#1952: Black Panther

BLACK PANTHER

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

After the death of his father T’Chaka, T’Challa must assume the Black Panther mantle as the next king of Wakanda.”

Following his appearance in Captain America: Civil War, Black Panther was one of the hottest things ever.  It was little surprise that his Marvel Legends release from that movie proved to be by far the most difficult to track down of the series that included him, leaving Panther fans without a figure, at least until his solo flick came along.  But, of course, his main costume for the film, so if you wanted the (admittedly slightly superior) Civil War Black Panther, you were still going to need to find that figure.  Until now, anyways.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Black Panther is figure 4 in the M’Baku Series of Marvel Legends.  There’s actually no name distinction between this figure and the Kinetic Energy variant, so I can foresee referring to them getting a little confusing in the long run.  Though not his main costume, the CW design’s appearance early in Black Panther gave Hasbro enough leeway to include him in this second Panther-based assortment.  Let’s cut to the chase here: this figure’s sculpt is 100% identical to the Civil War release.  Same height, same articulation, same detailing.  I’m not complaining, mind you, because I loved this sculpt when it was new, and I still really like it now.  Sure, in retrospect the shoulder articulation is a bit more restricted than I’d like, but beyond that, it’s a sculpt that still really holds up.  There are some very minor, and I mean *very* minor, tweaks to the figure’s paint.  The eyes follow the sculpt a little more closely this time, and he does seem to be generally cleaner looking, but there aren’t any really intentional changes.  The only true change to this figure are the accessories included.  Obviously, he swaps out the Giant Man piece for one from M’Baku, but he also trades out the somewhat generic unmasked head for one that looks a fair bit more like Chadwick Bosman.  I don’t like this one quite as much as the one included with the Kinetic Panther; the expression makes him look really goofy.  Still, it’s better than the one we got originally.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

There’s not much to say about this guy.  I’m not surprised by Hasbro’s move to reissue him, since the original was still tricky to find.  He’s a good enough figure that he doesn’t feel out of place among his peers and the new head’s certainly an improvement.  That said, I bought this guy solely to finish M’Baku, and having already gotten the unmasked head with Kintetic Panther, there’s just not much this guy has to offer me.  But, like Carnage, he’s not really for me, so I guess there’s that.

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

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#1951: Ulysses Klaue

ULYSSES KLAUE

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

An arms dealer obsessed with vibranium, Ulysses Klaue infiltrates the secret nation of Wakanda to steal the sacred metal and sell it for a hefty profit.”

Andy Serkis as Ulysses Klaue was definitely one of my very favorite parts of Black Panther (and Age of Ultron, for that matter), largely because it was so clear just how much of a blast Serkis was having playing the part.  While he was privy to two Minimates, I honestly wasn’t expecting a Legends release, due to him being just a kind of normal looking guy.  Of course, since we got Everett freaking Ross, I guess it shouldn’t be too shocking that the comparatively more exciting Klaue would be given his due, now should it?

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Klaue is figure 3 in the M’Baku Series of Marvel Legends.  Like the Minimate, he’s based on Klaue’s appearance during the sequence at the casino and the ensuing chase scene.  The figure stands 6 1/4 inches tall and he has 30 points of articulation.  Klaue is built on a variant of the suit body, though no one would blame you for missing that at first glance.  He uses the torso and legs from that body, with an overlay piece on the torso, plus new arms and a new head, in order to give Klaue a sufficiently unique appearance.  I wasn’t sure about the overlay piece at first, because such pieces can end up overly bulky and cumbersome, but this one actually works out alright, and matches Serkis’ build in the movie pretty decently.  By far the best part of this figure’s sculpt is the head, which has to be one of the finest likenesses Hasbro has ever put out.  I feel like I’ve made this claim on a few figures recently, but Hasbro genuinely seems to be getting better and better at this stuff.  Not only does the head look just like Serkis, but it’s also got the mad cackling grin from the movie down pat, which is a nice change of pace on the sometimes overly stern shelves of Marvel Legends.  Klaue’s paintwork has its ups and downs, but the ups definitely prevail.  The base paintwork, especially on the tie, is a little sloppy, but the work on the arm tattoo and especially on the face is really strong.  Normally, scene-specific battle damage can be frustrating on a figure intended to replicate a character’s entire movie appearance, but I can’t help but love how beaten up Klaue looks.  He genuinely looks like he’s stepped right out of the movie.  Klaue is packed with a basic handgun, as well as an alternate left forearm with his sonic cannon in its deployed form, and the torso of M’Baku.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Of the single release figures, Klaue was definitely at the top of my list for this assortment, because how could he not be.  Even with the bar set pretty darn high, this figure still managed to really surprise me, because I just wasn’t expecting to like him so darn much.  He’s just a lot of fun to mess around with, largely because of how well that awesome facial expression lends itself to all sorts of poses.  For me, this guy is definitely a star figure.

