Saturday, October 16, 2010

Weekend Extra - Marvel Universe Toy Line

I was going to write this yesterday, but... just... didn't get around to it.

Anyway, Hasbro has the license to Marvel Comics' super hero characters, including the movie versions. This was the first wave, which came out last year.
Being a DC, not a Marvel, this didn't do a whole lot for me, but they just happened to arrive at a point where nothing else new was coming out so I bought some. The nice thing about Hasbro making them is that they are in scale with their existing toy lines, GI Joe and Star Wars, so you could theoretically mash them up and have the Silver Surfer flying alongside Darth Vader's Tie Fighter or The Punisher could team up with Snake-Eyes and fight some ninjas.

I will say this though, there were some RUFF quality issues. The paint on them looks like it was applied by Jackson Pollack's talentless nephew... with cataracts. And the plastic used is softer and more rubbery than that on the GI Joes I grew up playing with. Also, and it's hard to tell by the picture, but The Punisher and Black Panther, for whatever reason, have completely different body types than the others, with more limited movement. On the Punisher, #1. I don't care because I'm not a fan, but #2. He's not necessarily the most flexible character out there, but The Black Panther IS! That's his sole shtick, being super acrobatic! So why is he LESS poseable than The Human Torch?!

Speaking of The Human Torch, he was the biggest misfire in the batch. (Get it? Misfire? Okay, sorry.)He was released like this, as plain ol' Johnny Storm! They did a variant "Flame On!" version which was the rare chase version. Who wants the Human Torch un-Torchy?! Plus, the figure looks like ass on top of that!
The variant fiery Torch LOOKS cool in the pic, translucent and all, but it turned out pretty shitty in real life too, so I passed. I wasn't going to pay extra for a rare alternate figure when I didn't even LIKE it!

So I quickly realized, "Yeah, not collecting these!" But I was still willing to pick up a few here and there, if they were characters I particularly liked or were big names. I realized as more of them were released, usually the first batch to hit stores were always jacked up and shitty. You had to wait for suckas to buy them and for follow-up cases to arrive to get ones that were worth owning.I was quite happy when early on they released Ms. Marvel, not just in her modern costume, but also a variant version in her first costume!
Luckily, mine does not have a jacked up mask like this one! Also, I think I lucked out and found both in an actual store, so I didn't have to order them and pay extra. But by and large, I backed off this collection.

Then, recently... I guess nothing else was coming out again, so I bought a couple more.I found a two-pack of classic Thor and The Enchantress. Thor's a biggie and I didn't have him and the one I found had a nice paint job, so I bought it. When I opened it, though, The Enchantress was BROKEN in half! (I snapped her back together, but still!) I think my reaction was, "God these suck ass!"It was annoying when they made A Spider-Woman figure, it was of the one no one liked, Julia Carpenter, instead of Jessica Drew, the REAL Spider-Woman!
Even so, I guess ANY Spider-Woman is better than no Spider-Woman, so I bought that one too.
I wanted the two-pack of Storm in her 80s mohawk look with Nightcrawler, but like I said, the first batches always look like shit, so I couldn't bring myself to buy it until I found it later and it was better painted.

I love Storm, so I'm glad to have her in any look, but I am glad that they've revealed that a version of her is coming out in her classic costume. Jessica Drew Spider-Woman too!
Hey, look at my stormy, stormy ass!

And then, AW HELL, I just started buying them all! Well, not ALL, but bunches and bunches!
It was like, "Well, I GOTTA have Dr. Doom! He's the Big Bad of the entire Marvel Universe!"
"Magneto! I gotta have Magneto! And Cyclops! I have all these other X-Men, I need Cyclops!"Then it was like, "A decent Human Torch? I need that! And now I have almost all of the Wrecking Crew, so I need Thunderball... or Powerball or whatever his name is." Fuckers!

I will say, one of my favorite things about these toys is the attention to scale.
I mean, in the comics, all the characters aren't the same size, but in most toy lines, they are. The Hulk is a massive monster and Spider-Man is usually drawn really skinny and wiry and then Captain America has that typical muscular super hero body, but then you have like Thor who is larger than that, but smaller than The Hulk or The Thing!

They actually pay attention to that in this line, so you have figures of The Hulk and The Thing who are just massive and hefty and chunky. You have the normal muscular Captain America.
In between, you have Thor and Colossus. Also, while it's not always consistently depicted, Wolverine is supposed to be really short, like 5'5" or something and that's accurately depicted in this line. And Spider-Man and the Human Torch are leaner than Cap and some of the other males.

This line is clearly marketed to adult fans. I kinda think ALL action figure lines are nowadays. I rarely see kids buying action figures, but I see adults rifling through the Star Wars figures all day long. Plus kids don't read anymore, so they don't know who a lot of these characters are.

