Hasbro is making a big push for the Marvel Legends Infinite line for the second half of 2016. How big? How about four entire series of figures
and enough exclusives to form two more series of their own? I already reviewed the first Spider-Man themed Vemon wave. So today it's Captain
America's turn to take center stage with the Abomination Series. Consisting of six figures including a new version of Captain America based on
his design from the recent Secret War comic event, a movie based version of Scarlet Witch, a new Red Skull, new versions of Captain Britain and
Wonder Man, the obscure villain Eel and a new version of the villain Abomination as the Build A Figure for the series. That is a rather odd
assortment of seemingly unrelated characters. But I don't have a problem with that when it means that we can expand the roster of available
characters. And with four of the six figures being new characters or significantly different versions of characters, and Captain Britain and
Wonder Man having been absent from the line for more than a decade, this is just the type of character selection that I love to see.
Packaging - 5/10The packaging design remains the same for yet another series. The consistency is great. And the design is very attractive. But it does nothing to sell the characters. I don't have a problem buying figures of obscure characters or characters I didn't know before purchasing. But if I'm going to devote shelf space to them, I want to know who they are and what their roll in the comics is. This design doesn't provide any of that. That could be a minor issue if it weren't such a simple issue to solve. That information doesn't have to be printed on the packaging. A simple link to the already existing character bios on Marvel's web site would serve the purpose beautifully. But as it stands, I have no attachment or desire to own a character like Eel who at first glance just looks like a purple version of Electro. And the two sentence write up on the back isn't cutting it. Add to that the fact that I already have multiple Abomination figures, including the version of this very figure that was included in the Raft box set, and it is only my complitionist tendancies and the ease of buying these figures by the case that put half of these figures into my collection.
Sculpting - Eel & Wonder Man 4/10, Scarlet Witch & Captain Britain 5/10, Iron Skull & Captain America 6/10It often amazes me just how much work and detail goes into a simple kid's toy. Even if these aren't really meant for kids, there can be an impressive amount of intricate detail on a modern action figure. But then again, some times there isn't. Three of the figures in this series fall into that latter category. Wonder Man, Captain Britain and Eel all use very plain male bodies with minimal additional detail. Captain Britain does the most to dress up the basic sculpt with new boots, wrapped forearms and a separate belt. But in the end all three end up feeling at least a bit dull and simplistic in terms of sculpting. Iron Skull is a straight reuse of the Iron Man Mark 42 figure from the Iron Monger series. I'm not that familiar with the source material, so I don't know if that is appropriate. But knowing it is a simple repaint makes it seem far less impressive. I have a similar problem with not being familar with the design behind Secret Wars Captain America. But while I can't comment on it's accuraccy, I can say that this is my least favorite Captain America design ever. Perhaps I'm just too accustomed to seeing Captain America in more military/combat ready outfits. This looks like Steve Rogers borrowed a costume from Cyclops of the X-Men and painted some Captain America details on it. Finally there is Scarlet Witch based on her appearance in the Captain America: Civil War movie. In a lot of ways, Hasbro knocked it out of the park with this one. The details for the outfit are excellent. They may have a few too many folds and wrinkles on the legs considering they appeared to have been skin tight leggings in the movie. But otherwise, she's great. Even the face/head sculpt turned out well. But then they ruin the entire figure by making her hidiously bow-legged and positioning several of her figures so that they appear to have been broken. I can understand wanting to replicate some of her spell casting hand gestures. But they went a bit too far in my opinion.
Paint - Iron Skull & Scarlet Witch 7/10, Captain America 6/10, Others 5/10Hasbro seems to have tried to keep the paint applications fairly simple for this series. And the results are mixed at best. For Iron Skull and Secret War Captain America, the figures turned out reasonably well. Iron Skull has a nice black paint wash on his skull head to darken it up and bring out the sculpted details which helps. I have to ding Captain America's score a point as my figure has a number of small stray paint marks. Individually they aren't an issue. But all together they start to add up and become more noticeable. Scarlet Witch actually has a lot of paint work thanks to the detail work of her corset, her jewelry and gloves. The leggings could use a matte finish to set them apart from her boots. But that is a minor issue. But when you come to Wonder Man, Captain Britain and Eel, it becomes clear that Keep-It-Simple-Stupid can be taken too far as well. All three are technically well painted. There's no sloppines to complain about. But Wonder Man and Captain Britain are so clean that they look unfinished. Eel isn't quite as bad. But there isn't enough contrast between the two colors of outfit to allow the pattern to stand out.
