#2051: Red Skull

RED SKULL

ONE:12 COLLECTIVE (MEZCO)

As prominent a fixture as he may be in the Captain America mythos, Red Skull isn’t a character that’s been particularly blessed when it comes to the world of action figures.  He hasn’t been particularly scarce, or anything.  In fact, he’s gotten a pretty decent amount of coverage.  What he *hasn’t* gotten is particularly good coverage.  This has been especially true of his 6-inch scale figures.  Of his six Legends-branded releases, two were movie figures, one was just a re-skinned Iron Man, another placed him on one of the modern line’s weakest bodies, one wore something decidedly un-Red-Skull like, and the first may well be the worst Legends figure Toy Biz ever released.  Not the greatest selection pool.  There are, however, some other offerings on the market, one of which I’m taking a look at today!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Red Skull was a late 2017 release from Mezco’s One:12 Collective, obviously meant as an accent piece to the previous year’s Captain America.  There were two variants of the Skull produced; the one I’m looking at today is the standard release, which has him in an all-black leather-jacketed number.  There was also an SDCC-exclusive that had him in his green jumpsuit from the Kirby days.  The figure stands 6 inches tall and has over 30 points of articulation.

Red Skull includes two different headsculpts.  Both of them are modeled pretty heavily on Jack Kirby’s original Red Skull design, which never seems to really get its due in action figure form.  It’s refreshing to see a more faithful rendition appear here, especially given Mezco’s tendency to modernize a lot of the time.  The figure comes wearing the more expressive of the two heads, which has Skull arching his brow and bearing his teeth in a lop-sided grimace.  It’s a very classic expression for him, and is especially well-suited to this styling of the Skull.  There are a number a small little cracks running throughout, keeping things from being too devoid of detail.  The second head isn’t too different, but gives him a closed mouth, more leveled brow appearance.  He’s still not a happy looking guy, but this is a more pensive, perhaps later in his career version of the Skull.  The details of this head line up with the first, really selling it as just a change of expression.  The paintwork on both is fairly similar.  The red is molded, with a black wash to bring out the details.  They’ve also correctly captured his bright blue eyes, a definitive feature of the character.

Red Skull is built on the mid-sized male body, a suitable choice for the character.  His uniform is a mixed media offering, as is usually the case for this line (though it wasn’t for the last figure I reviewed from it), made up of an underlying jumpsuit, with a leather duster on top of it, plus a shoulder-strap and belt to hold it in place, and a pair of sculpted boots.  The jumpsuit is fairly loose fitting, and has some printed on elements to keep it from being just a straight black affair.  The boots hold it in place at the base of the legs, and are actually two pieces so as to allow for movement at the ankles.  The leather duster is fake leather (not a shock at this scale) but is reasonably detailed, and nicely tailored to the body.  It also is stiff enough to hold some decent dynamic poses, which I quite like.  The strap and belt is a plastic element, and snaps in place to keep the jacket secure.  It features a working holster for his gun, as well as a very impressive Hydra logo on the buckle.  It can also be adjusted for use without the jacket, if you so desire.

In addition to the previously mentioned extra head, Red Skull is packed with three pairs of hands (in fists (L&R), trigger finger (R), open grasp (R), closed grip (L), and loose grip (L)), a Luger, the Cosmic Cube, and a display stand with the Hydra logo printed on it.  The Cube is my favorite of the included extras, and is a little different than the ML renditions we’ve gotten, being a more opaque piece.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I didn’t get this guy when he came out mostly because I hadn’t yet gotten any of the other Marvel releases, and, more specifically, hadn’t been able to get the classic version of Cap.  I also didn’t work at a toy store where I had easy access to such things.  This guy got traded in to All Time Toys a few weeks back, and I’d been commenting to the store owner Jason that I didn’t have a good Red Skull in my collection, so he kindly set it aside for me, and gave me a solid deal for it too.  I like this guy a lot, and he’s definitely the best Skull at this scale.  Heck, he’s probably the best Skull at any scale.

As noted above, I got this guy from All Time Toys.  He was a trade-in, so they don’t have him in stock anymore, but they do have a variety of other One:12 collective figures still available. If you’re looking for those, or other cool toys both old and new, please check out their website and their eBay Store.

