The first Marvel Legends of 2013 are here, and they are great! The assortment includes six new Legends (plus three running change characters coming soon) as well as Hit Monkey, the first “Mini Build-A-Figure.” Marvel Legends Wave 4 includes Red She-Hulk, Noh-Varr as The Protector, Hyperion, X-Force Wolverine and very welcome updates for Archangel and Ultimate Captain America. These figures feature an amazing amount of new tooling– including two fantastic all-new body designs– and each is a welcome addition to the 6″ Marvel Universe.
Hyperion, the first Squadron Supreme character to get the Legends treatment, was one of the most eagerly anticipated figures in this set, and he does not disappoint. The pseudo-Superman gets an all new sculpt, with a fantastic new body that includes the same well-designed musculature and ample articulation as the “Bucky Cap buck” but proportionately larger– this guy is massive! Not only does he tower over other Legends, he’s broad shouldered and considerably bulkier. Hyperion’s all-new portrait is excellent, as is his unique two-piece cape that clips in place securely and does little to inhibit movement. Unfortunately the weight of the cape does give him some balance issues, but his articulation and broad feet make it easy enough to keep him upright with a little effort. Hyperion will trade places with a new version of Sentry on this same great base body, another figure I cannot wait for.
Noh-Varr is another character making his Legends debut, in his current Protector costume. I think it’s funny Hasbro decided to release the Kree hero in this outfit instead of his more well-know Marvel Boy look, but the trend of the new Legends line has been to stay current, so I guess it makes sense. Protector is a decent figure, translating his cool, sci-fi look nicely with the goggles on his mask and nicely detailed gauntlets. He includes a new belt with twin holsters for his guns (recast from Fantomex), and uses the Future Foundation Spider-Man body– it’s not a bad look for the futuristic hero, and this version of the buck made some welcome improvements since Hasbro’s early Legends, but it’s nowhere near as good as the newer sculpts– comparing Protector to the likes of Hyperion or Archangel really shows haw far Hasbro has come in the short span of this relaunch. Protector will get a running change variant, subbing him out for a modern Iron Fist, featuring Danny in his current white costume.
Red She-Hulk is the last new character in this wave (excluding Hit Monkey), and she sports another completely new body design. Not unlike the 3.75″ She-Hulk, this figure is large and muscular, without losing any feminine qualities, and the result is one of the best female figures in the history of the Legends collection. Betty Ross’ alter ego is incredibly well articulated, and features her purple and black one-piece outfit, from her earlier appearances. She maintains a good sense of scale with Hasbro’s previously released She-Hulk, however the quality and detail on Betty makes her look way better. Photos make Betty’s skin look WAY too shiny and plastic-y, but I found in hand she looks fine, if a bit glossy. Red She-Hulk includes a massive sword, and she will feature a running change down the line with Lyra, the Savage She-Hulk.
Rounding out the new wave are three very impressive upgrades. Wolverine was originally released in his X-Force costume last Summer as part of the Marvel Legends Comic Con exclusive box set. This new release is an identical figure, as far as the incredible sculpting, detail on Logan’s boots and gloves, and hard plastic claws, the best ever made for a Wolverine figure. This remains the best Wolverine figure ever released in this scale, so I’m quite happy to see Hasbro reissue him for a customer base beyond Comic Con. There’s some tweaks to deco here– the ML 4 version features a black and silver finish (Comic Con was black and gray). I like the silver better, and it makes Wolvie fit in much better with Warpath and X-Force Archangel, but the new figure also sports a blue wash on his black parts that’s a little excessive (especially compared to the more controlled wash on the SDCC figure). While the claws are still just as amazing on the new figure, they are missing the gorgeous chrome finish of the SDCC version, also.
Archangel is another carryover from the Comic Con set, although the retail release is very different looking. This Archangel features his most iconic look, decked out in the blue and pink Horseman of Apocalypse outfit, with his massive metal wings. The sculpt remains amazing– proof the Bucky Cap base body will do wonders for this line, and Warren’s grim, determined face is perfect for the conflicted Mutant hero. The wings are a feat of toy engineering, with multiple moving parts, posing options and despite their size a keen ability to keep the figure well balanced. Like we saw with Wolverine, while these metal wings are identical in sculpt to the SDCC Archangel’s the new version lacks the metallized finish of the exclusive… but since the wings plug on the figure like a backpack, you can mix and match t your heart’s content. Archangel is a truly stunning figure, a night and day improvement over the Toy Biz X-Men Classics figure, and I expect he’ll be one of the most wildly popular modern Legends yet.
Speaking of wildly popular, where the heck did this new Ultimate Captain America come from??? The upteenth variant got overlooked by many (including me) when his prototype was on display, but having this guy in hand shows how incredibly COOL he is. Taking a page from Cap’s later Ultimate look, we get an all-new military style web belt and tactical vest, resting over his superhero costume. This masks the strange, slim torso of the SHIELD Agent body, while giving Cap the appropriate build and height. The new gear– from the bots and gloves filled with pouches, straps and realistic details– to the previously mentioned web gear is awesome, making for a very unique take on the star-spangled hero… and leaving me jonesing for Hasbro to take these skills to task and release some 6″ GI Joe’s in this style! Cap also includes an all-new portrait (one that reminds me of Joe Maduriera’s art from Ultimates 3) and his shield, which includes plenty of sculpted detail on the back side and a great metal finish on the front.
Closing out the wave is Hit Monkey, the “Mini BAF.” I like that Hasbro found a way to keep with the Build-A-Figure concept, without having to soak, or charge, and additional cost, and Hit Monkey is pretty great. He’s just as articulated as most full-size Legends, with a whole mess of weapons, from twin AK-47’s to pistols, and he stands very well despite his odd proportions. He’s a fun figure in the vein of Doop and Howard the Duck, and I’m interested to see what other characters show up in this year’s Mini BAF assortment. The one thing that seems odd is, the BAF parts are packed with the variant figures. This means if someone gets all six variants, they’ll end up with two Hit Monkeys, and unless the running changes include alternate BAF parts, that seems strange– why not simply have the non-variants come with Hit Monkey’s parts instead?