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Avengers (Gamerverse)
by yo go re

You've been... Thunderstriked!

Kevin Masterson follows in the noble footsteps of his idol Thor - because the world still needs heroes.

Oh, now that's interesting! Thunderstrike was not Kevin Masterson: he was Eric Masterson, an arcitect who was hurt saving someone's life when a supervillain attacked Thor; Kevin was Eric's son. When Eric was fatally wounded, Odin saved his life by merging him with the thunder god; when the two were separated, Eric was given an enchanted weapon of his own so he could continue being a hero. However, it had been prophesied that Eric would meet a tragic fate, something that happened by the end of his solo series. He was killed in battle, and that was that. Several years later, Steve Rogers came into possession of Eric's old mace, and gave it to Kevin. In a moment of crisis, Kevin too transformed into Thunderstrike - and the first time he did, he still looked exactly like his father used to.

Thunderstrike was a '90s character, but he eschewed most of that decade's design excesses: originally he still looked like Thor, but since he wasn't as experienced a hero, he changed his outfit so he wouldn't bring down Thor's reputation. At a glance, it appears this figure reuses the 80th Anniversary Thor molds, but it turns out that's not the case. Yes, he still has discs on his shirt, but Thor's torso had detailed stitches and flares over the shoulders, and Thunderstrike has none of that. His thighs don't even have the same kind of wrinkles sculpted on, so those have to be different as well. The boots and vest are new, because no one else's matched this style, so the only reused parts are his arms.

The costume may have been understated (for the time), but Thunderstrike's attitude was pure '90s: a little bit angrier, a little bit wilder, and a little bit cockier - basically, everybody wanted their 1990s characters to be 1970s Wolverine. The toy lives up to this by giving us a head sculpt with the mouth wide open in an angry shout. As much as we appreciate distinctive expressions, we do wish Hasbro had included a second head with a more neutral look. For variety's sake.

Another conceit to the radical left '90s? The hair. Thor always had long hair (like a got-dang hippie!), but he never did with it what Thunderstrike chose to: pull it back into a ponytail. Hey, it was either that or hair-curtains! Sadly, this toy's ponytail, coupled with the popped collar of his vest, means the head is not fully poseable. Oh, it can turn side-to-side, it can title on its balljoint, it can even tip down thanks to the hinge in the neck, but it'll never look any further up than it is right out of the package. He's got most of the usual ML joints, but the torso is a balljoint instead of a hinge paired with a swivel waist. Dynamic! Since the character was technically still inhabiting a "Thor" body, the toy is Thor-sized: just barely under 7" tall.

He comes with his mace, Thuderstrike, though this toy makes the same mistake the 4" figure made: it forces him to be right-handed instead of left-handed. Like, that was a conscious decision on the part of creators Tom DeFalco and Ron Frenz - Eric being a leftie was intended to set him apart from Thor, and was even one of the little clues that gave him away to his fellow Avengers when he was still pretending to be the original. This toy only has one hand capable of holding the mace, and it's the right. Unfortunate. You even get your choice of alternate left hands - one wide open, one closed into a fist - but neither of them can hold the accessory. Neither of them are wearing his two-fingered glove, either. Even if it were just painted on, it would be better than lacking it entirely. The mace's chain is sculpted to that it can loop around his wrist while he's holding it, but if you do that, then the striking surface of the mace (the part that's flatter and thicker) faces to the side, not to the front. What is he, just back-handing people all day long?

He's also got a part of this series' Build-A-Figure, Joe Fixit. It's the head. Not often you see Hulk wearing a fedora.

It seems likely that the name "Kevin" in the bio is just a mistake, and that this toy is meant to be Eric, with the fact that Kevin briefly did look like this being a happy coincidence. Hasbro could do a Kevin version, after he changed his costume - since he was smaller then, he could use that one body they like, and it would let them reuse the mold for the mace. Even with the perma-angry face, the neck-blocking ponytail, and the weapon in the wrong hand, it's exciting to finally get a full-sized Thunderstrike action figure.

-- 01/11/21

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