I can’t tell you how good it feels to be writing about Marvel Legends again at Toy Fair. Sure, the Marvel team got the clean-up spot in the schedule of yesterday’s presentations at Hasbro’s Media Fan Day, and Legends got the last spot in the Marvel presentation, but the showroom was a sea of the unwashed masses for most of the afternoon – it’s good to be back!
Dave Vonner got the nod for presenting both Legends and Universe (I’ll cover Marvel Universe separately), and while he didn’t get to reveal a whole lot for Legends, we got to see the progression for some of the Series 3 figures, as well as a reveal for 2012 – the Squadron Supreme’s Hyperion. Hyperion was shown as a rendering of a digital sculpt (I’ll guess Gentle Giant) and as such wasn’t available in the showroom. What we did see in there was both Series 1 (see Sandman’s review of Extremis Iron Man) and 2 packaged samples, as well as painted prototypes of Blade and U.S. Agent.
Let’s get to the new stuff first!
Marvel Legends Series 3
Remember how a few years ago it seemed like Bucky Barnes was becoming the glue to the Marvel Comics Universe? He had become Captain America while Steve Rogers was time traveling (whoops, spoiler!) and as such was also a central character in the Avengers. With the series 3 reveals, we’re seeing that theme make its way to the toys. Blade (and planned variant Punisher) looks to be a reuse of the Winter Soldier 2-pack figure (itself a reuse of Ultimate Nick Fury) and U.S. Agent looks to be a reuse of the Bucky Cap base from series 1.
I’m not complaining about reuse – in fact, I think Hasbro’s done a great job of leveraging their base figures with new parts, and I hope they’re planning those new parts in such a way that we can see combinations for new figures, since that will be the most likely way we’ll get to delve into some of the B and C listers. The head sculpts of both new guys look awesome.
Marvel Legends Series 2
With series 2, we got to see for the first time how Hasbro intends to package up the running change variants. For the Madams, Wrecking Crew, and Spider-Man, it looks like we won’t see any packaging change – the art and text on each is designed to work with either of the variants. This makes for visually interesting packages, but I wonder if that’s going to make finding the individual figures harder, as I believe the figures will share the same SKUs.
Overall, I think the series looks pretty damn good. Arnim Zola, Thunderball, and Piledriver are the standouts here for me. I’ll need to see the figures together to see if some of the relative scale issues that are present in series 1 continue here. The one concern I had after seeing these production samples is how Madame Viper made it through the production process. Her head here, which was absolutely gorgeous in painted prototype format, looks to have been a little pinched or distorted as it went through production.
Marvel Legends Series 1
These have already started hitting shelves, and the brand team shared the good news that the launch was extremely well received, placing the line in the top 3 Hasbro products overall at launch. I had known about the Ghost Rider and Iron Man variants, but the news that Steve Rogers would have a deco variant as well – the variant has got a translucent light shield, but I didn’t notice any other changes on the figure itself.
I’ve got my set of series 1 on the way from my Big Bad Toy Store Pile of Loot, but seeing Sandman’s Extremis review and the figures in person again here, I think it’s a strong debut. I think the big challenge for Hasbro is leveraging the existing base bodies in a way that limits the relative scale challenges that are present in this group. I think with series 1, the original sculpts for Thor and Iron Man were done without considering how they’d fit scale-wise in a Legends reboot. The size of Steve Rogers’ noggin, though, is one case where the Hasbro design team should pay closer attention.
No word yet on a San Diego Comic-Con exclusive, but with Avengers and Spider-Man on the big screen this summer, maybe there’s an impending Legends tie-in for the Con.