Marvel Legends Icons
Punisher and Doctor Doom

If you're a Marvel superhero (or villain) and you don't have a movie deal yet, you must feel pretty crappy at the Friday night poker games. The two latest releases from Hasbro in the Marvel Legends Icons line up don't have that problem - the Punisher had his own so-so film starring Thomas Jane, and Doctor Doom was figured prominently in the Fantastic Four movie. Are they 'icons'? Us old school fans would probably agree "yes", certainly as much or more than some previous Icon choices.

It's also nice to get Doom, the first try villain in this series. Oh, I know what you're going to say - Venom is a villain too. But he's very similar to the Punisher in several ways, just a bit more psychotic. Marvel has played loose with his motivations, treating him as a form of anti-hero rather than pure villain. Doom, on the other hand, is bad guy through and through.

This pair is showing up at Targets as we speak, and retails for the whopping $20 each. Actually, that's not bad for any 12" figure (look at the utter crapitude people are willing to put up with in the Zizzle 12" line at this price point), but I suspect folks have been spoiled by the amazing value that these were previously under the reign of Toybiz.

Packaging - ***
I didn't include a photo of the package this time around, because with two large figures I wanted to be sure to include plenty of open shots. The packaging here is identical to the Thor package, with the obvious swap out of information. You can check out the Thor review for the general idea.

The packages are nice and sturdy, and they don't waste too much space. A big plus here is all the personalization, especially with the long character descriptions on the back. It doesn't beat the old comics that the Toybiz figures included - those had some wonderful artwork - but at least they have some individuality.

Sculpting - Doom ***; Punisher **1/2
I'm not at all surprised that the Punisher scored a **1/2 in this category based on photos I'd seen prior to getting him. I am quite surprised though that Doom didn't score better.

The Punisher isn't an obviously terrible sculpt. By that I mean that I can easily understand that some folks will think he looks good (although I doubt anyone will think he looks fantastic). They went for a rather generic sculpt, but the brow is a bit Neanderthal for me, and they gave him a rather odd smiling expression. Something a little more serious and a little less Geico Caveman would have gone a long way to up this score for me.

His body sculpt isn't bad, although he has the overdone biceps and triceps that we've seen with past figures. They are very similar to Thor's, but they aren't an identical sculpt. That's nice, since I would have assumed Hasbro would fall back on bad habits and reuse whatever they could. The wonky ball jointed thighs are there, but it's a tad late to be complaining about those, since they're part of the 'style' that is the Icons. He does suffer from slightly weirder proportions than usual though, because the huge gun on his left thigh and the large pouch on his right. It poofs up the thighs even more, making the ball joints appear even smaller and weirder than usual.

He has sculpted hands with no finger articulation, and they are designed to hold the guns. The right works okay, but the left is terrible.  It can hold the knife, but that thing is so tiny you won't be displaying it in his hand.  And it can't hold either gun - nope.

The best part of his sculpt is the boots, which have great detail work, and look excellent with the smaller gun holster and knife sheath attached.

Doom's sculpt is better all around, but he still has some glaring issues. I like the head sculpt, and the small detail work on the mask and rivets is great. The mask is NOT removable, although it does appear that there's a head sculpt under there. You'd have to do some serious prying though to get the cover off. Because the face underneath is separate, there's plenty of distance between the front of the mask and the actual eyes, which adds some nice realism to the appearance.

The skirt over his thighs is a soft rubber, so that it interferes less with the posability. This causes some other issues that I'll be mentioning in the Paint category, but the sculpt isn't hurt at all. The sculpt on the torso is textured, with wrinkles and flow added to the shirt. It looks good, with some subtle texturing, but this texturing doesn't completely transfer over to the softer rubber skirt. It's not a major issue, but it is noticeable.

Ah, and then there's the elbows. The armor caps on either side of the elbows sit WAY out from the arm.  There doesn't appear to be any reason for this either, since they could have been much tighter and not interfered with the elbow articulation at all.  They could have lost a quarter inch off the posts, and they would have been great.  Instead, the poke out oddly from the elbow, the one downside to otherwise great looking armor. 

My final complaint is that one of Doom's legs is longer than the other.  This may be a sculpt issue, or it may be an articulation issue (where the knees aren't quit joined properly), but either way it's annoying.

Paint - Doom ***; Punisher **
Doom has a reasonable paint job, with nice looking eyes hiding back behind the mask, and a fairly consistent appearance to the silver armor.  Yes, the armor is cast in silver plastic as far as I can tell, but unlike skin tones, it works alright for something like that.

That's not to say there isn't any paint issues, and there's one glaring one that bugs me to no end. I mentioned earlier that the torso is a hard plastic, while the skirt is a softer rubber.  A common problem with different materials is in the paint - different plastics absorb paint at different rates and amounts, making it possible for the exact same paint (or dye) to end up looking different in the final product.  And that's what happened here.

The softer green skirt is a much darker green than the torso.  It's not easy to see in photos, but in person it's quite clear.

Punisher has far more paint issues though.  There's that glossy face, cast in a flesh color with painted hair.  The face is a slightly different color - and much glossier than the neck - and that's also quite obvious in person.  The Punisher emblem is fairly clean and neat, but many of the silver areas on the guns and knife are inconsistent in thickness and coverage.

Oh, and then there's the eyes and lips.  He's got some of that lipstick thing going on (although, unlike the green on Doom, it's more noticeable in photos than in person), and his eyes aren't quite lined up properly.  I think this is partly due to the catch lights being painted in very different places on either eye.  It also doesn't help that one pupil is painted at the bottom of the eye, with the other at the top.

