Tag Archives: marvel legends

Marvel Legends X-Men Animated Series Jubilee

“My name’s Jubilee and I blow…stuff up.”

There’s a belief when it comes to children’s entertainment that the young audience needs a surrogate on screen, someone who they could believably place themselves in the role of. For the animated series X-Men, that character was Jubilee. The role was of such importance to the property that the earlier pilot, not affiliated with the 1992 Fox Kids program, “Pryde of the X-Men” had the exact same role written into it. Only with that would-be series, the character would have been Kitty Pryde. Kitty was the kid X-Men character of the 80s, but come the 90s she had been aged out of that role in the comics and even moved to a different team of mutants in Excalibur. When it came time to create the same character for the 92 show, it was Jubilee who the writers ultimately settled on.

It’s easy to see why such a role was envisioned for the show. Both versions of X-Men were presenting the super hero team as something already established with a large roster of heroes. By introducing a kid character just coming into contact with the X-Men it would mean the kids watching at home would learn about them along with the character. And even though the comic was white hot in 92, the cartoon was still likely to hit a wider audience of kids who had never even looked at a comic book.

The getup looks okay, but that doesn’t really look much like the Jubilee I know from the toon.

Young Jubilation Lee, played by Alyson Court after a lengthy search to find the right voice for the character, is introduced in the show’s first episode and has the distinction of being the first X-Men character we really meet, even if she isn’t technically a member of the team yet. Her origin was changed to be an orphan in foster care and her well-meaning foster parents recently signed her up with the Mutant Control Agency. Her foster dad thought they would help her and her budding mutant powers, but man, why would anyone trust an organization with such a name would be helpful? Jubilee refers to herself as a kid, though her actual age is never given. Eventually we’ll see that she’s being taught how to fly a plane and drive a car, so I guess she’s around 15 at the start of the series though she looks younger. After her initial arc, she mostly fades into the background popping up here and there to head a plot, often paired with Wolverine who is like a big brother to her.

Decisions, decisions…

When Toy Biz was making action figures in the 90s based on the X-Men, two characters from the show seemed to get short-changed: Jean and Jubilee. Perhaps Hasbro considered that when it decided to make Jubilee the second character in this series of Marvel Legends based on the cartoon. Or it’s because Jubilee was released not that long ago as a Marvel Legends figure and the tools were on-hand to make this one. Either way, this figure is similar to the Wolverine one in that it’s mostly reused from past figures. In this case, two different versions of Jubilee were utilized to settle on this one. Unlike Wolverine, basically nothing new was created here as Hasbro mostly just updated the sunglasses. There’s also no show specific accessory included. Instead, we get some effects parts to go along with the VHS packaging featuring new art by Dan Veesenmeyer. Is that good enough?

Transparent on the left, solid pink on right. I think I prefer the ones on the right, but it’s nice to have choices.

Jubilee is depicted in her show accurate costume: pink shirt, blue shorts, blue boots, yellow gloves, and her traditional yellow trench coat. Is it supposed to be a rain coat? I don’t know, Jubilee’s style has always been bizarre and unique to her. She also has her pink sunglasses and the only inaccuracy about her look here is that her earrings are gold instead of red and black. And yet, this one misses the mark. Jubilee’s portrait makes her look much older than she was in the show and the hair style is wrong. Standing at 5.75″ she’s also too tall to be an animated Jubilee. Mostly though, I think it’s her coat that makes her look off the most. In the show, she’s practically swimming in the thing, but for her figure it’s lovingly tailored to fit her physique. When I hoped for a series of Marvel Legends from Hasbro, my fear was that Hasbro would just repackage it’s existing Jim Lee era figures and call them animated versions and that’s basically what’s happening here and it’s a bummer.

If you don’t like either set of glasses, there’s the alternate head with the glasses molded above the eyes. This is from a prior build-a-figure Jubilee.

The main change with this figure from past ones is obviously the paint. Jubilee is cel-shaded like Wolverine, though it’s not as noticeable. I suppose that’s due to the coat as it hides most of the shading on her torso which is also just limited to a block of red paint on her right side and a streak by her neck. There’s also very little shading on the coat which is limited to the sleeves and the area around her collarbone. It’s strange to see none on the creases of the coat. They also used that same mustard shade of yellow that was used for Wolverine which doesn’t look right. There’s not much rhyme or reason to the shading on her though. With Wolverine, there was more shading on one side of him than the other which is how most characters are colored for animation. With Jubilee, it’s just haphazard and the shading on the coat especially is rather ugly. I suppose I’d rather the shading be present than not at all and her boots and shorts look fine, ignoring that her boots aren’t the proper shape. There’s no shading on the flesh portions of her arms and legs which is true of Wolverine so I guess that’s going to be a thing going forward. There is some shading on her sunglasses which turned out okay, but like basically everything with this figure, could have been better. It’s the sort of shading I wanted to see on the windshield pieces of Super7’s Optimus Prime.

While I prefer this look for young Jubilee, that head is just so sleepy and boring. Where’s the smile?

Jubilee doesn’t nail the look of the character from the show, and unfortunately, her accessories don’t sweeten the package much. Her default look is a head with her hair trimmed short and no glasses. She has two pairs of shades that can slip over her eyes: solid pink, and translucent pink. Both feature the shading on the front and both fit on the character’s head just fine. I prefer the solid pink ones as that looks more like the character from the show, but she also rarely wore her sunglasses in a traditional manner. And because of that, Jubilee has a second head with the glasses permanently above her eyes. This look is more faithful to the show and her hair looks better, but she still looks like an older version of the character. Plus she’s missing her earrings – come on, Hasbro! I’m torn on which head I’ll ultimately display, and it sucks that I’m trying to decide which is the least worse. Lastly, we have two effects parts cast in translucent pink plastic. They would be fine if they at all resembled her powers from the show (or comic), but they don’t. These look like the same parts released with Scarlet Witch and Negasonic Teenage Warhead just colored differently. I didn’t love them then, and I like them less now since they don’t make sense. There had to have been better effects parts for Hasbro to recycle, right? Dazzler’s parts would have worked better than this.

These effects pieces seem inappropriate for the figure. There were better options out there.

One, final, bone I have to pick with this figure is the articulation. Hasbro, for whatever reason, seems to always shortchange the female characters when it comes to articulation. For some reason, they think double-elbows and ab crunches can’t work with them and Jubilee is no exception. Her head is on a ball hinge that lets her look up, down, and around with some tilt. The shoulders are ball-hinged and they’re fine. There’s no butterfly joint or biceps swivel as the top of her arms have the sleeves sculpted on. She does get a swivel at the elbow and single hinges that let her bend her arms at a 90 degree angle. Her wrists swivel, and interestingly, one wrist has a horizontal hinge and the other vertical. It’s not necessary, but I kind of like it. In the torso, we have a ball joint in the diaphragm that does little. It gets almost no range forward, back, or tilt and it’s mainly just a swivel point. No waist twist, and we have ball-jointed hips. She can kick forward, but not back, and her legs go out to the side an acceptable amount. There’s a thigh cut just below the shorts which looks good, and double-jointed knees. The hinges at the knees feel a bit gummy and the top one is quite tight, but if you get both to move properly, she can bend past 90 degrees. There’s a boot cut below that and the usual ankle hinge with rocker that works very well. Jubilee is pretty conventional for a female Marvel Legend. The elbows are okay and the torso stinks, but at least she’s not worse than usual.

Jubilee should get used to finding herself behind better looking figures.

As a final bone to pick, we have to talk about value. This figure is $27 and sold exclusively through Hasbro Pulse and Shop Disney, so you have to order it. There’s no brick and mortar option, so tack-on the cost of shipping to that 27 bucks, or the cost of a Pulse Premium subscription (which is what I ended up doing as I figured this line would pay for itself through the free shipping perk) unless you happen to catch her on Disney during a free shipping promotion (otherwise you have to order $75 worth of merch to trigger that perk which you actually could right now just by ordering the three figures from this line currently available – Wolverine, Jubilee, and Mr. Sinister). That’s not cheap, and to illustrate that I have the below picture. All four figures were released or solicited around the sound time so there’s no COVID impact to the price of one that wouldn’t affect the other, and in comparison this figure is just not a great value. Let’s go left to right:

Not included is the DC Collectibles Batman from the animated series I reviewed previously. It’s a better value than Jubilee and features good cel-shading, but I don’t know if it was available to purchase around the same time so I left it out.

NECA Turtles in Time Raphael – the cheapest at $26, not sold exclusive to any retailer. 100% reuse from a past figure save for the new sais and hoverboard (though the mold for that is used for other figures). He also has his own unique deco via the pixel shading. It’s a reissue of a figure from 2020, but so is Jubilee basically.

Jubilee, who is $27 plus the cost of shipping because she’s not available at retail. 100% reuse, bad paint job where the cel-shading is concerned.

NECA Groundchuck – This guy is sold in a two-pack for $65, so he’s $32.50 and found at Target and pretty comparable in price to Jubilee. And unlike Jubilee, there’s no reuse with this guy and likely won’t be any future use for these tools unless NECA does a variant. Tons of paint, tons of hands, and a gun. Terrific value. And if you think I’m cherry-picking from the set I’d say his box-mate Dirtbag is just as good and actually has more accessories.

