- The Washington Times - Friday, May 1, 2015

Since 2007, Hasbro’s Marvel Legends Infinite Series action figures give collectors roughly 6-inch-tall, heavily articulated versions of characters culled from superhero movie and comic-book universes.

Its latest collection pays tribute to the Earth’s Mightiest Heroes assembling some current and past members of the Avengers team partially plucked from director Joss Whedon’s new live-action movie as well as classic sequential-art pages.

The line-up includes cinema stalwarts Iron Man (Mark 43 armor), Captain America and everyone’s favorite grumpy Green Goliath along with the lesser-known characters Spider-Woman, Hellcat and Cap’s enemy Batroc.

Figure profile: (from Marvel Entertainment’s website) “Hulk is back and ready to be unleashed as the Avengers‘ not-so-secret weapon. Bruce Banner has embraced the Hulk and is now an important part of the team, although surprising protocols have been put in place to make sure Hulk doesn’t ever get out of hand in a conflict. Banner worked alongside Tony Stark to develop the Ultron program as a peacekeeping initiative.”

Accessories: This shirtless action figure wearing undersized Spandex purple pants and sporting permanent fists arrives practically bursting out of his cardboard-and-plastic packaging and stands near 8.5 inches tall in his bare feet.

The inflated, emerald features of actor Mark Ruffalo (Dr. Bruce Banner in the movie) remain faithful in a perfect head sculpt of a clearly enraged Hulk, which looks like it was culled from the film’s computer-generated equivalent.

The muscular-and-veined figure has a whopping 18 points of articulation (including a swivel chest, ball-joint neck, pinned elbow and knee joints, shoulders and thigh joints, ankle pins and wrist joints to name a few) for a near-infinite range of pummeling poses.

Although Hulk gets no extra stuff, the Marvel Infinite Legends line is well known for its Build-A-Figure initiative. The welcomed bonus offers a piece of a usually larger character in each package, assembled once the owner buys all of the figures from the collection.

In this case, the package contains the right, fisted arm of the cosmic villain Thanos.

Price: $19.99.

Read all about it: Marvel Comics’ delivered a mega crossover story in 2013 finding the robotic villain Ultron (star of the new movie) taking over the Earth and slaughtering many of its superheroes. A hard-bound trade paperback called “Age of Ultron” ($75) bundles the 10-issue limited series with Avengers Assemble Nos. 14 and 15, Fantastic Four No. 5, Fearless Defenders No. 4, Superior Spider-Man No. 6, Uncanny Avengers  No. 8, Ultron No. 1, Wolverine & The X-Men No. 27 and Avengers No. 10.

Brian Michael Bendis chronicles the time-traveling adventure with beautiful art work by Bryan Hitch in some of the issues in the main series. The tale offers plenty of panels starring many members of the Avengers in battle and that, of course, includes the mighty Hulk (the Red Hulk even gets into the mix).

What’s it worth: Clearly the star of this series is the massive movie version Hulk, but pop-art connoisseurs will want to drop the cash and collect the whole set to build a pretty impressive version of Thanos. It’s worth noting that Hellcat and Batroc will be especially worthy of adding to a collection.

However, I am anticipating wave 3 of this year’s Infinite Legends collection starring such characters as Dr. Strange, Vision, Marvel Now! Iron Man and a buildable Hulk buster figure.

As always, price is prohibitive here for parents who are probably not willing to spend $20 each for 6-inch-tall toys to satisfy their offspring’s quest for an Avengers role-playing session. However, Hasbro has plenty of other ideas to satisfy that requirement such as movie micro-sets and interactive costume pieces.

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