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

#1950: Erik Killmonger

ERIK KILLMONGER

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

“Seeking vengeance for his father’s exile from Wakanda, Erik Killmonger returns to challenge T’Challa for the right to the Wakandan throne.”

By far the most glaring omission from most of the Black Panther merch was primary antagonist Killmonger’s tactical gear.  Though it was his primary appearance for the film, the dark-panther-reflection design’s presence in the film’s final battle meant that it was the look that all the toy-makers went for.  So, for this very prominent look, all we had was a minimate.  Our first hint of the second Black Panther assortment was actually the tribal mask from this particular design, because Hasbro knew it was the look most people were wanting.  Now he’s finally here, so how did he fair?  Let’s find out!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Killmonger is figure 2 in the M’Baku Series of Marvel Legends.  He pairs with yesterday’s Kinetic Black Panther as the double packs for this assortment.  Given the demand for this particular design, it was definitely a smart choice on Hasbro’s part.  The figure stands 6 1/2 inches tall and he has 30 points of articulation.  Killmonger is a rather sensible combination of old and new parts.  Obviously, the head is re-used from the two-pack version of Killmonger from last year, which is still one of Hasbro’s best likenesses from the MCU.  The legs are also re-used, this time from the Netflix Punisher figure.  They’re fairly basic combat attire, and again pretty nice pieces from the start.  With a new belt and thigh strap, as well as a new torso and arms, it all ends up looking new and unique, and the whole thing jibes together pretty well to make for a very strong, very spot-on recreation of Killmonger’s tactical appearance from the film.  Topping off the whole thing is a new mask piece, based on the tribal mask he steals in the film.  It fits well over Killmonger’s head, and stays in place surprisingly well.  It also fits nicely over a variety of other similarly sized head sculpts too, should you want to swap it around to other figures.  Killmonger’s paintwork is pretty decent work overall.  The face is printed, and therefore quite lifelike.  The uniform has a nice variety of colors, which makes him more eye-catching than his prior figures to be sure.  Both the camo on his legs and the brushed metal effect on his armor look pretty cool, and are done nice and convincingly.  I was a little bummed by the lack of paint on the belt actually on the figure, but with the add-on in place, this isn’t noticeable.  In addition to his removable mask, Killmonger includes a pistol and an assault rifle (both shared with the Punisher figure), as well as the head and staff of M’Baku.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

As with most other people, this Killmonger was very high on my want list, so I was happy to see him in this assortment, and was very much looking forward to him.  There’s not a whole lot to report on this guy.  He didn’t surprise me, because I was already expecting him to be pretty cool, and he certainly lived up to that.  As far as single figures go, I foresee him being the most popular in the set, because he’s a nice item all in his own right.

Like yesterday’s Panther figure, I got Killmonger from my friends at All Time Toys, and he’s still available here.  And, if you’re looking for other toys both old and new, please check out their website and their eBay storefront.

#1949: Black Panther

BLACK PANTHER

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

With the safety of Earth threatened by the powerful titan, Thanos, Black Panther joins forces with the Avengers to protect the world from certain destruction.”

