#1883: Mysterio

MYSTERIO

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

“A master of illusion, Mysterio seeks universal fame as a cloaked villain with an unmistakable helmet.”

FINALLY!!!!!! …Sorry, was that too much?  I can get carried away some times.  It’s just…this guy was really hard to get, and I…ah, this is the wrong section for all of this.  Sorry!

So, Mysterio.  Former-movie-special-effects-technician-turned-supervillain, with perhaps one of the most distinctive design in comics.  And, of course, soon to be played by Jake Gyllenhaal on the big screen in the upcoming Spider-Man: Far From Home.  Pretty cool guy all around.  No stranger to action figures, but being a decently well-known foe of Marvel’s best known hero will do that for you.  Now I’m going to review his latest figure right here and right now.  Let’s get right to that!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Mysterio is figure 6 in the Lizard Series of Marvel Legends.  He is, by far, the most demanded and hardest to find in the set, in part because he’s sort of an army builder (he frequently makes duplicates of himself to fool Spidey), in part because there was a distinctive change to the figure half way through production, and also just because he’s never had a figure that was quite this good.  This is out first officially Legends branded Mysterio, though Toy Biz put out a Legends compatible figure in their Spider-Man: Classics days.  That figure, like many from the line, was marred by a half-formed action feature, and, as an non-Spidey figure, was also rather hard to find.  It was definitely time for a replacement.  This figure stands 6 1/2 inches tall and he has 30 points of articulation.  I’m pretty sure Mysterio is sporting an almost entirely unique sculpt.  His hands look to be from other figures, but otherwise he’s all-new.  Obviously, the cape/helmet, and the gloves and boots were always going to be new pieces, but I really have to commend Hasbro for going the fully sculpted route on his body.  They really could have phoned it in here and just painted the grid pattern on a basic body, but they didn’t and the figure looks so much better for it.  I really dig the cuffs to his gloves as well; those are slightly tricky to make work in three-dimensions, but they look quite nice here.  The one slightly off part of the sculpt is the helmet/cape combo.  It’s a nice enough sculpt, but making it all one piece feels slightly off to me, and the way it pegs into his back has it popping off more frequently than I’d like.  And then there’s the topic of the underlying head.  Hasbro was somewhat secretive about what was going to be under the fishbowl at first.  I myself was hoping for another go at a Quentin Beck head (which we sort of saw on the Toy Biz figure), or maybe even some sort of blank head, just to leave a silhouette under the helmet.  Hasbro opted for something more out there, meant to be another illusion created by Mysterio.  It’s a skull with a tentacle running through it, which is certainly…different.  It’s an interesting sculpt, but the helmet ended up being a lot more transparent than most of us had expected, which, coupled with the dark green plastic of the initial release’s head, left a lot of fans unhappy with the end result.  Fortunately, Hasbro was able to change the figure mid-run, so later shipments had the head molded in white instead of green, which works a little better.  I think I might have just preferred for the whole dome to just be a solid piece myself, but this works better than I’d expected.  The paint work on Mysterio is fairly straight-forward stuff, being mostly basic color work.  There’s a little bit of accenting on the gloves, which is cool, and I definitely like the metallic green paint.  I’m not thrilled by the slight change in the color of plastic from the hips to the legs, though it’s not quite as bad in-person.  Mysterio is packed with a pair of effects pieces, which clip onto his feet, making it appear that things are emanating from the ground beneath him.  It’s a fun effect, and really tops off the whole look of the figure, since Mysterio is so often seen with his feet obscured like this.  He’s also packed with the left leg of Lizard, meaning I can finally complete that guy!

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

It’s been a long road to getting this figure.  This was the first full series of Marvel Legends that All Time Toys got in, and I just missed the boat on getting Mysterio from them the first time around.  The assortment hasn’t been particularly plentiful at mass retail around these parts either, so six months after getting the rest of the assortment, I didn’t really expect to get this guy.  But, you see, I have these wonderful sponsors who own a toy store, so they were finally able to get ahold of another case of this series, and the Mysterio format was set aside for me.  Yay!  After waiting so long for him, this figure certainly has a lot to live up to.  Does he?  More or less.  There are some definite flaws here, which sort of impact his playability, but for the most part I’m happy with him.

