I’ve made no secret in the past about my love of lesser known, or at least less respected, Marvel characters. A-listers like Spidey and Iron Man, Dr Doom and Magneto, they’re great and all, but something about there’s something magical about the lesser known, or lesser used, characters, that makes their appearances that much more engaging for me. Beta Ray Bill would be my dream hero in Marvel Crisis Protocol, and Stilt-Man would be my dream villain, but they’re not the only characters I love.
When Ronan the Accuser was ripped from the back rows and thrust into the foreground by the Guardians of the Galaxy movie, I was suitably chuffed. He’s featured in some fantastic storylines over the years, been exiled from the Kree Empire and later returned to rule it. He was even wed to Crystal of the Inhumans in an arranged marriage to bind the Kree and the Inhumans in an arc that showed that Ronan was so much more than just the Kree Empire’s eqiuvalent of a starfaring Judge Dredd (yes, Virginia, the comics Ronan wasn’t a genocidal religious extremist, that’s just the movie version).
Drax has wafted on and off my radar over the decades, but after years of his being a borderline mindless wad of muscle in a purple cape, Drax was reinvented during – you guessed it, my favourite cosmic storyline – Annihilation. Drax was changed from being an imbecile with almost Hulk-level strength who could fly and had energy blasts, to a much smaller (though still ripped as) brawler with restored intellect, a brutal level cunning, and a penchant for knife-fighting. For all intents and purposed it seemed like he’d been redesigned as Vin Diesel, much as the Ultimates series redesigned Nick Fury as Samuel L Jackson, long before the movies brought that vision to reality. That Vin Diesel secured a role in the Guardians of the Galaxy movies as someone *other than* Drax always struck me as funny. It’s also worth noting that per Drax’s original backstory he was a genetically modified, “created” being, designed with the sole purpose of killing Thanos.
Six bases – four small and two medium – mean you’ll be spoilt for choice when it comes to basing our heroes (?). The box comes with the Power Gem for Ronan, and the Unearthly Rage and No Matter The Cost cards. Neither is restricted by character or affiliation, so they can find a home in any of your teams. Unearthly Rage lets you convert 2 power for 2 additional dice to your next attack roll,provided you’re within range 2 of two or more enemy characters. If you’re being ganged up on, it may be the edge you need to fight free. No Matter The Cost is also all about conversion, but rather than converting power to dice, it allows you to convert 1 to 3 health to reduce the cost of an attack. With Hulk, that’d fuel a Thunder Clap and also grant an extra dice to attack rolls through You Won’t Like Me When I’m Angry…
Drax comes in a very straightforward ten pieces, and even if they hadn’t numbered the pieces on the sprue assembly would be very straightforward. As much as we all enjoyed Drax’s tattoos in the movies, the simplicity of the model’s marked ink is distinct, striking, won’t just blur into a sloughy mess when staring at the model from 4′ away across a table, and – thanks to the markings – will be easy to paint cleanly, rather than relying on my abominable freehand skills.
Assembled in a matter of minutes, Drax is ready to go into the queue to get some primer. While the rage bellowing pose may not be hugely dynamic, it does capture the essence of Drax, a man driven by blind vengeance who, if given the chance, would headbutt the universe.
As with Drax, Ronan’s assembly is very straightforward. The Universal Weapon is another chapter in Marvel’s love affair with hammers, though Ronan is about as far from Thor as it’s possible to be. My one complaint about Ronan as a model is I feel like he should have been maybe 20-30% bigger. Ronan’s enormous by Kree standard,and while he’s no Hulk, he’s canonically 7’5″ tall and almost 500lbs of blue meanie.
From his menacing glare beneath the cowl to the arrogant insouciance of the pose, I love this model (aside from the aforementioned sizing comment). Regal, downright condescending and of course, he’ll be in the traditional Accuser green. We’ll take a look at what he does on the table once he’s all painted up.
It may be awhile before we can freely play, but support your FLGS and preferred online retailers in the meantime. You can still get your hobby on!