#1846: Everett Ross & Erik Killmonger

EVERETT ROSS & ERIK KILLMONGER

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

“While Everette Ross is assigned to escort T’Challa to American soil, Erik Killmonger threatens the security of the Wakandan borders from which T’Challa hails.”

Despite having to share a year with the merchandising juggernaut that was Avengers: Infinity War, Black Panther actually seems to have made out alright in terms of toys.  In fact, counting what we saw this year at SDCC, Panther may very well have the most complete selection of Legends figures of any of the MCU films, which is no small feat.  Today, I’m looking at our first taste of the continuing Panther offerings, Panther ally Everett Ross and Panther foe Erik Killmonger!

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

Everett and Erik are another Target-exclusive Marvel Legends two-pack, which hit alongside yesterday’s Falcon and Winter Soldier pairing.  Like that one, this set originally began its life as a Toys R Us-exclusive, before finding itself without a home over the summer.  Fortunately, Target was able to step-in and make sure these two still made it to us.

EVERETT ROSS

First debuting in Civil War (well, in the MCU, anyway), Everett gets his toy intro here, thanks to his rather substantially larger role in Black Panther.  Martin Freeman’s no stranger to toys, with multiple plastic versions of his turns as both Arthur Dent and Bilbo Baggins, but I don’t know that any of them have been quite up to this quality.  Everett is 6 1/4 inches tall and has 32 points of articulation, and is built primarily out of the suit body first introduced with Agent Coulson.  It’s fitting, as Ross is something of a late-game replacement for Coulson, and also just another guy in a suit.  It’s a perfectly reasonable starting point.  The body’s not without its flaws, but they’re not so bad that they break the figure or anything.  It’s all topped off with a brand-new head sculpt, which does a great job of capturing Freeman’s bemused and bewildered smirk.  Guy’s got a lot of character in his face, and it’s all perfectly present here.  In terms of paintwork, Ross is mostly pretty standard fare.  His suit is various shades of grey, which, not terribly exciting, is at leas clean, and accurate to the source material.  His head gets a printed face, and it’s definitely another success, resulting in quite a lifelike looking figure.  Everett is packed with a handgun, which is actually, like, a real gun, and not some sort of sci-fi contraption.  Crazy!

ERIK KILLMONGER

Amusingly enough, our first double-packed character from Black Panther isn’t the title character at all, but instead his main antagonist, Erik Killmonger.  Killmonger was, of course, in the main Legends assortment for the film, in this very outfit, even.  Tim was kind enough to review that one for me, but I knew this one was coming, so I decided to hold out.  Boy am I sure glad I did.  Like his predecessor, he stands 6 1/4 inches tall and he has 32 points of articulation.  Sculpturally, he’s completely identical to the prior release, barring one thing: the unmasked head.  The standard, masked head is, of course still included as well, but now you’ve got the option to also showcase Michael B. Jordan’s floppy hair!  Can you imagine how cruel the world would be without that as an option?  I certainly can’t.  It’s an excellent piece, with a spot-on Jordan likeness, and, unlike the equivalent T’Challa head, it actually sits properly on the body, so he won’t look super goofy with it on.  In addition to the extra head, another major change to this release is the paint.  The standard release Killmonger was somewhat lacking on the paint front, leaving an impressively detailed sculpt looking a little bit barren.  This offering fixes some of that, adding back in a lot of the gold detailing that was missing from the prior release.  Unfortunately, he exchanges it for the leopard print patterning of the last figure, which I’m a little sad to see missing this time around.  Given the darker coloring of the main suit, it’s not the end of the world, though, and it’s overall a net gain in terms of appearance.  Killmonger is packed with the same pair of blades as his regular-release counterpart, as well as an extra set of hands just for holding them.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Like Falcon and Winter Soldier, I initially passed on this set.  And then, I passed on it a second time, because I really only had the funds for one pack, and I went for the other one.  But, as luck would have it, when I made my way back to that same Target, there was still one set left, so yay for me!  I don’t think this set quite has the “wow” factor of Falcon and Winter Soldier, but both figures are very solid offerings, especially if, like me, you skipped the standard Killmonger release.

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#1606: Tactical Killmonger & Casino T’Challa

TACTICAL KILLMONGER & CASINO T’CHALLA

MARVEL MINIMATES

Movie merchandise is always a tricky thing, especially with “top secret” movies like the Marvel Studios stuff.  It can often prove difficult to determine which characters, and more specifically, which designs for those characters, are going to end up with the most prominence in the final product.  For Black Panther, while it was a pretty safe bet which look would be T’Challa’s main costume, his primary antagonist Killmonger proved a different story all together.  His rogue Black Panther look ended up on all of the merch, and while that was prominent, it was actually his more unique tactical gear that most people were drawn to.  Unfortunately, if you want a properly articulated version of this design, Minimates are your only way to go.

