Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Toy Review – Marvel Legends Jean Grey from Hasbro

You guys probably think I’m pretty stupid for all of the figures I admit to being reluctant purchases. You’re probably right.

This Jean Grey is not a look I’m all that crazy about. Not now, anyway. Back in the 90s I thought it was one of the hottest things I’d ever seen. There were a lot of female characters running around with thong-looking designs on their costumes, but Jean was a redhead so that added a whole new dimension. And then there were the anatomically improbable poses these ladies were (are) so often drawn in. EXCITING. Fifteen year old me was delighted.

And a pervert.

I’m not going to try and claim that I’m not still a pervert, but in retrospect I see where the shoulder pads, thong, and head sock are maybe kind of stupid. Jim Lee, on the other hand, has not had that revelation. Just look at his New 52 costume designs.

I don’t hate this look by any means, but if I’m going to own a Jean Grey figure I’d prefer her original costume or one of the many Phoenix figures that has been released. And I have some of those, so there was no need for this one.

Except, of course, for the fact that I needed the rest Rocket Raccoon’s parts because I already had Wrecker and Black Panther and also because I just happened to come across Jean in Walmart, which NEVER happens. I realize some of you may not get this – some of you will – but finding a Marvel Legends figure that you actually want in the wretched toy wasteland that is a Walmart action figure aisle is somewhat akin to finding a shamrock in a field of clover. A field of old, not-yet-marked-down for some reason clover. It’s so bad that sometimes I get excited to see toys I already have because it means that Walmart has actually restocked their pegs in the last month and that maybe, just maybe, they will have some other new product that I actually want soon. So I’ll check back the next day and somehow that stuff is gone and in its place are five pegs of Green Lantern movie figures at full price.

So I bought Ms. Grey, being pleased with neither her costume nor the figure itself. But I bought it because I HAD TO HAVE Rocket Raccoon, a character that has appeared in exactly one comic book that I have read. That was the other shocking thing about finding this figure – all of the parts were intact. This was the only Marvel Legends figure in the whole action figure aisle and that usually means that some asshole has stolen or switched out parts and returned it. It’s such a common thing that I had to scrutinize this one a good four or five times before I was comfortable buying it. And I did buy it.
Yes – I am pretty stupid.

You know, she’s actually not that bad. The head doesn’t look as bad as I thought and while I am still not crazy about the design of the costume, it looks like Hasbro did a pretty decent job with it.

Aside from any older figures I might pick up this will be the last figure I review with this style of packaging. I’m excited about that, because it means the next thing I review will be from the new Marvel Legends Infinite Captain America and Spider-Man lines and those figures have been awesome so far.
This one is just the standard blister card, which is the second style of packaging Hasbro used for single-carded figures. It’s just a cardback with – usually not great – graphics and a square-ish blister glued to the front. While I’ve never been too impressed with the graphics or the general lack of bios, I do like the style of package because it is very easy to get into.

This is that same, tired, generic female body that Hasbro uses for all of the females, even when it isn’t appropriate. However, it is appropriate for Jean Grey. So that works. Granted, it would have been nice for the costume details to be sculpted rather than painted on, but that sort of thing just doesn’t happen within a retail line anymore. Toy companies’ production methods have gotten so cheap that I was thrilled to see the few new parts that we got on Ms. Grey.

She has a new head, new shoulder pads, a new belt, new forearms, and new thighs.
Until I had the figure out of the package I had thought this head looked weird. Way too oblong and almost like an alien head. I think that’s just a side effect of the head sock, because up close it actually looks really good and does a fair job of representing the facial characteristics that Jean Grey typically has in the comics. The eyes, especially. The head sock is actually sculpted rather than painted. I found that impressive for some reason. The hair looks great almost 4 Horsemen quality. It sits well on the figure’s head, has a ton of detail, and looks dynamic without being swept to one side or the other. The paint on the head is great. The main thing is that all of it stays within the correct borders. But the eyes, eyebrows, and lips are all accurately applied.

The torso is the same shape as every other female in the line (which works better for Jean Grey than it does for other characters), but with some big ol’ shoulder pads. The sculpt on the pads is good. They’re a good size and shape and have some lines to suggest plating or whatever. The rest of the torso has a matching swirly, metallic blue paint job that Hasbro – thankfully – decided to make slightly more conservative than the thong stripe that Jim Lee used to draw. These are sold in Target and Toys R Us, people.
Aside from some uneven lines at the elbow joints the arms are fine. The forearms are great, though. They match the shoulder pads and costume trim and have a great armored look. I like the way that they extend down over the figure’s hands. The hands themselves look great. The right is a sort of classic “using mind powers” pose and the left is a fist so she can punch somebody after she’s shut their brain down. There’s fingernail polish as well, which I think is always a nice touch on female figures. Unless it’s a character that wouldn’t wear it.
Jean’s legs are mostly standard, but she has some very 90s pouches sculpted onto her thighs. As I’ve said before, I don’t have the problem with pouches that others do. Where, exactly, is one supposed to keep their stuff in a regular spandex bodysuit?

Jean came with Rocket Raccoon’s body and tail. I’ll be reviewing him on the Needless Things Facebook page.
I think maybe this figure could have come with some sort of psychic glowy thing that clipped onto her head. Or not. No big deal.

While I’m not crazy about the design, this is a great female figure. The articulation is very good and it’s balanced pretty well. There aren’t any accessories for her to interact with unless you want to have her whack people with Rocket Raccoon’s tail, which I just realized she couldn’t hold anyway, so never mind. 
All of the joints work. None are stuck or too loose. Double-jointed knees are always great, the elbows pivot as deeply as single-pivot elbows could, and I love the way Hasbro has been doing feet. How it works is there is a hinged peg sticking out of the ankle and the foot is mounted on that. While the movement isn’t the most natural, the result is even better than when Mattel was still making ankles with rocker joints.
Personally I feel like you need the rest of the X-Men Gold Team (or Blue? Which one was she?) to make this figure any fun, but I am also not compelled to get rid of her.

Hasbro did about as good a job as they could’ve with this one. Obviously it would look a lot better if the costume details were sculpted, but I am impressed by the amount of new sculpted bits we got. Monkey and Evil tell me that a lot of people have been wanting this version of Ms. Grey, so I guess Hasbro did a good thing by putting her out. And they did about the best job that could have been expected.

4 out of 5

Keep an eye on Amazon if you want this one. I bet she’ll be marked up ridiculously on the secondary market and given that the new Marvel Legends assortments have already hit stores I doubt very much you’ll find her in the brick-and-mortar world.

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