CYCLOPS & M. BISON
X-MEN VS STREET FIGHTER (TOYBIZ)
The 90s were an interesting time to say the least. The X-Men were at the height of their popularity, which, of course, meant plenty of tie-in stuff. Capcom, makers of hit games series such as Mega Man and Street Fighter, licensed the team for a fighting game, called Children of the Atom. This ended up being a success, leading to Capcom pitting the X-Men against the cast of Street Fighter. ToyBiz already held the license for Marvel, so they picked up the Capcom license as well, allowing them to do their own tie-in two packs. One of these sets was X-Men leader Cyclops versus Street Fighter’s big bad M. Bison, which I’ll be looking at today.
THE FIGURES THEMSELVES
Cyclops and Bison were a two pack in ToyBiz’s X-Men vs Street Fighter line, released in the late 90s. I believe these two were part of the first assortment of packs.
Cyclops is presented here in his fan-favorite 90s costume, designed by Jim Lee. It’s one of those looks that doesn’t make a whole lot of practical sense and could be considered a bit silly. That said, nostalgia is a powerful thing, so I can’t help but love it. The figure stands just over 5 inches tall and sports 8 points of articulation. That’s a little lower than the typical Marvel figure of the time, due to his lack of both elbow and knee joints. I can’t say why ToyBiz decided to leave those out, but he does at least have some extra shoulder articulation, which certainly eases the pain. Structurally, Cyclops makes use of the body of the Monster Armor Cyclops from the main X-Men line, along with a new head. The body is from towards the end of the X-Men line, when ToyBiz was trying to emulate the higher-detailed, more pre-posed figures being offered by McFarlane at the time. However, Cyclops had one of the tamer sculpts, so he doesn’t end up being too bad. The one real drawback of the original figure, the head, has been replaced with a much nicer piece. This new head does a great job of capturing the animated style Cyclops from the cartoon; it’s simplistic, but all the necessary details are there. The paintwork isn’t the best ever, but it’s not terrible. There’s a bit of slop, especially around the yellow spots. Also, the hair and headband don’t quite meet up right, giving poor Cyke a bit of a bald spot. On the plus side, the blue is a darker shade than the Monster Armor figure, which is more true to the character design, and the plastic/paint is much more matte, which has an overall better look. Cyclops came packed with an optic blast piece (Which I don’t have) and a pleather jacket like the one he was known to wear from time to time in the 90s cartoon (mostly when Jean was crazy or presumed dead. It’s his brooding jacket.)
Ah, good ol’ M. What’s it stand for? Well, apparently it’s a shortening of Mister, which seems kinda dumb. In reality, Bison, Vega, and Balrog all swapped names when the game was imported to the US, mostly because Capcom wanted avoid the potential legal issues of having a boxer character whose name was Mike Bison. So the villain became M. Bison, with little explanation of what the M was exactly. Oh well. The figure is about 5 inches tall and has 10 points of articulation. He also has a punching action feature, which sort of gives him two more points of articulation. Bison is built on the Spider-Man line’s Tombstone body, with some additional armored pieces added on, as well as a new head. The body isn’t a perfect match for Bison, but it’s pretty good. The proportions are quite exaggerated, but it was the 90s, so that’s sort of to be expected. There are a few oddities, such as the hand clearly molded to hold something that he doesn’t include. The head is a little on the small side and a little light in the details. The hat is really nice, though. Paint is pretty rough here. Some areas make out okay; the red sections have a nice wash to bring out the details of the sculpt, and the armored parts are clean. The biggest issues are on the head. The hair apps are almost totally missing from one side, and the eyes are at best an approximation of what they should be. M. Bison originally included a cloth cape, but mine no longer has it.
THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION
I first got this set many years ago, purchased from KB Toys while on a trip with my grandmother. I got it purely for the Cyclops, who was the most accurate version of the character available. I had no idea who this M. Bison guy was. I eventually found out, and became quite a fan of Street Fighter II, but Cyclops was still why I got these. Somewhere in the last 15 years, Cyclops went missing (stupid house gremlins!) and Bison crumbled into pieces. I thought about replacing them, but this line picked up quite an aftermarket price, with this set being one of the highest. A few weeks ago, I came across this pair for a reasonable price and snagged them as fast as I could. Years later, Cyclops is still very much the star, but I’m happy to have them both again.