I’m continuing through the weekend and into next week with my Marvel Legends Series 1 reviews, and you can find all those reviews in the Toy Reviews Index. I started off the reviews last week with Hope Summers and Steve Rogers: Super-Soldier, before I shook things up with my review of the earth-shaking Build-A-Figure Terrax yesterday. (I also posted the fresh giveaway contest for my Stealth Extremis Iron Man! Don’t forget to enter!). Today I’ve got one of the most fan-requested C-List villains for the Marvel Legends line: the Constrictor. Constrictor is shockingly one of the first Marvel supervillains to ever have an action figure. That’s the first thing I ever knew about Constrictor as a kid, as he was often written about in articles as one of the coveted European-only releases in the 1980’s Secret Wars line (along with Iceman and Electro). It took over two decades, but he finally got another figure in the Marvel Universe line in 2010. But fans clamored for Constrictor, and his day in the sun is finally here. The S.H.I.E.L.D. agent who had a nervous breakdown and went rogue with his crushing adamantium coils has finally arrived for our Marvel Legends shelves! The Constrictor figure itself is pretty wicked. His coils… not so much.
Constrictor sued Hercules for millions of dollars and won. That happened in one of Dan Slott’s She-Hulk comics the year I graduated from college, and remains one of my favorite single comic books ever. Constrictor had always been a sort of “whatever” villain to me, one of the generic super-villains who never has a great plan and exists only to show up and lose in fights. But after that issue, I really wanted a cool 6” Constrictor figure. It’s taken a few years, but I can finally use Marvel Legends action figures to recreate Constrictor being severely bashed by Hercules on the battlefield and then beating him in court.
Constrictor has a very basic costume design, but he makes up for it with exceptional articulation. Constrictor has the most points of articulation in the entirety of Marvel Legends Series 1 with an outstanding 30 points including: hinge neck, ball-jointed head, upper torso ab-crunch, ball-jointed shoulders, swivel shoulder blades (!!!), swivel biceps, double-jointed elbows, swivel forearms, swivel waist, ball-jointed hips, swivel thighs, double-jointed knees, swivel calves, and double-jointed ankles. There’s no wrist articulation because of the way the coils are molded on, but with such a wide range of additional articulation I can’t really complain. I particularly love the swivel shoulder blades, which allow Constrictor to full extend his arms (and thus his coils) out to the sides and also move them forwards and backwards. Constrictor’s range of motion is one of the best ever in Marvel Legends (in my opinion), especially for a non-acrobatic character, and I absolutely love him for it.
Any discussion of a Constrictor action figure would be remiss without giving a respectable amount of discussion to the coils. The presentation of Constrictor’s coils is pretty spectacular. They’re a respectable 5.3 inches long each, but when you fully-spread Constrictor’s arms with his way-cool swivel shoulder blades, the full “wingspan” of Constrictor from the end of one coil to the end of another is an insane 16.8 inches! That is absolutely crazy, and Constrictor looks incredible when posed all alone on the shelf this way. More on the coils later, though. (Uh-oh.)
Constrictor’s face is sculpted into a wide, teethy grin that makes him look positively deranged. I actually didn’t like how the paint made his teeth look like fangs at first, but the more I looked at the figure from different angles and posed him, the more I liked it. Now I think he has one of the best heads in this whole series, and certainly one of the ones that convey the most personality.
The paint on Constrictor is flawless. Constrictor’s costume looks like such an easy design to paint, but it would be very easy and predictable for there to be lots of mistakes and uneven paint with all the horizontal lines running around his body. Instead, the paint has all been applied masterfully and without mistakes. His navy blue and orange color scheme isn’t shared by any other Marvel Legends figure (as far as I know—if there is one, I don’t have it), so he really stands out on the shelf.
Constrictor has a couple of bonus items that come with him related to Series 1′s Build-A-Figure, Terrax. Constrictor includes the upper torso part of the Terrax Build-A-Figure. I’ll talk about all of build-a-figure pieces of Terrax in-depth when I review Terrax. In addition, Constrictor comes with a unique fold-out piece of paper with a “Tale of Terrax” featuring the Silver Surfer on one side (instructing collectors on what comic they can read to continue the story), and a checklist/diagram for how to build Terrax on the reverse side. It’s no replacement for the full comic books that Hasbro Marvel Legends included, but it adds an air of important to the BAF and it’s still worlds better than the awful “collectible comic shots” Marvel Universe figures are including in 2012.
Finally, the generic packaging blurb. I’ll be brief: I love the 2012 Marvel Legends packaging. It’s bright, vibrant, and character-specific. The huge artwork on the front and back of the card depicting the character you’re buying is engaging and a real treat to look at, and it’s a shame you have to utterly destroy the packaging to get at the figure inside. The only thing I’d like to see improved is slightly more text about the characters on the cardbacks, but in general this is some of the prettiest packaging on the market today and it absolutely blows the Marvel Universe 4″ line’s packaging away.
As much as I like this Constrictor figure, his one big flaw is unfortunately his defining characteristic. Considering that the most vital part of Constrictor is unquestionably his coils, you would think Hasbro would have made them cool—but they didn’t. When I first saw the prototypes for this toy, I was really hoping that the coils would have a wire inside and be made of flexible plastic such that you could move the coils around and pose them in whatever manner you wanted. That is not the case. Instead, they’re made of a cheap plastic that has just the slightest bit of lasting flexibility to them. You can kind of, sort of, make the coils tilt slightly up or down, but forget any ideas you had about curling them around figures or making dynamic poses using them.
Worse, the super-long coils are molded into Constrictor’s wrist and are totally non-removable. So when you want Constrictor to stand neutrally, he’s going to have his six inch coils hanging flaccidly on the ground in front of him. Ideally, Hasbro would have made the coils removable and maybe even included a second pair of shorter coils to simulate them being partially retracted. Instead, we have to deal with ultra-long coils that hang around and get in the way at all times.
“Where Can I Buy It!?”
Constrictor is part of Hasbro’s 2012 Marvel Legends Series 1. He’s packed at one-per-case, but seems to be less popular than the other figures in the assortment. As of writing, these figures have only been sighted at retail at Toys R Us, where they retail for $17.99 + tax.
Ebay is always a great option for looking for deals on new-release action figures, as ebay tends to have listings for figures literally the day they turn up in any store. Click here to check out the current ebay listings for Marvel Legends Constrictor!
Amazon has Constrictor in-stock right now from various sellers, but prices and availability change rapidly on Amazon so you’ll need to click through for the current specifics.
BigBadToyStore stocks virtually every Marvel product Hasbro releases each year, and have cases of 8 containing all of Marvel Legends Series 1 for $124.99 as well as Constrictor available for $17.99 individually.
Overall: Constrictor comes oh-so-close to being perfect but Hasbro’s design choices for his coils make him stumble at the finish line. With the most articulation of any of the new Marvel Legends figures, beautifully-applied paint deco, a wonderfully-expressive face, and a ludicrously huge “wingspan”, Constrictor almost had it all. But the execution of the coils is just not all it could be. The coils could have and should have had a wire in them to allow all kinds of flexibility, and they don’t. The coils could have been removable to allow for a lot more casual and neutral poses, but they aren’t and they consequently get in the way all the time. Hasbro could have included a shorter set of coils so that they could sometimes be only partially-extended, but they didn’t. This otherwise terrific figure is hindered by his defining characteristic—his coils—simply not being all that they could be. He’s still a very solid figure overall and earns a recommendation, but the disappointing coil design choices make him merely “very good” instead of a true standout in the Marvel Legends line.