#2337: Cosmic Ghost Rider

COSMIC GHOST RIDER

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

“Supernatural powers transform Frank Castle from a force of retribution into an eternal Spirit of Vengeance.”

Ghost Rider is a character who is very influenced by current trends.  It makes sense, since he began his life in the ’70s as an attempt to cash in on motorcycle stunt acts like Evel Knievel.  In the ’90s he became a leather-clad ’90s biker, in the early ’00s he had something of an identity crisis, because stunt cyclist and bad-ass biker were apparently just too different, and then in 2013 he became a street racer because the Fast and the Furious movies were inexplicably still a thing.  While that version of the character is still running around as the main version, we’ve gotten another update.  In the wake of Marvel’s recent trend of cosmic epics and the cosmically-themed characters that populate them, now we’ve got a Cosmic Ghost Rider.  He’s Ghost Rider, he’s a herald of Galactus, and he’s Frank Castle.  Are we sure this guy isn’t another Summers brother, sporting a symbiote, and possibly from the future?  Because that would really check off all of the boxes.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Cosmic Ghost Rider is the second figure in the latest “Legendary Riders” assortment of Marvel Legends, shipping alongside yesterday’s Squirrel Girl figure.  As with the Blaze Ghost Rider that was released in the first assortment, he’s a character who makes far more sense in this particular line-up than quite a few of the figures we’ve actually gotten, what with him being rather dependent on his ride and all.  But we’ll get to that in a minute, because right now I’m talking about the main man himself.  No, not Lobo; this is the other space-faring biker with a lot of attitude and slightly outdated ’90s-isms!  Don’t confuse them!  The figure stands 6 1/2 inches tall and he has 28 points of articulation.  Compared to some of Hasbro’s more recent efforts, Cosmic Ghost Rider does feel a little on the restricted side in terms of posing.  He can manage sitting on his bike alright, so at least it’s not impacting the main look, but I found the range to be a fair bit less than I’d been expecting.  Some of that’s definitely to do with the design, however.  Cosmic Ghost Rider has one of those sort of nebulous designs (befitting his kind of ’90s throwback nature, really), where the details change-up from artist to artist.  Hasbro’s opted to use this to their advantage a little bit, allowing for a tiny bit of parts re-use.  He gets the hands, legs, and feet of the Red Onslaught Taskmaster, which are suitably sci-fi-armor-y for the character’s needs.  The legs are also the most practically poseable portion of the figure, for what it’s worth.  The rest of the sculpt is all-new, and it’s decent, but…I don’t know, it’s not quite wowing me the way I’d been hoping it would.  Nothing is outright bad or anything.  In fact there are a lot of cool elements, especially with all the little texturing littered throughout the suit.  The head is also pretty cool looking, with the helmet being removable so that you can pose the head within it.  That said, the neck joint essentially just being a cut-joint is a bit disappointing, and the post the head sits on is a little more visible than I’d like from some angles.  Despite the figure’s rather large shoulder pads, the hips still seem comparatively rather large.  It doesn’t seem to jibe with the overall look they’re going for, and ends up making him look a lot less intimidating than you’d hope.  His paintwork is at least a suitable match for the books, with his basic color scheme nicely rendered, and even a pretty solid attempt at all of his cosmic detailing as well.  Being a version of Frank Castle, Cosmic Ghost Rider would of course be totally naked without at least a few guns, so he gets two distinct space guns, each with a distinct flame effect.  And being a version of Ghost Rider, he would be totally naked without a chain, so he gets one of those too!

In addition to the guns and chain, Cosmic Ghost Ride also includes his Cosmic Ghost Ride.  It’s pretty much just a space motorcycle, because what else is this guy gonna ride?  Certainly not the scooter!  Of course, now I kinda want Ghost Rider all themed around riding that scooter.  He could even have a flaming scarf!  Now that would be a scarf to make Kamen Rider jealous!  …where was I?  Not Ghost Vespa Rider?  Well, that’s a letdown.  Darn.  Why’d I do that to myself?  So, how about this cosmic bike?  Well, it’s about 5 inches tall by 9 inches long, and unlike most of the vehicles so far in this line, it doesn’t actually have any moving parts, unless you count the tiny bit of movement on the hover stand, but I feel like that’s stretching things a bit.  Honestly, this thing’s got more in common with the Black Series Speeder Bike than it does the other Marvel vehicles, which I guess is appropriate.  There’s a little bit of assembly right out of the box to get the front “wheel” put together with its effects pieces inside.  The fully assembled product is certainly something of a centerpiece, and does a pretty respectable job of boiling down all the common design elements of the various illustrations of this thing into one concise product.  I appreciate the spots to store the guns, and how well they hold them in place; that’s a cool touch.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Full disclosure: I’ve never really gotten Cosmic Ghost Rider.  Since his introduction, everyone’s been crazy about the guy, but to me he feels like a left over idea from the mid-90s, and not in a particularly good way.  He’s the sort of thing you expect to see lots of ball-point-pen drawings of on the lined paper of some kid’s spiral bound notebook in class.  So I’m not really all about him, and I’ll admit that’s probably colored my opinion of this set just a little bit.  Ultimately, if you like the concept, this might hold your interest more than me.  In my case?  Well, it’ll look fine on the shelf, where I’ll only passingly glance at it from time to time and remember its shame.  And also remember that this set somehow ended up far easier to acquire than the WW2 Cap set.  For shame!

