Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Marvel Legends Infinite Series: Guardians of the Galaxy - Groot (Build-A-Figure)

I had to admit. I did not see Groot stealing the show in this summer's blockbuster Guardians of the Galaxy movie. I figured Rocket would do well with audiences if he was handled as such as he is in the comics, but Groot? Nope, didn't see that coming at all.  I do have to say I loved the CGI for the character and Vin Diesel did a great job w/ the one line he had in the movie.

GotG Groot photo IMG_1076_zps321c3656.jpg

When it comes to the Marvel Legends figures, I'm sure the driving force behind a lot of the purchases was the inclusion of the Build-A-Figure (BAF) parts. Whether you bought a figure you really didn't want just to get the part, or just bought the part itself off eBay; Groot is worth owning.

GotG Groot photo IMG_1079_zps6b42e997.jpg

Why is Groot worth owning?

   1) He's tall and stands out in any Marvel collection
   2) He's a talking tree! (even if he only says "I am Groot!")
   3) Very well sculpted
   4) Good articulation, even for a tree

I didn't build many of the Toy Biz era BAFs, but the Hasbro figures I've built have been nice. It seems though the last few have been smaller characters (Terrax, Arnim Zola, Hit Monkey, Rocket Raccoon) so it's refreshing to see a larger BAF again. The designers nailed his CGI movie likeness. The intricate tree like texture and use of light green on his chest, back and forehead help complete the organic look. Groot retains most of the same points of articulation that the rest of the figures have, which seems like a bonus given his size and the fact you have to snap all his parts together.

GotG Groot photo IMG_1078_zpsb3288de3.jpg

For most of the movie versions of the Guardians, I still prefer their more traditional/current comic versions of themselves, but do I like this Groot more than his comic self? I think I do.

For some reason this version of Groot reminds me a little of another Marvel creature, Man-Thing. I say that because the movie Groot looks more docile and innocent than the version that appears in the pages of Marvel comic books. Man-Thing has showed a "softer" side if you will before, but be warned if you attack him or his allies he'll show you no mercy. Groot seems this way as well.

When these toys were first solicited online I knew I wanted Nova. After I saw some of the figures in person at a local comic show this summer I started to feel the urge to go for Groot. After seeing the movie how could I pass up adding Groot to my Marvel collection? After all, I'm not sure I'll ever see a comic version of him get the Marvel Legends treatment anytime soon. With the Legends being up to $20 each I can't recommend someone buy all the figures if you just want Groot. I'd go the secondary market route and just look for the individual pieces. Either path you take to building Groot, I think in the end you'll find him well worth the trouble.

GotG Groot photo IMG_1077_zps636d3261.jpg

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Marvel Legends Infinite Series: Guardians of the Galaxy - Star-Lord

Peter Quill aka Star-Lord. Leader of the Guardians of the Galaxy. In the comics his roots go back to the 70's. Largely underused by Marvel until the resurgence of the modern team of Guardians in the comics, Star-Lord seems to be one of those characters that fans either love or hate. I for one love 'em and I was thrilled with the job Chris Pratt did w/ the character in the recent summer blockbuster movie. For me he is the Han Solo of the Marvel Universe.

GotG Star-Lord photo IMG_1063_zps0a3b454b.jpg   GotG Star-Lord photo IMG_1064_zps0eddfa92.jpg

Hasbro did a great job with this Marvel Legends figure. They capture the actor's likeness and one screen look. In addition to one of Groot's arms (I just realized when I uploaded the picture that I had previously removed the BAF part prior to taking the picture!) Star-Lord comes with an alternate head, headphones, a Walkman, two blasters and the small silver orb that contained one of the Infinity Gems.

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GotG Star-Lord photo IMG_1066_zpse05d14b7.jpg   GotG Star-Lord photo IMG_1069_zps6dc784e6.jpg

I wasn't too fond originally of Star-Lord's new mask, preferring the version he's portrayed wearing in the comics more. However Hasbro nailed the likeness. I'm glad the opted to go with a head with a sculpted mask as opposed to making a mask that fits over the head. Having the two separate heads gives you many more display opportunities.

GotG Star-Lord photo IMG_1075_zps17a5b73f.jpg

The design of the figure is great and there are some small details that may be overlooked. Early in the film Star-Lord lays on his back, blasting away at the enemy before he activates a propulsion system on his boots and safely escapes. Hasbro included these on the figure. Nice. The red "trench coat" on the figure is cast of a softer, slightly rubbery plastic. This means the coat has some give and will allow the legs better movement.

