Just when I thought I was out, Hasbro pulled me back in. I hadn’t bought a Marvel Universe figure in well over a year, and then the tempting mistress that is Hasbro had to go and put out a Rocket Raccoon action figure. I reviewed the new Iceman (Wave 16) as a warm-up last night, and now I’m ready to move on to the Guardians of the Galaxy team set.
Of all the characters in the Marvel Universe, I would have ranked Rocket Raccoon near the bottom of the list of characters who’d be selected for an action figure. But Rocket’s popularity has exploded since he started to be featured in Marvel’s cosmic comic books, and now he’s getting his first action figure and even a coveted slot in Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3! As shocking as it may seem, this is (virtually) the first Rocket Raccoon collectible ever released by any company. That’s right, there hasn’t even been a Bowen Designs sculpture or a Minimates Rocket Raccoon. (There’s a Heroclix Rocket Raccoon, but that’s more of a game than a collectible.)
Rocket Raccoon has a totally unique and detailed sculpt, and has a removable blaster gun he can hold. For such a small figure, the paintwork is also quite well-done. At first I thought Rocket was a hard plastic inarticulate PVC, but it turns out he has two points of articulation: a ball-jointed head and a ball-jointed bushy tail. I’m grateful for the ball-jointed head, as it adds a lot of personality to the figure and lets him stand in different positions. Hasbro didn’t have to put any articulation into Rocket, as adding articulation is expensive and this is a mold that’s totally useless for any other character, so I’m happy Rocket has at least minimal articulation.
Surprisingly, this version of Drax has been made a Minimate before (in addition to a classic Drax Minimate), as well as an upcoming 6″-scale Marvel Legends figure in 2012. The last Marvel Universe figure I bought was Luke Cage over a year ago, and I don’t have him on-hand, but I think Drax may be a total repaint of Cage (perhaps with a new head). Regardless, the mold works beautifully for Drax and the paint on him was applied expertly and really pops. His knives fit tightly in his hands, and the holsters on his belt can fit both knives. Drax is never a favorite character of mine, but this is one of the nicest figures in the whole Marvel Universe line.
Finally, we have the leader of the Guardians of the Galaxy, Starlord. Peter Quill is a character that I don’t have a lot of affection for, but he was an integral part of the last half-decade worth of Marvel cosmic storylines, so he’s a worthwhile addition to my shelf. Starlord can dual-wield his blaster pistols, looks good leading his team into battle, and has the high number of points of articulation standard to Marvel Universe figures. I really I should also mention that all three figures feel heavier and better-constructed than the Marvel Universe figures I’m accustomed to, something I complained about in my Iceman review.
As a bonus, the set includes a miniature, inarticulate potted figure of team member Groot the sentient tree as a sapling. I *REALLY* want a Gigantic Battles-scale Groot, but it doesn’t look like that’s in the cards. If the planets align properly, it’s possible we’ll get a Groot build-a-figure in the upcoming Marvel Legends line, but that’s also unlikely. So if it’s a choice between sapling Groot and no Groot at all, I’m glad to have my favorite tree for my shelf.
The only major issue I had with any of the figures in this set was that Starlord’s left leg is either badly warped or just sculpted badly. It’s slanted at an impossible angle, and it looks unnatural and makes it hard for him to stand up. I don’t know if everyone’s Starlord is like this or just mine, but it’s an annoyance.
Other nitpicks: Rocket Raccoon’s gun doesn’t fit snugly into his hand and tends to fall out. He could also use at least swivel-elbows. As I said earlier, I understand the expense of tooling for a unique mold that can’t be used for anything else ever again, but I still would’ve liked a bit more articulation.
“Where Can I Buy It?!”
I’ve yet to see the Guardians of the Galaxy set (or the Future Foundation set shipping with it) on any store shelf, so I ended up buying it online. Here’s a couple online options:
Several sellers on Amazon right now have the Marvel Universe Guardians Of The Galaxy set for at or below retail price with free shipping online. I don’t need to tell you that that’s a great price, although I don’t regret paying a premium to get this set early.
BigBadToyStore has the Guardians of the Galaxy team set for $26.99 and it is in-stock and ready to ship out right now.
The fine folks over at CMDStore have the Guardians of the Galaxy in-stock right now and available for $29.95.
Overall: Let me be honest here: I would have happily paid $20 just to have a little Rocket Raccoon on my desk, but for about the same price I got two additional outstanding figures and a little Groot! Everything about this set is just fantastic. Hasbro is taking a big risk releasing a box-set of entirely obscure characters, but they’ve done everything possible to make this set a hit. Great paintwork, lots of articulation, cool-looking figures, and the first anthropomorphic raccoon and tree in the Marvel Universe line.
I struggled a bit with how to grade this set, but in the end I relented and went with my instincts to give the set an “A+”. While it’s true that I have a couple of nitpicks about this set relating to warping on Starlord’s leg and Rocket’s limited articulation, those trivial details are easily overlooked with all of the outstanding qualities of this set. In character selection, paint, and sturdiness, this is the best product I’ve bought from Hasbro’s entire Marvel Universe line. As such, it earns my highest possible recommendation. Excellent job all-around here by Hasbro.