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Topless Toy Chest: Dr. Strange Book of the Vishanti Marvel Legends Set

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The Hasbro item we dubbed the best exclusive of Comic-Con 2015 is a monster of a thing – a giant doorstop that looks like the book of spells it’s made to resemble. And just so you know what it’s supposed to be, there’s a cardboard sleeve around the middle specifying it’s a Dr. Strange item.

If you missed out on one at this point, it might be tough to get now. But we can at least give you a good look at it.

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The book opens up to a page depicting Dr. Strange, and spelling out just what the Eye of Agamotto is, so confused kids don’t just toss it from the toy set inside.

But there’s not just one page to read before getting to the toys. You turn the page again, and…

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Here we get even more artwork establishing the characters within. Turn the page one more time, and we get…

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The one thing that’s irritating about the box when it’s open like this is that the weight of the pages pulls the glued spine away from the box, so you won’t want to leave it out like this unless it’s displayed upright.

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The packaging is fairly collector friendly – there are no twist-ties or plastic bands, just form fitting fuzzy red plastic molded to each figure’s body – you can pop them out and then pop them right back in.

The reason, then, that I say “somewhat” is that the red fuzz can leave red stains on the figures. They’ll come off with a little work, but it can look like some of these guys have victims’ blood on them – or in the case of poor Magik, who got some staining on her upper thighs, like it’s that time of the month.

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That aside, Magik is one of the highlights, and is a lot easier to stand than you’d think. The sword looks glow-in-the-dark but isn’t, and her arm actually seems to feature new sculpting – I haven’t really collected Marvel legends since they were Toy Biz, but most of these figures appear to have generic base bodies augmented with unique accessories on top that make them who they are. The more things change from Megos, the more they stay the same, ironically.

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Take Brother Voodoo here. From a distance he looks quite unique, but the detailed necklace, cape and sash are removable, and the rest is just a clever paint job. Since one doesn’t expect 100% all-new sculpts for exclusive sets, I give them props for being creative with what they have. There’s probably room to debate whether or not a black voodooo witch doctor is an offensive stereotype, but as witch doctors go, he’s an effective figure.

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Dormmamu seems to be based on a build-a-figure body, possibly Odin – as if to emphasize this, his head pops off easily and often. The weirdest thing is that despite his size and even proportions, he’s the hardest to stand up – finding the sweet spot for the leg articulation is tricky, and grabbing a shot of him before he fell down was tough. His flaming skull accessories are repainted Marvel Legends Ghost Rider heads, which is a clever re-purposing.

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Hela is a personal favorite, as she was one of the characters in my childhood Marvel coloring books – what can I say, you don’t forget a woman who looks like that. If I hadn’t gotten this set, I’d probably be mildly annoyed that she didn’t see wide release; as a foe of Thor’s, she’d seem to be attached to a popular enough mainstream character to allow it. The figure has a cool paint job and glitter mixed in to the plastic – the “antlers” are partly plug-in accessories that you’ll want to remove if you put her back in the package, and glue in permanently if you intend to display her loose forever, or let kids play with her, else you’ll lose them forever.

Hela has the body of a stereotypical supermodel – not in the way her proportions are, but in the fact that she weighs so little, she will literally fall over in a light breeze. The things you learn photographing figures outside.

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Astral Projection Dr. Strange is a translucent repaint of the existing figure, and he’s pretty damn cool – I’m a sucker for see-through figures to begin with, and the painted details make it pop. Sure, a full-on cape might make him even cooler, but he’s more poseable without one.

I liked him so much I photographed him twice.

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The Eye of Agamotto ain’t much – it’s unpainted on the back, and pretty basic plastic. Looks decent as decoration in the package, but that’s about it.

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Note how much I had to arch Dormmamu’s back to balance him and keep him standing.

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They look good out of package, but in the end, I think they look even better in. So I put them back, and it wasn’t hard at all.

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Note the spine in the middle starting to split from the weight of the pages. I feel like that could have been re-engineered.

Still, this is a pretty fantastic set, especially if you got it at the convention price of $99.99, less (when you factor in tax) than buying 5 Marvel Legends figures in less interesting packaging at most retail outlets. eBay prices as of this writing look to be approximately double that, but even that isn’t terrible when you consider that so many exclusives cost twice retail already. If you want one, I’d suggest grabbing one before the movie drives up prices further…or, if you’re certain the movie will bomb, maybe wait till after and prices go down. But you’d be betting against Marvel Studios on that one, and I wouldn’t.

About Author

Luke Y. Thompson has been writing professionally about movies and pop-culture since 1999, and has also been an actor in some extremely cheap culty and horror movies you will probably never hear much about (he is nonetheless mostly proud of them, as he met his wife on one). As editor of The Robot's Voice since 2012, he can take the blame for the majority of the site's content, all of which he creates because he loves you very, very much. (Although he loves nachos more. Sorry.) Prior to TRV, Luke wrote for publications that include the New Times LA, Los Angeles CityBeat, E! Online, OC Weekly, Geekweek, GeekChicDaily, The L.A. Times, The Village Voice, LA Weekly, and Nerdist