Toy Review: Diamond Select Blade, MoM Doctor Strange, Black Panther

With McFarlane Toys having brought DC figures into the 7-inch scale, Diamond Select Marvel figures are having a moment. When they were the only 7-inchers around, 6-inch Marvel Legends had more compatibility with other lines. Now, though, they’re the best suited to play with their rival DC supes, and the company is rising to the occasion. Their Iceman figure proved especially impressive, and subsequently they sent us three other figures for review. For Marvel Select Blade, Black Panther, and Multiverse of Madness Doctor Strange, each one is quite different from the others, showcasing a range of quality across varying styles.

Blade is ostensibly based on comic designs, but this particular comic and toy design take heavy inspiration from both the Wesley Snipes film and the original Toy Biz figure based on it, which still holds up well both for accurate detail and ability to store a wide amount of gear. All he’s really missing is a trenchcoat, but one from a wrestling figure ought to work fine. Pick up a bonus Sting or Undertaker somewhere, and they can donate to the cause. It may need a hole for the sheath, though. That doesn’t come out.

Stakes High

Every weapon Blade comes with can be stashed somewhere on his person. The sword has a big sheath in his back for it. The opening boomerang pegs to the back of his belt. The stake nightstick fits in a loop on the front of the belt, while the stakes on his wrists can pop out. Holsters for guns and his knife are obvious, while his gun stock plugs into the hole in the back of his thigh. Nobody’s sure what’s meant to go in the hole at the very top of his back.

Blade has an extra set of hands, but they’re basically the same, both with trigger fingers. Maybe slightly different grips. They seem pointless — alt hands better shaped for stakes and the nightstick would have been better.

He has two head options, too, with closed mouth or full-fanged. The closed mouth works better, but sometimes you gotta vamp out,

The rifle stock is the most confusing, because it isn’t evident quite where to attach it, but basically, the two guns connect to form a rifle, and the stock slots on the back of it. Like so…

Ratchet and Click

Blade is one of those figures that terrifies you at first because his joints ratchet, and it takes a second to realize, no, you haven’t broken it. It just clicks. His stiff shoulders can be scary too, as are his swappable heads. But get past that, and he’s like a G.I. Joe with all that gear. Now Marvel Select needs to give him a worthy vampire to fight.

Although the same company made all three, the articulation varies figure to figure. Black Panther has a barbell neck joint, disc-and-pin ball shoulders, upper bicep cuts, single-hinge elbows, forearm cuts, disc-and-pin wrists, mid torso ball, cut waist, cut-and-side-hinge hips, upper thigh cuts, double knee hinges, disc and angled pin ankles. Doctor Strange is similar, but if he has a cut waist his costume renders it functionless, and he lacks bicep or forearm cuts, instead using disc-and-pin elbows. Blade has those AND upper bicep cuts, as well as thigh cuts at boot level, and true ball-joint hips. In every case, their elbows can only move a range of 90 degrees, due to elbow overlaps designed to hide the joints some.

Black Panther is a different kind of comic-accurate than Blade. In classic four-color printing, black costumes aren’t actually drawn as black, for the most part, but blue with a lot of shadow. This version of T’Challa uses that specific style of coloring and shading.

Wall-kanda Forever!

He comes with no accessories or even bonus hands, save the vibranium cliff base. But that’s not bad — firstly, it actually has foot pegs to keep the figure in place. The color effect also stands out, with blackpaint over purple plastic, and a white wash to make the crevasses shine. Even better bonus: it features a hitch on the back to hang it on the wall, which is why the foot pegs are essential, to prevent shelf-diving.

Frustrating illusion alert: the tops of his boots are not cut joints, even though they look like they might be.

Doctor Strange is a movie-based figure, ostensibly from the second film, but without the dagger cross design on his shirt he wore for most of that. So it’s more of a first-movie look. The main appeal here, though, is the elaborate Eye of Agamotto window, which makes a great display piece and sports some elaborate printing. (No foot pegs, unfortunately.) Marvel Legends collectors may want to pick it up just for this.

Hairy Tale

Strange’s face looks like it should, plainly depicting Benedict Cumberbatch with the appropriate wigs and dye.

You won’t get as much posing out of him, since the cape is non-removable, fairly thick, and restrictive. But he does come with several sets of hands, all of which are sculpted with the surgical rods, and not simply reused from other characters.

It may be churlish to complain that he only comes with one tiny spell effect that loosely fits the right open-palm hand only. But considering we got a nice diorama piece and extra hands, we’re lucky to get a spell at all.

Entertainment Earth has Doctor Strange still in stock for $27.99 as of this writing, but are sold out of Blade. Black Panther was a ShopDisney exclusive, but still goes for close to the original price of $30 on eBay. Look around for Blade — he’s still available some places, and Diamond was selling all three figures at their San Diego booth, so leftovers are clearly floating around.

Even if you miss out completely, though, these should give you hope for whatever comes next. Take a look at more images below: