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Captain America

Marvel Legends 20 Years
by yo go re

Way to be a month late, Steve. What were you, trapped in ice again?

When, in 1941, a frail young patriot agreed to be a test case for an experimental "super-soldier" serum, he was transformed into Captain America - the living symbol of freedom. His body is now physically perfect, his courage unmatched and his fighting skills cannot be equaled. Cap joined WWII and helped the allies win the war. After spending the decades following the war in suspended animation, he was revived by the Mighty Avengers, a super hero group this charismatic born leader would eventually command.

Okay, you know the deal by now: there's no text on these new packages, because Hasbro thinks it would have to translate it into every language, so instead we just copy what it said on the 2002 original. Because how else would you know who an obscure, underground character like Captain America is? We need to keep you informed!

Like the other two Marvel Legends 20 Years figures, Cap uses existing molds. The fact that his scale mail shirt is actually sculpted and not just painted like the ML1 release clues us in that it's the Marvel 80th Anniversary figure, though he's lacking the new pelvis and hips that one had, having instead reverted to the medium body. You know what that means, though, don't you? You can put the Capwolf head on this body!!! Toy of the Year.

If, for some reason, you don't want Capwolf's head on this figure (like if you lost a bet or would willingly eat human poop if given the chance or something along those lines), the normal head we get is pretty good. It's another one by Paul Harding, and it's another that at least takes a lot of cues from his "Marvel in the '70s" series. Like, it may not have the seams running over the top, but the blocky style of the forehead A is unmistakable.

Harding also did the figure's second head, which is unmasked. Apparently being chemically altered to the peak of human perfection also includes giving you some pretty spectacular hair, because any normal person would have some seriously flat, messed-up hat hair when they pulled that mask off, but Steve is looking perfectly coiffed. The bit of face visible on the masked head definitely matches up with the unmasked version; before the advent of digital sculpting, that would have been a lot harder to achieve. He does look rather heavily like Wyatt Russell, however. There's a dropped mask piece to put over the neck to complete the casual look.

To keep 20th Captain America from looking like 80th Captain America, this one has way more vibrant colors. Iron Man traded his yellow for gold and Hulk had lots of painted highlights and shadows, but Cap looks like a direct update of the figure from two decades ago. And props to Hasbro for painting his buckles silver instead of ignoring or overlooking them. Oh, and hey, remember how Capwolf had those weird fake shield-straps that notched into his shoulders? This one gets straps too, but they're a single piece that actually fits around his back the way it should. We also get six hands: two fists, two splayed, one saluting, and one pointing.

Marvel Legends may not have come with accessories at the start (focusing, as it did, on superior articulation), but even back then Captain America had his mighty shield. This one is a new mold, which is easy to tell because it has three holes in it. Since the idea is that his shield can stop any attack, Hasbro has given us some attacks for it to stop: right out of the package, there's electricity crackling over its surface; there's also a single curving swoosh that would be a swinging blade strike of some kind; and finally three separate little sparks, like he's deflecting gunfire. They're all awesome inclusions, but the fact that they need to plug into the surface means there are three permanent square holes all the way through it, so it will always look wrong without one of the effects attached. To prevent this, Hasbro could have (should have) included a piece that would plug in through the back of the shield, filling the holes when viewed from the front. Would it have been awkward? Yes. Would it have been better than leaving voids like this? Also yes.

(In the interest of fairness, there have been literally dozens of 6" scale Captains America made over the past 20 years, so we have no shortage of shields. If you really need this Cap to hold a plain one, there are plenty to borrow from other figures.)

Considering the way we used to get large, fully sculpted display bases for ML figures, this anniversary line's decision to just include cardboard backdrops almost feels like they're taunting us. It measures 5" wide x 7⅝" tall, and can fit into a slot at the back of a black plastic rectangle with the old Marvel Legends logo molded on top. There's a comic cover on one side and art on the other that represents Cap's ML1 base: a broken-down tank in front of the ruins of some European city during the war. It's a really nice representation of the old base, but a 2D drawing can't compete with a 3D sculpt.

The Marvel Legends 20 Years line is already overpriced, with Hasbro asking $31.99 for these figures. Captain America keeps selling out from real sources, just leaving scalpers and scalper prices. I saw one is person at FYE, but they had it stickered at $49.99. Yeah, not a chance in hell. Captain America is a good figure, but he's not that good. Even $30 is pushing it.

-- 08/08/22

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