Bandai/Tamashii Nations Goku Black – this guy is the most expensive, but he’s $35 and sold at Target. It’s a reissue with a new paint application on the hair. This is Bandai reissuing an older figure and giving the consumer a discount as a result. Jubilee is a reissue of an old figure, but more expensive. Plus this is an S.H.Figuarts release, a much higher quality product than Marvel Legends. Normally the comparison would be unfair and ludicrous, but it’s $35 so it’s very much comparable to what Hasbro is giving us.

Value is a subjective concept, but I don’t see a strong argument for this Jubilee being comparable to those other 3 where value is concerned. Basically we have two companies offering up a reissue or variant of an older figure and giving the consumer a price break, while the third figure is all-new and just so happens to be right around the same price. They’re also all licensed figures and not an in-house brand for any of the companies above. I don’t doubt that the Marvel license is more expensive than TMNT or Dragon Ball, but that is meaningless to the consumer since we’re just judging the product for what it is and how it compares elsewhere. Unfortunately, Marvel is exclusive to Hasbro in this scale so there’s no alternative unless a non-US company like Medicom wants to start doing animated X-Men. If this were down at 20 or even 22 bucks then I’m not making this comparison, but if Hasbro wants to charge a premium for this line then we’re entirely within our rights as consumers to expect better. If they have to charge more to do these figures justice then charge more, but don’t repackage old figures at a mark-up and expect people to just smile and accept it. If this line fails it’s going to be because collectors saw it for what it is and not a reflection of the desire out there for a line based on the cartoon X-Men.

I think it’s pretty clear which figure Hasbro sunk more money into.

Jubilee as just another Marvel Legends release would be fine. Probably a little on the subpar or average at best scale, but ultimately fine. The sculpt is okay and the paint effects are applied well with minimal slop. It’s as a representation of the Jubilee we know and love from the classic animated series that this figure fails. This just doesn’t look like that Jubilee. She’s too tall, the proportions aren’t right, the cel-shading on the coat is bad, and she looks much older. Had Hasbro at least given her a more show accurate head-sculpt, like it did for Wolverine, I would be satisfied and able to overlook the other inaccuracies. And if they gave her more expressive effects parts that would have helped too. Instead, we have a figure destined to lurk behind the other figures in this line. Hopefully, she ends up being the least accurate of the bunch (though that Jean isn’t looking too hot) and all future figures are better because I’d hate to see one that’s worse. Hasbro has its hooks in me though, and as long as they’re the only ones giving us a line of figures based on the animated series, I’ll probably keep on buying. Not enthusiastically, but I guess if Hasbro is getting my money regardless that’s all they care about.


Marvel Legends X-Men Animated Series Wolverine

Ah! There you are, Wolverine!

The toyline of my dreams was announced last October. In celebration of the 30th anniversary of the television series X-Men, Hasbro is doing a dedicated line of Marvel Legends with figures based on the look of the show. The show was obviously inspired by the designs of Jim Lee, but there are differences in the look of a character made for print and one made for television and it was something I always wanted for my favorite, childhood, TV show. Batman got his own line based on his show, the Ninja Turtles are receiving the same from NECA, now it’s time for the X-Men. And who is leading things off for Hasbro? None other than Wolverine, so lets make this a Wolverine Wednesday!

This should be a time of joy. The toyline I’ve wanted for years now finally happening? Of course, nothing is guaranteed. Since the announcement of the line, Hasbro has really underwhelmed when it comes to figure reveals. It even started off right away. While I think most were pleased with how Wolverine was shaping up, Jubilee was announced the same day and looked decidedly unlike her animated counterpart. Mr. Sinister would follow not long after, and while he looks solid, he comes with zero accessories. No extra hands, no extra head, no show-specific gizmo, nothing. I don’t need to go into it further, since I already did, but 2022 has really sucked some of the life out of this line before the first figure arrived in the hands of collectors. That’s a discussion for another day though, as today I get to talk about Wolverine.

I love that box!

Wolverine was already a popular character to comic fans, but it also feels appropriate to call him the break-out star of the cartoon. Voiced by Cal Dodd, this iteration of the character is still the first that comes to mind when I hear the name Wolverine. Wolverine arrives in the new, plastic-free, VHS-inspired, box created for this line. Artwork of Wolverine adorns the box which was done by artist Dan Veesenmeyer who was a storyboard artist for the show and was responsible for the artwork featured on the actual VHS releases of the show back in the 90s. I love this approach by Hasbro as it’s creative, nostalgic, and just plain fun. Did they get the idea from NECA with their VHS-styled packaging for TMNT? I don’t know, but Hasbro still deserves praise for at least nailing this aspect of the line.

I appreciate the commitment to preserving the VHS aesthetic all around the box.

The figure itself comes in a little baggie and the accessories are packaged in a separate bag. Collectors have rightly pointed out that this style of packaging prevents potential buyers from actually seeing the figure they’re buying, but that is mitigated by the fact that this line is presently sold only online. Once removed from his little baggie, Wolverine will stand approximately 5.75″ on whatever shelf you deem worthy of his feet. Much of this figure is reused from past Wolverines, but that was to be expected. And the base figure works well enough for what this is. If I have any nitpicks about the appropriateness of this body for Wolverine it’s really just in that his arms are probably too big and too detailed, but that’s minor. Helping me to look past that is the fact that Hasbro gave Wolvie a brand, new, head. It looks terrific with the ears of the mask accurately representing what we would see in the show. The quality of the animation wasn’t fantastic so Wolverine’s head shape had a tendency to be all over the place, but this is how I feel he was supposed to look in every frame and Hasbro did a good job.

How do we feel about cel-shading? I personally like it, though I admit it’s been done better with other figures.

The most talked about aspect of this line though seems to be the paint job. Hasbro, wanting to properly emulate the look of the show, has opted for a cel-shaded approach. I, for one, like that decision. If you’re going to make an action figure from a cartoon, why not try to make that figure look like it came out of that cartoon? The argument against that is always “these figures exist in the real world, let natural lighting provide shading” but that misses the point. What shading in cartoons (or comics, for that matter) resembles real-world shading? The shading with this figure looks good. I like how it’s applied as it was done in a consistent manner. My only issue with it is the choice of color for the shaded yellow portions. Hasbro went with a mustard color, which is not at all in-line with the show. For an example of a better, more appropriate, shade of yellow one need only look at the only other X-Men animated action figure out there: Mondo’s Wolverine. That Wolverine is obviously much bigger and much more expensive, but that doesn’t excuse Hasbro just plain whiffing on the choice of colored paint. The other thing I don’t like is that Hasbro didn’t use this as an opportunity to engineer some pin-less joints for Wolverine. Wolverine is a character who will see numerous re-releases over the years so the cost to do so seems immaterial as Hasbro will make it back. The pin-less approach is just far more appropriate for a figure with this style of paint job as the yellow pegs poking through the shaded portion of the knee looks stupid. It’s the same problem Hasbro has been running into for years with its Spider-Man figures.

The claws look pretty good.

Joining Wolverine in his box are a handful of accessories. Wolverine comes with his clawed hands deployed, but he can also swap to a set of non-clawed gripping hands. Unfortunately, these are some generic hands Hasbro must be recycling from another figure because they’re missing the channels on the back of Wolverine’s gloves. I’m surprised Hasbro didn’t have proper Wolverine gloved gripping hands available for this figure to utilize, but apparently not. The hands are noticeably undersized and look a bit ridiculous on the figure. There’s even sculpted finger nails on them to drive home that these are repurposed from somewhere else. There’s also a second head which features Wolverine with teeth-gritting and it looks good. My only critique here is that they probably shouldn’t have bothered sculpting the teeth since they’re rarely drawn-in for the show. Lastly, we have a show specific accessory in the form of the picture frame containing an image of Scott and Jean. It’s a great idea for an accessory, and the image is removable, though it’s a shame Mondo beat them to it. Since I have that figure, part of me wishes they went for another meme-worthy accessory like a big slab of salami, but I can’t deny that this is a fun thing to include for an animated Wolverine. Plus, they can always do a civilian Wolverine later that comes with salami.

The non-clawed hands, unfortunately, look like they’re meant for a different figure. And that’s because they probably are.

The articulation for Wolverine should be pretty familiar to anyone who has purchased a Marvel Legends figure over the past few years. It’s certainly a familiar sight if you have one of the prior Wolverines using this sculpt, but in case you don’t (like me), let me run down everything for you. Wolverine’s head is on a big ball hinge. He looks up, down, and all around with a little wiggle too. The shoulders are ball-hinged and work okay, but they have to work around the shoulder pads which peg into the meat of the shoulder. It’s a bit of a pain, but it does at least let the arms go all the way around. There’s a butterfly joint, but the shoulder pads get in the way when bringing the arms forward, but work okay going back. There’s a biceps swivel and the elbows are double-jointed though Wolverine’s beefiness limits his range to about 90 degrees. The wrists peg in and are hinged horizontally. There’s an ab crunch in the torso that works well enough, and the waist swivels. The legs connect via ball pegs and they don’t go out to the side very far or kick back, but they do kick forward. There’s a thigh cut past that, double-jointed knee, boot cut, and ankle hinge that pivots side-to-side. It’s a suitable batch of articulation, pretty standard for a Legends release, and my only complaint really is one of the pegs on the left knee doesn’t go all the way through and it’s exposing the hinge there more than it should. I don’t love what Hasbro did with the shoulder pads, but I don’t know that there’s a better solution.

