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Thor & Valkyrie

Thor: Ragnarok
by yo go re

Armed with ancient weapons and legendary strength, these Asgaardian warriors proudly defend the legacy of their realm.

Another Marvel movie, another Marvel Legends two-pack with one new character and one minorly different re-release of the main star. And although the movie's already opened for you, reading this, it hasn't yet opened for me, writing this; yet I can't help but feel this set is going to end up on our list of toys that spoil the movies they represent. But we'll get to that anon.

This is the "plain" Thor for Ragnarok, wearing his basic gladiator costume. It's nice of the aliens who kidnapped him and forced him into slavery to give him an outfit that fits pretty well with his established aesthetic. Or, well, maybe those are his normal clothes, under all the extra alien armor. The shirt has the sort of angular shapes we've always seen him wear, and the pants look a bit rougher than usual, but not to any crazy extent. The wraps around his shins could go either way: something he chose to wear himself, or something the same people who kitted out Hulk came up with.

The markings all down his left side definitely seem like an after-market addition, however. Presumably some sort of Sakaran writing, a line of red glyphs runs from his left shoulder all the way down to his knee. The large blue shoulder pad he wears on that side has a similar symbol. Like many a Thor, he wears a red cape, though this one, rather than attaching to both shoulders, is pinned at the left shoulder and the right hip. It's an unusual choice from the costume department, but it suits the look. And since it's PVC, it doesn't mess with the articulation much.

The biggest difference between this figure and the normal release is the head: that one has his gladiatorial helmet, with the little techno-wings on the sides, while this one is bare. It lets you see the full Hemsworth head, with his short-cut hair and his thick beard. Apparently the reason Thor grew his hair long was to hide the scars on his temples? Who knew! They could have also included a... let's say "final battle" head, but that would be way too spoilery!

And then we get to the accessories, which is where the spoilers may start. First of all, rather than his twin short blades, two-pack Thor comes with what is quite obviously Heimdall's massive sword. Whatchyu doin' with Heimdall's sword, Thor? Don't you know he needs that to activate the rainbow bridge? And secondly, we get a piece of electricity that can wrap around Thor's arm - since Thor's powers have always always always been shown to come from Mjolnir, not from himself, a "the power was inside you all along" accessory seems like a spoiler, n'est-ce pas? It's blue and spiky, and designed in such a way that when it's around his arm, it looks whole and unbroken. The figure has two "gesturing" hands, and two "clutching" hands.

But Minorly Different Thor isn't the reason to get this set - you can tell, because if Minorly Different Thor were sold by himself without a BAF piece, no one would care (we're looking at you, Scarf-Lord). Luckily for him, he's not sold by himself, he's sold with Valkyrie!

Getting this figure really underscores how annoying it is that Thor 1 came out when Hasbro was in full-on "we totally believe in the Marvel Universe line, you guys, so everything has to be in the four-inch scale now" mode: yes, we have toys of Sif and the Warriors Three, but not in the good scale; meanwhile, here comes Ragnarok, and we've got a 6" (technically 6½") Valkyrie. And nothing against Valkyrie, mind you, but we've had two movies with the existing supporting cast and yet they get no love.

Presumably this Valkyrie is supposed to be the same as this Valkyrie, and not just some random chooser of the dead. She foregoes the burnished boob-cups that are the hallmark of comicbook Valkyrie's costume, opting instead for an outfit that matches the movie-Asgaard's angular fashion sense, yet without the overdone ornateness. It's an asymmetrical design with a top (long enough to have its own "skirt" piece hanging below the belt) and a sensible pair of trousers. Plus of course boots and bracers, for fighting reasons. The colors aren't as bright as the Asgaardians we've seen before, putting her entirely in black, grey and silver; the only bright spot is her blue cape, and even that's pretty dark.

Val is played by Tessa Thompson, who trades the comics' big twin braids for a single braid/ponytail combo thing. The likeness is good, even though the figure does not seem to use the new "printed" paint - the eyes don't have that slight blur/glossiness the process tends to leave. She has thin white stripes running from her eyelids onto her cheeks - war paint, or tattoos?

Though the figure does have her two knives (take that, Loki!), they're permanently attached to her legs. That does not mean she's without accessories, however: she has a scabbard, which in no way attaches to her at all, and a sword with a white handle and a metallic blue blade. It's weird that the scabbard doesn't peg on or anything, but you can always slip it into her belt if you want.

These two-packs are starting to get annoying. It was one thing, when you could skip a solo-carded figure because it didn't have a BAF piece, but that's not an option with Thor. At least this version's different weapons set him further apart from the normal one than Homecoming Spidey's winking head did. This isn't quite a must-have set, but it's a nice one.

-- 11/06/17

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