Thursday, November 15, 2012

Marvel Select - Unleashed Hulk Disney Store Exclusive

This has definitely been the year for the Hulk.  After enjoying a resurgence in popularity thanks to Marvel Studios' "The Avengers" movie, the character has seen numerous new action figures released this year, across multiple scales.  Last week, Diamond Select Toys made a surprise announcement about a new comic-style Hulk figure which was immediately available as a Disney Store and Marvel Store exclusive.  Check him out after the jump!

Like all Marvel Select figures, Unleashed Hulk comes on an over-sized card back and bubble, with lots of character-specific art on the card, spine, and the front bubble insert.  Because this figure is a Disney Store (and exclusive, it also has the Disney Store logo on the spine.  The packaging looks great, but the figure looks better.  My Hulk smashed out of his bubble.  Inside along with the figure is a cross-sell insert featuring the latest Mini Mates waves on one side, and the latest Marvel Select figures (including the other recently-announce Disney exclusives, Lizard and Flash Thompson Venom, plus the upcoming Eddie Brock Venom and Barbarian Hulk).  Side note:  The upcoming Barbarian Hulk appears to use many of the same parts as this new Hulk.

This isn't Diamond's first attempt at a comic-based Hulk figure.  Several years ago, a few Hulks were released, including a grey "Ultimates" Hulk, and Red and Green Hulks which shared a body sculpt.  This latest figure blows them out of the water, though.  Up until today, the original Marvel Select Green Hulk has been displayed with my Marvel Legends figures, because I preferred it over any of the Hulks that Toy Biz or Hasbro had done in the Legends line.  But this new guy has now replaced him.  In fact, this new sculpt makes the original look so weak in comparison that I'm questioning why it was ever a part of my collection.

Check out the level of detail in that sculpt.  The texture in the musculature and the bulging veins, even the denim-like texture in the pants, all give a ton of depth and realism to this figure.  He looks like he just stepped out of the pages of a comic, while at the same time looking like a realistic interpretation of the character.  I'm pretty amazed by this.  Even the facial sculpt and the hair feature a ton of detail.  And while, unlike most Hulk figures, this one isn't yelling or making a rage face, he still looks angry.  He looks like he's thinking "Hulk smash you, puny human".  

The articulation on this figure isn't the best I've ever seen, but it's pretty decent, and about as much as Hulk really needs.  He features a ball jointed neck, ball hinged shoulders, elbows, hips, and knees, with cut swivels at the wrists and waist, and hinged ankles.  The figure would have benefit from ankle rockers and a ball jointed torso, but I'm not complaining.  As is, he can be put into plenty of Hulk-smashy poses.

The deco on this guy is really a step up from what I'm used to seeing from DST.  The dry-brushing gives the entire figure depth and shading, both on his muscle-y green skin and his pants.  This paint job makes great use of the intricately detailed sculpt to add to the level of realism.  Not only is this DST's best sculpt on a Hulk figure yet, it's also their best paint job.  Side by side with this new figure, the original Select Hulk looks like a second grade arts and crafts project, and the movie Hulk still looks good, but obviously pales in comparison.  The paint job is also applied well, with no visible smudges, blemishes, or mistakes in any of the three that I bought (no, not all three are for me.  Group buy = free shipping.  Free shipping = happy Zak, Jason and Matt).

The Marvel Select Hulks: Movie, Original, and Unleashed Hulk
 This Hulk is slightly less bulky and heavy than the previous Hulks, but he is still one solid figure, and feels completely sturdy.  He stands well on his own, which is great since he didn't include a stand, unlike the original Hulk's broken stone and rubble-looking base.  That base (pictured below) doesn't initially fit this new Hulk, since it uses two pegs per foot and this figure has only one peg hole per foot, but about seven seconds with my Dremel to remove the forward most pegs from the "foot prints" in the base solved that problem.  Now this new Hulk can use that stand, and his feet actually fit pretty well in the foot prints.

And because I know somebody was bound to ask for it, here is a size comparison with several other Hulks in various scales.  This figure fits great with the Marvel Select and Marvel Legends lines (I personally think the Legends Hulk figures are under-sized, so Select scale is perfect to go with Legends), but before somebody asks, no, he doesn't look good next to any 3.75" figures.  Marvel Selects are WAY too big for that.

I've said before that I am not much of a Marvel Select collector.  I have only a small handful of Select figures in my collection, and most of them are Hulks.  But if all of the Select figures were of this quality, I would buy every single one of them without hesitation.  This figure is absolutely worth adding to your collection, even if you're not a Select collector.  And that goes especially for Marvel Legends collectors.  This guy will make all your other Hulks look feeble and weak.  Buy him.  You won't regret it.

This figure is currently available on the Disney Store and Marvel Store websites.