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Marvel Universe
by yo go re

In 2008, Hasbro took a series of Marvel Legends figures that were due out soon and repackaged them as an SDCC exclusive. This year they did the same thing, and as Rustin pointed out, people went bonkers for it. Admittedly, the idea of a blister card that's more than two feet tall is kind of cool, but a few weeks later at the Baltimore Comic-Con, there was one D-bag exhibitor trying to get a 600% markup for it. That's just scalping, pure and simple, trying to take advantage of fans before the figure reaches store shelves.

Doomed to hunger eternally for the energy locked within life-bearing planets, Galactus wanders the spaceways in his world ship. His body is filled to bursting with the infinite Power Cosmic - a power that grants him absolute control over the fundamental nature of the universe around him. The forces that ruled the lives of lesser beings are meaningless to Galactus. For him, there is only the hunger he feels.

A small fragment of his vast might has been granted to the Silver Surfer - greatest of his heralds. Once a man like any other on his home planet of Zenn-La, the Silver Surfer sacrificed his humanity to save his world. His mind and body changed forever by the power he now wields, he serves Galactus absolutely and without question. Together, herald and master are a force of nature, undeniable and inevitable.

Inhabited worlds across the universe live in constant fear of the day when the shadow of mighty Galactus darkens their skies, for it is on that day their world will end. So it will be until the end of time, for Galactus will not be deterred, and he cannot be stopped. He will consume world after world until the universe completes its cycle and collapses in upon itself. Once a new universe is born out of the old, great Galactus will rise, and feed again.

Just a quick note: for the Marvel Universe reviews, we always try to make the main image show the figure at 100% - if they look small, that's the fault of your monitor's resolution. Anyway, there was no way we could do that with Galactus, because it just won't fit on the screen. His picture's wider than our entire site! But you can click the first image above for the full-size view (and get ready to scroll).

Galactus is sold in a large fifth-panel window box, with art of he and the Surfer on the front and the inside flap. The back shows Galactus besieged by pretty much every Marvel Universe figure released to this point. Although the artwork on the box is oriented horizontally, the figure inside is aligned vertically. It's not a bad idea, because it allows stores to stock the figure in a relatively short space without it being obviously off-kilter on the shelf. Inside, he's held by those awesome new twisted paper ties, and Hasbro even went to the trouble of making them purple so they don't stand out against the figure.

When this figure was first revealed at SDCC '09, just hauled up onto a table in the Marvel booth as a surprise, the initial reaction from a lot of folks was that this was just the ToyBiz BAF Galactus put together and sold in one box - nothing could be further from the truth. This is 100% new sculpt. So why does it look like the same pieces? Because it's the same dang character, geniuses! They're working from the same design, so of course some things are going to look the same. Starting at the bottom, we have the big "Michelin Man" boots with the staircase up the shins, but there's now a banded section in the center of the foot and detailed ridges on the sides. There's more piping on the legs - near the inside, rather than the outside like ML9's. The lines on the skirt are more rounded, and the belt is far more ornate than before.

Galactus's face/general head-al area is based on the cutscenes (not the gameplay) in Marvel Ultimate Alliance, which means a lot of pumped up details. The bolts on his neck have been moved to his cheeks, and now stick out farther; the pod over his chin is more three-dimensional. The ear-wing antennae come out of the head at a different angle, and overall there's just a ton more intricate detail on the helmet than there ever was before. The area around his square-pupiled eyes looks more like a mask than a part of the helmet, and we get to see more of his nose, now: it used to be that only the tip poked out, but this version exposes the bridge, as well.

