#3279: Red Skull

RED SKULL

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

“The Red Skull sets his HYDRA forces against the Allies’ lone super-soldier, Captain Margaret “Peggy” Carter.”

What If…? provides us with alternate designs and looks for a good number of Marvel characters, but it also relies on pre-established designs for an even greater host of them, given that things are meant to only be diverging at one specific point and all.  For the most part, the characters who don’t change aren’t really in need of new figures, since, well, they don’t change.  Red Skull, for instance, serves as the main antagonist of the premiere episode, but is sporting a look that’s not changed from his The First Avenger appearance.  So, he doesn’t *need* another figure.  But, umm, he got one anyway?  Just go with it, guys.  It’s another Red Skull.  And it’s maybe not bad.  Let’s give it a try.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Red Skull is figure 6 in the Khonshu Series of Marvel Legends.  He’s the last of the What If…? based figures, and the single figures in general (since I’m not reviewing the Zombie Iron Man, what with him not having a BaF piece and all).  He’s seen here in his long-jacketed look, which has gotten Legends treatment once before, albeit as a con-exclusive.  The figure stands 6 1/4 inches tall and he has 30 points of articulation.  From the neck down, this figure is the same sculpt as the SDCC figure from 2018 (which itself has arms and legs in common with the standard retail version).  It makes sense, since it’s supposed to be the same design in-universe, and the parts didn’t get much use.  It does mean that he’s still got visible pins on the elbows and knees, but it’s not the end of the world.  I myself never got to mess with the SDCC figure, so I dig getting another shot at the mold, and honestly find myself preferring this mold to the standard release.  This release gets a new head, which is a little more dialed into the animated design for Red Skull.  The more movie-based look wasn’t *bad*, but I think the nature of the design didn’t translate quite so well on the last two figures.  The more animated one, with its slightly more pronounced features, works a little better in toy form, I think.  The color work on this guy is a lot of black and red, which is what you expect.  The face gets a lot of accenting, somewhat simulating the shading from the show, and helping to sell the details of the sculpt.  Red Skull is packed with the Tesseract, as well as the right arm of the Khonshu Build-A-Figure.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I had the standard Ten Years Red Skull, which isn’t a bad figure, but was never my preferred look from the film.  The SDCC figure was harder to find, so I just made due.  Over the years, I’ve gotten a little iffy on the head sculpt used for them, so I was actually pretty happy to see this one.  Sure, he’s not an essential release, and he only very loosely fits the What If…? theme, but he’s still a lot of fun, and certainly the best MCU Red Skull to date.

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.

#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.

#3277: Zombie Scarlet Witch

ZOMBIE SCARLET WITCH

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

“Infected by the zombie virus sweeping the globe, Wanda Maximoff is kept in captivity by her former lover, the Vision.”

What If…? was, admittedly, a bit of a mixed bag, and its central episode, “What If…Zombies?” was a pretty good microcosm of the show as a whole.  There’s some good stuff in there, but it doesn’t really seem to stick the landing on its potential.  One of the things I did rather enjoy in the episode was its Vision and Scarlet Witch sub-plot, which was darkly touching in its own way.  We’ve thus far only gotten one Legends Zombie, Zombie Captain America, but Wanda’s joining the party with her own figure, which I’m taking a look at today!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Zombie Scarlet Witch is figure 3 in the Khonshu Series of Marvel Legends.  She’s one of four What If…? figures, and one of two Zombies in this line-up, specifically, the other being Iron Man.  The figure stands 6 1/2 inches tall (thanks to all of the crazy hair) and she has 29 points of articulation.  Since the point of deviation in “What If…Zombies?” was right before Infinity War, the Avengers are all wearing whatever gear they had at that point in the movies.  That means Wanda was still sporting her Civil War era costume at the time of her zombification, and, by extension, this figure makes use of the Civil War sculpt.  She gets a new head, arms, and jacket add-on piece.  The original sculpt was pretty strong, so it’s a good starting point for a new figure.  The new parts mesh pretty nicely, and they’re actually pretty fun.  The head sculpt is particularly dynamic, and just really changes the whole look of the figure, bringing her more in line with the more energetic design scheme we saw with the Zombie Captain America.  The new arms not only give her double elbows and swivels at the shoulders, but they also do the pinless construction, which is a bit sleeker.  I also dig the damage to the jacket, both on the sleeves and on the actual jacket piece.  The figure’s paint work is pretty decently handled, with a bright and bold color layout, as well as some really impressive accenting, especially notable on the jacket piece.  The tear on the pants is only painted, which is pretty goofy looking up close, but it’s just the one spot, so it ends up working out alright.  Zombie Scarlet Witch is packed with a pair of magic effects for the wrists, as well as the left leg to the Khonshu Build-A-Figure.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Zombie Cap was a surprise success for me in the first What If…? assortment, so with that in mind, I was a little more excited by additional Zombies.  Iron Man didn’t prove different enough for me to justify grabbing him, but I really liked the look of Wanda as a prototype.  She’s a fair bit of re-use, but it’s good re-use, and it results in another rather fun Zombie variant.  As much as I wasn’t enamored by the episode, I do quite like the figures that came out of it.

