#1979: Mystique

MYSTIQUE

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

An expert of duplication – and duplicity – Mystique uses powers of shape-shifting to assume others’ identities and complete covert missions.”

Though considered an X-Men character by pretty much every metric, Mystique’s first appearance came in the pages of Ms. Marvel (which was, at the time, being helmed by Chris Claremont and Dave Cockrum, the then-current writer and just-departed artist of X-Men).  She wouldn’t run into the X-Men until 1981’s “Days of Future Past” story, which had her forming  a new iteration of the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants.  Since then, she’s been pretty well interweaved with the team and all their exploits, and has become one of the franchise’s most bankable characters.  Despite all of this, she’s actually not the most prevalent character when it comes to toys.  She’s got a few, but not as many as you might expect.  I’ll be looking at the latest of those today.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Mystique is the second offering in the latest Walgreens-exclusive theme of Marvel Legends, which appears to be all about the ladies of X-Men, since she follows Magik and precedes Emma Frost.  She’s the third Legends release of Mystique, following Hasbro’s first go back in 2012.  Of course, that was a modern take on the character.  Our last classic Mystique was back during the Toy Biz days, a whopping 14 years ago.  And that figure wasn’t even good *for the time*, to say nothing of how it looks now.  To say an update was needed is something of an understatement.  The figure stands 6 inches tall and has 27 points of articulation.  She’s built on the Phoenix body, which is a decent enough choice for Mystique.  Certainly better than either of the last two figures.  Mystique gets a new head sculpt, as well as an add-on piece for her skirt.  Both of these pieces are nicely rendered, with the head in particular being a really solid piece of character work.  The paintwork on Mystique is pretty standard fare at this point, but that certainly isn’t a bad thing.  It’s cleanly applied, nice and bold, and eye-catching.  The standard straight white works better than the attempts at shading we’ve gotten over the years.  There’s also some quite nicely handled and very subtle accent work on her hair, which I can definitely appreciate.  Mystique is packed with two styles of gun: a handgun and the futuristic tommy gun from Chameleon.  Both are molded in gold plastic and fit nicely in her hands.  She is also packed with two extra heads.  The first is a re-use of Rogue‘s, but painted up to be in mid transformation.  It works well on this figure to show off her shapeshifting, or, if you have the Rogue figure already, it also makes for a nifty reveal figure.  The second head is a toy debut for a major X-Men player.  Yes, it’s leader of the Shi’ar Empire, and the once-love-interest of Charles Xavier, Lilandra.  Kind of an interesting choice for a Mystique figure, but it sure does look nice on the recent Silver Sable body.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I actually had that truly terrible Toy Biz Mystique back in the day…for about 30 seconds, before she promptly sprung apart at the mid-section in an irreparable fashion.  So, no Mystique for my collection.  This one was a very welcome addition, and she’s a very nice figure, and I’m also really digging the extra Lilandra head, because how cool is it to finally have a Lilandra?

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#1938: War Machine & Cull Obsidian

WAR MACHINE & CULL OBSIDIAN

MARVEL MINIMATES

“As the Avengers and their allies have continued to protect the world from threats too large for any one hero to handle, a new danger has emerged from the cosmic shadows: Thanos. A despot of intergalactic infamy, his goal is to collect all six Infinity Stones, artifacts of unimaginable power, and use them to inflict his twisted will on all of reality. Everything the Avengers have fought for has led up to this moment – the fate of Earth and existence itself has never been more uncertain.”

Man, three Marvel movies in one year sure does have a way of burning out and making it easy for some of the merch to slip through the cracks for way longer than you’d expect.  Good thing I made it through last year unscathed and I don’t have to do it again…crap, I have to do it again, don’t I?  Well, I’d best get through the last of *last* year’s stuff, then, shouldn’t I?  So, without further ado, War Machine & Cull Obsidian!

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

War Machine and Cull Obsidian were one of the two Walgreens-exclusives pairings in the second Infinity War-based assortment of Marvel Minimates.  Compared to the more retread-heavy Drax and Gamora, they had a tendency of being the first set to vanish a lot of the time.

