This summer is proving to be an embaressment of riches for Marvel Legends fans. The Thanos Series of figures have barely had a chance to
make their way to store shelves and the next three series of figures are already showing up as well as the San Diego Comic Convention exclusives.
(I think Hasbro wants to bankrupt us.) But enough looking ahead. For now I'll start with the first of the new series to arrive, the Marvel Legends
Infinite Ultron series. The Ultron Series brings us a version of Ultron based on the Avengers: Age of Ultron movie design. The line includes comic
inspired versions of the Giant Man, Wasp, Tiger Shark, Grim Reaper and the final member of the Wrecking Crew, Bulldozer, and a version of Ant-Man
based on the new movie. But the Ant-Man merchandise doesn't stop there. While not tied to the Ultron line, there is also another version of
Ant-Man based on one of his comic incarnations that was just released as an exclusive and a box set with a 4.25 inch version of Ant-Man along with a giant
ant. While the Ant-Man & Ant set isn't necessarily part of the Marvel Legends Infinite line, given the character's size changing powers he's close
enough for me. (Plus, he comes with a giant ant!!! It's almost like the Sectaurs line has been revived.)
Packaging - Bulldozer, Tiger Shark & Grimm Reaper 6/10, others 7/10The packaging for the Ultron Series figures is largely unchanged from previous series. They do drop the individual artwork on the side panels in favor of images of ants for everyone except the movie version of Ant-Man. And every package has the Ant-Man logo at the top and an ant symbol on the top panel. That is a bit strange given that I don't think Tiger Shark, Grim Reaper or Bulldozer are really associated with Ant-Man in the comics. And I'll reinterate that the package design seems more fitting for the movie based characters. The comic based ones could stand to be more colorful. But more than anything, I am very impressed with the brief character write ups included for each one on the back. Despite being quite short, each one at least gives you enough information for you to easily look up the character if you wish. Sure, I'd prefer detailed bios. But if they packaging is going to continue to be multilingual, then I'm glad to see that they are at least making every word count. The exclusive, black costume version of Ant-Man shares the same packaging design, they just removed all references to the Build A Figure. While a black costumed figure on a black background isn't the greatest idea, it still looks good overall. The Ant-Man and Ant set does away with the top portion of the card and adds a small window to the top panel. The back has a large photo of the toys and another brief bio. As with the other recent box sets, this one ties in very well visually with the rest of the Marvel Legends Infinite line.
Sculpting - ant 1/10, Ant-Man (4.25 inch) 6/10, Ant-Man (movie) & Bulldozer 9/10, Others 8/10The Ultron series figures and the exclusive Ant-Man figure all turned out very well. The two standouts are Bulldozer and the movie version of Ant-man. Ant-Man is a completely new sculpt from the looks of it. It is quite detailed. Of course, I haven't actually seen the movie yet so I can't really attest to how accurrate it is. Bulldozer uses the same body as Thunderball and Piledriver. But it is dressed up considerablly with all of the armor parts.The only complaint I might make about him is that his head/neck seem to stick out too far. It looks like the bottom rim of his helmet should fall under the collar of his neck armor, but instead it is just above it. That does improve the range of motion for his head though. The rest of the figures in the series and the exclusive Ant-Man all have plain bodies with fairly limited sculpted details. But with the exception of Giant Man's belt, there isn't anything that seems like it really should have been sculpted. There is a minor issue with Wasp that may bother some people. Hasbro has been able to use the longer hair of most of the female figures to hide the joint where the neck connects to the head. But Wasp's hair is so short that the joint is completely exposed and looks pretty ugly. The Ant-Man & Ant set is where things go downhill. The Ant-Man figure is decent. Given the smaller size, I wasn't expecting him to be as detailed as the full sized version. But there is still a fair amount of detail there. And his companion ant looks great, until you try to move him. The joints were very poorly made so all of the legs and even the head fall off with just the slightest touch. Even just the weight of the ant is enough for the legs to pop off. Seriously, this bug loses limbs faster than the Black Knight in a Monty Python movie. And it really doesn't matter what the ant looks like. If it can't stay in one piece, it is pretty worthless.
