#3105: Human Torch

HUMAN TORCH

FANTASTIC FOUR (TOY BIZ)

“Bombarded by cosmic rays while on an experimental space flight, teenager Johnny Storm gained an ability to match his fiery disposition. With but a thought, his body would ignite and burst into flame! Realizing that he must use his powers in the service of mankind, Johnny became the Human Torch, and fights to protect the world as a member of the Fantastic Four!”

Remember at the beginning of the month, when I was talking about all the weirdness surrounding getting Invisible Woman and Human Torch added to the first series of Toy Biz’s Fantastic Four line?  Since I started the month with the weird place holder Sue, it would make a lot of logical sense to end the month with the weird place holder Johnny, right?  It sure would.  Shame that I don’t actually own that figure.  That would have been convenient.  Guess you guys will just have to settle for the not-weird-place-holder Johnny, who is, in this sense, ironically a placeholder for the placeholder.  So, you know, still kinda weird.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Human Torch was initially released in the second series of Toy Biz’s Fantastic Four line, and was then re-released as part of their KB Toys-exclusive Marvel Universe line in 1996.  The two figures are identical, but for the sake of clarity, it’s worth noting that mine is the Universe release.  Torch is seen here in his fully flamed on appearance, and is at least loosely inspired by how he looked on the cartoon.  The figure stands 5 inches tall and he has 9 points of articulation.  His sculpt was an all-new one, and remained unique to this figure (though an up-scaled version of it was used for the 10 inch line).  Generally, it’s not bad.  Fully flamed on Torches are always an iffy prospect, but this one does at least do a fair bit to keep him quite visually interesting.  His scorch lines are a sculpted element on this one, which actually works surprisingly well, and he’s got enough small flame effects to sell the “man on fire” thing.  I like that the head has a more playful expression than flamed on Torches tend to; it just feels more true to the character.  The main down side of this sculpt is the torso, which, due to the nature of his action feature, winds up a bit oversized.  It’s not awful, but it’s not great either.  Said action feature is a “Flame On Sparking Action.”  When you pull the string on his back, the torso sparks.  Or it used to, anyway.  The feature’s worn itself on mine.  Human Torch’s paint work is alright; fairly basic, really.  He’s molded in a bright red, and there’s some yellow for the flames, eyes, and mouth.  It works well enough, though the fact that everything is opaque is a little bit of a bummer.  Torch is packed with a catapult launcher stand, similar to the one included with Phoenix.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Human Torch is a figure I got brand new, albeit when he was re-issued under the Universe heading.  I had come into the collecting game too late for FF release, so I got the Series 4 version first.  This one was procured during a trip to my local mall’s KB Toys, on a trip with my Grandmother.  I think I just really wanted a fully flamed-on version of the character, since that’s what I was used to seeing on the show.  He’s not the best version of the character Toy Biz produced, but he’s also not the worst, and I kind of appreciate the goofier aspects of the figure.

#3100: Firelord

FIRELORD

FANTASTIC FOUR (TOY BIZ)

“Once a herald of the world-devouring Galactus, Firelord was granted absolute control over all flames by his former master. Now freed from servitude, he wanders the spaceways, using his cosmic power to take what he desires! Unprincipled and mercenary, Firelord conceals his true demeanor beneath a facade of nobility and culture, but always displays his blazing abilities for all to marvel at…and fear!”

