Marvel Legends Action Figures – Are They Worth Buying?

The action figure market is so saturated with options right now that it may seem a bit difficult to choose the right one. What are you interested in? What is your reason for buying? Do you intend on completing a collection? What do you want in an action figure? Whatever it is, Marvel Legends action figures are able to satisfy most of your desires.

Marvel has had numerous action figure releases from various toy companies and most of them have been received extremely well. There have been so many releases and re-releases of Marvel comic characters that it can be hard to keep up for the completionist collector. Which is the best (subjective), which is least expensive (again, subjective), what do they scale with? The casual collector may have an easier time, being satisfied with having a version of their favorite character.

The great thing about the Marvel Legends action figures is that they are usually very good if not great representations of the comic version. One of the downsides is that since there are so many characters in production, the body molds sometimes get reused too many times.

Marvel Is Hot Right Now

Oh man is Marvel hot right now! Once on the brink of bankruptcy, forced to sell the licensing rights to a large cast of their characters to pay the bills, they made a miraculous come back to be heralded as one of the comic and movie industries most successful companies. This, of course, was due to the success of the Marvel Studios produced Iron Man film and the success of the other movies that were planned to crossover into the same universe. Thank you Kevin Feige and Avi Arad.

Due to this success, Marvel toys started to become really popular again. What kid doesn’t want to play with his favorite super hero or villain and reenact comic scenes or now movie scenes? The same goes for grown up fans of Marvel, you know, the dad wearing the Marvel t-shirt or the guy buying the toys at Target (when he has no kids). We all love our super heroes and their villains.Thor Ragnarok - Gladiator Hulk Wave

So now there are a couple of current lines of Marvel action figures. There are movie versions of characters in toy form, comic versions of characters that no one would have chosen as a first choice to buy, and some really awesome versions of popular characters that are true to their comic counterpart.

Marvel Select vs Marvel Legends

Here is an interesting choice. Do you buy Marvel Select or Marvel Legends, what is the difference? This is also something a true collector will struggle with whereas a casual collector will probably not care too much.

For starters, the Marvel Select is a more detailed release when compared to the Marvel Legends line. The Marvel Select toys are typically larger than the Marvel Legends counterpart. The Select line scales at 7 inches with the larger characters in the Select line scaling larger. The Legends line scales at 6 inches with the larger characters for the most part scaling the same (except the Build-A-Figure characters). This can be troublesome if you are not being exclusive or if you are trying to incorporate the two lines for action poses. If it is all about the toy and not the pose, then this may not really be a big deal.

If you are collecting to collect, the Marvel Select line may be a better choice for you as they are larger, more detailed and usually made for character specific poses from classic scenes. The Marvel Select line does not typically reuse a body mold which is one reason that they are more detailed and they are typically more true to the character.


This is a large factor for the collector in general. The Marvel Select line does not offer a Build-A-Figure (or BAF) series. The Marvel Legends line sometimes anchors its releases upon the collector’s desire for the BAF, and giving us some unpopular characters as fodder for our universe. This may seem a bit greedy on the part of the toy company, and it may be. I would argue the point that it may be a good thing so that we are not buying the same character over and over and over. So we get some characters that we don’t care about, I’m looking at you Whirlwind…but at least you get a BAF piece.

Most of the actual BAF are really cool. Again, sometimes the BAF is a huge reason to purchase that particular Marvel Legends wave (what each set of 6 to 8 characters are called for a release). Some of the best BAF characters are worth more than the overall cost of the wave. There are some waves of characters that are better than the BAF, so collecting the characters from that wave may result in some incomplete BAF if you don’t necessarily want all the characters in that wave.

The BAF idea has become popular enough that some other action figure toy lines are also using this to help boost their sales. One example is the Dragon Ball Super Dragon Stars series.

Articulation and Play Value

The Marvel Legends line offers characters with a lot better articulation than that of the Marvel Select line. So, the ability to pose these characters and create a dynamic scene is more easily done with the Marvel Legends. Generally, the Marvel Select line offers less articulation (with a larger, more detailed and more expensive character) than its counterpart, but it is OK for standard poses. For example, most of the Marvel Legends will have a very poseable ab crunch and double-jointed elbow and knees. The Marvel Select typically has a minimal ab crunch and single-jointed elbows and knees.

The other thing to consider is are you collecting to collect, or are you collecting to play? I buy toys that my son and I play with. He loves to recreate scenes from movies or shows with the appropriate characters, and if we don’t have it he will pretend another character is the one we don’t have. So, when it comes to the two lines, I buy the Marvel Legends. We like to pose them in action scenes and display them, but in the end, they are toys.Avengers vs Thanos

The Marvel Select line does offer more accessories than the Marvel Legends line, but this does not really add any play value.

Overall A Good Line of Toys

In the end, the Marvel Legends toy line is actually a really good one to purchase if you are a fan of the Marvel Universe. You get to choose between classic characters inspired by the comics or the representation of the characters from the movie universe.

