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Iron Man 2020

Marvel Legends
by yo go re

The future is now, old man!

Arno Stark wields powerful weapons and a superior armor suit as Iron Man 2020.

That's great for him, but he's only got six more months before that makes him sound outdated. That's why we suggested before that "2020" should not be a year [wow, big mood! --ed.], but rather a model number: you've got the Mark I armor, the Mark II armor, all the way up to the Mark MMXX armor. Sure, you'll still eventually run out of numbers, but they're only up to 51 right now, so that's kicking the can way down the road! Your other option is to pull a Conan (the O'Brien, not the Barbarian) and just keep the same gimmick no matter what year it is - but that works better for comedy than a serious story, and comics' idea of a successful comedy book is Deadpool.

Iron Man 2020 is the latest Walgreens exclusive, coming smack-dab in the center of his titular year. Store exclusives generally need to be repaints of existing molds (to save money), and smartly, this one uses the best: the Marvel 80th Anniversary Iron Man body! It's a great sculpt, detailed in the right places and smooth in the right places, and is a perfect choice for the base of this armor. The colors are a little darker, especially the red, so there's no question that this isn't just another Tony Stark creation.

Taking a cue from the Marvel Universe figure, the big jagged gears on the shoulders that are the visual hallmark of Arno's armor are created as a separate piece, held together by the overzied unibeam port in the center and slipped onto the arms. That means you could remove it if you want, but why would you want? Oddly, the unibeam that's part of the existing sculpt is done in a translucent plastic, even though it's probably going to be forever covered up, and even though the same piece on the ML80 figure was solid white. Weird. Rather than pods on his hips, he wears a belt with circuitry in the center, and what appear to be blades on the sides: a saw blade on the left, and a fan blade on the right.

To really complete the look, there should be thick golden bands running over the top of the foot, but those would have required more new tooling. He's already got a new head, with the visible "teeth" that further set him apart from cousin Tony. The head still has the same proportion and shape issues as the last use of this mold, so it may have been designed at the same time, or possibly from the same digital files.

Iron Man 2020 moves at the ankles, shins, knees, thighs, hips, waist, chest, wrists, elbows, biceps, shoulders, neck, and head - no surprises in the joints, but that's okay. The shoulder-gears do limit the range of motion on the arms slightly, very slightly, but certainly not enough that you should be bothered by it. Like the last use of this mold, you get your choice of fists, which have hinges in addition to their swivels, or open hands that are permanently flexed back. We do get repulsor blasts that plug into the hands, which we've seen before, but there's also more.

While the blasts fit into the feet just as well as they do the hands, there are specific boot exhausts now, too. And so that you don't have to just sit around holding the figure when you want his boot-jets to be in place, there's a two-part cloud of exhaust the jets can fit into (similar to Rebels' Chopper). It's a cool set-up, and he looks utterly schway with all the pieces attached, but the soft plastic used for the pieces means that if there's even the slightest bit of wiggle in the joints, balancing the figure becomes an almost impossible task - he just wants to fall over, and he wants to take his repulsor effects with him.

While Walgreens is still having trouble getting exclusives into stores, they at least know how to run a preorder on their website (which may sound like damning with faint praise, but Target and Walmart both have recently demonstrated what a hassle that can be). It's odd that the Iron Man who's named after the year we're in has to end up as a store exclusive, but he's good, and his exhaust effects are a nice idea, even if the execution is a little off.

-- 07/20/20

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