With the arrival of the second assortment of Hasbro-produced MARVEL LEGENDS action figures, a few changes are notable -- and they're positive ones in my opinion.
One of the ones I was interested in was QUICKSILVER:
Quicksilver is Pietro Maximoff, brother of the Scarlet Witch, and son of Magneto, although this latter relationship was unrevealed for years. A mutant, Quicksilver originally possessed the superhuman ability to move, think and react at great speeds. As short-tempered as he was fast- footed, Quicksilver was initially part of the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants under Magneto, as was the Scarlet Witch, although at the time they were unaware of their relationship to the master of magnetism.
Later, both Quicksilver and the Scarlet Witch reformed, and joined the Avengers. Quicksilver's temper frequently got him into trouble, as did his overprotectiveness of his sister. When she began a relationship with the synthezoid Vision, and later married him, Quicksilver was vocally unaccepting of the relationship.
Quicksilver himself later married the Inhuman known as Crystal, and they had a daughter, Luna, although Quicksilver's frequent departures and short temper strained the relationship on more than a few occasions, and Crystal herself had more than one affair during these times.
It is also during this time that Magneto discovered his relationship to Quicksilver and the Scarlet Witch and chose to tell them the truth. Quicksilver was repulsed and told Magneto that he had his chance to be a father years ago. Unfortunately Quicksilver and Crystal's marriage continued to be strained, and even further so later by the actions of Maximus the Mad - the brother of Inhuman king Black Bolt - who used technology to push Quicksilver into insanity and evil behavior.
Although later cured, Quicksilver was still angry with Crystal and joins the U.S. government-sponsored superhero team X-Factor. During this period of estrangement, Crystal almost had an affair with the Avenger known as the Black Knight.
Quicksilver and Crystal were finally reunited when the Avengers, X- Factor and X-Men teamed up to stop a group of mutant terrorists who had kidnapped their daughter Luna and were responsible for a civil war on the island nation of Genosha.
After dealing with the threat, Quicksilver learned of Crystal's relationship with the Black Knight and left, also resigning from X- Factor. Quicksilver later took Luna and joined the High Evolutionary, assisting him and his Knights of Wundagore in fighting off the villains Exodus and Man Beast. During the course of this war, Quicksilver used the experimental Isotope E to augment his powers and allow him to move at greater supersonic speeds.
More recently, Quicksilver was responsible to a large degree for the events of the "House of M" storyline. The Scarlet Witch suffered a mental breakdown over the loss of her children and started to warp reality in order to recreate them, resulting in random attacks on the Avengers. The Avengers and Doctor Strange placed her in a coma, and then turned her over to Magneto. Magneto was unable to help her and several members of the Avengers and X-Men suggested killing the Scarlet Witch. A panicking Quicksilver convinced the Scarlet Witch to correct her mistakes by using her powers to turn the world into a world of peace. Wanda then warped reality into the House of M - a world where mutants are in a majority and humans are in a minority, with Magneto established as absolute ruler.
Several of the heroes eventually regained their memories, and attacked Magneto, who regained his own memory and realized that Quicksilver is to blame for this disaster. Magneto then killed Quicksilver by crushing him with a Sentinel. The Scarlet Witch, however, revived her brother, and tells Magneto that he has chosen the mutants over his own children. Wanda then says "No more mutants" and changes the world back into its original form, with the result being that 98% of the mutant population are now powerless - including Quicksilver.
Quicksilver became depressed, and decided to kill himself by jumping off a building, seriously injuring himself. Crystal arrived and teleported him to the Inhumans' lunar base for medical attention. After treatment by an Inhuman healer, Quicksilver asked Black Bolt for permission to undergo Terrigenesis and morph into an Inhuman, being unable to live life as a normal human being. Quicksilver's request, however, was denied.
Quicksilver ignored the ruling and broke into the sacred Terrigen Caves to expose himself to the Terrigen Mist. There appearred to be no effect until Pietro is confronted by an older version of himself, who explains the nature of his new "time-jumping" powers, and reveals the plan to take the Terrigen Crystals back to Earth and restore the mutant population. Quicksilver managed to obtain a canister of Terrigen Crystals and traveled to Genosha. Quicksilver then exposed surviving mutants to the mist, which restores their abilities, but at dangerous levels.
