#2567: Gladiator

GLADIATOR

X-MEN (TOY BIZ)

“The most powerful member of the Shi’ar Imperial Guard, the alien super hero known as Gladiator is also its most devoted protector! Possessing nearly unlimited strength, virtual invulnerability, and a bevy of other abilities, Gladiator uses his powers on behalf of the throne of the Shi’ar Empire – no matter who may occupy it!”

The similarities between Marvel’s Shi’ar Imperial Guard and DC’s Legion of Super Heroes aren’t exactly a secret amongst the fans, and this especially comes to a head with the Imperial Guard’s leader, Kallark, aka Gladiator, who is a pretty thinly veiled take on Superman.  The differences are, however, enough to not actually cross any legal boundaries, making Gladiator a somewhat recurring character when it comes to action feature treatment.  Today, let’s have a look at his very first.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Gladiator is part of the Phoenix Saga series of Toy Biz’s X-Men line, released in 1994 to tie-in with the cartoon’s adaptation of the story from the comics.  Gladiator gets some decent focus in the story, making him a pretty sensible choice for inclusion (certainly a more logical choice than the other Guardsman in the assortment, Warstar), and he helped to sort of round out all of the factions present in the story.  The figure stands a little over 5 inches tall and he has 10 points of articulation.  Gladiator’s sculpt was quite a bulked up affair, befitting most renditions of the character.  He seems to have misplaced most of his neck somewhere, and his arms seem a touch long, but beyond that the proportions aren’t bad.  This body wound up getting reworked to remove the Gladiator-specific elements and was re-used for Toy Biz’s Hercules tie-in line, before making its way back to Marvel in the Marvel Gold line, where it was used for Moon Knight, among others.  The cape’s a separate piece, though, like Dr. Doom, the chain for the clasp is actually sculpted on the main figure, rather than being a part of the cape proper.  The cape sits a little high on the figure, and also has a hole in it to facilitate the action feature, but it’s overall not a bad piece.  The paint work on Gladiator is pretty basic, but also pretty decent.  It’s appropriately bright and bold.  His skin tone seems a touch on the light side, but that’s pretty minor.  Gladiator’s initial short card release didn’t have any accessories, but his long card release added Stryfe’s mace and Silver Samurai’s sword for…reasons?  They had all that space to fill, I guess.  Both versions got the same “Super Strength Power Punch” action feature, which causes his right arm to jut forward when the button on his back is pressed.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Gladiator is the only of the Phoenix Saga figures I didn’t have growing up.  I couldn’t tell you why, because I was a big fan of the whole saga, and I’ve always liked Gladiator as a character.  I guess I just never found him at the right time…I mean, until I did, obviously, since I’m, you know, reviewing the figure and all.  I snagged him very recently, as he was part of a collection of X-Men figures that came through All Time.  He’s a somewhat goofy figure, but I’m glad to have finally finished up the Phoenix set after all these years.

#2559: Wolverine – Battle Ravaged

WOLVERINE — BATTLE RAVAGED

X-MEN (TOY BIZ)

“Since long before he joined the X-Men, Wolverine has been squaring off against opponents in all types of battles, from silent ambushes to brawls. His mutant healing factor allows Wolverine to recover from wounds and injuries at a rate much faster than normal, letting him take greater risks when in combat. Fighting is in this man’s nature, but Wolverine must always take care to hold his berserker fury in check and keep his animal nature from taking control.”

