Marvel Legends Giant Man Series
Kitty Pryde, Havok, AoA Wolverine, Thor,
AoA Sabertooth, Warbird, Antman, Sentry,
and Captain Britain

I don't believe I've ever covered nine unique figures in a single review. That's a hell of a lot for a wave, and I considered busting up the Wal-mart exclusive Giant Man series into two reviews. And then I thought, what the hell.

The Giant Man series consists of Havok, Kitty Pryde, Age of Apocalypse Wolverine, Age of Apocalypse Sabertooth, Captain Britain, Ant Man, Warbird, Sentry, and Thor. There are two well known variants, pictured on the back of the card, of a bearded Sentry and bald Wolverine. I haven't found the variants, of course, but the other nine are up for tonight's review.

As I mentioned, this is a Wal-mart exclusive. And Wal-mart is evil, pure evil. You'll see what I mean. You can find this wave at some online stores though, as they were able to order cases. Expect to pay around $8 a figure.

Packaging -  ***
The usual clamshells show off the figures, give a brief explanation as to how to assemble Giant Man, show the variants, and protect the figures well. That's about all you can ask a clamshell to do.

The included comic book is heavily leveraged to provide an attractive front to the packaging, and that's a fairly creative use.

Sculpting - ****
If you're a fan of Marvel Legends, than the sculpts here won't surprise you in the least. If you have hated past ML waves, then there's nothing about this one that's going to change your mind.

There's no real dogs in this series, but there are some slight ups and downs. Let's start with one of my favorites - Warbird. As seems to be the usual with ML waves, my favorite figures are not necessarily my favorite characters. Warbird is a case in point. She's a member of the Avengers, not my favorite team up, and always looked like a second rate version of Black Cat to me.

However, they've done a very nice job with her sculpt. Unlike some of the manly female characters we've seen in more recent waves, Warbird is downright cute, with a great facial sculpt, expression and hair. The hair's a bit big, and sculpted as a separate piece, but that means they were able to use a softer plastic, allowing the neck articulation to work a little better with the long hair.

The body proportions are good (there's plenty of t&a but not so much 'T' that she's going to collapse under the weight), and while she's a little tall at 6 1/4 inches, it's not terrible. The ball jointed shoulders and cut forearms can make her upper arms look a little weird, but if you play around with them you can get them in an acceptable pose.

Then there's the Age of Apocalypse Wolverine. You'll remember how much I liked the Wolverine out of the ML12 series, and this version is just like him, without being just like him.

The head sculpt is excellent, with a wonderful job on the flowing hair, and even sculpted eyebrows and teeth. The costume is simple, but his proportions are great, and he's shorter than the other male figures, just as you'd expect. He's lacking a left hand, appropriate to this particular story line.

Next up is another AoA figure, Sabretooth. The AoA storyline never grabbed me either, so I wasn't particularly excited about either of these variants. But both Sabretooth and Wolverine take what's best from the art and highlight it, avoiding some of the lamer aspects. Sabretooth's expression is a tad more extreme than Wolvie's, but it has that same wonderful detail work in the hair, eyebrows, and teeth.

The Sentry is a very Superman-like character (at least in terms of powers) in the Marvel Universe. He's become popular with the New Avengers series, and is generally more like the caped crusaders of the DC world than the usual Marvel fare. This sculpt almost managed to eek its way into the top group, but was held back by the very long neck and obvious neck joint. While the head sculpt is good, it looks small perched up on the large neck, and there's no way not to notice the pin/disk joint.

This problem is further accentuated with the heavily muscled shoulders, and the huge traps push his itty head further up, making him look more like a giraffe than a superhero. Still, from the neck down, the body sculpt is excellent, with good proportions and style. He's not terrible overall, but has enough issues to hold him back from the top group.

Then there's Havok. Alex Summers is the less well known brother of Scott Summers, and has been used as a pawn by the bad guys so many times it's not even funny. He emits blasts of energy, similar to his brother. Havok's costume is fairly simple, and for the most part, it's captured well here. The body sculpt is my favorite of the entire wave, and the articulation and sculpting work together the best with this figure. I'm not particularly fond of the constipated expression though, and his funky headdress is a tad too high over the head, and each of the blades are a bit too thick. This is due in part to the materials used and the scale, but it remains an issue visually.

Ah, but what about the Mighty Thor. Here's an old school Avenger, and once again, the sculpting is solid if not spectacular. The detail is reasonable, and his size and internal proportions are quite good. The cape is a bit much though, with deep folds making it much larger and heavier than it first appears. He is a tough one to keep standing, especially if the hips or knees on yours are the least bit weak. The heavy cape also makes the number of stances this guy can take fairly limited.