The consequences prove to be disastrous - several mutants die as their powers mutate beyond all control; Magneto is beaten senseless in front of Luna by an enraged Quicksilver and the cannister is eventually confiscated by the US military. A desperate Black Bolt attempts to stop this and by uttering the word "war" and unleashing his ultrasonic scream signals the start of war between the Inhumans and the US Government. Quicksilver escapes and exposes himself to even greater levels of Terrigen Mist, which has the unexpected side effect of allowing Pietro to grow the Terrigen Crystals from his actual body and restore mutant abilities at will. Quicksilver now has two goals - "curing" mutants and preventing a great disaster which he glimpses on a trip into the future.
Quicksilver was originally capable of running at the speed of sound (770 miles per hour), but exposure to the High Evolutionary's Isotope E made it possible for him to run at supersonic speeds of up to Mach 5 (3,806 miles per hour). After losing his powers, Quicksilver regained metahuman abilities courtesy of the Terrigen Mists.
Quicksilver can now vibrate his atoms so quickly that the molecular speed he generates displaces him out of mainstream time and space and a "jump" into the future is possible. Quicksilver could initially jump from an hour to up to twelve days into the future and remain for several minutes or even several hours before tiring and being recalled to his present time. Quicksilver can also return at will at any time. When Quicksilver returns, he arrives back at almost the exact moment (and place) he left so as to appear to have been gone for a nano-second. Quicksilver is also able to bring inorganic objects back from the future. This ability, however, seems to have affected his physical health, as each time Quicksilver meets up with a future self, they look increasingly haggard. Quicksilver has also discovered how to jump only mere seconds ahead in time, and create an indefinite number of "temporal dupes" that can be controlled with a certain amount of coordination.
Frankly, it sounds to me like this one-time mutant speedster has seriously messed up his life. Quicksilver's biggest problems have always been his ego and his temper, and it looks to me like both are out of control at this point.
Fortunately, the Marvel Legends figure is from a more agreeable time in his life. The costume design is from Quicksilver's speedster days, and is a light blue costume with a diagonal white lightning bolt running across the front and back, a white lightning bolt belt, and white gloves and boots. There is a variant Quicksilver figure available, if you can find it, with Quicksilver in a green costume, which was its original color before he switched to the light blue. Frankly, I've always preferred the light blue myself.
Quicksilver's headsculpt is excellent, a superb rendition of the character, including the two backswept points of hair that are notable for the fast-paced mutant. Quicksilver's hair is white, but this is not a reflection of old age. His hair has always been white.
Now here's where we get into what I regard as some of the improvements Hasbro has made. The figure is very neatly molded, for starters, and neatly assembled. The articulation joint pegs are all the right color, which was more than could be said for some of Toy Biz's efforts. The figure has a good basic physical build, without any exaggeration beyond a fairly typical super-hero physique. And it is on this point that things get interesting.
Quicksilver shares many of the same body mold parts with Yellowjacket, another Marvel Legends figure from this assortment that I purchased. Honestly, I don't have a problem with this. For one thing, it's a good body design. What Hasbro has created here is a good, basic, male superhero body that could, and I honestly hope will, be used for quite a few characters that don't have a lot of physical exaggerations or excess decorations on their costumes. There's no reason that this set of body molds can't be used for quite a few characters I can think of offhand, and as such, this brings a certain consistency to the Marvel Legends line, and I approve.
Additionally, there's a distinct lack of what I would term excessive painted detail. Don't get me wrong, Toy Biz did a good job with this line, but they did have an unfortunate tendency to feel the need to spray extra paint along musculature lines on some figures, or even dirtying paint on others, which really wasn't necessary in my opinion.
There's none of that on Quicksilver. The only paint on his head is to paint his hair white, and paint his eyes, and the only paint on his costume is the lightning bolts. That's as it should be.
Of course, the figure is superbly articulated. Quicksilver is poseable at the head, shoulders, elbows, wrists, finger joints, mid-torso, waist, legs, knees, ankles, and "toes". Throw in multiple swivel points on all of the limbs, and double-joints at the elbows and knees, and you've got a figure that certainly lives up to the articulation reputation of Marvel Legends!
