HAVOK & POLARIS
MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)
Originally launched in 1986 as a way to re-unite the original founding five members of the X-Men, X-Factor found itself in a slightly tricky spot when it was decided to fold the founding five back into the main X-team in 1991. With the X-books at the height of their popularity, Marvel wasn’t looking to just drop one of them entirely, meaning they would need a new roster of characters, but a selection of characters that were not going to be at all claimed by the two main X-books. This new X-Factor was a government sanctioned team of mutants made up largely of second-string X-Men characters who had been rattling around in the background of the main book for most of the ’80s. Taking Cyclops and Jean Grey’s role as the romantically-involved core of the team were Cyclops’ brother Havok and his on-again-off-again love interest Polaris, both of whom were recovering from a few bouts of “brainwashed and evil.” The series would prove quite successful in elevating all of the characters included within, Havok and Polaris among them. And, with most of the founding ’90s X-Men covered, now Marvel Legends is moving onto X-Factor. Nice!
THE FIGURES THEMSELVES
Havok and Polaris are one of two Fan Channel-exclusive two-packs of Marvel Legends, loosely built into Hasbro’s celebration of 80 years of Marvel. This particular set’s packaging is noted as a throwback to the trading cards of the ’90s, which is admittedly a pretty fun, pretty vibrant idea. I still don’t care what these figures arrive in as long as the toys themselves are good, but I can appreciate Hasbro honoring some of Marvel’s past exploits, and these are certainly a good pair of figures to tie-in with the trading card craze of the ’90s. Okay, enough about the cardboard that carries these things, onto the figures!
I hope you guys are appreciating the calm nature I have maintained up until this point in the review. Truly I am a master of my own emotions because HOLY CRAP THEY MADE IT THEY ACTUALLY MADE IT THEY MADE A MARVEL LEGENDS HAVOK IN HIS 90S COSTUME AND NOW I HAVE IT AND ITS MINE AND NO ONE CAN TAKE THAT FROM ME…well, I made it pretty far, I guess. So, as the above shouting on my part may have cued you in, this would be Havok, wearing his attire from the ’90s X-Factor series, or at least a version of it. The initial X-Factor costumes were designed to play well with the main team costumes from Lee’s X-Men book, but were not quite an exact match, and they also tended to change a little from issue to issue. Havok’s design seen here is from around the time of the X-Tinction Agenda cross-over, which is when they added the yellow leg-straps to his design. Given the whole cross-marketing synergy thing of the ’90s, it’s this version of the design that got used for the old Toy Biz figure, appeared on the cartoon, and generally gets picked up if their doing a ’90s Havok anywhere else, so it’s really the one everyone knows. This is Havok’s third time as a Legend, though he’s never gotten one in this costume. In fact, this is only the third time we’ve gotten a toy of this costume (there will also be a fourth later this year). The figure stands 6 1/4 inches tall and he has 32 points of articulation. Like the last Havok and also the Lee-style Cyclops, this figure is built on the Bucky Cap body, which is a sensible enough choice for Alex. He gets a boatload of new pieces, though, with a new head and arms, plus add-ons for the jacket and belt. The new pieces are all pretty fantastic, with the jacket and arms in particular really standing out to me, because they just capture that feel of the old 5-inch figure, right down to the overly defined forearms. I also really like how the jacket clips shut at the front, but can be opened to allow for better use of his mid-torso joint. I have exactly two complaints about the sculpt, both minor, and only one of them actually new. The forearms, as nice as they are, do seem to connect a little oddly to the fists. It feels like there should be a cuff piece there to join them, and that would actually be more accurate to the source material. Of course, if you’re like me and you have that Madripor Wolverine with his ill-fitting glove cuffs, I would point out that they fit pretty much perfectly on this figure, and greatly improve his already awesome appearance. My other complaint is kind of a hold over from a prior figure. Havok re-uses the leg straps from Cyclops, which is sensible from a consistency standpoint, but also means that he’s got the same troubles with them staying in place that figure did. That said, I’m used to them now, and there are possible fixes, such as gluing them in place, which could help. Havok’s paintwork is actually quite impressive. For the most part, it’s fairly basic work all throughout, but there’s some really strong work on the jacket, which does a nice fade from blue to black. It’s subtle and it really works. Havok is packed with a pair of effects pieces, which are the same as the ones from his last figure, but in yellow this time.
Okay, so I promise to keep myself a little more reserved on this part. It’s just Polaris, and much as I love Polaris, she’s not quite a ’90s Havok. Polaris has had a slightly less fortunate time with action figures over the years, with her first two action figures both being repaints of Rogue figures. She did get a dedicated Legends release in the Warlock Series, but that one was met with a lot of in-fighting about the costume choice, and ended up hanging around a lot of places, which put a serious question mark on this costume’s release. Also, unlike Havok, Polaris’ X-Factor design didn’t quite follow the same structured look, so there are more options to choose from. Hasbro opted to go with her first one for this release, which it’s worth noting is also the one that was on the cartoon, making it a pretty sensible choice. The figure stands a little over 6 inches tall and she has 27 points of articulation. She uses the same base body as the last Polaris (yay for internal consistency), but gets a new head, torso, and upper arms, as well as add-ons for her wrist and boot cuffs. The new parts mesh well with the old, and the torso and arms in particular exhibit a good range of motion, improving upon the standard pieces for his body. The hair manages to capture the dynamic flow of the illustrations, while not being too restrictive to the movement or weighing her head down too much either. Polaris’ paint work is nice and vibrant, and in particular I love that bright green they’ve chosen for the hair. The dullness of the last one was one of my few complaints, and this one ends up looking a lot nice. Polaris is packed with two sets of hands in open and closed poses, as well as the same effects pieces included with Havok, but this time in green. I do wish they had come up with some more effects options, especially for two differently powered characters in the same pack, but this has admittedly been an issue since their solo-releases.
THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION
Oh boy, was this set a big deal for me. Frequent readers of the site are no doubt aware that I’m a *pretty* big Havok fan, to the point where I literally own every figure of him (plus six copies of his ’90s figure just on its own). I’ve been waiting for this particular Havok since before there were any Legends Havok figures at all, and in fact even made my own back in 2005. I didn’t realize how long I’d be waiting for an official release. Polaris is somewhat along for the ride, but I was certainly happy to get her too. These two are great releases, and Havok is probably my favorite Legends figure to date. I’ve been saying that a lot recently, but he’s really good.
These two came from my friends at All Time Toys, who knew enough enough about my Havok craze to give me the heads up on its release. Yay for me! If you’re looking for cool toys both old and new, please check out their website and their eBay Store.