#1918: Havok

HAVOK

MARVEL UNIVERSE (HASBRO)

“Separated from his brother Scott — who would eventually grow into the mutant Cyclops — and cut off from his own powers by Mr. Sinister, Alex Summers grew up ignorant of his mutant heritage. As a result, he wasn’t trained in the use of his powers until late in life. He has since overcome that obstacle and turned into a powerful hero in his own right, leading a team of mutant adventurers into deep space against the insane despot Vulcan.”

For the seventeenth, and I do believe final, entry in this year’s roundup of post-Christmas reviews, I’m touching on one of the little quirks of my collecting habits: owning every figure of certain characters.  There are just some characters that really resonate with me, and are minor enough that owning all of their figures is actually a totally attainable thing*.  One of those characters is my favorite member of the X-Men, Alex Summers, also known as Havok!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Havok was released in Wave 8 of Hasbro’s Marvel Universe line, which was the third assortment of the line’s second year.  He was numbered 018, following the relaunched numbering stucture of 2010, and was also one of the five Fan’s Choice figures released in the line that year.  There were two different versions of Havok to be had.  The regular release was his then-current costume, while the variant release, which I’m looking at here, was his classic gear.  The figure stands 4 inches tall and has 22 points of articulation.  Havok made use of the body originally used for Black-Costumed Spidey, one of Hasbro’s favorite bodies from this line.  It was one of the better bodies from the line’s debut year, but it was still a little wonky.  It feels a bit like the antithesis of the body Moon Knight was on; this figure seems to have gained the segment of torso length that was missing from the former.  Also, the very skinny nature of this figure’s legs had a tendency to give him some stability issues.  A later variant of this body added swivel joints to his thighs to aid somewhat, but no such luck this early into the line.  Havok sports a brand new head sculpt, which is definitely the highlight of the figure.  Early MU sculpts weren’t the most detailed, but Havok’s actually looks pretty decent, and I certainly applaud their choice not to go with a screaming look, while still giving him that proper Alex Summers pout.  His distinctive headgear is actually a separate piece, and it’s not held in place by anything more than some rather shallow pegs, meaning it’s a little on the floppy side.  I found that a small touch of super glue was needed to keep the figure from being too frustrating.  I’m not entirely sure why it wasn’t just glued down in the first place, but there you have it.  Havok’s paintwork is rather on the simple side, but the application is all pretty clean, and his design looks just as striking as it should.  Havok was packed with an energy effect piece (borrowed from the prior year’s classic Iron Man), as well as a display stand with his name and number on it. 

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

This figure is the last Havok figure I didn’t own, and he’s kind of been my white whale for a little while.  I mean, not in a crazy, ranting and raving, risk my life to get him sort of a way, but more a “always be the one that got away” sort of a way.  I grabbed the standard Havok when he was new, and I knew this guy was supposed to be showing up in revision cases, but I never once saw him.  Then the line was done, and he was going for some crazy high prices for a while, and I just sort of gave up and accepted my little Havok collection as incomplete.  Of course, my parents, who got me into this whole Havok-collecting thing in the first place, weren’t going to stand for any of that nonsense, and so this guy was among my presents this past Christmas.  Is he the greatest Havok figure ever? Nah, but I do sure like him a lot, and I’m happy to have the whole group together!

*To date, I’ve attained this with three characters of note.  Havok, of course, as this review indicates, as well as Wonder Man and Elongated Man.

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#1903: Moon Knight

MOON KNIGHT

MARVEL UNIVERSE (HASBRO)

“No one, not even Moon Knight himself is really sure whether he’s actually the avatar of the ancient god Khonshu, or if he’s just crazy.  It is without a doubt that he is stronger than the average man, and a far superior fighter to all but the best.  He has devoted himself to Khonshu, acting out the Egyptian god’s agenda of revenge against criminals from one end of the world to the other.”

