The Marvel Universe Greatest Battles 2-Packs are the place to be these days if you're a 3.75" superhero collector! They’ve come a long way in just a couple of years. Time was we were satisfied with the likes of the Thor & Enchantress, Hawkeye & Piledriver, or Storm & Nightcrawler sets from the first Secret Wars series. Hasbro suckered us into buying easy re-colors by including a re-tooled figure that represented a missing character in our Marvel Universe line up. Well, they’re still doing that, but damned if they aren’t doing it better!
We saw a drastic change in the toy designs from the last wave of Greatest Battles 2-Packs. Wolverine vs. Silver Samurai and Deadpool vs. Taskmaster were real works of art. Most of the figures were entirely new bodies, and even if Taskmaster re-used some parts, he was given enough accessories to differentiate him from everything that had gone before. Even the X-Force and Classic Avengers box sets didn’t hold a candle to those 4 figures.
We saw a slight dip in quality again with Wave 8 of the sub-line (X-Men: First Class) which featured purely re-colors and re-releases that didn’t interest me at all, but we’re back on track again with Wave 9 and Wave 10 which were released simultaneously last week here in the Philippines.
There were 4 sets released: Spider-Man vs. Captain Britain (classic costume), Power Man (classic costume) & Iron Fist (classic costume), Quicksilver & Wonder Man, and Daredevil vs. Bullseye.
The one that really got me off my ass and out there toy hunting was the Daredevil vs. Bullseye pack. I knew that this one would be in high demand because I had read it was a new sculpt, not the same one they’d been using from Daredevil since the start of Hasbro’s 3.75” line. I liked that Daredevil figure as much as the next guy, but it was far from the best they could do. It was barrel-chested, had the wrong color billy clubs, and its articulation was sub-par. They had also released a Bullseye way back with Wave 1 of the mainline, but it was never re-stocked here and I was not impressed enough with it to hunt it down.
Luckily, thanks to a heads up from a few friends on Plurk, I was able to get the last set at Toys ‘R’ Us Express in Robinsons Galleria’s department store.
I was surprised that the figure did not have a newly sculpted body. The body used is the same as the Jim Lee Cyclops that came out with Wave 13 of the single carded series. It’s harder to tell now because Hasbro has started doing this thing where they create blanks that don’t have any identifying characteristics. If you removed the head, hands, and all the accoutrements on Cyclops, you’d get a superhero body as plain as a Ken doll. Re-color it, replace the head and hands with new ones, and then add a new belt and BAM!
You’ve got yourself a Daredevil.
The thing that I’ve heard most about this figure is that the paint applications aren’t all that great. In truth, there’s only one application that’s a problem area and that’s the dark wash that Hasbro’s factories have applied to the red plastic. Thin, black paint is applied to the figure and then wiped off to give the nooks and crannies of the body some depth. While it works in some areas, the contrast between the black and the red is too high and can look odd. A big problem area is the face of the figure where the black paint really seems to take hold around the eyes.
Honestly, it doesn’t really bother me that much, and I was not going to pass up the chance to get the figure just because of a little extra paint. I can take a cotton bud to it later on.
Articulation is exactly the same as Cyclops’ was, which is to say, excellent.
Frankly, this is the best 3.75” figure body I’ve ever seen. The Japanese Microman line might have superior articulation, but it lacks the sturdiness mass market figures have. I can get my Batman in lots of poses that I probably wouldn’t be able to get this Daredevil in, but by the time I did, I’d be frustrated by all the various parts that constantly fall off.
It is odd that he’s got both a waist swivel and one at the chest-stomach juncture. That’s a bit of overkill, but I guess they’ve worked it in there just in case they need it for another character like Cyclops who has a costume that might hamper one or the other.
A word of caution though: all this articulation means that he isn’t as rock solid as the older toys. If you pop one of the joints here, it’s not going to be as easy to re-attach as one of the hip joints from the earlier figures. You’re also going to want to think twice before you give this to a young child. It’s very small, made of smaller parts, and has even smaller accessories.
Speaking of accessories: Wow.
He’s got a pair of red billy clubs that fit perfectly into his hands. Combined with his excellent joints, he can really be posed in some killer stances. What makes it even better is that the clubs can combine (there’s a tiny post at one end that fits in a hole on the other weapon) to form a longer truncheon.
All that’s missing is the length of line between and the grappling hook!
There isn’t that much difference between Daredevil and Bullseye. They both share the same body, so build, articulation, and construction are exactly the same. The colors, of course, are dark blue and white instead of red. Most of his costume details seem to be tampographed on, but I’ve heard a report that there are some quality issues with the white paint smudging.
But beggars and all that.
Mine looks acceptable by my admittedly lax standards, which is all that really matters.
The great thing about this figure though is that he comes with 2 accessories, hands that can hold them properly (something you’d think would be standard, but which has been a continuous problem in the Marvel Universe line), and storage on his person to hold them when not in use. This is all kinds of awesome.
All the positions above (and the ones below with both figures) were accomplished with very little trouble and with only a standard 3.75” figure stand (like the ones that came with single packed Marvel Universe figures).
The tiny little dagger fits between his forefinger and the other three on either of his hands so that he can be posed as if about to throw the stiletto. If you have some homemade 1/18th scale playing cards, he could probably be made to do the same with those. He does have some problems holding the blade securely by the handle, but as he looks so cool with it between his fingers, why bother.
The gun is pretty nice, too. It’s a standard looking handgun (I’m too lazy to look up which model it’s based on). It fits great in both the holster at his hip and in his hand, and you can push his finger into the trigger guard fairly easily, too!
Both weapons are made of a highly bendable plastic, though. It feels cheap, though the material is probably one of the reasons they fit so well in their spots. I think I’m still going to give him another gun however. The soft, rubbery plastic just turns me off. Give me a solid G.I. Joe gun any day.
Another thing to watch out for is that the dagger, although it fits in sheath, becomes easily dislodged. It’s only a matter of time before I lose this sucker.
I am so glad I got this set at retail price (Php 900.00 or about $20 US). It’s about Php 50.00 cheaper per figure than the single packed Marvel Universe figures, which is amazing considering how good these two figures are. It doesn’t look as if there were that many in Playkit’s order this time around since reports are saying that the big branches of Toy Kingdom/Toys ‘R’ Us only have about 3 pieces of each of the sets, so getting one right off the bat will save me some money down the road.
If I’d waited, I would have ended up paying scalper prices for these figures. And even then, I think I’d totally be willing to pay two times what they’re worth to get them. They are that good.