Catching Up with Marvel Legends: Thanos Series
By Troy Brownfield
Hey, we’re almost caught up! As noted previously, 2015 is shaping up to be a (no pun intended) banner year for the Marvel Legends line. Today’s topic is the most recent arrival to store shelves (though Ant-Man arrival reports are coming in). It’s a six-figure Avengers-centric wave featuring the long-awaited Thanos build-a-figure. I say “long-awaited” because, amazingly, the Mad Titan has NEVER been featured in Marvel Legends. There’s been an excellent Marvel Select version, a smaller one in Marvel Universe (and Super Hero Squad!) and there were a couple of swings at him in the ‘90s Toy Biz lines (notably those based on the FF and Silver Surfer cartoons), but there’s just never been a Marvel Legend. Until now. Thanos is joined by two other characters that are absolutely brand-new to Legends as well. Let’s start with them; please refer to the lovely mosaic tile picture gallery below for visual reference.
Batroc (includes Thanos torso): That’s right. Batroc. Freaking Batroc. While some might have been skeptical about the inclusion of Ze Leaper, I was ecstatic. I’ve always liked this crazy-ass villain. I shamelessly impressed my enjoyment of his D-List craziness on my children. When he showed up in Captain America: The Winter Soldier, we were delighted (my wife was like, “Quoi?”. Okay, that’s a joke. She totally knew who Batroc was. She probably hates me.). In all seriousness, though, the inclusion of Batroc demonstrates a commitment on the part of Hasbro/Marvel Legends to 1) non-A-list characters and 2) minor villains (they’ll go even harder in the near future with the Ant-Man/Ultron Prime Series).
As far as the figure goes, this is an excellent, sturdy sculpt. The paint is great, and the face is terrific. I was also pleasantly surprised to discover that the figure is bizarrely well-balanced. If you look closely here at my pic of Batroc vs. Cap, you’ll see that the figure isn’t leaning on Cap; it’s actually standing on one foot. Frankly, that’s just crazy. While Batroc is essential toward completing Thanos (again, torso), I would totally recommend it based on the strength of presentation.
Hellcat (includes Thanos left arm and head): The other figure that I was most excited about was Hellcat. Hellcat! Younger Me was a pretty big Defenders fan. I fondly remember that crazy sprint toward issue #100 where Patsy Walker was a central player. With Patricia set to appear in the forthcoming Netflix series “AKA Jessica Jones”, it makes sense that this heroine would get a shot at plastic immortality.
Once again, I’m going to use the word “solid”. This is a strong sculpt with some nice, subtle paint work (check out the light blue on the mask). The general poseability of Marvel Legends figures usually suits agile and athletic characters well; that’s once again the case here. I’m just glad that the figure exists, to be honest, so it’s gratifying to see that it just looks good.
Spider Woman (includes Thanos left arm and head): This is the second time that 616 Jessica Drew has been in the line; the first time was in the MODOK Series waaaaay back in 2006. (I make the distinction for 616 because Ultimate Spider-Woman recently appeared in the Spider-Man Hobgoblin Series). This figure is an improvement both in terms of facial sculpt and general overall appearance. The best idea was the inclusion of the “underarm wings”, an element that captures one of the best design aspects of the character as originally seen in the comics. I was a little on the fence about this one, considering that I had the original version. However, seeing it up close, I felt like it was a strong enough entry to get. If you’re a fan that missed out on the first figure, this one’s a must-have for you.
Hulk (includes Thanos right arm): Hulk is one of three Avengers in the assortment based on their Avengers: Age of Ultron film appearance. As such, he’s probably going to be welcome to a lot of fans. He’s appropriately big, and the design captures the movie look (complete with pants). At this point, there are a number of different Hulks available, so the casual fan might not be as drawn to it if they weren’t determined to build Thanos. Nevertheless, this is a very well-made Hulk figure that has some real weight to it. I’d actually like to see them do a Red Hulk repaint of this one in the near future to make that character available to people that may have missed the rare Red Hulk BAF a few years back.
Iron Man in Mark 43 armor (includes Thanos left leg): Iron Man’s got a few things going for him as far as a character with many, many figures to his credit goes. First off, there’s the fact that it’s a different armor. Second, there’s the nice alternate head accessory, which has the faceplate flipped up to reveal Tony. That’s such a logical choice, it’s a wonder we haven’t seen it several times before. As you might imagine, the figure is well-made. I found the paint op to be well-applied; there are a lot of crevices and small areas to the design, so I thought this in particular was evocative of craftsmanship for this one. This figure is probably a must for armor completists, but it shouldn’t be cause for too much complaining from those buying it for the leg because it IS a nice figure.
Captain America (includes Thanos right leg): Cap features his Age of Ultron suit, but here are the real features: the extra head and hands. The Steve Rogers head is a great touch, considering how much of the film has Cap unmasked. However, the hands are also great; apart from fists, we get other hands that allow Cap to perform, yes, combat signals. Some might see the flat-palm as a “karate chop”; I see it as Cap giving directions in the field. Those small touches are just so much a part of this character that it makes it much easier for me to recommend on its own. The iconic shield is well-done; I like the construction that puts the larger loop up the arm and the smaller loop at the list. Cap also stands well, enabling things like that Batroc fight shot. While my collection is stocked with several Caps, this is definitely one of the nicer versions.
Thanos: And now . . . the main event. My sole regret: no Infinity Gauntlet. Aside from that, however, this is another fine BAF in the pantheon. For one thing, Thanos feels massive next to a character like Batroc (as well he should). For another, the construction of the figure was such that the build process was very simple. There have been BAFs in the past where you had to push like crazy to get a piece on; Thanos was very easy to assemble. I also really like the facial expression captured here; that is one maniacal smile. Overall, just a great job on an essential character.
All right, gang. We’re up to THISMINUTE with the Marvel Legends reviews. But be warned! Three new series drop in short order, and we’ll be keeping an eye toward the aisles. So, how about you? Enjoy this wave? Have a favorite? Discuss below!