2018 saw the Marvel Legends contingent of Netflix MCU characters expand with new figures of Luke Cage, Iron-Fist and Colleen Wing in a SDCC 2018 exclusive pack along with tweaked figures of Daredevil and Jessica Jones. Following the SDCC set, it was confirmed that the Luke Cage sculpt was getting a general release as a 2-pack, the surprise was then the 2nd figure being the Netflix MCU regular Claire Temple (and not Iron-Fist as expected). The set was released in the US as a Walmart exclusive and elsewhere as a fan channel option.
This review is for the Luke Cage figure, checkout the corresponding Claire Temple review.
The packaging for Luke and Claire is the standard 2 pack box with the same scooped sides as the single releases. Hasbro has then retained the same colour scheme for the packaging as the 2017 Netflix figures from the Marvel Knights wave, with deep red card back.
The two side panels are also done in the same style with a comic-noir type image in shades of black and deep red. But while the style is similar, the choice of images are not as good or as gritty as the 2017 ones, particularly the left hand spine Luke cage image with the illustrated bullet ricochets. which doesn't quite work as well as say the Elektra and Daredevil illustrations.
The rear of the box carries promotional images of both Claire and Luke and a short bio.
"When Luke Cage meets Claire Temple, he discovers even a bullet proof man sometimes needs someone to help him keep it together"
Once out of the box it is a nice touch to see a cityscape in the red of the figure card back. This is another link to the original Netflix releases which had similar imprinted city views.
Paint & Sculpt 4/5
Luke is essentially the same figure as the SDCC release, but now with a yellow T-Shirt rather than red. The head sculpt is a great likeness to Mike Colter and is sculpted as a mean and moody Luke Cage. The use of the face print technology results in some intense and realistic eyes under Colter's brow, and a more natural finish to his beard.
The rest of the outfit is quite plain. The T-shirt is sculpted with some degree of folds and creases, but is a single colour yellow. The cut of the arms at the shoulder is not the prettiest, and while this helps articulation (as we will see) it does throw the look of the figure in a neutral arms by side stance. The trousers have more detail with a denim style finish. The trousers do seem to sit a little high over Luke's boots. There is a nice touch with the watch on Luke's wrist. This is well sculpted, but left quite plain in a grey colour.
Luke and Claire do scale really well together with Luke a touch taller. The issue I guess is that it feels as though including Claire in this set kind of robs us of the Iron-Fist general release we had all potentially expected in this 2-pack.
Luke comes with no accessories or any alternative body parts. While this is not a disaster, a couple of variant hand options would have been nice.
Luke has an articulation count of 19 joints, fairly standard for a male figure.
Head - ball joint with pivot
Body - T-Joint Torso and waist swivel
Arms - ball joint shoulders, bicep swivel, double jointed elbows, pivot wrist
Legs - ball joint hips, thigh swivel, single joint knee, ankle rocker
Posing Luke is really easy, with no armour or capes you can really go to town with fighting poses to hands on hips intimidation stances. All the joints are tight and move well and the figure stands perfectly. The rounded shoulders do look a bit off from a sculpt point of view, but allow great arm movement. And the same is said of those high trousers over the cut of the boot - which actually allows greater range on the ankle rocker.
Scoring Luke as a figure, I have found very little to criticise. Where an area doesn't look 100% from an aesthetic view (those shoulders, boot cut) the reasons are clearly to help articulation, and that works as posing Luke is a joy.
I score Luke Cage a solid 4 out of 5.
From the perspective of the set overall, this is a also a strong 4 out of 5 set. While sum may not be pleased about the inclusion of Claire over Iron-Fist, the execution of both figures is great and a worthy addition to the Netflix MCU collection.