Though I don’t normally have to hunt toys down these days thanks to the awesome steps that retail stores and the distributors have put into effect, there is the occasional toy that is under ordered and overly popular, which leads to weeks of running around Metro Manila trying to get ahead of the pack. This was the case with the recent Marvel Universe Greatest Battles Comic Pack: Deadpool vs. Taskmaster.
I'm going to call it the MUGBCP: DPvTM.
So the MUGBCP: DPvTM was shipped with the Marvel Universe Greatest Battles Comic Pack: Silver Samurai vs. Wolverine (or MUGBCP: SSvWV for short) but due to the recent popularity of Deadpool, it sold out quicker than it could be stocked. It wasn't uncommon to see Patch and Sammy on the shelves days after a sighting, but Wade and Tony were always scooped up faster than you could say sociopathic tendencies.
I finally lucked into a set at SM Centerpoint in San Juan, after attending a birthday party in the area. They had just shelved the single case that arrived and I had my choice of figures. It goes to show that it pays off to check the toy stores whenever you visit places outside your normal run.
The package is the same as the previous Comic Packs like Secret Wars Storm & Nightcrawler. A simple plastic shell attached to a paperboard back sandwiching a reprinted comic and a plastic tray that holds the figures.
In this case, the comic is Cable and Deadpool #36, where Deadpool, eager to get back in the mercenary-for-hire game, kidnaps Taskmaster and proceeds to have an exhibition match against him for the benefit of various VIPs from the military and the government. But wait, there's more. He decides to do it handcuffed.
Guess who wins?
Cover to Cable and Deadpool #36 by Patrick Zircher (Marvel Comics)
Once you're through with the comic and have added it to your pile of Toy Biz "not-for-resale" issues and Free Comic Book Day hauls, you can snip the plastic rubber bands and get the two figures out of the tray.
For this assortment, it looks as if Hasbro switched things around a bit. Instead of two sets with one new figure each, we get one set (MUGBCP: SSvWV) with two new figures and another set with retools of old figures. It's ok though, since both Wade and Tony are made from awesome figures.
Taskmaster, is arguably the "accessory" in the set since he's kind of a B-list villain with simple copy cat powers. Despite this, he's a great figure that really deserves a closer look.
He's a kit-bash from several figures it looks like, though the majority of the parts look to be from Secret Wars Hawkeye. We've seen this body re-used before with the Marvel Universe Constrictor and it turned out great. The same holds true here.
Tasky gets some new parts as well, the best being his head. The sculpt is an excellent skull face in a hood that doesn’t look at all ill-fitting like some of the re-tools that have come out of the House of Hasbro.
Since he's made from the first batches of Marvel Universe molds, Taskmaster still has those awful peg-joint hips that restrict his poseability. Although they work to nice effect in the G.I. Joe line, I still wish they'd let this go the way of the old 5 point articulation. Deadpool, being a re-tool of the X-Men Origins: Wolverine single pack Deadpool, or XMO:W DP, sports both ball jointed hips and ankle articulation that allow it to stay upright in more poses.
Tony still has got a lot going for him. Accessories alone put him over the top.
He comes with the quiver and bow you saw with Hawkeye, a new sword (with scabbard), a re-painted Captain America shield, and a Luger pistol which looks as if it might be the same one that came with Doctor Doom, though I can't be entirely sure. It could also be the same as the one that the old Bucky Cap carried, or it could be that all three of them are the same thing, or it could be that I'm too lazy to find them all to compare.
His cape is especially good, and brand new. It's molded to look as if it's going AROUND his quiver. How's that for forethought? It's very dynamic looking and is great to photograph.
The sword and pistol, though, are both too small for his hands, so tend to fall out. I don't know why Hasbro can't mold their handles to fit hands like they did with the Movie Loki. Is it really that hard?
The other issue is paint. Hasbro can't seem to find a factory that can stay within the lines, so if you have a choice, check the paint lines (especially on the cloak) for slop.
Deadpool on the other hand doesn't seem to have a lot of issues with paint, but that's mostly because he's cast mostly in a pinkish red already. Though I prefer the deep, rich read of the Deluxe XMO:W Deadpool (Dlx XMO:W DP), I wasn't too bothered with the new shade.
It's probably because the rest of him is so cool.
He's basically got the XMO:W DP's body but with a new head that looks less cartoony. He's still got the eyebrow lift going on, though. He's also got new hands. Get this; the right hand has his pinky sticking out. You know, like time for tea, where's my teacup. It's a nod to how he was drawn in a few comic panels, holding his gun with the last finger stretched out. Honestly, its stuff like that really sells toys like this to me.
There are some minor changes to his chest and arms, too, but they're probably to accommodate the new pieces.
He's also sporting a new, less Liefeldian, harness. The first two 3.75" Deadpools, as well as two 6" Marvel Legends figures, all sport the Y-straps in the front with his teleporter (does he say "bodyslide"? I forget. Cable's jargon was so cool) button on the front. Attached to the back of these straps are scabbards that hold his katanas. These were always a problem for me, since I like to display him on his Vespa. The new 6" version from the 2-pack solved that by making the swords and sheaths removable, but they took a different tack here. They removed the scabbards altogether and just put loops in the straps to allow the swords to hang there. Nice.
I love how all his gear can me stowed to leave his hands free. Swords in the loops, gun in the holster, and the knife goes in a sheath at the small of his back. That means his hands are free to hold all the G.I. Joe weapons you can load him up with.
Articulation is another area that's improved from my old Dlx XMO:W DP. I hated the fact that he couldn't look up when he was riding his moped. The combined limitations of his stomach and neck joints meant he hunched over the handlebars no matter what you tried.
The head on this one is much better designed, and without the scabbards, he can move his chest back a little. Sweet.
All in all, this was one of the best sets I've ever picked up. Both figures are excellent, despite not being entirely new. Both are well accessorized, well articulated, and well sculpted. The only problem really is the paint and the gummy plastic used for Deadpool's gun (what's up with that?).
I definitely would have paid more than retail for this. Which is what you'll probably have to do since the pack is hard to find in the wild.