LEGO Marvel Eternals 76155: In Arishem’s Shadow – Not your typical space god. [Review]

Normally when LEGO and Marvel team up to offer sets related to an upcoming film, they go to great lengths to keep things under wraps until they can arrange for a big reveal. It’s just smart marketing. Unfortunately, the past couple of years haven’t been great for plans working out as intended.

Back in December of 2020, LEGO sent out a catalog showcasing four sets based around the upcoming Eternals movie…a movie that had been slated to be in cinemas in November of that year. But, thanks to Covid, that film was shelved until November of 2021. The sets were not released, never made it onto LEGO.com, and probably just sat in a warehouse somewhere…waiting. Until now. LEGO Marvel Eternals 76155: In Arishem’s Shadow will (finally) be available October 1st for
US $59.99 | CAN $79.99 | UK £59.99. Was it worth the wait? Come along as we take a close look at this Celestial offering.

The LEGO Group provided The Brothers Brick with an early copy of this set for review. Providing TBB with products for review guarantees neither coverage nor positive reviews.


Unboxing the parts, instructions and sticker sheet

Before we get into the review, a bit of a disclaimer. As of this writing, Marvel has released trailers, but otherwise we don’t know much about this film. We can make some educated guesses based on the source material, but in order to avoid accidentally spoiling things too much, we’ll keep the comic lore and speculation a bit lighter in these reviews. (But if you’re trying to keep completely ignorant of the film’s secrets before you see it, why are you reading a review about the toys based on it?) Anyway, if you’re reading this in a post-Eternals release world, hello from the dim past of September 2021.

Here’s the context from this set, direct from LEGO’s writeup:
Kids join forces with 4 Eternals to defeat a Deviant bat. The Eternals have cool powers: Ajak is the only one able to communicate with the powerful extra-terrestrial beings, the Celestials; Sersi transforms matter into whatever she desires; Ikaris has superhuman strength; and Kingo can blast terrestrial energy. The set also includes a posable Celestial figure that can hold an Eternal minifigure in its hand. And, if you’re buying for a minifigure fan, this awesome LEGO playset is the only one to feature the Ajak and Kingo minifigures!

76155 In Arishem’s Shadow is the second largest in the wave of four sets released for the Eternals movie. It comes in a standard-sized thumb-punch box. The art on the front gives you a pretty good idea of what’s included – the giant Celestial Arishem, four Eternals minifigures, and a Deviant creature for them to fight. The upper right corner is taken up with a giant real life cast shot of the Eternals characters; a good choice as likely most consumers wouldn’t be able to recognize LEGO-ized versions.  There’s a callout in the lower left that a light brick is included, as well as a “batteries included” legal blurb. The age range for this set is “7+” which seems pretty reasonable to me.

On the back, we get a more “character focused” shot of the set contents. The four Eternals battle their Deviant Bat foe, with Arishem relegated to the background and and inset shot in the lower left showing the figure’s height of 11″/30cm.  Other graphics along the bottom edge show Ajak being held in Arishem’s hand, and the light brick in the center of the Celestial’s chest lighting up.

Inside the box are three numbered parts bags, a small sticker sheet, and a 108 page, perfect bound instruction book.


The parts

The sticker sheet for this set is mainly focused on providing additional details to Arishem, with a single sticker used on the Deviant bat. The graphics are well rendered, but are mostly repetitive and/or mirrored, so there’s not much variety.  This set contains 493 pieces, most of which we’ve seen in other sets. There are a few new or rare colors, including these coral hose nozzle accessories.

Some of the more interesting new colors appear in most of the Eternals sets. Both the curved minifigure sword accessory and 6×6 dishes have been released in satin transparent black. They have a cool shimmering purple tint to them that works well as otherworldly energy. The only printed part in the set is a new 1×2 curved slope in dark blue with a Deviant creature eye pattern. That piece also appears in 76145: Eternals’ Aerial Assault. 


