#2068: Daredevil – Vigilante Edition

DAREDEVIL — VIGILANTE EDITION

ONE:12 COLLECTIVE (MEZCO)

Of the assortment of Netflix-original Marvel series, there’s always been a clear winner for me: Daredevil.  While I’ll admit there was a slight stumble in the back half of the show’s second season, season three was a very strong finish, resulting in a very solid all-around show, and one that was far more even than everything else from the Marvel-Netflix partnership.  Merchandise was a little sparse for all of the shows, but Daredevil made out the best, with at least one figure from all of the main holders of the Marvel license.  This included Mezco, who actually put together two different variants of the main character.  I’ll be looking at his Season 1 garb today.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Daredevil — Vigilante Edition was available as a Mezco Store-exclusive, as part of their over-arching One:12 Collective line, and starting heading to collectors in tandem with his main release counterpart at the beginning of the month.  As I touched on in the intro, this figure is based on Matt’s prototype costume from the first season of the show, and is in a roundabout way fairly similar to his Season 3 attire as well (though not a pitch-perfect match).  The figure stands 6 1/2 inches tall and has over 30 points of articulation.

As with most One:12 figures, Daredevil is packed with two different heads.  The one he comes wearing is pretty standard, masked and with a fairly neutral expression.  It does a respectable job of capturing Charlie Cox’s likeness for what we can see of the face, and the mask is sculpted with texture to match the real thing (especially important on a figure such as this, where it’s mixed media).  The joint is at the base of the neck, which means its essentially hidden.  It’s a decent choice from an aesthetic standpoint, though I did find it to be slightly limiting on the posing front.  Not terribly so, of course, and there’s still a lot of natural-looking poses you can get him into without issues.  The paintwork on the head is a decent piece of work.  The mask is just a straight black, but there’s some quite subtle, quite lifelike work on the lower half of the face.  The second head is quite similar to the first, still being masked, but this time Matt’s just a little bit worse for wear.  His expression is a little more pained, with his mouth open and his teeth exposed, as if he’s grimacing to hold back some of that paint.  To match the more beaten expression, the paint also adds in a little bit of blood.  While I was a little bummed there was no fully unmasked head featured (or possibly even the mask with the white lining from Season 3), Matt get’s the snot beaten out of him frequently enough in Season 1 that this is a sensible choice of extra.  I just wish there were some way to showcase the battle damage on the rest of the figure.

Speaking about the rest of the figure, let’s talk about that now, shall we?  Daredevil is built on a body that’s smaller than any of the other figure’s I’ve looked at, which makes sense, since Charlie Cox isn’t a huge guy.  It’s definitely a good fit, it’s well-articulated, and it looks suitably realistic under the costume.  Said costume is made up of his shirt and pants (actually a jumpsuit type thing masquerading as two separate garments), a plastic belt, holster for his eskrima sticks, and a pair of sculpted boots.  It’s a good match for his hastily thrown together appearance from Season 1, and I do appreciate that they remembered details like the red piping on his shoulders and the slight bit of extra padding on his lower arms.  The only thing that bugged me a bit was the printed white line on each side of the pants, clearly meant to represent a zippered pocket.  Obviously, a zipper’s virtually impossible to get right at this scale, but I honestly think I’d have preferred they’d just left the detail off entirely.  As it is, it kind of takes me out of the figure a little bit.

Daredevil includes a decent selection of extras, but definitely one that’s scaled back a bit from other offerings.  He has three pairs of hands (relaxed, gripping, and fists), his eskrima sticks, and a display stand with the Daredevil logo on it. It covers the basics, but not much else.  The hands are certainly useful, but I would have liked some more display options, such as the wrapped hands from later in the season, or some parts to turn him into a Season 3 DD.

It’s not often that I touch on the packaging for my figures, but I like DD’s enough to give it a mention.  It’s a little smaller than the average One:12 box, and in place of the usual product images on the back, there’s a rather nice illustration, based on Season 3 of the show.  It makes for a very nice backdrop for the figure.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I love Daredevil, especially the first season, and the prototype costume is definitely a favorite look of mine.  I was a little bummed that both DST and Hasbro passed over it, and I was less than thrilled by their final figures, so I was definitely looking for something else to be my TV Daredevil.  When this figure was show off, I really wanted one, but I missed out on him on the Mezco store.  I jumped on the waitlist, but honestly wasn’t expecting much.  I was quite happy when it coverted, and even happier when he shipped.  I like a lot about this figure, and he’s definitely my favorite version of the show’s take on the character.  I do feel he was a little pricey for what you get, and were he any other character, I’d probably have passed.  Still, he’s a very nice figure, and a very nice addition to my collection.

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#2064: Infamous Iron Man

INFAMOUS IRON MAN

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

“Once one of the world’s most evil villains, Infamous Iron Man Victor Von Doom has a change of allegience and assumes a new identity as the tech-powered hero, Iron Man.”

