2014 turned out to be quite the year for the Marvel Legends line and its new "Infinite Series" incarnation. And while the
line came back with a bang last year, it is looking like 2015 is going to be even bigger, and more expensive. While we probably
won't know the full list of what is coming until after Toy Fair, the year is already off to a good start with the first series
hitting stores as we speak. Dubbed the Allfather series, it includes seven figures: Iron Fist in his white costume, Scarlet Witch,
Captain Marvel, Sentry, Machine Man, Hawkeye in his classic comic costume and Thor. Of course there is a Build A Figure for the
series. But this time, you have a choice of building one of two different
Packaging - Hawkeye, Thor & Iron Fist 5/10, others 4/10Before I go into details about the packaging for this series, I should note that the figures I bought seem to be in the international version of packaging, meaning the text is repeated in four different languages and there is a label on the bottom which I do not recognize. Other than the multilingual text, the packaging hasn't changed from the past four Marvel Legends Infinite series. It is a nice looking design, though I wish it was more colorful or incorporated more comic artwork. I'm also disappointed to see that Captain Marvel/Scarlet Witch and Machine Man/Sentry are once again packaged under a shared title instead of just putting the characters' names on each box. This is just stupid. They are printing two different boxes anyways since they have different UPC's. So why not just put the characters' names on the packaging? There is one other issue that arises for the first time with this series as well. In order to complete either of the Build A Figures, you need to purchase five of the seven figures. Scarlet Witch and Captain Marvel both have the head and acessories. And Machine Man and Sentry both come with a set of arms. The photo of the Build A Figure at the bottom of the backside sort of shows this. But it isn't really clear at a glance. And it doesn't show both completed figures. So if you aren't going to buy extra figures to complete them both, it probably wouldn't be clear until you started to open the figures which Build A Figure you would prefer or exactly which figures are actually required to complete that version. Perhaps I'm expecting too much, but it seems like the packaging should contain enough information for consumers to know this information at the store BEFORE they make their purchases, especially with a line like this where it may prove difficult to find a figure if you pass it up the first time.
Sculpting - Scarlet Witch 6/10, Machine Man 7/10, Hawkeye & Thor 9/10 others 8/10This series of figures turned out extremely well. The two longest members of the Avengers are the highlights of the series: Thor and Hawkeye. Thor is largely recycled from the Thor from the Terrax Series but with new arms and head. He is huge. He is larger than even Sentry or Hyperion which is impressive. Hawkeye may reuse a body, but there are also a lot of new pieces to add the details of his costume. The results are equally as impressive as Thor. Machine Man and Iron Fist both use a fairly basic male body with a belt added. That doesn't sound like much, but it gets the job done in both cases. Sentry uses the same body as Hyperion, Radioactive Man and Gladiator. They added a belt and a new cape. He looks pretty good. But I'm not thrilled with how the cape ends below the shoulders. Following the same pattern for the female is Captain Marvel. She has a new sash around her waist, but otherwise is just a plain female body. She does come with a choice of heads, both masked and unmasked. It would have been nice to have some of the costume details sculpted on instead. But this works fairly well as is. Finally there is Scarlet Witch. She is a significant improvement over the previous version, that is certain. She is slightly larger and better proportioned overall. (Her head seems to be sized appropriately at least.) And her cape is very nice. There is an issue though. It is a small one in some respects. But it is also very visible. The top portion of her torso seems to be a new sculpt with the section of her costume sculpted to stick out slightly from the rest of her body and with two "seam" lines running vertically over her breasts. But those details don't continue to the lower portion of her body. So it looks more like she is wearing the lower half of a one piece leotard and a strapless bra over that. Needless to say, that is a odd look. I would be fine with a fully sculpted outfit or just recreating it with the paint applications. But pick one, don't do half one way and half the other.
