While I wait for Wave 17 of Marvel Universe to arrive with Psylocke and Storm, I figured I’d step back and fill in the archives by reviewing some older currently-released Marvel Universe action figures. First up, it’s Wave 15’s Ultron figure. Ultron was previously released as part of a Secret Wars comic pack with Reed Richards, but this is his first singles release. Ultron is arguably the greatest villain created for the Avengers (Loki existed before the team), so it’s only right that he finally receives a single-carded release in the third year of the Marvel Universe line. If you’re hoping for something different and better with this Ultron figure, then you’re going to be disappointed. If you’re hoping for more of the same with a new secondary color, today’s your lucky day…
I never bought the original version of this Ultron figure, as I didn’t like the terrible Reed Richards packed with the first Ultron at all, so I’m grateful to have another shot at this quintessential villain. As a rule, I hate figures exclusive to two-packs, particularly when one of the figures in the two-pack is available elsewhere. So this Ultron being released alone at all is a win in and of itself.
The big change from the first release of Ultron is that the secondary color used for all his highlights is now a neon green instead of the classic red. I can’t remember any specific incidents when Ultron had neon green highlights in the comics, but on the periphery of my memory I think I remember a period where he did, so the green mouth is probably comic-accurate. And even if it isn’t authentic, the electric green is probably the most striking part of the figure, so I can definitely deal with it. I’m not really sure why the lines on his body are highlighted in the neon green, though. I guess the idea is that he’s emitting green electrical energy from openings on his body or something? That seems a little peculiar to me, but I don’t really know…
One thing I do really like about this figure is the style and look chosen. Whereas Toybiz’s approach for the Marvel Legends Ultron was some freaked-out, stylized dog-headed robot looking thing flying on a crazy missile-firing Ultron glider, Hasbro decided to walk the straight and narrow path and give us the purely classic Ultron design that collectors have been clamoring for. The result, while not perfect, is infinitely more satisfactory than Toybiz’s attempt. We can only hope Hasbro sees fit to give us an equally-classic Marvel Legends Ultron in 2012-2013.
While I fully approve of the design chosen for this Ultron, the actual execution leaves a ton to be desired. The proportions on this figure look really awkward and clunky to me. It appears that Ultron has a huge upper body with a disproportionate pin head on top, resulting in Ultron looking not just bulky, but almost fat. Coupled with the huge “thunder-thighs” chosen for his legs, and instead of being a terrifying visage of cybernetic death, Ultron instead gives off the impression of being a grey Pilsbury Doughboy with a robot head.
Even the design choices for Ultron’s hands are odd. Ultron’s left hand is spread as if to shoot an energy blast, but the limitations of the articulation around the arm and wrist make it such that the hand can never be naturally pointing forward with the palm out. All he can really do with the hand is hold it up menacingly–not the most exciting for a battle pose. Ultron’s right hand is sculpted as a grasping hand, but I have no idea what it’s designed to hold, as neither Ultron release has included any accessories.
The quasi-shiny silver paint chosen as the primary color for Ultron is decent, but he just doesn’t look like a robot to me. Vac-metalized paint would have gone a long way to making up for this figure’s shortcomings, and should have been possible since this figure comes with no accessories and no new parts or sculpting of any kind. C-3P0 gets chromed all the time in the Star Wars line and we had a silver chromed TC-14 release just a few years ago, so why not Ultron? I’m aware it’s a costing issue, but it doesn’t make me feel any better about this.
Marvel Universe Wave 15 started shipping in August, and can still be found at many Target stores with a little bit of patience and effort. I didn’t have any success finding this particular wave at other retailers, but YMMV. As far as online options go:
BigBadToyStore has the best price on the Set of 5 for Wave 15 for just $49.99 (including Ultron, X-23, Darkhawk, Steve Rogers, and Namor) . That’s essentially the retail price, and I doubt any online stores will beat it. They also had Ultron available individually for $11.99 although he’s currently sold out.
The fine folks over at CMDStore currently have this wave in-stock, and they presently have Ultron available for just $11.95, which is only slightly more than what you’d pay at Target or Toys R Us–and without wasting time and gas looking for him.
Marvel Universe Wave 15 Ultron is as low as $10.99 on Amazon.com, where he’s currently available with FREE shipping.
Overall: This Ultron was designed and originally released in the first year of the Marvel Universe line before the Hasbro team really had things figured out, and it absolutely shows. While he’s certainly worlds better than the awful Marvel Legends Ultron that Toybiz put out, this figure is nowhere near the quality of Marvel Universe action figures that collectors have become accustomed to recently. He’s poorly-articulated, awkwardly proportioned, lacking any accessories of any kind, and truly not any fun. This is most likely the only Ultron we’re going to get for several years, so I don’t mind having him at the back of my Avengers shelf for the moment, but I greatly anticipate getting a better version of Ultron in either the Marvel Universe or the revived Marvel Legends down the line. If you absolutely must have an Ultron figure, then you’re probably already going to buy this. Otherwise, I can’t give him a recommendation–he’s just not that good.