#2279: Alpha Flight

VINDICATOR, PUCK, NORTHSTAR, AURORA, SHAMAN, & SNOWBIRD

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

Remember when I reviewed Guardian back in September, and I mentioned that Hasbro had thrown out the concept of trying to release all of the Alpha Flight team-members one at a time in favor of dropping them all at once in one fell swoop as an Amazon-exclusive set?  Well, here we are.  Just about a whole team in one go.  It’s just how they do.  Introduced in the pages of Uncanny X-Men #120 as part of Wolverine’s backstory, they eventually got a book of their own, which ran for over a decade.  Since that original run, though, they’ve had a little trouble keeping in the public eye, which has made their toy prospects a little tricky, especially since they’ve got a rather sizable line-up.  One big drop is pretty much the only way any company has ever been able to get them out to market, and that’s exactly what Hasbro did here.

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

This six figure set is an Amazon-exclusive Marvel Legends offering, which was first listed for pre-order last fall, and started shipping about a month or two ago.   It’s designed to augment the Guardian and Sasquatch figures recently released in the main line, as well as giving fans a second chance at the incredibly hard to complete Puck build-a-figure from the last series of Return of Marvel Legends.

VINDICATOR

Heather McNeill Hudson, Calgary, Alberta”

In an effort to keep up with my claims of having reviewed 100% of the Heather Hudson figures in existence (it’s easy when there’s only three of them), here’s the latest one of those.  Whoooo.   Like the other two, this one is Heather in her version of the Vidicator costume, which she started wearing after her husband Mac’s (first) death.  The figure stands just over 6 inches tall and she has 28 points of articulation.  She’s built on the Phoenix body, which works reasonably well for Heather (and confirms that Wolverine’s got something of a type…that type being red heads of a certain build who are married).  She fortunately swaps out the high heels for a pair of flat soles, and ditches one of the open hands for a first.  She also gets an all-new head sculpt, which is quite a nice piece.  It’s fairly basic, but it’s clean and it sits well on the body.  It’s also got a posable ponytail, which is handy for different flight based poses. Heather’s paint work is okay, but not without a few issues.  The biggest is the change in red from James‘ suit to this one.  The figures were close enough in production time, that the two of them really should have been sporting the same colors.  As it is, they are’t terribly far off, but it’s enough of a difference to be grating when they’re displayed together.  Additionally, the maple leaf emblem has really lost the maple-leaf-ness this time around, looking far more like a bunch of random jagged lines.  My last complaint is more of personal preference, but the opaque coloring on the visor is a little bit of a bummer, especially since both of her prior figures have managed to do translucent.

PUCK

Eugene Judd, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan”

Puck is the one figure who’s had a Legends release before, as the Build-A-Figure in the self-entitled “Puck Series,” an assortment put together to tie-in with The Wolverine‘s release that ended up dumped on Diamond Distrubutors and then wound up being incredibly hard to find.  That all resulted in Puck having a rather inflated after market price and being something of a barrier to entry for any prospective Alpha Flight fans.  Hasbro is throwing fans a bone here with an almost straight re-release of that figure.  He stands 3 1/2 inches tall and he has 24 points of articulation.  Apart from a missing waist joint, he’s otherwise very nicely articulated for a figure of his size and stature.  His sculpt is the same as his Build-A-Figure counterpart, aside from his head, which is an all-new, better scaled to the body, and just generally superior head sculpt.  Though I never owned the BaF, I did have the Marvel Universe Puck, which is actually quite similar stylistically to this one, apart from being about 2/3rds the size.  I liked that sculpt a lot, and I like this sculpt a lot.  Puck’s paintwork is alright; it’s a bit sloppy on his logo, but otherwise things look pretty decent.

NORTHSTAR

Jean-Paul Beaubier, Montreal, Quebec”

Northstar’s never had a Legends figure before, but he *was* part of Hasbro’s 2007 poll run by ToyFare, alongside his sister Aurora.  Why they decided to run tow halves of a pair in a fan poll that was only going to produce a single figure is anyone’s guess, but hey, at least he finally made it.  First Appearance Storm has as of yet not been quite so lucky.  Though the character has had a few looks over the years, this figure goes for the same one as all of his other figures, which is his first appearance suit.  To be fair, it’s his best look by far, so I’m not complaining at all.  The figure stands 6 1/4 inches tall and he has 34 points of articulation.  Northstar is built on the ANAD 2099 body, which is a decent enough choice for the character given how he’s usually drawn in the comics.  His head’s better scaled to the body than Quicksilver, the last character to use the body, so he’s off to a decent start.  Said head is the figure’s one new piece, and it’s a respectable offering, doing a solid job of marrying Byrne’s depictions of the character with the general Legends aesthetic.  He’s certainly looks suitably pompous and stuck on himself, which is really what you need for the character.  Unfortunately, he misses out on the one other thing the character could really benefit from: an open hand.  Both of his are fists, meaning he can’t hold hands with his sister, which is a major bummer, what with that being a whole part of their power set and all.  His paintwork is also a little iffy, due to the transitions between black and white being rather fuzzy, and their also being a few errant marks of the opposing color on both sections.  The pearlescent white is pretty nice, though.