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#2050: Dr. Sivana

DR. SIVANA

DC COMICS MULTIVERSE (MATTEL)

When the Shazam movie was first announced, there was one big name star attached to it: Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson.  Originally rumored for the Big Red Cheese himself, it was later revealed that he’d actually be filling the role of antagonist as Shazam’s dark reflection, Black Adam.  So, it came as a little bit of a surprise when the movie’s villain was instead revealed to be a different Shazam foe entirely, in the form of Doctor Thaddeus Sivana.  Sivana’s actually a pretty natural choice for the first outing, since he debuted right alongside Captain Marvel in Whiz Comics #2.  Sivana’s origin was changed up for the film, borrowing a decent chunk of Black Adam’s dark reflection gimmick, but I felt Mark Strong’s performance sold Sivana as a character that wasn’t too far removed from his original incarnation (and the end of the film put him firmly on the path to classic Sivana), and I just found him to be an entertaining villain.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Dr. Sivana is one of two DC Comics Multiverse figures offered up for the movie, with the other being the big man himself.  However, unlike Shazam, Dr. Sivana is thus far not available in the basic line (and I’d be genuinely shocked to see him turn up at this point).  Sivana is also the lesser-packed of the two, making him ever so slightly hard to find.  The figure stands 6 1/2 inches tall and he has 29 points of articulation.  Sivana’s an all-new sculpt, as he well should be.  While it’s not quite on par with any of Hasbro’s MCU-based sculpts, it’s certainly an immense improvement over where Mattel’s movie-based figures were a year ago.  The best part of the figure is definitely the head, which is sporting a pretty solid likeness of Strong.  His jacket and arms also sport some pretty nice looking texturing, which is a marked change for these figures.  The under-lying body isn’t quite as strong, with more rudimentary shaping, larger patches of un-detailed plastic, and rather obvious breaks for the articulation.  On the plus side, at least the articulation breaking up the sculpt actually serves a purpose this time, as the joints aren’t nearly as limited on this figure as they had been on previous releases.  It also helps that the worst of the sculpting his hidden under the jacket piece, meaning you don’t have to fixate on the mistakes quite as much.  Sivana’s paintwork is mostly pretty subtle work, with a lot of dark, somber colors, like in the movie.  There’s not a ton of actual paint, but the important details are covered, and the work on the face in particular is quite nice and very lifelike.  Sivana is packed with a second head sporting sunglasses, two sets of hands in fists and open gesture poses, and his 8-ball that is fairly plot-relevant.  The heads are a bit tricky to swap back and forth, but it’s otherwise a pretty nice selection of extras, and I particularly like that 8-ball, because it’s the sort of thing you don’t tend to see.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Since there was no Sivana in the main line, this one was really my only option.  Fortunately, I liked the look of him a lot more than the Shazam that’s meant to go with him.  Despite being slightly on the rarer side, I didn’t have too much trouble finding Sivana, finding him at only my second stop after seeing the movie.  While there are some definite “yep, it’s Mattel” elements to this figure, I was still quite happy with him, and he actually fits in pretty well with the basic line.

#2049: Mary

MARY

SHAZAM! (MATTEL)

A year after the introduction of Freddy Freeman, aka Captain Marvel Jr, the Marvel family got third inductee, this time keeping the “family” aspect a bit more literal.  Mary Batson was the long-lost sister of Billy, and was also granted her own set of magical powers.  Like Freddy, Mary proved quite a popular addition to the mythos.  For a while, she even eclipsed Freddy, though things have somewhat shifted.  Though classically Billy’s younger, more innocent sister, Mary was reimagined as an older sibling (with no confirmed biological connection), and had an admittedly minor part in the film as a whole, with her usual role being filled by Darla.  Nevertheless, Mary still ends up powered, and maintains her classic appearance, with an accompanying figure!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Mary is another figure from the basic Shazam! line from Mattel.  She’s one of the lightest packed figures in the assortment, which means she’s so far proved to be the trickiest figure in the line to track down.  The figure stands 5 3/4 inches tall and sports 20 points of articulation.  The movement is the same basic layout as Shazam and Freddy, though the skirt and the hair do end up being a little more restricting to her.  Mary’s sculpt is decent, though I can’t say it’s quite as strong as the other two.  To be fair, my figure is saddled with one issue that I can assume isn’t a recurring one.  Her hair is affixed ever so slightly off-kilter, which means that her entire head is permanently cocked to one side, unless you turn her head off to the side.  It’s kind of a frustrating thing, and not as easily fixed as you might hope.  Were the hair properly attached, I think the head might actually look pretty decent, and the likeness of Michele Borth isn’t terrible, especially by Mattel standards.  Below the neck, Mary shares a number of parts with Darla, which is mostly sensible, but the re-use of the legs, which have sculpted texturing, is a little odd.  It’s not overly noticeable, though, especially with the skirt over top of it.  Beyond that, it’s a pretty respectably sculpted figure.  Mary’s paintwork is pretty solid, and matches the other two.  She’s bright, she’s colorful, and she pairs well with Billy’s colorscheme.  Like the other two in the set, Mary is packed with one of the Seven Deadly Sins, this time Sloth.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

