When it hit theaters in 2014, the first Guardians of the Galaxy movie caught a lot of people off guard when a team almost no one had heard
of suddenly became a major Hollywood hit. Fortunately Hasbro wasn't caught completely off guard and was ready with a series of Marvel Legends figures
that gave us the core team, but not much else. And with GOTG Vol.2 hitting theaters this month, Hasbro came into this year ready to fill out
fans toy shelves with two Guardians of the Galaxy themed series. The first series was released early this year. I'm guessing that they were
trying to avoid any spoilers, so the series focuses mostly on characters from the GOTG comics such as Darkhawk, Vance Astro, Nova and Angela.
But it also includes Vol. 2 versions of Drax, Star-Lord and a Yondu figure. And of course the world wouldn't be nearly as fun without some Groot,
so Hasbro also released an exclusive Groot Evolution set through Toys R Us which includes a full sized Groot, a small Groot in a pot as well as
Vol. 2 style, child sized Groot. So toss in your favorite mix tape and lets get this started.
Packaging - Star-Lord, Drax, Yondu & Groot 8/10, others 6/10The packaging for the Titus series as well as the Groot Evolution figure is the usual Marvel Legends Infinite packaging. I like it overall. And I think aesthetically it works exceptionally well with movie lines. But once again I have to lament that they don't include more character information either on the packaging or at least provide a reference to a more complete bio online for each character. More than half of the figures in this series are characters that even comic fans are not likely to be well acquainted with. And it wouldn't be that hard. Even a simple reference to their Wikipedia pages would be enough, sort of like these:
Sculpting - Vance Astro 6/10, Drax & Angela 9/10, Star-Lord 10/10, Others 8/10Hasbro has put out some really impressive looking figures with this series. Of course they were able to cut a couple really big corners with three of the figures. Both Groot and Drax are exactly the same figures as the previous releases other than the new head sculpts. The new grinning face works well for Groot. But Drax's open mouth scream, while not out of place, is going to look rather odd in most displays. And then there's Vance Astro who by design has no real sculpted detail to him. Both Nova and Angela seem to be completely new figures. Both are extremely well sculpted and accurate. But both also seem to be sculpted in a more comic/cartoon style so all of the details are a bit more muted and lack depth. That may end up being fine when I display them with other comic based figures. But included with all of the other movie based figures, they remind me more of people dressed up in cosplay reproductions of the costumes rather than the real thing. Darkhawk is done in a similar style. But it works extremely well for him. Yondu is a very detailed figure. But there are two issue that keep him from reaching perfection. His torso is too long, a trait that is only made worse by his long coat. And his default, short mohawk is a bit too small, marring an otherwise impeccable head sculpt. Finally there's Star-Lord who is the highlight of the series. It would have been really easy for Hasbro to have reused the passable Chris Pratt head sculpt that they had from the first series. But instead they created an all new sculpt which is as spot on as one could ever hope for from a mass market action figure.
Paint - Star-Lord & Drax 9/10, Yondu 5/10, others 8/10The paint work on this series of figures is well executed overall. With one glaring exception, the figures all look great. That exception is Yondu, specifically his face which has a glossy finish to it. Maybe it's just me, but it ruins what would have been the most desirable figure in the series otherwise. There's no chance of thinking this is actually Michael Rooker instead of a cheap plastic imitation. Fortunately, both of the other movie based figures, Drax and Star-Lord, turned out well despite the fact that they have more paint work than the other figures.
Articulation - others 8/10The articulation for these figures should come as no surprise to anyone who has bought a Marvel Legends figure in the last half decade. Star-Lord has the usual articulation for a male Marvel Legends figure:
Accessories - Star-Lord 8/10, Nova, Vance Astro & Yondu 5/10, Darkhawk 0/10, others 7/10The Titus series figures have a fairly nice assortment of accessories overall. Poor Darkhawk is the only figure to come empty handed with no accessories. Nova has a small, unarticulated companion figure. But since I have no idea who it is and it can't stand up on its own, his/her/its inclusion is far less impressive to me than it could have been. Vance Astro comes with a copy of Captain America's shield which can peg into the whole in his back for storage. Both Angela and Drax come with a trio of weapons. For Angela it is a sword and two sickle style hand blades. Drax has his two large knives and a bazooka. I like the added extra of throwing in the bazooka. But his hands are not well suited to holding it. I was able to force his right hand open far enough to hold it. But I doubt he'll ever be able to properly hold a knife in that hand now. Star-Lord has the best looking accessories with two hand guns and an alternate head with his mask. All three items look great. And I love that you can store the guns on his hips. (They are not held very securely though. So be careful or you may lose them.) This version of Groot is marketed as Groot Evolution, and it's his accessories that earn it the evolution title. He comes with a small, unarticulated version of Groot in his potted form from the end of the first movie as well as his tiny, child like form from the second Guardians of the Galaxy movie. These two items were the only reason I bought yet another Groot figure. While they are nice as accessories, they aren't nice enough to justify a $20 price tag if you already have the first Groot Build A Figure. Finally there is Yondu who comes with an alternate head and his arrow weapon. Once again, I want to love this figure, but a couple of seemingly minor issues left me very disappointed. He comes with a second head with his full fin from the second movie and a whistling pose. And the head is really well done and the pose is a great choice. But it comes so close to being perfect that it's slight imperfections end up annoying me way more than they should. The same is true with his arrow as well. It looks cool and the translucent tail is a nice addition. And I love that they included a holster to hold the arrow. But since the trail can't be removed from the arrow, storing the arrow in the holster looks silly. So now I'm just annoyed by the fact that I can't store the arrow without the trail.
Build A Figure - TitusThis may be the first series of Marvel Legends figures since they started the Build A Figure concept that I have been this underwhelmed/unimpressed by the bonus figure. On paper, Titus sounds really cool. He is a hulking, white tiger character with a cyborg eye and cannon for a forearm. This should be a bad-ass figure. But once he was completely assembled, he just looks like a hodgepodge of parts. If I didn't know any better, I would swear that Titus was a collection of random, leftover build a figure parts instead of an actual character from the comics. I suspect that if i read the Nova comic and had any familiarity with the character I would feel differently. But as it is, Titus will be going to the back of some shelf to be quickly forgotten.
Value - Groot & Star-Lord 10/10, Drax 9/10, Yondu 6/10, others 8/10The Titus series figures and Groot Evolution all sell for $20 to $23 depending upon the store. Since you're reading this, I can safely assume you are a fan of the Guardians of the Galaxy characters and movies. If that is the case, all of these figures are well worth their price tag. Even Groot who I had the most reservations about buying ended up being my favorite of the three versions of Groot that have been produced thus far. But with a better version of kid Groot slated for the next series of figures, due out in stores soon, you also aren't missing out on much if you pass him up. And on the subject of passing up figures, while I don't dislike any of these figures, If I had the option of going back and not purchasing Vance Astro whom I really don't know as a character, I probably wouldn't buy him again even if that meant not completing the Titus BAF as well. And coming from a person who is such a completionist that I bought extra figures to complete both versions of the Armin Zola and All Father Build A Figures, that's really saying something.
Happy Hunting:Groot Evolution is an exclusive figure and only available from Toys R Us in the United States. The Titus series figures should be available from any retailer that carries the Marvel Legends Infinite lines. But they first started showing up at retail in February. And it looks like a new series of Guardians of the Galaxy figures (the Mantis Series) should be hitting store pegs soon. Once that happens, these figures could prove to be much harder to find.