Marvel Legends is the Marvel Comics line of 6-inch action figures that has been going strong since 2002. Originally started by Toy Biz and now run by Hasbro, the characters that have been released range from typical (Iron Man and Captain America) to the random (Batroc the Leaper and X-Men villain Stryfe).
Legends has had specific lines for nearly all Marvel's comics and movies, from X2 to the long-running Spider-Man line. The fan favorite 6-inch line has recently come back in a big way, with Hasbro putting out some truly well-done figures. The most recent of these to be released is the “Captain America: Civil War” line that’s still going strong, an X-Men Legends line and the “Doctor Strange” movie line. So with Marvel Legends having quite the renaissance, let’s look back at the 21 best Marvel Legends figures…
21 Rachel Summers (2007)
The daughter of Jean Grey and Scott Summers from an alternate timeline has a long, weird and convoluted backstory. This figure is based on the art from Chris Bachalo and looks just like his drawings of her. When Rachel wore this costume, she went by Marvel Girl as an homage to her mother, Jean, who also went by that name and wore a similar costume for a time.
This costume is the least Rachel Summers costume that she’s ever worn -- normally she’s more of a leather and spikes, Hot Topic kind of person. So, to get a figure of a costume that was worn for the length of maybe three trades is unusual. But the figure works. Rachel has some great "let the Phoenix out" poses and the brighter colors and kind of cutse-y look work for her, taking into consideration the comic art she’s inspired by.
20 Kate Bishop Hawkeye (2016)
Kate Bishop is self-trained in hand-to-hand combat and archery, a member of fan favorite teen superhero group, Young Avengers, and took up the mantle of Hawkeye while Clint Barton was dead. After Captain America told the Young Avengers they were no longer allowed to be a team, she was the one who brought them back together and gave them a home base in what used to be one of her father’s company’s buildings. Then, Clint Barton came back to life and took on the mantle of Ronin, before reclaiming his Hawkeye identity.
Kate and Hawkeye now work together as partners (kinda), and has proven herself to be a badass archer and fighter. And this figure does Kate’s Jamie McKelvie redesign total justice, while still paying homage to “Hawkeye” artist David Aja. Her hair, the coloring, the nonchalant expression on her face -- it’s all spot on. This figure uses the same figure sculpt Hasbro has perfected for their teen/younger lady figures (see also: Spider-Girl and Jubilee). It’s impressive how much this figure looks like a drawing of her come to life.
19 MCU Hawkeye (2015)
The Marvel Cinematic Universe’s Hawkeye differs greatly from the Hawkeye we know and love in the comics. In the comics, he’s not a family man, and is more of a smartass who sometimes runs with The Avengers. The MCU’s Hawkeye is more of a quiet dude, played by Jeremy Renner. And, hoo-boy, does this figure look just like Jeremy Renner. It's so dead-on, you might even call it a bullseye!
This figure, sans glasses, came in a 4-pack along with MCU versions of Thor, Bruce Banner, and Black Widow in her “Avengers: Age of Ultron” costume. There was one released of him wearing those weird glasses he wore in promo images (but not the actual movie) for “The Avengers” -- but who wants a non-accurate movie version wearing stupid glasses?
18 Wrecker (2013)
Wrecker has been a mainstay villain of the Marvel Universe for a long time now. He and his, albeit a tad silly, enchanted crowbar. He’s been a villain to The Avengers, Hulk and The Fantastic Four, as well as an active leader or member of the Wrecking Crew, the Frightful Four and Hood’s army.
This figure is a great depiction of the character. In the older Toy Biz days, they’d release massive figures that were in scale with (and the same price as) regular 6-inch figures. Hasbro has started doing this in the last few years as well. This Wrecker figure is as big as you’d assume Wrecker would be compared to the other Avengers figures. He’s built like a WWE wrestler, and the angry expression on his face is perfect for the villain. Hasbro has released a few other Wrecking Crew figures, but this Wrecker is above and beyond the rest. He even comes with his mystic crowbar!
17 Black Cat (2014)
Felicia Hardy was Marvel’s answer to DC’s Catwoman. She was a cat burglar who was a sometimes ally to Spider-Man and has since become a staple of the Marvel Universe's street-level scene. She’s even been on superhero teams like Heroes for Hire with Misty Knight. With all that in mind, he fact that Marvel legends didn’t produce a good Black Cat figure until 2014 is kind of crazy. There was one released in a Spider-Man Sinister Six boxed set in 2004, but it was just a repaint of the awful original Elektra sculpt.
