Yes, I still very much miss the MARVEL UNIVERSE 3 & 3/4" line of figures from HASBRO. I just figured that the MARVEL INFINITE series was just the next progression in the line. And although it has been reported that sales on the line have been better than expected with no end to the line in sight, it still seems like fans are not getting on board as much as HASBRO had hoped. Still, sales are sales so, in the end, it doesn't really matter whether we love the figures or not. The main problem that I hear echoed every day on the AFJ Facebook page is that although these figures look excellent, the lack of articulation is the main factor that is turning buyers off. Especially the buyers that used to buy the MU figures by the case, like me. Still, being the "completist" I am, I still feel the need to pick up as many of these as I can. Articulation is important to me but I get my fix for that with the 6-inch LEGENDS line and to tell you the truth I never really posed my MU figures all that crazy. I have just never been that kind of display person plus being a MOC collector a majority of the time, my figures rarely leave their plastic and cardboard home! Anyway, this new wave of figures from the INFINITE series was just too good for me to pass up with some rarely seen figures in plastic form. So limited articulation or not, they had to be mine! Here is a figure by figure breakdown of the newest wave.
The Vulture aka Adrian Toomes has always been one of my favorite SPIDER-MAN villains and is an original member of the dreaded SINISTER SIX. Toomes was a brilliant electronics engineer that created a super flight harness that after being screwed over by his business partner, he took the apparatus to use for a life of crime. I always felt that the Vulture was an underrated villain of Spidey's and never really got his due. I guess that is why I was so excited to see a tease of Vulture's harness at the end of the Andrew Garfield AMAZING SPIDER-MAN 2 film. But as we now know, that will never come to pass. The figure itself is very well put together with the classic costume I grew up with. The green is not overpowering and I have always been a sucker for a figure with wings because when displayed, it just makes them look larger. Toomes' facial sculpt in particular is excellent and captures the Vulture's scowl and disdain for the Web-Crawler perfectly. Definitely happy to have more of my 3 & 3/4" SINISTER SIX lineup fulfilled.
I have never been a fan of the whole Miles Morales Spidey storyline despite it being a rock-solid narrative just like almost every Brian Michael Bendis book. To me, Peter Parker is Spider-Man, end of story, no asterisks or anything like that. Like the HIGHLANDER said, "There can only be one." While Miles Morales is a pleasant enough distraction and I read his characters trade paperbacks, I never understood why publishers have to take a good thing and make it into something totally different just for the sake of adding some kind of spin to boost sales. Would we take WATCHMEN and make the same lineup with the core character's kids? Or some disgruntled 80's teens taking on the roles of THE COMEDIAN and company? But here we have just another Spider-Man figure in a new costume whose uniform I actually dig but proportionately, the figure's height makes him look like a regular sized Spider-Man when in reality, Miles is tiny. The costume is kind of a hip hybrid of the red and black we have seen integrated over the years sans the blues that really make Spidey pop on the page. A backpack accessory is included with the figure to assure us "this is a teenager" for some reason. I kinda hate when figure makers do stuff like that because it feels like they are dumbing down the notion that we may not read comics. If I were to suggest a Miles Morales Spider-Man figure, I would go with the not quite 6-inch WAL*MART Exclusive from a few years back. That figure captured the character especially around the large manga-esque eyes and also made him very shrimpy which is reflective of Miles' height in the comic book: the dude is small. If there is a clunker in this INFINITE wave, I think that this is the one.
It is weird to see SHANNA without KA-ZAR protecting the Savage Lands but I will say that this is a very rare character to get in figure form, no matter what scale. I believe that there is a MARVEL LEGENDS size 2-pack of KA-ZAR & SHANNA but that is all I can think of off the top of my head. Because of the scale of the figure, they kind of "power down" SHANNA's usual women's UFC like body. She does not quite have that thickness that we are used to seeing on the pages. I think were it not for the package, a MARVEL figure newbie may not even recognize who the character is because she has never had that much of a recognizable costume. Shanna is really just a babe in the wild with a loincloth and fur-like bikini top. She looks a lot like Raquel Welch in ONE MILLION YEARS B.C. but without KA-ZAR and their tiger, the figure just looks like a hot babe with a knife. Another pass but good for customizers looking to make a female character that has never been produced before.
