#1261: Marvel’s Nova

MARVEL’S NOVA

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

“Sam Alexander searches the galaxy for his father as the Nova Centurion, Nova.”

Does that bio seem a little redundant to anyone else?  I think it’s the two uses of “Nova” so close together.  Maybe it would flow better if they dropped “the Nova Centurion” all together.  Ah, look at me, critiquing the bio.  As if that actually has any impact on the figure, right?  I’ve actually reviewed five Nova figures on this site already, which is a surprisingly high number, if I’m honest.  I mean, I like Nova and all (mostly due to the closeness in concept to the Green Lanterns), and he makes for some good toys, but five just seems high.  Anyway, here’s another one.  Today’s Nova is the latest Marvel Legends offering of the character, based on the second Earth-based Nova, Sam Alexander.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Nova is figure 6 in the Titus Series of Marvel Legends.  Unlike Drax and Star-Lord (the last two figures I reviewed from this series), Nova’s not based on the upcoming Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, but is instead comic book-based.  I guess Hasbro just likes putting comic-based Novas into the Guardians assortments.  The figure stands about 5 3/4 inches tall and he has 32 points of articulation.  Sam’s built on the teen male body, which was introduced with the Ultimate Spider-Men figures from the Space Venom Series.  Of course, the Space Venom Series didn’t actually show up around me, so Sam’s the first figure I’ve gotten on this body.  The body feels a lot like the Pizza Spidey body, but scaled down a bit.  It’s a very nice sculpt; he actually looks like a guy in his teens, rather than a shrunken adult, which is a definite plus.  Nova uses the arms, legs, and hands from the base body, with unique pieces for his head, torso, pelvis, and forearms.  The head is made of two separate pieces: one for his helmet, and one for the underlying face.  They handled the Richard Rider Nova the same way, so it’s good for consistency, and it also adds some nice dimension to the sculpt and makes sure the change from helmet to face is appropriately sharp.  Sam was originally drawn by Ed McGuiness, who definitely has his own flair to his art; like with Kamala, Hasbro’s managed to keep some of McGuinness’s influence, while also tweaking Sam to fit in with the rest of the line stylistically.  The rest of the new pieces are all pretty solid work as well, and I really appreciate that Hasbro actually went the sculpted route for most of the costume details, especially when they could have very easily just painted them on.  Speaking of paint, the work on Nova is pretty much on par with Hasbro’s upward trend of paint these days.  There’s still some slight bleed on some of the edges, but overall he’s pretty sharp.  I like the shade of gold used here; it’s nice and metallic, but preserves a lot of the yellow that’s sort of necessary to keep his look consistent with the comics and prevent him from being too drab.  I also appreciate that the dark sections of the costume are actually a very, very dark blue, rather than black.  It’s a minor change, but the artist in me likes that he matches up just a tiny bit more with the Richard Rider figure.  In addition to the usual Build-A-Figure piece (Titus’s torso), Sam has one other extra, which is actually a whole second character.  Yes, he includes The Phlish, who was one of the Supernovas that served alongside Sam’s father Jaime when he was a Nova Corpsman.  Really minor character, but a really fun addition nonetheless.  I only wish he included a flight stand of some sort, as he just leans on Sam’s foot at the moment.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Sam was one of the figures I knew I wanted from this set pretty much as soon as he was announced.  While I’ve not followed his solo adventures really closely, I’ve loved him as a part of Waid’s Avengers and Champions books, and since Hasbro seems to be releasing the rest of those teams, I knew I needed him.  I ended up finding him at my nearest TRU not long after grabbing Star-Lord and Drax.  He’s simple, but very effective.  Definitely a strong Legends release, and that’s saying something, given that he’s in the same series as that Star-Lord figure.

