The distribution of action figures can be really strange at time. There are few things quite as annoying as reading report
after report of new toys showing up across the country and then wasting repeated trips fruitlessly searching for them locally.
It's the exerience I've had for the last four months trying to find series eleven of the Marvel Legends line. But this
is one series that should be well worth the wait. In one shot, we are getting eight figures, three Avengers (two of them
new) and two significant Avengers' villians. The complete line up for series eleven includes Hulk Buster Iron Man,
Scarlet Witch, Wonder Man (with ionic form variant), Ultron, Taskmaster, Vengeance, Logan (with variant) and the Thing. I
heard a few fans complain about getting
even more variants of Iron Man and Wolverine, much less the Thing who already makes up the lion's share of the Fantastic Four
movie line. But all three are very distinctive versions of the characters and they are at least based on the actual comics.
As for Vengeance, well the series is called Legendary Riders; you had to expect a Ghost Rider related figure to be in there
Packaging - 6/10The packaging for this latest series is the same design as the past Marvel Legends. Each figure is packed in a clamshell case with their accessories. There is the usual backer which is all but covered by the included comic book. The back of each card has a profile of the character and a brief bio. There are also photos of all of the figures in the series. But there have been two changes. The first is that Toy Biz did not include photos of the variant figures on the back of the card. It's not a big deal for Wonder Man since his variant is pretty obvious. But in Logan's case they actually have the variant pictured on the card instead of the regular version. That can be quite confusing. The other problem is that the plastic for the clamshells for this series seems to be thinner than past figures. On the plus side, the thinner plastic does make opening them easier. My box cutter went through these like the proverbial hot knife through warm butter. The problem is that with some serious heavy hitters in the series, plus the added weight of their accessories, the strength of the plastic is just not up to the task. They should be alright if they don't hang on the pegs for very long. But if you are a MOC collector, you are not going to want to just hang these on your wall without additional support.
Sculpting - Wonder Man & Scarlet Witch 3/10, Ultron & Logan 5/10, 1st Appearance Thing & Taskmaster 6/10, Vengeance & HB Iron Man 7/10(I need to preface this section by saying that I'm not terribly familiar with all of these characters and their complete history in Marvel Comics. Therefore my judgements are based largely on their appearance in the comic that is included with each figure.)
The Avengers seem to have a very strong fan base. Anytime a new series of Marvel Legends figures is announced, there is almost always a rush of feedback from people wanting to know why there aren't more Avengers. So Wonder Man was probably the second most anticipated figure in the series. Unfortunately Toy Biz got lazy on this one. To start with, Wonder Man's body, waist and most of his legs are reused from Black Panther. Toy Biz did at least redo the base of his neck to smooth it out. But the rest of the body still has the same odd speckled texture that Black Panther had. Why they didn't reuse a different body such as Kraven from the Spider-man Classics line or even the first Captain America figure is beyond me. Even if you get past that issue, his costume still isn't right. In the included comic, he has a short sleeve shirt rather than the completely sleeveless look of the figure. The arm bands don't match the comic either. The figure is sculpted with gauntlets that stick out from the forearm while the comic seems to depict him with simple wrist bands. With eight figures in the series, I guess it shouldn't be surprising that Toy Biz had to cut some corners to reduce costs. But there should have been better options than this.
Scarlet Witch was easily the most anticipated figure in the wave. And in the end she is probably the worst figure of the series. Wanda uses the same body as Mystique with the appropriate new gloves and boots. I'm not a big fan of the body they used. The emaciated body worked better for a shapeshifter. But Wanda just looks too thin compared to the other female ML figures. The cape is well done. It flows cleanly and matches the thin body well. But then there is the head, which seems to be inspired by an as of yet unseen prototype of Beta Ray Bill, the horse faced Thor. Her face itself seems to lack any cheekbones. The entire face starts tapering at the eyes all the way done to her narrow chin. The lack of cheeks also makes the lips appear too pronouced since there is no face on either side of them. Her other major issue is the hair and headpiece which are molded as one piece. They ride far too high on her head. The widow's peak of her headpiece should be just above her eyes and instead it rides high above her forehead. This error in the fit of the hairpiece just serves to exaggerate the already excessive length of her face. Get her a bale of hay. This is an ugly figure.
Ultron is a completely new figure. Now if I could just figure out who it was supposed to be. Again, I'm not very familiar with Ultron from the Avengers comics but I have read a few issues with him in them. From what I've seen his body changes on a regular basis. But the design of his head seems to be more or less the same every time. This isn't that head design. It is close. They have the basic elements but the mouth should be larger and the antennae should be along the sides of his head not sticking up from his head. The body seems to be based on Ultron after his appearance on Pimp My Robot. Once again the design elements such as the claw hands and shoulder pads are present. But the rest of the body is taken to extremes. The waist is tiny compared to the shoulders. The forearms extend to almost the entire length of the arms. And despite the bulk of the body, his feet are tiny.