For Day 2 of the Post-Christmas reviews, I’m returning to one of my very favorite review subjects.  Yes, it’s none other than MOOOOOOON KNIIIIIIIIIGHT!!!!  Sorry, I can’t help but do that at least once per Moon Knight review.  Contractual obligation.  So, yeah, Moon Knight’s a personal favorite character of mine, and one of those characters that I make a concerted effort to track down whenever he shows up in action figure form.  He’s got one of those designs that just usually makes for good toy.  And today, I’m looking at another!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Moon Knight was released in the fourth assortment of Marvel Universe in 2009, during the line’s inaugural year.  He was the 27th figure numerically in the line.  As seems to be frequently the case for the character, the assortment that spawned Moon Knight was sort of an odd-ball selection of characters.  Fun fact, though, the assortment also included Blade, a character that was essentially Moon Knight’s equivalent in the Tomb of Dracula books.  Anyway, Moon Knight’s seen here in his classic all-white attire, which we actually haven’t gotten in proper figure form since.  The figure stands 3 3/4 inches tall and he has 22 points of articulation.  Moon Knight is built on the body that initially belonged to Daredevil.  It was one of two mid-sized male bodies introduced during the first year of the line, and, to be fair, it’s definitely the better of the two.  Of course, given that the other one is one of the worst bodies from the line, that’s perhaps faint praise.  As I mentioned when I first reviewed this body (when it was Vision), it’s an okay body overall, but the biggest flaw is that it looks like he’s missing a row of abs.  His torso’s just too short.  On the plus side, it poses well, and it’s certainly very playable.  He has a unique head, cape, and belt to help complete that Moon Knight look.  The belt is a little soft and ill-defined, but the head and cape are really nice pieces, and I find them to be stronger than even the more recent version of Marc.  As with the Vision parts, I can’t help but wish we could have seen these parts on a stronger base body.  Moon Knight’s paint is, as you might expect, quite monochromatic, but kept from being too drab with a nice selection of grey and silver accenting on the white portions of the costume.  Moon Knight was packed with his staff and a single crescent dart.  Both are pretty cool, but the staff’s definitely going to get more playtime from me, since he can’t really hold the dart.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Back when this figure was first released, I held off, in part because I was less of a Moon Knight fan than I am now, and in part because he was supposedly going to be re-packed later down the line in a two-pack with an Ant-Man figure.  When that pack never materialized, I found myself with no Moon Knight, and eventually settled for the more recent small-scale Legends release.  I ended up getting this guy this year as a Christmas present from my friends at All Time Toys, because that’s just how they do.  There are certainly some dated aspects of this figure, but I’m overall quite impressed by how well-crafted he is.  If nothing else, he’s certainly a lot of fun to play with!

#1828: Guardians of the Galaxy

STARLORD, DRAX THE DESTROYER, & ROCKET RACCOON

MARVEL UNIVERSE (HASBRO)

“In the wake of the devastation left by the Annihilation War, the galaxy was unprotected. In a forgotten place at the edge of the universe, a group of heroes came together, determined to fill that void. From their base in deep space, the Guardians of the Galaxy protect the cosmos from threats both large and small.”

The year is 2011.  The world’s just getting comfortable with Thor and Captain America as major motion pictures.  The Avengers hasn’t shown up and blow the lid off of Super Hero movies.  Nobody knows who The Guardians of the Galaxy are, and yet, this is the year they get their first toys.  Groovy.

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

These three were released as one of the two debut team packs from Hasbro’s then fledging Marvel Universe.  They had done multi-packs of varying numbers up to this point, but this was when they really started to explore offering new characters and new sculpts in these sets.  The Guardians marked the debut figures for all three characters included.

STARLORD

Probably the most obscure of the characters included when this set was released, Starlord is never the less front and center, sporting his fully-covered appearance from when he first started leading the team.  It’s pretty far removed from what we connect with the character now, but was really just a slight re-design of his classic appearance.  The figure stands 4 inches tall and he has 23 points of articulation.  Starlord was built on the AIM/Ghost Rider body, which I’ve actually reviewed once before, way back at the start of the site, when it was used for Longshot.  It’s a decent body, and was certainly one of MU’s best offerings.  It works very well for Starlord’s design (to the point that Hasbro repeated this same shared body sequence for the Legends releases as well), and its all-around just a nice sculpt.  The legs can be a little finicky when you’re posing him, but other then that, the posability was really solid.  He gets a new head and belt, completing his transition into Starlord.  The head in particular is a very nice sculpt, showcasing a level of detail that a lot of figures from this line hadn’t gotten at this point.  Starlord’s paintwork is solidly handled.  The base work is pretty clean, and he gets some pretty great accenting on the bodysuit.  Not something we see a lot of anymore, but it certainly adds something to the figure.  Starlord is packed with a pair of identical guns, which he holds well in his hands.