There was a time not that long ago when an MCU movie was lucky to get *any* 6-inch coverage.  Heck, Thor: The Dark World had literally none before the 10th Anniversary sets hit.  Black Panther was actually pretty fortunate in its first go, with four movie based Legends in its main assortment, plus a two-pack to augment.  However, that wasn’t enough for the fanbase, and so, for the first time, a solo MCU movie is getting a second series, a year after the movie no less.  I’ll be kicking things off with the main guy himself!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Black Panther is the first figure in the M’Baku Series of Marvel Legends.  Though the whole series is based on Black Panther, Hasbro decided to mix things up when packaging the figures, so Panther’s packaging actually lists him as hailing from Infinity War, and he’s got a bio to match.  Since the Panther costume was the same between the two film’s, it’s a perfectly reasonable choice.  This guy is wearing the same costume as the last one, but this one shows it fully charged up with kinetic energy, so he’s all fancy and purple.  The figure stands 6 1/4 inches tall and he has 32 points of articulation.  His sculpt is, unsurprisingly, completely shared with the previous figure.  It is the same suit, after all.  While I have some slight reservations about the design, and its implementation (still not crazy about those shoulders), I will admit that it’s grown on me.  The new paint definitely helps in that respect.  In addition to the slight bit of silver accenting, this one also gets a bunch of funky metallic purple, which I feel better frames the sculpt, and helps to distract from some of the odder aspects of the articulation.  Panther is packed with an unmasked head and two sets of hands.  The hands are the same as the prior figure, but the head is an all-new piece.  The last head wasn’t stellar, and definitely work with the body, but this one actually gives us a pretty spot-on Chadwick Bosman as seen in his solo film, and it looks pretty solid when placed on the body.  Not bad!  In addition to the character-specific items, Panther is also packed with the right arm of M’Baku.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I loved the Civil War Panther, and I was left sort of luke warm by the solo film release from last year.  When this assortment was first shown off, I was more focused on the other figures within it, so I wasn’t eagerly waiting for this guy.  But, since I wanted an M’Baku, I was in for him no matter my feelings on the figure itself.  I have to say, I was pleasantly surprised by this figure.  The new kinetic detailing gives him a much needed pop, and I really dig the unmasked head.  There are certainly worse figures to release.

As with most of my recent Legends purchases, Panther is from my friends at All Time Toys, and can be purchased here.  Or, if you’re looking for other toys both old and new, please check out their website and their eBay storefront.

#1940: Iron Man

IRON MAN

ONE:12 COLLECTIVE (MEZCO)

“Tony Stark makes you feel, he’s a cool exec with a heart of steel–As Iron Man, all jets ablaze, he’s fightin’ and smitin’ with repulsor rays!”

Thus opens the ’60s Iron Man cartoon, which, hokey as it may be, was my first real introduction to the character.  It wasn’t in the ’60s that I was watching it, of course; I had copies of the VHS tapes released in the mid-90s.  But it definitely gave me an appreciation of the character as he was from the very beginning, and above all, made me really love his classic armor.  In the ’90s, he’d moved onto the upgraded Modular armor, and that was the one that got all the toys.  Now that Iron Man’s one of the biggest superheroes in the market place, the options are more there, and if you’re looking for a nice classic Iron Man, you have a few to choose from.  Hasbro’s been killing it with their Legends figures recently, but an updated classic Iron Man hasn’t crossed their list just yet, so I’m expanding my horizons and jumping over to Mezco’s One:12 Collective for a look at their own take on the old Shellhead.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Iron Man is a relatively recent release for the One:12 line.  Though he was shown off quite some time ago, the standard retail release just started showing up at various stores in the last month or so.  There are actually three versions of this figure available: the standard release (covered here), a PX-exclusive Stealth variant, and a Mezco-exclusive black and gold variant.  It is my opinion, however, that you can’t beat the classic colors.  The figure stands 6 3/4 inches tall and he has 33 points of articulation.

The One:12 figures are usually a mixed-media affair, and Iron Man still is, but in a different fashion than other figures from the line.  Rather than a cloth costume on a plastic body, Iron Man is a combo of plastic and diecast metal, which I suppose makes sense for a totally armored character.  It gives him a definite heft, which I guess has something of a plus.  It does restrict some of the joints a little bit, which was a slight drag, but ultimately it’s not much different than the average One:12 figure in terms of mobility.  The design of Iron Man’s armor is clearly inspired by Tony’s classic armor from the late ’60s up through the ’80s, but veiled through Mezco’s own unique artistic sensibilities.  Essentially, they took the basic design, and tweaked it to look like it could actually be real armor, assembled on a real person.  It’s a clean, and certainly visually appealing design, and it maintains all of the important classic Iron Man markers.  The torso features a light-up feature for the reactor, with the battery and switch being pretty nicely hidden under the pod on his back.  The helmet has been designed so that you can remove the faceplate, and beneath it is a Tony Stark face which is a suitably generic comic-styled Tony face.  I do appreciate that they avoided the temptation to go heavily toward the RDJ side of things.

