Review (Clearance): Marvel Legends: The Black Queen
When I first noticed that there was a Toys R Us exclusive Black Queen figure, I was a bit amused. It was nothing exceptional, mind you, but I am a fan of The Dark Phoenix Saga, and the head sculpt didn't look too bad.
Still, there was no way I was paying retail price for her - if memory serves, she started out around eleven or twelve bucks.
But time went on and her price began to fall. From eleven to nine; to six; to five; and - finally - to two dollars and fifty cents. That was the magic number. I handed over my money and brought her home to see if she was worth what I paid.
The Black Queen is made by Hasbro.
The first shock I received upon pulling her free from her packaging was that her legs are horribly warped. This is mainly an issue with her articulation, as we'll discuss below, but it also hurts the basic appearance. As in, the legs are so deformed, you can tell at a glance.
Her head sculpt, which actually drew me to her in the store, isn't quite so good out of the pack. She looks a bit awkward, in fact. I don't think the sculpt is all that bad, but she suffers from being cast in a flesh-tone plastic rather than painted.
She also has the same intrinsic flaw nearly every other Marvel Legend has: ball joints make excellent shoulders, but don't work for hips. At all. Come on, Mattel figured this out for their DC Universe Classics; why can't Hasbro get on the ball (well, off the ball, I suppose)?
I do want to mention that her score is especially low because we're only considering the figure, not her cape (which improves her overall look). Fear not: we'll rectify this in a moment.
Packaging and Extras: +2
The packaging is actually quite attractive. I like the rounded shape and the exterior comic art. In some ways, it was better the figure. And yet, I still threw it away.
I do want to mention that the packaging had a lot of panels and layers. It wasn't too bad getting it off, but I do have to wonder if some of that wasn't to conceal problems with the legs.
The Black Queen comes with two accessories: a rolled up whip and a cape. The whip, like the figure herself, looks better in the package than out of it. I assumed, incorrectly, that I'd be able to uncoil it. Turns out, it's just molded that way.
The cape is a little better, and, like the packaging, may be a better piece than the figure herself. The cape greatly enhances the look of the toy, and both points in this category are because of it.
Play and Display: -2
And there go those points again. I'll explain why in a moment, but first I wanted to mention that I've invited a guest, Catwoman from Mattel's DC Superheroes (now called DC Universe Classics, and anyone who claims these are separate lines is a filthy liar). Let me point out that, based on suggested retail price, these should be comparable.
An action figure should be able to stand up like Catwoman: personally, I don't think that's too much to ask.
But I understand that sometimes it just isn't going to happen. Some of my favorite figures don't stand so well on their own. Sometimes, you just have to find a spot to lean the figure against a wall.
The Black Queen has the unusual distinction of being more or less incapable of leaning against a stationary surface successfully. Allow me to reiterate this point: she can't even be propped up without looking incredibly foolish - if you get her to stay up at all.
There are two problems contributing to this. The first is that the character's legs are bowed. The second are the ankle joints: try to stand her up and her feet tend to fold forward or back.
Moreover, there are several missed opportunities, places where articulation could have been easily added but was instead left out. Places like her gloves, where a cut could have been placed... but wasn't.
For failing to provide the expected level of articulation and for being incapable of standing or even leaning, I'm subtracting two points from her final score.
Price Tag and Final Analysis: 3
If memory serves, the original price tag on The Black Queen was eleven dollars. If you think this figure is worth that, you haven't been paying attention. Of course, I didn't pay eleven: I got her for less than a quarter of that amount.
And you know something? I still don't think she's worth it.
Let me make a couple of amendments to that. First, I can only review the figure I've got: I don't know whether the leg and joint problems are endemic or if they're limited to my figure. But there were a lot of problems. Even if I wound up with a bad example, I'm betting the better figures are only marginally so.
In addition, at this price (or lower), she may be worth the money for customizers. Her head sculpt isn't that bad if you're willing to repaint her, and I'm sure there are customizers out there who would be happy enough with the body. Plus, like I said before, the cape is pretty nice. If you can think of something to do with it, it might be worth the cost of the figure - especially if she keeps getting cheaper.
I wasn't expecting to love this figure, but I was surprised with just how bad she was. At the very least, I anticipated liking her better than the 'Diamond' White Queen figure I picked up for 99 cents, and, you know something? Emma Frost is the better of the two. All things considered, that's kind of pathetic.
I want to add as a closing thought that these are not the norm for Marvel Legends. I've got some excellent figures from this line going back years, but these are sub-par.
As always, feel free to stop by my blog if you've got something to say.