As noted above, Mysterio was purchased from my friends at All Time Toys.  If you’re interested in buying Marvel Legends figures, or are looking for other cool toys both old and new, please check out their website and their eBay Store.

Advertisements

#1882: Gwenpool

GWENPOOL

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

“A self-made hero from the so-called real world, Gwenpool possesses unrivaled knowledge of the comic book universe.”

The original Gwen Stacy may have been dead for 45 years, but that hasn’t stopped all sorts of variants of her from popping up.  The most prominent of late is, of course, Spider-Gwen, who made her debut during 2014’s Spider-Verse event. The success of Spider-Gwen led to a series of Gwen Stacy-themed variant covers for the Marvel line, leading to the creation of the Deadpool/Gwen Stacy amalgam “Gwenpool.”  Gwenpool has been starring in a string of self-titled books since, and just recently joined up with the relaunched West Coast Avengers.  Oh, and she also has a Marvel Legend.  Yay!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Gwenpool is figure 1 in the Lizard Series of Marvel Legends, which was our first Spidey-themed assortment of the year.  The figure stands just under 6 inches tall and she has 29 points of articulation.  She’s built on the Spider-Girl body, which is sensible enough, given that’s the same body Hasbro used for Spider-Gwen.  It lends some consistency to the Gwen Stacy-take-off characters.  Gwenpool actually gets a fair quantity of new pieces to set her apart from all the other Spider-Girl builds.  There’s a new head, upper torso, forearms, shins, and feet, as well as add-ons for her belts and backpack.  The parts all mesh well with the base body, and do a pretty respectable job of melding Gwenpool’s typically cartoony style with the established stylings of modern Legends.  I really appreciate the little details that Hasbro has peppered throughout the sculpt, such as the piping on her socks under her shin guards.  I also really like the implementation of the new ankle articulation (like we saw previously on Moon Knight and Spider-Punk).  So, I guess, what I’m really getting at here, is that I quite like Gwenpool’s lower legs.  Just go with it.  The rest of the details are quite fun in their own right.  Her facial expression is a nice big smile that feels very true to the character as established in the comics.  I also really enjoy her penguin-shaped back pack.  Gwenpool’s paintwork is clean and appropriately pink-heavy.  Nothing particularly notable, but it works to get the job done.  Gwen includes a nice selection extra accessories, including an extra head (with tongue out for proper selfie etiquette), her phone (which can be nicely stashed in her utility belt), a pair of katanas, and three sets of hands (in heart-shaped, phone-holding/peace sign, and standard gripping poses).  It adds up to a rather expressive figure.  She is also packed with the tail of the Build-A-Figure Lizard.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I’ve got no particular attachment to Gwenpool, so I didn’t rush out to buy her.  Sure, she came with a piece for Lizard, who I definitely wanted to build, but there was one other figure preventing me from completing him, so Gwen stuck nearer to the bottom of my want list.  When I was finally able to get ahold of that other figure (who I’ll be reviewing tomorrow…spoilers), Gwen was along for the ride, because, dammit, I was finishing that Lizard figure.  I may have only bought her for the Build-A-Figure piece, but Gwenpool is a fairly strong figure in her own right.

I got Gwen here from my friends at All Time Toys.  If you’re interested in buying Marvel Legends figures, or are looking for other cool toys both old and new, please check out their website and their eBay Store.

#1878: Gambit

GAMBIT

X-MEN (TOY BIZ)

“Gambit has the mutant ability to take the energy of any object and put it to his own use. That use usually means turning the object into a deadly weapon. Gambit is a martial arts expert with a lightning-fast karate kick. When battling multiple attackers, Gambit relies on his Techno Battle Staff for additional assault power.”

As someone whose primary introduction to the X-Men came from their ’90s cartoon, I have an almost unhealthy appreciation for their resident Cajun sleazeball, one Remy LaBeau, aka Gambit.  I am, of course, not at all alone in this, which has helped to keep him relatively high on the action figure count.  Today, I’m jumping back to the beginning, and taking a look at his very first figure (more or less).

