#2345: Goliath

GOLIATH (w/ ANT-MAN & WASP)

MARVEL LEGENDS (TOY BIZ)

“Hank Pym started small. After shrinking his way to worldwide renown as the super-heroic Ant-Man, founding member of the mighty Avengers, he ascended to even greater glory in the guise of Giant-Man. Now, as Goliath, he continues to prove that size matters: His greatest asset is his big brain and knack for invention! Due to years of exposure to the size-altering properties of Pym Particles, Goliath can increase in stature at will and to a maximum height of 100 feet of shrink to the size of an ant. He grows by drawing additional mass froman extra-dimensional source, to which it returns when he reverts to normal. Goliath can shrink an entire laboratory or an array of firearms to the size of a microchip when not in use. The various compartments of his uniform straps contain a wide variety of miniaturized equipment.”

Toy Biz’s run on Marvel Legends was full of a lot of rather frustrating choices on their part, all in the name of trying to foster some sort of after market value for their figures.  It was…well, it wasn’t the best time to be a collector, but it was a really good time for scalpers.  Yay?  One of their ideas was chase figures, figures that were not advertised on the back of the package and were shipped in very low numbers, and were just short of including a note on the front that said “scalp me.”  The concept only ended up lasting for two assortments, Series 4 and Series 5.  I’ve looked at Red Skull, the chase for Series 5, but now I’m looking at the figure that officially launched it, Goliath!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

As noted in the intro, Goliath was the chase figure for Series 4 of Toy Biz’s Marvel Legends, and was subsequently the one figure in the assortment not listed on the back of the packaging.  He’s officially supposed to be based on Hank’s first Goliath costume, but, well, there’s some caveats to that, which I’ll touch on in a bit. The figure stands 8 1/4 inches tall and he has 12 points of articulation.  That’s a pretty low count for a Legends release, and there’s a good reason for that: he’s not a Legends sculpt.  Instead, he was a wholesale repaint of the Giant-Man figure from their classic Avengers boxed set from the ’90s.  Now, you may recall from my (astoundingly short) review of that figure, that I was pretty fond of the sculpt.  It’s honestly one of he nicest sculpts to come out of their 5-inch days.  That being said, it didn’t really fit all that well stylistically with the Legends Toy Biz was putting out at this time.  I mean, he’ll look okay with the Iron Man and Cap, but beyond that he’s gonna be out of place.  Additionally, the sculpted details of the costume are pretty specific to Giant-Man’s costume, but those don’t line-up with the Goliath costume they opted to go for.  He shouldn’t have the antenna or the circle, and he should have goggles, and a completely different belt.  We wound up getting a couple of more accurate renditions of this costume once Hasbro took over, but for this one, Toy Biz was clearly wanting a cheap extra figure to produce and went with the “close enough” philosophy.  The paint work kind of rolls with the differences of the sculpt, and pretty much makes no attempt to hide them, because, honestly, it’s not like there’s much that can be done.  It’s a pretty nifty color scheme, and I certainly dig the metallic blue used on the body suit.  In order to distract a bit from the re-used mold and the lack of a base sculpt, Goliath was packed with repaints of the Ant-Man and Wasp figures from the same boxed set as Giant-Man.  They work a little better with the Legends aesthetic, though they’re not super-poseable or anything.  The new coat of paint does look nice, though.

 

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Despite the somewhat lazy creation, I always wanted this guy when he was new.  Perhaps because I was giving into the very forces that Toy Biz was counting on, or perhaps because I just always liked this Goliath costume.  Whatever the case, I didn’t get one, because the after market for him was stupid expensive for a good long while.  Then the people paying the stupid money for him actually took a closer looked at him, realized how lazy a creation he was, and two much better versions of the costume were released, and now this guy can be had for a much more reasonable sum.  He ended up traded into All Time about a year and a half ago, allowing me to finally add him to my collection.  He’s not anything to write home about, but I can love him for what he is.

#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.