DRAX THE DESTROYER

Drax is probably the most prominent of the Guardians, prior to their move to the big screen (which is likely why he was the one who got the Legends release the next year), and had just seen something of a revamp right before joining up with the team, so he’s sporting his then-current look for this figure.  Not necessarily a favorite of mine, as he ends up looking a touch generic, but it served to inspire the movie, which made it less so.  The figure is just over 4 inches tall, with 20 points of articulation.  Drax shares his body with the previously released Luke Cage figure.  Given their similar wardrobe choices at the time, it certainly made a lot of sense.  It’s an okay body, but definitely a lot more restricted than Starlord’s, and certainly lighter on the detailing.  He gets a new head and belt piece.  The head is fairly standard, and it’s actually a little bit surprising that it didn’t see a bunch of re-use.  The belt is a belt.  It’s decent, but hardly anything to get excited over.  Drax’s paintwork is fairy standard.  Base application is clean, and there’s some nice accenting on the upper half of the figure.  He’s not quite as eye-catching as Starlord, but that’s true to the design.  Drax is packed with a pair of knifes, which can be placed, somewhat awkwardly, in the sheath on the back of his belt.

ROCKET RACCOON

Original envisioned as something of a one-off character, Rocket Raccoon’s biggest claim to fame before the movies was earning a spot in Marvel vs. Capcom 3, which is actually a pretty darn prestigious affair.  It certainly elevated his public profile, anyway.  This figure was a wholly new offering, as you might expect, since there’s not really much you can re-use for a raccoon, right?  The figure stands 2 inches tall and has articulation as his neck and tail.  No arm articulation for this guy.  That’s a little disappointing, but he makes out better than other similarly styled figures from MU.  His sculpt is pretty solid work.  It’s dynamic, to be sure, which is certainly a plus.  He’s a bit more stylized than the other two in this set, but the folds on his uniform are close enough to those on Starlord’s that the two don’t look too out of place with each other.  Rocket’s paint work is probably the most complex of the bunch, what with all the fur detailing and the like.  He looks good, and once again matches well with the similarly uniformed Starlord.  Rocket includes a large gun, which is certainly in character.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

This pack was actually my first introduction to the modern Guardians.  I was familiar with Drax, but not the other two, as I was never much of a fan of Abnett and Lanning’s writing style.  Because of that, I didn’t really have any interest in this set at the time of its release, and ended up passing on it, even while in the midst of a pretty heavy bout of Marvel Universe collecting.  It’s actually too bad I did, because its a good set, and might have gotten me interested in the characters a little sooner.  It’s even better now that Gamora and a full-scale Groot finally surfaced last year.

This set was loaned to me for review by All Time Toys, and is available for purchase via their eBay store.  If you’re looking for other cool toys both old and new, please check out their website and their eBay Store.

#1221: Goliath

GOLIATH

MARVEL UNIVERSE: GIGANTIC BATTLES (HASBRO)

billfoster1

Black Panther is the Marvel Universe’s first prominent African character and not long after his introduction in 1966, they introduced their first noteworthy African-American character into their super hero world in the form of Hank Pym’s lab assistant, Bill Foster.  Bill was a big deal at the time, being totally competent in his job, and being the best expert in Pym Particles outside of Pym himself, all while avoiding many of the negative stereotypes that struck most black characters at the time.  In the ‘70s, he was promoted to a super hero in his own right, taking on the role of Black Goliath.  He then eventually took on Hank’s old Giant-Man name for a time, before retiring for a bit due to health issues.  In the early ‘00s, he was brought back, dropping the “Black” from his name and simply going by “Goliath.”  Then he got dragged into the stupidity of Civil War and ended up dead.  Thanks, Millar.  Well, at the very least he got an action figure out of all of it.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

