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Power Man & Iron Fist

Marvel Universe
by yo go re

Some people took issue with our claim that the Wrecking Crew was the first team completed in the Marvel Universe, pointing out the Heroes for Hire. Well yes, we had a Luke Cage and a Danny Rand, but not in the costumes they wore when they worked together. Now we do.

With the help of the strange, otherworldly fighter known as Iron Fist, Power Man has cleared his name of the charges that dogged him for years. Despite having nothing in common, the two men decide to form a partnership. Their decision is just in time, as a pair of deadly, world-class assassins have the two heroes in their sights.

Ah, Power Man. Luke Cage may have gone legit and joined the Avengers, but he'll never really escape the streets. No matter how cool he may dress, no matter how hard Isaiah Mustafa lobbies for the film role, whenever anybody says his name, it's this "pure exploitation" version that fans think of. Sweet Christmas!

This figure doesn't share any parts with the previous Luke Cage, but he does share parts with figures that figure shared parts with - confused? Okay, here's the breakdown: Power Man uses the legs from Thunderball; Thunderball got his torso from Absorbing Man, whose entire body was repainted to make Luke Cage. So take the legs from this figure and the upper body from the last one, and you'd have a Frankensteined Thunderball.

The chest is all-new, and it looks terrific. He's incredibly muscular, as you'd expect, and the details of his shirt are sculpted on, not just painted. That means the collar of his shirt is a three-dimensional piece, of course, but it's more than that. The edge between his shirt and his skin is raised, as are the laces crossed over his stomach, and the shirt wrinkles as it stretches over his muscles. In short, this is a sculpt of a guy in a shirt, and it isn't one that is likely to be reused for anyone else.

Sadly, the face on this figure doesn't look very much like the last one. We know they're based on different artists, but they're still supposed to be the same guy, you know? The new figure's jawline is fuller and his cheeks slightly wider, which makes quite a difference. We can't compare the eyes, since they were hidden behind glasses before. He's rocking the tiara and afro, though.

Articulation holds no surprises for those such as us, which is to say he moves like a lot of other Marvel Universe figures do: swivel/hinge joints at the ankles, double-hinged knees, balljointed hips, swivel wrists, hinged elbows, swivel biceps, swivel/hinge shoulders, swivel waist, balljointed torso and swivel/hinge head. Yes, there's a joint in the chest and one immediately below it in the waist. That seems wasteful. To keep his silk shirt from looking like cheap plastic, there's a heavy wash of yellow paint, and while it does look better than the bare plastic does, it's rather sloppy.

Naturally, this set pairs Power Man with his hetero lifemate, Iron Fist. It's a subtle thing, but you have to give Marvel credit for always crediting the team as "Power Man and Iron Fist," not "Iron Fist and Power Man." The black guy gets top billing? Not bad! Of course, it was his book that got renamed - Iron Fist has been canceled after only 15 issues, so a few months later the lagging Luke Cage, Power Man absorbed him.

We've already had an Iron Fist figure and a variant Iron Fist figure, and there's a modern Iron Fist figure right around the corner. And yet this one still stands out. He uses the Black Spider-Man body that's been used and reused throughout this line's history. It's the "Bullseye body" of Marvel Universe, and if you understand that sentence, you're a toy nerd.

While most of the body is old, the chest is new. This is the first Iron Fist to sport his large disco collar, and rather than just glue it on they sculpted it. You know, all credit where credit is due: Hasbro could have cheaped out but didn't. He has a new belt floating at his waist, and a new head with the ties of his mask billowing around the side.

Other than the collar and belt, all the costume details are just painted on, from his short sleeves to his silly little slippers. The most important element, the black dragon on his chest, is painted crisply, despite its many thin lines and tiny points. His green is just dark enough, and there are shadows painted on to accentuate his muscles.

Since this is a comic pack, it includes a comic - in this case, Power Man and Iron Fist #79, an issue which sees... well, let's not beat around the bush, it involves our heroes teaming up with Doctor Who to fight the Daleks. Only they're named the "Dredlox" (really), they roll around yelling "INCINERATE!" and their time-travelling, vaguely British, excentrically dressed foe is Professor Gamble (whose name is a reference to the working title of "City of Death"). Also, Iron Fist teaches karate to a Green Arrow lookalike and Luke's girlfriend tries to initiate a four-way with Danny and Colleen Wing. It really must be read to be believed. And according to the legal indicia, it was published in October 2010, so why has it taken this set so long to materialize?

Power Man is the star of this set. Yes, we've technically never gotten this version of Iron Fist before, but it looks so much like the two that came out in 2009 that it might as well be a re-release. But Luke is entirely new and much more iconic than before, so he's a keeper. If you don't want the comic pack, you might be able to pick Power Man up solo in the future: we're just guessing, but that torso is so unique that if Hasbro wants to get any more mileage out of the mold, the only answer is a repeat Luke Cage.

-- 01/09/12

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