying.  Perhaps the oddest accessory included with Surfer (and maybe even one of the oddest accessories of all time) is the Howard the Duck figure.  As far as I know, Howard and the Surfer have never met, so why they chose to pair these two up is anyone’s guess.  Nevertheless, it’s a proper action figure of its own, with four whole points of articulation, and an incredibly well-detailed sculpt that looks like it jumped straight out of a classic ‘70s Howard comic appearance. 

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

It’s Disney’s fault.  No, not because they own Marvel.  They didn’t yet when this figure was released.  Anyway, I got this figure while visiting Disney World back in 2003.  Series 5 had just started hitting stores, and my family went to the nearby Walmart to pick up a few things.  My dad and I walked back to the toy aisle (as we do), and they had a Nick Fury and two Silver Surfers.  I wanted one of the Surfers, but my dad convinced me to wait.  Later that week, we needed to stop by again for batteries I think.  My dad went in on his own, and when he got back to the car, he was carrying this guy.  Turns out, he walked back to the toy aisle to check if they still had these, and when he got there they were all gone.  When he turned to walk back to the registers, he happened to look down and spotted this one lone Silver Surfer on the ground.  This figure’s not perfect, but he’s one of the better Surfer figures out there, even 13 years after his release.

#0870: Disco Dazzler & Howard the Duck

DISCO DAZZLER & HOWARD THE DUCK

MARVEL MINIMATES

DazzlerHoward1

The success of the Marvel Studios movies has translated to a pretty big success for all of the associated merchandise, including Marvel Minimates. While the line has far outpaced its original intent, and far more ‘mates see production in any given year than ever before, the line has also placed more of a focus on variants of Marvel’s big guns. This means that the percentage of new characters has taken a bit of a dip over time. However, DST still does their darnedest to throw long-time fans a few bones here and there. Most recently, they took advantage of Marvel’s recent Secret Wars event to produce some of the more “out there” characters, such as today’s set, Howard the Duck and Dazzler!

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

These two were released as part of Series 64 of the main Marvel Minimates line. They make up one of the two sets in Series 64 not to be included in Toys R Us’ equivalent assortment. The pairing’s a bit out of nowhere, but I’m hardly going to complain.

DISCO DAZZLER

DazzlerHoward3This marks the second time that Dazzler’s gotten a Minimate, which is actually pretty darn impressive, what with her being, you know, Dazzler. Not exactly high profile (as hard as Marvel tried to make her so). Her first mate reflected her later “flashdance” look, but this one takes her back to her classic disco roots. The figure is a little over the usual 2 ½ inches tall and has 14 points of articulation. Dazzler makes use of the standard ‘mate base body. She has add-ons for her hair, bracelets, collar, and roller skates. Yes, she has roller skates. All of these pieces are brand-new to Dazzler (though the hair was shared with Series 65’s Siryn) and they do an excellent job of capturing her look from the comics. Dazzler’s paint is some of the cleanest I’ve seen on a ‘mate in quite some time. The colors are vibrant, and the line work is incredibly sharp. This figure has a serious “pop” factor to it, which makes her stand out pretty darn well. For accessories, Dazzler includes a microphone and a standard clear display stand.

HOWARD THE DUCK

DazzlerHoward2Howard the Duck makes his Minimate debut here. One assumes this is at least somewhat linked to the character actually being in the public spotlight for the first time since the line’s inception, thanks to on ongoing comic and a cameo in 2014’s Guardians of the Galaxy. He’s based on his modern, Disney approved appearance, and clearly takes direct influence from Joe Quinones’ work in the current series. The figure stands just shy of 2 ½ inches tall and has 10 points of articulation (he lacks any movement in the wrists or ankles). The only standard pieces used by Howard are the pelvis and upper arms. That’s not to say that every piece is all-new, though. He uses the shortened arms introduced by the Thunderkittens, as well as the smaller torso introduced by Shock and Lock from the NBX line, to help keep Howard appropriately small. Howard makes use of arms in place of the usual legs, with a unique set of “lower legs” and feet, which are certainly duck-like. He also gets his own unique head, to adequately represent his bill. The hat is permanently affixed (presumably it’s to do with Marvel’s pre-existing deal with Disney in regards to how he’s allowed to be depicted), which is a bit annoying, but doesn’t look terrible. Howard’s paint is fairly muted; mostly warm, brownish colors. It’s a good representation of how he looks in his current incarnation. The detail lines on the head and torso are nice and sharp, and the eyes have a lot of character to them. Howard’s only accessory is a display stand. The peg is smaller than the usual stand’s, to fit Howard’s smaller feet.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

This set is probably the most excited I’ve been for a Marvel Minimates in quite some time. I picked them up from my local comic book store when they first hit. Dazzler may be a repeat character, but the two looks are sufficiently different that this figure still feels totally new. Add in that she’s just a solid ‘mate all around, and you’ve got a definite winner. Howard is a pretty awesome addition to the line and an all-around fun character to get. The permanently attached hat is a bit annoying, but it could definitely be worse. Not a bad ‘mate.