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.

#3274: He-Who-Remains

HE-WHO-REMAINS

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

“A ruler. A conqueror. Creator of all. Controller of all. At the end, it is only HE Who Remains.”

Loki was full of a lot of things that would influence the greater MCU moving forward, and at the top of that list was the introduction of Jonathan Majors as He-Who-Remains, our first official Variant of Kang the Conqueror, the antagonist who’s set to serve as the MCU’s next big threat.  Appearing in Loki‘s season finale, He-Who-Remains is definitely a different sort of take on the character, who’s clearly got some Immortus leanings to him, as well as being merged with He-Who-Remains from the comics, who is, notably, not Kang at all.  Obviously, this guy’s not going to be our main Kang going forward, but he’s an interesting look at the frazzled, somewhat crazed man at the end of time.  And, hey, he’s got an action figure.  Let’s take a look at that, shall we?

THE FIGURE ITSELF

He-Who-Remains is figure 4 in the Khonshu Series of Marvel Legends.  He’s the second Loki-themed figure, following up on Classic Loki, as well as our fifth overall Loki figure in the line.  He’s also our second figure of an incarnation of Kang in the modern Legends, as well as the first figure of Jonathan Majors in the role.  The figure stands about 6 1/4 inches tall and he has 27 points of articulation.  He-Who-Remains’ articulation scheme is a little restricted by his design, but generally makes the most of it.  As with a lot of slightly more restricted figures, the character isn’t incredibly agile during his appearance on the show, so he’s certainly capable of doing pretty much whatever he needs to.  The only real downside to it all is that he can’t really lounge about the way he did in the show.  He-Who-Remains gets an all-new sculpt, based on his attire in the show.  His look definitely brings him closer to the Immortus side of things than the Kang side (and the initial concept even took it further by adding Immortus’s usual head gear), so he’s without anything particularly tactical.  He’s definitely far more for lounging about, which offsets pretty well with the TVA’s more bureaucratic design theming.  The sculpt does a pretty respectable job of capturing his look in plastic form.  His likeness is a good match for Jonathan Majors, and his expression is a bit lighter, which fits He-Who-Remains’ temperament in the show, and means that he’ll be different from the inevitable Kang figure.  The body sculpt captures his attire well, with decent hang and weight to all the drape-y stuff.  Some of the smaller details are a touch on the softer side, but I do really dig the embroidery on the shoulders.  The one area where the figure slightly falls is the paint.  It’s definitely not bad, just a bit lacking on the outfit.  He’s very bright, and there’s a lot of molded plastic without accenting, which looks a little too plasticky for his show look.  It really hits the robe hardest, since all that purple just ends up losing a lot of the sculpted detailing.  The other areas aren’t quite as bad, and the face in particular looks quite lifelike.  I also really dig the obsidian plate on his left hand, with its brightly colored veins.  He-Who-Remains is packed with his apple, which is a pretty distinctive item from his episode, and adds to our ever growing array of Legends foods.  He’s also got the head to the Khonshu Build-A-Figure.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I’ll be totally honest, I didn’t have the highest opinion of the Loki finale.  After building up a ton of momentum, we spent an hour in a room with three people talking.  It wasn’t *bad*…but it did feel a little anti-climactic.  That said, I liked getting a preview of Kang, as well as the little nods to Immortus and Kang’s other incarnations.  It’s also a pretty unique design, and I’ve got all the other Loki figures, so it’s hard to pass that up.  This guy’s decent.  Not breaking the mold, and not my favorite, but he does what he needs to, and he looks pretty cool on the shelf.