Victor Von Doom (not to be confused with Victor *con* Doom, which is Victor with Doom, and is what my computer wanted to put there), better known as Doctor Doom, is perhaps the Marvel Universe’s greatest villain.  And, of course, being the top villain means also getting a story evry so often where you stop being a villain and try to be a hero.  Doctor Doom’s actually been there a couple of times, but was there most recently after the fallout of 2015’s Secret Wars, which eventually led to him taking over the role of Iron Man for a bit.  That’s the source of Doom’s latest figure, dubbed the “Infamous Iron Man.”

THE FIGURE ITESELF

Infamous Iron Man is the latest Walgreens-exclusive Marvel Legends release, and he started hitting stores in early May.  As a Doctor Doom-variant, he’s well at home with the Fantastic Four-theme that’s persisted through the last few years of Walgreens exclusives.  Like his team of nemeses, Victor’s been away from Legends for a little while, with this being his first figure in seven years.  The figure stands 6 1/2 inches tall and he has 32 points of articulation.  In the comics, Victor’s Infamous Iron Man suit was a re-working of Tony’s most recent ANAD armor, and the figure follows true to that, re-using the molds of the Okoye Series Iron Man.  It’s honestly my favorite Iron Man sculpt in recent years, so I don’t mind seeing it crop up again, especially since it’s accurate to the source material.  The base figure is mostly identical between the two of them, with only the head getting a slight tweak to the back to allow for the hood to be attached.  Speaking of the hood, both it and the cape are new parts.  The appearance is nice, and I certainly dig the sculpted texture, but I don’t know how crazy I am about the implementation.  The hood is permanently affixed to the head, but the cape isn’t actually attached in any way; it just rests there.  And while the hood can hold it in place in most poses, it still slides off more often than I’d like.  The paint on Victor is the main change-up, since it transitions him into his more classic “Doom” colors, being predominately grey and silver.  The application’s mostly pretty good, but there’s something about the outlining on the face plate that looks a little goofy to me.  Doom is packed with two repulsor blast hands, and matching repulsor blasts, as well as the lightning effects in a matching purple, and an unmasked Victor Von Doom head.  The unmasked head is definitely my favorite piece, and I only wish it was easier to use it in conjunction with the cape.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

This one is technically Max’s fault, but he gets a bit of a pass, since it’s mostly circumstantial.  I fully intended to buy this figure on my own, but he happened to find one before me, and was nice enough to pick it up for me.  There are a few notable issues with this figure, however they mostly get a pass from this guy being undeniably a placeholder for the inevitable classic Doom figure down the road.  As it stands, he’s more fun than frustration, which I can get behind.

#2061: Captain America

CAPTAIN AMERICA

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

Steve Rogers prepares for the ultimate battle to save the universe and channels all of his strength as Captain America.”

When is an amazing figure not an amazing release?  When the circumstances surrounding that release mean that not everyone who wants it is going to be able to get it.  Exclusives became the nature of the collecting beast years ago, as big box stores began to throw their buying power into guaranteeing they’d have something you couldn’t get anywhere else.  Walmart in particular has a reputation of refusing to carry certain toylines at all until they are granted an exclusive.  They didn’t carry initial assortments of Toy Biz’s Marvel Legends for this very reason, and it was because of this that Best of Marvel Legends came to exist.  Later in the line, they would get an entire series (the Giant-Man Series) to themselves, and boy was that just a pleasant experience for everyone involved.  And if you believed me there, I have a one-handed Giant-Man I’d like to sell you.  I assure you, he’s much better than one with both hands.  In recent years, Walmart exclusives have become less of an issue, but less because they actually got better at making them available and more because toymakers have started giving them less-essential stuff when possible.  I’ve not had too much trouble with the last few Legends releases, but then again, I’ve not felt like they were essential either (I also didn’t have the nightmarish experience getting Corvous Glaive that some collectors did).  Then today’s figure was announced, and I was again less than enthused by this whole exclusives game.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Captain America is the third Walmart-exclusive Legends release this year, but he’s actually the second to hit stores because, as of this writing, their Captain Marvel exclusive still hasn’t been seen anywhere domestically.  Cap actually has had a pretty fast turnaround, as we only found out about his existence two weeks ago, and he seems to be be arriving in full force, at least in physical stores.  He’s based on his newly-designed costume from the final battle of Endgame, and is what I’d classify as the “definitive” Cap look for this movie.  The figure stands 6 1/4 inches tall and he has 34 points of articulation.  Since Winter Soldier, all of the standard MCU Caps have been built on the same body.  While I loved it when it was new, that body has grown more and more out of place as the line has moved forward.  We got a taste of something new with the Infinity War Cap last year, which was part of why I was so disappointed when the Marvel Studios release went right back to the WS body, rather than retooling the new one.  I was crossing my fingers that Hasbro wouldn’t make the same mistake when it came time for this costume.  I’m happy to report they didn’t, and, in fact, they’ve given him an almost entirely new sculpt.  From the thigh down, he shares his legs with the IW release, and he has the helmeted head from the Studios offering (which is one of my few nits with this figure, because it means he’s got the smaller ball-joint of the WS body, meaning we once again have a Cap whose heads aren’t compatible with the Quantum Suit body).  Beyond that, everything else is new to this figure.  There’s a second head included, with another go at an unmasked Steve Rogers.  I liked the Studios unmasked head a lot, but I think this one beats it.  They really got Evans’ look from the movie down.  The build of the body takes note from the IW release, and bulks Cap up a fair bit, so he no longer looks quite as shrimpy when compared to the other MCU releases.  The detailing on the uniform is some of the best we’ve seen on a  Hasbro Cap, with the “scales” on his torso and shoulders being a real highlight of the figure.  I also quite like how they’ve made the shoulder pads floating pieces, so that they can slip over the torso when you’re posing him.  It helps to preserve the look and avoid restricting his motion on his shoulders.  The paintwork on this Cap is pretty good, thought I will say parts of it are a step down from other recent releases.  Both heads make use of the face printing, which looks very nice as always.  The paint on the helmet is also improved from the Studios release, which I was quit happy about.  The rest of the body is far more basic in its application, and also quite sloppy in several spots, especially on the abdomen.  It’s not as bad as some of the stuff we used to get from Hasbro, but it could definitely be much better.  In addition to his unmasked head, Cap also gets two more extras.  The first is his shield, which uses the sculpt from the Studios release, but this time has a fancy battle-damaged paint scheme.  Unfortunately, his left hand is still in a fist, so he can’t quite hold it right.  Fortunately, the hands can be swapped between this and the IW release, should you want a gripping hand.  His final accessory is rather cleverly hidden behind his shield in the package.  It’s Mjolnir, which he wields in epic fashion during Endgame‘s final battle.  It’s just a re-use of the previous MCU mold, but it’s still a fun inclusion, and it was nice of them to hide it in the package.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

