One of the many bitchings coming from fanboys is that the Build-A-Figures in Marvel Legends have gotten smaller. This is not an ideal world, and when oil sales are through the roof, sacrifices have to be made so that the price can stay competitive. Sure, we all loved the Sentinel and Galactus, but ToyBiz (and now Hasbro) realized that they can't keep making huge BAFs and keep the price low enough so that people will keep buying the product. Less articulation, smaller BAFs, re-used parts, cheaper plastic...it's all an effort to keep the cost of the figures down for the consumers. If Marvel Legends cost $20, you'd hear just as much bitching.
An experimental spore released on a planet in the anti-matter universe known as the Negative Zone rapidly grew and developed into the insectivoid entity called Annihilus. Cosmic power, harnessed through a Control Rod, grants Annihilus super-human strength and extends his life to near immortality. With superior intelligence and a mastery of the alien technology that spawned him, Annihilus has dedicated his existence to conquering any being that threatens his insane quest for power.
So we get figures like Onslaught, Mojo and MODOK, and now Annihilus. All small when compared to the first handful of BAFs, but big and bulky enough to be too much for one clamshell or blister pack. And yes, to all the detractors, Annihilus is indeed much larger than your typical Legend. He may not have a Hulk-level bulkiness, but his 17" wingspan certainly counts for something. I didn't believe it at first, but his wingspan actually reaches the top of my Freddie Mercury action figure.
I've made it no secret that my reason for purchasing this entire wave was so that I could possess Annihilus. I'm a big fan of his design, so I was really looking forward to this figure. Does he measure up?
Well, his sculpt is great, a nice ambiguous mix of technical and organic bits, which is just the way he should look. He's appropriately menacing for a character who's also known as The Living Death That Walks, but there's a certain amount of Golden/Silver Age wackiness thrown in for good measure. He's got it all, from the ridiculously high collar to the Creature From the Black Lagoon style mouth.
Many people have stated on various message boards that they would have actually preferred the unreleased Fantastic Four movie Annihilus to this one, but to this I must say nay. That guy was entirely robotic, and not really at all like he looked in the comics. He was more Ultron than Annihilus [more Ultron than Ultron, too. --ed.]. This guy looks like he stepped right off the pages. He does tip a bit more toward the organic side than I'm used to, especially in the shoulder pad department. Rather than go with the geometric and smooth pads with conical, evenly spaced spikes, the figure's pads look more like organic carapace, and the spines are irregular and urchin-like.
So the sculpt is good, but the paint? Hmm.
The two different shades of green are good, and the wash used on them is satisfactory, but that body? Apparently, there was a running change in the figure's body color: early shipments were pink with pink wash, while the later ones were pink with purple wash. I think I got the purple wash, but there's little difference, to be honest. Both are way too pastel in their finish, and fail to capture the deep, rich magenta that Annihilus's costume typically displays in comics. It's really my one problem with the figure, and since Hasbro is handling the mass production and distribution of these figures (whereas ToyBiz is responsible for the sculpts and designs) I'm thinking the paint is one of the few problems that can be laid solely at Hasbro's feet.
So now that the ugly business of paint is out of the way,
we move on to articulation. Unfortunately, there's some more bad news for ML fans, although this can probably be blamed on ToyBiz. While there's no shortage of joints, a few are notably absent. Annihilus has balljoints at the neck, balljoints at the wings, balljoints at the shoulders, peg biceps, double-hinged elbows, hinged wrists, hinged chest, balljoints in the hips, peg thighs, double-hinged knees, and hinged and pivoting ankles. Forearm and shin joints are nowhere to be found. Ditto with a waist. I can personally do without these joints, but they do limit poseability somewhat, and will give Hasbro-haters plenty of fuel for flaming. Not that they really needed it.
I originally thought the balljoints in the shoulders and hips utilized the same spherical sculpted pieces, but further examination
has led me to decide that they are, in fact, different. The big question, however, is obviously "How does he stand?" With the big wings, you'd expect him to be a poor stander, but he actually does much better than I thought he would. If you position the wings so that the tips fall forward, they add to the weight distribution and help keep Anni upright. Finding the sweet spot in the knees is also critical, but with a little tinkering, you should be able to get your Living Death That Walks standing upright indefinitely. He does much better than my Onslaught, who I might as well rename Leanslaught, because, you know, he needs to lean on something or else he falls. Bad joke.
Annihilus doesn't get any accessories, because he himself is the accessory. And he really turned out pretty darn good. He was the only thing I was really looking forward to in Hasbro's first series of Legends, and for the most part he's met or surpassed my expectations.
The pastel pink is a bit of a downer, but considering Annihilus's body was never the manliest color to begin with, it doesn't bother me. However, that coupled with the slightly lessened articulation may be a deal breaker for some people. But overall I still give Anni the thumbs up, and Hasbro as well. They've got their work cut out for them, with a wave of negativity preceding their first wave of figures - negativity from fans who suddenly revere ToyBiz as a God, no matter how much they bitched before (how quickly they forget...). While there's certainly room for improvement, The 'Bro has done an exemplary job of continuing the ML tradition. They could have done away with the ToyBiz style completely, but instead chose to thunder on and try to please the pre-existing fan base. It's a lose/lose situation, but I for one salute them for a job well done on their first wave of ML and their first BAF.
So, who's got something to say? Tell us on our message board, the Loafing Lounge.