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Gambit was initially released in the second series of Toy Biz’s X-Men line.  Following the success of the cartoon, he was subsequently re-released in the “Classics” assortment a few years later.  The figure reviewed here is technically the later release, though the only actual difference between the two is the accessory selection.  This figure stands 5 inches tall and he has 9 points of articulation.  Gambit’s sculpt is fairly typical of an early Toy Biz figure, meaning he’s a little more rudimentary than later offerings would be.  He’s slightly scrawny, and the details are a little softer.  This is definitely a kinder, friendlier looking Gambit than you usually see.  It’s not necessarily a bad thing, but it’s definitely different than other Gambits.  His trench coat seems to have thrown Toy Biz for a bit of a loop, as well.  Rather than sculpting it onto him, they opted for a removable piece…mostly, anyway.  The bulk of the jacket is just a thin plastic get-up, not unlike the capes from the old Kenner Star Wars figures.  It’s not terribly sturdy, and isn’t really the sort of thing we ever saw again from them.  It looks alright, but certainly limits his playability when in place.  What’s slightly odd is the decision to make the collar of this jacket a sculpted element, which is part of the figure’s torso.  This means it’s always there, even when the coat is off of the figure.  Why not just leave the collar as part of the coat?  Who knows.  Well, someone at Toy Biz probably knew, I guess.  Gambit’s paintwork is alright.  It’s pretty basic, and gets the general gist of the character down.  There’s a lot of pink, which is really the most important thing when you get right down to it.  It does get a handful of details wrong, though, such as keeping the sleeves of the shirt pink (rather than matching with the pants as they did in the comics), and the pink squares on the sides of his legs are a different pattern than usually seen.  The original release of Gambit included his staff, while the re-release included the bandolier and knives (presumably meant to stand in for his playing cards) from Longshot.  Gambit has an action feature, a kicking action, which is an interesting choice for the character.  It’s also not implemented incredibly well, because it’s default state is actually with the leg extended, meaning the latch is in a constant state of strain when he’s in a basic standing pose.  The end result is a figure that you will commonly find with his leg forever stuck at a 90 degree angle.  Fortunately, this isn’t the case with my figure, but I’ve seen my fair share of figures that weren’t so lucky.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I don’t recall exactly where I got Gambit, but I know I was with my parents, and it was very early into my collecting because it was before we moved into the house that they’ve been in since I was four.  So, somewhere in late ’95?  Anyway, despite how harsh I may have been on this figure in the actual review segment, it’s worth noting that this remains my very favorite Gambit figure to date, and just one of my favorite X-Men figures in general.

#1870: A.I.M. Scientist & Trooper

A.I.M. SCIENTIST & A.I.M. TROOPER

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

“A.I.M., or Advanced Idea Mechanics, is a scientific organization bent on designing the technology that can take over the world.  Combined with the brute force of the Shock Trooper, the A.I.M. scientists innovate international design in the pursuit of world domination.”

Though in many ways the Legends brand was revitalized from the time Hasbro slapped “Infinite Series” on the box, there was still a little bit of a learning curve in those earlier days of the line.  In particular, swap figures, something they’d introduced during the Return of Marvel Legends era, which replaced one figure in early assortments with another for refreshment cases, still persisted throughout Infinite Series’ first year (and the shared names would continue for a few more after that).  One of the earliest Infinite Series offerings, the Captain America-themed Mandroid Series, was perhaps most affected.  Though both versions of the Agents of Hydra (Red Skull and a Hydra Agent) and the Soldiers of A.I.M. (Zemo and an A.I.M. Soldier) shipped side by side in early cases, the revision cases that hit a few months later strangely chose to repack only the non-army builder versions, leaving the army builders with a rather hefty after market value.  Hasbro first tackled this issue with the TRU exclusive “Agents of Hydra” two-pack from last year, which offered up one of the two army builders.  It was initially scarce, due to TRU’s spotty distribution, but with them out of the way, it’s actually become quite easy to get.  Hasbro has wisely chosen to follow that set up with a complimentary A.I.M. two-pack.

