One is a former love interest of Tony Stark, heir to a powerful east coast crime organization, and hides her scarred face behind a golden mask. The other was the leader of another powerful criminal operation, fights Captain America, and likes the color green. One odd couple for a review, huh?
If that doesn’t sound like much in common, it’s not. While both characters first appeared as villains* in 1969, that’s about it when it comes to similarities. Well, that and they both have “Madame” in their name – which was good enough to catch the attention of the folks at Hasbro looking for figures that would have easy running changes and could share packaging. In this particular case, both of the “Madames” are featured on the box art with a nameplate that reads “Marvel’s Madames!” instead of promoting one figure over the other.
* – Masque appeared a year prior as Whitney Frost.
Madame Masque is the “official” figure for the wave with Hydra being the variant. This is particularly evident when it comes to the details on Madame Hydra’s costume. I’m sure that many different artists have drawn her many different ways in her 40+ year history (as Madame Hydra and as Viper), but the opera length gloves and double belt would appear to be staples for her classic look. Since she’s sharing with Masque, those details have been overlooked for logistic purposes. I don’t mind that much, but I’m not a committed Madame Hydra fans; some Viper aficionados may feel differently.
Before I get any deeper into the review, I need to point out Hydra’s hair. When I bought her, I felt like the hair was sitting too high. I tried to wait on fixing it, maybe until after I took review pics, but ultimately the super glue got the better of me. The Hydra in these pics has the hair slightly lowered and then glued tighter around her head. Also, to retain some neck articulation with the lowered head, I made some small slits into the hair so it would spread over the shoulder. I should wait until the review is done to make customizations, but this one got the better of me.
Largely, that’s because the Madame Hydra head sculpt isn’t the best. And that’s particularly important here because, other than paint, that’s the only piece these two figures don’t share.
For a base, they both use the most recent ML female body. It works, but it’s somewhat tiresome because the last four Marvel ladies I’ve bought have all shared it. It’s not inherently a problem, but after years of Mattel torturing collectors with a insufficient buck system when it came to the women, I’m a little keyed up on the issue. The buck system works best if there are different body styles to choose from. Some women need to be curvy, some thin, some tall, some short. The limitation of the standard comic book artist notwithstanding, I don’t think all the Marvel women should be the same figure with different heads and paint.
Anyway, so the heads. Neither is going to be winning any year end awards (oh, if only toy companies cared and strived to win awards), but Masque is the infinitely superior one of the two. I don’t like that Masque looks so sullen, but it’s a good looking face and the raised mask and rivets get the details right.
Hydra, on the other hand, well… I don’t think she looks as bad as some folks online are saying, and I did try to photograph her from some more flattering angles, but it’s the head needs some work. It’s very different from the prototype (you can see a better comparison here). I can’t tell if it’s a paint or sculpt issue, but I’m leaning towards paint. If the eyes were higher and the eyebrows more realistic, I think the figure would’ve have come out a lot better.
Earlier I criticized Hasbro for using the same buck over and over, but there are a couple other new sculpted pieces besides the head. The
upper torso and the gloved hands are both new for this figure. The gloved hands are decent – I love that they’re raised instead of painted on, but the lack of wrist articulation is annoying. The wrists are slightly bent for better poses with the gun, but the tradeoff is they don’t look as good in any neutral positions.
The upper torso (thanks to Bigbot & Jason Todd for pointing out this is reused piece from Maria Hill!) piece gets the Masque details right with the high collar, zipper, and straps, but the anatomy just isn’t working. The tight zipped up top shouldn’t be cinching between the breasts, the breasts shouldn’t be pointing to the ceiling, etc.. Hasbro already screwed up with Hope and gave her a “bare-chested” upper torso that looks ridiculous on a girl wearing spandex and yet they somehow managed to have their Wave Two women actually look worse. Continue to Page 2…