There aren't many toy lines right now for which I actually look forward to the latest figures to hit shelves. But Toy Biz's
Marvel Legends line somehow manages to consistently turn me into one of Pavlov's dogs but without the bell. So needless
to say, like many fans I have been looking forward to finding the latest series of Marvel Legends figures. Well, my wait is
over finally. And to make things even better, I also stumbled upon the new Web Splasher Doc Ock figure from series 15 of
the Spider-man Classics line. Since I'm too lazy to write a seperate review for just him, I'll toss him in with this review.
Packaging - Doc Ock 5/10, others 7/10The packaging for the Marvel Legends figures remains unchanged from previous series. Each figure is packaged in clamshell style packaging which completely covers the figure and card. Stickers on the front serve the dual purposes of giving the character information and hiding the pieces of the Sentinel build-a-figure. Very little of the front of the card is visible, the graphics are provided by the comic book included with each figure. Toy Biz did make use of the front of the card by printing the assembly instructions for the Sentinel there. But to be honest, the only useful aspect to the instructions which are little more than a drawing of the parts in their proper configuration is the not that the parts can not be disassembled. And I doubt many people ever read that before the figure is assembled. The back of the cards has a character profile card, a bio, some nice photos of all of the figures in the series. I particularly like the fact that Toy Biz has been putting a small head shot of the varient figures next to the regular one for the last few series. But this series does suffer from a potential problem that has been only a minor problem in the past, durability. The Sentinel pieces, (or in the case of Angel, the wings) add a lot of weight. Spider-man and Angel in particular are surprisingly heavy for the size of the figures. This isn't an issue for people such as myself who open their figures. But for fans who display their figures mint on card (MOC) hanging from the hook at the top, these are going to be prone to warping and damaged if there isn't additional support provided.
Web Splashers Doc Ock comes in the usual Spider-man Classics packaging. The figure is packaged in a traditional blister which is glued to the card. Like the Marvel Legends packages, the logo for the line and character info is provided on a sticker on the blister. Of course, since it isn't trying to hide a large robot piece, the sticker is much smaller. An image of Spider-man at the top of the card does an effective job of filling up that space while still leaving the emphasis on the toy itself. The back of the card leaves me flat. There is one small image of the figure, a generic paragraph about the Spider-man background, instructions, small photos of all of the figures in the series and all the usual legalese of course. It seems like there is far too much space devoted to the instructions which are little more than simple black and white drawings. It is also disappointing that there is no specific character information on the card. Toy Biz is going to the effort of making figures based on specific versions of Marvel's characters. Yet if you aren't already aware of the fact that this verison of Doctor Octopus is from the Ultimate Spider-man comics, there is nothing to inform you of that fact or stear potential readers to the book.
Sculpting - Cyclops & Spider-man 4/10, Angel 5/10, Doc Ock & Mystique 6/10, Black Panther & Omega Red 7/10, Mr Sinister 8/10Doc Ock captures the look of the Ultimate version of the character quite well. Small details like the scars around the eyes are impressive since the figure isn't even officially the Ultimate version. But the way they handled the tenticles. The tenticles themselves are not part of the figure, they are attached to the back pack accessory. I don't mind not having them as part of the figure since they are removable in the comic. But the belt to which they are supposed to attach is sculpted onto the figure, but without the tenticles. The belt should also be thicker to make it look like it is made of metal rather than just being part of the figure's clothing. The belt also lacks any indication that the tenticles are supposed to attach to it.
Mystique is a nice looking figure, but the slender nature of the character design results in some problems when translated into plastic. The hinge joints in the hands, wrists and ankles all require the sculpt to be wider than it should be in those spots. The joint at the base of the fingers on the left hand of my figure is damaged from the molding process. The fact that the hair is a seperate piece that is glued onto the head of the figure adds slightly too much thickness to the head.
Angel's most distinguishing feature is certainly his wings. They are large and extremely well detailed. While they are impressive, the rest of the figure isn't. The connection for the wings to the back of the torso are strickly utilitarian. There was no effort made to transition the wings into the rest of the figure. The body sculpt lacks any detail beyond the muscle structure, not that there is much potential for detailing. I don't care for the head sculpt either. The shape of the face is too round. And the cheekbones are all but nonexistent, a trait which is worsened by the design of the cowel. It isn't really a bad figure, but has little going for it beyond the wings.
