#2787: Shang-Chi

SHANG-CHI

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

“Trained since childhood by the mysterious Ten Rings Organization, Shang-Chi must confront the past he thought he left behind when he is drawn back into his father’s web.”

Back before the world decided to be just the worst for a while, the MCU was planning to introduce its first Asian-American-led film, based on the Master of Kung-Fu himself, Shang-Chi.  The film was originally on the docket for an early release this year, but then 2020 happened, and everything got pushed around.  Of all the films, Shang-Chi is probably the least majorly affected, since it’s still getting out in its intended year, just in September, instead of the spring, like originally intended.  Hasbro did their best to time the toys to a release date that did not yet exist when they were in production, and they’re only a few months early, which is pretty good, considering the Black Widow stuff hit over a year ago at this point, and that movie’s still not out.  I’ve managed to get my hands on the Legends component of the tie-ins, and I’m starting my look at them with the main guy, one Shang-Chi!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Shang-Chi is the first figure in the Mr. Hyde Series of Marvel Legends, which is the assortment that serves as his movie’s tie-in.  He’s one of the four movie-based figures in this particular set, as well as being one of the five overall movie figures we already know about.  The figure stands about 6 1/4 inches tall and he has 29 points of articulation.  With all of these recent movie-based figures, it gets a little tricky to piece together just how long they’ve been in production, but Shang-Chi’s sculpt points to “a while.”  The biggest giveaway is the presence of exposed pins on the elbow joints (though, curiously, the knees are hidden like more recent figures), but in general, the articulation scheme on this guy does feel a little bit on the archaic side.  It’s not so much an issue of range, fortunately, but more of fluidity of motion.  The torso joints in particular are pretty simple in terms of design.  Articulation implementation aside, how’s the actual sculpt?  It’s an all-new piece, and he’s sporting what I assume is his primary attire from the film.  It’s nothing too fancy, but it does seem to capture the general spirit of the character’s looks over the years.  The design is pretty well replicated here, and there’s a lot of work going into the texturing and patterning on his tunic, which certainly helps to keep him from looking too bland.  The head’s likeness to Simu Liu isn’t quite as spot-on as other, more recent MCU likenesses.  Like, it doesn’t look entirely unlike him, but there’s definitely enough differences to make you feel like something’s off.  The head just feels too wide to me, and the hair’s a little too tidy, as well as parted on the wrong side, at least from what we’ve seen so far.  It’s far from terrible, though, and certainly nothing like Hasbro’s first attempts at some of the other big MCU actors.  Shang-Chi’s paint work is generally pretty cleanly handled.  There are no obvious missing details, application is fairly consistent, and the face printing is fairly lifelike.  In terms of accessories, Shang-Chi is packed with three sets of hands (gripping and two different styles of gesture; curiously no fists), a staff, and the right leg of the Mr. Hyde Build-A-Figure.  While the lack of fists is weird, I’m otherwise happy to see them keep up with the extra hands that the last Shang-Chi got.  Extra hands are always extra cool.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

This whole assortment was quite an odd-ball situation.  Given all the delays to everything surrounding the MCU, Hasbro opted to keep this one close to the vest, so the official announcement came after people were already starting to find them at retail, and the exact details were still fuzzy.  All Time actually got notification that the cases were on their way before we had any knowledge of what was actually in the cases, especially since we didn’t even yet have a trailer.  It was weird having my first knowledge of anything pertaining to the movie coming from the toys.  It’s been a while since that’s been the case for anything.  Shang-Chi’s a decent figure, if maybe not a groundbreaking one.  He’s got some cool extras, though, and given how hard the comic version was to find, it’s at least nice that there’s another version of the character out there.

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.

#2786: Dani Moonstar

DANI MOONSTAR

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

“Part of a group of young mutants, Dani Moonstar has the ability to conjure illusions based on her enemy’s deepest fears.”

