Hasbro found a winning model with their yearly themes in the Marvel Legends collection. By following the cinematic releases of Marvel’s movies, the toy line can enjoy some media support, despite its predominant focus on comic book iterations of the heroes and villains of the Marvel Universe. This May’s Captain America: Civil War means Legends is returning to Captain America’s corner of Marvel, and the first lineup of 2016 brings quite a few awesome characters to the long-running toy line.
The first wave of Civil War Legends brings two major heroes to the Legends series for the first time, ever– Sharon Carter and Mockingbird. Agent 13, the long-time love interest of Steve Rogers, has always been a strong character in her own right, as an agent of SHIELD and later as an integral player in the epic run of Captain America by Ed Brubaker, which served as part of the foundation of the First Avenger’s jump to the big screen. Sharon’s action figure makes smart reuse of the Maria Hill body, with a new headsculpt and a more science fiction-styled handgun. I’m still not a fan of the closed fist left hand of this figure, but this quibble aside, I couldn’t think of a better base for a Sharon Carter action figure.
Mockingbird is one of the more important Avengers not to receive the Legends treatment until now, but after seeing Hasbro’s figure in person, I have to admit she was worth the long, long wait. Hasbro’s figure features a great, all new sculpt which perfectly depicts the Avenger’s modern costume. The figure sports a character-accurate slim and athletic body shape, and Mockingbird is loaded with a number of really nice costume details such as the buttons that run down the left lapel of her shirt. In addition to her twin batons, this figure even features removable goggles, a detail I was not at all expecting.
There’s more to love about the latest Cap Legends than these two heroes, though. The series also features the first, ever Whirlwind figure to join Marvel Legends, and he’s classic and fantastic. The Grim Reaper base body gives this armored villain a great sense of scale, and his semi-metallic paint deco makes him seem right at home among Iron-Man’s most notorious enemies. I love the subtle details like the eyes and mouth sculpted beneath Whirlwind’s goofy and totally awesome helmet, which adds both realism and personality to the sculpt.
Hasbro has also used this wave as their launching point for a new sub-team that is very near and dear to the heart of a Cap fan like me… the Serpent Society! The first team member to get the toy treatment is Cottonmouth, and he does not disappoint. He’s depicted in his classic purple, yellow and white costume, built on the stocky Sentry base body, and features a great headsculpt which adds detail to his snake-themed helmet, and packs a lot of personality into his sinister grin. Rumor has it, Hasbro plans to add more members to their Serpent Society, and I couldn’t be happier at that prospect.
If you’re into more modern bad guys, the new Cap Legends lineup also delivers current versions of Taskmaster– complete with an alternate Udon mask– and the new Demolition Man. Each figure features a more heavily armored, paramilitary look, enhanced by webgear overlays and unique sculpting to render their various pads and pieces of armor plating. The sculpting on these guys is top notch, and each is decked out with a considerable arsenal of weapons, and some really great breakthroughs in Legends articulation, such as Taskmaster’s ball jointed ankles.
The last standard figure in this wave is Captain America himself, and Hasbro has opted for the most classic costumed Steve Rogers possible. He looks great, standing shoulder-to-shoulder with the recently released Venom figure as a toy version of the character so definitive, I can’t imagine Hasbro ever topping him. Cap is based on the Grim Reaper buck, which gives him the perfect height and build, and he not only includes his iconic shield, but some really cool shoulder straps which fit over his arms to give the appearance of strapping the shield to his back.
Our Build-A-Figure for the first Civil War Legends assortment is Red Axis, the result of the Red Skull merging with 90’s X-Men villain Onslaught. In the comics, the end result was a giant version of Red Skull wearing the exact same armor as Onslaught wore in 1996, and Hasbro’s all new sculpt replicated this figure’s armored look perfectly. This is one of those times when I’m left super conflicted… Hasbro’s figure looks awesome, it’s highly detailed and features an impressive range of articulation, especially considering Onslaught’s massive size. But for me, the source material behind both Onslaught and Red Axis are among the lowest points of Marvel history, and I find both these characters so aggressively lame, it’s tough to say I want to own them in toy form… even if they’re done in such a perfect fashion.
The good news is, if you only dislike Red Axis, you’re in luck– one of the X-Men Legends figures coming later this year is slated to include Onslaught’s classic, Magneto-style head, which is fully interchangeable with the Red Skull head in this wave. That means waiting a few more months could afford you as fine an Onslaught figure as you could ever wish for (though why you would is beyond me).
Civil Wars Legends is promising to be Hasbro’s flagship theme for 2016, with a second wave already nearing completing, and more figures on deck, from both this summer’s new movie and the Cap comic books. Hasbro has a great handle on character selection in this line, and as we get closer to the May release of Civil War on the big screen, we’ll be seeing more cinematic figures enter the fray, as well. It’s a good time to be a Captain America fan, and Hasbro’s latest Legends line only enhances that sentiment.