The paintwork on Iron Man is more involved than the average One:12 figure, and it’s actually pretty nice.  It’s clean, and the metallic colors are smooth and eye-catching.  He’s a bit brighter than a lot of Mezco’s stuff, which is a definite plus for Iron Man.  The face under the mask is up to the usual standard for this line; he’s clean and life-like, which is kind of the most important thing.  Also, the underside of the faceplate has a decal with a HUD, which is a fun, easily missed little touch.

Iron Man lives up to the One:12 standard of being quite well accessorized.  He’s got three sets of hands (in fists, open gesture, and wide palm), two repulsor effects to plug into the open hands, a uni-beam effect that swaps out for the arc reactor, thruster effects for the bottoms of the feet, alternate launching missile pods for the belt, and two missiles to plug into either forearm, as well as a display stand with an optional arm, perfect for all sorts of flight poses.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Ever since I was a kid, I’ve been searching for my definitive classic Iron Man.  The original Toy Biz Legend held me for a while, but the recent Hasbro offerings make him look slightly out of place.  When this guy was shown off, I was definitely intrigued, especially if he could possibly augment my Legends.  Seeing him in-person, plus having a ton of trade credit with All Time Toys sealed the deal, so this guy came home with.  He’s a very strong figure, and he definitely looks impressive.  His playability isn’t quite that of a Legends figure, so I’m still sort of hoping for Hasbro to take their own stab at an update, but until then, I’m pretty darn happy with this guy.

As I noted above, this guy was picked up from my friends over at All Time Toys. They’ve sold out of this version, but the stealth variant should be coming soon, and they’ve got backstock of some of the prior releases.  If you’re looking for those, or other cool toys both old and new, please check out their website and their eBay Store.

#1938: War Machine & Cull Obsidian

WAR MACHINE & CULL OBSIDIAN

MARVEL MINIMATES

“As the Avengers and their allies have continued to protect the world from threats too large for any one hero to handle, a new danger has emerged from the cosmic shadows: Thanos. A despot of intergalactic infamy, his goal is to collect all six Infinity Stones, artifacts of unimaginable power, and use them to inflict his twisted will on all of reality. Everything the Avengers have fought for has led up to this moment – the fate of Earth and existence itself has never been more uncertain.”

Man, three Marvel movies in one year sure does have a way of burning out and making it easy for some of the merch to slip through the cracks for way longer than you’d expect.  Good thing I made it through last year unscathed and I don’t have to do it again…crap, I have to do it again, don’t I?  Well, I’d best get through the last of *last* year’s stuff, then, shouldn’t I?  So, without further ado, War Machine & Cull Obsidian!

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

War Machine and Cull Obsidian were one of the two Walgreens-exclusives pairings in the second Infinity War-based assortment of Marvel Minimates.  Compared to the more retread-heavy Drax and Gamora, they had a tendency of being the first set to vanish a lot of the time.

WAR MACHINE

After peddling the same War Machine ‘mate three times, DST finally gave us an honest to god update for his Infinity War appearance.  Though not amazingly different from his armor in Civil War, Rhodey’s suit had still been slightly tinkered with for its somewhat brief appearance in IW, so that’s what we’re seeing here.  The figure is based on the standard ‘mate body, with a generic slip-on mask piece, a new torso cap, upper arms, and belt, and the gauntlets from the last five versions of the character.  It does a respectable job of estimating Rhodey’s appearance from the movie.  I don’t mind the move back to printed faces for the helmets, and it’s at the very least consistent with how they handled Tony’s Mark 50 armor.  The more specific parts are as well-sculpted as ever, matching up with the re-used gauntlets in terms of design aesthetic and level of detailing.  The paint work on this figure is better than the last few War Machine’s; the mix of gunmetal grey and silver looks nice, and I’m happy that they kept the camo patterning the armor had in the movie.  It helps to make this armor seem a bit more unique compared to the others.  Under the helmet is another stab at a Don Cheadle likeness.  I think this one’s not as good as the IM2 version, but at least it doesn’t look as goofy as the AoU variant.  War Machine is packed with a flight stand and a standard clear display stand.

