#3219: Groot

GROOT

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

“I AM GROOT!”

At the end of Endgame, Thor continued his journey by venturing out with the Guardians of the Galaxy.  Rather unsurprisingly, the Guardians are playing at least some sort of supporting role in Love and Thunder.  From the trailers, it appears the whole team will be along for the ride, but with their third film on the horizon, it doesn’t make quite so much sense to fill an entire Thor line-up with Guardians.  So, Hasbro picked some favorites, including everyone’s favorite walking tree with limited vocabulistics, Groot!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Groot is figure 6 in the Korg Series of Marvel Legends.  Between him and yesterday’s Ravager Thor, there’s also a new Star-Lord, but I opted to skip that one, on the basis that I’ve got a bunch of Star-Lords.  This figure is based on Groot’s “Teen” look.  It’s been given the Legends treatment once before via the Infinity War tie-ins, via the (supposed to be) TRU-exclusive three-pack with Thor and Rocket.  That one had gotten pretty pricey on the aftermarket, and with it looking to be more or less the standard version of the character going forward, it’s a sensible choice for a re-do.  The figure stands 5 1/2 inches tall and he has 25 points of articulation.  He’s using the body from the prior Teen Groot.  It’s not 100% ideal, mostly due to how the arm articulation works, but it could be worse.  Generally, it’s a nice sculpt.  I was never super sold on the head sculpt to the old one, and, hey, would you look at that, it’s the one thing they changed.  The new head is a lot more sharply detailed, and just generally looks like a better match for the animation model from the films.  That chin is much less pronounced, and the leaves and such at the top are much more leaf-like.  The figure’s color work is also a slight improvement.  He’s more in line with the adult Groots from the first movie, being molded in a slightly lighter brown, and with a fainter green detailing.  I think it works a lot better than the prior version.  Groot also gets a slightly better accessory selection, by virtue of not being stuck in a pack with two other figures.  He gets two standard hands, an extra right hand with a trigger finger, two branch-looking effect hands, a blaster rifle, and the torso to the Korg Build-A-Figure.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I was a bit lukewarm on the first Teen Groot.  Being stuck in a big, expensive boxed set, he just didn’t feel worth the price, and I always had some issues with the actual sculpt, especially the head.  I wasn’t initially sure about this release, as I’d expected it would be a pretty straight re-release.  But, I wanted Korg, and the new hands looked fun, so I grabbed him.  While he’s not drastically different, the new head does a lot for the figure, and I’m ultimately much happier with him than I’d expected to be.  This definitely feels like the definitive Teen Groot.  So, they’ll clearly be changing his design entirely for Vol 3, right?

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

#3218: Ravager Thor

RAVAGER THOR

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

“Thor wields the mighty Stormbreaker against a terrifying new foe.”

I’m already three figures into this look into the tie-in Legends for Thor: Love and Thunder, and I haven’t yet actually looked at the Odinson himself.  That seems pretty crazy.  There are two of them present in this assortment, and I’m opting to look at the slightly more unique of the pair.  This one, dubbed “Ravager Thor,” no doubt due to its ties to his time with the Guardians of the Galaxy, was the central piece of our first teaser image from the film, so its presence in this assortment isn’t all that much of a surprise.  So, let’s look at how that turned out!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Ravager Thor is figure 4 in the Korg Series of Marvel Legends.  As noted above, he’s one of two Odinson Thors in this line-up.  The other is a more traditionally armored take on the character, but it’s got no Build-A-Figure part, so I’m not in a huge rush to pick it up.  This Thor is clearly in his post-workout attire, after he’s gotten back in shape following the events of Endgame.  It’s based loosely on Thunderstrike’s design from the comics, which is a nice touch, and is also a nice sort of half-step between his The Dude-inspired look as Bro Thor and his more classic warrior Thor.  The figure stands about 6 3/4 inches tall and he has 30 points of articulation.  This Thor follows in the footsteps of the Endgame Thor, being closer to actual scale, rather than the exaggerated sizing of prior MCU Thors.  The figure’s sculpt is all-new, and it’s honestly a pretty respectable one.  The head in particular sports probably the best likeness we’ve gotten yet for Hemsworth.  That face just really clicks in a way that previous takes haven’t.  Given how many tries Hasbro’s given it, that’s definitely saying something.  The body sculpt has Hemsworth’s more heroic proportions from the film, as well as a ton of texture work on the outfit.  The vest is a separate, removable piece.  The left arm on my figure comes out, which makes taking the vest off a lot easier, though I don’t know if that’s on purpose.  The color work on this guy appears to be pretty spot on to the film design.  The paint on the face is suitably life-like, and the hair gets some nice accenting, giving it that slightly dirtier look.  He also gets the full detailing on his t-shirt design, which is pretty fun.  Thor is packed with Stormbreaker, as well as the arm to the Korg Build-A-Figure.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Mostly, I bought this guy for the Korg piece.  That said, I also did quite dig this look from its initial appearance in the teaser photo.  I like how it works with the general Flash Gordon-y vibe of the first film (and, I assume, this one, too).  This figure is honestly pretty fun, and he’s a neat progression from the Bro Thor figure.

