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Hero Hulk

Avengers: Endgame
by yo go re

Thor needs a buddy.

After the Avengers whoopsied themselves five years into the future, a lot of things changed. With Iron Man being mostly retired due to his stupid kid and Captain America being busy covering all Sam's shifts at the group therapy... group... society had room for new heroes. But not actually new heroes, because that would require introducing even more characters, just the same heroes we already had taking on new roles. Like Rhodey getting a bigger, fatter Iron Patriot armor, or Hawkeye going full "My Chemical Romance". Or in an actual change, Hulk becoming the public's most beloved hero. From terrifying rage monster to #1 super guy in just a few simple steps! Step 1: jump five years into the future so you don't have to actually plan, craft, and portray all this character growth, and instead just announce it happened. Step 2: done.

The early idea for the film would have seen all the surviving heroes giving up, with only Hulk still out there saving lives and protecting people - basically, he was doing the job of all the Avengers by himself, so he started dressing like a superhero. Ryan Meinerding, Marvel Studios' head of visual development, designed a super suit that would have furthered that story by including a shape on the chest that looked like a big H - because heroes wear their initials on their shirts. The pattern got toned down a bit by the time of final approval, but it's still there if you know to look for it.

The suit is sculpted with a dotted texture all over, making it feel like some space-age fabric, similar to his Avengers Network 90 yoga pants. Since Bruce is living as the Hulk full-time now, he doesn't change size and thus the suit doesn't need to be stretchy. We get lots of seams and panel lines, suggesting the suit is reinforced against damage, and it leaves both his fingers and his toes free - hey, when you're eight feet tall and used to busting out of every pair of shoes you've ever had on, eventually you learn to forgo them entirely.

Hulk has two heads, but there's absolutely no point. You get your choice of "looking straight ahead" or "looking slightly to one side." What is the effing point of that? They even appear to be the same sculpt, the pseudo-Bruce-Willis-lookin' face with the messy, slightly graying hair, making the only difference the direction the eyes are painted. It's a better likeness than the BAF had, but at least that figure was allowed to smile.

Superhulk wasn't a very colorful character, with his iconic green skin limited to the fingers, toes, and neck up, and then the majority of the costume being black and various greys. There is some purple, but it's a dark purple, so it doesn't really add a lot of flash. There's one spot where it looks like they messed up an app - it changes from black to grey on opposite sides of the joint - but that's really the way the design looks.

Figuarts toys have tons of articulation, and Hulk is far too friendly and polite to buck that trend. He has hinged toes, swivel/hinge/swivel ankles, double-hinged knees, swivel thighs, swivel/hinge hips, a balljointed waist that is itself mounted on a big ugly hinge, a balljointed chest, barbell wrists, double-hinge elbows, swivel/hinge shoulders attached to balljoints inside the torso, a balljointed neck, and a balljointed head. If you're used to Marvel Legends, several of the joints feel weird at first, moving in ways you wouldn't expect, but give them a chance. Play around with them a little bit. Once you intuit how things are moving inside, you'll be able to create all sorts of poses.

In addition to the pointless second head, Hulk has an alternate pair of hands: relaxed and open, instead of fists. He has no other accessories, because what could he possibly use? Oh, right, Iron Man's Nano Gauntlet, which he famously uses while wearing this outfit. That also would have given them a legitimate inclusion for a second head, one in intense agony and pain. Technically that would have required an antirely new right arm, not just a hand, but still. On the plus side, if you got the ML Mark LXXXV Iron Man, that Gauntlet he came with that doesn't actually go with any other figures can be faked onto this Hulk pretty well. Figuarts are smaller than Marvel Legends, so the glove is slightly oversized, but at least someone can finally use the damn thing.

There's no sign of Hasbro making a "Hero Hulk," but then, there was no sign they'd be making Warrior Thor, either, so look for this review to seem pointless a couple weeks from now. DST has made a version of this look, including the glove, but Marvel Select is a bigger scale than ML, so it looks out of place. Figuarts does too, but Smart Hulk was smaller than Regular Hulk, so it sort of works? This was a Singles' Day purchase for me, so the price was fine for what you get, but full retail would be lacking.

-- 04/12/21

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