billfoster2Goliath was released in the second series of Hasbro’s Marvel Universe: Gigantic Battles line, a sub-line of their main Marvel Universe line.  He was originally packed with Ragnarok, the evil clone version of Thor from Civil War, as well as Civil War #4, the issue where Bill died.  Those two parts of the set were a little morbid for me, so I got rid of them.  Just the Bill figure for me!  The figure stands about 12 inches tall and he has 32 points of articulation.  Bill is wearing the costume he was sporting during Civil War (though it was introduced just prior to that, I believe during Dan Slott and Andrea Di Vito’s The Thing mini-series).  It was a short-lived look, but also one of Bill’s best designs, lacking a lot of the dated design elements his other designs possessed. Structurally, the figure’s mostly a re-use of the Marvel Icons Cyclops figure, the same body used for the previously reviewed SDCC-exclusive Giant-Man, as well as the Gigantic Battles version of Hank Pym Goliath.  As I noted in the Giant-Man review, it’s a body that’s started looking quite dated in recent years.  It’s really gangly, and the articulation isn’t particularly well worked-in.  The gangly-ness of the body is particularly notable with Bill, who was classically depicted as having a fair bit of mass in his giant form.  That being said, one of my major issues with its use on Giant-Man was how the sculpted costume details didn’t line-up with his design.  That’s not an issue for Bill, which results in him looking a whole lot less strange when compared to Hank.  Bill had a new head sculpt, which remains one of Hasbro’s greatest head sculpts to date.  The level of detail on this sculpt is really incredible, to the point that it almost kinda looks out of place on this particular body.  He’s also got an add-on belt piece, which covers up the sculpted x-belt-buckle.  Due to its design and size, it covers the original belt much better than the piece on the Giant-Man figure.  In terms of paint, Bill’s fairly decent.  The base colors match up pretty well with the comics, and there’s some nice airbrushing present on several parts of the costume.  Since the arms they used have sculpted seams and folds, they couldn’t do the proper bare arms, so instead they’re black like the pants and boots.  It sort of looks off, but I guess it works alright.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Bill is actually one of my favorite comics characters.  It all goes back to his appearance in the tie-in comics for Avengers: United They Stand, which is one of my personal favorite runs of Avengers comics.  I liked him there, which led to me tracking down some of his other appearances (with the Champions, another favorite team of mine, as well as in his short-lived solo series).  He’s just one of those cool background characters that I really enjoy, and I was beyond pissed when he was killed in Civil War.  I was super thrilled when Hasbro announced him as part of this line, and waited patiently for the two years it took for him to make it to retail.  Goliath isn’t one of Hasbro’s best, especially in light of the leaps and bounds they’ve made with Legends, but he was actually one of the best entries in the MU line at the time, and he’s the only Bill Foster action figure out there.

#0856: Black Panther

BLACK PANTHER

MARVEL UNIVERSE (HASBRO)

BPantherMU1

Poor Black Panther. He should be a really prominent character, but he always feels like he gets the short end of the stick. He has trouble keeping an ongoing comic (often due to poor creative direction), he’s mostly relegated to guest star roles in all the various Marvel cartoons (barring the truly awesome Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes), and he didn’t even get an action figure until the early 00s (and even then, it was only in the-10 inch line. It would take a little while longer before he got a normal 5-inch figure, just as the scale was starting to go away). Fortunately, it looks like his luck should be changing with the release of Civil War, as well as his solo film in 2018. Why not look at one of his action figures?

THE FIGURE ITSELF

BPantherMU2Black Panther was part of the first series of Hasbro’s Marvel Universe line. He’s based on the Panther’s classic look, from his time with the Avengers in the late 60s. The figure stands roughly 4 inches tall and has 24 points of articulation. Panther is built on Hasbro’s first attempt at a mid-sized male body. It was only used for him and two variants of the Punisher. The reason it didn’t see any further use is quite simple: it’s not very good. Sure, parts of it look pretty decent, but the overall assembly looks very awkward. The upper arms in particular are about as tall as they are wide, which just looks odd. In addition, the articulation scheme is weird and makes the figure pretty stiff. You won’t be getting much more than a basic standing pose out of this guy, which just isn’t right when you’re talking about Black Panther, a dude who does his fair share of crouching! The head, lower arms and lower legs are all unique to this guy. I like the head a lot, and it’s definitely the best part of the figure. The arms and legs do at least put some effort into detailing Panther’s striped gloves and boots, but they suffer from the same odd proportions as the rest of the body. The left hand is bigger than his face! Panther has paint for his eyes and… that’s it. Just the eyes. The rest is straight black plastic, which makes him a bit flat looking. Some highlights, or even painting the gloves blue, as they were often showed in the comics, would have done a lot to help this figure, but alas, no such luck. Black Panther was packed with a staff with a blade on it, which Wikipedia tells me is a naginata. It never struck me as particularly in keeping with Panther’s aesthetic, so I lost it at some point.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I’ve always liked Black Panther (I chalk it up to his Keith David-voiced appearance on the 90s Fantastic Four cartoon). So much so that when I was 7, I made one of my Batman Forever Batmen into a custom Panther using some black tape. When Hasbro showed him as one of the first MU figures, I was pretty excited to see him there, and he was one of my first purchases from the line. Unfortunately, he got saddled with the worst of the initial bodies, which held him back. He’s not a terrible looking figure, but he’s not super fun either, which is disappointing. On the plus side, Hasbro just re-released him in their Avengers Infinite line, using the later mid-sized body (used on Falcon), so the character wasn’t totally forgotten.

