Let me tell you a story. Once upon a time there was a group of toy executives. These executives had a hit toy line and one
evening they went out to celebrate their success. Being that they weren't oil executives, the best they could afford was
to go to the local comedy club/bar. After a few hours and many, MANY rounds of drinks, they were discussing the all of the
annoying fan boys who complained about them on the internet. As they continued to drink, they came up with a plan to get
back at those fan boys. Knowing that the only thing fans hate more than not getting the figures they want produced was
having them made and then not being able to find them. So they decided to make a whole wave full of figures that the fans
had been begging for and making them all exclusives. And even better, they decided to include another Build-a-figure only
this time they would break it up into almost twice as many pieces. It was at this point where they realized that they had
a problem. Where would they ever find a store evil enough to help them put their plan into action? Suddenly the light bulb
went off and the Wal-mart exclusive wave of Marvel Legends was born. Now I don't know if this story is true, but after
months of waiting and a week of calls and trips to the local stores, the Wal-mart exclusive Giant Man series figures are
standing on my desk.
Packaging - 8/10The Giant Man series figures come in the standard Marvel Legends packaging, a thin card completely enclosed in a plastic case. The included comic book is used as a backdrop for the figure and accessories. A large sticker on the front of the bubble serves to both show off the build-a-figure concept and hide the actual piece. The back of the cards have a character profile and a chart of their abilities as well as photos of all of the figures in the series: Thor, Ant Man, Warbird, Kitty Pryde, Sentry, Captain Britain, Havok and Age of Apocalypse versions of Sabertooth and Wolverine. I'm rather surprised that there is no mention of these being exclusives on the package, but at least there isn't a big yellow smiley face on them. Other than that, they only downside is they don't really explain how you get all of the ten pieces need to complete Giant Man when there are only nine characters in the series.
Sculpting - Captain Britain & Havok 6/10, Sentry, Weapon X & Ant Man 7/10, others 8/10When it was announced that there was going to be a series of exclusives, I was expecting a series of nothing but simple repaints. And the final figures do reuse bodies from existing figures in several case. But the results are much better than I had expected. Captain Britain and Havok are the weakest figures of the series. Havok isn't really that bad. But a guy is a plain black body suit isn't all that exciting. The bands on his head are thicker than they should be and the scowl makes him look like a villain. Captain Britain uses the Black Panther body with a new head, fists and lower legs. The body is too bulky though. It works all right when complimented by a cape or something else to match its width. Here it just looks like Captain Britain is on steroids. Sentry uses the same body to better effect. Adding a cape and his large belt de-emphasize the size of the body. The attachment of the cape isn't very impressive. There is no transition from the body to the cape. They just stuck the cape on and rounded the top to try to follow the curve of the shoulders. Sentry also has a variant head sculpt available. Instead of the clean shaven look, the variant has much longer hair and a beard. The way that the hair is sculpted, blowing back slightly, compliments the look of the cape perfectly. Weapon X, a.k.a. Age of Apocalypse Wolverine is the other figure with a variant. Both figures share the same body, arms and legs which represent the character well. The regular figure has a normal Wolverine head and a stump of a left hand. The variant has Weapon X's burnt face and his claws extended through his left hand. Ant Man is another character design without a lot of sculpted details. He does have the two small gas containers on the front of his belt, though they are mounted a bit lower. The head sculpt captures the look of the character fairly well. Sabertooth seems to be a completely new sculpt and turned out well. He is another bulky character but this sculpt carries the muscle mass well. He is also the first Marvel Legends figure I've seen with fingers that are a realistic length. The one thing I do not understand is why his gauntlets don't match. Neither really matches the artwork in the comic which I could understand, but they don't match each other either. Thor is another new sculpt, and one that has been long awaited for by fans. The figure itself turned out well. The missing disks from the first ML Thor have been added. The chest looks much better as well. It does not balloon out the way the first figure did. But the figure does have a very noticeable problem: the cape. They seem to have been going for a more extreme blowing cape but took it too far. It billows out near the shoulders before back in just above the waist making it look like the god of thunder has a humpback. And even from the front, the cavity created by the cape is visible around the arms. Warbird a.k.a. Ms Marvel is very similar to the other recent female ML figures. She has a new upper torso that eliminates the underneath her bust. The hair is sculpted as a separate piece which requires it to be thicker than it should be. Kitty Pryde is a completely new sculpt. She is slightly smaller than the other female figures which works well since she is supposed to be younger. It is nice to see that they sculpted all the details and stitching for her costume. I don't understand why they gave her platform shoes.