 

#2335: Iron Man

IRON MAN

MARVEL LEGENDS

Tonight’s drunk review is brought to you by watching Paprika, the acid dream trip of an anime movie, you can only view this movie while extremely inebriated. AND ETHAN HAS PROMISED ME THAT HE WON’T EDIT THIS POST, EVEN TO MAKE IT READABLE. If he edits this review before it publishes then he won’t be getting any action figures for a month. I’m not drunk enough for this limp noodle asparagus. Apparently I don’t write “coherent enough reviews”, well I’ll show ya coherent!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

This is some Iron Man from some Hasbro Marvel Legends line. Oh! Oh! I got it! He’s unpainted robot Iron Man before he does the red/gold color scheme from the 365th Marvel Legends line. Just kidding, I pulled that out of my derrière. I’m really craving Jade Hibachi now, that cheap hibachi place across the street from Coastal Carolina University in Conway, South Carolina. I miss them… 😦

Look at that Punisher though! FRANKIE!!!! MY GUN TOTTING CINNAMON ROLL!!!! He’s got his murder face on–GRRRRRRRRRRRRRRHHHHH! And look, he’s right next to the Iron Punishmenter. Then there’s robo Iron Man next to acid green Spidey. Then there’s jacked up white space football Spidey. And the crew is rounded off with horse rancher Wolverine, who retires to a horse farm after losing Jean for the 34th time. If you can’t see the picture I’m talking about, it’s I’m assuming all the figures from the line all…lined up. Pffft.

Anyways, Im going off the books. Is there every really a script for these reviews, at least the ones that I write? This robot looking Iron Man, loo i know they all look like robits, but this one especially with the cold grey color scheme, has like 54 points of articulation. He’s about the size of my hand, about some 6 inches and some change.

This review is painful and it doesn’t help.  No, that’s the Egg. Anyways, this figure is a repaint of some other Iron Man figure, which is why i get to review him. Apparently, it’s a repaint of Invincible Iron Man. Did he have a better looking butt though? I don’t like his spine, it’s weird and makes me uncomfortable. Like dude, seriously, put that spiny boi away. No one wants to see that! I don’t know how I feel about this figure. He doesn’t have a distinguishable mouth. WHERE DOES HE BREATHE?!?!?!? Anyways, this boi is painted grey, like steel metal grey that reminds you of cold heartless metal. Yes, metal can have heart, just look at the Iron Giant. This Iron Man is a cool grey with subtle vibrant (those words don’t really go together do they?) blue that outlines and accents things, like his face and spine. Maybe that’s why I don’t like his spine, because it’s all bumpy and super detailed. The blue accenting while cool in some places looks really sloppy in others, like spray paint without the drip lines and super blotches. Maybe the blue is supposed to be like spray paint, which in that case it looks convincing, but if not it makes the figure look sloppy. Also my nails are really long and are making typing kinda hard. This Iron Man’s butt is kinda disappointing, like leagues under America’s Butt, though the plastic does look like he’s got dimples on his metal cheeks. Male action figure butts are always disappointing and flat. Like female figures and statues have nice bubble butts, but most males look like deflated flabby balloons and it makes me sad. This Iron Man’s spine has more definition than his butt does.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

This isn’t my favorite Iron Man. I don’t actually know if I do have a favorite one, but this one would definitely be at the bottom of the list. He looks too much like a cold heartless robot that Ultron could take over and use to kill people. I like the color combo of blue and grey, but the blue on this figure looks sloppy and incomplete in some places. His spine really creeps me out and i don’t know why exactly. Overall, this isn’t one of my favorite figures. I can’t remember where Ethan got this figure, but I’m like 98% sure that it wasn’t from Walmart or Toy-R-Us [it was from my friends at All Time Toys –Ethan]. The former he doesn’t shop much in and the later died a slow agonizing death, but not as slow as K-Mart, gods bless their journeys’ to the afterlife. And now I’m just typing even more nonsense so that the review doesn’t stop on a six hundred and six after sixty word count. That’s the mark of the devil, and while I’m not super religious, our roommate has had the worst luck and I want to be cautious!

There, I’m done. Your regular review reading program will come back tomorrow–don’t worry!

#2334: Colossus & Juggernaut

COLOSSUS & JUGGERNAUT

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

“1976 Saw the release of X-Men 102, with its iconic cover featuring the mighty Colossus and unstoppable Juggernaut locked in combat, setting the stage for a rivalry that would shake the Marvel universe For decades.”

