Review: Marvel Universe Handful of Heroes 8-Pack

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Small plastic figures have been a staple in the toy world for decades. Army Men were always the gold standard – cheap, bountiful and always ready to be sacrificed to the name of entertainment. But being from the generation that grew up on M.U.S.C.L.E. Men and Monster in My Pocket, I figured what’s the worse that could happen with these little Marvel Handful of Heroes.

Hold the ultimate power in the palm of your hand! These micro-sized heroes come prepared for battle anytime, anywhere.

A blast from the past, these figures immediately take me back to the world of tiny toys. Packed in a simple blister card, seven of the eight figures included in the set are visible while one stays hidden behind the secret panel. Kind of like a reverse of the old Monster in My Pocket 12-packs. So if you’re after a specific figure, you can shake it around to find out who is in it. But since I bought mine online, it was like getting them blind.

Stand between an inch and a quarter to two inches tall, these Handful of Heroes are much smaller than the Super Hero Squad. And they remind me a lot of the kind the toy you’d get in a vending machine for a quarter. Unarticulated and unpainted, each figure is cast in a single color and has to get by on sculpt alone.

Amazingly, the pack I got was evenly balanced between heroes and villains. If that’s intentional, great job Hasbro! If it isn’t, that’s still fine. While the packaging claims there are 120 different figures to collect, they’re definitely stretching the truth because there are really only 40 – but each figure was released three ways. One kind is just a solid shade of plastic, another is translucent plastic and the third is translucent plastic with glitter in them! I don’t know if one kind is rarer than the other because my breakdown was three solid, three translucent and two glitter.

On the side of the heroes, this pack came with Spider-Man, Beast, War Machine and the Thing. I didn’t expect to get such a diverse group drawing from all four of the major Marvel books (Spider-Man, Fantastic Four, Avengers and X-Men) but it is a great cross section – and they’ve all been Avengers too!

Spider-Man is solid red which is a bit of a shame because his costume really needs to be red and blue. He’s bulky and standing with his arms out but all of his costume webbing is sculpted in! He does have thin limbs which bend far too easily. Green Goblin probably suffers the most since like Spidey, his look isn’t monochromatic. Cast in translucent green plastic, he’s riding his glider and clutching a pumpkin bomb.

Beast has the best stance of all with him precariously balanced on one hand while grabbing his own foot. It’s a great way to set him apart and he’s also cast in solid light blue plastic. If you look closely at his face though, he’s sporting some major mutton chops. The Juggernaut looks like he is about to run through something or just finished running through something given his stance. He’s solid maroon which works well for the guy, but his chest doesn’t look like he’s wearing a costume in the front.

The Thing is in glittery orange that works surprisingly well for the rocky guy. Bracing himself for impact, his large legs are firmly set on the ground. The shade of orange works great and his rocky hide looks fantastic. The same size as the Thing is Abomination in translucent bright green. Squatting and with his clawed hands outstretched, he looks great at this tiny scale. The fanged grin and the fact that his hide is covered in little bumps and scales is astounding.

Rounding out the good guys is War Machine. Another glittery variant, War Machine’s plastic is so dark he almost looks solid dark gray. He’s well armed and would work fine as a Stealth Iron Man is kids didn’t know who he was. Finally is Absorbing Man is there in translucent blue. His ball and chain is resting on his shoulder and his first is raised as a challenge. The color is a touch odd, and I’m pretty sure he was two too many abs.

To help sell these mini figures, Hasbro included a checklist showing off all 40 figures in the first series ranging from classics like Iron Man, Hulk and Wolverine to lesser known characters like Hawkeye, Onslaught and Mandarin. The other side of the list is a vague layout for a game that I guess is played like table football where you flick figures at each other to win. Spider-Man is terrible at this game but the Thing decimates.

All in all, these are an interesting little way to pass the time. They’re fun, quirky and remind me a lot of an era gone by. But there is one issue – the price. If the pack had been $3, I would have felt a little ripped off. At $2, they’d be the perfect impulse buy but stores are still trying to sell these for $6-$8 a pack! Let me make this abundantly clear: these little figures are not worth $1 a piece in any way possible. Four for a dollar? Sure, that’s fine. But any more than that and you’re wasting your money.

Written by jestergoblin

April 11th, 2011 at 12:00 am

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