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Marvel Knights Legends
by yo go re

Since Build-A-Figures don't get informative bios on the packaging anywhere, let's open this with the text from ToyBiz's 2000 version of the character:

The creature known as the Man-Thing protects the swamp that is the "Nexus of all Realities" and prevents evil creatures from attacking Earth through this gateway to other universes.

Man-Thing is the Build-A-Figure for the Marvel Legends Defenders series, aka "the Netflix series," since ⅔ of the figures come from the Netflix shows, with the remaining two (and the BAF) coming from the comics. Buy all six of those, and you'll get the pieces to assemble your own shambling pile of muck! Why Man-Thing? Well, he was briefly bundled under the "Marvel Knights" banner back in the '00s (when everything had to be part of one "family" or another - X-Men, Spider-Man, Avengers, etc.), but there's probably another reason. We'll get to that by and by.

The previous Marvel Legends Man-Thing was big, but it has nothing on this behemoth. Standing straight up, he's an even 8" tall, and seems to be absolutely packed with thick muscles. You usually don't think of Man-Thing as being "buff" - yes, he's generally man-shaped, but this seems too... composed? Swamp Thing looks an average guy; Man-Thing looks like a hunched Quasimodo. Or at least he should. This one doesn't. The surface is at least totally covered in thick vines and other plant growth, so that's something. He has surprisingly thick hands, and his feet end in big sharp claws.

Man-Thing's defining feature has always been his face. Because it's not a face, it's two bulbous red eyes framed by a weird three-pronged root, with no other features to speak of. No mouth, because Man-Thing doesn't talk - that being the primary thing that sets the former Ted Sallis apart from the former Alec Holland: while Swamp Thing is perpertually waxing philosophic about the nature of humanity and what it means to consider oneself alive, Man-Thing just lurks around his dimensional portal, silently judging anyone who comes by and relying on the caption boxes to let readers in on his thoughts and emotions.

Anyway, the "nose" root here is 2¾" long, with the outer two hanging a bit shorter. You've got to admit, it's a very distinctive look, one that isn't copied by any other characters, and one which helps make him look less human overall.

The paint here is less than impressive. The figure is molded in olive green plastic, and then there's a little bit of brownish-yellow paint drybrushed on the extremities. Yes, the eyes are red and the nose is brown, but overall this is fairly dull, and robs the figure of some quality. Look at his right hip, where there are bracket fungi sculpted growing from his body, or the tree branches on his back; they're the same green as every other bit of his body, and thus do not stand out at all. The uncredited sculptor's work, all for nothing.

Although Man-Thing doesn't actually share any parts with Sasquatch (a figure that came out after this one, but one we've already reviewed thanks to blazing right through the Deadpool Legends), his articulation is nearly identical: swivel/hinge ankles, double-hinged knees, swivel thighs, balljointed hips, a swivel waist, hinged torso, swivel/hinge wrists, hinged elbows, swivel biceps, swivel/hinge shoulders, and a balljointed head. You can't quite get him as hunched over as he should be, but at least you don't have to leave him standing tall and proud. The biggest problem is that you can't lift his head high enough to look forward when he's bent over like that.

We'd like to pause now to talk briefly about the packaging. Although Marvel Legends have been coming in the same sort of box for years now, the Netflix series was nominated for 2017's Best Packaging award, thanks to the artwork on the side flaps.

While most ML have a simple duotone image of the character within, this series features impressively moody paintings that both look awesome and catch the spirit of the line as a whole. Plus, the red tray behind the figure is printed with an image of rooftops.

The strongest reasoning we can come up with for why Man-Thing is in this series is not because his comics once had the Marvel Knights logo in the corner, but instead because he, like the other two comic-based figures in this series, has appeared in non-MCU/Netflix movies. Blade? Three movies and a TV series. Bullseye? Fought Ben Affleck. Did you remember that Man-Thing had a movie? He did, and it was pretty awful, which is why it got dumped as a SciFi Channel original. The most noteable thing about it is that the female lead was played by Australian actress Rachael Taylor, doing a ghastly impression of a Southern drawl; fortunately, her American accent was way, way better by the time she played Jessica Jones' friend Trish Walker. So there you go, Man-Thing has a Netflix connection after all! It's just a shame that if this mold was already going to be a one-time-use, they couldn't have made it look less like a repainted Sasquatch and more like a giant-size Man-Thing.

Daredevil | Punisher | Elektra | Jessica Jones | Blade | Bullseye

-- 07/17/19

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