Thursday, February 23, 2017

The LEGO Super Hero Lines Continue to Grow in 2017

By Jerry Chandler

I’m going to swing over into the boss’s territory today and cover a little bit of 2017 toy news. It’s a subject I don’t dive into very often, but, hey, it’s LEGO and I’m a LEGO kind of guy. It’s one of the few toys that really had an impact on me as a child, and it’s really the only toyline I still regularly purchase anything from for myself to this day. Plus, I have kids who have become LEGO fans, so I can always excuse the larger purchases to my wife as something for the wee ones to enjoy.

LEGO has over the years gone from a line of exclusively basic, generic building sets to a line filled with original sets and multiple lines of licensed products. You can go out there right now and get yourself a Ghostbuster Firehouse, a Beatles Yellow Submarine, Adventure Time fun, Star Wars action, and even a little Doctor Who adventures in time and space on top of a huge number of original, LEGO owned concept series sets. But, as much as I love some of the other stuff, I have to admit to being a superhero guy, and that’s what I’m going to look at here today.

The Brick Heads maybe my least favorite of the offerings from the Superheroes line, but I can certainly understand the appeal they may have to others. These are essentially the LEGO version of the popular Funko Pop heads, just with a little more “assembly required” work involved once you get them home and out of the box. The 2017 offerings on the Marvel side of the line are Captain America, Hulk, Iron Man, and Black Widow. The DC offerings are Batman, Joker, Robin, and Batgirl from the LEGO Batman Movie.

Obviously, these sets will have a limited play value for the younger (or younger at heart) LEGO fan out there. As such, they are pretty much just collector pieces. Whether they float your boat or not is going to depend on how much you like things like the Funko Pop figures that are on the market and whether or not you’re willing to take the time and energy to assemble them. With a suggested retail price just under $10 and only approximately 100 pieces to a Brick Head, it may be a tough call for many fans and collectors.

The LEGO Marvel line has been sadly lagging behind the knockoff brands found at dealer tables at cons and on sites like Amazon in a lot of ways when it comes to minifigures, but in no way more glaring than the omission they’re finally addressing this year. The LEGO Marvel sets have included the Hulk in several sets going as far back as the first Avengers movie, but they’ve done little else with the essential characters in the Hulk’s comic book world. One of the omissions (that fits into more than just the Hulk’s world) has been the longtime Marvel creation, the Savage (and later on not so savage) She-Hulk. There’s also been no sign of the Red Hulk or the Red She-Hulk in official sets. Red Hulk has been floating around as a knockoff for some few years now though.

Well, this year LEGO gives us one set with all four Hulk characters with their Hulk vs. Red Hulk set. On the one hand, it’s great that they’re getting an official She-Hulk and Red Hulk out there at last; as well as the only Red She-Hulk I’ve seen anywhere. On the other hand… Battle cars? I would have envisioned this set with a small city street set- a few small, fake building fronts -as a bigger set or a lab setting for a smaller set. But battle cars? It’s probably a great deal of fun for the really younger LEGO fans out there, but it is a bit of a head scratcher to many others I’ve talked to. Still, great to have the opportunity to get the characters and in full, official LEGO quality.

The Mighty Micros sets are expanding in 2017 with some nice additions to the available minifigures. The Mighty Micros are pure silliness meant just for fun. The minifigures have heads with more comical and exaggerated faces, the legs are the half sized style used for child figures, and the cars they ride into battle with are almost Whacky Races level goofy. These things are almost like the Mister Mxyzptlk versions of the heroes and villains custom made for kids of all ages to act like kids with. The 2017 offerings include Iron-Man vs. Thanos, Spider-Man vs. Scorpion, Batman vs. Killer Moth, and Superman vs. Bizarro. At a suggested retail price of around $10 each, these sets are certainly worth a look if for no other reason than the whimsy of them.

LEGO DC Super Hero Girls is a line that has mixed reviews in my house. My son has zero interest in them, my daughter can’t figure out why the figures are LEGO but don’t look like her older brother’s LEGO superhero minifigures, and the wife and I just end up wondering why LEGO feels the need to make a superhero line for girls that is totally different than the mainstream line. But, it must have some level of sales popularity as 2017 is seeing an expansion on the line.