As I noted in my review of the basic release of this costume, I walked out of the theatre ready to buy a figure of this design.  It was my assumption that he’d be showing up in one of the regular assortments later down the line, but I did have a little concern in the back of my mind that he might wind up as an exclusive of some sort.  I was non-plussed to find out it was Walmart.  Fortunately, I found him with only a few stops, but it did require me buying a figure with a sincerely jacked up package.  This figure is a really, really good figure, and the MCU Cap I’ve been wanting ever since Hasbro stepped up their MCU game.  He’s the definitive MCU Cap, and making him an exclusive to a chain who is notoriously bad about actually getting their exclusives out there seems like a serious misstep on Hasbro’s part.  My only hope is that they have some sort of an ace up their sleeve on this one.  He’s got a lot of new parts for a one-off release, and I can’t stress enough that he really feels like too big a figure just to be a Walmart exclusive.  Time will tell.  Until then, hopefully this figure won’t be too hard to find.

#2059: Longshot

LONGSHOT

X-MEN (TOY BIZ)

“Once a slave to the extradimensional tyrant Mojo, Longshot eventually escaped, came ot Earth and joined forces with the X-Men. Armed with razor-sharp throwing knives, his combined abilities of amazing agility and incredible luck allow him to take on the fiercest foes. Recently, Longshot left the X-Men to search for the secrets of his past and travel to parts unknown!”

Have I reviewed a Longshot figure before on this site?  I feel like I have. <checks backlog>  Why yes, yes I have, waaaaaaaaaay back in review #0034.  Wow, that was a while ago.  It also predates me being quite as in-depth with these intros, so I guess I haven’t really talked about him much, apart from saying he’s nobody’s favorite.  Aw, that feels a little bit cruel.  Past-Ethan’s a little bit of a jerk, isn’t he?  Well, on the Longshot front, it’s worth noting that the guy hasn’t had the best luck when it comes to action figures, both in terms of quantity and quality.  He had exactly one figure during the Toy Biz 5-inch days, and that’s the one I’m looking at today.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Longshot was part of Series 4 of Toy Biz’s ’90s X-Men line.  He falls into one of the line’s most oddball series, with Professor X, Cyclops II, Ahab, Sabretooth II, and the Brood as his fellow releases.  Longshot joined Ahab and the Brood in the club of “not having been relevant in several years” at the time of release.  The figure stands 5 inches tall and he has 7 points of articulation.  He’s a bit more limited in movement than a lot of the other figures from this line, and I’m not entirely sure why.  He’s only got one elbow joint (the left), which is in order to facilitate his knife-throwing action feature.  That I can kind of get.  But he’s also got no neck movement, for seemingly no reason.  That I don’t get.  Were they just not sure how to articulate it with the mullet?  Whatever the case, it’s not doing him any favors.  Also not doing him any favors is the general quality of the sculpt.  This early in the line, Toy Biz’s sculpts were still very hit-or-miss, and this one’s more miss.  It’s largely that head, which just looks downright goony.  Longshot’s usually depicted as being a somewhat charming fellow, but none of that’s visible, unless you are particularly charmed by the face of a chimpanzee.  Which maybe you are.  I’m not one to judge.  But Longshot isn’t classically this simian.  Toy Biz’s sculptors also seem to have understood the basic concept of the mullet, but not really the implementation, resulting in a hairstyle that’s…well, it’s certainly something.  The head is also rather small when compared to the rest of the body, which, it should be noted, is a much better example of sculpting, comparatively at least.  Longshot’s paintwork is fairly standard.  It’s clean and the colors match his usual depictions.  The face again gets the worst work, though, getting those round, wide eyes, making him look like he’s in a constant state of surprise.  Longshot was packed with two knives (in case you lost one, I guess) and a bandolier, which helped to complete his usual look.  He also had the “KNIFE THROWING ACTION!”, where his right arm will swing forward when pulled back.  It’s not the most technically impressive feature, but at least it wasn’t overly intrusive.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I didn’t get Longshot new, but I did get him fairly quickly after the fact (probably around 1999-2000), courtesy of Cosmic Comix during one of their legendary Midnight Madness sales back when they were still on Main Street in Ellicott City.  I don’t know exactly why I got Longshot, but I remember wanting him, for one reason or another.  He’s…not a great figure.  Of course, he’s in luck, because he’s not even the worst figure in this particular series (that’s Ahab).  Longshot’s goofy, and not a good take on the character, but I suppose he’s got his own sort of charm.

