Black Panther opens this week and promises to be something quite special - let's hope it is! I had a very fortuitous week and managed to snag up all the necessary toys for the film allowing one the rare treat of both being timely and fully themed; so jaunt, we do, among these Wakandan spoils!
DST - Black Panther: Dora Milaje Nakia & Dora Milaje Okoye
One of the coolest things in Civil War to me was T'Challa's bald security chief Ayo so I have been quite looking forward to Black Panther to see more of her. Sadly, that particular character/actor doesn't have any toys but Okoye is kinda similar, in that she too is bald, and based on a photo I saw it looks like Ayo woman wears the same costume/uniform as Nakia here so it'd be a simple head swap down the road, so fingers crossed she's still coming. This Toys R Us exclusive set is one of, if not, the best of all the Black Panther two-packs because it's so colorful and has neat new weapons and characters! Both costumes are great here, using warm colors and clean, crisp printing on the torsos, arms and shared skirts. Okoye comes with a spear while Nakia gets her signature, circular blades. Fantastic looking 'mates and a must-have for this collection!
DST - Black Panther: Killmonger & Ulysses Klaue
This set is shared between Toys R Us and Walgreens, but only Klaue is exclusive since this Killmonger is also in the Direct Market 4-pack. Serkis stole the show in Age of Ultron so I'm quite excited to see what's in store for him in this outing! The figure provides a bit of spoiler, showing us what has become of his de-forearmed left arm and comic-iconic sonic arm. He comes with alternate arms for "closed gun" and "exposed gun" which, mixed with Killmonger's removable mask, makes me tempted to get a second set - but since I'll end up with a second Killmonger from the 4-Pack... And speaking of him, the 'mater turned out pretty dynamic with a really good printing. His mask is removable and he comes with tied-up bit of dreadlocks for the top of his head. As much as I dislike his costume, I must say I'm digging the minimate.
DST - Black Panther: Everett Ross & Powered Up Black Panther
Arguably the least interesting of all the two-packs, thanks to Ross' "plain guy in a gray suit" look and Panther just being a straight repaint. Like Killmonger, Panther has really nice printing on him, but it would have been nice if they'd included SOMETHING extra to help add a since of value to this set. Maybe we'll have some ideas after the movie opens.
DST - Black Panther: Tactical Killmonger & Casino T'Challa
The coolest thing in the Black Panther teaser was Killmonger's costume so I was dumbfounded to find all the toys were of his stupid "fake Black Panther" look. THANKFULLY DST has, yet again, come to our rescue by giving us this genuinely awesome costume! The tactical vest over the dark blue shirt with camo pants and truly kickass African mask... just PLAIN AWESOME!!! The 'mate accomplished all of this with just paint and print, with a new sculpt for the mask. It's removable and he also has the same alternate dreadlocks the other version of him gets too, and since it covers just the top of his head you have some flexibility in how you position it. He also gets new weapons - a kickass sword and cool spearhead-type thing. This is easily the best single Minimate in the license and it's a damn shame he's paired with the most boring Minimate in the line because there is so little desire to double-up on him as I want to do with Killmonger. At least Ross is a unique character, "Casino T'Challa" is our third T'Challa and implicitly the only costume from that sequence. I really wish they would have given us another Dora Milaje and any number of other characters in the movie played by great actors, but... he's the hero...
Hasbro - Black Panther: Shuri
Like Shocker from Spider-Man Homecoming, Shuri comes to us in the $10 slightly under-scaled 6" line. Fortunately, she's a bit better scaled to Marvel Legends than Shocker was; based on photos she should be the same height as Nakia and is a just bit shorter here. It's an annoyingly frustrating choice on Hasbro's point but at least they are supplementing the roster a bit. The figure is remarkably well sculpted with lots of fine detailing. She has seven points of articulation - T-crotch, balljointed elbows and shoulders, and a ball-and-socket head that is barely a swivel joint thanks to the sculpt. She comes with two (of the same sculpt) panther head gauntlets spurting out some electricity. They're open on the bottom and hollow in the center to they slip snuggly enough over her forearms. They're neat, all things considered, though it is kinda visually weird/less-realistic in that the electricity curves identically on both. Again, the scale is annoying, but she's close enough that she fits in with the Legends figures okay.
Hasbro - Marvel Legends: Black Bolt
Implicitly meant to tie in with the seemingly failed Inhumans TV-show we get this new release of Black Bolt. He's basically identical to the one from the SDCC boxset a few years back, but now in an unappealing dull, dark blue rather than titular black. He does, fortunately for those of us who have that previous figure, come with a new screaming head. It's a cute touch and his Kirby-dot emitting tuning-fork is the real highlight. Interestingly, this figure's "regular" head get a new, broader/bigger forehead-tuning-fork than the boxset figure had, too. He comes with Okoye's right leg, so you're gonna need him.
Hasbro - Marvel Legends: Black Panther
This nearly impossible to find Walmart exclusive figure I managed to snag on clearance the first and only time I found him - Huzzah! He's "classic" Black Panther and, genuinely, pretty darn perfect - and LOADED with accessories! He uses a standard body and is straight black but with dark gray gloves and boots detailed with black lines, plus a separate belt. He comes with Kraven's repainted spear, alternate hands grabby and a silver necklace and a repainted Adam Warlock's cape! A nice figure, if you can find it, and a shame it was so difficult to come by.
