Daredevil Escapes Comic-Con With One of Hasbro’s Finest Figures [Review]
Daredevil’s history stretches back more than 50 years, though he's truly only come to relevance in the larger pop culture conversation these past few years. While it's true Matt Murdock is one of the first disabled superheroes, and has had dalliances with pop culture notoriety in the past, his arrival as the first of Marvel’s Netflix heroes made him more a part of the zeitgeist than ever before. No number of successful comic book runs on his self-titled book can compare with Netflix's subscriber numbers, and his turn in the spotlight is well-deserved, if a bit late for longtime fans. With a co-starring turn on The Defenders just ahead, Hasbro gave Ol’ Hornhead a special edition release at Comic-Con, celebrating the blind hero's fame with a fantastic 12” action figure.
The Marvel Legends line is Hasbro’s long-running 6” collectors line based in and around Marvel’s comics and the Marvel Cinematic Universe. With the arrival of Captain America: Civil War last year, Hasbro expanded the Legends brand to also include new 12” figures of Marvel’s best and brightest heroes. The larger line started off with Captain America and Iron Man, and Spider-Man and Deadpool soon followed suit.
While all the 12” action figures were based on the comic book iterations, each of the figures had a larger stake in cinematic world than most other Marvel characters. That’s just as true of Daredevil, who is represented in his more traditional red garb from the comics versus his more realistic Netflix armor.
This release is more than just another 12” Marvel Legends however, and the San Diego Comic-Con exclusivity meant Hasbro pulled out a few other bells and whistles to make this early edition of Daredevil more special than the existing figures. Rather than just getting the standard window-box packaging, Daredevil came in a modified version with an opening cover featuring the art of Marvel’s Chief Creative Officer, Joe Quesada.
Before running the House of Ideas, Quesada was one of the most respected artists working in comics, and even had a solid run on Daredevil with writer Kevin Smith at the turn of the millennium. Quesada contributes art from time to time these days, but typically only for the biggest properties. That says a lot about what he thinks of this figure. The glossy holo-foil box features a masked Daredevil on the outside, with an unmasked Matt Murdock offering a roguish smile on the interior. Both works are also included as small posters hidden in the inner flap of the box.
The back of the box would normally offer a rather rudimentary biographical paragraph about the character inside, but again Hasbro took extra steps to make this piece more special than a standard release. The bio paragraph is still there, but rather than some boring text on the box, Hasbro had it printed in braille. This not only keeps the design aspects from being overshadowed by plain text, but speaks to the character of Matt Murdock.
It’s not often toy packaging is made accommodating for collectors without sight, but seeing that little extra bit of attention paid to Daredevil’s own life takes what could have been a solid bit of packaging to another level. If you can’t read the raised dots, we took the time to translate the back of the packaging so you could read what braille-literate people already can.
Blinded as a child by a radioactive substance, Matt Murdock learned that there was more to seeing than sight.
Lawyer by day and super hero by night, Murdock adopted the name Daredevil and sought to protect the citizens of Hell's Kitchen from ever-impending danger.
Once you actually get past all that and get Daredevil out of the package, the figure is just as impressive.
With more than 30 points of articulation, you get a real sense of Daredevil’s flexibility and agility. Daredevil is basically a New York ninja, and this figure gives you plenty of poseability to get him into some of those more unbelievable poses from the comics. Though Daredevil’s swinging through the city never looks as improbable as Spider-Man’s has over the years, the double-jointed knees, thigh swivels, calf swivels and ball-joint hips give you plenty of maneuverability for display. That’s not even touching the upper torso, which is equally as articulated. You should have no trouble recreating some intense action stances with this piece.
The great thing is all that moveability doesn’t come at the cost of the sculpt. So often, lesser figures opt for detail without the abundance of joints, leaving you with a figure that looks good in one particular pose, and that’s about it. There's so much detail in this 12” version of Daredevil, and all of it comes without costing DD anything in the movement department. His boots, reminiscent of boxing shoes, have excellent sculpted tailoring, including some fine bits of leather work where the seams come together. The “fabric” of his costume is tight, revealing fabulous musculature, but also including some wrinkles to give the impression Daredevil is in motion.
It all culminates is two fantastic head sculpts, with one featuring the classic cowl, and the other showing off Matt Murdock’s bruised and beaten portrait. I love the mask details, including the piping on the sides of the head. It gives the costume much more of a textured look, which is often missing from the spandex uniforms characters typically wear. The horns are just long enough to be visible without being too outlandish, and the covers over his ears have some nice technical details. You get a clear sense of just how important Daredevil’s sense of hearing is given the added attention given to such a small part of the overall look, but it’s a great testament to Hasbro's designers and sculptors that they were able to say so much with a nuanced bit of costuming.
The Matt Murdock head may be a bit divisive among the collector base, but I personally like a slightly longer-haired Murdock. It adds a bit more dynamism to the unmasked sculpt than something more in line with a crew cut, and gives him more of a Jake Brigance-by-way-of-Matthew-McConaughey-lawyer-of-the-people vibe. Add in the black eye, the bandaged cut above his head, and the busted lip, and you have the prototypical Matt Murdock on a bad day. The work here shouldn’t be dismissed either, as it’s rather easy to get a good undamaged face, but Hasbro has really nailed that after-hours look. The bloodshot retinas contrast with that cool blue iris (which toys typically use to convey blindness) in just the right way, and make you feel sorry for whatever Matt had to go through to save someone the night before.
On the accessories front, Daredevil is a little light, but it’s in line with what we've come to expect from the 12” Legends. The alternate head being unmasked means there is a cowl you can put in DD’s hands. Two batons are also included for battle, though they don’t connect to turn into a walking stick, or have a string making them more like grappling hooks we typically see Daredevil use. They fit nicely into their holster though, and still give the figure plenty of room to move, which is nice. Two pairs of normally gloved hands (opened and fists) are featured alongside two sets of taped-up hands, with additional taped forearm pieces. Each of the wraps is covered in blood spatter, giving them the appearance they were used for more than training and sparring at the gym.
Collecting 12” action figures is tough for a lot of fans given how much more space they take up compared to the 6” or even 3.75” versions of those same characters. That said, Hasbro’s excursions with this scale in the Marvel Legends brand have all been fantastic efforts worthy of that shelf space. Daredevil is just the latest figure to earn the honor, and hopefully upcoming characters like Wolverine (and whoever else Hasbro has its eyes on) will follow suit. This is one of Hasbro’s best single-character Comic-Con exclusives, and we can only hope Daredevil will get a regular release without as many flourishes down the line so everyone can enjoy this piece of art.
The Marvel Legends Daredevil 12" figure was available exclusively at San Diego Comic-Con. This figure was provided by Hasbro for review.