#3199: Moon Knight

MOON KNIGHT

MARVEL LEGENDS RETRO (HASBRO)

“A mercenary bound to the ancient spirit, Khonshu, Moon Knight fights to win the spirit its due!”

Ohhhh! Every day I wake up, then I start to break up, lonely is a man without love!  Every day I start out, then I cry my heart out, lonely is a man without love!  …you see, it’s clever, because that’s the song that Stephen wakes up to in Moon Knight, and…umm, I’m using it to start my review.  Fun, right?  Look, I’m just thrilled to be here, really.  Moon Knight’s mainstream, you guys.  I got Moon Knight socks the other day!  Moon Knight socks, you guys!  And there’s so many Moon Knight toys. We had this small selection, and now, it’s just so much more, and I’m all about it.  Moon Knight’s been shown on the card art for Hasbro’s Marvel Legends Retro line since the line began, but he’s just now finally made it into the line.  And I’m pretty excited about that too.  Let’s check him out!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Moon Knight is part of series 7 of Marvel Legends Retro, alongside Amazing Fantasy Spider-Man, Nova, Firestar, and repacks of Cap and Iron Man.  He’s one of two figures double-packed, the other being Spider-Man.  Moon Knight’s on Spider-Man’s level.  That’s crazy.  I’m so here for it.  As with the rest of the line, Moon Knight comes packaged in a beautiful retro throwback package, with lovely unique card art and graphics, all of which you must utterly destroy to open the figure.  That’s right, I destroyed this art, just for you guys.  I sure hope you appreciate that!  After being aggressively torn from his packaging, the figure stands just a hair over 3 3/4 inches tall and he has 7 points of articulation.  His articulation scheme is the same as the Cap I already looked at from this line, which is the classic 5 POA set-up with the addition of swivels on the forearms.  The boots are still separate pieces, but they’re also still glued in place, so there’s no extra movement there.  Moon Knight’s construction uses the same core body as the Cap figure, so he adheres pretty closely to the line’s own established style.  He gets his own unique head and cloak pieces.  The head’s a very basic full-face mask, which I feel like we’ll see more use of as the line continues.  The cloak is quite an impressive piece.  Still more on the basic side, but that perfect classic Moon Knight look.  The paint work on this figure is generally pretty basic, but I appreciate the slight change-up in tones of white for the belt and symbol, as well as the rarely used red eyes in reference to the original Moon Knight #1 cover.  The only thing I don’t really care for is the rather obnoxious brown production code printed on his inner right thigh; the odd color makes it kind of stand out, but it’s at least in a spot you won’t see most of the time.  Moon Knight doesn’t get any accessories.  I’d have liked maybe a staff or moonerangs, but accessories are at a minimum for this line in general, so it’s not majorly surprising, especially since he’s got the cloak.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Like I said in the intro, Moon Knight’s been on the card backs for this line since the beginning, and I’ve been eagerly waiting for his proper announcement since.  I was very excited when he was finally shown off.  Obviously, he’s just a basic figure.  I’m not expecting him to break the mold or do anything crazy.  And I still have my slight reservations with this line as a whole, as I did when I reviewed Cap.  But I’ve also kind of mellowed on things a bit there, and I’m honestly just super thrilled at another Moon Knight.  Perhaps the luster will start to wear off once there’s a ton of Moon Knight stuff everywhere for a prolonged period of time, but for now, I’m just really happy about it all.

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.

#3197: The Controller

THE CONTROLLER

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

First appearing at the end of the first year of Iron Man’s initial solo title, Basil Sandhurst aka The Controller is one of those villains who’s always sort of stuck to the background.  He’s largely remained an Iron Man foe, but also spent some time working with Thanos against Captain Marvel and the Avengers, as well as doing the general bounce around amongst the core Avengers cast.  He’s never risen to any particularly crazy heights, and despite his nature as a guy who controls other people, he’s more often than not working for someone bigger these days.  Most recently, he resurfaced in Iron Man’s current run, this time working for Michael Korvac.  This increased prominence, coupled with his design being “blue Thanos,” has netted him his first action figure treatment, as a Marvel Legends Build-A-Figure.  I’m taking a look at that figure today!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

