Monday, January 17, 2011

REVIEW: Marvel Universe's Yellowjacket (With Ant Man)

Brilliant but unstable biochemist and robotics engineer Henry Pym never really intended to become a Super Hero.  When a group of spies captured his assistants, he was forced to use his inventions to save them.  That is when he discovered his true calling.  Since that day, he has been one of America's foremost heroes, adventuring with various groups of AVENGERS.  Though he has suffered many tragedies over the years, he has never stopped trying to be the best hero he can be.

Hey!  Two characters for the price of one!  That must be a bargain!  Right?  Right...?

Henry ''Ant Man Giant-Man Goliath Yellowjacket Wasp'' Pym
Yes, Henry Pym has had a number of costumed identities since his first appearance in Tales to Astonish #27  (1962).  As such it comes as no surprise to see him in the Marvel Universe line-up: after all, as well as adventuring under various guises he was a founding-member of the Avengers.  What's surprising though is the decision to release him in his Yellowjacket identity with a tiny Ant Man (or is it ''Ant-Man'' - both seem to be used by Marvel) figure.  More on that later...

For now, let's get on with looking at the toy(s) in the pack.

Yellowjacket (With Ant Man) is designated as Number 032 and is part of the last Wave of figures from Series 2.  So far it's been a mixed-bag, with the excellent Constrictor being the real stand-out over the disappointingly-familiar Iron Man 2020 and Dark Hawkeye.  Like all figures from the Series 2 Waves, the pack artwork features Norman Osborn and the HAMMER-style graphics.  Visually the packaging is a winner and I do like Hasbro's work on this line.

What's not good, however, is the way Yellowjacket is packed.  I've mentioned before that I dislike the approach of sticking limbs through the retaining insert but here it's taken to a ludicrous extreme: not only are both hands wedged through the insert but also his shoulder pieces and head are held in-place in this primitive manner.  It makes removing him a hairy experience, as I felt I was going to break the toy.  That's not good at all and I hope Hasbro drop this idea soon.

So with the packaging out of the way, let's begin with the larger of the two toys.


Yellowjacket uses the core male body, as featured in the majority of releases in this Wave.  That means no waist articulation and peg-joints at the hips.  I was initially excited when I opened the pack, as his painted-on belt did indeed appear to be a waist joint.  Sadly though, I quickly realised we were using the same sculpt as we've seen over the last few months.

I can live with this sculpt but I'd prefer to see more articulation, as the use of this figure is a definite backward step for the line.  I understand it's a cost-cutting exercise but that's cold-comfort when the toy line suffers.

Anyway, we have to accept - for now - that this body is being used for a lot of the new figures and go with it.  I don't like it but I'll try not to let it colour my review.

The figure features a unique head-sculpt and the torso is a custom piece.  The head is good, overall, with a nice, determined look to his firmly-set jaw and the antenna are pretty cool.  It reminds me somewhat of some Microman Acroyear designs, which is always a good thing.  The shoulder fins are... well, they just look silly.  Yellowjacket is one character that doesn't survive the transition from 2D to 3D very well.  But I can't really criticise the figure for being a good likeness of the original character.

There are some hard molding lines on his waist that seem accentuated by the black trim of his outerwear-underwear.  Had the paint been better-applied, it wouldn't be so obvious.

The joints - on my figure at least - are very stiff and cracked loudly as I first started posing him.  That's fine as it means he'll hold a pose without issue, but there is always that worry in the back of my mind that the joint is simply going to snap when it's being bent.

The paint-job is not great on my figure.  There are splodges of paint on his mask from his flesh and - worst of all - it appears somebody tried to wipe black paint from their brush onto his upper-arm.   It's not always visible but it's odd that it made an appearance. 

There's not really much wrong with the figure, but it's not going to set the world on-fire, either.

Ant Man

The pack also includes a tiny, half-inch Ant Man figure.  Unlike the Yellowjacket toy, it's not poseable, being a single piece of plastic.  It would have been nice to see some articulation, but I can understand that this little addition could have ended-up adding another $5 to the price of the figure had they gone down that route.

The sculpt seems pretty close to the original but the paint-job is a little too broad for a figure of this scale.  Ant Man has insane, boggly eyes and half his cyber-control helmet is covered in flesh-tone paint.  Other details, such as his boots and belt, are applied without any problems though, so as is always the case, check your figure before you buy.

Like Yellowjacket, Ant Man is not bad but it's not particularly exciting and is only really interesting as a companion-piece to the similarly-scaled Wasp figure from the Secret Wars line.

The set includes a stand for Yellowjacket and a HAMMER file.

Final Thoughts
It's another also-ran from Hasbro, I'm afraid.  The Yellowjacket toy is fine, for what it is, but unless you're a big fan of Henry Pym I don't see why you'd want this toy.  The Ant Man figure is a nice little addition but again, it's not something to base your buying-decision on.

Personally, I think Hasbro missed an opportunity to do something really cool: I'd much rather the pack include a two-scale set of the same figure.  It would be great to have an Ant Man at regular-size and then a micro-counterpart.  For kids that would open-up a whole host of play options (being able to use the same guy at different sizes) and for collectors it would allow for some interesting display options.  Ideally, had Hasbro planned it properly, it would have been a nice touch to have the Giant Battles Goliath in the matching costume, meaning we could have three sizes of the same character.

As it is, this figure 'set' is little more than another re-use of an average body-sculpt with a few extra bits.  Whilst the extra bits do an acceptable job (and again, I do like the head-sculpt) they're not enough to elevate the figure beyond the level of being a one for completists.

Production QualityC+
Final ScoreC+

Image Gallery


  1. I like this one and it comes with a tiny Ant-Man to me that is a nice bonus.

  2. I'd have liked - as I said - to see an Ant Man at full-size, rather than the Yellowjacket toy. I just think Ant Man is a better-looking character. If you're a fan, there's not much wrong with him but if you're on a budget I'd skip him in favour of a lot of other figures.


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