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Doctor Doom & Absorbing Man

Marvel Universe
by yo go re

The Absorbing Man waits in an unbreakable prison. Meanwhile, Doctor Doom puts the final touches on the most fantastic machine he has ever created. Using sonic lenses, he steals the power of Galactus and flies into space seeking battle with the all-powerful Beyonder!

It's actually a bit surprising that Doctor Doom hasn't already had a 4" scale MU figure. He's a major character - arguably the villain of the Marvel Universe - and would unquestionably sell well by himself on a solo card. But no, fans had to wait a year for this Comic Pack. At least he isn't saddled with an ununwated repaint like a lot of the other two-packs get.

This is the classic Doctor Doom. He hasn't really changed clothes a lot over the years - other than a few purposely short-lived costumes and alternate universes, he's constantly worn the same thing. And we're not just talking about the "green tunic over silver armor" look: the specific design of the armor has remained consistent for 50 years; the shape of the joints, the length of the tunic, small jet boosters on his back... these things have endured for decades, and they are present on the toy, as well. The cape even has specific slots molded on the underside to accommodate the engines.

Doom's face is where artists get to show a little distinction. Sure, it's always square eyeholes, a triangular nose, and a mouth with a speaker/grill inside, but that leaves a lot of room to maneuver. Will the head be round? Slender? Harsh angles? Lots of rivets? This one is tall and thin and rivetty, which isn't how he was seen in Secret Wars, but it still suits him. His eyes aren't really painted, just given a thin line of color.

Other than the removable cape, Doom's only accessory is a broomhandle Mauser. This, like the back-jets, must be on whatever master control art Marvel gives to its licensors, because both ML versions of Dr. Doom have had the same thing. Sadly, the holster on his right hip is non-functional.

DOOM CALLS NO MAN HIS EQUAL! but his partner in this set is Hulk's old foe, the Absorbing Man. Originally empowered by Loki to fight Thor, Carl "Crusher" Creel is one of those guys who has kicked around the entire lineup - and been kicked around by pretty much any hero you can think of. It's a shame, really: the longer a villain exists, the more often he gets defeated, and the more his rep gets tarnished. When was the last time anyone said "oh no, it's the Absorbing Man," and meant it?

The figure uses the same body as Luke Cage, since nobody else wears pants. Technically this is supposed to be the remnants of his prison uniform, right? Well, clearly it's not, because you're not allowed to have a belt in the pokey. The style - purple with thin black stripes - is straight out of the book, though. The chest and arms are shared with three out of the four Wrecking Crew, and he's got one gripping hand and one open hand.

Creel's head is weirdly lumpy and has a point on top, but that's because he's always drawn that way in the comics. His face has all the personality that the Marvel Legends version lacked. He's obviously in mid-absorb, because there's a thick grey working its way across his body. The apps are particularly good on the chest and shoulder, where there's some stippling to help it blend.

The set includes Absorbing Man's wrecking ball, which is the same piece included with Thunderball, although it has more apps here. Like Thunderball, Absorbing Man is designed to hold the chain in his right hand. When Creel absorbs something, the ball changes too, which seems like a flaw: brick or asphalt may be stronger than flesh, but they're weaker than steel; what is the advantage of making your weapon less effective?

With two new villains, this set was already one of the best Hasbro had offered. But it's not just a two-pack, it's a three-pack! In addition to Dr. Doom and the Absorbing Man, this set includes a figure of the Wasp. Granted, she's a solid, unarticulated piece, only 1¼" even with her arm held above her head, but it's still good to get her. Sadly, while she may have worn more costumes than anyone else, the one she had during Secret Wars was nearer to the bottom of that list than the top. It's green and purple (traditionally villain colors) and there's really nothing interesting about it. At least at this size you can't really see the poofy arms and legs.

Since this is a Comic Pack, it includes a comicbook - in this case, Secret Wars #10. The info on the back of the card is accurate: while Doctor Doom spends the issue getting his metal ass kicked (soundly and thoroughly) by the Beyonder, all Absorbing Man does is chill in his cell, then run away when the heroes' base is hit by earthquakes. Wasp, meanwhile, appears in five panels - two more than Creel.

Doctor Doom and Absorbing Man are both good new villains, and Wasp is just a top-notch extra. She'd even work with your Marvel Legends collection, thanks to the whole "size changing" thing. Considering how many of these Secret Wars Comic Packs included repaints and re-releases (75% of them - nine out of 12), the fact that this set brings you three all-new characters should be make picking it up a no-brainer.

-- 12/06/10

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