While there weren’t a whole lot of Marvel Legends 3.75″ figures on display at New York Toy Fair 2016 in the winter, there was one figure there that absolutely caught my eye more than all the others: classic Iron Man villain, the Living Laser. This figure captivated me not just because the Living Laser a character that I would have never expected to see released in a mass-market toy line (even his 5″ Toybiz figure got canned), but also because he was the most visually-compelling 4″ Marvel Legends figure on display at the show. Fast foward three months, and I got my Marvel Legends Living Laser online for 14 bucks shipped. But am I satisfied with my purchase…?
Toybiz planned a classic-styled Living Laser figure in their Iron Man animated series figure line two decades ago, but that whole line was cancelled before it could ever be released. But at last, a whole generation later, the first-ever Living Laser action figure has been produced! Thumbs way up, Hasbro!
Whereas the Toybiz Living Laser figure was going to capture the classic look for the character, the Marvel Legends 4″ Living Laser is anything but classic–this is the modern, super-cool look for Arthur Parks–and almost unquestionably the strongest choice for capturing this character in toy form.
Not just “a super-villain in a goofy orange and green costume” anymore, the modern Living Laser is clearly a being made of living energy and one of the more unique-looking villains in the Marvel Universe.
As far as plastic and paint deco choices go, Hasbro has absolutely nailed this figure. Living Laser is cast in translucent purple plastic, with white “lightning bolts” painted onto his body and a spray of white on his upper-body. Light can travel through the entire figure except for the head and top of the upper body (where the white paint is thickest), making this one of the most striking and downright most beautiful figures on my Marvel Universe shelf.
The Living Laser head sculpt is 100% new by necessity, and looks terrific. It’s the only part of this figure that’s truly “new”, although I’d also like to give Hasbro a shout-out for the great rendition of the character on the packaging.
The biggest offense here is the articulation on the Living Laser. While some of the articulation is decent, there are a ton of commonly-seen articulation points omitted here. There’s no swivel waist, no upper torso ab crunch, no articulation at the wrists/biceps/forearms, no calf or thigh articulation, and even a limited range-of-motion on the ball-hinge shoulders.
In short, the articulation on this toy is, well… awful. The best points of articulation are the double-jointed knees and ankle rockers, but the hinge on the ankles has such a limited range that it can be difficult to get Living Laser to stand up despite the ankle rockers. As far as flexibility and posing potential goes, this figure is a mess.
The grasping hand chosen for Living Laser’s left hand is also a waste, as the character has no accessories to hold and honestly should just have two fists for fighting and/or projecting energy. This particular mold choice just doesn’t make any sense.
From an economic point of view, this toy is a total ripoff. For an MSRP of $12.99 plus tax (and possibly shipping), you’re getting a figure that’s under 4″ tall, has only one new molded part (the head) and comes with a whopping zero accessories. That’s pretty lame, especially when Hasbro has ample effect piece molds sitting around that they could have–and should have–produced in clear purple and released with this figure.
When you compare the figure quality and accessories you get with a $19.99 Marvel Legends 6″ figure to those of a $12.99 4″ figure, the comparison is really quite sad. I really can’t see a bright future for this line at this size and price-point with no Build-A-Figure pieces and rarely any accessories.
Overall: The Hasbro Living Laser Marvel Legends 3.75″ figure is a fairly difficult toy to assign an overall grade to, as the figure is truly a mixed bag. Hasbro gets a clear-cut ‘A’ for character selection and ‘A++’ for visual appeal, but the pitiful articulation really cuts down on the amount of posing–and fun–that you can have with this figure. To summarize, this Living Laser is gorgeous to look at–but dreadful to do much else with. Combined with the high price and non-existent accessories, this figure is barely above average in my book. I’m glad we got a Living Laser action figure at all, but the final product is definitely disappointing.