The incredible Hulk has had several cinematic incarnations over the years, but it's definitely Bill Bixby and Lou Ferigno that stick in people's minds. Now it's Ang Lee's task to craft a new, better Hulk for popular culture to devour.
Bruce Banner endures a life without a past, yet filled with dreams. As a genetic scientist, Bruce studies the effects of gamma radiation on damaged tissue. Unaware that there is a monster inside him, Bruce continually struggles with fits of anxiety, embarrassment and rage. One day during a freak lab accident, Bruce's inner beast is unleashed and he becomes the most powerful being on the face of the earth -The Hulk!
Though there have been quite a few Hulk figures in the past (the most recent being the Marvel Legends version), they've all fallen short. Rather than a massive brute, the Hulks were barely larger than a normal figure. Never again let it be said that there's no good Hulk.
The Hulk is getting the full action figure treatment from ToyBiz, but most of the figures are utter ass. They're small, poorly sculpted, and have asinine action features. There are two figures, however, that properly portray Mr. Green Genes.
Standing 13" tall, Poseable Hulk and Poseable Raging Hulk are well-articulated rotocast figures. With peg joints at the neck, shoulders, elbows, wrists, torso, waist, hips, thighs and ankles, Hulk is fairly mobile. True, he's not as good as the ML version, but you can only expect so much from a rotocast figure.
Rotocasting got its start in Germany in the mid-20s, with the creation of those hollow chocolate bunnies that are still around today. First, liquid material is poured into a mold. The mold is rotated on two axes (that's "more than one axis," not "things you use to chop wood") and the liquid coats the interior walls. The liquid solidifies as it cools, creating strong yet thin hollow shapes with smooth interiors.
Rotocasting is gaining in popularity because it's cheaper, faster, and more reliable than traditional injection molding. The molds last longer and present better results, and it takes less time to turn out parts. Most rotocast figures are molded from PVC (soft, pliable plastic) rather than ABS (the hard, brittle stuff), which does present some limitations when it comes to types of articulation, but nothing major.
Since the pieces are so light, and the manufacturing so cheap, these massive Hulks cost little more than their tiny traditional brethren.
The only difference between the two figures are above the shoulders and below the waist: an angry or calm face, and purple or blue pants. The detailing on the fabric pants is nice, from the tiny rips and tears to the stitched-on belt loops and real working pockets. The pants have two snaps in the fly, but parents need not worry - the pants are not removable, and only Hulk's backside is anatomically correct.
Every inch of this toy is well sculpted, from steely eyes to ragged toenails. The paint job is okay, with good shadows and highlights, but the green they used is too blue. Hulk, in the comics and the movie, is more yellow.
The only real drawback to this figure (either of them, really), is the size; these are the best figures in the Hulk movie line, but they're too big to integrate with your Marvel Legends. Yes, the film's trailers are showing a Hulk that looks about 15 feet tall, but the comic version is typically about the same size as the Thing. One up side to that problem, though; Hulk's big enough to make the also-oversized ML Wolverine look short.
If Hulk had been a 9" figure, he would have been five stars. As it is, he's just too big. At least that's a switch from the typical complaint about Hulk toys.
Before I leave you, a bonus: download a great Hulk MP3 here.
Do you think Ang Lee will do a good job with the Hulk movie? Which version of the character do you like the best? Tell us on our message board, the Loafing Lounge.