And here we are, making it to a full-on seven years here with the site.  How about that?  This takes dedication…or insanity.  I’ve certainly got one of those two things.  Speaking of a strange mix of dedication and insanity, this year, one of my favorite days of reviewing was the “Day of the Wolverines,” where I took a look at 18 of Toy Biz’s 5-inch Wolverine figures.  During that day, I noted that I was skipping the ones I’d actually had as a kid, which meant skipping out on 1995’s Wolverines entirely, since that was the year I got into collecting the line, and I already owned all of that year’s variants.  Since the Day of, I’ve been filling in some of the Wolverines from that year, and today I get to the final, and honestly most important one: Battle Ravaged Wolverine!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Battle Ravaged Wolverine was released in the Invasion Series of Toy Biz’s X-Men line, the eleventh series of the line.  Truth be told, it’s probably my favorite series of the line, for reasons I’ll get to in the relevant section.  The concept on this guy is pretty straight forward: take the basic Tiger Stripe Wolverine design, and just tear it to shreds, as if in battle.  The figure stands 5 inches tall and he has 7 points of articulation.  While I didn’t look at this figure proper during the Day of the Wolverines, I did look at his sculpt, which was re-used in the 1997 “Greatest Archenemies” set.  As I noted in that review, it’s a sculpt I actually quite like.  It’s a little on the large side for a Wolverine, but the build actually works pretty well, and the battle damage is quite well implemented throughout the figure.  There’s a great intensity to the sculpt on this guy, and I just really dig it.  The paintwork is really the main differing thing here, as it gives him a more classic color scheme than the later release.  It works a lot better, and just results in a nicer overall figure than the later release.  There’s actually another repaint of this guy, released as part of 1996’s KB Toys-exclusive Overpower line.  It tweaks the coloring on the claws so that they’re now bone claws, and also makes the shoulders silver….for some reason.  I guess they really needed to keep that silver paint quotient up.  The original release and all subsequent re-uses of the mold had a “Berserker Rage Action” action feature, which slashes the arms downward when you push the lever on his back.  The original release also featured a set of doors, which you could use the action feature to “split” and knock down.  It’s very basic, but a cool extra piece of scenery.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Remember how I said that the Invasion Series is probably my favorite?  There’s a good reason for that.  I got into toys in late 1995, and because of that, the Invasion Series was the one on shelves when I started collecting.  That’s why Havok and Erik the Red were my first two X-Men action figures, and that’s why this particular Wolverine was my very first Wolverine…well, *a* Battle Ravaged Wolverine was my first Wolverine.  This one’s a replacement, because my original went missing at some point along the way.  Whatever the case, I have a real nostalgic appreciation for this figure, and he’s definitely very high up on my list of favorite Wolverines.

#2558: Rogue & Pyro

ROGUE & PYRO

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

“Unpredictable circumstances force Rogue and Pyro away from the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants and into the light.”

After the original team had disbanded and otherwise moved onto other things, in the ’80s, recurring Claremont villain Mystique put together her own version of Magneto’s Brotherhood of Evil Mutants.  The line-up debuted in the present day section of the classic “Days of Future Past” story line, and was made up of a mostly new selection of characters, including Pyro.  The team made a handful of appearances there after, and later that same year added Rogue to their roster.  While Pyro would become one of the team’s longer lasting members, Rogue was fairly quickly adopted into the X-Men, and has become one of that team’s most prominent members.  And, now, here they both are!

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

Rogue and Pyro are a two-pack release for Marvel Legends, and started hitting in the last month or so, though they aren’t officially slated for release until around November.  Character-wise, they’re a perfectly sensible pairing, but unlike some of the other recent two-packs, they aren’t really in compatible costumes.  I’m not complaining too much, of course.

ROGUE

Rogue’s first Legends release since the Juggernaut Series, way back in 2016.  This one gives us her X-Men: Legacy costume.  It’s not the look people were expecting, but it’s at least a new one for the line, rather than just jumping right back into another redo of the ’90s costume.  This release is also notable because this very version of Rogue was *supposed* to join the line in 2013, but when the Puck Series was re-routed to specialty retailers only, she was dropped from the line-up.  Her head actually wound up getting re-used on Sharon Carter back in 2016, but the figure proper was just waiting in the wings until Hasbro pulled it out for re-use here.  The figure stands just over 6 inches tall and she has 27 points of articulation.  Though the design for this figure has been sitting around since 2013, it’s worth noting that the final figure doesn’t actually use any of the parts from the original prototype.  Rather than make use of the original concepts rather dated selection of pieces, the retail version uses the Phoenix body’s upper torso and arms, in conjunction with Ms. Marvel’s scarf, and a whole selection of new pieces.  Aside from a slightly restricted range of motion on the elbows, the Phoenix body is a good starting point, and actually allows for a more faithful rendition of Rogue’s costume.  The new pieces fit well, and further the body’s generally well-balanced proportions.  The new head isn’t too far removed from the original prototype, but has been slightly refined to better fit with the more modern stylings of the line at this point, giving her a slight smile in her expression, and a little more flow to the hair.  The new legs are noteworthy for making use of Hasbro’s new contained pins set-up, which makes them look a lot nicer and more seamless, and also seems to have made the general construction of them just a little more solid.  I also found the posing to be a little smoother, and the tolerancing to be slightly more apt for keeping her standing.  The figure’s paint work is overall fairly decent.  It’s all pretty basic work, but it gets the job done.  There’s a touch of slop on her skirt, however, that appears to really be it.  Rogue is packed with an alternate head with a slightly more intense, teeth-baring expression, as well as hands in both fists and open palm poses.

