#2805: Firestar

FIRESTAR

MARVEL UNIVERSE (TOY BIZ)

NOTE: This review was written before June 6th.

It wasn’t terribly long ago I was discussing the creation of Firestar, a Marvel character that *didn’t* make her first appearance in the comics, but rather on Spider-Man & His Amazing Friends.  Despite being a rather popular show, Amazing Friends never got any direct toy tie-ins.  And, while that’s not so big a deal for the likes of Spider-Man and Ice Man, whose comic-counterparts had plenty of notoriety on their own, for Firestar, whose comic version has never had quite the same prominence, it made her more difficult to place for toy coverage.  As such, her very first action figure came not as a mass release, but rather as a mail-way exclusive, which I’ll be taking a look at today!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Firestar was the mail-away offer for ToyFare #2, made available to offer in October of 1997, and arriving the following spring.  Interestingly, while both Firestar and the immediate follow-up, Wonder Man, would gain prominence via membership in Busiek and Perez’s line-up for their relaunch of Avengers, that wouldn’t be until roughly a year after their releases, making it somewhat coincidental.  Much like Wonder Man, Firestar had no direct ties to any of Toy Biz’s currently running lines, making her another one-off.  The figure stands about 5 inches tall and she has 10 points of articulation.  Firestar was a total repaint, specifically of the Medusa figure from the Fantastic Four line.  It’s admittedly not one of Toy Biz’s finest.  The articulation’s kind of wonky, as are the proportions, and she’s also got a lot of sculpted details for her costume that don’t correspond to Firestar.  On the plus side, the lack of volume to the hair is at least less of an issue here, and, honestly, her being stuck in this pose with her arms sort of raised, does at least work better for Firestar than it did for Medusa.  In general, I do feel like the sculpt works better as Firestar, which is odd, because it’s so clearly not for Firestar.  Really, everything about this sculpt just continues to be weird.  The paint work is fairly sparse.  For the most part, she’s just molded in the proper colors, mostly the yellow, though the hair is molded in the proper red.  Beyond that, the paint’s decent enough.  Firestar had no accessories, but that was fairly standard with these releases.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

As I mentioned in the Legends review, Firestar’s always been a favorite of mine.  I didn’t actually order this figure new, however, and she was one of those ones that had sort of a silly value for a while during my primary time collecting Toy Biz Marvel.  Instead, I wound up finally getting her during my period of getting back into 5-inch Marvel just after starting college.  I found her on a dealer’s table at Mego Meet of all places, and wound up getting her for something silly, like $5.  She’s not great.  She’s not even particularly good.  But, she’s an alright stand-in for the character, and she was our only Firestar for far too long.  All that said, the sting of this figure is certainly lessened by the existence of the Legends release from earlier this year.

#2798: Wonder Man

WONDER MAN

MARVEL UNIVERSE (TOY BIZ)

NOTE: This review was written before June 6th.

I was just talking about Hulu’s M.O.D.O.K. earlier this week, so why not talk about it a little bit more?  The show brings in a lot of slightly more obscure characters, and does some fun stuff with them.  Amongst those characters is Simon Williams, aka Wonder Man, who is voiced by Nathan Fillion (who was previous supposed to cameo as Williams in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, but had his role cut), and who serves as the rebound fling for M.O.D.O.K.’s wife Jodie.  As someone who’s been a Wonder Man fan since way before it was even approaching cool to be a Wonder Man fan (which, honestly, is any time before, like the last month), I was thrilled to see him show up, and loved the hell out of Fillion in the role.  I’d still love to see him pull it off in live action, though.  Wonder Man’s actually had a small handful of figures over the years, but today, I’m going back to the beginning and taking a look at his very first!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Wonder Man was the exclusive mail-away offer in ToyFare #3, made available for order in November of 1997, and shipping out the following spring.  Interestingly, the character was actually still dead at the time of the figure’s release, although his return in the third volume of Avengers would wind up happening in the same year as this figure’s official release, by coincidence no doubt.  While Havok had ties to the X-Men line specifically, Wonder Man was a far more open-ended figure, since there was no dedicated Avengers line at the time.  Unlike the later figures, he got no fancy package and just shipped in a plain white mailer.  The figure stands just over 5 inches tall and he has 9 points of articulation.  Wonder Man’s sculpt is a complete re-use, namely of Archangel II, minus the wings, of course.  As I’ve discussed before, it was a sculpt that Toy Biz rather liked.  It’s not a terrible choice for Wonder Man, especially for that late ’80s, John Byrne West Coast Avengers look they seemed to be aiming for.  The head sculpt’s still a little bit wonky, and he’s got the remnants of the wing-flapping mechanism on his back still.  But, for a straight repaint, he actually really works, so I’ve got to give them some serious props on that.  The paint work’s fairly straight forward on this guy, but it certainly gets the job done, and conveys his design properly.  Wonder Man included no accessories, but he certainly falls into that territory of “what would you give him?”

