I donít think it would be a huge surprise to say that I like Iron Man. In fact I can safely say that I have more Iron man action figures than any other single character. Of course when I say that I am including Marvel Universe, Marvel Legends, Minimates, Secret Wars, The Toybiz 5 inch figures, ect. I wonít Iron Man is my favorite hero but he is defiantly in my top ten. So why do I have so many figures? Well first off it is much easier to justify multiple Iron Man figures than most others. Sure there are tons of Batmanís out there, but really most of the time it is hard to justify them. Iron Man has a ton of Armors and is constantly changing his to suit whatever he needs at the time. My general rule of thumb is to look over the armors and grab what I want. Sometimes that is just one, sometimes that is everything. In the case of many of the concept series it has been most, but not all.
Iron Man is one of the earliest comic memories I have. I knew Superman and Batman of course, but Iron Man was something different. I have very vivid memories of reading Iron Man fighting the Growing Man, The Red Ghost and the Super apes and bunches of other villains from the way, way back days. Iron Man got me into the Avengers cause he was a major part of them. Eventually, The Avengers opened up the Marvel Universe for me. When I was young (we are talking 5 here) I was confused because I thought the title of the comic was ďThe Invisible Iron Man.Ē My dad had fun trying to explain to me the meaning of the world ďInvincibleĒ while I was struggling with the basics. I mean if he was invincible how come he got beat up in that issue by a bunch of apes? In those days Iron Man didnít change his armor, he only had two (technically four) changes to the armor at that point (Mark I, gold Mark I, Mark II pointy helmet, and Mark II otherwise known as classic now). Pretty soon the Silver armor came along and opened up Stark adding armors to his collection.
I have thought about making a hall of armor with all the armors I now have, but not done it yet. Anyway the Iron Man 2 toyline has been a dream come true. I have wanted Iron Man in 1:18th scale for years and while I had one from the Marvel Legends Showdown line he defiantly fell short of the goal. This past year My Iron Man Collection has been increased drastically to say the least. So much so that when another comes in I begin to question it. Still itís been fun so I am riding with it.
So after all that I can get to the figures, oops, that was a real digression.
First up is one of the unexpected figures of this wave, War Machine Munitions armor. I think this is the first single packed War Machine of the Concept series. The previous ones of the concept series were available only in multipacks (Omega factor, Recon) while other War Machine armors were regulated to the Movie and Comic lines. Still I am kind of surprised it took this long to put one out in single pack for concept series.
War Machine is kind of an odd character to begin with, he was produced to replace Iron Man (which he did for a time in the comics when Stark was believed dead). When the whole crappy Heroes Reborn story happened, I had this idea to have War Machine, Thunderstrke and US Agent being the new Avengers (I found out years later this was done in Secret Defenders, a book I paid very little attention to at the time). I thought they would be a great foil to the original Thunderbolts, a comic I really enjoyed at the time. Of course nothing permanent happened, but with a confirmed US Agent in the Cap Movie line that means I will soon be one figure short with Thunderstrike (and you never know, Thunderstrike might pop up in the Thor line).
In many ways I look at this armor and see Iron Man. The colors are defiantly Iron Man influenced. My thoughts were maybe this was the armor as it was before Tony made an actual War Machine Armor. The card back says that it is a especially strong armor designed to withstand the recoil of a gun that should be on a battleship. Thus he has huge honkiní guns. Not sure why he has to be red to have huge honking guns but ok.
Personally I am not a huge fan of the guns, I actually prefer the figure with the smaller guns of the previous versions. Since this is a straight repaint of the movie version the guns fit perfectly. Still I keep getting the Iron Man vibe from him even with the guns. I suppose it has to be the color.
Still, itís hard to do anything fresh with War Machine and this looks like one of the best options. The red is a deep enough shade that it still fits War Machine but isnít too bright to seem off. Much like the Omega Factor armor the color brings out the details of the figure. In fact you can use either of those and get a Christmas theme going on (HEY, that gives me an idea LOL).
So the verdict, if you like War Machine take the plunge, there is nothing at all wrong with having a few variations on him.
The Hot Zone Armor is kind of strange to me, it appears like it should specialize in rescue or something. I suppose itís the red and white color scheme since it implies rescue. Instead the armorís purpose is said to be a free fall armor from space that the glider slows the fall. Eh, itís a rescue armor, I have never really cared what the back of the box said.