Hasbro - Marvel Legends: Black Panther (Movie)
T'Challa gets a nice new sculpt (because, like all MCU characters it would be legally impossible for the same costume to appear in more than one film [yeah, yeah, yeah - Winter Soldier, but that's missing my point]). He comes with alternate clawing and punching hands plus interchangeable helmet and un-helmeted heads. The likeness on the un-helmeted head is okay but its seems a little under-scaled and the skin tone is too light for Boseman. I wonder if the head from the Civil War figure would fit on this one...? He comes with Okoye's head, too, which is a bit confusing as it seems he has two different unmasked heads at first. Overall, though, it's a great figure and a welcome addition!
Hasbro - Marvel Legends: Erik Killmonger (Movie)
Jiminy Christmas... this is like top-level Fan trolling here... "Hey, Marvel - quit making all your villains just bad versions of the heroes" "Oh, what's that, audience? Put the villain in a nearly identical costume to the hero? On it!" And especially after initially showing off Killmonger's stellar "tactical" costume, too... THAT outfit was born to be a toy, but this... ugh. Well... honestly, it's a good figure - surprisingly a completely new tooling with a bunch of little stitch marks and a subtle spotted leopard print to it. I'll concede it's cooler than what I expected from the trailer, but still... NOWHERE near as cool as the tactical costume. This thing was born to be in one of those two-packs and could have easily just been paint on an existing body tooling. (Seriously! They wasted tooling money on this!?!?!) Anyway - he comes with clawing and grabbing hands and genuinely kickass weapons - a broad double-sided sword and a super cool Spear-of-Destiny-esque spearhead/sword thing. All in all, a MUCH better figure than this costume deserves.
Hasbro - Marvel Legends: Medusa
The latest in a long line of Walgreens exclusive and a welcome release of "classic" Medusa to go with the Black Bolt above. And like Black Bolt, she's a straight-up repaint of the figure from the SDCC boxset. 'Dusa a nice figure and the hair is sculpted well but obviously makes hers back-heavy and really tough to keep standing. Plus, her legs are warped from the blister tray - so that's cool. But, you know, classic characters and Inhumans are always welcome. Now we need classic Triton, Gorgon and Mastermind to complete the core team, please!
Hasbro - Marvel Legends: Nakia (Movie)
Lupita N'yongo - you're just the damn coolest! She was great in Twelve Years a Slave but her performance as Maz Kanata in Force Awakens turned me into a big fan and I cannot WAIT to see what she does with a Marvel movie/character! This figure is just as cool - very bright, very colorful, very detailed and very articulated! Hasbro is just getting better and better with their engineering - the articulation here has such a good range of motion and the figure has such a slight frame that one can get some really nice and subtle poses out of the figure! I also adore her large circular blades! She comes packed with Okoye's torso and spear and "dagger," too.
Hasbro - Marvel Legends: Okoye (Movie)
Okoye is the Build-A-Figure for this series and, like Guardians 2's Mantis, seems like an odd choice - but I'm certainly happy to get more movie characters than not! Though not costumed as brightly her strengths are much akin to the Nokia figure above - great sculpt, paint and articulation! Her grip, though, is a bit too wide (or the handles on her accessories a bit too narrow) as she has a pretty loose grip on the weapons. Still, though, a lovely figure and very welcome addition to the collection!
Hasbro - Marvel Legends: Sub-Mariner
HERE he is!!! The classic, be-Speedo'ed Namor! The Walgreen's exclusive '90s jumpsuit version was neat, but this is the one we all really wanted and man, he is perfect! It's a goofy design by today's standards, but Hasbro really nailed it here and I really, really appreciate all the extra lengths they went to with it, like tooling a new waist with sculpted scales rather than just using paint and making with ankle-wings separately tooled pieces that plug in. plus, he comes with the big goofy trident, alternate flat/swimming hands and an alternate bearded head! It's a home run figure, to be sure. He also came packed with Okoye's arms.
Lego - Marvel Super Heroes: (Black Panther) Royal Talon Fighter
I became preoccupied with this little polybag once I first discovered it's existence via a seeming leak around the new year so I was thrilled to find it at the Legoland Discovery Center outside of Chicago! At first, I wasn't crazy about this "Black Panther Jet" when I first saw it in the trailer, but it's definitely grown on me (and further makes me lament that nobody is making toys/collectibles/diecast versions of the many DCU "ships"). This micro build is pretty fun and seems fairly on-model. The white does seem pretty garish and off-model, though - so a light gray, or something would probably have worked better, I think. It uses translucent purple 1x1 slopes on the back and trans-purple inverted 2x2 domes on the bottom to replicate the thrusters. The real star here, though, are the positionable "fins" along the sides of the ship, made here by a bunch of Star-Lord's blasters! It's a super clever part use and adds a lot of value to this set in terms of part rarity and reuse! I hope it turns up at Target or Toys R Us too cause I'd certainly buy another!