One of the gems in Hasbro’s SDCC exclusive lineup every year is their Marvel Legends box set, and this year continues that trend. The Raft is a brilliant concept in that it can draw characters from many corners of Marvel’s multimedia universe, while still presenting a cohesive set of comic-accurate figures, many of whom are joining the Legends collection for the first time. It also leans VERY heavily on the villains of the Marvel universe, something Legends has been lacking since the Toy Biz days.
The set contains six 6″ scale figures– Abomination, Enchantress, Dreadknight, Sandman, The Purple Man, and a new take on the late 90s era big-eyed Todd McFarlane/ Erik Larsen Spider-Man– and they’re all packed in a very inventive box illustrated to look like newly opened cells within Marvel U’s premiere super villain prison, The Raft. This is one of those great packages which doubles as a rich and super fun diorama display, and it’s enhanced even further thanks to the gatefold top, which flips up to reveal illustrations of Eel, Elector, and Hobgoblin on The Raft’s upper corridor (worth noting, also… all three of these bad guys are popping up in the latest Legends waves this Fall. Another genius bit of self-promotion, Marvel team!).
I love this concept, and the character selection is pretty good… we get two big-time fan requests with the wonderfully classic Enchantress and Dreadknight, new updates to the long out of production figures like Abomination, Sandman and this version of Spidey, and one truly surprising curveball with Killgrave. It’s a good spread, and virtually all of these characters have some kind of mass media tie-in, ranging from Ragnarok co-stars the Hulk and Thor (Abomination and Enchantress), to the Marvel/ Netflix series Jessica Jones (Purple Man).
So it’s obviously a fantastic, very well thought out box set. How are the figures themselves? Sadly, this is where the set falters, albeit only a little. Thankfully, the best figures in the set are the characters who have never graced the Legends collection until now. Purple Man is simple yet perfectly page accurate, and I appreciate that Hasbro’s team managed to find a way to make a retail-unfriendly character like this a reality. Dreadknight employs quite a few parts from the brand new Hobgoblin, which is definitely NOT a bad thing, because this sculpt is incredible. The scale-mail armor pattern features a wonderful depth, and the sculpt subtly still manages to outline the figure’s musculature underneath, making this truly seem like heavily patterened armor instead of skin. It’s as remarkable as Dreadknight’s all new headsculpt– complete with those rad bat-like wings on the sides– although it does bum me out that we didn’t see a similar scale pattern sculpted on the otherwise very nice classic Captain America released earlier this year.
Enchantress is probably the best figure in the set. Hasbro wisely chose a costume for the Asgardian temptress that is close to her classic look, but with enough flourishes and sculpted detail to fit in with the more modern Asgardian figures. Scarlet Witch’s energy projections get a new life in translucent green plastic to serve as Enchantress’ accessories, but more than anything it’s her headsculpt, complete with a crooked, devilish and playful half-smile, that packs this figure with personality and makes her such an all-time great addition to the Marvel Legends series.
That leaves us with the other three figures in this box… and while I can’t in good conscience describe any of them as great, each of them at least manages to have some redeeming qualities. Your mileage on this Spider-Man will vary. He is quite similar to the “Pizza” Spidey released last year, but with a repaint of the Scarlet Spider head in all its big-eyed glory. And the figure also wisely opts to cast the figure in a darker navy blue, which further distances him from the Pizza Spidey’s look. But at the end of the day it’s still another in a perpetual line of Peter Parker Spider-Man figures, of which Legends has had more than its fair share over the years. I get wanting to anchor this set with an A-list hero figure, and if they’re gonna go with Spider-Man, I’m glad Hasbro opted to redo what is currently one of the most rare and expensive variants from the Toy Biz era… but the fact remains, we already probably own too many figures of this guy.
Abomination and Sandman fare better, if nothing else than because they’ve been absent from the line for nearly ten years. But while I dig aspects of Hasbro’s designs, I can’t call either one of them a total improvement over their Toy Biz iterations. The new Abomination has a good size and bulk to him– which makes sense, since a repainted version will serve as the Build-A-Figure in the third wave Captain America Legends, and his headsculpt is awesome… but the reuse of parts from the Rhino leaves him off model, lacking a vast majority of his distinctive segmented plating. Yes, this design clearly improves on the awful ball hips of the Toy Biz Abomination, but aside from that he doesn’t bring much new to the table. And with the same figure in slightly different colors hitting retail in the next few weeks, I can’t understand why Hasbro didn’t swap him out in this set for a simple retool variant like A-Bomb.
Sandman is the lowest on The Raft totem pole. Like Abomination, I like his size and his scowling headsculpt, which does a good job of portraying Flint Marko’s personality. But the smooth body and painted details really ruin this figure for me. It makes him feel exactly like what he is– a repaint of the new Absorbing Man– while also making me pine for the wonderfully detailed, granular finish of the Toy Biz Sandman. I do like the choice to include an all-sand version of the character in The Raft set, but it does lend weight to the unfortunate rumors that a full color version of this dull figure being the next Spider-Man Legends Build-A-Figure will turn out to be true.
Is The Raft box set worth tracking down? I’d say yes, especially for any Legends die hards like me. The Enchantress and Dreadknight are perfect… despite the fact that we’ve been waiting years to see these characters join the Legends lineup, they’re so good they feel entirely worth the wait. And it’s awesome that we have a Legends Purple Man, something I never would have imagined even a year ago. To me, these three figures alone– along with the beyond-rad packaging of this set– would justify the $120 retail cost. And you get three decent figures on top of that, as a bonus. Maybe that’s too high a price for you (especially any of you who are forced to buy this set at a secondary market markup), but I love this concept, and want to use my wallet to encourage Hasbro to cook up more great pieces like this in the future.