The summer onslaught of Marvel Legends figures continues with the third series of figures to be released this month. The final series
which is composed mostly of Spider-Man characters and villains including Kraven the Hunter, Chameleon, Superior Venom and Scarlet Spider
(the Ben Reilly version of Spider-Man) as well as White Tiger, Misty Knight and Ghost Rider. The Build A Figure for the series is Rhino.
It's an unusual mix of characters but since none of them has been included in the Marvel Legends line in years, it is a good opportunity
to add half a dozen new characters to your roster.
Packaging - Misty Knight & Ghost Rider 4/10, Kraven & Chameleon 5/10, others 6/10The packaging for the Rhino series has the same design as we have seen since the beginning of 2014. It is quite attractive, though I still find the asthetic more fitting for movie based figures than a series full of comic book characters. Still, the window box provides a great view of the figure and the packaging is collector friendly. My biggest complaint is still when you get to the back. There is a photo of the figure and a brief description repeated in four languages. Then there is the information about the Build A Figure and its parts at the bottom. But once again, Hasbro has choosen to combine two figures and make them share packaging, this time for four of the seven figures. So Scarlet Spider-Man, White Tiger and Superior Venom all have decent, informative write ups despite being so short. Then you come to the other four. Misty Knight and Ghost Rider share packaging and are simply called Heroes for Hire on the front. The bio doesn't really provide any useful information about either character. Similarly Kraven and Chameleon share their packaging under the name Savage Force. Their bio does at least give some information about them though. I feel a bit guilty harping about this issue yet again, but it just seems like such a stupid thing to do. Given each character has a unique UPC, it's not like they are doing it to save money by printing fewer designs. So why short change half the figures in a series, especially the lesser known characters that casual customers may not know that well?
Sculpting - White Tiger & Superior Venom 6/10, Scarlet Spider & Kraven 8/10, others 9/10Hasbro has been turning out some great figures recently, and the Rhino series is no exception. White Tiger has the least amount of sculpting, limited to a new head and claw hands plus her necklace. She should probably have a belt as well. But from the images I have seen online, she is sometimes drawn without it as well. Superior Venom gets a pretty tame sculpt compared to how he appears in some of the comics, but that is just part of the nature of the character. But it would be nice if the symbiote tendrils coming out of his back served some purpose other than just hanging in the way. Scarlet Spider has a new torso to create the hoodie as well as a new belt, visible web shooters and ankle pouches?!?!?! (Yeah, he's a character from the ninties, but still ankle pouches?) Most of it looks really great. But for some reason they didn't sculpt the segments on the web shooters. It's disappointing that they put so much work into everything else, but then took the easy way out on such an important detail for the character. Kraven has new boots and forearms, a new belt and of course his vest. Overall, it's a pretty impressive looking figure. But there is something about his face that seems a bit off. Both Ghost Rider and Chameleon both make great use of recycled bodies. Chameleon uses the same body as Agent Coulson from the Shield box set. Ghost Rider uses the same body as the A.I.M. soldier. Both are terrific looking figures, especially the way they created sculpted flames for Ghost Rider's neck so it looks a lot like the skull is floating. Finally there is Misty Knight who gets a nifty robotic hand, a large holster on her hip, a new upper body with a decorative shoulder holster and a heck of a head of hair. There are a few areas that could use more detail such as the cuffs of her sleeves. But the work they did do resulted in a great looking figure.
Paint - Kraven 8/10, Scarlet Spider 7/10, others 6/10The paint work for most of the figures in this series is simple, but very well executed. The detail work on Misty Knight for her upper torso is great. But there's also a lot figure below the torso joint that is all just a solid shade of red. White Tiger, Chameleon and Ghost Rider all have solid paint work. But with the exception of the paint effect on Ghost Rider's skull that preserves the translucent look of the plastic, there's very little to rant about either positively or negatively. They were a bit more ambitious with the line work on Superior Venom. And it really stands out on the figure. But there's also some inconsistency in the thinkness of the paint on my figure's chest allowing some of the black to show through. Plus, as with the other recent symbiote figures, the painting stops abruptly where the tendrils attach to the back. Scarlet Spider doesn't have anything too elaborate for his paint work either. But the amount of detail work on the figure's belt and ankle pouches helps keep Ben Reilly from looking as monochrome as some of the others in this series. There is a small issue with the lines on the web shooters which aren't very straight or parallel as they should be. Kraven has the most paint work of the seven figures. And it is put to good use. There's no single part of the figure that I can complain about. The only thing holding Kraven back is that overall, the figure comes off as being too clean to me. There's a nice wash on the skulls and bones around his knees. But the rest of the figure is so clean and shiny that there's no question that this is a plastic toy.
