By Troy Brownfield
As promised, we’re finally catching up on Marvel Legends (just in time for new ones to drop; more on that soon). Today, we’re looking at the recent Hulkbuster Assortment, which is still in stores near you. This Avengers-heavy assortment reflects elements of last year’s Age of Ultron film as well as the Fearless Defenders. Let’s get to it!
Iron Man: Might as well start with the founding Avenger of the group. This go-round for Shellhead finds him decked out in the armor that he began sporting with Iron Man Vol. 5 #1 and Avengers Vol. 5 #1 from 2013 (Iron Man Armor Model 41, if you want to get technical; remember, that’s the comics numbering, not the film numbering). Some fans don’t like seeing as much of Iron Man as we’ve seen in the toy lines in recent years, but I have no problem with it. In fact, this armor felt like a wise choice to me, appearing as it has in some high-profile books and storylines. I found that the detail, color, and poseability on the figure are all quite good. The red elements (which have an effect to “glow” in print) pop nicely, and the overall feel is well-done. This is a good, solid Iron Man figure.
Doctor Strange: This is a sensible pick, as well. The figure itself is simply the “full-color” version of the Astral Doctor Strange that came in the Book of Vishanti SDCC Boxed Set, but you can tell why it merited inclusion in the regular line. For one thing, it’s one of the few significant costume deviations that Strange has had over the years (when you think about it, he’s only had a handful of looks, as opposed to say Iron Man or Rogue). For another, it’s just a well-produced figure. The facial sculpt is spot on, the belt and cape effects make him stand out on the shelf, and it just looks good.
Thundra: She’s never been a major Marvel character, but I’ve honestly wanted a Thundra figure for years. It’s about time. I thought she was great when I first saw her in an issue of Fantastic Four (#179 from 1977), so I’m extremely pleased with this selection. One GREAT thing about both Thundra and Valkyrie is that their sculpts are actually tall. The accurately reflect the height of the ladies from the comics. If you look at the group shot in our gallery, you’ll see that she towers over Iron Man. That’s good stuff. The head sculpt is especially good, capturing a strong expression along with the prominent headband and nice sweep of hair. Included with Thundra is a version of the chain that frequently accompanies her. Very cool.
Valkyrie: As noted, Valkyrie also carries some height. Her look has been updated to her recent “Fearless Defender” appearance, and it’s a good call. She’s got some of the best hair sculpting we’ve seen in the line, period. Her sword, Dragonfang, is well done and is appropriately long. While I personally still prefer the “classic” version that came in the two-pack in 2010, this is a nice-looking figure in its own right and well worth getting for fans of the character and completists.
Vision: No doubt included because of his film debut and his return to prominence in the comics, this figure reflects more recent looks that the character has carried. The two prior versions of the Vision of note were both depictions of his classic costume, so it’s nice to see the change here (just as it was nice to see the “white” version in the recent Target excusive three-pack). The cape is good, and I particularly like both the shade of red used and the shiny sheen on the overall paint-op. It’s a good-looking figure and a good choice for a broader Avengers line-up.
War Machine (Age of Ultron): So this figure was like, “Boom! Here’s your tank!” Anyway, Movie Rhodey is a good call in the long run. Frankly, I think that he should have been moved to the Amazon Boxed Set, and Black Widow moved to a larger mainstream assortment. Regardless, this is a really well made figure, including as it does a lot of detail and a fine swappable head for “masked” and “unmasked” versions of the character. One great feature is the mobility and poseability of the shoulder cannon; I took multiple shots to show a few different posing angles. I’m glad that this figure exists because it fits in really nice with other film figures (check out my write-up on the Amazon Boxed Set, coming soon, for a pic with Rhodey and the rest of the Age of Ultron cast that’s been made so far). It’s hard to argue with a figure this nice.
Blizzard: I like B-List Villains. And Blizzard is a B-Lister with a lot of history. Whenever I see a new assortment announced, I’m always delighted to see guys like this or the forthcoming Cottonmouth. In terms of appearance, Blizzard is pretty what-you-see-is-what-you-get. He’s got a cool costume (no pun intended), the kind that reflects the powerset of the character. He might not stand out on his one next to one of the more hyperdetailed sculpts, but he’s a sturdy entry and I’m glad we’ve got him.
Hulkbuster: Holy crap, kids. As you know, each figure came with a piece of the Hulkbuster as seen in Age of Ultron. And this thing is a MONSTER. And also beautiful. This guy just looms over the rest of the line; I’ve included shots of him with last year’s AoU Hulk from the Thanos series for scale and perspective. I was a little skeptical on the announcement, but I LOVE this guy. He’s HUGE (one leg is almost as tall as Iron Man) and super-fun. My kids (11 and 9) went nuts over this guy. This is exactly the kind of build-a-figure that gets me to go all in on an assortment. If you love the movies and Marvel Legends, this guy is probably a must-have for you. You really need to see it.
All right, all. Thanks for your time. Back soon with a look at the Rhino assortment AND the Age of Ultron Avengers Amazon Boxed Set.
Troy Brownfield is a writer of comics and more. He has a lot of toys. Check out www.sparkshooter.com when you have some time.