Toy News and Reviews

Marvel Legends Series 5 ó Click for a Larger ImageMarvel Legends

Series 5 Figures

Welcome back once again, toy fiends.

This weekís review covers Marvel Legends Series 5.  This continuation of the popular Marvel Legends line includes Blade; Sabretooth; Nick Fury, Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D.; Mr. Fantastic; Silver Surfer (with Howard the Duck); Colossus; and a chase figure of the Red Skull.

Again ToyBiz presents us with super-articulated, well-executed figures of everyoneís favorite Marvel characters.  Sure, ToyBiz has made some odd choices, but that is nothing new and nothing that is going to change anytime soon.  ToyBiz has a successful line and they show no sign of letting up.

This is nothing you donít know, Iím sure.  (Otherwise you wouldnít be here.)  So let's get on with the review ... .


Initial Thoughts

ToyBiz continues to give the fans what they want.  Superb articulation, adequate sculpts, and a few surprises every now and then.

Admittedly, I put off buying this series.  Why?  Iím not completely sure.  I hate chase figures.  (I understand why ToyBiz continues to produce them, but I donít like them.)  When the series first appeared, Blade was absent, and that annoyed me.  And since Iíd mostly picked at the previous assortments, I wasnít sure I wanted to get completely involved.  Iím glad I did!  I found Red Skull and later Blade, and once I started I couldnít stop.  These things are addictive.

If only ToyBiz wouldnít reuse body parts from one figure to the next.  But after years of seeing poor product cranked out by ToyBiz, Iím just happy theyíve started producing toys that actually try to compete with the rest of the market.

Packaging 

Marvel Legends Series 5 ó Click for a Larger ImageMore all-plastic clamshells have arrived.  Iím starting to worry about the future of easy-to-open figures on cardboard backer cards.  Well-packaged and sturdy, the packaging seems collector-friendly ó but I have seen a lot hanging on the pegs with dents and creases on the corners.

The figures are all nicely-presented; the inserts are sturdy.  And, as with Series 1-4, you get a comic book featuring ďlegendaryĒ appearance of the character.  The book choices are usually odd, and in this case the book that comes with Blade isnít a comic but a poster book of stills from Blade 2.

The packaging isnít perfect (as many MOCers will attest), and itís awfully hard to open, but it still earns a respectable 4 stars.

Sculpts

There's no mistaking any of these characters.  All the sculpts are great, but as with any line, there are a few stand-outs and a few let-downs.

But I canít be too hard on these.  ToyBiz has come a long way over the past few years, and if a little bit of the sculpt is sacrificed to enhance the articulation and the fun factor, then thatís all right.

Grrr, It's Sabretooth ó Click for a Larger ImageLetís start with Sabretooth.  Well-sculpted with only minor flaws, Sabretooth falls victim to the massive ball-jointed shoulders that ToyBiz insists on using.  At least on poor Sabretooth they arenít as noticeable when compared to the rest of his body.  His mane is well-rendered, and his face is sculpted in the appropriate angry expression.  His massive musculature is well-defined, and heís easily posed to take on the nearest X-Men.  Sabretooth gets 4 stars. 

Two Figures Who Want a Word with the Toyman ó Click for a Larger ImageMr. Fantastic is next, and boy, is he the let-down of the group.  His shoulders are awful!  They make him look completely out of proportion.  His body is so scrawny, you almost expect his massive cranium to crush him.  And the prototype head sculpt was way better than this one.  At least it will be used on the next Reed in the Fantastic Four boxed set.  His alternate ďelongatedĒ hands are a let-down as well.  They donít match up well when placed on his arms and just look wrong.  It was a great idea, but it could have been executed better.  The bendy rubber is so heavy he canít support his own arms.  As much as I was looking forward to Mr. Fantastic, fantastic he is not ó so he only gets 2 stars. 

The Toyman Likes Me! He Really Likes Me! ó Click for a Larger ImageColossus!  Well-sculpted, well-represented, and just a big massive figure. Colossus was almost the one Marvel Legend I didnít pick up.  Iíve never been a big X-Men fan, but Iím really glad I picked up Colossus.  His ďskinĒ looks great, his expression is perfect, and ToyBiz actually tossed in some soft rubber accents on his shoulder pieces and his knees.  For being such a pleasant surprise, Colossus gets all 5 stars. 

Packaged Together for the First Time, a Cosmic Surfer and a Talking Duckó Click for a Larger ImageSilver Surfer is another great surprise.  A simple sculpt is very well done, which is very important in this case, since his paint job doesnít allow much room to hide imperfections in the sculpt.  The shoulders work for him.  Maybe because they match his head so perfectly.  His muscles look believable, and the poses of both his hands are great.  I almost believe heís trying to tell me something.  (That, or heís snapping his fingers to the cosmic drummer in his head.)  The Surfer gets the full 5 stars. 

