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Thor vs. Destroyer

Avengers 60th Anniversary
by yo go re

The mighty Thor, God of Thunder, wields his enchanted hammer Mjolnir in battle against the Destroyer, a mystical suit of Asgardian armor that is virtually indestructible and possesses immense powers.

No he doesn't. This is the Eric Masterson version of Thor, and he never once faced the Destroyer. The closest they ever came was when the book had a backup feature, and Destroyer appeared back there for five issues while Masterson was up front in the main story.

Because the first Thor movie came out when Hasbro was really only doing 4" figures, we haven't had a proper Destroyer since ToyBiz. That was a nice figure, but hard to get, so this will be many fans' first chance at the magical armor. The toy is gigantic, more than 9" tall, and has a lovely sculpt: it's not highly detailed, really, being muscular but smooth, and covered in horizontal bands of metal, but its body shapes are good and it's covered in all the rivets and the tiny spikes on the sides and limbs that ToyBiz skipped (because theirs was just a repaint). The Marvel Select Destroyer was nice, but this one manages to be just a bit better.

The one area in which this toy isn't as good as the old ones is the coloring. We can't say "the paint" because there is none; this is just bare, swirly silver plastic. The promotional shots made it look like the Destroyer would be painted silver, but no such luck. Yes, this figure is very large, but they could have done more than this. There isn't even an alternate head with the blast visor flipped down! We get two pairs of hands, but that's it.

The Thor counts as something new, however. Despite many opportunities, nobody's made a 6" scale Eric Masterson yet, so this is new ground. When he was first merged with Thor, Eric kept the same costume (as well as the same speech patterns), but when he suddenly found himself on his own, things needed to change. He went to a tailor (did you assume Thor's clothes were magic? I did. Nope. Normal cloth, I guess) and got a slightly more modern take on the classic look.

As much of this figure as can be is reused from 80th Anniversary Thor: the boots are now Kirby-style armor rather than actual-Kirby wraps, and he only wore four dots on his chest, not six, but the rest is shared. Even his shirt, which is open on the sides, is accomplished merely by changing the paint. Does that mean there are some distinctly "cloth" wrinkles on his skin in a few places? Yes. Will that bother you? No. It's weirder that his sides have the same leather texture as the rest of the shirt, and even that you have to get super close to notice.

The figure includes two heads. The one with the mask over the eyes is what Eric wore with this costume - the implication is that it's the same one Thor wore with his armor, because while it's easy to find someone to sew you a shirt, finding someone to hammer you a helmet on short notice is much tougher. The other head, with a beard but without the eyes covered, is how he looked immediately after Thor was removed from their shared body, and thus how he looked for his first mission against Ulik. Sure, the wings on the helmet should be different, but close enough! You can pop this head onto either of the existing Thor bodies and count it as a new character. Get to work, completists!

One thing we do wish they'd done different is the hammer. This is the same Mjolnir mold both Thor and Ragnarok carried, and while it makes sense they'd want to use that some more, it's not at all how the thing was drawn in the books at the time. These days we think of Mjolnir like a cinder block on a stick; but for years, it was drawn like a more realistic heavy war hammer - think "sledgehammer, but with a thicker handle." Eric didn't live long enough to see a modern-style Mjlonir, so the toy really shouldn't have one. And just like we said in the Thunderstrike review, they should have given him hands designed to hold it in his left.

This set was good enough to begin with, but just this week, Target (the only store that seems to be carrying this line in person) put everything on clearance, dropping the price of Destroyer and Thor to only $30. I recognize that's not good for the health of the hobby at all, but also, this is an amazing set for $30! And cripes, Target, these haven't even been out for a month yet, why don't you calm down a second before getting crazy with the yellow price tags? I'd already bought this when it came out, but if something goes to clearance within 90 days, you know I'm about that price adjustment life, baby! That's more money I can save to spend on other toys in the future.

-- 09/24/23

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