Articulation - 9/10The articulation for all six figures in this series is everything that we have come to hope for of the Marvel Legends line while avoiding any of the common quality control issues. I don't have any loose or stuck joints. Everything just works as it was meant to.
Accessories - Iron Skull, Scarlet Witch & Eel 5/10, Captain America 6/10, Wonder Man 7/10, Captain Britain 0/10The figures in this series are a bit light when it comes to accessories. Iron Skull has a spare head, the original Iron Man helmet painted to resemble himself. Eel comes with a spare set of hands that don't have the electrical energy bolts coming out of them. In both cases, the included accessories feel like necessary inclusions rather than a bonus extra. Scarlet Witch has a pair of energy effects that can be placed over her hands. I'm pleased to see they didn't just recycle one of the existing molds for her and made something new. But these effects make it look more like her power is to control flame/fire than what it actually is. And speaking of recycled energy effects, that is exactly what I thought was included with Wonder Man along with a second set of hands. But they have created new energy effects for him. As far as I can tell, they haven't been used with any other figures before. The two sets of hands give you the option of either normal hands or translucent purple, ionized hands. Finally there is Secret Wars Captain America who has the most unique accessory of the series, an alternate hand with an attached energy effect to make it look like he is throwing his shield. It even holds the shield at the end if you want to terrorize your Marvel Legends villains. And of course he has his shield. This time he comes with the older style with a fold up clip/peg on the back. It can clip to his wrist, peg into the throwing effect or be stored on his back. The throwing hand is a nice idea. But I don't really love how it looks in the end. It's not bad, just not great.
Build A Figure - AbominationThe Build A Figure for this series is the perenial Hulk villain, Abomination. And I must admit, I was not very excited for this Build A Figure. I already own the original Toy Biz version of Abomination. Last year I happened to buy the variant of that figure at a convention. I could live with that. But they also included this same figure in the San Diego Comic Con exclusive Raft set for this year as well. Having paid a fairly hefty mark up to get my hands on that set, it's disappointing to see one of the figures released to the mass market so soon afterwards. Getting past all of that, this version of Abomination is a bit shorter than the Toy Biz version. And they went with a much more reptillian look for this one as well. My first thought upon opening Eel who included the body and waist of the Build A Figure was that this would make a perfect Killer Croc figure or a great start for a Mirage or Nickelodeon based Leatherhead custom. All of the detail work is nice, but it also comes with two problem areas. They added additional pieces to the top of the head and over the shoulders to add some bulk and detail to the figure. But neither of those pieces fit quite right. So there is a noticable seam just above the eyebrows of my figure as well as another around the base of his neck muscles. That seems incredibly sloppy compared to what I have come to expect in a Marvel Legends Infinite figure. The paint work and articulation is everything you would expect from a Marvel Legends Infinite figure. But I still keep coming back to the simple question of why this is even a Build A Figure to begin with. He's not that large. We have gotten similar sized Hulk figures and large villains as individual figures in recent series though this version of Abomination does have more mass thanks to the additional part around his neck.
Value - 7/10The normal retail price for a Marvel Legends Infinite figure starts at $20 and can go up to $25 each depending upon where you buy them. I paid $20 each for my figures, but that required buying a case of figures which came with an extra Captain America and Captain Britain that I will have to find a use for or sell online. At that price, no one is going to suggest that the Marvel Legends Infinite figures are a steal. But with a wide range of characters, solid sculpting, paint and articulation and a bonus Build A Figure, these are a decent value even at $20.
Happy Hunting:The Abomination Series shipped to specialty stores several months ago at the end of the summer. I have yet to see them in regular retail stores yet. Though I'm sure that is just a matter of time. But if you are impatient as I was, you can check with bbts.com or your favorite online retailer to see if they are still available.