Good God, have I reached the end yet? No? Three more? You gotta be kidding me...

Antman. Antman? C'mon. We're really starting to get to the third stringers here. The whole shrinky-dink power seemed so stupid to me, but hey, not everyone can get the cool super powers.

At least his head sculpt is good, matching up well with the particular comic book that's included. I actually bumped Antman into the upper group because of the nice job on the head sculpt, a good choice of expression, and less pin-head issues than Sentry. The body sculpt is well defined without being ridiculous, and his proportions are good with one exception. My only real complaint here is that he has some mighty weird feet. The ankles seem to be set almost in the middle of the foot, rather than back closer to the heel. This may be due to the large size of the booted ankle, but the small size of the front half of his foot. Whatever the case, they look a tad odd.

Another third stringer is Captain Britain. Captain Britain was a character created back in the 70's specifically for the U.K. market. I suppose if a) you're British or b) a big fan of Excalibur, the series written by Claremont, that you wouldn't consider him a third stringer. I'm neither a) or b), however.

But, like some other characters that do little for me on the page, I have to admit that Toybiz has done a bang up job translating him into three dimensions. The sculpt has plenty of detail, and the expression and head sculpt are great. Oddly enough, he has the reverse problem of Sentry. Whereas Sentry's tiny head sits way up on a big neck, Britain's head is well down on his shoulders, giving him a bit of a stumpy look. There's also a bit of an issue with his body builder physique, because he suffers from that weight lifter disease where he his lats are so big he cant' even reach his own d...uh, belly button. Again, not a perfect figure, but fans of the character should be pleased enough.

Finally, there's Kitty Pryde. Dressed in an X-men outfit, she also has a great head sculpt and hair. But here's where scale goes terribly wrong, and poor Kitty ends up much smaller than Warbird (only about 5 7/8"). Now, I already admitted that Warbird is a touch big, but Kitty looks like a kid next to her. If both females were around the same size, be it Warbird massive or Kitty petite, it would be less of an obvious issue. But since they are on the opposite sides of the spectrum, this difference becomes quite noticeable. Personally, something in between these two extremes would have made me a happy reviewer.

What made me think I could do nine figures in a single review? It must be the mad cow.

Paint - Wolverine, Thor, Captain Britain ***1/2; Havok, Antman, Kitty Pryde, Sabretooth, Sentry ***; Warbird **1/2
Anyone who regularly buys figures off the pegs of the local mega-store knows that paint tends to be an area where consistency is an issue. Specialty market items have extra attention paid to the paint, but when it comes to the mass market, it's generally a case of grabbing the right color and spraying it in the general direction.

That means that the inconsistency I saw from one figure to the next through this set of nine is not surprising. Not thrilling, but at least not surprising.

Wolverine is the best looking of the bunch, with very clean ops and an excellent use of highlighting on his hair. The painted arm hair might be a little disturbing for some, but at least it's done cleanly. Thor and Captain Britain also sport exceptional jobs, with good cutting between colors, almost no bleed, and a good number of small detail paint operations.

That's particularly true with Captain Britain, who is wearing one very complex outfit. There is some of the blue showing through the white of the legs, but it appears that this was done on purpose for shadowing and highlights, so I'm cutting them a break. His paint job is also very flat, with a matte finish, which works well with the bright colors.

Most of the rest of the line up - Havok, Antman, Kitty, Sabretooth, and Sentry - have decent paint, with a little more slop. Small details, like Antman's belt, are a little too sloppy, and others, like Havok's 'hat', have paint that's too thick and gloppy. None of them are awful, but only a little above average.

Sentry is the odd man out with that group. His paint work is great, but I hate how the blue of the shoulders was cut so straight above the chest. It makes it appear like two separate pieces, and further accentuates his pin head.

Finally, there's Warbird. Most of her costume is good, and the work on her eyes and face is terrific. But when it comes to her boots, there's a ton of overspray, marking up her otherwise attractive legs.

Articulation - Wolverine ****; Thor, Havok, Antman ***1/2; Kitty, Warbird, Sentry, Captain Britain, Sabretooth ***;
There's no lack of articulation on any of these figures, per the usual ML standards. You need articulated feet and fingers? Then this is your line.

Let's start with Kitty.  She has the usual pin/disk neck joint, which allows the head to move forward and back, and turn, but not tilt.  It's not quite as good as a ball joint, and on some of the characters is too obvious.  Fortunately for Kitty, that's not the case.  The hair restricts a lot of the movement though.