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I think I’ve mentioned this before, but Busiek and Perez’s relaunch of Avengers was happening right as I got into reading comics, and my dad was picking it up and letting me read it with him.  Wonder Man’s return is kind of a notable part of that, and I definitely gained an attachment to the character through that.  I remember that there was a comic store near my parents’ house that had this figure in their glass case, for the unthinkable price of, like $25, and I used to stare at it all the time, but never got it.  My dad wound up getting me this one as, I believe, and Easter gift, more than likely in 2000 or so.  His nature as a repaint makes him a little iffy, but ultimately, he does work pretty well.

#2797: Captain America

CAPTAIN AMERICA

MARVEL LEGENDS RETRO (HASBRO)

NOTE: This review was written before June 6th.

“The shield for Freedom and Liberty, Captain America is the star-spangled avenger with super solider abilities!”

When Super 7 and Funko revived the vintage Kenner style back in 2013, they leaned pretty hard into it, and a handful of other companies joined in, giving the style as a whole something of a revival.  While it’s died down somewhat in the eight years since, in the last couple of years, Hasbro, who actually own the rights to the Kenner name and other assets, got in on it too.  They started with some reissues of the original Star Wars figures, along with one new figure for each assortment.  At the end of last year, they expanded the set-up to include Marvel…despite the fact that Kenner never actually made any Marvel figures.  Ah, let’s not get stuck on that.  The line began as an exclusive to Hasbro Pulse, but is finally getting a wider release.  I’m taking a look at the Captain America today, just to try the line out.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Captain America is part of the first mass release assortment of Marvel Legends Retro (a name that is shared with the 6″ figures in retro packaging as well, once again showcasing Hasbro’s perverse love of giving the same name to a bunch of very different products, seemingly to only cause confusion for the retailers and consumers), and is also re-packed in the second assortment as well.  Before that, he was one of the figures in the Pulse-exclusive launch, although the package on that one was slightly different to denote the earlier release.  While I don’t usually talk about packaging here, I do think this one warrants it, because it’s actually a very attractive package.  Each character gets their own completely unique set of graphics, and they’re just very eye-catching.  I have two notable complaints, though.  Firstly, the lack of cross-sell on the back makes it difficult to track who’s in the line, and secondly, they aren’t really designed for any sort of resealability.  I know that would violate the Kenner homage slightly, but it did really give me a dilemma about opening Cap.  But, of course, what good am I as a reviewer if I don’t open my toys?  The sacrifices I make, right?  (Ultimately, I ended up cutting it open at the bottom, so I can slide the inner tray in and out without it being too obvious it’s open)  Once you’ve destroyed the beautiful work of art that houses the figure, you’ll find that he stands about 3 3/4 inches tall and he has 7 points of articulation.  He’s got the usual Kenner 5POA, plus swivels at the wrists, which is kind of nifty, I suppose.  The extra wrist joints are more there because the gloves need to be separate pieces (as do the boots, though they aren’t articulated) due to the construction of the figures in the line.  A number of them are built from a base body, which Cap makes use of.  It’s a rather basic hero build, and it works perfectly fine for the figures we’ve gotten so far.  The boots are shared with Cyclops, but the head and gloves are unique to Cap at this time.  They’re decent enough pieces, though not exactly heavy on detailing.  Despite the lack of said detailing, it’s worth noting that they don’t really fall into the classic Kenner stylings either.  He occupies something of a middle ground, placing him more on par with Hasbro’s more recent 5POA Star Wars figures than Kenner’s.  It’s not a bad look, mind you, but it just further pushes the question of what the heck the audience for these figures is supposed to be.  Cap’s paint work is fairly basic, but that’s to be expected.  There’s a little bit of slop on some of the transitions, but for the most part, it works pretty well.  Cap gets one accessory: his shield.  It’s a bit on the smaller side, but that’s kind of expected, I suppose, given the scale and style.  What I found kind of weird is that, even though there’s a peg hole on his back, there’s no peg on the shield, so it can’t be attached that way.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