After Stan Lee and Jack Kirby introduced the concept of Galactus, and in turn his herald Silver Surfer, and then almost immediately dismantling it by having the Surfer removed from the role of herald at the end of that very story, it seemed Galactus was in need of a new herald to keep things running.  The first replacement for Surfer was Air-Walker, a Xandarian who’s first appearance was not even the man himself, but a robotic duplicate, created by Galactus after the original died.  The next herald after Air-Walker was another Xandarian (who was actually a friend of Air-Walker pre-herald transformation), Firelord.  Firelord would follow in the path set by Silver Surfer, eventually asking to be released from his duties as herald, and forging out on his own.  He’s remained a minor recurring character on the cosmic side of things at Marvel.  As a herald of Galactus, he got himself a spot in Toy Biz’s FF line in the ’90s.  I’m taking a look at that figure today!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Firelord was released in Series 2 of the Fantastic Four line.  Unlike Thanos, who was notably never in the cartoon that the line was tying into, Firelord actually got a brief appearance on the show.  Not that it really amounted to much, since it was little more than a cameo, but hey, there it was.  Of note, he was actually voiced by Alan Oppenheimer, better known as the voice of Skeletor.  Fun times.  Until his Minimate release, this was Firelord’s only action figure.  The figure stands about 5 inches tall and he has 9 points of articulation.  He sports a sculpt that remained unique to this release.  It’s a pretty decent one.  Nothing overly showy or anything.  Generally it just sticks to the basics, but it’s good at that.  He’s got some minor detailing for the flame effects, which are a little on the soft side, but get the point across.  The strongest portion of the sculpt is definitely the head, which sticks closer to the comics interpretation of the character, with his rather other-worldly cheek bones and all.  Firelord’s paint work is alright.  It’s not quite as bold and differentiated as some of his colors tended to be in the comics, but the general look again works pretty well, apart from some slight muddying of the colors without any real clear outlines.  That said, it’s not terrible.  Not terrible at all.  Firelord was packed with his flaming staff, dubbed “Cosmic Flame Launcher” on the package.  It’s in two parts, and one part launched like a missile out of the other.  I’ve only actually got the missile part anymore, which is the half that looks more convincingly like his staff anyway.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I’ve mentioned before on the site about Ageless Heroes, a comic store nearby that had a rather huge going out of business sale when I was between six and seven.  It served as a pretty sizable boon to my 5 inch Marvel collection as a kid.  Firelord here was one of the figures from that boon.  He wasn’t actually bought as Firelord, since I didn’t really know the character, but instead got initial use as a Jim Hammond Human Torch.  I did eventually learn who Firelord was, courtesy of a copy of his appearance in Uncanny Origins, which I got from Ageless Heroes’ back-issues, in fact.  He’s not a perfect figure, or anything, but he’s certainly one I got a lot of use out of as a kid.

#3095: Thanos

THANOS

FANTASTIC FOUR (TOY BIZ)

“The mad titan called Thanos worships death, and seeks to destroy all life in the universe! Possessing awesome cosmic power, tremendous physical strength, and impervious to all but the most potent forces, he is truly a foe to be feared and respected. While often stymied by such heroes as the Fantastic Four and the Silver Surfer, Thanos has never been truly defeated!”

My first Thanos-related review here on the site was back in March of 2014, when all we had to go on for his cinematic side was a brief cameo in Avengers‘ mid-credits scene.  I cited him as “likely to be a pretty big character in the coming years,” which was accurate.  Not that it took too much guessing to see the writing on that particular wall.  Eight years later, Thanos is a much bigger name, a pivotal player in two of the highest grossing films of all time, as well as the center of so, so many memes.  And I’m gonna go back to his relative beginning, at least in the toy world, with a look at his very first action figure.  Let’s see how that one holds up, shall we?

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Thanos was released in Series 2 of Toy Biz’s Fantastic Four toy line.  While the line was meant to tie-in with the cartoon that had just started airing at the time, and a great many of the included figures were characters who would appear on the show, that wasn’t true for Thanos, who was absent from the two season run of the show, and wouldn’t actually show up in animation until 1999’s Silver Surfer (which gave him his second action figure in its corresponding toy line).  Thanos himself isn’t really tied to the FF all that often, but I suppose they were the best fitting line for him at the time.  The figure stands about 5 1/2 inches tall and he has 8 points of articulation.  He gets elbows and knees, but not a neck joint.  Not entirely sure as to why the neck joint wasn’t there, but it was kind of a crapshoot on such things with the Toy Biz stuff.  Thanos’s sculpt was an all-new offering, based on the character’s classic, and at the time current, appearance.  It’s a pretty decent offering, and one that remained unique to this particular release.  He’s larger and bulked up relative to the other figures, without being too extreme, and generally matches well with his comic depictions.  The details are perhaps a little soft, but not terribly so, and I love the folds on the gloves and boots; peak Thanos design there, really.  The paint work on Thanos is alright for the era.  It’s definitely got some slop, especially at the edges of the orange areas, but it’s not the worst.  Interestingly, they’ve gone to the trouble of molding his eyes as separate pieces from the rest of the head, for the purpose of vac metalizing them.  It’s certainly a cool effect, but I’m not entirely sure *why* they did it.  Ah, who am I to complain about more chrome?  Thanos was packed with a rope with some skulls on it.  Why?  No clue.  It was a re-use from X-Force‘s Krule figure, and it mostly is there to take up space in the box.  Thanos also featured a “Pulverizing Gauntlet Action” which had his left arm do a swinging bit.  It’s an unobtrusive feature, so that’s honestly not too bad.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I didn’t have this figure as a kid, but I *did* cut up the back of one of my Series 3 figure’s boxes so that I could have small paper figures of all the figures on the back, meaning I *sort of* had a Thanos figure.  It was a good few years before I actually encountered one of these in person.  The one here I picked up from an antique store a couple of years ago, at the same time as the Invisible Woman figure I reviewed last week.  This guy’s pretty nifty.  Not a lot of frills or anything, but he does what he needs to, and he does it alright.  And, he’s the first Thanos, which is itself pretty nifty.

