Originally posted: http://www.zedsjoesite.com/review/mubill/mubill.html
Well I'm going to say it: 2012 has sucked for the 1:18th action figure collector.
Avengers has been a weak line, figures we have already seen with better quality in previous years. Sure there was Ultimate Thor and Hawkeye and I am sure I would get Black Widow and Nick Fury if I could find them. But after several years of going way out of my way to get final waves (from Indy TOD wave to Iron Man 2 Wave 4 to Thor and Lady Sif) I just don't feel the desire to repeat past over-expenditures. GI Joe got moved with a weak first wave appearing this year for the Retaliation movie (when you could find it) while the later and better waves have been moved to next year. Star Wars has some great stuff, but with loads of Episode one figures and bad distribution getting the way once again it's a futile effort to find the cool stuff.
So when we finally, and I mean FINALLY, get a new wave of Marvel Universe (after nearly 9 months without a peep from MU), it's a time to rejoice. Hell, a time to literally cheer for the fact it feels like the light at the end of the tunnel just blasted you with it's bright light. HOORAY!
So enough about the bad year, let's look at the sunshine.
THANK GOODNESS I got this version, I don't think I could have justified the other one. So this outfit I think is pretty cool and at least it's different (and of course, technically a different character). I guess there is no getting around the Spidey's even though he has had two solo lines and plenty of MU releases, so I won't go into a rant on it.
I was a bit surprised at the fact this Spidey had not so much articulation. While the arms are ok with the forearm swivels, the legs are pretty standard with no rocker ankles or thigh swivels. With those points of articulation (which are almost standard for Marvel Universe anymore) I think the figure would have ranked higher. Without them, well at least he is different than the regular Spidey. Astute MU collectors will recognize the web bag Spidey had in his House of M version which is another cool thing to have (and can be given to just about any of the Spidey's you like).
There has been a lot of talk about the scale of this figure (as he is meant to represent a thirteen year old) so how does it actually work.
Well, depends on how you look at it. Spidey and scale have been a big issue with Hasbro since Marvel Universe started. He kind of works as a shorter version with a fig like Iron Spider (Or any of the other Spidey's from the "Black costume" mold) the movie figures not so much nor with the Spidey singles line. So it depends on what you like with Spidey I suppose. To me he fits with Bucky pretty well so he is passable.
Verdict, Pretty ok, better with this variant, but if you want the closer to traditional version I would think one from the previous Spider-Man line would work better and probably have better articulation. This one, however, only has appeared here and this is the shot to get him.
From Spider-Man to a Spider-Villain.
The first time I saw Kraven was in Spider-Man and his Amazing Friends. He was a bit odd even then but there was something I just liked about him. The whole idea of a hunter going after Spider-Man for "the ultimate hunt" is just weird, even when I was young it was a stretch. Still Kraven has been used effectively by some writers (Especially in what I consider the best Spidey story ever, Kraven's Last Hunt) and as such he ranked high on my must have list. He's very cool on his own but of course he has some good accessories.
The knife and spear almost seem mandatory. Of course the Lion's head that he wears for a vest as well. Also he had very cool skull knee pads. While he does use one of the more generic bodies those little details make the figure stand out. If I had to knock him, the lack of thigh swivel and no rocker ankles is something I am confounded at. He is still very cool though and well worthy of the collection.
Once again there are scale issues, Kraven uses the "big guy" mold we have seen dozens of times but it does seem that makes him a bit too tall. Still I think he looks perfect with the SDCC Spidey so I can accept it.
I saw a message on the Marvelous News Board about Kraven's hands being a bit off, specifically that his hands seemed to be in two different scales. Not really seeing that myself but the only thing I can figure they meant was his spear hand is a bit bigger but it is also more open (to accommodate the spear) so I don't think it's a real issue.
Scale issues aside, I really like this figure and would have to recommend him for any Spider-Man fan. Sure he is a bit tall but so what. Just say Kraven is taller than most artists portray him I say.
Next up is a figure that has had some controversy in the past.
Well it's Beast, Hank has finally arrived to the MU line, problem is I think this is not the version of Beast we all wanted. Thing is he rocks despite that fact. It's a weird thing I know, but even though I would rather have had our old classic Beast I really like this figure (and a huge part of me hates the cat look to Hank McCoy).
I have to say Beast is one of my faves of the X-Men too. His exterior contrasts his genius and is one of the few times any character has made that idea work. Loved him in Avengers, loved his portrayal in the X-Men animated series and to be honest as just pure character I still love the guy.
His major flaw as a figure is the thighs are just too darned big. The issue surprisingly inhibits his movement slightly. It's not so bad I would say don't buy it, but it is something to note. Another surprise is he is one of the few characters in this wave that has rocker ankles. While I don't feel the rocker ankles are necessary on everyone, on Hank I think they are needed since his range of motion should be greater than the average figure. However, I kind of feel the same about Kraven, so there you go (which is my one knock to that figure).
What's oddest to me though is I have seen some complaints about the extra point of articulation in the foot. Honestly I kind of like it and it appears it can be used to "hook" Hank onto things so he can hang upside down. I have yet to try it but I am sure it will work. Also the POA allows for some extra posing (With some effort) with the feet (see above). Again not sure why people complain about such interesting things, but it does kind of back that idea that some people just complain to complain.
Beast also has wrist articulation which is very well hidden. Again he is one of the few in this wave with such articulation.
Now comes the inevitable comparison with the Toybiz Super-Hero Showdown version.
Scale wise they are about even, which works fine. I have always had the impression that Hank's first mutation was a touch skinnier than the latest one, so it works on that level for both of them. I have to say I like the SHS Beasts color as it's closer to the comics. Cat Beast looks a bit gray in comparison (but not gray enough to be Dark Beast). Of course SHS Beast has that gaping mouth, which is a detractor. Surprisingly the mouth is the only detractor from SHS Beast. Honestly next to Thor, Colossus and Thing he is one of the best figs Toybiz produced for the SHS line and as such is very hard to top.
In addition SHS Beast can do the stand on head trick and surprisingly can do it better than MU Beast. I mention this because this has been a big point in some reviews of MU Beast.
Lastly SHS Beast has a better range of motion than MU Beast. SHS is also more stable as well, I had a very hard time posing MU Beast for this shot while SHS Beast took all of a few seconds. Overall I have to say SHS Beast is a much better version. That's not to say MU Beast isn't awesome, but in a head to head comparison, SHS Beast wins by a mile.
Again, while I'm not a huge fan of this look for Hank I have to say the figure won me over. He has great articulation and is an awesome sculpt that effectively hides much of it. With him you can get a good amount of the Astonishing X-Men (if you are so inclined) so that is another plus (with Emma on the way the team is nearly complete).