Marvel Legends: Infinite Series Walgreens Exclusive Ant-Man (Black A.N.T.)

Black ANT 01Part of what has drawn me to the Marvel Legends: Infinite Series line over and over again is the wide variety of Marvel characters that have gotten great action figures. Sure, there are lots of versions of Spider-Man, Iron Man, and Captain America, but the line also gives attention to characters like Drax (at least three years before he became super popular thanks to the Guardians of the Galaxy movie) and Batroc the Leaper. Interestingly, Hasbro has begun pairing with Walgreens of all places to release the occasional exclusive figure. They started doing it with the Star Wars Black series, but the Marvel Legends: Infinite Series has also started releasing exclusives through them. While the package just bills him as Ant-Man (since he was released around the same time as the recent Ant-Man series), this figure represents actually the third man to wear the Ant-Man gear, a former S.H.I.E.L.D. analyst named Eric O’Grady. O’Grady, like Lang, stole the Ant-Man gear, but unlike Lang, he really wasn’t planning on doing anything heroic with it. He was honestly a bit skeevy in the beginning, but O’Grady gradually became a hero. In fact, he became so heroic, Captain America trusted him to join his black ops Secret Avengers team. While part of the Secret Avengers, he sacrificed himself to save a young boy from being captured by a group of Life Model Decoys (robots designed to look like a specific person). That’s where this look comes in. After O’Grady died at the hands of the LMDs, the rogue LMDs resurrected him as one of their own and used him to infiltrate the Secret Avengers. When he revealed himself to be a traitor (curse your sudden but inevitable betrayal), he also changed his name to Black A.N.T. and adopted this costume. Considering this part of his story only went down a year or two ago and O’Grady Ant-Man was honestly never that big of a deal, it’s pretty impressive this look got an action figure.

Black ANT 02Black ANT 04As I’ve mentioned before, the Marvel Legends: Infinite Series line relies pretty heavily on parts reuse. Ironically, though, Ant-Man is the first time I’ve reviewed a figure that does so extensively. Ant-Man uses the new small body that they developed for a really great Spider-Man figure. The new small body is extremely poseable, which makes sense for Spider-Man and honestly works pretty well for Ant-Man, too. Ant-Man has hinge joints at the ankles, knees, abs, shoulders, elbows, wrists and neck, swivels in his upper thigh, waist, upper arms and wrists, and ball joints at his hips, shoulders and neck. The joints are all pretty standard fare save for the neck hinge. It was used for Spider-Man so he could be upside down and honestly, it’s not that great on Ant-Man. Unless you have his head tipped down a little bit, he looks a bit giraffe-necked. The body itself is completely devoid of sculpted detail. That makes sense since this is going to be the new base body for a lot of slender-but-still-super-powered characters. Ant-Man does get a new add on belt that O’Grady used to control his shrinking powers. My only real complaint there is that he doesn’t have a hand that looks natural near the belt. The only new part Ant-Man has is his head, and it’s a really great piece. It’s very well-detailed and it looks like the comic art for Black A.N.T. At its core, he’s just wearing a black version of the classic Ant-Man helmet. I hope that means at some point in the near future, Hasbro decides to make a classic style Ant-Man figure. I’ve always liked the 70s sci-fi vibe of the original Ant-Man helmet and it works well for O’Grady. The Ant-Man gear he stole in the comics looked very different from the gear he eventually died in which is what this represents, but it’s hard to beat a classic look. The face has a pretty sternly held mouth and that does hurt the O’Grady ties a little. O’Grady was a pretty sarcastic and fun-loving guy who just enjoyed being a superhero scoundrel. Even when he was the Black A.N.T., there was an element of that in his programming. This face looks just a little too grouchy for that.  The tech details on the helmet are great, with a seam running down the center and splitting off into to two points and two ports over his ears. The antennas on the front of the helmet are surprisingly well done. They’re thin enough to look on model with the art, but they’re not so thin that they get bent in the package. I searched through quite a few at Walgreens to find one with good paint and I never had to reject one because of bent antennae.

Black ANT 03Since the body is undetailed, the paint work has to do all the heavy lifting when it comes to recreating Ant-Man’s look. The original Ant-Man costume was red with blue jagged boots and long gloves with a forked blue stripe running down the chest and blue underwear on the outside of his pants. Black A.N.T.’s look is the same details but with black for the main body and red for the other details. It’s a striking look and while it can scream bad guy, since O’Grady was on the Secret Avengers before his death, it also works for a stealthy superhero. The Ant-Man helmet is also done up in black with bright orange detailing on his eyes and the rest of the tech details on his helmet. The paint work on these very small areas is extremely well done. In the comics, Black A.N.T. was drawn with those parts of his helmet glowing, so to recreate the glowing effect, there’s also a bit of yellow highlighting in there. It’s not a perfect solution, but it does look a little bitter than just leaving everything up there bright orange. The paint work on his body is serviceable, though the jagged lines can get a little fuzzy. When I found my Ant-Man, there were plenty of them in the store and I couldn’t find one that wasn’t a little fuzzy somewhere. There were some fuzzier ones that I passed on, but even the ones that were a bit fuzzy on the defined lines still looked good. My only real complaint is that the paint shade on the red shifts between his upper torso and his abs. It’s kind of surprising since that sort of thing usually only happens when one part is molded in the color and the other has it painted on, but it looks to me like they’re both painted elements.

Black ANT 05Beyond his removable belt, this Ant-Man has no accessories, and that’s kind of a bummer. Like I said in the movie Ant-Man review, I think it should be required that any time a line makes a figure of someone who can change sizes, they should include at least one small version of the character. I think the mini-Ant-Man from the movie Ant-Man could have been repainted to pass for this look. However, this Ant-Man is a still a great figure and is a smart idea for an exclusive. I’m interested to see where this new head will eventually get reused. It just doesn’t seem like Hasbro will let this piece lie since it can be used for a regular Ant-Man as well. Plus, he’s not a character that everyone was clamoring for but he’s still cool enough to warrant a figure. A toy review site I read said that the perfect exclusive figure is one of a character that has a decent fan following but at the same time doesn’t create a hole in everyone’s collection if it’s hard to track down. Irredeemable Ant-Man was a popular series and the Black A.N.T. look is striking but at the same time, O’Grady’s tenure as Ant-Man was very short and though he died heroically, Secret Avengers was never exactly the most popular book. You have to be a pretty die-hard comic fan to care about Eric O’Grady and I do. It was great to get him (sort of) as an action figure, but I never really thought my limited collection of Marvel Legends: Infinite Series figures was incomplete without the Eric O’Grady version of Ant-Man. He seemed to sell well enough because I haven’t seen mass quantities of him at Walgreens lately so that means he’s definitely moving units. Sure, most people probably bought him just because he’s a neat take on Ant-Man and looked a bit like the “Blackout Ant-Man” that showed up in some of the other toys but didn’t actually appear in the movie, but knowing he’s O’Grady/Black A.N.T. does make me smile, just because he’s a C-lister at best. It now makes me wonder who else Hasbro might tap for a Walgreens exclusive if they’re going a bit more obscure. Honestly, I’d love to see Dennis “D-Man” Dunphy finally get an action figure and really, he’s almost as obscure as O’Grady, so I say bring on D-Man.