CULL OBSIDIAN

Poor Cull Obsidian.  He just can’t catch a break for accuracy.  His Legends release, though an awesomely fun figure, was based on an early design that wasn’t all that close to the final.  The ‘mate clearly was put into production later in the process, as he ends up a lot closer, but there are still some slight inaccuracies.  He gets a unique head, torso cap, upper left arm, and skirt piece, as well as re-using the standard “big guy” parts for his right arm, left hand, legs, and feet.  The detail work on some of the character-specific parts, the head in particular, is a little soft, but the important details are all there, and he’s got more sculpted elements than not.  The design, at least from a sculpting standpoint, isn’t that noticeably different from his final look in the movie.  The paint is is decent, though he’s again a little light on the detailing.  I think it’s the skin that bugs me the most, especially after the Legends figure.  The colors on the costume were ever so slightly tweaked by the time the movie came out as well, but they aren’t terribly far off.  The biggest change from this figure to the screen comes in the form of accessories.  In the movie, Cull has a sort of hammer/axe/chain sort of thing.  Here?  He’s essentially got some space-brass-knuckles.  The Pop! and one of the statues also had these, indicating the weapon he had in the final movie was a very late game adjustment.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I picked these up…gosh…back in September, if you can believe it.  The second set took forever to hit Walgreens, but I managed to find this particular pair without too much trouble once they actually started showing up.  And then they sat and waited for me to open them for a good four months, because I got distracted and kind of forgot I had them…whoops.  It’s nice to finally get a new War Machine after all this time, and a more accurate Cull Obsidian is pretty cool too.  Definitely not a bad pack.

#1935: Spider-Man & Jean DeWolff

SPIDER-MAN & JEAN DEWOLFF

MARVEL MINIMATES


In 1985, then up-and-coming writer Peter David penned “The Death of Jean DeWolff.”  Published in Peter Parker, The Spectacular Spider-Man #107-110, the four part story began with the discovery of the titular death of Police Captain Jean DeWolff, a once quite prominent Spider-Man supporting cast-member.  It was rather ground breaking at the time of its publication, shifting the overall tone of the book, and helping to pave the way not only for longer form storytelling, but also darker stories, all within the confines of the mainstream Marvel universe.  In 2012, the story was used as the basis for the 43rd Series of Marvel Minimates.  The first of those sets includes Jean DeWolff herself, alongside Spider-Man.

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

These two are a pair from the aforementioned Series 43 of Marvel Minimates, dubbed the “Jean DeWolff Saga” by a label on the upper right side of the box.

SPIDER-MAN

Though he had at this point ditched the actual symbiote, Peter Parker was still wearing his cloth replica of his black costume at the time of this story.  It’s fairly fortunate, really, as it better fit the more film noir stylings of the story.  In a meta sense, it gave Minimate collectors another chance at the black costumed look; this was the fourth time we’d seen it show up in Minimate form.  Unlike the prior release of this costume, which made use of a removable mask, this one returned back to the straight vanilla body, with no add-ons at all.  Given the general sleekness of this particular design, it was a definite improvement.  The important details are all handled via paint.  This figure takes a page out of the Big Time costume’s book, and augment’s Spidey’s two-toned look with a bit of accent work, detailing not only the musculature of his torso and legs, but also granting a slightly more human shape to his head and face.  In contrast to the Big Time release, whose accenting seemed a bit too subtle, this figure’s seems perhaps a touch too noticeable; that bright blue really stands out, and perhaps robs the design of some of its more striking elements.  Still, it’s far from bad work.  Spider-Man was packed with a webline, a fairly standard inclusion.  Given that he hit retail shelves at the same time as the Best Of version of the character, it’s a little bit of a shame that he doesn’t also get an unmasked head.  Of course, he hit retail shelves at the same time as that figure, so it’s not like an unmasked Peter Parker head was difficult to find.

JEAN DEWOLFF

Before becoming the unfortunate victim of the murder that kicks off this story, Jean DeWolff had been a fairly prominent Spider-Man supporting player for about a decade or so.  Jean was introduced by Bill Mantlo while working on Marvel Team-Up in the ’70s, as he wanted a supporting cast member to serve as connective tissue from story to story.  I suppose in that respect, Jean was something of a prototype for the live-action versions of Phil Coulson and Claire Temple.  Jean was always known for her retro sense of fashion, with berets and fishnets and the like; this figure follows that, giving us a look that is a good summation of DeWolff’s classic look.  Jean makes use of two sculpted add-on pieces, one new, one old.  The new was her hair/beret.  It’s a very nicely detailed piece, and manages to make her hat not look totally ridiculous, which is always good with this style of thing.  She also uses the knee-length standard skirt piece, first introduced on the Series 17 Gwen Stacy.  It’s a fairly basic piece and perhaps a little limiting to the articulation, but it gets the job done.  Despite getting more sculpted extras than her pack-mate, Jean doesn’t skimp on the painted details either.  The colorscheme is bright and eye-catching, and the detail lines, especially the stitching on her jacket, is some of the best we’ve seen on a Minimate.  She’s even got the proper cross-hatching on her legs for her fishnets.  That’s definitely a nice touch!  Jean is packed with two accessories: a revolver, and an alternate hand holding her badge.  The revolver comes from the Dollars sets, and is still a great piece.  The badge was originally set to be included in the Beverly Hills Cop set, but with that set’s cancellation, it saw its debut here.  It’s always cool to see such pieces find a new home, and given how Jean’s badge factored into the Death of Jean DeWolff, it’s a smart inclusion here.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