When these figures showed up on Pulse, I was intrigued, but not enough to actually go to the trouble of ordering them, especially with the two-pack set-up they had going on.  Once they went to mass retail, and All Time was able to get them in, I happily snagged Cap here just to try things out.  Ultimately, I’m a bit baffled by this figure.  He’s not bad.  Like, I honestly quite like him.  But, at the same time, there’s a lot of questions as to why?  If you’re going to go for a retro Marvel line, why not go with Secret Wars or even Toy Biz stylings?  Or, if you want to stick to Kenner, why not do a Super Powers-inspired set of Marvel figures?  That’d be pretty cool, wouldn’t it?  But putting them at 3 3/4 and then not even fully committing to the vintage Kenner stylings for that is a weird choice.  I really want to like this line, but I don’t really see it having major legs going forward.  But, I guess we’ll just see how it goes.

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

#2796: M.O.D.O.K.

M.O.D.O.K.

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

NOTE: This review was written before June 6th.

“The freak product of intense scientific experimentation, the living computer M.O.D.O.K. now sits atop a vast empire of criminal co-conspirators bent on world domination.”

About three weeks ago, Hulu dropped Marvel’s M.O.D.O.K., an animated sitcom starring Patton Oswalt as the titular character, which re-envisions the character as the head of a dysfunctional family, because it’s an adult animation comedy, and we don’t really have another mold to poor those into yet.  Slight jests aside, I binged the show when it dropped and I rather enjoyed it, and all of its deep-reach Marvel in-jokes.  M.O.D.O.K. himself is finally getting into a greater spotlight, after being just on the fringe for several years.  And, no doubt in an effort to tie in with the show, he’s just gotten a Legends update courtesy of Hasbro.  How kind of them.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

M.O.D.O.K. is a single one-off release for Marvel Legends.  He’s kinda like a deluxe figure, but even more so.  He’s like a super deluxe.  Or a two-pack that’s secretly just one figure, only it’s not even a secret.  He’s at the two-pack price point is the main thing I’m getting at here.  This is our second M.O.D.O.K. Legends figure, following Toy Biz’s version from way back in their final assortment.  That one was very good for its time, and holds up pretty well, but it’s been 15 years, and that one’s hard to get these days.  This one’s kinda like a Build-A-Figure whose parts are all sold in one box, because you’ve actually got to put him together after taking him out of the box.  When fully assembled with blast and everything, the figure stands 8 1/2 inches tall and he has 25 points of articulation.  M.O.D.O.K.’s articulation is impressive for what he is, which is floating head with arms and legs sticking out of it.  The movement on the limbs has a good range, and there’s even some slight posability to the blast effect base, as well as the control stick on the left side.  The base does lean a little bit to one side on my figure, but not terribly so, and he still stays fairly stable.  M.O.D.O.K.’s sculpt is, predictably, an all-new affair.  It’s quite impressive from a technical standpoint.  There are a lot of clean technical work on the body, and he’s got two different faceplates to swap out, one calm, one expressive, both of which really capture his ugly visage. The only downside is that you pretty much have to fully disassemble his body to swap the faces out, which is a little involved.  Of course, it means they don’t fall out too easily, so that’s a plus.  The paint work on this guy is quite good.  A lot of molded colors, of course, but there’s some really nice, quite subtle accenting on the gold sections, as well as some very nice work on the faces, giving them a nice lifelike quality.  In addition to the swappable face plates, M.O.D.O.K. also features two sets of hands, one in open gesture, and the other a fist/gripping combo.  It’s not a ton, but he’s a fairly sizable figure on his own, and his assembly literally fills the entirety of the box he comes in.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

