Pawtucket, Rhode Island
Not surprisingly, Hasbro, the new owners and producers of the Marvel Legends toy line, chose to redesign the Toy Biz packaging. Instead of the old clamshells, we now get blister cards. The package design is attractive, sporting character-specific art, and I'm happy to see that they retained the character biography/statistics on the back (although the bar graph system depicting relative strengths is sadly gone). Oddly, Annihilus' head is only viewable from the bottom of the package of all places, via a window. These blister cards are bigger than they need to be with a lot of wasted space, particularly for the smaller figures (Hulk fills up his package pretty nicely though). There's a small number of transparent rubber bands holding the Hulk's legs and keeping his helmet on his head, but other than those, he pretty much just pops out (no twisty ties, hooray). Be gentle removing the feathered crest on his helmet, as that's stuck through a cut in the interior plastic bubble and I could see someone accidentally damaging it if they just ripped it out.
Planet Hulk's sculpt is quite impressive, and definitely up to the standard that Toy Biz set. Hulk's mug is very craggy and stern looking with a prominent eyebrow ridge and chin that juts way out. He does have kind of a pin-head, but that's necessary to accommodate the helmet and still keep it looking in-scale. The musculature is over-the-top and well defined. The only thing I feel is lacking in the sculpt is the pants--they're too smooth looking. More wrinkles, some rips, or a textured pattern (like we saw on the recent Face-Off Hulk) would've really made them stand out. Hulk towers over other Marvel Legends characters, as he should, at about 8 inches (21 cm) tall (with helmet on). Hasbro's paint-work doesn't quite measure up to Toy Biz's benchmark, but it's not horrible by any means. The green is the color of the plastic he was molded in, and it's a very nice, vibrant hue. Black paint is airbrushed/washed over most of his body (I assume to simulate dirt/burns from the gladiator arena). It's overdone in some areas, like the chest, but for the most part it works and helps bring out details in the sculpt. The eyes are painted blue (I'm pretty sure the Hulk is supposed to have green eyes, but maybe I'm wrong). Unfortunately, the left eye wanders to the side, but, as his huge eyebrow ridge mostly obscures his peepers, it's not that noticeable. The brown paint used for his pants is the sloppiest aspect on my figure--the green plastic underneath shows through around the knee joints and the paint doesn't quite go all the way down to where the sculpted cut-off point of the pants ends at the shins. In the articulation department, Planet Hulk is blessed with the same crazy amount of joints that past Marvel Legends figures have enjoyed. He has: A neck that rotates and moves up and down; a mid-chest joint that pivots forward and back; a cut waist joint; ball-joint shoulders that rotate around and allow the arm to pivot in and out; cut biceps on the arm-side of the shoulder ball-joint; pivot elbows; cut wrists; pivot wrists below the previously mentioned cut; pivot thumbs, pivot index fingers; grouped pivot fingers (the remaining three fingers move together as one unit); ball-jointed hips that rotate around and move in and out; cut hip joints on the leg-side of the ball-joint; pivot knees; pivot ankles; side-to-side ankle movement immediately below that; and grouped pivot toes (all five toes move as one unit). None of the joints are loose or stuck and many of them have a ratchet-type action that help them stay where you pose them.
Take note that there are two versions of Planet Hulk available. One has his left arm, from the shoulder to the wrist, painted silver, to look like metal armor, and the other version, the one I'm reviewing, has both arms green. It's up to you to decide which you like better. I prefer the green arm because you can display him as 'normal' Hulk without the armor if you're so inclined.
Hulk comes with a pretty nice selection of stuff. He's positively loaded when you compare him to most of the other figures in this wave that don't really come with much of anything other than a piece or two of Annihilus. The only addition that I would have liked to have seen would be some kind of weapon to use in conjunction with the shield (a sword or mace perhaps). You get:
- A large, bronze shield. This looks like a Legionnaire shield that the Romans used to take into battle. The exterior is heavily pitted and scratched and sports a raised spiked ball/spear/lightning bolt design in the center. There's two straps on the back that go around the Hulk's arm. Depending on how you have him posed, the shield can throw his center of gravity off and tip him over, so take that into consideration when putting him into position.
- A bronze helmet. This is molded to fit on the Hulk's head and stays on pretty well. It sports a lot of detail in the form of studs, dents, ridges, and so forth. The feathered crest has a red/orange tint applied to it.