WAR MACHINE

After peddling the same War Machine ‘mate three times, DST finally gave us an honest to god update for his Infinity War appearance.  Though not amazingly different from his armor in Civil War, Rhodey’s suit had still been slightly tinkered with for its somewhat brief appearance in IW, so that’s what we’re seeing here.  The figure is based on the standard ‘mate body, with a generic slip-on mask piece, a new torso cap, upper arms, and belt, and the gauntlets from the last five versions of the character.  It does a respectable job of estimating Rhodey’s appearance from the movie.  I don’t mind the move back to printed faces for the helmets, and it’s at the very least consistent with how they handled Tony’s Mark 50 armor.  The more specific parts are as well-sculpted as ever, matching up with the re-used gauntlets in terms of design aesthetic and level of detailing.  The paint work on this figure is better than the last few War Machine’s; the mix of gunmetal grey and silver looks nice, and I’m happy that they kept the camo patterning the armor had in the movie.  It helps to make this armor seem a bit more unique compared to the others.  Under the helmet is another stab at a Don Cheadle likeness.  I think this one’s not as good as the IM2 version, but at least it doesn’t look as goofy as the AoU variant.  War Machine is packed with a flight stand and a standard clear display stand.

CULL OBSIDIAN

Poor Cull Obsidian.  He just can’t catch a break for accuracy.  His Legends release, though an awesomely fun figure, was based on an early design that wasn’t all that close to the final.  The ‘mate clearly was put into production later in the process, as he ends up a lot closer, but there are still some slight inaccuracies.  He gets a unique head, torso cap, upper left arm, and skirt piece, as well as re-using the standard “big guy” parts for his right arm, left hand, legs, and feet.  The detail work on some of the character-specific parts, the head in particular, is a little soft, but the important details are all there, and he’s got more sculpted elements than not.  The design, at least from a sculpting standpoint, isn’t that noticeably different from his final look in the movie.  The paint is is decent, though he’s again a little light on the detailing.  I think it’s the skin that bugs me the most, especially after the Legends figure.  The colors on the costume were ever so slightly tweaked by the time the movie came out as well, but they aren’t terribly far off.  The biggest change from this figure to the screen comes in the form of accessories.  In the movie, Cull has a sort of hammer/axe/chain sort of thing.  Here?  He’s essentially got some space-brass-knuckles.  The Pop! and one of the statues also had these, indicating the weapon he had in the final movie was a very late game adjustment.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I picked these up…gosh…back in September, if you can believe it.  The second set took forever to hit Walgreens, but I managed to find this particular pair without too much trouble once they actually started showing up.  And then they sat and waited for me to open them for a good four months, because I got distracted and kind of forgot I had them…whoops.  It’s nice to finally get a new War Machine after all this time, and a more accurate Cull Obsidian is pretty cool too.  Definitely not a bad pack.

#1930: Ghost Rider & The Fallen

GHOST RIDER & THE FALLEN

MARVEL MINIMATES

Toys and gimmicks go together like…two things that go together really well.  Sorry, I’m not much of a wordsmith.  (Pay no attention to the fact that I’ve written 1929 prior daily entries for this site).  Toys and comics also go together pretty well, as do comics and gimmicks.  So, sometimes, you hit this perfect trifecta of toys based on gimmicky comics.  Take, for instance, today’s focus, the Avengers of 1,000,000 BC, a very gimmicky concept running in the current Avengers comic from Jason Aaron, which has, in turn, led to some matching gimmicky toys.

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

Ghost Rider and The Fallen are one of the four two-packs in the standalone “Avengers of 1,000,000 BC” series of Marvel Minimates, available exclusively at Walgreens, starting in the fall of last year.

GHOST RIDER

“Bonded to a Spirit of Vengence, the Ghost Rider sits atop a giant wooly mammoth, who later falls victim to the Fallen.

I feel I should at this juncture clarify something I needed clarified for me: it’s the mammoth that is a victim of The Fallen, not Ghost Rider.  The phrasing on the bio’s slightly off, so I got confused, especially since I haven’t actually read the whole “Avengers of 1,000,000 BC story.  With that bit of confusion aside, let’s look at the actual figure!  He stands 2 1/4 inches tall and he has the usual 14 points of articulation.  He’s constructed on the basic ‘mate body, with add-ons for his “hair,” necklace, loincloth, and arm wrappings.  The hair is re-used from the Series 50 Ghost Rider; a sensible choice, since it’s not like flame hair’s gonna really change all that much.  The arm bands are similarly re-used; they’re the same ones that cropped up on the Best Of Iron Fist, among others.  The necklace is new, and it’s a pretty impressive piece.  It certainly sells the 1,000,000 BC aesthetic.  I *think* the loincloth is new, which is honestly a little surprising, since there’s not really anything all that unique about it.  That said, the same piece was also used for the Phoenix from this line-up, so maybe DST just thought it was time for a new standard piece.  Whatever the case, it gets the job done.  The paintwork on Ghost Rider is solid work.  The colors are a bit monochromatic, but that’s true of a number of the designs from this set.  The line work is quite sharp, and I do really like the skull face on this one.  I may be swapping that onto a more standard issue GR.  Ghost Rider is packed with a pair of flame effects to slide over his fists, as well as the standard clear display stand.

