Review: Marvel Legends Gets a Little Strange

By bill - July 29, 2015

ML-Dr-Strange-featHasbro’s Comic-Con exclusive Marvel Legends set pay tribute to the Sorcerer Supreme.

We’ve seen a lot of surprising characters released under the Marvel Legends banner in the past, but Hasbro tends to reserve some of their most geek-out-worthy figures for the annual Comic-Con exclusive box set.  We’ve seen past years dedicated to the likes of the Thunderbolts and X-Force, and this year’s box set follows suit, delivering a Dr. Strange themed cast of characters, almost all of which are making their Legends debut.

The box set– packed in a cool opening window box modeled after the Book of the Vishanti– includes Brother Voodoo, Magik, Dormammu, Hela, and an Astral Projection variant of the Marvel Now! Dr. Strange.  In addition to this impressive lineup of mystical heroes and villains, the set borrows a page from last year’s wearable Infinity Gauntlet, by including a life sized replica of the Eye of Agamotto, which you can use to clasp any capes you happen to have handy (I guess?).  Regardless of the utilitarian benefits of this accessory, it’s an awesome bonus to be included with a great bunch of figures.

This Dr. Strange is a perfect variant, distinguishing him from the standard edition currently hitting shelves in Avengers Legends.  The figure’s sculpt is identical, but he’s cast in translucent clear plastic, mimicking the astral projection the good Doctor uses on his out-of-body experiences.  Small paint details, such as the silver eyes and costume detailing, help to make this mostly-clear figure visually dynamic, and the energy projections that can clip to his wrists serve as great accessories.

Strange isn’t the only Sorcerer Supreme in this box set, as we also get the first ever Brother Voodoo action figure.  Voodoo is depicted in his current black costume, which features a very cool skeletal design.  His portrait is all new, and looks great, from the skull-faced makeup to the dreadlocks that adorn his head.  While Voodoo’s costume is mostly black and white, details such as the sash and red cape break up the simple color pattern, making this a very dynamic figure (while continuing Hasbro’s long-running trend to cover black and white costumes whenever possible).  I’m not in love with the structure of this guy’s cape, which is composed of two parts– there’s a lower portion which plugs into the figure’s back and drape down, while another piece covers the shoulders and the unsightly top of the lower cape, which connects to nothing.  It’s an improvement over the design of Sentry’s cape, but the end result still seems like it would have been better suited for a single piece, which could simply extend from the shoulders down to the bottom of the cape.  Voodoo also includes his staff, which is painted in a gradient, giving way to the translucent green plastic beneath.  This creates a cool energy effect, which highlights the two ghoulish creatures emerging from the sides of the accessory.

Considering how aggressively Marvel and Hasbro have been staying away from Marvel’s mutants, I’m surprised to see Magik included here.  It makes sense, though, since the X-Man has always had one foot planted squarely in the magical corner of the Marvel universe.  Her figure is fantastic, making smart reuse of the Spider-Girl teen body with an all new headsculpt and armored arm.  The portrait is great, with Magik’s pupil-less eyes, straight hair and bangs making her look like she stepped off the page of a Chris Bachalo drawing.  The metal arm is a great sculpt, as well, loaded with realistic detail and weathering.  The gunmetal grey base and black wash highlight the nuances of this piece perfectly, and offset from the smoother, more streamlined black and red costume the mutant mage wears.  Magik includes two swords, both of which she can brandish very effectively.

Quite possibly the most arcane character in this set is Hela, the Asgardian goddess of death.  Hela is based on the Red She-Hulk body, giving her a great scale alongside her fellow Asgardians such as Thor, Loki and Odin.  Her new portrait sports a sly, sinister expression, and very cool horns which extend out from the sides of her mask.  Hela’s shoulder pads are attached to a cloth cape which works well enough, despite its lack of continuity with Brother Voodoo’s plastic cape, and her costume, with its two tones of green, definitely stands out amidst the other figures in this set.  Hela includes an imposing green sword which she can hold in her right hand.  Her left hand is sculpted into a fist; I do wish she was given a second open hand to hold her weapon with both arms, but the single hand hold works well enough, especially considering her stature and background as an Asgardian warrior.

Rounding out the set is Strange’s arch nemesis, Dormammu.  The demonic villain is appropriately huge, towering over everyone else in this set, even the considerably tall Hela.  Dormammu is based on his current look, which retains enough of his classic design to be instantly recognizable– his purple and red costume features quite a bit of detailed armor, as well as a cool semi-metallic finish which grounds the figure’s aesthetic.  Which is good, because it offsets perfectly against his black, skull-like face and the orange flames which engulf his head.  The face sculpt is excellent, with Dormammu’s eyes narrowed and his mouth extended in a menacing grin.  He’s practically begging to be put into a classic chin down, arms up, clawed hands grasping in mid-air pose.  Dormammu’s forearms feature the same gradient paint effect as Brother Voodoo’s staff, with the metallic paint giving way to translucent purple plastic underneath.  It’s a cool effect that doesn’t interfere with the overall design of the figure, and it makes him look perfect posed with his flaming skull accessories (incredibly clever reuses of a pair of disembodied Ghost Rider heads).

I have always loved the surreal, bizarre magical Marvel stories, and this Legends box set is a great tribute to this weird and trippy corner of the universe.  The figures themselves are all solid additions to the overall Legends collection, but what I find most impressive about this set is how Hasbro leaned into the weirdness of Marvel’s mystics.  I mean, just getting Brother Voodoo, or Dormammu, or Hela would be enough justification for a massive geek out… but getting them all in one box, let alone one that looks like one of the most iconic magical books in Marvel continuity, increases the coolness of this set even more.

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