#0850: Falcon

FALCON

MARVEL UNIVERSE (HASBRO)

FalconMU1

Falcon is certainly a character who has picked up some serious notoriety in the last few years, and I gotta say, that makes me pretty darn happy. See, I’ve been a Falcon fan since Avengers: United They Stand (a cartoon that no one in their right mind would admit to liking. I kinda liked it…) and I’ve always found the guy pretty awesome. He’s actually been pretty fortunate in regards to figures, getting a figure in just about every major scale over the years, including Hasbro’s favorite, 3 ¾ inch, where he actually got TWO figures! I’ll be looking at the first of those today.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

FalconMU2Falcon was released in the 14th series of Hasbro’s Marvel Universe line, where he is listed as figure 013. The figure is roughly 4 inches tall and he has 22 points of articulation. The design of the figure is clearly based on one of his more recent costumes, but it’s not either of the modern costumes I’m familiar with. It’s actually a nice medium between the classic costume and the costume he was wearing just prior to becoming Captain America. Falcon is built on the medium-sized male body, first introduced with Guardian. It was definitely an improvement to some of the earlier base bodies, and aside from arms that can’t quite sit flush with the body, it’s actually a fairly nice sculpt. He gets a new head and forearms, as well as slightly tweaked upper arms, to allow for the wings. The new pieces are pretty decent overall; the head is a little bland, expression-wise, but it’s not bad, and the forearms sport some pretty nice detailing. His actual wings are separate pieces, and they work okay,but they aren’t as well done as prior Falcon figures. They’re only one piece, and they’re really only designed for him to have his arms above his head at like a 45 degree angle. Any other pose and they look incredibly awkward. Falcon’s paintwork is actually really nice. The base colors are well-chosen, and there’s some great accent work on the whites and reds, which helps prevent him from looking too boring. The figure is packed with his trusty sidekick Redwing and a display stand with his name on it.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Falcon’s actually responsible for me having as many Marvel Universe figures as I do. I had a few figures, probably less than 10, when I found this guy at Target. It just so happened that they were having a Buy-One-Get-One-Half-Price special at the time, which led to me steadily picking up a whole bunch of what was currently in stock, and eventually led to me trying to get a complete line-up of every Avenger in this scale. And it’s all because of this guy.

#0842: Patriot

PATRIOT

MARVEL UNIVERSE (HASBRO)

Patriot1

The early 2000s were a bit of a dim time for Marvel, at least for me. For almost a decade, they decided to do their very best to make fans looking for more “classic” interpretations of the heroes unwelcome, by giving just about every major series a dark, brooding, paranoid tone. There were a few series that managed to not suck, though, and one of my personal favorites was Alann Heinberg and Jim Cheung’s Young Avengers. The team has, unfortunately, been pretty scarce in the toy world: there was one boxed set at the end of Toy Biz’s run with Marvel Legends, a Vision 2.0 (released as a variant of the original Vision) in Marvel Minimates, and then today’s figure, Eli Bradley, aka Patriot!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Patriot2Patriot was released in Series 17 of Hasbro’s Marvel Universe line. It’s actually Patriot’s second figure, which gives him twice as many figures as half the team, and infinitely more figures than the other half of the team. Yay for him, I guess. The figure stands roughly 3 ¾ inches tall and has 23 points of articulation. Eli had two distinct looks in the comics; this figure (like his Marvel Legend) is based on his first costume. He spent far less time in this costume than the other, but it’s a slightly stronger design and it’s got a lot in common with Bucky’s costume, which allows for some part re-use. Part re-use is probably the real reason this figure even exists, since he’s 100% re-used from other figures. His body is (unsurprisingly) from Series 7’s Bucky figure, and his head is from Series 5’s Union Jack (oh no, conflicting patriotism! What will he do?). The tricky thing with these re-used parts is that, while Bucky and Patriot’s designs are similar, they aren’t identical. So, Patriot ends up with a very different collar than his comics counterpart, the front of his jacket has buttons on both sides (as opposed to just the right side), and his boots are cuffed. It’s a bit frustrating that none of these were fixed for this figure, but it is what it is I suppose. At the very least, the overall look of the figure is a close approximation. The paint does do its fair share to try and mask some of these issues as best as possible; the front of the jacket, for instance, only has painted piping on the right side, allowing the other side to sort of “fade in” to the torso. The paint also adds the small stars on his forehead and torso, as well as the striping on the sides of his legs. Unfortunately, the figure lacks the proper white piping on the edges of the gloves. Also, some of the paint, especially the red, is quite sloppily applied, though this is only really noticeable up close. Patriot was packed with Captain America’s original shield, which, like the rest of this figure, is a reuse, though it’s completely excusable here, since it’s supposed to be the exact same shield.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Being an avid Young Avengers fan, I bought Patriot as soon as I found him (which was at my local comic book store). Of the six Young Avengers figures in existence, this is probably the weakest. That being said, he’s not terrible. The parts he re-uses, while perhaps not 100% accurate, are at least good pieces. That makes this figure a good figure, if not an accurate one. Plus, viewed through the lens of “inaccurate or not at all” I’ll happily take inaccurate.

