#2102: Hulk

HULK

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

After a poignant absence in Infinity War and Endgame‘s opening act, Hulk makes kind of an understated reappearance after Endgame’s five-year time jump, having progressed from simple-minded brute to a hybrid of Banner’s brains and Hulk’s brawn at some point in the gap.  It gave the character a decidedly different arc for the film, and though fans had guessed at the change happening, it was still a pretty well-kept secret as a whole.  The Professor Hulk merch proper took a little while to make its way out, but he’s showing up in full force now, most notably as the central Build-A-Figure of the latest assortment of Marvel Legends.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Hulk is the Build-A-Figure for the second assortment of Endgame-themed Marvel Legends.  There are a number of looks to choose from for Professor Hulk, but Hasbro’s opted to go with the one that stays closest to comfort for Hulk: shirtless with tattered pants.  He looks this way when he goes back to the battle of New York, so it’s accurate to the film, but it doesn’t feel quite as true to this particular iteration of the character.  Personally, I’d have liked to see his cardigan-sporting look from early in the film, but his jumpsuit from the end of the movie would have been cool too.  This one is fine, but seems like an off choice given what Hasbro *didn’t* do with the figure.  I’ll get to that in a moment.  The figure stands 7 3/4 inches tall and he has 30 points of articulation.  After doing an awkward sort of rework to the Avengers sculpt for Age of Ultron, and then doing an all-new sculpt for Ragnarok, this Hulk gets another all-new sculpt.  It’s the most balanced and realistic Hulk sculpt we’ve gotten to date.  The proportions are solid, the limbs hang naturally, and the articulation is well worked-in and has a solid range given the general sizing of him.  There are two different heads included for this guy.  The main one is a more neutral expression, which works well enough, since it lacks that usual Hulk intensity.  The likeness on the face is actually a pretty decent match for the CGI Ruffalo, but the hair does seem to be a slight bit off; it lacks a lot of Ruffalo’s distinctive waviness.  Hulk’s second head has a smirk.  What’s interesting is that, even though a grin of some sort should feel more proper for this version of the character, but for whatever reason, he seems to be back to the Avengers facial model, while still sporting the Endgame hair.  It’s an odd combo, and honestly it would have been better if they’d just gone full-on first movie styling for the second head, since that would do a bit to justify the costume choice for the figure.  Hulk’s paintwork is pretty solidly handled.  The chest hair detailing is pretty well done, as is the printed face detailing.  I’m also glad to see they included the greying at the temples like he’s got going on in the film.  Hulk’s only extra is that second head I mentioned, but it’s more than most BaFs get, so there’s no complaints from me.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I’ve always been a fan of the Professor Hulk concept, and I was very happy to see it turn up in the film.  I figured we’d be seeing him pop up in this spot, so the only thing that really surprised me about the announcement was the costume choice.  I wish they’d gone with a different look, and I’m holding out for some sort of follow-up release, but purely as a figure, this guy is pretty nice.

Unlike some recent assortments where the line-ups were more centralized in quality, there’s a wider spread on these guys.  Loki and Rock Python are definitely some of the weaker Legends releases as of late, but on the flip side, War Machine, Rescue, and Union Jack are some of my favorite recent releases and are just solid figures all around.  Through in some solid middle-ground figures with Beta Ray Bill and Shuri, and there’s certainly enough good in the assortment to outweigh the bad.

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#2101: Loki

LOKI

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

“A devilish trickster, Loki uses whatever means necessary to give himself power and has little regard for what side of so-called justice he stands on.”