#3090: Invisible Woman

INVISIBLE WOMAN

FANTASTIC FOUR (TOY BIZ)

“Caught in a bombardment of intense cosmic radiation while on an experimental space flight, Susan Richards found herself endowed with the power to become transparent at will, and the ability to form invisible force-fields of incredible durability. Now, as a member of the Fantastic Four, Sue battles to defend humanity as the elusive Invisible Woman!”

Very early in my reviewing days (we’re talking low teens here), I made my way through most of the first series of Toy Biz’s ’90s Fantastic Four line.  I neglected to review the standard version of the Thing at that time, mainly because I didn’t actually, you know, own one.  I fixed that back in 2017, and officially rounded out my reviews of Fantastic Four Series 1.  Of note, that means there are still no basic Invisible Woman and Human Torch reviews for the line, and that’s for a very specific reason: Toy Biz didn’t put them in Series 1.  For some reason, they felt that the best call for a line based on a team of four was to split the team between the first two assortments, meaning that the team was to be incomplete for the entirety of the gap between the two assortments.  With the line launching to tie-in with the cartoon, retailers weren’t particularly keen on Toy Biz’s plan to split the main team, and wanted them added to the first assortment.  With the molds not ready to go, Toy Biz had to hastily throw together stand-in versions of the other two members from molds already in production, making two figures that are *technically* part of Series 1, but also not advertised as such in any way what so ever.  I’m looking at the stand-in Invisible Woman today!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Invisible Woman was, as noted above, technically released in Series 1 of Toy Biz’s Fantastic Four line, or at the very least adjacent to it.  Whatever the case, that means she hit shelves in 1994.  The figure stands about 5 inches tall and she has 6 points of articulation.  She doesn’t get neck or elbow movement, which put her a bit behind other figures of the same era, and generally makes her a little bit stiff.  In order to get Sue to the market, she was a complete re-use of the Iron Man line’s Julia Carpenter version of Spider-Woman.  All things considered, it’s actually not a bad option.  Julia’s costume details weren’t sculpted in, and the build and hairstyles of the two characters were similar enough to make it work.  The only real oddity to the re-use s the lack of sculpted eyes.  I mean, it’s not totally smooth there; there’s a slight indent and all.  However, Spider-Woman’s mask has Spidey-style eyes, not actual eyes, so Sue’s were just painted on.  It does look ever so slightly odd.  There’s an action feature worked it, which has a rather visible lever on the back.  It flips her arms upward, in a sort of a “flipping the table” fashion, which is kinda comedic, really.  Otherwise, it’s a decent sculpt, no matter who it was being used for.  The paint work does the heavy lifting on making this a convincing Sue Richards figure, and it does that alright.  Some of the edges are a bit on the fuzzy side, but the colors line up well with the other two team members from Series 1, and those eyes really don’t look as bad as they could.  Sue was packed with a stand and a small shield piece, both of which are molded in clear plastic.  Not a bad little display of her powers, and I do believe these were both actually unique parts, albeit much more simplistic than the actual figures, so thereby much more cheaply produced.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