She also has ball jointed shoulders (with articulation on both sides of the ball), ball jointed hips, double jointed pin elbows and knees, cut forearms, calves and thighs, pin ankles and wrists, pin fingers (one joint for all), a cut waist, clicky chest, pin at the half foot, and an additional ankle joint that allows the foot to move inward and outward.  That's a lot of articulation, but it all works pretty well.

Warbird's articulation matches Kitty with the addition of a cut bicep joint on both arms.  It's not the most attractive joint, especially in combination with the ball jointed shoulder and skinny arms, but it works well.

Havok lacks the cut biceps and cut thighs, but has all the other joints.  The cut thighs aren't necessary, because the ball jointed hips can move at both sides of the ball. He adds the extra shoulder joint inside the chest, so that the arms can move in to bring the hands together, or out away from the chest.

Captain Britain is identical in articulation to Havok, and Antman is almost identical, with only the standard ball jointed shoulders in place of the more complicated shoulder/torso joint.

Sentry and Thor are identical to Antman, lacking the funky shoulders and sticking with standard ball joints.  Thor has a sculpted left hand though, without finger articulation, so that he can easily hold the hammer.

Wolverine matches Captain Britain and Havok, including the extra shoulder/torso joint.  Finally, there's Sabretooth, who is most like Thor, Antman, and Sentry, with the stand ML articulation.  Except, and you knew there had to be an 'except', he has no swivel joint at the ankle, and each of his fingers is articulated separately, rather than as a single point.  Oh, and his long pony tail has one cut joint too.

Lord, my fingers are tired.  At the end of all that, let's just say that these figures are super articulated, some to the point of too much articulation.  All the joints worked pretty well, with only a couple that were paint-stuck.

Accessories (sans Giant Man) - Kitty Pryde, Thor, Antman **1/2; Sabretooth, Wolverine, Sentry, Havok, Warbird, Captain Britain *1/2 
When it comes to accessories, these figures have two things in common - they all come with a comic book, and they all come with a chunk of Giant man.

I just recently complained about included comics with figures when I was discussing the DC Superheroes wave 2. And while I'm not enamored with the concept any more with Marvel Legends, at least the selection of comics is half way decent. Not stupendous, but decent. My dog only ate a couple of them, since the quality of most past her inspection.

I'll talk more about Giant Man in the next category, since he truly is a force unto himself. For most of the figures, that's all there is, hence the low score if you don't include the big guy's body parts.

However, three of the figures include extras. Kitty comes with alien dragon, Lockheed, along with a snap on stand for her arm, so that the beast can perch on her forearm. Antman comes with his funky silver helmet, which fits quite well, and actually looks pretty good for being so damn goofy. And Thor comes with his mighty hammer Mjolnir of course, emblazoned (sculpted right in!) with the Budweiser pledge. And here you thought it said something about being worthy.

Giant Man - ***
Remember when I said Wal-mart was evil? Well, ignoring all the obvious reasons, they are particularly evil when it came to the BAF included with their exclusive.

First, the normal BAF is busted up into six parts. A couple arms, a couple legs, a torso and a head, that sort of thing. That matches up nicely with the usual six figure Marvel Legends wave.

Ah, but for the greedy monster that wasn't good enough. No, they need 9 figures in their wave, so poor Giant Man got sliced and diced all over the place.

But wait - there's more! You actually have to buy TEN figures, not nine, to complete your Giant Man. As is the case with most Marvel Legends waves, there are two variant figures highlighted on the back of the package - the bald Wolverine and the bearded Sentry.

Now, the bearded Sentry comes with the same piece as the regular Sentry, so no big there. Ah, but if you want a left hand on your BAF, you'll need to hunt down and find the variant AoA Wolverine, because you see, he's the only one that has the left hand.

The idea of BAF's was brilliant - a great idea that enticed buyers to pick up the whole wave, giving them real value. But greedy companies with little concern for their customers or their suppliers will push a good idea further and further, trying to see if they can't bleed one more buck out of them, until SNAP! The customers walk away from the product. The greedy retailer moves on to the process with another product, leaving the poor company behind them, bruised and beaten. Toybiz will get a lot of blame if enough folks end up sans one part of their Giant Man, but I'm sure the real culprit here is the puppet master, Wal-mart. And once their done with Toybiz, they won't care what happens to them, or to the Marvel Legends line up.

Of course, this whole thing could backfire on them. From early reports it appears that Wal-mart ordered very heavily on their exclusive wave. With series 13 due any day, and the two packs and boxed sets already arriving, collector's wallets will be collapsing under the strain. It is quite possible that the Giant Man wave will take a hit because of this, along with the foolish decision to make one part more difficult to obtain than the rest (even though it's evenly packed). And what if Wal-mart is left with pegfuls of their own exclusive? They'll blame Toybiz of course!

