By the Vishanti! Hasbro has set the bar for SDCC exclusives this year for sure.
This past week at San Diego Comic-Con 2015, Hasbro off all sorts of Marvel, Star Wars, Transformers, and various other goodies from licences that they have. Last month they announced that for SDCC this year, they would have a Dr. Strange five-pack as an exclusive for the show. Packaged in a box that resembles the legendary Book of the Vishanti which has the Sorcerer Supreme Doctor Strange in astral projection form, Brother/Doctor Voodoo, X-Man Magik, Norse Goddess Hela, the Dread Dormammu, and life-sized Eye of Agamotto. With a movie set to be released next year, this set made major waves with fans and is already going on eBay with auctions going up to almost $200, and some listed as Buy It Nows for $250.
Hasbro is sold this at their booth for $104.99. Secondary market mark ups are to be expected, so even at $100, it’s was great deal because I thought had thought these were going to be at the Marvel Universe 3.75” scale, but they come at the Marvel Universe scale at 6” and up.
One of the other offerings from Hasbro this year is the Ant-Man pack that shows the history of Ant-Man/Hank Pym through the ages with this five-pack. It includes Hank Pym in a labcoat (with interchangeable Ant-Man helmeted head), Hank Pym as Goliath, Hank Pym as Giant-Man, and two micro, non-articulated figures Scott Lang Ant-Man, and classic Hank Pym Ant-Man. The packaging is pretty cool as it’s designed after Clayton Henry’s Ant-Man cover for Marvel Adventures Super Heroes #6 “The Anthill and the Apocalypse”. The back has swivel antennas that you can pop up for extra detail. Hasbrosold this for $64.99, but it's already hit the aftermarket at $125 and climbing.
Spoiler alert: they’re both incredibly cool.
The box itself measure is huge and caught me off guard on its size. It measure 14” x 16” x 3”. The entire presentation looks spectacular with a faux leather-looking cover giving the appearance of a real book. The pages inside give some insight on who’s all in the ensemble with stellar art by Vincenzo Cucca, with each page giving a short dossier on all the characters within. This just screams exclusive as they went all out with the sort of detail that went into making this.
Before reviewing, I wanted to bring up one downside with the entire package. They’re tightly packed into the pack with some red pseudo felt-type of material that scrapes up against the figures, leaving the occasional red smudge that isn’t the easiest to remove, but not impossible to do so. On some characters like Dormammu, it looks to be part of his color scheme so it’s not really noticeable, but others like Magik or Strange with that clear blue, it can really stand out. It might irk some fans and a silkier base would have probably been the best route, but it’s not a complete deal-breaker.
Okay, let’s get down at taking a better look at these figures, starting off with the man himself, Doctor Stephen Strange.
The translucent look is a pretty cool one for this sculpt. They’ve done “astral form” Strange before, but with the Marvel Universe 3.75” figure. Here, they’ve taken the soon-to-be released Strange sculpt from the BAF Hulkbuster line, which allows for slight more detail in how the folds in his costume look. His hands are in the trademark “spellcasting” pose that Strange is known for. I’m all for this as even with the clear look and his color cues gone, you still know this is supposed to be Doctor Strange. He comes with two accessories that are just repainted energy circles from the recent Scarlet Witch, which also be reissued again for the other Strange release. They can be attached by sliding his hands through one of the inner loops.
He comes with an incredible 20 points of articulation and can easily stand on his own without a base. This is easily one of the best offerings for the Sorcerer Supreme yet.
Next up is Jericho Drumm, aka Brother/Doctor Voodoo. Drumm briefly took over as Sorcerer Supreme, or Houngar Supreme when the Eye of Agamotto left Strange. Drumm can be both Brother and Doctor with this figure as the Eye is actually an accessory, draped in a small cape and adorned with bones. The head can be removed and the Eye replaced with just a regular cape accessory which can be found underneath the red casing. The full cape, I think, just looks cooler with his costume giving it a more dramatic effect. His tattered sash isn’t as firm as the cape, giving the whole look a nice flow. Since this is Voodoo’s first figure, they really went all out. The body sculpt is pretty standard, but the way the voodoo “insignia” is painted on the body really stands out as it looks as it’s supposed to: rough and unkept. It’s a solid white, but something that looks like it was done in haste, or in a ritual. Just quite nice overall.
Aside from the Eye and the cape, Brother Voodoo comes with a his Loa staff that has an eerie, green translucent mold for the upper half of the staff. He has demonic heads protruding from it with a whispy mist. The heads are highlighted with a lighter yellow/green color that makes their appearance really stand out. Voodoo’s own head sculpt is pretty wild, too, with great detail on his skull facepaint and glowing green eyes and V symbol on his brow. Easily the best-looking figure of the bunch. He comes with the same level of articulation as the Strange figure and, just like Strange, has no problem standing by himself without the use of a base.
