(SOME OF) MARVEL LEGENDS SERIES V
By Thomas Wheeler
The newest assortment of Marvel Legends figures from Toy Biz turned
Wal-Mart in mid-November, at least most of them did. Looks like better
the assortment might be pretty decent, too. I purchased three of them.
NICK FURY - The guy who makes James Bond look like a third-rate wannabee.
Nick Fury is the head of S.H.I.E.L.D., a technologically very sophisticated
and espionage organization. A veteran of World War II, Fury is kept
young by a special chemical formula. The only visible scar of his days
in World War II is an eyepatch he wears.
The figure is superb. Fury is dressed in a traditional SHIELD uniform.
Granted, the design of these has changed substantially over the years,
but this outfit is pretty straight-forward. He comes with generous accessories
and an amazing level of articulation.
It's notable that Fury is known for smoking cigars. This is even mentioned
on the package. But he doesn't have one. There's a curvature to his
teeth on one side of his face that would seem to indicate that plans
were in the works to include it, and were scuttled. This was probably
just as well. Overall, though, Nick Fury is definitely one of the highlights
of the assortment.
COLOSSUS - The Russian member of the X-Men, that the comics killed off
several years ago, probably because they couldn't figure out what to
do with im.
The character had a very brief but certainly notable cameo in the second
movie, where he turned to his organic steel form and punched a couple
of enemies clean through a wall.
Colossus was one of the first "new" X-Men introduced in the
mid 70's. His real name is Piotr Nikolevich Rasputin, and he has the
ability to turn his body into a form of organic steel, giving him massive
strength and near-invulnerability. Of course, working on a farm all
his life, Piotr was a pretty big boy to begin with.
The figure is impressive, and very well designed, but somebody got a
carried away with the shoulders. He's nearly a hunchback. Also, the
sheer weight of the huge limbs is a little too much for the articulation
points. Some of
them are quite loose, but I don't believe it's the fault of the articulation
joint so much as the weight of the figure. Toy Biz makes these things
Articulation is the name of the game with these figures, and Colossus
disappoint despite his size and bulk. Despite the looseness in some
is still highly poseable and generally holds his balance well. I always
liked the character of Colossus, and this is a superb figure of him.
SILVER SURFER - Former herald of Galactus and one-time inhabitant of
planet Zenn-La, the Silver Surfer soars the spaceways, generally finding
adventure when all he'd really like is a little peace and quiet.
The figrue has two problems -- the head is based way too much on the
Jack Kirby design, and I would've much preferred to have seen the figure
chrome-plated somehow, instead of silver painted. Now, the chrome might've
been a little too difficult. Maybe it was attempted. Because even as
it is, the figure has been sprayed with a very bright silver, and it's
stuck to a lot of his articulation joints. If you buy this figure, be
prepared to do a lot of very careful loosening.
As for the head, although Kirby may have created this character, arguably
best known artist for the Surfer was John Buscema. Ironically, the comic
that comes with this figure was drawn by Buscema. And frankly, Buscema
the better artist. I would've much preferred to have seen the Surfer's
head based more on the Buscema design.
comes with his surfboard, of course, which is mounted to an adjustable
base. Can the Surfer stand on it? You bet! Especially thanks to a couple
of very strong magnets in the Surfer's feet that adhere very readily
wide platform on the surfboard. Nice touch, Toy Biz, and certainly better
a couple of stupid foot pegs or something.
I would be remiss if I didn't mention the "accessory" that
comes with the Surfer, a very nice small figure of none other than HOWARD
THE DUCK, Marvel's wayward waterfowl. Now to the best of my knowledge,
the Surfer and the Duck have never met, so what Howie is doing in this
toy package I have no idea, but
neither am I complaining. This will probably be the only time there
will ever be a
Howard the Duck action figure, and I'll gladly accept it. Howard is
nicely detailed, and is articulated at the head, arms, and waist.
Finally we have SABRETOOTH, whom I actually acquired a little later
other three. This vicious mutant and longtime foe of Wolverine was practically
a nobody in the comics before being associated with the X-Men, and has
become quite a popular character. The figure is of the second costumed
version of this character, a far less goofy-looking costume than the
early version of Sabretooth, and certainly preferable to the non-costumed
look that far too many Marvel characters are going for these days. Actually,
it's an excellent costume design.
According to the package, Sabretooth boasts 44 points of articulation!
a new record for Marvel Legends, and is possibly a new record in the
action figure world, not counting certain Transformers and maybe a couple
of Gundams. For a basic humanoid action figure, it's pretty darned good.
Granted, a lot of these are areas like double-jointed elbows and knees,
which I can't help
but think of as a slight cheat, but I'll let it slide.
Overall, it's an excellent figure, but unfortunately it has the one
problem that too many of these Marvel Legends figures, especially the
heavier-built ones like Colossus and Sabretooth have -- too many of
his articulation points, including some fairly major ones like arms
and legs, are terribly loose. There has to be some way to correct this
without reducing the articulation or adversely affecting the look of
the figure. What good is a highly articulated action figure who can't
hold a pose or stand on his own two feet? Sabretooth looks great, don't
get me wrong, but still...
The other figures in this assortment include MISTER FANTASTIC, whom
at Wal-Mart and whom I was resoundingly unimpressed with. The head sculpt
awful. Apparently a number of people felt that way since there were
more of him
than anyone else available. Marvel's vampire hunter BLADE is also in
this assortment, but has reportedly been delayed. I don't care about
this character in
the least, so I won't comment any further. Finally, the "chase"
(short-packed) figure for this assortment, who's not even pictured on
the back, is the RED SKULL. I didn't see him either, but this is an
interesting character. If I happen
to see one, and he looks decent, I may get him.
About the only general comment I would make about all of the figures
is that somehow, if you try to pose them in just a neutral standing
position, they don't look quite right. Try it with the Silver Surfer
and look at how badly his shoulders seem to stick out. You may consider
this a positive or a negative, but while these figures are not pre-posed,
they're not really designed to be put in just an ordinary standing position,
Overall, this is one of the better assortments Toy Biz has produced
for their Marvel Legends line to date. I wonder who's next?