#1825: Red Skull

RED SKULL

MARVEL LEGENDS (TOY BIZ)

“Trained by the black-hearted Adolf Hitler himself, the Red Skull and his fearsome visage were intended as a symbol of Nazi supremacy. During World War II, his unparalleled evil genius only could be matched by his arch-foe: the star-spangled Super-Soldier called Captain America. After failing to tip the wartime balance of power in favor of the forces of tyranny, the Red Skull spent decades in suspended animation – awakening in present day to enslave humanity and resurrect the power of the Third Reich!”

Nazis.  I hate these guys.

Back in 2014, when I was only 11 reviews in on Marvel Legends, I looked at the then-most-recent-version of Red Skull.  Now, four and a half years and 270 Legends reviews later, I’m going all the way back to the beginning, and taking a look at Johan’s very first Legends treatment.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Red Skull was released in Series 5 of Toy Biz’s Marvel Legends.  After three series of the “chase” figure being a variant of a main figure from the line-up, they’d introduced the concept of a secret, separate character chase figure with Series 4’s Goliath.  But, while that figure was just a simple repaint of the Marvel Collector’s Editions Giant-Man, their next go, Red Skull, would be a brand-new character with a “new” sculpt.  Why the quotes?  I’ll get to that.  As the “chase” figure, Red Skull wasn’t actually advertised at all on any of the packaging, making him an unknown offering to a great number of collectors, I’m sure.  The figure stands 6 inches tall and has 18 points of articulation.  Now, right off the bat, we run into the issue of articulation.  Toy Biz Legends were regularly boasting upwards of 30 points of articulation, so the Skull being below 20 is definitely notable.  What’s more, the distribution is really whacked out; 10 of those points are in the legs. Heck, he’s got toe joints, but no double joints on the knees and elbows, and even just cut joints on the shoulders and hips.  Why such odd articulation choices?  Re-used parts.  Red Skull is made up of a combination of the upper half of the X-Men: Movie Series Professor X and the Legends Series 3 Daredevil.  The Xavier body was three years old by this point, and from a line that was comparatively under-scaled.  And while the DD parts might have been a genuine Legends release, even the original felt out of place at the time of his release, and the parts also feel out of place for the Skull.  Red Skull also had a new head and hands, an add-on piece for his coat, and the Dr Doom holster stuck to his right leg, all in the name of separating him further from the figures that birthed him.  Unfortunately, even the new pieces don’t quite seem at home.  The head is too large for the body, and has no real neck to speak of.  The jacket piece, conversely, seems to sit too high on his body, leaving a good portion of his awkwardly designed hip joints still exposed, further exaggerating the largeness of the head, and the mix-and-match nature of the body.  On the plus side, the paint’s kind of decent, I guess.  The head in particular makes out pretty well.  Going for something other than a straight red seems to have worked out nicely.  Red Skull was packed with his peak cap, a pistol (borrowed from Dr. Doom), and the same display stand that was included with Cap, but in a different color scheme.  He also included a reprint of Captain America #16.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Series 5 is around the time that the magic of Marvel Legends was starting to wear off for me, thanks in no small part to this crazy “chases” thing that they introduced.  I was lucky with Red Skull.  My dad was at a comic show, and happened to find him for a somewhat reasonable price from a dealer.  Even new, he wasn’t great.  Toy Biz definitely made a lot of missteps on this one.  He’s a reminder that, as great as some of those figures were, Toy Biz’s Legends had some real stinkers.  Also, behold the start of the trend of crappy Red Skull Legends that perpetuates to this day.

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#1823: Wonder Man

WONDER MAN

AVENGERS: UNITED THEY STAND (TOY BIZ)

“Simon Williams became Wonder Man as a result of scientific experiments that bombarded his body with tonic energy. Now his eyes glow with power and he possesses superhuman strength, speed and durability. Originally an enemy of the Avengers, Wonder Man soon realized he had been manipulated into attacking the team and now he uses his amazing powers as a full-fledged Avenger. Wearing his Avengers symbol ring, this mighty hero will always heed the call, “Avengers Assemble!””

