It's a new year and just as with 2015, Hasbro is starting 2016 with several fresh assortments of Marvel Legends Infinite figures. I have already
reviewed the Absorbing Man Series. And the second new series is starting to hit stores
now. The Red Skull Series, named for the Red Skull/Onslaught Build A Figure, features an assortment of Captain America and Shield related characters.
The full line up includes a new Captain America figure with an alternate, werewolf head, Mockingbird and Sharon Carter who are packaged under the
title of "Agents of Shield", Whirlwind and Cottonmouth aka "Forces of Evil", and the "Mercenaries of Mayhem" which includes Taskmaster and a
character called Demolition Man or Scourge of the Underworld. While I could do without yet another version of Capt. America, the series
has two new female characters and four villains, only one of which has ever been made as a Marvel Legends figure before. That's a fairly impressive
line up, and one that I have been looking forward to adding to my Marvel Legends collection.
Packaging - 5/10The packaging for the the Red Skull series is the same design that we have been seeing for the last few years. Visually, it's a nice design. But limiting the use of artwork to just the side panels means they are not as colorful as I would expect given their comic book origins. And the multi-lingual packaging means that there isn't enough room to include any useful character information, they barely manage to include the names of the characters. And we're not talking about Marvel's top tier characters, even with Captain America most fans are going to be wondering why there is a werewolf head included. I understand that printed copies of comics are probably not economical anymore, but it would be nice if they include more character information. At the very least, they could have a QR code on the packaging to take you to each figure's character information page on the Marvel Universe website.
Sculpting - Captain America & Cottonmouth 6/10, Others 8/10Judging how well these figures came out is difficult since I'm not that familiar with most of the characters, or at least the versions represented by these figures. So I'm not going to take accuracy in to account. But in terms of sheer level of detail and visual interest, most of these figures turned out extremely well. Sharon Carter reuses the same female shield agent body as the Shield three pack from last year, but with a new head. The new head doesn't sit quite as low on the neck as it should, so Carter seems to have a very long, slender neck. Mockingbird appears to be a new sculpt. It does match what little I have seen of the character and has plenty of detail. Plus it is always nice to see a female figure that isn't wearing high heels. Both Demolision Man and Taskmaster are designs I don't know. But both are sculpted with plenty of body armor and equipment belts which makes them look like they are wearing some semi-realistic body armor. Whirlwind by contrast seems to have a fairly classic design, or at least it is a design that I recall from all the way back to his appearances in the Iron Man cartoon in the 1990's. But despite the design having been around that long, it doesn't appear dated. It's only when you come to the final two figures in the series that things start to go downhill a bit. This version of Captain America uses a slightly bulkier, more muscular body and has a larger and wider head to match it. Personally I don't think that it works well for Captain America. The body is just a bit to big. They also added straps around the shoulders. Capt. does often have straps like this when he is wearing his shield on his back. But these straps aren't attached to anything or even to each other. And there is nothing to keep them on. If the arms are not in a position to hold them in place, they will simply fall right off. That is a fairly stupid oversight on Hasbro's part. Finally we come to Cottonmouth who has a brand new head and claw like hands, but no real sculpted detail beyong that. That's a shame as the snake skin texture on the head turned out very well. So it would have been great if it continued down onto the rest of the body.
Paint - Cottonmouth 7/10, Others 8/10The paint work for the Marvel Legends line has come along way since the days of hit or miss paint applications we used to see in the Toy Biz days. The paint work on all seven figures turned out well. And there is a fair amount of detail work put into them as well. In fact the harshest criticism I have about the paint work is that the colors on Cottonmouth's chest is muted which doesn't match the bright colors on the rest of the figure and on all of the other figures.
Articulation - 9/10By now we should be used to the thirty-plus points of articulation of a Marvel Legends figure. Whirlwind for example has:
Accessories - Cottonmouth 0/10, Sharon Carter & Whirlwind 4/10, Mockingbird 5/10, Captain America 6/10, Taskmaster & Domolition Man 7/10The figures in this series run the gammout in terms of accessories. Cottonmouth is the only figure in the series with nothing beyond the build a figure pieces. Carter comes with a pistol, one of the ones that originally came with the Red Skull back in the Mandroid series. Whirlwind comes with two saw blades that attach to pegs on his forearms. Mockingbird has a grey version of Daredevil's billy club. It's a bit too large for her. But given that her primary weapons in the comics are battle staffs, the reuse makes sense. Captain America comes with his shield of course. They went back to the style of shield with the peg and wrist clip. He also comes with two spare hands, a right hand in a salute pose and a left hand in a pointing pose. And of course his most notable accessory is his extra, werewolf head. It seems like a strange choice at first. But there was a brief storyline where Captain America was transformed into a werewolf. Demolition Man comes with a knife, pistol and shotgun. He even has holsters/sheaths for the knife and pistol. Taskmaster comes with his shield, a spare head and a laser sword. Mercenaries with no weapons would be pretty lame. So it's nice to see that both of them come well armed.
Build A Figure - Red Skull/OnslaughtThe Build S Figure for this series is the Red Skull in his Red Onslaught form from the Axis story line. I haven't read that story so I have no idea how the Red Skull took on the form of Onslaught. But from the images of the character that I've seen online, the figure is a fairly faithful representation. I'm actually slightly disappointed by that. Hasbro has shown plans for an actual Onslaught head as an accessory in an upcoming series. And I would rather have a figure of the actual Onslaught in his most iconic form. But the Red Skull version has more traditional body proportions, notably his legs are too long for Onslaught. And the armor on the gauntlets is toned down from the over the top 90's look of Onslaught. I guess I'm still stuck with the five inch scale Onslaught from the Onslaught series at the end of the X-Men action figure line.
Value - Captain America & Cottonmouth 6/10, Others 8/10The price for a Marvel Legends Infinite figure ranges from $20 to $23 depending upon the store. At the $20 price and with the Build A Figure if you buy the entire series, most of these figures are a pretty solid value.
Happy Hunting:The Red Skull series has started to show up in stores as of the start of February. Most of the reports that I have seen so far seem to be from Toys R Us. I missed out on them when the local TRU store received their first shipment. So I ordered a case from Big Bad Toy Store.