This figure was a filler figure at best when it arrived at retail, and wasn’t designed to linger, so when I got into collecting figures (which was about around the time of Series 3 of the line), there weren’t any of this one still hanging around.  My first Sue was an old stock Marvel Super Heroes version, followed closely by the proper Series 2 release.  This one is a much more recent addition, picked up from an antique mall a few years ago.  Given how slap dash of a release this figure was, she’s surprisingly not a bad figure.  You could be forgiven for even thinking she was supposed to be this way.  She’s a good example of a solid quick-save from Toy Biz.  Her brother…well, he was a different story.  But Sue’s good, and that’s what matters here.

#3063: Moon Knight

MOON KNIGHT

MARVEL UNIVERSE 10-INCH (TOY BIZ)

 

“Returning from a journey to his Kree homeworld, Captain Marvel arrives on Earth to find New York in a panic. Fighting a division of shape-changing Skrull soldiers, the local military are retreating and only the Super Heroes have managed to hold the invaders back. Joining together with the mysterious Moon Knight and the X-Men’s Wolverine, Captain Marvel is able to use his powerful nega-bands to blast the Skrull cannons to dust, and send them retreating back to space.”

Hey, do you know what’s coming out today?  I mean, it’s not anything big, I suppose.  Just a little show with some nobody launching today.  What’s it called?  Oh yeah, MOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOON KNIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIGHT!  Yes, that’s right, today marks the first episode of the Oscar Isaac-led Moon Knight dropping on Disney+.  I’m beyond stoked, in case you couldn’t tell, and in honor of such an awesome occasion, I’m going to be taking a look at one of my back catalogue Moon Knight figures, whilst I wait for the inevitable Legends treatment from his newest design.  This time, we jump back to the very humble beginnings for Moon Knight when it comes to action figure coverage.  Time to see how far we’ve come!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Moon Knight was released in 1997 as part of Toy Biz’s Marvel Universe 10-Inch line, in a precariously themed assortment that also featured Captain Marvel and Cosmic Wolverine (aka Wolverine in a space suit), both of whom are mentioned in the above wacky packaging text scenario.  The figure stands 10 inches tall and he has 11 points of articulation.  He’s based on the 10-inch Silver Surfer body, itself a larger scaled version of the 5-inch release.  By this point in the line, the right arm had been retooled to remove the odd turntable-spinning hand, so that it now had a more standard elbow joint and a hand for gripping.  The head is the standard Spidey head.  It’s perhaps a little skinny for Moon Knight, but given the general look and feel of the figures in the line, he works to be what he needs to be.  It’s also nice, because it gives him the extra ankle joints, which are certainly helpful for the character.  It’s all topped off with a cloth goods cape, which is sort of goofy looking, but it also looks the part given the rest of the line.  Moon Knight’s paint work is pretty solid.  In order to mix things up a little more, he’s using the white and gold color scheme from Moon Knight’s tenure with the West Coast Avengers.  It’s not his usual go-to, but it’s notably unique in the toy world, since it’s not been used on any figures since.  The application is pretty clean and sharp, and it looks the part.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

It was this figure that served as my very first introduction to Moon Knight as a character, though, despite that, I didn’t have that one as a kid.  I remember seeing him at retail, and be intrigued by the character, but by the time I had any idea who he was, the figure was long gone.  The 10-inch figures aren’t the most frequently found figures these days, but I found quite a selection of them at a comic book store, called Collector’s World, near where my family spends their vacation, just a few years ago.  They have sadly closed down in the last few years, but I was at least able to get this Moon Knight that way.  He’s super goofy, but he’s exactly what I’d want out of this type of figure, and I’m never one to shrug away another Moon Knight figure.

#3060: Jubilee

JUBILEE

X-MEN (TOY BIZ)

“As a member of the teenage group of X-Men known as Generation X, Jubilee continues to utilize the X-Mansion’s Danger Room. Joining Storm and Gambit in a futuristic scenario, Jubilee faces the threat of a dozen mutant-hunting Sentinel robots. Caught in a Sentinel’s grappling cable, Jubilee is cut loose by Gambit, leaving her free to finish off the giant robot!”