PYRO

Pyro got in on the Legends game relatively early, back in Toy Biz’s Bring on the Bad Guys assortment, but hasn’t gotten a follow-up figure since then, meaning it’s been 14 years without a single update.  Admittedly, he’s not a character with a lot of looks to produce, but that old figure was a bit dated looking even when he was new.  We saw Rogue at Toy Fair this year, but we didn’t know about Pyro until late in the summer, when the pair were officially shown off.  In contrast to Rogue’s late ’00s design, Pyro’s in his classic attire, and is definitely the more timeless figure of the pair.  The figure stands 6 1/4 inches tall and he has 34 points of articulation.  Pyro is built on the 2099 body, with new head(s), forearms, and torso overlay.  The 2099 body feels like a good match for Pyro’s usual build, and the articulation scheme is good, so it’s a solid choice.  There are two heads featured here, both rather similar, apart from the expression.  The first is a rather neutral expression, while the second has Pyro cracking a grin.  Both are solid recreations of his design from the comics, right down to that goofy hair he’s usually drawn with.  I like that they both have him sporting a slightly more jovial expression, in contrast to the rather angry appearance that the Toy Biz Legend went with.  This seems more suited to the character.  I also like the smaller touches, such as the texture of the cloth of his mask stretching over his ears.  The overlay piece does a good job of capturing Pyro’s usual gear, and the tubes for his flamethrower are long enough to not impede posability, and also sturdy enough to not risk breaking.  In general, it’s also just a cleaner looking rendition of it than what we got with the Toy Biz version.  Pyro’s paint work is, like Rogue, more on the basic side, but generally pretty clean.  My figure has a touch of missing paint on the top of his right boot, but is otherwise pretty sharp.  He’s certainly an eye-catching figure.  In addition to the extra head, Pyro is packed with two standard flame effects pieces to go on the hands.  It’s a little tricky to get them on there with the flamethrower attachments, and they’re clearly not *meant* for this figure, so something more tailored would have been nice, but these are far from the worst thing.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I’ve never had much attachment to the Legacy Rogue design, and had no real drive to get the original release even before it was cancelled.  With the Lee version already on-hand, I wasn’t missing this one, but I do quite like how she turned out, even if she’s not going to be my standard Rogue.  The old TB Pyro, as goofy as he was, was still one I quite liked at the time, and he’s a character I’ve always enjoyed.  I was glad to see him get an update, and his design is quite well translated here.  All in all, this is a set I kind of slept on, and I actually didn’t realize quite how much I enjoyed it until I sat down to write this review.

Thanks to my sponsors at All Time Toys for setting me up with these guys for review.  If you’re looking for Marvel Legends, or other toys both old and new, please check out their website and their eBay storefront.

#2557: Domino

DOMINO

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

 

“With the mutant power to manipulate probabilities, the odds are always in Domino’s favor.”

