Saturday, 2 July 2011

Review: Marvel Legends

Various prices on ebay.

Marvel Legends was the single most important toyline of the 2000s.

A bold statement, but a true one. It completely revolutionised articulation in toys. These days it's expected that action figures have knee joints, ankle joints, wrist joints, finger joints, toe joints... But before Marvel Legends came alone these were almost unheard of. Sure, you'd get one or the other on a toy, but all of them?

The 1st series
I was there at the beginning. I picked up the whole of the first series from Woolworths (apart from Toad, who a) was incredibly rare, and b) a bit rubbish - he was transferred from another cancelled toyline into this one). They were fantastic. You could pose them anyway you wanted to!

I then didn't buy any more - I don't really have a reason why - until I came across this guy:

I'm the Juggernaut, b***!

Juggernaut is HUGE. It's really hard to tell from the photo (apologies) but he is a giant lump of plastic and cost no more than the other figures in the line. Suddenly the task to go back and fill in the gaps was on!


We have a fair few of the things now. It's funny, but despite having hundreds of the things, there're still loads of characters that were never made.

As well as bringing articulation to a whole new level, Marvel Legends introduced the Build-a-Figure (BAF) which has since been copied by every company wanting you to buy all their toys instead of just your favourites.

Legends introduced this for a slightly-less sinister reason, however. By having including a limb with each of the smaller figures, it allowed much-desired GIANT figures to be produced.

Big BAFs

Over time, with increasing oil costs, the BAFs sadly shrank until they weren't much bigger than the regular 6" figures. Onslaught was the first victim of this shrinkage and there was a lot of disappointment when people got their hands on him. Compared to the previous BAFS he's tiny.

Things became even worse as time went on, and eventually it reached the point where there wasn't really any difference in size between a BAF and a standard figure (Ares, I'm looking at you!)

Mini BAFs

My figures had all been stored away for years until recently when I began chatting to a guy online who had just started collecting them. I had pondered whether to sell them all for some time, but after digging them out and having a play, I've come to the conclusion that these guys have to stay.

The merc with a mouth
The Mighty Thors
The Astonishing X-Men, including possibly the worst ML figure in the world - Emma Frost
Hulkbuster Iron Man - another BIG lump of plastic
Marvel Zombies Vs Army of Darkness

Originally made by Toybiz, Hasbro took over in 2007. I think they would be the first to admit they f***ed it up. The first series released by them was terrible and instantly killed the line. It limped along with a few more series - mostly store exclusives - and then faded away, while Hasbro concentrated on its new 4" Marvel Universe line.

Hasbro likes 4" figures.

However, things are about to change. Marvel Legends are coming back. Hasbro has listened and after a SDCC exclusive figure in July, the line returns properly in 2012. Hurrah!

Here's hoping they don't mess it up this time!

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