THE FALLEN

“The Fallen is one of a race of Celestials, highly powerful beings who pass judgement on all planetary bodies and the creatures who live on them.”

Despite their recurrent presence in the Marvel Universe, the Celestials have never been a particularly toyetic bunch.  Also known as Zgreb the Aspriant, The Fallen is the first of them to actually been made as an action figure, largely thanks to his presence as the main antagonist to the Avengers of 1,000,000 BC’s first story arc.  He’s by far the most divergent of the bunch design-wise, being all futuristic and robot-y.  He’s also largely re-used parts, if you can believe it.  His torso/head is an all new piece (and a quite nicely sculpted one at that), but the other eight add-on parts are borrowed from the Series 63 Hulkbuster. While not perfect matches for the source material, I’m willing to call the appendages close enough, and there’s no denying he looks pretty darn cool.  Also pretty darn cool is the paint; unlike the rest of the assortment, he’s actually pretty colorful and dynamic, going back the classic Marvel color scheme of green and purple.  The application is nice and clean, and the metallic finish really looks top notch.  His only accessory is a clear display stand, but honestly, I don’t know what else you would give him.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I’m not overly enamored by the whole Avengers of 1,000,000 BC thing, so for the most part the ‘mates didn’t do much to excite me.  However, I came across them after last year’s incredibly lengthy minimate drought, so I was just excited to find *anything* new.  While the other three sets still didn’t grab me, I liked The Fallen a fair bit, and if nothing else Ghost Rider had a decent Ghost Rider head.  Of course, then they sat on my desk waiting to be reviewed for five months.  Yikes.

#1889: Rocket & Adam Warlock

ROCKET & ADAM WARLOCK

MARVEL MINIMATES

What’s this?  New Walgreens-exclusive Minimates?  And someone’s actually found them?  Crazy concept, I know.  Even though Series 8 and 9 have yet to show up in full force in many parts of the country, it would appear that Series 10 is starting to make its way out there.  Today, I’ll be looking at its Guardians of the Galaxy-themed set, featuring Rocket & Adam Warlock!

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

Rocket and Adam are one of the four sets in Series 10 of the Walgreens-exclusive animated sub-line of Marvel Minimates.  Both figures are based on their animated counterparts, but should fit in pretty well with most comics-inspired ‘mates as well.

ROCKET

Due to his smaller stature, the first two Rocket ‘mates we got weren’t proper ‘mates at all, but were instead unarticulated pack-ins.  Since Guardians Vol. 2 and Infinity War both gave us a proper figure for the MCU Rocket, it’s only fair that we’d also get an update to the animated Rocket (who can, of course, double for a Vol. 1 Rocket, for those so inclined).  Rocket is constructed from the same selection of pieces as the Infinity War release, so he uses the Series 71 head and belt/tail piece, the shortened child-sized arms, the IW legs, and the torso from NBX’s Sally.  For those keeping track, that means Rocket’s only “classic” Minimate piece is the pelvis, but unlike some overly sculpted figures we’ve seen in the past, Rocket still feels very true to the Minimate form, and fits well with his teammates.  As with the Infinity War release, this is my favorite selection of parts for the character.  Since cartoon Rocket is still wearing his orange jumpsuit from the first movie, that’s the look we get for this figure.  The paint translates it well, and while he’s definitely of a more animated style than his movie counterparts, I think they’ve left in enough details that he won’t look out of place with the movie stuff.  One slight change that stands out is the presence of actual, discernible pupils for Rocket, which I think are the one main thing to marks him as “animated.”  I actually like them a lot, as they add a little more life to the figure, I feel.  Rocket is packed with a repainted Nova Centurion blaster, as well as a clear display stand.  The Centurion blaster works a lot better for him than the two prior guns, so I’m happy with its inclusion, and I’m honestly just happy to see it crop up in another release.