Luck?  That’s her power?  Pretty sure luck’s not a super power.  I mean, what could luck as a power possibly do for you?  I mean, what’s gonna happen, is a character that’s B-list at best get a mass-release single-packaged figure from a movie where the title character and the arguable deuteragonist wound up in a two-pack and as a store exclusive respectively?  Wait, that’s…that’s exactly what happened.  Maybe luck’s a pretty good super power…which is my roundabout way of saying “let’s look at this Domino” figure.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Domino is a single-release in the X-Men movie sub-line of Hasbro’s Marvel Legends.  She’s one of three standard release single figures in the line-up so far, the other two being Mystique and Wolverine, both of whom seem much further up the list than Domino, who completes the main Deadpool trio whose other two pieces are currently not quite as readily available.  What a weird set-up, right?  Hey, I’m really not going to complain too much myself.  The figure stands 6 1/2 inches tall and she has 27 points of articulation.  The articulation scheme is really solid here.  It’s not terribly far removed from prior Legends female base bodies, but the range on the joints is generally a lot better, and they’re very well toleranced, meaning she keeps the poses without too much trouble.  She also stands pretty well, which is always a plus in my book.  The sculpt is an all-new affair, patterned on Domino’s main action-oriented appearance in Deadpool 2.  She’s got two different head sculpts,  one standard and one with goggles.  Both have a pretty solid likeness of Zazie Beetz, but I personally find the one with the goggles has just a touch more personality to it, and is subsequently my preferred of the two.  The body sculpt is fairly realistic and well-balanced in terms of proportions, and the detail work is nice and sharp.  Her costume details all look to be fairly spot on, and the articulation is well integrated.  In terms of paint work, I find Domino has a bit of a leg up on Cable, whose paint was a little uneven.  Here it’s pretty strong from start to finish, with clean work on both faces, as well as all of the important details being covered on her costume.  In particular, I really like the hair, which has been molded in a semi-translucent plastic and then been given some accent work on top of that.  It really helps to prevent the usual unnatural thickness that occurs with fuller hair styles, and allows light to pass through in a quasi-realistic way.  In addition to the previously mentioned extra head, Domino includes two sets of hands (gripping and fists), two MAC 10s, and a pistol.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

When Domino’s look was first shown off back before the movie’s release, I was a little iffy on some of the design choices they’d made, as I felt there were definitely some shortcuts taken that made her less of a comic-accurate creation than Deadpool himself had been in the prior film.  Because of this, I wasn’t sure what I’d think of this take on the character.  Then I saw the movie, and I was really impressed with Beetz’s take on the character, and she was ultimately one of my favorite aspects of the final product.  I was definitely happy to see her show up among the earliest X-Men movie stuff, and I’m even happier that the figure’s as solid a final product as it is.

Thanks to my sponsors at All Time Toys for setting me up with this figure for review.  If you’re looking for Marvel Legends, or other toys both old and new, please check out their website and their eBay storefront.

#2555: Mysterio

MYSTERIO

MARVEL LEGENDS RETRO COLLECTION (HASBRO)

“A cloud of smoke heralds the arrival of the villainous mastermind who uses the art of illusion against Spider-Man — Marvel’s Mysterio!”

Man, remember when the Lizard Series Mysterio was so easy to get and not stupid expensive and really illusive?  No?  Oh, that’s right, because that was never really the case.  From the moment he was released, that figure was always the first one pulled from any case and remained well above regular retail pricing for pretty much his entire shelf life, if you can really call it that.  I eventually got one, but it certainly wasn’t easy.  Since it was so darn hard to get him, it’s probably not a huge surprise that Hasbro’s already got a repaint of him out, just two years later.  I’m taking a look at that figure today.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Mysterio is his own standalone release for the Retro Collection sub-line of Marvel Legends, released to coincide with the recent Spider-Man-themed assortment.  Given how popular the last release was, singling him out was definitely the right call.  The figure stands 6 1/2 inches tall and he has 32 points of articulation.  Structurally, he’s *almost* identical to the prior comics Mysterio.  It was a pretty decent sculpt, and also a largely unique sculpt, so seeing Hasbro get some more mileage out of it makes sense.  It certainly looks impressive.  I’m still not overly fond of quite how the cape/helmet piece attaches, but I’ve had time to make my piece with that.  The only change to this figure’s sculpt is one that’s not evident at an outward glance: the head under the dome, which on the original figure was a skull/tentacle-illusion thing, has now been replaced by a sort of holographic Quentin Beck head (a repurposed Multiple Man head, for those that are curious).  I can dig both ideas, but I think I personally prefer the Beck head.  Beyond the un-helmeted head, the major change-up for this release is the paint work, which is, simply put, just a lot better this time around.  The helmet is now mostly opaque, allowing it to more properly capture the classic Mysterio look, and the jumpsuit’s impressive quilted sculpt is now much better showcased by the more intense accent work going on it.  Also, the gloves, boots, and clasps on the cape are all gold instead of light green, which is a slightly later look for the character but one that I think works better in toy form, as they add some extra pop to the figure.  Additionally, this figure avoids the clashing plastic colors of the last release, which again help him to just look a bit cleaner. Mysterio includes the two effects pieces for his feet, which are essentially the same between the two releases.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

