The Marvel Legends line has not been a big hit at retail in the last two years. Stores in my area have been sitting on the same
inventory of Terrax and Arnim Zola series figures for over a year. But Hasbro has finally found a way to give the line a new start
by rebranding it as the Marvel Legends Infinite Series. There are now two series hitting shelves, one for the upcoming Captain
America movie and another for the upcoming sequel to the Amazing Spider-Man. I've yet to be able to track down all of the
figures for the Amazing Spider-man line, so for today we'll check out the Captain America line.
The total line is slated to include nine figures as well as a Build A Figure Mandroid. But only the first six are shipping right now. As with the Marvel Legends Iron Man line last year, the line is being split. The figures based on the upcoming Captain America: the Winter Soldier movie will be released later in the year. For now, the line consists of a reissue of the existing Captain America movie figure, a version of Captain America based on his Marvel Now! appearance, a new Red Skull, a Hydra Soldier, Baron Zemo and an A.I.M. Soldier.
Packaging - 9/10The Infinite rebranding brings with it a whole new package design. They got rid of the traditional blister card in favor of a box with a peggable "j" hook at the top. The new packaging is smaller than the previous cards, which means that there would be less room for graphics. There are a couple of comic images of Cap throwing his shield on the sides, but otherwise, the figure itself is allowed to take center stage with minimal distractions. Even on the back where space isn't an issue, they still kept it simple and clean: a photo of the figure and a small photo of the Mandroid along with images of the figures in the series at the bottom. I really like the design. It gives the figures a more impressive look befitting a collector focused, movie based line. I don't know if I'll feel the same for future series that are not tied to a movie. But for this series, it works well. I also really like that the packaging makes it fairly clear what figures are actually available now. (They don't show both versions of Captain America.) There are two minor issues with the design. The packaging isn't square, so while it looks great on a peg in the stores, they don't sit on a flat surface very well, which is a shame since otherwise it is quite collector friendly. The second issue is that since Zemo shares a card with the A.I.M. Soldier and Red Skull shares a card with the Hydra Soldier, there isn't any specific character information about any of them. Being the main villain of the first Captain America movie, that's not much of an issue for Red Skull. But even I barely know about Baron Zemo. So the average consumer is really unlikely to have any clue about him. And the packaging doesn't even give his actual name so they could look up the information if they wanted to. It's a small issue. But if Hasbro wants to sell the line to the mass market, they should design the packaging towards them.
Sculpting - A.I.M. Soldier & Captain America 9/10, Red Skull 8/10, others 7/10The sculpting work for all five figures in the series so far is impressive. There isn't a bad figure in the bunch. I have a small issue with Baron Zemo. The boots, gloves belt and head are great. But the portion of the mask that extends to the torso has nothing to differentiate it from the rest of the costume such as texturing or a seam. And the shoulder holsters and straps are quite detailed, but don't fit tightly as they should. That may be a minor complaint. But since they got it right on two of the other figures in the same series, the issue seems more noticeable. The Hydra Soldier is a significant improvement over the one from the Brood Queen series which I always felt was a bit too large and lacked sharpness to the details. This version blends in much better with the other Marvel Legends figures. The one improvement I would like to have seen is the use of a less muscular body. Hydra Soldiers are paid grunts, even if they have military training. They should not be as buff as a superhero. Red Skull is a straight reuse of the body we have seen several times for Nick Fury and Punisher, but with a new head. I can't complain too much since it works so well for the character and makes a decent version of his appearance in the first Captain America movie. The Marvel Now! Captain America figure is based on a design I'm not familiar with. But he does appear to be a completely new sculpt. And it is a excellent sculpt as well. There is a tremendous amount of detail and the proportions are much more realistic than most of the Captain America figures I have. (And I have quite a few.) But my personal favorite of the five figures is the A.I.M. Soldier. Somehow Hasbro managed to take one of the silliest designs from comics and translate it into something almost believable. Sure it still looks silly. But it looks like something you might actually come up with if you tried to combine a laboratory clean suit and a military uniform. Like Baron Zemo, the A.I.M. Soldier's bandoleer doesn't drape across his chest quite right. But with the weight of the grenades on the belt, it would make sense that it might sag in real life.
Paint - Captain America 7/10, others 8/10The paint work on these figures is very well executed. There are no major quality control issues with any of the villains. And this is despite the fact that they included a lot of detail work. There are a few issues with the white paint on Captain America. There are a few spots where the blue plastic shows through because the paint is not thick enough. It isn't bad. But it isn't up to the same quality level as the other figures.
Articulation - 8/10The articulation for these figures is the normal, heavily articulated figures that we are used to with the Marvel Legends line. That includes:
Accessories - Captain America 6/10, others 8/10Marvel Now! Captain America comes with only one accessory, his shield. As with most of the recent Captain America shields, this one can clip on Cap's wrist or store on his back with a peg. Each of the villains comes with a pair of weapons as well as a cosmic cube for the Red Skull. Both the A.I.M. and Hydra Soldiers have all new guns. Baron Zemo has a broad sword and a pistol. And Red Skull has two pistols. All of the weapons are nicely painted. They even gave Baron Zemo's pistol handles a leopard print design. There are two minor issues. Baron Zemo has a loop on his belt to hold the sword, but it is positioned n such a way that the handle gets in the way. And Red Skull has two holsters for guns, but one of the pistols that he comes with has an odd attachment under the barrel that keeps it from fitting in either holster.
Build A Figure - Mandroid (or about a third of it)While each of the figures released so far has a piece of the Mandroid Build A Figure, the body and legs will not be available until the remaining three figures are released later this year. For now, we have both arms and the head. The pieces we do have look great. The one issue I have is that in the end I'll wind up with an extra set of arms. It's also a bit disappointing that they didn't include the head with both the Marvel Now! Captain America and the WWII version so you could choose which one you wanted and still complete the Mandroid.
Value - 7/10The price for Marvel Legends figures has officially increased from $15 to $20 with the release of the Infinite series figures. Though I got all of my Mandroid series figures for $14.99 still. And given how many stores were already charging $20 or more for Marvel Legends figures, the price increase does not feel as bad as it could have. I would have preferred to get more new characters that had not already make it into the Marvel Legends line in the past. But neither Baron Zemo or the Red Skull have had a figure in years and this Hydra Soldier is a significant improvement over the previous version. Even Captain America, despite being the fifth Captain America figure I've gotten in the last couple of years, is at least a new version of the Capt.
Happy Hunting:The new Marvel Legends Infinite figures are shipping now and have been for about a month. I bought my figures from Target. But I have also seen them at the local Toys R Us store. They are also listed on both stores web sites as well as Hasbro's, though they don't seem to be restocking very quickly.