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Guardians of the Galaxy
by yo go re

Once, he was FBI Agent Bert Macklin. Now he's been recruited by one of the most powerful groups in existence to become the intergalactc hero known as Star-Lord! Uh, that's not a character bio, we're just recapping the career path of actor Chris Pratt.

With the universe in peril, intersellar adventurer Peter Quill (aka Star-Lord) assembles a ragtag team of cosmic misfits to defend it: the Guardians of the Galaxy!

We've already told you about Star-Lord's first origin, but in true comicbook fashion, that's been retconned several times. The current version is that his dad is King J'son of the Spartax Empire, who crashlanded on Earth and hooked up with Peter's mom-to-be. "Star-Lord," it turns out, is just the title for the prince of the Spartax, much like the way the prince of England is also Prince of Wales and Prince and Great Steward of Scotland. When your dad is the King of Sparta (not that one), you're automatically the Star-Lord. Of course, the trailers suggest it's just something he calls himself, so we'll have to wait and see what origin the movie is going with.

As mentioned, Star-Lord is being played by Chris Pratt. And while the figure is packaged wearing his battle mask, it also includes a second, unmasked head. The sculpt is good, particularly the shaggy hair, but the paint makes him look generic. The eyes appear to be too low, and the eyebrows too high. I ordered this figure online, so maybe ones in stores will be better, but if not, be ready for some repainting.

Star-Lord has worn a few different costumes over the years, ranging from superheroic to martial to science fiction-y, but the movie costume doesn't go for any of those, instead offering something much more mundane. Sure, he has fancy boots with jets on the ankles, and his long, reddish-brown trenchcoat is an odd conglomeration of overlapping panels and seemingly pointless cut-outs that I would love to hear the costume designer justify, but he's ultimately a dude in a grey T-shirt and blue (space)pants. Add to that the fact that he's got a backpack slung around his chest, and you've got yourself what's sure to be one of the more popular cosplay options for the next few years (especially if Hasbro is going to be selling a roleplay mask to top it all off).

The figure stands 6¼" tall, and moves like any good toy these days: balljointed head, hinged neck, swivel/hinge shoulders, swivel biceps, double-hinged elbows, swivel/hinge wrists, hinged torso, swivel waist, swivel/hinge hips, swivel thighs, double-hinged knees, and swivel/hinge rocker ankles. A lot of the joints feel very rubbery, though; there's a lot more flex to them than you'd expect, and you definitely get the impression you could pull them apart by hand without having to boil them first.

Even ignoring the removable backpack and the extra head, Star-Lord has some nice accessories. We start with his two quad blasters, and even though his hands aren't molded with the trigger fingers extended, he can hold both guns perfectly well. He also has the silver ball he's seen stealing in the trailer, though he doesn't hold that as nicely. Then he has his headphones and a small yellow block meant to represent his 1979 Walkman. There's no cord connecting the two pieces (because it would be clumsy/​fragile if there were) but the headphones fit fairly well over both heads - there's even a bit of a divot on the unmasked head where his hair is being pushed down by the headphones' band.

And of course, since this is a Marvel Legends figure, it also includes a Build-A-Figure piece, one of Groot's limbs. (Get it? "Limb"? Because he's a tree, but walks like a man? Ah, nevermind.) This is the left arm, which is already very big and spindly.

This is a very nice movieverse Star-Lord, if that's what you're into. The joints aren't as sturdy as we'd like, but not in the "the toy is going to fall over" way, and the paint isn't as good as it could be, but what do you expect for 17¢? However, there's more going on here than just a movieverse Star-Lord.

After the X-Men movie came out, the mutants got black leather costumes; after Spider-Man, we briefly saw organic webshooters; Iron Man had his personality changed, Loki started to matter, Nick Fury was turned black, and an entire new title was launched just so it could have the same lineup of Avengers as the movie. You can probably guess where this is going.

As of Free Comicbook Day 2014, 616 Star-Lord is wearing his battle mask, a reddish-brown trenchcoat with armor on the left side, a T-shirt, and (space)pants. Oh, and he's carrying these weird two-pronged blasters. So basically, Marvel made comicbook Star-Lord look like movie Star-Lord, and thus this toy can serve as either version. Even if the new look doesn't last too long, it's not like we've never had toys of short-lived costumes before. Value!

-- 06/16/14

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