I’m closing out my 2011 toy reviews with my reviews of the first Marvel Universe wave of 2012! Last week I reviewed Psylocke, Modern Iron Fist, Patriot, and Storm (and you can find all my past reviews in the Toy Reviews Index). Tonight I’m one figure away from completing the set with my review of Shadowland Daredevil. I can honestly say I never read an issue of the “Shadowland” Daredevil story, but even though I heard it was pretty horrendous, I was still looking forward to having this Daredevil as I didn’t have a single one in my collection and I thought this black costume was the slickest ever for Daredevil. Now that I have Shadowland Daredevil, I still like the costume, but my expectations may have been too high…
Modern Marvel comics are a huge love of mine, so I’m totally psyched whenever Hasbro is able to release a new character or variant from the comics with a fast turnaround time. This Daredevil is from the 2010 “Shadowland” story arc where Daredevil was evil and controlling the army of Hand ninjas. That story got vicious reviews, but the primarily black costume Daredevil wore in it last year is still pretty awesome and I’m thrilled to have it as a toy so quickly.
I never had the original Marvel Universe Daredevil figure or its paint variant, so this is my first MU Daredevil. The greatest strength of this figure is probably the costume choice: the grey and black with a few red details is striking and makes Daredevil look sleek and serious.
The body sculpt itself is generic but solid, as is the articulation. There’s nothing especially wrong with either, but nothing particularly outstanding either. There are 14 points of articulation: neck, upper torso, ball-jointed shoulders and hips, swivel elbows and wrists, double-jointed knees, and ankles. That’s less articulation than we’re used to, but most of the essential points. Daredevil’s joints are tight and sturdy, and I have zero problems with looseness whatsoever. The things I’d most like to see improved on with the articulation would be the addition of ankle-rockers and a waist joint, as well as to have arms that can hang flat at Daredevil’s sides (which is an impossibility with this upper-body mold).
Finally, I thought it was worth mentioning here that I love the new Deadpool slogans that are different on every cardback. They add an extra second of fun and elicit a big smile every time I read a new one, and I much prefer these to the old Steve Rogers/Osborne generic cardbacks that I immediately discarded without ever feeling the need to give even a first glance to. The Deadpool quip on Patriot’s cardback is vintage irreverent Deadpool banter and reads: “Collect them all! … Enjoy tacos! They’re delicious!”
The paint applications on this figure are unforgivable. When you have a figure that’s 90% covered in dark grey/black paint, there’s no way a figure with bright red splotches on the black paint should make it through quality control. Even so, this one did. Additionally, there’s a very noticeable weird area of light-grey paint discoloration right underneath the area with the most prominent red splotches. The result is that instead of being able to look at and appreciate the costume on this figure, my eyes are immediately drawn to the unmistakable paint glitches.
I also don’t particularly care for the Daredevil head sculpt on this figure. It’s a repaint of the Daredevil head from the very first 2008 wave of Marvel Universe figures, and I don’t really think it stands the test of time. In the last three years, we’ve gotten much more distinct and expressive head sculpts, and this one strikes me as being good for its time but obsolete in the present. Daredevil’s horns particularly don’t look right, as they look like little round nubbies–we’ve seen way better in recent years, such as the short horns on the Clone Wars Savage Opress figure, and I think Daredevil is now due for an upgrade.
Daredevil comes with the only weapon he ever needs: his billy-club. The billy-club looks nice, but there’s one little flaw: Shadowland Daredevil can’t hold it. Daredevil has one fist and one grasping hand, but the grasping hand chosen has a grip that’s too wide to hold the billy-club’s narrow handle. You can set the billy-club into the open hand, but it will immediately slide through completely and fall on the floor. The only way I got the billy-club into Daredevil’s hand at all for the photos in this review was by carefully balancing it on his hand, and even then it fell out as soon as I moved Daredevil. I tried squeezing the hand closed more to force a tighter grip, but it just reverts to its earlier too-wide shape, rendering the billy-club useless and Shadowland Daredevil unable to ever pose or attack with his signature weapon.
It appears to be the end of the road for the much-beloved Marvel Universe figure stands. This series is the first 2012 set of Marvel Universe figures, and to my astonishment Hasbro has found a cheaper and crappier pack-in than the Jedi Force Files from the old Power of the Jedi line. Instead of getting a practical, often-necessary figure stand with each figure this year, collectors will now get a “Collectible Comic Shot”, which refers to a small 2″ picture of the character taken from a cover and printed on a piece of low-quality cardstock. I’ll give Shadowland Daredevil a modicum of credit, as his “shot” at least depicts him in his Shadowland costume, unlike several of the other figures’ “shots”. But unlike the old Jedi Force files which gave you information about a character–these “Collectible Comic Shots” are just useless throw-aways.
At the time of writing, Marvel Universe Wave 17 has only begun to hit select specialty online retailers and hasn’t been sighted in stores as far as I know. Online, I’ve seen Shadowland Daredevil available from a couple sources:
Amazon has Shadowland Daredevil available right now from several sellers at very reasonable prices and with free shipping, but their prices and availability from various sellers changes incredibly rapidly.
Entertainment Earth is tied for the best price online and has the Wave 17 Set of 6 for $54.99 in-stock and ready to ship at the time of writing this review.
BigBadToyStore is also tied for the best price on the Set of 6 for Wave 17 for just $54.99 (including Psylocke, Storm, Patriot, Thunder Age Iron Man, Modern Iron Fist, and Shadowland Daredevil) . That’s essentially the retail price, which is the best you can hope for from an online store. They also have Shadowland Daredevil available individually for about retail price at $8.99 on pre-order.
Overall: Shadowland Daredevil is sadly an action figure that I like the idea of more than I like the actual figure. All-around this figure just screams “average”. The black costume is more exciting in theory than in execution, the articulation is adequate but not exceptional, the mold is comprised 100% of old parts, and the sculpt is “good enough” but certainly not inspired. Coupled with the careless paint applications on this figure and the fact that the grasping hand chosen for him is incapable of actually holding his billy club, and you have one below average Daredevil variant. Unless you’re a hardcore fan of this Daredevil costume or a completist, I really cannot recommend Shadowland Daredevil.