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Marvel Legends: Madame Hydra
& Madame Masque Review

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…

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35 comments to Marvel Legends: Madame Hydra
& Madame Masque Review

  • Tommy

    That last gag is a riot.

  • j1h15233

    I’m glad Marvel only has a couple of female characters that could even tempt me to buy their figures because these two fell from the top of the ugly tree.

    • JamesLynch

      To be fair, Madame Masque’s whole gimmick is that her face is horribly disfigured, and thus she wears the mask to hide it (though a recent issue of Moon Knight kind of blew that out of the water). So her being ugly kind of works.

      Madame Hydra, on the other hand, is not the least convincing MTF transsexual I’ve ever seen, but not the most convincing, either.

    • LOL. I really want Firestar & Hellcat. I’ve wanted MLs of them for nearly ten years….

      • JamesLynch

        I’d buy both of those. Firestar, especially. I’ve always had a bit of a fondness for that character. I really think she’s under utilized in the Marvel U.

  • He-Mullet

    These two are competing with ToyBiz ML’s Rogue and Scarlet Witch… HEck! These 2 made the TB Black Cat look pretty…

  • Heli

    The second trigger guard on the gun (the one in front of the clip) is the trigger for the grenade launcher (the tube Madame Masque has her left hand on in the last pic).

    I think I’d be okay with the standard ML female body if they’d just sculpt some non-scrawny thighs for it. The Madames need some red beans and rice.

  • Nik

    I think production on the Hydra head made the jaw wider than it needed to be. Wanted her, but may pass. I dropped $50 on a complete Zola off of ebay so I don’t need Masque, who’s fine, I just am not familiar enough with her to care.

    • JamesLynch

      I’d recommend getting more familiar with her, mostly because she had a decent role in Matt Fraction’s fantastic “Invincible Iron Man” run, specifically during the “World’s Most Wanted” arc.

    • StrangePlanet

      And she was very cool running with The Hood’s gang.

  • Bigbot

    Are you sure the upper body is a new sculpt? It looks too much like the same upper body sculpt the Maria Hill/Sharon Carter figure has that Hasbro released several years ago.

  • Jason Todd

    It is the same piece from Maria Hill/Sharon Carter.

  • diapa

    I hate Madame Hydra´s face, he looks like a tired woman in her late forties.

    I am aficionado of this e-page

  • diapa

    The face of Madame Hydra is based on Pam´s of True Blood series

  • I think Steve said it best……

    Great Job as usual Noisy!

  • Jesús Santillán

    Hasbro should sculpt a new female body.

    • JamesLynch

      I part the problem might be that, when Hasbro took over Marvel Legends, the figures sucked and the fans tore them a new one for it. Then, when the figures got better, the fans were happier. So, now that Hasbro has finally hit upon a female body that the fans don’t hate, they’re not going to give it up and risk coming out with something that the fans will once again disparage them for.

      • I just wish either of the big two would better invest in their buck systems. There should be different legs, arms, torsos, etc. all interchangable to get the builds right. It’s so simple that it’s impossible for them to do.

  • Nice work, Noisy. I hope the set I preordered has Masque in it because I want the normal Zola torso, not the Skull one. Madame Hydra looks like she was drawn by Frank Robbins. This is either good or bad depending on your opinion of his work. I prefer the Mike Zeck Viper version with shorter hair.

  • Brainlock

    I got most of the wave last week in Washington, then found Hydra and Piledriver in Rolla on my way down to Waynesville on Saturday, just in time for this review! LOL

    IMO, Hydra’s face looks too thin, and almost …manly? With the high-peaked bangs, I can only guess they were going for a widow’s peak type of appearance? Either that, or the sculptor really thought she was a drag queen? I’d love to see what reference art they used.

    I didn’t notice any shading on my Hydra, aside from the hair, but my Masque was pretty heavy-handed with the extra coat. I’m not sure why. In your pics, yours looks pretty light compared to mine.

    My only other complaint is the gloved hands. Both are too thick and the right hands are stretched open from being posed holding the rifles in package. (nice touch for an unneeded paint app for those btw!) The loose belts are annoying and it seems most of the figures with them these first two waves are like that (Drax, Wreckers, Madames, Daken).

    I don’t mind the re-use of the body this time (yes, it is the SHIELD female body), but I hope it doesn’t become so commonplace that certain figures look weird, which we’re already seeing. (Fantomex only gets a new head, but pulls it off. Others not so much.)

    • My Masque is really blue in person, I think that was a trick of the camera.

      And I’m sick of the loose belts too! I want to get out the superglue, but I know I won’t be keeping all these and I shouldn’t be modifying them.

      (And Fantomex needed new feet!)

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  • Prof. Tacitus

    I have to say that the running change is kind of annoying. I see Hydra available everywhere, but haven’t seen Masque, which makes building Zola frustrating. If Hydra is out, does that mean Masque is no longer being shipped?
    Also, I agree with all the points about the female buck, and Hydra’s face. I would also add that the visible belly-button is kind of ridiculous.

    • It’s more likely that Hydra was produced first as the more limited run of the two, so I think there’s a good chance Masque will become more plentiful in time. (Hope so cause I still need Thunderball!)

  • stewbacca

    Except around me it is the opposite– All I keep finding are Masques (the only place I have seen Hydra is an overpriced mall toy shop..)

  • StrangePlanet

    At least this body works for the Madames, unlike Hope. But I agree that the legs are too scrawny.
    Thanks for pointing out that Viper is in no way accurate to anything. I’m not crazy about reusing parts as it is and in this case it’s a failure to give the character her proper costume if they just cheap out and do a repaint. That’s Mattel-level crap or worse.

  • Pat

    I wanted to thank you for the Black Widow head swap, Noisy. Now all I can think about is making a custom Scarlett once I track one down.