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Marvel Select
by yo go re

Though a lot of companies get in on the "summer convention exclusive" frenzy, ToyBiz has thus far stayed out of the game, so we've never gotten any Marvel characters as action figures until now. This year ToyBiz, in conjunction with Diamond Select Toys and ToyFare magazine, is offering their very first exclusive, a Marvel Select version of the Sensational She-Hulk.

Caught in the crossfire of a criminal conspiracy, victim of a tainted blood transfusion, lawyer Jennifer Walters found herself transformed into the uninhibited personification of her repressed longing for a life of adventure. The most powerful woman ever to walk the face of the Earth, She-Hulk retains her normal intelligence and personality. She-Hulk possesses superhuman strength and can press at least 75 tons. By and large, She-Hulk is impervious to injury, pain and disease: her skin is able to withstand extremes of temperature, as well as tremendous stresses and impacts without puncture wounds or lacerations. She-Hulk's highly efficient physiology renders her immune to all terrestrial diseases.

She-Hulk has an interesting history. Like Batgirl or Superboy, she was created mainly to protect a potentially copyrightable name, but she's gone on to better things. She was also the last major Marvel character created by Stan Lee before his position became more of a ceremonial one.

She-Hulk's biggest trait, in recent years, has been a kind of meta-awareness: she knows she's a comicbook character, and can use that to her advantage - breaking into a villain's headquarters by tearing through the page, for instance. Much like DC's Animal Man, who has similar knowledge, most of the "mainstream" characters she meets think this is just a sign of paranoid delusions.

Jennier Walters wasn't a typical comicbook woman - one of those impossibly perfect and perky folks who only exist in fiction. Nor did she fall into the "totally hot but totally unaware of it category." No, Jen really was a mousy little frump. It was only when she got an emergency blood transfusion from her cousin Bruce (yes, that Bruce) that anything interesting happened to her. But while Bruce's alter ego was driven by rage, Jen's was driven by... well, mainly she seemed horny - just ask Juggernaut. No longer quiet and reserved, Jen revelled in her new outgoing personality, and was hardly heartbroken when she found she couldn't change back.

To help decide what figure they should make as their first exclusive, ToyBiz and DST turned to ToyFare, running a poll on the magazine's website to let fans say who they wanted to see made. Shulkie here beat out guys like Thanos, Sandman and New X-Men Beast to earn her spot as the summer con exclusive, and ToyBiz did a great job bringing the figure to life.

Jen stands nearly 7⅜" tall, which puts her close enough to Marvel Legends scale that she'll integrate with your Avengers collection perfectly. Yes, she'll be taller than everyone else, but isn't that the way it should be? The figure moves at the neck, shoulders, elbows, wrists, waist, hips, knees, boots and ankles - 16 points on a Marvel Select figure? They've come a long way from their statuesque beginnings.

Speaking of statuesque, She-Hulk looks great. The figure is based on Adi Granov's cover artwork for her new series, art that quite possibly gives us the sexiest She-Hulk ever. She's muscular, but not one of those roided-out freakshows you see posing on ESPN; she manages to be strong and feminine in a way possible only in comics. She's wearing a purple and white leotard, black gloves and black boots with silver buckles.

While the sculpt is excellent, the paint isn't quite up to snuff. The highlights and shadows on Jen's exposed green skin are quite nice, but the apps on her costume are pretty bad - the purple spills onto the white, the white overlaps the purple and the entire edge where the suit meets skin is a sloppy mess. You'd think a limited-production figure would garner some extra attention, but apparently not.

This figure also lends itself to an easy custom - Jen was a member of the Fantastic Four for a while, so paint her suit blue and put a big white 4 on the chest, and you're set.

Most of the Marvel Select figures have a large
display base, and She-Hulk's is taken from issue #2 of her current series (not #1, as the packaging suggests - looks like the Black Widow mis-attribution problem is rearing its head, again). On said cover, she was flashing a thumbs-up while lifting a car single-handedly above her head, and ToyBiz found a really clever way to re-create this feat: since it would have been nearly impossible to balance the figure if she was actually holding a giant car, there are three trails of dust and debris falling from the car to form sturdy supports, with Shulkie herself standing in as the fourth pillar. It works really well, and looks cool. The detail on the columns is great, their texture and subtle paint apps really combining to make them look like clouds of dirt. Thanks to the columns, the car is suspended over 8" in the air.

She-Hulk comes in the same great packaging as the rest of the Marvel Select figures, with a huge image of the heroine on the side - MOCers will be able to integrate Jennifer into their collections easily. And while most exclusive figures cost more than than their mass-market counterparts, She-Hulk is in the same approximate price range.

For their first-ever con exclusive, ToyBiz has done really well. This is a great figure of a unique character, and one that will look great in a lot of fans' collections. Since the poll was run in conjunction with ToyFare, the figure is only available at Wizard World conventions, but since there are now about 45 of the things over the course of the summer, you're gonna have a chance to bring her home.

-- 06/13/05

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