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Marvel Legends
by yo go re

Lots of characters have appeared in the Marvel Legends line more than once. Look at all the Wolverines and Iron Men, obviously. But even then, none of those have shown up twice in the line wearing the exact same costume. That distinction belongs solely to Hank Pym, who was dressed as Yellowjacket in ML11 and is back again in the same suit for Hasbro Legends 2.

Dr. Henry Pym has led a chaotic and exciting life full of adventure. Early in his career as a biochemist, he discovered the extra-dimensional Pym particles that allow him to shrink or grow at will, leading him to adopt many costumed personas and begin adventuring among the world of super heroes. He is a founding member of the Avengers, and has had an on again, off-again marriage with Janet Van Dyne, the Wasp. After the Avengers Disassembled, he semi-retired from the hero business. He joins them when his unique talents or technical expertise are required. In the meantime, however, he enjoys his life, and his solo adventures as the diminutive Yellowjacket.

Though he was created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby, Hank Pym has never really been as famous as guys like Iron Man, the Hulk or even Thor, which is why he's generally considered a second-stringer - by fans and other characters alike. Those feelings of inadequacy have led him through a never-ending parade of costumes and identities over the years. First he was Ant-Man, but when he felt he wasn't offering enough power to the Avengers, he reversed the process to become Giant-Man. The name (and costume) later changed to Goliath, before he had a mental breakdown and created the Yellowjacket persona.

Yellowjacket uses the Bullseye body, so he's pretty much the same as all the other figures who use it. His major difference is the big wings on his shoulders - seriously, how does he see around those blinders? He doesn't have any sort of articulation in the hands, but that's okay: Hasbro delivered exactly what the fans wanted from this figure. His right hand is balled into a fist. His left hand is open. That means no matter how you want him to beat the Wasp, he can! You can even get him into the exact pose.

(I was going to try to get through this entire review without a "Hank hit his wife" joke, but then I remembered Hank hit his wife, so screw it.)

The sculpt on the figure is exactly what you expect: if you've collected Marvel Legends for any length of time, you've seen 95% of this figure before. The musculature is good, there's a minimum of costume details, and the arms look a little long. Just like all the others. Hank's belt is a sculpted element, surprisingly, and the antennae on his cowl are molded as part of it, not glued on. Only his mouth and chin are exposed, and his big yellow eyes bug out nicely.

In the first "official" press shots of Hasbro Legends 2, the symbol on Yellowjacket's chest looked more like a banana than a wasp. Thankfully, that's been corrected, and the icon looks great. The yellow used for his costume is the same unpleasant faded neon shade Hasbro put on the Robot Heroes Bumblebee - is there something in their swatch booklet that says this magenta-free hue is to used for all bug-themed characters? Honestly, though, the color looks a lot better on Hank Pym than on the little Autobot. Hank's fleshtone is good, and his belt buckle is unexpectedly golden.

Yellowjacket doesn't have any accessories (because, really, what would they give him?) but he does come with a piece of the HL2 BAF, Blob. Hanky's got the meaty right leg, which is a vision of abominable obesity. The detailing is just disgusting to look at, which something of this nature should be. The leg is too big for a knee joint, but the hip and ankle are both balljointed, and there's a hinge for the toes.

Though Hank takes all the crap for his relationship with Jan, it's worth noting that she's not exactly Miss Level-Headed herself. After all, she did spend most of the early Avengers issues flirting with all the other heroes just so Hank would pay more attention to her, and eventually took advantage of his mental instability to trick him into marriage. It doesn't excuse his actions, but he's cetainly not the only one to do anything wrong. What's really creepy are the writers who try to make his actions okay (he was mind-controlled! it was the stress of constant size-changing! he was high on vapors!) rather than focusing on the fact that he recognizes what he did was wrong, and has worked to get past it.

-- 09/09/07

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