Let me address one other matter, as well. There's been a rumor flying around that Hasbro's Marvel Legends figures are smaller than Toy Biz's. Categorically NOT true. I stood Quicksilver next to a Toy Biz Marvel Legends Nightcrawler figure. Nightcrawler is an individual of average size in the Marvel Universe, as is Quicksilver. And the two figures are precisely the same height, roughly 6-1/4 inches.
I know there was some concern about how well Hasbro would do with the Marvel Legends line once they started off with it. I think it's safe to say that not only have they done just as well as Toy Biz, but if Quicksilver is any indication, Hasbro's found some ways to do Marvel Legends even better! The figure is cleaner, neater-looking, just as well articulated, possibly better assembled, and frankly holds a pose better, and looks decent in a basic stance, something a number of Toy Biz's Marvel Legends figures didn't!
Nicely done, Hasbro, and keep up the good work! The Marvel Legends QUICKSILVER figure has my highest recommendation! Now let's consider another figure from this assortment - YELLOWJACKET!
Sometimes you just have to feel sorry for a hero. Such is the case with Henry "Hank" Pym. He's tried, really tried his best to be a top of the line hero. But despite being a founding member of the Avengers and being around almost as long as characters like Spider-Man and groups like the Fantastic Four, he just seems to be condemned to forever be considered at best a second-string hero, both within the Marvel Universe and by fans of Marvel Comics.
Interestingly enough, this Yellowjacket figure is not the first time Hank Pym has appeared in the Marvel Legends line, although it's the first time he's appeared in the Hasbro line. Most recently, Pym was one of the large Build-A-Figures. Collect all his parts and put him together as Giant-Man.
Let's consider Pym's background: Henry Pym first appeared in Tales to Astonish #27 (January 1962) in a non-super-hero tale. When next he appeared, in Tales to Astonish #35 (Sept. 1962), he adopted the guise of Ant-Man. He was later joined by Janet van Dyne who adopted the superhero role of the Wasp, and co-starred in his stories. He went on to become a founding member of the superhero group The Avengers before he assumed the alternate identity of Giant-Man.
After a break, Hank Pym rejoined the Avengers once more and adopted the new identity of Goliath. Both as a superhero and as a scientist he proved invaluable to the team. Problems began for Pym though. He had lost his size changing abilities and was stuck as a giant. His long-nursed inferiority complex became more and more evident. He again adopted a new identity,Yellowjacket, while under mental duress Avengers #59 (Dec. 1969) .
Years later, during a nervous breakdown, Pym regretably slapped his wife. This led to Pym's downfall as a super-hero. Years later after much effort, Pym was again accepted by both his teammates and his now ex-wife as both a valuable ally and friend.
It's generally thought that the initial impetus for the continued revamping of Pym's powers/identities was no doubt to boost the character's popularity. While he seems forever relegated to more or less second-string status, Pym remains one of the central figures in the Marvel Universe, particularly in the Avengers family of comic books and can currently be found in Avengers: The Initiative in his Yellowjacket identity. His "Pym Particles", which allow for radical size alteration, both shrinking and enlargement, are frequently referred to in other comics.
Other factors contributed over the years to Pym's feelings of inadequacy. He was responsible for the construction of the sentient robot Ultron, who has gone on to become one of the Avengers' deadliest enemies, and a threat to all of humanity.
It's curious, but in a case of life imitating art, or vice-versa, the fact that Pym was never quite accepted as a "major player" by fans of Marvel Comics almost seemed to be reflected, deliberately or otherwise, within the comics with Pym's inferiority complex, occasional breakdowns, and multiple costumes and name-changes.
Even in recent years, Pym has shifted between trying to be something along the lines of a civilian advisor to the Avengers as simply, "Dr. Pym", and adopting his Giant-Man/Goliath role here and there, and most recently, resuming his role as Yellowjacket, claiming that he regards himself as fully healed from his mental breakdowns over the years.
It's still hard for Pym to catch a break, though. During the Civil War, Pym sided with the pro-registration forces, and was part of the group responsible for cloning Thor (put together three geniuses like Pym, Tony Stark, and Reed Richards, and not one of them thinks THIS is a pretty boneheaded idea!?), which resulted in a poorly controlled Thor-clone going berserk in a battle among the heroes, and killing Dr. Bill Foster, a colleague of Pym's who had adopted the Goliath role for himself.