Looking to put Galactus on a shelf? Better have some vertical clearance, because this bad boy is 19½" tall. I'm pretty sure this is the tallest toy I've ever owned, after NECA's supreme Balrog. He has a balljointed neck, swivel/hinge shoulders, swivel biceps, double-hinged elbows, swivel gloves, balljointed wrists, swivel waist, swivel/hinge hips, swivel thighs, double-hinged knees, swivel boots, and hinged ankles. That's less articulation than ToyBiz's version, but not by much - are you really going to miss toe and finger articulation? Probably not. And the balljointed head is an awesome addition. Most of the joints are stiff, to help him hold a pose. His center of gravity is right around the hips, which means they must have put some extra weight in the lower legs to balance out all the electronics in his chest.

Yes, electronics: Galactus is a battery-powered wonder! Press the big G on his chest, and his head lights up and he speaks. The entire head is cast from translucent blue plastic, then painted. His eyes, the gems on his helmet, and almost the entire back half of his head light up with an orange glow as he speaks. So what's he say? All kinds of classic Kirby stuff:

  • "Who is so ignorant as to confront Galactus?"
  • "You will witness the end, for I am power incarnate!" *energy crackle*
  • "Behold! The world-eating machine!"
  • "I hunger!"
  • "Know me, mortal. Know me and fear!"

Wow, nice stuff, isn't it? It's all quite--

  • "So speaks Galactus!"

Oh, okay, I guess we weren't done. He had another one that I missed. But now--

  • "Who dares defy Galactus?!"

Right, so anyw--

  • "I am the devourer of worlds."

(Uhh, I'm just going to shut up and let him finish.)

  • "Tremble at the might of the power cosmic!" *energy crackle*
  • "To me, my herald!"
  • "You serve me now."

Is that it? Are we finished? Okay, good. That's a total of 11 phrases that it cycles through. The voice is clear and deep. Apparently it's the voice of one of Hasbro's brand managers, just pitched down to be more threatening. Neat!

Galactus is a Marvel Universe figure, and so he includes the Marvel Universe-standard "paper accessories" - you know, the manilla envelope with secret documents inside. Of course, those are usually in a 2¼" x 3¼" envelope, but since Galactus is a slightly larger-than-average action figure, his envelope is 5⅞" x 9⅜". He gets a Superhuman Registration Act ID card with Joe Quesada art on one side and Galactus's personal info on the back. It says he stands 28'9" - you know what that is in 1:18 scale? 19½" tall. This Galactus is perfectly in-scale! Never been done before! The other accessory is a memo from Quasimodo suggesting how Norman Osborn could try to recruit Galactus. Recruit? Galactus? Good luck with that, ya gigantic nutball.

Normally we'd be wrapping up now, but like the bio on the back of the box suggests, this set includes a second figure - the Silver Surfer. That's great for fans of Galactus, but a real turn of the screw for suckers like me who bought MU figure #003 in 2009. Yes, this Surfer is the same as the individually carded version released last year. There may be some paint differences, but nothing substantial.

Silver Surfer's articulation is on par with the rest of the first-wave MU figures, so it's very good, but not perfect. For instance, there are two footpegs on his 5" long surfboard, but it's nearly impossible to get both feet onto the pegs and flat on the board, as well. He really needs some better hips to make it happen. Must admit, though: buying Galactus and having him come with his most famous herald? Better to get it than not to get it.

When Galactus was the inaugural ML BAF, many fans complained that he couldn't just be bought in one piece. Well, so much for that, huh? Big Daddy G is one heavy bastard of a toy, but he's all together now. He's also bigger than ToyBiz's version, and is designed to interact with smaller toys, so this is the first time a Galactus has ever been in scale [does that include the HeroClix version? --ed.] The figure retails for about $55, but when you do the math on him, he's not so bad: standard MU figures cost $8, so subtract Silver Surfer from the pack and Galactus is $48. ML Galactus was divided among seven figures, and they retailed for more than $7 back then, so getting this Galactus in 2010 will cost you less than assembling the last one did in 2005 - it just feels expensive because you're paying it all at once. This is a better figure - I may trade it in later for the darker Ultimate Alliance paint scheme once that's released, but it looks like it's time to retire the old BAF.

-- 10/25/10

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