Debuting two months after Thor, the comics version of Loki has remained a prominent fixture of the Marvel universe ever since his introduction, not only as a thorn in Thor’s side, but also as a major mover for the universe as a whole.  He was responsible for bringing the Avengers together after all.  Recently, the comics Loki, who tends to be slightly more villainous than his film counterpart, has been slightly displaced by the movies, but he’s not completely neglected, and would you look at that, he just got a Marvel Legend.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Loki is figure 6 in the Hulk Series of Marvel Legends and is the final figure needed to complete the Hulk Build-A-Figure.  As noted, this is a comic Loki figure, the third of its kind in Legends proper (and one of those was Lady Loki, so…), and the first to use Loki’s classic comics appearance.  This one lifts his design directly from his Jack Kirby-illustrated original appearances.  The figure stands 6 1/2 inches tall and he has 32 points of articulation.  Loki re-uses the Reaper body, and is the second figure in the assortment to do so.  Comic Loki fluctuates a bit in size and build, but this works respectably for his earliest appearances.  He gets a new head, shoulder piece, and belt.  The head is…well, I honestly have trouble saying how I feel about it.  Comics Loki is a character that always seems to have trouble translating into figure form, and this one continues the trend.  I get what they were going for with the expression, and I do like the idea of Loki sporting that mad cackling appearance, but it just doesn’t really work.  He looks demented, but not in the way they were aiming for.  I’m also not super crazy about the ponytail, which is just jutting out to the side.  If it had been articulated, it would be fine, but it’s permanently stuck where it is, which severely limits the posing options.  Loki’s paintwork is pretty basic.  He’s green and yellow, just like he usually is, and I definitely dig the slight metallic finish.  The face is a little gummed up for my taste, and there’s just something off about those eyes.  Maybe I’m just too accustomed to Tom Hiddleston’s baby blues.  Loki is packed with a sword, which appears to be a new piece to him.  It’s a nice enough piece, and well-sized to the figure.  He also includes the right leg of Hulk, who I’ll be looking at tomorrow.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I like Loki as a character, and I always want to like him as a toy, but I tend to have some difficulty.  Despite his less comic accurate nature, I did actually like the Toy Biz Legend a fair bit.  This one?  Pretty much from the time he was shown off, I had my doubts about him, and they followed through to the final figure.  He’s not awful, but I’m just not really feeling him.  Maybe if I were more of a fan of the Kirby design, I’d dig him a bit more.

I purchased Loki from my sponsors over at All Time Toys, alongside the rest of this series.  He’s still in stock here.  If your looking for other Legends or other toys both old and new, please check out their website and their eBay storefront.

#2100: Beta Ray Bill

BETA RAY BILL

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

Though the subject of much frivolous fan debate these days, there was a time when the concept of someone other than Thor Odinson picking up Mjolnir was still rather unexplored territory.  It was finally explored in 1983, when Walt Simonson introduced Beta Ray Bill.  Bill was designed to be a complete subversion of usual conventions, a deliberately monstrous-looking character who would nevertheless pick up the hammer and cement himself as worthy.  Eventually, he would gain a hammer of his own, and he’s since become a regular fixture in the Thor mythos, and a fan favorite to boot.  And now I’m looking at his latest plastic incarnation.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Beta Ray Bill is figure 5 in the Hulk Series of Marvel Legends.  This is Bill’s second time in Legends form, following up on his figure from the final Toy Biz Legends assortment.  This one marks a first for a Bill figure, being in a costume other than the one he debuted in.  Instead, he’s in his Oliver Copiel-designed streamlined costume from Unworthy Thor.  It’s different, and perhaps a little less distinctive, but it still hits all the important notes.  The figure stands 6 1/2 inches tall and he has 33 points of articulation.  Bill makes use of some of the Hyperion parts, but like a lot of the most recent uses of this body, he dispenses with some of the more problematic parts.  He has a new head, torso, pelvis, and hands, plus add-ons for his cape and wrist wraps.  The head and hands are clearly the most distinctively Bill parts, and the head in particular is a marked improvement over prior attempts.  For pretty much the first time, we have a Beta Ray Bill head that doesn’t look abysmal when viewed from the front.  After the head, his cape is definitely my next favorite piece of the figure, based largely on how it affixes to the torso; the clasps at the shoulders are actually clasps, and allow for it to be held securely in place or removed, which has been an option sorely lacking from a lot of prior Thor figures.  Beta Ray’s paintwork follows the general cues of the design in the comics, meaning it steps back a bit from the more colorful nature of his original look, but still hits all the main notes.  The straight black on the legs isn’t terribly exciting, but the rest of the work is all pretty good, and I was pleasantly surprised by the accent work on his skin tones.  Bill is packed with his personal hammer, Stormbreaker, as well as not one but two heads for the Hulk Build-A-Figure.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I didn’t care so much about Beta Ray Bill when the original Legend hit, but I’ve picked up more of an appreciation for him in the years since then, so I was definitely on board for an update.  He’s jammed into a series of a lot of other figures I really like, but I can still step back and appreciate how well made he is.  And, knowing Hasbro’s track record, I wouldn’t be surprised to see them drop a more classically inspired variant down the line.  In the mean time, this is definitely the best version of Bill to date.

#2099: Union Jack

UNION JACK

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

“Union Jack is a British operative, spy, and master of hand-to-hand combat embroiled in the world of European politics.”

