Okay, so say you're a mad scientist with dreams of global domination. You've got your overly spacious lair (always exactly the size of the 007 stage at Pinewood Studios) incorporating a needlessly complicated execution device, you've got a loyal henchman with some kind of metal body part, your laser death ray satellite is in orbit, and you're working your way through the automated menu options at the United Nations phone system to get to someone you can demand billions of dollars from. You've done well - but then you find out that some other mad scientist has built himself a giant robot, and you realize you're still just an amateur.
Attention, Agents Trace and Chase! The villainous Dr. Inferno is on the loose in the City with his latest mad scientist creation -
a stomping, crushing monster robot with a giant claw and flame arm! Your mission: to use your Agent Super Jet with flick missiles and your harpoon-equipped Quad Bike to disable the robot and capture Dr. Inferno before he escapes in his jet-pod!
Last year's selection of Lego Agents sets crossed off most of the requirements for the Agents team's arch-nemesis Dr. Inferno to consider himself a real mad scientist's mad scientist, starting with his name, plus a lair hidden inside a volcano (containing a bona fide superlaser), and a small legion of henchmen who almost all have metal body parts of one sort or another (as does Inferno himself). Do you see why I keep saying they need to make a movie of this? Forget arguments like "it's not as if Hollywood's got any better ideas," there are no better ideas, especially now there's a giant robot. Shakespeare would've chucked out Hamlet if he'd thought of this instead.
Let's not waste time with the small fry, but skip right to the robot itself, which is probably called Magma-Robo or Volcanotron or something like that. At full stretch it stands a bit over 9" tall, and for a model that's clearly all about style, has a surprising amount of substance. It's not quite a made-of-balljoint Bionicle creation, but there's a lot of articulation built into the Robo's comicbooky frame, with swivel/peg joints at the shoulders, elbows, hips, knees, and ankles, with a swivel waist, swivel right wrist and hinged claws, and extra tilt joints for the feet to keep them level; with their big footprint, it's pretty difficult to get the robot to unbalance. There's no neck joint, since there's no head - Dr. Inferno sits inside a big glass dome, grinning maniacally out at the world as he does his damndest to set much of it on fire.
Besides the fact that it's articulated, and of course that it's a giant robot,
the Robo has a few other tricks up its metal sleeve as well. The left arm is the obligatory gun arm, sticking to Dr. Inferno's theme by being some kind of devastating heat ray. There's a red light brick built into the "forearm" and piped through to the plastic flame extending from the weapon's nozzle, and just for extra style points it also sports a sticker of a mode selector, with "toast", "grill", and "flambe" the available options.
For emergency escapes the top half of the robot can separate from the hips and legs, with four rocket engines built into the underside of the upper body, and for when that doesn't shake those pesky Agents, the dome opens up and Dr. Inferno's control chair becomes the jet-pod mentioned in the bio text (because no matter how mad a mad scientist gets, they never seem to lose the tiny sane part of their brain that says "You know, just in case this doesn't work, let's have an escape mechanism").
Up against the good Doctor, and typically outsized David-and-Goliath style,
are Trace and Chase - "the Hero" and "the Chick" respectively in the Agents' five-man-band structure. Both are provided with standard Agent handguns (given the nature of the Agents setting, they're probably child-friendly "stun rays" or something), and alternate faces if you turn their heads around: Chase has one face with microphone and sunglasses and one without, while Trace (naturally) has a help-I'm-being-captured face in addition to her normal competent one.
According to the instructions and packaging photos, Trace gets the Agent Super Jet, a nifty little single-seater with forward-swept wings and chunky Thunderbolt-style turbines either side of the tail. It's a small, fairly simple vehicle, most noticeably in the way the cockpit canopy is assembled in place rather than on a hinge, but it has a pair of flick missiles, and the turbines can be rotated - realistically speaking they're too far back to act as VTOL thrusters, but since we're already accepting a giant robot, there's no point getting technical at this stage.
Chase meanwhile has the Quad Bike, an even more tiny and basic vehicle that's essentially four wheels, a pair of handlebars, and a winch with a grappling hook (not a harpoon) attached. The hook has an unusually long spool of thread to work with, all the better to get a good few loops around the Robo's legs and bring it down AT-AT fashion.
As a bonus, the set also includes three civilians - obviously Dr. Inferno needs someone to stomp around chasing, and thankfully it's not Trace this time. Lego's had miscellaneous townsfolk hanging around almost as long as there have been Lego figures, but this hapless trio are a bit more up to date
(although not without a certain adorable goofy-ness), with all three having individualized faces rather than just the generic Lego smile, and slightly retro outfits including a cutely awful printed shirt for the guy in the funky glasses. He has a traditional hair piece (as distinct from a hairpiece, although it might be that too), coloured sandy blond, but he gets a camera to play with - the other two are bereft of accessories, but each have more modern hair, with a stylishly messy black piece for the second guy, and a redhead version of Trace's ponytail for the woman. All three have alternate faces, all showing various degrees of panic.
Lego Agents is all about classic superspy/supertech fun, and you don't get much more fun than a giant robot. Whether it's to go on your desk at the office (where anyone who doesn't recognize how cool it is has no soul), or to be played with (providing some much-needed terror to Lego City sets), this is a set that'll satisfy.