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!"
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