The Toy Biz M.O.D.O.K. was from the era when my brother and I were splitting the BaFs depending on who wanted them more, so he wound up with that one.  At the time I didn’t really mind, because I was so-so on M.O.D.O.K. at the time.  Over the years, I’ve grown to appreciate the character a little more, but that old BaF was kinda pricey, so I just didn’t worry about it.  This guy offered a much easier acquisition, which ultimately worked out far better for me.  He’s really just an improvement on the original in every way, and I think a very solid addition to the line.

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

#2795: Mr. Hyde

MR. HYDE

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

NOTE: This review was written before June 6th.

So, you know how I was talking about the lack of staying power behind the various Shang-Chi supporting players?  Well, that’s kind of coming to a head here, because for the assortment that is arguably supposed to be a Shang-Chi assortment, rather than getting a Shang-Chi related Build-A-Figure, we instead get Mr. Hyde.  Mr. Hyde isn’t actually the character from Robert Luis Stevenson’s literary tale, but is rather Calvin Zabo, someone who just models himself after Stevenson’s character.  He began as a Thor villain, but did the usual Marvel thing of getting passed around a bit, ultimately rattling around in the background of the Marvel universe for a while.  He also appeared on Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., portrayed by Kyle MacLachlan, which was pretty cool.  Be it in comics, or in other medium, I don’t know that he’s ever directly interacted with Shang-Chi, but his multi-purpose appeal does help somewhat there.  Maybe they’ll run into each other some time in the future.  But now he’s finally got an action figure, so that’s cool.  Let’s have a look at it.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Mr. Hyde is the Build-A-Figure for the latest set of Marvel Legends, which was designed to be a tie-in with Shang-Chi, but, again, direct ties are limited here.  The figure stands about 8 inches tall and he has 27 points of articulation.  Design wise, he’s a slightly more modern Hyde, based on his look from his stint in Thunderbolts, as well as his look from the Avengers Alliance game.  It’s a fairly evergreen design, and kind of ties him more into those literary roots.  He’s got quite a number of parts in common with the Joe Fixit figure, which was somewhat anticipated when that figure was shown off.  It’s a big guy in a suit, so it makes sense.  He uses the lower half and arms from that figure, with his own head, hands, and torso.  The new pieces do a good job of converting him into the intended design, and the head and hands in particular are quite expressive.  I also really dig the little touches, such as the suspenders beneath his coat and vest, in a spot where no one’s ever really going to see them.  The paint work on Mr. Hyde is generally pretty straight forward.  The greens are mostly just molded, but it’s a good shade that matches well with his usual coloring.  The work on the hands and head is pretty impressive, with some subtle work on the accenting to give him that slightly hairier appearance.  It helps with making him look even more monstrous.  I’m not quite sure about the eyes; the pupils seem maybe a little too large?  I don’t know, I typically don’t think of him having the pupils at all, so it’s all weird territory for me.  Not that it’s inaccurate, mind you, just not my personal preferred look.  Though he’s a Build-A-Figure, and accessories aren’t standard for them, Mr. Hyde is nonetheless armed with his cane, which is cool, because he’d feel a bit incomplete without it, honestly.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

My familiarity with Mr. Hyde largely stems from his time with the Thunderbolts, which was also the same run that gave me a big appreciation for Boomerang, so I was definitely down for this figure.  I was kind of expecting him after Kingpin and Fixit gave us bulked up suit bodies, and he’s a welcome addition to the line.  The figure’s pretty fun.  I do kind of wish he had the blanked out eyes, or maybe they could have done two different heads, for extra options like on a few of the other recent BaFs.  Whatever the case, he’s still a solid offering as-is.

