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Marvel Legends
by yo go re

First came the Avengers. Then came the Uncanny Avengers. Now, from the pages of Secret Wars, comes A-Force. So we can only assume it's just a matter of time before we see A-Factor, Generation A, and the British-based Aecalibur.

Singularity is a multi-dimensional being whose powers of energy manipulation grant her unique psionic abilities.

That's one way to put it. Another way to put it is that Singularity is a pocket universe that gained sentience and decided to interact with other, lesser beings (you may also recognize that as the origin of The Beyonder, the power behind the original Secret Wars). She first appeared in A-Force #1, crashing to the island of Arcadia in a flash of dark light, where she was found by Nico Minoru. Since Singularity didn't actually have a physical form of her own, she merely mimicked what she saw, using Nico as a template for what she should be. Her arrival coincided with the appearance of random portals to other realms of Battleworld, breaking God Doom's law and bringing the Thor Corps hunting for her. So then all her new friends had to protect her and learn the truth.

This is an absolutely beautiful figure! In the comics, Singularity was drawn as little more than a silhouette filled with a deep starfield. That's not something easy to translate to figure form, but Hasbro managed. The figure is cast in translucent blue plastic, then given a silver speckling to suggest stars. They could perhaps have chosen a darker shade for the plastic, but she really was shown blue, not black like Starman. To give the design depth, random areas of her body are painted with a metallic purple, and here eyes are blank white.

Like we said, Singularity chose her physical form based on the first person she saw, so this toy uses Hasbro's teen girl body. It really makes sense from a storytelling standpoint - what, do you think, are the odds that the planet Krypton would evolve life that looked like human beings? More specifically, exactly like the white human beings who would happen to find baby Kal-El? Doesn't it make more sense that the birthing matrix would convert its cargo's natural form into something matching the new planet's indigenous life? Same things here: if Singularity had been found by an adult, she'd look like an adult; if she'd been found by a dog, she'd look like a dog. There's no way for a toy to portray her weird cosmic powers, but the choice of plastic and paint, and the chunky sculpt of her hair, do a nice job of re-creating her.

As a gifted warrior goddess of Asgaard, Sif traverses time and space through teleportation.

That's... not quite accurate. I mean, it is, but it's not. Yes, she can travel wherever she wants (mainly thanks to the rainbow bridge), but it's not like that's an inherent power of hers. Nightcrawler is a teleporter. Magik is a teleporter. Sif is a warrior princess, the goddess of beating wholesale ass. To say she "traverses time and space through teleportation" would be like saying Hawkeye has the power of flight and lasers because he sometimes rides in a Quinjet. There isn't a ton known about the real Sif of legends, but she was probably an agricultural deity, which still doesn't lend itself to teleportation. This is why you don't necessarily go with the first draft your copywriters turn in.

Sif uses a lot of the same molds as Angela, which is a commendably clever choice. Like Aldrif Odinsdottir, Sif is a physically imposing woman, and the armor Angie wore is "Thor-y" enough to suit Sif with just a little paint. The upper arms and chest are different, rather than trying to paint over the sculpted armor. Her head is obviously new, with its winged headdress and its dark hair - Angela had similar crown-wings, but Sif's version has a vertical bit on the forehead, where Angela's dipped down.

Since the comics depict her as a warrior on par with Thor and his drinking buddies, Sif comes with a sword. It's not an ornate piece, just a plain, workmanlike blade that makes sense for her. The figure wears a new skirt (which is really just a group of white leather straps hanging from a brown belt) that features a little loop on her left hip where the sword can stow when she's not looking to impale anyone on it. She's also got a neat new cape with fur around the top. It doesn't plug onto the figure in any way, just resting in place on her shoulders. It may seem surprising that they'd spend the money tooling a new piece just for her, but... well, you'll see.

A blood transfusion from Bruce Banner leaves Jennifer Walters with the gamma-powered abilities of the Hulk.

She-Hulk was one of the first figures that showed Hasbro might just be able to fill ToyBiz's shoes when it comes to Marvel toys, and in fact, that decade-old action figure still holds up pretty well today, thanks to its mostly decent articulation and its fully unique sculpt. But Shulkie has some pretty big advantages for this set: she's a recognizable character, she was an important part of the A-Force story, and she lets Hasbro reuse some existing tooling. Popularity + relevance + frugality = a definite win, from the corporate point of view. The fact that it gets a character into the hands of collectors who weren't obsessively buying toys 10 years ago also helps, probably.

Naturally, She-Hulk uses the large female body, and it's really surprising it's taken this long for that to happen. Remember, that mold was introduced with her primary-colored knockoff, and was meant to have a swap figure of her niece, so making Jen would seem like a no-brainer. But until this exclusive, nothing. But on a related note, why did Hasbro never try to release all those missing swap figures in an exclusive set somewhere, rather than mixing a few of them into random series and completely forgetting about the others? Maybe they did think of that, but decided the characters were too obscure for anyone to care about. Oh well.

She-Hulk is wearing her traditional purple-and-white swimsuit costume, with white gloves, belt and boots. Her skin has more of a blue tint than yellow, but it contrasts nicely against the dark metallic sheen of her clothes. The head is new, with her dark hair hanging over one shoulder, and lifted far enough away from her body that the head balljoint isn't blocked. She has a pouty look on her face, and surprisingly strong cheekbones for a toy.