Debuting in 1982, the New Mutants were an attempt to go back to the “troubled youngsters” angle of the original X-Men pitch, which had been since lost in the main book.  Included in the team’s five-member founding line-up was Dani Moonstar, who initially went by the alias of “Psyche”, before switching over to “Mirage”, and then ultimately just going by her own name, because if you’ve got a name as cool as “Dani Moonstar” maybe you don’t need to try to make it cooler.  Dani was ultimately written out of the book before it’s conclusion (though she was at least lucky enough not to be killed on her way out, which was more than could be said for poor Cypher and Karma), and that meant she wasn’t folded into X-Force, so she didn’t take off quite the same way that Canonball, Sunspot, and Wolfsbane.  However, she’s still got some things going for her, such as a Marvel Legends figure.  How about that?

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Dani Moonstar was released in late 2019/early 2020, as part of Hasbro’s Marvel Legends.  She was initially a Walgreens-exclusive figure, and followed in the store’s trend of getting female X-characters as their exclusives.  Earlier this year, she was offered up for a fan channel release as well, making her generally more accessible.  Yay!  The figure stands just over 6 inches tall and she has 29 points of articulation.  She’s built on the Phoenix body, with newly sculpted parts for her head, forearms, and boots.  Dani is based on her mid-00s team suit design, from after they’d relaunched the New Mutants in light of most of them not being dead anymore.  It’s an update on their original black and yellow costumes, in turn based on the original X-Men designs.  It’s a pretty basic design, but not a bad one from a team stand-point.  Technically, there should be a few more character specific elements for it to be properly customized to Dani’s look from the comics, but there’s a decent reason it’s not: because this figure’s designed to be more than just Dani.  She includes two extra heads, as well as two extra sets of hands, which allow her to be displayed as her team-mates Karma and Wolfsbane, also in their mid-00s team suits.  The heads are pretty nice pieces themselves, and the overall appearance works out way more convincingly than, say, the Lilandra head included with Mystique, so there’s more out of the box value here.  In terms of paint work, the figure’s overall pretty basic. The work on the suit is nice and clean, and the individual heads all feel sufficiently distinct from each other in terms of how they handle the palette and themes of the characters.  In addition to the whole extra set of head and hands for the two separate characters, Dani does also get a couple of accessories of her own, namely a bow and a single arrow, which both appear to be new pieces, as near as I can tell.  She has a little trouble holding the arrow, but it’s still a good look overall.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I’m generally not a huge New Mutants fan (though I’m all about Cypher and Warlock), so I wasn’t in a hurry to get this particular release.  That was probably for the best, because it was never all that numerous around these parts.  I think I saw it once, while driving between locations for work, and I just wasn’t feeling it enough to grab it at the time.  That being said, when she was just at All Time, and I was already grabbing a handful of other figures that came in that day, Dani was harder to pass up.  She’s a decent figure, if perhaps not quite as impressive as more uniquely designed figures.  Still, it’s a cool concept, and her being a 3-in-1 is certainly a nifty prospect.

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.

#2776: Ultimate Mech Suit Captain America

ULTIMATE MECH SUIT CAPTAIN AMERICA

AVENGERS: MECH STRIKE (HASBRO)

“Captain America gears up in a massive, high-powered mech strike suit combat the evil Thanos!”