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

#3126: Gorr

GORR

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

“Wielding a powerful and terrifying weapon, Gorr will let nothing stand in his way.”

With Loki, the Frost Giants, Malekith, Hela, The Executioner, and Surtur off the table (and the Enchantress effectively adapted into Sylvie in Loki), the Thor franchise had to move to more recent additions for an antagonist in Love and Thunder.  Enter Gorr the God Butcher.  Introduced during Jason Aaron and Esad Ribic’s Marvel Now!-era run on the book, Gorr has no ties to pre-existing mythology, and was a new creation in wholesale.  He doesn’t exactly have a ton of comics appearances, but he played a role in the run that led up to Jane Foster becoming Thor, so including him in this particular story isn’t the craziest idea.  For the film, he’s played by former Batman actor Christian Bale, making him the second live-action Batman to join the MCU as a villain.  Bet George Clooney and Val Kilmer are feeling real skipped over right about now.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Gorr is figure 2 in the Korg Series of Marvel Legends, which is entirely based on Love and Thunder.  This is Gorr’s debut in action figure form, making him the one truly new figure in the bunch, although it was also the first time we’d gotten an MCU Jane.  But this is our first Gorr regardless of universe.  The figure stands about 6 1/4 inches tall and he has 31 points of articulation.  Gorr’s articulation scheme is slightly more modernized, matching up with robed characters from other lines.  Obviously, he’s restricted on the legs, due to the skirt, but otherwise mobility’s pretty solid on the range front, and he’s also got the pinless joint construction on the elbows and knees.  Gorr’s sculpt is all-new.  It’s not a bad piece.  For the movie-verse, Gorr’s design is slightly less inhuman than his comics-counterpart, largely to keep Christian Bale’s face clearer for the purposes of emoting.  It makes for a slightly less distinctive design, but I’m sure it’ll work better within the movie proper.  The sculpt does a respectable job of capturing the design, at least based on what we’ve seen so far.  The face has a rather spot-on likeness of Bale, and the texture work on the outfit is rather impressive.  I don’t much care for how floaty the cape is, but other than that, the sculpt works well.  Gorr’s paintwork is rather on the drab side, seeing as he’s really just a lot of off-white.  It’s largely molded, but he gets a little bit of accenting on the exposed skin, as well as getting some pretty in depth printing for the face.  Gorr is packed with a black sword, which is presumably All-Black the Necrosword, Gorr’s weapon in the comics.  He also includes the left leg for Korg.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I know nothing of Gorr, at least from personal experience, so I’m pretty much banking off of a hope that I’ll like the character’s appearance in the movie.  Also, I wanted Korg.  So, there was that.  I honestly picked him up for that.  It’s not a bad figure, though.  Design’s a touch on the bland side, but the likeness is really good, and he’s pretty posable, especially on the upper half.