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.

#3273: Classic Loki

CLASSIC LOKI

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

The epitome of Loki potential! Powerful, carefree, and mischievous, this Loki’s decisions led to a long life, but that didn’t come without its own baggage.”

One of the coolest parts of Loki, which was admittedly a show with a lot of cool parts, was the introduction of “Variants”, or alternate timeline versions of characters we’ve seen before.  After introducing us to Sylvie, the main Loki’s distaff counterpart, the show took things even further as the season progressed, with a whole host of different Lokis.  Amongst them was “Classic Loki”, portrayed by Richard E. Grant, who is, for all intents and purposes, just a straight adaptation of Loki as he appeared in the comics in the ’60s.  He’s a rather glorious adaptation of the character, with a rather glorious focus and send-off, and now he’s also got an action figure.  Is it glorious?  Let’s find out!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Classic Loki is figure 2 in the Khonshu Series of Marvel Legends.  He’s one of two Loki figures in this line-up, joining up with the other three we’d gotten up to this point in the main line.  Classic Loki is the first of the secondary variants of Loki to get figure treatment, but hopefully some of the others aren’t too far behind.  The figure stands 6 1/4 inches tall and he has 30 points of articulation.  This figure’s articulation scheme is surprisingly rudimentary, especially given where the line’s been headed recently.  It’s not terrible, or anything, and he does get that nifty pinless construction on the elbows and knees, which is always fun.  That said, the other movement is a little awkward, and the joint construction is a little out of date.  The waist is really where it gets hit the worst, with the flat swivel waist looking rather odd, and the hips not being even remotely worked in.  All that being said, the articulation is still generally workable, once you get used to it.  Classic Loki’s sculpt is all-new for this figure, and apart from the awkward articulation layout I mentioned above, it’s honestly pretty strong.  It matches well with the design seen on the show, and I quite like the way they weave the comics elements in with their real world equivalents.  He gets two different head sculpts, one sullen, and the other grinning.  Both of them sport a spot-on likeness of Grant in the role, and grant the figure quite a bit of versatility for posing.  Classic Loki’s color work is quite nicely handled; while his costume in the show stuck to his comics counterpart’s stark green and yellow coloring, it was also rather grimy and worn-in.  The figure has some decent accenting on the yellow sections, which makes him look appropriately disheveled.  Classic Loki is packed with a spare set of hands with magic effects, as well as extra magic effects for the wrists.  He’s also packed with the right leg to the Khonshu Build-A-Figure.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

The Loki variants were such a fun concept, and really showcase the high point of the show for me.  Classic Loki in particular was just a treat to watch, especially given how satisfying an arc he was given, even just in his single episode of focus.  I wasn’t sure we’d be seeing a figure any time soon, since he’s so similar the classic comic Loki from the Retro line.  I was definitely happy about his inclusion here.  His articulation’s a little wonky, but beyond that, I actually do really like the figure a lot.

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.

#3272: Agent Jimmy Woo

AGENT JIMMY WOO

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

Agent Jimmy Woo arrives in Westview to investigate the strange energy field surrounding the town.”

