We haven’t seen a brand new cinematic property from Marvel Studios since 2014’s Guardians of the Galaxy, but that will all change this November when Doctor Strange joins the Marvel Cinematic Universe. And like GOTG before it, this property is being supported by a full wave of Marvel Legends action figures by Hasbro, which draw from both the film and the mystical corners of Marvel’s comics universe.
With Benedict Cumberbatch in the lead role, a great supporting cast, the promise of venturing more directly into the world of magic than we’ve seen yet in the MCU, and my long-time love for Steven Strange and his weird, trippy world, I’ve got high hopes for the movie. Will the end product meet those expectations? That remains to be seen, but I can say Hasbro has done a fantastic job of building up the mystical section of the Legends collection with this new wave.
One thing that separates the Doctor Strange Legends from the last few releases is a much more even mix of movie and comic characters. I’ll chalk that up to the entirely new cast of the movie, as opposed to, say, Civil War, which featured about 90% returning characters. Regardless of the true reasoning, I’ll gladly accept it, because the two movie style Strange figures, as well as Karl Mordo, are all excellent toys.
The actor likenesses of Cumberbatch and Chiwetel Ejiofor are spot-on, among the most accurate we’ve seen from Hasbro, and their robed costumes are beautifully sculpted, with realistic folds and a true sense of depth within the layers of the design. Despite the illusion of bulk rendered into the costumes, each figure still features a great range of motion, making great use of the standard/ modern Legends articulation model.
Individually, each figure feels like a worthy addition, too. The core Strange figure sports his main movie look, complete with a fantastic, oversized red cape cast in soft rubber which allows for plenty of posing options. An unexpected detail on this guy is the Eye of Agamotto, which is connected to a necklace separate from Strange’s main sculpt. And the figure features a great accessory– a shield he can hold, whose from replicates the intricate, mystical patternings seen in Strange’s on-screen sorcery.
Our variant Strange is the perfectly logical Astral Projection version, cast in clear plastic and lacking cape and accessory. Despite this, the figure is simple yet effective in its design… I love the slight cloudiness of the plastic, which adds a certain etherial vibe to this figure which deserves one, enhanced moreso by his white eyes, the only paint applied to the figure.
Rounding out the movie figures in this lineup is Karl Mordo, possibly the biggest question mark of the film. In the comics, Mordo is one of the arch nemeses of Strange, but from what we know of the movie, Ejiofor’s sorcerer character seems to be more ally than enemy. So we maybe– maybe– have a new figure to add to the perpetually small pantheon of MCU villain toys? Mordo is a cool enough figure, if a little plain compared to Strange’s flashy cape, shield, and spirit variant… still, he appears to be pretty screen accurate, and I’m very happy to see Hasbro exploring the secondary characters of the MCU more aggressively in their toy line.
The second half of this assortment brings more comic-style Legends from Strange’s pages to toy form. We get two straight-up new releases– Nico, the teenage sorceress from Runaway and A-Force, and a new update to Iron-Fist– and variants of three previously released figures– Now! era Doctor Strange, and repaints of the sought-after San Diego Comic-Con exclusives Brother Voodoo, Enchantress, and Dormammu (our Build-A-Figure).
Since I was lucky enough to get my hands on the SDCC figures when they were first released, I opted to purchase Nico and Iron-Fist, and I’m very pleased with both of them. Iron-Fist has received the toy treatment a handful of times in the past, but this new figure is the best version yet. Based on Hasbro’s modern Spider-Man body, Danny Rand is appropriately thin, yet clearly still fit enough to rumble effectively. The new headsculpt features a mask that is slightly more exaggerated than the previous release, which fits this guy’s aesthetic. And he’s in his classic greens and yellows, making this version a HUGE step up from the dull white figure we saw last year.
But the best thing about Iron-Fist are his two sets of hands. For the first time, Hasbro has included alternate, bandaged hands with the character, allowing us to hit one of his coolest looks from the comics. The main hands are designed to illustrate the hero’s mystical Kung-Fu powers, and it’s a really cool effect– the hands are cast in clear orange plastic with a solid black plastic injection-mold in the center… giving the effect that there’s really a pair of hands burning beneath this mystical energy. The effect is completed with some nice flame accessories that snap onto Danny’s wrists.
Nico is a character I never imagined I’d see in Marvel Legends style, but I couldn’t be happier to welcome her to the collection. The former Runaway and current A-Force hero sports a LOT of new tooling on top of the teen female base body, and the end result is a figure given an impressive amount of attention to detail, considering her lesser-known status. From her hair to the frills of her gothic skirt, Nico makes for a visually dynamic and fun action figure, even for people not familiar with her from the comics.
The sorceress sports a goth-style costume, with lots of black and purple accents, and she comes packed with her staff and an alternate arm cast in translucent plastic to replicate her spellcasting powers. Nico may have been announced all the way back at Toy Fair in February, but I’m honestly still incredulous that Hasbro gave her the toy treatment… but, as a long time fan of the character, I’m even more stoked they did such a great job with her.
Even though I passed on the remaining figures in the wave, it’s worth noting they’re all excellent toys, and I commend Hasbro for finding a channel to release three more hard-to-find SDCC exclusives to mass retail. I’d love to see more of that in the future. As one final note, I also love that the Doctor Strange Legends continue the trend Hasbro’s Marvel Team have been focusing on, to deliver a truly diverse assortment of action figures in each lineup. In addition to the movie/ comics split, this new assortment includes two new female characters, and two people of color, which is a pretty good spread in a mix of eight characters. If Hasbro could keep this up– and yea, maybe work their ratios to loop in a couple more movie villains– it would be impossible to call this anything less than the true, golden era of Marvel Legends.