Monday, December 10, 2012

REVIEW: Marvel Universe's Scarlet Witch

Produced by Hasbro | Released November 2012

This powerful mutant has the unique ability to control the probability field, the force that guides everything in the universe. By focusing her energy and creating a hex-sphere, SCARLET WITCH is able to alter reality,  causing objects to move, melt, rot and change in ways her enemies can't defend. She can alter the course of any battle, conjuring objects out of nowhere or wiping them out of existence in an instant.

Scarlet Witch
Scarlet Witch is one of the many characters getting their first outing in the Marvel Universe line and a character fans have been waiting to see for some time now. But was she worth the wait?

Sculpt & Design
Since her first appearance in the Marvel Universe (X-Men #4, March 1964 for those keeping score) Scarlet Witch has sported a number of costumes (and indeed powers) as different writers and artists put their spin on the character. This version seems to be based on an evolution of the first look, where the calf-high boots of the original design were later changed to thigh-highs but her one-piece costume is still in one piece.

The original design was created by Jack Kirby (so you know it's awesome) and the details he worked into the costume are all present, from the - what appears to be - mesh hose and sleeves to the pointed bustier, heels and, coolest of all, the open-faced mask/headpiece. It's a testament both to Kirby's design and also the execution of this figure that the costume - despite being almost 50 years old - looks as fresh here as it did when Scarlet Witch first appeared in the comics.

The figure itself has some very cool detail in the sculpt, with the hair being a particularly lifelike mass of curls and ringlets and the very cool folds and creases at her ankles really giving the impression of folded cloth but the arms seem - at least to me - a little on the skinny side. Of course, female figures are generally smaller but the arms here seem disproportionately thin, especially given how her lower body seems fairly well proportioned. Much like X-23 it seems Hasbro is using some super-accentuated, comic-style proportions on the figure sculpts (which truth be told probably share a lot of the same parts) and although it's not quite as obvious here - probably due to the presence of her cloak (which is very cool and can be used as a makeshift stand to help pose her) - it's still a little strange and becomes more obvious when you actually pose the limbs.

The facial sculpt is acceptable-to-decent. As mentioned above, the hair is particularly good but the face is perhaps a little harsh and scornful, which makes Scarlet Witch look a little older or sterner than I'd expect.

Like X-23, Scarlet Witch uses Marvel's next evolution of their articulation rig. Whilst it's a big improvement over what we've had with the female Marvel Universe figures since the line pretty much began it's still not perfect and - like many of the male figures in the line - it's the hips that are the real kicker.

The head features a ball-joint that allows for a limited amount of vertical/tilt movement as well as lateral rotation, which is surprisingly broad given the sculpt's mass. There's the usual shoulder articulation, a single-joint elbow and a twist-able wrist on each arm. There's a twist-and-tilt torso (but no waist articulation), the weird hips (which we'll come back to), a thigh-cut joint, double-jointed knees, calf-cut joint and then tilt/twist ankles.

The new rig is a definite step in the right direction but it's not without its issues. The elbow joints seem to have a fairly limited range of motion, mainly due to the sculpt and although it's annoying it's hardly a deal breaker. What isn't so good though is the way the hips work. Or don't. Using a peg and socket-style joint, the hips should, in theory, be a really cool bit of design but unfortunately the sculpt seems to work counter to the articulation's purpose when you try to widen the figure's stance. She can sit - just - but any attempt to raise the leg outward with the hip joint in its default position doesn't work, so if you want to achieve such poses you have to twist it and then adjust the thigh-cut joint to match, which ends up just looking very odd. Hasbro simply need to draw a line under their Marvel Universe figures and adopt the GI Joe articulation set-up, which is vastly superior.

Thankfully the joints themselves are pretty tight, although in the case of the thigh joints I did experience a little  ''cracking'' when I first moved them.

The color-scheme and paint app are both very good, with the figure capturing the classic costume's look well and the details being neatly accentuated. I particularly like the mesh legs/sleeves.

I'm also pleased to report that my figure doesn't feature any miss-applied paint, splashes or splodges, something that comes as a relief after my experience with the Future Foundation Spider-Man.

Extras & Accessories
Scarlet Witch comes with the ''collectible Comic Shot'' (i.e. a piece of the packaging) and a clip-on magic ''hex-sphere'' accessory.

The energy sphere is an OK fit but it can be awkward to get it to fit onto her hands. Strangely it seems to fit better on what appears to be the ''upside-down'' position (with the ''tail'' pointing downward) than it does in what I'd consider the correct ''rising tail'' position.

Like all recent Marvel Universe figures, Scarlet Witch does not come with a stand.

Final Thoughts
Scarlet Witch is a figure that will have you flip-flopping. In the pack she seems really awesome but once you get her out of the box (which is a pain thanks to the way the cloak and arms are stuck through the restraining tray) you'll lose some of that initial enthusiasm. The arm sculpt is weird, the accessory isn't a great fit and the hip joints just don't work. But as you begin to play with and pose her you'll find her falling into ''THE pose'' and suddenly you'll gain a new appreciation for the figure. 

My biggest problem with Scarlet Witch - and indeed the recent Marvel Universe figures - is that the hips simply don't work as they should. Maybe I'm missing something about the way they're supposed to work and they're actually awesome but I just can't get the poses from this figure that I want - and should be able to get.

Hip issues aside though, Scarlet Witch is a great addition to the ever-broadening line-up. As a fan of Marvel's more obscure characters, it's fun for me to see Hasbro adding some of the less well-known heroes and villains to the line and if these upcoming additions are as good-looking as Scarlet Witch then Marvel Universe fans have a lot to look forward to.

A great looking figure marred by the odd arm proportions and annoying hip articulation.

Final Score: B+

Image Gallery


  1. She is one of my favorite comic characters but I'll be passing on this. I was so excited to find her on pegs but the cut thighs totally breakup the look of the figure. I'd give up that extra articulation to have a better looking figure.

    1. As I've mentioned in many Marvel Universe Reviews, I don't get why Hasbro won't just move to the GI Joe articulation set-up, which is infinitely superior to the MU rig. I appreciate them trying to make the figures more flexible, pose-wise, but it just seems what they ''gain'' with the cut thighs they lose on the hips - and the overall look.

  2. Replies
    1. From what I gather she's limited to 1 per case. I was just lucky that I spotted her. Target - in their infinite wisdom - have decided to display the new Marvel Universe figures not on the pegs put aside for Marvel Universe toys but rather on the side of an end-cap, at about knee-height.

  3. I saw one over the weekend at the Flea Market but was not interested but i thought it was great that they finally have a figure out of her.

    1. Yeah, I'm pleased to see the line expanding with some lesser-known characters.

  4. Ah, you found her! Will keep in mind Target's brilliant new merchandising direction with these and look near the floor more often :D

    1. Haha! Yes, I was most surprised. But this is the second Target store I've seen doing this with their figures. In one they were on the side of the end-cap in the aisle where the figures usually are but Scarlet Witch (and the other MU figures) were on the other side, where you usually find SLUG Zombies, Squinkies, etc, so be sure to check both sides.


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