Cyclops must have been spending a lot of time in the gym, becuase 'Slim' Summers is anything but slim. The body is quite bulky. Toy Biz did get the belt and position of the waist line correct, a significant improvement over the X-men Classics figure. But what really stands out on this figure are the gloves and boots. They are huge! I know that some of the versions of Cyclops did have large cuffed boots, but this is going overboard. (They're not quite in McFarlane Toys' league in the giant boot department. But they are getting there.) And the gloves aren't much better. They look more like welding gloves than anything you could wear for practical use. The head sculpt is decent. The serious look with a slight sneer or grimace is fitting for the character. But the scale of the head doesn't match the rest of the line very well. It's realistic! Cyclops' head is roughly the same size as Mr. Sinister's who stands a full head taller than Cyclops. The texture detail on the head is a nice addition, but unfortunately isn't continued through to the rest of the figure.
I'm not very familiar with Black Panther so I can't comment on how accurate it is. But it is a very detailed and interesting figure. The body and head are heavily textured to give it visual interest to interesting effect. The hands are gloved with long claws. There are also rectangular panels lining the cuffs of the gloves on the forearms. The boots have a lot of sculpted detail including recessed slashes and claws in front of the toes. The design reminds me a lot of the Batman Forever batmobile. It is a lot of stylization for no real reason. The cape is very well done. It is not actually connected to the figure. It simply wraps around the neck and is secured in front of the neck. But the clasp in the front keeps the collar from laying flat across the chest as it should. The cape flows nicely in the back. The length works well, not to long to hit the ground, but just long enough to appear to be able to reach the ground. The back of the cape is textured to look like worn leather to great effect. Unfortunately that texturing is not continued to the underside.
This Spider-man is supposed to be how he appeared in his first appearance in Amazing Fantasy #15. The basic figure captures the look well. It is perhaps a little too detailed in terms of some of the texturing details to match the style of the artwork. But it is closer than the recent Spider-man figures from the box sets. Like those figures, 1st appearance Spider-man's fingers are a little long. But this figure is a giant step backwards in terms of one of the most important features, the underarm webbing. As with the previous attempts from the Fearsome Foes and Sinister Six box sets, the webbing is a single piece of fishnet-like cloth. But where the previous figures attached to the forearms, neck and hips, the webbing on this figure isn't attached at the bottom. It also attaches to the neck at the base of the skull instead of near the shoulders. The result is webbing that basicly looks like it is on upside down. It rides up across the back rather than arching down to the waistline and sticks up above the shoulders to form neck webbing. I believe the change was made inorder to allow access to the hole in the lower back for the figure stand accessory. But the execution is very poor.
Omega Red is a nice looking figure with a heavy dose of 90's comic book style. The body and upper legs are reused from the Sabertooth figure. New lower legs provide the boots with their exaggerated fins in fornt of the knees. The new forearms have plugs on the insides where the tnedrils attach. The tendrills themselves are just over ten inches long and are formed with a combination of smooth round sections and thicker sections with cross hatching patterns. The thicker sections seem out of place on Omega Red. The belt, shoulder straps and the large shoulder pads are all one piece that does not actually attach directly to the figure. The shoulder pads are rediculously large. But the large body keeps them from looking too out of place. The head is quite detailed with a nice, open mouth scowl. The hair is sculpted in a flowing pose that keeps it just high enough off the shoulders to allow a decent range of motion for the neck. The hair also helps to hide the gaps between the shoulder pads and the neck.
Finally there is Mr. Sinister. Sinister is a completely new sculpt and by most accounts the best in the series. The basic design of the character is reproduced well on the figure with some additional details added. The head is nicely detailed and captures the evil nature of the character. The cape is also an interesting construction. The high collar attaches to the figure via a peg at the base of the neck. The cape itself consists of two layers of different length strands. The cape does have a draw back in that the individual strands can be warped from their time in the packaging.
Paint - Angel 5/10, others 4/10The paint work has been a potential weak point of this line since the first series. And this series is not one of the high points. To Toy Biz's credit, the paint work on all of the is fairly elaborate. And where the quality is up to par, the figures look good. But quality is incredibly irradic. The washes on Cyclops' gloves and boots and Omega Red's head just make those areas look dirty. The webbing on Spider-man's costume is very inconsistent. Some lines are very dark while others have no paint at all. Black Panther should have been easy to get right since the vast majority of the figure has no paint work at all, it is just the black color of the plastic. But the gold paint is horribly sloppy. There is stray gold paint all over on my figure. Doc Ock suffers from both dirty washes on his boots and gloves and very sloppy paint for the hair color. Mystique's white paint is too thin in some areas which allows the plastic's blue color to bleed through. The figure must have been packaged while the paint on the hair was still slightly tacky. As a result it tends to stick to the plastic tray and some small spots were pulled off. Angel is the one figure which manages to avoid sloppy paint. But that is just because Toy Biz kept the paint work very simple on the figure itself. Only the wings have the more subtle shading that causes most of the problems on the other figures. But Angel does have his own problem, the lines for the paint often don't match up well across the joints if at all.
