With some delays, the Captain America line is hitting the shelves and in it comes some exclusives like the Patriots 3-pack from K-Mart. Last year some of the Multi-pack exclusives had figures already on the shelf. Well the same is here too in that great Hasbro tradition of making you own multiples of the same figure by packing them in with figures you cannot get other wise. Still this time this pack hit at a time when we knew it was coming and could plan around it. In other words this time I grabbed this set before getting the single packed Captain America and Captain Britain and honestly I think I made a good choice. More details with the individual figures but this time I think I would have huge buyer's remorse with the single packs.
Unlike the Iron Man combo packs, this set makes a great deal of sense as it shows three patriots of various countries. Unlike the Iron Man 2 multi packs there is a semi-reasonable reason for these figures to be together rather than a Random Tron Iron Man with a Hulkbuster that was just a mostly repaint of Iron Monger. While these figs are repaints they also complement each other well. You can see them standing side by side on the battlefield or as they are in the 3-pack.
Still this pack is far from flawless, in fact it's very flawed, nearly as flawed as the Iron Man 2 packs. Much of it is forgivable but there are some parts of this pack that begs the question "why?" Nothing begs that question more so than the first figure in this review:
Up front let me say I LIKE Captain Britain. Not a great character by any means but likeable none the less. Still this is the 3rd of 4 releases this year and honestly I think they got it right the first time. I can't help but think there were a ton of other ideas that could have gone here. A much better Guardian maybe, or even FINALLY a Vindicator, even an improved Union Jack. Lots of possibilities that still would have worked for this pack but instead we get Captain Britain from M-700 in the now insane alternate dimension of Earth 236.99.34 or some crap. Basically it doesn't matter cause the figure COULD be cool but doesn't reach that stage.
One thing I do dig is the sword, it's a cool sword. Oh sorry, Excalibur. We are being formal after all. The paint job isn't bad but I admit I like the shine off the single pack version. BUT I also admit the MU version is better in just about every way. I could see this figure being Guardian very easily just by changing the paint, that is a good and bad thing as I tend to think Captain Britain should be more distinct than that. While the MU version is reused there is enough added to make him appear as his own character. This figure simply doesn't have that distinction and Guardian wouldn't need it anyway. Another major knock is to the elbows which just don't bend all the way. Really after the screw-ups in the GI Joe line with this problem this shouldn't be happening again. Another thing is that the reviews I read on the single packed version never mention this fact.
But the other side is that this is Captain Britain again, apparently he is the new Wolverine with 4 releases in a year. Let's face it though, the highlight of Britain's career was here:
While I loved this series (at least the first ten or so issues) Britain does not deserve this many releases. MU one is a must, I grant you that one. I can even justify the Original look in the upcoming comic pack (Not that I will get it, but I can see why it exists). This (and the single pack) look as if they were an after thought in the line. Captain Britain, while a likeable character, really doesn't deserve nor need 4 releases in a year no matter how you slice it. He is Brian Braddock, whose biggest claim to fame is being the brother of Psylocke. He has never been able to sustain a series on his own and really after that I have to wonder why anyone would argue against characters like Beta Ray Bill and Thunderstrike, or even try to justify their non-existence while justifying Britain's multitude of releases. I hope Hasbro ends Braddock's run with the original look figure in the comic pack, but you never know.
With this figure I am defiantly avoiding the single packed version. I like the shiny paint used with him but other than that I cannot think of a reason to get another Captain Britain. As for this one I am going to use him as the "Ultimates" version of Britain since (apparently in that universe) Britain is shorter there. But I wouldn't even do that if he weren't part of this multi-pack. Those arms are a huge let down and the scrawny nature of the figure when compared to MU Britain just brings this guy way down. He has some great qualities but they are overshadowed by some glaring flaws.
Now the low point of this pack is done, on to some of the better stuff.
Ok before I start I want you to pay attention, Cap has no wrist articulation. It has been all over the interwebs, debated and discussed to death. My personal opinion is this figure is good enough without the wrists but some will disagree, which is fine. But I just wanted to start this off with getting the elephant off the couch.
This is (of course) the star of the pack. Unfortunately he is almost exactly like the single packed release with a different paint scheme. Why? Who can say. The other major difference is the shield as it is slightly different color (with a more traditional white rather than silver). Again I can see why and have no problem with this. I will admit I slightly prefer the newer silver shield but it's not something that is a huge deal.
Also, it has been widely mentioned that the shield does not fit on the back as many think it should. I did find that the effect can be lessened as the peg for the back is not exactly in the middle of the shield. Not a perfect fit but better than some of the pics I have seen. The shield appears to be a repaint of the single pack one so I would imagine the effect is the same on the single packed one as well.
Even without wrist articulation the figure is pretty poseable. That is another reason I felt no need to complain too much for the lack of wrist articulation. He could use it but again not something I think is too terrible considering the range of motion he already has.
Overall, I say if you are not at least getting this pack to get the Wave 1, he is much better than the Marvel Universe version overall even with his flaws.
Now for the main reason I bought this pack:
So the Cold War made some fun villains, Crymson Dynamo, Soviet Super Soldiers, and of course this guy, Red Guardian. Not sure why he kept the name after the fall of Communism, then again it's still called Red Square too so I guess it is plausible. Anyway I have always dug Russian bad guys, they (Like Nazi's) are easy to hate and make without too much effort but instantly resonate with the reader allowing for the creator to expand a bit later. However now the Russians are our friends and they are trying to be capitalists, or something (read the news, Russian politics is very complex). So to reflect the fact the Russians are different we have newer Red Guardians that are not a s rough as the predecessors from the Cold War.
There is a ton of confusion with this figure as at first he appeared to be inaccurate then this picture of the Winter Guard (who replaced the Soviet Super Soldiers) popped up and apparently was accurate, then of course Marvel had to screw all that up with a post on the Fwoosh apparently by David Gallaher who said it was not comic accurate, and yet no explanation of this picture appears to be forthcoming. So what gives, WHO KNOWS!!! The ass and the head are not in communication at this time apparently.
Still the major flaw with this figure is the shield. It's extremely flimsy and got bent when I got it out of the package. The tab/clip combo keeps falling out as well. It's made from a much, much cheaper and softer plastic than any shield in the line. I think it would have been better to repaint the WW2 Cap's shield, at least it would have been solid. The rest of the figure I like a great deal. Of course (like Cap above) he doesn't have any wrist articulation but again it is kind of ok. The color choices were a bit odd at first until I found the above picture, but with that the figure looks pretty decent and accurate to the pic. Perfect, very far from, but acceptable.
Overall on this set, if you are a fan of Red Guardian I would say do it. He is the biggest selling point for this set. Otherwise I would say grab Captain America and Captain Britain in their single pack forms. Britain has better paint and the difference in paint with Captain America is negligible. Red Guardian is the only original part of this pack and honestly it could be better and should be better. But at $20 it's also not a bad deal.
In the end, it's very dependant on taste, but if you like Red Guardian I would say skip the singles and go for the set, more bang for your buck even with the flaws.
So until next time-Keep your feet on the ground and keep reaching for the stars.