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Hand Ninja & Dum Dum Dugan

Marvel Legends
by yo go re

With all Hasbro's focus on the new 4" figures, they've really let the 6" scale slide. For instance: in August of last year, they released their second series of ML two-packs; but it's taken until now for the variants to come out.

As Special Operations Director, and Head of Internal Security for S.H.I.E.L.D., Dum Dum Dugan has had to face every kind of threat imaginable, from giant monsters to cyborg supervillains. His job had never been as difficult as it is now, however, with an invasion of alien shapeshifters, and an entire clan of ninjas dedicated to bringing S.H.I.E.L.D. down. Luckily, Dugan started life as a circus strongman, and his strength has never failed him. The Hand may all be world-class ninjas, but there isn't a ninja alive that can bring down the Yankee strongman.

Now, to be fair, Series 1 of the two-packs came out in August '08, so we had to wait a full year for Series 2; and there's some debate over whether these newest figures are just variants for Series 2, or a new series of their own (since Hasbro doesn't number these, it's just a bit of a fan argument that doesn't matter in the long run). For instance, Series 2's "Ninjas vs. Super Spies" set had Nick Fury and a red Hand ninja, whereas the Series 3 (or Series 2.5 if you prefer) version of the same set has Dum Dum Dugan and a white Hand.

Taking a page from the Marvel Universe line, the 6" Hand ninja is a repaint of the earlier Ronin figure, a choice that makes as much sense in this scale as it did at the smaller size. It's not a re-use you'd be likely to think of on your own, but it works well: baggy ninja clothes, a bit of armor... done up all in black and white, what's to say it's not meant to be a member of the deadly Hand sect?

The uniform involves a white tunic with the widest, pointiest shoulders you've ever seen, tied with a black sash around the waist. All that is one molded rubber piece, slipped over the body. There's sculpted armor on the chest, shoulders, forearms, knees and shins, while the rest of the body has a light texture to suggest cloth. No sculpted wrinkles or anything, but still obviously not white skin. This nameless ninja gets a balljoint neck, hinged torso, and a swivel waist. He's got balljointed shoulders above swivel biceps, double hinge elbows, and balljointed wrists, with an identical layout on the legs (swapping the appropriate body part names, obviously).

The only thing setting the Hand apart from Ronin sculpturally is the head. While the once-and-future-Hawkeye had both masked and unmasked Clint Barton heads, the Hand doesn't use either of those. The new head is wearing a hood, and has a wrapped mask beneath it. Only his eyes are exposed - the flesh is pink, while the eyes are blank white. The robes are actually pale gray, and the armor is black.

Even the accessories are recycled. There're nunchucks (which aren't stuck permanently in his hand, like the ones included with Ronin) and for some reason, three katanas. Why three? No idea. He can hold two of them, of course, but there's no way to stow the third.

In the bio up above, you probably recognize the "invasion of alien shapeshifters," even if he was one of the invaders, not the invadees. The Skrulls apparently picked him off pretty early. And honestly, "an entire clan of ninjas dedicated to bringing SHIELD down" sounds a lot like Mark Millar's "Enemy of the State" storyline in Wolverine (even if the timeline doesn't quite fit). And although I'm not sure who the "cyborg supervillains" would be, that line about giant monsters? Totally a shout-out to his time chasing Godzilla. Awesome!

Dum Dum's never had an action figure before - the closest he ever came was a HeroClix piece. The figure is built on the Face-Off Punisher body, which is actually fairly easy to recognize, what with the dark body and white gloves and boots. Of course, he's also got an entire complement of white straps breaking up the navy blue: one on his right arm, a holster system on his chest, and a complicated belt (the one on his right leg is a holdover from the Punisher mold). Small SHIELD logos are painted on both arms. Dugan stands 6½" tall.

If you've ever wondered why a grown-ass man would allow himself to be called "Dum Dum," the cardback makes it clear: his real name is Timothy Aloysius Cadwallander Dugan, so pretty much anything is preferable. He's wearing his trademark brown derby, and although he does have a mustache, it's not quite "handlebar" enough for him. Well, correction: it's sculpted as a handlebar, but the paint spills onto his cheeks a bit, making it thicker than intended.

Like the Nick Fury/Hand set, this one includes a second alternate SHIELD Agent head - in fact, it includes the same second alternate SHIELD Agent head. That's very disappointing. It's not that the head is bad, but doesn't having two identical guys kind of defeat the purpose of armybuilding? This set is 97% re-use: other than Dugan's head, these are all molds that have been on-hand for years. They couldn't have batch molded a new head alongside Dum Dum's? Or at least painted this one's hair a different color? SHIELD doesn't employ black guys?

The SHIELD accessories include an M-16 with a scope and grenade launcher, a pistol that holsters on the Agent's chest, and a knife in his left boot. Fun stuff! You can even remove the chest harness and the armband, if you work at it. Since this is a re-used ToyBiz mold, the articulation is very good. Well, we could do without the hinged fingers. The head swaps out via balljoint mounted on a hinge.

The Oreo Hand Ninja isn't terribly impressive - between all the verious releases, this is the fourth time we've seen this body, so it's not as unique as it used to be. Dum Dum is a major character, so finally getting him in toy form is excellent, even though he's not as bulky as he should be. The SHIELD Agent head really should have been a new sculpt to up the value of this set, but it's still nice to get new characters released in the 6" scale.

-- 03/29/10


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