Do you ever feel like your intro’s been stolen right out from under you by Hasbro’s own copy writers?  Just me?  Yeah, I guess that might be a more exclusively me sort of an issue.  Well, you know, 1976 did see the release of X-Men 102…which, uhh, had this here iconic cover, and it–ah, it’s just not the same.  Look, you guys know the song and dance here.  I’m just gonna get right to reviewing the action figures.

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

Colossus and Juggernaut are the second of the two comic-based “80 Years of Marvel” Legends two-packs (the other being Wolverine and Hulk).  As with that one, it pairs one BaF-sized figure with one smaller one, although smaller is certainly a relative term in this case.  As the text above notes, the two are themed around their X-Men #102 appearance, though the individual figures do more or less adhere to the line’s already established style.

COLOSSUS

A mutant with the ability to transform his body into metal, Peter Rasputin left his farm community to join the X-Men and fight for good.”

Colossus was a fairly early addition to Legends in the Toy Biz days, appearing just five series into the line.  That figure was one of the line’s best, and replacing him was certainly a daunting task.  When Hasbro finally got around to releasing a Piotr figure of their own, they opted for a more modern appearance that wasn’t actually a direct replacement, but we all kind of knew a proper classic version would come around eventually.  It took three years, but here he is!  The figure stands just shy of 8 inches tall and he has 30 points of articulation.  This guy makes moderate use of the parts from the previous Colossus figure, namely the head, arms, and pelvis.  The torso, wrist bands, belt, legs, and feet are new to this guy.  The new parts are all very nicely handled, and I like the extensive selection of character-specific elements.  The old parts I’m admittedly slightly iffy on.  I liked the previous figure a lot, but he was from three years ago, and even in that time they’ve really made some strides forward, so things like the range of motion on the arms is a little disappointing.  Also, I understand Hasbro opting to re-use the clean shaven head from the last figure, but for me it just doesn’t quite feel right for a ’70s/’80s Colossus.  Were this, say, the Jim Lee design, it would be fine, but he lacks that particular flair of character that Cockrum and Byrne drew him with.  It’s not a bad sculpt at all, but slightly misses the mark for me.  Colossus’s paintwork is clean, bright, and bold, which is honestly a first for a Legends Colossus, since both the Toy Biz one and Hasbro’s prior figure went for a much murkier palette.  I like this look, and it reminds me a bit of the Marvel Select figure, which isn’t a bad thing.  Colossus is packed with two sets of hands, one in fists, and one in an open pose.  They match the hands included with the previous figure, but instead of one of each, now we get matching pairs.

JUGGERNAUT

Cain Marko possesses superhuman strength and extreme durability that allows him to rampage through any situation as an unstoppable juggernaut of force.”

Juggernaut’s last time in Legends wasn’t long before Colossus’s, since he was the Build-A-Figure for the prior year and all.  I reviewed that one back when it was new, and I liked it a fair bit then.  Of course, the trouble with Build-A-Figures is that sometimes one or two of the figures that include their pieces are hard to get, making completing them quite tricky, so Hasbro’s seen fit to do a slight redux of that release for this two-pack.  Like that one, this figure stands 9 1/2 inches tall and has 28 points of articulation.  The sculpt is almost exactly the same.  The helmet is ever so slightly different, being a little smoother in texture than the first one.  He also ditches the original figure’s belt in order to be more accurate to the older Juggernaut appearances.  Further changing things up is the paintwork, which trades in the more strictly brown colors of the last figure for a much redder palette, which is again a far more classic look.  He also ditches the pupilled eyes from the last year for straight white ones, with sort of a shaded effect over the eyes for a slightly more dramatic appearance.  It’s probably the one change I don’t feel is an outright improvement, but it’s not a bad look either.  While the original Juggernaut was a Build-A-Figure, and therefore didn’t get any accessories, this guy actually gets quite an assortment.  There’s an extra unmasked head, a torn up helmet piece to go with it, and a spare set of open hands to trade out for the BaF’s closed fists.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Classic Colossus has been on my list since the more modern one hit three years ago, so he served as the major selling point for me on this particular set, with Juggernaut more or less just being along for the ride.  That said, I definitely dig the two of them being paired together, since it really calls back to their scenes together in Pryde of the X-Men, which remains a defining X-Men entry for me.  In hand, Colossus is okay, but has his definite flaws.  Juggernaut on the other hand takes the already pretty awesome Build-A-Figure and just builds more awesome into it, making this a truly fantastic version of the character.

