Monday, September 05, 2005

Marvel Legends 9 - a look back

Tomorrow(thanks a lot, UPS!) I should be receiving my shipment of Marvel Legends Series 10 and I thought I'd take this moment to pause and reflect on the previous wave.

Character-wise, this is probably the single weakest wave in the history of the line. Expecting a huge success due to the waves' Build-A-Figure of Galactus, it seems like Toy Biz took the opportunity to kind of just stick in whatever characters they liked that they couldn't ordinarily get away with without a Big Name. The Big Names being Hulk, Spider-man, Wolverine, Iron Man, Ghost Rider. Wait, you say this wave has an Iron Man and a Hulk? That's true, but let's be honest, they're not the best representatives of the Big Names. The First Appearance Hulk is an ugly, ugly dude. War Machine is cool, but he's barely a real Iron Man, is he? He couldn't sustain his own series.

Yet this series, after the usual moaning and groaning from collectors, is a pretty widely-liked wave. Why? Let's go through the figures:

The worst figure in the wave? Yeah, I guess so. I was disappointed when I first got him, and put him away soon after. His appeal was limited. Yet I've been playing with this figure all weekend in anticipation of series 10, and I really have to say this guy is underrated. I like the character a lot, and this is a pretty damned close representation of him. He's playable, looks kind of cool, and I just sort of dig the guy. Main flaws: the hose in his chest, and the giant shoulder-balls. Even those I don't really find as annoying on him as I do on say, the Silver Surfer. I think the guy works.

Dr Strange
One of my all time favorite figures. I think he's nigh flawless, with the possible exception being that he isn't designed to use a flying stand, so he's limited. I make do with a Guyver stand and he looks pretty damned cool if I say so myself. I think Toybiz hit this one out of the park.

First Appearance Hulk
Yeah, so I hate the regular version of this figure, the Grey Hulk, his facial expression is just bland, and I feel generally bored with him. However, the variant, the Green Hulk, is another story. I can hardly put this guy down. Toybiz finally got the right shade of green for a Hulk, as opposed to the toxic waste dark green they usually use on him. The sculpting on the body is the same, and is equally as good on both... but the Green Hulk's expression makes the figure. It's a subtle thing, but I think it shows.

Yawn. A good figure, an interesting character... what happened? He has no spark, no personality. There's nothing really wrong with him that I can see... he's just missing that Toybiz touch.

Professor X
A few people question why some love Toybiz so much; Here's an example why. We have here a man in a wheelchair, a character that we don't need to do anything but sit quietly in the background, and here Toybiz not only gives him a brand-spanking-new sculpt, they make him incredibly articulated to boot. No picture of this guy, since I'm using his body for a custom and he's uh, headless at the moment.

Probably the most anticipated figure in this wave, no one really seems to care about him anymore. I can see why. He's the fourth figure in the line to reuse the body from Marvel Legends Series 1 Iron Man. To be sure, it's a great base for a figure, and this is, in my opinion, the best iteration thus far, but there's not a whole lot to say about him.

Ah, Bullseye. Before ML9 came out, and early on during its release, you'd think this figure had ripped up a picture of the Pope on Saturday Night Live. All because of his ridiculously oversized head. Yet since his release, he's surprising become probably the single most popular figure in the series! Why? What's changed? Well, basically, he's the epitome of Toybiz's articulation art. The new base body designed for him is basically perfect in every way(except some gobbledygook about the hip joints). He quickly leapt to the top of the customizers' favorite figures to use, and has only slowed down due to overuse and the accompanying "too popular, must not really be cool" attitude some customizers tend to develop.

The first of three Build-A-Figures(that we've seen, anyway), Galactus sets the bar high for the rest. The real star of the wave, he is the ultimate Marvel Legend. As fun and as sophisticated a figure as Toybiz has ever done, when you have this guy in your hand you start to feel bad for all the people who don't collect Marvel Legends.


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