ADAM WARLOCK

It’s been a good long while since we’ve gotten an Adam Warlock Minimate.  His first and only prior to this figure was part of the Infinity Gauntlet set from back in 2009.  Fortunately, his presence on the Guardians cartoon’s second season made him a prime choice for a spot in the line-up here.  Adam is constructed from three add-on pieces, used for his hair, shoulder pads, and belt.  They’re all re-used parts; the belt’s a standard piece, the hair’s from Archangel, and the shoulder pads are from the GSXM Nightcrawler.  The hair is perhaps not a 100% perfect match for his animated look, but it’s close enough, and the overall construction and choices of parts are well-thought-out.  The paintwork on Adam is cleanly applied and has a nice amount of pop to it.  He doesn’t look as washed out as a lot of the animated ‘mates end up looking, and even his details, especially on the face, are actually more in line with the comics-based ‘mates than the average animated ‘mate.  The highlight work on his infinity stone and the black portions of the costume really add some solid dimension to the whole figure as well.  The last Adam Warlock suffered from somewhat lackluster paint, but that’s very much not the case with this guy.  Adam’s only accessory is a clear display stand, which feels a little light.  An extra Magus head or even a flight stand would have been nice.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I happened upon this set back in November, at a Walgreens nearby a run that my mom and brother were participating in.  I wasn’t expecting to find them, since I haven’t seen anything from the two series that preceded this one, but the whole set was there.  I was only immediately interested in these two, so they were the only ones I bought.  Come to find out, I’m one of the first people to find them, and they aren’t officially hitting until the spring.  Now I’m kicking myself for not grabbing the whole set!  Oh well, I’ll just have to make due with these two.  The IW Rocket was my favorite version of the character, but this one’s edging him out on that front.  Another solid take on the charatcer.  The IG Warlock has been representing the character for almost a decade now without much issue, but for a character as prominent as Adam, it’s nice to get another chance, and the somewhat differing nature of his animated design makes for some nice variety, even if you have the previous release.  This figure’s got a lot going for him.  All in all, a pretty solid set.

#1874: Boba Fett – Prototype Armor

BOBA FETT — PROTOTYPE ARMOR

STAR WARS: THE BLACK SERIES (HASBRO)

“Before he put on the familiar Mandalorian armor from the Star Wars saga, this notorious bounty hunter was initially envisioned as a “Super Trooper” in all-white armor. This special figure captures the beginning of a character that has become a legend who is both respected and feared across the galaxy…Boba Fett”

Yesterday, I looked at a rather new Black Series release.  Today, I’m jumping back to rather close to the line’s beginning, with a look at one of its earliest exclusive offerings.  Both of the line’s first two exclusives were of the Boba Fett variety.  While the initial figure was really just an exclusive accessory, the follow-up was a little more unique…provided your definition of unique is “common repaint of a popular character that crops up just about every time he gets a new mold.”  Eh, close enough.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Prototype Armor Boba Fett was the very first Walgreens-exclusive Black Series figure, first arriving on shelves in the fall of 2014, alongside the non-exclusive Darth Vader,  Jedi Luke, and Chewbacca.  He’s just a straight repaint of the SDCC/Series 2 Boba Fett mold, as is to be expected.  As such, he stands 6 inches tall and has 23 points of articulation.  It remains a strong sculpt, on par with more recent offerings (which is probably why Hasbro’s going to be doing a straight re-issue of the standard figure later this year).  If you want to get really finicky, the helmet shouldn’t have a dent in it, and his rocket pack should have barbs at the tip of it, but it’s close enough to warrant the cheaper repaint.  Another slight point of change is the cloth cape piece, but this one’s a little more warranted.  The actual prototype suit made use of a Star Wars-branded towel, which I suppose wouldn’t fit with the overall serious aesthetic of the figure.  So, instead, it’s white with a grey stripe.  The paint is where the important work is at, and he’s actually more than a Fett figure molded in straight white, which is certainly a nice surprise.  He’s got a slightly darker toned jumpsuit (as the real prototype suit had), and a few smaller details assorted throughout.  Boba is packed with the same pairing of guns as his standard release, in a straight black.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

When this figure hit, I was being far more picky about which Black Series figures I would be picking up, so I was more interested in Boba’s assortment-mates than he himself.  But I’ve subsequently had a change of heart about such things, so when I came upon this guy for only a little higher than his original retail at 2nd Chance Toyz, I was an easy mark.  Is he the greatest figure ever?  No, but he’s got all of the pluses of the original release, and that means he makes for a fun toy.