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#0378: Gamora & Nova Corps Centurion

GAMORA & NOVA CORPS CENTURION

MARVEL MINIMATES

Two months after the release of the movie and the TRU tie-in series, the main specialty assortment of Guardians of the Galaxy Minimates has finally been released. The TRU Assortment offered four of the five guardians, but it was missing that key fifth member. Unfortunately, this also happened to be the team’s only female member, which ended up causing some upset amongst people who didn’t have a full understanding of how Minimate releases work. But, Gamora is here now, and the team is complete. She brings with her a Nova  Corps Centurion, one of the film’s key army builders. There’s been quite a wait for both of them. Were they worth it? Let’s find out!

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

Gamora and the Nova  Corps Centurion are both a part of the 57th series of Marvel Minimates, which is based on the Guardians of the Galaxy movie released this year. This is the only set available exclusively through the specialty assortment (Nebula is also exclusive to specialty, but she’s packed with the Sakaar Trooper, who is available in both assortments).

GAMORA

Gamora is the final missing member of the titular team. She makes her second appearance in the Minimates line, following a comic inspired version in 2008. Gamora is about 2 ½ inches in height and she features 14 points of articulation. She’s based on the look that the character sports for the majority of the film, which means she made out a bit better than poor Star-Lord. The figure makes use of the standard Minimate body, with an additional piece for her hair. The piece was originally used on the Thor movie’s Lady Sif figure. It’s a good piece, with lots of nice detail work, and it’s pretty accurate to what Gamora’s hair looked like in the movie, so Diamond chose well. The rest of the figure’s details are handled via paint, and they’re handled pretty well at that. All of the base paint work is nice, clean, and evenly applied. The colors all seem like perfect matches for the movie, too, so that’s an added plus. The line work is all clean and sharp. The Zoey Saldana likeness is pretty good, though the eyes may be set just a bit too apart. Gamora includes her trademark sword and a clear display stand.

NOVA CORPS CENTURION

The Nova  Corps Centurion isn’t as important as Gamora, but the Nova Corps play a key role in the movie, so this figure is still pretty important. The  Corps Centurion stands 2 ½ inches tall and features 14 points of articulation. There are a couple of named Nova Corpsmen in the movie, but this one is just meant to be a generic  Corps Centurion, whom we see quite a few of in the movie. The figure is built on the basic body, with a separate piece for his helmet. The helmet is a new piece, and it’s a very nice one at that. The sculpt is accurate to the design in the movie, and everything looks smooth and symmetrical. The Nova  Corps Centurion’s paintwork is key to the rest of the figure’s look, and it’s handled expertly. Everything is clean and even, and the colors are nice and bold. The helmet shows a tiny bit of slop, but everything on the rest of the figure is really great! Under the mask is a complete face, ears and all. It’s appropriately generic, and it has a decent “otherworldly” look to it. The Nova  Corps Centurion includes a rather large (and rather cool) gun and a clear display stand.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Like Star-Lord and Ronan, Gamora and the Nova  Corps Centurion were purchased from Luke’s Toy Store, along with the rest of Series 57. This set was the one I was most interested in from this series, and I’m happy to say it didn’t disappoint! Gamora nicely finishes off the Guardians, and the Nova  Corps Centurion is a really well done, really fun army builder. I foresee this set being a bit more difficult to track down, so if you’re interested in it, I’d track it down sooner rather than later.

#0297: Groot, Rocket Raccoon & Nova Corps Officer

GROOT, ROCKET RACCOON & NOVA CORPS OFFICER

GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY

GrootRocket&Nova1

Guardians of the Galaxy was a truly awesome movie. I haven’t had a chance to mention that here, so there it is. If you haven’t seen Guardians do yourself a favor and do so as soon as possible. It’s one of those rare films that truly has something for everyone. Captain America may still be my favorite movie of the year, but Guardians is the most fun.

Hasbro’s offering the film’s cast in a few different scales. I’ve already taken a look at the 6 inch scale figures, which offer the most detailed takes on the characters. Sadly, that line is just the main Guardians. If you want to get a larger selection, you need to turn to the 2 ½ inch line. I made my first venture into the line with Groot, Rocket, and a Nova Corps Officer. Let’s see how they turned out!