I got this pair from my friends All Time Toys, where they are currently in stock here If you’re looking for cool toys both old and new, please check out their website and their eBay Store.

#2333: Jean Grey, Cyclops, & Wolverine

JEAN GREY, CYCLOPS, & WOLVERINE

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

Love triangles are far from uncommon in serialized fiction, with a good deal of narratives being built around at least one.  The X-Men have been host to a fair number of them, but I don’t think any of them will ever beat out the Jean Grey/Cyclops/Wolverine triad…which is kind of amusing, because it was originally only a minor plot line, mostly meant as a way to give Logan a little character development, while also strengthening Scott and Jean’s relationship and solidifying them as the definitive couple.  Then Wolverine’s popularity went through the roof, Jean died and came back a few times, and Scott became the X-writers’ favorite punching bag, and now they’ve got some sort of vague polyamorous relationship going on?  Listen, the X-books are being written by Hickman, and he hasn’t deigned that they make any sort of sense yet, so we’ll all just have to sit back and wait for him to tell us whether or not we understand anything that’s going on, alright?  While we’re waiting for that, let’s flash back to the ’90s, when things were simpler, and we just had your basic love triangle between a newly married couple and their surly 100-year-old friend.  The basics!

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

Jean Grey, Cyclops, and Wolverine were released late last year as a Fan Channel-exclusive Marvel Legends three-pack.  Like the Havok and Polaris pack, they are loosely built into the “80 Years of Marvel” celebration, and also like that pack, the box is all themed around the trading cards of the ’90s.  It’s a cool design, but as with most of my figures, these things could ship in plastic baggies for all I care–actually no, I do care!  Paper bags!  Let’s be a little more environmentally conscious!  Until then, I guess a throwback to the ’90s trading cards is alright.  What was I doing?  Grand standing?  No, wait–action figure review! Yeah, let’s go with that!

JEAN GREY

“Jean Grey is an incredibly powerful mutant with the psychic powers of telepathy and telekinesis.”

After being Marvel Girl, then Phoenix, then Dark Phoenix, then dead, then not dead anymore, Jean decided to ditch the whole supramyn concept and go with her regular-ass name.  Seems fair, honestly.  It does make marketing her a little tricky, though, since everyone else is using these really sweet code names and she’s just regular-old “Jean.”  Whatever the case this particular regular old Jean is an important one, because she finally completes the core ’90s X-Men line-up (though we still need a proper Colossus)…well, for most fans, anyway.  Some people were fortunate enough to have found the Rocket Raccoon Series Jean, which had this same costume, but to call that release “hard to find” would be something of an understatement.  Plus, that was just before Legends really got the formula down, so an update is not unprecedented.  So, here Jean is in all her head-band-wearing, Jim Lee-designed-glory.  The figure stands 6 inches tall and she has 27 points of articulation.  She’s built on a variant of the same body that Phoenix was built on, but with a new upper torso and thighs.  She also re-uses the bracers and belt from the previous ’90s Jean, which seems pretty sensible.  She does not re-use the head from that figure, instead getting not one, but two new ones.  She gets one that’s a direct recreation of the last one, being the more comics-accurate hairdo (seen with Wilson on the right there), but also gets an X-Men: The Animated Series accurate head with her slightly tweaked headgear from the show.  That’s actually a first for toys, and I’m genuinely thrilled that I can now have a cartoon accurate roster.  Jean’s paintwork is mostly pretty basic, though I will say that there’s a little bit of slop on the blue portions of the costume on mine, and I had to check a few samples to get the best one.  Hasbro was definitely having a more lax QC day on this figure.  Jean doesn’t get any accessories beyond the extra head…well, I mean, unless you want to count the next two figures, which would be somewhat valid.