Don’t do it, Wolverine!
It’s amusing to me that two different companies decided this accessory was essential for an animated Wolverine.

This Wolverine presents a solid template for how this line of figures should be handled. We get some re-tooled parts to match with some reused ones plus a unique paint job, which isn’t something Hasbro is known for. Yes, I have some issues with it. I think the color choice for the shading is off, and I think some added black linework would have really made this guy pop. And those extra hands are garbage, but how likely am I to display Wolverine without his claws? Not very, but he does come with an episode specific item to hold so the non-claw hands shouldn’t have been the afterthought they clearly were. A final nitpick is a similar one I had with the Mondo figure and that’s the claws should have been painted. They were usually white in the show with a little blue added, but both figures just went with a flat gray. At least they arrived in good shape and only my figure’s right hand may take a trip to the faucet and that’s a first for me with a Wolverine Marvel Legends figure. Granted, the last one I bought was probably made by Toy Biz.

“Hello, son.”
The bigger, more expensive, one obviously looks better, but I think it would be a lot closer if Hasbro matched the colors Mondo used and added some linework to their figure.

If this Wolverine was a perfect representation of what to expect from this line then I think most everyone would be happy. And maybe it is. I don’t have any other figures yet, but with Jubilee set to arrive tomorrow I’ll have a better idea soon. This figure is largely what I would expect of Hasbro and it’s plenty good. It’s fun to have a new 6″ Wolverine after so many years and it’s especially fun to see my favorite TV show from my youth get celebrated. It already seems clear to me that if you only get one figure from this line make it this one. Now lets hope that Hasbro spends the money to do a proper animated Sabretooth to pair him up with.

I suppose I should include a comparison between this figure and the only other, dedicated, animated version of a character Hasbro has done (not including the Spider-Verse figures).

Wolverine is presently available to order at Hasbro Pulse (www.hasbropulse.com) and the other figures in the line are up for preorder there as well with Jubilee being the only other one in-stock. It’s expected that all of these figures will also be sold at http://www.shopdisney.com at some point (Jubilee is already there). Each figure retails for $28 and a Pulse membership is required to get free shipping. They’re not exactly cheap compared to other Marvel Legends releases, but for now, Hasbro is really the only company doing a dedicated line based on the animated series. Maybe that will change one day, but for now I’m all-in and I hope we get the full team and select villains. Hopefully this is just the beginning of a fun display.


Hasbro Retro Card Symbiote Spider-Man

“Let him out! We hunger for brains!”

One of the most iconic costumes in the world of superheroes is definitely that of Spider-Man. I put that classic red and blue with webbed detailing right up there with Superman and Batman. I would argue that there’s no more iconic costume in the world of Marvel than Spidey’s, and the crazy thing with Spider-Man is he really has two now iconic costumes. The Black Costume, the Symbiote Costume, the Alien Costume – whatever you call it, is pretty popular on its own. I know I’ve encountered several fans who even prefer the black look to the classic one. I can’t go that far with it, but I do enjoy it, even if Venom has largely taken ownership of the look over the years.

A small sampling of black costumed Spidey’s of the last 20 years or so: Kaiyodo Ultimate Spider-Man, Hasbro, Toy Biz Spider-Man Classics. The new one is an improvement in almost every way save for the “web holes” on the back of the Toy Biz Spider-Man’s hands.

The Symbiote costume has been popular. I can still remember when it first showed up in the ’94 Toy Biz line alongside the Venom II action figure. I wanted it, but because it was so popular, I had trouble tracking it down at the usual spots. I did have a local, dedicated, comic book store that had it along with Venom II. Unfortunately, they wanted 10 bucks for it which was double what Toys ‘R Us would charge me. I could only get one, so I got Venom. When I had replenished my funds, I could have gone back for it, but it was one of those figures saddled with a bad gimmick that made for an unattractive presentation. That was a thing we had to deal with back then. I didn’t mind a gimmick if it didn’t harm the sculpt, but ones that did were the bane of my existence as an action figure enthusiast in the mid-90s. I never ended up getting that figure, but I did get the 2022 edition so I feel like I’m making it up to my younger self.

This mold is an update over the prior one with the biggest addition being the diaphragm joint.

The retro card series from Hasbro is essentially just a subline of Marvel Legends. The packaging reflects the old Toy Biz line, right down to the artwork used for repeat characters. It does cause some confusion as collectors aren’t quite sure if this is an homage line or a line that’s supposed to reflect the animated series itself. I see this most with the recent Hobgoblin release, even though it looks nothing like the old cartoon. Homage line seems to be the right call. That Toy Biz line wasn’t a direct animated line either, though it was much closer to its source material than the X-Men line. What this line certainly isn’t though is a dedicated toon line like the upcoming X-Men one Hasbro is launching this year. These strike me as designs based on the comic with nostalgic packaging.

Together at last.

The exception, of course, is the animated Venom released last year. I have a lot of nostalgic attachment to Venom and the show, so I wanted to grab that release. When I did, I knew I wanted to at least pair him with a Spider-Man. As a bit of a fill-in, I grabbed Web-Man because I really liked the color palette. I also put in an order for this Symbiote Spider-Man when solicitations went up so the long goal was always to get this guy for my display and now he’s here.

The best I can do to visually illustrate my shoulder critique.

This Spider-Man is actually on a different body than Web-Man. I think Web-Man is on the “pizza body” and this version is on the updated body. They’re not vastly different, but there are some. This Spider-Man stands a tick shy of six and a half inches, which seems tall to me, but I’m not a regular collector of this line and can’t speak for how others feel. I don’t believe it’s a true 1/12 scale line. The overall look is pretty much what I envision Spider-Man to be. He’s well-muscled, but lean compared with the more bulky heroes out there. I really like the head shape which has a more pointed chin than Web-Man, and Hasbro did a solid job of minimizing the look of the articulation. It helps that this is a character in an all black suit so you don’t get unsightly issues like the color of the pins not matching the surrounding area. My one real critique of this body is a common one I have for Marvel Legends and it’s the shoulders. They just sit so low on the body. It’s not as noticeable as it is with Web-Man, but it’s something that needs to get better. They just really like this look of large traps sloping down into the shoulders when superheroes tend to have really big shoulders! These ones even sit entirely below the sculpted clavicle. It’s not super noticeable if you pose him well, but this design isn’t really helping out articulation (which we’ll get to) so I don’t understand why it persists.

At least the paint slop is on the rear of the figure.

Being an all black figure means there’s little need for paint. Had this been a true toon line, or one aiming to even replicate comic shading, there would be a need for blue highlights, but that’s not Hasbro’s style. He’s all black save for the white portions. And when it comes to that, we have almost two figures. From the front, he looks pretty great. The eyes are well-defined and well-painted. I love the shape of them. The logo on the chest is quite clean as well, though the opacity of the paint is subpar. There’s too much black showing through giving it a grimy appearance. That’s true of the white panels on the hands as well. Here, we have a possible error too as there’s no “web hole” even though the packaging claims this is the symbiote suit. Longtime fans know that when Spider-Man ditched the alien, he still kept the black look as a traditional costume so in that sense the absence is not an error. It’s a nitpick, I know, but how hard would it have been to get that right? On the rear of the figure, the spider logo is more messy. There’s a scratch on mine in the lower torso and some excess white paint just behind the right shoulder. It’s on the rear of the figure so it’s not a huge deal, but it’s an error and one of those that you can’t even see when inspecting a figure in the card which is always frustrating.

Spider pose!

Spider-Man is known for being rather nimble, so of course a Spider-Man action figure is packed with articulation. This dude has a lot, but it’s not all as functional as it probably could be. His head is on a ball-peg and that has plenty of range. The shoulders are ball-hinged and this is the area I alluded to earlier. He can’t raise his arms out to the side all of the way and getting him into a swinging pose is more challenging than expected, but do-able. He does have butterfly joints and they’re okay. Hasbro painted the spider logo all throughout the joint so you don’t get an ugly gap on the rear of the figure. The legs won’t be aligned, but there’s no real helping that. There’s a biceps swivel, double-jointed elbows, and the hands swivel and hinge. All of the hinges are horizontal. There’s a ball-joint in the diaphragm which lets the figure tilt n’ twist. The spider will obviously become miss-aligned when you do so, but again, there’s no helping that. There is a solid amount of clearance between the upper and lower torso so paint rub is minimal, but still something to watch out for. The joint also lets Spidey bend back a bit and crunch forward and when used in tandem with the ab crunch below you get quite a bit of range. There’s no waist twist, and the hips use a ball and hinge so you can drop the legs down. The drop-down function doesn’t really add anything as he can kick forward just as far either way. His butt cheeks prevent him from kicking back, but he can go out to the side almost to a full split. There are thigh cuts, double-jointed knees, a boot cut, and ankle hinges and rockers and all have plenty of range.

