For everyone paying attention to the Marvel Universe Toy Line, you folks know that things got weird for a bit.  Wave 21 (or is it 22) featuring Jubilee, Blastaar, and Professor X popped up out of nowhere and very out of order.  Then we had word that Bag Head Spidey was in over seas circulation, a wave 19 variant, and then the wave 21 variant of Blastaar showed up overseas.  Well…here we cover what should be a little bit more normal.  Marvel Universe Wave 18 (the one that comes after wave 17…which most of us already have).  This wave features Hulk’s new mold, a Beast alot of us wanted and others not so much, Kraven, Beta Ray Bill, and a pair of Spider-Men, both Ultimate and only one of which I will be talking about below.  There has been a good bit of buzz about this wave so I want to dive in, but before I do, I have to thank Facebook Make Mine Marvel Group member Jab Along.   Once again firmly placing himself amongst the upper echelon of being “the Man”, he has delivered unto MUReview the entirety of this wave, and we cannot thank him enough! Jab Along, to you, one thousand Internets!

Beta Ray Bill

Packaging

We have the new late 2011 / 2012 packaging for this wave, character art to the top left looks great, Rocket Raccoon adorns the back with a snide remark and we get a character description.  We also see three of the other four figures in the wave.  Noticeably missing, a figure stand, and included is a small piece of character card art.  Getting Bill out of the packaging was a little bit of a challenge as Hasbro appears to have become more liberal with using the thin clear bands to tie the figs into the trays.  Bills cape comes off of his back and was fed through the figure tray, getting it out was a little obnoxious.

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Paint

Stunning and comic accurate, Beta Ray Bill looks great.  The gold of his boots, belt and hammer all stand out, the blues are perfect and they even painted the inside roof of his mouth!  If you look between his chest muscles you can even see the detail of his uniform continue in fine point detail.  The skin tone is spot on and the white of his gloves really pops against it.

Articulation

In this wave we have two figures with some of the best points of articulation in the line.  The first, Beta Ray Bill, the point…YES HIS MOUTH OPENS!  Outside of that, solid leg movement, double jointed knees, but no 2012 ankles, thigh swivels, ball and socket hips.  He spins at the waist and has the standard upper torso movement.  Arms, we have spinning wrists, single jointed elbows, the biceps spin at the shoulder and ball and socket shoulders.  The head has good movement as well but is the standard head on a ball without the extra joint.

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Character Likeness

YAAY! It’s Beta Ray Bill.

Accessories

We get Stormbreaker in all of it’s single colored glory.  Also counting as an accessory, the cape and shoulder pads which latch on to Bill by back pegs.  Stormbreaker fits in Bill’s right hand nicely, and the cape, if you are playing with it, I think might get a little annoying and fall-offey.

Overall

Was waiting, was hoping, was rewarded.  Excellent figure, though I’d say better for display than for play because of how easily the cape pops off.  I’ll probably open his display case at least once a week to open and close his mouth.  Love this figure!  Now if only I could get a Ronan figure, an Ikon figure, and a Quasar figure (I’m happy to use my custom for Q, but you guys can’t have him so that’s no help to you!).

Grade

Displayed but more to the side. (4 out of 5)

Kraven

Packaging

One of Spider-Man’s mightiest foes gets the 2012 packaging treatment, card art is worth a look and Rocket Raccoon…isn’t he snarky!

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Paint

What a palate Hasbro had to work with here, brown on brown on tan on brown.  They did Kraven justice though.  Particularly in the face / hair area.  They took all that was awesome about the Dr. Strange face and made it maybe even a little bit more awesome.  Fine details and highlights.  They really nailed it!  There are excellent painted on details as well, like the wrist straps which, though overlapping still manage to look layered, and the arm bands.  Wait a second though….let’s have a look at the card back.  Hasbro actually managed to not even match the card back here.  On the card back Kraven’s knee skulls appear to be painted, as does his necklace accessory…in real life, not so much.    Mixed bag here…

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Articulation

Kraven looks tough, but he’s kinda tough to move.  There is very little ankle articulation here making a lot of poses that we are used to impossible.  Kraven does have double jointed knees, but no thigh articulation and no upper -waist movement.  We have some standard arm movement, spinning wrists and single jointed elbows, spin at the biceps and ball joint shoulders.  The head is of the single joint variety and movement is restricted by his vest and the necklace accessory.

Character Likeness

This is what Kraven looks like. It’s a shame though that the Kraven on the back of the back of the package manages to look a little bit more authentic than the figure in hand.

Accessories

Of Wave 18, Kraven is the most accessory loaded figure.  He comes with a staff with painted on beads, a small blade / machete, a utility belt, and a necklace.  The necklace though, you have to pop his head off to get it on.  I’m sure there are many buyers out there that are too squeamish to pop off an action figure head, and there aren’t instructions included.  I’d love to walk by him in someone else’s collection with the necklace being used as an arm band…I’d get a kick out of that.

Overall

A few minor things prevent Kraven from being a truly next level figure.  Limited articulation and a paint job that’s better on the card back than on the figure hurt an otherwise great looking head sculpt and paint job / uniform.

Grade

Displayed somewhere I might see it ( 3 out of 5)

Hulk

Packaging

The Hulk gets the 2012 treatment with character card and Hulkish card back.  The colors are just right and the blurb on the back works.

