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Doctor Strange

Review – Marvel Legends – First Ten Years – Infinity War (Dr. Strange, Thanos, Iron Man Mark L)

It seems a little weird that the latest film Infinity War is included in the First Ten Years line of Marvel Legends, but I guess it is part of the legacy.  I guess it’s more strange to me because it includes a complete version of a Build a Figure that’s currently on the pegs still and an Iron Man that’s part of that same Build a Figure Wave.  In terms of figure reuse, this set is essentially 100% reuse of past releases, and it’s one of the more expensive sets, which pretty much makes it the worst offender of the line for being a decent value.  Fortunately it’s starting to get marked down.  And not everything here is a bad deal, though it’s not all good.  This set basically consists of one really great figure, and two mediocre figures, and all of that depends on how much you’ve already invested in previous versions of these characters.

So, I’m going to start off with the Iron Man Mark L (50) armor.  This is Iron Man as he appears in the Infinity War movie, sometimes referred to as the Bleeding Edge armor.  It’s a pretty standard Iron Man save for one new feature that wasn’t int he mainline release, and one I didn’t even know the figure had until I opened the shipping box and pulled this set out.  The chest has a light up feature for the Arc Reactor.  Press a button and it glows, very brightly.  It’s a neat effect though it limits his torso pose-ability completely.  Honestly, most Iron Man figures aren’t super poseable int he torso anyway, so it’s not a huge loss.  It also helps the figure stand out a bit from all of the other armors.

Unfortunately, he doesn’t have any sort of add on bits like Tony Stark uses int he movie, which would have made for a great set of accessories.  This armor basically consists of a bunch of nano machines that reconfigure into shields and laser pylons and extra jets as needed.  This toy is just a human shaped suit of armor.  He does have a nice set of repulsor hands, they don’t have joints but they are sculpted to be fully “up” in blaster configuration.  Also included are a pair of replusor blast effect parts, though it’s the same part we’ve gotten in the past several Iron Man releases.  As far as Armors go, it’s also not the most exciting design.  Personally, I dislike how sleek and rounded it is and of all of the suits I own figures of, this is probably one of my least favorite designs.

Next up, Doctor Strange.  This is such a hit and miss figure on several levels, and sometimes on the same level.  If you own the previous release of this figure from the Doctor Strange movie, it actually really helps this figure out a lot.  This is despite that from the neck down, they are identical figures.

So what’s good here.  For starters, the head is great, really great.  It’s got that current gen Hasbro better paint detail thing going on and really captures Cumberbach’s Strange.  It’s different from the previous Doctor Strange head as well, with a little smirk going on.  So many heads lately on these figures have smirks, I guess it’s the new thing for Marvel Legends or something.  He also gets better paint apps on the Eye of Agamotto amulet he wears, the green Time Stone inside is actually painted this time, though the accessory itself is the same.  There is a new cape as well, which is better…. ish.  It looks nicer and has more texture detail, but the previous cape was also designed to stand up on it’s own, since in the films it has it’s own personality.  The new cape is rounded along the bottom and doesn’t stand.  The body isn’t entirely identical tot he previous release either, since one arm includes sculpted “Time Effect” parts.  When Strange does some Time Magic, he gets these little green rings around his arms, the figure has this effect sculpted on one arm.

Which brings up the downsides, the Time Effects are not removable, so he is always casting a time spell, so to speak.  There isn’t an alternate arm or anything to swap out, which is something they have done previously, in the Doctor Strange wave actually, with Nico Minoru.  Considering they even HAVE a clean arm for this mold already designed, it’s a shame one isn’t included.  I suppose the mold probably isn’t designed for easily removed arms.  There is an alternate hand accessory to hold the energy shield effect but it’s not for the arm that the Time Effect uses, so you can’t even swap the most obvious green energy hand out.  The body itself also isn’t quite as nice as the previous one with the paint details, which is surprising given recent trends of Marvel Legends as a whole and the head of this very figure.

There is a great plus here though if you have the old Doctor Strange, the parts are cross compatible.  So the new, nicer head can be put on the old, more nicely painted, Time Effectless body to make a good Doctor Strange figure.  The Eye of Agamotto just hands around the neck, so that’s easily swapped.  The cap is the only iffy part, since the new cape has a peg that slips into a hole on the back of New Strange, a hole that doesn’t exist on Old Strange.  So to use the new cape, you would either need to cut the peg off, which may cause the cape to attach in an unstable way, or drill a hole in the back of Old Strange, which is doable, but could be tricky to get just right.  Or just use the old cape, since it still looks decent.