With a lack of actual Avengers movies to tie into at the moment, as well as a general lack of other Avengers things to really go for (since the game didn’t exactly do the business that they were hoping for), this year, the Avengers are getting a more specifically toy-geared push, with the Mech Strike branding.  It’s a pretty simple concept, really: the Avengers are all getting big robo-suits.  I know.  It’s a real high-art concept, to be sure.  I like the Avengers, and I also like big robo-suits, so I don’t hate the idea.  I’m looking at one of the resulting toys today, with Ultimate Mech Suit Captain America!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Ultimate Mech Suit Captain America is part of Hasbro’s wider-range Avengers: Mech Strike line, which starting showing up at retail in the last month or so.  There are a few different price points for the figures, with Cap and the corresponding Iron Man both being at the mid-range $20 price point.  These figures are a whole figure and mech-suit set-up, which really gives the whole intended experience, I feel.  The core Captain America figure stands about 6 inches tall and he has 15 points of articulation.  He’s a pretty basic Captain America, following the general look of the “house style Cap” we’ve been seeing since the MCU took off.  It’s pretty decently designed, and there are a lot of smaller details on the uniform that make him pretty fun.  He’s also pretty posable.  Obviously, he’s not quite Legends material or anything, but all of the basics are covered.  The only thing I could really drag him on is the lack of waist joint, but that’s fairly minor.  There are a few ports worked into the sculpt, as well, which are mainly used for giving him spots to attach the included shield.  They’re not too jarring, and generally fit well with the overall aesthetic of the core design.  His paint’s on the rather basic side, but it’s enough to get the job done.  The basic red, white, and blue is all there, and the application’s mostly pretty clean.  The reds are a little sloppier, but it’s admittedly a more difficult color to get consistent.  There are definitely some sculpted details that get left unpainted, especially on the blue sections, but this is kind of expected, what with the style and price point.  This core figure’s primary function, of course, isn’t really to be seen.  Instead, he’s supposed to be the pilot of the aforementioned “Ultimate Mech Suit.”  The fully suited up figure stands about 7 inches tall and has 6 points of articulation, all of which are contained in the arms.  It’s not exceedingly posable, largely due to it being more or less a shell that folds over the main Cap figure.  The arms are, at least, able to get some movement, but he’s otherwise a rather static, and also rather chunk boi.  The design’s honestly pretty appealing, at least to me.  It’s a big, bulky, and appropriately spangle-y mecha, with very clean line-work.  It feels a little bit Ultra Magnus-y to me, but that may be me filling in some things I want to see.  Wouldn’t mind him getting some killer shoulder pylons, though.  The only slight trouble to how the design of the thing works is that there’s nothing to be done with Cap’s arms once he’s in the mecha; they just kind of hang there, which looks a little silly.  Fortunately, they do blend in alright with the sides of the mecha’s torso, if you just wrap them around.  Still, it would have been nice to see them come up with something a little bit more clever.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I had only a passing familiarity with this line when I got a text from Max a few weeks ago, informing me that he had been in a Captain America mood, which had led him to pick this figure up.  It certainly looked nifty, but I wasn’t in a major rush to get one of my own.  Upon talking to Max a little more about it, it turned out he wasn’t really feeling it as much as he’d hoped to, so he asked if I wanted it for a good deal.  I had just put together a whole shelf of my Captain America stuff, so I had a place to put it, which I guess was as good a reason as any to take it off Max’s hands.  Ultimately, it’s still not something I think I would have picked up for myself, largely due to not really being in the main target market for this line.  That being said, I do like it now that I have it, and I can’t really knock it’s cool factor.  And how many times are we going to get a cool Captain America Mecha?  Okay, probably a lot going forward, but this one’s still cool.

#2764: Spider-Carnage & Spider-Woman I

SPIDER-CARNAGE & SPIDER-WOMAN I

MARVEL MINIMATES

As I discussed last week, the 10th series of Marvel Minimates would be the first of a number of re-use assortments, which were entirely built from previously existing parts.  This certainly had an impact on character choices as well, since they needed to be characters that would require no new parts in the first place.  The end result was something of a hodgepodge, but they did hold to a vague Spider-Man theme, I suppose?  Today, we’re looking at the totally sensible, and not at all strange pairing of Spider-Carnage and Spider-Woman!

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

Spider-Carnage and Spider-Woman I were released in the 10th specialty assortment of Marvel Minimates, which hit in the summer of 2005.  This set was the non-variant set, with the  Spider-Woman II variant swapping out for this one in one pack out of every case, while Spider-Carnage remained.  They’re an odd pairing, since Spider-Woman wasn’t actually a Spider-Man character, and was in fact retired during Spider-Carnage’s brief run, but here we are.

SPIDER-CARNAGE

Spider-Carnage, being a combination of Ben Reilly and the Carnage symbiote, and even being in the same assortment as a Ben Reilly Spider-Man, honestly feels like he would have made more sense as the variant for this particular line up, but DST clearly felt differently.  He’s built on the post-C3 body (with a pre-C3 head, of course), so he’s about 2 1/4 inches tall and has 14 points of articulation.  Spider-Carnage’s construction makes use of the same bands as Ben Reilly, plus the hands from the Series 1 Carnage.  It’s a pretty straight-forward combo of the two, so I guess that makes sense.  Otherwise, he’s just handled with paint.  The application on the torso is 100% identical to the Ben Reilly, which makes sense from a consistency stand point.  He swaps out the blue for black, which isn’t strictly accurate, but Spider-Carnage was typically shaded a little darker, so I guess it’s not terrible.  He gets some additional red detailing on the arms and legs, which is true to the comics design.  The face is new, of course, but, rather strangely, the head loses the web-lines on the back that should be there.  Also, rather oddly, he drops the extra detailing on the wrist bands for a straight silver.  It’s an odd detail to drop, and feels like it would be more hassle than not, but I’m not in toy production, so what do I know?

