Ok, I admit it. I’m pretty far behind on taking loose shots of Hasbro’s Marvel Universe Wave 3 (and 4). I’ve had this series for a few weeks now, and Wave 4 just arrived a couple of days ago. So why the delay?
I blame Nick Fury. Since I heard about the Nick Fury exclusive figure, I’ve been meticulously saving up the card backs and inserts, not knowing what was going to be needed to for the promotion. And now, even after I’ve learned that it’s a Marvel Digital Comics subscription I’ll need to get it, and that the cards I so gently saved are not, my obsessive compulsive tendencies have kicked in. I’m being just as careful tearing these things open, and it takes time.
The real delay was waiting for the OpenX package opener that I ordered because I can’t help buying gadgets and wanted to use it to preserve the cards. The good news is it works great!
All right, let’s get onto the figures!
Black Costume Spider-Man
Spidey is based on the Human Torch / Iron Fist body, so his body is well-proportioned for a lean look. However, for scale purists he’s going to be too big. One change vis-a-vis the previous figures is that Spidey comes with a right fist – Torch and Iron Fist came with two open hands. Hasbro has hinted that Iron Fist is going to get a running change, and I’m guessing he’s getting Spidey’s fist. That may sound odd, out of context.
I’ve talked about how I love the torso joint on this body, and here it works really well for Spidey. The rest of the articulation is also very serviceable, with the exception of the ankles. While fine on the previous figures, I would expect Spidey to be doing a lot of crouching, and the range of motion on the ankles isn’t quite enough for my tastes.
I think the paint is excellent here, with blue airbrushed highlights.
At the heart of him, the Thing is based off the Hulk body, so there’s a couple of key things (no pun intended) straight away. His hips have minimal movement. His head is on a swivel instead of a ball-joint. And my biggest pet peeve, I’ve always pictured the Thing as normal height but really wide. Almost every figure I’ve ever seen done of him is way too tall, and this isn’t an exception.
I’m sure I’m in the minority, but I’m really a fan of the Thing in his pants and boots, so I’m pleased to get this figure. He’s painted nicely, with a couple of different hues of orange for his rocky skin. He’s also rumored to have a running change to accommodate fans of the different color schemes for the costumes the Fantastic Four have used. Unfortunately, he’s missing the Fantastic Four logo – probably a cost-saving omission.
What a difference a head makes! Sure, he’s still on the Punisher / Black Panther body, which was the first one that Hasbro made and remains to me the worst of the lot. But the new head is a vast improvement. It’s got great character, and it’s not grossly oversized.
I don’t know if it’s just a variance in the production process, but my wave one Punisher had a very loose knee – I fixed it by wrapping one of the clear rubber bands into the joint. Black Panther and this Punisher are both solidly constructed with no loose joints. I’ll get another sample point when I open up Blade from wave 4.
When I get a wave of figures, I often find that the ones that I’m anticipating most don’t quite meet up with my expectations. I’m really happy to say that with Iron Man, that wasn’t the case. He was the one I was looking forward to the most, and he doesn’t disappoint. He’s got a beautiful sculpt, almost as if he’s a shrunken down version of the Iron Man we’re going to be seeing soon from the Marvel Legends 2-packs. A lot of people have been critical of the long and narrow torso, but it works for me.
And one thing Hasbro knows how to do is get metallics done right. The red on Iron Man pops, and they didn’t go overboard with the black wash, just using it on the horizontal grooves in the neck, wrists, fingers, and boots. I think the only things that would make this figure better are the addition of ball-jointed hips (all Marvel Universe could use this) and a removable face plate with Tony Stark underneath it. I can dream, right?
This is my favorite figure of the wave, and probably of the whole line thus far.
Ms. Marvel and First Appearance Variant
For the first female figure in this line, Hasbro has given us two versions of Ms. Marvel – one in her current Warbird costume, and one in her first appearance costume. Call it serendipitous or just good planning, but both costumes are featured in the comics right now. Carole Danvers is in the Warbird costume in New Avengers, despite dying in her own title, and Karla Sofen (aka Moonstone) is in the first appearance costume in Dark Avengers and the Ms. Marvel title. Both these figures are identified as Carole, but if you wanted a Karla figure, you could do a headswap from the Warbird figure to first appearance. If these weren’t so hard to find, I might try that.
I think the figure has a decent sculpt and size. She’s devoid of any sculpted on details (the sash and scarf are separate pieces) so she’ll work for a pretty wide variety of normal-sized (at least in the comics world) female characters. There’s good and bad with the articulation. She’s got the boobiticulation that we first saw on Marvel Legends Scarlet Witch, and the ankles are pretty good. Warbird’s hair is molded in very pliable plastic, so it doesn’t restrict movement.
The shoulders could be sunken deeper into the sockets – you can see this pretty clearly on Warbird’s flesh-colored shoulders. And she’s missing both bicep swivels and elbros, and without either of those this girl won’t be crossing her arms anytime soon. I think the biggest improvement could be made in the crotch. It’s too wide and flat, making her thighs look too broad. Despite the criticisms, I think this is a good base figure to start with for female characters in Marvel Universe, and I expect to see it reused quite a bit.
Just like with the Hand Ninja in the upcoming Marvel Legends 2-Packs, the Marvel Universe figure reuses the Ronin body released earlier in its respective line. All that’s new here is the hooded head. He comes with 3 weapons, all leveraging previous releases as well – a katana, again from Ronin, a dagger from Bullseye, and a spear from Black Panther. It’s nice to have enough weapons to mix it up if you’re army building these, but it’d have been extra nice to get a bow.
I’d have preferred a more classic interpretation for the Hand, but as for opportunistic re-use this isn’t bad. One common complaint I’ve seen is that the bottom of his robe restricts movement in the legs. After having him open for a day, I’ve noticed that there’s a little more flexibility there. I’ll have to see with time if the hip joints remain sturdy. My biggest quibble is that the hood restricts up and down movement on his head.
That’s it for now. In the coming days, I’ll be getting to wave 4 and posting some comparison shots with Super Hero Showdown.