So lastly Thanos.  I didn’t like the Movie Thanos design a lot but it’s grown on me over time.  He looks like a Space Farmer.  I guess it helps that he’s such a great character in the film that I can forgive his design some.  Still, I never bothered finishing up the Build a Figure.  The wave consisted of several characters I don’t need more of or didn’t like the design of (IM MK 50, Ugly Cap, Iron spider without tentacle arms) so I mostly opted to skip the Thanos BAF.  This makes Thanos here kind of the jewel of this set, since it’s a great way to get a good character without blowing a bunch of money on other figures I don’t want.  That said this set came out quite a while after the Thanos BAF wave, so anyone who really cares about Thanos probably already has the last release.

I will say, from what I have seen, this release is superior to the BAF release.  The colors are much more vibrant overall for starters.  He also includes two heads, both of which feel like better designs than mainline head, though having all three would be a nice bonus.  The mainline head, which I don’t have is sort of slightly smiling and a little goofy looking, the heads in this release are the more sullen standard head and a grimacing angry head.  Both are excellent representations of how Thanos looks in Infinity War.  The gauntlet itself is also open fisted.  Which feels more appropriate given that there was an entire battle about preventing him from closing his fist.  Unfortunately the gauntlet isn’t easily removed and swapped with the closed fist gauntlet of the mainline release.  I am sure it could be swapped using the Boil and Pop method, but it’s not something that just pops on and off quickly.  I imagine, like Strange’s arm, this is a limitation of the mold not originally being intended for a swapping gimmick.  Nitpicky pipe dreams aside, Thanos is a really great looking figure that really captures the character well.  If you’re looking for a Thanos and don’t want to be bothered with the Build a Figure, this one is probably better anyway.

So on the set as a whole.  It’s a decent set, despite being a set of re-released figures.  Granted my opinion is tilted a bit since I didn’t already have the previous Mark 50 or Thanos figures.  Even having them though, the light up chest on Iron Man is decent, the improved Strange is worthwhile and the the better Thanos is definitely worthwhile.  Maybe not for the original MSRP but at a discount it’s a worthwile set for an upgraded Strange and some alternative Thanos accessories with better paint.

 

Review – Marvel Legends – Dormammu Wave – Doctor Strange (Movie)

The Doctor Strange wave of Marvel Legends, the one with the Dormammu Build a Figure, is the perfect example of how awful and mismanaged Marvel Legends waves can get.    For starters, there was recently a boxed set for SDCC centered around Doctor Strange that included a Brother Voodoo, Astral Doctor Strange (Comic not movie, granted), and a Dormammu, non Build a Figure version.  So, ok, the SDCC sets are not the easiest to get, but there also aren’t a ton of Strange fans I imagine clamoring for these characters, so doubling up like this instead of making less overlap seems like it would have been a better route.  To add some additional insult, this wave also included a comic Doctor Strange that is essentially identical to the one included in the very recent Hulkbuster wave.  Then there’s the extremely mediocre Astral Movie Strange, which is a clear version of the normal version reviewed here, minus the accessories.  The Astral form strange, honestly, would probably have been better done with clear colored plastic matching his normal form, though I imagine the cost there would have been too much vs the basic transparent that we got.  More annoying is that we don’t get figure of Wong or The Ancient One, both characters who could have really used figures, based on how cool they were in the movie.

I’m not here to rant about this poorly done wave of figures though.  I have not, nor do I plan to pick up any more figures from it than I already have (3 total, one because it was on clearance).  Instead, I want to talk a bit about the Movie Doctor Strange figure.  This figure kind of feels like the end result of the price paid for that pretty lame Astral Doctor Strange.  Where Astral strange has no accessories and is all translucent plastic (and, incidentally, the same mold as this one), this figure has many accessories and a pretty well done paint job and sculpt.