If America’s got Captain America, certainly some of the other countries would have their own nationalistic equivalents, right?  Of course they would.  As it so happens, Britain’s actually got two; the more parallel-y named Captain Britain is a less direct counterpart.  That role more goes to Union Jack.  Created retroactively in the ’70s, despite his common placement among the Invaders, Captain America’s WW2-era team, Union Jack is a rare WWI-based hero.  The original Jack, Lord James Montgomery Falsworth would eventually pass the mantle onto his son Brian.  Following Brian’s untimely demise, Falsworth trained another protegee, Joseph Chapman, who has been in the role since the ’80s.  Union Jack’s got a pretty distinctive design, so he’s no stranger to action figures.  I’ll be looking at his latest today.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Union Jack is figure 4 in the Hulk Series of Marvel Legends.  This is Jack’s second time as a Legend; the first was also a Hasbro release, and was also part of a series that built a Hulk figure.  However, he was from a darker period in Hasbro’s run, and is at this point over a decade old, so an update seems more than fair.  The basics of the Union Jack uniform have remained more or less the same throughout all three incarnations (apart from a period of time when Chapman was sporting a Captain Britain-looking costume), but this figure is clearly most inspired by Chapman’s ever so slightly modernized gear.  In a pinch, though, it works as any of them.  The figure stands 6 1/4 inches tall and has 32 points of articulation.  Though the original prototype was built on the 2099 body, the final product has switched him to the Bucky Cap base.  Personally, I don’t mind this so much, as I like the general aesthetics a little more on this body, but it’s too bad he missed on the extra shoulder joints.  He gets a new head, plus add-ons for the belt and wrist/ankle straps.  I really dig the new head; it really does a great job of selling that there’s a full face underneath of the mask.  I also really like the piping around the eyeholes and running down the sides.  Union Jack’s design is pretty dependent on the paint not sucking, and fortunately the figure fares pretty well in that regard.  The whites could maybe be a little more solid, but otherwise the application is all quite clean.  They also got the patterning of the Union Jack correct, which is more than can be said about the previous figure.  Union Jack is packed with a revolver and a knife, both of which are re-used parts.  In the case of the revolver, this is a little sad, as it means that Jack doesn’t get his signature Webley, and instead gets something more generic.  It serves alright in a pinch, but it’ll bug me until the end of time.  Also included is the right arm of the Hulk Build-A-Figure.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I’ve always loved Union Jack’s design, and as such I’ve always made it a point to track him down when he gets a toy.  I was very happy to see him pop back up, and I’m thrilled to be able to finally retire the older figure, who was seriously starting to show his age.  Union Jack is a rather by the numbers figure, but that doesn’t at all hinder him, and he’s definitely vying for the spot of my favorite in this line-up.

I purchased Union Jack from my sponsors over at All Time Toys.  If your looking for other Legends or other toys both old and new, please check out their website and their eBay storefront.

#2098: Rock Python

ROCK PYTHON

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

“A mercenary working out of Africa, M’Gula adopts the name Rock Python and joins the slithering villain enterprise known as Serpent Society.”

We were at a beach.  Everybody had matching towels.  Someone went under a dock, and there they saw a rock.  But it wasn’t a rock.  I was a Roooooock Python!  Rock Python! Rock Python!  Rock Python!  Rock Python!  …Too much of a stretch?

So, Rock Python.  Who’s Rock Python?  Well, he’s a member of the Serpent Society…and his name is close enough to Rock Lobster that I went the parody lyrics route…and…that’s all I got.  He’s got this toy.  I’m gonna review this toy.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Rock Python is officially figure 3 in the Hulk Series of Marvel Legends.  He’s the first comic figure in the line-up, and our latest addition to the Serpent Society themed figures that have been running through the various Avengers assortments since the Red Onslaught Series.  The figure stands 6 1/2 inches tall and he has 32 points of articulation.  Rock Python is built on the Reaper base body, which seems like a reasonable enough choice given his usual build in comics depictions.  I’ll admit I’m seeing to see its flaws more and more every time it gets reused, and this figure again showcases the utter insanity of there still not being actual fists assigned to this mold, but it’s solid enough for a character such as Rock Python.  He’s got a new head and belt pieces, which fit the body well enough.  They’re both fairly basic, straight forward designs.  Not a lot going on, but they translate the source material well.  The paintwork on Rock Python is pretty straight forward.  He’s very blue, but that’s accurate, and the application is all pretty cleanly handled.  Rock Python includes no accessories of his own (not really sure what you would give him, truth be told), but he still has the left arm of the Build-A-Figure Hulk.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Okay, so as you may have gathered from the review, I have no connection to Rock Python.  Honestly, I don’t have much connection to the Serpent Society as a whole, apart from thinking that King Cobra was the best figure in his assortment last year.  Unlike King Cobra, Python doesn’t really do much to add any excitement to the design.  There’s nothing wrong with this figure, but there’s not much super endearing about him either.  He’s just kind of here, and I think he’s one of the weaker Legends we’ve gotten recently.

