Marvel Universe Wave 18 Was Worth The Wait

By bill - August 1, 2012

After nearly a year hiatus, Hasbro’s Marvel Universe is back with an all-new assortment delivering some insanely impressive figure versions of Beta Ray Bill, Kraven the Hunter, Beast and an all-new Hulk. Thanks to Mike’s Comics N Stuff, we had the chance to check these new guys out, and they are all absolute must-haves for any 3.75″ Marvel universe.

It’s been over nine months since the last wave of Marvel Universe figures started showing up, but despite all the delays, all the backlogged stock clogging up retail with unwanted rehashes, and all the drama and speculation on the future of Hasbro’s 3.75″ Marvel series, having these figures in hand feels like the only thing that changed is the quality of the figures. Wave 18 really stands in contrast of the previous, repaint heavy assortment, and the amount of detail and all-new sculpting packed into these characters proves once again Hasbro is king of this scale bar none.

I figured Beta Ray Bill would be my least favorite figure in this mix. From the prototype at Toy Fair, I was expecting a Thor repaint with a new head, which is why I’m so impressed by how great this seemingly dull figure turned out. Bill’s armor looks perfectly authentic to his comic book counterpart, with a great metallic shine to the blue pieces and a pearlized look to the gold. He looks both complimentary to the classic Thor, while also not looking at all like a clone of the Odinson. The shoulder armor is weird, in that it’s attached to the cape instead of the figure, so it’s not the most pose-friendly aspect of the figure, but it looks fairly good once you get used to it. The real win here is the phenomenal headsculpt, a perfect representation of the Korbinite complete with his winged helmet and a hinged jaw!  Beta Ray Bill is one of those figures I will refer people to whenever they complain that Hasbro’s product isn’t as good as the Toy Biz Marvel Legends days, because the Marvel U. Beta Ray Bill is an absolute improvement over the Toy Biz version in every way possible.

It’s been a while since Kraven the Hunter got an action figure, and his Marvel Universe figure is awesome. The design is not quite classic, somewhere between his Ultimate look and the original costume, but Kraven is all kinds of badass. The hunter’s iconic lion mane vest is executed perfectly, as is the rest of his costume including his loincloth/ utility belt, wrapped boots and killer skull-shaped knee pads. Unlike the overlays seen for the fur trim on Baron Zemo, most of Kraven’s parts are all-new sculpts, with a fantasic amount of texture. The Spider stalker also includes a removable tooth-lined necklace, a spear and a knife, all of which he can hold quite well. Like many other Marvel U. figures, what really bring Kraven together is the all-new portrait, which is packed with dangerous character. Opting for a full goatee definitely eliminates the cheese factor of classic Kraven’s Tom Selleck mustache, and the addition of dark shading around the eyes make Kraven one imposing-looking villain.

You may have seen this Hulk figure by now, as he’s been released in the Wal-Mart exclusive Avengers 4-pack and a comic book 2-pack with Wolverine, but this wave finally sees his solo release. With an all-new sculpt, tons of well-planned articulation and a great sense of heft, the new Hulk is one of the finest versions of the character I’ve ever seen.  There’s a cool amount of texture on the Hulk, from the grainy denim of his purple pants to the cross-hatched, almost rhino-like hide of his green skin, all accentuated by an even-handed black wash. Fan should take note we get another double-fisted Hulk with this figure, as well as an awesome headsculpt complete with a great grimace full of clenched teeth.  Hasbro is really learning how to add lots of articulation to their bulkier figures and the Hulk is no exception– despite his size and stockiness, Hulk has double knees, a twist waist, an ab crunch and swivel biceps, in addition to the standard articulation you’d expect from Marvel U. figures.

Finally, Beast makes his Marvel Universe debut sporting his Astonishing X-Men look. The cat-like Henry McCoy is without a doubt one of the best Marvel U. figures ever made, with an astonishing (get it?) all-new sculpt and some brilliant engineering to really sell the good Doctor’s acrobatic skills. Much like Hulk, Beast is a bulkier figure, but Hasbro has worked in not only all the standard articulation but new joints not unlike their GI Joe ninjas, making Hank one of the most poseable Marvel U. figures yet. The extra points, such as hinged toes and hinged wrists, aren’t superficial either… Beast is so well-crafted, he can use these joints to balance on one foot (even just his toes), or even do a handstand! It’s impressive and fun to play with– I was able to get him into a handstand and standing tip-toed on one foot in about three minutes. The balance of this figure is very cool, but on top of that play factor we’re also treated to a beautiful sculpt, packed with detail from Hank’s wavy blue fur to the folds and piping worked into his uniform. To me the whole figure screams of John Cassaday’s artwork from the debut of Astonishing X-Men, and much like his artwork, the figure really conveys the smart, determined personality of Dr. McCoy through his eyes and face.

It’s been a rocky, quite year for Marvel Universe, but at Comic Con Hasbro not only acknowledged the lack of product but said it would be corrected soon. It looks like they were true to their word, and if future assortments of this line keep up the amazing quality, detail and fun featured in this wave, the future will be bright for the 3.75″ Marvel universe.

Thanks again to Mike’s Comics N Stuff for giving us the chance to check these figures out. Click Here to visit Mike’s online, and order your Marvel Universe figures today!

Related Posts