Articulation - Misty Knight & White Tiger 9/10, others 10/10All seven figures in this series have the kind of articulation that we have come to expect from a Marvel Legends figure. For the male figures, that's thirty four points of articulation give or take. The two female figures clock in at just under that due to having slightly more limited articulation in their arms. I'll admit that the arm design for the females does maintain the shape of the arms better, the elbow joints are pretty limited, especially since the ratcheting function often only allows for two positions for the elbow: straight or bent to ninty degrees. Personally, I would rather sacrifice the asethetics a bit and go back to double hinged elbows. But personal taste aside, the articulation on all seven of my figures is spot on in terms of quality control. There are no loose joints and no joints frozen so tight that I was worried about breaking the figure as I tried to get them moving which has been an issue in the past.
Accessories - Superior Venom 2/10, Misty Knight, Kraven & Scarlet Spidey 6/10, Chameleon 9/10, others 0/10White Tiger and Ghost Rider don't have any accessories other than White Tiger's necklace. But that is not removable. Superior Venom has four symbiote tendrils that plug into a piece permanently mounted on his back. The tendrils are not articulated or adjustable. They are also designed so that they can only be attached to the figure's back in one position. It's a shame they didn't connect them with even just a simple ball joint so they could be moved/repositioned. But all of that would have been fine if not for the fact that they don't connect very securely. Misty Knight has a large revolver that fits into the holster on her hip. Initially I was going to complain about the size of the holster. But it is only that large because the gun is quite large. Kraven comes with a spear. It looks good thanks to a full paint job. But the paint matches the style of his boots, but not the cleaner look of the rest of the figure. Scarlet Spidey comes with two extra sets of hands. So he has three matching sets in total: a pair of fists, a pair of hands in web shooting pose and a pair with the fingers splayed out to either support the figure or rest flat on a vertical surface to make it look like the are sticking to a wall. They aren't the most exciting accessories. But they do give you a great deal of options for displaying your figure. Finally we come to Chameleon where Hasbro went above and beyond. He comes with two spare heads to recreate his identity stealing antics. So by swapping them out, you can "imitate" J. Jonah Jameson or mob goon Hammerhead. The heads all look great, though Hammerhead should probably have a more muscular body. Hasbro could have stopped there and I would have been satisfied. But they also included his stun/knock out gas gun as well as two other weapons, a machine gun rifle and a grenade launcher with a removable drum magazine. There's really no reason that the figure would need all of that. But it's great that they gave him plenty of options for displays and play value. The only thing holding it back is that the grenade launcher and pistol are not painted so they look a bit plain.
Build A Figure - RhinoMy opinion on Rhino is quite mixed. He is both an impressive, detailed figure and a dull grey brick. So positives first, Rhino is quite detailed. Rhino is a completely new figure and the sculpt is suitably large to look imposing even against larger figures like Kraven. The entire sculpt is also textured to look like rhino hide. They also give you two options for the head. One has a calm expression and a Batman style mask covering the upper portion of his face. The other head has the entire face exposed and a wide open mouth. So there isn't much to complain about with the way this figure turned out. Even the articulation turned out well with twenty eight points of articulation. The paint work is limited to the head and a wash over the rest of the figure to highlight the cracks in the rhino hide texture. Every aspect of this figure is well done and looks great. It's only when you take a step back from looking at the details that you realize that the chacter design itself means that the figure ends up being just a large block of grey muscle. The figure makes this worse by having a completely neutral pose. So while this is a far better executed than either of the previous Rhino figures, both of those figures are more interesting to look at.
Value - Ghost Rider 9/10, Superior Venom 6/10, others 8/10Retail price for a Marvel Legends figure is right around $20 each. By ordering a case, I paid $19 per figure. That's a bit pricey, but for a well executed, well articulated figure and with the bonus of the Build A Figure it's not unreasonable. Superior Venom is a slightly underwhelming figure and a variation of a character that I've never seen and doubt was around for very long. Chameleon, Misty Knight and White Tiger are all well made and completely new characters in the six inch Marvel Legends format. Ghost Rider, Kraven and Scarlet Spiders have all had Marvel Legends figures before, but these are significant improvements over those earlier figures.
Happy Hunting:The Rhino Series figures are just starting to ship. (Hey, for once I'm not completely behind in my reviews. Cool!) I received my set about a week ago from Big Bad Toy Store, which is the only place I have seen them show up thus far. They should be showing up through other disribution shortly. They ship in cases of eight figures with two Scarlet Spiders per case and one of each other figure. Though, with all of the Marvel Legends figures that have been shipping lately, finding a store with the Rhino series instead of more of the Hobgoblin series could take a while. If you aren't patient, ordering online might be worth the cost of shipping.