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The Allfather

Marvel Legends
by yo go re

This series of Marvel Legends seems to be all about making up for missed opportunities. Not just all the previously missing "swap" figures, but even the BAF.

The origin of the gods is shrouded in legend. It is believed that they are not native to the dimension of Asgard, but were born on Earth and relocated there at some point in the distant past. The gods of Asgard were worshipped a millennium ago by the Norsemen of Scandinavia and various Germanic tribes. The gods no longer have or actively seek worshippers on Earth, but certain gods, notably Thor and Odin, still take interest in the welfare of humanity. The gods are extremely long-lived (though not immortal like the Olympian gods), aging at an extraordinarily slow rate upon reaching adulthood.

Back at the tail-end of ToyBiz's time with the Marvel license, they commissioned control art for an action figure of Odin - possibly for Marvel Legends, but it's entirely possible they were planning to do a "Thor Classics" line or something (which, if true, is probably where Beta Ray Bill, Thorbuster Iron Man and Hercules would have been, rather than in ML proper). It was designed by Nelson X Asencio, and was very much in the Kirby/Simonson style, but sadly was never made.

This is a more modern take on the Allfather, based on the work of Thor: God of Thunder artist Esad Ribic. The armor is more realistic than crazy high-fantasy, with overlapping plates of armor forming the breastplate, flat shoulder pads with small spikes, and a brown leather tasset hanging from his belt to offer a little bit of protection there. He has dark blue pants, and armored boots that begin with ornate kneepads, have a thicker greave over the front, and then sabatons with a pointed toe and a thick spur on the back of the heel. His arms are bare, save for the thin leather wraps around his wrists. A blue cape (the same mold as Thor's) plugs into his back, but is sculpted to look like it attaches to his chest with two golden discs.

Odin being Odin, he's wearing a crazy helmet. It's got a V on the forehead, golden wings, and a little knob on top. He's also got horns like a tauntaun. It's based on a specific piece of art by Ig Guara for Marvel Adventures The Avengers #29. There's a dark brown patch over his right eye, and his beard is pulled into a tiny ponytail. Compared to the plain armor, the helmet is a little weird, but the gold clasps and his accessory help tie everything together.

He's armed with an 8½" long golden spear, which is presumably Gungnir. It changes appearance in the comics about as fast as Odin himself does, so it probably looked like this at some point. The head is broad and flat, and two tines rise up beside it. A smaller pair of hooks point toward the ground below that, so if this spear ever does get used as a weapon, it can do damage coming out as well as going in. It's not quite as ridiculous as the Trident of Neptune, but it's close.

You may remember that in all the figures of this series, we kept saying that the BAF was "The Allfather," not specifically Odin. Well this figure certainly seems like Odin, doesn't it? Ah, but remember also that some of the figures came with variant Build-A-Figure parts. So, assemble him with one set of pieces, and you get Odin; assemble him with the other set, and you get King Thor.

In the "Godbomb" storyarc, writer Jason Aaron presented a story that united three Thors through time: the young Thor who had not yet earned the right to wield Mjolnir; the current, heroic Thor; and the Thor of the distant future, where he'd succeeded his father as lord of Asgaard. That last one is what this figure represents, and where the design comes from.

Thor really does look a lot like Odin: his long hair has gone gray, and he's grown in a full, thick beard. At some point in the past, he lost an eye - his left, rather than Odin's right, making a visual clue that this isn't the Allfather you might think it is. He doesn't get a fancy helmet, but he does look very angry. Or maybe tired after ages of war.

It's amazing how much of a difference a few changes can make for this figure. King Thor's cape is a dark red rather than blue, and like we said, he has no helmet. Also, his left arm appears to be clad in armor, but it's not: at some point, he lost his arm to an enemy, so now he wears the arm of The Destroyer when he's going into battle. Brutal! Those three changes don't seem like much, but they make it clear these are not the same character. It does, however, present a problem.

Whenever we review a Build-A-Figure, we take care to remind you that once the figure is together, it's not coming apart again. Usually that's fine (because what fool would want to take a BAF apart?), but in this case, it means you have to choose whether you want to give the Allfather Odin's bare left arm or King Thor's armored left arm - once that shoulder clicks into the torso, it's staying. An easy solution? Before you assemble the figure, boil and pop the shoulder ball out of the left arm(s). Then trim down the "mushroom cap" that normally holds the bicep onto the shoulder. You don't want to cut it off entirely, just smooth it out; that way you can click the shoulder into the torso, and will be able to swap the arms whenever you want! It will leave the bicep a little bit looser than usual, but that's a fair tradeoff for being able to have both Thor and Odin without having to buy two torsos and two sets of legs.

Rather than a spear, King Thor has a sword and an axe. The axe is Jarnbjorn, the weapon young Thor wielded before becoming worthy of Mjolnir. It showed up in Uncanny Avengers, where it was revealed that the blade could even cut through the armor of a Celestial. Then there's a massive sword that may or may not have a name, but it works more for King Thor than normal Thor.

Technically the Allfather isn't the first time there's been a Build-A-Figure variant - that would be the black Apocalypse from ML12. It's a bit annoying that you can't just swap the arms out the way you can the head, but fixing it so you can swap them is easy, even if you already attached the shoulder to the torso. King Thor is a little bit better than Odin (because this was designed to be him and merely repurposed into Odin), but they're both good characters we haven't had before.

Iron Fist | Avenging Allies | Hawkeye | Thor | Maidens of Might

-- 03/09/15

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