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Yelena Belova

by yo go re

So everybody thought she was dead... then it turned out she was still alive... so would that make her... My Immortal Belova?

After the Blip, former Widow Yelena returns to a world without her beloved sister Natasha. Now, Yelena seeks revenge on the man responsible for her sister's alleged demise: Clint Barton.

Not since Sheva Alomar's parents has an errantly-worded biography changed the meaning so much if you don't have the proper context. We know that when the anonymous and underappreciated copywriter calls her a "former Widow," they're referring to the network of highly trained spies produced by the Red Room, but don't want to say "Black Widow" for fear we'll immediately think of Natasha; however, the most direct and immediate parsing of "a former widow" implies that she used to be married, but that the guy died and she got remarried. Or that he also came back to life.

Yelena was an unexpected bright spot in Hawkeye. I mean, the show was great, but we weren't expecting her to be so much fun in it. Or to be in it at all, I guess; the set-up work had been done, but it was still a surprise. Unfortunately, because she's wearing a spy suit, this makes for a very boring figure. In the Black Widow movie, she had a white costume and a neat vest, but now she's in a lightly padded catsuit that isn't technically solid black, but might as well be? Daniel Salas sculpted this figure (same guy who did comic Yelena), and did a lovely job with the textures and all the specific shapes, but you can't see it.

The likeness was pretty good at the sculpt stage, but the final production version is mid. She does still look more like Florence Pugh than the 2020 figure, so good work there, but we've seen nicer work on actor faces before. Her hair is pulled into two braids - one thick and loose, the other slender and precise - which is a very weird choice, but accurate to the choices the show made. I can only assume this signifies that she's a big fan of Lance Archer?

So like we said, under normal lighting conditions this figure barely appears to have any colors at all. But there are golden stripes on the arms and legs, as well as flanking the zipper on her top, and her Widow bracelets have red accents at the tips of each capsule, but the shades are so dark that they mostly blend in with the black suit. Printing her eyebrows higher, or darker, would probably help keep the forehead from looking so big.

The figure includes both fists and hands open to hold guns, but she doesn't have any guns. Smooth. Her only weapons are the stun sticks that appear to be left over from the movie line, and they get no paint to make them more interesting. Come on, Hasbro, toss us a bone! Give us a pot of mac and cheese to split with her new bestie Kate or something. Something fun! Something unique. She moves at the head, shoulders, elbows, chest, hips, wrists, thighs, knees, and ankles, which is sufficient.

The figure also comes with the body of Hydra Stomper, this series' spoilerific Build-A-Figure.

This Marvel Legend is, at best, "boring." A sculpt you can't see well enough to appreciate, dull accessories we've had before, and a final likeness that only reaches "good enough." There isn't a world in the multiverse where this is worth $25 in 2023 money.

-- 11/19/23

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