Monday, May 2, 2011

REVIEW: Marvel's Greatest Battles Comic Pack: Deadpool and Taskmaster


Produced by Hasbro | Released April 2011

Desperate to repair his reputation as a master mercenary, DEADPOOL challenges one of the most dangerous fighters on the planet to a no-holds barred fight to the finish. With a captive audience watching from the sidelines, DEADPOOL tackles the TASKMASTER with both hands and feet literally tied together.

Packaging Shots

Deadpool
Let's start with Marvel's Merc with a Mouth, Deadpool. After all, it's his comicbook that's included...


We've already looked at the X-Men Origins: Wolverine Deadpool and this figure is pretty much identical to that one, with a few minor modifications - which turn out to be improvements - and a few tweaks to his paintwork.


The sculpt is very good and although it shares some pieces with the previously-released Deadpool, there are enough new pieces here to make the figure more than just a re-issue. For starters, his head and torso sculpts are new, with this updated mask featuring smaller ''eye surrounds'' and the torso now including a choker/collar. Interestingly his forearms are also new sculpts, although it's only when you compare the figures side-by-side that this really becomes apparent. It's an odd decision, given that there's not that much difference between the two.


Deadpool also includes new hand sculpts, including his ''pinky out'' gun-hand pose, which is a nice touch for his fans. The remainder of the sculpt is the same, however, although that means that he still has his right-thigh holster, which is a definite plus.


The other big difference comes with the accessories/harness pieces. The original Deadpool came with a belt and attached T-shaped harness, complete with overly-thick sword sheaths. As I mentioned in the previous Review, this tended to limit his torso movement a little, so it's nice to see the new Deadpool features a two-piece combo of belt and harness. The harness features two ''loops'' into which his Katanas can be slotted and the belt features a knife sheath at the base of his back. The pieces not only look great but work very well, with the weapons slotting in nicely. It's also a big plus in terms of posing, as Deadpool is no longer restricted by the T-harness.


Poseability is good, overall and is much improved thanks to the removal of said harness. However, the inclusion of Taskmaster - who is constructed using a different joint system - highlights a glaring omission from the figure: namely that he has no ankle joint. His foot can be rotated laterally but there's no ''bend'' to it, as you can see from the kneeling pictures featured above. It feels as if it should bend but I can't figure out if that's due to the plastic flexing or whether there is a joint but it's restricted by his shin mold. Either way, it's a big negative, especially given how poseable the rest of the figure is.


Paint-wise, this revision to Deadpool has some pluses and some minuses when compared to the original. On the plus-side, the red colouring used is much more vivid and looks a lot better than the slightly drab red of the older figure. The paint is also more cleanly applied overall and the palette is more limited for a more consistent look. The backs of his hands include painted areas the other didn't (even though they're sculpted there) and the buckles on his various harnesses are neater. However, the new figure does not feature the side-stripe on his hip joints, something the previous release did. 

Taskmaster
So what about Deadpool's rival, Taskmaster?


The sculpt is great, even if he is kitbashed together from a number of previous releases. The previously-used pieces themselves may not be that impressive but Taskmaster is a figure where he's definitely more than the sum of his parts and everything works together well. The head sculpt is particularly good, with his grinning skull face and hood being captured perfectly and the cloak is excellent. Like Sentry's cloak, there's a real sense of dynamism about it and it looks great from a variety of angles.


The basic figure is further augmented with additional accessories. Slung across his chest is an arrow quiver (which is a reuse from the Hawkeye figures, which makes sense, as that's whose archery skills he studied in the comics) and around his waist is a pouched belt featuring a holster and a sword sheath. Both work well with the included weaponry (see below) and look great.


Taskmaster's articulation - when compared to Deadpool - highlights the schizophrenic nature of the Marvel Universe line. Taskmaster has the old-style ''peg'' hip joints (unlike Deadpool's ball joints) but then he has ankle articulation that's lacking in this pack-mate. It's odd to see the figures using such different joint mechanisms and makes them appear to be from two different toy lines.

Although lacking wrist articulation, his forearms include a rotator joint to allow his hands to be repositioned. This works just fine, given that he's wearing gauntlets and doesn't appear odd or out of place. The additional equipment he sports is also fairly unobtrusive and it's quite possible to get some very cool poses from him. Just be warned that his cloak is quite heavy but - on the plus side - it doubles-up as a third leg, making him a lot easier to stand unaided.