If you’re persistent, you can even get a one-handed pose. Note: the figure did fall over shortly after this picture was taken.

This figure articulates well enough. If I were allowed to design it, the only thing I’d change is those shoulders and the hips. Normal ball and socket hips would allow a thigh twist there so we could ditch the kind of ugly thigh cut. I just find that style of cut useless because it miss-aligns the muscle groups and just looks stupid. This guy though can get into most Spidey poses. The one that’s still out of reach is the classic three-pointed stance. To aid in his posing are some extra hands, which are the only accessories he comes with. He comes with fists hands and he can swap to open, “wall-crawling,” hands and web shooting “thwip” hands. The thwip hands don’t make any sense if this is the symbiote suit, but I think they’re still good to have. No gripping hands is kind of a letdown, but he also has nothing to grip. I would love web effects, and they’ve done them in the past, and that’s something sorely missing. This is also a $22 figure and accessories and paint are where Hasbro skimps with them. I’m not surprised, but I can still want more. And what really could some already tooled web effects actually add to the cost here? It’s probably less than a dollar, probably far less, but that’s what you get with Hasbro.

It would look better with some web effects…

And cost, or rather price, is really the main goal with this line. Hasbro wants to get you a good enough action figure at a low cost. This isn’t an import figure or a boutique thing, it’s a mass market retail release. As such, it’s pretty good! The figure does have that cheap feel when compared with a lot of other figures I own. The plastic can feel “gummy” at times and little in the articulation is smooth, but it’s also not loose or stuck so that’s a positive. And this is also a style of character that really fits what Hasbro wants to do: simple sculpt, simple paint, lots of articulation points. There’s a reason Hasbro keeps reusing this body, because it works. And for me, it gets the job done as now I have a Spider-Man to pair with my Venom. It would have been cool to get an animated deco, but this is fine. There are rumors that Hasbro intends to do an animated Spidey in his classic red and blue, and if so, I’ll probably take a look. Should they do that, I hope they at least update the arms to a pin-less system as I really hate how those look on the already released Spider-Man figures which end up with unsightly red dots on their underarm. I don’t know if it will be a deal breaker, but I guess I’ll know when I see it.

In this house, Venom always gets the upper hand.

Symbiote Spider-Man is currently being stocked by both Target and Walmart with other smaller shops still awaiting product. It’s a popular release, so it doesn’t hang around on pegs for very long. I actually got mine via Hasbro’s eBay page which doesn’t charge for shipping. If you’re still looking, maybe keep an eye on that and see if they do a restock. It’s popular for a reason so I would expect the figure to remain in production for at least a little while, but with all of the delays around the world, it could be awhile. Stay vigilant and good luck and if you have to go to the secondary market at least the prices don’t appear to be outrageous.


Marvel Legends Web-Man

Who the heck is this guy?!

No, this is not bootleg Spider-Man, this is Web-Man! Who is Web-Man? I actually had no idea until I just looked it up. It would seem Web-Man is a copy of Spider-Man created by Dr. Doom. Not only are his colors inverted from the real thing, but so is most everything else. And since Spidey is basically a genius, Web-Man is quite stupid. As far as I know, he appeared in just one issue in 1977 and has never been heard from again. Though this being a comic book character, it’s entirely possible I’m wrong about that last part as comics have been known to recycle characters here and there. Even obscure ones.

I’ve mentioned in posts before that I used to collect Marvel Legends. And alongside Legends, I also collected the offshoot Spider-Man and X-Men lines produced by Toy Biz and later Hasbro. I stopped though around 2007 and really haven’t looked back aside from a lone Deadpool acquisition last year. So why on Earth am I doing a Web-Man review? It’s kind of a funny thing. I’ve been aware of Hasbro’s retro card releases of the past year or so which seek to emulate the 1994 Toy Biz Spider-Man line. I loved that line as a kid and I had a bunch of those cards (and probably still do) and the figures that were once stuck to them. It definitely tickles my nostalgia bone to see these things in stores, though so far not enough to get me to bite. When it came to Web-Man though, I just loved the colors. He’s this light shade of blue juxtaposed with a very bright red. It’s not the true inverse of Spider-Man, who trends darker typically, but there is something so aesthetically pleasing to me about this color combo. I loved it the moment I saw it in product shots online, but not enough to buy it. That is, until, Amazon just happened to have the thing in stock and I grabbed one. I did want to add at least one Spider-Man to my collection because I snagged a Pulse exclusive Venom over the weekend (he has yet to ship), and now I have one. Sort of.

These cards are indeed glorious.

Being that I haven’t purchased a Spider-Man figure in quite some time, this figure is probably a bit more exciting for me than it is for longtime Legends collectors. I think the last Spider-Man I bought was Iron Spider-Man, which I think was released by Hasbro, but was one of the last figures Toy Biz was working on when it was dissolved. I’d dig it out if it was easily accessible (I might have even sold it) to compare, but other than that my last Spidey might have been the Marvel Legends Series 6 First Appearance Spider-Man. Either way, this is quite different. Now, my understanding is this Web-Man uses the same body as Hasbro’s Spider-Man 2099. I was actually a little surprised when I got him because I had just assumed this was a repaint of the classic Spider-Man released on the retro card. That one was pretty well-received, from what I understand, and ended up being hard to track down because everyone and their mother apparently wanted at least two: one to play and one to keep mint-on-card. The main difference between this body and that one is a diaphragm joint which takes the place of the waist twist on this one. There are pros and cons to each, one major pro of the other Spidey is that he can crouch down into a 3-point stance, but it’s more of an interesting observation for me than anything. I just assumed that all Spider-Men would be produced on that body going forward.

I love this blue, it’s just beautiful.

As mentioned before, this guy comes on a retro card back which looks lovely. He has a one sentence bio on the back with no cross-sell below. The card itself is thicker than the old ones and the blister is attached in a different way. It would have been awesome to see Hasbro invest in resealable blisters, but they also appear to be trying to phase plastic out of their packaging as much as possible (and that’s a good thing). Once extracted, Web-Man stands at about 6 1/4″ when placed on a flat surface. Immediately, my eyes are drawn to this guy. That blue is just beautiful and it contrasts so well against the bright red. The black web-lining is bold and striking and just serves as a reminder that this is one of the best designs of all-time. Superman, Batman, Captain America – all take a backseat to the classic Spider-Man design. I love the shape of the eyes which remind me of Ditko’s Spider-Man, but bigger. The webs on the mask form a little pentagon in-between the eyes and it’s so clean looking. The reference art I found on the guy doesn’t feature that detail, but I don’t care. I like the look of it. His head is a bit more square than most Spider-Man sculpts I’ve seen, but it’s not something I mind. The color matching between the blue, plastic, head and the blue paint on the torso is pretty well done. If anything, the head is just ever so slightly darker, but I don’t think most will notice it unless they’re putting this figure under intense scrutiny, which I am.

There’s a bit of ugly here, like that red line above the shoulder and a little missing blue near the front elbow pin.

The torso is a little more of a mixed-bag, but certainly not a disaster. Web lines are hard, and with this figure I would say it passes the eye test when on a shelf. When right in front there are a few blemishes. The outer, black, line on the right hip is a little off on mine and there’s a little bit of blue paint over the center line right around the belly button. The right pectoral also has some blue slop and it’s probably the ugliest error on the front of the figure as the black webbing doesn’t extend to the outer line as a result. Up by his left trap is some missing paint resulting in a red line that’s distracting. It’s right on a seem where the plastic was fused together and if I was confident in my ability to match this paint I’d probably cover it. The back of the figure also features some messy spots along the edge, and he has an awful hole in his back. I don’t think Hasbro still uses those old peg stands, but I could be wrong. I’m guessing this hole was needed for Spider-Man 2099’s cape or something. It is an unfortunate eye sore though, as are the pins in his arms. If ever a character cried out for pin-less engineering in the arms, it’s Spider-Man, because you’re always going to run into this with his classic (and inverted) costume where you can only match the outer or inner color of the arm. Hasbro always opts to match the outer arm, which is the right move, but it means the inner arm has a circle of color that shouldn’t be there. In this case, it’s blue above and below the elbows. At least with the knees it’s not an issue. It would be nice if they just put a dab of paint there, but this is Hasbro and they’re quite focused on making low cost figures which is why their figures often are priced lower than everyone else.

I do wish he didn’t have a giant hole in his back.

Aside from the blemishes here and there, I do really like the look of this figure. This is a solid sculpt for a Spider-Man adjacent character. The only sculpting issue I have is that his shoulders are really small. Hasbro likes to almost recess them in the torso which just gives them an odd look. It’s really only noticeable in vanilla poses, but given this is a Spider-Man, you’re not likely to pose him in such a manner on your shelf. The musculature looks good otherwise as this is a lean dude and I like that he seems to have a unique spider logo on his chest. He’s just a very pleasing figure to look at, all in all.

I wish I could get that left hand on the ground, otherwise the articulation is pretty good.

