When Marvel Legends Series 9 was under development, an early plan called for each of the figures to come with a projectile-firing base. According to ToyBiz head honcho Jesse Falcon, retailers wanted more play features in the toys. That sounds like a steaming load of misdirection, but thankfully the idea was dropped in favor of something much better.
Instead of gimmicky bases, each of the figures in ML9 comes with one piece of a larger figure - buy all seven and you can build your own Marvel Legends-style Galactus.
Galactus. The Devourer. Ravager of Worlds. The sole survivor of the universe that existed prior to the creation of the current universe, the scientist named Galan found himself reborn at the Big Bang as a being of great cosmic power, and even greater hunger. As the eons passed, Galactus rested and prepared, until life began to emerge in this new reality. Now he seeks out and consumes planets whose biospheric energy can sustain him until the day when he dies, his destiny to eventually give back to the universe infinitely more than he has ever taken from it.
These days Marvel readers are pretty jaded by the idea of Galactus - he shows up every few years, threatens to eat the Earth and is eventually beaten back, promising to "never" return. Yawn. But that's what 40 years of overexposure will do to a character. We know him, and what we know we don't fear. But put yourself back there, and imagine: a completely average day, until a giant man steps out of the sky to destroy everything you know. You don't know who he is or what he wants - he's just a threat bigger than anything you've ever seen, and the only thing standing between you and a dinner date with your ancestors are four amatuer astronauts with matching pajamas.
No one would blame you if you suddenly messed your pants.
So let's pretend that's the figure ToyBiz has given us: not a boring character (and pioneering blogger) that's been toothless for years, but an unblievably threatening menace. Like most of the Marvel Legends, this isn't the first time Galactus has had a figure, but the previous attempts were nowhere near as good as this.
Galactus comes in seven pieces: arms, legs, head, chest and hips/torso. The pieces snap together tightly, but once they're together, don't expect to take them apart again without breaking something. If you build Galactus, Galactus is here to stay.
To the top of his big crazy helmet wings, Galactus stands 16" tall. Considering all the extra height that gives him, he'd be able to look a figure like Action Cape Batman directly in the eye. ToyBiz didn't skimp on the articulation at all, giving Galactus 30 points: neck, shoulders, biceps, elbows, gloves, wrists, fingers, chest, hips, knees, boots, wrists and toes.
Now, Galactus isn't a highly dynamic character who's always seen running around the panels when he appears, so the articulation might seem a bit excessive, but it works for him. Why shouldn't a humanoid Galactus move like a human? Basically those 30 points mean that you can get some natural-looking poses, and their construction - all the main supports are ratchet joints - mean he's stable enough to hold them.
A lot of people have told tales of their Galactus falling over and taking half the shelf with him, and I'm not surprised. This figure is supremely heavy, and if the chest joint shifts even slightly, it could throw off his balance easily. So while the joints are all nice and sturdy - they'll hold whatever you give them - you still need to be aware of where Galactus is and what's around him.
The sculpt is excellent. You might think that a larger figure means exponentially more detail, but that's not the case: Galactus was a Jack Kirby creation, which means that while the costume had lots of crazy geometric shapes, it also had to be able to be drawn in about five seconds.
The purple sections on his torso and upper arms are banded, as are his fingers. There's piping down the front and inside of the legs and around the knees. The boots have three stacked rings with an angular connector down the front and back. There are a series of ridges along the top of his feet, and a triangular pattern around the soles of his shoes. His skirt thing has a pattern that goes all the way around and three big crazy diamond shapes on his belt. There's a G symbol on his chest that Galactus never had, so I don't know where that came from - maybe ToyBiz thought the figure was too plain without something there?
The helmet is huge and crazy, just like it should be. Piping circles his face and leads up to the little visor on his forehead and the itsy wings/horns near the top. He's got big bolts on his jawline, and a ridged section in front of his chin. The larger... wings? Antennae? Whatever those crazyass things are, they come out of pods above his ears. If you look into the eye holes on the mask, you'll see Galactus' distinctive square pupils. He's got a fairly indifferent look on what little of his face is exposed, which makes sense - Galactus is no more evil than a hurricane or a flood, so there's no reason he should look mean or malevolent.
Galactus is listed, in official Marvel sources, as being 28'9" - call it three stories tall. If Marvel Legends is in a 6" scale, then he works out to be about 14' tall, which means he should be twice the size he is. No way that could have ever have happened, and besides, Galactus shrinks when he's in dire need of energy, so maybe he just needs a snack. Galactus has the munchies! If it really bothers you, he looks great surrounded by the Superhero Showdown versions of the FF.
It's great getting a big character like this in an appropriate size - too bad they hadn't thought of this "build a biggie" scheme back when they put the crappy, repainted Giant Man in the line - this size would be perfect for him, and I wouldn't be surprised if at least a few customizers double dip on ML9 to build their own.
Galactus has recently been written out of the comics yet again, this time as the capper of Mark Waid and Mike Wieringo's excellent run on the title. He'll surely be back some day, but for now, he's been sent off with dignity.
We already know that ML 10 will be giving us a Sentinel: what other big characters would you want to build? Tell us on our message board, the Loafing Lounge.