The Controller is the Build-A-Figure for the self-titled series of Marvel Legends, which is the most recent Avengers-themed assortment.  Given that the assortment also features Iron Man in his most recent armor, Controller is a pretty natural fit.  The figure stands 7 3/4 inches tall and he has 30 points of articulation.  His size is a bit large for his listed height of 6 foot 2 inches, but as with most listed comic book character heights, there’s always a degree of variance in how they’re actually portrayed.  Controller’s certainly one of those characters that’s crept up in height over the years.  It’s also more excusable given the nature of his construction, which banks pretty heavily on the deluxe Thanos molds from last year.  He shares his arms, legs, pelvis, and shoulder armor with that figure, and his torso is also a slightly modified version of Thanos’s as well.  The two have classically looked astonishingly similar in their designs, and this is certainly a major factor in Controller getting made for this assortment, so I definitely get it.  He gets a new head, forearms, hands, shins, and feet, as well as a new belt piece.  By far, the head is the strongest piece.  It captures Controller’s cracked and segmented face really well, just really looks the part.  His new gloves and boots are far more simplified than Thanos’s were, which better fits the Controller’s usual look, and also just further removes him from the prior figure.  Controller’s paint work is more involved than it looks at first glance.  While the basic blues are just molded plastic, there’s a bit of highlighting on the lighter blues to make some of the muscle detailing stand out a bit more.  The exact shades seem just a little bit off, so it looks a little funky, but I do like to see Hasbro trying something other than just the flat colors.  The face also gets some accenting to really bring out those cracks, and that winds up paying off much better.  Despite being a Build-A-Figure, Controller nevertheless actually gets two sets of hands: basic fists, and a combo with open gesture.  The right open gesture hand is even holding a pair of his control discs, which is a fun touch.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I didn’t intend to finish this figure nearly as quickly as I did.  After a couple years of just buying full sets of everything Legends and sorting out what I didn’t want later, for this series I actually decided to be picky, since I wasn’t really that interested in more than half of the figures.  And, while I wasn’t opposed to owning a Controller, I was also content to wait for his parts to get traded in.  No rush.  Well, I got my two pieces from the figures I wanted.  And then Max got one figure, and didn’t want the parts.  And a customer at the store also wasn’t getting a full set, so I got those parts too, and one by one, I assembled a Controller in just over a day.  Hey, I won’t knock that!  He’s another one of those fairly by the numbers figures, who does exactly what he needs to, and ultimately succeeds because of it.  I wasn’t expecting a lot, but he’s certainly fun.

#3196: Spider-Man & Shocker

SPIDER-MAN & SHOCKER

MARVEL MINIMATES

After making his MCU debut in Captain America: Civil War, Spider-Man was granted a solo-outing in short fashion with 2017’s Spider-Man: Homecoming.  As a Spider-Man movie, it was, predictably, pretty well covered on the merchandising front.  That included an assortment of Marvel Minimates which had, up to that point, not missed an MCU showing (they lost that run when Far From Home was the first MCU film they skipped two years later).  Today, I’m looking at one of those sets in the form of Spider-Man and Shocker!

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

Spider-Man and Shocker were one of the two shared sets between specialty Series 73 and the TRU-exclusive Homecoming tie-in series of Marvel Minimates.  Seeing as it was the set that included the standard version of Spidey, it made a lot of sense for it to be a heavier packed one, so that tracked.

SPIDER-MAN

The first of the four Spidey variants for the movie tie-ins was the standard Stark-tech Spidey suit.  It’s a solid updating of the classic Spidey costume, with just a little bit of MCU-flair, and I’ve always found it to be a strong design.  The figure is built on the standard post-C3 Minimates body, so he’s about 2 1/4 inches tall and he’s got 14 points of articulation.  While most standard Spider-Men are just vanilla ‘mates, this one gets two add-ons for each of his wrist-mounted web shooters.  They were new pieces, which are fairly nicely handled.  The paint work is where this figure really shines….well mostly.  The entire figure is painted, which gives him a nice consistent finish.  The line work is nice and sharp, and captures all of the important details of the costume, adapting them quite nicely into ‘mate form.  The one notable downside on the paint is the upper arms, which get all of the proper line-work, but don’t have any blue detailing on the inner side of the arm.  It just abruptly changes color at the elbow, which looks super weird.  Kind of glaring, given the quality of the rest of the detailing.  Spider-Man is packed with a webline and a clear display stand, which is pretty standard fare for a Minimate Spider-Man.