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

The Soldiers of A.I.M. two-pack is an Entertainment Earth “exclusive” (meaning it’s available to all of the retail establishments that order through EE).  EE has picked up most of the former TRU-exclusives (including unsold stock of the Hydra pack), so It’s not hard to imagine this pair were originally slated for a TRU release.

A.I.M. SCIENTIST

Pairing off with the Hydra Agent from the other pack is the A.I.M. Scientist.  He’s more or less a reissue of the A.I.M. Soldier from the Mandroid series.  That being said, there the Hydra Agent’s differences were really limited to just the accessories, the Scientist’s changes go a little further.  Basic construction is the same.  He stands 6 1/2 inches tall and he has 29 points of articulation.  He uses the jumpsuit-ed body from the original, which works just as well now as it did the first time.  The only notable tweak is that his head seems to sit a little lower on the neck, which is a definite improvement.  Of course, it’s possible that my original was just slightly mis-molded.  The paint work has had some changes as well.  He’s the same basic yellow as the last one (so they’ll match up fine for army builders), but his visor and gloves are now black, and the “skirt” of his belt piece is molded yellow rather than painted, so it actually matches this time.  While I was initially a little bummed by the switch to black for the visor, I actually find myself preferring how it looks overall.  Now, let’s talk about the fun stuff: the accessories!  Now, it’s worth noting that this set’s accessories are a lot less figure specific than the Hydra set’s were, so I’ve tried to group them as best I could.  Like the prior release, this figure includes a bandolier, a large blaster, and a small blaster.  These are all the same as before (apart from a little extra detailing on the bandolier), and are still fun additions.  I particularly like “A.I.M.” being printed on the sides of the guns.  He also includes a shoulder harness molded in brown, and a second head (repainted from Paladin).  The head could just as easily go with the other figure (especially since it was on the other body in its original release, but I think it really works here, in a Bill, Agent of A.I.M. sort of way.

A.I.M. TROOPER

The second figure is sort of a counterpart to the Hydra Enforcer, dubbed a Shock Trooper by the back of the packaging.  He’s not your standard A.I.M. guy, that’s for sure.  He too is complete re-use, but is a rather crafty selection of parts.  He’s built on Paladin’s body (which was itself re-worked from Blade, who was in turn re-worked from ASM2 Electro), with Scourge’s head thrown on it (sort of pairing off with the Taskmaster head from the Hydra set), all done up in A.I.M.’s signature black and yellow.  A new coat of paint makes these parts look surprisingly new.  And while he’s still got a very distinct look about him, he also lends himself far more to being a troop builder than I felt the Enforcer did.  This guy comes packed with a knife and pistol, done up in colors to match him, as well as one of Deadpools rifles, again colored to match.  For variety’s sake, the Trooper also includes another shoulder harness (this time in a grey/blue), Deathlok’s backpack in yellow, and another standard issue A.I.M. beekeeper’s mask.  The last piece looks a little goofy on this guy, but I appreciate the option to further A.I.M.-ize him, and I even more appreciate the ability to make my prior A.I.M. Soldiers properly match up with this new set.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Since I actually found an A.I.M. Soldier, there wasn’t as much of a dire need to get this set as there was with the Hydra pack, so when they were shown off, I knew I’d want one, but I was kind of ambivalent to the whole thing.  Then I saw it in person, and my mind changed.  And then I opened it up and my mind changed even more.  The Hydra set may have been more essential to me, but this one’s more fun.  The improvements to the standard A.I.M. guy are enough to make him the superior offering when compared to the original release, and I find myself really, really liking the Trooper, far more than I did the Enforcer, and far more than I’d expected to.  Hasbro’s inventiveness is really well showcased here.

I grabbed this pair from my friends at All Time Toys.  As of this writing, this pack is still in-stock, so if you’re interested in this, or any other Marvel Legends figures, or are looking for other cool toys both old and new, please check out their website and their eBay Store.

