MARVEL LEGENDS (TOY BIZ)
It’s been quite a while since the X-Men got any coverage in Marvel Legends. Back during the Toy Biz run, only 3 of the 16 series released were completely X-Man free, and they even got a boxed set and two different off-shoot lines. Even under Hasbro, the team was pretty well represented. Well, until recently, anyway, since the last time we saw X-Men Legends was two summers ago, and even then they were a pretty hard to find TRU exclusive series (I bought the only one of them I ever saw). Fortunately, Hasbro’s doing their best to make that up, with a new series of X-Men-themed Legends hitting just in the last month, and another on the way early next year. Of course, if you think that means I’m reviewing the new X-Men figures, you’ve got another thing coming! Well, another review coming, anyway. Since this latest set of Legends has a lot of re-released characters from Toy Biz’s run, I thought it might be fun to review the older figures in tandem with their newer counterparts. Today, I’ll be kicking things off with Jean Grey, aka Phoenix!
THE FIGURE ITSELF
Phoenix was released in the sixth series of Toy Biz’s Marvel Legends. She was Jean’s very first Legend, and she was only the second single-packed figure in the line, after Elektra (though both Rogue and Sue Storm had beaten her to release as part of larger boxed sets). She was also one of the two short-packed figures in the series. That was awesome. There was a variant of this figure painted up like Dark Phoenix, which was even harder to find. But, that’s another matter entirely. This figure stands about 6 ¼ inches tall and she has 44 points of articulation. While that might seem like of articulation, it’s not as useful as you’d hope. Yep, Phoenix is one of Toy Biz’s “twisting meat” figures, where the joints cancel each other out, resulting in pieces that spin for no reason. Oh joy. Sculpturally, Phoenix shared most of her parts with Elektra (and, by extension, Rogue and Sue). Jean obviously got a new head, but also a new pelvis, hips, and upper thighs, to give her more adequate hip articulation. The head is definitely the best part of the sculpt. The hair is a pretty spot-on recreation of Jean’s Phoenix hair (well, from when Byrne took over drawing her, anyway). The face is decent. She looks a bit like Laura Parker from Dark Shadows, who I can’t say is my ideal choice for Jean, but it’s certainly a more attractive sculpt than most of Toy Biz’s female Legends. The body is…umm, well they tried. I think. Her neck is incredibly square, her arms oddly flat, her bosom disproportionally large (and also covered by something that somehow manages to be both loose and tight fitting at the same time), and feet not unlike that of a duck. On top of all that, none of her joints are particularly well worked into the sculpt. Overall, she looks sort of a bit Frankenstiened, which isn’t really what you want in a Jean Grey figure. The paintwork on Phoenix is decent enough. The metallic green is particularly nice, but all of the colors are well chosen, and the application is by and large pretty cleanly done. The eyebrows weird me out, but I can’t really put my finger on exactly why. Phoenix was packed with a display base designed to look like the fiery bird typically seen surrounding Phoenix, as well as a reprinted copy of X-Men #101 (Phoenix’s first appearance).
THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION
When Phoenix was first announced, I was very excited. Marvel Legends was my favorite thing at the time, and I was dead set on putting together a sweet X-Men set-up. Remember how I said she was short-packed? It gets worse. See, there was only one Phoenix for every case of 12, making her instant scalper bait. Now, remember how Phoenix also had a variant figure? Well, the variant was randomly put into certain cases of figures *in place* of the normal Phoenix, thereby making the normal version even harder to get. Because of this, it was actually more than a year before I got a Phoenix, courtesy of my friend Cindy Woods (who, along with her husband Lance, has done a whole lot to help me track down hard to find items over the years) as a Christmas present. Looking back on her compared to what came later, she’s got some pretty serious issues. That said, she was at one point my absolute most wanted Legends figure, and I was beyond thrilled when I finally got her. I can’t help but be a little sentimental.