Jimmy Woo is a character with quite a backstory in the comics.  He predates Marvel’s boom in the Silver Age, first appearing as the hero of the antagonist-titled espionage series Yellow Claw, which saw him facing off against a yellow peril villain who was, surprisingly, neither the Fu Manchu, nor the Mandarin.  Yellow Claw ran only four issues in 1956-1957, but was remembered for being a surprisingly positive portrayal of an Asian-American hero.  Jimmy would resurface in the ’60s when he was made an Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D., a spot he’d stay in for most of his comics career.  He got a starring role again in Agents of Atlas, which reunited the ’50s Avengers, a team of heroes from Marvel’s pre-Silver Age days, with Jimmy as the team’s leader.  Jimmy’s introduction to the MCU came not as a S.H.I.E.L.D. Agent, or leading the Agents of Atlas, but instead as the FBI Agent assigned to Scott Lang in Ant-Man and the Wasp, before he was given a rather sizable (and quite redeemable) role in WandaVision.  He’s poised to do even more in the MCU, which is definitely fun, but the most important thing is that he’s got an action figure, which I’m taking a look at today.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Agent Jimmy Woo is figure 1 in the Khonshu Series of Marvel Legends, which is the fourth Disney+ centric assortment of Legends.  It’s sort of an oddball mix of everything.  Jimmy is the only WandaVision figure in the mix, and the first one since the Wanda and Vision we got back in the first D+ series.  The figure stands just over 6 inches tall and he has 30 points of articulation.  He uses the Coulson body as his starting point, with a new head, arms, and an add-on for the jacket piece.  The old and new mesh pretty well, making for a figure that’s pretty cohesive, and a good match for Jimmy’s WandaVision appearance.  The head sculpt sports a rather spot-on likeness of actor Randall Park, complete with his slightly goofy smile that he’s always sporting as Jimmy.  The new jacket and arms give him a slightly more informal field jacket, which is a nice change of pace for the suited bodies.  The arms get the updated construction without the pins on the elbows, which is certainly a plus, and they lack the weird, oddly balanced split with the elbow movement that the other arms for this body had.  Jimmy’s color scheme is rather on the subdued side, as is accurate to the source material.  It’s largely molded plastic, but there’s some nice accent detailing on the jacket, as well as a quite nicely executed printing for the face.  Jimmy includes his FBI badge on a sculpted chain, as well as an alternate left hand holding his business card, which he has presumably just close-up-magicked out of his sleeve, like in the show.  It’s a small, but incredibly cool touch.  He also includes the left arm and staff to the Khonshu Build-A-Figure.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Jimmy’s one of those characters that, even going back to his comic appearances, I never expected to get an action figure of.  Given his MCU incarnation is even less classically toyetic, I really wasn’t expecting to see him.  I was pleasantly surprised by his announcement for this assortment.  He’s an unexpectedly well-done figure, thanks to the commitment to detail.  The likeness is really strong, and the extra hand with the business card really sells it.

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.

#3258: Silk

SILK

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

“Bitten by the same radioactive spider that gave Peter Parker his powers, Cindy Moon develops spider powers of her own and soon takes on the role of Silk!”

Marvel’s Original Sin cross-over from 2014 was one with a few lasting changes, none of them particularly huge status quo shifts, or anything, but notable none the less.  It officially added Neil Gaiman’s Angela to the Marvel universe by revealing her to be Thor and Loki’s long-lost sister, came up with a convincing way to write out the original Nick Fury so that his son, Nick Jr, who happens to more closely resemble the Samuel L Jackson version of the character, could replace him, and, most relevantly for today’s review, revealed that the spider that bit Peter Parker had also bitten his classmate Cindy Moon, giving Cindy her own set of abilities.  Cindy was worked back into the mainstream universe during the battle with Morlun and his family the Inheritors, having been hidden away for years to keep her protected.  She was given the codename Silk, and spun (heh) off on her own, though she does find her way back to the main Spidey book from time to time for cross overs.  Silk’s actually been pretty fortunate in terms of raw numbers when it comes to toy coverage, though perhaps a little bit less so when it comes to actual distribution.  It’s okay, though, because I finally got one.  So, let’s look at Silk!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Silk is an part of an Amazon-exclusive Marvel Legends two-pack, which was released under the “60 Amazing Years” banner that’s celebrating Spider-Man’s anniversary. The other half of the set was a Doc Ock, which is just a slight adjustment on his figure from back in 2018. This Silk marks her third time in Legends form, following two solo releases.  This one is based on Cindy’s most recent look, which sports shorter hair, and a slightly more vibrant color palette.  It’s honestly my favorite of her looks thus far, so that works for me.  The figure stands about 6 1/4 inches tall and it has 29 points of articulation.  Silk’s largely built using the same patchwork body as Spinneret, which, apart from the ever evolving ports on the back of the torso, is honestly a pretty solid base body, and certainly a good match foe Silk’s usual depictions in the comics.  It’s also a good deal more posable than her last two figures, which feels more appropriate for a web-slinger.  Silk gets a brand-new head sculpt, and it’s honestly the nicest sculpt she’s gotten to date.  It’s certainly the first one to really capture her Korean heritage, which is definitely a plus, and I really like the more naturalistic approach to the detailing, as well as the ever so slight windswept look to her hair.  It’s enough to look somewhat dynamic, without looking too crazy.  Silk’s color work is based on the bolder palette of her newer design, so she’s definitely got some visual pop.  The application is generally pretty cleanly handled; there’s a little bit of slop on the edges of the white sections, but it’s pretty minor.  The head does quite well, with the printing for the eyes looking quite lifelike, and the subtle blue accenting on the hair really bringing out the sculpted details.  The figure is packed with an alternate unmasked head for Cindy, with a corresponding pulled down mask piece, as well as three pairs of hands (fists, gripping, and open gesture) and an extra right hand with a web effect.  It’s quite a nice selection of extras, and covers pretty much all of the bases.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Silk’s introduction was, admittedly, a little clumsy (something even her creator Dan Slott has admitted in recent years), but she got better pretty quickly, and she’s been a pivotal character to a couple of Spider-cross-overs since.  I missed out on her first figure because that wave showed up effectively nowhere, and her second because I just underestimated how quickly it would sell.  I was poised to miss this one, too, since I didn’t really need another Doc Ock, but I was fortunate to get just Silk on her own when one got traded into All Time.  She’s actually quite a lot of fun, and getting this version makes me kind of glad I missed the other two.