After the difficulty of getting the last release, this one was, comparatively, much easier to acquire.  I wasn’t sure I was even going to get him at first, but I really liked the new look in person, and I definitely wanted that Beck head.  Ultimately, both figures have their merits, but this release is definitely the superior offering, and I’m glad to have it.

Thanks to my sponsors at All Time Toys for setting me up with this guy for review.  If you’re looking for Marvel Legends, or other toys both old and new, please check out their website and their eBay storefront.

#2554: Iron Man 2020

IRON MAN 2020

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

Arno Stark wields powerful weapons and a superior armor suit as Iron Man 2020.”

2020’s been such an onslaught of a year, it needs to have its own dedicated Iron Man.  Simply having the standard just wasn’t enough.  Introduced in 1984, Arno Stark was the distant first cousin of Tony, and was from a far off future, that none of us dared to even think of.  Man, remember when 2020 was far off and it couldn’t hurt us? Those were the days.  Arno, rather unsurprisingly, got a bit of a revival this year, this time as Tony’s previously unmentioned half brother, who takes over the Iron Man identity for a bit.  He also got an action figure, again rather unsurprisingly, although this one’s based on his classic design.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Iron Man 2020 is a Walgreens-exclusive Marvel Legends release, and was the first for this year.  He was shown off at Toy Fair, and started arrived in late spring/early summer.  The figure stands 6 1/2 inches tall and he has 32 points of articulation.  He uses the 80th Anniversary Iron Man figure as his starting point, which, given the similarities between the armors, and the general quality of the body, is a very sensible choice on Hasbro’s part.  He gets a new head and belt, as well as an all-new overlay for his chest piece.  It translates to a figure that does a pretty solid job of replicating the character’s comic appearance.  The head’s not too far removed from the standard classic Iron Man in design, but it does mix things up by making the faceplate a separate (albeit unremovable) piece, allowing for at least a glimpse at Arno’s eyes.  It’s a goofy look, but also an entirely accurate look for Iron Man 2020, who is admittedly pretty goofy looking.  With the overlay piece, I was definitely a little bit worried that it might be too free floating, but it actually stays in place pretty well, thanks to seating in place over the original sculpt’s unibeam.  The figure’s paintwork is pretty similar to the prior release as well, with the obvious changes for the new design elements, as well as the newly visible eyes.  Also, for some reason, they’ve molded the unibeam in a transparent yellow, a cool touch that will literally never be seen, since it’s completely covered by the overlay piece.  I shouldn’t even know it’s there, but somehow I do.  Iron Man 2020 includes the same two sets of hands as the 80th release, as well as the standard repulsor effects for his hands, and an all-new (well, at the time of the release, anyway) set of blast effects for his boot thrusters, which can work as single boosts, clipped into a supporting stand for each side, or all be joined together into one stand.  Sadly, there’s no unmasked head, so we don’t get to see Arno’s fabulous Snidley Whiplash mustache, but I guess he’s still got an okay selection of extras.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I’ve never really clicked much with the whole Iron Man 2020 thing, which is probably why I didn’t snag either of his previous figures, despite actively collecting both of the lines he was included in at the time of release.  Honestly, I wasn’t in much of a hurry to get this figure either, but I managed to find him on a quick stop-off for some other supplies at Walgreens, and he looked nice enough in person to be worth it.  Of course, I still couldn’t get excited enough to review him all that quickly, which is why it took my like five months to get this thing up here.  Hey, at least I got it up before the end of the year, right?

#2552: Wolverine Fang

WOLVERINE FANG

X-MEN (TOY BIZ)

“The adamantium-clawed Wolverine is the best there is at what he does – no matter what the venue! And, dressed in the guise of the Shi’ar Imperial Guardsman known as Fang, he intends to prove it – by doing battle with intergalactic evil on a cosmic scale!”