Cosmic Ghost Rider was purchased from my friends All Time Toys, where he is currently in stock here.  Don’t let my apathy scare you off, though, I just like ruining people’s good time.  If you’re looking for cool toys both old and new, please check out their website and their eBay Store.

#2336: The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl

THE UNBEATABLE SQUIRREL GIRL

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

“With super squirrel powers and help from her three squirrel friends, the astonishing Doreen Green battles the baddest baddies in the universe!”

When she originally appeared in 1991, I don’t think anyone expected that Squirrel Girl would become a character that had *multiple* action figures, but here in 2020, we live in a world where that’s totally a thing.  Not only is Squirrel Girl a Marvel Legend, but she’s even based on her solo comic series…because again, that’s totally thing.  I guess in a comics world where Deadpool tops a lot of people’s lists, another irreverent hero isn’t the worst thing to be, allowing for the previously incredibly niche Doreen Green to find a nice little audience.  Hey, if it gets me a Squirrel Girl figure, I won’t complain.  Okay, I’m gonna complain a little, but there’s more context to it than that.  Let’s just jump into the review.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Squirrel Girl is a little difficult to slot into one of Hasbro’s already established sub-sets of Legends assortment themes, so for this release they opted to bump up her accessory component a bit and place her in the fifth assortment of the “Legendary Riders” sub-line.  This release opts for Doreen’s redesigned costume from her 2014 solo series, and, if I’m honest, that did take the wind out of my sails ever so slightly on this figure.  I don’t *hate* the design, mind you, but I can’t really say it’s my favorite, and being a fan of the character largely from her time with the Great Lakes Avengers, I was sort of hoping for that look.  That said, this look has had a fair bit of coverage, and it’s current, making it a wise choice from a marketing standpoint.  That won’t stop me from hoping we get the other costume down the line, though.  The figure stands about 5 3/4 inches tall and she has 29 points of articulation.  Squirrel Girl uses the Spider-Girl body as a starting point, but ultimately only ends up using the lower arms and mid legs from that figure.  Everything else is new, and for the most part pretty nicely rendered.  The multi-part costume looks sufficiently like real clothes, and the tail is actually sculpted in such a way that it doesn’t make her impossible to stand on her own, which is certainly a plus.  I’m not sure why the opted to give her two open gesture hands when she’s meant for a vehicle, but at least they aren’t fists, so you can at least fake that she’s holding those handle bars.  The head is the part of the figure I take the most issue with.  In part, this is due to the head having to adhere to the modern design, meaning it gets the headband with the ears, which I’m not big on.  Beyond that, though, she also runs into some issues of trying to adapt a cartoony design into a realistic figure.  They’ve tried to replicate one of her goofier expressions into a real-world look, and the end result is…well, it’s weird looking.  Max described it as looking “like she just smelled a fart” and I can’t really argue with that assessment.  It’s not the worst thing, but it’s just odd looking.  I think something a little tamer, or perhaps even a head that just actually went a little cartoonier would make for a better final product.  The paintwork on Squirrel Girl is pretty solid.  They make the shades of brown and grey that make up most of her look not totally drab and boring, and the application is all nice and clean.  There’s also some pretty decent accenting going on, which we don’t tend to see much of these days.  I can certainly appreciate that.

