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The Punisher

Spider-Man Legends
by yo go re

Another exclusive already? Slow down, Walgreens!

A ruthless vigilante, Punisher single-handedly takes down crime one bad guy at a time!

Jim Lee is primarily known as the artist of some pretty successful X-Men and Batman runs, and for being co-publisher (with Dan DiDio) of DC Comics, but he wasn't always a complete superstar. His first job at Marvel was on Alpha Flight, and then he was moved to the super high-profile job of... inking Punisher War Journal. Yeah. Eventually he took over the pencilling, but it's still easy to forget he was ever involved with the character. But Walgreens, like Pepperidge Farm, remembers. So with their fifth store exclusive, the drug store chain has pulled this figure's retro design straight out of the 1980s.

The thing that really makes this a "Jim Lee" Punisher is the head. Not only is the face sculpted to look like Lee's artwork (come on, there's no mistaking that ridiculously square jaw and those gritted teeth), he's also wearing a white bandana tied around his head, a feature that Lee created and nobody else has ever really copied.

If you don't like the jazzercise look, the figure comes with an alternate head you can swap out if you prefer. This one has no headband, some heavy stubble, and dark circles under his eyes. Frank needs some sleep! a few strands of hair fall down onto his forehead. The artistic inspiration isn't as obvious on this one, but it still looks nice on him.

The figure is built on Hasbro's medium body, which is a nice choice for the character. Frank Castle is a beefy guy, but he's not a total monster. He's painted dark, dark grey rather than a real black, while his gloves, boots, and the skull on his chest are all white. The figure gets a new belt with eight brown pouches and four ammo clip "teeth" over his abdomen, and what appears to be a new chest harness: while other characters have worn similar things, none of them have had shotgun shells running across the center of the chest like this does. It's also molded with two grenades, which get their own green paint apps!

So he can kill as many mobsters as he can possibly get his hands on, Punisher is highly articulated. He has a balljointed head, hinge neck, swivel/hinge shoulders, swivel biceps, double-hinged elbows, swivel/hinge wrists, a hinged torso, swivel waist, balljointed hips, swivel thighs, double-hinged knees, swivel shins, and swivel/hinge rocker ankles. The belt would get in the way of the waist a bit, if it weren't made from flexible PVC. Like a lot of Marvel Legends, this body has trouble moving the legs very far to the side, but it's a completely useable range of motion.

In addition to the extra head and all the new clothes, Big Pun comes with three weapons: a bazooka, a tactical shotgun, and a large M60 machine gun. The bazooka and the M60 are painted black and green, while the shotgun is white. White? Why is the gun white? It's a fine mold, but the color is dumb. But hey, at least with all the articulation, he can get into some fairly natural poses - or he would, if Hasbro had given him hands with trigger fingers extended. Funny, didn't we just complain about that recently from a far worse company? The bazooka has a peg that allows it to plug into Frank's back.

Punisher doesn't come with any Build-A-Figure pieces, though the back of the card suggests it would be Absorbing Man if he did. The lack of a BAF piece is probably why they could afford to give the weapons paint apps. And just like the other exclusives, Punisher gets his own thematic packaging: the usual modern Marvel Legends box (yay no clamshells!), but done in Punisher-appropriate black and white.

1980s Jim Lee Punisher was a truly unexpected figure when it was first revealed, and it's just as unexpected now that it's been released. But man did they do a good job on him! His inspiration is immediately apparent, and he comes with a few nice weapons. Shame they didn't take some cues from the variant cover of Punisher #1, though. Needs moar dakka!

-- 08/29/16


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