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Marvel Legends: Madame Hydra
& Madame Masque Review

Paint is really the main thing that separates these two figures and, for the most part, the QC was sharp here. I think Masque came out better between the two. I know I just praised Hasbro the other day for not giving their FF Spidey (or Fantomex for that matter) blue highlights, but I think they work really well on Madame Masque. Possibly because her secondary color is a navy blue and the two blues simply blend together well. I’m not sure what it is, but I almost always hate the highlight colors, but even I have to admit they work here.

Madame Hydra is not as well done. Most of the little details are still clean, but some of her parts have a deeper green that doesn’t quite match up and I still think that the paint is primarily what’s messing up the head sculpt. The green highlights in her hair are a little messy, but I do appreciate that they’re there.

Both figures feature the same articulation: ball joints at the neck (limited), shoulders, elbows, hips, and ankles, swivels at the forearms and thighs, double-hinge knees, and the mid-torso joint. All the joints work well, but I found that both my figures tended to fall over a lot during photography (it was annoying). Despite all the articulation, I would like a little more. I’d like to see bicep and calf swivels because I don’t think the ball elbows and ankles are a good enough approximation. I also want ball wrists for better gun poses.

Before I jump into accessories, I need to remember to point out the Arnim Zola piece. I tend to forget that in the individual reviews because the BAF gets a review to itself later. It’s important this time because the running change in the figure also means a running change in the BAF part. That’s right, if you buy Masque you get a torso for the traditional Arnim Zola, but if you buy Hydra you get a torso for the Red Skull instead!

I think Hasbro’s idea to give running change figures running change parts is a brilliant one, but there were a few flaws this time around. One, I don’t really need a Red Skull version of Arnim Zola. Two, the arms and legs don’t come back apart easily enough. So unless you want to buy all the non-running change figures twice to have both figures, you can’t just swap out the Red Skull chest when you want that one. That might be good for Hasbro’s bottom line, but it kinda sucks for the consumer. If the figures came back apart more easily (but not like Mattel’s fall apart C&Cs) this running change thing would be a loot cooler.

In addition to the BAF piece, both figures include a handgun and a rifle. The handgun is pretty cool. I love Masque’s gold gun so much that I wish I had two for her to use. The rifle is not so cool. One, Hasbro keeps using it over and over and two, the trigger is next to the clip. Oops! The pistol can be stored in the belt which is a cool feature (love stowable weapons), but I find myself wanting to glue the belt down in a specific spot. It bugs me when it flops around and rides up on the figure.

Overall, neither of these figures are really screaming to get into my collection. Arnim Zola being a must have is really the driving factor behind my purchase of Madame Masque. She’s a cool figure in her own right and, honestly, it’s always nice to get an Iron Man villain. I want to like her more, but the sad expression and weird upper torso (the two pieces primarily sculpted for this figure) are a little off. Still, she look great next to Madame Hydra.

I wasn’t going to buy Madame Hydra (I don’t have the previous ML Baron Strucker or the Agents) and I wasn’t really interested in the Red Skull version of Zola either, but having to go “so long” without finding Masque (I still have two MLs left to find) with Hydra sitting at my TRU while some TRU coupons were burning in my pocket more or less made the decision for me. I have some purchase guilt with Hydra, but I do like her more with the lowered/tighter hair.

Even if I find myself not terribly interested, there’s one thing I can’t complain about: two female villains. That could be a sign of good things to come.

For more Marvel reviews, check out our Review Index.

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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.