#0680: Ant-Man Boxed Set

GIANT-MAN, GOLIATH, & HANK PYM

MARVEL’s ANT-MAN

AntManSet1

Marvel is definitely pushing Ant-Man pretty hard right now. The movie was a resounding success, in spite of all the negative press that seemed to be surrounding it, he’s joined the cast of the Avengers Assemble cartoon, and he’s headlining one of the best solo comics the company is currently publishing. Things are definitely looking up for the bug-sized hero. Marvel licensee Hasbro has been joining in on the fun, and two of their San Diego ComiCon exclusives this year were based around Ant-Man. Today, I’ll be looking at what I feel is the more impressive of the two exclusives.

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

Giant-Man, Goliath, and Hank Pym (along with two smaller Ant-Men) make up an Ant-Man-themed boxed set, released this year at SDCC. The set was also available after the convention on Hasbro’s online store, which is how I got mine.

GIANT-MAN

AntManSet2Hey! Haven’t I already looked at this guy? Well, sort of. Yes, this figure uses the same costume design as the Ant-Man Marvel Legends Infinite Series Giant-Man. However, unlike that figure, this one lives up to the name-sake a bit better. The figure is 12 inches tall, making him twice the height of the Infinite Series version, and he has 32 points of articulation. The figure is built on Marvel Legends Icons Cyclops body, which was previously used for the Marvel Universe Gigantic Battles Goliath and Bill Foster figures. It’s a body that was good at the time it was created, and was still pretty serviceable when it was used for Gigantic Battles, but has started to look pretty dated in recent years. The proportions and sculpted details are still okay (though he does look a little underfed), but the range of motion on the joints is rather restricted. In addition, the body has a lot of sculpted details that are specific to Cyclops, and thereby look out of place on Giant-Man. In the case of seams and the like, it’s easy to overlook them, but the straps/buckles on the wrists and the clear outline of the boots on the calves are quite distracting. It doesn’t seem too unreasonable to want Hasbro to at least retool those particular pieces. Giant-Man does get a unique head and an add-on for his belt. The head is pretty decently sculpted, though, for some reason, the antennae look sillier here than they did on the smaller figure. The belt is decent enough, but it seems a little bulky, especially compared to the painted on belt of the MLIS figure. The paint on this figure is pretty decent, aside from the obvious issues with sculpted details not lining up with the costume. The black sections are slightly glossy, and incredibly sharp at the edges, which is nice to see. One minor issue: the two black lines emanating from the circle on his chest end at the shoulder joints, instead of continuing around the shoulders like they should.  Giant-Man includes no accessories of his own.

GOLIATH

AntManSet3Moving downward on the scale chart, we get to my personal favorite figure from the set, Goliath. He’s based on Hank Pym’s first costume for his third identity. Confused? That’s okay. Most people are. This figure ends up being the most unique of those offered in the set, mostly due to his color-scheme. The figure stands a little over 6 inches tall and has 32 points of articulation. He’s based on the ML Infinite Series Bucky Cap body, just like the single release Giant-Man. The body’s a pretty great base for a lot of characters, and it fits Hank rather nicely. Goliath gets a new head sculpt; it’s a little on the soft side as far as details go, but it’s pretty good overall. It’s a nice, classic hero-style head, and it isn’t too struck with the level of same-ness we’ve seen on a lot of Hasbro’s male heads in this scale. The figure also gets a new add-on piece for his belt, which is a little bit loose, but pretty well sculpted. While I like this figure a lot, oh boy did he get hit with some seriously messy paint. The colors are pretty nicely chosen, but the flesh tones are really thick and goopy, and the yellow has been applied too thinly in many areas, causing the blue of the plastic to bleed through. He’s also got some random scratches of blue on both forearms, where the glove paint has chipped. Viewed as a whole, the figure is alright, but he would have been a lot nicer if the paint had been even a little bit better. Like Giant-Man, Goliath has no accessories of his own.

