Produced by Hasbro | Released April 2011
On the soot-stained rooftops above Mandripoor's Low Town, WOLVERINE and the SILVER SAMURAI are locked in battle over the legendary black blade - an evil sword with the power to corrupt the spirit of even the purest warrior. Both men are near-perfect fighters, their bodies honed by a lifetime of combat, but only one will walk away from this battle.
Let's kick-off with everybody's favourite mutant, Wolverine.
And before we go any further, let's address the biggest issue with this toy: it's not the Wolverine as featured in the comicbook. Or rather, the included comicbook isn't - as the box claims - Wolverine #2 and is in fact Wolverine: Origins #42, sporting the cover of Wolverine #2. Why Hasbro did this, I have no idea (although presumably there's some kind of reprinting problem) and although both comics feature Wolverine and the Silver Samurai, the Wolverine as he appears in the included comicbook looks nothing like the included figure...
The good news is that this figure - despite being relatively plain - is pretty good. I think most of the sculpt comes from previously-released Wolverine toys (probably the X-Men Origins: Wolverine line, given his hip joints) but it looks good. His muscles are nicely defined (although I think they may be borrowed from a GI Joe figure) and it features a new head sculpt and new hands.
The head sculpt is nicely done and does a good job of capturing Wolverine's awesome hairstyle. The face is good in some lights but at some angles he simply looks constipated. It's a pretty good sculpt overall, though. The new hands are the real high-point of the figure's sculpt. Wolverine's claws are often sculpted in a slightly sloppy manner, too close together or even joined. Not so here. I also like that they're sculpted as fists, which allows for some very dynamic posing.
Articulation is a good but there are some problems. The more I see of the ball-joint hip, the less I like it. I find it difficult sometimes to modify poses on figures with this joint, as it's quite disruptive having to bend the leg to give you a ''handle'' to rotate the hip joint and it can be a pain to adjust. On the plus-side it does look good and gives the figure a nice, ''solid'' leg.
The costume's paintwork is another winner. The dark blue and black colour-scheme is very subtle and there's a very effective dark wash applied to accentuate the sculpt. I like it a lot. His claws are neatly painted, although his left glove features some overspill from the paint app.
I'm not so keen on the head's paint app. The flesh tone seems to be applied very thickly and seems to lose a lot of the facial detail. It's a little sloppy around his hairline but the rest of his facial details - such as his eyes and mouth - are clean enough.
So whilst it's another Wolverine figure, at least it's something a little different.
So what about the Silver Samurai?
The sculpt is very detailed and he's a very cool-looking figure. As with the comicbook character, his armour features a number of differently-textured layers and it's a look the figure captures well. The basic armour consists of a number of wood/metal lames with rivets holding each piece in place. This is worn over a loose shirt (with poofy sleeves) and his greaves and bracers are made from vertical lames of wood, tied with rope. It's a very complex, detailed and multi-faceted design that's been translated perfectly.
The basic sculpt is augmented with shoulder pads and a belt/skirt of armoured plates. What's cool is that the figure looks like a Samurai warrior. That sounds obvious I know, but - colour-scheme aside - this figure would work just as well as a historical figure as he does a comicbook figure.
The figure's articulation introduces some problems, however. His hip joints are the regular ''peg''-style of joint but with a cut in the thigh to allow lateral rotation. This is a nice addition and opens up a lot of poses for the figure. However, the peg holding the two pieces of either thigh together is not a good fit at all. I can wiggle the leg and see a gap of about a millimetre opening up and even without such wiggling there's a very visible gap. Similarly his shins include a cut joint at the boot line and the two pieces don't fit properly. Both feet appear to almost be hanging off just below the knee. Not only is there a massive amount of give in them (at least for a figure of this size) but they'll spin around like crazy if you happen to just nudge them. It could be that the peg the foot is mounted on is simply too long. I don't know. But whatever it is, it's very disappointing to see, as the figure's sculpt is very good.
Although the armoured skirt doesn't inhibit movement, it's worth noting that his poofy sleeves and shoulder pads do get in the way a little when you're trying to pose him, especially if you're trying to get him to hold his sword with both hands. It's possible (as earlier image above proves) but it's not as tight a grip as it should be.
Interestingly he has a forward-backward pivot joint at his neck, unlike most other Marvel Universe figures that use a simple peg/port tilting joint. It's odd to see how different his joints are to most other figures from the line...
The figure's paintwork is simply OK on the whole. There's some nice weathering on his armoured plates and his chest logo is very cleanly applied. His face app is reasonably clean (aside from an uncovered silver ''gash'' on his jawline) but my Silver Samurai does have a splodge of red paint on his helmet's right-hand side. The red ''gem(?)'' on his helmet decoration is also pretty sloppily applied and there's a fair bit of silver showing through it.
Silver Samurai comes with two swords - a Katana and a short Wakizashi. They both fit his hands very well and are cleanly painted.
The pack also includes - as mentioned - a repackaged reprint of Wolverine: Origins #42.
Neither figure has a stand.
The Wolverine figure here is pretty good. I like that it's a more subdued-looking costume and that the simplicity of it has been captured well with a nice, subtle paint job. The sculpt itself is pretty simple (and is I'm sure using a lot of older parts) but the head and hand sculpts are what really bring it all together. This looks like Wolverine, much more than the previous releases. I'm not a massive Wolverine fan anyway but I have to admit that I prefer this sculpt to some of the others I've seen.
The Silver Samurai is a nicely-designed and good-looking figure let down by terrible execution and production quality. The leg joints are simply too slack and that's down to the way they're made, not some one-off production mistake. It's disappointing to see these joint issues, as - coupled with the sloppy paint - they really bring the figure down.
I'm surprising myself by saying this, but I actually prefer the Wolverine figure in this pack over the Silver Samurai, which I didn't expect to happen at all. Even now when I look at them, the Silver Samurai is the figure my eye is drawn to initially but I find myself coming back to the Wolverine figure. There are just too many issues with the Silver Samurai's paint and joints to really let me enjoy it and although the Wolverine figure isn't perfect, he's closer to it than his pack-mate.
The Deadpool/Taskmaster comic pack is still a better choice, though.