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Marvel Select
by Monkey Boy

I've never understood the appeal of Marvel Select. In an era when every company seems to be shrinking down the scale of their action figures, Marvel Select continues to churn out figures in the 7½" to 8" scale. In an age where even McFarlane understands the necessity of useful articulation, Marvel Select figures continue to be light on poseability. And when many companies are minimizing accessories to cut down on costs, MS figures continue to include large, multi-piece diorama bases.

This all might make some sense to me if MS figures were more detailed than their Marvel Legends counterparts, but this is frequently not the case. In fact in some cases the detail on the MS figure seems softer and lighter than its ML equivalent. They appear to tout themselves as the specialty market, fancier Marvel figure option, but still, I just don't see the appeal. Such is the case with Marvel Select Deadpool.

Deadpool - aka Wade Wilson - is the infamous "Merc with a Mouth." His career as a mercnary began while still in his late teens, when he became a test subject in Department K's branch of the joint US/Canadian superhuman enhancement project, better known as the "Weapon X" program. Horribly scarred and slightly insane due to the super-soldier process that bestowed him with an accelerated healing factor, Deadpool has become one of the Marvel Universe's favorite loud-mouthed, smart-alecky, super-assassins/mercenaries!

The Merc with a Mouth finally got the MS treatment, and it's impossible to discuss this Deadpool without comparing it to the Marvel Legends versions. Deadpool has been released twice in the ML line, once by ToyBiz back in Series 6 and another time by Hasbro in a 2-pack with Warpath. Both versions are highly sought after, thanks to the popularity of the character and the quality of both figures. The MS version has a lot to measure up to.

His sculpt is... well, it just is. Compared to the ML figures, it's bulkier. It's also softer on detail, especially in the area of the head. While it's hard to get any kind of characterization out of a hooded head sculpt, the ML versions succeeded in giving some expression to Wade Wilson despite the lack of features. The MS version is just kind of there, with lots of rounded, featureless sections. There's the slightest suggestion of wrinkles around the eyes, and the hood is pointed at the rear, and the black circles around his eyes have sculpted edges, but there's really nothing else to talk about with the headsculpt.

Deadpool's been released in two variants: a masked version and an unmasked version. Much like Juggernaut and Magneto, whose MS figures had helmetless variants, this seems like a cheap ploy to get people to buy the same basic figure twice. Since MS figures are not cheap, this seems especially shady. The unmasked DP head features his growling disfigured visage; I opted for the masked version.

The rest of the body features sculpted musculature, but it's fairly soft and not particularly noteworthy. He's peppered with belts and pouches, and various (non-removable) armaments. That's pretty unforgivable in a figure this size. He has two knives in sheathes sculpted on his calf and chest, and neither is functional. GI Joes that are half the size and less than half the price often feature multiple funtional sheathed knives, so how is it that a 7½" figure can get away with them permanently attached? Hell, my Deadpool Minimate has removable knives and working sheathes! The MS figure's knives are sculpted in such a way that they initially seem like separate pieces, and that bit of deception is actually the most impressive sculpt work on this whole figure.

The paintwork is serviceable, but not remarkable in any way. Several of the figures on the shelf at my local comicshop had paint that didn't match the sculpted lines where the red and the black are supposed to meet. This is particularly noticeable on the face. Other examples had the "eyes" on the belt buckle painted wildly off center. At the pricepoint, that's pretty disappointing.

Another disappointing aspect? The articulation. On paper it looks good: balljointed neck, balljointed shoulders, hinged elbows, peg wrists, peg waist, pegged and hinged hips, peg thighs, double-hinged knees, and pegged and hinged ankles. However, there are no bicep joint, which really hinders the posing options. Many of the joints that are there are pretty limited as well. There's almost no up and down/back and forth movement in the neck and ankles, so the joints there feel more like simple pegs. The elbows also don't even bend 90°. I'm not such an articulation junkie that I need double-jointed elbows that allow the figure's hands to touch their shoulders, but I think an elbow hinge should at least allow the arms to bend to a right angle. As it is they barely move to a 45° angle. There's no real reason for this that I can think of.

The accessories, thankfully, are plentiful. While it's disappointing that neither of his sculpted-on knives are removable, he's still got plenty of doo-dads. He's got two sais, two katanas, and two handguns. The pistols fit in thigh holsters, and the katanas fit in loops on his back. The fit of the swords is quite poor, however, as it's very hard to get the swords to line up with any kind of symmetry so they just sort of sit there scraping against each other. He also gets an assault rifle that is completely impossible for him to hold in two hands due to the lack of bicep joints and the poor range of movement in the elbows.

There's also a two-piece diorama base. It features a battered brick wall and a pavement strewn with bullet casings, rocks, and pipes. It's a nice piece but not really necessary, and it primarily wastes space. There's a single foot peg, and it's pretty useless at supporting the figure; thankfully he doesn't really need it.

I got this figure for about half price with a coupon, and it still feels like a bit too much. As much as I love Deadpool, it's hard to find much to like about this figure. The sculpt is exceedingly simple, the articulation is lacking, the paint is sub par, and the base is an excuse to justify a high pricepoint. I held off on buying this figure at full price because he seemed a bit disappointing, and once I had him out of the package he actually turned out to be more of a letdown than I first imagined. Had this figure been released a dozen years ago, it might have been a contender, but on today's action figure playing field it falls very short of my expectations.

-- 09/05/11

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