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Dr. Doom

Marvel Legends
by yo go re

Smart fans can see the connection between Darth Vader's imposing uniform and ancient Japanese samurai armor. But the Dark Lord of the Sith is an amalgam of more than just that one source. It's pretty obvious when you think about it: a former comrade of the hero is disfigured, becomes a villain encased in a technological suit with an iconic mask and a flowing cape, and mixes science and mysticism in his quest for vengeance and personal power? That's not Darth Vader, that's Dr. Doom!

Obsessed with the conquest of Earth, Doctor Doom once laid his plans from a solitary castle hidden deep within the mountains of Eastern Europe. Early on in his career as a would-be conqueror, he identified the Fantastic Four as the chief obstacle to his ultimate (and inevitable) victory. Yet despite his obvious superiority to the quartet of superheroes, he has failed at every turn, often due to the incompetence of his allies and underlings. Now, he broods in his palace at the heart of his homeland, ruminating on the triumph that will one day surely be his. Certainly, should he ever again emerge to threaten the sovereignty of the petty nations of mankind, all of Earth's heroes would stand against him, but they will break like waves against the might of Doom!

The last time we got a Marvel Legends Doom, he was the victim of an unwarranted switcheroo. Hasbro side-stepped that entire issue by not offering a variant - or if they did, they certainly didn't tell anybody about it.

Doom stans more than 6½" tall, which means he's gotten bigger since ML2. The old Doom looks the new Doom in the mouth, rather than the eye. He's not grossly oversized, but it may be an issue for some people looking for strict relations between their figures. Articulation is quite good, however, with balljoints at the head, shoulders, elbows, torso, hips, knees and ankles, as well as swivel joints for the gloves and waist. He doesn't have the biceps or thigh joints of the original figure, but the balljoints make up for that. And while he doesn't have hinges in his fingers and toes, the armor plates on his elbows and knees are separate pieces that you can move. And finally, since ML2 Doom didn't have any kind of torso articulation, the modern version comes out on top.

Other match-ups don't come out so well, however. The new Doom's sculpt is better, in a lot of ways, than the old figure: the armor has more detail, in general, and the sculpted cloth hangs much more realisiticly. The cape and hood, in particular, are a nice step up. However, overall, this Doom has less detail. His tunic is smooth, rather than having any sort of sculpted texture, and the fine detail on his armor is lacking. Everything is just "soft" - Hasbro needs to see about pulling sharper pieces from the molds.

This problem is really apparent on his mask. The angles which should have harsh corners are instead rounded, and the rivets seem to be too small. It still looks good, just not as good as it might. Like all the best Dooms, this one has a removeable mask. But in a change from tradition, it's more than just the mask - though there's a sculpted seam where the "mask" part would attach to the rest of the helmet, that's not the break. Instead, we get a bit of skullcap with it, so when the mask is removed, we see the top of Victor's head as well as his face. In keeping with the idea that he put the mask on while it was still fresh from the forge, Von Doom's face and head are covered in burn scars. It's a lot like Deadpool's head, but the detail could be deeper.

In addition to the removable mask (and cape, of course), Dr. Doom has one accessory, the small Luger pistol that fits in the (working) holster on his hip. The black gun can be held in his right hand, and has a brown paint app for the grip. The last Dr. Doom came with the same accessory (and had the same little jets on his back), so it seems these are features on some official piece of artwork that the sculptors are working from, because that's a strange set of details to have the same on two figures made five years apart. If you look at the base of the index finger on his right hand, you'll see a slight textured pattern, the negative image of the pistol grip - just guessing, here, but it looks like the sculptor pressed the clay hand against the gun while trying to find the right angle for the trigger finger, and the pattern transfered. Neat! Impressive that the molding process captured that, too.

The green of Dr. Doom's costume is very solid, with no variation between the tunic and the cape. We're not here to quibble over whether the green is too dark or not, but a little bit of a difference between the two sections of his outfit can really add some "pop" to the design. The grey used for his armor is good (though colors show up under a flash that aren't otherwise noticeable), but a bit worrisome. If you look at his lower thighs, just above the knees, you'll see evidence of stress flaws within the plastic itself, cracks below the surface. Long-time Transformers fans may remember the Gold Plastic Syndrome that plagued some of the older toys. This is silver plastic, but it shows the same tell-tale subcutaneous swirls. Is Dr. Doom going to crumble to dust in a few years, or is this a better quality of plastic? Only time will tell. Next time, Hasbro? Just use grey plastic and give it a little bit of a paint wash.

When it comes to this series' Build-A-Figure, Dr. Doom comes with what has to be the lamest piece, Ronan's cape. You read that right, the thing that dangles off his shoulders. Wow, exciting. That really demanded being packed with a separate figure, I can tell you that! On the plus side, if you don't want to buy the rest of the figures in this seies, at least you won't have a stray arm or something hanging around and making you feel guilty. You can just hang this giant green cape on another figure and pretend it belongs there.

Dr. Doom tries very hard to be a very good figure. The sculpt is better than the last version, but only in broad strokes - when it comes to small, intricate detail, the ML2 version is still the champ. What little paint there is is good, but could be better. So could the color choices. But the accessory is nicely handled, even if it's a bit mundane for a guy like Victor Von Doom. The BAF piece is ridiculous, but that's notDoom's fault. It must be Richards'! The pertinent question here is whether or not it's worth getting this Doom if you already have the old one. After much deliberation, yes, it is. And if you never got the old one, this will fill the hole in your collection exceptionally well. This is just a figure that, with a bit more work on the manufacturer's part, could have been a ToY contender, but as it is, is merely a nice new figure.

-- 11/26/07

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