by Troy Brownfield
Stop and breathe in the air for a moment, collectors. Scholars and philosophers (and bloggers and various sections for comments) may someday agree that 2015 marked one of the high points for Marvel Legends. With a large number of assortments, exclusives and never-before-made characters (Misty Knight! White Tiger! Thundra! Hellcat! Freaking Batroc!) making their way to shelves, this year will be hard to beat. Another feature in the Hasbro cap is the just-released Guardians of the Galaxy boxed set. We’d been told it was coming for quite some time, and many fans were excited when it went up for pre-order. The sets began arriving last week (and they’re still available!), so we’re here to take a look.
The Box: Once more, the box art is outstanding. Remember: this set is a “comic-accurate” version of the big 5 from the Abnett-Lanning run of the book. That run of the book, as you probably know, is what set the stage for the film in the long run. And while we got a nice “movie-look” set of the cast last year, a number of fans were eager for this version (more on that as we go figure by figure). As such, the box art on the front depicts the team in a style harkening back to the great Clint Langley covers of that DnA run. The sides feature each characters face inside the GOTG chevron, and the back is a group photo. The interior figure try is laid out much like the tray from the Dr. Strange boxed set, giving each accessory a firm place. Big upside: a lack of frustrating ties. Now, to the figures . . .
Star-Lord: Peter Quill appeared in Marvel Legends form last year in the SDCC Exclusive Thanos Imperative set. This one is similar with some tweaks, but that won’t matter to fans that weren’t able to get ahold of the Thanos Imperative set before the price shot up on eBay. Here with have Star-Lord in his blue-uniformed masked appearance. Included for Quill are two blasters (of the variety that Paul Pelletier, Brad Walker and company frequently drew for him) and a Cosmic Cube (as in the broken one that Star-Lord and Nova used to hold the line against Thanos at the close of the Imperative. I’ve included a shot of this figure alongside the original ML Nova for those wishing to scream right back in the face of Death). If you’re a big fan that lacked a figure, this one’s perfect.
Rocket Raccoon: Speaking of characters that appeared in a different form, the comic-centric Rocket was originally a BAF in the pain-in-the-ass-to-find wave that bore his name. If you’re a collector that missed THAT too, then you’ll be extremely happy to land this. It’s a quintessential comics Rocket that includes the rifle from the BAF (see the cover of GOTG #10, 2009) and two others (see the #20 cover, for example). And, just like the Marvel Universe boxed set version of Rocket from a view years back, this one also comes with, yep, a Groot sapling in the pot. Spot on.
Drax: A strong update from the previous ML version, Drax now boasts interchangeable hands and two sets of blades. One set can slide into sheathes on his boots, which is a nice touch. Drax might be the least of the bunch, but that’s not a knock. I just happen to find that the others, even if they aren’t all entirely new, have more of a kick to them. However, it’s quite a fine representation of the character and (yes, this song again) great for someone that never got the earlier version.
Groot: Similarly, the body of Groot is based on the BAF from the 2014 movie set. However, the head is entirely new to reflect Groot’s appearance from the comic. The color scheme of the paint op also gets a update to bring it in line with the books. Groot is solidly made and ably supports the Rocket figure on his shoulder (which, let’s face it, is how a whole lot of collectors will pose these guys). Really nice job on the new head, which gives him a slightly more impressive height.
Gamora: Totally new, this figure IS the DnA Gamora. There was a lot of care and attention given to this figure, which gets two heads, one cloak, one cape and her Big Ass Sword. One head is sculpted with a hood to go with the cloth cloak look. That’s a great detail and simply a fine decision on the part of Hasbro. The other head sculpt goes sans hood and works well with the plastic cape. These little touches can transform the look of a displayed figure and are always a good idea. In fact, the cloak put me in mind of when Gamora was severely burned and wore one while she recovered. Anything that makes you think directly of the source material is a bonus.
The Team: The line-up is pretty great when you put them all together. For extra fun, I took a shot with two of the more recent comics members (and ML additions from the past 12 months), Captain Marvel and Agent Venom. However, doing this also just made me want an updated Adam Warlock and debut figures for Moondragon, Phyla-Vell, Mantis, Cosmo, Bug (come on! Who doesn’t want Cosmo and Bug?!), Major Victory and Jack Flag (to say nothing of the original Guardians. But anyway . . .)
Wrap-Up: Overall, this is another excellent Marvel Legends set. They’ve been hitting it hard all year, and I don’t expect to be let down anytime soon. Check back in the near future when I’ll be tackling the Ant-Man/Ultron Prime BAF assortment. As always, sound off below, and thanks for reading.