My cleaning project this week was more comic organizing as I took three different stacks of comics and properly merged them together. So I think I’ll review a comic book character action figure. I haven’t done that in a while.

2003 was a good time for Hulk action figure collectors. In addition to the Marvel Legends comic line Ang Lee’s take on jade giant was hitting theaters and naturally toys followed. Frankly I didn’t like the face on the Legends Hulk. It was kind of scary, even for the Hulk. Instead I went with one of the movie Hulks, namely the Leaping Hulk action figure. Although as I’ll get into I kind of disabled the leaping feature.

Leaping Hulk

click for larger picture

The toys were produced by Toy Biz, who had the Marvel license at the time. Sculpt-wise this is a good-looking figure, capturing the CG model used. Lee had wanted to represent, or so I seem to recall, Hulk’s strength increasing with his anger (or as Hulk would say in the comics “the madder Hulk gets the stronger Hulk gets”) by also having his size increase. When Marvel Studios regained the rights from Universal they kept the use of CG Hulk, which is the only thing I thought Lee really got right. But this isn’t a movie review so I’ll stick with the toy.

"Make sure to get Hulk's good side."

“Make sure to get Hulk’s good side.”

There’s a lot of detail in this kid’s toy. All the muscles and veins you’d expect to see from gamma-powered steroids are on display. Hulk’s head resembles Eric Bana, as the CG model had intended, something else that carried to the Marvel movies when Edward Norton and Mark Ruffolo played Bruce Banner in those movies. Cleaning up the images made the figure look a bit lighter than the actual toy and now that I look at it I wish they had lightened the green up a bit. I don’t remember if the movie model kept Bana’s hair color, but in the comics even his hair turns green, a slightly darker shade than his skin. The toy is a brunette, however.

I see the Ang Lee movie confused Hulk, too.

I see the Ang Lee movie confused Hulk, too.

Let’s talk articulation. I actually have three images showing off the articulation because some of it is good and some choices I don’t understand. For example his neck. He’s designed in a way that makes him look like he has none, but the articulation you’d expect for the next is still there. Hulk can look up and down, but there’s a large (for lack of a better term) slit when he’s looking forward or down at Betty that allows the head to sit in place but it also means he can’t look to the left or right, except to fudge which brings you the tilted head above. There’s also his waist, which is a form of articulation (I should make that word into a drinking game this paragraph) that’s really hard to explain because I’ve seen nothing like it before or since. Instead of an ab crunch the top of his body just kind of moves around which works in theory but it breaks the sculpt and looks a bit silly.

Then you have Leaping Hulk’s legs which have one cool feature ruined by a limited feature. There are ball socket hips for forward and backward while the legs do the splits similar to the Captain Marvel action figure I reviewed. Except here the pivot is in a better spot or the legs are sculpted better, one of the two, and seems more natural than the Big Red Cheese. His legs are too thick for a proper sitting down action even though his knees bend far enough, but there’s still a good range of poses. Or there would be if the ankles had more give to them. You can them slightly and that’s about it. He also lacks thigh swivels which also limits leg posing.

"Hulk now hand model."

“Hulk now hand model.”

It’s the hands that I oddly find myself the most confused. Both turn at the wrist but while the left hand has the ability to open his hand the right hand doesn’t. While the right hand also bends at the wrist the left hand doesn’t. You would think giving him hands that bend at the wrist and can open his hands would be a good thing. Just have the hand close into a fist. It’s not like Leaping Hulk really holds his accessory with it. But I’ll get to that in a moment. He also has a bicep swivel and good elbows for that “reading my watch” action I seem so drawn to, even though Hulk lost Banner’s watch five mountains back. Speaking of which, there’s one more bit of articulation (hey, I went a whole paragraph without that word) I need to point and laugh at.

"Hulk need a good masseuse. Or a chiropractor."

“Hulk need a good masseuse. Or a chiropractor.”

Hulk can also flex to show off all the muscles he’s about to send you sub-orbital with but that leaves this huge gap in the back. You may recall I mentioned this with the comic book Iron Man figure as well but it’s more prominent here and the sculpt kills any attempt to make it look like proper moving shoulders. It’s my least favorite part of the figure, and like the Iron Man figure the right arm doesn’t stay in place like it should when trying to put it fully to the back. You do have some nice shoulder articulation otherwise.

Speaking of the back, you may be noticing the hook on his back. Every Hulk figure had a gimmick. I chose this one because it had the best posablity. That meant also disabling this figure’s gimmick.

"Hulk suddenly camera shy."

“Hulk suddenly camera-shy.”

You can probably find a video review online that would show off the feature (I tried to find an ad but no such luck) but this thing is part of the gimmick. Attached to this cylinder thing that could be an engine that he ripped off a jet is a bungee cable that is tied to that hook on his back. You can use this to simulate Hulk’s huge leaps, hence the name of the figure. I don’t remember how it worked but I looked at the two reviews I could find on YouTube. Both also cut the string on this figure so I can’t get a good look if it ever worked. A green button on the front of the turbine in theory should stop the cable from retracting, and then you let go so Hulk starts his leap, then you just set him down when it’s time to land. The button’s internal mechanism doesn’t hold the cable that strongly (maybe it works better with the weight of the figure?) so I’m not all that impressed with it.

"Hulk starting a collection."

“Hulk starting a collection.”

If I were able to get a better articulated Hulk I might consider but I’m not a huge Hulk fan and this is a fair representation. I wasn’t into Ang Lee’s movie but I did like the Hulk design and it works well here even with the limited poses available. It sold itself as being “super posable”, which it kind of isn’t and some of the choices in design I don’t understand and the real gimmick is kind of lame but he was the best posing Hulk out at the time and I kind of like him.