The bona fide phenomenon that was the first Black Panther movie was impressive - it elevated the character in such a big way that his cartoon appearances were big news, and his toys sold like hotcakes. He appears in the preschool lines and was one of six figures in this short-lived entry-level price point line of action figures and a sequel, opening today, without him. It's not quite Curse of the Pink Panther, but it is sort of Garfield Minus Garfield and the early buzz is pretty positive for the new flick. (I want to see if Namor rides an orca.)
While other figures from this line have shown up at 99 Cents Only stores as of late for $2.99 each, I haven't seen Black Panther or Spider-Man as of yet. Maybe he's coming back later?
Released in later 2019, the figure manages to capture the aesthetic of 1970s and 1980s figures better than the Marvel Legends 375 releases - which are neat in their own right. The sculpting and style for this oddball is based on a mix of the comics and the movie costumes with the necklace, some hints at armor flourishes, and some fine pointy detail around the gloves. If you want a perfect movie or classic costume, this ain't it - but it's a decent pastiche that's unquestionably Black Panther-flavored. Also it's a fun, sturdy toy with 5 points of articulation that lets him fit in old Kenner vehicles quite nicely.
Of this entire assortment, Hulk and Black Panther probably best capture the characters with the fewest concessions to the price point. Black Panther tends to be pretty much just a black figure, not unlike the old Darth Vader. By painting his eyes and necklace, it feels precisely like it should without any cost-cutting despite obviously being dirt cheap. Additional sculpted armor detail is simple, but it gives the figure more of a look than "naked suit guy." Hasbro seems to have packed the suit with some sort of amazing technology without being an eyesore. The Black Panther has no accessories and has two fists, presumably to punch villain figures that don't actually exist. I would have preferred clawed hands, but I can see why they opted to do something rounded and simple here.
I really love 3 3/4-inch figures and this one is one of my favorite 21st century budget releases. Thanks to it being largely unpainted, it should hold up well in toy boxes and general abuse - you can't scrape up his limbs because they're unpainted. The detailing is good, and he's not muscular to the point of ridiculousness either. It's just a Black Panther figure, and it looks good, and it's dirt cheap if you find one at one of the stores meant to sell it - and it's still $8 or less on Amazon. It's not for every fan, but it got me pulling out lots of old toys to play with it, so it's certainly an inspiring little toy and I would love to see Hasbro crank out a few more of these. A She-Hulk? Maybe a black Spider-Man? Groot? There's a lot of potential here for cheap, low-decoration figures and I hope Hasbro takes the low road. These are great.
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