Although the majority of his body parts are molded in a single colour, where there is multi-colour detail it's cleanly-applied and looks great. It may sound trivial but it's nice to see the brown plastic of his belt matches the brown paint used on his cloak. The chest chevron is cleanly applied and the facial detailing is great. The off-white bone-colour of the mask is particularly great and contrasts nicely against the ''clean'' white of his costume and even his teeth. The overall look is great, a nice combination of a great design and a clean app and I like it a lot.

Extras


Deadpool comes with twin Katanas (which are new weapons and not the same as those included with the earlier release), a dagger and a pistol. Whilst the bladed weapons are well-designed, well-painted and generally a good fit in his hands, the pistol is a little disappointing. It's cast from a very soft plastic and it's  difficult to get into his hands, given both feature separate ''trigger fingers'' to work around.


Taskmaster comes with a bow (again, from the Hawkeye figures), a shield (which is a repaint of the Captain America accessory), a pistol (I don't have it at hand but I think it's the same one Doctor Doom from the Secret Wars double-pack comes with) and an old school broadsword. Like Deadpool's accessories, they're all very nicely produced and painted. However, both the sword and pistol are slightly too small for his hands and tend to - at best - wobble when held (and at worse, they just drop out of his grip.) The bow and shield  are a good fit though, with the latter clipping onto his wrist and remaining there quite nicely.


The pack also includes a copy of Cable and Deadpool #36. The story features some humour in the vein of the Sleeze Brothers or Lobo and whilst it's an OK comicbook, I wouldn't really see it as anything but a nice addition to the pack. Although let's face it, you don't buy the Greatest Battles packs for the reading material.

Annoyingly the pack doesn't include stands. I'd happily sacrifice the comicbook for a couple of bases for the figures, although it's possible to get both to stand with a bit of effort.

Final Thoughts
The Deadpool figure is a slight improvement over the previously-seen X-Men Origins: Wolverine figure. If you have that one already you'll pretty much know what to expect.

If I didn't already have Deadpool I'd maybe be a little more excited about his inclusion but for me it's the Taskmaster figure that's the real draw here. OK, so he's using a lot of older parts and it shows in his joints and the slightly generic-looking pieces. But it doesn't matter, because what Hasbro has managed to cleverly do is reuse a lot of previously used pieces and make something that surpasses what it should be through the use of a great head sculpt and some excellent accessories.

Taskmaster is the definite must-have from the Greatest Battles Comic Packs and is a figure no Marvel Universe collector should be without. If you don't own a Deadpool figure, then this pack is a double-win. But even if you do, buy it anyway, as Taskmaster is worth the pack's price alone.

Scores
Deadpool

SculptB+
PaintB+
ArticulationB
Production QualityB+
Final ScoreB+

Taskmaster
SculptB+
PaintA-
ArticulationB+
Production QualityA
Final ScoreA-

Overall
Final ScoreA-

Image Gallery

12 comments:

  1. Am thinking i want this set just for Taskmaster alone but i must say Deadpool looks pretty good as well.

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  2. Jboy - Taskmaster is a really good figure. He looks so ''finished'' and complete. It's kind of hard to explain but he's just very cool. And the Deadpool is perfectly fine, too. He's just overshadowed by Taskmaster.

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  3. It is Jason - probably the best of the packs I've seen so far, as both figures are very good.

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  4. Am a sucker for skull faced characters too so thats a bonus. : )

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  5. Heh! Yeah, he'd make some great custom fodder, too!

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  6. I think he would.....Small Joe sized Skeletor anyone?

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  7. That's a very cool idea!

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  8. I might pick this up because I just want one Deadpool figure that has a decent looking harness. I hate that T-harness which hasbro has given us 3 different sculpts of now (counting the ML figure).
    I really don't like MU figures because I don't like the plastic used or the joint system, but Taskmaster's crazy skull face is fantastic.

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  9. Taskmaster's joints are a little primitive in places but he just looks awesome.

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  10. I used the old deadpool head which is more accurate,but overall I LOVE this set.I was preparing to make a custom Taskmaster,cause I NEVER thought they would make one,and when I saw this I went nuts for it...it will never leave my coffee table.I liked the old Deadpool,but those sheaths and that neck/belt thing was too whack..its a shame there using that in the x-force 3 pack

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  11. Yeah, the XMO:W Deadpool's gear is very toy-like and this one is much better.

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