Build-a-Figures have to be one of the best and worst things to happen to toy collecting in recent years. If you’re buying all of the figures in a toy line anyway then getting parts to build an additional figure packaged with each toy is pretty rad. Unfortunately, none of the lines that I collect as a completist (or near-completist at least) such as G.I. Joe, Transformers, Masters of the Universe, and Marvel Universe, have build-a-figures so there are no “free” figures for me. As luck would have it the only toy line making use of the concept at present is one that I only collect casually; Marvel Legends. By casually I mean I only buy figures of characters that I REALLY want and generally they’re characters who haven’t already been released in the smaller 3 3/4″ Marvel Universe scale. My small Marvel Legends collection consists of characters like Agent Venom, Anti-Venom, Machine Man, and Arana. All characters omitted from the “Universe” line.
One of the most recent waves of Marvel Legends featured a figure that I REALLY wanted, the Hobgoblin. I already own multiple Hobgoblin figures but I really wanted this particular one and it just so happened to be the wave’s build-a-figure. This is why build-a-figures can be the worst. I didn’t really want any of the other figures from the wave but I needed them all in order to get the 6 separate piece required to build the Hobgoblin. So of course I ended up buying an entire wave of figures I otherwise wouldn’t have. Damn you Hasbro.
Ever since I was a little kid the Green Goblin was my favorite Spider-Man villain. That likely stemmed from watching re-runs of the 70s cartoon and seeing him on various merchandise. I’ve had this toy for as long as I can remember. Sadly, by the time I started collecting comic books at 8 years old the original Green Goblin, Norman Osborn, was long dead. His son Harry took up the mantle a couple of times but he was never as good a villain and even he eventually died too.
However, it was right around the time that I started collecting comics that a new character was introduced, the Hobgoblin. A mystery man discovered one of Norman’s old hideouts filled with goblin gear and decided to become a super villain. He changed the color of the costume, donned a hood, and immediately became a huge thorn in Spidey’s side. In many ways the Hobgoblin was even cooler than his predecessor the Green Goblin. His costume made him look as though he was a yellow skinned goblin wearing blue chainmail on his arms and legs as opposed the Green Goblin’s costume which gave the appearance of a green-skinned goblin with bare arms and legs. Also the hood allowed for artists to draw Hob with only his red eyes showing in an otherwise black void of a face. It was a much creepier visage than the long purple sleeping cap and luscious eyelashes worn by Norman. Plus the Hobgoblin was a rational and cunning villain instead of a total whack job like the Green Goblin.
After a few red herrings and retcons the original Hobgoblin’s identity was revealed to be Roderick Kingsley. I have an old 5” Toy Biz produced Hobgoblin figure which I feel represents the Kingsley version quite well. The second Hobgoblin was Jason Macendale. If I’m being honest he was a lesser Hobgoblin but I was a big fan of the character anyway because Macendale was formerly the villain known as Jack-O-Lantern (one of my all-time favorite characters who’s slated to get his own Marvel Legends figure soon). The Macendale Hobgoblin was more maniacal and his costume was tattered (especially after getting possessed by a demon but that’s a story for another time). I have a couple Hobgoblin figures that I feel are decent representations of the Macendale version.
This new Legends figure of the Hobgoblin is neither of those guys. This is Phil Urich, nephew of Ben Urich who is a long-standing supporting character in both Spider-Man and Daredevil comics. Phil actually had his own series for a while in the mid-90s back when he was a heroic Green Goblin. Just as Kingsley had done many years earlier, Phil stumbled upon one of Norman’s old hideouts but instead of using the goblin gear for evil he decided to become a super hero. I quite enjoyed the series and was sad to see it end after only 13 issues. Thankfully Phil return years later in a team book called the Loners.
I still don’t understand why Phil went bad all of the sudden and decided to become the new Hobgoblin but that’s what he did in 2011 courtesy of writer Dan Slott. The Urich version of Hobby was quite different from the previous versions. He had a much more “Lord of the Rings” look about him and he had wings instead of the usual glider. I didn’t care for the unexplained change in attitude but I was happy to see the character being utilized and I really liked Phil’s new costume. It didn’t hurt that artist extraordinaire, Humberto Ramos, was the one to design it. He had given Norman Osborn’s Green Goblin a similar LOTR make-over a few years earlier (Norman was back from the dead by then. Oh, comics.).
So this figure is the first and thus far only version of the Phil Urich Hobgoblin which is why I wanted it despite already owning multiple Hobgoblin figures. To get it I had to buy Anti-Venom, Spider-Man, Spider-Man 2099, Black Widow, Daredevil, and Spider-Girl. I actually wanted Anti-Venom so that was fine and the Spider-Girl figure is pretty cool too. Spider-Man, Daredevil and 2009 are all decent figures but I have multiple versions of those guys and I didn’t need them. I don’t have any figures of the Black Widow but I really don’t like the character and did not want to buy it (This isn’t the Russian red-head we’re talking about by the way, this is a female clone of teenage Peter Parker from an alternate universe with the unimaginative costume and she sucks). I wanted a complete Hobgoblin though so I bought them all and so this bonus “free” figure ended up costing me over $150 to build. The price point hurts but this figure does not disappoint.
This sculpt on this figure is amazing. There are so many great details on the body like the buckles on the boots, the chainmail in the skirt, and the padding in the chest but its the face that is truly stellar. He’s got an evil scowl and an open mouth with individually sculpted jagged teeth. It’s very true to Ramos’s artwork. This figure is loaded with articulation such as double jointed knees and elbows and ball jointed limbs so he can be posed all sorts of ways. For accessories he has a flame sword sculpted in translucent yellow plastic, a separate de-flamed version of the sword’s hilt, a pumpkin bomb and a killer set of wings that he wears like a knapsack. I really wish he had been available as a single packed figure that way more people could enjoy him and I would’ve saved some money but other than that I can find nothing to complain about. I love it. 10 out of 10.