Saturday, August 17, 2019

Legendary Comic Book Heroes - ANN O'BRIEN!

LCBH - Series 02 (Monkeyman Build-a-Figure) - Ann O'Brien - Marvel Toys 2007

There's a lot of 90's nostalgia happening right now in the toy world. Every time I tune in to Marvel Legends news there is some excited announcement about some 90s-specific costume making everyone giddy. But the funny thing is that this was the era when my escalating distaste for Marvel and DC comics was reaching its peak. For most of the 90s I was obsessed with Manga and Indy comics. And my absolute favorite thing coming from the US market was the Legend imprint from Dark Horse Comics. This imprint was following the footsteps of Image Comics with creator-owned properties, but the difference is that the caliber of creators. John Byrne, Mike Mignola, Frank Miller, Paul Chadwick, Mike Allred, Walt Simonson, and Arthur Adams all had seriously established reputations and all launched projects under the aptly named Legend banner. Where Image was all flash and entertainment, Legend was classic and artistic (and a breath of fresh air amidst the "extreme" style ruining mainstream American comics).

One of my favorite Legend titles was Arthur Adams' Monkeyman and O'Brien featuring the pulpy adventures of a gigantic alien genius gorilla named Axwell Tiberious and the 7 foot tall powerhouse Ann O'Brien. I've always felt that Arthur Adams and I share a very similar aesthetic with a penchant for female heroes, giant beasts, and campy pulp stories. I just re-read the graphic novel and I still find it highly enjoyable, although I admit it has since been overshadowed by his (amazing) subsequent work in Jonni Future. When Toy Biz lost the Marvel License to Hasbro, they continued the "Marvel Legends" momentum with the Legendary Comic Book Heroes line. This line incorporated characters from a variety of creator-owned imprints across the comics industry. It was truly an amazing concept and execution that unfortunately only lasted for two waves. The second wave featured a terrific Ann O'Brien figure (with a variant) and the whole wave included pieces for a gigantic Monkeyman Build-a-figure. Let's check them out below!

While this figure sports a lot of the weird articulation and proportions that were standard for Toy Biz at the time (look at the way her head rests on her neck!), I still think it's a fantastic figure of a unique looking character. The sculptors did a very decent job capturing the odd angular facial features and Grecian nose of Ann O'Brien.

This line was produced by Marvel Toys (which was a rebranded Toy Biz) right when they has lost the Marvel license to Hasbro. Therefore, the articulation on these figures is almost identical to the Marvel Legends at the time. Her foot is articulated at the toes, which I think was pretty rare for females figures at the time.

Ann O'Brien brought back a flood of memories for me because she was the first action figure I ever had to boil-and-pop to make a correction. Her calf pieces were on the wrong legs and needed to be switched. The shoe and ankle joints were very tricky to get back on again.

You needed to buy 6 figures from Series 2 to build Monkeyman (both Judge Death and Ann O'Brien had variants with repeat BaF pieces). Also included in the wave were Stryker from Cyberforce, Marv from Sin City, Star from Savage Dragon/Freak Force, and The Darkness from Witchblade.

Here is a look at the Ann O'Brien variant as well as a curious late addition to the line. The regular Madman was released as part of the first wave of  LCBH (the Pitt wave), but I suppose his yellow-armed variant was delayed in production, because it was released with Series 2 and coincidentally comes with the same BaF piece that Ann does, Monkeyman's right leg.

Monkeyman is huge and spectacular. Some notable details are that his fingers and toes are articulated. His mouth is also articulated and his glasses are removable.

What a pair!

Time for a Comparison Pic!


1 comment:

  1. I can say for a fact that the Pitt figure from the first wave of these figures is equally amazing. One of my favorite toy acquisitions ever, especially since I got five out of 6 of the needed figures on the cheap when the line failed. Pretty sure I got Pitt for a grand total of $40 and he's still an absolute favorite to this day, with similar articulation on each finger.