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Marvel Legends
by yo go re

If there's one thing we love, it's admitting when we're wrong. This isn't one of those times.

They are the most dangerous men in the world - by the time you see Marvel's Knights, it's already over!

Before Marvel Legends was restarted, we (and many other people, because, let's face it, this was something that was blatantly obvious to everyone except the people in charge of making the actual decision) made the Cassandra-like prediction that Hasbro's plan of releasing running-change variants would be a disaster. Shocking perhaps no one whose paychecks don't come in an envelope with a Pawtucket return address, the plan has been a disaster. The ML2 variants were divided up by what coast you live closest to, and the ML3 variants are coming up on 10 solid months of not being released. Seriously, ML3 started coming out in October 2012, and it's now July 2013 and Hasbro has successfully managed to get none of the variant figures out. For instance, here's the Punisher. In a logical world, you'd be able to reload and read about Blade, too. Spoiler: you can't.

The packaging doesn't tell you anything about the Punisher, but then, neither have we so far. Frank Castle's family was gunned down by the mob, so he's sworn a vendetta against criminals everywhere. You probably know the story already. This is our fourth fifth Marvel Legends Punisher (seventh if you count the variants), and he's looking pretty grim.

For the most part, this Punisher uses the same mold as Nick Fury - yes, that body was originally designed for Frank and just got "prepainted" into Nick, but that just means it's come full circle. The main appeal of this figure (when you've already got an entire platoon of Punishers on your shelf) is that he's wearing the trenchcoat Nick Fury wore, which sets him apart from the last Punisher to use this body. He also has a new belt that has four large ammo pouches in the front to act as the "teeth" of his shirt-skull, two grenades on the right hip and two more pockets on his left. He's new below the knees: rather than the realistic boots he wore before, he's back to the more superhero-y white ones, and that required new feet and new shins.

New lower legs haven't made this figure any less of a giant, however. He's hovering right around the 6½" mark, which is a little too big for a guy who's officially listed at 6'1", but it's not like they made Wolverine this size, right? He has a balljointed head, swivel neck, swivel/hinge shoulders, swivel biceps, double-hinged elbows, swivel/hinge wrists, swivel/hinge torso, swivel/hinge hips, swivel thighs, double-hinged knees and swivel/hinge ankles. That's the same as the previous iteration of the mold, so no surprises there. Since the coat is plastic, rather than cloth, it does limit the posing to a small extent.

We said the main appeal of this figure was the coat (and possibly the skull-belt), but that's not the end of it: he also comes with more guns than any Punisher before him. Much like fellow ML3 release Mystique, he gets a bunch of up-scaled GI Joe accessories: the Retaliation sniper rifle, an MP5K, a tactical AK-47 with foregrip and scope, a shotgun and the same HK USP .45 Nick Fury came with (in silver, rather than black). Good stuff, and a good reason to bother buying this figure.

Since Marvel Legends 3 is a filler series, it doesn't have a Build-A-Figure - instead, we get one of the Heroscape bases, like the Avengers and Amazing Spider-Man have. Considering that they're completely modular among all the lines, we're really liking this trend. The ML bases are darker than the ASM ones, but lack the A logo of the Avengers ones.

The Punisher is an okay figure, but Blade is the one we were really looking forward to (which is why it would be nice if Hasbro would ever get the figure into production). There's nothing bad about this figure, but even after 10 years, the best Punisher is still this one. If only they'd been switched this figure with the yawn-worthy Ultimate Captain America from the following series - then there would have been a Punisher in the first Marvel Legends Series 4, in the second Marvel Legends Series 4, and the third Marvel Legends Series 4. That would have made my nerdy heart happy. What really warmed me up to this figure was something shown at SDCC this week that I'd never even considered: a little bit of red paint, and this could be a Thunderbolts Punisher! That would make him more than just another soldier in the ranks.

-- 07/22/13

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