HANK PYM

AntManSet5Moving down the scale chart again, we find our way to another version of Hank Pym, as well as our first actual Ant-Man figure in a set with Ant-Man plastered all over it. Hank’s presented here in his Ant-Man costume, but with a lab coat over top of it, which is a look that Hank’s been known to sport rather frequently, when he’s in an inventing mood. It’s an important look that’s largely been absent from toy form. The figure is about 4 inches tall and has 22 points of articulation. Structurally, Hank is very similar to the Ant-Man figure from last year. He uses the torso, legs, and feet from the basic skinny male body. It’s kind of an outdated body, but I guess it’s at least consistent with the last Ant-Man. He also has the arms and hands from the AIM Agent/Ghost Rider body, which are good for the AntManSet7looser sleeves, but are a little too long for the body. For the lab coat, he re-uses the add-on piece from G.I. Joe: Rise of Cobra The Doctor figure, which isn’t a perfect fit for the body, but it isn’t too far off. The head appears to be a new piece, though it’s generic enough that it could potentially be a re-use. It’s an okay sculpt, but it seems a bit too angry for Hank. The paintwork on the figure is pretty decent. The actual Ant-Man costume is identical to the regular Ant-Man, which is good, I guess. It would be nice if the lab coat were more detailed than just straight white, but oh well. Hank gets the only actual accessory in the set: an alt helmeted head. It’s exactly the same as the normal Ant-Man’s head.

ANT-MEN

AntManSet8Last up, it’s the two mini Ant-Men, who are really more accessories than outright figures. The larger of the two is based on Scott Lang’s Ant-Man costume from the 00s. It’s definitely a more modern design, but I like the enclosed nature. The figure AntMan2stands about an inch and a half tall and features no articulation. He’s got a unique sculpt, and he’s actually pretty nicely detailed for such a small figure. The paintwork is also pretty decent, with three different colors and no visible slop. The smaller Ant-Man is once again based on the classic Ant-Man design. It’s actually just the same smaller Ant-Man as was included with the Avengers Infinite Ant-Man. It’s under an inch tall and is, predictably, pretty light on the details.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

So, as noted above, I picked this set up after the con from Hasbro Toy Shop. I detailed the ordeal in my Book of the Vishanti review, so I won’t go into that again. Ultimately, I have to admit I’m a little underwhelmed by this particular set. Giant-Man and Hank Pym are both held back by outdated bodies, and Goliath has some rather annoying paint issues. The Scott Lang figure is kinda neat, I guess, but I’d have preferred to get a larger scale version. All-in-all, I certainly don’t feel like this is a bad set, and I don’t regret purchasing them, but they just seem a bit off.

AntManSet4

#0554: Ultron

ULTRON

MARVEL UNIVERSE

UltronMU1

Countdown to Avengers: Age of Ultron: 2 days remaining.

Alright, now we’re really getting into the good stuff. After going a fair bit of time without a proper classic Ultron figure, he suddenly started showing up all over the place. Hasbro decided to take their first crack at him in their Marvel Universe line. They released him as part of their sub-line of Secret Wars-based two-packs, which puts them ahead of Mattel, for those of you keeping score. I don’t actually have the two-pack version of said figure, but I do have the next best thing. So, let’s look at that!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