Logan may be a new sculpt since I don't recognize it. But there are some indications that at least parts of it are reused. This version of Wolverine has him in his civilian togs as Logan. The jeans and belt are simple but well done. The fingers for his gloved hands are a bit too long, but it isn't very noticable. The head is a new, aged version of Wolverine that is very fitting. But it is a little too large for the body. It sits far to low on the neck, so much so that it often is hard to see that it even has a neck. Then there is the jacket which fits about as well as a burlap sack. The jacket is a separate piece molded in soft rubber so that it can be removed if you wish. Unfortunately the way it is molded causes the jacket to ride up on the figure's body if Logan's arms aren't left at his sides. While it doesn't ride up too much, that little movement combined with the thick collar and the oversized head makes that stubby little neck dissappear very easily.
Vengeance is an excellent figure, even if the character is pretty obscure. All of the costume details are present. The only drawbacks are the changes that had to be made for the sake of safety. The riob bones which stick out from the chest are soft rubber. But that means that they are prone to warping in towards the body. And the material doesn't hold the same level of crisp detail that is present in the rest of the plastic. The spikes also suffer for their safety. Not only are they made of soft material and prone to warpage as a result, they are also all blunted. The skull could use some improvement. It is supposed to look like an empty skull floating in a ball of fire. The have the flames coming out of the back of the head and for the neck, but the skull is a bit to thick. That slight extra bulk destroys the illusion of it being empty.
It's hard to judge the first appearance Thing figure. How do you sculpt a detailed figure to resemble the amorphous blob that the Thing was originally drawn as? This is one possible interpretation and not a bad one. I think the rocks are a bit small and give the figure the appearance of wearing chainmail. But again, I don't know how you could really pull off a three dimensional verison of the Thing as he was first drawn.
Once you pull off all of his accessories, Taskmaster actually has a remarkably simple sculpt. They included most of the costume details such as his holster on his right thigh and studded collar arough his left thigh. The gloves and boots look good. But they goofed up on the forearm section of the gloves. They sculpted them with the V shaped slit in the top of the cuffs when it should be on the back of the forearms. Of course if that bothers you, you could always swap the forearms around. The head sculpt is perfect. It captures the slightly meanacing smile wonderfully. There are a few details that are off about the sculpt. The orange guard on his chest isn't quite as wide as it should be. For some reason the also chose not to sculpt some of the straps such as the ones that go from the chest guard under the arms and the ones on the sides of the trunks. They make up for the missing straps by painting them on, but it isn't the same.
Finally there is Hulk Buster Iron Man. He has the bulk that you would expect. He can stand toe to toe with any of the Hulk figures from the Marvel Legends line. He's actually just a hair smaller than the Marvel Select Thanos figure. But if you are looking for an accurate depiction from the comic, you will be disappointed. To start with, the shoulder pads shouldn't be pads, but the actual shoulders of the figure. The dome for the head has been compressed and incorporated into the body and the front of the chest when it should sit on top of the shoulders. And overall, the figure is just beefed up a little too much. But none of that makes it a bad figure, just not really accurrate.
Paint - Wonder Man, Scarlet Witch & Taskmaster 3/10,
The paint work has been an area that trips up the Marvel Legends line far too often. And this series is certainly not a
high point for the line. The 1st Appearance Thing figure turned out well, due in no small part to the simplisity no doubt.
A fair amount of detail is put into the mouth and eyes. But otherwise most of the paint is just shadowing which looks good.
But he is not without problems. The paint for the trunks at the top of the legs was applied a bit too thick and has come
off in a few spots. Ultron has another simple paint job. The silver paint for the body is not as smooth as it could be,
but at least there are no washes applied to it. Vengeance has a great deal more painted detail in comparision, and it
generally turned out well. All of the bone chains are painted though a bit sloppy. For some strange reason, Vengeance's
legs received a dark paint wash from the knees down. But the waist and thighs were left clean. His eyes and the area
around his eye sockets are painted red to create a glowing effect. But it doesn't match the color of the actual flames or
even come close really. Logan has a pretty mediocre paint job. The grey for the hair doesn't blend into the sculpt. You
can also see where they cut corners when you remove the jacket. The neckline is sloppy. They also did bother to paint the
forearms at the wrists. They really should have painted the ends of the forearms to form a cuff for the gloves. Hulk Buster
Iron Man shows that it is possible to do a really bad job even on simple paint jobs. I think a dark yellow would have
complimented the red better and been more accurate to the comic. But the black panel lines look horribly ammature. There
are a lot of areas where the black is too thin and the red color of the plastic still shows. In other areas the paint is far
too thick and covers an area much wider than the line that was supposed to be painted. At least the interior and Tony
Stark's head turned out well. Taskmaster looks like something I would paint. That isn't a good thing. The head is passable.
But the rest of the figure is just sloppy all over. From the overly thick blue wash on the holster and leg strap to the
white on the forearms above the cuffs of the gloves, they couldn't even get the emblem on his belt right. The paint for
Wonder Man isn't really that bad. But with so little to mess up, some how they still managed. The neck line isn't well
defined. And because of the texture of the Black Panther body, the W on his chest, the only detail of his costume that
really needed paint, turned out poorly with a lot of black showing through. Finally We come to the Scarlet Witch. The paint
for her body is very simple. But even there they couldn't match the color of the boots and gloves to the body. And then
there is her head. I was lucky enough not to get one of the figures with brown paint on the face. But the hair and headress
look like they were done with finger paint as an elementry school project.