Well, Shugga, it’s another #MarvelMonday and it is beginning to sound like a broken record to say that it has been and impressive year for Marvel Legends. Seriously, the last several years have been nothing short of amazing when it comes to the quality and quantity of releases we have seen. Admittedly, it seems like the majority of my favorite releases in 2020 have come under the “Retro” banner and they appeal to me not only in the styles I usually prefer, but they also often make overall improvements to redecoed previous releases. That is definitely the case with these new Rogue and Gambit Retro figures from Target.
X-Men continue to be get the VIP treatment, and I have to give credit to the Hasbro team for giving us some pretty diverse coverage in terms of eras and line-ups in 2020. Giant-Size, X-Force, X-Factor, Lee, and others have all seen plastic this year, so as those old cliche goes, there has been something for everyone. There is no denying the popularity and staying power of the Jim Lee team, and while we have gotten a pretty good run of coverage for that group in the past, there are still some refinements and style improvements that sure to be exploited in the line, especially since that era hits the sweet spot in the current Retro focus. Enter Gambit and Rogue: they are two figures that got fine figures in the past, but were prime territory to be revisited for upgrades, and speaking for the latter especially, getting them back into circulation.
I felt I was mostly good with the first releases of these figures in the Lee style. While that is the team I have assembled on my primary Legends shelf (due to the character coverage), it has never been my favorite, so I tend to be a bit more loose when it comes to accuracy in those terms. That said, Rogue’s head sculpt and Gambit’s funky hairdo (I mean, more so than usual) never really sat right with me, and I know that I am not alone. So, when I saw that both of these things were addressed/changed in the announcement of these new offerings, I knew that they had me again. Due to no SDCC or NYCC this year, I did not get to see these in person ahead of their release (even in prototype form), so I wasn’t completely sure about how much different they would be, but as usual I just rolled the dice and opened the wallet.
Well, I am glad I did, because not only are these two figures better for the issues listed above, but I find them to be improvements overall, and some of the changes made were originally not a big deal to me, and some were completely unlooked for ahead of their arrival. I got mine via target.com, but these are starting to hit the actual stores now. It is no fun chasing new figures in brick and mortar stores during a pandemic, but to the credit of Target and Hasbro, the ML releases have been getting easier to come by (think Storm and Thunderbird). I do hope these come back in-stock on the site eventually, as they a both currently sold out.
I will start with Rogue as she was the one was anticipating the most of the two. The previous version has become pretty rare, but it has been in my collection since its release, and has been just fine. I mean, let’s FACE it, the old TB version was pretty awful, especially in the portrait, but overall, that figure has been great. That said, the likeness never really felt much like Rogue, and the hair was certainly not, well, big enough for her either. Both of those things are instantly fixed here, and the hair is pretty damned perfect. The shape and the more pronounced white portion both look great with a very strong and detailed sculpt. I was worried the face would not be much of an improvement over the previous, but it is, and the likeness is better with improved paint/print applications that feel more like Rogue, and look more feminine.
Past that, the new hands/accessories and color palette are both improvements. The bare hand with removable glove cuff, and hand holding the glove are pretty darned great. It is hard to physically show Rogue’s powers in action figure form, but if you know her at all, you know touching her bare skin can unleash her vampiric abilities. So, showing her taking off her glove before coming in contact with another figure is simple but effective, so I appreciate that they did that here. I also like the brighter yellow and green as they more closely resemble the old 90s cartoon and just pop more on the shelf overall. The body is reused otherwise, but it continues to be a good build for Rogue.
I know I am probably most of you what you already know, but even if you have the previous Rogue figure, you will want this one, it is a marked improvement.
Gambit is much the same, and while I was not anticipating him as much, I think I have ended up liking this figure better of the two. Frankly, I have never liked Gambit more than anything, but 2020 is a strange year, and here we are. The first Hasbro Gambit was really well executed save for his weird hair. I mean, I am not sure what source that borrowed from, but it was certainly not iconic in terms of looks for the Cajun card player, so that was the big opportunity for correction here. Hasbro charged right through the door and pretty much gave us a perfect likeness to Gambit with this figure, so that is probably enough to get most people to buy into this release.
Past the new head, Gambit is complete reuse in terms of base, and that includes the accessories. That said, I like what they have done to change things up for this release, especially with power accessories. So, the base body has been repainted in navy blue, and with the lines on the pink portion to be more dynamic. At first I didn’t think I would be into this as I always picture him in black, but I actually like the blue quite a lot, so that is a surprise. If you are wanting to do a head swap with the original figure, you will need to bust out some black paint for the half-cowl thing, but that should be easy enough. The jacket is more of a lighter leather color to match the cartoon, and the boots have a more light blue-ish tint to them, rather than the darker version from before.
Gambit’s accessories and extra hands have always been pretty great, but with the subtle change to paint the actual card suits makes these much more dynamic than before. When I think of Gambit charging the cards to throw, I always see them retaining those suit faces in my mind’s eye so these match that, and go a long way to add detail to some already impressive pieces. As it stands, with this figure, I don’t think I will ever need another Gambit figure as it checks all of the boxes and makes him cooler than he has any right to be. At least for me, ‘chere.
These are two fun releases that offer improvements to previous figures. Plus, you get them on some really slick retro-styled cards, so can see lots of people buying them to keep MOC, or buying a couple to get both. I love the Retro series so much for ML, and I look forward to more characters and teams taking part of these releases. If you are like me and go for those classic/iconic looks, these have been a plastic blessing, so let’s keep it rolling. As I said, be on the lookout at Target for these, you won’t wanna miss them.