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Superhero Squad
by yo go re

The hidden beauty of the ToyBiz/Hasbro switch was that Marvel's characters were now available for all Hasbro's various styles of toys. Marvel Attacktix, Marvel Potato Heads, Marvel Transformers... everything is game. The first one to hit shelves, however, was the Superhero Squad.

As we said in the Superhero Squad deluxe Captain America/Hawkeye review, Superhero Squad is the Marvel equivalent of the Star Wars Galactic Heroes: the line that started as a Playskool imprint, but proved so popular with adult fans that it was taken mainstream. In any case, we're now being flooded with superdeformed versions of pretty much every Marvel hero and villain you can think of - including some you'd never expect.

If they were locked in to their 2" scale, there are some characters we'd never see in the Superhero Squad - just look at Art Asylum's Minimates, and the hoops they had to jump through to release some bigger characters. Hasbro doesn't have that problem, however, which is why they've just come out with their first two large-scale offerings, Galactus and a Sentinel.

While the SHS Galactus is an unmitigated goofball with the face of an infant, the Sentinel is completely adorable. Li'l Sentinel Maybe it's his mechanical nature, but this chibi robo is much more respectable than the Devourer of Worlds. Sure, he's got a big huge smile on his face, but he manages not to look completely twee.

The Sentinel stands 6½" tall, but would be a bit bigger if he didn't share the same squat stance as so many of the Galactic Heroes/Superhero Showdown figures. His sculpt is simplified, since this is ostensibly the child-oriented line, but there's still a surprising amount of detail. Though Sentinels have had many varied designs over the years, this one is based on the same model as the ML10 BAF, which means there are thick bundles of cables serving as "muscles" everywhere the armor doesn't cover. The armor itself isn't covered in plates and seams, but rather presents a smooth, featureless face. His fingers are designed to look like real joints, however, which is nice.

I bring you love! This is easily the most mobile Superhero Squad figure yet, with articulation at the wrists, waist, shoulders and neck. That may not sound like much, but considering that the Star Wars versions started with zero articulation at all, this pretty much counts as super-articulation. There really aren't any paint problems you need to be aware of - at least not on the Sentinel. His partner in this set, however, is a different matter.

Because one giant figure wouldn't be quite enough to warrant a purchase on his own, the Sentinel comes with Wolverine. Almost the same Wolverine that was already released in a two-pack with Sabretooth. Wearing his blue and yellow Astonishing X-Men costume, Wolvie moves at the arms and neck, has his claws out, all that. The only difference? This one is unmasked.

You'll want to give the figure a quick glance to make sure no blue has dripped onto the yellow, but in general it's not something you need to worry about. No, the real problem is with his face. The new, unmasked head is molded in black plastic, with the fleshtone and facial features painted on. That means you may be able to spot a black bar at his throat. The major thing to watch out for? His eyes. Without any real spot on his head sculpted for the eyes, they end up applied in a rather haphazard fashion. Go through all the ones in the store to make sure his eyes aren't drifting too close to one another, or too high up on his head. Really, they could have come up with a better variation for this set.

The deluxe Superhero Squad sets come in packaging reminiscent of their smaller counterparts, with a curved bubble around the figures. Instead of blister cards, however, these are small boxes, and the superdefored drawings of the characters are on the outside, rather than under the blister. The Sentinel's cartoon looks pretty good, house broken but Wolverine's is just a mess. Once again, Hasbro - when you're using art based on comic characters, use good art. Don't get your in-house guys to draw it, call Marvel and have them send over something you can use.

One of the bonus features of the deluxe sets is the small diorama included behind the plastic tray. It makes a nice battle scene even for the MOCers, but who cares about them? The Sentinel and Wolverine are fighting in front of Xavier's School for Gifted Youngsters, which has taken some battle damage: smashed windows, rips in the roof, all that. It's actually a nice little backdrop, and there's even a pile of rubble on the tray for Wolverine to leap from.

The Superhero Squad Sentinel set is a good buy. For $10, you get one really cool figure, one decent figure, and a battle scene to put them in front of. They could have chosen a better Wolverine to give us, but even with this less-than-impressive variation, this set is still much better than the Galactus/Human Torch one. So get yourself a cutesy-wutesy death machine, and start hunting chibi mutants today.


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