CYCLOPS

Scott Summers can fire optic blasts so powerful that they can only be harnessed by a special ruby-quartz visor.”

Cyclops has already gotten his modern-Legends-take-on-the-’90s-design due, with a pretty darn cool figure, I might add. However, in a similar fashion to the Jean situation above, said figure was never amazingly easy to find, and he’s kind of an essential piece to a ’90s X-Men set-up.  However, Hasbro didn’t want to just do a straight re-issue, so they’ve given us a figure that works to fill in the roster for fans that missed the first figure, while still having something to offer for fans who already have him.  What’d they do to change things up: bomber jacket.  Yeah, Scott was prone to wearing a jacket over his costume in the ’90s (especially on the cartoon), so that’s what this guy replicates.  The figure stands 6 1/4 inches tall and he has 30 points of articulation.  He uses the same starting point as his predecessor, the Bucky Cap body, and also gets the same head and collection of straps as the previous, minus the wrist straps.  He then gets the jacket from Old Man Logan and the arms from Punisher.  The jacket works better with the straps than I’d expected it to, and while I’m still not sure it’s 100% perfect, it’s decent.  I do wish the arms had a better range of motion, but that’s really the only thing.  The other thing that this guy changes up quite a bit is the paint.  While the last one went more for the Capcom colors for the costume, this one leans more heavily on those animated colors, so there’s a darker blue and a brighter yellow.  I wasn’t sure about the change at first, but I kinda like it in person.  The only downside is that now I want an un-jacketed version to match this and a jacketed one to match the prior.  Oh darn.  Cyclops is packed with two extra heads, one depicting his ’90s sunglasses, and the second his ’70s/’80s, allowing for some nice options on the civilian front.  He also includes a second left hand in a standard fist, for those that don’t like the optic blast hand.

WOLVERINE

“The mutant known as Wolverine possesses razor-sharp Adamantium claws and the ability to heal virtually any wound.”

Did you know that Wolverines have an average lifespan between 7 and 12 years in the wild?  That’s your fun FiQ fact for this tiger-stripe Wolverine review!  Wolverine is *definitely* no stranger to the toy world, the Legends world, or even the modern-Legends-take-on-the-’90s-design world.  We got his brown costume twice, and so now I guess it was time to even things out with the tiger-stripe design, especially since, even at two-to-a-case, the last release had really disappeared.  This one acts as something of a smaller-scale companion to the 12-inch Legends Wolverine.  I loved the heck out of that figure, so the prospects of it translating to the smaller line were definitely a plus for me.  The figure stands just shy of 6 inches tall and he has 34 points of articulation.  Structurally, he’s the same as the Apocalypse Series Wolverine, which makes sense, that being a very ’90s Wolverine and all.  It’s also just a really solid sculpt, and Hasbro can hardly be faulted for getting a little more mileage out of it.  The paint work changes up in a fashion quite similar to how it worked on Cyclops.  In fact, the shades of yellow and blue appear to be identical.  I don’t like the dark blue quite as much, but the yellow’s not bad.  Wolverine gets the best accessory selection of the set, with two extra heads, a pulled down mask, and an alternate set of hands with bone claws.  The two extra heads replicate the ones included with the larger figure, so there’s an unmasked head and an angry battle-damaged head.  I really like that battle-damaged head, and I’m glad we got it at the smaller scale.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I was fortunate enough to get both Wolverine and Cyclops’ original releases at retail pricing, but Jean pre-dates me getting back into Legends collecting, and honestly I probably wouldn’t have found one anyway.  As I got more and more of the ’90s team, the lack of a Jean was more and more of an issue.  I was hoping for at least a re-issue, but when Hasbro announced an all-new figure, I was definitely happy, even more so when I saw that animated head.  I know a lot of people weren’t thrilled about the prospect of having to re-buy the other two, but I don’t mind so much, and find that both figures have something to offer even if you’ve got those previous releases.  All in all, this is a great set and I’m glad we got it.  Now I can finally stop using Phoenix in my X-Men display!

