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Marvel Legends
by yo go re

Damn, if we'd posted this last week, it would have been six years to the day since the last one.

Destined to hunt vampires and destroy the evil of the world, Blade is a vampire-human hybrid with the greatest strengths of each.

"Destined"? There was a story in 2006 about Blade being named in a prophecy, but that was supposedly about curing all vampires (spoiler: it wasn't), nothing to do with hunting them. So we're gonna guess that was just a poor word choice? Pretend it says "trained," instead. Fun fact: although Blade was born and raised in London, the same story that introduced said prophecy also revealed that both his parents were Latverian! They were part of a group who opposed the tyrannical king, and just before they were being thrown into prison for that, Blade's father sent his pregnant wife to hide with friends in England. Then, as you know, she was killed by a vampire while giving birth, and the rest is history.

You'll recall that Hasbro planned to do a Blade as a swap figure for Punisher (because they both wore trenchcoats), but it was cancelled, meaning we haven't had a Blade like this since ToyBiz. He uses the same armored torso as the last Blade, which makes sense, and though he has the pushed-up sleeves from Havok, the rest of the coat is a new mold, not that same one every Gambit and Nick Fury and Spider-Man Noir wore: the lapels are still large, but they don't stick up and they don't have horizontal lines sculpted into them. There are lines like that on his knees, though - his legs appear to be new, with the pantlegs tucked into his lace-up boots, and large cargo pockets on the thighs.

The head is new, and it's great. He's back to his traditional high top fade, with lines shaved in on the sides. he's wearing black glasses, and just like we asked for last time, his mouth is open wide to show off his fangs. Nice! Only Marvel Select and One:12 Collective have tried that before. Since the torso is the same the previous Blade Legend used, you'd be able to swap heads around between them; unfortunately, Hasbro chose to give this Blade a much darker skintone, so the pieces won't match.

There's not a lot of paint on this figure, since (outside his original appearance) Blade isn't one to wear bright colors. Black glasses, black coat, black armor, black pants, black boots. The interior of his coat is painted red, giving us a wonderful flash of color, and we won't even give them hell for dropping that paint app somewhere near the waist: the body conceals it higher than that, and we don't have to worry about any visibly wrong colors around the arms. If the implication is that the lining of the coat is red, though, shouldn't the lapels be, too? With his mouth open, they had to paint his tongue red and his fangs white, which required precision, even with the mouth being plugged into the head sculpt from inside.

This torso was designed to work with bare arms, which this figure obviously doesn't have. Using Havok's sleeves was a clever choice, but between the broad torso, the thicker arms, and the addition of a PVC coat between them, Blade can't really put his arms down to his sides - they'll always be just a little bit spread, which will surely bother someone somewhere. I don't know who, but they exist. In truth, it's not really an issue: the arms come down far enough, even if they're not perfectly perpendicular to the ground, and between having them out slightly and the head snarling, he looks ready for a fight. His new knees are pinless joints, and it shouldn't surprise you that the coat means you won't be able to use his hinged chest to bend him backwards.

The figure has closed fists, or open hands to hold his weapons: the straight-bladed katana, a pair of wooden stakes, and a pair of glaives. The bladed weapons all have red grips, making them look like a matched set, and the stakes are just a fun inclusion. We do wish there was space to store most of this stuff; thanks to the coat, he couldn't use the same bandolier as the last figure, so there's a scabbard plugged into the back (and it's still pointing left, so at least that was consistent), but the glaives and stakes have nowhere to go when he's not using them. It also would have been nice if they'd brought over the silver spikes strapped to his thigh from the last toy.

Blade is part of the Mindless One Build-A-Figure series, and he includes the head and some smoking energy trailing out of the eye.

It's the simple things, things that can be overlooked, that make the difference between a great product and a merely okay product. The right height, the right body type, the right skintone... like we said before, you have to think of these as people, not as costumes, and realize that "unimportant" changes really matter. Blade is a good-looking toy, but imagine how much more fun he'd be if you could trade heads around to make your own ideal version, like when Hasbro made a couple Venoms that were all the same size (before they messed that up, too). It's great that Hasbro has made Blade's most famous look, and in this case it's a shame that stores aren't carrying this series.

-- 02/19/24

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