Last Fall saw the release of a Target exclusive Marvel Legends box set, delivering a classic Ms. Marvel, Radioactive Man and another Captain America variant to the Marvel Legends collection. Now, a second box set is starting to hit retail, this time at Toys R Us stores, which features three of the most important agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. from the Marvel Cinematic Universe– a revised Samuel L. Jackson Nick Fury, the first figure based on Cobie Smulders’ Maria Hill, and the long-time fan request, Clark Gregg’s Phil Coulson.
I like the cohesive theme of this three pack, and I’m very happy to have all three figures under the movie themed Marvel Legends collection. The star of the set is most definitely Coulson. This guy has been hanging around the MCU since day one (well, movie one, anyway) and since that humble first S.H.I.E.L.D. name drop in Iron-Man, Coulson has earned himself the honor of assembling The Avengers, a spot in the 616 universe comic books, and the lead role of his own TV series. I’d say he deserved the toy treatment at this point.
And what a great toy he makes, this Agent Coulson! In some ways, he’s a toy collector’s dream come true, decked out in his basic yet well sculpted and highly articulated suit and tie. This body is destined for much re-purposing, both officially through Hasbro and unofficially as customizers like me are already planning the field day we’re going to have with spare Coulson bodies and the unmasked alternate heads of pretty much every Marvel super hero ever released. But even on his own merits, Phil’s still quite awesome. He includes two alternate heads– with or without sunglasses– and both bear a great likeness to Gregg while maintaining Coulson’s slightly smart-ass character, thanks to his cocky half-smile.
The Agent’s all new body is well articulated, with a ball neck, ball shoulders and hips, double elbows and knees, articulated wrists and ankles and an ab crunch. This means Coulson is open to a number of good action poses, and thankfully the articulation is all well hidden enough to not impact the streamlined nature of the suit he’s wearing. This is definitely one of the best articulated suit bodies that still manages to read as a full suit when you look at it (not a suit full of random breaks and joints), and the proportions of the jacket and shoulders– the main culprits of over-sized scaling on many suited action figures– are executed perfectly here.
Since Coulson has used a variety of weapons in his on screen history, he could have come packing basically any heat imaginable. But he gets a high tech gun based on his Loki-fighting Avengers weapon, which fits him well while also breaking up the neutrality of the basic, suited figure. This guy really is a great addition to Hasbro’s Marvel Legends, of that there is no doubt.
Maria Hill is no slouch, either. Nick Fury’s right hand agent borrows some parts from last year’s Winter Soldier Black Widow, along with plenty of new tooling– she sports an all new torso, arms, hips, upper legs and a new headsculpt. Once again, Hasbro’s design team really lands the likeness… while Maria’s head seems just slightly too large for her body, she reads instantly as Cobie Smulders.
The new parts on this figure really upgrade the Black Widow base body, correcting virtually every issue with that figure. Hill’s torso avoids the weird flatness that plagued Widow, and improves greatly upon her belts. Whereas Black Widow’s belt was sculpted, with her holsters glued to her legs and straps leading nowhere, Hill features a full rubber overlay of the belt and holsters combined, which is flexible enough to allow a full range of leg motion while presenting a fuller, more realistic appearance.
Hill is quite poseable, with a great range in her neck and abdomen, especially. Her wedge heeled boots– another holdover from Black Widow– make balancing this figure something of an issue, but once you work at it a little, she can stand on her own well enough. I’m not totally sure if Hill is supposed to carry one of the blue-trimmed pistols included with this box set? It fits well, in her non-fist hand… but she also has guns already sculpted permanently into her leg holsters (lame). I like the look of each agent brandishing a weapon, so in my book Hill lays claim to one of these guns, leaving the last one for her boss.
Speaking of Nick Fury, while he’s the weakest figure in the set, he’s still a step up from the Captain America Legends figure in some ways. This version, for instance, is actually in scale with the other movie figures! He features the shorter comic book Winter Soldier lower legs, which reduce the height from the awful combat boots used on the original Fury figure. Sadly, the rest of this body and its many flaws are still present. The torso is incredibly flat beneath the trench coat, and the coat itself is firm and bulky, meaning Fury cannot lower his arms past a 45 degree angle to his sides.
The new legs definitely go a long way, though. And even some paint tweaks benefit the figure, such as the full-fingered black gloves which match Fury’s on screen look much more accurately than the fingerless ones on his predecessor. The Sam Jackson headsculpt remains another great portrait, and overall this is a much more effective update of the character than I was anticipating. The small tweaks here were enough to motivate me to replace the old version in my display, which is certainly a compliment for a figure that I assumed was destine for my parts bin.
I do wish Hasbro went a little farther to make this Fury unique. If they used the same base body, but with Coulson’s arms and jacket, we could get a simple Fury variant as he appeared in The Winter Soldier, one that would feel a lot less like a rehash. When it comes to this box set, minor quibbles like that are really the only thing I can hold against it. While I like that we at least get three weapons between the three figures, a more expansive arsenal would have been welcome. But considering the reasonable price– $50, essentially a $10 savings from the individual retail price of three Marvel Legends– I think this set is a totally fair value.
Hasbro has done a great job balancing their movie and comic figures throughout the Marvel Legends collection over the past two years. Maybe it’s just because I love Marvel Studios’ ever-growing cinematic universe so much, but I have to admit, these days I’m generally more excited for the movie toys than the comic book ones. That means a set like the Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. is right in my wheelhouse… and Hasbro certainly delivered with this one.