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

This trio was released as part of the first, and so far only, series of 2 ½ inch figures. Most of the sets are two packs, but this one is a three-pack due to Rocket’s smaller stature.

GROOT

GrootRocket&NovaWilson1He is Groot. Oh boy is he. Groot is the tallest of the set, at almost 3 inches in height. He also sports 5 points of articulation, which is basic, though not surprising at this scale. There are actually two Groots in this line, with the difference being paint. I think this one’s the less “default” one, for reasons I’ll get to shortly. The sculpt of the figure is pretty good. It’s certainly not as detailed as the larger Marvel Legends Groot, but it does an admirable job with the scale. Groot’s design, being a bit more alien probably lends itself a bit more to the smaller scale. The paint work on Groot is my only real issue with the figure. For the most part, there isn’t much paint. He’s molded in the appropriate brown, with some paint for his eyes. My issue is the thing that makes him a less than standard Groot. For some reason, they’ve thrown some green paint on his right arm, the upper right section of his torso, and the right half of his face. I think it’s meant to represent when he gets a bit more plant-like at certain pints of the movie, but it ends up just looking like lots of green paint.

ROCKET RACCOON

GrootRocket&NovaWilson2Rocket’s kind of an accessory to Groot, I think. He’s the shortest figure (though not quite as short as he should be) at a little over 2 inches and he features no articulation.  Like Groot, there are actually two versions of Rocket in the line. However, the two Rocket figures provide two unique sculpts. This Rocket is the “relaxed” Rocket sculpt. He’s in a neutral standing position, and he features no weapon. He does have an open hand, so I guess he could hold one if you so desired. His sculpt is pretty good for a solid chunk of plastic. He’s got a fair bit of character too him, and he looks overall accurate to the source material. The paint work on Rocket is more intricate than that of Groot. They’ve also avoided taking any strange liberties with the paint, so that’s good, I suppose.

NOVA CORPS OFFICER

GrootRocket&NovaWilson3The army builder of the set is the Nova Corps Officer here. He’s also the first of the figures I’ve looked at so far to be unique to the smaller scale line, and hence, the reason I picked up the set. He’s average height at roughly 2 ½ inches and he features 5 points f articulation. His waist is a separate piece from his torso, but there’s no movement there. NCO (his full name’s hard to type) features an all new sculpt, which is actually quite detailed for the scale. The small area of face that’s visible seems a bit blank, but aside from that, he’s got some amazing sculpted work. NCO is molded in a basic blue, with paint for all the other colors. The torso has some nice work, and the arms aren’t too bad. Sadly, the head has some pretty obvious bleed over around the exposed area of skin, which is a bit distracting. Still, given the scale, it’s forgivable. One thing that is less forgivable is the total lack of any sort of paint on the legs. He clearly has sculpted parts meant to be painted a different color, but they’ve just been left the basic blue.

I should point out that this set included a giant missile launcher (hey, it’s Hasbro’s trademark. They can’t leave it out.) and an accessory-tree of random parts. I’m pretty sure these are all meant to go with NCO, but I can’t tell for sure. Heck, I can’t even totally identify what some of them are…

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

While walking through Toys R Us on my birthday, I came across a rather large Guardians display, and the 2 ½ inch figures were among them. I did NOT buy this set there, because TRU is charging a full $4 more per set than everyone else. Instead, I went to the Target across the street. They only had this one set, but it was actually the one I wanted the most anyway. I like Rocket and Groot, and I definitely wanted a Nova guy, who is so far only available in this line (the minimate is out sometime next month). This set was definitely a trial set for the line, and I must say I’m impressed. For $6 you get three pretty nifty figures in a fun little scale. If you’re willing to splurge a bit, you can even get a few of the vehicles, which seem to be the line’s main purpose.

