Today I’ll be reviewing Arnim Zola, the Build-A-Figure of Marvel Legends Series 2. I previously reviewed every individual figure from Marvel Legends Series 2, and you can find all those reviews in the Toy Reviews Index. This series’ Build-A-Figure is quite possibly the most bizarre figure ever released in any iteration of Marvel Legends. If you were going to gauge freaky appearances on a scale of 1 to 10, Arnim Zola would be a 10. Arnim Zola is a mad scientist/geneticist who transferred his consciousness into an android body. He holographically projects his “face” onto a TV-like screen and has a psychic “box” for a head that he used to control the genetic constructs, monsters, and clones that he creates. So on the fucked-up meter, Arnim Zola is also definitely a 10. Can Arnim Zola complete the hat trick and score a 10 as a build-a-figure as well?
Of all the characters in the echelon of figures that would be a”pegwarmer for eternity”, Arnim Zola ranks pretty highly. His colors are garish, he’s hardly marketable, he’s not really a physical combat-type character, and he’s, well… hideous beyond belief. Arnim Zola is a character that most collectors thought would never, ever be made for those very reasons, despite a long and storied history in Marvel comics. And for that very reason Hasbro has done a serious “Right” by including Arnim Zola as a Build-A-Figure. Little Jimmy can buy his Spider-Man and Captain America without worry about the extra pieces included with them (I’m aware Spider-Man doesn’t have a BAF piece–it’s just an example) and without a mega-obscure figure backing up the pegs, while Big Johnny can happily plunk down his $100+ to buy the complete series of figures and build his diehard fans-only bizarre robot scientist. Fantastic choice, Hasbro.
A sensational new idea that Hasbro implemented for Marvel Legends Series 2 is that of variant Build-A-Figure parts coming with some of the variant figures in the set. Madame Masque comes with an Arnim Zola torso with regular Arnim Zola face, whereas Madame Hydra comes with an Arnim Zola torso with Red Skull variant face. Meanwhile, Piledriver has the normal red-eyed “head” piece and Piledriver has the yellow-eyed variant “head”. I haven’t tracked down a Madame Hydra yet, but I already love having the option of displaying Arnim Zola with the different “heads”. This is an amazing way to help collectors get more value from buying variants and avoid plastic being wasted and thrown away, and to me variant Build-A-Figure pieces are one of the best and most welcome new additions to Marvel Legends.
The other really innovative facet of this Arnim Zola figure is his torso. Arnim Zola is the only character I know of in anything–ever–to have his face exist as a holographic projection on a TV screen on his chest (Prove me wrong, readers!). With the torso being such a crucial characteristic of Arnim Zola, it was important for Hasbro to handle it properly. Again Hasbro came through for fans, by including a plastic “screen” inset in Arnim Zola’s torso, with a paper insert of some kind behind it with an illustration of Arnim Zola’s face. The result is that the chest of the figure looks creepy and totally unlike that of any other Marvel Legends figure, and it really does appear that Arnim Zola’s ghostly “face” is being projected onto a TV monitor in his chest. This was a tricky aspect of the figure to pull off, but it’s been executed brilliantly.
Every individual figure in Marvel Legends Series 2 has at least 20 points of articulation, so it’s no shock that the Series 2 Build-A-Figure, Arnim Zola himself, does as well. Arnim Zola comes equipped with 27 points, including a hinge neck, ball-jointed head, ball-jointed shoulders, double-jointed elbows, double-jointed wrists, swivel waist, ball-jointed hips, swivel thighs, double-jointed knees, swivel calves, and double-jointed ankles (with ankle rockers). There’s no upper torso ab crunch for obvious reasons (Arnim Zola’s torso is a TV screen, yo), but almost every other point you’d want is accounted for. Considering Arnim Zola isn’t exactly going to get into a kung-fu battle with the Immortal Iron Fist, the flexibility he’s been granted is far more than I ever expected or needed him to have.