Like all the rest (minus Rocket) in the series, Star-Lord features all the same points of articulation. Neck, shoulders, elbows, wrists, torso, waist, hips, knees and ankles.

GotG Star-Lord photo IMG_1073_zps84e9b5d3.jpg   GotG Star-Lord photo IMG_1074_zpsf35fb7e7.jpg

Remember that big gun that Rocket Raccoon came with? Well Star-Lord (or Drax) are able to wield the BFG just fine. I still prefer Star-Lord's twin blasters, but hey it's always nice to have options!

GotG Star-Lord photo IMG_1071_zps5cb2f453.jpg

Star-Lord seems to be a major peg warmer at most retail stores. I think he and Iron Man were packaged 2 each to a case (of 6). However don't let that peg warming status deter you from buying a great figure. He has great accessories and articulation you've come to expect of Marvel Legends and he's a cool character to boot.

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Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Marvel Legends Infinite Series: Guardians of the Galaxy - Drax

When it was announced that WWE Super Star Batista was cast as Drax the Destroyer in this summer's blockbuster Guardians of the Galaxy movie, I had my doubts. I'm sure I wasn't the only one. Turns out in the end Dave Bautista did a good job bring the character to life. Hasbro also did a good job at bring this movie version of the character to action figure form.

GotG Drax photo IMG_1050_zps0f9e4bd1.jpg     GotG Drax photo IMG_1051_zpsf58aa29d.jpg

Drax comes packaged with the Groot Build-A-Figure torso and his two signature daggers. You can easily tell when holding the package in hand that he is largest figure in the series. The figure has some good heft to him. That alone makes the $20 retail price a little easier to swallow.

GotG Drax photo IMG_1053_zpsd60f588b.jpg

Drax's back story was changed a bit for the movie. While he does have a vendetta so to speak, it's not necessarily because of his family. Drax's sole purpose in life is to destroy the mad Titan, Thanos. I wish this aspect would have been played up more. If I were a betting man, this will story will be utilized in the sequel.

GotG Drax photo IMG_1060_zps83ed8ed3.jpg     GotG Drax photo IMG_1059_zps768062f2.jpg

I've been impressed with the overall likeness of the actor/actress with these GotG figures. Drax is no different. I can look at this figure, especially the head sculpt, and know it is the WWE wrestler Batista. I still prefer the comic look over the movie look, but the changes made to the character are still in line with the comic source material (unlike Gamora).

The red markings on his skin aren't just paint apps. They are actually molded onto the figure. This is a very nice touch and not something I had expected. Drax has excellent articulation - neck, shoulders, bicep swivel, elbow, wrists, mid section, waist, hips, thigh swivel, knee and ankle. I'm sure you can pull off better poses that what you'll see here!

GotG Drax photo IMG_1058_zps5f425ab3.jpg

Drax is usually depicted wielding two daggers when in combat and the movie version stayed true to this. On the side of each boot is a sheath for the knives. I love the little touches such as these.

GotG Drax photo IMG_1061_zps81cac92e.jpg

While I much prefer the classic comic version of Drax (right), I'm glad the powers that be at Marvel didn't stray too far from the source material.

GotG Drax photo IMG_1056_zps068d6eb5.jpg

Originally I was looking to just buy the BAF piece that was packaged with Drax, but once I found him at retail and I was able to hold him in hand and inspect the toy it was an easy decision to buy. The likeness to the actor, included weapons and little details such as the molded "tattoos" and booth sheaths put this figure over the top.

GotG Drax photo IMG_1055_zpsc11a3f0e.jpg

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Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Marvel Legends Infinite Series: Guardians of the Galaxy - Gamora

As a whole I was OK with the changes made to the Guardians of the Galaxy for the movie. Chris Pratt made an excellent Star-Lord. Batista was better in the role of Drax than I expected and the CGI used for Rocket and Groot was amazing.I had a hard time however accepting Gamora's new look.

This is Gamora's classic look Marvel Comics look. She was depicted in this manner for much of her early career. Fierce looking, yet still sexy.

During the Annihilation Wave and early in her stint w/ the Guardians, Gamara took on a more slightly revealing costume. Not my favorite, but this art by Adi Granov is spectacular.

This is Gamora's modern look. Notice the trademark yellow circles around her eyes and the green hair in all 3 pictures. For some reason they decided to leave those trademarks off the Marvel cinematic version of the character. I wasn't against the casting of Zoe Saldana, but I just wish they would have kept truer to the comic source for the character. OK, now that I have that mini-rant out of the way, let's take a look at her Marvel Legends figure.