#1852: General Veers

GENERAL VEERS

STAR WARS: THE BLACK SERIES (HASBRO)

“A cool and efficient leader, General Veers led the Imperial assault on Hoth, marching his AT-AT walkers across the planet’s frozen plains and destroying the massive generators powering the Rebel base’s protective energy field.”

Star Wars fans love elevating those seemingly minor characters to unexpected heights, and General Maximillian Veers is just another example of that.  The guy’s in two scenes in Empire but he’s perhaps one of the most popular ranking Imperial Officers within the fanbase, and has a fully fleshed out backstory and all sorts of other media appearances.  And now, he’s even got a Black Series figure, which I’ll be taking a look at today.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

General Veers is the latest Walgreens-exclusive Black Series release.  Samples have been showing up since early in the summer, but the proper release seems to have just started hitting in the last couple of weeks.  If the precedent set by the other Walgreens-exclusive Black Series offerings is anything to go by, he shouldn’t be tricky to track down.  The figure stands 6 inches tall and has 26 points of articulation.  Veers, rather unsurprisingly, shares quite a few parts with the Tarkin figure.  Hey, same uniform, and same basic build, so it’s definitely a sensible idea (and also goes along with the Walgreens offerings being heavy on the re-used parts).  The torso’s been slightly tweaked, to ensure he has his proper denotations of rank, and he’s got a new head and some gloved hands.  The head features a pretty solid likeness of actor Julian Glover.  It’s not quite as remarkable as the Peter Cushing likeness, but still very, very close.  The paintwork on Veers is up to the new standard with these figures.  The face is using the printed technique, which works well here, and the rest of the standard paint is fairly sharp as well.  Despite his rather brief appearance, Veers is notable for having two distinct appearances in the film.  This figure’s accessories, a standard uniform cap, and a helmet and chest plate, allow for both of those designs to be achieved with this figure.  I definitely prefer the armored look, which adds a nice unique flair to Veers, but I definitely appreciate the extra parts.  He also includes a small blaster pistol, should you want to make him even more battle-ready.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I was pleasantly surprised to find this guy at one of my nearest Walgreens.  Veers has always been a favorite of mine (hey, I fall into that “character-elevating Star Wars fans” category; I won’t deny it), and I was definitely looking forward to this figure.  He did not disappoint.  The dual looks really add a lot to him, and he’s just a very fun offering.

#1848: The Thing

THE THING

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

“An impressive, boulder-like exterior grants the Thing exceptional strength and durability in even the rockiest of battles”

They did it!  Look at that, they totally did it!  They finished the FF!  It’s a Christmas Miracle! …but it’s only just now November, so it’s, like, a pre-Thanksgiving Miracle?  That just doesn’t seem to have quite the same ring to it. 

The Fantastic Four and Marvel Legends have a rather storied history.  The team was rather infamously incomplete in the main line for the entirety of Toy Biz’s run, and even with the aid of boxed sets and other such things, over the years, getting the whole team in one cohesive style hasn’t been all that easy.  So, when Hasbro announced they’d be releasing the latest versions of the team, one at a time, at Walgreens, I was excited, but decidedly skeptical.  I also had to go in more or less blind, since at the time of Sue’s release, we’d only seen a prototype for Johnny, who is easily the least impressive of the set.  Reed came along and was awesome, which reignited hopes, but there was a lot riding on this final piece of the set, Benjamin J. Grimm, the ever-lovin’-blue-eyed Thing!  Does he deliver?  Well, to paraphrase the man himself, it’s reviewin’ time!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