After the success of X-Men: The Animated Series, Spider-Man: The Animated Series, and the Iron Man and Fantastic Four segments of the Marvel Action Hour, in 1999, Marvel tried their luck again, with a cartoon based on The Avengers.  Titled Avengers: United They Stand, the show placed its focus on the typically more supporting Avengers, rather than the likes of Cap, Thor, and Iron Man.  Also, unlike prior Marvel cartoons, it leaned heavily on selling the toys, leading to some…interesting design choices.  It wasn’t incredibly well-received with the fanbase, and only ended up lasting a single, 13-episode season.  But, like I said, it was definitely designed to sell toys, so it got a pretty decent run of those.  Today, I’m looking at my favorite member of the team from the show, Wonder Man!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

The initial assortment of Avengers: United They Stand figures were spilt into two series.  Wonder Man was officially part of the second, but they were all released at the same time, so it didn’t really matter in the end.  Anyway, Wonder Man was a big guy on the show, and that’s reflected with this figure, who stood just shy of 6 inches tall and had 9 points of articulation.  Wonder Man’s movement is an interesting mix.  He’s got ball-joints hips, and hinged ankles, which weren’t standard issue at the time, giving him a leg (heh) up, but due to his two separate action features, the arms are limited just to cut joints at the shoulders, and rather restricted ones at that.  On the plus side, his sculpt was actually a pretty good one.  The only other figure I’ve looked at from this line, Ultron, took some liberties with the show’s design (to the figure’s benefit, in Toy Biz’s defense), but Wonder Man follows the trend of the rest of the line, crafting a fairly show accurate figure.  He still departs from the show design a little bit, just so he can fit in a little bit better with some of Toy Biz’s other figures from the time, but you can definitely see where the inspiration for the figure came from.  He’s definitely a stylized figure, but I feel it works pretty well.  The head in particular really seems to get down the character’s personality quite well.  Wonder Man’s paint work is actually pretty impressive.  Not only is the base application very clean, but he’s also got some nice variation in the finish on areas such as the boots, and some very well-rendered accenting on his legs, arms, and face.  They even included the distinctive red reflection on his sunglasses!  Mine’s taken a little bit of beating, of course, but has certainly held up better than other figures from the same era.  Winder Man was packed with a life-sized version of his Avengers ring from the cartoon (not entirely sure why, but there it was), and nothing else.  It makes him one of the lightest packed figures from the line, but he’s also the largest, so I guess it works out.  He does have the two action features previously mentioned.  The first is a light-up feature, which lights up his hands and sunglasses.  Why?  Not a clue.  I’d say it was related to his ionic abilities, but those are usually purple, and these light-up red.  The second is a punching feature on his right arm.  It’s rather basic; push down the lever on his back, and the arm swings up.  Again, I have to ask “why?”  Certainly there were better, less-articulation-restricting features to work in?

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I am an unabashed lover of United They Stand.  I vividly remember awaiting its premiere, and, of course, its accompanying toys.  I wanted the whole line-up, and made detailed lists of the exact order I’d be buying them in.  Wonder Man was at the very top of the list; my absolute most wanted figure in the set.  Unfortunately, United They Stand marked the first time I really ran into troubles with distribution and scarcity on such a line, so I kind of had to take the figures in the order my dad was able to find them for me.  Wonder Man ended up as the fourth figure I added to my collection, procured for me by my dad after he stopped at lord knows how many stores on his way home from work.  This guy remained a favorite of mine for quite a while.  Ultimately, he’s not without his flaws. Most of them are related to those shoulders, and just how locked in place they are.  That said, I still kinda love this figure, and I still kinda love the show he’s from.

#1822: Black Panther & Ebony Maw

BLACK PANTHER & EBONY MAW

MARVEL MINIMATES

“Hear me, and rejoice. You are about to die at the hand of the children of Thanos. Be thankful, that your meaningless lives are now contributed to the balance…”

It’s black on black in today’s set, as Black Panther faces off against Ebony Maw!  Prepare to imagine a world where these two characters actually met…

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

Black Panther and Ebony Maw are part of the second assortment of the Infinity War-themed Marvel Minimates.  These two were supposed to be the Toys R Us exclusive set for this round but…well, we all know how that one went, right?  The set actually still has its TRU-exclusive sticker, presumably because it was too late in the process to get it removed before it started shipping to specialty stores.

BLACK PANTHER

Black Panther has been no stranger to Minimates.  Heck, this is his fourth just this year alone. Since Panther’s IW design was the same as his suit from his solo outing, this figure uses that same design, and is quite similar to the basic Panther from those tie-ins.  He’s built on the usual body, so he’s 2 1/4 inches tall and has 14 points of articulation.  Like his solo counterpart,  he’s got an add-on for his mask, as well as Cheetah’s clawed hands.  The paint on Panther is pretty solid work, and again, virtually identical to the last one.  The biggest difference between the two is what’s under the mask.  We’ve gotten yet another Chadwick Boseman likeness, this time with a much angrier expression than we saw even on the more energetic powered-up Panther.  I guess he’s taking things more seriously with it being the end of the world and all.  For accessories, Panther is packed with an extra hair piece to display his unmasked look, as well as the standard clear display stand.

