Hasbro’s Captain America and Iron Man are No Match for Black Panther [Review]
We've barely made it to the quarter-post of 2016, and already Hasbro's released three separate Marvel Legends waves into the wild. Captain America has been the focal point of two of those three, with Captain America: Civil War providing the inspiration for this latest collection. Not only do you get Civil War versions of Cap and Iron Man (yes, again), but you also get the first Marvel Cinematic Universe Black Panther. Some comic book faces like Nick Fury, Red Guardian and Nuke round out the line which is based around a spoilerish build-a-figure (don't worry, those images are all at very end if you want to keep it a secret).
Curiously, this is the first Marvel Legends wave in some time that hasn't featured at least one female figure. Even this year's earlier Captain America wave (Red Onslaught BAF) featured two of Marvel's most wanted female heroes in Mockingbird and Sharon Carter. Why Scarlet Witch is being held for a later wave instead of this one is beyond me, but excluding females entirely this line is definitely a head-scratcher. Though all of Hasbro's lines haven't fared quite as well, Hasbro has been very good about the Marvel Legends waves having some solid representation for female heroes. That said, we already know the next Spider-Man and upcoming X-Men waves will get things back on track. With that, let's dig into the figures that are actually part of this latest release.
This series' Captain America is a repaint of last year's Avengers: Age of Ultron Thanos BAF wave. Given that the suit is identical save for some slight detailing variations, that decision by Hasbro makes sense. The Civil War Captain America is a few shades darker, but you can still make out the terrific detailing on the uniform in the right light. Typically fine sculpting like that gets lost in the paint app if it gets too dark, but the mold still holds up, showing all of that would-be tailoring. It's actually a fine figure with some decent articulation, and if you somehow missed out on it last year, this version is just as good... as long as you don't mind a lack of accessories.
The Age of Ultron Cap came with an alternate head and some additional hands, but all you get here is Cap and his shield. Now that we know the upcoming Marvel Legends Civil War Three-Pack will come with the alternate heads for both Steve and Tony, it's doubly disappointing to see them excluded from both single-card figures here. It's especially egregious given that Captain America is a straight-up repaint. At least Iron Man gets a new sculpt.
Iron Man's MK XLVI armor has been likened to the "Bleeding Edge" armor from Matt Fraction and Salvador Larroca's Invincible Iron Man run a few years back. The comic book version did actually get a figure in the Marvel Legends line already, but the MCU iteration might be among my favorite armors in the films to this point. Hulkbuster aside, the MK XLVI just has all the right elements of sleekness while also still looking future forward. Hasbro packs in as many details as they can, and the end result is a strong Iron Man figure that easily rivals any previously released Legends Tony Stark.
This Civil War Iron Man is also one of the first to include the new effects accessories Hasbro is looking to incorporate moving forward. The little blue repulsor blasts can fit in either his open palms or his heels, and give you the impression Iron Man is jetting away in the skies above or targeting a former best friend in the heat of battle. It would be a little more true to the character if you could extend his arms completely out, but the articulation just doesn't let you get a full reach out of Tony. The figure has surprisingly good poseability for being armored, but there are still limitations in just how dexterous you can be with Iron Man.
Now this is what I'm talking about. Black Panther is no stranger to the Marvel Legends line, but this is his first Marvel Cinematic Universe appearance, and by golly, it's just terrific. I've been waiting to see this suit in action on the big screen since T'Challa first started popping up in promotional materials for Civil War, and it did not disappoint. Hasbro's interpretation is a beautiful rendition, which captures a great amount of the detail and tailoring. With a solid black uniform, it would have been easy to just put out a base body and called it a day, but what the Marvel movie design team, and subsequently Hasbro's sculptors, has done with T'Challa's warrior garb is outstanding.
The only knock on the figure version is the lack of Wakandan design detailing in the mask. The movie version is filled with gorgeous inscription, and the head here is so small you lose the clarity of those elements. Hasbro does what it can, but it lacks the majestic qualities of the on-screen version. Of course, you may opt to go with the alternate head sculpt of the unmasked T'Challa, which is a welcome addition. It lacks true likeness, but it's a serviceable head sculpt. It's definitely better than most of what we've seen from Hasbro's Star Wars line.
Red Guardian has never really evolved beyond his Soviet analogue status, but it makes sense that he'd be included in a Captain America toy wave eventually. Given Hasbro's penchant for dropping deep cuts into waves to go along with the more recognizable characters, it's actually a bit surprising it took this long for Red Guardian to get a shot. It's an easy enough figure to recast, since he's basically a '90s Captain America with a different color scheme, and that's pretty much what this figure is.