The core figure is effectively Cumberbatch’s Dcotor Strange as he appears in his “final form”.  He’s in his complete robes, he’s wearing his cape, he’s got the Eye of Agamotto.  He comes with an extra set of hands for some more varied looks as well as a shield like magic effect.  The cape is removable, and even stands up on it’s own (if you’ve seen the movie you will know the cape kind of has a mind of it’s own.  The Eye of Agamotto is also removable.  Removing the came and Eye, give you kind of an early learner Doctor Strange.  The removable Eye of Agamotto is also useful given the nature of what the Eye is for, possible future options of posing and interaction with other toys.  Without going into too much detail.

A poseable cloth goods cape could would have been cool but that’s not really Marvel Legends’ way of doing things so it’s pretty forgivable.  At least the cape is designed to stand on it’s own well.  Where he could really use a bit of cloth goods is in his lower tunic bits, since the plastic limits the articulation he has in his legs,  Doctor Strange isn’t really a martial artist but he is pretty dynamic, and he does come from a monastery of martial artist monks.

The extra hands are nice, and while he doesn’t have a sling ring accessory, they work for making the sort of gesture shown to operate the sling ring.  Having one with the slink ring molded on would have been nice but that’s ML for you.  There are some problems, at least on mine with mold flashing.  I’m actually kind of ok with this problem, in this case, because it makes his hands look a bit dodgy and well, part of Doctor Strange’s origin was having his hands crushed in a car accident.  Spoilers I suppose but it’s a very early and moderately trivial event in the whole scheme of things.

The movie version of Doctor Strange is one of the better Marvel Legends we’ve gotten recently, and definitely is the winner of the wave as far as quality and parts.

Review – Movie – Doctor Strange (2016)

Marvel’s latest blockbuster is Doctor Strange, the story of a brilliant surgeon turned mystical world bending sorcerer. Unlike a lot of Marvel’s recent outings, I had almost no idea who Doctor strange was or exactly what he did before seeing this movie. My knowledge essentially amounted to something something magic, something something founded the Defenders, he seems to have a regular bad guy who is a flaming head demon guy. Also, why is he called Doctor Strange?

Turns out that wasn’t super off, he’s a Doctor because he is literally a Medical Doctor, and his big villain is the flaming skull guy, though the villain doesn’t really take that form in this outing. Short spoiler free verdict, it’s a crazy special effects fest to be sure, even better, the story is nice and straight forward, no complicated conspiracies or convoluted twists, it’s just what it is. Benedict Cumberbatch is much better as Strange than I expected coming into this, I’m not really a fan of his, though that seems to be opposite of the norm.

Basically, Marvel has another nice hit on their hands and a fine entry in the MCU.

Now on to the spoilers and detailed thoughts!

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Weekly Wednesday Haul: Hodge Podge Edition

I ended up with quite a bit more than planned this week so I’m just going to dive right in…

Combiner Wars Groove

Combiner Wars GrooveIf you want to get really technical, I bought this back in May.  It only just now finally arrived.  The short story behind Groove, Hasbro decided having a motorcycle as part of the Protectobots was kind of absurd, since he would be crazy out of scale, so they replace him with a new character, Rook, and gave us a Legends sized Groove.  Takara, over in Japan, decided they wanted everything to be “really G1” and made their own Groove.  There were rumors about Groove not passing some sort of drop test, and this that being the reason he couldn’t be released in the US.  Then there were rumors that he was too complex/large to fit the budget for a Deluxe toy (I find this more likely).

Combiner Wars GrooveWhatever the reason Groove wasn’t initially released, he ended up getting his own special release.  This isn’t unprecidented, the year before the two missing members of the Aerialbots and Stunticons also got their own release.  I’m kind of hoping the Shuttle Blast Off gets one next year, mostly because it would mean I have 4 extra limbs from the “new characters” to use on Sky Lynx.

Groove Himself is… mostly alright, and really out of scale with everyone else.  I pretty much keep my Combiners combined though so I’m good with using Groove as a leg and recovering Rook to keep as a separate figure.  Rook is pretty great, but he’s kind of a boring limb.   I guess what I’m saying is, for those who missed out on Groove, you aren’t missing out on much, and he’s probably not worth the excessive secondary market mark up.

Transformers RID Bisk

In other Transformers gets, I was really surprised to find Bisk hanging on the pegs.  I’ve heard a lot of chatter about Bisk from people who watch the show and his designed seemed really neat.  He’s a big goofy Lobster robot that turns into, well, a Vehicon.  Mostly a Vehicon.  I don’t watch the show so I don’t know if there is something to it but his vehicle definitely resembles the Vehicon cars from Transformers Prime and his gun mounts help seal this deal.