There are two parts of Arnim Zola’s body that move particularly well. The first is his head (the psychic “box”, not the TV screen). Like most revived Marvel Legends figures, it has both the hinge jointed neck and the ball-joint on the head to utilize for movement. Because of the nature of Arnim Zola’s head, his one-eyed box is able to look up and down and all around, and it really had a touch of personality to the most emotionless head in the entire Marvel Universe. I’m also a big fan of the foot articulation Arnim Zola has, as he features double-jointed ankles with ankle rockers that let him stand in a wife variety of poses despite his crazy body-type.
The paint deco on Arnim Zola is flawless. Every line has been painted absolutely expertly, there are no defects or paint splotches, and the paint colors chosen are superb. The little flecks of glitter in his purple armor make it look more like sophisticated technology than plastic, and the flat orange of his cloth tunic is a great complement to the armored pieces.
Arnim Zola has one accessory, a uniquely-sculpted Control Rod. His let hand has been sculpted to hold the Control Rod firmly and naturally, and he looks really good grasping it. It’s not the most exhilarating accessory in history, but it works for the character and I’m content with it.
My main complaint with the Series 1 Build-A-Figure, Terrax the Tamer, was his size. I felt like Hasbro created him way out of proportion and made him much too big, perhaps thinking bigger was better on a Build-A-Figure. Thankfully, that isn’t an issue with Arnim Zola at all. Arnim Zola is just about the size of any other regular-height Marvel Legends figure, and is comfortably smaller than Thor, Terrax, and the Wrecking Crew. Bigger is not always better in a line like Marvel Legends–creating figures in the proper scale to each other is better, and Hasbro absolutely succeeds here with Arnim Zola.
Arnim Zola comes broken up across all the figures in Marvel Legends Series 2 besides Spider-Man, so he doesn’t have any packaging of his own to speak of. What Arnim Zola does get is a fun series of pieces of paper that come with the six figures with Arnim Zola parts, dubbed “Tales of Arnim Zola”. Each one has a diagram on one side showing how to build Arnim Zola, and a summary of a classic Arnim Zola tale on the reverse side, with each tale featuring a different character Arnim Zola interacts with. There’s nothing as crazy in this batch as the Dazzler story that came as a “Tales of Terrax” insert in Series 1, but I did quite enjoy the Deadpool and Bob (Agent of Hydra) vs. Arnim Zola insert a lot. I like the “Tales of Arnim Zola” as a welcome treat and bonus, and think they’re pretty fun (if not cheap).
There’s nothing wrong with Arnim Zola. No, really. He’s perfect. More on that in the Overall summary…
Arnim Zola is the Build-A-Figure of Hasbro’s 2012 Marvel Legends Series 2. As such, you’ll need to buy all of the figures except for either Spider-Man to get all the parts for Arnim Zola, or else look around for someone selling the individual parts that comprise him. Thus far this wave has started to turn up in limited numbers both online and at retail stores such as Target and Toys R Us. I’d avoid Toys R Us, as they have the most expensive price by far, now at a hefty $19.99 plus tax per figure.
Ebay is always a great option for looking for deals on new-release action figures and especially build-a-figures, as you can find both completed Build-A-Figures and individual pieces of them there without having to buy the figures the pieces come with. Click here to check out the current ebay listings for the Marvel Legends Completed Arnim Zola!
Amazon currently has every figure from Marvel Legends Series 2 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.
Overall: I looked long and hard at this Arnim Zola action figure, posed him every which way I could think of, and I simply can’t find anything–anything–to complain about. Arnim Zola isn’t a character I really care about, so there’s no favoritism whatsoever working in his favor here–this toy is just that good. His articulation is vastly beyond what the mad geneticist would ever practically need, the paint deco is nothing short of gorgeous, and the effect of the torso TV screen face is excellent. As surprising as it is, Arnim Zola completes the hat trick and is a perfect 10/10 as an action figure. I was not planning on handing out three ‘A+’s to a single series of Marvel Legends figures, but Arnim Zola is just as perfect as Dark Wolverine and Piledriver were, and he has genuinely earned my highest possible recommendation. I’d be stunned if we ever get another Arnim Zola figure nearly this good, and as such this Build-A-Figure is a must for anyone who likes the character even the smallest amount.