It has been a busy month at AFJ so I apologize for getting this extensive, in-depth look at the first of three new MARVEL LEGENDS waves this summer. Wow, THREE NEW WAVES!! It's like MARVEL LEGENDS heaven out there. Thankfully, my days of braving the heat and snow and any other bad weather are over when it comes to ML's. While I had tons of fun on the hunt out there, chasing down every last figure from a dozen different stores, it just got too expensive what with the gas and the time you really need to devote to the hunt. I still hunt but I think now I do it in a smarter more efficient way. When I factor in everything from where I ordered this case plus the extra figure that I usually sell off, I actually come out ahead. Something to think about Junkies.
A few weeks ago I reviewed the excellent summer film ANT-MAN and the minuscule hero was given his own wave of MARVEL LEGENDS figures in addition to an SDCC Exclusive devoted to all things ANT. This ML wave is an eclectic mix that includes some no-brainers like ANT-MAN (duh), WASP & GIANT MAN. On the other side of the coin, we have BULLDOZER, GRIM REAPER & TIGERSHARK. Fans, including myself, rejoiced that we finally had the final piece of the ML WRECKING CREW puzzle with the addition of BULLDOZER which is probably why there was an immediate spike in price on that figure. All that being said, let's jump right in and go figure by figure and finish of course with the BAF ULTRON!
The movie is officially a hit and it looks like ANT-MAN is going to be integrated into THE AVENGERS film series. I think that this is a very cool move on MARVEL Studios top dog Kevin Feige's part because ANT-MAN is such an easy to relate to a character and brings a touch of light humor that I think Earth's Mightiest Heroes desperately needs. Now, onto the figure. The 6-inch ANT-MAN is a near perfect reflection of what we see on the big screen. If only we had figures like this when the '89 Keaton BATMAN was in theaters. Scott's suit is far better looking than I had expected when I heard that this project was greenlit and it really comes through in the figure. It is the perfect mixture of colors that are not flashy at all. Any shade of red brighter than what they went with and I probably would not dig it as much. Instead, the ANT-MAN suit has turned into one of my favorite MARVEL Universe costumes. Even the helmet looks dope with some flecks in its silver color making it look like it has some actual wear to it which I always like. The usual ML articulation is all there and we are even gifted with two mini ANT-MEN and the giant flying ant that Scott flies around on most of the movie. This figure is definitely one of my favorites in this wave and bonus, it is pretty easy to find on the pegs.
It is hard to believe that Janet Van Dyne, aka WASP, has been around for over fifty years. It was in 1963 when the dynamic duo of Stan Lee & Jack Kirby created the diminutive character to be a partner to Henry Pym, creator of the Pym Particle and the ANT-MAN himself. Although the movie only touches on the fate of what happened to Janet while on a Black Ops mission with husband Hank, it looks as though Hope van Dyne is going to pick up the mantle as the WASP in the ANT-MAN sequel. At least that is what I took from the first of two post-credit sequences in the film. And the suit that Hope will be wearing looks totally badass and just like the one in this figure. Still, this figure is Janet and not Hope. I love the mesh of gold and black accentuating her figure and her signature bob hairdo really selling the look of her era. They even managed to enmesh the gold in her hands showing the eye for detail in the costume. Hasbro really did not skimp on the wings for WASP and they look terrific. Excellent for posing with the rest of the Pym descendants. Now if only they'd made a movie YELLOWJACKET figure!
What I have always loved about Dr. Henry "Hank" Pym is that the guy is a renaissance man of science. He is not just the ANT-MAN; at some point, he has also been GOLIATH, WASP, YELLOWJACKET and of course GIANT MAN. The guy has done it all in all sizes! GIANT MAN man also made his debut half a century ago in TALES TO ASTONISH #49 in November of '63. GIANT MAN is supposed to be around 12 feet tall so in some ways, I feel like Hasbro dropped the ball on this figure even though he looks awesome. However, the new ML packaging can be a hindrance for larger figures like GIANT MAN or even GOLIATH who is like 60 feet tall? They were able to achieve it excellently years ago with the WAL*MART Exclusives but not anymore. A side by side comparison of this GIANT MAN with the new ANT-MAN figure talked about above revealed what would in real life be translated to just a few inches. ANT-MAN is at best (in both comics and film) 6 feet tall so GIANT MAN should be twice as big. And I really do think that Junkies would pay for it because while it is not a big deal to kids, I was definitely disappointed because I have always been a fan of all things Pym. Still, maybe with the 3.75" ANT-MAN set that comes with the flying ant next to this GIANT MAN could be a setup that can work for displays. I just thought of that, sometimes I even amaze myself! On its own merit of looks alone, GIANT MAN looks very cool and this is where that brighter red I mentioned earlier really works. He looks totally old school 60's AVENGER and I dig that.