Two-Fisted, One-Eyed Superspy Nick Fury ó Click for a Larger ImageSir Nicholas Fury is next.  (It just sounds so right after reading 1602 that I canít help but call him that.)  I expected more from Nick Fury.  Whereís his cigar, for crying out loud?  His mouth is sculpted to hold it, but itís nowhere to be found.  And compared to the rest of the line, he seems a little plain.  Honestly, should Reed Richards be more built than Nick?  Fury gets only 3 stars. 

Blades Old & New ó Click for a Larger ImageAnd the final regular figure is Blade.  Everyoneís been begging for a decent Blade since the original movie Blade came and went years ago.  While this is that Blade, heís far from perfect.  He sort of looks like Wesley Snipes, and Iím sure he could kick a few plastic vampires butts, but heís not the radical improvement I was hoping for.  The sculpt is hidden by his coat, and he looks better without it.  Blade gets only 4 stars.  He could be worse, but heís not perfect, either.

Jawohl!  I Am Rare Indeed, Swine! ó Click for a Larger ImageThen there's the chase piece for this wave, the Red Skull.  Finally, someone to fight Cap!  And what do we get?  A modified movie Daredevil (easily one of the worst Marvel Legends figures) with a repainted Captain America base.  The head sculpt is new and looks great.  If only he could have been sculpted in his full uniform.  I give Red 3Ĺ stars.  For being so hard to find, he should be a better figure.  Itís pretty anticlimactic to hunt and hunt for a figure thatís not all that great. 

Articulation 

These are Marvel Legends figures; need I say any more?  They are some of the most articulated toys available ó and for the most part, itís actually useful articulation.  They all get 5 stars.

Paint 

What's Wrong with My Jacket, Cap? ó Click for a Larger ImageThe whole line is well painted.  This is a hit-or-miss topic with ToyBiz, and it usually helps to wait a little while before picking any up.  The first shipment or two is usually the worst, with subsequent cases getting better and better.

Sabretooth could use a little more detail.  Iíve heard complaints about paint scraping off the joints on the Surfer.  And Red Skull's jacket has some sloppy line work.

As a whole, the line receives 4 stars in the paint department.

Accessories 

Every figure in Marvel Legends Series 5 has at least one accessory, its base.

Sabretooth comes with another chunck of a destroyed Sentinel, this time a foot.  He looks great displayed on it, and itís great to have another chunk of Sentinel.

Mr. Fantastic with Accessories ó Click for a Larger ImageReed comes with part of the Fantasticar, which is well-detailed, has a folding seat, and looks just as it should ó like a flying bathtub.

Colossus has the chest piece of a Sentinel, but it looks too small compared to all the other Sentinel pieces.  If you were hoping to piece together a complete Sentinel, you had better start looking elsewhere.

Fury comes with his jetpack and a trail of smoke that suspends him in mid-flight.  He looks much better that way.

Silver Surfer comes with his cosmic surfboard and attaches to it via magnets in his feet.  This means that, just like last yearís magnetic Spiderman, Surfer can hang out on your fridge!  And as a special bonus, Surfer comes with a figure of Howard the Duck.  What more do you want?  Heís a well-sculpted and painted representation of everybodyís favorite wise-cracking duck.

Blade with His Bike ó Click for a Larger ImageBlade has the most accessories.  His base is his motorcycle.  While not as impressive as Ghost Riderís bike, it still serves its purpose.  Blade also has a faux leather coat, sword, gun, sunglasses, and a throwing weapon.

The Red Skull has a repainted base from the Series 1 Captain America but also comes with hand gun and his hat.

Marvel Legends Series 5 earns another perfect score for the accessories:  5 stars out of 5.

Price 

With a suggested retail price between $8 and $10, Marvel Legends are a great buy.  You get a lot for your money, and compared to some other super-hero toys. they seem like a steal.

Overall Playability 

Hey, Bub, We're Pretty Articulate ó Click for a Larger ImageThis is a line of super-hero toys you can actually play with.  They can pass any Articulation test you toss at them:  They can sit in chairs, lay on operating tables, do a split, and look great mid-stride.  If there was ever a line that took playing with your toys to a new level, it would be Marvel Legends.  The whole line deserves a high score, but due to a few inconsistencies here and there, they get a respectable 4Ĺ stars as a whole.

Now if youíll excuse me, I have to break up a fight between Silver Surfer and Silent Bob!


And in this week's news:

DC Direct Solicitations have been announced for April, including Hush Series 2 (Superman, Catwoman, Harley Quinn, Riddler, and Catwoman) and a second Artist Signature Set (Kingdom Come Superman). For all the details, see this week's issue of Previews.

McFarlane Monsters Series 3 is finally and fully revealed at Spawn.com. And there will be a Collectors' Club piece for the line. Whether it will be an accessory set or another figure is still unknown.

Wizard World L.A. was a huge success as a new convention. Palisades showed a lot of new product, including new Muppets and Army of Darkness figures. Gentle Giant quickly sold out of their exclusive Clone Trooper bust.

Marvel Minimates Series 6 & 7 revealed: http://www.toymania.com/news/messages/4763.shtml

Until next week, toy fans, you know where to find me if you need me!

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