Another member of the SINISTER-SIX in the same wave? Now we're talking! Simply labeled DOC OCK on the package rather than DR. OCTOPUS, I think that this is a terrific iteration of Dr. Otto Octavius. They go back to his roots and give him the old bowl cut hairdo, visor and husky, overweight build. His green jumpsuit with the yellow highlights on his belt and gloves work perfectly and its like he just was torn out of a comic book of old. The killer part here is the excellent sculpting of his signature mechanical arms that are fused to his body making him a six-armed maniac. The mechanical arms move but not as much as I would like them too but enough for me to pose him well enough next to the other members of the SIX. If the 3 & 3/4" figures still carried some monetary weight on the secondary market, I would say that DOC OCK would be up there as the figure to own. One, it is a villain and two, it is not a villain that has been made ad nauseum. The good doctor also has an odd smile on where you see his teeth and it gives the character an extra dose of creepiness. Bonus points for making the mechanical arms look a little worn and used and not like they just came off the assembly line. Well done.
Here is a big time rarity for you from the world of everyone's favorite ASGARDIAN. I think that because of the character's lack of major popularity, it is important to give some backstory for you Junkies because it is actually pretty cool. Eric Masterson was working as a simple architect when he became pals with THOR while he was taking on the identity of Sigurd Jarlson. When Eric was severely injured assisting Thor to take on Mongoose, Odin merged the pair's life-forces resulting in two men within just one body. The story from there always kind of confused me because it had to do with Eric losing custody of his son Kevin but I was not sure how that played into the whole Asgardian nature of things. When it was presumed that Loki had been killed by his brother Thor, Odin banished him and gave Masterston the mighty power of the God of Thunder. For a stint, Masterson began to hone his abilities as the new Thor in the Avengers and was given his own weapon by Odin, the mace that was called Thunderstrike. Since he couldn't think of a better name for himself and never thinking of taking the name THOR, he took on the moniker of his new weapon THUNDERSTRIKE. From there, things get righted eventually in the world of Asgard and Thor returns but not before the violent death of Thunderstrike where Odin buries him as a man for his own afterlife rather than heed Thor's request for his friend to be sent to Valhalla.
The THUNDERSTRIKE figure looks dope and he always reminded me of like a "Biker THOR." He has a similar uniform as Thor but sports a ponytail and a vest over the chest plate with the four circles just like on the God of Thunder. He wears a cool vest and these big Major League Baseball catcher-like boots. And his belt is bright yellow like Batman's utility belt. Along with Wonder Woman style bracelets and the awesome looking THUNDERSTRIKE mace, this is a seriously cool looking figure. Its a good conversation starter too because when I put it on my display shelf, it wasn't five minutes before someone asked which version of Thor this was. So, ha! Action figures do get people talking!
I don't know why but besides the brand new NETFLIX DAREDEVIL suit that just blew me away, I have always loved the DAREDEVIL "ARMORED" costume. You may remember the DD story arc where Matt Murdock is outed by the papers as the superhero, fakes his own death and takes on the identity of Jack Batlin, an homage to his father's boxing name "Battlin" Jack Murdock. After a particularly bad ass whooping, Matt decided that he needed to beef up his suit with some more protected materials. He implemented biometric hardware and even some Wolverine-style adamantium to create a new armor style costume for the mean streets of Hell's Kitchen. The story plays out with a double as Daredevil proving that Murdock is just a blind lawyer and nothing else. Still, the awesome suit he created always stuck with me and I had a couple of figures that they made of it back in the early 90's. Secretly, I was hoping that we were going to get a MARVEL LEGENDS of this sweet looking DAREDEVIL suit. I actually was hoping that they would bring it back for the SHADOWLAND storyline from about five years ago but I think that these duds are officially hung up in the superhero costume hall of fame. The suit lends itself perfectly to this 3 & 3/4" figure and the piece just looks tight from head to toe. I love the way that the silver pads compliment the hard reds and blacks that give the suit a different kind of fluidity. Plus who doesn't love steel billy clubs? A+ on this one!