Marvel Super Hero Squad 4-Pack Review: The Secret Invasion Begins

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As someone who got into the toy review game a little late, I always worry that someone will think I’m ripping them off. For a while, I tried to actively avoid doing Marvel reviews on Monday’s because of OAFE’s Marvel Mondays (I also try to avoid doing Transformers on Tuesdays), so yo go re if you’re reading this, I’m not trying to step on your weekly thing. But after a rather hectic weekend, I’m able to review the second unreleased Marvel Super Hero Squad 4-pack: The Secret Invasion Begins!

Shape-changing aliens have been impersonating Super Heroes for years, and now their plans come full circle as an alien army invades earth! The true heroes don’t know who to trust as the devious alien conquerors blast their way towards what looks like inevitable victory. Can Earth’s champions recover in time to beat back the alien invasion?

Secret Invasion was the straw that broke the camel’s back for me. Once the storyline ended, I made the decision to switch completely trades and haven’t looked back. That also means I have only the vaguest idea of what has been going on in the Marvel Universe lately and don’t know much about Siege. But while the other 4-pack in this wave was based on a classic Marvel story, this one is as modern as you can get. Though I wonder why Hasbro would release two 4-packs that both have the word “secret” in their titles.

Master of Mystic Arts!

Some collectors absolutely hate variants of any character, but I’m okay with them when they make sense. This marks the second release of Dr. Strange, the former Sorcerer Supreme, in his astral form. To make this effect, the figure is cast entirely in translucent light purple plastic. Unlike other figures done with way, Strange still has painted details to help him look like more than just a purple man (no, not that one).

Several different shades of purple are used on Strange to help distinguish certain features. His Cloak of Levitation’s trim is painted almost black, while the dots on his gloves are a different shade of purple. The crest on his chest is partially painted, while the Eye of Agamotto is left untouched. The big issue though is the paint on his head and cowl.

The paint used on his face is far too light, making his eyes and mustache barely visible. His hair is the same color as the trim on his cloak, but is only on the front side of his head – it stop’s halfway! Also, the trim on his cloak doesn’t extend to the cowl. Dr. Strange’s sculpt isn’t bad, but I still wish his hands were in a more about-to-cast-a-spell pose. Strange moves at the arms and waist, but the Cloak of Levitation prevents his waist from turning.

The Ultimate Armored Hero!

Iron Man is a straight repack of his figure that was in the Avengers Super City Playset, which in turn is a repaint of his first Super Hero Squad figure from back in wave 2. Amazingly enough, this figure’s sculpt has held up very well. It’s highly detail and now that the eyes are just white, it really helps de-cutesify him.

Iron Man is rocketing up, with his right hand in a fist and his left ready to shoot his repulsor. The paint is shiny and metallic looking which works wonderfully for the character. The face has just enough of a smile to make it work for the Heroes style without looking weird. Iron Man still moves at the arms, neck and waist. It’s nice to see how well this figure still holds up after all these years.

Shape-changing Invader!

In the Secret Invasion, Skrulls had infiltrated the planet and were beginning their takeover. The Skrull soldiers were generic foot soldiers for the invasion that more often than not had an assortment of powers that would put most heroes to shame. Skrulls first appeared in the Super Hero Squad back in wave 3 with the Fantastic Four, but that figure was beginning to show its age and it’s great to new a new, modern Skrull.

Decked out in a purple, gold and black outfit that looks just absurd enough to work for an invading alien race, the Skrull definitely looks better than the last two versions that have been released. He’s bulked up and is brandishing a fiendish looking weapon.  The Skrull has his trademarked weird chin and pointy ears, but his face seems a little off. Instead of being a vicious alien invader, he’s smiling and looks far too happy. Not happy like humans are almost extinct, but happy like this ice cream cone is delicious. The Skrull soldier moves at the arms but his shoulder pads prevent most of his neck movement.

Super-stretchy Super Scientist!

Finally is the leader of the Fantastic Four – Mr. Fantastic! A repaint of the figure that came in Collector’s Pack 3, this time Reed is in his more modern outfit. Finally dropping the garish blue and white costumes (which must have cost a fortune to keep clean); the Fantastic Four switched the white on their costumes for a dark blue which looks great.

Reed has always suffered since his power is one that is difficult to manifest in toy form – he’s a guy who is made of rubber and most people my age and older learned their lesson with Stretch Armstrong and the havoc a ripped one can do.  Since the Super Hero Squad tries to avoid accessories for the most part, there was one possible solution: stretch him out!

Reed is a massive figure, standing about twice the height of most figures. His oversized hands and feet, and extra long limbs are a great way of showing off his powers. There is the issue of how easily the figure can get warped in the packaging but a quick boil-and-set fixed it.

One odd part of the sculpt though is Reed’s face, he looks face too happy but not in the same way as the Skrull soldier. This reed looks maniacally happy, almost like the version of him that willingly became bit by a zombie in Marvel Zombies. Reed moves at the waist and neck.

It’s impressive that Hasbro was willing to follow the comics so closely with this 4-pack. Based on an event that hadn’t even ended when this pack was originally intended to be released, it really shows how willing Marvel is to work with Hasbro, meanwhile Mattel claims it will take them over a year to get Blackest Night figures out.

What really makes this pack great though isn’t the inclusion of three members of the Illuminati; it’s the fact that everyone in the pack could be a Skrull! Suddenly, it goes from a decent Skrull figure to four Skrulls, but three of them are disguised! Now that’s the way to get people to buy repaints. It’s just a shame this pack never got released here in the states for people to buy, now the pack just feels oddly out of sync.

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