Wednesday, October 13, 2010

REVIEW: Marvel Universe's Galactus

Doomed to hunger eternally for the energy locked within life-bearing planets, GALACTUS wanders the spaceways in his world ship.  His body is filled to bursting with the infinite Power Cosmic - a power that grants him absolute control over the fundamental nature of the universe around him.  The forces that rule the lives of lesser beings are meaningless to GALACTUS.  For him there is only the hunger he feels.

A small fragment of his vast might has been granted to the SILVER SURFER - greatest of his heralds.  Once a man like any other on his home planet of Zenn-La, the SILVER SURFER sacrificed his humanity to save his world.  His mind and body changed forever by the power he now wields, he serves GALACTUS absolutely and without question.  Together, herals and master are a force of nature, undeniable and inevitable.

Inhabited worlds across the universe live in constant fear of the day when the shadow of mighty GALACTUS darkens their skies, for it is on that day their world will end.  So it will be until the end of time, for GALACTUS cannot be deterred, and he cannot be stopped.  He will consume world after world until the universe completes its cycle and collapses in upon itself.  Once a new universe is born out of the old, great GALACTUS will rise, and feed again.

Phew.  I guess a big figure needs a big biography and they don't come much bigger than the Marvel Universe's Marvel Masterworks Galactus. 


Okay, before we go any further, I have to get this out of my system.


I know, I know: you've seen it online and read that it's a 19'' figure (7 inches bigger than any of the previous Marvel Universe releases) and you think you can visualise the size of the toy, but I'm telling you: until you see it in real life, you cannot comprehend how FREAKING HUGE Galactus is.  When my Galactus was delivered, I expected half the shipping box to be packaging.  It wasn't.

The image here shows the Silver Surfer (who also comes along for the ride) next to Galactus's foot.  Granted, he's posed with his knees bent (so he can look AWESOME on his board) but that aside, there's no image manipulation or trickery going on here.  He really does only just come up to Galactus's knee.

Did I mention that Galactus is FREAKING HUGE?

Anyway, hopefully I've got that out of my syst - THIS TOY IS FREAKING HUGE.  Sorry, last one I promise.

The packaging is equally humongous, as you'd expect.  Hasbro have done a nice job of replicating the ''cut corners'' shape of the Marvel Universe carded figures, so the packaging is definitely ''of'' the line.  There's a lift-up flap at the front, allowing a good view of the figure and even a little cut-out allowing you to press Galactus's chest to operate his light-up and speak function.  Yes, you read that correctly: the toy lights-up and speaks.

It should be noted that the Galactus on the back of the packaging isn't fully to scale with the other toys shown, which is a little cheeky, but that said, he can clearly be seen inside the box if you lift the flap, so I don't think Hasbro can be blamed for using a bit of artistic license.

What I like in particular about the box is that it can be resealed, so even if you take your Galactus out and play with him (and you should!) he can also be stored at a later date.

Within the box, Galactus is mounted on a vac-molded tray, along with the Silver Surfer (more on him later.)  Galactus is held in place with a few string-like twist-ties that are simply unfastened from behind when you want to remove him from the box.  It works well, but I found my Silver Surfer difficult to get out and had to resort to popping him out by pushing through the back of the tray, even after I'd removed the clear plastic piece holding his board in place.

It's difficult to review Galactus without coming back to the sheer size of this toy.  For 50-something bucks, it's a LOT of plastic and in a world where most figures come-in under 6'', you forget just how big 19'' is.  Not only that but he's also a very chunky, robust toy.  He almost reminds me of a Fisher-Price toy, as if he's My First Destroyer of Worlds or something, not only due to his chunky feel but also the light-up eyes and voice feature.

Speaking of which, there's a minor discrepancy between the toy and the box art: the photo on the rear of the packaging shows Galactus with glowing blue eyes but my toy's eyes glow orange to match the box cover.  It's only a minor point but it's worth noting.

With regard to his speech function, Galactus has a number of phrases, delivered in a suitably awe-inspiring growl and it's a nice - if gimmicky - feature.  The problem I have (and this is purely a personal one) is where I store him.  If I put him in my display case, I know visitors are going to want to hear him speak and light-up, meaning it's highly likely my other figures will be knocked-over as he's retrieved from the display case.  But if I put him outside the case, people are going to be more likely to pick him up and play with him, increasing the odds of him getting damaged.  Decisions, decisions...

Anyway, back on-track.

Galactus is a nice, solid piece of plastic.  His main cast is augmented with a few soft plastic details such as his chest harness, belt and skirt, which gives him a nice multi-layered look and feel beyond simply being a big lump of plastic.

The figure uses a number of ball joints to great effect.  His wrist joints in particular are very nice, allowing a wide range of movement and poses.  There are some nice details too in terms of molded circuit-style etchings around his cuffs and the paint job is very crisp on the coloured areas, as you'd expect on a toy  so large.

What doesn't work so well is his lower body.  Galactus's skirt (teehee!) is simply inflexible, meaning you can't do much but make him stand (or lie-down.)  I don't see any way they could have done it differently though and I'd be complaining about the lack of attention to detail had they not included it.  It's just something to be aware of.

Galactus's articulated points are good - tight enough to hold poses but not too stiff to move.  The ball joints work well and - aside from the skirt issue - he's a very poseable figure.

The Silver Surfer
The set also includes Galactus's herald, the Silver Surfer.  As you can see, it's a repaint of the original Marvel Universe release (that's him to the rear) with a much more lustrous finish.  He's also had some additional paint work done on his eyes, giving him a more sombre look, which is nice given his history.

The figure is not without problems, though.

Firstly, my Silver Surfers have both suffered from incredibly slack joints and I've always had to resort to making my older figure kneel on his board.  The design of the board's foot pegs is also off a little, making it very hard to get the Surfer to stand properly on his board unless you want him to look as if he's, well, just standing there.  The Silver Surfer is one of Marvel's hippest creations and he should be surfing the cosmic waves, not looking like he's waiting to buy a loaf of bread.  It's also not very well balanced and he's prone to falling over whilst standing.

Still, the new paint job is good!

Galactus comes with a ''free'' Silver Surfer figure and - like all Marvel Universe releases - his HAMMER file.  However, just as Galactus is oversized, so too is his file.

Yes, that's his HAMMER file, with a regular-sized dossier to the right.

Final Thoughts

Sorry, I had to say that one last time.

Galactus is a superb figure, a tactile toy that feels robust and weighty but has some wonderful fine detail.  For fans of the Marvel Universe range, he's a must-have, if only as a conversation piece.  But that doesn't do him justice, as he's also a fantastic toy in his own right.  Yes, the light-up and speak feature is a goofy novelty but it's also a lot of fun and it really puts him into a league of his own when compared to the 12'' Giant Battles toys (which he dwarfs.)

Hasbro has already announced they'll be producing a mutant-hunting Sentinel in the same scale next year and if that toy matches the sheer awesomeness of Galactus, all I can say is that release can't come soon enough for me.


Production QualityA-
Final ScoreA-

Silver Surfer
Production QualityB+
Final ScoreB

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