Paint - Scarlet Witch 6/10, others 8/10Hasbro didn't get overly ambitious with the paint appliactions for this series. There is some shading/washes applied to Sentry, Scarlet Witch and Captain Marvel's hair and on all of the capes. And those areas all turned out well. In truth, the only paint related issue I have with any of the figures is that paint for the top of Scarlet Witch's outfit does not match the lower portion. The upper portion has a glossier sheen to it. A slight difference in the paint sheen shouldn't be much of an issue normally. But combined with the differences in the sculpting, and the small mistake becomes a much bigger issue.
Articulation - Thor 9/10, others 10/10Machine Man, Sentry and Hawkeye all have the usual Marvel Legends articulation:
Accessories - Sentry 0/10, Scarlet Witch 5/10, Thor 10/10, others 7/10I've become accustom to Marvel Legends figures only coming with the accessories that are necessary for each character. So I was a bit surprised by just how many accessories these figures come with. Sentry is the only figure in the series not to have any accessories. Scarlet Witch comes with two hex bolt accessories. They look really nice, but it isn't clear how the figure is supposed to hold them.Captain Marvel has an additional head and reuses one of the energy blasts from Jubilee that slips over her fist. Machine Man comes with two additional hands on extended wrists. Iron Fist comes with three additional sets of hands in various martial art poses. Hawkeye comes with his bow and a quiver full of non-removable arrows that attaches to his back. (Both recycled from the Modern Hawkeye from the Rocket Raccoon Series.) Thor comes with his hammer and a large sword. Thor's weapons look great. Both are very nicely detailed and painted, especially his hammer. The only accessory that I am slightly disappointed with is Hawkeye's bow. It is well sculpted. But it is unpainted which makes it look a bit cheap compared to the rest of the accessories.
Build A Figure - The Allfather (Odin or King Thor)The Build A Figures for this series are none other than the Kings of Asgard, the Allfather, Odin or King Thor. For the first time, you have some options for what Build A Figure you want to build. The legs and body are included with Thor, Iron Fist and Hawkeye. Machine Man and Sentry both come with two different pairs of arms. And Captain Marvel and Scarlet Witch both include versions of the cape, head and weapon. Using the arms included with Sentry and the parts included with Scarlet Witch, you can assemble Odin as shown on the back of the packages, complete with crown and scepter. Using the parts from Machine Man and Captain Marvel will create King Thor. Both figures look good. But I still don't like the fact that you can't really compare the two to pick the figure you like the best without first buying two extra figures.
But my ignorance points out a problem. I'm not the biggest comic book reader obviously. But I do hit the local comic shop every week. And I would say I probably know more about Marvel than 98% of the general population. So if I can't tell who these figures are suppose to be, how is the general public suppose to know? The Marvel Legends figures played a big part in introducing me to the broader Marvel Comics Universe. Back when each figure came with a comic, they served as a perfect gateway into the comics. But now that is all gone. I understand that it is unrealistic to go back to including an entire comic with each figure. But Marvel should really consider pushing to get some sort of character information included with each figure. It could be as simple as a printed character bio slipped into each package. But if they really wanted to encourage people to read their comics, they could throw in a code for a free digital comic from Marvel Unlimited. That cold be done for very litle additional cost and could get a lot of people to try out Marvel's digital comics.
Value - Thor 6/10, others 8/10Retail price for a Marvel Legends Infinite figure is $20 in most stores, but may be as much as $24 depending on the store. While these are very nice figures, that is a stiff price, especially if you end up having to buy figures that you don't actually want just to complete the Build A Figure. Fortunately the only figures in the series that are even close to any other Marvel Legends figure that has been released since Hasbro took over the license are Hawkeye and Thor. They did release almost the same Thor figure just a few years ago. But this is the first classic version of Hawkeye that we have gotten since Toy Biz's version which was a decade ago. It is also nice that you don't need to buy all seven figures to complete the Odin Build A Figure.
Happy Hunting:The Allfather Series figures are just starting to show up in stores now. I found my set at Target here in Madison, WI. I have also heard a few reports of them surfacing at other stores as well. Toys R Us also has at least a few of them listed on their web site. In time they should start showing up in more stores as well.