After seeing the movie, I desperately wanted the original three Marvels.  While Billy and Freddy were easily acquired, Mary was not quite so simple.  I had actually seen her at retail prior to seeing the film, but after seeing it, she was nowhere to be found, and commanding the highest after market value.  Mary’s my favorite member of the Shazamily, so I was keeping an eye out for her.  She randomly came back in-stock at regular retail price on Amazon on Monday, so I got right on ordering her, had her delivered yesterday morning and, boom, had her reviewed in less than a few hours, which I think may be a record for the site.  She’s the weakest of the three figures, but I do still really like her, and continue to be pleasantly surprised with these.

#2048: Freddy

FREDDY

SHAZAM! (MATTEL)

The first of Marvel family to be added after Billy Batson was granted his powers, Freddy Freeman became Billy’s side-kick Captain Marvel Jr, the member of the Marvel family with more name-changes than even the Big Red Cheese himself.  He proved a popular character in his own right, and was even Elvis Presley’s favorite comic book character (and would in fact serve as an inspiration for his later career appearance).  When Freddy was confirmed as a main character for the movie, it wasn’t that much of a wild guess that he’d be granted his alter-ego, whatever his name might end up being.  Freddy’s alter ego (and all of the Shazamily’s, for that matter) ended up being confirmed not by the movie itself, but rather by his toy, which I’m looking at today!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Freddy is another figure from the basic Shazam! line from Mattel, and is the first of the extended family figures.  He’s also the heaviest packed after Shazam himself, which is probably a pretty sensible choice, given his prominence in both the comics and the movie.  The figure stands 6 inches tall and has 20 points of articulation.  From the neck down, Freddy’s identical to yesterday’s Shazam figure.  They had essentially the same costume, and a fairly similar build.  Plus, it was a solid sculpt the first time around, and it’s still a solid sculpt this time.  He tops the re-used body off with a brand-new head sculpt, which sports a pretty decent likeness of older-Freddy’s actor Adam Brody.  It’s at the very least on par with the Zachary Levi likeness on Billy, and makes him distinctly different from that figure.  Assisting in him looking different?  The color scheme.  Freddy’s traditional blues are here in true form, and it’s definitely a nice look.  Like Shazam, there’s the printed eyes, which make for a fairly lifelike appearance.  Freddy’s also packed with one of the Sins, this time Pride.  Again, it’s a soft rubber stretchy sort of thing, so it’s largely gimmick.  But hey, I’m not going to complain about extra stuff!

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

So, I saw the pictures of these figures before seeing the movie, meaning I knew about the big twist going in.  It also meant that I knew these figures existed going in, and therefore wanted a Freddy figure as soon as I got out of the theatre.  Fortunately, he’s one of the easier figures in the set to track down.  Like Shazam, Freddy’s figure is a pleasant surprise coming from Mattel.  He’s a solid offering, and definitely worth the price, especially if you liked his appearance in the movie.

#2047: Shazam

SHAZAM

SHAZAM! (MATTEL)

