X-MEN (TOY BIZ)
“Once a member of the uncanny X-Men, Morph sacrificed his life to save his teammates from the mutant-hunting Sentinels. Resurrected by the evil Mister Sinister and set against his one-time allies, Morph now uses his shape-shifting abilities in an attempt to put an end to his former friends!”
When launching X-Men: The Animated Series, the makers of the cartoon wanted to demonstrate the serious nature of the situations the team faced by presenting the audience with an ill-fated mission that would end with one member of the team killed in battle. Of course, they weren’t exactly looking to throw out any of the highly profitable a-list characters in the initial starting line-up, meaning they needed to build a character specifically for the purpose of sacrificing. Combing through the back catalog of X-Men characters, they came across Changeling, a rather minor foe-turned-teammate from the ’60s, who died in Xavier’s place at one point. The character was updated and renamed “Morph” and boom, sacrificial offering for the TV gods. What they didn’t count on, however, was the character being as popular in his debut appearance as he was, leading to a whole assortment of shenanigans to bring him back during the show’s second season, and enough prominence to get this boy an action figure!
THE FIGURE ITSELF
Morph was released in Series 6 of the Toy Biz X-Men line, and is notable for being pretty much the only figure in the line to be completely based on the show. Others were clearly using the show for inspiration of character and costume choice, but Morph was the one true instance of something only from the show making its way into the line. Morph would also see a subsequent re-release not too long after the release of the X-Men movie in 2000, as part of a KB Toys-exclusive line of reissues and repaints. The two releases are more or less identical, though the reissue his a slightly darker skintone. The figure stands 5 inches tall and he has 11 points of articulation. He’s honestly one of the most practical implementations of articulation this era of the line offered, with elbows, knees, and a waist joint. None of those were strictly standard at this point. His sculpt was an all-new affair, and is a pretty decent offering. He remains faithful to the cartoon’s design while still adapting the character to better fit the design of toys as a whole. For the purposes of Morph himself, there are two heads included: good Morph and evil Morph. Both are conceivably the same guy, and capture the cartoon’s versions of the looks nicely, making him an easy match for his show appearances. In terms of paint, Morph is pretty basic, but still pretty cleanly done. The application is sharp, and the colors are all nice and eye-catching. It’s worth noting that they changed his default hair from black to brown, presumably so that he would match Changeling in the comics (it’s also worth noting that the show would change his hair color to match in his later appearances). In addition to his own extra head, Morph also included two additional heads to demonstrate his changing ability. There’s a Wolverine and a Cyclops, which both work reasonably well in conjunction with the body to sell them as the “real” character, while still showing that there’s something a little off about them.
THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION
Morph was pretty much gone from shelves when I really started collecting, so my first figure of him was actually the ToyFare-exclusive AoA version. I then picked up the KB Toys re-release when he came out, and I was always very fond of him, as I quite like the character. That figure ended up going missing (along with a bunch of my other X-Men figures), and I eventually ended up replacing him with a proper Series 6 release. Of course, then I found my original, so I’ve got them both again. Cool!