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Hulk

Marvel Select
by yo go re

After two so-so movies, nobody really cared about the Hulk. It was fine that he was going to be in The Avengers, but it's not like anyone was clamoring to see him in another film.

It's funny how much can change in 2 hours and 23 minutes.

When a scientific experiment involving the US government's super-soldier program went wrong, scientist Bruce Banner was dosed with gamma radiation, triggering an uncontrollable physical transformation whenever he became stressed or angry. Growing in size and stature, Banner became the Hulk, a green-skinned behemoth who would lash out at whatever stood in his way. After years on the run from the US military, learning to control his emotions and avoiding stressful situations, Banner was tracked down and recruited to the Avenger Initiative. Now he's their blunt instrument in the war to save humankind, as long as he can maintain his own humanity in the heat of combat.

Hulk in The Avengers was a revelation. It was nothing about the performance or the technology, so we can only attribute it to the writing. He was funny, brutal, and just generally well-imagined. Maybe he's a character who works better in an ensemble rather than solo: two hours of nothing but Hulk can be a lot, but break that up with half a dozen other characters, and he's a lot easier to take.

This figure is huge. At 9⅞" tall, he not only dwarfs any "normal" sized characters you put him near, he's also bigger than any other Marvel Select Hulk. Well, taller, anyway: the Incredible Hulk they did a couple years back is slightly shorter, but a lot bulkier. Remember, this toy is meant to duplicate the (somewhat) more realistic proportions seen in the film, rather than the typical exaggerations of the comics, and in that regard it's a total success. Compare him to the movie renders and he lines up well. The musculature is great, and the veins pushed up against his skin. Really, the only thing we'd change would be the lower edge of his pants: they don't look like tattered cloth, they look like specifically sculpted shapes. That may work on a 4" figure, but even the first movie's toys got it right. Texture up those pants!

Just like with Eric Bana and Ed Norton, Hulk's face is based on Bruce Banner's actor. Unlike those two, the likeness is easy to spot. This figure has a giant, angry, distorted Mark Ruffalo face. The hair is a separate piece glued onto his head, but you can't tell unless you really get up close and poke at the strands. It's very nice.

Also nice? The paint. Hulk is not molded in green plastic like you might expect; peering up inside his ribcage, it appears to be nothing but black plastic with paint on top, which means there's no visible part of the figure that is unpainted. The green chosen for his skin may be slightly darker than the film's, but it looks great on him - it's definitely not the neon green the last MS Hulk had! His nails are a darker green still, and there are subtle shadows painted on the body. His pants aren't purple, but rather a dark grey. He has off-white teeth and pink gums. That's correct to the film, but if his entire body turns green, why is the inside of his mouth still pink? There's a black wash on the hands, to catch the wrinkles on his fingers.

His articulation is quite good for a Marvel Select release. He has a balljointed head, swivel/hinge shoulders, swivel biceps, hinged elbows, swivel wrists, balljointed torso, H-hips, swivel thighs, hinged knees and swivel/hinge ankles. The joints are nice and tight, so he'll stand securely in most any pose. Be aware, however, that the abductor joint (the hinge that moves the leg out to the side) in both hips seems to be a little bit loose - at least, it doesn't want to move back down into position very easily. The top half of the joint, which should remain flush against the trunk, instead pops outward and the leg doesn't want to go all the way back down. This appears to be a common flaw with the mold, so don't waste your time trying to get a replacement.

Hulk doesn't get any accessories or a display base - not even a cardboard backdrop like Juggernaut had. It's just him by himself in that giant Marvel Select packaging. Of course, with a figure this big and well-made, do you really need anything else? It's a lot easier to find this figure than the Walmart-exclusive version, and sure, Marvel Select may be done in a 7" scale instead of the 6", but is there really such a thing as a Hulk that's too big?

-- 06/25/12


 
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