AURORA

Jeanne-Marie Beaubier, Montreal, Quebec”

As noted above, Aurora appeared alongside her brother in the 2007 fan poll, but was likewise not the winning figure, thus giving her the lengthy 12 year wait for a proper figure, which this set finally brought to an end.  Like her brother, Aurora is sporting her original design, which is again the cleanest and most dynamic of her various designs.  The figure stands 6 1/4 inches tall and she has 27 points of articulation.  Aurora is built on the Psylocke body, which is a solid choice for the character, though suffers from some issues with the plastic that the original release didn’t.  The primary issue is with the elbows, which have had reports of major issues with breakage.  While I’ve not experienced this with either of my figure’s arms, I will say that the joints are a little tighter than I’d like, which has made me very cautious when posing her.  Beyond the re-used body, she also gets one of the may open gesture hands in place of Psylocke’s grip (making Northstar’s fists even more egregious), as well as a brand new headsculpt.  Like her brother’s, the sculpt does a respectable job of marrying Byrne’s style with the general Legends aesthetic.  Her paintwork is very similar to Northstar’s, meaning it’s a little iffy on the costume, but overall an okay offering.  It’s a little bit cleaner on her than on her brother.

SHAMAN

Dr. Michael Twoyoungmen, Calgary, Alberta”

Perhaps the most straight-forwardly-named member of the team, Shaman is also the least fortunate member when it comes to toys, having only a Minimate release to date, in contrast to the rest of the team having at least a couple releases under their belts.  Why he gets left out is anyone’s guess, but at least he wasn’t left out this time.  The figure stands 6 1/4 inches tall and he has 32 points of articulation.  Shaman is built on the Bucky Cap body, a mold which seems be starting to wear out, because Shaman doesn’t feel anywhere near as solid as earlier figures on the body.  I don’t dislike it’s continued use, but it’s a bit of an issue when it’s quality starts to fall as it has here.  I suppose to make up for it slightly, Shaman gets the most new pieces of all the figures in the set, with a new head, plus add-ons for his belt/loincloth and wrist bracers.  The parts are all nice enough; the head’s a little devoid of personality, but then that’s kind of Shaman, isn’t it?  The paint on Shaman is unfortunately the worst in the set.  Typically, he’s depicted in green and orange, but this figure has yellow instead, which just doesn’t look quite as good.  Additionally, the application is really sloppy, especially on the torso, which makes the whole thing look kind of messy.

SNOWBIRD

Narya, Resolute Bay, Northwest Territories”

Snowbird as a character was one of Byrne’s earliest creations, actually pre-dating his comics work, and being refitted into Alpha Flight in their first appearance.  It’s kind of a shame he never took the time to, you know, actually make her a full character.  Sorry, is my dislike of Snowbird showing?  I’ll do my best to keep that under wraps.  The figure stands 6 1/2 inches tall and has 27 points of articulation.  I’m gonna be real here guys, I don’t actually recognize the parts Snowbird is built from.  They have to be re-use, because every thing else in this set is, but I’m at a loss myself.  The head and cape are both new to be sure, though.  They do their job of recreating her design alright.  The cape’s maybe a little smaller than usually shown in the comics, but that comes with trying to make it more manageable and not have the figure falling over all of the time.  Snowbird’s paintwork is decent enough.  There’s a slight mismatch between the shades of white on various parts of her costume, but it’s not too noticeable in person, and the metallic blue is certainly very nice looking.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

With Sasquatch and Guardian already in my collection, I was certainly intrigued by the prospect of slowly building an Alpha Flight line-up.  I didn’t really expect to do it all at once, but that’s how it happened.  I ended up getting this set from my parents for Christmas.  The set’s really more spectacle than anything, sold on the novelty of completing the team in one go.  Removed from that novelty, most of the figure’s are kind of middle of the road, which I guess is only fair, since so are most of the characters.  Puck marks an improvement on the impossible to find Build-A-Figure, so he’s the star of the set for me.  The rest are okay, but virtually all of them are held back by some small production issue, which makes the set feel…underwhelming?  At least when looking at the figures individually.  As a unit, paired with the other figures?  They are pretty cool.

