#1955: M’Baku

M’BAKU

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

As good a reputation as the Marvel films have, some of them (Phase 2 in particular) have had a recurring issue of less than stellar antagonists.  Black Panther was a fantastic example of the Phase 3 drive for better crafted foes, and it delivered in spades.  Both the tortured and extreme Killmonger and the manic and excitable Klaue were excellent additions, but one of my favorite parts of the film was the bombastic M’Baku.  One of the earliest Black Panther foes, M’Baku (originally known as Man-Ape, a name that hasn’t aged so well) was reimagined a bit for the movie.  Most of the basic characterization is the same, but he’s no longer a strict antagonist, but is instead an unlikely ally.  It was a turn I very much liked, and so did quite a few other audience members.  Certainly enough to warrant him getting a figure at the very least.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

M’Baku is, unsurprisingly, the Build-A-Figure for the “M’Baku Series” of Marvel Legends.  He’s quite obviously based on Winston Duke’s portrayal of the character, specifically from the end of Black Panther, as well as Infinity War.  The point is, he’s a final battle sort of an M’Baku.  The figure stands 6 3/4 inches tall and he has 32 points of articulation.  M’Baku is sporting an all-new sculpt, which is definitely for the best.  It’s a very strong, very solid offering.  No, really, it’s very solid.  Like, in a heft sort of a sense.  I’ve grown accustomed to BaFs featuring hollow parts and the like, but M’Baku’s construction is mostly solid pieces, which gives him a surprising weight.  I’m definitely not complaining.  The sculpt is a really nice piece of work; the detailing is sharp and accurate to the movie.  The head sports a decent likeness of Duke.  It’s not as strong as, say, the Andy Serkis likeness for Klaue, but it’s still very good.  The body sculpt has a ton of layering to it, and I particularly like how well all of the fur turned out.  There’s always room for things to go very bad in such areas, but that wasn’t the case here.  M’Baku’s paintwork is an impressive selection of work.  It’s a fair bit more involved than we tend to see from Hasbro these days, with quite a bit of accenting and weathering.  Not all of it’s perfect, but it’s still quite good, and the sculpt is well accented by the subtler work.  M’Baku’s essentially an accessory himself, so accessories aren’t expected, but he does still get one.  It’s his staff, which seems a rather sensible choice.  I’m glad it didn’t get overlooked.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

When Black Panther was released, I walked out of the theatre wanting an M’Baku figure.  Duke’s portrayal of the character really worked for me, and I was disappointed that he wasn’t among any of Hasbro’s offerings.  When news that they were going for a second dip broke, I was hoping to see him turn up, and I wasn’t disappointed.  This is a very good figure, and makes good use of being a Build-A-Figure, since it allows his sculpt to be a bit more intricate than it might be otherwise.

This assortment is a lot more cut and dry than the Kingpin assortment, mostly because it’s so very focussed.  If you’re after a full line-up of Black Panther movie characters, it’s pretty perfect.  Fortunately, that’s what I wanted, so it works out well for me.  M’Baku was a good anchor for the assortment, and there’s no denying that I bought some figures I wouldn’t have otherwise in order to complete him.  He feels worth it.  Of the singles, Klaue is the definite star, but the Dora Milaje and Killmonger aren’t far behind him.  Even the Panther variants all seem decent in their own right.  I see this being a well-performing assortment.

#1602: Black Panther & M’Baku

BLACK PANTHER & M’BAKU

MARVEL MINIMATES

Black Panther was not at all hurting for merchandise, which is certainly a good thing, since it was a pretty darn awesome movie.  And I like having action figures from awesome movies, so that all works out pretty well for me.  Minimates are usually the best way to get the largest cross-section of characters from any given property, and that’s definitely the case here.  So, without further ado, I present the first in a week of Black Panther Minimates reviews, starting off with Black Panther and M’Baku!

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

This pair is one of the shared sets for this whole assortment.  They’re available in two-pack form from both Toys R Us and Walgreens, and also in the specialty-exclusive four-pack.  For the sake of posterity, this particular set came from Walgreens.

BLACK PANTHER

T’Challa’s actually not as frequent a Minimate as you might think, though this movie has certainly changed that.  This particular version marks his fourth time in the format, and, unsurprisingly, it’s based on his updated suit from Black Panther.  The figure stands about 2 1/4 inches tall and he has 14 points of articulation.  For his non-basic parts, he’s got an add-on for his mask, as well as Cheetah’s clawed hands.  The claws are definitely a welcome addition, as their absence from the Series 66 version was really my only major complaint.  The paint on Panther is pretty solid work.  Detail lines do a nice job of capturing all of the intricate details of the costume from the movie.  I like the use of the dark blue for the base body so that the details stand out.  Under the mask, there’s a new Chadwick Boseman likeness, and it’s a marked improvement from the Civil War version.  The expression is fairly neutral, but avoids being too bland.  Panther is packed with an extra hair piece to display his unmasked look, as well as the standard clear display stand.

M’BAKU

M’Baku was perhaps my favorite character in the film, thanks in no small part to Winston Duke injecting a lot of life into what could have been a rather two-dimensional character.  His absence from most of the figure lines is understandable (I mean, he’s only got, what, 15 minutes of screen time?), but still somewhat disappointing.  The Minimate is currently the only figure version available, and he’s based on his garb from the film’s climax, which is a sensible choice (though a challenge two-pack of him and T’Challa might be a fun exclusive).  He’s got add-on pieces for his hair, torso armor, and skirt piece.  All three of these are new to this figure, and they’re decent enough.  The armor’s a little bit on the restrictive side, but not a bad piece overall.  M’Baku’s paintwork is solid, if maybe not super exciting.  Nevertheless, the likeness on the face is definitely a good match, and the more intricate work on the wrist bracers and the shins is really awesome.  M’Baku is packed with his staff and the usual display stand.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I’ve been debating whether or not to pick up this pair.  Obviously, I wanted both of them (M’Baku in particular), but I was initially going to holdout for the four-pack, but then Walgreens was running a buy-one-get-one-50%-off sale, and I’d otherwise have ended up with an odd number of sets.  Both figures here are pretty solid additions to the line.  And, hey, where else are you going to find an M’Baku figure?