EBONY MAW

As the member of the Black Order with by far the most dialogue and the most focus, Ebony Maw certainly stood out.  However, for whatever reason, it was Proxima Midnight who got all of the initial focus in the toy realm.  Fortunately, at least in the case of the Minimates, Maw wasn’t too far behind.  Ebony Maw is almost a completely vanilla ‘mate.  The only thing that mixes him up a bit is his skirt piece, which is a new offering.  It works well enough, adding the extra tails to his torso, while avoiding bulking him up too much.  I’m not for overly building up a ‘mate if you don’t have to, but I do feel Maw is missing…something.  Maybe a sculpted collar?  Certainly a hair piece of some sort.  His hair may have been thinning in the film, but it certainly wasn’t close-cropped, and it doesn’t look right being relegated purely to painted detailing.  I think something along the lines of Morgue’s hair piece would have really helped this figure out.  Maw’s paintwork is certainly his strongest suit.  The face is definitely the best part; it’s a pretty perfect recreation of his features from the movie.  The fact that he already lacked a nose probably helped.  The details on his uniform seem perhaps a touch bright for my eyes, but they are at least cleanly applied, and quite extensive.  Ebony Maw’s only accessory is a clear display stand.  It might have been nice to get some of those funky glass daggers or an energy effect of some kind, especially since he’s already light on the sculpted pieces as it is.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

There’s no denying that this Black Panther feels more than a little bit redundant. There were two costumed versions of T’Challa in his own line, both of which are still quite readily available.  This one does attempt to be a little bit different, but not by much.  If you didn’t get any of the Black Panther movie Minimates, then I suppose this one’s a nice addition.  If you did?  Well, you’re really just here for the other half of the set.  As I noted with Corvus, the Black Order are really the only “new” part of the Infinity War assortments, which places some extra weight on them.  Unfortunately, I think Maw is another design that doesn’t translate all that well to the aesthetic, making this ‘mate somewhat middle of the road in terms of quality, and unlike Corvus, he doesn’t have a stronger pack ‘mate to carry him.

#1814: Colossus

COLOSSUS

X-MEN (TOY BIZ)

“Born Peter Rasputin and raised on a Siberian farm, Colossus’ humble roots could not have revealed the life he would one day lead! Recruited by Professor X, Colossus left his home to begin a new life of danger and adventure alongside Wolverine and the X-Men! A powerful mutant, Colossus can transform his body into living metal, giving him a physical strength and invulnerability matched by few! But with all his power, Peter Rasputin is an artist at heart, and resorts to using his mutant gifts only when they are needed in the service of his fellow X-Men.”

Colossus is undoubtedly one of the coolest members of the X-Men, and has been a prominent one at that, but for whatever reason, he always seems to draw the short stick when it comes to media adaptations.  Well, at least the Deadpool movies have helped there, right?

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Colossus was released in the “Battle Brigade” series, the 14th series of Toy Biz’s X-Men line.  It would mark Colossus’ second figure in the line, following his appearance in Series 1.  That figure was more classically inspired, while this one aims more for the super exaggerated, rather imposing Colossus that’s become all the rage since the ‘90s, meaning he fits in a little better with the line’s post Series 10 direction.  The figure stands 5 1/2 inches tall and he has 11 points of articulation.  While he lacks elbow movement, he does instead get a much wider range of motion on his shoulders, as well as cut joints on his wrists, which seems like a decent enough trade off to me.  Colossus’ sculpt was all-new, and it’s certainly…something.  I’m not entirely sure what.  He’s definitely large.  He’s definitely imposing.  But he seems a little wide for Colossus, at least by my eye.  There are, of course, a number of different interpretations of the character, but I can’t say this really matches up with any of the ones I’m really familiar with.  Something about the facial expression seems very un-Colossus-like to me.  I don’t dislike it, but he feels a little off.  Also, can we address that his hands are bigger than his waist?  That’s definitely a new issue for Colossus, who had traditionally been pretty thick in the trunk.  This…like I said, this is off.  (quoth Super Awesome Fiancee: “He’s a Dorito”).  The one area of the figure that’s decidedly not odd is the paint, which is actually pretty respectable…or at least it was before foolish child Ethan took him and played with him, thereby messing up a lot of the silver.  Why would I do that?  That’s so irresponsible!  Colossus was packed with an assortment of clip-on armor, which I don’t feel he’d have much use for, but hey, there it is.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Colossus didn’t begin as my figure.  He was actually my Dad’s, purchased alongside the Archangel from this same assortment, in one of the earliest memories I have of us getting figures right from the case.  When my Dad got the Collector Editions Giant-Sized X-Men set, he upgraded to that Colossus, and I got this one.  Admittedly, not the best of the Colossuses to be offered by Toy Biz in this era, but he has his own sort of awkward charm.