Wolverine’s had more than a few costume changes over the years, beginning with a somewhat unintentional change to his mask when Gil Kane drew up the cover to GSXM #1.  That one definitely stuck.  The ones that would follow had varying degrees of success.  Neither Dave Cockrum nor John Byrne was ever much for the tiger stripe design, and both attempted their own replacements.  Byrne’s was the brown costume, a rather successful alternate look for the character, which clung to the roots of the tiger stripe design.  Cockrum’s, introduced just before he left the book in issue #107, was more drastically different, and decidedly not quite as successful.  During a battle with the Shi’ar Imperial Guard, Logan’s costume is destroyed, and he has to quickly find a replacement, which he does by taking down the Guard’s own resident feral guy, Timber Wolf Fang, and stealing his threads.  It’s a unique look, to be sure, and when Toy Biz was looking for excuses for more Wolverine figures (before just deciding to start making stuff up), it proved worthy enough for inclusion as a toy.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Wolverine Fang was the Wolverine variant for the “Mutant Genesis” series, the tenth series of Toy Biz’s X-Men line.  It’s rather amusing that he didn’t arrive until two series after the Phoenix Saga, given that’s where the costume showed up in the comics.  However, not being in Fox’s animated adaptation of the story probably didn’t make it the most sensible inclusion there.  The figure stands 4 3/4 inches tall and he has 7 points of articulation.  While this figure was an all-new mold when he was released, the following year saw it repurposed as Savage Land Wolverine, a figure I looked at during the Day of the Wolverines.  As I noted when I reviewed that figure, this is probably the best Wolverine sculpt to come out of this line.  Certainly one of my favorites, and definitely the closest we ever saw to anything really approaching Cockrum’s style for this line.  The paint work on the figure is pretty decent, albeit pretty basic and straightforward.  It’s certainly very brown, which is pretty accurate.  Wolverine’s accessories are the same as Savage Land Wolverine, so the weapons tree of blades from Spy Wolverine and the two additional blades.  It’s a little bit overkill, what with him already having the claws, coupled with him only actually having one hand to actually grip things with.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Fang Wolverine was not a figure I personally had growing up, but he was my Dad’s Wolverine for his collection, and I rather fondly remember when he got that figure.  When I went on my first real dive back into Toy Biz Marvel the summer after my Freshman year of college, this guy was one of the very first figures I picked up.  Toy Biz figures were being cleared out at frankly insane prices on Amazon at the time, and that’s how I got him, along with a nice little thank you note post-it from the seller, which honestly made my day at the time.  This figure’s really strong, and remains a favorite.  I’d really love to see him updated for Legends.

#2545: Cameron Hodge

CAMERON HODGE

X-MEN (TOY BIZ)

“Once a mutant-hating businessman, Cameron Hodge had his entire body reconstructed into a biomechanical killing machine known as a Phalanx so that he could more readily pursue his murderous goal: the elimination of all mutants! Driven by hate and rage, Hodge is not the most stable of opponents – but his cybernetic abilities make him nonetheless a lethal one!”

Cameron Hodge was a good example of X-Men‘s ability to allow a recurring background character to really grow over the years, beginning as a seeming ally to the main heroes in the pages of X-Factor, before being revealed to be just as much of a bigot as some of the worst “normal” humans the mutants met.  After his original arc ended with his demise, he was eventually revived by the Phalanx, and wound up playing a role in a few more cross-overs, as well allowing him to play the role of main antagonist in one of the cartoons best episodes (I may be projecting some personal feelings onto that one).  And, since he did a bunch of stuff in the X-Men comics in the ’90s, of course he got a toy!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Cameron Hodge was released in 1995, as part of the “Mutant Genesis” Series, the tenth series of Toy Biz’s X-Men line.  Believe it or not, Hodge was probably one of the best known characters in that particular assortment, which had some serious second and third stringers.  The figure stands 5 inches tall and he has 8 points of articulation.  Hodge is based on his appearance post-Phalanx-assimilation, which was firstly a relevant choice for when this figure hit shelves, and secondly a far more interesting choice than any of his other designs when it came to making toys.  Also, he looks like he’s got a thing of french fries on his head, and who doesn’t love that?  His sculpt was totally unique to him, which I guess makes sense, because, really, who’s he going to share with?  He definitely endorses the general bulking up of the line, which was getting near to critical mass at this paint.  Hodge was usually depicted as a little skinnier, but given the shape-shifting properties of the Phalanx, it’s not a crazy concept.  I particularly like the head on this figure, which does a solid job capturing Hodge’s particularly manic personality.  Cameron’s paint work is probably his weakest point, largely due to an issue of translation of what’s on the page into reality.  The technoarganic nature of the Phalanx just doesn’t look quite as impressive when it’s all just a rather unappealing yellow.  Later takes on the concept would make it work a bit better.  Hodge’s one accessory is a pump that plugs into the very large and very obvious spot on his back.  What does it do?  It lets him squirt water out of his gun hand, of course.  You know, like in the comics!