#1869: Wasp

WASP

MARVEL LEGENDS VINTAGE (HASBRO)

Despite being a character for whom “constantly changing look” is a defining trait, poor Janet Van Dyne’s figures all seem to gravitate between the same two costumes.  Either she’s in first appearance mode, or she’s wearing the dreaded black and gold number.  There’s no in-betweens.  Well, not until now, at least!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Wasp is the fourth figure from the second series of the Marvel Legends Vintage sub-line.  Like yesterday’s Vision figure, she switches things up and gives us a predominately new offering.  Rather than one of the two Wasp costumes we have oh-so-many of already, this figure instead gives us one of Jan’s Perez-designed costumes from his run during the late ‘90s/early ‘00s.  It’s not just some random choice on Hasbro’s part, either, because this is the exact same costume that was supposed to serve as one of the two variants for Toy Biz’s first Legends Wasp back in the day.  It never went to full production, leaving a very small handful of samples out there, and thereby making it one of the rarest Legends pieces (alongside the admittedly less-demanded silver shirted Luke Cage).  So this figure’s more than a decade in the making.  All I can say is “finally!”  The figure stands 6 inches tall and she has 33 points of articulation.  From the neck down, this figure’s sculpt is the same as the prior figure.  If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.  Wasp’s head is a different one, though it’s not a new one.  It’s actually a rather clever re-use, borrowed from the Sasquatch Series’ Domino figure.  Since her head was done up with a very unique paint scheme, it looks quite a bit different here, and matches up well with Jan’s style at the time of this costume to boot.  Wasp’s paintwork is clean and bold, which are my favorite things in a Legends paint job.  The white is slightly pearlescent, which gives it a nice, polished look, and I definitely this new color scheme for the wings.  Far more appealing than the ones on the last figure, that’s for sure.  Wasp is packed with a miniature version of her husband Hank in his Ant-Man form.  It’s a piece we’ve seen a good number of times before, but it continues to be a solid inclusion, and makes a lot of sense here.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Ever since being let-down by Toy Biz’s standard release Wasp, I’ve been waiting for this look, never to have it arrive.  She and Ant-Man ended up being the first of these figures we actually saw, and I knew immediately that I’d definitely be tracking her down.  She popped up at the same time as Vision, which certainly made me happy, as I was able to get my two top wants in one fell swoop.  I was content with the last Wasp figure from Hasbro, but hoped for more.  I’m happy to finally be able to replace that black and gold monstrosity, let me tell you.  Now, is it too much to ask for her asymmetrical, jazzercise-looking white and blue number from the ‘80s? 

#1868: Vision

VISION

MARVEL LEGENDS VINTAGE (HASBRO)

“The Vision is an android who mimics virtually every organic function of a human being, including independent thought!”

In a stark change from the last two days, it’s actually been a little while since I’ve looked at a Vision figure.  The last one was his movie-inspired Legends figure from Infinity War, and that was all the way back in April.  Given how much I like Vision, I think it’s time to change that!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Vision is another figure from Series 2 of Hasbro’s Marvel Legends Vintage line, he marks the assortment’s turn into decidedly “new” territory.  We’ve had three Visions in the main Legends line since the Infinite Series-switch-over, but they’ve all been later costume designs, and all of them have had some issues plaguing them.  This one returns him back to his classic roots, for the first time in a decade.  The figure stands 6 1/4 inches tall and he has 34 points of articulation.  The three prior Visions were all built on the Bucky Cap body, but this one changes that up, moving him to the 2099 body.  Like Silver Surfer, I’m not 100% sure how I feel about this.  I understand the desire to move away from the Bucky Cap, and I was never super attached to it for Vision anyway.  That said, I tend to see Vision as having a larger stature.  In a perfect world, I’d like to see him built on the Spider-UK body.  All that said, I don’t mind this one.  He appears to use the same head sculpt as the Hulkbuster Series Vision, though with less molding issues this time around.  He actually gets a brand-new piece for his cape; that actually surprised me, but it was really necessity to do this the right way.  It’s very similar to the Marvel Universe cape, which I rather liked, and it’s very appropriate for a classic Vision.  Prior Visions have really fallen down when it comes to paint work.  This one, on the other hand, truly excels in this area.  The application is very clean, and the metallic green is really, really slick looking.  Something about the cleaner nature of the paint actually makes the head sculpt look a lot better than it did the first time around.  Vision’s one accessory is the head from the first Hasbro Legends Ultron, calling back to a frequent state for Ultron, especially in Vision’s earliest appearances.  It’s a nice accessory, although I really would have liked to get an extra pair of hands in an open gesture.  Or at least just one of them, so that he can match the illustration on his packaging.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