#2057: Captain America

CAPTAIN AMERICA

AVENGERS: ENDGAME (HASBRO)

So, now that all of the hype for the Quantum Suits has died down a bit, we can finally set our focus on the suits that the characters actually wear for most of the film’s run-time.  Of all the characters in the movie, Cap is the one with the most suits on-hand, donning his STRIKE suit for the first act, a replica of his first Avengers costume for the second, and then finally getting an all-new costume for the rest of the film’s run-time, which most notably is featured during the film’s huge climactic battle.  That’s the suit that pretty much everyone wants, but, apart from the Titan Heroes release, it wasn’t really available at the time of the film’s release.  Fortunately, it’s at the forefront of a lot of the post-film stuff, including Hasbro’s basic figure line.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Captain America is part of the second series of basic Avengers: Endgame figures, which appear to have started showing up in force right at the end of May.  The figure stands 6 inches tall and has 11 points of articulation.  Like prior figures in this style, the scaling is just a touch smaller than a Legends figure, so Cap’s not quite going to fit it, but he wouldn’t be terrible in a pinch.  I still don’t know why Hasbro can’t give these guys knee joints, since it’s really the only joint holding them back, but they seem dead-set on sticking to their guns on this one.  This Cap is, of course, sporting his newest costume, which continues the evolution of the design first launched in Winter Soldier.  This time around it maneuvers even closer to his classic comics appearance by mimicking the scale-mail of his classic costume in the patterning on the torso and shoulder segments.  It adds an extra bit of flair to the costume, which this release takes advantage of.  The sculpt, which is all new, is a little bit stiff, what with the lack of certain articulation, but is otherwise a very well-detailed, overall very movie-accurate recreation of the uniform. The detail work, especially on the torso, is very sharp, and the likeness on the head is about as good a match for Evans as any of the Legends. Also, for the first time since the first Avengers movie, we get a Captain America with a grip on the left hand, so he can actually hold his shield properly!  One fun little side thing I did notice was that the head was a little loose on its ball-joint, which has the unintended benefit of making this particular head compatible with the Legends Quantum Suit body, should you prefer this helmet to the one we got.  Yes, it’s still inaccurate, but now you can choose your preferred inaccuracy!  The paintwork on this figure is a bit of a step down from a Legends offering, since he’s half the price and all.  He gets the basics, and they’re pretty good at that.  No fancy printed face or anything, but on a helmeted head, it’s less of an issue. There are some smaller details that are missing, but it kind of comes with the territory.  Cap is packed with his shield, which is a re-use of the most recent Legends iteration, albeit with slightly downgraded paint.  It’s nice that they’re using this same mold, especially if you’re looking for an easy spare for customizing purposes.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I walked out of Endgame desperately wanting a figure of Cap in this costume.  I’m a self-admitted Cap fan, and this is definitely my favorite of his MCU designs.  With the Legends release uncertain (at least at the time I got him), this figure was an easy purchase.  I’m not gunning for him to be my go-to Cap or anything, but this guy’s definitely not a bad figure for the price.

#2056: Hawkeye & Black Widow

HAWKEYE & BLACK WIDOW

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

From the ranks of SHIELD to the growing team of Avengers, Black Widow and Hawkeye put their expert training to use as they suit up to defend their world and universe from intergalactic threats.”

There sure was a lot of pre-movie hype built around the Avengers’ Quantum Suits in Endgame, and then…well, let’s just say they aren’t overly present for much of the film.  But, I suppose they did get that grand entrance, and they were certainly an intriguing new design.  They’re also a decent way of getting out a fair number of the main characters out with as much shared tooling as possible.  I’ve looked at one Legends offering of the Quantum Suit (worn by Captain America), and now I’m following it up with fellow founding Avengers Hawkeye and Black Widow!

