“All you do is yell at each other. You’re not friends.”
“No … we are family.”
If Guardians of the Galaxy: Vol. 2 is anything (besides an awesome movie), it is a treatise on family and all of the wonderful, weird, and complicated dynamics that come with it. The flick explores many different themes centering around the bonds of relationships, and with diverse and interesting characters, it truly is a MARVEL (see what I did there?). So, it is fun to me to see the theme of family being established as deep as a toy line created to support the movie, but that is kind of exactly what new GOTG Marvel Legends series has done, and it is quite appropriate that Mantis needs all of the “family” from the series to complete.
Before we go any further, know that this post WILL CONTAIN SPOILERS for GOTGV2. DO NOT proceed any further if you do not want to be spoiled. You have been warned.
This is your last warning.
No more spoiler spacing, okay? OKAY?
Just to make sure, here is a perfect musical interlude to play as you read on:
All right then, if you are still here, and if you have been paying attention, you know that the second series of Guardians Legends are starting to hit online shops like Dorkside Toys (where I got my set). For me personally, this assortment is pretty amazing, and for a lot of different reasons. First, these new movie figures might be the best Legends ever produced in terms of quality, likeness, etc. and I extend that to the Drax, Yondu, and Star-Lord from the first series that pair with this one. It is also pretty amazing because I am NOT traditionally an MCU figure collector, and I stick mostly to comic-based figures. Finally, in two assortments to support a single movie, Hasbro has completed an ENTIRE team. Just like that, all of the Guardians from the second movie are done and dusted from a figure standpoint, and in remarkable fashion. The Avengers certainly cannot claim that, so having the Guardians all together is quite an accomplishment.
Yes, Star-Lord, Rocket, Groot, Drax, Gamora, Nebula, Yondu (damn it, I miss him already), and now Mantis all took up time on the team in Vol. 2, and just like that, they are now all on my shelf in an in near-perfect representation. We have the whole family, and it took a good deal of them to form the newest members, an most unexpected figure in Mantis. Yes, the Guardian that needed the whole fam damnly to help her save herself from the clutches of Ego needed the same effort to be awesomely realized in plastic. If that is some kind of plastic symbolism, I don’t know what is. Okay, okay, that might be a stretch, but just go with me on this, all right?
Now, Mantis is probably the most work-in-progress from a characterization standpoint, and she and Drax were often paired (very well) for comedy relief, but her background and history should make for some great development in future MCU installments, so I am really looking forward to that. The fact is, though, that I don’t even have to wait for that because I got me a Mantis figure that is one of the best MLs I have acquired in recent memory (along with Gamora and Nebula, also in this wave). Sure, I have seen some scoff at her worthiness as a Build-a-Figure, but she IS essential, and despite the perceived size requirements for BAFs, she makes perfect sense.
This wave is made up of seven figures: Rocket & Groot, Star-Lord (long coat), Adam Warlock, Ex Nihilo, Death’s Head II, and the aforementioned Gamora and Nebula. You will need all but Death’s Head II to complete Mantis, and even if that meant picking up Ex Nihilo (I have no experience with this character) to finish Mantis, I have no regrets because, as I said, this is such a solid wave. Most of the movie figures look like they stepped right off the screen (I have a bit of an issue with the likeness on this Quill), and Mantis is certainly in that category. I have to have a complete team, and even if I didn’t there was no way I was going to pass on the chance to pair her up with Drax, so away we go.
Marvel Legends has been hitting on all cylinders and in these modern times, it is becoming increasingly difficult to believe that this is a $20 price point line. Sure, a few years ago I would have wanted to barf a little bit at that price, but the way things are headed, and the fact that I pay a high premium price for some figures, ML often feels like a bargain. Especially since some of the better figures can complete with many much higher priced offerings from “premium” companies. Mantis certainly fits in well with this modern Legends run, and figure like her are why I am back to being a near-completist with the line after a several year hiatus.
The construction is top-drawer, even with the construction requirement, and that does not limit the range of movement or articulation point count, so nothing has been sacrificed with Mantis. The paint is also very well rendered with no missed applications or sloppiness to account for, and I love that Hasbro has recreated the almost metallic look to the outfit. Oh, and even with the somewhat raised heel on the boots, Mantis balances very well, and with little effort in a variety of poses. The skirt piece is also rendered in a fairly soft plastic, so the range of movement in the hips is not really lost at all, and the figure can still actually sit do to flexibility of the material.
Gentle Giant’s sculpt and design is where this figure, like others in this assortment really shines. Mantis joins Gamora and Nebula in a company of simply OUTSTANDING likenesses, and to the point of it almost being a little scary. Listen, I am not going to complain about having accurate facsimiles of Zoe Saldana, Karen Gillan, and Pom Klementieff on my shelf, but the accurate sculpts are almost a little too spot on — it really is like the actors are right there. This is amped up by the fact that the paint actually aids the sculpt (unlike those damned Star Wars Black Series paints), and even though there was some heavy altering of Klementieff’s likeness in the movie (especially in the all-important eyes), you can still see her features shining though. Photos really don’t do it justice.
If you had any remaining doubt that “We are Groot” means “family” (“we are family” was already taken as far as catchphrases go), let that was away now. With Mantis, the Vol. 2 Guardians are complete, and we all certainly are Groot with this release. Like I said, I am pretty devastated over the loss of Yondu, but at least I have my wee plastic people to help carry on the adventures, and Mantis is an essential, and fantastic final piece to the set.
So what are you waiting for? Head over the Dorkside and grab a set, they will take great care of you!