Squirrel Girl has a multitude of extras, the biggest being her scooter, which lets her fit that whole “Riders” theme of the line.  Like Black Widow and Deadpool, it’s not an item by which she’s really defined, and is more an excuse to fit her into this assortment.  That said, it’s not completely out of the ordinary for the character, so it’s not the worst thing.  It’s 4 inches tall by 5 inches deep, and it’s got working wheels.  Sculpturally, it’s the same as the scooter that was included with Deadpool last year, just with a basket added to the front to hide the DP symbol that was on the front.  It was a pretty solid sculpt the first time around, and it is still cool here.  I do have to chuckle a little bit to myself about looking back on that old review, where I noted that DP scooter had less re-use potential than Widow’s bike, given that the scooter has been used twice now, and the bike hasn’t.  Oh well.  This is honestly the better vehicle sculpt.  This iteration of the scooter keeps its removable horn for the handlebar, which is a fun little piece.  Also included in this set are three different squirrels.  Presumably, the one with with bow is supposed be Tippy Toe (though she should be grey for true accuracy), and the other two are Monkey Joe and Mr. Lieberman, though which is which is really your call.  The three can all fit into the basket on the front of the scooter, though depending on your configuration of them, it can be a little snug.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I’ve been of mixed emotions about this set since it was shown off, and I’m still of mixed emotions after getting it in hand.  With that said, the final product is better than I’d expected it to be, even after looking at it in package.  This Squirrel Girl may not be exactly the one I wanted, and I may not be jumping up and down for joy at getting it, but it is better than nothing.  I’m still holding out hope for her other costume down the line (since they can re-use a number of this figure’s new parts), but until then, I suppose this one is fine.

Squirrel Girl was purchased from my friends All Time Toys, where she is currently in stock here If you’re looking for cool toys both old and new, please check out their website and their eBay Store.

 

#2003: Professor X

PROFESSOR X

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

“Professor Charles Xavier, better known as Professor X, is a highly gifted telepath and scientific genius who develops the Cerebro device to aid in the ability to control and manipulate psionic abilities.”

Professor X is a character that doesn’t seem outwardly like he’d make for a lot of really good action figures, but he sure does have quite a few.  I guess naming the team after yourself is a good way to make yourself essential to a line-up.  It helps that toy companies have actually gotten pretty decent at squeezing some cool concepts out of his figures.  Despite their usual knack for adding interesting touches to their figures, the original Toy Biz Marvel Legends Xavier, is one of his less thrilling toy entries, not doing much to move past his “bald guy in a suit sitting in a wheelchair.”  He was also released 14 years ago, so it seems like a good time for an update, especially with all these X-Men Legends we’ve been getting lately!  Fortunately, Hasbro was more than happy to deliver that update.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Professor X is the second figure in the third series of the Legendary Riders sub-line of Marvel Legends.  The “rider” tag seems like a *little* bit more of a stretch for Xavier, but becomes more sensible when you take into account that Hasbro’s gone with the ’90s hoverchair version of the character.  The actual basic figure on his own stands 6 1/4 inches tall and has 30 points of articulation.  He’s built on the basic suited body, which is a sensible choice for Xavier, what with him tending to be a guy in a suit and all.  I’ll admit, I’m still hoping to see his tactical jumpsuit from the ’90s, but there’s no denying this is the more distinctive look, and it’s a lot of re-use, which I’m sure Hasbro was fond of.  Xavier has a new head and hands, both of which are well tailored to the body.  The head’s perhaps a little more on the cartoony side than I was expecting, especially given the general Jim Lee-inspired nature of this figure and the others he’s meant to go with.  With that said, after getting him in hand, I don’t mind the appearance so much, though I can understand why it’s not for everyone.  I do really like the new hands, though, and they’re just pure classic Xavier poses.  Xavier’s suit is green, a new color for this mold, with a stylish blue and black striped tie, just like he used to sport on the animated series.  But enough about the main figure.  Though he may be the title item, he’s not the main selling point here.  No, that would be his hoverchair.  Introduced in the ’90s as a more hi-tech replacement for the wheelchair in which he’d spent three decades, the hoverchair was really only at the forefront of the comics during the ’90s.  Of course, the X-Men were at the height of their popularity, and they got a cartoon, meaning the chair is the go-to look for Xavier for a whole bunch of fans.  It’s also got a little bit of that “one that got away” thing going for it; Toy Biz’s Xavier was originally supposed to have its own version, but it was cut from the release when they decided to offer Galactus as a Build-A-Figure.  In the 14 years since, we’ve been patiently waiting to finally see it show up in this scale.  Hasbro previously offered up this design at a smaller scale as part of their Marvel Universe line, but since he was offered as a standard figure, the chair was rather downsized and compressed.  This time, a focus has been placed on making the chair as accurately proportioned as possible.  It’s split down the middle in the package, but assembles easily enough, and stays together once assembled.  The sculpt is cleanly defined, with a nice, mechanized fixture appearance on the outside, and a nice stitched-leather looking interior.  Additionally, the armrests slide open, in a similar fashion to the old TB 5-inch figure, giving us a view of a pair of hidden consoles.  In order to simulate his hovering, the chair has a little exhaust effect piece that plugs into the bottom, keeping it stably held aloft.  Xavier slides into the chair without much fuss, and can be easily removed, so you’ve got your options.  The figure and the chair is a pretty impressive package already, but this set also includes a few more extras.  There’s always a threat of Xavier’s legs getting cold in a big metal chair like this, so to fight off that cold, he’s got himself a blanket.  It’s something that always accompanied the chair in the comics, and in this case it slips over Xavier’s legs to help hold him in place when in the chair.  Also included is Xavier’s Cerebro helmet, along with a clip-on effect piece for added dynamics.  Lastly, following the “accent another figure” trend that Hasbro’s gotten so into recently, there’s also a head included for Xavier’s long-time foe, Amahl Farouk, better known as the Shadow King.  It’s designed to fit the body of the recent Kingpin BaF, and it’s a pretty pitch-perfect fit.  It captures his design well, and I really dig those removable glasses.  I do sort of wish I had an extra Kingpin figure now, though.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I’ve been waiting for this figure for 14 years.  I still have the TB figure, but only because I bought him to finish my Galactus.  He’s never stayed up on the shelf, and he certainly hasn’t had a spot with all the Hasbro figures.  I’ve always been partial to the hoverchair look, and I was definitely looking to see it done proper justice.  I’m happy to say this release undeniably does it that justice.  He’ll be a nice centerpiece for the ever growing ’90s X-Men figures to be sure.  Throw in a pretty sweet Shadow King head, and you’ve got another winning set.