SPIDER-WOMAN I

Jessica Drew had actually just returned to active duty in the comics, as part of the New Avengers line-up, early in 2005, making this figure a very well-timed and relevant choice, which was really a first for the line.  She too was built on the basic post-C3 body, but with the pre-peg-hole head.  As far as construction goes, do you remember Black Cat?  Because she’s exactly the same, as was her variant, the Julia Carpenter, and also Silver Sable, who was in this same assortment, too.  Not a ton of diversity there.  It’s not an inaccurate look for Jessica, so I guess it works.  Otherwise, she’s all paint.  Curiously, Jessica is entirely painted, from head to toe, with none of her parts being molded in the appropriate colors, a real rarity for Minimates.  It’s not terrible looking, though, and does help keep any weird bleed through from happening, so that’s good.  The one downside to the figure is that she’s got flesh tone painted on the top of her head, ruining an easy conversion to her fully cowled look from her earliest appearances.  It’s kind of an odd choice.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I snagged this set at the same time as last weeks pair, back when they were still new.  I actually don’t really know why, as neither of them really spoke to me.  I mean, I guess I like Jessica Drew well enough.  But it’s still not a set I really get excited about.  Ultimately, they’re both well put together figures, but neither of them really jumps out as all that inspired or anything.

#2757: Black Cat & Ben Reilly

BLACK CAT & BEN REILLY

MARVEL MINIMATES

The third year of Marvel Minimates had a very focused beginning, bringing in the FF for the first time, but after getting them out of the way, the rest of the year wound up being a pretty major mixed bag.  The 9th, 10th, and 11th assortments were all sort of mixed bags in terms of characters, and the 10th and 11th in particular would introduce something new to the brand: total parts re-use assortments.  In order to stretch things as far as they could go, DST would do as many characters as possible with no new pieces.  Included amongst these heavily re-used figures were today’s offerings, Spidey characters Black Cat & Ben Reilly!

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

Black Cat and Ben Reilly were released in Series 10 of Marvel Minimates, which hit in the summer of 2005.  Black Cat would remain exclusive to this pairing, but Ben found his way into a re-pack, alongside fellow Series 10 figure Sandman, for Target later that same year.

BLACK CAT

Black Cat made her Minimates debut here, sporting a fairly classic design for the character.  She was built on the basic body, post C3 feet, so she stands about 2 1/4 inches tall and has 14 points of articulation.  She doesn’t get the new head with peg hole, due to the re-used hair piece, which comes from the Series 6 Phoenix.  While not a terrible piece on its own, it was about to get a bunch of uses all right on top of each other, which earned it the nickname “The Rachel”, in reference to when lots of women got the same haircut as Jennifer Aniston, during Friends‘ hey-day.  And now you know that completely useless bit of trivia.  Aren’t you glad?  Apart from the hair, Felicia was a totally vanilla ‘mate, which honestly isn’t all that out of place for the character.  The rest of her design is handled through paint.  It’s actually pretty decently handled.  The face is really my favorite of the Black Cats that DST did, and they even did a respectable job of recreating a more feminine shape for her body, by use of shading.  It’s actually pretty cool.

BEN REILLY

Spider-Man had plenty of Minimates by this point, but this marked the first one for his clone, Ben Reilly.  Interestingly, it’s not in his Scarlet Spider gear, but instead his take on the Spider-Man costume.  Exactly why is anyone’s guess, especially since it’s usual thing of “being a more credible standard Spidey variant” is kinda lost given he didn’t get Spider-Man in his name at all.  I’m probably over thinking things.  DST didn’t overthink this guy, that’s for sure.  He’s got two add-ons, for his web-shooters on his wrists.  They’re re-used from Power Man, and, while they should technically be segmented, they do work pretty well in a pinch.  Beyond that, he’s another heavy on the paint sort of figure.  It’s pretty good paint, and I do like how they actually painted the red entirely, rather than the mix of paint and plastic like the standard Spidey.  Honestly, this is probably my favorite Spidey paint scheme.  He’s got no accessories, not even the generic webline piece, which is kind of a shame in one way, but a bit of a relief in another, because one man can really own so many of that one piece.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