This assortment was a weird experience for me, due to the whole bit of not actually knowing much about it going in.  Hyde as the Build-A-Figure definitely helped to sell me on grabbing the whole set, which was ultimately for the best, because there are some nice figures included within.  It’s hard to say how the set’s going to do in the longer run, because the movie figures are still a bit of a mystery with only the one trailer to go on.  In terms of ranking, the non-movie ones did more for me at this junction.  Civil Warrior was definitely my personal favorite, with Tony and Hyde being close behind.  Xialing was my favorite of the movie figures, though Wenwu was pretty solid too.  Shang-Chi is okay, but that killer comic version from last year’s hard to top.  Death Dealer’s the only one in the set I didn’t really get much out of.  Perhaps the movie will change my opinion on that.

#2794: Tony Stark – A.I.

TONY STARK — A.I.

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

NOTE: This review was written before June 6th.

“After a tragic battle, Tony Stark lives on in digital form as a hologram at the helm of a high-powered robotic suit of armor.”

It’s time to bring back Tony Stark to life!  …yuck, okay, sorry guys, I can’t let that grammatical monstrosity stand.  It’s just…wrong.  Sure is a good thing that it’s only here on my website, and no one’s spent serious money on placing it on a billboard or something.  That would be super embarrassing.  Moving on.  So, following his body going comatose, Tony Stark’s consciousness continued on as an A.I. for a bit, mostly serving as an assistant to Riri Williams’ Iron Heart, but occasionally “suiting up” on his own and occupying a more classic Iron Man armor.  One of things is more inherently toy-etic than the other, which is why we’re looking at an armored up A.I. Tony figure today!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Tony Stark (A.I.) is figure 6 in the Mr. Hyde Series of Marvel Legends.  He’s the second non-Shang-Chi figure in the line-up, and the last single-packed figure in the set.  While Iron Man classically doesn’t have much to do with Shang-Chi, he *is* the Mandarin’s usual nemesis, so there’s at least a little bit of a tie there.  Certainly more of one than there was for Civil Warrior, and honestly, it’s more sensible than the other Iron Men we’ve gotten shoved into unrelated movie assortments.  The figure stands 6 1/2 inches tall and he has 32 points of articulation.  From a structural stand-point, this guy’s mostly a parts re-use from the 80th Iron Man, which is fairly sensible, given that the A.I. occupied a replica of Tony’s classic armor.  It’s honestly the best sculpt Hasbro’s produced for an Iron Man, and the definitive take on the classic armor, so it’s a solid choice.  Right out of the box, he’s not sporting the helmeted head, since they want to show off the hologram set-up.  So, he’s got an all-new unmasked head, designed to replicate the slightly more modern Tony that the A.I. was patterned after.  It’s a nice piece, and is quite distinctly different from other unmasked Tonys.  It’s not really my brand of Tony, personally, but it’s accurate to the source material.  He’s also got the standard classic helmeted head from the 80th figure, which was certainly the best head from that set.  The major change-up for this release is color scheme.  While the 80th figure was going for more of an Alex Ross-inspired, darker colored and metallic scheme, this one is done in flat colors.  It gives us a nice, more comic-styled red and yellow color scheme.  There’s a slightly more modernized aspect to it, with the blue for the eyes, mouth, and arc reactor, but otherwise, it feels very classic 70s.  I really like the new color scheme, and it does the sculpt a lot of justice.  In addition to having the two heads I mentioned previously, Tony also includes the two sets of hands from the 80th release, as well as a pair of repulser effects, done up in blue to match the holo head.  Also included is the right leg of the Mr. Hyde Build-A-Figure.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

As much as I loved the three 80th Avengers (and believe me, I did love them), the one thing I did notice about all three was how subdued the colors were.  I’ve been hoping to see some slightly more classically colored repaints.  Iron Man’s a good proof of concept on that, without being a straight re-release.  The colors really pop on this figure, and add a new life to him.  I genuinely don’t know which of the two I prefer, and that’s kind of a dilemma for me…

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

#2793: Civil Warrior

CIVIL WARRIOR

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

“In an alternate Earth ravaged by civil war, Captain America assumes the mantle of Civil Warrior.”