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

#3125: Mighty Thor

MIGHTY THOR

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

“Jane Foster’s life is forever changed when she mysteriously comes to possess the hammer Mjolnir…and the power of the Mighty Thor!”

In two weeks time, Thor: Love and Thunder, the fourth installment in the MCU’s Thor franchise, hits theatres.  One of the film’s earliest selling points was the return of Natalie Portman in the role of Jane Foster, as well as the confirmation that the film would be adapting her time in the role of Thor from the comics.  The MCU hasn’t really touched on the whole concept of other people taking on the mantle of Thor the way the comics had by the point Jane took over, so it’ll be interesting how exactly they handle it on screen.  It’s not like it’s a terribly confusing concept, though, and with Taika Waititi at the helm, I’m sure there will be some humorous quipping about the exact ins and outs of it in the final film.  Whatever the case, there are toys, and where there are toys, there is me, reviewing the toys.  Well, some of the time.  I mean, I don’t buy *everything*.  But I did buy this, so I’m gonna review it!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Mighty Thor is figure 1 in the Korg Series of Marvel Legends, which serves as the tie-in assortment for Love and Thunder.  It’s an assortment entirely based on the movie, which seems to have become the norm after years of mixing MCU and comics stuff.  Jane is seen here in what I can only assume will be her main attire from the film.  It’s a pretty solid recreation of the design she sported in the comics, with the necessary adjustments for it being on a real person and all, as well as tying her in a little more closely with the prior cinematic Thor designs. The figure stands just shy of 6 inches tall and she has 30 points of articulation.  As with most recent releases, she has the pinless joint construction on her elbows and knees, allowing for a generally sleeker design.  Jane Thor’s sculpt is an all-new offering.  It appears to be a pretty accurate rendition of the movie design, going by what we’ve seen so far.  The detailing is generally pretty sharp, though there are a few soft spots on a couple of the armored parts.  I quite like how the cape has turned out.  There’s a really convincing drape to it, especially given it’s heavier rubber construction.  Jane Thor includes two different heads; one with helmet, and one without.  The helmeted look feels just a touch goony looking; it’s something about how the eyes and mouth work within the context of the whole assembly.  It’s not too terrible, though.  The unmasked head is sporting a respectable likeness of Natalie Portman, certainly on par with the Padme from a few years ago at the very least.  Jane Thor’s color work is at best described as the bare minimum.  Well, okay, it probably goes a little bit beyond that, to her credit.  There aren’t any obviously missing details, but there’s also very little in the way of accenting.  It’s especially notable on the silver section, where some of the sculpted detailing winds up a little lost.  That said, the application is all rather clean, and the face printing makes her look sufficiently lifelike, as per usual.  Jane Thor includes Mjolnir and the right leg of the Korg Build-A-Figure.  Mjolnir is an all-new sculpt, showcasing its reassembled nature in the film.  Interestingly, it’s a larger size than the ones we’ve gotten with standard Thor (and Cap for that matter), making it our third different scaling for Mjolnir within the line.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I myself only had a somewhat passing familiarity with Jane’s time as Thor in the comics, but Jess was a huge fan, and collected the whole run, up through its end.  I know she would have been thrilled about it getting adapted, so that’s kind of translated to me being excited about it too.  I’m hoping that actually giving Natalie Portman a little bit more to do in the role might make her a slightly more compelling character.  The figure’s at least a promising start.  While I’d have liked to see them be a little more in depth with some of the paint, she’s otherwise a pretty solid release, and thus far looks to be the star of the assortment, at least as far as the general public is concerned.

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

#3124: Jubilee

JUBILEE

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

“Jubilation Lee is the newest member of the X-Men, able to project plasma “fireworks” from her hands with explosive results!”