SHOCKER

Though not the primary antagonist of the film, Herman Schultz’s Shocker makes his live-action debut as one of the Vulture’s crew in Homecoming.  He also got his second, and more than likely final given the shape of things at the moment, Minimate out of it, after a 9 year gap between releases.  Shocker gets three add-on pieces on the main base body.  He’s got a jacket piece with a sculpted hoodie hood beneath it, re-used from the Big Bang Theory Leonard, as well as a gauntlet piece, re-used from Crossbones.  Given that the gauntlet used by Herman in the movie is actually re-purposed tech, presumably from the same source as Crossbones, it’s a sensible choice of re-use.  Finishing up on the sculpted add-ons, he also gets the basic torso cap piece to extend the hoodie a bit.  The paint work on Shocker is generally pretty solid.  The likeness on the face is an okay match for Bokeem Woodbine, but perhaps not as strong as others from the same time period.  I do really like the quilting pattern on the arms, though; it’s very Shocker-y.  Shocker is packed with a clear display stand.  Not thrilling, but it’s at least something.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

2017 was not a year for me to be buying excessively, so I wound up passing on all of the Homecoming ‘mates at the time of their release.  Instead, I wound up getting this particular set during TRU’s shut down, when they were clearing everything out.  I was pretty glad to get the second chance on them.  Spidey’s largely pretty good, apart from the weirdness with the arms.  Shocker’s a little blander than Spidey, but he’s better than average.

#3195: White Queen

WHITE QUEEN

GENERATION X (TOY BIZ)

“The former White Queen of the sinister Inner Circle, the telepathic Emma Frost, recently re-evaluated her philosophy and alliances. As a result, she has accepted Professor Charles Xavier’s offer to join Banshee in training Generation X, the next class of young mutants enrolled at his school. Shrewd, manipulative, and hardened by her villainous past, Emma Frost will provide the tough guidance necessary for her new students to make it through the turbulent times ahead.”

During the events of the X-Men crossover “Phalanx Covenant”, Marvel formed a new X-team, Generation X.  It was a bunch of younger mutants (essentially the ’90s answer to the New Mutants, who by this point had all been folded into X-Force and X-Factor), under the tutelage of two reformed X-foes: Banshee, who’d been on the main team for years, and the very recently reformed Emma Frost, aka the White Queen.  The reformed White Queen angle wound up sticking, and she’s pretty much been there since.  Her Generation X run wound up getting Emma her first action figure, which is pretty cool, all things considered.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

White Queen was released in Series 2 of Toy Biz’s Generation X line.  After years with more or less the same look, Generation X had placed her in a more toned down outfit.  It’s not classic White Queen, but a solid argument can be made that it’s far more appropriate for a toyline that’s selling at mass retail.  The figure stands a little over 5 inches tall (the Generation X line as a whole was just a touch scaled up), and she has 5 points of articulation.  The articulation on this figure is more or less pointless.  She’s kind of just a statue that you can slightly move the head and arms on.  The hip joints in particular are rather pointless.  Any real change means she can’t stand at all.  So, she just really stands there.  Which, I guess, is what Emma tends to do in the comics.  You know what, I guess it’s the perfect set-up, isn’t it?  The sculpt is a rather stylized one.  Her hands are notably quite large, and the body’s got some definite pre-posed-ness to it.  The proportions are generally just all over the place, and she winds up looking a little bit odd.  I do like how the detailing on the outfit worked out, though.  The paint work on White Queen was the source of a variant for the figure.  The main release has a flesh tone painted on the upper legs, suggesting she’s wearing short shorts, while a rarer version of the release drops the extra paint app, and effectively gives her pants.  Not  huge change, but there it is.  There was also a later variation of the figure in the Marvel Hall of Fame line, dubbed “Black Queen,” which, predictably, swaps black in for all of the white parts, as well as the hair.  Presumably, it’s supposed to be Selene, but it really just winds up looking like Emma’s going through a goth phase.  White Queen’s orignal release was packed with a Psychic Energy Spear, whatever that is, as well as the Generation X display stand.  Black Queen gets the same Spear, but in silver.  Again, no clue what it is, but, you know, there it is.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

There was a long trek to getting all of the variants of this particular figure.  I got the standard release version first, courtesy of Jess, who bought it for me from Power Comics, the comic shop near our apartment when we first moved in together in 2016.  A few years later, I picked up Black Queen loose at a toy show in 2018.  And, I finally wrapped it up with the variant of White Queen, which I snagged from a collection that came into All Time in 2021.  They’re all kind of goofy, and not particularly unique, but there’s a novelty behind how I got them all, which is pretty nice.

