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Iron Patriot

Marvel Universe
by yo go re

As we sit here, waiting for the Marvel Legends 3 variants to show up before we can review the figures involved, this seems like a good time to remind everyone that Hasbro's approach to variants suuuuuuucks.

When Spider-Man warned the Avengers about how dangerous Norman Osborn was, no one listened. He was a has-been bad guy, living under the thumb of Tony Stark, locked up in Thunderbolts Mountain. Now, of course, he's on top of the world, living the life of a beloved hero while lining his pockets and spreading his evil. He's got the real heroes on the run, and he's traded up his old Green Goblin costume for a suit of powerful, high-tech armor of his own design.

That bio refers to the events of "Dark Reign," which was, what, two reboots ago? That should give you an idea of 1) how long ago this figure came out, and 2) how long it's been waiting to get reviewed. But really, a suit of high-tech armor "of his own design?" Was Hasbro letting Norman write his own press releases back then? Because he "designed" this armor the same way Asylum "creates" its films: he took all the hard work done by someone else and put his name on it. The guy's a genius, no doubt - smart enough to figure out how to get one of Tony Stark's old suits up and running, but not smart enough to build one himself.

This figure is a repaint of Extremis Iron Man. That makes sense, since the Iron Patriot armor was basically just a repaint, itself. Granted, it was most likely the suit that toy fans know as the Modern Armor, not Extremis, but since those two are pretty much identical, who's going to complain? Handwave it and say that Norman threw in some upgrades to make this old suit look more modern (no pun intended). The details of the armor are sculpted in, but the proportions are all out of whack. Each of the thighs is nearly as wide across as the waist, and the pods on his waist combine with that to make him look very "hippy."

The articulation is also less than ideal. It's only very recently that MU joints have gotten good, so this old mold certainly isn't going to be it. He has swivel/hinge ankles, double-hinge knees, swivel thighs (hidden by the tops of his boots), balljointed hips that don't work very well, swivel wrists, hinged elbows, swivel biceps, swivel/hinge shoulders, swivel/hinge torso and a balljointed head. The hips are made from thin, flimsy plastic that always feels like it's going to break when you move the leg, rather than letting pieces slip by one another the way they should.

What makes this figure Iron Patriot rather than Iron Man is the paint. Well, the paint and the new star-shaped beam emitter glued to his chest. Yes, that's just a new piece, not a completely remolded chest. Anyway, if you remember the paint problems the Iron Man Captain America Armor had, none of those are repeated here. The lines between colors are crisp, and the blue is dark enough to provide a nice contrast with the light silver. The face can get a little sloppy, but you were going to check that anyway, weren't you?

Iron Patriot comes with the same awful energy vortex/blast that all the MU Iron Men have been saddled with, and he's old enough that he still came with a display stand and "paper accessories" in the form of a Super Human Registration Act ID card, a memo (this one an internal communique from AIM, talking about how to shut down the Iron Patriot armor), and a code for the Fury Files website that was shut down before this figure even came out. We'll never know what that code might have unlocked! Was it the cure for cancer? My home phone number? A Transcript of Osborn putting out a hit on everyone else who ever used a Goblin glider? Probably that last one.

This figure gets a variant, and like Cable's, it was ridiculously hard to find - so much so that I had to pay scalper prices to get one. The variant shows him with his helmet off, giving us a 4" scale Norman Osborn. In all honesty, the head isn't that great: the sculpt is unremarkable, and the head sits too high on the neck. I was a fool to pay as much as I did for it, but I decided I wanted it and thus would accept no substitues. I failed to live up to OAFE's slogan, and bought the hype.

Iron Patriot is a decent figure of a decent design - hell, it's already being adapted for Iron Man 3. His variant would probably have been pretty cool if you could have gotten it for retail, but no luck there. This isn't a world-shattering figure, but it's a must if you want to build a 4" scale Dark Avengers team.

-- 11/26/12

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