This is a set I actually snagged new.  This whole period of time marked me starting to fall out of things a touch (though, to be fair, it’s not like even DST felt all that invested at the time), but I liked this pair enough to buy them.  I’ve always had a soft spot for the Ben Reilly Spider-Man costume, and it remains perhaps my favorite Spider-Man minimate.  Black Cat’s not too shabby either.  Overall, a pretty solid set, even if they were just re-use.

#2749: Polaris

POLARIS

X-MEN (TOY BIZ)

“Lorna Dane, a long-time friend to the X-Men, is the mutant known as Polaris! Able to manipulate the forces of magnetism, she has learned to utilize her powers in various ways, such as creating force fields and firing pure bolts of magnetic energy! As a member of the government sanctioned X-Factor Team, Polaris will not hesitate to use her powerful mutant abilities to help the X-Men whenever she is needed!”

“Long-time friend” kind of down plays that whole period in the ’60s when she was an actual member of the team.  Or that period in the ’80s when she was an actual member of the team.  Heck, you can’t even use the “maybe they were trying to keep it in line with the cartoon” excuse, because, there too, she was an actual member of the team.  What I’m getting at here is a simple question: why does this unnamed Toy Biz copy writer have a personal vendetta against Lorna Dane?  Is it because of all the times she’s been brainwashed and crazy?  Because you’re going to have to rule out, like, 90% of the X-Men, if that’s your thing.  I will not stand for this slander libel against Lorna.  It’s unreasonable, I tell you!  I’m so mad, I’m gonna review this action figure.  I know, that’s so out of character for me.  See?  See how mad I am?  It’s your move, person that wrote the packaging text on a figure from 25 years ago for a toy company that’s been defunct for over a decade…

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Polaris was released in the “Flashback Series” of Toy Biz’s X-Men line, which hit shelves in 1996, and was the 15th assortment in the line.  It was that year’s requisite repaint series, which they’d gotten somewhat attached to, I suppose.  Polaris marked the third member of the ’90s X-Factor team added, and would be the last one added to the mainstream line.  She’s ostensibly in her ’90s team attire, but I’ll get a bit more into that in a moment.  The figure stands about 5 inches tall and has 7 points of articulation.  Since it was a repaint series, Polaris is, unsurprisingly, a repaint, specifically of the Series 6 Rogue figure.  It’s not a terrible sculpt, I suppose, but it was a little outdated by this point, making her a little stiffer than other figures from the same year.  And, while the overall design of the character matches up alright with the sculpt if you squint, it’s not a super close match, and ends up amalgamates a few of her different X-Facter looks.  It’s seems to be closes to the sleeveless w/ headband look she had slightly later in the run, but adds a jacket to the mix (since Rogue’s was sculpted in place), and somewhat awkwardly recreates a few of her costume design elements by ignoring or reinterpreting the actual sculpted Rogue elements.  This is largely done by the paint work, which does the heavy lifting to make Rogue look like Polaris.  Honestly, it does a pretty respectable job, and while it looks like she’s a repaint, she’s at least distinctly different enough to not look totally out of place if both figures are on the shelf.  Polaris was packed with a removable belt, and a weird translucent green gun thing…I suppose to make up for Rogue’s general lack of the obligatory unnecessary gun?  She also keeps Rogue’s “Power Upper Punch” action feature, which is a little out of place with Lorna, but it’s a part of the sculpt, so it stays.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I had Havok in my X-Men collection from the very beginning, so I couldn’t very well not have Polaris to go with him, right?  I got her back when she was new, and if I’m recalling correctly, I believe she was given to me by my parents, alongside the second of the two X-Men carrying cases I had as a kid.  I actually got her before Rogue, if I recall correctly, which made her stand out a bit more in my collection at the time.  She’s perhaps not the most exciting or inventive figure in the line, but she’s not a bad figure either, and that places her into the half of the “Flashback” assortment that wasn’t totally pointless.  Good for her.