I honestly thought that they were going to leave us hanging but Hasbro came through. Not only that but the first few weeks that the wave was released, BULLDOZER was the figure that was hard to get a hold of for your collection. Why? Because Henry Camp aka BULLDOZER was the last link in the chain to finish off MARVEL's WRECKING CREW that also includes PILEDRIVER, THUNDERBALL & THE WRECKER. After a planned Ryker's Island prison break along with the other three members of the Wrecking Crew, BULLDOZER was given an impenetrable suit that when he rams head first can be deadly. The new ML of BULLDOZER really looks terrific and the harness that gives Henry his power is a real standout on this piece. The orange really pops and I think that the added touch of having the wrist and ankle steel make BULLDOZER that much more formidable. Together with the other three Crew members, this complete set is going to look amazing together under the right light in the old display case.
I have always known of the GRIM REAPER but upon doing some digging that I always like to do on B-List figures that Hasbro chooses to make, I found that Eric Williams to be a very complex and deeply layered character. First of all, fun fact, Eric is the brother of Simon Williams who you all know as the sometimes AVENGER, WONDER MAN. I had no idea about that so minus points for the head Junkie. Growing up in Simon's golden shadow, Eric had to work twice as hard to get any kind of attention. However, as the brothers got older, it seemed that they had one thing in common: a penchant for trouble. Eric became a professional gambler while Simon took over the family business that was in direct competition with a little outfit known as Stark Industries. After overextending himself in the business and desperate, Simon had to turn to his con artist brother Eric and his "family connections" for assistance. Bottom line, Simon goes to jail but his sprung by supervillain Baron Zemo with the promise of taking down Stark and his Avengers. Although this turned him into WONDER MAN, he paid the price dying at Zemo's hand. Distraught with emotions of ire and guilt that the "good brother" was dead, Eric swore revenge and contacted the Tinkerer who created his signature Scythe weapon that was even amped up by Ultron himself. Eric took on the name of GRIM REAPER and began his reign of terror taking on major players in the MU and even defeated the AVENGERS because of his Scythe's coma-inducing abilities. I particularly liked the REAPERS exploits during MARVEL's DARK REIGN storyline from some years back when he created the LETHAL LEGION. This is not a good dude and not someone you want to mess. When in doubt, do not deal with a FOU (Friend of Ultron). Plus the REAPER's abilities have only been enhanced over the years amping up his strength to superhuman and also dabbling in the arts of voodoo and magic.
The figure is very up to date on the specs with the most recent version of Williams' Scythe attached to his right hand for maximum casualties. It can even spin like a helicopter making it a super deadly weapon. I love the head design and the details on GRIM REAPER's eyes are downright scary! Plus those teeth make him look like he is ready for a bed at Bellevue immediately if not sooner. The silver Scythe is silvery shiny and his PUNISHER-like skull and crossbones on his chest look scarier than Frank Castle's. Eric Williams wants a piece of the big pie and a part in the big MARVEL narratives. This will definitely be a figure to pose with another figure being on the chopping block with REAPER's oversized Scythe ready to do some GAME OF THRONES style beheading! Crazy figure. Way better than the 3 & 3/4" INFINITE SERIES. Job well done and I am glad I finally know his backstory.
TIGERSHARK is definitely one of those rare figures that I never really thought would get the ML treatment. However, I do like that Hasbro takes chances with some of their characters that are on the lower rung. Todd Arliss was just an arrogant Olympic level swimmer who made his first appearance in an issue of PRINCE NAMOR: THE SUB MARINER. In an attempt to gain personal glory, Arliss tries to save a drowning man but severs his spinal cord instead. Terrified that he will never swim again, the young Arliss agrees to a Doctor's proposition that is willing to do surgery on him by blending the DNA of the superhero NAMOR and an actual Tiger Shark. On the plus side, Arliss can swim again but the procedure turned him into a mutant of sorts warping his mind and altering his physical makeup. He developed razor-sharp teeth and gills and like a tiger shark, he became an aquatic predator. After all, is said and done, Todd Arliss is now an amphibious humanoid (with the skills of an Olympic swimmer) that has the traits of a human, an Atlantean (cool) and a tiger shark. He is the SUB-MARINER's equal but must be submerged in water to be at his peak performance.
The figure is really cool looking with the same teeth and eyes that the GRIM REAPER has--scary looking. Even more so on TIGER SHARK because his teeth are made of Adamantium! The dorsal fin on his head is quite prominent and I actually dig the color scheme of the creamsicle orange and shiny metallic purple. Above his eyes, the details are excellent with what looks like the actual movement of his eyebrows in a fierce stare down. Very sharp looking figure and I would love to see more Atlantean love from Hasbro with more underwater heroes and villains made in the future. A definite sleeper figure in my opinion.
It has really been the summer of ULTRON so when I saw that the BAF in this wave was Tony Stark's A.I. monster gone mad, I was psyched because I think besides the MARVEL SELECT figure, I only had one of this character in my collection. The figure with the BAF parts takes all of two minutes to put together and stands at over 8-inches tall. I have seen the new Target Exclusive with ULTRON, HULK & VISION and just by eyeballing it, I definitely like this ULTRON better. Not too much red to overwhelm and a perfect facial match to what we see in the AVENGERS: AGE OF ULTRON movie. A well done BAF and highly recommended.