Like yesterday’s Deadpool, this set was purchased from my friends at All Time Toys.  He’s currently out of stock, but they’ll be getting him back in soon. And, if you’re looking for other toys both old and new, please check out their website and their eBay storefront.

#2002: Deadpool Corps Scooter

DEADPOOL CORPS SCOOTER

MARVEL LEGENDS: LEGENDARY RIDERS (HASBRO)

“Vroom vroom, baby.  It is I, Deadpool, and my merry heard of fluffy-tailed friends. All aboard, dirty-pawed brethren!  It’s ride-off-into-the-sunset time.”

It’s been exactly 200 reviews since I did my last Deadpool-centric review.  Time for another one?  Might as well be.  So, why a Deadpool review?  Well, let’s put some context on this one: just a little over a year ago, Hasbro launched the Legendary Riders sub-set of their popular Marvel Legends line.  It’s focus is, as you might expect, on providing some of their Legends with their rides.  Deadpool is just one of the lucky ones to get focussed on for this last go-round.  But, it’s not just Deadpool all by his lonesome, he’s bringing some of his Deadpool Corps teammates with him!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Since his re-appearance in the Juggernaut Series, there have been no shortage of Deadpool figures in Hasbro’s Legends line-up.  Just last year, he got four separate 6-inch releases.  Now he’s gotten one more.  This one’s another go at a default Deadpool, though he’s wearing a different derivation of his costume than the Juggernaut or Sasquatch Series releases.  This one goes back to Deadpool’s appearance from around the mid-00s, right about when his popularity really started to spike.  This is most clearly denoted by the y-shaped harness that he sported at the time, which is also seen on this figure.  I’m not as big a fan of this particular look, but it’s been a few years since it got a Legends release, and at least it’s something different.  The figure stands 6 1/4 inches tall and has 32 points of articulation.  As you might expect, he’s largely made up of re-used parts.  The bulk of the figure uses the same construction as the Juggernaut Series release, though he swaps out the harness piece for the one from the 2008 figure.  That figure was built on the Bullseye body, so the harness isn’t a perfect fit, but it’s close enough that it doesn’t look out of place on this figure.  The one new contribution here is the head, which is stylistically consistent with the prior DP head, but now depicts his eyes wide-open, and his mouth clearly agape under the mask.  It suits the incredibly goofy nature of this entire set very well, and I think it may well be my favorite of Hasbro’s Deadpool heads.  Deadpool’s paint work is a bit of a conundrum.  On it’s own, it’s a nice paint job.  It’s clean and bright, and suits the character well.  So, what’s the problem?  It doesn’t match either the dark red of the Juggernaut Deadpool or the exceedingly bright red of the Sauron Series Deadpools, meaning that there’s no way to swap the various expressions between the figures.  It’s a definite missed opportunity if you ask me.  Deadpool is armed with a pair of katana, which he can stow in the sheaths on his back.  They’re gold instead of the usual silver, which is a nice change of pace.