The Deviant Bat

In the comics, the Deviants are a race of (mostly) humanoid beings, but apparently the movie is taking a more bestial approach. This “Deviant Bat” has a color scheme that matches the other LEGO Deviants: dark blue, dark red, sand green, gold, and satin transparent black. The build here is very simple, with the wings consisting of a bit of black flex-tube with gold elements clipped on. The construction is pretty flimsy, and the legs have a hard time balancing the creature upright. The wings don’t have any articulation to speak of, keeping the bat in a “T Pose” at all times. The sticker on the sand green curved slope does add a bit of visual interest.

From the back you can see that those satin transparent black elements really do look nice. Sadly, the rest of the creature just feels spindly and cheap.

The bat seems a bit outmatched with a 4-on-1 ratio. Maybe the Deviants will be super tough in the movie or something.


Arishem

The main draw for this set is the giant Celestial Arishem. Spoiler alert: I didn’t care for this build at all. I’m sure the LEGO designers did the best they could within the constraints of the concept art they were given, and within the price constraints they had.  But instead of a massive, Kirby-inspired space god we get a low budget action figure that doesn’t feel justified by the price at all.

The build starts out with the torso. The primary colors here are dark red, black and transparent dark pink, and they look pretty good in combination.  However, the Knight’s Kingdom II era joints at the elbows and hips, as well as the general shaping here, feels like a throwback to 2004.  The details are all stickers, which seems fair considering the low chance of re-use in other LEGO products.

Things really start to fall apart, though, with the build for the legs. Apparently Arishem won’t have feet, but rather jets of energy represented by satin transparent black dishes. In order to keep the figure balanced, there’s a huge black Technic “foot” that extends up into the figure’s calves. Even these don’t look good, as the blue Technic pins draw the eye and keep the bases from feeling like background elements that should be ignored.

Mounting the legs on the torso the 2004 vibes intensify. The hip joints are very exposed, calling attention to an area that should have been more organically curved. It just screams “click hinge” to me, which, again, isn’t very majestic.

The arms are a little better. Stickers help to make things feel more exciting, I like the transparent elements, and the shoulder armor feels large and sturdy. (Unfortunately they do nothing to hide the shoulder joints.) The downside is the inclusion of stud shooters on the back of the hands. Maybe Arishem will shoot hand-bolts in the movie, and these will be justified, but somehow I doubt it. I just have to remind myself that these sets are aimed at the “7+” crowd, too, and having a play feature is a good thing.

At this point the Celestial is mostly assembled. Looking for positives, you can certainly see that there are a lot of points of articulation here. The color combination continues to look sharp, and the use of angular tile creates some nice patterns that contrast with the curves on the torso.

The last bits of build are the head and light in the center of the chest. The coral hose nozzles fit into the open studs on 1×2 rounded plate, creating a nice “rows of beady eyes” effect. The light brick gets a transparent dark pink dish attached to the front, which gives things a vaguely Iron Man arc-reactor vibe. (Arishem’s dark red color matching Iron Man’s armor probably makes that comparison easier to make.)

Another genuine plus, the completed head looks really good.  It’s an unusual set of features to try and re-create in LEGO, and the designers did a superb job here.

The light up feature is a little less great. Despite the colored dish, the light brick’s yellow glow isn’t changed much at all. We’ll have to wait and see if the movie version also has more of an orange energy effect.

Getting back to the legs, it’s worth showcasing that from the knees down there are obvious gaps making them look hollow. Will movie details make this choice make sense? I hope so, because right now it just looks unfinished.

The completed figure towers over the Eternal minifigures, as you’d hope it would. I’m looking forward to seeing how these characters interact in the film. For now they’ll just have to stare at each other for a couple of months.

As LEGO’s set description indicates, Arishem is designed to hold an Eternal minifigure in its hand. Based on some shots in the trailers (and in the 76165 Rise of the Domo set) this will be a key visual from the film.

Seen in the round, though, “key visual” was a goalpost that wasn’t reached for the Celestial itself. From the front things look swanky, but from the sides it’s blah, and from the back it’s just comically under-detailed. The giant black Technic platform shoes do a good job of keeping Arishem upright, but just look as unfinished as the main model.

But, Arishem does have a lot of pose options. And that’s just funky fresh.

