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Black Panther

Black Panther: Wakanda Forever
by yo go re

I don't know, dude, couldn't this figure's spot in the lineup have gone to an Iron Man?

Using his genius mind, mystically enhanced physicality, and the Vibranium technology of his homeland, T'Challa both rules and defends Wakanda as the ancestral hero, Black Panther.

The last time we got a classic comic Black Panther was in 2016, and it was A) a single store exclusive, and 2) it was a repaint of a figure from 2013. (Yes, there was another comic Panther in the first movie's line, but it a more modern style and you had to track down the Retro Collection version if you wanted it in plain colors, so that hardly counts). So a full decade between releases? That seems fair. The question is, is this enough of an update to make the purchase worth it for those who already have the old one?

For one thing, he doesn't use the same body as before. This is the new torso, which still makes the figure too big, but at least Black Panther is likely to spend a lot of his time crouched over? He gets the usual fists and clawing hands that you associate with Black Panther Marvel Legends. They're not the same clawing hands as before, with crisper details, but it's a standard thing to include them. He also gets new feet, which are molded with a split between the big toe and the rest, thereby making him look more dextrous and stealthy. Both the gloves and boots are new, being molded with vertical stripes etched in. He's wearing a short cape with a tall collar, and it's held in place by a rope that crosses over his chest and wraps behind his waist, making it clear this figure is based on the 2005 comic by Reginald Hudlin and John Romita Jr. (the one that got turned into a cartoon series a few years later).

The head is similar to the 2013 ML5 release, because there are only so many ways to do "a man in a full-face cat mask" and have them still be recognizable. If you compare things like the small wrinkles on the brow or the shape of the cheeks, though, you'll see that they're not identical molds. White the bulk of T'Challa's suit is solid black and his boots and gloves are grey, the eyes get picked out in silver.

The only good thing about this new body is that it has extra pec hinges, so slightly improved articulation. Other those, the toy has a balljointed head, hinged neck, swivel/​hinge shoulders, swivel biceps, double-hinge hips, swivel/​hinge wrists, hinged torso, swivel waist, balljointed hips, swivel thighs, double-hinged knees, swivel shins, and swivel/hinge ankles. If you remove his head, you can take his cape off; you'll have to slide the cords down his legs to get it all the way off, but you can have a "plain' Black Panther if you want.

He has no accessories, just the left leg of Attuma, this series' Build-A-Figure.

This Black Panther is better than the earlier versions: no weird paint, no reused accessories, just a classic T'Challa ready to fight. The biggest flaw with it is the torso; hopefully soon Hasbro realizes they need some shorter legs to make figures using this body the right height.

-- 12/16/22

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