If there’s one thing alternate realities have taught us, it’s that Cap’s side winning Civil War always results in him getting some sick-ass armor.  This just furthers that his side was the morally correct one the whole time, because how could you NOT want the sick-ass armor?  In the mobile game, Contest of Champions, Cap actually gives himself a whole new identity upon dawning his armor, the Civil Warrior.  He may fight, but he’s gonna do it very civilly, I guess. And he’s also gonna get a Marvel Legend, because that’s just how he do.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Civil Warrior is figure 5 in the Mr. Hyde Series of Marvel Legends.  He’s one of the two non-Shang-Chi based figures in the assortment, as well as being the only figure in the set under the “Gamerverse” branding.  He definitely feels like something of an odd man out in this assortment, since he’s got no real ties to anything else thematically.  He’s kind of like the Black Bolt and Sub Mariner figures from the Okoye Series in that respect, I guess.  And just like those two figures, I’m not going to complain too much about getting him.  The figure stands 6 1/2 inches tall and he has 32 points of articulation.  Structurally, Civil Warrior is almost identical to the Hydra Supreme figure from 2019.  It’s sensible, since the two designs are just the same apart from colors.  It’s also nice because it was a really nice sculpt to begin with, and I’m happy to see it show up again.  The only change-up to this release is that he reverts back to Taskmaster‘s gripping style hands, instead of the Iron Man hands.  I’m not entirely sure why they made the change, but it’s kind of a lateral move, I suppose.  The largest change-up for this figure is, of course, the color scheme, which is now a more traditionally Captain America-y color scheme, as opposed to the prior Hydra colors.  It’s pretty straight forward, but it looks really nice, and honestly I think it works even better with the sculpt than the Hydra colors did.  The other notable change-up for the figure comes in the form of the shield.  Since Civil Warrior has a more traditional style Cap shield than Hydra Cap, the piece included here reflects that.  It’s an all-new piece, which was admittedly a little bit surprising.  It’s quite a nice piece, and the detailing on the arc reactor is cool.  The shield’s still got the peg for mounting on the figure’s back, but there’s no corresponding spot for it on the figure, which is a little odd.  Also included with this figure is the head to the Mr. Hyde Build-A-Figure.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

In my review of Hydra Supreme, I ended by saying I hoped we might get this recolor of the sculpt.  It took a little bit longer than I’d expected, but that doesn’t make it less cool that we finally got him.  I really liked the Hydra Supreme figure when he hit, but this one does him even better.  The traditional colors really work, and he’s just a lot of fun.  As simple as he is, he’s honestly my favorite figure in the set, because he just does what he does really well.

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

#2791: Havok

HAVOK

X-MEN (TOY BIZ)

