THE HYDRA STOMPER
MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)
“In the universe you know, Steve Rogers was the first Avenger, Captain America. In this universe, Steve is injured and fights in ‘The Hydra Stomper,’ an Iron Man armor created by Howard Stark.”
Hey, we’re back with just a touch more What If…? before we jump down a different Marvel rabbit hole for just a bit. In 2006, Marvel ran an alternate universe miniseries, Bullet Points, which explored a world where Dr. Abraham Erskine is killed prior to turning Steve Rogers into a super soldier. In this alternate reality, instead of becoming Captain America, Steve is given a suit of armor, and becomes that universe’s Iron Man. Elements of this story were re-used for the first episode of What If…?, where, after Peggy gets the Super Soldier serum instead of Steve, he still wants to help out in the battle. Howard Stark uses the recently recovered Tesseract to power a suit of Iron Man-inspired armor, dubbed “The Hydra Stomper.” He’s far too large to be a standard release, so Hasbro has instead released him as his own solo release, tying in with the main assortment. Let’s have a look at him today!
THE FIGURE ITSELF
The Hydra Stomper is, as noted, a larger-scale solo release for Marvel Legends. He’s larger than the usual deluxe release, and is at the same price point as the Surtur figure from the Infinity Saga line. By far, he is the largest of the What If…? associated figures at this time. The figure stands just shy of 9 1/2 inches tall and he has 27 points of articulation. In many ways, this figure’s construction is similar to Iron Monger, although it’s worth noting that there are no parts at all shared between the two figures. Just similar structures, likely because they’re both big Iron Man-inspired designs that were in development by the same team at roughly the same time. The Hydra Stomper sports an all-new sculpt based on its design in the show. For this alternate universe armor, the designers have clearly put a lot of effort into homaging Tony Stark’s original armor in the comics (which also served as the basis of the Mark I in the MCU proper), with its bulkier build, the slightly different layout of the faceplate on the helmet, and the presence of the antenna on the shoulder. What was that antenna for, by the way? Research says it was for extending his range for radio signal. Well, I guess it was the ’60s, and that was a bigger thing then. It makes even more sense when you move it back to the ’40s, even. Whatever the case, the original design is a fine starting point, and Steve was even seen using essentially just that armor in the aforementioned Bullet Points story, so it tracks. For the purposes of the show, they’ve done a bit to more clearly sell the WWII-era military branding of the design. Effectively, it looks like a Jeep that walks. Unsurprisingly, I am okay with this. The figure’s sculpt does a nice job of recreating the design from the show, and turning it into a hefty, impressive looking toy. The line work is all pretty sharp, and he looks properly machined for the role. Range of motion is a little limited at a few spots, as is expected with a figure this chunky, but he’s generally not too bad. The roughest bits are definitely in the legs, especially at the knees and hips. He also does need a little bit of care when it comes to making sure he can stay balanced, especially when the rocket pack is in place. Said rocket pack is removable, and features posable thrusters. It’s a decent piece itself, though it does fall off just a touch easier than I’d like. As it stands, it’s not really possible to get Captain Carter on his back like in the show, even with the handhold present on his back, which I was a little let down by. Hydra Stomper’s paint work is pretty basic for the most part, but it does what it needs to. The few printed sections on the armor look nice, as does the slight variation in the exact color of olive drab. Hydra Stomper is packed with two sets of hands (open gesture and fists), plus two blast effects for the rockets. It’s not a ton, but he’s also a rather sizable figure, so he doesn’t really feel lacking.
THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION
The Hydra Stomper is something that almost feels tailored to me, really. I mean, it’s Steve Rogers in a big, boxy suit of armor with lots of utilitarian design elements and just a hint of Jeep. And he’s green, even? What’s not for me to like. Unsurprisingly, he was the What If…? figure I was looking forward to the most, so of course he was also the last one I was able to get ahold of. That’s just how it goes, right? The final product isn’t without its flaws. I wish he was a little more stable, and I wish it was easier to replicate Carter riding on his back like in the show. I also kind of wish that they had gone the Monger route and packed him with a pilot Steve figure, but I can see why that might have been seen as sales prohibitive this early in the game. All those things don’t take away from the fact that I really, really like this figure, and I’m glad to have gotten both he and Captain Carter so quickly after the episode’s premiere. He’s definitely very fun.
Thanks to my sponsors over at All Time Toys for setting me up with this figure to review. If you’re looking for cool toys both old and new, please check out their website.