#2256: Deadpool

DEADPOOL

MARVEL LEGENDS VINTAGE (HASBRO)

Boy howdy am I running out of compelling ways to start Deadpool-themed reviews.  To say he’s overdone may be something of an understatement.  There’s *only* been three figures of him this year for Marvel Legends though, so I guess that represents Hasbro backing things off a little bit.  Lucky us.  I’ve managed to pick up all of them so far, so why stop now, I guess.  So, here’s one more Deadpool.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Deadpool is a standalone Marvel Legends release, done up in the retro style cardback packaging.  Like the Grey Hulk I reviewed earlier this month, he was originally slated to be a con-exclusive release, before being moved to the fan channel.  This Deadpool is designed to be an earlier in his career Deadpool, specifically patterned after the ’90s Toy Biz figure whose packaging this one mimics.  The figure stands 6 1/4 inches tall and he has 34 points of articulation. Sculpturally, he’s essentially identical to the classic Deadpool figure released in the Sasquatch Series last year.  The only difference between the two is that this one adds a second strap of pouches to the left leg so as to better mimic the old figure.  He’s using the 2099 body, which is a solid starting point, especially for a character like Deadpool.  He then has add-ons for his webgear/belt, the pouches on his legs, and his neck, wrist, and ankle straps.  He’s also got the classic Deadpool head, which fits the body a lot better than the Juggernaut Series one did for the X-uniform Deadpool.  Ultimately, it results in a pretty solid figure, especially if you missed the Classic Deadpool like me.  The figure’s paint mixes things up a little bit as well.  This is in part to more closely match the old toy, so things like the belt and torso gear have been left red like on that figure.  However, they’ve also changed the black parts of the costume to a dark metallic blue, which is honestly a pretty cool look, and really feels like it hearkens back to those early ’90s appearances of the character.  The application is all very clean, and the colors really pop off of each other.  Deadpool is actually pretty decently accessorized for a vintage-packed release, with two swords, two small machine guns, a pistol, and a larger assault rifle.  Given that the Classic Deadpool only included the swords, that’s actually kind of surprising, and I’m definitely glad they went the extra mile.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Much like Hulk, when this was still planned for a con release, I paid very little attention to it.  I passed on the Sasquatch Series release numerous times, and this one, while certainly a neat look, didn’t feel any more essential than that one.  The shift to Fan Channel meant that he more or less arrived in my lap, and going in with no expectations, he’s another figure I ended up liking quite a bit.  Honestly, that’s kind of been the case with all of this year’s Deadpool figures, so maybe I should just stop complaining about them.

#2244: Grey Hulk

GREY HULK

MARVEL LEGENDS: VINTAGE (HASBRO)

“Accidentally exposed to gamma radiation, scientist Bruce Banner gains super strength, stamina, and invulnerability…at the cost of his genius!  Dubbed “Hulk,” Banner first transforms only at night before realizing that it’s actually his anger that gives him his super abilities.”

Did you know that the Hulk is only green-skinned because of poor quality print techniques?  If you’re at all familiar with common place comics trivia, then you probably did.  Congratulations, you don’t need me anymore.  But I’m not writing reviews for you, so ah-ha, I’m gonna keep writing anyway.  You can’t stop me!  …Where was I?  Grey Hulk.  Right.  So, Hulk was originally grey, but the comics printing techniques of the ’60s being what they were, getting a consistent grey was very hard to attain, and the end result was a main character that shifted colors multiple times throughout his first appearance.  To avoid further issue, he was made green.  Well, at least until printing techniques improved enough to bring Grey Hulk back  in the ’80s.  Yay, second life for Grey Hulk!  And now he’s an easy action figure variant, hence the coverage here today.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Grey Hulk is a standalone “80 Years of Marvel” Marvel Legends release, originally intended to be con exclusive (the counterpart to the Retro carded Green Hulk from SDCC), but ultimately re-purposed as another Fan Channel exclusive.  This marks our third Legends Grey Hulk, and the first one since the Fin Fang Foom Series in ’08.  The figure stands 8 inches tall and has 30 points of articulation.  He uses the same body as the other 80 Years of Marvel Hulk, which isn’t really much of a surprise, since Hasbro generally likes to get some mileage out of a new sculpt.  It helps that it’s a really strong body, and I liked it a lot the first time I looked at it.  This one gets an all-new head, though, since Grey Hulk never sported the lengthy ’70s locks of the prior release, and also tended to have a far more pronounced brow than later incarnations.  It doesn’t make for a very pretty looking figure, but I guess that’s appropriate for someone belted by gamma rays.  Ain’t he unglamorous?  Glamorous or not, it’s certainly a sharp sculpt, and well-suited to the body.  He includes the same torn shirt piece as the prior figure, which is the same set-up as before; it’s not super securely held in place or anything, but looks decent, and can be easily taken off if it’s not your speed.  In my review of the last Hulk, I remarked that his paintwork was surprisingly nuanced.  This figure is a step up even from that.  The skin tone still has some subtle variation to it, but he also gets some very impressive work on his pants, which have that proper broken-in denim appearance to them.  Hulk is armed with a crushed pipe, a fact that package proudly proclaims.  It’s admittedly a pretty fun piece.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