Now when it comes a Spider-Man figure articulation is going to be super important. This figure may lack the updated configuration of the new Spider-Man body, but he’s no slouch in the articulation department. For starters, his head sits on a ball-hinge. This gives him very good up and down range, but little tilt. At the shoulders we have a butterfly joint that works very nicely. The inner pieces are painted though, so hopefully paint rub doesn’t become a major issue over time. For now, it seems okay. The shoulders are on standard ball-hinges and you do get that mismatch color issue here too as the hinge is blue plastic so he has a stripe of color in his armpit that shouldn’t be. Like the pins, this is just a trade-off on where to put the offending color and Hasbro did the best it could. And in this case, if they had tried painting over it the paint would likely just flake off rather quickly. The weird way they sculpt the shoulders does make it difficult to get his arms horizontal, but you can get close. There’s a biceps swivel past that and double-jointed elbows which bend past 90, but not much past. I was a little surprised with that part. At the wrists are swivels and hinges which might be a little gummy out of the box. At least mine were. In the torso we have an ab crunch and Web-Man can crunch forward pretty far and back a little bit, but without any ugly gapping issues. There’s a waist twist below that and the legs are on ball-pegs. He can kick forward rather well and almost do a split. There’s a thigh cut past there and double-jointed knees. We also get a boot cut and hinges at the ankles to go along with excellent pivot action.

Thwip!

Really, the only complaint I have with the articulation is the inability to get the figure into a classic, Spider-Man, three-point stance. Aside from that, he moves well and I didn’t have any stuck joints on my figure. Almost better, there are no loose joints either as everything is nice and tight. He’s a lot of fun to mess around with and probably would be even more fun with an action stand or some web effects. Sadly, he’s rather light on the accessory front, a common thing with Marvel Legends. He comes with fisted hands in the package that can be swapped with web-slinging hands or wall-crawling ones. They’re pretty standard Spider-Man hands, though he lacks gripping ones so even if you make your own web he won’t be able to grab them. It’s certainly decent, but does beg the question would collectors be happy to spend another buck or two to get more stuff? I’m used to buying NECA and Super7 figures which retail for a lot more than Legends so it’s probably no surprise where I come in on that question, but Hasbro exclusive collectors are definitely more price sensitive from what I’ve seen.

“I don’t think this is the New York I’m used to.”

Web-Man is what I wanted him to be. I saw a design that looked really pleasing to me and the finished product didn’t disappoint. Yes, I can pick over this thing and find little blemishes and imperfections here and there, but that’s true of pretty much any mass market retail action figure. Especially one with as demanding a paint job as Web-Man. It definitely would be preferable to find a vast assortment of these guys at retail rather purchase online sight unseen. That way you can hopefully find the one with the least amount of imperfections. This is admittedly an odd figure to have as the lone Spider-Man representation so to kind of make up for that I’ve pre-ordered the upcoming black costume Spidey. Even so, I love how this guy looks and it doesn’t bother me at all that I don’t have a traditional Spider-Man figure right now. Maybe when Hasbro eventually does a pinless one I’ll bite, but for now this is great. If you’re like me and you find yourself just drawn to this color scheme then this one’s for you.

“Easy there, big fella! You’re a little out of your league here.”

It’s Finally Happening – The Animated X-Men are Coming Back in Figure Form!

Eric and Julia Lewald have something to share!

It was almost two years to the day where I made an entry here expressing a wish for Hasbro to tackle the X-Men. And not just any X-Men, the now classic animated series from 1992. That was probably my greatest obsession as a kid. I loved Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, but I grew out of it after 3 or 4 years. X-Men filled that void and my obsession lasted longer. I collected the toys from Toy Biz and it was the first time I displayed my toys like collectibles instead of just dumping them in a large bin when I was done playing. I still played with them too, but when I was done I had makeshift shelves to pose them on. It was a large shelf that went three or four rows deep and eventually I had to add another. I was able to separate heroes and villains, though with how quickly things can change in the comics, sometimes I had to move guys back and forth. I don’t think I stopped collecting though until I was in high school in the very late 90s. By then, the X-Men line was nearing its end anyway and Toy Biz was pivoting to more collector-focused lines for their legacy properties while the kid-friendly stuff was focused on new shows like X-Men Evolution and the movies.

There weren’t a lot of toon-specific figures back in the 90s, but Morph was definitely one of them.

Like Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles though, the thing with the old X-Men toyline is that it wasn’t really an animated focused line. It started as a comic book line with the inaugural first wave reflecting the 80s costumes and lineup for the team. It was only once the show became a hit that the toyline started to mimic it to a point. One of the first instances of that I can recall is the wave one Storm, who was released in a black costume, getting repainted silver with two ring-capes added on to kind of match her show appearance. Toy Biz would also repackage some of the previously released figures with new card backs advertising them as from the show, but the figures were basically the same comic book inspired releases we already had. Wolverine, for instance, still had his giant buckle on his belt instead of an X logo. Storm did get repainted yet again though, this time white and with a more elaborate cape. The most well-remembered instance of the line matching the show was in the Morph figure. Morph was famously created for the show, though he was modeled after the character Changeling from the comic, and killed off in the second episode. Kids loved him though, so Toy Biz made a figure with swappable heads to mimic his shape-shifting powers. He didn’t look much like the cartoon character aside from the general costume, but it was still one of my favorite figures because it was freakin’ Morph! Toy Biz would also do a Phoenix Saga wave of figures clearly inspired by the cartoon, and other figures here and there appeared to match some show designs, but for all intents and purposes the toys from Toy Biz were comics first and the show a distant second.

2022 will mark the show’s 30th anniversary, and as I hypothesized two years ago, Hasbro is finally going to do proper action figures based on the show. This past week saw Hasbro host its own virtual convention, Pulsecon, and the guests of honor for the final panel on Saturday were Eric and Julia Lewald, authors of the wonderful X-Men: The Art and Making of the Animated Series. Eric was the showrunner for X-Men and his wife Julia a veteran TV writer who contributed some scripts as well and the mere fact that they were announced as guests had my juices flowing all last week. Surely, they were there to pitch their book, but also to reveal something. What we didn’t know is what that something would be. It would likely tie into the animated series, but did we dare hope it would be an actual line of Marvel Legends based on the show? Maybe it would just be more retro card-back releases, which is what Hasbro has been doing for the Spider-Man cartoon lately. There’s also the new retro, five points of articulation, line. I was both optimistic and guarded, but I’m happy to report my dream has come true!

This is glorious!

Hasbro had the Lewalds show off two figures for the new X-Men animated series line of toys: Wolverine and Jubilee. The figures will come in an oversized VHS styled box with new artwork and product shots. They’re meant to be displayed as one would those old VHS releases and they look positively striking. I don’t know if Hasbro got the idea from NECA’s TMNT releases, or if it was an organic thing, but either way it looks fantastic. Not to be outshined though, are the figures themselves. They are indeed Marvel Legends-styled releases and I’m sure there will be a lot of parts reuse between these figures and previously released editions. Wolverine could very well be the same Wolverine body that’s been released before, though it looks like he has new heads to better reflect the show art design. What stands out most though is the paint application which has that cel-shaded look to better match-up with the show. He’ll come with the now standard swappable hands, one with claws out and one claws retracted, but he also gets to bring along the photo of Scott and Jean (just like the upcoming Mondo release) so fans can reenact the most memed scene of the show. Jubilee, for her part, appears to mostly be the same release as before too only I don’t think she’s getting a new head. She’s less impressive as a result since she’s lacking her show-specific earrings on one head, but she does have yellow gloves now. Like Wolverine, she’ll have two portraits and she also has some effects pieces. I do wish they worked in a show specific accessory for her as well (maybe some chili fries? A Genosha collar?) to up the fun factor. One show specific accessory per figure would be a nice goal for Hasbro to have.

Only thing missing is a turkey leg.

These two figures are definitely promising and they’re pretty much exactly what I hoped for, even though they weren’t announced as one big wave as I had previously hoped for. There are a few things to nitpick based on the few shots we were given. Wolverine’s hands appear to lack the claw channels on his non-claw hands which isn’t show accurate, and Jubilee’s head just doesn’t look very “toon” to me. I’m hoping Wolverine is more indicative of where the line is going as opposed to Jubilee, but only time will tell. Otherwise, I like this direction and that parts reuse doesn’t bother me. Now if they try to re-release Sabretooth and pass him off as animated that will be worth criticizing because the Sabretooth on television was pretty different from the comics. He was just huge and honestly a little weird looking, but not in a bad way. Hasbro is a company more focused on price and keeping the price low. These figures already run high by their standards as they’re currently available for preorder at $27 a piece. Wolverine is slated for a May release with Jubilee following in June. Not shown, but announced, are figures for both Storm and Jean, two characters who should be easily adapted from recent releases with some paint modifications. No release date was announced for them, but maybe July and August? A monthly schedule would be fine with me and maybe we’ll learn more in early 2022. Or maybe Hasbro is saving something for Halloween, the 29th anniversary of the show’s premiere, to give us a peek at either Storm or Jean.

Less impressive than Wolverine is Jubilee, but there’s still time for things to change.

