Yes another wave of Marvel Universe is upon us. Actually this one is the first wave for next year only it has apparently arrived early. This time some variety makes the wave seem a lot more palatable than previous waves this year. I dare say this is one of the best waves of Marvel Universe figures yet. That is often said with new waves but I hope regular readers of my reviews realize I am not prone to hyperbole.
Oddly the Thanos wave still has not been spotted by me nor has my pre-order been filled, another testament to the crappy distribution of Marvel Universe. I hope this gets fixed but honestly I doubt it. I also think that fans are starting to just give up on this series as it is getting too frustrating to find the figures they want, and really who can blame them. I have been known to stick with lines long after they fade into obscurity, so I am in for the long haul. But when I read about people infuriated over waves not arriving in stores, I can defiantly emphasize. I know Hasbro keeps saying “We’re working on it.” But really that same old statement gets old fast, especially when nothing improves.
So let’s get to looking at these figures.
Doc Samson (Or Sampson if one is to believe the misspelling of the stand LOL) was a surprise to say the least. Talk about a “Z-List” character. While Samson plays a decent role in the Hulk series from time to time, often he is regulated to being a minor support role in relation to the rest of the Marvel Universe. Lenny does have some strength but he is nowhere near the level of his #1 patient, The Hulk. Also the idea of a Gamma powered psychiatrist does cause a slight chuckle no matter how you try to down play it.
One of my most vivid memories about Doc Samson was a solo story in the Hulk comic during Peter David’s excellent run. The story was about Lenard dealing with a murderess who wanted to go by the name infinity but when she used the Greek infinity symbol she got the name “Crazy 8.” I always enjoyed the story as it had a great deal of character for Lenard, something I think is lacking in most of his appearances. Generally he comes along, does a bunch of psycho-babble about Bruce’s abusive father ect and then Hulk escapes. Not much room to get to know someone there.
Honestly I think this wave might have been better served with the Leader in this slot. The wave is low on villains and Leader could fill the cranial requirements here. Still I like Samson regardless of the fact he is a “Z-Lister” so I don’t mind him here at all. Of course we get great recycling out of the old Wrecking Crew mold, which each time a mold is recycled begs the question “Why do these cost so much when they are made so cheaply?” The world may never know.
So anyway Lenard is with his signature long green hair, which is probably disconcerting to those who are uninitiated with the Hulk Mythos. Of course he is a fan of Shazam (Joking) with his T-shirt. Samson has had a few looks over the years including ponytail, lab coat, ect, but this one is probably his most iconic. Thus, it fits his appearance in this line.
If you like Hulk and his supporting cast, Lenny is a must have figure for you, Otherwise I would say pass on him, he is one of those love or hate kind of characters and figures.
Captain Marvel is one of those characters you kind of speak of with some reverence. Marvel is most famous for his death way back when as he died from cancer and not from some evil doer’s master plan. Mar-Vell also has a son who took up his mantle of Captain Marvell. I never really got into the adventures of his son though, seemed kind of like they were trying for that “can’t live up to dad’s legacy” thing when I did read it. Mar-Vell had apparently returned to be the warden of the Negative Zone Prison after Civil War, but turned out to be a Skrull agent who believed his conditioning so much he apparently still thinks he is Captain Marvel. I thought this was a vain attempt to bring Mar0Vell back but then he died leaving the mantel of Captain Marvel to Noh-Varr who was a member of the Dark Avengers.
Captain Marvel also has the distinction of being one of those characters caught up in some crazy copyright issues. He and the DC version, AKA Shazam, had been debated for years, which is why you never find a modern Shazam comic called Captain Marvel even though that is the character’s name.
Marvel’s powers kept changing as he went, but generally I prefer the nega-bands types of powers with the addition of his “cosmic awareness.” The figure has the bands painted on, I think I would have preferred them being separate pieces, but either way works. Of course like many MU figures he has no accessories, but then again what kind of accessories could he use? I suppose a tasteless person might want to have a canister of nerve gas, but I am fine without it.
I have read some people have complained about Mar-Vell’s hair, but believe it or not that actually is how it appears in the comic, in other words it works. As an old school comic fan this figure was a must have for me, but I can see why some current fans might not be as impressed, but I think he is hella cool.
Next up is yet another Iron Man, yes Hasbro keeps insisting on adding more and more Iron Man figures to the MU line even though he has his own line for the Iron Man 2 movie. Of course we keep getting flooded with them to the point of annoyance and it’s just so boring and it’s the same old and….uh…repetitive and…aw crap, I admit it, this Iron Man is awesome.
This is of course the “Bleeding edge” armor even though it’s labeled “Modular Armor.” I suppose that is because Hasbro thought “Bleeding Edge” was too extreme for kids, actually I think kids would eat it up, but that is beside the point. The figure is awesome, has an entirely new mold from what I can see as well. While I admit Iron Man has been overdone this year, this is still a version of the armor we haven’t seen yet and it’s also one of Iron Man’s most iconic, even though it is one of the more recent as well. He also features the look up head many fans have come to enjoy.
On a personal level, I love Iron Man and don’t mind having so many variations but between this and the latest concept series I think I am heading to the end of that desire. A few more variations that I want to see made but the number of Iron Man’s that interest me are thinning out drastically with this edition.
I will say that even if you tend to lean to the conservative end of variations of Iron Man, this is a good one to have to the collection. The only way I can see purposefully avoiding this figure would be if you only like one version of Iron Man and already have it or just plain don’t like Iron Man at all. I highly recommend this one.
