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Captain America

Marvel Legends
by yo go re

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.

Captain America is one of Marvel Comics' oldest heroes, predating even the name "Marvel Comics" - his earliest adventures were published by Timely. Created by two young Jewish kids, Captain America was their way of dealing with the horrors taking place in Europe at the time. They subverted the Nazi image of the Aryan ubermensch - the blond, blue-eyed, muscular figure - and made him their own, drew him slamming his knuckles into Hitler's jaw on the cover of monthly magazines.

When Stan Lee wanted to include Cap on his new team of all-stars, he needed to figure out why the guy hadn't aged at all in the 20 years since the end of the war. Couldn't very well have a superhero carrying his AARP card next to his Avengers ID badge, could they? Thus, the suspended animation angle. Ice solves everything!

Like most of the Marvel Legends, this isn't the first time Captain America's had an action figure. There have been several, of varying quality, but this new figure is easily one of the best.

Standing 6½" tall, Captain America fits in nicely with the rest of the Legends; I do wish that ToyBiz had maintained the same scale that they've used since the early '90s, so that the Legends would fit with the rest of the Marvel figures. Cap is articulated at the top and bottom of the neck, shoulders, biceps, elbows, glove tops, wrists, torso, waist, hips, thighs, knees, boot tops, ankles and toes. 33 points, all together.

Captain America is very well sculpted, with muscles straining against his uniform. His chest and upper arms are painted to look like the chain mail (or scale mail, more accurately) his costume is built from, and even the "A" on his forehead is sculpted in. He's got those ridiculous little wings, and his ears poke out widely. The transition between the blue areas of his costume and the stripes on his abdomen is hidden by the torso joint, and similarly, the bottom edge disappears behind his belt. Good work, Phil Ramirez!

Of course, no Captain America would be complete without his trademark shield. In addition to a fold-away clasp that clips on his wrist, the shield has two elastic straps to slip onto his shoulders. It takes a bit of work to stretch the straps over his arms, but it's worth it. What else were they going to do, put a hole in his back and treat the shield like a backpack? The circles are etched in, and the star in the center is raised. The shield has a diameter of slightly more than 2⅜".

The Avengers have always been the superhero equivalent of a football team, and Cap was their greatest quarterback (despite always being a bit of a yokel). In Marvel's "Ultimate" line, however, Cap's less of an anacrhonistic diplomat and more of the kick-ass soldier he always should have been. He may have some outdated ideas, but he's more than capable of being a leader in today's world.

Like the rest of the Marvel Legends, Captain America comes with a detailed base. His is a bullet-riddled section of wall with the top of a damaged tank resting against the stone. A large American flag plugs into the tank's hatch or the top of the wall, and there are three pegs for Cap to stand on.

Cap comes with a reproduction of Captain America #109. Featuring the work of Stan Lee and Jack Kirby, the issue offers a retelling of his origin, which seems to be par for the course with Marvel Legends so far.

-- 03/05/03

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