BAF Piece: Right Arm & Leg
Emma Frost, the most talked about figure in Hasbro's first wave of Marvel Legends. Let's see if she met everyone's anticipated failure or turned out an underdog success.
In my recent hunt, Emma Frost was the hardest to find figure from Hasbro's Marvel Legends - Annihilus Series. I saw two fresh cases with my own eyes and yes, she, like the other five figures from this series is packed two to a case and she was snatched right up with none left behind unlike the other five figures, in which many were left on the pegs. Why is she the hottest figure? The world may never know for sure. Is it because she's a female character? Because she is so infamous from online forums? Because she is from Astonishing X-Men, currently one of the hottest selling comic books today?
Finally, we get a new design in Marvel Legends' packaging and I have to say, it is about time. Emma's packaging is just that much more appealing with all of the, dare I say, sexy illustrations included on the upper left hand corner and along the panels on the right side of the bubble. The packaging is quite impressive, so much larger compared to what we are used to in ToyBiz' Marvel Legends and compared to Spider-Man Origins and Ghost Rider Movie packaging. There is something magical about this larger and more bulbous packaging, it makes the purchase that much more satisfying and tangible. The packaging is quite dynamic in design and dimension. Vibrant, energetic cardback breathes life into the packaging with a lot of little extras adding to the dynamic, starting with the new Marvel Legends logo as a sticker on the top of the bubble at a slight angle backward facing up adds dynamic. The Comic book illustrations along the right side of the bubble give a nice look at different artist' work of the character. Along the feet of the figure and crawling up the left hand side is another paper insert with the character's name custom cut out from the insert and when turning the package to the right, you see who the Build-A-Figure is and which piece you are getting. The back of the card is just as stunning as the front with a dynamic foreground photo of the figure on the upper right hand side accompanied by a background comic book illustration head shot of the character layed into the red background. A profile paragraph and some stats along the top give you a nice background on your figure. The rest of the card provides full body shots of each figure and a huge photo of the Build-A-Figure, in this case, Annihilus. Also, with each figure displayed here it displays their name, a number and BAF Piece description. Near the botttom "Collect all 6 Figures to Build Annihilus". Wow, they are really trying to get your attention to buy all six figures to build Annihilus.
Sculpt / Design
There are two huge issues here ever since the very first prototype photos arrived here on TNI from SDCC '06. A lot of terms being thrown around online are that her crotch piece looks to big, like she's wearing a diaper. Call me crazy, but I think they're crazy. Looks a little big, but because of the ball hip joints, we've gotten a lot of this kind of thing in Marvel Legends figures and I'm quite used to it. I'll admit it's big, but not that big. The second item of mass debate is Emma Frost's head sculpt. Online, people have stated things like, she's ugly or has a man-face. I think the problem here is that her head is a bit small and her hair is a bit big. Almost, as if the hair doesn't fit on her head properly. This especially shows where the forehead meets the bangs. If they could have fixed this, I believe she could have looked a lot better. I don't think her face is nearly as pretty as Emma Frost should be, however she certainly is not the ugliest Marvel Legend figure we've gotten and does not look like a man. The hair sculpt is finely detailed and nice other than being too big. Hasbro did the right thing by using an entirely new sculpt from head to toe to give us an accurately detailed Astonishing X-Men Emma Frost costume. For example look at Warbird from the Giant Man Series, just a few months ago, her body is exactly the same as Phoenix' body from ML Series 6. However, the design of the costume is inaccurate in one little spot and that is the "X" that clasps the cape together in the front. It didn't exist when they did it in Marvel Select and it still doesn't now. Lastly for sculpt / design, not my personal opinion, but for accuracy sake, Emma's bust size should be larger on this figure. For accuracy. Not preference.
Paint / Color
The costume, including the cape, look perfect in paint application. They could have given us a cheap looking white plastic on the costume and cape and left it at that however, we were given just the right amount of blue air brush on the costume, which really breathes life into it. "X"s on the belt and clasp for the cape are painted accurately and cleanly. If this category stopped here, it would be a perfect score but it doesn't stop here. Compared to all of the other X-Ladies (see comparison pic in the gallery), Emma is quite pale. She could use a little bit of a tan and while the torso and arms look okay cast in the flesh color, the head always looks better painted and sometimes a modest blush brings a little more feminine quality. I like the choice in green eye color, silver-blue for eye shadow and lips that they applied. The eyebrows could have been a few shades lighter for a softer look. The paint on the lips and eyes are a bit sloppy and each figure that I've seen varies. This particular figure has the right eyebrow raised a little bit more than the left as if she's giving "a look". The hair could have been given a better wash, instead, you have these awkward thin dark brown lines here and there, no balance here. The costume is perfect but the skin, face and hair are lacking, this is a tough score to call.