Remember how I was talking about how Hasbro’s doing a line of X-Men: The Animated Series-inspired figures?  It was just yesterday, so it should be fairly fresh in the memory, I hope.  Well, they opted to launch the line with not one, but two figures.  Since they were doing Wolverine, they opted to kick off things with a figure that paired off with him, namely his effective sidekick for the show’s run, Jubilee!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Jubilee is the second figure in Hasbro’s X-Men: The Animated Series sub-line of Marvel Legends.  She’s only the third Jubilee under the Marvel Legends branding, with all three of them being during Hasbro’s tenure.  Like Wolverine, she ships in a VHS-inspired package, which helps to really sell the animation-inspiration of these figures.  The figure stands 5 3/4 inches tall and she has 32 points of articulation.  Jubilee is largely based on the same selection of parts as the last Jubilee release.  It makes sense, seeing as they’re meant to be adapting two rather similar designs.  That’s generally not the worst.  It’s a solid enough body sculpt.  While Wolverine got a few new parts to make him more animation-accurate, Jubilee doesn’t get any new parts at all.  She does swap out the boots for the standard Spider-Girl lower legs, and rather than getting the two heads from the ’90s Jubilee figure, she gets one of them, as well as the head from the Build-A-Figure.  I still don’t really care for the standard head so much; it just doesn’t really feel accurate to the character.  The other head works a little better, but she looks a touch too old for the cartoon version.  It’s a shame she couldn’t get a new head like Wolverine did.  Jubilee’s paint work isn’t terribly different from the prior figure, but with the adjustments for the cel-shading.  It works pretty well, and much like Wolverine, it isn’t as limiting as I thought it might be.  The new paint has refreshed the head sculpts a fair bit, at the very least, so that’s a plus.  Jubilee is packed with the two heads, plus the removable sunglasses for the one (in both opaque and transparent), and a pair of pink effects pieces.  It’s not a ton, but it’s an okay selection, and better than the last release.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I was rather let down by the last Jubilee.  She wasn’t terrible, but there was a lot riding on her, and she just didn’t quite deliver.  I guess the follow-up doesn’t have quite as much riding on it, but I was still hoping for something a bit better.  She’s not perfect, and she’s not quite the slam dunk that Wolverine was, but she’s at least better than the last one, and that’s a plus for me.  It’s also just nice that there’s another Jubilee out there.

#3123: Wolverine

WOLVERINE

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

“His adamantium claws slash through steel. His mutant healing ability mends even the worst wounds. He’s Wolverine, the best at what he does – and what he does best is fight evil Mutants!”

Did you know that the scientific name for wolverine means “glutton”? That’s your fun FiQ fact for this tiger-stripe Wolverine review!

The 1990s X-Men cartoon never got a direct tie-in line of toys at the time of its release, instead making do with a comic-based line with similar enough figures to pass.  In the almost thirty years since, we’ve still not gotten any direct tie-ins, but, hey, times change.  Mondo had initially dipped a toe in the waters with a 1/6 Wolverine, but before that one made its way to market, Hasbro jumped straight on in with a whole line of 6-inch figures with a more direct basis.  Kicking things off is the character that’s unquestionably the center of the cartoon, and the basis of the fun FiQ fact, Wolverine!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Wolverine is the first figure in Hasbro’s X-Men: The Animated Series sub-line of Marvel Legends.  While there have been figures based on the same basic designs in the past, these figures are more directly patterned on the animation models from the show.  To further highlight this fact, the figure is even packaged in a box that is made to look like a VHS tape, much like the ones put out for the show back in the ’90s.  It’s honestly a pretty nifty set-up, and a rather clever way of getting into the plastic-free packaging for the line.  I open everything anyway, but I’m actually going to keep these ones, because I like them that much.  The figure stands just under 6 inches tall and he has 34 points of articulation.  Largely, this figure makes use of the line’s standard Tiger Stripe Wolverine figure’s sculpt, which certainly makes a lot of sense.  In order to keep him more animation styled, he gets two new heads, a slightly tweaked set of shoulder pads, and new hands.  The two new heads are both solid recreations of the slightly wider design of the cartoon mask, and the two heads give him the option of calm and angry expressions.  I really dig the option, as well as the new look.  I was always a bit iffy on the prior Tiger Stripe Wolverine head, so I see this one as quite an improvement.  The shoulder pads are about the same, just slightly thinner.  The new hands get fancy new claws, which are a bit larger and more shaped than prior versions.  They were a little warped out of the package, but otherwise I really like them.  Wolverine’s paint work is laid out to replicate the cel-shading of the cartoon, something that it does surprisingly well.  I was a little worried that it was gonna look odd from certain angles, but it’s more versatile than I’d expected.  Wolverine is packed with a spare set of gripping hands without the claws, as well as a picture frame with a picture of Scott and Jean in it, as seen in the show, and also a metric ton of memes.  The picture is even removable from the frame, so you can swap in your own photos, for further meme-ing.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