#1811: Spider-Man & Green Goblin

SPIDER-MAN & GREEN GOBLIN

MARVEL MINIMATES

Any long running line encounters the risk of making latecomers feel like they have an interminable game of catch-up to play to grab classic versions of major characters.  Sure, someone collecting from day 1 might have all the classic Iron Men they’ll ever need, but little Johnny who just got in at Wave 75 isn’t so lucky.  Fortunately, DST had a great way of handling this:  Best Of Marvel Minimates.  The idea behind this sub set was keeping the definitive versions of the main Marvel Heroes and villains on the market, while trying to produce the best possible Minimates of those looks.  And, really, can you possibly get more “Best Of” than definitive takes on Marvel’s best known hero and is greatest foe?  I would say you can’t, sir.

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

Spider-Man and Green Goblin were released in the first series of Best of Marvel Minimates.

SPIDER-MAN

Whooo boy have there been a lot of Spider-Man Minimates.  This one here was the 44th of them.  He’s a return to the classic red and blue, as you’d expect from something intended as the definitive take on Spidey.  If you want to get really technical, he’s a late ’60s/early ’70s Spidey, as denoted by the shape of his eyes and the presence of web wings under his arms.  When it comes to construction, Spider-Man has classically been a vanilla ‘mate, but that’s not the case with this guy.  He has a unique set of upper arms, which incorporate the previously mentioned web wings.  These were a recurring feature of his costume for quite some time before quietly disappearing, but for the most part they’ve been absent from toy versions of the webhead.  The reason is fairly simple: they’re hard to translate.  That’s as true here as it is on any web-winged Spidey.  They’re decently sculpted, and look fine from a basic standing pose, but you try to pose the arms, and they’re going to start looking a little goofy.  They’re a nice idea, and they aren’t awful to look at, but perhaps they would have worked better as a set of spare arms?  Spider-Man’s paintwork is, as always, doing the heavy lifting.  The detailing on the mask and the torso in particular is very strong, and his color scheme is bright and quite striking.  Sadly, he’s a little marred by some missing weblines on his gloves and the sides and backs of other sections of his costume, which is a little bit of a let-down.  This was a trend that had been going on for a little while at the time of this figure’s release, though, so it’s not as if he was the first example; just an unfortunate victim of changing styles and budgets, I suppose.  Spider-Man was quite well accessorized, including a the usual webline accessory, as well as an extra head and hair piece for an unmasked Peter Parker, and a clear display stand.  The head and hair are the best extra of the bunch, as it finally signified a move away from trying to use removable masks to give us the Peter Parker look.

GREEN GOBLIN

Compared to his wall-crawling foe, Green Goblin is a far lest frequent inclusion in the Minimates line.  This marked only his fifth time as a Minimate, and six years later, it’s the last standard Goblin we’ve gotten.  Goblin represents his classic look, but is a more amalgamated, less era-specific look than Spidey (we had just a few months prior gotten a pretty fantastic Silver Age Goblin, so it was an acceptable choice). The figure uses mostly the same selection of parts as his Series 41 counterpart, who in turn was using a lot of re-used parts from other figures.  The hat/ears is the same piece that’s been used since the old Series 2 version; it’s the epitome of “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”  It works.  He gets the improved flared gloves introduced in the Cap Through the Ages set, as well as the cuffed boots from the Invaders set.  The really notable change for this figure is the satchel.  After using the same Series 2 piece for a decade, they finally upgraded Goblin’s bag this time around, and gave him Kim Bauer’s purse, which actually works quite well. Goblin’s paintwork is pretty standard stuff.  The colors are definitely the best palette of any of the Goblins we’ve gotten, and his detail line work is solid.  The mad grinning face looks suitably intimidating and is reliably different from his previous ‘mates, allowing for some variety. Like Peter, Goblin is pretty well accessorized.  He too gets an extra head and hair for an unmasked look, as well as a spare hand with an attached pumpkin bomb, a goblin glider, and a flying stand for it to plug into.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Though I wasn’t initially planning to get in on this line, having followed Marvel Minimates since its very beginning.  But, upon seeing this pair in person at Cosmic Comix back when they were new, they just really spoke to me.  Best Of Spider-Man is a solid ‘mate.  A really, really good stab at a major character, and undoubtedly one of the best takes on the character housed within this line.  He is, however, held back slightly by one or two iffy design and cost choices, that perhaps keep him from being the best that he can.  Coming so close to the Series 41 version, there was a good chance for this release of Green Goblin to be redundant, but he takes what was improved on that figure and adds even more to it, and truly creates the best Green Goblin to date.

