Though the Skrull Empire had vast resources and powerful technology, the backbone of its all-conquering armies was made of these humble soldiers. Each one was trained to use his shape-shifting abilities to create confusion among their enemies, making them vulnerable to the surprise attacks and sabotage that were the Skrull Empire's signature. For a thousand years, these soldiers were what allowed the empire to bring an entire galaxy to its knees.
Kicking-off 2011, we're taking a look today at the Skrull Soldier, one of the rarer figures from Marvel Universe's Wave 9.
Is his rarity a supply fluke or is the figure really in such high-demand? And if so, is it worth hunting down? FACE FRONT and find out!
The Skrull Soldier comes in the standard Marvel Universe packaging, with illustrations from Mike Deodato. I've enjoyed his work on the series and his Skrull - and angry-looking space goblin - doesn't disappoint.
The packaging is functional, but works well, allowing a good view of the figure within and - thanks to the great, individual-character artwork - it's easily identifiable when in a store's display. That is, it would be if you could find it in any stores...
I have to admit from the off, I love the design of the Skrulls - to me, they're Classic Marvel. Although they may have been modernised over the years and made more menacing, I just love the kookiness of their look their funky chin-tendrils (a classic bit of Kirby design) and their ability to shape-shift makes them a really fun set of bad guys.
I was excited then to see the Skrull Soldier in the Marvel Universe line-up, as I wanted a ''regular'' Skrull to go with the Giant Skrull from the Giant Battles Pack. However, try as I might I was never able to locate a Skrull in any local store. Thankfully my wife - being her usual awesome self - was able to track-down one online and picked him up as part of my Christmas haul.
So with the history out of the way, how does the figure stand-up? Was he worth the patience and effort? On the whole, I'd say ''yes, definitely.''
Let's look at the toy in detail.
The figure appears to include a lot of new pieces. His torso and upper-arms are certainly recycled from previous figures, but his forearms/hands, legs and head are all - I believe - new pieces. In addition to casting new core pieces, the figure is also augmented with some rubbery-plastic costume pieces in the form of a belt/loin-cloth and shoulder-piece/tabbard to finish-off an excellent recreation of the comicbook Skrull.
The paint-job is also of a very high standard. The colour-scheme is a classic Marvel green and purple, with black and gold detail and it's finished very well. The gold trim around the gauntlets, tabbard and skullcap are all accurately-applied on the whole, with a minor splodge on the shoulder of my Skrull figure being the only miss-step.
The accurate detail continues with the face. A dark wash is used to accentuate the wrinkled, reptilian skin of the Skrull and two hateful, beady eyes finishing the effect to perfection.
Now, sadly, we have to come to a negative. The Skrull's hip joints are problematic. Movement is tightly-sprung, making it difficult to pose the leg in any position that's not perfectly vertical and this limits the variety of possible poses.
The other joint problem comes with the hands: the Skrull's gauntlets are cast as a solid piece from elbow to finger, meaning the only joint is at the elbow. It's not a major issue, as the bicep joint can be rotated to adjust the arm angle and given the choice between losing one joint or losing the gauntlet, I'd gladly take the former.
Minor issues aside though, the figure is an excellent of just how far the Marvel Universe line has come.
The Skrull Soldier comes with his own unique base (the variant has the words Skrull Solder rendered in the Skrull language, which is pretty cool!) and HAMMER file. He also ships with two weapons - a blaster pistol and rifle, both of which fit well into the hands and look suitably alien.
As one of my favourite Marvel bad-guys, I was excited when I heard the Skrull Soldier was to be featured in the Marvel Universe line-up. Given their role in the recent Secret Invasion cross-over, it comes as no surprise to see them making their 3 3/4'' debut and their highly-publicised return no doubt explains the first reason why the figure is so rare. As for the second reason, I'd put it down to the fact that this is also an excellent figure.
Hasbro has captured the look of the Skrull race perfectly. The head-sculpt is superb, with a really mean-looking scowl topping-off a well-designed cast that looks just like its comicbook counterpart. The body has the slightly-skinny, wiry look of the Skrull down perfectly and the detailing on the gauntlets, skullcap and tabbard are suitably alien to really finish-off an excellent cast.
The hip joint is a problem, but it could simply be an issue with my Skrull Soldier, as there's nothing on the figure's cast that would cause the issue (such as a large butt-plate or similar) and the lack of a wrist joint is only an issue if you make it one. As you can see in the gallery below, it's perfectly possible to pose him in a variety of stances even with the restrictions described above.
It's difficult for me to be impartial about the toy, given that I just love the Skrulls. But even when I take-off my rose-tinted glasses, the quality of the figure still shines through. The paint-job is subtle but sharp, the cast is - as I said - excellent and the overall feel of the figure is just one of high quality on all counts, from the sculpt and paint-job to the overall design and finish. It's hard to believe that this is from the same company behind the shoddy Iron Man 2020 and Spider-Man 2099 releases, as the Skrull Soldier is streets ahead of not only those figures, but the majority of Hasbro's Marvel Universe releases.