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Ana (Shrike) & Soldier:76

by yo go re

Years after the collapse of Overwatch, Soldier 76 recruits Ana Amari to rejoin the fight.

(For the record, "Overwatch" is the name of the paramilitary force these characters belong to, the bio isn't trying to say new characters will continue to be added after Overwatch the game one day ends. In-universe, the Overwatch team is the equivalent of the Avengers or something.)

Name: Ana Amari
Age: 60
Occupation: Bounty Hunter
Affiliation: Overwatch (formerly)

Clearly expecting its Overwatch Ultimates line to be a success, Hasbro didn't just throw all the main characters out the door right away - for a few of them, Hasbro opted for alternate skins rather than their main costume. That's why we got a black ops Gabriel Reyes, but no Reaper. And now Shrike, but no Ana. One of the founding members of Overwatch, Ana Amari was considered the world's most skilled sniper and was still running field missions well into her 50s. But when she was believed killed on a mission, she let the world believe she was dead. Returning Cairo to at least be near her daughter, Ana created the identity of the vigilante Shrike so she could continue to help those in need.

"Shrike" managed to keep her identity secret by wearing a full-face mask. Though honestly, between the helmet, the hood, and the purple colorscheme, she ends up looking a bit like Mass Effect's Tali. The mask has an inverted triangle of three blue lines right in the center of the face; possibly to help her aim? It's reminiscent of a Predator's targeting triangle, after all.

It's not difficult to see why Hasbro chose the Shrike skin: other than the head, the molds would all be the same for a plain Ana. She wears a long, tattered coat over a rather mundane flak jacket - nothing high-tech here, just the sort of padding that a modern bomb-disposal technician might get. The sleeves of the coat are pushed up to her elbows, and there's some kind of needle device strapped to her left forearm - not knowning any better, we're left to assume she's got allergies and that's her epi pen. She's wearing kneepads so big she looks ready to install carpeting, tight leggings to show off her shapely shins, and little bits of armor on her shoes that makes it feel like she's wearing spats. The figure's left leg seems longer than the right, so you have to find a way to pose her that will keep her from tipping over.

Shrike's got her sniper rifle, which she uses not only to injure enemies, but also to heal allies. A gun that can tell friend from foe? How about that! There's a big yellow muzzle flash for the end of it, too. They've also given her her little sleep-dart sidearm, and a pair of swappable hands with the fingers totally splayed. Huh. Okay.

Name: ???
Age: ???
Occupation: Vigilante
Affiliation: Overwatch (formerly)

Man, how old is that info? We know darn well who Soldier: 76 is, and always have. And don't try to claim they're just playing up the mystery as an in-universe thing, because nobody knew who Shrike was, either, and her info's dumped right out up there. The spirit of 76 is Jack Morrison, an Indiana farmboy who joined the army and underwent its Soldier Enhancement program, which gave its test subjects enhanced speed, strength, and agility. He became leader of Overwatch, but failings and internal conflicts began to tear the team apart. When Overwatch's headquarters exploded, Morrison was thought dead... but he merely went underground to take the fight to the forces he believed had undermined his team.

In his younger days, Jack Morrison was basically Duke: a good-looking blond guy with a penchant for tan and green. Now he's basically Cable: gray hair, scars... he's wearing Cyclops' visor, but Cable did that for a while in the comics too. He's even the game's "gun guy," the plain easy entry point for anyone who's played a shooter before.

Soldier:76 predates Overwatch by at least a decade. The character was created for a comic written by Blizzard Entertainment employee Chris Metzen; while the comic never saw publication (beyond a preview story in an anthology), Metzen gave the character to the game's development team to see what they could make of him. Both incarnations dress more like a biker than a superhero or soldier, and both have red white and blue colorschemes, but that's where the parallels end. There's a big "76" covering the entirety of the figure's back, though it's just painted here, not a raised element like it is in the renders.

Jack's accessories include an extra pair of fists, which seem like they've been included because it was expected, not because they really add very much. He's armed with his Heavy Pulse Rifle, plus an add-on energy effect showing his Helix Rockets swirling around one another and they speed toward their target. Hasbro could have done a piece that plugged into his tactical visor to show how the game has a pop-up holographic display that lets him aimbot the enemy. That would have been a better use of plastic than the fists are.

Hasbro putting Shrike in this set may mean we'll never get an Ana, but but it does make sense to pair her and Soldier:76: it serves as an homage to the "Old Soldiers" comic, which, as the text on the back of the box and the top of the review says, is when the two of them reunited and decided to come out of retirement.

-- 07/04/20

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