When Guardians of the Galaxy turned out to be one of the biggest hits at the box office last year and one of the best received of all
the movies in the Marvel Cinimatic Universe, it seemed like most companies were left flat footed and had to scramble to put out products
to meet consumer demand. That wasn't the case with Hasbro and the Marvel Legends Infinite line. By the time the movie came out last year,
Hasbro had already produced comic book versions of Drax the Destroyer and Rocket Raccoon in the regular line. They had a comic book version
of Star-Lord included as part of the Thanos Imperative box set. And of course, they had a whole series dedicated to the movie that gave us
the entire movie team in one shot. So kudos to Hasbro for being out ahead of the demand. But when the movie was finally released, most of the
comic based figures were already long gone from the market. So this year they announced an exclusive box set that would not only give new fans
a shot at the comic based figures that they might have missed, but also complete the team with comic book versions of Gamora and Groot. So
pop in your favorite 70's mix tape and lets get ready to defend the galaxy. (Otherwise I'll have to find a new place to keep all my stuff.)
Packaging - 7/10The Guardians box set comes in a fairly standard window box with a large hinged flap covering the front panel. The front of the flap has a large image of the team charging into battle which is then repeated inside the flap. The box is large enough to have plenty of space to display all five figures and all of the accessories. The back of the box has a large photo of the five figures positioned to recreate the cover image. The packaging is attractive, but not very creative or informative. The box is fairly large, so there is a lot of space for extra images or background for the characters. So just recycling the same image three times seems like a waste of all of that real estate.
Sculpting - Star-Lord & Gamora 7/10, others 8/10Star-Lord, Rocket and Groot are all very similar to the previous versions of each character. That's fine for Star-Lord since it was a decent sculpt, though he does have fairly noticeable gaps where his shoulders connect to his torso. Rocket Raccoon and Groot have a new head sculpts. The new head for Rocket seems like a step backwards to me. It's less fierce looking and doesn't have an opening mouth. Groot's new head sculpt is more fitting for his comic book appearance but it doesn't match the rest of his body as well. The movie design retained a very humanoid shape with minimal extranious growth. Drax uses the Groot Series movie legs and feet and Luke Cage's body. He does have new hands though. And the bulkier body works well for the character. Finally there is Gamora who should be the highlight of the set. She turned out alright. But she is a bit underwhelming. None of the details of her outfit are sculpted other than her belt. The rest of the outfit is just painted on. It seems to be accurate to the comic design but lacks three dimensional detail. If she were just a figure in a series, that wouldn't bother me much. But as one of just two characters without a previous comic based incarnation available, and honestly the main reason a lot of fans bought this set, Gamora was not the figure to cut corners with.
Paint - Star-Lord 9/10, Gamora & Drax 8/10, Groot 7/10, Rocket 4/10The paint work on all of the figures turned out well. The quality control is excellent as there is not noticable sloppiness or errors on any of the figures. Star-Lord is the best looking figure of the set. The worst thing I can say about him is that there is a bit of the blue from the plastic that shows through the red paint on the shoulders and torso. The paint on Gamora is very well done also. But there isn't much contrast between the darker green of her costume and the cold trim. A little black outlining could have helped a lot. The same holds true for Drax. There's nothing wrong with the paint work on him persay. It just doesn't stand out very well. A little shading would have been great, especially on his chest. Groot is largely a brown lump. He is cast in a darker brown color that is quite appropriate for the trunk of a tree. And they did apply a wash across both his head and body. But where the head has deep enough groves for the paint to create shadow, his body just doesn't. So you have brown wash on a brown body and the result, unsurprisingly is a whole lot of brown. Finally there is Rocket who is just a mess. (Not literally, the quality of the paint work is fine.) The problem is that they went way overboard with the white paint. His tail was given two very large white bands. The tops of his ears were painted white. And most of his face is white. And all of it is a very bright white. It looks terrible, especially if you have the two previous Rocket Raccoon figures to compare it to. I may be being a bit harsh. But the defining feature of a raccoon is the dark patches around their eyes creating the look of a mask. Somehow they managed to screw that up on Rocket. That is hard to overlook.
Articulation - Rocket Raccoon 6/10, Groot 7/10, others 8/10Star-Lord, Drax and Gamora all have the usual Marvel Legends style articulation. All of the joints are suitably tight for holding a pose without being so tight as to risk damage to the plastic. Groot's articulation is slightly limited, such as having only single hinged knees. And the sculpt itself impeds the range of motion in a few spots such as the wrists. So he is not quite as flexible as a normal Marvel Legends figure. But for a tree, he still does alright. Rocket has five points of articulation in each arm, but only two from the waist down and another two for the neck. So he can pull off a number of cool poses with his guns, but that's about it.
Accessories - 9/10This is perhaps the box set's greatest strong point. It is packed with accessories and extras. Star-Lord has his pair of guns. Gamora has an alternate head, a fabric cloak and a sword. Rocket Raccoon has the same gun as was included with the Build A Figure version, an unpainted version of the phase 2 gun included with Agent Coulson in the Shield 3 Pack and another gun I don't recognize. Drax comes with the two knives that were included with the movie version, two butterfly knives and a spare set of hands. Not even Groot was left empty handed, there is a mini Groot sapling in a small pot included as well. Finally, the set includes a version of the Cosmic Cube. I have to give the set high marks if only for the sheer quantity of accessories included. But I would have prefered that they cut back a bit on the sheer number of accessories and put a bit more effort into the paint work. A lot of the guns are left completely unpainted.
Value - 5/10The Guardians of the Galaxy set sells for $120. Even if you didn't have any of the figures in the set, that still makes it quite a bit more per figure than the regular Marvel Legends Infinite figures. (And that is assuming you count Rocket as a full price figure.) To its credit, the comic version of Drax was released quite a few years ago. Both Groot and Rocket were Build A Figures and Star-Lord was only available in a SDCC exclusive set. So there's a good chance that even fans of the Guardians of the Galaxy may not have had a chance to get at least a few of these figures in the past. But for myself, it feels an awful lot like I spent over a hundred Dollars just to get a comic book version of Gamora.
Happy Hunting:The Guardians of the Galaxy set is suppose to be an exclusive to Entertainment Earth. Oddly, Big Bad Toy Store is also selling it as well, and for the same price. I'm not sure exactly how that worked out, but at least it means you have some options for where to buy it.