If there’s a young or young at heart girl in your life that loves these, they’ll love the 2017 additions to the line. It gives the LEGO line of products a reason to look at more of the female DC stars than they might otherwise have done, and this may eventually spread to the standard DC line of LEGO product. Plus, if it in some way brings more girls into the superhero fold who may one day grow up to be young ladies and then women who love the genre; it’s a good line to have out there.

While not technically promoted as an Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. product, LEGO has corrected an Avengers LEGO line oversight by giving us at long last an Agent Coulson minifigure in the Iron Man: Detroit Steel Strikes set. Why mention Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.? Because the set includes Lola, Coulson’s flying car. It also gives us an official LEGO set with a mostly worthy advisory for Iron-Man that’s not the Hulk or another hero in the form of an armored up Justin Hammer and his Detroit Steel Weaponized Mech. The mech is fully posable once built and includes a few parts that fire small, single peg sized LEGO discs as a weapon. Lola’s wheels flip down for flight mode, but still roll freely when up in standard car mode. The Justin Hammer minifigure looks like an insane, deranged version of the Iron Patriot, and that’s a good thing. All in all, it looks like a fun set to add to anyone’s collection.

Captain America Jet Pursuit on the other hand looks like a fun set for kids and maybe a set for the minifigure collectors out there, but it’s largely forgettable outside of that. Captain America is given a brown leather jacket and flight goggles as well as a dinky and slightly clumsy looking jet. We’re given a silver Super-Adaptoid with bright red wings that looks less like Super-Adaptoid than it does an Ultron body. Ms. Marvel is on hand to round out the crew, and they came up with a gimmick for the minifigure that makes it stand out from the rest of them. Unfortunately, it’s a gimmick that I would have loved to see them use on an official Mr. Fantastic minifigure instead. But since they still haven’t given us a solid, official Fantastic Four set…

It’s nice and some kids might like it, but it looks like one of their more forgettable sets.

The Guardians of the Galaxy are about to get their second official Marvel film, so LEGO is about to roll out their official line of licensed Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 sets. What we’ve seen so far from LEGO indicates a nice updating of the Guardians’ ship, some great additions of the line of Guardians minifigures, and a lot of value for those who want to play or those who just want to build and display. I fully expect more of these sets to hit the shelves as the movie gets closer to release, and they should be some rip-roaring good fun if the sets seen so far are any indication.

The LEGO Batman Movie unleashed a lot of sets onto the market that were as fun as they were clever. Anyone who thought the sets so far were the end of it were absolutely mistaken. LEGO will be rolling out some pretty large sets later in the year that include some of the larger vehicles seen in the film as well as an expanded line of minifigures from the film. No sign yet of a good King Tut, so you’ll have to keep buying the minifigure packs and hoping for the best. However, they will be rolling out a set with a Bane that looks more than ready to take on Batman; maybe even ready to take on the Hulk. Much like the Guardians sets, some of these look to be great sets for both the collectors and the kids looking for some great play value.

Lastly, the sets we know the least about so far. In just the last few days we’ve gotten a look at the sets due to come out with the new Spider-Man film from Sony and Marvel. The two sets I’ve seen offer the silly fun of the bank heist we’ve seen in the trailer- complete with robbers in fake Avengers masks -and a good look at the vulture concept for the film. Oh, and apparently there’s a surprise character in the film we don’t know about. Fortunately, after blowing some spoilers like Ant-Man becoming a giant in the airport fight with advanced LEGO set picture releases over the last few years, LEGO has learned from the complaints of the past. We know there may be a secret character we know nothing about, but we don’t know who it is. The official look at the set boxes has the character censored on the box.

All I can say here? I want that Vulture.

You can see all the sets out there and available now at the following links-

Jerry Chandler is a lifelong geek, dabbling in just about every genre but finding science fiction and horror to be his primary comfort zones. He has also had a lifelong devotion to that form of entertainment known as professional wrestling. When not worrying that his coworkers are going to inflict bodily harm onto him over his sense of humor, he enjoys hitting the convention scene or making indie films with his friends. He also finds talking about himself in third person to be very strange.

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