Dormammu is one of the finest offerings from Hasbro in their line of exclusives as well. He’s the biggest one of the bunch and rightfully so. Everything is on point here with the sculpt from his flaming head to the back of his tunic scribbled with runic symbols. He comes with two flaming skull accessories that he can “hold” in his hand, with some fumbling around with them. They were also the hardest thing to remove. They do come in two pieces, so be afraid if you broke them like I was for a moment. Just snap the flames back on the skulls and you’re good. He towers over the collection by at least two to three inches. He is pure boss. The tunic, while beautiful, hinders some of his movement and posability. He’s also top heavy, which makes him able to stand by himself somewhat more of a task to accomplish than the others. His armor can be removed by popping off his head which allows for more movement, but not by a whole lot so I’ve left it on for the most part.
Magik is the odd duck here as she seems like a weird placement for this package instead of saying, oh, a Clea. She’s the smallest of the ensemble and not the most flexible. Her hair cuts off any sort of neck movement and her hips feel looser, so making her able to stand by herself requires some skill. While it’s cool to finally have Magik in her Uncanny X-Men costume, her limbs aren’t as solid as the rest, which makes her buster-type sword weigh her body down. The armored side is really well done with a dull metallic sheen, and will look great next up to her X-Men cronies, but here, it’s just an odd pairing. Her face is sort of lackluster, too, with no expression or real character, but it all looks nice. Just might need a base and some support for this one.
Finally, there’s Hela. Good goddess, just look at this. Now, a few things really make this one stand out. One being her cloth cape, instead of molded plastic one. Since Hela’s cape is an important part of her character, I like that they made a variation with her. Her costume is painted with a soft metallic color, that shimmers when light is shone on it like a mystical starry night. Of course, her trademark headdress is spectacular. The antenna-like tendril pieces comes separate, but all it takes is a quick snap behind her head and she's good to go.
Hela comes with her legendary Nightsword, which is also a haunting green, with great detail put in it. It would have been awesome if she came with Twilight, Surtur's flaming blade, but this compliments her more. Again, Hela is a weird choice to be included, but Hasbro went really all out with her.
The Ant-Man 5-pack is more of a three pack, but there's still some serious fun to have. First off, this packaging is just cool. The swiveling antenna's on the Ant-Man helm makes this instantly recognizable. Inside, there's a brief history of Hank Pym and his Pym Particles, but nothing compared to the level of insight in the Book of Vishanti. They're packed in standard plastic casing, and much easier to remove than the Vishanti set. I recommend sliding them from underneath instead of taking off the front.
So let's look at Hank Pym here. He comes in his lab coat with his classic Ant-Man costume underneath. Also, as mentioned, a helmeted variant head that can be exchanged. The level of articulation isn't the best as the coat limits a few ways he can move his torso and back. The sculpt is in par with the rest of the Marvel Universe 3.75" designs, but it's a cool look to have Hank in "doctor mode". Doesn't require a stand, but might be a good idea.
Goliath is next and this is pretty plain, to be honest. The costume is somewhat obscure and could be confused with late 80's Cyclops from far away. He stands at 6", and has a high level of flexibility with no hindrances. The paint job is solid enough, but I would have personally preferred a full-scale Scott Lang, or even Eric O'Grady instead just to add to the history of Ant-Man. However, the pack is concentrated on the legacy of Hank Pym instead.
Giant-Man is just a marvel of a figure. At a foot tall, it lends itself to being able to have a ton of detail and a surprising number of points of articulation. The paint job is just great, and something we've yet to see from any recent toyline. Giant-Man's antennae are sculpted nice and are very durable. Obviously he has to problem standing by himself has he's quite the brick of a toy.
There are two micro-figures of Scott Lang in full Ant-Man costume and classic Hank Pym Ant-Man that are just fun to have around if you wanted to make a diorama or do some sort of set up. They are incredibly small which makes them all that much easier to lose or misplace, so be mindful.
Hasbro and is designers did their best to make these items worthy of the words "exclusive" and "must-have" for fans. While the Ant-Man pack is still cool with Giant-Man being the stand out design and Pym Pals will be clamoring for it, theBook of the Vishanti5-pack is Hasbro's belle of the ball.
Ant-Man Set: 'Rama Rating: 8 out of 10
Book of the Vishanti Set: 'Rama Rating: 9 out of 10