- A bronze, spiked shoulder pad. The strap is painted brown with some darker brown circular studs. This just pops on and off but it fits somewhat loosely. I suppose it'd be nice if the strap was adjustable, but it's certainly adequate.
- Annihilus' head. This consists of two parts, the head proper and the neck collar. The sculpt is very nice and detailed--Annihilus is a nasty looking critter. The paint is good, except for a disfiguring paint blotch on the forehead of mine. I've read that there's some variation in Annihilus parts as far as color is concerned--some are pink, and some are purple (I got a pink collar). So, if you're going to collect all the pieces to build him, make sure you take a close look at the parts you're getting so the colors match; you probably won't want an Annihilus with one purple glove and one pink one.
- A full-color, promotional booklet showing Hasbro's other Marvel Comics products, including, but not limited to: Marvel Legends (normal size and 12 inch icons), Spider-Man Origins, Super Hero Squad, and Ghost Rider movie figures. I would have much rather seen the money that went into producing this go towards the inclusion of the reprinted comic book Toy Biz always gave us . . .
- A fold-out paper instruction sheet for assembling Annihilus.
Ouch. Hasbro jacked the price up $2 on the Marvel Legends figures, going from Toy Biz's $8 price to $10 now (I paid $9.96 for Planet Hulk at my local Wal-Mart). While the cost has increased, the value has gone down, as Hasbro also chosen to stop including comic books and other extras (like VS system playing cards) with the figures. You may disagree with me, but out of the six figures in this wave, Planet Hulk is the only one worth the increased price in my opinion because (one) he's the largest character which means you're getting more plastic for your money and (two) he comes with more accessories than the others. When I compare these to Hasbro's own G.I.JOE Sigma 6 basic figures which cost the same $10, but are larger and usually come with a lot more in the accessories department, I see these as overpriced even when I factor in the Build-A-Figure pieces (of course, to be fair, Hasbro doesn't have to pay for a license with G.I.JOE--it's their property--they do, however, have to shell out money to Marvel Comics to make Marvel characters--but, with that said, Toy Biz had to pay the same licensing fees, and their Marvel Legends figures were cheaper). You'll be forking out about $60 for the six figures you need to buy in order to complete Annihilus, compare that to the $48 you'd pay at the old Toy Biz price (a 20% increase). Annihilus is cool, but is he worth $60? I say no.
- Excellent sculpt. The Hulk is cool and so are gladiators, combining the two concepts together makes for a great figure.
- Tons of articulation with good quality joints.
- Nice selection of armor/shield accessories. The ability to have a 'normal' Hulk when you remove them gives you two different display possibilities.
- While it's not as impressive as it once was, the Build-A-Figure concept is still a smart way to try to entice people to buy complete figure sets.
- Cost has gone up while value has gone down. Hasbro doesn't include a comic book or other extras (like the VS system cards) with their Marvel Legends figures like Toy Biz did. Some people didn't like the comics, but I'm not one of them.
- Build-A-Figure characters have shrunk over time. To be fair, this started with Toy Biz, not Hasbro, but still, when you compare the small BAFs we get now to the 15-16 inch tall Galactus, Sentinel, and Apocalypse we got in past Marvel Legends assortments you can't help but feel shortchanged. To me, having BAFs that you could easily sell as 'regular' figures kind of defeats the purpose of selling the figure in pieces.
- The overall paint work, while competent, could use a bit of improvement. There were a few minor paint issues with Hulk's eyes and pants and my Annihilus has a very noticeable paint blotch on his forehead.
Where to Buy:
These came out pretty recently, so you should be able to find them on the pegs at your local stores. I've seen them at Wal-Mart and Shopko in my neck of the woods. In the unlikely event you can't find any in-person, you'll probably have to shop online.
In addition to Planet Hulk, Hercules, X3 (movie) Beast, Banshee, Emma Frost (White Queen), and Ultimate Iron Man are available in the Annihilus Series. Get a whole set and you'll be able to put together the winged, Fantastic Four villain, Annihilus.
Hasbro recommends this figure for ages four and up.
Group shot of Planet Hulk, Marvel Legends Face-Off Hulk, and Marvel Legends 1st Appearance Grey Hulk.
Helmet, shield, and shoulder pad.
Annihilus head and collar.
Annihilus assembly instructions.
Package art (back).
Package art (front).