Marvel Legends has been synonymous with quality for most of its near twenty-year run. The name has come to represent the pinnacle in action figure engineering, sculpting, and articulation, all aspects that collectors value highly.
But it hasn't always been perfect.
Along the way, Marvel Legends changed companies from Toy Biz to Hasbro and evolved quite a bit in terms of its quality. What was considered great then is maybe less so now. Through that evolution, some figures have aged better than others. Some will live forever as monuments to mediocrity.
10) Electro (The Amazing Spider-Man 2)
These days collectors just assume every Marvel Legends figure is going to be awesome. They may not like the character, but the standard of quality is so high that it takes a lot to knock a figure. Electro from Amazing Spider-Man 2 makes it easy.
While based on the character as played by Jamie Foxx, it's hard to tell who it's supposed to be with that super generic head sculpt. The electric quality of the character is left to a little blue paint in one of the more lazy efforts by the modern Marvel Legends line.
9) Red Skull (First Appearance)
Oh, boy. In fairness, this version of Red Skull hails from the early days of Toy Biz Marvel Legends, but even by Series 5, which this guy was part of, sculpting and articulation had graduated to what fans would come to expect from the line.
Red Skull features very limited articulation and a lanky, 90s style static pose that recalls the type of toy that the company was trying to get away from at the time. Not even including a pretty nifty base of WWII ruins could salvage this turkey.
Once literally a joke character from the Marvel 80s imprint Star Comics, Spider-Ham became a beloved part of Spider-Man lore. That's even more now, thanks to his big-screen debut in Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse. Fans long lobbied for Hasbro to produce this figure, and when they finally did in 2018, hearts broke everywhere.
There was nothing Hasbro could do about his diminutive stature, but he sorely lacked in the articulation department, with none from the waist down. Given the cost of figures these days - twenty bucks a pop - fans expected a lot more.
7) Ultimate Wolverine
Something is happening with Wolverine's chin, but who's going to tell him? After the license for Marvel Legends transitioned from Toy Biz to Hasbro, there was something of an adjustment period.
It went on for quite a while, as Hasbro seemed torn between maintaining the six-inch scale and developing a newer 3 and 3/4" one in its Marvel Universe line. The result was efforts like this Wolverine from the Ultimate Comics universe. The basic figure was ok, not great, but the head sculpt may as well have been from the 90s figures, which were often exaggerated and cartoony.
Look close. Cannonball is missing something. Like the entire lower half of his body. Points for effort on this X-Force era Cannonball, who features a pretty cool plastic base that makes it look like he's rocketing up, up, and away.
The only problem is Hasbro didn't include his legs, making this figure a literal statue. The lack of utility sank this figure with collectors. Like with Spider-Ham, the first consideration in Marvel Legends is articulation, and figures that don't have it don't make the cut.
Marvel Legends has historically struggled with female characters. Until recently, a properly proportioned and functionally articulated female body seemed a unicorn in the line.
Among the worst offenders is this version of Rogue, who debuted in an X-Men gift set back in the early 2000s. Her body frame is too small to support the Rube Goldberg level of articulation they gave her, especially in her hips. That's to say nothing of the head sculpt and paint job, which both leave a lot to be desired.
4) Daredevil (Ben Affleck)
While the face sculpt is actually pretty decent for 2003, this figure had no business being associated with the Marvel Legends line. As with the Red Skull, it's a barely articulated toy with the minimum amount of sculpting and detail to qualify as the thing it's meant to represent.
Again, more work went into the base he came with, which begs some questions. As with the Ben Affleck Daredevil movie, this is a forgotten relic of a bygone era in which quality wasn't foremost in the equation.
3) Team Suit Wolverine
Head sculpts for Wolverine seem to have been a challenge in various eras of X-Men toys. Certainly, the 90s versions were all over the place, and a lot of figures in the early Hasbro period were too. Take this Wolverine from a two-pack with Forge.
Not only are the head sculpts lacking, but the figure is also a lanky, out of scale mystery. A properly sized and proportioned Wolverine would remain elusive for Hasbro until 2016.
2) First Appearance Bucky
Speaking of lanky, this version of Bucky Barnes exemplifies the listlessness of the line early in the Hasbro run. Figures looked more like marionettes with skinny arms and legs that wilted with articulation their meager frames couldn't support.
Though Bucky here is faithful in general to the look of his first appearance in the Captain America comic books, he's a poor figure and deserving of another shot. After all, Bucky came back in the comics and was even cooler than before, so it makes sense the toy should too.
1) Emma Frost
No action figure in the entire history of Marvel Legends exemplifies the absolute helplessness with the female form than Emma Frost. Emma combines the ongoing and outright confusion over anatomy, the ridiculous use of articulated joints in arms and legs that were too small to support or hide them, and carelessness with the overall quality of the product.
What's worse is Hasbro offered this figure in two versions - one normal and one in Emma's diamond form - and both were disasters.