Welcome to Figures & Speech, Nerdist’s regular column by, for, and about grown-ups who still play with their toys but might want to know more before they buy. From product reviews to informed editorials, these are most definitely the articles that’ll make you want to strike a pose. Click on any image to enlarge it.
Hasbro‘s Marvel Legends assortments sometimes seem to be shooting themselves in the foot with the way they mix movie figures and comic figures together. True, you don’t have to buy them all, unless you want the larger build-a-figure, but as a guy who collects primarily movie versions, I’m still bummed that I have an incomplete movie-style Giant Man because I didn’t buy three comic-based figures I had no interest in. With the first series of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 Legends, at least the build-a-figure is comic-based (unless he’s in the movie and is being well-hidden), though I also sympathize with the misbegotten souls who maybe don’t like Michael Rooker‘s interpretation of Yondu (they’re way off-base, but I do understand being a stickler for fealty). I get the logic–it’s to make less-popular characters sell. But all-movie assortments would suit me personally better.
I’m curious why Nova gets his own branding–is Sam Alexander really that popular to merit it over, say, Angela? Whatever the reason, like Kamala Khan in the Spider-Man wave, he comes with the BAF torso so he’s a must-have to build Titus. The smaller teen body does give him some extra agility, and I can see why he’d be popular with kids.
The art on the sides of the package is quite nice, varying between comic art and movie photos, depending on the character. The packaging is also mostly collector friendly–remove the tape, and you can just slide out the tray. The only possible exceptions to this are Drax, whose knives are held down with a plastic tie, and Angela, who has some parts of her costume threaded through the plastic tray.
Star-Lord does not come with a piece of Titus, and this is actually a nice gesture by Hasbro, given that true collectors will probably want to get him in the Entertainment Earth two-pack that’s the only way to get Ego, his dad. There’s also another Star-Lord coming in the next wave with a longer coat, so basically this one is just for kids who can’t wait and want Star-Lord NOW. It’s a nice figure with a decent likeness, and pegs on his hips that fit through the trigger spaces of his guns to holster them (never do that with real guns, FYI).
If you get two, of course, you can display the alternate masked head as well.
Darkhawk and Vance Astro share the same card because reasons, but they do come with different parts of Titus. I’m not familiar with the characters, but Darkhawk reminds me of the old Silverhawks cartoons and figures.
“We can fly! We can fly!”
Because Vance features multiple levels of paint, including a nifty metallic blue, you will see some scraping-slop at the joints. If you’re buying him to play with, this will probably get worse.
If you’re buying him more to display, pick a pose and stick with it.
The Captain America shield pegs into his back, which is a nice extra touch.
Nova comes with his little buddy Phlish, whose life was short but notable. Interestingly enough, I had to ask three comic-expert friends before I found one who knew who he was, which should indicate how well Hasbro is getting to obscure characters.
This fellow needs no introduction–his skin tells the tale.
While the comic figures often use generic-ish bodies (Vance and Darkhawk especially), the level of detail and color on Drax is almost McFarlane-esque, which is a term that’s gonna get very ironic with another figure in this series…
Drax is no stranger to action figure form, and nor is the fellow who plays him.
“BAH GAWD King, he suckered him with a clothesline! That’s what you call self-loathing!”
[I’d quote current WWE announcers, except that nobody likes or cares about them.]
“Haha! He’s Drax-ing up, J.R.!”
“Cosmic slam! Cosmic slam! Cosmic slam!”
If you had told me that one day Michael Rooker would have a Marvel action figure in his likeness…my goodness.
There is a lot to like about this figure, which is why it’s unfortunate that there are also a couple of things not to. Mainly, his messed-up left ankle joint.
If Yondu actually breaks his ankle in the movie I’ll take it back, but this isn’t good otherwise:
His right elbow is also a little wonky. Look at the proportions of his left arm and compare to his right. It’s subtle, and probably not noticeable to kids, but keeps Yondu from being the amazing figure he nearly is.
On the definite plus side, Yondu comes with an alternate “whistling while mohawked” head, and his whistle-activated dart.
It might have bene nice to add a neutral version of the dart without the trail, since he has a functioning holster for one. Still, the fact that this figure even exists makes me happy.
It’s reunion time!
Next up is “Marvel’s Angela,” and as an old-school Spawn fan, it pains me to call her that.
Angela was created as the angelic counterpart to Spawn–a near-naked hunter of Hellspawn throughout time. She was one of my favorite characters when I was a teen, for all the most obvious reasons. The reason she’s with Marvel now is that, while she was created for the Spawn comic by Neil Gaiman, Todd McFarlane insisted on ownership and didn’t pay reprint royalties, leading to a lawsuit that Gaiman won…and he sold the character to Marvel.
So she may be the first superhero to have been made into a toy by both Hasbro and McFarlane Toys. The most obvious difference, aside from the aesthetic changes (no spear, no Spawn-logo earrings), is that she’s more articulated and looks cleaner. Todd’s figures–like “Tiffany,” his insta-rip-off of Angela once he lost the rights, always look like they’ve been through a battle.
Now here’s Titus, pre-assembly.
“I am Groot!”
“Yeah, well I’m a space tiger with a big gun, so suck on it!”
Group shot! Putting them together really shows off the differences in style, as the movie guys look like they hail from a seedier, darker part of the universe.
Guardians! Gather! (Team filled out with comic versions, pending new movie figures from the next wave.)
“Uh, guys? What poses are you doing here, exactly?”
Let’s take another moment to appreciate the actor likenesses. I’ve been hard on some of Hasbro’s scans lately, especially in the Star Wars Black Series, but even photographed larger than life, these guys hold up:
While I may be impressed, however, not everyone in the house is.
Hasbro’s Guardians figures should be hitting your local stores right about now. Which ones will you pick up, if any?
Images: LYT for Nerdist
Luke Y. Thompson is Nerdist’s weekend editor, and plays with toys during the week. Tweet him @LYTrules.