#2020: Citizen V

CITIZEN V

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

“Baron Helmut Zemo adopts the alias Citizen V and leads the heroic Thunderbolts into battle against various villains.”

From the fallout of the dreaded “Heroes Reborn” relaunch of the ’90s, there was actually one notable not-terrible thing to come about: Thunderbolts.  In the wake of the Avengers disappearance, a new super-team arose, and in one of the decade’s most shocking twists, were revealed at the end of their debut hero to not be heroes at all, but rather the Masters of Evil in disguise.  Former Masters of Evil leader and Captain America foe Baron Zemo became the patriotically-themed Citizen V.  And, following up on last year’s Songbird figure, we’ve gotten a Citizen V to go along with her.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Citizen V is figure 5 in the first Endgame-themed series of Marvel Legends.  Given his real identity, he’s not the worst choice in the world for this assortment, even if Zemo’s not actually in Endgame.  I mean, at least he *is* an MCU character, and with the Songbird figure last year, there’s a good precedent.  The figure stands 6 1/4 inches tall and has 32 points of articulation.  Like yesterday’s Nighthawk, Citizen V is built on the Bucky Cap body, which definitely a good choice, given it’s the same body that the basic Zemo was built on as well.  He’s specifically built on the recent Daredevil variant of the body, meaning he has the wrapped hands and laced up boots, which are a good match for Citizen V’s design.  He gets a new head, belt, and cape piece as well, which completes the appearance nicely.  I particularly like the head, which is nice and sleek.  The cape is also a rather nice piece, though the nature of how it’s laid out is rather restricting for his left arm.  Of course, given that his sword hand is his right one, it’s not a huge loss.  I’m willing to sacrifice movement for form on this one.  The paintwork on V is some solid stuff.  I really dig the metallics on the shoulder pads, as well as the accenting on the red sections.  There’s some notable slop on the cape at the edges, which I wish wasn’t quite as obvious, especially given the quality of the rest of paintwork.  It’s really the one downside to an otherwise really strong figure.  Citizen V is packed with his sword, which is a decent enough piece, though he has a little bit of trouble holding it.  Still, a cool piece nonetheless.  He also includes the right leg of the Thanos Build-A-Figure.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

While I didn’t read Thunderbolts back when it was new, I’ve always kind of dug Citizen V’s design and have long thought it would make for a good figure.  I was definitely hoping to see it turn up when we got Songbird last year, and I was happy to see him show up.  He was pretty high on my list for this assortment, and I definitely had high hopes.  The paint on the cape is annoying, but beyond that, I do really like this figure, and I look forward to the possibility of getting more members of the original Thunderbolts.

Citizen V was purchased from All Time Toys, and he’s currently in-stock at their store, here. And, if you’re looking for other toys both old and new, please check out their website and their eBay storefront.

#1727: Cosmic Silver Surfer & Swordsman

COSMIC SILVER SURFER & SWORDSMAN

MARVEL MINIMATES

Marvel Minimates is home to some off the wall choices in terms of characters, and especially pairings. The early Toys R Us-exclusive series were home to some of the most truly strange character pairings for the exclusive two-packs.  Most of them tried to keep at least some sort of common thread between the characters included, but today’s set, Silver Surfer and Swordsman is perhaps one of the weirdest.

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

These two were released in the fifth series of TRU-exclusive Marvel Minimates.  They were both designed to fit with, at the time, current boxed sets, those sets being Infinity Gauntlet and Thunderbolts, respectively.

