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“Return of” Marvel Legends
U.S. Agent Review

On Monday, I got to review a long-awaited DC Classics figure: Elasti-Girl. Today is a review of a figure I’ve waited even longer for: a Marvel Legends U.S. Agent. I can’t believe it took two companies, hundreds of figures, and ten years to get this guy. This is easy repaint territory albeit infinitely delayed.

On a “programming” note, I’m jumping ahead to review U.S. Agent here, but I’m still not quite done with Return of Marvel Legends Wave 2 reviews. I know it’s been awhile and some of you have been asking for quite a bit. I still plan on getting to the Wrecking Crew & Arnim Zola at least, so don’t think I’ve completely abandoned Wave 2 for Wave 3. However, I won’t be reviewing all of Wave Three. I’m in-between on a couple (I may waver when I see them in person), but I definitely don’t “need them all” for the next couple waves. We may hunt down some guest reviewers to round out the figures Vault & I won’t be able to cover, we’ll see.

Okay, so U.S. Agent. If you’re a long-time reader of this blog, then you should know of my perverse fascination with costume changes. Unlike many of my comic reading brethren, I get no sense of safety or an express train to my happy place when I see my costumed heroes wear the same “iconic” costume time after time. A little change will do you good (Note to DC: I said “little” change). So, new, temporary costumes are often fun, cool little diversions. I enjoy ‘em. Particularly when they paint it black.

I’m not sure why I have a fascination with the darker hues of the regular costumes, but I really do. I will always rank Spidey’s Symbiote suit as the coolest costume of all-time. I think Batman looks best in all-black. War Machine simply looks cooler than Iron Man. And, I have a bizarre fascination with U.S. Agent. (a Marvel Legends U.S. Agent received one of our first “Most Requested” figure nominations back in February 2010!)

If you’re unfamiliar, Captain America occasionally boils over and needs to go on walkabout. When that happens, you need a replacement Cap. Enter John Walker. Initially, John stepped into the ol’ red, white, & blue while Steve Rogers donned the suit seen here, calling himself simply “the Captain”. As is often the case, a lot of crazy stuff goes down, things explode, people die, and the march to the status quo charges on. Walker would ultimately insist that Rogers retake the mantle and then, wouldn’t you know, there’s this black version of the costume laying around, so… U.S. Agent sounds like a clever enough name, right?

U.S. Agent has pretty much been around in one form or another ever since. His costume has changed over the years, but nothing ever really quite captures the same appeal of the original look, so I’m glad that Hasbro went with this version for the figure. I’m not sure what he’s up to these days, but hopefully he’s out there taking names and kicking ass.

The figure itself is largely a complete repaint of the Bucky Cap from Series Two. I’m honestly completely fine with this – I actually wouldn’t mind seeing Hasbro putting out a regular Cap on this same body. It does lack the chainmail details, but I think it could look pretty sharp. Unfortunately, based on the Wave 1 Steve Rogers and Wave 4 Ultimate Cap, Hasbro feels that Steve needs to be a little larger than life. Those figures look good, but it leaves me wondering a bit about scale in the new ML.

But I digress. This body is a great basic sculpt. The guys could probably have a little more bulk for their stature, but I don’t find it too lean at the same time. I think it works great. The only thing I don’t like is that the flared out part of the gloves are glued on over the molded-black forearms. I managed to miss it in most of my pics, but in-hand the figure has black circles around the wrist peg and it’s a nitpicky annoyance.

On top of all that is a great sourpuss head sculpt. Yeah, Hasbro could technically reuse this as an angry Cap (or if they make a new, compatible Cap, we could swap in a call U.S. Agent), but I like U.S. Agent being cranky. I think it’s fitting for the character and goes right along with the “Dark Cap” theme.

As a reuse of the Bucky Cap, the articulation is exactly the same as what we’ve seen before. Two-pice ball-joints in the neck, shoulders, wrists, and ankles, one-piece ball-joints at the hips, swivels at the biceps, waist, and thighs, double hinges at the elbows and knees, and the ab crunch. Everything works well. I still really love the new ankle articulation, but the limited one-piece ball hips could be better. Continue to Page 2…

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27 comments to “Return of” Marvel Legends
U.S. Agent Review

  • Sandman

    USAgent has a special place in my heart because Mark Gruenwald’s 10-year Captain America stint will always be the iconic run on the character for me (not to mention the source of most modern Cap tales). So cheers for getting him out in both scales! The last figure before this was the Iron Man cartoon figure from 1994 (A costume I still want to see done again), and obviously this is a huge upgrade on that.

    Good review.

    • Morg

      Couldn’t agree more dude… Gruenwald’s run is actually how I learned how to read as a kid and I thought the whole genesis of Cap, The Captain, U.S.Agent was endlessly fascinating.

