Marvel Universe: A Whole New World
February 26, 2009

 

Last summer at the San Diego Comic Con International Hasbro finally made the announcement that I had been waiting for: a 3-3/4" Marvel Universe line. As a big fan of the 3-3/4" scale (there’s nothing better in my book) I was hoping Hasbro would go this route with the Marvel license. The announcement was made, the first pictures were shown and the waiting began. The line wasn’t due to hit stores until March 2009! That was a long way off from July 2008!

 

 

As things go in the realms of the intertubes, the intervening months were full of speculation, excitement and more than a little controversy from collectors who had invested many years and hundreds of dollars into the 6" Marvel Legends line. And now, it seemed, Hasbro would be putting the bulk of their attention into this new Marvel Universe line.

From Hasbro’s standpoint I can certainly understand the decision. They inherited Marvel Legends, but Marvel Universe is theirs in both concept and execution. As, arguably, the leader when it comes to 3-3/4" action figures Marvel Universe provided Hasbro with the opportunity to do an expansive Marvel toy line their way. And while everyone may not agree, Hasbro’s way is working out pretty darn well for me.

Flash forward to the New York Comic Con and Toy Fair, and we got to see a little more of what was in store for Marvel Universe. Not only are we expecting something like 34 single carded figures, but we’re also looking at a series of 12 Comic Book 2 Packs based upon the old Secret Wars maxi-series from 25 years ago, and a series of Gigantic Battles 2 packs at Wal-Mart featuring a giant 12" character paired with a 3-3/4" character. And this is just the tip of the iceberg.

I received a preview figure (Iron Man) from Hasbro a little before the New York Comic Con, and since then found a few more figures at a Meijer in northern Ohio while on a road-trip. So, having had the figures in hand for awhile now I can safely say I love these figures! Hasbro has done a really spectacular job, and things only look to improve. The sculpting and articulation is great, for the most part. The character selection is a lot of fun, mixing A-List characters like Spider-Man, Iron Man and Wolverine with lesser known characters such as Iron First, Ronin and Moon Knight. I cannot wait to see what this line is like a year or two down the road.

The biggest compliment I can give this line is that it has reinvigorated my interest in Marvel Comics. I’ve barely read much Marvel product over the past couple years at all. But I still had a love for many of their characters. My first comic, when I was nine years old, was a Marvel Comic. When I was 13 my parents practically had to drag me to see Superman: The Movie. I didn’t want to see it because it was DC! (Ironically that movie ignited my love for DC Comics). But over the last few years I moved away from reading Marvel stuff and am just now, inspired by the MU line, am going back and picking up trades. I’m looking forward to delving into the mystery of the Red Hulk (he’s coming in Wave 4), learning more about Ronin (I know Clint Barton, formerly Hawkeye is under the mask but don’t know much beyond that) and reading the current adventures of Iron Fist and others.  I’ve been following the Ed Brubaker run on Captain America, and am really excited about getting a figure of "Bucky" Cap in the upcoming Secret Invasion-inspired Gigantic Battles set with Captain America and Goliath Skrull!

Marvel Universe will likely have me spending as much on trade paperbacks as on the toyline itself!

I would imagine that Marvel Universe will have another big presence this summer at SDCC. I can’t wait to see what gets unveiled there.

I still love DC Comics, and still enjoy the heck out of Mattel’s Infinite Heroes 3-3/4" line…but what Hasbro is doing with Marvel Universe has me saying: "MAKE MINE MARVEL!"

 

 

Jeff Cope
Jeff Cope has been collecting toys and action figures since he was a wee lad growing up in the 70s, and is still waiting to grow out of it. He's been involved in the online collecting community since he first started writing for Raving Toy Maniac in the mid-90s, and is proud to call AFi his online home.
Read other articles by Jeff Cope.

 

 

 

20 Comments »

  • ChipCataldo Chip Cataldo says:

    Wow, I had no idea they were coming out with all those Secret Wars-themed packs! Awesome!

    Peace,

    Chip

  • David says:

    I’ve been cutting back on figures, but I am definately going to pick up some of my favorive characters here. And I’m a proud DC guy! How great this line looks further shows how sad DCIH is.

  • Danny CantinaDan says:

    Great write up, thanks, Jeff. After some initial hesitation I’ve also gotten pretty excited about this line. Can’t wait for the Secret Wars 2 packs!

  • kevfett says:

    This line is a lot of fun. I didn’t want to like it but I do. I’m hoping maybe the Secret Wars 2-packs will finally bring me an Enchantress figure. I’ve wanted a figure of her ever since I read Secret Wars when it first came out. You know, back when I was just a little amazing.

  • Chip Cataldo says:

    So far no Enchantress in the first 6 packs, tho she was a big part of the story…they NEED to do her, Molecule Man, Volcana, and Titana.

    Spider-Man & Thunderball
    Black Spider-Man & Magneto
    Captain America & Klaw
    Hulk & Cyclops
    Human Torch & Wolverine
    Iron Man & Spider-Woman

    Peace,

    Chip

  • Lt. Clutch says:

    Chip, are the above figures going to be the first 6 two-packs for Secret Wars? I was hoping for the rest of the Wrecking Crew somewhere in there.

