Moving into the second half of my Marvel Legends Series 1 reviews, today I have a new version of an old favorite, the Spirit of Vengeance: Ghost Rider. If you missed any of the earlier reviews, you can find Constrictor and all the rest I’ve covered in the Toy Reviews Index. Of all the characters I expected to see announced for the first series of revived Marvel Legends, Ghost Rider was near the bottom of the list. We already had a couple of outstanding Ghost Rider figures in the Toybiz line (and motorcycles), so I wasn’t really sure there was anything new to do with Ghost Rider. Then I saw the prototype pictures and realized this Ghost Rider was something wholly different from the earlier ones…
The visual design for this Ghost Rider is an inspired, slightly-different twist on the traditional Ghost Rider aesthetic. He’s still a biker with a flaming skull, but this time he’s got a huge, hulking visage to go with it. I was taken aback by this initially, but the more I thought about the Spirit of Vengeance being an intimidating powerhouse instead of just some regular-sized guy with a flaming skull, the more I liked it. I’ve never seen Ghost Rider look like this in the comic books or the movie, so I’m not sure exactly where this design originates, but I’m definitely on-board with it as a fan.
Ghost Rider himself has grown, and so has the size of his biker gear. Instead of just riding around in a biker jacket now, he has a much larger and longer coat, along with an upper-body metal piece with flaming shoulder plates. Ghost Rider also has chains adorning various parts of his body. The whole of the costume is beautifully-detailed to simulate leather and metal, and his chest piece and skull have been tinted slightly as if they’re “reflecting” the flames. The red eyes and translucent flames coming off of the skull are especially cool, and make this my favorite Ghost Rider head sculpt ever. Visually, this is the most impressive figure in Marvel Legends Series 1 (in my opinion), no doubt about it.
My Ghost Rider figure is the variant, so he has orange flames instead of blue. I thought the blue flames looked pretty cool in the photos, but I’ve never read a comic where Ghost Rider had blue flames, so I’m just as happy (if not more) to get the variant. The color-rich translucent flames totally bring Ghost Rider to life, as they’re such a stark contrast to the grayscale tones that make up the rest of Ghost Rider’s colors.
On the surface, Ghost Rider’s level of articulation is excellent with 27 points including: ball-jointed head, upper torso ab-crunch, ball-jointed shoulders, swivel biceps, double-jointed elbows, double-jointed wrists, swivel waist, ball-jointed hips, swivel thighs, double-jointed knees, and double-jointed ankles. On paper, this should be a pretty badass figure…
Ghost Rider has a couple of bonus items that come with him related to Series 1′s Build-A-Figure, Terrax. Ghost Rider includes both arms of the Terrax Build-A-Figure. I talked about Terrax in-depth already over in my Terrax review. In addition, Ghost Rider comes with a unique fold-out piece of paper with a “Tale of Terrax” featuring the Annihilus 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.
Unfortunately, despite all of Ghost Rider’s built-in articulation, a huge portion of it is meaningless. Ghost Rider’s costume pieces have been added on top of the actual mold, and these pieces have a greatly harmful effect upon Ghost Rider’s flexibility. Ghost Rider may have ball-jointed shoulders, but when you can only partially raise his arms or put them down because of his plastic coat, the articulation might as well not even be there. Ghost Rider’s whole upper-body is significantly restricted by his coat, but his lower body is partially hindered as well. The result is that he has a very limited ability to be put into any kind of pose that isn’t just standing there, doing nothing. He doesn’t even have a close fist to punch people out with! Terrax showed how to successfully add costume pieces on top of a figure without ruining its poseability—Ghost Rider shows exactly how not to do the same.
As far as weapons and accessories for Ghost Rider go… there are none. The days when we’d get a motorcycle (of sorts) with a Ghost Rider figure are long gone. But I don’t think that there was nothing Hasbro could have given this guy. How about a chain—or better off a flaming chain? Some kind of sword, fireball… whatever. Anything. With his limited ability to be posed, this figure could have been saved if he at least had the ability to stand around holding something instead of just standing around. As it is, Ghost Rider can just stand there and stare menacingly at sinners.
Ghost Rider is part of Hasbro’s 2012 Marvel Legends Series 1. He’s packed at one-per-case, and seems to be fairly popular so far. 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 Ghost Rider!
Amazon has Ghost Rider 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 Ghost Rider available for $19.99 individually.
Overall: Ghost Rider was the figure that I thought looked like he had the most impressive sculpt and detailing from the prototype pictures, and I still agree with that. The head sculpt, the biker jacket, the translucent flames… he’s just a gorgeous sculpture. The problem is that that’s all he is. For an action figure, he’s just no fun. With no chain or weapon whatsoever, no motorcycle likely to come ever, and highly-limited flexibility due to the restrictions of the sculpted clothing, Ghost Rider makes for one dull as Hell figure to pose or play with. I don’t really regret buying him because I like having him on my shelf and he looks positively wicked, but at the same time I already know he’s the figure I’m going to pick up and pose and move around the least of the entire set, because there’s just nothing to do with him. Ghost Rider is an excellent statue, but well-below the other Marvel Legends so far as the fun factor is concerned.