Since 2002, the Marvel Legends line has been delivering toy collectors some of the best toys based on Marvel characters. Over the years, countless characters have been released in plastic form, offering fans a nice mix of mainstream heroes and villains, along with ones that are less well known, but still popular among comic fans. The series has given fans tons of great figures, but there are some that it seems Marvel Legends just can’t get right.
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Not every figure is going to be perfect, of course, and production issues and other unforeseen factors can make any figure hard to find. These, then, are some characters that just always seem to have some issue with Marvel Legends, be they impossible to get, a subpar sculpt, or suffering from a combination of other issues.
One of Marvel’s most popular characters, it seems like Hasbro should be releasing Deadpool’s face all over the place. Originating back in the ’90s, the merc with a mouth debuted in “New Mutants” #98 (1991) by Fabian Nicieza and Rob Liefeld. His popularity has skyrocketed over the last decade, and with a hugely popular movie in 2016, Deadpool could be one of the most popular Marvel Legends ever… if people could ever find him. The problem isn’t that there’s never been a Deadpool figure, it’s that he’s always been impossible to find.
He first appeared in “Series 6” (2004), which was a notoriously hard to find series all around. Next, he showed up as part of Hasbro’s two packs in 2010, paired with Warpath. Once again, this release was incredibly hard to find. Things got extra frustrating in 2013, when Deadpool was released again, this time wearing his gray X-Force costume, and was once again near impossible to find. Even worse, a classic variant was planned, but it seems like that variant was never released in the United States. Finally, Deadpool was included in the “Juggernaut Wave” (2016), and was once again the hardest figure to find. For a guy who is everywhere, it sure is difficult to lock ol’ Wade down. Everybody wants a piece!
As one of the main leaders of the X-Men, Storm is one of the most prominent and respected mutants in the Marvel Universe. Ororo Munroe was part of the new team that Xavier put together in “Giant Size X-Men” #1 (1975) by Len Wein and Dave Cockrum, where she helped save the original X-Men and then joined the team herself. Marvel Legends first included a Storm figure in “Series 8,” and even included a variant version that came with her now-signature mohawk.
The problems are that the figure’s sculpt goes way overboard on the wrinkled fabric, making it look like she’s wearing a costume that’s a few sizes too big. Along with her undersized head, bizarre hair, and pre-sculpted cape, Storm was in need of a redo. A new Storm appeared in the “Jubilee Wave” (2014), which had a much better sculpt. Unfortunately, that wave had extreme shipping issues. With Storm being the rarest figure in a hard to find wave, it sometimes seemed like she didn’t really exist.
13. INVISIBLE WOMAN
For whatever reason, the Fantastic Four have not fared well in Marvel Legends, despite being Marvel’s first family. While the Human Torch and the Thing have had a few decent entries in the line, and Reed Richards has had at least one figure that can described as “fine,” the Invisible Woman just can’t catch a break. Her first appearance in the line was in the 2004 Fantastic Four box set, which forced fans to re-buy the rest of the Fantastic Four just to get Sue, who wasn’t even that good looking of a figure.
She was then released a few more times in the “Fantastic Four Classics” line and the “Twin Packs” series, each time with the sculpt getting worse and worse. Finally, Hasbro announced that in 2017, a new Invisible Woman would be released, finally with a great head sculpt. The only downside is that this figure is a Walgreens exclusive, because getting one of Marvel’s most important female characters just can’t be easy.
12. EMMA FROST
Another female character that apparently just can’t get any action figure respect is Emma Frost, the White Queen. She originally appeared as a villain in “Uncanny X-Men” #129 (1980) by Chris Claremont and John Byrne, but she was eventually reformed and joined the X-Men. She’s a great character who keeps fans guessing as to whether she’s really trying to do the right thing, or if she’s just acting in her own personal interests.
When Hasbro took over the Marvel Legends line in 2007, Emma Frost was one of the first figures to be released. It’s also one of the worst figures to be released. The head sculpt and articulation just didn’t do this great character justice. Emma got another shot in 2013 with the “Puck Series.” While the figure wasn’t perfect, she was a big upgrade over the original. The only problem was that the series was a Diamond Exclusive, which made the line hard to find, and Emma was the rarest figure of them all.
11. LUKE CAGE
Ever since he joined the Avengers in “New Avengers” #1 (2004) by Brian Michael Bendis and David Finch, Luke Cage’s popularity has skyrocketed. Outside of the comics, Luke Cage is the star of his own Netflix series, and will be a part of the “Defenders” series. Despite all of that, he’s only appeared in Marvel Legends twice. He showed up in the “Mojo Series” (2006) wearing his original, 1970s costume, with the v-neck, high-collared yellow shirt. Considering how out of date this look is, many fans were hoping to get an updated figure wearing a more modern outfit.
