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Marvel Legends Retro Collection
by yo go re

Okay, so the modern Hercules was fun and sexy, but it's time for something more classic.

The hero of Olympus, Hercules uses his mythic strength to prove he is worthy of immortality.

Hercules was one of the first Marvel Legends Hasbro released (nb: we said "released," not "made," because it was a leftover from when ToyBiz had the license, not something they created from scratch), so it's possible this is them homaging themselves? Because like (almost) every other Retro Collection figure we've reviewed this week, Herc didn't actually have a vintage toy for them to homage. Hasbro's 2007 release was the first time anyone had made a Hercules figure in any scale. The packaging for this figure suggests the 1990 Marvel Superheroes line, but that seems to be a random choice at best.

This is not a re-do of the ML1 Herc - that was the old-school Kirby costume, with the skirt and straps all the way up the legs. This, meanwhile, is his 1980s "He-Man" costume, the one designed by John Byrne. A fine choice, since the only way to get that before was in the 4" line. Yeah, that was a great figure, but unless he's been hit by Pym particles, it was the wrong size. So this, technically, is all-new.

"Technically," because it does reuse some molds. The upper body is the same seen on Modern Herc, but since he's no longer wearing pants, the legs are new. He's wearing sandals, so no existing feet would have worked either. Other than his plain green trunks, all the costume elements are add-ons: his He-Man chest harness, his big golden bracelets, and his belt with its at once ostentatious and low-key capital H belt buckle are all separate bits put on the figure during assembly, so this body can remain undorned if they want to reuse it later.

The figure comes with two heads: one smiling broadly, the other more serious. The smiley one makes sense, because few heroes have as much fun fighting evil as Hercules does - it's not as over-the-top as the first Hasbro Hercules' grin was, but still looks like he's on the verge of a laugh that would rattle the windows. The other head, meanwhile, is more "concentrating" than "angry." It doesn't look mad at whoever he's facing, but the mouth is still open to show his teeth gritted in effort. Other than that, both share the same sculpt for the hair, and are wearing the same golden headgear.

In order to complete his many mighty labors, Hercules is going to need to be able to move. Good thing the toy has swivel/hinge ankles, swivel shins, double-hinged knees, swivel thighs, balljointed hips, a swivel waist, hinged torso, swivel/hinge wrists, double-hinged elbows, swivel biceps, swivel/hinge shoulders, a hinged neck, and balljointed head.You can tell the legs are newer than the rest, because they're the kind without pins through the joints, while the arms still have them.

Just like Thor has Mjolnir, Hercules has his club. It doesn't have a name. Calling it a "club" makes it sound like it should just be a big log or something, but it's got a leather strap and a wrapped handle, while the head of the weapon is a series of golden rods around a central pillar. It absoolutely looks like it would be devastating to get hit by it! For times when that much force would be overkill, the figure also includes a pair of plain hands.

There are persistent rumors that Disney is looking to get Hercules into the MCU, but would that work? He doesn't really have a niche to fill, since (as of Ragnarok) they've basically given Thor Hercules' personality. The Odinson was always the serious, dour one, while the Lion of Olympus was joking around and being playful. They try to do that now, and audiences will just say he's a knockoff. Bummer. This figure may not make a ton of sense as a Retro Collection release, but it's a good release in a new costume, and who's going to argue with that?

-- 02/17/22

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