WASHINGTON: Thanks to the proliferation of film, comic book and cartoon characters, companies are bombarding consumers with an incredible selection of action figures. With tongue-in-cheek, let’s take a peek at some of the specimens worthy of a place in Zad’s Toy Vault. This week, its Wolverine vs. The Incredible Hulk.
Wolverine vs. the Incredible Hulk
Hasbro celebrates eight decades of Marvel Comics’ publishing sequential art with its Marvel Legends 80th Anniversary collection of hyper-articulated action figures.
The latest lineup of beloved characters includes Thor, Iron Man and Captain America as well as two packs featuring Colossus vs. Juggernaut and a pair of adversaries that first met in the Canadian forest way back in 1974.
The Incredible Hulk writer Len Wein chronicled a super-powered agent of the Canadian government with razor-sharp claws and fierce temper (codenamed Weapon X aka Wolverine) tracking and ultimately battling the Wendigo as well as Bruce Banner’s alter ego — the gamma-fueled, green goliath known as The Incredible Hulk.
Hasbro does a commendable job of bringing to three-dimensional life the 1970s illustrative designs of a pre-X-Men Wolverine by John Romita and Herb Trimpe as well as an old-school Hulk paying homage to artist Sal Buscema’s vision.
The Details – Wolverine
First, the famed feral mutant arrives slightly under 6 inches tall and wearing his original yellow costume that’s even a precursor to Dave Cockrum’s updated design in the Uncanny X-Men in 1975.
His garb details include V-shaped blue boots with black flared highlights, fisted blue gloves with silver claws fully extended, blue raised shoulder pads, blue trunks, a red belt with gold buckle and black tiger stripes around a yellow torso.
The yellow mask really pays homage to the 1974 design with slightly raised black ear fins and black whisker highlights that cover most of its face but leaves open a clenched jaw with teeth flashing.
He’s a solid addition to a collection and almost as impressive as the classic Wolverine figure from the Toy Biz’s 2006 Face Off series.
Wolverine also comes with an additional pair of fists without the claws extended.
The Details – The Hulk
Even more impressive is the Hulk standing at 8.5 inches tall. The muscle-bound figure with veins popping from its arms wears ripped purple pants tattered around the knees and a removable ragged, soft plastic, light-grey shirt that drapes around his shoulders like a cape.
The skin tone is bright comic emerald green with slightly darker green highlights, jet black hair and a right hand ready to grab Wolverine and a left fist ready to punch.
The head sculpt features a facial expression of the Hulk in full rage mode with teeth clenched and brow furled.
He also comes with additional hands — a right fist and a left in a grabbing pose.
Both figures also offer more than two dozen points of articulation that should provide nearly limitless posing potential when highlighting the adversaries in battle.
Read all about it – Comic Book Crossover:
A glimpse of Wolverine was seen in the final panel of “The Incredible Hulk, No. 180,” but his first full story appearance in comics was in “The Incredible Hulk, No. 181.”
Alas, Hasbro did not include a reproduction of the No. 181 comic in the packaging. By the way, the company had zero reasons not to as there is plenty of precedent for including the pulp extra.
Specifically, in 2012, Hasbro packaged the fully reproduced book in “Marvel Universe Greatest Battles Comic Pack: Wolverine vs. Hulk.” In fact, almost 50 “Comic Packs” were released between 2009 and 2016 with a comic book duplicate enclosed.
Considering that we are celebrating Marvel “comics” with the release of the figures, come on guys, collectors deserve more.
Instead, inquisitive figure owners will need to buy “Marvel Masterworks: The Incredible Hulk Vol. 10” ($75 to $145 depending on the outlet, ouch) that collects issues Nos. 171 to 183 of the Hulk main series and features the writing of Mr. Wein, Roy Thomas and plenty of art from Mr. Trimpe.
What’s it worth:
Despite the anniversary moniker, this is a pricey trip down memory lane, folks, affordable to only the purest of Marvel Legends collectors.
That reported, the quality and articulation go unmatched for these gems, but a display base and comic book would have made the set a bit more economically palatable.
Expect more 80th Anniversary figures this fall including Punisher, Logan, Agent Anti-Venom and a two-pack with Deadpool and Hit-Monkey.
• This story originally appeared in The Washington Times.