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Marvel Legends
by yo go re

We said, recently, that Marvel Comics can't compete with DC when it comes to comicbook primates. Case in point:

He came from high in the mountains of Japan, where he lived in peace with others of his kind. A peace that was forever shattered by the arrival of a wounded and nameless assasin. Though the others wanted to help the assassin, he knew that doing so would be very bad. He was right. His tribe is now dead, his home forever lost to him. Now he wanders the world intent on revenge against the killers of his world.

In 2010, Marvel released a digital comic introducing a new character, Hit-Monkey. A week later the comic was released in print format, and that same month the character made a three-issue appearance in Deadpool. By the end of the year, he'd had his own miniseries. So there was a major push at the beginning, and then he was just forgotten, another Marvel monkey who failed to catch on.

Marvel Legends 4 comprises six figures (plus variants), but only three of them come with pieces of the Build-A-Figure - or is that "Build-A-Minifigure?" At least we don't have to deal with variant BAF pieces this time. Each of the figures also come with a slip of paper printing the Tales of Hit Monkey, which we've shuffled off to the blog. Go, enjoy it. And yes, those refer to the character as "Hit Monkey," when his name is actually "Hit-Monkey." If you don't think a missing hyphen is a big deal, consider how weird "Spider Man" looks without a hyphen in the middle of his name.

Hit-Monkey is a Japanese macaque - otherwise known as a snow monkey, otherwise known as everybody's favorite winter-themed rewrite of a Jonathan Coulton song. No, that's not a real thing. But snow monkeys are. You've probably seen pictures of monkeys bathing in hot springs in the middle of winter, right? He's one of those. With a pair of sunglasses he stole off a dead bodyguard and his fangs bared.

According to Hit-Monkey's entry in The Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe (that holiest of resources for the nerdy and pedantic), he stands 2'5". The figure, as hunched as it is, still reaches 3⅜" - which makes him a foot taller than he should be. Seriously? Again? Hasbro knows Marvel Legends is supposed to be in a 6" scale, right? You don't get to make characters bigger "just because." The toy would be too small at his real size? Well, yeah, he's really small. He's a monkey! Not a mutant monkey, not a monkey hopped up on super serum, a monkey. Just a monkey. Average male snow monkey height is less than 2' tall, so 2'5" was already pushing it, and now the figure is pushing it even further. This is the equivalent of making a Marvel Legends Willie Lumpkin, and deciding it should be 9" tall because "otherwise a mailman would be boring." A ruler, Hasbro; it's your friend.

The original Hit-Monkey one-shot gave us all the origin we needed - so the follow-up miniseries instead gave us the origin of his tiny suit. Spoiler alert: nobody cares where he got his tiny suit. It's sculpted well here, wrinkled in ways that account for his hunched posture, but we still didn't need to read a three-issue story about it. The coat is a separate PVC piece, while his blue necktie is molded as part of his torso. His fur is very thick, and he's wearing gloves on both his hands and his feet. They must be saving the origin of those for a second miniseries.

Despite being super small, Hit-Monkey has good articulation. The head is a balljoint, the neck is hinged, the shoulders, elbows and wrists are swivel/hinges, the waist is a swivel, the hips are balljointed (and will pop off if you move them too far), the thighs swivel, the knees are hinged, and the ankles have a hinge and two swivels: one in the leg, one in the foot. Basically, he's got everything except an ab joint, and you won't even miss that very much. If there's something you want this monkey to do, he can probably do it. We do rather wish Hasbro had seen fit to put a hole in his back, so he could accommodate one of the old ToyBiz "Doop stands."

Adorably, Hit-Monkey gets with four accessories: two Heckler & Koch MP5K submachine guns, and two Glock 19 pistols. He can hold any of them in his hands, but sadly not in his feet. Because he's busy standing on them, obviously. This also means he can only ever hold two of his guns at one time, leaving you to find something to do with the others.

Hit-Monkey is not a popular character, but then, neither was Doop, and he got a figure just a few years after his introduction, too. Hasbro did a very good job with him (complaints about his size aside), and it's not like he'd ever get a figure any other way, so why not do him as a BAF now? Plus, it's really nice that you only have to buy three figures in order to build him - no being forced into getting that new Ultimate Captain America when you know you really don't want to. Yes, there was a time when a figure like Hit-Monkey could have just been a pack-in, but those days are past, and the idea of a Build-A-Minifigure opens new doors for ML to play around with.

Conquering Heroes | Warriors of the Mind | Hulkettes

-- 05/06/13

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