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Infinity Gauntlet

Marvel Universe
by Rustin Parr

This is a fun idea but kind of a unexciting final product. Ever since Thanos first popped up mid-credits in Avengers he and the Infinity Gauntlet have been of growing interest/awareness so this "box set" isn't too terribly surprising, but it is kind of strange that it would be released in 2014 and as a San Diego Comic-Con exlusive. The character choice isn't all that exciting, though at least three of the characters are all new to Hasbro and two have never had figures before.

The set is packaged in a big clamshell with a box at the bottom and the figures in an array over the Gauntlet. It's pretty cool at first glance but man, oh man, it is huge and unwieldy. It's such a big and weird shape it made getting it around the Con or transporting it home pretty inconvenient and frustrating. Moreover, it has pressed "buttons" around each figure making it a real sonuvabitch to open. It's just shockingly poor and/or lazy design because you subsequently have to cut out all five toys individually, which gets pretty tough since each blister is contoured specifically to that figure with the button dangerously close to some of their extermities.

"Marvel's" Starfox is a character I don't even remember from the comic so that makes me really excited for a figure of him... he's Eros of Titan, one of the Eternals and brother to Thanos. He's been a member of the Avengers, despite the fact that his superpower - the ability to stimulate the pleasure centers of the brain - makes him a walking date-rape drug. In fact, that was literally one of his stories in the comics: he was accused of sexual assault, and She-Hulk had to defend him in court. Our hero, ladies and gentlemen!

Starfox is basically just a crappy old Marvel Universe body, complete with reused head, and his left leg keeps popping off at the hip. Even if it didn't he'd still have trouble standing because all these old bodies have weird weighting and loose joints. He also comes with a removable Infinity Gauntlet, which is neat, but it just clips on to the back of his hand. This should be a fun pack-in but instead it's just mildly annoying. It really should have been a slip-on for a fist-hand or just a straight up alternate hand piece.

"Marvel's" Nebula is certainly not as cool looking as Karen Gillan's version! Most people don't recall her from the comics either, since unless you read Avengers in the mid-80s, this space-pirate's biggest moment in the spotlight was claiming to be Thanos' granddaughter (which he totally denies), and briefly wielding the Infinity Gauntlet.

Just like Starfox, Nebula is just a repainted Marvel U body with new slip-on boot covers, belt and head (though the head, honestly, could also be a repaint for all I know). The costume is okay, but kind of boring - it wasn't until about the time that the Silver Surfer comics were introducing (*sigh*) Morg that she got all her cybernetic implants, and nobody remembers that! I like the toy's new boot pieces, though it is kinda weird that they're just slip-on pieces rather than new calf sculpts.

Thanos is sort of a must for this release but I'm pretty tired of seeing this figure re-released over and over so it would have been nice if they'd done something to make him more unique or special. All that's really special about him is that his Infinity Gauntlet in translucent yellow, and that's not even very appealing. Being able to see through the Gauntlet was never high on my list of toy-desires. Otherwise, he's fundamentally identical to the Marvel Universe Series 2 Thanos (#034, re-released at #010 in Series 5) with the smiling head from the comic-pack Thanos. If you have either of those, you have this.

Finally, we get Mistress Death - the star of these figures! She's an all-new, all-fantastic sculpt - it's basically so good in detail the rest of the figures look cheap by comparison, even though they're articulated and she is not. It's a little bit like the Marvel Select Mistress Death figurine from back in the day, except that she was basically a statue accessory, while this newer, smaller one does get the benefit of swivel joints at her hand and neck - mainly as a result of her coming with interchangable skeletal and flesh versions of her visible bodyparts.

Those, too, are really well sculpted, and the paint on everything here is very nice. She's wearing her deep purple robes, and features pretty great wipes to bring out the details, both on the bunched-up cloth and on her bones. Her hood is removable as well (to facilitate the swapping of the heads) but she actually looks pretty cool without it, too! Were this figure easier to come by I'd certainly buy a couple extra! Plus, it helps that she's my second favorite character in the story (after Thanos).

But the real reason to get this set is, of course, the Infinity Gauntlet roleplay glove! It's truly awesome! It's thick Nerf foam with a hollow core and a fabric band in the fist for you to grip. It's, of course, a one-size fits all toy and since it's targeted for adults they err on the side of weighty, so there is a good amount of open space around my own forearm when I wield it. I'm sure you've all seen the photos from the Marvel Panel with Josh Brolin wearing it, and those give you a good idea of its over-sized-ness. As a display piece, the bulk is awesome, but as a roleplay item it is about 25-33% too big (but then again, that means it would fit a "real life" Thanos). The Infinity Gems on it are surprisingly a soft, hollow plastic, but they have a bubbly texture on the inside, which looks stellar. And the end of the day, this Gauntlet is well worth the money and hassle of getting this set. The glove is the thing, man, and I love it!

-- 08/31/15

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