The first thing most collectors ask when hearing news about a new Marvel Select figure is “Is it fudgeable with my Marvel Legends?” Figures that are get celebrated, while figures that aren’t … well, they go on the shelf with all of the other Marvel Select offerings. So where does Ultron fit?
Born of an ambitious A.I. project gone horribly wrong, Ultron was created when scientist Henry Pym transferred his brain patterns onto a robotic template. The robot became sentient and turned on its creator, beginning what would become a decades-long conflict with Pym and his teammates, the Avengers. These days, Ultron is synonymous with Marvel’s premier superteam: not only did he just take a star turn in the company-wide crossover Age of Ultron. but he’s slated to appear in 2015’s Avengers 2. Not bad considering he started out looking like a fruit juicer:
Ultron has a few action figures in the last few years, but they were far from the “classic” design many fans seem to want. Happily, Marvel Select went with this instantly recognizable design.
Ultron stands an imposing 7½ inches tall. He looks good alongside other Marvel Select figures, but he’ll dwarf most of your Marvel Legends figures. Considering he’s a robot that’s built to eradicate mankind, I think the extra height is fine. After all, he’s evil — I don’t expect him to play fair.
The sculpt is clearly based on the work of long-time Avengers artist George Perez. This was the way to go, as even the best artists defer to Perez’s version of Ultron. The head features the distinctive slit eyes and pronged fangs that give the robot his evil personality. The only way it could have been better is if it had some “Kirby krackle” inside of the mouth. As it is, Ultron’s pie-hole seems a little plain — we’re used to seeing stuff going on in there. Having it empty just makes it look like the poor guy’s battery is dead.
Ultron’s arms seem a little short. It’s particularly noticeable when the elbows are bent, but the legs are straight. A few millimeters of length would make a considerable difference. Another issue is the ball hips. The torso appears to be stacked on top of them, as opposed to flowing into them naturally. Had the crotch-piece been narrower and the balls recessed, the figure’s proportions would have been more consistent overall.
Hip joints seem to be the one area Marvel Select is having trouble with; hopefully the company will revisit the hip setup we last saw on their movie version of The Wolverine, with its combination of hinge and swivel. It’s too late for this Ultron, but the movie version may fare better.
Ultron features some sharp paintwork. The base is a nice silver; it’s metallic, but not too shiny. A subtle overspray adds depth and realism to the body, helping to convey the character’s artificial nature. All of the panel lines on the figure are filled in with black and are tight and consistent. The eyes and mouth were hit with a dark but vivid red. Other than a small paint bubble that was wiped off of the upper chest, everything is clean and even.
Ultron has a ball-jointed neck. It has a decent range of motion, allowing the malevolent android to assume some expressive poses. The upper torso joint works well enough, but I keep looking for a waist. The sculpted lines around the midsection are suggestive of one, but he’s static down to his ball hips. The double-jointed knees are appreciated; if only the arms had received the same treatment, then they might not track as so stubby.
Sadly Ultron’s wrists are mere swivels. It doesn’t matter so much on the fist, but the beckoning hand could have been much more dynamic if there had been some back and forward motion. He’s always had a repulsor-style palm weapon, but he simply can’t get his hand in the right position to fire it.
Never one to skimp, Marvel Select provided the figure with a remarkably detailed base. Featuring a score of shattered arrows and the unconscious bodies of Ant-Man and the Wasp, it’s a great piece that really adds to Ultron’s overall shelf presence.
The painting here is impressive, with extra care spent rending the forms of the fallen heroes. The pegs are unfortunate, in that they’re awkwardly positioned and are slightly too big for the figure’s feet. Ultron stands just fine wedged into the debris.
All in all, Ultron is a great figure. He has a terrific design, nice paint, and a killer sculpt. He’s surprisingly poseable for Marvel Select; while there are a few key points of articulation missing, he can still do pretty much whatever you need him to do … well, other than fire his palm blaster, anyway.
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Jason R Mink