X-Men: The Animated Series was incredibly formative for me as a kid, and has remained one of my favorites from my youth.  I was very tempted by the Mondo figure when it was shown off, but I wasn’t sure about dropping that kind of money.  These ones are much more my speed.  I have plenty of Wolverines, but this one does enough different to make him feel really worthwhile.  Thus far, I’m in for at least all the team members from this line, if not a few others as they crop up.

#3121: Venom & Doppleganger

VENOM & DOPPLEGANGER

MARVEL MINIMATES

In the ’90s, Marvel was big into anti-heroes, and in a lot of cases, that meant refitting older villains into a newer role.  The popularity of Venom outside of even his main hero pushed Marvel to take that slightly more heroic angle with him, with a prominent anti-heroic role during “Maximum Carnage,” where he and Spidey are forced to team up to face down a common foe.  Over on Carnage’s side, he was building his own team of villains, which included a remnant of a prior crossover, the Doppelganger, who’d been brought into existence during “Infinity War” and had a hole in his schedule, I guess.  Those two are the subject of today’s review!

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

Venom and Doppleganger were released as part of the 76th specialty series of Marvel Minimates, which was based on the “Maximum Carnage” cross-over.  They and the rest of the assortment hit shelves in October of 2018.

Also included in this set is a piece to the Build-A-Mate Shriek.  For this particular set, it’s the torso, belt, and pelvis.  Not quite as distinctive as the head and hair, but it’s something.

VENOM

“One of Spider-Man’s greatest foes, Venom must help his enemy stop Carnage, whose powers stem from Venom’s symbiotic costume.”

No stranger to Minimates, DST sometimes seems to struggle with how to make each subsequent Eddie Brock Venom feel unique from the last.  We gotten all manner of different mixes of bulking him up, and, well, here’s another one, I guess.  Structurally, this Venom is really a mix of prior ones.  He’s got a bulked up torso, upper arms, pelvis, and upper legs, and then a pair of clawed hands.  The end result is…well, it’s different.  DST was clearly looking to capture the artistic take in Venom at the time, which had his upper torso being rather large in comparison to his arms and legs, making him look like a bit V…you know, for Venom, I guess.  Using just some of the power-house pieces is actually an idea that was suggested on the boards a few times, so there was certainly some demand to see it done.  I’m not super sure how well it worked out ultimately, but this is far from the worst take on Venom.  The paint on this guy does a decent job of capturing the art from the story, as well as selling him as distinctive from his prior figures.  That said, it’s a shame that the highlights on the upper legs don’t continue to the lower, as this only further emphasizes the jump between the parts, making it look like he’s missing something.  I do really like the print on that head, though.  Venom’s only accessory is a clear display stand, which is kind of a shame.  It would have been nice to get another unmasked Eddie, or possibly another of the sonic gun they included with Spidey.  As it its, he’s very light, especially without all of the usual bulk-up parts.

DOPPLEGANGER

“A twisted copy of Spider-Man created during the Infinity War, Doppelganger is adopted by Carnage and Shriek during their deadly rampage.”

