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Obadiah Stane & Iron Monger

Iron Man
by yo go re

Wow, seems like we've been waiting 15 years for this figure.

After a long stint as second-in-command of Stark Industries, Stane is eager to exact revenge on Tony Stark.

Before Iron Man was released in 2007, if you had asked someone to name Iron Man's biggest enemies, #1 would have been The Mandarin and #2 would have been a blank stare, because nobody cared about Iron Man at that point. Oh, if they'd cast about for long enough, they might have come up with some other armored enemies, but certainly Obadiah Stane would not have been on list; he'd barely even been mentioned since 1985, when he killed himself rather than lose to Tony (apparently not understanding that that was the same thing). But unlike everyone who ever attempted a Fantastic Four movie, the nascent Marvel Studios recognized that if you start with the biggest bad, you've got nowhere to go from there. So they pulled Obie out of the past and made him so popular that the comics introduced a grown son just so someone could be around who'd at least have his last name.

It helped that the movie was awesome, but a lot of the credit has to go to Jeff Bridges. Best known before this for being The Dude in Big Lebowski, Obadiah Stane allowed Bridges to go big, not just chewing the scenery but taking heaping bites out of it. The figure's likeness is outstanding, even before you consider the Photo Real paint.

Stane was just a guy in a suit, and so is the toy. He at least uses the version with the improved ankles, but that also means he uses the chest with the molded-on shoulder holster. Are those in the same tool? They don't seem to be made from the same color plastic here, but they always appear together. It's particularly weird in this case, because while the molds are still there, they've been given the same pinstriped paint as the rest of his shirt. Plus, reusing a body means that lumbering man-mountain Bridges is the same basic height and build as elder-twink Robert Downey Jr. Of course, anything else would have required a new body, or immediately double-dipping on that new Happy Hogan mold.

The figure includes two accessories: a briefcase, which is boring, and the arc reactor he physically pulled out of Tony Stark's chest, which is not! It's got painted details, not just sculpted, and a wire hangs out the back. That's a fun piece, and we're glad they included it. The briefcase, on the other hand, we would have gladly traded for a bag of fast food hamburgers.

Obadiah Stane suits up as the powerful Iron Monger to threaten Tony Stark.

Technically he suits up to threaten Pepper Potts and the SHIELD agents, but whatever. This is the one we've been waiting for! There were two Iron Mongers in the initial movie line, with one of them being worth buying, but they were both sized for 1:18 scale figures. This, though, is a true beast! Remember how the MK.1 had its feet covered to hide how small it was? The Iron Monger has its feet covered because that's the only way to fit it in the box!

The Iron Monger is a completely new mold. It stands over 9" tall, sized to tower over regular Marvel Legends. It really shows the difference between Tony Stark and Obadiah Stane that, working from the same starting point, Tony went "smaller and more refined," while Obie went "the same thing, but bigger." The head, in particular, is simply a less-handmade version of what Tony had built... well, I forget where he built it, and what he built it with, but this armor copies its look.

The chest is large and rounded, a big metal sphere with armored plates over top. Although most of the pistons on the body are fake, just solid sculpted pieces designed to convey the look rather than actually helping the joints move (as they'd do on the real suit), the ones on the shoulders are real. Why? Why those? Why bother? The shoulder end is a balljoint, while the end on the back of the suit is a simple hinge. The armor flaps on top really just a hinge, but the piston part can act as a swivel, as well. But still, it would have been better if all the ones on the arms and legs had been working models, as well.

Iron Monger gets a few accessories of its own. There are alternate open hands, an orange repulsor blast effect that can fit into the tip of the right arm's mounted machine gun, a cloud of gunsmoke for when he stops firing, and a stream of ejected shell casings. Pretty neat stuff! There's a hole in the smoke, too, in case you for some reason want to use both it and the muzzle flare at the same time (even though that's not how guns work). There's also some other piece of equipment that's packaged separately behind the suit in the tray. It looks like a missile launcher or flamethrower, and according to the stock photos, it's supposed to attach to the piston on the left shoulder. Between Ultron's Kirby dots and this thing, thank goodness for those pics, huh?

There's one advantage the old, small Iron Monger has over this new, properly sized one, and it also leads to a sentiment no human being has ever expressed before: Hasbro should have done with this Marvel Legend what Mattel did with its DC figures. Insanity, right? Well, the cool feature on the old Iron Monger was that the chest panel lifted up to reveal Stane piloting it inside. But remember the Rookie Build-A-Figure? That could use the normal Jim Gordon Batman head to make it look like he was inside? Why doesn't Iron Monger do the same thing?

We made do with the tiny old Iron Monger, but even without that kind of interaction, this new one is much better!

-- 01/03/22

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