Marvel Legends’ Captain America Brings Some Friends to Fight the Iron Skull [Review]
This year has been all about Captain America over in the Marvel Legends world. That kind of thing tends to happen when you're the star of a blockbuster film that perfectly fits within the Hasbro toy line's purview. On his third wave of the year, Hasbro has turned to some unexpected characters to fill out the roster. Though some have been characters fans have been waiting to see for years, others quite curiously make the cut in a time when nobody could have seen them coming --- Toy Fair previews notwithstanding.
Since this is the third Captain America line in the last 12 months, it also happens to be the weakest of the bunch. Ordinarily, a collection of characters like this might rate a little bit better, but having to follow the likes of Cap Wolf and Mockingbird, or Black Panther and Nick Fury, means this bunch of characters had an uphill battle from the get go.
Captain America is back with a brand new paint job, but it happens to be from one of the most disappointing Marvel comics of the 21st century: Secret War. (Not to be confused with Secret Wars.) As Cap uniforms go, it could be construed as a bit of a deep cut since it was used in such a limited way, you'd really have to know your super soldier wardrobe to peg where this came from on the first guess. All that said, if you like the other recent Captain America comic book Legends, there's little to complain about from a sculpt and articulation standpoint as it's virtually the same figure.
Where Secret War Captain America stands out is with the new effect accessory packed in with the shield. No longer will you just be limited to sticking the shield on Cap's back or clipping it to his wrist, as Hasbro has added a colored throwing effect to make it look like the Cap is flinging his shield across the battlefield. For some reason, instead of making it a simple clip for his wrist, the effect is fused to an alternate hand. While it might not matter if you intend to pose it with this figure, you won't be able to use it with any other Captain America toy without it looking off since the hand is a different color than most all of Hasbro's other Captain America toys.
It also throws the balance of the figure off tremendously when you have it attached. It takes some clever posing to get Cap to stay upright with the effect accessory in use. Still, that Hasbro is getting more invested in providing new ways to enjoy repeat figures, let alone adding effects for non-powered characters, is good news. Hopefully future waves will see this kind of attention given, too.
Finally, after months of waiting --- which on the Marvel Legends scale isn't so bad all things considered --- the Civil War Scarlet Witch has arrived. This is one of the best figures in the wave, and could be one of the better Marvel Cinematic Universe figures released to date. It's got a strong head sculpt that captures Elizabeth Olsen about as well as expected for a mass market figure. The long hair limits how much you can turn her head, but it looks good enough that it makes up for the lack of mobility. Her long coat and torso have some nice detailing that give life to "fabric" they're made from.
She comes with two hex magic effects that fit over her hands, which give the impression she's casting spells. To this point the magic users have all just had those wrist attachments, but these look more like the little vortex shapes she conjured in Civil War. Her hands are permanently in witchcraft mode, but they do look good. Her little fingerless gloves add to the '90s Buffy aesthetic Wanda rocks in the films, and like most of Hasbro's other magic characters, give her some flair that fists and open palms just don't provide.
There's a lot to like about this Captain Britain figure, but mostly it's good simply because it exists. Too often the heroes that aren't based out of New York seem to be forgotten when it comes time to make action figures, and Marvel's got a worldwide roster of characters that Hasbro can tap at any time, yet strangely almost never do. Perhaps Captain Britain here will kickstart the international Legends effort to include more heroes from across either of the oceans. He's a solid figure to do it with, too.
I know there are varying opinions on a character that uses the Union Jack for his costume inspiration, but the design is smart and comes off well in the paint app, no matter which side of the fence you fall on. The helmeted head sculpt has a great clean design, and I love the way it looks compared to may other masked Legends figures. Articulation is good, but there's little else included with the Captain beyond the Abomination BAF piece. Seems like there was an opportunity to include Excalibur, but it not being included isn't a dealbreaker. With so many figures coming with alternate heads or hands though, Captain Britain being so barebones is a bit of a disappointment. That goes for most all of the Legends that are offered this way though.
Ah, the Eel. Who could forget this guy? It's a good thing Hasbro has been so diligent about putting together the Serpent Squad/Society in its Captain America waves, otherwise folks like Eel here might be languishing in obscurity for the rest of their lives. You can probably count on one hand the number of people vying for that complete collection of Serpents, but that Hasbro is willing to deliver deeper cuts on the villain side of the table is definitely a strength. That's especially true considering characters like Eel get the same attention as bigger stars in the wave.
Despite being a C-lister (at best), Eel has a great costume and the paint app captures it perfectly. There's just enough sparkle in the paint to give him a bit of presence, and the dark purple and deep teal give him some great contrast compared to most of the other figures in the Legends line.
In addition to having a similar power set to Electro (who also got a figure recently), Eel shares some accessorization with the Spider-Man foe. His hands have some translucent yellow elements to make it look like electricity is sparking from his fingertips. Unlike Electro, Eel comes with alternate hands that don't use these powers, but these electric hands look great. You can almost feel the crackling energy, and I'm interested to see how Hasbro uses more elements like these in future figures.
Wonder Man is okay as a character. I know there are people that really love this dude, but he's so boring you probably don't even notice he's not around most of the time. Wonder Man is like doctor's office wallpaper. You know it's there, but it makes you kind of sleepy while you're waiting, and offers absolutely no impression when you leave. The same can be said for his toy, which certainly exists.
To Hasbro's credit, Wonder Man doesn't offer a lot to work with, but the sculpting team did just about all they could to make this figure worthwhile. The body is sufficient, and the paint app captures the little nuance there is in his costume. The real star of the figure is the alternate hands and effect attachments. Borrowing from Havok, Wonder Man makes use of the new wave-based effect, but he also goes one further by adding purple translucent fists. The effect on the overall look is great, and it makes it look like at any moment Wonder Man is ready to jump into action.
If you don't happen to watch Marvel's Avengers Assemble, you probably don't recognize this Red Skull. Based on his incarnation on the popular cartoon, the Iron Skull has appeared in some other toy lines, but this is the first time he's being offered in an adult collector line. It's a smart reuse of the Iron Man tooling that isn't merely another Iron Man figure. Plus, the red and black paint app is always a sharp combination, and it looks really nice and clean on this Iron Skull.
There isn't much new here that hasn't been seen in an Iron Man figure, save for the inclusion of a Red Skull portrait included alongside the helmeted head sculpt. The Iron Skull head has more of that cool paint job, but the Red Skull head is impressive in its own right. There's a lot of good detail in there, and both look good on top of the armored body build.
If Abomination here looks familiar, that's because he was just part of the Marvel Legends Raft Box Set offered at San Diego Comic-Con. This retail version has a slightly different paint app, but it's the same physical build as the SDCC iteration entirely. That's not necessarily a bad thing as the Abomination sculpt is really strong. With this lighter paint app, it's even easier to see all the fine detailing in his scales and mutations. I actually prefer this lighter version to the Raft Abomination simply for that reason alone. If you weren't able to get your hands on that limited set, this is more than a fair way to get it to the masses.
Though this Captain America wave wasn't quite as packed full with amazing figures like the X-Men wave, there are still a few welcome figures that should help fill out the Legends ranks on collector's shelves. With Doctor Strange coming down the pipe and Thor: Ragnarok and Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 on deck for 2017, that means we should be getting a break from Captain America in the toy aisles. That's a good thing. We've just about reached the saturation point for the character this year, and it will be nice to see some other Avengers get a chance at the spotlight in the coming year. Especially if it means we can get some stronger character line-ups.
The Marvel Legends Captain America - Abomination Build-a-Figure Series is available now for ~$20 each. These figures were provided by Hasbro for review.