What is great is the goal of Hasbro’s to make this a full line. It’s going to be a slow release compared to some of the others, but I can be patient. I’ve waited nearly 30 years for this, I can wait longer. I know some fans were disappointed in the character selection. Wolverine is a given, but he’s also a character that’s been made and released over and over while Jubilee is…Jubilee. A lot of fans were hoping for Morph as he’s become synonymous with the show and is a character that collectors have wanted for years now. I feel very confident that Morph is coming, so I’m not sweating his exclusion for now. He’s the character Hasbro has to hit a homerun with, and hopefully they do. He seems like the most obvious candidate if they want to time a figure with the 30th anniversary on Halloween of 2022. Will they time the reveal or the release with that date is the big question. This is a good time to be an X-Men fan though, and I’m already brainstorming ways to display this line. It’s going to be a long wait until May, but it’s going to be worth it!

Preorders for Wolverine and Jubilee are currently available on Hasbro Pulse (no premium membership required) with an expected release on Disney’s shopdisney website at some point. These are not planned for mass market retail so get your orders in if you want them.

UPDATE: Just a few days after the big reveal, Hasbro went and revealed a third figure in the wave. And despite having already soft announced Storm and Jean, the third figure shown off is none other than Mr. Sinister! He’s available for pre-order on Pulse and currently has the same release date as Jubilee. He is almost a straight repaint of a previously released Mr. Sinister (they may have had to swap out the neck, or it’s just now painted white instead of blue) and will come in an oversized box. Needless to say, it’s a good sign that Hasbro is willing to do villains alongside the X-Men!


Marvel Legends Deadpool 2 Two-Pack

Look through my various toy reviews and you’ll probably notice that I’m not much of a Marvel guy. That wasn’t always the case for me though as I was huge into Marvel Legends once upon a time. I basically stopped around the time Hasbro was awarded the Marvel license. I felt there was a dip in quality and also the character assortment stopped appealing to me. I knew what I wanted from the line and had wanted for years, but it seemed the line refused to give me what I wanted. I moved on, and it wasn’t long after the line was actually suspended for quite a few years before it made a comeback. I’ve never gone back though and that’s largely just due to my fading interest in the Marvel Universe.

Pardon the stock boxed photo, I was so eager to check this set out I forgot to snap a pic.

One figure I did review though was the Marvel Legends Deadpool. That figure was from the sixth series released by Toy Biz. I reviewed it simply because it’s the only Marvel Legends figure on display in my house. All of the rest are in bins crammed in an attic and most of the choicest figures have been sold. I liked that Deadpool a lot though when it came out so I did a little post on it. Well, when I was walking through an aisle at my local Target I happened upon one of the latest two-packs released by Hasbro in the Marvel Legends line. And that two-pack is the Deadpool and Negasonic Teenage Warhead set from the film Deadpool 2. It’s an eye-catching window box as it’s done up in red with Deadpool “effects” added to it like marker crossing out the figure’s real names and a faux Deadpool sticker placed over the X-Men logo. Since I still have a Deadpool on display in my house, I was really intrigued in having an updated version of the character to go with it. It turned into an impulse buy, so here we are.

She looks the part.

First off, let’s talk about the other figure in this set: Negasonic Teenage Warhead, who will now be referred to simply as NTW. I have little to no interest in this figure, but if I wanted a new Deadpool I had to get her. She is depicted in her Deadpool 2 costume complete with the mohawk hairstyle. She stands a tick under five and half inches to the top of her forehead, and is a bit taller when you factor in the hair. She looks the part and the face is a good likeness for actress Brianna Hildebrand. The sculpt features some nice texture work on the yellow portion of the chest as well as the sleeves and shoulders. Strangely, the pants feature no such touches and are basically just plain, black, plastic with some yellow painted on at the thighs. It would be okay if this were a figure based on a comic, but not a film. The only other aspect of the sculpt I’m not high on is how her head sits on her neck. The cut just looks odd from the side as there’s quite a gap between the back of her head and neck. I suppose the counter here is how many people are going to pose her on a shelf at a side angle? Probably few.

I don’t like that gap on the back of her neck.

NTW does come packed with quite a bit of functional articulation. Her head may look odd on her neck, but it can roll around effortlessly and she has a solid range of motion when looking up and down. The shoulders are ball-jointed and she has a bicep swivel and double-jointed elbows allowing her to bend about 90 degrees. It looks like the bottom joint should allow for movement past 90, but my figure doesn’t seem to want to cooperate. She has hinges and swivels at the wrist and an upper torso joint. It works more to pivot her side to side as she has little to no movement forward and back. The legs attach via ball-joints and can swivel. She also has a thigh cut and double-jointed knees. There’s a boot cut and her feet possess hinges as well as the ability to rock side to side. Being she’s not the most acrobatic of superheroes, this strikes me as a perfectly acceptable amount of articulation for this figure. It’s all integrated well into the sculpt and should you want to get creative I don’t think you’ll be limited too much.

Hands open.
Hands closed.

When it comes to accessories, NTW is a bit lacking, but also there’s not a ton of room to really add much. She comes with two sets of hands: fists and open style pose hands. They pop off and on easily enough and both are suitable for posing with this figure. She also has a pair of energy effects that wrap around her forearms. They’re okay, a little too flimsy for my liking, but the translucent yellow-orange plastic is a good look. That’s it though, but like I said, I’m not really sure what else would make sense for her to have.

Oh you are one sexy superhero.
And the view from behind, because the audience demands it.

The real draw of this set, for me and probably most who pick it up, is Deadpool. And to Hasbro’s credit, the company seems to be well aware of that. He comes with a lot more stuff than his boxmate and a lot more care went into his sculpt as well. First of all, this is a Deadpool 2 version of the character’s costume, though he does come with two sets of all black gloves, reflecting his appearance from the first film. I think Hasbro intends for this to be a catch-all version of the character, though the shoulder strap is clearly based on the sequel. Regardless, it’s not that important since his costume was pretty similar from one film to the next and he very much looks like Deadpool.

Home Alone face!
Sometimes a hero just needs to chill.

Deadpool stands at around six and a quarter inches and scales well with NTW. I assume he scales well with the other figures in this wave, but I also don’t have them to confirm. The sculpt is pretty involved with this guy as he has lots of seams, straps, and buckles, all over the place. The entire costume is well textured and looks like it was pulled from the film and there’s some minor battle damage on his chest as well. The belt Hasbro put on him is floating, so it doesn’t hinder his articulation to the degree one would expect. It’s also painted and sculpted quite well, at least on the front. Hasbro went cheap on the rear of the figure as the pouches are not painted to the degree the ones on the front of the belt are. Like the head on NTW, it’s something that won’t really show on a shelf, but come on, Hasbro! That’s pretty cheap. There’s also some errors here and there when comparing this costume with the film. The sculpt seems to be all there, it’s just some parts (in particular, the boot area and the collar) are either unpainted or painted black when they should be red, or vice versa. My figure also has one paint chip on the black portion of his abdomen and I’m frustrated at myself for not noticing that in the package since I had my pick from around half a dozen sets at the store.

Let’s pose!
Gun fight? Knife fight? Deadpool is always prepared.

Deadpool, essentially being a superhero ninja, is pretty well stacked when it comes to articulation. His head appears to be on a dumbbell joint giving him movement at the head and base of the neck. The collar Hasbro has on him limits the movement a bit, but it’s fine. The shoulders are on butterfly joints that give him some inward motion without marring the chest portion of the sculpt. They’re also ball-jointed and his elbows double-jointed and he can bend well past 90 degrees as he can basically do a full curl. The hands are hinged and also able to rotate, as expected. He does have an ab crunch and the way his costume is designed makes it work well with the sculpt. The waist can swivel and you can slide his belt up a bit to make it work. He’s ball-jointed at the legs with rotation there to go along with a thigh cut below it. The knees are double-jointed and his feet are hinged with rocking action. I’m a little surprised at the lack of a boot-cut or swivel down there, but it’s fine.

Let’s get messy!

The articulation Hasbro packed into this figure is plenty enough to get him into various poses, which comes in handy since he has a lot of stuff to pose with. In terms of hands, Deadpool has two all black fists and a pair of all black open, style pose, hands. His gripping hands have the back of each painted silver and his set of trigger hands are the same reflecting his appearance in Deadpool 2. I’m still not sure if this was intentional, or if the all black hands just weren’t painted by mistake. He also has an assortment of weapons including two katanas which fit neatly into the scabbards affixed to his back and a pair of handguns he can wield. They look like action guns in that the bolt appears to be set back like it’s being fired, either that or they’re some weird, made-up, pistol. He also has a pair of holstered handguns that Hasbro, for some reason, glued in place. I’ve seen some people get these out and they’re completely separate pieces, but mine are well stuck. He also has a knife which can slot into the little holster on his left ankle. You’re unlikely to pose him with the knife in hand, but I like that it’s included. Lastly, he has his stuffed unicorn and it’s pretty adorable. I actually might have to pose him with that for the sake of comedy.

Deadpool really is just a fantastic figure. I have some nitpicks with the paint, but I think the sculpt is great and I love all of the articulation Hasbro was able to work into this figure. My biggest complaint with my old Deadpool figure was with how that sculpt prioritized articulation ahead of aesthetics and some of the joints, in particular the shoulders, are kind of ugly. I have no such complaints here and really my only other complaint is with those guns Hasbro glued in. I love that Deadpool comes with lots of stuff, so it drives me a little crazy that he can’t holster the guns he’s intended to grip because his holsters are occupied by more guns!