#3194: U.S. Agent

U.S. AGENT

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

“Originally appointed by the US Government to replace Steve Rogers as Captain America, U.S. Agent John Walker must balance his moral compass against his duty to his country.”

When you need a Captain America-esque guy, but you need him to do un-Captain America-esque things, there’s one guy to call: John F. Walker, the U.S. Agent!  Beginning as the Captain America antagonist Super Patriot, John was tapped as the new Cap when Steve gave up the title during a falling out with the US government.  Obviously, Steve was always going to come back, and when he did, his uniform from his interim time as “The Captain” was handed over to Walker, who repurposed it as U.S. Agent.  He’s since become the go-to character for when you need someone who’s on the right side of the law, but maybe not morally there, albeit not in a totally villainous sense.  And, he got a great focus in the MCU in The Falcon and the Winter Soldier.  All of that’s given him some leverage for a cool new comics-based figure.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

U.S. Agent is figure 6 in the Controller Series of Marvel Legends.  His presence in the series allows for all three of the main heavy hitter Avengers to have some sort of presence, without there being an actual Steve Rogers Cap variant needed.  This marks U.S. Agent’s third time in Legends form, and his second comics-based release, following the prior Hasbro version from way back in the Return of Marvel Legends days.  The figure stands 6 3/4 inches tall and he has 32 points of articulation.  U.S. Agent is built on the Reaper body, along with its Cap-specific parts courtesy of the Cap-Wolf release.  The Reaper body is perhaps just a touch small for how Walker is usually portrayed, but it’s not too far off, and I get the want for internal consistencies with the standard Cap.  He gets a brand-new head sculpt.  After years of Hasbro going a bit too gruff with Steve before finally getting it right, they dial back in on that gruffness for Walker.  The head’s maybe just a touch too large for the body, I think, but it’s otherwise a pretty good fit for the character.  U.S. Agent’s paint work is generally pretty decent.  Not quite as impressive as Speedball, but still better than previous fare.  The face gets a decent amount of accenting, and the detailing on the uniform is nice and crisp.  U.S. Agent is packed with his shield, two sets of hands (fists and a gripping/open gesture combo), and the arm for the Controller Build-A-Figure.  If there’s one thing I’d have liked to see, it’s an alternate Steve head to let this figure double as The Captain, but that’s far from an essential piece.  As it stands, he works well for John.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Since getting a few goes at a good update to a classic Cap, and finally getting a really definitive one in the 20th Anniversary release, I’ve definitely been jonesing for a good U.S. Agent.  The prior one just wasn’t cutting it, so this one was certainly welcome.  As with Speedball, I expected this one to be a rather by-the-numbers release, though unlike Speedball, U.S. Agent winds up being truer to that expectation.  He’s not anything crazy, but he’s honestly just what he needs to be.

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.

#3193: Speedball

SPEEDBALL

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

“When Robbie Baldwin is exposed to an extra-dimensional energy source, he becomes Speedball, able to project a kinetic energy field allowing him to bounce like a super-powered rubber ball!”