The Thing is the tenth Walgreens-exclusive Marvel Legends release, and the sixth in their Fantastic Four sub-set.  He started arriving on store shelves last month, and will hopefully be arriving in serious numbers over the next few months.  The figure stands 7 inches tall and has 28 points of articulation.  As we’d all pretty much expected (especially when he was slotted at the very end of the release schedule), Ben is sporting an entirely new sculpt.  His rather unique build and the rocky structure of said build means Ben’s usually the one with the all-new sculpt.  In the past, it’s also tended to translate to him being the figure with the most behind the times construction.  This time, however, it seems Hasbro has been taking note of what does and doesn’t work when it comes to Legendsizing larger scaled characters.  Ben’s mobility is surprisingly good for a figure of his size.  His elbows end up rather limited, which is a bit of a bummer, but on the flipside, the knees have a ton more movement than I’d expected from this figure.  This figure manages to do a pretty solid job of walking the fine line of articulation vs. aesthetic.  Speaking of aesthetic, there was much discussion before this figure was unveiled as to which version of the character we’d be seeing.  There was definitely a campaign to get a more Kirby-inspired version of the character, but the final release opts for something that’s more an amalgamation of his more recent appearances.  While I would love a more Kirby-faithful figure at some point down the line, the amalgamated, less artist specific nature of this one means he fits right in with the rest of the team, and consistency of style in FF line-ups has long been one of the biggest issues I’ve had with them.  It helps that the design they’ve gone for works really really well, and that the sculpt is just filled to the brim with sweet, rock monster goodness.  There are two different heads included.  They aren’t much different from each other, but give Ben some slight variety in expression.  The head he comes wearing has an angrier, teeth-baring appearance, while the second head is decidedly more reserved.  While both are solid sculpts, I definitely find myself more drawn to the calmer head, because for some reason Ben having regular teeth just really weirds me out.  Maybe it’s just flashing me back to the old Roger Corman flick.  The paintwork on Ben could have been really basic.  They could have just molded him in orange plastic, and left it at that.  Instead, Hasbro actually put in the effort to do the accent work on Ben’s rocky hide, and the figure is all the better for it, with the intricacies of his craggly being deftly highlighted.  In addition to the second head, Ben is also sporting two sets of hands in both fists and open gesture.  They allow for a nice variety of additional poses.  With two heads, four hands, and one of the largest single-release sculpts we’ve gotten since the Legends re-branding, Ben’s packaging ends up pretty darn jam-packed, and pretty darn hefty.  It’s honestly a little bit astounding that he’s the same retail as the other three.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Ben’s my favorite member of the FF, so I was a little bummed out that I’d have to wait to the very end to get him.  He’s had an okay stock of figures in the past, but none of them ever seemed to quite stand-up to the test of time, or even the figures from the very same assortments.  I will admit, I was a little worried about how this guy would turn out.  Prototype shots of him surfaced at Toy Fair, and I didn’t hate them, but he wasn’t wowing me as much as I’d hoped.  Then the in-package shots hit, and the whole story changed.  In-hand?  I love this figure.  I love, love, love this figure.  Have I mentioned that I love this figure?  Because I do.  I really, really do.  I love this figure, and I love my whole FF line-up that goes with him.  This is just the best, and I sincerely doubt this FF display is ever going to be topped.  Now, can I please have a new Dr. Doom to go with them?

#1847: Silver Surfer

SILVER SURFER

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

“A metallic-skinned humanoid from the planet Zenn-La, the Silver Surfer gets his name from his shimmering appearance and iconic hovering surfboard.”

