Monday, November 15, 2010

Marvel Legends: Valkyrie & Hulk

QUICK INFO:
Name: Valkyrie & Hulk
Line: Marvel Legends (Hasbro)
Year: 2010
Price: $29.99

When Hasbro decided to switch scale for it's Marvel Comics line of toys a lot of fans were sadden to hear the Marvel Legends scale would no longer be used.  Somewhere along the way Hasbro listened to the fans and chimed in with a pole where one could vote for new Marvel Legends figures.  I forgot just who all was on the ballet, but 6 figures "won" and were produced in 3 different two-packs.  This particular set was the fans' choice winner and was made available exclusively at Toys 'R Us stores.


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Empowered and driven mad by Asgardian magic, Samantha Parrington attacked the Hulk.  The fight that resulted was a battle for the ages.  For blocks around, concrete was shattered by the concussive force of their blows.  Both combatants staggered away from that fight with little memory of what had actually occurred.  Later, as Samantha gained full control of her incredible powers, she joined the Hulk as a member of the Defenders.

I like how the story on the back of the box kind of sets things up.  I have a better idea of what comic period these toys represent.  Let me start off by talking a bit about the packaging.  If you've read my other reviews then you'll know I get a kick out of the packaging of most toys.  A lot of great care was put into the design of this packaging and it shows on so many levels.  You get a nice large window that showcases the figures so you can get a good idea holding the package in your hands at what you are getting.  I also like this since a lot since you also can get a good look at the paint applications on the figures.  The quality of paint on the Marvel Universe toys are so hit and miss it makes it hard to find the 'perfect' figure sometimes.  There was only one of this set left in the store so I wasn't able to compare it to others, but I didn't see any noticeable flaws on any of the other sets (Black Widow & Winter Soldier).  In the bottom left hand corner you can see that the toy is marked as the Fans' Choice Winner! and just above this is a Toys 'R Us exclusive sticker.  There is also some nice artwork on the packaging that wraps around to the sides, but more on that in a bit.  Let's flip the box over and take a look.

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First thing you'll probably notice are the images of the figures themselves.  To me they look a tad photo shopped as the actual toys do look a bit different.  Below that is the story that sets up the time frame from the comic history for the two characters.  There is also a bit of information on each character that gives their name, height, weight, alias, affiliation, whether or not their identity is public or not and lastly a short description of their powers.  I got a kick out of Valkyrie's weight as she is listed at a hefty 475 lbs.!  Laughing in her face or making a comment about her weight would not be wise, especially coming from a man.  In the background you can see faint artwork that was used on the sides of the packaging.  The light blue makes it look almost as if it was sketched onto the back.

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The beautiful artwork is provided by two different artists.  I personally prefer the art used for the upper corner - I believe it is the work of Joe Madureia.  The art of Valkyrie riding Aragorn looks to be Scott Kollins' work.

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On the other side of box are different pieces of artwork of the Hulk.  Unlike on Valkyrie's side I'm unsure of who the artists are that provided the art.

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It's a little hard to tell from my photos (or lack of my photo taking ability), but the packaging is a trapezoid shape.  It's just different enough that it helps make the already beautiful packaging stand out even more on the shelf amidst the other toys on the shelf.  Upon opening the toy to photograph the figures I realized something that slipped by me when examining the box in the store.  The box opens up like a book to reveal the figures inside meaning you can remove and replace the figures without having the mangle the packaging!  Some people could care less about this feature, but I always applaud the manufacturer for taking a small step such as this.  I don't necessarily display my figures and toys in their packaging, but a lot of collectors do and having the ability to remove and replace the figures while maintaining the overall integrity of the packaging is very cool.

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Hasbro has done an excellent job with the Valkyrie figure.  This may sound a little shallow and corny, but they pulled off a good looking female action figure.  The body is proportionate and not overly exaggerated as some female action figures can be.  The paint application is very well as I mentioned earlier and there is a good level of detail sculpted into the mold.  One problem I've had in the past with female figures are the feet.  Women's feet are usually smaller and more slender than a man's and that translates into shoddy stability without the support of your hand or a figure stand.  I'm happy to say that Valkyrie doesn't really suffer from this problem...which surprised me a bit since she has a somewhat heavy cape on her back.  There are 16 points of articulation on the figure.  The head rests on the now standard ball and can be rotated a full 360 degrees.  Each arm features 4 points - shoulder, elbow, wrist and hand.  The upper torso has limited range of movement.  Each leg has 3 points - hip, knee and ankle.

