It's June which means we are almost half way through the year. That also means the Hasbro will have new series of Marvel Legends figures hitting
shelves as well. And the first of that new wave of product is the second series of Guardians of the Galaxy themed figures. With the second
GOTG movie already released in theaters a month ago, this second series can include more characters from that movie without concern for
spoiling anything. So this series includes another version of Star-Lord, this time with a long coat and scarf, Rocket with Groot, Nebula
and Gamora as they appeared in the movie as well as three comic based characters: Death's Head II, Adam Warlock and Ex Nihilo. The Build A
Figure is another movie character, Mantis. (Someone's got to keep Drax company right?)
Packaging - Death's Head II, Adam Warlock & Ex Nihilo 7/10, others 8/10The packaging for the Mantis Series figures is unchanged from previous Marvel Legends Infinite series. Visually, the design works well, especially for the Guardians of the Galaxy/cosmic themed figures thanks to the dark colors. And the figures themselves are well displayed inside. The only significant issue I have is the lack of character information. And when you are dealing with characters like Death's Head and Ex Nihilo that very few people are going to know, it would be nice to give more information than subtly saying if they are a good guy or not. It's less important for the characters from the GOTG movies since fans most likely have seen both movies. I don't even mind the shared packaging for Gamora and Nebula since they did use the limited space on the back to highlight their relationship as sisters. It's not wildly informative, but it does tie the two together well.
Sculpting - Gamora 7/10, Others 9/10The sculpting for all of the figures in this series turned out extremely well. The highlight of the series for most people is going to be the figures based on the second Guardians of the Galaxy movie. Star-Lord, Nebula and Rocket Raccoon all turned out wonderfully. The worst I have to say for Nebula or Rocket is that the sculpting doesn't recreate the look of the various layers of their outfits well. Rocket's details are a bit too flat and belt for Nebula is a bit too thick and can't lay perfectly flat across he hips. But those are real nitpicks. Star-Lord reuses the same sculpt for the torso and legs, but adds a new coat, a scarf, new arms and even a new head sculpt. The new head sculpt is nice, but the one on the Titus Series Star-Lord is a bit better. Gamora's outfit is spot on. She looks like she stepped directly out of one of the promotional images for the film. But I have some issues with her neck and face. The neck is sculpted with a slight forward slant which makes me think that she is meant to be posed looking down slightly. But her hair makes that difficult. And when you get to the face sculpt, the eyes have a very dead look to them. That may be more due to the heavy paint work around the eyes. But the result is that the figures looks more like the Corpse Bride if she turned green than Gamora. The three comic based figures (Death's Head II, Adam Warlock and Ex Nihilo) all turned out well. Though I am not that familiar with any of the characters. So I only have some Google image searches to compare them with.
Paint - Star-Lord 8/10, Gamora 5/10, others 9/10The paint work for most of the figures is extremely well executed for mass market figures There are a few very minor imperfections. But very few of them rise to a level of negatively affecting the look of the figures. One minor exception to that is that they didn't get the shading on Star-Lord's chin even. So he looks slightly more clean shaven on one side of his face than the other. It's only when we get to Gamora that we run into any serious issues. I already mentioned the excessive paint around her eyes. But the bigger issue is that they got her skin tone wrong. There's too much yellow in it which makes her look pale, even slightly sickened, like she is about to throw up. It is really annoying as this figure looks amazing other than for this issue.
Articulation - others 8/10There are no big surprises for the articulation with the regular sized figures. And the quality control is great. I have no issues with loose or stuck joints. The males have the usual points of articulation:
Accessories - Ex Nihilo 0/10, Death's Head II 2/10, Rocket 7/10, others 5/10This is the one area where the figures in this series are probably at their weakest. None of the figures have any real stand out accessories, though most of them do at least have something included. Rocket Raccoon has the best accessories since he comes with a small, un-articulated version of young Groot dressed in Ravager's gear. He also has two small guns and a alternative head for Rocket. The option of having an open or closed mouth for Rocket. But a hinged jaw like the BAF version of Rocket had would have eliminated the need for a second head. But mostly, I'm just annoyed by the lack of inclusion of the world ending bomb that was shown in the trailers. And the Groot figurine could really use a base to help him avoid falling over constantly. Star-Lord comes with his two guns, a small black tablet like device and his removable scarf. Gamora has a large gun, her sword and a retracted version of her sword that can fit in the holster on her hip. Nebula has a small gun and a second forearm with a mechanical claw hand. So you can display her as she appeared in either of the Guardians of the Galaxy movies. Adam Warlock comes with two blue energy effects and an alternate head. I'm sure that the second head has something to do with his role in the comics. But I'm just not that familiar with him, nor do I really care. Death's Head II comes with an alternate left hand sculpted in pointing pose. Lastly Ex Nihilo is the only figure in the series not to include any accessories.
Build A Figure - MantisThe Build a Figure for this series is Mantis as she appeared in the second Guardians of the Galaxy movie. Once fully assembled, the sculpt is nice and it is well painted. Mantis has the full, normal articulation for a female figure. So overall, it's a decent figure. But as a Build A Figure, she's rather underwhelming. That is not helped by the fact that she has no accessories either. And being as she has such a large role in the movie, making her figure a BAF is a bit annoying since you will have to buy all of the figures except Death's Head (he doesn't come with any BAF pieces) just to have the core cast of the film. If they had made Mantis a regular figure and split Death's Head up among all of the figures, it would have felt like a nice bonus for buying all the figures rather than feeling like you were forced to buy them all.
Value - Gamora 6/10, others 8/10The Mantis series has some great additions to the Marvel Legends line. At $19 to $24 each, the entry price might put off potential fans that have yet to take the leap into Marvel Legends collecting. But Hasbro has done a good job of making these some of the best overall figures available from normal retail stores in exchange for that price point. It's just a shame that they got the skin tone and paint work for Gamora wrong since it makes her the biggest low point as a result.
Happy Hunting:I ordered my set of figures from Big Bad Toy Store and just received them about a week ago. They should start popping up at regular retail stores eventually. But this line tends to have very odd distribution patterns since the new products won't get shipped out to stores until they sell down the past series. That can mean long waits. Of course if you are impatient like me, you can always order online. They should be available from online toy stores now, or very shortly.