MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)
“Emerging from the ashes of World War II, Johann Schmidt rose to become one of Captain America’s greatest enemies, the Red Skull.”
Hey, remember how I was reviewing a whole set of Marvel Legends and I just wrapped it up? Well, I’m just gonna jump head long into another one, because why not. In an effort of sort of segueing, at least as much as one needs to segue between two sets of Marvel Legends, let’s jump from a Captain America to a Red Skull. When it comes to toys, Red Skull is a great example of how quantity does not make up for quality. He’s had quite a number of figures over the years, but they always feel lacking in some way. His history with Marvel Legends has been particularly bad, with his very first figure being one of Toy Biz’s very worst, and even his more recent offerings being rather lackluster as a general rule. Hasbro hasn’t truly done a basic Red Skull since 2014, so the fact that he was chosen for their new all-villains series does carry a bit of weight. Will this finally be the one that doesn’t suck? Let’s find out!
THE FIGURE ITSELF
Red Skull is figure 6 (I know, I’m starting at the end, as opposed to going in order like I’ve tended to recently; don’t judge me, I do what I want) in the Xemnu Series of Marvel Legends, which is, as noted, an all-villains set, the first under Hasbro’s tenure, and 15 years removed from Toy Biz’s. Red Skull has had a number of different looks over the years, and his figures have likewise been all over the place. I myself have always been particularly partial to the green jumpsuit look that Kirby tended to draw him in, so I was pretty happy to see Hasbro hone in on that particular look for this release, especially given its relative rarity in toy form. The figure stands about 6 1/4 inches tall and he has 32 points of articulation. While other Red Skulls have tended to get stuck on re-used bodies, and therefore had to make do and compromise, this Red Skull is sporting an all-new sculpt (albeit one that’s also shared with one other figure in this assortment). Generally, it’s pretty basic, since it’s just a jumpsuit and all, but it captures the look pretty well, with the looser fit being showcased in the various wrinkles and the like. The build is appropriately stocky, and the articulation works well for the character. He’s also got the new pinless look for the elbows and knees, which continues to be nice to see crop up. Red Skull has two different head sculpts included this time around. Right out of the box, he’s got a more modern style one that appears to just be a scaled down version of the Red Onslaught piece. It’s more traditionally skull-like in a text book sense, which certainly has its appeal. The second sculpt, and the one that’s definitely my favorite of the two, is one more based on Skull’s more expressive look in the Kirby style. It’s got a lot of smaller details worked in, and just feels perfect for this particular version of the character. In terms of paint, this figure is generally pretty basic. The reds are very bright and eye-catching, which I like, while the rest of it’s a little more drab, as it should be. Everything’s pretty cleanly applied, which is certainly a plus. In addition to getting the previously mentioned extra head, Red Skull gets a quite impressive selection of accessories, including 3 sets of hands (fists, gripping, and open gesture), the Cosmic Cube, and the Nerf Vortex Proton-based gun originally included with Maverick. I like that they’re starting this body out with a bunch of different hands, and the gun and cube make for a good variety in terms of posing and display. Also included is the head to the Build-A-Figure Xemnu.
THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION
The lack of good Red Skull figures in my collection is something I’ve been trying to fix for a while, pretty much since back in the Toy Biz days. The Legends figures always feel lacking, and I’ve never been totally content. I have the Mezco figure, which I do quite like, but he’s not a true Legend and thus doesn’t quite fit in with them. Plus, he’s not the jumpsuit version, and that’s my favorite. I had very high hopes for this release, and I have to say, they were very well placed. This figure is very definitely the best Legends Skull out there, and my favorite Red Skull figure to date. It will be a hard task to upstage this one.