A few months ago, I wrote a blog depicting the LEGO sets I received/bought in 2013. All from the Superhero line, all a bunch of fun. I did add one set I got this year, but I've bought a few more since then, so I thought I'd bring that last set over to this blog instead. 2014 has only produced four sets that I purchased, so I'm going to try and go into more depth with each review of the sets. I'll go over the set and characters, like I did with the last blog, but then I'll also talk about what I really like and then something I don't like as much. As awesome as LEGO is, it isn't perfect, and all the other LEGO set reviews I've read seem to do the same thing.
As I mentioned in the first blog, I've broken down the minifigures into five basic categories: The A-list Hero that comes with the set, the A-list Villain, the Sidekick B-list Hero, the Sidekick B-list Villain, and the Minion or Pedestrian (the human character that serves some kind of role). If you want to see a bit more explanation on those archetypes, you can refer back to the first blog. Otherwise, you can just keep reading on as I start the review of the 2014 sets.
CAPTAIN AMERICA VS. HYDRA (76017)
The first 2014 Marvel set is a pretty great one, featuring three awesome minifigs. Captain America is different than his Avengers counterpart, but he's still cool. From his design in the Lego Marvel Superheroes video game, I was afraid he'd look too happy and silly, but the minifig must be different because it looks great. The Red Skull is a sinister addition to my crew of villainy (Note: I've been very happy that Marvel has been releasing major Villains from the comics; so far I've gotten a Doctor Doom, Magneto, Mandarin, MODOK, Doc Ock, the Red Skull, and I borrow my sister's Loki to finish off a truly despicable Masters of Evil), and he looks pretty awesome too with his highly-detailed jacket and head. And then there's the Minion, the Hydra soldier. Cap's blue, Skull's red, and Hydra's green, making a nice and varied color-scheme for the characters. Scowling in anger, the Hydra agent is a generic henchmen, which means I can pretend that this one guy is a whole organization of soldiers. And the tank is pretty nice, complete with huge wheels, rockets, and a spinning turret, letting Hydra take aim (AIM?) at Cap no matter where he is. But Cap has a slick motorcycle to outrun them with. Again, LEGO scores by bringing to life a different-looking hero, a cool supervillain, and a whole slew of henchmen in one guy. This totally makes up for the lack of Winter Soldier sets.
The Hydra soldier. Yes, I got my Villain and Hero, and I was excited for the Red Skull, but the Hydra Minion totally steals the show. One, he looks totally comic authentic. A perfect match from the comics. Secondly, as I said, I make a whole group out of one guy. Having Hydra soldier after Hydra soldier charge after all the Heroes I have is just fun. Perfect cannon fodder for any game I play.
LEAST FAVORITE PART
Lack of weaponry. The tank comes with a couple of flick-fire missiles, and the Skull carries the Cosmic Cube (a very nice touch, I will add), but the bad guys had no weapons for themselves. I had to supply both Red Skull and his Hydra stooge guns of my own. Not a huge detriment to the set, but it makes one wonder just what the Hydra soldier would've used against Cap if he'd gotten out of the tank. Skull can fight him hand-to-hand, but not this poor lackey.
HULK'S LAB SMASH (76018)
The biggest set I purchased this year, it's also the first playset I bought, coming with a secret AIM base (as opposed to being one that isn't secret...which I don't think there are). Anyway, it doesn't remain secret for long, cause the Hulk comes busting in with Falcon to save Thor from MODOK and the Taskmaster. Falcon and Tasmaster would be the Sidekicks and are interesting characters to include. Falcon has a pair of translucent wings, the first Superhero character to have that, and Taskmaster is a neat character just based off the fact that he can mimic anyone's abilities. All the characters are based off a TV show, but everyone also looks similar to the comics. Thor comes decked out in his armor, red cape, and mighty hammer Mjolnir, though I do wish he could've had a helmet instead of his hair. The Hulk is perfect, a rare big fig clad in his classic purple pants, making him clearly stand out from his Avengers counterpart. And while MODOK's chair is a little clunky at first, the thought of having the big-headed baddy is really cool. He looks awesome and is quite enjoyable to play with. The base is fun to move characters around and to capture those pesky Superheroes. It comes with some neat features, such as a collapsable stairwell and ledge, a breakable wall, a jail cell, and a laser cannon. Both the characters and the playset are cool to use. Five characters and a great build. A perfect combination for LEGO
The Mental Organism Designed Only for Killing, also known as MODOK. I flipped when I saw he would be in a set. He's one of the more original Villains out there, with his huge head, and he's been more prominent these past few years (plus, there's a rumur he'll make an appearance in Cap 3). To see such a Villain rendered in lovable LEGO is awesome. Like I said, it's fun to make him hover around, shout angrilly, and blast people. He looks awesome and handles better than I would've originally thought.
