In July of 2009, Hasbro ran a poll on their website allowing fans to vote for three Marvel Legends figures to be made. There was a pool of 18 figures, and it was announced that the ones we chose would be included in two-packs with others taken from the pool. The winners were announced in August of that year, and now, in November of 2010, they've finally hit shelves.
Empowered and driven mad by Asgardian magic, Samantha Parrington attacked the Hulk. The fight that resulted was a battle for the ages. For blocks around, concrete was shattered by the concussive force of their blows. Both combatants staggered away from that fight with little memory of what had actually occurred. Later, as Samantha gained full control of her incredible powers, she joined the Hulk as a member of the Defenders.
You may expect that in a set featuring Hulk and Valkyrie, Hulk was the one fans voted for. In fact, Val is the Fans' Choice winner,
and Hulk was the one Hasbro chose to package with her. Valkyrie has a supremely complicated backstory, as there have been at least three different versions of the character, and they're all visually identical. She was introduced in the early '70s as a rather ridiculous straw feminist, first fighting the Avengers and then the Hulk in the name of defeating "male chauvinist pigs." Roy Thomas may have had some issues at the time.
Eventually she mellowed out a bit, to the point where she became a more realistic feminine role model: she may be a bit naive sometimes, but she certainly doesn't hate men any more. Well, okay, some she does. She hates villains, obviously, but she doesn't hate them for being men. "Being born with a penis" is no longer on her list of punishable crimes, whih is really good to know, since she carries a sword around at all times.
Valkyrie is an all-new sculpt, and it's a good one. Her bare limbs are more muscular than the other ML women (with at least one notable exception), but they still look feminine. The costume details are even raised elements: the bands on her arms and the criss-crossed straps of her sandals aren't just painted on. Her belt and boob-cups are detailed just as they should be, and she has a (non-working) sheath on her right hip. The details could be sharper, but this is still a step up from those first few Hasbro Legends.
The figure's face is very attractive. It's one of those thin, drawn Nordic faces, which really suits the character. Her lips are painted a metallic pink, which is much nicer than a bright red would have been - one makes her look mystical, the other would make her look like she stopped to put on lipstick before rushing off to fight crime. Her hair is a sandy blonde, not bright yellow.
Val comes with a big impressive spear, and her sword Dragonfang. The sword is solid gold, with a bird's head pommel, and the spear is brown and silver. Her blue cape is also removable, with a peg in the back to hold it on. She has the minimum Hasbro Legends articulation: lots of swivel/hinge joints, but no doubles anywhere, and a balljointed head. She stands 6¼" tall.
The Hulk we get in this set isn't a new figure - in fact, it's a repaint of one that was available last year. And the mold's been around since the year before that!
This is, clearly, the Ed McGuinness Hulk. You may already own the mold as 2009's exclusive Red Hulk. Everything we said about that figure's sculpt is true here, as well, so rather than make you read it twice (short version: very cartoony, which is both accurate and unlike any of your other Hulks), we'll just provide a link to that review and move onto the changes.
The only difference in the sculpt is the Hulk's head. This one, quite
honestly, is much more McGuinnessy than Red Hulk's: in particular, he has that unmistakable super-wide jawline that you'll recognize from the Superman/Batman toys. His messy mop of Moe Howard hair is sculpted only on the top of his head - amusingly, the slight texture on the back of the head looks like the hair back there has been shaved. He's also got a McGuinness-style curlicue on his chin, matching the ones on the elbows.
Hulk's paint is good - much better than the prototype, that's for sure! His green is pleasingly vibrant, as are his
purple pants. There's darker paint meant to accentuate the sculpt, but it doesn't really blend at all. Red Hulk kad something similar, but his faded naturally, while Hulk's looks almost like stripes, especially on his back. He does get individual paint apps on his finger and toenails, though, so that's good. His teeth are clean, but you have to question the wisdom of having him look up: Hulk is huge, so who's he possibly looking at above him?
Hulk and Valkyrie make for an interesting two-pack. They were both intended for the ML Hulk series, when Fin Fang Foom was going to be made from 12 pieces instead of eight, so pairing them makes a kind of sense. The prototypes were first seen in July 2007, so basically, we're just glad they've finally seen the light of day. Honestly, I could do without the Hulk - in fact, I'll be selling him off to recoup some of the outlandish cost of this two-pack - but he's better than expected. They both are. Hulk's cool, and Val's great. It's a bit funny, though, that none of the artwork on the package actually reflects the figures inside: there are two pictures of Hulk, but neither of them was drawn by McGuinness, and two pictures of Valkyrie, but neither in this outfit. Smooth.