This series of Marvel Legends seems to be the clearing house for old, orphaned figures. First was Nightcrawler, who was supposed to be part of the X-Men Classics, and now a Hulk rescued from the collapse of his eponymous line.
Caught in the heart of a nuclear explosion, victim of gamma radiation gone wild, Dr. Robert Bruce Banner now finds himself transformed during times of stress into the dark personification of his repressed rage and fury - the most powerful man-like creature ever to walk the face of the Earth! The Hulk possesses superhuman strength that increases as he becomes enraged, can leap vast distances and has demonstrated a powerful healing factor. The Hulk is a living, breathing engine of destruction!
Fortunately for us, this remnant Hulk is worth buying. Yes, we've had plenty of Hulks before, but this is something new. Er, something old. Well, both. Technically known as "1st Appearance Grey Hulk," this figure is inspired by the premiere issue of his comic. Supposedly.
Back then, Hulk wasn't the giant brute we think of today - in fact, he only grew slightly larger than normal, which is why it used to make sense that Bruce Banner's clothes would just be tattered by his transformations, not flat-out destroyed. In fact, he never looks anything remotely like this figure in Incredible Hulk #1, which we know because ToyBiz was nice enough to include it for us. In that comic, he looked like a normal man colored dark grey, while this figure is closer to what we expect from the modern Hulk.
The figure is 8" tall, and wearing only a pair of shredded blue pants. The sculpt is excellent, of course, with impressive musculature and some nice texture on the pants. Instead of just sculpted lines creating the details, they've been given an almost cross-hatched look to suggest the original artwork. The face is a typical blocky Jack Kirby-style creation, even though he didn't yet look like that in his first appearance.
The paint apps are very good, giving Grey Hulk a sense of depth. In a nod to the way his colors would eventually change, the shading on his grey skin is green, while his pants have a purple wash over the blue. There's a variant figure available in the modern colors, but doesn't that defeat the purpose of a "first appearance" figure?
The original plan for ML9 was to put action features in the figures' bases, but that idea was mercifully killed and replaced by Galactus. Each figure in the line comes with a piece of the big G man, and Grey Hulk's got the left arm. The purple and blue that ToyBiz chose for his paint scheme is very nice, with a metallic sheen suggesting his extraterrestrial origins. Lots of linear details on the glove and up the arm, too.
The arm is articulated twice at the fingers, wrist, glove and twice at the elbow. To hide the construction of the large elbows, there are squares of plastic on either side of the pins to keep the uninterrupted look of the arm. The elbow joints are ratchet style, clicking into place rather than just using friction to hold them steady - a good choice for a figure this large.
As mentioned above, 1st Appearance Grey Hulk comes with a reprint of his origin issue, which also features the first and only appearance of Cold War Commuist scientist the Gargoyle, father to the Gremlin, a character who got a figure in the Hulk Classics line. The choice makes sense, but all it really does is show how far this figure strays from his debut. When it comes to First Appearance figures like that, DC Direct continues to have it all wrapped up. Overall, the figure does a better job of capturing the early Hulk's feel than his reality, but he's still pretty good.
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