That's not to say it's not good; if you liked the Cap Wolf figure from the last Captain America wave, Red Guardian here has all the same articulation and functionality --- minus the alternate wolf head of course. My experience with the Red Guardian comes mostly from Warren Ellis and Trevor Hairsine's Ultimate Nightmare, but this more traditional version still gets the message across. It's got a quality paint job and will make die-hard collectors happy, but there's little reason for anyone not immediately familiar with this underused character to get this figure (beyond the BAF part).
Nuke... is not my favorite Marvel comic book villain. His history with Captain America isn't as strong as it is compared to other characters like Wolverine or Daredevil, but as a member of the Weapon Plus program his connection to Cap certainly exists. While he may not have had an super soldier serum, the cybernetic enhancements throughout his body certainly give the impression Nuke is as strong or stronger than the others from the Weapon Plus program, including Cap, Wolverine and Fantomex. Despite my indifference to his comic history, Hasbro does a rather good job translating him from the page to the physical realm. Nuke is a big dude, and his massive body stands out among the rest of this wave. The military vest and non-usable weapon details all came out well, too.
Unfortunately it's not all gravy, as the molding on my Nuke is a little sloppy. His hand has some plastic deformation, making it look like he has a lobster claw for a right hand. The elbow joint on the right arm was also a bit firm, and provided little give when it came to posing. The paint app though it great, especially on the two head sculpts. One features the standard Nuke face with the American flag tattoo, and the other hosts a damaged head that reveals the robotic skull beneath. Hasbro hasn't always had the best luck with intricate paint apps, but Nuke proves the exception here and looks great. It's just a shame the right arm was such a misfire on my particular figure.
Hasbro's latest Nick Fury figure comes with a Dirk Anger head, so it's already a front-runner for the best figure of all time in the history of eternity. Throw in a Steranko pistol, and you've got yourself the finest Fury that may have ever been conceived. The classic comic Nick Fury hasn't been in Legends form in years, and it's nice to see him make a reappearance here in the Civil War line. He's got his traditional five o'clock shadow head sculpt, as well as a generic SHIELD agent helmet head, and the aforementioned Dirk Anger to allow you a number of possibilities, including SHIELD army building.
The body sculpt is nice, though the Secret Warriors fan in me was hoping that we'd see a less SHIELD-influenced Fury the next time he got a figure. It's hard to argue with Hasbro's decision here since this version of Fury hasn't been a part of the Legends line since the ToyBiz days. The various straps and pouches look good, and the little SHIELD decals on his arms came out perfectly as well. At least Nick Fury makes a bit more sense to include versus someone like Red Guardian, but I might be biased given the Nextwave connection Hasbro included.
The final figure included is the build-a-figure for the Marvel Cinematic Universe Giant-Man. While he's one of the worst kept secrets about the film due to so many licensees spilling the beans through pre-orders, his arrival in the film is still highly enjoyable even if you did have the cameo spoiled early. All the parts snap together easily, and Giant-Man is just as poseable as the rest of the smaller figures included in this wave. The new Civil War uniform looks great, though I wish the reds would have popped a bit more. The vibrancy of the color is a little inconsistent throughout the various parts of his body, but the overall paint job is still rather good.
Giant-Man is one of the taller BAFs from the Legends line, and matching him up against the last release (Absorbing Man), you can see that his proportions are much leaner and lankier in scale. Hasbro didn't skimp on the sculpt, even going so far as to include actual eyes behind the visor in the portrait. Many other BAFs get a few variations in the accessories, but Giant-Man doesn't get much. Perhaps it's due to the need for more plastic to fill out the taller frame, but it would have been great to get an opened helmet or even a miniature of Ant-Man. That may have hit a little close to the Ant-Man Ultron build-a-figure wave, but the tooling definitely already exists so it's not like it was out of the realm of possibility.
Overall the Captain America: Civil War Giant-Man build-a-figure series is a solid, if not amazing, wave. Black Panther is certainly the stand out star of the series, though the new Iron Man and Giant-Man are definitely a close second and third. Dirk Anger/Nick Fury gets points in my personal book, but both he and Red Guardian could easily have been included in other waves to make room for more recent/relevant characters that made more sense to tie to Civil War. Even if they were merely swapped around with some figures from the 2016's earlier Captain America wave, this Civil War set might have come out a bit stronger.
The Marvel Legends Captain America: Civil War figures can be found for ~$20 each. These figures were provided by Hasbro for review.