THE VEHICLE ITSELF

Deadpool may not be defined by his ride, but the image of him looking super goofy while riding around on an appropriately color-matched vespa has become fairly common place in the cultural lexicon, and is a sensible choice here.  It measures 4 inches tall by about 5 inches long.  It’s got working wheels and can properly steer, and all that jazz.  It’s also got a working kickstand to keep it upright most of the time.  The sculpt is actually really nicely handled.  The shaping is clean and sharp, and everything flows together quite well.  It’s also a very unique looking item, with less re-use potential than Widow’s cycle had.  It also doesn’t have the obvious screws that the cycle had, which I count as a very definite plus in this vehicle’s favor.  The scooter has it’s own specific accessory, a little horn to mount on the handle bars.  It also includes a sheet of stickers for customization, but I don’t see myself using that much.  The most important extras, though, aren’t for the scooter, but instead accent the included Deadpool.  We get figurines of both Dogpool and Squirrelpool.  Dogpool is articulated at the arms and neck, and can be mounted on the scooter.  Squirrelpool is unarticulated, but can be placed on Dogpool’s back.  Also included is an extra head, for a figure that’s not even in this set.  Whose head is it?  Why it’s only Deadpool’s bestest sidekick ever, Bob: Agent of Hydra!  It’s perfectly matched the standard Hydra Trooper from the Agents of Hydra two-pack, which is still quite readily available, making this a rather ingenious extra.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Okay, so, admittedly, this set wasn’t at the top of my list or anything when it was shown off, because it was shown off at the same time as the outwardly more impressive Professor X.  Also, I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t a little worn out on Deadpool.  That being said, I did used to be a fan back in the day, and the confirmation of the extra head for Bob really swayed me quite a bit.  Plus, I was also getting an Xavier, and I felt compelled to grab them both at once.  I’m actually really happy I did.  This is probably the best package deal of all the vehicle sets.  You get a solid, unique variant of a main character, a quite well-crafted vehicle, and a bunch of fun little extra characters.  I dig it.  I dig it quite a bit.

This set was purchased from my friends at All Time Toys, and it’s currently available from their store, here. And, if you’re looking for other toys both old and new, please check out their website and their eBay storefront.

#0318: The Thing – 1st Appearance

THE THING – 1ST APPEARANCE

MARVEL LEGENDS

Thing1st1

Following Toybiz’s venture into the 6-inch scale with Spider-Man Classics, they quickly launched a more general series of figures based on the larger Marvel universe, dubbed Marvel Legends. The Thing initially appeared in the second series of the line, but that figure suffered from slightly odd proportions, and was before Toybiz had quite figured out how to articulate larger characters. Once they got into the swing of things, they saw fit to give the Thing a second shot! Let’s see how that turned out!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Thing1stWilsonThe Thing was released as part of the Legendary Riders series of Toybiz’s Marvel Legends, which was the 11th series of the line. He’s just over 6 inches in height and features 36 points of articulation. The Thing has been dubbed 1st Appearance, though he’s better described as “early appearance.” He’s based on Jack Kirby’s early renditions of Ben, prior to the character taking on his more widely known rocky appearance. Interesting tidbit about the figure: while he’s based on Jack Kirby’s work, he was actually designed by prominent artist Art Adams, who did a fair bit of Toybiz around the time. The Thing features a completely unique sculpt. It’s one of Toybiz’s better sculpts from this line, and it’s actually aged pretty well, which is more than can be said for the majority of Marvel Legends. Ben has a truly unique build that sets him apart from the rest of the line, and the figure is really nicely detailed. It’s not all perfect, though. The feet are a little on the flat side, looking not unlike flippers, and the scale pattern on the upper torso is just a little too regular, which makes it look just a bit off. The Thing features pretty top-quality paintwork. He’s been molded in orange, with several different accents added to bring out the sculpt. It’s pretty great and really makes the figure’s sculpt pop. The theme of the “Legendary Riders” series was each figure included a vehicle of some sort. A lot of these vehicles were rather forced, but Ben’s wasn’t too bad. He comes with his hover cycle, which he was known to ride around on from time to time. The cycle come packaged in six pieces, and is pretty easily put together. In addition, Thing includes a reprint on Fantastic Four #1 and a Thing card from the VS System card game.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

The Thing is a figure I passed on at the time of initial release. I’m not sure why, if I’m honest.  I’ve always liked Ben, and this is a pretty great figure of him. Regardless, I ended up picking him up from my local comicbook store, Cosmic Comix, a few weeks ago when they purchased someone’s Marvel Legends collection. He was only $10, which is a great price for a figure in this scale nowadays. I’m glad I finally got the figure, and he may well be my favorite version of the character in this scale.

Thing1st2