    Black Spider-Man has to be a repack as there is little they can do to change the figure itself other than give it a new head or set of hands. Same goes for Iron Man
    unless the paint scheme is altered, or the Hulk, who could use a 70′s era hairstyle and “blockier” head.

    Personally, I’m enjoying both MU and IH. I don’t buy every figure, only the “classic” version of certain characters I grew up with. My first batch of MU figures arrived from HTS yesterday and I’m really digging them a lot, even the oft-maligned Punisher
    which doesn’t look bad at all.

  • sam moreno says:

    I will definately pick these up when I see them!

  • Ed says:

    I saw these figures at Shopko a few weeks ago, which surprised me because I didnt think they were going to be out until the begining of March. But, what really shocked me was that they were $12 each! That is a ridiculous amount considering that you can buy DC Infinite heroes figures for half that price. Does anyone know if those Marvel Universe figures are going to be that same price everywhere?

  • j1h15233 says:

    Finally saw some of these today. While they look cool, I just can’t spend 8 dollars on these. No matter how nice they are.

  • kevfett says:

    I’m hoipng the Iron Man scheduled for the SW 2-packs is yellow and red. NOT gold. And come on Hasbro a Thor/Enchantress 2-pack would be perfect

  • MisterPL says:

    So far the only ones I’ve seen at retail are ones I already own from Toy Biz’s Showdown line, and to be honest, I like the Showdown figures more. When I start seeing some characters I don’t have, I’ll give MU a try.

    In the meantime I’m enjoying the Sabretooth and Deadpool figures from the X-Men Origins: Wolverine line. Well done, Hasbro. You’re putting Mattel’s Infinite Heroes to shame. Wish you had the DC license.

  • Lightso says:

    It’s funny that people don’t realize that quite a few of these are using either modified tooling, and sculpts from the not but 4 years back Toybiz Showdown series. Others are pantographed Marvel Legends, just like some of the Showdown ones were. You’d think retailers would still be burnt over all the clearanced Showdown figures? While the construction might be better, the paint apps I saw today were terrible. I’m really only interested in completing the Claremont/Byrne era X-men to have fighting my Marvel Legends Sentinel! Other than that I have no interest in rebuilding another Marvel display. Especially when they’re so expensive. I’m still used to 7.99 ML. Boy, inflation sucks!

  • Manthing says:

    These figures suck so much, have you all gone mad??!!!

    Or maybe you all just work for Hasbro.

    Free figures anybody?

  • GreatWhite Customs says:

    I for one am saddened by the demise of Marvel Legends and hoping for the return of some of the chararcters we have seen but were not released(classic Storm!!!)

    That being said…the sting is lessend by these figures. I am only collecting X-men as I have limited space left in my man-cave but Marverick,Deadpool and Gambit blend very nice with my “Showdown” Colossus, Beast & Juggernaut.
    Heres hoping the Secret Wars two packs as well as Wolverine origins will produce more X-men in the future.

  • Jeff Cope Jeff Cope says:

    @Manthing…sorry that you can’t appreciate these figures. I really do think they’re great. That’s just my opinion, not shilling.

  • While I didn’t like Punisher enough to buy him, I grabbed Black Panther, Iron Man, Daredevil, and Spidey when I saw them. I’ve never been much into Marvel, and with the sole exception of my ML Blade, I haven’t bothered with a Marvel action figure since the days of Secret Wars. These are simply great toys, though, so just a modest appreciate of the characters is enough to get excited for this line. I couldn’t agree with Jeff more; love the scale, love the concept, and love the execution.

  • Corporate says:

    I’m going to have to agree with Manthing, although I think I’ll be a little less brash. I have no idea why Hasbro isn’t spending their time reinventing ML. They tried to jump in mid-line, with less than stellar results, but if they took the time to set a new standard for more iconic 6inch versions of figures, I’d be all for it. A new Thor, Bucky Captain America or Luke Cage would be amazing, and would certainly sell much better than an Adam Warlock. I would also gladly purchase another Jean Grey, Nightcrawler and Colossus if they used the same sculpts as the new icons wave. The same goes for the Wolverine Origins line; if they were in a 6inch scale, I would pick up most if not all of them… at this point it looks like it will just be the tiny, tiny Deadpool.

  • manthing says:

    Hey sorry guys for the over zealous post – just got so darn mad!

    I’ve just hated the way Hasbro has trashed the ML line. These new 3.75″ figures are an insult, the price they’re asking! I don’t even feel that the sculpts are good, each figure looks well……..disfigured.

    Mattel are winning me over with they’re 6″ DC line. Also I’m looking forward to the new articulation DC Direct have been working on. Not a big DC Direct fan due to the poor articulation, but these new figure might just get me interested!

  • manthing says:

    Apologies for my spelling “their” it’s been a long day!

  • Prof. Griffin says:

    I’m just upset. The first appearence (plastic) of Thunderball and it’s a tiny 3″ figure???
    I’ve been PRAYING to the Toy gods for a box set of the Wrecker and the Wrecking Crew (Thunderball, Bulldozer, Piledriver)…and now it looks like they’ll only be out in tiny form.

    Bah.
    Habro COULD very well continue the 6″ ML line…maybe limited releases, and really obscure characters…(Egghead? Moonstone? Radioactive Man?)
    A Masters of Evil wave was sorely missing.

    Oh well.

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