This was an assortment I was quite excited for, so I quite eagerly picked them up from Cosmic Comix when they first showed up at retail.  Topping the original Black Costume Spidey is a very steep task indeed, and this one doesn’t quite get there.  He’s very close, and definitely the best of the follow-up black costume releases, but that bright blue detailing holds him back ever so slightly.  Still, a very strong offering.  Jean could have just been a rather forgettable civilian figure, but instead, DST put in the effort to make her one of the best figures in this wave, and certainly the star of this set.

#1930: Ghost Rider & The Fallen

GHOST RIDER & THE FALLEN

MARVEL MINIMATES

Toys and gimmicks go together like…two things that go together really well.  Sorry, I’m not much of a wordsmith.  (Pay no attention to the fact that I’ve written 1929 prior daily entries for this site).  Toys and comics also go together pretty well, as do comics and gimmicks.  So, sometimes, you hit this perfect trifecta of toys based on gimmicky comics.  Take, for instance, today’s focus, the Avengers of 1,000,000 BC, a very gimmicky concept running in the current Avengers comic from Jason Aaron, which has, in turn, led to some matching gimmicky toys.

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

Ghost Rider and The Fallen are one of the four two-packs in the standalone “Avengers of 1,000,000 BC” series of Marvel Minimates, available exclusively at Walgreens, starting in the fall of last year.

GHOST RIDER

“Bonded to a Spirit of Vengence, the Ghost Rider sits atop a giant wooly mammoth, who later falls victim to the Fallen.

I feel I should at this juncture clarify something I needed clarified for me: it’s the mammoth that is a victim of The Fallen, not Ghost Rider.  The phrasing on the bio’s slightly off, so I got confused, especially since I haven’t actually read the whole “Avengers of 1,000,000 BC story.  With that bit of confusion aside, let’s look at the actual figure!  He stands 2 1/4 inches tall and he has the usual 14 points of articulation.  He’s constructed on the basic ‘mate body, with add-ons for his “hair,” necklace, loincloth, and arm wrappings.  The hair is re-used from the Series 50 Ghost Rider; a sensible choice, since it’s not like flame hair’s gonna really change all that much.  The arm bands are similarly re-used; they’re the same ones that cropped up on the Best Of Iron Fist, among others.  The necklace is new, and it’s a pretty impressive piece.  It certainly sells the 1,000,000 BC aesthetic.  I *think* the loincloth is new, which is honestly a little surprising, since there’s not really anything all that unique about it.  That said, the same piece was also used for the Phoenix from this line-up, so maybe DST just thought it was time for a new standard piece.  Whatever the case, it gets the job done.  The paintwork on Ghost Rider is solid work.  The colors are a bit monochromatic, but that’s true of a number of the designs from this set.  The line work is quite sharp, and I do really like the skull face on this one.  I may be swapping that onto a more standard issue GR.  Ghost Rider is packed with a pair of flame effects to slide over his fists, as well as the standard clear display stand.

THE FALLEN

“The Fallen is one of a race of Celestials, highly powerful beings who pass judgement on all planetary bodies and the creatures who live on them.”

