Sometimes, in any long-running property, things get way too muddled. The storylines get exhausted, the characters get stale, and the fans feel like they've seen everything before. When that happens, sometimes the best thing to do is go back to the begining.
It's not enough to have puny Banner
constantly rattling around inside his head, now the Hulk has to deal with the Green Goliath constantly trying to rip his way free. The Hulk just wants to be let [sic] alone, but with Betty, Rick and Marlo constantly pestering him from one side, and Banner and his gamma-green alter-ego bugging him on the other, he gets no peace. It's enough to make you want to just start smashing things, and keep going until there's nothing left. If everyone doesn't just shut up soon, that's exactly what's gonna happen too.
Dear Hasbro, here are a list of synonyms for the word "constantly": chronically, unwaveringly, continually, unswervingly, endlessly, unremittingly, eternally, uninterruptedly, fixedly, uniformly, forever, unflaggingly, habitually, unfalteringly, incessantly, unfailingly, invariably, unfadingly, non-stop, unceasingly, permanently, tirelessly, perpetually, steadily, persistently, steadfastly, regularly, staunchly, relentlessly and resolutely. The next time some copywriter hands in a bio that uses the same adverb three times in two sentences, email us and we'll help you with the not-dumb-lookings.
All appearances to the contrary, this isn't a new First Appearance Hulk. He also appeared like this for a while in his late '80s and early '90s appearances, after he was done appearing as Joe Fixit, immediately before the introduction of the apparent "merged" Hulk, who appeared all through the '90s.
Okay, enough silliness.
This Hulk really is representative of the one seen in the comics around the #370s, which puts it pretty darn far away from a "first" appearance. The figure will probably look surprisingly small to most Hulk fans, since the grey version has always been more petite than the familiar green one: the back of the card lists his height at 6'6", for instance. And hey, the toy stands just over 7" tall, which means technically this figure is too big, not too small; how about that! And since he's got that flat Moe Howard haircut, you can't even claim the extra height is due to that.
The sculpt is a tad weird. To begin with, the proportions are very strange, with huge hands and wrists compared to the rest of the body. Of course, that could just be a quirk of the art
the toy is based on, the whims of the sculptor or any number of perfectly reasonable origins - it's just an oddity. Then, while the majority of Hulk's skin is fairly smooth (discounting the deep muscle tissue it's stretched over), there are extremely prominent veins running up the front of his arms and across his shoulders. They're not matched on the back, and there's no equivalent sculptural element on the legs, so what's the deal? Admittedly, I've never read the comics from that era, so maybe it really does represent something specific.
All the Marvel fanboys who complained about Hasbro
not giving their figures paint washes will probably be pleased to see the effect returning on these new figures. Savage Hulk may be molded from gray plastic, but he has darker shadows painted all over. The effect is heaviest on his biceps and lower legs, but it exists everywhere. It doesn't blend very well, ending up looking more like stripes than shadows, but the same was true of ToyBiz's Grey Hulk. His pants are a dark blue, but the edges aren't painted properly - they're still gray.
Hasbro's "all-balljoint, all the time" articulation works on a big bulky figure like this a lot better than it does on someone slender. Hulk has balljointed ankles, knees, hips, wrists, elbows, shoulders, neck and torso, plus surprise swivels where the arm joins the shoulder. Technically the balljointed elbows provide the same range of motion as those swivels, but they're still welcome.
Hulk has no accessories,
and his only pack-in is the left leg of this series' Build-A-Figure, Fin Fang Foom. The leg, designed with a permenent squat, is about 5" tall and beautifully sculpted. The texture of the skin is just rough on the inner leg, but it fades to full-blown scales by the time you get around to the outside. At least three different shades of green are used on the leg, and the nails are yellow. This is going to be an impressive BAF!
Hasbro put Marvel Legends on hiatus after Series 3, so they could address fans' complaints with the line. If the Savage Grey Hulk is an indication of the quality we can expect from now on, the break was worth it.