I purchased Rock Python from my sponsors over at All Time Toys, and he’s still in stock here.  If your looking for other Legends or other toys both old and new, please check out their website and their eBay storefront.

#2097: Shuri

SHURI

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

The mastermind behind some of Wakanda’s most advanced technology, Shuri designs and distributes Vibranium-powered gear to Wakanda’s greatest warriors and allies.”

As far as Marvel Legends coverage goes, last year’s Black Panther is possibly one of the most fortunate films in the entirety of the MCU.  It got two dedicated assortments (one of which was purely movie figures, which pretty much never happens these days), and there was really only one major character missing from those two sets.  Said character is T’Challa’s sister, Shuri.  She was included in the basic Black Panther line at the time of the movie’s release, but now she’s finally getting her proper Legends due courtesy of Endgame.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Shuri is figure 3 in the Hulk Series of Marvel Legends, and she’s the final single-carded movie character this time around.  She’s officially branded as an Endgame figure, but thanks to her re-using her battle gear from Black Panther during Endgame’s final battle, she’ll fit in just fine with either collection.  The figure stands (or at least attempts stand) 6 inches tall and she has 27 points of articulation.  Her sculpt is brand new, and it’s an immense improvement over the basic figure sculpt, but does have one major issue for me: she can’t stand.  Okay, that’s not entirely true; she can stand…for a bit, and then she’s pretty much guaranteed to fall over.  She did so numerous times for every single photo that accompanies this review.  Not a ton of fun for me, let me tell you.  On the plus side, the actual sculpting on the sculpt is pretty impressive.  The head’s the best part, with a very strong likeness of Letitia Wright, even getting her proper hair style, which the basic figure didn’t do so well on.  Her costume elements are very sharply defined and appear to be accurate to the film(s), and the build of the body they’re on is a much better match for Wright’s rather skinny frame than the prior figure.  The skirt piece is a free-floating add-on, and while I’m not super jazzed by that style of implementation, it’s still a rather nice piece, and doesn’t impact her mobility too much.  Her paintwork is pretty solidly handled; like a lot of the Panther stuff, it’s not the most eye-catching or flamboyant selection of colors, but it’s accurate and lifelike, and she looks pretty cool.  Shuri is packed with her panther-styled gauntlets, which are a slightly different piece from the basic ones, but still very cool.  She also includes the left leg of the Hulk BaF.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

This figure’s been a long time coming.  I’d thoroughly expected to see her in the second Black Panther assortment, and was quite surprised by her absence.  Upon seeing her turn up with the same costume at the end of Endgame, suddenly things made a lot more sense, so I was less shocked when she turned up here.  The stability thing is a major annoyance, but beyond that there’s quite a bit I like about this figure, and at this point, I’m just happy I can finally retire the basic figure from my Legends shelf.

I purchased Shuri from my sponsors over at All Time Toys, alongside the rest of this series.  Amazingly, she’s still in stock here.  If your looking for other Legends or other toys both old and new, please check out their website and their eBay storefront.