These are toys in every sense of the word. They do come with additional accessories to increase their pose ability or their play value, such as additional heads and hands. Some of them come with blast effects or weapons also. Even with these accessories, I tend to view them as big GI Joes, with better sculpts, better articulation and better play value. Unlike the GI Joes of my youth, these characters do not have a lot of peripheral accessories or play sets that would encourage the average buyer to purchase this and build a toy universe. It is strictly an action figure toy line.

The action figures are high quality, although not what I’d consider to be highly collectible for most people. This does not mean that they are not collectible, on the contrary, a lot of the older characters have become highly sought after and valuable. I just don’t think of them as traditional collectors items because they really are intended to be toys and be played with. If you are really looking for an action figure line for the Marvel Universe that is collectible in the traditional sense, then the SH Figuarts line may be the best choice for you.





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Just Josh

I used to be a cool dude, now I'm a cool dad. I love anime/manga, comics, movies, action figures and collectibles. I hope to pass my passion for all things cool and nerdy on to my son.

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9 Responses

  1. Teri says:

    Once again, I love the way you research

  2. Laura Endahl says:

    I just did a ‘catalog’ and Marvel was one of the collections added.  I did not realize how HOT they were!  Since this article is the topic of your article I have to ask do you, yourself prefer the Legends or the Select.  And if you do, in fact, have a favorite, why?

    I myself, never really got into Marvel, back then or today.  Unless you want to count the occasional comic book I’d buy to read.

    I liked your article, short and right to the topic at hand.  Thanks for sharing.


    • Just Josh says:

      Thanks for the comment!  I like the Marvel Legends line better.  The Marvel Select line is great if you are looking for something that is more for collectible display.  They do not have the same ability for they dynamic poses that the Marvel Legends line has, so some would argue that the Marvel Legends are better for display…I like the Legends better for action shots or real action play.  So, I buy the Marvel Legends to play with my son.

      I collect the Dragon Ball Figuarts action figure line for display purposes.

  3. Sondra M says:

    Hi, I was trying to do some Christmas shopping for my grandson.   Since I haven’t kept up with action figures in recent years, I was thrilled to find your article.   I appreciated the explanation of the difference between the Marvel Selects and the Marvel Legends.   The Build a Figure concept sounds great.   Yet, I am inclined to think that my grandson will be most interested in playing with his action figures rather than collecting them.     

    I am glad that Marvel survived despite the financial problems they had in the past.  They are one of the names that I grew up with.   Hate to see those types of companies disappear.   

    • Just Josh says:

      Thanks for the comment!  I think that the Marvel Legends figures are great as toys.  Some are actually worth a lot of money compared to what they were when they were first released, such as the Marvel Legends Spider-Man 2099 (original blue/red version).  But, most are truly what you value them to be.  The Marvel Selects are more of a collectible for display.  My son and I play with the Marvel Legends on a regular basis.  Just between you and I, he’s getting the Venom and Carnage that he’s been asking for this Christmas…he’s going to flip out!

      Have a great Christmas!

  4. Dale says:

    Heck Im an adult and I love action figures and especially the Marvel ones.  If you have ever watched the show Pawn stars you can see that anything to do with Marvel in enough time can be worth as lot of money.

    So how I deal with this and have for years is I usually buy two of what I want.  One is for playing with my grandsons and the other one gets put away, never gets opened and never sees the light of day once its put away and I hope one day my grand kids can make a lot of money.

    Thanks for a great article.  It is knowledge every Marvel figurine should know.


    • Just Josh says:

      Thanks for the comment!  The action figure market is directed at people of all ages now.  There are action figure toys and then there are the mid-range collectibles and then there are the “don’t you ever open this or else” collectible.  I will do the same with some figures, buy two and open one for display or play with my son.

      I love teaching my son to respect his toys but still play with them in creative ways.  I’m glad that your grandsons get to have the same experience!  Keeps us young to play like a kid!

  5. Suzette says:

    I am so excited to see that marvel has made a comeback. I never was a big comic enthusiast growing up but sure love the movies of today. I remember watching Iron Man with my husband when it was released, it seriously was just out of consideration LOL, but I really enjoyed it and have watched more with him since then.  I think it is super cool that you spend time with your son playing with these “toys”. Although they may be worth a little bit of money, you can’t put a price tag on spending quality time with someone you cherish.  

    • Just Josh says:

      Thanks for the comment!  My son enjoys the time we spend playing so much that every day I get home, he asks me if we are going to play that night.  Even when I’m tired, I still make time.  It is extremely rewarding and I am encouraging him to love something that has brought me joy.

      I’m glad to know that you enjoyed the Marvel movies that you went to see with your husband.  My wife has done the same.  She got a kick out of my reaction to the Civil War trailer when we saw Spider-Man in the MCU for the first time.

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