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Thor, Rocket Raccoon & Groot

Avengers: Infinity War
by yo go re

So here we are. This is, functionally, the final Toys Я Us exclusive release. Vision and the Scarlet Witch showed up at most stores; Ant-Man and Stinger only showed up in some; but this one showed up in very, very few. Still, even if you order it from Entertainment Earth, it's got the silver "Я" sticker on the front. The end of an era!

When a blaster-toting raccoon, a teenage tree, and an Asgaardian god get together, the journey is sure to be out of this world.

One of the flaws with Infinity War is that, coming so soon after so many other recent MCU films, the toyline is giving us a lot of things we don't really need. Thor: Ragnarok just came out, and had two nigh-identical movie Thors in the toyline. They were so similar, we put one of the reviews on the blog, as an addendum to the review of the other one! Now there's one about to be released in the Avengers 3 line and there's this one in the three-pack. Thank you, Hasbro, that's enough Thors for me. Plenty o' Thors. We've enough of him for now. Time to give Thor a break.

Jokey-jokes aside, this particular Thor really is unlike all the rest. This figure shows him in his outfit from the start of the movie, which is much darker and more restrained than any other Thor has worn. Black boots, a black vest, and dark grey pants? No blue, no red, no gold? Thor's entered his goth phase! He's got bare arms, to show off the guns, and retains the Thortastic silver discs on his chest. Since this is Sparkles, the Lord of Thunder, there are a few streaks of electricity arcing across his torso. They realy help break up the monotony of the dark colors, though perhaps a bright light blue would have been better. Or really go all out and do a combo of silver and blue.

Something else that makes this Thor stand out from the crowd? His head. The two Ragnarok heads had short hair, like this one (one under a helmet, yes, but short nonetheless), but this one gets the Ragnarok spoiler those toys delicately avoided: a black eyepatch concealing his right socket. The back of the package shows the left eye as normal, but on the final figure, it's blank silver, with a few sparks coming out of it.

Thor has an accessory, and it makes no sense at all. Like the Ragnarok two-pack Thor, this one includes Heimdall's sword. That's twice now that Thor figures have come with this weapon, and twice that he hasn't actually used it in the related film. Were there plans while the story was under development to have him carry it? That'd make sense, in that it's a mystical Asgaardian weapon, but it definitely didn't make it to the final cut. We also now have two copies of Heimdall's sword, but zero Heimdalls.

Did you know that in French, a raccoon is called a raton-laveur? That's what the multi-lingual text on the back of the package leads us to believe, at least. Without looking it up and relying merely on a knowledge of the shared roots of Romance languages, that name translates as "washing rat," which is the coolest thing ever. [Back of the line, "trash panda" - there's a better name now --ed.]

We mention raccoons' names in other languages (Spanish? Mapache. Portugese? Guaxinim.) because this Rocket Raccoon is 100% identical to the Rocket Raccoon in the Guardians of the Galaxy vol. 2 line. Same little blue jumpsuit, same closed-mouth head, same everything. Really? No changes? No changes at all? No, he doesn't change clothes ever, but how about a new head, to at least provide some value? Close one eye in a big, exaggerated wink or something.

He's even got the same little Ravager pistols as before! Fortunately, the set also includes one new gun, so it's not a total redo: this one is much bigger, a rather rectangular piece that has minor similarities to the one Deadpool carries, but is emphatically a new piece - it's complex and alien, and the grip is sized for Rocket's little hands. It's so big, though, that he'll have trouble standing up while holding it.

The actual draw of this set, however, is Groot. We've already had adult Groots and baby Groots, so this time we're getting teenage Groot. Since we see Groot apparently regenerating from a tiny twig after the first movie, it was important that the sequel take time to establish that this isn't just him regrowing like Deadpool does, but it's actually a new being, without any of the old Groot's memories. That was the point of the scene with the bomb - it means that while Groot may seem invulnerable, there are still consequences, still stakes for the character.

Apparently Groots grow up fast, because he went from twig to toddler in a few months, and from toddler to teen in three years. I've heard of "growing like a weed," but this is ridiculous! It's cute how they keep the "layered planks" look of his anatomy, but make the proportions more childlike: super scrawny arms and legs, but a little pot belly and big feet. And like a real teenager, he's got bad posture.

The head is very big for the body, again reinforcing his age. The... well, it's not hair, obviously, but the distinct shape on the top of his head. That area is similar to the adult Groot (because as everyone knows, men get a haircut as little boys and then never change it), but his chin is small and undeveloped. There's a frown on his face, but it's the surly kind, not the angry kind.

Little Groot moves almost identically to his older counterpart: balljoints at the neck, chest and hips, and swivel/hinges at the ankles, knees, wrists, elbows, and shoulders. Since all he does for most of the movie is sit around moping, you can do that, but you can also have him jump into battle when you feel like it.

Like adult Groot, teen Groot is a warm tan color with a bit of green moss growing on him - there's just not as much of it, because he's sill young. His eyes are still black with golden irises, but there's a bright green shoot sticking up off his scalp - he needs a haircut!

Groot loves playing his videogame, so the figure includes a tablet. It's cast from translucent blue plastic, and has various circles sculpted and painted on the surface. Honestly, it looks like he's playing Jerry's game from Rick and Morty - no wonder Star-Lord got annoyed at him playing it all the time! He holds it pretty well, considering the hands are just molded in a general loose clutching shape, though you might have to adjust the wrists a bit to keep the tablet from just sliding straight out of his hands. Hope you got the warranty, little Groot!

We don't often mention the packaging for Marvel Legends, because it's perpetually the same. This time we've got a picture of Thor on one edge and Rocket and Groot on the other, but what's really cool is the tray behind the figures: it's brought down a bit by the big Avengers logo, but the design represents the fiery surface of the Nidavellir sun! Perfect choice! Only way it could have been better would be if it had the machinery Thor grips onto.

If all you want is a Teen Groot, there's a version in the basic line that isn't a significant downgrade from this figure, and comes with a Rocket that isn't a straight rerelease from the GotG2 line. In fact, if TRU were still around, we'd be willing to bet that there would have been a lot of three-packs on the shelves with a swapped Groot. It turns out the Thor is better than expected, though, so that makes this final exclusive a bit better.

-- 08/20/18

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