The figure comes with a big arsed glider, and honestly I find the glider kind of cool. The wings fold out or fold in. Itís a nice feature that makes this figure distinct. Otherwise he is a straight repaint of the Mark VI armor, which isnít a terrible thing. Also it appears that the loose chest I noticed with the ďTronĒ Hologram armor is no longer an issue with this repaint, I was thinking the mold might have been getting worn out or something.
Being a straight repaint is limiting though, it kind of feels like we have been there already. But the added glider does give the figure something new and interesting. I canít help but love this glider, itís big and cumbersome but also a fun play feature that I catch myself opening and closing all the time.
With this one I suppose it depends on you feeling on variations of Iron Man. I personally donít mind them to an extent, although I admit they are getting ready to get out of hand.
Next up is the Mark V Stealth Armor. I couldnít help but laugh at the fact that on the back of the card it said that Stark makes some armors just cause they are cool, cause when I see this armor I do think itís cool. I am not positive if that is what was said on the back of the original Mark V, I suppose I could go to the store and find out since Mark V is everywhere but I didnít.
I look at this armor and get flashbacks to Mainframe from the short lived A-Next series. It was just an ok series, but nothing spectacular, much like the entire M2 imprint. I am unsure if the resemblance is purposeful or coincidental, cause letís face it black and gold does look cool and itís an easy combo to come up with.
Again we have a straight forward repaint of the Mark V, even with the rocket Launcher briefcase. I never officially reviewed the original Mark V (will probably do so in a retro review) but the suitcase is kind of fun I think. I know lots and lots of fans were unhappy with it and thought it was stupid but I thought it was funny and interesting. I have seen enough comics with the Mark V at this point that tell me I am not the only one. My one gripe on the briefcase is the rockets donít quite match the rest of the case as it did with the original Mark V.
Just like the Hot Zone Armor, this one depends on your view of variations of Iron Man, if you like variations this is a really good one, if not then you should pass.
Even if you donít like variations of Iron Man, this next figure should raise an eyebrow either way. The Stark Racing Armor instantly caught my attention because it looks like it belongs with the movie line. The reason, obviously, is because the armor looks just like the racing jumpsuit worn by Stark when he races in Iron Man 2. In fact it looks exactly like it (I double checked the movie just before this review). Most of the details on this armor come straight from the movie, along with some extras that help fit it to the Mark VI armor.
The details on this figure really make it something special, the logos all over it and minor things like the little S on the side of the leg all enhance this armor to make it something just plain fun. The blue is dead on to the jumpsuit worn in the movie. In other words this looks like it should have been in Iron Man 2. Of course if it was we wouldnít have had that cool Mark V scene.
Some have complained that we should have had a Stark in racing gear rather than a repaint Iron Man, and I am not necessarily in disagreement with that. However, I look at the figure and it brings a smile to my face, itís just fun and kind of funny. That is pretty rare in the modern action figure world when you think about it. I suppose that is why I am so over the top on this figure, so little of modern releases are just fun anymore. They are cool, but very few are cool and fun at the same time.
There is an odd occurrence down on the ankle joint though, inside the joint is some oddball red. I suppose this is because the original mold might have been done in red plastic before painting (intended for the Mark VI) and the mold was changed at the last second, but that is a guess. Itís not terrible but slightly distracting.
I say grab it regardless of your stance of variations, itís just pain neat and fun to have. Itís one of those figures I think years from now people will go ďI never saw that, thatís coolĒ and might be snatched up on the second hand market too. NOTE: I am not saying this is a safe investment for those of you who invest. I am in no way an expert in how toys go up and down in value. What I am saying is he might be hard to find in the not too distant future because most collectors might ignore it. But I freely admit I could be wrong.
While Iron Man is continuing, it appears the steam in the line is letting up. I know I am not too interested in many more of the concept series myself. However you never know, I said I wasnít going to be too interested in these and then I end up liking them all. Part of that is I tend to use Iron Man as sort of like Queen Amidalia in my web comic, every time he walks through a door he changes outfits (see Star Wars Episode I and watch how she does, itís kind of uncanny how often she changes clothes). With that stance I can justify a great many Iron Man purchases and I realize not everyone has that kind of justification.
Still I love the newer variations, they add color and vibrance into the ďred and goldĒ look that has been overdone this year and they look nice doing it.