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REVIEW: (SOME OF) MARVEL LEGENDS SERIES V
By Thomas Wheeler

The newest assortment of Marvel Legends figures from Toy Biz turned up at
Wal-Mart in mid-November, at least most of them did. Looks like better than half
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 spy
and espionage organization. A veteran of World War II, Fury is kept relatively
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 X-Men
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 little
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 pretty solid.

Articulation is the name of the game with these figures, and Colossus doesn't
disappoint despite his size and bulk. Despite the looseness in some areas, he
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 the
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 initial
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 the
best known artist for the Surfer was John Buscema. Ironically, the comic book
that comes with this figure was drawn by Buscema. And frankly, Buscema was
the better artist. I would've much preferred to have seen the Surfer's head based more on the Buscema design.

The Surfer 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 to a
wide platform on the surfboard. Nice touch, Toy Biz, and certainly better than
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 than the
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 since
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! That's
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 I saw
at Wal-Mart and whom I was resoundingly unimpressed with. The head sculpt is
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, either.

Overall, this is one of the better assortments Toy Biz has produced for their Marvel Legends line to date. I wonder who's next?