Despite their recurrent presence in the Marvel Universe, the Celestials have never been a particularly toyetic bunch.  Also known as Zgreb the Aspriant, The Fallen is the first of them to actually been made as an action figure, largely thanks to his presence as the main antagonist to the Avengers of 1,000,000 BC’s first story arc.  He’s by far the most divergent of the bunch design-wise, being all futuristic and robot-y.  He’s also largely re-used parts, if you can believe it.  His torso/head is an all new piece (and a quite nicely sculpted one at that), but the other eight add-on parts are borrowed from the Series 63 Hulkbuster. While not perfect matches for the source material, I’m willing to call the appendages close enough, and there’s no denying he looks pretty darn cool.  Also pretty darn cool is the paint; unlike the rest of the assortment, he’s actually pretty colorful and dynamic, going back the classic Marvel color scheme of green and purple.  The application is nice and clean, and the metallic finish really looks top notch.  His only accessory is a clear display stand, but honestly, I don’t know what else you would give him.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I’m not overly enamored by the whole Avengers of 1,000,000 BC thing, so for the most part the ‘mates didn’t do much to excite me.  However, I came across them after last year’s incredibly lengthy minimate drought, so I was just excited to find *anything* new.  While the other three sets still didn’t grab me, I liked The Fallen a fair bit, and if nothing else Ghost Rider had a decent Ghost Rider head.  Of course, then they sat on my desk waiting to be reviewed for five months.  Yikes.

#1928: Kingpin

KINGPIN

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

It’s an event seven days in the making!  What’s that?  Seven days doesn’t make for much making?  I mean, I guess…

Wilson Fisk, better known as Kingpin, isn’t historically the most toyetic character.  He’s a chubby guy in a suit.  Doesn’t scream fun.  But, he’s an important character, both to Spider-Man and Daredevil, and is definitely one of the Marvel universe’s best villains, so he gets his toy due from time to time.  The advent of Build-A-Figures, especially in their current incarnation, is well suited to his sort of character, making him a natural choice for the latest round of Marvel Legends.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Kingpin is the eponymous Build-A-Figure for the Kingpin Series of Marvel Legends.  Believe it or not, this isn’t his first time as a Legend; Toy Biz released a figure if him (as well as a variant version) alongside Daredevil in their “Face Off” sub-line from 2006.  That figure is still considered one of Toy Biz’s finest, but I think an update was certainly needed.  The figure stands 7 1/4 inches tall and he has 27 points of articulation.  He’s sporting an all-new sculpt, which is really to be expected.  How many guys have Wilson Fisk’s physique? Given Hasbro’s propensity for re-use, I imagine we’ll be seeing at least some of these parts crop up again, though the whole body getting a re-use seems unlikely.  Regardless of re-use potential, there’s no denying that this is a well-crafted sculpt.  The suit is nicely defined and very sharply tailored, and the articulation is fairly cleanly worked in.  Impressively, the articulation is still quite functional; obviously, his design restricts movement a little bit more than smaller figures, but for him it’s all very useful.  There are two different heads included for the figure, depicting Kingpin in his two best known moods: calm and raging.  Both heads are nicely defined, and open the figure up to a great variety of posing options.  The calmer head is my personal favorite of the two, but I definitely like both of them a lot, and I appreciate how consistent the features are between them; these are very clearly the same guy.  The paintwork on Kingpin is basic, but very well implemented.  The application is clean, and the white and black look shows a nice contrast.  He doesn’t have the wacky purple pants that I’ve become accustomed to, but he’s clearly a more modern take on the character.  Purple pants just won’t do anymore.  In addition to the extra head, Kingpin also has his diamond-topped cane.  He has a little trouble securely holding it, but it does look really nice when balanced between his hand and the floor.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Without a doubt, Kingpin was the selling point for this whole assortment of Legends.  I never got the Face-Off release, and I’ve been wanting a good representation of Fisk in my collection.  The individual figures we’re pulling me in when they were shown off, but as soon as I saw this guy, I knew I was in fore a whole set.  He did not disappoint, and he’s definitely put the 2019 Build-A-Figures off to a great start.

In a similar fashion to the Venom Series from last year, this line-up has been an odd one for me.  There were no clear-cut standouts like there have been in prior sets, and I can’t really put my finger on any of them as being “must-have” (apart from the BaF, of course).  That said, with the exception of the Red Goblin figure, I was pleasantly surprised by every figure in this assortment.  I may not have wanted them at the start, but Hasbro sure made me glad I got them all.  If you’re interested in getting a set of your own, all seven of the single figures are still in-stock at All Time Toys’ webstore.  And, as always, if you’re looking for other toys both old and new, please check out All Time’s website and their eBay storefront.

#1927: Red Goblin

RED GOBLIN

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

When Norman Osborn merges with the Carnage symbiote, he becomes the villainous Red Goblin.”

