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Mr. Hyde

by yo go re

Well this has to be some kind of record!

An experimental chemical mixture turned criminal scientist Calvin Zabo into the raging, super-strong engine of destruction called Mr. Hyde!

Dr. Zabo was obsessed with R.L. Stevenson's 1886 classic, but needed money to further his research into duplicating the story; his solution was to take jobs at medical providers, then rob them. Too smart to get caught, he nevertheless developed a reputation that made employers wary. When Donald Blake refused to hire him as a surgeon, he swore vengeance.

Mr. Hyde is the Build-A-Figure for Series 1 of the Shang-Chi and the Legends of Chima figures. Why? Because six figures wasn't enough to make the dragon, presumably. Mr Hyde has fought pretty much all the same heroes as Stilt-Man, but never Shang-Chi. Anyway, buy all six figures, and you can assemble the brute. A very familiar brute.

Mr. Hyde uses the same BAF molds as Joe Fixit - thus, some sort of new speed record for the time between the introduction of a new BAF mold and its reuse as a different character. The Joe Fixit series came out at the end of 2020, and here's Mr. Hyde in May 2021. Heck, we accidentally predicted this exact thing! Well, nearly this exact thing: we said "a classic Mr. Hyde," and this is a modern(ish) version, matching the costume he got when he was with the Thunderbolts. It's still a giant green suit of vaguely Victorian fashion, he just doesn't have a short shawl cape around his shoulders. His PVC jacket has large lapels and a built-in vest, and the add-on collar around the neck includes a dark red bow tie. His hands are sculpted with hair on the backs, and his nails are cracked and crooked. Just a big scary dude all around!

During his time as a Thunderbolt, Mr. Hyde was drawn with... well, he's muscular, so it's probably supposed to be a big, strong, jaw, but in Kev Walker's artstyle, it looks more like a jowly double-chin. The toy's face is much different, with a wide grimace that exposes his underbite and fangs, deep cheekbones accentuated by his muttonchop sideburns, a tiny nose, and sunken eyes. It's not really a match to anything, and in a way makes him look like he's had reconstructive plastic surgery - think "Hannibal's Mason Verger." The idea is perhaps that his human-sized skin has been stretched taut over this monster-sized skull? It definitely looks creepy on him, a trait enhanced by the angry, red-rimmed eyes. His hair is shorter than it usually is, but he gets to wear a bowler cap to make up for it.

The BAF stands 8¼" tall, and has balljointed hips, head and neck; swivel/hinge shoulders, elbows, wrists, knees, and ankles; a swivel waist and hips; and a hinged torso, though it's pretty well held in place by the coat and vest. The pegs that attach the legs to the hips are short, so if you try to raise the leg to the outside, you're more likely to pull the limb off than move it. At least it's not broken - remember back when only an utter fool would try to take a Build-A-Figure apart once it had been assembled? Those were the days.

Mr. Hyde gets an accessory, his cane. He does carry such a thing quite a bit in the comics, but this one owes its influence to the Avengers Alliance 2 mobile game (though the game took its design, like that of the costume, from the Thunderbolts run the year prior). The body of the cane is black, while the head is golden. The thickness of the handle is what marks it as coming from the game rather than the book, but it's not that much of a difference.

Created by Stan Lee and Don Heck, Calvin Zabo has been kicking around the Marvel Universe since 1963, but this is the first time he's ever gotten an action figure - way to squeak in just under the 60-year mark, Cal! The old version, with long hair, no hat, and a cape, might have been more classic, but getting him at all is special, and there's certainly no mistaking who it's meant to be. And who knows, maybe Hasbro will release an alternate head for this body at some point. Until then, he can hang out with the Thunderbolts and wait for a figure of his little half-Asgaardian buddy, Troll.

Shang-Chi | Wenwu | Xialing | Death Dealer | Civil Warrior | Tony Stark (A.I.)

-- 05/23/21

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