Marv is one of those characters who, at the time of his creation, you’d never think would get his own action figure, being an alcoholic, pill-popping, whore-banging, joy-killing antihero who dies at the end of his inaugural tale. Yet at least three different companies have taken a crack at him prior to this version. McFarlane Toys did him first, in Frank Miller style and in a controversial “Death Row” variant that allowed you to throw the switch on his electric chair. NECA did movie versions, including their own take on that same chair. And while both were limited-articulation with color variants, Marvel Toys before going under did a super-poseable black-and-white Marv as part of their independent comic characters line, which was the last thing they ever did.
Now Diamond Select Toys has the movie rights – to the first movie only, though their initial three figures are characters who appear looking very similar in movie 2 also. How do they measure up? Let’s see.
Not unlike a previous NECA iteration, Marv got a bloody variant as a Comic-Con exclusive – though while NECA’s was of the slightly faded, oxygenated type, this is the bright red, fresh out of a living being red. Small distinction, but it looks slightly less “real” somehow by mimicking the fresher wound-juice. Marv comes in packaging typical of all Diamond Select figures, across brands – with individual numbering for this exclusive edition.
The idea here, I think, was to split the difference between McFarlane’s dioramas and Marvel Toys’ poseability. With full hindsight, maybe picking one or the other would have been a better idea. Though the diorama is cool, the wall part of the base doesn’t stay in the street part very well.
That bottom part, minus the broken bottle and the rat, serves as the default base for both Toys R Us color variants of Marv and Hartigan – there will be a color Nancy, but no details have been made avaialable yet as to where and how one might get her.
Marv comes with a gas can, a gun and an ax. Scale-wise, he fits more with Marvel Select than Star Trek Select, and is probably the shortest toy version of Marv to date.
Here’s McFarlane Marv on Diamond’s base, which actually has foot pegs and keeps the figure upright, unlike Todd’s…
…and here’s Diamond’s Marv on McFarlane’s base, which unlike Diamond’s holds together very strongly.
Articulation-wise, here’s how Diamond’s Marv breaks down: ball-jointed head, elbows and shoulders. Weird double-ball mid-torso. Cut wrists and waist. Double-hinge hips and ankles. Mid-thigh cut. Knee hinge. It is, as local L.A. DJ Marc Germain likes to say, “Better than most, not as good as some.”
Likeness-wise, he also seems a little off, as if trying to make a figure with a good sculpt and articulation somehow had to mean compromising both. NECA’s wasn’t perfect, but I think it was closer.
That said, I think it’s easy to photograph him in a way that looks distorted, in part thanks to the way his odd mid-torso joint moves him. Pictures above may have seemed top heavy, but at a low angle, he isn’t.
In all, I like the guy in his diorama as a display piece, figures with bases like this being in short supply nowadays. That said, I wish he were better – either in a more forced-pose McFarlane style, or with more versatile articulation. If you’re going to shoot for both and fall short, it’s a tough deal.