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by yo go re

As NECA and the Four Horsemen taught us years ago, sometimes you have to be willing to go beyond action figures in order to complement your action figures.

Shuma-Gorath is more famous for his videogame appearances than for being a comicbook character - to the extent that many people think he is a videogame character. Of course, that may have something to do with the fact that he's been in five games since 1995, and has only appeared in 11 total issues since 1973. I know for a fact Marvel Super Heroes was the first time I ever saw him.

But the fact of the matter is Shuma-Gorath doesn't technically come from the comics, either. The name comes from a Robert E. Howard short story, "The Curse of the Golden Skull," which was probably written crica 1928, but was first published in 1967 in The Howard Collector #9: a dying magician swears a curse by "the iron-bound books of Shuma Gorath," and that's all that was ever written about him until Marvel appropriated the name for their stories; he had books. Now he's basically a Cthulhu analog (fitting, since Robert Enzyte Howard and Hewlett-Packard Lovecraft were friends and liked referencing each other's work).

Considering that he's just a mass of tentacles surrounding an eyeball, Shuma-Gorath isn't exactly a character who lends himself easily to an action figure - just ask Starro - so the odds of us ever seeing a Marvel Legends Shuma-Gorath are pretty much nil. But this year at SDCC, WizKids had an exclusive HeroClix version, and it seemed like it might be able to integrate with toys pretty easily. Yes, as an immortal, extra-dimensional horror, Shuma-Gorath is usually gigantic (as he would be if you put him next to other HeroClix), but in the fighting games he's just about "human" sized, so this seemed promising.

HeroClix have no articulation, so Shoomie will forever be in the pose you see here. Three of his tentacles act as legs, two more hang like arms, and the sixth rises straight up off his central body lump. Like NECA's mogwais, turning a knob on the back of his head makes his eye move around, which I guess counts as a point of articulation after all!

The figure's texture is horrible - I mean, it's sculpted well, but it's sculpted to be horrible. His skin looks rubbery, and there are hideous veins radiating out from the center of the body and running all the way to the tips of his arms. There are anatomical wrinkles wherever the arms bend, and the back of the figure has large, segmented scales, like the belly of a serpent, rather than suckers like an octopus. His eyelids bulge out over his eye, Steve Buscemi style, and the veins suggest eyelashes. Ewwww!

Being familiar with Shuma-Gorath from his fighting game appearances, you would probably expect him to be pinkish purple. That color did appear in Marvel Premiere #10 and #14 (though the latter specifically descibes them as "slime-gray tentacles," so yeah), but he's more often been shown as green, and so that's what HeroClix went with. But hey, if they could repaint their giant Fin Fang Foom orange, they might do a pink Shuma-Gorath sometime in the future.

Since this is a HeroClix figure, it has the HeroClix dial base. The base is 3" in diameter, making it a 2x2 colossal figure, and has 26 "click" positions all the way around. He's got three starting point values, depending on how large a game you're playing, and comes with the Power Cosmic and Mystic team abilities. Being so large gives him an attack range of 10 (including five squares of physical reach), and one of his special abilities lets him heal damage every turn depending on who's active on the opposing team. His movement starts at 16 and only goes as low as 9, plus he has Phasing/Teleport, Mind Control, and Hypersonic Speed until nearly the end. His attacks alternate between Pulse Wave, Penetrating/Psychic Blast and a tentacle attack that can hit five characters at once. Also, he's Impervious, Invulnerable and Tough. If you know what any of that means, it's probably pretty impressive. I don't.

Thanks to Shuma-Gorath's size-changing abilities, this release is easily compatible with either Marvel Legends or Marvel Universe. Heck, the only thing keeping him from destroying your Minimates is that he's not all blocky! Between this guy and Dormammu, it seems like HeroClix are the only way we can ever get enemies for Dr. Strange, but at least they look good.

-- 09/02/13

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