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Crimson Dynamo

Iron Man 2
by yo go re

What do you like better as an opening for this review: "In soviet Russia, armor wears you," or "I'm not from here!! I have my own customs!! Look at my crazy passport!"

Created by Russian scientist Anton Vanko to perform miracles of electrical control, the Crimson Dynamo was every bit as powerful as Iron Man. Manipulated by his Soviet masters, Vanko very nearly defeated the American hero before he realized his mistake and committed himself to the cause of freedom.

Yes, that's very nice. This isn't him.

Anton Vanko designed the original Crimson Dynamo (Красное Динамо) armor. Tony Stark convinced him his bosses were going to kill him, so he defected to the US, where he eventually died saving Tony's life. Whoops! The guy inside this armor is actually the fourth Crimson Dynamo, Dmitri Bukharin, and the armor was designed by the Gremlin.

It seems odd to call something the "classic" design when it only appeared from October 1986 to November 1992, but when you say "Crimson Dynamo," this is the look most people think of. It's a thick, blocky look, appropriate for Soviet design sensibilities, with the banded greaves, bracers and shoulder thingies suggesting the gears of some great machine. He's a very nice color, a dark metallic red that is really ideal for the character. The "gears" and a few other bits of the costume have a slightly more brownish tint, to provide contrast in the design without throwing off the while "crimson" thing.

The previous armor (which had been around for a solid decade by the time it was replaced) had a very pointy, bullet-shaped head, and while this version has hints of that, the dome has been flattened significantly. The face has thing vertical slits over the mouth, and a yellow-orange visor with a darker outline. Two raised bands begin above the eyes and run over the head to the base of the neck.

Crimson Dynamo stands 4½" tall, and moves at the neck, shoulders, elbows, wrists, torso, hips, thighs, knees and ankles. The head is only a swivel, not a balljoint, but that's due to the bucket-shaped nature of his helmet. His right wrist swivel is a bit loose, but it's not like he's going to be holding any accessories, so that's not so bad. Looking at his legs, it seems they're reversed; the way the legs are shaped below the knees suggests they've been attached to the wrong thighs. It'm not crazy about trying to boil and pop plastic with metallic paint (which doesn't always stick to the figure as well as it should), so I'm just going to leave them alone - it's only noticeable when you're looking at them closely from behind.

Now, just because he doesn't hold and accessories, it doesn't mean he doesn't have any accessories. For some reason, he comes with this absolutely goofy energy effect that slips down over his head. It's like the heat vision headband one of the JLU Superman figures came with, or (for you old-school ToyBiz fans) the "psychic claw" accessory with the 1997 X-Men "Onslaught" series Jean Grey. It doesn't really make any sense: it's not like Crimson Dynamo is known for his eyebeams or something.

The Iron Man 2 toys all come with "Armor Cards," three 2x3 cards that display info about the armor. The back card is solid, while the other two are clear - overlay them, and you get a complete picture of the armor in question. The torso is on one card, the legs on another, and the head and arms on the third. Buy multiple toys, and you can "design" your own armors. There's a URL printed on the side, but it just redirects to Marvel's site. Eventually there may be some game or something attached to the cards, but right now they're just a display element. The cards fit into slots at the back of the included display base, which actually makes for a rather nice showcase for the figure.

Crimson Dynamo is one of those figures we've been waiting forever to get. His only actual toy before was in 1995, as part of the Iron Man toyline, and that wasn't even wearing the armor we wanted, but the weird samurai-influenced gear he got in Iron Man #316 (May 1995). A figure was worked up for Marvel Legends' "Bring on the Bad Guys" series, but he got bumped, and his release gets teased every couple few years - including now, where he's rumored to be coming in a WM-exclusive two-pack to tie in with the movie. One can only hope. This is the first time the "real" Crimson Dynamo has ever been made into a toy, and it's a good one.

-- 05/02/10

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