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Skurge & Hela

Thor: Ragnarok
by yo go re

He's the executioner and she is the queen/
But he's the one whose neck is in the guillotine.

An Asgaardian warrior desperate to prove himself worthy, Skurge's survival instinct leads him to join Hela and become her Executioner. Skurge must wrestle with desire for self-preservation in face of Hela's violence against his home.

Skurge was created by Stan Lee, Master of Fantasy, and Jack Kirby, Master of Picto-Drama, in 1964's Journey into Mystery #103. His whole deal was basically that he permanently lived in Enchantress's friendzone. In that he was obsessed with her and just would. Not. Take. The. Hint. that she wasn't interested in him that way. Or in any way that didn't involve him carrying her bags (metaphorically - though she's probably made him carry literal bags for her at some point, as well). She was so indifferent to him, in fact, that it took her several months after he died to notice he wasn't around any more. Damn, Skurge, even Jorah Mormont thinks you got played cold! Of course, the MCU doesn't have an Enchantress (yet), so here he became the lackey to Hela.

Skurge is played by Judge Dredd himself, Karl Urban. Since Ragnarok didn't shy away from the comicbook designs for its characters, he's bald with those two dark stripey things on his head - they're not hair, but they're also not tattoos because they have a sculpted texture that's rather geometric. The Photo Real paint means this likeness is even better than Eomer's.

For the longest time in the comics, Executioner's costume included a breastplate with a symbolic axe on it, like Batman's bat. But the movie goes back to the Kirby roots, dressing him in a way that every Norse demigod deserves: like a Roman centurion. Seriously, the layered shoulder armor, the little skirt... he even used to wear a gladiator helmet! What the heck, Jack! Did you get your ancient cultures confused? That said, it does look nice, with its dark blue accented by silver linings and using a brown shirt and grey pants with brown stripes beneath the uru armor to complete Executioner's classic colorscheme. The paint quality drops off a bit on the rear of the figure, but that's a typical move these days.

In the comics, Skurge's axe is as integral to his identity as Thor's hammer, and is sharp enough to cut through the dimensions themselves. In the movie, it's one of Hela's smoke-weapons, and he's not even especially fond of it. This toy at least includes it, which is more than we can say for the Minimate. More importantly, it also include Des and Troy, the M16s he took from a place on Midgard called "Tex-as." Sadly, MCU Skurge didn't have the decades of history and weight that 616 Skurge did, so the "he stood alone at Gjallerbru" moment wasn't as impactful as it might have been, but it was still awesome, and the figure includes alternate hands with the trigger fingers out so you can re-create it.

The ambitious Goddess of Death, Hela returns to Asgaard to claim the throne after the death of her father, Odin. To further her dark goals, she raises an army of fallen Asgaardian warriors to fight for her as her Berserkers.

This set seemed like the real loser out of the first three MCU two-packs released at retail, because we already had a Hela and you had to buy her to build Gladiator Hulk. I mean, at least Grandmaster was only available at SDCC, not at retail. So this seemed like a waste. But it's most definitely not.

While the body is the same as the existing release, nothing else is. First of all, we've got her masked/helmeted/whatevered head, with those spiky antlers. This time it leaves her eyes exposed and gives her a battle-worthy grimace. So that's already pretty cool. But then we also get an unmasked head - something the previous release also included, but this one has straight hair rather than windswept, and the makeup has been toned down. And then we also get a "fresh out of prison" head, with scraggly hair falling in front of her face. The facial sculpts on those last two are the same, but the new hair makes them special.

Since Skurge is already holding her Darkforce axe, Hela doesn't get one of those infinitely spawning swords she loves to spam. She does get a little twirl of orangey-pink energy, which probably represents the magic she fired up before awakening all her soldiers. But more importantly, do you remember how we said she had a "just out of prison" head? Do you remember what she did when she just got out of prison? The figure includes an alternate right hand that's clutching Mjolnir and about to shatter it. This set is great!!

-- 09/16/19

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