Valkyrie comes with a few accessories.  Most will recognize her enchanted and unbreakable sword, Dragonfang.  She also comes with a long spear.  One thing that impressed me about the weapons were how they were packaged.  How many times have you bought a figure with a sword or staff only to find when you pull it out of the packaging that it's all bent and distorted?  Not only did Hasbro package the weapons in a way that this distortion doesn't occur the plastic used isn't near as flexible as I've seen by other manufactures.

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Sorry for the blurry close up of the head, but I wanted to try and show off the nice head sculpt.  Hasbro did a good job of capturing the likeness of the character with the trademark ponytails.


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The blue cape is removable and once removed shows just how small and slender the figure really is.  The cape attaches easily to the figure by a small peg that fits into a hole just beneath the neck.  The cape is molded to fit around the head and over and around the neck.  I wasn't sure at first if the cape was removable if that gives you any idea of how well it fits on the figure. 

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In addition to the cape the scabbard to hold Dragonfang is also removable.  Again this is something that I didn't know until I freed Valkyrie from her cardboard and plastic prison.  It attaches to her side by one small peg and stays in place quite well.  The scabbard is a solid piece of plastic however meaning you are unable to store the sword inside.  By doing this more detail was able to be placed on the scabbard so to me at least it's not a big deal that the sword can't be stored inside it.  The cape is made of a slightly softer plastic that does have some give.  The molded waves in the cape look great when it's adorned on Valkyrie herself.

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Up next is the Jade Giant himself, the Hulk.  There has been a lot of Hulk action figures produced over the years and I've got to say this is one of the better ones.  First of all the figure is huge and heavy.  The Hulk measures at 8 inches tall so you should be able to tell he'll tower over most Marvel Legends figures.  The green skin tone is very well done.  It's not too bright and it's not too dark.  The flash on the camera does make the green look a bit brighter than it really is.  This also applies to the purple used on the pants.  

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There is also some good shading used on the figure around the various muscles that help make those areas stand out.  Some may not like that approach, but it doesn't bother me.  Speaking of muscles the sculpting of them look fantastic.  From the neck to the biceps to the quads in the legs - they are expectantly huge.  I personally like the bulging veins on the biceps!  The hands are molded into fists, but since the Hulk is all about punching things this shouldn't bother too many people.  There are 19 points of articulation that I count.  The head sits on a ball joint allowing full movement.  Each arm features 5 points - shoulder, above & below the bicep, wrist and hand.  The torso features the standard articulation mechanism.  The waist can be rotated a full 360 degrees.  Each leg features 3 points - hip, knee and ankle.  The feet are huge and gives this mammoth figure the stability it needs.

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One of the best things about the figure in my opinion is the head sculpt.  The expression on the face is fantastic.  I love the gritting of the teeth and the forehead that slightly extends and hovers over the eyes.  Even the small patch of black hair has the right amount of style and is the right size.

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I've made several mentions about each figure's size and scale and I wanted to show you both figures together so you can get a better idea of just how large this figure of the Hulk really is.

In closing I have to say that I'm glad I made this purchase.  At $30 it is a little on the pricey side considering Marvel Legends figures used to retail for $10 a piece, but I do feel like I got my money's worth here.  Both figures are extremely well made and are a lot of fun.  While I love this version of the Hulk the highlight figure of this set is Valkyrie.  Maybe it's because it's a new female figure or a character not widely used in modern comics (yes, I know she is in Secret Avengers right now), but whatever the reason this figure is what makes this a must purchase for comic toy fans.  I believe of these 3 new two packs each pack comes packaged 2 per case, but don't hold me to that.  If you want this and you can find it at retail then I highly recommend you don't wait as there seems to have been a lot of buzz about these figures and I can see them selling very well.

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