Paint - Warbird 7/10, others 8/10The paint work has not been a strong suit for the Marvel Legends line but the Giant Man series seem to be a huge step in the right direction. All of the figures have simpler, clean paint application with very little sloppiness or stray marks. There are a few paint washes on Sabertooth, Weapon X and Captain Britain, but they are much more subdued than previous figures. The lines on Captain Britain in particular could have been a nightmare, but they all turned out well. They are neat and straight. There are a few areas that could use some tweaks. Warbird's hair is extremely glossy. Healthy shiny hair is one thing. This looks like she dunked her head in shellac. The color tone of the plastic on Kitty Pryde is an issue too. Her body is cast in yellow plastic and the gray areas are painted. But the yellow plastic lacks the vibrant color of paint, a fact the becomes very obvious when looking at the painted belt. But little thins aside, I'm very pleased with these. However, I would still take a look at the figures before buying them if you have the chance. While mine turned out well, there are always exceptions.
Articulation - 8/10If you are familiar with the Marvel Legends line at all, you should know what to expect here. Ant Man has the traditional ML articulations:
Accessories - Sentry & Capt. Britain 3/10, Ant Man 7/10, Kitty & Thor 8/10, others 4/10Kitty Pryde, Thor and Ant Man are the only figures with traditional accessories. Thor of course, has to have his hammer Mjolnir. It is smaller than the first Thor's hammer but well scaled to the figure. IT also marks the return of the sculpted inscription which we haven't seen since the Avengers box set in the nineties. Ant Man has a removable helmet which fits very snugly. I wouldn't suggest removing it often as it will probably start to rub the paint off the figure's head. It would have been nice if they had included the miniature Ant Man figure from the Avengers box set, especially since they have already reused it as an accessory with the Goliath chase figure. Kitty Pryde comes with the coolest accessory, her pet dragon Lockheed. They even included a small clip that allows it to perch on her arm. Actually it is a good thing they did. Lockheed can't stand on his own.
Of course all of the figures come with a comic as well. And the selection of issues for this series is pretty good.
Build-A-Figure - Giant ManGiant Man is a character that has been begging for the Build-a-figure treatment since the concept was started. The Giant Man figure from the 5 inch scale Avengers box set made a reasonable stand-in. It even warranted a repaint to get an off model Goliath figure. But here we have a real Marvel Legends scaled, fully articulated figure that is on model. With forty six points of articulation, he can be posed as well as any Marvel Legends figure. The use of ratcheting joints helps the figure to support the extra weight. The only real draw back is putting him together. Unlike previous BAF's that were composed of six or seven pieces, you need ten pieces to build Giant Man. If you are having trouble with the math, there's a good reason for it. There are ten pieces needed to complete Giant Man but only nine characters in the series. You have to buy either version of Sentry, both versions of Weapon X and the other seven figures to complete the good Doctor Pym. Fortunately the variants are easier to come by than with previous waves, but this does make it even harder and much more expensive to be able to make use of the build-a-figure feature.
Value - Havok 5/10, Thor & Sabertooth 7/10, others 6/10 (Add another point if you are buying them all)Retail price for these figures at most Wal-mart stores is just under $8. That is a decent price for a well articulated figure plus a comic. (Heck, the cover price on a comic alone these days is $3.) The character selection for the Giant Man wave also means that there should be something here for every Marvel fan. The biggest drawback to the value of this series is the need to buy so many figures to complete the Giant Man build-a-figure. It's particularly annoying that you have to buy two versions of Weapon X rather than choosing your favorite.
Happy Hunting:If you haven't caught on yet, the Giant Man wave of Marvel Legends figures is exclusive to Wal-mart in the United States. That was a scary proposition considering the spotty distribution that the Marvel Legends line has had at Wal-mart in the past. The good news is that Wally World seems to have ordered quite a few of these figures. Most stores have been receiving a pallet display with not only the Giant Man series of figures, but the new Face Off two packs, the new box sets and the Marvel Masterpiece statuettes. And the stores that haven't gotten the pallets have end cap displays with even more figures. Of course with people buying ten figures at a time, a lot of inventory can disappear quickly. And unfortunately, the distribution does have some hiccups. I ended up driving to a store 30+ miles away to get my figures since the local stores have yet to receive them. They also haven't bothered to put them up on the Wal-mart website. That may change. But for the patient or those who don't want to support Wal-mart, they will be available in Canada. Many websites are accepting preorders on imported cases. But they aren't expected to ship until July.