#2742: Archangel

ARCHANGEL

X-MEN (TOY BIZ)

“Rich playboy Warren Worthington III was the X-Men’s Angel until the day that he was captured and transformed into one of the horsemen of Apocalypse. A darker reflection of his previous self, Archangel now possessed wings made of metal – wings that he could barely control, wings that fired paralyzing “feathers” at friends as well as enemies. Constantly battling his dark side, Archangel longed to regain the goodness that he once stood for. Recently finding kinship with the X-Men’s Psylocke, Archangel has come to terms with his transformation, and has started to rebuild the life he thought he had lost forever!”

Though only a recurring guest star in the show the line was loosely attempting to tie into, Archangel was treated alright by Toy Biz’s X-Men line.  He was in the initial assortment (which, admittedly, predated the show, so, you know…), and got a follow up just a few years into the line, in the Invasion Series.  Thanks to a rather notable costume change, which also made it’s way into the show, he got a third time up to bat, this time with a more radically different figure, which I’m looking at today!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Archangel was released in the “Battle Brigade” Series of Toy Biz’s X-Men line, which was the 14th series of the line.  Unlike the last time around, Archangel stayed with this assortment through it’s whole run (although he, like the rest of the line-up, did get a color variant later into the run).  He’s sporting his white and blue costume, which had first appeared under Neal Adams’ tenure in the comics, and had been revived following Warren’s drive to distance himself further from Apocalypse’s influence.  The figure stands 5 inches tall and he has 9 points of articulation.  The figure is predominantly a re-use of the mold from Archangel II, sensible from a consistency stand point, I suppose.  I still think it’s a little bulky for Warren, and it’s still got the sculpted wrist bands from the prior costume, which this one just sort of pretends aren’t there.  Prototype shots had this guy reusing the entire sculpt, including the head, but the final product got a new head sculpt.  It would become one of Toy Biz’s favorites, with quite a few re-uses as the progressed.  It’s quite a lot thinner, and also really pouty, which was honestly pretty appropriate for Warren circa this era.  It does seem perhaps a touch small for the body, but it’s not awful, and I generally like this one more than the prior head sculpt.  The paint work on this one does its best to change the sculpt over to the changed costume, while ignoring the previously mentioned sculpted wrist bands.  It’s not terrible, but it’s kind of on the sloppy side, especially on the legs.  Definitely could be cleaner.  This Archangel had no accessories, but he retained the prior figure’s wing-flapping action feature, which is nifty enough.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Growing up, my go-to Archangel was the first one, but my Dad had this one, back when we were sort of sharing the collection a bit.  A few years later, I actually got one of my own, courtesy of a 5-inch Marvel collection that came through Cosmic Comix.  He was my favorite Archangel of the 5-inch run, but wound up getting lost in a box of other figures that got misplaced for about a decade or so.  In the mean time, I wound up getting a replacement at a con, but I was lucky enough to find that whole box of figures not long after, and, boom, now I have two.  Yay?  Yay.

#2740: Thanos

THANOS

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

“The Mad Titan Thanos seizes control of the hallowed Infinity Gauntlet and wields near-omnipotent power. Who can stop this vicious new overlord?”

