Hulk, Hulk, Planet Hulk. You know, like Afrika Bambaata? Ehh, even for a toy collector I'm esoteric. Anyway, Planet Hulk is the name of Hasbro's first ML version of the big green meanie. See, apparently Earth's heroes shot the Hulk into space, and he eventually landed on some planet where he became an Ancient Roman gladiator. Makes sense, right?
Blasted away from Earth by a conspiracy of Earth's heroes and SHIELD, the Hulk falls through a wormhole and arrives on the planet Sakaar - a savage world of barbarian tribes ruled by a corrupt Empire. He gladly enters the gladiatorial arenas of Sakaar, accepting all the benefits that victory entails. Known as "Green Scar," he gathers around himself a trusted cabal of warriors, each sworn to the other. Disgusted by the fear and hatred of those weaker than himself, Hulk is done with peace, done with justice, done with heroism. Now, he fights for glory, and for the lives of his warbound brothers in the arena.
Cost-cutting has been at work in ML for some time. Every time you see that Black Panther or Bullseye body, it shows that someone is trying to keep costs down. Often, companies do this to keep their expenses low and their profits high, but with toys, it's usually a case of keeping manufacturing costs down so that those savings can be passed on to the consumer. Toys, by and large, are made of plastic, and plastic is made from oil, the cost of which seems to be constantly rising (remember what I said about companies maximizing their profits?).
The rising cost of petroleum effects damn near everything. Products cost more because shipping costs more. Delivery companies have begun passing a "fuel surcharge" on to their customers.
And yet, the cost of toys over the past few years has only risen slightly. Why? Because most companies seem to know that toys are a luxury, and if they cost too much, they'll lose money because people stop buying them. So they look for ways to cut costs. Why the need for the economy lesson? Hasbro Legends is why. Despite the fact that ML has always employed cost cutting measures, there has been lots of criticism leveled at Hasbro for sacrificing certain elements of their Marvel Legends figures in the name of cost-cutting.
Case in point: Planet Hulk. I'll get it out of the way right off the bat. He's got no skirt. He should be wearing a Roman soldier type skirt. He's not. The pictures of Planet Hulk from the comics right there on the package show the skirt. But he's got nothing but pants. I mean thank God for those pants, but alas, no skirt.
Other than the missing skirt, this isn't a bad figure overall.
The sculpt is good, with an appropriately grumpy head sculpt and some wicked, rippling muscles. Like Iron Man, Hulk's rocking a Caesar cut, but with the Roman theme it makes more sense here. The skintight pants are oddly smooth when compared to the ultra-detail on the exposed upper body, and it almost seems like the top and bottom of this figure are kit bashed from two separate Hulk toys [no, just one. --ed]. The left arm, shown as ribbed and bionic-looking on the package drawings, is sculpted in the same style as the bare right arm, and simply painted silver.
Speaking of paint, Planet Hulk's got a pretty utilitarian paint job. It does the job, but it's not amazing. Green skin, brown pants, bronze accessories. Paint wash, paint wash, paint wash. Silver arm. The accessories actually have the most subtlety in paint: the feathers of his helmet have russet accents, and the strap of his shoulder pad is flat brown with shiny bronze rivets.
Planet Hulk is articulated out the wazoo, but he's not as articulated as we're used to seeing in our Hulk ML figures,
which may be another example of that oh-so-nasty cost-snipping. He's got balljoints in the neck and shoulders, pegs in the biceps, hinged elbows, peg wrists, hinged fingers and thumbs, a balljoint in the chest, a peg waist, balljoints in the hips, peg thighs, hinged knees, hinged and pivoting ankles, and toe hinges. Now, if that's not enough joints for you, you're spoiled, but I suppose it's worth mentioning a few things. Number one is that even with large figures like the Hulk that often sacrifice double elbow hinges, the knees usually retain them. P. Hulk here only gets one hinge per knee. Number two: there is no peg joint in the shins. It's one of those joints you won't miss too often,
but every now and then there will be a pose you can't quite achieve, and you'll wish that joint was there. But honestly, it won't happen too often.
For such a large figure, Planet Hulk gets quite a few accessories. And they're pretty good ones, at that. He gets a cool Spartan-esque helmet, and a large rectangular shield. He also gets a large spiked shoulder pad that just sort of lays on his shoulders without being secured by anything. Good in theory, not in execution. But the helmet fits great, and the sculpt on all three is very nice, with a pitted, rough texture that looks like real stone.
Planet Hulk also comes with some pretty important Build-A-Figure pieces. He gets Annihilus' head and collar, complete with some sort of weird yellow scuba tank type thing. The head sculpt is great, but make sure you don't lose the collar before you assemble him, because until you get the torso there's nothing to keep the collar and head together.
Though this figure does have its inaccuracies and shortcomings, I still find myself liking it. I really bought the first series of Hasbro Legends for the BAF, and I thought I might just toss the figures aside after assembling Annihilus. However, Planet Hulk is one of the figures I really ended up liking so much after opening him that I might reserve a permanent spot on the shelf for him. He's definitely not perfect, but I'm really digging his extra-angry face sculpt and gladiator get up. Nevertheless, I can't help thinking that with a skirt and sculpted lines on his arm, he could have been an excellent figure, instead of just a decent one. But, to bring back the Afrika Bambaata reference one more time, I can still honestly say that Planet Hulk does, to a fair degree, rock.
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