This figure is clearly the far superior sculpt. It looks just like you’d expect Black Cat to look. She looks like a Terry Dodson drawing come to life. Sometimes the whole “hair not on a head” sculpt can come off looking silly, but this figure really nails it. You can almost feel her about to roll her eyes at Spider-Man with the expression sculpted on her face.
16 Wiccan (2006)
Much like nearly every Iceman action figure, this figure was probably put out prior to anyone realizing he was about to become one of the biggest LGBTQ Marvel characters (with apologies to Northstar). Wiccan was released in a Young Avengers boxed set alongside his boyfriend Hulking, their former team leader Patriot and former teammate Iron Lad. Interestingly, this figure actually came out before he’d even changed his name to Wiccan.
His expression is perfect for the sometimes bratty, sometimes hot tempered young superhero. While Wiccan could use a more updated figure in his newer costume, this figure still holds up. His articulation is great, as are his accessories -- he has the staff he used to always be seen with, his large scarf/poncho and a satchel. The whole Young Avengers boxed set was pretty great, but this figure was definitely the standout of the bunch.
15 Star-Lord (2014)
We had a Star-Lord comic accurate figure released based on his early days as leader of the Guardians of the Galaxy, when they all wore variations of those blue and red uniforms. But that costume was fairly boring. This figure was released with the line that went along with the “Guardians of the Galaxy” movie and based on his movie costume that is now also his costume in the comics.
While this one doesn’t look much like the actor who actually played Star-Lord, Chris Pratt, it’s actually still a pretty solid figure. It actually looks a lot like he does in the comics, once they gave him his movie-inspired makeover. He comes with a second head that boasts his Star-Lord mask/helmet and a gun for each hand -- but the best accessory he comes with are those now-iconic headphones, which really make the non-Chris Pratt looking human head worth it.
14 Pyro (2006)
Pyro was a longtime member of the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants -- or, at least, he was in the '80s when he first appeared. He’s gone on to become a fairly iconic, and sadly underused, X-Men villain, though he may been featured in the cartoons more than he actually has in the comics. He’s also one of the few mutants who contracted the legacy virus and actually stayed dead (apart from the brief period where he and a bunch of other dead mutants were resurrected by the evil Selene… but let’s not get into that).
This figure was an odd release so early on -- before we got many other main heroes or villains from the X-Men. But, this piece is bright and fun, and looks like it could fit in perfectly with the “Pryde of the X-Men” cartoon… or even with the X-Men arcade game, which is inarguably the best there is.
13 Agent Coulson (2015)
Phil Coulson was created for the MCU and later introduced into the Marvel Comics canon. He was our introduction in the MCU’s SHIELD and would be the sole link between all the MCU movies up until “The Avengers.” He was the Joss Whedon death we should’ve expected in a Joss-directed superhero movie, even if we still teared up a bit. Since then, Coulson has gone on to be the star of “Agents of SHIELD,” where we learned of his resurrection, his discovery of the Inhumans and his brief position as the new director of SHIELD.
In the movies and the show, Coulson is played by actor Clark Gregg, and this figure is an absurdly accurate replica of his likeness. This figure was released in a pack with the MCU versions of Maria Hill and Nick Fury. All of the figures in this pack look surprisingly accurate to the actors they’re sculpted after, but Coulson definitely takes the cake. He comes with interchangeable heads (a fantastic new trend in Marvel Legends) and his giant gun from “The Avengers,” for reenacting his sad final scene with Loki.
12 Juggernaut (2004)
Juggernaut is one of the few X-Men villains who is also a villain to Spider-Man, Hulk and other Marvel characters. He’s not actually a mutant, but is the angry step-brother of Professor Charles Xavier. He’s appeared in “X-Men: The Last Stand” (which earned him another action figure), had a romance with She-Hulk and even joined the X-Men for a short period of time.
Toy Biz released a lot of massive figures back in the day, but this Juggernaut is definitely the best of the biggest. He fits in scale perfectly with other bigger figures like Hulk and Apocalypse, and looks great next to other figures he should tower over, like Wolverine and Cyclops. His helmet also comes off to reveal a perfectly done grinning, oafish face. With the helmet on, you can clearly see there’s a fully sculpted face beneath it, which creates an oddly realistic look for this comic book villain.
11 Jean Grey (2013)
Jean Grey is one of the founding members of the X-Men, so why the hell did it take so long to get such a good figure of her? Early on, Toy Biz released a Phoenix figure that came with a pretty cool Phoenix force stand… but the figure itself was medium quality at best. It was overloaded with articulation that made the body sculpt look weird. But this figure, based on her classic '90s era Jim Lee costume, is one the best Jean figures to date.