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

Hawkeye and Widow are a Target-exclusive two-pack of Marvel Legends, and started arriving at shelves right around the film’s release date.

HAWKEYE

After quite an absence from the toy realm, Clint Barton has been pretty well-served by the initial Endgame product, with a whole two Legends figures, right out of the gate.  No body else got that!  Well, okay, Cap’s almost getting that, since the Walmart-exclusive is already hitting, just over a month after the first figure, but let’s not sully Hawkeye’s good fortune.  The figure stands 6 1/2 inches tall and has 32 points of articulation.  This guy is mostly made up of re-used parts, being identical to the Quantum Suit Cap from the neck down.  It’s really not a surprise, especially given the slightly more averaged proportions of the body.  It’s also supposed to be the same suit on everybody, so I guess it’s a sensible choice.  Hawkeye gets a brand-new head sculpt, sporting Clint’s radical new hair, or at least an approximation of it.  It’s also got probably the best Renner likeness we’ve seen from Hasbro (although Super Awesome Fiancee says he does have enough of a “dad” look to really be Hawkeye), and is generally a nice offering.  It has the added benefit of looking pretty nice on the Ronin body, should you want his look from most of the movie.  The paint on Hawkeye is about what you’d expect.  The head sports the face-printing tech, which looks nice and lifelike, and the body is an exact match for the paint on the Cap figure.  Hawkeye is packed with his bow, re-used from his first Avengers figure.  Befitting the “lots of characters from the same shared tooling”, he also includes two alternate heads, for Iron Man and Ant-Man.  They’re re-used from the IW Thanos and the Cull Obsidian series figures respectively.  Not at all accurate, but hey, that hasn’t stopped these figures before.

BLACK WIDOW

Widow was represented in the Infinity War toys, but thus far has had a much sparser selection for Endgame, with this being her only planned figure from Hasbro, at least so far.  I wouldn’t be shocked if that changes going forward, though.  The figure stands 6 1/4 inches tall and has 29 points of articulation.  Widow’s sporting an all-new sculpt.  It’s a solid match for the male version of the suit, and it’s in fact a little better, at least from a proportions stand-point.  The head is sporting a very nice likeness of Scarlet Johansen, which, again, I’d say is the best version of her likeness we’ve gotten from Hasbro.  It’s also sized well to fit on the Infinity War Widow body, if you want her non-Quantum-Suited.  The paint on Widow matches pretty decently with Hawkeye’s, so it’s another very strong offering.  I especially like that they got that little bit of blonde at the end of her ponytail.  Widow is packed with her twin batons (re-used from the Infinity War release), as well as an extra head and pistol so she can be used as Nebula (both re-used from the Mantis Series figure).

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

This set was a little scarce around the movie’s release, what with the hype and whatnot.  I was searching for a little while without much luck, and kind of gave up, honestly.  Then the power went out a few weeks ago, and we had to run out for dinner and some supplies, and I just happened to wander past the toy aisle and, boom, there they were.  While having the quantum suits doesn’t mean as much to me, I’m definitely glad to have the new heads for Nat and Clint.

#2053: J Jonah Jameson, Aunt May, & S.H.I.E.L.D. Agent

J JONAH JAMESON, AUNT MAY & S.H.I.E.L.D. AGENT

MARVEL MINIMATES

Civilians and Army Builders!  What a combo!  Though absolutely pivotal to the Spider-Man mythos, J Jonah Jameson and May Parker are not the most toyetic characters.  But, as usual, Minimates prove to have an easier time at making such characters into figures, as evidenced by today’s focus, where the two are each paired off with one of the most requested Marvel army builders, the S.H.I.E.L.D. Agents!

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

These guys were released in the “Death of Jean DeWolff”-centered Series 43 of Marvel Minimates.  Jameson was the regular release, with Aunt May as his one-per-case variant, and the S.H.I.E.L.D. Agent filling in as the second release in both sets.

J. JONAH JAMESON

Perhaps Spider-Man’s most persistent antagonist, J. Jonah Jameson’s actually not part of the “Death of Jean DeWolff.”  In fact, his absence from New York at the time is a fairly prominent plot point.  But, I guess that sort of makes him important to the story in his own way.  JJ has actually been a Minimate before…kind of.  A Jameson mask was included with the variant version of Chameleon way back when, but this figure rightfully gives Jameson his own due.  Jameson makes use of five add-on pieces, for his hair, vest, tie, and sleeves.  The hair is a new piece, depicting Jameson’s distinctive flat top.  It’s a nice piece, and a noted improvement over the much less detailed offerings of the past.  The rest of his parts are re-used, with his vest coming from the Ghostbusters Mayor, and the sleeves and tie coming from The Spirit.  It’s a nice combo of pieces, and it gives him a very unique, character specific feel, all without actually needing many new pieces.  JJ’s paintwork is fairly standard stuff.  The blue certainly looks nice, and the detail work on his face in particular is really sharp, and really expressive.  In general, the faces in this assortment were really strong, and JJ is a great example.  One rather minor touch I quite like as well is the two-toned nature of his vest, which is blue at the front and black at the back, showing that the two sections are actually made of two different fabrics.  JJ includes a nice selection of extras.  He has a second set of arms, in blue to match the legs, as well as a corresponding suit jacket/tie/vest piece, allowing for a slightly more formal appearance for the character.  He also has two copies of the Daily Bugle; one rolled up and one folded flat.  The flat one gives us a couple of news stories, including a shot of Spider-Man and of Tony Stark (who is inexplicably the RDJ version).  This offers a ton of variety for the figure, and makes him quite versatile.