COSMIC SILVER SURFER

Despite his status as a fairly major player on the cosmic side of Marvel, this is the second of only three Silver Surfer Minimates.  His low number of releases is undoubtedly due to his largely unchanged look over the years.  Sure, he’s had some minor stylistic tweaks, but only so much of that can be conveyed through a 2-inch block figure form.  As such, Surfer’s debut ‘mate went unchallenged for a good five years (and, depending on who you talk to, he’s still the best version of the character).  In 2009, however, there were a lot of new fans coming into Minimates, so it seemed about the right time for a new version, so we got this guy.  Silver Surfer is, and always shall be, a vanilla ‘mate.  There’s really no other way to properly do this guy.  It’s worth noting, however, that the Minimate body has had some subtle changes over the years.  In 2009, the necks got kind of short for a while, which throws off the design more than you might think.  It makes Surfer look a little more powerhouse-y than usual. The paint is, of course, the key element here.  The original Surfer ‘mate was more on the simplistic side of things, as was the style of the line at time.  By the time this guy was released, Minimates were far more detailed.  This guy gets a much more intensive paint job, which looks to be heavily influenced by Jim Starlin’s take on the character from Infinity Gauntlet.  Given the release of a whole Infinity Gauntlet boxed set the month prior to this figure hitting TRU, it was a solid stylistic choice for DST.  With that said, I can’t help but feel the figure ends up looking rather busy with all those lines and everything going on.  The head and limbs aren’t so bad (in fact, I think the face on this Surfer is my favorite of the three), but the torso is just too much.  He looks like he has a second face down there. Since he had no actual add-ons, Silver Surfer instead gets a bunch of accessories.  Obviously, he gets his board, which had been tweaked from the original release to add a peg for him to be attached, as well as a peg hole on the opposite side, thus allowing for the attachment of the included flight stand.  He also included a pair of hand blast effects and electricity effects, both molded in a very pleasing translucent purple.

SWORDSMAN

Marvel has had five different characters who bore the name “Swordsman” (and that’s not getting into alternate universes).  The one depicted here is Andreas von Strucker, originally one half of the Fenris Twins, Baron Von Strucker’s two children.  Following the death of his sister Andrea, he took up the Swordsman title.  He was never a particularly noteworthy character, but had the good fortune of being part of Norman Osborn’s Thunderbolts team, which got a full line-up of Minimates.  He was just along for the ride, I suppose.  It probably helps that he has a pretty solid design. Swordsman featured sculpted add-ons for his helmet, gloves, and belt.  The gloves are re-used from Captain America, but the helmet and belt were new pieces.  Everything was well sculpted and sits well on the ‘mate body.  I quite like the helmet in particular; they’ve done a very good job of translating it to the Minimate form.  The belt is more basic fare, but is notable in it’s inclusion of a spot to keep his sword stashed.  As with Silver Surfer, his head sits a little low on the neck, but this is less noticeable with the addition of the helmet. Swordsman’s paintwork is pretty solid stuff overall.  The shade of purple they’ve chosen actually looks quite nice, and even photographs well (a rarity when it comes to purples), and the detailing on the chain mail is quite impressive.  Under the mask, we get Andreas von Strucker’s ugly mug, and I do mean ugly.  Though he’s got a peg hole in his head, there are painted on ears, meaning this is supposed to be Andreas after he shaved his head, though if you want to throw in your own hairpiece, the option’s there. For accessories, all Swordsman gets is a single sword, borrowed from the Defenders set’s Valkyrie.  It’s a decent enough, but I do feel the extra hairpiece would have been a nice extra bit of value.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

This set’s announcement frustrated me a bit.  I was excited by both figures included, but up to that point, none of the TRU-exclusives had been particularly easy to get a hold of.  Fortunately, I didn’t have much trouble with these two.Though not perfect, this Silver Surfer was much appreciated at the time of his release.  If I’m honest, I don’t truly believe any of the three Surfers is better than the others; they all present a slightly different take on the character.  If a more modern Surfer is what you’re looking for, then this one’s the one you’re after.  Despite this not being a version of Swordsman I have any particular attachment to, I really like this ‘mate.  He’s quite well put together, and it’s a design that just works well in this style.  Now, one of these days I’d really like a proper Jacques Duquesne Swordsman, but that’s a whole other thing.

#1652: Songbird

SONGBIRD

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

“A cacophony of skill and supersonic powers make Melissa Gold the high-pitched hero Songbird.”

