Yes, AFJ is in the middle of a frenzy of STAR WARS fever and only STAR WARS. But it was just two months ago that the Junkies were celebrating the "Year of the Legends." AFJ was literally inundated with MARVEL LEGENDS, HASBRO's flagship 6-inch series that included the coveted BAF (BUILD-A-FIGURE). Not only that but HASBRO ended things with a bang--the highly coveted BAF HULKBUSTER that had Junkies scrambling for the BAF parts and forgetting about the main figures in the set.
Then it hit; Force Friday but as anticipated as it was, the event turned out to be a bit of a dud with many Junkies labeling it "Farce Friday" because of the lack of available product. So while EPISODE VII Junkies scratched their heads and waited for George Lucas to give the go-ahead for more planes of products to clear the tower at Skywalker Ranch, AMAZON teamed up with HASBRO for a Pearl Harbor strike of their own with an end of summer unprecedented 4-pack. While I was skeptical when they showed the blurry slide of the unpackaged 4-pack that was the first co-venture with giant online retailer AMAZON. The slide was an unpackaged peek of Thor, Mark Ruffalo Bruce Banner, Black Widow & Hawkeye all in Legends style. The set was to be an AMAZON EXCLUSIVE with a price tag of $80. So if you have AMAZON PRIME, it's exactly $20 a figure. Not too shabby for some LEGENDS that we have never seen before. I pre-ordered the set back in June as any dedicated Junkie would and, bonus, it was being released just a couple of days after my birthday. You know what means, steer the right family member in the right direction and you've got a birthday present instead of an $80 expenditure. I have to admit, it is really sick the way my mind works around the release dates of figures!
The set arrived and man was it far nicer than I expected from what I had seen seven months earlier. So psyched was I that I ordered a second 4-PACK to have for storage so that I could put the one I received as a gift on display--its that nice a set. I like that they scaled out the characters as they are in the film. No two figures are the same size and the Asgardian towers above all as it is supposed to be. Let's go down the list one by one and see which AVENGER is the pick of the litter in what I hope is the first of many AMAZON/HASBRO action figure co-ventures. Each figure is based on Articulation, Sculpting, Paint Job, Likeness & Packaging out of 5 Stars.
Outside of the MARVEL SELECT Thor's, I think that this may be my favorite THOR figure to date. It is practically SELECT in its stature and its facial sculpt is one of the best I have seen to date. Not so much the likeness to Chris Hemsworth because they have that locked down, I am talking about the scowl he has on his face like he is ready to knock Loki into the next world. The Asgardian uniform has some terrific wear to it making it look like it did not just come straight from the cleaners. The cape is perfect, longer than what most Thor figures have. I especially love the gauntlets on his wrist that have a cool sheen to them that shimmer in good lighting giving a spinning Mjolnir an even cooler look. Despite the set containing a Hawkeye, my favorite Avenger, this Thor is close to being my favorite in the four-pack.
PAINT JOB: ****
Despite the new MARVEL SELECT BLACK WIDOW being released over the last few weeks, I think that I like this MARVEL LEGENDS version better! The facial sculpt is definitely my favorite of all of the BLACK WIDOWS that I own! WIDOW looks awesome in her black unitard with the new teal highlights. I was skeptical at the addition of blue hues to everyone's favorite Russian assassin but I think that they look seriously awesome. I hope that they incorporate the teal into the comic book Widow because it is a welcome addition. Armed with two pistols on each hip, BLACK WIDOW also comes with some serious DAREDEVIL style billy clubs each marked with some teal to match her suit. If this were a single packed LEGEND, I think that this figure would be soaring on the secondary market. Overall, this is possibly my favorite new female figure of 2015. Very, very nice job.
PAINT JOB: ****1/2
This next figure was daring on HASBRO & AMAZON's part because it is the first alter ego figure they have made in a good long while. At least in the LEGENDS line. Their have been Peter Parker figures made before but never one as out there as this. I mean, we have been due to a Bruce Banner figure for a long time considering the tremendous amount of Hulk figures there are out there. I cannot imagine what kind of joy this new Banner figure brings action figure photographers. I am betting that they are going to have a blast using the Banner figure with their Hulk figures in some transformation photography. As far as the likeness goes, it is obvious that it is veteran actor Mark Ruffalo playing the big green guy. It is a spot on likeness that I did not think they were going to be able to pull off but it looks terrific. He is only in a suit and a purple button-up shirt but with the exactness of the appearance of Ruffalo, the figure is an absolute winner. I actually hope that they do this with other future figures even though a majority of the MARVEL UNIVERSE's secret identities are not so secret.
PAINT JOB: ****1/2
If I had it my way, HASBRO would make a new HAWKEYE figure every year. He has been my favorite non-super powered AVENGER since I was a kid. Despite the facial likeness of actor Jeremy Renner being a little off, this is a terrific figure. I would have preferred them to include Hawkeye's new long sleeve archer's tunic rather than just the sleeveless look from the first AVENGERS movie but you can't win them all. The suit is spot on with the maroon and purple mix that the film series has used for HAWKEYE's design. The figure comes with a lengthy compound bow and a quiver filled with arrows that you can unfortunately not remove. Still, they go the distance with details having HAWKEYE have archer's equipment on both hands including both the arm guard and finger tab. Very nice job on the close attention to the film. The facial sculpt is really the only loss here making it come in second as the best movie HAWKEYE figure in AVENGERS history. The winner is still the MARVEL SELECT HAWKEYE from 2012. A valiant effort but the head sculpt and awkward neck kill this HAWKEYE for me, Clint Barton's biggest fan.
PAINT JOB: ***