Okay, I know Hasbro is trying to optimize aesthetics and articulation at the same time, by limiting actual points of articulation while increasing functionality in the articulations points that are there. For example, instead of creating a big ugly line in the middle of the bicep by cutting it in half for a swivel, why not make the the elbow swivel, instead of the bicep, as well as still being able to turn at a 90 degree angle, which is what they did with Emma Frost. Well, this is good and bad. First, we lose the double articulation in the elbow for a full 180 degree rotation, if this were you, you wouldn't be able to bring your arm up to touch your shoulder of the same side. Second, articulation should be taken away where it should be not where it can be. Emma Frost here in particular has a perfect spot for a swivel in her mid bicep where her glove ends and her flesh arm begins. Also, there is an indented line right across the middle of her forearm as a detail of the glove. You could put another swivel here and it would look just fine. But, alas, no articulation here either. Emma Frost's ball hip joints are quite rigid, which is welcome due to it being hard enough to get her to stand in different positions without falling over. Although there is a disk in her neck which should allow her head to move up and down, I couldn't get it to budge. I'm not sure if this is due to a stubborn joint or obstruction from the hair but this articulation would have come in handy since she seems to be looking a little up all the time. I like how they put a ball in her lower torso connecting to her upper torso. In terms of the costume design this works quite well, you get a nice swivel out of this point of articulation and a little bit of forward / backward play, but she's not capable of doing sit-ups. In addition to the awkward movement due to her new double-function elbow joints, the wrists are aesthetically and functionally faulty. Her wrists are huge to make way for the pegs that connect her arms to her hands, how did this happen? We have had such smaller pegs in Marvel Legends figures before. Also, it's downright frustrating trying to use Emma's arms or hands for any pose without having the ability turn her wrist via a wrist or mid forearm swivel. The elbow swivel for this need of poseability just doesn't cut it. I just realized that the packaging doesn't tout the number of points of articulation or the term "Super-Poseable" anywhere.
Emma Frost's cape comes off and on via the "X" clasp in front. My two complaints about this accessory is that it has the "X" clasp which is not seen in the comic books and that the underneath of the clasp should have been painted white. Emma could not have needed much else in the way of accessories except maybe for a cerebro helmet, but that would've looked really dumb on her already huge hair. Annihilus' Right Arm and Leg are included here and will be reviewed on their own in the Annihilus' review.
We can't help but compare the value in Hasbro's Marvel Legends versus ToyBiz' previous Marvel Legends.
ToyBiz - Cardboard card backing insert with comic book in a bag along with a figure, their accessorie(s) and Build-A-Figure piece(s). All sealed in a plastic clamshell. MSRP: $8.99
Hasbro - Cardboard card backing with plastic bubble glued on, some paper inserts, a figure, their accessorie(s) and Build-A-Figure piece(s). MSRP: $9.99
This very topic has a lot of people stirred up. But c'mon, who kept and / or cared about the comic book, really? If you open all of your figures, you probably threw the comic away or reluctantly had a growing pile of them. If you keep your figures MOSC (Mint On Sealed Card) then what difference does it make? The comic book always looked sloppy in there anyway. That clamshell package? It was like fort knox getting into that thing. With Hasbro's card-on-bubble approach you can rip right through with your bare hands, ya! Okay, I do have to admit, that if I were a MOSC collector, I would prefer a sturdy, waterproof, some-what damage proof clamshell, but times are changing and everything is getting more expensive in this big blue earth, it was bound to happen. An extra dollar for a figure doesn't ruin my love for these toys. Another inch and this would be a Marvel Select and it would be $19.99.
Sculpt / Design: 6
Paint / Color: 7
Overall: 44 out of a possible 60
Female characters are usually under much scrutiny but are typically the ones that fly off of the shelves more quickly. Everyone says that Scarlet Witch is uglier than Mojo or M.O.D.O.K. yet I saw her on the shelves at retail, what twice? The fact that Emma Frost is such a great and long overdue character alone will allow her to continue to be a hot figure through to the last shipment of this wave. She may not be the prettiest female Marvel Legends figure, she's certainly not the ugliest, but she fits very nicely into an X-Men collection and is a must have for me.