#3253: Ghost Rider

GHOST RIDER

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

“Wielding supernatural abilities and weapons from the back of his flaming motorcycle, Ghost Rider roams the mortal world as the Spirit of Vengeance.”

I don’t review enough Ghost Rider stuff around here.  I probably should review more.  Honestly, It’s kind of crazy how the last two Ghost Rider reviews I wrote were in 2020 and 2019, and were neither one a “standard” rider.  In the fallout of the Engine of Vengence Haslab not making it, there’s at least a tiny glimmer of Ghost Rider hope out there.  Since it’s the character’s 50th anniversary and all this year, we’ve got a few small offerings to tie-in, including today’s focus, which is a Legends release that throws back to Toy Biz’s line from the ’90s…sort of.  I’ll get to that.  Let’s check him out!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Ghost Rider is a standalone Fan Channel release for Hasbro’s Marvel Legends line.  He was initially slated for a March 2023 release, but like a lot of items recently, he moved up considerably on the timeline, starting to hit in November.  He’s the first figure to sport the retro Ghost Rider packaging, though time will tell if there will be more going forward.  Though the packaging may be retro, the figure in the packaging doesn’t really directly correspond to any particular figure from the old toy line. Instead, he’s kind of an amalgamated sort of design, which ultimately makes him actually more of a throw back to the very first Legends Ghost Rider.  The figure stands about 6 1/2 inches tall and he has 30 points of articulation, which still includes that awesome moving jaw.  This guy’s a complete parts re-use of the Rhino Series Ghost Rider, who was himself using a good number of parts from the A.I.M. Soldier.  The whole thing’s been re-used once before, for the first Legendary Riders release of the character.  It’s a very good classic Ghost Rider sculpt, and one that still holds up really well even 7 years after its initial release.  Some of the articulation’s a little bit stiff, but for the character, it all works pretty well.  This release changes up the color scheme a bit; while the last two releases both stuck rather closely to the ’70s color scheme, this one sort of merges that look with Danny Ketch’s usual color layout, by going for a more straight black on the jacket, and grey for the pants.  The skull is now far starker white compared to the flames around it, and we even get the appropriate paint work to show off the bones of his neck.  The Rhino Series Ghost Rider was notably without any extras beyond the Build-A-Figure piece, but this one gets a fair number of extras, adding in the chain whip from the Riders release, plus two flame effects for the arms, and an all-new alternate head and hands (sculpted by Paul Harding).  The new head depicts Johnny mid-transformation, which is a ton of fun, and the new hands show off his skeleton hands sans gloves.  It makes for some really fun posing options.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I passed on the Riders version of Ghost Rider because I was content with the first release of the mold and didn’t feel like I needed a re-paint.  I was initially planning to do the same with this guy, but then I saw all the new parts he came with, and rethought it.  The prior version still remains my definitive, but boy are the extras a lot of fun on this one.  It really takes him to the next level.  Now, can we please get a proper Danny Ketch?