When he was still rumored for a con-exclusive release, I didn’t pay this guy much mind, and I certainly wasn’t planning to jump through any hoops to get him.  When he made the shift to Fan Channel, and therefore became far easier to acquire, I was a much easier mark.  I went in with no real expectations, since he was never going to be my primary Hulk, but he’s honestly a pretty fun figure, and does some cool stuff that the prior release didn’t.

I picked up this guy from my friends All Time Toys.  If you’re looking for cool toys both old and new, please check out their website and their eBay Store.

#2234: Bullseye

BULLSEYE

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

“A former soldier with perfect aim, Bullseye never misses his mark. From the early days of his career as a costumed criminal, the ruthless assassin has set his sights most often on a single target – Daredevil, the Man Without Fear. Any object – be it pencil, playing card or paper clip – becomes a deadly weapon in the skilled hands of the man who could be the world’s greatest assassin!”

Daredevil has a wonky history with villains.  His most prominent foe, the Kingpin, wasn’t even his villain to start with.  On the flipside, a lot of foes originally introduced in his book would end up getting grabbed by other heroes in the Marvel universe.  He just doesn’t get true claim to anything!  Well, he actually does get full claim to today’s entry, Bullseye, who first appeared in Daredevil’s book in ’76, and has remained attached to the character ever since.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Bullseye was released in the 9th Series of Marvel Legends from Toy Biz, a series notable for being the first ever Build-A-Figure centered series of Legends.  Bullseye was one of the two figures in the line-up to get a variant release as well.  The standard release was sporting a pouty closed mouth look, while his variant had a mad grin.  It was…an odd choice, especially given the more drastically different variant from the same series.  The figure stands just over 6 inches tall and he has 48 points of articulation.  That’s a very high count of articulation, and includes individually articulated fingers.  Toy Biz was definitely articulation mad at this point.  Bullseye was the first figure to use his mold, but he would be far from the last; Toy Biz quickly retooled it into a base body, and it was still in use by Hasbro as late as 2015’s Allfather Series Iron Fist. A decade of use isn’t a bad run.  While it wound up looking rather dated by the end of its run, it was one of Toy Biz’s stronger sculpts…at least the base body, anyway.  The Bullseye-specific parts were a little more of a mixed bag.  The boots and gloves are pretty solid sculpts, but the head on both versions of the figure ended up being too large to properly scale with the rest of the body.  The prototype shots looked fine, so it was clearly some sort of error that cropped up during production.  It’s a shame, because he ends up looking a little goofier than intended because of it.  The two versions of Bullseye had divergent paint schemes, which both had their pluses and minuses.  The standard is a more strict white and black scheme, with just a little bit of accenting to make some parts pop.  However, they slightly messed up the gloves, Leaving the top stripe black instead of white, despite how it’s sculpted.  The variant fixed this issue, but swap out the white and black for a light grey and a gunmetal grey, which, while not a *terrible* look, isn’t nearly as striking as the standard scheme.  Unfortunately, due to the size of the included BaF parts for this line-up, the individual figures went without any figure-specific extras.  He included the left leg of Galactus, as well as a reprinted copy of Daredevil #132, Bullseye’s first appearance.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Both versions of Bullseye were a little tricky to get at first.  I got the standard first, courtesy of finding an untouched case of figures at the local KB Toys.  I was all content to just have that version, but in a bit of luck a few months later happened to find a whole pile of both Series 9 variants hidden at my nearby Walmart.  I like both figures for different reasons, but

#2229: Punisher War Machine

PUNISHER WAR MACHINE

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

“After the fall of War Machine, Frank Castle acquires the highly-weaponized armor and makes it his own.”