In the Series 3 of Toy Biz’s X-Men line, the original line-up included a Havok figure, who, like US Agent and Adam Warlock later would be, was cut from the line-up due to the slow-roll of scaling back how many figures were in each assortment.  Unlike those two, however, Havok was scrapped before getting to the prototyping stage, so the only thing we saw of him was an illustration of his head alongside the others in the assortment on the card backs for that set.  While Havok would of course make his way into the line proper several years later as part of the Invasion Series, that was after he had changed over to his X-Factor team uniform.  His classic attire would go un-produced for another six years, when it would finally make its way into toy form as an exclusive through ToyFare magazine.  I’ll be looking at that figure today.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Havok was offered up as an exclusive mail-away figure in ToyFare #16, officially going up for order at the end of 1998, and arriving to collectors in early 1999.  Though clearly designed to accent Toy Biz’s ongoing X-Men line, the only branding on his fairly simple white box was his own name and the ToyFare logo.  Honestly, it was a bit surprising that he got anything at all, as earlier figures had just been in plain white boxes.  The figure stands 5 1/2 inches tall and he has an impressive 16 points of articulation.  Havok is based on the body of the Spider-Man line’s Daredevil, one of Toy Biz’s very best bodies from their 5-inch days, not only on a sculpt front, but especially on an articulation front.  It also was a fairly blank canvas, which made it a decent starting point for Havok.  There are some remnant details for the glove, boot, and belt lines, but given that he’s all black, they’re easy enough to look past.  Havok’s head sculpt is borrowed from Black Bolt, but with the tuning fork on the head removed and replaced with Havok’s usual head gear.  That head gear does have a tendency to come loose if you’re not careful, and the actual head’s eye holes on the mask don’t line up with Havok’s, but it’s generally an okay set-up, and certainly good given the standards for prior exclusives up to this point.  Havok’s paint work is fairly basic, but follows the design well.  It does have to contend with the sculpt not matching with the paint on the head, but it could be worse.  It hits the right notes, and that’s what’s important.  Havok included no accessories, but I’m honestly not sure what he could have gotten.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

It’s again a Havok figure’s fault for a huge chunk of my collecting.  I know; you’re all terribly surprised.  I already had the main line Havok by this point, but when this guy was announced as an exclusive and I read about it on my main source for toy news, one Raving Toy Maniac, I was all about getting him, which meant buying my first issue of this weird ToyFare thing.  Upon reading this weird ToyFare thing, I was pretty well hooked, and got myself a subscription, which I hung onto until rather close to the end of the magazine’s publication.  It undoubtedly was responsible for me being as up-to-date with toys as I was at the time, and got me buying plenty of things I would have otherwise not even known had existed.  Havok himself is a pretty nice little figure.  Sure, he’s mostly repaint, but he’s a good repaint, and probably one of the stronger 5-inch Marvel exclusives from ToyFare.

#2790: Death Dealer

DEATH DEALER

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

“Death Dealer is one of the most formidable opponents Shang-Chi has ever faced.”

Well, that’s *wonderfully* descriptive, isn’t it?  Just tells you everything you want to know about the guy, right?  Okay, let’s be real here, though: who’s Death Dealer?  Without the movie to back us up yet, the current answer is that he’s a relatively obscure Shang-Chi villain from the ’80s.  He appeared in four issues total, and was killed at the end of them.  There’s not a ton to it beyond that.  This being the MCU, it’s possible they may add some more depth to the character, or it’s possible they may just have him as a henchman for Shang-Chi’s father (which was pretty much his original role, anyway).  Time will tell.  I the mean time, how about an action figure?

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Death Dealer is figure 4 in the Mr. Hyde Series of Marvel Legends, where he’s the fourth and final movie figure in the line-up.  The figure stands 6 1/2 inches tall and has 30 points of articulation.  In terms of articulation and movement, Death Dealer is definitely the most restricted figure in the set.  A lot of that comes down to the nature of the construction, namely the fact that a good chunk of the figure isn’t actually new.  The head, arms, and torso overlay piece are new, but everything else has been re-used from the Cull Obsidian Series Ant-Man.  It’s kind of an odd choice for re-use, since the two characters don’t really feel like they’d be sharing a lot of parts, and Ant-Man’s parts are kind of distinctive.  The majority of the torso being hidden under the robe piece certainly helps a bit, as the legs are at least a little more generic, but ultimately, it just feels kinda weird.  Also, the robe being an overlay, rather than integrated into the main figure means it’s a) a bit bulky and b) very restricting to the torso movement.  Neither of those things is super fun.  The new head and arms are, at least, a little more accurate, I suppose.  The arms still have those exposed pins, but that’s just true of all of these figures, so it’s not like it’s a surprise or anything at this point.  They’re nicely sculpted pieces, with some sharp detail and texturing work, which helps this guy fit in with the rest of the assortment.  The paint work on Death Dealer is pretty basic work for the most part.  It’s a pretty good color scheme, and certainly the most colorful of the movie figures, so it’s got that going for it.  The application is cleanly handled, and it’s generally pretty eye catching.  He doesn’t get any of the printing, since his face isn’t exposed, but it’s still pretty clean.  Death Dealer is one of the lightest packed figures in the series when it comes to accessories.  He’s got two sets of hands (open gesture, R throwing kunai, L holding kunai), and the left arm to Mr. Hyde.  Given how light he is on new parts in general, it’s a shame they couldn’t throw in a few more extras.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Being only minorly versed in Shang-Chi, I wasn’t familiar with Death Dealer before this figure.  I’m still not super familiar, but I’m about as familiar with him as anyone else not involved with the movie’s production.  Death Dealer’s definitely got a cool visual, but ultimately the figure’s kind of lackluster.  Not bad, but there’s a lot of re-use, and it’s not particularly inventive re-use either.  Compared to the other movie figures, this one feels a little bit lacking.