Introduced during the legendary “Galactus Trilogy” that ran through issues 48, 49, and 50 of the original Fantastic Four run, Norrin Radd, the Silver Surfer, took on something of a life of his own, as quite a popular hero in his own right.  He found himself teamed with Dr. Strange, Namor, and the Hulk to form the surprisingly under-known Defenders (no relation to the Netflix series of the same name), and proved a pivotal figure in quite a number of Marvel’s great big cosmic epics.  Nevertheless, he’s still inescapably linked to the team whose book spawned him.  In fact, it’s extraordinarily rare that the FF makes a toy appearance without this guy in tow, and their latest, much heralded return to Marvel Legends was no exception, though we sure did have quite a wait to get him.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Silver Surfer is the ninth Walgreens-exclusive Marvel Legends figure, and the fifth in their Fantastic Four sub-line that’s been running since early 2017.  He was originally supposed to start showing up at Walgreens this past spring/early this summer, but they seem to have run into a few issues with distribution over the last year, meaning he’s really just started showing up in substantial numbers within the last month, almost in tandem with the Thing figure that was supposed to be his follow-up.  Though Surfer was an early addition to Legends during both Toy Biz and Hasbro’s tenures, we haven’t seen a new one since 2007, and that one was somewhat middling, even when it was new.  His absence has certainly been felt as we’ve added more cosmic figures to the line.  This figure stands a little under 6 1/4 inches tall and has 34 points of articulation. He’s built on the Sunfire/2099 base-body, and I’m of two minds about this.  While the general build and the presence of those very nice butterfly joints at the shoulders make for a figure that’s impressive internally, the use of the 2099 body also means that Norrin’s a little smaller than I generally think of him being when compared to the rest of the line.  As it is now, he’s a smidge shorter than the Human Torch (who was on the Bucky Cap body), which just seems wrong.  Of course, that could be more connected to my increasing frustration with the choice of the Bucky Cap body for Johnny…I’ll get past it.  The simple fact of the matter is that this is really the best body Hasbro had on hand for the Surfer right now, and I certainly don’t hate it.  I’m just mildly perplexed, that’s all.  Surfer gets a new headsculpt, and aims to really set right the problem that both prior Legends Surfers had: tiny heads.  This one is certainly much more properly sized for the body it’s been placed on, and captures his usual stoic expression quite nicely.  The paint is pretty what you expect from Silver Surfer: a lot of silver.  Just a standard metallic silver, though; no fancy chroming or anything, though I imagine that wouldn’t hold up too well with all of the articulation.  It’s just a straight silver, with no accents or anything, which, after seeing how the Toy Biz figure turned out, was probably for the best.  Silver Surfer is packed with a healthy assortment of extras.  He’s got three sets of hands in fists, flat-handed, and open gesture poses, adding a much appreciated variety of character to the figure.  He also includes his titular surf board, which is a decent piece.  It goes back to the foot-peg method of connecting, which may not be as fancy as the magnets from the Toy Biz one, but I think it ultimately looks a bit better in the end.  Lastly, he includes a pair of energy effects pieces.  They’re the same swirly ones we’ve seen a number of times over, but this time they’re clear yellow and all sparkly.  Yay?

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I had a few near misses on finding this guy, which was more than a little frustrating.  Fortunately, I was able to find him without much trouble (in fact, I was even able to score a second one for my dad).  He’s not without his little quirks, but by-and-large, he’s a solid offering, and certainly the best Legends version of the character to date.

#1619: Mr. Fantastic

MR FANTASTIC

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

“A master inventor and impressive shape-shifter, Reed Richards uses intelligence and flexibility to protect the universe as Mr. Fantastic.”

Where would Marvel Legends be without Walgreens?  The humble drugstore chain started offering exclusive figures back in 2014, but only at a pace of about one per year.  However, they’ve really stepped things up in the last year, with a whole sub-set of Fantastic Four-inspired figures.  We’ve already gotten two members of the team (Invisible Woman and Human Torch), as well as a pair of frequent guest stars (Sub Mariner and Medusa).  The third member, Mr. Fantastic, just started hitting stores in the last month.  I’ll be looking at him today.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Mr. Fantastic is the first Walgreens-exclusive Marvel Legends figure of 2018.   The figure stands 6 1/4 inches tall and he has 30 points of articulation.  Believe it or not, this guy’s on a mostly new body.  I’d really been expecting a Bucky Cap re-use here, especially after Johnny cropped up on in, but Hasbro had other ideas.  This new base looks to use the legs from the Pizza Spidey body with a new torso, pelvis, and arms.  It’s a good build for someone like Reed, who shouldn’t exactly have Captain America proportions.  I look forward to seeing the other applications of this particular base body.  Reed also gets an new head sculpt, which isn’t inspired by any one artist, but fits quite well with the other two FF members and definitely captures Reed’s essence very well.  The arched eyebrow and slight self-assured grin are just spot-on for the character.  Reed’s paintwork is pretty solid stuff.  His uniform is a pretty close match to Sue’s, which is definitely a good thing, and helps with selling that whole “team” thing.  The work on the face and hair is nice and clean.  I might have liked maybe a bit more subtlety on the greying temples, but it’s not awful, and I prefer this to the too slight greying we saw on most of the Toy Biz figures.  Reed is packed with a spare set of elongated arms (re-used from the first Hasbro Mr. Fantastic) which swap out at the shoulders.  They’re rubber with a wire armature, and make for a solid recreation of Reed’s abilities.  Reed is also packed with the Ultimate Nullifier, the weapon given to him by the Watcher in order to defeat Galactus.  It’s a fun little piece, and shows that Hasbro is willing to go the extra mile on these figures.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I had pretty much no trouble finding Reed.  I found him at a Walgreens I’d stopped at on my way home from work and was quite happy to find him. I loved the Sue figure, but Johnny was a slight letdown for me, so I wasn’t sure about how Reed would turn out.  I’m happy to report that he’s by far my favorite Mr. Fantastic figure, and is my favorite member of the team in this little sub-set (so far; Ben still has the chance to top him).  I now anxiously await the arrival of the last team member.

