Though Hasbro has released so many 4″ Avengers figures in the Marvel Universe action figure line over the last few years that I have legitimately lost track of the number, we arrive now at the final Avengers entry in the Marvel Universe line. Thankfully, Hasbro opted to give us an all-new character never before released as a Marvel Universe figure instead of yet another Iron Man or Captain America repaint. Making his first (and last) appearance in the 4″ scale, it’s the Marvel Universe Black Knight figure!
I’m a much bigger X-Men guy than I am an Avengers guy, so the Marvel Universe Black Knight action figure was my least-anticipated figure in the final wave of Marvel Universe figures. That said, as soon as I saw one on the pegs in front of me at Target, I knew I’d be buying it to complement the one in the Marvel Universe Wave 24 case I ordered.
Marvel’s Black Knight has a very strange and convoluted history in the comic books–in fact, his classic costume is probably more popular and well-known than the character himself these days! Hasbro wisely opted for the most recognizable classic Black Knight costume, and did a very admirable job of recreating the Black Knight in 3 3/4″ action figure form.
The area where the Black Knight Marvel Universe figure really shines is paint deco. His helmet, cape, belt/sword sheathe, tunic, gloves and boots all have nice paint deco on them, making the figure look very visually-interesting and aesthetically pleasing. The silver paint used on Black Knight’s arms and legs is good-looking enough that it almost makes up for the figure’s lack of chain mail texture on his limbs (more on that later on).
The Black Knight comes with one accessory: a sword that can fit nicely into the sheathe on his belt. Unlike some past figures that came with swords that were too thin to fit properly in their hands (like poor Marvel Universe Psylocke), Marvel Universe Black Knight’s sword fits tightly into both the Black Knight’s right hand and his sheathe with no signs of falling out unintentionally. The sword is unfortunately not the famous Ebony Blade, but the Black Knight doesn’t always use the Ebony Blade, so I can let that slide this time.
I always feel a bit wary of plastic capes, but the Black Knight’s cape is flexible enough that it really doesn’t get in the way of the Marvel Universe Black Knight figure’s articulation at all (in fact, I think it may actually help him stand up).
The Black Knight action figure isn’t the most flexible Marvel Universe figure, but he does have most of the most crucial articulation we’ve come to know and love in the Hasbro Marvel Universe line, including double-jointed knees, ball-hinge hips and shoulders, and a ball-jointed head and upper torso. There’s no ankle rockers, but Black Knight stands up so well without them that I really didn’t feel like they’re necessary in this case.
If you absolutely can’t stand the cape, it can be removed by popping off Black Knight’s head and pulling the cape off. The paint deco on Black Knight’s boots and tunic carries around to the back, so he looks good even without the cape (though I do prefer him with it).
The one design choice Hasbro made with the Marvel Universe Black Knight action figure that really bugs me is that they just painted regular arms silver instead of giving the Black Knight chain mail on at least some portion of his arms. I understand that Hasbro probably didn’t want to spend new tooling dollars on a line that’s coming to a close, but the Black Knight always wears chain mail armor, and the lack of it on his arms and legs here is a bit jarring.
Cheap plastic strikes again in the form of the Black Knight’s sword. The sword is made of a very cheap, weak plastic that came a little bit bent and warped straight out of the package. I fear it’s going to eventually get as droopy and deformed as poor Marvel Legends Drax the Destroyer’s knives, but hopefully it won’t get to that extent. Weak, easily-warped plastic has been a recurring problem in the Hasbro Marvel lines for a couple years now, and though Marvel Universe is ending, I really hope Hasbro will find a solution for their future movie-themed Marvel action figure lines.
Also, no points against the toy for this, but I think Hasbro needs to hire someone who’s actually knowledgeable about the Marvel universe to proofread the packaging for the figures. While the cardback for the Black Knight Marvel Universe figure prattles on and on about the Sir Percy Black Knight that was the original iteration of the character, this figure is very clearly the Avengers’ Black Knight, Dane Whitman.
The Black Knight is shipping one-per-case in the final known case assortment of Hasbro Marvel Universe figures. The only place I’ve seen the Black Knight figure sold individually online thus far is on ebay, where the Black Knight is selling for over $20 shipped thus far.
Overall: Though the Black Knight probably won’t win any contests for favorite Avengers or most-wanted figure, the Marvel Universe Black Knight action figure is a fine addition to the last wave of Marvel Universe action figures. Hasbro did a wonderful job with the accessories and paint deco for the MU Black Knight figure, which also features the excellent Marvel Universe articulation we’ve become accustomed to. The cheap plastic sword and lack of chain mail on the limbs causes this figure to stumble a bit, but I am overall very pleased with the Black Knight Marvel Universe figure and am glad that Hasbro was able to get him out before the end. Recommended.