I’d say things have improved over the last 15 or so years.

NTW is a fine figure as well. I’m disappointed that Hasbro seemed to phone it in on her lower half sculpt, but she looks the part and has all of the articulation she needs. Let’s be realistic though, if I could have bought Deadpool solo I would have. I’m not collecting Marvel Legends and I don’t plan on adding to this Deadpool collection either. Maybe Hasbro will get me to grab Cable if I run into him since I already have these two, but probably not. It’s great to see the Deadpool franchise getting some love from Hasbro though since it’s presently in limbo as far as films go. It was very successful for 20th Century Fox, but in the hands of Disney it feels like it doesn’t have a home. We know the company likely has plans for the whole X-Men Universe. I hope Deadpool is a part of those plans, but who can say? This figure sure kicks ass though!

I found this set at Target, but it’s being sold elsewhere as well. You can even pre-order it at Best Buy right now, or find it at other various online retailers. The MSRP is $49.99 so happy hunting!


Action Figures!

It’s been almost a year since I made my initial entry talking about my affection for collecting things.  In that entry, I mentioned how I used to collect action figures.  I loved action figures as a kid, even more so than video games.  Action figures were my go-to toy when I needed to entertain myself.  I even separate my childhood into phases based on what line of action figures dominated my playtime.  In chronological order, they are:  Ghostbusters, TMNT, and X-Men/Spider-Man.  That basically took me from age four to ten or eleven.  Around that age playing with action figures and acting out climactic battles starts to feel childish, plus puberty kicks in which brings along a whole host of new interests and time-wasters.  Most of those toys are gone now, either sold at yard sales or thrown away.  I have most of my X-Men and Spider-Man ones, and I did save the original TMNT line and movie line, not because they’re worth anything, just because I’m sentimental.

Once I hit my late teens I started working a part-time job and soon found myself with disposable income for the first time in my life.  Most kids my age probably spent their money on booze and drugs, I ended up buying toys.  I’m not saying that makes me better than most of my peers, actually it kind of makes me a dork.  New action figures were way better than anything I ever had and they impressed the Hell out of me.  It didn’t make much sense to me, but I started buying more and more.  At first it was a figure here or there, then it started to become whole lines.  I’d buy what I thought looked cool, and then I’d just buy everything.  It was a compulsion.  This lasted probably from the time I was 16 until 22.  At that point in time I was living on my own, I had no place to really put more toys, and the Marvel Legends line switched from Toy Biz to Hasbro and went down the crapper.  Since then I’ve bought a few toys here and there, but by and large I’m done unless I have a kid who gets action figures.

To break up the monotony of all of these video game posts of late, I thought now would be a good time to go digging through some boxes and come up with my 10 favorite action figures.  And by favorite, I mostly mean favorite looking with some addition of intrinsic value taking hold as well.  If I were to make a list of my favorite and most played with toys it would have been an entirely different list.  These are, for the most part, all modern action figures that I acquired in my teens and twenties.  Most of them are from the world of comics, with some cartoon characters as well.  Before I get to my list, let’s take some time out for one honorable mention:

Turtle Trolls

There are some pretty cool gimmick action figures out there.  Lego versions of popular characters come to mind as well as Lego-type toys like Mini Mates and Kubricks.  The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles have had many such gimmicks that range from cool to embarrassing.  This one such cross-over falls somewhere in between, though for many it might fall into the embarrassing category.  Treasure Trolls were really popular in the early ’90s.  They didn’t do anything and were cheaply made, but for some reason kids had to have them.  Seeing an opportunity for a cross-over, Playmates and whoever made Treasure Trolls combined the TMNT brand with the trolls and the result was Turtle Trolls.  These things are quite silly, but terribly cute.  They still look mostly like turtles, just with big, colorful hair.  The accessories they came with were mined from existing Turtles figures and really don’t make much sense (Leonardo has the stone katanas that came with Cave Turtle Leo, for instance) but I guess Playmates felt they couldn’t just go with normal weapons.  For whatever reason, I liked this gimmick as a kid and still like it today which is why I still have a set of Turtle Trolls.

Honorable mention out of the way, time for the The Nostalgia Spot’s Top 10 Action Figures!

10. Marvel Legends Green Goblin/Spider-Man Classics Hobgoblin

I couldn’t separate these two, and since they’re so similar, they both get to share spot #10.  Hobgoblin was treated quite well by Toy Biz in the aughts as he received two really sharp figures.  The first Spider-Man Classics Hobgoblin was based on his demonic appearance.  Creatively, the sculpt took some liberties in making him look quite fearsome and the sculpter opted for brown instead of orange for the costume which gave the character a certain gritty-ness not seen in the comics.  As cool as it was, I prefer the more traditional take that came later.  This Hobgoblin is picture perfect when compared with the comic book character.  The colors are vibrant and clean and he wasn’t given some cheesy action feature that could detract from the sculpt.  The pumpkin bomb is permanently affixed to his left hand, but that doesn’t really bother me.  The Green Goblin is every bit as good.  He’s from the Marvel Legends line from the Onslaught wave.  The colors are a bit darker as the Legends line tried to appeal more to adults than the Spider-Man Classics line.  Perhaps a more vibrant paint job would have been more comic accurate, but this works just fine.  It’s not the worst thing in the world to downplay the purple and green color scheme.  Like Hobgoblin, his pumpkin bomb is also permanently attached to his hand.  His glider also has a nice stand for displaying instead of the more cartoonish smoke cloud that Hobgoblin has.  I like the angle the glider’s wings are at too, as it makes the figure much easier to pose.

9.  IF Labs Super Saiyan Vegeta

Dragon Ball Z was a big reason for my renewed interest in action figures.  I got into the series as a teen which made the action figures suddenly appealing.  For awhile, they were terrible as the US distributer, Irwin,  just re-released the old Bandai and AB figures which had long since become outdated.  Eventually, Irwin would start producing its own figures.  There were some growing pains, and the normal five inch line was geared more towards kids than collectors, but they ended up putting out some worthwhile stuff.  Their high grade collector line, IF Labs, had its share of misses but had some hits as well.  IF Labs focused more on the DBZ films, and this version of Vegeta is from the The Return of Cooler OVA.  Articulation wise, the figure leaves something to be desired as its pretty basic, but the sculpt and paint job is bad ass.  Vegeta was one of my favorites from the show, and I was stoked to pick this one up.  He’s around 7″ tall, making him short compared to the rest of the line but still larger than the standard line of action figures.  Irwin/IF never made a better Vegeta than this one, and arguably never produced a better figure than this one.

8. Marvel Legends Apocalypse

Not to be confused with the series 7 Apocalypse action figure, this is the massive build-a-figure Apocalypse from series 12.  At that point, Toy Biz had started releasing each figure in a wave with a piece of a larger figure.  This particular wave of figures came with a piece of the world’s oldest mutant, Apocalypse.  This was a welcomed figure as the series 7 Apocalypse was not well-received.  He was short and fat and a rather poor representation of the figure.  Most figures in the Legends line could trace their appearance to a certain point in time, but that Apocalypse really had no comic counterpart.  This one was true to the likeness of Apocalypse from the ’80s, just huge.  Yeah it would have been nice to have a 6″ scaled Apocalypse as this one is perhaps too big (even though one of Apocalypse’s many mutant powers was the ability to grow in size) but still pretty awesome.  He’s hefty too and one solid figure.  This Apocalypse was the last of the standard waves of figures to feature a build-a-figure of this size.  Future ones were much smaller in scale, which really diminished their coolness (especially for the series 13 Onslaught).  This Apocalypse is a mix of blue and black, though apparently some pieces were colored black where they should have been blue so there are a few more black Apocalypse’s floating around.  The range of motion on his legs is a bit limited, and he’s so top-heavy that he can be hard to stand.  The rest of the figure features typical Marvel Legends articulation.  In the original batch of figures one of his cables was missing and collectors had to go to Toy Biz for a replacement.  As you can see, I went through the effort to have a complete Apocalypse.

7. Unifive Ultimate Saiyan Vegeta

The only character to appear twice on my list, this Vegeta is of a much smaller scale than the previous one and attempts to capture the character in all of his forms from the anime.  It doesn’t quite pull that trick off, but he’s pretty cool nonetheless.  Unifive is a Japanese company and as such this is a Japanese figure that was never released in the US.  He was pretty costly at the time, and has only become more costly since release.  The figure is probably less than 5″ tall though I assume that’s so he can fit in with the other figures from the line (I don’t own any of the other ones).  His coloring is also supposed to resemble the manga more than the anime which basically just means he’s a little darker than usual.  The articulation is rather interesting as it’s mostly cut joints instead of ball joints.  He’s capable of a variety of poses but the cut joints hide the articulation well and make him easy to display.  He comes with a bunch of accessories that I didn’t feel like digging out.  As such, only a couple are displayed in the picture.  He came with four heads:  regular, super saiyan, majin, and oozaru (great ape).  The oozaru head includes damaged saiyan armor like what he wore in his first appearance.  He has a display base that’s just some barren ground with little saibamen heads poking out.  There’s an attachable mountain to cover-up the heads and a little tiny Goku clicks into it so you can display Vegeta in his ape form and he’s actually to scale with Goku!  He also has a removable tail and scouter.  It would have been nice if he had some shoulder pads to more accurately depict him in his Saiyan Saga attire.  There’s also no top to pair with the Majin Vegeta head for an accurate portrayal of that character.  The second set of figures from Unifive (featuring Trunks and Gohan) would do a much better job of accounting for the different looks of the characters.  Short-comings aside, this is my favorite 5″ scale DBZ figure.