That they got in 2013 with the Thunderbolts box set, along with Crossbones, Satana, Ghost and Moonstone. The figure is pretty great, and it should have answered fans’ prayers. Unfortunately, the box set was released as an SDCC exclusive set. That meant that anyone who didn’t get it at the convention, or got lucky enough to purchase one off the website, got stuck paying marked up prices on the aftermarket.
10. SAM WILSON
A decent, comic-based Falcon was released as part of the “Mojo Wave” in (2006), with both a classic costume and modern costume variant figure released. The problems with Sam Wilson didn’t start until years later, though, when Hasbro started making figures based on the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Despite several waves of figures dedicated to “Captain America: The Winter Soldier” (2014), “Avengers: Age of Ultron” (2015) and “Captain America: Civil War” (2016), Falcon wasn’t present.
He didn’t show up until he was released as a Wal-Mart exclusive in 2016. Like any store exclusive, he was needlessly difficult to obtain. That same year, Hasbro released a box set that included a comic version of Sam Wilson as Captain America. The figure itself was decent, but it was missing Sam’s wings. Even as Captain America, Sam has kept using his wings, and they’re kind of an integral part of his character. This was a huge flaw in what could have been a great figure.
9. MARIA HILL
Like Nick Fury, Maria Hill is a super spy who plans 10 moves ahead and took over command of S.H.I.E.L.D. Unlike Nick Fury, she doesn’t play well with heroes. This dynamic has made her a sometimes ally, sometimes antagonist to the Avengers. She’s popular enough to have appeared in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, debuting in “Avengers” (2012), played by Cobie Smulders. Marvel Legends hasn’t treated her well, however.
She came packed with Iron Man in a two pack released in 2009, although she was packed with an alternate Sharon Carter head. Collectors would have to buy the same set twice, or the variant stealth armor set to get both of the popular SHIELD agents. As for the movie version, she was released in a three pack with Nick Fury and Agent Coulson in 2015. The figure’s head sculpt had a gigantic jaw, ruining the Cobie Smulder likeness and an otherwise decent sculpt.
8. ANY ULTIMATE CHARACTER
The Ultimate Marvel Universe debuted in the year 2000, and continued until 2015. It was a rebooted Marvel Universe that updated classic characters and stories for the modern world. The Ultimate Universe made its Marvel Legends debut with Ultimate Captain America in “Series 8” (2005). It wasn’t until (2007) when Ultimate Iron Man was released as part of the “Annihilus Wave.” Since then, there have been Ultimate versions of characters like War Machine, Beetle, Green Goblin, Nick Fury, Wolverine, Iceman, Nightcrawler, Spider-Girl and both Peter Parker and Miles Morales versions of Spider-Man.
The biggest issue is that not enough Ultimate figures have been made, so finding a place for many of these figures in a collection is pretty sad looking. Major Ultimate characters, like Thor or the Maker, have yet to be made. Ultimate characters are so sporadically inserted into the line that it’s really not worth it. If Hasbro isn’t willing to go all the way with Ultimate Marvel Legends, and give fans a decent character line-up, then it’s not worth doing at all.
7. HASBRO GHOST RIDERS
Toy Biz made two great Ghost Rider figures, the first based on the then-modern Dan Ketch, and the second based on the classic Johnny Blaze. Since he first appeared in “Marvel Spotlight” #5 (1972) by Roy Thomas, Gary Friedrich and Mike Ploog, Ghost Rider has always ridden something, typically a motorcycle (though also in a car and atop a mighty steed). That’s probably why he has the word “rider” in his name… because he rides something. Toy Biz recognized this and released their Ghost Riders with motorcycles.
Then Hasbro took over, and that’s where the problems began. Hasbro has made two Ghost Riders, one in the “Terrax Wave” (2012) and another one in the “Rhino Wave” (2015), and neither one came with a bike. There’s no point to making a Ghost Rider if he has nothing to drive around. That would be like making a Thor without his hammer, or a Captain America without his shield. For newer collectors unable to find the old Toy Biz versions, this a huge flaw with the toy.
6. GIANT MAN
As one of the founding Avengers, Giant Man has deservedly had several figures in the Marvel Legends line. First appearing as Ant-Man in “Tales to Astonish” #27 (1962) by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby, Hank Pym discovered special particles that could change an object’s size. Giant Man is the sort of character that the build-a-figure concept was made for, but he first appeared during the early run of “Marvel Legends” as a chase figure, meaning he was purposely shortpacked and was incredibly hard to find. Also, this figure was based on a older sculpt, meaning it lacked the amount of articulation other Marvel Legends came with.