Introduced in 1988, Speedball was one of Marvel’s active attempts at recapturing the success of Spider-Man through another young hero, going so far as to include Steve Ditko in the character’s creation, just for that extra push. Though he ultimately didn’t meet their expectations, he did find some notoriety as a member of the New Warriors when that book was launched just a few years later.  He’d go on to become a defining member for the team throughout its many iterations, right up until they got totally discarded in order for big shocks in Civil War, at which point we got sad emo boy Robbie becoming the ultimate edgelord Penance…yeah, it’s not great.  But it’s okay, because he’s back to being Speedball, and now he’s even got an action figure, which I’m taking a look at today.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Speedball is figure 4 in the Controller Series of Marvel Legends, which is ostensibly an Avengers assortment.  He’s the fourth member of the founding New Warriors in the line, following Night Thrasher, Firestar, and Nova.  Fingers crossed for a Justice figure in short order!  This is Speedball’s first figure, though Robbie did get a Minimate as Penance.  But I don’t wanna talk about it.  You can’t make me.  ….Anyway, the figure stands 6 1/2 inches tall and he has 34 points of articulation.  Speedball is built on the 2099 base body, which is a more than respectable choice for the character.  The build’s a pretty good match, and the articulation scheme, especially with those butterfly joints on the shoulders, makes for a lot of fun posing.  It’s a solid basic body choice for a guy with a pretty basic costume set-up.  It’s only real downside is that we still have the expose pins on the elbows and knees, but it’s going to take a little bit for such things to completely disappear from the line.  Speedball gets an all-new head sculpt, and it’s very definitely the star piece of the figure.  The hair has a wonderful dynamic flow, giving it that crazy flop that was so signature to the character’s look.  Gambit *wishes* his hair was this chaotic.  The face has a nice warm and friendly expression that feels right for a fun-loving guy like Robbie, and the goggles, which are separate pieces, top of the look pitch perfectly.  Speedball’s color work surprised me in its quality.  Not only is the base application all clean and sharp, they also handle his distinctive patterning on his gloves, belt, and boots quite well, without missing any noticeable spots or cutting anything too keep it simpler.  His face and hair also get a far bit more accenting than we’ve typically seen on the Hasbro Legends, which really just gives the whole thing a really polished feel.  If I have one complaint about this figure, it’s that he doesn’t get any accessories of his own.  A recoloring of the Havok/Polaris effects with his multicolored kinetic energy would have worked decently in a pinch, I feel.  That said, it’s not the end of the world, I suppose.  Ultimately, he’s packed with the torso for the Controller, which is the largest piece, so the box is far from empty feeling.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

When I was seven, I bought an issue of Wizard magazine because it had a feature on the upcoming Avengers: United They Stand cartoon, and I wanted to know everything I could about it.  Said issue also included a free preview copy of the latest iteration of the New Warriors at the time, which of course had Speedball front and center.  I’d not encountered him previously, and while I wouldn’t actually read most of his early New Warriors appearances until much later, the character’s distinctive visual always stuck with me.  I hated what they did with him in Civil War, and was always bummed that his only Minimate was as Penance.  So, this figure?  I was fairly excited.  He looked like a cool by-the-numbers figure.  In hand, that’s not what he is, because, despite the base body build, he’s not just a by-the-numbers figure.  He’s got a lot of care put into him, and he’s so much fun.  He’s simple, but he’s thus far my favorite Legend of the year.  And there was a Havok and a classic Cap this year, so that’s pretty high praise by me.

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.

#3192: Iron Man

IRON MAN

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

“Tony Stark resolves to get back to basics, donning a new stripped-down Iron Man armor inspired by his most classic designs.”

Oh boy, are you guys ready for some more Marvel Legends?  I sure hope you are, because apparently the only settings on Hasbro’s release schedule for these are nothing at all and everything at once.  It’s…it’s a lot.  With no Avengers movies out or upcoming in the next year, the Avengers portion of the line is shifting over to purely comics based, which is where the most recent assortment sets its sights. The resident heavy hitter for this round is an Iron Man, who I’m gonna be taking a look at today!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Iron Man is the non-numbered figure for the Controller Series of Marvel Legends. He’s based on Alex Ross’s updated Iron Man armor, which is his current set-up in the comics.  It’s a fairly nice merging of modern aesthetics with his classic design elements, offering a look that’s both unique, but still reads as a standard Iron Man.  Definitely a solid choice for the line-up.  The figure stands 6 3/4 inches tall and he has 32 points of articulation.  This Iron Man’s articulation scheme is probably the best we’ve gotten on a Legends Iron Man.  The 80th body and its spin-offs certainly weren’t bad from a movement perspective, but his figure takes a lot of the things that Hasbro’s learned from other lines and implements them for Marvel.  In particular, the neck is a mix of two ball joints and a universal, resulting in a ton of range we don’t usually see.  And, it’s all worked in really well from an aesthetic standpoint, making it doubly successful.  His sculpt is an all-new affair, of course.  It’s a really nice recreation of the armor as we’ve seen it on the page.  The depth of detail is also quite impressive, in part because it’s handled with so many separate pieces that are all assembled.  The only part I’m not super crazy about is the shoulder armor, which is a softer piece that goes over; when posing, it can be slightly restricting, and I worry about warping it by leaving the arms up for too long.  Beyond that, though, it’s a really strong sculpt.  His color work isn’t terrible, but it’s probably the figure’s weakest aspect.  The reds and golds are largely molded, rather than painted.  For the red, it means its not metallic; not the end of the world, but it doesn’t quite have that same pop.  For the gold, it means he’s got the swirls going on.  On my figure they’re rather prominent on the faceplate, which can be a tad distracting.  The actual paint application is all at least pretty clean, though, and I do like how the whites really stand out from the rest of the armor.  Iron Man is packed with two sets of hands (repulsor blasts and fists), and the two-part blast and smoke effects that were first included with Ironheart.  The replusor hands get the full wrist articulation, which I’m very happy about, and I’m also happy to see the Ironheart effects turn back up, as they’re honestly pretty cool.  It’s a shame that there’s not an unmasked Tony head, but there are at least options available.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