RID Bisk and Vehicons

His Lobster-man robot mode is definitely not a Vehicon though.  He’s definitely, a giant Lobster-man.

It’s definitely a neat and fun design. The way his arms are jointed to flip around on themselves during transformation really adds a lot of poseability and options to the arms in Robot mode.  His backpack even works in his favor since it comes off looking like a Lobster shell.  I’m not sure if there is much else coming down the pipe for Robots in Disguise, maybe a few repaints, but if this is the last of the Decepticons we get, I’ll remain pretty satisfied.  It’s kind of a bummer that the Autobots of the earlier waves were just kind fo lack luster and unoriginal with their character options.

Robots in Disguise Bisk

Pardon the mis-transformed shoulder pads…

I can see how fans of a more traditional robot design in their Transformers wouldn’t like a lot of these Decepticon designs but I really like them a lot.  They are essentially all new characters, and all have this nice little theme going on that makes them feel like a team.  Honestly, they are starting to feel like some sort of rejected line up for a Mega Man X title.

Doctor Strange

So, along with Bisk, I was surprised to find the Doctor Strange wave of Marvel Legends.  I kind of worry this is going to be like the Ant-Man wave was, only possibly worse.  Half the figures were recently released in slightly different versions in a boxed set, that a lot of Doctor Strange Fans probably already picked up.  The other half of the figures are Doctor Stranges, one being the same as the Hulkbuster Strange + a cape, the other being a kind of lame “Invisible” Strange.  The third being the movie version Cumberbatch Strange.  This is the Doctor Strange I picked up, and it’s likely to be the primary draw for a lot of people in this wave.  The only other figure I want to pick up is the kooky Gothy Magic Girl, whatever her name is, mostly because the design is “neat” and she will be find for kooky photos.

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This Doctor Strange is great.  I really like the MCU figures, they all seem to be pretty top notch and I prefer the realistic style over the comic looks for most of the the characters anyway.  He also comes with a different magic effect part!  Tons of figures have been getting the newish arm clip swirly thingies that I believe originally came with Scarlett Witch.  Several figures from this wave use them, the previous Hulkbuster Strange had them, they are starting to feel a little overused.  This movie Doctor Strange instead has a sort of shield glyph thing.  The fact that it holds like a shield is a little funky but you can’t really see the handle when he’s holding it due to it’s size.  It’s a nice change.  He also has extra hands, one set is kind of closed for holding things (like the shield magic part), the others are a slightly open and relaxed design.

On a side note, I’m kind of relieved to say my want list for Marvel Legends is finally dying down for the year.  There’s not really any waves left that aren’t starting to trickle into stores.  I don’t really want anyone from the Space Knight Venom wave, though I may look into Hob Goblin.  Spider-man waves with their endless Spider People and Symbiotes get really old, especially when Spider-man has so many interesting villains.  There’s the Abomination Wave, which has the MCU Scarlett Witch, a figure likely to be impossible to find.  I have a couple more X-men to pick up still and I really want that TRU Kate Bishop Hawk-eye, though I don’t want to pay the 3 pack price for it.  There’s been almost too many waves this year, they really could have cut an entire wave by maybe not putting a Captain America in almost every wave or something.

Star Wars Black Series K-2SO

imgp1231Lastly, I did some sort of “Force Friday” shopping, (the next day), and bought K-2SO.  The figures from Rogue One all look interesting and I’m pretty stoked for the movie but I kind of want to hold off on picking any of them up until the movie actually comes out.  Also there is a 3 pack with Jyn Erso that seems like a better idea than the solo figure, since it has another Rogue Squad guy and a Trooper.  I also really dig that unmasked Kylo Ren, but I hate the idea of buying the same figure again just for the new head.  I may look into doing some sort of import version to fill that desire instead.

K-2SO is pretty cool, he has a lot of interesting design cues from other Star Wars elements.   His back sort of resembles C3P0’s or a Storm Trooper.  I’m sure the head has shown up on some other similar droids (if not the same model).  The overall design kind of reminds me of a Super Battle Droid from the Prequel trilogy.His long spindly legs make him a little tricky to stand up and balance.  I also have no idea of what his real role is, He cane be posed pretty dynamically, but for all we know, in the movie, he could be as mobile as C-3PO.