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Figures and Speech: GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY VOL. 2 Marvel Legends Wave 2

Welcome to Figures & Speech, Nerdist’s regular column by, for, and about grown-ups who still play with their toys but might want to know more before they buy. 


James Gunn promised us there’d be more female action figures from the second Guardians of the Galaxy movie than the first, but when that first wave hit, we were all a bit worried, as the only woman in it was Angela, from the comics. Now that wave 2 is in hand, however, it seems clear that the movie characters in the last Guardians of the Galaxy Marvel Legends wave were the ones whose looks changed the least between flicks, so they could be put into production sooner. Wave 2 gives us more of the movie characters, and three women, to boot.


One of the women, Mantis, is the build-a-figure in the wave, probably because she doesn’t use big guns or action accessories in the movie and it was thought she’d appeal more to collectors than casual buyers. But it leads to mildly uncomfortable optics–obviously, build-a-figures do come in pieces, but when it’s a robot tiger or something, it somehow feels less disturbing to see parts than when it’s a humanoid woman’s headless torso.


Granted, Rocket and Groot are both so small that it feels like they need added value with a big bonus piece, but they’re packing a lot themselves. Groot may not be posable but he’s well-painted, and Rocket has interchangeable heads, plus the following articulation: cut ankles, ball tail, cut wrists, ball knees, hips and elbows, cut mid-thigh, ball mid-torso and ball neck. Watch out in case his feet fall off, and wonder why he has small holes in his feet that obviously won’t fit any of the same pegs the larger figures do, but still, you won’t regret buying him, which is why he comes one extra to a case.


Drax in wave 1 has already become one of my favorite figures of the year, so there’s a lot to live up to, but these figures do. Zoe Saldana, somehow, is one of those actors who gets captured perfectly in toy form every time, and the new Gamora is no exception.


Her angry sister Nebula isn’t bad either. Well, I mean, she is bad, but she’s a good figure.


She comes packed with an alternate robotic right forearm.


Unlike the male figures in the line, Gamora, Nebula, and Mantis lack upper bicep cut joints, but make up for it with ball-jointed elbows. This is pretty standard for Marvel Legends. Otherwise, the articulation is what you’d expect on all of these, with double-knees and elbows, ball shoulders and hips, rock-and-cut ankles, mid calf, mid-thigh, and upper bicep, plus ball neck and ab crunch and waist.


Nebula has a gun, but Gamora has a bigger gun, plus her sword, and the collapsed sword hilt that fits in a holster…though it falls out very easily.


Rounding out the single-carded movie figures is a new Star-Lord, who’s mostly a repaint of wave 1 Star-Lord, but with new arms, coat, and removable Chris Jericho scarf, plus a different head sculpt and a walkman all in black. And I don’t know about you, but it looks to me less like Chris Pratt and more like Saturday Night Live‘s Beck Bennett cosplaying as Chris Pratt.


Seriously, when you look at him, can’t you just hear Bennett saying “Ees okay!” in his Vladimir Putin voice? I do. Comparison:


Fortunately, you can pop his head off and replace it with either the more Pratt-like head or the masked one from wave 1. You do have to buy this Star-Lord to build Mantis, though.


Mantis is also a standout, with a great actor likeness and a metallic green sheen on her outfit. Make sure her legs are pushed in tight when you assemble her. Since we never really saw the back of her outfit onscreen, here it is:


That just leaves one more movie star:


Careful not to lose him. He doesn’t have a base or plug in to anything.


Shaky Pratt likeness on version 2.2 aside, I’m very impressed overall with the movie-based figures, and they could be one of the best lines of the year. So why, you may ask, are there no villains in this line from the movie, with comic-based adversaries rounding out the wave?


Well, Ego will be coming in a 2-pack with Star-Lord 2.1, but there’s no Ayesha or Taserface, or even Ronan or Thanos from movie 1. And here’s the logistical answer: to make a wave cost effective, some figures need to use existing parts. And accurate movie-based characters can’t do that. Hence, we get three comic characters on fairly generic bodies.


Ex Nihilo, being all gold, could conceivably be part of the Sovereign in the movie. He also looks enough like the silhouette of Steppenwolf seen in the Batman V Superman Extended Cut that he could play well with your DC toys.


Death’s Head II, a character primarily known from Marvel UK, is huge. Huge enough that you’d expect him to be the build-a-figure, even.


If you’re thinking these last two characters might work well with Masters of the Universe Classics, you speak my language.


Death’s Head II even comes with an extra left hand, in case you’d rather have him point than punch.



Which leaves us with Adam Warlock, who has been teased as the major antagonist for Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3. He uses a generic superhero body, and those Doctor Strange spell-casting effects AGAIN (they’re loose around his wrist, and have to be pushed further up the forearms), but the paint job does good work of disguising it.


He comes with a bonus energized head that makes him look like Ryuk from Death Note:


If the Marvel movie figures stay this good, we’ll all be very lucky. GOTG 2 are the height of Hasbro’s game on that score so far.


Images: Luke Y. Thompson

Luke Y. Thompson is Nerdist’s weekend editor and resident toy reviewer. Hit him up on Twitter @LYTrules

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