Over the past few years, Thanos’s presence in the cultural lexicon has certainly increased a bit, and likewise, his tendency to get coverage in the various Marvel toy lines has likewise become more frequent.  However, in the midst of all of this, the majority of the product has still be centered on his movie incarnation, rather than his comics counterpart.  In the case of Marvel Legends, Thanos was still just at two comics-based figures, and one of those was a repaint, even.  That’s pretty rare in the grand scheme of things.  Fortunately, Hasbro’s getting around to amending that, at least somewhat, adding an all-new version of Thanos to the line as part of their Deluxe price point.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Thanos is the first Deluxe-sized Marvel Legends release of 2021.  He continues the trend set by last year’s Apocalypse and War Machine, he’s an all-new figure, rather than being a re-working of a prior Build-A-Figure.  This Thanos is based on his classic attire, circa The Infinity Gauntlet, rather than one of his more modern appearances.  It’s the first time we’ve gotten a proper Legends version of this design, which is pretty notable.  The figure stands 7 1/2 inches tall and he has 29 points of articulation.  Thanos is sporting an all-new sculpt, and a pretty darn good one at that.  It’s got a lot of common thematics with the Marvel Universe sculpt, albeit scaled up and with some slightly better implemented articulation.  The MU sculpt is pretty great, and by extension, so is this one.  In fact, I’d say it’s better.  The details on his outfit are clean and sharp, and the proportions nicely match Ron Lim’s depiction of the character from Infinity Gauntlet.  Also matching nicely with Lim’s work is the head sculpt.  It takes the insane grin of the prior comics Thanos, and dials it up even further, into a full-on mad cackle.  Remember what I said about the last sculpt perfectly fitting the “Mad Titan”?  I retract that, because this goes even further with it.  It’s pretty fantastic.  Thanos’s paint work is likewise pretty impressive itself.  The colors are a bit brighter than prior releases, which I quite like, and there’s some pretty impressive accenting on the blue sections, giving the whole set up some rather nice depth.  Thanos is packed with three different left hands, one in a basic fist, one in an open gesture, and one about to snap the fingers.  They all offer some great options, but that snapping hand is really just the tops.  It feels kind of amazing that this is the first time we’ve gotten such a piece.  Thanos also features a second head sculpt.  This one’s not from the original story, but is instead from the “Thanos Wins” storyline, which depicts an older Thanos after he’s conquered the Marvel Universe.  Technically, it doesn’t match with the body, but it’s still a great sculpt and a fun extra.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I really liked the Thanos Build-A-Figure from 2015, but there was no getting around the fact that he wasn’t actually a classic Thanos, as cool as that more modern design may have been.  This guy’s felt pretty inevitable ever since the character took off in the movies, so what’s more surprising about this release is how long it took to actually get him.  He’s a really nice figure, and certainly one of the nicest uses of the deluxe format.  He gives us a great core figure, with a few fun extras to really sweeten the pot.

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.

#2739: Tri-Sentinel

TRI-SENTINEL

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

The Sentinels, a recurring X-Men foe since their introduction in the ’60s, continue this trend as foes into the “House of X” story line, where they and the humans present the primary faction warring against the titular team of mutants.  As the story jumps around, we see the Sentinels in a variety of forms, as their designs advance.  During the sequences set 90 years in the future, amongst the Sentinel forces are a new form of the Tri-Sentinel, dubbed the Theta Sentinels.  Despite their quite minor role, they nevertheless serve as the inspiration for the newest X-themed Build-A-Figure for Marvel Legends, which I’m taking a look at today.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

The Theta Sentinel, or “Tri-Sentinel” as it’s been dubbed by Hasbro on the packaging, is the Build-A-Figure for the Tri-Sentinel Series of Marvel Legends.  It’s based on the Theta Sentinel design as seen in the future sequences of “Powers of X”, tying it in with the rest of the assortment…sort of.  I mean, most of them are present day designs, and it’s from the future.  I guess Wolverine goes with it?  Maybe that was the main reason for him getting the extra head?  That would actually make sense.  Good form on Hasbro, I guess.  The figure stands 8 inches tall and has 31 points of articulation.  There was discussion when this figure was unveiled (well, after the resounding “wait, what is that?” reaction) about it making use of parts from the SP//dr Build-A-Figure, but it actually doesn’t share any parts with that release at all.  Instead, it’s an all-new sculpt, based directly on the art from the book.  It’s not a bad piece.  It captures the design from the series pretty closely, and it’s fairly clean.  The detailing does feel a little soft in a few spots, especially on the core body, but it’s not terrible.  The articulation is also pretty solid, allowing for a rather wide range of motion, without too much impact on the sculpt.  The only real issue is with the way the heads connect to the torso.  Firstly, the sculpting doesn’t allow for a ton of range at the base of the heads, and secondly, they just really don’t want to stay in place.  That middle head in particular just keeps wanting to pop out of place on mine.  I think the socket for the joint is just a little too shallow for it to properly seat.  On top of that, it’s pretty hard to get the heads in there in the first place, due to the tight, cluttered placement, and how small the necks are relative to the heads.  It wasn’t a very pleasant experience putting it together, really, especially for my hands.  The paint work on the Tri-Sentinel is pretty basic, and follows the usual Sentinel set-up.  A few different purples, and some silver and grey.  There’s a lot of metallics in the finish, which does look pretty good.  The application’s generally pretty clean.  There are some slightly fuzzy edges, but for the most part it’s pretty good.  This figure gets no addition accessories, but as a Build-A-Figure, that’s not really a point against him.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