For comparison, here’s what LEGO can do with a $60 US price point when they’re working with their own properties. Ninjago Legacy 71738: Zane’s Titan Mech Battle also featured one big mech looking dude and four minifigures. Zane’s set didn’t come with a creature build, but you have to admit the giant armored figure is a lot more impressive.


The minifigures

As the set description teases, these Eternals sets are all about the minifigures. The full cast of ten characters are spread out across the four sets, each having at least one exclusive figure. For this set we get two exclusives: Ajak and Kingo. The other two, Serisi and Ikaris, appear to be more “major” characters and thus get more set appearances. All of these figures are very highly detailed, with dual sided torso and faces, and multi-colored leg printing. There’s also a nice range of skin tones and a good mix of male and female characters, something positive carried over from the film itself.


Sersi

Sersi’s power is the transformation of matter, which is nice work if you can get it. Her face print has been around for a long time, appearing in themes like Harry Potter, Shang-Chi, Friends, and Star Wars.

Ajak

Ajak can communicate with the Celestials, which is why we get the shot of her in Arishem’s hand, above. She gets a new dual sided head element, although I think the face design is reused from Captain Marvel/Princess Leia figures. She has gold toned arms, matching nicely with the gold printing on the torso and legs.

Ikaris

Ikaris has the generic power of “super strength.” Later movie trailers seem to have him more focused on shooting eye-beams, a development that I think wasn’t known when LEGO started their design process. Otherwise I think we would have seen an alternate expression with glowing eyes, like we get with most Superman figures. The head here is pretty common, having recently appeared as “Skinny Steve” in the  76201 Captain Carter and the Hydra Stomper “What If…?” set. As a matter of fact, Steve is a dead ringer for Ikaris. (Oh, LEGO, you can do better than this.)  The blue and gold outfit has some really intricate and quality detailing, fitting in well with the other Eternals designs.

Kingo

The final exclusive figure in this set is Kingo, who can fire energy blasts. He gets a new dual-sided head print and a swanky purple outfit. Since he’s smiling in both expressions, I hope his character in the film is equally as fun.


Conclusion and recommendation

Well, they can’t all be winners, can they? This set had a lot of promise, but it feels like LEGO wasn’t able to deliver on the grand vision that a Celestial visitation should invoke. The Eternals sets are a pretty transparent “you have to buy them all” cash grab with LEGO gleefully taunting that each of the sets has exclusive characters. In this case the central figure of Arishem is even relegated to a “The set also includes a posable Celestial figure” status in the set description – and the figure does seem like an afterthought. It feels like it’s missing pieces, and needed a bit more time in the designer’s hands for upgrades. For $60 US for 493 pieces, the price per part ratio is a costly 12 cents-per. Two exclusive figures, and two new-to-the-theme ones, don’t seem enough to justify that no matter how nice they look. The “Deviant Bat” tries to add some play value, but also just feels like it’s missing parts and build interest.  Unless the movie does a lot to justify the design choices seen here, I’d pass on this one. Or at least wait for a deep sale or clearance pricing. Then it at least would make for an interesting parts pack.


LEGO Marvel Eternals 76155: In Arishem’s Shadow will be available October 1st for
US $59.99 | CAN $79.99 | UK £59.99 from the LEGO Shop Online. It may also available via third-party sellers on Amazon and eBay.

The LEGO Group sent The Brothers Brick an early copy of this set for review. Providing TBB with products for review guarantees neither coverage nor positive reviews.


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2 comments on “LEGO Marvel Eternals 76155: In Arishem’s Shadow – Not your typical space god. [Review]

  1. Brian Johnson

    My initial reaction: the design of the Celestial looks far more like Eson than Arishem. No idea who confused the design: Marvel or LEGO. Seeing early box art I thought this might be a cool set (A Celestial figure in LEGO!) but now having seen the build up close it really is disappointing and unappealing, especially when compared to that magnificent Ninjago mech!

  2. Johnny Johnson

    This model looks like it was designed to be distributed like a Build-a-Figure from Marvel’s action figure line — where one limb (or torso, or head) comes in each of the other sets. Come to think of it, that would’ve been a much better idea than releasing it as its own (And pretty miserable) set…

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