As of this writing, Pym is one of the chief administrators at Camp Hammond, the military base located in Stamford, CT for the training of super-humans as part of The Initiative. He is said to be involved in a romantic relationship with fellow proponent of Super-Human Registration and Avenger Tigra.
Honestly, the character's biggest break was probably being one of the major stars of the animated Avengers series a few years ago, which didn't want to overuse the big guns like Thor, Iron Man, and Captain America. In this series, Pym wore a modified version of his Ant-Man identity and costume.
Personally, I've always liked the Yellowjacket identity. Although it may not have had the most honorable origin, the name was certainly more distinctive than "Ant-Man", "Giant-Man", or even "Goliath", and the costume has always had a consistent look to it, unlike Pym's other identities, which seemed to change almost as often as superhero-dom's biggest clotheshorse, The Wasp.
The Marvel Legends Yellowjacket figure honestly speaks of a superb future for the Marvel Legends line under Hasbro's guidance. The body is an excellent overall design, the articulation is fantastic, the bodily proportions are appropriately super-heroic without being exaggerated, the sculpting is clean and well-done, and the figure can nicely hole a wide range of poses, including a basic neutral stance, something that a fair number of Toy Biz Marvel Legends figures don't do very well.
Parts are molded in the proper colors, including articulation point
The costume design -- I've always liked it. Yellowjacket's costume is yellow and black. Pym is wearing a black helmet-mask, with yellow goggles that look faintly bug-eyes, and two yellow antennae over his ears. The black tapers down the chest and back, and there are two upswept "wings" over his shoulders, also black. The rest of the shirt, and the legs, are yellow. The costume's trunks, gloves, and boots are also black. There is a flying insect insignia in yellow on the chest of the costume.
About the worst thing I can say about the figure is that his ankles are a little loosely articulated, and the knees don't always want to stay posed evenly, so sometimes it's a little hard to get him to stand up straight, and stay standing. Neither is it impossible, and given certain Marvel Legends figures from Toy Biz where it's nearly impossible to get them to stand up straight in the first place, I can deal with this.
Of course, overall articulation is superb. The figure moves, generally with multiple points of motion, at the head, arms, upper swivel arm, double-jointed elbows, glove tops, wrists, mid-torso, waist, legs, upper leg swivel, double-jointed knees, boots, ankles, and "toes". Certainly this lives up well to the expected articulation of any Marvel Legends figure.
On the whole, I am immensely impressed with Yellowjacket. He's a cool figure in his own right, and I am hopeful that he serves as an indication of the direction Hasbro plans to go with Marvel Legends -- neat, clean, well-made, well-articulated, neatly-painted, nicely designed figures from across the Marvel Universe. Keep up the good work, Hasbro. And the Marvel Legends YELLOWJACKET figure definitely has my highest recommendation!
Finally, let's consider a figure that categorically does NOT share any body molds with Quicksilver or Yellowjacket -- thank goodness -- but is a very impressive addition to the line -- SHE-HULK!
It's no great surprise to me that She-Hulk is the toughest figures to find in the newest Marvel Legends assortment of figures from Hasbro. The character has her own title these days, has always been a sort of quirky, but fun, part of the Marvel Universe, and I'm sure there's no shortage of collectors that don't mind having an action figure of a shapely green woman in a costume that amounts to a one-piece swimsuit around.
She-Hulk first appeared in her own solo title in 1980, one of the last major creations for Marvel Comics by Stan Lee and John Buscema. Although never officially stated as such, it's been thought that the creation of the character was a somewhat defensive move on Marvel's part. Around this time, The Incredible Hulk television series was faring quite nicely on CBS, and there was some concern that if the studio that produced the Incredible Hulk TV series should, for whatever reason, decide to do a female version of the Hulk within the TV program, that character might belong to the studio, and not Marvel. So Marvel decided to beat them to it. Again, this remains unproven, but there seems to have been little other reason to suddenly create a female Hulk out of the ether like that.
