X-MEN (TOY BIZ)
“Seeking to put her past behind her, the ninja warrior known as Elektra found kinship during her time spend with the X-Men’s Wolverine. Along with Wolverine’s help, she began a new chapter in her life devoted to righting the wrongs of her past. Now facing her future as a hero, Elektra relies on the lessons she has learned and her twin ninja sais to overcome the evil force that would sway her from her path!”
Man, doesn’t that bio seem like a rather convoluted and forced way to justify putting Elektra into an X-Men toyline? I mean, when you think Elektra, don’t you think “X-Men”? Certainly there are no other areas of the Marvel universe that she’s got any closer ties to at all. Clearly, Wolverine is Elektra’s closest connection from the Marvel universe who has also had a definitive run featuring Frank Miller on the creative duties. No one else would have a more sensible place in the bio at all. Uh huh. Well, uh, let’s look at this totally naturally placed Elektra figure, then, I guess.
THE FIGURE ITSELF
Elektra was released in the “Classic Light-Up Weapons” Series of Toy Biz’s X-Men line, released in mid-1996. Now, I’m going to go in hard contrast to my intro up there and say that Elektra’s a pretty wonky choice of a character for an X-Men assortment. Why in the world? Well, I’ll sort of get to that in a moment. The figure stands about 4 3/4 inches tall and she has 9 points of articulation. If you feel like you’ve seen this sculpt before, that’s because you have. I reviewed it once before, back when it was Psylocke, from this same assortment. While the other figures in the line-up all got paint variants that were the same character, for some reason, Psylocke’s alternate colors were used to make her an entirely new, entirely unrelated character instead. I guess that Elektra and Psylocke have vaguely similar designs, but it’s really hard to say it’s not a stretch. The paint serves as the main change up, here, of course, with the costume switching from blue to red, her hair from purple to black, and her skin tone shifting ever so slightly. It looks more like Elektra than it did before, I suppose, but it’s not like it’s spot on, or anything. Elektra is packed with the same accessories as Psylocke was, a katana and the light-up psychic knife. They’re definitely more Psylocke than they are Elektra, and it means she lacks the sais her bio quite blatantly mentions, but I suppose it could be worse.
THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION
Elektra’s presence in this line-up has always perplexed me. This figure was my first real knowledge of the character, and lead to me being rather confused about who exactly she was, given that, you know, she’s not an X-Men character, but she was in an X-Men assortment just the same. I’m not really sure what possessed Toy Biz to do Elektra this way, but I guess it got her a figure, and it was her first time as a toy and all, so it was better than nothing. I ultimately wound up getting this figure from All Time a few years back, after putting off getting her for a while, just because of the weirdness of the figure. She’s really just exactly what she is, which is a Psylocke repaint. And I guess that’s not the worst thing, but it’s just…weird.
Repainting Psylocke into Elektra was a fairly clever idea on Toy Biz’s part – if there had been a larger toy customizing community online back then, I bet we would have seen a lot of these repaints before the official one was released. I think they also did a white outfit/bald version as some kind of exclusive later on.
Elektra actually had a pretty large role in the Wolverine comics around this time, when Logan was going through his feral/nose-less phase, so she wasn’t quite the stretch to include in the X-Men line.
Toy Biz was actually pretty decent at picking out things for repaints, especially in the ’90s. They got a lot of characters who would have otherwise never had figures out that way. I definitely admire that. I actually remember a little bit of a customs scene for them back in the day, but they were, of course, nowhere near as far reaching as nowadays. And yeah, they did another Elektra as part of their Hall of Fame line, which was one of the Specialty/KB Toys lines. There was also one in a two-pack with Bullseye in their Greatest Battles line. She never got past repaint territory, though, at least in the 5″ line.
I was, admittedly, not much of Wolverine reader in the ’90s, so I didn’t actually keep up with Elektra’s appearances there. I guess she wasn’t the worst choice in that light.