AUNT MAY

Peter Parker’s elderly aunt is even less toyetic than Jameson, and it shows in the difference of figure representation.  This was May’s introduction into the Minimates form (though her second figure would be only three series later), and only her second action figure ever.  The important thing is that our Minimate Spider-Men will no longer have to go without their wheatcakes!  Aunt May uses two sculpted add-on pieces; one for her hair, and the other for her skirt.  The hair was a new piece for this figure. It’s a nice offering, and matches up pretty decently with the sorts of hair styles we tend to see May sporting.  It’s also generic enough for some pretty swell re-use, which we’ve already seen at least once.  The skirt piece is Gwen Stacy’s, just like the Jean DeWolff figure also in this series.  It’s serviceable for the job it’s got to do.  If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it, right?  Aunt May’s paintwork is decent enough.  Not incredibly eye-catching, and in fact she seems maybe a touch washed out, but maybe that’s sort of the point, with her spending most of her time in the comics as glorified scenery.  The detail work is pretty solid stuff, and the face is, once again, pretty solid looking.  The very slight smile works quite well for the character.  May is packed with no accessories.  Scratch what I said about the Spider-Men getting their wheatcakes.  Looks like they’re going to have to wait a little longer on those.

S.H.I.E.L.D. AGENT

The S.H.I.E.L.D. Agent is the army builder that fans have been wanting since before army builders were really even a thing for Minimates.  Back when the first Nick Fury hit, there were a lot of people stocking up on his pack purely to build up a whole flank of these guys.  We got a slight tease at them with the Ultimates-based S.H.I.E.L.D. Soldier, but that wasn’t quite the same.  It’s the blue spandex-clad guys that we were all clamoring for!  The S.H.I.E.L.D. Agent uses six add-on pieces, for the hair, shoulder holster, gloves, belt, and ankle sheath.  It’s a mix of old and new.  The hair is re-used from the Shocker, and is a nice, generic buzz cut.  The belt, like Sin-Eater’s, is borrowed from Batman, because who doesn’t like a good utility belt?  The gloves are from the Cap TTA boxed set, and while S.H.I.E.L.D. Agents aren’t always seen with flared gloves, I myself quite like them, and certainly won’t shoot down extra parts.  The holster and sheath are both new pieces.  It’s the holster that’s really the star here, as it gives the Agents their distinctive look, and it’s a huge improvement over the slightly disappointing painted version from Fury.  The sheath is a little bulky for my taste, but it’s also the easiest piece to remove and leave off if you don’t like it.  The Agent’s paintwork is definitely solid work.  The darker blue provides a nice contrast to the white, and there’s some fantastic detail work.  The face is suitably generic, if you’re looking to army build, the logo on the shoulder is sharp and crisp, and the inclusion of the white piping on the seam down the middle of the chest, even under the harness where it will mostly be obscured, is a fantastic touch.  The S.H.I.E.L.D. Agent is armed with a pistol and a knife.  Both were new, and designed to fit in the corresponding holsters on the figure.  For the sake of easier army building, the Agent also includes a second hair piece, borrowed from Ultimate Iron Man.  It frames the face differently, thereby creating a credibly different looking “character.”  And, since the piece is blond, in a pinch it works pretty well for my personal favorite agent, Clay Quartermain!

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

J. Jonah James is a pivotal character for Spidey, and this figure goes above and beyond to make him not just a good on the character, but a great take on the character.  Like Jonah, May is an important character, but unfortunately, this figure just doesn’t have quite the same hook as that one.  She’s not particularly exciting on the basis of design, and without any fun accessories to sweeten the pot, she ends up falling a little flat.  Still not bad, but not very standout either.  Undoubtedly, the S.H.I.E.L.D. Agent is the shining star of this already very strong series, and perhaps DST’s best army builder.  With a few spare heads from other figures, it’s very easy to get carried away with these little guys.