As a big Vision fan, I’m always in the market for a good figure of him.  Unfortunately, Hasbro’s last three attempts each seemed to just miss the mark.  When this guy was shown off, he quickly climbed to the top of my list (alongside figure I’ll be looking at tomorrow).  There are still some minor issues (I’m really going to need to find him some more expressive hands), but I gotta say, I really, really like this guy.  Definitely the best version of the character on the market.

#1867: Black Panther

BLACK PANTHER

MARVEL LEGENDS VINTAGE (HASBRO)

“With the sleekness of the jungle cat whose name he bears, T’Challa — King of Wakanda — stalks both the concrete city and the underground of the Veldt”

At the beginning of this year, in conjunction with the release of his movie, Walmart offered up an exclusive variant of Black Panther.  It was kind of a curious offering, being a fully powered-up, energy-effect ridden version of a costume we hadn’t yet received a standard release of.  And, unlike most instances of such variants, there was no confirmation of a standard version anywhere in the pipeline.  That is, until Panther’s name cropped up on the list of rumored Series 2 Vintage figures.  Since we’d *just* gotten a re-release of the classic Panther, could this possibly be the missing All New, All Different Panther?  Why yes, yes it could!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Black Panther is the second figure in Series 2 of Hasbro’s Marvel Legends Vintage sub-line.  He uses the aforementioned “All New, All Different” design, which is a pretty solid one.  It takes the classic Panther look and just sort of streamlines it.  I’m still partial to the classic look, but I can see the appeal of this one.  The figure stands 6 1/2 inches tall and he has 32 points of articulation.  He uses the same basic construction as the Walmart-exclusive release, with a few minor change-ups.  He’s still built on the Spider-UK body, which I still like a lot for T’Challa.  He has the same streamlined head sculpt and necklace add-on.  He swaps out the last figure’s Rocket Raccoon Series Panther hands for the Civil War Panther hands.  I’m not entirely sure why Hasbro keeps switching back and forth between them, but there’s at least some variety.  He also adds a basic belt piece (borrowed from Prowler), to break things up, I guess?  Hey, I can’t complain about an extra piece.  The main selling point here is, of course, the paint.  Since the last one had all the pink tron-lines, this one goes fully powered down.  Though, rather than the straight black I think we’d all been expecting, he’s actually an iridescent dark blue, which works quite well, and ends up a bit more striking than if he’d just been pure black.  Panther gets the same accessory set-up as the powered-up version, minus the extra head (not really a big loss, there): a spare set of hands, and two energy pieces for the hands, this time in an etherial white.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

After being pleasantly surprised by the Powered Up Panther, I was somewhat intrigued by this release.  When he showed up alongside Scarlet Spider at Super Awesome Fiancee’s store, she was kind enough to pick him up for me.  Ultimately, he hasn’t displaced my classic Panther on the shelf, and doesn’t quite have the pop of the prior figure, but he’s still entertaining in his own right.

#1866: Scarlet Spider

SCARLET SPIDER

MARVEL LEGENDS VINTAGE (HASBRO)

“The clone of Peter Parker left New York and wandered the country returning years later calling himself Ben Reilly.  He became the superhero known as the Scarlet Spider!”

It wasn’t all that long ago that I was reviewing a Legends Scarlet Spider, but I assure you, this one’s totally different and distinct from that one.  Now, of course, you might recall that I reviewed *another* Legends Scarlet Spider a few years ago.  Well, I assure you, this one’s…more or less the same as that one.  But that one has a super hefty aftermarket price, so hey, re-release time, right?

