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Doc Samson

Marvel Legends
by yo go re

In 1908, Sigmund Freud introduced a concept he refered to as "penis envy," describing the mental process pre-pubescent girls go through as they mature. The theory is pretty well discredited today, but what do you think a psychologist psychiatrist would make of Doc Samson's gamma envy?

Though Dr. Leonard Samson originally came to the fledgling Hulkbuster program hoping to cure Bruce Banner of the curse that afflicted him, he secretly harbored a scientist's curiosity. He wanted to know what made the monster hidden inside Banner tick, and he suspected that the Hulk was more a creation of mind more than of modern sciences. Exposing himself to gamma radiation siphoned off the Hulk, he found his theories at least partially borne out as his healthy self-image and unified psyche led to a remarkable physical change without the mental impact of other gamma-irradiation cases. Since his change, Doc Samson has dedicated his life to helping the Hulk and Bruce Banner finally to live together as one mind and one body.

Isn't there supposed to be some kind of ethical prohibition against doctors - even flim-flammy ones like psychiatrists - benefiting from their patients' situations? The radiation he siphoned off the Hulk was supposed to be curing Betty Ross, not turning nebbishy little Gaylord Q. Tinkledink into big strapping Buck Plankchest. Shouldn't he have had his license revoked for that? Of course, now that he's all Hulked-out, who's going to tell him he's fired?

Doc Samson has been an action figure before, in the late-90s Hulk line, but it was kind of bland, even by the standards of the time. In all honesty, the new one is kind of rocking the "dull," as well. He's a new sculpt, which is nice, and fairly detailed once you get in there and look at all the details. He's wearing a square-necked red shirt that's stretched tightly over his torso. The only real wrinkles are under his armpits, but his belt has some decent detail, and there are individual stitches down the front of his boots.

Leonard's face is looking pretty good. He's got a big square jaw and a staunchly determined look. His hair, which reaches down to his shoulders (whereas Hulk gets stronger the angrier he gets, Samson's strength is directly proportional to the length of his hair - yes, just like the Biblical version), could really standto be detailed better. There's an attempt at showing individual strands, but they're so large and cartoony that they almost look like dreadlocks.

The back of the card says Dr. Samson is 6'6" tall, but the figure is just below 7" tall. Though he has a gamma-enhanced physique, it's just slightly above average, not fully Hulk-ized. He has a ball and socket head, balljointed shoulders, torso, elbows, wrists, hips and ankles, and double-hinged knees. The legs are particularly unfortunate: because there's just a Hasbro-style hip and no thigh swivel, when you raise the leg, the knee joint is permanently twisted; if you wantthe figure to cross his legs, that's great, but any other pose is hampered.

The figure's weak point, however, is the paint. Everything's applied well - the edges are clean, and coverage is okay. It'd be nice if the lightning bolt on his chest was bigger, but that's just nitpicking. The problem is that everything looks flat. He really needs a wash to bring out the details: his pants are black, which is already a deeply solid color, and that makes the red shirt and yellow boots look flatter, as well. There are some colors, some sculpts that can get by without a wash - Doc Samson isn't really one of them. The hair actually gets a wash to bring out the details, so at least there's that.

The good doctor has no accessories, but he does get a fairly mighty piece of this series' BAF, Fin Fang Foom. Forget arms or legs - Samson gets the lower half of the torso and the upper half of the tail. It's sculpted as well as any of the rest of the Foom-bits, but dauntingly huge. It's 9" long, and that's not even counting the big curve in the tail, which probably adds another four or five inches. Foom is going to be gigantic!

Doc Samson has never really made the jump from supporting character to lead star, but that may be for the best. He's a superhero psychiatrist, which makes him a great plot device: want your characters to do something other than punch each other stupid? Bring in the shrink and have a character-driven story, instead. Doc Samson is a good toy, just brought down by the lack of a little paint. It's not bad enough to make you pass on this figure, just a note that he's not as good as he could be.


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