Gifted in her control of the electromagnetic spectrum, Monica Rambeau uses powerful blasts of energy to shut down her enemies.

Yes she does. And you may not know it, but she once lead the Avengers. These days she goes by the name Spectrum, but she's also been known as Pulsar, Photon, and was even Captain Marvel before Captain Marvel was cool. And did we mention she once lead the Avengers? The current name makes sense, since her powers allow her to convert her body to any form of energy in the electromagnetic spectrum (except the ones they make up on Star Trek), meaning she can turn invisible, fly at light speed, and even fire lasers from her fingers. Whatever form of energy she chooses, she gains all its properties - including weaknesses, as she discovered when she accidentally touched water while in the form of electricity, almost dispersing herself in the process.

Auntie Monica was designed in the early '80s, so creator John Romita Jr. intended her to look like Pam Grier. You can definitely see that connection in her earliest appearances, but these days she's just a generic black woman - the first black woman to ever join the Avengers (and eventually run them), but generic nonetheless.

She's traded in the afro for dreadlocks pulled back by a headband, which is how she looked in Nextwave: Agents of HATE, but the costume pegs her as being from Mighty Avengers. The toy is made on the second medium body, but has the sleeves and coat of Scarlet Witch. The costume beneath is black and white, maintaining her usual colorscheme, and featuring a bi-colored starburst on her chest. She has one fist and one "gesturing" hand - it would have been cool if they'd designed a new "finger gun" hand for her, maybe with one of the energy effects Dazzler had? The head on my figure is a little bit loose, so it tends to bobble around slightly.

A being of Frost Giant descent, Loki also possesses Asgaardian powers of shape-shifting and sorcery.

Hey, Lady Loki! When the Thor comics' sales numbers got low enough, Marvel decided to cancel the book for a while. You may recognize that as the same thing that happened to Fantastic Four, but since this was before "Marvel Studios" was a thing, there were no conspiracy-happy fans trying to claim it had anything to do with movie rights. Anyway, after a few years had passed, J. Michael Straczynski brought Thor back, and the character set about finding his fellow Asgaardians. Loki, looking to cause some mischeif, set up shop in Sif's body, pretending he didn't know what was going on.

Despite this character technically being inside Sif's body, the toy does not use the giant female mold - rather, she uses the "curvy" body, thus making her bigger (or at least thicker) than the rest in this set. She does get something from Sif, however, and that's the fur-trimmed cape. See? We told you there was a reason they'd spend the money on it: they could use it twice right away! Most of her costume details are simply painted on, and they're done in an interesting way: the "highlighted" areas are a lighter green than the rest, and are printed with scales; it implies a full outfit of scale armor without needing to worry about painting it all perfectly. To create her tall boots, she gets the knee-rings Rogue introduced, and her belt and skirt are a single new piece.

The figure's head is a thing of beauty. Her long black hair is decorated with gold adornments at random spots, and her crown is mounted firmly on her forehead. The shape of her hair and the way it falls against the body keeps the head looking up slightly, which makes sense considering how tall Asgaardians generally are. Her expression is entirely neutral, meaning you can read any kind of emotion onto it you feel like. Scheming? Covetous? Thirsty? It's up to you!

A gun-toting, foul-mouthed monster hunter, Elsa Bloodstone follows in the family tradition of fighting supernatural evils.

Yay Elsa Bloodstone! This set may technically be based on A-Force, but a full third of it comes from Nextwave. We've already got a Machine Man and a Dirk Anger, and now Monica (who used to run the Avengers) and Elsa? At this point we just need Boom-Boom and Captain ☠☠☠☠ and we'll have the whole team! And then they can fight Fin Fang Foom and his tiny purple underpants! Elsa was created in 2001 by Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning for a comic that no one read or remembered. She then disappeared until Warren Ellis pulled her out of limbo for Nextwave. She's the daughter of immortal Ulysses Bloodstone, and is basically a cross between Buffy Summers and Lara Croft. She speaks with an accent.

Though she was a blonde when she was introduced, by the time she started to matter she'd become a redhead. A redhead with a ponytail that reached past her pert, round bottom. The toy's head is new, because no one else has hair this big. Again, a neutral expression, when surprised anger or haughty indifference might have suited her better.

She's made from the medium body, which is an okay choice for her. Her feet and knees are new, working together to create her tall black boots. Unsurprisingly, the coat she wears is the same mold as Monica's, though they fit differently because of the size of the two women's chests. She has the most accessories in this set, with a pistol and two shotguns. Personally, I'd have given her her shovel, but then, I'm a fan of fun. Might have to find one to steal from a wrestling figure or something. Her bloodstone choker is merely painted on, because they weren't about to remold her entire upper torso just to put a little lump on her throat, now were they? Her holster is a separate piece, meaning it doesn't get in the way of her acrobatic gun-fu.

This set is a Toys Я Us exclusive that debuted at SDCC, and sold out in a matter of hours on their site when it went live. It's popped in and out of stock randomly since then, and theoretically might(?) show up in real stores at some point? The only character in this box who's technically already got a figure is She-Hulk, and that was a while ago, so this one's a winner.

-- 09/04/17

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