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Paint

When I think Hulk, I think purple pants, green skin, and green eyes.  Black hair too.  That’s what Hasbro thought.  Hulk has the treatment here and it works great.  The muscle shadowing looks excellent and the detail is right down to the green eyeball level.

Articulation

Like the Red Hulk from the Avengers 3-pack, and the Avengers comic series Hulk, he is a trimmer than the previous releases.  He’s less broad at the shoulders and has a more reasonable stance.  The points of articulation don’t stop really.  Head down we have the nice newer hinged neck, full 360 and tilting / raising at shoulders, 360 spin at the biceps, hinged elbows and 36o spinning wrists.  Hulk has the swivel spin torso and a lock n’ spin waist.  We have ball / socket hips with rotating thighs.  We also have something awesome for a Hulk, double jointed knees!  Ankles spin and tilt front to back, but not side to side.

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Character Likeness

He’s got all the elements right down to the Hulk sized foot print.  I feel like this Hulk is the closest Hasbro has come so far.

Accessories

Nothing to see here… move along.

Overall

This Hulk replaces my Avengers Comic Series with light up platform Hulk as the Hulk to display.

Grade

Displayed front and center – (5 out of 5)

Spider-Man – Miles Morales

Packaging

As previously mentioned, we are reviewing only the variant Spider-Man from Wave 18 in this post.  The packaging is fit to match the non-variant figure of Ultimate Spider-Man (Peter Parker), and not Miles Morales.  Art is solid, text is fun.  Moving on.

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Paint

Miles Morales decked out out in all black can’t have been the most challenging paint job, but Hasbro performed admirably here.  The chest detail looks great, fingers are well painted, and the face has excellent fine detail with the red webbing.  My only complaint here is that I’d of liked to have seen brighter eyes.

Articulation

It is impossible to want a more articulated figure than Spider-Man.  If anyone in the Marvel Universe has the moves (I’m not gonna say like J…)  it’s him, and Miles Morales being a wiry youngling, probably even more so.  Unfortunately though there isn’t a lot going on here.  The knees are double jointed and that’s about as fine point as we get.  We don’t get Cyclops ankles, there is no swivel at the waist or thighs.  Marvel took Ultimate Spider-Man into the future recently, Hasbro seems to have just repainted an old one.  I’m also going to complain a little here. Like with Jubilee in wave 21, the leg / knee section is a little wonky.  On the right leg it looks like the hinge covers on the upper leg are bent outwards.  I’m sure that would impact long term play.

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Character Likeness

Looks like the new Ultimate Spider-Man, moves like the old one.

Accessories

Spidey comes with a web back-pack that is…a web back-pack.

Overall

You have to buy this figure if you collect Marvel Universe.  He’s the guard changed, the representation of a new Ultimate era.  It’s just a shame that he’s not better for the money.

Grade

Displayed somewhere I might see it (2 out of 5)

Beast

Packaging

The Beast card art does a good job of capturing the universally less loved cat faced Beast.  Rocket Raccoon wise cracks about cute, and we have a Cat Beast X-Men comic cover as the exclusive insert card.

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Paint

There is alot of fine line detail here, gold over yellow highlights, nice solid black, and the ‘fur’ is a comic accurate blue. The face paint has excellent eye and shadow detail as well.

Articulation

With Beast we get some wins and some loses.  I believe that with Beast we get the first appearance of jointed feet, a feature formerly only seen in the Legends scale line of figures.  We also get the ball jointed ankles for more movement of the feet, but thanks to the over hang of the leg fur, some ankle movement is limited.  We have double hinged knees, and again a whacky right knee (what’s going on here?). Beast features thigh swivel and moveable hips, but another miss is a lack of waist spinny goodness.  An acrobat like Beast will benefit from any added piece of movement he can get and that lack hurts.  We have spinning wrists, single jointed elbows, spinning biceps, ball and socket shoulders.  Slightly annoying though is Beasts head movement.  Like a dog he can never look up!?

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Character Likeness

Cat Beast, yaaay!

Accessories

No accessories for you!

Overall

A good figure that could have been great is held back by limited articulation where it would have been obvious.  It does shine though in other points.

Grade

Displayed somewhere I might see it (3 out of 5)


Wave 18 Summary

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In Wave 21, we got 3 brand spankin’ new characters which was really incredible for any of their short comings.  Wave 18, technically, with the variant gives us FOUR brand new characters, BRB, Beast, Kraven, and Miles Morales Spider-Man.   I can’t say enough good about this wave, especially since it even addresses a Marvel Cosmic need and puts us one figure closer to being able to put together the Annihilators!  The Hulk should end up replacing any previous Green Hulk you have as the de-facto Hulk in the line.  This is a great solid wave with a lot to offer fans of so many different books.

Rating SystemEach figure will be reviewed under the following categories:

Packaging
Paint
Articulation
Accessories
Character Likeness
OverallEach figure will then be given an overall grade out of 5 levels:
Displayed front and center – Perfect score
Displayed but more to the side – Second best, nothing wrong with that
Displayed somewhere I might see it – Displayed, it’s good, I like it, not as much as others.
Displayed but buried in the back – Not all that great, but no other options for this figure
Stored* – It’s really not worth displaying.  
*This will be caveat-ed, if the figure is excellent but is being moved out in favor of a better version of the same character, this will be explained.

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