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Iron Man Mark IV

Iron Man 2
by yo go re

Look, everyone, it's an end-of-the-year surprise!

As much as we love the Wal*Mart-exclusive 6" Iron Man 2 figures, the distribution is for crap. There were supposed to be three releases: Mark V, Mark VI, and War Machine. Mark VI and War Machine came out together, though in about a 3:1 ratio. The Mark V was nowhere to be seen, unless you lived in Canada, and then your stores had cases full of that and nothing else. Eventually the Suitcase Armor came to the States, but the other two were long gone. And then people started to report finding something unexpected: the Mark IV armor.

The Iron Man Mark IV is a perfection of all the refinements made in the Mark III. Its boot jets and repulsors are tuned to the absolute maximum of potential power output, giving the Mark IV an unprecedented edge in speed and firepower. Even Jarvis got an upgrade, making the computer smarter and able to track scores of targets at once.

So apparently the Mark IV looked different than the Mark III? Okay, if you say so. After "it's red and gold and there's a big blue dot on the chest," what else is there to say? It's like those people who tell you Batman's outfit changed between movies. It did? Damn thing's still black with a cape and a gold belt; that makes it the same costume. Maybe it's just an effect of reading comics: every artist may draw a hero's costume with slight differences, but that doesn't mean it's actually changed. Standing the toys next to each other, the Mark IV has a lot more detail than the Mark III. It's thicker armor, and much blockier. The gloves and shoulder pads are a different shape, as well.

Iron Man has balljointed ankles, double-hinged knees, swivel thighs, swivel/hinge hips, balljointed torso, swivel/hinge wrists, double-hinged elbows, swivel biceps, swivel/hinge shoulders, hinged neck and balljointed head. The shoulder pads are hinged as well, so he can raise his arms (remember, the IM1 toys had pads attached to the shoulder ball, but they popped off constantly; this is more secure, but looks worse, so it's up to you whether this is an improvement). The flaps on the backs of his hands aren't mobile, but at least this one has wrists, right? That makes him better than the ones from the first movie.

The real selling point of this figure, the reason fans have been eagerly awaiting it, is that it includes an unmasked Tony Stark head. The entire helmet comes off at the neck, and the alternate head pops on. Like the Borders-exclusive Minimate, this is really "Hangover Tony Stark," wearing sunglasses and ready to have some breakfast in the Randy's Donuts sign. Nick Fury's going to be pissed!

In addition to the extra head, the figure has three sets of hands (fists, clutching, and "repulsor blast" versions) and the same stupid launcher the old MkIII had. No worries, it's removable, so throw it in a box and forget it ever existed.

This figure was first seen at Toy Fair 2010, when Robert Downey Jr. was photographed holding it. However, it wasn't announced as an exclusive with the other Wal*Mart six-inchers, and wasn't shown on their packaging. A lot of fans assumed it would become an SDCC exclusive, but that didn't happen, either. Other than a few random early leaks, the figure didn't really begin appearing on shelves until Black Friday, and then, only if the store had managed to clear out the Mark Vs that were choking shelves. Many areas still don't have any Mark IVs on the shelf, but don't despair - in theory, he should get to you eventually. I would have liked if he actually had a removable helmet rather than interchangeable heads, but it's still a good release.

-- 12/20/10

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