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Guardians of the Galaxy
by yo go re

It's time for a most welcome do-over!

The Nova Force grants Richard Rider immense power, but without the stabilizing presence of the Xandrian Worldmind it would also shatter his sanity!

There are six figures in the Guardians of the Galaxy series of Marvel Legends: Star-Lord and Iron Man are the heavy-packs; Drax and Gamora are the... well, the "packs," for want of a better term; and Rocket Racoon and Nova are the shortpacks. Well, sort of. While there are twice as many Iron Men and Star-Lords in each case, the other four characters are evenly packed - so the comparative rarity of Rocket and Nova can be attributed to a symptom of popularity, not artificial unavailability. But still, Hasbro needs to cut this "six-figures series in an eight-figure case" crap out. If you're making a BAF, pack all the parts evenly.

The last time Hasbro released a Nova figure, it was disappointing. The yellow paint was more green, and the body was Hasbro's poor take on the Bullseye mold. This figure, however, is a drastically new sculpt, since it represents his modern armored costume. The chest has deep, angular lines instead of rounded anatomy, and even the star on his back is a sculpted element. The major design element of Nova's costume used to be three starbursts on the torso, and while that's not carried over here, the pale discs on the chest ("power regulators," apparently) form the same triangular shape.

The spiked plates of armor on the forearms and shins are separate PVC pieces glued to the figure's body, which is really the only way to adequately capture the look. The belt is made of similar stuff, and amazingly, so is the helmet (the face beneath is incomplete, so don't bother peeling it off). In the comic art, the spiky bits on his shoulders are actually connected to the yellow pads on his chest. That wouldn't work on a toy, so instead they are mounted on bars that enter the trapezius by the neck; the bars are dark blue, so you don't notice them, and they're hinged so the shoulder pads can move out of the way when the arms are lifted. It's not a perfect solution, but it works.

Nova's paint is much better this time around. The blue is still appropriately dark, but the golden sections of armor are a much better yellow than the greasy green they were before. His skin isn't as washed out as before, and though the red star emblem on his forehead is smaller (and sharper), its vibrancy makes it stand out nicely.

He moves the way all action figures should: swivel/hinge rocker ankles, double-hinged knees, swivel thighs, swivel/hinge hips, swivel waist, hinged torso, swivel/hinge wrists, double-hinged elbows, swivel biceps, swivel/hinge shoulders, a hinged neck, and a balljointed head. Plus the hinges for his shoulder armor of course. The elbows and knees are a bit too rubbery, but it's not as bad on Nova as it was on Star-Lord and Iron Man. Because of the wrist guards, he can't flex his hands backwards very well, but it's not like he needs to point his palms forward the way Iron Man does, you know?

Being a Marvel Legend and a part of the Guardians of the Galaxy series, Nova of course comes with a piece of the Build-A-Figure Groot. He gets the long and spindly right arm, which has joints at the wrist, elbow and shoulder. But for now it just looks like a log. Or a limb.

Easily the hardest figure in this series (not "wave"), Nova is worth the hunt. He's far superior to the ML4 figure, and is a lot of fun in his own right.

-- 07/28/14

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