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

#2324: Demogoblin

DEMOGOBLIN

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

Boy do the Spider-Man foes have some confusing legacies.  Following the death of Norman Osborn, and by extension the Green Goblin, the Goblin role in Spider-Man’s rogue’s gallery fractured.  While the Green Goblin identity remained in play, we were also introduced to the mysterious Hobgoblin, a variant on the legacy role.  Hobgoblin himself became a legacy character, actually fairly early into his life.  The fourth man to take on the name was Jason Macendale, who had previously been the original Jack O’Lantern.  Macendale would end up gaining demonic powers from the demon N’astirh during the Inferno cross-over, and those demonic traits would eventually be separated from him and made into their own character, the Demogoblin.  Confused?  Yeah, me too.  Look, he’s got a toy, and I’m gonna review it.  Let’s get to that!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Demogoblin is the build-a-figure for the first Spider-Man-themed series of Marvel Legends for 2020.  He had previously been shown off as a single-carded figure for the Lizard Series back in 2018, but was replaced by Lasher in the assortment proper.  He’s been rumored for every Spider assortment since, finally showing up here.  I know a lot of people are happy to finally have him.  Demogoblin has had one prior figure in this scale, as part of Hasbro’s early Spider-Man Origins line, but that was a rather hasty repaint of Hobgoblin, making this his first proper figure.  The figure stands 6 1/4 inches tall and he has 32 points of articulation.  Given the common lineage, this figure does end up re-using a fair number of parts from the Space Venom Hobgoblin, itself a variant of the Bucky Cap mold.  Demo reuses the torso, arms, boots, and cape from that figure, as well as getting the standard Bucky Cap legs in place of the scaly ones Hobgoblin was sporting.  It’s all topped off with a new head, forearms, hands, and webgear for the torso.  While Hobgoblin did include a demonic Macendale head as an extra, this one goes even further with the demonic appearance, incorporating more inhuman features, and a far more tattered hood.  I really like it, and it’s an improvement on the prior piece in pretty much every way.   The rest of the new parts similarly continue that trend of improvement, and he makes for quite a dynamic looking figure.  The paintwork matches the usual Demogoblin color scheme.  Everything is cleanly applied and does its job.  This figure is one that probably would have benefited from maybe a wash or something to help really play up that demonic side, but I suppose there’s a lot of room for error when you spread something like that across multiple build-a-figure parts, so maybe it’s for the best that they didn’t attempt it.  Demogoblin gets an all-new glider, which is distinct from both Hob and Green Goblin, and even features a flight stand (borrowed from The Black Series), which is the sort of trend I’d love to see continue with such things.  It also helps to make him feel a little more worthy of that build-a-figure slot.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I’m not personally that invested in Demogoblin as a character, but after he was displaced (admittedly for a character I wanted more, so no complaints there) I understood why people were anxious to see him turn up elsewhere.  Like a lot of recent BaFs, completing my Demogoblin was really just a side-effect of getting all of the figures in the set, and not really my main focus.  He did turn out really nicely, though.

This assortment is probably the most balanced Spidey assortment I’ve encountered as of late.  While I’d rank the Velocity Suit as the weakest entry, I actually have some trouble picking a favorite, not because they aren’t good, but because I like several figures in the line-up quite a bit.  I think all of the figures in this set stand out nicely on their own, and I quite enjoyed this line-up of figures.

#2323: Vulture

VULTURE

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

“Adrian Toomes uses a specialized flying suit to soar through the skies as The Vulture.”

