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Marvel Legends Wave Two Brings the Best Since Toy Biz

Less than a month after their grand return, Hasbro’s Marvel Legends Wave Two are already hitting shelves! The new Captain America-themed wave brings the goods with lots of long-time fan requests, an incredible new body and the best Build-A-Figure Hasbro has done yet. Thanks to Toycade we had the chance to take a closer look at the latest round of Marvel Legends– read on for our full first look!

Hasbro’s being pretty serious about the return of Marvel Legends, with Wave Two hitting fast and furious on the tail of the premiere assortment. Like last time, Wave Two brings us seven new figures, six with a Build-A-Figure part plus an “all-star.” This time we get even more variants– four to be exact– including two whose variants are all-new characters, something we haven’t seen since the Toy Biz days. But we get another level to variants here never seen before… the BAF for this wave is the robotic Nazi Arnim Zola, and variant figures in the wave include variant parts of Zola, so you can assemble either the villain himself, or an alternate version with the Red Skull’s face on his TV screen chest!

Once again, we are treated to the best package design and art at mass retail, with the same bold, exciting colors and patterns that made Wave One such a treat to see on the shelves, along with more great, all-new Ed McGuiness art for each character (the comic artist also provided the artwork for both Zola’s and Skull’s screen-projected faces). As much as it almost pains me to ruin a package as excellent os Legends’, it would be an absolute crime to not open these guys up. As a huge Cap fan, I could barely wait to tear them all open to finally build an Arnim Zola!

Zola is absolutely great, a perfect likeness of his classic comic book look. Everything from the robotic camera that serves as his head to the billows of his loose, baggy sleeves gives him the look that he’s just stepped off the comic page. For a clunky, oddly-shaped character, Zola is packed with articulation, with highlights including a great range on the head and neck, rocker ankles, hinged wrists and a new hip design very similar to Marvel Universe, but on a larger scale, with a ball-joint t-bar at the hip combined with an upper thigh swivel. It works well in this scale, despite my initial concern that the plastic would break as I popped on Zola’s legs. The variant Skull/ Zola is a great concept, and I love to see Hasbro’s team having so much fun with this line, and it’s a great solution to do something with those extra BAF parts, a problem I commend them on trying to solve.

As perfect as Zola is, even he is probably only my third favorite figure in the set– these figures are just that stellar. First up for the basic figures we have the Heroic Age/ Bucky Captain America, and Hasbro absolutely nails it with this figure. Sporting an all-new body designed for the Legends scale, Bucky is the perfect combination of well-executed articulation and fantastic sculpted details– Hasbro has developed what might be the best male buck we’ve ever seen in the history of Marvel Legends, and after having this figure in hand I can honestly say I’d re-purchase many characters if they were redone on this body. Bucky includes he shield with a clip/ peg structure seen in last year’s Captain America movie line, as well as a pistol and knife each with holsters on his belt. The figure includes a very nice semi-metallic finish on his blue and red costume, which stands out brilliantly on the black base, and translates the semi-armored look of the character very nicely. If I really had to search for a complaint, I could wish the shield had straps, so he could more realistically sling it on his back but aside from this very minor quibble, Bucky Cap is seriously within the top Legends of all time, right next to Face Off Cap and the McFarlane Spider-Man from the heyday of Toy Biz. We’re also treated to two of the Wrecking Crew, delivered in running change/ variants between Thunderball and Piledriver. Both Crew members, long-time wish list residents, are brought into the line using a new tweak on the Warpath body, and the massive size of these thugs works perfectly. Both villains feature very expressive faces loaded with attitude, and their overall mass– including Thunderball’s ball and chain– make them more than a match for even larger Legends like modern Thor or the Hulk.

The other alternate character variant in Wave Two is Madame Masque, who alternates with Madam Hydra. Both figures capture the looks of the villainous femme fatales very well, with some great sculpted detail on the trim of Masque’s gold-plated facemask, and new cuffed gloves that look great, but unfortunately do not sport wrist articulation. “Marvel’s Madams” get some more mileage out of Hasbro’s female body, which still works very nicely for most average-sized women in the Marvel Universe, and these two seem to avoid the gummy knees seen in Wave One’s Hope Summers. As a huge fan of Hydra, I’m very happy to have a Legends-style Viper, but it is disappointing that her face didn’t translate as nicely from the prototype on display at NYCC to the final figure– the final figure isn’t half as bad as online complaints would lead you to think, but the prototype was absolutely stunning, and it’s a shame to see the final product fall short of that. The issue is really the eyebrows, which are painted too high on the final figure, leading to a forehead that seems too sloped. It wouldn’t be a huge project to clear out and repaint the eyebrows, which would lead to a vastly improved figure.

Dark Wolverine also makes his Legends debut, with both masked and unmasked versions of the son of Logan. Hasbro wisely chose a thinner body for Daken, making him leaner and taller than his father, but with Wolverine’s iconic outfit (plus a very nice rendition of Daken’s arm tattoo). The unmasked Daken is definitely the cooler of the pair, featuring a great new portrait with his signature mohawk, as well as a folded version of the mask draped across his neck– the first time we’ve seen this nice detail since Toy Biz.

The final variant of this wave is also the “All-Star,” as we get not one but two new Spider-Man figures. Big Time Spidey is the primary, and while I haven;t checked him out in person yet, he seems to be another case of a great-looking prototype coming up short in production. Spidey was painted to have a very cool “glow” effect coming off of his neon green costume details, but it seems like the glow wash got too out of control on the final version, making him look more green with black details, not the other way around. His variant works much better, as we get Peter in his Future Foundation costume. The white and black design is crisp and clear, and I’m very happy that Hasbro opted not to do a crazy wash, which has in the past impacted white figures for the worse. Spider-Man is very similar to the Red Hulk wave Black Spidey figure, but includes a new hand, sculpted in the hero’s classic web-shooting pose. Fantomex is our other black and white figure in the wave, and the X-Force member looks excellent. Packing a pair of pistols he holds quite well, the trenchcoat-clad mutant is a great addition to the X-shelf.

Last we have a modern/ Annihilation-inspired Drax, making his Legends debut as well. The Destroyer sports a very character-approriate angry glare, and his twin knives with sheaths on the back of his belt. Drax uses the Steve Rogers base for adequate height and build, with new lower legs to represent the character’s pants. Drax is a really solid figure, with a nice wash over his green skin and more awesome red tattoo detailing, but he does look too slight when lined up with other “big guys” like the Wrecking Crew, Thor or Hulk.

Overall, Legends Wave Two is even better than the stellar first series, delivering some fan favorites to the line that are pulled off incredibly well. Any Marvel fan (or 6″ collector for that matter) owes it to themselves to check out Bucky Cap, since he is just that good. The Wrecking Crew and the Madames are by and large great, we get some recent Marvel characters in Daken, Fantomex and modern Drax, along with a cool pair of unique Spidey variants which I appreciate way more than another red and blue rehash. Top it off with an insanely cool BAF like Arnim Zola, and these new Legends are a must-buy. I love the great effort Hasbro is putting in to this relaunch, which has just the right mix of retail viability and fan service in its character selection, and it’s clear to tell the Hasbro team is having fun experimenting with this scale again– the variant BAF parts are a stroke of genius, and I’d love to see this concept carried even further– One of the reasons Hasbro said they tried it here was to reduce the extra BAF parts floating out there, so in the future I’d love to see them carry it further and give every variant figure a variant part. It would make an even more robust line with less waste, and even more opportunities for collectors to build their perfect collection.

FULL GALLERY: RETURN OF MARVEL LEGENDS WAVE 2

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