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

As much as I liked “Phalanx Covenant”, I never had much interest in this toy as a kid, and as such it went un-purchased by me for a rather long stretch of time.  I even avoided picking him up during my first real return to the line during college.  It wasn’t until very recently that I picked this figure up, and it was mostly because I was already picking up a bunch of other stuff, if I’m honest.  He’s not bad.  Not very exciting, but also not bad.  I’d say he’s better than I’d expected, in fact.

#2541: Spider-Man

SPIDER-MAN

MARVEL LEGENDS RETRO COLLECTION (HASBRO)

“Bitten by a radioactive spider, Peter Parker now possesses all the arachnid’s attributes­­—he’s the Amazing Spider-Man!”

Long-running, ever-improving lines have a pretty much unending need to keep updating those core characters, lest they fall behind and look out of place with the latest releases.  Also, core versions of main characters have a tendency to get really pricey the further you get away from their initial release.  In 2015, Hasbro produced a standard Spider-Man update for their newly rebranded Marvel Legends line.  Dubbed “Pizza Spidey” by the fans (due to the slice of pizza he included as an accessory), he was the gold standard for Spider-Man figures for five years.  But, even with two separate releases a couple of years apart, he remained fairly tricky to acquire for a decent price on the after market.  Faced with the prospect of needing to do another re-issue, Hasbro instead has decided to re-invent the wheel and set a new gold standard for Spider-Men.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Spider-Man is the final figure in the latest round of Marvel Legends Retro Collection figures.  He’s been by far the most in-demand of the whole assortment, so one might be forgiven for not even realizing he’s supposed to be shipping with the rest of the set.  The figure stands 6 1/4 inches tall and he has 36 points of articulation.  That makes him Hasbro’s most articulated standard Spider-Man (6-Arm does slightly edge him out, by virtue of his, uh, six arms), by a few points.  But simply having a high count doesn’t mean anything if the posability’s not there, so how’s the actual range of motion?  Not bad.  His articulation design takes a page out of Hasbro’s Classified Series and Lightning Collection figures, and gives Spidey a ball joint/ab-crunch combo on his torso, as well as a set of drop hips.  All of this is in addition to the highly articulated arms and legs from the 2099 mold, as well as an incorporating of that mold’s very useful butterfly shoulders.  About the only joint I’m not super jazzed by is the neck joint, which isn’t terrible, but also isn’t quite as posable as I’d hoped.  I’d really like to have seen the Classified-style neck joint crop up here.  Also, another slight tick against the figure is one less about him personally, and more about the overall planning of the line.  Hasbro just introduced the pinless double joints on a couple of their figures, which is something that would have finally fixed the issue of Spidey’s inner arms always having those jarring red pins sticking out.  Sadly, this figure just missed the boat on those, and still has the issue.  It would have really pushed the whole “new gold standard” just a bit further if Hasbro had managed to get that new styling on this figure as well.  The actual sculpted details are pretty basic.  He’s still using a lot of the 2099 mold, but with the new torso and head, which match pretty well to that build.  It makes him more of a John Romita Sr-style Spidey, which is exactly what a number of fans (my self included) were hoping to see.  On the color work, aside from the somewhat annoying peg issue I already discussed, this figure does also have a few issues with bleed over on the transitions from red to blue.  Fortunately, they’re pretty minor, and he does look pretty solid overall.  They definitely got the classic color scheme down well.  Spidey is packed with a second head, with slightly squintier eyes (pushing the Romita look a little more), as well as two sets of hands, one in fists, and the other in thwipping pose.  No open gesture hands or pizza does knock him down slightly in my eyes, but this isn’t a bad set-up.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I was a really big fan of Pizza Spidey…like a really big fan.  So the prospect of replacing him was iffy for me.  Sure, he looked cool, and all, but could he really be that much better?  Is he really cool?  Absolutely!  Is he a great standard Spider-Man?  Yeah!  Is he a better standard Spidey than Pizza Spidey?  Honestly, no.  They both bring cool stuff to the table.  The posabilty is better on this guy for sure, and I dig the Romita look, but the streamlining on the accessories and the fact that he still hasn’t fixed the elbow issues makes him feel like more of lateral move than anything.

