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The Controller

Marvel Legends
by yo go re

Iron Man has existed for 60 years now, and in that time has accumulated exactly three noteable stories: Demon in a Bottle, Extremis, and the Armor Wars. "Armor Wars" was about Tony realizing Spymaster had stolen some of his blueprints, so Iron Man tech was powering some villains. He then went around taking it back.

The Controller was introduced in 1969's Iron Man #12, making him one of Shell-Head's oldest and longest running enemies. In all that time, the single thing he's known for is getting viciously walloped at the start of Armor Wars. And yet he's still one of Iron Man's top villains; how sad is that? The only major hero with a more pathetic rogues gallery is Superman.

Basil Sandhurst was weak and sickly as a child, often spending months bed-ridden. This led him to become obsessed with the power of the mind, though as an adult none of his scientific peers took him seriously. A lab explosion left Basil scarred and immobile, but his brother Vincent set him up in a fully automated house (using funds embezzeled from their former employer). Basil used the technology in the house to build himself an exosuit that would allow him to move again, and used his years of research to find a way to power it using the mental energy of people he attached control discs to. There, you now know more about The Controller than any person alive.

Controller is the Build-A-Figure for Hasbro's Marvel Legends Series 8. Buy six of the seven figures in the line (not including Iron Man, ironically), and you'll have the pieces you need to build this oh-so-very-vital Iron Man character.

Unsurprisingly, the Controller has never had a toy before. He's barely had a trading card! Surprisingly, he's had two different HeroClix, so they must really love him! Since Controller has classically looked like nothing so much as a hue-shifted Thanos, it's quite logical that he shares the majority of his sculpt with that figure. The boots and gloves are new, obviously, but the torso has had to be redone to remove the stripe down the center of the chest and the straps under his armpits. Instead of a little skirt piece, he just has a mundane belt.

The head looks the way the Controller always looks: a tight skull-cap hat, dark bags under his blank eyes, a bit of a frown, and deep scars lining his face. Considering he got those in a chemical fire, they sure are very straight and evenly placed. Because they're botg such nothing characters, I always had trouble differentiating Controller and Psycho-Man in terms of powers and appearance, and couldn't figure out why Iron Nan would be fighting a psychic alien. Maybe now I'll remember, since they both have toys.

Articulation is unchanged from the previous use of these molds: swivel/hinge ankles, double-hinged knees, swivel thighs, balljointed hips, swivel waist, hinged chest, swivel/hinge elbows and wrists, swivel biceps, swivel/hinge shoulders, and a barbell-jointed head. You can give the figure either open hands or closed fists, but he doesn't come with any accessories: since the only thing he uses with any regularity is his slave discs (and those would have been hard for the toy to hold), that's to be expected.

What's not to be expected, however, is that Hasbro gave us the slace discs anyway. They're not separate accessories, just sculpted onto the palm of his right hand, but that's still above and beyond expectations. Hey, if it's good enough for Two-Face, it's good enough for the Controller.

Controller is one of Iron Man's lamer villains, and considering that's a group which includes Blizzard and the Living Laser, that's certainly quite an accomplishment! What's keeping him from being the utter bottom of the barrel? Mr. Doll, who's a ripoff of the Fantastic Four's Puppet Master. But hey, you can't go wrong increasing the number of villains to menace your heroes, so in that regard, this BAF is good to get.

Herald Thor | Blue Marvel | Madame Hydra | Speedball | Quake | USAgent

-- 11/04/22

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