I’m not sure what it was exactly, but the last few waves of Avengers Infinite figures from Hasbro seemed like they had lost some of the magic of the long-running Marvel universe 3.75″ magic. Sure, figures like Death’s Head and Grim Reaper were cool, but the figures just didn’t have that same spark that made them must-have toys like the earlier Marvel U releases.
That all changes with the third assortment, which is just about the finest wave of this scale figure as I have ever seen. The latest series of figures includes some truly stunning, show-stopping figures, as well as a few that have been stuck in limbo for far too long. The overall takeaway of this series totally rekindled my love affair with this over arching series.
Let’s start with the best– Ares is an incredible figure. The god of war-turned-Avenger is one of the last core teammates of the Dark Avengers team, and he’s been a big enough player over the last half decade that his spot is well earned. But on top of that, he makes for a truly fantastic toy, loaded with detail, new tooling and a sense of cool that ranks him among the very best Marvel toys Hasbro has released. Each piece of armor adorning this guy is well rendered and perfectly translated from his comic book appearance. His portrait is packed with grim, angry personality, peeking out from beneath his gladiator style helmet. And he comes packing his giant battle axe and broadsword, which convey how much business this guy really means.
But Ares isn’t the only perfect figure in this wave. Valkyrie certainly gives him a run for his money. Originally slated for a Thor themed three-pack, Valkyrie makes smart reuse of the strong yet still feminine She-Hulk body, with a new head sculpt that is one of the most gorgeous and well rendered I’ve seen from the Marvel team. Valkyrie carries a sense of strength and regal pride which is the perfect fit for this character. Her signature braids are well sculpted, and posed in a way that does not inhibit her articulation. She literally looks as if she stepped off the page of a comic drawn by Mike Deodato, and the result is a truly flawless figure.
Deathlok came as a total surprise when he was shown at Toy Fair this year, and his final figure is just as cool as the awesome prototype. The cyborg warrior features his iconic red costume which offsets brilliantly against his segmented metal arms and legs. His burned face is filled with great detail, and offers a wonderful organic balance to his blue-tinted metallic cybernetics. Deathlok includes a hi-tech pistol which fits in his belt holster, as well as an equally sci-fi inspired pulse rifle.
Even the less impressive figures in this lineup are totally worth picking up. Cyclops gets a much-needed modern upgrade, with a new figure based on his later Astonishing X-Men costume. While the figure is quite simple– just a new paint app on the previous Jim Lee style body– he comes together quite well, a perfect rendering of this very well designed costume.
Rounding out the new set is Ant-Man, a figure displaced from a canceled two-pack years ago. I’m very happy Hasbro found a home for this guy, and while his Silver Surfer base body is somewhat outdated compared to the newer Marvel Universe bucks, the slim frame works for Hank Pym. The new head sculpt is excellent, featuring a very cool layered effect with the hero’s helmet. The face plate of the insect-controlling helmet is a separate piece, and while it is glued in place it allows Hank’s eyes to be seen through the eye holes. It’s a very nice touch which adds to the realism and depth of the figure. And his bright, primary colors– and the mini version of himself also included– make Ant-Man a very welcome Silver Age addition to this collection.
Hasbro really knocked it out of the park with this series. While many of the earlier figures in the Avengers infinite collection felt like unfinished business for the canceled Marvel universe line, figures like Deathlok and Ares truly feel like the next step in beautifully sculpted, totally great figures in this scale. I am hopeful that this incredible wave is not a fluke, and will become the norm as this over arching series moves forward. The lazy, repack heavy Series 4 doesn’t fill me with much confidence, but if nothing else, Series 3 proves once again just how great he marvel team can be at the top of their game.