X-MEN (TOY BIZ)
“Once a mutant-hating businessman, Cameron Hodge had his entire body reconstructed into a biomechanical killing machine known as a Phalanx so that he could more readily pursue his murderous goal: the elimination of all mutants! Driven by hate and rage, Hodge is not the most stable of opponents – but his cybernetic abilities make him nonetheless a lethal one!”
Cameron Hodge was a good example of X-Men‘s ability to allow a recurring background character to really grow over the years, beginning as a seeming ally to the main heroes in the pages of X-Factor, before being revealed to be just as much of a bigot as some of the worst “normal” humans the mutants met. After his original arc ended with his demise, he was eventually revived by the Phalanx, and wound up playing a role in a few more cross-overs, as well allowing him to play the role of main antagonist in one of the cartoons best episodes (I may be projecting some personal feelings onto that one). And, since he did a bunch of stuff in the X-Men comics in the ’90s, of course he got a toy!
THE FIGURE ITSELF
Cameron Hodge was released in 1995, as part of the “Mutant Genesis” Series, the tenth series of Toy Biz’s X-Men line. Believe it or not, Hodge was probably one of the best known characters in that particular assortment, which had some serious second and third stringers. The figure stands 5 inches tall and he has 8 points of articulation. Hodge is based on his appearance post-Phalanx-assimilation, which was firstly a relevant choice for when this figure hit shelves, and secondly a far more interesting choice than any of his other designs when it came to making toys. Also, he looks like he’s got a thing of french fries on his head, and who doesn’t love that? His sculpt was totally unique to him, which I guess makes sense, because, really, who’s he going to share with? He definitely endorses the general bulking up of the line, which was getting near to critical mass at this paint. Hodge was usually depicted as a little skinnier, but given the shape-shifting properties of the Phalanx, it’s not a crazy concept. I particularly like the head on this figure, which does a solid job capturing Hodge’s particularly manic personality. Cameron’s paint work is probably his weakest point, largely due to an issue of translation of what’s on the page into reality. The technoarganic nature of the Phalanx just doesn’t look quite as impressive when it’s all just a rather unappealing yellow. Later takes on the concept would make it work a bit better. Hodge’s one accessory is a pump that plugs into the very large and very obvious spot on his back. What does it do? It lets him squirt water out of his gun hand, of course. You know, like in the comics!
THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION
As much as I liked “Phalanx Covenant”, I never had much interest in this toy as a kid, and as such it went un-purchased by me for a rather long stretch of time. I even avoided picking him up during my first real return to the line during college. It wasn’t until very recently that I picked this figure up, and it was mostly because I was already picking up a bunch of other stuff, if I’m honest. He’s not bad. Not very exciting, but also not bad. I’d say he’s better than I’d expected, in fact.