#1808: Spider-Man – Spider Armor

SPIDER-MAN — SPIDER ARMOR

SPIDER-MAN (TOY BIZ)

“When Peter Parker was bitten by a radioactive spider, he gained all of the arachnid’s abilities and became the amazing Spider-Man! But when even these powers aren’t enough, Spidey dons his patented Spider-Armor! This ceramic-metal battlesuit protects the web-slinger from all manner of attacks – giving Spidey the added time he needs to take it to the bad guys!”

Before devolving into some truly ridiculous variants of the title character (“who doesn’t want a deep sea fishing Spider-Man?”), Toy Biz’s 5-inch Spider-Man line actually worked pretty hard at releasing sensible variants of its main character, ones which would appeal to fans and kids alike.  One such release is actually one of my very favorites from the whole line, Spider Armor Spider-Man!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Spider Armor Spider-Man was released in Series 3 of Toy Biz’s Spider-Man line.  He was one of two Spidey variants in the assortment, with the other one being the more straight-forward super posable Spider-Man.  This figure is based on Spidey’s armored appearance from Web of Spider-Man #100.  The same design would also appear on Spider-Man: The Animated Series, as a Tony Stark-inspired alternate universe version of Spider-Man.  The figure stands 5 inches tall and has 8 points of articulation.  Thanks to an action feature, his right arm lacks any sort of elbow articulation, which makes the figures a little bit on the stiff side.  In fact, the way the articulation and the sculpt interact, the whole figure really does look rather stiff.  That’s fair, I suppose, given his armored nature, but still slightly frustrating.  The sculpt on this guy was all-new, and would see re-use for a handful of repaints down the line.  Aside the stiffness thing, it’s actually pretty good.  The bulked up look differentiates him from the average Spidey, and for once the sculpted web-lines actually make sense, and look quite decent.  The paint work on this figure was pretty basic, and rather monochromatic, in keeping with the design from the comics.  It’s black plastic with silver paint.  Voila!  The silver paint on my figure is a bit worse for wear these days, the figure having seen some decent play back when I was a kid.  Spidey was packed with a “Super Web Shield,” which could be either mounted on his left arm, or launched from the launcher built into his right.  The launching feature’s not all that impressive (it’s the same gimmick used on Professor X and US Agent), and I’d really rather he just din’t have it, but oh well.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I vividly remember watching the Spider-Man: Animated Series finale that introduced this guy back in the day.  I had all of the other Spider-Men from the crossover, but this guy seemed the coolest.  Of course, he was gone from regular retail by that point, and the toy aftermarket wasn’t yet what it would become.  I did eventually get the little metal figure to hold me over for a little while, though.  This guy would eventually make his was to my collection via KB Toys’ liquidation center, which my Dad and Grandmother took me to once, back in the 2002, I believe.  After searching to no avail for this guy for a couple of years, I found a literal wall of him at that location, which was definitely a thrilling experience for me.  He’s not a perfect figure, but he’s certainly a very cool one, and I’m still very happy to have him in my collection.

#1804: Hulkbuster & Corvus Glaive

 

HULKBUSTER & CORVUS GLAIVE

MARVEL MINIMATES

Hulkbuster and Corvus Glaive would both make for pretty sick band names, wouldn’t they?  Sorry, no pithy intro here; that’s really all I got…

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

Hulkbuster and Corvus Glaive are part of the second assortment of Infinity War-themed Marvel Minimates.  They’re the second of the two sets shared between specialty and Walgreens (and were originally supposed to be offered at Toys R Us).  It’s kind of an odd pairing, since I don’t know that these two ever interacted, but they were at least both part of the big final battle, so there’s that.