GotG Gamora photo IMG_1044_zps22f8378e.jpg   GotG Gamora photo IMG_1043_zps5e37f82d.jpg

I'll start of by saying the designers did a great job at capturing Zoe's likeness. Now that can be a good thing or a bad thing. For me it was the latter. Had it not been for the Groot Build-A-Figure leg that was bundled in the package, I would have skipped this figure. I love the character, but for me this doesn't look like Gamora and thus a figure I don't necessarily care to own.

GotG Gamora photo IMG_1045_zpsb00cc026.jpg

At least they got her bio correct. 

GotG Gamora photo IMG_1046_zps9c35c00c.jpg   GotG Gamora photo IMG_1047_zps05c96812.jpg

I"m not up to date on my Marvel Legends body molds, so I can't comment if this is a new female build or reused from a previous release. The figure is feminine enough, but there lies the problem. The arms are slender, the long hair restricts head movement and the molded high heel shoes prove to be problematic when trying to pose her or stand the figure up without additional assistance.

GotG Gamora photo IMG_1048_zps99946bec.jpg

I don't like the black/red hair and that the yellow circles on her face and around the eyes were omitted. The added green lines on her face do nothing for me. The likeness to the actress is there so take that as a positive if you wish.

GotG Gamora photo IMG_1049_zps50ebbc88.jpg

Gamora is supposed to be the Deadliest Woman in the Galaxy and the only included weapon she gets is a sword? Where is her Godslayer dagger she is famous for? The included sword isn't even that great. She can't grip onto the weapon very easily for starters. Second the sword is cast of a very soft and rubbery plastic making it easy to bend and warp. The way the sword is packaged causes it to come out of the blister bubble already slightly bent. Blah.

Articulation is standard Marvel Legends fare. Neck, shoulders, elbows, wrists, upper mid torso, hips, double jointed knees and ankles. I tried my best to come up with some creative poses or even re-create some I saw online, but I just couldn't pull it off. She kept falling over before I could snap the image so I eventually just gave up.

GotG Drax photo IMG_1057_zps9cd99f8a.jpg

If you are just looking to build Groot, then I highly recommend you skip over this release and just find someone selling the BAF part by itself. Gamora is not a good figure and not worth the $20 retail price. If you insist on getting a movie accurate Guardians character, then stick with Star-Lord or even Drax. As much as I wanted to like this figure, it just falls short on so many fronts.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Marvel Legends Infinite Series: Guardians of the Galaxy - Rocket Raccoon

Rocket Raccoon is one of those characters most people were not familiar with prior to the success of the Guardians of the Galaxy movie. True, he has been a key player on the Guardians team in the comics for the last few years, but even prior to that you'd be surprised at how many comic fans knew nothing or little of the character. Co-created by Bill Mantlo and Keith Giffen in the 70's, Rocket first appeared in the summer of 1976 in the pages of Marvel Preview #7.

Rocket would later get his own 4 issue mini-series in 1985, but other than a few other appearances in the 90's the character was little used until the Guardians comic was relaunched in 2007. Had it not been for the huge success of the movie, this figure would simply not exist.

GotG Rocket Racoon photo IMG_1033_zps7329557d.jpg

Rocket proved to be a tough figure to find a local retail. I've heard this all over the web. I believe the only one I've found was the one I bought. I'm sure the Groot Build-A-Figure included with Rocket and other Guardians figures helped the sales.

GotG Rocket Racoon photo IMG_1034_zps1f235c6d.jpg
Rocket is a small figure, probably one of the smallest Marvel Legends figures to date. However the first version of this character to get the Legends treatment was actually a Build-A-Figure. That version was based on the comics and one that I still very much want, but was packed in with characters I simply had no desire to buy.
GotG Rocket Racoon photo IMG_1042_zps69c2c3d4.jpg

Rocket comes packaged with the largest Groot BAF part, the upper torso / head section, as well as a big gun and the even bigger gun that he crafted in the movie to take on Ronan. Rocket can't wield this larger gun, but it fits nicely into the hands of Drax or Star-Lord.

GotG Rocket Racoon photo IMG_1036_zps94e606c0.jpg

For such a small figure, the detail is nicely done. The sculptor did a remarkable job at taking the CGI look of the character and translating it to plastic. Paint apps from what I understand seem to be hit and miss here. Thankfully mine didn't have any issues, but I can see how the black and or white on his face could be splotchy or mis-applied.

Articulation as you may expect is limited. His whole lower body is static, but he does have a waist a tail swivel. Arms are articulated at the shoulder, elbow (swivel joint) and wrists. Head does turn, but with some degree of difficulty. The figure stands fairly well on his own, but because of the size of his weapon it can make him a tad unbalanced. Thankfully you can rotate this tail down and use it for extra stability.