The Theta Sentinel is a really minor player, enough that I had literally no clue who the Build-A-Figure was supposed to be when Hasbro announced this set.  I had to actually look it up, and even that didn’t exactly give me a lot to go on, especially given how minor the Theta Sentinels were.  Getting this figure wasn’t much of a driving factor behind getting the set or anything, so I just, sort of, completed it.  It’s an alright figure.  The posability on the body is nice, but the heads are frustrating, and having no attachment to the character leaves me in an odd spot with it.  It feels like there were probably better choices for this slot, but I guess they tried to make the best of what it was.

I find this whole assortment to sort of illicit almost a non-response from me.  I’ve been keeping current with the current X-books, but “House of X” itself wasn’t much for me.  Ultimately, this set’s kind of middling, I guess.  Moira and Jean are two long term wants, that turned out decent, if perhaps not quite as good as I’d hoped.  Wolverine and Cyclops are both solid, if perhaps slightly redundant, variants of core characters and a lot of fun.  Xavier and Magneto aren’t really designs I care for, nor do the figures really do a lot to win me over.  The pleasant surprise for me was definitely Omega Sentinel, who I had knowledge of going in, but who makes for a pretty fun little figure.  Overall, it’s a set I like well enough, but I don’t know if it’s much to write home about.

#2738: Cyclops – House of X

CYCLOPS — HOUSE OF X

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

“Cyclops assembles a team of mutants to destroy the Mother Mold and vanquish the Sentinel threat.”

After using him as something of a cross between a punching bag and a patsy for all things wrong with the X-books at the time, the original 616 version of Cyclops was ultimately killed off in a rather unceremonious fashion during what would ultimately prove a somewhat forgettable cross over.  Fortunately, someone over at Marvel realized that wasn’t the best treatment for the first X-Man, and he was resurrected, and subsequently given a central, and far more on-brand for the character, role in the X-Men’s latest revamp, sporting a classically-inspired design to match.  Now that design’s got a figure, which seems about right to me.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Cyclops is figure 6 in the Tri-Sentinel Series of Marvel Legends, and is the final of the single-packed figures in the set.  He’s sporting Scott’s newest design, first introduced in “House of X”, and continuing into the main X-books.  It’s a merging of a handful of his prior designs, drawing a lot from the body of his Now! design, but with a more classically-inspired visor design, and the gauntlet set-up on the arms, much like his second Astonishing costume.  It’s a good design for the character, keeping a lot of the better elements of more recent looks, and merging them all into something that flows well together, and keeping that classic flair.  The figure stands 6 1/4 inches tall and he has 32 points of articulation.  He’s built on the Bucky Cap body, like all of the other modern-era Cyclops figures.  If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it, I guess.  He also makes use of the cowled head from the Dark Phoenix two-pack version, which is a good, clean sculpt, marred only by the fact that the visor is ever so slightly misplaced on my copy, leaving a bit of a gap in the sculpt on the left side of the visor.  It’s fairly minor, and not terribly noticeable in person, but it still could be a bit better.  Cyclops also gets a new set of arms, and a new belt piece.  The arms add his gauntlets, as well as upgrading the elbows to the new pin-less design.  The new belt is, at first glance, very similar to the Now! figure, but it’s got a far greater depth of detail, and makes for a much stronger final product.  Cyclops’s paint work is fairly decent.  The blues go well together, and the whole thing looks pretty slick.  The line work has a little bit of slop, and there’s less clean application on the visor, but on the whole, it looks pretty good.  Cyclops is packed with an alternate head and attachable optic blast, repurposed from the X-Factor Cyclops figure.  It’s nice to see those parts turn up again, because I really liked them the first time around.  He’s also packed with the left arm of the Tri-Sentinel Build-A-Figure.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I’m a sucker for a halfway decent Cyclops figure, so I was on-board for this guy from the word go.  There’s not a ton new or unique to him, but he works well within the formula of the line, resulting in a solid and clean figure.  Honestly, he’s my personal favorite from this particular line-up, though I guess being a Cyclops does give him a slight advantage on that front.

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.