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Marvel Legends
by yo go re

You ever have a favorite restaurant that gets taken over by new management? They may keep the same menu, keep the same cooks, but things are never quite the same again, and eventually they downsize the portions to save money. So you stop eating there, and start going to the competitor across town that's been trying desperately to copy the first restaurant's success, even going so far as to hire a team of world-class chefs. But no matter how you try to convince yourself, the food there just isn't as good as your old restaurant (and besides, they only seem to have, like, three dishes on the menu, all prepared the same way). Then you hear the first restaurant is giving the old, popular menu a second try. So you go back, more than a little bit cautious, but the food is delicious and you remember why you liked them so much in the first place. Has that ever happened to you? Because here's Terrax.

On a distant planet, a tyrant named Tyros the Terrible encountered the planet-hungry Galactus. Tyros became yet another of Galactus's heralds, charged with the task of finding suitable worlds for his master to devour. His entire body thusly transformed to a living stone-like substance, rendering him nearly invulnerable to bodily harm, Tyros had become Terrax the Tamer! Armed with a cosmic-powered axe, Terrax is emotionless and cruel, intent on aiding his master, regardless of the consequences! Only the Fantastic Four have been able to thwart the ruthless Terrax, who has sworn revenge upon the fabulous quartet at any and all costs!

That bio isn't included anywhere with this figure - while he does have some biographical info in the form of the Tales of Terrax, it's too much to bother with reproducing here. Instead, that comes off the back of the 1994 figure, which was based on the Fantastic Four cartoon. The info is all the same, though, so now you know who he is.

Terrax's pieces are included with six figures, but depending on how you count, he's built from up to 11 pieces. There are the standards, like arms, legs, torso and head, but also separate parts for his clothes and weapon. The parts fit together tightly, but you might be able to pull them apart again, if you want to. But honestly, why would you? It can't be a size issue: there have been ML figures larger than this released by themselves.

In official sources, Terrax is listed as standing 6'6", but the toy is 7¾" - that's more than a foot taller than he should be! If we had one complaint about the rebirth of Marvel Legends, it would be the sliding scale of, well, scale. You've got guys like Iron Man, who are the right size but end up looking small because others are suffering from gigantism. At least in Terrax's case you can pretend he's all juiced up on the Power Cosmic or something. He does look huge and terrifying, which is the important thing.

The sculpt is good. Terrax's exposed "skin" isn't especially stony (not like, say, Darkseid), but he's certainly brimming with muscles. His gloves and shirt are just painted on, but his boots at least get the benefit of having raised bands at the top to set them off. Rather than sculpting his costume details on, as the 1994 figure did, this one cast them as separate PVC pieces that slip over the figure. The sharp-shouldered sports bra part has a band that plugs onto a peg on the inside of his giant golden belt, so they look like part of one continuous garment. Protip: plug the shirt into the belt before assembling the upper and lower torso; it's easier to get it on securely that way.

The head is excellent as well. Terrax has his inexplicably square blue beard and a furious look on his face. Though he has no hair on his eyebrows, the physical ridge is still there. The brows are knit in anger, and he's baring his teeth through naturally asymmetrical lips. His skin is grey, but his eyes are a nicely cosmic silver, suggesting his extraterrestrial origins.

No corners were cut on the articulation. Terrax has a balljointed head, a slightly hinged neck, swivel/hinge shoulders, hinged elbows, swivel/hinge wrists, hinged torso, swivel waist, swivel/hinge hips, swivel thighs, double-hinged knees, swivel shins and swivel/hinge ankles. Because of the way the tunic is designed, he can still bend and twist just like he should, and the pieces never get in the way or look "broken" - nice work! All the joints worked smoothly the first time, with no worry about things being stuck. We'd almost forgotten what that was like!

Naturally, this figure comes with his axe. Because no company would be stupid enough to release a character without his trademark weapon, right? Of course they wouldn't! The axe is a massive 6⅞" tall, and though the entire thing comes with Hope Summers, it's still two pieces that you'll have to put together. The technological details on the handle are simple yet effective, and the entire thing looks really threatening. Good, good stuff.

Galactus's first herald was Silver Surfer; next was Air-Walker, and when he was defeated, the job went to Firelord. Seeing a pattern here? Water, air, fire... and then Terrax was stone. Terrax is only the second Herald to get a modern action figure, but he's a great choice, having been a general villain and threat to more characters than any of the other as-yet-unproduced heralds have been in their various "post-G" careers.

We said that everything about the return of Marvel Legends seems to have been calculated to show Mattel how 6" figures should be done. The figures have better, more varied designs; distribution is solid, with figures appearing at all three major retailers; the price is lower (as long as you're not paying the Toys Я Us bump-up); and while the BAF may be bigger than he needs to be, he didn't get cheated out of his accessory. Welcome back, Marvel Legends - we've missed you.

Steve Rogers | Hope Summers | Iron Man | Klaw | Constrictor | Ghost Rider

-- 04/16/12

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