The Doppelganger is an interesting enough concept, though he admittedly gets a little lost in a story with so many dark reflections of Spider-Man.  It was at least nice that they didn’t totally forget about him.  This is his first time as a ‘mate, which isn’t a huge surprise for a character that hasn’t been relevant since the ’90s.  Of course, with the 6-arm tooling ready to go since Series 36, it’s perhaps a bit of a shock it took quite as long as it did.  Like the standard Spidey, Doppelganger starts with the core body, but adds in the harness from 6-Arm Spidey, as well as a new set of hands and feet for more of a clawed appearance.  I felt the harness bulked up Spidey a bit too much, but it ends up working out okay for the Doppelganger, who was typically depicted as a little larger anyway.  I also appreciate that this guy got new hands and feet, rather than just re-using similar pieces from the likes of Nightcrawler.  It makes him even more unique.  His paint is generally pretty close to Sonic Attack Spidey, though the application’s not quite as good on my Doppelganger, with the eyes not really matching up quite right with the lines on the mask and a bit of slop on the base level of the work.  It’s not terrible, but it’s definitely a slight step down.  Like Venom, Doppelganger’s only accessory is a clear display stand, but with the new hands and feet, it feels a little less frustrating here.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Like I mentioned in my Spidey and Black Cat review, I’ve got no notable attachment to this storyline, and I was starting to fall out of Minimates by this point.  I was grabbing the one set, and I felt compelled to get this one too.  None of the others, though.  As I said above, it’s hard to do a lot new and different with a Venom at this point.  This guy gets points for trying something new, I suppose, and he’s ultimately not a bad effort.  I’m even hard-pressed to say what DST could have done differently, but he still feels ever so slightly off.  Doppelganger’s a decent new addition to the line, held back ever so slightly by some wonky QC, which has been afflicting Spidey for a while now.  I guess it’s only fair it might hit his duplicate.

#3111: Sonic Attack Spider-Man & Black Cat

SONIC ATTACK SPIDER-MAN & BLACK CAT

MARVEL MINIMATES

Marvel sure does like their cross overs, and they have for quite a while.  As perhaps the company’s biggest name hero, Spider-Man’s found himself at the center of a good number of them.  In 1993, it was actually one of his villains that was center stage, for “Maximum Carnage”, an event spinning around, you guessed it, Carnage.  Spidey himself was still rather involved, it running through his books and all, and so were a good number of his supporting cast members.  The whole event was a fairly big multi-media success, and in 2018, DST put together a set of Minimates to mark its 25th Anniversary.  I’m taking a look at Spider-Man and Black Cat today!

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

Sonic Attack Spider-Man and Black Cat were released as part of the 76th specialty series of Marvel Minimates, which was entirely themed around the “Maximum Carnage” cross-over.  They and the rest of the assortment hit shelves in October of 2018.

Also included in this set is a piece to the Build-A-Mate Shriek.  This time around it’s the head and hair, which are definitely her most distinctive features!

SONIC ATTACK SPIDER-MAN

Every so often, we get an update on the classic Spidey, and since he had his standard look during the story, this is as good a time as any to get one.  This one specifically goes for that ’90s aesthetic, as a sort of a post McFarlane version of the character, which does have a distinctly different flair to it than previous figures.  Structurally, he’s pretty much like any basic Spidey, meaning he’s just that core ‘mate body.  It’s a good core body, so it’s hard to go wrong with a straight re-use.  Correspondingly, he stands about 2 1/4 inches tall and has 14 points of articulation.  The paint does the heavy lifting here.  He’s got all the usual hallmarks of a late-line Spidey, so he doesn’t have quite as expansive a selection of weblines as some of the earlier versions.  He does get a lot of detailing on the not-red parts, though, with a very creative use of shading on the arms, legs, and torso, which help to capture the artistic feel of Spidey as seen in the story.  The paint work is all fairly clean on this guy, and the coverage for both colors is pretty consistent.  This Spidey’s accessory selection is where things really get more unique.  He gets the usual webline and display stand, as well as the sonic gun from which the figure’s name is derived, and, for the first time ever, a pair of thwip hands.  They’ve been on the request list for quite a number of years now, but it’s pretty cool to finally get them.