With classic Iron Man and Modular Iron Man checked off, there’s not a ton left on my Iron Man checklist, but I’ll admit that I’ve liked this look since it was first shown off and was on-board for its inevitable Legends release.  When this one was announced, I was definitely planning to grab it, but didn’t think much beyond that.  It’s actually a pretty awesome figure.  He’s not my standard armor or anything, but it’s just hard to deny that this is a really, really good Iron Man figure.

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.

#3190: Iceman

ICEMAN

X-MEN (TOY BIZ)

“Iceman has the mutant ability to turn himself into a being of living ice. Once he does that, he can create almost anything he wants: ice slides, ice weapons, ice shields, not to mention icicles and snowballs. And when he really concentrates, he can create a blinding snowstorm even in the middle of July! But most important of all, the X-Men know that no matter how hot the battle, Iceman always keeps his cool.”

Sometimes in the toy world, you discover an issue with an item way too late in the production process, or perhaps even completely after the production has wrapped, leaving you with no way to actually fix the issue.  So, what are you to do?  Well, sometimes you just ignore it.  Other times, you decide to double down on the money train, and do something to fix the issue quickly, all so you can rake in that sweet, sweet cheddar.  Or, ice, as it may be in this case.  This case being the first Toy Biz X-Men Iceman, whose clear plastic and thermochromatic paint caused issues with the intended “stick him in the freezer” gimmick, and meant that the figure just broke.  But it’s okay.  They made another one!  And this time he’s different!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Iceman was released as part of Toy Biz’s first dedicated Repaint series of X-Men, released in late 1993/early 1994, around the main line’s 4th and 5th assortments.  He was perhaps the most sensible of the repaint choices, given the issues with the first release.  The figure stands a little under 5 inches tall and he has 9 points of articulation.  It’s the same mold as the prior release, which is a respectable classic Iceman sculpt, and fits in quite nicely with the early line figures.  The major difference between this one and the original is now he’s blue.  It’s a nice, consistent, transparent blue, which looks really cool, and makes him immediately different from his Series 2 counterpart.  He includes the same ice sled piece, which can still work with the freezing gimmick, with a little bit less risk of him breaking right away.  That said, you have to be careful with these things, especially given the age of the plastics.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Back when I was a kid, this was the Iceman that my dad had in his collection, so I got to use it with my collection from time to time.  I never had one of my own, but did eventually get the re-release of the clear version from KB a few years later.  I eventually found this guy on his own in a bin of loose figures a few years ago, and, viola, now I have both.  Woo-hoo!

#3185: Vulture

VULTURE

SPIDER-MAN: THE ANIMATED SERIES (TOY BIZ)

“When his business partner attempted to swindle Adrian Toomes out of the flying harness he had invented, Toomes stole the harness back and embarked on a life of crime as the high-flying Vulture! Recently rejuvenated, the Vulture is now a more dangerous threat than ever – as Spider-Man has learned, to his lasting regret!”