6.  Marvel Legends Sentinel

Another build-a-figure, and this one really made use of the format.  This is a more modern take on the Sentinel character from X-Men and he’s pretty bad ass.  Pieces of this figure were distributed in wave 10 which had a very X-Men feel to it.  The coloring is muted and gritty and great care was taken to sculpt the more mechanical parts of the figure making a giant red and purple robot seem almost believable.  Like Apocalypse, there’s a tremendous heft to this figure that’s quite satisfying.  Unlike Apocalypse, his feet are huge making him easy to stand and pose.  He came with a couple of detachable cables (the same that were used for Omega Red from the same series) to coil around various mutants.  Not surprisingly, this one was a real hit with collectors as this was one giant figure that was mostly in scale with the others.  Many would buy multiples of the figures in wave 10 to create their own Sentinel army.  I was satisfied to just have one.

5.  Marvel Select Ultimate Venom

While Toy Biz was releasing highly articulated action figures to toy stores across the globe, Diamond was releasing high grade figures to specialty shops.  Their Marvel Select line had its own scale and focused more on creating a dynamic scene as opposed to making an actual action figure.  Most of the toys featured little articulation but usually came with a display base of some kind.  They also weren’t afraid to tackle some of Marvel’s more obscure characters and embraced the Ultimate Universe that was fairly popular at the time.  I was always a big Venom fan and I always bought the latest action figure to depict him.  Perhaps my standards were set too high considering he was my favorite character, but I often wasn’t completely happy with Venom figures.  This one though is the first I can ever recall being truly satisfied with.  He’s based on his appearance in Ultimate Spider-Man, but Diamond put out two versions of him and this one featured the iconic white spider logo that wasn’t present on the character in the pages of Ultimate Spider-Man.  Like most Venom figures, he’s black but with some purple accents.  He’s a solid and heavy figure and has many sculpted pseudopods protruding from his costume.  I especially like the work done on the head and claws.  He also came with a frightened Peter Parker to torment eternally.  This is easily my favorite Venom action figure and there really isn’t a close runner-up.

4. Masterpiece Optimus Prime and Megatron

I’ve never been anything more than a casual fan of Transformers.  The cartoon never grabbed me like the TMNT cartoon, and I just wasn’t that interested in cars that transformed into robots, as cool a concept as that is.  That concept was cool enough for me to acquire a few Transformers here and there.  As a little guy, I had a couple that I only vaguely remember.  When Hasbro released the Generation 2 wave I bought a couple including the Generation 2 Grimlock and Optimus Prime.  When Takara/Hasbro unveiled the Masterpiece Optimus Prime a few years ago the collector in me had to have it.  Here was the perfect Transformer.  Not only does Optimus look like he was pulled from the cartoon, he also transforms into a perfect rendition of his truck form.  No sacrifices had to be made for one form or the other.  The one pictured is the US version which had smaller smoke stacks (apparently we can’t handle longer ones) but he’s still just as cool.  He came with several accessories, and is actually fairly easy to transform.  My favorite touch is the little button on the back of his head that makes his mouth-piece move like he’s talking.  It kind of makes me want to play with him right now.  And after Optimus was released, it was only a matter of time before a Megatron came out as well.  Like Optimus, Megatron is designed to resemble his cartoon form.  Here the designers weren’t as successful which isn’t surprising considering Megatron’s transformation is the most absurd one in the cartoon.  Still, they did a good job with what they had to work with.  His legs did come out skinny making him hard to stand.  Adding the tremendous weight of his arm cannon just makes posing him even more difficult.  When transformed, he makes for a pretty convincing replica of a Walther P38.  Gun enthusiasts won’t be fooled, but others might.  As a result, the US forced Hasbro to put a bright orange cap on the end which is why I got the Japanese version.  Unlike Prime though, transforming Megatron is a total bitch and is something I’ve only done a couple of times.  He has less die-cast than Prime too, making him more fragile.  He’s definitely the lesser of the two, and other Masterpiece figures like Starscream and Grimlock are probably better, but what’s Optimus Prime without his arch nemesis?  I had to include him.

3. Marvel Legends Deadpool

A piece of advice for any toy manufacturers trying to win me over; I love accessories!  When an action figure comes with everything it’s supposed to I get excited.  Marvel Legends Deadpool is a great example of a character coming with just the right amount of accessories.  He’s got a 9mm, two AK’s, two katanas, and a pair of sai.  He even comes with a second, mask-less head that’s totally creepy and an action stand for cool poses.  All of the details are in place including the goofy Deadpool mask-logo on his belt.  This figure reused probably the most popular sculpt Toy Biz would produce, the Daredevil sculpt, and even left Daredevil’s leg pouch on the right leg.  Reusing sculpts kind of sucks, but if it’s done well I can forgive it and this one is.  The only negative I can say about it are that the shoulders are a bit too bulky.  In that case, appearance was sacrificed some for articulation and Deadpool is loaded with articulation.  He can be posed in just about any position one can dream up and I love that all of his accessories have a place they can be stored on his belt.  The paint scheme is very clean and the costume is spot-on.  He is a perfect action figure.  Toy Biz either underestimated the character’s popularity or just plain had distribution issues because he was a bitch to find in stores.  Not long after Marvel Legends Series 6 was released, Deadpool was showing up on eBay for big bucks.  Really, that whole series was botched as Juggernaut and Phoenix were a colossal pain in the ass to find which is a shame because that was one of the better waves of figures Toy Biz ever put out.  Deadpool also came with Doop from X-Force, the slimer wannabe.  I don’t like Doop, so he’s not pictured.

2.  Hot Toys Dark Knight Batman

You may have noticed that some of these toys appeared in my original post about collections.  That’s not a coincidence because most of my favorite toys are still on display in my home, while the rest are sealed away in the basement.  This one was featured in that post and represents one of the last figures I ever bought.  Normally movie themed lines are terrible.  Action figures seem to always come out better when they’re trying to resemble a piece of art and not an actual person.  Action figures can sometimes point out how absurd a character would look in the real world making the figures totally undesirable or just plain ugly.  This is no such toy.  Hot Toys puts out high grade action figures that are more like dolls than what most would consider an action figure.  These things are stupidly expensive, which is why I only bought one from the series, but are extremely nice.  This take on Batman is from the film The Dark Knight and depicts his updated costume in that film.  He comes with a stand and a bunch of little accessories including an assortment of bat-a-rangs, bombs, and even a second head.  I’ve never bothered to switch him to the Bruce Wayne head because why would I ever want to?  His costume is a rubbery material that works really well because it’s how I imagine the costume would actually feel.  All of the little details are present making this probably the most accurate movie-based figure in existence.  He also came with an extra set of hands but good luck getting the factory attached ones off, I never could.  That’s okay though, because he looks cool as is.  He also sports quite a bit of articulation.  I’ve never gone through the trouble to really pose him but there’s plenty of pictures online of people who have.  If you’ve got about $150 burning a hole in your pocket and really want an awesome Batman toy, you can’t go wrong with this one.

1.  NECA Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

Maybe I’m cheating again by making my number 1 action figure four figures, but as you can see, it couldn’t be done any other way.  The Ghostbusters got me into action figures, but my obsession exploded with the TMNT and they were really my first love.  These toys are everything I love about action figures.  They look great, move great, are loaded with accessories, and are of characters that I adore.  Each one has just the right amount of personality to separate it form the rest, perhaps even more so than the comics they come from.  And as you can see, these turtles are based on the ones from Mirage Comics.  Each one comes with a base, some knives, their turtle specific weapons, a little turtle, and an extra set of climbing hands.  That’s all well and good, but all I really care about is that each turtle has his weapons.  Mikey stands out in this regard as his nunchaku have real chains, how awesome is that?!  Every incarnation of the character released before that had all plastic nunchaku and never in my wildest dreams did I ever think one would come along with actual chains.  Raph’s sai are just wide enough that he can fit his fingers within the blades which is cool for display purposes (though I’m too scared to do it as I’m afraid the sai will stretch and break after awhile).  I love the expression on Donatello’s face, it just looks exactly how I picture him.  And Leo is Leo, which means he’s awesome.  Somehow, some way, NECA did not sell enough of these figures to warrant future ones.  They did do an April O’Neil figure that was just as ugly as the source material.  I’m guessing that one sold poorly which is why we never got a Mirage Shredder to join these turtles.  One was unveiled at a Toy Fair along with a Foot soldier, but he has never been released which is a shame.  At least we got four comic accurate turtles that kick all kinds of ass.  And if you really want a comic accurate set, NECA released a four-pack of the Turtles that are colored in black and white.  I prefer the colored ones, but it’s pretty cool they went through the effort of putting out a second set.


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