Confession: I still have not seen The Avengers (2012). I probably won't catch it in theaters at this point either. However, I've never let something as trivial as not following the source material stop me from buying the associated merchandise. Today I can indifferently inform you that the Marvel Select The Avengers Hulk is a perfectly adequate figure.
I'm trying to dig up some enthusiasm, but I can't seem to find any. While Diamond Select managed to do a few things rather nicely, it just seems like the overall presentation is nowhere near as strong as some previous entries in the line. The figure also doesn't seem to excel in any particular area. I should also just mention that although the line may be changing in terms of articulation, quality control issues seem to remain and my copy has a few.
Click the jump for a smashing good time.
The Marvel Select line generally has some cool packaging. The Avengers Hulk opts for a slightly different aesthetic as the box just looks a bit busier. I blame a lot of that on the prominently featured The Avengers logo (and roster) where you would otherwise just have the character name. I love the Hulk fist sticker on the front which has a "Rise Up" vibe to it.
The back of the card features a lot of sharp angles which plays into the general style. On the side we have artwork depicting this incarnation of the Hulk although his pants color is a bit different.
The big thing to remember about Marvel Select figures is that, well, they can be big. Really big. They operate on a 7-inch scale rather than the 6-inch one used by the Marvel Legends line so their over-sized characters can be pretty darn over-sized. For instance, that's not a Marvel Universe Captain America there, that's the Hasbro Marvel Legends version. He's a standard six or so inches but this Hulk is around a whopping ten.
After you get past the size of this figure, the next thing you notice might be his face. While I haven't seen the film, the face has a passable likeness to the box art. I do almost wish they had gone with a more neutral expression as seen in the artwork. The figure's lips are contorted into this extreme grimace which doesn't look great head-on. The hair detailing, however, is flat-out awesome. My figure has a minor issue where it looks like he has dandruff, although apparently it didn't capture on camera (and is likely a one-off error anyway). The second nicest part of the head sculpt is his incredibly furrowed brow which looks great from many angles.
The general sculpt is decent enough. Sure, the pants are plain and the body isn't as buff as other Hulk figures (which could be true to the movie). Overlooking that, you have the usual bulging veins and decent amount of muscular detail. I will say that something about his midsection and the top of his pants look a little funky, though.
The paint features a pleasant green mix, an effect that I believe was probably achieved by casting the figure in a purple plastic then applying the green paint over it (something done more visibly with other figures in the line). This gives it both a darker green hue in places as well as a shadowing effect. Unfortunately, the paint has a tendency to suffer visible production errors probably resulting from either an incomplete application or scrapes that expose the plastic underneath. This error is present in multiple places on my copy.
Diamond Select opted for plain black hair and I love them for it especially since Hasbro, by contrast, gave their The Avengers Hulk awful green highlights. It's also worth mentioning that the Marvel Select Hulk has painted toe-nails (and thumbnails) although my copy has minor paint app errors in that area. My copy has quite a few errors, including an inexplicable green line in the middle of his pant on the left side (which thankfully didn't photograph).
I'm not sure whether this is a one-off error or affects the production run, but it seems like my copy has a different paint texture underneath the thigh cuts. The plastic looks more glossy, although there are duller patches of color as well with strange circular scrapes. Perhaps it references that movie I haven't seen in some way...
It's impossible to discuss a Marvel Select Hulk without bringing in the more iconic, much praised Marvel Select Hulk mold (used for both the pictured Red Hulk and normal Hulk) for a comparison. And while this movie Hulk trumps the old one in terms of articulation, the general sculpting is nowhere near as cool. The most significant aspect is the pants. Not only does the lower pants-leg tearing lack passion and energy, but the movie version has it merely sculpted on while the older version used a soft, rubbery plastic on top of the sculpt (which greatly adds to the fun factor). In general, the older mold is just a far more dynamic sculpt. I can't help but feel that the movie Hulk's sculpt somehow lacks energy and excitement. While you could potentially blame the movie Hulk's design on that of the film's, I'm not necessarily sure that's the case.
Otherwise there's a fairly clear height variance between the two. It's oddly more visible from some directions given the difference in their shoulder sculpts. Also, the lower articulation visibly provided greater sculpting freedom with the older Hulk mode, which gives him more rounded thighs and a shapelier behind (yeah, I said it).
Hulk has a good number of articulation points yet the actual range for many of those joints is relatively low and subsequently limits his poseability. The head seems to be on a physical ball but, given the sculpt, has barely any up/down motion. The rest of the body is fairly standard: ball-socketed shoulders, cut biceps, single-pinned elbows, cut wrists, and a torso joint (mild forward/back, can't fully rotate).
The legs are where Hulk starts to get interesting. The hips are hinged with a t-joint, something really not seen in the Marvel Select line. Both parts have a ratchet for additional joint strength and that always cool clicking noise. However, the forward/back motion on the hips is really weak; the furthest is can move forward is like a 45-degree angle. Thanks to the t-joint, there is excellent outward motion. Hulk also has a cut midway along his thighs to provide rotation, presumably to compensate for the articulation lost by not using a ball-socket at the hips.
The knees are single-pinned. However, I'd like to call attention to the cool knee sculpting. Not only do they look great when posed out but remain rather distinct when the figure is standing perfectly straight.
The ankles are also notable for featuring angled ball-sockets, probably best known as ankle rockers. These things are really popping up everywhere these days. As always, they offer a deep ankle pivot and this figure, much like the recently reviewed Ultra-Poseable Spider-Man, could really use a cut (or other form of rotation) somewhere on the calf to balance out the ankle rockers' lack of rotation.
The joint is durable enough to allow Hulk to balance with one leg, although I imagine it would likely wear over time.
Clearly this Marvel Select Hulk isn't a bad figure by any stretch of the imagine. Sure, there are quality control issues and the articulation is impeded in places, but it still offers a good number of display options and the general sculpting is at least adequate. If you want a Hulk figure based on his look in The Avengers, right now your choices are pretty much limited to this, the 6-inch scaled Wal-Mart exclusive Hasbro one (if you can find it), a larger low-articulation one, and the 3.75-inch movie line. I'm not sure if the Marvel Select version is better than the Wal-Mart exclusive Hasbro one, but it should be a lot easier to get your hands on. However, if you just want a Hulk figure, there's a lot of other merchandise available that you might find more appealing.
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