Marvel Legends means a lot of things to a lot of different people. Having it be a part of my life for nearly 20 YEARS at this point, is pretty incredible in and of itself, and one of the best parts about it is that it continues to get better over time. Sure, there was a dark patch there in the first few years of the transition from Toy Biz to Hasbro, but at this point in time, it has never been better. Speaking of time, the time-traveling foe Kang has been a part of ML for quite a long time, but like the overall line, he is now better than he has ever been.
As it was when the line began with the TB Spider-Man Classics, the number one most important thing about ML to me is getting new characters. I mean, I can qualify that all day long with things like iconic costumes, eras, etc., but at the end of the day, I have always been about building out the most impressive Marvel Universe possible via this line. After that though, I still a lot of priorities, and one that has been bubbling to the top in terms of importance is getting, when required, new figures of characters who have not been reintroduced into the since after Hasbro really hit their stride with the “Return of Marvel Legends.” I have a list of characters who I still want to see improved, but my shelf really speaks to that as those pre-RoML entrants are getting fewer and fewer all the time.
I was, and in a way, continue to be a Toy Biz mark. ML and the World of Springfield lines really hit at the same time to bring me back full-steam in the action figure collecting when they got started. I believe that what TB did during their run set the stage for what we have today, and their work is a crucial part of the line’s history. That said, and as I said above, ML has never been better than it is today. Sure, that can be debated all day and into the night if need be, but as a tried and true TB mark, I recognize that the work being done on the line today far outshines the TB run at this point in terms of quality, design, and aesthetics, and I am not apologetic about believing that. It doesn’t mean that I rebuff what we had before, far from it, but the way of any action figure line is FORWARD, and I am so glad that we living in a time when ML is able to outshine it past.
See how well the discussion of history and time work for the topic of Kang? With is release, this new Joe Fixit series figure has finally relieved the previous TB Kang from his shelf duties, as by the count on my shelf, that only leaves twelve TB still in the ranks of my displayed collection. I mean, I have a couple of those Sentinels up still as well, but they are there more for adding numbers to their ranks, rather than being the preferred character representation. So, with this Kang (and the Falcon figure also in this series, who I will get to soon), Giant Man, Destroyer, Impossible Man, Avalanche, Toad, Mojo, Spiral, Strucker, Doop, Franklin Richards, and the still amazing M.O.D.O.K. are the last of the TB class still in my display. Sure, I have moved out a few others who have not had new figures yet for various reasons (mostly because they just do not display well with the current figures, like Longshot and Lady Deathstrike, or I sold them off, like Dragon Man), but it is quite the thing to observe as new figures come out, and old ones are retired. It makes me nostalgic for some of those old figures in a way, but it is far outshined by improvements we usually see with these new releases.
Kang is an absolute shining example of this. The old Toy Biz Kang (and subsequent re-release of that figure from Hasbro) has always been one of the “elder statesmen” in my collection who I hold in high regard. Sure, I have always been aware of the scale issue (he is too small, and always has been), but his likeness, colors, and overall importance to the collection kept him in the display for a very long time, and without any reservation. That said, this new Kang just straight blew that old figure up, and aside from the second of passing nostalgia for a long-standing display piece, old Kang hit the bin with the quickness. I guess it can be a harsh reality in this hobby, but with this new version of Kang, I am not looking back for even an instant.
I mean, if I am being honest here, which I 100% SHOULD be, this figure beats this old one in every category I can think of to evaluate an action figure. This new Kang has a more accurate color palette (even though I love the shiny pink on the old figure), has a better overall sculpt, has more/improved articulation, has more accessories (even with them all being reuse and NOT having a new Cosmic Cube amongst them), and maybe most importantly, is more accurately scaled to the rest of the line. Let’s face it, even if you want to argue the finer points of all of the other categories, this figure wins hands down for scale alone, and it is not even close, and frankly, not as subjective as the other parts. I finally have a Kang who can look his opponents right in the eye, and look great when doing so.
The longer I have this figure, the more I like it, and that mostly has to do with with sculpting work. Sure, I like that the figure is correctly-sized, but that is a relief more than anything, but everything from for the head, to the weirdo shirt, to the stripy boots is just aces. I mean, nothing kills a figure faster than a bad head sculpt, but looking at this one not only speaks to its own accuracy, but also shines a light on how unsteady the previous figure was in that department, even if we didn’t really note it at the time. I do not (at all) mean the old figure has a bad likeness, or the quality of the work is not there, but this new one has walked right off of the page.
The body really does benefit here, though, and that is main spot of issue I took with the TB figure. That figure is way too slight with a very pinched waist, so it made for some odd proportions. This figure is built more realistically (I know, we are talking about comic books characters here), and the articulation scheme helps with that a lot. Gone is the standard ab crunch joint, and in its place is a waist pivot and swivel joint that helps hold the aesthetic qualities of the lined and puffy shirt much more accurately. I was worried about the range of movement on this joint, but it works pretty darn well, and it gives me hope for perhaps some similar usage for characters like Dr. Strange and Psycho Man. The elbow have somewhat reverted (in my opinion) back to the hinge and swivel “elbros,” but again, it helps compensate for the costume, and really, the range is just fine for Kang.
Finally, the figure comes with a Joe Fixit leg, three swappable hands, and a big blaster. The Joe leg is new, of course, but the hands and gun are all reissues, and that is fine as they are all appropriate. I normally don’t like to crow about what is NOT included, but I am kind of surprised the Cosmic Cube was not included with Kang, especially since one of his hands can hold it perfectly. It’s not a big deal though, as I have a few to spare, but since it looks so good with this figure, I am not sure why it was left out.
Overall, I love this new Kang figure, it is overdue at this point, but that is fine now that he is on the shelf. I think he is probably the best overall figure in the Fixit wave, and I mentioned, he whittles away that Toy Biz representation a little more. So long, Toy Biz Kang – you played your role well for many years, but you cannot fight progress, and this new figure is the very definition of progress. If you have not done so yet, you can get your new Kang figure at BBTS or Dorkside or Amazon.