Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Beast (Marvel Universe)

I didn't much in the way of toys this Christmas--in fact, Marvel Universe Beast here was the only action figure I received as a gift (from good ol' Mario). Having already built a collection of 5-inch and 6-inch scale Marvel toys, I've been pretty reluctant to delve much into Hasbro's 4-inch Marvel Universe line. The few offerings from the line I do possess are either figures I don't have in a larger form, are larger than average, or have a largely unique sculpt (or cover all three criteria).

Beast definitely fits all three descriptions. Based on Simone Bianchi's artwork for his run on Astonishing X-Men with Warren Ellis, this four-fingered cat-faced incarnation of Beast in a heavily detailed costume is unlikely to lend pieces to easy reuse. And I like that. The sculpt itself is nicely detailed, and the way the hands are designed gives posing the arms a nice infusion of character.

There's two quibbles I have with this figure (well, three: because the way it was packaged the right leg now curves inward, but I don't know if that's commonplace or just a fluke). While most of the costume details are sculpted on, the yellow piping on Beast's lower back is painted. Usually painted details are a sure sign that a part of a figure is liable to be reused for another--except that the lines on front of the piece are raised, and the combination of Beast's proportions and Bianchi's costuming makes for a pretty distinctive combination. Less odd and more vexing is the hip articulation, which makes forward leg movement frustratingly difficult. Judging by other Marvel Universe offerings I own, this seems to be a common design flaw.

Though not everyone is a fan of cat-Beast, I enjoy the design largely due to its origins in Gran Morrison's New X-Men run in the early 2000s. Coupled with an above-average size (he's taller than my Extremis Iron Man, but shorter and much less bulkier than my Thanos) and a great original sculpt, Beast ends up being a very rewarding holiday gift.

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