#2051: Red Skull

RED SKULL

ONE:12 COLLECTIVE (MEZCO)

As prominent a fixture as he may be in the Captain America mythos, Red Skull isn’t a character that’s been particularly blessed when it comes to the world of action figures.  He hasn’t been particularly scarce, or anything.  In fact, he’s gotten a pretty decent amount of coverage.  What he *hasn’t* gotten is particularly good coverage.  This has been especially true of his 6-inch scale figures.  Of his six Legends-branded releases, two were movie figures, one was just a re-skinned Iron Man, another placed him on one of the modern line’s weakest bodies, one wore something decidedly un-Red-Skull like, and the first may well be the worst Legends figure Toy Biz ever released.  Not the greatest selection pool.  There are, however, some other offerings on the market, one of which I’m taking a look at today!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Red Skull was a late 2017 release from Mezco’s One:12 Collective, obviously meant as an accent piece to the previous year’s Captain America.  There were two variants of the Skull produced; the one I’m looking at today is the standard release, which has him in an all-black leather-jacketed number.  There was also an SDCC-exclusive that had him in his green jumpsuit from the Kirby days.  The figure stands 6 inches tall and has over 30 points of articulation.

Red Skull includes two different headsculpts.  Both of them are modeled pretty heavily on Jack Kirby’s original Red Skull design, which never seems to really get its due in action figure form.  It’s refreshing to see a more faithful rendition appear here, especially given Mezco’s tendency to modernize a lot of the time.  The figure comes wearing the more expressive of the two heads, which has Skull arching his brow and bearing his teeth in a lop-sided grimace.  It’s a very classic expression for him, and is especially well-suited to this styling of the Skull.  There are a number a small little cracks running throughout, keeping things from being too devoid of detail.  The second head isn’t too different, but gives him a closed mouth, more leveled brow appearance.  He’s still not a happy looking guy, but this is a more pensive, perhaps later in his career version of the Skull.  The details of this head line up with the first, really selling it as just a change of expression.  The paintwork on both is fairly similar.  The red is molded, with a black wash to bring out the details.  They’ve also correctly captured his bright blue eyes, a definitive feature of the character.

Red Skull is built on the mid-sized male body, a suitable choice for the character.  His uniform is a mixed media offering, as is usually the case for this line (though it wasn’t for the last figure I reviewed from it), made up of an underlying jumpsuit, with a leather duster on top of it, plus a shoulder-strap and belt to hold it in place, and a pair of sculpted boots.  The jumpsuit is fairly loose fitting, and has some printed on elements to keep it from being just a straight black affair.  The boots hold it in place at the base of the legs, and are actually two pieces so as to allow for movement at the ankles.  The leather duster is fake leather (not a shock at this scale) but is reasonably detailed, and nicely tailored to the body.  It also is stiff enough to hold some decent dynamic poses, which I quite like.  The strap and belt is a plastic element, and snaps in place to keep the jacket secure.  It features a working holster for his gun, as well as a very impressive Hydra logo on the buckle.  It can also be adjusted for use without the jacket, if you so desire.

In addition to the previously mentioned extra head, Red Skull is packed with three pairs of hands (in fists (L&R), trigger finger (R), open grasp (R), closed grip (L), and loose grip (L)), a Luger, the Cosmic Cube, and a display stand with the Hydra logo printed on it.  The Cube is my favorite of the included extras, and is a little different than the ML renditions we’ve gotten, being a more opaque piece.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I didn’t get this guy when he came out mostly because I hadn’t yet gotten any of the other Marvel releases, and, more specifically, hadn’t been able to get the classic version of Cap.  I also didn’t work at a toy store where I had easy access to such things.  This guy got traded in to All Time Toys a few weeks back, and I’d been commenting to the store owner Jason that I didn’t have a good Red Skull in my collection, so he kindly set it aside for me, and gave me a solid deal for it too.  I like this guy a lot, and he’s definitely the best Skull at this scale.  Heck, he’s probably the best Skull at any scale.

As noted above, I got this guy from All Time Toys.  He was a trade-in, so they don’t have him in stock anymore, but they do have a variety of other One:12 collective figures still available. If you’re looking for those, or other cool toys both old and new, please check out their website and their eBay Store.