Thanks to my sponsors at All Time Toys for setting me up with this figure for review.  If you’re looking for toys both old and new, please check out their website.

#3252: Beast

BEAST

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

“Dr. Henry McCoy, the gentle giant of the X-Men, uses his mutant physicality and genius mind for the betterment of humans and mutants alike.”

Back in 2019, Marvel Legends was taking its first real stabs towards completing the core ’90s X-Men line-up for the first time.  We got a Beast back then as part of the Caliban Series, and he and the Jubilee from the same series were legitimately always impossible to find.  There was a grey Beast variant later to alleviate the issue a little, but it definitely wasn’t the same thing.  As we add more to that ’90s line-up, a proper re-release of some sort kind of feels more and more inevitable.  And here it is, being all not evitable.  So, now we’re getting another go at the ’90s Beast.  On the plus side, this one’s aiming to not just get the prior one back out there, but also make it even better in the process.  Does it do it?  Let’s find out!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Beast is his own Fan Channel-exclusive single-offering for Hasbro’s Marvel Legends.  He’s under the Retro Collection banner, with a fun throwback card inspired by the early ’90s Toy Biz stuff.  This is the second time Beast’s been done under this banner, following the Grey Beast from 2020.  This one is, of course, more true to what Toy Biz actually put out back then.  He’s also not at the same price-point as prior versions, being in the mid-tier price between standards and deluxes, first done with Iron Spider.  This allows him to go just a little bit heavier on the accessories, and also keep his size and original core parts, which all feels like a win to me.  This Beast is, of course, very much a Jim Lee ’90s Beast in terms of design, fitting in with a lot of the other focus as of late, and loosely fitting with the VHS packaged figures, though without the specific cel shading set-up.  The figure stands about 7 inches tall and he has 36 points of articulation.  For the most part, this figure shares his sculpt with 2019’s Caliban Series Beast, which is exactly what we all expected, and is really just the aim of the figure.  It’s a solid piece of work, and a base that’s only gotten four uses at this point, so it’s not at all a bad choice.  He does get an all-new head sculpt, courtesy of Paul Harding, which gives us a far more calm and collected Hank McCoy than the first sculpt.  I was always kind of iffy on that one’s screaming look, so I definitely appreciate this one; it’s still perhaps a touch serious for my personal preference, but that also distinguishes it more from the Grey Beast head, as well as sticking pretty close to the original Toy Biz figure.  Beast’s color work is similar to the Caliban release, but ever so slightly changed up; the main blue is a ever so slightly lighter in shade, and the accenting is much subtler than before.  I liked the prior one for the time, but this coloring definitely is an improvement.  The biggest change-up for this release is the accessory selection.  He’s been moved to a higher price point, and to justify that, he gets not only the two sets of hands from the original release, but also the original release’s head, a cloth lab coat, Grey Beast’s glasses, and two different beakers with different color liquids in them.  It’s a great selection of extras, and I especially love the “X-Gene” label on the pink beaker.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I was overall happy with the first release of this mold back in 2019, but in the years since, I’ve really grown to dislike him being saddled with the one head sculpt that he got.  Add in that he was so hard to find, and didn’t quite fit with more recent releases, and it all comes together as a definite need for some sort of update.  I honestly wasn’t expecting something this involved, honestly, but I really can’t knock it.  This figure takes the 2019 figure and just makes it emphatically better in ever sense.  He’s finally a Legends Beast that I don’t feel is some sort of compromise!

Thanks to my sponsors at All Time Toys for setting me up with this figure for review.  If you’re looking for toys both old and new, please check out their website.