Speaking of his weapon, he can hold it remarkably well. I had a better image, but I screwed it up during the editing process and messed up the original in the process. Rocket can wield the gun in either hand, though his tiny mammal right hand seem to grip the gun better.

GotG Rocket Racoon photo IMG_1035_zps8e8cd08c.jpg

If find the new $20 Marvel Legends price point hard to swallow period; so I can understand why some people may be on the fence about this figure. He's small and unless you really want to build Groot or just love the Rocket Raccoon character, this is a easy pass. I personally like the figure and he goes well with Rocket, but as a stand alone figure he can easily get lost in the Marvel Legends figure shuffle.

Friday, September 19, 2014

Marvel Legends Infinite Series: Guardians of the Galaxy - Nova

This summer fans everywhere were treated with the surprise hit movie of the summer, Marvel's Guardians of the Galaxy.  I go back to 1990 with the Guardians thanks to their first title Marvel Comics series. Even though that team of Guardians was different than the movie, it didn't matter to me as I have been following the current team in the comics for several years now. I don't think Marvel every imagined the movie doing as well at the box office as it has done, but you had to know they knew they'd have a hit on their hands. Otherwise they wouldn't have green lit a sequel right out of the gate, nor would retail shelves be so full of licensed items. Enter Hasbro and their Marvel Legends series of figures.

GotG Nova photo IMG_1017_zps59f64bbe.jpg

I was thrilled to hear there would be a Guardians of the Galaxy movie tie-in series of Marvel Legends figures. I was even happier when I heard Nova was going to be included in the series. I know he wasn't in the movie, but neither was Iron Man who also was included in the series of toys.

GotG Nova photo IMG_1018_zps72496c92.jpg

Nova has been absent from the pages of any Marvel comic for the past year or so...or I should say this version of Nova. To me, Nova will always be Richard Rider. I first came to know the character when Marvel's New Warriors #1 debuted the summer of 1990. A lot has happened since then and Nova is much more powerful and better used in the comics. Now why is he here you may ask? Well prior to the current cosmic events in the comics, Nova and Star-Lord willingly trapped themselves in an alternate universe called the Cancerverse along with the mad titan, Thanos. At the time they both thought it was the only way to finally contain Thanos once and for all. Well somehow Thanos and Star-Lord were able to return to the proper Marvel Universe, but Nova mysteriously has been missing. Marvel is about to finally tell the story of what happened to Nova and I for one can't wait. I am enjoying the adventures of the current Nova, Sam Alexander, but I can't wait for Richard to finally return.

GotG Nova photo IMG_1019_zps837380fa.jpg

Previous to this release, Nova also had a figure in the now defunct Marvel Universe series of 3 3/4" figures. That version too wore the post-Annihilation armor. Scroll down and you'll see some comparison pics.

GotG Nova photo IMG_1020_zps4e13d995.jpg

I believe Nova was shortpacked in the series as I had an awfully hard time finding him at retail. In fact outside of Star-Lord and Iron Man, most of the figures seemed to be hard to find. Nova comes packaged with the right arm of the Build-A-Figure subject, this time Groot.

GotG Nova photo IMG_1022_zps24d08e82.jpg

Who ever sculpted this figure did an excellent job in my opinion. Its almost as if Nova jumped right off the pages of a comic book. The metallic blue costume combined with the gold armor bits is near comic perfection.  The toy sports the modern articulation you've come to expect out of a Marvel Legends figure. I ask for your forgiveness for not posting awesome posed pictures as my creativeness just doesn't seem to work that way.

GotG Nova photo IMG_1024_zpse014851b.jpg

He even looks good from the backside.

Wait a minute, that didn't come out like I meant it to!

GotG Nova photo IMG_1025_zps2c5dfef3.jpg

If it weren't for the inclusion of the Groot BAF part I wonder how many people would have bought this figure. Nova isn't the most known character in the Marvel Universe, but I'm so glad Hasbro included him in the Guardians of the Galaxy series. Now let's just hope Nova appears in the next Guardians movie!

GotG Nova photo IMG_1029_zps4c877ca6.jpg

GotG Nova photo IMG_1028_zps4fc25070.jpg
Marvel Universe vs. Marvel Legends

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New vs. Old
Nova's last Marvel Legends was part of the Walmart exclusive Nemesis Build-A-Figure series

GotG Nova photo IMG_1031_zpsb72057db.jpg
My attempt at humor

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Nova Corps