Oh no!  Is that a girl action figure on my website?  It can’t be!   That wouldn’t be right!  What if some boy saw a girl action figure on my action figure website that’s only supposed to be for boys, and then they spontaneously turned into a serial killer?  That’s a totally reasonable and totally plausible line of logic, right?  It’s not horribly behind the times and in support of a long disproven misconception about toy sales, right?  Hang on, I’m getting an update here: everything I just said appears to an utter garbage opinion.  Well, okay, glad I have that cleared up.  Here I was thinking that the ramblings of a man that calls himself “the Toddfather” were word of law, or something.  Well, without fear of creating any serial killers or anything, I guess I’ll go ahead and review today’s intended focus.  I’m jumping back into the Toy Biz Marvel game for a little bit today, and taking a look at Robot Fighter Jubilee!  She’s like the regular Jubilee, but she fights robots.  I mean, regular Jubilee fights a lot of robots already.  Well, more robots, I guess?  Let’s go with that!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Jubilee was released in the 19th series of Toy Biz’s X-Men line, which was dubbed “Robot Fighters,” and themed accordingly.  This marked the second of Toy Biz’s two Jubilee figures, and the only one to be in the X-Men line proper (the other was part of their Generation X line).  It’s a bit crazy that, at the height of her popularity, Jubilee only got two figures, and neither one was her main X-Men appearance, but that was ’90s toy ideals for you, I guess.  The figure stands about 4 1/2 inches tall (thanks to the crouching that befell all of the Robot Fighters figures) and she has 7 points of articulation.  The Robot Fighters saw elbow and knee joints dropped, but Jubilee does at leas get extra mobility on her shoulders.  It doesn’t do a ton for her in terms of the poses she can pull, but it’s not terrible.  Jubilee’s sculpt was an all-new piece and…well, it’s an interesting approach.  She’s sporting a look that’s not really drawn from anything in the comics, though it’s not as thought it looks particularly out of place amongst the designs of the time.  The sculpt ages up Jubilee a little bit, something they were kind of starting to do a little bit in the comics, and the longer hair does line-up with her slight redesign from The Animated Series‘ final batch of episodes.  As with the rest of this particular assortment, Jubilee is quite pre-posed, though she does make out a little better than the male figures from the line-up.  Perhaps the oddest part of the figure is the random Spidey-pose hand on the left side.  She’s definitely not repurposing any molds or anything, so I guess she’s just doing the pose because she’s a fan?  It’s definitely goofy, but why start taking issue with that now, right?  Jubilee’s color scheme isn’t really classic Jubilee, but does seem to at least take some cues from her AoA design.  It’s not too hideous, and she stands out from the rest of the team at least.  The paint application is generally pretty good. There are few odd spots where there shouldn’t be, but I’ve certainly seen worse.  Jubilee is packed with a giant Sentinel hand, by far the most sensible of the Robot Fighters extras.  There’s part of the tendril, and the fingers are all posable, so you can have the hand trying the capture her, which is kinda cool.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I didn’t have this figure as a kid, presumably because my parents were trying to avoid turning me into a serial killer.  Nah, that’s not really it.  It was actually because I already had the Generation X version, so I didn’t need this one.  I do remember seeing her in stores at the time, though, and kind of vaguely wanting one.  That said, I wasn’t yet into variant hunting, at least not quite so much.  So, instead, I wound up holding off on this one until relatively recently.  I got her a few years back, during one of my trips to House of Fun in New Jersey.  She’s a kind of goofy variant, with no comics basis, but I actually really like her, and she’s currently my main Jubilee on my 5-inch X-Men shelf, so she can’t be that bad.  And I promise, I’m not a serial killer.

#3050: Blink

BLINK

MARVEL’S MOST WANTED (TOY BIZ)

“In an alternate world where Charles Xavier has died and Apocalypse rules supreme, Clarice Ferguson is a young mutant struggling to stay alive. Fighting alongside the astonishing X-Men, Blink uses her super powers of teleportation for the good of mankind. Her mutant abilities allow her to temporarily “blink” an object out of existence with the aid of a phasing pulse. Few people know that while just a girl, Blink’s life was saved from the forces of Apocalypse by none other than Sabretooth!”

