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Marvel Select
by yo go re

Unless you're a Marvel Select completist, a lot of the figures they release seem pointless. We already have a Magneto and a Cyclops, guys, so what are your new versions offering? Where they've really been shining of late are the characters who are so unabashedly huge that they deserve to look oversized next to other characters. Hulk, Thing, Abomination... and now the Juggernaut.

The unstoppable Juggernaut is one of the most powerful mean to walk the Earth unhindered - literally! When Cain Marko states that "nothing stops the Juggernaut," he's not kidding! Finding a mystical ruby in a lost temple in Korea, US Army soldier Cain Marko read aloud the the [sic] inscription on the gem: "Whosoever touches this gem shall be granted the power of the Crimson Bands of Cyttorak! Henceforth, you who read these words shall become... forevermore... a human juggernaut!" Charles Xavier's half-brother became an unstoppable force, soon after joining Magneto in the fight against the X-Men and anyone else that dared stand in their way!

That bio makes it sound like Juggernaut and Magneto teamed up - in fact, they never have. Never fought against each other, either, so it's possible that, outside of halucinations, Danger Room simulations and pin-ups, they've never appeared in the same book together.

As the packaging proclaims, Juggernaut was sculpted by Gentle Giant. It may seem odd to credit a company with the sculpt rather than an individual, but come on: how often do we say something was sculpted by "the Four Horsemen" rather than one of the individual members? Of course, that's assuming this thing was even sculpted at all: DST released this image of the figure when it was announced, and the flat grey image with the artificial lighting is the hallmark of a Gentle Giant digital file, so either they scanned the sculpted prototype, or the entire thing was done digitally in the first place.

Whether Juggy was sculpted in clay or pixels, he looks great! He's massive - huge in every direction. The proportions seem to recall the Marvel vs. Capcom character sprites, with the super-flat helmet and the thick limbs. His costume has a texture like thick rhino skin, which is actually a bit clever: he can't wear metal, or it wouldn't move with his body, and he needs a little more protection than the usual superhero spandex. His boots are thick and wrinkled, and even the soles have been fully sculpted. The armored bands on his arms look like hammered metal, and are detailed with very nice battle damage.

As we said, the helmet is flatter than usual, but that's because it doesn't need to contain a real head. The helmet is non-removable, but like the Marvel Universe version, the helmet and face are separate pieces for a realistic look. There's a variant available, without any helmet at all, but I'm a huge Juggernaut fan and even I won't pay an extra $20+ to get a second head. It really would have been better (for buyers) if they'd simply included both heads and done packaging variations. They still would have gotten double-money from the MOC completists, and the rest of us normal people still would have had the option to display him both ways.

The physical toy is tremedous. He's an even 9" tall, which is great. According to official Marvel sources, Cain Marko is actually 9'5", which means that, if anything, this figure is actually just a bit too small to fit properly with your Marvel Legends! No one's that picky, though, so you can add Juggy to the list of Marvel Select figures that fit into a 6" collection.

Articulation is about what you'd expect from a Marvel Select toy: decent, but not as good as it could be. He has a balljointed head, swivel/hinge shoulders, swivel biceps, hinged elbows, balljointed torso, swivel/hinge hips, swivel thighs, hinged knees and swivel/hinge ankles. The joints in the ankles are interesting, because the hinge part of the joint is side-to-side, rather than front-to-back, so his feet will remain flat on the ground even if the legs are wide. Good for standing, not so good for running poses. They could have put swivels in his boot tops to fix that. The lack of swivels in the forearm similarly limits the poses for the hands. Overall, though, this is a good assortment of joints for the character.

Juggernaut's paint was designed by Eddie Wires, and the factory seems to have done a good enough job duplicating what we saw on the prototype. The skintone is more even, and the shadows have been toned down, but the changes seem to be for the best. Since he's so big, Juggernaut doesn't get one of those fancy display bases (there's no way it would fit into the familiar "bookshelf" packaging). Instead, he gets a chintzy little "rock" tray and a cardboard backdrop to put in it. Unfortunately, the cardboard is only 4½" by 6", so it doesn't even come up as high as the figure's waist. Maybe it'll be nice for Minimates or something.

The Marvel Legends version of Juggernaut was great for its time, but it wasn't flawless. The best thing we can say about the more recent Hasbro release was that it wasn't as expensive as ToyBiz's. Even with less articulation than any of the others, this Juggernaut is the best there is. This is Juggernaut the way he's meant to be, so thank you, Marvel Select, for this update.

-- 01/31/11

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