Paint - Ant-Man & Ant & Ant-Man (exclusive) 6/10, Ant-Man (movie) 10/10, others 8/10The paint work on the Ultron series figures is very well executed. They are still mass market figures, so there are some minor imperfections. But they are quite minor. But for as well as they did with Wasp, Tiger Shark and the others, they really went all out for the movie version of Ant-Man. There is a lot of detail work for the belt and trim. They also added some paint applications to the helmet and belt that helps to make them look much more realistic. The only one of the full sized figures that is a little disappointing is the exclusive version of Ant-Man. The red for the stripe on my figure's chest needs another coat. The black from the plastic is still bleeding through. That could be a minor issue, but when it is the only detail or decoration on the torso, it is harder to overlook. The paint work for the Ant-Man & Ant set is not a detailed as on the full sized counterpart. But they both have enough paint work to look decent.
Articulation - Ant 2/10, Ant-Man (4.25 inch) 9/10, others 10/10The articulation for the full sized Marvel Legends figures is the same as it usually is:
Accessories - Ant-Man (movie) 9/10, others 0/10The only figure in the Ultron Series to come with any accessories is the movie version of Ant-Man. But he has some impressive little extras. He comes with a small (roughly 2.5 inches long) flying ant, a tiny version of himself that can ride said ant, and a tiny version of what I'm guessing is the villain from the movie. They are all so small that they don't have any articulation and the paint work is not that great on them. But I'm mostly just impressed that they were included at all. I suppose some people might consider the Wasp's wings or Grim Reaper's cape accessories as they are technically removable. But since I doubt anyone is going to display either figure without them, I consider them to be a part of the figures. Similarly, I suppose you could argue that the giant ant is an accessory for the 4.35 inch Ant-Man. But I find the issue with the limbs so annoying that I would still probably give him zero points as an accessory.
Build A Figure - UltronThe Build A Figure for this series is Ultron based on his appearance in Avengers: Age of Ultron. While I'm glad that we did get a figure of the eponymous villain from the movie, Ultron ends up being the least impressive figure of the series. The sculpt is decent. He's quite big, standing a full eight inches tall. And there is a lot of detail there. But as is often the case when trying to create characters like this with a lot of empty space within their form, it is very difficult to recreate that negative space without using multiple layers of material. So despite their best efforts, Ultron is really lacking in depth. It would be possible to recreate that look using paint, but that wasn't done here. In fact, the paint work is quite sparse. They did vary the color of the materials used to create some shading for the midsection and there is some painted detail. But with all of the nooks and crevasses on this figure, you could spend days trying to paint everything. So I understand why they didn't do all of that, but it doesn't change the fact that without that work, Ultron ends up being very monochromatic and a bit dull. He is fully articulated and has good range of motion. He will work to fill the hole in your Marvel movie figures display. But if you wanted a figure that would really stand out in that display, you better get out your paint and brushes.
Value - Ant-Man & Ant 2/10, Ant-Man (movie) 10/10, others 8/10As usual, the Marvel Legends Infinite figures sell for $20 to $24 depending on the store. The Ant-Man & Ant set sells for about the same. While that is a steep price for an action figure, given how well done these are and how unlikely it is for half of these characters to get another action figure anytime in the foreseeable future, I wouldn't pass up any of the six inch figures. The Ant-Man and Ant set on the other hand, is really not worth the money. If you are a six inche scale collector, there is already the far superior movie figure in the Ultron Series and he already comes with a minature version of himself and an ant to ride on. Even if you primarily collect the smaller scale Marvel figures, I would still hold out for a movie based Ant-Man without the ant. There's no sense spending twice the price of a normal figure just to get an ant that falls apart immediately.
Happy Hunting:The Ultron series figures and the Ant-Man & Ant set are shipping now to stores. I have seen them locally at both Walmart and Toys R Us. But Walmart is probably going to be your better bet as they seem to have a display set up specifically for the release of the Ant-Man movie. The black suit Ant-Man figure is an exclusive to Walgreens drug stores. As with Agent Venom last year, they seem to be getting cases of just this figure. So he should prove to be fairly easy to find. But depending upon distribution, it may take a few weeks for them to show up in stores everywhere.