Giant Man is broken up as follows:

AoA Wolverine - right foot
AoA Sabretooth - left foot
Kitty Pryde - head/upper torso
Warbird - lower torso
Antman - left arm
Sentry - right arm
Captain Britain - right leg
Havok - left leg
Thor - right hand
AoA Wolverine variant - left hand

While Giant Man is busted up into the most parts of any BAF, he's also the smallest so far of any BAF, standing at just barely 14" (not including antenna). His sculpt and paint are terrific, and it's almost like holding a two up of a regular Marvel Legends figure. There's such an intrinsic cool factor in the BAF's, something I'm sure they hope they can repeat with the 12" Icon figures.

But at the end of the day, the evil empire has tainted the sweet taste of this BAF. Mine doesn't have a left hand at this point, much like his buddy the AoA Wolverine. There's some sort of sick irony in the fact that the character missing his left hand is the one you must find to get another's left hand.

To be fair, the early reports make it appear that all the figures are evenly packed and that the variant Wolverine is not a short pack. Unfortunately though, scalpers tend to snag the variants before anything else in a wave, hoping to make a quick buck. Making one of the variants also contain a unique part just doubles the odds that a scalper will grab it just to flip on ebay, so that while it might be evenly packed, it's going to be harder to come by than the rest of the wave.

Fun Factor - ***1/2
While these figures might have some issues here and there, there's not doubt that the make for great toys. Sometimes the articulation is actually too much for kids, and some of these characters might leave them cold, but the overall concept and general execution proves once again that an action figure can be a great toy, and still look cool on the shelf.

Value - ***1/2
At less than eight bucks each, you're getting an excellent sculpt, solid paint, super articulation (if perhaps too much), and even the ability to build a huge, cool additional figure. Considering that it's tough to find anything in the $8 range period, let alone something done this well, the ML line is a terrific value.

Things to watch out for - 
As usual with a mass market release, you'll want to pay attention to those paint ops. Also, there may be additional variants, so look carefully at each figure on the peg.

Overall -  Wolverine, Thor ***1/2; the rest ***
Most Marvel Legends series have one or two real standouts, while the remainder fall into that better than average category. This wave is no exception. I'm not thrilled that my poor Giant Man is missing a limb, but I suspect that will be corrected soon enough. He's not quite as impressive as the other BAF's up to this point, but he's a decent addition to the set.

Unlike Sentinel or Galactus, I think there will be fewer folks buying the entire wave just to get Giant Man. They did a decent job on him though, even if they did break him into too many pieces.

While I hate to recommend another Wolverine, when we've gotten so many, I really do like this version. Thor is also a stand out for me, and a character that is important enough to the old school fans that I suspect he'll sell quite well.

As is the usual, no matter how much I blather on about a wave of ML figures, there's always more photos then text.

Packaging - ***
Sculpt - Sabretooth, Wolverine, Warbird, Antman ***1/2; Havok, Thor, Kitty Pryde, Captain Britain, Sentry ***;
Paint - Wolverine, Thor, Captain Britain ***1/2; Havok, Antman, Kitty Pryde, Sabretooth, Sentry ***; Warbird **1/2
Articulation - Wolverine ****; Thor, Havok, Antman ***1/2; Kitty, Warbird, Sentry, Captain Britain, Sabretooth ***;
Accessories (sans Giant Man) - Kitty Pryde, Thor, Antman **1/2; Sabretooth, Wolverine, Sentry, Havok, Warbird, Captain Britain *1/2
Giant Man - ***
Fun Factor - ***1/2
Value - ***1/2
Overall -  Wolverine, Thor ***1/2; the rest ***

Where to Buy -
Obviously, Wal-mart will be carrying these. But there's a few online options too:

- Yikes Comics has the singles for pre-order at $15 each, or you can just buy Giant Man by himself for $75.

Related Links:
I've had plenty of Marvel Legends reviews:

- there's the guest review of the Fearsome Foes of Spider-man boxed set, Urban Legends box set, X-men Legends boxed set, and the Fantastic Four boxed set

- The previous Sentinel BAF was guest reviewed.

- then there's the various series reviews, including series 12, series 9 (including Galactus), series 8 Captain Marvel and Doc Ock, series 7 Vision, series 6 Juggernaut, Wolverine and Deadpool, series 5 Blade, Nick Fury, Sabertooth and Colossus, along with series 5 Red Skull, Silver Surfer and Mr. Fantastic, series 4 Goliath, Punisher, Beast, Gambit, and Elektra, series 3 Daredevil and then the rest of the series, series 2 Thing and Namor, and finally, from three and a half years ago, the series 1 review.


Figure from the collection of Michael Crawford.

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