What happens when this figure gets hit by lightning? You get the same damn joke for the past 22 years!
However, 20 years ago, we got…something that was kind of an action figure, but it was by no means up to the already high standards of the nascent Marvel Legends line. Where three of the first four figures were psychotically articulated, Toad was a holdover and a placeholder. He was a holdholder. Placeover? He wasn’t really supposed to be there, but then he was. Nobody cared until he staryed going for stupid high prices, then people cared.
I like to mention every time I hear about Toad’s value that around 2005 I saw him in loose in a dollar box of toys at my Local Comic Shop and passed on him because he was so poorly articulated.
I only saw him that one time, because lightning doesn’t strike twice in the same spot.
Anyway, TWO DECADES have passed since that figure. Seasons have changed. Toys have improved. Time, like a Ferris Wheel run by a madman, has spun along without cessation.
When Hasbro announced a series of 20th Anniversary figures, everyone knew that meant that Toad would finally be coming. In many many ways, he’d be getting his first ever actual Marvel Legends figure. Well, he’s here. Is he good?
Is he ever!
I will admit when images were first shown I was a little disappointed that he wasn’t as strictly classic as I’d have liked. Meaning, I wanted the tubby little dude with the guy and the bowl cut and the thin legs and overall subservient demeanor. Instead, a 90s era take on the character was chosen, more of a Lee/Liefeld take on the character, back when the Toad was dumping the “Yes, Master” Igor-esque shtick and trying to be more of a Brotherhood of Evil Mutant leader. People change. A Toad can change his spots.
Regardless of era, this is probably the best possible Toad action figure one could imagine. It’s almost better than it has any right being, considering Toad’s overall status in comics. In fact, if I can bury this article in hyperbole for a second, this might be one of the best Marvel Legends figures of the year, or even longer.
Right off the bat, you notice just how crazy articulated he is. I mean, Toad isn’t Spider-Man or a ninja or an old lady cosplaying as a Spider-ninja, but Toad’s crotch action in nuts. He has drop down hips that accommodate Rockette levels of upward kick. Drop down hips can be hit or miss at times. Sometimes they don’t really give you much more range than just a well-done regular hip, but these have been engineered quite well, increasing an already exceptional range of motion while maintaining solidity. These feel far sturdier than the drop down hips on GI Joe Classified figures, unfortunately.
In addition, the torso is the lower crunch/upper wobble that we’ve seen in figures like Spider-Man and Beast. This combo allows him to get quite deep bends in cooperation with twists that really get across Toad’s agility when used in conjunction with his massive leg range.
I do feel like I should mention that despite all of this articulation, he still can’t perform a crotch-to-floor split. This may not be anybody’s benchmark for crotchial articulation, but it needed to be pointed out. For science.
Thankfully, Toad is shorter than your standard Marvel figure, so you really get that diminutive troublemaker vibe from him.
Toad comes with two sets of hands: a set of fists and a set of open expressive hands. They’re pretty perfect for leaping and attacking poses. I like how he can get into a believable three or four point crouch using the open hands. His head doesn’t tilt up enough for him to look straight ahead though, which is the only real setback for that pose.
He comes with two sets of heads. One is the standard big wide grin head. It has a slightly crazed youthfulness to it. 90’s Toad lose the chubbiness for an angular face, and while I don’t think this perfectly sell the 90s aesthetic the body was going for, it does seem fitting for that era of the figure. The paint printing on it is very nice, with some dark circles under the eyes to get across the craziness.
The second head is mostly tongue. When Toad hit the big screen his tongue grew a hundred times longer to compensate. I’m not actually sure if Toad having a long tongue was a thing in the comics before the X-men movie, but it does make me curious where the hell he stores that thing. Is this like a subspace thing, like Transformers? When you out-tongue Venom you’ve accomplished something.
I like the tongue head for a novelty, but I’m sticking with the grinning head for my default Toad head.
He also comes with a pair of Toads.
I’ve enjoyed the 20th Anniversary figures, despite a few issues (like Cap’s shield-holes) but Toad is the winner and quite possible the biggest upgrade in the line. Not that it was hard to top the previous one, but this topped the heck out of it. It cost more than a dollar, but it’s a good one.