Hey, that’s actually a pretty succinct summation of the character in that bio.  Good for Hasbro!  Punisher War Machine is a pretty straight forward concept: you put Frank Castle in the War Machine armor, and boom, there it is.  It’s not like you need a ton of explanation, and quite frankly, it was one of the less out there change-ups to the Punisher status quo.  Guy’s been a freaking Frankenstien; this is nothing.  Well, that’s not entirely true.  It’s not “nothing,” it’s actually a pretty great marketing opportunity, as well as a pretty easy variant for toy makers.  On the high end, we’ve got a Hot Toys version on the way, and on the low end we’ve also got the Legends treatment.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Punisher War Machine is another Fan Channel-exclusive Marvel Legends offering, and is in fact the second version of Frank Castle to be offered in this assortment of figures.  The figure stands 6 1/2 inches tall and he has 31 points of articulation.  After getting a few new pieces, even though they may have been minor, this Punisher returns to the straight repaint style for the line-up.  He’s a straight repaint of the surprisingly under-utilized Mk003 War Machine mold from Civil War.  Previously, the mold only got released in a Target-exclusive two-pack, which is a bit surprising given that it was all-new at the time.  The armor isn’t a perfect match for the armor Frank grabbed in the comics; that one was more patterned on the design from IM2, with maybe a bit of AoU thrown in.  I’d guess that it came down to mold availability; the IM2 molds are probably hard to access at this point, and I doubt if anyone really wants a fourth release of the Mk002 mold.  This one is close enough, and honestly one of Hasbro’s best WM molds, at least prior to the Endgame release.  There’s a little bit of limitation to what you can do with the articulation, and the guns, baton, and cannon don’t stay in place quite as securely as I’d like.  Also, he’s from before they got on board with standardizing neck pegs, so his joint’s too small to work with any of the Frank Castle heads (the one I shot for this review is just resting in place).   Overall, though, he’s a very workable figure.  It’s definitely the  slickest War Machine sculpt Hasbro’s produced, and it holds up well even a few years later.  The paintwork on this figure is, of course, where all of the actual changes are.  He’s not terribly far removed from the standard War Machine layout, but gets Frank’s usual skull insignia on the front, plus a few other skulls littered throughout the armor as a kill count.  He also has a little more wear and tear represented than the prior release, showing how hard on the armor Frank’s been.  The only real complaint I have is that they’ve left the helmet pretty much alone, when it should really be sporting a white skull motif on the face plate.  It does undersell the Punisher bit a little.  This figure has the same accessories as the last release of the mold, so he gets a fully engaged version of the baton and an extra set of hands in gripping poses.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Like I said in my review of the Endgame War Machine, I never picked up the Civil War figure, and I was always a little regretful of that.  So, I was pretty happy when I found out that this figure would be using the mold, thereby allowing me to add it to my collection.  I’m not the world’s biggest Punisher fan or the world’s biggest War Machine fan, but I can appreciate a lot about this figure.  Ultimately, I’m pretty happy with him.

Punisher 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.

#2228: X-Force Deathlok

X-FORCE DEATHLOK

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

“The X-Force joins forces with a rogue Deathlok unit to face an army of Deathlok cyborgs.”

Hasbro’s Fan Channel exclusives for Legends began as a few one-off figures and quickly evolved into what essentially is a series of its own, just split up into single releases.  The defining element amongst them is relying heavily on parts re-use, which has certainly led to some eclectic choices.  Who would have thought that we would one day be able to say you could choose between three different Marvel Legends Deathlok figures?  Certainly not me, but hey, here we are.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