Hasbro has been really working at wrapping up a lot of iconic Marvel team line-ups.  In the Spider-Man department, they’ve had their sights set on a fully updated recreation of the original Sinister Six.  We’re still not *quite* there, but at least we now have all six members in generally classic costumes and from the same universe, thanks to a proper update of classic foe the Vulture.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Vulture is the final single figure in the Demogoblin Series of Marvel Legends.  He’s actually our third Legends Vulture under Hasbro’s tenure, following the movie and ultimate incarnations of the character, but this is the first proper classic old-man Toomes since back in the Toy Biz days.  The figure stands 6 1/4 inches tall and he has 32 points of articulation.  Like the last comic-inspired release, this guy is built on the Pizza Spidey body, with a new set of arms, a new head, and an add-on piece for his collar.  The head is impressive, because while it’s definitely a new sculpt, replicating Adrian’s aged appearance, it’s got the same exact expression and likeness as the ultimate head (…which, *technically* isn’t Toomes, but the package still identified him as Toomes, so…).  It’s also a good match for how he tends to look in the comics.  The new arms come in tandem with a new set of wings, which plug into the shoulders and forearms.  They’re really great…from the front.  Yeah, they’re really only presentable from one side, which makes them look weird if you catch them from the other direction.  I’m not quite sure why Hasbro opted to handle this way.  It’s not the end of the world, but it is annoying.  It also continues to the paint, where one side gets a nice gradient and the other is just unpainted plastic.  Not hugely surprising, but again a little let down.  The rest of the paint is pretty solid, though.  Rather than paint lines all over the body suit (which has the potential to look sloppy and a little goofy), they’ve done them at key points more as accents.  I wasn’t sure about it at first, but in person I think it really works.  They also did a solid job again with capturing the old man look on the head; he’s even got liver spots!  Vulture is packed with a second head sporting some head gear.  Technically, this should make the second head Blackie Drago, but the face still seems to be Toomes.  Not sure if someone at Hasbro just missed that it’s supposed to be a different guy or what the deal is.  Still it’s a pretty cool piece, and gets us closer to a proper Drago than anything else has.  Vulture is also packed with the head of Demogoblin, which I’ll be looking at alongside the rest of the figure tomorrow.

 

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

The Ultimate Vulture figure was a perfectly serviceable figure, but as we got more proper classic incarnations of the old Spidey foes, he looked more and more out of place, so this update was very much appreciated.  I’m not the world’s biggest Vulture fan, but I like a lot about this figure, and I think he does a fine job of giving us that classic appearance.

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

#2322: White Rabbit

WHITE RABBIT

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

“A brilliant woman with a twisted mind, Dr. Lorina Dodson is the deranged Queen of Crime, White Rabbit.”

The best part of a successful super hero toyline is once it gets far enough in that all the main hero’s primary rogues have gotten coverage, and then you get to have the fun of those second and third stringers.  For me, it’s those lower tier characters that really make or break a rogues gallery, especially when they get a good gimmick.  The literary gimmick is not an uncommon one, and Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland is one that’s spawned a few on its own.  The most prominent, of course, is Batman foe the Mad Hatter, but Spider-Man gets in on it to with his own Carroll-ian foe, the White Rabbit, who has recently gotten a nice little notoriety boost courtesy of Nick Spencer’s current run on the main Spider-Man book.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

White Rabbit is part of the Demogablin Series of Marvel Legends, where she is by far the most obscure figure offered up.  It’s her very first figure, which really isn’t that much of a surprise I suppose.  The figure stands 6 1/4 inches tall and she has 29 points of articulation.  White Rabbit is constructed from a pretty solid mix of old and new parts.  She’s got the jacket and arms from the Civil War Scarlet Witch figure, plus standard legs and feet, as well as all-new parts for the head, torso, and boots.  The new and old combine into a pretty faithful recreation of her comics design (with the patterning on Wanda’s jacket even serving as a solid approximation of the plaid pattern of White Rabbit’s jacket), and are just generally a pretty nice selection of parts.  I like the continued trend of slightly more dynamic head sculpts, especially as it applies to the hair on this figure.  She’s maybe a little bit restricted on the articulation front, especially at that mid torso joint, though, so her posing is a little more limited.  That said, while it’s restricted by Legends standards, she’s still quite poseable.  The paint work on White Rabbit is all pretty basic.  It’s cleanly applied, and matches with the comics color scheme, so it certainly gets the job done.  White Rabbit is packed with her umbrella, a blast effect for the front of it, and the glider and flight stand for the Demogoblin build-a-figure.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

White Rabbit is the sort of character that is right up my alley when it comes to these line-ups.  She’s relatively obscure, got a distinctive look, and cool gimmick.  I was definitely down for her when she was shown off.  In-hand, she can easily fade into the background of this particular line-up, but she does what she does well.

White Rabbit came from my sponsors at All Time Toys, and is still available here.  If you’re looking for Marvel Legends, or other toys both old and new, please check out their website and their eBay storefront.