      We need figs of Nomad, D-Man and Battlestar!!!

      • Sandman

        And more importantly, Diamondback.

        And not in that vomit-brown outfit they stuck her in these days… that looks terrible.

  • Clutch

    My only nitpick is not going with the classic belt. I’m sick of those freaking pouches. Otherwise, it’s all gravy.

    • Beedo Sookcool

      But belt pouches are always useful . . . especially when your tights don’t have pockets! };D

      Great review, excellent pics.

  • J. Lee

    Was my first wave 3 purchase. Joker stole the gun, and Catman the knife though. I wanna get that holo sheild badly. Never saw in person except at a Toyshow and I hit my spending limit.

    Looking forward to Ultimate Cap but hoping She Rulk has a decent face cause other than Hope there have been some ugly head sculpts. My only gripe with the line.

  • Bigbot

    I like the ability to store the shield on the back, but I’m not a fan of the clip for his wrist. I like when the shield has two straps molded in and he can slip his hand through them (like the shield with movie Cap or Ultimate Cap).

  • hhbto

    Great review ~
    i also have some U.S. Agent review : http://www.toysdaily.com/discuz/thread-191539-1-3.html
    Thank you !

  • If he was just a smidge taller, he’d be perfect; but still well worth getting. He’ll give away his gun, though; I don’t recall USAgent using one too often.

  • Faugh

    Sadly, that Ultimate Cap figure will be based on the ONE piece of artwork ALL the newer Ultimate Caps seem to be based on, so he’ll have gray pants instead of the blue he actually has in the comics.
    http://nerdbastards.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/06/ultimate-captain-america.jpg

  • Brainlock

    I’m not sure of the issue number where Cap became “The captain”, but I do know it was shortly before he rejoined the Avengers in #300 with Reed Sue. and Gilgamesh the Forgotten One.

    I don’t know if I still have the original TB 4″ Cap repaint, but I think that Iron Man cartoon line figure was the Force Works costume that didn’t see the light of day in the US, just…Italy? or some SMALL distribution area in Europe. The closest we got in the states was the “Astral Armor Xavier” with was in transparent red plastic with silver “armor”. The body was initially designed for Living Laser, who is still waiting his turn in plastic. (and did appear in the Avengers EMH cartoon!)

    I haven’t seen THIS figure yet, but the Bucky-Cap/SHIELD agent buck troubles me. It works for Bucky but John Walker was always portrayed as having a larger torso. Not as thick as the Wrecking Crew or Hyperion, but definitely thicker/bulkier than Steve. Had they used the torso from Steve’s figure I probably wouldn’t care as much. If I see him, I’ll probably get him just to have his only ML appearance. (same applied to Bucky, who at least had a BAF piece to add to his value.)

    I’m less bothered by the white star on his shield. Like you noted, it was already on the mold, so it was a choice of having the black circle with the obvious raised star on it or make the star white.

    I don’t think I’ve seen that Ultimate Cap before, but he does look good. I do remember getting the ML8 Cap and had two of the “wrong” variants, but needed some gas money and took one back. Someone else got it before I could go back for it and I never saw the “wrong” version again. :/

    This also makes me sad as that WM was a smaller store and kept up on refreshing their stock and even over-ordered on ML10’s Sentinel series and were still able to sell through and get in subsequent waves with no problem. (Giant Man excepted, for some reason?) These days, I was surprised to see the Avengers wave there, and they didn’t bother with the 6″ ASM wave. Of course, action figures are now down to one side of aisle, with a chunk of those Beyblade/gaming figures stuck in the middle of superheroes and WWE/TF/SW.

    • Bigbot

      I remember the days of finding an endcap full of ML wave 5 with like 10-12 of each figure in the wave. It was that way up to the Hasbro Spider-Man wave with the BAF Sandman statue.

      • Brainlock

        ML5 had my first “bad” figure, when Colossus’ arm broke at the shoulder when I tried to pull him out of the tray. I got him at that store, too.

        Next nearest store is usually reliable, but another I rarely go to (it’s Sullivan WM for Noisy) seems to be the jackpot for the TB days, esp when they got in like ten cases of the Giant Man wave AND an island! I put as many sets as I could into layaway to make sure I had that BAF figure and could custom myself a Josten-Goliath! LOL the second flood of ML10 snagging me an army of fodder and Sentinels is the only time I dropped more on a wave of figures.

      • Not only did they have endcaps and huge displayers like that, but they were half the price that ML figures are now. And then they’d go on clearance… I still remember picking up an extra Colossus, brown suit Wolverine, Cable, and movie Punisher for $2-3 a piece.

