Checking in with the Marvel Universe

by Chris Troy

Say what you will about the new 52, but DC has managed to keep everyone talking about their comics since the announcement months ago. Marvel on the other hand, had a great summer in the box office, but hasn’t been able to produce something to counter the DC reboot/relaunch buzz aside from the announcement of the new  bi-racial Ultimate Spider-Man. A shame really, because while Fear Itself may or may not be meeting up to your expectations ( I’m not a fan of everyone becomes Thor, but hey, at least it’s managed to stay on schedule unlike The House of M, Civil War, Secret Invasion, & Siege), the mini events ( Dan Slott‘s Spider-Island and it’s tie-in, Jason Aaron‘s Schism, the Daredevil/Moon Knight/Punisher relaunch) have all been awesome. You definitely owe it to yourself to see what Marvel’s been putting out this month while picking up your new DC #1s.

And after what feels like forever (at least to me), we’ve finally gotten more non-movie related Marvel Universe figures on the shelf. The 2011 releases so far have been pretty great, and it’s nice to see Hasbro  starting to pump out more 3 packs! I believe I may have brought up the Classic Avengers (Thor/Iron Man/ Hulk) and X-Force ( Warpath, Wolverine, Deadpool) sets in the past, and they’ve now been joined by 2 new sets. The Fantastic Four set contains Mister Fantastic, the Invisible Woman, the Thing, and H.E.R.B.I.E. subbing in the for late (until November) Human Torch. Both Sue and Reed are rocking the Mark Millar era outfits, which gave the characters short sleeves. I imagine a Future Foundation line is in the works, with those sweet black & white costumes.  Maybe they’ll be some sort of announcement come New York Comic Con (which we’re selling passes for!)

But what blew my mind  this week was the release of the “Guardians of the Galaxy” set! Writers DnA (along with Keith Giffen) has reshaped the cosmic Marvel line, as the actual Guardians book was one of the best books no one read in the last 5 years. Hasbro threw GOtG fans a bone with the a set featuring Star-Lord, Drax the Destroyer, Rocket Racoon (soon to make his video game debut in “Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3” come November) and a plant-size Groot (I AM GROOT!). Truth be told, I’m sure Star Lord and Drax are repaints/ resculpts or some such, and Rocket Racoon & Groot barely count as figures, but I don’t care.  This is an awesome set based on a series that deserved more love, so come in, pick up some “Annihilation”-related and “Guardians of the Galaxy” hardcovers/trades and I guarantee you’ll want this set. Each of these sets go for about $30 a pop, which is pretty solid for 3.5 figures a box.

As for single release Marvel Universe figures, we received and quickly sold out of the latest wave of the popular toy line. Returning figures Apocalypse, Guardian and Skaar (son/repaint of the Hulk) are joined by Avenger/Captain America partner the Falcon (with Redwing!), Doctor Strange, comic’s greatest villain Doctor Doom, and the Spider-Clone himself Scarlet Spider.  Worth noting is that Dr. Strange also comes in a clear blue variant, to represent his Astral Plane form, and that some Scarlet Spiders and packaged upside down, with a “Spider-Man” name-plate. I’m not sure if that’s an intentional error or not, but if so, that’s awesome. Anywho, this set has sold out once already, so if you want in on this wave, make sure you pick them up once they’re back on our shelves!

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