HULKBUSTER

What is a Hulkbuster with no Hulk to bust?  Well, if we’re going by Infinity War rules, it’s a pretty decent Hulk stand-in, actually.  Who’d have guessed?  Yes, after the slight misdirect all of the merchandise gave us by including the almost entirely absent Hulk in the early assortments of just about every tie-in, we finally got some follow-up with the Hulkbuster, Banner’s far more prominent look.  This is our seventh time getting some variation of the Hulkbuster in Minimate form, and in fact our second time seeing Banner in the suit.  The Hulkbuster armor uses 11 add-on pieces.  Since the ‘buster’s design has had an overhaul since we last saw it in Age of Ultron, it gets a number of new parts.  In fact the only parts shared between this figure and that one are the hands and the torso extender (well, and the basic Minimate body, but that’s kind of a given).  The torso and feet are brand new parts, and he also uses standard power-house pieces for his upper arms and legs, as well as a blank slip cover mask for the helmet.  The new pieces are great; they really add some bulk to the figure, and are filled with tons of great little details from the screen.  The power-house pieces work well in conjunction with these new parts, adding some decent bulk to largely unseen areas that don’t need quite as much extra detail.  The mask…I’m not sure about the mask.  It’s hardly the first time we’ve seen an Iron Man helmet handled this way (in fact, Infinity War‘s own Mark 50 uses the same basic style), but it does make the figure look a little off when placed next to the AoU variant.  Of course, this one also loses that one’s neck seam, and actually has a posable head, so you win some and you lose some.  The Hulkbuster’s paint is pretty decent.  The red and gold are a little brighter than prior Iron Men, and therefore a little more eye-catching.  The last Hulkbuster was far more reliant on sculpted elements to carry things, but this one is more willing to fall back on painted detail lines, which I do think helps him look a little sharper, and more defined.  Under the mask is a Bruce Banner face; It doesn’t dethrone the Ragnarok version as the definitive likeness, but at least it’s actually the right person in the armor.  Unlike prior ‘bustersthis one doesn’t feature any sort of detailing on the torso, but since Bruce isn’t wearing another suit of armor like Tony, I guess there wouldn’t be much to detail.  A dirty t-shirt maybe?  Yeah, I think DST can be forgiven for leaving it blank. The figure includes two accessories.  The first is a spare hair piece, allowing for an unhelmeted Banner to be displayed.  The piece looks familiar, so I think it might be a re-use, but it’s curiously not the same piece from the Ragnarok set.  The Hulkbuster also includes a standard clear display stand, for all your clear displaying needs.

CORVUS GLAIVE

Perhaps the least developed of the Black Order, Glaive’s main character trait seems to be “gets knocked down a lot.”  Nevertheless, the guy’s still got a really cool name, and a pretty solid design, so I like him.  Plus, it’s not like you can only make part of the Black Order and not the rest.  Right, Hasbro? Corvus is built using three add-on pieces on the standard body.  He’s got his headgear/ears, shoulder decoration, and loincloth/belt.  All three of these pieces are new to this figure, and they’re pretty decently sculpted, if perhaps a bit soft in some spots.  The torso piece seems to get the worst of the softness, and I’d say it at least partly is due to lack of reference material. The rest of the detailing is handled via paint, and it’s overall pretty decent work.  It’s perhaps not the most thrilling color palette, but the detail lines are all pretty sharp.  I think his face is the weakest part of the figure.  Corvus’s face is thin, angular, and very pointy, which are all the things a Minimate’s head is *not*, so his face ends up looking a bit nondescript.  He just looks like a fairly average guy who’d generally prefer not to hear about his co-worker’s vacation.  Doesn’t exactly ooze intimidation. Corvus is, unsurprisingly, packed with his glaive. It’s a solid recreation of the design from the movie, and he can hold it well enough, for a Minimate weapon, anyway.  He also includes a clear display stand.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Since Walgreens was kind of slow getting this assortment out, I grabbed these from Cosmic Comix when they came in.  The AoU Hulkbuster was kind of the star of those tie-in waves, so this one has some big shoes to fill.  While the differences in design and approach make it difficult to outright compare the two, I feel that this one is still a pretty admirable addition to the collection. The Black Order are actually the only “new” offerings from the Infinity War assortments, so in that way Corvus is sort of this set’s draw.  However, his design isn’t particularly minimate-friendly, and the end result is a kind of bland offering.  Not terrible, but just sort of “meh.”