X-Force Deathlok is one of the later announcements for the Fan Channel-exclusive Legends releases, and is probably the most odd-ball and out there.  Others were either heavy hitter characters or tweaks of difficult to acquire figures from earlier in the line.  Deathlok is neither of those, being c-list at best, and with a figure released just over a year ago that’s hardly difficult to come by.  Whatever the case, he got another figure.  I guess it’s that X-Force tie; it makes everything easier to sell.  Whatever the case, this figure is based on “Deathlok Prime” from Rick Remender’s run on X-Force, who is apparently a distinct-ish character from previous Deathloks.  How about that?  The figure stands 6 1/2 inches tall and has 32 points of articulation.  Structurally, this figure is about 99% identical to the previous Deathlok.  The only change between the two is a slight re-working on the upper torso to change the flag on the original to the X-logo seen here.  Beyond that, the two figures are the same.  Honestly, that’s not a bad thing, because it was a great sculpt then, and it’s still a great sculpt now.  The paint marks the real change-ups for this figure.  He goes from the slightly more colorful classic Deathlok to the standard stealthy X-Force colors, but also improves a some of the apps on the exposed skin of the face, giving him a more proper zombified appearance.  Deathlok gets the same two guns as his prior release, pretty much the same in deco, apart from the ammo belt becoming a translucent yellow.  He also gets the shotgun-style rifle from Bishop, which is a solid addition to his arsenal.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I really liked the first release of the mold, and I do dig the X-Force sub-set we’ve been getting throughout the last year.  I like having another chance to appreciate this guy, and he’s honestly pretty fun, even if there’s not a lot new going on with him.

Deathlok came from my friends at All Time Toys.  If you’re looking for other Legends, or other toys both old and new, please check out their website and their eBay storefront.

#2211: Punisher

PUNISHER

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

“Frank Castle takes to the streets and delivers brutal vigilante justice as The Punisher.”

I haven’t reviewed a Punisher figure in over a year, which on one hand seems a little weird, but on the other hand is surprisingly frequent for a character I owned exactly one figure of for the first 20 years of my collecting.  Classically, I wasn’t much of a fan of the character.  It wasn’t until he was introduced in Netflix’s Daredevil show that I truly started to appreciate the character. Since then, I’ve gotten quite a few more Punishers, including today’s offering, another Marvel Legends release.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Punisher is another Fan Channel-exclusive Marvel Legends release.  Interestingly, it’s one of two Frank Castles to be included in the Fan Channel line-up of figures, the other being the Punisher War Machine. This one goes for a more gritty, urban look for the character.  Not being super familiar with the character’s comic exploits, I don’t know if it’s a reference to a specific look, or just a slightly more real-world adaptation of his usual design.  It’s a cool look whatever it is.  The figure stands about 6 1/2 inches tall and he has 30 points of articulation.  While the previous Fan Channel figure have been pretty straight re-decos, Punisher mixes things up a little bit, not by being a new figure, but rather by being a mix of a number of prior figures.  He uses the torso and legs of the Netfilx Punisher, the arms from Scourge, the heads from the Walgreens Punisher, and the vest from the RoML Ultimate Captain America.  It all adds up to a fairly tactical looking take on Frank, especially depending on which head you opt to go with.  I personally feel that if you ditch the vest and give him the head with the headband, he looks a bit like he’s going for a Solid Snake cosplay, which I have no issues with at all.  The paintwork for this guy is rather involved, with camo on the pants, and a rather distressed skull on the torso.  The two heads also get two very different paint schemes.  The slicked back hair head gets skull-styled face paint to match the torso, which is fun, while the headband head gets some serious bags under his eyes, and some pretty intense scruff, making it look like he’s been going for a while.  Of the two I prefer the headband myself, but I love having two diverse options.  In addition to having the two different heads, Punisher is also packed with an assault rifle, a handgun, and a sniper rifle.  All of them are re-used, but they’re pretty nice, and he actually has an easier time holding his weapons than a lot of prior figures.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

In a similar fashion to yesterday’s Wolverine, I wasn’t really sure I needed to get this figure when he was first shown off.  The other Fan Channel figures are a little more on the exciting side, and this guy also had the misfortune of arriving alongside Havok, who definitely got most of the attention.  That being said, I did still like the concept on this guy, and the exectution’s definitely a lot of fun.  I’ve still got a soft spot for that spandex look, but there’s no denying that this is a cool look for Frank.

I picked up this guy from my friends All Time Toys.  If you’re looking for cool toys both old and new, please check out their website and their eBay Store.

#2210: Wolverine

WOLVERINE

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

Wolverine is a nearly indestructible mutant with a gruff attitude and the formidable skills to back it up.”