LEAST FAVORITE PART
The brick-built robot. I neglected to include this guy in the review above, because I didn't think he really counted as a minifigure. He's basically a yellow AIM turret, and I was kinda bummed LEGO didn't produce an AIM Minion instead. He comes with flick-fire missiles, but that's about it. Like with the Hydra soldier, I can use the robot as cannon fodder and pretend it's a lot of robots, but an AIM agent, while it would've raised the price a tiny bit, would've been a pretty fun addition.
STARBLASTER SHOWDOWN (76019)
The first set based off Marvel's Guardians of the Galaxy film, I bought this one to begin collecting Marvel's newest team of Superheroes. The set's a pretty simple one. It's Starlord and a Pedestrian Nova Corps Officer facing off against a Sakaarian Minion in a space battle (Note: I'm not sure what the Sakaarians are based off of. Most of them in the comics are red, but there is a Shadow race that's gray. The movie character is gray, but the Shadow guys are elite warriors, not grunts, so I don't know...). Anyway, I got the set for Starlord (and it was also the cheapest), but the other two characters are cool. The Officer and the Sakaarian, like the Hydra Minion, both begin for me two new organizations/races of characters to keep on building my mini Marvel Universe. Starlord and the Sakaarian come with never-before used weapons, which is fun, and both Starlord and the Nova Corps Officer have neat helmets. Starlord can fly on his own, but the Sakaarian and the Officer have their own ships (called the Necrocraft and the Starblaster, respectively). The ships are actually nice because neither of them are huge and are both pretty sleek and easy to have fly around. A fun, simple, and small set, completely worth the price.
Starlord, of course. If I didn't make it clear in my previous blog, I love the minifigures. They're the reason I buy LEGOs. Having Starlord was a very nice way to begin my own Guardians gang. He's the head guy, the leader, so who better to start with than him? He's also a wise-cracking goof, so his personality makes for a neat character to play with as well. He looks cool, and he's fun to be. A great addition to my minifigure collection.
LEAST FAVORITE PART
No Villain. While the Sakaarian helps with making a race of aliens, it's also a character that comes with the other two sets as well. Ronan and Nebula are used in the other sets, but Korath the Pursuer was up for grabs. Having him go up against Starlord would've been pretty fun. In a film with plenty of Villains to choose from, resorting to the alien thugs time and time again is a little disappointing, but not a huge loss.
KNOWHERE ESCAPE MISSION (76020)
The second Guardians set that I got, this one's a bit bigger. It's a playset, coming with a mining operation on the planet of Knowhere (which, SPOILER, is the head of a Celestial, an ancient being of great cosmic power). It's the talking racoon Rocket and the talking tree Groot up against yet another Sakaarian grunt and Nebula, the sword-wielding daughter of Thanos (so says the movie, but she claimed to be his granddaughter in the comics, a claim he refutted). Groot and Rocket are fun additions to my ever-growing Guardians team (if you can't tell, I like collecting teams. It's been cool getting the Justice League, the Guardians, a version of the Avengers, and my version of the Masters of Evil), and are just cool figures in and of themselves. Though not exactly scaled correctly, Rocket is small, quick, and carries a huge gun (bigger than him), and Groot is detailed and comes with little notches for Rocket to hang on (and, while I've heard fans wonder if a Hulk-like big fig edition of Groot will be released, I like the brick built version just fine, even if it is huge). It's a battle between good and evil, fully equipped with a missile launcher, and a mining orb vehicle
Groot and Rocket. Having them together was a brilliant idea. Though the scale compared to the other characters is off, they work great together. Rocket can attach to Groot for some awesome action moves. Even individually, they're pretty sweet. Rocket can shoot down all his enemies, and Groot can lumber around and crush everything in sight. And, yes, Hulk vs. Groot fights are a bunch of fun to have.
LEAST FAVORITE PART
The playset. It's not the greatest LEGO has given, and a lot of it because it's pretty flimsy and easy to break. Abby accidentally kicks it when we play together, and a whole section collapses. It's made to do that, but it's so easy to disturb. Also, I wish the missile could be mounted somewhere, but it can't. It just doesn't fit anywhere. I should probably try using it more than I currently do, and maybe my opinion would change if I did. But for now, the AIM base and the Daily Bugle I got last year are a lot cooler.
Sadly, these are the only 2014 LEGO Superhero sets I want. However, they're pretty fun and they come with a bunch of diverse characters. Avengers, aliens, space heroes, masterminds. My little universe is growing, piece by piece, brick by brick. I know I'm reaching the tail end of childhood, but I don't think I'll ever outgrow LEGOs. I'll play them with my sister, my kids, and my grandkids (that is, if the little snots will be able to put down their IPad 500s or whatever for five minutes...). As long as there's LEGO, I'll be right there with them.