#1803: Sauron

SAURON

MARVEL LEGENDS

Despite being a classic foe of one of Marvel’s biggest super hero teams, Sauron is pretty sparse in the world of toys.  He’s had three to date, and one of those wasn’t even technically a figure of him.  I’ve actually already looked at two of those three, just in the last year, in fact, and I’ll be looking at the newest addition today!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Sauron—or should I say Dr. Karl Lykos (Marvel’s Sauron), as he is fully named on the box—is the Build-A-Figure for the second Deadpool-themed series of Marvel Legends.  I don’t know that Sauron and Deadpool have aver had any notable interactions, but if it gets me a Sauron figure, I’m certainly not going to complain.  The figure is 7 1/2 inches tall with a 12 inch wing-span, and he has 33 points of articulation.  There’s a lot of very unique types of articulation, especially within the torso, where a combination of ball-joints gives him a very wide range of very smooth movement.  He’s also got an articulated jaw, just like the old 5-inch figure.  Sauron is sporting an all-new sculpt, and what a beauty it is.  There’s amazing texture work all throughout it, detailing his craggly reptilian skin quite nicely.  He’s quite accurate to what we tend to see of Sauron in the comics, but it’s got this nice real-life feel to him as well.  It’s the kind of detail work that really calls back to when Toy Biz was doing figures like Man-Thing, and that’s a definite plus.  It’s great to see that Hasbro can pull off this sort of work when they put the effort in.  But of course, even the best sculpt can be marred by a sub-par paint job.  Fortunately for Sauron, he gets one of Hasbro’s best offerings in this arena.  His skin features some quite subtle highlight work, which helps to keep him from looking too bland with all those large patches of the same color.  The paint also properly lines up with all of the sculpted details, including the various pouches on his belt, and all of his teeth.  No missed applications here, which is always quite nice to see.  His wings are molded in a partially translucent plastic, giving them the proper stretched skin appearance.  There’s quite a nice fade-in front he solid green to the translucent, which helps to really sell it all as one thing.  Sauron has no accessories, but given the size of the sculpt including the wings and such, it’s definitely acceptable.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Being only a moderate fan of Deadpool, I wasn’t really sold on this whole second series of figures, but as soon as Sauron was shown off, I knew I wanted to build him somehow.  Fortunately, Max from All Time was really only interested in the Deadpool figures, so we were able to split a set, and I got myself a Sauron.  And boy am I glad I did, because he’s easily one of the best things Hasbro’s every offered from their Legends line.  He’s really, really well done, and a fantastic offering for a character that’s not likely to see another release any time soon.

#1802: Deadpool

DEADPOOL

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

“So I didn’t make the cut for the school super-mutant team — so what?  I’m my own yellow-clad, spandex-wearing, most popular-girl-in-school cheerleader.  My mom would be so proud.”

Why settle for just one Deadpool variant when you could just as easily have two?  That would be totally ridiculous…again…man, I gotta work on diversifying my phrasing.  Or get way worse at it and just start actually repeating reviews in their entirety.  Admittedly, that second one would be way easier on me…which is why I totally am going with that first one, because why would I go with the easier thing?

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Deadpool is figure 2 in the Sauron Series of Marvel Legends.  Numerically, he’s the first of the two Deadpool variants.  He’s based on one of the handful of times that Deadpool was attempting to join the X-Men by way of showing up in one of their uniforms.  This one’s kind of at the mid point between the not all that comical variation of Cyclops’ Astonishing suit and the really quite ridiculous short-skirted Marvel Girl costume.  It’s a fairly distinctive look, and it’s also not too far removed from the X-jersey look he sports for part of Deadpool 2’s run-time.  The figure stands 6 1/4 inches tall and he has 34 points of articulation.  This variation of Deadpool follows the model of the First Appearance Deadpool from the last series, putting Wade on the 2099 body.  It’s actually a pretty reasonable choice for him, and it’s honestly a shame they couldn’t have just been building him on this body from the beginning.  Those butterfly joints definitely come in handy for him.  He gets the head and shoulder harness from the Juggernaut Deadpool, the belt from the X-Force Deadpool, and the wrist and leg straps from the Jim Lee Cyclops.  It’s overall a decent selection of pieces, and they work well enough, but there are some slight compatibility issues, since all of the pieces were originally intended for the Bucky Cap body, and the fit isn’t quite the same.  The head’s the biggest issue, since the necks between the two bodies are slightly different lengths, so it sits a little bit too high on the head.  What’s weird is that all of the prototype shots for this figure were using the 1st App head, which was actually sculpted for this body and as such would be a better fit.  Not sure why they made the change for production.  It’s not terrible, but it’s a little off.  This figure’s paintwork is pretty decent stuff overall.  He’s certainly bright and colorful and the application is all quite clean.  Deadpool is packed with a pair of katanas, a large rifle, and the head of Madcap.  The Madcap head is definitely the most intriguing…he’s quite a minor character and not one I ever imagined having a figure of.  Now we’ve just got…his head?  No body to go with it, but I guess it looks reasonable enough when placed on this body.  He’s also packed with the tail of the Sauron Build-A-Figure.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Of the two Deadpool variants in this series, this is admittedly the somewhat less exciting of the two, and in addition the one with the slightly lesser execution as well.  That being said, if you’re a Deadpool fan, this is certainly still a pretty solid figure, and feels like less of a waste than some of the major character variants we’ve gotten in the past.