There have been no shortage of Wolverine action figures, even when just looking through the narrow lens of Marvel Legends.  In the last year, there have been six separate Legends Wolverines (with a seventh right around the corner).  That places him second only to Spider-Man for Legends releases, which is really quite a bit.  I’d say there’s a little bit of Wolverine overload going on for a good portion of the fanbase, and I definitely include myself in that grouping.  But hey, it’s okay, this one has a new hat!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Wolverine was officially the first of the Fan Channel exclusive Marvel Legends, though exactly what order they actually hit in is a little bit fluid.  He was the first one to be shown off, though.  After a number of different costumed variants throughout the year, this one goes for a civilian Wolverine, rocking the jeans and the wifebeater.  But also that hat.  The hat is very important.  The figure stands 6 inches tall and he has 30 points of articulation.  From the neck down, this figure is the same as the Legendary Riders release from last year (which I never picked up), itself a retooling of the Old Man Logan (which I *did* pick up).  It’s really not a bad body, and this particular release is really crisp on the texturing of the shirt and pants, which looks really good.  My figure does have a slight molding issue on his torso, so there’s a little bit of plastic missing at the collar of his shirt.  It’s fairly minor, and confined just to mine, but it’s something to keep an eye out for.  The body’s not the main focus of this release, though.  No, no, we gotta talk about what really matters: the new hat! Yes, Logan’s sporting a cowboy hat, an item he’s frequently seen sporting in the comics, but has largely been absent from his action figure coverage.  It is admittedly a pretty distinctive look, and the head that it’s permanently affixed to isn’t a half bad unmasked Logan either.  I actually really dig the grin; it’s a nice change of pace from the usual growls, screams, and grimaces we get for the character, and yet this is still very true to Logan, especially the more relaxed civilian take we’ve got going here.  Wolverine’s paintwork is fairly decently handled.  He swaps out the white shirt from the Riders release for black, which I think actually looks pretty cool.  Beyond that, it’s fairly standard stuff.  Wolverine is packed with an extra head (the same as the head from the Madripor Wolverine, but without the weird eye stuff), a set of gripping hands without the claws, and the Muramasa blade.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Wolverine overload is a thing that’s been plaguing my Legends collecting since Toy Biz first added him to the line in Series 3, and it was the primary reason I didn’t buy the Riders release last year.  With Madripor and X-Force, I almost waffled on this one too, but I like the civilian look enough that he felt worth it.  Ultimately, I do quite like this figure, and I think he’s the best of the 2019 Wolverines.  Sure, he’s another Wolverine, but at least he’s a decent figure in his own right, and I didn’t have to pay for the motorcycle to get this one.

I picked up this Wolverine from my friends at All Time Toys, and he’s currently in stock here.  If you’re looking for Marvel Legends, or other toys both old and new, please check out their website and their eBay storefront.

#2209: Agent Anti-Venom

AGENT ANTI-VENOM

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

“After exposure to the Anti-Venom Serum, Flash Thompson becomes the newest incarnation of the anti-hero.”

Back at the beginning of the Infinite Series relaunch of Legends, when Walgreens was dipping their foot in the waters of being a toy-buying destination, their first trial-run exclusive was Agent Venom, a figure that Hasbro had had rattling around their con displays for a little while.  He proved a successful venture, for Walgreens and Hasbro at least, but perhaps a little bit less so for fans, as he never really hit anywhere in truly huge numbers, and Walgreens was still not quite as numerous at the time as it is now.  This, coupled with the general fan-favorite nature of the character, made him slightly pricey on the after market.  Hasbro, ever in the game of trying to give collectors a fair shot at hard to find Legends took advantage of the re-branding of Flash Thompson under the Anti-Venom name from a few years ago, along with a need for some easy parts re-use figures, and has given us another Agent Venom, albeit of the inverted variety.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Agent Anti-Venom is another Fan Channel single Marvel Legends release, much like the Big Time Spider-Man I looked at a few weeks ago.  The figure stands about 6 1/4 inches tall and he has 32 points of articulation.  Structurally, this figure is identical to the standard Agent Venom from back in 2014.  From a design standpoint, this makes sense, since the looks are just color swaps of each other in the comics.  However, from a toy standpoint, there are some issues that come with this re-use, namely that the underlying body was outdated when the first Agent Venom came out.  The five years since then have only made that more apparent, as a handful of similarly built and far more up-to-date bodies have come into use.  Of course, that would have required some pretty substantial retooling of the Agent Venom-specific parts, which would have then defeated Hasbro’s whole purpose of releasing figures that don’t need any new parts.  I will say that this release has far less rubbery plastic than the first one, which does make him feel better overall.  Additionally, the new paint apps are a lot cleaner in terms of application than the last time around, making for a much slicker looking figure, and showcasing the great strides Hasbro has made in terms of paint since the Infinite Series days.  Agent Anti-Venom is packed with a pair of glocks and a pair of MP5s, as well as the back piece that can hold his weapons for him.  I still feel like he should have 6 guns instead of 4, but at least I was prepared for it this time.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I was fortunate enough to get the original Agent Venom release, but a lot of people weren’t, so I wasn’t surprised when this guy was listed amongst the Fan Channel figures.  While I do wish they’d been able to change out the underlying body, I won’t deny that the changes in production quality on this figure do a lot to make him even better than his predecessor, and he’s still a lot of fun.

