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Commander Rogers

The Marvels
by yo go re

Gotta love when a company has a chance to fix what they did wrong, and they just do it wrong again.

Steve Rogers is chosen to take a lead role in global security after the dissolution of Norman Osborn's corrupt H.A.M.M.E.R. agency.

I can never remember the order that Marvel's various branding initiatives came out, or what happened in them, so I always have to look it up. I know Marvel NOW! started with Cap wearing his modern tactical armor costume, but that was after this look. He got the "top cop" job after Dark Reign/Siege, and returned to being Captain America during Fear Itself, so I guess this would be... "Heroic Age"? So put him with this Iron Man, this Hawkeye and Mockingbird, this Thor, and these Thunderbolts. (And obviously, this is when Bucky was being Captain America, not Falcon.) So yeah, "Heroic Age." Now I can proceed to forget again.

The first time Hasbro made a Marvel Leegend with this costume, it was early enough that they were still using ToyBiz body molds - we've come a long way from Face-Off Punisher, so an update over a decade later is welcome. This is still a shared mold, but it's a newer one that has been used for at least five other Captains America. The harness around his shoulders is reused, but the cuffs of his gloves and his belt are new, as are the buckle-up gaiters on his shins. Surprisingly, his fingerless gloves are sculpted, not just painted on regular fists.

The head is new, but we wouldn't necessarily say it's an improvement over the last one. Not that this is bad, just that the last one was fine (if a little oversized), so which one you like better will come down to personal preference. Like, I personally like this one: the style of it matches the Paul Harding Captain America heads we've gotten on a couple recent figures, so he looks like the same guy with a different haircut. That's good consistency.

The paint on this release is definitely better. If nothing else, they've learned how to paint the shoulders in the intervening time, so now the design of his costume doesn't stop suddenly. And he's got the thin white stripes running down along his arms, too, so that's a first! Technically the lines should be further to the front and back, but having them there at all is a step forward. The suit is blue with dark brown for the belt and such, and the stars and stripes are a bright, crisp white.

With the 2012 Commander Rogers figure, we specifically took time out of the review to talk about how, at 6⅝", the toy was made too tall. I'm pretty sure we've talked about the reasons behind "size creep" before, but just in case: company makes a toy of a major character like Captain America, decides that as the big damn hero, he deserves to be larger than life to show his status; that looks good, so soon all the other figures they make are following suit; eventually it's time to make another version, and hey, he doesn't look as special anymore; guess we'd better make the new toy taller to compensate! Repeat on into infinity. So anyway, the defining trait of the ML1 Steve Rogers was that he was too big, and now here we are 11 years later, and this one is slightly bigger. Come ON, Hasbro!! Do things right!

Speaking of odd choices, not-Cap's only accessory is his shield. That seems like a logical thing, but remember that the last version also included a pair of pistols. This one doesn't even get alternate hands that would be able to hold such a thing: it's fists or nothin'! On the plus side, this time they used one of the perfectly smooth shield molds, rather than one with sculpted details - a smart choice, considering it's mean to be holographic (a feature that may surprise you when you open the box, since the photos seem to show the star and center stripe to be painted white, not left clear like they are here; you really have to look closely to realize he's holding a translucent shield in the stock photos).

Steve (it's really hard not to call him "Cap") comes with the head of this series' Build-A-Figure, the Totally Awesome Hulk.

Considering the shins are new, Hasbro could have easily fixed the figure's height by simply making those a hint shorter than they are, and thus given us a toy that's better in every way than its predecessor. Aw, oh no, now we have to settle for it being better in just "nearly" every way, oh, poor us, isn't our life hard? Better paint, better sculpt, better body... better toy. With one tall flaw to contend with.

-- 11/03/23

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