Man of Steel ushered in a new era of DC movies, an attempt at catching onto the train that Marvel was riding with the MCU.  The self-proclaimed DCEU tried to make a big splash, but just never caught up.  Five films into their new shared universe, DC decided to re-orient their movies, moving away from their frantic universe-building epics, and away from their mainstream characters.  Shazam! was their second film in this new-new era, and set its focus less on making its characters “super-hardcore-metal” and more on actually making them semi-likable and giving them a decent story to reside in.  It was the first DC film in a good while that I actually enjoyed, even if it had the misfortune of being wedged between Captain Marvel and Endgame, which seemed to, almost poetically, steal its thunder.  The dead licensees walking over at Mattel are still on tap for the toys, which I’m finally getting around to reviewing a few of this week.  Let’s kick things off with the title character!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Shazam is part of Mattel’s basic tie-in line for the movie, which offers up the whole Shazamily.  It follows Mattel’s trend since Batman V Superman of having the basic line and the “collector’s line” be virtually the same scale.  The figures stands 6 inches tall and he has 20 points of articulation.  I was quite pleasantly surprised by the articulation on this guy, especially on the arms, which sport universal joints on the shoulders, elbows, and wrists.  Honestly, if this figure had more than just swivels on the hips, he’d be on par with any of Mattel’s higher end offerings.  Even as is, he’s an incredible improvement on many of their Multiverse figures simply because he can actually *use* most of his articulation.  No pointless joints here!  Being in the basic line, you might not expect Shazam’s sculpt to be anything impressive, but it’s actually pretty decent.  The head seems to be sporting the best of the Zachary Levi likenesses to be offered up for this movie.  It’s not a spot-on look, but it’s quite close, and fairly identifiable.  The body takes his bulked up physique from the movie and bulks it up just a little bit more, but not quite to the cartoonish proportions of some of the prior basic line figures, especially when compared to how he looks on-screen.  What really impresses me about it is the level of texture work on the suit, which is both movie accurate, and not quite as overpowering as the texturing on the Multiverse release.  Shazam’s paintwork is mostly pretty basic.  The application is fairly clean, with minimal slop.  The eyes and brows actually appear to be printed on, which looks quite lifelike.  However, you have to be careful with it, because a couple of the figures I saw in person had the eyes applied really off the mark.  Each figure in this assortment is packed with a little rubber recreation of one of the Seven Deadly Sins.  Shazam is packed with a little Wrath, molded in red.  It’s not a terribly exciting piece, but it’s nifty enough.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

After seeing the movie opening day, I immediately ran out to pick up some of the figures, because that’s what I do.  I compared both of the 6-inch Shazams, and I found myself overall liking the look of this one more.  Once I got him out of the box, I felt even happier with my purchase.  At half the price of the Multiverse figure, this figure offers the better likeness, the more accurate build, and plenty of articulation.  It’s just a really solid figure, and if you know my track record with Mattel, you know that means a lot coming from me.

#2047: Caliban

CALIBAN

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

In the early ’80s, it occurred to Chris Claremont that the X-Men were generally pretty attractive and normal-looking for a bunch of so-called “mutants,” so he introduced the Morlocks (named after the creatures from HG Wells’ The Time Machine), a band of sewer-dwelling mutants whose mutations weren’t as presentable as the more heroic X-Men.  One of the more prominent Morlocks, Caliban, actually wasn’t originally intended to be one of them and even predated their 1983 appearance by two years.  He’s subsequently served as an ongoing recurring character in the background of various X-Men stories, and has in his tenure been part of the X-Men, X-Factor, X-Force, and has even been one of Apocalypse’s Horsemen on two separate occasions.  Despite being around for a good long while, he’s not been graced with an abundance of figures, with a single figure during Toy Biz’s 5-inch run.  That’s finally changed, though!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Caliban is the Build-A-Figure for the latest X-themed series of Marvel Legends.  In keeping with the ’90s theme of the line-up, he’s based on his design during his time as the Horseman Death for Apocalypse.  Yeah, now we’ve got two of the Four Horsemen, and their both the same role…bleh.  Of all of Caliban’s designs, this one’s really the easiest to sell as a toy, which is probably why both of his toys, released two decades apart, are sporting this same design.  The figure stands 8 inches tall and he has 32 points of articulation.  Caliban makes use of a number of parts from last year’s Apocalypse, specifically the arms and upper legs.  The rest is new, with the head and hands in particular being the most character specific.  They’re nicely crafted parts, and provide some nice expressiveness.  The screaming expression on the face in particular seems very well-suited to this incarnation of the character.  The other parts I can definitely see having been designed with future re-use for other bulked up characters.  The new torso actually makes him a little bigger than Apocalypse, for what it’s worth.  The most impressive bits of Caliban’s paintwork are definitely the head and hands, which do a nice job of keeping Caliban’s exposed skin from being just a stark white.  The head even uses some slight printing around the eyes for a more subtle transition between colors.  The paint on his uniform is a bit more straightforward.  There’s a bit more slop here than on the single offerings, but I definitely dig the pearlescent white.  Caliban includes no accessories, but then again, he’s kind of an accessory himself.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I’ve never had much of an affinity for Caliban.  He sort of falls right into the gap of my X-Men fandom, since I’m really big on the ’70s stuff, then dip out, and then come back into things for the Animated Series era.  Caliban’s not really part of either of those things, nor is he a design that I really feel like I *need* to have.  Ultimately, this figure is a pretty serviceable one, and while I don’t think he’s going to be BaF of the year, he’s still a decent offering.  Maybe he’ll open the doors to some more Morlocks.