Since Norman Osborn’s return to life at the end of “The Clone Saga,” there’s been some confusion about what to do with the character.  His goblin mantle had been filled in his absence by both his son Harry and the mysterious (or at least very illusive) Hobgoblin.  While he has returned to the Green Goblin a few times, there always seems to be something of a caveat to its presence.  He’s also taken on other identities, serving for a time as Marvel’s answer to Lex Luthor, a ruthless business man with no true secret identity, then as a twisted “savior” as the Iron Patriot, and then finally as the leader of an army as the Goblin King.  His latest identity, born from the pages of Amazing Spider-Man #799, is that of the Red Goblin.  Red Goblin is about as clear-cut an example of escalation is serialized fiction as you can get.  He’s the combination of Spider-Man’s greatest foe, Norman Osborn, with the deadlier, more un-hinged spawn of another of his greatest foes, Venom, all in a dark reflection of Spidey’s own time as host to the Venom symbiote.  Hey, when you get to issue #800, you kinda have to pull out all the stops, right?

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Red Goblin is figure 6 in the Kingpin Series of Marvel Legends.  He’s the final single-packed figure in the assortment, and the only of the individuals to be a clear-cut villain.  He also marks the second quickest turnaround from page to plastic in this assortment, being beaten out only by the Symbiote Spider-Man created to stop him in #800.  The figure stands 6 1/2 inches tall and has 32 points of articulation.  Like the last version of Norman, Red Goblin is built on the Bucky Cap body.  He makes use of Carnage’s tendril-ridden lower arms and legs, as well as his tendril back-pack piece, a sensible bit of re-use, since it’s the same symbiote and all.  He also uses Superior Venom’s feet and 2099‘s hands for properly clawed appendages.  Red Goblin is topped off with a brand-new head sculpt and a tail that’s been stuck to the back of the basic Bucky Cap pelvis.  The Red Goblin design is one that’s very dependent on specific lighting and a fluidity to the design, and because of this, it’s a design that’s not ideal for translation to toy form.  This is evident in the sculpt, and how it looks when viewed from most angles.  The head looks downright comical when viewed straight-on, like an old toothless man.  Also, as versatile as the Bucky Cap body tends to be, I wouldn’t say it really lends itself to “fluid”.  It’s a more realistic, balanced physique, so you throw a cartoony looking head on there and the head just looks even more cartoony.  Not helping matters is the tail, which is a big, solid chunk of unmoving plastic.  I can kind of understand Hasbro’s hesitance to do bendable appendages, with the long term issues that can plague them and all, but on a figure like this, it’s really limiting his play value, and ends up looking downright silly just sitting there in the exact same pose no matter what you do with him.  Furthering the issues with translating the design into three dimensions?  The paint.  They tried.  They really did.  They’re clearly taking a page out of the Carnage playbook with how they handled this, but it just doesn’t work as well with this particular design.  The black sections just look kind of random and blotchy, and there’s too much un-broken red between them to make it look convincingly like the symbiote is in motion.  The hands and feet being solid black also looks goofy, because it kind of looks like he’s running around with opera gloves and some toe-socks.  It’s undoubtedly too clean and too collected, and, again, it just ends up looking comical.  Maybe he’d look better molded in slightly translucent plastic?  Or something with various colors injected in?  It’d be an inconsistent effect to be sure, but I think that would only further help the figure.  He just needed something better than all the solid colors we see here.  Red Goblin is a rather sparsely packed figure, with only a single Carnage-infused pumpkin bomb.  No glider, which seems kind of criminal with any Goblin figure.  He’s also packed with the right leg of Kingpin, which is, without a doubt, the best thing he’s got going for him.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I’ve long felt that Norman Osborn was the sort of character that was better off dead.  Apart from a few decent stories here and there (the Goblin King angle was one I liked), he’s felt like he’s sort of out of place.  I appreciate the Red Goblin concept for what it is, but I can’t say I was that invested in it, nor was I that crazy for a figure of the design.  Having the figure in hand, my feelings really haven’t changed.  He just doesn’t work as a toy, and I struggle to find much to like about him.  I appreciate their attempt to be timely with this release, and he pairs off alright with the Symbiote Spider-Man, but he’s ultimately just not very well-made, and a very clear weak point in the assortment.

Red Goblin was purchased from my friends at All Time Toys.  He’s currently in-stock at their webstore.  If your looking for other Legends or other toys both old and new, please check out All Time’s website and their eBay storefront.