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Marvel Legends
by yo go re

We've spent the last three series of the relaunched Marvel Legends line complaining about the uselessly brief bios on the back of the packaging. It's bad enough when it's Iron Man or Captain America, but it's even worse when it's a character nobody knows.

The power of these heroes lies not just in their powerful fists, but in their mighty minds!

And oh yeah, it's one of those annoying as hell variants too, so the bio has to describe two people, making it even vaguer. "Yay." This one has to describe both Iron Fist (who's not out yet, so don't keep reloading the page expecting a review of him to pop up), and this guy, who is apparently called "Protector." Yeah, talk about being vague. That ranks right up there with "Guardian" in the annals of halfassed superhero names - beaten only by the most generic name possible.

Anyway, when Protector showed up in Avengers during the Heroic Age, no one had any idea who he was - but only because nobody read the books that set him up. Turns out he's Noh-Varr, aka Grant Morrison's Marvel Boy. He briefly joined the Dark Avengers, but went AWOL when he figured out they were villains. In Dark Avengers Annual #1, he got this costume, and in a backup story in Ms. Marvel #50, debuted his new supranym. But to most people, he was "that guy in the weird costume," and the lack of any information on the ML packaging isn't helping.

The costume was designed by Chris Bachalo, and while there's a little bit of traditional Kree influence in the shape of the cowl, but otherwise it's completely new - and completely unimpressive. It looks more like a first draft than a final product; black and white is striking, but doesn't take any thought (especially coming right on the heels of Fantomex and FF Spidey).

Protector's sculpt is mostly Hasbro's most-used body, but there are a few changes. For one thing, the circle on his chest is a raised element, and it's not just glued on; that means they had to cut entirely new tools to mold him. Why's he still got the oversized waist, then? It's been six years, Hasbro, why are you still getting this wrong?

As part of Noh-Varr's power upgrade, the Kree Supreme Intelligence gave him the Nega-Bands: not the same ones Mar-Vell had, but a new pair, with a different design and different power source, created especially for him. This figure gets those new, advanced bands, but they're unexpectedly not molded as part of the forearms: they're separate pieces that fit perfectly over the arms and are held in place by the hands. That's a really weird way of doing it, but it must have been cheaper than creating new arms.

He does manage to save some money with his accessories. He's wearing a white utility belt that has holsters hanging off the sides, and it armed with two futuristic black guns. They're very nice and definitely make sense for him, but they're also the same pieces that came with Fantomex (just in different colors). It's not like there's anything that would have made more sense for him.

Only half the figures in ML4 come with Build-A-Figure pieces, but Protector is one of them. The BAF in question is Hit-Monkey; who's Hit-Monkey? We'll tell you when we review the figure. Since it's only built from three pieces, it shouldn't be too long before we get to him. Protector comes with Hit-Monkey's head and his guns, which is a ridiculously weird sentence.

Marvel Boy was an interesting character for about five minutes, but he's really been dragged down recently. He may be on the Avengers [he's not (anymore) --ed.], but still nobody knows or cares about this costume. The only thing that's going to keep Protector from being a pegwarmer is the fact that he has a BAF piece, and that it'll be months before Iron Fist shows up.

-- 04/15/13

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