Despite a less than thrilling Build-A-Figure, I was very happy with this assortment as a whole.  Gambit steals the show for me, but Beast, Blink, and Weapon X are all respectably cool offerings, Forge and Skullbuster are decent figures of characters I didn’t *need* to have, and Jubilee is at least an improvement on the really hard to find BaF.  This continues the trend of X-waves just being really solid complete sets.   If you’re interested in getting a set of your own, five of the seven single figures are still in-stock at All Time Toys’ webstore.  And, as always, if you’re looking for other toys both old and new, please check out All Time’s website and their eBay storefront.

#2046: Skullbuster

SKULLBUSTER

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

An enemy of the X-Men, the cyborg Skullbuster is a member of the villainous gang called the Reavers.”

Introduced in 1988, the Reavers are a concept that’s sort of been in the background of the X-Men mythos since their introduction.  They’re not super high concept or anything, they’re just cyborg mercs who tend to make for good fodder for Wolverine to cut up from time to time.  I became familiar with them through their spot on X-Men: The Animated Series, but they also figured into the plot of 2017’s Logan.  None of the members of the group have ever really made it big (apart from their original leader Lady Deathstrike), so they’re haven’t really been toys galore for them.  But, hey, Skullbuster got a figure, so maybe things are looking up!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Skullbuster is figure 6 in the Caliban Series of Marvel Legends, and is our only single-carded antagonist this time around.  Skullbuster’s spot as the Reaver in this assortment was undoubtedly chosen because a) he’s somewhat distinctive and b) he doesn’t require much new tooling.  Bonecrusher’s definitely more distinct, but he’s got that freaking tank half to contend with.  Also, as an added bonus, Skullbuster’s the Reaver taken out by Forge during their siege on Muir Island, so he ties in with the rest of the set pretty well.  The figure stands 6 1/2 inches tall and he has 32 points of articulation.  Skullbuster is a reskin of last year’s Deathlok, which I can’t say is super surprising.  It was an all-new sculpt that, up til now, had seen no re-use.  A new head, vest, and ammo belt completes the transformation from ‘lok to ‘buster.  The end result isn’t a perfect mach for any established Skullbuster designs, it’s a good approximation, and he’s really one of those character where approximation’s really good enough.  The important thing here is that he looks distinct from the Deathlok figure, which he does.  The paintwork on Skullbuster is on the drab side, which I suppose is appropriate for the character.  I do somewhat wish they’d opted for the red skull look, instead of the white, but they made it work.  Otherwise, the application’s all pretty clean, and the palette is well-chosen.  Skullbuster includes the smaller gun that came with Deathlok, as well as an extra headsculpt for Reaver Reese, one of the three ex-Hellfire Guard members who joined the group when Donald Pierce took over.  It’s a cool head, and I feel certain we’ll be seeing it re-painted for Cole and Macon down the line. Skullbuster also includes the right arm of the BaF Caliban.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I’ve got no major attachment to the Reavers, apart from their spot on X-Men: TAS, so I wasn’t beating down the door to get them.  That said, Skullbuster’s got a cool look and is built on a base I liked, so I had no complaints about his inclusion in this line-up, especially not when they showed off the extra Reese head as well.  I don’t have a ton to say about this guy, but he’s kind of fun.

I picked up Skullbuster from All Time Toys, and he’s still currently in-stock at their store, here. And, if you’re looking for other toys both old and new, please check out their website and their eBay storefront.

#2045: Jubilee

JUBILEE

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

The mutant Jubilee generates pyrotechnic energy blasts that she calls fireworks, capable of blinding enemies or causing serious damage.”