TNext up, Spider-Woman, the Jessica Drew version. While she uses the typical female MU body, she does have a new head. Hasbro could have easily gotten away with just repainting the Secret Wars comic pack Spider-Woman. Instead they opted for a new head, part of me appreciates the effort and part of me asks why. Still it is something noteworthy about the figure.
Spider-Woman also includes her wings, which at first might seem odd to those not initiated to her, but is an integral part of her costume. In her old cartoon from the late 1970’s it was implied she used them to fly. The wings on the figure are a bit off from proportions to her comic appearance, they usually only come down to just below her elbows rather than to her wrists like on the figure, but that can be forgiven. At least they are there. Also the wings are flexible so that they don’t inhibit movement so badly.
As you can see, mine has some paint problems in the mid-section. Which of course leads to talk of the QC issues with this line. Fact is pre-inspection is kind of not a possibility with many MU figures because you have to order them online rather than inspect them in the stores. It’s kind of tough cause I would much rather find 12 Spider-Woman figures and pick the best rather than roll the dice like I often have to. What can you do, not much until the distribution problems are fixed.
Spider-Woman has had a sorted past, she was a big star in the late 1970’s going so far to get her own cartoon show at one time in that era often playing right after the Spider-Man cartoon. She faded into obscurity for quite a long time until she was resurrected out of nowhere to star in New Avengers. Of course next she turned out to be a Skrull but she was really up in the spaceship with the other replaced heroes. So basically as far as we can tell she is back to normal and running around the Marvel Universe again.
It goes without saying that if you are assembling the New Avengers that she is a must have figure. For me it’s the love of that old cartoon series, while I haven’t seen it in forever I do remember it as being something that entertained me as a child and I remember Spider-Woman having been one of my favorite heroes as a kid. I can’t think of a reason anyone would want to pass on her to be honest, but I am sure someone out there has a good one if they do.
The 2099 universe of Marvel comics was an interesting distraction for the mainstream for its brief time. Many of the titles produced while the imprint was around really didn’t do a whole lot for me, I did give most of them a look and only a few characters had any appeal to me, but only on a visual level. One of those was Spider-Man 2009.
I personally think he was included in this line because of his inclusion in the Exiles. Of course this was an alternate version of an alternate future as the original Spider-Man 2099 gained the hammer of Thor and ruled the Universe until 3099. In this reality, Proteus attacks and Spidey joins up with the Exiles (it’s pretty complicated as to why, just trust me). His joining creates an alternate reality, and anyone who read the Exiles knows the rest.
My one gripe on this figure would be a minor one. I do wish the open hand reflected his claws that the character had. His Toybiz Spider-Man classics figure had this, but it was the 5 inch scale. It wasn’t exact but I do remember the fingers having points, too bad I sold it off years ago.
Since Hasbro insisted on a Spider-Man in this line, at least they went for a Spider-Man that was a different character. I can at least get behind that. The figure itself is a repaint with the exception of a few obvious parts. The web cape is a clear flexible plastic in what I suppose is to emulate the web-cape he wears in the comic.
I really love this figure, it gives me hope for a Hulk 2099 and a Doom 2099 (both of which I would love to have). I realize he is kind of a niche’ character and as such is not for everyone. Still I thought the 2099 universe had some great potential that was never reached. As such I enjoy any references to that little side project.
Last but defiantly not least is World War Hulk. This is a storyline I really enjoyed back when it came out mostly because it was able to be self-contained. While there were side books and such the main story was all you really needed to enjoy and appreciate the storyline. If you don’t know the story, the basics of it is that Hulk is exiled to a far away planet and after he makes a life for himself (after destroying an evil dictator and beating down all opposition) the planet is destroyed. Hulk believes the heroes who banished him are responsible and seeks revenge. Remember that old line about the madder Hulk gets the stronger he gets, yeah he was royally peeved in this storyline.
The figure is pure awesome, the thing I hated about the first Hulk releases (Green, Red, and Grey) is the fact the hips did not have any motion that could simulate walking. This Hulk has that option thankfully. When I first saw pictures of this figure I thought he had some recycled parts from Juggernaught. However, on closer inspection it appears most of the Hulk’s parts are original, or at least masked enough to where you can’t notice it. All the straps and spikes are molded into the figure. Not sure why the Hulk ever needed saddles but they are there as well.
The one weakness for Hulkan the barbarian is of course the fact that he doesn’t hold his weapons well. There are a million and one ways to fix this though so it’s a minor gripe. Really the figure is incredible, massive and everything I wanted from the first stab at the Hulk. I got a feeling that if the rumored Skaar (Hulk’s son) is for real that it will reuse these parts, or at least many of them.
Still I love this figure, defiantly my favorite from the wave. I do think the MU line needs to do a Hulk in a more “normal” form (for him) with this kind of articulation, but this will do for the moment.
All in all a fantastic wave, this is significant since I must be honest in that I don’t think some of the upcoming waves are all that impressive. Some cool characters are mentioned like Dr. Strange and Darkhawk but at the same time many characters that have already made appearances in the MU line like Namor, Dr. Doom and Ultron have been mentioned as well as a rumored Steve Rogers in his S.H.I.E.L.D. uniform which has no appeal to me whatsoever. But it is good to end the year on a high note like this, even if technically it is really starting the next year’s selection. Now if only that distribution could be fixed.