Like casual Deadpool and Lady Deadpool before him, this figure belongs to my friend Max from All Time, with whom I split this case.  If you’d like one of your own, He’s still available through All Time’s store.  And if you’re interested in buying other Legends figures, or are looking for other cool toys both old and new, please check out their website and their eBay Store.

#1801: Omega Red

OMEGA RED

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

“A former Russian crime lord and agent, Arkady Rossovich is used in the Weapon X project, combining mutant abilities with weaponized cybernetic appendages.”

With the already sparse selection of X-themed Marvel Legends the last few years, it was hard enough to get members of the team proper, without even touching on their villainous foes.  Because of this, we’ve had a whole team of mutants all ganging up on poor Juggernaut for two years now.  Fortunately, this year’s been something of a godsend in that respect, with four X-baddies all coming in rather quick succession.  Today, I look at possibly the most minor, and certainly the most Russsian of the bunch, the Drago to Wolverine’s Rocky, Omega Red!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Omega Red is figure 1 in the Sauron Series of Marvel Legends.  While he’s never had any really close ties to Deadpool, they’re both products of the Weapon X program, and have been grouped together from time to time (including rather humorously in Hulk Vs Wolverine).  This is Red’s second time as a Legend; his first was back in 2005, during the Toy Biz days.  That one was pretty well regarded for the time, but almost 15 years later, it’s reasonable to give him an update.  The figure stands 7 inches tall and he has 32 points of articulation.  While you might have been expecting him to be on the Hyperion body, he’s actually sporting an all-new base.  Size-wise, it’s a mid-point between the Hyperion and Colossus bodies, which seems a good fit for Red.  The coolest thing by far about this new base, though, are the butterfly joints for the shoulders.  These show up for Spidey and Wolverine, and it’s nice to see a larger character getting them as well.  Here’s hoping we get to see this body re-used again soon.  Omega Red includes more character-specific parts for his head, fore arms, and hands, as well as add-ons for his shoulderpads/belt, and knee pads.  The head is a rather perfect recreation of the over the top nonsense that is the classic Omega Red design.  Just look at that hair!  It’s so wacky, and so Omega Red.  The detailing is some of the best we’ve seen from Hasbro, and I really dig the angry-teeth-gritting expression.  His hands and forearms offer up his more armored attachments, and the hands are nice and expressive.  The shoulder pads mark a slight change for how Hasbro does things; rather than just hovering in place like prior figures, they actually have pegs that plug into the shoulders.  They’re still easily removable, but stay in place on the shoulder better than, say, Cyclops’ straps.  His paint work is bold, clean, and quite striking.  I dig the bright red quite a bit, and I much prefer the cleaner white on this figure to the murky grey-ish hue of the prior figure.  Red is packed with two different sets of his tentacles: one pair in a retracted fashion, the other in a more dynamic fashion, tailor-made for some action poses.  They swap out fairly easily, and seem pretty sturdy, so they hopefully won’t be drooping too much over time.  He’s also packed with the left leg of the Sauron Build-A-Figure.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I’ve always had something of a soft spot for Omega Red as a character, but less of a soft spot for any of his figures.  They just always seem…off somehow.  But when I saw this one, I was definitely impressed, more so than I have been on prior figures.  There are a lot of strong figures in this assortment, but of the singles, I think Omega Red is the strongest.  The new base body is very well designed, and his character specific parts are just so nicely tailored to both the body and the character.  And he looks absolutely fantastic facing off against the brand-new tiger stripe Wolverine!

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