Man, the ’90s were definitely rough on some characters, especially as they tried to stay hip and relevant.  Spider-Man foe the Vulture, perennially defined by being, like, the oldest man alive, got saddled with the whole “making myself young again by draining off other people’s lifeforce” thing, in addition to also getting a new armored look, which also had a headband built-in.  It was, like, all of the ’90s things at once.  And it didn’t really stick, which was probably for the best, really.  Man, what a time.  And that’s how we got his first action figure, no less.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

The Vulture was released in Series 2 of Toy Biz’s Spider-Man: The Animated Series tie-in line.  He was based on the character’s revamped design, which got a special focus on the show.  And, more specifically, he was actually kind of animation-based, in contrast to the likes of the X-Men line.  The figure stands just shy of 5 inches tall and he has 11 points of articulation.  I’ve actually looked at most of this sculpt before, albeit at twice the size, when its 10-inch equivalent was re-used for Savage Land Angel.  It’s a rather awkward sculpt, all things considered.  The body’s kind of scrawny and goony looking, and the head is rather large in comparative scale, which just makes the scrawny and goony thing even more apparent.  The armor detailing is at least pretty sharply handled.  You know, if you like your Vulture to be armored.  The paint work on the figure is basic, but pretty well handled.  There’s a little bit of bleedover on the edges of the lighter green, but otherwise it works well.  Vulture was originally packed with a small gun sort of thing, meant for storing in his side holster, thought that piece is missing from mine (and most loose ones, honestly; it was super easy to lose).  He also featured a “Spreading Wing Action”; squeezing his legs lifts his arms, thereby spreading his wings.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Okay, you know how I was ragging on overly ’90s Vulture?  Yeah, well, as stupid as it may be, I kinda like the overly ’90s Vulture.  That being said, I didn’t own this figure, for whatever reason.  I remember looking at it, but I just never picked it up.  I wound up getting one loose a few years back at a toy show, in one of my pushes to complete my Toy Biz run.  He’s a really goofy figure, and I don’t know that he really captures the design as well as he could.  Or maybe he does, and it’s just destined to be forever super goofy.  You know what?  It’s probably that.

#3180: Sauron

SAURON

X-MEN (TOY BIZ)

“Sauron is the most terrifying Evil Mutant. Sauron loves to silently swoop down and use his mutant power to hypnotize and drain the energy out of his victim! Then in the blink of an eye, he flies away ready to strike again! The more energy he drains, the more powerful he becomes. Because he can drain the energy from anyone, even another Evil Mutant, even Magneto, the leader of the Evil Mutants, fears him!”

Not to be confused with the evil ruler of Mordor, Sauron is one of the X-Men’s older foes, predating quite a few of the team’s more popular members–Wait a minute…didn’t I review this figure already?  well, hypothetical reader, the answer to that question is…not technically.  And, technically is what really matters here.  Why?  Because it’s my site, that’s why.  Okay, maybe I should actually explain what the heck I’m reviewing this guy again.  It’s quite simple:  early in the days of their X-Men line, Toy Biz liked to justify the re-releases of figures they’d already done by doing minor tweaks to their color schemes, in dedicated “Repaint” series, in order to not only keep those figures out, but also freshen up the shelves a bit, but without having to actually produce a whole new figure.  Generally, I like to bundle those repaints into the main review, but, well, I don’t always own them when I review a figure the first time, so I guess I just have to follow them up this way.  How about that?

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Sauron (the repaint) was added to Toy Biz’s X-Men line in 1993-1994, right around the same time as Series 4 and 5 of the line, alongside a whole assortment of repainted figures.  Of all the figures present amongst the repaints, his was the oddest choice, given how minor the character was, but perhaps they were looking to tie in with the show’s second season, where he actually had a pretty important role to play.  The figure stands about 5 inches tall and he has 10 points of articulation.  He’s 100% the same sculpt as the standard release of Sauron.  It was a decent sculpt for the time, and honestly holds up pretty alright.  Still not sure exactly what he’s wearing, but what are you gonna do?  The change to this one’s paint is honestly pretty subtle; instead of orange pants, his are gold with a little bit of black.  It’s super minor, but I actually quite like it.  It’s nice that they actually added, rather than just doing a straight palette swap.  Interestingly, the card back prototype showed him with red shorts, a figure that, to date, no one has any evidence actually existed.  As with his original release, Sauron was packed with a big ol’ club.  Yay big ol’ club.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I wound up going back to the toy show where I’d gotten my standard Sauron the next year, in hopes of finding more Toy Biz stuff.  I discovered it was rather slim pickings that year, but managed to fish a handful of the repaint figures out of a loose figure bin.  Sauron was one of those figures.  He’s not a bad figure, but the two offerings do feel slightly redundant when in the same collection together, I suppose.