BLACK CAT (2014)
I’ve been a Marvel comics zombie since I was 8 years old. I also loved action figures back then. Not a whole lot has changed in the past 28 years. The sucky thing about being a Marvel comic/toy fan in the 1980s was that there were hardly any Marvel toys to be had. There were always Spider-Man’s available in one form or another and there was the Secret Wars toy line in 1984 but it wasn’t very expansive. As a kid I wanted a Marvel toy line that encompassed every obscure corner of the Marvel universe. My brother Doug and I filled the void by making hundreds (no joke) of paper dolls of Marvel characters.
It wasn’t until Spider-Man and the X-Men got new animated series’ in the 90s that a toy company, Toy Biz, finally stepped up to the challenge of creating a Marvel toy line that included more than just the 10 most popular characters. As more Marvel cartoons sprung up Toy Biz was there to put out a corresponding toy line for each one. Over the course of a few years I was collecting Toy Biz figures like crazy. I collected Spider-Man, X-Men, Silver Surfer, Fantastic Four, Iron Man, and the Avengers. It was crazy that there were practically no Marvel figures in the 80s then suddenly in the 90s I was getting figures of characters like Swarm.
Those 90s Toy Biz figures weren’t perfect but I liked them a lot. When they transitioned from the colorful animated 5” style I had been collecting to a new, darker, uber-articulated, 6” style dubbed Marvel Legends I jumped ship. The Legends figures were actually too articulated for my liking. They were so riddled with joints that they ended up looking really gimpy and they were hard to pose in neutral positions. It’s easy to hide joints on characters like Iron Man but most super heroes wear spandex and unitards don’t look so good when broken up with multiple joints. I retired from Marvel toy collecting and focused my attention on other lines. Doug, however, who had never collected the Toy Biz stuff really took to the Legends figures and has accumulated a very impressive Legends collection over the years.
Years went by without me buying any Marvel figures but then Hasbro launched their 3 3/4” line dubbed Marvel Universe in 2009. I wasn’t sold on the idea right away but there was something appealing about Marvel figures in the same scale as my G. I. Joe and Star Wars figures. When I finally caved and bought one (Red Hulk) I got hooked and before long I was buying them all. I was excited to be collecting Marvel toys again and I loved that this new line wasn’t focused on any one property like Spider-Man or X-Men. This was a universe wide line so Hasbro could put out figures of any character under the sun. I love getting toys of obscure Marvel characters like Winter Soldier (no longer obscure) and Rocket Raccoon (who won’t be obscure for long). I’m super stoked about the upcoming Death’s Head figure; they don’t get much more obscure than that.
Doug was pretty bummed when Hasbro shifted their focus from the Legends line he’d been collecting to the smaller Universe figures. The Universe line has flourished for the past 5 years but it now seems to be my turn to be bummed as the trend has reversed. The release of Universe figures has slowed while Marvel Legends figures have burst back onto the scene in a big way. Not only is the generic Legends line back but there are also brand specific Legends lines which tie-into the current crop of Marvel movies. I’ve been really been impressed with the look of many of the modern Legends figures. Most of the wonky joint issues of the early years seem to have been resolved and the figures actually look really nice. I was tempted to pick up a couple myself but resisted the urge. I knew the dangers of buying 1 or 2 . The last thing I needed was to start a collection of Marvel figures in a third scale.
But then I saw this Black Cat and I caved. Black Cat has been one of my favorite Marvel characters since the beginning. She beat Sabertooth to a bloody pulp in the first comic book I ever bought and she’s had her claws in me ever since.
I was very happy to get my first ever Black Cat figure when Toy Biz produced one in their 90s Spider-Man line. The articulation was limited and she was oddly short in stature but it was a nicely sculpted figure. My next Black Cat figure was produced my Marvel Select and it was a beauty. It was based on the artwork of Terry Dobson who can draw Felicia like no other. The sculpt was fantastic and it came with an elaborate display base and accessories. The only issue was its almost complete lack of articulation. It was clearly intended as a display piece and not a toy to be played with. That was fine with me as my figures are generally for display only.
As great as the Select figure was I would still have bought a 3 ¾” Black Cat figure had they made one so that she could be displayed with the rest of my Marvel Universe collection. However, the Select figure had me confident that I would never need to purchase another Black Cat figure in the larger scale. But when I saw this Legends version in Walmart the other week I simply couldn’t resist her.
This figure has a fantastic sculpt. The face is feminine and pretty and the hair is very well done. It doesn’t appear to be based on any particular artist’s rendition of the character but instead has a nice generic look that doesn’t tie her to any one specific storyline or time period. She has plenty of articulation and unlike my previous two Cat figures can be posed in multiple ways fitting of someone with catlike agility. Even though she is wearing a solid black unitard the joints are designed well enough so that they don’t ruin the visual appeal of the figure. She includes a bendy whip as well as the torso of the build-a-figure Ultimate Green Goblin which you can complete if you buy all of the figures in the wave.
Once I got this figure home and opened it up I liked it so much that I went back to Walmart the next day and bought 3 more Legends figures. I’m so predictable. 10 out of 10.