As one of the only figures showing off her '90s costume (let’s not speak of that horrendous 4-inch Marvel Universe figure), the colors on this figure are perfect, as is the hair sculpt, which looks like Jim Lee’s art. You can even pose her to look like a Jim Lee drawing of Jean: hands extended as if she’s using her powers, with her hair looking like it’s got a perfect Beyoncé fan in front of it.
10 House of M Wolverine (2006)
There have been a lot of weird and random Wolverine figures over time, but this one is a true standout. This figure is part of the X-Men: Classics line, an off-shoot of Marvel Legends. The Classics lines were made up of nonsense costumes (see Ruby Quartz Armor Cyclops and Stealth Wolverine), reissues of older figures (Storm and Colossus) and a few legit new figures in true comic costumes (Ultimate Nightcrawler and X-Treme Rogue). But this Wolverine was the best thing to come out of those lines; a great figure that’s also comic accurate.
It shows off the outfit our beloved Wolverine wore in the “House of M” storyline, when he was a SHIELD agent in an alternate reality working for Magneto. The “House of M” SHIELD costumes were a lot fancier than the ones they wear in the regular Marvel Universe (cinematic or otherwise), and the sculpt on this figure illustrates how wonderfully absurd they are, with Wolverine standing with his claws out and also... holding guns? Sure, why not.
9 Daken, Unmasked Variant (2012)
Wolverine’s son, Daken, was a big deal for a while. He was a fairly new character who became pretty prominent very quickly. He even became part of Norman Osborn’s Dark Avengers during the “Dark Reign” storyline, taking on the role held by his pops, Wolverine, wearing his father’s classic brown and orange costume. Daken was also unique for being one of the first and still few prominent bisexual Marvel characters,a great legacy hat unfortunately died with him once he lost his healing factor.
This figure was a variant, the regular version showing him with the Wolverine hood up, looking exactly like a regular Wolverine figure, but with a two claws on each hand instead of three (and his silly tribal tattoo, of course). But this variant, with his hood off, is far superior to the regular version. The flirty, smartass smirk on his face and his badass Mohawk are really what make this figure worthy of a place on your shelf in commemoration of one truly great bad guy.
8 Jubilee (2014)
Jubilation Lee is everyone’s favorite Wolverine sidekick... and most everyone’s least favorite X-Men member, depending on who you’re talking to. She’s a '90s mall rat who, for a good portion of the decade, was the only teen member of the X-Men. She’s a cult icon not unlike Dazzler -- the kind people tend to either really love or really hate. She rose to popularity during the success of the “X-Men” animated series, where she was prominently featured. Alongside Emma Frost and Banshee, she even started the teen X-Men spin-off team, Generation X.
Jubes went away for a while, but came back after “House of M” as, sadly, one of the many depowered mutants. But, most recently, she was turned into a vampire (for some reason) and was given a new costume (the updated costume makes sense but let’s not speak about the vampire nonsense). While this figure is, unfortunately, not Jubilee in her classic pink shirt and jean shorts, it’s still a really well-made figure. It was a Build-A-Figure for the 2014 X-Men Legends line and really showcases how far Hasbro has come. The detail on her face is pretty close to perfect.
7 MCU Black Widow (2014)
As mentioned earlier, some of the MCU based action figures can be total misses -- this figure is most definitely not, however. Black Widow was released as part of Habsro’s “Captain America: The Winter Soldier” As the first big female superhero in the MCU, it’s annoying that it took three movies for her to finally get her own action figure. Thankfully, good things come to those who wait (and other cliché sayings).
She comes with interchangeable heads, so you can have Scarlett Johansson in her straight, “Winter Soldier” wig or in her curly, classic wig from “The Avengers." The articulation on this figure could be better and she’s wearing weird boot/heel shoe things, but just look how much that looks like the actor it’s based on. It’s got her pout and everything! She’s the ScarJo figure you never knew you needed. It’s good for not only reenacting your favorite scenes from “The Avengers,” but also from “Ghost World.”
6 Storm (2014)
Ororo Munroe is arguably one of the most iconic X-Men (right after a certain clawed hairy gentleman, that is). She’s a goddess, a superhero, a queen and a leader of the X-Men. She has been featured in nearly every X-Men cartoon and movie, and most video games, too. One of her more popular looks was her punk look from the '80s, where she first sported a Mohawk and black leather. This costume was her look when she started her own all-lady X-Men team with Jubilee, Kitty Pryde, Psylocke, Rogue and Rachel Summers.