This is totally an adult collector thing. They make Henchmen.
This is a random AIM Soldier. Early on they made Hand Ninjas.
I think there are also Agents of Hydra out there. They even sell them in boxed sets, so you can send an army of them against your super heroes. That's the idea anyway. It's not something I'm into, but I know other collectors are. One thing I find kind of annoying about them is that they are heavily packed because they expect collectors to want a bunch of them, but I don't think they sell well, so they kinda clog up the pegs and sit there and of course stores don't reorder until they're all gone, so the newer figures don't arrive because these suckers are taking up space!

Oh, back to the matter of scale, they did the COOLEST thing. They issued an in-scale Galactus figure!
They even did a version that simply came on a backing card like the rest of the toys! (I didn't get that version. Mine came in a box.)Just THE!! NEATEST!!!

One thing I'm starting to notice is that given time, they will release every version of a character a fan might want.
I bought this modern version of Luke Cage, because I figured it would probably be the only one they made, but nope! They're also doing classic "Power Man" Luke Cage and Iron Fist!
Which makes me glad I passed on the modern Iron Fist when he came out.
I like The Sub-Mariner, so I'd buy any version of him they did. As expected, the mass market Sub-Mariner is wearing his black costume, but they did a classic nearly-nekkid version as part of an exclusive boxed set.
I managed to buy one from someone who bought the boxed set but was selling off the figures piecemeal!

On problem now is, which VERSION of the big TEAMS do I want. Like, I bought Archangel but most of the rest of my X-Men figures are from earlier in the 80s, so he doesn't fit. Kitty Pryde and Colossus are in their modern costumes, but they look enough like their 70s-80s costumes, that it's close enough for me. I bought modern Havok, but I haven't even bothered opening him, since I don't have any more modern X-Men characters. Jean Grey was released in her 90s costume (and looks like shit, so PASS!). They're issuing a 90s Cyclops, but I'll probably pass on him, too. I want a Rogue, but which version of her will they make? Hopefully one that will fit in with the rest of my figures! I'd also like a Professor X, but he might be a hard sell.
I want The Vision from The Avengers, but he's selling for like $40 and up! Fool, you is straight trippin'! He came out after I'd sworn off them and was part of a poorly distributed assortment that I don't think stores ordered many of, so now he's hard to find. Boo!

Now it's a waiting game for them to get around to making certain characters. Like right now, I have the Fantastic Three, since they haven't yet issued the Invisible Woman.
Look at my nearly invisible ass before it disappears!

And yeah, I could just pretend she's there and invisible but that only gets you so far.
I have The Hulk, Sub-Mariner and The Silver Surfer, so now I need Dr. Strange to complete the four core members of The Defenders.Of course with my love of obscure characters, there are a few I am hoping they make but I'm not holding my breath. I'd kill for the other three regular Defenders, Valkyrie, Hellcat and Nighthawk. Especially Hellcat! She's one of my faves!
I'd love the female Captain Marvel as she appeared in the 80s, with that giant-out-of-style-even-at-that-time afro. Her most likely shot at getting made would have been the Secret Wars two-packs, but I think they're done with those, so her likelihood of appearing plummeted. They may make her, but it'll probably be as she appears now.
Also, she's apparently now part of the "no code names" club. Lately, she's been listed as simply Monica Rambeau in her comic appearances.
Foxy Brown. I mean, cyborg detective, Misty Knight.She and her partner Colleen Wing are like the female Luke Cage and Iron Fist! Make it happen Marvel! (Also, if they made the classic Captain Marvel, I'm sure they can tweak her head to reuse as Misty's!) Also, I think her cyborg parts were made by Tony Stark! Does that mean maybe she can be part of the Iron Man franchise? That would KICK ASS!!!Speaking of two-packs, if I ruled the world, I'd already have a set of Dazzlers, in her 70s ferocity and...
...Let's Get Physical 80s look!

Well, I said I wasn't holding my breath, but considering they've made Mary Jane Watson, Union Jack and TWO Captain Britains, I wouldn't say anything is out of the question with this line! Well played, sirs. You have me!


  1. If only all my childhood toys had been to the same scale. He-man always had to be some freak cobra mutant slave fighting Duke when I mixed the joes and master of the universe guys together. Teela always doubled as Giganta for a fight with super powers Wonder Woman. Thankfully Hasbro finally figured it out. If only they had done that for Jem and the Holograms to make them at Barbie scale, the line would still be around.

  2. Well, to be honest, part of the Masters' appeal was how chunky and hefty they were, but I guess a lot of kids already had it in their heads that the Star Wars/GI Joe scale was the "real" action figure size. I was never clever enough to sub Teela for Giganta! What a great idea! The closest I came was the figure Crystar, who easily subbed in as Iceman for the Secret Wars line! (Even though he was a better made toy!)