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Hand Ninja & Nick Fury

Marvel Legends
by yo go re

Forget "pirates vs. ninjas" - it's time for Ninjas vs. Super Spies!

For sixty years, Nick Fury has waged war against every kind of dirtbag this world has to offer. Against the Axis in World War II, he led his Howling Commandos - leading every charge with his submachine gun spitting hot lead. Since the end of the war, evil has splintered into a hundred organizations, each as dangerous as the last, but none more deadly than the ninja clan known as the Hand. Against them, Fury must not only exercise his skills as a soldier, but also stretch his wits to their very limit, because a single misstep will finish him.

Taking a page from the Marvel Universe line, the 6" Hand ninja is a repaint of the earlier Ronin figure, a choice that makes as much sense in this scale as it did at the smaller size. It's not a re-use you'd be likely to think of on your own, but it works well: baggy ninja clothes, a bit of armor... done up all in reds, what's to say it's not meant to be a member of the deadly Hand sect?

The uniform involves a red tunic with the widest, pointiest shoulders you've ever seen, tied with a sash around the waist. All that is one molded rubber piece, slipped over the body. There's sculpted armor on the chest, shoulders, forearms, knees and shins, while the rest of the body has a light texture to suggest cloth. No sculpted wrinkles or anything, but still obviously not red skin. This nameless ninja gets a balljoint neck, rocker torso, and a swivel waist. He's got balljointed shoulders above swivel bicep tops, double hinge elbows, and balljointed wrists, with an identical layout on the legs (swapping the appropriate body part names, obviously).

The only thing setting the Hand apart from Ronin sculpturally is the head. While the once-and-future-Hawkeye had both masked and unmasked Clint Barton heads, the Hand doesn't use either of those. The new head is wearing a hood, and has a wrapped mask beneath it. Only his eyes are exposed - the flesh is pink, while the eyes are blank (they look white in normal light, but neon yellow if you look close enough). The robes are a nice crimson, and the armor is darker, closer to brown than red.

Even the accessories are recycled. There're nunchucks (which aren't stuck permanently in his hand, like the ones included with Ronin) and for some reason, three katanas. Why three? No idea. He can hold two of them, of course, but there's no way to stow the third. Give it to Daredevil or something. Paint it red and put it in Wolverine's hands.

The Hand have fought a lot of heroes over the years, but the one included in this two-pack isn't really one of them. Nick Fury, Agent of SHIELD? At least it's not yet another Wolverine, right? There was a Nick Fury in the first series of Hasbro two-packs, but that was the Ultimate version. And yes, there's been a 616 version, but that was a long time ago, and he wasn't exactly easy to find back then, either. A new version? Good choice!

The figure is built on the Face-Off Punisher body, which is actually fairly easy to recognize, what with the dark body and white gloves and boots. Of course, he's also got an entire complement of new white straps breaking up the navy blue: one on his right arm, a holster system on his chest, and a complicated belt (the one on his right leg is a holdover from the Punisher mold). Small SHIELD logos are painted on both arms. Fury stands 6½" tall - surprisingly, the same height as the ML5 version.

Fury's face is marked by his familiar eyepatch, and he has a bit of a sneer - yet again, it seems tailor-made to be chomping a cigar, but one's not included. The ML5 Fury, Ultimate Fury, the exclusive Marvel Universe Fury, this Fury... they all have the same kind of open mouth, and not a single one of them comes with a stogie. Fail. If nothing else, the fact that the mouth is open allows you to customize one for yourself. The face seems a bit too young, honestly; Nick Fury needs to be old and grizzled, not smooth and full of vitality.

Like Maria Hill, this set includes an extra head to encourage you to buy multiples. Of course, Maria's extra head was Sharon Carter, while this one is... just a generic SHIELD Agent? Maybe? I'm not as familiar with SHIELD as I should be. It looks like a specific person's face, as if it were based on a Hasbro employee or something. The brown hair is close-cropped, and there's a removable helmet. No matter how you display it, the head looks tiny.

The SHIELD accessories include an M-16 with a scope and grenade launcher, a pistol that holsters on the Agent's chest, and a knife in his left boot. Fun stuff! You can even remove the chest harness and the armband, if you work at it. Since this is a re-used ToyBiz mold, the articulation is very good. Well, we could do without the hinged fingers. The head swaps out via balljoint mounted on a hinge.

It was an odd choice to pair the Hand with SHIELD, but really, who cares about that? They're both figures most collections were lacking, and once you open the packaging and throw it away, you won't have to think about them matching up ever again. Unless you want to have ninjas invading the Helicarrier or something. Original plans called for a variant with a Dum Dum Dugan head, but that was apparently scrapped delayed for more than half a year. Still, you can buy three sets and still have all the agents look different. And hey, with the inclusion of the Hand ninja, you won't have to find a way to unload duplicate characters.

-- 10/05/09

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