The costume on this figure was a variation on her popular punk '80s look that still kept her with her signature cape. It marked the big start of Hasbro perfecting their female sculpts, exemplified, too, by her absolutely perfect mohawk. It’s maybe the best Storm figure to ever be released and definitely the best of the Marvel Legends Storm figures.
5 Beast (2003)
Hank McCoy is one of the original members of the X-Men and was an Avenger before it was cool for X-Men to be Avengers. When he started out in the comics, he was just a bigger white dude who had enhanced abilities and was into science; he didn’t become the furry blue scientist we know and love until the 70s. Beast has been a staple of the X-Men ever since his first appearance and an integral part of the team, even curing the Legacy Virus.
This figure was released very early on, in the fourth series of Marvel Legends, and still holds up as one of the best Beast figures released to date, from his articulated face to the way his fur is sculpted. You can pose him in one of his acrobatic poses or to make him look like he’s deep in thought. Even his fingers are articulated! This action figure looks great, and would have endless play value if one were to want to play with their action figures -- but most of us nerds would just prefer you not touch them or play with them. Ever.
4 Nightcrawler X2 (2003)
One of the greatest moments in “X-Men” movie history, was the opening scene of “X2” where a brainwashed Nightcrawler (perfectly portrayed by Alan Cumming) attacks the White House. This was before superhero movies really took off and before we even had what we now call the Marvel Cinematic Universe (which the X-Men still aren’t a part of, but that’s a conversation for another time).
Marvel Legends put out a lone line of action figures as a tie-ins with “X2” and, while the line itself wasn’t that big or great, it was worth it for this absurdly accurate version of movie Nightcrawler. This figure looks identical to the Nightcrawler we all fell in love with on the big screen. He even has the detail on his face of the carvings that featured in the movie. This figure could compete with any of the MCU tie-in figures being released today. If only we’d gotten more Marvel Legends tie-ins with the “X-Men” movies. Sigh...
3 Rogue (2016)
Jim Lee’s '90s “X-Men” redesigns will forever be some of the most iconic outfits the X-Men have ever worn. Jean and Rogue haven’t worn those costumes for years (especially since Jean’s been busy being dead), yet they still are the costumes most deserving of action figures.
This was Rogue's third appearance in the Marvel legends line (or fourth if you consider variants) and most definitely her best. Her prior figures were either too stick thin (an issue with most earlier Marvel Legends lady figures) or she looked like a goblin. This figure gives us the thicker, more muscular, more accurate Rogue we needed for our collection. She even comes with an ungloved hand, for any time Magneto needs to be taken down a peg, or she needs to absorb Cyclops’ powers real quick to help her teammates. She could look a little sassier, but beggars can’t be choosers.
2 Thor (2011)
This is the Thor based on his comic redesign back from the stellar Straczynski/Coipel “Rebirth”-era. It was also the first figure released after the brief hiatus on the line. This Thor figure was originally released as a San Diego Comic-Con exclusive, arriving in a package made to look like a life-sized Mjolnir. So, it gets bonus points for awesome packaging.
This Thor was later released in the first line of 2012, when Marvel Legends had officially come back full force. It's pretty massive and detailed, and could honestly be a Build-A-Figure. His face looks like it’s ripped right from one of Olivier Coipel’s “Thor,” and the color detail is impressive. This figure marked the return of Hasbro’s Marvel Legends line in a big way, with Marvel figures that had great sculpts, paint jobs and articulation.
1 Wolverine (2005)
Wolverine saturation is real. But lately, nearly every mutant has taken a back seat to… well, every other Marvel character. But back before “The Avengers” and the MCU, the X-Men were Marvel’s bread and butter. Wolverine used to be everywhere, featured in every other wave of Marvel Legends. But now, the X-Men get their own line once every year and usually each of those lines contains a version of Wolverine.
Still, the best Wolverine figure to come out of the Marvel Legends line is the one based on his “Astonishing X-Men” makeover. This costume ended up being his first big makeover that actually stuck, and this figure celebrates the look by being the best Wolverine sculpt ever. His arms are hairy, he’s short, his claws are long, and his face looks exactly like the way it was drawn by John Cassaday. If you own one Wolverine for your shelf, make it this one.
What are your favorite Marvel Legends figures, or any line for that matter? Unbox your feelings in the comments!