This guy 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.

#2208: Deadpool & Hit-Monkey

DEADPOOL & HIT-MONKEY

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

The most bodacious team-up this side of Miami: Deadpool & Hit-Monkey make being an internationally feared assassin look easy.”

There’s no denying that Deadpool has popularity and recognition behind him, which makes him an easy pick when it comes to merchandise.  It also makes him useful leverage for getting retailers to support other items, meaning that for every time that we get the likes of yesterday’s Havok and Polaris, we also get the likes of today’s offering, a Deadpool-centric two-pack, pairing him off with one of Marvel’s many attempts at spinning other goofy characters out of Deadpool, Hit-Monkey.

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

Deadpool and Hit-Monkey are the other half of the Fan Channel-exclusive assortment of Marvel Legends that contained Havok and Polaris, also bearing the “80 Years of Marvel” branding, and clearly meant to capture a more modern piece of Marvel history, though if it’s a reference to a specific comics occurrence, I will admit I’m not familiar with it.

DEADPOOL

There have been quite a few Deadpools in the last two years of Legends, but this one does manage to actually be a little more distinctive, mostly by being in something other than a variation of his standard costume.  This one embraces the vague Miami: Vice theme of the set by sticking Wade in an all-white suit, which is admittedly a pretty striking look for the character.  The figure stands 6 1/4 inches tall and he has 32 points of articulation.  Wade makes use of the newly re-worked suit body that we got with Nick Fury, which is a pretty decent upgrade on the prior body, and now scales a little bit better with Bucky Cap-sized heads like Deadpool.  Topping off the body, he’s got a selection of three different heads: fully masked, fully unmasked (both from the Juggernaut Series Deadpool), and half-masked.  They make for a nice variety of options, and it’s good to see Hasbro really taking advantage of that bank of existing parts for stuff like this.  Deadpool’s paintwork is pretty straight forward and clean, and keeps with the striking nature of the design.  The reds are very bright, keeping with the Sasquatch and Sauron assortment coloring, which I’m okay with, even if they don’t quite match the Deadpool Corps release from earlier this year.  The unmasked head actually gets pupils this time, and while I myself prefer the prior deco, I do like getting a change-up here.  Deadpool is packed with a solid selection of accessories, which includes two katanas (same as prior DPs), a pink zebra-patterned handgun, a guitar (re-used from Spider-UK, and in a funky Madcap color scheme), headphones (re-used from Star-Lord), a Captain America shield with Deadpool’s face painted on it, and a re-worked RC Silvermane with Headpool in Silvermane’s place.  There’s no new parts in here, but that doesn’t change how impressive it is to get this many extras.

HIT-MONKEY

Not long after Hit-Monkey’s debut in the comics, he found himself chosen as one of Hasbro’s smaller-scale BaFs from the tail end of the pre-Infinite Series Legends.  As with everything from that period, distribution was spotty, making completing him either woefully easy or near impossible, and crafting quite an odd after market.  Whatever the case, I suppose Hasbro felt they should give fans another chance at the character, so here he is.  The figure stands just shy of 3 1/2 inches tall and he has 24 points of articulation.  His sculpt is the same as it was the first time around, which is reasonable enough.  Hit-Monkey’s really only had that one look.  The sculpt is a little bit more stylized than Legends tend to be these days, but for a character like this, that’s honestly not a bad thing.  Given the alternative being the rather bland and off looking Spider-Ham we got last year, I’m more for this.  The figure changes things up from the last release by swapping the color of his suit from black to white, and the tie from blue to red, all in order to match the Deadpool.  Again, no clue if Hit-Monkey’s ever looked like this, but it works out alright for him.  Hit-Monkey includes the same accessories as the first time around: a pair of pistols and a pair of submachine guns.  Not quite as impressive as Deadpool, but two sets of guns is still pretty good.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I wanted Havok and Polaris, and this set just sort of came along with them, I suppose.  I wasn’t exactly expecting much of anything from either of them, and that probably worked out in their favor, because it allowed me to really approach them with fresh eyes, and just enjoy them for what they are.  What they are is pretty fun.  It’s a cool look for Deadpool, a second chance at Hit-Monkey, and a boatload of really fun extras between them.

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