BLACK CAT

Black Cat certainly hasn’t had as many ‘mates as Spider-Man, but she’s gotten a respectable amount, with four separate releases under her belt.  What’s most impressive is that there hasn’t been any overlap in terms of costume choices.  This one uses her mid-90s appearance, which isn’t terribly different from her first ‘mate, but lacks the fur collar and has a deeper neckline…so deep that it becomes more of a waist line, really.  In terms of parts, Felicia gets five separate add-ons for her hair, glove, and boot cuffs.  The hair is from the MvC Phoenix, and is suitably large and flowing for a Black Cat piece.  It also follows her original ‘mates precedent of re-using a Jean Grey piece, so I guess that’s fitting.  The cuffs were last used on TRU Series 24’s more modern Black Cat, and work just as well here as they did there.  Black Cat’s paintwork is overall pretty decent.  It keeps the usual striking nature of her design, and the line work is mostly pretty sharp.  The skin tone is a bit uneven in terms of coloring, which is a little distracting, but for the most part she looks pretty decent.  They managed to convey a feminine figure alright here, though she does at times feel a little top-heavy to me.  Spidey may have done very well on the accessories, but Black Cat’s not quite so lucky.  All she gets is a display stand, which really doesn’t feel like much, does it?  Certainly there was something else to throw in?

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I’ve got no real attachment to this cross-over, and I was already starting to dwindle on my Minimates purchasing when these hit.  But, I kinda liked the look of the set, so I grabbed it.  Honestly, I wasn’t expecting a ton from yet another standard Spider-Man, but this guy turned out really well, and the accessories in particular really make him.  Definitely a worthy update to a core character.  Black Cat’s a solid ‘mate, but I don’t know that she’s terribly exciting.  Despite being technically something new, I can’t help but feel like she’s a little redundant.  Maybe I’m just not that huge a Black Cat fan.

#3105: Human Torch

HUMAN TORCH

FANTASTIC FOUR (TOY BIZ)

“Bombarded by cosmic rays while on an experimental space flight, teenager Johnny Storm gained an ability to match his fiery disposition. With but a thought, his body would ignite and burst into flame! Realizing that he must use his powers in the service of mankind, Johnny became the Human Torch, and fights to protect the world as a member of the Fantastic Four!”

Remember at the beginning of the month, when I was talking about all the weirdness surrounding getting Invisible Woman and Human Torch added to the first series of Toy Biz’s Fantastic Four line?  Since I started the month with the weird place holder Sue, it would make a lot of logical sense to end the month with the weird place holder Johnny, right?  It sure would.  Shame that I don’t actually own that figure.  That would have been convenient.  Guess you guys will just have to settle for the not-weird-place-holder Johnny, who is, in this sense, ironically a placeholder for the placeholder.  So, you know, still kinda weird.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Human Torch was initially released in the second series of Toy Biz’s Fantastic Four line, and was then re-released as part of their KB Toys-exclusive Marvel Universe line in 1996.  The two figures are identical, but for the sake of clarity, it’s worth noting that mine is the Universe release.  Torch is seen here in his fully flamed on appearance, and is at least loosely inspired by how he looked on the cartoon.  The figure stands 5 inches tall and he has 9 points of articulation.  His sculpt was an all-new one, and remained unique to this figure (though an up-scaled version of it was used for the 10 inch line).  Generally, it’s not bad.  Fully flamed on Torches are always an iffy prospect, but this one does at least do a fair bit to keep him quite visually interesting.  His scorch lines are a sculpted element on this one, which actually works surprisingly well, and he’s got enough small flame effects to sell the “man on fire” thing.  I like that the head has a more playful expression than flamed on Torches tend to; it just feels more true to the character.  The main down side of this sculpt is the torso, which, due to the nature of his action feature, winds up a bit oversized.  It’s not awful, but it’s not great either.  Said action feature is a “Flame On Sparking Action.”  When you pull the string on his back, the torso sparks.  Or it used to, anyway.  The feature’s worn itself on mine.  Human Torch’s paint work is alright; fairly basic, really.  He’s molded in a bright red, and there’s some yellow for the flames, eyes, and mouth.  It works well enough, though the fact that everything is opaque is a little bit of a bummer.  Torch is packed with a catapult launcher stand, similar to the one included with Phoenix.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Human Torch is a figure I got brand new, albeit when he was re-issued under the Universe heading.  I had come into the collecting game too late for FF release, so I got the Series 4 version first.  This one was procured during a trip to my local mall’s KB Toys, on a trip with my Grandmother.  I think I just really wanted a fully flamed-on version of the character, since that’s what I was used to seeing on the show.  He’s not the best version of the character Toy Biz produced, but he’s also not the worst, and I kind of appreciate the goofier aspects of the figure.