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

#2789: Xialing

XIALING

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

“When her estranged brother Shang-Chi suddenly shows up in her life, Xialing must choose between the solitary life she’s created for herself or join her brother in the fight against the Ten Rings.”

Shang-Chi himself is not the most prominent character in the Marvel arsenal, yet at least, so by extension, he’s not got a ton of associated characters, and certainly none of major note.  Making matters worse is that whole “not licensing the Fu Manchu” thing, which hinders that character, as well as some of the peripheral characters.  Originally, Dr. Fu Manchu had a daughter, Fah Lo Suee, who was renamed to Zheng Bao Yu when Fu Manchu became Zheng Zu in the mid-00s.  More recently, another daughter of Zheng Zu, Esme, has been introduced.  It would appear elements of both have been combined for the purposes of the upcoming film, resulting in Xialing, Shang-Chi’s sister, and Wenwu’s other child.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Xialing is figure 3 in the Mr. Hyde Series of Marvel Legends.  She’s the third of the four movie-based figures included, and is also the first figure with no direct comics counterpart.  The figure stands just shy of 6 inches tall and she has 26 points of articulation.  Like Wenwu, Xialing’s articulation scheme feels a little more refined than Shang-Chi’s was.  She’s aided somewhat by the fact that, like most female Legends figures, she doesn’t have the double elbows, meaning she doesn’t have to worry about the exposed pins on the joints anyway.  The range of motion on this one’s pretty strong, and she’s got a lot of really good posing potential, which I certainly dig.  Xialing’s sculpt is an all-new offering, based on what I presume is her main look in the movie.  So far, we haven’t seen a whole lot of her, but she’s been sporting this look the whole time, so it tracks.  It’s a decent design, and matches up pretty well with her brother’s design, so the thematics are definitely there.  The texture work and intricate detailing on her tunic is quite sharply rendered, the proportions are nicely balanced, and she’s got a pretty decent likeness of actress Meng’er Zhang.  In terms of paint work, Xialing is fairly monochromatic, but it works.  The slightly pearlescent finish on her tunic is a nice look, and the black accenting is quite cleanly and sharply applied.  I also found the face printing on this figure to be the most lifelike of the three unmasked MCU figures included.  Xialing is packed with seven hands (R/L fists, R/L flat, R/L crane pose, & R gripping), a rope dart, and the torso for the Mr Hyde Build-A-Figure.  The hands are again a fantastic addition, and I do get a real kick out of her also getting fists, when poor Shang-Chi did not.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I know nothing of Xialing, and next to nothing of the various characters she’s based on, so I had very little to go on with this figure initially.  Pretty much it was just a general feeling of “hey, she looks pretty cool.”  After messing with this whole set of figures, she doesn’t just look pretty cool, she *is* pretty cool.  She’s probably my favorite of the movie figures in this set.  I definitely like how this one turned out.  Now, to see if I feel the same way about the character in the movie!

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