#3244: Infinity Ultron

INFINITY ULTRON

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

Though initially an anthology of stories from unrelated universes within the MCU’s multiverse, Marvel’s What If…?‘s final two episodes were dedicated to tying a bunch of those prior stories (and one that didn’t actually make the cut for the first season) together into one inter-connecting narrative, as the Watcher assembled a team to take down a multiversal threat in the form of an alternate Ultron, from a reality where he successfully placed his consciousness into the Vision’s body, and was able to conquer Earth and eventually gather all of the Infinity Stones for his own use.  While a common complaint of Age of Ultron was how it generally removed a lot of the menace from Ultron when compared to the comics, this alternate version brought a good deal of that menace back, and made him a truly imposing villain.  And, hey, it’s also an excuse for more Ultron toy coverage.  I’m certainly not one to balk at that!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Infinty Ultron is the Build-A-Figure for the third Disney+ themed assortment of Marvel Legends.  In a bit of a shuffling around, he’s actually the only What If…? figure for this assortment, wedged in between two assortments that actually have quite a bit of What If…? coverage.  This guy is based on Ultron’s fully armored up, multiverse conquering attire, which gives him back that classic Ultron look, while still having him in the Vision body.  It’s a pretty strong look, mixing elements of his MCU and a few of a his comics looks, into one sort of cohesive design.  The figure stands 6 3/4 inches tall and he has 29 points of articulation.  In terms of articulation, Ultron’s rather a bit restricted.  There’s definitely an aspect of it that’s brought on from adapting the show design, but it also just doesn’t quite land in a few spots.  The shoulders are particularly confined; I feel like they might have worked out a bit better id the shoulder pads were mounted to the arms, rather than the torso.  The mid-torso joint doesn’t get much motion either, and coupled with the lack of a waist joint, and the general lack of mobility on the hips, makes his whole middle quite stiff.  His elbows also don’t quite bend all the way back, which feels a little odd.  All of it just feels like it was designed independently, so there’s just a general lack of flow to the movement.  His sculpt is an all-new one.  It’s not bad, but it’s not amazing either.  Generally, it looks okay, and it’s rather accurate to the source material.  I do feel it’s a little soft on some of the detailing, and I was certainly bummed by his face plate being sculpted in place.  Beyond that, though, I do like its overall look, and I do feel like it captures the general feeling of the character pretty well.  In particular, I actually quite like how the cape turned out.  The slight swept look gives it just a little bit of flair, without being too crazy. Ultron’s color work is passable; again, nothing amazing.  The bulk of him is molded in silver plastic, swirls and all.  It’s okay, but it doesn’t really help with bringing out the sculpt’s details.  The little bit of painting he gets is generally pretty nice.  The most curious application is definitely the shading on the inside of the cape; there’s no other dynamic or cel shading present on the figure, which makes this stand out.  It’s not bad, but it’s certainly odd.  Ultron gets his big javelin/spear thing as an accessory.  It’s impressively sized, and gives him his most basic extra.  I’d have liked to maybe get an extra set of hands, or an alternate head, but I suppose you can’t expect too much out of a Build-A-Figure; he’s kind of already an accessory himself.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

After being kind of let down by a good portion of What If…?‘s run, the last two episodes and they’re further building on Ultron actually really salvaged the show for me.  Ultron’s new design was a lot of fun, and I was hoping we’d see it in figure form sooner than later.  I was very much looking forward to this one, and, while I didn’t purely buy any of the figures just to finish him, I certainly was given a bit more of a push on a couple of them.  Ultimately, he’s okay.  Not great, just okay.  He gets the general job done, but he lacks some of the real oomph of some of the other releases.  Still, he’s far from the worst Ultron figure out there.

In general, this assortment is a real mix of “exactly what I expected” and “not quite what I’d envisioned.”  Moon Knight was my projected favorite, and he absolutely stuck that landing.  She-Hulk sneaks in on the secondary spot, after being a figure I had no real expectations on.  Kate’s a solid figure, if perhaps one without the pop of the first two.  Clint and Sharon are both decent mid-range figures, held back only by some minor design stuff.  Mr. Knight and Ms. Marvel are figures that I don’t dislike, but that I feel don’t quite live up to what I was hoping for.  And ultimately, I find Ultron to be the weakest in the set.  No one’s really a bad figure here, though, so perhaps he’s just undermined by how strong the solo figures are this time around.