UltronMU2Ultron was released as part of the 15th Series of Marvel Universe. This is the second appearance of Ultron in the line, but the first to be released on his own. The figure is roughly 4 inches tall and he has 27 points of articulation. As noted in the intro, this figure is based upon the classic Ultron design. The sculpt of this figure is a head-to-toe re-use of the Secret Wars version. It’s a pretty strong sculpt for the most part, although it does have a few small issues. The lower torso in particular is a little oddly shaped, and the sculpt of the upper torso makes the arms a little bit more limited in movement. It’s worth noting that this figure actually does get the proper head antennae, which is awesome to see. Due to the scale, they’re a little thicker than they should be, but that’s forgivable. Perhaps the figure’s biggest problem is that he just feels a little on the unsteady side. His joints are all rather loose and, while he doesn’t feel fragile, he does feel like he may keel over at any second. He can sustain a basic standing pose, but anything more dynamic and he’ll topple over. The figure’s paintwork represents another questionable area, though it isn’t bad, per say. Ultron’s traditional color scheme is predominantly silver, with a little bit of red thrown in for the eyes and mouth. Occasionally, the red might be swapped for blue, but that’s rare. On this figure, they got the silver pretty much right (although it could be argued that it’s a touch too dark), but the accents are… green? Yeah, I’m not sure what happened there. I mean, Ultron’s never been green. I guess Hasbro wanted to be different. To be fair, it doesn’t look bad. It’s applied fairly cleanly, and the move from white to green in the larger areas gives a nice bit of dimension. The use of the green to outline the etched in portions of the body is also quite cool, and makes it look like he’s overflowing with power. Ultron’s only accessory is a display stand with his name and the Marvel logo on it.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

For whatever reason, I missed out on the Secret Wars two-pack that included Ultron. I saw it once or twice, but I just didn’t get it. I think it had to do with the crappy Mr Fantastic he was packed with. Anyway, after those had sufficiently disappeared from stores, I figured I’d missed my shot on a classic Ultron. But then Hasbro announced this guy, and I figured he was a pretty decent stand-in. It’s not a totally straight forward classic Ultron, but it’s really not far off and the green is actually quite cool looking. Plus, I’ve just convinced myself that this figure is actually Ultron-12, the heroic Ultron, in some sort of alternate universe where he didn’t die and he changed his colors to green to differentiate himself. Which actually makes me appreciate the figure all the more.

#0550: Vision

VISION

MARVEL UNIVERSE (HASBRO)

VisionMU1

Countdown to Avengers: Age of Ultron: 6 days remaining.

I’ve made it no secret that Hawkeye and Scarlet Witch are essential members of the Avengers as far as I’m concerned, on the same level as Captain America himself. Well, there’s one more Avenger who I think really makes the team, and that’s the Vision, the focus of today’s review. He didn’t show up until 57 issues into the series, but once he’s there he sticks with the team for a rather hefty portion of the book’s original run. For a time, he was the team’s signature character. But, he’s not Spider-Man or Wolverine, so he disappeared in the 2000s. Yay. But now he’s working his way back to the top! Go synthezoid, go!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

VisionMU2Vision was released in the sixth series of Hasbro’s Marvel Universe line. The figure was offered in two different versions: regular and phasing. Today, I’ll be looking at the phasing version. Originally, it was supposed to be the rarer of the two, but poor distribution of this series’ initial cases meant that the regular version ended up being a lot harder to find. The figure is about 3 ¾ inches tall and he has 20 points of articulation. He’s built using the first mid-size male buck from the line (initially used for Daredevil), which is something of a rocky starting point for any figure. The initial base bodies were…well, they weren’t very good. The mid-size body wasn’t the worst, but it’s got some issues with proportions, mostly in the torso area. It’s too short, and most of that comes from the fact that he looks like he’s missing an entire section of abdominal muscles. It’s weird. It’s also just a bit too short for Vision. Of the base bodies available at the time they produced this figure, this one was the best, but that doesn’t mean it’s very good. It’s not helped by the fact that a far superior mid-sized body was introduced in the very next series, making this figure look almost immediately out of date.  To the figure’s credit, he did feature an all-new head and cape, both of which were very nicely handled. It’s a little harder to tell on the clear figure, but the head has some nice, clean detail work that works quite nicely for the figure. The cape has a really nice flow to it, and it sits nicely on his shoulders. It’s a shame these pieces didn’t have the chance to be used on a better body. The paint on Vision is relatively minor. For the most part, he’s just molded in the appropriately colored plastic. The colors seem a little on the light side, but not too badly. There is a little bit of green on the tops of the lower legs and arms, and some red for his face. They’re applied well enough, and the end result is pretty nice. Vision’s lone accessory is a black display stand with his name and the number 006 on it.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I got this guy while in the midst of putting together a set of MU Avengers. I held off of getting this particular figure for a little while, since I was hoping to track down the regular version. However, once it became clear that wasn’t going to happen, I tracked this version down on Amazon. I can’t say he’s one of the best MU figures or even one of the best Vision figures. The outdated body really holds him back, which is a shame. That said, he’s not terrible, and given that MU has one of the most expansive Avengers rosters available, he’s kind of important.