#2096: Rescue

RESCUE

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

Since she donned the Mark 42 armor in Iron Man 3, there’s been a real underlying desire to finally see Pepper Potts suit up as Rescue, her armored identity introduced in the comics in 2009.  Fortunately, the MCU paid things off in Endgame‘s final bout, giving us Pepper in all her armored glory.  Toy companies have jumped right on the design, and a couple of figure offerings are already on the slate.  One of the first to hit shelves is the Legends offering, which I’ll be taking a look at today.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Rescue is officially figure 1 in the Hulk Series of Marvel Legends, and is the second movie-based figure includes here.  She’s also our second movie Pepper (following the IM3 variant from last year), and our second Legends Rescue (following the Marvel subscription incentive figure).  The figure is just under 6 inches tall and has 31 points of articulation.  Rescue is a brand new sculpt, and seems to be a reasonable recreation of the suit as it looked in the movie, which is certainly an improvement on the usual pre-production influences we tend to see on the MCU armors.  There are some spots where the design could be a bit more streamlined relative to the film, but by and large, it’s a solid sculpt.  There are some slight limitations to the articulation on the arms, especially the wrists, but for the most part the figure’s ‌movement is also quite well implemented and doesn’t require breaking up the sculpt too much.  There are two different back pieces included, one with the “wings” deployed and the other more compact, allowing for a variety of looks.  While the deployed version is my preferred, and certainly the more dynamic of the two, having the option is nice.  The colors on Rescue represented a notable change up from the comics, where she’s rocking red and silver.  Here she has a indigo and light gold combo, which I really dug in the movie, and I think looks really slick on the toy.  The addition of the incidental details, like the labels adds a nice finish as well.  Beyond the interchangeable backpacks, Rescue’s only extra is the torso to the Hulk BaF.  It’s too bad we couldn’t get a Paltrow head, or maybe some extra hands, because she feels a little light.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Rescue is definitely a design I walked out of the theatre wanting as a toy.  I definitely wasn’t alone, and it’s great that Hasbro was able to turn it around so quickly.  There are a few small issues with this figure, mostly having to do with the accessories, but overall I’m quite happy with the final product.

#2095: War Machine

WAR MACHINE

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

When the fate of humankind is at stake, there is no mission too great for U.S. Military officer James “Rhodey” Rhodes, a.k.a. War Machine.”

Just like Iron Man, War Machine gets some slight modifications to his suit every time we see him in the films.  Barring the change from Iron Man 2 to Iron Man 3, where there was some streamlining in play, each subsequent suit seems to bulk him up a little bit from the last one, in contrast to the way Tony’s suits tended to go.  Rhodey got left out of things for Infinity War‘s Legends component, but with two new looks for EndGame, he found his way into the second line-up.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

War Machine is part of the “Hulk Series” of Marvel Legends, which is our second Avengers-based assortment of the year.  He’s one of the three EngGame-branded figures in the line-up (not counting the Hulk BaF).  He’s the odd-man out, as the one figure in the set with no included BaF piece.  It’s okay, though, because this War Machine is based on the final suit of armor we see Rhodey sporting, which shows up during the big final battle.  It’s big and bulky, so no extra makes sense.  The figure stands 6 1/2 inches tall and he has 30 points of articulation.  This War Machine is an all-new sculpt, and a pretty good one at that.  It’s very clean and polished, and does a pretty respectable job of capturing Rhodey’s Mark 005 armor.  Despite its bulky size, it’s actually quite mobile, at least at most points.  There’s a bit of restriction on the elbows, but beyond that, there’s quit a bit that can be done with him, even moreso than his comparatively much sleeker Age of Ultron counterpart.  The only slight complaint I have is that they still haven’t really figured out what to do with the shoulder gun, which is on a ball joint that’s essentially just a cut joint.  It can’t really go anywhere else, and removing it leaves a rather obtrusive-looking brick on his shoulder.  In Hasbro’s defense, we never see the canon anywhere but on his shoulder in the film, and given the overall move to nano-tech on all of the armors by EndGame, I’m willing to bet there’s no easy way to recreate how the movie handled it.  Plus, who’s really going to display him without it.  War Machine’s paint is the one real inaccurate part of the figure.  In the movie, the Mark 005 armor is actually done up in an Iron Patriot color scheme, rather than War Machine’s usual colors, but this figure instead goes with the classic black and silver.  It’s possible that the Patriot colors were a last minute change to the film, but an alternate theory can be provided by the number printed on the chestplate, which erroneously reads “006”.  The 006 armor is the sleeker, more traditional armor that Rhodey wears for most of the film, and its colors more closely match this in scheme, so it’s possible they just had the wrong color keys.  Admittedly, though it may be inaccurate, I like this color set a bit more, so I don’t mind so much.  Additionally, the actual paint, removed from source material, is quite nicely handled, and I dig the little details placed throughout.  Though he doesn’t include a Build-A-Figure piece, War Machine does include the previously mentioned shoulder canon, as well as two wrist mountable guns.  It’s too bad he didn’t also get an unmasked head, but it’s not like he he feels too light.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I missed out on the Civil War War Machine, which I kind of regretted after the fact, so I’ve been waiting for another update.  I was hoping to see him show up in this line-up, and Hasbro delivered.  Yeah, he’s technically not screen accurate, but he’s still a whole lot of fun, and my favorite version of the character to date, plus a strong contender for my figure in this line-up.

Like 99% of my Legends these days, War Machine was purchased from my sponsors over at All Time Toys.  If your looking for other Legends or other toys both old and new, please check out their website and their eBay storefront.