#1606: Tactical Killmonger & Casino T’Challa

TACTICAL KILLMONGER & CASINO T’CHALLA

MARVEL MINIMATES

Movie merchandise is always a tricky thing, especially with “top secret” movies like the Marvel Studios stuff.  It can often prove difficult to determine which characters, and more specifically, which designs for those characters, are going to end up with the most prominence in the final product.  For Black Panther, while it was a pretty safe bet which look would be T’Challa’s main costume, his primary antagonist Killmonger proved a different story all together.  His rogue Black Panther look ended up on all of the merch, and while that was prominent, it was actually his more unique tactical gear that most people were drawn to.  Unfortunately, if you want a properly articulated version of this design, Minimates are your only way to go.

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

Tactical Killmonger and Casino T’Challa are the second Walgreens-exclusive Black Panther two-pack.  Though they don’t quite interact with these particular looks, Killmonger’s rescue of Klaue happens just after the Casino sequence, so they fit together reasonably well in the timeline of the film.

TACTICAL KILLMONGER

Obviously, this figure is the draw of this set.  Erik’s tactical design doesn’t really have direct comics counterpart (though it does share a few elements with some of his looks over the years), but it offers him a more unique design than the basic Panther-riff.  The figure is built on the standard ‘mate body, so he stands about 2 1/4 inches tall and he has 14 points of articulation.  Killmonger has a single add-on piece, but it’s a good one.  It’s the tribal mask he steals during his museum heist with Klaue, which he then uses to obscure his face later on.  It’s only worn in one scene in the film, but it certainly has a lasting impact.  For this figure, it’s an all-new piece, which does a pretty respectable job of recreating the mask and simplifying it enough to look proper on the ‘mate.  The rest of Killmonger’s design is handled via paintwork.  The armor plating on the torso is definitely impressive, as is the camo and all of the stitched elements on his pants.  The likeness under the mask is also quite good; it depicts a slightly calmer Killmonger than is seen on the first ‘mate, which makes for nice variety.  There are a few spots of white on his face, but otherwise all of the paint is quite clean, and the colors are nice and vibrant.  Killmonger is packed with the same hairpiece as the last figure, allowing for the much needed unmasked look, as well as a pair of blades (the same stylings as were included in with the Legends figure), and a clear display stand.

CASINO T’CHALLA

Not quite a “civilian” take on the character, but very close, Casino T’Challa depicts T’Challa as he is seen when he goes undercover in South Korea while on the hunt for Klaue.  I would guess this look was chosen over T’Challa’s other “civilian” look in the film because this one could be made with all pre-existing parts.  And made with pre-existing parts he is!  The hair is the same piece used for the unmasked look on both of the prior Black Panthers from this line, and the jacket is re-used from all the way back on the very first George McFly Minimate.  That one’s gotten some milage.  The paint does the hard work here, selling this guy as “all-new.”  The likeness on the face gives us yet another T’Challa expression.  This one’s somewhere between the other two in terms of intensity, but certainly still looks like the same guy.  The jacket and arms get extra detailing, depicting the texturing of his jacket from the film, and preventing this figure from being dressed in just flat black.  Casino T’Challa’s only accessory is a clear display stand.  A little light, but I think Killmonger makes up for it.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

This was the set I went to Walgreens to get, the others were all just along for the ride.  Of the two Killmonger designs, this one was definitely my preferred, and this being only way to really get it right now, makes this guy top priority.  Fortunately, he’s one of the best ‘mates from the whole assortment.  Casino T’Challa’s not anything to write home about, being essentially just a guy in casual clothes, but he’s still a solid figure overall, and I certainly don’t mind that we got him.