When Kitty Pryde was added to the X-Men line-up, one of the more unlikely pairings on the team was between her and the gruff loner Wolverine.  It was a particularly humanizing dynamic for Logan, and one that went over quite well with the fanbase.  When it came time to move Kitty on in her story and haver her forge out on her own, the writers were faced with the the dilemma of losing that humanizing element for Wolverine, and decided that the best thing to do was give him a new teenage girl to pal around with.  It’s been a wash-rinse-repeat cycle of that pretty much ever since, but the first character in said cycle was today’s focus, Jubilation Lee, aka Jubilee.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Jubilee is figure 5 in the Caliban Series of Marvel Legends.  She’s pretty much in a permanent face-off with Gambit for the best deserving of “most appropriate for a ’90s-centric line-up).   This is Jubilee’s second Legends release, and in the space of five years no-less; the last one was the Build-A-Figure for the first post-Infinite Series X-Men assortment, which was a TRU-exclusive and also really hard to find.  On top of that, she was sort of a compromised mix of classic and modern, which didn’t really suit itself to a proper ’90s Jubilee.  This one, on the other hand, is unabashed about which incarnation of the character it’s meant to be.  The figure stands 5 3/4 inches tall and she has 32 points of articulation.  Jubilee is built on a body that’s definitely inspired by the Spider-Girl base, but I don’t know that they have any actual parts in common, as Jubilee’s sculpt is decidedly character-specific.  I like it for the most part, but after several slam-dunk sculpts this time around, I will admit to being slightly underwhelmed with Jubilee’s finished product.  The body’s fine, and features solid work on the clothing elements.  The head, or should I say heads, because there’s two of them, is a respectable effort, but both seem a little…bland?  Expressionless?  I like the bubble gum blowing head, but I really wish one of these two sculpts had a grin or something.  The dour expression doesn’t feel right to me.  Also, call me crazy, but the clear glasses seem wrong to me; I know that’s how they’d look in real life, but I always think of them as being more opaque.  And the fact that they’re glued in place on the standard head seems kind of criminal, since more often than not she had the glasses up on her forehead.  The biggest issue, I feel, isn’t with the head or the body, but rather how they connect.  Neither head sits all the way down on the peg, and while it doesn’t look terrible from the front, it looks downright awful from the back. On the plus side, Jubilee’s paint work is appropriately bright, colorful, eye-catching, and obnoxious.  I wouldn’t want that any other way.  In addition to the extra head, Jubilee is packed with the largest piece of Caliban, his torso.  That’s it.  No effects pieces or anything, which feels like a missed opportunity.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I really wanted to build the last Jubilee, but was never given the chance to.  When a single release was announced, I was definitely on board.  In hand?  I think Jubilee might be my biggest disappointment in the set.  It’s not entirely Hasbro’s fault.  For all her flaws, this isn’t a terrible figure, but it’s a compromised one.  And, as the first proper ’90s Jubilee figure ever, it had a lot riding on it for me.  And in that regard, it ultimately came up just a little bit short.

 

#2044: Blink

BLINK

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

Clarice Ferguson uses her mutant ability of teleportation to disappear and reappear in the blink of an eye.”

First appearing as the newly formed Generation X’s most expendable member, Blink was one of two prominent dead characters to be given new life by the 1995 X-family crossover Age of Apocalypse (the other being oldschool villain Changeling, who was re-branded Morph).  This alternate Blink became popular enough to be used as a launchpoint for a whole series of alternate reality characters in the pages of Exiles, where she served as the central character for a good chunk of the book’s original run, before serving as the sole carry-over character for both re-launches of the series.  Despite not being a “name” X-man, she’s definitely got a loyal following, and she’s also gotten some toys.  The latest of those is a Marvel Legends release, which I’m looking at today!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Blink is figure 4 in the Caliban Series of Marvel Legends.  In an otherwise early ’90s assortment, she’s something of an outlier, but she’s still a ’90s character, even if it’s late ’90s.  Since her redesign for Age of Apocalypse, all of Blink’s designs have tended to draw influence from that re-design.  This one’s not strictly from that story, but is definitely wearing her garb from that story and her follow-up in Exiles.  The figure stands 6 1/4 inches tall and she has 27 points of articulation.  Blink is built on the body introduced by Psylocke last year.  It’s not a bad base body, especially with the increased range of motion on the elbows, and it even feels like a better match for Blink’s usual physique than it did Psylocke’s.  While Blink’s previous two figures were decidedly AoA-based in their depiction of her, this figure aims for a little further in her career, and seems to be most directly inspired by Paul Pelletier’s illustration of her from the cover of Exiles #70.  It’s the hair in particular that is the tell.  Blink had a fairly consistent hairstyle for the first several years of her existence, but following her return to the Exiles, artists started to experiment a little bit more.  It’s not quite the look I think of when I think of Blink, but it’s certainly not a bad look.  The head gives us a rather somber-looking Blink, which isn’t inappropriate for the character, since she tends to be dealing with horrible loss like all of the time.  There’s a slightly dynamic flow to her hair, which works out pretty well, and makes it look like she’s just stepping out of a portal or something.  To finish off her look, Blink has four new add-on pieces for her collar, skirt, and boot cuffs.  They all stay pretty decently in place, and the skirt is sculpted with a similar dynamic flair to that of the hair, which works out pretty darn well.  Blink’s paintwork is pretty straightforward, but is no less well-rendered than any of the others in this assortment.  The linework is all pretty clean, and her face in particular is sharply defined.  Blink is packed with two of her energy javelins, plus a base that simulates one of her portal effects.  It’s a shame they didn’t come up with a super convincing way to simulate her passing through her portal, but it’s a fun piece nevertheless.  Blink is also packed with the left leg of the BaF Caliban.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I actually followed Exiles for a little while back when it was new (the first six issues are one of my favorites to sit down and re-read), so I’ve long had an attachment to Blink as a character.  The announcement that she would be getting a Legends release was definitely cool news, and while I may not have personally picked this incarnation for a figure, I can’t deny that I’m quite happy with the final product.  Now, how about a Morph?

