The Marvel Legends line has been through a lot of changes over the years. And with the new Marvel Legends Infinite figures hitting
shelves as we speak, it looks to be heading into yet another new phase. But before I look ahead to the Infinite series, there was
one more series of figures to track down, the Diamond Exclusive Wolverine series which includes a Puck Build A Figure. While the
series carries the Wolverine title, the character selection has a more general X-men focus. The line up includes a modern versions of
Wolverine, Cyclops, Emma Frost and Sabretooth. Also planned, though not released were an alternate version of Cyclops in his Phoenix
Force outfit and a modern version of Rogue as an alternative figure to Emma Frost. So lets close out 2013 with a little mutant madness
for the Marvel Legends line.
Packaging - Emma Frost 3/10,Cyclops 6/10, others 8/10Oddly Hasbro decided to give the packaging for this series a slight overhaul from the design which they have been using for the regular Marvel Legends figures since 2012. The unique character art for the top of each card is gone in favor of the same image of Wolverine on all of the packages. The rest of the design for the front has also been altered so that they have a more traditional, less dynamic appearance. But the altered design is still attractive and colorful, and perfectly appropriate for a line of comic book based action figures. The back of the card still has unique comic images for each character. But the lion's share of the space has been given to a photo of the actual toy. I don't think the redesign is an improvement over the normal design. And unfortunately I suspect the only reason for it was to shave a few pennies off the cost by eliminating custom shaped cards for each character. But I don't find the change to be a significant detriment either. What is a significant detriment is the fact that Hasbro continues to design the packaging for half of the figures in this series under the assumption that both Cyclops and Emma Frost will share their packaging with an alternative figure that was never produced. For Cyclops, the alternate figure was suppose to be another version of Cyclops. So aside from wasting space focusing on the Phoenix Force version, at least it is still focused on Cyclops. Emma Frost on the other hand, appears to have been planned as the alternative figure to the modern Rogue figure. So not only do the cards for all of the other figures picture Rogue on the back instead of Emma Frost, She is never even so much as named on her own packaging. It also results in a situation where I am less satisfied with the products I purchased because I would rather have the alternate figures instead since I already have a modern version of Cyclops and several Emma Frost figures. Hasbro has had plenty of time to straighten out this issue over the last year. So the fact that they continue to design the packaging to advertise figures that they didn't bother to produce is inexcusable at this point.
Sculpting - Sabretooth 7/10, Emma Frost 5/10, others 8/10Of the for figures, Wolverine is probably my favorite. It is the exact same sculpt as the X-Force Wolverine from the Hit Monkey series. And I don't have an issue with that. Aside from being just a hair too tall, it is a terrific representation of the character. Sabretooth uses the same body as Hyperion from the Hit Monkey series with a new head, hands and feet. I'm not familiar with this version of Sabretooth, so I can't say if it is accurate. But it does seem quite plain compared to his head sculpt. Finally there is Cyclops and Emma Frost. Both characters have been produced by Hasbro shortly after they took over the Marvel Legends line, so I was prepared for both figures to be identical to those releases. But both are new. Cyclops has a slightly more muscular body and the the belt and some of the sculpted detail is gone. It's not a huge change, but does seem to make the new figure a bit more in line with the way Cyclops is portrayed in the comics currently. Emma Frost received an overhaul as well. Sadly, the changes made to her have not been an improvement to the figure overall. They improved the hip section to make it match up better with both the legs and body. But then they added a belt, sculpted to sit across the top of her hips, and they didn't bother to glue it in place. So it bounces around and ends up looking at least as bad as the original. They skipped her cape. I don't mind the look of the figure without it. But it certainly would be better to have it and just make it removable. The final change is the smallest, but probably causes the most harm. The heels on the new figure are thinner and prone to warping. That makes this figure very difficult to stand.
Paint - Wolverine & Cyclops 6/10, others 7/10The paint work for all four figures is well done. I really have nothing to complain about for Emma Frost. And the only gripe I have against Sabretooth is that the paint wash on his face makes the rest of his outfit, particularly his claws, look too clean. The paint lines around Cyclops' mask are a bit off. It isn't really all that bad, but that is one of the worst, most conspicuous spots for them to have gotten sloppy with the paint. Wolverine has the most complex paint work with all of the stripes on his outfit. But while they did a passable job on him, there are a lot of stray paint marks throughout the figure.
Articulation - 8/10By this point, if you are a fan of Marvel Legends figures, you should know what to expect when it comes to the articulation. And these figures are no exception. Obviously there is plenty of articulation and none of the figures suffer from loose joints.
Accessories - Wolverine 3/10, Others 0/10Wolverine is the only figure in the series to come with any accessories. And he only has a display base. It is the same display base that was included with the Epic Heroes series of figures as well as the Avenger and Amazing Spider-Man movie figures. I like the bases. But Wolverine really doesn't need one. So it's inclusion seems more like an afterthought, a consolation prize since they didn't inlude a BAF piece or any other accessories with him. On the other hand, if you buy the complete series, it will be helpful to be able to use the base for Emma Frost.
Build A Figure - Puck 7/10The Build A Figure for this series is Puck, the pint-sized member of Alpha Flight and one of the only characters in the Marvel Universe who has to look UP to Wolverine. Once assembled, Puck is a great representation of the character. He is a bulky little mountain of muscle. His articulation is limited due to his limbs being so short. But that is appropriate for the character as well. The only complaint I have for Puck is the distribution of parts. Since about 80% of the figure is included with Emma Frost to begin with, it hardly seems worth it to have to buy two more figures to complete him. I suppose I should just be happy that they didn't include a part with Wolverine as well. But in case having to buy three figures to complete Puck isn't bad enough, they also decided to short pack one of the three figures in the case as well. So ultimately, half of the Puck Build A Figures will have to go incomplete simply because Hasbro didn't make enough Emma Frost figures.
Value - Sabretooth 7/10, Wolverine 6/10, others 4/10The price for the figures in the Wolverine series varies quite a bit since they are only available through specialty stores and because the figures are not evenly packed. Wolverine is the most heavily packed at three per case. So finding him at a decent price should not be too difficult. Both Cyclops and Sabretooth are packed two per case while Emma Frost is only one per case. Because of that, the price for those three tends to be quite a bit higher than normal for a Marvel Legends figure. A quick search of eBay showed that it is actually cheaper to track down the old versions of Cyclops and Frost. But if you do decide to track down the Wolverine Series versions, you should be able to get a set of all four for around $100.
Happy Hunting:As I have already mentioned, the Wolverine series figures are exclusive to Diamond, which means that they are primarily available from comic shops and specialty stores. They are available from Big Bad Toy Store by the case. Otherwise, there are quite a few listings for both sets and individual figures on eBay, which is where I ordered my figures.