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

Tactical Killmonger and Casino T’Challa are the second Walgreens-exclusive Black Panther two-pack.  Though they don’t quite interact with these particular looks, Killmonger’s rescue of Klaue happens just after the Casino sequence, so they fit together reasonably well in the timeline of the film.

TACTICAL KILLMONGER

Obviously, this figure is the draw of this set.  Erik’s tactical design doesn’t really have direct comics counterpart (though it does share a few elements with some of his looks over the years), but it offers him a more unique design than the basic Panther-riff.  The figure is built on the standard ‘mate body, so he stands about 2 1/4 inches tall and he has 14 points of articulation.  Killmonger has a single add-on piece, but it’s a good one.  It’s the tribal mask he steals during his museum heist with Klaue, which he then uses to obscure his face later on.  It’s only worn in one scene in the film, but it certainly has a lasting impact.  For this figure, it’s an all-new piece, which does a pretty respectable job of recreating the mask and simplifying it enough to look proper on the ‘mate.  The rest of Killmonger’s design is handled via paintwork.  The armor plating on the torso is definitely impressive, as is the camo and all of the stitched elements on his pants.  The likeness under the mask is also quite good; it depicts a slightly calmer Killmonger than is seen on the first ‘mate, which makes for nice variety.  There are a few spots of white on his face, but otherwise all of the paint is quite clean, and the colors are nice and vibrant.  Killmonger is packed with the same hairpiece as the last figure, allowing for the much needed unmasked look, as well as a pair of blades (the same stylings as were included in with the Legends figure), and a clear display stand.

CASINO T’CHALLA

Not quite a “civilian” take on the character, but very close, Casino T’Challa depicts T’Challa as he is seen when he goes undercover in South Korea while on the hunt for Klaue.  I would guess this look was chosen over T’Challa’s other “civilian” look in the film because this one could be made with all pre-existing parts.  And made with pre-existing parts he is!  The hair is the same piece used for the unmasked look on both of the prior Black Panthers from this line, and the jacket is re-used from all the way back on the very first George McFly Minimate.  That one’s gotten some milage.  The paint does the hard work here, selling this guy as “all-new.”  The likeness on the face gives us yet another T’Challa expression.  This one’s somewhere between the other two in terms of intensity, but certainly still looks like the same guy.  The jacket and arms get extra detailing, depicting the texturing of his jacket from the film, and preventing this figure from being dressed in just flat black.  Casino T’Challa’s only accessory is a clear display stand.  A little light, but I think Killmonger makes up for it.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

This was the set I went to Walgreens to get, the others were all just along for the ride.  Of the two Killmonger designs, this one was definitely my preferred, and this being only way to really get it right now, makes this guy top priority.  Fortunately, he’s one of the best ‘mates from the whole assortment.  Casino T’Challa’s not anything to write home about, being essentially just a guy in casual clothes, but he’s still a solid figure overall, and I certainly don’t mind that we got him.

#1603: Killmonger & Klaue

KILLMONGER & ULYSSES KLAUE

MARVEL MINIMATES

Black Panther’s impressive supporting cast did the film a lot of favors.  While my personal favorites were amongst his allies, there’s no denying that the antagonistic side was pretty strong, too.  We not only got the returning ball of fun that was Klaue, but also one of the most fully-crafted of the MCU’s villains in Erik Killmonger.  What luck that the Minimates went and paired those two!

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

Killmonger and Klaue are the other shared two-pack in the Black Panther assortment of Marvel Minimates, though, unlike yesterday’s set, these two are only available in two-pack form, either from Toys R Us or Walgreens.  There’s a close but slightly different Killmonger in the specialty-exclusive four-pack.

KILLMONGER

This Killmonger uses the Black Panther-styled design that most of the figures are going with.  It wasn’t his main design, but it’s the one he wears during the final battle, and the one with all the parallels to T’Challa, so I suppose it makes sense.  The figure stands 2 1/4 inches tall and he has 14 points of articulation.  Construction-wise, Killmonger’s got the same exact set-up as Panther, with an add-on for the mask and the clawed hands.  The suits are meant to be very similar, so this is definitely a sensible re-use.  The main tweak here is the paint, which is slightly more involved than T’Challa’s was, thanks to all the leopard print and everything.  It looks pretty solid all-around, though I do feel I should note that my figure’s face is printed off-set to the right on the mask.  Under the mask, there’s another face, depicting a pretty solid (and somewhat angry) Michael B Jordan.  Killmonger includes a new hairpiece to show off this unmasked look, as well as the usual clear display stand.

