Hasbro: Marvel Legends Wave 1 Reviewed
Posted by: D. Martin on February 19, 2007 at 02:48 AM CST
Hasbro Marvel Legends Annililus Wave
It was while attending 2006's International Toy Fair that the reality that we were seeing the end of Toy Biz's innovatory Marvel Legends line hit home. The toy company was quite open about where the license was going, and to many of the media representatives attending the press tour the news didn't bode well for the line. Sure, we all knew that Hasbro, who had acquired the coveted Marvel license, was capable of producing decent quality mass-produced toys, but not knowing what they had planned left many concerned.
The prototypes for the first wave made their public debut during that summer's San Diego Comic Convention, and many were relieved to see that Hasbro's line would be compatible with their predecessors. That said, the reaction on the figure choices and sculpts was less than enthusiastic. In all honesty, the reaction might have been the same no matter what they had shown.
Fast forward to January of 2007. With the New Year, Hasbro was in full swing. They had already put a pile of Spider-Man toys on store shelves, but collectors were waiting to see what the production versions of the first Marvel Legends line would turn out like.
Having shot all of these figures for the CTR Photo Archive, we agree that the line is a winner and in many ways better than the entirety of Toy Biz collection's 15 waves. Through a shipping snafu, our samples of the line were broken into two boxes, so at first we only had Banshee and Hercules to work with. While it was a bit disappointing not to absorb the first wave all at once, the mishap did bring up something completely unexpected: anticipation.
The first thing noticed when opening the Banshee and Hercules figures was the quality of the plastic used. It's no secret that the Toy Biz Marvel Legends figures usually fell victim to inappropriate plastic decisions. The Hasbro figures didn't have the same cheap 'like it or lump it' feel as the figures we've seen before previously. In fact, when it comes to plastic integrity these figures reminiscent to Hasbro's Sigma Six line. That's a pretty bold statement considering how dynamic the brilliant yet often underrated Sigma Six line is. That's not saying the Marvel Legends line is on par to the current G.I. Joe revamp; it isn't, but there isn't much that can legitimately be compared with Sigma Six. Regardless of that, this isn't a review on the unparallel genius that is Sigma Six.
After we got past the fine construction, what was really spectacular was something we can't remember seeing with the original line: sure footedness. Both Banshee and Hercules stood unwavering on a shelf for days without falling over. Even when the other figures showed up and were put out with the first two, none fell. In fact, the figures have now been standing in our Canadian photo studio for over a week without moving (save for when they are taken down to be appreciated). Five dollars says you can't say the same about any given Toy Biz Marvel Legends figure.
--Side note to better drive this point home: Displayed on the shelf next to the Hasbro figures is Rogue from the third wave of Toy Biz's recent X-men line, and most mornings we find the figure face down, unable to balance it's own weight due to the inferior plastic used to create it--
To add to the higher quality plastic, Hasbro has also developed tighter joints. Adding ridges within the structure of the joints, they have managed to find a way to keep these figures in the poses their owners choose to keep them in. This also means strong pivot ankle joints. All that means that not only will these figures stand when you pose them in static hero stances, but also in selective battle and action stances.
A lot can be said about the so-called questionable first assortment, but when looking at the Annihilus wave in its entirety, the character selection tells us that we can always expect a wide range of figures that will cover all aspects of the Marvel Universe. We know that we'll see classic characters in their iconic costumes (Banshee), Popular characters in their current costumes (Emma Frost), characters in story specific designs (Planet Hulk), characters from the popular Ultimate comic series (Ultimate Iron Man), movie characters (X3 Beast), and most importantly, characters we never, ever thought we'd see (Hercules). What more could we ask for?
Hasbro's approach on the Build A Figure concept that Toy Biz pioneered is proving to be quite inventive too. While Toy Biz --for the most part-- dealt with large characters, Hasbro is going for cool odd-shaped characters (yeah, we know Mojo and Modok fit into that concept too, but neither of them are the Blob, so Hasbro still has the upper hand).
While speaking with Hasbro at SDCC, they stated that they plan on focusing on the sculpts a bit more than the articulation. During that conversation, it seemed like we'd be seeing figures with 5-8 points of articulation, but thankfully that isn't the case. What we see is appropriate articulation. Unlike the Toy Biz line that bludgeoned you with far too many points of redundant articulation, the Hasbro line seems to feature just the right amount. You can pose the heck out of them, but you still get a great looking figure.
Hasbro gets a lot of extra points for their packaging design. Words cannot describe how liberating it was to open up Marvel Legends figure without the aid of a knife or scissors. Also gone are all those twist-ties. Basically, the packaging is very kid friendly, and since Hasbro makes children's toys, we should all commend them for their design.
Final word: Don't judge this line by the prototype images. Don't judge it by what they look like carded. Tear them open and see them for what they are: very well made toys. Anyone who was skeptical should rest assured that Hasbro didn't drop the ball. They grabbed it and hit the ground running.
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