In 2006, an exclusive wave was released to Wal-Mart that featured Giant Man as the build-a-figure. While the figure itself was great, the series was incredibly hard to find. Also, ten separate figures were needed to collect all of his necessary bits, including variant versions. Successfully putting this figure together was almost impossible. Hasbro released a Giant Man as part of the “Ultron Prime Wave” (2015), but this figure was produced as normally sized, negating the “giant” from Giant Man.
Magneto really should be treated better than he has been by Marvel Legends. He’s the X-Men’s archenemy, after all, first appearing all the way back in “X-Men” #1 (1963) by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby. Since then, he’s remained one of the most fearsome, yet also endearing villains in the Marvel Universe. “Series 3” of Marvel Legends included the first Magneto figure, and it wasn’t a home run. For some odd reason, it reused Iron Man’s body sculpt, giving him weird bulges. Also, while making his helmet removable was a nice touch, the head sculpt was way too small and looked odd.
A bizarrely armored Magneto showed up in the X-Men Classics line, but he didn’t return to Marvel Legends until 2014’s X-Men line. Unfortunately, once again the figure featured subpar sculpting, and this time had a giant head. Making things even worse, that line was incredibly hard to find at retail, and fans of the character would have to pay severely marked up prices on the aftermarket for him.
First appearing in “Uncanny X-Men” #244 (1989) by Chris Claremont and Marc Silvestri, Jubilee has been a mainstay in the comics ever since. Her inclusion in the ’90s “X-Men” cartoon also made her one of the most recognizable members of the team. She’s not the most popular character, but most collectors would like to have her. They just don’t want to have to jump through hoops to get her, like they did when she was confusingly chosen as a build-a-figure.
Usually, build-a-figures are larger or oddly shaped characters, which makes sense. That’s why it’s a little frustrating when Hasbro sneaks a regular sized figure as a BAF. She was released in the “X-Men” line in 2014, which was incredibly hard to find. There were distribution problems, and it was only released to Toys-R-Us and select comic book stores. Tracking down each of the figures was almost impossible, and it was way too much work just to put together Jubilee.
3. HYDRA SOLDIER
Since their first appearance in “Strange Tales” #135 (1965) by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby, the criminal organization known as Hydra has terrorized the Marvel Universe. Their catchphrase is “Cut off one head and two more shall grow in its place,” a reference to the legendary monster of the same name and the organization’s swelling numbers, recognizable by their green, hooded costumes. The Hydra soldier first appeared in the “Brood Queen Series” (2007), one of Hasbro’s earliest attempts at the Marvel Legends line.
The sculpting on the figure was oddly proportioned, and it came with two possible head sculpts, a scowling face and a screaming variation. Both heads were pretty odd looking, and along with the poor articulation, ensured that fans kept begging for a redo. They received it in 2014 with the “Mandroid Series.” While the figure itself was a huge improvement, it was shortpacked and hard to find. Even worse, given the nature of toy, many collectors bought multiple copies to build a big Hydra army, making the Hydra Soldier an incredibly hard to find figure for many collectors.
Puck isn’t a bad figure, but he’s also one of the worst build-a-figures in any Marvel Legends line. The biggest issue with Puck is that he’s a tiny character, which makes for a tiny figure, which makes for a bad build-a-figure. He’s small enough where he could have been packaged as an accessory, as opposed to the goal of collecting an entire line. As a member of Alpha Flight who first appeared in “Alpha Flight” #1 (1983) by John Byrne, he’s just popular enough for collectors to want him for their collections, but not worth having to track down several hard to find figures.
That was the other major issue with Puck. His series, released in 2013, was incredibly hard to find, making the whole ordeal that much more frustrating. The only saving grace with this figure was that his parts were only spread across three different figures, as opposed to the usual five or six.
Even though he’s only had a handful of appearances, Onslaught made a huge impact on the Marvel Universe. First appearing in “X-Men” #53 (1996) by Mark Waid and Andy Kubert, Onslaught was ultimately revealed to be a combination of Professor X and Magneto’s psyches, which had been combined when Xavier shut down Magneto’s mind during the finale of “Fatal Attractions.” Onslaught nearly conquered the Earth, and was only stopped when the Avengers and Fantastic Four all sacrificed their lives.
He first appeared in Marvel Legends in “Series 13” (2006) as the build-a-figure. The problem was that, for some reason, Toy Biz decided to model the toy on a monstrous form he briefly took in the comics, as opposed to his more commonly seen Magneto-like armor. This was rectified in 2016, but only in the most complicated way possible. A Captain America wave was released that had Red Skull wearing the Onslaught armor as the build-a-figure, and the Onslaught head was released as part of an entirely different “X-Men” wave. To date, this is the only build-a-figure to be spread across two completely separate waves.
The newest Marvel Legends “Titus Wave” is in stores now.
What is your favorite or least favorite Marvel Legends figure? Let us know in the comments!
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