#2321: Shang-Chi – Master of Kung Fu

SHANG-CHI — MASTER OF KUNG FU

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

“Shang-Chi is a master of martial arts and a warrior for justice.”

In the ’70s, Marvel was really trying to stay with the times and cash in on what was popular, expanding their comics into new, different horizons, including horror, Blaxploitation, and even kung fu.  Some of these things aged better than others, to be sure.  On the kung fu front, they had two prominent characters: Iron Fist and Shang-Chi.  Though Iron Fist would remain the more commonly known of the two, Shang-Chi has quite an interesting history, being one of a handful of Marvel characters with ties to characters outside of Marvel, since his backstory involved him being the son of Sax Rhomer’s early 20th Century villain Dr. Fu Manchu.  However, when Marvel lost the rights to Fu Manchu, they had to sort of muddy Shang-Chi’s backstory a bit in order to keep him as part of the mainstream universe.  He’s been something of a rising character in the last few years, and he’s slated for his own movie early next year.  Perfect time for an action figure, I’d say.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Shang-Chi is part of the Demogoblin Series of Marvel Legends.  Though the assortment is definitely Spider-themed, Shang-Chi follows in the footsteps of the likes of Moon Knight, being a loosely related character packaged in a box that has its own “Master of Kung Fu” branding.  This marks the first time Shang-Chi has been a Marvel Legend, and in fact only his second time getting an action figure; the first one was way back in the Toy Biz 5-inch days.  And he had to share a head with Northstar!  Poor guy!  Shang-Chi has has a number of appearances over the years, mostly centered around the same basic attire; this figure is based on a variant of his original look, sans his gi.  It helps to hammer home the general “this guy’s supposed to be Bruce Lee” nature of the character.  The figure stands 6 1/4 inches tall and he has 32 points of articulation.  Like yesterday’s Ock figure, Shang-Chi is built on the 2099 body, which is a solid choice for the character as far as build and poseability are concerned.  He also gets a rather sizable helping of new parts to help sell the character, including a new head, belt, legs, and feet.  These new parts do a really nice job of not only meshing with the pre-existing parts, but also capturing Shang-Chi’s classic appearance.  I like how the head has a loose resemblance to Bruce Lee, while still being generic enough and stylized enough to fit in with the rest of the comic-based figures in the set.  I also appreciate that it’s not just Northstar’s head, because man would that be embarrassing if it happened twice to the same guy!  My biggest complaint about the figure’s new parts is admittedly something small and minor that unfortunately has some fairly large ramifications on the figure’s fun factor.  For whatever reason, Shang-Chi’s feet don’t have peg holes on the heels like…well pretty much every Legends release ever.  I don’t know if it’s an aesthetics thing or what, but it means that utilizing a third-party display stand to assist with the cool kung fu poses that this figure pretty much begs to be put into isn’t happening.  I *was* able to make due with one of the weird stands that Hasbro’s been packing in with the Black Series exclusives, but it’s not ideal, what with “Star Wars” being stamped on it and all.  I’m just really not sure why Hasbro opted to omit such a standard feature on a character that really needed it.  Shang-Chi’s paint work is fairly basic stuff, but it does what it’s supposed to.  It’s clean, and the color scheme isn’t quite as garish looking as it could have been.  The paintwork is nice and sharp, especially on the face.  Perhaps the best part of this figure by far is the accessory selection.  Following in the steps of the Allfather Series Iron Fist, Shang-Chi includes a whopping five different pairs of hands in all sorts of useful poses, as well two pairs of nun-chucks, and to top it all off, he still gets the torso of the Demogoblin build-a-figure.  That’s quite a package full of extras, and it certainly adds a lot of playability to the figure.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Shang-Chi is one of those characters that I’ve always been aware of, but never had a ton of attachment to (probably because of that goofy 5-inch figure), so he wasn’t exactly high on my want list for Legends.  That being said, it’s not like I was opposed to him getting a figure, especially if it’s a cool one.  Weird issue with the feet aside, this is a very, very cool figure, and offers up a lot of fun options.  I really enjoy the all-in approach on the accessories, and I hope that Hasbro continues this approach for such characters going forward.

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