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Thor: The Dark World
by yo go re

Despite being well aware that the first Thor movie toys went to clearance in pretty substantial numbers I, like a sucker, bought some of the Thor 2 toys as soon as I saw them. Let's see if that was a mistake.

This menacing villain serves the evil Malekith. He's been transformed from his normal form into a sinister, even more powerful creature with one thing in mind: wreaking havoc on the realm of Asgaard!

Kurse is a character from the comics, though you probably don't recognize him. He was originally Algrim the Strong and wore a mystical suit of black armor, which is the only thing that kept him alive when, during a fight with Thor, Malekith opened a pit beneath them and dropped thor and Algrim alike into liquid hot magma. That's where The Beyonder found him, offering him the power to take revenge on the one he blamed for his near-death (Thor, because the trauma of the event nearly erased his memory). Beyonder also gave him a new, ridiculous suit of armor, which is why you're unlikely to recognize him here.

The movie's version of Kurse looks like one of Peter Jackson's orcs, just with a few more embellishments. Three large, downward-curving horns cascade from the sides of his skull, and a pair of mighty tusks stab forth along his jawline. Kurse is being played by Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje underneath all that makeup, but you're not going to recognize him, either.

Looking at the figure, it's hard to tell what's supposed to be skin and what's supposed to be armor, which may be intentional: in the comics, his bright red and yellow armor is fused to his body, and was a living item that grew organically along with him. The movie version is wearing a skirt that has an identifiable clasp over the left hip, but the sash that runs up from it disappears beneath an armor plate and never emerges again. He has (surprisingly sharp, for an American toy) spikes on his ankles, forearms, shoulders and on his back. A large collar of bone is draped around his neck like a yoke, making him look both powerful and bestial.

For the most part, Kurse is a dark grey, with some bone apps on his spikes. The figure pays homage to its "ketchup and mustard" comicbook roots on the face, where there's a brick red blush over the whole thing, and then a few straight yellow lines that look like war paint. The red is continued on his chest and shoulders, but its placement really seems to vary: there were two Kurses on the peg when I found him, and the apps were noticeably different on each. You'll also want to check the bones, to make sure there's enough paint coverage on them to make you happy.

The articulation cutbacks that made the Wolverine toys so easily ignored don't seem to have hit the Thor 2 line. Kurse has a balljointed head, swivel/hinge shoulders, swivel/hinge elbows, swivel/hinge hips, swivel thighs, and swivel/hinge knees. He doesn't have any ankles or wrists, which we can kind of understand (the designs of his armor/body don't lend themselves easily to joints) but it's still disappointing. And no waist? The heck? There's a seam there, but it's just to help hold his skirt in place. Weird choice.

Kurse comes with one accessory: a ball. Since he looks like an animal, we assume it's so he can play fetch! Okay, it's probably some kind of weapon - a Svartalfheim grenade or something. He's got three more of them on his belt, but this one is loose. You can jam it into his hand if you want. His right hand, anyway: his left is open too wide to hold anything.

It's just about a month until Thor 2 hits theaters, and right now we don't know what Kurse's story will be. Will it follow the comics' tale of betrayal and misplaced aggression? Will he just be a big scary monster with no history to speak of? Either way, even as a huge departure from his comic design, Kurse is a pretty awesome looking figure, and if he really is only two per case, I'm glad I didn't wait for clearance.

-- 10/07/13

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