The Marvel Legends line has produced an amazing variety of characters over the years. But one area it seemed to overlook
in series after series of figures were the grunts, the nameless bad guys that beating after beating from the heroes of the
Marvel Universe in the service of villains and evil organizations such as A.I.M., the Hand and Hydra. Without them, the
heroes just don't seem as heroic. But they never seem to get action figure treatment. Not long ago, Toy Biz came up with a
means to rectify that oversight with the "Bring on the Bad Guys" series of figures. They planned on including one minion
figure with each of the villain action figures in the series. Fans drooled at the idea of amassing an army of Hand Ninja,
Hellfire Club guards or Skrull soldiers. But it wasn't to be. The idea was nixed in the face of cost concerns and the
minions fans dreamt of were replaced with an Onslaught build a figure. But it was too late. The fans had seen what was
no longer to be and they were not going to be happy until they got the grunt figures they wanted. Well the two packs are
still a no go. But Toy Biz (now Marvel Toys) has found another way to give fans what they wanted, a two pack consisting of
a Brood alien and a Skrull warrior as part of the Marvel Select line.
Packaging - 5/10I'm not wild about the packaging for the Marvel Select line. It seems like a lot of decent ideas that just don't quite work well together. The figures are packaged in a very large bubble attached to an oversized card. The packaging is larger than most lines because the figures included in the Marvel Select line are usually a larger scale than Marvel Legends figures and include elaborate bases for accessories. But with the Brood and Skrull pack, there is just a lot of empty space. They do a decent job hiding it, but it still give one a sense that something is missing. Graphically it is a bit of a mess as well. They use a collage of comic book images for the backgrounds But they cram in so many and tint all of them one color until they become an indistinguishable mess. There are a pair of head shots on the side panel that are clear. But if you position the packaging to see that, you can't see the figures. The back of the card is much better with background information about both characters, a photo of the figures, photos of other recent MS figures and some concept art. But with two figures, there is so much stuff on the back that it becomes slightly cramped looking.
Sculpting - Brood 10/10, Skrull 8/10The sculpting for the Brood figure is as close to perfect as I can imagine a figure coming. I'm not that familiar with how Brood are suppose to look outside of the 90's X-men cartoon, but it does match the artwork I found at Marvel's web site. There is a great deal of detail without going over the top. Even the articulation blends in better than just about any other Marvel Legends figure. The Skrull has another nicely detailed sculpt. But there are several issues that I have with the figure. The biggest is that the figure is scrawny. It has spindly arms and thin legs, a hunched body and all this under a massive head. Perhaps this is how Skrulls were drawn in the comics, but as far as I'm concerned he looks like Howard the Duck could beat him senseless. His physique wouldn't be that bad if the figure wasn't permanently posed with bent knees and slouching. (Posture really is important kids!) The second major drawback is that the figure has its gun permanently sculpted in its hand and firing. That really limits your options for posing the figure. Non attacking poses are all but eliminated. Still, if you want a retro style alien minion, this fits the bill well.
Paint - 9/10The paint work on both figures turned out quite well. Most of the paint work comes in the form of the washes on both figures. While the wash isn't completely consistent on the Brood figure (one of the tails is a little lighter), it isn't very noticeable. More work went into the Skrull. And aside from a couple of very small stray marks, it all looks good. The paint wash works well on this figure as well. It is a bit odd that they did not add the wash to the collar. I do like the metallic sheen given to his gun.
Articulation - 6/10The Brood figure has fifteen points of articulation which includes a ball jointed neck, two rotating tail joints and rotating and hinged joints at each shoulder/hip. The moveable legs are nice. But it would be nice if they had gone with bendable tentacles in the front for grabbing other figures.
The Skrull has nineteen points of articulation:
Accessories - 0/10There are none. It isn't surprising since these figures were suppose to be the accessories. But it would still have been nice to have something given the higher price point. A replacement hand for the Skrull without his gun would have been ideal.
Value - 5/10The suggested retail price for the two pack is $20, but you can expect to pay less than that in many places. If these had been two full fledged Marvel Legends figures with all their accessories, $20 would be right in line with the current retail price of the individual figures. But this isn't two full figures. It's the accessories from two figures. (Okay, really great accessories, but accessories none the less.) Doing it this way also makes it rather expensive to amass multiples of either figure. And with minion characters like this, it is nice to be able to get more than one. Ideally I would like to have seen three variations made. They could have kept this set with one of each figure for those that just want one of each character. But they should have also done separate Brood and Skrull sets with three Brood or three Skrulls in each. That would have made amassing an army of one type of minion or the other much easier.
Happy Hunting:The Marvel Select line is sold only through specialty retailers. So a trip to Walmart or Target isn't going to help. If you have a favorite local comic book shop, that is the best place to start. There are also plenty of online options. My personal favorite is Big Bad Toy Store. But really, if you have a local comic shop that will probably be your best option since you won't have to pay shipping.