A full year has past since Hasbro took over the license for Marvel action figures from Toy Biz. And while there are many different opinions about the quality of the figures they have put out, there certainly has been no drop in the quantity of figures. One might think that the five full series of figures would be enough, but either Hasbro or Walmart or both felt that they needed something more for the holiday shopping season. As a result fans were treated to a pair of figure two packs featuring Jean Grey as Marvel Girl with Cable and Cannonball with Domino. This is the first time that either Cannonball or Domino have received a Marvel Legends figure. And with Jean Grey and Cable being perennial fan favorites, there were high expectations for these releases.
Packaging - 7/10The figures are packaged in window boxes that use many of the same design elements as the blister cards used for the regular Marvel Legends figures. The background pattern is the same as well as the font for the character names and of course the Marvel Legends logo. They even attempted to replicated the curved edge of the blister cards by eliminating the front left corner and wrapping the front panel around the left side. The back has an image of each figure, technical specs of each character and a description of each character. Overall, the packaging is nice, particularly for a first attempt. But it does have some noticeable drawbacks. The first is that the packaging is quite a bit bigger than it needs to be. That gives you plenty of room to see the figures. But it also makes them seem smaller and the packs as a poorer value. All of that window space also comes at a price. The cardboard around the edges of the plastic window is prone to snagging and becoming damaged, especially around the ML logo. The packaging does use images from actual Marvel comics, but unlike the cared figures which used multiple images, the two packs just have one image of each character which is then recycled for the right side panel. And in the cases of three of the four characters, those images don't match the designs of the figures. Lastly is the back panels. The carded Marvel Legends figures devote a large portion of the backs of the cards to showing off the build-a-figure and the other figures in the series. Without those two things to use up space, the backs of the two packs seem quite sparse save for a wall of text in the middle. These may seem like minor quibbles, but they do show that there is room for improvement here.
Sculpting - Domino 7/10, Cable 6/10, Marvel Girl & Cannonball 5/10As with most exclusive figures, these two packs make heavy use of existing parts with new head sculpts and other minor changes. It works remarkably well. To a lay person who is not very familiar with the characters, they look pretty good. The best is Domino who is based on the Extreme Rogue body from the short lived X-men line. They gave the figure new hands/lower forearms, a new head and a belt with hip holsters. The holsters are particularly impressive since they manage to connect to the thighs without restricting the articulation. The head sculpt doesn't look bad but does have a lot of exposed forehead. Cable is based on the Stealth Wolverine body from the X-men line with the same arms as the original Cable Marvel Legends figure. The head sculpt in new and more refined than the previous one but a bit small for the body. They modified his holster to accept the new, larger gun. It fits the gun well, but looks a bit funny when empty due to it size. Cannonball reuses the second Ghost Rider body from series seven with a new head, neck and inner chest. The costume works surprisingly well for Sam Guthrie. But since the original body was sculpted to look like the outfit was hung over an empty skeleton, it looks far too baggy on Cannonball. That or else Cannonball developed an eating disorder at some point in the comics. Marvel Girl is based on the Rachel Summers Marvel Girl figure that was recently released. Since that figure was based on the classic, Jean Grey Marvel Girl design it should match well. It comes close, but they got lazy when it came time to deal with the bare midriff. Rather than creating a new piece for the midsection, they just painted the existing one. But it is sculpted so that it is quite obviously a bare stomach. The face sculpt is decent. The hair is rather large, but since this is based on a character design from the sixties and seventies, large hair is to be expected I guess.
Paint - Marvel Girl 7/10, others 5/10The general paint work on all three figures decent. But as they get to the smaller details, the quality starts to dip. On Marvel Girl it isn't a real problem since there aren't many small painted details. Even Domino isn't too bad. But there is a mark on her forehead that looks like a partial fingerprint. It wouldn't be a big issue if it wasn't in such a prominent location. Both Cannonball and Cable have considerably more detail work for their costumes and much of it gets a little sloppy.
Articulation - Cable 8/10 Marvel Girl 7/10 Domino & Cannonball 5/10Three of the four figures are based on Toy Biz molds and still have most if not all of the articulation of the originals. But quality control seems to be an issue. Cable and Marvel Girl turned out fine. But the plastic used for Domino and Cannonball was soft enough to allow warping and poorly assembled joints. Straight out of the package, Domino's leg was warped almost forty five degrees to the side. That was easily fixed by running the affected area under piping hot water for a minute before straightening and quickly cooling it. But Cannonball's right elbow wasn't properly assembled and had to be disassembled, straightened and reassembled. Both figures also have some loose joints. On Domino it is the torso hinge. Cannonball's ankles at a bit weak, allowing him to topple over. if you are not careful. It is possible I just got a bad set, but you may want to check or be prepared to make some minor repairs.
Accessories - Domino 7/10, Cable 6/10, others 0/10Cable and Domino are the only figures with any accessories. Both come with a pair of guns. Domino's are small handguns with decent sculpting. Plus they can be stored in the holsters on her hips. Cable's guns are larger handguns with more detail. They would look strange for most characters but work well for Cable. Unfortunately he only has one holster that can be used. And the guns for both figures were slightly warped when they came out of the package. Marvel Girl really doesn't need any accessories, so that isn't a big deal. But it would ahve been nice if they gave Cannonball some means to replicate his "blasting" power even if it was just reusing the flame base from the old five inch X-man figure again.
Value - 7/10The two packs sold for around $19 in stores. For two figures, that is right in line with the pricing for the regular Marvel Legends figures, a little cheaper actually. That is pretty surprising for figures that are retailer exclusives. In the case of Cable and Marvel Girl, you are getting two decent figures for the price. The drawback for that set is that while I believe quite a few fans liked the idea of getting a classic version of Marvel Girl, not all of them might have wanted a new Cable figure even if that figure did turn out better than Marvel Girl. The Domino/Cannonball set is one that fans of the X-Factor comics were undoubtedly looking forward to since this is the first time for either character to be made in Marvel Legends scale. Domino is a pretty strong offering as figures go. But the quality control issues tarish an otherwise nice set.
Happy Hunting:If you haven''t picked up on it yet, these sets are exclusive to Walmart stores. As the biggest toy retailer in the world, that should make them relatively easy to find as exclusives go. Unfortunately the distribution for them has been pretty poor. There are five Walmart stores in the area where I live which I visit with varying degrees of frequency. None of them ever had the two packs in stock from what I have seen. There is the option of their web site. But much like the stores, it doesn't appear that the two packs were ever carried there. In the end, my set came from a fellow collector at the Fwoosh.com. You can also try the secondary market. There seems to be quite a few of them recently on eBay for reasonable prices.