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Scarlet Spider headlines the second series of Hasbro’s Marvel Legends Vintage line.  For the second round of figures, Hasbro’s really taken the Black Widow thread to heart, and tried to give us more than straight re-issues of prior figures…well, except for this guy.  This Scarlet Spider is by design supposed to be very similar to the Rhino Series figure from 2015.  Apart from one small change, the sculpt is the same between the two figures.  That means he’s 6 1/4 inches tall and has 30 points of articulation, and is build on the Pizza Spidey body.  I was very happy with this sculpt the first time around, and I still really like it three years later.  The small change has to do with his web-shooters, which are now the more rounded capsules we saw with Spider-Girl and Black Widow.  They’re a bit more accurate than the more squared off versions we saw before (which were usually more associated with Ben’s Spider-Man costume).  Apart from that, the biggest changes between the two figures are in the paint department.  His blue hoodie has remained more or less the same, but his red body suit is now far less orange, and his eyes no longer have the black outline.  The brown of his accent pieces is also more of a tan this tome around.  Honestly, I don’t know which version I prefer.  They’re certainly different, but neither really jumps out as “better.”  This release of Scarlet Spider drops the Rhino heads from the last release, obviously, but also loses the open gesture hands from the last one, which I was a little saddened by, especially with the reds not matching.  On the plus side, he does get an unmasked Ben Reilly head, which we’ve not gotten before.  Sure, it’s just a repaint of the unmasked Peter Parker from the Spidey/MJ two-pack, but given how scarce that set was, it’s new to me. Also, he’s a clone, so I guess re-use makes sense.  That’s probably the better rationale, isn’t it?

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I wasn’t initially planning to get this figure.  I’m happy with the prior release, and while I did like this one’s unmasked appearance, I wasn’t sure that would really warrant the purchase.  But, Super Awesome Fiancee’s store got him in, and she sent me a picture, and I liked how he looked in person, so I kind of caved.  There’s not a lot of new going on here, and I don’t really see this guy replacing the prior release, but I do like the extra head, and I think he’s distinct enough to be worth my time.  And, for someone who missed the first release, he’ll be awesome, which is really the main point.

#1864: Forge

FORGE

X-MEN (TOY BIZ)

“Forge is the X-Men’s brilliant high-tech weapons inventor. Not only can he custom design a deadly arsenal in almost no time… he’s ready to jump straight into action and use it! In fact Forge is such a fierce fighter that when he straps on his weapons and activates his amazing bionic leg, he becomes a one-man army!”

The ‘90s X-Men line was the most expansive selection of the characters ever put to plastic, offering up main, supporting, and minor characters from all throughout the franchise’s history.  It definitely took a heavy lean towards the ‘90s, of course, and paramount to the line’s early days was getting collectors a complete line-up of the X-Men of the X-Men #1 era.  Included amongst that line-up was relatively new addition (at the time) Forge!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Forge was released in Series 2 of Toy Biz’s X-Men line, and was sporting his strike-team uniformed look, which is, by far, Forge’s most prominent design.  Also, his current design at the time, so it made a lot of sense.  Apart from some repaints of this same figure, this would be the only Forge figure we’d get from Toy Biz, so, hey, they better have made it count.  The figure stands 5 inches tall and he has 9 points of articulation.  Sculpt-wise, Forge is fairly typical of the early line figures.  He’s definitely got a more refined sculpt than a lot of his Series 1 counterparts, but compared to later-run figures from Toy Biz, he’s definitely on the scrawny side.  Though, for a character like Forge, the scrawnier nature isn’t too terrible, especially if your a fan of the tech-geek take on the character seen in the likes of X-Men: Evolution and Wolverine and the X-Men.  Some of the details, especially the pouches and his boots, are far more simplistic than they’d be on more current offerings, but on the plus side, the details on the head sculpt are actually pretty sharp.  Forge’s gun is molded into his hand. Ostensibly, it’s to aid with the figure’s quick-draw action feature, though I can’t say I understand why it had to actually be molded in place for that.  It ends up rather restricting what you can do with the figure.  The paintwork on Forge is about par for the course on this line.  Application’s clean and fairly basic, and the colors are bright.  I quite like the clear molded plastic for his artificial arm and leg; it’s a nice touch.  Like a number of the early Toy Biz figures, there were two minor paint variants on Forge, concerning the color of his holster.  The initial figures were brown, but it was changed mid-production to yellow, which is the one seen here.  Yay?