GrootRocket&Nova2

#0278: Nova

NOVA

MARVEL LEGENDS INFINITE SERIES

Nova1

Groot Week is almost finished, but there’s still one more basic review and then the review of Groot himself left. Today’s figure is Nova, the second half of the two comic-themed figures in Hasbro’s Guardians of the Galaxy Marvel Legends Infinite Series. The Nova Corps seems set to play a fairly important role in the upcoming Guardians of the Galaxy movie, so the inclusion of a Nova figure here is certainly a sensible one. Let’s see how the figure turned out!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

NovaWilsonNova is part of the Guardians of the Galaxy Marvel Legends Infinite Series. The figure is about 6 inches tall and sports 32 points of articulation (counting the moving shoulder pads). He’s based on the Nova Prime incarnation of the Richard Rider version of Nova, which is the look Richard’s been sporting for the last several years in the comics. It’s a sharp design (both metaphorically and literally), and it’s been fairly prominent in the comics, so it’s a good choice. Nova seems to have a mostly new sculpt.  He looks like he uses the basic male buck seen on figures such as Zemo and Boomerang as a reference point, and he may also use the upper arms, upper legs and feet from that body, but it’s hard to tell. The new pieces look really good, and everything seems accurate to the character’s design. Unfortunately, Nova uses softer plastic than the other figures in the series, so he ends up being rather shaky, and a bit difficult to keep standing. The paint work on Nova is all nice and cleanly applied, with no noticeable slop or bleed over, plus he’s got some pretty sweet shiny metallic coloring going for him. It’s nice to see him break from the pack paint-wise. Like iron Man, Nova’s sole accessory is his Groot piece, which is the right arm in this instance. It’s disappointing to see another figure lacking accessories, but once again, Nova doesn’t really have any accessories that jump to mind.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Like all of his series compatriots, Nova was purchased from Amazon once the series became available. Initially, I hadn’t planned on picking up Nova, but once I decided to complete Groot, he became a necessity. I’m a moderate fan of Nova, but I tend to prefer his classic design. Still, this figure does an admirable job translating his newer design. I do wish they’d used a sturdier plastic for him, but it doesn’t ruin the figure, and his issues standing don’t even come close to the ones that plague Gamora. All in all, Nova’s a pretty good figure, and is potentially the figure in the series with the best chance of being a stand alone purchase.

Nova2

#0143: Spider-Man & Nova

SUPERIOR SPIDER-MAN & ALL-NEW NOVA

MARVEL MINIMATES

Nova&Spider-Man

Today’s gonna be another Minimates review, guys.  There’s actually quite a few more coming up.  I swear this isn’t on purpose; the random list I generated is just giving them all to me in a bundle.  Sure, I could mix up the list, but if I’m honest, Minimates reviews are much more formulaic, and are therefore a little quicker to write.  So, there!

I’m going back to the flagship line, Marvel Minimates, for today’s review of Superior Spider-Man and Nova!

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

These two were released as part of the 51st wave of Marvel Minimates, which was a wave centered around the launch of Marvel Now!  If you don’t know what “Marvel Now!” is, it’s a movement by marvel to keep their books “fresh” by changing up a few creative teams and resetting a whole bunch of books back to issue 1.

SUPERIOR SPIDER-MAN

I’ve discussed the “Superior” incarnation of Spider-Man previously, when I reviewed the character’s second look.  The basic gist is that Peter Parker’s mind was replaced with Doctor Octopus’s, resulting in a very different Spider-Man.  In a shocking move predicted by no one (read: sarcasm), Marvel just announced that come April, Peter will be back in control and Spider-Man will once again be Amazing.  Anyway, this figure is based on the initial design of Superior Spider-Man, which was a bit more of a minor change than the one that followed.  The figure is built on the standard Minimate body, so he’s got 14 points of articulation and stands about 2 ½ inches tall.  Spidey is a “vanilla mate”, meaning he’s got no sculpted add-ons, just paint on the basic body.  The paintwork is actually really nice.  All of the detail lines are nice and clean, and the web pattern even continues all the way around the wrists, which is a detail that’s been missing from a fair share of Spider-Men.  Spider-Man includes a webline, a clear display stand, and a jump stand that allows you to display him mid-swing.  The stand is a cool idea, and I hope to see it more often.