Articulation - ***
Hasbro has done some good things for the articulation on this figures.  They have tightened up the joints, and given us clicky joints where it really counts, like the shoulders and hips.  But on these two figures, they've also taken some things away.

Doom has just a cut neck joint, which was a disappointment.  You know how I feel about ball jointed necks.  The Punisher has one, and even with the limited movement, it's still mighty nice to have.

The both have the usual ball jointed shoulders and ball jointed hips, along with the cut waist and pin ankles. But that's where they start to differ.

The Punisher has double jointed pin elbows and knees - Doom has only single.  Doom has a pin and cut wrist so it can turn, while the Punisher only has the pin.  This is a HUGE problem, and really hurts your ability to pose him.  Without the any kind of cut, his hands have to stay straight out, so that even though he could hold the machine gun in both hands, he can't without this one joint.  Argh!

Other differences - the Punisher has the clicky chest, Doom doesn't;  and Doom has the pin fingers, Punisher doesn't; Punisher has the joints on both sides of his ball shoulders, Doom doesn't (Argh! again).  Both figures can hold a fair number of poses, but they aren't as articulated in general as past releases, including Thor.

Accessories - **1/2
Doom comes with one accessory - his gun.  Actually, that's not bad with the Icons line, where most of the Toybiz figures had squat. The gun looks great, fits very nicely in the permanent holster, and can be held in either hand.

Unfortunately, the Punisher does not live up to the expectations you might have for him in this category.  He does have three accessories, an Icons record.  There's the machine gun, which had a bent stock out of the package for me that isn't going to straighten without some hot water, a small pistol in his right ankle holster, and a small knife in his left leg sheath.  On the plus side, the clip is removable from the machine gun.  On the minus, it looks pretty cheap.

The knife is woefully underscale, and looks ridiculous in his hand.  It looks alright on the leg, so leave it there.  The pistol is also small - although that's not unusual for a backup gun - and fits fine in his right hand.  It's a bit disappointing though that only the right hand works with either gun.

So with three accessories, why am I disappointed?  Because this is the Punisher, man!  Of all the Marvel comic book characters that not only deserve but REQUIRE a ton of accessories, it's this guy.  

To add insult to injury.  the very large pistol in the holster on his right hips is permanently sculpted as part of the overall leg.  Yep, it's not a removable, useable gun.  Need I say more?

Outfit - Doom ***1/2; Punisher Bupkis
This category is a bupkis for Punisher, who is completely sculpted, but Doom (like Thor) has a very nicely done cloth cape/hood.  It's attached to his chest permanently, although you can remove it if you try hard enough.  It could use a wire in the hood, but you can get it in some good positions with just some minor futzing.

Fun Factor - ***1/2
Okay, I've ragged on these figures pretty hard...but let's keep some perspective.  They're toys, not high end collectibles.

The articulation is decent, the size is good, and the accessories can be fun.  Kids are likely to be very happy with Doom (especially if they've seen the FF movie), but even kids will be a bit disappointed in the Punisher head sculpt.

Value - ***
Twenty bucks each still makes these a better than average value.  Why?  Because companies like Mattel think that 12" all plastic superheroes with almost no articulation and no accessories should cost $30 each, and that's ridiculous.  Some folks are going to be spoiled by the $15 or so that they were paying during the Toybiz era on these, and there's no doubt that the overall value has dropped.  But it's still better than most of the 12" figures out there on the mass market.  Zizzle POTC, anyone?

Things to Watch Out For - 
Not much.  I mentioned the bent stock on my rifle, so you might want to see if you can find one in the package that doesn't have that issue - otherwise, these are pretty much all the same.

Overall - Doom ***; Punisher **1/2
If you were expecting the end all Punisher with this release, you'll be extremely disappointed.  I'd only recommend picking him up if a) you're a completist on the Icons line or b) you're such a huge fan that you can't help yourself.

Doom is a different story.  He's not going to take Venom, Hulk and Thor out of my top three in the overall series, but he's right in there with the others in the middle of the pack.  He's worth the twenty, and I'm betting you'll be able to overlook most of the issues once you have him in hand.

Score Recap:
Packaging - ***
Sculpt -  Doom ***; Punisher **1/2
Paint - Doom ***; Punisher **1/2
Articulation - ***
Accessories - **1/2
Outfit - Doom ***1/2; Punisher Bupkis
Fun Factor - ***1/2
Value - ***
Overall - Doom ***; Punisher **1/2

Where to Buy -
If you want to hit a retail store, I'd suggest Target, although I'm sure they'll be showing up at Toys R Us soon enough. Online options includes:

- In the U.K., Forbidden Planet has them for about 18 pounds each. 

Related Links -
If you're digging on the Marvel Legends 12" Icons, check out these reviews: 

- there's the recent Thor, Spider-man and beast, Venom, and Wolverine.

If you'd prefer a little Punisher, check out: 

- the guest review of the Target exclusive 9" version; the guest review of the much smaller Superhero Showdown version; the guest review of the ML series 6 version or the ML series 4 version; the guest review of the Marvel Select version; or my review of the 12" MCC statue.

But if you're more interested in a little Doctor in the house, check out: 

- the guest review of the Marvel Studios movie Doom, or my review of the Doom maquette.

Figure from the collection of Michael Crawford.

This page copyright 2003, Michael Crawford. All rights reserved. Hosted by 1 Hour