When Toy Biz did their tie-ins for the “Age of Apocalypse” event, they mostly focused on the heavy hitters in their new personas.  This left some of the more underdog characters, whose mainstream counterparts weren’t as developed, out of the picture.  Thankfully, they found some other avenues for a few of them.  Morph found his way out as a ToyFare exclusive, and Holocaust joined the main X-Men line later on, oddly shoehorned into a ninja-themed assortment.  Blink, a breakout character who in the mainstream universe was just a throwaway casualty for the original Generation X line-up, found her first foray into the toy world courtesy of the rather bizarrely named Marvel’s Most Wanted line, a figure whom I’ll be taking a look at today.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Blink was released in 1998 as part of the three figure line-up for Marvel’s Most Wanted, an assortment that featured Blink, X-Man, and Spat & Grovel.  Not exactly the heaviest of hitters, the most wanted, or even a particularly cohesive set, but they sure were….um…released all at the same time?  Sure, let’s go with that.  The figure stands roughly 5 inches tall and she has 14 points of articulation.  Her articulation scheme marks an improvement over a lot of what Toy Biz was offering at the time…in some ways.  The shoulders are universal joints, and she’s even got wrist movement, but then she’s stuck with v-hips, and no knees.  There’s a swivel on one thigh, but not the other, which is strange to say the least.  Still, she’s capable of a good deal more poses than other figures of the era.  Blink’s sculpt was new to her, and would remain unique for Toy Biz’s run.  Since it was prior to any of her post-AoA appearances, she’s based purely on the design from there.  It’s a fair choice, especially given that it means she works with the other AoA figures Toy Biz had done up to that point.  The sculpt is a decent offering.  She’s rather stylized, as well as being slightly pre-posed.  Both of these are in keeping with the main line’s AoA assortment in terms of style, as well as the overall evolving designs of Toy Biz’s Marvel stuff at the time.  It matches well with Blink’s illustrations from the comics, and is suitably unique.  The dynamic nature of the skirt and hair does a nice job of working with the pose, and just making for quite a visually interesting figure.  Blink’s color work is generally pretty basic, but it does what it needs to.  The application’s all pretty clean, and there’s not any notable bleed over or slop.  Blink is packed with a removable cloak, a quiver with removable javelins, and a base meant to look like one of her portals.  It’s not a bad selection of extras, given that none of them are really dead weight or fillers, both of which had a tendency to crop up with the Toy Biz stuff.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

The only one of this line-up that I had as a kid was X-Man, mostly because he was the only of the characters I actually knew at the time.  I first really encountered Blink in Exiles, and by that point, this figure had kind of dried up in terms of availability.  I always wanted to pick one up, but it took me a while to get around to it.  It was actually Jess who finally got me one.  In 2017, we were driving up and down the coast a lot while in the process of a rather slow move, and one of the places we stopped had a Blink.  I mentioned to Jess that I had never gotten one, and she made a point of fixing that, because that was just how she was.  Blink was actually a favorite of hers as well, so I suppose it was kind of appropriate.  As far as first outings go, Blink was pretty solid.  She’s stylized and all, but it works for the exact nature of the character, and it’s still one of her better figures.  I mean, yeah she only has three, so I guess they’re all kind of high up there, but still…

#2938: Falcon

FALCON

AVENGERS: UNITED THEY STAND (TOY BIZ)

“As the Falcon, Sam Wilson became the dedicated defender of Harlem. Pledging to protect the innocent, Wilson used a falcon as inspiration when inventing high-powered armor – extendable robotic wings for swift aerial maneuvers and soaring flights, razor-sharp claws from wrist, and battle boots with retractable steel talons and missiles. He fights crime and shares a telepathic link with his trusty falcon, Redwing. As one of Earth’s mightiest heroes, he is always ready to answer the call, ‘Avengers Assemble!'”

