Today’s review is a bit unusual for me, as I haven’t reviewed a Marvel Comics toy in ages. I spent about a year loving Marvel when I was 13-14, then my second Transformers era took hold and I didn’t get interested in Marvel again until the era of Marvel Legends.
However, I did always have a certain fondness for the subject of today’s review, US Agent. I’m not sure why–maybe it was because I found the real Captain America a bit dorky. US Agent, to the young teenage Poe, was the “cool” version of Cap; plus he had a more interesting costume. If I’m being honest, I didn’t really know who US Agent was–I just liked the character concept, and the look. In retrospect, of course, the character was kind of Azrael to Captain American’s Batman–a more brutal, less idealistic, and generally darker replacement (though I should note that the Cap-replacement storyline took place in the late ’80s, years before Knightfall).
Anyway, it was that mild nostalgia that led me to make my first Marvel Universe purchase since my last and heretofore only one, brown costume Wolverine. We never got a Marvel Legends US Agent, so when I saw this one I just couldn’t resist.
Packaging: I don’t follow Marvel Universe or its movie-based sublines, but there appear to be
two three types of figures in their Captain America: The First Avenger line: the “movie series” consisting of figures from and inspired by the upcoming film; the “comic series” featuring characters from Cap’s “extended family,” so to speak; and the “concept” line, which features Cap in outfits Super Dave Osborne wouldn’t be caught dead in, like X-treme Snowboard Cap or whatever.
The art on the packaging is eye-catching and the blue and red color scheme is always a winner. I can’t help but note the “Avengers Assemble” logo in the upper right corner–Marvel is pushing this Avengers thing hard, aren’t they?
The back of the package features a little bio for the uninitiated:
US Agent is armed with a Vibranium shield very similar to that of Captain America. He uses this for protection and as a weapon. Although he and Captain America have had their differences, both agree that any threat to justice and freedom must be stopped.
Design & Sculpt: I don’t own any other MU Captain America figures, but I can only assume this figure is built primarily from existing Cap parts. However, I assume the chest, with its banner and star, is new, as well as the head.
It’s a good sculpt for the scale. Hasbro has gotten about as good as they can get in the 3.75″ scale without becoming a Japanese company.
Plastic & Paint: Since I don’t collect a lot of 3.75″ scale stuff, I have a hard time judging the quality of the paint applications. I know it’s more difficult to get intricate details right on a figure this size, but I don’t think that excuses the uneven lines on the star on his chest. Even more disappointing is the lack of any sort of wash or detail on his gloves, boots, and belt, which are molded in bright red and as a result, look very toyish.
I know these are the “comic” based toys, but that doesn’t mean they have to be painted in four colors–they’re comic-based, but not cartoon-based. After what I’ve seen from Hasbro on other lines, including the mainstream Marvel Universe, there just seems to be a bit of a lack of effort here.
Articulation: US Agent has a ball jointed head, ball-and-hinge joints at the shoulders and elbows, a ball jointed abdomen, ball jointed hips, swivels at the top of the thighs, double-hinges at the knees and hinges at the ankles.
This is pretty good for the scale, though double-jointed elbows would be much more preferable to the much-maligned “elbrows.” As usual for MU, the “ball jointed” head has very little actual range of motion. It’s a shame the figure lacks swivels at the wrists. Also, note that despite the fact that it looks like the figure should have a swivel waist, it doesn’t.
Accessories: The accessories include a MAC-10–which fits US Agent’s more extreme brand of justice (right? or am I way out of the Marvel loop here?)–and an eagle-shaped shield. At first I wasn’t sure whether the character had actually ever wielded a shield like that, but
apparently he has apparently he has (first pic was Photoshopped, evidently). The shield has a nice touch in that it has a swiveling attachment on the back that allows it to clip to his shoulder or project a peg that can be used to hold the weapon in his hand or stick to his back.
Given that Hasbro was able to build the figure largely from re-used parts, it’s not surprising they decided to spend the money to fabricate the unique shield. It’s a welcome addition.
Quality Control: No issues.
Overall: I don’t think this figure is going to convert me into a Marvel Universe collector, but it’s nice to finally get a proper US Agent figure.
In the interest of giving you the best information to make your purchase decision, I should note that Phil Reed of Battlegrip.com also reviewed this figure and absolutely hated it. While some of our differences are purely of opinion–he hates the eagle shield while I think it’s a lot more interesting than a repainted Cap shield, and he thinks the face is ugly, whereas I don’t really have a thought on that one way or the other–his comments about the figure’s paint work are significant. I didn’t judge the paints too harshly here because I have a pretty low opinion of what’s possible in this scale (again, unless you’re a $50 Japanese import), but Phil suggests MU can do and has done better.
With my strong preference for the 6″-7″ scale, I usually find all 3.75″ figures disappointing, so I didn’t judge it quite as harshly. But if you’re a diehard fan of the line or the scale, Phil’s review might be a more useful one to you.