#3103: Winter Soldier – Flashback

WINTER SOLDIER — FLASHBACK

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

“Though Bucky Barnes has fought to become himself again, in his darkest nightmares his greatest fear comes to life…that he is still the Winter Soldier!”

Oh man, is this two whole Marvel Legends reviews?  In a row?  Don’t get too used to it, guys.  But hey, it’s some Legends.  And I do love reviewing me some Legends.  Some of my earliest Marvel Legends reviews here on the site were of the tie-in product for Captain America: The Winter Soldier.  It’s still one of my favorite MCU films, and, despite plenty of retrospective MCU coverage in Legends since, we’ve not actually gotten any additional TWS figures since that initial run.  Kinda crazy, really.  8 years later, we’ve got one more, though this one comes under the guise of technically being a tie-in to last year’s The Falcon and The Winter Soldier.  Hey, I’m hardly going to complain about weird loopholes if they mean I get more TWS figures.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Winter Soldier (Flashback) is a one-off Fan Channel-exclusive Marvel Legends release.  He’s loosely tied in with the Sam and Steve Caps two-pack, as they both are using the same code-name, and are clearly meant to at least somewhat compliment each other.  Winter Soldier started hitting retail in roughly the last month or so.  Officially, this figure is based on the flashback dream Bucky has in the first episode of The Falcon and The Winter Soldier, but unofficially, he’s definitely meant to be Winter Soldier from the highway fight in TWS, since that’s the most distinctive use of this particular look.  The figure stands about 6 1/4 inches tall and he has 30 points of articulation.  From the neck down, this figure is re-using the mold from the original Mandroid Series Winter Soldier.  It’s a pretty sensible re-use.  Slightly old-style articulation scheme aside, it’s a really good sculpt, which does a respectable job of capturing the character’s outfit as seen in the movie.  The detailing is all nice and crisp, and he just really looks the part.  He’s also not nearly as undersized as the Caps of the same era, which really works in his favor.  He gets two all-new head sculpts, replacing the original two, which were working from pre-production designs.  These one’s give us the proper half-mask and fully unmasked looks.  They’re both pretty solid sculpts, and certainly improvements to the original release.  Of the two, the masked look is the stronger sculpt, I feel.  The half-mask looks really cool, and the sculpting is really sharp.  The unmasked head is okay, though the likeness isn’t quite there; I think his chin is a bit too large for Sebastian Stan.  Adding to the updated head sculpts is an updated paint scheme.  The jacket is properly darkened, matching the final film, rather than the concept art that the original was based on.  The heads both have the printing on the face, and the metallic arm is now much cleaner, closer to the way things look in the movie.  While the prior Winter Soldier’s only accessory was a big, goofy red thing that was supposedly a gun-type-thing.  This time around he’s got actual guns…well, closer to actual guns, anyway.  There’s an assault rifle type thing, and two pistols, which sort of have some Beretta 93r elements…if you squint.  He’s also got a knife, which is key for that cool knife flip trick from the movie.  The guns aren’t real, but they at least look the part more so than the original, and I’m honestly going to have him wielding the knife all the time, anyway.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I really loved the old Winter Soldier at the time of its release, but he was always slightly hindered by some of the odd factors that went along with him.  I also always really wished he had the half mask, which is by far his coolest look in the movie.  I’d been hoping for some sort of an update, what with all of the Marvel Studios stuff Hasbro’s been doing.  It’s been quite a wait for this one, and there are still some minor nits, but I really love how this figure turned out, and he’s pretty much exactly what I’ve been hoping for since 2014.

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