Even before getting his big on-screen focus in 2014’s Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Falcon’s always been pretty fortunate when it came to the smaller-scale tie-in stuff.  He’s been included in every major Marvel scale and style when it comes to toys, and when it came to 1999’s Avengers: United They Stand cartoon, he got the important role of being the team’s newest member, and in many ways the audience surrogate as the team makes their way through the larger Marvel universe.  I’m looking at his figure from that line today!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Falcon was part of the second assortment of Toy Biz’s Avengers: United They Stand tie-in line.  This was only Falcon’s second figure from Toy Biz, but it was his fourth overall, following his Mego and Secret Wars figures. The figure stands 5 inches tall and he has 13 points of articulation.  He continues the trend of improved articulation on these guys, which was really great.  Falcon’s design for the show was a much more armored up design, much like the rest of the cast.  He did keep more of the broad stroke elements of his classic design than the others, and this design differed from the rest in that it actually even made a transition to the comics, at least for a short while.  Some parts of it are a little clunky, but it’s generally one of the better looks from the show, and I’ve always had a real soft spot for this one.  The sculpt does a very nice job of replicating his animation design, keeping him rather clean looking.  The armored parts actually use some separately sculpted pieces, which gives him a nice depth to his design.  His wings are also split between upper and lower arms, allowing for more posability, making a notable improvement over the Secret Wars figure, and even putting him above Toy Biz’s own Marvel’s Gold release.  Falcon’s paint work is generally pretty solid.  It’s largely just basic color work, but it was pretty clean, and the accenting on the armored parts is pretty cool.  Falcon was packed with his pet falcon and sidekick Red Wing.  Redwing had a magnetic connection on the front of his harness which could connect to Falcon’s corresponding magnet on his right arm, and would launch a pair of missiles from his back pack.  There were a lot of gimmicky accessories in this line, and this one certainly had a gimmick, but it was at least not terribly disruptive, and it meant we got a proper Redwing.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Falcon and Tigra were the first figures I got from this line when it dropped.  While they weren’t quite at the top of my list, they were both still pretty high (really only Wonder Man and Vision topped them).  The show and this toy both served to really solidify Falcon as a character I really, really liked, and he’s remained one of my favorites to this day.  This figure is still a lot of fun, and remains my favorite version of the character.  And there have been some really good Falcon figures, so that’s saying something.

#2931: Hawkeye

HAWKEYE

AVENGERS: UNITED THEY STAND (TOY BIZ)

Clint Barton is the heroic marksman known as Hawkeye. A master acrobat and hand-to-hand combatant, Barton has honed his bow-and-arrow skills to near superhuman accuracy. Drawing the high-tech weapon from his back, and locking it with chest piece, this ace archer utilizes his custom-built arsenal of arrows, and laser sighting to trounce all evil powers. As one of Earth’s mightiest heroes he answers the call, ‘Avengers Assemble!'”

At the end of next month Hawkeye premiers on Disney+, finally giving Jeremy Renner’s live action version of the character a proper focus after being purely an ensemble player for five films.  Hawkeye’s got a pretty rich comics history to draw from, so it’s great to see them finally take a little more note of Clint Barton.  As a quintessential Avenger, he’s almost always included in Avengers projects, of course, including 1999’s Avengers: United They Stand, where he served as one of the show’s focal characters.  Since he was a team member not named “Scarlet Witch” he got a toy out of it, which I’ll be taking a look at today!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Hawkeye was part of the second assortment of the United They Stand tie-in line from Toy Biz.  It was, as noted before, a purely clerical division, as they all shipped at the same time.  This marked Hawkeye’s third figure from Toy Biz, and would be one of four released during their tenure with the property.  The figure was somewhat oddly on the taller side, standing a little over 5 1/2 inches tall and sporting 10 points of articulation.  Hawkeye was a slight step down from the rest of the line on the movement front.  The legs are up to the same base level as others (though the hips are a bit more restricted by the costume design), but his arms don’t get elbow joints.  His right is already bent, and has a bicep cut joint to add some extra movement.  Maybe they though elbow joints would make the arms too weak to hold the bow properly?  Hawkeye’s sculpt was an all-new one, based on his much maligned design from the show.  Generally, I didn’t hate any of the looks the way other people did, and I don’t really hate Hawkeye’s look either, but I will say he’s probably the weakest of the main team in terms of design.  I’m very much a classic Hawkeye fan, so I hesitate when it comes to anything that doesn’t have at least the old mask design.  Also, the armor looks a little goofier on him than the others.  All that said, it fits the general aesthetic they built with the show, and I don’t hate it.  The figure’s sculpt is a reasonable match for his design as seen in the show.  Like the others, he’s been slightly tweaked in terms of stylizing in order to fit better with the rest of Toy Biz’s Marvel output at the time.  The one notable thing here is that his head was clearly sculpted based on the initial design for Hawkeye (seen in most of the show’s promotional material), which had a headband, rather than the proper mask.  Fortunately, it was an easy enough thing to change convincingly with just some paint.  Speaking of paint, his was generally okay.  Nothing amazing or anything, but he follows the show’s look pretty well, and there were no glaring issues.  Mine has taken a little bit of wear over the years, but not too much.  Hawkeye was packed with his bow, which is absolutely huge, by the way, as well as six different styles of arrows.  I’ve only got two of them left from my stock, but they’re pretty cool, and even had metal at the ends so that you could use the magnet in Hawkeye’s right hand to draw them back and fire them.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Hawkeye was nearer the end of my purchases for the line, I believe.  He was never quite as hard to find as the others.  He was one of the few I actually found in the store myself, as opposed to having someone else just get it for me.  I already had the Iron Man Hawkeye, which was really always my go-to version, even after getting this one, so this guy really just tended to be auxiliary.  He’s not bad, all things considered, but he’s probably one of the weaker ones from this particular set.