Blink came from my friends over at All Time Toys, and she’s still currently in-stock at their store, here. And, if you’re looking for other toys both old and new, please check out their website and their eBay storefront.

#2043: Forge

FORGE

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

Living up to his name, Forge is an expert inventor who supplies the X-Men and other groups with advanced technology.”

Forge follows a tradition in the X-Men comics of long-running supporting that eventually find themselves added to the main team line-up.  Forge was introduced in 1984 as a tech-savvy supporting player, and is, amusingly, the second tech-savvy supporting X-player who would eventually join the team, following Cypher, who beat Forge to publication by a mere five months.  Both characters were created by Chris Claremont, who definitely has an assortment of tropes he likes to fall back on, because they also both first started out working with their respective team’s antagonists.  All of this is bringing to the forefront of my mind that I still don’t have a proper Cypher action figure…where was I?  Right, Forge.  The other guy.  The one with actual toys.  Lucky him.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Forge is figure 3 in the Caliban Series of Marvel Legends and definitely fits in with the previously established ’90s theme of the assortment, seeing as that was Forge’s real heyday.  However, while he may be wearing a very Jim Lee-inspired costume, it’s worth noting that this figure is more of a later ’90s Forge, since he lacks a number of the Lee-specific elements.  This really ends up making him more of a multi-purpose figure, though, and at a glance you’d really be hard-pressed to notice the differences.  The figure stands 6 1/4 inches tall and has 32 points of articulation.  He’s built on the Bucky Cap body, which seems like a decent enough choice for the way the character tends to be depicted.  Forge uses the already tooled flared gloves for the body, as well as Ultimate Cap’s shoulder strap, Cyclop’s X-Belt, and Taskmaster’s thigh holster, and tops everything off with a brand new head sculpt, right thigh, and fringe-add-ons for his boots.  The head’s gotten some flak for being rather bland and lacking in expression.  I can definitely see that.  I don’t hate getting a more reserved looking Forge, but ultimately there is something pointedly generic about this particular sculpt, especially when compared some of the other sculpts in this very series.  Still, it is, at least from a technical standpoint, quite nicely rendered.  Forge’s paintwork is bright and eye-catching, which is definitely a good thing for him.  The application is all quite cleanly handled as well.  The yellow in particular matches Cyclops, though it’s worth noting that the blues are totally different.  Forge is packed with two guns: a pistol and a rifle.  Both are of a decidedly sci-fi nature, and suit Forge’s usual style well.  They also appear to be new offerings, though I could be wrong.  Forge also includes the left arm of BaF Caliban.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

As I noted the last time I reviewed a Forge figure, the character’s never really been a favorite of mine, so I can’t say I had a ton of excitement for this figure’s release.  That being said, he goes well with the growing ’90s line-up Hasbro’s been working on so dutifully to build.  He’s a perfectly respectable figure from a technical standpoint.  To someone who cares at all about Forge, I bet he’s pretty cool.  For me, he’s just another figure in the crowd.

I picked up Forge from All Time Toys, and he’s currently in-stock at their store, here. And, if you’re looking for other toys both old and new, please check out their website and their eBay storefront.