As regards the character's origin: Jennifer Walters is the cousin of Bruce Banner -- the Hulk, and was the small and somewhat shy daughter of Los Angeles County Sheriff William Morris Walters. Agents of Nicholas Trask, a crime boss who had crossed paths with her father, shot and seriously wounded her on a day that Bruce Banner happened to be in town for a visit. Since no donors of her blood type were available, Banner provided blood for a transfusion; his radioactive blood transformed Jennifer into the green-skinned She-Hulk.
As She-Hulk, Jennifer possessed powers similar to those of her cousin, though at a reduced level. She also possessed a less monstrous appearance. Jennifer's early adventures were chronicled in the Marvel Comics series The Savage She-Hulk.
Although initially uncontrolled while in her form as She-Hulk, she eventually gained the same levels of intelligence she possessed as Jennifer Walters. By the time of the character's first anniversary, she had made a guest appearance in Spidey Super Stories, and was lucid enough to encourage the Rhino to seek a fair trial for an alleged crime he had committed.
Jennifer Walters quickly came to appreciate the confidence and assertiveness that came with being She-Hulk. At this point in her character development, she felt more comfortable in her form as She-Hulk than in her "normal" form as Jennifer. After a brief solo career, she joined The Avengers, and temporarily replaced the Thing in the Fantastic Four.
During her tenure with the Fantastic Four, the She-Hulk had to prevent a radiation leak in a downed S.H.I.E.L.D. Helicarrier. This radiation exposure had a drastic effect on Jennifer: she could no longer transform back into her original form. However, this was an agreeable turn of events for her, since she preferred being She-Hulk, and it was revealed much later that the block was purely psychological.
She-Hulk currently practices law in the Superhuman Law division of
the New York firm of Goodman, Lieber, Kurtzberg & Holliway (GLK&H)
(The law firm's name incorporates the names of the founding fathers
While practicing at GLK&H, Jennifer gradually became comfortable as both She-Hulk and Jennifer Walters, realizing that she has much to offer the world in both forms.
She-Hulk's comic history is a little more convoluted. Her initial comics run in "Savage She-Hulk" lasted for 25 issues before being cancelled in 1982. From there, the character went on to become a member of the Avengers, as well as the Fantastic Four, following the Secret Wars, which saw founding F4 member The Thing stay behind on the Beyonder's world for a time.
She-Hulk picked up a second comics series in 1989, entitled "Sensational She-Hulk". Penned by John Byrne, this series consistently kicked down the so-called "fourth wall", making She-Hulk one of very few characters in the Marvel Universe that know they're actually fictional characters in a comic book. Hysterically, the package for the Marvel Legends She-Hulk figure lists this ability, under "Powers", as "unique multidimensional awareness". Wikipedia calls it metafictional awareness, but also at one point refers to it by a term I especially like -- "comic awareness".
Byrne's She-Hulk title was known for everything from guest-starring Howard the Duck, to bringing in some of the lamest fifth-string characters the Marvel Universe had ever seen, to even ripping off the Flintstones at one point, if I recall correctly. The comic lasted for 60 issues, until it was canceled in 2004.
The current She-Hulk title isn't quite as comedic as its predecessor, but it doesn't take itself entirely seriously, either. The "comic awareness" has been considerably toned down. She-Hulk now works as a lawyer, advising and defending various super-beings in court. The new series has broken the fourth wall in a different way, making use of a concept dating back to Lee and Kirby's early Fantastic Four: the Marvel heroes permit adaptations of their adventures to be published. (At one time Captain America was the artist of his own licensed comic.) All comics published before 2001 bear the seal of the Comics Code Authority of America, (a federal agency in the Marvel Universe), and are considered legal documents admissible as evidence in the superhuman law cases on which the She-Hulk works.
Despite a seeming "party girl" image, She-Hulk is highly intelligent, a skilled pilot, and a formidable combatant.
Coming up with an appropriate look for the Marvel Legends She-Hulk figure had to have been a somewhat difficult decision for Hasbro. The character has seldom had a consistent costume, and her long, emerald hair has been everything from a ragged haystack, to curly, wavy tresses thick enough to house a flock of sparrows in, to her current look of long, relatively straight hair, portrayed as not quite as thick as during the Byrne era. Wisely, I believe, Hasbro went for her most modern incarnation.