  • J. Lee

    You guys got lucky with wave ten cause they were scarse here. I had a good collection back then. Sold all off back in August. Missed the red hulk wave completely though and that I woulda bought to get him. Miss the days that some of those big figs were packaged in the blister snuggly like Hulk, Sasquatch, Abomination, and Ben Grimm.

    Now its a dime a.dozen to find new figs.

    • I got the Red Hulk wave on clearance, and honestly I probably wouldn’t have bought it otherwise. A couple of the figures, like Black Spidey and Union Jack, are nice, but most of the wave was filler. I figured, though, if I was buying half the wave already and wanted Rulk, it was cheaper to get the carded figures half-off than to go on eBay and pick up the rest of the Rulk pieces loose.

      • Brainlock

        I skipped half the Rulk wave because a- the price had just gone up to $15!! Outrageous!! just like the Hulk Classics (which I never saw the full wave of and bought even fewer).

        and b- why do I need another Wolvie/black Spidey/Surfer? complain all you want about this ML wave being repaints or minimum tooling, it was thrown together quickly, and at least the Rulk wave had the BAF going for it.

        • $15 was outrageous for the figures, but $7 a pop was fine with me. Also, it was the first time the brown suit Wolvie (a fantastic Four Horsemen sculpt) had been done in the classic tiger-stripe look. The black “standard” variant looked like ass, but the yellow version looks pretty sweet. Much better than any previous 6″ tiger-stripe Wolverine, none of which I had, so this Wolvie wasn’t redundant for me. I’d also never gotten a 6″ black Spidey before, so I didn’t have problems there. That’s actually one of the figures I would’ve gotten regardless. Silver Savage was… a pretty tough pill to swallow, I’ll give you that. I don’t know if I ever even put that one on display. I might’ve just pulled the Rulk part out of the package and tossed the figure in a box.

  • I have been wanting to get in on ML wave 3 but they have yet to show up anyplace but high priced rip off trendy stores.
    Great review now I want a US agent even worse

  • dayraven

    so here’s my question… “it took two companies, hundreds of figures, and ten years to get this guy.” what do you think it’ll take to get isaiah bradley? i’m betting someone is going to have to give away some lexuses… or handie j’s.

    • His nephew’s a higher profile character, and all we’ve ever been able to get is his “first appearance” outfit, which doesn’t look half as good as his standard look (but can easily share tooling with a Bucky retool). It doesn’t help that the miniseries featuring Isiah was… not good. It was an awesome idea with pretty poor execution, owed in part to the less-than-professional level art and writing and the mid-series change in the book’s place in-continuity. Until the series was halfway through, it was not considered canonical by the higher-ups at Marvel, and thus was not written in a way that it would fit into continuity. The second half of the series was hastily rewritten when it was decided that the book should “count”.

      • Oops. Realized two seconds after clicking “post” that I’d said “nephew” when I meant “grandson.” The nephew comment would refer to Eli’s uncle, Josiah X of The Crew, who was the genetic offspring of Isiah (created from Isiah and his wife’s DNA after the unstable Super soldier Serum had rendered Isiah mentally handicapped and sterile).

        • dayraven

          am i wrong though, or is the character worth some more work? firstly, the notion is excellent, and while the art wasn’t the best, it was ok, and certainly at least served to get him a unique look that was “him” and not “steve.” it could be better, both art and story, but the character is easily worth that work, and he would make a distinguished addition to the mythos (and my toy shelf) if laid in competent hands.

          his grandson has had more legs than granddad, that’s true, but grandson is a much less compelling story IMHO. it’s like comparing mookie wilson to jackie robinson and saying mookie’s more compelling cuz he played more seasons.

          (btw, i have nothing against elijah at all, ceptin’ that he’s already had a figure.)

          • Except that Jackie Robinson was actually a good player, while “Red, White, and Black” was a terrible book. Great idea, painful execution. Given the character’s story, really the only thing they could do is completely remake “Red, White, and Black” with competent talent, since part of the story is that Isaiah was captured, left to rot by his country, and by the time he was freed, had the mental capacity of a child. He’s made a few noteworthy appearances, mostly in connection with his grandson, but there’s really not much more to his story beyond his tragic origin and abandonment by his country.

      • Brainlock

        well, the YJ boxset was ready for a retool by the time it hit. Their appearances were based on their initial looks, which quickly changed a few issues in and have remained that way in Secret Invasion and the YJ/Scarlet Witch mini. Patriot didn’t need the lanky Bucky body to begin with, imo.

  • Been debating this figure just for my love of the original storyline way back when. Looks pretty cool as “The Captain” even though we know he’s walker. Glad they didn’t just repaint cap for it.