#2047: Caliban

CALIBAN

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

In the early ’80s, it occurred to Chris Claremont that the X-Men were generally pretty attractive and normal-looking for a bunch of so-called “mutants,” so he introduced the Morlocks (named after the creatures from HG Wells’ The Time Machine), a band of sewer-dwelling mutants whose mutations weren’t as presentable as the more heroic X-Men.  One of the more prominent Morlocks, Caliban, actually wasn’t originally intended to be one of them and even predated their 1983 appearance by two years.  He’s subsequently served as an ongoing recurring character in the background of various X-Men stories, and has in his tenure been part of the X-Men, X-Factor, X-Force, and has even been one of Apocalypse’s Horsemen on two separate occasions.  Despite being around for a good long while, he’s not been graced with an abundance of figures, with a single figure during Toy Biz’s 5-inch run.  That’s finally changed, though!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Caliban is the Build-A-Figure for the latest X-themed series of Marvel Legends.  In keeping with the ’90s theme of the line-up, he’s based on his design during his time as the Horseman Death for Apocalypse.  Yeah, now we’ve got two of the Four Horsemen, and their both the same role…bleh.  Of all of Caliban’s designs, this one’s really the easiest to sell as a toy, which is probably why both of his toys, released two decades apart, are sporting this same design.  The figure stands 8 inches tall and he has 32 points of articulation.  Caliban makes use of a number of parts from last year’s Apocalypse, specifically the arms and upper legs.  The rest is new, with the head and hands in particular being the most character specific.  They’re nicely crafted parts, and provide some nice expressiveness.  The screaming expression on the face in particular seems very well-suited to this incarnation of the character.  The other parts I can definitely see having been designed with future re-use for other bulked up characters.  The new torso actually makes him a little bigger than Apocalypse, for what it’s worth.  The most impressive bits of Caliban’s paintwork are definitely the head and hands, which do a nice job of keeping Caliban’s exposed skin from being just a stark white.  The head even uses some slight printing around the eyes for a more subtle transition between colors.  The paint on his uniform is a bit more straightforward.  There’s a bit more slop here than on the single offerings, but I definitely dig the pearlescent white.  Caliban includes no accessories, but then again, he’s kind of an accessory himself.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I’ve never had much of an affinity for Caliban.  He sort of falls right into the gap of my X-Men fandom, since I’m really big on the ’70s stuff, then dip out, and then come back into things for the Animated Series era.  Caliban’s not really part of either of those things, nor is he a design that I really feel like I *need* to have.  Ultimately, this figure is a pretty serviceable one, and while I don’t think he’s going to be BaF of the year, he’s still a decent offering.  Maybe he’ll open the doors to some more Morlocks.

Despite a less than thrilling Build-A-Figure, I was very happy with this assortment as a whole.  Gambit steals the show for me, but Beast, Blink, and Weapon X are all respectably cool offerings, Forge and Skullbuster are decent figures of characters I didn’t *need* to have, and Jubilee is at least an improvement on the really hard to find BaF.  This continues the trend of X-waves just being really solid complete sets.   If you’re interested in getting a set of your own, five of the seven single figures are still in-stock at All Time Toys’ webstore.  And, as always, if you’re looking for other toys both old and new, please check out All Time’s website and their eBay storefront.

#2046: Skullbuster

SKULLBUSTER

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

An enemy of the X-Men, the cyborg Skullbuster is a member of the villainous gang called the Reavers.”

Introduced in 1988, the Reavers are a concept that’s sort of been in the background of the X-Men mythos since their introduction.  They’re not super high concept or anything, they’re just cyborg mercs who tend to make for good fodder for Wolverine to cut up from time to time.  I became familiar with them through their spot on X-Men: The Animated Series, but they also figured into the plot of 2017’s Logan.  None of the members of the group have ever really made it big (apart from their original leader Lady Deathstrike), so they’re haven’t really been toys galore for them.  But, hey, Skullbuster got a figure, so maybe things are looking up!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Skullbuster is figure 6 in the Caliban Series of Marvel Legends, and is our only single-carded antagonist this time around.  Skullbuster’s spot as the Reaver in this assortment was undoubtedly chosen because a) he’s somewhat distinctive and b) he doesn’t require much new tooling.  Bonecrusher’s definitely more distinct, but he’s got that freaking tank half to contend with.  Also, as an added bonus, Skullbuster’s the Reaver taken out by Forge during their siege on Muir Island, so he ties in with the rest of the set pretty well.  The figure stands 6 1/2 inches tall and he has 32 points of articulation.  Skullbuster is a reskin of last year’s Deathlok, which I can’t say is super surprising.  It was an all-new sculpt that, up til now, had seen no re-use.  A new head, vest, and ammo belt completes the transformation from ‘lok to ‘buster.  The end result isn’t a perfect mach for any established Skullbuster designs, it’s a good approximation, and he’s really one of those character where approximation’s really good enough.  The important thing here is that he looks distinct from the Deathlok figure, which he does.  The paintwork on Skullbuster is on the drab side, which I suppose is appropriate for the character.  I do somewhat wish they’d opted for the red skull look, instead of the white, but they made it work.  Otherwise, the application’s all pretty clean, and the palette is well-chosen.  Skullbuster includes the smaller gun that came with Deathlok, as well as an extra headsculpt for Reaver Reese, one of the three ex-Hellfire Guard members who joined the group when Donald Pierce took over.  It’s a cool head, and I feel certain we’ll be seeing it re-painted for Cole and Macon down the line. Skullbuster also includes the right arm of the BaF Caliban.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I’ve got no major attachment to the Reavers, apart from their spot on X-Men: TAS, so I wasn’t beating down the door to get them.  That said, Skullbuster’s got a cool look and is built on a base I liked, so I had no complaints about his inclusion in this line-up, especially not when they showed off the extra Reese head as well.  I don’t have a ton to say about this guy, but he’s kind of fun.

I picked up Skullbuster from All Time Toys, and he’s still currently in-stock at their store, here. And, if you’re looking for other toys both old and new, please check out their website and their eBay storefront.