This features a She-Hulk wearing a purple and white one-piece outfit similar to a swimsuit, complemented by fingerless gloves and athletic shoes.
The figure is superbly well done. Unlike her cousin, there's nothing really exaggerated about the look of She-Hulk. While her male counterpart has an impossibly exaggerated physique, She-Hulk is moderately more muscular than average, but apart from her green skin, her most notable distinguishing physical feature is her height. She's listed as 6' 7" on the package card, but in all honesty, the She-Hulk figure might be one instance where Hasbro has goofed the scale just a bit. Assuming figures Quicksilver and Yellowjacket are representative of characters roughly six feet tall, coming in at 6-1/4", then She-Hulk's 7-1/4 inches really gives her some added height. She's actually taller than the 7" tall Toy Biz Marvel Legends Thor and Hasbro Marvel Legends Hercules, both of which are considered fairly large individuals within the Marvel Universe!
Frankly, though, it's difficult to complain, given how well the figure is made. And she's probably not the first scale goof in the Marvel Legends line by either Toy Biz or Hasbro. I can readily live with it.
The physique of the figure is excellent. It can't have been easy to design a female figure that is both physically imposing and yet also manages to be attractive, without exaggerating the physical features in some respects. This isn't Barbie, folks. She-Hulk has to manage to look like a plausible human female -- who happens to be green. And this has to work within the format of an action figure, not a fashion doll. I don't envy the sculptors, and they did a superb job. She-Hulk is well-proportioned without looking like either an overly-muscled powerhouse or a surgically-enhanced bimbo. The headsculpt is nicely done and has a pleasant expression on its face. The costume is nicely done, although the athletic shoes look more like sandals the way they've been painted. Big deal. They still look good.
The choice of the green for the skin can't have been easy. Green is not a normal skin color for humans. And I've seen an awful lot of goofs over the years. Mego's Hulk figure back in the 1970's was too dark. A Toy Biz Hulk figure was almost olive green. It's one thing to color a comic book character. It's another to render that character in three-dimensional plastic, which by its very nature is going to look somewhat more "real" in its own way than a pen and ink drawing. I think Hasbro did a pretty good job. They chose a fairly straightforward green for She-Hulk. I might have gone half a shade lighter or brighter, but on the whole, it's a good choice. It certainly could have been worse.
She-Hulk's costume has been painted in white, and a sort of metallic lavender. The metallic finish is a nice touch. The fingerless gloves are dark grey, and the shoes are white. Incredibly, the figure's fingernails have been painted, a sort of metallic green.
One thing I especially appreciate is the fact that Hasbro has avoided any excessive paint detailing on their latest Marvel Legends figures. Don't get me wrong, Toy Biz did a good job with this line, but they did have an unfortunate tendency to feel the need to spray extra paint along musculature lines on some figures that just wasn't necessary, or even dirtying paint on others, which really wasn't necessary.
The only extra paint detailing on She-Hulk is in her hair. There's some lighter green dry-brushed over the dark green color. Personally, I could've done without it, but it's not that big a deal.
Articulation is excellent. The figure's head articulation is somewhat limited due to the hair, but there is articulation there, and She-Hulk is also poseable at the arms, elbows, wrists, mid-torso, legs, upper leg swivel, double-jointed knees, and ankles. The figure doesn't quite have the same range of motion as some Marvel Legends figures. There is no upper arm swivel. However, there is a swivel at the elbow joint, so this compensates. Conspicuous by its absence is an articulation point at the waist, but I suspect this would have done no favors to the look of the figure, and over the years, Marvel Legends figures have had somewhat variable articulation depending on the character. I don't regard this as a problem here.
She-Hulk is, as one might expect, not an easy figure to find. Although I don't know if she's short-packed, she's one of the first to the cash register when this assortment of figures showed up.
I've been extremely pleased with the figures I have brought home from this Marvel Legends assortment. The figures are clean, neat, well-made, well-painted, well-assembled, well-articulated, and they hold a wide variety of poses, including a good basic neutral stance, which is something that a fair number of Toy Biz Marvel Legends figures didn't do very well.
She-Hulk has had an interesting history in the comics, everything from
dramatic to comedic, but the character has endured, and the Hasbro Marvel
Legends SHE-HULK figure is truly excellent, and she has my highest recommendation!