Thanks to my sponsors at All Time Toys for setting me up with this guy for review.  If you’re looking for Marvel Legends, or other toys both old and new, please check out their website and their eBay storefront.

#2540: Green Goblin

GREEN GOBLIN

MARVEL LEGENDS RETRO COLLECTION (HASBRO)

“One of the few who knows that Spider-Man is really Peter Parker, the Green Goblin is perhaps the web-slinger’s greatest foe.”

Every good hero’s gotta have their nemesis.  Sometimes you gotta have multiple nemeses, in succession, just in case people get tired of the last one.  That seems to be Spider-Man’s deal.  Perhaps his biggest contender for that nemesis title, however, is Norman Osborne, the Green Goblin…except for when he’s Iron Patriot…or the Goblin King… or Red Goblin…look, he jumps around a bit.  Green Goblin’s really where he’s at his best, though.  Subsequently, most of his toys are of that persona.  So, let’s jump into the latest version of it, shall we?

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Green Goblin is the fifth figure in the recent Spider-Man-themed Marvel Legends Retro Collection assortment.  This is main stream Green Goblin’s second figure under Hasbro’s current Legends run; the first was in the Sandman Series back in 2017.  While that one went for a more modern interpretation of the character’s design, this one instead opts for a much more classic appearance, akin to what Toy Biz did with their Legends Green Goblin, as well as more cleanly tying into the loose Animated Series feel of this line-up.  The figure stands 6 1/4 inches tall and he has 32 points of articulation.  Most of this figure’s sculpt is shared with the Sandman Series version.  That one was a pretty solid offering when it was released, and it still holds up pretty well, so I’ve got no real complaints there.  He does get a new head sculpt, which aims for that more classic mask design.  While I appreciated the prior figure for trying something a little bit different, this is ultimately the styling I was far more interested in for the character.  It’s got that really clean, somewhat cartoony classic appearance, but still has a lot of sharp detailing going on, resulting in a really strong head sculpt.  Goblin also gets a new collar piece, which, while a far more minor addition that the new head, is still a nice piece, and helps to really complete the look just a little bit more.  My only wish is that is was actually secured in place some how.  Another area where this figure really changes things up is the paint.  The last two Legends Goblins have been really subdued in their color schemes, and that’s really been my main complaint for both of them.  This one just goes for full-on crazy bright colors, and I am just all about it.  My only complaint is that the pupils placement on the eyes does seem slightly off from where it should be, but that’s somewhat minor.  Goblin is packed with the same glider and pumpkin bomb as the Sandman Series figure, but also gets an unmasked Norman head to swap out for the mask.  It’s a more calm and collected Norman, which makes it perfect for popping on one of the suited bodies, if you want a more civilian Norman to plague your Marvel Universe.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

The old Toy Biz Legends figure is one of their best, and the first Hasbro attempt took a different enough take on him that it wasn’t really a replacement.  I’ve been waiting for a slightly more proper replacement since, and this one ends up being a bit more up my alley.  The classic head’s awesome, and even more awesome is the classic color scheme, which I’ve been waiting 14 years to get.  I’m glad to finally have him!

Thanks to my sponsors at All Time Toys for setting me up with this guy for review.  If you’re looking for Marvel Legends, or other toys both old and new, please check out their website and their eBay storefront.