#2924: Vision

VISION

AVENGERS: UNITED THEY STAND (TOY BIZ)

“Created by Ultron, Vision was part of a plan to conquer the Avengers. His transparent skin lights up when passing ghost-like through objects. Vision knew Ultron was evil, and helped the Avengers defeat him. He proved invaluable and was asked to join the team. Proud of the symbol he bears as one of Earth’s mightiest, this hero answers the call, ‘Avengers Assemble!'”

Remember a time, way back when, when Vision *wasn’t* a household name?  It was a dark, strange time, you guys.  People, like, didn’t know him, or care about him, and they looked at you weird when you explained his backstory to them.  Brain patterns are a thing, Tim!  Don’t ruin this for me!  But nowadays, Vision’s cool!  That’s where things should be!  Let’s review a figure of him, just to celebrate it!  This has probably been too many exclamation points!  Now I can’t stop, though!  To the review!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Vision was released in the first assortment of Toy Biz’s Avengers: United They Stand tie-in line. In a crazy turn of events, this was the fourth freaking Vision figure from Toy Biz.  Somebody there really liked this guy.  The figure stands 5 1/4 inches tall and he has 15 points of articulation.  Vision’s articulation scheme is generally pretty decent for the era.  The hips could maybe stand to have slightly better range, but he’s otherwise got a great range.  Vision’s sculpt was all-new, and remained unique to him.  He’s based on the character’s look in the show, just like the rest of the line.  Vision’s design for the show was generally one of the more faithful ones, at least in broad strokes terms.  It takes his classic design and sort of techs it up a little bit for something sightly more robotic.  All things considered, it’s not much of a departure from how the MCU would adapt him later, albeit with a slightly different end aesthetic.  The sculpt does quite a nice job of capturing the animation model, and making it fit with the rest of the line.  The cape piece is cloth, but it’s actually quite nicely handled.  There’s a proper hem on the sides and everything.  That’s commitment to quality, right there.  Toy Biz knew, you guys.  They knew this guy was gonna take off.  And good for them.  Vision’s color work went a just a touch lighter than his on-screen model, but it’s generally a bright and eye catching look.  The slight metallics are cool, as are the transparent parts, which are that way to facilitate the light-up feature (unfortunatley no longer working on my figure).  Vision was packed with one of Ultron’s drones from the show’s opening episode.  It can be hooked up to Vision to also light-up, and even has articulated arms. It’s definitely one of the best of these gimmicky extras.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Vision was one of my most wanted figures from this set when they were released, and was also one of my favorite parts of the show as a whole.  They were scarce at their first drop, so he wound up as the third figure I got from the line, but I did finally get one, and he was my first 5-inch figure of the character.  That was definitely significant, which was cool.  He’s still one of my favorites, and he honestly holds up pretty darn well.