ULYSSES KLAUE

Klaue was fortunate enough to have already gotten an MCU-‘mate, thanks to his Age of Ultron appearance.  But, that was back when he had two real arms, and a Klaue with two real arms is hardly Klaue.  The figure gets add-ons for his hair, vest, and sleeve cuffs, as well as a brand-new left forearm.  The hair and vest both look to be new to this particular figure (though the vest is already slated for re-use with the Series 75 Luke Cage) and both do an okay job capturing Klaue’s look.  The hair does seem a little hat-like, but it’s not awful.  The sleeves are the same pieces that have been in use since The Spirit, and they work just as well here as anywhere.  The new left arm is definitely awesome, and adds a nice bit of unique flair to what could have been a bland guy in a suit.  Klaue’s paint is reasonable enough, though not terribly exciting.  The Serkis likeness here is about on par with the last one, just with a more excited expression, which certainly befits the character.  There’s some slight slop around the mouth, making it look like Klaue’s just had a glass of milk or something, but he’s otherwise fairly clean.  Klaue is packed with an alternate left arm with his hand in compact form and a clear display stand.

THE  ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

As with yesterday’s set, I grabbed these guys while taking advantage of Walgreens’ sale on Minimates.  I had initially just planned to grab the two exclusive sets, but I liked the look of these two in person.  While neither of them is really my favorite from the assortment, or even necessarily  my favorite version of either character, both are definitely strong figures.

Guest Review #0049: Erik Killmonger

ERIK KILLMONGER

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

Aha! I bet you didn’t expect to see me reviewing figures again? Well as it turns out, I just so happen to fill in a very specific void in Ethan’s action figure collection. That void’s name is Erik. Isn’t that a name that just inspires terror? Erik. That definitely ranks near the top of the list for imposing comic book character names: Bloodwulf, Violator, Slayback, and now Erik. What’s that? I mean, yeah, he’s got a last name too, but “Killmonger” isn’t in the least bit scary and makes him sound like an office temp, so let’s stick with Erik. Now, is Erik’s figure any good? Let’s have a look.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Erik is part of the 2018 Black Panther wave of Marvel Legends, just in time for the movie in February. Now, full honesty, I have next to no idea who Erik is in the context of the comics aside from an antagonist to T’challa, but what I do know is that I’m digging the leopard print in his suited-up look from the trailers. Rather disappointingly, this pattern doesn’t show up all that well on the figure. It’s definitely there, or at least an attempt at it, but it’s just too dark, especially on the helmet. Based on the trailers, it also seems like the patterns on his legs should be gold but they are purely sculptural with no paint. Overall, I feel like the gold in his costume is just too sparse and where it is is too dark. His helmet gets the worst of it as it kind of looks like they gave it one or two passes with a dry brush and left it at that. The gold bits on his hips also suffer from a little bit of bleed. The collar is actually a separate piece of plastic laid into the torso. It’s not detachable or loose, but it’s worth noting that is isn’t paint and therefore has a bit of a different look to the rest of the gold on Erik. There’s a lot of sculpted detail all over the figure, the extent of which makes me think he is completely new tooling but if I’m wrong I’m sure Ethan will chime in with a parenthetical. The quality of the sculpt definitely helps mitigate some of the shortcomings of the paint but doesn’t fully make up for them. The tribal-looking dotted line pattern reaches every single major piece of the figure and even some minor ones like the backs of the knees and hunching shoulders, so that’s pretty impressive. Going in the opposite direction as the paint, the head has by far the most sculpted detail. I can’t tell if the symbols on the sides of his head are meant to mean something but it does look a little like someone face-rolled an emoji keyboard and wound up with diamond ring, airplane, Notre Dame cathedral, and the Eiffel Tower. Maybe Erik has a special friend back in Paris? Why not? I’m not above baseless speculation. What’s even better about the sculpt is that it works very well in conjunction with the articulation, all 32 points of it. For a character like Erik, who, let’s face it, is functionally identical to Black Panther, poseability is pretty important and the figure delivers on that. In particular, I appreciate the inclusion of the hunching shoulders which are often reserved for Spider-Man figures. They allow for more dramatic poses, most notably any kind of leaping or lunging poses to which the figure is very well suited. In addition, thanks to Erik’s included accessories, those lunging leaping attacks can be made with either clawing hands or grasping hands so he can equip some slightly more traditional weapons. From what I can see in promo material, the short spear thing looks spot on, aside from mine being a little warped in the package. The sword is close but the one in the trailers and posters has more of a pointed tip rather than being rounded. There’s also some blade detail that’s missing from the toy, but it’s possible, and in fact quite likely that Hasbro had to come up with the tooling based on early pre-production images that don’t quite match the final cut, so I’m not mad about it. Erik also comes with the left leg to the Build-A-Figure, Okoye, but I guess there’s nothing saying he couldn’t just swing it around like some sort of weird club if you really wanted.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I’ve been kind of weirdly hyped about the Black Panther movie coming out. The titular character was easily one of my favorite parts of Captain America: Civil War, so getting a whole movie about him is just fine by me. Now, why didn’t I get a Panther figure? I actually wasn’t as big a fan of the design of the panther costume from the new figures as I was with the Civil War look. The “golden leopard” look, however, I found quite striking in both the trailer and the figure. Interestingly enough, Erik is my first and, currently, only Marvel Legends figure in my collection but I’d say he’s definitely a good one to start with, disappointing paint aside. Maybe if I’m feeling crafty I’ll see about gilding him up myself one day.