With two new assortments, comic packs and store exclusives, it’s safe to say the drought of Hasbro’s Marvel Universe collection is officially over. The latest wave is just starting to hit, and delivers five fantastic new figures to the 3.75″ Marvel U.
I was honestly a little worried about the fate of Hasbro’s Marvel Universe line. Between the extra-long dry spell between releases, which dominated the first half off 2012, the drastic decrease in tooling we saw in 2011, and the return of Marvel Legends, I really thought Hasbro was giving up on their comic-based 3.75″ series. When they let go of line manager David Vonner earlier this year, it seemed like the final nail in the coffin for Marvel Universe… which is why I couldn’t be happier to be proven wrong– Marvel Universe is still very much on the forefront, and the latest products are among the best toy versions of these Marvel mainstays ever released, regardless of scale.
Wave 19 consists of five figures– She-Hulk, Kang, Scarlet Witch, a new Punisher, and Spider-Man in two new variants: Future Foundation and the incredibly nerdy Paper Bag Man. Each of these figures is absolutely top-notch, with liberal use of the excellent new-style bodies released late last year, and all the great sculpting and enhanced articulation that comes with it.
Punisher has had a few figures in Marvel Universe, but none of them have been very good. The new version is perfect, with an angry and grizzled, but not cartoonish new portrait. The figure is featured in his classic black outfit with white details and the skull insignia on his torso, with a very well-executed belt overlay forming the teeth of the skull. It’s definitely the best 3D take on this costume detail I’ve ever seen, and it’s further enhanced by the dual pistol holsters and boot knife sheath on Frank’s leg. The vigilante includes two pistols and a knife, all of which fit very nicely in the various holders, as well as a new machine gun– a welcome change from the overused assault rifle packed with every gun-toting character for the early years of the line. There is a grey wash on the white elements of Frank’s outfit which gets a little muddy, but it works well considering the street-level griminess of the character.
Scarlet Witch makes a great debut in this collection, and she’s a thousand times better than Toy Biz’ infamous Legends take on the mutant. The new version of Wanda features the same articulation pattern as X-23, but with new arms in much better scale, a new cape and an excellent portrait complete with her classic headdress. Scarlet Witch has had quite a few different costumes, but I’m very glad we get a nice, classic version in this lineup– she fits in perfectly with her brother Quicksilver, Magneto’s evil mutants, or her fellow Avengers.
Kang is one of my favorite Marvel U. villains, so I was very excited to see him finally get his place in the Universe line. While he’s pretty awesome, the time traveling villain is probably the weakest figure in this assortment. I love the new sculpting– his weird blue mask, purple helmet and new collar are all great, as is the great articulation from the Dr. Strange base body. But much like the Comic Con exclusive Baron Zemo, Kang’s collar is very, very loose, making it tough to pose or balance right. On top of this, his hands are too open to hold his wacky sci-fi gun in a realistic way, if at all. I wish Hasbro would have tweaked these lousy hands after they didn’t work for Zemo, but Kang shares the same bum parts making him an irksome figure to pose.
Spider-Man gets two cool variants, both based on the highly articulated Cyclops body, which looks a bit bulky but I think works fine for these takes on Peter. I only got my hands on the Future Foundation version, who’s pretty nice, with clean black lines on his white uniform, which has a nice drybrushed effect that makes him fit in perfectly with the previously-released Future Foundation Reed, Sue and Thing. I love that Hasbro thought comprehensively enough to release these figures so far apart from eachother, but makes the final result of the assembled team blend in so perfectly. I simply cannot wait to find Paper Bag Man, a variant that Vonner championed for years at Hasbro– There are reports of what his head looks like under the paper bag mask Peter used during his early tenure at the Fantastic Four, but I’m trying to stay spoiler-free, so it can be a surprise when I find one.
She-Hulk closes out this latest lineup, and she is fantastic. I already gushed over what a killer job Hasbro did on this figure in the TRU Avengers vs. X-Men two pack review, and the modern Avengers costume version of Hulk’s cousin is every bit as nice. I was surprised to see this version of Jen with an entirely different shade of green skin that the two pack version, but both the yellow-green of the TRU version and the more emerald-based tone of this figure work very well. The articulation on She-Hulk is phenomenal, especially the double elbows (first time we’ve seen them in this collection!), the sculpting is stellar from the perfect face to the muscular yet feminine body, and she is too much fun to play with. She-Hulk is the latest in the very selective group of toys that look completely awesome in any pose imaginable… she is absolutely one of the best Marvel 3.75″ figures ever released, and I cannot wait to see this excellent body reused for other larger women like Valkyrie.
I’m so glad my fears about Marvel Universe were seemingly unfounded. The last few waves have really seen Hasbro step up their game with this line, and the resulting figures have been next-level fantastic. I was also afraid that with the departure of Dave Vonner, the lineups he assembled would be shuffled and truncated, but it seems like they’re being released exactly as originally intended. With figures this great, I cannot think of a better parting gift for Vonner to leave us Marvel fans… And if he brings this level of quality to his new lines at Jazwares, I’m pretty sure their figures will be just as must-have as Hasbro’s Marvel Universe.
Thanks to our friends at Mike’s Comics N Stuff for giving us the chance to check out these latest Marvel Universe figures! Mike’s has wave 19 in stock now, so Click Here and order yours today!