My backlog of Hasbro's Marvel Legends figures that have been released in the last few months continues. This time it is
the first mass market series of two packs that Hasbro has released. Following in the footsteps of Toy Biz's Face Off sets
and the Walmart exclusive sets that Hasbro produced last year, this first series pairs Mr. Fantastic with the Thing, Elektra
with Ronin, Wolverine with Forge and the Ultimate universe versions of Nick Fury and Captain America. I have to say that
the pairings included here seem to be a bit abstract. Sure some seem perfectly sensible at first such as two members of the
Fantastic Four. But why only two members and why those two? Mr. Fantastic and the Invisible Woman would seem like a more
logical pairing. And the pairings of Wolverine/Forge and Elektra/Ronin don't really seem to have any real connection beyond
appearing in the same book.
Packaging - 8/10Hasbro revamped the appearance of the packaging from the previous Walmart exclusives, but fundamentally the design is the same. You have the two figures in a blister. But rather than having a card which sticks up behind the bubble, with these it wraps around the blister to form a pseudo box around the blister. the packaging has increased in size from the Walmart releases, which gives more room for the figures and allows for a bigger window to view them. They use several large comic images of each character on the sides. Most of the back is used for a large image of the two figures. But there is also a breif description of who the characters are and some of their stats. The packaging is attractive and does protect the figures well. But if you are a MOC collector and a stickler for preistine packaging, it is a bit harder to come by here than with the normal carded Marvel Legends figures.
Sculpting - Captain America 9/10, Ronin, Thing & Nick Fury 8/10, Wolverine & Mr Fantastic 3/10, others 7/10Hasbro has been doing quite well with the sculpting of their Marvel Legends figures. And for the most part that continues with the two packs with two exceptions. The first problem figure is Mr Fantastic. Hasbro reused the mold from the very first Mr. Fantastic figure which was part of one of the early Toy Biz series. And its age shows. The shoulder joints are ugly and the head is out of scale with the rest of the figure. Wolverine is the other stinker of the series. But in this case, it isn't because they reused an old body. The main problem with it is the torso joint. The upper torso seems to be attached too high. This casuses several problems. It leaves a large gap between the two sections when the figure stands up straight. It gives the figure too much height, particularly for a Wolverine figure. The build is just wrong for the character. Finally, while it can be hidden somewhat by bending the figure forward, the head can't look forward then. On a more positive note, the companion figures for both of these figures are much better. Hasbro reused the Thing mold from their Fantastic Four series from last year. Perhaps it is a bit early to be reusing the mold, but it is a nice sculpt. Forge uses a different body from Wolverine which surprised me. But that is a good thing since it is a much better sculpt. Elektra appears to be a new sculpt as well. It is an extremely generic sculpt with almost no detail to it save for the notch between the big toe and the rest of the toes. The loin cloth is a seperate piece that simply sits around her waist. Ronin seems to be a new sculpt as well. Ronin's outer vest is a seperate piece from the rest of the body which when combined with the detail that is visible underneath creates a layered look that would have been very difficult to do this well as a single piece. Finally there is the pair of Nick Fury and Captain America in his WWII era uniform. Both sculpts are excellent. Each has a great deal of detail right down to the laces on Fury's boots.
Paint - Fury & Capt. America 9/10, Wolverine & Forge 4/10, others 6/10Nick Fury and Captain America really shine when it comes to the paint work. There is a lot of detail on both sculpt and to Hasbro's credit, they did quite a bit of paint work to show off those details. And the quality is top notch as well. It isn't quite perfect. There is a stray paint mark or two, but nothing too noticeable. Forge and Wolverine both suffer from the yellow paint on their shoulders and on the seam along Wolverine's neck not completely covering the blue of the plastic. Given the contrast between the colors, the bleed through is very visible. The paint work on the other four figures is clean and consistent. I would have liked the lines to be a bit sharper on Elektra. Particularly on the Skrull repaint, the red doesn't show up very well against the green skin tone. It may also be worth noting in case you had not already noticed that there is a difference in the paint work between the regular and Skrull variant versions of the Ronin/Elektra sets. The regular Ronin's outfit has yellow trim. The variant version has gold trim.
Articulation - Mr. Fantastic 9/10, others 8/10Wolverine, Forge, Ronin, Nick Fury and Captain America all sport the usual articulation for a Hasbro Marvel Legends figure:
Accessories - Mr. Fantastic 3/10, Thing 0/10, Others 7/10One of the more plesant surprises with the two packs is the amount and quality of the accessories that were included with them. (I suppose it makes sense that when they didn't include a build a figure part, they could include more accessories.) The Mr. Fantastic/Thing pack is the one exception. Mr. Fantastic comes with two replacement hands, one a giant hammer fist and the other a large bendable hand. Thing doesn't have any accessories. But he really doesn't need any either. Wolverine and Forge both come with an extra head and a spare set of hands. Forge also has an assortment of three guns: two large ones and a pistol. The guns are nice, but they are so large that the figure can barely hold them. Ronin and the regular Elektra figure both come with a spare head. (The Skrull version of Elektra has only one head. But at least it is a different head and not just painted green.) Both versions of Elektra have a second set of hands as well. There are plenty of weapons for the two figures to fight with including Elektra's two sais, two katanas and a pair of nunchukus. Nick Fury comes with two hand guns, both of which can be stored in holsters on his hip and chest. He also has a rifle in case he needs more firepower. Captain America has his shield of course. He also comes with a pistol and a rifle, a removeable helmet and a second, unmasked head.
Value - Mr. Fantastic/Thing & Wolverine/Forge sets 4/10, Fury/Cap. Amer. & Elektra/Ronin 7/10These two packs sold at retail for $22 each. That is pretty pricey since the individual Marvel Legends figures are still less than $10 each. These packs do add some value with the extra accessories. But those probably don't add $4 of value to each set. The Forge/Wolverine and the Mr. Fantastic/Thing sets both have one nice figure and one fairly mediocre figure which makes it that much harder to justify the higher price tag. In the case of the Thing/Mr. Fantastic set, you would probably be better off tracking down the single carded version of the Thing from Fantastic Four series. The other two sets offer two great figures, both of which are either new characters, substantially different version of a character or at least a character that has not been available in years.
Happy Hunting:The two packs were available at retail at Walmarts and Toys R Us stores. But by this point, they have disappeared from most shelves. They are still available from Hasbro's web site. It may be worth looking locally first though, in case you are able to find a stray set still on clearance.