Even in a comic universe filled with intergalactic overlords, terrible tyrants, and devious despots, I don’t think any have eclipsed the absolute punch-a-bility of the Red Skull. I mean, even Thanos can likely find a sympathizer here or there, but Red Skull? Nah. He was created to be the receiving end of Captain America’s virtuous justice, and thank The King for that.
Not that I am dismissing the Red Skull as a simple punching bag – he is a terrible and imposing villain in the Marvel Universe, and his oppressive machinations have kept him a staple of villainy for decades. He really is a the perfect foil for Cap and so many others, and he has enjoyed some important focus and characterization in the Marvel Cinematic Universe as well. Johann has also been a pretty regular staple in the Marvel Legends line as well, going all the way back to his debut in the original Toy Biz line’s fifth series. So, while it has taken the better part of two decades(!!!) in the line to get here, I think we finally have the iconic Skull we have been waiting for so long to add to our shelves.
Military uniforms, blue shoulder pads, and Iron Man suits aside, to me, Red Skull has always been the most identifiable in his green jumpsuit. Many of the past Skulls have required a bit of new parts and tooling in order to create them, so I am not sure why this version took as long as it did, but in a way I am glad – Marvel Legends is better than it has ever been, so getting the version I want the most in a time when the line is the best made this figure worth waiting for. Overall, it is the most satisfying Red Skull figure I have ever owned, and for the most part, the figure hits on all cylinders. Plus, he is the PERFECT entrant for a Super Villains-themed wave, so all of the stars were aligned for this release.
The green jumpsuit is so simple, yet so perfect for the character (IMO), but as you can tell from the pictures, it did take quite a bit of new tooling and parts to get it all to come together. The opportunity made sense though as his wave mate Dormammu also utilizes this base, and I am sure there will be many opportunities in the future to do the same. I like all of the cloth folds and wrinkles so it doesn’t just look like a “nude” suit, and the build is bulky and imposing, just as Skull should be. His left arm is emblazoned with the Hydra symbol, as you would expect, and the shoulders have some subtle sculpted epaulets to add some detail.
The articulation works well and matches what you expect for ML in this day and age, though I do wish this new base had the butterfly shoulders. The neck is a separate piece from the torso and the head, so this allows for another spot of movement that gives the figure a lot of range. This figure does enjoy the new pin-free joint system so that looks really good. I will say though, that the knees and elbows are a bit “gappy” as they move into the joints when they are bent, so that breaks up the sculpt just a bit. It is not terribly egregious, but it does make the actually elbow and knee pieces look elongated at times.
I am a bit torn on the accessories for this figure. It comes with the requisite Xemnu piece (the head), along with three sets of swappable hands, a Hydra-stamped Star-Lord gun, the Cosmic Cube, and two portraits. That is a lot to be sure, and I especially appreciate the different hands here – you get fists, trigger fingers, and grips that make it possible to hold the Cube. The light green is accurate and fits the Hydra get-up well, but I still find the color kind of jarring. As a personal preference, I would have liked brown hands in the same color as the boots. Tapping Dormammu again, that figure does include the same sets of hands, but cast in red, so that is a “bare hand” option as well. The colors don’t match perfectly, but they are definitely close enough. Like I said, this toxic green is not inaccurate at all, just not what I would have probably picked.
The gun is perfectly fine as well, but again, not really what I picture when I see Red Skull in my mind’s eye. Going to yet another one of his series mates, I much prefer the gun that comes with Dr. Doom (a Lugar, I think?) so I will swipe that for my display. The Cosmic Cube is great, however, and even though we have seen this several times in the line at this point (even with a previous Red Skull), it is a required accessory at this point, and the grip hand is expressive for a variety of poses that this figure can pull off well.
Both heads are a thing of beauty in my opinion, and the fact that we got two is just icing on this hate-filled cake. It is always great when you get two portraits for a figure, but it is rare when both of them stack up as well they do here. So really, it comes down to personal preference here as you cannot go wrong either way. I gravitate more to the “smiling” gritted teeth look personnally – it just feels more maniacal and grandiose for Skull. That said, the other is more brooding, and definitely intimidating, so have it your way, baby. I will comment on the deco for these heads, as it is very different from past Skulls, and is kind of exemplary of the paint and color choices for this series in general. The colors are BRIGHT, like much brighter that what we are used to seeing with some Legends in past. I for one, love it, to be honest. Often times the ML palette has been subdued, but this figure really shines in some vivid glory that is a great tribute to its four-color origins. Honestly, if Hasbro were to keep up this theme for the comic-based figures, I would be perfectly happy with that. It looks great.
We finally have our Red Skull! It has been a long time coming, but most certainly worth the wait. This is a great-looking figure with some nice articulation, and it is ready-made to face your 80th Anniversary Captain America. I got mine from Dorkside Toys, and you can order yours there, too, so go do it now! Hail Hydra!