It’s really kinda pathetic when the aspect of a new action figure I’m most excited about is that they come with a golden Magnum revolver so I can pretend they’re using the “Golden Gun” from the classic N64 game “Goldeneye”. Madame Masque is a character that doesn’t hold a lot of mystique for me, as most of the best stories featuring her took place well before I was born. The daughter of Count Nefaria and sometimes leader of the criminal Maggia, Madame Masque is primarily an Iron Man villain whose most notable recent appearance were as the lover of one of Brian Bendis’ pet characters, The Hood. She was one of the most crazy and out-of-left-field selections for the new Marvel Legends line, but oftentimes those figures end up being some of the most fun and interesting. Madame Masque isn’t the best Marvel Legends figure–or even the best one in Series 2–but she still manages to be another respectable, strong release in the line…
The most unique part of Madame Masque’s design is, of course, her mask, and Hasbro has done a superb job translating it into plastic. Hasbro wisely sculpted the mask such that it appears to have width and dimensions beyond Madame Masque’s face, and the effect is obvious and well-done. The gold paint used on the mask draws attention to her head and is really the highlight of the figure. Madame Masque’s raven-black hair is flowing and voluminous and makes it easy to see that Madame Masque is still a gorgeous woman, despite her scarred face.
Much of Madame Masque’s costume is white and could have ended up looking extremely plain, but Hasbro used the same gentle blue paint wash technique on Madame Masque as they did on Piledriver of the Wrecking Crew, and the result is that the white looks shadowy and deep and far from boring. The flat black used on Masque’s arms and legs complements the white portions of her costumes well, and between Masque, Fantomex, and Future Foundation Spider-Man, we’ve gotten a surprising number of sensational-looking virtually-monochrome figures in Marvel Legends Series 2.
Though she isn’t as dexterous as many Marvel Legends figures, Madame Masque can still out-pose the vast majority of her competition in the action figure marketplace. Madame Masque has 20 points of articulation, including a ball-jointed head, ball-jointed shoulders, ball-jointed elbows, swivel forearms, ball-jointed upper torso, ball-jointed hips, swivel thighs, double-jointed knees, and double-jointed ankles. It’s a decently-large variety of articulation, though I’ll discuss its limitations later on.
Madame Masque comes with two weapons: a rifle and an awesome golden Magnum revolver. The rifle has paint deco of its own on it and looks large and powerful. Madame Masque’s trigger finger is sculpted so that she can properly handle either gun (although the lack of wrist articulation means she can’t necessarily aim them properly). Additionally, Madame Masque’s belt includes a working holster than can be used to store the Magnum, a feature that I never get tired of.
Madame Masque also has a couple of bonus items that come with her related to Series 2′s Build-A-Figure, Arnim Zola. Madame Masque includes the torso of Arnim Zola. I think that pairing the largest and most critical piece of Arnim Zola with the most obscure figures in the wave was a genius move by Hasbro to ensure that Marvel’s Madames don’t end up warming the pegs–Good work, Hasbro. Madame Hydra comes with the freaked-out Red Skull version of Arnim Zola’s torso, so I’m confident Madame Masque’s Build-A-Figure piece will be the more coveted in the long-run. I’ll talk about all of build-a-figure pieces of Arnim Zola in-depth when I review Arnim Zola.
In addition, Madame Masque comes with a unique fold-out piece of paper with a “Tale of Arnim Zola” featuring Baron Strucker on one side (instructing collectors on what comic they can read to continue the story), and a checklist/diagram for how to build Arnim Zola on the reverse side. It makes sense to pair the Madames with the Tale featuring the non-powered leader, Strucker, so I’ve no problem there (especially since Madame Hydra has very close ties to Strucker). 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. I like that the packaging features illustrations of both Madame Masque and Madame Hydra, even if the pairing of the two is rather weird. I wish there could have been more text on the cardbacks for each Madame as both characters are going to be very obscure to many collectors, however. But in general, this is some of the prettiest packaging on the market today, and it blows the Marvel Universe 4″ packaging away.
Maybe I’m just spoiled by the ridiculous amount of articulation on figures like Future Foundation Spider-Man, but I’m somewhat disappointed by Madame Masque’s flexibility. She has a very hard time aiming her guns because of the lack of any kind of wrist articulation altogether (she has swivel forearms instead), she has limited crouching capabilities because of her long swivel thighs, and it can be tough for her to stand without the ankle rockers most of Marvel Legends Series 2 has. It’s not that Madame Masque’s articulation is bad–it’s still very good for a female action figure–it’s that her articulation is outclassed by most of the figures that have been released already just this year in the Marvel Legends line.
Also, I’m irritated that instead of having a closed-fist or second grasping hand to dual-wield with, Madame Masque’s right hand is in this strange mostly-open position. It’s too open to hold her guns with and not positioned properly to attack with. It seems unlikely that Madame Masque is going to use this hand to Force-choke a bitch dead, but otherwise I’ve no idea what it would be good for.
Finally and perhaps most obnoxiously, the belts on several figures in Marvel Legends Series 2 are making me crazy. They’re just too damn loose. It was a major issue on Drax that caused me to be very harsh on the figure, and it was somewhat troublesome on Piledriver and Thunderball (although to a much lesser extent). On Madame Masque, the belt is simply too big and flops all over the place constantly every time you move her. It’s too wide and her figure is too slender, and the result is that it can’t be locked into place at all. I let this slide in the reviews for the Wrecking Crew, but a figure with a holstered magnum on her belt should never have the belt totally loose and free to rattle around.
“Where Can I Buy It!?”
Madame Masque is part of Hasbro’s 2012 Marvel Legends Series 2. She’s packed at one-per-case in the cases that she’s in, and may or may not be shipping 50/50 with Madame Hydra (there’s no official word from Hasbro on this). As of writing, I’ve only seen this series of figures at Toys R Us, where they retail for $17.99, although I have heard that others spotted them at Target as well.
Ebay is always a great option for looking for deals on action figures, as ebay tends to have listings for figures literally the day they turn up in any store and long after figures are sold-out at retail. Click here to check out the current ebay listings for Marvel Legends Madame Masque!
Amazon currently has Marvel Legends Madame Masque in-stock from a variety of sellers with free shipping, although prices and availability on Amazon change rapidly.
BigBadToyStore stocks virtually every Marvel product Hasbro releases each year, and have the set of 7 containing all of Marvel Legends Series 2 for $119.99 as well as Madame Masque available for $19.99 individually.
Overall: Madame Masque isn’t exactly the world’s most exciting character visually, but Hasbro has done a fine job of capturing the character in action figure form. There are things I don’t like about the figure–missing articulation points, a strangely-sculpted right hand, and an obnoxiously loose belt–but for the most part, she’s a terrific figure. The paints manage to add depth and intrigue to what could very easily be an extremely dull aesthetic color-wise, the guns she comes with are really fun, and her head-sculpt is flat-out great. Madame Masque isn’t my favorite figure from the new Marvel Legends line by a longshot, but she is another solid figure that will make fans of the character very happy, and she earns a recommendation for anyone who has any attachment to Madame Masque.