As with previous series of Marvel Legends, there are some varient figures with different paint schemes. Cyclops has a varient with his lighter blue with white stripes X-Factor uniform. Angel is available in his blue and white uniform. I have no idea how common the variant figures are. But if the previous series is any indication, they should be easier to find than most of the past chase figures.
Articulation - Angel 5/10, Mystique 6/10, others 7/10The basic articulation for a Marvel Legends figure includes thirty eight points of articulation:
For once there are't any problems with loose joints on any of my figures. Some care should be taken in loosening up some of the joints which may be siezed up by the paint. The rotating joints in Cyclops' forearms and shins were particularally tight. But the figures have a new problem. Toy Biz, or the factory that manufactures their figures used a softer plastic for some of the smaller connecting parts in the knees and elbows. As a result, those joints now seem to be prone to warping.
Accessories/Action features - Doc Ock 1/10, Spider-man & Angel 6/10, others 5/10Doc Ock comes with one accessory, a backpack with his mechanical tenticles that squirt water. It is excessively large. The arms are off model. This is one to toss in the useless accessory bin. The rest of the figures all come with a comic or poster book, a stand and a piece of the Sentinel build-a-figure. (I'll cover the sentinel figure pieces later.) As with the Galactus series figures, the Sentinel series figures forego the unique, sculpted display base stands. Instead they all come with the same clear adjustable stand which we have seen previously with Vision, Deadpool and War Machine. It is nice that Toy Biz included a stand. But the stands lack simple foot pegs. As a result, using them even to just stand a figure up straight requires the stand to stick way out behind the figure. Of course, each figure comes with a comic or poster book as well. 1st appearance Spider-man comes with a reprint of Amazing Fantasy #15. Cyclops comes with a reprint of Uncanny X-men No. 201. Angel has a reprint of X-men No. 5. Black Panther comes with The Avengers no. 87. Omega Red has a copy of X-men no. 7. Mr. Sinister comes with a copy of Uncanny X-men no. 243. Mystique comes with a poster book which contains fifteen images. Oddly enough, fourteen of the fifteen images are of the modern style Mystique from the Mystique comic. Why they didn't just include an issue of the Mystique comic is beyond me.
Sentinel -And now I finally get to what many consider to be the biggest highlight of the entire wave, the Sentinel build-a-figure. Each figure comes with a piece of the Sentinel. Spider-man comes with the torso and head. Black Panther and Cyclops come with the arms. Sinister and Angel come with the legs. Omega Red and Mystique both come with the same piece, the waist section. That was done so that those two figures could be shipped in lesser numbers and still have a roughly equal number of all of the parts available. Once assembled, this instrument of mutant annihilation stands a towering sixteen inches tall. The sculpting of the figure is a fairly modern version with a lot of details such as cables and pistons visible between the armor. The figures comes with two poseable tendrils that plug into the palms of the hands. The figure has a decent amount of articulation: ankles, double jointed knees, rotating thighs, double jointed hips, rotating waist, triple jointed mid-torso faux ball joint (by rotating around the peg and sliding both side to side and front to back it gives the same range of motion as a ball joint), ball jointed neck, double jointed shoulders, rotating biceps, double joitned elbows, ball jointed wrists and individually hinged fingers and thumbs. There's certainly no problems with loose joints. Quite the opposite in fact, several of the joints are a little to tight and difficult to position. The only thing I dislike about the figure is that the waist section which is hollow and quite light weight. While I haven't had any problems with it, it does feel a bit fragile compared to the other sections. On the plus side, if you buy all seven figures in the line, you'll have a spare just in case.
Value - Doc Ock & Spider-man 3/10, Omega Red & Sinister 9/10, others 7/10
Both the Spider-man Classics and Marvel Legends line run between $6.50 and $8 depending on the store. Without a decent set
of mechanical arms, Doc Ock seems like you are paying full price for half of a figure. Spider-man isn't that bad of a figure.
But there are better Spider-man figures available. Mystique, Cyclops, Angel and Black Panther are all solid additions to
any Marvel fan's collection. But Sinister and Omega Red are the best of the series.