NOVA

Nova

If you’re a faithful reader of the site, this figure probably looks familiar to you.  That’s because I’ve pretty much already reviewed it.  For the most part, this figure is the same as TRU wave 17’s version of Nova.  The biggest change is that this figure sports a unique set of shoulder pads.  They look fine, but they’re really loose, and you can even see one of them has slipped out of place in the photo in this review.  For this reason, I prefer the piece used on the wave 17 version a bit more.  Paint wise, Nova is identical to the other version, fuzzy lines and all.  Nova’s accessories are another marked difference between releases.  This version doesn’t have the large complement the other featured, instead only getting the spare Sam hair, a basic flight stand, and a display stand.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I actually bought an entire case of wave 51 in order to get more of the SHIELD Agent army builder, so I have three of this set.  So, if anyone reads this review and really wants a set, I have two spares for sale.  Anyway, I like this set, but with the release of superior (heh) versions of both characters in TRU wave 17, I can’t help but feel this set is a bit redundant.  They’re quality minimates to be sure, and the Spider-Men are different enough I suppose, but poor Nova really gets the short end of the stick.

#0058: Nova & Alien Symbiote Venom

NOVA & ALIEN SYMBIOTE VENOM

MARVEL MINIMATES

Today, it’s another entry from the Marvel Minimates line.  Like the last two reviews, this set comes from the most recent Toys R Us Exclusive series.  This time around, it’s the latest incarnation of the character Marvel really wants to take off Nova, and villainous Spider-Man knock-off Venom.

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

These two were released as part of the 17th Toys R Us exclusive series of Marvel Minimates.

NOVA

First up, it’s everyone’s favorite Galactic Law enforcer!  No, it’s not Ryan Reynolds, it’s actually Nova, specifically of the All New variety.  It’s Sam Alexander, the most recent incarnation of Nova.  He’s built on the usual Minimate body, so he’s got 14 points of articulation and stands about 2 ½ inches tall.  He’s got a sculpted helmet, shoulder pads, and gloves.  The shoulder pads are reused from Wolverine, but the helmet and gloves are new pieces.  They look to be accurate to the source material, which is good.  The paint isn’t terrible, though there is some noticeable slop and a few fuzzy lines.  It’s not terrible, but it keeps the figure from being “great”.   Nova also includes an extra golden helmet to replace his regular one, an extra head w/ hair to make the figure into Sam’s dad, a clear blue blast off base, and the usual clear display stand.

VENOM

Next, it’s everyone’s favorite Topher Grace role!  …okay, not really…look, it’s Venom, okay?  Happy?  Venom is based on the look that Venom’s pretty consistently had since his introduction.  If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it, I guess.  The characters size has varied over the years, and this figure’s meant to show him all ‘roided out like he was towards the end of the 90s.  The figure’s built on the basic Minimate body, with some sculpted parts which bring his articulation to 12 points and his height to a little over 2 ½ inches.  Venom’s got a sculpted mask, torso cover, pelvis cover, thigh covers, feet, upper arm covers and clawed hands.  The bulked up pieces have been used on several of the larger Marvel characters before, and the Venom specific parts have been used before in the Venom: Through the Ages set.  Venom is usually depicted in black and white, but for this figure, Diamond’s replaced the usual black with a dark, semi-metallic blue.  It’s not a huge difference, but it makes the figure different from previous releases I guess.  The paint is pretty good overall, with less of the slop that’s present on Nova.  As a cool bonus, if you remove all the added on parts, and give him the included normal hands and feet, you can assemble a black-costume Spider-Man.   Venom also includes a tendril that can be swapped out for one of his hands, and a clear display stand.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Like the rest of this series, I got these two from TRU’s online store, with no real issues for a change.  This set is a perfectly fine addition to my collection, even if it isn’t necessarily.  The ability to use Venom as a Symbiote Spider-Man adds a whole lot to the set, as I think it might be my favorite take on that particular version of the character yet.