Hasbro and marvel wen for a walk on the cosmic side with their 2014 Comic Con exclusives. Marvel Legends saw a new box set based on the Thanos Imperative storyline, while the real show-stopper was the 3.75″ deluxe set, featuring four new Marvel Universe scaled action figures, and an incredible wearable Infinity Gauntlet.
The Gauntlet was the star of this set, in my opinion, and while I’m happy to see this set deliver some relatively obscure cosmic characters in this scale, each of the four figures has a drawback that prevents me from celebrating them fully.
Let’s start with the biggest character in the set (literally and popularity-wise)– Thanos. This is now the third figure of the Mad Titan we’ve seen in this scale, and while the sculpt a great interpretation of the villain, it’s kind of a bummer to see him re-packed here in lieu of another new cosmic being, like a classic Drax or The Collector, or a classic Nova… the list goes on. Still, there are no complaints about the figure itself– he’s still one of the finest in the over arching Marvel Universe line, and his new translucent Infinity Gauntlet hand sets him apart from the other Thanos variants.
With Thanos out of the way, we can settle in to the three new characters in this set, all of whom are welcome character additions to the line. Starfox, the brother of Thanos, has been a fairly major player in the far reaches of the Marvel universe for a long time, and I’m glad to see him get the toy treatment. Eros of Titan is depicted in his classic red and white outfit, with the two-pronged hairstyle he shares with Quicksilver. Hasbro opted to capitalize on this similarity, though, recasting the mutant’s headsculpt with a new hair color for Starfox. I understand cost cutting, especially when it can free up tooling dollars for all new sculpts like Death, but it’s always a shame when a unique character does not warrant their own individual headsculpt. It’s especially weird here, since Eros does get some new sculpting, in the form of his new collar overlay. While he’s not terrible, the reused headsculpt and the gangly, outdated skinny buck chosen for Starfox keeps him from feeling like a truly great figure.
Nebula fares a little better, as Thanos’ adopted daughter feels like a more fully realized new figure. Nebula once again gets a classic (pre-cyborg) design, and her navy blue and pink costume really pops against her pale blue skin. Based on the Scarlet Witch body, Nebula has a great range of motion, although the Scarlet Witch hands, in their hex pose, don’t make much sense for the space-faring villain. I wish Nebula had featured different hands, and a gun or other hi-tech accessory, as she often sports in the comics. As it stands, the Infinity Gauntlet she comes with is too big to fit over her slender arms and small hand. Overall, Nebula is the strongest figure in the set, one that I honestly never really imagined we’d see in this toy line, so I’d call that a win.
Speaking of characters I never thought I’d see in this toy collection, this set is rounded up by the eternal object of Thanos’ unrequited affection– Death. The embodiment of Death is an all new sculpt, and looks really good– she’s clad in her purple robes and hood, which are incredibly well sculpted, with a realism to the way they drape off her body. The figure sports a nice black wash which further highlights the details of the sculpt, but the best feature is the swappable head and hand Death includes. The skeletal face and hand can pop out of their sockets to be replaced with humanoid versions, so the Death figure can morph between appearances just like in the comics.
That’s a great feature, and it works really well. However, that and the highly detailed sculpt are offset by the fact that Death is pretty much just a statue. I get that this character doesn’t necessarily demand super-articulation, but the only things that can be considered points of articulation on Death are her neck and wrist pegs… this means the twist in her torso, the cloaked left arm and outstretched right arms are all frozen in the position they come in. This makes Death more of a display piece/ accessory than an action figure, albeit a very nice looking one.
I think the overall takeaway from this set will depend on someone’s interest in Marvel’s cosmic universe. As a die hard Guardians of the Galaxy/ Silver Surfer/ Infinity Gauntlet fan, I’m happy to have these characters captured in plastic… many for the first time ever. That being said, each is certainly compromised by design shortcuts, meaning none can really be considered a-list action figures. I understand the need to reuse parts in a shared toy line, but things like Eros’ recycled head and Nebula’s ill-conceived hands feel more lazy than frugal. In a set with a premium price tag like this one– even understanding the main appeal is the Infinity Gauntlet itself– I feel that there was room for these figures to be better than they turned out. It wouldn’t have been too tough to turn them from okay to fantastic, especially considering this is likely the only shot at the toy treatment some of these characters will get.