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I picked up Forge a few years back, during my first resurgence of 5-inch X-Men collecting, just after my freshmen year of college.  I ended up finding him loose from Yesterday’s fun.  Forge has never been a particular favorite of mine, and the figure doesn’t really do much to change that, being more or less middle of the road, but he’s certainly passable.

#1862: Daredevil

DAREDEVIL

MARVEL SELECT (DST)

Did I mention that I liked Daredevil Season 3?  <checks back to my last Daredevil-related review> Yes, yes, I did.  Well, it bears repeating: I really liked Daredevil Season 3.  After being somewhat let-down by all of the post Luke Cage Season 1 offerings from Netflix, I was very happy to see a return to what I’d loved so much about Daredevil‘s first (and the majority of its second) season.  It’s not a huge change for Daredevil to come along and surprise us all with its quality, though, since Season 1 did the same thing back in 2015.  It was such a surprise, that none of Marvel’s usual licensees had actually gotten the licenses for any proper merchandise.  In the case of both Hasbro and DST, their first DD product wouldn’t come until a fair bit after the show’s second season had hit.  I looked at Hasbro’s version of old-horn-head back when he was new and was of mixed opinions, so I decided to finally get around to giving his main competition, the Marvel Select release, a try.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Daredevil was released as a standalone offering as part of Marvel Select‘s 2017 line-up of figures, hitting in the fall of last year.  Matt’s sporting his proper Daredevil gear from Season 2 of the show, which is, admittedly, the more distinctive look.  That said, I’m personally still holding out that someone (other than Minimates, that is) will give us Matt’s all-black number.  This figure was originally solicited with his damaged Season 1-style helmet from after his run-in with Punisher, but by the time he hit shelves, he was actually sporting his proper Season 2 mask, thereby making him distinct from his Legends counterpart.  That was actually a pretty smart move on DST’s part.  The figure is on the shorter side of the Select scale, standing 6 1/2 inches tall, and he sports 30 points of articulation.  The height’s sort of a curious thing, because it means he’s not really in-scale with anything else from his own line, but he *is* kind of in-scale with Legends.  It’s not a perfect match, but he’s less than a quarter-inch off from the proper Legends release, so it’s very fudgable.  The sculpt is unique to this figure, and it’s reasonable.  It feels a little bit like the antithesis of the Hasbro figure.  The build is certainly less wonky, and the overall appearance is more balanced and appealing, but he loses the really nice texture and small detail work of that figure, and while the articulation is certainly usable, it’s not very well worked into the sculpt.  The prototype shots and even early test shots with the new head sported a pretty solid likeness of Charlie Cox, but something was lost in the production process, leaving the figure to look a good deal more generic.  He still looks reasonable from the right angle, but head-on’s a real killer.  His paintwork is mostly rather straightforward.  The blacks and reds aren’t the most eye-catching, but they’re a fairly decent match for his show appearance.  The face suffers the same trouble that most figures with that sort of stubbly, “I haven’t shaved in a day or two” look suffer, where the quality varies widely from figure to figure, and it always looks kind of sloppy. My figure looks reasonable enough, but after what Hasbro’s been doing with such things on their recent face-printed figures, he’s a little out there.  Matt is packed with his billy club, which can separate into two (surprisingly differently-sized) pieces, as well as a spare set of gripping hands to hold them.  There’s also a display stand modeled after a warehouse or something, and an articulated stand to assist in more dynamic poses.  The articulated stand is great in theory, but less so in practice, as the joints are too weak to hold Matt up, meaning he’s still got to be more or less balanced to begin with.  Still, it’s better than nothing.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

DST’s Daredevil hit at a bad time for me to pick him up, so I didn’t, and I just never had the chance to double back around and get him.  I finally grabbed him a couple of weeks ago during Cosmic Comix’s “Biggest Sale of the Year!”, because I’m still coming down from that Season 3 high, I guess.  I was hoping for a figure to replace the Legends release, but I’ll be honest, I knew getting into this that that likely wouldn’t be the case.  This figure addresses some of the Legends figure’s flaws, but trades them in for some of his own, resulting in another figure that’s shy of being perfect.  Oh well, maybe Mezco’s got the answer…