It’s generally agreed that ’90s comics, as a rule, all totally suck.  This is a tad hyperbolic.  The decade certainly delved into the excesses of the medium, but it’s less that everything sucked and more that the sudden boom of how many comics were being produced meant that the bad ones were that much more visible.  There are some definite gems from the decade, and one of those is Kurt Busiek and Mark Bagley’s run on Thunderbolts.  In the midst of the ’90s turning every hero into a gun-toting anti-hero, Thunderbolts returned to Marvel’s roots of taking villains and turning them into full-fledged heroes…well, some of them anyway.  Perhaps the greatest success story of Thunderbolts is today’s focus, Songbird.  She began her career as the rather forgettable villain “Screaming Mimi” and was chosen by Busiek precisely because of how under-developed she was.  20 years later, she’s perhaps still not an A-lister, but she’s easily the quintessential Thunderbolt, and a very highly ranking character amongst the fanbase.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Songbird is figure 5 in the Thanos Series of Marvel Legends.  She’s the second of the three comics-based figures.  Songbird’s had a bit of a road to finally getting a Legend.  A prototype was originally shown at at SDCC 2013, planned for a future assortment of the pre-Infinite Series line, and obviously meant to tie-in with that year’s Thunderbolts boxed set.  Unfortunately, the line re-formated the next spring, and all of the figures shown were dropped…at least initially.  The figures originally slotted for the infamous “Jubilee Series” all found their way into the Infinite Series branded line, as did most of the other odds and ends figures shown off in 2013.  Poor Songbird was the last completely unreleased figure (though single-packed re-releases of the still boxed-set exclusive X-Force Wolverine, X-Force Archangel, and Moonstone also never materialized).  Fortunately, the character’s loyal fanbase saw her to a victory in 2016’s Fan’s Choice poll, and Hasbro was able to find her a spot in this year’s line-up.  The figure stands 6 inches tall and she has 23 points of articulation.  Where the 2013 prototype used Songbird’s then-current design, this figure instead opts for her classic design, which she’s gone back to in recent years.  It also updates her to a more current base-body; instead of the out-of-date body from the ROML days, Songbird is instead sporting the 2016 Phoenix body, which is a pretty good one.  She’s got a new head, forearms, and hands, as well as add-ons for the shoulder armor and belt.  All-in-all, it adds up to a pretty solid looking figure.  The head capture’s Bagley’s depiction of the character without going too artist-specific, and there’s even a slight smile to her face, keeping her from being yet another vapid face on the shelf.  The armor is sleek and well-fitted to the body; it limits the shoulder movement a bit, but not terribly so.  The gauntlets on her new arms match the shoulder piece in terms of quality; they’re a little slimmed down compared to her usual look from the comic, but I don’t mind so much.  I suspect there’s going to be some re-use in order, though.  The new hands are pretty simple, being a flat-palmed position.  We’ve already got this pose for the male bodies, so it’s good to get the female equivalent, and this pose is definitely better than the Phoenix hands for Songbird.  Lastly, there’s the belt; it’s a pretty basic floating add-on piece.  It does its job.  The color work on Songbird is what we’ve come to expect from a Legends release.  Appropriately colored plastic where possible, and all of the standard painted detailing.  No real accent work to speak of, but the base application is clean, and her colors match well with the comics.  Songbird includes a wing effects piece, showcasing her sound manipulation abilities in the way she most frequently manifests them.  It plugs into her back and looks really cool when in-place.  Here’s hoping we see a similarly-styled Phoenix force effect down the line!  Songbird also includes the right arm of the Build-A-Figure Thanos.  She’s got a better selection of extras than the last two figures I looked at, but I wish we’d at least gotten an extra set of hands.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Songbird was found at the same time as Proxima and King Cobra.  I’m more familiar with her than I am the other two (I mostly know her from Avengers Forever, but I’ve read a decent selection of Thunderbolts as well), so I was looking forward to her quite a bit.  I think King Cobra’s still my favorite from this set, but she’s a very close rival, and I’m glad she finally got made.  Now, here’s hoping for a Genis Vell to go with her!