I got some great new toys in this week including my second shipment from the G.I.Joe figure subscription service but before I delve into those reviews I’m gonna keep my black history month theme going here with a review of Thunderball.
Thunderball is a Marvel comics villain who’s been around since 1974. He’s a member of the Wrecking Crew along with Bulldozer and Piledriver and led by the Wrecker. The Wrecking Crew are primarily Thor and Avengers villains but I see them more as villains of the Marvel Universe in general. They pop up everywhere. Every time there’s a gang war or a villainous gathering of any sort the Wrecking Crew are there. Often times they’re just background characters used to pad group shots on splash pages. This figure, which is part of Hasbro’s 3 ¾” Marvel Universe line, was packaged in a Secret Wars themed 2-pack along with Spider-Man. 1984’s Secret Wars was one of the first company-wide comic book crossover events which are so common nowadays. Practically all of Marvel’s heroes and villains were thrown together by a cosmic being and forced to fight on an alien Battle World. It was the perfect place for the Wrecking Crew’s special brand of panel filling.
It’s somewhat odd that Thunderball would be paired with Spidey for the 2-pack because the Wrecking Crew aren’t generally associated with the Web Head; he’s got a big enough villain roster as it is. However my first exposure to the Wrecking Crew was in “Spectacular Spider-Man” just a few after I began collecting comics. I would have been 9 years old when I picked up Spectacular issues 125 and 126 in 1987 which featured the Wrecking Crew hunting down the same computer disc as the new Spider-Woman, Julia Carpenter. The cover to issue 125 is very dynamic and is one of my all-time favorites.
My favorite member of the Crew is the Wrecker. He’s got a cool costume and he gets the most face time in comics so I feel I know him best. Thunderball was once a scientist who specialized in gamma radiation so he’s the brains of the group. The other 2 members are pretty much inter-changeable to me, just a couple of meat heads. I’m sure their individual personalities were fleshed out at some point but I didn’t read whatever book that happened in.
I like Thunderball simply because he’s a Marvel character. He’s the kind of villain who’s available to be beaten up in a few panels to add some action to the opening scenes of a comic. He’s nothing to call home about but he fills a role. Not every villain can be a Doctor Doom with plans to take over the world. You need street level guys like this for bank heists and whatnot.
I’ve never given much thought to Thunderball’s costume before but now that I’m examining it I notice that it really sucks. It’s completely generic. Full body green tights, yellow underwear over top, long gloves, buccaneer boots, and a fairly dull mask. There’s absolutely nothing interesting or defining about it. He doesn’t have a logo or even a letter on his chest. It’s weak.
Thunderball’s calling card may not be his outfit but his weapon is one to remember. He carries a wrecking ball on a chain. Now that’s pretty badass but even that schtick isn’t wholly original. Another Marvel villain, The Absorbing Man created in the 1960s, did it first and does it better.
As far as this actual toy goes it’s not bad. It’s a good representation of the character and it’s appropriately taller than other figures like Spider-Man. The articulation is a little wonky, as is often the case with this line, so it can be difficult to get Thunderball to stand in a neutral pose that looks natural. The wrecking ball accessrory looks cool but doesn’t always stay in his hand very well so it might take a few tries to pose him swinging it over his head or anything. The dark paint wash over the green tights shows off the sculpted muscles and keeps this figure from looking too flat. 6 out of 10.