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Iron Man toys show evolution of his armor
Question of the Day
Thanks to the proliferation of film, comic-book and cartoon characters, companies are bombarding consumers with an incredible selection of action figures. With tongue in cheek, let”s take a peek at some of the specimens worthy of a place in Zad”s Toy Vault.
Iron Man: Mark 01
Marvel Comics’ Golden Avenger comes to life through Hasbro’s latest series of Iron Man action figures. With designs based on the live-action movie currently in theaters, the first wave of 6-inch multiarticulated gems highlights the evolution of the character’s armor along with the film’s main villain.
On store shelves, youngsters will find Iron Man Mark 02 (with a firing missile), Iron Man Mark 03 (with launching repulsor blasts), Iron Man Prototype (with snap-on armor), the evil Iron Monger (with super-fist-smash action) and Iron Man Mark 01, the original version of the costume that turned Tony Stark into a legend.
Figure profile: Trapped and forced to build advanced weapons for a vicious rebel group, billionaire industrialist Tony Stark builds a powerful armor suit to escape. Flamethrowers in the arms create a fiery corridor before him, chasing off his attackers and lighting his way to freedom.
Accessories: This metallic gray version of Iron Man pays tribute to the character’s first comics appearance back in the classic Tales of Suspense No. 39 from 1963. Although re-imagined for the film with much more detail, it still looks as if Stark has been stuck in an aluminum can. The Mark 01 has 20 points of articulation and a translucent orange projectile that is placed in a launcher on the figure’s right arm and shot like an arrow by the toy’s owner.
Read all about it: Iron Man’s near half-century in comics translates into a bonanza for the sequential-art lover. I suggest either the soon-to-be released “The Invincible Iron Man Omnibus, Volume 1” (hardcover, $99) which reprints Silver Age stories from Tales of Suspense Nos. 39 to 83 and Tales to Astonish No. 82, or the much more current Iron Man: Viva Las Vegas ($3.99 each). The Vegas four-issue miniseries is written by “Iron Man” movie director Jon Favreau and beautifully drawn by Adi Granov, who worked on the armor designs for the film.
What’s it worth? Sorry collectors, but these are toys much better suited to the hands of imaginative youngsters than the confines of a display case. My tester immediately gravitated toward the Mark 01 and Iron Monger figures for a very satisfactory first battle.
The only deficiency seen with the first set of figures is that the knee joints in the Mark 03 and Mark 02 designs loosen up much too quickly. Additionally, the shoulder armor pieces from both fall off easily.
Here’s a look at more Hasbro products tied to the release of Paramount Pictures’ “Iron Man,” which stars Robert Downey Jr. as the famed comic-book character.
• Repulsor-Power Iron Man ($19.99, uses 3 AAA batteries, included). This 12-inch-tall figure delivers the best of what Iron Man represents — slick technology packed into cool-looking armor. Based on the Mark 03 movie design, the gold-and-crimson figure may have just nine points of articulation, but it boasts loads of activated sound effects.
For example, motion sensors deliver flight and battle sounds when the figure is lifted and moved around, while a landing “swoosh” is heard as it is placed back on the ground. Synthesized voice snippets such as “I am Iron Man,” “Target engaged,” “repulsor blast” and “auxiliary power” are heard when the center chest weapon is pressed.
Additionally, the left palm lights up when the arm is lifted to simulate a repulsor blast, and the right palm can load included translucent orange projectiles into a spring-based launcher.
About the Author
A graduate of Northwestern University with a degree in communications, Joseph Szadkowski has written about popular culture for The Washington Times for the past 17 years. He covers video games, comic books, new media and technology.
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