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Captain America Legends
by yo go re

And now, a brief play in three acts: "Boy, the last thing I need is yet another Captain America toy, I think I'll probably skip that one. Wait, it's Capwolf? I'm buying that first!" Aaaaaand scene.

Steve Rogers is a soldier with superhuman strength and an indestructible shield!

Sure, that's terrific, let's talk about Capwolf. In Captain America #402, the great Mark Gruenwald started a six-issue arc that saw Steve Rogers trying to find his missing friend John Jameson. With the help of Doctor Druid (the poor man's Dr. Strange), he finds his way to Starkesboro, a small town in Massachusetts that had once been controlled by worshipers of Shuma-Gorath. They find the town full of werewolves, thanks to the return of Nighshade, a villain who, in her previous appearance, had tried to turn Cap into a woman (the werewolf serum was more successful, obvs). Along the way, Wolverine, Cable, Feral and Wolfsbane all showed up as well, because in the '90s, mutants = sales.

The art in the story was by Rik Levins, and if we're being totally honest, Cap looked less like a wolf and more like a collie. The toy does take its cue from the comic, such as in the specifics of his torn mask, but makes sure he looks wilder than a dog. His flews are pulled back in a snarl, and there are wrinkles on top of his snout. Fur spills out of the bottom of his mask around his neck, and his ears now poke out the top in place of his wings. Because Steve Rogers is blonde, the wolf in the story was yellow - here his fur is brown.

Capwolf is built on Hasbro's medium body, which suits his typical physique. He gets a new belt, to hold his pants up, and new forearms and shins because none of the figures using this size body have yet worn gloves or boots like him. It's a bit of a shame that the "Capwolf"iness of it all is limited to the head - the real Capwolf had claws sticking out of his gloves, and more animalistic feet. And the thing is, the figure is already coming with alternate hands! They're similar to the "saluting" and "pointing" hands Winter Soldier Cap had, but are new sculpts without all the fancy glove details. So basically, red hands. They could have easily given us some claws, too. Obviously alternate feet are harder to manage, so we'd be fine overlooking those.

One thing that's super weird, though? In order to create the "I've got my shield strapped to my back" look Cap is known for, the figure includes two black straps that fit over the shoulders. And that would be fine, except that they don't actually connect to the figure in any way at all, so unless you have his arms jammed down against his sides (and even sometimes when you do), the stupid things fall right off. Obviously gluing them in place wouldn't have been a viable solution, or even creating slots where they tab in, but there had to be some way to make them not suck. Maybe extra plastic that would reach over to the hole in his back, so the shield itself helped hold them on? Something, anything, other than the dumb crap we got. If they really bother you that much, though, you can always display him without.

So as you may have gathered from that, Capwolf comes with his shield, and it can plug into his back. It's not the same shield mold the previous Hasbro Captains America have come with, because those all had molded details on the back, while this one is completely smooth - ditto the front, which doesn't get sculpted lines between the rings or for the star. It still has the hinged clip/post dealie that allows it to plug into his back or attach to either wrist.

And like all Marvel Legends, he's got the articulation to make proper use of it. Capwolf moves at the swivel/hinge rocker ankles, swivel shins, double-hinged knees, swivel thighs, balljointed hips, swivel waist, hinged torso, swivel/hinge wrists, double-hinged elbows, swivel biceps, swivel/hinge shoulders, hinged neck and balljointed head. The shins were stuck pretty well tight when I got the figure, but all it took to get them turning was elbow grease, not heat or cold. Swapping the extra bodyparts is simple, too. Do wish you could tip his head back farther, for a proper howl, but between the neck and the torso, you can manage one.

He also comes with a piece of this series' Build-A-Figure, Onslaught or Red Skull or Red Onslaught or whatever you want to call it. [Miss Jackson if you're nasty. --ed.] It's not a super important piece, just the cape, but it would make a nice bit of alien architecture/scenery if you don't plan to build the full thing.

Right up until the day Hasbro announced this figure, if you'd said there would one day be a Marvel Legends Capwolf, I'd have called you a liar. I liked the story (no surprise), but with all those X-Men cameos, it was a pretty blatant attempt to increase sales, not an organic tale that needed to be told. I honestly thought that a custom Minimate was the closest we'd ever get. And yet, here's Hasbro, delivering the goods.

-- 03/14/16

(Oh, P.S.: the set also includes a plain head. It's got a sculpted forehead A and wings and the face looks a lot like the Marvel NOW! one.)

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