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2020 in Review : The Best of Marvel Legends

Let me start with a bit of positioning and confirm that my Marvel Legends collection is solely focused around movie figures and therefore this 2020 review will only feature movie figures that I have purchased and reviewed.

2020 was certainly an unprecedented year in many aspects, and among the impact and challenges thrown down due to the Covid 19 global pandemic was the suspension of most major movies past March 2020. Hasbro managed to get out a wave of Black Widow figures at the start of the year, even though the movie itself was delayed and at the time of this article it has still not reached cinemas. The Eternals was also pushed back, and while leaks have shown us a full wave has been produced - and is now most likely sat in a warehouse - the Hasbro team have chosen (wisely in my opinion) to hold these back for the movie release which is now November 2021.

My first figure pick for "the best of 2020" comes from the first Black Widow line, and the black suit version of Black Widow. This is a figure I've had since March and have not yet formally reviewed as I had been hanging on and on for the movie release. That delay has given me plenty of time to pose and play with her and she certainly delivers on overall looks, design, paint apps and the various accessories including the baton holster on her back - which took her just above the very similar white suit deluxe release.

So come Autumn, the MCU figure releases were slim on the ground, but the ranks would be bolstered by Christmas release courtesy of Amazon with an exclusive set called The Children of Thanos. The set would repack the Black Order figures, giving each of them a makeover to varying degrees. The winners in the set were the full overhaul for Cull Obsidian, the new head and paint job for Proxima Midnight and the hair piece addition for Ebony Maw which makes a big difference. Even the Thanos figure, with combined parts from the two previous Infinity War releases brought us a new feature - the first Thanos to feature both a "snapping" gauntlet and the damaged arm and face post-snap.

My 2nd pick comes from The Children of Thanos set, and having considered which of the Black Order to choose I have finally gone with Cull Obsidian. The original BAF, obviously developed from early concepts and design, was one that disappointed many fans when it was first released. This considerable makeover for the 2020 exclusive set is therefore a huge improvement and stomps his way into my Top 6 for 2020.

The MCU releases, come the end of 2020, totaled just 12 with the Black Widow figures, Children of Thanos and a re-release of the Evolution of Groot figure. My final "top pick" from the MCU is the only other figure on the 2020 MCU list, the very wonderful Stan Lee tribute figure who arrived in early 2020 along with his signed Captain America shield and fold up chess set from his cameo in the original Avengers movie. Stan means so much to all Marvel fans and having him in 6 inch figure form to cameo among my collection is such a special thing, and he deserves a slot in the "best of" 2020.

Another movie planned for 2020 was the Venom sequel from Sony. While not directly MCU, the Sony movies do have close connections with the Disney-verse and it was a pity that Let there be Carnage was pushed back like many other movies. Hasbro had prepared for the movie release with a wave of comic based Venom figures, and they snuck in the first ever movie version of Venom into that wave which went down a storm with collectors. The figure did have a few issues, notably stability issues with the way the ankle joints worked, but it looked fantastic with two different head sculpts recreating looks from the original Venom movie. Whether this was a precursor for more Venom product, a tester for further releases, or simply a nod to fans - I am putting the Venom movie figure into my "Best of list" for 2020.

In both 2018 and 2019 Hasbro brought us additional MCU releases outside the main Legends line by way of the First Ten Years MCU figures in 2018 and the 80th Anniversary figures in 2019. 2020 would see a very similar pattern, but from a very different source material. With the Fox movies now under Disney control it seems any restrictions on Hasbro bringing us X-Men movie figures was lifted and it was a moment of great excitement when the X-Men 20th Anniversary figures were unveiled.

The set would feature figures from both X-Men and Deadpool. The X-Men releases would include Wolverine (of course), Mystique and a set of Xavier and Magneto that gave us both the Stewart/McKellen head sculpts along with the McAvoy/Fassbender versions. We even got a Logan 2-pack as a Hasbro Pulse Exclusive!

My next pick in the "Best of 2020" for Legends is one of the three Jackman Wolverine figures we were treated with in 2020. While all three looked wonderful, the Amazon Exclusive from X-Men Evolutions : Wolverine was the most definitive onscreen version and it came with both bone and adamantium claws as well as a dog tag and two head sculpts. Brilliant!

The Deadpool figures featured variant packaging to the X-Men line with very Deadpool-esque graffiti and scribbles over the box. The figures were all taken from Deadpool 2 and featured single releases of Cable and Domino as well as a two pack of Wade himself alongside Negasonic Teenage Warhead. All of the figures were fantastic, and all of them could have made my "best of" list, but I have limited it to two with the Deadpool figure - complete with a wealth of weaponry, hands and a unicorn - and Domino finishing up my Best of 2020 listing.

Our site visitors were very much in partial agreement with the Deadpool choices, with Domino our most read Marvel Legends review of 2020. 2nd place, slightly surprisingly, was Negasonic Teenage Warhead. The rest of the X-Men figures came in well ahead of Venom, with the Black Widow figures bringing up the rear.

Prediction are quite easy for Marvel Legends in terms of MCU releases, and for 2021 we will certainly see the full Eternals wave and possibly some more Black Widow product. I would also imagine Hasbro will support the Disney+ content - particularly on the back of the Mandalorian hype - with figure releases for Falcon & The Winter Soldier and possibly Loki.

It would be nice to think the X-Men figures will continue, it would be brilliant to expand out the movie figures to include the likes of Cyclops, Sabretooth and Rogue among others. For Deadpool a Colossus would be the next obvious choice, with Angel Dust and Juggernaut being less obvious but equally cool options.

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About Me : As a child of the 70's and 80's I grew up in a golden age for action figures and in my youth bought and sold myself through collections of Star Wars, G.I. Joe (Action Force) and M.A.S.K. while also dabbling in He-Man, Transformers and Ghostbusters. Roll forward and I am now reliving that Youth with the action figures of today and am a collector and fan of the larger 6-8 inch figures from my favourite movie and TV licences - including the ones mentioned above, but also the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Doctor Who and the Aliens. I launched The Mephitsu Archives in 2015 with a view of creating a UK focused site or these figures where fans can pick up the latest action figure news, read reviews and get information on where to buy their figures and what is currently on store shelves. I hope I am delivering that to you guys...

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